We’ve got another delicious recipe in from Care. Legit. Comfort food at its finest. Potatoes, bacon and cheese? Yes please!
Twice Baked Potato Casserole with Bacon
Ingredients : 2 large baking potatoes 1/2 pound lean bacon 3/4 cup shredded mild Cheddar cheese 1/2 cup sour cream 1/4 cup milk 2 tablespoons butter, melted 1 teaspoon dried chives 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 3/4 cup shredded mild Cheddar cheese
Directions : 1] Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease a 9Ã13-inch casserole dish. 2] Poke a few holes into each potato using a toothpick. 3] Bake potatoes in the preheated oven until fully cooked, about 1 hour. Cool for about 15 minutes. 4] Place the bacon in a large skillet and cook over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until evenly browned, about 10 minutes. Drain the bacon slices on paper towels and crumble. 5] Cut a thin slice from one side of each potato; carefully scoop out the flesh and transfer to a bowl. Discard skins. Mix 3/4 cup Cheddar cheese, sour cream, milk, butter, chives, salt, black pepper, and garlic powder with potatoes. Spread potato mixture into the prepared casserole dish; top with 3/4 cup Cheddar cheese and crumbled bacon. 6] Bake in the preheated oven until just bubbling, 10 to 15 minutes. Cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.
It’s so exciting to see the amount of designers there are out there, be they just starting or have been at this game for a while. Watching the latest event on ReVo, Nailed It!, it was fun to see everyone’s different interpretation on one image… some of them being a little above and beyond (looking at you Rutger).
Something I’ve always believed in, is helping others learn and learning myself. I enjoy learning new skills or ways to work with images to create a specific look. Recently, I was talking to our bloginista, Rivers, about the whole growing as we go. One thing I always suggest for designers is to have an “inspiration” folder, something that you can save work you’ve seen, be it avatars, commercial work, graphics from deviant art or other design communities etc. It helps in pushing us to step out of our comfort zones sometimes and try something new.
Now enough with the rambling! Let’s talk some basics of photoshop. Blending modes!
One thing that I’ve seen over the years (and have been one of those that have done it) is that there are times when we don’t really understand what the blending options are and how they’re utilized. Instead, to achieve effects we’ll use the opacity slider which just lowers the transperancy of the layer.
With each blend mode, they have specific functions and uses. I’m going to be doing a series covering these different effects.
This first in the series is going to cover our Normal Blending Modes and Darken Blending Modes.
“Normal Blending Modes”
First we have NORMAL and DISSOLVE. As you know with NORMAL the image is as is, no changes. When you select DISSOLVE, at first it’s exactly like NORMAL, but play with the opacity slider, lowering it and you’ll see that this blend mode is slowing, in a word, dissolving. It’s a neat effect for when you want a “speckled” look. I’ve used it to “dirty” up avs.
“Darken Blending Modes”
Next group is the Darken Blending Modes. Basically what these blending options do to your image is make the colors darker; your white will become invisible and anything that is a darker color to white will have some darkening effect to the image below.
DARKEN – In a more wordy way of describing this mode, it looks at the luminance values for each of the RGB (red, green, blue) channels and it selects either the base color or blend color depending on which is darker. In layman’s terms, it’s basically going to keep the darkest of the 2. If the blend layer and the base layer color are the same there’s gonna be no change (red on red, blue on blue etc). In the example you’ll see that the pink and blue-ish of the layer are still more visible while the yellow strip fades and becomes more green. In this image the red in the pink and blue were the dominate of the RGB spectrum, while the yellow which has green in it was more closer to white.
MULTIPLY – This one if a fan favorite. It …multiplies! (see what I did there?) the luminosity of the base color by the blend color. This always has the effect of darkening the color. White doesn’t make any changes, and black will remain the same. This is actually a good blend mode for darkening an image or creating shadows.
COLOR BURN – So with this blend mode, it’s unique in that it reacts differently when you play around with the opacity slider. It’s going to give you a darker look then what MULTIPLY did by increasing the contrast between base and blend layers. This effect gives you a more saturated mid-tone and it reduces highlights. If you use your burn tool it’s the same effect.
