AKA Abraham Bacoln

My mother’s hands
December 29, 2006, 6:50 pm
Filed under: tidbit

It’s a strange feeling when something you do regularly, something you do for fun, turns unexpected and affects you more than you intended.

I received a new lens for Christmas and I spent a good portion of the day shooting pics like crazy just trying to get a feel for it. I haven’t checked how many pictures I took, but it was definitely more than necessary.

I shot the tree, I shot the examination of gifts, and I stood there and documented every step while my mother made her pecan pie. I took pictures of everything.

When I finally got home and reviewed my pictures, the one of Mom’s hands holding the eggs caught me by surprise. I actually had to skip over it because I was confused by what I was feeling, didn’t know how to deal with it. I left it alone for a day or so.

I finally went back and took a long look at it. It’s a spur of the moment capture – she just held out the eggs for a second, I snapped, we went on in our conversation and pie-making. It wasn’t posed in the traditional sense, I didn’t ask her to hold them a certain way. It was just in the moment.

The more I looked at it the more I realized I’d reached a new thing, a new place. I was looking at a picture that actually moved me – one of my pictures. That had never happened to me before. The emotions were what confused me the first time I saw it. I’m used to making images, some kind of tiny art perhaps, not feelings.

I have memories of being a child and sitting in church, not listening to the sermon, just holding Mom’s hand, looking at it, feeling how soft her skin was. It wasn’t so much thoughts of “these are the hands that cook for me, that comfort me, that put on the bandages when I scrape my leg,” but more strange realization of detail, how just one part of the human body can sum up the whole of what they mean to you.

This picture just made me realize that I hadn’t really looked at my mom’s hands in forever. It made me remember what it was like to be a kid. It made me think about who my mom is, and how much she means to me.

Somehow this picture just says more to me about my mother than any portrait ever could. I never expected to do this to myself. I could never have set out to do it on purpose.

I’m grateful that it happened the way it did.

A true day off
December 21, 2006, 8:33 pm
Filed under: tidbit

This post started out full of details, but those get boring, and quick. Instead I’m just gonna say that the past two weeks have been full of works, weddings, finals, houseguests, and everythings else. I’m pooped.

I had the ENTIRE day off from everything today, though, and was able to spend it doing whatever I wanted to, which really boils down to a whole lot of nothing. Best news: I finally get over to see the doctor, and that constant nagging low-grade pain I’ve had in my side for almost a week and a half is NOT a kidney stone, and is NOT intestinal parasites, but apparently just some pulled muscle that I am (for whatever sadistic reason) not allowing to relax and heal. Better that than the gut worms, I say.

MMmmmmm. Worms.

Anyway, I’m just very excited about finally being truly relaxed. It feels so good. In fact, it’s time to go relax some more. Amazingly enough I’m making progress in all the books I wanted to read. Funny how free time allows that.

I hope that every single one of you had a day just as good as mine. I wish you all the best. Should I forget to write again before Christmas, I wish you all the happiest of December Twenty-Fifthsths.

EDIT! I totally forgot to mention that once again I’ve had someone (an out-of-towner co-employee) tell me that when I speak I sound just like Jeff Goldblum. I couldn’t be more pleased.

EDIT EDIT! Ah-HA! I’ve finally found my favorite Jeff Goldblum / Apple commerical. Someone has uploaded it since the last time I went looking for it. This is …

you know, for you this is probably totally boring. But for me? Sometimes I stand in the mirror and talk normally and pretend that I am indeed Jeff Goldblum.

He even rolls up his sleeves like I do. I think … this means something.

December 12, 2006, 10:19 pm
Filed under: recipe

Another Tuesday, another recipe. I don’t know where the parents got this one – it’s torn out of some magazine. I asked if there was anything they wanted, and they just wanted this. Easy for me as I didn’t have to think, just to cook.

Turns out this was far tastier than I expected. I was a bit taken aback at the thought of raw ramen noodles, but I broke them down pretty small and it turned out ultra-tasty. No more crunchy than peanut bits, if you need a comparison.

