Jackie Link's Blog

- A blog for no good reason

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Food cascade

Last week I bought celery for the potato salad. It only needed a small amount.

Today I bought stew beef and carrots and green beans, etc., to add to the celery I bought for the potato salad, to make a stew, a stew not seasoned with bay leaf, like the kind I couldn't stand as a kid, but flavored with Dijon mustard and tomato paste - it's very rich, with lots of fresh veggies, and it's especially good with dumplings. I had it for dinner and it will feed me all week.


And I still have six hardboiled eggs in the fridge. (Sharon wrote to say to cook them in salted water, that they're best peeled when they're still warm. Too late for that.) So I guess I'll make some curried egg salad for sandwiches. That'll be good, ugly eggs won't matter.

This always happens when I buy celery. I have to keep going, buying things to use with it that I don't usually cook.

Sibyl really had fun with the green beans, and then she played in her toy bowl.

Parrots squeal and chortle; I swear they giggle when they're happy. They quiver with excitement, like a puppy.

They make a big mess, tossing green beans, toys, whatever. We play fetch - she tosses, I fetch.

She's very funny.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Umbrellas in the redwoods

(Click to enlarge - back arrow to return)

We met at Dottie's in Rio Nido today - 7/8ths of The Eight, M.E. is in Portland - well, actually, we first met at the Korbel Winery and tasted four of their champagnes and wines.

We had a lovely gossip - except none of us are too clear on details on anything or anyone any more (so your secrets are safe).

Good food. Good company.

I will process the photos later, but what really took my fancy were Dottie's sun umbrellas. Ellen and Cassie did a Cheech & Chong routine when I was spacing out over them. We laughed as they toked. The rest of us settled for our champagne & O.J. Mimosas- well, actually, I just had champagne, hold the O.J.

We're still recycling a few of our war-stories from the E.R., when our "staff lunch" was group therapy. Judy and Dottie still brave the Hell-holes of that world. Barb has returned to nursing up in Mendocino, doing Home Health visits, excited/nervous about learning administrative computer stuff after how-many-years away.

We shook our collective heads because The Doors' songs are now, what, 40 years old? Gawd, how can this be? They still light my fire.

Guess we're the ol' folks now. But, guess, what: It's all good! and it actually keeps getting better.

Except you're old.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Envies

I no longer know if these were red or orange.

I envy all those riders who effortlessly go so much faster than me, even up hills. But I'm not willing to work at it, so this is an envy I'll just live with.

I have comment-envy; I got 9 e-mails telling me how to boil and peel eggs (thanks, guys), and offers of great potato salad recipes (again, thanks), but only my old friend Kit braved the Blogspot gauntlet to leave on-line comments (thanks, Kit). It later occurred to me that probably most of the people who read this don't really like computers and blogs and only read this because I make snide comments if they don't. "Oh, it's on my blog," I'll say when asked about something. (What surprised me, of today's e-mails, I didn't know most were reading this. In fact, I don't even know most of them. What's with that?)

I envy photographers who already know most of what I need to know to come up with quality work - and I'm willing to work at that one, and am.

But I'm just kidding here, twinges of envy come and go, but I guess I wouldn't be very human without them.

I'm vamping here at the computer while Sibyl, my parrot, eats. We took a long, long shower together. I was gone all day, riding with some Velo Girls way down in the Mountain View-Saratoga area (Mt. Eden from the north isn't nearly as hard), followed by a birthday party-BBQ at Kim's. Sibyl zones out while I'm gone and doesn't eat until I'm back. She's a social eater. When I get done traveling I will have to get her some company. She looks funny after a shower and smells like a wet goose-down pillow.

O.K., she's done eating, now it's my turn. No new photos today so I'll dig into my old files for something I like and slap it up top.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Red. Hardboiled eggs

Yes. Now that is really red on my monitor.

I need this computer-break from the annual aggravation of pretending I can still cook something for a crowd. Every summer I try to make either deviled eggs or potato salad for a picnic.

Every year I have to look up how to boil an egg.

How can someone get to be my age and still not remember the best way to hard boil an egg?

This year I tried the cold-water start, where you bring them to a boil, immediately take them off the heat, let them sit for 25 minutes, and then put them in cold water to stop cooking. This went well. I left them in the fridge overnight.

And then I tried to peel them. Once again this did not go well.

Why don't cookbooks address the peeling trick? Someone must know how to do this.

Pitiful.

