Archive for December, 2004

43 Things

What do you want to do with your life? 43 things.

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Merry Christmas to Me

The biggest news in Alan related gift giving and receiving involves both me and me: Considering that my travels in Europe will hopefully continue with the same vigor in the new year, I decided to sink some money into a more flexible digital camera. So, as of the 19th I’m the proud owner of a Canon EOS 20D digital SLR. For no my lens is the Sigma 18-50 f/2.8 (equivalent to about 29-80mm in a 35mm camera).

The main motivations for upgrading to a DSLR were

  • larger range of focal lengths, especially toward the wide angle;
  • easier to use filters such as polarizers and graduated neutral density;
  • usable high ISOs (3200 is surprisingly good on this camera);
  • usable viewfinder (For many reasons I hate composing with an LCD); and
  • fastest response time possible (though my old Sony DSC-V1 isn’t bad at all in this respect).

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Christmas

Merry Christmas to all! Yesterday our house was descended upon by the holiday hords of children that my extended family typical musters these days. There was Christmas ham and my sister’s delicious chocolate covered peanut butter balls (made in plentiful quantities for once), as well as the usual cheap wine and cards playing. Today is a much quieter, immediate-family-only affair, much more my style. (And our older cat, Penelope, agrees with me. Stray wrapping paper can be great to play in as long as there are no strangers around that need to be hissed at.)

I gave and received great quantities of books, as is my usual inclination. Follow the link for details.

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Santa Terror

‘Tis the season to be scared of santa

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The end of a year in Geneva

My year at CERN is over, and on Tuesday I made the long flight back to The States (to the farthest end in fact, way over to Seattle). That’s 15 hours of flight time, covering a 9 hour time difference, with only a squeaker of a layover in Newark. I got very lucky on the transatlantic leg when the window seat in my two-seat group was left empty. Except for the flakey A/V equipment on both of my seats, I’d say it was my most pleasant flying experience yet. The view of Mont Blanc and it’s minions layered ridge after ridge as we tore through the egg carton cloud layer was incredible. Those clouds have refused to leave Geneva for weeks. These are the things that make every airplane ticket worth while, I don’t care where I’m going.

Given the hoops I had to jump through, or queues to shuffle through to be more accurate, it is surprising that Continental gave me such a short layover. There was immigration, baggage claim, customs, a side trip to a plant and animal products inspection, rechecking my baggage, and finding my gate, all somehow squeezed into an hour and a half. I was the last person to board the flight to Seattle and they were waiting for me, but somehow we lifted off early.

I arrived in Seattle a little before 5 pm, and by holding out until 10 pm (7 am Geneva time) I was able to make a full 24 hour day of it. There was some sleep on the plane, but it hardly deserves counting.

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