Tag Archives: cheap

The Sony Full-Frame FE 28-70mm (F/3.5-5.6) Zoom Is A Truly Dreadful Lens!

by Anura Guruge


Amazon listing — but AVOID like the plague.


I Traded In mine with Amazon, on August 17, 2017.

Check here for resolution details.


Click pictures to ENLARGE.

a very soft image with Sony FE 28-70mm zoom lens Anura Guruge Sony a7II


I got this kit lens, as a kit lens within a BUNDLE when I bought my Sony a7 II, from Cameta Camera, on May 10, 2017 (via Amazon).

I was familiar with the limitations of kit lenses and had read the reviews on this.

At $348 it is a CHEAP lens and that is exactly what it is. As I always do, I used an Excel Spreadsheet to price out all of my a7 II buying options … individually, in kit form and as bundles. The Cameta bundle was such that I was getting this kit lens for about $150. So, I knew that I could trade-it in and essentially be ‘quids in’ (as we say in in Britain).

It is a marginally OK lens and will occasionally take satisfying picture (or two). But, the autofocus (AF) HUNTS a lot, indoor colors have an strange tint and the lens, overall, tends to be soft.

Yes, I got Sony FE 24-240 (f/3.5-6.3) at the same time as the bundle BECAUSE I knew I needed as much reach as I could get. So, that made the 28-70mm kind of superfluous to requirements, though I had hoped that I might be able to use the smaller, MUCH LIGHTER lens when using the a7 II indoors. That never worked out. I do like the 24-240 though it also tends to be SOFT. AF, however, is much, much better.

So, just a heads up. You get what you pay for and as such the 28-70 is a cheap (and on the main nasty) lens. Sorry.


Related posts:
++++ Check Categories ‘Sony’ & ‘Six Images’ >>>>


by Anura Guruge

I Bought A 10.6″ 8-Core Dragon Touch X10 Android Tablet To Replace My Le Pan.

by Anura Guruge


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My Le Pan 10.2″ Android tablet, that I got from Walmart in August 2014 (to replace my 7″ ASUS that died), after acting up now and then, in terms of not powering up, finally gave up the ghost and died, dead as a doornail, Friday night. Friday was quite the day, even without the stock market meltdown. I won’t even tell you how much I lost. Some people have mortgages that are less than that. C’est la vie.

Yes, the Le Pan is covered by a USELESS 2 year product warranty I got from bloody Walmart — for $45. Never again. This is why I bought this from Amazon, the 2nd of the 12 (or more) Android pads that I have bought for the kids, Deanna and I.

I came across the Dragon Touch X10 when I asked Amazon to show me 10″ (or greater) Androids. I have had good luck — or I should say Teischan has had good luck — with ‘cheap’ Chinese Android Pads, i.e., Visual Land. The reviews for this, including one on YouTube, were pretty awesome. I liked the specs. The 10.6″ appealed. I do NOT carry this around. 95% of the time it is on my bedside table. I mainly use a tablet, in the morning, in bed, while I drink my coffee, and listen to CNBC. I check my blog, I read ‘marketwatch.com‘, I read the U.K. “Daily Mail“, cover-to-cover, without fail, and I check camera news. All using Chrome. I don’t use many APPS! So this looks good. Price was acceptable, though it appears the price has gone up in the last 6 months! I paid quite a bit more for the Le Pan 18 months ago.

I will, of course, let you know how it works out after I get it on Wednesday, February 10, 2016.


Related posts:
**** Search ‘Amazonfor other related posts >>>>


by Anura Guruge

Amazon Has Some AMAZING ‘Black Friday’ Camera Deals!

Anura Guruge December 2014 thumbnail
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by Anura Guruge


Related posts:
++++ Search ‘camera’ for other posts
>>>>

++++ Check Category ‘Six Images’ >>>>


amazoncamerasdeals


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These discounts are REAL. BuyDig.com right now, and I bought my last two cameras (in the last few months) from BuyDig, has the above Nikon D3200 at $446. They have a refurbished at $360.

They have a Samsung NX1 with 16-50mm lens for $1,298. That is $400 off.

From what I can see BuyDig is matching the Olympus prices on Amazon.

IF you are in the market for a camera check these deals.