Next year they'll get deli-bought potato salad. I give up.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Casual Friday

I met Annette for lunch at her new job with the U.S. Court of Appeals - it's a beautiful Beaux Arts building at 7th & Mission, which I've passed by on my bike at least 3-4 times a week for years, always wishing I could stop and see what was inside. She likes her new job (imagine, a 40-hour week instead of the 60-70, at her old job in high-tech), and she likes being in that building. Of course, running the gauntlet from BART means braving eau d'urine. Perhaps having Homeland Security across the street will make a difference soon.

On the way home I detoured to check out the newest Sports Basement at 15th & Bryant - and WOW! what a great spot and what a great job they've done with the old building, keeping the best of the old and adding really nice touches, like this mural in the entry. I like it a lot and will be there often, I'm sure.

Now I'm boiling eggs and potatoes for potato salad - and I think I overcooked the potatoes. Mushy potato salad. Oh well. I was afraid it would be crunchy and gave them another five minutes. Cooking is not my thing.

Click to enlarge photos - back arrow to return ...and damn, if these didn't lose a lot getting onto the Web. Back to the drawing board....or just learn to live with it.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Two years ago


Two years ago I started this blog for no good reason..

I was just back from cycling in Hokkaido, Japan.

A lot has happened in those two years, but not much has changed.

Today I got the details about my next trip to Japan: I'll be cycling in Tokyo, taking bullet trains to Mt. Fuji and Kyoto, and cycling in those areas with a few other Bike Friday owners.

Pretty cool.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Colors


This color management business is tres complicated. What I see when I process pixels will be altered when it appears on the Web, depending on which color profile I'm using. What is good for the Web won't be good for anything else.

I'm sure if I read and studied the books and on-line tutorials it would be much easier...but I can't seem to learn from books, only by doing it wrong and then trying to fix it do I actually seem to really learn.

It was ever thus.

What brought it to my attention was the way intense oranges paled and became yellow. Blues and greens fare better.

The bridge is orange, intense orange. What does it look like on your monitor?

(and after many different trial & error profiles, this one seems to work best for the Web - now I just have to figure out which one it was.)

I need a tech guru!

Yes, I know I'm boring, but this is what I'm doing NOW.
!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Paris envy

DB is out taking photos as I write this - it's mid-morning here in San Francisco, early evening in Paris, when the light is spectacular for taking pictures and riding a bike along the Seine.

I was just looking at his recent work from the last week or so and it is pretty amazing. (Click on DB's Photos link and then look at Monumental Paris and River Seine for a mini-vacation of your own.) Last night he went up in the Ferris Wheel (not as good for taking photos as he'd hoped) and I wish I'd been there too.

On the other hand, I really, really like riding around my own town, across the bridge and along the headlands into Marin.

But today I'm learning software (just backed up everything onto a 500GB external hard drive) and taking on-line tutorials from Adobe (30-days free), but tomorrow I'll ride.

...an hour later and DB is back because it clouded over and began to rain in Paris. San Francisco: fog, yes; rain, never - not this time of year, anyway.


Skype-chatting makes this a small planet. Now, if we could just perfect teleporting back and forth, that would be really fine. Beam me up, Scottie....

Friday, July 20, 2007

Embarcadero babies


These were the happiest little babies I've seen in a long time.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Time out!


I went riding with Dianna today. We did the city circuit, meeting at the seal behind the new ball park, riding through Pier 39 and Fisherman's Wharf, into Aquatic Park, taking a detour out on the breakwater where she showed me where she swims, and we talked about currents while waiting for a gaggle of tourists to make it up and over the hill to Ft. Mason (and to get out of our way).

Still south of the Ferry Building we stopped for two women pulling wagons of babies across The Embarcadero. There were at least twenty babies in some sort of carrier, all sitting facing outward, around the sides and back of two really big, high, Red Flyer-type wagons. I made a note of the time (10:05) and will try to be there with a camera one day.

I think it had been patchy fog all around the waterfront, with some sun and lots of dramatic rain-type clouds (rain in July?), until we headed up to the bridge and into the fog. The fog got denser the higher we climbed around the headlands, with the mournful sound of foghorns off to the side. It was cool, not cold, and just right for hill climbing.

We made a pit stop behind the Legion of Honor, still in dense fog, and then raced down past the Cliff House and along Ocean Beach, still in the fog. Because I was wearing my silver dragon lady jersey, I thought I might be invisible to cars, so we enjoyed a nearly deserted bike trail on the east side of the highway and, with the wind at our backs, we sailed on south.

When we turned east to head up to Twin Peaks we left the fog bank behind: instant blue sky. Within a few city blocks of the coast, the city was spectacularly beautiful! The climb over Twin Peaks and the long, long, long down hill run into the Castro was sheer bliss. The ride to the Ferry Building along Market Street is always fun.

