The Wrong Wall Has No Purpose

In my youth … meaning the early days of my first marriage and the entirety of my second marriage … I had purpose.

That purpose was to provide shelter, food, disposable spending money, education, vehicles, life and medical insurance, recreation, vacations, entertainment and a host of other needs, necessities and wants and desires for my wives and kids.

I worked hard. I worked hard when employed by others and when I tried to start my own business. I worked hard around the house to keep it well maintained and functional. I learned new skills so I could avoid paying contractors.

I also worked hard to stay in shape both physically and mentally. Although it is debatable if I succeeded.

I worked hard during those stretches of my life because there was purpose … to keep the family healthy, happy and provided for.

Thankfully, I was born into a family that had the same mind set and so I worked in the ‘family’ business for most of my career. It was great work and paid well. I believe I paid my dues and made a living to provide for my family.

Now that the family has grown and left, including the wives, the ‘family’ business sold to my younger brother and others (I was not part of the selected few) I find the nest empty and the career tainted and wonder what purpose there is now.

Other than paying student loans and marital debt there could be no purpose.

I enjoy the job I have now, even though it is with the ‘family business’ that others (including my younger brother) own. The actual work, the actual coding of web sites and development of web applications and collateral material to help the company create revenue is what I enjoy although I don’t necessarily enjoy some of the culture and few of the people.

Yesterday I started a short story about an older man who finds his ladder is against the wrong wall, a wall that he already painted. With his wife and her (maybe) lover cat calling him about the fact he already painted that wall, he day dreams about a life he didn’t pursue due to societal norms and parental expectations, he falls. During his recovery, he elects to stop working at his job (which had become torturous) and pursues the dream he had left on the shelf to conform to other’s expectations.

It could be an interesting story if I develop it and if I work at it.

But most likely I won’t. Or I will let it die a quick slow death.

Ah … such is a man without purpose.

A contrast in life and death. Photo taken by Dave O on June 29, 2018 about 7:05 am from Indianapolis Indiana.

A contrast in life and death. Photo taken by Dave O with the Nikon W300 on June 29, 2018 about 7:05 am from Indianapolis Indiana.

Continuing the Saga of the W300

I continue the exploration of the Nikon W300 by downloading the firmware update, experimenting with some of the ‘after-the-photo-is-taken’ effect the little camera offers and the remote photography feature.

I have never updated a camera firmware. After registering the W300 with Nikon I was sent an email saying the new W300 had a firmware update. I downloaded the file from the Nikon site, saved it to the memory card and scrolled to the firmware selection in the setting menu.

The camera promptly displayed a “battery exhausted” message. The firmware was not updated.

The “battery exhausted” message encouraged me to buy two spare batteries and a spare battery charger for $90 from www.adorama.com.

Before I dropped the spare batteries and charger into my Adorama shopping cart, I researched the pros and cons of batteries offered by other vendors such as Anton Bauer which I remember from my worthless days as a corporate video producer and Green Extreme of which I have no familiarity with.

Of course, third-party battery vendors offer their wares at prices lower than genuine Nikon batteries. However, after reading this declaration by Nikon I spent the extra dollars on honest Nikon batteries.

I shared my Nikon W300 buying experience with a photographer friend, who also is a Nikon enthusiast, over a dinner of sirloin, rice and potatoes with Mashcraft IPA of which I did not count the calories.

He was impressed with the compact little orange Nikon. He asked why I bought it when the D600 was within reach for any photo opportunity.

I answered with the usual defense of technical specifications, relating the sixteen megapixel, 5x zoom, waterproof casing and SnapBridge app that wowed me into the purchase.

However, my honest answer was that I wanted a compact point and shoot camera, in addition to the D600, for when (if) I take my 2018 Epic Colorado road trip.

We spent the remaining dinner time talking about Colorado and photography in Colorado.

Sky Photo taken about 7:15 pm on June 26 from Greenwood Indiana.

Sky photo taken with the Nikon W300 about 7:15 pm on June 26 from Greenwood Indiana.

Later, at home, I plugged the camera into the wall via the supplied Nikon charger. Once the battery was fully charged the firmware was updated.

