Finished up all my Christmas shopping today. How about you?
I was looking for inspiration for the last couple of gifts I needed so I drove over to Capitola to wander around the beach-side district. I’d driven past it a few times but never actually walked around. After getting about three minutes away from my parked car I had to turn back. It was too warm for the light jacket and I just had to drop it off.
Ahh, the last day of November.
It’s a very neat little downtown area. Kitchsy shops, touristy stuff and very tiny. Seems like a small-scale Santa Cruz. I want to say there’s a lot of Mediterranean influences to the architecture and layout.
Nope. No snow here.
I was thinking I needed to buy a nice overcoat for when I wear suits in NY on business. I might as well leave it there at the hotel I stay at all the time. Certainly don’t need it here.
I got my rolls of black and white film back yesterday so I’ve added a few more shots to my photo album over at Smugmug. It’s interesting to see the amount of grain that is visible in these pictures. It’s 400 iso film. I’m pretty pleased with these shots. They have that ‘neat’ factor.
Instead of dropping them into the album in some order based on when and where they were taken, I grouped the black and whites at the end.
I don’t care for politics. It bores or annoys me depending on my mood. I haven’t voted in many years since I believe an uninformed vote is just as bad if not worse than not voting at all.
This year was a bit different. I got my little California voters packet explaining all the propositions on the ballot and decided to make some informed choices at the polls. But I didn’t get a chance. Apparently, when you fill out all that paperwork at the DMV for your new car registration, or new license, or ‘change of address’ and you check the box that says, “Would you like to register to vote with this information?”, it doesn’t actually register you to vote. Who knew?
I wasn’t too worried or broken up about it. California is such a heavy blue state I figured I was safe anyway. I didn’t even bother watching the returns on TV or on the web as the polls started to close. But I did have my own indicator of who won.
At about 8:30 last night the whole town around me started screaming. People poured into the streets, cars were honking, bands started playing. That went on for about an hour and had a little encore around 3am when the bars let out. I assumed that Obama won but got up to check the ‘net just in case.
Ok, I have the main set of pictures uploaded from my trip to London and Paris. I’m waiting on 2 rolls of black and white to come back later this week. These photos were taken with either my Nikon N2000 SLR or the camera in my Blackberry 8320.
Taking the film camera was a great experience but I think I’m fully ready to commit to a nice DSLR now. It’s good to learn on a film camera since you’re really forced to think about the shot before taking it, but there are just so many more advantages to digital. I’ve also been waiting for the DSLRs to get a bit more sophisticated. Time to save those pennies.
I lost a roll of color film. I think it had some shots from our last day in Paris. I remember taking some pictures from Montmartre and then I took some long exposures on Halloween when I got home. I think the roll never caught on the sprocket. When I took 24 exposures, I rewound the film but it didn’t do anything. When I opened the case it was fully rewound. Oh well. Just another reason to go all digital.
I was surprised that as many shots came out as well as they did. All of the low-light shots I had written off as a loss, especially the ones from the Catacombs and the sewers. Most of those were film shots and either handheld for a short 1 second exposure or on a tripod for 4-5 seconds. I’m a little impressed with myself.
You can find the link to my photos over at the right as MrBitter’s Photos or go directly to the gallery here.
Thursday was a big day for traveling and sparing no expense for our traveling comfort. We took an upgraded coach on the Eurotrain back to London. Bigger seats, no screaming children and a two-course breakfast. Then we cabbed it from St Pancras to Heathrow. My advice for other travellers? Cab it between those two if there are 2 in your group. Taking trains will cost you just about as much or take twice as long and just be generally annoying.
Once at the Virgin check-in counter we decided to keep the theme and upgrade to Premium Economy. This is like first class for most domestic flights. Big seats, plenty of free food and wine and of course the great Virgin airline customer service. That’s the way to do it.
Today, Friday, I’m making the last leg home on the cheap. The vacation is truly over.
We’ve had some great fun over the past two days. Here’s a short list of the things we did:
Notre-Dame – big and old
Sewer Tour – smelly
Musee d’Orsay – Monet, van Gogh, Renoir and other impressionist paintings.
Segway Tour – So very cool. I want one.
Louvre – big. really big. really, incredibly big. Mona Lisa is small.
Catacombs – creepy. I’m allergic to the Dust of the Dead.
Montmartre – big hill, long climb. View ruined by fog/mist/haze.
So here I am in the Louvre, one of the worlds greatest collection of fine art throughout history. I can appreciate art but it just doesn’t do anything for me. I don’t like looking at art just for the sake of art. There has to be “something” about the art or subject otherwise my eyes glaze and I start thinking about how to escape if zombies attack.
We spent a while walking around looking at things like the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo and hundreds of other paintings that were probably very famous for one reason or another. I was thoroughly bored. As we walked through a room of sculptures I stopped to look at one of Hermaphrodite laying on a bed and pillow. The pillow looked incredibly real. I turned to my buddy and said, “That is really well done.” He had to sit down he was laughing so hard.