August has been a marathon, so I haven’t been writing much around here. I’m dealing with a lack of time and anything very important to say, sadly. You wouldn’t know it from the hackneyed sentences and dangling conclusions of my posts, but I do spend a lot of time trying to make sense of the voices in my head and then write down what they say in a logical fashion. This means I’ve got a pile of half-finished entries from the last few weeks, most of which you will probably never see. The other problem is that because I’m either hunched over my keyboard or sanding something on the porch, I don’t get out much, so I don’t have anything exciting to talk about other than the same three subjects.
Some things I am interested in, in no particular order:
The Nikon D90 is a prosumer-level DSLR with a full-size 12.3 MP chip (something only found in the pro grade camera bodies), high/lo ISO performance, 3 inch LCD, and HD Video. MSRP is $1000 for the body, and we’ll have to see what it retails for, but it looks like I’ve found the successor to my D70.
I love the final shirt in the Venture Brothers Shirt Of The Week Club, featuring the steely visage of (now deceased) Henchman 24. Money is tight, though, so I will probably pass on it.
Based on a comment left in a BoingBoing Gadgets post, I am once again using Remote Desktop to control my music server, in the basement, from my iMac, on the third floor. I didn’t realize all the functionality of the Remote Desktop application was built into OS 10.5 and compatible with 10.4. So what does all of this mean? I can now add ratings and playlists to the machine downstairs from my desk, making life a little more random and a lot less difficult.
Oh, and there’s this:
What I’m trying to do is apologize for sounding like a hamster on a wheel. I promise I’ll make it up to you in the coming months.
When it starts smelling like Bubblicious on our back lawn, we know it’s time to harvest grapes. This year’s initial pick was about 6 lbs., which Jen quickly made into jelly and canned.
Sunday afternoon, I rented an edging sander and worked my way around the porch.
Using an edger is like wrestling a greased pig while trying to thread a needle. One must be very careful with the machine, as it will take off a quarter-inch of wood in only a few seconds. My forearms, knees, and lower back sound like the audience of the Jerry Springer Show this morning.
Returning the sander last evening, I lucked into a clearance sale on 1″x6″x10′ board—something I’ve never seen before—and bought all of the baseboard wood for half the normal price. I think I may be going back today to get more for the den.
Our friend S. has done more for the Lockardugan clan than we can possibly repay. She has nursed kitties, watched over the house, coordinated showers, served as a maid of honor—the woman does it all, with a smile.
She’s getting married in a few weeks, and asked me if I could take pictures at the wedding. This is something that fills me with alternating waves of dread and excitement, because I’m thrilled from a technical aspect, flattered from an artistic standpoint, and terrified I might fuck something up. I’ve been doing some research into basic wedding photography tips, and one of the newsletters I subscribe to had a list of good articles on the subject.
The first article is focused on making happy clients, by doing things like mapping out a shot list, using diffused light, setting expectations, etc. I know I’m going to have to scout out the location of this wedding because it’s outdoors, and definitely find a few backdrops to shoot against.
The second article adds a technical tip: shooting in Aperture Priority. I spent a lot of time fiddling with the Manual settings the last time I shot people outdoors, so I’m going to muck around with this setting a little tomorrow—I don’t know why I didn’t try this earlier.
Several of the commenters suggest lenses that are out of my current price range. The 18-200 VR lens would be a good choice, and a wide-angle lens like the 12-24; I can rent the 18-200 for $35 locally, which isn’t bad at all. I’ll have to see if they have a wide-angle too.
The thing that scares me the most is using the flash; I’m still not up to speed on settings yet, and that’s going to take practice. What I need to do is read up more on TTL metering to see if that’s my best bet, or use something else. I found a book at the store last night which had some great, simple rules of thumb for using TTL flash (especially to reduce red-eye), and doing some digging around the internets I’ve found a few places where the concepts are explained in plain english. This is an article on using multiple wireless TTL flashes. I’ll add more here as I learn.
Your mother and I got out of town last weekend. We chose Berkeley Springs, WV, for a quiet retreat, thinking that a spa weekend would be a nice way to relax and enjoy ourselves before
all hell breaks loose you arrive. Back in the 1700’s, this dude named George Washington—you’ll hear all about him in school—stopped by to take a bath, and he was so smitten with the area that he incorporated the town and bought land there.
We picked a quaint little inn online and booked a room, then made spa reservations for Saturday afternoon. We found out that many of the more exotic-sounding spa services aren’t offered to pregnant women, as the mere touch of a hot stone or drop of scented oil will send the expectant mother into immediate labor, so we opted for a massage, facial, and pedicure. I’ve never been to a spa before, or had anyone other than a doctor look at my toenails with more than a cursory glance, so I was a bit nervous about the idea of a professional massage. Well, that, and nuding up in front of someone other than your mother. Unfortunately, they separated the two of us upon entry, and I was handed a locker key and a robe to change into. Alone in the dressing room, I closed my eyes, let the new-agey Muzak put me into a state of peace, dropped my boxers, and put the robe on. Then I slipped into a pair of flip-flops, and headed out into the unknown. I don’t often wear robes in public, so it took a little adjusting and an eyeful of someone else’s privates to realize the robes needed constant attention. I wound up walking around with my hands jammed in the pockets so that I would keep the two folds covering my junk.
I was scheduled for a hot-rock massage first, and the masseuse let me get situated on the table while she waited outside (whew) Nervous, I made conversation as she prepared the rocks and got herself organized. It turned out she grew up in the town next to the one I graduated high school in, so we spent the majority of my massage gabbing away about travel, family, and Southern food. I’d have to rate my first professional massage as comfortable, friendly, and informative, but not as relaxing as it probably should have been.
Next came a facial, which at the outset made me feel like a foolish pantywaist, but turned out to be a very pleasant experience. My masseuse was a younger woman who bundled my face up in a towel, pointed a steam generator at my face, and slapped about fifty coats of lotion on my skin. She also massaged my feet and hands, and then put them in these weird heated bag things which (I guess) ensured I was marinading properly. I hope your bottom is as smooth as my cheeks were on Saturday afternoon, little one. I hope it smells as good too.
Finally, we had a pedicure, and this your mother and I got to enjoy together. I had worried about my feet being nasty all day, but the woman hovering over my toes told me, with wonder and awe in her voice, that I have beautiful feet. Given the fact that I wear glasses, my hair is receding, my nose is bent, and I do not have the rippling muscles of an olympic swimmer, having this one redeeming physical quality is comforting. Even if it is my feet. Hopefully this trait will be passed along to you, little one. After she was done with my nails and a refreshing pumice scrub, I opted for a simple clear polish, figuring it would go with sandals and evening wear equally well.
Later, after relaxing in our room, we wrapped up our evening with dinner at a restaurant downtown, enjoying the cool air, relaxed atmosphere, and our buttery smooth skin.
You will be happy to know your crib is now assembled, and we have organized your room as much as possible. We still face a game of musical chairs with all the furniture in the house before we can really set your room up correctly. I have to finish the front porch first, and then we can move our office downstairs. Then the big futon in your room will move into that room, and we can push your crib to the far wall and have room for the dresser we still haven’t found. See? Isn’t that simple? It’s really kind of fitting, when I think about it, because we didn’t get to sleep in our own bedroom until a year after we moved into this house, and neither will you. Welcome to the family!