Monday, July 31, 2006

Call Me A Romantic
This month's music is "The Ultimate Collection" by The Carpenters. In the past, I have admitted my absolute slavish devotion to the incredible voice of Karen Carpenter yet I don't have any of their music in my collection. On CD that is. So, after listening recently to the kick-ass fuzz guitar solo on "Goodbye To Love," I decided that I had to have a good lolloping whack of their music for my next purchase. My troll through Amazon resulted in the above-mentioned multi-disc collection (link in the sidebar). It has a lot of the well-known stuff and it will probably obviate the need to buy more Carpenters for me.
My only hesitation is that with artists I like, I prefer to get all of their work even though I may not like all the songs on every disc. And having a collection like this makes my buying the individual CDs less likely. It's not a big hesitation.
Ah. Such is life. I'm deeply saddened by how much I didn't realize the magnitude of the loss when Karen died. I didn't realize how incredible her voice was and the world of music lost something that I can not ever see being replaced. It's also too bad that The Carpenters had such a frothy, bubble-gum reputation when they were writing and performing. It's enough to make a music lover cry.

And just as a by-the-by, do you own any Sara Evans? You don't? What's wrong with you? Ok, OK. I'm being obtuse. She is nominally a country singer but she is such a phenomenal talent that you are obliged to listen to at least two of her songs before you are allowed to ignore her. The songs are "Real Fine Place To Start" (the title track from her latest disc) and "Born To Fly" (the title track from her third CD). "Born To Fly" should have won the grammy for contry song of the year and would have, had it not run up against the juggernaut that was Dan Tyminski's "Man Of Constant Sorrow" from the "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" soundtrack.
The lady has the whole package: stunning good looks, great backup musicians, phenomenal voice and she's a conservative to boot. His friendship with her is proably the only thing I envy in Sean Hannity.
Moment Of Snark
Yesterday in the shade of towering poplar trees at the campground in Catoctin Mountain Park wherein I had set up the Atlantic Cycling rest stop, the question arose: "Why are they called 'rest rooms?'"
To which I replied, "Well, for George Michael, they're actually called 'arrest rooms.'"

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Modern Times
I recently bought a new pair of everyday shoes to replace the ones I've had in heavy rotation for ... well, some time now. Something over a year I think. And as I'm putting the old pair into the box to donate, I was suprised to realize that the shoelaces were perfectly good. I remember when I'd have to replace shoelaces at least a couple of times before the shoes were worn out.
Perhaps I shouldn't use the term "worn out" as my old shoes actually still have a good amount of life left in them but are showing their age to the point that I need more support. For all the carping about planned obsolescence, I have not had to buy shoelaces for several years now. Some small things are getting better in this here modren world.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Farm Report
Today's visit to the deck was a cornucopia of delights. First, the horn worms are in exactly the same place I found them. Their immobility speaks to their moribund condition. Ha. Good. Then I watered the boxes (three full cans - six gallons!) and harvested 11 tomatoes. I tossed one to the passing meter reader and cooked two, which, sitting directly on the deck, had gone bad at the base. Made the tomato and scrambled eggs again. Love it! Next time I may do it more omlette-like. I'll have to dice the tomaht though.
The jalapeno plants are now starting to bristle with peppers. And I spotted the first actual green pepper. Woo hoo!
I'm already planning next year's plantings - some herbs, some onions, more tomatoes, more hot peppers. I think it'll be time to roll my own salsa.

Poll Results Just In
The favorite Mario powerup over at Slashdot is the Tanooki/Racoon Suit from Super Mario 3. Too bad they can't spell but the result is right.

On Events In The Mideast
UNFIL "peacekeepers" are killed when the Hezbos set up camp in their midst.
Blue helmets. Pfeh! Blew their helmets right off I'd say.
Too bad young men die on forgeign soil due to the feckless inattention of a corrupt bureaucracy in New York.
I don't think we can get the US out of the UN but perhaps we can start be getting the UN out of the US. Port au Prince has real estate at very attractive rates I'd imagine.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

In The News
N'Sync member Lance Bass finally comes out of the closet.
Now shouldn't he have to change his name to Lance Blowfish?
Hey! He could join Darius Rucker and the boys as the Blowfish in Hootie and the Blowfish!
I'm full of good ideas today.

