Another Week…

So, once again, another hot, humid summer week with nothing special to blog about except the rather exceptional fact that I am still alive. Exceptional, that is, because I am half panda and there are few things pandas dislike more than hot, humid, soul crushing Japanese summers. Ugh. You’d think that after 5+ years I’d be used to it. You’d be wrong. Jesus god, what have I done to deserve being baked alive everytime I leave the sanctuary of my air conditioned bedroom? It’s gotten so bad I now refuse to use the bathroom except when I absolutely have to – preferring to hold it rather than step into the smelting furnace that is my windowless restroom. (sexy, right?)

from dusk to dawn

en route to the train station after grocery shopping for the next day. See amusing anecdote below

I amused myself the other day by cooking up a delicious “summery” dinner which ended up looking suspiciously like most other pasta dishes I’ve made in the past. It’s not that I can’t cook – (well, okay, it’s that too) – but rather that I think that summer pasta dishes tend to follow the “starbucks philosophy” – just as every starbucks drink is composed of three basic ingredients (milk, caramel and coffee) only varied in proportion, so too are pasta dishes comprised of pasta, leafy vegetable and meatah, only varied in proportion. Or maybe it’s just my pasta dishes? Who knows.

rainbow salad

Dinner, my kitchen table, and like half my kitchen.

In my previous post I had promised a time lapse video – the idea was that you could see this dish being assembled before your eyes. I even set up the whole affair – stuck the wide angle lens on the camera, hoisted it up near the ceiling on a tripod balanced on a bunch of weight plates on top of my refrigerator for a “bird’s eye view”, set it on 5 second intervals, and even snapped and assembled the entire video…

rainbow salad

The problem is that I didn’t really think things through too carefully – while I thought it might be cool to use the wide angle to take “the whole scene in” (ahh, the twisted logic I employ to try and justify my $800 investment), it turns out that just makes everything really tiny. If you view it full screen, you can see all the detail, but once you shrink it down to 320px wide for the blog, you can’t see nada

Other things I would probably rethink next time through includes sticking the camera up by the ceiling on the tripod – I thought this would be cool, but what it turns out is that it just makes it look like security cam footage of some intruder breaking into my kitchen and (ineptly) attempting to cook some home made tortillas. *laughs* It also turns out that making a time lapse video of food being cooked is a whole hell of a lot cooler when you’re all focused in on the food and such – shooting from too far away just makes it look like I’m have a seizure (or attempting to get jiggy with it minus club strobes) at my kitchen sink.

All of which is to say, that video won’t be featured on today’s post (sorry to disappoint) and in fact, has been forever scoured from my hard drive, so embarrassing was it. :) However, in its stead I shall give you the links to the two recipes I used: rainbow salad and home-made tortillas from over on Go try it! They’re yum!

Amusing Anecdote

So remember the original picture I fronted this entry with way up at the top? Go back and have a quick peek if you don’t – I’ll wait here. Okay? Welcome back. Anyway, so you see how the sky is all creamy and blue and pretty with the clouds and the encroaching dusk and stuff? Well, it wasn’t always like that. See, the original shot looked something like this:

dusty image crop

(a crop from the original unretouched image)

Yech. See all those ugly dots and flecks? That’s sensor dust – the bane of all digital cameras. I’m not particularly careful about changing my lenses when outdoors, so this was bound to happen sooner or later. Even when you’ve got it (and we’ve all got it), it usually doesn’t show up in the final image unless you’re shooting at high f-stops or flat uniform surfaces such as those blue, blue skies I love so dearly. (See this shot as an example).

So whatevers. I’m surprised it even showed up in this shot since it’s shot at a relatively wide f/4.5 and the sky isn’t even that bright, but such is life. There it is, all irritating and in my face, reminding me I’m going to have to splash out a $100 bucks or more to get my sensor cleaned. Grrr.. But for now, I need to get rid of it on this shot so I can use it.

The fix for little stuff like this is straightforward – plunk the image into photoshop, click on the almighty “healing brush” tool, and click click your troubles away. What people did before photoshop is beyond me. Anyway, so I’m click clicking away the little dots away into beautiful creamy sky when all of a sudden I get to this little dot that refuses to go away when I click it.

At first I think I must have just missed it, so I click again. Nothing. Muttering a curse of irritation, I do that thing we all do when the computer clearly receives our input but doesn’t respond – I click like a million times in a row on the same spot (like, you know, if I’m persistent enough maybe the computer will just throw up its hands and be like “ALRIGHT ALREADY, YOU WIN!! I’LL DO IT!” *laughs*). No response. Spot is still there.

rainbow salad

Wide angle shot of my kitchen. Note tripod from sadly unposted time-lapse video making

I start running down the laundry list of things – checking to see if I’ve accidentally locked the layer for editing, hit the quick-mask (q) key by mistake (I do that a lot with my wayward left panda paw), changed the colour mode, etc. Nothing. I can’t figure out why the hell this stupid spot won’t disappear! Finally, after much cursing and gnashing of teeth, I decide to quit the program and restart it. Sure enough, the spot is gone. What the…? Anyway, I just shrug my shoulders and chalk it up to a photoshop bug.