I really DON’T need another new camera right now — or at least that is what I keep on telling myself right now. I REALLY am going to try and wait for the Fuji X-T2. The X-T2 really appears to be a great match for me. Now … if I see a X-T1 cheap. Deanna will give me HECK but I don’t think she will divorce me over a camera. She knows that if cameras are my ONLY WEAKNESS in my old age, given my track record, that she is doing fine.

$1,399! Hmmmm. $300 off.


Pope Francis Deservedly Is ‘Time’ Person Of The Year — Many Will Applaud, As They Should; U.S. Conservative Catholics Might Be Cringing.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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by
Anura Guruge


Related Posts:
>> Not Marxist, but very cheap
>>Dec. 4, 2013.
>> 100 Day Report Card
>> — Jun. 19, 2013.

++++ Search on ‘pope‘ for other pope related posts >>>>


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Click to access ‘time.com’ coverage — from the horse’s mouth so to speak.


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Vatican gloating over the honor. Click to access the Vatican VIS coverage.


As I always point out these days, at the very top of most posts, I have a unique ‘claim’ on this pope in that, unlike ANYBODY else, I cited him, in print, in my 2011The Next Pope 2011, as one of the Top 10 papabili. So I can truly say this is ‘my pope’.

I do like him. As a papal historian who knows more about papal history that I really should he amuses me. And that is always a bonus.

In reality, so far, he has really been a superficial, all ‘PR’ little of tangible substance, pope. But, that is OK. He is indeed a breath of fresh air and he has, indubitably, made millions very happy.

But, those that understand the vagaries of the worldwide Catholic world and the workings of the Vatican do realize that this pope has often skated on very thin ice.

I happen to see a very devout, very conservative local Catholic (and he might even be a Deacon) every Thursday night. Often, if there is time, he will come up and we will talk pope ‘politics’. But here is the funny and most telling part. If he doesn’t have the time he will walk by me and make a point of ‘rolling his eyes’ — given that he knows that I will understand why he is doing so!

So, I join the billions rejoicing Pope Francis, my pope, as the ‘Time’ Person of the Year.

Damn sight better than if they had picked that bloody reprobate ‘Snowdon’.

But, let us not forget that clerical sex abuse in the Catholic Church is still here …

Let us not forget that the ‘Vatican Bank‘ is still under suspicion of money laundering …

Let us not forget that this Pope makes some amazingly incongruous, hard to reconcile remarks …

Let us not forget that this Pope continually harps on about charity but is, himself, remarkably cheap ….

Don’t Think Pope Francis Is A Marxist, But He Sure Is Very Cheap For Somebody Who Commands Billions In Tangible Assets.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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by
Anura Guruge


Related posts:
>> Charity begins at the Vatican
>>Nov. 26, 2013.
>> Francis’ gold pallium pins
>>July 28, 2013.
>> “Prayer of ‘WHY'”
>>Nov. 21, 2013.
>> To read his exhortation …

>>Dec. 1, 2013.
>> 100 Day Report Card
>>Jun. 19, 2013.

++++ Search on ‘pope‘ for other pope related posts >>>>


I like this pope. Plus, unlike ANYBODY else, I cited him, in print, in my 2011The Next Pope 2011, as one of the Top 10 papabili

So, don’t even try and get on your high horse and start accusing me of having a go at the pope etc. Not so. As one of the most prolific papal historians around, all that I am doing is pointing out some hard facts the way they are.

———

As somebody who is a great believer in charity, I am beyond delighted by this pope’s commitment towards the poor and downtrodden. I can’t be happier.

I am overjoyed that he is trying to eschew the extravagant, lavish, ‘dripping gold’ lifestyle adopted by some popes — especially the last one who was an unashamed dandy.

But, as I pointed out in this 100-day report there is a difference between being a pope for the poor and a ‘poor pope’. This pope is not poor. A modern pope, by definition, is not poor.

A pope has absolute, unfettered, unilateral, uncontested control over billions of liquid and tangible assets.

Compared to a pope, a U.S. President is a powerless, pauper.

The pope has no Congress, judicial branch, re-elections or mid-terms to contend with.

He is not answerable to anyone on Earth!

Then I have also made my point about how charity HAS to begin at the Vatican.


So let us just look at a very public recent example.

The devastating typhoon that crippled the Philippines.

The Philippines is overwhelmingly a Roman Catholic country.

From Wikipedia. Click to access.

From Wikipedia. Click to access.

