beef noodle soup with ginger beer

my father came over today with a broken compact flash memory card he couldn't get any photos off of. throwing it into my reader didn't even mount the card although a scan with the disk utility could still detect it as a drive (unmountable). i then tried photorescue, a little life-saving cross-platform app i got 5 years ago when i accidently formatted a memory card. as the name suggests, it recovers photos. the initial scan didn't find anything, which was a bad sign, because the program always finds something, even photos that are still on the card but from many years ago. i then did a more thorough scan which turned out to be a success: we managed to recover 62 photos, including ones my father took off my grandfather in taiwan before he passed away and photos of my parents' weekend trip to cape cod. before he left, i popped the memory card into my canon dSLR to reformat it. even though the photos were taken on a nikon coolpix 950, the canon still managed to display them on the camera's LCD when i was in play mode. what's more, it showed ALL the photos, including ones we didn't recover. i then did a camera-to-computer usb transfer and pulled off an additional 81 image files. to think: i almost ended up erasing the card with all those missing photos!

after visiting the super market to get some groceries, i went to the cafe to get some lunch. returning home, i visited the garden once more...

in just 2 days since my last visit a few more tomatoes have started to turn red. the tomatillos have gotten bigger as well and my squeeze test on monday confirmed that there are definitely tomatillo fruits growing inside these balloons. my internet research confirms that tomatillos are indeed not self-pollinating and need another plant to produce actual fruits. how i'm now getting these immaculately conceived fruits i can't explain. one theory is maybe somebody else nearby is growing tomatillos as well.

being the frugal gardener that i am, i save the roots when i buy scallions and reburying them in the garden. in a few more weeks, if all goes well, i will have some free scallions.

honeybee on sunflower

insect pollination is a funny business. it's not that insects are inherently altruistic; they do it for the sweet nectar hidden inside each and every flower. insects could care less about helping plants procreate, but by being messy feeders and tracking one flower's pollens to another, they indirectly help themselves since it means more flowers (and therefore more nectar) in the future. given the choice, if insects can get to the nectar without passing through the sometimes intricate mechanisms plants employ to propagate, they will, and the animal kingdom is rich with stories of utterly selfish insects biting holes into the sides of flowers to simply take the nectar without giving anything back in return.

making some burgers tonight, george foreman grill style. to 1.5 lbs of ground beef i added 2 oz. of blue cheese, 2 cloves of garlic, a sprig of chopped scallions, a dash of worcestershire sauce, a small dollop of mustard, a pinch of cayenne pepper, hearty grinds of sichuan peppercorn, and the secret ingredient: one whole tomatillo! sorry i never took a photo of it, but it was the single fruit that fell off many weeks ago. since then it's just been sitting on my kitchen counter. i thought it had already gone bad, but when i removed the husk i realized it was still good (tomatillos apparently keep for an amazingly long time without refrigeration). i tested a small piece, tasted kind of crunchy and sour, not sure if that's normal. i mixed everything up into a massive meatball and left it in the fridge to chillax for a few hours.

a special package arrived on my doorstep in the late afternoon. i stuffed it into one of my backpacks and rode to the cafe: my mother's digital camera had finally arrived! the box was surprisingly heavy, but most of that weight came from multiple copies of the manual (english and spanish, basic and advanced guides). after playing around with the canon powershot SD800 IS, i can honestly say it's an absolutely amazing camera. packed into this small metal body is a slew of features (too many if you ask me; too many color modes). most amazing is facial detection: it's almost like a magic trick watching the camera pick out the faces and draw focus rectangles around each one. my father drew a face on a folder and we were able to trick the camera to recognize it as such. even if the person moves, the camera is able to track the subject, it's actually sort of scary. with face detection turned on, it's almost impossible to take a photo where faces aren't in focus. most of the test photos taken were amazingly clear as well, thanks to optical image stabilizing. the camera's fast too, with hardly any perceptible delay between shutter click and the time the photo is taken. the 28mm equivalent wide angle comes in handy as well, getting a lot of people into the frame even if at just a foot away. of course it also records movies, 640x480 30fps for a maximum of roughly 30 minutes. why have a camcorder when you have this? and the 2.5" LCD screen is amazingly clear and bright; i feel like i've been abused after using the 1.5" screen of my nikon coolpix 4500 then graduating to the 1.8" screen of my canon 350D. i'm dying to play around with the camera some more! maybe try some night shots, or burst mode!

in the evening julie came over for burgers, her last night in town before leaving for slovenia for 2 weeks with her hiking buddies tomorrow. she brought over some maple candy (i asked her to get me some when she was in vermont) and some long salsa peppers from her garden. we watched the red sox lose again to the yankees; now new york is just 6 games back. am i worried? would i be picking out my world series parade outfit if i was?