Monthly Archives: December 2007

Almost Ace

I had my first almost ace today at the Lutheran Church on hole 3. My throw hit the chains of the basket and bounced out. Wah! So close. I wonder if a double set of chains would have grabbed that disc?

Clinging to life

Tenuous tree

While I was taking a new set of photos of the disc golf at Pease Park, I came across this tree. And just had to take a picture of it. The stream has eroded the ground covering its roots almost away. And look how much Spanish Moss is using it as a home. I bet they rob the tree’s leaves of some needed light.

Fogo De Chao in Austin

Fogo De Chao in Austin

Austin has been in a Churrascaria drought for a long time. But that dam has finally broken. Last year, Estancia Churrascaria opened up on Mopac and 290. And next up was Fogo De Chao. I just had to try it out. It is located on East 3rd Street next to the Convention Center (and next to the Melting Pot). Which makes it closer to me, but parking is harder (and costs money). The salad and meat selection was as good as ever.

Mark, Welcome to Austin

“Mark, Welcome to Austin.” Oooh, how scary. I wonder if it is a coincidence? Or are they scanning my blue-tooth phone?

Austin Ice Bats vs Corpus Christi Rayz

game #1
game #2

John and I went to another ice hockey game. This season, the Ice Bat’s games are held at a much smaller venue. There were only 5 rows and the seating was only around half of the rink. Even with the tiny size, the game was not sold out. This seems like a bad sign. I don’t think anyone around here cares about ice hockey much.

Disc Golf 12/15/2007

Hole 2

Today was the second week of the meetup disc golf. And we went to the same place again! Sigh. There are many, many disc golf courses around Austin. Why keep coming to the same place? I wanted to go down to Pease, but John was tied to Cat Hollow.

Supposedly, someone was supposed to show up. But they never did. So we played alone. I had a pretty good throw on hole 2.

HDR Game shelf

HDR Game shelf

Chapel inspired me to make another HDR picture. My first HDR picture was essentially bringing multiple exposures into one picture. When you take a picture of the sky, it requires a different exposure than one for something which does not contain the brighter sky.

However, there are other uses that I see for HDR. Besides playing with saturation, you can also play with the color mapping that is almost hidden within a picture. There are contour maps that can be brought out at the same time that you mess with colors.

Photoshop offers four 32->8 conversion routines: Exposure and Gamma, Highlight Compression, Equalize Histogram, and Local Adaptation. The first three are essentially flat mappings with very little options. They did not mix very well with the lighting in this picture. Which was flat and even as well. So I went with the last option. In the toning curve and histogram section, you can define a mapping function. And here is where you can really play with it. I chose a result that was other worldly. And those funky colors create the same look and feel of the funky colors in other HDR photos. Well, the other extreme HDR photos that I have seen.

When taking this picture, I relied on my Expodisk. It is amazing how much different the lighting color is between different sources.

Expodisc lighting (fan on)

This is what the light looks like with the CFLs on inside of the ceiling fan. Keep in mind, this is at the same time as when the fan blades are spinning. With some of the light reflecting back down off of the dark brown fan blades, it gives the light a decidedly brown tint.

Expodisc lighting (fan off)

With the fan blades off, the light is much more even. And much closer to white (or grey in this 18% capture).

Expodisc lighting (flash)

And even with the fan’s light on, if I were to use a flash, the flash’s bright bluish-white light overpowers the other light.

I think that could then selectively pull in the HDR’s colors into the starting picture to create an emphasis. I would like to try this with Antiquity’s pollution markers in my next HDR picture. It would make them look more radioactive.

Game Day 12/13/2007

Game #1a
Game #1b

Key Harvest

First up was a new Essen game, Key Harvest. It took a little while to grasp the strategy and game play and by then it was too late. But the game did seem interesting. And I want to try it again. But who knows if everyone will want to play it again.

Basically, this is a set collecting game. You want to collect two groups of tiles that are close to the same size. You score one point per tile in your biggest group and two points per tile in your second biggest group. In order to acquire the tiles, you want to sell tiles to other people to get money in the five different kinds of currency. You then use that money to buy tiles from other people. Or, you can get the tiles for yourself. But you give up what money you put on it as its cost to other players (which you would have gotten back if they bought it).

There are also workers which “farm” the tiles. They score points at the end of the game. They cannot touch each other and must touch a minimum number of tiles as its victory points. Since it costs you turns to put them down and pick them up, you want to place them such that you get a free rearrangement action when you place a new tile on the spot that they were occupying.


To finish out the night, we played some Tichu. Our team was doing quite well. But then the luck went the other way. And the opposing team caught up. In the end, I should have dogged my partner to set Jon’s Tichu call. But I chose not to and we lost.

12/13/2007 The scorecard for a game of Tichu

GT or T bet made or lost

This team scored more points than the other or one twoed

GT/T Team #1 GT/T GT/T Team #2 GT/T
MarkH & Doug JohnG & Jon
  265     35  
  615   T+
  720 T+  
  T+ 935  

Hoover’s Cooking

Hoover's Cooking

For a while now I have wanted to try out Hoover’s Cooking. Mainly because of their chicken fried steak. But also because they have a lot of good southern foods on the menu.


I had the homemade lemonade which was served in a large pitcher style cup. And I also had the chicken fried steak, butter beans, and mustard greens. Jon had the broiled catfish, mashed potatoes and gravy, and Caribbean rice. It was pretty good. But it left us too full to try out the desserts.

Salt Lick 360

Salt Lick 360

For lunch, I tried out the newer Salt Lick in Austin. It is located on 360 south of the bridge. And it is different enough from the original one. It is more upscale. Although they do still have BBQ plate choices… And they do offer to sell meat by the pound, which is nice.

I wonder what happened to the plans to open a branch in Round Rock next to the Dell Diamond?