Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Holidays

I've been neglecting this blog again. I do have some stuff I want to postbeen wanting to post for a while, but I suppose it'll have to wait until 2012. See you in the new year!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

What I Didn't Post This Summer: Bubbles

One thing I neglected to tell was that I've found myself a girlfriend this early Summer that just passed. Joyce and I had a lot of fun together and still do. Blowing bubbles on the rooftop of her building was how we spent the hot days during the Summer and would definitely do again when Summer comes around again next year.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Canon EOS-3 (Not Really a Review)

This is Canon 5D of the film-era. It's also a good way to piss away film.

I had a silly thought in the Summer of this year: "Hey, what if I get an AUTO-FOCUS FILM CAMERA?"

Okay, maybe this is a bad way to start this post. EOS-3 is an amazing camera. It has 45 AF points, and even seem to focus as fast as a 5D MK.II- if not, faster. It has a good enough build quality. Not quite like the Canon 1V or the Nikon F5, but it's not made out of paper, either. And most of all, I enjoyed shooting with it through out this Summer. Well, until I got my negatives back from the photo lab.

Having the auto-focus system that spoils its user, every time I used the EOS-3, I shot like I shoot with a digital camera. Shooting things several times just in case and because I think I got the room in my memory card. The only difference here is my memory cards for the EOS-3 came in either 24 or 36 shots and were meant for single use. It's not a pleasant thing to see a roll of negatives where most of the shots are the same. And to add insult to my own injuries, they were not even moving subjects.

Owning the EOS-3 more or less felt like having a very, very enthusiastic girlfriend: You keep having to use condomsfilm. And you really shouldn't use the same one over and over.*

There are things that I am still excited about the EOS-3, though, like the Eye Control Focus (ECF) system. Upon calibration, the user simply looks at the part of the viewfinder, and the camera will focus in that area. Considering this camera came out back in 1999, that is a very impressive feature. It doesn't really work with people who wear glasses, and I did use this feature less than a handful of times, but it's probably one of the features I like the most.

Going back to the thought I had earlier this Summer, it really sounded like a good idea back then. It works with all my Canon lenses, it even loads my film for me (I only have to pull the film a line in the back, and it will latch on automatically once the door is closed) and it knows what film it has been loaded with and sets the ISO automatically. I don't even have to wind the film, it does that by itself, too. Once the film is finished, it winds it back. Again, by itself. Heck, even Ken Rockwell likes this camera. And funny enough, this is the only full frame Canon camera I own!

As I said before, Canon EOS-3 is an amazing camera, but it's just not for everybody. Despite shooting with digital the way I do, I like doing everything myself once it comes to film. The loading of the film, the winding, the focusing, the rewinding of the film, etc. I even miss going to a dark room now. Maybe I'm just the type to work harder than I need to for my own photos, but that's just me, I guess.

Regrettably, my EOS-3 that I shot 4 rolls of film through, is now up for sale. Thankfully, I still have my other film camera , which I use more often.

*: Unless you like multiple exposures.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Smokes's Poutinerie World Poutine Eating Contest

Today marked the 2nd annual World Poutine Eating Contest and the poutine was supplied by none other than Smokes's Poutinerie. Being a fan and as well as a regular customer of Smokes's, I just had to head down to the Roger's Centre Skydome and check it out.
A fine way to spend a Saturday evening.
The concept of the contest is simple: Eat as much poutine as you can within 10 minutes. The one who consumes most poutine wins. The speakers were quite bad and I had trouble hearing the names, so I actually don't know the name of this year's winner, but it was a fun to watch nonetheless. Free poutine was being given away throughout the event, which I took advantage of. Even walked away with a hat and a shirt. The real question now is, what was I doing taking photos instead of entering the competition? Well, maybe next year.

Below are the rest of the photos.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Product Comparison: Crocs Vs. Converse

I never thought I'd write about shoes, but here I am...

It's been one year since I had my red Converse All Star. I wore them every now and then and I wont deny it: they look cool. So cool, that I forgot about possibly the most important thing when it comes to shoes (at least for me).


When in doubt, it should be mind over matter. If it has no comfort, why am I wearing it? Then I found out that Crocs had the answer all along.

Crocs, widely known for their ugly-ducking-rubber-shoes-with-bullet-holes (other wise known as "Classic") apparently has been making shoes that, well, actually look like shoes for some time. Crocs Hover Lace-up is such an example.

From a distance, these two shoes look very much alike. The only difference someone could pick out would be the Crocs logo on the side of the Hover Lace-up. Up close, the Hover Lace-up appears to be a bit wider than the All Star at the front, which does make it easier to put on. Materials wise, Hover Lace-up is made up of very light weight material and even more comfortable interiors. All Star is heavier than it needs to be, while providing no comfort what so ever even with the extra cushions I bought for them.

