Sunday, January 31, 2010

Cold start

Ivy shows off her one piece thermal wear

The first practice scrimmage of the year had Hammer City go up against the Tri-City girls of kitchener. It took place in an arena some where (I left my GPS at Chainsaw's place) in or near Caledonia. As a passenger in a car I'm terrible at figuring out where I am if I'm not paying attention.

Getting ready to scrimmage

The arena was cold. According to my thermometer, it was 2° C. Not quite freezing but cold enough to see your breath. The concrete was cold to sit on. The few spectators that showed sat in lawn chairs with blankets.

Dicey warms up

Sin-e-star blocks Dicey

Lippy from Tri-city scoots around the track taking lead jammer

view from the stage.

Boom and Chainsaw Mary freeze while performing the duties of the penalty box

Miss Carriage takes on ninja like properties

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Beaches Photo Walk

The sewage treatment plant (N43 39.810 W79 19.042)

Our photographic adventure started at 10:00. The 10am thing is a pretty hard sell. Getting up early on a weekend when all your body wants to do is sleep can be a major undertaking just by itself. Having to, in addition, lug that same sleepy body across town to be meet in front of a sewage plant in a park for 10:00 near a body of water in the winter, that's just crazy.

If I haven't stated it before I'll state it now. The photos that you get that are great looking are generally proportional to the crappy weather conditions. The crappier the environment outside, the better the photos. Like any great photographers there were actually a bunch of the meet up group out early braving the elements even before I arrived.

Paul walking on the hill (N43 39.799 W79 19.028)

A bunch of them were just standing around making it easy to spot where we were meeting. All those people talking in a clump with all that photo gear. Some were off shooting nearby. Lying on their stomaches shooting up at the sky, aiming at the water sewage plant, taking photos of one another.

By 10:18 gps time, the group left the sewage plant to wander toward queen street. We walked along a board walk and a few dog owners. There was one energetic black dog that ran around all of us at terribly fast speeds. I've never seen so many photographers trying to take photos of a dog before. I think the owner was a bit at awe as well.

A dog on the boardwalk (N43 39.878 W79 18.676)

After unsuccessfully trying to take a photo of the dog by following it, I stretched out, stomach to the board walk and waited for the dog to pass by with my camera set to a predetermined focus. It was good in theory and I didn't have to move. It took about two minutes but the dog, I suppose being curious, saw me and decided to get closer to see what I was up to. click.

The library owl (N43 40.215 W79 17.916)

We found ourselves in front of the Beach library and this owl. Again, a horde of photographers shooting the same thing from different angles.

Sometimes it's worth photographing things in color (N43 40.263 W79 17.797)

The Leuty life guard station (N43 40.019 W79 17.704)

Bunch of rocks (N43 40.021 W79 17.703)

More rocks (N43 39.983 W79 17.696)

Icicles (N43 39.983 W79 17.695)

Jose, Photographer (N43 39.985 W79 17.696)


Iced plant (N43 40.326 W79 16.671)

Close up of the iced plant (N43 40.329 W79 16.672)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Dinosaur Porn

Dave Miller reads an excerpt.

I know what you're thinking. "What the heck is DinoPorn? Sex with dinosaurs?". No. Maybe. Yes? To start off, in this particular case, it's a bunch of writers that under the heading "dinosaur porn" submitted a bunch of stories, poems, etc for a book.

The submissions were taken, the book was made, then some of the writers were invited to speak at the "Super Market". The "Super Market" is a local restaurant in Kensington Market, Toronto. The restaurant is separated into two areas. It has the front room or the dining area and a back area where small events like this "Dino Porn" event can take place.

Tonight was the night of the readings. I showed up to hear David Miller, to photograph, and to get out of the house where I was in chicken pot pie mode.

There were three sets. I missed the first part of the first set and missed most of the last speaker's reading. It seemed pretty high brow. Big words that sort of floated over your head if you were in sleep mode. Dry, not very entertaining. I'm sure it was better than I thought. Most of my brain power was going to figuring a way to photograph through the crowd. One of the disadvantages of getting to a venue late.

During the second set, and I had moved to a better location by this point, a reader read her story about sex in an airplane bathroom stall. I was amazed at the amount of detail she wrote regarding the bathroom stall's geography. Pretty accurate, I know this from taking photos in several (that's another story).

The sexy 'C', a clever concoction celebrating character characteristics

In the third set Dave read an excerpt about a father and son and a web site dedicated to geriatric sex. He was followed by another author (pictured above) that had a bunch of submissions, one on fonts of all things, and another about dinosaur gang bangs. They were funny. It wasn't just the words strung together, it was the actual reading, the presentation. I laughed. The audience laughed. We all applauded at the end.

It should be noted that should one be looking for cute brainy girls these reading events is the thing to go to. Just an observation.

Easy as pie... chicken pot pe

The freshly made chicken pot pie ready to be eaten

For the last month I've had a seed planted in my head to make chicken pot pie. I've been looking around for recipes and in the end found one on that looked good. It had a three fork rating (out of four). Every dish I've picked to make off this site has given great results. Maybe it's just my luck with food.

Once the recipe was found the next step was to make sure I had the proper tools. By that I mean bakeware. Most chicken pot pie recipes that I found were of the single pie feed your whole family variety. I didn't want to make one big pie, I wanted to make individual sized pies en mass. This meant finding something to bake a bunch of pies in.

