Category Archives: toys

productive day

today was quite the productive day. so many things have just been thrown by the wayside lately and many things have been piling up to do. this morning i finally went to home depot to pick up some things to build out the storage gear for my lighting equipment. paul has been pondering about what equipment to get and that finally prompted me to finalize on what i wanted to do about my lighting gear.

you see, transporting my lighting gear has always been a bit of a hassle. the lighting stands i have are too tall to fit in my backpacking backpack and it is not big enough to carry the stands, my umbrellas, flashes, and other such nonesense. so i’ve been looking around trying to find a bag big enough to hold everything i have. this actually is harder than it seems.

i did find a golf bag cover for $10 at sportsmart, but the prospect of having to lug all of that heavy gear on my shoulder scared me, regardless of how cheap the bag was.

i did contemplate briefly making my own bag, but i’m not so nimble with cloth-like materials. i am, however, reasonably decent with PVC pipes.

my original idea was to build canisters out of PVC pipes that will hold my lighting stands and umbrellas. it turns out, however, that i would have needed a 5″ PVC pipe to hold the lighting stands and those pipes start to get pretty heavy and thick. so i opted not to make canisters for the lighting stands and just let them be in the cardboard boxes that they came in.

now, my umbrellas are a different story. they came in a cheap flimsy soft plastic shell and it offers no protection at all. i wanted to get 2.5″ PVC pipes for this, but home depot didn’t have it. (i doubt that they even make any of this size, actually, in home depot’s defense. the 3″ PVC pipes just looked HUGE though and a little too heavy to really make it worthwhile, so i crossed my fingers and bought 2″ pipes and caps.

i got home, measured the pipes, cut them, and cemented one of the caps on each and let them set. now i’ve got two containers that the umbrellas *JUST BARELY* fit into.

next was finding the bag. i went to sportsmart to check out their duffle bag selection. most of the duffle bags were just too small and couldn’t fit the 36″ light stands. i was disheartened and about to go home when i spied a wheeled duffle made by alpine design. they are probably some generic brand nobody has heard of, but they offer everything that i could want in a duffle bag. reinforced bottom, wheeled base, and an extending handle so you can comfortable roll the duffle bag anywhere you need to. it is GREAT. and it fell in my budget. (i had sworn that i would not pay the outlandish costs of specialized bags made to hold lighting gear that start at around $80. that’s ridiculous! it’s just a bag, people.

AND the wheeled duffle has this extra compartment on the top that is separate from the rest of the duffle bag. it UNZIPS from the duffle bag to become a separate backpack! how cool is that?!

so this bag now carries everything i need to become a portable studio: 2 light stands, 2 umbrellas, 2 flash brackets, my tripod, 2 reflectors, 2 optical slaves, 2 slave flashes, and enough batteries to light up a christmas tree.

so this is what i ended up with:

[imgthumb=/images/2005/0312/IMG_8344.jpg] [imgthumb=/images/2005/0312/IMG_8347.jpg] [imgthumb=/images/2005/0312/IMG_8348.jpg]

[imgthumb=/images/2005/0312/IMG_8353.jpg] [imgthumb=/images/2005/0312/IMG_8355.jpg] [imgthumb=/images/2005/0312/IMG_8354.jpg]

[imgthumb=/images/2005/0312/IMG_8357.jpg] [imgthumb=/images/2005/0312/IMG_8359.jpg]

woah, muvo!

back on march 5th, i placed an order for the muvo2 4GB mp3 at amazon. the estimated delivery date was march 15-17. then i got an email a few days later stating that their stock is out and they will ship it to me as soon as they replenish their stock. now, the reason why the muvo2 is so popular is because a lot of people are ripping out the microdrive embedded in the mp3 player and they are using it for their digital cameras. the muvo itself is only $200, the cost of 1GB compact flash these days, so you get 4 times the storage for the price. it’s a great thing, and i can’t wait until i get it so i can rip it apart and replace the microdrive with my older 1GB card.

but anyway, it just got shipped today, so i should be getting it sometime next week. man, that’s nearly two months late! it’s a shame that the performance of the drive is so slow on my camera, but oh well, i guess it’ll have to do.


flash accessories

after some thought, i’ve decided that i need to stop borrowing paul’s flash every time i need to take studio pictures. so today i decided to invest in some more flashes. i’ve been trying to figure out which flash system would best work out for me and i’ve decided to try out something that one of the COBA members suggested.

