Sunday, September 30, 2012

However ugly the parts appear the whole remains beautiful

I went with children to Pirttimäki today, and we had picnic in the forest there. Autumn colors start to be prominent, although not quite dominant yet. It was a fine clear day, although the ground was wet because of the rain we have had.

I have been learning the iPad during the weekend, experimenting how to use it properly. I had serious trouble in trying to sync photographs from Aperture via iTunes to the iPad, and today there appeared an update to Aperture, version 3.4.1: "Improves the reliability of syncing photos to iOS devices via iTunes." I do hope so!

Today I read two more books in the iPad. Well, one of the books I just browsed through, but the other I read from start to end, 223 pages of it.

However, the e-books on offer at the local library are a pitiful collection, not much there to interest me. I don't understand why there couldn't be an arrangement to have a large collection of books available with standardized formats and easy-to-use readers. Now there are several programs one needs to use, and none of them are intuitive when you first start using them.

(Posting title is from the poem The Answer by Robinson Jeffers.)

Saturday, September 29, 2012

This is just a little piddle

After sunset I went to a nearby playground with my youngest daughter, who eagerly investigated the puddles the rain had produced. It was dark, but the leaf colors lightened the landscape nicely.

(Posting title is from the poem Said the Toad by Patrick Lewis.)

That she is airy earth, the trees, undone

I went with my daughter for a walk at Tremanskärr swamp. When we left it was a fine dry weather, but soon it started to rain, and finally it rained so heavily that we had to return, rather soaked. I took some photographs until the rain got so heavy that I didn't want to risk the camera any more.

Today I have experimented with the iPad, browsing the web, reading e-books using the Bluefire Reader (not bad!), and importing some music and photographs to see how that works out. Mostly everything just works, although I did have some trouble in getting the iPad to sync properly, but now I know how that should work.

I do like the screen of the iPad, and the overall handling of it. It is surprisingly heavy, I can't seem to get used to how light it looks and how heavy it actually is, but I have found that reading books is rather pleasurable with the iPad. Now I need to explore which is the best source of books.

The local library has on offer e-books that can be read on the iPad (until the time expires), but the selection doesn't seem to be anything to brag about. Well, maybe that will change.

(Posting title is from the poem Ceremony by Richard Wilbur.)

Friday, September 28, 2012

She compliments me on my Bachelard pad

Today I went with the children to the movies, to see From Up on Poppy Hill (original name Kokuriko-zaka Kara) directed by Gorō Miyazaki. It was quite a realistic movie, rather different that for example Totoro by Hayao Miyazaki, but the quality of the animation was excellent, and the pictures had an incredible amount of detail of life in Japan in 1963.

Some parts of the movie were perhaps not so well done in Finnish, but mostly the dubbing was good. (A sidenote: movies intended for older audiences are typically not dubbed in Finnish but subtitles are used instead.) The final song of the film was in Japanese, and that was perhaps the best thing about the movie, excellent singing whoever it was performing the song.

Today I caved in and booked the replacement of the old and worn gear hub of my bicycle. However, it will take until November when the needed parts arrive, so I need to survive until then somehow.

Today I got the new iPad and have been trying it out. Writing text on the thing almost drives me mad, I need to tweak the automatic correction stuff or whatever it is that always suggests the wrong words. On the other hand, the retina display is excellent, and photographs look really good.

The first web page (and the first photograph) I looked at on the iPad was this posting by Markus, and it looked excellent. And then I looked at my posting from yesterday, and I did like those photographs as well. I'm hooked. What I need to learn is how to cope with the other stuff, organizing things, working with documents, writing, ...

(Posting title is from the poem Platonic Love by Curt Anderson.)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Once a week he'd puncture with the silken needle

It seems I'm having problems with the bicycle again and again. The problems appeared about three weeks ago, first the chain getting loose, and I had to tighten it twice to get it fixed.

Today I got a tire puncture, and I had to stop to pump three times until I got home. I don't remember when I last had a puncture, it must be a dozen years ago. The previous tires were Continental Contact, which are said to have "very high puncture protection", and indeed so it was, I rode about 12,000 km with them without any trouble, until they were so worn that I just had to replace them.

Now I have Swalbe Marathon Plus tires, which are said to be as good, but I don't know. I got a puncture in 3000 km. I didn't have energy to look what caused the puncture, maybe it was a shard of glass, or piece of rock, or a screw. In any case, not so good.

Anyway, I'm now rather interested in the bigger repair as well, getting a new gear hub to replace the rather worn out old one. Maybe I won't yet invest in an e-bike after all.

The photographs were taken today rather late, after sunset, when I went to the post office and library with my daughter. It was wet today, although it started to rain properly only after sunset, and the forecast promises quite a lot of rain during the night.

