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Compositional Reality

Posted on April 24th, 2017

Dave!Did you know that yet another issue of Thrice Fiction Magazine will be debuting this month (hopefully)?

Well, it's true!

And while I don't want to give any of the awesome stories away, I thought I'd take a minute to share one of the art pieces I put together last night.

My favorite way of creating art to accompany a story is to draw, paint, or photograph something of my very own. But there are times that it's just not possible for what I'm trying to communicate. For one particular story in our next issue, I wanted to create a Bon Appetit magazine-style page. My vision was to have a kind of fried fish/prawn hybrid sitting on a plate in a Japanese restaurant... perhaps with a dollop of wasabi on the side. Being a vegetarian who hates seafood, the idea of putting fish parts in my deep-fat fryer filled me with horror, so I decided the best way to get what I wanted was to buy stock photos and assemble them into what I was envisioning.

And so I searched Adobe Stock for the pieces I needed...

Stock Photos

Then downloaded preview images into Photoshop so I could see if they would fit together well...

Rough Comp

Then, once I was happy with all the parts and pieces I found, I'd purchase the full-res photos and get to work. I had to combine three pieces of fried fish/prawns into one... add it to a plate with some wasabi and chopsticks... then paint in shadows to bring it all together and make it look "real-ish"...

Rough Comp

And voilà! A fish-prawn thing is served!

To find out why it's served... you'll have to download the April issue of Thrice Fiction, coming soon!

   

Superior Market

Posted on April 12th, 2017

Dave!Living in the wilds of Reneckistan as I do, there are certain pros and cons that one has to accept. In the "pros" column are things like "no traffic" and "breathable air." In the "cons" list are things like "NO TRADER JOE'S FOR YOU!"

I love awesome grocery stores. Stores like Wegman's... Mariano's... and (more logical for my area) Trader Joe's. Mostly because awesome grocery stores have a terrific selection of interesting vegetarian foods that your typical grocery chain does not. In the case of Trader Joe's, it's things like their amazing black bean and jack cheese burrito... or their frozen pizzas... or their frozen tamales... or their veggie chili... or their soy chorizo... or their veggie spring rolls... or their veggie wraps... or their toasted almond slivers... or their... well, you get the picture.

A considerably better selection of great foods I can eat than what I have access to now.

But, alas, the nearest Trader Joe's is 2-1/2 hours away.

Which is why I regularly send store requests like this one to corporate...

I'm tired of having to drive 2-1/2 hours to shop at Trader Joe's! Is the reason you don't have a store in Wenatchee because our locations have too much parking available?

I suppose I should explain about the parking thing.

Trader Joe's are smaller stores. They carry a fraction of the products that a "regular" store does. Because of this, they are often built in smaller spaces. And, given their popularity, there's never enough parking spots.

Never.

At least for the half-dozen stores I've been to.

Anyway...

I was just sitting here watching the latest episode of The Talk, craving something from Trader Joe's, and felt you should feel my pain.

You're welcome.

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Categories: Food 2017Click To It: Permalink  1 Comment: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Bullet Sunday 497

Posted on March 5th, 2017

Dave!Pull out your Mickey Mouse ears, because a Very Special Disney-centric Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• I'm Going to Disneyland. Now that Disneyland has no "off-season" and is hellishly busy all-year-long, there's really only one piece of advice I can offer: Don't make your Disney vacation all about standing in lines. Stay multiple days... divide up the attractions you want to see so you're only standing in line for them part of every day... then get the hell out of the parks to have an actual vacation. Go see what else L.A. has to offer (which is a lot)... or just hang around the pool at your hotel. Spending the whole day in a massive crowd at Disneyland is just guaranteeing that you'll need a vacation from your vacation.

   
• Princess Vader. I honestly can't decide whether this is the coolest thing ever, or just pain wrong...

Darth Vader Dress

All I know is that Disney's marketing of Star Wars is way off the charts.

   
• Reimagineering. Earlier this week I brought up the new Star Wars Land additions coming to both Disney parks. This is on top of Disney World getting a Pandora: The World of AVATAR "land" in Animal Kingdom. New stuff at the Disney parks is always great... but I can't help but wonder when rides like Jungle Cruise and Haunted Mansion will get an upgrade. Surely there's a way of remaining true to the original concept while enhancing the attractions with today's technology? Otherwise I have to wonder how much longer they can last. The parks (particularly at Disneyland) do not have infinite space to expand, so the worry is that even "E-Ticket" attractions will eventually be eliminated in favor of something fresh to keep the crowds coming.

