Monday, June 28, 2010

Memorial to a fallen soldier

Army Spc. Andrew R. Looney died in Afghanistan when a suicide bomber attacked him and another soldier, Pfc. David T. Miller. Miller, from Wilton, NY, was also killed.

Tonight there was a memorial service for Looney at the Owasso High School. The road leading to the school was lined 4 or 5 deep for nearly a mile. People stood crying on the sidewalk as a procession of motorcycles and police cars drove by, followed by Looney's family.

I walked the street photographing as much as possible. The full photo dump is at:

A briefly weird story

Someone knocked at the front door. A guy stood there. He said, "Would you like to meet Jesus?"

I said, "No. Would you?"

"Yes!" he said with a grin, "Of course I would!"

So I shot him.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Another day in the fun house!

Number One Son's computer took a dive last night. He's been having problems with it, mostly because he installed a ton of junk programs. It was running very slow. The anti-virus hadn't been updated for months and it hadn't been allowed to run either. MS had a bunch of updates for it, including Service Pack 2. The machine was so slow it wouldn't do the updates!

A registry cleaner found 300 registry errors. I cleaned those out and started on the updates. After it installed SP2, the machine wouldn't boot up. It's showing File: \boot\bcd status: 0xc00014c and gives a "error occurred while trying to read the boot configuration data" message.

OK, no problem.

I can use the Toshiba recovery disk to try to repair it. That's in my toolbox at work. Some might think that's weird, since I'd most likely use it at home, but there's a method in this. I know that anything I leave here will tend to 'migrate.' That is, the various other members of the household move my stuff, or worse, put it away and then forget where it went. So important software resides in my toolbox where it's safe.

Now, Jordan has a ton of music and photos on his laptop. There's a chance the recovery disk will re-format his machine. When I told him, his eyes went big. He'd rather not lose the music, so I hatched an alternative plan. I would try to set up Ubuntu on a USB device, and boot up his computer from that. If it works, we can copy his photos and music onto DVDs.

That's the plan. Let's hope it works.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

I am such a klutz!

This is the Konica Auto S2 that I received last week. On Thursday, I dropped it. The camera landed on one corner and apparently the wind lever took the brunt of the impact. It sheared off the tiny screw threads holding the lever in place. What's left of the fastener is that small brass piece down inside the rewind shaft - the one with two flats on either side.

After some colorful language, silently expressed inside my head as Mary and Lyndsay were in the room, I thought of a solution. I'd seen another S2 at a flea market in Tulsa. It was inoperative, so I'd go buy it as a donor camera for parts. This was gonna be easy!

At the flea market, I found the S2 quickly, then spent some time untangling it from the other junker/clunker cameras. I found the booth owner and offered $5 it.

"What! I can't believe you'd insult me like that so early in the morning! The lens alone is worth $25!" He snatched the camera from my hand, turned on his heel, and walked away.

"For $25 I can get one that works," I said. The guy seemed genuinely angry so I left. But then I started thinking. If an S2 in very good condition fetches maybe $100 on E-bay, and he wants at least $25 for the broken one, it should cost roughly $75 for a repair at a shop. That still doesn't account for any other defects, rotted seals, or cleaning. So his apparent value for the camera is way out of line. And in the final analysis, it's only worth what someone is willing to pay for it.

I'm willing to pay five bucks. I'll probably go down there in a week or so and insult him again. It's one of my strong points, and I really kinda enjoy doing it.

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Reed Bates jailed again

(UPDATE, SATURDAY AFTERNOON: Reed Bates' bail was reduced from $5000 to $300. Yes, they wanted $5000 for a bicycling offense.)

(UPDATE, SUNDAY MORNING: Bates was released at 4:15PM yesterday. Trial date on July 29 in Waxahachie. Possibly on all pending charges.)

The story of Reed Bates and his struggles with the legal system in Ennis, Texas, has taken on a Kafkaesque quality. Several times in the last year, Bates was arrested and jailed for the 'crime' of riding his bicycle on the road. Police tried to cite him for not riding in the bike lane, but discovered the town doesn't have any legal bike lanes, so they charged him with failure to ride in the right hand lane.

In the midst of all this, Bates was laid off from his job. With some assistance from other cyclists, he moved to Dallas and found work in a green energy company. He also obtained the services of an attorney to help fight the charges in Ennis. When his company applied for solicitor permits in Rockwall, Texas, local police told Bates there was a warrant for his arrest for failure to appear at an Ellis County court date. Neither Bates nor his attorney were informed of this appearance. Bates was taken into custody on June 8th.

As of Friday, June 25th, Reed Bates has been in the Ellis County jail for 17 days.

