Monthly Archives: July 2009

A farmer in seminary

D putting on sunscreen before canoeing the Saugeen.

D putting on sunscreen before canoeing the Saugeen.

My father has always been my greatest spiritual role model. He taught me to think for myself, to consider possibilities beyond the most commonly accepted, to explore and to learn about God, his creation, and myself with a critical mind in order to discover the truth amid all the fluff and prejudice that organized religion can be*.

This past week, my dad received an acceptance to seminary. So, he’s starting a blog to document the new experience and the new phase in his life.

It’s kind of fun watching my parents go through their mid-life crises together. My mom has bought a not-yet profitable business and is working her way towards a certificate in kinesiology. And now my dad will be attending a class twice or three times a week and will someday hopefully graduate with a Masters in Theology.

I can only hope I’ll be as young as they are now when I turn 50.

* But, I will note, does not have to be.

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1000!

In less than two months, I’ve made it to 1000(+) hits! Thanks for reading everyone! I hope you’re enjoying my various ramblings and photographs.

Because I seem to have a bit of a base of readers, I thought I’d make it easier for everyone to see my blog. Until now, you had to click from your reader to my blog in order to get the whole (or any of) the post. You should no longer have to do that.

If you’re using Facebook as the main way to read my posts, I can’t guarantee it. My only recommendation is Google Reader!

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Volleyball and failing tendons

M loves sports. He’d much rather get his exercise through a game of squash, volleyball or hockey, while I prefer the steadiness of an endurance run on a cool, damp morning. (It was short this morning: only 20 minutes.)

Last night was volleyball. I brought my camera along and proved that I’m not a sports photographer and my camera is far from being up to the task.

The graininess of the pictures is disappointing. Sports mode was useless and left me with a lot of blurred pictures. Next time, I’ll see if I can have any success with panning, though I won’t expect it. The Internet says it’s a very difficult technique.

I was put to shame by the group of Asian students with two DSLRs, one with a foot-long lens on it. Later, there was a guy running around with a Canon DSLR. But what did I expect? Point and shoot =/= SLR quality pictures.

The Flying Dutchmen lost. It was their final game and the first that didn’t go the way they wanted. They were up five points in the second game, well on their way to a win that would send them to a tie breaker. And then, C’s knee went. Apparently, he went to jump from a sweat-slicked floor, his foot slipped and his leg, already mostly devoid of working tendons from past injuries, crumpled underneath him.

A gym is never quite as quiet as when a player is down and no one knows if he’s going to get back up again.

(He managed to get off the court. But I wouldn’t really say he got back up.) 

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Mistakes or masterpieces

This was a test picture. I was trying out a setting, though I cant remember which. Theres no composition. I just pointed the camera at the ground and took a picture. Of nothing. And then, I realized there something about it that I like. Cant put my finger on it.

This was a test picture. I was trying out a setting, though I can't remember which. There's no composition. I just pointed the camera at the ground and took a picture. Of nothing. And then, I realized there something about it that I like. Can't put my finger on it.

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Cautious ears

This little guy was knibbling away beside a sidewalk on campus, ignoring the students passing by. He got a little nervous when I stopped and hung around, pointing my camera at him, but he didnt move until I tried to move a little closer. Not like I needed to. This was captured with the digital zoom.

This little guy was nibbling away beside a sidewalk on campus, ignoring the students passing by. He got a little nervous when I stopped and hung around, pointing my camera at him, but he didn't move until I tried to move a little closer. Not like I needed to. This was captured with the digital zoom. No cropping.

My buyer’s remorse is disappearing the more I use my new Kodak. I’m in love with the image stabilization. It’s not perfect, but I can tell it’s there when pictures I expect to be blurred no matter how still I think I hold the camera turn out blur-free after all. I can crop significantly and retain image quality. The batteries that came in the box, a lithium pack, have not yet died and I’ve taken over 100 shots by now.

I miss the super macro on the Canon. But I will adapt, and I will continue to take pictures with varying levels of success.

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But when he tried to walk again he wasn’t a child.

My landlady filled the two empty rooms in my house for September.

A little bit of less than clever Facebook stalking tells me one of them was born in 1990.

I feel old.

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Kodak Easyshare Z1485

Thistle

Maybe I’m being somewhat melodramatic (actually, I know I am), but buying a new camera today was somewhat bittersweet. I wasn’t planning on jumping into buying one and probably would have done research for months. But I think M got tired of me moping every time I caught glimpse of something picture-worthy and suggested we go this afternoon. (Yes, op Sundag!)

I did a little research beforehand (though I never feel like it’s enough) and knew exactly what I was getting. There were seven Kodak Easyshare Z1485s in stock at the XSCargo in my town. I picked it up for significantly less than if I had bought it new and not refurbished. When they came out last September, they were $299. You can buy them new now at $179-$199. I found it for $149 (tax not included, of course).

It was not an expensive camera.

And, I was pretty excited about it when I opened the box. It’s got 14 mega pixels, 5X zoom. For low light, it has ISO settings up to 6400. Good manual controls and a pretty easy to use interface.

But, my first few pictures haven’t been great. The one above is the best I’ve taken so far. Granted, lighting hasn’t been great today… we’ve been having thunderstorms, and I didn’t have my hands on it, at full picture taking capacity until 7:30 when the light was disappearing into thunderclouds. There’s a little noise and they’re not as crisp as the 14 mega pixels seemed to promise.

