Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Customer Service

Some of you may have noticed an increase in the frequency of pictures on this blog. If you've also been reading it, you may know that this is due to my new digital camera. Don't worry, I'm not planning on converting this blog into a mere picture book. Meatier matters will remain in the mix.

What you don't yet appreciate is the customer service ordeal I've had to go through. I shall enlighten you. As of this afternoon, I am on my second Canon PowerShot SD400, and my 3rd SanDisk Ultra II 1.0GB SD card. The first one broke on the first day while I was testing the camera out, the second one broke while I was out bowling with the YP.

RFH found out about it last night as I was trying to go to bed and immediately snapped into I-can-fix-anything-digital mode. I had already tried everything, and I told him that, but it just made him salavate for the I-told-you-so points0. He huffed and he puffed, and he tried his laptop and his PDA, and every which way Microsoft1 ever thought to format and scan a drive, but in the end, all he could tell me that I didn't already know was which sectors were bad.

I would have preferred to return it and buy a different kind of SD card, but I had at that point already sent in the rebate (with the UPC, and the receipt--it had to be the original), so the only way I could prove to them that I had bought it at that store was because I had paid with my credit card and they had a record of it. The only thing they could do at that point was trade me card for card. I had just exchanged my camera at Best Buy next door, so I'm hoping that it was that particular camera that liked to eat SD cards, and not a general incompatability between SD400s and Ultra IIs.

The camera had a jamming zoom lens. It had completely frozen up on the hike while I was turning it off after taking a shot. After trying to get it to work by hitting the power button and trying to zoom it in and out, I pushed the lens in a little bit until I felt it release, and it was fine after that. I couldn't find anything online about SD400s either jamming or eating SD cards, so I'm still cautiously optimistic that getting rid of the offending equipment and starting afresh will solve the problem.

0 I find them annoying. He apparently considers these necessary to 'compete' with Athena's imposing presence in the living room. He doesn't like Athena too much: see 1
1 RFH is the ultimate Microsoft fanboy. Therefore his PDA has WinCE on it.

Monday, May 30, 2005

A Memorable Day

Today I commemorated the men and women of the United States armed forces and their fallen comrades by climbing up a mountain.

Actually, the story starts yesterday. I was invited to a pig roast and I was disposed to go, so I went. I arrived a bit late, because I was having some issues with my camera. Basically, it ate two 1GB SD cards in a row, and it's been having problems with my 64MB one. I ended up in the very situation that I was trying to avoid by buying the 1GB card: I had to delete some photos in order to make room for new ones.



After cutting off and devouring some meat (which, by the way, was exceptionally delicious--moist, tender, and flavorful) as well as some other stuff from the table inside (it was a potluck kind of thing) and a beverage (there were four kegs) in the gerage, I got to talking to some people. By and by, I met a guy named Paul and his girlfriend Traci, who have dogs and like to hike. Paul was, when I met him, a bit drunk, and shortly thereafter, more drunk (I think rum was involved in some way). Paul, being a talkative sort of drunk person, was trying to get me out of my shell and tell him about myself, other than work stuff, which of course shouldn't define who you are. In my defense, I only mentioned who I worked with to explain by inference who I knew at the party, since it was mostly work people and their guests there. Anyway, we got to talking a bit and he mentioned that he liked to hike. I said that I was interested in hiking, being relatively new to the Pacific North West, and there being so many trails in the area (also taking duly into account my (by this point) stated interest in running--I had an interesting anecdote to relate from Thursday and the scabs to illustrate it). He subsequently invited me to an as-yet-unplanned hike the following day, and I agreed. Traci was doubtful that he would be of any use the following morning, but we picked a hike out of their Best Hikes With Dogs book, and also invited others to come along. Jeffrey (my group lead at work) was already hiking, but he was doing an easy hike with his grilfriend and her daughter, but Dan (a co-worker in our group) agreed to come, and it was arranged to meet in the morning.

The hikers: Paul, Traci, Dan
The dogs: [I forget the name] (Australian Shepherd and Black Lab mix) and Freeway (who was found by the side of the freeway). They're very social with people and dogs, very energetic, and enjoyed the hike even more than we did.


I really like this shot.

Yes, this is part of the trail (can you see it switchbacking up?). No, that is not the top up there, although when I took this picture, I thought it might be.

Yeah, I wasn't even close. It kept me going though.

There was a little snow

...but hardly anything worth mentioning for this time of year.

