Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Attention RSS Reader Users: Crispy bits side bar

To all those who track this blog through an RSS reader (and I suspect that's most of you): there is a new sidebar called "Crispy Bits: The Good Stuff on the Web". It's a collection of the interesting and funny stuff I find while surfing (which I do probably more than I should).

Right now there are links to a Beach Boys cover on a ukulele, an interesting way to use an exercise ball and a musical flow chart. All good stuff.

If you use a RSS reader, you won't get an update when I update the list. So come here every once and a while when you are bored - there will probably be at least one interesting thing in the list.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Wasp photos

I took down the wasps nest today (see post). It broke as it fell open and I grabbed a few photos.

AwakenCan you call it honeycomb when it was built by wasps?
Plugged upQ-Tips

Even though I sprayed the nest over two weeks ago, some of the wasp larvae were alive and starting to emerge from their cocoons. I don't know if they would have made it out with the residual pesticide and with no family members to take care of them. The nest also stank pretty bad - I should have taken it down right away I guess.

I don't really like wasps around but I have nothing against them living. If they didn't build their nest so close to my house I won't have bothered them at all. The nest opened up when it hit the patio and the inside was pretty interesting. I'm amazed at the structures that they built. Really quite awe-inspiring.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Reading material

I love Amazon.ca. Click click click and your books are delivered to your door within a week. Delivery is free, the selection is pretty good and browsing is easy.

I picked up a few books with my birthday money. Three books for three hobbies.

Mastering the Art of French Cooking is a classic. It translated and delivered regular french cooking to North America. Recipes range from simple (Sauce Béchamel, white Sauce) to the complex (Coquelets sur Canapés, Roast Squab Chickens with chicken liver canapes and mushrooms). Butter, cream and wine are featured prominently in many of the recipes. I'm either going to have to take it easy on them or increase my meager (read: non-existent) exercise routine.

Light: Science and Magic is the definitive beginners guide to light with respect to photography. It has real world examples of lighting scenarios and enough theory to let you apply the scenarios to situations not covered in the book. How do you avoid glace when photographing people with glasses? How do you photograph shiny objects? How does the size of the light source affect the photography? All this and more await!

Working with Handplanes will hopefully help me achieve more success with my wood working projects then I am currently experiencing. Handplanes are mysterious creatures; when they work well, you feel like you can do anything. When they don't you feel you can do nothing. I'm hoping to move from the latter to the former.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Bon Appetit - Julie and Julia

We just came back from watching Julie and Julia. If you are a foodie or a fan of Julia Child you should really go see it.

The movie is based of the book of the same title which follows Julie Powell as she tries to cook through the Art of French Cooking in a year, with flashbacks to Julia Child's life in France. The book is based on a blog that Julie Powell used to track her progress through the book (the blog is still available, though the last entry is from 2004). Meryl Streep plays Julia Child and her portrayal is really quite uncanny. The movie is funny and interesting and makes you hungry - what more can a movie do?

I never really watched much Julia Child as a kid - Canadian television played more Yan Can Cook and the Urban Peasant (and who can forget Just Like Mom) but her impact on North American cooking is unparalleled. My copy of the Art of French Cooking is on it's way from Amazon.ca. I'm looking forward to cracking it open and trying the most involved recipe in there: Pate de Canard en Croute.