Thinking that perhaps the attorney had dropped the ball on this, Bates' employer helped him get assistance from another attorney. She ran into the same brick wall.

Bates is not a flight risk. In fact, he is eager to have his day in court. Yet the authorities in Ellis County seem hellbent on using the justice system to punish this man for having the temerity to stand up for his rights. Even from a distance, this has the appearance of local government officials trying to impose their will on a lone citizen. The corrupt southern red neck stereotype is used to comic effect in numerous television shows and movies, but in real life it's not at all funny. We pride ourselves on the rule of law, but apparently in the Ellis County judicial system, that law is whatever the authorities say it is.

And where are the Texas Bicycle Coalition and the League of American Bicyclists in all this? Why, they're waiting for the perfect case to come along before they'll get involved. Cue the crickets.

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Friday, June 18, 2010

Konica Auto S2

Yep, another rangefinder! This is from roughly the early to mid-1960s if I remember right, and it's very similar to the Canon Canonet in that it offers both manual and aperture-priority operation. The 45mm f1.8 lens has a built-in hood. It appears to be in very good condition. The rangefinder is just a little cloudy, which is expected in a camera this old, but it will benefit from some light cleaning - probably after I've run a roll of film through it!

I like cameras that offer both manual and automatic modes because you never know when a battery may give out. With a light meter or by applying the Sunny 16 rule, I still have the capability to take good exposures. That scale to the right of the accessory shoe is the light meter. I haven't put a fresh battery in to see if it works.

My only quibble is that the battery cover was over torqued once. You can just make out the divots where the coin cammed up and out, taking part of the plastic cover away. No problem, though, as I took it out with a pin spanner. And I know where I can get another S2 for parts.

I bought this from a seller on Ebay. He said the camera worked and he'd replaced the seals. That appears to be true, so it saves me a job. It also has a name lightly inscribed in the rear of the top cover. "E. Konstant 3-29-37." I'd assume the latter is a birthdate. So, if Mr. Konstant is out there anywhere, just know that I have your old camera and I'll take good care of it. I'm not a collector, so expect that this one will be used frequently. Still, you took good care of this one. I will too.

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Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Floyd Landis hires Lemond's attorney

This story from AFP (LINK) says that Floyd Landis has hired Greg Lemond's lawyer in case he faces a criminal case or a defamation law suit. Previously, I supported his fight against what I believed was a badly flawed case brought by the French anti-doping agency. As it turns out, I was wrong. Landis lied about using performance enhancing drugs. He lied right up through the Court for Arbitration in Sports. He continued to lie after the court ruled against him.

But we're supposed to believe him now that he's accusing others of similar cheating.

One question to ask is "who benefits?" Landis no longer has a team. It's extremely unlikely that anyone in professional bicycle racing will hire him, so his career is over.

I'm sorry that I supported his fight. I'm sorry that I believed he had a valid case against the French. But I will not be sorry for this - you've lied and cheated, Floyd, demonstrating to the world that your words mean nothing. You're facing an uphill battle because from now on, you'll be regarded as a liar first. Whatever tumbles from your mouth will not be believed. It will have no credibility unless or until you have proof for your allegations.

(By the way, I think the guy on the left is Keith Richards. Yes, there really is a guy over there! You didn't see him? I wonder why?)

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Monday, June 07, 2010

Storm photos

We had a storm move through the Tulsa area this morning. I left my windows down in the car, and had to hustle outside to put them up before the rain arrived. These photos aren't the best as they were taken with my cell phone camera. Some dummie who looks remarkably like me left the good camera sitting on the desk this morning. The photos go in sequence from the northeast to the south west. By the time I was headed back across the parking lot to get under a roof, the wind picked up tremendously. I was grateful for my safety glasses and my bucket hat. The brim folded down over the top of my glasses due to the wind, and it kept sand out of my eyes. It was blowing hard enough that the sand stung my unprotected face!

If you look carefully, you'll notice that the window was still down when I took these photos. What's that say about my priorities?

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Saturday, June 05, 2010

I volunteered as a mechanic on the Tulsa Tough century ride again this year. I was in Ochelata, hardly more than a wide spot in the road just south of Bartlesville. One of the volunteer firemen said that the town has a little over 400 residents.

Mary would love it! cowbell up above. I'll make good use of it.

Also, the full photo set is available in my Picasa web album. These are reduced from the originals, and if anyone should want an original, full-size photo, please let me know.

High tech/low tech

You just never know what you may encounter on Oklahoma's back roads. This hot rod rolled by in almost complete silence. Imagine that, a hot rod with real mufflers! The shot came out as an accident. I was shooting continuously as the car rolled by and caught the old car and carbon fiber bike by sheer chance.

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