Monday, April 30, 2007

Bridgeport Spring Wildflower Walk

Jackie and John were up Auburn way last weekend for their annual spring wildflower walk. I've had to listen to Jackie talk about this wonderful walk every since she found out we were moving to Auburn. Not only are the little flowers beautiful but the park docents label the blooms for identification and give guided tours.

Their walk starts at the Bridgeport Covered Bridge, the longest single span covered bridge in the country. Take the Buttermilk trail, across the road from the visitor's center.

As some of you may remember, the Bridgeport Covered Bridge (map) is one of the first places Sharon and I when when we were first dating. It is up near Dick and Earin's place in Penn Valley. A 35 mile one hour drive from home via Grass Valley.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

No school teaches all knowledge

We heard a Hawaiian proverb this morning that rings true. Translated from the beautiful Hawaiian phrase it says,
'A'ohe pau ka 'ike i ka halau ho'okahi

All knowledge is not taught in one school.

For more Hawaiian wisdom read Huna and Hawaiians.

Wela ka hao!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Play the tunes you know

This week is clean up you office week at work. As it is Friday my cubicle looks like it always does I decided to spend the morning (and beyond?) cleaning up.

In a briefcase under a pile of binders and papers I found a page of notes taken on February 24, 2006. It started with a quote of something profound that Michael Mullen said.

Play the tunes you know. ―Michael Mullen
After the quote was list with the heading Tunes I Know. It consisted of 19 tunes that I can play/lead pretty much at the drop of a hat.

Following the list, at the bottom of the page were a couple of music book recommendations. 100 Essential Session Tunes and Foinn Seisiun - Session Tune Sets Vols. 1 & 2.

Interpretation In order to get better at playing traditional Irish music one must learn tunes and develop your skills. Michael recommends playing the tunes that you know and work on your skills and new ornamentation within that context.

I have spent over 20 years in the study of Danzan Ryu Jujitsu and in all that time there some techniques that has been used in practically every workout that I have never done exactly the same way twice. With deeper understanding comes a deeper insight.

Use these books if you want to build your tune foundation but it isn't about how many tunes you "know" but how much you enjoy playing them and playing them well.

176 year old animal knew Charles Darwin

Harriet Harriet―once destine for soup lives into a third century. Can you say tough old girl.

Harriet (c. 1830 – June 23, 2006) was a Gal├ípagos tortoise (Geochelone elephantopus porteri) who had an estimated age of 175 years.

Up until the day that she died some skeptics didn't believe that she had actually known Charles Darwin. DNA analysis proved that she was in fact over 170 years old but it also proved that she was from a species restricted to an island that we know Darwin never visited. Harriet is a land tortoise so it is highly unlikely that she swam to Santa Maria Galápagos only to be trapped by Darwin and spirited back to England. The island were Harriet was collected back in 1865 actually didn't have any native turtles because the white man had killed off the indigenous species to feed the prisoners sequestered there. (Skeptics stop reading here).

It seems that she was capture on her native Santa Cruz island and brought to Santa Maria where Darwin snatched her off the self at the super market. One of three tortoises taken back to England by Darwin, Harriet eventually made her way to Australia to live out her last century.

Check out the authoritative entry in wikipedia.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Cremation and global warming

Sharon and I listened to a Scientific American podcast this morning that started us thinking about the impact of our deaths on the environment.

The cremation of the average male in Australia (less fat then the American male), during which the body is heated to 850 degrees Celsius (1,562°F ) for 90 minutes, produced more than 110 pounds of carbon dioxide. Hey, selling the carbon credit for your cremation could return enough cash for a proper plant me in the earth burial.

We decided that the suggestion to drill a hole in the ground and stick the "natural" body in feet first with a tree sapling as a marker is the way to go. This should take place with the leftover parts after the "donation my body to science" people are done.

Setting up a company to help people compost their loved ones may be a nice business opportunity for aging baby boomers. There will be some zoning and health code reform required before it is commercially viable but you might be able to get away with it in your own back yard if the neighbors don't complain (just like we to today with the kid's dead pets).

Check out the Yahoo!News article, Scientist says cremation should meet a timely death, on the subject.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Scientists Prove Dog Likes Beer

I've never met MacTavish but for some reason this news article brings him to mind.

