Cloud eggs. Silly but fun too.

I did a silly thing, thanks to NPR.  I made cloud eggs.

Which turns out is pretty easy if you don’t screw up the meringue.  I’d only tried to make a meringue once before and was unsuccessful.  I suppose I could have looked up the directions in one of my cookbooks or online, but where’s the fun in that?

Continue reading Cloud eggs. Silly but fun too.

Royal Playa Del Carmen – review

Wonderful all-inclusive.  Highly recommended.

Is the Royal perfect?  No.

Is the Royal almost perfect?  Yes.

First off, I’m someone that usually works to stay away from all-inclusive resorts.  The idea of going to a new place in the world and being separated from the people that live in that place is a big turn-off.  When I go someplace, I want to be *in* the place, so I can see what it’s really like. Continue reading Royal Playa Del Carmen – review

Jacky Donahue

I have never before felt the need to stand up and speak after someone’s death. For Jacky I find that I do.  I’m sure I won’t be alone in that feeling and you’re going to find dozens of stories about her and the impact she made in so many lives.

I met Jacky on the first day of workshops for Scarborough Faire in 1989.  She did two things that weekend which would have long-lasting impacts on my life.  The first was that she took a nerdy guy in a white lab coat and, for a reason only she will ever know, chose me as part of her group that year. The second thing was that at one point during the weekend she grabbed a girl named Susan, pushed her toward me and said “This is Michael. Corrupt him.”

Prior to that time I’d had very little interest in dance, being much more interested in computer programming and other less athletic pursuits unless they involved lasers, flashing lights and chasing people in dark mazes.

I had great fun learning from Jacky and performing with her.  Playing at Pyramus and Thisbe (or Pyramid and Frisbee as some of us liked to call it), talking, walking from event to event, dancing hither and yon (even in the Holly Oven) at dinner at Golden Corral and after with the group in the pool and hot tub at the Econo Lodge.

She had a big warm heart that opened easily and was fiercely protective of those she cared about.  There’s this small red statue that some of you may remember…

Dance is now a core part of my life.  I spend hours learning new dances, teaching, calling dances, playing roadie at events and so on.  I might not be doing any of that if it weren’t for Jacky pulling me in and taking me on the first few steps along that road.

My corruption was successful.  I’d say I’m fairly irredeemable at this point.

That girl Susan that I mentioned?  We married each other.

It took a few months for her to catch me but once she did I was hogtied for life and I couldn’t be happier about it.  She’s the best thing that ever happened to me and while she says she saw me that first day and thought I was cute, if Jacky hadn’t pushed us together, our lives might have taken very different paths.  I’m glad they didn’t.

Thank you Jacky.  My world is definitely a better place because you were in it.

Gimp Gnowledge

I’ve been having all sorts of fun (and frustration) learning how to do more complicated image editing and thought I’d share my latest.

On the wonderful snow days of Dec 25 & 26, 2012 (oh how they will be fondly remembered) I took the following photo.

Pleasing to the eye it is.

Based on learning to use masks in Gimp which I’ve been using to enhance my bracketed sky shots and a few single frames I decided to apply the glernin to an “older” picture.

Thence, the following:

Hey, wait a minute.  Looking at the latter picture by itself I liked the changes.  Even toggling the mask layer on and off I really felt the new version was much better.

Seeing them side by side like this I’m not so sure.  The rose pops out more in the first version and remains as the focus of the picture.  In the latter more can be seen but that takes focus away from the rose.

What do you think?

Rebel or Powershot?

My brother recently accused me of having too much fun with my new camera.  It’s a used Rebel and I have been having quite a lot of fun with it.  His comment got me thinking.  Is the Rebel really that much better than the Powershot for my purposes or is it just that it’s a new toy?

To try to answer that question I started a list of containing the features that I like and dislike about each camera.  The cameras are the Canon Powershot SX120 and the Canon Rebel XS.

Continue reading Rebel or Powershot?

Redshirts in Lexington

When I saw that John Scalzi was going to be giving a talk to promote Redshirts at Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Lexington on the same day that we would be flying in, I decided I had to go.

If he (or pretty much any other writer) had been coming to Dallas, I probably wouldn’t have bestirred myself to attend (just lazy that way).  Since we would already be up and about, I made plans to go while Susan and her mother went off to a yarn store.

I made an audio recording of the event though it’s probably not worth posting due to the air conditioner that kept switching on and off.  Things are understandable but you’ll have more fun listening if you go to a talk on your own.

It was a good evening.  He’s a good speaker, told some funny stories and at the end I got my copy of Redshirts and The Rough Guide to the Universe signed and was able to give him a proper “Oh shit, I’m being stalked” kind of fright when I mentioned that I’d flown in from Dallas just for the talk.

Fireflies in Kentucky

Had a fun time at the McKee farm last weekend with relatives and our hosts Dottie and Frank.  As the sun went down the fireflies started to come out.  I set up my camera to take some regular pictures and captured this firefly comet going past.  Pretty little lights going past near the ‘creek’ and around the barn and garage.