This post is nothing more than bragging about the awesome gifts I got for Christmas, but that’s what Christmas is all about right? How many of the things on your list could you convince your family of acquiring on your behalf. I jest, I jest, it’s really about suffering, suffering through the social differences of contrasting generations and their contradictory perspectives of every other generation as compared to their own. Fun times!
First on the list is quite utilitarian, however no less coveted by yours truly. It’s a trickle charger for my motorcycle, more specifically it’s a battery charger with different modes one of which is trickle charging. A very important accessory for my motorcycle as I’d very much like it to start in the spring as well as for the battery to last as long as possible. Hopefully through using this device all will be well for as long as can be. This was a gift from Santa (a.k.a. my Mother). I’m not sure why my Mother continues the Santa gag, but I suppose it’s tradition.*
Another item “Santa” gave me was an item I really didn’t expect to receive. It was on the list, but was something I thought I’d likely buy myself once I’d gotten a bit more into recording video, so this one was a real surprise. It’s a Røde VideoMic microphone. It fits into the hotshoe on my Nikon D7000 and plugs into the external mic jack on the side. Comparing the sound between the Røde and the onboard, I’m extremely happy to have it as there really is a massive difference. Unfortunately however, this means I need to start actually recording stuff and making use of it. *sigh* Sounds like work.
The second last item I’ll bother sharing with you, as no one wants to hear about the socks I got, comes from my youngest sibling. She too stuck 100% to my list and got me a GorillaPod. I told her all the wonderful things I could do with it and her eyes lit up and said we had to go take some pictures. However since we live in Canada, it was cold outside and we decided that we liked the warmth of the fireplace in the house and opted to hang out there instead. I don’t feel too bad about this decision though, as most of the area was pretty boring and I’m a very lazy man, except when I travel. So instead I gave her a demonstration of it’s potential uses and hung my expensive dSLR, lens and flash from a door frame, upside down… and walked away. Truth be told, I too thought it was going to fall and that I’d be a very sad man indeed, but the GorillaPod held up it’s end of the bargain with interest no less. The photo I took using it was really quite good. Unfortunately for the Internets, I wont be sharing it.
Last item time, my very first ever completely manual, no auto-focus, no-chip, completely lacking in any automation what-so-ever, lens. While it’s not a Nikon/Sigma or any of the usual big name lens manufacturers it’s still quite a good little item I think. It’s an Opteka 6.5mm f/3.5 fisheye. The first thing I learned about this little lens and likely about this type of lens in general is that they’re really hard to focus. Of course, I’d read that they were, but being the over confident person I can sometimes be I thought I’d be able to do it because I’m amazing. Well I’ll tell you, I turned that focus ring back and forth back and forth and maybe once or twice did I see anything maybe sorta go out of focus. Since everything is so small through the viewfinder and fisheye, the detail is hard to see and there fore hard to focus. I found I had better results guessing the distance between me and the object and setting the focus to that distance. Also through the use of this lens I learned how to use one of the features of my D7000, by entering in the lens information, the camera could record the aperture and focal length in the EXIF data, as well as display in the camera’s various information screens which aperture I had it set to so I didn’t need to look at the ring. But back to the focusing issue, the general advice is to close the aperture more and then you needn’t worry as much about focus, but all the photos I was taking were in doors and as such I’d chosen to leave it at f/3.5 to allow in as much light as possible as a flash has considerably less effect with a fisheye.
The rest of my family received items such as coffee makers (yes, plural, my Grand-Mother received two!), clothes, Kiva cards and more interestingly BlackBerry PlayBooks. Thanks to the recent discounts I think nearly everyone in my family as well as a couple friends this Christmas received one of these devices, myself included as a freebie from my employer. A little unfortunate for me as I’d actually purchased one in the first sales way back in September. Never the less, that makes seven PlayBooks in the family now ranging the full spectrum from 16 GB to 64 GB. Actually, scratch that unfortunate line from above, the real unfortunate thing is that I now get to support all these devices for my family, there’s going to be so many questions about “how do I do this” and “how do I do that” and “how did you plug yours into the TV and watch movies”… I think the funniest question so far was “So, I can get to the iStore with this right?” I think family-wise, the best feature is the VideoChat feature, it’s like Skype but (unfortunately) only PlayBook to PlayBook and since we all have one now and it’s simple to do. I guess that means I’ll be receiving an exponentially larger amount of video chat requests than in the past. Thankfully I only have to show shoulders up, which means I don’t have to wear pants. *sigh of relief*
On the note of Skype, I think the best present I gave my family this year was hooking up a laptop to the TV and bringing a good Webcam. This being good because my brother moved out to British Columbia over the summer and wasn’t able to fly back for Christmas. So in hooking it all up to the TV, we were all able to see him and chat with him without huddling around a small laptop screen and webcam. Worked out so good, I was really happy it did because it was a bit of a last minute idea for me as I was leaving to do the whole Christmas thing.
Now that the bragging is all done and over with, here’s the part where I feign interest in your Christmas haul 😉 So, what did you get? Anyone open enough with their family to ask them for figures? I’m not quite there yet, though this Christmas I did introduce Horo as my wife. They’d asked about the character in many of my Colorado photos and also finally understood some of the passwords on things such as their WiFi. At any rate, by all means brag and link below, love to know what others received both as a means to measure my own haul by and for additional ideas to gift others.
* Maybe this is why I feel so comfortable having a fictional character as my wife. My entire family seems ok with continuing the charade of a fictional omnipresent fat man who can travel faster than modern physics can ever allow.
** Did the third sentence of my opening paragraph even make sense? It feels like it does. But, then it also feels like I just tried to use some big words and sound witty. Here’s hoping I accomplished at least some of that endeavour.
*** While writing this my mother called just to talk and my step-Dad had a question for me. I knew this is how it’d be haha.
**** These “quickie” posts always seem to inflate themselves into full post territory.