Weird, Wacky & Wonderful

Dan Slentz

In the course of surfing the internet for information (or entertainment), I often stumble across interesting or entertaining items. Off The Beaten Path is all about this. If you find something interesting or entertaining (or free or informative, etc.), please let me know.

McProfessional Pictures
This was entertaining to see. Here’s a photographer who uses a McDonald’s sandwich box and iPhone for photos. Very interesting composition when using this combination; all of which also goes to show us that there is potential creativity and technology in everyday items.

Radioactive Household Items
Ever notice a radioactive symbol on an old smoke detector? Yes, it DID contain radioactive material. In one cable show, I even saw where some kid collected this material out of numerous detectors to try to create a nuclear reactor (with some terrible results that required an extensive hazmat clean-up, but fortunately no nuclear reaction). Like batteries, there are safe (and environmentally responsible) ways to properly dispose of this material. Here’s a link to the United States Postal Service to help you get rid of hazardous radioactive smoke detectors from home or work.

LED Lighting
In 100 years, we’ve gone from incandescent lighting to fluorescent to LED lighting. As most of us recognize, the heat is almost nonexistent, energy savings are great, and heat load of the bulb reduced to nearly nothing. Even recently at New World Symphony, I was able to reduce the heat of my tech core by switching nine-track halogen can lights over to LED floods. What a difference in the heat load (though color temp is still that bright white I like)! But one place we probably don’t think about LED lighting is in the film industry. Those of us working in TV and film recognize the ugly problems when dealing with fluorescent in a shot ... or the unnatural warmth produced by incandescent, but LED presents a big difference in video and film (or digital cinema since film is rarely used today to shoot anything).

As someone who was fortunate enough to spend some time overseas while in the U.S. Air Force, I saw some “interesting facilities.” Yes, a part of life includes bathrooms, but not all bathrooms are created equal. And if you haven’t had the chance to experience it for yourself, they actually can differ from country to country and based on culture. For instance, on a trip to southern Spain, I found a bathroom in an old restaurant that basically had floors that were sloped to holes in them ... meant for “doing business.” This was an interesting link that reminded me of how things can differ between countries and cultures.

About nine years ago, Disney/Pixar came up with a movie about a retired fellow who has his home encroached upon for a new building. The movie was “Up” (co-written by a fellow Dover-ite from Ohio, Bob Peterson, who was a grade ahead of me at deal old Dover High School). In real life, we’re aware that there are times when person property of a house (or in one case shown here, a private cemetery plot) are encroached upon for a large building. This web link contains some entertaining and interesting pictures of “Up houses” and the end-results.

And finally …
Things aren’t quite what they appear to be … I found this interesting and certainly entertaining (probably more entertaining because I wasn’t a person who booked one of these hotels based on the pictures). “Photoshopping” a picture gets a lot of credit now for creating a lot of false and misleading information (like a super-sized shark jumping out of the ocean and eating a Navy SEAL dropping from a helicopter, which, of course, was a faked Photoshop picture). But you don’t always need Photoshop to create an illusion, false impression, or a “fake” picture.   Just like Disney did with motion pictures, often the positioning and angles of a shot create a much different impression. These are interesting, entertaining, or just “great photos” of hotels taken to give a different impression.

If you stumble across a good or unusual website that might be of interest, please don’t hesitate to send me the link and any info you might have about it. My email address is


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