Cheers good buddy.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Stay away from the Boohbah Zone

I recommend you do NOT go to this website. Do not turn up the volume on your speakers.

Stay away and you will be better off.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Orthopedic Hospital Ratings

Found this article that rates orthopedic hospitals.

The glossary page tells you what they mean. I suggest you begin by reading the methodology page that describes what they are measuring.

Very few hospitals in California are rated in the top 50, I wonder why?

Note that the US News Best Hospitals Report is ongoing. It is focused on "difficult" conditions, not the common ailments most people receive treatment for most of the time.

Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS)

I was forwarded an email this morning that was originally sent to a friend (excerpt below). Thanks, for the pointer to HSS and the information on Arthritis of the Hip - Total Hip Replacement and Other Treatment.

I've learned a new word today, arthroplasty.

I have just been reading your blog again and went off onto Jaya's hip replacement info. Did you know that I had total hip replacement in August of 2002? It was a wonderful success and I wish I had done it sooner instead of suffering so long. Now when people ask me how is my hip, I smilingly answer "What hip?" I had it done by Dr. Paul Pellicci at the Hospital for Special Surgery in NYC. I was off all pain medication within 48 hours after the surgery and went home on the third day, gave up my cane after one week. In three weeks I was driving my car and back in the YMCA pool with my advanced aqua fitness class. They all asked if I had had a face lift because the pain was finally gone. I hadn't realized how awful I must have looked with all that pain. I had heard about him from a lot of friends here in Westport . They all said he is "The Man." Since my personal success I have given his name to a lot of others and all are very happy with their outcomes.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Drive

In the Dick on Screen segment of the Lubbock or Leave It show today, Joe Ed Dick gave a review of the new FOX show Drive.

Joe Ed is a "jaya's guys night out" kind of guy so when he recommended Drive I was keen to watch it. I watched the first episode during lunch on myspace. (You can find a preview ad for the series on YouTube but I suggest you avoid this spoiler. The show plays better when you don't have any idea of what it is all about.)

Not only was I not disappointed but I was actually excited and left pondering the one of the questions I believe the show asks, "What is your price point for murder?"

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Hip checkup

I when to Dr. John T. Dearborn's office of the Washington Hospital Center for Joint Replacement in Fremont California for hip x-ray and analysis last week. I worked with Brooke Weidig (Certified Physician Assistants).

If you'd like to finding out what the surgery is all about check out this video Minimally Invasive Hip Replacement and the article, This Minimally Invasive Surgery Is Totally Hip.

Tennis pro Jimmy Connors recently had a total hip replacement. Check out is website at www.JimmysNewHip.com. Click on this video link to see him walking for the first time after the surgery. This clip radically changed my mind about the minimal impact of the new techniques.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Cat People (1982)

We were talking about stuff at work this morning and the 80's film Cat People came up. Boy did I have a thing for that film back in collage. I really like the music by Giorgio Moroder, one of my favorite film composers.

Looks like this DVD contains commentary by directory Paul Schrader and other bonus materials added to the 2002 disk publication.

They are something more than lovers who are about to become something less than human.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Elliptical Trainer

NordicTrack Ellipse Brooke Weilig, PA-C, in John T. Dearborn's office prescribed an elliptical trainer for my hip rehabilitation.

The first web search returned the Spirit XE350 elliptical trainer as a best buy. I like the heart rate monitor and the upper body workout features.

Found a discount house called Fitness Blowout that says they have some great prices. Make sure to mention Your coupon code is: F999 for a bonus warranty upgrade.

Treadmill Central has a nice manufacturer/model comparison tool.

Science
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin, compared the NordicTrack Ellipse elliptical trainer against a motorized treadmill, a stairstepper, and a cycle ergometer. The study revealed no significant difference in oxygen consumption, heart rate, and calorie expenditure between treadmill running and the Ellipse. Both the treadmill and Ellipse provided the test subjects with a superior workout over the stairstepper and cycle ergometer. John Porcari explains, "Since the ground reaction forces on the Ellipse were less than half of those during treadmill running, this type of motion may provide a workout similar in intensity [ed. to treadmill running], but with less chance for orthopedic injury [ed. low impact]."

Thursday, April 12, 2007

911 from your cell phone

911 calls should only be made when you believe there is an emergency that may require rapid response by authorities or medical personnel. When you call from a pay phone or your home phone (a land line) the 911 operator will programmaticly know the address from where the call is being placed (where you are). In fact, in some cases the operator will also know if there are hazardous material on site and if so which ones.

