Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Cat Power -- Empty Shell

Check out the Sunset we had in Los Angeles tonight... it would have been a bit better had I not been shooting through the windowglass, but hey. You get the idea.

Monday, January 30, 2006

The Walkmen -- I'm Never Bored

What a wonderful day. Crisp and cool. Not clear -- hazy, in fact, but still, crisp and cool.

I have so much to say. But today I am saying it with my eyes. See? Hmm. The simplest wiggle of my brow speaks volumes. I'd post a vid, but I'm busy.

Trust me. Volumes.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

George Harrison -- Isn't it a Pity

We've had such a mild winter so far that everyone is feeling like it's freezing, and it's in the upper 60s. Very funny.

You know what I want today? Not a $550 camera, no! Just a single piece of Mexican tamarind candy. I got some at a Mexican market I visited with my mom a couple weeks ago. It's dried tamarinds with the seeds in that are coated in chili and sugar and other stuff --it's the really good taste of sweet and sour and hot all together.

And like many other good things, terribly unhealthy, it turns out --just two days ago I learned from news articles that a new law took effect Jan 1 in CA that bans the sale of a bunch of different brands of chili-and-tamarind-based candies, including the brand I think I got, due to high levels of lead. I'm not sure how the lead is getting into the candies, but there you go. Figures. I think what I need to do is learn to use tamarind in cooking. Yeah.

One thing I got at the Mexican market that's NOT lead-filled, apparently, is dried Hibiscus( Jamaica en Espanol) flowers. I made Agua de Jamaica, which is a gorgeous drink that's kind of like Pomegranate juice in that it's a complex taste, not one-note like orange juice or lemon juice. All you do is boil the flowers with a ton of sugar until the flowers lose their purple color and turn almost white and translucent. By then you've boiled a bunch of the water away, and the remaining juice is nice and kind of thick. I managed to get mine perfect -- just enough sugar to balance out the sourness but not enough to make it sweet. It's good stuff and, as you'd figure with traditional Mexican food since before the Europeans came over, probably, it goes well with Mexican food.

Mmmm, tengo hambre... nos vemos!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

David Byrne -- Glass, Concrete & Stone

2006 is going pretty well so far. I am working and for some reason, don't have a lot to say. It's odd. It's not like I'm really into my job or anything, it's just that I'm not into much I'd like to express. I am looking at new cameras, but it's a silly game because I can't afford one. My existing camera still works fine, and I just got a tripod to help with taking low light pictures that I want to focus on, like after sunset landscapes and that sort of thing, so it's not like I don't have a perfectly good camera. It's just that when I got my camera three years ago, what I really wanted was the Fuji S602Z, and I couldn't justify getting it. So now the current model is the Fuji S9000, and I certainly can't justify getting that, but in a year or so I will. It's got all the bells and whistles you can get in a non dSLR camera -- you can do everything auto or manually, and it's got manual zoom and manual focus rings on the barrel, so you use it like you would a dSLR. It also has dSLR things like a hotshoe for attaching an external flash, ability to do long exposures, so you can get cool night shots and junk, and it's got an insane equivalent range of 28 mm to 300mm, which is nice. Also, it has ISO equivalent sensitivity of 80 to 1600. The 1600 is "noisy" but the people who care about such things forget how "noisy" 1000 speed film was. And also, there are great plug ins for Photoshop like Neat Image or Noise Ninja that do a kick ass job of cleaning up noise, so I don't care. I want to be able to get more shots more places. I was toying briefly with the idea of getting a dSLR, since it's a couple hundred more but a big jump in quality in some respects, but SLR cameras with changeable lenses means dust in the camera, and I'm not good about keeping things clean, so that would be a pain, and I know I'm not going to want to lug around different lenses. I'll end up getting the S9000 or whatever Fuji makes to replace it and I'll be immensely happy. In a year or two when I am financially better off. Or perhaps I'll just tell people who give me birthday and chanukah presents to give me cash for my camera fund -- you can get the camera online for $500 or so, so it's not like it'll take forever to save if I am disciplined. Hmmm... I am totally chaotic and TERRIBLE with finances. Never mind. I'm never gonna get my dream camera....

It's amazing, because you can buy a film SLR that would be fine for me for $200, but I'd never take photos because of the cost of film. That's what makes the digital camera, especially a Fuji, worth three times the cost. You take however many shots you want and only print out the ones you want. And the difference between Fujis and other brands seems to be, from what I've seen and read, is that the Fuji electronics is tweaked a bit to ensure the best print quality, so it works out. I hardly ever make prints, but I'll be getting more this year as I find more creative ways to use photography in gifts.

Anyway. That's all that's on my mind, and it certainly wasn't worth typing out, was it?

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Josef Myslivecek- Sym in G Presto

I am working. It's late, but this has to be done, and it's easy, though mindless. Basically, I'm comparing two sets of data, looking for discrepancies. It's exciting. Check me out, pluggin' away for The Man.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Beethoven -- Sym 5

So I had a really nice restful weekend. Watched movies, slept in, exercised a lot. Saturday I did 50 minutes of treadmill, basically jogging until I had to slow down, then walking until I could start jogging again. And Sunday I went hiking for a few hours.

And I hate physical exercise. I get hives when I exercise. If my heartrate gets too high, my heart starts to skip beats. And my knees hurt when I go downhill. But after I've been at it for twenty or thirty minutes, it starts to feel good, and I always feel better after exercising. I didn't make a New Year's resolution, it just has worked out that way. And I'm losing weight while I'm at it, and that's good.

I saw "The Machinist" this weekend. Creepy movie, really good, with Christian Bale. His character hasn't been able to sleep in a year. We know going in that obviously, at some point, we'll have to figure out WHY he hasn't been able to sleep, but it's really interesting getting there. The famous thing about this movie is that Christian Bale lost 60-something pounds for the movie. But it's his acting that makes the movie work. They could get any number of really skinny guys to act in the movie but Christian Bale was awesome. This movie really creeped me out, much more so than most thrillers or horror flicks, because it so marvelously "fleshed out" Bale's character and the environs in the movie... really affecting me.

I also saw "The Shipping News" and definitely want to read the book. I liked the movie a lot, but I could recognise a certain feeling of condensation, like there were markers on the screen for things much more weighty in the book.

Anyway. Today Ariel Sharon is breathing on his own. It's weird, waiting around to see what happens, wondering if he's going to be able to think or talk, billions of people around the world in the same position, really. The news shows are using it as education on strokes, and the different kinds, since he had both in less than a month... baruch ata hashem, rofeh ha'cholim.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Silver Scooter -- Pumpkin Eyes

Well, I'm back at work. The holidays are Done. And I'm trying to get productive. It's not happening today. Too many confusing things to try and organize. So I'm working, but it's like moving through the La Brea Tar Pits.

I am enjoying Luis Alberto Urrea's The Hummingbird's Daughter immensely. And all the more because this is a great aunt or some such relative he is writing about. The book is a novelized treatment of the life of Teresita, who was a big figure in Mexican history and revered during her life as a healer and saintly figure. She died on January 11, 1906, at what then and there among the poor of Mexicon an old age of 33. So next Wednesday is the 100th anniversary of her death, and I'll be about finished with her story. Very cool.