Dan and I made it to Silver Summit. This is the only photo on the trip that I'm in, because I set the 10-second timer, which is also why it's crooked, because I don't have a tripod and jagged rocks provide few if any sturdy, flat, and level surfaces.

The summit was actually an afterthought. We had originally planned to do an 8-mile loop, but we opted to go to the summit as a side-track. Everyone thought it was a good idea at the time, and only Traci regretted it afterwards. I'll be feeling it tomorrow, though.

Washington's state flower

There were lots of these, some with red in them.

Pretty red things near the top

My random mind at work: there is a chapter in C.S. Lewis' Miracles called "Horrid Red Things". Everyone should read that book.

More flowers for Jeffrey

Jeffrey will appreciate this because he's taking a photo class so he'll know how to use all the fancy knobs on his camera, and all they will let him shoot are flowers.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Super Wedding!

I had a great weekend! I flew to the bay area for beck's wedding on Thursday. It was great to see many of the friends that I don't get to see, and I got to see my parents and brother and sister.

I wish I could0 post videos. Most of my stills during the wedding were a bit dark because the flash didn't carry. And those that weren't suffered from severe red-eye. Not that they're horrible pictures. If people want to see more pictures, I can burn a CD or DVD. Also, I put everything on beck's parent's computer (the one on the left, on TAB's desktop).

The first glass-ringing-induced kiss of the evening

Forsaking all others

The Bridesmaids

Flower Girls

Sazzly and I

TAB. Need I say more?

The neighbor's tree

Steph's parents

Doug looking pleasant!

Kathy behind the lens

Boys' table


Her Aussie Stud



Mr. Osborn in contemplation





The progression of the evening...

Lady Lisa

0 I probably could. In fact, I hear Google is starting a video hosting service (which would be permanent, and free), but I'm too lazy to look into it at the moment.

Friday, May 20, 2005

My Back Window

Not the best shot ever, and I was using digital zoom, but it's a shot, and one of my first.

Stabbity Death Toy

I bought myself a new toy on Wednesday: a Canon Powershot SD400 ELPH 5.0 Megapixel Digital Camera. I came to the realization that the time of the first major photographable event of this summer was fast approaching, and if I didn't buy it before then, then I would lose the opportunity to use it at that time, thus lowering its value to me. Originally I was looking at the A95, but I opted for its smaller, newer, more expensive cousin because if I bought a big camera, I wouldn't want to lug it around nearly as much, and so the utility/dollar ratio would be that of a rather expensive paperweight, only paperwieghts are actually useful for holding down papers wereas a camera is not equally suited to the task.

Speaking of photographable events, the one I am now on location for is the wedding of beck to her Superman. I'm currently set to the task of staying out of the way, while remaining useful. So far I've made use of my computer-hacking skills.

I also got a fast 1.0 GB SD card, because they're cool, and because the camera only came with a 16MB one0, and the only other one I have is a mere 64MB. The Gig will certainly come in handy considering my camera can shoot videos. This time I was already aware that sneaky flash memory card manufacturers use a shoddy definition of Gigabyte1. My 1.0 GB SD card only has 968 MB of storage on it, but as I had already gone through it with my 64 "MB" card2, I was able to suppress the stabbity death urges.

I had to exchange my SD card Thursday morning, because it had an error, and neither my camera nor my computer could reformat it, and I was unable to resurrect it using any utilities. The people at CompUSA were great, though. I expected more trouble because I had already cut out the UPC for the rebate, but that was fixed with scotch tape, and I was on my way.

0 It's hard to imagine a smaller capacity for an SD card, which makes it a prime canidate to include with a camera that the purchaser is most likely to want a bigger one anyway. Perfect.
1 GB != 1,000,000,000 bytes. GB == 230 bytes == 1,073,741,824 bytes.
2 That time I wasn't so mad, because it only cost $5.99.

Friday, May 13, 2005


Finished Cagebird.

I wouldn't recommend it, although I appreciated its art. The first two were much more... palatable. Like the previous two books her storytelling was artfully delivered, but not with as much inventiveness plot-wise, almost as if Lowachee got trapped by the arc or her own story, and all she could think to do was tie up the loose ends. There were seriously zero surprises. Here's hoping that didn't happen to George Lucas.

That leaves me with 1 1/4 books left in my "stack." If I drag my feet, it might last me until Half-Bood Prince comes out. I took a break in Lewis' Studies In Words to read this one. I intend to finish it up next.

