Skin Cancer Check-Up

Dr. James

This is my Dermatologist, Dr. James Pehoushek, part of the team at the Allergy & Dermatology Specialists” in Phoenix.

I feel very fortunate to have been referred to him when I developed sun spots on my arms.  One out of every six spots can be cancerous so it’s critical to have these removed by an easy freeze procedure.

On my second visit I had a suspicious spot just below my left eye and a biopsy was performed that was diagnosed as Basal Cell Carcinoma.  This is a type of skin cancer which was removed by a simple surgery called the Mohs procedure.

I now return to see Dr. Pehoushek every six months which I did today and the visit prompted me to write about it in this Blog.  In all my years I have never met a doctor with such a pleasing personality.  He is all smiles and a real pleasure to be around! 

If you live in Phoenix this is your man to keep you healthy with any skin or allergy problems.

You can watch a short video of him working with a patient with sun spots and a biopsy procedure such as I experienced.

I now look forward to my semi-annual visits, just to be a part of his enthusiasm for life!

Computer Crash

computer_frustrationIt’s been a long time since I blogged, but my Microsoft Live Writer (Blog Editor) was broken and I couldn’t figure out how to fix it.  They say that for every adversity brings the seed of equivalent or greater benefit to those with a positive mental attitude. 

So what was the adversity?  My HP desktop computer of four years quit working and rather than spend money and time on it I sprung for a new Dell.  The process of getting it set up, transferring documents, photos, music, and installing all my programs was a very long process!

Since the new Dell came with Windows 8, it made things even more frustrating especially upgrading to Windows 8.1.  It took too long to accomplish and on starting up it made you set up a Microsoft account whether you wanted to or not.  Sorry, I may be old fashioned, but I just don’t like Windows 8.  Here are 8 reasons to hate Windows 8!  I hope after time it will change my mind.

On a positive note my Blog editor now works after installing it on the new system.  The biggest tip I can give you if upgrading to Windows 8 is to install a third party start button, then things won’t be quite so frustrating.  It’s called the “Classic Shell” and can be made to look like previous operating systems.  It’s free and you can Get it here.

Computer crashes happen to the best of us, it’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when.  The secret is to keep your data files backed up!


Every wonder back to your younger years?  Would you have done some things differently?  Remember some of the things you had as a young person and kind of wish you could have those things today?

I think back when I was 12 and purchased a “Jerry Mahoney” ventriloquist doll with my paper route money.  Even though he was made of wood, over time, he became a friend. Wish I had him today.

Red WagonI wish I had my “Red Rider BB Gun,” that I could give to my grandson.  Also my red wagon with the wooden sides.  Before my first car I had a motor bike then a motor scooter.  I’d be the talk of the neighborhood if I rode them around the block today.

My father was a policeman back in Iowa and I remember one of his friends gave me his traffic whistle when I was about 8 years old.  It was a treasure, but I lost it in the hay field where I grew up.  I’d love to have it today.

I remember my grandfather giving me my first pocket knife.  That’s also a treasure to a young boy, but it’s long gone and I wish I had it today.

Memories of things in the past.  There’s also memories of people in the past.  Close friends in grade school, junior high, high school and college.  Wouldn’t it be fun to have them all sitting in a room with you right now?

musicalnotesMusic brings back memories.  Listen to a tune from yesteryear and you’ll remember exactly where you where and who you were with!

All those things and all those memories.  Good times and sad times and they all make up who we are today.

Today is an interesting word.  Today is the day we dreamt about yesterday.  It’s here and it’s now and that’s exciting!  If you think about it, it’s always today, so let’s make memories today!

Switching from iPhone to Android (Important Hint!)

Galaxy S4I have had iPhones from day one and loved everyone of them.  Lately though, I feel that Apple is slipping and “standing still.”  At their annual conference in May they announced their new operating system IOS 7, but not a mention or even a hint as to the next iPhone.  Being eligible for a new phone and with the release of the very exciting Samsung Galaxy S4 I couldn’t resist the switch.

For the first couple of days I was overwhelmed with all the great features and as a photographer was very impressed with the 13MB camera!  In my opinion the Galaxy S4 runs away from the iPhone 5.