The cell phone foils this information technology. Granted if you're a pimp or pusher you don't want the man to be able to put the finger on you when you use the phone. But in a medical or security emergency when you want rapid response the security of the cell technology is a negative feature.

Program your local police emergency phone number into your cell phone. By calling this direct land line from your cell phone you will be connected to the local authorities, best able to send help. If you simply dial 911 from the cell phone some operator in a big communications center run by some state agency will pick up the call, figure out where you are calling from by talking with you, then transfer you to the appropriate local police emergency phone (that you neglected to program into your own cell phone). Given that these 911 cell calls are often not answered for several minutes it may well be a very expensive ishewdove.

IN AN EMERGENCY CALL 911

From a cellular phone in Placer County dial (530) 823-4411

Nancy Drew fabric

Sharon found this fabric with Nancy Drew images and quotes. Maybe I'll use some of this for Dean's quilt.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Shanti Dojo

Today I started another blog to journal the next phase of my training.

Shanti Dojo
Please go to this blog for all spiritual, martial and healing art commentaries.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Wheelman

The Wheelman, a novel by Duane Swierczynski.

One of the best books I've read in years. I found myself reading instead of watching old DVDs of Scrubs.

Cinematic kept coming to mind when I would talk to Sharon about the book. Swierczynski moves on as soon as the plot point has been made, doesn't hang around with paragraphs of description and resolution. He doesn't need to tell you the guy wasn't killed, yet, because the guy is still in the book a couple of chapters (pages) later.

The Wheelman is a hardboiled caper book. The main character Lennon is a mute Irishman driving for a bank hist in Philadelphia. Those who know Philly will recognize the scenery but intimate knowledge of the friendly city is not required.

I first learned about Swierczynski from an interview with him on the Behind the Black Mask: Mystery Writers Revealed podcast (recommended for hardboiled fans).

Excerpt

The Subaru flipped at least six times. Lennon lost count after the first two.

His first thought: Grab the gun.

His second thought: I don't have a gun.

They were all headed for the airport. He was headed for Puerto Rico. And Katie.

Glass shattered around his head, beads grinding into his scalp. The engine whined and complained and finally settled into a low hum.

Lennon had a limited view out of his side window. Grass—some burned, some green. Shoes. Walking toward the car.

There was a dull roaring sound. Lennon could smell his own burning clothes. the last thing he heard was himself, trying to scream.

About the author

Duane Swierczynski is Editor-In-Chief of the Philadelphia City Paper. A receipt for This Here's a Stickup, was found in the getaway car of a San Francisco bandit who'd hit at least thirty California banks. Duane lives in Philadelphia. Visit his Web site at www.DuaneSwierczynski.com.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Tomato and Mozzarella Tart

The regular Auburn session at Latitudes restaurant will not be happening on Easter Sunday so we are going to do a house session, hosted by Pete and Phyllis Grant. It will be a pot luck session so I decided to take a half baked tomato tart, vegetarian finger food.

Like most of the recipes I have been using these days this one if from the America's Test Kitchen show. I plan on making the shell before session (assembly Step #1) and taking the baked shell, tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and fresh basil for the final baking at the Grant's.

Serves 4 to 6

The baked tart is best eaten warm within two hours of baking. If you prefer to do some advance preparation, the tart shell can be pre-baked through step 1, cooled to room temperature, wrapped in plastic wrap, and kept at room temperature for up to two days before being topped and baked with the mozzarella and tomatoes. Use a low-moisture, shrink-wrapped supermarket cheese rather than fresh mozzarella. To keep the frozen dough from cracking, it's best to let it thaw slowly in the refrigerator overnight.

