Sunday, December 31, 2006

It Seems Self Evident
But it must be said: Happy New Year to you. And you. And you. And those people standing over there to your left.
I haven't given much thought to the blog lately but I hope to spin up the FTL drive in '07. It looks like a busy year so that could mean either more blogging or a lot less. As Fats Waller would say, "One never knows, do one?"
And it's never too early to contemplate resolutions (what? a day before? -Ed.). Resolution #1: Shut Ed. up permanently. Heh heh heh!
Actually, I have a resolution suggestion to those who may be receptive. It's so easy to complain about things in life, and you're often given good reason to do so. But there are people out there who do the right thing like give good service in high "public contact" job. I resolve, and ask that you consider doing the same, to make the extra effort to praise good service. Case in point: the drive-up teller at my local bank is consistently cheerful, friendly and efficient. So I wrote a letter to the bank manager praising her work. I've worked in a bank and I know how rare it is for someone to make their positive feelings known other than perhaps a "thank you" to the teller at the time of service.
I am going to do my best in the New Year to identify and explicitly praise people. If it's going to a store manager and telling him that a clerk gave me good service or writing a letter (the better option), I am going to do so at least once a month. I think it's a good thing to do.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Sundry Intarwebnet Ramblings
I completely sucked at this album cover art quiz. 14 out of 54. If someone wants to fill me in, I'm all ears.
Next, modding weirdness: guitar amps in toasters. Yep, toasters. I'm starting to think that rider's not coming on a pale horse. Download the mp3 of the hoofbeats of perdition at (Yes, that web address does exist - and really, don't waste your time unless you are ... just don't waste your time.)
I'll Be Damned
File this under "trying new things." I sliced open the tip of my right index finger a day ago (think paper cut deep) and slapped an adhesive bandage on it. Wrapped around my finger as it were. But the bandage wasn't shower proof and as is the Tao of Paper Cuts, the skin gapped open. Even though there's little blood, it was a painful little cuss and damnably inconvenient. So how to deal with it? I didn't want another bandage because a bandage on such a used fingertip deadens touch. I was putting together my 5-guitar stand and kept dropping the farging Allen wrench.
An of course the solution hits me as I'm sitting at my desk: cyanoacrylate. Crazy glue. A few fine drops in the slit, press the skin together for a moment and I am good to go. It does still hurt but the wound is closed and I get to use the fingertip without loss of sensation. I do believe I'm going to use this for wound closure more often.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Great Stuff
Lycurgus mined my Amazon wish list for Christmas presents and still managed to surprise me. I'm now using an Apple wireless "Mighty Mouse." Sweet. I can scroll through web pages again! Not to mention having more buttons (the scroll ball acts as a button which I have mapped to invoke my widgets) than a giraffe's business shirt. This was unexpected and hugely appreciated since the sole plate on my wireless regular mouse had developed problems. The little slider switch that shuts off the mouse light slides on thin plastic rails and mine was, dare I say it, off the rails. Hmm. I dare say it. I'll see if I Apple sells replacement parts for mice so I can have it as a spare against the day my Mighty Mouse meets its cartoon nemesis.
Other good things: a cart for my gas grill, an adapter for said grill that will allow me to run it off a full-sized propane tank. (rubbing hands together) EXcellent! And the iPlayMusic lessons. The Enigmatic Misanthropes gave me one of the most delicious things made in this hemisphere: a Tortuga rum cake. I'm proud to say that I didn't breach the goodie until Christmas itself. But I fear for its longevity.
One final thing about Christmas eats: making whipped cream is just sick easy with the whisk attachment of a stick blender. I will never buy a can of the reddi again.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas!
God bless us, every one.
I am happy to report that the great cook up was not a great cock up. The roast was not perfectly done but the outer slabs were consumed with gusto. I can also say with assurance that Costco is a great place to buy a prime rib roast. Wil, my next one gets treated right, promise!
Secondly, the chocolate pots de creme were so rich and heavy with bittersweet chocolate that I dare even the deepest chocoholic to eat more than one ramekin of this pure delight. The dollop of whipped cream was a welcome counterpoint to the thick, silky chocolate. The cauliflower was not roasted as there was too much food by that point. The French onion tart turned out well but not perfectly. The crust should have been thinner and baked a wee bit less. But delicious. Oh my. The sweetness of the onion filling was startling. And finally, the Cook's Illustrated take on the traditional green bean casserole was a revelation. Like seeing a girl you knew in junior high turn into a passing gorgeous woman in high school. The essence of the goodness is to use fresh green beans, boiled "tender crsip" and to make the sauce with fresh mushroom chunks. If it's desired, I'll rip off the folks who put the magazine out and post the recipe here.
Plus I got lots of cool swag. But now, Renee Fleming is singing on PBS. I must go.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Christmas Eats
I'm having a friend over for Christmas Eve dinner. Her birthday is early in December and I offered to have to dinner which turned out, due to our incompatible schedules, to be a dinner on the Eve. I decided that I had to actually cook for a change if I'm going to change my habits in the new year and stick to good, home-cooked meals instead of relying, as I do, far too much on the easily available modern foods, either "fast" or "prepared."
So the menu, as it stands, with much cooking to do is as follows: a cheat on the appetizers - Costco frozen oriental "Dim Sum" shrimp-filled treats with dipping sauce, salad (another cheat - I buy bagged salad greens), the "Cooks Illustrated" version of the famous green bean casserole, roasted cauliflower, prime rib roast (stuck with garlic cloves and draped while cooking with bacon), French onion tart (again from "Cooks") and for afters pomegranate sorbet and chocolate pots de creme.
If things turn out even halfway decently, I'll take some snaps. But my point in posting all this is to lead to the question: Do you have any Christmas Day or Christmas Eve traditional eats? Leave me a comment. I'll go into what my family traditionally did for Christmas Day in a future post.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Horrible, Horrible Morning
One day after I do well in getting up, I have an absolutely abysmal night's sleep and can't get going to save my fool life. Why, oh why is the human designed that a raging headache can set in in the deadest heart of night for no discernible reason? And it's not like it's gone away by now either. My morning coffee awaits me and I am sullen and unproductive. Merry frinkling Christmas, yeah, you bet.
Oh argh. I have much to do today so this malaise had better hit the road.
However, for your Christmas pleasure, I present YouTube videos: Mariah Carey looking cute as can be all done up as Ronnie Spector singing "All I Want For Christmas Is You" and the late, great Karen Carpenter singing "Merry Christmas, Darling." There is good in the world. Enjoy.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Old Learning Curve
So I'm plucking through the 16 bars of "Ode to Joy" that one of my instruction books has as a two-string exercise and something just doesn't sound quite right on Peg. First thing I find is that I'm not playing the string consistently at the bottom of the fret which has an effect on the sound. I test the tuning and that's good. Then I realize, I'm resting my hand against the trem bridge. The PRS trem bridge is so amazingly sensitive that I can actually get a tremelo just by pressing the base of the bridge with the heel of my hand. I've bent the notes without intending to.
That alone is not shocking - the PRS trem bridge is a beautiful piece of engineering. But the fact that I now hear the difference is just stunning. My ear is actually getting better. Next year, there will be Christmas music being made in my place, not just played.
OK, I Get It
I'm talking to myself here.

My good friend the guitar nazi got himself a new guitar today. It's nice. But mine is prettier. Even he would agree with that. But he can make his do things I can only imagine. So game, set and match to him. The "Woot!" however, is not for him. It's for me. I got my Christmas gift from him and it's a five-guitar stand! Sweet. Now I'll have to get one more to fill out the stand. And maybe another if I loan one of mine out for a while.... Just kiddin' witcha. I have no more guitaritorrial ambitions.

