Quarter Life Crisis

The world according to Sven-S. Porst

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This Saturday was yet another wedding – the last one I’m invited to for this year. And it was the wedding of a rather good friend, so I tried to suppress all my realistic evil thoughts about the whole concept of marriage or getting married in church for a day and hoped anything will work out for the best. All the wedding stuff worked well – although there was a complete new level or nervousness seen in my friend just before it started – and even the whole church thing wasn’t too bad with the priest going for a reasonably short and nicely open-minded speech.

I met a number of old friends (or at least people I happen to know) from school at the occasion, but was surprised that I didn’t know loads of the people there. Extensive families which usually aren’t seen I guess.

A stressful aspect of the whole happening was the clothes business as usual. Being at university means that you’re used to ‘casual’ clothes and being in a maths department means that you’re encouraged to walk around like a bum. So the whole formal thing of a wedding is a bit of a hassle. In particular when it’s in your home town and your mum starts sending you iChat messages a few days in advance telling you to get your shirt ironed. To begin with, I like to think that – while I may not be particularly good at it – I should be able to iron my shirt myself and wanted to do so after travelling across the country and potentially crumpling it all up.

But even more so, I thought it was a bit too patronising (well, ‘matronising’ in this case) to think it’s necessary to tell me this. Particularly after having been told that I wasn’t supposed to do that for my benefit but because the daughter of a friend of one of her friends was coming as well and ‘people would talk’ if I didn’t look properly. And while I did iron my shirt before going after all, you can bet that this ‘recommendation’ made me seriously consider not doing so…

And then there’s of course the hassle of wearing a tie. Not having ‘enjoyed’ things like school uniforms, the number of times that I did so is seriously low (although with all the recent weddings, I might need a two digit decimal number for it by now). And I can’t remember any but the simplest tie knot. As the shirt’s collar is relatively wide open, I thought a slightly wider knot would be good, though. Luckily there’s that fun ‘physics’ (which is more like a playful bit of maths with muble-jumble about ‘random walks’ thrown in to make it look distantly like pysics) paper on ‘tie knots, random walks and topology’ [Physica A 276 (2000) 109–121] which details how numerous tie knots are made.

In fact, the authors put up some reasonable constraints on things like symmetry and the knot size and then give all the possible knots in that setup with an extra bit of analysis on the situation. Apparently they even discovered two new (or at least not commonly known) knots in the process… I think it’s a paper definitely worth reading and having handy for those situations. And perhaps you can even try one of the ‘new’ knots and impress some tie-knot-o-phile with that – in case the difference can actually be seen from the outside.

On a more positive note, I also took some photos during the wedding. And I could use my dad’s EOS 350 for that. Even better, he seemed to finally have made the jump and bought himself a nice lens in addition to the 18-55mm kit lens that came with the camera. He got a 24-105mm 1:4 lens. While 1:4 isn’t spectacular, it’s not too bad either. And the lens seems to have some stabilisation mechanism built in (something spinning around the lens so the angular momentum stabilises things, if I understand correctly). And – unlike the kit lens – this one is thick and heavy, giving the camera a good feel and a rather solid look.

I didn’t get around to playing a lot with the lens, as I really just grabbed the camera when I left and then took the photos – and while the zoom looks quite good, I still found the 18-55mm lens better for taking photos of people because at its wide-angle settings, it makes it easier to fit everybody in the frame when you don’t have a lot of room manœuver in.

After having taken photos at other weddings – in similar low light situations – with my little Ixus camera as well, I was totally blown away from the EOS’ sensitivity. Sure it isn’t perfect, but even at ISO 1600 the noise I got was by far less noticeable than it is at ISO 400 with my little camera. In addition when making underexposed photos a little lighter in iPhoto afterwards, I thought that all the gradients and colour ranges just look significantly better (as in smoother) than they do in the little camera’s photos.

None of that is really a surprise I guess, but I was still happy to be able to reasonably ‘save’ a number of photos which looked underexposed (due to me not being all that familiar with the camera and getting the occasional setting wrong or due to me not wanting to use the flash in some situations – the flash again not being perfect but much better than the close-by tiny camera flashes.)

Hmhm, I liked that…

August 27, 2006, 20:10

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