We had breakfast for dinner last night at the area IHOP. It was a pleasant winter’s walk from the downtown square – the kind that makes a warm restaurant all the more enjoyable! I had their new meal, the BIG Country-Fried Steak and Eggs dinner, which included a huge slab of battered cube-steak, white gravy, three eggs, hash browns, and pancakes too! Let me tell you – it was legendary. I felt thoroughly satisfied afterward, if not a bit over-stuffed. We had our walk back, which I like to think mediated the metric ton of food in my belly, but it probably didn’t. Hell, it’s winter; I’m just trying to build-up a blubber layer to survive.
The big deal for me at Christmas this year was the receipt of my first stereo, personal field recorder. I got a Zoom H2, which has its list of unhappy customers, but is also one of the more popular devices to own for the money. This is the big time for yours truly because it means I’ll be able to record my drum circles and the occasional Gypsy band jam session (in which I am a contributing percussionist). I am so looking forward to this!
I have also recently attended a drum building workshop (mental note: blog about the workshop), and built my very first drum. I should say, finished my very first drum shell – that is where the workshop begins. It has been several weeks since the workshop, but I have only just been able to dedicate proper time and attention this evening to the tuning of said drum. Since I was trying somewhat to be good to my neighbors, I kept the energy attenuated.
To kick off my eager anticipation of the H2 and Thunderhead, I’ve recorded my first moments using both. It’s completely raw and unedited. There are also some distinctions in the three recordings that are really only meaningful to me. Suffice it to say, I’m still working with the tuning of my drum and the use of a new electronic gadget.
I’m a fan of the seed and nut family, as many can attest. I maintain a supply of them at my desk at work for the occasion of snacking, which comes regularly. There are also infinite jokes to be told that never get old:
Hello everybody. I have brought my nuts for everybody to enjoy. They’re oddly shaped, but salty and satisfying. Don’t be shy, there’s more than enough for everyone to get their hands on.
That’s not crude, that’s generous. A 27oz. container of cashews will cost me $10.00-$12.00. Anyway, the cashew caught my interest this morning. From whence did it come? Were its travels arduous? Who were its parents? How has it come to be?
Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy all-knowing Wikipedia, we read:
The cashew (Anacardium occidentale) is a tree in the flowering plant family Anacardiaceae. The plant is native to northeastern Brazil. Its English name derives from the Portuguese name for the fruit of the cashew tree, caju, which in turn derives from the indigenous Tupi name, acajú. It is now widely grown in tropical climates for its cashew “nuts” and cashew apples.
Ann’s House of Nuts® may very well import theirs from India, which has the largest Kaju farms in the world. What interests me most if the variety of uses of the tree (especially those of a medicinal quality), as well as the parts of the fruit we do not see. The cashew apple is apparently used as a raw fruit in places where they grow, but because the skin is so fragile, it is not feasible to ship it. I had originally looked up the nut to see how it looked on the tree. I had imagined thousands of crooked, walnut-like shells dangling from a tree. The truth is even more bizarre! The cashew apple is actually a false-fruit, psuedofruit, that develops between the peduncle and the drupe. Unless you’re a botanist, there are a couple of new words for you. The cashew nut we all know actually dangles off the end of the pseudofruit, presumably until a creature eats the psuedofruit and drops the seed to ground where it can germinate. What’s even more bizarre is that the seed is actually encased within a shell containing urushiol. That’s the stuff that makes you break out in an itchy rash on poison ivy! Who in the world decided it was worthwhile to pick apart this shell to eat the small, fleshy nut inside? Why wouldn’t they have just stopped at the cashew apple and been done with it? Just another example of how one man’s pain is another man’s pleasure.
Dear Cashew Nut Harvester,
Though your spreading rash and insistent itch must be a grave burden to bear, the world appreciates the labor in your continued efforts. Like your father, and your father’s father, you pick at your nuts endlessly only to endure the torturing discomfort of its rash. I, for one, do not take these measures for granted and recognize the pain and suffering you must endure. From your hands you render great swollen nut sacks and feed salivating mouths everywhere. Thank you.
