I’ve been trying to post No Uncertain Terms under What I’ve Been Reading for the last couple months, but the “post on my blog” link just doesn’t work for it. Crazy. Anyway, a good book for the etymologically inclined. I love William Safire’s sunday column as much as I used to love to hate his other two columns.
Archive for the ‘Hiking’ Category
I’d like to first thank everyone responsible for the entertainment at Saturday night’s party. It was priceless! You guys are fun and should blow shit up more often! Ain’t nothin’ better than a party that gets busted up and you’re not the one what did it. (^o^)
I went out to enslanted rock yesterday with Jason Favors; we chilled, drank some beer, and just generally relaxed a whole lot. It was hella fun. There was a small amount of water there. It was technically stagnant, since it wasn’t going any where, but it was fresh enough not to smell bad and held many turtles and minnows that nipped at the hairs on my legs, so I figured it was okay. I went back out today and the water was at least six inches lower, and had that not-so-fresh thing going on, so we went to Barton Springs Pool instead. I should have taken more pictures, but I was there with a bunch of people, and only took a couple snaps on the way out.
Anybody that likes beers and hasn’t had the Sierra Nevada IPA; Central Market south has this beer right now. I’ve never seen it in a bottle before. As RateBeer points out, this is a rare beer. If you like it, get some before it’s gone.
Of course, it might not be going away. A visit to the specialty beers page at the Sierra Nevada web site indeed clarifies that these beers are only available on tap, so this may be a permanent change. I’ve never had any of the other beers on this page, so I’m gonna hafta start keeping an eye out.
I went out to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center today. It was nice, although it had fewer, uh, wildflowers, per se, than I expected. It did have some nice gardens with Texas wildflowers, and I got a few decent pics. There were some crazy emerald green bees out there, too. I don’t recall having seen them before.
I went up to the Bull Creek greenbelt today on my way to the Arboretum to have dinner (note: Chipotle chicken pasta=good). I also stopped at the 360 bridge overlook on the way home, and took some pictures at all three places. Some of ‘em are okay. I wanna go back out to Bull creek and go swimming sometime soon. It runs fast right now.
Hey, I didn’t end up going to Sculpture Falls last Saturday, but I did go the day before that and took some pictures. It’s looking pretty good, kinda crowded. Hopefully Twin will fill up and the frat boys’ll go there.
I also took yet another trip to the Capitol yesterday to take some pics with my new camera and see what I could accomplish with it that I couldn’t with the old. Quite a bit, actually. It’s a lot better in low light.
Heya all. If you haven’t seen me, it’s because I’ve been spending time hanging out with my drunken-ass friend Dan Mobley, who’s only in town every coupla years or so, then goes back to Guam, where the whores are cheap and the liquor’s cheaper. Or maybe it’s the other way around. I’ll have to ask him.
When I haven’t been hanging out with Dan, drinking like a goddamned drain, I’ve been playing Oblivion, or hanging out at the Greenbelt or taking pictures or some combination of the above. These are important things.
If I promised I’d come over to your place and haven’t, then I will. Someday. Soon. Soon-ish.
If I said I’d take you out for dinner, well, I didn’t so much forget as stay up drinking until eight in the morning and then pass out for the rest of the day. I’ll make it up to ya.
If I said I’d help you walk your dog, then I’m a goddamned liar.
That said, none of this would be an issue if you were hanging out with me all the time in the first goddamned place.
Goddamnit, I sure am saying goddamned a lot.
Anyway, you know who you are, and I’m sorry. I’ll do anything to make it up to you.*
You should come out the Greenbelt next Saturday, earlier this time. Going to Sculpture falls if it’s running good and hard. Longer walk, easier trail. Fewer rattlesnakes. Still aiming for food at 3p though.
Talk to ya soon,-k. ^-^
*–”anything” should not here be construed to mean anything that I don’t like doing to begin with. I am an asshole, after all.
Sculpture Falls is flowing. It’s nice. I’m gonna have a thing with food there next Saturday, maybe there. Everybody’s invited. Let me know if you’re coming, so I’ll know how much food to get. Gonna get a Hibachi or something.
I got a new camera, a Rebel XT with an 17-85mm IS lens. It takes pictures in the fucking dark. I posted some pictures of the Greenbelt from Sunday . There’s also some test shots. Some of the pics are kind of grainy, because I was basically walking around in the dark or shooting in my living room, and there’s not much light there.
I love this camera.
I love oblivion, too, but it’s 3:34, so I’ll write about that some other time.
I went down to Scottish Woods Trail today; I haven’t been out there in, Idunno, too many months, but I don’t remember there being a lot of water there last time–it was kind of a foul-smelling puddle. Since I’d told Happie and Beth yesterday that there would be water there if there was water anywhere, I resolved to go out today and check it out myself.
There’s water there. Lots of water. This much water. It’s cool and it’s clear and it smells good, at least the pool above the lower dam. You can find me there every saturday afternoon from now until there’s water somewhere better. I might go some mornings too.
