I know International Harvester was toying with a new design for the Scout in the late ’70s, and the pictures I’ve seen of it turned my stomach in disgust. Today I stumbled upon this article, which contained pictures of a prototype I’d never seen before:
Not as ugly as the SSV, but about as bland as a cheese sandwich. Still, if I squint, I can see the Scout II windshield; it looks like they stuck an Astro van nose on the front and just sketched in the rest. And they took the Hoffmeister kink out of the rear window.
So, a used Fuji 27mm f/2.8 popped up on Craigslist before Christmas, and due to the holiday I had to pass. It came up again after the new year, and I only just linked up with the seller before the snowstorm. The lens checked out and I bought it, hoping it would be lighter, sharper, faster, and more useful than the kit 16-50mm that the camera came with. So far, I’m happy with the results.
The biggest peeve I have with the X-E1 is its glacial autofocus speed. I’m learning how to allow for that when I compose shots, but I know the higher-end Fuji bodies are faster. Some part of this is the lens, but some part of it is the body. The 27mm isn’t as fast as a DSLR, but it’s faster than the kit lens, and it’s plenty sharp.
Meanwhile, I did some research and sorted out the conversion rate between Series and MM lens mountings in order to use a second-hand fisheye I got through a friend last summer. It turns out Series 7 equals 54mm in real-world use. I found a $4 adapter on Amazon and had it shipped to the house; it screwed right on and I was ready to go.
This shot is with the Fuji through the 16-50 zoom and cropped to size; it has little to no effect with the 28mm and looks very interesting with a 50mm on the Nikon. So for $4, I’ve got a fun toy to play with.
Here are some crappy cellphone shots of my kick panels. The driver’s side was patched crudely before I got the truck, but the passenger’s side has always been swiss cheesy. I think I’ll wait for warm weather, take the angle grinder to both sides, and hit them with some rust encapsulator. One of my goals for this year is to get a decent welding rig and start practicing again so that I can take some smaller repair projects on; this would be a good one.
In other news, a printing vendor I use at work had a special on circle-cut stickers last week. I’ve been noodling with a design for our ad-hoc Maryland IH group, called Old Line State Binders, but I was having a hard time nailing down a design incorporating the Maryland flag. It’s a great flag but very visually busy, and in the last year there’s been a glut of shape-plus-flag stickers out there: a crab, deer, dogs, mustaches, etc.
My original idea was to use something ubiquitous to vintage 4-wheel-drive trucks: the locking hub. That part was pretty easy to nail down, and I took away some of the visual clutter to clean up the image. Integrating the flag and the name was the hard part. In order to keep the design circular (and get my cheap stickers before the deal expired), I left out the name and went with the following design:
Eventually I’ll figure out how the rest of the design should look. If you’d like a couple, drop me a line and I’ll send you one when I get them.
I’ve been really quiet on the Scout front for the last year or so due to work and family commitments. I haven’t visited the Binder Planet in ages. I’m hoping to get some time in the spring to organize a meeting and get back in touch with people.
I spent the first two days of this week working from home, but had to come in to the office Wednesday to film participants at a seminar. Washington is strangely quiet due to the snow, but life moves on. Meanwhile, Finn has been off all week because Baltimore County couldn’t be bothered to plow the sidewalks in front of her school.
Our first week of teaching at UMBC got cancelled as well; the move-in/first day stuff got plowed under and pushed back everything. I don’t know if they’re going to extend the semester another week to make up for time lost, but we’re ready to roll when the doors open back up. I’ve got 13 students in total, two of whom I had last semester. This class is going to be heavy in Illustrator and information design, which is an exciting new avenue to explore.
After the game on Sunday, I found myself in front of the TV when the new X-Files came on, reconfiguring my syllabus for the third time. Much like the old X-Files, the new version is a retread of the same dumb plot point bullshit I remember:
“It’s a conspiracy”
Weird shit depicted in lousy CGI
“This conspiracy goes deeper than we thought”
All evidence gets blown up by guys in black suits
Fuck the X-files.
Looking over the sheet metal recently, I realized the inner kick panels are probably the worst area on Peer Pressure (that I can see). Super Scout Specialists has new kick panels for $60/ea. or $36/ea. for the lower halves. One of my wish list projects is to have these areas cut out and replaced with good metal. First I’ve got to go out and survey each area to see if I need full panels or if I can get away with buying half heights.
While I’m there, I’m going to preorder the International Scout Encyclopedia, which looks like it could be an interesting reference book.
We walked over to the elementary school with the neighbors yesterday to do some sledding as the sun went down. What a great way to end the day.
We’re hunkered down under about 20″ of snow here in the ‘Ville, and it looks like it’s finally stopped falling. The roads outside are quiet, and there are 3’ icicles hanging from the fancy new LED streetlamps.
Finn and I spent the morning in front of a DVD of Mythbusters building her Christmas LEGOs, warm and cozy in the den. After a late lunch we got curious, bundled ourselves like eskimos and crawled over the drifts outside to make it to the road. I borrowed my neighbor’s snowblower and cut a path on the front sidewalk. By the time I was done the first stuff I shoveled was under 3″ of new snow.
We came back inside and made some dinner, then watched it in front of Hotel Transylvania 2 while the wind and snow howled outside. It finished at about 11 or so, but the wind is still shaking the trees and lifting the eaves. I’ll be out tomorrow shoveling but I doubt anything is happening on Monday.
I’m still here. Things are very busy, and like most other Januaries, my photography output has slowed to a crawl. Things will pick up soon, I promise.