Sunday, February 25, 2007

The new Mecca.

I guess I didn't realize that buying a professional camera is a little like the male equivalent to buying a Barbie. Now I have to buy the new Barbi Corvette and Dream House.

I figured I would have to buy a few lenses, but now it is starting to look like I might need 30 lenses. I don't know - that is how many my husbands buddy has. I thought he was just kind of a kook. I mean enthusiast. I didn't think I would need that many. I'm not really an enthusiast.. I just want to take good pictures. So leaving the camera shop I admit I felt a little depressed.

The lens I like - Nikon 70-300 VR. But that just does zoom. Albeit very well. At least I think. It looked fantastic. But it doesn't do wide angle. One of these other lenses I looked at did that.

Nikon 55-200
Nikon 18-70
Nikon 12-24. I'm not sure I even looked at that one, but the guy wrote it down.

The problem is I can't figure out what a good standard diameter for the lenses are.

The filters I bought for my current lens are 62mm. Since this camera lets everything in - including infrared - I have to be wise about the lenses - or buy a completely new set of filters for any new lenses. I can't even take normal pictures without a filter which removes the IR.

I guess my problem is - I could be shooting anything from a panoramic shot, to small orchids, and everything in between. I mean you don't really need a zoom or a micro lens for a technology show for example.

Additionally I never feel quite as much of a tard as I do when I go into the camera shop. I know they realize I don't know what I am doing.

Why native species are becoming extinct.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Maker Faire Auditions - Image Heavy.

Really - I am so going to get banned from events. I always have to come back and give such scathing reports. Its just sucks - I hate having to do that.

First - let me give you the good shots.

I thought they were from Combots - but they were one of the last to speak, and I was pissed by then. So please accept my apologies.

I didn't think taking pictures at an event was going get any worse than orchid shows - but Dear Readers I was so wrong.

Today I thought we would go out to the Maker Faire Auditions. Mostly to see robots - but also to see what they would be displaying this year.

As always - it started out innocently enough. This was the first guy out. His idea was tandem bikes. I think there was also some mention of rickshaws. But frankly I didn't think rickshaws were an untapped commodity - so I tuned out.

It wasn't until about three acts in I realized these two photographers were going to be my nemesis'. The gentlemen in the white and black shirts with their backs facing you.

This was hands down the worst experience ever. I spent most of my time trying to get shots from every direction without these two men in them. They were like smoke from a fire. No matter where you moved - they were in your eyes. And half the time I couldn't even figure out what the one guy was shooting.

If I was lucky I would get one clean shot.

Then these guys would move right in.

And no matter what way you were trying to get a shot from - the guy would stand right in front of the presenter so the audience was completely blocked. I couldn't believe it.

The last 4 shots are all of different people. But who can tell?

I did finally get a clean-ish shot of this guy. This was a magarita machine that was made with a disposal as the mixer.

But for 90 out of 100 shots - literally I got these guys backs.

You'd think it was a closed press conference - but it wasn't!

So Hey - Maker Management. If you are going to let the public in - how about giving us 4 f-ing feet so we can take photographs. You aren't rookies. I assume the reason you let us in so you can create good press and get sponsors. I know you paid your guys a ton of money to shoot your event, but the one guy was so close in on everything - even the presenters were constantly having to get him to step slightly out of their space. They couldn't even set up without almost bumping into the guy. Honestly - it was way too much.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Men - please.... cut down on the crying.

AP Photo.

Honestly. It's too much now. It isn't that I am an insensitive bitch. I just think that maybe you could focus it down to no more than once a month. What happened to the good old days when guys would only cry over their dog getting run over - or their mom dying?

I'm sorry you haven't been able to get your cry on for all of history - but you don't need to make up for all that lost time. Really. We get you're sensitive.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Almost Done.

Maybe I'm watching too much South Park.

Okay - so hopefully the nice thing about my blog is that if I am boring you now, in a week or two I will be onto some other thing that is interesting to you. Yes - I am that ADHD. Sometimes I go in phases.

Right now I guess I am in a nature photography phase. Not because its all that interesting - well, I guess some of it is interesting, but not in a blogworthy way - but because I am still working out this camera thing. Oh - and we are actually having something called weather. Remember that nice set of entries I just made? I think it might snow snow.

