Things going on around here

How about this weather, eh? 32C (90F) on Friday, frosted lawn this morning. Summer left us like a thief in the night. (Lytton, the town that isn’t there anymore, set a new record September high for all of BC of 39.6C/103F.)

A small amount of rain Sunday helped damp the smoke out of the air. There are no serious fires burning near us, but enough small ones (including one 1 km behind our house) that the weather forecast one day said “smoke in the morning …” and we’re all having PTSD from the memories of past wildfires. The nightmares are real, and I think we need financial compensation from the government.

Speaking of which, certain provincial ones have decided to hand out cheques to their citizenry to help with the rampant price-gouging because nothing eases inflation like pumping more money into the economy, right? (You can just see their report cards: “Economics 101 [F]”). But don’t worry because after reporting record quarterly profits the grocery chains have assured us the increases they make are just covering their costs. Also, pigs fly.

I have not finished my pre-winter preparations around here and may not get to because suddenly it’s time to start harvesting wood. As in the overnight temperatures have dropped to where lighting the stove may be necessary at both locations while I get wood in for the season. The trick is to cut and stack it faster than you burn it.

Will we be going out to the cabin this week? Good question. I haven’t finished up even what I can do out there yet, and I just got back from WL hospital with five new holes in my arm.

Are things going well around here? No, not really. There’s huge room for improvement, and we all know it won’t happen.

Sneak preview.

A year later

It’s been about a year since the doctor welded my retina back on. Since then the sight got better up to a point, and then that was it. Now my ‘bad’ eye is my ‘good’ eye and vise-versa. The resulting vision degradation has been a real bugger, and not just for photographic endeavours. I’m doing a lot of work ‘by feel’ these days, and resigning myself to ‘good enough’ when it isn’t. Anyone who has a complaint is free to do it over themselves.

The new computer is better to look at, but doesn’t eliminate the troubles. Nor have I found any solution for the camera dilemma wherein the only one with enough zoom capacity to be useful to me is the one with the poorest viewfinder. That’s one of the ‘by feel’ functions these days: point in the general direction, see if any of the subject appears to be in the finder, and hope for the best. I think I haven’t been taking as many pictures as before, and I’m certainly discarding more of the ones I do take.

Oh well. This week’s bug project is repairing the trailer, and that’s been made more difficult by erratic weather. I have to see if I can get some spring bushings today, and cut the mount reinforcements if it doesn’t rain again. Looks like rain, though. In fact the guess is for showers until Sunday. Probably by then it will be until next Sunday. Not getting a lot of co-operation with anything these days.

Mid Century Modern art in real life.

Want versus get

We all have wants. And then there’s what we get. For instance I want to be able to always take pictures like this:

Nikon P610 showing off its abilities.

Too often these days what I get is photos like this:

Nikon P610 showing off its dysfunctions.

Same with the computer: I’d like it to work consistently, not randomly toss up hardware errors that stop me from doing whatever it is I’m trying to accomplish.

But this post is not just about technology.

I mean, I want to win the lottery. That doesn’t happen either.

I want to get the cabin renovation “finished” (an ill-defined term in this context). Yesterday that seemed to be within my grasp as I acquired the last major piece of the puzzle; the tub surround. Great! Another week of solo flying and the hard part is done. My wife can then join me and I can putter around doing all the little fiddly bits.

Except I landed in the ER last night. Again. Classic cardiac symptoms, which had abated by the time I actually got there. Hours of horrific pain and discomfort to be told by a less-than-stellar physician that it was acid reflux. Sorry, doc; I have GERD and know exactly what it feels like and this isn’t it. I’ve been in this body twice as long as you’ve been alive and know all its symptoms. Symptoms which six cardiologists and four other specialists have agreed are there, but they find the cause of. This is usually because by the time you get to the doctor the symptoms have abated, as stated above. One time they put a portable cardiac monitor on me for 24 hours. Yes, you guessed it: 24 of the most symptom-free hours of my life.

