Country Girl Goes Urban Grocery Shopping

“Paper or plastic”? I was terrified to answer this question. This new found fear was surprising because I had asked this question a million times during my first high school job. The question was endless. “Paper or Plastic, Paper or Plastic, Paper or Plastic”? Customers always answered the question with quick ease. I never really thought about what motivated their decision beyond a preference based on the simplicity of convenience. I was too busy thinking about the daily dramas of high school to ponder about the premise behind paper or plastic. Today was different. I was no longer the gangly girl at the end of the checkout line. I was now an adult with a college degree and a ‘real’ job who felt inept at answering the simple question, “Paper or Plastic”?

My ‘real’ job had taken me from the country to the city. The city had many new and exciting experiences to offer a young girl, but who knew urban grocery shopping during my lunch break could become so terrifying? The natives did not even refer to the place where one gathers and pays for (with plastic of course) their food as a grocery store. They referred to it as a complete foods market. As opposed to partial foods? Are there stores somewhere that sell half eaten tubs of ice cream? Does the last guy on the assembly line at the plant stand there with a giant spoon gobbling up half of the superman ice cream?

Although this was an interesting cuisine concept, the complete foods market turned out to be scarier than half eaten food for sale. This groovy grocery store would actually scoff at the concept of superman ice cream. The horror of neon artificially colored foods would send their customers screaming into the streets. Complete food market customers flocked for fresh greens, natural ingredients and organic anythings. I found the shelf selections fascinating. What a wonderment it was to realize the abundance of options beyond the freezer and preservatives. These smart shoppers were so in tune to mother earth! Yes, my hometown consisted of corn fields and cows but the city took ‘natural’ cooking on with a bold and confident attitude.

After perusing the pineapple tofu, peanut oil and pear juice I could feel the self- doubt settling in. I was positive that I would never be able to choose something as perfectly trendy as it was tasty. How could anything on these shelves satisfy my never ending sweet tooth!? Not to mention my ineptness for spotting the next best thing in the world of tofu!? Just as my stomach was preparing for its first big somersault I spotted the salad bar. I could handle a salad bar.

I was pleased with myself as I took my plastic (recycled of course) container of greens to the checkout. I was ready to casually fly under the radar of the checkout scanner with my salad bar lunch. No one in this store would suspect that I was clueless about almost everything the four walls had to offer. The girl with the radar gun and the girl bagging groceries were a few years younger than me. I imagined that they were environmental science college students. My environmental science professor in college was great, so I hoped they too. The tension in my neck started to ease away until environmental science girl number one asked that all too familiar and usually mundane question, “Paper or Plastic”? Panic shot through me like heat lightning.

What was the correct answer? As far as I knew, the debate among scientists as to whether paper or plastic was better for the environment was still raging. However, there must be a position that hard core environmentalists/complete food market shoppers were taking!? I immediately looked to the chic shopper in front of me as she was leaving the line. My despair heightened as I saw her carrying cloth bags. Of course she had cloth bags. All good environmentalists used cloth bags. Why did I fail to grab a cloth bag off of the rack at the beginning of the checkout line? The sudden line of customers behind me must have parachuted in because there was now a small crowd blocking my view of a fabric rescue. I imagined myself hurdling over the small crowd to claim a bland cotton bag and then victoriously presenting it to environmental science girl number one. Except in reality, I would clumsily attempt to push through the crowd. My only accomplishment would be a huge delay in line because I would not be able to decide between the taupe or beige bag.

The situation was impossible. Environmental science girl number two was peering at me through her glasses….waiting…waiting…..waiting for my response. I felt as if the entire population within the store had fixed their gazes upon the back of my head. I finally just looked down at my salad container and mumbled “plastic” and then held my breath. There were no explosions of fire, floods of tears or large cracks in the floor. There were no non-verbal indicators from the science girls that I had made the incorrect choice. They simply finished their jobs and handed me my change and plastic bag.

Holding my breath again, I tried to walk and look casual (while actually bolting) for the door. I had never been a big believer in the phrase ‘never look back’, but today I was planning just that. Escape. Escape. Escape. But as the glass door started to swing out, I quickly swung my glance back into the urban food jungle. I wanted to see. I wanted to see what happened as the next person in line was jolted with “Paper or Plastic”? Nothing happened. The scene at the checkout was caught on re-play. But I had to wonder as my heels clicked onto the sidewalk, was that flicker I saw in his eyes panic, or was it just the reflection of the red scanner laser?

