Friday, May 27, 2005

My Face is Sponsored by Olay Regenerist

At the Rite Aid, the clerk and I said hello, he told me I had a nice smile, and I set my items down: a travel sized toothpaste, a deodorant, and a bottle of Bacardi 151. He looked from me to the bottle and said, "How old are you?"

"Uh..." I couldn't remember. I started digging for my license.

"How old are you?" he asked again, gruffer this time.

"I'm uh, I'm... 27." It was a discovery. I'm 27, yes, that sounded right. I knew for sure I was old enough, that was certain at noon on a Friday. The rest, well, it was anybody's guess.

He looked from the license up to me, suspiciously. I guess most people remember how old they are.

"You don't look 27."

"Well thank you," I said. I took the license from him and stuffed it in my purse. I can only assume that young women, such as myself, don't generally spend their lunch break buying rum.

I'm scatter-brained for all the packing. I've made mix CD's, filled my 256mb CF card full of mp3's, charged every battery that was chargeable, washed everything, stacked most of my crap in the living room, checked and rechecked my lists, and sacrificed a goat to keep the rain from falling. I plan to be offline for the next week, but when I come back I'll have pictures! That doesn't sound nearly as exciting as it does in my head.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Nikon D70 Eyecup

For any fellow D70 owners out there, I found a great article about adding your own eyecup: Rod Barbee's EYECUP FOR NIKON D100, D70 and CANON 10D. I'm here to vouch for it. I ordered the parts from B&H Photo a week ago, and put it all together last night. I absolutely love that I don't have to squint into the viewfinder any longer. It's perfect, so perfect in fact, that I must gush.

For those of us who want the facts, here's what you'll need:

  • Eyepiece Cup Adapter F3HP (Nikon catalog # 2370)
  • Eyecup, Rubber DK-3 FM2/FM (Nikon catalog # 2362)
  • Eyepiece Replacement FM2/FE (Nikon catalog # 2925)
I used the part number to search the B&H site, that was the simplest way. I didn't have any problems putting it together, and it only took an extra few minutes to figure out how to slide the eyecup over the viewfinder. I think it cost about $30 with shipping and tax, but it's worth it to be able to use the depth-of-field preview button.

Happy shooting.

Justice is Blind, Deaf, and Dumb

The jury duty selection process is flawed and wasteful of everyone's time. God, I wish I could get that day and a half back.

Let me sum it up for you: sit, wait, sit, wait, watch a video, sign your name, stand, walk to another building, sit, and be patronized. As for random selection, give me a break. Pick 12 people and nit-pick at them for hours until everybody gets tired, go home, come back, and start again. Sure, you could dismiss the ones you clearly don't trust, but why bother? Why not just ask them the same questions slightly differently for several hours? And then swivel your head and say, "Do you think police officers should have to follow the law?... Does anyone *disagree* with that?"

Oh and while we're at it, our time isn't nearly as important as the judge's time, so let's base our schedules around his, extending the trial by an extra few days over a holiday weekend. I can't remember the last time anything ever made me so angry. My tentative reporting date was May 18, but I kept calling and they kept telling me to call back the next night until finally I'm told to report on May 23, knowing I'm going on vacation the next week. So on May 23, I find out that my vacation goes through the same time as the trial, but instead of being able to ask straight out for my jury duty to be deferred, I have to sit and sit and wait and come back the next day and overall disrupt my life because of the bureaucratic process. The reason I didn't initially ask for a deferment was 1) if I'd been called the day I'd been scheduled, there would have been no conflict 2) the trial is scheduled to take five days because it was extended by the judge's other obligations.

Rage rising. The public defender directed a question to the technically inclined, "Now, I'm not a *math* person, but I ask this of all the analytical people in the jury box. Are you going to hold me to *higher* standards because you've got to dot all your I's before making a decision..." I wanted to jump from my seat and run screaming from the room.

Here's an idea. A real jury would be a random statistical sampling of the population. Nobody's impartial, we've all got opinions about everything, it's just a question of whether or not you say what they want to hear. It's a stupid job interview. You know exactly what you're supposed to say.

Here's another idea. Let us sign up for slots of jury duty time. Or at least have blackout dates for our vacations so we don't have to go through this crap. A day and a half wasted and all I got was deferred. That means I've got to go back in two months and do it all again. And I'm telling you right now, I have opinions and I judge things and people at face value. You know why? Because I'm human. If what I experienced Monday and Tuesday was representative of the whole process, I'm going to have a tough time doing my duty.

Monday night I got home and ranted to Jer. He said something smart. He said, "That's why it's called Jury DUTY." I said, "But wouldn't it be more fun if it was Jury Super-Happy-Fun-Time?"