LINEAR BURN – This blend option results in a darker look than what you would get with MULTIPLY, but it’s going to be less saturated than if you used COLOR BURN. It produces the most contrast in darker colors than any of the other blend modes that are in the darker group. This is also a blend mode that you will get different looks playing with your FILL slider as opposed to the OPACITY.
DARKER COLOR – This one is a lot like DARKEN. This one doesn’t blend your pixels as it’s only comparing the base and blend colors, keeping the darkest of the 2 (remember the RGB). As you can see in the example, the reds of the pink and blue are the more dominant while the yellow is less dominate over the pink of the base image. The way this is different than DARKEN is that where DARKEN looks at the RGB channel individually for the final blend, DARKER COLOR is looking at the composite of all the RGB channels.
Hopefully this gives you a little bit more insight regarding these blending modes. Stay tuned for our next in the series, Lighten Blending Modes.
As always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask!
A new idea was sent in and I have to admit I absolutely LOVE this one! Care sent a recipe which I will be sharing below [that looks delish btw!] and in doing so has sparked an entirely new section for Evolution Theory!
Everyone has a favorite recipe [or ten] and this is the place to share them. From easy weeknight meals to complex weekend cooking – sweet to savory and baked to broiled! Save a friend from the weekly meal rut and send in what you’ve got cooking!
One Skillet Taco Beef Pasta[sent in by Care]
Ingredients 1 pound ground beef, lean is recommended. 1 pouch Taco Seasoning or 3 Tablespoons of Homemade Taco Seasoning. 4 cups water 3/4 cup salsa 8 oz Velveeta Cheese 3 1/2 cups Rotini or any other medium Pasta
Brown ground beef until no pink remains. Drain the fat.
Stir in taco seasoning.
Add water, salsa and pasta. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and cover.
Simmer for 10 minutes or until pasta is tender. Add more water if needed.
Once the pasta is cooked add cheese and stir until smooth and creamy.
Author’s Notes: If you don’t like Normal Pasta you can use Whole Wheat or something different. I used Whole Wheat and didn’t like the texture and flavor of the pasta.
if you need a recipe for the homemade Taco Seasoning: 1 Tablespoon Chili Powder 1/4 Teaspoon Garlic Powder 1/4 teaspoon Onion Powder 1/4 Teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 1/4 teaspoon Dried oregano 1/2 teaspoon paprika 1 1/2 teaspoons ground Cumin 1 teaspoon Salt 1 teaspoon Black pepper
mix all together and Store in an airtight container. makes the equivalent of one pouch.
Erasing in photoshop isn’t a bad thing, but sometimes you don’t always get the blend right, you don’t get those ‘whispy tendrils’ in hair, and it can lead to some frustrating times trying to ‘cut things out’. ‘Masking’ is a technique that has many uses, from changing colors, to erasing, to blending images beautifully, with the bonus of being able to undo whatever you happen to do, instantly, without messing up your image or having to go back and cut out or erase things all over again!
So lets get down to it!
Start with two images (can be any image, we’re going to try and put the ship in the background of ole Gannicus here).
First, you want to ensure you’re on the layer at the top that you want to ‘blend in’ and then click on the ‘add layer mask’ button as shown below.
Which adds a layer ‘mask’ to it (its a white box attached to it) like this.
When you have this layer and you click on it, your color palette for your brushes changes to black and white, as shown in the image. This is where the magic happens.
If it isn’t black and white, simply change them.
First thing to remember, is you want to ensure that you’re on that particular portion of the mask while you’re doing your painting (meaning you want to have the mask layer selected and not the actual picture). From there, what you do, is take the BLACK paintbrush, and begin painting over the portion of the image that you want to ‘erase’ bringing out the background (or bottom layer) as shown below. You can see this is in action on the right hand layer palette, as black begins to appear on the masking layer, and your image begins to ‘erase or fade’ into the background. This way, you’re not actually touching the underlying pictures AT ALL. They’re still there. If you happen to go to the layer pallete where you see your mask and RIGHT CLICK on the masking layer, and disable or delete it, your image is still there, completely in tact. You literally cannot mess up your original image, as long as you’re working on the masking layer. You can paint in/paint out as much as you want.
Below is an example of being on the masking layer, and painting over it with the black brush where you see the ship disappearing behind Gannicus.
