So much for a narrative hook opening. Okay, this is about
a new gadget I just bought. As we were dodging Seattle
liquid sunshine (rain) Thursday evening on the way to our
car from the front doors of Best Buy, she said, " Boy,
that sure doesn't look like a new kitchen stove to me!"
Right. That was my wife as she was getting into her side
of our car. Well, for that matter, the small yellow plastic
bag didn't look like a super-dandy fly rod to me either.
But it cost as much.
Like a lot of my life, accidents shape most of it. This time
it started as a gift. A most generous one from Ron Tidd. It
was his old Sony 'Handycam' Video8. These things came out
several years ago and are still workhorses. They use an
inexpensive little tape to record picture and sound on.
You can even record over your stuff and edit and all sorts
of neat features. For those of you that really need to know,
it is the CCD-TRV40.
The only problem was this. When he brought it over to our
house and was showing me how to use it right before the
Idaho Fish-In, it didn't work. Well, at least not right
away it didn't. After a few interesting minutes of button
poking and intensely peering at, it started to run. I told
Ron that I was most grateful but didn't know squat about
the things. Where's the manual? That was one of my more
dumb questions. Of course, he had no idea where it was. But,
I was a smart guy and he was sure I could figure it out.
I took it to (after buying two new tapes for it) the Idaho
Fish-In and got a volunteer to shoot twenty-two minutes of
footage before the battery pooped out. I dug the handycam
out a couple of days ago and told the LF that I should go
down to Chico Creek and film those Chum Salmon that would
be jamming the creek about now. Great idea we agreed. I spent
half a day and at least figured out how to perform the basics
of 'Handycaming.' So, off to the creek I went.
Perfect. Raining like a cow pee'in on a flat rock. Windshield
wipers on full blast. Almost missed my turn off of the freeway.
I knew I would have fish. I did. Shot almost a whole battery
full of fish jumping and cavorting and shoving and jostling.
Once home, with no small degree of accomplishment, I opened
the side flap on the camera and was about to proudly show my
wife how great a guy she had married. The camcorder quit. No,
not quite right. It would not start up. Nothing doing in that
department. Oh, it would turn on and I could see thru it, make
it zoom, that was usually fun, but not right then. I wanted it
to play, to go, forward, re-wind, something that goes around.
The great Castwell mind came to the forefront. Ah ha, heat. Find
the hair dryer. So I opened it all up and blew gentle warm air
in it and at it and thru it and up it. Nothing. Dead. I had
No! What is that little symbol on the screen? There, at the
bottom? I even asked her to look at it. Hey, it looks like
one of those stupid little batteries, those flat quarter sized
things. Does it have one? Where is it? Did it poop out? Could be!
I got lucky. I found it. Still time, I can make town before
dinner hits the table. The grocery store had the battery, less
than five bucks. On the way home (as I was almost going right
by it) I whipped into Wally-World. Just to take a quick peek
at what the new ones looked like and cost. I even called her
from there so she wouldn't worry that I was a few minutes late.
These new ones are almost cheap! Three-fifty and you have a
pretty good one. But, not tonight. I was a good boy and went
on home. And when I put that new battery in, the little symbol
went away. Whoopie! But, it still did not go.
Over dinner we (I) got around to discussing the fact that we
(FAOL) really should start to try to put more films on line.
Most people have Flash or such and faster internet connections
these days. Probably about time to make the leap. Blasted shame
that stupid camcorder died. And with that footage of the salmon
on it too.
You know how an idea can gnaw at you. Like an itch. You can
ignore it all you want, but until you deal with it, it will
not be denied. I hit the Internet and looked up Sony camcorders.
Big surprise. They still make them. A telephone call verified
that Wally did not have them on sale, but Best Buy did. By seven
in the evening we were there. Now I had it all figured out. I
wanted one that would record onto a DVD, one of the miniature
ones, and not a tape or such.
They were nice and the price was alright and you could
record over them a few times, but it would cost you in
quality. And in DVD discs too. Whoa. Hold on thar! I
could see ongoing expenses and varying quality. Not
what I was after. But, guess again. They make one that
records into a buffer and then onto its own thirty gig
hard drive. And it's only a couple of hundred bucks more
too. And on sale. A Sony DCR-SR40. At this point I have
got about six-fifty stuck in it. Just about the price of
a good rod or a new stove actually.
So, once again, I step up to the plate and hit one for the
company (deductible) but, no new fly rod for me and no new
stove for mama. Below are a few shots of the creek and the
fish and of us, taking some pictures. There is no fishing
allowed right here, but about a thousand feet out toward
the estuary you can and a lot do. Spinning rods and fly rods.
We'll try and hit it this week. The Chum salmon are good
eating, but smoking seems to be the best way to enjoy them.
Before I wrap this up, I should mention that last evening I
spent a couple of hours learning how to run the new camera.
When I plugged in the charger, same outlet as the old camcorder,
I heard a faint sound. A noise. A hum. A hum from the old camcorder!
The *&$^# thing was running. I pushed one of the other buttons.
It re-wound. It went forward. It played. It was fine.
My life is complicated sometimes. Maybe I can teach her
how to make films of me making films of other stuff.
Who knows. Accidents can happen. ~ JC