Hover Lace-up is all stitched up as well, which means there's no glue anywhere unlike the All Star. This gives me an option of just tossing the Hover Lace-up in the washing machine for an easy clean.

I've had my Hover Lace-up for about 2 months now and am quite happy. I've walked just about everywhere with it as it become my everyday shoe. Walking around 5-8 hours straight is obtained effortlessly. This is a vast improvement from the All Star, which I would feel pain in my feet within 2 hours walking in it.

Oh right, and it looks pretty cool, too.

Comfort and the cool looks. Best of both worlds.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Farmer's Market: Downtown Toronto

When was the last time you had strawberries without the steroids in them? Or real jam? Or anything else from the farm?

Farmer's market on King. St (depending on your location, there may be another one closer to you instead) is open to public every Thursday (Date and time varies by location), morning to mid-afternoon until the fall hits. While the prices are a bit higher than you would find them in a supermarket, it is definitely worth a look. Summer wont be here forever, and neither will these guys. Well, till next summer.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Fireworks, Here We're Again

Canada Day just passed. And It's still so shiny!

This time, the photos were taken around the same spot as last (just outside of Ontario Place, near the bridge felt up with Pizza Pizza ads). The tripod was heavy since the tripod used this time around was an old timer Manfrotto Art 055, and it was also a bit of a walk, but it was all worth it in the end. Oh, so worth it.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Product Comparison: Microsoft Xbox 360 Headsets

I'm a bit of a casual gamer. I play a few rounds of games here and there on my Xbox 360, mostly connected online with friends. It's all fun and games (literally) until we actually need a way to communicate with each other in-game and thankfully, Microsoft was kind enough to supply a wired headset with a purchase of an Xbox 360. Too bad it just doesn't work.

The wired "default" headset is powered by connecting to the Xbox 360 Controller via 2.5mm cable. It has a speaker which will be on one ear as well as a mic for speaking. Speaker quality is not the best, but when your virtual self is being shot at in a battlefield, sound quality is not on my list of things to worry about. What I do worry about is my voice reaching whoever is on my chat. The mic for the lack of the better term, is not sensitive enough to pick up most of what the user says unless the user screams while pressing the mic up against the user's mouth. If a voice does get picked up by the mic, it's mostly muffled sound rather than English words one can recognize.

The headset itself is not very comfortable to wear for any longer than an hour or two. It does at least have a volume dial on the cable along with the mic on/off switch, which doesn't hurt to have, but not used often enough to make an impact with this particular headset. In addition to the frustrating problem of getting a headset that doesn't work as intended, the good folks at Microsoft deny this being an issue as the manual even suggests I speak with my "normal" voice and it should work.

Perhaps I'm the odd one out not speaking with CAPS LOCK ON on Xbox Live.

Earlier I have mentioned the headset having a 2.5mm cable. This means you simply can't use a good headset you may already have for your computer. Considering it's Microsoft who designed the controller and the headset, it's a bit painful to see as to why they couldn't have used a 3.5mm jack like everyone else. If the Xbox 360 was $10 or even $5 cheaper while not including the headset, I would have gone with that option. Unfortunately, Microsoft thought it was funny to get my hopes by giving me an awesome first impression, followed by a kick in the knee.

The wireless headset, retailing for about $40-new, is quite different from the wired "default" headset. Not just the fact that one is wireless and the other is not: the mic does work. Instead of screaming however, you simply have to speak up. Just use the "I'm-trying-to-speak-to-this-person-across-the-table-over-music-in-a-pub" voice. Not exactly screaming, but enough so that you have to put a little effort into it. While there are still considerable amount of muffles and cut outs, the mic is gets the job done 60-70% of the time you speak with a bit of a loud tone.

With the bar of expectation set so low thanks to the first headset, I was a bit happy with this one.

Design wise, it's rather compact and is little bigger than an average size Bluetooth headset and is intended to be worn like one. It tells you which controller it is synced with using an indicator right next to the mic, and has power/mute and volume buttons on the opposite side of the speakers, which can be easily accessed.

The downside besides still somewhat crappy mic is the fact that it's battery operated due to the wireless capability. When the built-in battery dies out, it's time to charge it with a USB cable which can be plugged into a computer or the Xbox 360 itself. The battery life is good for a gaming session of 2-3 hours on full charge. Since it is charged with a USB cable, it does charge a bit slowly compared to most electronics it's size. That said, I just might be spoiled with battery life of Apple products.

In the end, neither headsets from Microsoft proved to be useful. Not even sure if the wireless headset is even worth that $40. Now I'm on a journey to find an off brand now that'll do the job I need it to do. If you know any headsets that does the job for you for under $80, do post a comment regarding which one and I shall try it out.