Ingredients

  • Flour for the work surface
  • One (1.1-pound) box frozen puff pastry (Pepperidge Farm), thawed in its box in the refrigerator overnight
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 ounces Parmesan cheese, finely grated (1 cup)
  • 1 pound Roma tomatoes (about 3 to 4 medium), cored and cut crosswise into ¼-inch thick slices
  • Salt
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces low-moisture whole milk mozzarella, shredded (2 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves

Making the shell

  1. Brush egg along one edge of one sheet of puff pastry. Overlap with second sheet of dough by 1 inch and press to seal pieces together.
  2. With rolling pin, smooth out seam. Dough should measure about 18 by 9 inches. Use pizza wheel or knife to trim edges straight.
  3. With pizza wheel or knife, cut 1-inch strip from long side of dough. Cut another 1-inch strip from same side.
  4. Cut 1-inch strip from short side of dough. Cut another 1-inch strip from same side. Transfer pieces of dough to parchment-lined baking sheet and brush with egg.
  5. Gently press long strips of dough onto each long edge of dough and brush with egg. Gently press short strips of dough onto each short edge and brush with egg.
  6. With pizza wheel or knife, trim excess dough from corners.

Assembly

  1. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 425 degrees. Dust the work surface with flour and unfold both pieces of puff pastry onto the work surface. Following the illustrations attached, form 1 large sheet with a border, using the beaten egg as directed. Sprinkle the Parmesan evenly over the bottom of the shell. Using a fork, uniformly and thoroughly poke holes in the bottom. Bake 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Continue to bake until golden brown and crisp, 15 to 17 minutes longer. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack. Increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees.

  2. While the shell bakes, place the tomato slices in a single layer on a double layer of paper towels and sprinkle them evenly with ½ teaspoon salt; let stand 30 minutes. Place a second double layer of paper towels on top of the tomatoes and press firmly to dry the tomatoes. Combine the garlic, olive oil, and a pinch each of salt and pepper in a small bowl; set aside.

  3. Sprinkle the mozzarella evenly over the bottom of the warm (or cool, if made ahead) baked shell. Shingle the tomato slices widthwise on top of the cheese (about 4 slices per row). Brush the tomatoes with the garlic oil.

  4. Bake until the shell is deep golden brown and the cheese is melted, 15 to 17 minutes. Cool on a wire rack 5 minutes, sprinkle with the basil, slide onto a cutting board or serving platter, cut into pieces, and serve.

Knittted Door Shade

Sharon knitted this nice drape to give the master bedroom a feeling of warmth and privacy. The photo graph, flash photography, doesn't do it Justice.

The layout of the master bedroom is such that neighbors are unable to see the door. However, it doesn't "feel" private because we can see out. With this lovely knit drape it provides a sense of privacy and also adds some interest and color to the corner.

You really need to have Sharon explain how she did it (got to holes), I haven't a clue.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs

America's Test Kitchen as a very simple fool proof method of making hard boiled eggs.

Cooking

  1. Place eggs in medium saucepan, cover with 1 inch of water, and bring to a boil over high heat.
  2. Remove pan from heat, cover, and let sit for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, fill medium bowl with 1 quart water and 1 tray ice cubes (or equivalent).
  4. After 10 minutes, transfer eggs to ice bath with slotted spoon and let sit 5 minutes.
Peeling
  1. Tap each egg all over against counter top to crack shell, then roll egg gently back and forth several times.
  2. Begin peeling from air-pocket (wider) end.
  3. The shell should come off in spiral strips attached to thin membrane.
  4. Hard-boiled eggs can be refrigerated for several days.
  5. You can double or triple this recipe as long as you use a pot large enough to hold the eggs in a single layer, covered by an inch of water.
Peeling (added April 6, 2009 from ATK news letter)
If you plan on peeling your eggs immediately after cooking, drain the hot water from the pot used to cook the eggs and shake the pot back and forth to crack the shells. Then plunge them in enough ice water to cover the eggs until they cool down. The water seeps under the broken shells, allowing them to be slipped off without a struggle. If you want to leave the shells intact (perhaps for decorating), and wish to peel them later, the best way is to start to peel from the large end of the egg, which has an air pocket. This lets you get under the membrane without digging into the white.

Potato Salad for BBQ

This recipe is from America's Test Kitchen. We are going to take potato salad to the both the sessions next weekend.

It is called an American potato salad because it has hard boiled eggs and mayonnaise.

Use red bliss potatoes because they are waxy and will not get mealy like a russet would. Boil them with the skins on because if you peel them they will tend to get water logged and bland.

When the potatoes are cooked let them cool so you can handle them without gloves. With a serrated knife, cut up the potatoes and dress with the vinegar, salt and pepper. Refrigerate to cool. [If you were to add the rest of the ingredients to the warm potatoes the mayo would melt and you'd get an oily mess.]