Getting Old
When I was much younger, I wore eyeglasses and contacts. When I was younger than that, I wore eyeglasses. When I was younger still, I didn't wear anything but ZZ Top's favorite: cheap sunglasses. It was after an eye infection while I was overseas in the summer after high school that I realized I couldn't see what I was sure I had seen clearly before. So, in my freshman year of university, I got checked and can still recall the doc saying "Oh yeah. You need glasses."
I suppose I could dig through all the pictures of my growing up and find most of the glasses I've ever worn. Plastic frames, mostly metal frames and finally the excellent titanium frames which were the last glasses I had before I got the wonderful LASIK surgery. But I really don't wish to revisit the history of my glasses. I got my eyes sliced because I, as a charter member of the Big Guy's Club, sweat at just about any outdoor activity. It would drive me buggy to be mowing the lawn and have to wipe my glasses every five minutes. Now, I can sweat with a certain impunity. Uck. That's pretty ugly. Forget I said it.
Not only that, I can indulge my foolish desire for way-too expensive sunglasses. My first pair of Oakley's (grey market from Costco!) made me an Oakley devotee almost immediately. I now own two pair of Oakleys that are in the regular mix, a new pair of Maui Jim polarized glasses (Lycurgus insists that polarized lenses are just the thing for boating in Florida), and a pair of Gargoyles that never really settled into the rotation. So now I can at least look cool on a portion of my face.
What does this have to do with getting old? Well, first, it's cruising the blogosphere. I find I pretty regularly have to bump up the text size on sites I read. It bothers me though it's probably not such a big deal but it seems a symptom. I recall going into the kitchen for breakfast at my parents' home and my father pointing out a rabbit on the lawn, I had to squint to see it which amused dad just a wee bit more than was really necessary. But I got a bit of my own back when he had to ask me to read stock listings in the agate type those pages use to get hundreds of listings into the minimum space. Ha. At least I could read those.
Could. I said "could." I can still read them but I need a pretty good source of light to do so. And one rough contemporary of mine who never needed glasses now needs to use reading glasses as a matter of course. I wish I could have those dew-fresh eyes that didn't need glasses for distance and could read itty-bitty type without batting (yes) an eyelid. But at least when I get all codgered-up, I will be wearing Oakley M-Frame Pros instead of the massive, over-glasses dark goggles that the retirees seem to have adopted as of today. Plant me in the ground with my Oakleys. Perhaps they'll help dim the flames of perdition.
The tomato as pictured in my hand below no longer exists. It (fatbastard) GOT IN MAH BELLY! (/fatbastard)
This morning I sliced it up, cooked it in a splash of olive oil until soft, then scrambled two eggs over it. Even to someone who doesn't eat a lot of tomato it was delicious. It had that sweetness tomato gets when cooked and I can see making many an omlette with my 'maders. Yum.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Aren't They Pretty?
A trio of tomatoes in various stages of done.
An antidote to the ugliness of nature, green in tooth and jaw, of the previous post.

Two For Hell
The pictures are of the last two worms, one on a tomato plant (right) and the other on a green pepper plant (left). I'm leaving them on the plants so that the Braconid wasp larvae (pupae?) have every chance to bring forth vast swarms of worm killing, wingéd friends.
Sorry for the poor photo quality. I was trying to zoom in and hold the stalks steady at the same time.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Quote Of The Day
This one comes from the estimable Joe Sherlock: "Mass transit - only good if you don't value your time."

Monday, July 24, 2006

OK, This Is Weird
Costco has a sleeper ottoman. Not a sleeper sofa. A sleeper ottoman. I'm not opposed to the idea particularly. It seems quite versatile - seating, sleeping, even a coffee tablish functionality. But it's a strange idea. Of course it doesn't help that it houses a "European" single size bed. I've seen those at IKEA. Tcha! Right. No wonder Americans win the tour de France. We can get a good night's sleep.

