27 November 2009

fascinating

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video
I've latched on
I've been wrong
no one told me what to wear
no one sent me home
space age party, fascinating
I just don't fit in
someone throw me anything
the oxygen is thin

if you just could speak to me
just throw me a line
give me just a little nod
I could fascinate you

but I am out of place
float in outer space
no one wants to pull me in
it's awful saving face
I could fascinate
I could serenade
I'm opinionated
I'll have Vodka lemonade

if you just could me speak to me
just throw me a line
give me just a little nod
you are fascinating

I could serenade

we could throw this party
and take off on our own
find our own higher place
an odyssey back home

I could not be less included
you could not have known
in my darkest rose and pennant
I am so alone

if you just can speak to me
just throw me a line
give me just a little nod
you are fascinating
I could serenade

I could fascinate you
I could resonate

Working in Lafayette has given me a chance to get reacquainted with some music I haven't heard in a long time. I just load up my iPod with as many songs as it can hold, set it to 'shuffle', and I have a pretty good variety for the hour long drive home. "Fascinating" came up in the queue the other day, and even though I am normally in the mood for up-tempo music on the drive, I listened to it.


Fascinating was never commercially released and was only available as a download to the aptly nicknamed "Reveal 1.0" album. "Reveal 1.0" is the February 2001 master of the Reveal album. This first master included "Fascinating" and some alternate versions of some of the songs that were released on the album. Apparently, the band felt this song slowed down the already slow album a bit too much.


But anyway, I remember first listening to "Fascinating" in 2001 and it really stirred up a lot of emotion in me. I could really identify with the character in the song, and it pretty much sums up my entire high school experience. Listening to it again so many years later brought back the same emotions, yet, with a confidence and new outlook that wasn't there before.

It was kind of weird to hear it in that respect, and I don't even know if what I just wrote makes any sense. But, that's the best way I know how to describe it. I think it has a lot to do with being comfortable with myself, who I am, really knowing who I really am now. It's a good song, but I can see why they left it off the album. After hearing it again, I just wanted to share it here.

21 November 2009

New Super Mario Bros. Wii - World 8-7

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One of the best Super Mario Bros. levels I have ever had the pleasure of playing, and it was even better with four players. What a blast!

19 November 2009

The R.E.M. Starter Kit

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I was met with a challenge by a fellow co-worker the other day, a challenge I haven't had the opportunity to take advantage of in some time. She asked me to make her an R.E.M. CD. Talk about pressure. I haven't made an R.E.M. CD for anyone in a long time. I stopped my personal crusade to spread the music to unsuspecting souls long ago. Just because they are my favorite band, doesn't mean they have to be everyone else's. But, when asked, I couldn't pass up the opportunity.

I wanted the CD to be a good representation of the band, highlighting some of my favorite songs mixed in with some "classic" R.E.M. sounds. It was quite hard to narrow down my favorites to fit on one CD and then to arrange then in order so that the music flowed; something my mom taught me. Eighty minutes of music is not much to convert someone into an instant R.E.M. fan, but this is my best attempt.

After I chose the songs for the CD, I realized a lot of them were some of my first favorites. I still remember playing Donkey Kong Country in the basement with Angela with "Driver 8" blaring away. We had a five disc CD changer and it was usually filled with only R.E.M.; at least if I had my way. That's probably why I am so fond of the alternate versions of "Gardening at Night" and "Radio Free Europe"; because Eponymous was always in the mix.

The songs I chose are a representation of the best of what R.E.M. has given us so far. I made the playlist in iTunes and remembered a feature called an iMix that allows one to share any given playlist with the world. I thought it would be neat to post my playlist as an iMix and post it here on latent chestnut. Now everyone knows my favorite R.E.M. songs. I feel so exposed. Below I posted the cover art I made for the disc, so if anyone feels so inclined to create this CD for themselves, go right ahead. I hope you enjoy the music!

17 November 2009

A ring. A string. A mystery.

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There is an old wives tale that if a ring on a string is dangled over a pregnant woman's stomach, the ring will reveal whether she is going to give birth to a boy or a girl. If the woman is having a boy, the ring will swing in a circular motion; if she is having a girl, the ring will swing back and forth. The ring test held true for Ari, Emilie, and Piper. We did the test on Angela a few weeks ago, and it predicted a boy; sure enough, Angela's ultrasound confirmed she is having a boy.

When we did the test on Angela, Ari wanted us to try it on him; so he laid down and I held the ring over his stomach. Nothing happened. I tried it on Valerie, nothing happened (thank goodness). I then tried it on Angela again. I held the ring perfectly still right over her stomach, and sure enough, is slowly started to swing in a circle all by itself.

I was intrigued. Why is this so? Why does the ring swing over a pregnant stomach and not another. Does the baby emit some sort of energy that is lost once it is born? Does the mother? I scoured the internet to find the answer only to come up short. Unfortunately, I still do not know what exactly makes that ring swing. I was, however, able to discover if the ring would swing over a person who is not pregnant.

