Drawing Flies 365

I thought 30 days of blogging was tough. How about drawing every day for a year and then blogging about it daily. That's commitment! Jeff Kennedy will draw a fly fishing fly every day for a year and post the results over at his Drawing Flies Blog. The art work is wonderful and he is drawing using a wide range of media. Good Luck Jeff.



via Moldy Chum
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Harbour Snow

The power went out today and there was no PB & J in the house.
We went to lunch on the waterfront so someone else could cook.

Harbour Snow
The wet and heavy snow broke many tree limbs.
The cedar in the front yard bent like a lily in bloom.

Cedar under the load of snow

The snow stuck to everything.

The Snow stuck to everything

The pungent smell of the traps was startling in the pristine whiteness.

Smells the same
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Tying Trout Flies with Patrick Brown

This week trout flies were on the menu. Three classics for every fly box.
The caddis is sweet! How do I know? I tasted it.

Pheasant Tail, Wooley Bugger, Caddis Pupae
Fly Tying with Patrick Brown - Pheasant Tail, Wooley Bugger, Caddis Pupae
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Blue, White and Black

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Success!

All the posts are now copied over to the new format. I had to use the Force Sync and the Manually Re-Sync With Blogger button to get the postings over instead of using the Publish button. I know you have no Idea what I'm talking about but I'm writing this down so I don't forget it. This post was made from my desktop and Rapidweaver.
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Still Frustrated

I was just able to sync a single post successfully. Then I tried to do the remaining six or so posts left and got the famous 404 error again.
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Blogger is not playing well again

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RapidBlog and Blogger aren't playing very well

RapidBlogLogo
Frustrations abound and apologies are sent to you, my dear internet, for not posting very often. I'm in the middle of trying to get a program called RapidBlog to play nice with Blogger and RapidWeaver. When all goes well I should be able to make blog postings from anywhere in the world that has internet access to Blogger. Right now I can oly blog from one machine. I know, I know that is soooo Web 1.0. With the RapidBlog program I will have a mirror account to my blog on Blogger and both will synchronize automagically via a PHP script. To me this is very cool and solves a lot of problems for $14.95. The makers of RapidBlog, LogHound Software blame this on Blogger not accepting more than fifty posts in a day. I can understand this because evil assholes who do no good probably abuse Blogger with automation scripting to add crap the the blogosphere. They do this in order to advance their pitiful ways. This new sport is uses splogs. They are phony blogs or spam blogs that cross reference popular blogs pointing to a beneficiary site to increase it's Google rating. To counteract this, Blogger blocked my last nine posts that exceeded the fifty post limit per day, and now I am blocked from posting anything through my sync agent in RapidBlog/Weaver. There is this ditty called captcha that is stopping me and throwing 404 errors. Captcha doesn't think I'm human so it is blocking me. I'm trying to rectify it now. If you look at my website toolbar on the top right of the sidebar you will notice I have two blogs listed, The Blog and Synched Blog. Eventually Synched Blog will become The Blog. I am keeping the two for now to counteract frustrating situations like this. Yes, I have backed up my website, have you? Please bare with me and send sympathy cards.
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A Wonderful Piece of New Year's Wisdom


I just read Death and Underachievement: A Guide to Happiness in Work by Ryan Norbauer over at 43 Folders. His compelling arguement, be happy with where you are right now, if you shot for the moon while setting all your goals, you may live a life of disappointment. He also reminds us just how small we are on the radar screen of life.

"each of us is one among 6.6 billion people (give or take), and that even if you were to attain a level of accomplishment that (let’s face it) you could never even dream of approaching—say, becoming prime minister of Canada—the vast majority of people now and ever living will never even have heard of you."


I guss this means not many people will ever read my blog. It's interesting, that I read this in anticipation of doing my annual review for work. Even more interesting is that Ryan is probably less than fifteen miles from me right now, a fact I discovered from his bio while creating his hotlink. By the way - Ryan is an overachiever as well as a very gifted writer.
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Happy Birthday Olivia!