The Second Day of W300

I kept my calories in check with a Slimfast breakfast and lunch and a barbecue and mac cheese dinner. I didn’t count calories but kept my intake in check.

That is good.


Nikon W300

It fun to have a new creative toy. Especially a camera.

Alas, there are different degrees of happy. And that is no different with the Nikon W300. At the moment, my W300 happy isn’t too overwhelmingly happy. I thought I would over flow with W300 happy but that hasn’t happen.

I’m not disappointed in the camera as it is doing every thing Nikon says it can do. But my expectations were somewhat elevated due to the retail price and my experience with Nikon.

I confess that I expected a D600 compacted into the W300 with the extra water proof and shockproof shroud. Add into the expectation the SnapBridge app and my elation was complete.

Yet, the initial letdown and slight disappointment is simmering.

  • SnapBridge automatically ports a low resolution copy to the iPhone. I suppose this is ok as the low resolution photo is good for texting, email, and social media. Yet, I expected the full resolution. So, it appears, when viewing on the iPhone, that iPhone photos are superior to the Nikon photos.
  • There is a method to port the full resolution photos to the iPhone but that process is not automatic and it involves Wi-Fi. Seems complicated.
  • I have not found a method to import full resolution 4K video from the W300 to the iPhone then to the Mac desktop. I can import from the W300 to the iPhone but not to the desktop. Very strange.
  • The Time Lapse movie is limited to ten seconds. That seems too short. The D600 can time lapse for hours. The W300 time lapse captures a series of frames for a specific time frame depending on the setting, from Cityscape (10 minutes) to Star Trails (150 minutes). Regardless, the result is a ten second time lapse movie.

Of course, as with any new and expensive electronic toy, it takes a while to fully discover the depth of complexity and I’ve only had the W300 for 48 hours so I still have much to explore.

Max, the neighbor's puppy.

Max, the neighbor’s puppy. Photo taken by Dave O with the new Nikon W300. Exposure compensation set to +1 for this photo.

 

Nikon W300

So … after fusing over the Nikon W300 for many days, debating internally if I should buy it, holding it in my hand at the local Best Buy then walking away, driving to a discount electronics store 33 miles away in hopes of a cheaper price (they didn’t even stock the camera), I finally laid the cash on the counter in front of a disconnected Best Buy cashier and walked home (actually drove home) with camera in box.

Of course, the budget will take a five hundred dollar hit for a new camera and memory card and some will wonder why I need a new camera when the Nikon D600 is a perfect camera in many ways.

The point and shoot W300 is what I was looking for with all the features listed on the Nikon web site that will satisfy my desires and needs.

In the store, the camera box was trapped inside a huge plastic container the cashier had to open. The 128 gig ultra fast HD memory card was also in its own huge plastic container. Store security in effect yet there was no Best Buy employee to help me in my selection. Although I was already focused on the W300 it would have been pleasant to, at least, browse other cameras at the suggestion of a Best Buy camera expert.

That didn’t happen.

The Nikon W300 box. Photo taken by the iPhone.

The Nikon W300 box. Photo taken by the iPhone.

At home, the unboxing was a huge disappointment. The contents rattled inside the cardboard and the box looked like it had been opened before my purchase. The padded bag the camera was wrapped in wasn’t taped as if some had already handled my new W300.

I would not have bought the camera had I been able to actually hold the box in hand at the store, fearing the contents had been carelessly handled or actually opened and used before.

At first glance, I was happy with the thick paperback manual resting inside the box until I realized the manual was really a 20 page quick start-up guide printed in every language known to man.

Referencing a manual online,  I learned the time-lapse feature, which was the primary selling point for me, is limited to only 10 seconds. This was a huge let down and I battled a rush of buyer’s remorse at the lost of five bills for a camera that couldn’t perform as expected or advertised.

Of course, the battery was dead on arrival and it took over two hours to charge. When fully charged, it was time to leave for Sunday evening obligations and I couldn’t explore the wonders of my new toy. But not before I paired the W300 with the iPhone via a new Snap Talk application downloaded from the App Store.

 

The actual Nikon W300 Coolpix camera. The color looks red in this photo and in reality but the Nikon believes it is orange and if the light is just right it does look like orange.

