New camera on the way?

OK, so a guy at work gave me another camera to sell on Ebay. I’ve been doing this for him (for a fee of course) for a while, so no problem, right? Well, there’s a slight problem, there’s no effin way I’m selling this camera, it is very close to my ideal… Yes, I had heard of this before, but I had never seen one. He has everything, the camera, 3 lenses, many backs, even a polaroid back! Check it out:

Isn’t it sweet? OK, I’ll explain. It is used like a view camera, with interchangeable backs, and even front movements (rise/fall, swing, tilt) but get this, it uses roll film instead of sheets! That means 8 shots at a time instead of 1. That means much less weight and bulk. The neg is smaller than 4×5, but not by much. The coolest thing is that I can shoot either with the ground glass back (like a regular view camera) or I can shoot with the rangefinder! Yup, I can shoot this beauty like my Leica! How am I going to pay for this? I’ll sell off the cameras I bought. Yes I’ll take a bit of a hit on them, but I’ll have a much nicer camera for the trip.


Back from funeral

It was as you might expect. Sad. It was good to see everyone although we all agreed that we would rather not have met for a funeral. The service itself was very nice. The priest did a good job and there was a pretty big turnout.

Beth (my cousin) looked as lovely as ever. She read a poem that my grandmother had kept by her bed for years. It was all about how she didn’t really die, that she’s the breeze and rain in spring, the sun in summer. Wasn’t a dry eye in the place, except for her, she has some serious willpower, remind me never to get in a battle of wills with her…

In better news my other cousin (Ed) is out if the hospital and recovering well. He made it to the funeral which surprised me. What also surprised me was his comment that he now feels better than he had for the previous two years. That’s after spinal cord surgery! He must have been in pretty bad shape.

It’s back to work tomorrow, yippee! I have now used up all of my remaining vacation time. Wasn’t a good year for vacations. Used an entire week’s worth on being sick (over my birthday) and now a funeral. Guess that’s OK since I have a rather long one coming up:-) Just gotta keep thinking about the trip and everything will be fine…


Going to funeral

I’ll be going up to my grandmother’s funeral tomorrow and be back on thursday night. The whole clan will be there. I don’t think that we’ve all been together since my aunt’s wedding… 28 years ago. Too bad we couldn’t have arranged this while Gram was still alive…


Economic child rearing

On a whim, I browsed through the iTunes store podcast section, did a search under “economics” and found some interesting stuff. This particular thing I think many people would find interesting… One of my old professors from GMU has a podcast series entitled “Econtalk”. One of his podcasts is called “The Economics of Parenting.” No, he does not talk about the dollars and cents involved, but the idea of aligning your wishes for your child and the incentives for them to follow those rules. It’s classic economics (or rational choice theory if you prefer) which means that it sounds a lot like common sense. For example, how do you avoid the inevitable struggle of bundling up your 2 year old before going out? You want them to be wrapped up to protect against the cold, but they feel obstinate and like to practice saying “No!” The simplest thing is to pick them up and take them outside without a coat into the cold weather. They will gladly put on the coat and you don’t even have to tell them… And no, they aren’t advocating putting your child in danger, but 30 seconds of cold will not hurt them.

A more interesting thing to me is the idea of sharing the child’s punishment. If they do something that they shouldn’t and you decide to punish them by withholding dessert, you should forgo dessert as well. The same goes for grounding, loss of phone or internet privileges, etc. The reason this is effective is sound economic theory. By doing this, a couple of things happen. First of all, it eliminates the possibility of a child misreading their punishment as a way for you to profit, i.e. they don’t get dessert so that you can have extra. That’s a little silly, but it can happen. More importantly, it reinforces the idea of punishment as a way of changing behavior instead of the child thinking that some sort of revenge or bullying is taking place. In addition, it eliminates those temptations for the parent. That’s especially important for some people….

It’s a good example of how broad a reach economic reasoning can have and why it is such a fascinating field of study. In addition, Roberts is a good talker and enjoyable to listen to, check them out here:



Took the day off from work today, I was in no shape to deal with the public. Part of me thinks I should have gone in, after all, I do do need the money. But random teary episodes are embarrassing, not to mention ineffectual sales techniques. SO I was looking for distractions today… Mostly it was food. Thank God I’ve gotten into the habit of not drinking, I’d be totally shitfaced right now… and being drunk by yourself is just pathetic. No, I turn to food instead. Today it was mass quantities. Made pancakes this morning, and I made a huge portion of tortolleni with chicken and yellow peppers in a pesto sauce… Lots of snacks, till all hours of the night. The typical stress induced pig out…

I also rented some movies. Well, to be more precise, some TV shows. The anime place had a series that I was introduced to by a friend in Gloucester. It’s called Ranma 1/2. Basically, it revolves around a 16 year old martial artist that is engaged against his will to a female martial artist who claims not to like boys. Here’s the twist. Whenever Ranma gets doused with cold water, he turns into a she. Hot water turns her back into him. Bang! Instant gender switch! Hilarity ensues… It’s a silly show, just over the adolescent humor threshold, but it was what I needed.