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Me, Not Packing

We're on the road today with two cats and cat accessories. I'm letting them chase each other around the apartment, blissfully ignorant of their imminent captivity. Although... the kitten was reclining on her travel case only moments before she decided to pounce on Vash's head. Maybe that's why she chose that exact spot to perch from. Maybe she knows.

Or maybe I'm reading too much into it.

I'm tentatively scheduled to report for jury duty, Monday at noon. My excitement is barely contained.

This is me, procrastinating, again. I've got to gather all the toys and brushes and litter and pack it all up so the cats won't starve and die. My parents are watching them for a couple weeks, while we Summer in the Sierras. Or at least, spend three days in a tent cabin. The cats are so cute. I simultaneously want to eat them whole, smother them with a pillow, and cuddle. But I'll settle for a nice firm petting session.

Hmm. There were better words I could have used.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Exposing for Highlights

I broke away from World of Warcraft to play with my camera last night. For all my big talk, there's still lots I don't know how to do with it. And when I look at the calendar and see, hey, it's been almost three years since I dropped out of photography school, I forgive myself. I was so burned out, mentally and financially, that I haven't *wanted* to play with any cameras. I've got boxes of slides I half want to throw away. The pictures aren't bad, I just don't want to deal with it. I just want to set it all on fire, let it burn and start again. At least with digital the only burning I'll do is to CD. (buh-dum-dum)

I probably looked like a loon, wandering around the front yard, snapping pictures of the grass. I figured I should know how to change from matrix to spot metering and lock the exposure but not the focus, and I found a site where they provided custom tonal curves for a better exposure so I uploaded those onto the camera. When I can save up another $175 I'm going to buy a set of filters for Photoshop that do awesome effects. My camera won't shoot black-and-white, but with these filters, nobody'll be able to tell. And I bought the pieces that'll supposedly combine together and make a nice eyecup so I don't have to squint and waste my surgically-enhanced vision. Hobbies are fun.

In other news, I sat down at my desk last night to a very large envelope filled with 44 pages of bills from the electric company. "Due June 2," it said, in bold letters, "$1027.52." Apparently, they've been misreading the meter for many months. I had a minor panic attack, and called the customer service line. One of the many messages I had to listen to before speaking to a human was my current balance, which said, "$224.61." When I finally got through, I asked the woman what was going on. She couldn't explain much, there weren't any notations on my account except an $800 credit. Our monthly bills have been lower recently, but I didn't think much of it. I figured the electric company knew what it was doing. Sadly, it didn't. But at least it sounds like it's only a $200 clerical error versus a $1000 error. Cross your fingers for me. I'm not giving up our Yosemite trip over this.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Yosemite Bound

I made reservations for the Mountain Room at the Yosemite Lodge. Although I'm fond of the Curry Village buffet, I'm excited that there'll be at least one meal that's not cafeteria-style. I've got nothing against cafeterias, it's just that cafeterias mean crowds. And right now, this moment, I'm heavily anti-crowd. I need to look forward to this dinner, this island of Wine Lists and entrees I can't pronounce. Because the rest of it is going to be crazy. Hello, shower shoes!

The good thing about Yosemite Valley is that whenever I feel crowded, I know I've got the option of just staring at the sky. Or going to the bar, which'll be near my tent cabin.

Silly Amazon delayed my order of Yosemite inspired purchases. Depending on the tides and the curvature of the Earth, I may or may not have the books before the trip. At least REI is on the ball and our sleeping bags and camping chairs inch ever closer, making their way into my hot hands. I highly recommend the REI Outlet site for all your adventure needs. Amazon, not so much. We're getting a couple of backpacker three-season cocoon bags that weigh practically nothing and fold up to the size of a quarter. What a wonderful future we live in. Thank you, NASA. I bet you had something to do with this.

Monday, May 16, 2005


A friend was in town so we drank. Then we drank because it was Saturday, and then we drank because it was Sunday. My liver is glad it's Monday. It needs a day of rest.

There are two itchy welts on the back of my neck. I've either caught the passing fancy of a vampire, or my cat has fleas. (Or maybe it's a little of both) Each time I move, my collar rubs against them, causing tiny flares of uncomfortability.

