New Ukulele Strings

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/3.6, 1/100 sec, ISO2000
“Martin Ukulele Strings” Cedar Park, 2021

I got some new strings for my concert ukulele and they sound fabulous! I don’t have a very discerning ear, but I can tell that these Martin M600 fluorocarbon strings are a bit brighter than the Aquila strings that came with the ukulele originally. For only about US$6, it doesn’t cost much to give new strings a try, so why not? And these are sort of clear which makes my ukulele collection a little more varied. Fun fun fun!

Dinner and Sichuan Chili Crisp

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.8, 1/75 sec, ISO3200
“Delicious Dinner” Cedar Park, 2021

Tonight we tried the Fly By Jing Sichuan Chili Crisp, and enjoyed it very much! It has a lot of flavor, but not a lot of heat, so it’s a nice sauce for those who don’t like things too fiery. The website sums it up nicely: ” Intensely flavorful yet not off-the-charts spicy, it’ll make your food taste bolder and the world around you seem a little bit brighter.”

We have lots of other sauces to try, and I have a feeling we’ll get to them pretty soon because we were gobbling up tonight’s Sichuan Chili Crisp with gusto. 😄

Texas Sunset Snapshot at the HEB

Photo info: motorola moto g(6), 3.95mm, f/1.8, 1/620 sec, ISO100
“Texas Sunset” Cedar Park, 2020

Today’s photo is a snapshot of a very common sight (at least for me). It’s a sunset from the HEB parking lot. I guess it’s just timing and the really cool clouds we have in Texas, but I get a ton of these shots. I’m very happy about this. 😀

Speaking of HEB (technically H-E-B), I think its near legendary status in the Twitterverse is rightly earned. When I first moved to Texas 20 years ago, I would have said… nah. But now when I travel back to Los Angeles and visit a Ralphs or Vons… wow, those supermarkets just cannot compare to HEB. Not only are HEBs bright, clean, usually with wide aisles, and renovated regularly, but their own brands of food are awesome, especially the Mi Comida line. My HEB has so many Mexican cheeses that are unfamiliar to me, but are all great. And the HEB “Creamy Creations” ice creams are generally awesome.

They also have a reputation of being a good employer, and their community outreach programs are also well-regarded, like their relief efforts after Hurricane Harvey and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of these factors, I’ve definitely joined the legions of HEB fans!

Enjoying Dragon Age: Inquisition

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2, 1/100 sec, ISO640
“Dragon Age: Inquisition” Cedar Park, 2020

A couple of weeks ago, I received a notification that Dragon Age: Inquisition was on sale, so I quickly bought it and installed. Several years ago I played Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age II and finished both of them, which is rare for me with video games. I really enjoyed those two games. When the third game was released, my computer system was too underpowered to play it, so the game slipped off my radar. That was a full six years ago, and in that time, I have upgraded to a more powerful computer which has no trouble running the game at high detail, and I am absolutely loving Dragon Age: Inquisition!

The class/professions I choose for my characters vary, but for years my go-to race/gender in whatever fantasy RPG I play is a female elf. I think they just look the coolest (except in the Elder Scrolls games). This time, I went with a rogue-assassin for class, and I am having so much fun. I tend to play ranged characters (archers or mages), so playing a melee class is new, but I haven’t looked back.

What’s also great about playing a rogue as opposed to a mage is that the armor and weapon design is really cool. Dragon Age has always excelled in this respect, and it’s neat that the armor, weapons, and your character’s customizations all make it into the cutscenes. It’s like magic. I guess I’m old enough to remember when cutscenes were generic and not dynamically generated so this game design is still really neat to me.

What makes Dragon Age so fun for me is not so much the story, but the interactions with the other characters that you pick up along the way. You can have up to three companions in the group (and can switch up the line-up pretty much anytime) and while adventuring, they often have conversations amongst themeselves. Since each character has their own extensive backstory and distinct personalities, it’s fun to listen in on what they say to each other. It also adds to the plot and backstory. so I pay close attention to these conversations. I really love this aspect of the Dragon Age franchise.

Anyways, I think I am still pretty early on in the game, but things just keep getting more and more interesting with the plot. It’s so good. If you have never played Dragon Age before, I highly recommend picking this classic up!

Watching Paris, Texas

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.8, 1/100 sec, ISO3200
“Nastassja and Harry Dean” Cedar Park, 2020

What a great movie… I can’t believe I haven’t seen Paris, Texas before. Harry Dean Stanton is fantastic in it. What I love about it is that the characters are normal. There’s no gimmick here. I was always on edge that there was going to be some sort of disturbing scene, but that never came. And when I was watching the credits, I was thinking about how amazing it was that a movie can be so engaging without the violence, action, or intense characters that so many of today’s movies rely on.