The actual Nikon W300 Coolpix camera. The color looks red in this photo and in reality but the Nikon believes it is orange and if the light is just right it does look like orange. Photo taken by an iPhone.

Even with the dismal unboxing and initial misgiving, I am looking forward to using the W300 in future photographic exploits. In hand, the W300 is a solid camera and as a Nikon loyalist, the W300 will look good on the shelf if it turns into one of my impulse buys that I later wish I had researched better.

Please note, minimal calories were burned in pursuit of the Nikon W300.

 

 

Kodachrome

If I could choose between opening up the photo app on the iPhone or clicking the shutter of a compact point & shoot camera, I would choose the compact point & shoot camera.

I’ve taken hordes of photos with the iPhone. The photo quality is good. The instant gratification is additive. I enjoy swiping through the photo horde when I’m bored.

So, there is really nothing wrong with the iPhone photo app.

Nikon W300 Coolpix camera. Photo downloaded from the Nikon web site on June 22, 2018.

Nikon W300 Coolpix camera. Photo downloaded from the Nikon web site on June 22, 2018.

Yet, I want a compact point and shoot camera. Like this Nikon W300.

In my experience, it is rather annoying and somewhat difficult to call up the photo app on the phone. And, it’s not too quick, especially when you are driving and a photo opportunity has presented itself in traffic.

Not that I take many photos while in traffic. I actually take none. But I want to. There are some scenes that pass by which would be worthy of a quick photo.

Recently, I followed a rusted truck with a set of ‘balls’ hanging from his trailer hitch. Although the sight was odd and very strange and I wonder why a person would drag a scrotum from a trailer hitch, a photo could solidify the sight for future ridicule.

An available compact point & shoot camera would be the perfect solution. I could grab the camera and point and shoot when a scene appears.

I am a Nikon loyalist but price points are a concern. The Nikon A10 retails for about $90 and the W300 is on the high side at $390. I will probably never use the water proof feature of the W300 but I want a bit more video power than the A10 offers.

Why do I want more video power?

idk.

Maybe I’m just in the mood for a new camera. I have a Nikon D600 is a great camera in every capacity. Although it is too heavy at times.

From the Nikon web site the W300 has most of the features the Nikon D600 has, yet it weighs about ten pounds less.

  • Waterproof, freezeproof, shockproof and dustproof adventure camera with extra capabilities
  • Stunning high resolution photos, 4K Ultra HD videos, Time-lapse videos, Superlapse videos and music montages
  • 5x optical zoom NIKKOR lens with telephoto power and Hybrid VR image stabilization
  • Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, eCompass, altimeter, depth gauge and more

I have an interested in time-lapse which the W300 features. And it appears W300 photos  will magically appear on the iPhone via bluetooth. So, Nikon photos will become iPhone photos.

Does anyone remember the lyric from Paul Simon’s song, Kodachrome

Kodachrome
They give us those nice bright colors
They give us the greens of summers
Makes you think all the world’s a sunny day
I got a Nikon camera
I love to take a photograph
So mama don’t take my Kodachrome away

Summer Solstice 2018

From my research the Summer Solstice occurred at 6:07 am EST in central Indiana.

I was up at that time but could not watch the sun rise since I was getting ready for work. And, it was overcast and dripping rain at 6:07 am so I couldn’t see it anyways.

But, the longest day of the year is upon me. From this point the days shrink and the nights expand until the Winter Solstice.

I don’t find any significant in the Solstice, summer or winter. Unlike others who see the events in a spiritual or sexual context. I wouldn’t mind to be involved in the sexual context but not the spiritual. Being an overweight single old man, there hasn’t been much of that.

The calorie restriction must have caught up with me. There is no euphoria anymore. No calorie restricted ‘high’ that I felt last week. I have continued my calorie restriction with Slim Fast and salads this week. But the ‘high’ eludes me.

I may have to restrict even further to induce the euphoria again.

I know I’ve lost a few pounds as my belt isn’t as tight and the pants are a little baggy. One day I will blog about the ‘belt’. The belt will be an indicator of my success as I am on the last notch of the belt. If I need to tighten the belt, that will indicate some success as my waist has shrunk, a little.