You're one year old today.
There is a wonderful posting over at momma's blog.
Birthday Girl
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Sometimes You Get Surprised

Software can sometimes be frustrating and other times it can surprise you. Today, quality time was spent giving this site a new look. I was pleasantly surprised with the theme that I am using from MultiThemes. It is an add on theme to RapidWeaver, the software I use to build this site. Using the theme was a pleasure. I was able to control many things. Believe it or not, there was a lot of work to get the site to look this sparse. One of the best things about the theme was that it was free! I hope the new look is compelling enough for people to want to stick around.

Two things are currently on my mind about the site. First, I don't think that the hyperlink color is very distinguishable from the rest of the text in the posting body. Unfortunately it is tied to the color of the categories, tags, archives and other text in the sidebar as well as above and below each posting. Those elements are all hot or hyper links. For some reason the link text does not stick out as much when it is in with a lot of other text. Do you think the links are distinct enough? Second issue, I am not sure if I should have a home page or just have the blog be the home page. This website is more than a blog and that is why I have kept it. It has the two albums and the weather page. I'll also add a links page and other different pages at some point in the future. Because there are other things besides a blog here, I may be compelled to keep it. I know the home page is not the place where I have put the most up to date information. The blog has been the place for current events. When I add or change something on the site, I usually blog about it anyway. Let me know if you think the home page should stay or go. Remember to vote early and vote often.

While editing the home page today, I discovered I had not updated it in a year. Olivia the former star attraction on page one, will be a year old next week! The new photo is from the marsh behind my house. We are lucky to be living in such a beautiful area.
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Happy Holidays!

Hi Folks,

We're back from Florida where we had a visit with my in-laws. I have some stuff to post but I am going to try and upgrade the site first. Wish me luck. I have also moved the software over to a newer machine. Hopefully the transition will go smoothly.
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Banana Bread

Banana Bread
Made eight loaves this evening. Yummy! This is another tradition for the holidays. I got this recipe more than half a life ago in Marblehead. The trick to this recipe is the bananas are not even speckled yet. No brown gooey things here. I also use whole wheat flower for half of the flour and all purpose for the other half. Don't over mix the batter. Just mix enough until everything is combined.

Banana Bread from the Peach Family


1/2 cup Shortening
1 cup Sugar

2 eggs

1 cup bananas (2 - no speckles - fresh)
1 tsp. lemon juice (for color)

2 cups flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup nuts (optional)

Bake @ 325 degrees F
for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes watch and check with toothpick
(top should turn golden brown)
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Tying Freshwater Flies with Rick Little

Fresh Water Flies Tied with Rick Little
From left to right; White Marabou Streamer, The Usual, Montreal Whore, Soft Hackle Wet Fly and Pink Floyd. These flies are from the heart of Maine. We tied these under the instruction of Rick Little. Rick is a long time member of the tying class at First Light Anglers. He is a great guy, a hell of a angler and an excellent tyer. He will be tying commercially for the shop this year. His class was well planned and he was thoughtful in his presentation. He supplied each student with a handout for the flies tied in the class. The handout will be posted on the discussion board at FLA. He tied each fly first, then had step by step instruction for everyone to follow. These flies were relatively easy flies to tie and all have a sense of motion and life in each pattern. This is due to the use of marabou, snowshoe hair and soft hackle. There will definitely be some additions from this class in my fly box next spring.
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The commute home today was a tad long

I saw a lot of this today.
Snowstorm Traffic 12-13-2007
Total commute time - three hours fifty-five minutes. I had to stop once to clear the pile of snow the windshield wipers had made on the hood of the car. My iPod was full of podcasts to listen to. Had a long call with my niece. Didn't have a "bio" break. I must be getting mellow. No one had to peel me off the ceiling of the car when I arrived home. Once there, a fire was lit and the hot toddy's and dinner were made. Snug in our cozy home, in front of the fire, on a long winters night. The shoveling can wait till morning.
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Barbie Legs?

