Asian Market Today

Elizabethe and I headed to Henrietta to visit our favorite Asian market.  It is amazing how many different types of soy sauce and vinegar there are, not to mention all the different pre-made sauces.

We ended up getting some dried mushrooms for our food storage.  When rehydrated, they are about 1/2 the price of store-bought fresh mushrooms.  You can’t use the dehydrated ones in salads, but they are fine for cooked foods.  You just have to remember to rehydrated them before hand.

There are things at the Asian market that have me curious.  I just haven’t been brave enough to try them yet.  They have canned fruits that you just don’t find at the local grocery store.  Things like mangosteens.  When was the last time you saw canned mangosteens at Walmart?

Oh, and if you’re looking for a good price on rice, an Asian market is the best place to shop.

Tri-County Networkers and Business

It was my turn to present at the Tri-County Networkers meeting.  I talked about what makes a good portrait.  The comments afterwards were rewarding and confidence building.

I commented about the competition in my profession.  I’d like to say a little more about that…

I see a lot of young people who think that they want to be a photographer.  What they don’t realize is the amount of hard work it takes.  It has taken me 45 years to get to this point, and if I were just starting out, I wouldn’t be able to put food in my mouth.  I don’t say this to discourage those youth and young adults who think this is a glamorous career, I say it because in 5 years you’ll give up if you don’t listen to what I’m about to say.

First, the competition is so plentiful, you better get better at what you’re doing.  Better than what, you ask.  Better than everyone around you.  You cannot afford to make common mistakes in your work.  You can’t cut off people at the joints, you can’t flat light, you must understand lighting ratios, you can’t simply use a trendy application, and you must learn from those who have passed on like Rembrandt, Bouguereau, Pino, Singer-Sargeant, and more.  You cannot succumb to mediocrity.

Second, you need an education first, and I don’t mean an arts degree in photography.  A recent study by Kiplinger said a bachelor’s in photography is only slightly better than being a high school dropout.  Get a B.S. in accounting, or business administration, or marketing, or even engineering or computer science.  If you’re that good at photography, you need this degree to help you sell your photography.

Third, learn what your work is worth and charge accordingly.  Someone recently in their blog wrote about all the expense they have during a year.  It came to over $35,000.  That’s roughly $3000 a month.  If you add what it takes to pay the rent, put food in your mouth, and pay for necessities, you better be charging enough to make a few thousand a month.  If you’re not, your behaving like a fool and your 5 year clock is counting down.

Forth, you need to hangout with successful photographers.  Right now, if you’re thinking they are the bad guys, and you don’t want to have anything to do with them, you’re really fooling yourself.  I know other photographers who learned from Ansel Adams,  Monte Zucker and Edward Weston.  I made it a point to get to know and learn from my idols:  Bambi Cantrell, Eddy Tapp, Bruce Dorn, Fuzzy Dunkle, and more.  If I can’t learn from the best, how can I ever expect to be better?

There are a lot of great photographers out there who have never sold an image, and never will.  Then, there are those who are famous and work their butts off 60-70 hours a week.  Sometimes the latter feel like they’d like to throw the towel in the ring and quit.  They don’t quit because they have a passion for the work.  If your passion is not in it enough to do what takes, again, your 5 year clock on the move.

These same things can be said about any profession.  The fact of the mater is, you’ve got to have tenacity to make it in this world today.

D. Brent Walton is a Certified Professional Photographer residing in Palmyra, New York.  Brent’s specialty is described in his tag line, “Capturing Beauty”.  Brent holds a Bachelor’s of Science Engineering Degree in Computer Science from California State University, Sacramento.  Brent is principal instructor at Palmyra Photographic Workshops (www.palmyra-ny.com) and is an active member of the Professional Photographers of America.  Brent’s work can be seen at www.FineArtbyDB.com and www.dbwalton.com.

Better Than Draino

After pouring a $9 bottle of Draino down the clogged bathroom drain, it went from draining slowly to hardly at all.  At least before, it was draining in about 10 minutes.  After Draino it became 36 hours.

So, I laid awake thinking last night…

What if I poured baking powder down there with a tiny bit of water and let it soak?  Then, the soda would soak in to the clog.  Then, after all the water and soda are gone from the sink, what if I poured vinegar down there?