Right now I am having a lens issue. We bought a 85mm f/1.8D AF for the new camera. You photog people will know what that is.. the rest of you - its basically a portrait lens. So I feel a little boxed in. Hopefully this weekend things might improve. And I still haven't nailed down how to take infrared photos. So I'll admit I'm not all that bright.

So my latest endeavor was trying to get a valley shot at a VA Hospital up on the side of a mountain. I went up there once and thought the building was somewhat eerie, and with all the clouds it would make an interesting piece.

I wound up finding an unintentional nature reserve instead. Oh yeah - and I got interrogated by the police.

So anyway - I'm looking for a spot to get a Valley shot, and I run across a family of deer and wild turkeys. It was the weirdest thing. They were so tame that when I was trying to capture the deer - the turkeys walked right up and surrounded me. All I could think was "are these things going to attack me"? I mean, there were like 50 of them.

Then I tried to move on and get a shot of the building because turkeys are not interesting. It was about this time a police cruiser pulled up. I thought he was just passing through, but apparently he wanted to talk to me. I was on government land, and you know how this gets these days. The government doesn't want you taking photos of any of their stuff.

So I had to show him what was on my camera card. After a while I convinced him I wasn't taking any photos of the patients, or casing the building so he let me go. But now I'm too paranoid to go back up there. And the bummer is a didn't even get a great shot because of my lens.

For you technology people who are wondering what the hell happened to this blog - I should have something intestesting for you by Monday.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Monday, February 19, 2007

Why use your Legs like a sucker?

While walking around the city after the orchid show we stumbled upon a Segway tour.

I always find these amusing for the technology, but I guess I think people should just use their damn legs to get around. I don't consider myself to be in great shape at all, but one gal became super winded just making it up the stairs to the top of Ft. Mason. She had to stop halfway up. People - keep your heart moving! Being exhausted is good for you.

You can see just how many people were out on Saturday. Although, half of those people don't look before walking out in front of cars. So by the time we left I was pretty happy to be out of the city.

More about the city.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

The show.

I was slightly disappointed by the Pacific Orchid Exposition this year. At first I thought it was perfect because it wasn't as crowded. Last year it was pouring down rain. So I figured with the mid 70 degree weather there was no reason to be stuck in a building. I was delighted it wasn't so packed.

But after further inspection I found that many of the booths were much smaller. Some people who have always had giant booths were half the size this year.

There also didn't seem to be anything new or exciting from any of the foreign vendors. Especially from the Asian rim, and South America.

A show that previously had been filled with Cattleya's(I did find a few) was replaced by many vendors just showing Cymbidiums. Which can be found at any hardware store. I was a little surprised.

I guess in the end - it made being distracted by how amazing the city was - all the better. I didn't even wind up buying anything. Which is really unusual.

The one thing that didn't change however was the human dynamic. The POE or any orchid event - is hands down the most annoying place on earth to take photos. It is filled with people who couldn't give a shit if they walk right in front of your shot. They are the most clueless bastards on the planet. It doesn't matter what you are doing. You could have your lens 6 inches from a flower and someone will put their hand right in between.

Interesting side-note.

When I first started taking pictures at events - my experience was orchid shows and technology shows. Then one day I went to an Indy film festival and my faith in humanity was restored. Indy film people are the most conscience of getting in your shot. They are amazing. I never had so many people wait for me to finish a taking a picture before walking in front of me in my life. They rock!

Car show people are actually quite good as well. But I found at car shows people will purposefully try to get you to take a picture of them with the car. Somehow they think because you have a big camera that you might be media. They mug.

Technology shows are right above orchid shows. For the most part they are pretty much clueless. Sometimes you get people who will be respectful of you getting a clean shot, but for the most part they couldn't give a shit.

So - by the time I get out of an orchid show I'm just really irritated.

Getting there.


Street show.

I know it seems like I haven't been talking about robots and technology much.

Really I have been buying technology, but most of it is centered around my new camera and my desire to take infrared red pictures. This has been pretty difficult for me. I've actually had to learn things. Like how to be a real photographer. I wasn't a point and shooter before, but I didn't have to really know that much either. So - learning about lenses, and filters, and the real basics about photography has really put a spin on my other technology posts. My new camera has been a little like owning a Ferrari and not being able to drive a stick shift.

