Meme: Photography and Pokemon

Before I forget, I should wish Greg a very happy birthday. Yay birthday.

I’ll never forget my first trading card game and my first trade. Back in May 1999, I went with a friend (Jim) to a GameStop. He picked up some boosters and I bought a starter deck plus two booster packs of the Pokemon card game. Opening the packs yielded a holographic Raichu and a Clefairy Doll for the rares. (Of course, I had no idea about rarities at the time, since I had never touched or seen a trading card game before.) This was also at the same time as a Pokemon card game promotional thing or something, because I also had my picture taken with a giant Pikachu card (for me to take home on a floppy disc!).

Jim and I sat down at one of the provided tables to play a game, and I lamented about how I couldn’t play the Raichu because I didn’t have a Pikachu card to evolve it from. One of the younger kids playing nearby apparently overheard and offered to trade me one. He looked through my small stack of cards and asked for the Clefairy Doll. Upon Jim’s advice, I made the trade of my rare for a common. (“That thing only had 10 HP, and the Pikachu has 40 HP. You got a great deal.”)

Fortunately, several years later when we had both learned what rarities (and rarity symbols) were, he traded me a Clefairy Doll for a Pikachu, and all was well. Yay noobness.

But that’s not really what I want to talk about here. Continuing with meme topics from Jess (after quite a hiatus), we have photography.

Photography is one of those things I enjoy doing, and have periods off and on of wanting to do professionally (or, at least, with more dedication that I do now). My first digital camera was a Intel Pocket PC Camera (retailing for $199 at the time) when I was in middle school (late 2000).
My parents were redoing the front yard at the time (removing the palm trees and grass and replacing them with rocks and gravel), and promised me a digital camera if I helped. Of course, being the horrible child I was, I managed to get the camera first, and then proceeded to do nothing to help (except take photos of my parents working on the front yard, which are some of the first digital photos I ever took).

The camera took photos at an amazing 640×480 resolution, more than enough for anyone, and came with an option to switch to 320×240 resolution in case you needed to take more photos (since there weren’t memory card options).

This camera satisfied me only about a year. I got my next camera, a Olympus C3000, my first year of high school (2001). It took amazing (for the time) resolution photos, and had a flash, and was the best thing ever. I actually still have the camera, and it still works, even though the drivers no longer work in Windows XP (or 7) and there is no card reader that can read the SmartMedia cards it takes.

That camera lasted only a couple years (2003), when it started to have issues with exposure metering. (Photos were coming out completely black every so often.) It was quickly replaced with a Kodak Easyshare DX6490 with its amazing 10x optical zoom and even better resolution. Naive me referred to the three steps as a “casual” camera, a “semi-professional” camera, and a “professional” camera. Upon reflection now, it seems horribly stupid of me to think that a point-and-shoot that didn’t even have full manual control could be considered “professional” by any means.

In any case, the Kodak lasted until my Sophomore year of college (2006), when it proceeded to die in a series of unrecoverable errors (the last photos it took were at the fondue party at Wes’ house). It was replaced a week later with a Nikon D50 (with its kit 28-80mm lens) that I shot for the following 3 years (including a series of repairs by a horrible company that didn’t fix it right the first time).

The D50, in turn, was replaced by my current Nikon D90 (in February 2010) after it died in November 1999, which still seems to be in great condition. Overlapping the two is my Samsung SL30, which is a crappy $80 point-and-shoot I picked up just to have an “easy to carry” camera.

So I seem to be in the habit of going through cameras every 2-3 years. This, I suppose, is somewhat expected given how much I abuse and use them (my D50 had over 100,000 shutter releases when it died completely, via the mirror refusing to flip).
There’s a summary of my cameras, which is accurate minus the D90, here.

As for photography in general, I find it to be a good hobby, a good way to remember my life, and a good way to remove some level of awkwardness at large gatherings (using my camera as a shield, which I have previously written about). I don’t think I’m particularly good at it… I just take thousands of photos, which means I’m bound to get one or two good ones out. Most of my shooting is casual snapshots… I used to do more studio shooting when I had access, but in retrospect find the setting too boring and limiting.

