A-Z Challenge – Z

Z stands for “Zero”

No, not the number, but for something altogether different. Zero was the name of our family dog when we were kids. I’m not sure why my parents name her Zero, but that name was actually quite popular with my friends! She was a small dog, a silky terrier, and we used to call her “Z” for short. She had a small crate in the breakfast room where she would sleep at night, and we called it her “basket”. When it was time for her to go to bed, we’d just need to say “basket!” and she would head to her little crate for the evening.

It was kind of fun when A Nightmare Before Christmas came out, because the little ghost dog in that movie was also named Zero.


I need to ask my parents how they chose to name our dog Zero…

Well, this is the final day of the A-Z Challenge. It was a lot of fun, and kept my brain thinking! I enjoyed it a lot. It also taught me a bit about my limits and how much I am able to post. Obviously, I am no great writer, but blogging is so much fun! I can’t imagine not doing it.

A-Z Challenge – Y

Y stands for “Yoda”

Austin, 2005
Photo info: KONICA MINOLTA MAXXUM 7D, 210mm, f/11, 1/4 sec, ISO200
Austin, 2005

I think Yoda of Episode V and VI was such a great character. The old and wise Jedi master’s charm was lost to me when the prequels came out and we had the CGI version of Yoda battling in epic lightsaber duels. It just wasn’t the Yoda I grew up with! I think Yoda was a casualty of George Lucas’ creative misdirection in the prequels. There was certainly a lot of magic lost in those three movies. A real shame! Happily, Episode VII brought back that swashbuckling feel of the original trilogy. I can’t wait for Episode VIII!

A-Z Challenge – X

X stands for “Xylophone”

So, the letter X… and I thought, well, xylophone is one of the most popular x-words… and wow, we actually have a xylophone in our house this year! You see, Koa is in his middle school band, and he plays percussion. So we have a very large xylophone, with wooden keys… it’s the real deal! I never knew about them much, but they are pretty neat.

And, in a nice coincidence, tonight was his percussion concert! Below is a short video of one of the high school students playing a solo. It’s amazing, isn’t it? Wow… xylophones!

A-Z Challenge – W

W is for “Wisteria”

I follow many Japanese photographers on Instagram, and after the Sakura has fallen, those photos have been replaced by many photos of Wisteria. Wisteria in Japanese is “Fuji” (藤) which is one of the kanji of my family name.

FYI, the kanji 藤 is very difficult to write, mainly because there are 19 strokes in it! 😮 Isn’t that crazy? In contrast, the second kanji only has 4 strokes. 😅


It’s a very beautiful flower, isn’t it? One day, I would love to see it in person… an image like the one above.

A-Z Challenge – V

V stands for “Vision”

In the past few years, my vision has been getting worse, and this past year I got new glasses, but I cannot focus so closely with my current prescriptions. I can see at a distance very clearly, and even things at an arm’s length distance is ok. But anything closer than about 18 inches and my eyes start to strain and things get blurry. So reading is kind of a problem.

Austin, 2016
Austin, 2016

When I read in bed, I need to shine my bedside lamp directly at the book I am holding at arm’s length, and then I can read comfortably, but other things, like using the rear LCD screen on my camera is difficult. I don’t like to hold the camera far from me when taking photos. That’s one reason that I need a camera with a viewfinder with diopter adjustment.

I guess next time I get new glasses (my yearly allowance comes up in August) I should look at some kind of progressive lens. Honestly, it’s not a huge deal, but if it can be corrected, why shouldn’t I do it?


A-Z Challenge – U

U stands for “Upgrading”

We are constantly urged by ads and marketing to upgrade everything we have. For instance, phones, software, cars, gadgets, etc. In photography, we’re presented with new cameras and technology every year. The camera you just bought will be “obsolete” as soon as next year’s model comes out. There’s more and more megapixels, better high ISO sensitivity, faster AF… the list goes on and on!

When I bought my Fujifilm X100T last year, it made me realize that I didn’t have to upgrade my camera gear to improve my photography, or more importantly, get more enjoyment out of my hobby. I became more aware of the concept of “good enough” and the “satisficers” vs “maximizers” and found myself falling into the camp of the satisficers. This camera had less megapixels than my dslr, didn’t have as high a burst mode, and the video quality was worse. But it was definitely good enough, and the advantages of small size, low weight, simpler controls made it a far more enjoyable experience for me. “Good enough” actually brought me more joy than “maximizing”.

So, now I ask myself… why must I upgrade to the latest and greatest? Phones for instance… I find a low to mid-range smartphone good enough for me. I don’t have the urge to upgrade. Also, I use Adobe Lightroom every day, but I decided not to upgrade to the latest “Cloud” version… for me, version 5 was good enough. If I had the CC version, it would probably force me to upgrade my computer to keep up with the more powerful features that are regularly added. I don’t want to get forced into this cycle of upgrading!

It used to be a huge temptation for me to keep upgrading my things. But these days, I find happiness in settling for the “good enough” items, and I do not spend cycles worrying or researching to make sure I am at the cutting edge. For me, it’s a more satisfying way to live, and I can spend my energies elsewhere.

A-Z Challenge – T

T stands for “Time”

Last night I had a dream in which I was explaining how Quartz is used to keep time in watches. I can’t remember how I explained it, but it must have been a very vague explanation since I don’t really understand how Quartz does it. So when I woke up, I did a little research on Quartz watches and found out that Quartz has a special property, where when given an electric charge, will oscillate (vibrate back and forth) 32,768 times per second, and so modern electronics will measure that oscillation and then do a simple calculation, then send out one pulse per second. It’s amazing, isn’t it?

Anyways, I was also thinking about why we measure time in the units we do… I guess it was easy to figure out that we have 365 days per year, but I think it is amazing that we just have to add 1 day every 4 years to keep things in sync. It seems like (and maybe it is that) there would be some fraction of a day, like we’d add a day every four years, but every 100 years, we’d skip that leap day, or add two extra days. Also, how did we decide on 24 hours for a day? Why not 20 hours?

I’m sure these have logical explanations, but I’ll save that for another day. It’s like a little bit of knowledge that I will keep a mystery to myself for a while. 😊 I’ll keep it as something to look forward to!