This week has been a busy one at work. I don’t think I’ve stopped to breathe in the 34 hours I’ve been there so far, and by the time I get home my brain is mush. It’s a good kind of tired because I’m completely, fully engaged in everything I’m doing, and we are flat out with about 10 major projects going on, but it’s mentally fucking taxing.

I sold the Fuji f/1.4 lens to a guy today, down $75 from my original asking price (and $50 down from the price I had it listed for this week). In the last Curbside Classic story I wrote about the Jeep, I complained about the buyer trying to knock off $25 for a new battery and how much that annoyed me–to the point where I was ready to kill the deal. A couple of commenters mentioned that I was probably unrealistic in my expectation that buyers would simply pay me my asking price, which came as kind of a shock to me. I’ve been buying and selling stuff for the asking price (generally speaking) for years, feeling weird for asking sellers to knock some cash off of something I’m interested in…but based on the responses I got, I think I have to start being OK with feeling like a dick and trying to haggle some bargains. And I’ve got to raise my pricing by 5% so that I can knock it back off and get what I originally was hoping for.  Now to ditch the drone and the old XBOX in the basement. Strangely I’ve had more inquiries about the XBOX, but there was one guy who wanted to trade me a quad or an old motorcycle for it…NOT. It’s good to have that lens gone and not sitting in my camera bag, and I think I’ve got to be a little more ruthless with the equipment I’m not using.

Warby Parker update: they will cut me new lenses for my old frames, so I put the order in today and will probably have to drive downtown to their hipster storefront to have them put in.  When balancing a $50 repair over a $400 set of new glasses, I think I know which way I’m going.

We have the rest of the floor tile in hand, so the tile guy will be back sometime next week to install it all. Then, we’ve got to sort out how to purchase the beautiful glass tile we chose for the bathroom and afford the installation estimate, which will wipe out the rest of our bathroom fund.

Date posted: March 29, 2018 | Filed under bathroom, general, photography | Leave a Comment »

My birthday was a couple of days ago, and a bunch of people sent me congratulations on Facebook, which I missed, because I don’t visit the site anymore. Meanwhile,  it was just revealed that Facebook was scraped by some company run by a bunch of right-wing fucks who used the data to weaponize political ads into echo chambers. I stepped back from Facebook couple of years ago, except to respond to a few messages and one event invitation, but increasingly I’m thinking about deleting my profile altogether. Not like it’s not been scraped and used against me anyway (and I’m on Instagram every day) but why have it out there if I’m not using it? There’s also advice on how to privatize it as much as possible (or, as much as they’ll let you without secretly rewriting the privacy settings again) to prevent third-party apps from scraping more information. It’s still up for now, but I just shut down a ton of privacy settings I wasn’t aware were on.

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Back in November my sister stopped in for a visit, and while she was here dropped off two boxes of camera gear she’d accumulated over the years. Inside one was a bunch of old Kodak bellows cameras, a couple of bakelite 620 favorites, and some other oddities. In the second box was a pile of mainly 35mm gear in various makes. There was a bag of Fuji gear with several lenses, and a pair of Minoltas, one of which is a cleaner twin to my X-700. Among the treasures was a first-generation digital camera, a Sony Mavica FD-7, which is now 21 years old and used a 3.5″ floppy disk to record data. It just so happened a video popped up in one of my feeds where the author reviews three Mavicas of the same vintage, and talks about their qualities and quirks. Apparently it’s hard to find an aftermarket battery that will work correctly with these, so my momentary desire to find and order a new one will probably remain just a desire.

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I finally went in to get my eyes checked last weekend, and they haven’t gotten any worse. Right before chemotherapy last fall, I realized my prescription was out of date so I couldn’t replace the glasses that had been scratched up in the Chaco. Updated prescription in hand, I visited Warby Parker last night only to find they’d discontinued the one pair of frames I’ve been wearing for three years for a wider selection of GIGANTIC DORK FRAMES they tend to favor. Defeated, I selected five frames to try on at home, in the vague hope that I will like one of them, but it may be that the era of fashionable $100 glasses is over.
Date posted: March 21, 2018 | Filed under general, photography | Leave a Comment »

Another Car of A Lifetime article is up about my Ford Taurus, the Tortoise. Next up: the Jeep Cherokee.