I suppose the good thing about taking so many photos all the time is that I often manage to get candid shots of people that you wouldn’t otherwise get. People are so used to me having a camera all the time (and taking their picture all the time) that they’ve stopped noticing. As a photographer, that’s one of the best places to be.

Anyway, photo meme = moar photo. Here’s Chris with the awesome pillows I got from Thailand.

I don’t know what else to write about photography. If you have anything specific you’re curious about, feel free to ask.

Daily Photo Project

Today’s been an interesting day.

First off, life has gotten an update from the past few days.
In addition, it has gained a new section: the Daily Photo Project.

My last entry got me thinking that I really want to take more different photos, since all of my photography as of late has been random documentary photography of social events (work meetings, board games, rock band, food out) and that kind of sucks. The result is this project, where my goal is to take at least one photo each day that is “different” from my usual photography… that is, a photo with no people in it (or at least minimal people) where the subject is something I would normally never think twice about. Let’s see how long I can keep this up.

Additionally, Justin is currently moving to a new apartment. This would not be too terribly interesting for me except for the fact that he has a ton of Magic and WoW cards that he doesn’t want to move with him. As a result, I found myself dragging a suitcase full of ~12,800 trading cards home at around 8 this evening. I missed the bus by a few seconds and the next wasn’t for 15 minutes, so I figured I would walk to Geary and Fillmore (from Green and Fillmore) and catch the 38 instead, as it would take me around 15 minutes and the 38 stops closer to home.
Unfortunately, I didn’t take into account the hilliness of the area… nor the rain… nor my lack of direction in the area. As a result, I spent 5 minutes going the wrong way down Fillmore (down a rather steep hill) only to have to turn around and head back up that hill. My shoes, unfortunately don’t have much traction when wet, and pulling a very, very heavy suitcase behind you doesn’t help either. Overall, there were three really steep hills to climb (where I would actually slide backwards if I stopped moving due to the weight and the rain) and it took me about 20 minutes to go three blocks. Once there, the remainder of the walk was relatively easy, and I somehow managed to get the suitcase onto and off of the bus. Yay adventure.

So yeah, now I have a shitton of Magic and Wow cards that I should build into decks and play with. Yay more cards? Thanks Justin! :D :D

Also also, my parents and uncle had been visiting for the past couple days (took yesterday off of work to explore the city with them). It was a good time and I miss them already.

So yeah, two goals from my last post are now in progress (tagging photos and taking photos) as I have started tagging high school photos again (and have finished August of my last year of high school). Yay progress. Yay goals.

Liek ZOMGZ cards!

I feel like listing all the different TCGs I own here, just for the sake of doing so. Alphabetical order, for ease of searching.
A (Yes) next to the game name indicates that I have played the game at least once. Plusses indicate how much I play the game (beyond “once”).
A (C) indicates I own additional cards for the game (i.e. bought more than a box of starter decks) and plusses indicate large additional purchases of cards.
A (ND) indicates a game that I don’t have decks for (usually because starters are randomized and I haven’t built decks yet).

  • .hack//ENEMY TCG (Yes+++) (C+++)
  • Austin Powers TCG (Yes; but it was so bad we didn’t finish the first game)
  • Babylon 5 TCG
  • Battlestar Galactica TCG
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer CCG
  • Case Closed TCG (C+) (ND)
  • Clout Fantasy CTG (Yes)
  • Dragon Ball Z CCG (Yes+) (C+)
  • Dragon Ball Z TCG (Yes) (C++)
  • Fullmetal Alchemist TCG (Yes)
  • Genio Card Game
  • Gundam War CCG (Yes)
  • Harry Potter TCG (Yes)
  • Hecatomb TCG (Yes) (C)
  • Inuyasha TCG
  • Knights of the Zodiac TCG (Yes)
  • Neopets TCG
  • Pokemon TCG (Yes+++) (C+++)
  • Rifts CCG
  • Spycraft CCG (Yes)
  • Star Trek CCG (Yes+) (C++++)
  • Star Trek CCG Second Edition (Yes+) (C)
  • Terminator TCG (Yes)
  • Tribbles CCG (Yes)
  • UFS (Yes) (C)
  • VS
  • WARS TCG
  • X-Files TCG (C) (ND)
  • X-Men TCG
  • Yu Yu Hakusho TCG (Yes)

Additional games that I’ve played but do not own:

  • Magic: The Gathering TCG
  • Redemption TCG
  • World of Warcraft TCG

Given that my goal is to play every TCG that I own at least once (what would be the point of buying starters otherwise?), anyone up for some of the ones not marked with (Yes)? I have all of them here with me in SF with the exception of X-Files and X-men.