Maybe one day I will step on the scale to record a number and start a time line. It’s been 21 days since I started and I seem to have picked up some momentum. For some reason I’m fearful that a number will diminish the momentum, fearful numbers will become the consuming factor in the effort.

Hopefully, I will be restricting calories when the Winter Solstice comes around in 2018.

I titled a series of paintings "Solstice Rain" because I completed the paintings on the 2017 summer solstice. This, the largest of the series, hangs in my kitchen. A smaller vertical panel is next to the door.

I titled a series of paintings “Solstice Rain” because I completed the paintings on the 2017 summer solstice. This, the largest of the series, hangs in my kitchen. A smaller vertical panel is next to the door.

 

 

Vacation Day

I took a vacation day, yesterday, June 19, 2018.

I didn’t go to work. Of course, it’s a vacation day — why go to work. Instead, I took a friend to the hospital for tests and sat with her during the day. It was not a bad day, nor a boring day. In fact it was a great day.

The tests were done by mid afternoon. We picked up lunch and went back to her apartment. We watched the Great Gatsby movie and took a short nap. Then, it was a tour of a mutual friend’s new home. An amazing home which needs some minor renovation. If I were a younger and motivated man, I would have snatched up the home.

On the 86 mile drive home, I reflected on vacation and vacation days.

In the past, while married to Nikki, vacations were scheduled, planned and organized by Nikki. Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Tennessee, New Mexico were common destinations.

After Nikki left I’ve taken a few vacation:

  • Colorado 2015
  • Jackson Mississippi 2016

There wasn’t a vacation in 2017.

Although I should clarify the Jackson Mississippi vacation was just a long weekend (Friday – Sunday) of driving to and from Jackson Mississippi with a stop in Vicksburg. But the Colorado 2015 was a true week long vacation.

Each year, I am allowed 15 days of vacation from the company I work at. It’s an earn benefit, meaning that you have to put the time in to ‘earn’ the vacation time, which can’t be taken until the following calendar year and the days do not accumulate. Technically, I’m allow two weeks of vacation and then five individual days per year.

Last year, I took four days of vacation. Each day was an individual day. I did stuff around the house or went to doctor appointments. Those days did not seem like ‘vacation’. They seemed more like an extra Saturday.

My definition of vacation is to ‘do something that you would not ordinarily do while at home’.

For 2018, I have a conceived a potential week long vacation plan to drive through southern Colorado, to the Four Corners and then back home. It’s about a three thousand mile road trip according to Google maps. It would be a good time to ‘car dwell’, meaning that I would sleep and ‘live’ in my Honda for the duration.

Recently, I bought a book (Planning an Epic road Trip on any Budget) from the 365 Days of Marriage blog. This blog encourages you to ‘Dream Big’ … which I need at this time in my life. Hopefully my conceived Colorado road trip of 2018 becomes an Epic Road trip!

Always thought about work camping as a means to make a living. Photo taken by Dave O June 2015.

Always thought about work camping as a means to make a living. Photo taken by Dave O June 2015.

Happy When I Left

As the weekend ended I realized there is really no chance a relationship could developed. So I gave up the excitement for a new relationship with one I could care for and love and make happy and cuddle with for the rest of my life and the euphoria quickly faded.  Maybe under different circumstances and maybe in a different time it could have developed. But, she seems enamored with this other guy who is available for her as he lives closer to her, and is buffed and strong with a six pack. And, I don’t want to disrupt that as it has for her the possibility of a long lasting relationship and some happiness for her.

Reminds me of this song. Elton John’s “Love Her Like Me” from his Songs From the West Coast album.

I would apply that song to another girl I knew from college, who I was enamored with but tidal forces kept her away even though I was the best man at her wedding.

Life can be cruel at times.

And so, the euphoria from last week is now gone. Although I kept the calories in check and only limited the beer calories to two bottles of Three Floyds Gumball Head with the euphoria faded the neutrality back into play I am once again wondering why.

But, in an effort to reduce weight and body fat and to get back in shape, I will continue to keep the calories in check, returning to the consumption of Slimfast and salads.