Now I have been working fairly hard for several weeks on the cabin project, and it’s probably catching up with me. All I did Monday was a bunch of errands; no heavy lifting or extended significant exertion. So naturally …

I suspect the heart symptoms are tied to the whole muscular problem. In general my muscles don’t like to behave, choosing to take random actions on their own rather than follow instructions from the brain. The heart is a muscle, as are the diaphragm and interstitials. I guess they sometimes get tired of the drudgery of regular rhythm and decide to do a free-style dance sort of thing.

Anyway I survived. Again. And today all I have to do is a few errands …

Oh dear, that’s how I got in trouble yesterday.

Well if I can keep the computer going there’s more pictures to come. If I can’t …

Eye see

Vision impaired.

Things:

1). I do not like the chromebook. Mostly due to the fact the OS does not handle certain functions well, like file handling. The ‘sliders’ for scrolling vanish when not being used, a very bad thing for me. The keyboard is too small and so is the screen @ 11″. I have not found one single thing that it does better than a real computer, and most things it barely manages to do as well. Meanwhile my ‘real’ computer continues to throw random faults.

2). Eyesight isn’t getting better, which is not surprising. Basically it’s like having eye strain within two hours of getting up. Useless and annoying. At its best the right eye isn’t much good. Sort of like the chromebook.

3). Inflation about gives me a heart attack every time I go to the store. Politicians have decided to give us a one-time gasoline rebate check. It amounts to about one tank full in Jojo at current prices. Fortunately I do not have to drive to work every day like most people. What the hell are they going to do? Quit working? Quit eating? No indication anyone is going to try and tackle the underlying problem. Instead our Fearful Leader, Prince Harming, is looking to consolidate his position as Absolute Ruler through an illegal deal made with the opposition. Whether through bribery or blackmail I don’t know, but this one is something to protest about (unlike the emergency act use).

4). My wife has made arrangements to come home. Whether or not they will happen is another thing. So far the itinerary changed within hours of her buying the tickets, and the flight plan itself is a nightmare of no sleep for her for about two days. She says she will never use West Jet again.

5). I find myself following fewer and fewer social media sites, including but not limited to photography ones. Why? Because I can’t see the pictures and can’t afford the equipment. I think my own postings may end when I run out of the ‘backlog’ because not only do I have trouble shooting but I can’t trust the computer to process an image or keep it.

6). Spring is trying desperately to arrive. The compacted snow is melting and there are robins in the yard. Unfortunately overnight lows are still below freezing and we keep getting fresh precipitation that turns to ice. I have had the first call from a ‘lake neighbour’ wondering if it’s possible to get out there soon. No, it’s not. I went up to the city the other day (for the meds I can’t get in town) and the two larger lakes along the way are still clearly frozen from shore to shore. March is awfully early to expect otherwise.

I think I’ll make some cookies, before they raise the price of the ingredients. Again.

Well guess what

I have spent an entire day’s worth of hours reworking my computer. Upgrading, downgrading, replacing the hard drive and restoring backed-up data, programs, and settings … To be rewarded with only minor losses of images, downloaded data, and some documents. They’re on the ‘defective’ drive somewhere and I may yet be able to get them back.

Of course all is for nought because the damn thing still freezes. What’s more, despite this being an identical OS install to what I had before some things are different and don’t function right even when they function at all. I suspect some of it is hardware failure caused by heat due to laptops’ notoriously poor design for dissipating heat. Also I noticed the CPU usage pings 100% from time to time.

And it is just so much fun trying to deal with this when … well have you ever seen how small the screws are that hold these things together? Imagine it with my eyesight, which is something like this:

This is what you see.
This is what I see.

Not exactly conducive to precision close work. Or anything else. Like photography.

