Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Italian Coffee

Sometimes a cup of coffee is just what it takes to start the day.  Wonderful.

Here are a few myths about coffee:
  1. Coffee is not addictive.
  2. Coffee will always keep one awake.
  3. Expresso has more caffeine than Americano coffee.
  4. Italians drink their coffee with their breakfast.
  5. Italians drink Cappuccino after a heavy meal.
  6. Dark roast coffee has more caffeine than light roast.
  7. Expresso is often drank while sitting down at the coffee bar.
  8. It doesn't matter if coffee is drank in paper cup or in ceramic cup.
  9. Freezing coffee will preserve its quality.
  10. This present writer knows what he is talking about.  

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Statue of David

I captured the Statue of David back in May of 2017 but hesitated to edit it because there are already millions of images of the iconic statue.  In the age of smart phones, almost everyone who visited the Accademia Gallery in Florence probably took a photo of David.  Originally, the statue was located at the piazza but in 1873, it was relocated to the gallery to protect it from damage.  I'm told that during World War II, the Italians feared that the statue would be stolen so a replica was created while the real statue was hidden in secret.

Following the other tourists, I captured David with the iPhone 7 plus.  Hope your day is going well.

Monday, January 28, 2019

The Continuing Ballad of Mildred and Alberto

Mildred: Dude, show some respect.

Alberto:  Si, señora.  Tu gusto beber?  Quieres una bebida?

Mildred: Do I look like I'm thirsty? Of course I am.

Alberto: What do you want to drink?

Mildred: Beer. Just pour it all on top of my head.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Interpreting the Unknown Statue

I am not sure exactly where I took this photo.  It may be somewhere in Northern Italy but I couldn't exactly pinpoint where.  Rose tells me that this was close to the leaning tower of Pisa.  

The image has been in my iPhone for almost two years now.  I do remember why I shot it though.  I thought the net that was partially covering the building created a nice soft background.  It made the statue pop out.  I also liked the pastel colors of the architecture.  

As for the statue itself, I have no idea who it is and what it represents.  What I always noticed are scallop shells in this kind of statues.  Now, the scallop shell I was informed symbolized purity.  In Catholicism, the clam or scallop shell is symbolically referred to Mary, who had Jesus Christ in her body when he was conceived.  I seriously doubt the artist was portraying Mary here but who knows.  In fact, I'm not even sure if the statue is a man or a woman.

There seems to be two dolphins next to the statue's feet.  I couldn't find its symbolism in Renaissance art based on my cursory review.  So maybe they are not dolphins.

There seems to be a bear or a dog trying to climb up a tree.  Dogs are often depicted to symbolize protection, loyaltyfidelityfaithfulnesswatchfulness, and love.  So maybe it is a dog.  I believe the tree might be his toilet.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Georgia on My Mind (ii)

"Nothing is real.  And there is nothing to get hung about. " - John Lennon

"Nostalgia doesn’t age, it only gets better. We tend to remember the past more fondly, conveniently forgetting the more troublesome aspects. The future, however, is a tough racket. Because the future always changes and it changes in unexpected ways. It’s nearly impossible to keep up with it."  - Atmtx Photo Blog

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Still Life with Spanish Wine

If you were to rank the items on the dining table in order of importance, which would it be?

a.  Red wine

b.  Cup cake

c.  Apricot

d.  Table Cloth

e.  Bowl with unknown items

Wednesday, January 23, 2019


How many hats can one have?  Just as how many sunglasses one have.

Hope your day is going well.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Columbus was Buried Here

Catedral de Santa María de la Sede aka Seville Cathedral houses the coffin of Christopher Columbus, who was Italian but was able to convinced the Spanish Queen that he found the fastest route to sail to India to pick up some spices.  History shows that he landed in the Americas instead.  Thinking he was in India, he called the natives Indios or Indians.  

The location of the remains of Christopher Columbus are controversial.  As many as five churches have claimed that they have his remains.  According to ThoughtCo:  "Columbus traveled more after death than many people do in life! In 1537, his bones and those of his son Diego were sent from Spain to Santo Domingo to lie in the cathedral there. As time went on, Santo Domingo became less important to the Spanish Empire and in 1795 Spain ceded all of Hispaniola, including Santo Domingo, to France as part of a peace treaty. Columbus' remains were judged too important to fall into French hands, so they were sent to Havana. But in 1898, Spain went to war with the United States, and the remains were sent back to Spain lest they fall to the Americans. Thus ended Columbus' fifth round-trip journey to the New World…or so it seemed."

