Thursday, March 26, 2015

Guilty but forgiven

rain gauge tucker

Here’s Tucker and what's left of my new rain gauge.

It's my fault for sticking it in the ground and expecting a free range red heeler to ignore it.

Maria found it next to the fence along with a small football and a baseball that he was trying to share with Dora.

We love Tucker and he provides lots of entertainment for our Aussies, visiting them daily.

We told his owner to let us know if he ever decides to get rid of Tucker.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A little Parrot talk

parrots02

My review set of Parrot Zik 2.0 headphones arrived late yesterday and I can’t help comparing them with the Bang & Olufsen H8 headphones the Amazon Vine Program sent me a few weeks ago.

The Parrots are billed as “The World’s Most Advanced Headphones” and it’s hard to say otherwise. They have way more bells and whistles than the B&O H8s, including a smartphone app that lets you tweak the sound with a graphic equalizer.

They are over-the-ear, where the B&Os are on-the-ear, and they make my ears uncomfortably warm after awhile.

Both sets let you receive and carry on phone calls, but the Ziks can initiate phone calls as well. I think I calculated that they are about 27 grams heavier than the B&Os, which is – to my head, anyway – a negligible difference.

As far as the sound goes, tweaks with the app notwithstanding, I like the B&Os better. The sound seems warmer and more natural and balanced with the H8s.

Both pair easily via Bluetooth with my iPhone 5.

In my first impression comparison, the Parrots are a close second. If the Bang & Olufsens are worth $499, the Parrots are definitely worth $399.

The UPS truck brought the Parrots to my front door last evening while Maria and I were paying our second visit to our new favorite restaurant, Avanzare in Paragould.

avanzare06We both had Chicken Siciliano – chicken sauteed with capers, mushrooms and artichoke hearts in white wine, lemon and butter sauce and served over spaghetti – well worth $10.95. We brought half of our dinner home in boxes so we would have room to split a serving of tiramisu.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Why I like Henri Cartier-Bresson more than I do Ansel Adams

madrid cartier-bresson

A lot of photographers make a big deal out of Ansel Adams, the great American landscape photographer.

Adams was a pioneering genius in the darkroom, coaxing details out of black-and-white negatives to create stunning scenes of nature, especially in the West and California.

While I appreciate the beauty and technique in Adams’s work, my all-time favorite photographer is Henri Cartier-Bresson, one of the founding members of the Magnum photo agency.

Why?

Because Cartier-Bresson photographed people and I find people infinitely more interesting to look at than scenery.

This photo – shot in Madrid, Spain in 1933 – is probably my favorite Cartier-Bresson image. It’s amazingly rich in detail and layers from the kids in the foreground, some of whom are looking at the photographer, to the cartoonish fat guy with hat who reminds me of an R. Crumb character, to the incredible constellation of seemingly random windows in the building that forms the background.

Cartier-Bresson strove to capture what he called “the decisive moment.” He also never cropped his photos in the darkroom, preferring to frame them the way he wanted them with his viewfinder.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Tinnitus

I've had tinnitus, a persistent ringing in the ears for several years, probably a consequence of loud music and motorcycle wind noise.
It's gotten worse lately and my internet reading leads me to believe the two Naproxen sodium I take at bedtime may be part of the problem.
I've omitted them the last two nights and slept fitfully as a consequence.
I ordered a vitamin supplement that is supposed to reduce tinnitus, so we shall see.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

That time of year again

stickerI took a few minutes this morning to affix new stickers to the license plates on both bikes and the Subaru.

This makes 8 layers of annual stickers on those vehicle plates.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

BMW MOA’s newest Ambassador

charlie72

Charlie Parsons, my Jonesboro BMW riding compadre, was named an Ambassador of the BMW Motorcycle Owners of America this afternoon at Boscos Squared in Memphis.

The title of Ambassador is conferred upon ‘MOA members who distinguish themselves through volunteering or recruiting new members or generally representing the organization in an exemplary fashion, all of which describes Charlie.

His wife Deborah got him to Boscos on the pretense of attending a birthday party for a Memphis BMW friend. She kept the secret well.

Charlie was utterly stunned and momentarily speechless when we all rose to toast his new title.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Business as usual at Starbucks

Starbucks-race-together

I was feeling mildly confrontational this afternoon so I took my empty Italian Roast bag to Starbucks to see if one of the children behind the counter would try to share her deep thoughts on the subject of race.

It turned out that the kids running the Starbucks on Stadium Avenue weren’t up to the challenge from their corporate masters. They weren’t scribbling crap on the cups or engaging customers in racial dialog.

Probably a good idea, considering that we’re in Northeast Arkansas where everyone is very conscious of race, but at the same time, polite and considerate.

We don’t need some twit in Seattle telling us what to think about each other.

Headphone avalanche

black parrot

I was lying in bed, wide awake at 2:30 this morning, when it occurred to me to check my Amazon Vine Program offerings to see if anything really cool was available.

Since our internet had been out since midday Wednesday, I used my iPhone 5 to log into my Vine account.

To my astonishment, I was being offered the Parrot Zik 2.0 wireless headphones, with an MSRP of $399.99. There were only two pairs left, so I jumped on it immediately.

This, only weeks after the Vine Program blessed me with the Bang & Olufsen H8 wireless headphones, with an MSRP of $499.99.

I guess they liked the review I wrote for the B&O ‘phones.

Some other folks who reviewed the H8s compared them with the Parrots, pronouncing the B&O product superior in comfort and sound.

The Parrots have more bells and whistles, employing a smartphone app that adds a graphic equalizer and other ways to fine-tune the listening experience. I’ve already downloaded the free app to my iPhone.

I had been jonesing for a good pair of headphones for years and as late as last fall asked my musician sons to recommend a set for under $100.

Then in November Amazon offered me a $90 Corsair wireless gaming headphone, which proved to be a significant improvement over the cheap stuff I’d been using.

Then Maria gave me a Bluetooth sports headphone that is absolutely perfect for treadmill workouts and also lets me take and make cell phone calls through my iPhone.

Then the Bang & Olufsens and now the Parrots.

To say that I’ve gotten my wish when it comes to headphones is a serious understatement.