Cannon Mountain

As mentioned, I’ve been developing film this week.  Here are a few from our Lonesome Lake Hut/Cannon Mountain expedition.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Shot on Ilford FP4+ with a Nikon FM2/50mm. Developed in D76.

Why am I so tired again?

Everyone is out of town this week, so I’m minding the family store.

18:00 hours, home from dinner after work.

  • Fed my parents’ 5 cats and their feral colony.
  • Warmed up the photo processor and the railcar.
  • Fed and watered 14 chickens in three coops.
  • Changed transmission oil in the motorcar; it’s going to get a workout this weekend at Thomas.
  • Changed mirrors and saddlebags on one of my motorcycles.
  • Fed and watered my own 7 cats, one of whom requires a special diet.
  • Washed dishes.
  • Emptied trash.
  • Developed 5 rolls of film.
  • Fed 21 (-ish, I lost count) rescue guinea pigs, two rabbits, a hamster, a Betta fish and a tank of tropical fish. (I didn’t even try to count them.)
  • Started laundry.

It’s almost 22:00. After this I’m off to start the Roomba and fall into bed with a book.  Tomorrow I get to do it all again, plus work a PR detail for the fire department and clean the litter boxes.  (At least the laundry will be done.)

Why am I so tired?

#CameraChallenge I

Recently one of my favorite corners of Twitter issued a #CameraChallenge.  The game this time was to spend £5 on a camera and share the results.  As we live within walking distance of one of New England’s best flea markets, Beth and I accepted the challenge.

We visited our flea market on a hot June Sunday morning with our $6.30 (£5 equivalent) in hand, and we were not disappointed.

Beth came away with a Kodak #2 Box Brownie, and I picked up a pair of Instamatics for $10.  I recently took delivery of a CamerHack FAKmatic adapter; this would give me a chance to try it out.

The next day we intended to load them with film and head for Mount Monadnock as part of our Seek the Peak training regime.  The Brownie was duly loaded with Tmax and I gave her a quick lesson on shooting it.  Then we came to the Instamatics. . .

The 314 (right, above) takes a pair of PX825 batteries.  I had assumed they were 625s, which I have in stock.  Nope.  It will have to wait for a the right battery or a bodged substitute.  The 400 (left) doesn’t use a battery.  The meter is Selenium and the winder is clockwork, and the FAKmatic doesn’t fit it.

With film loaded in the adapter and no time to spare, I loaded my Instamatic 500 instead.  It wouldn’t work for the challenge but would give me a chance to try out the cartridge.

I didn’t realize until too late that the Brownie has multiple apertures.  Most of Beth’s shots were either over- or underexposed.  I was able to correct them in scanning.  I couldn’t do anything for the light leaks, however.  She’s happy.  I am too; these huge 6×9 negatives have potential.

Seeking the Peak

It’s that time of year again, when I join the Mount Washington Observatory’s fundraiser, Seek the Peak.  Last year I attacked New England’s Highest Peak, Home of the World’s Worst Weather, and succeeded before lunch.  I also got some cool swag.

This year Beth decided she wanted to climb with me.  We dutifully registered for the climb, created our team donation page, and began our training.

It quickly became apparent that she would not be ready in time.  I never thought of myself as particularly ‘in shape’ for a middle-aged guy, but I can run circles around her with a pack on my back.

Fear not, we have other options and the deadline is not until this Friday.

This past weekend we attempted our most ambitious project yet. We hiked in to AMC’s Lonesome Lake Hut and spent the night.

We ate a family style dinner with 41 of our closest new friends.

We slept in a rom with no electricity with 5 of our new friends. . .

The only sounds came from the wildlife. . .

And we woke up to this view.

The weathermen forecast Aurora Borealis for the night we were there, but we didn’t catch any.  We just stared at the fabulous stars instead.

Monday we woke up, ate a huge breakfast with our 41 friends, and departed up Kinsman Ridge for the 4100 foot summit of Cannon Mountain.  The trail was rougher than we expected, but we made it.

It was a weird feeling running into tourists in flip-flops at the summit after hiking all morning.  We joined them for a sandwich in the cafe and then rode the tram back to the valley.

Back to Seeking the Peak:    After conquering Beth’s first 4000-footer this week, we don’t feel to shabby about not attempting the big hike.  We will probably christen the new Honda on the auto road and then hike to a waterfall somewhere in the valley.  Unless we start to feel ambitious again. . .