You decide.
Barbie Legs Carrot
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Following Sara's Instructions

Naked Jack-in-the-Pulpet Seeds
Per Sara's instructions, I donned surgical gloves and began squirting woody white seeds from the little red berries that could burn my skin off. The seeds were encased in a rusty colored goo that resembled the consistency of snot. After a while I figured out that if you rolled the seeds on a paper towel, the rusty snot would liberate itself from the seeds. Then they air dried for just a few minutes. After drying I rolled them on a new clean paper towel. This rolling removed the rest of the lethal snot/goo. I then placed them in a screen type strainer and gave them a light rinse, then it was back to a new paper towel for more drying. The picture above is the end result. They have now been placed in a paper envelope (never put them in plastic) where they will await planting in the spring. Why so much attention to detail? Any time you plan to propagate a plant that looks like this one does you take extra care. This plant has the potential to resemble a penis.
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Roller Derby and Dewars - Can it get any better?

BDD & Dewars
Last night the after party was sponsored by Dewar's. Just when I thought it couldn't get any better. . .

The bout was amazing. The Nutcrackers defeated the Cosmonaughties 69-42. This was a total vindication of the prior lopsided contest and more of what I want to see in Boston's newest sport. I'll reserve judgement on the other team in the league until we see their next appearance. There was nonstop action, great skating and the penalty box was crowded. The thrills and spills were nonstop and the off track entertainment was fun. The teams are skating better and we are seeing the jammers really come into their own. The skills of the pivots and blockers have improved and they are really regulating the pace of the game. Time is passing much more quickly and scores are being updated sooner. All these improvements are making for a much more enjoyable night of action and fun. Adding frosting to the cake, we met up with a new rolled derby celebrity Ballistic Miss L. of Pioneer Valley Roller Derby. It was a nice surprise to see her and for her to come all the way down from the wilds of central New Hampshire. Come with us to the next bout on February 9th and hopefully see a seagull get it's wings clipped.
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Tying With Captain Peter Yukins

Flies Tied With Captain Peter Yukins
This weeks critters were tied with the help of Captain Peter Yukins. He is an employee of First Light Anglers and also guides on the North Shore.
From Left to right; Pete's version of a Ray's Fly, front view of Pete's Lobster Fly, Puglisi Style Cunner, Pete's Pheasant Style Cunner. The last fly is made by just layering bucktail and pheasant. A really nice looking fly. I added a natural eye from the pheasant rather than a 3-D eye. I like the old style look of the natural. This fly would look amazing with jungle cock eyes. The Mrs. thinks the Puglisi flies are "as cute as a button." I hope the fish think they are "so cute they could just eat 'em up!"
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Jack-in-the-Pulpit Seed Propagation

Jack-in-the-Pulpi Seeds
Sara, Mary and I have been having discussions about the Jack-in-the-Pulpit seeds from our garden. I just thought you'd like to read more about it.

Wasn't that just the quickest little post?
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Fly Tying Season Has Begun

Snake Flies
Last Wednesday was the season opener for tying classes at First Light Anglers. Captain Nat Moody, one of the owners of the shop, started us off with a good versatile impressionistic critter, to limber up the bobbins and the vices. The design is a modified snake fly. This has Nat's signature bunny tail partially encased in easy body. It includes both types of rabbit strips in the construction. The zonker strip for the tail and then the cross cut strip palmered around the hook. Marabou covers the palmered crosscut. Bucktail is wrapped around the aft bunny tail. We finished off with a spun deer hair head. The head on the left is trimmed for a diver style fly. The other is a larger head used to push lots of water for surface action or a gurgler. If you are undecided, leave the heads bigger and trim waterside to suit conditions.