At any rate. The Pacific Orchid Expo was up an San Francisco this weekend so we figured we could give the camera a good try. Maybe take some IR pictures of the orchids.

We got up to the city and it was beautiful! Calm, and warm. We figure we should find a place to eat breakfast before entering the orchid hall. We wound up at Mel's Diner. On Fillmore - I think. I'm facing the street.

A few minutes into sitting down - I see someone in a window across the street having a very animated conversation on the phone. Arms waving, jumping up and down. When I focus in I think it is a nude woman, but I ask my husband to make sure. He confirms he thinks so too. So I take out my camera which has a lens that makes everything 50% closer, and take a few shots.

I felt a little creapy, but after a while it was obvious she was putting on a show. She stayed in the window through ordering our meal, eating, and very close to us leaving. She should have just cut to the chase and rubbed her boobs right up against the window. Interesting start to the day though.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Dear Mr. Snarkolepsy

Mr. Snarkolepsy knows all too well how much I hate commercial cards. They always leave me feeling a little icky.

Despite this day being a romantic holiday - I've already had two experiences with people talking about their relationships that bummed me out and made me appreciate even more than I do - how glad I am to have Mr. Snarkolpesy as my Valentine. So I am putting my card here.

H - Is because you make me happy.
A - Is despite crazy things we get ourselves into - you are not afraid.
P - Is for the times you talk like a pirate.
P - Is because I could never ask for a better partner.
Y - Is because I love you.

V - Is because you provide me with balance. (pretend it has a V)
A - Is how much it means to me that you find answers to the questions I ask.
L - Is for all the days you make me laugh.
E - Is because I always promise to make life exciting.
N - Is because you rub my tushy at night.
T - Is because no matter what happens - you always try.
I - Is because you are super interesting.
N - Is that you understand the ways I am neurotic.
E - Is how you always go the extra mile.
S - Is for the un-ending times you talk like Shaq.

D- Is for they ways we comfort each other when we have a bad day.
A - Is because you do sweet things because you want to - not because I ask.
Y - Is because you make life fun - year after year.

Turns out I'm no better than hallmark. But I really do feel lucky to have a Husband like you.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

THIS is what I have to look forward to?

I'm sitting at the doctors office hating life. I almost never go until my doctor gets needy about once a year and wants me to come in. Thankfully the nurse aid tells me he is relatively "on time" - which means I only have to wait 35 minutes to be seen instead of the normal hour and a half. No exaggeration folks.

At any rate... I'm doing what anyone would do when they are bored. Catching up on posts from Wide Lawns on my phone. When I look up and see this.

What the hell? It disturbed me on so many levels. Do they have to put everything together all in one spot like that?

I mean - we all know it is going to happen eventually...but a doll filled with all the crap that is going to happen to your body? Is putting it in a doll form suppose to make women feel less anxiety about your vagina drying up?

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Want to see the insides of my bunny?

When you have bunnies - the main focus is to always keep them eating. Going in for surgery? Make sure they eat. No matter what happens. Make them eat. If they stop eating - bad things happen.

Don't worry - this isn't going to be one of those dreadful blogs that talk about pets dying.

So, Saturday morning we woke up to find our bunny Fudge had not eaten all his before bedtime treats. No biggie. Start him on motility drugs, give him pain meds, swap his box, and vacuum his cage. This is where the problem started. He started screaming.

When bunnies scream - bad things happen. We look at the clock. 45 minutes before the vet closes, so we rush him down. Turns out it was a backup - but not in the way we have ever seen. He decided to keep eating even though he wasn't moving anything. So his belly was horribly distended.

Usually their stomach is empty and full of gas. We all were very surprised -including the vet, because normally when they start feeling sick they stop eating. Not keep eating until their chest cavity won't fit any more. It was then my vet uttered the words I didn't think we would ever hear. "Stop his food until tomorrow night". What-What-What?

This goes against all conventional wisdom for rabbits. Once there is nothing in the pipe it's really hard to get it going again. Especially after a day and a half without food. But clearly eating would put pressure on all his internal organs because his stomach was so full. We decided to feed him small amounts, but it just so foreign to withhold food from a rabbit who will eat. He seems to be returning to normal.


