Thursday, October 29, 2015

JWPT Skirmish: One Way You Can Help

It doesn't require much of your time, but it's one of those things that could make a bit of a difference in the long haul.

If you could go check out this article and then either like or dislike any or all of the comments, in accordance with your true feelings and conscience, that would be awesome.

Thanks is advance.

Monday, October 19, 2015

JWPT Situation Update

Nothing will be resolved immediately.  That much is for sure.

But the issue, and the polarity, are now out in the open, and that's a good thing, as opposed to the bullshit stealth land grab tactics that 9th District Reps Schmick and Dye tried to employ.  I shudder to think where we could be, if they had gotten their wording right, in a provision to the state budget.  The land could already be into private hands and we would be fighting the impossible, uphill battle of prying it away and back into the public domain.

Although I will never know it, there is some back-story there as to how this language got botched.  I would be surprised if it was sheer ineptitude; my preferred guess is that the trail has an angel somewhere in the political system that exercised a cunning move to get this morally sickening, back-handed effort aborted and exposed and into the public light.  If that is indeed the case, I would love to buy that individual a very expensive steak dinner.  Or some vegan extravagance, if that was the preference.  Or whatever.  You get my drift.

As it is now, the two sides are establishing their positions and foundations.  I am sure there are more proper military terms.  But the laying of the political groundwork to fight this battle, in short.

I am not super involved in the fight, because I am not that capable, but I am not un-involved, either, because I care.  I am figuring out who my friends are and who my friends are not.

First, the nots:

  • Schmick and Dye, obviously.  And all the dirty-handed folks that embraced their scheme.
  • My 6th district state reps Kevin Parker and Jeff Holy.  Neither responded to a very pointed email I sent regarding the issue, asking them where they stand.  I understand that politicians get a shit-ton of email, but also, a response of some sort to a well-written and respectful inquiry is a reasonable expectation.  I can only read between the lines.

Now, for the Friends:

  • City Councilman Jon Snyder.  The dude is so incredibly rad and efficient.  He drafted a resolution in support of preserving the trail and moved it forward for consideration by the City Council tonight and it passed by a vote of 7-0.  Yeah, tell me about it.  Badass.
  • The Spokesman Review.  They have totally stepped up and defined their position.  I know that I am old school, but I dig my local rag and can't wait for that feel of paper in my hands every morning.  Sometimes I get the bits online, but it is especially satisfying to get my news via hard copy.  At any rate, they have it right on this issue.
  • Rich Landers, in particular, at the SR.  He's just super in-tune with outdoor issues and a pretty influential guy at the newspaper, and I know he must have to manage a lot of pressure from various angles, but he has been super supportive through all this, in terms of just stating the damned FACTS.
  • Scott Arbuckle, a buddy who came to the city council meeting tonight, to support me as I bumbled my way through my testimony.
  • And many others.  You know who you are.

Some great SR stuff is here and here and here.

Outcome TBD, obviously.  This is what's at stake, though . . .

Monday, October 12, 2015

Refusing The Fail

Early this year, I made the decision to invest in a new mirrorless camera, along with some lenses specific to it.  The decision was driven by a desire, primarily, to reduce the bulk and weight of a full-on DSLR, while still being able to take high quality photos during bike trips.

I chose the Sony A6000 due to super-positive reviews and wide availability.  What none of my research ever uncovered though, was what a total piece of shit the user's manual for this camera is.  (And that description is overly kind, believe me.  Feel free to ask me how I really feel sometime.)  It lacks any kind of perceivable organization and offers a generally shallow treatment of a complex piece of equipment.  The illustrations are simplistic and the index is a joke.  It exists online only, and is an online-only document.  It can be printed, but it is even more worthless in printed form, because it is full of links within the text that send you haphazardly to other pages of the document that are located in obscure places within the structure of the document.

As someone who likes to sit down with a paper manual (even if I have to print it myself) and work my way in a somewhat linear and organized fashion through the various features and functions of a camera, as I was used to doing with my solid Canon manuals, the Sony offering was insanely frustrating.

At the time, I looked for online learning options, as well as third-party books.  There were some online bits and pieces, if I had a million free hours to peruse them and somehow synthesize some sort of understanding.  The solitary book available at the time received poor reviews, and I mean really poor.

So the camera sat.  For over 6 months.  Yeah, I could take a basic photo, but to have no control over the awesome, advanced functionality of such a highly-regarded machine was just too sour of a taste in my mouth.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago, and a whim of a google search turned up a very positively reviewed third-party book on the A6000, by David Busch, who has a shit-ton of experience shooting, and writing, and writing about shooting, and shooting to support his writing.  The book is freaking GOLD.  I am partway through Chapter 1, and I am already feeling like I have some sense of control over the functionality.

The way I am going to use the book is to go slowly through it, while taking gobs of photos to understand and reinforce what I am reading.

So that in the event I do actually ever ride a bike again, I will have a high-quality way to prove it.

Some A6000 practice photos from the last coupla days.  I'm starting to really dig this camera . . .

The low-light capabilities of this camera are phenomenal . . .