Texas Storms

"Storm Clouds" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: SONY NEX-6, 16mm, f/22, 1/60 sec, ISO100
“Storm Clouds” Cedar Park, 2018

Texas can have some crazy weather! Growing up in Southern California, we never had huge fluctuations in temperature or lots of rain, especially living near the coast. But here in Texas, it can sometimes get a little crazy, with intense thunderstorms, hail, and flash flooding. Today, we got a couple of short downpours at our house, but nothing extreme. Whew! It did look pretty cool though, as you can see from the photo I took on the way home.

This evening I started on a new sketch. It’s going to be something inspired by Lady Snowblood, and is kind of similar to a painting I did when I was in art school. But I’ll be doing this not in acrylics or oils but with pencil and then digitally. I’m not good at figure drawing so it will take some time, and by looking at reference photos. But I was inspired not only by the movie but also by some illustration books I was browsing through at the Kinokuniya the other day. Such neat art!

I hope you had a nice Monday!


Nacho Time

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2, 1/100 sec, ISO640

こなばんは。How’s it going?

Yesterday at the request of my sons, I had made a bunch of carnitas in our InstantPot, which we used as filling for burritos. Since I made so much meat (4 lbs!), there were plenty of leftovers so we decided to have carnitas again tonight, but this time we made nachos. The layers (from bottom up) were tortilla chips, refried beans (with water added so they were pretty creamy), cheese, carnitas, sauteed jalapeño and onion, more cheese, then repeat. Pop the casserole dish into a 350° oven for 15 minutes and they are done. For the finishing touches, we topped with cilantro, diced jalapeños, and sour cream.

By the way, do you know the origin of nachos? I didn’t until a few weeks ago. It’s very interesting! If you don’t know the history, here’s the Wikipedia article on Nachos so you can learn as well. Enjoy!

I hope you had a nice Sunday.


Lady Snowblood – 修羅雪姫 (1973) Review

"Lady Snowblood" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.8, 1/100 sec, ISO800
“Lady Snowblood” Cedar Park, 2018

This evening I watched Lady Snowblood – 修羅雪姫, a 1973 manga-based movie about a woman named Yuki whose purpose in life is to avenge her mother, who was raped and whose husband was murdered. The mother died shortly after giving birth to Yuki in prison, and the baby was taken by one of the mother’s prison-mates to be raised by a monk. This monk taught her how to be an assassin in order to hunt down and kill the four criminals who were responsible for her mother’s sad fate.

Lady SnowbloodMeiko Kaji (梶 芽衣子) stars as the beautiful Lady Snowblood and is amazing in the role. Not only is she cold and mysterious, but her action sequences are convincing in their straightforward manner. There aren’t any marathon fight scenes, nor over-the-top acrobatics, but rather, quick and deliberate fight scenes.

But what makes the film special is that there are copious amounts of blood. I’m definitely not a fan of horror movies or grotesque imagery, but Lady Snowblood isn’t a typical gore movie. The blood gushes and sprays fountains in such exaggerated ways, that it’s not disturbing at all. The blood is also a bright red color, and thick like tempera paint. Because of this lack of realism, I didn’t mind the gory scenes (of which I am usually easily disturbed). In fact, I found it very entertaining, and I was looking forward to more of it! 🤪

Lady Snowblood

Another special aspect of the movie is that the hairstyles of the 1970s are ever-present throughout (especially for the male actors), even though the time period of the movie is the late 1800s. That crazy juxtaposition makes it all the more fun for watching it in the present day. Coupled with the 1970s music, it’s a unique feeling!

Lady Snowblood

I enjoyed Lady Snowblood quite a bit and am looking forward to seeing the sequel, Lady Snowblood: Love Song of Vengeance, which apparently came out just a year after the first.

Lady Snowblood

An interesting note is that Lady Snowblood was the inspiration for Tarantino’s Kill Bill movies. It’s easy to see why he would be so taken by the film. The movie, and the assassin character, are very compelling!

My rating for Lady Snowblood is 7.5 out of 10.

High School Band and Writing by Hand

"First Band Performance" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/5.6, 1/220 sec, ISO200
“First Band Performance” Cedar Park, 2018

Koa started his high school band performance career today with a show for the band parents at the football stadium this evening. It was cool to watch them really get into their performance.

The percussion section (of which Koa is a part of) is always having fun. Because of the size of the instruments, they don’t march with the rest of the band, but are instead situated right in the front, hence the name “front ensemble”. And because they aren’t marching, they get to bob their heads and get into the groove. I suppose it would hard to stand still anyways, being in percussion after all! And it’s a lot of fun to watch them all enjoying themselves. In Koa’s words, “Oh yeah, we’re always having fun up there.”

In blogging-related news, I read an article that talks about the importance of writing using a pen and paper instead of typing on the keyboard, and how that physical activity can stimulate creativity. So that is what I am starting to do now. But, dang, my hand hurts! I gotta get used to this…

"Writing" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.8, 1/100 sec, ISO2500
“Writing” Cedar Park, 2018

I hope you had a nice day!


Chanpurū チャンプルー [photo]

"Champuru" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2, 1/100 sec, ISO800
“Champuru” Cedar Park, 2018

Yes, chanpurū is delicious!

Gelato at Work

"Gelato Lit Up" Austin, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/4, 1/100 sec, ISO400
“Gelato Lit Up” Austin, 2018

A wonderful afternoon treat at work!

Every few weeks, my work hosts a lunch, happy hour, or other get together in the office, and today it was afternoon gelato and sweets. I skipped the sweets, which were baked goods (cakes, tarts, and cookies) and had two cups of gelato from Frost. It was so good! The first one I tried was “Sea Salt Caramel” and it was awesome. And since I skipped the cookies, I felt that I was allowed to go back for a second gelato – “Lotus Cookie”. I think they said it was cookie butter… but whatever it was, I thought it was delicious! Since Frost Gelato brought in six flavors, I was tempted to go back and try more, but I decided to limit myself. 😁

It was a good way to end the work day!

"Packed" Austin, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/3.2, 1/150 sec, ISO200
“Packed” Austin, 2018

Driving Soon

"Driving Soon" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/3.2, 1/100 sec, ISO640
“Driving Soon” Cedar Park, 2018

こんばんは。How’s it going?

Today is the last day of summer vacation for the kiddos, and this year both of the boys will be in high school – one will be a senior and the other will be a freshman. It’s crazy how fast the grow up.

Bay will be getting his driver’s license soon and we’ve been practicing a bunch lately. Today’s photo is one that I took from the passenger seat and you can see Bay in the reflection of the gear selector. He’s a pretty good driver, so I’m not too worried about him on the road. He’ll be fine. (I keep reminding myself of that) 😀

In other news, I’ve been playing both my ukuleles every day, but I have to say that I love the newer Kala pineapple ukulele a lot more than my old Hilo. It’s just a lot more fun to play, and the soprano sound is very cool. But, I still play the concert ukulele because it has the low-G on it and there are a couple songs that I practice that require it.

Someday, I’d like to get another soprano ukulele (I prefer that size now) and put a low-G on it. But for now, I’ll stick with the Hilo concert ukulele.

I hope you had a nice day!