Possessed Camera and Stuff

Pictures will resume shortly.
Pictures will resume shortly.

I’d planned to show you some photos of my latest sketchbook/plaything. So I placed it in my photo cube a couple of nights ago and flicked on my 6-year old DSLR… What the… The shutter release no longer works? Actually, neither does the on/off button — I turned it to off, and it stayed on. It is permanently frozen in some kind of possessed state that is neither on nor off. I eventually removed the battery so I could turn it off. I frantically Googled. Others have had similar issues. With this particular camera, it would be expensive to fix. And it wouldn’t be worth it. This was a low-end Canon Rebel of a few generations back, and I’d actually been fantasizing about upgrading for a while. The camera has had a few sputters in the past, and I’d even picked out which model I’d replace it with. But the sputters had always disappeared as mysteriously as they’d arrived, and any thoughts of replacing it had been definitely in the fantasy stage. I’d hoped to do it, if at all, after my various out-of-town medical trips had been paid off, etc. Alas. The timing was also a bit inconvenient. Norbag, the local book arts guild, has a monthly book exchange and I am their photographer. I document each month’s submissions for their Flickr account. [Later edit: I have since stepped down from this role.] The meeting was two days away. I do have a crummy point-n-shoot as well (which I had to use), but I find it awkward. I’m spoiled. Anyway… the new electronic baby is due to arrive later in the week… And then… photos will resume!

Press the lever… you know you want to.
Press the lever… you know you want to.

(In this house we actually refer to arriving online purchases as “pellets.” As in, the laboratory rat pushes the right button and then, lo and behold!, a reward pellet comes down the chute. The Visa bill, alas, is the negative reinforcement. Z-z-z-a-p!)

Speaking of the sketchbook-plaything, I’ve discovered that I occasionally become the entertainment for others when I’m out drawing in it. A few months back, I was in a coffee shop scribbling and snipping away when I became aware of being watched. There was a little boy of about 6 or so at the table in front of mine. He had a coloring book and some crayons, but had been getting increasingly antsy and whiny with boredom as his mother chatted with a friend. Then suddenly the boy became quiet. I looked up to see that he was now facing backwards on his knees, staring over the back of the chair. His gaze was firmly focused on the sketchbook. I continued on, pretending not to notice. He remained transfixed for what seemed quite a while. Then the kid suddenly whipped around back to his crayons and began to color with silent, manic enthusiasm.

I was thinking of this yesterday after a coffee stop on the way home. I’d wound up spreading out my crayon-equivalents and having some blissful drawing time to go with my iced caffeine. Two women approached as they were leaving. They, it turned out, had been watching me. “You were the entertainment!” Hmmm….

Coffee shop recreation

17 thoughts on “Possessed Camera and Stuff”

  1. Enjoy your new camera/baby!

    Pellets. I like that. And, yes, it is all too true for me. I may be addicted to ordering things online and waiting for the mailman to show up with my fix, I mean package.

    • Thanks Amy :-) I confess, I’m kind of excited about this particular pellet headed my way.

      When we know something is coming, we refer to going to the post office box as going to get our pellets. “Expecting any pellets today?”

      There definitely is a certain addictive quality to it… Enjoy your next fix, whatever it may be!

  2. Love the pellet terminology. So very true.
    Hiss and spit on the camera front though.
    And I am chortling at you being an inspiration for the small person, and entertainment for the women in the cafe.
    Would they have been so entertained if they could see into your head?

    • Shopping online is indeed so much like a behavioral experiment, isn’t it? I hissed and spat over the camera, but now confess I’m secretly pleased to have an excuse for the upgrade, in spite of the unexpected expense (plus interest… Z-z-z-a-p!). The online reviews from others who’ve gone from my old model to this new, better one are rapturous.

      I wish you could’ve seen the scene with the kid. It was hilarious. And the women were very nice. They proclaimed my plaything “beautiful.” It was sweet.

      But, as you note about the contents of my head, they hadn’t seen the pages I’d filled while waiting in waiting rooms at the medical center… ! Heh heh heh

  3. Ha yes, pellets. So true!

    Maybe you lit a spark within the women, but sounds like you started a fire within the little boy!

