plonq: (Ninja Mood)
[ profile] pierrekrahn contacted us from out of the blue today and asked if we were interested in an early dinner. We hadn't actually planned to leave the house at all today, but dinner sounded like a good reason to make an exception. We did the usual bandying about of dull dinner suggestions before [ profile] pierrekrahn mentioned that he had never been to Unburger and was interested in trying it. UB is one of those places that we choose to keep in our regular dining rotation, so we were amenable to that suggestion.

Somewhere along the way we picked up [ profile] dronon and the four of us ended up having a pleasant evening of dinner and conversation.

I set the camera to HDR mode and rested it on the table for this shot. Usually a backlit picture like this can be an exercise in futility, but I was curious to see how much the HDR would bring out. I am quite pleased with the result.

Here is the same picture in black and white. I prefer the BW version of it, but I like them both.

Here is another HDR picture, this time looking toward the street. I took this as an exercise in contrasts, and it wasn't until I was looking at the picture after I got home that I noticed I had captured a self-portrait on the Coke bottle.
Portrait In Coke
plonq: (Cheesy Mood)
Ocean King is probably my second favourite of the "basic" Chinese Food restaurants in Winnipeg (after Winter Garden). Having said that, I admit that we have not made it a point of trying a lot of neighbourhood Chinese restaurants in this town. When I call this a basic restaurant, it's because I don't put it in the same class as a place like Hu's.

OK doesn't have the most extensive menu in town, but everything we've tried off it so far has been good - especially their seafood dishes. I also like the décor - it looks like it was built in the early to mid 60s as a pizza restaurant and was never remodelled when it changed over to Chinese food. It is wonderfully homely and retro.

Anyway, why am I talking about a Chinese restaurant and then posting a picture of some custard tarts? [ profile] atara and I walked up there on Thursday for dinner, and (as usual) ordered just a bit more than we could finish. When we asked the owner to package it up, she brought the bag of leftovers out to the table and made a point of dropping a sweet bun in as a "treat for later". [ profile] atara already had leftovers in the fridge at her office, so I took in the rest of our dinner for lunch on Friday.

I left the sweet bun in the fridge at home, and it wasn't until I dug into it at work that I discovered the owner had also slipped some custard tarts into the bag for us as well. I snapped this picture and emailed it to [ profile] atara in case she wanted me to run one of them over to her office (she didn't - her loss, because they were quite tasty). Since I didn't take any more pictures that day, this is (by default) my picture of the day for Friday.

I need chocolate eggs like I need a spike driven through my spleen, but they were on sale at Bulk Barn when we were shopping there today. If there are two things I am a sucker for, it's mini eggs and bargains. I am just going to have to control my intake until these are gone (and I'm overdue to start hitting the treadmill again now that my foot is largely recovered).

I was actually testing out a couple of things on the new camera when I shot this one. I shot it in raw, with it set for macro, and the flash manually enabled. The first one I took was too washed out to use, but when I pulled the camera back and zoomed in it worked a bit better. I guess there are limits on how well it can scale down the flash for macro shots - good to know for future reference.
plonq: (Kinda Smug Mood)
I got a few days behind updating my pictures here. I think I have missed a day in there somewhere, but like I said at the start of this project, I am not going to sweat bullets over missing a day here or there.

We came home to this on our front walk the other day. This is where the water cut-off valve resides -- the same one that sprung a leak back in 2009. When the city came by to fix it, they left a hole there for a couple of weeks, and a temporary patch over the work for over a year. They haven't started putting out flags to mark where the other utilities are buried yet, but I am curious, and a bit apprehensive about their intentions here.

I am hoping that somebody wasn't going through old work orders and saw this one still on file. "Did we do this yet?" "I dunno - we better go dig it up again and check."

I have a dislike-hate relationship with Tim Hortons. I dislike that they are the most convenient coffee outlet on my way to work, dislike what happened to their doughnuts and other baked goods after they stopped making them fresh and began simply thawing them for display, and I hate that they can't seem to get more than 4 orders right before screwing up again.

What I really hate is how I can't seem to quit them, even with all the negatives. Their coffee is only OK. Their steeped tea is also... OK. My pet theory is that their products are all laced with crack cocaine, and these muffins in particular.

The windows people finally got around to installing the windows we ordered back in early September -- the ones that they assured us would be "in place for Halloween". They arrived at about a eight thirty and the last of them did not leave until well after 5. I locked Merry and Belladonna in the basement bedroom the moment the installers arrived, and let Jaws have the run of the house with the understanding that she would get freaked out and hide under the bed until they left.

She cooperated for the first few hours, but eventually she got used to noise and confusion and came wandering out to see what was going on. Fortunately most of her wandering about involved following me from room to room, so I could keep an eye on her and make sure she didn't try to jump out any of the openings where windows used to be. She has definitely become braver as she gets older. She even stayed in the room and watched while one of the workers cleaned up a bit with a noisy shop vacuum.

