Our Jerry Springer episode aired!

 As I mentioned in my previous post, Debs and I went to a taping of the Jerry Springer show on April 21, 2008. 

We have been calling every Friday since the show to see if it had aired yet (when you leave, they give you a phone number to call to check). Well, we forgot to call Friday. And sure enough, our episode aired Monday 5/19/08 at 3pm!

So, until they put newer episodes up on Hulu.com (or anywhere else, I couldn’t even find torrents of the show anywhere), it looks like the only part of our TV debut that we got to see was this little clip on their site!

You don’t actually ever see me in the clip (well you see my arm), but Debs is very noticeable. She is the chick in the brown shirt on the bottom right of the screen, almost right in front of Jerry. Jerry stood pretty much right behind us the entire time. And, we also got one of the cards he is holding in his hand that they used for the Hillbilly Games!

You can view the entire clip here – http://video.jerryspringertv.com/player/?id=252978

PS – if anyone knows where to get copies of episodes, let me know! I just think it would be cool to have!

Listening To: ‘The Last Letter Home’ by Dropkick Murphys


using a comcast remote on newer samsung tv’s

Debs and I recently purchased a new Samsung 40″ LCD HDTV. After trying numerous codes in the book, none of them would work, and I was planning on taking the remote back to Comcast.

After searching numerous sites, I finally came across these codes, which worked great for me (I used 10702).

  • 10702
  • 10812
  • 10060

Chicago – Tuesday (our 2 year anniversary)

Tuesday was our 2nd wedding anniversary, and we figured it would be nice to just have a good time doing random things through the city, rather than the museums and other tourist exhibits. Our primary goal for the day was to check out the wonderful shopping available in downtown Chicago, especially on the ‘Magnificent Mile‘.

After being so tired from all the walking and getting around from Monday, we decided to sleep in for a bit, and also miss the morning rush into town. This ended up actually working out a lot better for us, since it cut at least 15 minutes on the commute time. After grabbing a quick breakfast, we headed towards the John Hancock Observatory to get one of the best views of the city. While the John Hancock building is not as large as the Sears Tower, its position in the city actually gives you a better view of downtown. The shot pictured here is looking south from the building, towards the Sears Tower.

A short walk from the JHO is the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art. Admission is free on Tuesdays provided by Target. Debs and I both have interest in art that is sometimes ‘different’, and if you have the same tastes, this is a great place to go. Most of the museum had a display going for Gordon Matta-Clark, a very interesting artist doing a lot of work in the 60’s and 70’s. One of the coolest things he did was cut houses and various other buildings in many different ways, creating ‘portals’ between rooms and the outside world.

After getting a birds eye view of the city and checking out some amazing art, we decided to start shopping. The Magnificent Mile is known as the upscale shopping area in Chicago. I have to say, most shops many Richmonder’s can get in either Short Pump Town Center or Stony Point Fashion Park. Some of these include Crate and Barrel, The Apple Store, Macy’s, etc. Of course these stores are 2-5 TIMES the size of the ones here in Richmond. The Magnificent Mile also has a 5 story Macy’s, a Tiffany’s, a Garmin store, and more. We actually didn’t buy much, but went all around checking out what was there.

There are some great shops a little off the Magnificent Mile. One of these includes the Old Navy flagship store. This Old Navy is 3 stories tall, and takes up more than half a city block. But, of course with the way OId Navy has changed in the last few years, only one half of one floor had mens clothing!

After all this shopping, we decided to go to a nicer dinner at The Webber Grill, which we had seen on TV. This restaurant uses extra-large Webber grills to cook everything on the menu. The atmosphere is amazing! You can have a relaxed and formal meal, but great flame grilled food. Debs had a quarter chicken, and I had a mix plate of meatloaf and beef brisket. The service was awesome, and we were in and out of there in less than an hour.

To feel a little better about splurging on dinner, we decided to do quite a bit of walking around downtown. We walked back up and down the Magnificent Mile as well as down side streets that looked interesting. Since April 22nd is Earth Day, there were a few events going on that we wanted to check out. The largest was outside City Hall, and we saw it when arriving downtown that morning. After our walk we decided to head back there, but it had ended two hours earlier. Instead we sat enjoying the sights and sounds of the city in front of the Picasso statue outside City Hall. We also got in touch with my mom and caught up with everything going on with us and back home.

My phone had died so we decided to stop at an Argo Tea store to charge it up and check some emails. I think Argo is a Chicago tea chain that is known for making their own blends. We went into one almost once a day so I could try a new drink or get a cup of coffee. You can even purchase their teas online. After getting a bit of a charge on the phone, we started walking the 15 block walk to the Sears Tower, since we thought it would be great to see the city from above at night.

