Looking For Quacks In The Pavement

Category: Photography (Page 1 of 9)

Isn’t That Just Ducky

I had a bright idea. (No, seriously, it involved strong lighting so in truth, it was quite bright.) In short: I’ll take pictures of each of the duckies, most of which have been stored in a bin under the bed since we moved into this apartment over five years ago, and use them as a cute little pick-me-up where needed on social media or whatever.

Tolo duck, face forward view

This would help my mental health through mastering the technical aspects, through completing a low-risk low-intensity task, and through giving me a way to (possibly) put a smile on the faces of friends and strangers alike.

Yankee ducky, face forward view

Too bad my camera crapped out barely a dozen snapshots into the whole project. Oh, turns out that the Nikon Coolpix line, and the B500 in particular, is prone to a weird freezing-up problem. You take a picture and the UI just never recovers. The camera’s still on, it shows on the screen what you’re looking at as you move it around, but absolutely none of the buttons or dials do anything anymore. Particularly the power button. The only solution is to pop out the batteries (which is a bit extreme, and not necessarily easy to deal with when the device is attached to a tripod).

Pirate duck, 3/4 view

I guess I should be glad the damned thing lasted this long, but still: Once again I am bad at researching major purchases. Maybe next month I’ll think about finding a replacement.

Two Loaves For The Price Of Two

Instead of focusing on three dimensional digital fakery, I decided on my recent vacation to spend some time focusing on three dimensional edible foodstuffs. That’s right, it was time to try my hand again at making fresh homemade bread. I used a different recipe (sorry, “formula”) from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, my guiding tome. Lesson learned from the first go-around: Don’t be so knead-y.

Here’s how that panned out.

Pictured: Measured ingredients for making a couple loaves of bread

Ingredients: Assemble!

I started at six thirty in the morning on the last day of my vacation, the day after the DST change no less, because I had a movie I wanted to see shortly after noon. A madman I may be, but I’ve always worked best to a deadline.

Last time, my inaugural breadmaking foray, I over-kneaded the dough and it was a bit dry besides, so the final product came out a bit on the dense side. I did not make that mistake again, though I overbalanced a bit and ended up with too sticky of dough for a while. Luckily when I added some flour to fix the consistency I didn’t go overboard.

Pictured: A bowl containing a blob of dough.

Arise, my doughy mass, arise!

One nice thing about this hobby is that a large percentage of the time spent making bread involves waiting for proofing (rising) stages to complete. This meant that I could read, goof off a bit, and take care of other chores.

Pictured, blurrily: Two loaves' worth of dough in their baking pans

One of the minor miracles of this project? I managed to get a nearly even split of the dough into two loaves.

That (somewhat blurry) photo above shows another of the problems with this attempt: The instructions call for spraying oil lightly atop the loaves, but all I had available was a silicone brush so there’s a fair bit more oil on those things than actually intended. Whoops.

Pictured: Two damned fine loaves of bread if I do say so myself, which I do.

Two plain loaves of boring white bread, but they’re MY plain loaves of boring white bread. I did that!

I can’t complain about the results, though. Not one bit.

Lessons learned from this go-around: Get an oil misting bottle instead of using a brush, and have a small amount of flour and water on hand during kneading in case things get too sticky or too dry, respectively. Other than that? All’s well that ends deliciously.

January was a long year.

I meant to get a couple more posts out last month. Clearly that didn’t happen. I blame the stomach bug, the weird work stuff, the weather, and a solid week where I didn’t want to do much of anything at all of any kind.

On the upside, I did make a loaf of bread all on my own. I set a goal late last year of doing something about my interest in learning to make my own bread, and here we are:

My first loaf of bread

Letting it sit for an hour to cool was torture, let me tell you. I wanted to chow down IMMEDIATELY.

It turned out okay, albeit a bit dense because I accidentally did a bit more kneading than intended. Not bad for a first try, though. We had that thing devoured within 24 hours. For instance, it made a helluva grilled cheese sammich:

Grilled cheese sandwich made with first loaf of bread

Apologies for the blurry photo, I’m still a lousy photographer.

Seriously, that was the high point of the month. On the Blender side, I learned to make a snowflake and took notes on how to do things like animated fireworks and so on. There’s a project coming, I’m just not yet certain the shape and scope of it yet. News to follow once there is some.

I also got around to assembling the two Nanoblocks Pokémon kits gifted to me over the last year or so, a Vaporeon and an Eevee. Immediately afterward I insisted that nobody buy me any more Nanoblocks kits. There are simply too many small fiddly bits for my hands and eyesight to manage. Ugh.

Nanoblock Vaporeon

These Nanoblock builds are not even remotely sturdy, with some bits hanging on by one lone post. Ugh.

Other than that, I’m just keeping on keeping on. I have a book review and two music reviews to get out there; look for those in the relatively near future.

I felt like doing some home improvement…

I’m on the last day of my little stay-at-home vacation, and to make sure I don’t waste the entire day with video games and cartoons I set myself a few tasks. As of now? Two down, two to go.

The first completed task was to trim down a couple of songs. First up was Filter’s “Miss Blue.” The CD for the Title of Record album has one of those “secret tracks” but they stupidly made it part of “Miss Blue,” only after six minutes of silence. Even worse, the “track” is stupid anyway. So I cut all that dead weight out. Then, The HU Band’s “Wolf Totem” as released originally on Bandcamp (it’s gone now that they have a record deal and an album release forthcoming) has a lot of nearly-silent padding at the start and finish. With my edited versions saved to the library, that’ll prevent long quiet stretches during random playlist action.

Anyway. I just completed my second task as well.

The doors to my bedroom, yes, that’s a plural because for some odd reason the designers decided that this room needs one full door and one half-sized door across the entrance, have a bad habit of rattling around when closed. I usually just wedge something into the gap between them to prevent the banging noises. This morning I went one better: Felt strips and double-sided tape to create padding right where it’s needed.

Felt padding at the top of the doorway for the half-door.

Felt padding in the catch.

Felt padding at the bottom of the half-door.

It ain’t fancy, but so far it seems to be doing the job. I can close both doors with a minimum of noise (which I’m sure the downstairs neighbors will appreciate) and when closed, they don’t rattle.

The Carol Corps

We are, one is forced to admit, a Funko Pops household. Like, we’re not addicted to buying all of them, nothing like that. But the “I can quit any time” line is just that, a line. Case in point:

Some time ago, before the movie was anything more than wishful thinking, I picked up a Captain Marvel. Cool! Onto the shelf she went.

Then the movie happened, and I picked up a Vers. Okay! I had two different Captain-Marvel-ish Funko Pops on display. Fine, fine, no problems.

Then my birthday arrived and I found myself with another variant. Boy howdy did Funko go nuts on these or what?

Then came the Captain Marvel “blind box” (Vyx ordered it, not me!) with two more. And a sixth arrived from… look, I don’t even remember, okay? But that one glows in the dark. Bonus!

End result?

All the Captain Marvel Funko Pops (with bonus Voltron crew)

Look! I have my very own Carol Corps!

(For fun, and at Vyx’s suggestion, I took another quick pic:)

(It may or may not be good to be the king…)

Edit: I was putting away dishes, which included a Captain Marvel glass (part of the aforementioned blind box) and, well:

We’ve had a set of “naughty words” glasses for years and years. In a way, this was inevitable.

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