So I’m up the proverbial creek without a paddle or a canoe. If the thing had just completely quit and not put me through that false hope of repair I’d be happier. But …

Anyway. No solutions just now. Not for anything. Whether or not I post more pictures is kind of ‘iffy’: I have some already processed but I am loathe to do more for fear of losing them. I’ve lost thousands before, but not under circumstances where I could see it coming and thus should have avoided it.

Yeah I don’t know what I’m going to do now.

Number 5 Dream

Taken with the worst camera I have*.

You are about to enter another dimension. – Rod Serling

Going ’round and ’round the out-of-control whirligig we call “life” …

Concentrate. Focus. Keyword: focus. Nope; got none o’ that.

So I have been looking at things, albeit blurrily of course. Videos, cameras, finances, realities. Yes, plural on that last one as I’m pretty sure I live in a different one from everyone else and mine only sort of intersects with theirs in the same way you can get cross-over frequency interference on an old stereo. (Don’t expect this to make sense. You didn’t expect it to make sense, did you?)

There was this video with a title like “Five Tips From My Five Years Of Photography”. Gee, should I do something like that? It’d have to have a slightly different title. Something like “More Than Fifty Tips From My More Than Fifty Years Of Photography”. Fortunately for everyone I don’t do video.

But it was amusing as were several other of that content provider’s videos, many of which had to do with cameras laughingly labelled as “affordable”. This is where the realities conflict because it seems other people’s “affordable” is my “costs more than the entire photographic arsenal I already have”.

Oh gosh it’s not just cameras either: lots of “affordable” things out there that look like everyone but me has the kind of unlimited disposable income normally only available to governments. Basically I see it as bragging you paid 7 times as much as a thing is worth. Kind of odd, really.

Plenty of examples of another pet peeve of mine to: that companies are in business to make profits, not products. This is why the CEO of, say, a soft drink company can become the CEO of a computer company next week: the product doesn’t matter, only the profit. When the driving force behind design is “what can we get people to buy that we can make huge amounts of money off from?” instead of “let’s make the best [noun] we possibly can” you get a market full of crap, a society of unhappy consumers, and landfills that rival Everest in height.

Also taken with the worst camera I have*.

To camera makers I would say this (if they would listen, which they won’t): There are FIVE things on a camera that need to have dedicated controls: aperture, focus, ISO, shutter, and zoom (if applicable). Oh you can have automatic override for any/all of them, but ultimately these are the things photographers adjust often when making pictures. If you want to go for six add exposure compensation because sometimes cameras don’t get that right (since they think all scenes average out to 18% reflective gray). Everything else you put on a camera is frippery. Most of those wonderful ‘features’ you include never get used.

To photographers I would say: you know what I just said is true. And if you really want to learn photography you should start with film if at all possible, or the closest digital equivalent to film that you can get. Why do I say this? Because I see a lot of professional photographers out there who are making a living by sheer luck with little to no understanding of the technical aspects, and I don’t just mean they failed to learn about infrared and the visible spectrum. These days “pro” seems to mean “obsessed with background blur to the extent that they only shoot wide open and end up disregarding the actual subject of the photo”. Don’t ask me how they get away with it.

Then again this weird reality you people are stuck in contains experts who think taking vodka off the shelf will stop a war. Hmm. Maybe not buying the vodka from an unstable dictatorship in the first place could have prevented the war?

Or people who praise the “science in Futurama” because they fail to recognize it is a cartoon and it is sending up the science in science-fiction; the actual laws of physics dictating that most of the things depicted are not possible. That’s the difference between sci-fi and fantasy; fantasy calls magic magic, not science.

Well I have some ideas for the time ahead to try and keep myself distracted from various horrors like losing further eyesight and not being able to afford food. Something of a long, strange trip which I will include you on if you’re foolish enough to hop on my metaphorical converted school bus.

Ride along. (Kodak V1003)

*Panasonic Lumix ZS60, which really is not a good camera.

How to be wrong three ways.

Yeah you’d never suspect until …

1). “FREEDOM END MANDATES” isn’t proper English.

