We have been down here for a week now, and I can’t stop taking pictures. Particularly at night. (Click for larger version.)
This is a small, walled-in cemetery next to the house. The only grave I can see without getting inside is for an infant who died in 1832.
My little camera isn’t the best at low-light shooting, but if you don’t blow them up too big, you can ignore the noise. The shot above is a 1.3-second-long exposure. Shotgun is a bit lethargic in the heat, so there’s hardly any motion blur. You can see the cemetery behind him to the left.
You’re going to have to turn out the lights for this one. Taxidermy in the upstairs office, faint outline of the house against an indigo sky.
Here’s Sara and some cacti. Am I achieving a mood with this sequence? The mood should be: inspirational.
Finally, we were sitting on the front porch, when this happened:
I don’t think it has been as hot at night as it was that first night. I was crouching down, inching as close as I could toward the frog, and sweat was streaming down from my temples across my jaw. With my wet face I had the sudden impression that I had been crying, and struggling up from the floor was exhausting and tinged with desperation.
We’re going to muster up all the socializing courageousness between us and try to hand out as many as we can at C2E2 this weekend. 🙂 Hope to see you there!
This is from an amazing book of Hiroshige’s prints called Hiroshige: Birds and Flowers that Simon gave me a few years ago. It had been awhile since I looked through it until the other day when I was in need of some flower-y inspiration. Now the spine is beginning to split!
When Sara went to the Flatstock poster show at SXSW last month, I had a chance to revisit some of my favorite bachelor recipes. One of my staples from my long, long years of solitude is the frozen burrito:
On the blog today, I’m going to share my classic recipe for sprucing up these carbo-sacks. Here’s what you’ll need:
- a bag of frozen burritos. I like the El Monterey ones pictured above. They are your basic bean and cheese burrito, without all those distracting “roasted” vegetables and spices you find in upscale brands like Annie’s or Trader Joe’s (or is it Trader José’s?)
- 3-6 slices of cheese, depending on size of cheese block. I like Tillamook for its distinctive graphic design
- approximately 2 tbs. salsa, whatever kind you like
- a squirt of BBQ sauce (again, whatever you have)
- a sheet of aluminum foil
- a toaster oven
- eating utensils
Step 1: collect necessary items.
Step 1a: If you are living alone (or your counterpart is out of town), you may have to wash: one plate, one knife and one fork. If you have these, don’t worry about the dishes and skip to the next step.
Step 2: Lay a sheet of aluminum foil on the counter, if available. Any flat surface will work here.
Step 3: Fold the edges of the foil. This will make it fit into your toaster oven, as well as catch stray drippings that would otherwise drop into the toaster and burn. You’d be smelling that stuff for weeks.
Step 4: Lay two or three burritos on the foil, then put your cheese slices on top of each one. Be careful to balance these as close to the center of the burrito as possible, as heating will cause excess cheese to slough off.
Step 5: Put a small amount of salsa on two of the burritos. I like to use a fork to scoop the salsa, to keep it from being too runny.
Step 6: BBQ sauce goes on the last one. This is sort of a “dessert” burrito.
Step 7: Taking care not to upend the burritos, lift the foil and place it into the toaster oven. Set the temperature to about 425°F, and run the toaster for 25-30 minutes, depending on the age and quality of your toaster. When my brother and I moved into our first Chicago apartment, the previous tenant had abandoned a few things that we decided to keep. Some things – like the three planters full of weeds on the balcony – we kept because we were too lazy to get rid of them, but the ancient toaster oven stayed on out of necessity.
It was dirty, full of old toast, and only half worked. I think it was a little dangerous, too, because it would occasionally blow a circuit when the toast was finished. When Rob got married, I got a studio apartment. My consolation prize: a toaster oven.
Sara would not touch the thing, though, so we have a lovely silver model today.
Actually, this one is too hot, and the cheese turns to brown flakes if you’re not careful.
Step 8: When the toaster pings, or buzzes, or blows a circuit, take the burritos out. The foil will be super hot, so maybe go down to the basement and flip the circuit breaker while it cools a bit. You’ll need to peel the burritos off of the foil, due to cheese adhesion, so hopefully you’ve spent the last 25-30 minutes preparing your plate, knife and fork.
Step 9: Get them on a plate, add some fried plantains, and eat the meal on the couch, while watching Star Trek or something.
(Sorry about the picture quality on this post, but Sara took the good camera with her. I would say that the pictures are inspired by this blog, but I like that blog, so I won’t.)
(Click for a bigger version, of course.)
These were shot on a 35mm camera, which was probably the last time I used film for still photography (the 16mm movie camera is still going strong).
We shot a few rolls of film for the animation, but our school-loaned cameras ruined much of it. On one camera, the gears that control the film path were out of alignment, resulting in a shaky picture. The snowfall shot at the beginning of the film is one fragment that we were able to salvage. At least, I hope it isn’t too jerky to distract from the scene.
Another camera had a light leak, so every scene was obscured by a flickering haze. We had a few terrific scenes where the felt creatures were being birthed from the the huge felt mother in the shot above. Looking at the compromised footage, we could tell that the animation turned out quite well. Damned dispiriting.
We talked about going back to the project, but it was impossible to set aside an entire weekend for the intense process.
A few months later, we decided to revisit the idea for issue 05 of bailliwik. This time, we went digital:
I could no longer trust 48+ hours of work – and the resultant 8-12 minutes of film footage – to the overused student cameras from the art school’s media center, so we skipped the animation this time out. Instead, we spent a week painting, cutting out leaves, shredding yarn, and plotting out the scenes in these shots.
It’s late autumn, and these felt babies have grown bigger.
My frustration with the media center, and their half-assed compensation for the time and money lost (a single roll of ISO 100T film – not even the 250D I was using), prompted me to seek out my own movie camera. This is not easy if you don’t have a few thousand dollars lying around, but a lucky eBay find got me a very basic model, and my favorite food became ramen for a while. It’s not fancy, but I can trust it: about half of Perennial was shot with it.