Sunday, November 28, 2010

I just had to say this...

What did the zombie kid want for Christmas?


Yep, it was a real eye-roller for the female contingent here in Chateau CycleDog.

Just keep it in mind if you're watching The Walking Dead on AMC tonight.


Friday, November 26, 2010


My friend Tom asked me to stop by his shop. "I have something for you," he said. Imagine my surprise when he handed me a camera case with this rangefinder inside. "I tried to sell it at a yard sale," Tom said, "but no one wanted it!"

This is a Yashica Lynx 14, what would be merely another rangefinder camera from the mid 60s except for that ginormous lens. It's a 45mm f1.4, with 7 elements in 3 groups. If this performs like the f1.7 lens in the Electro, I'll be very, very pleased.

Apparently there are two versions of the Lynx 14. This is the early model. The later one had an integrated circuit that earned it the IC designation. And in one of those moments of incredible coincidence, I purchased a Lynx 14 IC earlier this month. It should arrive soon.

This is one heavy beast! The lens is massive, and when my daughter was handling it, it looked almost ludicrously big. I'll need a stout shoulder strap, not a small wrist strap for this one.

Here's a size comparison. That other old rangefinder is a Canonet, a camera I routinely carry on a wrist strap.

Overall, the camera is in excellent condition. But like any other from that time period, it needs new seals. The rangefinder is cloudy. Perhaps the biggest problem is the shutter doesn't work. It shows what appears to be some oil on the shutter blades. The fix involves removing the front lens element and cleaning the blades with lighter fluid, a task best left until tomorrow when I can open some windows to let the fumes escape.

This camera is built like the proverbial brick XXXX house! I can't wait to run some film through it.


Black Friday

I was up at 4AM, only about 20 minutes earlier than I would be on a regular work day, so it's no big deal. But I'm on vacation today. Mary wanted to know why I was up, and more importantly since it was obvious I was getting ready to go out, where I was going. "It's a secret," I said. She hates that.

"I can't believe you're going shopping!" she said. "You hate being in crowds and standing in line."

She was fishing, but I ignored the bait, put my coat on, and went out the door.

Home Depot opened at 5AM. I was standing in line waiting to get in at 4:50 along with about a hundred other people. My target was just inside the door - a 7 feet tall artificial Christmas tree with integrated LED lights. Mother and Number One Daughter had seen it, liked it, and commented about it to me. Daughter had confided that Mom would really like to have one, and it wouldn't dump needles all over the carpet like a real tree. The needles and constant vacuuming drove Mary crazy. The fire hazard was always on my mind.

I'm not a fan of artificial trees, and much as I like the smell of a real one, the mess and the fire hazard always bother me. When I was single, I never had one, and in fact I didn't decorate for any of the holidays. Mary found that appalling, but if I'd had a Christmas tree in my apartment, I wouldn't have been able to get into my apartment! It was tiny.

At 5:05 I was at the checkout with one of the two trees they had on sale. Yes, they put it in the sale flier, and then had only two. Go figure. At 5:15, I was home. The tree is in a box on the living room floor, and the cats are giving it a thorough inspection. I can't wait until Mary gets up!

I need two more gifts and I'll be done with Christmas shopping (I hope).

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Ask Doctor Wally: winter riding

Here's the December 'Ask Wally' column from the Red Dirt Pedaler's newsletter. The Lanterne Rouge piece is over on the Examiner.

Dear Doctor Wally... For the first time, I want to keep riding through the winter this year. What do I need?........... Resolute in Red Fork

First, I admire your determination. Riding through Oklahoma winters can be both challenging and a ton of fun. Here are some brief tips:

If you don't already have fenders on your bike, fit them now. They reduce the grunge factor when riding on wet roads, so you stay cleaner, drier, and perhaps most importantly, warmer than you'd be without them. It's not uncommon for winter riders to have an old beater bike specifically for bad weather. Even if you don't normally ride at night, have lights and reflectors on your bike and be certain that they work.

Get some good quality cycling tights. They come in different weights, some with bib tops, and some with double fronts. They're one winter riding essential. Don't wear sweatpants, long underwear under your shorts, or that big puffy down parka. The first two scream 'dork' and can put you in danger of hypothermia if they get wet. The latter will turn into a wearable sauna. You'll sweat like crazy, then freeze as it evaporates.

Wear multiple thin layers so you can regulate your temperature, and have a bike bag or messenger bag to carry items you have to shed. Keep a balaclava, gloves, and a scarf or neck gator handy. They make a huge difference in comfort.

But most important of all - enjoy those crisp, clear mornings!

Dr. Wally

Next month: CDC finds link between classic French bicycles and dementia in bike collectors.

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I had this dream, see....

