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And I now have a point-and-shoot camera…

June 6, 2011, 11:56 PM

So I now have four active cameras in my arsenal. I have my real camera, a Canon Powershot SX10 IS. Then I have my waterproof camera, Duckie, a Vivitar ViviCam 6200W. Then I have my cell phone, a Motorola Droid. And now I have a fourth: a point-and-shoot, a Canon Powershot A800. It’s there for when I want to take pictures of stuff in instances when my main camera is unavailable or impractical, like when I’m commuting to and from work, etc. This is something that I can put in my work bag or my pocket, and won’t need its own bag like the Canon. This is the kind of stuff that I would otherwise use my cell phone camera for (making this more of an upgrade over the cell phone camera), but I want to do better quality and have a little more control. This new camera is 10 megapixel, which is the same as my real camera. Thus this one slots between my real camera and Duckie.

And the acceptance testing went as well as one might expect. I’ve used Canon point-and-shoot cameras before, and so this was simply a matter of testing the camera to verify that everything was indeed as I thought it would be, and then declaring the camera ready for operational use.

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Categories: Cameras

People don’t step back and observe enough anymore…

May 14, 2011, 9:42 PM

No one ever seems to step back and just watch things happen, and I noticed myself doing exactly that today. I was at the Barnes & Noble store in Montrose Crossing shopping center in Rockville today, and in walking past the windows on the second floor, I caught myself just watching the traffic through the parking lot of this rather busy shopping center on a busy Saturday afternoon. Then I filmed some of it, because we all need to kind of step back and observe. Enjoy:

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Categories: Photography, Rockville

Obviously, the date and time would be too useful to display…

December 19, 2010, 1:59 AM

Coming back from a Christmas shindig in Northern Virginia this evening, I encountered this sign on the Beltway:

TERROR TIPS?  CALL 1-800-492-TIPS

Basically, the sign encourages people to report “terror tips” to the authorities at the aforementioned number. A little research indicates that the number goes to the Maryland Coordination and Analysis Center, a state counter-terrorism agency.

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“What do we want? BEER! When do we want it? NOW!”

October 3, 2010, 10:32 PM

On Saturday, I was one of tens of thousands down in Washington DC, attending the One Nation Working Together rally at the Lincoln Memorial. My plan was to join the youth and student contingent that was marching to the rally site from Freedom Plaza.

Let me say it up front: I was disappointed with the way the One Nation Working Together rally came off. For the radical community, the whole rally was a bit of a non-starter. We’re the kind of types that thrive on direct action. Take your message to the streets, and do whatever it takes to get the word out and force change. Sitting on the grass listening to speeches for four hours is not how you get things going. I have made fun of the Tea Party for this, and unfortunately, this event was essentially “Tea Party Left”, meaning it was the same type of event, but with left-wing ideas, none of the racism, and correctly-spelled signs.

Thus for me, the most effective part of it all was the feeder, taking it to the street on the way to the big rally. When it comes to speeches, you are very much preaching to the choir. And this was a made-for-TV event, as the only view that many attendees got of the speakers was from the television monitors set up at intervals along the Lincoln Memorial reflecting pool. Well, hell – for that, I could have just watched it on C-SPAN in my pajama pants, and used my own toilet rather than a port-a-potty.

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Categories: Activism, Photography

Leaving for Stuarts Draft in a bit…

January 14, 2010, 11:41 AM

Yes, as soon as the laundry is finished (see, Mom, I am capable of taking clean clothes down when I visit), I’m heading out to Stuarts Draft. I can’t believe that this weekend is almost here. My sister’s getting married this Saturday! She’s going to become Mrs. Chris Lysy on Saturday.

Of course, now I’m going to have to get used to seeing “Ann Lysy” on Facebook and such. That’s just going to be strange to see, but I’m sure she’ll be happy as can be.

Then meanwhile, I am going to get to Stuarts Draft under my own power, despite that the wheel of automotive misfortune has been spinning in my direction as of late. Recall that I’ve not had a good time with the car lately. First the car spazzed out on me on Christmas Eve as I was leaving for work. Then when I was in Roanoke on the 30th with Mom, the car didn’t want to start up. After a trip to the Firestone place in Wheaton when I got back, though, the car was running fine again. However, (automotive) misfortune apparently comes in threes, and on Tuesday, when I went to get into the car to go to work (if I know I’m going to be working late, I drive), I discovered that the right front tire was flat. Greeeeeeeeeat. So I had to call AAA and get the spare put on. Then I was on my way. Then yesterday, another trip to Firestone got my brand-new tire fixed up. The comment was, 20-some thousand miles is what this thing is supposed to last, and it didn’t even make it to 100. But they fixed it, and determined it was probably a bad seal.