Lightning Photography – 3 Easy Tips on How to Shoot Thunderstorms

When it comes to finding the right tips for taking photographs of lightning, you should keep in mind that the most important rules you can follow have nothing to do with photography at all. Rather, they are more for keeping you and your equipment safe. While photographing nature at her wildest is one of the most thrilling challenges photography can provide, there’s little point to it if you end up risking getting electrocuted or drench your best cameras in the process. Try to take your pictures from indoors, if possible. Never stand in the middle of a field, especially if your camera equipment is on a tripod or pole. Never take your snapshots from underneath a tree or near bodies of water. These simple precautions will do wonders for keeping you safe.

The ideal tips for taking photographs of lightning center around what type of storm to follow. Ideally, the type of weather is typically when it’s not raining or hailing and the wind isn’t dangerously high. Other atmospheric conditions include what type of clouds are above. Some storms have clouds where the lightning will arch downward, where others consist of clouds where the lightning appears as brilliant bursts of muted flashes from deep inside the clouds. While both provide wonderful pictures, it’s a good idea to know the difference between the two.

Another good way to ensure that you always take great storm photos is to take a good look at the natural and unnatural sources of light around you. Taking photos of storms on bright, sunny days is one of the most difficult, as there is little contrast between natural daylight and the bolt of lightning itself. Be sure your flash settings are adequate: sometimes the burst of light is too bright, and you end up with the landscape in sharp focus, but a blurry lightning bolt.

Another fun way to create unique storm photos is to make good use out of the landscape around you. Few things are more dramatic than an excellent shot of a firey bolt with a tree or a building standing silhouetted with it. The more you practice, the better you’ll get at discerning what subjects go well with storm photos. For a symmetrical effect, try choosing naturally tall things near the bolt, such as radio towers, cactuses, or spires.

These are only a few tips for photographing lightning to consider. Keep in mind, as you practice, that a lot of photographing unpredictable subjects like these lies in skill, reflexes, and blind luck as well. Don’t be discouraged if it’s not perfect right away. With practice, you’ll learn how to make the perfect shot.

What Is A Lightning Adapter?

In the fall of 2012, Apple released a revolutionary new connecting port on their portable devices, moving to a new design for the first time in 10 years. The new connector is called a ‘Lightning Connector,’ and it is a completely new redesign of the previous 30-pin connector. The Lightning Connector is an eight-pin design, meaning it has eight metal contact points, four on each side. The new connector is almost 80% smaller than the 30-pin connector it replaces. In addition, it contrasts with the 30-pin connector in being reversible and digital, in that it has a microchip inside the cable itself.

The major downside of the new Lightning Connector design is the millions of 30-pin accessories sold that will no longer connect directly to the Lightning Connector. However, there is a solution to this in that a Lightning Adapter and Lightning Adapter Cable are available to connect your new iPhone 5 (or other Lightning Connector device) to legacy 30-pin accessories. These accessories are available directly from Apple and their resellers, but at a very steep cost of $29 for the Lightning Adapter and $39 for the Lightning Adapter Cable.

One alternative to the expensive Apple-branded adapters is to purchase a third-party Lightning Adapter or Adapter Cable. A search for these items will lead to many results. We recommend working with a legitimate online retailer, who has a physical mailing address and phone number on their website, and who will stand behind the products they sell.

Another interesting alternative to the expensive adapters is the 30-pin Bluetooth Dock Adapter, which connects to your legacy 30-pin accessories. This small, easy-to-use device plugs directly into your 30-pin dock or accessory. When the accessory is turned on, the Bluetooth Dock Adapter is switched on automatically. You can then use your Bluetooth-enabled device (nearly everything has Bluetooth) to connect to the dock or accessory without the wires or a physical connection. Essentially, it converts your docking station or accessory into a wireless music player. This has the added benefit of allowing multiple devices to connect wirelessly to your docking station or accessory.

The current list of Apple devices with the Lightning Connector are: iPhone 5, iPad mini, iPad 4th generation, iPod touch 5th generation and iPod nano 7th generation. If you own one of these devices, you are probably in the market for a 30-pin adapter. Shop carefully and we hope you enjoy your new iDevice!