The Gumball Head gave me a head and stomach ache, too.

On another note, I had to shop for new clothes for a fathers day cookout. Going to my little brother’s estate (yes, it is an estate) is a trauma for me as it displays the economic and social separation between us.

I would say it is a gulf, a deep canyon of rock carved by years of parent devotion poured on him and indifferent tolerance toward me.

So, not having the having the right clothes to attend a fathers day cook out in a multi million dollar estate, I stopped at Kohl’s to shop for a simple polo shirt and a pair of shorts. Thankfully, I found a shirt and a pair of shorts.

Although, the shorts were a 38 and the shirt an extra large, I accepted my expanded girth and paid the dollars so I could at least be presentable at the brothers estate, knowing that it would be tolerated in quiet indifference.

A few hours later I was happy when I left the estate in my new clothes while Elton John’s “The Emperor’s New Clothes” hummed in my head.

Somewhere in western Kansas. June 2015.

Somewhere in western Kansas. June 2015.

 

 

Fathers Day at the Oaken Barrel

Last night, the kids took me out to one of my favorite brewery for Fathers Day, the Oaken Barrel in Greenwood Indiana. For calorie control, I had only one tall Razz Wheat with my chicken caesar salad.

My Fitness Pal reports one pint of Razz Wheat has 150 calories. I believe a ‘tall’ glass at the Oaken Barrel is one and a half pints. So, my beer calories for Thursday, June 14, 2018 was 225 calories.

I couldn’t find an official calorie count for the chicken caesar salad but will estimate it to be about 850 calories since I ate the cheesed croutons.

So, yesterday, with the calorie control was ok for yesterday at 1,435. Of course, this is an estimated guess.

Yet, I didn’t include the calories in the glass of chocolate milk I had at bedtime.

The euphoria from Wednesday has faded a bit. But there is a glimmer of a new euphoria by the opportunity to see someone this weekend that may spark a relationship.

A self portrait take on September 26, 2014 via the basement portholes at the Lew Wallace Study and Museum in Crawfordsville, Indiana.

A self portrait taken on September 26, 2014 via the basement porthole at the Lew Wallace Study and Museum in Crawfordsville, Indiana.

Wonderful Euphoria

So … yesterday was a good eating day.

  • Slim Fast shake for breakfast (180 calories)
  • Slim Fast shake for lunch (180 calories)
  • Salad kit with canned chicken (800 calories)

I know the Slim Fast is 180 calories per shake. But, I didn’t examine the numbers for the bag of salad and can of chicken. I just mixed it together and stirred it around. It was a salad and it was good enough.

Yesterday, I noticed a bit of euphoria. Maybe it was more ‘mania’ than euphoria but for some reason the world seemed to be a brighter place.

For context, I haven’t felt any kind of mania or euphoria or much of any enthusiasm for (maybe) several years. I had a duration of extreme sadness for about six months in 2017. That ended when the doctor adjusted the depression meds. However, there really wasn’t any high points after the med adjustment. Everything has been neutral to me for a very long time.

But for some reason, yesterday, I felt mania, enthusiasm, some happiness, some excitement.

I suspect that (maybe) it could be from the calorie restriction of the past 13 days. I’ve read that restricting calories can cause euphoria. A quick google search revealed a few explanations from increased cortisol levels to better blood sugar regulation to improvements in brain functioning.

Another explanation could be that I conceived of a road trip to the Four Corners, stopping at the Preston Monument and the 3 Points on the southern Colorado border, with a stop at the Wichita Art Museum and time to poke around Dodge City in Kansas.

I even went as far as to schedule dates in late July, calculated mileage, checked into possible accommodations including hotels and campgrounds, even scoped Wal-Mart parking lots to overnight in. Looked up flights to Denver and Wichita and rental car prices.

I don’t suspect I will actually take the trip. I’m known for planning road trips to the nth degree but never embarking.

If the euphoria is a result of restricting calories or conceiving a road trip, it is wonderful.

Looking west on I-70 to the snow covered mountain peaks. Photos taken by Dave O in June 2015.

Looking west on I-70 to the snow covered Gore Range. Photos taken by Dave O in June 2015.