Wakey, Wakey Eggs & Bakey
I'm not very good about getting up in the ayem. Being of an idle class and, as many would say, an idle disposition, I don't have that invisible hand pushing me out of the sack in the early dark. I greatly respect those who rise and shine. My late mother was an insanely early riser. She'd be up at 4am on many a day. And I doubt she was in bed at 6am save for illness.
Yet I have my alarm set for 6am even though the snooze button gets a good work out. Still, I routinely wake up in the five minutes before 6am so I'm not asleep when the alarm does crawl up to volume (a wonderful trait of the Bose Wave Radio, by the way). It's in these minutes at the margin of sleep and wakefulness that words swim into my mind like "Corn Belt" and "congealed carry permit." I wish I understood what was going on in this free-floating hypnopompia but that is something too elusive of understanding. So I've decided to change.
I'm now going to make every effort to take the time I wake on my own as the time I get up. Thus, early posting. Perhaps more bad puns. And I'll have the newspaper read before fargin' noon. It's never too early for a resolution.

Christmas Music
I am no fan of Mariah Carey, melismatic sludge is no way t treat good music. However, her song "All I Want For Christmas Is You" which I suppose can be called a hit of sorts, is wonderful. She shows her vocal talent (and as much as I am not a fan, I will readily admit that the girl can sing) in a bouncy, rollicking tune with some great touches like the almost Jerry Lee Lewisish piano as it comes in. I'd never buy the entire CD but I'm quite happy to add the song to my Christmas playlist.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Things I Like About iTunes
In the continuing series: Automatic importing of album cover art when ripping from a CD. It's a lot like the Gracenote CDDB providing all the track info automatically when one inserts a CD and the computer running iTunes in online. Simple bottom line: both features make my life easier and save me maybe five minutes of typing and cover art grabbing per CD. Thanks Apple.

Even I Groan At This One
Why does America have a Corn Belt in the Midwest?
To keep its plants up.

Monday, December 18, 2006

I Got Your SNL Sketch Idea Right Here
Not that I knew it before reading my favorite celebrity-bashing site but it seems that Miss USA is named Tara Connor. According to the New York Daily News, she's been a Bizzy Miss Missy:
Miss USA Tara Conner is on the verge of losing her crown after testing positive for cocaine, lustily kissing Miss Teen USA in public and sneaking men into their Trump Place apartment, sources tell the Daily News.

"Tara was a party animal," said a source who knows Conner, 20, and Miss Teen USA Katie Blair, 18, from some of the city's top nightspots. "I've seen them kiss before. They always dance all sexy on the tables. ... They definitely get close."

I also learned that the Miss USA pageant is run by Donald Trump who, it seems is terminating the reign of the party grrrl. Hmmm. Tara Connor. Terminating. Hmmm.
So here we go: Darrel Hammond as the Terminator robot which has the exterior features of The Donald. "I have come from the future to terminate Tara Connor. You're fired." Pure comedy gold. This stuff almost writes itself and I'll put money on SNL not using this brilliant idea.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Reality TV
I used to watch "Survivor." Then I realized that I watched because I hated the contestants so much that all I really wanted to see was their silly asses getting voted off. Though I was always impressed with the good work the production team did on set design. I only post about the current season to say that I finally broke my string. I've not watched a single episode of the show this time around. And I know now that I'll never watch it again. To hell with them all.
On the other hand, I'm now totally addicted to Sci-Fi's new"Battlestar Galactica." There are a lot of troubling aspects to the logic of it but what the hey. Great casting, very good writing and superb EFX. And I thank Netflix for letting catch up on what I missed. There is a richness to life available to us in digital media that's just stunning compared to what we had back in the old Big Three Network days. Yes, yes, we've lost some things as well. But that's a story for another day.
And another thing - the Ellen Degeneres AmEx commercials with the animals are great. Very cute, very funny. The Ellen ads without the animals ... not so much.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Banning Trans Fats
Now that the solons of New York City have seen fit to ban trans fats, can Gothamites apply for Congealed Carry Permits?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Another Plus For the Intrawebnet
A Google image search provides the biggest selection of clip art in human history. Unnh, I mean EVAR!

There Is No End To Christmas Pugs
This example comes from the AAA. But how dare they suggest that someone wouldn't want a pug for Christmas? Please!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Finding Christmas
I live alone. Family is distant, friends abound but don't share the living space of course. Offspring have never sprung off so I've developed a life that runs to suit myself and no other. Which is all well and good until something like Christmas comes along. Last year I recall that I wrote it just didn't seem like Christmas. This year I'm setting out to change that. I listen relentlessly to my "Christmas" iTunes playlist (now up to 93 songs which plays for over five straight hours) and I'm doing the decorations. The wreath is already hung, though not yet jazzed up, and the tabletop tree is cooling in the garage awaiting its setup.
The problem has been that I have a box of Christmas stuff from the tree stand to ornaments to a string of battery-powered LED lights for the wreath and I have been unable to find that box. Yesterday was finally gut-check day. I even crawled into the under-stair storage area to look for the box. Just could not find it. Finally I pulled a box marked "Christmas" out of a corner and yanked it open to find ... kitchenware. Hunh? Then it hit me. I had originally packed that box with Christmas until I had too much of holiday stuff to fit. So I used an inexpensive plastic footlocker to repack all the Christmas goodies. D'oh! The footlocker has been sitting in the garage, easily accessible all this time.
So now the Box o' Cheer is all wiped off of car hole grit and sitting in the living room and today the tree goes up and the decoration begins. I've added Hallmark's "Santas of the World" miniature set as my ornament purchase this year. I'd like to get a string of miniature bubble lights if such a thing exists. Having grown up with bubble lights, I find that they just define Christmas tree decoration for me. If anyone cares to weigh in with favorite ornaments or ornament types, I'd love to hear it.
I also must tip my hat to my former mother-in-law "Yuletide Carole." A woman of rare artistic ability who did Christmas like no one else. A collection of Nativity scenes practically had to fight for space in the house with the several highly-decorated trees. That's right, I said "several." She is a Christmas Goddess. I have never before seen a tree like hers that has so many Hallmark "Sound and Motion" ornaments (which plug into light strings to power all sorts of little scenes) that the lights at the top of the tree are dimmed due to the 'lectricity load on the light strand.

Random Rudeness
As I was in the checkout lane of my local supermarket, I looked at the serried ranks of gums and candies among which was "Bubblicious." Of course my mind made this "Bubbalicious" which then struck as the Jeopardy answer to the question "How does Monica Lewinsky describe Bill Clinton?"

Sunday, December 10, 2006

We'll Have Pugs For Christmas
The XMBD NMSE sent me a picture which just cries out to be shared. I'll let her do all the heavy lifting:
The Snack Pack meets Santa! Chaos ensues!
Front row: Allie (95% blind), Spike (95% blind, 100% deaf), Chino (98% goofy), Panda (110% willful), Fred (100% deaf).
Back row: Santa (100% exhausted).
As ever, click image for a bigger view. I'll have to post a pic the Spikerman as a bebe. He was so key-yoot!

Recent Movie Rentals
I watched the new Superman movie but a few days ago. What an egregious piece of crap. Brandon Routh as Superman is good but the movie as whole ... let me rephrase that: The movie as a hole. Don't pour your good money into that hole.
On the other hand the new Pirates of the Carib movie is flat out fantastic. Bill Nighy (with whose work you should be familiar - the first Underworld movie, "Love, Actually") as Davy Jones is superb and the sea creature/sailor creations are brilliant. Strangely, Keira Knightley, whom I usually adore, is startlingly uninteresting in this iteration. As is Orlando Bloom. But Johnny Depp is the consummate pirate. This movie is ownably good. I'll have to wait for Netflix to offer it for sale.

