August 10, 2006

Who is the winnnnnnnnnner?

Well, first off I'd like to thank the people that submitted your photos. I got about 20-25 pictures to grade... not so bad. I appreciate everyone sending in there entries. When I had people judge these photos, I got a wide spectrum of people's taste. But I told them to grade on the photograph, not the subject. Well, here are the results.













Alright... so lots of people sent in scenery photos. But one of the high scorers was this one:


(Taken by Jon Waldbauer - Flags of Duquesne - *from is PHONE*)

And also, this one:

(sent in by Carinne Park- taken in Gettysburg PA)















Next category was people. Some of the pictures just... weren't good. But we did get a great entry.

(Taken by Jordan Posey - PPG Fountains)













For sports... we really didn't have an entry. Oh well, I guess it wasn't a popular genre.














Now, for night life, one entry stood out for the crowd, because it indeed encompass the "night life" genre.

(Taken by Jon Waldbauer - concert)













And then, we have animals. Best one of the bunch was this picture:

(Taken by Jordan Posey - Goose)













Now... for humor, we had some entries, but they weren't really deemed photo worthy. (I'm sry to the people that sent in some of these pics - you know who you are - just no one I talked to liked them)













And last but not least, there is Pittsburgh. There were two great entries, and here they are:

(Taken by Tanya Zehnder - Pittsburgh)


AND:
(Taken by Jordan Posey again - Smithfield St Bridge)




















Now... who takes the cake? Well, there was one picture on here that everyone liked no matter who they were.





























This person didn't think that this photo was good, but CARINNE PARK's photo of the Gettysburg fog was loved by all. Congrats Carinne! You did it - you are obviously not a lousy photographer. I even showed my mom afterwards, and she said she wants a print of it.


So what did you win Carinne? You win a $10 gift certificate to iTunes. So buy what you like... hope you enjoy.



So if anyone is interested, there is a real photo contest going on from VisitPittsburgh. They are looking for pics of Pittsburgh and the countryside. Winner nets a cool $1,000. Check it out if you are interested here (that's a little more than my measly $10 gift certificate).

August 07, 2006

Get in those entries!!

July 27, 2006

Another contest!



Well, in honor of my blog's first birthday, I wanted to have a little contest that my loyal readers can participate in. So I was debating what to do for this contest. Since I always post some of my pictures on the blog, why not have a photo contest?

Ok... so here are the rules of the contest. To be eligible for the contest, your picture must fit into one of these categories...




















Scenery, people, sports, night life, animals, humor, and Pittsburgh


Also, you can only submit a maximum of 3 pictures. (You can submit more than one picture for a category as well).

So I want to see what everyone else can do! I wanted an easy way to just upload it to the blog, but I found that to be too complicated, so just email them to me. It doesn't matter what resolution the pictures are - just make sure the pictures are in jpeg format. The photos can be touched up, but cannot be made completely in Photoshop.

My email address is arkisman@gmail.com .

As for grading all of the pictures, I will grade your picture from a scale of 1-5, and I will have an independent 3rd party grade them as well. I will post the winners of each of the categories on my blog, and announce a grand prize winner. The grand prize winner will receive something of value - of at least $5-$10 (hey I'm still a cheap college student).

I guess I should make a deadline as well... let's say... 8/9/06. Get your pictures submitted by that date to be eligible.

So, snap away!

July 15, 2006

July 25th 2005...







Holy crap - so as Carinne pointed out to me, this blog is almost a year old. Wow... it's been a year already? I'm surprised I kept with it. Pearls Before Swine turns 1 year old on July 25th - Make sure to look for a birthday contest of some sorts. I just need to think of something to create.

Well, the past week I went down to Washington DC for a short little vaca with some friends. We did the normal touristy stuff - visited all the monuments and such, which turned out to be a great extended weekend. Next week, I'll be going out to Colorado and some western states with my family for a nice little vacation. As soon as I get home from that, I'm going up to Camp Bock for almost a week. Then back for a bit, then off to MD for a family reunion. I'll have to leave the reunion early, as I will be going back to Duquesne on the 15th of August. Not much time left for summer I guess :-
Well did everyone catch the All-Star game? Sure hope you did, because it was held in Pittsburgh obviously. Jordan and I went downtown for the game, and watched part of it on the Roberto Clemente Bridge. We couldn't really see anything, but it was still pretty cool to be there and experiencing it. We met some students from Ohio who were playing cornhole on the bridge, and invited us to join in. I guess the game is an Ohio thing - I had no idea what it was, but Jordan was really excited about it (he's from there). Later we grabbed some chicken from the Lemon Grass restaurant, and chatted with the owners, who wanted advise on how to advertise to Duquesne. We put our two cents in and told them what to do. Maybe they will take our advice and offer delivery service at night to Duquesne... yumm

So basically for the summer I've just been working when I can from home, and enjoying every oppertunity that gets thrown at me. I'm really glad I didn't really get a full time job this summer - I'd be missing out on a lot of things!

p.s. leave me some advice for the contest thingy - perhaps I will use your idea. A wonderful super fabulous prize will of course be awarded to the winner.

