Archives for September 2013

A New & Improved Michael

WSET-Level2-LogoIn the spring I decided to do something different. Just for fun I decided to signup for more formal training in wine appreciation. After a couple of years off occasionally taking casual classes at The Texas Wine School  I signed up for the more formal Wine & Spirit Educational Trust Level 2 Award, aka WSET 2.

I undertook this adventure along with my brother-in-law, Fred Salumunek. The WSET 2 classes took six weeks to complete, including a written exam. I happy to announce that I passed “with merit” and Fred passed “with distinction.”

Fred and I dove into wine as an area of interest at about the same time.  It’s funny, back then I had decided to sign up for Gary Vaynerchuk’s Wine Library TV monthly wine club. That meant a monthly shipment of wines, to be tasted while viewing a recorded tasting online. It was a way to force us to try different wines, and hopefully come to appreciate them. Our first time was in April 2009.

Back then we both such simpletons. Now we’re truly wine-soaked simpletons. Now we are not only certifiable, but actually certified.

The very fact that we’ve gone through this schooling allows me to use the WSET logo that you see here. It remains unlikely that I will ever devolve into a wine blogger, but I thought it fun to use it at least this once.

I now return you to your regularly scheduled Sunday afternoon.

Hey, Houston! Help Make This Happen!!

There’s a relatively new effort to create a Maker Space for Houston. I’m very excited about this. It’s been a long time coming.

I’d love to partake of some of the activities that would happen in and around a maker space. I could even see it becoming a base for certain community groups, from jewelry makers to textile artists and welder to kite builders. It can only just be one thing…awesome!

There’s a campaign to raise a modest amount of funds to get started. The money will be used to secure a location in the east end of the city, renovate and equip it to get started. Their plans for co-working space could be an excellent opportunity for SOHO dwellers looking for a change of scenery or a little inspiration over coffee.

A Swallowtail Butterfly Time Lapse

This past week we’ve come to have a number of swallowtail butterfly chrysalis in the back yard. I thought it would be nice to capture the process of one of them emerging into the world. To that end I setup our Audubon Birdcam nearby, setting it in time lapse mode. After a couple of days of waiting here’s the result.

The Birdcam was capturing one 5 MP image every five seconds. This sequence is frame 3700 to 4200 in the series. The source images were loaded into Premiere Pro to be down-res’d, repositioned and played back at slower speed. The final result rendered out as a 720p HD clip about one minute long.