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Whatcha’ listenin’ to?

With my 2010 Music Experience Experiment I continue to be exposed to some awesome artists that I would have, most likely, been completely blind to.  Using SU  I hit “A Babe Musician Creates A Looping Song From Violens And Drums Then Puts Her Unusual Voice Into The Mix” and as a guy, what am I going to do, not check it out?

Here’s the better quality, YouTube clip.


Damn good.

Also, along those lines, I’ve been exposed and addicted to a guy named, Benjamin Stanford aka Dub FX.


Check him out on his site

Here’s a good example how he creates and put the pieces together.


Great underwater photography..

Yesterday when I was trying to find the name of monastery on the cliff (The Monastery of Tatev), I stumbled upon a handful of awesome pics.  I wanted to share these two photos because of the level of difficulty executing such great work.

Fire up the jet..

After spending the better part of my morning sorting and reorganizing my bookmarks (synced with xmarks) I ran across an old link,

The Monastery of Tatev, Armenia

The Monastery of Tatev, Armenia aka 3012819_large.jpg

Unfortunately, there is no additional info with this photo.  I did some basic searches… and even Google Goggled it on my Drooooiid.  Nada.  Of course, during my searches, I ran across more awesome photos and was easily distracted.  Regrouping and trying wild and different approaches, I found what I was looking for, this is a photo of The Monastery of Tatev, Armenia.

Now, I’ve gotta go pack my bags…. wonder if I need any more shots?

post office box score!

I haven’t been to my Post Office box in awhile, so I decided it was time to go and kill two birds with one stone. I’d have a bunch of crap out of my box, and the postmaster could now do her job and fill it back up. Low and behold however, on this day, I had a fancy key to a fancy wall locker that had something in it too big to fit in my PO Box.

OK. Full disclosure. I knew there was a package coming. The sender told me to keep an eye out. So, I pick up a nice, thick, padded folder size package. Felt like a large book. Thanks Am– Angela? Wait a minute, this is from someone else! I rifle through my junk mail and contained in that mess was a card for a counter pickup.

This box was massive! But, oddly lighter than expected.

The first item was the Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites: Flavorful Recipes for Healthful Meals

I flipped through this 465 page behemoth and saw tons of really nice recipes that I intend to try sometime very soon.

Two of them were tagged for me to try; Festive Black Bean Chili, and Ukrainian Beet and Bean Stew.  Is your mouth watering yet?  Holy shit those both sound fantastic!

Festive Black Bean Chili has onions, garlic, cumin, coriander, green and red peppers, black beans, canned tomatoes, corn, hot peppers, cilantro and salt.  WOW.  If it wasn’t so late, I’d be tossing all of that in my crock pot right now!

The other recipe, Ukranian Beet and Bean Stew consists of; onion, celery, cabbage, carrots, potatoes, beets, whole tomatoes, caraway seeds, vinegar, kidney beans, dill, salt, and pepper.  Also, scallions and yogurt (soy for me).  Look, I suppose one could understand how this doesn’t sound freakin’ awesome, but I don’t know you.. so, more for me!!!   I’ll let everyone know how these turn out… sooo exciting.

Thanks Angela!!

This leads me to the second package.  This one is from a friend I met for a bit while hiking out on the Appalachian Trail last year.  I had recently contacted her to see what she was going to be doing the weekend of April 27th.  For some reason, she felt compelled to send me a birthday gift.  How awesome?

As I said before, this box was way too big.  Past all the packaging peanuts and eco, air-filled bags was a large, coffee style book, The Life & Love of Trees.  What a stunning collection of photos by Lewis Blackwell.  Jaw dropping really.  So far, my favorite quote is:

If a man walks in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer; but if he spends his whole day as a spectator, shearing off those woods and making the earth bald before her time, he is esteemed an industrious and enterprising citizen. – Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)

Amen Henry, amen.

This book is amazing.  Amazing indeed, but only introduces, yet again the peculiar juxtaposition that authors and photographers like Blackwell and many, many others have.  We have to destroy trees to produce the very work you wish to share and exhibit.  Why?  I found nothing of any sort stating that any recycled products were used, attempted to be used, or anything.  Also not mentioned was any regard to reforestation based upon any analysis of how much wood was used in its manufacturing process.  If, as stated, in this book in particular, Life & Love of Trees, why are you killing them?  It seems, once again, that people don’t believe that it’s their particular responsibility.  Or, that, if they buy carbon credits, or wind credits, they are doing good.  Here’s an idea, how about don’t do it at all?

I digress.

It’s a fabulous book, I will spend some time thumbing through it and give my assessment.

Thanks Amy!!

Oh Starbucks, what will it take?

So, lucky me, it’s my birthday!  As any good starbuckaroo know, on your birthday you receive a drink.

A Free Drink on your Birthday

All registered Starbucks Card holders get a handcrafted birthday beverage of their choice. My Starbucks Rewards will make you feel special all year long, but for this one day you’re extra special.