Wherein I Relinquish Anonymity
My letter to "Forbes" is online. It runs under the sub-hed "Fuel's Gold" which is, I must say, a rather clever use of language. I would have used it in my days as a letters editor at USNews.
Pretty, No?
My third snipped tomato. A friend dropepd by this morning and I looked at the leading two and realized that they really were far enough along to clip so I did and gave them to him. Then I looked at the gang of four and figured this one was far enough as well.
I will be slicing it and having it on a sandwich for dinner tonight.
Next year I think I'll get more Earthboxes and set one up with some gre't big beefsteak tomatoes just so I can have some that are worth braggin' on for size. I've heard that size matters. Or was that size 'maders?

I still don't have a great handle on taking closeups but here is the tomato. It's about an inch and a half around. That's my hand in there for scale.
The Post Where I Steal A Meme

From Kris over at "Anywhere But Here."
This post could also be titled "WTF?"

A tomato picture coming soon. As soon as I get the digicam to focus on the 'mader and not the background!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Today's Tour Brief
Congratulations to Floyd Landis whose excellent time trial puts him in position to win this year's Tour. He finished one minute, ten seconds behind Serhiy Honchar (Ukraine riding for T-Mobile) while the other of the top three who were in touch of the lead don't seem to be able to beat Landis's time. Given that the final day is considered a victory lap into and in Paris, Landis should be on the podium in yellow at the end. It was a stirring Tour with great and dramatic stages. There were startling individual efforts and, unfortunately, no superb team riding as when the USPS team lead Lance as the "Blue Train." But perhaps next year the tema time trial will return.
One thing is now clear: Honchar is a time trial stud hoss. He took both TTs this year, though Landis did have to swap bikes in the first and then only finished a minute behind. I think Honchar will be an interesting rider to watch in the future. I also hope Levi Leipheimer (USA riding for Gerolsteiner) has a Tour win in him in the next couple of years. But I wouldn't put hard money on it.
This has been a hell of a year for Landis. He won the Amgen Tour of California, the Paris-Nice race and the Ford Tour de Georgia. May he have a full recovery from his hip replacmeent surgery and return to the podium in races to come.
I am remiss in not putting up a link to Landis's home page.
A Saturday Groaner
I just met a beautiful woman named Anne. Anne S. Thesia. She's a knockout.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Boring You To DEATH With Posts About Tomatoes
I think that sums it up pretty well. Pictures will be posted tomorrow to back up my mad ramblings. Ramblings about water and color. Not watercolors. That's different.
I watered the Earthboxes today and happened to water the 'maters at a point where the sun allowed me to see down the fill tube. Yikes! The reservoir was dry. I was looking at the bottom of the box. I am putting well over a full watering can (I'll test the capacity so I can quantify it) per day into the tomato box and it is being sucked dry. I believe I'll give it a double dose of watering this afternoon.
And, the color of the initial six or seven is really coming on. I doubt there will be full on ripeness this weekend but I'm sure it will happen next week. Woot!

The Other Jake
When in Philly, I saw Jake Armerding play with Hawaiian-born ukelele player Jake Shimabukuro. Here is a video of Jake 2 playing "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" on the uke. There is no denying his talent. Take about five minutes to watch and listen. Really quality stuff.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

More Odds 'n' Ends
First, there is definite color in the tomatoes. (happy dance). The initial four and the two others that have gotten the most sun are definitely yellowing. In most things "yellowing" is not good. In this case, it bodes well. Maybe another week to the first pluckings?
Second, I didn't do a Tour Brief yesterday as Floyd Landis cracked pretty badly on the second mountain stage and I thought he might be stick-a-fork-in-him done. Well, he might have cracked but he didn't break. He rode a hellacious final mountain stage today to win the stage and get to half a minute off the lead. He is in third place but with a fairly level road stage and an individual time trial left, he is in good position to ride for the win. Landis is a very good trial rider.
I'm really peeved that the Phonak team did a suck-rotten job of supporting Landis in yesterday's stage. If one of the other riders (Axel Merckx, I'm looking at you!) had gutted it out and sacrificed himself to tow Landis in the later parts of the stage, he would not have lost as much time as he did and he probably wouldn't have lost the maillot jaune. But he rode one of the "greatest escapes in modern Tour times" (quoting the OLN web page on today's stage) today. And he deserves praise for it.
It has been a great race this year.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