This May Be It
I was considering the XMBD NMSE's suggestion that my new guitar's quilted top looks like malachite. That's not an inaccurate observation. It got me to thinking of what connections I've had to malachite in my life. The salient thing in my memory was a ring my mother had and loved. And it hit me. The guitar is now "Peg" after my late mother. I will play it in memory of her. If, at some point in the future, she tells me that her name is really something else, I will call her by that name. But now she is Peg.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Guitars In Bonds

Well, OK, just one. And the guitar is only striped by the mullion shadows. I will take a better pic than this, given time. But I figured (deeply, richly figured as in quilted maple wood) that it was time to post a picture of the body of this beauty. Still no name has presented itself to me. That'll come in time I suppose.
Pretty innit?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

A Better Shot
Here's the head of the new guitar in bright morning light. I'm about to overuse the phrase "Pretty innit?" but I wanted to show off the inlaid Paua (or Rainbow abalone) shell signature. And the rosewood headstock overlay.
Personally speaking, I love the shape of the PRS headstock - distinctive and practical at the same time. The layout of the pegs allows the strings to stay straighter and thus remain in tune better. Day-um but these are good guitars!

Christmas Music
I got the "A Charlie Brown Christmas" disc in the mail today and I'm glad I did. It is delightful. And just silly cheap from Amazon- $4.99. What is not to like?

Slightly Better

I pulled the new guitar into the morning sun streaming through my window and took a couple of shots. Here I give you the fretboard with the "birds in flight" inlay. My picture still doesn't do it justice but I'll get a really good shot of it one of these days. And, of course, you can see a snip of the quilt top at the lower left of the picture. Pretty, innit?
Click the picture for a bigger view.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

I Was Hoping It Was A Compliment
Someone told me today that I have "movie star looks." I was happy until I realized the movie to which he was referring.

How To Spend Five Glorious Minutes
Listen to Cecilia Bartoli and Bryn Terfel sing Rossini. I understand this is on DVD. Which I'm going to have to get. My God, Bartoli is wonderful to listen to.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Decidedly The Last Pepper Post Of The Year
Here's a pic of the remaining production of jellies from the big pile o' peppers I posted about a month ago. I've handed out a few jars here and there. The picture shows 11 1/2 pint jars of cranberry jalapeno, 7 pint jars of jalapeno pepper, 22 1/2 pint jars of jalapeno pepper, 3 hexagonal jars of between 1/2 and 1 pint (again, jalapeno pepper jelly) and one glass jar of somewhat more than a pint of, yes, jalapeno pepper jelly.
And I'm done.
I've tried the jalapeno pepper jelly and I like it but I have to say that the cranberry jelly is even better - think of your regular cranberry jelly with a nice warm capsicum glow. Depending on what peppers I grow next year, I may go for the cranberry jelly. You'll not hear any more about the deck farm until next year's production begins to ramp up.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Oh Bugger

I'm always looking for devices that make housecleaning easier. I've had a Dirt Devil broom vac for a while but it was starting to show its age. So I bought one of the new ones - more stylish, more powerful, what's not to like? I'll tell you what. The old one had a bracket that let me mount the thing on the wall with the charger plug set so that mounting the vac in the bracket connected the charger. The new one doesn't have a wall bracket. Grrr. I'll probably have to roll my own.
And another thing. Illiteracy. Illiteracy on the front (left) and illiteracy on the back (below).

Sunday, December 03, 2006

First Look

Here is a fairly poor shot of the head of my new guitar. Yes, it is a crappy shot but I wanted to get the inlaid signature, the 20th anniversary logo on the truss rod cover, the PRS locking tuners and the gold tuning hardware all on the record. Just a taste, something to whet your appetite for when I take good pictures of it. I made the mistake of taking the picture after dark when I had to rely on artificial light. And flash. The flash on my ol' digicam really just blows out the photos I take. I'll take daylight pix in the next day or so. That's the Swamp Ash Special in the background.
Now, I must tune that beauty up and strum a bit.
Gifting Season Begins

The XMBD NMSE was a gift-wrapping fool. And I mean in the non-pejorative, praising way. In point of fact, I have never known anyone in my life who was as good at gift wrapping, bar none. I learned a little bit and have been pretty good with the paper for a while now. This Christmas, though, I'm going to try to improve my bow-building skills. I never expect to have "mad bow-bilding skillz" but I don't want to look like a noob. So I bought some wire-edged ribbon. I wanted something other than black but my main roll of Christmas paper this year is pretty light so I opted for the black after all. Here's my first try. What say you?

Saturday, December 02, 2006

I Like This

Looks Pretty Cool To Me I might have to access this for my moosical development. I've got to be able to actually play a song by February. Hunh? No. No reason. Just thought I'd pick an arbitrary month.
Also I'll be unlimbering the digicam tomorrow to snap the new guitar, the great assemblage of jelly jars and something on a package that fries my BVDs. Pictures - easier blogging than actually writing something.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Painful Beauty
I'm now in possession of my new guitar. It is like Teri Hatcher's breasteseses on "Seinfeld:" spectacular. The quilting is deep-end-of-the-pool lush. Even if quilted maple is not the sound wood that flame maple is, this sweetheart sounds awfully good to me. The gold hardware, the "birds in flight" on the fretboard. That's not a sentence because I couldn't think of a sentence to wrap around those descriptions. Let's just agree that this as yet unnamed beauty is deserving of lavish praise.
So beautiful it hurts. Pictures will be posted.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Here is a drop-your-groceries funny mashup of "Seinfeld" episodes with Michael Richards' stupid rant and even more idiotic apology. Enjoy.

How Exciting!
I got a call from my favorite guitar merchant. I have been expecting, as I've mentioned before, my next PRS by Q1'07. But something has come from the Wizard of Kent Island. It's a tad bit more than the axe (oh gor blimey! I'm not allowed to use that word until I actually play! sorry) I was expecting but I'll go for it anyway. I was expecting a Singlecut Trem Artist's Package in Emerald Green flame maple. The one that's in store is slightly different: it's a quilted maple top. My friend the guitar nazi tells me that quilted maple is not as good a tone wood as flame maple but quilted maple is so incredibly, unbelievably gorgeous, it defies belief. Here is one of the Private Stock models with a quilted top for your delectation. I link to a Private Stock model as I don't expect that link to rot. Keep in mind that what I expect to be mine will be a grassier green and shaped like a Les Paul. If that doesn't mean anything to you, you really should have skipped this post.
More details later including a picture. I'm preparing for my happy dance.

Billy Beck is back, thank goodness. I hate to see a domain get into the hands of someone who doesn't deserve it. Especially when the domain is being used so well. Though I posted about his brief (as it turned out) submergence beneath the moist swells of the interweb, what I was carrying in my mind was how much I appreciate his continued dedication to illuminating the endarkenment. What specifically made me think of him, several days ago, was listening to Laura Ingraham's radio show which had a segment on Congressman Rangel's (D-Pinhead) call for a military draft.
We know that it's not going to happen as the military itself has come to the realization that a volunteer force makes a better army than a mass of conscripts. But someone, and here's where the ol' debil memory fails, took off on Rangel's idiocy to advocate universal "national service." And Ms. Ingraham (usually a smart cookie, though not nearly as smart as she considers herself) said something to the effect that she thought it would be a good idea! Service me selectively! "National service" is "involuntary servitude" with a FEMA team of cosmeticians and plastic surgeons to make it look pretty.
I'd really hoped this country had moved beyond any advocacy of slavery. And barring that, that someone as nominally conservative as Laura Ingraham would not be advocating such a stupid idea. Thus the endarkenment marches forward. We beat on, boats against the current. Let's just not suck civilization actually back into the past.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Noted In Passing
Billy Beck's Two--Four blog seems to have been hijacked at expiration. Even though it hasn't been overtaken but a day or two, I miss his uncompromising Libertarian, even Objectivist take on the endarkenment. Not to mention his fierce love of the 'lectrified gitbox. I was amused to see that he recently posted about what a kick-ass guitarist Brad Paisley is. Billy! What took you so long?
In any event, I hope he reclaims his territory soon.
Also, Insty 'n' the lovely Mrs. Insty's podcast with Orson Scott Card is not to be missed. Link goes to the mp3 version. Superb use of the medium. Heh. Indeed.
A Question Of Use
Is the phrase "tow the line" or "toe the line?" I believe a case can be made for either but it seems that the phrase, by origin. should properly be one or the other. I await your input.
UPDATE: Nailed it in one. Dale in comments provides an excellent link which I will not reproduce here so as to force you to read the comments. I entirely agree. "Toe the line" is the most logical phrase and, should I ever have reason to use it to use said phrase, that is the way it will appear. My thanks for the swift input.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Very Nearly The Last Post On Peppers
I have used almost all of the 4.25 lbs of jalapeno peppers in batches of pepper jelly and cranberry jalapeno jelly. I have peppers certainly for one more batch of pepper jelly and possibly two batches if I scale back on the 1/2 cup of them I've been using in the making. So I'll probably make one more full-strength batch and then a mild, final batch. I've gone through three cases of 1/2 pint jars, a half case of full pint jars as well as using all the loose jars I've accumulated in the course of buying things in jars worth saving. By which I mean the very cunning hexagonal jars in which Trader Joe's used to sell kalamata olive spread. I've had good reports on the pepper jelly and I tried the cranberry variety (based off a recipe for cranberry habanero jelly - ouch!) at Thanksgiving. Me likee. Cranberry and sweet with a nice glow in it. The final post will be a picture of all the jars of product when I'm done.
And there will be more hot peppers in the deck farm next year. Oh yes. Indeed there will.

Michael Richards And Me
I have no privity with Mr. Richards actually. But his latest stupidity in shouting modern America's one verboten word repeatedly on the stage of a comedy club does force me to recall an instance of my past involving a comedy club and the same word. Though when you go far enough back to encounter my brief stage appearance, it was just a bad word, not "The N Word" it has become today. Let's pick the year 1985 out of the bucket of years-gone-by as the date for this one. If it wasn't that year, at least it was close thereto. I worked at a bank that no longer exists, sucked into a series of mergers as is their wont these days. And I had a friend who was a very funny guy. He decided to throw some of his material on the wall to see if it stuck at an open-mic night at Garvin's comedy club in DC. I went along for moral support.
That being as it may, the Black MC of the evening, saw in me a prime target: a fat white boy asittin' amongst the audients. He pulled me up on stage to "teach me how to be Black." I went along. He had me follow him in some struttin' walks and then asked me "Can you say 'nigger?'" Well, of course I could but I didn't really want to. So I looked him in the eye and said, "And LIVE?"
Best laugh I ever got in a public setting. And the MC even laughed on it. He then let me go knowing that I could hold my own. He then went into introducing the tyros who'd signed up. Several people that I passed as I went back to my seat asked me if I were going on stage. I had nothing prepared so, of course, not. I missed a good chance to either become rich and famous or really screw up my life completely. Still and all, that's my experience with comedy clubs and the word that Kramer The Pinhead used to screw up his life completely.
Ha. I win.
The Non-Obligatory Music Post
Even as I type, sitting in my shopping cart over at Amazon is the Charlie Brown Christmas CD. I give myself a new CD of Christmas music every year and I finally realized that I was missing the UR-text of popular Boomer Christmas nostalgia. As soon as I assemble a few more items (why? free shipping of course! duh!), I will remedy my glaring omission. And it goes for a piddling seven bucks. Sweet mother of Dolly Madison snack cakes! That's about two bucks more than cost of materials.
But what music has crept in since last I posted? Little Feat's "Sailin' Shoes." Very possible one of the greatest albums of the early Seventies. At the very least, from one the greatest bands of the Seventies. Too bad Lowell George couldn't shake that China White monkey off his back. He was brilliant. And, like me, just too fond of the calories.
I've put the link to the Wikipedia page for a couple of reasons. First, because it tickles me that the album has its own page and secondly because the page is rich with links about the band and the disc. I am a strong believer that every music lover should have an extensive selection of Little Feat music upon which to call. Even the post-Georgian disc "Representing the Mambo" is well worth owning for just "Texas Twister" and the title track. Ah well, 'tis the fate of the artist to burn out lest he fade away. Lowell George is one that I wish could have stuck around a while longer.

One For The Memory Hole
A souvenir, as it were, of good times in the year of Our Lord Two Thousand and Six.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Hot Damn
Netflix has made my lady vampire dreams come true. "Underworld Evolution" divid for $7.00. Purchase - not rental. Mmmmm! Laaaady vaaammmpire!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

A pug video wins the $100,000 prize on America's Funniest Videos.
Damn skippy.

Old Rockers Never Die
I caught a few minutes of Robert Plant on PBS's "Soundstage" this evening. Good lord is he looking ravaged. In order to carry his looks he needs to weigh about 92 pounds. And he looks like he's been snacking on the bones of John Bonham as well as the corpses of Led Zeppelin songs for about the last two decades.
And to finish the title of this post: They just start to really suck.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Friday, November 10, 2006

Let Me Get This Straight...
The Democrats "New Direction" is McGovernment? The man who was buried by Nixon has now been disinterred. Shite. McGovernment - "We're pulling you out of Iraq and do you want fries with that?"

Lack Of Posting
Will continue for an indeterminate period. In fact, I'm seriously thinking of taking PoW dark for the rest of time. If I find the spark to post again, it will most likely be in a whole new blog. And there will be no pointer to the new one from this one. Of that, be assured.

Friday, November 03, 2006

More Great Ideas
I recently read a short piece in the noisepaper about "celebrity perfumes." The smell-in-a-bottle that has some movie or TV rent-a-skank on the label as if, say, Sarah Jessica Parker ("Lovely" - flag on the play! 15 yard penalty for inappropriate naming) suddenly found herself in a lab coat at International Flavors & Fragrances. Other "celebrities" - I swear that word alone is starting to make me vomit just a little in my mouth - in the article were Hillary Duff and Jennifer Loves Hertits.
I shouldn't neglect the fact that some men's packaged stinks come with the names of sports stars on them: Derek Jeter, Michael Jordan. Doesn't that just call up some aromatic images! Used athletic socks, stuffy locker rooms. Eeesh.
In any event, I though the perfume purveyors are missing at least one bet: a famed one-trick-pony Hollywood director of Indian extraction. I can picture it now ... "Introducing the the newest production from famed director
M. Night Shamalamadingdong, 'The Sixth Scent.' Musky overtones of sandalwood and patchouli blossom and shimmer over a base note of rotting human flesh. Do you want to try it? Of corpse you do! Spray it on ... and expect a surprise ending...."
I should be getting paid for these flashes of brilliance.

What Else Have I Been Doing?

