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Archive for June, 2014

Photo: Hollyhock in the neighborhood via #instagram

June 26th, 2014 Comments off
Categories: Garden, Photos-Photography Tags:

My desk at the End of the Day for June 25, 2014

June 25th, 2014 Comments off

End of the day Logo

A bit of a photo essay this evening. Words weren’t really flowing tonight, as I put in quite a few hours at the computer on a number of projects including an 18 part short video series for a client. Such repetitive and fiddly work can make your brain go a little soft after a while.

This is what my desk looks like at the end of the day. Bits and pieces of everything that has crossed it in the last 12 hour or so. reference materials, equipment, notes and more. It seems a bit revealing to let you see it. My desk is not the cleanest one in the world, nor one of the messiest, but I can feel a bit embarrassed when showing it off.

End of the Day screen shot

The blank page. This is what I face each evening as I sit down to write — usually around 1030pm local time. I use the previous day’s post as a template, add a link for the previous day, discard the previous post and then brilliance flows. Er, uh, well, sometimes it ain’t horrible, let’s say. The blank page defeated me a bit tonight. Hence the photos. 

My schedule is off as Rosanne has started teaching summer school 3 nights a week from 4pm-10pm. This has my own internal schedule all freaked out. This is nothing like our usual school  year schedule and I find myself feeling as if 4pm is Noon and 11pm (when she gets home) is more like 6pm. I’m sure I’ll settle in, but in these first 2 days it has been weird.

Eotd 2

Here is the program I am using in preparing the videos I worked on today. I think I am getting old as the font size on this program seems to defy even my variable lens eyeglasses. I lee having to turn on more and more lights, just to make sure I am reading things correctly. That said, I was able to work through stage 1 and 2 on all 18 videos so I can proofread titles tomorrow and then spend the remainder of the day rendering the HD video. I am trying to finish this project by the end of the week so that files can be deliver over the weekend and ready for the client to review and upload on Monday morning. Fingers crossed.

End of the Day notes and recorder

A bit of equipment awaiting use and a notepad where I scribble tasks as they come to me. More and more, I am trying to complete one task before moving on to the next, but that requires a quickly scribbled reminder when another thought or task jumped to mind. Knowing that I have captured the thought, I can return to my original work without feeling I will forget it.

End of the Day Desktop

…and this is where the magic happens. Having used dictation software, I can’t think I would ever move off the keyboard as an input device. I find it hard to connect thoughts together when dictating. I am too worried about saying the words I want correctly and all thought of “writing” goes out the window. I do use Siri to dictate essays or notes I have written by hand, though. This is far faster than typing them and I don’t run into the thought process problems, as I have already written the piece in a traditional way. I am only using the dictation software to replace the typing…which I’m not that good at anyway.

There you have it — a look into the dark teatime of my desktop. It probably says a lot more about me than even I think. Don’t judge me too harshly. A lot of work does get done here.

 

Previously on End of the Day:

Categories: End-of-the-Day, Writing Tags:

Noted: Photography: Three Uses for High ISO you Might Not Know via Digital Photography School

June 25th, 2014 Comments off

Photography: Three Uses for High ISO you Might Not Know via Digital Photography School

When to us high ISO

You may already know that the ISO setting is used to control your camera’s sensitivity to light. When you use a high ISO setting essentially you are telling your camera to become more receptive to the available light. This is most often used when you are photographing in low light situations in order to maintain a proper exposure. However, there are at least three other reasons you might consider using a high ISO setting when you’re either in a good light situation or on a tripod.

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“Noted” items are particularly good finds from my daily reading which I share via all my social media accounts.

Find more Noted/Shared Items here

Don’t make the same mistake twice – End of the Day for June 24, 2014

June 24th, 2014 Comments off

End of the day Logo

Mistakes are a part of life. We all make them and, over the course of our lives, we make a lot of them. That is simply the way things work. That said, I wish more people would live by two rules I try to apply each day. I am not always successful, but by trying I feel that even if I don’t make fewer mistakes at least I make better mistakes.