I'm WAITing!
I looked back in the archives to see that my first post anouncing tomatoes was a month ago. A month! I should have some ripe topmatoes after a month, shouldn't I?
I think the leading two candidates for ripeness are still at least a week away. On the other hand, my two plants are groaning with globes. I have no doubt that there are well over 70 tomatoes on those plants. What surprises me is that I have clusters that set tomatoes some time ago that are developing new fruits on the stalks that didn't set initially. This is not normal tomato behavior that I remember from my yoot.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

I Made A Suggestion
I was sitting here at my desk, strumming my "old" PRS Santana SE ("Carlito") when it struck me - might the Maryland lottery people be interested in putting up a Paul Reed Smith lottery? I e-mailed them the suggestion.
I'm not sure the PRS people would be interested in doing it but if they produced one really exceptional dragon guitar as the grand prize and then a few of the other excellent production models as lesser prizes, I think a lot of guitar players would buy into that lottery. Heck, I would and I'm just a casual player. Still, it would be cool if it happened because of my suggestion.
Another "Bloodzilla" Moment
Now there's a post head that needs an explanation. In the Simpson's episode "Worst Episode Ever," Bart and Milhouse take over running Comic Book Guy's store. As a customer is browsing, Bart says, "Ah nice to see ya. How about that Bloodzilla? (laughing) Vampire dinosaur? You can't make that stuff up."
So from that point on, anything that deserves the description "you can't make that stuff up" gets a "Bloodzilla" tag. And today's moment goes to a headline in the regional briefs as published in the Metro section of the Washington Times. I reproduce the the headline verbatim:
"Naked man hits car with stolen pigeon"
Honestly. You can't make that stuff up. Here's a link, scroll down to the Virginia/Suffolk "dateline."
Today's Tour Brief
Huzzah! Floyd Landis (USA riding for Phonak) is back in yellow! He has a ten second lead which he can probably expand for the next two mountain stages, especially if Phonak rides as well in support as they did today. I won't kid you- Phonak is not a USPS or Discovery with Lance riding ahead but it's a strong, motivated team that will, I think, pull Landis to the Tour win.
What shocks me is that Tom Boonen (Belgium riding for QuickStep) abandoned the race today. He was riding out of 106th place but he was sprinting wonderfully in the first few stages and seemed to be in the hunt for the green jersey. I guess the ascents were too much for him. Too bad.
It's also too bad that viewership of this year's Tour is down by something like 50% from Lance's final year last time around. It was historic and inspiring to watch Lance but this year's tour is, despite the favorites, very much wide open and hella exciting. I'm sorry more people aren't watching. It's more fun to watch than golf or baseball. In my opinion.

Monday, July 17, 2006

This, That And Some Of The Other Thing
But not so much of the other.
I heard from a friend today that his house was robbed while he was away for a few days and the visceral anger it brings me just doesn't go away. He called me later to say that what was stolen was not as extensive as he thought originally so I am calmer by degrees. But it's not what was taken that has me enraged. The Red Cloud of Blood descends when I think that my friend's sanctuary was defiled by some human turd drug addict who thinks his need to put junk in his body allows him to take from someone who's worked for what he has.
The area in which he lives is OK but it a bit too close to Ho-town for comfort. I hope he's able to move in the next few months.
It's times like this that I wish The Commonwealth would pass castle doctrine law as Florida has. I don't really have a problem with ending the ability to process oxygen of some low-life who thinks of my possessions as his source of income.
This was going to be about more things but I'm in just too foul a mood to go on about anything else.

