plonq: (Bored Mood)
Believe it or not, there is a fish hiding somewhere in this photograph. It saw me approaching the tank with my camera, and after a moment of furious fishy panic, it quickly manoeuvred itself into a position where it would be mostly obscured from direct viewing, and nigh invisible against the background. Such a clever fish. Surely if it was not in a sealed tank, and I was a fish-eating predator it would be perfectly safe.

Spot the fish

So far I am impressed with the camera in this phone - especially in lighting conditions as poor as they were for this shot. The images are not quite as sharp as you would get with a real lens, but the fact that it supports shooting RAW gives me a lot of leeway to play with sharpness and detail after the fact. I cleaned up this shot a bit after the fact, but after playing with a couple of different crops, I decided to keep the original image.

Little owl in a big pen
plonq: (Braiiiins)
I have been sleeping very well lately - when I sleep. I got woefully little sleep last week because of the shift work I was on, but I got to bed at a decent hour last night. I simply did not sleep. I partly blame my brain. I fell asleep quickly enough, but I awoke again sometime around midnight (I blame Jaws for that) and my brain began nattering with an inner dialogue, stressing about work, life, and everything. I think I may have been drifting in and out of slumber for the next hour or two until I found myself wide awake, staring at my alarm clock at 2:30 this morning.

I should have got up and wandered out to the computer room for a while. I would not have sat at my computer, because the last thing I needed was more mental stimulation at that point. On the there hand, I have started reading a book, and regardless of the subject matter, reading tends to relax me. I am OK, and awake enough at the moment, but I have a feeling this is going to be a very long day.

But this is not a whine about my lack of sleep, it is a rant about this:
Serving Size

Serving sizes are supposed to be based around reasonable portions. On the surface, 1/3 cup seems like a reasonable portion. On the other hand, 46.7% of the can is not. What this suggests to me is that they are making the cans for an international market, using metric sizes, but calculating the nutritional information for the US market, using archaic Imperial measurements. Instead of containing 1, 2 or even 3 servings, this can contains 2.143 servings.

I would go on about this at more length, but I just remembered that I have another angry rant pent up and chomping for release. Perhaps I will unleash The Hounds of Indignation on that one once I have some coffee, and 2.143 servings of sardines under my belt.
plonq: (Braiiiins)
Happiness is a tin of sardines in lemon sauce. While that is not the only key to happiness, nor even ranking in the top ten elements of a happy existence, it still added a non-zero, non-negligible amount to my level of satisfaction today.

Another important piece in my interlocking puzzle of contentment is that the weather has finally turned spring-like. Sunday was gorgeous, but even the cool, grey, wet weather we are experiencing this morning is a tremendous improvement over the bitter conditions we have been contending with for months. I daresay I may even forgo eating the hearts of my co-workers for another day.

I was not feeling particularly stabby even before the fish, mind you.

We went to the Easter service at church yesterday, and it were treated to the usual intellectual (if somewhat safe and predictable) fare that I was expecting. "The spirit of Jesus lives on in us, even if he's deader than your first web page on Tripod." When we got home later, we waffled over what to do next (cook up an Easter dinner, have tea,or go for a walk). It was the weather that finally pushed us into taking the third option first.

We both overdressed out of habit, and then made our way down to St John's park. It was nice to find sidewalks that are (mostly) navigable again, and Saturday's stiff winds had subsided to a gentle spring breeze. A pleasant walk was had by all.

I don't know why, but lately I've had pretty good luck with photographing birds. This gull was a little skittish, so I kept my camera trained on him and slowly stalked up on him, knowing that it was just a matter of time before he spooked again. When I thought he was going to panic, I clicked the shutter pre-emptively and caught him right at the, "I'm outa here!" moment. While I would have liked to have caught a little more of his reflection in the water, I am overall pleased with the shot.
Escape Velocity

Just as we got to the bridge, there was an unusual break in traffic. This bridge is normally very busy, so I took advantage of the situation to dash out into the middle of the road for a shot. I did not have as much time to compose it as I would have liked because I saw cars entering the far side of the bridge again as soon as I got out into the road.

I decided to snap a picture quickly and see if I could salvage anything from it later with some cropping. After a bit of cutting and the application of some interesting filters, I decided that it the shot was worth keeping.

