It's been a busy couple of weeks. Work is flat-out busy at the moment. Aside from that, I've been looking at a few cars, a new camera, and we got another cat too.
My 1993 Toyota Corolla Hatchback is reaching its end-of-life. Sure, I could spend some money on sprucing it up, but I think it's time to go for something else. I've had this car for the last ten years...okay, I just found my original paperwork. Make that twelve years.
It has served me well. Obviously, it was never a glam automobile, but I have to say that, in terms of reliability, this car has been bullet-proof. No major dramas, this thing has purred along nicely, requiring nothing more than routine servicing.
I had owned a couple of late 1970s Volkwagen Golfs (did y'all in The States call them 'Rabbits'?) and they were great cars. My second one was fraught with issues, though, and I stupidly kept taking it back to a Volkswagen mechanic when I would have been better served going to a local guy instead.
Anyway, the ownership of this second Golf left a sour taste in my mouth and I resolved to go for something Made In Japan because I wanted a car that would be relatively trouble-free.
However, like I said, this car has reached the end of the road. Time to look at something else. Some other brand. Still Japanese, because Made In Japan has always had a certain cachet to it, as far as I'm concerned.
And so, I landed on the Mazda 3 Series. Went to a local used car-yard and took one for a spin. It was a 2006 model, manual, with about 160,000 km's on the clock. It was a nice driver, smooth and with a little bit of zip. My Toyota had gotten a little sluggish in recent years, so it was refreshing to get behind the wheel of something that had some pep. I wasn't crazy about the black paint-job, but I could live with that.
I spoke to the dealer afterwards, telling him that I would arrange to take the car to my mechanic later in the week and, if it got the thumbs-up, I'd take it.
We shook hands.
Somebody else bought the car a few hours later.
Anyway, I'll just keep an eye out for any others that come up for sale. This dealer will let me know if he gets any more of them while I scour a couple of car sales websites.
Something will turn up sooner or later.
I've gotten a lot of use out of the Olympus EPL-5 Micro 4/3rds camera that I bought a few years ago. However, my biggest gripe with this camera was the lack of built-in viewfinder. I did end up buying an external viewfinder for it, but this meant that I couldn't slip the leather cover over the camera while the viewfinder was attached.
I began thinking about replacing the EPL-5, and gave some serious consideration to the Fujifilm X100T;
Gotta love the Leica-esque design of these instant classics. Fuji knocked one out of the park with the first iteration of the X 100 was released back in early 2011.
One thing though- this camera has a fixed lens. I considered that, while I'm no master photographer, I would prefer to have a camera with interchangeable lens capability. So I began to look elsewhere.
(pic courtesy of www.amateurphotographer.co.uk)
The Olympus Pen F takes its name from a 35mm rangefinder camera of the mid 1960s. It was a half-frame camera, which basically used half of each frame in a roll of film for each photo. This meant that a 24 exposure roll of Kodak would yield 48 photos by the time you were done.
Olympus seems to have done well with its EPL series of Micro Four-Thirds digital cameras in recent years. I have high praise for the EPL-5 model that I've had these past few years.
The Pen F model would require me to bone up a little more on digital photography, which is not a bad thing. Now that I've settled into my job, I find myself wanting to learn new things and/or get better at the things I already know. With photography, be it film or digital, I'm still quite an amateur. At least with digital, I can delete a bad photo.
So, I did my research and landed on the Pen F. I wanted it in two-tone;
Photo taken from --> www.popphoto.com | Hands-on with the Olympus Pen F Camera
However, the store I visited only had it in black. Since their pricing
was around $180 less than their closest competitor, I figured I'd go for
the black. Now, I already have the 14-42mm lens from the EPL-5, so I just opted for the body only of this camera. My plan is to sell the EPL-5 on eBay, along with the external viewfinder and other accessories. Might re-coup some of what I spent on this new camera.
I've had it for about two weeks now and I haven't messed with it too much as yet. This camera requires a little more fiddling around with settings and other functions, so I think I'll want to load the full instruction manual onto my computer so that I can have a closer read of it.
Next month, I'll get a cheap leather case for it off eBay. I've got a thing about looking after my stuff.
