May 17

Walking in Torridon

It was a good day to take it easy. Our vacations are usually action packed in some way or another. Often there are three or four different ways the action is packed in. And this trip is no exception. That’s not a complaint: there is so much to see and marvel at here. Eventually, though, you think about slowing it down a little bit. And that’s exactly what my travel agent, trip pilot and all around best girl had planned for today.

We’re in some of the most picturesque rugged mountain country that Scotland has to offer, with some incredible walking trails. We tried a few of those today, and the views and the scenery and the surrounding was worth it. I could tell you, but here see for yourself. This is on the 54-acre Torridon estate:

Now, if you didn’t watch that video, here’s your chance to go back and press play. You’re missing views like this:

On a different walk today, we saw several red deer:

I don’t know if you’ve ever had a loch, or a lake, all to yourself, but you should try it sometime:

I want to try it sometime soon again, myself!

Walking, we didn’t see anyone for more than an hour, which was grand, on trails like this:

Here are a few more bits of video I shot today:

We had dinner at the Torridon Inn tonight. I’m eating a lot of meat pies. They are all a little different from one another, and they are all so tasty. And they look pretty inviting, too:

May 17

New phone, new video, new adventures

Got a new phone. This is the first video I shot from it, the “river” by our building flooded. We’re told the creek is incased by the local limestone, which does not allow for drainage. And, today, we got a deluge. They recorded 1.67 inches of rain in an hour. And this was the downstream result:

And this is the second video I shot from my phone, this evening, as I journeyed to Connecticut by way of New York:

Tomorrow, we’re off on another grand adventure!

May 17

I do not want to hear Tubthumping when I’m 85

Musical encoding is a powerful thing. Researchers are only just beginning to understand its importance, and I imagine it has a lot more value than even the hefty weight of reminiscence.

Now think of it, think of the music someone is going to play for us one day.

Which brings to mind two quick stories.

A colleague here is doing oral histories with alumni who are now in their 90s. She stopped by my office the other day and mentioned some interesting little tidbit in the ongoing process. Two students were in my office at the time and I looked at them and said something like “Just think, someone is going to approach you one day, in 2087 or so, and ask for your recollections about this place.”

And the student goes “2087. That’s not a real year.”

I hear ya, pal.

And, today, we learned that next week my colleague will do an oral history with a woman who is 102 years old. I wondered where that put that woman on the list of oldest living alumni. There’s a story in here somewhere, I figured.

So I called the alumni association and they did a bit of digging and we found out that, last September, the oldest surviving alumnus on record was a 111-year-old alumnus.

Think of it, 111. That’s a life born around 1905 who saw all but the very first planes, and then saw us go to the moon, and then perhaps has learned that we have people living in a tin can circling 250 miles above us. Those and all of the other things that they have seen. All the stories that person must know.

May 17

Say cheese

So this is today and tomorrow:

This evening I, finally, started cleaning up my home office. It has just been sitting there, as offices do. The problem has been the amount of stuff that has been sitting inside of it. It should be a useable space, which is why the straightening up is taking place.

Really, of course, this just means moving things from here, to there. So the adjoining closet, which was full but not obnoxious, is now trending that way again. But a few things will be moved out of that room and to … somewhere else besides.

I’ve found, as a lifelong expert in organizing things from messy piles to slightly less offensive stacks, that doing one corner at a time is a great way to spend your efforts. When you get two corners cleared you are ready to make some progress on the wall in between. And if your room is laid out in a seemingly static style, then there isn’t much to do along that wall. Because there are bookshelves and furniture and whatnot.

On top of one of the bookshelves is this camera, which The Yankee picked up for me last year.


Isn’t that lovely? This is a Yashica twin lens reflex camera, a Mat-124 G.


Now, this is a bookshelf camera, but all of the buttons and knobs and cranks work, as you’d expect on an entirely mechanical camera. It stands to reason, then, that if I got some 6×6 film and cleaned the glass it would still take decent medium prints. Except for that front piece, on the top, it is in terrific condition.


And those quick cellphone photos remind me I need to build a new lightbox. Perhaps another weekend project!

Anyway, Yashica first started making the ancestor of this camera in 1957. It was a 75 mm variety. This one is 80. And here’s the view through the viewfinder, which you look down into from above:


This camera would shoot at 1/500th of a second, and the aperture dial allows for f3.5 to f32. This might be one of the first times I’ve looked through the viewfinder and … the focal ring works! So does the sports finder, which is basically a magnifier:


Now, the Yashica Mat 124-G was made between 1970 and 1986, so it isn’t old as these things go. But it has probably sat on a shelf or in a closet for all of the time since. I know it has at least since last spring, when it was given to me. And I’m standing in my office, pointing it through a window, through the window screen and then taking a photo of what I see in the viewfinder through my phone. So the representation isn’t bad, but the glass inside this thing is good for an entry-level medium format camera. And the image capture, at some settings, is terrific. Through the sports finder once more:


Apr 17

And we’re clear