It was great to see all the guys at the class. The new format is well worth it. Only twenty more classes till striper season!
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NaBloPoMo Ends Today

I'm Pooped
This is day thirty and this is post thirty. You know what? I really enjoyed it. Thanks to Eden Marriott Kennedy for creating and managing this great event. It has helped me be more disciplined about what to blog. It's also produced a nice springboard for continuing. Being committed to a set block of time forced me to establish some practices and think of things that needed to be done to sustain the site. The great thing was that there was not much grumbling about what to post. I just did it. Some things that happened to me during the day made good material for a post and I was excited to get it here. Other days would be uneventful. On those days I would go to a list of ideas I had created. The list was made before the month started. It's is not used up either. More content is coming! On days when there were guests in the house or other work needed to be done, I was able to a quickly post a photo, a short snippet from the day's events or something I found on the web. Another byproduct, my niece and friend Sara were inspired from my participation in the event to invest in their blogs. I tried to read postings from other NaBloPoMo participants too. I was amazed at the variety of bloggers out there. THANK YOU to everyone who left comments. I appreciate them. Don't stop commenting! It felt good, . . didn't it? Keep doing that comment thing. You won't go blind and you hands won't fall off. Best of all you can do it in private. . . or in public. . . you don't mind if people watch, do you? I know some people like to watch. Return here often and look for more stuff in the future, maybe even tomorrow.
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Upcoming New Album - Linda Sharar, Everyday

Linda Sharar
Photo by Charan Devereaux

Today I received a copy of Linda Sharar's latest mixes from her upcoming album, Everyday. The album is in the final stages of being mixed. It's very exciting to get an early listen to what is going to be a wonderful new release. This will be Linda's third CD. She has previously recorded two other titles Participate and Any Second Street. Linda is also a coworker as well as a friend. To work with talented people like Linda is such an honor and a treat. I have known Linda since I became a software engineer. She is a wonderful and warm person with many talents. She always puts so much into everything she does and it really shows in these new songs. I remember a while back she had a twinkle in her eye and I knew something was up. I was right. She had told me she was going back into the studio to record another album. Everyone was extremely excited, since this would be an album that would be an outpouring of experiences and emotions following the birth of her daughter and her entrance into motherhood. Following the end of sleep deprivation and the terrible two's, she was now ready. There was a lot of hard work done in the studio and she also assembled a wonderful group of artists to help with the project. We got periodic updates and listed to snippets of the tracks that were being put down all during the process. Her enthusiasm and excitement as the project progressed was contagious. This album will be well worth the wait. The tracks are done and final production is in full swing.

Linda is also doing something special with this album she is donating a portion of the proceeds from the album to help cover the cost of special therapy equipment for her nephew with autism. You can read more about that and sign up to pre-purchase a copy of the CD here.

I've listened to the tracks and can't wait to listen again. As a special treat, Linda has allowed me to upload one of the songs to my blog. I've picked one of my favorites, Round the Corner. Click the link below to listen. You can also hear more songs from Linda's MySpace page. Enjoy!

Listen to: Round the Corner

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Propeller Head Stuff

During this month's posting blitz I have made some small changes to the site. Some of the changes were done consciously and others were feature changes caused by a software upgrade. RapidWeaver version 3.6.5 is the software tool used to create this website. This website is being maintained using an Apple Macintosh computer .

For my own records and your unbridled curiosity in all things geeky, I'll list the changes to the site since the beginning of the month.

  • RapidWeaver software upgrade
  • I fixed my poor grammar in the banner slogan, replacing "of" with "from."
  • NaBloPoMo badge/link added to the sidebar
  • Tags feature added to postings
  • Tags cloud added in the sidebar
  • Tags are now in each posting
  • Category counts removed (reduces processing time during publishing)
  • "Category" in each posting changed to "Filed in"
  • Category delimiter changed from "," to "|" (That thing is called a pipe)
  • Multiple Categories and Tags are now supported
  • Removed "Permalink" at bottom of each post.
  • Each post title is now a hyperlink to the permanent link page
  • Comments can now be entered on the permanent link page, avoiding the comments pop-up
  • HaloScan comments engine upgraded
  • All images posted in the blog are viewable from a Photo Album page called "Stuff From the Blog"
  • Standardization of photo's in The Blog.
  • "Contact me" in footer was removed.
  • Archive no longer shows empty months.

After this month there should be some major changes. A new look and feel is planned. The blog will also move to the home page. When the new hardware is set up and working, there will finally be live weather updates. I'm too cheap to keep the current computer running 24/7 for updates. The new hardware will significantly reduce energy consumption. I'll have more on the hardware later.

