Saturday, February 25, 2006

Renaissance Concert MP3s

I've just about completed the transfer from my old, dying ISP ( to As one of the many benefits of the transfer (apart from reliable service and technical support that doesn't make me listen to 10 minutes of recorded commercials about overpriced cell phone service), I get 250GB a month of download bandwidth (for about an eighth of what I was paying before--ha!). This means that I can post the MP3s from the Xmas 2005 Renaissance Concert and let *e*v*e*r*y*o*n*e* download them.

Tips: When you click each of these links, you'll start playing the associated MP3 file. You can right-click and then save the MP3 file wherever you like on your computer. But, if you've a cable modem or other reasonably fast connection, you may want to download all the MP3 files in a lump. To do that, click here to download a zip file of the lot. You can then extract the files to whatever directory you want and voila! instant concert. Also, if you burn these to a CD, make sure that there's no gap between tracks.

Enough talking! Here are the files:


Friday and a nice night out!

The Babe got off work and she, Susan, and I went out for steak at a steakhouse that had been recommended to us... but first, we drove by the new house site and looked at the hole in the ground.

Except that it's no longer a hole in the ground: they've got the forms up for pouring part of the foundation. The Babe was concerned that what we were seeing wasn't the same layout as we'd planned. I said that I'd phone and make sure on Monday. We drove around the corner to look at the other house that's ahead of ours. Susan really liked the look of it and was particularly pleased with her bedroom. There's now a skylight in the upstairs bathroom and the tub deck and shower floor are installed in the master bath. The shower looks much bigger now than it had without and the tub deck for the master bath looks huge (hot damn!). There's a step up from the garage into the house, alas, but only the one, so it shan't be horrible and we may even be able to put a ramp on it if we need to at some point. All in all, it's looking quite nice so far.

We went off to dinner at the Rodeo Steak House in Springfield, which proved to be a peanut-shells-on-the-floor kinda place (which the Babe doesn't like). It was Friday night, so there was quite a crowd. While we were waiting, Susan noticed the standard "Pregnancy and alcohol don't mix" and proceeded to tell us "Pregnancy and alcohol don't mix. Pregnancy floats to the top every time." This cracked us all up and when we got home later, I sent it off to the button company to see if it'd fly. (Saturday morning, we got a note saying that it was "offbeat enough to test" so we may have a winner!) Dinner was pretty nice, definitely worth going back there again.

Susan had wanted to go out bowling Friday night and the two of us were interested in that, too, so at 9:00pm, when the Friday leagues had cleared out, we headed over to Emerald Lanes. We got a lane and started bowling. Susan was doing wonderfully: she had great form and was really clobbering the pins. She and the Babe were both using their spiffy new bowling balls, and I used a couple of the house balls. I was still trying out the differences in weights, although after last night, I'm decided I'll go for a 15-pound ball. Susan and the Babe were both pointing things about my form, which I truly appreciated. And it helped, too: I had a 140-point second game. Not bad at all! The things that Susan and the Babe were telling me helped me lay the ball down much smoother and, when I did it right, the ball felt very light. In fact, a 14-pound ball felt too light.

Doing things with the Babe and Susan makes for a wonderful time. We came home tired and pleased. It was a very nice day.


Artwork from your DNA

All right, there are strange things in this post-modern world of ours and this one's nowhere near the strangest... but it's the strangest one I've seen so far today.  Here's a website for creating artwork from your DNA, so whatever you get is going to be truly unique. 

Mind you, I do like the blue and gold one very much but I'm enjoying the colors as much as anything else. 


Friday, February 24, 2006

Tuna Curry in a Hurry

I've been looking at a few blogs and I saw one that was posting recipes (with photos of the results) every couple days. I like that idea, so here's a recipe that has always always always been a favorite of mine.

This came to me from my mother, who probably got it from a magazine somewhere 40 or 50 years ago. She was President of the Tucson Unitarian Church and a great cook and an inveterate recipe saver. I grew up eating tuna curry and it’s great stuff. You can get dinner on the table in less than half an hour from when you walk in the door, which is not too shabby.

