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Month 4: April

Create Every Day Projects for April, 2013 (If the SoundCloud widgets either don't appear or they give you a 404, please refresh the page.) Skinwalker's Create Every Day #91 (04.01.2013) - Tamale Pie! I made tamale pie! My friend, Ally, told me about this amazing sounding dish of which I hadn't previously heard, so I offered to make it if she would guide me through the process. It was a really fun experience, and it was super easy to make, particularly because nearly all the ingredients came from cans. My kind of recipe! For the "filling" of the pie, I used the following ingredients: 1 can of chili (I used the no beans, all meat type), 1 can of black beans, 1 can of whole kernel corn, 1 can of diced tomatoes, 1 can of diced olives, 1/2 of an onion (diced), 1 tsp of garlic powder, 2 tbsp of taco sauce (I used Taco Bell mild sauce packets), and 1 tbsp of dried red chili pepper flakes. For the "crust" of the pie, I used 1 box of cornbread mix which also called for 1 egg and 1 cup of milk. We also added 1 tsp of paprika, and because the box was old, I added a pinch of baking soda to help it rise. I also used about a quarter cup of shredded mozzarella cheese on top of the pie. To make the "filling" I quite literally dumped everything into a big glass bowl and stirred it up. However, I did rinse and strain the black beans, and I also strained the corn, tomatoes, and olives. For the "crust" I mixed the cornbread mix in a bowl with the egg, cup of milk, and pinch of baking soda. Next, I sprayed the bottom of a glass baking dish with non-stick vegetable spray and spread a thin layer of the cornbread batter down. I then put this into the oven (preheated to 400 degrees) and let it bake for a few minutes. Once it had partially baked, I pulled it out of the oven and spread the filling over top of it. I then spread the rest of the cornbread batter over top of the filling in a thin, even layer. I put this back into the oven for about 12 minutes, sprinkling the mozzarella over it about 2 minutes before removing it from the oven. After pulling it out of the oven, I let it sit for a few minutes and then cut into it. The picture below is of the first slice, which was devoured immediately after the picture was taken. I'm really happy with the way it tastes, and I'm also quite pleased that a good chunk of the ingredients are whole foods. However, in the future I would use a new box of cornbread (this box had been in a cupboard for years, so it lacked fluff and tasted a little more bland than I would have preferred). Ally said that she would add diced olives or diced chilies to the cornbread batter for extra flavor and texture. I reckon I'll try that out the next time I make it.
Tamale Pie is easy to make, and super tasty!

Tamale Pie is easy to make, and super tasty!

  Skinwalker's Create Every Day #92 (04.02.2013) - New Camera! I got a new camera for my move to Thailand! During my past year in Asia I was using a super cheap camera that I purchased in China after my original camera was destroyed in a street brawl (check out my post Welcome to China, Lǎo Wài: Round 1... Fight! for the full scoop on that). After doing a bit of research, I went with an Olympus E-PM1 Compact System Camera as it seemed to be the best balance of quality and price for my needs. I took it out today and played with it a bit, so I've decided to post one of the photos I took with it using a high-contrast setting. I know I've got tons to learn about taking good photos with it, but I can already tell I'll be able to get some pretty cool shots with it just from the bit I was playing with it today. Here's a picture of this super rad tree in a field in my hometown.
One of my first pics with my new camera.

One of my first pics with my new camera.

  Skinwalker's Create Every Day #93 (04.03.2013) - The Bank Ledge I took my new camera out again to play a bit more with it, and I came across this ledge at a bank in my hometown. This was one of my favorite places to grind when I was heavily into freestyle BMX biking (Check out this video for more about grinding). Much of the damage charming wear on the curb is due to the pegs on my bike, so this picture, while not terribly awesome in and of itself, has a lot of personal meaning to me, which I why I decided to post it for today's Create Every Day.
This particular ledge provided countless hours of entertainment during my teenage years.

This particular ledge provided countless hours of entertainment during my teenage years.

  Skinwalker's Create Every Day #94 (04.04.2013) - Night Staircase This is probably the first time in my life that I've owned a piece of equipment that is dramatically above my skill level, so I've been venturing out like a wild-man with this new camera having a blast playing with it. I decided to test out its night photo capabilities, and I was happily surprised at how clean the photos came out and how little noise the photos showed. Here's one I particularly enjoyed taken in a back alleyway in Corvallis.
This staircase asked me to photograph it, so I did.