On the walk over, I tried multiple times to check my voicemail. While its great to go a day without having the phone ringing is great, I still wanted to make sure something had not gone terrible at home. Every time I tried placing a call, I got a ‘All Circuits Are Busy’ message. There were many other people using Verizon phones around us, but by the time we got to the Sears Tower, neither of our phones would work. We decided to head into the tower and just try again later. (when checking my feeds once the phone did work the next day, I found out that Richmond had a network outage for a few hours that night. While we both have Richmond numbers, I did not know that our numbers still had to route through somewhere in Richmond no matter where we were).

The Sears tower is the largest building in the US, and is a definite stop when in Chicago. Since we were going a bit later, there were no lines, and it was quick getting in. One downside (at least for us, we just wanted to go up!) of the Sears Tower is that you have to sit through a 15-20 minute short feature about Sears, the Tower, and Chicago. Once the film was over, we jumped into an elevator that took us up 110 stories in less than a minute. Immediately after opening the doors, we saw one of the most amazing views yet. I tried to take a few pictures, but since there was still some lights on from the visitors center and other things, I could not get the best shots. One of the coolest parts of the view was to see just how Chicago ramped up near the shore. While I was not able to capture it on the camera, it was very surreal and a sight worth seeing!

While it was not to late, we decided to head back to the hotel to catch up on some sleep and relax for the rest of the night. Most of everything had been marked off our ‘to-do’ list, and we needed to start finding more things to check out!

I still have a few more days to post about, and look for my next post on the final days of our trip soon!

New HDR Photos of Richmond!

Well, I finally got around to really trying out HDR with shots I took about a month ago with Nate and Debs at the river. Ive had a growing interest in HDR photography, but could never find software or methods that really worked for me. Finally I settled on the automated ‘Merge to HDR’ function of Photoshop CS3, and then researched some of the advanced features you have with 32bit images.

For those who don’t know, HDR stands for ‘High Dynamic Range’. In a normal exposure, you pretty much average the shadows and highlights to present a normal picture (though our eyes may see it differently, a camera can not record the entire visual range). With HDR, you layer standard exposures with over- and under-exposed matching shots, to bring out details in the highlights and shadows. This usually presents sometimes almost ‘surreal’ photos, but REAL attention grabbers. 

While I like HDR photography, I think it has its place. There are plenty of people who REALLY process their images, and have AMAZING results. In my case, I tried to do very little editing, since I usually prefer presenting the image in something more ‘realistic’, and how I possibly saw the shot with my own eyes. 

Please check out my latest photos on Flickr! I will be tagging all HDR images, and you can see them all here!

Chicago – Monday’s massive exploration

Monday was the busiest and by far craziest day we had in Chicago. Since we were a bit tired already from Sunday night, we went to sleep early, and then got up early Monday morning, around 7am. After getting ready for the day, we headed to the bottom of our hotel to catch the train.

The ‘L’ is the elevated train system that runs through Chicago. Luckily there is a train stop at O’hare, and was a quick walk from our hotel room. But with delays on the tracks, and all the stops, it can usually take 45-1 hour to get into town! We purchased these ‘3 day’ unlimited passes, which lets you hop on and off the L and CTA Buses wherever you want. But while trying to purchase, none of our cards would work. The machines were not accepting cash either! After calling the bank, we found out that the machines were returning a bad expiration date and not taking our cards (a lot of people were having the same problem). Eventually we got them to work, and headed in for our first ride.

Once into town, we got off in the ‘Loop’, right outside City Hall. Both of us were starving, so we went to the only thing we could find, a McDonalds right down the street. After grabbing some breakfast, we walked to Millennium Park, which is right near the lake. We got to check out some of the amazing architecture, art, and scenery around the city. We then thought it would be fun to check out the Navy Pier, but it was quite a walk. Being so new to the city, we decided at times to just walk to where we wanted to go, rather than waste time for a bus. Finally getting close to Navy Pier (and not seeing a decent walking path), we caught a bus right outside the NBC Tower.

It was just about lunch time, so we decided to try out the ‘Bubba Gump’ restaurant at the start of Navy Pier. Of course this is a themed restaurant based off Forest Gump, which to me was taken a bit to far. People would not stop bugging you asking trivia questions, and the food was alright, but nothing that special. The service was quick at times though, so we got in and out of there pretty quick. To walk off our lunch, we went all around the Navy Pier and got one of our first sights of just how big this city was.

