Showing posts from June, 2010

First Part

This past Friday I bought a camera on Amazon. In fact the nicest camera I've bought since the one I purchased while in college for a trip I was taking to Greece.

I've been very slow to move over to a digital SLR. Part of the reason is that since I use glasses I find it liberating to be able to use the back of the camera for framing the shot and focusing and such.

With SLRs you use the viewfinder since it's a single lens system. SLR = single lens reflex The light enters through the lens and goes to the film computer imaging chip. So what you see is what you get. Of course it's not quite that simple with digital SLRs but it's still close. So that means I have to peer through that nasty little viewfinder.

As you can probably tell, it wasn't the camera that sold me on upgrading to a dSLR. In this case it was the printer that was bundled with the system. Or more accurately, there was a $400 rebate if you bought the printer with the camera and since the printer was $4…

Canoeing in the Heat

Today is another hot day.

I've lost track of how many days in a row it's been over 90 but it's been quite a few. And today's just one more on the list.

This morning at 8:30 a few friends and I went canoeing on Lake Michie in Durham. It was so humid I had to keep wiping off the lens of my camera. *whew* As soon as we got on the water the sweat was pouring off us.

The rentals were very reasonable. Six dollars a half-day (6 hours max) for Durham residents and 8 dollars for non-residents. Since they're tandem canoes, it's 3 dollars per person. Not bad.

We only stayed out for a few hours but it was more than enough. I think I lost 3 pounds in sweat.

The picture above is one that Juliet took of me to get back at me for all the ones I took of her when she wasn't expecting it. I'm bad that way. Since I was facing the wrong way and just shooting over my shoulder---not many turned out. Most of them are of the bottom of the boat. Oops.

The picture to the left is from w…

It Bee Hot

Yesterday after work, in the 100 degree heat, I decided to go over to Sarah Duke Garden and take some pictures of the grounds.

Foolish? Hell yeah.

The walking at Duke wasn't nearly as bad as sitting in the car at all the stop lights though. Going from Chapel Hill to Durham is a real pain in the patootie.

How do you like that picture? I just happened to get the bee leaving the flower. Just lucky.

After I got all hot and sweaty, I went to the Nasher Museum. I'd never been there before and the admission is free on Thursday.

Damn good thing. That's one weenie little museum. I can't believe they charge money to go there the other days of the week. The museum is only a few hundred yards from Sarah Duke so it's an easy 2 for 1 and parking is free at the Garden after 5pm.

How do you like that bridge? It used to be white and now it's BRIGHT red. It's very noticeable but I think I liked it better before.

It might not be paint though. When I got closer, the bridge actually l…

Mexican stand off

This is what last night's dinner ended up looking like.

Here's the pan right after I pulled it out of the oven.

I ate dinner while watching Top Chef and then Work of Art: The Next Great Artist, both on Bravo.

I really like the art show. It's refreshing to see their talent displayed in contrast to the nastiness that so often dominates reality shows. That said, some of the artists are inflexible---and the worst of that ilk got bumped off the show this week. Awww. :-D

An interesting difference in the two shows is that while they've both just started (I think Artist has been on one week longer) I've got a much better feel for the contestants on Artist than on Top Chef. I wonder if that's just me or if the personality types or show format are the cause.

This is the first serving I had. I ended up having a second one before I was through.

I jumped the sauce from mild to medium heat and it tastes better this way. My changing the cheese from Jack to a blend of Italian chees…

a late dinner

I didn't get started on dinner until almost 9pm so I wanted to fix something fast.

If I was smart I'd have just made some cheese and crackers and munched on them while watching tv but instead I went Mexican.

But very easy Mexican. I used the recipe on All Recipes that I mentioned last week to make Green Chicken Enchiladas. Yum.

First I sauteed some chicken, then I layered the chicken and cheese on some flour wraps. Rolled them up and put them in a pan. Poured green chile sauce over them and baked in an over for 30 minutes.

That's as far as I've gotten so far but I hope to be eating in another 15 minutes or so. :-)

I changed the cheese from Monterrey Jack to an Italian blend. I hope that doesn't end up tasting funny. :-(


I'm in SC this weekend visiting with my parents. Father's Day is tomorrow, y'know?

I did my normal 3am to 7am drive. There was an unusual amount of traffic but even so it was sparse compared to drives during the day.

The books over there on the left were gleaned during a shopping expedition this morning at a couple of used book stores near here. I spent $38 and change on books that listed at $113. They should keep me busy for a few weeks.

I didn't go kayaking today. By the time I'd talked a bit with my parents and made sure my parents dog had enough attention the temp outside was over 83 and way too humid for paddling. I think I'll hit the water tomorrow morning before the sun is up.

Chicken and watermelon for dinner tonight!

Pet Peeve

It's been a while since I've posted a pet peeve so here's the one for the month: Why do studies have to exaggerate?

Journalists and regular people too. I read a puff piece in the paper today about how you can save money and oil by using mass transit to commute. That's an obvious truth and well worth an article in the paper from time to time, I guess. Though it's so obvious who's it going to inform?

But my peeve is the exaggeration they use in these things. According to the article people typically save $7,000 a year in gas by using mass transit and they use several people as illustrations and they claim to save $6,000 to $8,000. Then the article goes on to quote a $9,000 annual savings from the American public Transportation Association (who obviously has a vested interest in quoting a high number).

Well... what in hell are these people driving? I get around 30 miles per gallon (actually 33.2 recently) and with gas costing in the $2.40 - 2.65 range, that's ro…

Mexican on Sunday

It's a mite steamy out there today. The temp is 92 at 2pm with high humidity and it's supposed to reach 97 today.

