Building on one of my comments, “I miss my darkroom” (Blogging 101)

Well here i am with a previous assignment (write a post that builds on one of the comments you left). As you can see I am behind in my assignments.

Hmmm,  I have made a few comments, and I suppose there are a few I could expand on but this is the one I’ve chosen.

I did reply to saying “I miss my darkroom”.

What I do miss is the process and physical activity of creating of an image in a darkroom. The negative and the original image were in my mind but I had an idea to depict that image in my own way. No digital imaging package will ever replace the futzing around with enlarger lenses, aperture, exposure and filtering. I also enjoyed the thought process involved around each image, what paper I should use, dodging/burning and other effects required to get the result I wanted. It would be unique, mine, all mine!

There was a great satisfaction at seeing the final print when (if) I got it all right. Yes there were days when I came out with several prints. But after careful examination, or just living with them on a wall for a bit, I’d have to go back and edit or possibly start from scratch.

Another reason I miss the darkroom is that I feel coerced into going digital. I do like the idea of digital. Clean and immense possibilities. There are many advantages and I am prepared to admit that.

No-one within 100 km (60 miles) of my home that develops film any more. A few places still sell film but they all send their rolls to third parties for processing.

I am thinking that at least I can do do my negs on my own. (If I screw that up I am right to here to chew myself out for the mistake!) The only things I need are a new thermometer and whatever chemicals I decide on. (I am used to D-76 or Rodinal, but am not sure what is around anymore. Perhaps I may try C-41 for colour too! Some research is in order.)

The bulk of my equipment has been long since sold off although I still have a box
of tanks, bulk loaders and other paraphernalia that no one wanted. I was thinking
that I should get them to the Salvation Army or Goodwill…

Then again if I start to process my negatives again I’m gonna need those items.


Today’s Task

Well here I am. Back after some time and hoping now to make this a more permanent visit as I have not the motivation to come to blog.

It has been a while since I’ve written and I am now taking this “Blogging 101” to attempt at making the blogs I want to write instead of just using WP as a soapbox to vent (although it works fine for that too). As part of this I have also changed up my Theme to make a better reading environment.

Part of Blogging 101’s first assignment is to “Introduce Yourself”…

To begin with I am a retired guy who enjoys photography, hiking, music, computing and writing (when  I don’t have writers’ block).  I have worked in construction, engineering, sales, computing and photography (briefly).  Also, I am Canadian.

Another part of Blogging 101’s first assignment asks “Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?”  Great question !!

Perhaps it is because I have learned a lot over the years and I am hoping someone might benefit from a comment or post.  If that is so then I have accomplished that little bit more.

Gone… before its time

It is unusual for me to toss something out that has not met its time (I have working computers from the 1990’s, I have had cars on which I’ve put on well over 400,000Km) but my barbeque went to the recyclers this morning.
It was only three years old 😦 but it had some issues that I was not in a position to be able to repair.

The major one was rust. Yes I could buy the parts and put them on myself but I had issues there too. When I contacted the Canadian distributor regarding the rust issue they were only too pleased to quote me prices for the parts. As I pressed for why it be rusting out after only three years, the customer service rep was telling me that ‘well it is old and you should be getting a new barbeque‘.
(Oddly enough my (10 year) old barbeque is just down the road as I gave it to a neighbour who could not afford one. He replaced the burner last year.)
The other major issue was the quality of construction of this unit. It was so poor that I was not willing to undertake any repairs on this product.

The fact that I paid zero dollars for this does not make me feel any better. It was won through a promotion at a local pub and at the time I thought it was a great thing. I checked it out at the store and it seemed like a good unit priced at $450.00. Only later did I realize what a piss-poor job of both design and manufacture this product was. For instance the front support bar was fastened to the legs with only one screw at each end resulting in it twisting out of alignment, becoming unstable and not allowing the doors to close. I was constantly having to tighten screws and bolts. The metal(?) heat shield seemed to be made of cardboard sprayed with metal paint. Not what I’d expect for something that is expected to protect the propane tank!

Now that I am shopping I have decided to stick to products manufactured here in Canada (we have some really good ones) or the U.S. (where they also make some quality products). I will have to pay a bit more but well worth it as the quality of parts and manufacture is far superior and Customer Service actually means Customer Service…

No names have been mentioned in the above post to protect the guilty.

Yet another year without the Dakar…

Last year, on myOpera blogs (and repeated here
( ‎)), I posted
something regarding the television coverage (rather the lack thereof) of one of
my favourite events, “The Dakar”.

This year unfortunately I can only echo those same comments.
It appears that nothing has been done to improve this situation. Although The
Dakar website mentions that there are two Canadian broadcasters, one
broadcaster does not have any Dakar coverage, the other has a couple of
mentions on the website,but as I do not have a subscription I cannot say if
they actually have TV coverage. Also mentioned is an American broadcaster
and likewise there is never a mention of the Dakar.

