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Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Staples Black Friday (and Cyber Monday)

A post!

At about 11:45PM PT Thanksgiving night, Staples Black Friday deals went live on the site. I’d been planning for this for a while, and placed my three orders. I realized I forgot to use a coupon on one of them, so I placed a fourth for the same items with the plan to return the first one. Then I saw another deal on FatWallet, and placed one more order…

The next morning, Staples opened at 6 AM. That was too early for me. I ended up getting up at 6:45, and was there by 7. Three more purchases, and I was back home. I waited in line twice. The first time, I had the cashier ring up two separate transactions, keeping the free-after-rewards batteries away from the coupon because that would reduce the rewards amount. Brought my stuff to the car, back in for another purchase with another coupon.

One of the items in the order I placed twice was a desk. It worked out pretty well, since when I tried to put it together one of the pieces was damaged. A support bracket was missing the threading for a screw. When I brought the extra one back for return, they were nice enough to swap out the bad part for me. I didn’t actually get anything on Cyber Monday, but while I was there today, I took advantage of some of those deals that were going all week. Another 40 batteries, and some other stuff, using a coupon I got in the mail from OfficeMax. That coupon rings up as a competitor’s price guarantee, so if done right (as a price match on a different item) doesn’t reduce the battery rewards.

All but one of the rebates on my items were Staples Easy Rebates. Just fill it out online, nothing to mail in. I just had to cut out one UPC and mail one rebate in.

Net cost, after all rebates, rewards and coupons: $53.16. For this:

Staples Black Friday (and Cyber Monday)

That includes the desk it’s all sitting on.

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Posted by alan to general at 6:25 pm PT | Link | Comments (11)
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Photography Stuff

I have been doing a lot of photography lately, and entering a few photo contests. The results so far have been pretty good.

The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History had their first contest this year. I submitted a few images, and took second place! (winners here)

The winning image…
Upper Antelope Canyon

The Santa Barbara Newspress covered the opening, so I made it into the paper:
Me in the Newspress

The picture will be hanging in the gallery until May 2. If you’re in Santa Barbara, you should go see it. 🙂

The Smithsonian Magazine is having their 8th Annual photo contest. My picture (that I had made into a puzzle) was chosen as an editor’s pick. It hasn’t yet made it onto that portion of the website, but it is in the current (May) issue of the magazine. It looks like it’s the only one in the magazine so far, being used to promote the contest. You can click through the scan to see the full page.
Smithsonian Magazine

I am in the process of getting a website up to sell prints. Keep an eye on Alan Penner Photography. I am hoping that linking to this will push me to actually get it done. I think it will.

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Posted by alan to photography at 11:11 pm PT | Link | Comments (5)
Detroit Tigers At Minnesota Twins, 10/6/09

My original schedule when planning my baseball trip was to spend 4 days in Vegas at the end of it. This was partly because JetBlue doesn’t fly out of Santa Barbara, so I was using Vegas as my start and end points for the JetBlue all-you-can-jet pass. I got a room at the MGM, and was intending to just play a lot of poker at the end of the trip. That plan changed when the Twins beat the Royals on the last day of the season, to stay tied with the Tigers for the AL Central division lead. That forced a “regular season” playoff game to decide the division winner. It would be the last regular season game ever played at the Metrodome, as the Twins were getting a new stadium for 2010, and I had never been there. I had to go.

Getting a ticket was the easy part. As soon as they went on sale, several of my friends in the area were online refreshing the page to try to get them. Tim eventually got through, and got one for me. Now I just had to figure out how to get there. I was still in Seattle, and had a scheduled flight to Vegas (my last JetBlue AYCJ flight) the next morning. After some searching, I found a USAir flight from Vegas to Minneapolis that gave me two hours to get from the airport to the dome. Plenty of time, I was told. The city’s light rail went right from one to the other. Booked. Monday I flew from Seattle to Vegas, got checked in, played a little poker, and went to bed. Tuesday, I headed back to McCarran for the second day in a row, to fly to Minneapolis. All I brought with me were the clothes I was wearing and my camera bag. The rest of my stuff stayed in my room, somewhere in this building.
MGM Grand

My flight was delayed 2 hours, due to weather in Minneapolis. Not good. Quite a few people on the flight were heading to the game, and were unhappy. Finally, after what seemed like forever, we took off and eventually landed in Minnesota. I rushed across the airport to the light rail, and headed for the Metrodome. The game started when I was a few stops away. Tim was able to come down and give me my ticket through one of the gates, and I got inside, having missed just the first inning. Not much had happened, and the score was still tied at zero. I met Eric for the first time after getting to my seat.