The beauty of masking, is when you make a mistake, or want to fine tune something. Simply swap your color brushes from the black to white, and use the white to begin painting back over the portions of your image you want to ‘reappear’ as shown below. (Again, ensure you’re active layer is the actual ‘mask’ portion otherwise you’ll find yourself painting black or white on the actual image).
From there you can do this with as many images as you like, in any order that you like. You can overlay images one on top of the other before ever applying the ‘mask’ and you can do it to anything. Font. Styles. Colorings. Layer on top of Layer, Etc. You can change your brush sizes and blow up the images to get in there for fine details, or use a softer brush (protip: softer brushes overlay things nicely around hair and models).
There’s a myriad of things you can do, but once you do it once, on an image, and see it in action, then the rest will come naturally with something to experiment with. You might still want to ‘erase’ or ‘cut out’, and there ARE times that call for that, but hopefully this will bring about some new thoughts, tips and tricks, and make that blending easier!
Masking in Action:
Below is a video of a quick two minute tutorial on masking*, showing the color changing on a car. Some of the language He uses involves hot key commands and shows a couple of little pro-tips and tricks for cleaning up your mask, but its exactly the same concept.
*credit to @Tutvid on youtube for the Breakdown Video.
I feel reader, I let you down. I mean technically I promised and offered nothing but still. I wanted to give you a cheese roll experience and I failed. That is not the standard that’s just British sets.
So sadly Cheese rolling was still a no, so if you’ve come here expecting me to have somehow done the cheese rolling, you’ll be disappointed again. Sorry… this blog isn’t going to plan. However here is a video of the Master of Ceremonies (side bar how cool would it be to be a Cheese Master) rolling the cheese to ensure the tradition continues unbroken.
hopefully next year, muggins here will be running after the cheese.
So what can I offer? Well I have mentioned there other bank holiday traditions in my quirky country. And back in the day I did one of them. Almost 10 years to the day I’m going to recount, the time I almost became a world champion….
10 Years ago I was a very different person. Now I’m a below average cyclist, and a way below average runner. Back then I was 5 stone heavier and a crap rugby player. But me and friends were always up for a challenge and decided we would do the Tetbury Wool sack Race. So what in the hell is that Russ? Well Reader is held every year on Whitsun bank holiday, and you run down a stupidly steep hell with a 60 pound sack of wool and run back up it with said sack. Fastest wins. You have different categories. It at the time was known as the world championship of wool sack racing (other options are now available)
We had settled on the Mixed relay race. So two lads and two girls (one would go on to become a gold medal winner at the Winter Olympics… there’s always one who leaves the band for better things) I somehow was the lead out, which meant down the hill hand sack over. It was supposed to be easy and mean the more capable member could make up any deficit I build (they had a lot of faith in me) I approached this event with the usual commitment I had to training back then… I committed to doing little. And so I was not ready. But by 10:30 we were in the pub (rugby play) as we discovered we were the only mixed team! So we had to cross the line to win that was it.. World champion baby!
Except… the organizers felt we should have some competition… we weren’t bothered but they insisted. So a bunch of people from the British Army volunteered…. This went down like a lead balloon with us. Anyway we posed for a photo…
Then it was the start line. And the hill suddenly looked steep. I looked to see who I was racing. The man must have been 4 ft tall, but a Gurkha, a nepalis soldier, renowned for there endurance. Against me and well see in the pics what little I brought to the table.
The gun went off and I was winning, for literally a second. The fact I went early is irrelevant, but the guy was gone, while I looked like bambi on ice trying to balance the sack on my back, and stay upright… drinking was not a good idea. Somehow I made it to the bottom, my dignity and self-respect lagging behind. Handing over to the first of the girls who did a great job but the girl was fast and left our team mate for dead. Then the last downhill leg and the second girl of our team, the downhill skier just went for it, I literally saw a sack and a pair of legs but she was flying with no fucks for her safety, there were audible cries from the crowd, as we walked back up to discover our final team mate had dropped the sack and we were disqualified, people were telling her that was the best run they’d seen.
And so I became a silver medalist (no medals were given) in a World Championship (it counts) If I do cheese rolling all I will get is some Double Gloucester!