Date posted: March 20, 2018 | Filed under cars, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

A post shared by @jenjive on

This was my daughter’s elementary school response to National Walk Out Day. Not too shabby.

Date posted: March 15, 2018 | Filed under finn, politics | Leave a Comment »

What you see there is the underlayment for the heated floor. The black lines are heating wires that run the span of the room. The tile guy is now skim-coating the floor and may be laying tile as I write this, but he may be waiting until the other three boxes that I didn’t account for show up in a week.

I said goodbye to the Rolleicord yesterday, selling it to a nice man who is taking photography classes and will hopefully give it another productive chapter in life. Talking to him got me thinking about how to print the film I’ve got; one thing I’d completely forgotten about was the darkroom I’ve got access to at UMBC as a faculty member. At Service Photo on Saturday, there was an entire shelf of photo paper and other chemicals, and I’ve got a stack of 6×6 negatives that I’d like to blow up and print.

Date posted: March 13, 2018 | Filed under bathroom, house, photography | Leave a Comment »

I posted an article about Chewbacca the Scout on Curbside Classic on Sunday. It’s probably the most detailed account of ownership that I’ve written, and now that I’m looking it over, it’s obvious I’ve left out a ton of stuff.

Date posted: March 12, 2018 | Filed under cars, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

In 1986, I was a young lad in Junior High School and beginning to look around at the fashions of people around me. One of the things I saw other people wearing (Renie, you had a pair of these, right?) and got stuck on was a model of white tennis shoes made by Adidas, called the Stan Smith. I don’t recall if I saved up money or asked my parents to buy them for me, but at some point I got a pair and wore them. Very preppy, I know. As with many other capricious purchases I made at that time, I was immediately unhappy with them. They were painful to wear, leaving the arches of my feet aching at the end of the day, and they pinched my toes. For shoes made to play tennis in, I didn’t understand how they could be worn for more than 5 minutes on a court, and this is coming from a guy who has worn Chuck Taylors for 30 years. They wound up in the back of my closet, unworn.

They have made a comeback in the last year, and as I see people wearing them around DC every day, all I can think is, I bet your feet hurt. 

Date posted: March 9, 2018 | Filed under general | Leave a Comment »

Our county school superintendent resigned abruptly last year with little warning: He was under investigation for hiding extra income on his financial records.

Prosecutors said although Dance filed forms under oath claiming he had no interest in any other companies and no source of outside income, he actually owned Deliberate Excellence Consulting and earned nearly $147,000 for outside work between 2012 and 2015.


Date posted: March 8, 2018 | Filed under shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

Last night the installer recommended by our tile dealer stopped by, after about two weeks of missed connections. He looked over the room, made some suggestions, and put my mind at ease. I signed a contract and gave him a deposit to get things moving, and we settled on the third week in March to start. I got a text from him this morning telling me he’d had a cancellation, and would it be OK to start this coming Monday? Hell yes, it would.

Date posted: March 8, 2018 | Filed under house | Leave a Comment »

File Mar 07, 4 35 01 PM

Click and drag around the image.

UMBC reached out to me this week about teaching a class in the fall, and after some back-and-forth they offered me a junior-level typography class I’ve taught before on Monday nights. It isn’t as interesting as the senior-level classes I did before cancer, but it makes me happy to be teaching again. I’m going to ask them if I can update the syllabus, as it dates back a long ways and could probably stand to be refreshed.

I ordered brake hoses for the Scout this afternoon, and hopefully they will be the correct fit for what I need. I’m also looking at buying an ignition kill switch and will ask the guys if they can help me install that as well.

Date posted: March 7, 2018 | Filed under teaching | Leave a Comment »