Monday, 21 March 2005

Shopping Spree

I went shopping over the week-end and try to learn from my errors of the previous week-end. As I suspected on Tuesday, or rather Monday night, I had managed to completely avoid the big shopping malls in Buckhead when I wandered round the first time. This time I knew better. I went to Lenox Square. This mall is huge! One thing that surprised me though is that in a mall that big, you only have one small book shop. A shopping centre of that size in Europe would probably have at least one major book shop and a few smaller specialised ones. Lenox Square is mainly a food court and lots of jewelry and clothes shops; and a camera shop; that ended up being the bane of my credit card. Luckily, within walking distance of Lenox Square, you also have a large Borders store and Phipps Plaza that has a decent book shop. Phipps Plaza also has a great wine bar, The Grape, where you can sample some excellent wine with food that goes well with it.

So, what was the damage to my credit card? Well, I did the really serious damage first: I went to the Wolf Camera store at Lenox Square. It was a bit difficult to find because they are in a temporary location while the store is being extended but I did find it. I wanted to find a high quality replacement for the 70-300mm telephoto zoom I have. Although that zoom lens is good, it is an old bottom of the range lens and it has not been working that well since I had it repaired after dropping it in Mexico. So I asked the shop assistant what top of the range lens he had that could replace it. So he took out an EOS-3 body, identical to the SLR camera I have, fitted an EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM lens to if and let me try it out. I was blown off my feet! From 100mm to 400mm, the camera fitted with this lens focuses on the subject in milliseconds, even in low light, and the barrel mechanism for the zoom means you can change the focal length much quicker than with a rotating ring while following the subject and shooting in continuous mode. And then there's the image stabiliser. Even though it's not that much bigger than my current 70-300mm, it's heavy enough to warrant being fitted with a tripod ring and that's good because it means the body and lens combination is perfectly balanced on the tripod mount. Even the 4 digit price tag (nearly $1800 including a UV filter) felt justified. So the credit card went into the machine; and survived; just.

Heavier by a few pounds and lighter by a grand or so, I went to the Borders store nearby. I wanted some Manga books that are difficult to find in Europe. I found most of what I was looking for and then came across The Elements of Graphic Design and Where Peachtree Meets Sweet Auburn. The former is a small, well constructed book on graphic design that is meant for printed media but that can be readily applied to the web in most cases, which I intend to do with this site so stay tuned. The second is a historic book about two families from Atlanta, one white, one black, that produced the two most influential mayors of the modern South.

I then went to Phipps Plaza and managed not to buy anything. So to congratulate myself, I had a nice glass of wine at The Grape. Then on the way out, I stopped at River Street Sweets and discovered bear claws. I couldn't resist so I bought two that I ate later. Now that is a calorie bomb but it's so good it's worth the indulgence. Apparently, I am not the only one who can't resist bear claws: President Bush has the same problem. I don't agree with his foreign policy but I definitely agree with his taste in sweets.

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