I recently commented on Lorelle’s post about Help pages on blogs. My answer got me thinking about an excellent Internet analogy.
I maintained a “Help” page on my personal blog for a long while. It was a practice in earnest to fight the good fight. I tested browser compatibility and noted errors with specific browsers. It helped me…never my audience. I think I gave up after reading “Don’t Make Me Think.” Ultimately, that is really the mindset and the answer. If I have to provide a help page, perhaps I’m doing something wrong. Perhaps I’m not making that personal connection with people because I’m ostracizing them through some personal elitism. I remember when DHTML was really cool and working with the DOM in unique, arcane methods was more a resemblance to the occult than anything Web 2.0 represents today. We’ve all grown up on this stuff. Internet adolescence is over and it’s time to get a real job; move out of your parent’s basement (no offense to you 30-somethings living in your parent’s basement). So I don’t have a “Help” page anymore. I try to offer help in more constructive ways – ways that a “Help” page can only make excuses for. Besides – who actually takes the time to read a manual, let alone my blog manual?
A while back I wrote about getting my water pressure back from the PSI trolls. It turns out, I was too ignorant to know what real water pressure was like and misjudged my victory. So recently I set out to avenge this injustice. I contacted the local water company to have a look.
I had specific requirements for said support. I wanted to know the PSI and flow (in gallons per minute) of my water source. The technician performed his job while I was at work, and when I arrived home I found the small note explaining the details of his work:
120 p.s.i., flows looks good.
What the hell does the “looks good” mean? I did call and ask. I got a distinctly unsatisfactory answer. So I took matters into my own hands.
A quick run to Home Depot supplied me with everything I thought I might run into. I had dug up a portion of the yard near the meter to assess the situation. One such item was the curb key needed to shut off the city’s water supply to the house. I had previously performed this action with an adjustable wrench. I think I ruined something in my arm. The first action was to remove the pressure reducing valve (PRV). That proved somewhat difficult because of the tight space to work in. My perseverance paid off and I was able to remove it quickly. I then cleaned out the mesh on the input side of the valve and screwed it back into the line. This proved completely ineffective. The next thing to do was to replace the PRV altogether. Having purchased an appropriate unit at Home Depot for less than $30, I was ready to finish the job. I put the new PRV in place and tightened everything down.
When the water was turned back on and pressure restored to the house, I waited to be sure that no leaks were present from my new handy work. I tell you what! No leaks (one slight leak was corrected from the previous equipment), and the water flow was amazing. The pressure was actually lower than I had previously set the PRV to (40psi from 100psi), but the flow was at least 400% better. I had previously measured it at the kitchen faucet at almost ½ a gallon per minute. Now it’s up to the regulated rate of 2 gallons per minute. I was so elated! I went and bought the craziest shower head I could find to celebrate my newfound water pressure. Of course, now I’m at odds with the pressing drought. It’s a grandiose victory nonetheless.
The Fix-It summary:
The problem signature was that water pressure was adequate upon build-up, but fell to 0 psi after seconds of use. The resultant flow was down to around a ½ gallon per minute, which is well below normal. The PRV is there to reduce the pressure of incoming water from a water source – usually the city water source. It is a simple device resembling a spring-shock from a car on the inside. There’s a valve at the end of this shock that controls the flow of water. I’m not really sure how it’s able to control the pressure the way it does, but apparently it is within the realms hydraulic physics. I can tell you, however, that when the PRV goes bad, it fails to control pressure dynamically. So when pressure is good, but flow is not, then it may very well be a problem with the PRV. Check the mesh screen at the intake, and replace the unit if that doesn’t clear up the problem.
It’s a bit late getting to my attention, but I was made aware recently of the Pope’s exoneration of pagan babies in limbo. The documentation on this subject is actually quite lengthy; I had to follow a couple of citations to other fascinating topics regarding in vitro fertilization and other immoral acts of life indignities, but I digress.
Every sperm is sacred,
Every sperm is great.