After the dressed potatoes are cool dump in the rest and mix to distribute evenly. Store in the refrigerator.

  • 2 lbs red potatoes, boil for 30 minutes in skins until fork tender
  • Cut potatoes into large chunks
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Toss 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • Cool in refrigerator
  • 1/4 cup sweet pickles, minced
  • 1/4 red onion diced (2 tbsp)
  • 3 hard boiled eggs, diced
  • 1/2 cup celery, diced
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • Before serving mix all of the above together
  • 2 T fresh parsley, chopped and sprinkled on top

Fahrenheit set body temperature = 0

To calibrate his thermometer, Gabriel Fahrenheit originally defined normal human body temperature as being 0 (zero).

For the other/second defined point of 100 °F in the temperature scale, Fahrenheit used the coldest temperature known to mankind in his day. This coldest temp was achieved by adding salt and ammonium chloride to ice. Then using this "base 10 scale" he measured the freezing temperature of pure water at sea level as being 32 °F. Remember, in the early 1700's we didn't have mechanical refrigeration and didn't know about quantum physics.

At some point they (who?) reversed the scale so that 0 °F was the coldest and human body temperature would be 100°F. At this point temperatures began to rise as things heated up. Every thing else began to cool down.

The first thermometers used alcohol and didn't have too wide of a range. When Fahrenheit switched to making mercury thermometers he was able to measure the temperature of boiling water, 212 °F. This and other technological advances lead to a "more accurate" thermometer being developed. In time the more accurate instruments read body temperature as 98.6 °F.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Hip Surgury-Phase IV beginnings

Phase I was when I started Jujitsu training in 1985 and my hip started locking up. Orthopedic physician said I'd need new hips in 20 years or so.

Phase II was 2000 when I had problems getting up the stairs into my house without cursing like a sailor. This time the Standford sports medicine physician said clinically he could replace the hip but I would have to make the call based on the balance between pain and my ability to function.

I went home with the osteoarthritis diagnosis and began researching alternatives to surgery. The changes I made to my lifestyle gave me 5 additional years.

Phase III was last year, 2005 when Dr. Mac Reynolds helped me live with the almost constant pain. He recommended going as long a feasible without surgery but come back for follow ups every 6 months to track progress.

Phase IV is now. Unable to do anything very physical. Not really in pain but not really living either. Ian, a work colleague, had is hip replaced by Dr. Dearborn and was raving about it. He got me thinking about resolving this problem and picking up my investigation again.

This blog thread, "hip", will chronicle my exploration and experiences going forward.

Beginnings, once was old is new again.

Please go to this site and check out Jimmy Connor's hip replacement, the next day video, .

Monday, April 2, 2007

Portaits

Both Sharon and myself are having a good hair day so we took some pictures to capture the moment.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Greek Salad

Sharon went to the store for the Greek Salad ingredients and made it this afternoon while I downloaded all the recipes from Season 6 into my recipe book. Once they finishing airing Season 7 last year's recipes will no longer be available for free access. The forth season of America's Test Kitchen contains this delicious and satisfying recipe for Greek salad.

As ATK pointed out, "True" Greek salad does not include lettuce but is made of tomato, cucumber, bell pepper and red onion, seasoned with salt, pepper, and oregano and dressed with vinegar and olive oil. But it wouldn't be Greek without the additions include feta cheese, capers and kalamata olives. This recipe is an American version that includes Romain lettuce, parsley and some mint. I like to add some tofu to the marinade step as well. The Greek's don't know from this salad, in fact in Greece you can only find these salads in the tourist traps that cater to Americans.

Dressing

  • 3 T red wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 T lemon juice
  • 6 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t black pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
  • 1/4 C fresh oregano, chopped
Marinate in Dressing for at least 5 minutes
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cucumber, cut in half down the sagittal plane, seeds removed, 1/4 inch crescent moon shaped slices
  • 1/2 lb tofu, 1/2 inch cubes
Toppings
  • 2 tomatoes, wedged and seeded
  • roasted red bell peppers (from a jar), sliced
  • 20 kalamata olives, sliced
  • 1/4 C fresh mint, chopped
  • 1/4 C fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 C Feta cheese, crumbled

Check out this link for an authentic horiatiki recipe from Greece.