Strangers in a Not So Strange Land

After riding through the rain and mist, and escaping whatever ghosts there were (or weren’t) in the Haynesville Woods, crossing into New Brunswick and rewarding ourselves with a very nice German-style dinner, Don and I made our way up the eastern side of the St. John River. Our destination was Eagle Lake, Maine, home of legendary (in Maine, anyway) legislator John Martin.

We rode about 350 miles on the first day of our trip. Rolling out of bed the next morning I was reminded how much more physical riding a motorcycle is than driving a car. That I was probably a little more tense because of the rain most likely added to the muscle strain, but a little Tylenol and a little more Motrin took care of that. Some coffee and a hearty German-style breakfast (no beer, thanks), along with clearing skies got us ready for the day’s excursion tracing the northeast border of Maine and the St. John Valley.

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A Stone of Hope

When we visited the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial last fall I was struck, not only by the symbolism of the “stone of hope” coming “out of a mountain of despair,” but by the figure of Dr. King himself. To me the look of determination on his face and the unfinished nature of the statue say that the work is never done. While progress has been made overcoming official inequality there are still other ways inequality threatens America’s place as a “land of opportunity.” It’s not about envy, it’s not about division, it’s about real opportunity in the long term best interest of us all.

Post #328

Among the things I planned to do over my little holiday vacation, I managed to do at least one of them today, which was camera shopping with our middle daughter. Chelsea and I share several interests, including photography. She has had a succession of film and digital point-and-shoot cameras and had the use of a Canon dSLR for the two years she was high school yearbook editor. Looking ahead to a semester abroad in Ireland or Scotland next fall, she wanted to find something more capable and have time to learn how to use it.

Buying another point-and-shoot, though technology has continued to improve, would have been a lateral move – a better version of what she already had (by better, I mean faster, and better image quality). Digital SLRs are still pricey, especially for a college student who’s been saving up. Even the mini-dSLRs or compact system cameras can still be a little hefty on the budget, but there are many good “bridge” or advanced point-and-shoots out there.

I have never been an early adopter of technology and finally gave in to digital in 2004 (though I still have my 1982 Minolta XG-M). My choice then was the Fujifilm FinePix S5000. It’s been a good camera to make the transition from film to digital, but it’s also getting a little old. And it’s always been slow. Slow to boot, slow to shoot. Just. Plain. Slow. Shutter lag, the bane of digital cameras everywhere, was less on the S5000 than others in the same price range at the time. But the new cameras we looked at today were soooo much better.

After looking at several cameras in different price ranges and capabilities Chelsea chose the Nikon Coolpix P500, a definite step up from her first Coolpix several years ago, and her more recent Fujifilm FinePix pocket camera. We also had a much better time camera shopping at Photo Market than at Best Buy (and the salespeople at Hunt’s were helpful, too).

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