Today I picked up my first produce box from the South Central Farmers' Coop and its contents were simply amazing.
My lovely wife Penelope and I have been trying out different organic delivery services over the past few months. We started out with L.O.V.E. Organic Delivery, which we really enjoyed, but much of the produce was grown far far a way. The nice thing about L.O.V.E. was that they delivered right to our door every week.
We stopped L.O.V.E. because we really want to support local farmers and not waste energy having our food shipped from other states or countries. Our next move was to try Community Supported Agriculture.
With a CSA you basically buy a semi-yearly share in a farm, if the farm is successful (and most are in sunny Southern California) you get a box of veggies every week. We read great things about Tierra Miguel, so we gave them a try.
Tierra Miguel's boxes were huge, but of the three we picked up, we found their selection to be lacking. This could be related to the season we're in right now, but for us, it was just too much greens. Our first two boxes were almost entirely different varieties of lettuce, and several bunches of each kind. TM's quality was top-notch, but for our small family of two, it was just too much. And for $45 a week, it was just more than we could justify while still having to buy other veggies to round out our meals.
I understand that a big part of the price of the CSA is supporting the farm, but TM just didn't seem like a fit for us. Enter the South Central Farmers' Coop.
Bordering on a reasonable amount of vegetables for two people in one week, the South Central Farmers' Coop box was packed full of beautiful organic, locally-grown vegetables.
Initially we didn't go with the SCFC due to the lack of fruit in their offerings. Today when I went and picked up the box at the Farmer's Market at City Hall I also picked up some organic fruit from the other vendors at the market, so that solved that problem. Once I got the box home and opened it up I was amazed. So many quality veggies inside, including:
- Spring Onions
- Red Romaine lettuce
- Romaine Lettuce
- Fava Beans
- Red Beets
- Golden Beets
- Rainbow Chard
- Swiss Chard
- Black Kale
- Blue Kale
I don't think we've ever prepared golden beets, but we love beets, and Penelope has a mean recipe for salt crusted beets with horseradish creme fraiche. I actually didn't realize you could eat kale, but I've already found some good recipes for it creamed. I make a mean fava bean cassoulet, and today at the Nickel, owner Monica May gave me a great recipe that I think I'll try.
We're very excited about the SCF Coop box, and we'll almost certainly buy a whole season's worth. The boxes were only $15 a month for the cheapest option, but you can pay more to support the farm or pay $30 and someone who can't afford it will get a free box... now that is cool. We'll most likely do the buy one, give one deal when we subscribe.
At first sight, the amount of vegetable matter contained in the SCF Coop produce box is deceiving.
I got my first internet access account in 1992 when I lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Believe it or not, the internet has changed somewhat in the past 17 years.
These days everyone and their grandmother, literally, has internet access. Getting online is as easy as turning on your smartphone or plugging your computer into your cable modem. In 1992 it wasn't quite so easy.
My first account was from a company called Studio X. It was a SLIP account and gave me access to all kinds of great search engines running on university servers. These search engines weren't quite like gooogle. WAIS, Archie and Veronica used Gopher to search FTP sites, mailing lists, and more all over the world.
My SLIP account was text based and required me to set up a painful little application called Winsock. Back then, Windows (which I no longer use as a Desktop platform) did not have a TCP/IP stack. In other words, Windows didn't know how to get onto the internet like it does now. Installing the cumbersome and buggy Winsock fixed this problem.
Once I was on the internet (back then it was capitalized: Internet) I found tons of interesting documents to read. I began to learn about various subjects the knowledge of which would later provide me the income I depend on to survive. The Internet was amazing. The internet is amazing.
One Wilshire Meet-Me-Room
Last year I took a tour of One Wilshire for a Wired.com gallery I shot. One Wilshire is an amazing place that has always fascinated me. Here is how I described it:
In the bowels of the world's most densely populated Meet-Me room -- a room where over 260 ISPs connect their networks to each other -- a phalanx of cabling spills out of its containers and silently pumps the world's information to your computer screen. One tends to think of the internet as a redundant system of remote carriers peppered throughout the world, but in order for the net to function the carriers have to physically connect somewhere. For the Pacific Rim, the main connection point is the One Wilshire building in downtown Los Angeles.
