Divesting of Nikon

June 21, 2006

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I'm on my way to Huntsville for a few days. I've decided that I'm going to drop off most of my Nikon gear at Southerland's to sell. On the block will be:

  • 20mm f/2.8
  • 24mm f/2.8
  • 50mm f/1.8
  • 105mm f/2.5
  • MD-4 Motordrive

I'm keeping my F3 HP body and a 35mm f/2.8 for the shelf. The F3 was my first camera and the 35 is my favoriate perspective for a general carry 35mm film camera. I've focused a lot of light through the lenses I'm getting rid of, but since I'm hanging onto a working system, I don't feel (right now) like I'm giving anything up really. That said, I'm hanging on to all my Hasselblad components at this point. I'm not ready to give any of them up yet.


Financial Data

June 21, 2006

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For all you hackers out there who are into finance, if you want a data feed of stock info, check out Yahoo Finance's stock quotes. On that page you will find a "download data" link that provides a .csv file with some basic price info. Very handy. If you browse around their site, there are other places that also have download links. Kudos to Yahoo for providing raw data.


Hippie Food

June 21, 2006

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Just walked over to Publix and picked up some Green Tea and Granola bars for a snack. The goal wasn't even to pick up healtheir food, but I like the fact that at least some of my tastes are semi healthy.


The Power of a Commercial (and some other stuff)

June 20, 2006

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Last week after 9 holes of employee golf, I went out with my group to grab a bite to eat and have a few drinks. During the round, two of them were chain smoking. Not really like either of them, though they do have the occasional cigarette. I generally give my friends a little grief whenever I see them smoking, but nothing to much. So, after a few jabs on the course, I let it drop. At the bar, after the round, a commercial came on the big screen that I had seen before and pointed out to them as soon as it started. It shows a guy who had throat cancer and had to have a hole drilled in his throat so he can breath. He also, talks with one of those robot sounding devices that he has to hold to the side of his neck. If you have seen one of these commercials, you know what I'm talking about, if not, here's a quick article on it. (Surprisingly, I can't find anywhere with the actual video posted.) Anyway, my friends handed over their smokes and made a bet with me that if they ever took another puff, they would buy the group a meal a Ruth Chris (a fairly expensive steak how, where dinner for the four of us would probably end up being $400 or so.) I hope never to collect, but the most striking thing is that I've never seen a more direct (and powerful) effect on someone from a commercial. The commercial is pretty disturbing, but it's impact was well worth any discomfort. This actually gets me thinking about how sanitized our society is now. At least when it comes to the real life. In movies, you can find amazingly gory visuals. But that's just fantasy. Back in the real world, the news is generally white-washed to avoid overly disturbing visuals. Sure, you get numbers, and sometimes descriptions that are a little rough, but even those strike me as toned down. From stories that I've heard about news broadcasts during Vietnam, there would be actual footage of combat dead. In today's always on, media rich United States, the government won't even allow images of the caskets of our fallen soldiers to be filmed coming off the plan on their final journey. For me, it's hard to wrap my mind around what's going on in Iraq. With all the images we see every day, I think not seeing some of the harder scenes from there acts as a bit of a sedative. I'm a bit conflicted about this, because I wouldn't want it to be an over produced media piece that's just trying to grab ratings. But, I think in the same way that the anti-smoking commercial shocked my friends into really thinking about smoking, making sure that we, as a society, are fully aware of what's going on would make us pay more attention to it. I don't know if any of the decisions from this point forward would change, and I'm not suggesting any course of action. I just want to make sure that while we have troops fighting in another country, we are paying attention to it. Cause, frankly, I don't think we really are. (Note, this post took one hell of a tangent. Originally, it was just going to be about the commercial itself.)


Quicksilver

June 16, 2006

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I'm reading (or trying to read) the Neal Stephenson book "Quicksilver" right now. I've read two of his other books before ("Snow Crash" and "Cryptonomicron") and enjoyed them both, but I'm about to give up on Quicksilver. It's set in the past and he seems intent of focusing more on historical details than telling a story. It's rare that I don't finish a book that I start, but I think it's about to happen. Oh well.


Air Filters

June 16, 2006

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Yeah. you want to change your air filters from time to time. The A/C at work froze up today and we pulled down an air filter that looks like it hadn't been changed since the building was built in the 70s. Buildings in Florida around this time of year get hot really fast without something fighting back the heat.


Something Happy

June 15, 2006

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Not to end the night on a downer. It's going to be Friday in 21 min. which means only 8 or so hours of work will the weekend.


Next generations moment in history

June 15, 2006

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I wonder what the defining moments in history will be for future generations. I'm sure I'lll have as vivid a recolleciton of the Sept. 11 planes crashing into the World Trade Center towers as my folks did of the Kennedy assassination. Probalby more so thanks to the relentless news. I'm almost afraid to think about what the moments that will burn themselves into the memories of the next and future generations will be. Mainly, I just hope that my friend at work is wrong. He thinks he'll live to see an nuclear bomb be used inside the U.S. Obviously, I really hope he's wrong. Both for the initial lose of life but also for the destruction that would surely rain down after. (A darker thought than I normally post, but it's been on my mind more recently than normal.)


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© Alan W. Smith
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