I went to the same store that I took forever trying to get my order right, but in the end, abandoned.  The manager recognized me right away per I had spoke to him on Friday when I visited this Starbucks with a friend.  First he honored the “free pastry day” promo, even though it was 10:40am and asked what my drink was.  I said, whatever size the free birthday one was, as it was my birthday.  He said not to worry, that he would make anything.  I gave him my order, “Venti, Soy Chai, no water, no foam, 150 degrees.”

He repeated my order to the barista who, ironically, I’d never seen before.  Perhaps he was from another store.  I thanked the manager as he turned to help another customer.

Wouldn’t you know it, just watching him.  No thermometer.  Working on another drink.  Steaming cycle finishes.  Just boil my soy away.

He lids it, starts to hand it up to the pass, repeating the order.

“Venti Soy Chai.”
“150?” I inquired.

Of course, now he realized that step was omitted.  He rinsed off a thermometer and held it in the paper cup, where it had already blended in with the chai mix.  Brilliant.

Store manager walks back over.  As he does, I give him one of those, “whadda gonna do,” or the exasperated, “nothing new here” looks.

“It’s about 145 degrees” the barista said.
“Fine, don’t worry about it.”

what am I going to do, bitch about a free Venti?

He finishes up removing the foam and replacing it with more soy.  Yeah, he missed that part too.

Thanks Starbucks.

Yes, it was “extra special”ly bad.  Wish I’d bitched about a free Venti.

out in WV for St. Patrick’s Weekend Luau at Timberline

Hey everyone.
I’m out in good ol’ West Virginee. Each year Doug puts together a ski weekend at Timberline Four Seasons Resort and this year proves to be a big one.

I’m hooked up in one of the best houses we’ve ever stayed in. Thought I would share some pics.

Kitchen at Alpha House

Entertainment room in the bottom level

One of the many well appointed bedrooms.  This one in particular will be enjoyed by Shannon and Jim over the course of the weekend.

Little office with…. yes, that’s a cable modem and wireless router.  Wonder who’s gonna be using this the most?? hmmm..

St Paddy’s Day has arrived

Literally. For the first time, I went online to purchase beads for the 2010 St Pattys Day Luau Weekend in WV at Timberline Four Seasons Resort.  I usually find beads and other holiday kitsch in a local discount store, but for whatever reason, all the St. Patrick’s Day gear was heavily picked through.  The hardest part was finding an online retailer that sold beads for a good price, and did not charge outrageous fees for shipping.  Four days later, my booty arrived!

as well as some funky other items.

this is one kick ass hat.. got it for Shannon.. she’s gonna love it!!  more images coming..

I break the green ring!

Okay Starbucks, you win.  Game over.  I started with my account back with you guys back in June 2008 and now, 21 months later, I’m throwing in the towel.

I order the exact same drink, every day.  To be honest, when I rattle off my favorite beverage, “venti soy chai, no water, no foam, 150 degrees,” I feel a bit silly, but really, it’s not that difficult.  Broken down, it’s interpreted as a big boy soy drink at 150 degrees.  Each and every store I’ve frequented enough to train the staff on my drink, by being patient, day in, day out, to get my order right, in the end, they revert back to whatever habit that I was trying to change, namely, being lazy.  It’s blatantly obvious that my order is going to be wrong when the machine is set at 180 or on the other side, 165, and the steamer runs the full cycle.  Or, when I drive away, waiting for my drink to cool and eventually realize I am drinking milk milk!  This is one that really baffles me.  Starbucks offers three different kinds of cows milk, mine says “S,” for soy, so what milk option can you confuse with that???  By the time I realize this error, I’m too far away from the original store, which then forces me to awkwardly go into another store and explain the incompetence of the Starbucks employee from where I came.  Most baristas are happy to help, but I have met some resistance before.  And yes, my cup is generally full.

So, this is it.  I’m done.  Why should have I have to suggest to baristas that they should shake up the box of soy milk, to help even out the settling of particulates?  This doesn’t bother me so much when the box is already open, but for crying out loud, when opening new, shake the damn thing!  Also, I specifically asked for 150 degrees, at least pretend you care.  If I burn my mouth because of laziness, I’m not going to be keen to be super polite, especially if you know I order the same damn drink, every day, at the same store!

Starbucks patrons are a picky lot, and for the price I pay, all I ask is to be presented what I order.  Nothing more, nothing less.  Starbucks cannot seem to, for me, accomplish this simple objective.  This is probably a blessing is disguise anyway.  I could use the extra few hundred bucks each year.  I love hot tazo chai with my stevia, hard to beat, and for the cost, mere pennies per cup.

For Christmas, I specifically asked for the Starbucks (RED) card so when I drank my venti chai, I could also help the support communities in Africa.  Well, now I can donate a lot more than what Starbucks is donating in the new savings of not going there.  Btw, it’s 5 cents an order.

To those who know me best, no, this is not a ban on Starbucks.  The point is, I will never spend my money there again.  You want to go and cover me, I’m not going to turn you down.  Cheers!  Also, I will pop in Starbucks from time to time, to get on the internet somewhere in the U.S., no problemo, I’ll just carry my teabags and ask them to fill up my stainless steel Starbucks mug (which I love) with hot water so I can steep it at a table and enjoy my chai, free!

There you go, adios Starbucks!