Monday, February 05, 2007

If that just doesn't piss you off....

This weekend - for the first time - we decided to rotate our 6 month old mattress. You know... like tires.

So, my husband and I try to figure out how to navigate around the ceiling fan. Which we hate, but can't find a replacement for - because the ceiling is so low that we can't find one that isn't bigger than the current fan. But I digress.

Anyway... we get it flipped over and realize it doesn't have the mattress top on both sides. Not exactly happy we think "well it doesn't have the fluffy mattress top - but maybe it will be okay anyway". So we both flop on the mattress to find you can't lay on this side at all. It is like laying on your box springs.

I know this is probably something I should have noticed six months ago. But it was about the time the house was filled with contractors. Things were hectic. And to tell you the truth, never in my wildest dreams would I have thought to ask if you could sleep on both sides. It just wasn't on my radar, and I don't know.. every mattress I have ever seen has two fucking sides. Especially because it wasn't a low end mattress. I'm reasonably sure the materials don't cost anywhere near the exorbitant price I paid for the mattresses.

I understand people only buy a new mattress every 5-10 years.. but it pisses me off that those fuckers shorten the lifespan of what is a freaking expensive product anyway by making it so you can't rotate it.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Why the weather forecasters should have gotten this right.

I've never been a big fan of criticizing by looking in the rear-view mirror. Nature is unpredictable. People like to complain that the "powers that be" should have known something about whatever crises arises, but when you really think about it, what they suggest is humanly impossible. This is not one of those cases. Let me tell you why.

I've made no secret of how the weather has been driving me crazy. Just search this blog for the word "rain".

Coincidentally last week my husband were watching a Discovery Channel series "Most Deadly", this episode covered the 1974 Tornado which hit Xenia Ohio. Yes.. I know it seems like we watch the Discovery Channel a bunch, but I don't want to be mocked by telling everyone the rubbish I normally watch. Normally tornados would not be in our viewing rotation, but my husband grew up in Ohio. He didn't live in the Xenia area - but as a child he was very affected by it because it was a really massively huge event.

It turned out it was actually a pretty interesting episode, but even more startling was the conversation my husband and I had about it. You see - as a child we both remembered a period where it seemed like there were a lot of tornados. It seemed like the whole 1970's had tornados. At one point I even said "you know this weather reminds me of the droughts of 1976 - I wonder if we will enter a period with more tornados".

By this time I had already decided to change my attitude about this dry spell by gambling on the weather, because this dry pattern so deeply reminded my of my childhood. I talk about it here. Even though I was a very young child at the time - this period always stood out to me. It was a time of gas rations, and water rations. Being from a poor family these things were a pretty big deal.. but in the 70's those things were a pretty big deal to everyone. I remember it seeming like it would never rain. Well.. like now.

Because I was investing in water stocks I set out to look at this year's rainfall tallies to see if we could really catch up at this point. Out of curiosity I wanted see what the rainfall patterns for 1970's were because every time I watch the news they say it is the driest year since 1976.

This is what I found. Some of our most severe droughts occurred in La Nina years. I have been hearing all year that this is an El Nino year. A La Nina year however creates this weather pattern.

From Wikipedia.

You know what this weather pattern creates? Tornados.

Now...I fully admit, I am just armchair quarter-backing, and trying to see if I can actually make some money. But it has so been bothering me that meteorologists in my area just Friday started thinking we might have an issue. And they have been spending their whole f-ing careers watching the weather.

After doing less than a days worth of research I found this document dated in 1998 that talks about cold ENSO winters (under section 5 - DRY EVENTs) and provides me with this image. It also talks about 1974 - the year of the Xenia tornados - being one of those event years.

Fig. 7. (a). Click on Fig. 6. (a) which will display Fig. 7. (a)

It looks very similar to the current conditions:


At this point to me it seems obvious that we are screwed water-wise for the year. But it also just seems like this dry - cold pattern might make some of the meteorologists notice and say something. It certainly made me notice.

Weather changes.. we all understand that - but I guess I had grown to think with experience and advanced Doppler Radar, the weather service could have given more notice to those people in Florida. Even just to say "this is a really dangerous pattern". Most of the time I admit you just don't know things are going to happen until they happen. But this time I don't think they get to use that excuse.. they just failed the public- plain and simple.