Anyway, on with the recipe. I don’t have anything else to say other than YUM.

Thai Beef Salad with Crispy Noodles

1 sirloin steak (about 1 lb)
Salt and pepper
3 tbsp water
2 tbsp soy sauce (UGH)
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp peanut butter
Juice from one lime (approx. 2 tbsp)
4 cups coleslaw mix (apparently available in the bagged salad section or something like that)
1 tbsp chopped cilantro (NOTICE: THIS DID NOT MAKE IT INTO MY RECIPE)
1 tbsp chopped fresh basil (I would love to have had Thai basil (you know, the one with the purple stalks and green leaves) but it is not readily available in Cookeville)
1 3-oz package ramen noodles (save or discard flavor packet), broken into tiny bits

1.) Season steak with salt and pepper
2.) In a grill pan or cast-iron skillet, sear the steak over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes per side for medium-rare. You want your steak to be medium-rare otherwise you’re not human.
3.) Transfer cooked steak to a plate to rest – covering it is not a bad idea either.
4.) In a small bowl, whisk together the water, soy sauce (UGH), honey, peanut butter, and lime juice.
5.) In a large bowl, combine the slaw mix, basil, and peanut dressing. Toss ’till covered.
6.) Add crushed dry ramen noodles and toss again.
7.) Cut the steak into thin slices and distribute amongst the salads.

Should make four good bowls or so. Really tasty. I urge you to try this recipe.

I also urge you to be nice to your fellow humans, as the holidays are upon us, and you’re bound to be confronted with some total idiots. Just remember, they’re only trying to shop for presents just like you.

Things I have forgotten to post about
December 11, 2006, 8:48 pm
Filed under: photography

Every now and then we all (yes, you too) get struck with a bit of internet-narcissism and we go looking for references to ourselves online. I got three of me that I want to share with you.

The one of which I am most proud is this: Photojojo using one of my pictures in a tutorial. Amit had originally written to me to ask if my grocery store vegetable panorama could be used in a pano tutorial – guess that one never appeared, but I’m still rather flattered that I got used at all. I love Photojojo and any involvement is wonderful.

The middle one is Twelvety using a picture from our trip to Ocracoke. I didn’t even take the picture (Katie did) but the act of him linking to it has bumped it up into the ranks of my top 20 most-viewed pics on Flickr.

The last, the one of which I am most proud, says simply this: “Kevin O’Mara has the best CC-licensed sideburns on Flickr.”

Damn straight.

December 10, 2006, 11:41 pm
Filed under: photography

In case you haven’t had your yearly Christmas seizure yet, or haven’t thrown up today, I urge you to view this dangerous little beauty I just put together. I can’t believe I’m the creator of such violence and intensity. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Okay, but seriously, it’s just an animated version of my picture of the Drama Center Christmas tree. It just makes me a bit woozy after I look at it too long, that’s all.

December 9, 2006, 12:06 pm
Filed under: tidbit

I was listening to music this morning using earbuds plugged in to my laptop (which in turn was plugged into a power outlet) and occasionally as I’d shift in my seat I’d get a strange crackle sound. I kept jiggling the cord, trying to find a short, but none was becoming obvious. Still, every time I fidgeted I’d get that crackle-pop again.

I finally realized what it was when I warmed up enough to take off my fleece jacket. As I pulled it off I felt the familiar tug of static cling between my jacket and my shirt, and then immediately got static electricity shock in both ears simultaneously.

Let this be some sort of strange lesson to you. May you learn from my experience.

December 8, 2006, 11:12 pm
Filed under: photography

I’m very disappointed in myself for just now learning how to properly set my custom white balance on my camera. When I think of all the night shots I’ve rejected ’cause I couldn’t get rid of that nasty orange streetlight color I’m a bit ill. Being smart enough to carry a little white piece of paper with me could have created a lot of wonderful opportunities.

Oh well, c’est la vie, as they say, or maybe que sera sera. Or is it live and learn?

