19 August 2007

Crappity Crap Crap Crap!

(Note: I was going to use a different word than Crap in the title, but since this is a family blog, I, despite my feelings, used a softer word)

Saturday started bad. I couldn't sleep. So I was awake at like 5. That's early for a Saturday, but not that much earlier than planned. You see, I was leaving for a business trip at 8. So it was about 2 hours earlier than I wanted. But probably significant. The drive to Frankfurt was uneventful. The wait at the Frankfurt airport was worse than typical airport waits (the only thing I despise about travel).
When I got on the plane, I couldn't sleep (I usually can't, but thought being tired would help). Why is it that people always have to kick my seat on the way to the bathroom. Or lean on my head.

There was a 5 hour layover in Chicago. My coworker and I had a couple Sam Adam's at the Chili's bar to wait it out. Then the flight to San Jose was mostly sleepless. But I probably had the two best conversations on the plane that I ever had with strangers on an airplane. And my bad was the first one out at the baggage claim. Cool. After a short wait for my colleague, we tried to find the rental car. There was a bus that took us there, and it waited to fill up before taking us there, so the saved time of being first at baggage claim was pretty lost.

We got to the Avis counter at about 23:00. That's in California. My body was still on Central European time, which is 9 hours later, or 8 in the morning. And only a hour or two of low-quality sleep. I blame what happens next on the lack of sleep. I really felt like I could have collapsed at any second from exhaustion.

Anyway, as we reached for credit cards & driver's licenses, my camera bag slipped off my shoulder and thudded on the floor. It seemed oddly loud, but not anything that worried me too much (other than the "damn! I need to not be doing that, because someday it will break") When I eventually got checked in to the hotel, I did a quick visual inspection of the camera and lens. Everything looked OK.

Since our class doesn't start until Monday, we decided to head into San Francisco and enjoy the day. Eventually we got the car parked and I immediately saw something picture worthy and whipped the camera out. The GPS was locked in, and I was ready to shoot in this target rich environment. But something was wrong! The part that is supposed to twist to adjust the zoom would not twist. Uh oh. The fall did bugger something up. My standard lens, the 18-200 VR, the (relatively) tiny lens with the incredible 11x zoom range, the perfect travel lens because it goes from respectable wide-angle to respectable telephoto in only one lens is now effectively a doorstop. It seems to be optically OK,and can probably be repaired for less than the cost of a new one. But I don't get to San Francisco often. I wanted my perfect travel lens for my travel!

As I was packing for this trip, I debated whether or not to bring any other lenses. The 18-200 really covers 95% of what I need. The 80-400 was out. Traveling with that beast is not fun. And it almost requires a tripod. (I think it would be great to have for photographing the sea lions in San Fran, tho). I thought about the new Macro lens. If it was me & Jeannette alone, then probably. Jeannette is the perfect wife in may respects, one of them is that she puts up with me taking wacky pictures. If one of those is a macro shot of a sewer drain, she wouldn't care. She might have her own wacky macro shots (or at least suggestions for me to try), but she wasn't coming with, and someone who may not be so tolerant of my photo hobby was, so I left the macro lens. I debated the 10-20 wide-angle lens. It isn't needed often, but when it is, it sure is nice to have. Like when you are in a tight European city, where that beautiful Gothic church is only 10 meters from a castle wall, and I want the whole thing in one shot, 10mm just might do it. I debated this lens, and decided it isn't too big & heavy, so why the heck shouldn't I? Now I am glad that I did.

It's hard to shoot San Francisco with a 10-20mm lens. There are so many things that I wanted to do but couldn't. I get spoiled by my ultra versatile 18-200mm lens.

To make the day worse:
1) Somehow some sticky glop got on the working lens (luckily not on the glass parts). I think it was sap from a tree or something. I's still trying to figure out how to get it all cleaned off.
2) We have something like 37 tubes of chap stick at home. I have one with me all the time at home or work. I forgot to bring one on this trip. My lips were killing me bby the time I got off the plane. So I had to buy chap stick tube #38. I should buy some stock in the company.
3) It was a beautiful today. I had my hat, but forgot to pack sunscreen. Again, we have around 18 tubes of sunscreen at home. Why didn't I bring any? Cuz I'm an idiot that drops expensive cameras & lenses. Might as well just get skin cancer too.
4) We have at least two giant vats of post sunburn treatment (one is aloe based, and one is something we picked up in France that is magic-based, or something). Guess where I am going with this.
5) We were wandering the streets of SF and it eventually got to be lunch time, like it does. But there were no restaurants anywhere. Finally we stumble across an Italian place that was expensive, but had a lunch specials on the high side of reasonable, so we stopped and ate. It was tasty-ish, but quite tiny. I would have been satisfied, but after we walked one more block and turned the corner, there were bazillion restaurants to choose from.

I think some of the pictures I took today were good. Maybe if I have time tonight, I will upload one or two to ipernity. But I might just sulk all night about my lens.

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At Monday, 20 August, 2007 , Anonymous xensen said...

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At Monday, 20 August, 2007 , Blogger Allan said...

Thanks for the tip. Unfortunately I leave Saturday morning, early. I don't think this is a sub-1-week repair.... Even if so, I don't know if my schedule allows for a trip to Oakland during their open hours.

At Monday, 20 August, 2007 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Argh! I am so sorry to hear about all these troubles. And I can't believe you didn't pack sun block. Hope that your class goes better than your vacation!

Jeannette (don't know my password so can't log in)


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