The Charleston Trip, Part 5: The Day In Which, G Got Hitched

Where last I left off, we had gone through the wedding rehearsal and prepared for the next day’s nuptials.  I was determined not to repeat the previous day’s oversleeping incident, so I set my alarm early and made it very loud.  Very, very loud.  There was no way I was going to sleep through this thing.

It turned out that I woke up a few minutes before the alarm, but the alarm did blare at the designated time.  I quickly got dressed, grabbed my camera, and headed out.  No, I wasn’t running off to join the wedding party.  Not yet, at least.  I was bound and determined to get the perfect sunrise photo.  Where I live, buildings tend to block the sunrises.  Besides, I tend to be preoccupied with things like getting NHL ready for school, feeding JSL breakfast, and getting myself ready for work.  There’s no time to go outside with a camera and scout around for good shots.  In Charleston, though, free of work and kid time constraints, I was able to go exploring.

I took a few photos, then noticing that the sunrise was blocked from my current vantage point, walked to a different location.  I was a bit nervous.  During the Ghost Walk, we were told by a staff member that part of the grounds were closed and that guards patroled those areas.  I wasn’t sure when the grounds opened, but I figured I’d deal with the guards if/when they confronted me.

It turned out that I didn’t see any guards.  Just steam rising from the warmer water into the cold morning air and the sun spreading color across the dark sky.

After taking some photos, I returned to my room to warm up.  I got showered, dressed, and headed back out for some more shots.  After these, I got some breakfast and then headed back to my room again to get into my Tux.  I met up with my friend and the rest of the groomsmen.  Together we walked to meet our ride.  A horse-drawn carriage that was to take us to the wedding location.

I took some photos during this ride, but many of them came out blurry.  The horse drawn carriage just couldn’t seem to move smoothly along the bumpy dirt road.   When we arrived at the grounds, the setup was nearing completion and there was a half hour before any guests arrived.  We wandered around for awhile and I took a bunch more photos.  (Yes, I know.  Shocking, isn’t it?)

One of the photos shows my friend G hugging a giant oak tree.  That’s the Middleton Oak.  They were originally going to be married under it, but some limbs fell off.  The thing is massive.  About 39 feet around.  They estimate that it is between 500 and 1,000 years old.  Most trees where I live are smaller than this thing’s branches.  They even have wires to help keep the limbs up.  I didn’t feel 100% safe standing under it.  Not that it was going to fall or anything, but if it did fall I’d be TechyDad-brand jelly.  It was an amazing sight, though.

Eventually, we headed back and greeted the minister and guests.  In a particularly gut wrenching scene, I handed my camera over to G’s dad until the ceremony was over.  I figured that L wouldn’t want the camera strap slung over my Tux and wouldn’t want me leaping out of the lineup to snap a few shots.

After the ceremony, the professional photographers took our photos while the rest of the guests headed to the reception in the Secret Gardens.  After our photos were taken, we headed to the Gardens.  Here, my first day wanderings came in handy.  I was able to guide everyone directly to the Gardens without getting lost in the hedge maze.  It wasn’t long before I retrieved my camera and started shooting again.

After the reception wound down, I headed to my room to take off my dress shoes.  I hadn’t worn those shoes since B and I got married and now I remember why.  They hurt my feet!  After some resting, I decided to venture out again.  This time, I headed for the stables.  I had snapped a few shots of them the day before, but this time I went back in search of more up-close horse photos.  I wasn’t disappointed.  The horses came right up to me and, in some cases, even posed for photos.  I think they’ve done this before.

After the horse shots, I went back to my room for a short while.  Then it was time for the costume ball.  I’ll save that story for another post, though.

In Trouble With THE F(ake)BI

While cleaning out my Yahoo inbox, I found this little gem:

Please note that the F.B.I will be in your door post in the next 7 working days for an interrogation about your involvement in attempt of illegal money transfer in your bank account. It was revealed to our team by the INTERPOL that you were involved in trying to conclude an international money transfer into your bank account without following the due process, thereby, indicating possible money laundering and terrorism sponsorship. Recall, you were asked by the Nigerian Central Bank governor to obtain the Diplomatic Seal Of Transfer {DIST} that will clear you of any involvement in this dastard act but you ignored that.
We advice that you contact us immediately as the money have been Stopped and is being held in our custody until you are able to provide us with a diplomatic immunity seal of transfer (dist) within 14 days from the Central Bank Nigeria that authorize the transfer from where the funds was transferred from to certify that the funds that you are about to receive from Nigeria are Anti-terrorist, Drug and  Money Laundering free.
To this regards, you are to re-assure and proof to us that the fund you are about to receive has nothing to do with Terrorist, Drug  and Money Laundering fund by sending to us the FBI Diplomatic Immunity Seal Of Transfer(DIST) to prove to us that the fund you are about to receive is legitimate. You are to forward the documents to us immediately if you have it in your possession. If you don’t have it, let us know so that we will direct and inform you where to obtain the document and send to us so that we will ask the bank holding the funds to go ahead and credit your account immediately.
However, if we receive a confirmatory message from the Anti Fraud Department of Nigeria Economic and Financial Crimes Commission that you have procured the document or paid part payment for the procurement of the Diplomatic Immunity Seal Of Transfer (DIST) document as directed by the F.B.I, your case will be discharged and acquitted. The choice is yours. Here is email address Contact them now to ensure that you secure the {DIST} document.
Faithfully Yours
Mr. Robert S. Mueller

Does anyone really fall for this?  First off, I’m sure that were the FBI really investigating me, they wouldn’t send me an e-mail requesting documents.  Some nice men in suits would show up at my door (hopefully with a search warrant) and would either get me to hand over what they needed or would take it themselves.