    Have fun with you new camera :)

    • I’d love to see anything you’re working on! And I have a nice little pile of stamps started…

      As for the comment situation… sigh. To be honest, WordPress sometimes drives me crazy. I have no idea what that “authenticate” thing is. But thanks for persisting! I do enjoy seeing your comments here.

  4. Nooooo! Say not the Rebel is a dud! I’m still getting used to mine.And still wondering how many more pellets must be zapped before I can get bigger lenses…
    I love it when kids get fired-up like that! Sometimes ,I miss doing my school stint.

    • Well… the Rebel was fun while it lasted. If it’s any comfort, I know someone who has one that’s 10 years old and still works fine. And, to be honest, with my bad hands it, umm, has been dropped a few times. I’m suspicious that it died immediately after my last trip to the city. It was hot, and it had been in my trunk getting cooked. I think it might’ve been the last straw. But who knows. I got a wrist strap for the new one and plan to be very, very careful!

      As for the kids, it’s great, isn’t it? It’s so satisfying to see them inspired.

  5. So enjoyed this post Ellen! Yes, you are quite right about the ‘pellet’ analogy – hehe! Sorry to hear about your camera though. It seems the thing has a mind of its own and pretty strange how when you make noises about replacing it, hey presto (!) it jigs back into life! It reminds me of a conversation I had with a dear customer in the book shop not so long ago, telling me of his frustration at how he dropped his front door key after he had locked his front door. Technically the key should of dropped right in front of him but, no, it decided to vanish – completely. It was after much panicking and head rubbing did he eventually find the bloomin’ thing. It had fallen into the turn up of his trousers. What the…! These things do come to try us!

    Looks like you inspired that little boy, by the way! Tx

  6. Oh, enjoy the new camera!
    Your story sounds very familiar: I have a rebel, too, and love it, but I have been fantasizing about a bigger and more able model. Makes me think – maybe I should rather order now than wait until it breaks ;-)
    [yes, “order”, I do most of my shopping online. pellets, hihi]

    I like your stories about using your plaything in public. I used to sit a lot in cafes, sketching and writing. Reading your stories I miss that. – Somehow I stopped it and rather lock myself in now since I had the kids. Maybe it is time to go outside again.
    My activities never drew any attention, though – at least none that I noticed. You make me very curious: Do you do headstands while drawing? Or juggle a little with the pencils? – Joke aside: I think it is great that you sparked/relit the boy’s interest in drawing!

    Looking forward to more pictures and wishing you a good week,

    • I will say, Hilke, the online reviews from people who had my model of Rebel for the 70D I just ordered are positively rapturous. I do hope it lives up to expectations! I feel extravagant, but the truth is I did feel it was time to grow into a slightly better camera. I decided if I was going to have to buy another, it should be one I really wanted. (Yeah… press the button… you know you want to… heh heh heh)

      I think, maybe, that I get noticed while drawing because I do bring a bit of a mini-studio with me–one bag filled with pens, another with pencils and other gear, scissors… I tend to spread out. And, also, my sketchbook is unusual. It’s not a blank book. When I’m scribbling in my plain sketchbook just tinkering with, say, book ideas or something, I don’t get that kind of attention. But when I have the handmade one with all kinds of unusual pages and I’m doing unusual things in it, it gets noticed. Funny thing is, I started going to a coffee shop where I’d be less likely to run into anyone I know, so I can have some anonymous peace! Ha. It’s ok though. If it inspires someone or makes someone curious about handmade books and such, that makes me happy too. I enjoy those little interactions. The little kid was quite something! His mother and friend packed up and they left before I did. As they were heading out the door, I looked up to see his eyes still fixed on my table. It was sweet. I hope he carries it with him into adulthood, the idea that grown-ups should color too! In public!

      I do hope you somehow are able to get a little bit of outside time to yourself again once in a while. If nothing else, it’s so relaxing. It’s just not the same as drawing at home, for some reason. I feel for you.

      Funnily enough, I was just over at your blog getting caught up, then hopped back over here to see you’d just been here. Our paths crossed. Wishing you a good week as well! Take care.


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