Let me know if you noticed any other recent changes not documented here. If there is something want to see changed please let me know.
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Greenhand

FFA Manual
Yes, I was a member. I spent a year at Essex Agricultural and Technical Institute as a forestry major. I joined the FFA and achieved the degree of Greenhand. That's my pin attached to the cover. I never got one of those cool corduroy jackets, but I coveted the ones my classmates had. They made you look like you were a member of a motorcycle gang. Most people don't know about the FFA, but the movie Napoleon Dynamite put it on the map in this new century. Being at Essex Aggie was a wonderful experience. I sometimes regret that I left. The reasons I left were all good though. I enjoyed my limited time there and have many great memories of the place. Students got half a day in class and half a day in the field or on the farm. I got to manage timber stands, plant trees, study lots and lots of biology and also work at traditional farm skills. The staff were all friendly and helpful. My fellow students were a pleasure to be with and all had a good sense of themselves. My father always said I was the happiest there. It must have showed. Being on the super honor roll was evidence of that. Whenever I drive by the school I always feel a sense of pride and gratitude. I wish I could go back all over again.
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McCormick Farmall Cub

McCormick Farmall Cub
Found this parked not far from our home.
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No One Cares What You Had for Lunch -100 Ideas for Your Blog by Margaret Mason

No One Cares What You Had for Lunch -100 Ideas for Your Blog by Margaret Mason
This book is very timely since many bloggers are currently participating in National Blog posting Month. When bloggers sign up for NaBloPoMo they should be taken straight to Maggie's website so they can purchase a copy of her book. (the t-shirt on that page is funny, but has nothing to do with blogging) This book will help you create a fabulous blog everyone will want to read. She takes you out of your comfort zone and into places that are challenging and fun. The format of the book is well organized and easy to follow. Maggie's clear knowledge of the subject, will help take the worries out of finding content for your blog. Her writings affirmed the choices I made when I dove straight into a thirty day blog posting commitment. I also plan to follow some of her suggestions for my blog content. I highly recommend you buy a copy and read it for lunch. When people ask "What did you have for lunch today?" You can reply, "I had a Mason Blogger with fries" It was yummy!

You may also find these slides interesting. They are from a talk the author did this month in Indianapolis. I know that Maggie's narrative, that went along with these slides, would be as inspiring as reading her book. She is also very fun!
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The Fireplace is Working

The Fireplace is Working
Spent most of the day wrestling with this three hundred pound beast. It is now producing cozy warmth and letting us thumb our noses at the oil companies. Today was a good day to get it working. The temperature was in the twenties last night. I had to bring in the holiday beer we were chilling on the porch. We can exploit the fruit of our recent efforts as well as all the wood that is now sized, split and stacked. I want to use as much as possible this year. Stay warm.
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Anatomy of a Thanksgiving Turkey Sandwich

Some will say the best part of the post Thanksgiving festivities (besides the nap) is the turkey sandwich. I will agree with that, provided the proper sandwich construction is followed. If you mix up the layers you risk messing up the blending of the flavors. Here is my process for a perfect Thanksgiving turkey sandwich.

  1. Rye Bread (bottom slice)
  2. Cains Mayonnaise
  3. Turkey meat, both white and dark meat
  4. Stuffing spread and pressed into the meat
  5. Salt and Pepper
  6. Cranberry sauce
  7. Lettuce (anything but iceberg)
  8. Rye Bread (top slice)

Best eaten with a Hood Golden EggNog beverage or apple cider.
YUM!

How do you make yours?
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Happy Thanksgiving Everyone

Tin Lizzy
Tin Lizzy on Thanksgiving Day 2007
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Dear Milk Carton Graphic Designer

Very funny. Do you fulfill a secret sadistic pleasure every time someone OPENS THE MILK CARTON THE WRONG WAY! The arrow goes next to the word "Open" Not next to the words "Sell By". And if you retort that one should read what is says. I will reply - I did read it! - forty three years ago and it has not changed on me until you decided to get your jollies. So Pleas fix it. I was able to.

