Saturday, January 31, 2009

Piece by piece

a Super Mario Kart lenticular puzzle

For the last few days I've been rearranging the bunch of stuff that is known as boxes in my apartment. Primarily to make room for doing photography indoors while the weather is cold and snowy outside. People that know me know that this is no minor task as it involves moving some boxes of laserdiscs and other boxes of junk that I've been hording for years.

Some may think the term "Pack Rat" but I'm more fond of the "Saver" label. While they mean the same thing in the end the later seems nicer. Here are the pros and cons of going through stuff.


  1. You can finally let go of that version of C++ that's been outdated 4 versions ago, 3 versions ago, and 2 versions ago, etc...

  2. That's what happened to my (Commodore Pin, Amiga Pin, Back to the Future sunglasses, you get the idea)!

  3. You can make your pile of junk smaller if you can let go of stuff.

  4. You can find other people's stuff and return it to them. (Robin, I think I found some knitting book of yours, only re-misplaced it by putting it in another box.)

  5. There are those that say that if you let go of things you create space for more things or new things to enter your life. Why get rid of the stuff to start it all over again in a few years?

  6. Less storage space required. Which also means that maybe you might have more space to actually live in.


  1. Less stuff also means increased heating and or cooling bills. It's more cost effective to keep solids cold than empty space. This tip works for the refrigerator too.

  2. You find things you haven't seen in a while and maybe didn't want to see.
    • Thesis notes - Wow! That's my writing? Geez, I was smart! What happened?
    • Mold - for example. I have not found mold, just sayin'.
    • Photos - of you doing something dumb and/or geeky when your were less fat.

  3. Sifting through the junk creates reminiscing which means more time sifting.

  4. You wonder why you've been schlepping this stuff around all these years.

  5. You find something you haven't fiddled with in years and now find yourself fiddling with that item taking more time to sift.

I found a few lenticular puzzles I had bought at a book sale a while back. The puzzles were only 100 pieces each but were still a good distraction. Instead I could have been working on clearing out stuff.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

HCRG vs Queen City

Buffalo, only one hour away from Hamilton

The first HCRG (that's Hammer City Roller Girls) game this year took place in Buffalo. The trip was actually quite nice in that it was short and crossing the border was quite a pleasant experience. It's always the luck of the draw when getting to the border as the guard can be angry and tired. Like most people if you catch them on the wrong day they can really make your day long and miserable, even if it is just getting your ID checked and cross examined. The two cars in front of us weren't as lucky. They were asked to pull over to the little building behind the guard stations probably to be asked more questions.

I think more that the trip was short helped. We left at about 4pm from Hamilton and arrived at 5:15pm in Buffalo.

Mental note: I really have to get more photos of the outside of the venues we go to as the only one I got in Buffalo was of the sign as we drove by it.

Inside the rink was a very dark environment for us photographers. It was brightened up by Kevin, one of the photographers that brought in his own florescent tubes to replace all the colored tubing owned by the rink. In order to shoot at 1/200 of a second I still had to crank the ISO up to 3200 at f2.8. Not very optimal and of course focusing in such a dark environment was tricky. I think this is the year I pick up the 200mm f2.0 lens. Yeessss... (as I tap my fingers together)... Now if only I had a first born to sell.

The Rainbow Rink

While not as retro as the rink in Wilkes-Barre, as it lacked the shag carpeting, it was still a dedicated roller rink that looked like it was from the 70s. Same size skating area for the most part as the one in Pennsylvania and complete with disco lighting. I love these old venues.

Disco lights.

The 2009 HCRG Travel Team

The game between Hamilton and Buffalo ended with a score of 73 to 49. There seemed to be a lot of wipe outs this time round. Most notably Judge Jody flying into the spectators and not getting up right away. In the end she seemed alright.

Ivy Rupted had her finger or fingers skated over. They were taped up so she could continue to play. Were they were broken or not? To be determined... but they were not deformed (as one of the Hamilton paramedics observed).

Judge Jody flies into the crowd head first.

Ivy Rupted with her taped fingers... and EMS person.

Friday, January 23, 2009

If you build it...

There are those that say if you visualize something there's a better chance of it materializing in the real world. (ie. "If you build it they will come") While I have had some luck last year getting my photos published in a magazine (thanks to the fashion editor at FAB magazine, Max MacDonald) and some newspapers this year I'd like to concentrate on getting more magazine work... with a studio budget.

