Archive for November, 2010

Picture me Rollin’

Thursday night I bought a new-to-me ’84 Mercedes Benz 300D. If past experience with old W123 body diesels this thing will probably still be running long after I’m too old to drive. The car isn’t perfect, it smokes some, drips some, and rattles some. It also rides very smoothly, and starts every time. On the hierarchy of important things a car should do the most important ones seem to be well in order. I’m not going to throw a lot of money at this vehicle. It doesn’t really need a lot of money thrown at it. The body certainly is good enough that if I were to trip, fall, and land in a large sum of money I wouldn’t consider it totally insane to actual restore this car. That’s far from the plan though. The plan is to drive this thing until the wheels fall off. The best part? It cost me less than I got for selling my truck and the insurance is far less expensive.

'84 300D

'84 300D

'84 300D

'84 300D

In color too!

My entry into the medium format world, by way of my Mamiya C3, has taken a trip into the world of color. The excellent colors I get from my Canon 5DMKII made the thought of shooting color film less interesting to me than the appeal of black and white on film. A few YouTube tutorials on developing C-41 color films made me think “I can probably do that.” After all was said and done, I feared my first attempt at the C-41 process had been a total failure. Apparently I just don’t know what a color negative is supposed to look like. It worked out fine.

Flags on Election Day, Fujicolor Pro 400H

Brick, Fujicolor Pro 400H

Shiner Bock, Fujicolor Pro 400H

Another trip to Boston

This past weekend I flew up to Boston to spend some more time with Meg. I also needed a break from this whole thinking thing school keeps forcing on me. I spent Veterans Day studying statics all day, and then taking the most brutal exam I’ve ever taken. A few days off were in order.

No weekend vacation can happen without a few kinks. Mine started bright and early when I apparently turned my alarm clock off and stayed in bed for an hour longer than I planned. Doing something so brilliant meant I had roughly one hour to shower and get from Katy to IAH for boarding. No problem. Only the car was out of gas. Add a speedy gas stop to the list of things to do.

Somehow, I managed to get to the airport before boarding was scheduled to begin. With a fairly bulky carry-on, and a ticket seated in the rear of the plan, I definitely wanted to make the boarding call and minimize my time waiting for my things in Boston. One look at the line for “regular” passengers assured me there was no way that was happening. No way at all. The “Elite Access” line looked a lot more promising. VA card to the rescue. This line was moving fast, very fast.

Or it was moving fast until I asked to have my 8 rolls of medium format film hand checked. According to the friendly TSA agent my film, freshly removed from its box the night before I flew, tested positive for “explosive traces.” My options seemed to be a voluntary full-body “pat down”, or maybe a trip to a back room with Jack Bauer. I wanted to scream “I’M RUNNING OUT OF TIME!” but I figured that joke probably wouldn’t work too well for me. After the TSA goon explained the pat down procedure, with which I was well familiar from my two vacations to Iraq (where the hell do they think they got the procedure from anyway?), I put my arms up and let him do his job. Had I ever done such a shitty job searching someone when I was a private I’d have fully expected to spend a few hours in the sun filling sandbags and low-crawling them from one place to another. Anyway, a few more swipe tests and my film was magically no longer explosive. I made it in time for boarding with my section. Excellent.

Boston was fun. It was much colder than Houston, but it was still nice. Things were nice and colorful from all the leaves changing color. It’s not like I’ve never seen fall before. I’ve even done a bit of raking myself. It just doesn’t happen nearly as much here in Houston. I flew up with my Canon 5DMKII and my Mamiya C3 to catch some of that color. I’ve finished the digital photos, but I’ve not yet developed the three rolls of film (2x color, 1x B&W).

On Saturday night I went out to celebrate Meg’s Dad’s birthday at a Johnny A concert. I’d never heard of the guy before, but I wish I had. It’s an instrumental act and I definitely approve. He played a pretty cool version of Jimi Hendrix’s The Wind Cries Mary and a medley of Led Zeppelin at the end of his set. I will ignore urges to play a ton of guitar for the time being. My grades depend on it.

Since I kept hearing about how I absolutely had to have clam chowder that’s what I ate for dinner on Sunday. It’s food. I’ll eat it again. It wasn’t something that made me want to jump up on the table, dance a jig, and kiss the chef. It was still pretty good.

Empty kegs!?

The other night I ran dry in keg #2. The “Adventure Ale” I brewed with my friends several months ago is no more. Right now I have only two bottles of homebrew, my American Amber Ale, left in my keezer now. Having this little beer on hand is just sad. Brewing some more will have to happen soon.

Is it that time already?

Just after lunch today I was reminded by a classmate’s Facebook status that registration for Spring ’11 had started for some of us. Has Fall ’10 really gone by that fast? I guess it has. This coming week I’ll take exams in all of my classes and buckle down to take on finals about a month after that.

Since I’m now registered for Spring ’11, I really need to knock out the classes I’m taking this semester. Statics is brutal. The material isn’t particularly impossible to grasp but the professor grades in a way that’s impossible to gauge. Question him and you’ll lose even more points. A 40 (out of 100) is a good grade on one of his exams. That’s really the only class that worries me.

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