Archive for July, 2009
My visit to Europe and the countless art museums I speed-walked through must have had an impact because ever since I returned, I’ve been itching to get some artwork to hang in my apartment. I was first introduced to Leonid Afremov‘s paintings while looking for desktop wallpaper, of all things. I immediately fell in love with “Rainy Etude” and discovered Afremov’s website while looking up more information about the painting.
Afremov auctions off over a dozen giclées each day on his site. Giclée is a printing technique to make reproductions of original fine art. It is supposedly the highest quality method of making prints, and many of the reproductions found in art museums are created this way. Afremov’s giclée auctions routinely close below $50, which is a very appealing price. I’ve been monitoring his site daily for the past several weeks, not expecting to see my favorite Afremov painting show up, but waiting for a similar piece that resonated with me (he has a distinctive style and many of his paintings look similar).
So imagine my delight when the one and only “Rainy Etude” showed up for auction one day!
As any busy student knows, leisurely time allocated for eating is often a luxury. Eating cheap, healthy, and fast is the elusive trinity. Many students have their own favorite go-to meals, and for me, noodles usually is part of the answer.
I formerly wasn’t very fond of Japanese cold soba noodles because I prefer my meals to be hot, but in the last few years I’ve become much more adventurous in my eating habits. This is a very simple dish to make that tastes great and is easy to modify for variety.
Watching the massive, 1000+ person Street Fighter 4 tournament at EVO2009 dominated my past weekend. The online streaming was shaky but a worthy effort for a first attempt at broadcasting the tournament live. Aside from the heart-pounding, world-class level of competition, I was most impressed by the running commentary that accompanied the action, particular from Capcom’s Seth Killian.
Seth is a natural. Not only can he concisely describe what the players are doing at the moment with snappy play-by-play, he also provides insightful commentary on the larger scale strategies and mind games. Hopefully he will be in the announcer’s booth for many more tournaments to come.
Some of the highlight matches from the SF4 tournament:
Sabre vs. Alex Valle — an incredible display that brought one of the biggest roars of the weekend.
Ed Ma vs. Evil Rahsaan — extremely tense match late in the semi-final rounds with everything at stake.
Justin Wong vs. Daigo — 2 legends meet in the Grand Finals for pride and country. It’s difficult to miss the symbolism displayed on screen: Justin Wong playing as American boxer Balrog in his red-white-and-blue costume, Daigo as the Japanese warrior Ryu. The match was a nail-biter that delivered on every level, a stunning ending to the weekend of competition.
Even though I likely can’t attend the event in person for at least the next few years because of scheduling conflicts, this was my first taste of EVO and I crave more. Hopefully I’ll be amidst the roaring crowd one day. EVO, wait for me…
Fantastic photo by Kelly Bracha. Please click on the thumbnail for full resolution.
UPDATE: Of course, right after I made this post, a good chunk of my match recordings (and especially the 3 matches I highlighted above) were deleted from Youtube due to copyright claims. Faaantastic. You can still watch the recorded online stream at Ustream.
Evolution 2009, the premiere fighting game tournament in the U.S., kicked off yesterday in Las Vegas, and I’ve been eagerly following the Street Fighter 4 event via online streaming. Over 1,000 people are participating in SF4, which makes it the largest live fighting game tournament in U.S. history. I am a very amateur SF4 player so half of the time I’m in disbelief watching these guys play. Their skill and watertight execution are so slick. Even more impressive is the adaptation. The pros might be caught off guard for a round by unorthodox play, but they’ll quickly learn the habits of their opponent, settle into the flow of the match, and powerfully turn it around in their favor.
Other than a few mishaps, the live stream has been great with running commentary and picture-in-picture so that we can see the players’ faces and reactions. Even if you only have a passing interest in fighting games, I’d recommend checking out the live stream on Sunday night. SF4 finals will be hot!
While on the topic, I want to share some SF4 goodies I’ve acquired over the past couple weeks. Triumvir, a SoCal-based clothing label, partnered with Capcom a while back to create the official SF4 T-shirts. They were produced in very limited quantities and sold out quick, but an even more limited second run was produced in May. I managed to place my order for the second run and got a nice stack of T-shirts.
While cleaning out my hard drive after all the hardcore photo sorting I’ve been doing lately, I came across this series of food photos that I had designated for a separate post. Paris is one of the great food cities of the world, but we didn’t indulge in any fine dining because we had so much sight-seeing to do. Besides, when you’ve been walking around all day, you’re not in the right state of mind to properly appreciate exquisite meals like that. So most of our meals consisted of eating at whatever random restaurants or delis we would run across. What follows is a selection of edible goodies from the past month or so, starting the night before the trip and ending at Boston, MA where we went to help my brother move into his new apartment.
At last, the conclusion to my vacation photos. Hope you’ve enjoyed them! As I mentioned previously, the images for part 3 are hosted on my webhosting rather than Flickr, so if there’s any big differences in terms of loading times, let me know. Teaser for this last set:
Hopefully these photo articles aren’t taking forever for you to load. I’ve thought about posting the photos in a slideshow gallery using Flickr or something, but I prefer the current form. If you don’t like them, well, I only have a vacation once a year at the most so you won’t be seeing these kinds of posts all that often.
Part 2 continues with more touristy Paris landmarks including the Eiffel Tower, Louvre, and Notre Dame. Teaser photo: