I've been propelled into the second half of this decade by my new "camera" acquisition....

The AMC Gremlin. 

A bunch of us guys would be sitting around at Starbucks, sipping our venti, triple shot, whole milk quattrochinos and we'd pretty much all have our smart phones sitting around on the table. But not me. I kept my in my pocket. I was a little embarrassed to be the only person in my peer group who seemed reticent to spend (waste?) money by endlessly upgrading telephones. And I must admit that I was a bit jealous as I timed the start up of some of their new miracle phones and realized that I was basically sporting the Nikon D1 of the Apple iPhones. I won't even admit which phone I was using as recently as this morning but I will confess that part of my reason for buying a new phone was that the model I've had will not be upgradable in the next iOS software upgrade. Gone will be those marvelous tweaks that make moving around my brilliant messages and enticing conversations so secure. No more performance fixes. No more ephemeral something-ness for my phone. 

My friend, James, looked at my phone and you could tell by his expression that he envisioned it as the AMC Gremlin of communications. I explained that I bought it on a two-for-one deal from AT&T when Ben was a senior in high school and, well, that was a while ago.... but it really was.....almost?....state of the art at the time... It could be worse, it could be an Android phone...

The funny thing is that my even more frugal spouse and partner is sporting an even older phone. She recently had it lounging on her work table at the advertising agency where she's employed and all the millennials in the office stopped by to stare at it. They had never seen a smartphone that was so small. They loved it. They assumed it was a next gen product. But Belinda set them straight by telling them that it was an iPhone 4. A phone first introduced when most of her associates were still in middle school. 

I asked her if she wanted me to buy her a new phone when I decided to buy a new one. She declined and explained to me that while my use of my phone was more like the use of a defacto mini-iPad she still only uses hers as......a telephone. And in that capacity it works quite well....

I didn't push it. She makes far more money than me and when she needs a phone I'm sure she'll research her purchase for weeks, or months, and then buy the right one. 

I went out for a walk this morning and at the end of the walk I headed into the local AT&T store and bought an iPhone XR. We did the transaction and they walked me through the set-up. The store staff seemed amazed that anyone over 60 knew how to back up a phone to the cloud, or set up a new phone and transfer vital data. I tried to explain to them that I'd been working as my own, in-house I.T. director since the first Apple Macintosh came into our lives back in 1984, and that I still owned both the first and second generations of iPhones but that part of the conversation seemed lost on them as they explained to me how useful plastic cases are for phones, and how I'll need to "charge" the battery. 

Setting up face detection was fun. Paying for a new phone was less fun. But then I used my new phone to take pictures of wet towels and everything came clear to me in a flash. I'll be able to sell off all my cameras and lenses and depend completely on the camera in my phone. I just hope I have the marketing chops to monetize the results....

I posted some photos here to flesh out the post. Have you upgraded your phone yet? Gotten a vaccination for shingles? Started wearing adjustable waist slacks? Started wearing stuff with more Velcro? Drinking more Sanka? Watch out. 

The large antenna required for Russian mobile phones. 

A Kirk Tuck original: COFFEE TO GO.




It's the "dog days" of Summer, I've broken the washing machine, and I've found a new use for some of those C-Stands floating around the office....

It's getting nasty hot this week and it looks like the sizzling weather is here to stay for the next ten days or so. I guess it's not so bad. Everything from the dog house to the tool shed is air conditioned, we've got a constant 70 degree, spring-fed pool to swim laps in, and the brutal heat seems to slow down the migration of wealthy Californians and New Yorkers to Austin, Texas. 

I wouldn't mind the heat so much if we still got to have that season northerners call, Winter. But, alas, our new take on Austin winter is that it might be wise to take along a sweater if we're going to be out for a long time. Gloves? Only required if you're trying to make some sort of fashion statement...

Since the weather has heated up swim towels tend to pick up odors and that mildewy smell more quickly; especially if you leave them in your car for too long. So I've tried to stay ahead of swim towel maintenance by getting stuff into the washing machine on a regular and frequent basis. Sometimes I try to put too many towels in the machine but usually there are not bad consequences resulting from my overpacking of the appliance. 

Today was an outlier. I packed the Kenmore 90 Series, heavy duty washer with too many towels. I didn't space them accurately and, at some point in the spin cycle, everything became unruly, the washer bounced around a bit and then I hear a "SNAP!" or a "CRACK!" and the washer stopped spinning. Now it won't spin at all. And it is important to note that the initial drying stages of heavily sodden towels depends almost entirely on centripetal force and spinning motors. 

I've already called, Mike, my cherished appliance repair person. He's really good, really reasonable and not too judgmental. I learned that as he explained to me that gas powered clothes dryers should have their internal filters (no, not the one you see when you open the door; I know that much...) cleaned out more frequently that once every twenty or so years....

After the call to Mike I pondered the pile of soggy but clean towels I had created. I figured that mass would be a taxing load for the dryer, what without the spin dry treatment, so I looked for some alternative method to achieve drying that might also be carbon neutral. Finally it came to me. The old fashion clothesline! Something I've never seen behind any house anywhere in my zip code in at least the last two decades. I surmise that people have forgotten that they can harness the power of the sun to dry their garments. But I was equally remiss because I don't have a clothesline either (although I do have bags and bags of clothespins which we use to mount filters to lights and diffusion sheets to soft boxes, etc.). 

Then it dawned on me that I do have a collection of C-Stands (Century Stands) which also have "arms" and could be easily pressed into service as portable drying racks. So I pulled a few C-stands, and a couple of conventional light stands, out into the blazing afternoon sun and hung towels over every horizontal surface. We are now in the mid-process. Each time I check the fabric of my swim towels it feels just a bit less wet. We are making progress!

Since work tends to slow down in the middle of Summer I was excited to find new ways to press my gear into service, even if it is just domestic service. But then, all work is noble; right?

Photographed with brand new camera gear; which I will discuss in the next post. 

The walk way between house and office offers a wonderfully reflective surface for towel drying while sheltering the down market application of sunday's from street view. 
Another task undertaken. 

Need to dry off some fabric or buy a Hasselblad H1Dii?
Try buying through this link to make me richer than Midas.