Pebbles on the Edge

Pebbles on the Edge
Lake McDonald, 2014

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sugarman: Sixto Rodriguez

Sugarman...I first heard of Sixto Rodriguez while I was searching around for stuff having to do with surfing, being a newish fan and all. I came across part of a film called "Lost Atlas" by Kai Neville, about some young cutting-edge blokes surfing remote locations. It was just a snippet of the film, but the soundtrack intrigued me. "Woman, please be gone/ You've stayed here much too long..." It sounded old, like from the 60s, but I had never heard a voice like that, or words that scorched in just that way.

Thanks to the internet, I was able to type those words into Google and voila: it was a song called "Hate Street Dialogue" by Sixto Rodriguez. I discovered that he was from Detroit, that his music was (and still is) awesome, and that if I'd heard of him at that time, I would certainly have bought his records. He only made two that went nowhere in the States. But in South Africa, and Australia, he was huge.

I finally just watched the documentary film about Rodriguez, "Searching for Sugarman". It made me cry. What a humble man. He still lives in Detroit, still plays some of his music, still works hard every day. What little money he's made from his music he's given away to family and friends. Here's a sample of some of his songs:

Saturday, February 16, 2013

For the Love of Cooking

In spite of the fact that I love to bake, I have rediscovered (or perhaps discovered really for the first time) my love for cooking. I began in fourth grade, a very long time ago, at the age of nine. I didn't like it all that much, as I recall. It seemed a boring chore. But now my kitchen is MY kitchen, where some sort of magic happens, and where a recipe is just a suggestion. It also helps to have good knives. I have a set of Wusthofs, and hope one day to have some better cookware and a gas cooktop.

Last night I made delicious faux-tatoes with cauliflower, cream cheese, and butter, whirred together in the processor with salt and pepper. Then I roasted bite-sized chunks of butternut squash with garlic in olive oil, all to go with the chicken wings William put into the oven. For dessert was the simple but delicious pear galette I invented.

This morning I made a quiche, for the first time with a pastry crust (I usually leave the crust off because of the carbs, but sometimes I don't care anymore). I think it's probably the best quiche I've ever made. My pastry crusts, I must admit, are pretty good...

Since I normally don't take photos of food, here are some nice still lifes with pears...
and not-very-good pictures of the quiche.

At some point, after retirement, I plan to garden, put up preserves, and experiment with new flavors, especially Italian ones. Viva la cucina!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Memories of Italy: Food for the Soul

Some eye-and-spirit-candy from 2008...memories of the sun in Florence, Italy, and the lovely days full of art, everywhere, and light, and food, and sweetness, and heat...
Skyline: Firenze, from a hilltop

Lion in quatrefoil

Il Duomo, Firenze

Torre Giotto
That was a trip to remember, and being there was every bit as sweet as the memory of being there. I was awed, humbled, thrilled, to finally be in Italy, in Florence, the ancient city I dreamed of in art history classes. Everything was delicious: tiny streets, hidden squares, the Arno and Ponte Vecchio, churches great and small, trattorie, cobblestones, gold like the sun, sky like a robin's egg, tangy green olive oil, freshly made mozarella, the everything and everywhere. I loved it, and I will go back.

Friday, February 8, 2013

On Recovery

I am finally over being sick; at least I'm well enough to have returned to work on Monday after a week-and-a-half of fever, chills, horrendous coughing, and excruciating lower back pain because of it. Lying on the sofa for the better part of a week, including some nights when the bed was just too flat, I managed to read two books on Tutankhamun, another on archaeology, and began a fourth on Tuscany, which I am savoring in memory of our brief visit there in 2008. Ah, Italia....

And now that I'm back, going into the second half of my final year of teaching, I decided to make the best of things and teach my photography students as much about Photoshop 6.0 as possible for the rest of the year. To that noble end, I have not exempted myself from learning a few things as well, or re-learning them, as the case may be. Here are some interesting results:

Apples, dark

Apples, gradient mapped

Apples, gradient mapped and something else that I forgot because I can't replicate it...

Curve rust

Original birdbath

Iron leaf, gradient mapped

first glimpzse of sunrise, abstracted

Ice crystals...interesting texture

Spider plant with sun and table

Interior, desaturated with steel-bar gradient map
Most of these involve gradient mapping and/or curves. Some of them are quite nice...I am having a good time with my new camera.