   
• Grey Stuff. Yesterday I mentioned that I checked-off one of my life goals at Disneyland... eating Grey Stuff Gâteau (which they spell "Gateâu") and Gaston's Brew. Nobody seems to know what that meant. Well... "Grey Stuff" is something served to Belle in Beauty and the Beast...

Grey Stuff from Disneyland

This is what the real-life version looks like from The Red Rose Taverne in Disneyland's Fantasyland (a temporary restaurant re-dress in celebration of the live-action Beauty and the Beast movie coming in March...

Grey Stuff from Disneyland

It's a white chocolate mousse that's been tinted grey then heaped on a small red velvet cake that has raspberry in it...

Grey Stuff from Disneyland

It comes piled on a shortbread cookie that seems to have a rose drawn on it?

Grey Stuff from Disneyland

It's not too bad. The cookie is dense and bland rather than buttery and flakey... and the whole ordeal is too sweet for me... but it's totally edible. Gaston's Brew, on the other hand, is excellent. It's apple-mango juice that's topped with a passion fruit foam "head." Something I'm going to have to try and make at home.

   
• Magical Morning. One of the benefits of buying your ticket to Disneyland online is that you get a free "Magic Morning" on tickets for three days or more. "Magic Morning" means that you get into the park an hour before opening. In my case, that meant 9:00am instead of 10:00am. This used to be available only to registered hotel guests at one of the Disney hotel properties... but now anybody can get it. The problem being that now anybody can get it. Which means the park gets just as crowded just as quickly as it would without magic morning. Sure you might get one or two rides in at a reduced wait time, but it's hardly the deal it used to be. I got to ride Space Mountain in 20 minutes instead of 60... but after that the lines were right back to normal. Bummer. I'd be pretty pissed if I were a hotel guest counting on this perk.

   
• The Sign. I could spend hours just wandering around Disneyland looking at the beautiful signage that's displayed everywhere. It's not as fun as Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, but it certainly beats standing in lines all day. My favorite signs are in Adventureland. So many beautifully-carved pieces...

Signage from Disneyland

Signage from Disneyland

But it's not just the extravagant larger signs that are given such detail. Even small signs... like numbers on a door... are beautifully themed for the area they occupy...

Signage from Disneyland

Even throw-away signs from an exit queue are painstakingly designed...

Signage from Disneyland

And every exterior sign is beautifully-crafted, of course...

Signage from Disneyland

So... next time you're at one of the Disney theme parks, stop for a minute and look for the signs. They're an attraction all on their own.

   
And now? Heigh ho, heigh ho, it's off to work I go...

   

That’s What I Want

Posted on December 22nd, 2016

Dave!I've been thinking a lot about cooking lately.

Partly because it seems like a good creative outlet now that my woodworking has been suspended for the season... but mostly because I want to eat stuff that I can't buy the way I want it made.

For example... I bought a frozen apple crisp last week. It was terrible. Way too much spice and the apples were cut too large. I also didn't like the topping, which seemed more spongey than crispy. And so I've been researching recipes online, which is a bottomless pit of confusion. Apparently there are literally hundreds of ways to make the stuff, and everybody has an opinion as to what makes a perfect apple crisp. The only thing that makes it a little easier is that I can automatically discard the recipes which include raisins (WTF?!?).

My concern with trying to make stuff myself is that I always end up with more than what I can eat because recipes seem to feed a dozen people, on average... also the ingredients are usually expensive... and the actual cooking never seems to go as well as I hoped.

Like the time I tried to make potato salad...

Lil' Dave Eats Potato Salad

And yet...

I suppose I'll give it a shot after the holidays.

I'm thinking I'll cut the ingredients in half and hope that it won't affect the cooking time. I don't think I've ever burnt anything before, but there's always a first time.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've narrowed my recipe choice down to eleven options and I've got to decide on nuts or no nuts in order to get to the next elimination round.

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Categories: Food 2016Click To It: Permalink  0 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Down East Memoirs

Posted on December 7th, 2016

Dave!How's Maine? Maine is cold.

I didn't have a car until noon, so I skipped breakfast at the hotel and decided to have pizza at Otto in downtown Portland. They make a Butternut Squash and Cranberry pie that is one of my favorite things. And it totally delivered...

Pizza at Otto

While eating I got to watch a woman let her baby stab the wood table repeatedly with a fork. When she noticed me watching, she took the fork away.