Sadly no video evidence exists of our effort but you can see a video of what the event is like here:
I’ve been asked and have had numerous conversations over the years with various people from DJ’s and listeners alike whether there’s any rhyme or reason behind the music that’s played. Many believe we just walk into the DJ booth and flip a switch and tunes magically mix together like we’re motherfuckin sorcerers. Truth is, we are. But, there’s definitely some things that go into it.
This is inherently on the DJ’s themselves, as we all have an eclectic taste of music but most of us have our specialties. The songs you hear most from the DJ’s while they’re on the air. Some will try and change them up with different flavored theme shows and some stick to what they enjoy and are good at, but each of them are adept at putting on the show and changing it up whenever is needed.
I’ll try and break these down by random nights and events to give a little more insight into what goes into them.
The Random Night:
Speaking from personal experience and with some other DJ’s, there’s definitely nights where you go in or are you’re already sitting in a room and someone asks “Hey someone crank some tunes!” and one of the DJ’s pops in the booth. Most of the time we’re just firing things up and coming off the cuff, but even that cuff has some wrinkles to it. It may not necessarily be as thought out as planning a big show, but there’s the thought of ‘who’s in the room right now’? WHAT room am I currently in? Is it a mellow and chill vibe? Are they wanting to dance or rock? Should I just spin what I’m feeling to spin tonight and let them groove?
While its not nearly as difficult choice as prepping for an event or to put on some type of show or have a ‘theme’, there’s still a little bit of choice and thought that goes into it. Each DJ wants to ensure that people are tuning in and having a good time, and most will adjust with the flow of the room.
When it comes to the Event, things can get a little more tricky, however it doesn’t always equate to complete pandemonium. The hardest part usually about doing an event is finding out the theme for it. We usually ask if there’s something the people want to hear, a type of specific genre, if a mood needs to be set, and a few examples of songs that they’d like to hear, so we can build a playlist around that particular type of music. Depending on the length of the event, this can become even more difficult, as you may not want to put an entire room to sleep constantly playing slow slongs, but not want to go too upbeat and off the course.
Sometimes these events are larger then that, involving multiple DJ’s, (such as March Madness) and you find yourself in a conundrum with a few ways to go about it, so your music doesn’t overlap. Most DJ’s will attempt to communicate with others on the type of music they’re playing so even if its similar, you don’t play the same songs. Though you often hear this on the radio, we try and mostly avoid it as its abit annoying whenever it happens. It does happen though, and we’ll frequently message another DJ playfully removing the songs that we had on our lists (alot of us have the same tastes).
This is a difficult portion. We try and play as many requests as we can throughout the night but its not always simple. Sometimes on any given night we get requests that don’t necessarily fit with the genre but we try. Sometimes we might ask for another request that fits with the genre if its a ‘theme night’ and sometimes we might just go with it and either break the mold or transition it into another set for abit that brings about that flavor of music and keeps with the beat. This is often where that individual DJ choice comes in or that motherfuckin sorcery where we draw forth the curtains of oz and work some magic.
The Individual Night:
On individual nights throughout the week its DJ’s choice. This is where they get the time to shine. Showcase their own individual likes and dislikes, and put on the show. On any given night you might expect to hear different things. Most DJ’s have their own individual musical styles that they like to play, some like to change it up, but there’s definitely some thought that goes into it. Have these songs been played before? Is there new content out there? If I’m playing oldies am I showcasing ones that I didn’t before? What does everyone want to hear? Do I go with favorites or something off the wall to introduce them to new music? Will they like it?
To some it comes naturally. To others its an artform. Not all give thought to the actual music being played and how its selected and whether there’s any rhyme or reason to it but there’s usually a few common factors and more then alot of work and thought that goes into it. Whether DJing for a certain event, or just going on for a random night, there’s alot of common ground. That’s not to say that we always get it right, or that you might not always like the music being played (that’s why we like feedback!) but every DJ tries to offer something for everyone.
As always, if you like what we’re doing, tell a friend, if you don’t, tell us, and we’ll fix it.
A special thanks to Seven who came up with the initial idea to have a blog segment about different drinks from different places! To celebrate that great idea the first drink is Seven’s favorite – the Moscow Mule. Aside from being a delicious drink a key selling factor for Seven is the copper mugs they’re served in. I have to agree – those mugs are fabulous. Not only are they aesthetic but the temperature conduction of the copper makes your drink feel extra cold and therefore extra delicious all while looking about as cool as the contents.
