Thursday, October 21, 2010

Let's Catch Up

Sometime you just need a break, and that is exactly what I've had the past few weeks when my #1 computer, the command center of my digital photography workflow, ceased to work.  I have been taking photos, but at a much slower pace than before the computer breakdown.  And if you remember my post on Car Fever- I have somewhat solved that problem.  This past weekend Megan and I purchased a 2009 Subaru Outback.  It's a great car and I love it, but now it is time to sell my  supercharged 2003 Toyota Corolla S.  If you know anyone close to Columbus that is looking for a sporty car with great gas mileage, please shoot me an e-mail.

And there are more updates to our lives.  Weston is now 19 months old, and every day he seems to need more attention.  It's great, it's fantastic- I love how he is aging and becoming more interactive with us- it just means that there is less time to do other things. Like blogging and taking photographs of nature.  What am I doing more?  Playing the piano and the electric guitar at Weston's request- he loves music.

Congratulations go out to Megan, who has a new position as a full time assistant professor of nursing at the largest university in SW Ohio (think bears...think cats...think the Ohio River).  Fortunately for us, she'll be working exclusively in said university's online nursing program, meaning she can do almost all of the work here at our home in Worthington.  She will travel to the afformentioned university only a few times a quarter.  She has found it incredibly rewarding to be able to take care of our son and hold a full time faculty position at a major university.  I'm mega-proud of Megan!

And finally, perhaps the biggest news of all.  If everything goes OK (I'm extra cautious, being the husband of a women's reproductive health professional), we'll be adding one more member to our family come March.  We just had our twenty week ultrasound and everything looks good.  This pregnancy has been different for both Megan and I- we can only imagine just how different this child will be from Weston.  Like Weston, we chose to find out the baby's gender at its birth. We are still working on potential names- picking two great names this time is much more challenging- yes, I think we've even scrapped the girl name that we had picked last time.
All in all, I have enjoyed a little break from the Blogosphere, the Twitterverse, and Facebook.  Once I get my computer back up and running, you'll see more of us, but for now, I'm enjoying this little break.  I'll be back, refreshed and rejuvenated before you know it.


Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Car Fever

Yes, this is a particularly off-topic post, but behind every great naturalist, there is a great vehicle. We've all seen Jim McCormac's sweet VW Jetta TDI, or Jim Bissell's subaru outback, or Rick Gardner's Hyundai Elantra, right?

The car I drive now, and have since May of 2004, is decidedly unfit for a naturalist.  It's a 2003 Toyota Corolla- which sounds plain and boring, until I let you know what has been done to it.  The previous owner had the dealer install a supercharger, making it quick as lighting.  They lowered the car two inches and put on the 16-inch double spoke wheels that came standard on the early 2000's Celica.  The bottom line?  It's a sweet car, and it's been amazingly fun to drive all of these years, but it no longer meets my needs.

First of all, I'm a dad now.  Fatherhood was quite possibly the farthest thing from my mind when I purchased the 'yota when I was a young bachelor in a new, big city (although maybe that's how things work, if you catch my drift).  Fast forward six and half years, and I've got a 19 month old dragging me into the living room as soon as I get home from work, wanting me to play the electric guitar.  Although I'd love to cruise around the city with the little guy in his car seat, the Corolla is too low to be safe for little kids.

Second of all- The car is undrivable when we have more than a few inches of snow.  Winters in Columbus are hit and miss.  That means that the cities here don't invest enough in snow plow equiptment to really take care of things when a big snow event does happen (although I must say the comparatively rich suburbs are great with snow plowing).  I'd say we have a "bad" winter every other year, and when we do, the city shuts down for a few days after we get 6 or more inches of snow.  When that happens, I'm not going anywhere in my Corolla.  Normally that had been OK-  I would just take Megan's car to work.  But now Megan has a new job where she might have to drive to the University of Cincinnati now and then.  She needs her car, and I can't rely on it any more.

Thirdly-   I don't have a five mile, one way commute anymore- I have a 30 mile one-way commute.  My car won't cut it in winter.

So I'm looking for a new ultimate naturalist vehicle.  I have test driven four crossover SUV type vehicles.  On paper the Honda Element would be fantastic, except that I just can't get over it's boxy profile, and the drive of the CR-V was too plain for me.   I have fallen in love with the looks of the 2010 Chevy Equinox, but it feels like a bigger car than it really is. When I test drove it today, I was reminded of my Grandpa's 1995 Oldsmobile 88.  Both General Motors products are great cars, comfortable with a smooth ride, but fun doesn't really factor into the equation with either.  We also tried the Toyota RAV-4, a great car despite the recall- I just don't like how the back door swings open and to the side rather than up.

So what vehicle do I keep thinking about?  What car did I like driving the most?  Quite simply, it's the Subaru Forester. It's understated elegance coupled with a just a little bit of quirk, including a huge panoramic windshield make it quite appealing.  It just might be the ultimate naturalist vehicle that I'm after.


Sunday, October 03, 2010

Computer Update

As most of you know, this past week I had a major computer crash and my hard drives became un-bootable.  I've been shut down since then.

Well, not entirely- I'm actually writing this post from the problem computer.  But the computer isn't running Windows- It's using an Ubuntu Linux OS straight from a CD.  I must say, it's sort of cool using a computer without any hard drives- It reminds me of my Apple IIe days back in the late 80's and early 90's.  Put in your program on a disk, and it runs just perfectly.

With the help of my friend James, we were able to determine that both of my hard drives are actually completely fine, and I will be able to recover any data that I had previously lost.  In fact, it's already been recovered on a brand new tiny little 750 GB external hard drive I picked up at Microcenter yesterday.

That being said, my digital photography workflow is currently non-existant.  I haven't picked up my camera since all this happened, and to be perfectly honest, I've enjoyed my time away from the gear.  Nature photography had definitely turned into a second job (without pay) for me, and the break from being constantly behind a lens feels like a much needed vacation.