2). Businesses should never take a political slant, especially not one that is essentially an agent of the government as this one is.

3). The mandates are a good idea.

If we removed these ‘mandates’ (which aren’t the cause of any problem), what next? Specifically these people (and a gang of equally stupid clowns in town and elsewhere holding protests) are against mandated vaccination for cross-border truckers. This is required by both countries, so even if our halfwit COVID-19-positive-testing Prime Minister caves to these whining assholes it won’t change anything: the USA still will not let them in. Besides which, this is not the cause of any of the current supply chain problems. (By the way the Canadian Trucking Association is embarrassed by this lunatic fringe group of idiots and washes their hands of any association with anyone not smart enough just to get the jab.)

But again, if this one mandate is removed what next? How about ending the mandated insurance for truckers? Or the mandated licensing? Why should people actually have to prove they meet any qualifications for anything before being allowed to do it? Why, I’m sure I’m just as good a brain surgeon as the fellow who graduated from Johns Hopkins with a degree in neurosurgery that has 20 years experience too! Aren’t I?

The fact is all the mandates are about protecting people. In this case from virus transmission. The first person it protects is the one who gets the jab, i.e. the trucker. It won’t prevent illness, but it will reduce the severity. It also reduces the level of infectiousness they experience, meaning they are less likely to pass it on to anyone else.

But the logic of these anti-mandate morons I should have the right to kill them to protect myself from the threat they represent because, after all, the only thing that makes it illegal for me to do so are a bunch of ‘mandates’. Also known as laws.

The reason the pandemic has dragged on so long and the reason we now face an airborne (as opposed to aerosolized), highly contagious variant of the virus is because idiots like these have been allowed to have their way and when not actually granted exceptions merely ignore the regulations that are in place to protect us all. The truth is it would all be over by now if we had locked down sooner and to a greater extent than we did instead of turning the country into a Petri dish for an uncontrolled experiment in virology.

As of this writing I know of three people who have died of COVID-19. All were properly vaccinated, but it just wasn’t enough. They were killed by the virus, but they were murdered by the stupid people who promoted its spread.  I do not wish to join them because it is a miserable way to die. But it just might be preferable to living in a world run by mobs of morons.

If you don’t agree with this, just go and kill yourself. I am right and you are wrong and the world does not need stupid people like you in it.

ADDENDUM: Four ways; it has occurred to me that the recycling from which this company makes money is mandated. Thus they are also hypocrites.

Not so good

I should already be somewhat recovered but … this operation did not go so well as the last one. There seem to be complications like continued bleeding, so … not sure what’s next. Certainly making a mess of all plans.

Obviously I’m not doing any photos. Not doing anything. Got some ‘leftovers’ though. Here’s one of them:

Paper wasp nest in lilac bush. Nikon P610.

An update kind of thing

Just about a week ago I hauled the last load of this Winter’s wood out of the forest. This was followed by hauling the four cats, two dogs, and one wife out the next day and a second trip that day to bring essentials out. The third trip was Wednesday to shut down all the cabin systems (it’s not simple, believe me) and bring out all that I couldn’t get the previous day. So four loads and each time the Nissan was stacked to the roof inside. I still missed things.

Last load of wood. (Sony a6000).

I needed another trip but it was not to be. Thursday was spent hanging around while the Telus technician installed our new fibre optic cable connections to the world. I have no use for the TV service, but it was included. Really there is nothing worth watching anymore, and the Turner Classic Movies channel that I might look at was extra money. It’s already too expensive. The Internet is 2X faster and barely noticeably so. At least I won’t have to clear snow off the satellite dish this Winter.

Pity the poor Xterra. (Sony a6000)

Friday was taken up with pre-op exam. Got the results back from that already, and they’re not so good. A few “red flags” on some items indicating problems with my kidneys (no kidding? Guess what the procedure is for). Also I have inexplicably lost a lot of weight. It is not good for a man who is 6′ tall to be 158 lbs. This needs watching. Probably just all that work but … I’m old so practically every symptom is “an alarm bell”.

