Hear me out… I never would have believed it. I listen to several podcasts, one I particularly enjoy but can’t catch up with is More Hip than Hippie. These woman manage a hour plus show every week and I’m months behind the current show in my listening. Anyway, they talk about all sorts of things that were once the domain of Hippies, but have one converts in the Hip (read Yuppie) crowd as well. Buy organic produce, or driving hybrid cars, or maybe not being vegetarian but drastically cutting ones intake of meat. In every episode though that also talk about chocolate and beer… Yes, during the show they drink beer and eat chocolate… together! Now I love chocolate with wine, especially port, but with beer? I dismissed this as some weird ghetto white trash concoction, until I finally tried it. I’m currently munching on gourmet dark chocolate from Whole Food Market and drinking a White bread Pale Ale (lighter than most of the beer I’d drink, but good) and the combo is excellent! Unbelievable, but props to Dori and Val. Give it a try sometime.
Today was just another typical day in Idyllwild. I woke up a bit early and took the opportunity to take a mountain bike ride with Tucker in the relatively cool morning. I was back by 7:45am for a quick shower then headed into town to my favorite of all breakfast hangouts Cafe Aroma . This place is magical and once again I met another interesting group of people. Today was a group of three women from San Diego and a guy visiting them from New York. Over the course of a couple hours we chatted between tables and I had a individual 15-20 minute conversations with each of them coming over to my table on subjects varying from immigration to art. All the while Ernie Ale playing is gentle guitar in the background. It doesn’t get better than this. This really is what I love about travel, it’s the carefree meeting of people, the exchanging of ideas with strangers. I love it.
After my long lingering breakfast I headed back to the cabin and spent a few hours on the computer continuing my Photoshop education. I spent the time mostly trying to find a good organizational tool for my photos, like the organizer included with Photoshop Elements, but properly linked up to Adobe Camera Raw and Photoshop… like Adobe Bridge is, but Adobe bridge is a quite poor in terms of tagging, organizing and importing so I want something better. The “answer” is Adobe Lightroom which isn’t yet available yet but promises to be “the” solution I’m looking for. My fingers are crossed the windows beta will be released soon. In the interim I’m checking out Iview, although I don’t find it very intuitive. Well that’s what I spent the day sorting out. As promised I thought I’d post a couple self-portraits of where I’m spending my time in front of my computer here.
Here is me hanging out on the deck and to the below to the right is me literally hanging out in the “backyard”. Usually Tucker will wander around a bit and then lie down under the chair hammock, very sweet. Of course with me running back and forth from the tripod he was curious to see what I was up to so you don’t get a photo of him napping.
Now honestly I do spend a portion of the time indoors, after all my laptop battery only last a couple hours and the weather and sun don’t always cooperate with me being outside. Ironically it’s nicer being outside when it’s overcast since it’s cooler and there isn’t as much glare on my laptop screen. On days like today the weather is a big factor. Just a few minutes after I took the shot in the chair hammock a little thunderstorm rolled in sprinkling down rain. This in my mind of course was the perfect opportunity to head up the hill behind the cabin with my camera in hopes of catching a photo of some lighting. Unfortunately as was the case the other two times I saw a flash of lighting and went running outside in hopes of catching a photo, I had no luck with the camera. The lighting seemed to be mostly striking on the other side of the peak. I did get a pretty good hand held self-portrait of myself though and found a new found respect for photographers with patience to sit and wait for their shot… I waited about a half hour on a rock watching the grey sky, which was a beautiful little meditation really, listening to the thunder’s echo swirl around me as it bounced off different mountain peaks and valleys, but didn’t see any real lighting. Then I waited about five minutes for a lizard to reappear from the hole I saw him duck into hoping it would make a good photo, but that didn’t happen either… once again respectful of photographers with patience. Still another beautiful day.
I’ve spent a lot of the last few days in front of my laptop reading up on Photoshop. It’s not so bad, I spend a good portion of the day sitting in a hammock chair or a chaise lounge outside on the deck at the cabin in Idyllwild. What did we do before WiFi? Perhaps a self portrait is in order, maybe tomorrow so that it can truly be appreciated. I think I’m starting to get a hang of some of the Photoshop basics. I’ve really struggle with tweaking color in photographs, but I think my skills are coming along. I’ve learned to make subtle adjustments. My latest effort can be seen on my flickr site including a before and after shot, and for bonus points I posted another shot where I edited out a couple distracting objects. I actually like the photo with the distracting objects left in the best, removing them was more to see if and how well I could do it. I’ll let you figure out what two objects I removed. Anyway, I think I’m starting to finally starting to get a hang of tweaking colors to achieve realistic albeit better than originally shot colors.
I did take a little break yesterday to break out the power tools and build a little step for the the garage. I should explain that it used to be the garage and was recently converted into more of a storage room, hence the french doors on the “garage”. I’m sure I could have built the step with a hammer and saw, but it was one of the last construction projects before I go so I needlessly broke out the sliding compound miter, table saw, pneumatic air gun and cordless circular saw. Fun! Anyway, the step should help dramatically reduce that amount of dirt, pine needles, etc. that have been getting tracked into the room. I just made it out of some extra 2×4’s that were just taking up space on the deck. I still need to rebuild the railing on the front stairs… maybe later today.