Odds and Ends

Filed under:General — eric @ 12:45 pm

Another busy week and month is drawing to a close and again I’m left wondering where the time went.

The play I’m in opened last night. We had a good show and a sparse audience. It closes tomorrow, on my sister Adrienne’s birthday. A character with the same name has a small but dramatically intense appearance in the show. Happy birthday, A!

The farm’s to do list is getting longer rather than shorter. While it can seem overwhelming at times, and it’s meant putting aside the day-to-day-living type of things like, say, unpacking the kitchen from our mover seven months ago, I think we’ve done really well considering what this place was like when we bought it. And we’re bringing in enough money to cover most of our expenses for the year, which is really good since a lot of those were one-time-only startup costs. Sometimes I ignore all those and just say the farm is covering more than half the mortgage all by itself.

After another wonderful meal there last night (a simple mushroom cheeseburger that still manager to be the best burger I’ve had in a long time), I’ve discovered that my new favorite restaurant is called “Hudson Carter’s CLOCKED” with the byline “…food for the space age…”


Good Eating

Filed under:General — eric @ 10:37 am

I am reminded again how lucky I am to be living near Athens. Yes, I know there are other similar towns (reports continue to come in extolling the virtues of Iowa City, Madison, and Seattle), but I don’t see how they can beat where I am.

I just had an hour to kill between work and dress rehearsal for the play I’m in. The show’s at the Morton Theatre downtown. I’ve written about the place before (it’s a fabulous formerly Black owned and operated theater that brought in some of this century’s entertainment giants), but can’t link to it due to my using my Handspring to post this backstage.

Anyway, I went down the block to what used to be a great hole-in-the-wall Mediterranean restaurant. Now it’s a hole-in-the-wall diner-type named, as far as I could tell, “Diner”. I plopped on a comfy couch and browsed the menu. It consisted of various burgers, sandwiches, grilled cheeses, pasta plates, fried potatoes in multiple forms, ice cream drinks, and the like. I settled on the fish and chips and iced tea (not sweet). While I waited, I read a copy of a magazine/book on the Beatles, 1963-1967. Meanwhile, the sounds of an equipment check drifted in from the 40 Watt a few doors down. As diverse a mix as you could imagine drifted in and out. When the basket arrived, I moved to a table and enjoyed what turned out to be the best fish and chips I’d ever had. Without all the atmosphere, they still would have been.

I’m an egg seller

Filed under:General — eric @ 5:22 am

Like with many other agriculture products, the state of Georgia is very strict on who can sell eggs. If people come to your farm, it doesn’t matter, but the moment you bring an egg off your farm to sell to someone else, the state steps in. It used to be that folks with only a few chickens who sold less than 30 dozen eggs a week could escape regulation, but the large producers successfully sued the state into changing that law. Well, actually, they threatened a lawsuit and pressured the legislature into closing the hole for the little guy.

So, to be able to sell eggs at the market, I had to get liscensed by the Ag department. Today the regional guy-in-charge came by and gave me a two hour class and a written and practical test. I passed, so now I’m liscensed. However, I’m still supposed to buy some special equipment, and I’m not supposed to sell just “eggs”. They have to be graded and sized, just like the eggs from the store. We’ll see how well that goes…


Windows XP Teaks

Filed under:General — eric @ 11:53 am

For Windows XP users, here’s a fantastic guide to tweaking your system. This is better written and more thorough than the other tweak guides I’d seen. It even pointed out a built-in Windows XP utility I didn’t even know was there.


Driving Safety

Filed under:General — eric @ 12:28 pm

Schlake pointed out this fun little cartoon on correct driving practices.

Free Food

Filed under:General — eric @ 9:13 am

Free food heads up: Today between 11am and 2pm, KFC is giving away snack-size servings of their popcorn chicken. I don’t eat fast food all that much, but I like those popcorn chickens.


Saunter a little

Filed under:General — eric @ 11:09 am

Today is World Sauntering Day, so celebrate by going from point X to point Z in an appropriate manner. This day was created by W. T. Rabe at Mackinac Insland, the perfect place for sauntering. Other events Mr. Rabe created include Dancing Cuckoo Week (in January), the Mackinac Island Stone Skipping Tournament (July), and the very popular Unicorn Questing Month of October.


Filed under:General — eric @ 10:14 am

Ahhh! One of my favorite shows on television is BBC’s Coupling. It’s funny and intelligent in a way that put it well above Friends. Now NBC has bought the rights to the show and will set it in LA with American actors. I can’t think of a single instance where we’ve inproved on a BBC show and am having a hard time even thinking of one that held its own. Except for the accents, there was nothing inherently British about the show; NBC would be much better off just airing the original rather than trying to remake it. Although, there’ve only been 15 episodes of the original made so far.

That’s a winner

Filed under:General — eric @ 10:07 am

Growing up in Missouri, I listened to a lot of St. Louis Cardinals baseball games on the radio. They were all called by Jack Buck, who passed away yesterday. Since I was fairly isolated in the country, playing basebal with other people was pretty rare, so I had to play my own games with a rubber ball against the side of our shed. The shed was the batsman, and I was the pitcher and fielders. But I wasn’t so much imitating the players (except for Ozzie — trying to do his summersaulting diving catches were just all out fun) as imitating Jack’s play by play. Out loud, even. I thought of him during my own brief stint in radio, though my play by plays of the local parades weren’t near Buck’s quality. He’ll be missed.


Filed under:General — eric @ 9:15 am

I talk basil and give my pesto recipe on the front page of this week’s food section of the Athens Banner-Herald.

