Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

I'm trying to wade through specs and think about what I want for the new camera. I wish I had never dropped lil' black in the ocean! Now that I'm looking into new cameras, I'm finding I had pretty much I what I wanted: small but not so small as to feel flimsy, manual settings for those times I want to experiment, the flip screen LCD was a dream, easy controls, AA batteries. I've thought about buying my little camera again but I don't want used (I think about how many times I dropped my camera) and deadstock runs about twice as much as I paid 1.5 years ago. So, the hunt continues. Here are some of the candidates so far. Maybe by writing a little about each camera will help me figure it all out. And of course I'm open to suggestions. :)

Canon Powershot SX10is
Kind of like a DSLR without being a DSLR. The only flip screen LCD I could find! Decent reviews. The controls to which I'm accustomed. 20X zoom? Wow.

The cons...I went and held it in the store and it was BIG and heavy. The lens does not retract and I hear a lot about the lens cap popping off all the time. The photos I could see on the LCD were 'eh', but then again, it was on the LCD. And if I'm going this big, should I spend the extra bux and buy an DSLR?

Canon Powershot G10
Sweet style. Very much the same size as lil' black. Controls are familiar. I checked this one in the store too and despite the fact I had written it off (cons to follow), the photos I took looked great on the LCD. Wide angle!

The cons...too many MP for its sensor which, according to reviews, equals some so-so photo quality in certain situations. Pricey! So pricey. And, no beloved flip LCD.

Canon EOS Rebel XS
Had to throw one DSLR in the mix. I told myself when lil' black was gone, I'd get a DSLR. Now that time has come, I'm not sure if I really want one. I carry my camera everywhere. Do I really want to lug an extra couple pounds around in my bag? And who am I kidding? I'm no professional. Do I want the steep learning curve? Then there's all the lenses and filters that one feels compelled to buy. Besides, I'm playing with a SLR already. I don't need to have two.

And just so you don't think I'm all Canon, all the time, what about Nikon? I was a Nikon'er through and through as I used to have a little Nikon that I loved. However, everything that I'm trying to find right now just isn't happening in a Nikon. And since I replaced the Nikon with lil' black (a Canon), I found I really loved my Canon. I guess I'm fickle, eh?

As I continued my research, I found the type of camera I want is called a "prosumer" (you don't want just little snappy shooter, but you don't want a brick either). As I looked, a couple of other choices appeared.

Panasonic DMC-LX3
I never used to think about Panasonic for cameras, but I've seen some flickr folks use them with great success. They have amazing Leica lenses and get super reviews. Crisp, clear photos. The right amount of MP for their sensors.

The cons? Spendy, spendy. Small learning curve, since I've never owned a Panasonic.

And what the heck? Let's throw it in there...

Leica C-Lux 3
Sharp, vivid photos. Very style-y.

The cons? Spendy. And yeah, it's just a little speedy shooter which blows my "small, but not flimsy" (and pretty much every other) requirement out of the water.

What have I learned today? Ummm, not much except I'd better start saving my money.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Summer is...

slurpees (cola and cherry mixed)
all fans on
milkshakes (vanilla--kidlet, boysenberry--me, butterscotch--hubs)
hoping the Char-Pit is in my not-so-distant future
feet in the river
the peach ladies at the farmer's market
wishing the house was cool enough to bake a pie
thinking about camping (and hopefully doing it again soon)
flip flops and skirts

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Mini Book Reviews

The Long Embrace? Ugh! Let me go! I read about twenty pages and it was laughably bad. Maybe I should have given it a little longer, but I have little time left in my summer reading season before school kicks in. It will be shoved into a book shelf until I have one of those "I have nothing to read" days.

Rabbit, Run? This one has me so thoroughly sucked in. It's a struggle for me to put down this book at night when it's time for bed. The characters are not particularly likable, but they are real. I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series but I think I'll take a little break and hit something else on my list first. Probably a little Moomin (I can review this one already...brilliant! Fantastic! The illustrations are amazing!) followed by The Time Traveler's Wife...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Road To and Fro

The open road. I felt a little carsick, it had been so long since I'd been a passenger. The road unwound before us and rolled over small summits, cut swaths through pine forests, and eventually curled it's way up to the old volcano lake. A perfect camp site awaited and my voice was lost (and the cough that never seemed to end was found...until I got home).

The next day, the road brought us closer to the ocean. It took us to an Enchanted Forest that thrilled little girls (and me) to no end. As it grew dark and we continued our journey, I felt as though we were being launched into space since it was all unfamiliar and the road twisted with unexpected turns through the dense forest. We reached our destination late: a small yellow house located a few blocks from the beach, generously shared by friends.

The beach! We spent days looking for shells, wading, hiking, searching for signs of sea life. Listening to the waves, feeling the mist (when it was there, it was a very sunny trip), watching the light flicker on the waves were all restorative.

Museums...Marsh's Free Museum and the Columbia River Maritime Museum, both excellent in their own way.