Rice—plain white, jasmine, or Basmati
2 large onions, chopped
oil or butter
1/4 cup white flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 bottle cheap American beer (Bud or Miller or something like that)
2 cans of tuna or 1 can of mackerel or 1 can of salmon
2 level tablespoons of curry powder
1 pint of plain, unflavored yoghurt

Optional Ingredients
shredded coconut
chopped hardboiled eggs
shelled peanuts
peach or apricot jam
sweet marmalade
green bananas or plantains for frying
  1. First, start a pot of white rice. Jasmine rice is best, basmati rice is also very nice, but any white rice will do fine.
  2. Take a large pot. Pour a quantity of white rice in the pot that’s about 1-1/2 inches from the bottom of the pot. (I always measure using my finger: halfway up to the second knuckle from the bottom of the pot is 1-1/2 inches.)
    Cooked rice is about twice the size of the dry rice you started with, so figure appropriately. Starting with 1-1/2 inches of dry rice in a two-quart saucepan will make enough rice to feed four.
  3. Wash the rice a few times by putting a quart or so of cold water in the pot, swirling the rice around with your hand and then carefully draining the liquid, which will be moderately cloudy. Washing gets the talc coating off the rice and makes the rice cook better.
  4. Put enough cold water in the pot to cover the rice another 1-1/2 inches—or halfway up to your second knuckle—from the surface of the rice to the surface of the water. (I know it sounds arcane, but if you put in any quantity of rice less than a few pounds in an appropriately-sized cooking pot and you then add that much water again above the surface of the rice, you’ll always come out just fine for the rice/water ratio.) Add a dash of salt and bring the pot of rice to a rolling boil.
  5. As soon as the rice hits a rolling boil, turn off the heat, cover it tightly, and leave it to sit undisturbed. By the time the rest of the meal is done, the rice will be, too.

While you’re waiting for the rice to hit a rolling boil, start the rest of the meal.
  1. In a large pot, brown two large chopped onions in a small amount of oil. Set aside.
  2. In the same pot, brown 1/4 cup of white flour in oil or butter. (Don’t use margarine!) When the flour is lightly browned and forming small beads, slowly add 1/2 bottle of American beer, stirring all the while. Add additional water as necessary to form a smooth roux. Keep on low heat and don’t let it boil or it’ll scorch.
  3. Add two cans of tuna with the juice. (You can substitute 1 large can of mackerel or 1 can of salmon if you prefer.) Add the browned onions, salt, and 2 level tablespoons of curry powder. Stir gently to mix the ingredients, but leave small chunks of fish visible in the mix. Simmer gently for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching.
    Note: The generic Spice Islands bottled curry powder is just fine for this, but you can branch out and try other curry powders from the spice store if you like.
  4. Right before you’re ready to serve, turn the heat up on the curry. Add 1 pint of plain, unflavored yoghurt and stir in gently. Leave small streaks of yoghurt in the mix—this gives character and color to the curry so it's not just a pot of good-tasting glop. Keep on the heat, stirring gently, until the mix starts to boil. (Watch out for splashes of hot curry as it bubbles.) Cook for one minute, or until the yoghurt is heated all the way through. Remove from the heat.
  5. Put a large bed of rice on each plate (or bowl). Spoon large quantities of curry over the rice. Garnish with raisins, shredded coconut, chopped hardboiled eggs, shelled peanuts, chutneys, and/or a bit of peach or apricot jam or sweet marmalade. Fried plantains or bananas are also a good side dish. Take plantains or green bananas (ripe bananas tend to fall apart and are too sweet), slice them lengthwise (like making a banana split) and fry them in a small quantity of butter until they are brown on both sides. The bananas will soften as they cook. Serve by putting them on the plate next to or under the bed of rice.
  6. Dig in! I’ve made this meal in 22 minutes from start to finish on any number of occasions. You can, too!


Thursday, February 23, 2006

Groundbreaking for the new house!

The Babe phoned yesterday afternoon and said "They've started breaking ground on the new house!" Well, hot damn!

After she got off work, we drove over there and took a few photos. Earlier, there had been a mini-cat or two grading the soil. By the time we got there, there was a layer of gravel on the base.

The lot's rather small, which is both "alas!" and "hurrah!" While it's nice to have lots of land for gardening, someone has to do it, which someone usually ends up being a landscaping company. We've a 1/3 of an acre right now and the backyard's incredibly pretty, but it costs a bit of money to keep things trimmed, weeded, and mowed. The new back and side yards shan't be nearly so spacious (alas!) but we won't have to have someone in as often or have them do as much (hurrah!).

The nice thing about our particular location is that the house next to us has their backyard next to us (they're on a corner lot) and the house behind us is also backyard-to-backyard, so we'll be looking out on a much greater expanse of greensward and the occasional decorative shrub than many of our neighbors.