Additionally, games that I’ve created:
(C) is how much I worked on the game, lack of one means I’ve only hammered out basic rules for the game and haven’t actually created cards.
(ND) indicates that I don’t have printed decks.
(I) indicates that the game was never finished to the point of being playable.
(P) indicates the game is still in the process of being created.

Descriptions of the older ones can be found here.

Christmas and Life

Christmas this year was amazing. I think it was the first time I’ve had a real (where “real” implies a tree and presents and various Christmas-y things) Christmas since early high school. It was nice just being able to do nothing all day and play games with people… and there was lots of tasty tasty food and wine (the kind I like) and sweets.

I also got presents: a nice t-shirt, a photo album with sticky pages, a ton of tasty gummies, and one giant spherical squishy shark (which is quite possibly the best thing ever). His name is Cat because I have a blue stuffed dog named Poop, and Greg suggested the name so I could tell him to “Eat Poop, you Cat”.

I also bought myself another $70-ish of card games. There’s starter decks for WARS, Rifts CCG, Buffy (the Vampire Slayer) CCG, and Babylon 5 TCG. There’s also a standalone Tribbles CCG box (which got some play over Christmas and is a very simple, yet surprisingly fun, game), a box of Hecatomb starters, and 5 boxes of .hack//ENEMY booster packs (one of each of the five sets; mainly because I love opening and sorting cards and these were cheap, since I already have a nearly complete set of all 5 expansions). These games should get played at some point, if anyone around here is interested.
Also, I think I am now getting hooked on Nertz–a variant of Solitare that involves players playing on each other’s Ace piles–after playing lots of games of it over this past week.

Also, someone sent me a fetus-shaped cookie cutter in the mail. This is probably the most bizarrely awesome present I’ve ever gotten, but I don’t know who it’s from. Who sent me this? Thank you!

Tomorrow I have work again. This is going to feel really weird.

Tomorrow after work will be grocery shopping. I need to get some spinach and mushrooms to make frittata with my remaining eggs. I’ll probably get some chicken to marinate and bake too.

I still need to post photos from Big Basin and the PPL Potluck party. They’re batched and processed but I’m being lazy in transferring them over to this computer and uploading them. I’ll try and do so tomorrow.

Blorp

I seem to have been growing chronically lazy lately. I don’t do much in the evenings after work anymore except browse the same few websites, eat dinner, and sleep. I don’t really do anything on weekends except go to Safeway and vegetate in the bookstore in front of the SciFi or Humor sections and maybe, if people are up for it, play board games.

I have three card games that I really should be working on: Student Wars v2, RPG Get! TCG, and the Supernatural CCG (the latter of which is more difficult since my season 1 disks are back in Arizona).
I have a main AlanvDotOrg rewrite nearly finished, missing only the code to allow comments. However, it’s been in that state for approximately 6 months.
The online Student Wars Java client project has stalled due to lack of interest.
CMU Adventures additions or rebalancing have yet to happen.
I’m not really even interested in playing PSO anymore (although, to a certain extent, that has been replaced by KoL).

Meh.

Photos from Thanksgiving are up at photos 2.

Also, yay cards.
As promised, here is what $50 of DBZ boosters looks like (120 base set, 72 expansion packs)

Whee.
If you add in the 5 starter boxes (4 of which remain unopened), I probably have enough DBZ duplicates (defined, for me, as a copy beyond the third of a given card, as uniqueness rules for most games are either 3 or 4 copies per deck) to literally wallpaper my room. If you add in the various duplicates from Star Trek, X-Files, Gundam War, and .hack TCGs (all of which are, unfortunately, back in Arizona), I can probably also do the bathroom, the ceiling, and the living room (especially with the Star Trek… I have way too many Star Trek cards).
That would be rather amusing…