Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Public Service Announcement...

Wasted day...

All I did was lay on my back and wait for my head to stop hurting.

And nap.

And surf a little Facebook.

TW: Whining ahead...

This has to be some sort of allergy to some local fauna combining with the dry air that is keeping all my mucus membranes irritated and flowing like rivers.

I have single-handedly killed two boxes of Kleenex and gotten substantial assists on three more.

Time to fall back and start taking the antihistamines instead of pretending the cold medicine fixed everything because the fever and sore throat were gone.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Ideological Turing Test

Monday, October 16, 2017

Range time today...

Argumentum ad feces fabricatum...

William S. Lind, an ever-reliable source of military history lulz, dropped another funny one.

After some nattering about warship propulsion* that was incorrect, he wrote...
"What this means, and has meant for centuries, is that most of the time ships and fleets are in their home ports.  Small detachments may be stationed around the world, the gunboats of gunboat diplomacy.  But gunboat diplomacy worked because the gunboat was a reminder of the powerful fleet that could come quickly if the gunboat needed support.  Other than these gunboats and small detached squadrons, the rest of the navy was comfortably at rest in its home harbors.  There was, and is, no need for it to be anywhere else, not only in peacetime but often also in war.  It can go where it needs to when it needs to."
This is a dude who has obviously never heard the term "China Station" or "East Indies Station" or "Asiatic Squadron" or...or...well, all of 18th, 19th, and 20th Century naval history.

* "Because steamships had to coal frequently, they were more dependent on the land than were ships driven by the wind.  The replacement of coal by oil for fuel and then of steam by fuel-efficient diesels for propulsion..." Warships don't use diesel propulsion, generally†, Bill. Well, the Kriegsmarine's pocket battleships did, and knowing what a boner you have for the Jerries, this factoid probably stuck in your mind and you assumed all forward-thinking navies just went on to copy that.

†Following discussion elsewhere, I'll modify "warships" to "major surface combatants of the world's large blue-water navies".

Impostor Syndrome

I'm pretty emphatic that I make no presumptions of being any sort of firearms instructor, and yet I have agreed to help some friends out on the range today with a few pointers.

I'll try my best, but this is not really my safe space, if you know what I mean.


Not too many months ago, I'd get off my poor tired feet at night and my lower legs would be all narsty and swollen above the elastic of my socks. That doesn't happen anymore. In fact, I can actually see some definition of my calf muscles again.

Also, some time in the first week of October, my belt began taking on a very active role in keeping my current jeans from falling down to my hips, rather than simply being a means of strapping my holster on. Looking like it's time to bust out the next size down when I get home. If I lose two jeans sizes by SHOT, I will be positively ecstatic.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

In the meantime...

It's getting pretty Sunday afternoon around here right now, that portion of the weekend referred to by the great Douglas Adams as "the long dark tea-time of the soul". In lieu of content, have a kitten picture.

Her name is Shrike, from her hobby of eating wasps.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

The backside of the upgrade cycle...

PetaPixel recently had a piece on the things you can do with a cheap DSLR. The writer snagged a used near-dozen-year-old consumer-grade DSLR with a fixed 50mm prime lens for $80 and proceded to go shoot some pictures with it.

The camera in question was a Rebel 400D, known in the U.S. as the Rebel XTi.

It was Canon's 2006-model entry-level DSLR, meaning that in the hothouse world of camera technology, it's eight generations out of date (the current model is the 800D/T7i) and sells for about a hundred and a half used even from online retailers, if you don't want to Craigslist.

Coincidentally, it's the same model camera as the one I bought, also used, five years ago to stick my toe in the DSLR waters...

It's the first DSLR I took to Blogorado or the State Fair.

Come to think of it, a fair number of the photos in my "Favorites" folder were shot with the Rebel XTi.

So, sure, if you want a bleeding edge DSLR, you're going to be out well over a grand, but if you just want to make you some pictures, you can do can do pretty darn good for a tenth of that. The bigger-better-faster-more nature of the electric camera market has morphed it into something very like the computer industry, where the depreciation curve is brutal, with the difference being that you don't need the latest hardware just to play.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Well, that's embarrassing...

Some of the most fun I have on my annual New Mexico trip is taking photos of roller derby. I don't get to do much sports photography, so this is my yearly chance.

Last night I tried making do with the cameras and bodies at hand, putting the Sony 50mm f/1.8 on the NEX-5T and then getting daring and mounting the old Leitz Elmar 9cm f/4 on the Ricoh GXR body to shoot some fully manually in B&W. If there's anything more hipster than using 1955-vintage German glass on a Japanese digital camera to shoot pictures of roller derby, you'd need to be drinking PBR ironically to find out what it is.

Shooting with the NEX-5T was a breeze. Put it in aperture priority and crank it open enough to where you're still getting ~1/200th shutter speeds, and then trust auto focus and mash the button at the start of each jam, keeping the pack centered in the frame and know that the shutter whirring away at up to 10 frames per second would grab something good.

Using the manual focus lens on the Ricoh GXR was a whole different experience. Having to shoot wide open or at f/5.6 meant that at all but the longest shots across the rink, depth of field issues were a constant worry. I lost plenty of shots to "almost-but-not-quite-in-focus". The lighting was perfect for B&W shooting, though, and even though I had to press the shutter button for each one, I think I wound up shooting more frames with the manual Ricoh than either of the automated cameras.

We got back to the Nerd Ranch and I started throwing stuff from one Compact Flash (the yeoman Nikon D200) and two SD cards onto my laptop.

As I started sharing pics around, everybody was noting that the internet in the house was lagging something fierce. It was noted again when we were binge-watching a few episodes of Rick and Morty later that evening.

It wasn't until I sat down at the computer and checked my email this morning that I realized what had happened, since that's when I got the email cheerily informing me that all my photos had been uploaded to my One Drive account. Yes, I had failed to disable automatic photo uploading for this roadtrip...

It's something I never notice at home, because auto uploading five or ten pictures happens seamlessly in the background. Nearly two gigs of derby pics dumped on the hard drive all at once? That's a bandwidth hog.


Thursday, October 12, 2017

Sweet photos...

Jennifer has some awesome pics from this past weekend.

Asymptomatic now, but...

Well, no more fever or achiness and I don't seem to be an endlessly-flowing river of mucus anymore. It's going to take a while to clean out all the distant corners of my sinus and bronchial passages, and my nose is so raw that even the Puffs Plus Lotion feel like 40-grit, but I think I'm coming out the far side.