The rest of the game was incredible. The Tigers took a 3-0 lead in the 3rd. The Twins took a 4-3 lead in the 7th. The Tigers tied it up in the 8th. Both teams scored a run in the 10th, and the Twins almost won it then but had the winning run thrown out at the plate. Finally, the Twins got a run in the 12th to win and move on to the playoffs. It was just a ridiculous game, especially considering the situation.


Taking the lead



After the game, I went out for drinks with Eric and Chad, after walking what seemed like 12 miles from the dome to find the place. Crashed the night on Chad’s couch, and then it was off to the airport again bright and early in the morning. I was at McCarran for my third day in a row when I got back to Vegas. Played some poker, got some sleep, and then Thursday it was back to the airport again for the fourth day to head back to Santa Barbara.

This was the end of my baseball trip. I did go to a bunch of Dodgers and Angels playoff games the next week, though.

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Posted by alan to [baseball, photography, travel] at 9:40 pm PT | Link | Comments (2)
Texas Rangers At Seattle Mariners, 10/2-10/4/09

I’m combining these three games into a single post, mostly because I want to finally get finished with the baseball trip write-ups. It has dragged on far too long. I went to all three of these games with Jim.

The first of them, I sat in the outfield, and he was up in the press boxes doing stat recording. It was freezing, but I still had to get my ice cream helmet.
At Safeco Field

Ice Cream Helmet

Here’s Jim doing his stat thing. He’s the guy sitting at the laptop.

The Rangers won this game 7-4. I honestly don’t remember too much about it. Junior didn’t hit one here…
Hit it here, Junior!

The next day, I spent a bunch of the day walking around Seattle. I ended up walking from the hotel to the stadium. Got a few pictures along the way.

Two questions: 1. Why does an area need to be set aside in a public park for this? 2. What’s an amendent? At least they got PUBLIC right…

This game was apparently oversold. Someone else had the same ticket.

I also got my stadium shot of Safeco at this game.
Safeco Field

The Mariners beat the Rangers 2-1, and Ken Griffey Jr. hit his last home run of 2009 at this game. As of the moment, it’s the last of his career, but he will probably end up hitting one this year. It was cool to see, though.

The third game in Seattle, I got to see Felix Hernandez pitch. Awesome. He pitched into the 7th, and gave up 3 earned runs, but he was better than that. Only allowed 3 hits, and got his 19th win. Griffey also got his last hit of the season and was removed for a pinch hitter. The crowd wanted him back for another year.
King Felix

One More Year!

Seattle beat Texas 4-3.

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Posted by alan to [baseball, photography, travel] at 12:14 am PT | Link | Comments (0)
Monday, April 5, 2010
San Jose Sharks at Colorado Avalanche, 10/1/09

After the afternoon Rockies game, I walked from Coors Field to the Pepsi Center. It was about a half hour walk, with a stop at Fedex Office to print my ticket for the game. I got there a while before they opened the doors.

Pepsi Center

It was the Avalanche season opener, and before the game they retired Joe Sakic’s jersey and number.

Sakic 19 Banner

The Avalanche jumped out to an early lead, and ended up winning 5-2. I don’t go to too many hockey games, and it was fun being there. I need to get to some more.


At the Pepsi Center

More pictures in the flickr set.

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Posted by alan to [photography, travel] at 11:49 pm PT | Link | Comments (2)
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Milwaukee Brewers At Colorado Rockies, 10/1/09

With the Rockies magic number at one for a playoff spot, this was a big game. With a victory, they would clinch the wild card. I got there very early, and there was no batting practice, so I just wandered around the stadium with my camera.


Mile High Row

The game wasn’t close. The Rockies came out with a run in the first, four in the third, and won 9-2. They swept the Brewers and clinched a trip to the postseason.

Cotton Candy



During the game, some people around me were talking about how the Avalanche had their season opener that night. I decided I wanted to go to that game. I went on Craigslist, bought a ticket that I paid for with Paypal, and used Google Maps to figure out how far the Pepsi Center was from Coors Field and a place to print the ticket on the way. All from my phone. So after the Rockies game, I went to a hockey game…

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Posted by alan to [baseball, photography, travel] at 5:00 pm PT | Link | Comments (0)
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Milwaukee Brewers At Colorado Rockies, 9/30/09

After the games in Miami, I took a few days off to spend in NY and NJ with family, and then it was back on the road to more baseball. I flew from JFK to Denver, took the RTD downtown and then the free 16th street bus which dropped me off right in front of my hotel. The Denver Sheraton is a nice place, and the Pricelined price was great. If you’re ever headed there for just downtown and sports, there’s no need at all to rent a car.

Denver Sheraton

I got settled in, and as I had done a few other times already on the trip, went to the game that night which wasn’t on my original schedule. I got a ticket on Stubhub in the front row of the upper deck behind the plate. I walked up 16th street a little bit, taking some pictures along the way, before getting back on the free bus and then walking four blocks to Coors Field. I got to the park very early, and had to wait before I could go in.


