SkeptiLog - news & views & shoes & booze SkeptiLog AGOG! (Agog, Agog)
Omm, Omm, on the range...
by Ric Carter

my old camera purchase
It's been somewhat over two years since the last entry. Yes, I bought a dSLR. I re-examined lenses and found that what best suited me came from Pentax. So I got a K20D 14.6 mpx (megapickle) body, a DA10-17 fisheye zoom, a DA18-250 walkaround superzoom, a FA50/1.4 fast prime, an AF-360 flash, and a few minor accessories.

That was at first. Then I went lens mad on eBay and bought almost 200 more. Some came in MISC LOTS where I had to buy various cheap stuff to get the one item I wanted. Along with that came some film cameras. Well, many film cams, actually.

So now I have gear out the wazoo, and I should sell some of it. I MUST sell some, before getting any more or better lenses. It's called LBA, Lens Buying Addiction, related to CBA, Camera Buying Addiction (I have about 35 working cams now) and other obsessions. I am doomed.

my new camera purchase
I've written nothing here for a long time. The following is totally off-topic, but I have nowhere else to put it now.

It's been years since I offed my chemical-film photo gear. Since then I've gotten by with a few point-n-shoot (PNS) digital cameras, the best being the Sony DSP-V1, a clever 5MP device. I've desired a DSLR but couldn't choose, until now. As I'm about to drive around Mexico for a few months, and having a fairly substantial budget, now seems like a good time to make the plunge.

I've had to juggle desires and trade-offs. Rugged and heavy vs light and agile; many lenses vs just enough; price vs value; etc. Should I get a system that allows me to use inherited-gift lenses? Which maker has the best service? Should I get a kit system, or customize everything?

My basic criteria evolved into:
.1. Select the most desired, most advanced, fewest lenses: a wide-wide zoom, and a mid-wide-to-mid-tele zoom.
.2. Select a body that will be usable for a few years: 12+ megapixels (MP); fairly advanced features; sturdiness.
.3. Try to keep the weight down and the cost under US$3000.

First I though of getting the most affordable advanced camera bodies. Tops for me were the Nikon 300D, Canon EOS 5D, and Pentax K20D, all 12-14+ MP platforms with superior performance. For various reasons, I didn't consider Sony or Olympus or Fuji products.

Pondering, I decided that the purchase would be driven by the lenses. Photography most depends on using the right lens. Searching online, I found several decent 'walkaround' lenses (about 20-200mm, suitable for most purposes) but only 3 extra-wide (circa 10 mm) lightweight lenses, the latter made by Canon and Olympus. (To compare those lengths to 35mm lenses, multiply by around 1.5 -- thus a 20mm lens is equivalent to 30mm on a film camera.)

Nikon has a 14-28mm lens for about US$1500, but that's not wide enough. I couldn't find anything wider than 18mm for the Pentax or Sony bodies. So forget Nikon, Pentax, Sony.

Ah, those Olympus Zuiko lenses -- an 11-22mm for about US%700, and a super-hot 7-14mm for about US$1600. But then I couldn't find a walkaround Olympus-mount lens, and current Olympus bodies only go up to 10MP. Bother.

The wide Canon lens is a 10-22mm for about US$700. There's a good stabilized Sigma 18-200mm for about US$450. Now I just need a superior body. But the 10-22mm lens only works on some of the latest bodies, not including the EOS 5D. The newest compatable semi-pro body (EOS 40D) is only 10MP. Thus, by a process of elimination, I'm left with the EOS 450D aka Digital Rebel Xsi, a 'well-rounded' camera that gets OK (but not superior) user ratings.

More searching online -- the supplier with the best price on lenses and accessories (BeachCamera) doesn't sell the Xsi body alone, only in a kit with a cheapish 18-55mm lens I don't want. The supplier with the best price on the Xsi body (SonicCamera) doesn't have the right lenses. So I just placed two separate orders. Total cost with expedited shipping: US$2085 (and cheap at the price).