Soon though I realized that I could not receive text messages sent from any iPhone that was using Wi-Fi.  I called Verizon corporate and talked to a representative, who incidentally, bent over backwards trying to find an answer but to no avail.  I went to Best Buy, where I purchased the Galaxy, to discuss the problem.  No answers, so I drove to the Verizon store and after a long discussion was advised to go back to Best Buy and exchange the phone.  I did just that, but had the same problem.  My wife, at home, could not text my new Galaxy.  Everyone was stumped!

The Best Buy cell phone rep went the extra mile. Instead of saying “that’s all I can do for you Mr. Stanley” he spent extra time discussing the situation with me.  It paid off that both of us were  “techies” as we entered into a conversation using common sense principles.

Background:  Apple uses two types of text messages.  One for the network and one for using Wi-Fi, called an imessage.  This is good as it gives you unlimited messaging between all Apple products and all other Apple customers.  But, anytime an iPhone user, including my wife, would text me under a Wi-Fi environment it wasn’t received on the new Galaxy. 

Hint: There is an iPad in my office.  So where did that message want to go?  To the iPad!  Once it got there it went no further. 

Solution:  If you have another Apple product in your Wi-Fi system, go to settings, messages, and turn off “iMessage.”  Problem solved!

I have disseminated this solution to Verizon and Best Buy employees in hopes that someone else doesn’t spend hours trying to solve this frustrating situation.

You and I Can Change the World!

violenceSeems like every day we hear about senseless killings, not only in America, but all over the world.  Why is this happening?  Why has our society become so violent?  Why is there so much hatred?  We were stunned and shocked by the recent Boston fiasco. The word people used most is "why?"   Why do certain cultures hate America? 

Why is America so generous only to have this generosity thrown back in our face?  We must look for answers before the world destroys itself!  Personally I feel helpless in the big picture, but you and I can influence our family, friends, and neighbors in a positive way. If each person that reads this does that, we as a group can change the world.

Maybe just maybe part of the reason for chaos all around us, is that we have fallen away from God.  Ya, I know there are atheists who will throw darts at me and that's okay.  The majority of Americans are Christians and believe in God, but don't go to church.  Maybe the reason is church was boring.  If so look for a new one.  There are many wonderful churches in most cities today where it's exciting to attend; churches where the Pastor or Pastors talk today's language, and talk about today's problems.  Churches that not only offer weekend services but activities for all ages all week long. 

GodOur church here in Phoenix, Christ's Church of the Valley (CCV) sets a great example.  Five services every weekend, a food court, Starbucks, an outside grill serving hamburgers, cheeseburgers, and hotdogs, 80 beautiful acres, and three teaching Pastors that give phenomenal messages!  Some people are thinking "Starbucks at Church?"  Don't make fun, Starbucks is huge all over the world and it's just one thing that makes CCV so special.  Make it a point to attend church this weekend and I guarantee your life will change!

I don't know about you, but I can't stand to watch the news anymore!  Whether it be national news, or local news, it's one negative story after another.  The news media thrives on negativity because it sells.  Why does it sell?  Simply because we live in a negative society.  Sex, drugs, and violence are the headlines.  You don't realize this unless you are older and have seen days when we enjoyed clean wholesome movies, TV programs, and happy news. I see young kids today in the grocery store kicking their mothers and throwing tantrums.  You know how long that would have lasted in my day?  Not one second!  It wouldn't have happened in the first place in my day because there wasn't sex, drugs, and violence around every corner.

Smiley 3You and I can't change the big picture until we change the little picture and that means the immediate world around us.  Believe me, there are enough good people today that believe in working for a living, being honest and doing the right thing.  Surround yourself with these people because "You are who you hang around with!"  I'll say it again.  "I feel helpless in the big picture, but you and I can influence our family, friends, and neighbors in a positive way to make a better world!"

A Very Cool Gadget for iPhone Lovers


For people who love taking photos, the iPhone does a great job, especially the 4S and the iPhone 5.  With future models the camera will get better and better!

There are a lot of useful iPhone apps which let you edit your photos before sending them in an email, message, Facebook, or other Internet sites

Those software apps are used after taking the shot, but how about something that will improve that picture before clicking the shutter button? 

