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Monday, April 30, 2012

Fart Crossing

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Dropping in on Robert the Psychic

I rode by my old friend Robert's house on the way home.
I've known him for over twenty years, and I won't say he's the biggest character I've ever met. Top five, no doubt.
We had a good chat and I played with my camera. Times past, I've gotten some shots I liked of the exterior decor, which is always evolving, but for the most part his reading room and crystal skulls have eluded me.
Still have, really. I can't blame the camera, I'm just learning how to use it.
I needed to be getting home and going to bed, I was already way slort of sheep for the week, but it was a beautiful evening, we had some Brekle's Brown (an Anchor brew I hadn't tried before) to share, and none of our conversations is ever short.
Plus Robert's going to marry me and Corinna in just two weeks. And while I'd communicated with him about it, I didn't realize that, for whatever reason, the mailed invite hadn't reached him, so he was hazy on the date. He's not on Facebook, so the invitations we've done there didn't help.
I know, he's a psychic, he should know the date without any of that. Jokes like that have been worn smooth with me and Robert.

Critical Mass

Happy Friday! A few pics I snagged on a rain/cold/wind-shortened Critical Mass. Really okay with me because I was exhausted. It's a fun party, but when you're falling behind, bordering on getting dropped by this crew, you have no legs. I'm way behind on miles for April (on my vague goal of beating my previous year's mileage every month), but after getting up at 4:45 to ride to work when I was already slort of sheep...

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Portraits

I'm really enjoying the new camera. One thing I didn't anticipate was how much fun portraits could be with a fast prime lens.
I have to be careful with it, actually. It does such a good job of isolating the subject from the background you can end up with the subject seeming to be the nose and the eyes out of focus because the depth of field is so freakin' narrow.

Rings

The Used Bicycle Tire Olympics.

Wisdom

Here we see a big-ass Cat moving wood from a pile down by the pond to the side of the road. The next step, no doubt, is to bring big dump trucks in and transfer the wood to that, then haul it off some place where it will likely either be burned or land-filled.
I'm not anti-industry, but how does it make sense to use all this equipment and burn up all those resources when you could just light a match to the pile down by the pond? Have the guy driving the Cat bring his brother's band out and roast some marshmallows over the coals.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

First Bumper Sticker

I put the first bumper sticker on my xB. Got it at It's a Beautiful Day when I was there to pick up Corinna's banner from Miss Conception who works there.
I think this place must be a lot like India Imports, a head shop that used to be in Westport. When I was a kid, my Dad shopped at a store near it, near enough he had to walk by the place. He complained about being able to smell the pot clear out on the curb, how they must bribe the cops to stay open.
I suspect what Dad smelled was incense, not weed. Beautiful Day has the latest pro-cannabis petition by the cash register, but there's no sign of herb in there. Everything you might want to smoke it with or look at, fondle and listen to after smoking it, and the place reeks of incense, but not weed.
Anyway, if you're wanting a bumper sticker or ten, this is where to go. They have everything from Abolish the Fed to pantheistic tolerance stuff to Ghandi to Mark Twain.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Return of the Son of Rocket Man

I haven't flown model rockets in about three years. My kids seemed to burn out on it, and I got into cycling and other distractions.
But when I moved, I didn't even think about getting rid of my rocketry stuff. I kept meaning to take Corinna launching sometime, but that sometime never came.
I gave the kid next door a kit for his birthday, and he was too excited about that. Actually, he was excited to pull some of my wrecks out of the trash when I culled the rockets that weren't worth repairing.
So this evening, we were babysitting him anyway, and Corinna told him we'd go launch a rocket or two. It was exactly what I needed to get out my range box, sort through the fleet and figure out what was immediately flyable, and get it in the car.
We went out to Shawnee Mission Park, and it was really too windy to fly. We went down to the lake and up on the hiking trail while the sun was going down because the wind often goes with the sun. You don't want to launch in the dark (unless you have lights on the rocket), but right as the sun is sinking is often a sweet spot.
I honestly thought it was still too windy when we got up to the field, and I'd hate to lose Mr. Creosote, but since I haven't flown him since 2009, I didn't have the heart to let the kiddo down. After Mr. Creosote went off without a hitch, flying upwind and descending just across the road for a perfect recover, I realized two things: 1) I had forgotten the recovery wadding (though miraculously, his parachute and lines weren't singed); 2) I had to launch another rocket.
That meant Hatful of Hollow. I brought Iron Man along, though I don't feel his paint job is done. More than that, though, he's never flown, so I'm not sure how he behaves with particular motors, and I knew for sure that Hatful of Hollow would behave very well on a B motor in these breezes.

xB

I came dangerously close to buying one of these new a few years back. I could have squeaked out the payments while I had the job and commute I did at the time, but a few short months later I found myself in substantially reduced circumstances—and was relieved not to have that monkey on my back. I had other monkeys to cope with as it was. I remember at the time thinking, maybe when someone has put a hundred thousand miles on it, I'll be able to afford it.
When I brought it home, Corinna looked at it and asked, 'That's the car you've always wanted?' She didn't mean it in a bad way, she's just got so little use for cars in general (or else I couldn't have gotten away with a K-Fed move like driving her car for eight months), that the phrase 'dream car' makes about as much sense to her as 'ideal tumor.' In fact, we realized the other day that the reason law enforcement never recovered my Honda was that my car was not, as previously believed, stolen. It got a load of Corinna's attitude about cars, me turning into an all-season bike commuter, and decided to run away from home.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Jazz Poetry Jams


I went to Jazz Poetry Jams with a bit of a mission: get some pics I couldn't get with my old camera.


Not a 100% success, but probably a solid 70%. I never did switch to my 18-105mm zoom lens, though there were moments where I wanted more grab.


These were all taken with a 35mm prime lense. Seems like, depending on my shot, it was my best friend or worst enemy.


Just when I worried I was being obnoxious with my camera, another shutterbug asked me what I was shooting.


A Nikon very similar to the Canon he was shooting with. A model I debated about myself in addition to a Sony that probably has better video capabilities.


But the camera doesn't do the job for you. A pro I know told me there are two types of people who own SLRs: photographers and folks in the professions. Doctors, lawyers, etc., can afford to buy those flagship cameras (which cost more for the body than I paid for my kit).


I still have a lot to learn, but it's fun learning it.


On the way home I stopped and tried to take some long exposures of the tag art in Grinders' alley. Like I say, I have a lot left to learn about shooting with this thing.


And I can't blame the camera when I don't get it. I might not have the right lenses for a lot of things, but the main thing I don't have is the know-how.


I remember going to a photography seminar with a friend who had a Canon 1D, top of the line camera with an extensive kit of lenses. The class was taught by a Nikonian using a D3 or something like that (whatever Nikon's full frame flagship camera was at the time; it was long enough ago it could have been the D2).


The guy teaching the class was an amazing photographer, and my friend decided the problem with is photography was he needed to switch to Nikon. Sell $20,000 worth of camera gear (and take the hit on that depreciation) and then buy a similar amount of Nikon stuff, and then he'd be good to go.


But the guy teaching that class could take a good photograph with a freaking cell phone.


A Polaroid. A Kodak Brownie.


Anyway, the quality of photography here in Lobsterland should go up a tick or two. If it doesn't, it's all my fault.