July 07, 2006

Another day, another summer night...






So I had this really great post made out... and then IE decides to be stupid and move away from the page without saving. Stupid Mircosoft...

Anywho, it said that I had a great 4th of July yada yada yada got a lot of fireworks yada yada yada had a great time these past 2 weeks etc etc.

I really hate Internet Explorer!

Sry maybe if I have more time to write something meaningful out I will later... I'm just too pissed off right now.

Hope you like the pics tho...

June 22, 2006

Summer solstice - longest day of the yEaR...









Oh... and P.S. I'm not on my laptop, so I dont have access to my pictures at the moment. But I'm sure you'll enjoy these shots anyway. These are pictures from last week when my oldest brother Drew was being ordained as a Reverend. One pic is my cousin Isaac and my brother Tim cookin' some hamburgers for our picnic afterwards. And the other picture is the congregation taking part in the blessing of my brother - who you actually can't see, but he's in there.

Yeah... it's kinda been a while since I last posted. Sry I haven't gotten around to it. Oh well... I'll try to be better in the future.

Wow, so it has been a long time since I last posted. What happened in the past two weeks for me? Well, I got a job for starters. I'm working with Duquesne in the Office of International Programs. I'm doing database work for them. It's pretty much creating / designing some new Access databases. I think I'm at the point where I know what I'm doing now, so it should be alright. It's a small project that will take maybe 100-150 hours, so I still have a lot of free time doing other things. Plus, I can work from home, so I don't have to commute work everyday. SCORE

I'm also working with my dad this summer again... so between the two jobs, I'll be busy, but not busy enough to do anything. I can work my schedule around to anyway I please, so I'm up for a fun summer. Tomorrow I just might head up to Pymatuning for a little camping with my bud if it all works out.

Also, next week I'm doing a little housesitting. I'm actually dogsitting my friends dog for a week while she's away on vacation. But I'll be spending a week in my friends house coming up.

PNC finally contacted me and resolved the problem I had with them. I wrote about it a while ago - basically a ATM in Japan didn't dispense me my 10,000 Yen. Well they finally realized there was a problem and put the money back into my account. w00t

That's all for now... but hey... at least I got something up!

June 06, 2006

'Tis finally summer...

















I'm glad I'm finally back on American soil after an exciting and amazing month overseas. China is an amazing country, and I'm glad I was able to be a part of it for a while. But, I'm also glad to finally be home and to start my summer in Pittsburgh.

So I owe the blog a lot of photos - so here are 3 right now. One is of course Mt. Everest, one is the scenery in Tibet, and one is a picture of Mao. I have an online photo album so everyone can see a selection of pictures online, so if you would like to see them, click on this link.

So now I'm home, and chillaxin. However, I'm looking for a job/internship, because I don't want to be a waste of life this summer. I applied for a couple of jobs online, but I wasn't getting any responses. So, this morning I was getting really despirate, and about to go out and look for any ol' job. But as I was getting ready this morning, one of the companies I applied to finally gave me a call, and scheduled an interview. Whew... I was getting worried that I wouldn't be able to find something. I'll let you know how that goes.

So I hope everyone is enjoying summer now - I sure am.

May 26, 2006

Tokyo - wow

Well, today was the first day that I saw my blog for the first time this month. As many of you know already, China filters out blogs from computers - it supposidly spreads democracy, which is not good in a communist country. But now that I'm in Japan, I can finally read people's comments and see how boring my blog is without pictures. Trust me, as soon as I get back, I will post a ton.

The other day we got into Tokyo, and for me, it could have been a lot better. As soon as I got to the airport, I went to an ATM to get out some Yen. I put in my card, punched in how much I need, and it was processing. It gave me my card back and my receipt as it was counting the money. All of a sudden, the money didn't come out, and the ATM experienced a fatal error and shut down. So, my bank account was charged for 20,000 yen, and I got squat. So, I'm trying to work it out with PNC bank trying to tell them that I didn't receive this money.

But that wasn't the worst part. As soon as I got into the bus leaving towards the hotel, I realized I forgot something. I forgot my iPod on the plane. I placed it into the back of the seat in front of me. I contacted the woman who was with us that new Japanese, and she called Northwest Airlines. After about 15 minutes, she delivered good news to me. The cleaning staff found the iPod. They were able to send the iPod to the hotel, which I just got a couple of hours ago. Sure the postage was a lot, but hey... it's either that or no iPod. Thank you staff of Northwest Airlines!

