The future has arrived

I am very excited today as we made a HUGE purchase. Not a house, don’t get carried away; and not something for junior – yawn… Other people seem content to furnish us in that department. Thanks everyone by the way, many of you I have never met but thanks for the mountains of baby clothes we already own, we even have 20 nappies!

Anyway, a week or two ago I suggested to Heidi that we get a new camera as a joint birthday present to ourselves and, after a little strong-arming, Heidi agreed. Our digital camera is old and only 2 Mega Pixels and the pictures look crappy when printed out. It also takes horrible video, so I thought we’d get one that takes unlimited high-definition video and better pictures (for Billy like). However, Heidi’s mum has a video camera and has offered to let us borrow it (so we don’t need a camera for video) and I thought it would be silly to buy another little compact digital when we both love taking proper photos with an SLR. Sadly our SLR has been performing poorly of late and we got so used to seeing results instantly that we never use it. Can you see where I am going…? Yes? No? Yes? Yes indeed, the digital-SLR, a thing of pure fantasy for too long, and the answer to our photographic dreams.

A couple years back I thought I would wait until an 8MP digital SLR became affordable before I even tortured myself by desiring them. I seem to have set this figure in my mind as something equivalent in quality to film photography (in truth I think that is closer to 20MP). I had a look to see how high we are in mega-pixelage capability these days and it seems 16MP is as good as it gets – on Amazon anyway. A 16MP digital-SLR was $8000 without a lens. Not quite in our range just yet.

Further browsing revealed that Canon just released the Digital Rebel XT. An 8.2MP digital SLR at under a thousand bucks. I like Canon best and always buy from them. If I were a rich man I’d happily switch allegiance to Leica, but until that day it is Canon for me. Or maybe Nikon. No Canon. I bided my time then broke the happy news to Heidi – incrementally. You have to be very careful when telling your wife how much things cost, one false move and it’s peanuts for Christmas. It is the function of a good husband to seek out new toys and beg his wife to let him have them whatever the cost to himself. I thought of a fantastic bargaining chip. Each and every web / graphic design class I take costs us $800. My last class was terrible so I vowed to Heidi that I would teach myself the next program and not take the class if we could get the camera. Genius huh? Sorry I am writing like a child but I am still very excited. Last night I found the camera $200 below list price and Heidi was completely swung.

Just to make myself appear slightly little less manipulative I’d like to point out that she is going to love the camera just as much as I (and this is the real reason she let me get it). She is forever complaining about the wide depth-of-field we get using our compact digital, she hates not being able to see through the actual lens and is irritated by the delay you get before the shutter releases. She used to do the whole dark room thing and has very romantic ideas about photography; I am convinced though, that once I show her how to load a .RAW image into Photoshop and how to use the dodge / burn tools etc… she’ll get over her dark room nostalgia.

So watch this space for insanely high quality images of young Billy. The image files will be massive, anything up to 30MB in size! To elaborate, in case you aren’t a geek like myself, that is the equivalent of 20 floppy disks, 6 songs, 60 novels or 30 photos from our old camera. If that doesn’t impress, then nothing ever will. Goodnight.

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Doctor Who

So the first episode of Doctor Who was leaked eh? 1 hour after I heard this tantalizing piece of news I was watching it… how magnificent the Internet is! And I loved every minute of it, the opening sequence is spectacular there is plenty of humor and the acting is so over the top you laugh out loud (not in a ‘so bad it’s good way’ – it is really good). I am so happy they made it; I just hope someone else is gracious enough to leak all the other episodes for me.

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Target stores sponsor free entry to the newly renovated Museum of
Modern Art
each Friday evening, last Friday we took advantage of the
offer. Given the usual cost is $20, this is a steal. The queue looked
immense but we were through the doors in less than 15 minutes; in less
than 30 minutes we were done with Heidi’s first bathroom call. What I
saw of the building exterior is unremarkable but once inside there is an
awe inspiringly high lobby. The place is very clean and white as one would
imagine and is packed to the ceiling with priceless treasures.

We assumed that, like air, the higher we got the thinner the crowds
would be, but the 5th floor was as packed as the first and I began to
wish I’d gone straight home from work. Heidi likes to spend a lot of
time contemplating paintings whereas I am more content to give each
one 10 seconds and check it off my mental ‘what I’ve seen in my life
list’ then carry on. Starry Night – check! Demoiselles d’Avignon –
check! Blank canvas with a provocative gash in the middle – check!
Suffice to say I’d finished the floor whilst Heidi was still on her
first room. The crowds were also partly to blame for my haste and
my coat (with its 2″ down layer) was baking my insides.

I decided to leave Heidi and go up to the 6th floor to see the special
exhibit. This was a stroke of genius as it was empty and cool. There
was a landscape architecture exhibition with an entire wall devoted to
Manchester City Center. This filled me with pride and put me in a much
better mood. I found the plans for Manchester were much more
impressive than the end result, I thought Piccadilly Gardens were cold
and sterile when I visited at Christmas and I think the same of
Exchange Square, they both seem to accentuate the drizzly grayness of
the place; but what do I know? – it seems concrete is de-rigueur once more.
After marveling at the plans for Bradford City Center, which is set to
become a futuristic wonderland in the next 20 years, I made a dash for
floor 4. Heidi’s legs can only take so much these days so I knew my
time was limited.

When I was 19, I’d try and soak up the serenity of a Rothko or embroil
myself in the tangled anarchy of a Pollock; nowadays I zip straight
past feeling sure the paint would have been put to better use
decorating lamp posts. As I shuffled through the crowds I was
briefly captivated by a chubby doctor of Otto Dix’s creation. Then I
stumbled upon Thomas Demand, another temporary exhibit. This area was
quiet so I slowed my pace and spent some time contemplating the
photographs and his method. He culls photos from the media, builds
realistic models of the scene in question from paper and card, huge
things with incredible intricacy, then photographs and destroys them.
Though the photographs were magnificent I couldn’t get over the
destruction of the models. How could he spend so much time building
something and then destroy it? I suppose I once did the same with

I bumped into Heidi as she descended to floor 4 and she told me I had
15 minutes before her legs and back gave out. I made a mad dash to
floor 3 and walked into one of the design galleries and got lodged in
the crowd. By the time I’d glanced a few sleek objects and prized myself
out I was so hot I needed to escape. I forced myself to walk through a couple
more galleries and then made my way downstairs to meet Heidi. As a teaser
it was a very successful visit and if I ever get another day off work I’ll take
myself back with a crisp $20 for a longer less stressful look.

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