So now let us look at some of the foreign aid provided to the Philippines post typhoon:

Click to access original.

Click to access original.

So how much do you think the Pope agreed to give?


Same paper. Click to access.

Same paper. Click to access.

 This is what drives me NUTS about this
Jesuit Pope.

$150,000 in aid … to the Philippines … which considers itself the most Catholic of countries?

This pope is cheap!

Sorry.

Here is a Philippine’s Government Website
that is tracking the foreign aid.

Check the Vatican. Same number.


As I have said so many times till I am brown in the face, this pope can raise a billion dollars in a day by selling 400 random items from around the Vatican.

He claims he is not materialistic.

OK. Show me the proof.

Sell some of the unused, unseen, stacked away in basements, Vatican treasures.

That is all.

Q.E.D.

Obamacare (ACA) Health Exchange Insurance Premiums For New Hampshire (NH).

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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Anura Guruge


Related posts:
>> Third application for bloody Obamacare
>>Oct. 16, 2013.
>> Mailing address for paper application
>>Oct. 16, 2013.
>> Application says mail to ‘1005 XYZ Drive’ …
>> Oct. 15, 2013.
>>
Making PAPER application for Obamacare 
>>
Oct. 9, 2013.
++++ Search on ‘healthcare’ or ‘Obama’ for other posts >>>>


Since I live in Belknap I downloaded the data
and created this chart.

NH health insurance rates

Click to ENLARGE.

You can get the numbers for the other counties, albeit with quite a bit of hassle, from here: https://www.healthcare.gov/health-plan-information/


This Website, ‘ZaneBenefits‘, has a lot of good stuff about
NH health insurance.
Check them out.

They had extracted out this summary chart:

Compared to what I have been paying, and actually still paying through ‘New Hampshire Health Plan‘, these rates are GOOD. ‘New Hampshire Health Plan‘ is a scam as far as I am concerned. They won’t pay for anything on principle. I just have it as death-insurance if I kick the bucket as doctors keep on saying I am liable to do at any time.

Dr. James (Jim) Eakin, Laconia, Hands Down THE BEST Optometrist In Central New Hampshire, Maybe All Of New England!

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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 .by Anura Guruge


Related posts:
>> Dr. James Eakin … Aug. 8, 2012.
>> Keratoconus specialists in NH … — Aug. 20, 2012.




I said this same thing a year ago but I feel I have to say it again because I had my eyes checked out by Dr. Eakin yesterday.

Just amazes me and I, as some of you who are regulars to this blog will know, am NOT easily amazed.

I was there for close to 2 hours. He dilates your eyes and you have to sit and wait for about 30 minutes for the drops he puts in to kick in.

He spend so much time, DILIGENTLY, checking out your eyes using all those scopes they have. That is why I go to him and have been for over a decade though, at his behest, I go to somebody else for my specialized contact lens needs. I pay about three times more for one of my contact lens checkups, NOT counting the cost of the lenses, than I am charged by Dr. Eakin and the I am, at best, at the contact lens place for 40 minutes.

As I detailed in that post a year ago, I am no stranger to eye doctors, around the world, because of the contact lens-treatable keratoconus in my right eye. Yes, I have had eye doctor visits, in the 1980s, when they were trying to stabilize that eye, that have lasted all day. Yes, 8 hours. But no eye doctor ever checks out my eyes like does Dr. Eakin.

With Dr. Eakin, who is now getting up there and has no plans of retiring, it is LABOR OF LOVE. He does not practice for the money! He, over the years and even now, does a ton of pro bono work on kids. He has all these awards for that work.

Yes, I count Dr. Eakin, who was a fellow Rotarian when I used to be one, as a friend. But, that is not why I sing his praises with so much conviction. It is because I, having gone through so much heck about my keratoconus really, really believe in good eye care. And for that there is, in my opinion, nobody around who is better than Dr. Eakin. It just a matter of the time he is willing to invest in each patient.

So, plain and simple, if you live in central NH and want to make sure that your eyes are healthy go see Dr. Eakin. When you walk out, after 2 hours, you will KNOW that your eyes have been given the full treatment.

Don’t tell him that I said any of this since he, one of the most modest men I have ever met (and very soft spoken), will be so embarrassed.

Circle Restaurant, Epsom Traffic Circle, Rte 28, in Epson, NH: I Was Impressed. Now On My Radar.