These drinks are super common and variations are available almost anywhere you go but to make the OG at home is simple…a long as you have the copper mug! Accept no substitutes!
1.5 oz vodka
4 oz ginger beer
3 lime wedges
Combine vodka, ginger beer and 2 lime wedges in a copper mug and stir. Garnish with additional lime wedge.
And now to a land far, far away…
Next we’re gonna travel overseas to Belgium! WT has a favorite cocktail there that reminds me of something that would be served in Florida. The Belgian Orange Blossom cocktail comes from Brussels – a mellowed out, smooth drink that WT describes as a not too sweet orange hard candy. This is her go-to when heading out on the town with friends, but as the DD she orders the virgin option also included below.
Ready for a crazy alcohol fact about Belgium? You are required by law to keep a disposable breathalyzer in your vehicle at all times. They’re sold for around $5 in auto parts stores.
Belgian Orange Blossom Cocktail
3 thin slices of orange (peel on)
2 teaspoons almond syrup
2 oz. gin [or for a virgin option replace with 2 oz. lemon lime soda]
1 oz. pink grapefruit juice
1/2 oz. lemonade
1 oz. seltzer water
2 dashes bitters
Using a tablespoon, lightly crush the orange slices in a tall glass. Do not mash the oranges; just crush them enough to release a bit of juice.
Add 1/3 cup ice to the cup, fill with the remaining ingredients, and then stir lightly, keeping the orange slices at the bottom of the glass.
According to WT, in the clubs they sometimes decorate the glass with candied orange slices and some fresh orange wedges. Sometimes they use other fruits to make it pop or floral sprigs.
I can’t lie. I think I’m going to have to try this one at home as soon as possible.
Its all in the name…
A random drink with a name that gives pause
We all know at least one drink with a crazy name that makes you wonder. Every post will feature one random drink with a more random name. This time its A Short Trip to Hell.
A Short Trip to Hell
2 oz of peach schnapps
2 oz of strawberry schnapps
2 oz of wild berry schnapps
1 oz of jagermeister
8 oz of Red Bull energy drink
Shake Red Bull, peach, strawberry, and wild berry schnapps in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain into glass. Then put Jagermeister into shot glass. Drop in the shot and drink.
Had any of these drinks? Love em? Hate em? Comment below! And if you have a favorite drink that you’d like to share I’d love to hear from you and feature it on the next post!
Hi guys! Welcome to the brand new SOA section of the blog. Here I will feature a player who has a SOA character and interview them. Rutger is our lucky June feature. Please leave a comment below if you wish. I appreciate the feedback.
1.) What year was it when you were introduced to SOA rp? Who introduced you and what room/site location was it at?
I believe it was 2011 when I played in my very first SoA room it was on another site, and to be honest I don’t remember the name of the room it opened and closed within a couple weeks but I kept the character and ended up going back with the same friend to play in a Vegas theme room.
2.) Who was your very first SOA character back then? Do you still rp him today?
Ryan O’Connell was my first SoA character, I have made a few since then. I played Ryan up until a couple of years ago when I closed my room.
3.) Did you ever watch the TV series ‘Sons of Anarchy’ before rping SOA? What do you think of the series? Did it in any way influence your rping in SOA?
I had not seen the show before and most of the time that I role played SoA. I did watch the first 4 seasons about a year or a little more before I closed my room up though I think it had a bit of influence on other players who watched it before that.
4.) Please give us a run down on each SOA rooms you owned, and what happened to them.
There was Anarchy Vegas which I took over when the original owner left on line, After I took it off site and brought the room to Revo, I decided to move the club as well and brought in the fictional town of Prophecy AZ, to maintain the close proximity to Vegas while coming into their own.
5.) Now it is time to feature your character, Ryan. Tell us everything about him. What happened to Ryan?