Making jelly of course. The background is part of the new baker's rack in the kitchen (by the way - "nice rack"). I had reason to sample a bit of it (left over from the third set of jars) and it's not nearly as hot as I'd like. I'll have to get some more jars and make some more. Man, I'll take any excuse to make more JELLEH!
So Far Behind
The posting as been light of late for a couple of reasons. I've had a house guest from out of state who is dealing with divorce issues in the DC courts. Since he comes to the local airport, I've been giving him the benefit of my digs and a trip to the Metro station on his court days. He's been a good guest and helped me out with a couple of projects that the other cause of my light posting has been impeding. Said cause being lower back grief that has been just ultra-mega annoying. I seem to be coming out of it now. Thank goodness.
My stinkin' back pain is also the reason I never got it together to carve this year's Dent-O-Lantern. The fault is mine and I will be abashed until I redeem myself next year.
And the final note in this apologia is simple: I (heart) atomic clocks. I have wanted a replacement wall clock for the battery-powered analog clock that I first put up in my bedroom for about the last year. I am easily awakened by sound and the ticking of the analog clock was enough to delay sleep. I really wanted an LCD clock that mimicked the analog display. But at (good old) Costco the other day I found an LCD atomic clock and, though it has a digital display, I got it. It's great! Date, time (with an incrementing dots around the perimeter display for the seconds), temperature, no need to set it, accurate to much-more-than-I-need-it-to-be. All in a lovely brushed stainless case. I'm thinking of getting another to replace the analog clock in the kitchen.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Heh Heh Heh
His Excellency Rodger Schlong over at Curmudgeonly & Skeptical posted a picture of an actual Jimmah Carter campaign T shirt that said "Not Just Peanuts." I thought it had a germ of truth and altered the picture which I then passed along to Der Schlongmeister. He liked it but them altered his original image much more elegantly than did I, who just erased letters instead of making ghosts out of them. Check it out.
Since I am talking about "History's Greatest Monster" (one thing the writers of "The Simpsons" got right), I have to post the following quote from Spinoza: "Those who are believed to be most abject and humble are usually most ambitious and envious."
I don't know the source of the quote as it was included in the page of quotations on humility that was on the final page of the June 19 issue of "Forbes." So, despite the lack of provenance, I can not think of a better capsule assessment of Jimmy Carter. His public face is faux humility when his reality is a burning anger if not hatred of those who do not follow him.

Alastair Ian Stewart
Perhaps you know him as the man behind "Year of the Cat" though he is indeed so much more. Proving old folkies never die (finish that as a joke any way you like), he is touring. And he will be in Reno, NV on May 10. Having made 2006 the Year Of Traveling To See Mike Cross, I need to go more extreme for the seventh year of the decade. Perhaps the Enigmatic Misanthrope would like to join me on a trip to the west to see a show? I'd like to see him in concert before he dies or I die. You never know.
I'd also like to note with no small degree of admiration that his website posts a full page of fan-generated tabs for his songs. In an era where guitar tab pages are being shut down by copyright threats, here is a man who provides them for his fans. Fantastic. Not to mention that his website provides "alumni" links to artists who've played with him. That, in my estimation, is a mark of greatness that a man can share a spotlight.
Plus, I finally realized that Peter White, one of those "alumni" who played guitar with Al in that period where I discovered his music (and thus my favorite period) is also the Peter White who played with the great Polish jazz singer Basia. That would be a Polish singer who sings jazz, not a singer who sings Polish jazz. I'm sort of doubtful that there is such a category of music. Or if there is, it's got a pretty limited repertoire.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Another Small Grace Note
Friends put me onto something at Costco. I've long been a fan of the Costco rotisserie chickens: larger, more flavorful and at least a dollar cheaper than those sold at the regular supermarket. (I almost wrote "grocery store." Has there been a "grocery store" in existence since Dobie Gillis worker for his dad?) Now I know what they do with the birds they don't sell. They make a kick-ass chicken soup. A good half gallon (I'm guessing here but it sure seems like two quarts) with good stock, big hunks of chicken that are still laden with flavor, carrots, celery and, though I avoided them, noodles all for ten bucks. This is for at least three meals worth of soup, I tell ya what.
Once again, Costco provides a delicious grace note on a chilly weekend.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Not That Anyone Cares
But it seems the next PRS won't be on the scene until sometime in late winter of early spring. Q1 '07 as it were. Now that I'm committed to it, it gets harder to wait. It's just sodam beautiful. Singlecut trem, artist's package in emerald green. Yeah, I know I said it before. Odds are I'll say it again before I actually have it.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Insert Resigned Sigh Here
My service call to the HVAC people has turned into one of "those" moments. I moved into a townhouse that was built about 15 years ago, give or take. And the equipment installed was "contractor (or builder) grade." In other words, of acceptable quality but not good enough that someone living in the house would necessarily opt for it. Except, of course, where raw cost is the operative factor.
This has caught up with me in several ways since I bought this place. I had new carpeting put in when I moved in - the old stuff was dingy off-white and the padding was mashed down to nothing. Then there was the new roof. Then there was the AC unit last year. Then the kitchen make-over with new floor, new range and new hood-mounted microwave. And was I ever glad to see the old range thing go!
And it catches up to me yet again. There is enough wrong with my old gas furnace that to merely fix it would cost one-third the cost of a new system and even then the fix would probably give me a couple of years. So, as soon as we get the timing worked out, I'll be having a new and vastly better furnace put in. Oh well. It would have been nice to not have to drop the ducats on it but at least it'll be new and efficient and I'll not have to worry about it for the remainder of my time here. Most likely.
On the other hand, the baker's rack looks pretty good.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Jalapenos (Yes - Again)
I made jalapeno pepper jelly today. Oh yum. I made it hot. Since I have so much of the makin's, I'll make more tomorrow but it'll be milder. I'll seed the peppers first and I'll only use the green ones. That should do it. The jelly I made today used both the red and green jalapenos. It's got a lovely confetti look to it. I'll post pics when the jars have set and been labeled.
Also my new kitchen furniture, the baker's rack to replace the corner shelves, arrived today so I'll be building that as I process more of the jelly. Y'know, this shite is fun!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Firefox 2.0
Well I'll be buggered. I've downloaded and installed the new release of Firefox and the tabbed browsing has been altered in such a way that the close button is on the tab itself and not over in the corner where I expect it to be. Apple's Safari browser has operated that way and I rather liked the way Firefox used to do it. But I'm not such an old BlogDog that I can't learn new tricks. There is a clever little drop-down arrow where the close button used to be that allows navigation among tabs. That could be useful.
Also spelling is being flagged as I type in Blogger. That may be a Blogger upgrade but I appreciate it. I'm an OK speller but a lousy tupiat ... typist. Sorry.
UPDATE: With Firefox, all things are (at least seem to be) possible. Here is a page with all sorts of tweaks to this most excellent browser. I've already changed my tab close button to its old familiar place on the right side of the tab bar.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

I Do Like Me Some Coffee
I've coffeeblogged before. But now I'd like to draw your attention to Boca Java. If you like coffee too, you can get free samples from them at the cost of shipping. Go to the main page (click the link above) and click on the little radio and flag button at the top. Enter "Laura" in the ensuing text box as exceptional radio host and conserva-babe Laura Ingraham is advertising for BJ coffee (BJ? That's not right!). You can then select from several options and enter your credit card info for the cost of shipping. How can you beat that? (UPDATE with details: four 8oz. bags of coffee for the shipping cost of $9.95. Heck, I'll order coffee from them out of guilt for having torn into them with that offer. Or not.)
I'll report further when I get it.

General Notes
First, it definitely has made a turn for the cold. I sit here blogging in my "I am the big dog" sweat shirt in attractive sage green. Well, maybe not sage but I'll go with it for convenience of writing a specific color. And the heat in the house is not ... really on. I flipped the thermo to "Heat" and heard a sort of 'clunk' from the boiler room but then no action like fans spinning up to push warmthed air around. (Homer's brain: "Now look sad and say, 'D'oh.'" Homer: "D'oh.") Service call is now on tap for Thursday. Better to get this done before everyone in creation is calling the HVAC people.