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by
Anura Guruge


Some of our other favorite restaurants in NH:
1. Red Arrow Diner, Manchester — Apr. 8, 2012.
2. Sea Bird, Wolfeboro — Dec. 10, 2012.
3. Giuseppe’s, Meredith — Oct. 11, 2012.


Circle Restaurant, Epsom Traffic Circle, Rte 28, in Epson, NH. [Image from Yelp, by ‘Ian W.]


Circle Restaurant, Epsom Traffic Circle, Rte 28, in Epson, NH. [Image from Yelp, by ‘Ian W.]


Google Map view of the Circle Restaurant,  Epsom, NH

Google Map view of the Circle Restaurant, Epsom, NHfter


After getting foiled at the stupid Manchester Science Museum yesterday, we were at a loose end. Deanna suggested that we go to the Huge ‘Goodwill’ store they have on Rte 3, close to Merrimack. So I cut across town and got there. Yes, we then, and Deanna will claim that it was mainly me, proceeded to spent 4 times what it would have cost at the museum. I still felt kind of guilty that the kids didn’t get to go to the museum — though they did get a (as usual) very nice lunch at the ‘Red Arrow Diner’ — and even got to sit and eat with a local, business ‘VIP’. It was a good lunch.

The kids, as ever, wanted to go to another restaurant — but, Teischan didn’t want to go to “Applebee’s” because we had just been their on Tuesday (in Tilton). So, I am driving back on Rte 28 thinking where to go. I was thinking of stopping at “Dominicks” (near Barnstead) where we had eaten a few times before. Then I sailed around the circle and was proceedings along Rte 28 when I drove past the Circle Restaurant.

We had had breakfast there before. I always thought it was only open for breakfast and lunch. But, as I was driving past I saw cars and lights. There was no traffic, so I pulled a U.

Glad we went. It was fun. It was good. It was cheap — especially the red wine at $2.75 a glass! I had two and got Deanna to drive home.

Warm place — in all aspects. Very friendly. Sense of fun.

Good, decent food. Nothing pretentious. Prices just right. Kids liked it.

Since I am off carbs, I had the meat loaf and a salad. It was good. That they don’t charge $6 to $12 for a glass of house wine definitely appealed to me. I even commended them on it. Even at that they are making a profit — since we are here talking ‘no name’ house wine, that they can buy in 5 gallon boxes for $12.99. Bravo. [By the way, I have lost 10 pounds in a month. Deanna is livid.]

They are on my list, and as such we will go back.

Google Maps 'street view'. It must have been dusk when they drove by.

Google Maps ‘street view’. It must have been dusk when they drove by.

Disney On Ice: Treasure Trove — Manchester, NH, Verizon Arena From January 31 to February 3, 2013.

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by
Anura Guruge


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We have been getting promo e-mails for this for months. Given all the shows and concerts we attended in December, I was kind of ignoring them. Then this morning Deanna again got the $15 per seat opening night offer. So, I decided to go for it. For the last 2 years, rather than going to Disney on ice we had been going to the ‘Educational Theatre Collaborative‘ (ETC) production at Plymouth State University: ‘Peter Pan‘ (2011) and ‘The Wild Swans‘ (2012). This year’s show was about the history of Plymouth. Since we are not from Plymouth I knew the kids would not be impressed if I took them to it. So, Disney on Ice was the make-up.

I had to go through damn TicketMaster for the $15 tickets — given that we were not going to be going anywhere close to Manchester in the next few weeks. I hate TicketMaster, I really do. I could only find individual seats, but I managed to get 4 in a cluster, quite close to the ice. I was hell-bent on not paying more than $15 — since that was the offer. Plus we have had great luck with cheap seats at the Verizon, especially with the circus. When all was said and done, and I chose the $2 EXTRA ‘home printing option’, we ended up paying $23.50 per ticket — $8.50 markup per ticket by bloody TicketMaster. That is a 57% markup. I was not happy. But, since it was TicketMaster I always expect to be raped. Yes, I know they have been sued. Most times I just refuse to buy tickets through them. For the circus we always drive down to get the tickets.

Yellow Tail Shiraz – Cabernet, U.S. $5.99 At Hannaford’s Right Now: A Quick Review


Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

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by Anura Guruge


Other wine reviews:
¤ Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau 2012:
>>Fruity, Tangy, Fragrant & Light — Nov. 15, 2012.

