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Living Outside the Stacks

Navigating through life away from the library

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Buh~Bye Picnik. I’ll Miss You.

Picnik ClosingI’ve been a big fan of Picnik forever. I’ve used it for the past couple of years to edit and store photos but now I’ve received word that Picnik is leaving. I cannot express how sad I am to see Picnik go. I’ve had fun playing with the various editing tools…

For those of us who’ve paid for premium membership, Picnik is offering a full refund!  Woo hoo! What a way to say “good bye”. For the rest of you, you can take advantage of all the premium tools until Picnik officially closes down on 19 April. Seriously, if you’ve never used their editing tools, give it a try and see how much fun you can have.

If you’ve been storing your photos on Picnik, you can “liberate” them by using Picnik Takeout, which will download your photos to your desktop in zip files. You can also transfer your photos to Google +. Might I add this is also a good reason to store your photos on a hard drive (I learned this the hard way a loooong time ago).

Have you ever used Picnik? What photo editing tools will you use now?

To see the pictures I’ve edited using Picnik, please check out my flickr photostream by clicking here.

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Blue Bike {Shoot. Edit. Submit.}

Bike {Shoot. Edit. Submit.}

I’ve been playing around with Photoshop. So. Addicting. Seriously, I can’t stop. So I guess it’s good that I’m linking up with Misty and Kim for Shoot. Edit. Submit. this week.

What editing tools do you use on your photographs?

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Squeekerz {This or That Thursday}

Squeekerz

This week I’ve been working on shooting in Manual. I’m not sure if these pictures are technically “all that” but I do like them because, well, they’re fun. Our dog, Squeekerz, spent many years in the Witness Protection Program and never allowed me to take his picture, now he’s all stopping and posing for me. Translation: the dog used to be afraid of the shutter sound and now that he’s used to it, he gets the canine equivalent of giddy whenever he sees the camera. Trust me, that’s his happy face.

Squeekerz

We also suspect that Squeekerz spent some time in the military because he does a lot of low crawling. Seriously, you should see that dog move across a room. If the Seals ever need backup, he’s the one. He has incredible stamina and freakishly strong toes.

This or That ThursdayI’m not sure what my settings were when I took the pictures but I know there was a ton of sunlight streaming through the living room window and I had my camera set at the widest opening. Ummmm, guess I should take the time to learn the proper terminology and start writing down the settings or something, huh? What I’d really like to learn how to do is take those really bright pictures that look like they’re about to pop off the page. Do you know what I’m talking about? Sorta like the ones taken by Bella Pop. Love Love Love!

I’m linking up with Deb from Deb Duty Photography for This or That Thursday.

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Living Outside the Stacks Will Go Dark on 18 January to Fight SOPA & PIPA

Tomorrow my blog will go dark to protest SOPA and PIPA.

For more information on SOPA and PIPA, check out Boing Boing.

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Book Review: Soon: The Beginning of the End (Underground Zealot, #1) by Jerry B. Jenkins

Soon by Jerry B. JenkinsBOOK DESCRIPTION (FROM THE BOOK)

Paul Stepola, an agent working for the National Peacekeeping Organization(NPO), has been assigned to enforce compliance with the world government’s prohibition on religion. Paul relishes his job and is good at it. He is determined to expose underground religion ~ flush it out, expose it and kill it ~ until his life is turned upside down and he is forced to look at life in a different way.

As Paul begins to unravel the truth about what he has found, events taking place around the world start to make sense. Something big is coming ~ something that can’t be stopped. And it’s coming soon.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jerry B. Jenkins, former vice president for publishing at Moody Bible Institute of Chicago and currently chairman of the board of trustees, is the author of more than 175 books, including the best~selling Left Behind series. Twenty of his books have reached the New York Times Best Sellers List (seven in the number one spot) and have also appeared on the USA Today, Publishers Weekly and Wall Street Journal best~seller lists. Desecration, book nine of the Left Behind series, was the best~selling book in the world in 2001. His books have sold nearly 70 million copies.

You can connect with Jerry B. Jenkins on his website, liking him on Facebook or following him on Twitter.

MY OPINION

This is a modern retelling of Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus (Acts 9: 1~21) that’s set in a post~Apocalyptic United States that has been reduced to seven regions which mirror the last seven churches in the book of Revelation. And much like the Christians in the early church, Christians in post~World War III America have to live and worship underground or face prosecution.

I wanted to like this book because I’m such a big fan of the Left Behind series but I couldn’t suspend my belief long enough to let it happen. I don’t doubt for a minute that there will come a time when Christians will be persecuted (to an extent, Christianity and many of its core beliefs have already come under fire) but what I have a hard time believing is that the U.S. will reflect the last seven churches as portrayed in the book.

The characters are a little dull and the action is brutal/intense to say the least (there are a couple of murder scenes that are kind of gory). I just think there could have been more to this story than there was… Maybe if it had followed the Bible a little more closely and not been as contrived it could have been better. I didn’t mind it being set in the U.S., I just have a hard time with the obvious connection between the United Seven States and the seven churches of the last days (it just seems like that would be more of a Middle Eastern focus).

On the positive side, this was a quick and easy read that leaves just enough cliffhangers to flow into a series. It’d be interesting to see if the characters are more fleshed out and if the story aligns more closely to biblical prophecy than it does right now.

FAVORITE SENTENCE(S)

Page 257

But religion and true Christianity are two entirely different things.

LEAST FAVORITE SENTENCE(S)

Page 194:

 I’m looking for a dramatically pretty blonde, about thirty, who might have come around talking to working girls.

RATING
★★★

Disclosure: This review refers to the electronic version of this book. I didn’t receive any compensation for this post.

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