The house is likely to be done around September, so we'll be packing in the hottest part of the summer. (Oh, boy!) I've explained to the Babe that I've already done the vast majority of the packing and moving for her twice: once from Seattle to Fort Wayne (and two houses, at that!) and the second from Fort Wayne to Eugene. I think that that's plenty for this lifetime, so she's going to be equally involved in the packing on this move. In fact, we'll also have Susan doing some of this, too. And because we've not unpacked so many of the book boxes, a lot of this will be less work for the packing than it might otherwise have been.

We're starting to think about local moving companies, too. I'm quite sure we'll have uno el mondo garage sale/donation run prior to the move and one as we unpack. We've never really conjoined our households yet: a number of things have stayed in boxes since our first move. Getting everything unpacked and sifted will be deliciously freeing. I expect to dump a lot of books and miscellany as part of this. It makes me feel good. :)


Cats in sinks

Susan told me about Yet Another Website for catlovers,   The subject came up because we'd gotten several photos of Yang in the downstairs bathroom sink. 

(The rest of the photos can be found in the Cat Pix folder of my Flickr account.)

Not long after we disturbed him, Yang could be found in a traditional pose and location, up on top of the monitor.

While Yang continues in his semi-perpetual somnolence even this afternoon (where he was snoring on top of a stack of printouts on one side of my desk), I am disabusing him of his right to be on top of the monitor. Not only do I find it annoying and a bit alarming when he leaps from the floor to the top of the monitor without warning, he lost his privileges recently when he leapt off the monitor and hit the desk so hard that he caused the computer and keyboard to lock up. I didn't know you could do that, but apparently, it's possible. I had to do a couple of cold boots to get everything to unlock... and at that point, Yang would find himself removed from the monitor whenever he tried to perch. He's slowly getting the idea.


Late-Night Jokes about Cheney's Shooting Accident

This collection of jokes comes from Daniel Kurtzman's political humor column in

Late-Night Jokes About Dick Cheney's Shooting Accident

"Dick Cheney said he felt terrible about shooting a 78-year-old man, but on the bright side, it did give him a great idea about how to fix Social Security." --Bill Maher
"Not to worry, the man who was shot left the hospital today, and they said he was in good condition -- a little gamey, but still moist." --Bill Maher
"To the vice president's credit, he did own up to it. On FOX News he said the fault was his, he can't blame anybody else. Boy, it's amazing, the only time you get accountability out of this administration is when they are actually holding a smoking gun." --Bill Maher
"Rumors are that the reason Dick Cheney didn't say anything about the hunting accident for about 24 hours was because he had been drinking. And I'm thinking, well jeez, he was probably drinking when we planned the invasion of Iraq." --David Letterman
"Over the weekend while on a hunting trip down in Texas, Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot a member of his hunting party. He apologized. In fact, he told Brit Hume that he was actually trying to hit Cindy Sheehan." --Jay Leno
"Cheney now says he can't blame the shooting on the guy who got shot. He said we tried that for three days. It didn't work." --Jay Leno
"Hillary Clinton blasted the vice president today for failing to disclose all the facts. She wants Dick Cheney to give exact details. You know like, 'How do you shoot someone and make it look like an accident?'" --Jay Leno
"Dick Cheney gave an interview to Fox News. Some are accusing Fox of giving softball questions. My answer to that is, 'Well, does a vice president shoot in the woods?'" --David Letterman
"Dick Cheney and his buddies go down there hunting in Texas, and Dick Cheney guns down a guy. And they're hunting quail, and the quail disappeared. They vanished. And reports now that they're hiding in the mountainous area near Pakistan" --David Letterman
"This just in, earlier today, Dick and Lynne Cheney shot up a gas station." --David Letterman
"Cheney also admitted that he'd been drinking. He said he had one beer. Okay, it was a 40-ounce Colt .45, but just one." --Jay Leno
"They were in a car, they drive along, they get out of the car, he shoots his friend in the face, then they get back in the car and they go hide for 18 hours. That’s not hunting ... that's an episode of 'The Sopranos'" --Jay Leno
"See, this is why Republicans have to commit white collar crimes to steal money. They're just not good with guns, they don't know how to handle them." --Jay Leno
"President Bush says he is standing behind the vice president. Way behind him." --Jay Leno
"America remaining obsessed, fascinated, appalled, by what is being called 'Dick Cheney Shot A Guy In The Face-Gate.'" --Jon Stewart
"A mere five days after shooting a man in the face, Vice President Dick Cheney broke his silence about the incident by submitting to a no-holds-barred grilling at a public press conference. I'm just kidding. ... Actually, he sat down with Brit Hume on Fox News for not some much a grilling -- more of a teat suckle." --Jon Stewart
"The real question now is, is this a one-time thing, or will the vice president try to kill again." --David Letterman
"I'm surprised Dick Cheney loves to hunt so much. The five times the government tried to give him a gun, he got a deferment." --Jay Leno
"What a nightmare I had last night. I dreamed I was at a Washington party and I had to choose between Dick Cheney taking me on a hunting trip or Ted Kennedy driving me home." --Jay Leno
"The rumor is that Cheney may have been drinking and he wanted to wait until he sobered up. So he may have been drinking and then he shot a guy. And you know what's really scary about all of this -- what if it turns out all this time Bush was the smart one?" --Jay Leno
"We can't get bin Laden, but we nailed a 78-year-old attorney." --David Letterman
"Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot a man during a quail hunt ... making 78-year-old Harry Whittington the first person shot by a sitting veep since Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton, of course, (was) shot in a duel with Aaron Burr over issues of honor, integrity and political maneuvering. Whittington? Mistaken for a bird." --Jon Stewart
"The Vice President is standing by his decision to shoot Harry Whittington. Now, according to the best intelligence available, there were quail hidden in the brush. Everyone believed at the time there were quail in the brush. And while the quail turned out to be a 78- year-old man, even knowing that today, Mr. Cheney insists he still would have shot Mr. Whittington in the face. He believes the world is a better place for his spreading buckshot throughout the entire region of Mr. Wittington's face." --"Daily Show" correspondent Rob Corddry
“Now, this story certainly has its humorous aspects. ... But it also raises a serious issue, one which I feel very strongly about. ... moms, dads, if you're watching right now, I can't emphasize this enough: Do not let your kids go on hunting trips with the vice president. I don't care what kind of lucrative contracts they're trying to land, or energy regulations they're trying to get lifted -- it's just not worth it." --Jon Stewart
"Good news, ladies and gentlemen, we have finally located weapons of mass destruction: It's Dick Cheney." --David Letterman