It’s not until an hour later, when I’m lean back in my chair to take a break and happen to glance at my desktop wallpaper that I finally figure it out. As I idly gaze at it, what do I notice but same damn spot in the same damn place I tried to photoshop out…!. Now gentle readers, I am sure you have already figured out what was going on about three paragraphs ago, but I alas am not exactly the smartest panda in the litter. It’s not until I almost flip out (“omigod the spots are spreading! I must have a virus!!“) that it all finally clicks into place in my sluggish little brain. Yes, people, I had been trying to airbrush out a spot that physically existed on my monitor. I really am that dumb. A quick swipe of a cleaning cloth and the spot is gone, banished to all eternity by a Klean-wipe that took 1 second to do what all the photoshopping in the world could not.

Anyway, that is my amusing anecdote about how stupid I am. I guess the lesson to be learned here is that before you start photoshopping sensor dust out of your pictures, make sure to wipe all the real world dust off your monitors first. :)

Now listening to: “Asheru, Kenn Starr & Talib Kweli – If”

If it wasn’t for the way that we live
Too many single mothers raisin’ our kids
Too many brothers caged in the Pen
Engagin’ a bid, enslaved by the pigs
If it wasn’t for crooked cops that pop shots grazin’ our wig
That sends slugs reckless, plus these thugs with a death wish
That take your life for the ice that flood in your necklace
The blood of the helpless and innocent (and innocent)
If it wasn’t for so-called friends that turned Benedict
Snakes in the grass and crabs in the lake
Cuz I’m black and its late, getting’ harassed by the Jake
Blasted with eight times five, plus one
Lethal deposit, reach for your wallet, they bust guns
That’s why I trust none and I keep to myself
I can’t blame cats that pack heat in they belt
And quick to clap, never givin’ in
If it wasn’t for this and that
It’d be a better world that we livin’ in

If it wasn’t for a mic check I wouldn’t have a check at all
Nowadays you can’t live that way
The markets way too unstable, there’s too many pimp labels
Playing rappers like a ho, manhandlin’ the dough
Demandin’ them to go on a track to bring the loot back
Now you playing for the team and the captain, that’s cream
You got the dream to push a mean two-seater
With a diva riding shotgun, just to say you got one
You make the songs, but labels only want the hot ones
Send you back to the drawing board, until you got some
Now I guess we got problems
Even your all-creative mind ain’t enough to try and solve ‘em
The doors revolvin’, younger cats are starvin’
They want it more than you, might go to war with you
To reap the heap of dough that’s at the end of the rainbow
You can’t be mad, man, that’s how the game go

(yeah, c’mon!)
(yea, here we go, yeah!)
I’m about to show you what this black power is
Red, black, and green on the wrist how I live
In the cold world where we bust off the black llamas
Every winter where we lose more son to black mommas
If hip-hop got seasons, right now its spring
Like when everybody selling death, “kiss the ring” (yeah!)
You know how it goes, people change color like autumn
Kids learn through experience, fuck what a teacher taught ‘em
Puff a relief for boredom; rough will release a quarter
And the parents who paid enough attention to at least ignore ‘em
Blowing up mics, throwin’ up signs
To help niggaz you confusin’ it with cryin’
The winners write the history books
Mystery looks past prisoners of war, that’s what my listeners are for
Turn the tide on this fuckery, ride on this fuckery
You shoulda never let me in the industry, you’re stuck with me

10 Reactions

  1. andrew

    sorry to hear about the monitor spot. Not really it was amusing to hear about. I am glad that I am not the only one that computer drive to virtual insanity.
    I am glad that I am in San Diego for the summer. Japanese summer’s kind of suck.
    Have a good week

  2. jessica

    i’ve done the same thing, only it didnt take me quite as long to figure it out :) hehehe. love the song…post more. without other people’s direct links I listen to the same shiz i was listening to a decade ago. Paperboy anyone? do the ditty ditty……….

  3. SabineM

    I never considered myself to be a panda, but maybe somewhere deep down, I MIGHT BE because one thing I hate more is HEAT AND HUMIDITY! I HATE HEAT! I will take COLD any day!
    LOVELY salad…..

  4. Johnny B

    And here, I thought you were going to say that you were trying to like heal brush your desktop wallpaper or something.

  5. Monique

    Ha ha ha!
    Silly Panda! ;)
    Open Source Food is great! Well done YongFook!

  6. kori

    somedays, I’m amazed that millions of people survive the Tokyo heat every year…
    I escape Friday morning to the north. the misadventures begin.
    I really like the picture at the top… especially without the spots.

  7. menozac shop

    Great article and nice pictures, it is the first day of winter today, but your article reminds me about summer, thanks.

  8. online games

    good thing you’re still alive..but me, iM half alive..wahaha! well, you should rejoice in everything…because you’re so gifted…