Thursday, March 05, 2015

Obama Derangement Syndrome

Remember how, when Bush was president, the loony Left blamed everything on him?

Well, this morning my Facebook feed is blowing up with people more or less finding the most convoluted excuses they can think of to blame the slashing attack on our ambassador to Korea on Obama.

To use a more recent example than Cindy Sheehan, you know how dumb the whole "Hands Up, Don't Shoot!" thing sounds? Well, that's exactly how dumb it sounds right now trying to make some bizarre Benghazi-esque connection out of the razor-wielding kook in Korea.

This is the flipside of where our un-American love of the F├╝hrerprinzip has gotten us. Not only do we think Our Guy can do no wrong, but when Their Guy is in the big chair, we blame everything bad on him. The elected executive of our republic has metamorphosed into some Frazer-esque sacral king, on whose luck rides the success or failure of the harvest and the path and frequency of Gulf coast hurricanes.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

I think...

...this would be a great idea.


Automotif LXVIII...

1961 Chevy Greenbrier
Walking back to my car after lunch on Monday, I rounded a corner to see this peering at me over a snowbank.
1961 Chevrolet Corvan
It's a Chevrolet Greenbrier, aka "CorVan"; a van built on the floorpan and rear-engined powertrain of the Chevy Corvair.
61 corvair van
I wonder it it had the optional gasoline-fueled heater? Being air-cooled, they weren't very cozy without one.

Being an early '60s van, it's basically a big sheet metal box of air, weighing in at barely over 3,000 pounds with an empty tank. Car Life tested one with the base 145-c.i. flat-6 and recorded an extremely leisurely 0-60 time of 32.2 seconds, which isn't surprising given that the 2x1bbl motor was only pumping 80 horsepower (and those are the big imaginary gross horsepower, not the tiny realistic net ones we use now) through its two-speed Corvair Powerglide slushbox.

I can quit anytime I want to, really.

So, with the repair bill for the Subie being far less than I had budgeted, I rejoiced at the windfall and wisely put it in savings...

Well, except for $30 of it. That $30 I sent to KEH Camera and they sent me this:
Rollei Prego 130WA
Rollei Prego 130WA
It's a Samsung-era Rollei but, unlike the early Pregos, it's actually a tiny little camera, as can be inferred from the soda can and film canisters. I dunno what these things retailed for back in the day, but it must have been spendy, given the alloy shell and the prominent "Germany" wording sprinkled here and there (German laws are pretty lax on that; it's why there are tons of "Made In Germany" Manurhin PPKs out there on which the only thing made in Germany is the rollmark.)

Ideally I want a film setup that mirrors my digital one: A pocketable camera to go with the SLR around my neck. I'm almost certain that the Contax will be the pocket rocket, but the little Rollei was priced so right that I decided to give it a shot, too.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015


Up too late last night. It was "bowling night" (raid night for our World of Warcrack guild) which goes 'til eleven, and I swore a mighty oath I'd go to bed as soon as raid was done. Instead, I stayed up another few hours reading and surfing the internet tubes and I'm paying for it this morning.

Oh, well, at least it'll be an early night tonight. Monthly club meeting at MCF&G and then home and to bed.

In the interim, I have to get these rolls of film in the mail to The Darkroom. Our local Walgreens will send your 35mm film off and process it but (get this) they don't return your negatives, only a CD of scans. That rather misses the point of using film in the first place, don't you think?

Monday, March 02, 2015

Just in time...

"Hmmm... Jeeves, I think we'll be taking the Forester today. Do knock the snow off it, will you?"
Obviously I got the Subie up and running in the nick of time...


Weird schedule weekend here at Roseholme Cottage. Bed at 0300ish, up at 0600 to feed the cats, and then back to a fitful doze through the local morning news and Today show, and awake-type awake at 10:45 or so. At least I assume I'm awake. I've put clothes on and wandered around the house some.

Gotta go get the Subie dug out.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

"A dime makes a pretty fair screwdriver..."

...except when the slot is too narrow for it to fit, or so wide it slips and buggers the edges.

Most of the older cameras I've been messing with have a little circular battery cover on the bottom, to accommodate a range of batteries from the '60s era mercury cells (or their modern zinc-air substitutes) on the old Leicaflex SL to the familiar lithium CR123 that drops into the mid-'90s Contax TVS. These typically have the dished slot to allow the use of a coin as a screwdriver, but there doesn't seem to be any standardized thickness of coin preferred amongst the different makers.

Fortunately, Bobbi gave me a handy little gizmo to settle that problem: A coin screwdriver with a varying-thickness rim. It's handy. I should get more.

...and more snow.

