Saturday, December 02, 2006

Cell Phone Rant

This isn't about anything but my own disgust. I have had the same cell phone carrier since I broke down and got one eight years ago. I had been putting off renewing my contract with my carrier because the phone I have is about to reach the end of its lifespan and I wanted to see what they would offer.

They have all kinds of phone gadget things that elude me. I want a cell phone that takes and receives calls with a minimum of fuss and bother. I'm not a big phone talker to begin with.

Anyway, I get this letter from my carrier. It tells me that they have noticed my long and loyal customer status. They offer $150 discount on the phone of my choice and a whole raft of bells and whistles (most of which I could care less about but the upshot the letter is that I can get a decent new phone for free and renew my contract).

I go into the phone store thing and talk to the kid working there. I show him my letter and he putzes around on the computer and tells me that I qualify for a $70 discount, not the full on free ride that the letter promised. I talk to the store manager and she pulls out a yellow highlighter and highlights up to $150 and tells me that $70 is all I get.

I am stunned. I tell her that this is ridiculous. I could get a better deal from a company I have dealt with for seven years if I was just walking in off the street. Bait and switch bullshit. I tell her that since this is the case I intend to walk off the street somewhere else. Screw all ya'll. I'm outta here.

The upshot is that I now have a new phone. It has all the bells and whistles stuff. It's supposed to even take videos and stuff. I promise to learn to use the camera feature if only for the "big dog blogging" I intend to do.

Abbie's going to accompany on my trip back to mom's. Expect pictures and stuff.

What Kind of Reader Are You?

What Kind of Reader Are You?
Your Result: Dedicated Reader

You are always trying to find the time to get back to your book. You are convinced that the world would be a much better place if only everyone read more.

Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm
Literate Good Citizen
Book Snob
Fad Reader
What Kind of Reader Are You?
Create Your Own Quiz

Well, really this one got fairly close. I haven't been keeping up my book log on the sidebar like I intended too. Usually I have at least three books going. But the genres and the styles change, and I am not all that rigid in my organization. Some of my titles are grouped by subject (like half a row of Lincoln stuff or the Founding Fathers/American Revolution shelves). Some are grouped by author (I have hardcovers of everything written by more than a couple of writers)

People sometimes get blown away by the music stuff scattered all through the house (I don't have any guitars on a stand in the bathroom or kitchen, but every other room is fair game) but I love it when a bibliophile sees the library. They gasp audibly. It's a room for books and reading. Four walls, floor to ceiling shelves, one chair, one small table, one lamp. They see that and know exactly where I'm coming from.


Friday, December 01, 2006

Truffle Plans

Today I'm heading back to Arizona but only for a couple of days. My mother's health has been deteriorating (note to the evangelical assholes who oppose stem cell research, they have been succesfully treating golden retreivers with Muscular Dystrophy with stem cell injections you hidebound agressively ignorant shitheads). My kitchen is still mostly torn up and most of the truffles I'm planning to make are going to be distributed in California anyway. What I'm going to do is gather my equipment, bring it back to California and batch up the truffles (32 doz or so) at Mom's.

My neice WWW (we've been calling her that ever since she was cast as the Wicked Witch of the West in the high school production of "The Wizard of Oz" this year) is a budding photojournalist and has volunteered to help me put out a series of posts that show the truffles as they are being made.

The tentative flavor assorment for the year is this:

Classic Bittersweet
Peanut Butter
Starbucks Coffee Liqueur
White Chocolate
White Chocolate Raspberry

I haven't posted my white chocolate truffle recipe yet but I will. The white stuff (which isn't chocolate at all folks) doesn't require the tricky tempering process.

I haven't decided on a format for the "Win A Dozen Truffles" contest. Frankly I'm kind of at a loss. I've already promised to send Sarah in Chicago a dozen. Litbrit has rated a couple dozen because I'm sure that it take at least that many to safely deliver a full ration to her alone.

If you can think of a good contest I will send you a box of eight.

Shipping is only done overnight and the costs are brutal. These truffles are worth it though, totally worth it.

Mas tardes Chicos. 3B's

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Speed of a Meme Test

Via PZ and our own Jack Goff comes a project to measure the speeds of the internet meme.

All you have to do is post this link Acephalous, measuring the speed on your blog, ask your readers to do the same (he suggests begging but homey don't play dat).

Then when he presents his findings at MLA he will have some concrete data to show whether or not we really have the voice and visibility we claim. . .worth finding out.

Unfortunately this exercise planted a John Prine song in my head. The best way I know to get one out when that happens (and if you work in the jingle game like I do a song stuck in your head and be fucking hell with teeth) is to give in and run it through. . .