Today In The TdF
Today is actually a rest day which the cyclists will need after a punishingly long (180.5 km) stage on Sunday. Add in the loss of two cyclists out of three who crashed in the six-man breakaway, and the drama factor of this year's race just keeps going up. I'm amazed that Mattias Kessler (German riding for T-Mobile) not only survived the crash but stayed in the race. He was riding last and David Canada (Spain riding for Saunier) just ahead of him lost his rear wheel and started on an agonizing spill (broken collarbone and a very bad case of road rash) that essentially blocked Kessler from moving right and getting away from the impact. Kessler went over the guardrail (as did Rik Verbrugghe who was leading the breakaway at that point and is out with a broken leg and probably some other injuries as well) but finished out the race with stones from the crash imbedded in his helmet.
Tomorrow the peleton returns to finish the stage up L'Alpe d'Huez. This is a 13.8 km climb at an angle of 7.9%. That is hellish. This is a "hors categorie" (beyond classification) climb and is the second of the day. The prior HC climb is up Col d'Izoard but is easier for several reasons: it is about mid-way through the stage (Huez is where the race finishes), though it is actually longer by 700 meters, it is "only" a 7% grade. And this is one of those "gut check" moments of the tour. If a rider can crank out a win up this mountain, he will be worthy of the yellow jersey and he will make a statement to the rest of the entrants. It was on climbs like this that Lance Armstrong proved his greatness. I hope Floyd Landis (my favorite as I've said before) crushes this stage. But even if he doesn't he is still in good position to win the Tour. I'd just like to see him do it on the same slopes that a talented rider from Texas became a superstar who is recognized the world over by just his first name.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

OK Then
Forbes printed my letter. Another 32 seconds off my 15 minutes. The issue is July 24 with Putin on the cover.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Songs of PRaiSe
Another eBay Paul Reed Smith worth a look. In this case another Hollowbody II in lush green. More than lush: fierce tiger-y striped green. As pretty an HB II as I've seen with birds and ebony tuners.Love that look. And the asking price starts at $2,200. If it's not bid up, that's a super bargain. Expect that several bids will flow in at the end of auction.
Hmm. Interesting. In continue to troll through the PRS listings on eBay, I see that there are several Hollwbody IIs up for auction currently. And most of them are pretty sweet. I wonder what's bringing out the HB IIs.
We Have Peppage!
Wow, that sounds almost like English. Maybe "pepperage" would be better. I found my first jalapeno on the plants today. It's tiny - about the size of the final joint on a baby's pinky finger (not a newborn, a home-from-hospital, looking-around-with-interest sort of baby). -snif- I'm so proud! Not only do I have tomato plants that are so laden with fruit I've given up trying to count 'em, I now have a baby pepper. Now if the regular green peppers will start producing, I'll be even happier.
By the way, if I had to guess how many tomatoes were on the plants, including those that are developing on stalks that already have fruits, I'd say I probably have well over 50. I think the Earthbox is a superb way to grow them. That and catching the brazzlefragging horn worms in time.
Backing Up
As in my hard drive. I'm not very diligent about it. I have a nice little USB 2.0 bus-powered 80 GB external hard drive to which I back up my iMac. And I'm doing that this am. I'm at 2 and a half hours and it's not done with files yet. That seems too, too long. I really should get a massive firewire drive to do regular back-ups but I don't like monopolizing another great hunk of desktop real estate and I also like the convenience of a bus-powered drive. Even if it is slower.
My hard rive could actually not back to the drive if I didn't have a script to exclude iTunes and iTunes files. I've got just short of 20 GB in iTunes as it stands and I really don't think it's necessary to back them to the spare drive. I have all those files on my main iPod anyway.
And the final note. How do you know when you did your last back-up? I slap a date label on my drive so I know. My last back up was in February. That's not nearly often enough. How do you back up?
UPDATE: Done and done in 2 hours 47 minutes and change. Not too bad really.
As War Rages
I diddle with details. First, I just couldn't the formatting right on the post below which means I'll re-post it this weekend but without the distracting size changes. My apologies.

