November, 2008

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Art is Everywhere…

Sunday, November 30th, 2008

Even in my iPhone.

First off, let me say that I love the photographic revolution that digital photography has precipitated. The fact that anyone can now afford to shoot thousands of pictures with no cost, beyond start up, has made the world of photography a better place. Of course, with greater access comes greater volume, without necessarily generating a corresponding increase in quality, in fact often the converse is true. In other words, there are a lot more “artistic” photos out there and a lot of it is crap. But who cares, I think it is awesome that anyone can grab a camera, snap a couple of shots, do some minor photoshop work and suddenly they are a low-rent Ansel Adams, or even a Mapplethorpe, but alas that is a whole other discussion. Anyway, I do quite a bit of work in photoshop and I am constantly amazed at how processing can make a terrible shot something impressive, to the point where I am a little jaded about modern amateur photography. We have gained great technical prowess, but it seems like we have lost something of the artist’s soul. What ever happened to the days of buying cheap cameras and shooting to try and find art within the confinements of their capabilities, turning their weaknesses into strengths? Well, in a way, those days are back and they are as close as your iPhone and an app called CameraBag.

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Bell Buckle Blues

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

November 14 was United Nations World Diabetes Day and as part of their campaign to increases Diabetes awareness they issued the second WDD Monument challenge.  The challenge is to increase diabetes awareness by lighting monuments around the world in blue for the evening.  According to their website, “A total of 279 iconic monuments were lit in 2007 as beacons of hope for the millions of people worldwide living with diabetes. Over 1.2 billion people were reached with campaign messages.”  The 2008 goal was to encourage a total of 500 buildings to light up to mark World Diabetes Day.  After a little thought, I decided I could help them out.

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Mother Monkey's Pumpkin Bread

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008

As the leaves begin to fall from the trees, I get nostalgic for the things that remind me of home.  This is my favorite time of the year, a time to reflect on all that has happened and to enjoy the fruits of the harvest.  As our home menu turns to comfort foods I am always drawn to my mother’s pumpkin bread.  I remember her baking these when I was little and they were always a sign that Autumn was fully on us and that the Christmas season was just around the corner.  Over the years she has adapted it some, to make things easier, but the flavor is the same, and to me this is what love tastes like.  So grab the ingredients and put this one together, your house will smell heavenly while it bakes and it is the perfect treat to enjoy sitting by the fire while the cold winds blow outside.  It is also a great way to start the day, just cut a slice, toast it slightly, add butter and enjoy.  I know I spent many a morning walking to the bus stop with a piece of this bread wrapped up in a napkin to keep me warm.

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Monkey-approved Caching Adventures

Monday, November 10th, 2008

I am always up for an adventure, I guess that is what keeps me young, or at least that is what keeps me sore and complaining about not being young anymore.  When Scoot (my wife) and I discovered Geocaching in 2003, we knew that the gang in Seattle had created a hobby that was nearly perfectly designed for our lifestyle.  Rather than getting bogged down in the details of caching, here is a quick description of the game from the Groundspeak website:

“Geocaching (pronounced geo-cashing) is a worldwide game of hiding and seeking treasure. A geocacher can place a geocache in the world, pinpoint its location using GPS technology and then share the geocache’s existence and location online. Anyone with a GPS unit can then try to locate the geocache.  This high-tech treasure hunting game is played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with GPS devices.”

For much more information or to get into playing the game yourself, check out Geocaching.com.

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I Like to Watch

Friday, November 7th, 2008

I am not a fan of television in general, I would rather go out and do something than watch other people doing things.  However, I have found that my midday break which may or may not include a meal is an excellent time to decompress and go in for some mainstream entertainment.  I used to fill this time watching documentaries trying to further my education and expand my horizons and all that.  Then, we discovered Netflix.

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Neti Pot or The Abominable Nose Kettle?

Thursday, November 6th, 2008

Like many of you, I have nostrils.  My nostrils have been the source of great pleasure over the years, providing easy access to oxygen, allowing me to french inhale cigarettes in my youth and helping to give my nose definition and the appearance of greater depth.  However, as wonderful as nostrils are they are connected to paranasal sinuses, the source of sinus pain and pressure.  Living in the southeast, I learned to welcome the changing of the seasons with purchases of sinus medication and fresh boxes of tissues, then something amazing happened.  Four years ago I quit smoking and my sinus troubles disappeared nearly overnight.  Until this Autumn, I have lived gloriously mucous free.  In fact the change had been so complete that I had nearly forgotten about sinus pressure when it popped by to see me again.

Over the last few years, I have tried to find small, easy ways to live a healthier lifestyle, nothing political, nothing preachy, I am just getting older and it looks like I am going to have to take better care of this carcass if I want to make the standard “three score and ten”.  I did not relish the thought of loading up on sinus medicine, but I was skeptical of more “holistic” methods.  Still I felt I needed to try something new, so after hearing about them for years, I finally broke down and purchased a Neti Pot.

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San Francisco Fudge Foggies

Sunday, November 2nd, 2008

sf-pano

If you overlook the unnecessarily innuendo infested title bestowed on these brownies and just bake them and eat them you will be in for a fabulous treat.  My pal Sally baked these for us last night and I was blown away.  One part walnut brownie, one part flourless chocolate cake, makes for six parts good.  (Imagine an existential discussion of the whole being greater than the sum of it’s parts here, if you like.)  Don’t just read this one, head out to the store, buy ingredients (it’s good for the economy anyway) and makes these knee-wobblingly good brownies for yourself, or share them with friends and amaze them with your culinary talents, and if you can think of a better name for these, let me know.

For the record, these are even better the second day, so make them a day early and test your ability to resist temptation.

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