Regardless, when it stops being below freezing (current temperature: 19 degrees) I’ll start going out at night again and recapturing some of what I thought to be lost.

I don’t even know what to call it
December 6, 2006, 12:29 am
Filed under: entree, recipe

I don’t even remember the name of this recipe. I’m sure it was something like “easy holiday sweet-potato sausage skillet surprise extravaganza meal” or something like that. Hell, I don’t even know what magazine it came out of – just something lying around my parents’ house. Regardless, I saw it the other day and decided that this would be my Tuesday Dinner For The Parents this week.

I’m gonna start here by mentioning that the original recipe – which I do not have with me, by the way, I am writing this from memory – called for salsa verde to top the dish. I’m no big fan of salsa verde and I lucked out – when Mom was picking up ingredients she was shopping at Food Lion which is often referred to in my mind as That Place That Never Has A Damn Thing I’m Looking For. Turns out – get this – they didn’t have salsa verde. ¡QUÉ UNA SORPRESA!

Mom did an amazing thing and picked up some Newman’s Own Lime and Tequila Sadly Alcohol-Free (Red) Salsa. That stuff is FANTASTIC. Well, okay, let me back (that thing) up and say that it was wonderful as a topping to our meal. How it would work on chips, I dunno. This salsa has a bit of an attitude problem, a cry for attention, perhaps, and is a bit intense. Not spicy-heat-wise or anything, no, it’s just like Paul Newman said, “I WANT SOME SALSA WHOSE FLAVOR GOES TO ELEVEN.” He talks like that. I’ve met him.

Without further ado, you’re about to be subjected to my best job at remembering how to make tonight’s dish:

Seriously, It’s Not Weird – It Tastes Great

You will need to procure, and probably not from Food Lion,

2 sweet potatoes – I only used 1.5 as the ones Mom got were huge
1/2 lb breakfast sausage. Cut that little Tennessee Pride boy right in half!
1-2 green bell peppers
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
2 tsp cumin (are you listening, Trey?)
Olive oil, water, salt, pepper, the usual.

1. Add a dash of salt to a medium-sized pot full of water. Bring to boil.
2. Cut the sweet potatoes into 1/2-inch chunks.
3. Boil potato chunklets for 4 minutes or until barely tender, then drain
4. In a large skillet (no, seriously, like make sure it’s a 12-inch) brown the sausage. Drain the sausage. Set the sausage aside. Ignore the sausage. Do not eat the sausage yet.
5. Bring skillet to medium-high heat, add olive oil and green bell peppers. Sauté for a few minutes.
6. Add onion. Cook until translucent and done.
7. Add garlic, sausage, sweet potatoes, and cumin to pan. Continue cooking for 5 minutes or so.
8. Salt and pepper to taste.

Pretty easy, huh? Top that sucker with a few splashes of the salsa and you’re good to go.

I have to totally give a shout-out to my Mom who prepared a super-tasty salad to go along with this. Shredded fresh spinich topped with grated carrot, nuts (walnuts?), dried cranberries, and … um … something else. I’ve already forgotten. Drizzle a little raspberry vinaigrette over that and you’re good to go.

Hearty! Filling! Jawsome! Until next time!

’round here
December 4, 2006, 6:38 pm
Filed under: tidbit

This picture represents the fifth time that I have challenged my Cookeville peeps to identify or locate a local … um … thing. Guess I can’t really say place or building ’cause sometimes it’s neither of those things.

I’m constantly surprised and amused at how rapidly the answers come back. Either this town is exactly as small as I think it is, or my friends are just as observant as I think they are, or maybe it’s a combination of both.

Regardless, the activity amuses me to no end, and I’m always thinking of new places or things to photograph and use to quiz my degenerate Flickr friends. The first two were a bit hard and the last three a bit easy, so I’m going to try to think of something a bit more in-between for next time.

Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention I’ve tagged them all with ‘trivia’ so it’s easy for me to go back and relive the fun. Thanks for playing, everyone – I’ll try and think of a new thrilling adventure for you all soon.