And the other one: Voted Best Time Sink Evar! - coverage of the Tour de France on the Outdoor Life Network (OLN) Now that I have DirecTV, I get to watch live coverage of the TdF and it's insanely great. To watch breakaways run out ahead of the peleton, then to watch the peleton reel the breakaways back in, to see the sprinters scramble over the finish and even to watch a team rider tow a rider back up to the peleton is just fantastic. I can't even describe how beautiful it is to watch the brilliantly-colored mass of 170 or so riders streaming through the compact streets of an ancient town or through the wider roads of the lovely French countryside.
Today's Stage 12 was won by Yaroslav Popovych a Ukrainian who rides for the American Discovery Channel (which is the offspring of the USPS team which Lance fronted for most of his tour wins) team. Popovych rode a brilliant endgame (riding four attacks at a solo breakaway before taking it on the fourth) to win and give Discovery a much-needed shot in the arm. Johan Bruyneel is the superb tactician for Discovery and the man who managed Lance's amazing Tour career. I think he has a few tricks up his sleeve this year yet.
On the other hand, the T-Mobile team has been staggering. First in losing Jan Ullrich before the start of the Tour to doping accusations and then staggering in racing the hell out of the early stages. At one point there were (as I recall) four T-Mobile riders in the top ten riders. I sincerely hope that Ullrich can clear the doping charges as he has been second in the TdF more times than is easy to deal with. A Tour win for Jan would be a karmic good thing. But obviously not this year.
So who's on top? I haven't found the overall standings after today's stage but goofy-looking American Floyd Landis who rides for the Phonak team has taken the yellow jersey and has a serious chance to win it all. He is my sentimental favorite because he is going to have hip replacement surgery after the Tour.
UPDATE: Floyd is still in yellow. Excellent! and here is a great page for the layout of today's stage with a map and an elevation diagram.
Yikes! In watching the coverage I totally missed the fact that Discovery lost two team members today. This makes a team win virtually impossible. I'll have to watch the extended coverage tonight to see what happened to them. I did watch Team CSC's American rider Bobby Julich's crash in the individual time trial. Scary. Not quite as horrifying as Joseba Beloki's crash a couple of years ago but horrifying nonetheless.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Early Riser Strategy
I am turning over this post to my very good friend who will remain anonymous but has a government job that requires that he get up very early in the morning. Insanely early in my world but he has been doing it, and doing it right for some time now. He told me that he'd learned a few things about getting up early and I asked him if he'd mind writing them up for me so that I might post them. He was kind enough to oblige. Thus, the following:
No one likes to get out of bed in the wee hours of the morning. As one who has to rise early, I find that these few things help me immensely, and there are no side effects! (e.g. yawning for hours, blurry vision, intense craving for more sleep)

Place your alarm clock across the room
away from your bed. You will have to get out of bed to turn it off.

Turn your alarm clock so that you cannot see the time. If you wake up in the middle of your sleep session you will
not know what time it is. This is beneficial because if you are trying to sleep, why do you need to know what time it is?
The only thing you
need to know is that it is not time to get up. This knowledge will empower you to go back to sleep knowing that your alarm is set and it is not time to get up because the alarm clock did not go off.

Should you find yourself staying up later than usual but you still have to rise at the appointed hour, divest yourself of your watch and do not look at the clock. You do not need to know how much sleep you did
not get but only that the sleep you get will be enough. Clock watching is only torture. Why remind yourself that you are up past your bedtime?

Do not watch the late news. Everything that happened before you went to sleep and after you went to sleep will be broadcast bright and early the next morning, regardless of when you went to sleep or when you wake up.

no circumstances should you hit the snooze button. Doesn't it make more sense to set the alarm clock for the absolute last minute that you have to be up? Think of this as a sleep premium because you are maximizing the amount of time that you can remain in bed.

Finally, make your morning coffee
stronger than usual. Why go for two or three cups when one good strong dose of caffeine is all you really need. Think about the time (or money) saved by reducing your caffeine intake and the subsequent trips to the bathroom.
And there you have it. A good compact shot of wisdom across your sleepy head. And mine.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

New On The Blogroll
We all have those good friends we've never met. I'm now adding my good friend IML8 to the blogroll. She blogs on Livejournal and carves out her corner of cyberspace under the heading od "And Another Thing...."
She and her family are all objects of great envy for me as they've had a pug (Petey) for a while now and they've just added another charming lad by the name of Dewey to the family. Click on over and enjoy some pug pics that'll leave you all puddle-fied and melty.
Many moons ago I was a regular poster on a usenet forum for a local radio show as was she and we struck up an online friendship that ended up falling by the wayside. But we caught up after the advent of pugs and I thought she deserves a place on the PoW 'roll. I admire her honesty and great sense of humor. And I salute Mr. L8 for his being an admirable husband to a tough (and I mean that for her perseverance and pluck) lady. And no, I haven't met him yet. But then, I haven't actually met her either.