Topped it off with a gourmet Bento box lunch inside the Ferry Building...oh yeah.

Dianna went on home to North Beach and I turned south, back along the water's edge to Potrero Hill. Now, that was a damn fine ride.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Slept late

Pinocchio from Verona, Italy, now in my bedroom window.

Cripes, half the day is gone and I haven't even finished my coffee yet.

Yesterday I rode with the Velo Girls down on the peninsula, where the sun was shining right from the get-go. The city is underneath this huge fog bank, which I really love to watch move in and out. While I was driving back home there were so many times I wished I could stop and photograph it, especially going by Brisbane where it was drifting down low, threading through the gaps in the hills, with the sun on it just right.

Today is the day I tackle the technical books. No more trial & error (I jest - that's how I learn best). No more hoping I'll learn it all just by owning the books! I can see that I have to have a good, scalable, cataloging system if I'm ever to find an image again. So far, I'm keywording new work and filing by shoot date. So much to learn all at once. I have on-line tutorials I could be taking, too.

Palazzo dei Diamanti, Ferrara, Italy

So, what do I do?...I process more of Italy and take more photos, like Pinocchio above.

...keep on keepin' on.

Addendum: I Googled the Palazzo dei Diamanti and first got the Italian version with terrible photos and then, in English, discovered those "diamonds" are 8,500 carved marble blocks. I had no idea.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Balloons in Davies

*
I never know why they have balloons in Davies Symphony Hall, and I don't really care; it's enough to just enjoy them for a moment and then pass on by.

*

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Verona

Instead of reading about Camera RAW, DAM (digital asset management) and Photoshop (three very well written books), I continue to plow ahead doing what I can with the pixels.

I'm just up to Verona, which was after Bellinzona and Cremona, but before Ferrara and Bologna. (Later on in the trip DB would sing a terrible ditty in the car, rhyming these names, making me laugh a lot.)

We walked miles and miles in Verona, and it was hot. We did a lot of pretty good work in spite of it and saw amazing stuff. I'm putting my work up on pbase as I finish it (link to it, upper left).

I keep hoping that by having the books sit near me I will learn this stuff by magic.

(Click to enlarge photos - back arrow to return)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Closets and drawers

Today I cleaned out my closet and drawers and baskets and shelves of clothes.

I didn't take a picture of all my clothes stacked up on my bed - the sight of all that denim blue, navy or black is too depressing. Oh, there's the occasional burgundy and white, and the odd green, red or purple (very rare), but it's mostly black, gray or dark blue in my wardrobe.

I've always worn a dark turtleneck, either with jeans or a jeans skirt. It's my uniform. It works here in Es Ef. I look exactly like everyone else. This is good.

One of the main reasons I loved hospital work all those years was the uniforms - I never had to think about what to put on.

I still don't worry too much about what to put on because I wear crap clothes around the house, like my bird-shirts (shirts my bird can shit on) and sweat pants. I have a large collection of crap clothes to wear around the house and today I reduced the number, returning some to the thrift store where I got them. I'll only keep the ones I really like to look at all day.

And then there's a nearly 30-year collection of bicycle jerseys and tights and shorts and arm & leg warmers and socks - I finally let the scarlet tights I've never worn go. Imagine: scarlet tights on this ol' lady! No way. Oooh, but maybe someday....yeah, I'll keep 'em another year. But mostly I just refolded everything neatly and reshelved it. I like my bicycle jerseys - smelly, funky, grease-stained, wonderful, colorful jerseys.

Two big bags full and everything organized and accounted for (I know where
everything is, at least for a little while).

Feels good.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Dancing with pixels

Sculpture by Giuliano Vangi, Parma, Italy

Please do click to enlarge and see why I like it so much!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Spiders like me, too

Tuesday: A correspondent went to the trouble of looking up my spider, thinking it might be the male black widow, but correctly identified it as Steatoda grossa, a non-poisonous arachnid. (Great resource: http://bugguide.net), BTW, I always catch and release spiders back to the garden where they belong.

I have one new bite on my torso, but this one doesn't itch so I know it's from a spider, not a mite. These guys sneak into my bed at night and I can't usually find them the next day.

My little friend in this photo was taking up residence in my stainless steel kitchen sink this morning, but only because he couldn't get back out again. He was underneath a cutting board cover and I probably wouldn't have seen him but Sibyl, my parrot, was perched on my forearm drinking from the tap and I saw her cock her head to look between the sink and the board; she'd spied the spider. Parrots don't miss anything.