So we settled in, and met with some of the Japanese students at a local university here in Toyko. We gave a presentation that we worked on for this trip, and they presented theirs as well. Then I met the student (her name is Yui) who will be taking me around Tokyo tomorrow. It should be a lot of fun... we are going bowling as well :-)

We traveled by ourselves around Toyko by the Metro, which is a lot of fun. The subway system in Tokyo is sooooo massive... it is impossible to get around unless you have a map. And that can get confusing at many times. So, we went to many local places, saw the sites and sounds, and had a lot of fun. I actually just came back from the Tokyo City View, which is an observation floor on top of a large building... man Tokyo is huge. I can understand why they say it's the largest city in the world.

However, I have to keep this short, because like everything in Tokyo, everything is expensive, including the internet. This probably is gonna be my last post during the trip, because I'm coming back on Monday, which... is approaching quickly. I'll cya all soon...

Mark

May 22, 2006

Good ol' Xian...

So we are winding down our trip in China. Tomorrow, we are heading to Beijing for a day, then off to Tokyo till the 29th. I can't belive there is only about a week left in this trip. Although it seems that I have been with this group of students for forever, it'll be sad not to wake up to the same 23 students.

Yesterday we visited the Tera Cotta solders (probably misspelled) which was quite interesting. I'm sure not many people are familiar with the story behind it, but it is facinating that a tomb of an ancient chinese emperor was unearthed in the 1970s.

And then last night we hit the local clubs in Xian, but that's another story...

Today we were allowed to sleep in (w00t - first time during the trip) and visited a local temple. These past 2 days have been fairly relaxing, and we have had a lot of free time to ourselves, which is nice.

So this evening I was shopping in the local market, and I saw someone who looked familiar approaching. Sure enough, it was one of my professors at Duquesne. Dr. Gal-Or, who teaches object oriented programming and database management. So... he didn't come with us on the trip - he was just shopping too. Very bizarre. And what are the odds? He knew that we were in China at the time, but he didn't expect to see anyone. So, that was very cool.

And about an hour ago, we hit up the DVD store in Xian, and we got a lot of new DVDs. So... The Da Vinci Code came out 2 days ago, and it has already surfaced on DVD. So it's not the best quality or anything, but for 7 yuan, why the hell not (less than $1). I also picked up Mission Impossible 3 and V for Vendetta. w00t

Later ya'll

May 20, 2006

More traveling...

Hello everyone,

So here I am sitting in an internet cafe with about 200 chinese people in this large room in Xian. For the past 2 days, we have been in the city of Chengdu though. Chengdu is a very large city (probably bigger than NYC) with about 10 million + people. And you can definitely feel their presence. The first day we were there, the noticed all of the smog and pollution filling the skies. Even though the sun was out, we couldn't really see it. However, I still feel it was cleaner than Beijing though.

The first day we were there we kept it easy and visited Do Fu's thatched cottage (a famous Chinese poet back in the day). We took a lot of pictures of the scenery, and then went back to the hotel. We found a bar close to the hotel, so we chillaxed for a bit. The next day we drove over two hours south of Chengdu to visit the largest Buddha statue. It was about 71m high, carved into the earth. It wasn't bad, but there were so many people there, combined with the 90 degree weather and humidity, it could have been better. Afterwards, we have a special "hot pot" dinner, where we basically cook our food in a hot pot right in front of us on our table. It sounds like a cool idea, but all of the food came out wrong and didn't taste very good. Plus, being as Chengdu is part of the Sichuan providence, everything was extremely spicy, even though they called it "mild". I couldn't imagine anything hotter than that.

So basically, everyone was pretty bummed out over the crappy dinner we have, but that's when we saw the Golden Arches on our horizon. Our savior. McDonalds. We buckled down and ate there for the first time on the trip, even though our professors didn't want us to eat there (they made a rule with us at the beginning of the trip - no one eats McDonalds... you should experience the local food). Well, yeah, we didn't take that rule seriously. But it was funny though... as soon as we walked in, everyone was staring at us. Everyone. I couldn't tell if they never saw a white westerner before, or it was because us typical Americans are eating in McDonalds. We experienced a couple of people taking pictures of us while we were standing in line. Sure, it was very awkward, but the food made it worth while. It tasted exactly like in the States. Yumm. So a Big Mac Meal costs about 15.5 yuan, which equates to under $2. Nice...

Today, we woke up early as usual and hit up the Panda Adventure. This is the largest place in China where you can see pandas. So we saw all of the cute little pandas eating bamboo and lounging around... they don't do much besides eat and sleep. That pretty much makes up their day, and I'm not joking. They are even too lazy to have sex, so we've been told.

After that, we flew over to Xian, where I am now. And our hotel that we are staying at has a McDonalds and a KFC within walking distance. Whew. Although, we have a enjoyable local dinner here though... I haven't hit up that place yet. But give it time.

Oh... so one more thing about the whole "crash" that we had at Everest. The company that we drove with apologized to our group, presented us with a nice dinner and a show, and gave us some gifts to take home. They really felt horrible and ashamed. So, I would say that everything is back to normal now.

Talk to yinz later...