And then, I read a few more reviews. Reviews I probably should have read before I bought a non-refundable piece of technology. There is one problem with the camera, according to consumers: battery life.

My HP Photosmart, my first camera, allowed me to take about 15 pictures before it died. It was frustrating. I was constantly changing the batteries, and it would only take good rechargeables, so batteries were not always quickly at hand.

Then, I was spoiled with my Canon Powershot. It took four batteries and never seemed to die. I needed to replace them once every two weeks with not daily, but regular use.

This camera takes lithium batteries. I expect that a lot of the reviews complaining about battery life were from consumers who didn’t realize this and were using regular NiMH rechargeables. Lithium is significantly more expensive: one battery pack is at least 25. I can’t even find a recharger on the Internet to price out how much it would cost to spring for a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. Anyway, more expensive than regular NiMH batteries no matter what.

At the store, regular AA non-rechargeable batteries started up the camera and allowed me to check it out. So maybe the situation isn’t so dire. Perhaps when Kodak first came out with the camera, the battery life was an issue. But maybe they fixed it. I can hope.

Anyway, I’m having some buyer’s remorse. The battery issue scares me and the pictures are disappointing so far. But, I need to give it a chance. I need to acknowledge that it’s not my Canon and I didn’t pay enough money for it to expect it to be. I need to play with it some more. Find out for myself.

Fortunately, it was only $150. And now, the picture taking continues!

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Pekoe

 

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Pekoe came to me the summer of 2006. He was a skinny little thing with scarred up paws and a quickly overcome case of the worms.

I got him from my supervisor at the African Lion Safari. Her mom had seen something flung from the window of a van on a rural road and later, found him wandering on the side of the same road. I was just out of residence, and, having grown up with animals, desperately wanted one of my own.

I took him home.

He’s not so little anymore, nor so sweet. He used to sleep sprawled across my chest every night. Now, he’s more often down by my legs or even in the pile of dirty laundry in front of my closet. When I’m watching TV or reading a book on the couch, he’d rather nap on the chair than in my lap. But I still find it endearing how, no matter where I am in the house, he has to be there too. When I go to bed, he’s throwing things off my desk. When I’m having breakfast in the morning, he’s whining at the back door, hoping I’ll let him out on his tether. When I take a shower, he’s sitting right at the top of the stairs, outside the bathroom door.

And when I’m taking pictures of fake pearls, he has to be in the picture too.

Since I’m smitten, he always gets his way.

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For the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.

[From my backlog of pictures from bridal showers.]

Kids always seem so photogenic. No matter if their smiles are too big, their hair a mess.

Not only that, but they’re always the most eager subjects.

This little one and her partner in mischief were running around Bridal Shower Number 1 with balloons, helping to unwrap presents and stick ribbons on a hat for the bride. When they saw me with a camera, they walked right up and stood for their pictures to be taken.

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There were kids at Bridal Shower Number 2, too. It was a Pampered Chef party, so this little girl volunteered to help make the mini quiche.

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[Camera update: I don’t really have an update. It seems there may be a camera that a friend, one of M’s roommates, found on a camping trip, that may be offered up as a replacement for my A620. No details on it yet, and until I have it in my hands, I wouldn’t call it official. I may be requisitioning M’s camera for the wedding this weekend, so hopefully there will still be a few photographs!]

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The end of the pretty pictures.

This morning, when I got in my car to go to work, everything was off.

There was a program from a play I went to with my parents and brother a couple weeks ago sitting on the driver’s seat. The ash tray was open. The seats that open into the trunk were slightly off kilter.

Someone other than me had been there. Looking for things.

I looked a little closer. Everything seemed to still be there. There may have been some Canadian Tire money sitting in the cupholder that was now gone. My CDs had been moved into the house for a couple weeks and the few that were there seemed untouched. Besides, the only one I really care about right now is in the player, and since they didn’t find a spare key (thank, goodness) there’s no way they could get it. 

I thought I was in the clear. They had come, rifled around, found nothing, left.

Halfway to work, I remembered.

Last night, I went to Shakespeare in the Park. I thought it would be a great opportunity for some photographs, and, like a good photographer, took my camera along. And forgot it in the backseat when I got to the play. And then forgot to bring it in, along with my lunch from the day, when I got home.

Panicked, I pulled the backseat apart. Looked in the trunk. All the while knowing it was useless. What kind of thief would see a camera sitting on the back seat and just leave it, tuck it under the seat, or put it in the trunk?

They also took my school bag that had my lunch in it, probably to carry their loot. It’s one of the only pieces of swag I had.

So, that’s the end of it, I guess. Perhaps I could afford to buy myself another camera. But it wouldn’t be that camera. And I wouldn’t get rid of the feeling of stupidity that’s making me want to cry and bash my own head in and crawl under my bed in sorrow all at once.

And I have a wedding to go to this weekend.

[UPDATE: Seven cars in my neighbourhood were similarly broken into. The constable I talked to was very friendly and sympathetic. Perhaps my camera will end up on Kijiji or Craigslist or Ebay. But, I wonder, can I ever buy anything used again without wondering where it came from?]

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