The Speed of the Sound of Loneliness

You come home late and you come home early
You come on big when you're feeling small
You come home straight and you come home curly
Sometimes you don't come home at all

So what in the world's come over you
And what in heaven's name have you done
You've broken the speed of the sound of loneliness
You're out there running just to be on the run

Well I got a heart that burns with a fever
And I got a worried and a jealous mind
How can a love that'll last forever
Get left so far behind

Repeat Chorus:

It's a mighty mean and a dreadful sorrow
It's crossed the evil line today
Well, how can you ask about tomorrow
We ain't got one word to say

Repeat Chorus:

You're out there running just to be on the run
You're out there running just to be on the run
You're out there running just to be on the run


Monday, November 27, 2006

random flickr blogging DSC_2343

Ex-Senator George (Macaca) Allen takes wardrobe measures because he has grown very, very tired of constantly hearing shouts of "Douchebag" when he appears in public.

Dixieland, Ethics, and Maple Bread Pudding

If you've been reading this for any length of time then you have most likely come to the realization that the closest I come to having a style is that I really don't have a style. It's been a strange week. Family pressures for sure. My mother's Parkinson's syndrome keeps getting worse. The stress of having company can nearly paralyze her, her balance goes to hell, she will be trying to walk but her legs freeze up, it's all stuff we try and work with. Lord knows we can't offend the sensibilities of godly men like Ted Haggard and John Ashcroft by doing research to find a treatment or a cure. I came back after a weekend of playing Dixieland jazz in San Diego to find the house still a shambles from Thanksgiving, this morning her attendant hasn't made it across the border from Mexicali (thank you Chertoff and Homeland Security, you've made our country safe from decent people looking for work, you Skeletor looking motherfucker). So I'm trying to wade through stuff, doing laundry, gathering up stuff (if she drops something it's usually not safe for Mom to try and pick it up so there it stays). I found two trays of dinner rolls that have been on the counter since Thursday's dinner. They are stale as hockey pucks (that's where the Maple Bread Pudding comes in). So I'm taking a little break to use the net to organize my thoughts and vent off a little pressure.

Here's how the weekend in San Dee went. Bloody marvelous. The band that hires me every year for this convention comes from the Sacramento area, their regular banjo player is getting too old for travel and the stress of the convention. They found me one year when my Uncle and I went through the convention to check out the music. They explained their situation (you can play Dixieland without a banjo but it just isn't all the way there) and I told them that I could stand on the back beat, do a little flash stuff here and there, and that I would be happy to do it for them (for my usual fee of course). It's been a fun weekend, on Sunday we do a Dixieland Jazz Church Service at my Uncle's church. All in all we have a good time. I would go straight up batshit if this was the only music I played. I love it in small doses though. For me, Dixieland is a lot like Barbershop harmony, or even Bach. It's way more fun to play than to listen too. It possesses a history and a structure that allows for incredible improvisation, and, without Dixieland roots there would have been no Kansas City, no Chicago, no soundtrack for Langston Hughes' poetry. It's essential study if you want to understand Louis Armstrong, King Oliver, Bessie Smith. It's like having to study Palestrina to understand opera.

Where the ethics dilemma came in was when our little group got picked for the honors concert. That's the prize showcase for the groups, where the best of the week gets another chance to shine for their peers. The problem came when I looked at the classification of the band. It said "amatuer." I told the band that we needed to clear that with the committee because, hey, I'm a pro. They explained that they viewed me as a placeholder for them, that they were amatuers and if my status as a pro was honestly evaluated they felt the status would hold. I told them that while I agreed with their evaluation we still needed to take it before the committee so that they could rule on where things stand. I didn't feel it was fair to the other groups or to the committee to be in a position that might be open to different interpretations.

We found a couple of committee members and explained things. That I was mostly just holding a place for a regular band member, that I wasn't a featured part of the act, all the reasons that the band felt they qualified in the category they had entered. The committee agreed. Whew! At the honors concert, I did my place holding thing. I stood on the back beat like a metronome and the band kicked ass all around me.

If the President and his minions would have the same regard for the courts and congress that a bunch of retired Dixieland players showed this weekend we'd all be better off.

Now, that I've vented and spouted off, let's get into the bread pudding. It's a great way to manage leftover or stale bread. It's essentially a custard that gets poured over bread cubes. Anything more and you start to to lose all perspective. Traditionally it is served with a Bourbon or a Hard Sauce. I like a nice light warm caramel sauce though. It's a nice counterpoint to the maple flavor.


2 cups stale bread cubes
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup maple syrup (the real stuff, from a tree in New England)
2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (this is about half a whole nutmeg grated on a microplane)

In a mixing bowl, mix everything but the bread cubes and milk together. The breadcubes should be put into an 8 or 9 inch square baking pan that's been buttered or sprayed with a nonstick spray.
Scald the milk and pour it over the other ingredients, mix it well, and dump over the bread cubes. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes.

Served warm, with whipped cream, or your favorite dessert sauce (taking care not to overpower the beautiful maple flavor) or, in a bowl with cold milk for a wonderful breakfast.

We just found out that Leticia (the helper for Mom) has gotten through the border and should be here in a few more minutes. I'm hitting the kitchen, then I'm going to throw the ball for Abbie and find an AA meeting.

also at 3B's

Peace, out.