New Horse

The 1970’s may have been dismal times for cars, music, and fashion, but the power equipment and motorcycles were pretty good.

This 1973 Wheel Horse 1-0120 8 joined the fleet this week.  It will do intermediate mowing duties at the farm.  It’s perfect for the jobs which are too big for Frankenmower but not large enough for the Kubota.  There’s something about all those spinning belts which the steampunk engineer in me finds satisfying.

I don’t need a D-180.  I don’t need a D-180. I don’t need a D-180. Or a 314-8, or a C-165.  Regret trading my 520-H years ago. . .


I feel it’s time for an update, but I don’t have anything focused to say.

NfMH seems to be back to normal.  A Jetpack update crashed it briefly last week.  You might have noticed most of the sidebar was gone.  (I had to deactivate it to get the main page running again.) Another update yesterday seems to have fixed the issue.

The bus is back in the shop.  It steadfastly refuses to idle.  It’s great on the open road but zero fun in traffic.  Hopefully it’s something simple.

Sebastian is still with us.  Our ‘new normal’ includes calcium binders at breakfast and subcutaneous fluids every evening, but he’s still happy.  He purrs as he sleeps on his pillow between us every night.

The chickens are in their new home.  The seem happy, but they’re chickens.  As long as no one is chasing them they’re happy.  Demolition of the old coop begins soon.

I spent the weekend at brush fires, which means I did not get much done around home.  We did find some time to bicycle and buy new sunglasses today.

There is the small matter of a new car in the fleet which I haven’t mentioned yet.  I’ll save it for later; have to have some reason to keep people coming back.

As I type, Sammie sits next to me on the porch watching the bird feeders.  It’s a good day.

1978. . .

It’s been a stressful couple of weeks.  I’m commuting halfway across the state 2 days a week for a fire academy course.  In between, we’ve had our big state ambulance inspection at work.  Sebastian’s health is declining, and we fear the end is near.  It would be easy to be frazzled or depressed.

The bus is back from the shop however.  It originally came to us with a mix CD made up of Santana, Fleetwood Mac, Elvis, and the Eagles.  We left it in the player for laughs.

The sun was out Monday afternoon, and the bus needed an inspection.  I took it for an errand run with the windows down and 1978 blaring from the speakers.  It’s impossible not to smile with this view and sixty-five air-cooled horses clattering away behind you.

Detox update

It’s April 2nd, so an update on my digital detox is due.  Firstly, the burner didn’t work out.  I found that I text with family enough that the T9 keyboard drove me nuts.  I also use MMS messages for backup dispatching at work, and the flip phone simply didn’t handle this well.  Then there was the issue of podcasts. I listen a lot in the car, and carrying a separate iPod runs counter to my aim of simplifying. I swallowed my pride and reactivated my iPhone within 48 hours.

The rest of the detox went well.  I still have no email or social media on the phone.  The Twitter twitch is still there, especially in those interstitial times such as waiting in lines or sitting alone in a restaurant.  I’m fighting it, and I have no plans to add complexity back into my phone.

 Here’s my home screen.  Everything I couldn’t delete or that I use rarely is hidden in three folders on the second page.  That’s it.  The detox continues.

The airport

So there I was with no functional cell phone and Mrs. Mack505 due at the airport in an hour.  I was ANGRY, and a bit afraid.  I was about to fail at a simple promise to my wife.  Simplicity had suddenly turned ridiculously complex.

A brief pause is worthy here.  In the days before Uber and cell phone lots, people still got picked up at the airport.  I could park in short term parking and meet her at baggage claim.  I could cruise in circles until she appeared at the curb.  (Ever been to Boston Logan International?  While possible this would be torture.) I could at least call her cell from a landline and leave a voicemail explaining the problem.

I could also use my daughter’s iPhone!  Problem solved with a simple text which the Mrs. would get as soon as she landed.

Which brings me back to my phone saga.  It took two more phone calls and a trip to Walmart (I swallowed my pride. . .), but I finally have a working burner.  It’s a simple flip phone which makes calls and can text.  That’s it.  I had something similar in 2002.  I feel like I should be making drug deals, ordering mob hits, or fleeing from Jason Bourne with it.

It’s been powered up for almost 24 hours and the battery indicator hasn’t moved from full.  Stay tuned. . .