Jon Kennedy's 'Postcards from
Jonal entry 1072 | October 8 2008
My visit back to "Home Page Country" last month was dominated by camera considerations. I had been coveting one of the newer, higher-resolution, lower-priced digital cameras for at least a year, and finally the morning of the day the Vintondale Homecoming opened, I went shopping at Wal-Mart and Circuit City in Richland. One specification I had for my purchase was that the new camera be no larger than my Sony, my first (five-megapixel) still-and-video digital camera, which I had attached to my clothing and "wore" with me everywhere I went for the previous three years. I had become the unofficial photographer for my team at work, I took pictures in church of baptisms and other ceremonies, at my son Mike's wedding and all other family events, and fulfilled a lifelong goal of having a decent-quality camera with me at all times.
Circuit City had the best sale prices. A 10-megapixel Samsung seemed the best, so I bought one and took it to the Homecoming. I found an electrical outlet in the pavilion at the Homecoming and charged the camera battery for the first time there. The video of the hayride that was part of the Homecomiing that was posted here on the Jonal was made on that camera. Its picture quality was excellent, but from that first day there seemed something faulty with the power supply. I went back to Circuit City and got an exchange for the battery but, by the end of the first week of my vacation, the day before my brother and I planned to depart for the state of Indiana for our second week, I went to the UPJ campus a few blocks from my motel to give the Samsung a final test run. This photo just outside the student union on the Pitt campus is the final still picture I took with it.
After only about an hour's use after being recharged, the battery was failing again. I had used my Sony for all-day and all-evening events, and the battery had never given out on me. It could be, I reasoned, that the 10-megapixel resolution required more power. Or it could have been that Samsung doesn't make as good batteries as Sony. After running the battery all the way down, I went back to Circuit City to exchange the camera. I asked the young man watching the camera counters which small digitals are best quality, to which he replied, "Sony, Canon, and Kodak."
An 8-megapixel Kodak in the same body size as my previous Sony and the Samsung had the best price tag, and its battery was a "Li-ion," the same battery type the Sony had. Several other people I'd been with in that area that week had mentioned how pleased they were with their Kodak digital cameras, so that is the one I bought. I've been using it ever since, including the Glo-Tube tour of the Liberty Museum and the tour of the Niner Diner both recorded that same evening, and some "all-day" shoots, and have had only good results with it. The return time window at Circuit City is now, of course, long since past, but it's a keeper.
I had intended to write about the Pitt campus and my new involvement at the Stanford University campus when I began this (originally entitling it "Back to the campus"), but as sometimes happens, the "introduction" took over the piece. All I will add about the campus at this point is that I was greatly impressed with my alma mater (Pitt's) beautiful campus. It had been a few years since I'd been on it, and the first time since it has been in use that I was on it after the beginning of the fall school term. It's a gem among campuses, and also an excellent place to view some of the best Western Pennsylvania Allegheny Mountain scenery.
My wife and I arrived late to a crowded religious convention where there was standing room only. We noticed some people get up to leave, and after they hadn't returned for several minutes, we took their seats. The woman next to us insisted that the chairs were taken. I assured her that we'd be glad to move if the people came back.
Moments later we sang a hymn, and at its conclusion the music director asked all of us to turn to our neighbors and say that we loved them. The woman at my side faced me and said, "I love you, but those seats are still taken."