Monday, January 30, 2012
Sunday, January 29, 2012
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Sunday, January 22, 2012
Last winter I swore by my YakTrax in the snow and ice, but I wore them out and was never really happy that I often had to reset them on my feet on the trail. So over the summer I did a some research for something a little tougher and found these slightly (!) more aggressive hiking crampons from a company in Canada (well, they should know about ice and snow, eh?).
So today I tried them for the first time and was very happy. They stayed in place for the whole hike without needing any futzing with, the grip is awesome as they have serious spikes, there was no problem with snow gathering under the plates, and they seem to be extremely well made.
This snow will probably all be gone by tomorrow as it's going up into the 50s, but if we get any more snow I'll post further thoughts on these as I have them.
Oh, and I should mention the boots I have been wearing all winter that I am very happy with- again picked up over the summer on clearance. It must seem that I spend all my time in the summer prowling the interweb looking for bargains on winter gear! Not quite, I just keep an eye on a couple of those websites that aggregate sales and stuff, and LLBean sent me a coupon and had these boots on clearance :)
They are these Tuckerman's Multisport Boots in bright red :) Insulated, waterproof, very comfortable, and with a kinda cool wind-up lace system: you just twist the button on the front to tighten them, and then just pull on it to loosen them to take them off- all the support of a lace up with the convenience of a slip on. I have been wearing them all winter to walk the dog, and they have proven very warm and comfortable, both on their own and yesterday with snowshoes and today with the crampons- and when the dog hears the clicking of the lace system tightening she comes running- very Pavlovian.
Anyhow, thats the end of my little product review segment for today, stay tuned for your local news...
|It looks so weird against the clear, blue sky|
|It was about 15 degrees this morning so that's probably why the smoke/steam showed so well|
|With the cell antennas around the tower it looks kind of steam-punk :)|
|Lone ivy leaf in the snow|
Saturday, January 21, 2012
... so easy to use a 12 year old can do it :)
Crisp and his buddy Jason came out to help and did sterling work shoveling the lower nursery school patio & fire exit (an area I can't get to with the snow brush, and which, because of the stupid design of the building, is a royal pain in the ass)!
Holly and I came out to the woods before I do another run with the snow brush. The snow is not really deep enough, but for the fun of it I thought I would try out my new snowshoes. I'm pleased to report that despite being 1/3 bigger than my old ones they are just as easy to hike in :)
This is the first real powdery snow we've had, so I was wondering how the snow brush would handle it... awesomely! is the answer :)
It clears down to the bare sidewalk, even clearing the compressed snow where someone has walked.
It's still coming down, so I shall have to go out again later, and I still have to shovel the steps etc. (although Crisp has been a huge help and has done a lot of them), but I'm actually quite looking forward to it :)
Friday, January 20, 2012
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
And it worked a treat! I've just got in from doing all the sidewalks in about an hour :)
This kind of snowfall is usually a royal pain coz it's not enough for the snowblower so I have to shovel it by hand which would take a good couple of hours. But the snowbrush made short work of it, leaving me just a few steps to shovel- and it gets all the snow off, leaving the sidewalks just wet, so no need for ice-melter!
Sunday, January 15, 2012
Saturday, January 14, 2012
Funnily enough, Jackie's friend and colleague Megan (who I often chat to over the interweb about camera gear as she's a camera geek too) had just called me for advice about buying a second-hand lens from someone on Craigslist. I knew that the lens had been bought as part of a "job-lot" that included a Canon 300D camera body. This was the camera that started the whole popular DSLR revolution as it was the first one that sold for under $1,000 when it came out in 2003, and it's an ideal camera to learn on- it's only 6.3 megapixels but it's a excellent quality camera without all the bells and whistles of the newer models. So I called Megan and she agreed to sell it to me for $75 (a steal! thanks Megan!). Then I sallied forth onto eBay in search of a basic zoom lens, and very quickly snagged a 1st generation EF 35-80mm 1:4-5.6 lens for $50 :)
The lens arrived this morning, and I opened it a little nervously (well, you never know what you're going to get!) but it seems to work perfectly- the auto focus works and it stops down nicely. There's a little dust inside it, but not enough to affect the quality of the pictures, and it's again a nice lens to learn on- no image stabilisation or anything fancy, just good, old school Canon optics.
So, when I headed out with the dog I took the camera and it's new (!) lens with me to try them out- and I think for $125 it's a pretty good deal (see below)! Now I just need to dig out an old Compact Flash card reader and burn the 300D manual I downloaded to a disk and I can give the whole kit to Jason tomorrow :)
|Ice crystals in the mud|
|Stream: slow shutter...|
|...and fast shutter :)|
|Dog and ball|
|This lens actually has quite nice bokeh|
|And more ice crystals|
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
This weather is nuts! We had frost on the cars this morning, but now it's 50F.
I came out at lunchtime to walk Holly and thought I was imagining it when I started hearing woodpeckers- but no, here is one of them. They must be as confuddled by the weather as the rest of us!
Wednesday, January 04, 2012
It's very sad, but I'm very glad we got to ride it twice as it was the one ride I've always wanted to go on (as it's been featured itself in lots of movies). Crisp really enjoyed it, and I'm glad that the second time around I braved the spray from the shark and pulled my camera out :)
While looking up news about Jaws we also found out that it was a busier week for the theme parks in Florida than we had thought- apparently on the day we were at the Magic Kingdom (Disney) they actually closed the entrances to the park for a period because it was full. From what I've read the capacity of the Magic Kingdom is 100,000 people, so it makes me even more impressed with the whole operation! The fact that we were able to have a fabulous day, do all the rides we did, get reservations for lunch and dinner, and get out and home at the end of the day so smoothly is truly amazing!
And we were also very lucky to be at Legoland when we were- they also closed their doors on the 28th & 29th because they were full, and on the 31st when we were there the park was so quiet that on some of the rides we got off and got straight back on again because there was no line. Perhaps people had heard about them being so full on those days and stayed away- but we had no idea and just lucked out :)