¤ Beaujolais Nouveau 2012: Professional Review
>>Pretty Close To My Assessment — Nov. 16, 2012.


Click to ENLARGE.


I am sipping a glass of the Yellow Tail Shiraz – Cabernet as I pen this and I have to confess that it is indeed a richly satisfying tipple (as it invariably tends to be), made even more exquisite by the knowledge that it was a (on sale) $5.99 bottle.

Shiraz – Cabernet tends to be a tad sharp on the tongue on first sip; not in an unpleasant way but more in the spirit of awakening your senses that you are in the process of experiencing something subliminally pleasing. The sharpness methinks is the tannin from the Shiraz tempered by some of the sugar from the Cabernet. It is different. You get into the habit of anticipating it. Mint is not something one associates with red wine, but if you can’t appreciate what the heck I am talking about, think of it akin to a jolt of mint — though, of course, there is no mint involved. This agreeable sharpness at once morphs into a dull metallic undertone that I at least always associate with ‘Shiraz’, though I will be the first to admit that I am by no means an expert on ‘Shiraz’. That said I like ‘Shiraz’, but to be candid I really should add that what I like (and have familiarity with) is what connoisseurs will label as ‘cheap Shiraz’.

The Yellow Tail Shiraz – Cabernet because of the dull metallic taste that lingers, is what I would class as a ‘heavy’ red, whereas a Beaujolais Nouveau, in particular the 2012 from Georges Duboeuf, falls into the category of being a ‘light’ red. That it is ‘heavy’ is not a bad thing. It forces you to drink it slowly, contemplatively. It is not a wine that you would want to chug at, as if it was a a soda. It makes you appreciate that you have the fortune of being able to enjoy a wine. That is good.

The Yellow Tail Shiraz – Cabernet is a deep red wine, in the glass. The bouquet is minimal, but is tangy and sharp. Like an expensive, subtle cologne, for men.

I am partial to Yellow Tail wines, in particular their Shiraz or this Shiraz – Cabernet. The prices on Yellow Tail, whether at a store or a restaurant, tends to be good. I think that is true in general with most ‘Shiraz’, though again I do not go looking for ‘expensive’ wines since I find it hard to justify paying too much given that I know that my role is to convert wine-to-water.

If I see a Shiraz, by the glass, on a wine list I will invariably ask for it. Since Deanna rarely if ever drinks red wine and I tend rarely to drink more than one glass of wine a day, the days of me ordering wine by the flagon are long gone. Usually it is just one glass for me; with Deanna and the kids opting for water! So, my familiarity with Shiraz is (I think) limited to Yellow Tail and Woodbridge. I am sure I couldn’t tell them apart, and I have no desire to be able to. To me a Shiraz is a nice change from my customary Burgundy or Merlot. The Shiraz always tastes different. Us Brits have a saying that a ‘change is as good as a rest’. Thus, a Shiraz always imbues a much needed kick into my mainly staid, generally uneventful, what most would call ‘boring’ life. For that, I am grateful to Shiraz and to Yellow Tail.

At the current $5.99 (U.S.) per bottle the Yellow Tail Shiraz or Shiraz – Cabernet is hard to beat. The Shiraz – Cabernet is what I would class a ‘profound’ wine. It make you THINK — which in my book is always a wonderful thing given that my motto in life is ‘Think Free, Or Die‘. It is ideal for social discourse or for writing. It is like having a pipe. It gives you time to reflect; time to ponder.

Get yourself a bottle and enjoy.

Cheers. Happy Thanksgiving.


I happened to be shopping at Hannaford, Alton Beaujolais Nouveau Day 2012, November 15. I wondered into the wine aisle to see if they had any Nouveau. They didn’t.  But, they had Yellow Tail with a $2 off coupon. So, I bought a bottle of the Shiraz – Cabernet.

later that day I went to New Hampshire Liquor Store in Wolfeboro and bought a bottle of the Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau 2012 for $9.99.

Very different wines; both great in their own right. I would hate to pick one over the other.

But, if I had to, I probably will pick the Yellow Tail Shiraz – Cabernet!

Sorry. I like the Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau 2012. That is beyond doubt. But, it is a light, frivolous wine — as it is meant to be. You can chug it down like it was soda. nothing wrong with that. But, if you want an adult wine, that will force you to savor it, I will go with the Yellow Tail Shiraz – Cabernet.