Saturday, March 04, 2006

Two Puzzlements and a Mini-Debate

Puzzlement #1: What The...?

Okay, first of all, I'm fine today. The apparent "pulled hamstring" stopped hurting me last night as quickly as it started, leaving me wondering what the heck is going on. I haven't taken any minerals today, but I'll try taking them just once a day instead of twice, and see if that makes a difference. Yes, my legs are still a bit swollen and itchy and discolored, but they're far from their worst. Maybe I'll attempt a trip to the gym tomorrow. Bottom line: I have less and less certainty what the heck is gong on with my body, but it's not too bad right now.

Meanwhile, I had 12 glorious hours of sleep last night, during part of which I was trying to catch a couple lost episodes of Angel in my dreams. I've done this with Quantum Leap before, but truthfully the dreamed episodes were disappointing. I don't think I got to see the Angel one this time out. I guess my subconscious was trying to distract me from my personal situation, but not willing to come up with a whole tv episode just to mollify me.

Puzzlement #2: What Camera?

John and I went to Costco today to look at digital cameras. The real choice was between three models, all selling for $299.99. I foolishly failed to research ahead of time, and just as foolishly failed to write down model numbers, thinking I could figure it out by features each one had. They don't match up with what I'm finding online, though. Here are the choices, folks. I really, want your input before I go back there tomorrow to buy. Ready? Here are the options. All three of these have something like 8 megapixels, 3x optical zoom, 4x digital zoom (maybe only 2x on the Panasonic), lots of picture taking modes, and a movie-taking function.

Option One: Pentax, possibly a Pentax Optio A10 (although this camera is supposedly not out yet). 8 megapixels, 3x optical zoom, 4x digital zoom, autofocus, auto exposure, JPEG file format, ISO 50-800, D-Li8 lithium ion battery, movie mode w/sound, 2.5" LCD screen. Uses SD memory card, not included. 15 scene settings, including "museum" and "sunset" and "night scene." Comes with some kind of photo software I've never heard of. I think this one may have had an anti-shake feature so that the photos don't come out blurry if you fail to hold the camera perfectly still. Or was that the Nikon? Or both?

Option Two: Nikon, possibly a Nikon Coolpix P1 8MP Digital Camera with 3.5x Optical Zoom (Wi-Fi Capable). Amazon says:
  • Powered by lithium-ion battery (battery and charger included); stores images on SD cards (32 MB internal memory included)
  • 8.0-megapixel CCD captures enough detail for photo-quality 16 x 22-inch prints
    3.5x optical zoom; 2.5-inch LCD display
  • Face Priority Autofocus and In-Camera Red-Eye Fix; transfer and print images wirelessly with built-in Wi-Fi connectivity
  • 16 scene modes; macro setting focuses as close as 1.6 inches from subject
Comes with a case, a strap, and a charger, and I think a CD with software.

Aww, heck. I think this is the one I need to get. Don't you? Still, I loved the different scene modes on the Pentax and the anti-shake thing. And there's John's favorite to consider:

Option Three: Panasonic Lumix, possibly a
Lumix® > DMC-FZ7K 6-Megapixel Digital Camera with MEGA Optical Image Stabilizer, High Sensitivity Mode & 12x Optical Zoom, Black

I kind of thought this was an 8.0 too,but I don't see any likely candidates in the price range. This one was $299.99 AFTER an $80 rebate, and I have a terrible track record on sending in rebates.

One of the sites I looked at preferred Sony, Olympus, Canon and Lumix, more or less in that order; but some of these cameras are too new to have a lot of reviews. I don't really look at the Sony or Olympus models at Costco, and they didn't have a Canon, which I didn't want to consider anyway after getting burned on the old one. I'd like to stick to the Pentax vs. the Nikon unless there's a good reason to do otherwise. So, guys. Do you use a Pentax or Nikon digital? Is there one brand you trust over the other? Please advise! You have until 2 PM MST Sunday to help me out!

The Debate:

I said...
I'm giving two things up for Lent this year:
  1. the vending machines at work, except for soda and the one machine with tuna and crackers and stuff like that, and
  2. blogging after midnight - including blog-jogging. Except for Friday nights, of course.
Paul said...
As someone pointed out on another blog I'm fond of: Lent is not the same as New Years. You're not supposed to give up things that are bad for you, or that you shouldn't be doing in the first place. Although, I guess both of those things could qualify as guilty pleasures.
3/03/2006 5:46 AM

Alexis said...
I don't agree with Paul at all. Lent is about sacrifice and if it's something that's hard for you to do, it counts. I always used to give up wine and cigarettes and believe was a challenge every single day until then end. I'd follow through by remembering WHY I was doing it and it would work. I think you need a "Bravo Karen" for doing something for many people are so apathetic about it! So....BRAVO Karen!!!

To Paul I say, what, as opposed to giving up things that are good for you, or that you should be doing? Hey, can I give up doing dishes for Lent? Somehow I don't think that will fly with John, unfortunately. In fact, John has seized upon the "no blogging after midnight" idea, and wants to make sure I comply with it!

