Stones and Knives
I was cooking one day, and I went to slice a tomato when I noticed that my knife was rather dull... the tomato fought back! I looked online and found the best knife sharpener I could get. It turns out, the Chef's Choice 1520 was being hailed as one of the best money(consumer-grade) knife sharpening systems out there.
I placed an order and waited for its arrival. While waiting, I kept on looking online about ways to sharpen knives. I came across a forum where knife enthusiasts spoke about the Chef's Choice sharpening system. It turns out, many were dissatisfied with it and said that it damaged their knives. It did not improve sharpness all that much, overate the blade, and the awful scratches it left behind.
Curious, I kept on reading.
It was mentioned that the best way to sharpen knives is through the use of whetstone. A whetstone? What the heck is a wet stone? I kept reading and started to look into whetstones. NO THANKS. Whetstones are pretty expensive, and I think I would do just fine with the Chef Choice.
It arrived, and I used the Chef Choice Electric Knife Sharpener with one of my cooking knives. I could smell metal being shaved off. I made sure I used only stages two and three to hone and polish, not the first stage that does a restoration.
Curious about what I read in the knife forums, I place the blade under my daughter's microscope to take a look...
My knife is damaged! DAMAGED! I couldn't tell by only looking at it, but when taking a closer look, it clearly showed the damage this supposed best in class knife sharpener did! I was glad I only ran one of my knives through this thing and did not damage any others. Not that I have the most expensive knives, but I do use Victorinox knives (a great set for amateur cooks).
I revisit the idea of whetstones, and after a day or two of looking into this, speaking with others in forums, I order some off Amazon. The total cost was about the same as the electric knife sharpener. So, during my two days wait, I go on YouTube and start looking at sharpening techniques and tutorials using whetstones.
I specifically enjoyed this video.
And so, the stones arrive, and I begin the process of repairing my knife.
After following the YouTube video for a bit, the knife started to look a little better, so I took it under Blu's microscope again.
The first thing I noticed was the lack of scratches at the edge of the blade. It seems significantly more smooth. What a difference! I continue doing this process until the gap is the blade is gone.
Excited after my first repair, I proceed and sharpen ALL my kitchen knives, and all of them cut as if they were just purchased!
The lesson of the story? Never use electric knife sharpeners, especially if you have good quality kitchen knives.
A Lucie in Miami
I took a look at Lucie's hair, and I could not help but feel compelled to reach out to her. A woman with such a distinct feature, one that I don't encounter much, needs to stand before my camera. With a contagious smile, she says she'd love to take a portrait with me.
Little did I know, that her portrait would turn out to be my favorite photographs taken thus far this year. This profound sense of power and control she exhibits in this shot surpassed the expectations I had set for the shoot.
Hands down, this French beauty is one of my favorite people to have shot this year, and perhaps the cover of my next portfolio publish.
Click on Image for high resolution
Greta Van Fleet
After a long day at work one evening, I decided to sit back and enjoy an episode of SNL. I noticed a musical performance of a rock band called Greta Van Fleet.
They sounded terrible! So bad, that I wondered why SNL would host such a funny looking and sounding band. Wow.
My curiosity swelled, and I searched on Spotify for more of their music. There has to be, I said to myself, a reason why they played on SNL.
"Black Smoke Rising" was the song they played on SNL. I put on my headphones and listened.
"Woah, WHAT!?" I said to myself. They sound so much like the legendary rock band Led Zeppelin, in terms of guitar riffs and even the vocals!! I listened to a few more of their songs and did more research on them.
As it turns out, Greta Van Fleet is gaining massive amounts of traction and at the same time having a polarizing effect in the rock community. On one side of the aisle, there are those who say they sound way too similar to Led Zeppelin and are not offering anything new to the rock genre. However, the other side of the aisle is loving this band precisely for that same reason: they sound like Led Zeppelin.
I came to conclude that this band just had a weak performance during their SNL play time, but their music is good.
In a market that's overly saturated with R&B and Hip-Hop, is it such a bad thing to have a band reviving the hard rock sound of the 70's and bringing it to a new generation of listeners? Robert Plant, Led Zeppelin's lead singer, even acknowledged the similarities between the bands and happens to give Greta Van Fleet a friendly nod of approval.
Greta Van Fleet offers a high contrast to today's rock offerings and lets' face it, we will never see Led Zeppelin perform live again, let alone produce new music. I happen to be a huge fan of Led Zeppelin, and Greta Van Fleet is creating music that might as well come from Zeppelin. So I ask again, is it such a bad thing that they sound like Led Zeppelin? Absolutely not. I am enjoying their music, and I take a seat with the side of the aisle that applauds the comeback of a style of rock music that has captured the hearts of millions during the '70s. Kudos to these kids (all younger than 22 years of age). They are brilliant musicans, and I hope that as the years come before them, that they manage to solidify their style and possibly step out of the Zeppelin's shadow. I see good things happening for this band.
Welcome back Rock n Roll.
Snow Patrol - Live at Seminole Hard Rock
This is it. They are starting to play one of the two songs I wanted to see performed live. My heart begins to slow down a bit. The crowd cheers loudly and everyone around us starts to stand up. The band, having just recruited thousands of fans to sing along, continues playing.
I remain on my seat... while all others stand, waving their hands, and singing along. I get a lump in my throat, not expecting the surge of memories to flow back. Some good memories, some bittersweet ones, some that I thought have all been but forgotten, but all worthy of defining the person I am today. There is something spectacular, listening to this song, play live. It's almost as if I'm hearing it for the first time, yet at the same time, for the thousandth time.
She reaches down to me and asks me why in the world am I sitting down.
"Come on, get up!"
She grabs my arm and pulls me up.
"If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and forget the world?" sings the band.
And as I stand, looking at them perform, I turn to my right side and see her singing along with a huge smile on her face, arms swaying back and forth. I can't help but smile too, and I continue looking at the band perform. Both hands in my pockets.
I was there, but at the same time, I was not. I was somewhere else, in a different time, and as a different person... bleeding.
Moments later, I feel a massive hug from behind, bringing me back where I am supposed to be.
Little did she know, just how badly I needed that.