Your view of the world.
Milk Carton Madness

The Correct View of the World
Milk Carton Correctness
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Trucks

"Let's play trucks!" A cry heard from boyhood days. It was usually replied to with an approval. Out would come the fleet of metal trucks from our toy boxes and things would settle down into truck territories. First up, the roads. You would need a piece of wood, like say a shingle, at least two inches wide and eight inches long. The process would begin by dragging that stick across flat, dry, powdery dirt in a neighborhood yard. The dryer and dustier the better. The roads were defined with side by side wind rows of the powder that would serpentined thru the yard. If you had a truck with a plow or an earth mover truck, all the better. That was more authentic. Your road was sacred. If another wanted to cross your road project and make an intersection they would have to ask permission or face the wrath of a pissed off seven year old. Once the road was done, dump trucks were loaded with dirt and gravel then deployed at all different construction projects. Loads could also include grass clippings, more dusty dirt or wood chips. All vehicles were actually hand pushed around. (batteries not even an option and no remote controls!) The sounds came from various tones of raspberries blown from the lips of their respective drivers. As progress would continue there were more sound affects but hardly any chatter was produced. Occasionally a declaration would be uttered like "this tree trunk is the gas station. Everyone needs to come here to fill up after each trip" and thus a new civic law was enacted for the backyard municipality. If you passed another boy propelled truck on the road the correct greeting must be uttered in the deepest construction man tone possible. The greeting was "Hi Joe" and the reply was (in an attempted deeper tone) "Hi Joe" and off you'd go. The thing was, EVERYONE was named Joe. No Mike, Billy, Jimmy or Jerry, you were Joe. Is there any other name for a self respecting truck driver? No way Jose! These projects could last hours and hours. If it was a particularly impressive civil plan , it could continue into an additional day. The end result was a development plan everyone would be proud of. Another result was the dust and dirt would cover elbows, shins and knees. If it was a particularly ambitious project on a humid day we could sometimes have faces so covered in dust it would look like we had been given black eyes. The mark of a truly successful day of trucks. "Right Joe?" "Right Joe." brrrrrmmmm, Brrrrrrruuuuurrrrrr, ruuum ruuuum errrrrchhhhh.
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Mise En Place

Mise en place
Mise en place
Fait accompli
Butternut Soup
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First Snowfall 2007

First Snow Fall 2007
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The Black Hole Theory is Clogged

Science was turned on it's ear today when the black hole theory was disproved at the residence of John LeJeune, an amateur black hole enthusiast. While preparing for guests to arrive this Thanksgiving season the two black holes LeJeune has been maintaining became clogged. The first hole, Garagetofil resisted yesterday when he tried to store a portable gas grill in it. "It just sort of made this belching sound and out came the grill. It wasn't like it just popped out in a short polite belch, it sort of rolled out slowly like a prolonged, how long can this last, kind of burp," said LeJeune "The grill landed upright and It just wouldn't go back in."

The second occurrence happened today. LeJeune was removing belongings saved from two family homes he assisted in clearing out and selling earlier this year. "The stuff just had to get out of the living and guest rooms. We were successful in removing the boxes yesterday and we thought that the other black hole, Atticanholdit, was fine. We didn't think we could reproduce the fluke that happened yesterday in a million years. Unfortunately I had one box of magazines to place in there early in the evening and when I placed them at the top of the ladder and shut the hatch they came flowing out like a waterfall. It was actually sort of artistic how the black hole cascaded the magazines down the ladder and then down the stairway. It was almost like it was apologetic that scientific theories about black holes could be refuted by an amateur like me. We had to put the magazines in a conventional recycle bin just to be safe"

NASA scientist are still dumbfounded that in the space of two days LeJeune was able to disprove years of scientific theory and research. Early NASA investigations confirm that the amateur did succeed in clogging both holes. They thought it could never be done.
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Drum Machine by tokyoplastic

Tokyo Drum Machine
This came from Finding Japan. Christopher came across it from a Twitter post by Scott Lockman of Tokyo Calling. I enjoy finding these little gems on the internet. Japanese animation is amazing in it's bold simplicity. This is a Flash automation that must have taken a long time to create. Also check out tokyoplastic. You'll have to hunt around a bit to find out where to click. Once you do you will be delighted and surprised with the animation.