Two days ago, the TeeWee weatherfolk were calling for 1"-3" of snow, transitioning to rain in the afternoon, with a high of 37°F. Yesterday morning, they'd revised that to 2"-4" of snow with maybe a little freezing rain atop it in the afternoon, and a high of 35°F. By yesterday afternoon they'd stopped all mention of non-snow precipitation, and this morning they're saying we might see 32°F later in the afternoon.
 We had about 6" by 11:00AM, when it started seriously tapering off. (Although they say we could get another inch or so later in the afternoon.)

The neighbor two doors to the left had his snowthrower out and cleared the sidewalk in front of our house... when I shoveled the walks in the front and back of the house, I went and shoveled the neighbor's to the right. Paying it forward, as it were.

Saturday, February 28, 2015


Emergency DHS budget solution right here.


Automotif LXVII

1969 Oldsmobile Cutlass convertible
I was worried about being able to identify the year model, but Oldsmobile thoughtfully changed the taillights every model year between '68 and '72 to make this easier.


Kids sledding at the Stout Field Indiana National Guard Armory during the gun show last weekend.

Pocket Camera...

So, as a big fan of always having a camera with me that's not my cell phone, I've spent the last few years with a succession of tiny digicams, the two most recent being a Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W650 and now a Nikon Coolpix S6500. It was therefore pretty much inevitable that, once I got my toes wet back in the film photography pool, I'd start looking for a little camera to complement the SLRs; something I could one-hand while bicycling on the Monon or dangle from a wrist strap instead of hanging around my neck.

Unlike more substantial SLRs, the vast majority of point-and-shoot 35mm cameras were pretty ephemeral. Whereas a Canon AE-1 was likely to be put in the attic when it was no longer in use, a Snappy 50 was a lot more likely to go in the trash or get handed to the kids to play with. Combine that with the fact that most of these cameras were both highly automated and yet built to a price point, and it makes functioning survivors from the more affordable end of the market scarcer than their vast production numbers and fairly recent chronology would have you believe. The biggest difference between a "single-use camera" and a $50 blister-pack P&S from the early '90s is that the former made no pretenses as to its disposability.

On the other end of the price curve, there are plenty of high-quality small point-'n'-shoot 35s still around, but be ready to do battle with fanbois on eBay, because you will be fighting with film hipsters over pocket jewelry like the Ricoh GR1 or Minolta TC-1.

Contax TVS
The Precious, yes! We wants it, Gollum, and now we has it!
The Kyocera-built Contax minis are right up there, with the least expensive of them being the basic TVS, which can be had for ~$100 with a bit of luck. Given its initial retail price and Porsche Design-influenced titanium curves, this is a relative bargain. The newer TVS II and III will run double or triple the money, but I was plenty happy to score a regular TVS from a seller in Japan.

The TVS is bigger than the diminutive Coolpix, but still tiny compared to an average-sized SLR like the Canon A-1.
Of course, even a small film camera is going to be big compared to a current pocket digital. First, you have to accommodate a 35mm film cartridge and its takeup spool, which sort of dictates your base dimensions. Then you need a battery with enough juice to drive the focusing and film transport motors, and you've got to put that somewhere in the camera. The TVS is small compared with even small film SLRs like the Olympus OM, but compared to the Nikon Coolpix, which will almost rattle around in a cigarette pack, it's a bit large.

Still, I'm looking forward to shooting some film with it, hopefully on warmer days, strolling through the city. (And those looks... I'm not going to even pretend I'm immune to the Contax's pretty face.)

Friday, February 27, 2015

You could break your hip doing that!

When Madonna's debut single came out in 1982, Sammy Davis Jr. was as old as Madonna is right now.

Was thinking about going to the range today...

...and then I took the trash out and felt the weather.

Bugger that. The range can wait 'til Monday.


So, the Subie's clutch issue, a dead slave cylinder, was fixed today for $193 and some-odd cents, including the sixty buck tow. If you're on the north side of Indy, I can't recommend Tyler's Automotive on 62nd highly enough.

The car, which had sat immobile behind the garage for a few weeks of record low temps, including quite a bit of time on the wrong side of 0°F, started on the first turn of the key when the wrecker showed up yesterday. That feat was made more impressive by the fact that it was, you know, in gear at the time.

See, the car was parked perpendicular to the axis of the alley, and to get it onto the flatbed, I needed to get it out of its spot and aligned with the wrecker. Since the clutch pedal was currently for decoration only, I meant to roll it backwards on the starter motor, which is doable, if rough on the starter, but the little motor turned right over and it idled in gear out into the alley. In 15°F weather. After having sat for the fat part of a month.

And it has over 200,000 miles on the clock...

Anyhow, that's got the Forester up and limping around again for the nonce, and none too soon, since we're scheduled to receive more global warming this weekend.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the vehicular happiness index, anybody want to buy a Jeep with a pintle mounted belt-fed Browning? It'd be great for technical rock crawling! Get it? I kill me.