1/18/09

It's not a Nikon....


.....but it is an SLR! Let me start by saying, has it really been almost six months since my last entry? That's terrible. Long story short, I got laid off from my last job, got a better job, have had a chance to make some new friends (like, real friends, not just people to go watch a movie with...), ended up with a German Shepherd puppy, and recently gotten into photography. I can actually afford to do that now. I did end up moving since my last bike post.....I have the bike still, but the town is much bigger and hilly. Suffice to say, during winter photography is much easier. If you want to see some of my pictures, go to flickr and look for thayne2k. Anyhoo...... the camera is a Minolta Maxxum 5, and it takes pretty good pictures for only having a Quantaray (i.e., Ritz store brand) lens. I'm also about to purchase a Pentacon Six medium format camera, so hopefully I know what I'm doing by the time that gets here. (It's coming from a private seller in Hungary.) OH!!! and I almost forgot about Lost! It's back on again if you hadn't heard. I actually haven't had a chance to watch tonight's episode which I have recorded; I was watching some season one with a friend who is just now starting to watch it. (She has a lotttt of catching up to do.) What else.....hm. My betta is still alive and kicking. Or ....finning? Had I mentioned my betta? In any case it's late and i'm tired, but now I have introduced some newer topics for posting in the very near future.

9/18/08

Vancouver!





I have to make this quick, but even still, I'm blogging in another country! (Yes, Canada counts.) I don't know what I've been doing; Vancouver is only a four and a half hour drive away. I guess I've just wasted some trips to Boise and the Oregon Coast. I need to come back here for longer next time. I also need to stay in a different part of town; the trendy downtown monied people aren't quite my people. Even still, it's clean, the women are gorgeous (and often French!), and you can find any sort of delicious Asian food just about anywhere in town, at any time. I'll edit this later with more exposition.


UPDATE 9/23

As I was saying, Vancouver is awesome. I think my next trip will focus exclusively on Chinatown, Granville, and Commercial. Chinatown is self-explanatory; Granville is an artery that runs out of downtown. It's where all the sweet dive bars, hole in the wall restaurants, and hostels are. After some drinks my brothers and I had some dollar-a-slice pizza....apparently Canadians like potatoes, because I haven't seen potato pizza anywhere else. Sadly we couldn't spend much time on Commercial. Somewhere along that street is Little Italy. I will say, it's not the most scenic part of town; it's two or three Skytrain stops from downtown, and runs south from the bay, not along it. However, what little time I did spend there it was easy to tell how there would be a ton of cheaper shops/cafes/coffee places, etc. The sidewalks were overly wide to allow for table space. As I'm trying to remember highlights to write about, I'm finding all the highlights were food and drink. Is that bad? I didn't ride a tour bus, I didn't visit the Capilano Suspension Bridge, I didn't take a 'this movie was filmed here tour', I just ate a lot of food. I had delcious ginger and green onion beef hot pot, Nutella crepes, potato pizza, super delcious dim sum, etc etc. My only souvenir was/is some pancetta from the Lonsdale Quay Market that I am going to use for a red pepper/mozzerella/pancetta omlette or two tomorrow. (I actually had never had pancetta until last week - it's too salty to just eat, but I don't really want to take the time to make a sauce or something. Anyhoo.) Oh yeah! Probably the only non-food related 'highlight' was smoking Cuban cigars downtown with my brothers. To be honest, I've had better Dominicans in my lifetime. We got them mostly because we could. My middle brother and I got the 'cheapest' little Cohibas (still 20 bucks), while my youngest (19, impulsive, over-doer extrordanaire) got the Siglo 6. For reference, the little ones were the Siglo 1. After a late lunch/early dinner of fish and chips at Lonsdale Quay, and a last walk around that market, we rode the ferry back to downtown. We then split a pitcher at Steamworks Brewery, where said brother decides to order a whole second dinner of cheese tortellini. After our two beers a piece, we walk up to a downtown bench, and my brother smokes his cigar in roughly 45 minutes - the time it took my other brother and I to smoke the little ones. THEN we set out to walk/hike back up from the water to Robson Street to go for a late cocktail before going back to the hotel. (I'm sure you can see where this is going.) Bottom line: my youngest brother waits until we're about to be seated in a very nice bar and grill, in the lobby, in front of the beautiful blonde British hostess, to demonstrate the effects of overconsumption and violate a good 3 to 4 foot swath of stone entryway flooring. But as good brothers, we let him walk back to the hotel, and we stayed for drinks. Having left you with that meandering gross tale, here are some pictures of the excursion.


Downtown on Burrard




inadvertent self-portrait



potato pizza place! (the had poutin and i didn't try it! sad.)




baked goods in Granville Market - that Eccles cake front and center was mine. (yes they are delicious.)



hot pot!

6/3/08

graffiti



I did some exploring of a graffitied (sp.?) retaining wall between I-82 and Hwy 97 in Union Gap...it was pretty interesting. Even right between freeways everything right along the Yakima River is very much the wild; skunk was nearby the whole time, I spotted a couple rabbits, even a heron. Right adjacent to the river bank is the train track; just west of that is this wall, above which is Highway 97. Had I had more room on my phone I would have taken more pictures. Maybe I'll go back in a couple months and see the new stuff.



I have NO clue what this says.....any ideas?

This looked way better in person....it looks washed out here because it was bright and the light colors washed out on my phone.