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Categories: Cameras, Family, Mercury Sable

I actually got compliments on my bathroom…

August 2, 2009, 3:25 PM

My parents came by as planned, and we had a great time. I actually got compliments on the cleanliness of my bathroom, believe it or not. It certainly pays to really give the place a once-over. Of course, my parents got advance warning that I had cleaned. I posted a status message on Facebook indicating that I was cleaning, and my Aunt Mary, whom, along with Uncle Bruce, my parents visited before leaving New Jersey, saw the status message and commented on it. And Mom noticed that I had missed dusting my printer, and wrote “MOM” in the dust, and then dusted it with a paper towel.

So we got together, and went out for lunch. We originally planned to eat at Umbertos in Wheaton, but much to our dismay, they were closed. I don’t know what was going on, because they were supposed to have been open based on their posted hours, and the restaurant was in a bit of disarray, with the chairs missing, and the tables arranged in a way like they’re doing something or other. So who knows what’s going on. This merits further investigation, but a phone call to the restaurant a few hours later got no answer, and a call to the other Umbertos in Potomac got nowhere. I hope they’re not closed for good, because that would be a disappointment. That’s a favorite of mine for entertaining, and it’s really a diamond in the rough as far as Wheaton is concerned.

So we went to downtown Silver Spring, and had lunch there instead. We went to Austin Grill, which also serves Tex-Mex cuisine, though not as authentic as Umbertos. At Umbertos, the staff consists of mostly native speakers of Spanish and converse amongst each other in Spanish, while at Austin Grill, the employees definitely speak English as a first language. But the food was good. I had the grilled chicken burrito, my father had the burger, and Mom had enchiladas. I also got a hat from the Don Strock Diabetes Classic golf tournament, which Uncle Bruce’s company sponsored.

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Why is it that I always seem to finish photo set projects at two in the morning?

March 1, 2009, 2:49 AM

Yep… it’s almost 3 AM on a Saturday night/Sunday morning, and in the last hour or so, I finally finished Midnight March, which is about a protest against the World Bank and IMF during their fall 2008 meetings.

This set was more challenging than most protest sets I’ve shot. I’ve done plenty of protest marches before, both in daylight, as well as at night. I believe my most recent nighttime protest photo before that one was October Rebellion, specifically the Georgetown march. That was shot in some of the worst weather conditions that I had ever experienced during a protest march. After all, it was raining hard, and it was cold. Plus everyone was on edge due to the way that march was promoted. But for Midnight March, I had the weather on my side, as the skies were completely clear. And it was only slightly cool outside, much to my delight. Very comfortable protest weather. But the camera was something of an unknown quantity. I had barely done any shooting at night with the Kodak, with most of the nighttime shooting consisting of two Anon raids, and a day out with Katie. And all those were cases where I could carefully line up my shots. Can’t do that at a protest march, unfortunately. You have to go with the flow and keep up with the crowd.

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You know, I’d wanted for years to have a life in and around Washington. Now, I’m going to be glad to spend a week away from it next month.

July 17, 2008, 11:25 PM

Yeah, it’s time for a change of scenery. After all, I’ve been living in Silver Spring and working in Washington for a year and two months now. Amazing how time flies. But yeah, in a little more than a month, I’m taking my vacation! I’m going to Virginia Beach, and I’m excited. You do realize I’ve not been on a get-out-of-town vacation in three years, don’t you. The last time I went was in 2005.

This one ought to be a lot of fun, though. Usually when I go to Virginia Beach, I go by myself, and tend to concentrate on my photography, with a bit of a change in scenery. And this year… new equipment! While we certainly miss Big Mavica, its optical zoom sucked. And that was a real bummer in 2004 and 2005 when I hit the beach with it, and I couldn’t get close-in ocean shots from the hotel balcony. Now mind you, I think Atlantic Sunrise in 2004 was a great photo set. But I didn’t get a lot of the close-in detail that I really enjoyed in Sunrise at Virginia Beach from 2000. The close-ups really made the earlier set special, and technical limitations prevented me from doing that again in 2004. Now I’ve got a 12x optical zoom, and different nighttime settings, so we’ll see what happens this time around.

But what really excites me is the idea of using my waterproof “duckie” camera. I’d love to take that one out into the surf and see what I can get. After all, the thing is waterproof, so we might as well make good use of it. Big Mavica, to quote Fenton Crackshell from Ducktales, was “more gizmo than duck” when it came to water. So taking “duckie” in the ocean really ought to be fun. Might even cause me to spend a little more time in the ocean than I did last time. I think last time, out of four days, I spent a grand total of three hours in the water. But yeah, with “duckie”, it ought to be fun.

Yeah, I can’t wait until August 24…

Categories: Cameras, Vacations

And we are once again fully operational. Now I just need something to photograph…

May 4, 2008, 9:16 PM

I finally got a chance to test the new Kodak Z1012 IS camera tonight, and let me say that this is a big leap from Big Mavica. So here’s a quick round of test shots:

My kitchen

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Categories: Cameras

I have about 7 GB of SD card volume now – think that’s enough?

