Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Weight Of Whats To Come

Again life has changed a lot since my last post. At the forefront of these changes are lies the incredible blessing that my darling wife Ashley is pregnant and well that of course changes everything. I couldn't be happier. We are going to be parents, I"m gonna be a dad. It's all so surreal. It's all so full of grace. I suppose our general plan right now is to chug along with the house, find a new builder, and see if we can add a second story without too much disdain from the architectural review board. Or there is another house lurking around this neighborhood thats a bit charming. But thats getting a little far down the line for right now. Of course this has a pretty sizable impact on what I want to with my car, and what I should do with the car. But for the best it has really helped me be more objective. I figure I have three options right now. First, I can keep the Subaru and make it a little friendlier daily driver. The Cusco coilovers will go, maybe even the exhaust for something quitter. I'm cool with this plan, I see it as a chance to add a little reason and sustainability to the project. The second option would be downsizing to a less expensive platform. Sell or trade the STi, pick up an s13 240, an ae86, dc2, something fun thats cheap, reliable, has rear seating, and lower taxes and upkeep than the Subaru which wouldn't be hard. Plus I would have money to add to savings. Then there is the third plan, the dual car route. I could sell the STi, buy an honest commuter car, something with amazing reliability, low cost, and a solid manual transmission. Put a chunk of money in savings and use the rest to buy a project, almost certainly a Datsun Z or 510. I've never really opened up to the dual car life, but I see the practicality there, the ease of not worrying your project is going to get hit in the parking lot or something stupid, not having to pay for nice gas and tires on something you are driving everyday, etc. And the Datsun would be justifiable to own, lets just talk about registration and tag for around 8 dollars, yeah take that to the 100 I just paid. All good food for thought but I still have a lot of prayer to wade through it.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Huntsville Time

Sometimes I'm just amazed at what they will actually play on the news:

And the song:

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

I'm Not In Love With The Modern World

Lately I have had a few people say something along the following lines to me: "Why don't you have an e-reader? / You need an e-reader! / Don't you read a lot? you should get an e-reader!" to which I usually respond with a simple and brief, "I really don't care for those". But apparently that has been insufficient so I'm preparing this overview of why I won't support them.

First off, let's just look at the practical issues involved with these. With a book, you throw it in your car/bag/purse/luggage/etc. and enjoy it when you are able. You don't have to stop reading it because the battery died. When I go to a coffee shop I can leave it on the table without wondering if someone is going to steal it. If it stays in the car the pages won't burn out from the heat they have been exposed to. Books are wonderful; they can get dirty, wet, bent, dropped, and even lost. An e-reader cannot. E-readers are also extremely expensive. For comparison, I'm going to use the Barnes & Noble Nook since I feel it is the best of the lot. To own a Nook, I must shell out $150. Now most classics are public domain so I could get them for free but when I want to buy a book I have to pay at least $9 for it. That seems absurd. Actually, let's not get ahead of ourselves because after my $9 is gone, I don't have a book. I have not exchanged my money for a tangible object of value, I have a packet of data. And that really isn't worth hardly anything despite how cleverly they assure you it is. Yes, I realize a new paper back is around the $15, but why are readers not taking advantage of the tremendous used book market? In fact, these devices attempt to eliminate it entirely. By and large I can pick up anything I'm interested in reading for under $5 and have it shipped to my house. Finally, have we as a culture completely forgotten that through our history the eminent importance of reading had obtained such a height that they created these big public buildings called libraries where you could even get books for free?

Now on to my feelings on the e-readers themselves. The creation of these devices completely destroys the act of reading. No longer can you enjoy the lightness of a book of poems or the heft of a Russian classic. Individual intricacies are annihilated. I qualify this next statement with "to my knowledge", but accordingly all books are now even in the same typeset? It seems tragic this would be the case but I can't find any info either way. But what is innately true to the device is the slaughter of the senses involved in reading. Reading is such a pleasurable activity because it engages three of your senses with a fair degree of unison. You feel the book, the pages, the wear, the binding; you smell the book, its age, even the house of a friend; and of course you see the book, and too are involved with its size, condition, and identity. For any fans of Orwell that may be reading, having your text stored in an online format opens the door for defilement as well. With printed to text you have at least a heavy degree of textual accuracy, give online storage a few years and see what passages are rewritten. But the most heartbreaking part to me is the death of the literary experience. When I travel, I take a few books to read and what if I read them all? I find a local used book store. I experience the city. I experience the coffee shop on the way. I experience the afternoon kiss with my wife when we find a park and rest. And I experience the individuality of the store, the person working and their conversation. And finally, one of the best aspects of being a book lover is the discovery of a book I would have never found if it hadn't caught my eye on the shelf or the gotten recommendation of the cashier.

And thus the e-reader takes a marvelous and lucid activity, the sheer hobby of reading and replaces it with an LCD screen and a charging cord. And when I could have talked to someone about the book I am reading while I'm out, that conversation is replaced with techno-savvy jargon about my device, how new it is, what model, how I like it or any other question that has no relevance to what I should be doing with it. And finally the book itself, an object of near perfect design, is replaced with an expensive piece of software pending demise from obsolesce. But at least it's trendy.

Shooting the Warmth of History

Recently Ashley and I took a trip with our friend Jenni to a local antique mall. Amidst the treasures, horrors, and mindless items we managed to find a gorgeous bistro set for our porch but more interestingly an entire alcove devoted to cameras. Now when I say dedicated to cameras I mean that in the purist sense, while there were some digital offerings film based machines exceeded them 30-fold. Why does that matter, well because out of that alcove I snagged this: DSC_3900
That's rights a Minolta SR-T 202. Though a had been trying to find a Pentax, which he also had, you just cant beat this camera for build quality and usability. Plus its virtually indistinguishable from the more expensive Pentax film to film. So wait, I have an amazing digital slr and I just bought a 40 year old film camera with a fixed lens out of a flea market and antique store? Yes I did, and its been amazing. Ever since I started practicing photography I have been enamored with light and try to fill my images with as much of it and its subtle coloring as I can. And frankly the best efforts with my Nikon pail in comparison to just the first round out of the Minolta. Plus it appeals to my love of bokeh [the aesthetic quality of out of focus light] like nobody's business. And with that said, on to round one.