Permission to link

Filed under:General — eric @ 1:17 am

Some big businesses have taken to the absurd notion that one must obtain permission before linking to their online content. This is akin to a department store forbidding you to tell your friend which aisle you can find socks or a restaurant forbidding you to tell anyone their street address. And now NPR, who really ought to know better, has announced the same policy. Well, boo to them. Here’s a here’s a completely unauthorized link to this morning’s segment on World Sauntering Day from Morning Edition in RealAudio format. And, for good measure, here’s a link to their segment on Jack Buck. Take that, National Public Radio!

(Side note: The NPR web staff munged their own link to the World Sauntering Day story. My link may be the only one in the world that correctly points to the story, and it’s 100% unauthorized.)


Picking Blackberries

Filed under:General — eric @ 4:32 am

Much of our property is in a semi-wild state. Once upon a time it was regularly mowed, but not recently, and small trees and briars have grown taller than I am across most of the land. Earlier this spring the hill side was awash in white blossoms. Now, those blossoms have transformed into wild blackberries.

When I was walking the land before I bought it, I let it know that I wanted to be its new caretaker, but it would be a financially tight proposition. I told it that it would have to pay at least some of its own way, and so far it’s done a good job. I couldn’t say how many blackberries are growing — 500 gallons perhaps — but with people willing to pay $4 per half pint at the farmers’ market, it doesn’t take many to add up to a nice payday.

We sold a few last week, but this week is when the berries are really ripening. Yesterday evening, I took a big bowl and set out for the brambles. There’s a few things I noticed that blackberry bushes are good at. First, they like to grow very thickly so that one can see many more berries than one can actually reach. Also, the thorns on them are very sharp and grab hold tight to clothing, skin, or anything else they contact with. They hold so tightly that you’d think they feed on the bodies of passing animals, eternally tangled in the thicket. Also, they love to grow among stands of locust trees, which happen to have four inch razor-sharp thorns of their own.

So to reach the maximum amount of fruit, I had to call upon the gymnastic skills taught to me 25 years ago at the Y. An arabesque here to extend my reach another foot, a pirouette there to twirl out of overhanging branches. The local wildlife watched my berry ballet. A group of frogs sounding exactly like a gang of chihuahuas barked as I went by. One of our cats along for the walk flushed out rabbits larger than he was. And finally a tiny fawn, barely old enough to walk, watched from a safe distance.

He was the smallest fawn I’d ever seen. If he were a pet, he’d have been a lap deer (not to be confused with Lapp deer). His mother left him right in the middle of a group of small briars. He watched me warily as I approached his bed. I tried to give him some of the fruit I’d picked, but he wouldn’t get close enough. Instead he circled me and followed me how about an hour, never going more than 15 feet away.

Eventually the sun had set enough that it was getting hard to see where the thorns were. I turned for home and the fawn stayed behind. The cat had long gotten bored and was waiting for me back at the house. I left far more berries on the vines than I picked, so it looks like I’ll get to pick some every day this week. Lucky, lucky me!


MCs on Parade

Filed under:General — eric @ 4:18 am

My latest music genre of choice is Nerdcore Hiphop. It all started a couple of years ago when I found the Mighty Stephen Hawking’s gansta rap. And then late last year I ran across MC Chris, one of the creative forces behind the often wonderful, always bizarre Sealab 2021. But what I’ve been listening to over and over again the last week or so is MC Frontalot, the master of the genre. He’s done a duet with Kompressor and one is on the way with MC Hawking. This guy is where it’s at.


Self Portrait Redux

Filed under:General — eric @ 4:28 am

Self Portrait in South Park


Dammit Dolls

Filed under:General — eric @ 5:49 am

Have you heard of Dammit Dolls? There’s a poem that goes with these dolls, written at the site. Go ahead and take a look. I’ll wait.

OK. A dear friend is making me one of these, but with one minor difference. You see, I have a very stong Daoist outlook on things, and that prevents me from getting upset and yelling “DAMMIT! DAMMIT! DAMMIT!” So mine’s going to be a Balance Boy with its own poem:

Whenever things don’t look so well…
And you want to hit the wall and yell…
Here’s a little balance boy
To remind you what to do.
Just grasp him firmly by the legs
And think about your talents
And as he looks back out at you
Yell, “Balance! Balance! Balance!”


Brak on the Radio

Filed under:General — eric @ 12:00 pm

Newsflash! Good old lovable Brak is a guest on Atlanta radio station 99x for the next hour or so. You can watch or listen on-line here.

Oh my. He’s brought the uke, and has launched into a medly of “Punk Rock Girl” (Dead Milkmen), “Girlfriend in a Coma” (The Smiths), and “Vacation” (The Go-Gos).

He’s taking phone calls.



Filed under:General — eric @ 4:05 am

The Milwaukee Youth Center Choir is a vocal group of unwanted orphan children, culled from the streets of Wisconsin and taught to sing through a strict regimen of malnutrition and beatings.


Filed under:General — eric @ 3:03 am

Kompressor (Instruments: SYNTH, CRUSH, FEAR, DEATH) does not dance, but he is an instructor for the children. His children’s songs, available for download here alongside his other music describing his upcoming world domination, is what you might expect if Trent Reznor were to appear on Sesame Street. If you enjoy the music, you may also want to watch a few videos he’s made available. Actually, after watching them, it looks like Kompressor does dance.


Filed under:General — eric @ 5:01 am

At 6pm yesterday evening, the thermometer on the back porch read 108 degrees. I’m willing to give it a few degrees of innacuracy, but it was still too darned hot.