As Ryan started out originally as a nomad and ended up in California as a Sgt at Arms in a short lived SoA room on another site. That room closed rather abruptly so the character was in limbo for awhile then had a rebirth of sorts in Vegas which sets his saga as follows. Ryan was Vegas born and raised though when he came of age and after prospecting into Vegas he spent a time traveling and working with other clubs before returning to Vegas where he would eventually become VP and then President of the Vegas charter. Of course in the years following there were a few loves and many many losses for that particular character, including the love of his life and his father in the same night. A high profile political incident drew attention to the charter and they moved out of Vegas to the less contested Prophecy Arizona. More love, more loss, and division in the club sent the club lifer packing to the east coast. Razor says he heard he opened a custom bike shop somewhere in Jersey.
6.) What rp made you feel really good about playing Ryan? It doesn’t have to be your favourite, but one that you were pleased as cheese about. Maybe you should of received an award for.
That one is hard to pin down because I have been in so many amazing role plays with so many talented role players over the course of that characters existence, from start to finish.
7.) What rp do you wish you could go over and re-do as Ryan?
Well there are always moments in role play.. or entire role plays that fall flat. It happens. All you can do is steer into the skid and roll with it.
8.) Okay now your fave rp moment as Ryan. A few sentences will do.
You’re going to have to refer to #6 for this one. Again so many unbelievable stories were told in my time with this character.
9.) Now let’s talk about your other character Razor. Where did he come from?
Eric (Razor) started out as an npc, just some biker that watched the gate with his brother. He is one I have kept around for play, though that much role play hasn’t been done with him in the recent months.
10.) You use Norman Reedus for Ryan, and Jason Momoa for Razor. Why did you pick these celebs? Were they the hot AF ones at the moment or did ‘The Walking Dead’ and ‘Aquaman’ have a big influence on you?
I started using Norman Reedus before I started watching the walking dead actually, or really paying attention at the time. I just thought he was more real looking. I picked Jason Momoa for Razor because he was big, Razor started out as an npc gate guard but kind of grew over the years to full character status along with Dooley.
11.) Razor is a big guy. Is he violent or aggressive in any way? Do others who interact with him, fear him?
Razor has a very violent and aggressive streak, though it takes a lot to get him there. He is kind of like a volcano. I think there have been times in role play where he has scared other characters or perhaps incited something in them that scared that character.
12.) Let’s talk about the rally which takes place in July. Will Razor be attending? What sort of activities would he be participating in?
Razor I am sure will be in attendance. I am hearing whispers of some new activities, so I am excited to see what is up there. There’s always plenty to keep busy with at rally time. I know that kitten works really extensively every year to put things together for the event, and it is always a good time.
13.) If you could add any activity to the rally for everyone to participate in, something new, what would it be?
I’d like to see some kind of sparring event.
14.) What advice would you give to someone who wants to try out SOA rp but is hesitating?
Just get in there and play. There’s a lot of people that will give you advice but its modern day and we have all watched TV. Create a character and make it yours.
15.) What tips would you give to someone who is thinking about becoming a SOA room leader?
If I am being completely honest, its kind of a pain in the ass. People expect a lot more from you than role play. Plus there are a lot of good rooms out there already so it takes a lot of effort to keep the room interesting enough to gain traffic, so there’s that. But that is probably any section. It’s much better to open a room with some friends that will back you up when people start bitching. Yeah. That’s my tip. Bring your own backup.
16.) Your SOA room, Prophecy was a fictional town, do you prefer to create your own locations?
Personally I prefer it yes. Known towns are OK but they are.. known, so that creates the need to research of you don’t know the city all that well. With a created locale , you make it what you want.
17.) You closed Prophecy a while back. would you consider re-opening it or starting a new SOA room?
Likely not any time soon, there are an awful lot of rooms already there that need role play.
18.) A big time move producer wants to make a film out of one of your SOA chars, Ryan or Razor. All based on events you rp’ed playing them. Who would bring in the most money at the box office?
Razor I think would be a better box office draw. Him and Dooley running the laundry soap heist would become a classic a la Smokey and the Bandit.
19.) Besides role-playing, what else do you enjoy partaking in?
I enjoy fishing, camping, watching movies, art … pina coladas, and getting caught in the rain.
20.) Final question, whatever happened to Ryan’s missing fingers?
They grew up and became finger guns.
That’s all, folks! Next month I will feature kitten and will talk about her hot AF character, Tank, and the upcoming rally, and Tank again, and maybe more about the rally.