Sunday, June 22, 2008

Free Enterprise

free enterprise I check out Free Enterprise (1998) from the library this weekend. We watched it a few years ago but I think I enjoyed it more today. If you watch more than 50 films a year put this romantic comedy on your NetFlix.

I use to be one of these guys before I got married. Robert has the same Pioneer system I have (but my screen is bigger and I do have a subwoofer ladies ;). The way they know and quote films is so jaya.

After you have seen the move you can watch the music video (spoiler) No Tears for Caesar. This site's copy of the video has a much better sound quality than the YouTube version.

Love Long And Party

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Honda Civic Hybrid - 2 months

I've been driving my new Civic for two months. Took her in for the first oil change today, 8022 miles (oil life @ 15%).

The average millage to date is 44 MPG. This is up from about 42 MPG when she was brand new. The current tank is running at 45 MPG. Why is it improving?

  1. She's getting broken in and runs easier?
  2. I am learning to drive in a manner that improves the millage.
  3. The motor oil is breaking down, getting thinner so she is running easier?
We'll see if the average MPG drops after this oil change.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Baumbach Wines

Sharon and I took a hike around town today. We stopped in to Depoe Bay for coffee and a toasted bagel. We window shopped and talked. It's nice to be retired.

We swung by Baumbach Winey on the way home to see/taste what they have to offer. Neal Baumbach is the wine maker and gave us a taste of what he has made. We choose the 2004 Charbono and 2007 Simillon. We'll share it with our friends at the next session.

We stopped and talked to several neighbors. Introduced ourselves and told them about our House Concerts in July. Every single person we talked to had some Celtic music interest/connection. :)

Friday, June 13, 2008

U.S.S. Scorpion story revelled

The USS Scorpion was s U.S. Navy nuclear submarine stationed in my home town of Norfolk. On Memorial Day 1968 she failed to return to port after a NATO tour in the Med.

Lost at sea.

Thirty years later her story has changed as the Cold War cooled, unrelated threads came together, old solders told their stories (that were classified TOP SECRET in their day) and the Internet provided a mechanism for dozens of individual to connect and share their knowledge so that the pieces of the puzzle can now be assembled.

Ed Offley's book Scorpion Down tells the full story. I just finished listening to the book tape this week. The perfect book to read after The Hunt for Red October.

Well researched, Offley is a journalist, over a 30 year period. The first few chapters are engaging and he sets you up by telling the story chronologically, you learn what about the ship, the events leading up to her disappearance from the official Navy documents and news paper article published in 1968.

Subsequent chapters lay out the background in more detail. The submariners culture is described and we learn how the Navy operated in the later part of the 20th century. I found the middle of the book boring but all the information needs to be in the record. Mr. Offley collected a lot of stuff and there are many threads that need to be understood before you can appreciate how well they fit together. They fit together, I don't think this is conspiracy theory stuff here. [20 years ago the Scorpion disappearance was a conspiracy theory. Just because you are paranoid doesn't mean that no one is out to get you.]

The final chapters are quit exciting. I couldn't believe the plot twists and turns that came to light decades after the incident.

Everything you know is wrong!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Phoenix Lander Arrives at Mars

Back in the late 1980's I worked on the space station Freedom on-board network software. We always wondered why NASA didn't produce an cool illustrations of what there were building. Hollywood was making movies that looked great and we got nothing about the real world of space. It seemed to me that they were not doing a very effective job of marketing the space program to the public.

Check out this animated illustration of the Phoenix Lander Arrives at Mars. Now that's what I'm talking about.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Fast Food Lesser Guild and Higher Fiber

So your on the road and want to eat. Fast food is not what you should have but what you want and what you buy.

Here are some links to the health ratings to help you choose wisely.

This is the list of not unhealthy choices to consider.

Carl's Jr.
Charbroiled BBQ Chicken Sandwich
Diet Coke

Premium Grilled Chicken Classic Sandwich
Diet Coke

Burger King
Spicy Chicken Crisp Sandwich (no mayo)
Diet Coke

Jack in the Box
Chicken Fajita Pita OR Chicken Sandwich (no bacon)
Diet Coke

Taco Del Mar
2 fish tacos OR Almost Jumbo Burrito, any kind
Diet Coke

2 fish Tacos--- no beans or rice
Diet Coke

Tender Roast Sandwich or Toasted Wrap with Tender Roast Filet
Diet Coke

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Iron Man

Just saw the Iron Man film this afternoon.

I've never read any of the Marvel comics and knew nothing of the story. Didn't hinder my enjoyment of the film. Robert Downing Jr. was superb as the brilliant rich science geek playboy.

Put this on your movie list even if you only see a few movies a year in the theater. Not lame at all. Gwenyth Paltrow (Virginia "Pepper" Potts) is easy on the eyes and her character is quite competent and intelligent.

The Hunt for Red October

This week I listened to the 1984 unabridged book by Tom Clancy The Hunt for Red October, a great ride.

It has been years since I saw the film so I don't remember very much about it. If I recall correctly is takes a while for the film to reveal what the crew of the Red October are up to. In the book we know the motivations of captain Marko Ramius from the first page. The suspense is figuring out how he is going to do it and will he get away with it.

Very engaging book. I understand that a lot of the naval trade craft was removed in the abridged versions, I found it interesting and informative. If your a geek stay away from abridged copies.

I swear the voice the reader used for Ramius was Russian with a Scottish accent (Sean Connery played the role in the film).

Next we we'll watch the film.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Grilled Sausages with Onions

Cook's Illustrated picture This month's issue of Cook's Illustrated (No. 93) has a couple of articles on grilling. Since Sharon came home with 2.5 pounds, 11 links, of New York pork jalapeƱo sausage yesterday I decided to make the Gas-Grilled Sausages with Peppers and Onions this weekend.

Chicken Thighs Grilled chicken thighs To warm the grill up first I cooked up a batch of chicken thighs. Brine the chicken in a hand full of Morton's Kosher salt and half gallon of water, in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Rinse with tap water and trim the fat and loose skin. This reduces the flare ups and charred bits. Dry the chicken. Put on a low sodium rub if you like or just use cayenne and fresh black pepper (the salt is already in the chicken). On a hot grill cook skin side down until there are good grill marks, 2 minutes. Turn over and repeat. Reduce heat to medium and cook each side 5 to 8 minutes until done. One of the articles suggested covering the chicken with loose aluminum foil to cook until almost done after the initial searing. The finish on high heat 2 minutes per side adding BBQ sauce or glaze if you like that sort of thing.

Sausages and Onions Ready for the grill Start the onions in the microwave to get them partially cooked. In addition to the salt, black pepper and thyme I added a cap of hickory smoke. Put somewhat softened onions in a grill pan, cover with the raw sausage and quartered red bell peppers (we forgot the peppers today). Seal the disposable aluminum pan with aluminum foil and place on the grill, medium high, for 15 minutes (sausages turned pale when they cooked).Grilled sausages and caramelized onions

Grilled/browned the sausages and pepper with the pan pushed off to one side (still cooking the onions in their own juice and the rendered sausage fat). When the sausage is browned remove them and finish grilling the peppers. Cover the grill again and continue cooking the onions with an occasional stir until the liquid evaporates and the onions begin to brown, 5 to 10 additional minutes. It took me 35 minutes total on the grill.Dean checking the recipt