I've reached the age that precludes those dreams of exotic women. And my nightmares generally revolve around zombies, werewolves, Russian paratroopers, and plumbing disasters. I come by the later honestly because Mary has had occasion to shake me awake in the middle of the night because water is streaming across a floor somewhere.

But this one was different. It involves simple greed. I was driving through Catoosa when I noticed a couple of bicycles on the sidewalk in front of a church. They caught my eye because the brake cables sprang directly from the tops of the levers, making a pair of graceful arcs toward their respective anchor points. It's one easy way to spot a vintage bike. Furthermore, they had distinctive contrasting paint panels typical of bikes from the seventies.

Inside the church were more bikes! They were having a rummage sale. There were Falcons, Raleighs, a Condor, and even a couple of Motobecanes!

But I stopped and stared in amazement at a pair of display cases stuffed with old cameras. There were the usual assortment of Brownies and box cameras, but I spotted a Pentax Spotmatic, a Praktica, and 4x5 Speed Graphic among other classics.

I just knew I'd need more money.

Someone started talking and my eyes creaked open. The clock radio said it was 4:20 - time to get up - and the BBC was doing a story on a plane crash. The dream evaporated, replaced by morning reality.



Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Ricoh 500 GX

Ricoh 500 GX

Here's another new-to-me camera, a Ricoh 500 GX from about 1975. I purchased it from the ShopGoodwill site, and I think the shipping cost more than the camera! It offers auto and manual operation, but it has one unusual feature. There's a small switch down on the left side of the camera that permits double exposures - not that I have a desperate need for them. It would be cooler if this were a half frame camera like a Canon Demi, but I'm not complaining.

The leatherette is peeling off the right side of the camera as you can see in the photo. That's not a problem. There are some small dings and scratches too. I don't mind little cosmetic defects as I buy these old cameras to use, not to sit on a shelf in pristine condition as part of a display.

The rangefinder assembly is cloudy, of course, and the seals are a nasty, gummy mess. The seals were applied to the inside of the camera's back, and as you can see from the photos, they're huge. Bits and pieces of it are all through the camera. It's going to take extensive cleaning.

The battery compartment is corroded too, so I wasn't able to check the automatic operation. The manual controls all seem to operate correctly.


Monday, November 15, 2010

Sunday morning

Yesterday, I went out to that little valley again. This time I saw about 10 deer, several of them bucks wandering along singing the deer equivalent of "I'm in the mood for love." The rut has started. Deer can be dangerously unpredictable in mating season (aren't we all?) so be careful if you're close to them - as in riding your bike on a back road when a buck pops out of the brush right in front of you.

The photo above was taken with my little Kodak Z1285. The resolution is far better than the Canon, but each camera has features I like. Now, if I could only combine all the good bits....


Monday, November 08, 2010

Fall photo

This is a scan of a negative from the Konica Auto S2, taken a few weeks ago in a valley near Owasso. While it may look like a slice of wilderness, there's development all around it, most of it gated communities. I was on the receiving end of some hard looks as I ambled along the road taking pictures.

The valley reminds me of those trout streams I fished in Pennsylvania. In fact, before all the development came in, the kids and I used to go out there in the evening to watch the deer. I'm sure the whitetails are still around, but I didn't see any on this trip.

The only thing that bothers me is that bit of flare coming from the upper left corner. It makes the colors a bit purplish, and to be truthful, I'm not entirely sure I dislike the effect.

Chances are I'll be out there again soon.


Sunday, November 07, 2010

Pentax Spotmatic

Self portrait with new hat.

My first single lens reflex was a Pentax Spotmatic. In all honesty, I wasn't keen on screw mount lenses and the camera was definitely on the heavy and bulky side. But there's no denying they were stout! Mine fell off the back of a motorcycle and bounced down the road. It worked just fine afterward, greatly helped by the so-called never ready case.

This one was part of a lot I purchased a month or two ago. It came with a 50mm f2.0 lens. Everything seems to work except for the meter. I tried to remove the battery cover but it's corroded firmly in place. I'll have to remove the bottom plate.

I didn't want to start working on this until I had the one part that the camera obviously needs, and that's a frame counter assembly that goes atop the wind lever. At a flea market today, I found this dirt-encrusted Spotmatic ES. Trust me, the photo doesn't show the crud. It seems to work, but the shutter sticks while it's cocking. As it's probably beyond my mechanical ability at the moment, I'll use it as a donor camera. Hey, I don't expect much for ten bucks, anyway, and I'll likely use it to learn about SLR shutters.

I picked up a very nice Vivitar 35mm f2.8 lens with an M42 screw mount too, and my plan is to use it on this camera. Pictures will follow, probably in a couple of weeks.

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