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Friday, September 25, 2009

Season ticket 

It’s coming up to the time of year (November) when I buy my annual Travelcard for travel from my home in Orpington (zone 6) to work Tottenham Court Road (zone 1) including tube and bus fares. Last year it was £1740.

I have just checked on the price for this year’s ticket. It is …

£1904!

I really can’t afford this much in one go. It does save me money compared to a monthly or weekly ticket but I’m beginning to suspect that the amount I save would be swallowed up in the interest charges on the credit card.

I will have to change to monthly tickets! Thank goodness I can do it all online these days.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Camera fault 

My camera is a Canon EOS 350D and has an autofocus system that is based on a diamond pattern of seven sensor points that are visible in the viewfinder as seven red dots.

canon_focus_points

For the last few months I have been having a problem with the camera. I have only been able to use autofocus on the left-most focusing point when I have been using the manual exposure settings. Autofocus worked fine in any other mode but not manual. I looked through the manual that came with the camera and searched all the way through the menu settings to see if there was something that needed adjusting but found nothing. So I reluctantly concluded that the camera had developed a fault and needed to be repaired.

To be absolutely honest, it hasn’t been that much of a problem; I have been experimenting with focusing on that point and then moving the camera with varying degrees of success. I’ve also resorted to using the automatic modes but all summer long I have known that I needed to take the camera to be fixed, probably at great cost, once my main photography season was over.

I decided that today was the day and brought the camera to work with me so that I could drop it in at one of the many shops nearby. By chance, I happened to mention the problem to one of my colleagues (who also has a 350D) and he mentioned a button that I never used which he accidentally nudges from time to time causing him a similar problem.

Of course, that was it and I managed to sort my camera out without having a costly repair. My camera now focuses as it should.

Now that the embarrassing confession is out of the way, I’d better describe the technical solution so that anyone like me who was searching the net for this has something to see …camera

There is a button at the back top right of the camera. With the camera turned on and ready to take pictures (i.e. NOT  displaying them), the button will make the information LCD display the current focus pattern. Pressing the left or right arrow buttons cycles through the focus modes, i.e. far left, middle left, middle, right, far right and then everything. Selecting everything means the camera will choose the best focus pattern at the time whilst the others mean that the camera will only ever focus on that point.

I wish I’d known that a few months ago.

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Monday, September 07, 2009

What’s that? 

I am 45 years old but I still find it strange to be in my house alone at night such as last night the first I have spent at home since Graham and Debra went on holiday.

It is amazing just how many odd noises you can hear when the lights are off and you are trying to get to sleep. And it is equally amazing how loud the boiler can sound.

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Saturday, September 05, 2009

The Time Traveler’s Wife – a non-review 

I have read and seen a great many time travel stories. Most of them have made me groan or leap into the air shouting “NO!” because of some horrible logical inconsistency.

The Back to the Future trilogy has a few, the worst being that the girlfriend is left sleeping on a porch in a dystopian “present” and is still sleeping on the same porch after the past has been changed and the present restored to normal.

Star Trek, in all its incarnations, has too many to count, its writers using time travel as a big red reset button way too often.

And don’t talk to me about Superman flying backwards very fast!

It was a relief, therefore, to read The Time Traveler’s Wife and find a well crafted time travel romance that hung together extremely well. I could find no logical problems with Henry’s trips through time. The film, I am glad to say, was as consistent and told a lovely story that was funny in places and horribly sad in others.

The only criticism I would have with the movie was the horrible wig Eric Bana had to wear to distinguish young Henry from his older self. It kept drawing my attention as I watched the film.

Everything else, from the casting Henry and Claire’s daughter to the wonderfully handled wedding scene was perfect.

I knew before I saw the movie, however, that it was a film that few people would find wholly satisfying. It is a romance and it is a time travel story. I am a romantic science fiction fan. I enjoy romances and time travel stories (if they are done well) so a movie that features both is a winner for me.

Sadly, I think I am in a fairly small minority, however.

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Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Weird dream 

I dreamt that David’s choir had been given new uniforms for their next concert rather than the black shirts and trousers that they have to buy themselves

The problem was that the new outfit was a cross between a cheerleader’s uniform and the Blue Power Ranger.

Dream-me thought that was very funny.

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