Showing posts with label amusements. Show all posts
Showing posts with label amusements. Show all posts

30 September 2013

My life on Instagram

In the last year and a half I've posted 642 photographs on Instagram and in the process, learned that I'm not a bad photographer. I've learned plenty more than that of course, but that's been my big takeaway.

When I started Instagramming I was a real stickler about only using my telephone's camera and only using the editor that's built into the app. I'm not not so picky anymore. I still use my phone's camera from time to time but there are two other cameras I've been using too. I never identify my equipment just to keep people guessing.

I used to look to this blog as a way to document my life but more and more, it's what I'm starting to depend on Instagram to do.

If you're not an Instagrammer, give it a shot. maybe it'll speak to you the way it has to me.

Here are ten photos from the last couple of months that have made it onto my personal favorites list. If you click on my name, the link will jump you to my Instagram profile page. Follow me and I'll follow you back.

All of the photos in my stream are available for purchase as either a hi-res file or as a 6"x6" or a 12"x12" print. Shoot me an e-mail if you're interested.

23 August 2013

Hordes of marauders

It's been a while but this post has been rattling around in my head for the last few months.

I've devoted a significant amount of energy this summer to learning how to garden in the northeast again. In a lot of ways it's like riding a bike --it is after all the climate I grew up in. Yet at the same time, it's come with its own challenges.

One of the things I grew this summer is Swiss Chard. I grew it as an ornamental more than a food crop because it's beautiful. At the same time, I've eaten from my ornamental chard more than once. Here's a photo of it I Instagrammed when it was in its prime.

Lovely, isn't it? I should say, "wasn't it?" because it's been decimated by the most unlikely of marauders.

Meet the American Goldfinch, Carduelis tristis.


My bird guides assure me that goldfinches are strictly seed eaters.

However, I now know that goldfinches like to supplement their meager diet of seeds with fresh, succulent Swiss Chard. Here's a photograph I took from the kitchen window during one of the finches' nightly raids.

©Paul Anater

I've seen as many as four goldfinches perched on the remains of that Swiss Chard at the same time, so I know it's not just a single bird with a taste for salad greens. It's wasn't just a one time thing either. The neighborhood goldfinches, and only the goldfinches, descend on that poor Swiss Chard every evening at dusk.

I like to think of myself as a pretty aware guy when it comes to what happens in the world around me. I know a lot about the birds and bugs with whom I share my part of the world. With that said, I have never heard of goldfinches raiding a garden. Rabbits and chipmunks I expect and know how to handle. But chard loving goldfinches? Who ever heard of such a thing? Gangs of marauding goldfinches --what's next?

13 May 2013

I love Instagram!

I know, I know, it's been months since I've written a post on either of my sites. It's a curious thing though; after five years of documenting my every move on a blog I'm kind of burned out. However, that doesn't mean I'm burned out on public self-expression. I've discovered something new.

My hand after a weekend's work in the yard
My hand after a weekend's work in the yard

Well, new for me at any rate. That thing is Instagram and I'm mad for it. Instagram is a photo composition and sharing platform if you're not aware of it. On Instagram, a user is forced to take a pre-framed photo on his or her phone and then run it through any of 20 pre-set filters. Technically, someone can upload any photo from one's phone, even ones taken with a good camera. I think that's cheating a bit, so all of mine are taken with my HTC OneX. My photos post automatically to Twitter and Facebook, so if you follow me there you're already subjected to my daily onslaughts. If you're an Instagrammer, please follow me at my profile there. I love to see other people's work with that platform. Even if you don't follow me, you can see my whole Instagram portfolio by following that link

I'm convinced that the shackles Instagram places on me make me a better photographer. As I'm fond of saying too, captioning my photos is almost as creative an activity as composing my shots. I'll be the first to admit that not all of my Instagram photography is great or even good. To quote my Dad however, "Sometimes a blind pig can find an acorn." Some of my Instagrams are good and some of them make me feel like I'm a good photographer. Here are some of the highlights of my year spent on Instagram. 