Secondly, the "FBI" e-mail address is a Hotmail account?  From the UK?  I guess the FBI needs more funding to set up their own mail servers if they’re forced to use free e-mail accounts from other countries!

Sadly, I know that people do still fall for these kinds of scams.  The economics of the scam dictate that they will keep getting sent.  The scammers can pay $10-15 for a list of hundreds of millions of e-mail addresses.  Then they hijacked computers to send out their "Rich Nigerian Prince Has Died And Is Giving You His Money" scam letters.  They don’t pay much for bandwidth since the hijacked computers are doing all the work.  If they send out 100 million scam e-mails and only 1 hundredth of one percent of the people turn out to be suckers, that’s 10,000 people who will be sending them money.

You can see how their modest investment can turn into a financial windfall.  (I’ve often said that I could easily be rich if it weren’t for this pesky sense of morality.)  Unfortunately, since it remains a money making operation, we’re going to be forced to hit the Delete (or better, Report Spam) key on these e-mails for a long time to come.

Toyota Update: Carmaker Backpedals

On Sunday, I reported about Toyota claiming to own all photos containing Toyota automobiles.  I also posted the story to my photography forum (same one that the Wandering Gnome came from).  Someone there (in a roundabout way) got a response from Toyota’s legal department.  Here’s the response:

Response (XXXX) 11/18/2008 04:34 PM
Thank you for contacting Toyota with your comments and concerns regarding the use of vehicle images. The letter asking the DesktopNexus site to remove all images featuring a Toyota, Scion or Lexus vehicle was the result of mis-communication at Toyota, which we regret.

Copyright law protects the creative work product of artists, photographers, and other creators. Toyota respects these rights, including those of photographers who work with Toyota. Toyota purchases the rights to the images it posts on its sites, and welcomes public use of those images where we have the rights to give. However, this permission is limited to editorial or personal use, not commercial use, such as advertising any products or services. That’s because the photographers – not Toyota – retain the rights to any commercial use, and we cannot give permission to use those images for that purpose. In response the concerns raised by DesktopNexus, Toyota is working with photographers to determine what images may be used for non-commercial purposes, and what we can do to provide broader access.

We hope you will understand and appreciate the legal constraints we face.

Toyota also welcomes interested members of the public to use their own images or photography of Toyota’s vehicles, and we confirm that we have no objection to this use.

We appreciate your interest in our products.

Toyota Customer Experience

I am glad that they’ve backed down from the "all your car photos belong to us" stance, but their reply sounds too much like:

We found a couple of legitimately infringing photos on your site but rather than give you specifics we decided to be lazy and just order them all down. We figured you’d just roll over and take it, but then you had to spread the word. Now we’re facing a ton of bad PR so we’re going to limit our claims to just those originally infringing photos.

This is probably overkill now, but I took these photos intending to post them in protest of Toyota’s stance.  I don’t want them going to waste, so here’s my Toyota automobile.  (The dent was from someone in my office’s parking lot using my car as the signal that they backed up too far.)

Haircut Accomplished

Two days ago I wrote about our Horrendous Hair Cutting Controversy.  Well, yesterday we dropped NHL off at B’s parents’ house (his choice) and went off to get JSL’s hair cut.  On the way to the salon, JSL fell asleep in the car.  We walked inside, put our name on the waiting list (even though we were the next ones in line) and took a seat.

We were delighted to see that K was giving haircuts today.  She has done NHL’s hair many times and helped turn him from a nervous wreck during haircuts to a calm (well, nearly calm) big boy.  We got JSL out of his hat and coat and he reluctantly woke up.  He cuddled up to B as she sat in the chair and K prepared to cut JSL’s hair.  JSL quickly began calling for me, so B and I traded places.  She took the camera and I took the little one.  JSL shook his head a little bit but then he settled down and let K cut his hair.  He was very good and soon was sporting a new do.

The Visiting Gnome

A photography forum I’m a member of has a little tradition going.  One of the members purchased a gnome (whom I’ll call Gnome for purposes of anonymity) on eBay and took a photo of him.  The first person to comment on the photo got him next.  That person took a photo of Gnome and posted it.  Over his two year journey, he’s been to many places, including China.

Over his many stops, Gnome’s gotten a reputation as a bit of a drinker and womanizer.  When he arrived here, however, he quickly sensed that our household wasn’t like most of the places he’s been.  First of all, there are two kids running around.  Secondly, there’s no booze!  Gnome quickly adjusted and bonded with my kids.   NHL would ask where Gnome was (to make sure he was safe) and expressed sadness that Gnome had to leave.  (I explained how Gnome liked seeing new sights.)  JSL, on the other hand, took to walking around saying the gnome’s name.  Yes, he actually added the gnome’s name vocabulary!

Of course, I took many, MANY photos of Gnome while he was here.  (Please note: posting a comment here doesn’t mean Gnome will stop by your house.  He’s for the photography forum members only.)

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