And I know she's not going deaf because she can hear food being dished up from any corner of the house, and she is very responsive to her name.

This is the new kitchen window, tentatively fitted into place. By the time they were done it looked much better, with proper sills. When they took the measurements back in September, they pointed at the vinyl siding around the windows and warned that they would not be able to replace it. We are planning to get the siding redone anyway, so we assure them it would not be an issue. They lied. They carefully removed and replaced the siding around the windows, and everything looks just fine from the outside.

There were a few issues with replacing the windows - most of them problems with getting the old picture windows out, and one of the old double-hung windows was quite a bit off-square. The foreman said after that this was one of the toughest window jobs he's had to handle in some time, but he enjoyed the challenge of it.

The other issue of note was that the wood above the dining room window was rotted out quite badly. We had noticed water damage around the window and written it off to condensation, but in retrospect I'm pretty sure there must have been a roof leak over that window at some point. When we had the roof done, the roofers mentioned that they'd had to replace some rotted roof planks along that side of the house. Fortunately the windows guys found enough solid wood to build up new mounts on.
plonq: (Evil mood)
I cracked open on one of the 2008 bourbon-soaked burly wines this evening for a taste. I think it has aged well, and I quite thoroughly enjoyed it. I followed it up with a plain 2009 one, which I liked even more. I still have a plain 2008 sitting out in the kitchen that I haven't opened yet, and I am looking forward to trying it tomorrow.


While I am posting pictures, here is a bonus picture of a baby. In this shot Jo is contemplating the outdoors through the dining room window. Hopefully she will be spending plenty of time there when she gets a bit older.

Christmas 1
plonq: (Cat-like Typing Mood)
Ike and Jo, all dressed up for the holidays.

plonq: (Obey)
Hoping Santa Claws was kind to you all today (and didn't try to kill you in your sleep for being on his naughty list).

Belatedly wishing you all the best for Saturnalia.

plonq: (Bork Bork Bork)
Cayenne-chocolate cookies are a Christmas tradition around here.

plonq: (Christmas Mood)
Today I made cookies and managed to avoid serious injury in the process. If I had been thinking I'd have taken a picture with some kind of winter solstice theme, but I was too busy whiling away my day in idleness (making of cookies notwithstanding) so the cookies will have to suffice.

My tentative plan is to make more cookies tomorrow.

(Disclaimer: This plate contains only a representational sample of the cookies and does not show the batch in its entirety. )


One of the first things I am going to do in the new year is take my Nikon in to get the sensor cleaned. Given what the camera has been through, I am pleased that the only trouble it has given me over the years is some stubborn dust on the sensor. I have been working around the issue by taking occasional reference photos so that the camera can map out the dust, but that is not an ideal solution.

Some of the other cameras I looked at when I purchased this one had self-cleaning sensors, and there are times when I have questioned my wisdom for buying a camera that did not.
plonq: (Cat-like Typing Mood)
I read somewhere that Bast is the oldest known recorded name. I either read that in the Bathroom Reader, or somewhere on-line so I take it with a grain of salt. Regardless of its veracity, she fascinates me no less.

I have always been intrigued by ancient Egypt - it was my favourite section of history when I was in school, though I admit that my subconscious is likely over-glamorizing what was probably a pretty shitty time in which to live. In any event, there is nothing like a bit of harsh back-lighting and half-tone overlay to add a bit of mystery to a picture.

plonq: (Christmas Mood)
These things are actually pretty cool, even in colour. I converted this one to black and white to cover up the fact that I shot it by hand at a very high ISO.

plonq: (Angsty Mood)
This nagging voice in the back of my head tells me that I submitted a nearly identical picture a few months ago, but I'm too knackered to bother checking.

The Internet on my phone cut out today. I checked with [ profile] atara and she assured me that hers was still working. Our offices are a couple of blocks apart, so it's possible that my building had suddenly sprouted legs and wandered into a data dead zone, but my suspicion was that my phone itself was having issues.

I checked my settings to ensure that I hadn't accidentally turned on aeroplane mode, or maybe dropped the phone into the toilet without thinking, but to cite a hackneyed line from every tech support desk I have ever called, "The system seems to be working fine here, the problem must be at your end."

Everything seemed to be set right on my phone, and all of the analogue functions were working, so either the digital receiver in my phone was acting up, or our telcom was suffering from the Pepsi syndrome.

I was prepared to put on my coat and jackboots to make a visit to the phone store across the street as soon as I put the finishing touches on a critical report, but just as I put the last bit of spit and polish on my report, the twitter application on my phone chimed to let me know that it suddenly had a purpose in existence again.

I guess the problem was at their end after all.