And thunderstorms in the late afternoon. When the rain hits the pavement it's just gonna turn into steam. *whew*

Over there on the left you see a couple of pictures from the NC Zoo from last week. Bison this time. That fellow looks rather moth-eaten. The second picture is of some of his friends. Also rather moth-eaten. And dusty too.

Change of topic---last night Cry invited me over to her place for dinner. She saw a Mexican recipe on the All Recipes website that she wanted to try out.

The recipe is called Green Chicken Enchilada and it's made using shredded boneless chicken breasts and shredded Monterey Jack cheese wrapped up in flour tortillas with green enchilada sauce covering the bundles as they bake.

Very simple and quite good. We were both impressed with how tasty they were especially considering how easy it was to make them. Some Mexican rice on the side…


Here's two pictures of faces that I took at the NC Zoo last weekend.

The theme also carries over into a TV show I watched last night. Bravo's new reality show, Work of Art: The Next Great Artist, had as their first elimination challenge creating a portrait of one of the other contestants in half a day. Most of the 14 contestants were realists but there were a few abstracts as well.

How can you do an abstract portrait? "Here's your painting. Just pretend it looks like you."

In any case I liked the show. There's a lot of reality shows out there but as far as I know this is the first one that features artists and I found it to be refreshing. Some of the contestants have a lot of experience others are totally unknown. Sometimes you really wonder how they decide which people to pick for these shows.

For example, on that Gordon Ramsey show, Hell's Kitchen, everyone smokes---common in the cooking area but is it THAT common?---and they're mostly odd with little i…

Big Bird

I took a bunch of pictures of the ostriches but most of them weren't very interesting.

I got lots of blurry pics due to the low light early in the morning. The field with the ostriches was my first stop at 9am. These 3 pictures are okay tho.

Here we have a big bird who appears to be small due to its audience of 5 giraffes (the 5th is hiding behind the tree and you can only see the head). The ostrich is keeping its head down and trying not to create trouble. Or I could be anthropomorphizing a bit.

I have a number of good pictures of the giraffes. They're much more photogenic, especially in low light. Their fur reflects light a lot better than does the dowdy feathers of the ostriches.

What should I name this?

Friends of a feather maybe. Or ruffled feathers? Maybe the sky is falling though I think Chicken Little owns that one.

Lemur Island

Yesterday I went to the NC state zoo in Asheboro.

I got there at 9am, which is when they open, and I stayed until 3pm. I probably walked around 6 miles during those 6 hours, maybe 7 and my calves are a little sore. And I'll tell you, it was damn hot. And humid. It was supposed to hit the low 90s on Sunday and it sure felt like it.

Those fellers there on the left are ring tailed lemurs. Lemur Island is the newest attraction at the NC Zoo and they have a number of ring tailed lemurs there and supposedly some red-ruffed lemurs too. The only one I saw stayed semi-hidden under a rock ledge---you can see him in the picture at the bottom of this post.

I took a bunch of pictures at the zoo so I'll probably be posting a few more before I get tired of looking at them. :-)

Veggies in a few weeks

I posted on Friday a picture of Cry's garden so I figured I'd best put up one of my own admittedly rather small garden area showing the progress since I posted about it's start 3 weeks ago.

You might notice the two circled areas. The area circled in black, near the top, is of my first tomatoes. They're very small and green right now, but in a couple of weeks I expect they'll be plump and red. That plant is a grape tomato so the fruit isn't going to get all that big.

The other tomato plant, the one in front, is Roma so while a little bigger, that one isn't going to have huge tomatoes either. And over there on the right is a bell pepper plant.

The white circled area shows my newest plant. It's a bean plant that resulted from one of the seeds given to me by Cry in payment for helping her with her trellis. So far the second seed hasn't germinated. :-(


This past weekend I helped a friend build a lattice for some of the plants in her garden, especially the beans.

This is what it looked like when it was done.

She had bought the wood with a different building style in mind so this lattice is a compromise between her view of what she wanted, my view of what she needed, and the constraint of the wood that we had on hand. Neither of us felt like running out to get more wood, y'see.

I've labeled a few points of interest on the lattice. (A) is where some screws can be seen jutting out of the structure. (she calls it the Contraption) Since I thought we were using 2x2 lumber I'd brought screws with me that would penetrate most of the way through 2 of those. Instead we had some 1x2s and those screws were a mite exposed on the other side. Oops.

(B) is where a knot caused a 1x1 to buckle requiring a somewhat ugly fix. I just screwed a length of 1x1 over the knot area so that the whole thing wouldn't buckle. That would be a very bad …

24 in 36

Early Tuesday evening I started having nasty sinus headaches as a storm rolled over the area. No surprise there. Anyone subject to sinus headaches knows that the  changes in barometric pressure, which often accompany storm fronts, can trigger sinus issues as the pressure inside the head doesn't reflect the pressure outside the head.

Of course this is only true if the sinus passages are clogged. With many of us, that's often the case. If this clogging lasts long enough a sinus infection occurs, less time and you might run a fever as bugs spike a bit but then it goes away. Fortunately when I have problems it's usually been the latter so the "ordeal" runs its course over 3-5 days.

Today (actually yesterday since it's after midnight now) I stayed home from work because of the fever starting. Fever's an interesting thing. It can make experiences more intense even as it causes muscle aches and more frequent trips to the bathroom.

You see, I had recorded the entire…