Tag Archives: prices

The Blueberry Crisis In New Hampshire.

by Anura Guruge

Click to ENLARGE. This is a Google Map (Satellite view) of the hill I live on — with 3 BIG wild blueberry farms.

Click to access ‘Boston.com’ original from last Fall. Still v. applicable.

No. Nope — there is no shortage per se. Actually we are in the midst of a global GLUT of blueberries. Chile, Canada, Mexico and Peru are POURING in ‘cheap’ blueberries into the U.S.

This has resulted in blueberry prices going down since 2017. Good for the consumer.

Not good for growers, especially those in New England — New Hampshire, of course, among those hit. Plus, in New England it is wild blueberries, that grow close to the ground, as opposed to the ‘Highbush’ grown further down. Highbush is called cultivated. Wild blueberries have more antioxidants, tend to be bluer and tastier. But, they are hard to pick. That adds to their cost.

I live on the side of a hill — and in reality it should be called ‘Blueberry Hill’. We have three large wild blueberry farms on it. I run/walk by them most days.

Last year I heard rumblings that the owners of these farms were not happy. They were not making the kind of money they were used to. I then heard that a Maine company that ran one of the farms, on behalf of the owner, had pulled out. It was not economical to run the farm!

Yesterday, on my walk, I got to talk to one of the owners. He told me that the issue was the prices: ‘way down’. They are basically at break even and their cost is lower than mosts and they also sell at local farm markets where they can get retail as opposed to wholesale pricing. He was not happy. He reckons that Canada is dumping blueberries into the U.S. market.

Not good. I like having these farms around. They bring in bees to pollinate the plants. Watching that is fun.

So, this is a heads up since many people don’t appreciate what is happening. All they notice is that blueberries are plentiful at the supermarkets and that they are at a good price.

But, this, alas, is at the expense of New England farmers.

Related Posts:
Check Category ‘New Hampshire‘.

by Anura Guruge

Blind Test, Nikon vs. Sony, Confirms Why I Plan To Switch To Nikon.

by Anura Guruge

Click image to access ‘BLIND TEST’. It is in Japanese. Get Google to translate. Site is RATHER slow. You can enlarge the pictures by clicking on them.

Some of the ‘Blind Test’ comparison pictures.

Click to ENLARGE.

My Contention.

Doesn’t matter which one is better. They are pretty close.

The DAMN Sony lens is 2.2 MORE EXPENSIVE.

I can pay 2.2 less and have the same image quality!

I read about this ‘blind test’, Nikon z7 vs. Sony a7RII, on the ‘DPReview‘ ‘Nikon Z’ forum.

Since I have a Sony a7II and plan to switch to a Nikon z6 (early next year) I was curious. The test was close enough — just a difference in resolution to my gear.

The test is in Japanese BUT, luckily, Google does an excellent job translating.

I did NOT have to do the whole test.

By the time I looked at 4 pictures I knew that my CONTENTION re. Sony was proved — BIG TIME.

My only gripe about Sony has been the prices of their lenses — especially full-frame, FE-mount lenses. They are ridiculously expensive. Yes, I could afford them BUT I would have a hard time justifying their prices. That is the reason I want to go with Nikon.

Until now, I couldn’t because Nikon didn’t make mirrorless, and I committed myself to mirrorless over 3-years ago.

The Nikon z6 is thus the ideal camera for I. Full-frame mirrorless, 5-axis In-Body Image Stabilization and affordable lenses (though I am not that convinced that the new lenses are superlative).

So, here is the CRUX of the Blind Test.

By definition, a Blind Test, compares similar offerings.

So, the image quality Nikon vs Sony was going to be CLOSE. And it is.

But, here is the kicker. The lens on the Sony is 2.2 MORE EXPENSIVE than that of the Nikon.

2.2 MORE Expensive and you can’t tell the DIFFERENCE.

Give me a break. I will have the CHEAP Nikon PLEASE.


Related Posts:
Check Categories ‘Nikon’ & ‘Canon’.

by Anura Guruge

Walmart ‘Vision Center’ Is But A Pathetic Joke — 11-Days And No Sign Of My $189 Glasses!

by Anura Guruge

I have had fairly decent luck with ‘Vision Center‘ in the past — though I have never ordered any glasses for myself from them until 11 (bloody) days ago.

