Jay Cross
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Documenting lunch pictorially
Wednesday, January 19, 2005
You may have noticed that I'm a true believer in the effectiveness of visual learning. Graphics add impact to blog posts as well. I didn't appreciate how much easier this has recently become until I was describing the process to the new webmaster for the Berkeley Path Wanderers Association over a glass of tart vernaccia di San Gimignano at Cafe Rouge in Berkeley this afternoon.

P6280109Let me show you. Before heading to the Cafe Rouge, I prepared lunch at home. Click the photo at right for a larger image.Then mouse over the photo to identify what I ate. This all comes built in with Flickr. I could also use Flickr to network and share photos with others, but I'm not into the social ins and outs yet.

By the way, that's the stand-up desk at the Internet Time Group command center, and that's a redwood right outside the window.

After a hike in the Berkeley hills and a trip to the book recycling center, I stopped by the Asian supermarket to shop for fish. Flickr created this thumbnail. Again, click for the fullsize image. Grocery stores are wonderful subjects for photographs. I should know. I've been reprimanded in France, Germany, and the U.K. for snapping photos of (to me) exotic foods. Today I was in stealth mode. No flash. Look the other way while shooting.

P6280101The fish are phenomenal at Ranch 99 Market. In addition to several dozen varieties on ice like these "true snappers," there's a case of filets and crustaceans, six big tanks of live fish, a sashimi counter, and self-serve heaps of clams, cockles, oysters, geoducks, squid, octopus, mussels, and catfish heads.


Look closely enough and you'll see not just carp but some prehistoric-looking fish above and the outline of yours truly taking the picture. Obviously, I crop my photos. Sometimes I've also tweaked the brightness and sharpness It's so easy, almost intuitive, to make adjustments like these with Picasa2, the free photo editing and management package from Google. Picasa is limited, compared to my usual graphics program, Paint Shop, but for simple photo editing, I can double or triple my speed by using Picassa.

P6280094The Chinese call these top-shell; to me, they're giant whelks. In the shell, they look marvellous, don't they? At home I steamed them in white wine. Yuck. Wrong way to do it. When I plucked them out of their shells, along came their intestines and the product of their intestines and noxious odors. These guys apparently have to be cleaned at some point in the cooking process.

I'll conclude with an artsy shot. Uta gave me the chopsticks decorated with Hosukai's Great Wave for my birthday. Their shadows are found art, objets trouvées. At Cafe Rouge, my companion told me of living in Soho on 9/11 and experiencing the surreal, looking at the twin towers from the window of his apartment and then the same scene on television. I see the towers in the shadows from my chopsticks. By the way, rather than cut-and-paste or write HTML, I simply dragged this photo from Flickr to Blogger.


Blogs have been celebrated as the printing press for the rest of us. Free services like Flickr, Picasa, and Blogger give us the tools to speak in pictures as well as words.


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