In honor of Record Store Day today, I took our guests for the day, Sarah’s sister Carrie and BF Glenn, up to Down Home Music. As many of you know, this is one of the most important records stores around for folk, Americana, jazz, and more. The result was that I picked up the 10-disk box set of Bob Wills’ complete Tiffany Transcriptions. I was absolutely overjoyed to find it there. I had it in my shopping cart on Amazon for awhile and then it sold out. But the double joy today was that not only did I find it, but I supported an independent record label/company/store that’s a major player in documenting Americana and folk music from around the world.
If you didn’t do it today, get out there tomorrow and buy something from your local indie record store. And if you are in the SF Bay Area, definitely check out Down Home Music. Really.
I recently changed the route of my bike commute to work. I was simply trying to get away from San Pablo Ave, which, while it is the straightest shot to my workplace, is also very bike-unfriendly. There are lots of cars, obstacles, freeway on/off ramps, and debris.
I decided that I would try to slide over to Hollis Ave through Emeryville, and this took me into west Oakland. The result is a new crop of photos, and some incubating ideas for future series.
Good grief! I’m participating in a group photography show opening next Friday, June 18th and the finals selections aren’t even made yet. But here are some possible candidates. More details coming very soon!
This last weekend was jam-packed with activities and photo ops. It started on Saturday with a whole day and evening sailing in San Francisco Bay. Well, not quite sailing. We were a crew with only one current sailor, and a bay with strong winds and lots of white caps. So, the sails remained furled and the engine hummed. Nonetheless, it was beautiful day with none of the forecast rain, and all the anticipated excitement of seeing a beautiful urban landscape from a unique perspective. And that night, we watched the KFOG kaboom fireworks show from out on the water.
The next day we checked out Maker Faire for the second time. It sneaked up on us again, so we didn’t have the time or freedom from a certain Lego maniac to see as much as we wanted. Worse yet, there were no pictures taken. The reason goes back to the previous day.
While otherwise glorious, there was sadness, too, during our sailing excursion. Above is one of the last pictures my little D40x took before the shutter mechanism quit working. There was suspicion that the environment led to the failure. But I was careful to keep it pretty dry and I don’t think it was out there long enough for salty air to penetrate the body and gum up the gears. I’ve searched for information online and it looks like quite a few people have experienced the same error. One person posted a fix. I just need to get some tiny screwdrivers to take the camera a little bit apart and apply WD-40 to a gear or two. I’m hoping for the best, though clearly, the camera was not built to last as long as this bridge.
I’m not sure what to call the kind of photography I have been primarily engaged in since getting back into it over the last two years. I just know it hasn’t been landscapes and scenic photography. Indeed, I have not been trying to make images that are overtly beautiful or aesthetically pleasing at all.
Yet, there is something irresistible about nature. Often, it is awe-inspiring. And as we all know, sensations of pleasure, well-being, and the loss of self in the one-ness of the creation often lead to addiction. Gotta get that fix again and again. That leads to wanting it for oneself, even in a puny way like making a picture of it.
That’s not to denigrate scenic photography. I find a lot of it pretty wonderful. I just also see the production of it as beyond my ken–not to mention my lacking the wherewithal to afford the gear and the travel to seriously pursue and produce beautiful scenic photography.
All that said, I’ve had fun working with some shots of San Francisco Bay taken mostly as an afterthought–or just because I always have my camera with me, so why not? And the other night I was at a friend’s home that is on Albany Hill and overlooks almost the whole bay. After taking a couple shots from the deck, someone showed me the Richard Misrach book of the Golden Gate. It was inspiring. I came to see the intrinsic interest of a series of photographs of one thing taken over all the different conditions to which it may be subject. I think I may try my own little series from a given vantage point and see what happens. If only I could get a neon martini glass, or rusted car, or dead cow or something in there…
As a new means of annoying readers–ahem, remembering things I’ve cooked so I can do it again–I will start posting kitchen exploits. This one, involves last night’s dinner. As usual, dinner last evening was a last minute affair. Searching through the fridge I found a couple packages of grocery store ravioli, like maybe Buitoni, with cheese and chicken. There was not much with which to make a sauce, particularly one that Theo would eat, but I dug around the pantry and fridge to see what I could find. While hunting around the freezer, I saw some frozen peas. That caused me to flash on a dish I remember eating at an Italian place in Fresno about 2o years ago. Unfortunately, I can’t quite remember the name of the place. It was out on Shaw Ave near West. It was owned by one of the kids or something of the Fresno Italian Restaurant dynasty, the DiCicco’s. Wait! Lido’s is what it was called, I think. The place was pretty cuisine-y for Fresno in those days, different feel than the old school chain places the family ran, and apparently still runs. It was a pasta course with a creamy tomato sauce with peas. It was good, and the memory wouldn’t let me go. I thought, “What the hell, I’ll play with that idea and see what happens.”
I found a small onion, chopped it fine and threw it in a hot saute pan with a couple Tbls. olive oil. After the onions started to wilt, I turned the heat down and added a couple cloves minced garlic. I started adding some chicken broth, about 2/3 of a cup, but in about 3 or 4 increments, waiting for each to reduce down before adding the next. I learned this from Lynne Rossetto Kasper’s first book, “The Splendid Table”. I used to love to listen to her show on KUOW in Seattle, and still can’t really believe there is not a single freaking station in the SF Bay Area, self-annointed foodie capital of America, that carries the program. At least there’s a Website and podcasts.
I finely diced a couple smallish carrots, and threw those in with the last of the broth. While that was simmering, I measured up a cup of the frozen peas, and found a large can (24 oz?) of chopped tomatoes in the pantry. Chopped would not do, so I got out my aged Cuisinart food processor and zinged them up really well. I still have the first Cuisinart I ever bought, a DLC-10 plus, which was in about 1985 or so. The model was later renamed The Classic, or something like that. I can’t believe it still runs. Maybe it will outlast me. I wonder if the new ones are still built like this. I’d be happy to endorse their products. At least their food processors. At least the ones they sold in the mid-80’s.
Anyway, I threw the pureed tomatoes in to the pan and let that all simmer for awhile. I’m not sure how long. Perhaps long enough to boil 4 quarts of water for the pasta. Then I added the peas and salt and pepper. After a few minutes of cleaning up, I put the pasta on. Then I had to face facts. I had no cream. And I have NEVER had luck adding milk, or even half-and-half to a sauce. It always curdles. And I was not going to the store now. I stood there staring into the refrigerator and finally saw the Greek yogurt–you know that brand no one can really pronounce, FAH-yeh. Damn that shit is good. Anyway, I got brave and finished the sauce with a couple-three big spoons of that full-fat Fage. I added until it looked the right color.
There was almost enough vegetable matter in it to justify going with it as a one dish meal. So we did. And you know, it wasn’t half bad. Sorry I didn’t get picture. You’ll just have to make it yourself to see it.