Saturday, May 07, 2005



Drop what you're doing, and roll over to the nearest cinema. Don't buy a ticket for Kingdom of Heaven, that's sure to be a fun ride, but you can always do that later. If you're not yet 17, put on a fake mustache, or bat your eyes at the guy in the box office, as appropriate. Whatever you have to do, take two hours out of your life and see the movie Crash.

Last night Sandra Bullock was on the Tonight Show and I saw a clip. I was instantly hooked. Not because she's hot; because this movie takes American taboo and artfully but forcefully rips its shell off to reveal raw humanity.

You will not be disappointed.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005


I would like to think that I can write anything that expresses how I feel, because after all, it is my blog, and one of its stated purposes is to facilitate the observance of me writhing and wriggling like a worm on a hook.

Fact is, that since this isn't my own private journal, and since people to whom I refer0 (and people who know them) read this blog, I have a responsibility to be fair to the people I write about, since they are no longer merely vehicles through which I express myself, but people with feelings, and I am not their Judge.

With that in mind, I see the need for some analysis and clarification of previous posts. Warning: If you fear this won't interest or amuse you, please stop reading.

*clears throat*


I would first like to point out that when writing this entry, I thought that I had done everything short of writing it in bold faced caps across the top of the page to indicate that I was dumping a stream of raw consciousness onto the page. I started off by enumerating the awfulnesses of the day, then lapsed into a breif period of analysis without which the title would have made no sense. Next were two short paragraphs which explicitly describe feelings (and remember, I'm a guy, so "feelings" does not automatically translate to "my opinion"), and finally at the end I attempt to assure the reader that I am in fact still sane, and at least capable of looking positively at the situation, despite its apparent lack of expression in the rest of the post.

Sounds innocent enough! What was so offensive to your readers? Well let's see...
"I don't think I'm showing off, but I get the feeling that's how a lot of people perceive my attempts to relate. In return, I get pity gestures, but no real attempt at a meaningful rapport."
This was read by some as an accusation. I didn't see it that way, and I still don't. I was stating a fact: a fact which I had just in part attributed to a quirk of my own personality.

"It feels like I'm that kid who tries to act like a grown-up, and bosses all the other kids around..., only in the spiritual sense. What am I supposed to do though? Stunt my own growth so as to fit in?"
This one is just begging to be misunderstood, and I knew that when I wrote it, which is why I attempted to narrow down my meaning to the specific sense in which I meant it. Notice that I did not say "I feel like..." as if the situation were directly analogous to the one being described. Here is the piece of semantic gymnastics that I was attempting to elegantly portray: I feel like everyone else thinks that I am an arrogant spiritual show-off, even though I know that (1) this is not actually how they see me (2) I do not in fact think myself to be spiritually superior, rather I know that many of them have true depth. Moreover (3) despite the fact that I can see glimpses of this depth, barriers exist which prevent me from connecting with them through it on an on-going basis. *Whew*
"This last conference felt, in some ways, like getting a big box in the mail, only to find after hours of rummaging that it only contains packing peanuts."
Perhaps in a more precise analogy the box would contain something, but I would still be unable to find it. However, both of these situations feel exactly the same to the recipient of the box, and that was my true subject. Again, if you think I'm saying that the YP are devoid of content, you are misinterpreting me.


In this entry, I explain how I am God's favorite, "and I, even I only, am left," and having been brought through the fiery trial, He leadeth me on to greener pastures as a reward for my faithfulness.

I mean seriously, how arrogant and self-righteous do you think I am?1

That said, I do feel lonely, I have repeatedly expressed my frustration with my inability to connect with the YP, and I experienced neither of these in RFH's group.

Nevertheless, the description given is not a direct contrast to the YP (unless you think I'm suggesting that the YP are stoic--the distinction was noted because in general I see fear of seriousness because 'seriousness isn't fun'), but rather a description of why I liked it: many of the same things could be said of the monthly Saturday morning Bible studies, which I also consider to be a blessing from God and a refuge. This was a bonus one, unasked-for and unexpected, which I half2-jokingly suggested was because God had read my blog and thought I needed it. I certainly had been pouting loudly enough for him to have gotten that idea.

The message I got: "Tim, be patient. I know your frustration and I am in control." which certainly felt like a big hug.


0 And apparently also, those who suspect they are being referred to

1 Oh, I welcome your comments on this one.

2 No more, no less.