This staircase asked me to photograph it, so I did.

  Skinwalker's Create Every Day #95 (04.05.2013) - Sunset As the sun was setting, I grabbed my camera and decided to snap a few shots of the sky. This photo is edited (poorly) to emphasize the orange tones and to silhouette the foreground. I definitely don't know how to take sunset photos yet, but I'm sure I'll have plenty of chances to figure it out once I'm in Thailand in a few days!
This poorly edited photo helps me remember that I'm a total photography n00b.

This poorly edited photo helps me remember that I'm a total photography n00b.

  Skinwalker's Create Every Day #96 (04.06.2013) - Shift I shift, I grow, I change, learn, and explore. I wonder, I wander, I breathe and long for more. I love, I love, I shift, and I love. I shift, and I love. And I love.
Shift

Shift.

  Skinwalker's Create Every Day #97 (04.07.2013) - Hold Up the Mirror - Djent Riff I've recently been really enjoying bands like TesseracT, Circles, and Cloudkicker, and I've had a long time love for the band Karnivool, all of which could be classified at least somewhat as djent style bands. So in crafting this new song, I wanted to incorporate a djenty riff, and this is what I came up with. Listen for the jarring rhythmic guitar part that bounces around over the smoother lines.   Skinwalker's Create Every Day #98 (04.08.2013) - Airplane Window Seat Today, I flew to Thailand with my dear friend, Ally, and I took a few pictures in the process. This picture is fairly grainy, but I think it does a fair job of capturing the beauty of cloud tops above the land of the rising sun.
Sunrise over Japan.

Sunrise over Japan.

  Skinwalker's Create Every Day #99 (04.09.2013) - Hello Kitty at 30,000 Feet On one of the legs of our flight to Thailand, Ally and I sat next to an older woman who had brought a box of Crayola crayons with her on the plane. She offered them up for us to use during the flight, so we each had some coloring fun time. I was feeling "so cute" so I colored this Hello Kitty on a piece of paper Ally had in her bag.
Quirky older women on planes with crayons = SkyMall fan art.

Quirky older women on planes with crayons = SkyMall fan art.

  Skinwalker's Create Every Day #100 (04.10.2013) - Moon Mueang Soi 8 The guesthouse where Ally and I are staying in Chiang Mai is on a little road just inside the old city. We were out for a walk with a great crew of folks, including a couple of my good friends, Will and Casey, and I was playing with my camera on the street. This is a photo I took as we strolled down our street to our guesthouse that I really enjoy.
Strolling down the soi with a rad crew

Strolling down the soi with a rad crew

  Skinwalker's Create Every Day #101 (04.11.2013) - Socks! There are a ton of street dogs in Thailand, most of them friendly, some of them not so much. One such friendly dog named Socks lives in the area near the guesthouse where Ally and I are staying. He's a pretty chill dog and he loves all of us who live/stay at the guesthouse. We were all hanging out front of the guesthouse with Socks, and I snapped a few photos of him. I really like the way this one captured him.
Socks! My favorite street dog in all of Chiang Mai.

Socks! My favorite street dog in all of Chiang Mai.

  Skinwalker's Create Every Day #102 (04.12.2013) - Skinwalker, the Songlourious Basterd Songkran is a pretty freaking big deal - especially so to my friend, Will. It's such a big deal, in fact, that we did a Surveillance Clothing run of a design he made for our Chiang Mai Songkran team. In addition to producing twenty or so shirts for the team, we also screen-printed names on the back of the shirts. Check it out!
Will's design for our Songkran team shirts - Songlourious Basterds.

Will's design for our Songkran team shirts - Songlourious Basterds.

Screen printing like a champ with friends from Surveillance Clothing.

Screen printing like a champ with friends from Surveillance Clothing.