I went to them because they are conveniently located and are supposed to have decent prices. At $189 I don’t really think that they were that ‘inexpensive’. But, I would NOT have cared about the price if I had them within the 10 days they ‘promise’.

I ordered them on Friday, April 14, 2017.

I called them last Friday and they said I would have them today, Tuesday, April 25, 2017.

I made plans to go by Walmart this evening to pick them up. BUT, since I did not get a phone call I called just to be on the safe side.

They do NOT have them and have NO IDEA as to when I might have them.

Bloody Walmart.

I so often regret doing anything with Walmart OTHER than buying stuff that is available on display.

So a heads up.

Related Posts:
Search on ‘Walmart’ for other related posts >>>>
++++ Check Category ‘Rants’ for other related posts >>>>

by Anura Guruge

Mystic Aquarium, Connecticut — The Best In New England?

by Anura Guruge

Click pictures to ENLARGE.

Taken with a rented Nikon D500.

These pictures taken on August 17, 2016.
We visited the aquarium 3 days running!

Attribution WILL be enforced.

Teischan (now 10) was really captivated by the ‘New England Aquarium‘, in Boston, when we visited in May 2016 (though that, by a long chalk, was not her first time). She had however never been to the one in Mystic — we having gone there prior to her birth. Given that Mystic Aquarium was now been hailed as the best in New England I decided to take her there while her memories of Boston were still fresh.

She loved the Mystic Aquarium. Said it was better than Boston — which is true. Mystic is larger and has more variety (and exhibits) with the two Beluga whales and the alligators making all the difference.

Nearly all of the online reviews I saw for this aquarium, in one way or another, mentioned that the prices were high. Well, that is NOT really the case. As a Senior I paid just $3 more than what I would have paid in Boston albeit with Teischan’s ticket $8 more expensive. BUT, here is the rub. While standing in line to buy the tickets I noticed on the HUGE ‘ticket option’ board that the STANDARD tickets (which we were buying) were valid for 3 days! Yes, I appreciate that this enticing offer will not work for everybody — BUT it did for us. We were staying just around the corner and were scheduled to be in Mystic for 3-days. BINGO. So we did visit 3 times, once each day and that was NEAT. That made it extra special. So please NOTE — tickets valid for 3 days.

Yes, Boston has a BIGGER central tank, larger jellyfish displays and a much more expansive penguin display. Plus its location right on the harbor is cool.

But Mystic has a huge outdoor area with the Belugas, sea lions, seals, penguins and turtles. They even have an aviary. And then the ALLIGATORS.

The prices for the shows, ‘feedings’ and refreshments aren’t that bad either. Nearly all the shows — and we saw “Angry Birds 4D” (and it is indeed 4D) and “Wonders of the Arctic” (in the “National Geographic” Theater). At $6/seat that was a good deal. $3 to feed the stingrays and (I think) $3 to feed the birds.

No questions. No hesitation. I wholeheartedly recommend this experience. IF you can make sure that you can at least go twice since you will definitely see more and savor things differently on the second visit.

Related posts:
++++ Search ‘Mystic‘ & ‘Connecticut >>>>

by Anura Guruge

‘Lumoid’ — Another Option For Renting Cameras, Especially Fuji.

by Anura Guruge


Click to ENLARGE and explore here. Use link below to access ‘lumoid.com’.

Click here to access ‘lumoid.com’

I found them a few days ago when I was researching camera rentals — in particular Fujis.

Cheaper than renting from Fujifilm USA but I don’t think they offer as many models. I plan to try them out soon.

Can get a 5% discount code for the first rental by signing up for their newsletter. That was easy enough.

Related posts:
++++ Search ‘Fuji’ and/or ‘images’ for other posts

++++ Check Category ‘Six Images’ >>>>

by Anura Guruge

Fuji Camera Rental Program (U.S.) — All The Available Models & Prices.

by Anura Guruge


Click to ENLARGE and read here. Use link below to access original from the Fujifilm USA website.

Click here to access the original from the Fujifilm USA website.

The notion of renting cameras is really beginning to appeal to me. I am now thinking of renting a X-T1 for a week when we next go to Acadia National Park. It will be the perfect way for me to try out a X-T1 ahead of the X-T2 becoming available — most likely in August or September of this year.