Here's a link to a review of this camera, if you'd like to know more;
ephotozine.com | Olympus Pen F - Full Review
The kids had been saying for quite a few years now that our cat could do with a companion.
We had been putting this off for a while now - When we get a new house, when we come back from the trip, when we get new jobs,
Well, things had calmed down enough that we though now might be the time. We'd actually been looking for about a year or so, to be honest. I must say some cat breeders are just downright fruity. My wife did 90% of the calling around and she dealt with breeders who placed their phone numbers in sales listings and then would get snappy when she called them. About six weeks ago, she and I visited one breeder who lived about 45 minutes from our house. We had a look at the cat, another Burmese. Some breeders run a tight ship, with the cats sectioned off in a separate part of their home, some run things differently, with cats roaming around the house, with baskets in every corner and a few scratching posts throughout the room. This breeder was the latter type. We chatted about the kitten that she had for sale. It had a slight scratch near its right eye. One of the other cats had gotten a little defensive towards it a few days earlier. I was a little concerned that this might be conjunctivitis, and I didn't like the nutcasey vibe that this breeder was giving off. She told us a little too much about her impending surgical procedure. My wife and I learned later one that a few other people that we knew had dealt with this breeder before. None of them gave her glowing reviews.
Anyway, short answer is that we didn't end up purchasing from her. We wound up getting a new cat from a breeder who was impressed to hear that we'd done our homework regarding how to bring a new kitten into a home that already has an adult cat.
Like Madame Wispola Dusenberg (Wispy
for short, although she does have about 63 different names, thanks to my kids), this kitten is a Burmese. They are a very personable breed. Very friendly and companionable, not as loud, angular-featured or as slim as a Siamese, but quite exotic nonetheless.
Now, I know that there are cat shelters out there in the world that are filled with strays that need a good home, and we thought about getting a cat from one, but I had always wanted to get a Lilac Burmese. Careful what you wish for, Teeritz.
My first cat, when I was a kid, was a rescue animal. Madame was a dumped stray, believe it or not, that virtually turned up on our doorstep eight years ago, proving to me once and for all that karma does indeed exist, and works in mysterious ways.
But this time around, I wanted to choose exactly what I wanted, right down to the colour.
We got a male. I'm told it's better to mix the sexes, as this removes some of the territorial battles that might ensue if both cats are of the same sex. It can also bring out the maternal/paternal instinct in the older cat. Not sure if this will happen.
The kitten is four months old, which is fine by us. I'm not sure if any reputable breeders will sell you a kitten that's eight weeks old, like back in the old days.
And he has the energy of a friggin' Duracell bunny. We've had him for eight days and he's a full-time job. It's gotten a little tricky making sure certain doors are closed, so as not to have the two of them run into each other just yet.
Getting them accustomed to each other will be a slow process. It involves getting them used to each other's scent first. This is done by the following method;
I had a few packets of baby socks that I bought last year in order to store my watches in temporarily, to prevent them from scratching each other up.
I took one of these socks and rubbed it along the sides of the kitten's mouth and along his forehead. I did the same with another sock on the older cat. Then, I placed each cat's sock next to the other cat, to get them used to the other's scent. This is meant to be done over the course of a week or so. Then, you place these socks next to their feeding bowls, to get them to associate the scent with something pleasurable, i.e- eating.
After a week, you then begin feeding each cat at the same time on either side of a door, to get them used to each other's scent and any sounds they might make while eating.
A week later, you continue doing this, but you open the door a fraction so that they can glimpse each other. If there's any hostility between them, you revert back to the closed door technique and begin again.
This, I suspect, could take a while. Madame Wispy has had free run of the whole house for years now, and is probably quite territorial.
Mister Bowie- which might end up being his name. Or Fidel-, being a
very young kitten, has been overwhelmed by the size of the house when
we've let him out of my daughter's room (his temporary digs) and has
usually opted to run under the couch.
That's him ----->
He has a powdery look to him, and I think his face and ears will darken as he gets older.
I'm hoping for as smooth a
transition as possible and I'll be relieved if they accept each other in
due course. Otherwise, the house will be some kind of feline war-zone
for years to come.
At any rate, there's no shortage of information on the web about how to introduce two cats to each other. I just hope these two cats have read these articles too.