  Skinwalker's Create Every Day #103 (04.13.2013) - Lamp Posts in Chiang Mai I'm continuing learning about taking photos at night, and here's one I took of some lamp posts on one of the streets in Chiang Mai. Chiang Mai Lamp Posts   Skinwalker's Create Every Day #104 (04.14.2013) - Old Town, Chiang Mai If you've never looked at a map of Chiang Mai, Thailand, Google it up. The "Old Town" consists of a big square area within a giant moat and a stone wall. A lot of the buildings within the old town are quite old - many of them have been remodeled because it's such a popular tourist/expat destination. While walking through this part of the city, I snapped a few photos to capture the mood - this particular photo fit the feeling I was aiming for quite well, so I edited it to look even more grainy and aged for an exaggerated effect.
Empty streets at night in Chiang Mai's Old Town

Empty streets at night in Chiang Mai's Old Town

  Skinwalker's Create Every Day #105 (04.15.2013) - Songkran Gangnam Style! The streets of Chiang Mai are filled with water, people, and loud music. While wading through the streets toward Thapae Gate (the epicenter of Songkran), I passed by one stage that was playing PSY's Gangnam Style. The man wearing the tie-dye shirt in the picture below became my Gangnam Style dance buddy for a solid minute as we bounced around between trucks in the street. It felt great to dance in the street with a complete stranger and smile as squirt guns and buckets of water were unleashed on us with no mercy.
Dancing Gangnam Style in the street with strangers during the world's largest water fight = so freaking awesome.

Dancing Gangnam Style in the street with strangers during the world's largest water fight = so freaking awesome.

  Skinwalker's Create Every Day #106 (04.16.2013) - Songkran at Thapae Gate What better way to break in a new camera than to wrap it in a plastic bag and take it out into the world's largest water fight? During Thailand's Songkran Festival, I took a handful of photos and videos of the complete craziness that is Songkran (I'll be editing and posting more soon). I've been working on editing my photos, and I just finished a couple that I really like. This one was taken at the intersection near Thapae Gate in Chiang Mai - the epicenter of Songkran.
Songkran at Thapae Gate in Chiang Mai, Thailand where the water is watery.

Songkran at Thapae Gate in Chiang Mai, Thailand - where the water is watery.

  Skinwalker's Create Every Day #107 (04.17.2013) - Songkran Skinwalker Some people change their social networking profile pictures every hour, day, or week. Others wait a month or so, and some have had the same pic since they opened their "The Facebook" account in 2006. I fall somewhere in the several month range, typically only changing my profile picture when I do something super rad. Well, I just survived the largest water fight in the world, and during the chaos, my vanity was still a strong enough force that I snapped a selfie with my new camera in the middle of the street between blasts to the face with buckets of water. Like a boss. This one will be going up in a matter of moments. And in case you're wondering, the look on my face pretty much means, "Holy crap! This is crazy!" 'Cause it totally was.
Snappin' selfies in the street while dodging the deluge at Songkran 2013 in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Snappin' selfies in the street while dodging the deluge at Songkran 2013 in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

  Skinwalker's Create Every Day #108 (04.18.2013) - Piano Riff I've been so excited about the new camera I got for my recent move back to Asia that I haven't been doing much music writing lately. I decided it was time to jump back in to a bit of that, so I opened up FL Studio to see what I would come up with. I decided to try to find a way to create a somewhat realistic sounding piano part without having a piano. I think what I came up with sounds okay, but I'm going to keep messing with it to see what better sounds I can find.   Skinwalker's Create Every Day #109 (04.19.2013) - Saria's Floaty Intro with Beats I went back to the Saria's song I started working on while I was still in the states, and I developed some beats for the floaty intro riff. I'm digging the tone of the kick and snare I assembled - it's nice getting back into the electronic music writing again.   Skinwalker's Create Every Day #110 (04.20.2013) - Multi-Colored Pen and Magic Circles Ally and I spent most of the day hanging out with our friend, Santhiya, and during our time there Ally drew these magical circles on the back of a Thai boxing match flyer. Santhiya had one of those multi-colored click pens sitting on her table, so I picked it up and shaded in the design. For funsies!
Skeeter Skinwalker is in no way affiliated with General Mills or Lucky Charms Cereal.

These colorful circles are magically delicious!

  Skinwalker's Create Every Day #111 (04.21.2013) - Flower Photos I'm trying to learn how to take good macro shots with my new camera, and I had a chance to experiment a bit with some rad flowers in a garden I passed through on a walk through Chiang Mai. After quite a few attempts, I began getting some images I really liked, so I'm posting a couple of my favorites up here.
A cool cluster of flowers in a nifty little garden.

A cool cluster of flowers in a nifty little garden.

I enjoyed how this one was standing out in the crowd.

I enjoyed how this one was standing out in the crowd.