I now have a new fountain pen to replace the old broken one, which I clumsily dropped on the floor so that the cap was splintered. I looked for fountain pens in the local shops but never found one I liked, so finally I ordered one from Amazon.

The new one is Parker as well, but a slightly more upscale version, IM Premium instead of just IM. I don't know whether there is much difference, but the IM was good enough for me, and the first feeling is the IM Premium may be better. But only time and use will tell.

(Posting title is from the poem Better Late than Never by Bin Ramke.)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Some ride in atomic trams

Once again I commuted by bicycle. A colleague came to a meeting at the Ministry by bicycle, and we discussed commuting issues. Her commute distance is 20 km, and she seemed to be very satisfied with her three-year old electric bicycle. My commute distance is 16 km (32 km daily). Usually I have commuted by bicycle on three days, and on two days I have used bus or car.

E-bikes are getting better (and somewhat cheaper) all the time, and I think my next bicycle will be an electrically assisted one (a pedelec). Then I could commute by bicycle each workday without it becoming too taxing. Also, an e-bike would be somewhat faster, cutting the commute time to something like 35-40 minutes, which would be great.

The gear hub (Shimano Nexus 8 Premium) in my current bicycle is now past the expected durability of 10,000 km. I have had it serviced once, and then some tear was visible, and the fifth gear was causing occasional problems. At that point the bicycle had 12,000 km of use, now it is at 15,000 km.

When the gear hub becomes unusable should I have it repaired? The cost could be something like 300-400 euro if I would get a similar gear hub. Or should I invest in an e-bike?

There is also the alternative of retrofitting the bicycle with an electronic motor, and one shop here in Helsinki is in fact selling BionX e-Bike Systems for bicycles similar to mine. Questions, questions...

I took the photographs above half an hour after sunset in the garden outside the house. Blue feeling...

(Posting title is from the poem Merry-go-round by Miroslav Holub.)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

With nothing but my own depth of joy

After work I was too tired to go out to take photographs. I commuted by bicycle, perhaps that was the reason. I had trouble with the chain, it fell off four times this morning, and I had to tighten it. (My bicycle has a gear hub in case you are wondering...)

The photographs shown here were taken earlier but I thought they might be worth posting anyway.

Speaking of photographs, I have continued borrowing photo books from the library. Harry Callahan's Water's edge was an excellent find, I wrote a few words about it in Finnish. I like the approach: "His technical photographic method was to go out almost every morning, walk the city he lived in and take numerous pictures."

By the way, if you like the smell of swamps (as I do), there is even a perfume to use when you can't go walking on a swamp: Shrek 2 For Men, Swamp Scent Eau De Toilette Spray. I don't know whether there is a ladies' version.

(Posting title is from a poem by Rabindranath Tagore.)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Close my eyes and I’m a vessel

Today was such a busy day - although I did like what I was doing - that I had very little time for taking photographs. I did have some time for reading, as I commuted by bus, but otherwise I was trying to keep things afloat. And mostly I succeeded, or so I hope, which will probably become apparent tomorrow.

(Posting title is from the poem Rivers into Seas by Lynda Hull.)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

What else but our hearts are they, walking on the ground

Today it rained, a lot. I was planning to walk on a swamp today. I thought for some time about the choices, and finally decided to go to Revonkorpi ("Fox swamp") in Luukki. However, the children wanted to come with me, so I changed the plan.

We made a picnic of the walk, walking for half an hour using the ready-made paths at Luukki, eating a bit, and returning via another route.

It rained, but not too heavily, and it was all rather nice. Well, different kind of nice compared to what I was initially planning - a two-hour walk across the wet open swamp at Revonkorpi - but no matter, it was good to be out with the daughters, who chattered all the time and seemed to enjoy the rain, the puddles and the streams.

(Posting title is from the poem He Thinks of His Children by Hittan Of Tayyi,
translated by Charles Lyall.)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Love the shadow of attention

After dinner I went for a short walk with my youngest daughter, to a nearby park, where there was luckily some leaf color visible, to be captured by my camera.

(Posting title is from the poem Arguing with Something Plato Said by Jack Collom.)

Not to pure Ida with its snow-cold skies

I thought that it would be raining today, but not so, we got a nice autumn day with sunshine. I was planning to go for a walk on a swamp, and even had looked at orienteering maps for suitable choices: Tremanskärr, Revonkorpi, Pitkäsuo, ...

However, it was not raining, which I thought would be nice thing for a swamp walk. And today also happened to be Car-Free Day, so I went walking in the nearby forests. There is a little bit of swamp there also, even though it is not really a proper swamp because of the ditches which are drying up the peat.

Anyway, here is a selection of photographs from the walk, showing that autumn colors are getting stronger.

(Posting title is from the poem On a Dream by John Keats.)