If this facility went down, most of California and parts of the rest of the world would not be able to connect to the internet. Tour one of the web's largest nerve centers, hidden in an otherwise nondescript office building.
I'm slowly going through my archives of Wired.com shoots and posting them on my blog/flickr in full resolution for your viewing pleasure. Here are a few selections from the shoot:
A giant twisting mass of cables spills out of an over-stuffed cable tray in the Meet-Me-Room at One Wilshire.
The roof of One Wilshire is covered with antennas of various sizes and shapes.
A technician works to untangle the mess in the Meet-Me-Room at One Wilshire in this shot from 2008.
Click here to view the other 21 photos from my One Wilshire Tour. Stay tuned for more cool photos from my Wired adventures.
The Skid Row Photography Club's first show, The Beauty of the Street, premiered last Thursday during the Downtown Art Walk. The participants were ecstatic to see their beautiful work on the walls and the hundreds of people who came into the gallery loved what they saw.
The SRPC started as an idea I "borrowed" from the movie Born Into Brothels. I wrote a proposal to the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council to buy digital cameras which we then gave to people living in Skid Row. I gave the participants brief lessons in composition and turned them loose. For the last six months we've met every Tuesday at UCEPP in Skid Row.
During that time they shot over 20,000 photos between them. An amazing body of work ranging from flowers to architecture to a man defecating in the middle of the street.
I pared the photos down to 11 selections for the show. Conor Colvin-Hunter designed a flyer, posters, banners and the website for free. My employer AmericasPrinter.com donated the flyer printing. I then printed the 13"x19" photos with my Epson 3800 on Ultra-smooth Fine Art Matte paper and had them framed at the Downtown Framing Outlet. DLANC paid for the framing.
Stella Dottir hosted the show in her gallery at no charge and took no cut of the sales. The SRPC members helped me hang the work a few days before Art Walk at the gallery.
The show was a hit, the turnout was amazing. Click here to watch a video of the opening put together by the SRPC founder Michael Blaze. I estimate we had over 500 people come through the doors during the evening. The response to the work was wonderful and the artists were all so proud of their accomplishments. It was quite moving.
Prints are available in a limited edition run of 5 each for $100 per print unframed and $290 framed. Half the proceeds goes to buy more cameras and the other half goes to the artist. I will update the website with the available photos along with more of the club member's work soon.
I am looking forward to our next show and seeing more amazing work from these talented photographers.
If you are interested in participating in the club we meet every Tuesday at 3pm in the UCEPP room on the corner of 6th and Stanford. If you would like to donate digital cameras please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Members of the Skid Row Photography Club stand together in front of their first show at Stella Dottir's gallery in Downtown Los Angeles. From left to right: Lawrence Landry, Lance, Sandra Y. Kornegay, Manuel "OG Man" Compito, Dave Bullock, Michael Blaze, Queen RA, Conor Colvin-Hunter, Don Garza and General Jeff.
Photographer Sandra Y. Kornegay stands proudly in front of her photo (upper left) which she shot on a cell phone.
Skid Row Photography Club member Manuel "OG Man" Compito interviews Los Angeles City Councilwoman Jan Perry at the Beauty of the Streets show during last week's Downtown Art Walk.
I'm covering the Phoenix landing on Sunday from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Today was my second trip to JPL in as many weeks. I had a chance to interview two of the Mission Managers and I recorded them with my totally awesome Sony PCM-D60 using an excellent Sennheiser MD46 microphone and listening to it all with my Sennheiser HD 25-1 II headphones.
The first interview is with Joe Guinn, Mission System Manager:
My second interview that I recorded today is with Barry Goldstein, Phoenix Project Manager:
A funny anecdote: After interviewing Goldstein in Mission Control I asked him to move into some better light for a photograph with a good background. When he was walking over there I signaled Reuters photographer, Mario Anzuoni, to follow me so he could get a good photo as well. After I shot my photos Anzuoni took his, which is now up on Reuters. Here are some other great photos of the San Diego fire by Anzuoni.
This summer I took a road trip to my old stomping ground in New Mexico. Along the way I toured some of my favorite places including Los Alamos and shot photos of some beautiful scenery as well as cool nuclear equipment. I have put together a show that includes a juxtaposition between the lovely natural wilderness and the cold technology that has been a key part of the nuclear weapons industry that is peppered throughout said wilderness.
