train graffiti

Braved the heat, humidity, and man-eating insects to go out shooting with the Kodak Duaflex and a roll of re-spooled Ektar. Saw some cool train graffiti in Erath:

The first one kinda reminds me of Daniel Clowes.

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weird graffiti and medium format film

This is one of the weirder pieces of graffiti I’ve ever seen, especially in Fremont.

So I finally got around to going down to Ritz Cameras with my film on Saturday. It’s in that monstrous shopping center, Pacific Commons, and it’s a pain in the ass to get to because it’s as far away from my end of town as you can get and still be IN town.

Plus, the center itself is fucking boring. I had to wait almost an entire hour for the bus, and there’s literally NOTHING worth killing an hour in. No Target, no Michael’s, there isn’t even a Borders! Half the places are restaurants and the anchor stores are all dull crap like Kohl’s and Lowe’s and freaking Costco. Feh. I wish there was a Ritz in Union City Landing. It’s easier to get to from my house AND it’s more interesting.

Anyway, they can’t print medium format at all, not even proofsheets. Which makes no sense to me, because you don’t need a special enlarger for proofsheets, you just lay the negatives directly on the paper and shine the light from any old empty enlarger on it for a few seconds. So I have to decide which ones I want printed (they send it out to a 3rd-party contractor) by looking at the negatives, which kind of sucks.

But their development service isn’t bad. It’s only a 24-hour turnaround time (I didn’t have time to go get them tomorrow, I think I’ll leave work a couple hours early tomorrow and go then) and with the membership I signed up for, only $10 per roll. The manager said he would also see about getting me a discount on printing, but of course he couldn’t promise because the contractor can charge whatever he wants. But if he’s interested in maintaining a good relationship with the company he might consider it.

I’d really like to start printing myself. The problem with that is that I’m fairly certain you need a special enlarger to print medium format, and I doubt any of the local community colleges have them in their darkrooms. Still, it’s worth looking into, maybe after the holidays.

stitching, bike baskets, and cupcakes

Stitches used in this portion include:

  • Petit cross stitch (over a single square of 28-count evenweave)
  • Irish stitch (which is really just a bargello variation)

This weekend was the Fremont Art & Wine Festival, so I made sure to avoid that end of town. It’s just way too much of a crowd for me to handle anymore; plus they have the same crap every year, anyway.

I rode my bicycle all the way down Decoto into Union City, because I haven’t been really far on the new bicycle yet and I wanted to see how it rode over the course of a few miles. It’s excellent, very smooth and easy.

I found a plastic basket at Daiso for only $4, it’s basically like a basket you’d use in a grocery store. I attached it to the rack with zip ties and tried it out with a bag of cat litter, to make sure having weight behind me didn’t cause the bicycle to drag or throw off my gravity. It works great, I couldn’t even really tell I was hauling an extra 10 pounds or so. It’s going to work out really well for groceries.

I poked around in Marina Foods after I went to Daiso. It’s right next door, and I haven’t been in there for a while, since Ranch 99 is right down the street. It’s bigger than Ranch 99 and they have 3 whole aisles of sweets. I found blueberry Pocky, which I didn’t even know existed! And also they have those mushroom-shaped cookies that I could only find in Japantown before.

Lately for some reason I’ve been craving cupcakes, so Saturday when I got home I made these:

Red Velvet Cupcakes

  1. With a mixer, cream 1/2 cup unsalted butter with 1 1/2 cups of white sugar.
  2. Add 2 eggs, 1 cup of whole milk, 1 oz. red food coloring, 1 tsp. vanilla extract, and 1 tbsp. white vinegar. Mix well.
  3. Sift in 2 cups of flour, 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda, 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, and 1 tsp. salt. Mix well.
  4. Pour into greased cupcake tins (or use paper liners, but I never do, I have really great non-stick tins) and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.
  5. Allow to cool and frost with desired frosting. I used dark chocolate. I don’t think that’s traditional, I seem to recall red velvet cakes usually have a pale frosting, vanilla or buttercream; but you know what? My cupcakes, my rules!

Makes 15 cupcakes.

Also, here is some graffiti I saw on the bus Friday evening:

Speaking of buses, I had a driver this morning who’s apparently never drove my route before, because he drove right past the business district where the school is without turning in. I was like excuse me, and he goes “Oh, this bus doesn’t go in there.” So what you’re telling me is that every driver I’ve had for the past year and a half has made the same mistake every day? And all those little bus stop signs with the same number as this bus are what, just decoration?

I made him make a U-turn and go back. Honestly, it’s not my intention to be a bitch most of the time, but it’s like circumstances force me into it. I mean, I wasn’t just going to meekly sit there, then either backtrack a mile (including over a freeway overpass), or take the next bus in the other direction, both options which would have made me late for work. If he had just said “Oops sorry, I’m new”, I would have totally understood. But no, he has to treat me like I’m some kind of fucking idiot. I use the bike rack and have a monthly pass; neither of things should scream “NOVICE BUS RIDER”. Obviously I’m going to know when not just my stop, but an entire portion of the route gets skipped.

stitching, block party, random photos, and i really think it’s time for a new bike

Nearly done. I just have a few leaves to add to the lower-left corner, do the border, and a couple other details.

We closed off the street and had a 4th of July block party on Friday. We even had a volleyball net stretched across the street. It’s a dead-end street, doesn’t go anywhere, so it’s not a big deal to close it to traffic. We had lots of food, I brought cheddarwurst and strawberry shortcake.

Here are some photos I took on Saturday while waiting for my bus across the street from The Hub.

 

I got to change an innertube this weekend. And it wasn’t the front one again; it was the back one, which is about a year old and has been losing air pretty steadily, so it wasn’t unexpected. It was time-consuming, and the back tire is more complicated than the front because of the chain, but it was easy enough.

But on the way to work this morning, the chain suddenly popped off the gear. That bike ran perfectly for a year, then suddenly every single thing that could possibly happen to it, happened. It’s easy enough to fix, but it shouldn’t be happening at all. And what if it happens again? What if it happens while I’m coasting downhill with cross traffic and a stoplight at the bottom?? That bike has coaster brakes, meaning no chain = no brakes.

I really think it’s time for that new bike I’ve been thinking of. And this time I’m going to get a Schwinn or a Huffy. I’d love an Electra, they make some sweet-ass cruisers, but they’re pretty pricey.