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.

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.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

m r geese

Nikon EM, Kodak BW400CN
Geese on the frozen canal in the heart of a Broad Ripple winter.

Seen around Broad Ripple...

Nikon EM, Kodak BW400CN
One of the many night club, bar, and lounge signs that make up the streetscape of Broad Ripple proper.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Today's Cheery Thought...

He may have had to steal the valor...

...but he already had the mendacity.

Seriously, remember the time you accidentally misspoke and told those people about the time you won a medal in the Olympics? Or were a starter for the Lakers? Or swam the Channel?

No? Neither do I.

There are some things that'll just torpedo the credibility of a person in a leadership capacity, and that's one of them, right there.

...but it rhymes.

"Hey, Heinz! Who wants shawarma?"
So, Greece has its economy waiting for the second flush, and they're basically holding the threat of a default to the Eurozone's head and demanding yet another bailout debt forgiveness.

Meanwhile, the Jerry army's in as parlous a state as it's been in since smoke was still rising from the rubble of Berlin, which must make it hard for Angela to run a good bluff in those late night poker games with Czar Vladimir. I mean, according to some sources I've heard, the Ellinikós Stratós actually has more Leopard 2 panzers in commission right now than the Bundeswehr.

"The United States has sent hundreds of military personnel to joint NATO exercises in the Baltics."
LTC Charles B. Smith was unavailable for comment.

the meatening

Canon A1, Ilford FP4 Plus
Kincaid's Meat Market at 56th & Illinois, where the ribbons won by the meat you're eating are hanging on the wall.

My neighbor, who grew up in the neighborhood, says the Starbucks next door used to be a little corner grocery that carried everything but meat. Instead, there was a pass-through between the two shops and, after getting rung up in the grocery, you could push your cart next door into Kincaid's and get your tasty, tasty meat.

EDIT: Bobbi informs me that, between its grocery store days and its current incarnation as a chain coffee joint, it was a Baskin Robbins.

Overheard in the Office...

RX: "Special Forces aren't the ones who have to wear helmets all the time, are they?"
I think those are the Very Special Forces.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015


Canon A1, Ilford FP4 Plus

What color is the sky in his world?

Googling up information on the Steve Malloy incident, which was a sad reminder of the need for a quality holster and why drop safety can be more than an academic concern, I stumbled across this quote at a gun forum specifically for members of the party of Bull Connor*:
"I know we think gun laws in this country are as strict as they have ever been. In reality though, never in the history of this country has gun laws been so lax than they are now."
Wow. Just... wow.

I realize that, taken as a national average, gun laws have loosened from their Peak Draconianism in '95 or so, but in a number of states that represent a large chunk of the nation's population, such as CA, NY, NJ, MA, and CT, they've never been stricter.

It was within my lifetime (albeit barely) that you could order an actual 20mm anti-tank rifle in the mail with less drama than buying a packet of Sudafed today. You're entitled to your own opinions, dude, but not your own facts.
"Be sure to ask your parents first, kids!"

*I kid, I kid... (Mostly.) Even as a wookie-suited little-l libertarian, the mainstream conservative slant of firearms fora can get tiring at times despite a sizeable minority of folks who roughly share my views. I can only imagine what it must be like for a self-identified progressive who is still in favor of the proletariat being armed, whether for self-defense or against the depredations of The Man.

Negative five degrees fondly Fahrenheit...

It's -5°F out there right now, another record daily low in the Circle City. We're supposed get up to the mid twenties, which will feel balmy by comparison. After a week or two of this stuff, anything even one degree above freezing will feel like sunbathing weather.

Atmospherically speaking, the earth's hat has slipped down rakishly over one eye, which is why it's currently twenty below over in New England while the predicted daily highs are 37°F and 50°F for Anchorage and Billings, respectively.