All of the photos were creating using an HDR / Tone-Mapping process and have been printed with my Epson Stylus Pro 3800 on Ultrasmooth Fine Art Matte paper which has an estimated archival life of over 100 years.
The show will be taking place at the Niche Video Art gallery (although there will be no video involved) and the opening is on Thursday during the Downtown Art Walk between noon and 9pm. Please come down and take a look at the prints if you get a chance! Here is the address:
453 S. Spring St. #443 [Google Map]
Los Angeles, CA
So I won a Basic Stamp kit from ebay last week. Last night I had a chance to play with it. I went through the included book, and got through most of it. In the end I built the following:
That is a servo on the left, the basic stamp has some code in it that detects the position of the potentiometer in the lower center of the breadboard using capacitor discharge timing and then moves the servo to match the pot's position. The 7 segment display lists a number between 1 and 10 depending upon the servo's position. The white colored LED actually flashes either red or green depending on if you're rotating the pot clockwise our counter-clockwise. It was fun to build and actually not that hard.
I am really excited about programming microcontrollers and I'm looking forward to my next projects. At some point soon I feel like I'll be able to finally hack the Furby. You can check out the code I wrote here.
Update for Riyad:I made the thing on the left spin when I turned the little white knob on the right. I did this using magic.
Last night I got an email from the commander of the Search and Rescue (SAR) team that I am a part of, about a mutual-aid callout on San Jacinto for a missing hiker. I got the call at about 2230 and quickly responded that I would be there. I got about 4 hours of sleep as I had to wake up at 0330 in order to be at the Sheriff's Office at 0500 to pick up one of the Sheriff's vehicles and drive to the base of the tram by 0600 hours. I am not normally one to be on time, but when it comes to searches it is important to be punctual as someone's life is on the line.
At the briefing my teammate Mark Kinsey and I got our mission which entailed us riding up to the San Jacinto peak on Los Angeles Sheriff's Department's gargantuan Sikorsky SH-3 Sea King known as Air Rescue 5 then riding the hoist down to the summit and then hiking cross country through the west side of San Jacinto and eventually coming to a trail that would take us to the tram. I was excited about riding in a helicopter, as the last time I had the pleasure of rotor based travel I was in Search and Rescue in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Zipping down from a hovering helicopter on a piece of aircraft cable attached to my seat harness whilst carrying my 24 hour pack was quite a rush. Once I was on the peak and I unclipped from the hoist I snapped a few photos of the bird and Mark and I made our way across the ridge.
The mission was supposed to be technical so we kept our harnesses on, but we never ended up needing them apart from the helicopter bit. It was really just bouldering for the first mile or so until we turned down towards the saddle between two peaks, at which point we had to walk on top of dense brush for about another 1/2 mile dropping several hundred vertical feet. After the brush it was fairly easy going for the next couple of miles until we hit more dense brush and it started raining. Despite the rain and the brush we made good time and soon enough we were on a real trail. We double-timed it back to the tram and made our way down to the command post for debriefing at around 1530.
We didn't find any tracks or signs of the missing subject, but hopefully other teams will find him tomorrow. [You can find the rest of the photos here]
Update They found him and he is ok!
Ok so I really want a bike. I used have a mountain bike and I rode all the time in High School. I now live in the city and I don't think I need a mountain bike at all any more and I really want to build my own fixed gear street bike. I know there is some sort of bike workshop thing in LA, but I can't seem to find a link to info about it. Anybody have any suggestions on where to begin? Comment here or email bike [at] eecue [dot] com. =]
Update 2 Ok so I just got off the phone with Brian from Bicycle Kitchen and there is room in the wheel building class tomorrow and they even have rims and hubs I can buy for my fixed gear project bike... I just have to pick up 72 291mm spokes and I will be set to go! Oh yeah and I'll need to get a bike too, but finding and old junky 10 speed shouldn't be a problem. Cool.
So as you can see over to the right of this post I have my first blogad. It seems pretty relevant as I live in a loft and write about loft living several times a week. It's funny because if you look at my stats on the blogads website it only shows that I get 1700 hits a week (mostly because the counter has only been on there for a couple of days) but in reality I get about 5000 visits DAILY from 2000 different sites... I assume about half of those are RSS or search engines that don't load the blogad code, but it will be interesting so see how many I get at the end of one week according to blogads.