I have found another place to rent Fujis — which might be a tad cheaper. But the above is directly from Fuji USA. So there is, in theory, some guarantee of satisfaction, of not quality. I will keep you appraised.

Related posts:
++++ Search ‘Fuji’ and/or ‘images’ for other posts

++++ Check Category ‘Six Images’ >>>>

by Anura Guruge

Fidelity Investments Mobile APP Not Meant For Heavy Duty Trading.

by Anura Guruge


Click to ENLARGE and view here. Screenshot from Google Play APP store. NOT MY ACCOUNT. But to be on the safe side I redacted the dollar value in case somebody thought I had that much money. I wish. Smile.

Though I have the Fidelity Investments Mobile APP for Android on my pads I do not use it that often. I don’t need to. I am on my PC enough of the time and when I travel I do not trust Wi-Fi to access any of my financial data. So most of the time when I fire up the APP it is to see whether a specific transaction, e.g., a transfer, has occurred or to get a snapshot of my positions.

Whenever I have used it, however, I have had this uneasy feeling of ‘Hhhhmmm … that is different … that is not right’!

So today, Good Friday, with the Markets closed and the ice/sleet precipitation precluding my morning run I had some spare time. I brought my Android Pad up to my desk and checked what the APP showed against what I am used to seeing on my desktop.

And the views are different. And we all know why. They have to cater for the small screen sizes on phones. But the changes are interesting. On the desktop view, the QUANTITY, is the 8th column. In the Mobile APP it is the first. Hhhmmm. Strange that. Most of us, I would have to think, typically know what the quantity we own of a position. Maybe that is just I — probably because I can only afford so few of any position. SMILE.

Since I hadn’t talked to them in weeks — and I like my regular chats with them (and they claim likewise (though they have to say that)) — I called up Fidelity. With the Markets closed I knew it would be a light day for them. Very pleasant and helpful as ever. Confirmed that the views are different.

Also confirmed something else which I suspected. While stock prices will reflect the latest OPTION prices on the APP may not be as up to-date! So if you own lost of options as I do your total account value will be different to what you see on the desktop because of the variation in option prices! Very interesting. And that explained much. I had seen that discrepancy. Now I know.

Also … The APP is not designed to let you do much serious RESEARCH. You need a desktop/laptop for that.

OK? Just wanted to share this. 

Related posts:
++++ Search on ‘ticks‘ for other related posts from past years >>>>

by Anura Guruge

Skiing At Loon Mountain, New Hampshire On February 25, 2016.

by Anura Guruge

Pictures and videos taken by Deanna
with her Olympus Stylus SZ-16.
Images reduced to 1024 x 768
for publication here.

Click pictures to ENLARGE.

24 second YouTube video.


Click to access YouTube video.

Thanks to their participation in the school ski program both kids are big into skiing. Every year they nag me to take them skiing. In my old age, given that I am a 62-year old born in equatorial Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), I am at best a (very) warm-weather skier. Yes, it is true that I used to be a rabid, manic skier who was even known to ski one day, at Waterville Valley, when the temperature was BELOW 0°F (and at that point it doesn’t matter whether you are talking Celsius or Fahrenheit). Plus now I have a mortal fear that I would break something important. 40 years ago I broke all my knuckles on ski poles — but I don’t care about knuckles. Breaking my leg would be inconvenient.

I had not skied the last two years. Teischan did her 1st school ski program this year and was very anxious for a ‘family ski’. So I relented — provided it was warm.

So yesterday, Thursday, February 25, 2016, in the midst of the February 1-week school vacation, we headed up to Loon. I have been skiing at Loon since 1986 — 30 years. I used to ski a LOT at Loon. Devanee likes Loon (as opposed to Gunstock) too — though this was Teischan’s first time skiing at Loon, though she is no stranger to Loon because of our annual visits to the ‘Highland Games‘. Yes, we knew the weather forecast. It was going to be warm and then RAIN late afternoon. Half a day skiing is fine with me and this was ‘OK’.

We got to Loon at 10:20 am. It was foggy (from the melting snow) and gray. I thought something MAJORLY had gone wrong. Loon was EMPTY. The main car park, between the two lodges, had, max., 40 cars! It was empty. And that was the theme for the day. EMPTY.