Monday, January 21, 2019

Preparing for the Semana Santa

We call it the Holy Week but the Spaniards call it Semana Santa.  This was shot in Seville days before the Semana Santa.  Seville is one of the most popular places to celebrate this holiday.  The worker is making sure all the furnitures are shined before the tourists arrive.  We happened to be there early.

Another throwback - shot in 2014 with my then go-to camera the Fujifilm X-pro 1 with the 35 mm lens.  Catedral de Santa María de la Sede aka Seville Cathedral.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Last days of December 2018

Might have been the last photo I have taken in 2018.  Another find at the park during our morning walk.

Hope your day is going well.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Open Market in Marrakesh

This was in Marrakesh, Morocco.  Another oldie image shot in 2014.  I didn't edit this image back then because I hated Morocco.  I had imagined it as Graham Nash sung about it in the 1969 song "Marrakesh Express."  No, there was no smelling of garden in ones hair.  No animal carpet wall to wall.  No colored cottons hanging in the air.  Nash must have been high on acid when he went there.  The Moroccans were wild.  Especially the men.  At night, the men would be dancing in the street and touching people.  Live music droning everywhere you go.  I felt like I was having a bad acid trip.  Still I'm glad we went for the experience.  Though I'm not going back there.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Bust Stop in Lima

Just random.  I just like shooting whatever I fancy.  Paradero is Spanish for whereabouts.  But it could also mean bus stop.  The root word para means stop.  It's the same word we have in the Philippines, which have been colonized by the Spaniards for three hundred years.

Taken with the iPhone while on a bus in Lima, Peru.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

After the Rain

Southern Californians celebrate whenever it rains.  We live in the desert so any rain is good.  Captured during our morning walk.  I dig the geometry and the reflection so I decided to take a photo of the scene.

Hope your day is going well.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Tavern in Madrid

Another old image I've taken in 2014 but  never got around to edit it.  Mainly because at that time I thought it was boring.  This is in Huertas, one of the best places to find tapas bar in Madrid.  It's close to the Prado Museum.  The streets begin to get more active after nine o'clock in the evening.  I'm told that the Spaniards eat their supper around this time, and don't finish until two in the morning.  No wonder they have to take their siestas.  They always stay up late.

In major cities of Europe, most of the streets are not parallel unlike here in the States.  That is why they give direction as "turn right" or "turn left".  The convention here in the States is to "go north" or "heard south" and so on.  One thing I have noticed in Spain is that the street signs are located on the buildings.  This tavern was at the corner of the street.  Can you identify the streets based on the building?

Hope your day is going well.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Building Under Construction as Art

This is a modern architecture in Lima, Peru.  It was inspired by the Spanish architect Antonio Gaudi.  Just kidding.

One of the buildings under construction in urban Lima, Peru.  Maybe you think that the Peruvians have developed self-constructing architectures without any need for workers.  Not really.   It was a lazy Sunday so the workers are at church.  Well some of them.  Some are with their friends - drinking Pisco Sour.  It's similar to the Whiskey Sour.  Only that Pisco distilled from Peruvian grapes is used.  Yes, it's an alcoholic beverage.  Although the political police would like to call it adult beverage instead.  I tried the Pisco Sour and it was an acquired taste for me.  After three glasses, you acquire the taste and want some more.  

Friday, January 11, 2019

Flickr No. 190105

In a few days, my Flickr account is going to roll back from Pro to regular.  Which means the number of images I can post will be drastically reduced.  Which means that I'll be saving $50 a year.  Flickr has been charging me $25 a year for the past 5 years, but this year they decided to bump the fee for Pro users. I find this increase outrageous.  I might even delete my Flickr account since anyway I am not getting much traffic like I used to.  We'll see.

Hope your day is going well.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Blue Hour on Crescent Street, Montreal

An old image which I reworked.  Shot in 2014 at Crescent Street in Montreal.  It just started to get dark and I was fortunate to capture this during the blue hour.  It's called the blue hour because the sky is dark blue.  It only lasts for 15 minutes or so.  It's great with urban shots like architectures and street scenes.

Crescent Street at night is popular among young people in Montreal.  Pubs and restaurants are ubiquitous.

