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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Caveat Cenatoris (or something like that)

When we got our tomatoes, peppers and basil from Worley, we were about to get married. The needed transplanted, but one thing and another they kept not getting translated until Corinna stepped up and did it in a window of opportunity I never had.

 I can't complain that she didn't follow my mapping system: she didn't even know I had one, and she figured putting the tops of the cups with their initial-based labels down as collars on the plants would identify them.

I've been able to figure out what most of the tomatoes are, but the peppers is another story. First of all, the collars, some blew away, and about half the others faded to unreadable almost instantly.

I knew this, though, my Bhut Jolokia had died. Pretty much all the peppers we've been getting out of the garden are mild ones. California Wonder bells, some sort of banana pepper, there are some hot birdpepper type peppers, cayenne or Thai, I'm not sure which.

So after watering, weeding, harvesting some tomatoes, I realized this enormous bush that hadn't produced anything at all had three ripe peppers on it. They looked like some sort of salad pepper, and the plant had been so slow setting fruit, I wondered if it was even a pepper plant.

So as I was having a bedtime snack, I popped one of these guys in right up to the stem and bit it off.

I realized it was a hot pepper right away. Those Thai peppers, sometimes I'll bite into one in the middle of a plate of stir fry and set myself ablaze pretty good. It's not entirely unpleasant, though you generally don't taste much other than fire after it happens.

So I swallowed, and realized this was a mistake. The Bhut had survived, and I had just cavalierly one-bited the hottest pepper on earth.

I drank water, I drank milk. I drank homemade yogurt, nothing helped. I found the keg with the homemade root beer, which is sweet, the antidote to heat. If I held it in the back of my mouth, it helped, but in a few seconds it lost its effectiveness and I swallowed. The pain came back instantly.

So I repeated this process until my distended belly felt like it would rupture if I took any more anything. So I went upstairs to ride it out and go to bed.

And yeah, the day after repercussions are worse. Plus, my throat and the roof of my mouth are still sore. Turns out you might not have taste buds to perceive the heat, but soft tissue can get irritated as hell. This was like stealing a can of military grade pepper spray and using it as a Binaca.

Monday, August 27, 2012


I stopped at the Scout to shoot some skaters. I've done this before, but I wasn't entirely happy with the results.

I realized that a lot of my pics, the skater got lost in the trees. I went back thinking to find ways to isolate the stunts against he sky. I succeeded somewhat, not entirely.

One of the skaters asked me what I was taking pictures for. Same reason he's doing what he's doing, trying something, attempting to meet a challenge.

It's nothing to click off 300 frames watching these guys and get nothing worthwhile. But what they're doing is amazing.

I did capture a grind more satisfactorily than I have before.

I used the camera's 'burst' mode, where it basically snaps off multiple frames per second as long as the button is down until it needs to buffer (which is almost as soon as the series starts).

There's a certain grace to the whole affair.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Cool Bike Rack

In Midtown KC, but it seems like Portland, somehow...

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Snapshot of Married Life

We met on Beardsley and while riding home, Corinna saw a picture she wanted me to take.  Which is to say, it was a picture she wanted to take, but she had a phone and I had a Nikon D7000, so she figured I should do the honors.

I didn't mind.  It wasn't my shot, I wasn't enthralled by the sun setting behind Mid-South Milling from the James Street Viaduct, but I was willing to play staff photographer.

I saw some Canadian geese gorging on a grain spill down on the tracks, that was closer to being my subject. A little semi-wild Foie Gras coming up. Maybe these were French Canadian birds.

Anyway, it was around this time we had some company in from out of town and while preparing dinner, I threw eight ears of corn on as part of the sides for six people. Without seeing how much corn I had started cooking, Corinna told me to cook less than one ear per person because, 'Pretty much everyone here is watching their carbs.'

They are? I said. I'm not.

'Okay,' she said. 'I've been watching your carbs.'

What have they been doing? Marching down my throat and setting up camp at my midsection?