Part of dinner last weekend
Part of dinner last weekend
Rural morning
 Rural morning
Icarus and Daedalus
Icarus and Daedalus
I do love Philadelphia
I do love Philadelphia
Train station
Train station
Dinner with my friend (and fellow Instagrammer) Mike
Dinner with my friend (and fellow Instagrammer) Mike
Olympian in Atlanta
Olympian in Atlanta
Make a wish
Make a wish
Morning walk
Morning walk
Au printemps
Baking a cake with one of my nephews
Baking a cake with one of my nephews
Winter window
Road from my brother Dave's last autumn
Road from my brother Dave's last autumn
Corn last summer
Tobacco fields in Pennsylvania
Tobacco fields in Pennsylvania
Bread baking in Florida
Baking bread in Florida

30 November 2011

Graff wants to spread the good cheer

Graff makes faucets and bath fixtures that will bend your mind. Check out this collection called Luna.

Wow, what a bath!

It being nearly December and with the holidays approaching, Graff has a promo going on right now on their Facebook page that worth checking out.

Every week, from now through the week of December 16th, Graff is giving away a $200 American Express gift card. All you have to do is go to Graff's Facebook page and like them. A new contest will be revealed every week, but the only way you can know about it is to like their page.

Because this is a new promotion, I'll tell you this week's. Between now and Friday, post a link to your favorite or least favorite Christmas/ Hannukah/ or Eid (even though Eid was a month ago) song and if you post the best and or worst, you'll be $200 closer to the end of you holiday shopping.

Because I'm as much a nerd as I am a snob, I'll let you know my favorite Christmas carol of all time. It's "Tu Scendi dalle Stelle" as performed by Luciano Pavarotti. Chistmas and all of December are meant for classical music and Tu Scendi sums it up perfectly.

$200 toward my shopping this season would be a real boon and I'm sure I'm not alone in that. So why not give Graff a like and get the chance to make this a holiday season to remember. So go like Graff!

24 November 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Take a moment today, and every day, to make a mental note of things you have to be grateful for. Then eat a lot of pie.

03 July 2011

Another YouTube (and Vimeo) kind of Sunday

As I poke around the internet, I'm forever finding cool videos. Here are some highlights I've had bookmarked for a while.

First up are giant bubbles filmed in slo-mo on frigid Stinson Beach. This thing's mesmerizing.

Next up is an ad for an LG vacuum from the UK. Spectacular effects.

Next it's off to India for some of the most spectacular feats of athleticism I've ever seen. Pole gymnastics, who knew?

Then it's off to Prague for the 600 year celebration of their observation tower. This effect is light and video projected onto the facade of the tower and it tells the story of 600 years of not only the tower, but of the Czech people. Fantastic stuff. This is a very tall video and you may have to scroll up and down to follow the action.

The 600 Years from the macula on Vimeo.

And finally, we're off to London for the New Year's 2011 fireworks display. It's the wrong country and the wrong holiday but hey, fireworks are fireworks and this this display beats the pants off of anything I've ever seen. Note to self: Be in London for New Year's 2012.

Enjoy your Sunday.

12 March 2011

The Last Breakfast

Freelance sculptor and and illustrator Brian Stuckey is brilliant.

Nothing short of brilliant. Here's his website.


11 January 2011

Express your love with a bad $20 copy

If your idea of a love story is this miserable couple,

And this really beautiful sapphire ring sums it all up for you, I think you'll be interested in something being hawked on TV these days.

Maybe generation two of that story sends you off to la la land.

Or maybe it's just seeing that ring again that's causing all that thrill.

No matter because you can have a dead ringer for it (is that a double pun?) for $19.99.

Never mind that the original cost £30,000 in 1981 and is now priceless, this ingenious copy will fool all of your friends and social lessers that you are, indeed, royalty.

24 December 2010

The ghosts of Christmas variety shows past

It's Christmas Eve. I don't know if it's your thing or not but it's sure mine. This is my favorite day of the year, my favorite night of the year to be specific. So before I take off for a couple of days to ring in my Christmas Eve, I want to thank all of you guys for another terrific year. This little blog thing has brought so many great people into my life and they've brought so much good stuff with them it gets overwhelming to think about.

So as we get ready to show 2010 the door and usher in 2011 I want to wish all of you the very best for the coming year.

2010's been a feast on one hand and a famine on the other. Whattya say we all work on having there be more feast and less famine in 2011?

And although it's great to look forward to what's next, Christmas is always a good excuse to look back too. I'm not one to entertain a whole lot of nostalgia, it never seems like a productive use of time. However there are some exceptions. Most people get all excited every year when the Grinch comes on TV. Or how about A Charlie Brown Christmas? For other people it's all about A Year Without a Santa Claus. The Christmas stuff I remember so fondly never makes it back onto TVland or ABC Family.