Determined to find out what, if any, part of the body made the ring move in a non-pregnant person, I volunteered Ari to be part of my experiment. He happily laid down on the floor as I dangled the ring over his stomach. Not surprisingly, it stayed perfectly still. I moved the ring over his head, nothing happened. He then got antsy and started batting the string around while I was trying to hold it still, so I had to find another volunteer. So much for having a three-year-old as part of my experiment.

Valerie reluctantly agreed to be part of my madness. I think she may have been a bit intrigued, too. I first had her hold out her hand and dangled the string over it; nothing happened. She laid down and I held the string over other areas of her body. Did the ring move over her head? No. Chest? No. Stomach? No. I moved the ring further down the length of her body to over her female area, and viola! The ring started to move back and forth. I then tried it on Ari in the same area of his body, and it swung in a circle, they tried it on me and it swung in a circle, too. We couldn't get Emilie to hold still long enough to try it on her, so we couldn't make it four-for- four.

Mystery solved! Well, one of the mysteries at least. The ring can move on it's own over a non-pregnant body as long as it is held over the right spot. Sure enough, the right spot is an area on the body that distinguishes gender; so that makes it a very valid test for pregnant women with consistent results. I still do not know why the ring swings one way for males, and another for females. If anyone knows the answer or has any theories, I'd love to hear them.

13 November 2009

How I spent my Halloween

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It was Friday, October 30, 2009, and I had just finished churning my pumpkin ice cream. When I opened the freezer door to place the ice cream container inside, I noticed a little frost on some of the apple juice concentrates. I paid no mind to my observation thinking Ari just closed the refrigerator door too hard and the freezer door popped open a little bit. It happened all the time, so I casually closed the freezer door and went about my business.

A few hours later, I checked on the ice cream to see if it had hardened at all. Nope, it was still soft, but the frost was gone from the apple juice, so everything seemed fine. Later on that night, as I put the finishing touches on the jack-o-lantern cake, I checked the ice cream again. Huh? Still not firm? What's going on? I noticed the freezer wasn't all that cold and I picked up an apple juice concentrate and it was completely liquid on the inside. It was then that I realized the freezer had stopped working.

Luckily, our old refrigerator was in the basement in fine working order; so Valerie and I hauled all of our frozen items into the downstairs freezer for safekeeping. I then checked the upstairs refrigerator to make sure it was still working and it everything looked good. A little after eleven o'clock that night, I got a sinking feeling that something wasn't right. I checked the refrigerator again and the butter was a little soft. I took the temperature of the refrigerator and it was fifty-something degrees. Not good. So, Valerie and I hauled the refrigerated items downstairs as well.

My dad was in town for the weekend and he was over the next morning for breakfast. Pa was there as well and they both looked at it and thought that it was most likely the compressor that failed. Valerie and I were at a crossroads. Should we look into getting it fixed or should we just go out and buy a new refrigerator like we had been wanting to? Of course, by now I'm sure you already assume we decided to get a new one; because, why would I be writing about getting a repair? You know?

So, Valerie, my dad, Mary Lee, and I all went around town that afternoon hunting for a new refrigerator while Angela volunteered to stay at our house with Stephen and the kids. We found one we liked at Sam's right off the bat, but still went to several other stores to see what we could find. We ended up getting the one at Sam's because we really liked the refrigerator and we really couldn't beat the price. Our next dilemma, how would we get the refrigerator back to the house?

Valerie called her dad and he wasn't able to help, so she then called Kyle; who is the proud owner of Marty's old truck. He graciously accepted our desperate pleas for help, and met us at Sam's a little after five o'clock. After finally figuring out how to get the refrigerator out of Sam's club (there were four employees trying to help), we strapped it in the bed of the truck and headed home. Looking back, it was quite naive of me to think we would have it unloaded and installed before trick-or-treating, but I thought it nonetheless.

So, we got the old refrigerator out of the kitchen, and then managed to somehow get the new one in. I really need to think about getting a hand truck, by the way. It was a real team effort and it is times like these when I realize how lucky I am to have such a wonderful family. I sadly missed trick-or-treating with the kids, and I'm sure it wasn't he Halloween my dad, Mary Lee, Stephen or Kyle were planning on having, but they were there when I needed them without giving it a second thought.

The refrigerator really looks great and it matches the stove perfectly. We ideally wanted a refrigerator with French doors on top and a pull out freezer door, but those were way out of our price range. I am very happy with the one we got, though, and the freezer is a lot bigger than our old one. Perfect for housing all the meat and sausage I've been grinding. Valerie is quite happy with it too, and she didn't waste any time getting it decorated with all of our magnets and pictures. What a day.

11 November 2009

121 weeks ago...

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this picture was taken.

07 November 2009

My Latest Quandary

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One day, during one of my pondering sessions, I sat quietly thinking of some of the great unknowns I had yet to gain an fluent understanding. What struck my fancy so viciously that I could no longer be uneducated in the matter was that none other than tennis scoring origin, of course. I thought to myself, why is tennis scored by increments of "love", "fifteen", "thirty", "forty", and "deuce"? I had to know the answer, so I went to the place where anyone can find all the answers to life's great mysteries, wikipedia.