And she had the grace not to answer that question.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Pizza Party

My Mom's sister was in town, which doesn't happen every day, or even every year.

We got the fam together around some Old Shawnee pizza.  I brought my camera, of course.

I've been playing a lot with the camera lately trying to figure out how to get more vivid colors in my photos. One of the tricks, it turns out, was to set my camera on 'Vivid.'

Seems kinda obvious, but I thought I'd done so long ago. I guess I either set it back to normal or it reset itself at some point or I don't know.

The other tricks relate to picking the right white balance setting, which isn't always obvious, and to metering the right way (there are options for metering based on the whole frame, weighted to the center-ish area, or just dead center, bullseye).

I'm sure if I got the manual and book I have for it out, I'd find out there's even more tools at my disposal, but I felt better about these shots, on the whole, than what I've tended to get lately.

Then, before we left I got everyone under Mom's pin oak for a group photo.

Of course, I'd forgotten my tripod, so I'm not in it.

But to compensate, everyone stood real still and orderly, all looking at the camera, smiling, etc. Nobody even blinked their eyes.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


The blackberry thicket was out of hand, and we both knew it needed pruned of the old stuff that won't produce anymore.  Once Corinna figured out how to tell which was which, well, we were left with a canopy and not much else.

Peas on Earth

I was surprised to stumble on this garden. I was riding up Summit so I coud bomb the 12th Street bridge, and there it was. Peas on Earth. My surprise factor was this is maybe two blocks from the Switzer Community Farm, the best community garden in the city and one of the bigger ones.

I guess there must be a lot of gardening energy in that area.

But speaking of gardening energy: I planted a couple of beds last weekend, and it was three stores before I found anyone even selling seeds. And when I did, at Suburban, I paid $20 for picked over seeds that barely filled two 4x8 raised beds.

A customer was chatting with me about the weather, and when I mentioned my fall garden and the challenge of finding seeds, he said, categorically, "You need to join Kansas City Community Gardens."

Ten bucks for a membership, which comes with ten seed packets and a gallon baggie of fertilizer. The membership allows you to buy seed packets for a buck and transplantable plants at $2 per six-pack. And these seed packets have some heft to them.

Basically, if you'll buy ten packets, they'll give you a bag of fertilizer and call you a member. It's a deal.

And they offer classes and whatnot to boot. So yeah, if you grow stuff to eat or look at, you need to join Kansas City Community Gardens.

I joined, bought ten six-pack trays of broccoli, collards, kale, etc. and ten additional packets of seeds. Loaded up 2-1/2 beds worth this evening, have five-ish left to fill tomorrow and will probably fill it all and end up saving half those seed packets for spring at the rate things are going.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Up a Tree

When my family moved in to this house in 1975, my Dad could reach the top of the sapling Pin Oak in the front yard.  Today...

Monday, August 20, 2012

Meet the New Route

I got bored with my ride to work.

Not with riding, just the route.

Kind of a shame because I'd found a new favorite place to get breakfast, where $1.74 gets a fantastic carnitas burrito.

I'm sure I'll return to my route that runs long Kansas Avenue and hit that place again. If you want to eat cheap and eat well on the go, find a place where you stand in line behind Mexican laborers. They seem to have a knack for not wasting their hard earned money on bad or overpriced food.

I left early one morning to scout my new route, assuming it would be longer and/or take longer.

I got to work early that day. Turns out, the new route is within 1/10 of a mile the same distance as the old route, and while it has one long climb that made me think it was hillier, I now think that three little hills equal one big one, and the two routes probably have about the same total elevation.

And the new route takes me through the West Bottoms, so when I'm ahead of schedule, I can stop to shoot a tag or two. As an added bonus, I often pass my friend Meetzorp on her morning constitutional with her dog.

Meetzorp invented the helmet mohawk Corinna and I wear.

And actually, I realized as I previewed this post, one of these shots is from my ride home from work. A trained eye who rides to and from along the same route would be able to tell, but I bet you can't.