My two rules about mistakes:

  1. We all make mistakes, but our goal is to make a few as possible and correct the quickly
  2. Never make the same mistake twice
I have always thought the #2 was the more important rule to follow, while #1 is the easier one. Unfortunately, many people seem to break #2 again and again. I have these people in my life and I am sure you  have them in yours, too. Heck, even I break Rule #2 on occasion, but then I try to apple Rule #1 to recover.
 
Making the same mistake twice — or over and over — makes your life more difficult as well as making it more difficult for those around you. It can also make you look really, really stupid. Now, I am not saying your ARE stupid, only that it makes you appear that way. As you might imagine, that is not the image anyone wants to present to their friends, family or even strangers. We want and need to show that we are intelligent human beans capable of learning from our mistakes and trying not to repeat them.
 
Soake Hose Repair Splice
 
This was brought to mind today after another, hopefully final, visit from the Gas Company. They schedule today to perform the final, permanent repair on our leaking gas line. I mentioned the Gas Company about a week ago, as when they first came to make the temporary repair, they accidentally cut the soaker hose that ran through that garden bed. Now, based on the title of this essay, what do you think they did today? Yep, cut right through it again, even after I had repaired the initial cut. Even worse, it was the same crew who was here the first time. They knew they cut the soaker. They knew it was there and they still cut it again! They were very nice guys and competent workers in all other ways, but it really made me wonder what they were thinking. The Gas Company did replace the hose, thank goodness, now that I will have to replace it. I am usually willing to do one repair on a hose, but two can cause too many leaks and also reduces the overall length of the hose. Still, it really made me wonder.
 
If you make a mistake, learn as much from it as possible. Develop policies. Make protocols. Take notes. Ties a string around your finger. Do whatever it takes to not make that same mistake twice. Your life will be easier — and better — for it.

 

Previously on End of the Day:

Categories: End-of-the-Day, Writing Tags:

Photo: Fortnight Lily (Dietes) via #Instagram

June 24th, 2014 Comments off
Categories: Garden, Photos-Photography Tags:

Noted: Above LA Timelapse video by Chris Pritchard

June 23rd, 2014 Comments off

Above LA Timelapse video by Chris Pritchard

Above LA Timelapse Video

Above LA is a love letter to Los Angeles and showcases my favorite way to view the city – from above. Whether on a rooftop, a hill, or a mountain, getting above the grind of the city allows you to appreciate it in a new way. Once you get even slightly above, the views and sounds begin to change dramatically.

Getting above it all has been instrumental in helping me get to know and appreciate Los Angeles. This piece was produced off and on over the course of two years, and the clips selected for this film are only a small percentage of what I captured during my quest to take in the city from different locations and in new ways. Some of the locations featured are popular and easy to access, others require some searching and hiking, and some are heavily restricted. But I encourage everyone – lifelong Angelenos, transplants, visitors – to hit the trails, drive the mountain roads, find a reason to get on top of a high-rise. From the basin to the valley, this city offers so many opportunities to rise above and look down. Never stop exploring.

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“Noted” items are particularly good finds from my daily reading which I share via all my social media accounts.

Find more Noted/Shared Items here

It’s tiring to be a “man” sometimes – End of the Day for June 23, 2014

June 23rd, 2014 1 comment

End of the day Logo

Despite how much gender roles have changed during my lifetime, there are still times when, as a man, I seem expected to fulfill my typical 1970’s manly stereotypes. I am not sure about other men, but when this happens, it can really wear on me.

Anyone who know’s me personally could quickly tell you that I am far from a Macho Man in any way. I tend to be gentle and like gentle things. I’m artsy and musical and a host of other traits that aren’t typically seen as masculine. More than once I have been mistaken for being gay, especially in my college days, as many of these traits are seen as feminine and gay when exhibited by a man. This is ridiculous stereotyping, of course, but it still seems to happen today. Experiences like this can lead many heterosexual men to avoid these behaviors — masking their own pains and disappointments in a shroud of masculinity. It can make us reluctant to reach out for help when we need it most. 