Now, I know that the information posted on wikipedia is not always accurate so I did some other research to validate what I found. I don't know if the origin of tennis scoring is common knowledge, but I found it to be quite interesting and it really does make a lot of sense. I wasn't really concerned with the six games to a set because that would be like questioning why baseball has nine innings. Hmm...why does baseball have nine innings? Nah, I'll leave that for another post. It intrigued me because I could not think of another game where the scoring seemed so arbitrary.

The origins of the 15, 30, and 40 scores are widely believed to be medieval French. Most articles I read stated that a clock face was used on court, with a quarter move of the hand to indicate a score of 15, 30, and 45. When the hand moved to 60, the game was over. Aha! It makes perfect sense. Wait a minute! Where did the 40 come from? Why isn't it just 45? Well, it was soon realized that the game could then be won by luck, and the idea of "deuce" was introduced. "Deuce" comes from the French word "deux" meaning "two", as in two more points. In order to make the score still fit within the clock face, the 45 was changed to 40. Then, if both players had 40, the first player to score receives ten and that moves the clock to 50; if that player scored a second time before the opponent scored, he or she was awarded another ten and the clock moves to 60 and the game was over. However, if the player failed to score while on 50, the player's clock would move back to 40 and establish another "deuce". It makes perfect sense!

Now, the origin of the use of "love" for zero is shrouded in mystery. Some argue it derives from the "l'œuf", the French word for egg; since an egg looks like the number zero. Some claim "Love" is derives from "l'heure" or "the hour" in French. Another possibility of the origin, which I think is a stretch, comes from the Dutch "iets voor lof doen," which means to do something for nothing. The word 'lof' (nothing) has changed over time to 'love'. so many schools of though, it's sad that no one may ever know the one true origin.

So, now you know what happens when I have too much time for my mind to wander. But I feel better for now knowing the truth about tennis, at least the most accepted truth. I was surprised that the origin of tennis scoring isn't something absolute and undisputed. There are several different theories out there, but I decided to focus on the one that has been widely accepted as fact. So, next time you go out and play a game of tennis, maybe you'll picture a big clock in your head to help you remember the score. I know I will.

05 November 2009

Bring it on Food Network Challenge!

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As you have probably figured out, for those of you who have read my blog, I enjoy cooking. I especially enjoy baking, and my dad posed a challenge to me for our October birthdays celebration. His challenge was simple, make a cake and decorate it by using fondant.

Seemed easy enough, and by all accounts, it really was. I ended up making my own fondant since buying it was really expensive. I found a recipe for the fondant and for the butter cream that needed to be used to keep the fondant from sliding off the cake.

I've seen a number of Food Network cake challenges, so I felt like I knew the basics of what I was supposed to be doing. I just made a ten inch round cake and decided to decorate it like a jack-o-lantern since we would be eating it on Halloween.

I made the cake and the fondant on Thursday night and decorated it on Friday night. All in all, I think it turned out really well, being my first time using it. Everyone enjoyed the cake and my dad was pleased that I finally got around to using fondant.



I would have liked to have done a little more detail work on the pumpkin part of the cake; like adding a stem or indents to show the sections of the pumpkin. But due to time constraints and other extenuating circumstances, that wasn't in the cards. I am still pleased with the way it turned out, though I feel it could have been better.

I think I may end up using fondant again in the future because it really is easy to work with and it looks nice. Ari wants a "Chick crashing the King" cake from a scene in the movie Cars, so if I am going to pull that off, I think I am going to have to use fondant. It should be interesting.

01 November 2009

Carvin'

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Well, Halloween is over, and it sure was a doozy. We got the festivities going by carving our pumpkins on Wednesday. Mom, Marty, Ang, Michael and Piper were all over at our house for a fun-filled evening. Five pumpkins went under the knife that night and they all turned out really good.

We went to a pumpkin patch with my dad and Mary Lee down in Southern Indiana a couple weeks ago so the kids could pick out their own pumpkins. Ari liked the "bumpy" pumpkins, so we got a couple to display on our front porch. On Wednesday, when I cut the top off Emilie's it was rotten on the inside. Ari's was a little rotten, too, but after we got over the smell, the carving went off without a hitch.

All the kids liked their pumpkins and we lit them all up together before everyone left. We did them freehand this year after using patterns with Eva & Daniel last year. I would have used a pattern, but I couldn't find the one I wanted. I had a specific face in mind, but all my searches came up empty. Also, I noticed a lot of websites did not provide free patterns this year, you had to pay or join the site too see the patterns they had. Nevertheless, it was a fun evening of pumpkin carving, and I can only imagine it will be even more fun when the kids can carve their own.

Here is some visual proof of the pumpkins we carved this year. From left to right the pumpkins belong to Emilie, Ari, Michael, Angela, and Piper.


And with the lights out...

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