Anyway, as a test of my connection I snapped this shot of my desk and uploaded it to Flickr. So far, so good.
plonq: (Contemplative mood)
plonq: (Christmas Mood)
Because there's not already a huge library of mediocre faux Lomography out there, I decided to create some of my own (and also show off that we got more fresh snow this weekend).

Shot at f/9.0 at 1/80th of a second using the 50mm lens at an ISO of 100. Did a bit of colour correction, and brightened it overall a bit when I converted it from NEF, then I boosted the contrast in the red and green colour channels by about 35 and applied a vignette effect. Given how I was planning to bend the colours anyway, I suppose I could have saved myself a bit of work on the initial colour correction.
plonq: (Predatory Mood)
We hit up the Bodies exhibit that has been showing down town for the past few months. It was interesting, but a bit overpriced in my opinion.

While we were out (and earlier, speaking chronologically) we stopped for lunch at the Eat! Bistro up on Garry Street. This has been on our list for awhile, and I'm glad that we made the effort to get in there. The place oozes with kitsch, from the old book store in front to the theatre upstairs (where they had tables set up selling local crafts today - we bought me some home-made winter socks).

Pictured (poorly) here was my lunch platter consisting of some home-made taco chips, hummus, snap peas and baby carrots, grilled veggies, a black bean cake topped with avocado and a tomato chutney, and some chickpea fritters. Hidden underneath the fritters were some sun-dried tomatoes. It was all very delicous, and in retrospect I really didn't need the side order of tempura-battered onion rings with a roasted red-pepper dip that you can see just encroaching into the picture on the right.
Lunch at Eat! Bistro

Later we went shopping for some new luggage. We have a motley assortment of suitcases and overnight bags, but we wanted something a bit more elegant (and durable) for the cruise next year. We looked at a few brands and sizes before settling on these two, in part because of their fairly distinct colours (they are listed as emerald and sapphire). They have a lifetime factory warranty against just about everything, and they're large enough that for shorter trips we can share a single bag for all of our stuff. I was going to get a nice flash picture of the bags when little miss photo-bomb popped her head up from behind them to see what I was doing.

A lot of people wrote off Metallica after their St. Anger, but they were just launching a new phase of their career...
plonq: (The Goggles Do Nothing)
Whatever gets you through the night...

All I ask is to get more than 3 hours of sleep at least one night this week.

plonq: (Plonq @ Work)
This is why [ profile] plonq makes his own coffee at home before heading in and avoids the stuff at work. There's only two pots laid out in there today, but I've seen people set out a week's worth at a time. Nothing makes for tasty coffee like laying it out in a drawer to oxidise and turn bitter before it ever sees the pot.


I can't believe I have made it into December without missing any daily pictures. Now if I can just crank up the quality again so that I can end the year on a high note...
plonq: (Innocent mood)
If you cannot motivate yourself to go and take a picture, just wait and eventually the picture will come to you. I was sitting back in my computer chair mulling over a subject for today's picture when Merry decided that it would be a good time to jump up and get all up in my face. Fortunately my phone was charging on the desk within easy reach, and the results are here. To the phone's credit, it was a pretty low-light shot, but at the same time I like the roughness that it lends to the picture.

I watched some videos of various Black Friday stampedes this evening and I felt a bit more of my respect for humanity shrivel away with each clip. In comparison this compilation of failures was almost uplifting. It starts off slowly, with the usual assortment of idiots on skateboards and trampolines, but just past the halfway mark I found myself overwhelmed by morbid curiosity. A drunk falling off a stage is one thing, but this video had a fair share of "what the fuck were these people even trying to do?" moments in it.


"Oh Santa boned my sister on Christmas.
He said it was because she'd been so good.
She'd asked for weed or world peace
or even six a-layin' geese.
Well she got her goose and then she got his wood."

Giblet stood with a Christmas tree ornament clutched in one paw, ostensibly frozen in mid-hang while his brain tried to parse what his ears were picking up from the snow leopard's notebook. "What the hell are we listening to?" he finally demanded.
plonq: (Irked mood)
What the fuck is wrong with some people? I find it somewhat disturbing to think that one of the folks I work with thought that it was totally acceptable to use half a roll of toilet paper and then to walk away and leave this.

plonq: (Fark Off)
Did you ever have an idea for a picture that sounded cool on paper, but wasn't quite so cool in execution? I did some things wrong with this one, not the least being to segregate the cats in the other room because OMG THAT'S OUR TOY AND OMG OMG LASER POINTER! As quickly as I would shoo away one of them, the other would return. Finally [ profile] atara intervened and kept them busy long enough for me to take the long exposure.

It was supposed to be a picture of a vague mouse-like shape silhouetted in green. Instead it's... this.
Ah well, if I am going to be taking a picture every day it's only fair to document the failures as well as the successes.
plonq: (Contemplative mood)

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