Motel Max

At what point is a motel over the top when it comes to customer satisfaction and presentation? When does it become ridiculous? Are they really that competitive?  I'm sure a lot of people out there have much higher standards than we do when it comes to our expectations of a motel room. They are the ones that will pick up the phone to gripe about the tiniest little thing--too lazy to even go to the lobby in person.

We are not like that.

Because we are not lavish, money-spending people, we are a bit taken aback when we are experiencing something that is way, way over the top. Opulence is something we don't experience on a regular basis. Sometimes we shake our heads in wonder at how ridiculous certain things we see are. The Best Western motel we stayed at in Seaside, Oregon on Saturday night is one of those places.

We knew it wouldn't be cheap because we were buying a room that was right on the beach, but it's an extravagance that we will sometimes bestow upon ourselves for one reason or another. In other words, it's a rarity.  We knew we walked into another level of motel room this time though. The signs were all around us.  When it comes right down to it, it's just a motel room. Its not overly large. It has all the things your usual motel room has. It's clean, has clean towels, all the usual soap, shampoo, fridge, and microwave.  It's the other things that I'm talking about.

Let's start with the kitchenette. On the counter top sat a kitchen towel--fan-folded.  It was saying, "Welcome!  See how fancy we are?"  It had a dishwasher too. I guess we should have taken some dishes, silverware, and pots & pans with us. No wait--they were already there! Okay, there were no pots or pans, but everything else was there. Even a corkscrew.   But then, that goes without saying, right? After all, what good is a fireplace without wine?  And you need a corkscrew to open your wine.  Wait a minute--fireplace?! Yep. Not real of course... That would be a liability. No, this one was naught more than a light switch on the wall. It looks real though, doesn't it?

The stuff in the bathroom was a whole category of its own. Washcloths that were folded into fans and placed carefully in a visually-appealing way.  The toiletry products that were placed in a nice pattern were also very visually appealing.  There was even a Kleenex that was fan-folded and greeting us.  Both of us were afraid to disturb it when we needed to blow our nose, and reached for a fresh one in the box instead.   There was a fancy shower head that was bent upward in a graceful way, and finished with an above average shower head on it. That's not all folks. How about a wall phone right between the toilet and the shower? Yep. Apparently, that's so when you're sitting there on the toilet and you feel the need to complain about the quality of the toilet paper, or maybe the shower water is 2° too cool to be satisfactory. Crazy.  I was tempted to call them and tell them how disappointed I was that the light green soap box in the toiletry presentation was upside down but I refrained. Also, the light over the bathroom sink was a little overdone. Why do you need a 4-lamp fixture in a motel room anyway? I'll tell you why: Because it's extravagant!

Lots of other things that were 'above and beyond' were crammed into that motel room too.  Things like the ceiling fan over the bed, a reading chair with a footstool, a pull-down Murphy bed with a couch, and a 37" (What? Only 37?!) Visio flat screen TV and a DVD player. Speaking of TV's... This is also the first place I have ever stayed that has "clean" remotes. I guess it caters to those of of us that make sure to use an sanitary wipekin on our grocery carts before pushing them through a store.

Yeah, I make fun, but it was probably the nicest customer service and stuff I've ever gotten at a motel.  The bed was the nicest I've ever slept in at a motel.  As many of us know, a lot of the motels that have a 'lock' on a particular location will just give you the minimum standard, knowing you'll pay regardless because of its particular location.  Kudos to the staff and management at the Ocean View Resort.  They treat people pretty well.

Gearin' Up

I've been whiny about my camera for quite a while now.  I'm quick to point the blame at it when it fails me in some sort of color or exposure situation.  I don't blame it when I don't compose a picture right, or when I just plain screw up.  I also fail to give it a thumbs-up when I get a batch of pictures that is really good.

The plain truth is I needed to upgrade.

I needed it so I could stop blaming the camera and zero in on the idiot-behind-the-lens factor.  I needed it to give me a mental refresh.  I needed it so I could once again be inspired to get out there and stretch my photography skills a bit.  I was also a little jealous of Sue's new camera.  It sounded so precise and it felt so precise--It was just a whole new level of camera.  Even though I'm fully aware that you can take phenomenal pictures with any camera, I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel left behind when she upgraded.  I hesitated for a long time--mostly for monetary reasons.  I also kept coming back to the gnawing voice inside my head that said, "If you get a nice camera, you will be solely to blame if you still crappy shots, and you'll never hear the end of it."

I have been watching cameras on Craigslist and on a photography geek forum that I peruse a lot, and had a hard time deciding on what to get.  I thought I knew the level I of equipment I wanted, but wasn't sure until lots of time and research went by.  It boiled down to a "bang for your buck" thing.

So yesterday I bought a 7D.

I had to buy a Canon of course, because that's what all of our lenses fit.  To boil it down to layman's terms, there are two types of cameras in the digital SLR world:  Full frame sensor and non-full frame (also known as crop sensor).  Full frame cameras are the cream of the crop for professional photography.  The 7D is the top of the crop sensor line.  I guess they call it a crop sensor camera for professional photography.  Obviously, it's a lot of camera for me.  It was used, but looks brand new in every way.  It came in the box with everything it was sold with--some of it still unopened.  I got it for almost exactly half of what the guy paid for it a year ago.  He apparently came to realize that he didn't use it enough.

Sue was pretty miffed.  Not that I spent the money, but because the 7D was the camera she wanted when she bought her brand new 60D.  When we sat down and ran down a comparison I found on the web (and physically comparing them side by side), we found them to be identical is so many ways that they are like brother and sister.  Mine shoots faster than hers if I put it on continuous and just hold the shutter down, but so what?  That's a feature I hardly ever use anyway.  They are both just about equally complex too, so we can help each other out when we discover something new or can't figure out how to do something.

Am I intimidated by its complexity?  You bet!  Do I like it?  You bet!

Now what the heck am I going to whine about?