Saturday, October 18, 2008

Round Robin: My hometown

It's Round Robin time. Click on the link to see what the other Robins have to offer.
The assignment this time was my home town.
In my heart, I probably will always think of Joshua Tree as my hometown since that is where I grew up.
But for the moment, and for about the past 15 years, Torrance has been my home town.
So here are some shots of Torrance.
After initially not being very inspired, I think I went a little overboard.
By the way, there are a lot of signs in Torrance telling you what not to do.

If you watched "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" or "Beverly Hills 90210" on TV, this should be familiar. This is Torrance High School. It is the fictional campus in both of those shows.

Next is the Daily Breeze newspaper building.
I used to work here.
This building has always reminded me of the bottom of a swimming pool. The tile work is something else.
Sadly, the paper was sold to one company and the property to another.
So the paper's operations will move to a nondescript office building and most likely this building will be scrapped to become yet another nondescript office building.

Progress, huh?

Up next is Pine Wind Garden at the Torrance Civic Center.

My uncle got married here earlier this year.
It is just a pretty little gem tucked into the middle of the civic center.

Old Torrance has a few interesting buildings. They sure beat those nondescript office buildings.

Really, most of the action in the city takes place at Charles Wilson Park.

It was very quiet on Monday when I was there to wander.
But Tuesdays and Saturdays are busy with the farmers market.
Shopping for produce and having something to eat was a great way to kill an hour before work Tuesday.

There you have it. A taste of Torrance. Which is just a scratch on the surface.

Friday, October 17, 2008

I love new toys

So I got myself a new camera last week. It's fancy and a fun new toy.
I also got an underwater housing for it so I can take it diving.

The camera fits right inside this housing. It's a snug fit in a hard,
clear shell that seals with an o-ring. It is supposed to be
watertight to 130 feet. Hmmm... 130 feet just happens to be
the maximum depth for recreational diving. I've not been
that deep yet. The idea of it kind of scares me.

All the blue buttons and dials correspond to controls on the camera.
So you can change any settings while the camera is in the housing,
underwater. Cool. The functionality is really good. And the clear
back allows me to see the preview screen on the camera.

Up until now, all the dive photos were taken with Manfriend's camera.
And being a control freak, I wanted my own.
Plus my old camera is on the fritz. And too old to have an underwater housing.

Anyway, I am still getting used to the camera.
It does A LOT and I have not even scratched the surface.
I need a day just to sit down and read the manual and try all the settings.

And the underwater thing is another story entirely.
There are threads online about the best way to use the camera underwater.
So yet another thing to read so I can experiment and get better underwater shots.

But first, MF and I decided to try out the camera in a swimming pool setting.

My underwater test site. Not exactly a true representation of
what conditions would be like in the ocean. But it was a good way
to check the seal of the housing and get a feel for the camera
in water. I need to get a weight for the housing. It's quite buoyant.

MF doing his impersonation of a harbor seal. The shutter speed
was a little slow. I need to read up on that and try to get rid
of the blur. Because while MF was moving quick,
he is nowhere near as fast as the fish will be.

I believe this is MF's impersonation of an otter.

These pictures definitely show me I have a lot to learn about using this camera underwater.

Another example of figuring out how to get the camera
to react more quickly. When I am taking pictures underwater,
I want a quick reaction time. I would like to get the
whole fish in the picture, not just half the fish.

The hand rail was the only thing in the pool not moving.
Finally, a nice, clear shot!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

OK, time for more food

I have posted a few things over on All That and She Cooks, Too.

These are things I made last weekend. Finally posted.

I am falling behind.

Here we go:

Balsamic-glazed cipollini onions

Cheesy twice-baked potatoes with pancetta and roasted garlic

And a simple method for roasting garlic cloves in olive oil

Split down the middle

OK, since it has been food, food, food around this blog lately, I thought it was time for a quick update.

My weekend was actually pretty boring. So this should be short.

I normally am off Sunday and Monday, but due to some staffing things at work, my boss needed someone to work Sunday. So I volunteered.

That meant I had Saturday and Monday off this weekend.

It seemed like a good idea at the time. I did not realize how much it would mess me up.


On Saturday I pretty much spent the whole day doing housework. I cleaned the kitchen from top to bottom, including wiping down all the cabinets and scrubbing the floor. I also cleaned both bathrooms and did some laundry.

Then in the late afternoon I went to Trader Joe's and got all the stuff to make a pizza on the barbecue. I know, not fancy. But that with a little salad was a perfect dinner.

Sunday I had to work. But before work, manfriend and I had planned to go to the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana to see the Terra Cotta Warriors exhibit.

We had tried to go the weekend before, but it was Target Free First Sunday. We had no idea. It was awful. Just too crowded to even move in the courtyard. So we left.

This time we bought the tickets in advance and figured it would be a much better way to see the place.

We were wrong.

The exhibit itself, the contents of it, were very interesting.
The way it was set up was very disorganized and had no flow at all.
And given how much they oversold it, the thing needed better flow.
The deal was you buy a ticket for a set time to go in. A $27 ticket that becomes a $29 ticket when you buy it online. I love the convenience fees.
Our tickets were for 10 a.m.
Fine, we got in by a few minutes after 10 even though the line was quite long. We were about in the first one-third of that line above. There was still quite a crowd behind us also to go in at 10.
On the way in, they give you an audio guide thing to listen to at the various parts of the exhibit.
They also tell you no photos inside.
I hate that.
I checked the Web site before going in and didn't see anything about that. Oh well, maybe I just missed it.
But I was bummed. I am cool with no flash photos, but I wanted to take pictures.
So I did. But just a couple, no flash and no real time to set up for them. So the quality is not great.
Anyway, back to the exhibit...
The thing was so crowded we could not even move past people to see stuff or get to other parts of the exhibit. We are both tall and ended up seeing most of it over the heads of other people because we could not get to the front.
It was not at all the peaceful, zen way I wanted to see this thing. Which is too bad. It really is an interesting story about how they found and excavated these things.
It actually really put me on edge. So after trying to see the whole thing and not being able to really get a good look at anything, we left.
I still had to go to work.
So MF went on his way home and I went on my way to work.
It was a pretty uneventful day at work.
When I got home, MF had made me a dinner of grilled chicken and tomatoes and an artichoke.
That was so nice. I love when someone else makes me dinner.
Monday was another quiet day for me.
I wandered around town looking for photo opportunities since the next Round Robin topic is "your hometown." I was pretty uninspired.
Then last night I made dinner of pork roulade with lemon, garlic and parsley. On the side I made steamed broccolini and white beans.
So that was it. My whole boring weekend.
No diving. Oh well. I have a three-day weekend coming up this week. So the plan is to dive at least one of those days.