Matte’s Blog

Countdown to Lindsay

The reason we never heard of the 1932 Emu War in Western Australia is that the emus won.

I’m driving down to Lindsay on 25 Apr 19 to try doing a photo essay on the Olson’s citrus grove in the same spirit that several years ago I drove to Oakdale and photographed John Bulk making a batch of cheese. There are some parallels here that go back into the late eighties with Ken Olsen and to the very early nineties with Walter Bulk. They’re two of my very oldest vendors, but the difference is that Walter’s son John has taken over the business from his father while neither of Ken Olson’s sons was interested in doing so.  Fortunately, Ken’s grandson Erik did, right out of high school.

Since photographing a citrus grove is quite different from taking shots inside a cheese factory, I realized that I had to redouble my efforts to learn how to take photos with my drone so as to supplement the ground-level ones.

Ummm, actually, what I had to learn first was how to fly the damn thing since my first couple of efforts at doing so resulted in crashing it into walls and incurring expensive repairs. On both occasions, I saw it was headed toward a wall and stood there trying to remember just what pushing each joystick which way did. By the time I remembered, the drone was down.

So my first objective was to drive into muscle memory the functions of the joysticks so that i could make course corrections with reasonable rapidity. To do that, I waited until the rains were over and found a public park/playground that is utterly deserted during weekdays where I could stand out in the middle and fly the drone around me making many course corrections until I’d run the battery down. I did so a couple of days ago and discovered that my patience for this drill was exhausted at the same time as the battery. Before either happened, I took the photo below. And yes, what I should have done is frame the shot, position my finger above the button, look at the camera, and take the shot. Then again, I don’t expect to ever take another selfie. This one was just a test…and to prove that i really can fly a drone.

Droner selfie
Droner selfie

I’ll fly the drone around again to practice with the joysticks and to better learn how to operate the camera to take stills. I don’t yet know how to insert a video into this website, so I don’t need to know how to take them yet.

The fringe benefit from this preparation with the drone is that after I’ve returned from this expedition, I’ll be going up the Russian River with the drone to get photos of some of the bridges for which I was unable to get a good shot. Then I’ll do the same for the Sacramento. But first, stay tuned for an account of my visit to the citrus grove.

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  1. ckm3
    Posted 7 December 2013 at 09:18 | Permalink

    For most people, what stays in Las Vegas is the money.

    Most excellent turning of the phrase

    • Matte Gray
      Posted 7 December 2013 at 14:26 | Permalink

      Many thanks.

  2. Chimpus_Dorkus
    Posted 21 December 2013 at 19:59 | Permalink

    Ouch. Poor bb, here’s hoping you have some good holidays etc to cheer you up and a speedy recovery.
    Be careful, will ya?!?

    • Matte Gray
      Posted 21 December 2013 at 20:50 | Permalink

      The holidays are most definitely cheerful, the recovery is progressing apace, and the caution level has been dramatically increased.

  3. Posted 24 January 2014 at 12:08 | Permalink

    Thank you for remembering Barry. And for loving him, as I did. I am glad he got to see a loving face before he died. You are right, he wanted to go out on his terms and it was never going to be pretty. Barry, even though he’d be cleaned up, was always disappointed after falling or having a heart attack, being picked up by ambulance, treated and then dumped right back onto the streets… He gave up hope for a place indoors after realizing that even that level of frailty was not enough to deserve housing in this city. he did admit to me he would have preferred to live inside. As you said, he was not crazy. 🙂 Again, thanks for the love and kindness you and others showed him. I know he appreciated it.

    • Matte Gray
      Posted 24 January 2014 at 12:26 | Permalink

      Since i wrote that account i’ve been back to the makeshift shrine several times and have talked with folks who knew him longer than i, people who were also there the afternoon before he died and to whom he also expressed very clearly that he did not want to go to the hospital. Some of the people who knew him better are organizing a little wake for him on the 1st of February, and i’ll post more details here as i learn them. Meanwhile, a useful resource is, with an article on 22 Jan that has extensive comments.

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