I tried it this morning, and although it did not completely free the clog, it is draining better than it has been for a while.  Oh, it foamed, but the foaming brought up chunks of dirt and stuff that was in the trap.

$1 for the baking soda, and about $2 worth of white vinegar and it is draining better than what a $9 bottle of 7-minute drain cleaner did.  (We’re calling the manufacturer because it did say, “Satisfaction Guaranteed”.  I wasn’t very satisfied with its performance.)

Oh, and it also left the sink cleaner than Draino does!

Just Because…

Just because someone is a Catholic it doesn’t make them anti-protestant.
Just because someone drives a Chevy it doesn’t make them anti-Ford.
Just because someone is a man it doesn’t make them anti-woman.
Just because someone likes math doesn’t make them anti-literature.

I recently read someone’s rant that the Salvation Army is anti-gay (presumably because they support traditional marriage).  I’ve heard the same thing spoken about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), Catholics and all other groups that think marriage is a rite reserved for a man and a woman.

Personally, I don’t like labels.  Albeit the use of “gay”, “smoker”, “criminal”, etc.: these labels don’t make a person.  The bible is very clear that God created “man” and “woman”.  And, when someone goes so far as to label someone as “anti-” based on their interpretation of the person’s beliefs, then they appear to be prejudiced.

In the Book of Mormon it speaks of a time when the people because united.  It says there were not “-ites” among them.  There were no Nephites, Lamonites, Amonites… none.  Then, when the people became wicked again, they started going by the labels again – Nephites, Lamonites, etc.  The implication is that labels are not good.  They keep people divided.

Of course, a people cannot be united unless they agree on a moral base, and as long as people disagree where their morality comes from, they will never be united.  The more wicked the world becomes, the more chasms occur.  The old phrase, “Let us agree to disagree”, may work well for treating each other with civility when in each other’s company, but it will never work once they are apart.

One cannot lead a moral life if they have nothing to base their morals on.

I recently heard a talk given by a man who labels himself as an atheist.  It was kind of shallow as he couldn’t say what governs how we treat people.  All he could say was it was wrong for people who believe in God to impose their teachings on others.

What does that even mean?

I wish the video were live and interactive.  I would have asked the man if it is okay to steal my neighbor’s car because it is nice than mine.

I’m sure he would have said, “No”.

And, I would have then asked, “Why not?”.

He probably would have said, “Because it is against the law.”

And the questions would have continued until I surmised the “law” exists because when God gave Moses the 10 Commandments, one of them was Thou Shalt Not Steal.

Let’s bring this back to being labeled as “anti-“.  If you want to make things black-and-white by doing such, then ponder this…

If someone does something because God said it should be done that way, then they must be anti-Satan.

Hmmm… I guess I’m okay with that.  This only stands to reason that when someone has a problem with a commandment from God, then it makes them anti-God.

Think about it.

—–

Today had an interesting start.  I had an early morning appointment with the dermatologist to look at a patch on my arm.  After looking at it, he said there’s really nothing to worry about, but we’ll still keep an eye on it over time.

He then looked at a small spot on my face and said it is a good thing I came in for the spot on my arm because the one on my face is of concern and it needs to be removed.  He then proceeded to freeze it.

I go back in 4 months to see if that did the trick.  In the mean time, I feel like I have a nasty burn on my face.

On the way home I stopped at the Smith Farm to take some photos.  I ran in to President and Sister Christianson as they were arriving there with 4 new missionaries straight from the M.T.C.

Sacred Grove
Sacred Grove

No Snow, Sorry

I got up and there was no snow on the ground.  My rule is, it only gets counted if it is (1) measurable, and (2) actually sticks to something.  So, we’re still waiting for Day 1 of the snow season.

After doing the grocery shopping, putting stuff away, and fixing dinner, I headed to Penfield for a photography meeting.  Before I left, Elizabethe said, “You don’t have to go, you know.”

Well, I should have stayed home.  I wasn’t impressed at all.  I should have listened to my wife.

Still Looking Like it Might

It is still looking like it might snow.  I see lots of flakes blowing around in the air, but there is nothing on the ground.