Then gave the baby a knife to stab the table with.

I don't know that it was an improvement, but okay.

On my way back to my car I saw two pumpkins on the sidewalk, assumably waiting to be tossed in the trash...

Snowy Pumpkins

I guess the magic of pumpkin spice has passed. They look to be in great shape, so somebody should totally save them and make pie.

The hour trip north was boring, which is the best you can hope for when driving in Maine during winter. After checking into my hotel, I look out to see that the Androscoggin River has once again closed down for the season.

Here was my view from last year, around this time...

Androscoggin River View

And here we are now...

Androscoggin River View

Exciting, I know.

Since there's not much to do while I wait for my job to start, I've been getting some work done and catching up on Facebook. It was while looking through the latter that I ran across a video of Christmas tree shearing. It's fascinating to watch. Relaxing even. Very zen...

Depending on size, these guys can shape 2,000-2,500 trees per day! They don't say how many ninjas they could slash their way through. Oh well.

As exhausted as I am, I suppose I should take a nap before starting work at midnight.

Or search YouTube for more Christmas tree shearing videos.

One of those two things.

   

Fortune Cookies and Falafel

Posted on November 20th, 2016

Dave!Guess Bullet Sunday is just going to have to wait, because I've got one last day in San Francisco...

Which started rather late, because I was wiped out from a late night of enjoying the smooth, soulful, vocal stylings of Jester and Mustache Harbor for their second sold-out show at Bimbo's 365 Club last night.

It was every bit as awesome as Friday's show, where we were once again transported to OUTERRRRRRR SPAAAAAACE...

Ace Fontana Rocks the Crowd with Mustache Harbor.

WE LOVE YOU, ACE FONTANA!!!

Ace Fontana Rocks the Crowd with Mustache Harbor.
Jester as Ace Fontana as Ace Frehley — ©2016 by Tananarive Aubert Photography

   
I had two things left on my San Francisco agenda, which Jester was willing to accommodate... 1) A FALAFEL WRAP SANDWICH... and... 2) FORTUNE COOKIES FROM GOLDEN GATE FORTUNE COOKIE COMPANY...

Ace Fontana Rocks the Crowd with Mustache Harbor.

After that it was off to the airport so I can rest up before tomorrow's early morning flight.

Thanks a million times to Jester for making everything in my San Francisco holiday possible!

   

That Fizzy Purple Stuff

Posted on November 10th, 2016

Dave!I bought a 2-liter bottle of grape soda at the store today because it sounded good when I saw it on the shelf. And it's purple. And it was on sale for 88¢. I fully expected that I'd drink one glass of the stuff then toss the rest out. Things like this usually don't live up to expectations and often taste a lot worse than your brain is telling you they do. Except... turns out I'm really digging it. I never knew that grape soda was something I've been missing in my life.

And suddenly I'm reminded that the US vernacular I'm using won't make sense to some people. Even people here in Washington State, since the word "soda" is a California/Northeast thing.

So here's for you, West and Mid-Westerners...

I bought a 2-liter bottle of grape pop at the store today because it sounded good when I saw it on the shelf. And it's purple. And it was on sale for 88¢. I fully expected that I'd drink one glass of the stuff then toss the rest out. Things like this usually don't live up to expectations and often taste a lot worse than your brain is telling you they do. Except... turns out I'm really digging it. I never knew that grape pop was something I've been missing in my life.

And here's for you, Southerners...

I bought a 2-liter bottle of grape Coke at the store today because it sounded good when I saw it on the shelf. And it's purple. And it was on sale for 88¢. I fully expected that I'd drink one glass of the stuff then toss the rest out. Things like this usually don't live up to expectations and often taste a lot worse than your brain is telling you they do. Except... turns out I'm really digging it. I never knew that grape Coke was something I've been missing in my life.

And here's for you, Judgmental Pricks That Like To Point Out To Everybody That Everything They Like Is Bad For Them...

I bought a 2-liter bottle of grape CARBONATED DEATH at the store today because it sounded good when I saw it on the shelf. And it's purple. And it was on sale for 88¢. I fully expected that I'd drink one glass of the stuff then toss the rest out. Things like this usually don't live up to expectations and often taste a lot worse than your brain is telling you they do. Except... turns out I'm really digging it. I never knew that grape CARBONATED DEATH was something I've been missing in my life.

And... you're welcome.

This post ended up being a lot more work to write than I thought it would.

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