Jalapeno peppers. Yeah baby, yeah! I harvested the plants and after giving a generous double handful to my good neighbors, I have 4.25 lbs of peppers! Yee hah! Time to buy pickling salt and mason jars. I may even make the pepper jelly tomorrow. Here's what 17 quarter pounds of peppers looks like (with an Apple mouse thrown in for scale):

Not The Review
Even though I promised a review of Emm Gryner's new discs, this is not it. That is, in mag trade parlance, a TK. However, I wanted to put in a pointer to an interview with Emm on CBC radio. Click the orange "PLAY" button to listen. The picture of Emm is an old one but, yes, she's that pretty. You can also hear that she has a wonderful speaking voice as well. You can also hear some of the music.
I strongly recommend the interview but I am self-confessed slavish fan. OK, so you aren't but give it a go anyway.

Monday, October 23, 2006

On Tap For Tomorrow
I finally get around to reviewing Emm's new "Summer of High Hopes" and the bonus disc "PVT" (said: "Private"). In a startling departure from my slavish devotion, I will be heartlessly dismissive of the latter while praising the former with great gusto.
I just got my cholesterol numbers from my doc. HDL 39, LDL 101, triglycerides 86.
And I'm going to bring them down!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Is There A Doctor In The House?
I recently had a mole removed and have three stitches at the excision. A week from tomorrow they should be good to go. I really don't think I need to go to the doctor's office to have them removed. A nice, clean pointy pair of scissors should do just fine. Anyone have any reason I shouldn't do this myself? Anyone? Bueller?

Friday, October 20, 2006

My Next Million Dollar Idea
Tofurkey exists. And, it sucks. We need a new non-meat turkey that will satisfy the gobbler gobbling public. And I'm working on it: "I Can't Believe It's Not Butterball." Sooooo goooood!
Things I Want To See
A contestant on "American Idol" sing "Dragostea din tea" (AKA the "Numa Numa" song).
This Dog Will Hunt
We welcome Angus to the fold. Alert, involved, concentrated and loved.
Could a human ask for more? Could a dog ask for more?

Friday, October 13, 2006

More PRaiSe
I'll be picked up and knocked right back down again. Here is a 2006 Swamp Ash Special in Blue Matteo which makes it just like mine except a year younger. I find the color of mine to be a lusher, deeper blue but look at the grain on that one in the eBay listing! Wow! Wow and a half. And the bidding started at $850. It's only up to $1,000 with 8 bids. It might turn out to be a real bargain. Anything less than $1,500 qualifies. Nice hunk of wood there.

Oh Yum!
I think we've entered the new "any soft drink you like can be flavored with cherry" era. And thank God for that. I am sucking down Black Cherry Citrus Fresca like the 8th Route Army is in Richmond and heading north.

The Turning Of The Earth
Yesterday the cold front came through. Ahhh, glory. I am in a sweatshirt for the first time this season and loving it. The air has that bite to it where it's not so cold that turning on the heat in the house is necessary but cold enough that pulling your hands into the sleeves of the shirt gives them a deliciously warm feeling. This is prime sleeping weather. The quilt is back in action. I want to make a big pile of quilt on top of me and swim thorugh the night in that warm pool of self-generated heat.
The colors are starting come on around here as well. As I was stopped at a light yesterday I realized I was looking at tree in the full flush of its fall color. One bright blaze of red and golden brown amidst a generally green scrim. The season is starting and I can't wait for the frost to hoar the ground. Time to harvest the peppers and get ready to undo the Earthboxen for the nonce. Such is the turn of the season. Autumn. Glorious autumn.

Today's Woot
I am, I believe I've said before, a big fan of Woot's "one day, one deal" deals. Today they're offering a new sage-colored Roomba with all the fixin's for $150 and the usual $5 for shipping. If you've wanted automatic vacuuming, this is a deal that's hard to turn down.
Medical News
I went to Johns Hopkins to have them look at the pain I was having in my wrist. They said I had 500 broken bones. I said, "In my wrist?" They said that's what their survey determined.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Watching Tee Wee
Watched "Lost" again last night. Oh! I so hate the Others. I am now hoping that the Lostaways get to the point where they very painfully and slowly kill all the Others.
And tonight "CSI: Lost Wages" is on and some moh-ron at CBS thought it would be a good idea to put Cletus Federline on as a "guest star." It is a show I usually watch. Not tonight. My hatred expands to fill the available moronity.

More Green Nonsense
I read a little AP article entitled "Wet area studied for wine" in today's Washington Times. I like wine. I'm greatly pleased at the strides made in wine production in the United States. Heck, about 20 years ago some friends and I had a party to try wines produced in the Great Commonwealth of Virginia. They weren't very good. In fact a couple were actually pretty bad. Now, however, I could serve you a Virginia wine that would belong on any table in the world.
I say all this to establish my bona fides as to why I read the article and to provide cover for myself before I launch into the idiocy.
The background on this is that in Washington state, the "vast majority" of grape production is in the "hot, dry eastern" part of the state. However: "Now, Olympic Cellars owner Kathy Charlton has commissioned a study aimed at refuting the notion that good wine grapes can't be grown on the wet side of the Cascade Range and finding a valuable crop to preserve farmland under increasing development pressure."
Oh GMAFB! I don't find that there's any shortage of grape growing land in the drier eastern regions but some damnable effete vineyard owner pays good money to "prove that wine grapes" can be grown in less than the best available conditions and secondarily ot "preserve farmland." Bullflop. Most crops can be grown in less than ideal conditions. I could not be more certain that it's the "preservation" of farmland that drives this study. This is one of the great greenie chimeras of modern times. If farmland were the best economic use of the land, the land would be farmed. "Development pressure" is demonized as "sprawl" when it's actually an expression of the desire of people to live in homes of their own choice. The same debate is raging in my home county of Loudoun (which I call with great affection "LoCo") and the same bullcrap arguments are being made.
I sometimes think that if the "environmentalists" have their way, people will herded into ultramega dense housing (with all the concommitant problems) so that the annointed can enjoy the "open," "unspoiled" land that is owned by someone else and which has had its value stripped from it by governmental fiat. If you want to "protect" land, buy it. At least the Nature Conservancy got that much right.

One Of The Best Trompe L'oeil Evar!
An elevator floor that's not. I consider myself a rational person but I'm pretty sure I would have a real moment of panic before I stepped on that!

(Hat tip: Noodle Food)

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

New Goodies
I've been ordering things like a madman lately. Egad it's fun! Here's an example: the Weber Q 100 grill. It arrived today and, since there was little to assemble, I had it together in about ten minutes. Five, if I'd had a screwdriver to hand but that was only to put the handle on. I need to get some propane cylinders so I may be grillin' tomorrow night if the weather doesn't conspire against me (mumble, mumble fargin' fall rain mumble). Of course, now that I have a gas grill, I need to get some of Costco's most excellent steaks so I can christen the lovely, heavy cast iron grill plate. Maybe some shrimp too, hmmm (pondering) yeah shrimp.
I ordered a new "welcome" mat for the front door that does not say "WELCOME." The personalization will take a while. But I did get the first installment of what I ordered along with the mat - the corner unit of Brookstone's "
Modular Swedish Shelving." I only have the uprights at the moment from which I can tell that the pine wood doesn't co├Ârdinate perfectly with the bamboo floor but it's close enough to get by. Also, it just might solve the problem of the corner of the kitchen that needs light in a big way. I'll blog it up a bit further when it comes together.
What else can one order these days? Boxer shorts (link entirely safe), shoes. Of course I also got a new chair mat though I had to go to Staples to get that. But there are those instances when you have to actually go to the store and grab hold of what it is you want to buy. And I needed to know that the chair mat I was buying was better than the one that surrendered to the pressure of my large frame as transmitted by the five points of chair casters. It seems to be a good mat ("limited lifetime warranty" whatever the heck that means) and I spent a good hour trimming the thing to fit the leg hole of my desk. Leg hole. There has to be a real name for that.
Sorry for all the quotidian fooraw but I just wanted to yak about the details of life.