Elders Cook and Vasquez came for dinner.  I prepared a deconstructed soup consisting of pinto beans (bottom), with a corn cake (middle) and a scoop of carne asada on top.  We then had fixings on the table to sprinkle on top:  chopped onions, chopped sereno peppers, grated cheese, etc.

Neither elder had eaten pecan pie before.  They both really liked it.

Temple Sub

This morning Elizabethe and I substituted for some friends at the temple.  For a Saturday in November, it was quite busy.  I think, but I’m not sure, that the new missionary requirements might have something to do with it.  There were 4 young men going through for the first time.

It’s supposed to snow, but I’m not seeing anything on the ground.  Every once in a while I see flakes blowing around in the air, but again, nothing is sticking.  Nothing is measurable.  The temperatures are in the low to mid 30s.

No Turkey

There is an advantage and disadvantage of not fixing Thanksgiving dinner.  The advantage is, no leftover turkey.  The disadvantage is, no leftover turkey.

I refuse to participate in this commercial money grab they call, “Black Friday”.  In fact, I find it offensive to those who lost all they owned on the REAL “Black Friday”.  But, let those who want knock themselves out.  I’m staying home.

Thanksgiving 2012

I’m thankful everyday to our God who gives us life and who sent his son to pay the debt of our sins.  I’m also thankful for a wonderful wife, our children, and our grandchildren — all of whom are gifts from our Heavenly Father.

After getting up, and fixing a left-overs breakfast burrito, I decided it is time to bake the pumpkin pie.  (I just posted the recipe – see the Cooking with Brent page – http://beckwithmansion.wordpress.com/cooking-with-brent/pumpkin-pie/ )

Next, it was time to make the chocolates.  Last night, I made the filling.  It’s been in the fridge all night.  So, I took it out and rolled it in to balls.

Filling for Candy

I made some just plain.  I then took some walnut halves and wrapped them with the fillings.  After getting tired of doing walnuts, I did some cashews.  Finally, I took some almonds and ground them up and mixed it with the filling.  Four types:   plain, walnut, cashew and almond.

Because of a lack of planning on my part, I sent Elizabethe to Breen’s to get some chocolate.  She returned with chocolate chips because they didn’t have dipping chocolate.  Oh, well.  It will have to do.  Let’s hope it sets up hard enough.

Dipped Chocolates

The dipping went very well, and now they are cooling.  Elizabethe and I did try a couple.

I’m a See’s Candy connoisseur.  Although this recipe taste close to See’s Candy’s Bordeaux chocolates, there are three things that are a bit off.  First, I left out the coffee because we don’t drink coffee, and had there been coffee in there, the taste would have been way off, but the taste is very close without the coffee.  (See’s makes a coffee version of this candy, but they don’t call it Bordeaux.)  Second, the texture is too creamy.  It’s too much like a thick frosting, and I think that might be due to the third item.  Third, I think it is lacking egg yolk.  I think the egg yolk might fix problems 1 and 2.  But, the next time I make this, it’s going to have egg yolk added to the cooked mixture.  I figure 3 egg yolks and I’ll have to let the cooked mixture cool more before I start folding the egg/cream mixture.  I’ll probably have to add a bit more powdered sugar too.  (You can see the recipe I used on yesterday’s post – in the photo.  If you have a better recipe for Bordeaux, please share it.)

Attempt to imitate See’s Candy

Pecan Pie Time

After getting stuff done in the studio, I closed shop and went in to start baking a pecan pie.  Now, most recipes call for corn syrup, but I substitute REAL maple syrup.  There’s nothing like the taste.  It makes the pie sweeter, almost too sweet, and so I temper it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  (Not whipped cream; that is not stout enough to stand up to the pecan custard.)

Now, before eating it, you should dish it to the plate, and zap it in the microwave for about 30 seconds.  Then, top it with a generous portion of vanilla ice cream.

That’s the way to do pecan pie.

After I made two pies (one for sharing, and one for myself), I made some bordeaux filling.  I found a recipe that says it is just like See’s Candy.  We’ll see.  Here it is with the tub before heading to the fridge to set over night.

Candy
See’s Candy? We’ll see

I tasted it, and it doesn’t have the right texture, but it tastes good.  We will see what it is like tomorrow after it sets up.