Cow Parts Blog

Los Angeles and Things of Randomness


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Photography at the San Diego Safari

Some of the best photos taken are the ones where your subject is not posing for your camera. Your subject in their most natural setting is what can set that timeless feeling of your photo. It could be snapping a shot of a person at a busy street or catching that moment where your subject is at their most vulnerable state. These kind of pictures do not have the same effect as posed photographs and usually will not occur more than once. san diego safari

This photo was taken at the San Diego Safari while i was sitting down, taking a short break from walking. Fiddling around with my camera and just observing people as I was resting, I happened to take this picture of these kids doing what kids do best, being playful.

– Gary

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Spicy Greatness in Alhambra, CA

One of the things that I do not eat enough of is spicy food. Maybe it is because I am secretly a wimp when it comes to food that burns my tongue and my entire mouth,  but I do enjoy it from time to time. In order to keep my spicy tolerance from depleting to zero, I decided to try out a restaurant located on the west side of San Gabriel Valley, in the city of Alhambra, a little place called Szechuan Impression.

Szechuan Impression Building

Pay attention as you are driving down Valley Boulevard, because this small little shop might be overlooked if you are not aware of it’s existence. Unlike many other Chinese restaurants, the building itself is a relatively modern design with outdoor seating available. This provides a nice attraction for younger customers who can enjoy a fresh outdoor experience.

The interior also emits a modern minimal atmosphere which feels similar to a cafe. With faux leather seats on the side walls and simple tables spread throughout the restaurant, it provides for a nice family dinner or a Sunday afternoon lunch.

The service is not terrible but it is what you can expect from a Chinese restaurant. The waiters and waitresses will not make too much small talk with you but you can be sure that they will get what you need as quickly as possible. Water constantly refilled and promptly served food is what you can expect as you dine.

Their menu consists of primarily spicy foods, as that is what the Szechuan province in China is known for. During this dining, I ordered some of their most popular menu items which include the Impressive Bean Jelly, Fried Rice Cake with Black Sugar and the Steamed Taro Chicken Pot.

Impressive Bean JellyImpressive Bean Jelly

This cold noodle is one of the best cold noodle’s I have had. The jelly noodles are an amazing mixture of cold and spicy which makes you wanting more. It is not too spicy but enough where you can still feel a kick to your taste buds. The cold noodle helps counteract the spices and makes it a must try experience if this is your first time at the restaurant.

 

 

Fried Rice Cake with Black Sugar

Fried Rice Cake with Black Sugar Picture

Another popular item on the menu, this dessert adds a very unique twist to the classic rice cakes. As if fried food is not addicting enough, they have added a black sugar sauce to these rice cakes which can make the entire plate disappear within minutes. The texture contains a thin layer of crunchiness which quickly turns into mouth watering, soft interior similar to that of mochi.

 

Steamed Taro Chicken Pot

Steamed Taro with Chicken PotFor the entree, I ordered a Steamed Taro Chicken Pot, which is, like the name suggests, a giant hot-pot with chicken and steamed taro. I opted for medium spiciness, which in all honestly, felt much spicier than it was. As I was eating, I could find what I assume are the seeds from the peppers they added to make the spicy soup. This was hot, not going to lie. My mouth began to feel a bit numb and I could not imagine how much spicier the higher levels would be. The cut up taro and the chicken were delicious and when eaten with a bowl of rice, helps tone down the spice a little bit.

As I mentioned before, I do not eat too much spicy foods but this was still a good impression. My mouth was not burning to death, but I did have a few drops of sweat. The food was delicious, the atmosphere was pleasant and the restaurant does everything it can do that sets it apart from many traditional Chinese restaurants. It will be great for families and can still draw in the younger, hipper crowds.

Do you like spicy foods? Share your experiences!

-Gary

Credits:

  1. http://gastronomyblog.com/2014/08/26/szechuan-impression/


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Photography at the Broad

As someone starting out with photography, there is still a lot of things I still need to learn. Composition, lighting, and capturing that right moment. I have taken a handful of shots ever since I got my camera a few weeks ago and this is one of my favorite shots so far.