"But here is the sad part -- before the trip Donald Rumsfeld had denied the guy's request for body armor." --David Letterman
"You can't blame [Cheney]. Bush says you can spy on people without warrants, you can torture people, you can hold people without a trial, so Dick Cheney thinks, 'Oh what the hell, I can shoot a few guys.'" --Jay Leno
"Here's my favorite part of this whole incident. After Cheney shot the guy, the police later showed up at the ranch where Cheney was staying and wanted to talk to him, but was told to come back the next morning. And that's what they did, they came back the next morning. Kev, that ever happen in the hood?"-- Jay Leno
"There is a little discrepancy about what happened on this hunt, because Ann Armstrong, the woman who has this ranch, said there was no alcohol involved, and Dick Cheney said he had one beer. So apparently, Dick Cheney can't keep his rifle, his story, or his daughter straight." --Bill Maher
"What I don't understand about this whole thing is that the guy who got shot, this is his statement today, he said my family and I are deeply sorry (his face got in the way) for everything the vice president and his family had to go through this weekend. Wow, that is one loyal Republican. He also referred to the buckshot wound in his face as '1,000 points of light.'" --Bill Maher
"Dick Cheney gave an interview to Fox News. I don't want to say Fox News was lenient, but the first question they asked was, 'Who do you like in American Idol?'" --Jay Leno
"Dick Cheney finally answered questions about the hunting accident on Fox News. You know, I think Fox News is a little biased. They called it 'Interview with a Marksman.'" --Jay Leno
"In an interview on Fox News, Dick Cheney took full responsibility for shooting a fellow hunter. Then surprisingly, he broke down and admitted to killing two drifters in Flagstaff, Arizona in 1989." --Jay Leno
"He sat down for a one-on-one with Fox News. Very bold choice. Dick Cheney sitting down with Fox News is like Mrs. Butterworth sitting down with the Pancake Channel." --Jimmy Kimmel
"Cheney says he feels terrible about what happened. The man he shot was his friend and if he could, he'd give him the central processing unit right out of his own heart to make up for it." --Jimmy Kimmel
There was some talk that the vice president had been drinking before he went out to shoot and it turns out that was true. Cheney said he did have a beer during lunch. One beer, and the only reason he even drank it was to wash down the three hits of ecstasy." --Jimmy Kimmel
"Kind of a sad study out today that single women over the age of 35 are more likely to be shot by the vice president than to find a husband." --Jimmy Kimmel
"Cheney's defense is that he was aiming at a quail when he shot the guy. Which means that Cheney now has the worst aim of anyone in the White House since Bill Clinton." --Jay Leno
"I think Cheney is starting to lose it. After he shot the guy he screamed, 'Anyone else want to call domestic wiretapping illegal?'" --Jay Leno
"You know what they say, if Dick Cheney comes out of his hole and shoots an old man in the face, six more weeks of winter." --Jimmy Kimmel
"The Vice President says that it was an accident. He claims the guy got in his line of fire, but the good news was he was delicious. Eat what you shoot!" --Jimmy Kimmel
"The man who was shot is named Harry Whittington. He's a high powered Republican lawyer, he was very lucky. They say the only reason that he wasn't killed is he was wearing the body armor that never got shipped to our troops." --Jimmy Kimmel
"But all kidding aside, and in fairness to Dick Cheney, every five years he has to shed innocent blood or he violates his deal with the devil." --Jimmy Kimmel
Happy Valentine's Day. Good news, good news today -- so far Dick Cheney has not shot anybody." --David Letterman
"Everybody is in the Valentine's mood. For example, earlier today Dick Cheney shot his buddy in the ass with an arrow." --David Letterman
"The guy Cheney shot is a Texas lawyer. While he was lying there on the ground he actually handed himself his own business card." --Jay Leno
"After Whittington had a heart attack, Cheney said, "You big baby. I get those all the time. Walk it off." --Jay Leno
"It turns out now that Dick Cheney did not have a license to hunt, and coincidentally, turns out we didn't have a license to go into Iraq." --David Letterman
"Remember when the most embarrassing thing to happen to a vice-president was misspelling the word potato?" --Jimmy Kimmel
"Police are still investigating. They want to know why Cheney was unable to see the hunter at the time of the accident. And, they also want to know how Cheney wound up with his wallet." --Jimmy Kimmel
"The administration has been getting a lot of criticism for how they handled the situation. First, they didn't tell the media for almost a full day after it happed. The White House press corps was furious. They expect to be told when the vice president shoots a 78-year-old man in the face." --Jimmy Kimmel
"If this story gets any bigger, pretty soon they're going to have to tell the president." --David Letterman
"When the ambulance got there, out of force of habit they put Cheney on the stretcher. No, the other guy!" --Jay Leno
"Dick Cheney is capitalizing on this for Valentine's Day. It's the new Dick Cheney cologne. It's called Duck!" --Jay Leno
"The guy who got gunned down, he is a Republican lawyer and a big Republican donor and fortunately the buck shot was deflected by wads of laundered cash. So he's fine. He took a little in the wallet." --David Letterman
"This is a great story. You've got the Vice President, a shotgun, a bunch of rich guys hunting tiny little birds. The only thing that could possibly make this story better is if he shot Michael Jackson." --Jimmy Kimmel
"So in summary, the Vice President of the United States shot a 78-year-old man in the face. Congratulations Mister Vice President, you are now a Crip." --Jimmy Kimmel
"You can understand why this lawyer fellow let his guard down, because if you're out hunting with a politician, you think, 'If I'm going to get it, it's going to be in the back.'" --Craig Ferguson
"The big scandal apparently is that they didn't release the news for 18 hours. I don't think that's a scandal at all. I'm quite pleased about that. Finally there's a secret the vice president's office can keep." --Craig Ferguson
"Apparently the reason they didn't release the information right away is they said we had to get the facts right. That's never stopped them in the past." --Craig Ferguson


Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Domains and email are almost there!

I got news from the registrars that my domains had transferred, so yesterday I pushed the button to start the switchover process from one server to another.  I was nervous I was going to lose a lot of email, but no, it looks like it's gone reasonably smoothly.  I put a different front page on my website at the new host,, and it now comes up.  I'm checking the email from both sides, the old account and the new, and the old stuff has tapered off as the DNS servers and mail routing tables are updated.  I'm hoping that it'll all be ready for me to kiss off the idiots at (formerly & in a few days. 

It's take a special kinda stupid to achieve the working disaster that they've managed to pull off.  Only a Texas cellphone marketing exec could have done this in so short a time. 


Monday, February 20, 2006

Planning our cruise

Later this year, we're doing a cruise with Steve and Andi, one of the Babe's brothers and his wonderful wife, who are celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary by getting away to the Caribbean. There'll be a few other family members on this trip as well, which'll be nice, but it's pretty significant that this'll be my first cruise ever as well as our first cruise together.  (The Babe's done one cruise before this.) 

We're looking at beach trips, shopping, a butterfly farm, and a number of other things.  I'm also thinking that I need to start convincing the Babe that she needs skimpier bathing wear to show off that gorgeous frame of hers.  I'm doubtful of my ability to get her to the level of Wicked Weasel swimwear by this cruise, but as Robert Browning  said, "A man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?"