Showing posts from July, 2008

The Third Zero

Yesterday, on the thirtieth day of July, was the third event in a year of zeros for us.

Earlier in the year, Robert had one of those big zero birthdays. Then, we passed the milestone of thirty years of living in this particular place in May.

Yesterday our daughter turned twenty.

Ana and I began the celebration with a whirlwind trip to Rochester to visit my mother. This was our birthday gift to my mom, and included a luxury lunch at Shiki, a wonderful Japanese restaurant in my mother's neighborhood.

Ana had her favorite, sushi. All this for less than $11!

Mom and I had bento boxes. Mine was grilled mackerel, Mom's was tempura shrimp and veggies.

We also made the round of good will shops, where we found some bargains, and the One World shop, a fair trade import store where I found a cookbook that I am very excited about - Simply in Season, commissioned by the Mennonite Central Committee. This book is divided by the seasons, and features recipes with relatively short ingredient lists a…

Knitting Blog: Jaywalkers

I am not immune to the lure of the viral knitting pattern, thus I found myself knitting a pair of Jaywalkers over the past couple of months.

How viral? There are 4,625 finished pairs of Jaywalkers listed in the projects database on Ravelry, and 2,228 knitters have this pattern in their queues (i.e. they hope to make it some day).

Here are the pics, before I get to more technical details:

The pattern was designed by Grumperina, and was originally published as a free pattern on an online knitting magazine called Magknits. Alas, poor Magknits ran into financial difficulties and abruptly shut down. This created a small small firestorm in the online knitting world, as people suddenly found their access to much beloved patterns no longer existed. The moral of the story: if you see something you like, assume that everything on the Internet is here-today-quite-possibly-gone-tomorrow, download it as a pdf, and save it on your harddrive! Jaywalker is available again as a free download on Ravelry.


A Shout-Out: An Essay by Bill Vitek

Normally I am careful to preserve the fiction that I am writing for myself rather than an audience when I blog. Not today. This is a shout-out, urging you to read this essay:

These Revolutionary Times by Bill Vitek

A bit about Bill:

He teaches philosophy and ethics at Clarkson University, a school that specializes in engineering, science, and business.

He is a wonderful jazz pianist. He collaborates with Dan Gagliardi, a stand-up bass player and mathematician who has been a mentor to my daughter. You can hear their music here: A Fine Line: UpNorth Music Project.

When I was still attending church regularly at the UU in Canton, I heard him give a guest sermon. I think it was the best sermon I ever heard in that space.

A bit about the essay:

It talks about what lies ahead for us as a species in the near future. Very near in terms of the earth's clock. To me, it has the ring of truth.

Please read it. Perhaps we could even have a conversation about Bill's thoughts.

On Stage at the Russell Opera House

Last week was a busy one for Stringfolks. We played four gigs, including a Friday night concert at the Russell Opera House.

Robert and I went into this gig with an interesting mix of feelings. First of all, this would be the band's first gig ever on a stage. Normally we play in much more informal surroundings, and we couldn't help but wonder if the distance from the audience would make us nervous. Secondly, Russell is where we live, and we have history here. Twelve years ago, Robert was an elected official delivering bad news to the town, and he stood before an angry crowd of a few hundred of our fellow citizens, and they booed and yelled at him. Since then the air has cleared, and Robert goes before the town board regularly to report on an inter-municipal economic development project. Still, we both felt a qualm or two when two of the people who were at the head of the protests a dozen years ago called, and said that they were looking forward to the concert.

We needn't have…

In which the author becomes part of a global phenomenon: Guitar Hero!

Having a Wii suddenly appear in our house when our daughter returned home from school has opened my eyes to the video gaming phenomenon.

Ana bought herself a Wii and a used television at the end of the semester to give herself a reward for surviving a very challenging year at McGill. It turns out she is a gamer, and had long desired to have a gaming system. This is not something that we provided over the years, although some computer games have drifted through the household. She decided to fulfill her desires herself.

Since then, I have begun to learn about the mysteries of Metroid and Zelda. All I have done is watch, however - until she brought home Guitar Hero, on loan from our son's household. I had to try this one.

I suck, of course, but it is early in the learning curve. I have created my own band, The Debits, and passed one song, Slow Ride by Foghat. I even got into the groove for a few minutes. To succeed, you have to go into a meditational state where you respond to the note…

If it's July, life must be hectic

I'm so busy right now, I feel like summer is going to slip by with no chance to enjoy it. By "it", I mean the warm sun, the lush plant-life, the water, the great outdoors.

We have sailed all of two hours so far this summer. This is pathetic! Of course, there have been a lot of rainy weekends, which doesn't help. Other contributing factors:

It's budget time at work, so it's hard to take time off. I'm knocking down the work, as much as I can in the heat. Showtime is July 24th, when I must have a budget together.

Our band has eight gigs this month, which is a lot. We have four gigs next week, which is probably too many.

My sister and her family visited the last weekend in June, and they are coming back this weekend - my niece is attending a music camp at a nearby college. Fun, and they would go sailing with us, but there just isn't enough time.

My grad course this term is a killer. I'm taking Governmental Budgeting - which I thought would be a slam-dunk …