Nothing, Really

It’s the Ides of March, but I seem to lack the ambition to assassinate anything but time.  Lousy weather this weekend (after some promising days late last week) kept me off the water; today opened with cotton-candy-like gobs of snow falling eerily to earth, followed later in the day by 20 - 30 mph winds, pelting rain and the occasional sucker-hole of bright sunshine.  We managed a walk to Fremont yesterday to buy groceries at PCC, and I peeled off of the couch to ride down to the gym this afternoon.

I spent a chunk of yesterday and today watching the Big Ten men’s basketball tournament, as Ohio State upset Michigan State yesterday and played (and lost) to Purdue in the championship game today.   One thing that occurred to me, and I’m surprised it hasn’t before, is how much the chorus of squeaking from 20 basketball shoes resembles a tree full of birds during nesting season.  I guess there’s a reason I don’t write for Sports Illustrated.

The NCAA March Madness tournament starts this week.  For a long time, I regarded it in its current 65-team incarnation as a bloated abomination that cheapened the regular season by allowing as many as 8 teams from a conference into the tournament.  But the last couple of years, I’ve started to warm up to it, probably because my expectations of the Buckeyes are pretty low, and I can just enjoy it as a pageant.  This first week, especially, is a riotous bazaar of game, going almost nonstop from Thursday morning to Sunday night, and it’s kind of like going to a music festival where you can walk from venue to venue sampling all manner of entertainments.  OSU plays Siena at 10pm EDT Friday night and if they win, will probably play Louisville, the #1 seed in the entire tournament, on Sunday. That‘ll lower your expectations, fersure.

I’m also sort of Jonesing for a camera, a successor a couple of generations removed to my Canon S3 IS.  It’s the SX10 IS, or its sidekick the SX1 IS.  Each has a 20x optical zoom (the 12x zoom is the thing that most endears me to the S3) and, like the S3, can record video in stereo.  The SX1, however, has a CMOS chip and can record video in HD.  But it’s about $250 more.  I don’t know why I care, since I don’t own any kind of display that will render HD in the house, and I’d probably have to buy a gazillion-gigabyte memory chip.

The natural progression for someone who snaps as much as I do would probably be to move up to a DSLR and invest in some lenses.  However, so much of my photography is done on the run, impromptu, and is only possible because I’m usually carrying my camera.  And I don’t think I’d be as likely to sling a DSLR and a gaggle of lenses onto my shoulder.  Both the SX1 and SX10 are the smaller sub-SLR with the lens built-in.

Have a good week, and beware of leprechauns selling securitized peat-bog mortgages.


  1. I like when you do research on cameras that your jonesing for. It saves me from having to do all of that myself. I keep thinking it would be nice to have a new camera, but I don’t even know where to begin looking anymore. There are so many new features, speeds, lenses.

    Sorry to hear about the crazy weather. Hope spring comes and finally stays for a while there.

  2. Carroll:

    I can relate to the camera issue, Phil, though in no way could I possibly begin to justify even so much as a passing thought in that direction. I *miss* my long lenses from days of old. I was very conscious of “camera-envy” on our most recent trip. No one can tell when you’re holding a fist-sized thing like you and I have right now whether it’s anything special, but those guys in the front row with their big guns trained on the whale’s tail…yeah, baby!

    I agree with the whole “portability” issue though — changing lenses is a royal pain, and you almost never have the right one on when the moment strikes. I think the answer (seriously — and cue enabling music here) is to keep two or three cameras right at the ready. One really small thing for pocket snapshots, one like our current versions for planned but “no big deal” outings, and then some really spiffy new one with all the bells and whistles because once you’ve got that you’ll surely have to plan a major trip somewhere to really make good use of it. African safari, anyone?

  3. Carroll:

    Oops — forgot you’re already ahead of me on the camera curve. Your S2-IS is the one that went missing somehow, right? You already one-upped me with its replacement. (Sigh) I can’t remember what big rig our son has right now, but he’s getting some darn nifty images with it. I think you should go for one, Phil — you’ll get great use and years of pleasure out of fooling around with all that great gear. And, in terms of any other form of mid-life crisis, it’s a veritable financial bargain! Plus, just think — you’ll really be helping out the national economic recovery process :-)

  4. Carroll:

    Me again.

    Nikon D200, that’s the one our younger son is very happy with. He’s always really appreciated having “gear” connected to the various endeavors he’s pursued over the years. (I think he had about six different kinds of strapping/wrapping tape on hand at all times when he played high school football :-) In this case, piling on the lenses and researching assorted accessories has kept him very cheerful for the past year or so.

  5. I want a more upscale camera than my little Nikon, too, but I really need photographic skills to catch up, first. My present skills warrant an old Brownie, but I’ve been extravagant with what used to be my money. You, on the other hand, should have the best of the finest; I want to see the magic photos you take and I, for one, would be willing to invest your money in the very best equipment. Go for it. It’s only money, and it will soon be gone, anyway, so use it while you’ve got it!

  6. Phil:

    Sorry, haven’t been back here for awhile. If there were a CPS for blogs, I’d be in jail.

    Robin - I like for in-depth and what I perceive as reasonably unbiased reviews. Lots of info there.

    Carroll - Thanks for the D200 info. Is this the son who’s an outdoor guide? Does he have a site for his photos? I think it’s too late for me to have a mid-life crisis. You know, I don’t know/can’t remember how to use 3/4 of the stuff on my S3, so I think I’d be foolish to geometrically compound my ignorance with all that gear. I find myself getting too lazy to engage new technologies willy-nilly. My mom gave me a small wrist-GPS for Xmas 2007, and I didn’t take it out of the box and start using it until late last summer. I have a Bluetooth earpiece for my cell phone, and half the time I find myself shouting into the wrong device when I get a call.

    Springer - see previous paragraph for corroboration of your syndrome. Perhaps need to scale back the camera and scale up the travel budget.

  7. Carroll:

    Heh, no — this is the son who is doing well enough at a “real job” that he can afford some toys — and trips to interesting far-away places like Egypt and Africa where he’s had much fun using them. I’ll ask his permission to forward a link or two to you from his Flickr site — not sure if it’s public or just on friend/family setting. I can totally relate to the techno(in)competence issues, Phil. Heck, it still eludes my consciousness that in order to actually work, a cel phone must not only be *with* me, but charged up and (amazing, I know) *turned on*. Feh.