I have been very interested in Japan for a long time. My career took me in close contact with many people there and I now have coworkers who are on my project that live and work in Japan. I was fortunate enough to travel there on a business trip a few years ago. It had a life changing impact on me. Japan is a paradox. Some things are simple and others complicated . I'm naturally drawn to it's beauty and delicate people. To perpetuate my Japan fix I listen to Christopher, Rich and Scott's podcasts on my commute to and from work. I always find them interesting and entertaining.

Christopher is the newest podcaster from Japan. His podcasts have given me the most insight into how it is for an american visiting Japan. He is a graduate student studying there for a year. He was fortunate enough to have his company transfer him there so he is both working and attending school. His podcast and Blog is Finding Japan.

Scott Lockman is Japan's first podcaster. He is an english teacher working in Japan and lives there with his wife and three daughters. This man has an amazing speaking voice and should be doing voiceover for a living. He chronicles his life as an american who has lived there quite a while but speaks very little japanese. He also teaches podcasting and video blogging at one of the universities he teaches at. His podcast and blog is Tokyo Calling.

Rich Pav is another american married with two sons and living in Japan. He is in the high tech industry and covers many subjects in japanese culture. His podcasts are personal and thoughtful. It's interesting because he feels very self conscious about his recordings but he does not sound self conscious at all. Rich speaks his mind and is very real. His viewpoints on life give me a sense of his patience and tolerance for people. His podcast and blog is Herro Flom Japan.

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What do you do with a pile of sticks?

Need to get rid of these!
The above pile is one of two. With the impending arrival of a front end loader coming to increase the size of my lawn, they had to be dealt with. We usually pile sticks someplace in the yard and hallmark them for fireplace kindling. With all the trees that have been trimmed or removed recently we have more than our fair share of sticks! What we like to do is leave them for a while and let them dry out and exfoliate naturally. Once that is done they get broken up and shoved in boxes, bags, bins, and whatever else will hold a bunch of sticks. They are then moved into the house and used to start our fireplace insert - wood stove contraption. Getting unwieldy sticks into the stove in a clean, neat and quick way is a contradiction in terms. I gave this a little thought and came up with making faggots. They would be self contained neat. We would also get the sticks removed from where we need to do the heavy equipment work.

Here's how we did it.
First you need a way to tame the sticks and make them a uniform size to fit in the stove. Most people know the maximum log length for their stove or fireplace. Ours is eighteen inches. You can use any container that will match your requirements. We used a container that is ubiquitous around these parts, a fish box.
Box and string are ready
The box is important because it keeps the sticks from getting all over the place while you collect them and allows the twine to stay put during stacking and tying. There were already holes in the sides of the box and we used them to thread the twine through. This was a lucky find as it really helped keep the string in place. The twine we used is a huge roll we had found in my parents basement. My dad has a neat trick that I'd like to share with you. He always kept string in a coffee can. Poked a hole in the lid and fed the string out from the top. This makes dispensing the string very easy. Another tip - always take the twine off the roll from the inside of the roll. It tangles less and you can keep the packaging on the roll.
No Tangles
OK, back to the sticks. After you have enough sticks for a bundle, it's time to tie them up.
See how tidy!
When tying the bundle I tied the string using several wraps on itself. Instead of one over and under, I did three or four over and under twists. This stopped the string from slipping apart and you could still pull on the string to compress the bundle.
This keeps the thing from exploding after you compress it
Please note I used two pieces of twine to wrap the bundles. This keeps the bundle more uniform and will aid in maintaining it's shape. I alternate the tension until the bundle is snug and then tie the same knot again on top of the first knot. This knot is now like a square knot on steroids. (right Barry?) I used a lot of twine and so I wrapped the bundle several times with the string. This is what you get when all is done.
Anal bliss!
Once you have done one, repeat the process and start stacking. We used an old pallet.
We stacked them on an old pallet
We finished with 52 bundles!
Anal on a large scale
We should be able to now start fifty two fires easily.
If only the wood stove wasn't broken.