The pictures I got today are kind of so-so; Scottish woods looks a lot better in the morning, because the sky on the pretty(-er) side isn’t full of sun. There are some pictures of it in summer here. It looks a lot the same, except with flowers and leaves.
Ed. Note: I dropped over by the greenbelt entrance on spyglass and made a few pictures with the crappy new camera I talk about below.
My main camera has started getting about 20 pictures on a set of batteries, and unless I can figure out what’s going wrong or fix it myself, is not likely to get fixed. The economics just don’t really warrant it–it’s a $300 camera, and it seems unlikely it’d get fixed for less than $200. Even if it’s less than that, I’m kind of reluctant to dump more money in a camera that lately seems more and more limited. Maybe I’m just looking for an excuse to buy a new camera.
In any case, I managed to convince myself that I needed a backup camera, in case I, say for instance, went on vacation and found out my “real” camera was not working correctly. So, I went down and got myself a teeny little Sony DSC-S600, Which is a very small, very basic 6MP camera. I picked it up for $230, including tax and a 2-year warranty from Fry’s.
I’m pretty torn about this camera. The voice of frugality tells me to take the camera back and keep the money, because it doesn’t do many of the things that I want. However, anybody know knows me knows that that voice of frugality is usually muffled by the door of the small closet I keep it in when I’m not beating it fists full of $10 quarter rolls.
The problem is that it does do a lot of stuff. It does more stuff than the Canon PowerShot A20 I used before I got my E-10. Technically speaking, it’s even got some features my E-10 doesn’t have, like continuous 5-zone autofocus and more-zoned evaluative metering. Plus it’s got more pixels. It’s even got a movie-recording mode that doesn’t look half-bad when set to the highest quality.
On top of that, it’s very compact and lightweight. My E-10 weighs two pounds and change. The DSC-S600 weighs “and change”–6.4 ounces, with batteries. It’s small enough to fit in a pocket, whereas the E-10 is small enough to fit in a trunk, and most backpacks.
Of course, that’s not the whole story. The big story is the stuff that’s missing. No aperature- ot shutter-priority mode. As a matter of fact, no exposure control at all beyond a +/- EV setting. That’s no great problem, although it is a problem. The great problem is that there’s no manual focus. I’ve shot days with my E-10 where I rarely futzed with the exposure–most of my time in big bend was spent in completely-automatic Program mode–but I didn’t realize how much I use manual focus. More accurately, I used the super-sharp DSLR focusing screen to tell what’s in focus, even when I wasn’t focusing manually. It makes a huge difference. it is very difficult to tell, with this new camera, what exactly it is that you’re taking a picture of.
Another thing is the resolution. Sure, it’s got 2 million pixels more than the E-10, but that isn’t a huge gain on its face (2240 horizontal pixels to 2816, an extra 25% in horizontal resolution). Moreover, the teeny lens and relatively small amount of light admitted by it combine to make the individual pixels on the S600 considerably noisier and less sharp than on the E-10. I’d definitely go so far as to say that the E-10 produces sharper pictures, even at the lower megapixel count. I should have known that big huge honking lens was good for something.
Almost as important, there’s no lens thread to mount filters and such on the S600. This isn’t a big deal, except for the polarizer. If you don’t think a polarizer is a big deal, check out this image, with no polarizer:
…and this image, with:
Luckily, I can jury-rig a solution by holding my 62MM polarizer in front of the lens. Primitive, but it works.
So the camera sucks compared to a much more sophisticated camera that still sells for half again as much, even after six years. No surprise there. It’s not supposed to replace the E-10, but provide something for me to limp along with until next month, when I can work a little more overtime and replace it with a Canon EOS-300D or EOS-10D. Or maybe, if I’m feeling rich, Canon EOS-350D or even a EOS-20D. They’re coming out with the 30D now, that’s gotta drive prices on the 20D down…
When I was posting my Big Bend pics, I noticed that several galleries I’d created weren’t listed on the gallery list on the left. I’m not sure if I didn’t put them here before, or if they got wiped out in my bungled Drupal upgrade attempt, but I re-exported them, and here they are now:
- Townlakia III – More pictures from Lown Lake, circa October 2005
- Townlakia IV – Town Lake pics from November. It occurs to me I’ve got quite a bit of year-round Town Lake images.
- Red Bud Isle – Red Bud Isle, Red Bud Trail at Town Lake, another city park. It’s awesome. November 2005
- Back Porch Flowers – I saw some flowers on the Patio last November, snapped a few pics.
- Campus II – Some pics from the UT campus last October.
- Greenbelt in October – The Greenbelt. In October.
- Mount Bonnell – Mount Bonnell, a big fault-created hill with Delusions of Grandeur and a cliff on one side. It’s got a nice view of Lake Austin. These are a few pics I snapped in October
- Still Life — Honeycrisp apples and bottles taken in my bathroom. I’m only uploading this because of an OCD need to match the photos in my screensaver with the photos on my web site. Not really worth looking at, unless you don’t know what a large bottle of Chimay looks like.