Thursday, 27 September 2012

Hipster "Porn" from Canon

The Canon EOS M promotion video - could it be the most annoying advert ever?  The Fake Intellectual here has everything he could ever dream of:
  • Macbook 
  • Appartment in trendy city 
  • Silk scarf  and Man Bag.
  • Dates wannabe models/ fashion bloggers.
  • Makes blueberry pies (blueberries - they're so hot right now!).
  • Wears his trousers too short to show off his desert boots.
  • Has no DSLR because he is obviously using a small mirrorless Canon with interchangeable lenses (I'm not making fun of that - that looks like it might be quite practical).

So far not particularly annoying..... just run-of-the-mill hipster fake intellectual. What really annoys me are his photography habits.

During the video he takes rather boring close up shots of four tomatoes, an artichoke, a box of maccaroons (maccaroons - they're so hot right now!) and small pastries. 

Really?! There is no way he is going to want to look at shots of shiny cakes through shiny glass when he is 80.

But when he has finished his decidedly odd shopping habits he then goes and does the most annoying thing ever.


By all means play with your photos after you take them and keep an original just in case the novelty effect wears off, but even if he took the close up tomato shot of the century it's going to go stale faster than the baguettes he forgets to buy. 

ps. Note that they don't show you the shots "he" took with the flash, because even the model isn't going to look pretty like that.

So what could be an amazing little camera now now just seems really gimmicky and like it's all about pandering to the latest trend. Shame.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

The Brilliance of Boredom

So first things first, you may have noticed I've turned my back on the interactive blog layout. I liked it, but I've been having a lot of problems with people not being able to comment, and I missed the archive and personalization of the old layout. So welcome to my new blog. Notice how the header now reaches all the way across! That's the view from the roof of the Duomo in Milan in case you were wondering.

I'd also like to invite you to write a comment at the end of this post (click where it says "no comments"!) so I can see if the comment section, which should now open as a separate window is foolproof, or should I say mum-proof?!


I spent a lot of this summer travelling around and generally having a very good time. But I did wonder if I was ever going to get the chance to get bored. I knew that if I was ever going to want to get back to work I was going to need to get really bored. And finally last week it happened. At home with A studying from dawn til dusk I suddenly found time to do all kinds of things I'd been meaning to do for ages.

I've got my computer fixed, finished my knitting project and my painting on top of a whole heap of other boring stuff I had been putting off.

The original inspiration taken at Porto Venere one cold winter's day.
I have been procrastinating so long it's been hung on the wall for months like this.
Finally the finished thing!

 The painting was originally conceived as an idea to cover another painting I'd done which I no longer liked and the knitting project was an attempt to use up some of the leftover wool from my knitting mania last year. Thrifty art is often the most rewarding though.

I used 12mm needles which was fortunate because I had decided to make a shawl style scarf which ended up at over 90 stiches wide. It had become exceedingly boring but then I discovered... TASSELS! It is now fringed in tassels, and given how easy it was I suspect a lot of other things are about to get covered in tassels.

Compare, plain snood I made last year to this year's project.

Plain and simple: last year

This year: Fringe heaven!

Want tassels on your scarf? I am your woman!

Sunday, 16 September 2012

The Beautiful Baha'i

Up in Evanston on the shores of Lake Michigan, North of Chicago, is one of the world's first Baha'i temples. It's a really stunning building. Set in the suburbs of spacious painted wooden mansions and green green manicured lawns it sticks out a mile.

Get that polarizing filter on.

The building has nine sides which represent something profound, I forget what exactly and the building is covered in the symbols of all the major religions. The Baha'i faith is all about inclusion and focuses on the teachings that all main religions have in common, which is one of the reasons it's such an attractive place to visit.

The people at the temple were seriously welcoming in a totally genuine way, by which I mean they didn't seem interested in trying to convert people, but really happy to let you have a look around and a chat if you wished. They even opened the visitor centre for us early so that we could use the toilets. I mean who arrives before 10am to look at a church? (Answer: People with serious jet lag.)

O Rich Ones on Earth
According to the information my Dad read there, the Baha'i religion is run by elected councils and has no clergy and no services as such. I think he was seriously impressed by this.

The thing that I liked the most though was undoubtedly the way the gardens and temple are planned to fit together as one. The gardens are an extension of the temple and so they have a really special feel to them with fountains and flowers all laid out in nine different sections. I could have wandered around the gardens for a very long time, except we had other stuff to do (like wedding rehearsals!).

So in conclusion, if you are ever in Chicago the Baha'i temple is a must-see along with the skyscrapers of down town and the lake front.

Oh, and take some sunglasses. It's seriously bright!

Monday, 10 September 2012

Mountain Perfection

Ahh, the last day in the mountains and a picnic following a strenuous climb. I was so tired on the way back down that I was practically sleep walking. But what a view. I want to paint this onto my balcony wall so I can see it from my bed, but obviously I'm not going to.

Is this why mountain people are so mountainy? How could a city ever compare when you've got cows with bells on, marmots and a duck that looks a bit like Mario Balotelli outside your front door?

Sort of.

Photo Reportage - The Student (and his chocolate)

Studia, sottolinea, legge, fa una pausa, beve il caffè e finisce il cioccolato.

He studies, he underlines nearly all the words, he has a break and drinks some coffee. He eats all the chocolate and then goes back to highlighting.

The chocolate is Novi - if you are interested in ever trying some of the best Italian chocolate out there. It is seriously good stuff and probably very calorific which makes it a very satisfyingly chocolatey experience. It also comes with hazelnuts in to give the student extra brain power.

When I lived in the Dolomites I pretty much coped with my brand new teaching schedule by eating large quantities of the stuff. Despite this I lost a lot of weight which probably makes it a miracle food. In the end though it was seeming to cause my skin to break out.

Nowadays I have fewer spots but am fatter as I now eat my Novi in moderation.

Another really good chocolate to try, though somewhat pricier, is the artisan chocolate from Gobino, a famous chocolate maker in Turin. The Giandujotti come in little ingot shaped forms in gold, silver and bronze foil.

My absolute favourite (and A's and pretty much everyone-else-I-know's) are the silver ones. The secret recipe contains no milk but are somehow extremely creamy. MMMMMMMMM CHOCOLATE.

So if you have a birthday coming up or feel owed a Chrizzy prezzie just let me know which you would like to try.