Category Archives: Life of Marcos

Hellofresh

Hello loyal fan base, I’m back to bring some life into this blog! Today I’m here to report on the family’s experience with Hellofresh. I originally heard about Hellofresh on Groupon, and I was immediately intrigued. Raising a toddler and a husband is no easy work, so anything that helps make our life easier is appreciated. I purchased the Groupon, signed up for our allotted three meals and eagerly awaited their arrival.

The box was impressively packaged, with the meat and poultry encased in ice packs on the bottom and the rest of the ingredients in boxes on the top.

Box

The first meal that I prepared was steamed salmon with jeweled couscous and yogurt. What’s nice about this company is that all meals are promised to take approximately 30 minutes to prepare – very helpful for weeknight dinners, because who has the time or energy for any more than that? You are also provided with pre-rationed ingredients, so you don’t have to bother with measuring anything. Their only caveat is that you must have salt, pepper and olive oil on hand – easy enough, these are staples in most households anyway.

Salmon ingredients
Ingredients that came with the salmon meal box

 

Salmon recipe

One issue that I had, and I fully acknowledge that this is my personal preference, is that they don’t include how to prepare the ingredients under the “ingredients” section but rather include it in the directions. I tend to have a more stressful cooking experience when I dutifully heat the oil in the pan, as per step 1, but then must finely chop a whole bunch of vegetables (step 2), as I am racing against an overly heated pan full of oil that stinks up the house and jumps all over the countertop. Granted, I could have read ahead and gone rogue, chopping and preparing in whatever order I damn well pleased, but given that the whole point is to save time, I didn’t.

Stressed out hand
My stressed-out hand dashing to squeeze lemon juice as quickly as possible
Final salmon
Final result – not too shabby!

Other than this issue, I had an overall great experience. All three meals were delicious, took the promised 30 minutes to prepare, and spared us the headache of having to pre-plan meals for the week and purchase specific ingredients. The portions were great, as both Marcos and I felt satisfied and full at the end of each meal. Despite the fact that the non-Groupon rate is a bit pricey (it comes out to approximately $10/person/meal), we ordered another box about one month later and plan to treat ourselves every once in a while by ordering more. And to be honest, given the fact that their rate includes the packaging and shipping, it’s really pretty reasonable.

Final chicken pic
Another entree, mozzarella-crusted chicken with crispy potatoes and garlic tomatoes

If you want to try it out, you can get $40 off your first meal (which is more than what we saved with the Groupon) by using our referral code: VQ84HL. Happy eating, and stay safe out there!

A new Netflix original series

From twelve-time Iuval winning director.
With the guy sitting in the back for like a second in Velma is Living.
Coming soon for your binge watching pleasure.

Marcos Narcos

(the cocaine is fake, but the mustache is real)

Year One

It’s been one year since the posting frequency on The MKX® dropped dramatically even though an extra staff writer was added at the same time. What’s the reason?

It’s the best and the most fun reason in the world. It’s also the same reason why I sleep less, my back constantly hurts, and the Plaza Sésamo theme song is stuck in my head.

Below are some photos of the reason. See Ilán in his birthday suit (not naked) right before his first sugar rush:

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Mega-Party photos may or may not follow.

Separated at birth? Like father, like son

  1. I want this settled once and for all: Who does the boy look like?
  2. I can call off the genetic testing.
Marcos vs Ilán
Left: 4 months old. Right: 8.5 months old. But no one would fault you for thinking it was the same kid.

For reference, here’s the mom who also happens to be the most attractive one in the family:

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Jewfro domination

Favid Dinkelstein (not his real name) tipped me off on the fact that I now dominate the results of Google Image Search for the term “jewfro”. Go see for yourselves, I’ll wait.

Ok, I am not the first result. But close. This may be my biggest accomplishment ever. I beat notable jewfros included but defnitely not limited to:

  • Andy Samberg
  • Howard Stern
  • Jonah Hill

In order to commemorate this, and knowing that Google will surely tweak their algorithms until I’m off the list because I don’t use Android, I took a giant screenshot which I have annotated and post here for posterity. Click on it to zoom-in.

jewfro-annotated

The best Tequila

I saved the bottle for over five years waiting for a special occasion. Forgot to drink it at my wedding. Forgot to take it out at my son‘s bris.

No way I’m going wait for his Bar-Mitzvah. So we used the excuse of Meir visiting and popped it open last night.

Yes, it is indeed the best Tequila I’ve ever had.

Preserving childhood memories: revisited

My parents came to visit and on my request brought along three fat photo albums from when I was born. I needed to show my wife that our son does indeed have an eery resemblance to my extremely young self, if not my adult self.

As you’d expect from photos that are over *ahem* twenty years old, they’ve suffered from some terrible degradation (older post on the subject). Not surprisingly, the photos degraded differently based on the photo development process and paper used. Some even got extremely blurry – and I think those are a lost cause.

So obviously I need to scan them all. To make the digitizing work worse, and unlike my wife’s old photos, these are glued to the album pages with transparent cellophane on top. To try and pry the photos off the album will most likely destroy them, so they need to be digitized off the page. I think this means that using a digitizing service like we did before will not be possible.

Here’s what the album looks like:

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On these pages: My uncles Sammy and Eli, myself, my aunt Jave, my great-grandmother Leike, my mom, and half of my brother Jaco’s face.

 

Like crap (please don’t get me started on idiotic Instagram filters people are using nowadays).

I already finished scanning one of the three albums. It wasn’t a fun process. I used an Epson Artisan 837 and the built-in Image Capture application that comes with OS X. I scanned everything at 600 dots-per-inch, which I believe easily exceeds the sharpness of the old photos.

One nice thing about Image Capture, is that it can auto-detect the photos on the page, and scan each one of them as an individual file.

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It will even fix rotation! Unfortunately I didn’t have great luck with this because, as you can see, the glue is extremely yellow at this point so the program had trouble recognizing where the photos are. I would end up selecting the photos by hand.

This made the process quite tedious:

  1. Take out page from album
  2. Remove cellophane
  3. Place on scanner
  4. Go to computer, press “Overview”
  5. Wait
  6. Adjust what photos will get scanned
  7. Press “Scan”
  8. Wait
  9. Flip page to scan the other side
  10. Repeat process from #4 to #8
  11. Put cellophane back on page
  12. Reinsert to album

Hardly a model of speed, automation, and efficiency.

I will refine the process for the other two albums, no doubt. For one, I will skip overviews and just scan full pages. It will make scanning a lot faster. I will also try and connect the scanner over USB rather than WiFi. I have a hunch that this was the main bottleneck to the scanner’s speed and not so much the digitizing itself.

But this means that I would need to cut individual photos out from a single page scan to individual files as a post-processing step. My goal is to automate this – research needed and advise appreciated.

The last step: fixing the colors of the photos. I played around with adjusting all the color curves of a specific photo manually on the excellent Pixelmator. This is what the original photo looks like:

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Chanukah 1978 at the kinder in Monterrey. Ironically, I’m not even in this picture but it’s appropriate given the time of year right now. I recognize almost everyone on it, though, in spite of the crappy quality.

 

It took a bunch of tweaking, but the results seem pretty good:

Marcos albúm 22 - 194
Chanukah 1978 at the kinder in Monterrey, color corrected. #nofilter

 

Not bad, huh? (you can click to zoom in)

Of course, fixing each photo manually like this would take a tremendous amount of time. I think the way to go, barring a completely automated solution, is to group photos by era, album, and photo paper; since those would all degrade the same way. I can then apply the same combination of color-correcting filters. I haven’t yet figured all of the details out, so this is material for a future post. Far into the future most likely.

For now the important thing is to scan the rest of the photos so we can freeze the color degradation.