Koi and Cameras

In my last post I talked about my quest to spend money from my tax return. I got over $300 coming in and my options are few. As it stands I’ll probably be getting a fish, so I looked into it and found it might be more difficult than I thought.

The first obstacle was space, thankfully my desk has two levels to it, and once I cleared some space I realized I could put my aquarium on the second level next to my alarm clock and second computer monitor. I wonder if they’ll mind Q92 blaring at 6:00 in the morning. Anyway, I natually went online to look for an aquarium that could fit on my desk. Petsmart had a 10 gallon aquarium that I thought might fit snugly. But then my next concern became weight. It’s surprising how heavy water is. Ten gallons is 100 pounds. Heavy. But then I actually went to the friggen store and saw it might be a little too big anyway. I then decided to measure using an actual measuring device instead of estimate using a sheet of paper, and discovered the tank would be at least 3 inches too big. It would be hanging over by one inch minimum. That’s if I push it up against the back wall. I need room to run cables.

Thankfully I found a 5.5 gallon tank. However that means I will be unable to house too many fish. Maybe a Betta and a Guppy but that’s about it. I’m sure they’ll be friends. But the biggest problem with that is the tank will need a $35 lid, which brings the total to $52. I might as well get a kit for $50 and get a free filter. However I don’t think that tank is glass, so that might be an issue.

Gravel and decorations come second. I do know I want live plants, probably only two, and a piece of driftwood. I’ll have to take that into account eventually.

You know what the crazy part is. One of the salespeople at the store gave me a sheet of paper about Bettas and it said they only need about a quart, which is about a litre. Really? I found on everyone’s favourite ‘pedia they need at least 2.5 gallons, which is about 10 litres. Which makes sense when you think about it. People tend to think of the fish tank as the fish’s home, however it is actually their entire fucking world. See, typically people leave their house, your pets too, at least once in a while, will leave the house. I know my cat, he loves to play in the backyard, and eat grass. Giving a Betta one litre of space to live their lives is like if you lived in your bedroom, your entire life. Not leaving, you still get provided food, air, water, but you can never leave. That’s what it’s like giving a Betta only one litre of space.

Moving on, I knew getting into this I would be required to clean the aquarium once in a while. Change out the filter, change out the water, once a week or once a month, maybe scrub down the outside. But I discovered this might not be the case. Turns out I might have to change half the water twice a day if the tank is less than 10 gallons, which is the one I want to get. I can reduce that to twice a week if I have a filter, lid, (which comes with the kit) and air pump (which I’ll need to spend money on). But first I’ll need to establish a biological filter, which means cycling the tank, which means getting a bunch hearty fish and letting them work for a few weeks in the new tank. This will prevent the other fish from dying once I put them in the tank. They are basically getting the house ready for the new owners, the only difference is they don’t leave once they’re done…unless you want to be a jackass about it. However it seems I can simply use the Betta to cycle the tank. Makes my job easier. Keep the Betta alone in the tank for a month before giving him any friends. Not a bad idea. My only question is: how can I measure the ammonia and nitrate levels so I don’t kill him? You see, I won’t be changing the water until the cycle is complete unless I need to, and I need to know when I need to.

So enough about fish. The whole project shouldn’t cost more than $100. Which means I have an extra $200 to spend. Yay. So I ruled out a new PS2 because I’m not much of a gamer anymore. Also, I checked the Wal-Mart and they no longer stock them, which is a problem. I also ruled out a new PDA because no one sells PDAs anymore and a smartphone will require a steady income. So I got to thinking and remembered. I need a new camera.

My current camera is a Fujifilm FinePix S9100.


Sexy. I got it a few years ago for my photo class, spent $500 on it through eBay. But there turned out to be a few problems. First, it can’t fit in my pocket, not surprising. The lens is perminantly mounted on, which makes it less than portable. This beast is extremely difficult to carry it’s not even funny. Secondly the hot shoe where I’m supposed to be able to mount an external flash, well I can’t. There are no external flashes that will work on this camera, and if there are, I don’t know about them. No one advertises their flash with the label: Will work on Fujifilm cameras. But the biggest problem is, in the two and a half years I have owned this camera, somewhere along the line, I forget when, the battery cover broke. It won’t stay closed properly, it’s open by an eighth of an inch, meaning the circuit won’t complete and the camera won’t turn on. I need to hold it down with duct tape if I want it to work. But otherwise I like it: 9.0 MP CCD, 10.7x Optical Zoom, the only type of zoom that matters, Raw mode, which I used to use all the time before I realized it was the cause of my photos taking 5 whole seconds to save, the type of lens that would take filters, and an LCD that can be viewed at any angle because you can point it at any angle.


That’s actually my favourite feature. Can come in real handy. So anyway, now I can get a new one, which is sweet.

A high-end SLR would be nice, but is it worth it? I’m not doing heavy photography, at least, not right now, and I never use my current camera because it’s too cumbersome. But my issue with getting a smaller, not-SLR, or as they are commonly called, point-and-shoot, which is a term I hate, so I call them pocket cameras, is the fact that they’re dumbed down. Good luck finding one with RAW mode, even though it’s trivial to implement, or aperture control, which you’d think would just be a given. I like controlling what I do. I know some people prefer not to think about that kind of thing, but I’m not that kind of people. Maybe I need a fixed aperture and shutter speed for a panoramic shot. Maybe I need to shoot an action shot at 1/1,000 of a second. I’d also like a bit of control over white balance, can I get that? I’m so used to the S9100 giving me so much control, I don’t want to go back to having none. But I also don’t want to have to lug around a beast.

See, that’s the problem. Pocket cameras are always aimed at the average consumer who doesn’t know their aperture from their ISO. The name point-and-shoot really demonstrates this. Just point and shoot, don’t think, don’t adjust for lighting conditions, just point and shoot. This is the same reason I hate Apple products (boy, I’ve been ragging on them a lot), they treat their customers like idiots who can’t handle downloading with discretion, root user access, or custom firmware. On my Nokia 770, re-flashing the firmware is trivial if you have Linux or Mac OSX. It’s just a matter of getting the right file.

Speaking of which I found my Nokia 770 recently and I ran into a problem. Seems the WiFi is busted. It won’t detect any network even when it’s right next to the router. Must do something about that. Thing’s useless without WiFi.

So anyway, I spotted a few digital cameras last time I was at Future Shop, including one with 14.1 MP CCD for $200. But no RAW mode. The flash sucks, but I rarely use flash anymore anyway, I won’t be able to get any good macro shots because the focus range starts at 4cm, and I’m not sure about aperture or shutter control. We’ll see, maybe I’ll get lucky.


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