Click to enlarge photo. I waited for him to rear up and show his biting parts but he never did.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Cleo


I just remembered that the sweater was actually made for Cleo! - she was the turtle I had for over 30 years who didn't know, really, that she was a turtle. She behaved more like a dog and would follow me around the house if I took her out of her big aquarium. Cleo hated the turtleneck and would pull her head back into her shell whenever I put it on her, so it was relegated to Homer. Really, it wasn't easy figuring out just the right size to fit Cleo and I felt very clever doing it.

She also knew there should be Purina cat chow in the kitchen by the stove, and even 10 years after the cat was gone, she would make a beeline for that spot. When there was a cat, she'd get that piece of cat chow in her mouth, carry it back to the living room, stand with her front legs up on the bricks, turn her head to watch for me, begging to be put back inside the aquarium because pond turtles can't swallow outside of water.

Cleo liked people. I once took her to a biology lab class and while the T.A. was talking to us, Cleo stomped up to him, stood with her front leg on his foot, which is what she did when she wanted to be picked up (and I thought, hugged), and as he was mid-sentence he looked down, saw this huge turtle on his foot, jumped a mile, which cracked the class up. And then he fell in love with Cleo. Everyone did.

Cleo has her very own burial spot in my front yard with a big turtle-shaped flagstone covering the spot. Once in awhile there will be a little offering of flowers on it when a neighbor remembers her.

Turtles are generally only as smart as they need to be to be turtles; Cleo was one in a million and I still miss her.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

How do you know



...when you've become obsessed?

Maybe when you sit in front of your new computer, working on images instead of going out on your bike to ride? Yesterday I didn't leave the house except to feed Hercules, my box turtle, or to take this photo of my guard turtle in his turtleneck sweater.



When this nameless guard turtle isn't guarding my front door he's chasing my brass lion.

He really does need a name. Maybe I should have a turtle-naming contest. Oh, I know: Homer! I haven't had a Homer-turtle in this house for years.

Really, today I'm outta here. Now that I've finished my coffee I will take a shower, eat, and get out of this house on my old bicycle.

Yeah.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The 4th of July

Fog on Twin Peaks - 7.3.07

I wonder if the fireworks will be in the clear tonight or if the fog will move back in so all we get to see is fog-glow. I face east (the photo faces west) and it's looking like a beautiful day here in San Francisco. I think I'll wander around on one of my bikes and watch the weirdness of locals and tourists, alike. Always a good show.

*

Monday, July 02, 2007

Winning strategies

(Click to enlarge - back arrow to return)

#1. Buy groceries when you're starving-hungry, I now have tons of food. And I now have to cook like crazy and have plenty of left-overs so I can keep pushing pixels.

#2. I'm not sure yet if I've made it past this latest household crisis, but I haven't had a new mite bite since Saturday. If it's true that tropical rat mites can't complete their life cycle without their roof rat host, then they will die out without my intervention. It's so inconvenient to poison one's home. Maybe this is just wishful thinking on my part, but it is a holiday week and dealing with exterminators would be challenging.

So, I'm researching how to handle the inevitable return of the rodents (if they never left they'd keep their friggin' mites to themselves!):

"Live rodent trapping: Live traps can be used to catch rats and mice. Once caught, the rodent can either be killed or released. Relatively humane ways of disposing of a live rodent are by drowning or freezing: To drown, confine the rodent inside a heavy-duty paper bag, then submerge the bag in a bucket of water held down with a heavy object such as a brick. To freeze, place the bag inside a larger plastic garbage bag, seal it and place it in the freezer for a couple of hours. The rodent will lose consciousness before it freezes. IPM practitioners do not recommended the release of rodents in fields or vacant lots since they find their way back again." S.F. Dept. of Public Health advise.

I thought you'd like to file that little tidbit away for future reference.

#3. Learning a gazillion things all at once, new computer, new prog
rams, etc., etc., means I run into one conundrum after another and, so far, instead of letting each one drive me nuts, I drop it and play with something else. Like right now, instead of wondering how to make a control or tool work in Photoshop, I'll just go do my ironing (from the four loads of wash I did, secondary to the mite infestation).

(I only iron once or twice a year, but actually like it. I like to sweep floors, ir
on and do dishes. The rest of the house stuff you can keep.)

#4. Get out of the pest-ridden house, ride my bike, go to a movie, visit with friends.

Again, it's all good.

BTW, there are lots of new photos on both my, and DB's Web sites (links, upper left), including a few portraits. DB has put up the one of me riding a bicycle in Italy on his home page, and I've put up one showing him in his office in Paris (and not just
my usual of his back as he's taking photographs!).