At this point the insurance has expired on the Nissan and I don’t fancy renewing it for $1,000 just for one more cabin trip. Whatever happens, happens. The expenses have been getting out of control of late, nearly $150 a week for gasoline to cite one example, and we have some more unavoidable expenses coming up next month. Yes I know I just bought a camera. That isn’t even included in the financial haemorrhaging.

The trailer suffered badly too. (Sony a6000)

Saturday I spent getting things around the house here ready for snow, because snow is in the forecast for next weekend. It probably won’t happen, or at least not much, and definitely won’t stay; just a ‘trial run’. I still have much more to do before the 4th when they make it impossible for me to do much of anything for a couple of weeks. Be prepared and all that.

This upcoming week it’s building inspection, flu jabs, and a possible trip to the Big City up North to get meds and things. Weather is likely ‘dodgy’ as every forecast made for last week turned out wrong. Photography? I’d like to but … It will be a difficult thing to fit in even if possible.

Oh I ordered a lens adaptor for the Sony. The day it was supposed to be delivered the order was cancelled. No explanation. There’s a lot of ‘no explanation’ happening these days. I just hope my surgery isn’t cancelled like that.

At this rate I figure it will be December before I can relax. If then: my wife has to go to England to see to her demented sister, and the UK is in a pretty terrible state all-around right now with shortages of everything except the disease. Okay maybe I can relax in January when she gets back. If she does. It’s a realistic fear for several reasons.

More photos to come as I have a few ‘stored up’ for whatever reason.

All clean now. (Sony a6000)

It’s been a bad week

Let’s cut to the chase, as the saying goes. The result of my latest eye exam amounted to “there’s nothing more we can do” and “watch out for it getting worse”. About what I expected, really.

Things did get worse, but they were different things. E-Bay canceled my account with no explanation given. A few minutes searching turned up the fact that this happens more often than it should, and that there is no recourse. Well fine. Another small pleasure taken from me without reason. I hope they understand that shutting down accounts of buyers and sellers is not a good business plan for a web site that relies on buyers and sellers. But I doubt they do. (It is especially frustrating as there were a couple of things I was trying to buy and I had finally managed to get one of my items listed for sale.) On the whole it’s about as bad as every other site on the Internet: causing grief for legitimate users while utterly failing to stop abusers. Even WordPress keeps tossing up “unsupported browser” messages.

I have been systematically removing all my Facebook posts, because it is a failure of a website too. If you can’t use the site, why have an account? PayPal will be going under the axe as well, since I only ever used it for e-Bay and now PP has added an “inactive account fee” (as of November 20).

At this point I have no pleasures in my life, only work and the pain that goes with it. It’s wood harvesting time, you see. Yeah, I know.

So today’s pictures are … failures. Some images to give you a taste of what normally comes out of the cameras these days. Can’t have people thinking I’m still turning out good shots all the time, because I’m not.

This is what I see: everything blurred at any distance all the time.
Barely spotted song sparrow in the bush – and it’s out of focus.
How I get tricked: camera said “in focus”. Except that was the little pine tree which I could not even see as I tried to fix on the broken poplar behind it.
There are spots. I could not see them looking through the camera; they only show up on the computer. They had to be on the lens as they don’t appear after cleaning it. Besides the Nikon shouldn’t get spots on its sensor.
See the duck? No? It’s in there, flying away because it can react faster than me & my camera.
This is an eagle. You’ll have to take my word for it because once again …

That’s the way it’s going now: mostly failures because I can’t see what I’m doing. About the only time I can get a good shot now is in bright daylight, and then it has to be a large, stationary object. At that I may need several frames to get one decent.

Needless to say I am not happy. I can’t even continue my revised Master Plan to make my photography a bit easier for me. Thanks, e-Bay you load of incompetent bastards.

There’s no joy left.