Wednesday, October 29, 2008


I had a friend send me these funny videos.

If you consider yourself Republican watch this video first:
Video that Republican's need to see

If you consider yourself a Democrat, watch this video first:
Video that Democrat's need to see

If you don't consider yourself a Republicrat, then watch both of them and I think you'll like them.

It's unfortunate that politics is this way in America.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Ich bin ein Berliner

Thanks to JFK for uttering the words "Ich bin ein Berliner," thus immortalizing Americans as jelly donuts to virtually all Germans. Today however, I am the jelly donut. I missed the bus I usually catch so I rode downtown to catch a later one. The driver didn't get breakfast so he asked me if I was OK with him stopping to get something. I said yes and we stopped in front of Vosen's Bread Paradise (~280 W. 200 S., go here if you get a chance!). I decided I needed something too and as we opened the door, the smell of dense, rich German bread hit me like a brick wall. I wanted one of each.
I finally decided on a Hazelnut Danish and a "Berliner", or jelly filled donut covered in powdered sugar. See it below in all it's cell-phone-pic glory. What a way to start a morning!
BTW, this post was published to the web while on the bus. Thnaks for the wi-fi UTA!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Zion's HDR attempt

Steve and Liz invited us to St. George with them this weekend with no kiddies. We couldn't pass up a free place to stay and the classic Anderson hospitality so we headed down. The weather was perfect and some of the trees were starting to change. Now for the pics... With all the shadows, it was very hard to get the detail in the sky along with the colorful trees. So what did I do? I tried my hand at HDR again.

Here are the originals

In this one the sky looks great but the trees are blacked out

This one the trees look good but the sky is washed out

Here's an attempt at a happy medium, but the trees are still a bit dark and the sky lost some detail

Here's the HDR Version

Now you can see the High Dynamic Range (HDR) in this version. The trees keep their true color and the sky is a rich blue with whispy clouds. Not bad since I'm still figure the HDR thing out. In hindsight, I should have taken about 5 images instead of 3. Now I know.

More pics to come!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Lake "Pal"

Thanks to the Wildings and the Bennetts for making the second annual trip to Lake Powell an absolute blast! Now for some pics...

"Relationship Building"

"Sunrise at 'Pal'"

"At the Helm"
"The Gang"

"Surf's up"

Experimenting with stroboscopic flash

"Houseboat Livin'"
"Sweet Dreams"

Business trips and a bit of snow

As GinaBina mentioned, we've both been on business trips this week, she's been in Austin and I've been in "The City of Steel", as it's known, Pittsburgh. We both had great trips but hate spending the time away from home separately.

Pittsburgh is now on my "good" list of cities, thanks in large part to a colleague's brother taking me around and being the best tour guide ever. Thanks Mark! What's more is while my tardiness almost inhibited a nice leisurely bike ride through the city, Mark was nice enough to wait for me and take me around the insanely steep hills in and around Pittsburgh. Here's a general map of roughly where we went. The map is not exactly accurate because I got pretty lost on some of the streets on top of the mountain, so I just followed Mark's wheel. Hopefully Mark will send me the pic he took on top of Mt. Washington while we were riding. In the meantime, here's a quick snapshot of the night view we saw.

Mark also took me to Girasole one night (see mini-review below) and Point Brugge Cafe the next night (again, mini-review is below).

Because I was just following Mark like a blind man the whole night, I was enjoying the Shadyside neighborhood in my own little world when Mark ducked down a small flight of stairs into a bustling, tight and quaint Italian restaurant. When the door opened, the dense aromas of Italian food and wine billowed out the door and into the patio where we were standing at the bottom of the stairs. The owner, who they call "Pai" greeted Mark as if he was family (Mark's daughter, Ryan, works there too). Pai got us a table while the rest of Pai's family and other servers were bustling around the tight quarters. I ordered the Bucatini on suggestion from Ryan and it was perfect. Long, straw-shaped bucatini was swimming in a mix of pancetta, peppers, spicy sauce and of course... smoked mozzarella. It had just enough kick to open the sinuses while filling my mouth with that great smoky taste of the pancetta. mmm, I'm making myself hungry again. Dessert was TiramisĂș and it did indeed "pick me up".

Point Brugge Café:
After the great ride, we swung by Mark's house to clean up a bit (he's got some amazing scooters, one is restored beautifully and almost completed, the other is classically "antique"). After throwing out a few suggestions, Mark threw out a "great Belgian restaurant that has really good mussels." That piqued my interest and we were off. The neighborhood of Point Breeze was Mark's old stomping ground when he would visit his G-ma and G-pa. The little cafe on the corner had a floor-to-ceiling glass front that opened completely to the street with a few tables on the sidewalk. It was fairly minimally (in a good way) decorated restaurant that was playing none other than a Luna song when we walked in! We started with a Tomato and Spinach dip at the bar until Ryan got there. Hearty Belgian beer and seafood smells filled the air. The menu looked great, but I had to try the mussels. I ordered a pound and a half of the Red Curry mussels along with a side of belgian frites. To put it simply, I ate every last one and left wishing I had a doggy bag of some more. Ryan had a few connections with some of the people there so we got the Belgian Chocolate Cake and the Pumpkin Roulade free. Can't beat that.

Primanti Bros:
Last but not least, on my way out of town on Friday, I stopped off at the infamous Primanti Bros. for one of the most unique sandwiches I've ever had. The 'chef' slapped out two huge slices of white bread onto the counter and loaded one side with philly cheesesteak. He continued piling with fresh cole slaw, tomatoes, and a healthy helping of french fries - on the sandwich, not on the side - before he slathered some sauces on and squished the other slice of bread on top. The monstrosity was about 8 inches tall before he leaned over it with his body-weighted hand on top and compressed it into about 3-4 inches tall. Then tightly wrapped it in paper and handed it to me. If you go to Pittsburgh, go to Primanti's at least once.

PS, we got the first snow of the season today! It was like the middle of January here with about an inch or more of snow blanketing everything and more coming throughout the day.