5/21/08

maybe it's genetic?


It's possible. My grandpa was a sign painter for years doing commercial work for Pacific Power before semi-retiring to do custom sandblasted signs from his garage. Sometime in the 70's, he dabbled in oil paintings (which are pretty damn good), then moved onto photography. He went full on after retirement; he could work as much or little as he wanted and use the rest of the time honing his skills. (Of course from start to finish, his favorite subjects have been his grandkids....with 17, plus 6 or so great grandkids, we need to start scanning and archiving his albums.) He eventually moved to Idaho, designed his own custom house complete with darkroom, and gained some local notoriety for his rodeo, wildlife, and outdoor photography which reflected the McCall, ID area. He opened and ran a gallery with my grandma from 2000 until just last year when he finally REALLY retired. He retrofitted a room in a new house for a dark room, and uses another for a studio where he's again getting back into painting.

Two Christmases ago i received a Sony Cybershot 6 MP point and shoot. I used it mainly at social events and concerts. It got stolen last Halloween from my own house during a giant house party. With limited zoom and simple dial controls for general outdoor/portrait type settings, this is about the best stuff I could get. (Not exactly gallery material....) As long as it was good to the naked eye, it turned out ok. Lately though I've thought about replacing the old Cybershot with a digital SLR; Nikon is the option I want to consider. Yes I've heard Canon are better. No I don't care. What little SLR experience I have with a 'real' camera has been using my grandpa's Nikons, so that's that. I've heard good things about the D40.....they're really pushing the D60 right now, but from what reading I've done it sounds like the D60 is actually lacking in some areas, and otherwise isn't worth the extra expense for someone like me who's looking for a first SLR. If I get one I'll let you know how it goes......hopefully the skills run in the family.

5/16/08

unfinished business


I don't quite know where to start. I have more media to handle than I have time for. This became clear as soon as I left the bookstore with an exciting new book, Sacred Games. It's essentially a sort of primer to modern day Mumbai, if the primer you were after was a sprawling cops vs. gangster tale. It looks cool, it got good reviews, and it was cheap and in next to new condition. Sadly, there are two other +/- 1000 page books vying for my attention - Anna Karenina, and The Stand. (That's in a small hardback though, so the 'real' page count would be smaller.) Another King novel staring at me is Needful Things, a book I hadn't even heard of when I picked it up; it was a one dollar library overstock sale find. That's at least 600 pages or so. I've tried starting A Great Improvisation, a narrative history of Franklin's relations with France that secured their aid in the Revolution, but God bless her the author doesn't know how to hit a stride. I have textbooks that are easier reads. Maybe my best bet is to crack open Flowering Judas (and other stories). Another library sale item, authored by Anne Porter - I've never heard of her. If I finish that, it might get me over the hump and move on to the next book. All told, there are at least 3500 pages yet to be explored.....and that's completely ignoring movies I downloaded and haven't watched yet (Paris, je t'aime, Lost in Translation, Into the Wild, Ghost World, the Sci-Fi Channel Dune) and new albums left silent (Los Campesinos! EP, the newest from Atmosphere, Death Cab, Back Door Slam, and Minus the Bear.) To sum up: don't belittle me when I sit back and flip between the Dog Whisperer and the History Channel. At least it can be done in an hour.

5/14/08

time to get into it.


It's really hard to get into a regular biking schedule....a lot of that has been the weird cold/rainy spells we've been having every other week. I do have a rear blade fender, but really that doesn't help; the worst of it gets kicked up by my front tire and goes straight up. At any decent speed, I ride into this continuous stream. I'm cheap, so rather than buy a front fender I tell myself I'll just ride on nice days. Sadly these same 'nice' days have 40 mph wind to ride into, are days when I have stops to make in my job hunt, or both. All that aside, I'm now pledging to myself, starting this Saturday, to ride at least an hour a day every other day after 5 pm. This is totally feasible since any job hunting I need to do will be done by then, and since it's becoming summer I won't need to buy a light and reflective gear. I'm also not allowing skips due to wind, but I am retaining a rain exception. Unless I'm swimming, I DESPISE being wet. I do like the rain though......driving in it, sitting inside looking at it, etc. I have the luxury of enjoying it since I live in the rainshadow of the Cascades. Tying local geography back in with my original subject, my goal is to be able to bike the canyon to Yakima by September....depending on progress I might change the goal to there and back, but one way is good for now.

4/24/08

i hate times like this.

Every so often I get the feeling that I will definitely not end up using my degree, at least to work in the field I'm going in to. That doesn't really bother me, except that over the past few years, I've gotten the itch to open a restaurant eventually. Being an avid follower of Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares, I'm aware this isn't for everyone. A major disadvantage for me is that I will have graduated without taking any business related courses. An economics minor will help in terms of general principles, but really I should have signed up for the totally made-up Restaurant Owner major.

off topic:

Sometimes I think I'd like being in a band, then I'm struck by my total lack of experience, or at least singing in front of anyone except my family. Additionally I don't play any instruments, and I for sure have no desire to 'front' a band.....just to get into one. On the other hand, I know I can stay on key pretty good, but as for it sounding pleasant to anybody....that's yet to be seen (heard?). The next step would be to keep an eye out for bands looking to jam. It's that first step that's the biggest.

very off topic:

I'm getting restless and want to get on a plane to some foreign country with no return ticket. The Netherlands sounds good.
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