Coors Field

Coors Field

I was there for batting practice, and caught another couple of BP homers. I’m pretty sure they were both off the bat of J.J. Hardy, who was really putting on a power show. It seemed like everything he hit went to the back of the section in the outfield. I guess he can’t hit real pitching, though, because he didn’t play in any of the games I saw. I also wandered around the stadium, making sure to stop by the mile high row of seats.

I had to jump to catch the second one...

Mile high row

The game was a close one for the first 5 innings, until the Rockies blew it open with five runs in the 6th and 7th, for a 10-6 victory. It put their magic number to clinch a playoff spot at one.

And of course, I got my stadium shot.

Coors Field

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Posted by alan to [baseball, photography, travel] at 11:57 pm PT | Link | Comments (0)
Monday, January 18, 2010
New York Mets At Florida Marlins, 9/26/09

After the game the day before, I didn’t want to sit where I had a ticket for this game. I wanted to be back behind the dugout again, and not just for the Marlins Mermaids. I didn’t mind throwing away the $11 ticket I bought for the game, but front row seats on Stubhub were only available in pairs and cost more than $11. I was chatting online with April complaining about it and she jokingly said, “wonder if i could get a ticket to Florida.” I took it seriously. Told her I’d pick her up at the airport. She started looking at flights. Eventually, I found one (on jetBlue!) that had her driving from Houston to Austin in the morning, and flying from there to Fort Lauderdale. The price and timing was good. Seemed perfectly reasonable to us.

The next morning I picked her up at the airport, we about an hour on the beach, and then it was off to… Landshark!

Me and @thisisnotapril in Miami Beach.  Next stop, Land Shark Stadium.

Me and April at Land Shark Stadium

We saw (shock!) another Mets loss, but we had a great view of it. Tatis and Beltran both homered, but the Marlins had a 7 run bottom of the 5th, and won 9-6. It was still totally worth it. It’s nice to have friends as crazy as I am. April has a post up about it here. It only took me 2 months since then to write this one. I plan to continue this and finish up my baseball trip posts this month… honest!

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Posted by alan to [baseball, travel] at 11:50 am PT | Link | Comments (1)
Friday, October 16, 2009
New York Mets At Florida Marlins, 9/25/09

Another Mets game I go to, another loss. Wait, what? They won? How’d that happen? I don’t know how they did, but the Mets finally won another game I attended, after a 9 game losing streak. This ran my season record to 3-10. They jumped out to a 3-0 lead on a Francouer homer, but Hanley tied it up at 3 with a home run of his own, and then the Marlins took the lead. The Mets scored a run in the 8th, two in the 9th, and then Frankie shut down the Marlins in the bottom of the inning to hold on for a 6-5 win. Amazing.

The Marlins website was full of all sorts of misinformation about when the gates and parking opened up, so I got there a little bit early.
I'm a little early...

Before the game, I wandered around the stadium a little bit.
Land Shark Stadium
Land Shark Stadium

This was one of the games on the trip I was really looking forward to, because my seat was right on top of the Mets dugout. I even got to chat with Kevin Burkhardt a little bit while he was sitting in the camera well. Here he is doing some pre-game stuff.
From behind the dugout, @kburkhardtsny

The seats I was in, which they call the Founders Club, are in Mets colors. Blue and Orange! Not really sure why.
Founders Club

During the game, I was sitting next to a father and son. The father was a Mets fan from New York, the son grew up in Florida but was also rooting for the Mets. I caught a ball Razor Shines threw into the stands during the game, and gave it to the kid.

Did you know the Marlins have cheerleaders? I didn’t. I had to stand up so they could walk by to get on top of the dugout. They’re called the Marlins Mermaids.
Marlins Mermaids
Marlins Mermaids

And of course, the picture of me at the game.
Me at Land Shark Stadium

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Posted by alan to [baseball, photography, travel] at 10:11 pm PT | Link | Comments (0)
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Miami Beach, 9/24/09

A day off! No baseball today, which was pretty sad. I had been to games for 6 days in a row. Instead, I woke up early, and drove back to Fort Lauderdale for a Windows 7 launch event. Yes, I’m serious, and I’m typing this from a computer now running Windows 7. It was basically a couple hour developer session about programming for Windows 7, and at the end a free copy of it.

Windows 7 Ultimate

I spent the rest of the day at the pool or on the beach. I walked from the hotel about two miles down the beach to South Beach, and then part of the way back before deciding just to grab a bus the rest of the way. In case you missed the picture in the last post, here’s a reminder of how it looked. 🙂

South Beach

Santa Barbara’s beaches are nice, but they’re really just not the same. I will have to start going to the beach at home more often, though.

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Posted by alan to [geek, travel] at 8:58 pm PT | Link | Comments (1)
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