That’s where the olloclip comes into action. This gadget slides on to your iPhone, and features a fisheye, wide angle, and macro lens.  It works great for stills and video and is inexpensive.  It comes in black,  white, red, and is available in most stores and their Internet site. 

To give you an example of the fun you can have with this combo lens, here’s a shot of the inside of our camper using the fisheye.

Camper-Fish Eye






Does the macro lens work? To try it out I took my iPhone to the back yard and shot this within a half an inch of a bottle brush flower. Pretty nifty for the first try!

Macro Bottle Brush
Check out their website and watch the video on how it works. If you love taking iPhone photos and videos, you’ll love the “olloclip!”

Another iPhone camera feature that people either don’t know about or forget to use is the panorama mode.  Turn on the camera and touch “Options” then touch “Panorama.”  Hold your iPhone in the vertical position and point it where you want to start. Push the camera icon and follow the arrow to the right.  Here’s an example of a shot I took in this mode while camping in the mountains.

Pano 1024
(Click on photos for larger view.)  Remember your birth certificate proves that you were born, your death certificate proves that you died, and your photos prove that you lived!   

Carnival Cruise Lines

SplendorHave you ever taken a cruise?  My wife and I have been on many and all have been very enjoyable, except for the last one.

We booked a 6 day cruise that left Long Beach and traveled to Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.  A couple of days before our scheduled departure we received an email from Carnival notifying us that the ship "Splendor" would be a day late in arriving in Long Beach.

The problem was that it got stuck in fishing nets at their last port.  We were told, because of that, our trip would be cut to 5 days and only visit Cabo San Lucas.

After spending two nights in a California hotel instead of one, we arrived for early boarding on the newly scheduled departure date, only to stand in line for over 4 hours!

Questioning a Carnival staff member as to the situation we were told that all the people that check in passengers were part time and had other jobs during the week.  Since this was Monday there were only a hand full of people to process over 3,000 passengers.  It was a total fiasco to say the least!  There were no apologies and not even an offer for a bottle of water while standing in a two city block long line. 

Arriving back home I wrote an email to the President of Carnival and expressed our dismay but to this day have not heard a word. 

The fact that this ship, a couple of years ago, had a fire in the engine compartment, coupled with our recent experience, and the fact that the Carnival ship "Triumph" recently experienced a fire and spent days stranded in the Gulf of Mexico, we no longer wish to use this company for any kind of a "Cruise Vacation!"

Photo Editing

Nikon D80-BlogPhotography is a passion of mine.  As a photographer you are more keenly aware of the beauty that surrounds you.  A photo captures a moment in time, can tell a story, and bring back a memory. 

Today, most of us have a smart phone and that means you always have a camera with you.  Even serious photographers are enjoying photographing the world with their phones.

The iPhone has become a staple in the world of pictures.  Snap a shot, send it in an instant message, in an email, post it to your favorite photo site, Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.

There are many apps that will let you edit, enhance, or add special effects to your picture before you send it off.  One of my favorites is PhotoForge2.

If I’m at home I like to plug my iPhone into my computer and enhance photos in my editing program.  I use Paint Shop Pro X5 to edit and Topaz Labs Filters to enhance.  This is where the fun comes in!

Here’s an example of a pretty generic iPhone photo taken of us by a friend on a recent photo excursion in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

G&D on Photo Boat-Original

The person who took this shot sent it to me in a message.

When we got home I imported it into PSP. 

First I increased the exposure to brighten the faces, then painted the background including the post behind my head.  I used the magic wand to isolate that area.  I opened another photo that was previously edited, copied it, and dropped it into the isolated area.

The last step for this shot was to add three borders and my logo at the bottom.   Bingo…And the end product looks pretty good!

G&D on Photo Boat

This was our first visit to Cabo and this boat trip  to Los Arcos rock formations was a highlight for me.  If we go back again I’ll have them drop me off on the beach so I can walk around and photograph all afternoon!

Here’s the full version of the background.  It’s the shot of the arch that everyone wants to get.

Los Arch 2

Don’t let the camera in your cell phone go unused.
Take lots of photos and share them with the world!

You may click on the photos for a larger view.