And then the road home. We were ready to return, making time, taking the most direct route. Now that I'm here, I wish I was there. Despite my newly discovered status as a not-so-great-traveler (why couldn't I loosen up and let go?), home brings an impossible heat wave, work, and short tempers. Today, I'll daydream about cool breezes while I wade through it all. And I'll also daydream about a new camera, since I dropped mine in the ocean. Photos will be scarce until I can find an old camera to use. Now I need to wander about and see what you've all been up to for the past week and a half....

Saturday, July 11, 2009

See You Later, Sailor

This little family will be on the blustery beaches of Washington and Oregon with another little family for the next week and a half. We'll be back with tales of mermaids, oysters and tide pools soon.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Summer Reading

From top to bottom: One Hundred Years of Solitude--Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The Rose Garden--Maeve Brennan
Becoming a Writer--Dorthea Brande
New Moon--Stephanie Meyer
Rabbit, Run and Rabbit Redux--John Updike
The Time Traveler's Wife--Audrey Niffenegger
Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip, Vol. 4--Tove Jansson
(not pictured, as it is in transit) The Long Embrace: Raymond Chandler and the Woman He Loved--Judith Freeman
(also not pictured, as it was forgotten) In Praise of Slowness: Challenging the Cult of Speed--Carl Honore

My stack is tall, but what has been actually read so far is more along the lines of the short stack.

One Hundred Years...I read this book about a dozen years ago and about all I remembered was that I liked it well enough. I never kept the names of the characters straight but that doesn't feel wrong. It's a very dreamlike book so I felt fine floating on through. The last 50 pages are worth the price of admission, to be sure.

The Rose Garden...I've stammered and stalled with this one. It's a collection of short stories and I think I've started the second one three times now. On the New Yorker Fiction podcast in December (if I remember rightly), I heard a brilliant story authored by Brennan. I think I just need to get in the mood for snooty wealthy folks.

Becoming a's a dream I've had since about 3rd grade but I'm lacking on the talent side. I ordered this online and now that I've done a quick flip through I think I may have owned this about 25 years ago, the last time I thought seriously about writing. Ha ha.

New Moon...I thought Twilight was mediocre (it all has to do with that "Becoming a Writer" thing; I feel I could do better). However, I decided to just go along for the ride (a nice, fluffy ride) and enjoy it. This book felt like a giant lead-up to the episode, which I'm sure I'll zoom through sometime this fall.

Rabbits...When Updike passed on while I was doing my research on women's roles in the mid-20th century, I realized these might be a fun read. They are coming along on vacation and I'm excited.

Time Traveler...I actually know nothing about this book but when I was seeing buzz about it in bloggyland, I wrote it down on my massive list of "to read". I hope to start and finish it before school starts (oh!).

Moomin...Can never go wrong with dear Moomin. I need to be more Moominmamma-like: unflappable, kind, and wise.

The Long Embrace...How am I going to get through all these books this summer?! I'm hoping this one arrives before vacation since I'd like to be able to switch it up with Updike. I adore Chandler and this has been on the aforementioned "to read" list for about a year and a half now. This sorta-kinda biography gets mixed reviews but I think I'll still like it.

Slowness...Hmmm...this book is not quite what I expected. I'm about 80% finished and it is the most breezily written book. It races along from snippet to snippet, which I find quite funny for a book about slowness. I was hoping for a book that was more about techniques for finding space in one's day. I guess every book can't be a winner, eh?

What are you reading? Can you add to my "to read" list?

Summer Cold

Really, I've never seen my body react so violently to the possibility of fun and relaxation. It seems every time some sort of exciting event starts to come my way, things start unraveling. Last year, Kidlet was the bearer of my anxiety with an ear infection launched just a couple days before jumping on a plane to Disneyland. This year, I'm living with post-concussive syndrome and I just caught a cold. I really have to get this anxiety thing under control. As soon as I'm back from vacation. Heh.

And in a strange twist of fate, work seems to be busier than it's been in many months. Where are my days of quietude? It's hard to push through the sludge of this week with my soft-focus brain but I'm giving myself pep talks daily and feel I'm holding my own.

Back to vacation list making...ahhh, list I love ye.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Post Bonky Syndrome

Today is the first full day back at work post 'bonky on the conky'. Oh dear. I'm hoping I'll be able to stay on track and not get too scatterbrained (or tired for that matter). I feel a bit like I had some strange little mini staycation, during which I did little but let myself get chauffeured around, stare off into space and listen to podcasts. I guess I could consider it part one to my real vacation next week. Here's to hoping my workmates don't feel too resentful of all the time off I've had to take and am about to take. I didn't mean to get hit on the head, that's for sure.

I didn't really have a good photo for this post so I popped this one in from our state museum trip yesterday. I guess you could say "I hope work goes better than getting mauled by an ancient pachyderm." Yeah.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Happy Fourth of July

I feel a little more hope this year for our country than I have for some time. Enjoy the day! How I wish sparklers were legal around here...

Thursday, July 02, 2009

This Woman Has My Dream Job

Fresher than Fresh Sno-Cones.

For years, I have done internet research into shaved ice machines, small trailers, syrups...maybe if the school thing doesn't work out, I can sell sno-cones in summer and crepes in the winter.

via Andrea