Douglas E. Welch in the Santa Monica Mountains

Because of this, I want to be the first to remind everyone, but women especially, that there are times when men, just like women, aren’t up to maintaining these stereotypical roles. There are times we need to be comforted — times we need to be consoled — and even times we need to be controlled (or at least be told what to do or what your expectations are for us). If I feel I can’t be vulnerable, even every so often, after a while, it exhausts me. I can be strong and supportive when needed (and even kill the occasional rat, when necessary), but that is not the sum total of who I am. It also requires a certain amount of energy to maintain. Energy that I might not always have. When this energy fails me, I need those around me to recognize this, even if I have trouble revealing it myself.

A thought that occurred to me today, after a long visit to one of my own personal Kryptonites — the dentist. I had been anxious all day and was exhausted afterwards. As I talked with Rosanne about the experience, she was trying to explain how it was ok as other people have the same reaction and other people dread the experience. I didn’t feel she was understanding me, though. Looking back, I honestly think what I really needed was a really good “Poor baby” and a hug. (LAUGH) For just a short period of time I didn’t want to consider what other people did or thought. I wanted the moment to be all about me. Selfish? Sure, in some ways, but I think here are times when we all need life to be about us. You wouldn’t want to do this all the time, surely, but I think everyone has these moments. I love to help others in any way I can, but sometimes I can forget that I need something for myself, too.

I was out of energy to keep up the facade of “manliness” any longer. I just needed a little comforting and some time to recoup my energy. For the most part, I don’t like to burden others with my problems or moods, but every so often, there is no escape. I need to reach out and ask for some help. In some cases I need to do this sooner, though. I can run myself to the ends of my endurance and that means it takes longer to recover my balance, making it more difficult for both myself and those around me. I eventually worked through it all, but I probably won’t be fully back to 100% until I get a good night’s sleep. Again, energy needs to be recouped, and sleep is usually the best way to do that.

So, as a bit of advice, no matter who your partner in life is, let them know when you need help. Let them know when you have reached the end of your patience, endurance or energy. There are times to be strong and times to let someone else be strong. I don’t think you can always play one role or another. There has to be a balance between so many factors in your life and denying that fact hurts everyone. Even worse, if you are constantly forcing one particular role on your significant other, you may be causing them harm — even if they night not know it or admit it to themselves.

 

Previously on End of the Day:

Categories: End-of-the-Day, Writing Tags:

New Food: Crockpot Pork Shoulder/Loin served over Polenta

June 23rd, 2014 Comments off

We have been making pork shoulder, or in this case, pork loin in the crock pot for a while, but it took me some time to tie together the flavorful meat with warm, creamy (and sometimes, cheesy) polenta. I had first seen this done with Oso Bucco, but it only makes sense to do it with any sort of roast or stewed meat The polenta is a great starchy side and soaks up the flavorful juices of the meat.

Pulled Pork served over Polenta

My recipe for this dish is going to be much more vague than usual, mainly because it is simply so so easy.

Crockpot Pork Shoulder or Pork Loin

  • 2 lbs pork shoulder or pork loin
  • 1 cup Hard cider, beer, stock or any flavorful liquid
  • Salt, Pepper and your favorite seasonings, to taste
Cook in crockpot on low for 6-8 hours or 3-4 hours on high (I prefer low, for a nice slow cook) until pork easily pulls apart with form.
Break pork into large chunks.
This is an almost foolproof method and lets you have dinner ready when you return from work or errands.

Polenta (Italian Cornmeal Mush) based on the Joy of Cooking

  • 1 cup regular cornmeal
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 Tbls Butter
  • 3oz Extra Sharp Chedder (or other favorite cheese)

Add salt to water. Bring water to  a boil. Slowly whisk in cornmeal. Bring back to boil, then lower to very low. Whisk quite frequently while it cooked until polenta creamy and no longer gritty to the tooth — around 40 mins. Once polenta is done, remove from hear and whisk in butter, cheese and black pepper.

Assembly

Spoon polenta into large bowl. Spoon over pork pieces and juices from crock pot. Add side vegetables directly to the bowl, if you wish. (I added green beans to mine, but forgot them when i took the picture.

