Texas Stars Hockey

Texas Stars
Photo info: OLYMPUS IMAGING CORP. E-PL1, 42mm, f/8, 1/100 sec, ISO1250
Action on the Ice

Koa and I went to see a Texas Stars hockey game the other night and had a wonderful time. I had gotten two free tickets from HEB for a playoff game and I was expecting our seats to be up high away from the action, but to our surprise, the seats were second-row!

Koa's Ready
Photo info: OLYMPUS IMAGING CORP. E-PL1, 14mm, f/3.5, 1/50 sec, ISO1600
Koa’s Stoked with the Seats

Being so close to the action was really exciting and intense. You could hear all the checks into the boards and when fans banged on the glass, it was so loud! What made it extra-fun was that it was a playoff game and the Texas Stars hockey fans were so into it! The whole game was wildly entertaining, even the intermissions if you can believe that. There was a lot of dancing, t-shirt giveaways, and even a contest on the ice. In addition, there was a giant Mighty Fine Burgers Mylar blimp that puttered around the arena by remote control, dropping free burger coupons as it went by. Unfortunately we didn’t get one of them but it was still fun to see.

Shaking Hands
Photo info: OLYMPUS IMAGING CORP. E-PL1, 14mm, f/8, 1/60 sec, ISO1600
Game Over

What made it a perfect night was that the Texas Stars won the game 4-2 (including an empty-netter), and took the opening series from the Oklahoma City Barons. I’d love to go back for another game sometime, but hopefully we can score some free tickets again!

Sony A77II

Top of the Sony A77II
Top of the Sony A77II

Sony recently announced the successor to their A77 SLT DSLR: the A77II. It looks like an incremental upgrade, definitely not enough for me to consider upgrading my A77, but there is one “feature” I really like. That would be the main control dial! I thought the dial on my Konica-Minolta 7D was fantastic and was a little disappointed when they changed it for the A77. But Sony has brought back the style of the older dial, which is cool because not only does it work well, but it goes way back to the design of the Minolta Alpha/Maxxum/Dynax 7 film SLR. I love it! In the photo below, you can see the dial on the KM-7D. It is actually a dual-dial design, while the new A77II only has the single dial.

Konica-Minolta 7D Dials
Photo info: SONY SLT-A77V, 35mm, f/2.5, 1/8 sec, ISO500
Konica-Minolta 7D Dials

Other enhancements to the new A77II are WiFi and remote tethering, a better sensor, and better auto-focus; none of these are enough to make me want to upgrade. In fact, the new A77II loses a feature that I absolutely love on my A77: GPS. It’s very convenient to see the location of a photo, but it is also nice to have the date/time automatically corrected.

I like to think that the A77 was such a great camera when originally released that it is difficult to improve upon it. And that’s good because I really have too much camera gear already, and don’t need to spend any more money! The A77 will be my main shooter for the foreseeable future, probably until it no longer functions. Happy shooting!

Running with a Limp

Running Shoes
My Bright Adidas

So, some good news and bad news (but mostly good news). I’ve been suffering from a sore knee for about six months now, and for maybe two months, I couldn’t do any running. Instead, I have been walking my normal route in order to give my knee a chance to get better. That’s the good news! How can not being able to run be good news? Well, slowing down has actually been a really good experience. Since I was restricted to walking, I think I became more mindful (what does that even mean?) about… well all sorts of stuff. I alluded to this in a previous post, that I give more attention to my surroundings (things like the trees, sky, weather, smells in the air, sounds of the birds and barking dogs in the distance). But I’m also mindful of  how my knee is doing, and an extension of that is to be more attuned to the rest of my body (how my arms are swinging, how my breathing is, my posture, how I hold my head). So that leads me to the bad news, which isn’t really bad news, or perhaps just temporary. I’ve been kind of running asymmetrically. That is a nice way of saying that I’m running with a limp. But at least I am able to run now! And that makes me pretty happy. And when I combine running with my new-found mindfulness (that is a strange word), I am enjoying it a lot more than I used to!

Here’s my latest running activity:

If you want to connect via Strava, that would be cool!

Succulent

 

Succulent
Succulent

This is on a several that Mariko bought for home. I want to steal it for the office!

Sonmi-451 Start Screen

Sonmi-451 Start Screen
Sonmi-451 as of May 3, 2014

Here’s a snapshot of my Dell Venue 8 Pro’s start screen. I think it is kind of interesting that the live tiles are pointers to your personality and interest. Instead of just shortcuts to apps, there’s a window into the content. As you can see, I’m still into K-On! and my manga. I’ve had my tablet for a few months now and I have a pretty good routine with it. Specifically, I use it to update one of my blogs over at Ameba. I find the Bluetooth keyboard with pointing nub is indispensable for blogging (and a mouse is even better) but for just reading my kindle books, RSS feeds, twitter, and email, the tablet by itself is super!

In-N-Out Now in Cedar Park

Two Double-Doubles
Photo info: SONY SLT-A77V, 28mm, f/5.6, 1/60 sec, ISO125
A Couple of Double-Doubles from In-N-Out Burger

It was “boy’s night” again (Mariko was out with one of her friends) which meant that Bay, Koa, and I had to fend for ourselves for dinner. Of course this often means going out for a burger and fries! Our burger joint of choice is Mighty Fine Burgers, but just recently, In-N-Out Burger opened a location in Cedar Park only five minutes away from our house, so we decided to go there. It’s been a couple of weeks since the opening, so the crowds have gone down a bit. There were still plenty of people there (we just went for the drive thru and ate at home) but not a hassle at all and the service was quick and friendly.

Double-Double Animal Style
Photo info: SONY SLT-A77V, 28mm, f/5.6, 1/60 sec, ISO640
“Animal Style” Double-Double

Bay got a Cheeseburger with no onions, Koa got a Double-Double with no onions, and I got a Double-Double “Animal Style”, which has grilled onions and mustard. In addition, we all got fries. The burgers were yummy and Animal Style is definitely the way to go (for me at least). If I were being critical (and this is my blog so why shouldn’t I be?) I’d have to say that they were a little too salty. Also, I am not a huge fan of their fries. They’re good, but a little too dry. I prefer the fries at Mighty Fine, which are a bit greasier and come with the skins still on. But the grand total of our In-N-Out meal was only around $15, which is fantastic for a three high-quality burgers and fries! I’d say In-N-Out is one of the best choices ingredients-wise for fast food.

I’m glad that there is an In-N-Out now in Cedar Park, but my #1 choice will still be Mighty Fine Burgers. It’s hard to beat an all-natural burger from a local burger joint that will grill your jalapeños and onions!

Yakitori is almost done!

 

Yakitori is almost done!
Yakitori is almost done!

Yes, this was our dinner! We also grilled corn on the cob and had a nice salad. And rice of course! It was delicious. Of course!