One important note. If you use these bundles to start your fire, make sure they will be contained when the string burns. The bundles may expand slightly. We keep ours behind the andirons so they don't fall forward.
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Random

Mary said write about spatzle. It was yummy but I thought too big,
I'm worried if I write about faggots people will take it the wrong way.
The station wagon is in the shop for routine service; rotate, balance, align an LOF.
We're trying to plan a schedule for t-day.
Jess wants to learn more about rugs. She sells tile.
The tree guy said two weeks. That expired today. He has not shown up yet.
My office needs to be cleaned for our house guests. Guess what I'm doing for the next two days.
We had a funeral to go to today. Too many memories of what I have not blogged about but need to.
The wood stove needs to be repaired. I just need time. We have seven cords of wood to burn.
My passport is still not renewed. It is a major priority one to do task.
Work is busy. We're trying to adopt a new process on how to build software.
I feel like I need to buy a new corkscrew.
I want to start tying more flies for fly fishing.
I worry my feed reader is too full to keep up with it.
I also need to clean my office at work.
Zeke's ACL surgery was a success. Zeke is our neighbor's dog.
We're debating a lot about if a boat is still part of our life. Sarah don't listen to this.
Eden and I have the same shoe size (I think).

Thanks for letting me dump on you. Time for a hot tub.
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Confessions of a Mommy Blog Reader

It started with this quote from iGoogle's Quote of the day widget I had on my browser homepage.

People often write me and ask how I keep my wood floors so clean when I live with a child and a dog, and my answer is that I use a technique called Suffering From a Mental Illness. - Heather Armstrong, Dooce, 07-07-06

I really liked this quote. I wanted to find out about this person. I thought I'd find a book or magazine article. It lead me to the Quotation Page. There I found 10 witty tomes from this woman who had the word Dooce next to her name. What's a Dooce? Her bio said "Blogger from Salt Lake City." I find her website and started reading, and reading, and laughing, and crying, and laughing, and thinking, my god! where has this woman come from. She has amazing writing skills. I find out more at her FAQ page. My favorite gem is #6. She speaks her mind, takes no prisoners and slaps people with reality about how silly and self righteous they can be. But the weirdest thing is that basically, this woman is a mommy blogger. There are zillions of these mommy blogs on the internet. Most of them are so colored in pastel and syrupy sweet that they make you want to puke from cuteness overdose. I found myself returning to her site daily. This woman was different. She was edgy, thoughtful and sarcastic. She also has this amazing dog named Chuck. No hot links for him, you can't miss him. He has his own annual calendar for sale on her website. Her husband Jon has his own blog. This sometimes makes for interesting blog volleys between the two of them. I could not stop myself. I was checking her site almost daily. Then it got worse. Jon posted this entry about a trip Heather was on. And then there were these pictures, and Heather names each one of these ladies with a hot link. I ask my self "there are more like her?" naaahhh. But yes she was cavorting with other mommy bloggers. This can't be. Of course I had to find out if they were as opinionated and funny as Heather and yes they were and very talented writers. The thing is, these woman don't sugarcoat motherhood. They tell it like it is, the good, the bad, the ugly. They seem successful and know the blogging world well. Alice, Eden, Maggie and Melissa all bloggers, and all hanging out with each other doing this. Oh my god! and I start reading more and more and subscribing to their blog feeds. Now I'm hooked.
Next thing that happens is that Eden has this challenge called NaBloPoMo and here I am. Good gravy. . . fifteen more posts till the end of the month.
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My Nuts Got Crushed

The Nutcrackers were crushed by the Wicked Pissahs at last Saturday night's roller derby bout. Final score was 142 to 41. Yes, they were beat by 101 points. I'm depressed. You can learn more about The Boston Derby Dames at their website. Hopefully the next bout will not be a blowout.

Here are two BDD hopefuls for the next bout.
New Prospects
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