We always have polenta left over, so we prepare a ceramic baking dish with cooking spray and spoon the remaining polenta into that. After an hour, the polenta will have set. We then cut it into squares to be stored in refrigerator of freezer for quick use with other pasta sauces or meats in place of pasta.

This dish is great at any time of the year, but especially as an easy, ready-to-eat dinner on those cold winter nights. Mix up the meats you use, spices, flavorful liquids you use until you find your favorites We have tried tomato-based sauces, balsamic vinegar sauces and more. It is pretty foolproof.

 

Categories: Food, New Food, Recipe Tags:

You’ve got to have fun sometimes! – End of the Day for June 22, 2014

June 22nd, 2014 Comments off

End of the day Logo

As you may have seen in some recent posts here, i have been diving into international films and television the past few weeks. I have always watched a lot  of shows and movies from other countries and it is nice to have some time to cheek out some recent entertainment that I have missed out on. This is easy to do when you are so “heads down” with work. You don’t feel you can really spend time on pure entertainment and, even worse, you don’t even want to. When work is going well, it can be a bit addictive. I’ll use the excuse of summer vacation to justify my current binging on entertainment, but even so, I have still been able to get my work in, too.

Even during those busy times of the year we do try to make “dates” for ourselves. In the last few months we have seen Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike at the Taper. Spamalot at a small theater in Santa Monica, and, of course, watched Joe in all his plays. We are always on the lookout for free or cheap entertainment and there is a lot to be found in Los Angeles.

Both Rosanne and I recently posted about the Independent Shakespeare Company. We make a point to see each show they do. This year it includes Twelfth Night and Taming of the Shrew. Rosanne also found out that another free Shakespeare company — Shakespeare by the Sea — will be making a foray inland to Encino to perform A Midsummer Night’s Dream. We plan on trying to catch that production, too, since Joseph did a edited version of the show at his high school.

On a smaller note, I have called a meeting of LA Friday Coffee for this Friday, June 27, 2014 at the Ladies and Gents Night Out event in the Magnolia Park neighborhood of Burbank. We went last month and had a great time. One secret is that Joseph’s girlfriend lives 1 block away from the event, so that makes it easy to do a family trip.You can all the info on this casual event using the link above.

We are also thinking of a trip to the Getty Center via bus, as we haven’t been in a while and the $15 parking fee irks me no end. For $1.50 each way using our Tap Cards, we can get their and back almost more easily, and certainly cheaper, than we can drive.

Macleod

Finally, a new microbrewery opened in our neighborhood today, the MacLeod Ale Brewing Company, so we will soon be making a foray over there to taste their wares. We chatted with them a bit about 2 weeks ago and I am really looking forward to having such a nice hangout in within walking distance of the house. I foresee calling an LA Friday Coffee (???) meeting there in the near future, too.

I hope your summer is going well and you are finding lots of interesting ways to rejuvenate and recharge. 

 

Previously on End of the Day:

Categories: End-of-the-Day, Fun, Writing Tags:

Noted: The Valley’s First Craft Brewery Opens Today (Sunday), Specializing In British Ales via LAist

June 22nd, 2014 Comments off

This new microbrewery is right here in my neighborhood. I decided to avoid the crush of opening day, but I will be a making a visit very soon to do some blogging-related tasting! (LAUGH) — Douglas


The Valley’s First Craft Brewery Opens Today, Specializing In British Ales

Macleod laist

Finally!

The MacLeod Ale Brewing Company opened its doors and tapped its casks for the first time today, allowing beer lovers in the Valley to not have to travel far to get the craft brews they desire.

The Van Nuys brewery specializes in British styles that are hard to find, even for craft brewers. This includes, pale ales, Scotch ales, and English-style bitters. The brewery is also serving the beers directly from the casks they are naturally carbonated in, meaning less carbonated brews served at “cellar temperature” between 50 and 57 degrees, according to the LA Times.

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“Noted” items are particularly good finds from my daily reading which I share via all my social media accounts.

Find more Noted/Shared Items here

Categories: Drinks, Elsewhere, Food, LA, Los Angeles, Shared Items Tags: