Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Alpine CDE-9870 Car Stereo

Sharon got me this for the Toyota so that I would drive it to work everyday instead of taking her mini.

Primarily I use the Ipod interface to listen to podcasts while driving. The CD player supports MP3 so the new books on one CD are also available to me.

The Operator's Manual has been useful since I can't see well enough while driving to figure things out by experimentation.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

11 Days in September

Give us back our eleven days! was a well know English slogan in the late 1800's. It grew out of an act of the British Parliament in 1752 that changed the calendar from the Julian to the Gregorian. (Pope Gregory ruled in 1582 that the new Julian calendar, the one with the leap year, would be used; countries were slow to adopt.)

Just like today's media, the combination half truths, blipverts, under-educated working class, and a need to stir controversy resulted in the common man completely misunderstanding what the new law has actually doing. They mistakenly though that 11 days of their life and 11 days of wages were being taken away from them. Thus the slogan;

Give us our eleven days!

In this print you can almost make out [click image to enlarge] the slogan on the flag outside the window. (The Tories are carrying an antisemitic caricature of a Jew, a reference to recent legislation passed by the Whig government which allowed greater freedom to Jews. They are also carrying a banner containing the words "Give us our Eleven days", a protest against the adoption of the Gregorian calendar.)

As a software test professional, whenever you are testing an application that deals with dates consider the impact of September 1582 on the algorithm, there are 11 days missing after Sept. 2nd. (: Sharon's birthday is safe :)

Monday, May 28, 2007

First Zucchini

Our first zuchinni fruit was on the vine today. About four inches long, we'll eat it next time we cook vegatables.

It was planted on March 25.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Grand Ole Opry show

We all went to see the weekly live broadcast of The Grand Ole Opry yesterday evening. The 2 1/2 hour show starts at 6:30 PM, Saturdays. Following is the schedule for our show, May 26, 2007, the Memorial Day salute. [If you can't attend in person, you can hear all Opry shows by tuning in to WSM 650 in Tennessee, or listening online at]

The Grand Ole Opry 6:30-7:00
Jim Ed Brown, Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys, Keni Thomas

Mike Snider, Jimmy C. Newman, Mandy Barnett

Hal Ketchum, Jean Shepard, The Whites

Porter Wagoner, Jan Howard, Jack Greene, Del McCoury Band, Opry Square Dancers

Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers, Connie Smith, Riders In The Sky

The first act to really stand our for me was Keni Tomas. A good look young guy that has an excellent stage presents and gets the girls hot. He was an Army ranger that served in the Iraq war and uses his experience there in his songs. The song Not Me was particularly moving. Read the lyrics if you have a few minutes.

The world becomes a better place when someone stands and leads the way. Steps forward when they'd rather say not me.

Keni Thomas

Porter Wagoner hosted one of the segments. My parents use to listen to him on that old black and white country music TV show back in the sixties. He is past his prime now and looking shape as ever. I didn't recognize the songs he sang so I just listened to the quality backup musicians, quite a house band at the Opry. Porter Wagoner

The last act of the night was America's Favorite Cowboys, Riders In The Sky, one of my favorites. The Riders were inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 1982. Danell and Helen had never heard of them and were ticked when they played their cheeks. Rider In The Sky

The commercials were fun to listen to. The Martha White's products were making me hungry. They announced this years winners for the cornbread recipe cookoff, the one from Arizona sounded great and reminded me of the recipe that Helen made the other day. Unfortunately I don't remember the name of the wining recipe, Sharon didn't hear it and don't see in on Martha's site, perhaps it will show up in the near future (it sounded real good, chicken and pepper and all).

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Broccoli Cornbread

Eating soup and cornbread This recipe for Broccoli Cornbread I got from Shanon's mom (blogger source). She made it the first day we were there visiting, it went really well with her wonderful homemade soup (a jaya quality soup). I continued to eat it with the bar-b-que pork we picked up for Friday evening.

It is light, moist and creamy. Doesn't need butter to get it down because it melts in your mouth. The green/yellow color made Sharon and I think that it would be perfect for a St. Patrick's Day food.

1 box frozen broccoli; thawed and drained
6 oz. cottage cheese
1 onion, chopped
1 stick margarine, softened (we actually use butter, tastes better)
4 eggs (3 XL eggs)
1 box Jiffy cornmeal mix
salt [1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional]

Helen's soup with broccoli cornbread

Mix together, pour into greased pan.
Bake at 400°-425° until golden brown, about 30 minutes
Freezes well.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Summer of Love '07 Style

I just developed these pictures from Kurfluki Fest. Isn't she lovely? Very summer, cute and adorable in her straw hat and Laura Ashley outfit. Sharon smiling Karfluki Fest this year was celebrating the 40th anniversary of the "Summer of Love", San Francisco circa 1967. The fairy wings Sharon wore were designed and hand crafted by Magda Heilborn. Magda's wings

Friday, May 18, 2007

Pine Bark Stalled

I started my first pine bark pattern (Matsukawa - Bishi) quilt a year ago by having Ms. Melanie take the first day of a class and I took the second day the following weekend.

This quilting project has not been a pleasant experience. First, the person leading the class was a poor instructor. Second, this person wasted most of the class time doing common/basic quilting operations and didn't have any time to actually teach "the tricky bit" that make the pine bark pattern practically impossible to figure out.

The picture to the right is a photo I found on the web, it shows the pine bark "squares" nicely. My quilt that Ms. Melanie designed is so much more interesting and beautiful.

After sewing together all my squares I realized that we were not taught how to do that step and I did it completely wrong. The pieces would not go together. Sharon calmed me down and said that she would help rip it apart so that I could try it again.

After ripping out all the seams and sorting the puzzle pieces back into their original order (several hours) I was back to step two, cut up your squares into diamonds.

This is where I stalled. Well not quite. Before putting the project aside I took some paper and figured out how the bloody pine bark pattern worked. Once I understood how it worked I could see how to construct a quilt. Satisfied that I could now do the top I was able to let the frustration of the misguided instruction go and do my own thing. Basically, I figured out how to do a pine bark quilt myself, without taking a class.

When I get back into it I'll post some pictures. Perhaps even some notes on how it is done.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Ask Questions the Smart Way

LifeAfter you spent some time on the Internet reading posts or emails you'll begin to notice that some people just ask stupid questions. Is it a symptom of our instantaneous gratification society that people would rather impose on others than to do a little honest investigation and research on their own.

Cem Kaner (a software testing industry leader and professor) included this link to a page that actually talks about how to form an intelligent question. Like the people who post stupid questions I didn't want to read the whole page, I just read the section on Good and Bad Questions.

To test your research abilities, find out what RTFM means.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

The Princess Bride

The Princess Bride audio book I started to listen to Rob Reiner reading The Princess Bride by William Goldman.

This audio book is abridged :(. As a rule I stay away from abridged titles but I didn't know about it when I ordered it from, my NetBooks type service. I hope that now that the CDs and MP3 media are being used for distribution publishers will do less abridged works (to save production/distribution costs???) and focus on the complete books.

First Edition Cover However, after listening to the Introduction to the book I learned that this version of The Princess Bride is not an updated/revised/re-interpreted version of the original early Twentieth century book by Simon Morgenstern [ed. pseudonym of Goldman's] but is the brain child of William Goldman. The question remains, is the book tape an abridged reading of the new book or is the "abridged" there to further the S. Morgenstern myth?

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Go Ahead And Die! (Pirates Of The Health Care-ibean)

It's that time of year that we pick our benefits package at work. Which health care package do I want and how much do I want to pay for it?

In doing research to reevaluate last years choice I came across this cartoon commentary on YouTube. Like the Progenitorivox ad this video is sponsored by The Foundation For Taxpayer & Consumer Rights.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Brother Steve's Tin-Whistle Page

Sharon just turned me on to this tin whistle site. Seems like a lot of good information and helpful ideas about enjoying the whistle.

I followed a link to a guy in Canada that has written some nice pieces for one handed whistle. I'm listening to them now and find them quite pleasing. Armed with these tunes I can play and drive at the same time.

Monday, May 7, 2007


At Karfluki Fest this year I was sitting next to a guy who bought Jay Atwood's solo didgeridoo CD, the back cover had an Om symbol that caught my eye. It has some trance tracks and other meditative pieces so I bought my own copy. Jay signed it Jaya- Dance in the fire!

Jay recommended a DVD for learning the didgeridoo and I took it home with me as well. By bedtime on Sunday night I knew that I would learn to play the didgeridoo. It will sound so bitchin' in our music room with the reverberation and stark decor.

From Jay's website I found The Didgeridoo Store, where I can get a decent student didj. I'm going to get one from India, a fair trade kind of thing, save an Australian eucalyptus tree.

In an article/interview with Jay he stated that one of his favorite musicians is Steven Kent of Trance-Mission, one of my favorite CDs. as well.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Karfluki Fest 2007

Karfluki Fest 2007 Poster We walked down to the festival a little late because it took a lot longer to cook the pot of chili then anticipate and we weren't in any hurry. We missed the Cinco de Mayo mariachi band (Piel Canela Mariachi Band) that opened the show.

Female form as musical instrument Fishtank Ensemble was playing as we entered the park, sounded like an eclectic saw (musical) from a distance. Fishtank Ensemble is an electric gypsy/Flamenco acoustic group. We loved their high energy music and diverse repertoire. I bought their CD. You can hear an excellent piece of theirs by going to their webpage, sit back and listen. Fishtank played way fast and stayed tight. Their upright bass was good, he made the instrument sing and keep time simultaneously during his solo (to bad Jeff got their to late to hear them). The mentioned that their shamisen player was off in Japan but they kept a mike empty for him. The music they played coupled with the mention of shamisen made me think of this fantastic shamisen player from camp. This one time at bank camp, this really knarly shamisen player and accordion player jammed Stairway to Heaven like nothing you've ever heard. Checking Fishtank's website confirmed my intuition, it's the same guy, Kevin Kmetz. The picture is the back of the lead singer Fabrice Martinez, she is dark, sultry, beautiful mommy with eclectic tastes that I would very much like to get to know. After they finished their planned set they kept going for another half hour or so because the organizers said they had the time (and we wanted to hear more:) In this last set of tunes Fabrice played a musical saw and sang. Here vocal range and style is reminiscent of Yma Sumac.

George the Giant is tall, has a medioce sense of humor and is a freak. Said he the employed by Universal Tours but little of his material is suitable for families. He stuck an aquarium air hose in his nose and pulled it out his mouth then used the "straw" to drink from a bottle of milk. Gross, Sharon said she had never seen anything like that before, I told here I'd have to show her how I do it with a nasal catheter, netti kriya, a yoga cleansing technique I use to use regularly. One thing he did that I would like to try, having people stable money to your belly with a staple gun.

The Wicked Tinkers was rousing and fun as usual. A new fave of mine is the sing-along song about a cat name Wallup. See my didgeridoo post that stems from Karfluki Fest.

A lot more to comment on by that is enough for now, TBD (maybe).

May 22, 2007
This post isn't going to grow any more but check out Sharon's outfit blogging.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Parlor Chair

Parlor chair in Auburn house Sharon had the chair in the parlor reupholstered to fit in with the Chinese theme.

Dean likes it even more that I do. When sitting on his new chair he feels a bit more regal. Dean, May 5, 2007

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Space-Age Bachelor Pad Music

When someone asks me what kind of music I like to listen to often the first thing that pops into my mind is Space-Age Bachelor Pad Music.

This description sums it up quite nicely.

A phrase coined by Byron Werner to describe the music of Esquivel and others that reveled in dramatic contrasts of dynamics, instrumentation and vocal effects, and wild movements of sound from left channel to right and back again and seemed aimed squarely for the generation of white American males that came of age with Playboy magazine and high fidelity stereo equipment. "Imagine George Jetson as a bachelor: 'Hubba-Hubba!'"