Monday, July 10, 2006

My friend Michael is just too hip for regular life. I was looking at the crossword puzzle he was doing in the Philly paper and the clue was "___-mo." Being the knowledgeable and aware person he is, his answer was "KEB." Unfortunately, the Xword puzzle writer was not nearly so hip. The answer he wanted was "SLO."
It amused me.

More PRS on eBay
I feel like I'm stealing a bit from Billy Beck and his "AxeBites" but every now and again I see something on eBay 's Paul Reed Smith listings that strikes me. This time, it's another Swamp Ash Special, striking in glossy black with a flame maple neck and bird inlays. I prefer the translucent colors or the natural finish on the SAS because the grain of the wood is just gorgeous. But the glossy black body with the light maple neck is a pretty combination. If it had ebony tuners, it would be a touch hotter still. The auction is started off at $1,500 with no reserve. I don't know what the seller hopes for but I wouldn't pay any more than the starting price for a used SAS, even in superb condition. My Julie was a straight up $1,400 and I think she's more beautiful than this one.
But, you know, I could be convinced about this one were I not already an owner. I'm not a gitbox hero but of my three PRSes, I like playing the Swamp Ash Special the best. I'm sure this one plays equally well.
Just Too Cool
And beautiful. The Angel Decoy as shown on a 15 second YouTube vid.

Home Again
Back from my trip to Philly and the wonderful hospitality of the Philly boys. The two Jakes' show was very good but Jake Armerding was, as noted in a previous comment, kind of low energy. Great music of course but he seemed about 4/5ths speed for some reason. The other Jake, Jake Shimabukuro, was interesting to hear. He plays ukelele and makes it sound like a Spanish classical guitar. But he over emotes while playing and he obscures the song in his virtuosity. He played Return to Forever's "Spain" and it was a minute and a half before I realized what he was playing. But he had an enthusiastic following in the crowd which is nice. The two Jakes got together for a jam at the end of the show with Jake A on fiddle, Jake S on the uke and Jake A's standing bass player along for the trip. For three people who've never palyed a note together, their jam went pretty darn well.
Plus, I got in a trip to the Big 'n' Tall shop in Philly that handles a whole raft of pro atheletes os it carries some nice stuff. I now have a nice new mercerized cotton T shirt, a couple of polo shirts (one a real Polo polo) and for the first time a Polo button down oxford long-sleeved shirt. In pink. It's quite handsome.
I'll post more later because now I have to catch up on such mundane things as the newspapers, water the plants (!) and the like.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

The Ol' Odds 'n' Ends Post
Lycurgus sent me Brad Paisley's "Time Well Wasted" CD. Whoa boy! Knockout. Funny as all get-out, the man can play the hell out of a guitar (even if he's a Telecaster guy - not every one prefers the PRS) and, well, it's just a great album. Great. Not just good - great. I can understand if country is not your taste that you wouldn't want to spend the $$ on it but you should still give it a listen anyway. I promise there's something you'll like.
That said, what's the new music for the month? This is an undecided month. Emm is accepting pre-orders for her next disc "The Summer of High Hopes." If you get in early enough, you get a signed copy plus a special disc of the songs from her major label disc "Public" which she's re-recorded to suit her taste now (interesting! I really want to see what she's done because "Public" is a fantastic disc). It's called "PVT" ("Private") in contradistinction. I hope she tours into the US before too long as I was not well when last she came through and I need to get an autograph to complete my collection.
If you visit the Emm link, you'll see that she has done a Flash re-design of her site. It's pretty in a sort of fairy-goth, delicate way. At least it doesn't keep you waiting for enormous splash animations. And if you click the "Listen" button, you get to hear songs from her discs on a very retro radio interface. I like it. Not that I need to listen online as I have very nearly every disc she's ever released.
Which begs the question of this month per se. I'll go with Brad Paisley and the prospect of Emm's disc as my discs for the month.

