Friday, November 02, 2007

Don't want to Jinx It

But it looks like the bulk of my computer problems may be resolved this morning. $80 poorer, but many, many gigabytes richer (120GB, to be exact), the system seems to running much better. I was not out of storage space. I still had 10 gig or so left on the other disk, but the operating system had become so corrupted (most likely due to a particularly nasty Windows update a few weeks back), that I was faced with the prospect of reformatting my hard drive.

Now, I do keep pretty comprehensive back-ups. I have an 80 GB hard drive on the guy's computer that I like to put copies of stuff on. But still and all, one worries and worries that something will have been missed and never be recovered after a reformat. So I opted instead to buy a new drive, put that one in, slave the old one on to it, and now I have every single thing still available to me. And it never hurts to have more storage.

Here is a photo of Bear sucking up to my buddy Don, he of the computer geek part of the human species:


And so, with new point & shoot camera in hand, a computer that appears to be pretty stable, I go into the wild world of Indian Land this weekend prepared to shoot many, many photos of events...barbecues, fall festivals, brunswick stews and attic sales. And after all that is said and done, I need to get going on my food story...Christmas gifts from and for the kitchen!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Taylor Taylor Pumpkin Carver

Originally uploaded by Food Fanatic
No matter how much or how little Taylor participates in Halloween festivities, he always carves a pumpkin.

We had hundreds of kids come by last night. But not nearly as many as the other side of the 'hood. I'm glad. It was a complete zoo over there. Buddy Rena and I walked around our side stuffing flyers for her husband's handyman work in newspaper boxes. We also put out flyers for Jazzercise. It was a beautiful night for walking around.

Today I need to do some serious research for a food story. The annual Christmas Gift Guide. I always do a "Gifts from the Kitchen" story. I'm thinking about doing spice blends this year. And a basket or two of gifts for the cook. Maybe a complete meal in one and the other could be a gadget basket.

Hopefully I've finally settle on a reasonable point & shoot camera to use while the Nikon is in the shop. I bought a Canon PowerShot S3 IS from Amazon. The price is more than $150 less than it was when it first come out. Because there is a now an S5 for people to buy! It arrived yesterday as I was rolling down the driveway to go to the school to shoot a classroom event. It did a good job with zoom and lighting. Better lighting than I usually get in the schools. I was not able to get a handle on all the settings before shooting a haunted house last night, though. This one has Aperture Priority mode, but I couldn't figure out how to actually SET the aperture! So the photos are too dark. Hopefully the newspaper photog can use Photoshop to bring out the overly-dark guy in this scary lab shot:
I like how the lit-up lab stuff came out. And that stuff is clear and sharp, too. I think the image stabilization really helped me there. I don't have that on the D40. Hopefully this little camera will end up being a good compliment to my kit.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Chicken and Root Vegetable Potpie

Originally uploaded by Food Fanatic
This recipe was wonderful! I've used frozen puff pastry once or twice before, but this had to be by far the most impressive.

Potpie generally seems like a minor pain because you make a white sauce. But this recipe from September's Cooking Light magazine really made it a snap. Instead of making the bechamel, standing there and stirring and stirring, you simply pre-cook your veggies and chicken in stock, pull out the veggies and lay aside, and then stir in flour and milk that you've whisked together. 3 or 4 minutes of monitoring and minimal stirring and you have a wonderful sauce. Dump the veggies and chicken back into it, pour it all into a baking dish, and lay the pastry on top.

Simple as...well. You know.

Here's a link to the recipe: Chicken and Root Vegetable Potpie.
It's pictured on the cover, cooked in individual little crocks. Very cool.

Incidentally, I shot this with the little Canon Powershot. I'm really going through withdrawal, missing my D40, but I discovered a very cool feature on this little camera that I don't think my big one has: I can set it to do multiple shots on the self-timer feature. I put the camera on a little tripod I have, set it to shoot 10 shots with a 3 second delay to start, and then started posing the food. The little camera just stood there and took shot after shot for me. I did that 3 times. Of course, only 3 of the 30 shots came out in focus, but hey...I got three shots! I've also noticed this one did a good job with natural light.