Hope you all had a great Christmas. I got a new camera:
Doesn’t mommy set a bourgeois table? Those cranberry candle things are embarrassing, but what the hell, how often do you get to use your late Aunt Edwina’s silver compotes, anyway? Note to lifestyle editors in the readership: How about a story on how to repurpose all those little maiden aunt hand-me-downs for the modern hostess? I have a cut-glass knife rest that will never support a knife again, but it seems you ought to be able to do something with it.
Anyway, Santa must have heard my plea the other day, because whaddaya know, the new camera shoots Tri-X:
That’s a setting called “dynamic B&W” (yes, as opposed to “smooth B&W”), i.e., Tri-X. I have to plow through a substantial owner’s manual to figure out just how many of the bells and whistles I’ll be using, and I’m hopeful I can figure out how to make run-of-the-mill crapshots like the ones above not throw 3.5 megabytes of shade on my hard drive. I think it has something to do with the delete key.
Also, I’ve heard you can get far better shots if you actually leave the house once in a while, but at the moment freezing rain is falling, and you know how that stuff is. I may be here until the thaw, at this rate.
It was a good Christmas. It continues through the weekend, after which the Great Housecleaning begins. I figure, I might not be able to sell my house at the moment, but at least I can make it gleam like a new penny. Of special concern this year: Closets. Beware, closets. I am coming for you.
From the comments, it sounds like everyone had a pretty good holiday, too. Sometime around 3 p.m. on the Eve, all my animosity about the holiday falls away and I find myself, usually unexpectedly, in the Christmas spirit. I think it’s because when the stores close, the jig is well and truly up, and you have to live or die with the preparations you’ve made, and perhaps by default, they’re almost always Good Enough. My final act was to throw a double sawbuck in the mail to my newspaper carrier, who along with many of us is going to be having a lousy 2009. (Unless that’s the year he finishes med school and starts his general-surgery internship, in which case he’ll be getting even less sleep.) I’ve never laid eyes on this man and wouldn’t know his name if he didn’t send me a please-tip Christmas card every year, but his outstretched hand doesn’t bother me. He does a thankless job well, and that’s the very definition of someone who deserves a little something extra this time of year. The day of our big blizzard last week, I went out to shovel the front step, which by the time I got up had already piled up to the bottom of the storm door. There were no footsteps on the walk and I’d assumed the carriers had been snowed in, too. And what did I find as I reached concrete? A New York Times, a Wall Street Journal and a Detroit News, all wrapped in plastic and perfectly dry. So he deserves it.
By the way, I think I’ve found the worst Christmas song ever, a new one to me. The local all-Christmas station played it on the Eve: A Soldier’s Christmas. Excruciating.
And now, the holiday in our rear-view mirror, we can turn our thoughts to other things, like contemplating the fate of the Lions. I’ll say one thing for this season: Sportswriters who had already turned it up to 11 after the fifth or sixth loss of the year have had to find new frequencies to wail at, some audible only to dogs. Drew Sharp in the Freep:
If you assessed the public mood eight months ago on the greater impossibility — the country shedding its shackles of racial intolerance and electing America’s first black president, or an NFL team going winless through a 16-game parity-driven schedule, the concept of perfect football imperfection would’ve comfortably won the argument.
The Lions have one-upped Barack Obama.
Passages like that make me miss the sports copy desk.
Let’s kick off Holiday Photos week, then. I actually have fairly slim pickin’s this year, mainly because you all made merry swapping links to Flickr pages in the comments last week, but no mind. This is a good one, Deborah from Chicago with her husband Steve, in happier meteorological times:
Light jackets! Short sleeves! Open water! The skyline of a thriving city! America, be optimistic — happy days will be here again. In the meantime, have a good weekend.