Pugs Are Smarter Than You Might Think
Even pug puppies. I think I'll call the little goober in the link "Zeitgeist the Pug."

Halloween Prep
It is time to start. Now. Planning your pumpkin now gives you the chance to make some thing truly outrageous or even extreme. I've already locked in my concept for the Dent-O-Lantern for my dentist's office. No, no hints. But I will post pictures when it's done.
I'm also planning to try some new stuff so I may have pix of a few to post in a couple of weeks. I may not be artistically gifted but I have been known to crank out some fun Jack-Os.

Songs Of PRaiSe
A return to the fertile field of the Swamp Ash Special. This one is presented for your delectation primarily because the price is dead cheap - $900 with one bid. It's in a fairly conventional burst finish. It may be cherry burst but I don't know the PRS colors particularly. In any event, a nicely presented burst. And a nicely flamed maple neck though the dot fret markers are nothing to write home about. Gotta love me some PRS birds fret markers. Even better are the "birds in flight" fret markers but that's a story for another day. Even with all my quibbles, this has got to be the best price on an SAS I've yet seen on eBay.
UPDATE: If you want to see just how insane PRS can get, here's a $28,000 Double Dragon. Click through - check the detail on the inlay. Just pure mental illness.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Old Age Is Not For Wimps
When I was young, I wanted to be an astronaut.
Nowthat I'm old and far too acquainted with OTC medication, I've almost realized that ambition. I've become an asprinaut.

From Weakness To Weakness
There will be light to intermittent posting for the next couple of days. After having my wrist act up with a pinched nerve the other day, today I've full-blown carpal crapal going on. I tend to ride my right arm to compensate for my bad hip and it seems to have caught up with the wrist. It hurt more last night than it does today so perhaps that's a sign that it won't be troubling me long. Fingers cross OW! ed.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Sunday Morning
It is a beautiful day here in Northern Virginia. After a couple days of grey skies, rain that ranged from pelting down to drizzling, we have glorious clear skies and warming sunshine. This is the reverse to the obverse of what Lycurgus calls (and not incorrectly) "Virginia weather." It's why he lives in Florida. I, on the other hand, find the Florida sun just flays me. Stake me out on anthill or put me in the Florida sun on a summer day: I can't choose one over the other.
But, as I said, it is gorgeous early autumn and iTunes has just shuffled up Karen Carpenter singing "I Believe You." It's enough to accent one's heart beat with a frisson of delight. That clear, perfect voice coming in sweet and pure after some rock 'n' roll that's good but nowher near sweet. A tiny little grace note on a day that I'm hoping turns into one long chord of grace.
Still my desk calls me to take care of paper I've managed to pile up like icebergs waiting to sink the Titanic of my happy disposition. Ha! Not today. I will write a couple of letters. I will balance my checkbook. I will send off some papers relating back to the Atlantic Cycling ride in Thurmont, MD. My friend the Guitar Nazi (AKA Heinz Guderian as noted in a previous post) will be coming over to teach me something this afternoon. And Lord knows, I needs me some teachin'. My only hesitation is that I haven't figured out what I'm going to do for lunch and dinner. Maybe I need a restocking trip to Costco for such exciting things as salad, broccoli florets, steak and salmon. Yeah. That sounds good. Though I guess dinner will be with the entire Guderian family at my local Sweetwater Tavern. Better than Outback even. And that's high praise in my book for a steakhouse.
One final note: Anywhere But Here has Kris's pix from the Texas State Fair. They're a treat. Drop by and take a look. I may have to go to that shindig one of these years.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

I Don't Know About You
But I'm going to do my level best to see Jake tomorrow night over on the Eastern Shore. He's a talent. Support your local folk singer! Ya heartless bastages, ya!
UPDATE: After picking up my houseguest at the local Metro station in the early afternoon and hearing that traffic was already starting to krep up (at 1:30!!!) in the rain, I decided that spending about two hours in rain and heavy Beltway traffic was not really what I wanted to do. So I didn't go see Jake. I'm deeply, deeply abashed.
And Then, Everything Changes
"Lost" returned last night. Yowsa. I have the feeling JJ Abrams and crew can keep this one going for about a decade after all the changes they sprung last night.
Be sure to visit for all your Lost spoilerage and easter egg deconstruction.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

News In The News
Katie Couric seems to be taking the term "anchor woman" just a bit too literally.

I'm Probably Late To This Party
I just watched 8 and a half minutes of Google video on David Hartwig and his wonderful dog Skidboot. Now of course Pugs Of War is very dog-centric but if you've never heard of, or seen these remarkable guys in action, click the link and watch the vid. It will make you smile. It makes me want to speed up the schedule to acquire a dog.
And congratulations to my erstwhile fellow blogger Paul and his lovely wife who have recently acquired Angus to add to their family. I'll finagle a pic of the newest member of the PoW family for you shortly.

Stupid Pun Of The Day
How do pirates design comfort into their ships?

As Peter Lorre Said
"I can't help what I do!" I have committed myself to a new PRS Singlecut Trem, artist package in Emerald Green. No word on when the shop will get it in but it was ordered in February so I suspect that it won't be too awfully long before it arrives. I feel like Hitler and PRS guitars are sections of the European mainland. Everytime I take one chunk, I'm sure my ambitions are satisfied. Then the desire starts all over again. Unlike Hiltler, I can stop at the Russian border. I may have to start calling my friend Bill "Heinz Guderian."
That being as it may, Heinz told me that the rumor is that starting in '07, PRS is going to institute minimum pricing. This won't have any impact on eBay price (maybe some upward pressure) but dealers will not be selling PRSes with the discounts they're giving now. I'm lucky enough to be piggybacking my purchase off the buying and selling of a collector who is known at the better guitar shops in the DC area. When you're with someone who buys many high-end guitars, you can get a better deal. And I think I got a darn good one.
Here is a page of reviews of this particular guitar by people who know better what they're talking about than I. Looks like a rather nice instrument.

Monday, October 02, 2006

A Bit Of Healing
My idiot right wrist has given up on torturing me. I should probably have the doc look at it a some point. The ulnar nerve that runs over the outside of the carpal bones (near that bulge that I think is the at the end of the ulna) gets mashed up sometimes which isn't terribly painful but it is annoying when I use my hand. If I ball up my hand into a fist and try to flick inwards (as if knocking on a door), the nerve will free up and not hurt at all. But it takes repeated tries to fully loosen it up. Which I've finally done here at the shank of the day. So regular blogging (hmm, that sounds a bit too much like "being regular" ... in more ways than I care to think about) will resume tomorrow. Thanks for your patience.

