Jen and I watched the debate this evening. I think Hilary did well, and Trump started out doing well but went off the rails in the second half. We sat on the couch listening to some of his answers and couldn’t believe what we were hearing. What’s been almost more interesting is listening to the talking heads on PBS afterwards, and how casually sexist the two old white guys (David Brooks and Mark Sheilds) are.
We’re back from Ohio and a family wedding where all of the grandchildren on Jen’s side were together in the same place for the first time. The wedding was lovely and we all had a great time watching the kids interact together.
I set the X-E1 up for black and white, figuring I’d be fighting low light and fast subjects for the whole night. I used the standard B/W preset, bumped ISO up to ~1250, increased the highlight and shadow settings, and opened the lens wide to f/1.4. Even though the hunt for focus is maddeningly slow, I managed to get some nice shots that are different from the color pictures I got on the D7000.
I fought with the settings a little bit, but after a while I got it dialed in and was enjoying the results I got. Eventually, when I get a Fuji body with faster focus, this will be easier. I’m also finding I like the position of the viewfinder on the left of the body as opposed to a center-mounted VF. Which is unfortunate, because the replacement Fuji body I’m considering (the X-T1) has a center-mounted VF.
Still, I like the results I got, and I’ve programmed one of the presets for this kind of shooting. I want a camera that will point and shoot as fast as possible with the f/1.4 lens I’m using here. I just need to be patient and jump on the right body when it comes along.
September 21, 2016
Look at the size of that kid. How did she get so tall?
I’ve noticed a couple of things while sitting on the couch for the past couple of days. The first is that modern television is shit. No surprise, right? I stopped watching TV seriously about 8 years ago, after Finn was born; at one point we had three or four TVs in the house hooked up to basic cable and there used to be shows that were worth watching. My channel list today shows nothing but Duck Dynasty and Flip or Flop on continuous repeat. The second is that modern news is total shite. No real surprise there, but when I go to Mexico and I can find out what’s happening in the world faster and easier when the anchors are speaking Spanish, there’s something severely wrong. It’s no wonder we’re dangerously close to electing a racist liar for President.
I’m currently dosed with fist-sized capsules of Cipro to fight off the worst combined case of fever and GI tract hell I’ve ever experienced. Traveler’s Diarrhea is no joke, my friends. I can see why they came up with a funny nickname for it. Montezuma’s Revenge sounds a lot better than EYEBALL FRYING POOP SHOWER BRAIN HOLOCAUST. I didn’t drink water from anywhere but a bottle; I stayed at a Holiday Inn that was international in quality, so I didn’t think twice about eating the fruit at breakfast. I did have sandwiches at the paintball course that were brought from a street vendor (or so I understood); at that point I hadn’t eaten anything all day and had to take what they gave me.
I did not think the gestation period would take this long, but there you have it. I started feeling feverish Saturday afternoon and by that evening it was up to 102˚; I spent Sunday battling fever and then on Monday the bottom system fell apart. We went to Patient First on Monday and they gave me Cipro, but nothing was working so today we decided to go to the ER for a second look and some fluids. They gave me two bags of saline and took a bunch of blood and other stuff for testing. The fever seems to have broken, but my head still hurts and I’m waiting for the plumbing to get fixed.
Look below or click here for an update on my first day in Mexico. It gives a lot more background on the paintball picture, why I went, and how I wound up on a roof drinking 40’s of Mexican beer.
The weather was overcast Sunday morning, so I made a plan for the day based on the chance of rain. I read that the Museo Nacional de Antropología had free wi-fi (turns out it didn’t), plotted out all of the Starbucks in a kilometer radius and took a picture of the map on my cellphone, packed my umbrella, and called for an Uber. (Three overseas trips and I haven’t figured out a better way to deal with communication than depending on wi-fi and taking pictures of Google Maps. Someday…)
The museum is nestled in a wooded park in the northwest part of the city, fronted by a wide two-lane avenue which was filled with bikers. I walked into the museum and was quietly ushered to a “foreigners” ticket desk, and thus blew past the line. The museum is huge and expertly laid out, built in a square around a large central courtyard and fountain. I went left when I should have gone right and thus did things kind of backwards, but still saw the whole museum. The main exhibits are all marked clearly in Spanish and English, so I knew what the broad strokes were, but the individual captions were Spanish only. Still, I remembered enough from high school to understand about 70% of the information.
Early in the afternoon I was looking at an Olmec colossal head and parsing the Spanish label, when a young woman tapped me on the shoulder. She asked me in good English where I was from, and I told her. She asked me if she could ask a couple of questions, and I agreed. Her first question was if I liked the museum, and I told her I liked it very much. She wondered if I was traveling with anyone, and I told her I was here on business, but that I wished my family was here to see Mexico too. Then she asked me why I was at the museum, and I told her I was very interested in the history of Mexico and of all of the civilizations founded here, and this seemed to make her happy. She smiled and said, “Welcome to Mexico!” and her boyfriend shook my hand. I replied in mixed-up Spanish, probably something like “Beautiful thank you,” and we parted ways.
I don’t know what possessed her to ask me these questions, or if my answers were what she was expecting, but I hope our interaction made as big an impact on her as it did on me.
The history of Mesoamerica is fascinating. I could have spent days in the museum looking through the exhibits, but as the day wore on the crowds got thicker and my need for solitude overtook my curiosity.
I bailed out at about 1PM and walked east toward the Reforma, a long, wide avenue flanked by modern towers and leafy trees. This was definitely a different part of the city than the Historic District; modern and clean, and as I arrived the scene of a city-organized bike rally. Down the Reforma stands the Angel of Independence, a gigantic and inspiring monument to fallen insurgents of Mexico’s past. At the circle, I waited for the car and bike traffic to halt and then ran out to climb the stairs to the monument.
After taking pictures of the Angel and shooting some video of the bike rally, I walked back down the Reforma towards a small Starbucks, which didn’t have wi-fi, and then found a taqueria that did. Here I started out with a beer but the delicious smell of the al pastor meat cooking convinced me to order a meal. I was not disappointed. The chicken pastor was delicious, served inside a flour tortilla with cheese, and my server did not have to twist my arm to order guacamole as well. He then talked me into pork, which was even better. Over my shoulder the TV was showing NFL highlights, so I saw the end of all of the 1PM games as I ate.
Then I jumped on the wi-fi and called a cab to head back to the hotel, where I translated a powerpoint deck on infographics into Spanish with Google translate and cranked out a couple of website flats for work.