  Skinwalker's Create Every Day #112 (04.22.2013) - Water Valve I went outside while the sun was high in the sky to try out some more macro shots when I came across this cool looking water valve. I snapped a few shots of it, and I really like how this one looked. While I'm miles away from being pro, the more I play with this camera, the more I enjoy it.
A cool little water valve I spotted near our guesthouse in Chiang Mai.

A cool little water valve I spotted near our guesthouse in Chiang Mai.

  Skinwalker's Create Every Day #113 (04.23.2013) - Macro Flower As I take more shots with my new camera, I'm quickly learning how ridiculously important lighting is. I've been lucky enough to catch some great noontime sun more than once, and I'm noticing the photos I take with that excellent lighting are far crisper and more colorful than photos taken with less optimal lighting. I don't even have a macro lens, but I'm starting to get some pretty clean macro shots with good light and a little patience. Here's one of the cleaner photos I've gotten so far.
Attention hog flower.

Zoom in on me; I'm pretty.

  Skinwalker's Create Every Day #114 (04.24.2013) - Clouds Over Pai I'm back in Pai! Today, Ally and I biked up to a little temple outside of town where I captured a few photos. Looking out over the valley from the surrounding hills is always a beautiful experience. The scene is constantly changing as the valley is small and home to a very dynamic weather system. I happened to catch some beautiful clouds rolling over the valley while I was out.
Clouds rolling over the valley of Pai, Thailand

Clouds rolling over the valley of Pai, Thailand

  Skinwalker's Create Every Day #115 (04.25.2013) - Sunset Over the Mountains The sky in Pai is an ever-changing masterpiece. I've come to look up much more since arriving here a few days ago. On a motorbike ride in the northwest of the valley, Ally and I came across this beautiful viewpoint atop a hill near the mountains. I was fortunate to have my camera with me, and I spent a bit of time trying to capture the beauty of the moment. I'm quite happy with this image even though it can't come close to portraying the true beauty the scene.
How I wish you were here...

How I wish you were here...

  Skinwalker's Create Every Day #116 (04.26.2013) - Food Photography I've been quite enjoying playing around with photography lately - one of the areas in which I'm trying to improve is food photography. I'm a total n00b, but it's still a lot of fun snapping shots of various Thai dishes. This photo is of some Pad Thai made for us by the super awesome people who own the guesthouse where we're living in Chiang Mai. If only you could taste it!
Such delicious Pad Thai glory.

Such delicious Pad Thai glory.

  Skinwalker's Create Every Day #117 (04.27.2013) - Saria's Floaty Verse with Buzz I've been itching to work on some more music, so tonight I sat down with FL Studio and played around a bit. After unsuccessfully experimenting with a few different songs, I came back to the Saria's Song cover I've been working on and created a buzzy synth to rest in the background during part of the song. I also beefed up the tone of the drums and filled out the floaty sound a bit. I've got plenty to do on this song, but I'm beginning to get an idea of where I want to take it.   Skinwalker's Create Every Day #118 (04.28.2013) - Reworking/Updating the Create Every Day Page Layout I realized that having an entire new page for each week of my Create Every Day projects was starting to get ridiculous, so I spent a couple hours reworking and updating this section of my website. I've now got the projects in order of creation categorized by month. I think I'll keep the main Create Every Day page the way it is, featuring the newest creations from the week. It's still not as awesome a layout as I would like, but I think it works much better than the way I previously had it organized.   Skinwalker's Create Every Day #119 (04.29.2013) - Sites I Like Page Added to Site I added a new page to my website - it's a Sites I Like page where I've posted links to some of my favorite blogs. The blogs cover a broad range of topics, including music, economics, food, design, health, parenting, and other random writings. I've also written a short description of each site to accompany their links. It's pretty bland looking right now, but I'll continue updating it and adding to it in the future.   Skinwalker's Create Every Day #120 (04.30.2013) - Pam Bok Waterfall Located a few kilometers outside of Pai, Pam Bok waterfall is a rather spectacular site. Nestled between narrow, rocky cliffs, the falls make a nice shallow pool below, perfect for wading and swimming. The sun was shining and the water was warm, so I waded out into the shallow water to snap some photos of the falls. The waterfall itself doesn't appear to be terribly fantastic in the photo, but the cliff faces surrounding it surely came through.
Wading in a Water Wonderland

Wading in a Water Wonderland