And so with the help of a photo session taken yesterday with Ashley Wolstat, model turned actor, I've created this mock up of what might be seen on a magazine, somewhere, some day.

As a personal assignment it's good to know how to frame up a shot for a magazine cover as you need to compose the shot so that you're leaving room for the magazine's title and barcode spot. The beauty of shooting medium format is that you can just shoot, then later once the slide is digitized at 100 megapixels you and pretty much crop out what you don't need.

Since I wasn't shooting with a medium format, I was shooting with my D700, I had to set up the shot in advance in my head with the thought of where all the magazine text would be floating around.

So now that there's an example of work floating around the web ether we'll see if this affects the jobs I get flowing in. Fingers crossed.

If you're feeling a bit stuck in the new year and need help getting motivated out of your rut check out the motivatorman web site and blog.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

It's crock pot month

If you've been poking around looking for updates on this blog lately you may have wondered if the blog has been put on hold or maybe even abandoned. This last month has been pretty non-eventful in that I've been staying at home for the most part playing WarCraft and cooking using the Crock Pot (the slow cooker I purchased just before Christmas).

Since the purchase of the crock pot I have not really eaten any solid non-mushy food at home. That's been a few weeks. Mainly due to experimenting with said crock pot and trying to find good recipes.

For those that don't know crock pots are a very forgiving kitchen device. Where baking may require objects to be in the oven for a specific amount of time (plus or minus 5 minutes), stuff in a crock pot has hours. Even some recipes say between 12 and 18 hours. A six hours difference! It's the perfect slacker cooking device.

person waiting to eat
"Is that pot roast ready?"

slacker cook
"I'll get to it after I level up my character in WarCraft"

....and surprisingly the food still comes out okay.

While this scenario is not far from true events, the food does tend to come out okay. Especially if you're making soups or stews. More experimentation is required for cooking meats however as I'm finding that the meats being made in the crock pot tend to be coming out a bit dry for my taste. More on this to come.

January has been pretty much a crock pot month.

Rice Pudding

Rice pudding in the crock pot

  • 1-1/2 cup cooked rice
  • 16 oz half and half or light cream
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla

  1. cover crock-pot with thin layer of butter.
  2. Place eggs in a bowl, add light cream, sugar & vanilla.
  3. Mix until smooth.
  4. add rice and raisins.
  5. Pour into crock pot.
  6. add a few dashes of nutmeg on top of rice goo.
  7. Set crock pot on high for 30 minutes or cook on low for 2 to 3 hours.

My observation

This recipe turned out more like a rice custard than an actual pudding. It's tasty though. I think I've stumbled on how to make egg custard tarts.... yummy egg custard tarts. That may have to be my next cooking experiment.

Beef Burgundy

  • 1.5 pounds of beef stew meat cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 can of condensed mushroom soup
  • 1 cup of red wine
  • 1 small onion (chopped)
  • 1 can of sliced onions
  • 1 package of onion soup mix
  • 1 table spoon of minced garlic

  1. Throw ingredients into crock pot.
  2. Cook for 6 to 8 hours or until beef is tender.

The Experiment

I was wondering if searing the meat first would make the meat taste less dry so for half the meat I seared it in a wok, the other half I left alone throwing it into the crock pot. About 8 hours later I realized my experiment went wrong when I stirred around the contents to move around the mushroom soup. D'oh!

The meat sampled tastes a bit dry in some and not so much in other pieces. This could be due to fat content rather than searing. More research required.

BEFORE - the meat is in two sections, raw and seared

AFTER - can't really tell what is where thanks to stirring, d'oh.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Montreal makes WFTDA

Georgia W. Tush #40 oz of the Montreal Roller Derby

I just found out today that Montreal has just made the Women's Flat Track Derby Association. There was a race to see who could be the first team from Canada between Montreal and Hamilton for what seemed like a pretty long time.

As a Hamilton fan the first thing that came to my mind was "What happened?". As a Montreal fan I say "Woo woo!". Technically you have to be a fan for teams you have friends on. In that case I'm probably a fan of derby in general. Shouting "Texas, Texas, Kill, Kill, Kill", to the rhythmic thumping for the Liberty Belles, to the "H-C-R-G" battle cry. It's all great derby... and now some of it will be in Canada officially. Woo woo!

With the Montreal Canadiens 100th hockey year is seems only fitting that the roller derby girls make WFTDA to diffuse some of that hockey craziness. Roller derby a major Canadian sport? Why the heck not?