My family eats a lot of rice at dinner time. Most of the time we’ll make a full pot of rice, then save the leftovers for use later. The best method we have found to store the cooked rice is to spoon out a single serving (roughly enough to fill a rice-bowl) onto some plastic wrap, then put these packets of rice in a ziploc freezer bag. This goes into the freezer. Then when some rice is needed, just put a packet into the microwave for a minute. Once is is a little defrosted, empty the rice into a bowl (or multiple packets into a larger bowl), cover and microwave again until it’s nice and hot. One tip is to not mush down the rice when you are wrapping it up. Try to keep it as fluffy as possible. If anyone has any other tips, please share!
My old desktop computer, Medusa (right), finally decided to call it quits. The new computer, Nemesis (left), is the replacement. I’m not sure when it started, but I give all our computers names from mythology. Besides Medusa and Nemesis, some others are/were Daphne, Echo, Phaedra, Gorgon, Chimera, and Persephone. I tend to give the laptops and portables the cuter names, and the desktops get the more sinister names. Kind of makes things a little bit more fun.
I miss Dodger Stadium! Was reminded of all the good times there by Manny’s wonderful blog post. Thinking back to all the Dodger Dogs, peanuts, Carnation chocolate malts, and the occasional Cool-a-coo… so many memories! And all accompanied by the organ music of Nancy Bea and Helen Dell.
For a while now I’ve been in the habit of not shutting down my laptop, but rather just putting it to sleep. I was at 29 days and 20 hours (I use Rainmeter to keep track of stats like that) of “up time” and thought I could break a month, but Windows forced me to restart to apply some updates… Well, we’ll have to just give it another go! 14 hours and 43 minutes so far.
I’m just listening to the Dodgers playing against the Pirates and I had thought of something to blog about… but now I’ve forgotten! You know, my memory has been getting pretty poor these days. Is there some kind of pill I can take for that?
Continuing my love affair with messenger bags, I spotted this Manfrotto Unica VII in the local Best Buy. It was $99, but I found it on Amazon.com for $79, and then later on at Costco.com for only $39! I sold my REI Transit bag to a friend and moved all my stuff into this one.
First off, the new bag is big. It’s has a top zipper for quick access to the main compartment and also has a regular flip-open type flap, which is secured by a large metal buckle and also velcro. The main compartment is pretty roomy, but I was disappointed that there are velcro strips only on one half of the compartment. What this means is that you cannot put dividers all along the whole compartment. Right now I just put my dSLRr with lens, and an extra lens in the camera side. This side is lined with some nice soft fabric, and the velcro actually grabs on to this securely. The other side is a more durable nylon-type material. I put my camera battery charger, Kindle, and have space to throw my keys and wallet in. I did try an alternate configuration so that the main compartment is totally dedicated to camera gear, and fit in the dslr with lens, two extra lenses, and my flash gun. It would have been better if I could have used more velcro dividers, but oh well.
On the other side, underneath the main flap is a zippered area for pens, wallet, laptop mouse, and other small items. It’s nice that it is zippered for security, but you can also leave it unzippered and the flap hangs open.
There are a few things that I don’t like about the bag. Besides the aforementioned lack of velcro in the main compartment, the strap seems really stiff. Plus there are no swivels on the straps so that it’s kind of easy to get it all twisted. I wish I could switch the strap easily. As it is now, I’d have to cut the current strap to get it off. If I find another nice strap, I might just do that. Also, there should have been a couple outside pockets for cellphone and small water bottle. The REI Transit bag is definitely a better-quality bag in this respect. Also, the Manfrotto bag seems bigger than it should be. I guess it’s the extra protection (it really is well-padded), but the Transit bag seemed a lot smaller. When carrying using the shoulder-strap, the bag feels really stiff and awkward. It’s very box-like, and not very comfortable to carry. The transit bag, in comparison, was curved so that it fit to your hip and was super-comfy. I’m hoping that this bag will “break-in” but I’m not counting on it. Like I mentioned before, there is a lot of padding on it, and it does in fact hold a lot more than other bags so it should be expected. Lastly, the big metal buckle is really not needed. It’s really nice and strong and adds a bit of class to the bag, but a couple times when flipping the cover back, the buckly hits the table top and rings like a bell. Way too conspicuous.
Overall, I’m happy with this bag and for only $40 it’s a great deal. I definitely wouldn’t spend $99 for it though. While the Transit bag had some advantages, the Manfrotto bag holds the camera gear snugly, but without being cramped like the Transit was. And the bottom compartment for tripod is really excellent.
I bought the Sony DT 35mm lens a few weeks ago and it has become my favorite lens. It’s regarded in the Sony/Minolta circles as a no-brainer lens because of the great image quality and excellent value. The lens can be had brand new for $179! The first impression after picking it up is that it feels really light and cheap. It’s very plasticky. Even the lens-mount is polycarbonate, not metal. But just mount it to the camera and the good qualities of this lens make themselves known. First, on the dSLR with a crop factor of 1.5x, the 35mm is roughly equivalent of a normal 50mm on a full-frame or film SLR. This make the images seem very life-like since it is very similar to how the human eye sees things. The old standard 50mm is good, but on the dslr is a bit too long. The 35mm is pretty much the perfect replacement. Like the nifty-fifty, it’s a pretty fast lens, with a max aperture of f/1.8. It’s fairly sharp wide-open, but stop it down to f/2.8 and it is really sharp!
The one minus about the lens is that it is a little loud. I guess it’s just the SAM motor as compared to the silent SSM focusing in the higher-end lenses. But if this had an SSM motor in it, it wouldn’t be so cheap and I most likely wouldn’t have bought it. Actually compared to my old Minolta lenses, it’s fairly quiet!
The best things about the lens in my opinion are the excellent colors and smooth bokeh. I guilty of going overboard on the bokeh in a lot of my shots, and this lens just adds to that. Because it’s a fast lens, you can shoot in pretty poor lighting and still get good results. The color reproduction is very good, and when I switched to my 24-85mm zoom (which has a good reputation in the color department), the colors and contrast seemed so blah and bland. I really am getting spoiled by the 35mm lens!
Another advantage to this lens is the extreme light weight. My A77 is a fairly heavy body, but with the 35mm on it, it feels almost perfect. I really love this lens and I’m so glad I bought it. If you shoot Sony/Minolta, you have to get one!
Last night Koa told me, “I don’t want my dreams to come true because in my dreams, I am at school and my pants fall down and my arms are so short that I can’t pull them back up. I’d rather have my wishes come true.” That made me laugh.