All I want to do is not be me right now. I like me, I just need a break from me. I'm hoping this Yosemite trip will help me step back, remember that there's life outside my bubble, and that I'm just stuck in the orbit of something greater, something that's hurling me along through space and time, across the infinite nothing, hop-scotching between dark matter and radio waves, with the rest of the puppets. But now, I'm caught up in the pain between my ears and the fire on my neck and the rumble in my belly and the sound that the vents make, and the tapping of fingers against keys, and the ubiquitous banality of the words we use to breach each other's bubbles, but the joke's on us because the bubbles don't breach. They just ooze and wiggle, and bounce our words back in our faces, to echo and slap and taunt the parts we think are well-adjusted. I don't look in the mirror to see me. I look to see the me I want to be, not the me the way that others see me. And what's real? What's the point? It's all filtered and colored, no one sees the same thing without adding all this experience and truth and expectation, you can't just see a thing and communicate the essence of it because there's no such thing as purity. Purity conflicts with the baggage we carry. And now they say we're strings underneath. I think we're webs. Webs in bubbles. And somehow we've each got to figure out how to pop those bubbles and hold on. Cuz when it pops, like a child's balloon, it'll mean a rush of air and saliva and rubber and it'll smell just like the latex gloves in a sink full of dishwater and dirty plates, that I've got to wash tonight, for some reason I forget.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

"Can't you see that all that stuff's a sideshow..."

I really, really enjoyed "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind." I'm not good at writing reviews because I don't know how to justify my opinions. Or at least, I don't know how to explain *why* I liked something. I can usually tell you why I hated it though. The writing was excellent, the acting was great, and the overall style of the film left a huge impression. I've been thinking about it for two days now. It also helped that it made me feel nostalgic for the summer I worked in New York. A lot of the beach scenes looked exactly like where I spent so much time walking and avoiding dead jellyfish, thinking big thoughts about the universe.

Three weeks until Yosemite. I'm trying to convince myself (and Jer) to do a trial hike this Saturday, test out the Camelbaks and my Luna bar supply. It's nearly time to go overboard and plot out highway routes and buy a sleeping bag and make dinner reservations. Or not. Maybe I'll just let it all go, like Frou Frou keeps telling me, and see where folly takes us.

There doesn't seem to be enough caffeine to keep my eyes from twitching. Or eye drops.

Monday, May 09, 2005

God Does Not Play Dice with the Universe

I meant to work out tonight, but I stayed late to proofread. The thinking part of me is safely tucked behind a layer of cotton and webbing, allowing the rest to operate on auto-pilot.

I don't know why. It just is.

There's music and books and dinner smells wafting through the window. But my nose is mostly stuffed with cotton and my eyes are full of sand. Maybe I'll plop down in front of the tv and let it do the living for me.

I bought a purse today. Only I didn't buy it new, I bought it off ebay, because I only want to LOOK like I'm worth a million dollars and able to throw frivolous loot at accessories. It's an exciting time, to be sure.

I was in a tattoo parlor this weekend, looking through their stacks of art. If I were going to get one done tomorrow, it'd be a pair of dice on the outer right ankle. RIP Einstein.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

A Side of Ranch with My Salad Days

More food, more beer, more sleep. I bought my mom some Stargazer Lilies. She says they smell nice.

I'm in a weird mood, which is to say, my mood appears to differ from my normal mood. But then I've never been a good judge of "normal," except to realize, after the fact, that the thing I was doing probably did not fall into the normal category. At least, based entirely on empirical evidence that I've gathered, this is the case.

There were many, many dogs this weekend. You have to do a sort of shuffle-walk to avoid crushing a Chihuahua underfoot, or maybe a Maltese. The floor is a mass of writhing bodies, looping and snapping and shaking and clamoring for attention. I needed more calm than that. And quiet. So I sat at the kitchen table and watched wireless networking get set up, and sipped tap water from a bottle, and listened to the noises that dogs make.

The good news is, I may never be hungry again. Food was not one of my problems this week. Empty calories abounded.

I got summoned for jury duty in a week. Isn't that veird?

Friday, May 06, 2005

Working Title

It's been a long week. A sleep deprived week. I've got the echo of a flu combined with too much beer, and too many doctor's appointments. But it's all done now. We get on the road tomorrow to see Jer's family and do the Mother's Day thing. I'd like to see my family, but there's not enough time.

On Monday I had another ultrasound on my thyroid. Six months ago, they found a tiny nodule in my neck and the doctor wanted to check its growth. Thankfully, it hasn't changed in size so it's not a concern for now. Although I could have done without hearing the word biopsy before 8AM on Monday.

I had my 3 month eye checkup following LASIK, and the doc says my eyes are "nearly perfect." I had "good results." And I can finally rub them again. I survived the 3 month moratorium on eye-rubbing. If only they made a t-shirt that said that, I'd wear it everyday. I'm inordinately proud of getting through the no-eye-rubbing and I want the world to know. Think there's a market?

In a dramatic twist, tonight I plan to fall asleep early, sober -- which is the opposite of what I've BEEN doing. The time to crash and burn is now, baby.