May 3, 2008, 2:23 PM

After a trip down to Stuarts Draft on Friday night, Mom and I went to Costco in Harrisonburg to get various odds and ends. Among other things, I got two 2 GB SD cards to use on the new cameras. Thus I have the two 1 GB Polaroid SD cards I bought at Target, the free 1 GB card I got from Kodak along with a fanny pack of some kind (I wouldn’t call that thing a camera bag), and now these two 2 GB ones from Costco. And I hope I’m all set. I get like 200 photos on a single 1 GB card on the Vivitar, and that’s 6.0 megapixels. Then I’ve been too busy to give the 10.1 megapixel Kodak a test run yet (it arrived on Wednesday), so I don’t know about how that will go, but hopefully I’ve got enough capacity now.

That’s the thing about this – I have no track record at all with the Kodak, and then I’ve only done about three photo sets with the Vivitar. That was a test set, then Operation Reconnect with Anonymous, and then counter-protesting the Nazis with my regular activist buddies. Going by Big Mavica’s standard’s doesn’t work, since everything’s bigger now. The Vivitar is 1.5 times “bigger” than Big Mavica, and the Kodak is roughly 2.5 times “bigger” than Big Mavica (remember that the “big” in Big Mavica referred to the resolution). Plus the movies are different, too. The Vivitar shoots in AVI format at 320×240 (Big Mavica shot MPEG), and then the Kodak shoots really high-resolution videos.

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Categories: Cameras

Done for another year, and good riddance to it.

April 6, 2008, 3:26 PM

You know what they say. There are only two certainties in life: death and taxes. The former only comes once, and most of us try to put it off as long as possible. The latter comes annually, and it comes due on April 15. And so I can now put it behind me again.

What’s weird, though, is doing it now, vs. in January when I usually do taxes. But this year was more complicated. I changed jobs and states, after all. I left Wal-Mart (yaaaay!), and found work with Food & Water Watch. And I moved from Virginia to Maryland. So for that, I bought TurboTax, and did the whole thing on the computer. Usually, I just sit down with a 1040, a calculator, and a pen, and do it. For the forty bucks or whatever TurboTax cost, it’s normally worth it to just do it manually. But for more complicated years – I was more worried about the state stuff than the federal stuff – TurboTax is handy.

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What a great visit!

April 5, 2008, 11:42 PM

Mom came up for a teachers’ convention during the latter part of this week, and she stayed at my house. And we had a great time. She arrived on Wednesday, and we met up at Wheaton Plaza and then went to my house. Then while I went to work on Thursday and Friday, Mom was at her convention for the Virginia Writing Project. On Thursday, Mom actually lobbied a few Virginia representatives and senators, and then on Friday they had some workshops.

And Mom got to be a DC commuter for two days. She took the 51 and the Red Line just like I do. She left the house ahead of me in the mornings, but we rode back together in the evenings. Thursday, Mom got to see her first big Metro delay, as there was a train having a problem at Van Ness-UDC in the direction of Glenmont (of course). An out-of-service train whizzed by Dupont Circle station, and then I took the next (very crowded) train, to meet Mom at Union Station. Then from there, we rode to Glenmont and took the Y5 back home.

Then on Friday, Mom and I got Breda 3062, which had advertisements on the ceiling. Take a look…

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Categories: Cameras, Family, IKEA, Shopping, WMATA

Big Mavica is gone…

March 31, 2008, 9:05 PM

Well, Big Mavica is officially on its way to that big photo set in the sky, as I shipped it to Recycling For Charities on my lunch hour today. And I got photos of this solemn event, too, which a friend of mine has described as the end of an era.

Big Mavica is in the box, the last anyone will see of it.
Big Mavica is in the box, the last anyone will see of it.

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Categories: Cameras, Walmart

Big Mavica’s fate is now sealed.

March 29, 2008, 12:18 PM

It looks like Big Mavica will have a happy ending after all. I’m recycling Big Mavica with an organization called Recycling For Charities, with the proceeds from the camera’s recycling going to support Stage Left Theatre, a Chicago-based theater that produces plays intended to raise debate on social and political issues.

So after more than five years of documenting various political mobilizations, among other things, Big Mavica’s recycling will likewise help raise awareness of various political and social issues. Yay!

Categories: Cameras

And we’re back in business!

March 25, 2008, 10:43 PM

Yes, we’re back in business! The Vivitar 6200W waterproof camera has arrived, and I’ve fired off a few test shots. I hope you like looking at my kitchen:

Test photo, showing the stove and the microwave in my kitchen

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Categories: Cameras, Project Chanology