I'm talking about Christmas variety shows of course. They're the ignored art form from the days of network only TV. Well thank heavens for YouTube. Even now, despite all of my classical longings, it's not Christmas in my house until I break out the Andy Williams.

Andy Williams defined Christmas for me as a kid. Everybody was nice, sung well and wore sweaters. What more could you ask for really?

And of course, Andy Williams discovered the Osmond Brothers. The addition of the Osmonds to Andy's Christmas specials ratcheted up the treacle levels to near-cavity-inducing levels but it was a lot of fun anyhow.

The Osmonds took their early fame and turned it into an entertainment moguldom that should make the Brittanys and the GaGas squirm with discomfort. These people were an entertainment machine. One of the neighbor kids and I used to ask each other all the time "Who would you want to be adopted by, the Osmonds or the Jacksons (of Jackson Five fame)?" I would always pick the Jacksons. Even then, at nine or ten, all that forced happiness made me uncomfortable. It was sure fun to watch though.

Once everybody figured out that there was money to be made in TV variety shows, Christmas specials in particular, the floodgates opened and everybody got in on the act. Watch, if you dare, this clip from Sonny and Cher. Count the B-list celebrities.

Variety shows always made for strange bedfellows. Whether it was Charo and Señor Wences chewing scenery with Donnie and Marie or Ruth Buzzi hamming it up on the Flip Wilson show, variety shows brought together the weird and the wonderful and everybody ended up singing. In the next clip, the has-been and desperate meet the new and eager in an orgy of self-promotion at any cost.

Though variety shows as a rung on the career ladder peaked in the mid-70s, the genre lived on as a vehicle for selling records as evidenced by this gem from the early '80s. I'm dedicating this to my great friends Brandon and Kevin who abandoned me and the glories of Christmas in St. Pete for the sordid bacchanal of New Orleans a couple of years ago. The memory of their drunken renditions of Hard Candy Christmas, sung a capella on my sofa every year, sustain me through hard times.

Finally, I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when John Denver's agent sobered him up and explained that they were going to save his career by having him sing with puppets on TV.

It worked.

So have a great Christmas one and all. If Christmas isn't your thing, enjoy having the movie theaters all to yourselves this weekend. I'm going to take a couple of days off and I'll be back next week.

19 December 2010

Fun stuff from around the internets

It's Christmas week, web traffic's in the toilet and rather than taking the week off, I'm going to phone one in instead. That's dedication.

I find things in my interweb meanderings and most of them get saved to a favorites file, never to bee seen again. Until I have some space to fill that is.

So here are some finds from the last couple of months. They weren't topical or meaty enough to warrant a full post of their own but they are perfect fodder for a random collection of fun stuff.

First up, this ad kills me.

It absolutely kills me. Can this be seven year scotch I wonder?

Even though I'm a recent tea convert, I still have a place very near to my heart of espresso. I think these espresso cups are about perfect.

The satisfy my love of espresso while feeding my appreciation for the Italian Renaissance and its revival of the Roman putti. These Putto espresso cups have silicone wings that stay flexible for an more secure grip on that first espresso in the morning.

I love stop-motion video as much as a dread the idea of moving. This video has plenty of both.

The Move, Paper Animation from Mandy Smith on Vimeo.

If that video's any indication of what moving's like in The Netherlands, maybe I ought to relocate there.

I love a good illusion, and photographer Håkan Dahlström has a good one here.

That's a street in the Russian Hill section of San Francisco and believe it or not, those cars are on the level. Seriously, hold up a ruler to your screen.

Here's the actual street. In order to take that first shot, Dahlström turned his camera to make the street appear to be flat. I like the effect.

One visit to San Francisco is all it takes to understand why no one there has a weight problem. Just getting to your car is a work out.

Speaking of my thing for all things Italy, I found a website called ItalyGuides recently. ItalyGuides features a large collection of hi-def, interactive photos of sites all over Rome.

I just zoomed up to the oculus in the ceiling of the Pantheon.

Here's what it looks like when you look toward the bronze entry doors from inside.

Here's a shot of the Trevi Fountain.

Here's the inside of the Coliseum.

There are a large number of these interactive photos. While they're no where near as cool as being there, there's enough detail that you can use them to plan what to expect when you do make it to these sites.

