Terrorists giving warnings

There’s a post on Michelle Malkin’s blog that basically makes the claim that the Israeli’s actions cannot be equated to terrorism because they’re giving warning to people before blowing up their houses.

Of course, terrorists giving warnings is not without precedent but is it really less terrifying to know in advance that your house is going to be blown up? People are getting voice and SMS messages saying, “Leave now, your home will be destroyed in one hour.” Try to imagine getting that warning. What do you do? Obviously you have to leave but what about your stuff? Do you run the risk of getting some of your belongings out or do you just run? That sucks and it doesn’t make it any better. Sure, you’ll live but it doesn’t exactly seem just does it?

I read something the other day: “Terrorism is the war of the poor, and war is the terrorism of the rich.”

Kris Warkentin

New Lens

So I just got a Canon EFS 60mm Macro lens.  I had read some reviews and, for digital sensors, this lens seemed to offer a lot of bang for the buck.  Went out to take a couple test shots.  This is a flower in front of our house.  It’s pretty small, maybe a couple centimeters across.
flower

Here’s a 100% crop:

100 percent crop

That’s a sharp lens!

cheers,

Kris Warkentin

Interesting photo technique

colorful icecubes

So I’m not putting this forward necessarily as a ‘good’ picture but rather as an interesting demonstration of a technique I read about in a magazine. It involves taking three pictures of something that changes in some subtle way and then combining the one red, green or blue channel from each of the three pictures. The example in the magazine was with some dish-soap bubbles but I did it with ice in a glass. This is the only time I tried it but it definitely has potential for future experiments.

So it’s quite simple really. You obviously need a stead tripod and consistant lighting. A cable release, or self timer combined with mirror lockup is useful as well for making sure that nothing moves. Then you take your three shots, making sure there is a slight change between. I stirred the glass a bit…the magazine writer blew on the bubbles. You get the idea.

In Photoshop you go to the channels view of the image and on the fly-out menu to the right, select ‘split channels’. Discard all but the red and then repeat for the other two with green and blue. Then you can select ‘merge channels’ from the same menu and it will let you select the images for the new red, green and blue. Voila.

Kris Warkentin

Lebanon

Went to the Lebanese bakery by my house today. Asked the man working there how he was doing and if he had any family over there. Told him we’re very sorry for what’s going on and that we hope everything works out. The poor man was fighting off tears the whole time. It puts a human face on it when you see people in your life who are suffering. It’s a lot more immediate. The media reduces everything to numbers, statistics, “casualties”…but it’s real and people are dying and people are worried about their families and it just has to stop.

Kris Warkentin

Cinnamon Buns Recipe

As promised, here is the recipe. It’s taken from “Canadian Living Cooks Step by Step”. They don’t get much better than these.

Dough:

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 pkg active dry yeast (or 1 tbsp)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 4 cups all purpose flour (approx.)

Filling:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon

Instructions:

  1. Dissolve 1 tsp of the sugar in warm water, sprinkle in yeast and let stand for 10 minutes or until frothy. Meanwhile heat milk, remaining sugar, butter and salt until butter is melted and then let cool to lukewarm. In large bowl combine eggs, milk mixture and yeast mixture.
  2. With mixer gradually beat 1 1/2 cups flour for 2 minutes or until smooth. With wooden spoon stir in enough of the remaining flour to make soft, slightly sticky dough. Turn out onto floured surface, knead for about 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic, dusting with enough of remaining flour to prevent sticking.
  3. Place in greased bowl, turning to grease all over. Cover with plastic wrap, (or greased waxed paper and a tea towel). Let rise in warm, draft free place for 1 to 1 1/2 hours (or in refrigerator for up to 8 hours) or until doubled in bulk and impression remains when fingers pressed into dough. Punch down dough.
  4. Filling: In saucepan over medium heat, melt 3/4 cup of the butter with 3/4 cup of the sugar, whisk until smooth and pour into greased 13″x9″ baking dish. Sprinkle with half of the pecans. Combine remaining sugar, pecans and cinnamon. Melt remaining butter.
  5. On floured surface, roll dough to 18″x14″. Brush with all but 2 tbsp melted butter leaving 1/2 inch border. Sprinkle with sugar mixture. Starting at long side, roll up tightly and brush with remaining butter. Cut into 15 pieces, arranging into pan. Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
  6. Bake in 375°F oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until crusts are golden and tops sound hollow when tapped. Let stand in pan for 3 minutes before inverting onto serving platter, scraping any remaining filling to drizzle on buns.

So delicious…..As a variation you can use raisins as well/instead of pecans. A handy tip is to use a serrated knife when cutting the rolled dough into pieces to prevent tearing and squeezing.  See the pictures here.
Enjoy!

Kris Warkentin

Pirates of the Caribbean

Well, I finally saw this movie. Not impressed. The first movie was funnier, more clever with a better plot, better characters and better acting. I’ll try not to drop too many spoilers for those of you who haven’t seen it.

I suppose the story isn’t too bad but it’s almost like the entire movie is just a teaser for the next one. It’s just so damn BUSY. There is fight after fight after stunt after special effect. It’s an ‘action packed summer blockbuster’ but it gets to the point that it’s boring. It’s almost 2 1/2 hours long and they honestly could have taken out about 45 minutes of fighting and had a better movie for it. The special effects are great but they need to have more of a point than just being there.

They seemed to take coincidence too far with almost every character from the first movie serendipitously finding their way back into this one. Are they so hard up for jokes that they have to bring R2D2 and C3PO in for comic relief? There are no great lines (“That is the best pirate I’ve ever seen”) or, quite frankly, anything memorable at all about this movie. The thing I remember the most is the fact that they liked one physical gag involving rolling and fighting so much that they had to modify it slightly and do it again.

The last thing I’ll comment on which not all of you may agree with is the level of grossness. I watch a lot of horror movies and such so I’m pretty desensitized. I don’t really notice violence and gore unless I’m looking for it (which I was). This is a Disney movie which is quite likely aimed somewhat at a younger crowd. Certainly McDonalds is pushing “Pirates” merchandise and kids loved the first movie. There are crows plucking eyes out of living prisoners, people being lashed until their backs are bloody, people being forcefully pulled through portholes with bones cracking, throats being cut, etc. It isn’t that it bothers me but rather that it’s unnecessary and out of place. That sort of thing furthers the plot in a horror or thriller but in this movie it’s like a pretty girl opening her mouth to reveal black, broken and rotted teeth.

Kris Warkentin

Wedding picture

I think this is one of my favorite pictures from our wedding. Gotta give Sharon credit for getting down on the ground with her white dress and bad knee (and low cut top…good view for the photographer….;-).

Kris and Sharon

Our photographer did a pretty good job all told.  The weather was kind of crappy, cold and overcast.  Fortunately bad weather for people is good weather for photographers so we got some really nice shots with even lighting and soft shadows.
He’s experienced and I have to give him credit for having a very high success rate in his shots.  He’s sort of a one trick pony though.  He shoots EVERYTHING with flash.  This is generally a pretty good idea when you’re outside.  Helps fill in the shadows and such.  I also had been hoping for some photojournalistic style pictures, candids, etc. but that’s not really his forte.  He tends to blast the flash when inside and creates harsh shadows and reflections without any natural light.  For the price we paid, however, I’m very satisfied.  Certainly he made us look good which is not always easy.
Kris Warkentin