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Hot Clams as Art

Nothing like hot clams cooked in white wine and parsley and other good stuff to keep warm on a cold winter's day.  Uh-um.

Really easy to cook.  Add a little bit of dis, and ana little bit of dat.  Add lotsa butter.  Lotsa lotsa.  Pour white wine.  Taste - not the clams.  Is not cooked yet.  Taste the wine if still good.  Good?  Si?  Now add parsley.  Maybe some magic herbs.  I don't care what.  Just add something.  Now boil.  By now, everything should be in the pan.  Close pan with lid.  Drink some more white wine.  After you finish a few sips, the clams are now ready to eat.   Bon Appetito!

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Random Red and Gold

Another find at the park captured with the iPhone.  I dig the color combination and the randomness of the way the leaves have fallen.  Actually, there is no such thing as randomness.  All things behave in a particular pattern.  The artist Jackson Pollack tried to create random art by allowing the paint to drip from hanging paint cans.  No matter how hard he tried, the image would have a pattern.  It's called physics.  Realizing his failure in his attempt, he eventually committed suicide.  Even then his death was not random.

Hope your day is going well.

Monday, January 07, 2019

Life is a Gas

Taken with the iPhone 7 plus outside the Novotel hotel at Cusco while waiting for our tour group.

I like taking pictures of Mannequins.  They don't complain, and they pose so well.  The lighting is always perfect.  For this one, there was hardly any editing.  Pretty much out of the smartphone.  Wonderful.

Hope your day is going well.

Saturday, January 05, 2019

Celebrating Five years of Retirement

A few days ago, Rose and I celebrated my fifth anniversary of retirement.  January 3, 2014.  So we went to our favorite Italian Restaurant Vincenzo's Terrazza in West Covina.  As always we would try out new wines.  Cathy, the owner, knew we love Pinot Noir so she recommended the Duck Pond 2016.  It has a nice cherry color and the finish is on the earthy side.  Very nice.    

We paired the wine with our favorite Octopus and Calamari salad.  Unlike most Calamari I've tasted, theirs is not chewy or rubbery.  The secret to its tenderness is the Calamari is soaked in milk for about 20 minutes.  Somehow, this removes some of the protein.  The Octopus is braised to get a perfect meaty feel.  We've never tried Cathy's pizza so we ventured on what she called Capo - ½ pizza-½ calzone, with ham, salami, cherry tomatoes and basil.  It was remarkably delicious that I'm never going to eat any other pizza again.

We've been going to Cathy's place for years now.  And so when she told us that she might be moving, we were a bit distraught.  Apparently, the owner who leases the place to Cathy wanted to double the rent.  So she has been looking for another place.  She took our email addresses so she would let us know where she would end up relocating.  Hopefully it would not be too far away from our home.

Friday, January 04, 2019

You are not to take my picture

The original image was taken at the Garment District in Los Angeles.  Re-edited using Kodak X Marc Jacobs - it's a free app from the AppStore .  Sorry but it only works on iOS devices.  One can apply filter effects, light leaks, and film frames on the image to simulate the look of the classic Kodak 35mm Point and Shoot film camera. I don't care much for the frames but I dig the light leaks.  The 200 iso option makes the image vivid, which may or may not be desirable.  The date stamp for some reason cannot be removed.  Apparently the frame is cut off in portrait or vertical format.  Still I find it useable.  The app can also be used as a camera just like any smart phone camera.

I still like my original but I wanted to test the new app.  It's very limited but then it's a free app.  Here's the original street image:

Thursday, January 03, 2019

You are not Alone

Ten days, maybe ten weeks to create a work of art ... only to fade away 10 minutes after posting on Instagram.

Hope your day goes well.

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Black King

No, he is not Incan.  Actually I don't even know what he is.  I would like to think of him as an African King.

She image is made up of two layers.  The layer of the man of course is obvious but the other one is an image of a sculpture I shot in the Norton Simon Museum.

Hope your day goes well.

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Owl God

Not much is known about this Owl god except that he hasn't checked with his dentist for a while.  As you may have noticed his Mickey Mouse hat, proof that he has visited Disney Land.  Also noticeable is that the Owl god knows about dining etiquette - see his spoon/fork hybrid that he is holding with his left hand.  Very ingenious design as one can use the spoon and the fork at the same time.