Friday, November 20, 2015

Obsession as a Lifestyle Choice

John Muir probably rolled over in his grave.

A pencil company chasing the notoriety of the Eberhard-Faber Blackwing 602 pencil is releasing series pencils in the same format with different paint schemes and differing graphite qualities. The latest of these is the Palomino Blackwing 211 – the John Muir version.

Problem number one with this is – this is a nice pencil. Smooth graphite, not too soft. Plain cedar-colored wood barrel with brown eraser. Fetching. Catchy. Cool.

Problem number two is – this pencil is a limited release, so it doesn’t matter how fine it is, it will soon be gone. Like the much fabled and loved original Eberhard Faber 602.

I’ve chased discontinued pencils and have paid a great deal for them on eBay. The original 602, Mongol, IBM Electrographic, Van Dyke 601. Mostly following up on Steinbeck fervor.

Me and John. What's not to love?

And I’ve sold a few, including my all time favorite, the Black Velvet.

But these are old pencils. Like they said in Jurassic Park. They're dinosaurs. They had their time, and that time is over.


This new bunch is planned obsolescence which strikes me as mean. To dangle a fresh, worthy product in front of a consumer base historically proven to be susceptible to obsession, may be lucrative, but it seems cold-hearted.

The 211 is already on eBay for twice the original price and supplies are dwindling.

I bought a few, at the premium price, just to try because – well, I’m a fan of Muir, and apparently, also a pencil fanatic, but this latest turn has me seeking a cure.

As Steinbeck said himself,

“For years I have looked for the perfect pencil. I have found very good ones but never the perfect one. And all the time it was not the pencils but me.”

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Wouldn't It Be Nice

In 2001: A Space Odyssey, HAL, the space station’s onboard computer becomes increasingly resistant to human direction.

I'm sorry Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.

My iPad isn’t that honest. It just doesn’t do what I want.

The problem with an iPad isn't increasing self-awareness, it's that the iPad is almost a computer.


ALMOST a computer.

I have an iTouch and an iPad Mini. I remember when the iTouch got Bluetooth capability, but only for earphones when what everyone wanted was a keyboard.

Eventually, Bluetooth keyboard compatibility was added, but it seemed to take years.

I sold my photo safe back when they were cheap, and started using the iPad to back up my pictures on vacation. I would nearly fill the iPad 32 gb, but it worked.

We’re getting ready to go on a vacation, and this time I may have massive amounts of video, so I went looking for a way to backup the backup on the iPad.

Well, stop right there. Ain't happening. It is not possible without iTunes which means access to a computer.

There are a few hacks to get stuff onto the iPad without a computer, but out of the iPad onto a jump drive. No. And it has that nice little USB to lightning connector hanging right there, but it only works to download a camera.

With the iPad, apparently, the signs all point one way. If they didn't, I might use iTunes less, but I'd use the iPad more. Apple constantly bombards me for updates with features I don't want or that my device can't use, so why oh why, can't I get the one I want?

I recently changed my entire camera system so I would no longer be carrying a camera that weighed as much as a boat anchor. Plus now I have a video setup that is pretty streamlined and lightweight. I am not inclined to add a computer to the load.

I have a MacBook Air that is barely bigger than a regular size iPad, but jeeze. What good is technology if it causes more problems than it solves?

Obviously, almost a computer is only good for complete insanity.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Unintended Exposures

Last night I was taking pictures of the snow storm and got this.