OK, so I'll soon have a couple pounds of new gear to toss into my shoulder bag and haul around Latin America. Is my quest over? Probably not. I must see if my infrared (IR) filters fit the Canon lenses. I may have to hunt down a computer-controllable Canon IR camera (I forget the model now, but I know it exists). And that Xsi body might be replaced if a more advanced Canon semi-pro body arrives in the next couple years. Beyond that, who knows?

That's enough for now. Hopefully the gear will arrive in a could days, before we take off for San Francisco.

Paranormal Entities
Journal Saved! In one form or another... OK, I've been keeping up a bunch of parallel blogs, not all of which should nor have survived. Most aren't really blogs. There's EAT IT! (food sightings) and old SkeptiPot (SouthWest artifact sightings) and the Go2 travel newsletter and my daily journal and the DRSB (Desert Rat Scrap Book) group I've been neglecting lately. Then I have other notes about culture (photos and music and stories etc). So many places to log so many different interests.

OK, so more is better, or something. But I encounter some basic dilemmas. Like, almost nobody reads any of this stuff, just a couple of pages where I mention bulimia and sex. These get so many hits that I regularly exceed my ISP's bandwidth limit. And I recently installed the Mozilla Firefox browser, and it turns out that my pages are mostly unreadable outside of the MSIE browser. Which might be why nobody reads my stuff. Hmmm.

So I must consider some alternatives. You don't want to know all the details. What I've come up with for now is to redo this page design and post almost everything here. 'Tis now 19 January 2006. It may be a couple days till I get things switched around — I have other things to do besides scripting and blogging. Stay tuned for some changes.

Eat It!
'Tis time to deactivate or transform this blogsite. I'm no longer interested in logging sightings of stupid paranormal stuff, nor even of keeping up with stupid political and conspiratorial stuff. Soon, accesses to SKEPTILOG AGOG! will jump to my personal daily or travel journal page the latest can always be found here. The legacy stuff here at SKEPTILOG AGOG! will remain as long as the host exists; I'll build a simple mechanism for getting at it. But otherwise, this is probably the last posting here. Sayonara.

My Travel Portal
Here we go again. Now (start of August 2005) we're about to drive our little (22 foot) RV off to the Arctic Ocean and hopefully back, returning around mid-November. Updates here will be accordingly sparse. I'll do my best to keep travel journal entries posted at Hope we aren't eaten by polar bears or zapped by HAARP rays, eh? Cya --Ric

Church of Naked Ladies
SCHISMS: Much has been written about Pope Benedict's Nazi past and links (which makes him an ideal communicant with the Bush family), and how as the head of the current manifestation of the Inquisition he ran a 15th-century-style Star Chamber to suppress non-conforming thought within Roman Catholic communities. A recent piece by Spengler (click here) also suggests that, in his attempt to maintain 'purity' of dogma, Benedict XVI is willing to shrink the Church:

"As Benedict, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, warned in 1996, 'we may have to give up the notion of a popular Church.'"

In years past I wrote to various forums (click here) that I saw a general historical pattern in Xianity, with roughly 500 year intervals between the birth of new dominant heresies (*). Based on the origin of Xianity around CE 0, we have 1) the schism of the Orthodox from the original Eastern congergations around CE 500, 2) the schism of Catholicism from Orthodoxy around CE 1000, and 3) the schism of Protestantism from Catholicism around CE 1500. This suggests that another great schism may happen around CE 2000, possibly a partitioning of Catholicism into Traditional and Progressive confessions. And/or maybe the burgeoning Mormon Church will become the tail that wags the Protestant dog. Or something else entirely. Whatever.

Not that I really care. I'm re-reading Vonnegut's CAT'S CRADLE and thinking of converting to Bokonism. Am I getting too old for Sturgeon's Creed ("In the winter I'm a Buddhist; in the summer I'm a nudist") ?? Aesthetically, maybe...

(*) Dominant Heresy: A formerly schismatic sect that is now in power.