Oh Bugger
I was intending to blog a fair bit today but I am dealing with a pinched nerve in my right wrist which makes typing troublesome. I'll blog up mucho gabble-gabble when I manage to pop the wrist joint loose.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

The Last Footy Post For 2006
I watched the Premiership final last night (taped delay of course) between the West Coast Eagles and the Sydney Swans. It was a great game. The Weagles jumped out to a 25-30 point lead which they held into the third quarter at which point Sydney pushed back to bring the match very nearly even. But at the end, the Eagles managed to beat the Swans by a single point. It was not only a stirring match from the excellent on-field play but this grand final was a re-match of last year's grand final where Sydney prevailed. There's something encouraging about seeing a team that came so close the previous year win it all at the next go.
It was a revelation to watch West Coast captain Chris Judd play. I don't think I've ever seen a player who could bull the footy out of a crowd of people as well. He's fast, he's strong and a great player to watch. Though I believe the commentators mentioned that he has a dodgy shoulder from a youthful injury. Sorry to hear that. Judd strikes me as the kind of player that footy is all about - tough, smart, aggressive. This game is so much better than what the NFL puts on.
Unfortunately for me, the Collingwood Magpies were taken out pretty convincingly by the in the first playoff round by the Western Bulldogs. But it was an up year for the Magpies so I look forward to the coming season. Now I'll have to content myself with watching the abomination that American football has become for the next few months. (sigh) Oh well. Things could be worse.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

A Quick Note For The Weekend
First and most exciting, I got to meet Kim du Toit. He was (more or less) in town holding a Shooting Trail event at Clark Bros. gun store and shooting range. Clark's is technically in Opal, VA but it's really just outside of Warrenton. The event was a "teaching women to shoot event" though, apart from Kim's Missus, there was only one member of the distaff side by the time it got under way.
Why did I go? I have had two old rifles, a Remington of possibly WWI vintage and a Japanese Arisaka, that my father had and ignored for as long as I can remember. Thus, they had no emotional signifigance for me. Had my father ever told me about them, provenance and his connection to them, I may have been inclined to have them cleaned up and actually use them. But without any deep conneciton to them, I thought that I would give them to Kim who is, after all, the founder of the Nation of Riflemen, a true aficionado of old rifles and a staunch proponent of the Second Amendment. I gave the rifles to him. I did ask that he send me a signed copy of one of his books in exchange.
He was busy with a small crowd when I arrived and my lower back was still giving me grief (as it will from a trip and nights on a different bed) so I didn't stay long at all. Had I prepared, I would have brought my folding chair, ear and eye protection and enjoyed the festivties a bit. He was entirely gracious and I would have liked more time to converse with him. Still, a great experience to meet him.
That said, I made it a point to gas up about ten miles outside Warrenton. $1.94! (OK, OK $1.94.9) And this time it's not a typo. A solid nickel under $2 a gallon. I blame George Bush.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Songs of PRaiSe
I've tended to link up PRS guitars on eBay that are the same models as those I have. With the exception of the Santana SE which is, for all its beauty, the entry-level model from Paul Reed Smith. I break with that tradition here to show you an absolutely stunning Singlecut in violin amber with a blazingly flamed 10 top, a gold anodized stoptail bridge, the PRS signature birds fretboard inlays and, remarkably, a solid Brazilian rosewood neck and fretboard. Whoa. If I read the serial number correctly, it's a 2001 manufacture. If there is one PRS I'd like to add to the collection, it's a Singlecut (link goes to the PRS site). But I find it hard to pony up $4K for one on eBay even if it's a mint, unplayed unit with all the "case candy" (see the first picture in the set for what the term entails).
Take a look at the picture of the reverse of the headstock. That dark rosewood set off against the McCarty pegs looks amazing. Even the truss rod cover is rosewood! That's hard core. The bidding only goes on for anther two hours and there are no bids as yet. The collector who' selling this may have over priced it. Frankly, if this were about a grand less, I'd be sorely tempted.
UPDATE: Here's another Singlecut listed by the guy from whom I bought Holly. It has much to recommend it: a tremelo bridge (me likee - no good reason), a good but not exactly blazing 10 top, the anniversary "birds in flight" inlays which are extremely cool and a price that is a lot easier to swallow. Nuts. I really don't need another PRS. But I want one.
Return Trip, Part The First
I usually make the drive to and from Florida in a one-day, 15 hour drivefest. It's a long day but not as agonizing as one might think inasmuch as I have a very comfortable seat in the Outback and an iPod interface that lets me play BlogDog Radio all the way home. But this trip was different both ways. The trip down was broken by the Mike Cross show at the Randy Wood Guitar Shop and concert space. I'll get into that later. And yeah - it was great.
The trip up was broken at the
same place (Pooler, GA) for a variety of reasons. The Holiday Inn Express in which Lycurgus and I stayed after the show was a great hotel - new, clean, comfortable. It could be less expensive but that is true of any number of things from phone service to Maserati Quattroportes. Since my departure from the Lycurgus compound was complicated by a difficult load out, we decided it made more sense to leave later and break the trip. So I didn't hit the road until 10am versus the, say, 6am I'd leave for the one-day drive. And it was a lovely day to drive.
With the exception of the farging love bugs. By the time I refilled the tank, I thought the sun was setting early. Turns out it was just a haze of bug guts on the windshield. My sole consolation is that while they were annoying me, I was killing them.
And where was I when I was filling up? Brunswick, GA of course. "Of course" because stopping for barbecue at the GA Pig (exit 29 east of I-95) is a necessary thing. I blogged it before. Just killer chopped boston butt pork barbecue. Killer. Also, there are several gas-em-ups at the same stop which have very attractive rates. I filled up with gas at $2.17. Well, $2.17.9 I suppose since they always play that little game. But still - least I'd paid for gas in quite a while.
Then, an easy cruise up the interstate to the Savannah area and into the hotel by 5pm. Easy peasy. And my first day was done.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Doesn't that say a lot in just one word? I'll do a bit of travel blogging tomorrow as I ramp up the blather quotient.

Friday, September 22, 2006

The Post Where I Become A Food (non)Critic
In a previous post, I mentioned Farlow's restaurant and gave them a link because they have a web presence. Unfortunately, there is no web presence for the next restaurant that gets the full thumbs up. It is the Zydeco Grille on Placida road in charming Englewood, FLA. Last night's late dinner was a cup of crawfish and sausage gumbo and a plate of "Mardi Gras Crab and Shrimp" which was the specified seafood and asparagus pieces in a deep red sauce heavy with sun-dried tomatoes. (For someone who claims to not like tomatoes, I sure do like me them candy-sweet sun dried ones.) I couldn't even finish the main dish after pushing some off on Lycurgus who opted for the (big) bowl of the same gumbo. I tried my friend Elaine's cajun chicken dish and it was wonderful. It's almost a shame that she and shellfish are at loggerheads since the bayou contry food is so full of the fruits de mer. Still, I'd get that chicken myself without a moment's hesitation.
After dinner the owner, Joan Sambucci, stopped by our table to schmooze a while. And I say "schmooze" because she's a New Yorker by origin. We didn't get into the permutations that led her to be running a creole restaurant on the Gulf Coast but her enthusiasm was evident. Let's just say this: she's nearly as much of a treat as the food. I say nearly because I am a foodoholic after all. I need more foodohol.
I'll be going back for lunch there on Saturday as Lycurgus and his other half are off for the day on their necessary errands leaving me to lounge around and relapse ... sorry, relax. I think a nice cajun meal in the middle of the day will just be the ticket.
So, to repeat the important part: Zydeco Grille. If you are on the central Gulf Coast of Florida, make it a point to have something there. You will walk out with a smile on your face.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

I Am Not Dead
Although my blog posting doesn't exactly reflect that. I am still fighting my hideous fungal attack and stand on the verge of victory! Take that ya mycorrhizal bastages! I am also down in lush Florida enjoying such things as boat rides and a dinner of barramundi (Australian snook according to Farlow's restaurant).
So I'll be back later here on PoW.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Five Years On
Feeling sorry for oneself becomes an excercise in gross self-absorbtion when confronted with the enormity of the evil that was done to America on 9-11-01. I watched the morning shows this morning and felt myself coming to tears at the reading of names of those lost in the World Trade Center. I am not particularly a sentimentalist but with what we know now, it is heart-breaking that these innocents, these civilans, were put to fire by a rampant evil that seeks to drown the world with fire by proxy. An evil that doesn't even have the nerve to stand and fight honorably for their dreams of world domination.
We may no longer be in what John Kennedy called the "long, twilight struggle" but we are certainly in a new struggle that appears to be longer still and just as poorly illuminated. In the next decade, there will be many deaths. We have to have the resolve that we can accept the loss of of some of our greatest for the ultimate destruction of the worst that rage against us. They are cowards who wrap themselves in the mantle of God. And they must be defeated.