i just ordered a couple of vivitar 283 flashes and wein hs slave triggers and a ton of batteries. man, these flashes are greedy when it comes to battery consumption. greedy, greedy, greedy. or maybe i’m a little too liberal with the flashing. heh…flashing.

but anyway, all the gear has been ordered and it looks like i’m going to have to go and look at making some more gel filters for my flashes when they come in.

i didn’t think that i would really take to studio photography or all of this elaborate lighting, but it’s actually pretty cool. i want to spend a lot more time experimenting with the lights to see what kind of effects i can pull off. overall, though, i think it’ll be pretty neat stuff to come. i just need to coax a few more models to help me learn how to use all this gear.

i think i am rapidly outgrowning my studio space, though, and i’ll need to find somewhere to set up all of this gear.


xbox controller s

i picked up another xbox controller since they were on sale at circuit city yesterday. i only picked up one because i can’t think of a single good 4 player xbox game. it’s a shame that the xbox doesn’t really have a large selection of games. it almost makes me want to go back to the ps2. almost.

what i find myself doing more now than ever is playing super puzzle fighter on the xbox. i looked up ps1 games to see how much they cost and i was quite surprised at how expensive they were still. considering tha the ps1 is an outdated console, the games can still run for as high as $40! that’s just crazy talk!

but alas, i couldn’t find bust-a-move for the ps1. i’m sure it exists somewhere out there. i do enjoy that game quite a bit. i guess i’ll have to stick to my ps2 for that trusty game.


last night my friends gave me an xbox for my birthday. it looks like i’m going to have to do some research now on the things that i can do with the xbox and see what makes sense.

it seems that a lot of people put linux on their xbox. i’m not sure if this will really be all that useful for me, but i guess that’s something that i can keep in my back pocket.


early start

i woke up very early this morning and because i had nothing else to do, i went to work. i got into work a little after 7 in the morning. man, it’s been a long, long day. it’s only a little after 3 now, but the day feels like it has been going on for quite some time now. i’m quite ready to go to bed.

i don’t think that i’m cut out for this kind of a schedule. i’ll just end up feeling tired all the time.

dsl, baby!

i just got my home install kit from SBC Yahoo! DSL. the yahoo dsl is supposed to be activated on the 15th, so if all goes well, i’ll be cruising down the information highway at super speeds next week. i guess i’ll spend a part of tonight doing the install for the home install kit. it doesn’t look too bad….hopefully it’ll be pretty easy and everything will work out just fine. please, please, please let it work fine. i guess this means that i need to clean up my room to be able to access the phone jack in my room. ugh.

ok, that’s the goal for this evening. install the home kit and make ice cream. hmmmm…what ice cream shall i make? i still am unsure.


dreaming of an ice cream treat

in the past, my family had an ice cream maker and we tried to make ice cream with it. it wasn’t a very pretty experience, the ice cream was mostly slushy and it never really hardened. i’ve always wanted to make ice cream, but never knew what the secret was. i’m hoping that when my ice cream maker comes, it will be easy to use and it will make the kind of ice cream that i want.

i’ve already dreamed up of a bunch of flavors i’d like to try. cookies and cream, green tea, fanta orange, chocolate chip….mmmmm. the maker i ordered makes 1 quart worth of ice cream. not enough for big parties, but enough for a few servings.

i just hope that this ice cream maker doesn’t become one of those kitchen appliances that i use once and never use again. that would be rather sad.



if that means anything to you:

SimpleTech has announced an 8GB Type II Compact Flash Card utilizing its patented IC Tower stacking technology. The card is insanely priced at $5,999.

according to [url=]mobile mag[/url]



hard drive

i heard about the [url=]compusa deal[/url] with the seagate 200GB hard drive for $100. i wasn’t sure if i should get in on it or not, but i have been having some hard drive concerns lately, so i decided to drop by the local compusa and pick up a drive. it turns out that i ended up with the last hard drive at the emeryville store. phew! so last night after getting out of poker pretty early, i decided to do the hard drive install. the case that comes with the dell is pretty nice, but the cables provided do not really give you much flexibility in terms of where you can put what. i actually had to shuffle around some things in the case so that my hard drive would fit.

my computer is actually a little bit louder now because of the new spinning hard drive. initially, i was going to retire one of my smaller hard drives, but i decided to leave everything in there. my computer is now happily running off of three hard drives, 120GB, 75GB, and the new 200GB, give me just under half a terabyte of hard drive space. now, the question is, how can i fill it all up? now that i’ve doubled my capacity, i think that i may start looking into downloading old tv episodes of some of my favorite shows.

ahhh, the possibilities are endless.