After touring the pier, we noticed that they had these ‘hop on, hop off’ bus tours of the city. You bought a 1 or 2 day pass, and took a ride around the city (if you stayed on the bus like us, it took almost 3 hours). This was the perfect time to really ‘get our barrings’ in the city, and had a blast doing it. I think I took almost 200 photos alone on this trip, since we saw just about everything in the city. We also learned quite a bit, and made notes about specific areas that we wanted to visit again. At the end of the tour, we decided to actually stay on the bus to get to the NBC tower.

We head into the tower, mainly to check out the gift shop (ok, this wasn’t that big of a deal, but they had some really cool stuff from ‘The Office’ that I wanted to check out). While there, we are asked ‘are you hear to see the show?’. Knowing that they record a few shows in Chicago (Jerry Springer, Judge Mathis, and Oprah), we were not sure what they were actually talking about. They told us we should ask the security guards if there was any more space. They let us know they were about to film the Jerry Springer Show, and that they actually had some extra VIP passes (if you are from out of town, they will also bump you right to the top of the list).

After going through security, we were whisked off in an elevator and placed in a separate room. After hanging out for about 15 minutes, we were all lined up (debs and I were about 10th in line to head into the studio). We ended up being sat in the 2nd ROW! Not knowing what to expect, both of us were getting nervous and wondering if we made the right decision :). After being given a crash course in how to behave, Jerry came out and talked to all of us! He did a quick question and answer section (yes he may go back into politics, yes he liked dancing with the stars, etc), and then the show started! The shows are about an hour long, but honestly from start to finish, we were in there for at least 3 hours. Lets just say it all included ‘Jerry Beads’, topless midgets, Spam, and Redneck Games. Debs and I actually caught one of the cards Jerry held during the Redneck Spelling Bee! This show was a blast to be at, and it was pretty cool seeing such a TV icon. We didn’t get to shake his hand or really say hi, but he stood behind Debs and I for pretty much the entire recording (there are only two front rows), and we were on the side that he usually stands in.

Before we went home, we wanted to see some of the night things at Millennium Park. We got some great shots of the fountains and the Bean. The place looked totally different at night, and certain areas lit up. After hanging out there for a while and just taking in the views, we decided we should get some dinner and head back to the hotel.  Unfortunately in the part of the city where we got back on the train, most of all the shops had closed (its mostly the business and government district of the city). We walked around in circles actually, until we finally found a Subway that was open (its also about 10pm). Dinner was quick, and for most of the train ride back home we napped. Both of our bodies were aching from all the walking, sunburn, and windburn we got through the day.

We decided to crash when we got back to the hotel, and that we were going to sleep in the next day. Tuesday was our 2 year wedding anniversary, and we wanted to be well-rested for some of the special events we had planned for the next day!

7 years ago, Henrico Co. Schools went all Mac

Its hard to believe its been that long ( I remember working at High School RIGHT before graduating setting up the first round of these things), but 7 years ago Henrico made the HUGE purchase of 23,000 iBooks to give students. This was BEFORE intel Macs, remember!

Ahh, and to know that this is my 13th year being a Mac user. Yes, I was one before it was cool, and I got made fun of quite a bit in High School and College for being one. But of course now most of the IS department in the school of business carries Macs. The same teachers that said ‘Macs were useless’. Thanks Tina 🙂

Lumpkin’s Jail in Style Weekly this week

I was surprised to hear ‘my’ name come up this week in the cover story of the recent edition of Style Weekly. The awesome story named ‘Look Away, Look Away’ is a discussion into some of the ‘untold stories’ about Richmond being the center of slave trade. You can read the story online here.

I actually heard of the story in two places before I got a chance to read it. While at work, one of my co-workers asked if I had any relation to the jail, and did I know it existed. Then, after reading my blogs, I noticed that the Near Westend News also picked up the story. I completely agree that its ‘about time’ some people start talking about this, and we embrace the history and move on, rather than continue to ‘brush it under the rug like it didn’t happen’.

Well, last night on this blog, the writer Chris left a comment on my ‘About’ page, asking about my family history. I promptly emailed him back, because I am very curious to see how I can help out. I have not received word back, but look forward to see how I can help out in any way possible.

I do have a book that was written in 1990 covering 200 years of my family’s history. Ive used it a few times, mainly to track our family’s connection to the civil war (at one time, I was interested joining the sons on confederate veterans; come to find out my great, great, great grandfather served for the confederacy out of New Kent in the 26th Confederate Infantry).

Unfortunately, the Lumpkin Jail is not covered in this book, but records of slave ownership were. Also, from looking around online, especially at the A.C.O.R.N. website, the Lumpkin Jail was run by a ‘Robert Lumpkin’, which my family had quite a few documented. I still need to compare some dates, and will post something when I find out further. I will also post some more when I may get to meet up with Chris, and see what we could find out!

Listening To: ‘Dimension’ by Wolfmother