At noon the clouds and fog dissipated and for two hours we got to ski under bright blue skies. It was so warm I had to take my gloves off. Conditions were NOT bad. Yes, there were some slushy patches but they were easy to see and avoid. It wasn’t hard to ski. I skied mainly with the kids. I think I only did 3 runs on my own. That was OK. Skied quite a bit with Teischan. It started to rain just before 3pm. Teischan and I skied a bit in the rain (which was frozen in the main). Arond 3:15pm we gave up. But we had got a fair amount of skiing since there were NO lines, whatsoever. No lines. Amazing. I love that. Nothing nicer than skiing right upto the gate and getting on. I think there were less than 100 people skiing on the mountain all together! Wow. And it was school vacation. I gather it had been quiet the day before also.

Loon continues to impress BAR for the prices. Cost us $215 for what was 1/2 days skiing — I rented skis (HEAD (which were great) and Teischan got boots and skis. Teischan’s lift ticket was only $10 since we had a coupon from the school ski program. If not for that it would have been another $30 – $40 more. Rentals, fully automated, is a snap. Good equipment. Liked the HEAD skis. No effort required. They turn when you think about turning!

It was a GOOD day followed by an AMAZING late lunch at the INCREDIBLEGypsy Café‘ — a separate post on that coming later today (with luck).

Related posts:
++++ Search ‘Loon‘ for many other posts including those for the ‘Highland Games‘ >>>>

by Anura Guruge

Google’s Balloon-Based Internet Service — Project Loon — Gets Lift Off This Week In Sri Lanka.

by Anura Guruge


Click to access ‘ABC News’ coverage.

I first told you about this in August 2015.

Sri Lanka, with its fairly-roundish 25,300 square mile land mass, is believed to be the second country to be provided with this service by GoogleNew Zealand, another Island nation, having been the first in 2013.

Google will use 3 Helium filled balloons to provide this 3G speed Internet access service. It is, contrary to the initial rumors, NOT going to be FREE after the initial trials! Sri Lankan consumers will have to pay, something, to a local ISP who in turn will have to compensate Google. I guess that makes sense provided Google insists that prices are kept affordable by Sri Lankan standards.

The balloons arrived in Sri Lanka ‘under their own power’! They were floated across from South America. That is neat.

Related posts:
++++ Check Category ‘Sri Lanka‘ on sidebar for lots of other posts >>>>

by Anura Guruge

Buydig.com (My Preferred Camera Store) NO LONGER Selling ‘New’ Fuji Cameras!

by Anura Guruge


Click to ENLARGE and stare at in disbelief. buydig.com

As I have made very plain I see Fuji figuring prominently in my photographic future. Sometime this year a Fuji X-T1 (if a X-T2 has not been announced) will replace my much liked Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 as my main camera. Now that I am actively trying to part with my 3-month old backup camera, the Sony RX100 Mk II I have also been looking at a smaller Fuji as a backup, possibly in the X-E2(S) range. [More this week on the stupidity in the pricing of the X-E2s (the newer camera available in Feb. 2016) and the OLD X-E2, where the new camera is cheaper than the old.]

Since I, for the last 6 months, have tended to buy electronics from BuyDig.com rather than Amazon (though I am an Amazon shareholder and have Amazon Prime), I went over to BuyDig to check prices. I first thought I was missing something. It kept on saying they only had 4 Fuji cameras — those shown above. No X-T1, No X-Pro2, No X-E2 etc.

So I called and got my friend, chief salesman, cousin of the owner and entertainer-in-charge — the aptly named Ray Messiah. It is always fun to talk to THE MESSIAH. He confirmed that they don’t sell many Fujis and that he is not surprised that they don’t list any of the new Fujis. SHAME.

Of course I can get Fujis from Amazon or for that matter Cameta Cameras (who are also immaculate thought they do not, as far as I know, have their own Messiah).

Just wanted to share this. Not good when one of the leading digital online retailers (and that is what the ‘Dig’ indicates — digital) stop selling Fuji.

Related posts:
++++ Search ‘images’ for other posts

++++ Check Category ‘Six Images’ >>>>

by Anura Guruge