I had written to A.S.O. (Amaury Sports Organization who sponsor the Dakar) and to the English Canadian broacaster who is listed as carrying the Dakar without response.
Now in 2014 with the Dakar almost over I have just about given up hope of ever seeing any television coverage of the Dakar in Canada (perhaps North America) again.

When this first happened I went out and purchased an iPhone/iPod app so I’d not miss anything. It was not great I have never repeated the purchase. I am tired of clips on a choppy internet.

Also I am tired of writing to people who obviously do not care to ask why authorized broadcaster(s) are not carrying the event. To me it simply shows they do not want to promote the Dakar in Canada. (It strikes me as odd that these same folks make sure I get three weeks of Tour de France coverage, but not one hour of Dakar coverage. Do not get me wrong here, I do enjoy the Tour.)

I am beginning to think it is me an audience of one, preferring Formula 1 to NASCAR, Football or Rugby to NFL, Snooker to 8 Ball or 9 Ball… and My Dakar.

Driving on Square Tires

I was brought back to my childhood with that expression as we prepared to drive
home after New Year’s Day.
Never heard that expression before? Read on…

It was January 2nd and we had all our stuff packed up and ready for the drive
home. I got dressed and went out to try to start the car. It was -37 (-48 with
wind factored in, but who cares about wind) when I got up and now the guy on
the radio said the temperature had risen was a balmy -33.
The car sarted, and as we loaded up my sister-in-law said jokingly, “You’ll
be driving home on square tires today.”

As a youngster growing up in Northern Ontario I had heard this expression many
times from family, friends, neighbours and co-workers. It refers to the car
tires having an icy bottom from freezing to the ground below. That ice spot
creates a thumping noise as the tires rotate. It is almost as if your tires are
no longer round, having one flat edge.
I cannot say I noticed any extra noise but the driveway and roads were all
snow covered. There was no even pavement for the first several minutes of
driving. After that I guess any ice had worked its way off the tires as there
was no thumping.

Car, tires, my bride and I made the 300 Km drive without undue noise or incident.

What about you? Have you got an odd/funny expression like this?

A suitable Linux distribution for my aging desktop

Well here I am finally finishing this project I’ve had going for several months…

As I mentioned previously, a Linux distro must have certain features. Did I find something that suits me and will run on my ancient machine.

In a word, Yes.

But it was quite a go’round to get there.

Firstly I decided on PCLinuxOS. Here’s why:
 – It is a Rolling Distribution – just the updates. I never have to download the entire OS again
 – Ease of installation – the Install Wizard was easy to follow and use
 – Ease of Configuration – nice easy to use Control Centre
 – Stability

I started with a KDE (mini) environment but KDE has advanced so much my poor old video card could not cope. Even all the fancy graphics options turned off, it sputtered and stalled.

My research led me to the Mate Desktop Environment.
Sounded good, made to work with older technology so I installed PCLinuxOS (Mate).

As well as being pleasing to the eye, it seemed to work fairly well. That is until I started to add some applications.
WINE is a primary example. I had not really noticed as I was busy installing, but as I went to use WINE, I could not find it. Last effort took me to the shell were I found that it was indeed installed and it was from there that I had to launch it.

This is fine for me, but some of the software is not just for me and not having WINE available on the desktop menu is a almost deal breaker. There were also some display issues (my old Intel card).

More research showed me I could add and remove “Desktop Environments” or “Windows Managers” at will. So I went to town…

Some were too minimal for other users, and others demanded too much of this aging system. (There is an option for OpenBox w/KDE, for instance which will not run at all. Though OpenBox itself runs fine.)

Final configuration is PCLinuxOS with LXDE as the default Desktop Environment.
It is stable, fast and not strange enough to threaten other (Windows) users.
I also have XFCE4, and OpenBox to choose from.

Final result is a 10 year old machine that is faster than the day it was delivered.

(Under 30 seconds from Power On to the login screen and and Under 20 seconds from there to my desktop!)

Support for my audio, video, printer/scanner, CD/DVD writer, trackball, cameras, SD Cards/Memory Sticks and odds and sods of mp3 players. Hopefully some programs for my radios… but that is another story.

So I am a happy camper.

The budget has room for a new computer next spring. Now I am debating whether or not to buy one without an OS? Hmm

Stay Tuned, there is more to come…

digital migration


I am in the process of migrating my digital musings (few though they are) from myOpera to WP…

This space is Under Construction but Hard Hat and Safety Boots not required.

There has been a bump in the road forcing me to find new space to publish random thoughts, ideas, comments and rants. Since the spaces at myOpera will cease to exist in early 2014 I’ll be selectively importing various topics and creating new ones…


Stay Tuned to This Channel.