Ereading about our bizarre President in Fire and Fury, and testing my new camera
by Rob Tiller
Wow, is it cold out there! Raleigh didn’t get much snow this week, but was expecting to set a new record for sustained low temps. Instead of my usual Saturday walk in one of our forests, I hunkered down and worked on getting to know my new camera, and took some pictures from and around our apartment.
As I mentioned last week, due to a late night mental fog I left my iPad on an airplane, and asked the American Airlines bot to please find and return it. It has not done so so far, and I’m not feeling optimistic. It would be hard at this point to lower my expectations as to customer service from AA, so I’ll just note that they’re staying extremely low. AA bot, if you’re reading this, I promise to post an appreciative remark if you return my device.
That iPad was my primary ereader, but fortunately, I also had my current books on my larger iPad pro. I got the larger device primarily to use for downloading and reading piano music, since the larger size is helpful in reading two or more staffs covered with many notes. The big one doesn’t feel as comfortable sitting on my lap, but it certainly works.
It was an exciting week in epublishing, with the best-selling release of Fire and Fury, by Michael Wolff, a whiz bang account of Trump’s first year. Jocelyn, working in ebook production at Macmillan, was part of the team that got the book out on an accelerated schedule after Trump’s lawyers sent a threatening letter. She texted me a heads up that this could be big, and after reading the published excerpts, I agreed.
You might suppose, as I did at first, that we really don’t need to read a book about Trump, since we’ve read so much, and he really is not complicated. But even for those of us who follow Trump reporting closely, there is just too much to fully take in. All those oddities, shocks, and outrages form a constant and seemingly endless barrage.
Instead of facts and logic, he emanates juvenile absurdities. It’s hard to engage his “ideas” with ordinary rationality, and so we have a lot of extreme emotions, from fear, to rage, and sometimes helpless laughter. Our heads have been getting slammed hard, like football players badly overmatched, and we have trouble getting oriented and making sense of it all.
Anyhow, I downloaded the ebook of Fire and Fury and started it yesterday. Sally, with her iPad Mini, turned out to be reading it, too. Jocelyn and Kyle, and no doubt many thousands of others, are doing the same. The right-wing propaganda apparatus is desperate to undermine Wolff, and I don’t count them out, since they’re really good at what they do.
But I expect that the book will help a lot of people who have been giving Trump a benefit of a doubt to see that that was a mistake. And perhaps the powerful politicians who, with full understanding of his unbelievable and dangerous incompetence, have supported Trump will be shamed into changing course.
These pictures were taken with my new Nikon D850. It’s a recently released FX digital camera with some remarkable capacities, like a large sensor with 45.7 megapixels, shooting at 7 frames per second, and ISO up to 25,600. These specs suggested a long step forward in photographic potential, so I stopped in at B&H in New York in early November to test the beast. I liked the ergonomics, and proposed to buy one. They kindly said they wished they could help me, but could not. It was on backorder for the foreseeable future. The same turned out to be true for Peace Camera, my friendly local camera shop.
I finally got the D850 this week. From first impressions, the image quality is fantastic, and it has many helpful conveniences, like a large viewfinder and a vivid touch screen that folds out. It can also be operated remotely with a smartphone. It’s a complex tool and I expected a substantial learning curve, but happily, most of the controls and system menus are organized like my trusty Nikon D7100, so it’s not overwhelming. The only negative I’ve found so far is no surprise: it’s noticeably bigger and heavier than the D7100. A silver lining: it will make me keep working on my upper body strength.