Whatever number of years ago when I used to go to the store to get frozen chicken or turkey pot pies as comfort food they were sized for one person. Sure you might eat more than one in a single meal but they were small pies. I couldn't and still can't imagine having a single big pie. It just seems wrong.

That said, eating chicken or turkey pot pies in pubs, I've noticed an ugly trend. The "pies" being served now tend to come out in a casserole dish. Instead of being surrounded by pie crust, it's got a single layer of pastry on the top and only on the top. Lame. Oh, so lame.

Today I was determined to make these individual pies.

The hard part was finding cookware that allowed you to make a bunch of pies together in one batch. Cupcake/muffin trays were too small. Small cake pans or Pyrex, Corningware dishes would work but you'd only have one pie at a time. You could buy multiple dishes but that just seemed nightmarish. Having a bunch of small dishes in the oven seemed less convenient and maybe even unsafe. Maybe one would knock over a pie while putting in another pie. Those oven rack wires aren't that close together after all. Goo all over, a cleaning nightmare, a pie lost. A pie lost (I'm repeating this for emphasis). Say 'No' to individual pie containers.

Doing some shopping for other things I stumbled across the texas muffin trays of the Baker's Secret line at Canadian Tire (They're more than just tires after all). The trays were the perfect size.

what follows is the recipe with my modifications...

bakes 12 "texas muffin" sized pies


The filler

It's the recipe on the only additions I made was that I used 1 table spoon of starch in the broth to thicken it and added 1 cup of finely shredded carrots (mainly because there's an abundance of carrots in the refrigerator).

Pie shell

  • 4 1/2 cups of flour
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teasp0on of baking power
  • 1 cup of butter (1 brick)
  • 1 cup of cold water

  1. sift flour into bowl
  2. add baking powder
  3. add salt
  4. mix
  5. chop butter brick into 16 pieces
  6. using fingers mix the flour mixture and butter, crumbling each piece of butter into smaller pieces
  7. Using a large wooden spoon mix butter and flour, add water slowly until there are evenly mixed small clumps of dough
  8. put mixture into refrigerator overnight
  9. line the muffin pan with butter or some other non stick substance

  10. make 12 balls of dough roughly 7 cm (2 1/2 inches) in diameter

  11. flatten balls of dough so they are about 11 cm (5 inches) in diameter (if using a Tupperware mat just make sure the inner circle is covered)

  12. insert each flattened ball of dough into buttered muffin tray (this makes the bottom of the pie)

  13. Fill with chicken mixture

  14. To attached top crust to pie poke a fork into the pie (see above photo) and push toward the edge of the pie (in the photo to the left). Not only will this create holes for steam but will hopefully attach the top crust to the rest of the pie.

  15. A extra hole on the top for steam doesn't hurt.

  16. Even if the tops of the pies don't stick, the crust on the sides should be thick enough to be able to pull the pie out in one piece barely unscathed.

  17. Bake in oven for 35 minutes at 375 °F

yummy chicken pot pie!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Photo workshop

Took a photo workshop today down on Queen street at the Snowball gallery. I really wasn't sure what to expect. I heard about it through a facebook events posting. There was no description other than the group would learn more about shooting in manual camera settings and that we would go outside to take some photos.

The course was a lot more introductory that I thought but it was still good meeting the photo instructor and the other "students". What really made the workshop fun was the photo hunt we did. We were given a small slip of paper with items to shoot.
  1. something bigger than you
  2. something that makes you happy
  3. some where that you would spend time in
  4. signs of the future or past
  5. and then the catch all, a photo showing order/chaos (and some other things I can't remember)

We were sent out into the neighbourhood and were given 45 minutes and a limit of 10 photos to come back with photos of the items in the list.

I went with #5, order, photographing repetitive patterns in the end. I'll admit trying to photograph subjects in the other categories just wasn't coming to me. There were a few dog photos that could have gone under something that makes me happy but in the end I didn't think they were good enough to show.

Yes, after submitting the photos we uploaded them onto a computer and were critiqued. It was actually quite a good experience. The instructor had a lot of supportive input and suggestions on how we could make the photos better.

Above is one of the photos I shot that we deemed as a "favourite". One photo from each photographer was selected (deemed a favorite) and may show up on a web site some where.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Spadina Photowalk

The bird house at the park on the southern end of Spadina (N43 38.229 W79 23.531)

Wow, was it ever cold today. Met up with some other photo enthusiasts and took photos of Spadina avenue. We started at the southern end working our way up to Dundas and dim sum. On the way there some of the cameras started freezing. So much so that the shutters in some of them stopped working.

Ice floes

Walking toward dim sum

Jose with a polariod!

Friday, January 01, 2010

New Year's Cleaning

Cleaning the bathroom shelf and mirror

While a majority of the country was probably still sleeping or nursing a hangover from last night's New Year celebrations I was wide awake at 8:30am and making my way back to the old place for a day's worth of cleaning.

The bathroom, you can eat off the toilet

The bedroom, no dust bunnies here.

The living room, less stuff then when I moved in

taking apart the refrigerator for a through cleansing

I noticed the refrigerator was forming mold in the rubber under the freezer door. I started cleaning that and before long I had taken the fridge apart to clean all parts under the shelves.