JB Turner Train Jeff Beam

The JB Turner Train by Jeff Beam is a piece of art located in the Broad Museum in Downtown, Los Angeles. There was a lot of different kinds of beautiful artwork in the gallery but this train caught my eye. There were a lot of different angles I could have taken this and I opted for a simple frontal shot.

An interesting thing about this is I happened to capture a moment in the background where two women are taking photos in the art gallery. They are taking pictures of different art pieces but the angle makes it seem as if they were taking pictures of each other. It’s one of those fun things about photography where there are layers of different tidbits in the image that are not in the main focus.

What do you think of the photo I took?

-Gary


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The Truth About Excuses

3286.No Excuses-shutterstock.jpg-550x0

Have you ever had those days where things do not work out the way you want? You pout and you groan and you start blaming things. It is not your fault. You did not do anything wrong. That is what you tell yourself. Excuses.

Many people do not like to admit they are wrong. It is understandable. It’s not the best feeling in the world but it is how you deal with your mistakes and problems where you begin to grow. No one is perfect and no one expects you to be.

One of the worst habits the majority of people do is create excuses for their problems. They blame other people or find a reason to mask their mistakes or unfavorable events. While they may convince others where the problem is, in their minds, they are not fooling anyone.

Let me tell you a story.

I am currently working full time and also taking night classes after work. The current course that I am taking is not the most organized class. The lectures are incredibly fast and class gets cancelled almost every other week. I assume no one in class really has any idea what is going on and the only resources are powerpoint slides available online.

Our class was divided into seven member groups to complete group assignments throughout the semester. Our grade is based on team effort as well as individual test scores from midterms and finals.

About two weeks before our final, I was speaking with one of my team members who is semi retired. He told me he is currently taking full time classes and complains about how difficult and disorganized this class is. He tells me he is getting A’s in his other classes but he cannot seem to grasp how unclear the class we are taking is. He is close to failing and he blames the class for not teaching him well.

He has many good points about the class but there is one thing I noticed as he is talking to me– he has only attended one of our group meetings and has not actively contributed to the case assignments. His grade essentially reflects his level effort in our group. He has had many chances to contribute but he chooses to suggest to me that he is going to complain to the school about this class. He says he cannot clearly seize the material and thinks that future students should not have to deal with this.

What this post is not about.

This is not a post to complain or be an ego boost but it really shows a lot about how some people will quickly find an easy way out. I am not trying to defend the class as I understand that it is one of the least organized classes I have taken in my life. I have taken the time to join the group meetings and do the assignments in our shared Google Docs folder. Everyone can see the history of who is working and who is not. All it takes is a little effort.

The Lesson I learned.

People make excuses for what they lack or bring others down to make them feel better. If you make excuses, who does it benefit? It makes you feel better at the moment but have you gone anywhere? Have you fixed the problem? Have you grown? You are at the same, exact situation you were in. Excuses won’t fix your problem.

Actions do.

-Gary

 


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The Rain Room at LACMA

Rain Room

LACMA: The Rain Room

The famous Rain Room has arrival in LA and is located in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, abbreviated LACMA. The concept of the Rain Room is a dark filled room with water raining down from the ceiling.

You are telling yourself, “So what?”. Take a step into the rain, and you will quickly realize that you are not getting wet. Take a few more steps. You are now in the middle of the rain but you are still not drenched in water.

This is the main attraction of this room. There are sensors that can detect when you step into the rain and will keep the rain from hitting you as you slowly walk through the platform. I emphasize slowly because if you decide to run through at full speed, the sensors will not react quickly enough and you are not going to be happy about the results.

The Rain Room is a fun attraction to see but the downside is that it is a little pricey if that is the only thing you are there for. Do not be surprised when you find out that you are only allowed to walk through and enjoy the room for daunting 5 minutes. While it is a little bit short, it is still enough time for you exercise all your creativity and take cool silhouette shots from the large light in the back corner of the room. 

Rain Room tickets cost $15 plus another $15 general admission fee, making it a total of $30. To top it off, if you choose to park in the garage, that is another $12.

The Urban Lights LACMA

In order to make your trip worth it, be sure to check out all the art galleries in the surrounding area, especially if you have never been to LACMA before. Another attraction is the famous Urban Lights right next to the ticket booth which has been featured in a lot of pop culture movies. There is a lot of other interesting arts in the the different buildings and it will be a fun way to spend the next few hours of your day!