It had a few surprises in store for this Gaijun. First of all was the showing of perky, 16 year old breasts, and not infrequently I might add… The mammary evidence was used quite a bit to show that he had indeed become a she. There is also the inevitable bath scenes too. All very innocent stuff, but nothing that you’d ever see in America. The Japanese seemingly have a much healthier view of breasts.

There is also some not so subtle homo eroticism as a recurrent theme. Ranma’s fiance (who is just as unhappy as he is with the situation) is much closer and intimate when Ranma is a girl. On the other hand, the school fencing champion has fallen for Ranma’s feminine side completely. Ranma has dreams of Kumo (the fencing champion) asking Ranma out while Ranma is still a guy. That would really mess with anyone’s head. Once again, not the typical stuff you’d see from an American animated show… Still, it was fun, and laughing is the best distraction of all.


New music

I treated myself to some new music courtesy of my Amazon rewards. I heard a smoking salsa song on the radio the other day and I managed to track down the album. That was a bit of a feat as my Espanol is pretty weak. The song I heard was El Quinto De Beethoven (a fith of beethoven) by te Cresta All Stars. That song is as I remembered it. Unfortunately the rest of the CD is a bit uneven. There are some truly awful songs on there with a couple of pretty good ones. Of course none of the other songs sound like “Quinto..” It’s pretty good I suppose, but not as good as I was hoping for.

Also got Sonic Youth’s eponomously titled first album. A guy I work with told me that it was amazing, that I had to hear it, especially the live stuff. Being a Sonic Youth fan, I went ahead and got it. Eh… It’s OK, but I think that only a die hard fan would really appreciate it. That means that I would have to be in just the right mood. Give me Sister, Sonic Youth, Daydream Nation, or even Evol instead. Maybe my next purchase will be better…


Hand writing

I have noticed that my hand writing has progressively gotten worse and worse. That’s really bad since it was never all that good to begin with. I have started to practice writing again. I got a fountain pen and I even tried to write in cursive for the first time in 15 or 18 years. I remembered most of the letters, but I definitely need practice. It’s fun fooling around with this stuff, there’s something very satisfying about writing with a “real” pen. You don’t have to spend a zillion dollars either, I think the one I’m using was all of $25, but it makes a big difference in how it feels to write. I’ve also dug up my ink. Years ago I got on a fountain pen kick. Had some really nice pens too, A Pelikan, a Waterman, and some others. All of them got stolen, I gave up buying fancy pens, but I still had the ink. Good old black, blue/black, and a lovely green. I’ve added a really nice brown to my arsenal, it’s fun and cheap! I’ve been corresponding with my cousin and she’s suffering through my hand writing, but I think it’s getting better:-)


Immunizations… ouch!

And not in the way you think. After going to yet another doctor’s only to be told that they don’t have the immunizations I need, I was given the number of a place that does. I called them up and asked for a ballpark price. I’m looking at $350! And that doesn’t include the rabies one, that’ll put the cost closer to $600! What the hell? Suddenly, everything in my life is getting expensive. I’m going to look for a less expensive option, maybe I can go and get the stuff and my mother can give me the shots…

If you ever wondered what you should get when traveling to the middle east, the CDC recommends Hepatitis A and B, Typhoid, Meningitis, and perhaps rabies. Gah, my money is being squeezed more and more…


Happy Easter!

What would you think would be the three highest attendance days of Christian churches? If you go by the importance of the celebration, I would think that Easter would be the tops followed by Good Friday and Christmas. In reality, Easter comes in third and Christmas is second. Good Friday isn’t even on the map, which I find unconscionable… What’s the day with the highest attendance? Mother’s day. There is no religious connection at all there, so why the big crowds on that day? It’s the one day that wives can consistently drag their husbands to church…

That’s a quick glimpse into my avoidance of going to church. I can’t shake the feeling that spiritual aspects can never be anything but personal, so what is gained by going to church? I’ve never understood it. Luckily I’ve never felt the need either… Happy Easter everyone, get out there and enjoy life!