In spite of her winning smile, the harsh sunlight playing across her at a bad angle just made this a poor picture. I tried salvaging it in software, but my efforts just made it worse with each attempt. I finally gave up, and just started playing with random filters to see what kind of cool effects I could achieve.

I am not quite sure what I did to arrive at this, but I like the result. I have concluded that I am not a good enough photographer to care that much about being a purist, so I don't feel too bad about experimenting with filters and effects.
Lady in Red
plonq: (Please Sir May I have Some More)
When we went shopping at Lucky this weekend, I picked up what I can only honestly call a crazy-person amount of canned fish. They carried about three times the variety of tinned sardines as our regular store at a fraction of the price, and some of it was on sale for ridiculously cheap. I studiously ignored the expiry dates in case they told a story I did not want to hear and gleefully loaded up our basket.

I brought one of them in as a snack today, and I was floored by how much better it was than the ones that I usually bring. The brand that I usually buy is Brunswick, which is tinned somewhere in eastern Canada (I might even go as far as to say New Brunswick). They come in a variety of flavours, and I have generally been happy with the quality for the price. The ones I had today were a product of Portugal, and while they were a bit more expensive than the Brusnwick sardines, the quality of the fish was as different as night from day.

I don't know if the important factors lie in the variety of fish itself, the preparation methods, or both. The Brunswick fish is mushy in comparison. It tastes OK, but texturally it's like lightly steamed, fresh-picked broccoli florets versus the processed ones you would find in a frozen TV dinner. Is it worth the difference in price? I guess that depends on how big a price I put on satisfaction.

Mind you, the Brunswick sardines were impressively cheap at Lucky, and I have been living in Winnipeg long enough to be a sucker for a bargain.

Q: How do you get rid of your household trash in Winnipeg?
A: Put it by the curb with a sign reading, "FREE"

I have enough fish to last well into next month, even if I pack it for lunch every day, so I can defer any fish decisions until then.
plonq: (Pinkie Ponderous Mood)
plonq: (Unsympathetic Mood)
One of the things I was tentatively planning to do at MFF was commission a new badge. I scoped out the dealers' den and artist alley trying pick an artist who drew in a style that I liked, but didn't look so overburdened with commissions that I might have a chance of getting a finished badge before the weekend was over.

Then suddenly it was Sunday and far too late to seek out a commission.

Part of the problem was that I could not decide if I wanted to just get another [ profile] plonq done, or if I wanted to get a ponified [ profile] plonq done, even though I am totally not a brony.

I was leaning toward the latter, which landed me in the lap of another conundrum; for the life of me I couldn't think of an appropriate cutie mark for my ponified [ profile] plonq.

Well, that's also not true. I had a cutie mark in mind, but I wasn't sure if I wanted to try and saddle some poor artist into doing a visual representation of existential nihilism in a form that would fit comfortably on a flank.

Oh well, maybe next year.
plonq: (Angry Mood)
Today's irritant:  CTRL-F is the Windows de facto shortcut key for "Find"...

...except in Outlook.

Way to follow your own guidelines, ya mooks!


Jul. 12th, 2005 08:25 am
plonq: (Blah Mood)
It's time for another episode of "cooking with [ profile] plonq".

At one point last week I found myself in possession of two mid-sized gutted, headless Pacific salmon.  Apparently the expectation was that I would work some kind of magic on these fish to render them edible (it's in your blood when you're born on the coast, don'tcha know?)

I would like to point out that in the past 20 years, my sole experience with preparing salmon has involved dealing with boneless, skinless fillets that I have either cut up and served raw with sushi rice, or cooked on a cedar plank on a barbecue.  On the other hand these fish would have been flopping around on the counter, but for the lack of heads and intestines.  It would be an understatement to say that I was at a bit of a loss.

I searched my memory banks in desperation, and finally settled on an old recipe that I remembered hearing about when I was 8 or 10 - though the recipe called for the fish to be thrown into a campfire, and I wasn't sure how our host would feel if I tried to spark up a fire in his kitchen.  I did my best to improvise, and here's what I came up with:

First I stuffed the fish with butter, brown sugar and lemon juice, then I added a layer of the same on top for good measure.  As an after-thought I sprinkled both fish with salt, pepper and crushed garlic, then wrapped them in foil and put them in a 350' oven for 45 minutes.  The end result was something quite edible.

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