Interested in the Rain Room? Tickets are limited and I believe will be going away early next year. Click the link below for more information!

LACMA: The Rain Room

5905 Wilshire Blvd,
Los Angeles CA 90036

-Gary


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Los Angeles: The Broad Museum of Modern Art

thebroad1

The Broad is a new super hyped modern art museum that just opened in downtown LA. It is located directly across the street from the Walt Disney Hall and also portrays a massive, unique architecture that boldly rivals the Disney Hall. Part of all the hype is fueled for these reasons alone. 

Inside contains many new modern art features including sculptures, painting and photography. Having already been to a few art museums, the atmosphere as you walk into the Broad is unlike other museums. Maybe it is still really new but the feeling as you walk through each room simply does not feel like a regular museum. The rooms are very spacious and the white walls make it feel massive. It is simply very interesting to walk through.

infinity room
The museum also features the Infinity Mirrored Room, a room filled with a seemingly endless array of mirrors and lights. If you are interested in seeing this attraction, you will need to sign up and schedule a viewing for the same day. Located across the restrooms on the bottom floor, there is a kiosk where you can register for the viewing. The best time is to sign up early in the morning because viewing is very limited. This mirrored room is limited and expected to only be available until the end of February, although there is currently no specific end date. If you are interested in art or willing to give it a shot, the Broad museum is an excellent way to expose yourself to art museums.

As of now, viewing is free entry to the public. If you are interested in viewing the art, your best bet is to go early on a weekday in order to avoid the massive weekend lines. Also, it is free. Who can argue with free?

-Gary


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Another Noob Photographer

Canon Rebel T5

Everyone has an outlet to release their creativity. Whether it is drawing, painting, digital art, to making music, expressing yourself is a way to keep yourselves sane in this busy world.

Recently, there has been a huge boom in social media over the last few years while also popularizing taking pictures. Everyone loves pictures. We communicate through it in Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and many other outlets. It is simple and it is easy. It is a fun and easy way to store those special moments and show off all the cool places you have been to, especially if you live in Los Angeles.

Lately, I have had a peak interest in photography. I have been already had experience in using my company’s digital SLR in taking product images for our website but had never got to picking up a camera for myself. With the holiday season starting, I saw an opportunity for a good deal on a camera and decided to take the plunge and got myself a Canon EOS Rebel T5 with an 18-55mm lense.

I’m still getting used to taking more photos in dynamic environments rather than a small photo shooting area where the lighting is always the same but some of the things I am trying to perfect are adjusting the ISO, aperture and exposure levels to take better pictures. Here is what I learned so far.

ISO – The ISO setting on your camera is the sensitivity to light. Lower ISO’s are less sensitive to light and higher ISO’s will make your camera more sensitive to the light coming in.

In other words, for darker settings, you want a higher ISO to increase the light sensitivity. Lower ISO’s are favorable in well lit settings since you do not need as much light. A high ISO in a bright room will make your photograph washed out so you will need to adjust accordingly to get a better image.

Aperture – The aperture in your camera is the amount of light that goes into your lense. It is a small hole in your lense where the size can be adjusted through the F-number setting. In this case, the smaller the F-number, the bigger the hole, and vice versa. How does this affect your image? A smaller aperture will make the focus of your image sharper, while blurring out the background. a higher aperture setting will make the entire image clearer.

Exposure – Exposure, or shutter speed, is how long your camera is exposed to light before you take the snapshot. A higher shutter speed will instantly take that image for you, allowing you to capture those special moments before they get away. A slower shutter speed will take into account the motion that occurs in your object. This is how you create those motion blurs of light in freeways at night, or smoky light trails from fire.

These are just the basics I have learned. If I have explained it incorrect or something is wrong, let me know! Photography is a fun hobby and living in Los Angeles, there are so many events and things to do, that having a decent digital camera is always a good thing to carry around. It is not as convenient to carry as a smartphone but you have much more control of how your picture comes out with on a digital SLR.

Here are some of my favorite shots I’ve taken so far! These were taken at the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show. My shots are still a work in process but I can see this becoming a long term hobby!

micro plants

micro plants2Accord