Why Not Here in USAnia?
Europe's other enormous achievement is a half-century of peace on what was once the killing floor of the West... The European social model is the other. Here again it is important to be clear on what that model is not -- in a word, socialism. But the breadth of the European consensus, and a sense of how wide the Atlantic has become on these matters, can be seen when Reid quotes the leader of Norway's conservative Christian Democrats: "We have decided that raising a child is real work. And that this work provides value for the whole society. And that the society as a whole should pay for this valuable service. Americans like to talk about family values. We have decided to do more than talk; we use our tax revenues to pay for family values." And Norway isn't even in the EU!

2012: End of the 5th Sun
* CLOAK of the ILLUMINATI: Stargate technology of the gods. Mayan Prophecy: by 2012, along with our alignment with the center of our galaxy. This will bring the birth of a new matrix and a new human. AND SEE: More Planet X details: How it relates to Iraq and Sumer

* Aluminum Foil Deflector Beanie: Effective, Cheap Solution To Mind-Control
* Sperm act like guided missiles: using heat sensors to find the female egg

* QUESTIONAIRE: Would You Shoot American Citizens?"
* Weapon of the Week: The Electrocuting Water Cannon
* Pain on call: The Shockmobile (illustration)

* We're all getting smarter well, maybe not you, but most of us. And it's happening faster and faster. Pretty soon we'll be able to solve all problems, except those based on greed and fear, like politics and economics and religion etc.

The SimNuke Project
"All primitive peoples lead miserable, unhappy, cruel lives, most of which are spent trying to kill each other. The reason they lived in the unpleasant places they did, like the middle of the Brazilian jungle, was that nobody else would." --Margaret Mead

* Visit SECRET BASES or you'll miss out on everything.
* Don't miss Ted Jesus Christ GOD or you'll be damned sorry
* Traitorous Bush gang passes tech torch to Japan, laughs.
* And the scumbags fixed the intel to justify invading Iraq.

"Politicians are like rats. What they steal for themselves is miniscule compared to what they destroy getting it." -- Unknown

Q: Why burn Dresden and Hiroshima?
A: to impress Stalin.
This a scarily brilliant article whose conclusions I don't totally agree with but have a hard time arguing against. What isn't asked is: who/what burns next, and why? And will a shrunken impoverished Russia full of billionaires and nukes be involved?

Parallel Universes
IT'S TRUE! There can be many other parallel universes superimposed upon our own, which differ only in the phase or frequency of their synchronization. Each ordinary physical universe is like a single sheet of paper represented in the figure. Particles (and people) move on the "sheet of paper" and believe that is the entire physical universe. Other physical universes, with different synchronized frequencies or phases, are represented by other sheets of paper in the stack. To move from one universe to another, it is only necessary that the phase or frequency be shifted by a certain amount. Then the object will disappear in one reality and appear in another...

HOFC: Desert Mysteries
* Need a regular dose of HP Lovecraft? Try The Weekly Cthulhu. You can even start with more frequent doses, but then you'll have to taper off. Or perhaps you'd prefer Kthulhu Kitsch: CYCLOPEAN! TENTACULAR! SQUID-O-RIFFIC! (via Shoggoth.Net via Google

* Applied literature: see The Periodic Table of Haiku or at least learn about Living With Vampires In North Florida.

* Have I mentioned this before? J.Orlin Grabbe is always good for a laff. And don't miss BUZZ STORIES: Resonant Information either.

=====> _PRIOR_ENTRIES_ <=====

"Worst Church: The All Saints Church of Sedlac, Czechoslovakia, was looted of all its fine ornaments in 1600. Undeterred, the worshippers of Sedlac set about redecorating their house of worship with human bones. They exhumed the remains of nearly 10,000 people for what is surely the most macabre interior in all of Christendom. The highlights are a bony chandalier, made predominantly of femurs, and hundreds of skulls piled in the shape of the Schwartzenberk family crest. Fodor's Czechoslovakia calls it a 'ghastly fascination'." --Fenton & Fowler


Ric Carter,,
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