The problem with New Year's resolutions is that there's no real spiritual component to them, no real expectation that you're going to keep them, and no time limit. But Lent is different. This is a season dedicated to penance, sacrifice and amendment of life in preparation for Easter. If I offer up a behavior change that is hard for me (and both of these are, trust me) to God, then I have a bit more incentive to do it, and theoretically a partner in the endeavor. I don't always do very well with these things, but one year I gave up playing Mah-Jongg on the computer, something I'd been doing compulsively for hours every night. That was about eight or nine years ago. I haven't played it since.

Also, it seems to me that if I promise God that I will be a better steward of my own body, in these specific ways, then I'm almost certainly doing something God would want me to do anyway. I really, really don't want to get into a religious debate here, especially with our skeptical friend Paul, with whom I generally have a friendly detente on the subject. But if Lent means anything in the first place, which for me it does, then I think these are fine Lenten devotions to make. I have a third one, but it's more of a doing something, not a giving up something. Perhaps I'll tell you about it later.

11:51 PM! Time to choose a quick photo and get this posted. I'll have to continue catching up my blog-reading tomorrow.



fdtate said...

If it were me, I'd stick to companies that have a proven track record for making quality cameras. Of all the cameras I've had, I've been the happiest with Olympus cameras, both digital and 35mm - but that's probably just me. Of your choices here, I'd go with either the Pentax or the Nikon. My advice is to go back, get a camera in each hand and compare them feature by feature. Go through the motions of taking pictures with both. See which one is going to be easiest for you to use, which one is going to be easiest to whip out in a hurry and capture a spontaneous shot without a lot of adjustments. Don't get fixated on a lot of bells and whistles. Concentrate on the features you think you might actually use. Also, do a little online research before you go back. You might find something out there that fits you better than those two options.

fdtate said...

Oh, by the way, I'm glad you are feeling a little better. I was thinking earlier that your "well" leg may be hurting because you may be putting stress on it, compensating for the other one hurting you so much. Hope you get to the bottom of your medical mystery soon.

Paul said...

Re: The camera. I probably recommended the Canon to you the last time you asked. I like their cameras, but I was not aware of any problems with them. You might do a little research to see if the problems were specific to one model. Or, you might simply write Canon off. Wouldn't blame you. I know nothing of the Panasonic other than it has a Leica lens. In photographic circles, that's very, very good. However, there's more to a camera (especially a digital one) than the lens. If there are other good reports on it, I would definitely consider that one. I don't think you can go wrong with the Nikon. They are a long time maker of high quality cameras. Avoid the Sony cameras like the plague. I have been very unhappy with mine.

Re: Lent. Of course, I was pretty much talking out of my hat. I really don't know very much about it. Believing that some God wants you to give up red wine, or blogging, or chocolate cake, for just 40 days seems rather silly to me. But then again, I have never been able to justify belief in an imaginary sky daddy based on the anecdotal accounts of people who have been dead for 2000 years.

julie said...

That Nikon does look pretty good. You might check out the Petersen's Photographic web site. They keep a lot of reviews of cameras.

And don't let today go by without at least looking at the ads in the paper. You might find a similar - if not better - deal. Or not. But I'm with fdtate: You should go try the cameras in person if you can. If not the exact model, then something very close. The reviews in Petersen's and other camera sites will help there. is another really good site for reviews.

8 MP is absolutely wonderful. You probaly won't print anything at full size, but you can crop and still get decent 8x10 pictures.

Lent: Chris is giving up lint for Lent. What do you expect a teenage boy to say? ;-) But seriously. The idea of giving up something in order to allow yourself to concentrate on spiritual/phyiscal/mental health is a good thing. Whether you do it for the new year, or Lent or just because you think it's time, you're still doing something good for yourself. And yes, getting closer to God is ultimately good for you. There's nothing wrong with that.

Georganna Hancock said...

Have you considered shopping online? When I had money to spend, I could always find a better price (sometimes free shipping, too) at an online service than a physical store. I went to the stores to examine the products, of course, then came home to shop. Kinda thinking inside out of the box, huh?

Shelly said...

I'm probably the worst person to give advice about cameras. I have and love a Canon Powershot S30 which is 4 years old, or will be in May. It's performed admirably over the years. I picked it because it had a good rep and good reviews, the guy at the store (part of a large electronics store with separate storefronts, including one sho just for cameras where they don't push one brand over another) said it was good, and finally, because it was comfortable in my hand. I always "try on cameras" to make sure they fit well in my relatively small hands, that I can comfortably work the controls and hold it steady, that sort of thing.

My film camera is a Pentax. I've had it for almost 15 years. It's a solid camera and I have no reason to think their digitals are any different. Nikon is supposed to be good. I don't know Panasonic cameras.

bea said...

Camera advice: none. Don't know enough about these new digitals. For me, they are like cars. Sorry.

Lent: A Holy Season for the Church and for the followers of Christ. The giving up of something reminds us of Christ's 40 days in the desert following his Baptism by the Holy Spirit. It also reminds us of our own comforts, and by giving up something that brings us pysical comfort (like junk food, or other habits that separate us from God)we can prepare ourselves, through fasting, reading Holy Scripture, and prayer (and being alone while we pray), to draw nearer to Him, and enjoy spiritual comforts. Lent reminds us to rearrange our priorities, and to put God first. Lent and Easter are my favorite "seasons" of the year.

Beautiful Sanctuary and Lent Altar, by the way, Karen.