Thursday, July 29, 2010

Alien Skies - and you thought I was an earthling!

You would think I Photoshopped it if I just showed you the image, so I took a picture of the camera screen as proof.

Abuse does not go unpunished. I  have never anticipated divine retribution, but after many months of point and shoot abuse, the Canon gods have caught up with me, opening a portal through my LCD screen to a strange new world. I presume the next step will be to physically transport me there if I do not complete the six step recovery program.

1. Acknowledge my problem: I admit, I carried my camera in my pocket, unprotected, with keys, pocket knife and other objects of a typical male pocket.
2. Acknowledge my fall into wayward ways, step by step.
  a. Initially I used my shirt zipper pocket with the camera in a plastic bag, but couldn't get the camera out fast enough, so:
  b. I moved it to my pants pocket, still in plastic bag, but was still missing shots.
  c. I ditched the plastic bag. Better, but this is where I fell into my criminal ways.
  d. Small scratches started appearing on the lcd screen. I thought, ok, they aren't very big. I'll ignore them.
3. Stop the problem behavior: Now, I mostly have the camera in my hand, though it is a little awkward with the hiking poles, and I have a plastic bag in case it rains.
4. Take a status of yourself, to see if things are improving or at least stabilized: No, the scratches are starting to grow. At the present growth rate, they should fill the entire screen in a couple of months.
5. Bite the bullet, ask for help: Open a problem ticket with Canon, send off the camera and six weeks later and $150 later, receive a healed camera, or if it could not recover, an opportunity to buy one of its healed brothers or sisters.
6. If appropriate, Admit past relevant experiences: I did this once before on my Canon 870IS, and fell off the wagon.  

Status Report:
Right now I have completed step 4, but still have to do step 5.  

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Bedouin Weaving - Once again - this time a photo essay

I blogged before on Bedouin Weaving of Saudi Arabia and its Neighbours by Joy Hilden, after seeing the first copy she got from the publisher. I have always had a love for the craft of hand weaving, after being exposed to Navajo rugs as a child.

Finally, she has received a shipment of books, and held a book announcement party at her house. We went with great anticipation, knowing that she had been collecting Bedouin weaving for at least eleven years, and hoping she would put some out for display. We were not disappointed. The book is full of color photographs and has stories of the weavers and their techniques, so we had an inkling of what to expect. It still didn't prepare us for the impact of the real thing. I will just show you the few photos I snapped in her living room, and you can judge for yourself:

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Daily Bag - Newest wrinkle in our Pacific Crest Trail resupply plan

We are in our annual throes of packing and shipping off resupply food for our PCT hike. This is something I put off and put off, finally having a spending frenzy, getting all the materials, and sorting it out by days for each segment. I wrote about the resupply process last year.

In the past we have always had a breakfast bag with all the breakfasts for the segment, a lunch bag, and a supper bag. We have three UrSacks (bear bags of bulletproof and hopefully bearproof material), labeled B L and D. For a normal 6 or 7 day segment, we can get all our food in those three bags.

However, there is a lot of counting and measuring involved. Invariably we find some day or some segment where I have miscounted. Either I have been carrying more food than needed, or we end up going on lean rations for some segment. Usually one of each. So, we have stolen the daily bag concept from Ken and Marcia Powers. This year I have a bag for each day with everything for that day. It is much easier to  manage, since every bag is basically the same. The old way there would be an 8 day bag, a 5 day, etc so easy to  miscount. These are special odorproof bags, so even if I can't get them all into the UrSacks, we shouldn't have a problem with bears or rodents.

A typical daily bag might have for two people, 2 foil poptart packages, 2 snack bars, 2 packages of those little peanut butter or cheese cracker sandwiches, one electrolyte packet, one freeze dried dinner, two 1/2 ounce snack ziplocks of gorp (raisins, nuts, m&ms),4 packets of instant oatmeal (two each), two tea bags, two one ounce freeze dried packets of fruit (eaten as is), 1 oz jerky, dried milk (enough for 1 cup), instant coffee for one serving, vitamins glucosamine omega-3 occuvite. There are also spare Steripen batteries.

Our back bedroom is a scene of confusion. I can't completely package everything here. To get everything into our packs, we have to repackage the freeze dried meals and the jerky into ziplocks. The original packaging is just too bulky. Things such as jerky and freeze dried meals will spoil if left open for a week or two, so, we ship off the original packages, with ziplocks for repackaging when we pick up the resupply box. I print out maps for the trip, and they go in the resupply box along with the appropriate guide book pages, to avoid carrying them before needed.

Once everything is packed, then the first box has got to get off. Since they have the metal propane fuel containers, they have to go by ground transport only, and the post office has special labeling requirements. Frequently, the postal clerk has never heard of shipping fuel, and there is a big flurry of consultation with other clerks and supervisors, so I carry a reference to the postal regulations when I do my mailings.

Anyhow, I have great hopes that the daily bag will prevent any stressful surprises on the trail.