Runcible Blog

me + you + darkroom = good time

Thursday I went to teach a certain someone the B&W darkroom at NESOP, but it was really just a pretext... She is pretty cool -- a worldly (dare I say, "cultured") 18 year-old who sings, dances to techno, is a photo-nut and has a passion for mycology. What more could you ask for? If I'm not careful, I might become smitten, in a good way.

I hope I'm not careful


I went to the annual (actually I think there are two per year) Photographica photo show at Waltham High School today. They probably had more stuff yesterday, but what they did have was generally higher-priced than Ebay. I was looking for possibly three items:

  • Incident light/flash meter. nothing fancy; maybe even analog. But there weren't any that I could afford or justify ($160 for an old Minolta isn't bad, but I didn't want to spend that much).
  • Twin Lens Reflex medium format camera; ideally a Yashicamat 124G, but not necessarily. The 124G's were way too expensive (~$250-$290), and the "generic" TLR's were in pretty bad shape. maybe next time.
  • A usable 35mm rangefinder. Although I won this Russian FED-5 from Ebay, it seems to have gotten lost in the mail. I'm disappointed but still hopeful that it'll arrive eventually. If not, that seller will receive some mighty negative "feedback". Oh no!
  • Anyway, I ended up buying a legendary Canon Canonet QL17 G-III. It's a compact rangefinder with a 40mm f1.7 lens, shutter speeds from 1/4th to 1/500th sec. (w/flash sync at all speeds!), and autoexposure (which unfortunately requires a mercury battery). I'm pretty happy with this very quiet camera (compared with my noisy ZX-M) and hope to try it out soon. Although I'll need a lot more practice to guess accurately the exposure, so far I can guess within 1-1.5 stops in low-light situations (I don't hang out in bright light enough to guess accurately).

    $50 was a little more than I would have liked to pay for the camera considering another vendor had one for $40. Doh! But I'll convince myself that it was a good buy. It'll definitely be my "take anywhere" camera. Even though a Pentax ZX-M isn't that expensive, I like to carry a camera around almost at all times, and the Canonet should fill that role nicely. If the Ukrainian camera shows up, all the better!

    I was somewhat annoyed by the number of dealers at this show. It seemed like there were more dealers buying equipment from each other than there were actual photographers buying stuff. And there the ones who get in early and buy all the good stuff. Oh, and another thing: what good is a Leica that is so expensive that you can't touch it or use it without worrying that it'll break? I wanted to pick up a Leica, maybe even focus it, but a dealer scolded me. If Leicas are so fragile, why would anyone use them? Bah!

    Apparently, the sterotypical ar-teest who wears a beret, a black turtle-neck, a "soul-patch", and carries an old Leica (without a lens cap) does indeed exist in the wild! Wow, I thought they existed only on TV or movies, but I saw one with my own two eyes today! There also was a guy with just the beret -- obviously not yet sophisticated enough to complete the stereotypical image. Well, I learn something new every day.

    You get what you pay for is a domain hosted by, a free DNS provider. Unfortunately, they had some problems today:

    Due to a problem with our secondary database last night, the accounts which owned approximately 2200 Dynamic DNS hosts were inadvertently deleted, even though their hosts still existed. Those hosts have now also been deleted. If your host has disappeared, you will need to re-create both your account and your host. This did not affect any accounts with Static DNS hosts or using any of our paid services. We apologize for this inconvenience, and will work to prevent this type of problem in the future.

    That sucks because disappeared from the internet for a while. I don't know how long it was out or if any incoming email was lost during that time. I had to recreate my account and add the host. It would be nice to move to, a domain I actually paid for, but I haven't gotten around to developing it, and it's always a pain to switch email addresses and websites after using them for a while. Hopefully the site will be back up as soon as the DNS propagates.


    Lately I can't help thinking about how much pus is in the milk I drink nearly every day. According to that site, The great state of Massachusetts consumes 308,000,000 somatic cells (pus) in each liter of milk , which is a bit higher than the apparent 200,000,000 limit that the dairy industry claims should be the maximum amount of pus in milk. That's gross, but it doesn't really stop me from drinking milk. It just makes me feel a little more queasy...

    On another note, I still haven't figured out how to eat a burrito. Someday I hope I'll be able to eat one without spilling the contents everywhere and throwing half of it away. Taco Bell makes a good-sized bean burrito for eating without making a mess, but unfortunately it has the consistency of baby food and is kind of disgusting.

    Dean's speech at Timberlane High School

    Dean stumping in Plaistow, nh
    Dean talks about the economy to a packed auditorium at Timberlane High School in Plaistow, NH.

    I went to see Howard Dean make an appearance in Plaistow last Sunday. The topic was mostly economic policy and lots of Bush-bashing. He had some seemingly controversial things to say. For instance, when asked about where to place blame for high health insurance costs, Dean listed 5 parties responsible: doctors, lawyers, insurance companies, hospitals, and us. He explained that people have become too demanding regarding health care -- expecting a cure for everything and a prolonged life at any cost. And health insurance companies take advantage of that demand. Well, I don't know how significant the observation is, but he went on to make the point that his campaign is about "empowering people" and treating people like adults rather than saying, "vote for me, and I'll solve all your problems. And you won't have to sacrifice anything." He justifies his opposition to the Bush tax cuts (including the so-called "Democratic" tax cuts thrown in) by explaining that since most people didn't receive much of a tax cut, it would be better to use that money for something more important, like universal (or single-payer, whatever) health insurance. He believes that if you give citizens a choice between a measly tax-cut or better government services, they'd choose the latter. I appreciate Dean's honesty and hope his message continues to resonate with ordinary folks.

    Dean also had a few memorable quotes when asked about solving the AIDS crisis. He said that when he heard Bush mention funding AIDS programs in Africa, he felt like throwing up because he knew it was a sham. Also, while explaining the need to teach prevention in third world countries, he said (paraphrase) "... you have to talk about condoms. Unfortunately this president is too giggly to mention the word... He needs a Surgeon General who can explain the birds and the bees to him." Ha!

    It was a pretty good speech overall. Of course the audience members mostly asked him softball questions ("what are the top 5 companies profiting from the war?"). I suspect not many republicans come out to Dean's stump speeches. At any rate, the NH primary is still a few months away. I hope I can get out to see a few more events/rallies before his inevitable nomination. How cool is it to meet the future president? Pretty cool.

    Dean stumps in Plaistow, NH