If a sperm is wasted,
God gets quite irate
— The Meaning of Life, Monty Python
It was an Alaskan cousin that first introduced me to this newsworthy little tidbit while vacationing on the sandy, white beaches of Pensacola Beach, Florida. The topic piqued my interests, so I went right to the source on the communiqué. What the Vatican had to say about it was spread over many a scrollbar’s length upon my millions of light-emitting liquid crystals.
For the past couple of decades or so, the Vatican has been mulling over the question of unbaptized babies’ fates. Back in the day, and I mean waay back in the day, Augustine conveyed in a not-so vague way that unbaptized infants go to Hell.
We do not pray for those who are damned.
However, in the 12th century the Pope accepted limbo as being a good place to put unbaptized babies. There, they would be without pain.
They did not deserve Paradise therefore they did not have happiness either
As recently as 1992, the Catechism of the Catholic Church is referenced as a position for the possibility of hope for the world’s pagan babies.
with regard to children who die without having received Baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God
Additional references from the Bible show further suspicions of an omnipotence that supersedes our own pettiness.
Let the children come to me, do not hinder them [Mk 10:14]
With historical debates waging almost two millennium, it was high time that this tirade come to an end.
Our conclusion is that the many factors that we have considered above give serious theological and liturgical grounds for hope that unbaptised infants who die will be saved and enjoy the Beatific Vision. We emphasise that these are reasons for prayerful hope, rather than grounds for sure knowledge.
Okay…so it’s not exactly as clearcut as my fantastic vision of a golden school bus loaded with gilded car seats and babies all headed to the Pearly Gates. They must have installed a massive day care facility. It may very well be a particular kind of Hell for some. But it stands to reason that even more important than the meager position of hope for babies is the Catholic Church’s updates to the Catechism for the times. A natural, albeit doubtful prospect for the future evolution of this doctrine is the inclusion of other modern day paradoxes to Catholicism such as gay marriage and heathen salvation. Stranger things have certainly happened, but is this the latest sign that the Catholic Church is changing to a newer, hipper reflection of itself?
The face of reason and sober judgment for Gainesville and Hall County is that of Wanda Kuehn. Hers is the path of light; to keep Hell’s demons at bay. Dabblers in Satanic worship can be known by their fortunetelling, long hair, and rock and roll music.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. … I know that (fortunetelling) doesn’t do anything but steal people’s decision making and give them false answers.” – Wanda Kuehn of Gainesville
Kuehn seems to think that the people of Hall County are unable to make sound decisions for themselves and should instead look to her wisdom on their decisions.
In Kuehn’s defense, and to support my wife’s argument that she’s entitled to her defense, she’s only doing what she has the greatest conviction to do. You can’t blame someone for defending their beliefs, even if you don’t believe in them yourself.
The Gainesville Times has the full story available on their website.
Saturday was our big day for the Dan Zanes concert followed by yummy food at the Varsity in Atlanta. Hard to top that! Balthazar didn’t get quite as much out of the concert as we had hoped; he was tired and hungry. But he did get to hear his favorite song, Catch that Train!, before losing all interest in the set. The concert was crazy. I’ve never been to a family concert like this, so it was really strange to see all these kids congregated in a mosh pit at the front of the theater. There were other kids running amuck through the isle ways and parents acting up just as much as their children. Dan Zanes and 4 of his musical crew were really great. I have huge respect for the drummer. He rocks on a tiny little drum set and has such great animation while he plays. I’m jealous of his apparent knack of left/right brain activity. I think if we better prepare ourselves for the event next time he comes through, Balthazar will have a really great time at the concert. Hell, I might be able to get him into the mosh pit for some 4-year-old bashing.
My new favorite metaphor:
Share the credit with others because a rising tide floats all boats.
Guy Kawasaki writes “Ten Things to Learn this School Year” and sums up real world examples of educational preparedness. I suppose it should be read as the top 10, because there are hundreds of other examples I can think of. Hell, they’ve written movies and TV series about it. The list is pretty good if not downright funny. Having never attended college officially, I cannot speak to the readiness of our college graduates. I can say however, that nothing but life itself can prepare you for the world. And by prepared, I mean simply that you won’t fall over dead from shock when something things come at you. Stupid birds.