I take full credit for the brilliant estimation of the value of the Paul Reed Smith Hollowbody II in the the post of June 27. I said, "
Any price below about $3000 is a good buy for this beauty." Ha. It sold for $2,950. And it was a good buy provided it was in the condition advertised. My Julie Ocean (Paul Reed Smith Swamp Ash Special) is in the hands of my friend Bill who will clean her, tune her and leave her ringing like the belle she is. He gets to play with an SAS which is one version of PRS he does not own.
I'll practice on the original Santana SE for a while.
I did, howver, make a mistake on the designation of the Hollowbody II. The "II" doesn't mean that the top and back are both necessarily "10 top" flame maple wood but that the top and the back are of matched quality. Thus a II with a 10 top will have a 10-quality back. A II with an artist-grade 10 top (even better than a regular 10) will have an artist-grade 10 back. But those are rare and pricey. The regular II will be made of good figured maple, matched in quality on the front and back.

I said I'd take pics of the horn worms giving up their juice for the wasp babies but I just ran out of steam on that one. Since then, the jar was outside and has been rained in considerable. I have to check to see if the rain water has done in the wasp pupae. I hope not.
And, finally, no posting for the next few days as I'm off to Philly to see Jake.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Some Splainin' To Do
Right now, the two Netflix on desk are "Blue Velvet" and "A Clockwork Orange." Does this say something about me or about Netflix? And why can't movies this weird have lady vampires? I think each movie would be better with at least one lady vampire. Maybe two. Wow. Two lady vampires. What a movie that would be (taptaptap - pondering)....

It's Over When I Say It's Over
I recall reading, not but a few days ago, or possibly hearing since I can suck news from all sorts of different media (talented I am), that Osama Bin Laden wanted Zarqawi's body for burial. OK. That works. Just tell us where to send the body.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Three Cheers For The Red, White And Blue!
Happy Independence Day to one and all - those who enjoy the blessings of freedom and those who will in the coming years due to the gallant and noble sacrifices that Americans have made for decades.
Long live the Revolution! Long live the United States!

And in this post's gratuitous section: I watched "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" on some cable channel last night. It had the requisite number of splogiums and gimcracks for a dick flick but what makes it a must see is, of course, a lady vampire. I think every movie should have one.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

My Favorite Tomato Horn Worm
Sorry for the blur in the photo. My old skool digital camera is not all that good for close-up work. I'd like to thank the Braconid wasp for doing the heavy lifting on this one.
Check out this post at Fragments From Floyd for another look and a better explanantion (better - heck, an explanation period) of how the tomato plant deals with the horn worms.
My new friend here is unable to crawl out of the jar he's in and I aim to watch the wasp larvae do their thing. Knock yourselves out, lads. And then go out into the world to spread joy amongst all who would grow the tomato.
I see that I am actually dealing with a tobacco horn worm as the tomato horn worm, per se, has a blue-black horn and all mine have had red horns. Not that it matters as the only thing I have that they want is tomato plants. By the way, do visit the link as there is an insane comment from a "susan" who wants "share" the plant foliage which she doesn't eat. Oh fer hippieness! I could forgive it if she were a lady vampire.
UPDATE: I found one more THW avec pupae. Heh. That brings the total to 17 and now I'm almost sorry I didn't leave more for the wasps. Actually, the second one I found (they're much easier to spot when bristling with white cocoons) was bigger than the one i photographed. I left them both out on the deck in a jar. I'll take more pictures tomorrow. This is getting to be fun.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Take The Weekend Off
I'm going to.
Besides, I feel awful today. Nothing serious, not even a big deal, just blah-ed out to a fare-thee-well. If I perk up, I'll put another 'mader pic. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'll go water the plants and double check for the little hornéd beasts.
And Happy Fourth to one and all! FREEDOM!