ItalyGuides has similar interactive photos for the sites in Florence, Venice, Milan, Bologna, Naples and Palermo.

And while I'm waxing nostalgic for Italy, here's the definitive Italian Christmas carol as sung by the definitive Italian singer of the 20th Century, Luciano Pavarotti. Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you Tu Scendi Dalle Stelle.

Ahhhh. That's bliss.

Have a terrific week everybody.

18 December 2010

I'll never look at pocket doors the same way

I was never a big Star Trek fan. I know, I know, that's some kind of blasphemy. Anyhow, I may not have thought much of the show, but I loved the doors that the original Starship Enterprise had.

They were so cool and now somebody's gone and converted them for use in the home.

The only thing missing is the oh so satisfying whoosh sound from the original TV show.

24 November 2010

A holiday tea guide

Back in October, I wrote an article about being a tea drinker and I shared the find of my Chicago tea source, Jim Shreiber of Shui Tea. Since that article appeared Jim and I have struck up a lively correspondence and I've been buying and enjoying more if his teas.

Jim's brainchild is Shui Tea, a tea company with a commitment to tea that's only surpassed by its commitment to its customers. His teas are as amusingly well-named as they are well-blended.

With the holidays upon us (how did that happen?), our pals at Shui Tea have rolled out a special holiday collection of teas.

For an all-purpose, all-holiday, all-inclusive evening brew; the collection starts with More Cookies.

From the website:
Black Tea with Pistachio, Almond, Pink Peppercorn, Cumin, Coriander and truffle flavoring. You’ve been waiting all year for something this rich, sweet and nutty.

Deeply inhale the scent before you sip.  It smells as though you've been making all morning.  Enjoy as the balance of sweet and savory fill every Holiday craving. Grab more cookies, you need an excuse to make one more pot of tea.

If you don't know, Hanukkah starts on Wednesday of next week and L'Chayim is the perfect blend to imbibe after lighting the Menorah.

Delcious enough to drink for eight crazy nights, here is a blend of Apples and Cinnamon, mixed with hibiscus, and finished with elderberries and currants. The kids will trade up their gelt for a sip of this enticing brew. A perfect pair with latkes.
Christmas is in a bit more than a month and just in time for it, Shui Tea rolled out Cinnamerry Christmas.

Baby, it’s cold outside. But all the way home you’ll be warm with this blend of Apple and Cinnamon. Elderberries and currants add creamy flavor for when Jack Frost is nipping at your toes. Finished with glad tidings of Hibiscus, whether you made it on the Naughty or Nice list this year, you will love this delicious fruit and spice blend.
And finally we come to Festivus. Despite the lack of a single, agreed-upon date or dates, there's a tea for Festivus.

Orange rooibos with a hint of dark chocolate. Sick of commercialism? There is another way. Started many holidays ago because a battle waged over a doll. The doll was destroyed, but a new way was forged. A Festivus, for the Rest-of-Us. Celebrate Festivus with the traditional Airing of Grievances: let others know the ways they have disappointed you in the past year. Follow with challenging the head of the house to Feats of Strength at dinner.

There's plenty more where these came from on Shui Tea's website. Give it a peruse.

If you're looking for the perfect gift for the tea drinker in your life, or even better, if you're looking to become a tea drinker, I know a guy in Chicago who can make that happen.

06 November 2010

Autumn re-runs: Sweet, sweet subversion

This post ran originally on 23 May 2009 and I STILL think it's funny. I hope the New Zealander behind this brilliant idea's still plugging away at her art somewhere.

I love these plates.

I mean, how can you not?

Clever and deliciously subversive, aren't they?

These plates are the handiwork of an artist who calls herself Trixie Delicious. Aukland, New Zealand-based Trixie sells her wares (and ships worldwide) through a website called Felt. Felt is the Kiwi version of Etsy, a marketplace for a group of independent artists and artisans to sell their work.

Ms. Delicious takes vintage plates, platters, saucers and bowls and hand paints her messages of good cheer on them directly. She uses non-toxic, heat-fused, ceramic paint. This means that these delightful, heartwarming iconoclasms will last forever. Imagine the joyous faces around your table when you serve a Thanksgiving turkey from a Crackwhore Tray. That noise you hear is the sound of my heart growing three sizes from the thought alone!

Many thanks to Leona Gaita and her great blog Gaita Interiors for the tip off to these beauties. Spend some time this weekend getting to know Leona, I like her perspective.