Since Thanksgiving the GEWF comments area has been under a steady attack by a comment spammer. Averaging over 10 attempts a day, all the messages followed the same structure, so I've been pretty sure they all came from the same person.
Then five days ago they stopped. Abruptly the attempts dropped to zero. I was hoping that he came to his senses, and realized that he was wasting his energy, cause my comments area doesn't get enough visitors to help his whuffie.
But this morning he's returned. Ah well.
Finally, after 15 days of sub-freezing weather, the temp went above 32F today. It was like spring. Tomorrow's supposed to be even nicer.
A quote from the very accomplished Doc Searls:
Everything you know me for I've done since I was 50.
I've been enjoying reading about the culinary school adventures of Brian and Jo at their blog "Out of the Frying Pan".
Now they've added Etcetera to their blogroll. Thanks.
I guess now I'll have to write more about food. :-)
In the comments Forum, Etcetera pal MGA points to this nice memory of Johnny Carson from comedian Larry Miller. Especially fun is his telling, on page 2, of the time he appeared on the Carson Show without pants, almost.
Etcetera pal, RickF, sends along this link to a new Amazon service that lets you "walk" along the street, viewing all the storefronts. This link is to the beloved Peninsula Fountain & Grill.
BTW, can someone remind me where we were talking about The Creamery. Somewhere in the comments Forum, but of course it had little to do with the original posting, so I can't find it now.
For those of you out there living vicariously through our hardship here in NE. It's snowing again. The forecast is for another 1-3 inches in southern NH, and more in Boston. It's supposed to get to like minus 8 degrees tomorrow night, then warm up to a balmy 45 early next week.
I've been sparing you guys the SoBeDi progress reports. Although the early-stage, dramatic, weight-loss has stopped, I have continued to go down, more or less steadily. But today I do want to crow a little.
Back in 2000, my last year in California, my weight had gotten pretty high, coincidentally, to about the same level as this past summer. I spent that spring, summer, and fall concentrating on a fitness program. And by September I had reached a very satisfying milestone. I wrote about it in one of my very first blog entries.
It turned out that that was as low as I would get. The stress/excitement/trauma of moving back east -- helped along by my rediscovery of Chocolate Frappes at Portsmouth's "Ice House" -- led me back up to the 200 lb level.
Last August I started again, and I'm pretty pleased with the results. One of my goals was to get back, at-or-below, my 2000 low of 173 lbs. And I'm really happy to say that this week's weigh-in had me below 173 for the second week in a row! Yay!
Now to get below 170, and to my next goal of 165.
Just like five years ago, I think 165 would be a good healthy weight for me, but my doctor did suggest 155. I think 155 would be pretty thin for me, but I'm gonna give it a try and see what I think.
When I get to 155 -- and I have no doubt that I will, my goal is to reach it sometime in April -- I'll see if it feels right, and see if I can maintain it without too much sacrifice (I don't want to give up the Frappes completely). But if not, I'll be OK with drifting back up the the 165 range.
The FBI said Tuesday that the possible terrorist plot reported against Boston by a tipster last week was a false alarm.
"There were in fact no terrorist plans or activity under way," the FBI said in a statement. "Because the criminal investigation is ongoing, no further details can be provided at this time."
Andy Ihnatko remembers Johnny:
...the true power of Carson is represented by the dull routine, the overall continuum of broadcasts...a randomly-selected show in which his guests were the star of an NBC sitcom that you couldn't stand and a writer that you'd never heard of. Those shows are the ones that demonstrate why Carson was so damned good at what he did and why he was so sorely missed when he went away. He wasn't a comic or an entertainer: he was a broadcaster. His brilliance doesn't come through in a series of clips. You just can't get him unless you see him reacting to a live audience for an hour, and guiding two or three guests through their interviews.
AP via Yahoo! News:
"Survivor" winner Richard Hatch was arraigned Tuesday in federal court on charges that he never paid taxes on the $1 million he won on the hit CBS reality show.
But get this part. Hatch, who won $1 million in a nationally televised, highly publicized event, thought no one would notice.
Federal prosecutors charged that Hatch, 43, filed false 2000 and 2001 tax returns, omitting his income from the CBS show, as well as another $321,000 he was paid by a Boston radio station.
We were talking about this a week ago or so. I implied that a sous-chef was one of numerous junior chefs in a kitchen, who were given all the grunt work. According to dictionary.com, the sous-chef is the second in command.
UPDATE: But aha! Wikipedia has it more like I did:
...sous chef (pronounced "soo-sheff"): it usually means the number 2 chef in the kitchen hierarchy – the direct executive assistant of the head chef but in large establishments in English-speaking countries, the title may be given to any of several assistant chefs and it occasionally describes a line cook or a – possibly entirely untrained – kitchen aide.
I forgot to mention, that a couple nights ago my sister Beth treated us to her soon-to-be-world-famous beef stew. I don't know what she calls it, maybe "Donny-boy Stew" or "That Big Fat Jerk's Goulash"?
Anyway, this is notable cause she's never really been into cooking, but something recently has gotten her to exploring. She's been asking for recipes, and now the first attempt at this stew. It was good!
Went for a great hike today, up to the edge of the North Lake. It was around 15F during the walk, but we were pretty bundled up, so it was always comfortable.
There are a couple more pics on my Flickr site.
AP story from the Portsmouth Herald:
[Popular career counselor] William Fried told eighth-graders at Jane Lathrop Stanford Middle School that stripping and exotic dancing could be lucrative career moves for girls, offering as much as $250,000 or more per year, depending on their bust size.
BTW, I don't think this guy should be punished. From what I see in the story, this was a very small part of his talk, he was responding to a question from the kids, and nothing he said to the kids was untrue.
Things are starting to come back to normal here this morning. The local schools DID NOT cancel today, unlike Boston where on Sunday they cancelled both Mon and Tues.
I haven't been out on the roads, but I'm told that they are the typical NH well-cleared.
I'm headed out on some errands soon. Maybe I'll bring back some pics.
I had hopes for this show. It's clearly an attempt to do another CSI-like, solve crimes with Science, thing. But it didn't work for me.
The problem is that they faked the numbers stuff. They just TOLD us that it was math that was providing the solution, and showed us all sorts of gobbledy-gook formulas, that were supposed to impress.
The thing that makes the "science" of CSI seem real, is that it's not so complicated that we don't understand it. When whats-his-name says that the bugs are a particular type, that take 16 days to mature, you can easily see the connection that the dead body has been lying there for 16 days. Numb3rs didn't give us any science that we thought we understood.
So I'm disappointed. I'll probably watch the next ep. just to see if it gets better, but I'm not optimistic.
I've initiated some system administration on jackhodgson.com which will probably proceed without any problems.
But the disclaimer warning I was given, when approving the work, said that it could take up to 10 days to complete. If it takes ten days, then it's possible that this site will go offline for awhile.
That will stink, but please be patient, and check back often for the return.
Roundup of Southern NH blizzard coverage over on the Pawtuckaway site.
His nephew said it best: His "loss will be immeasurable." AP story, via Yahoo! News.
About 14 inches on the ground here. Click on the pic for more info. Here's a set of pics from before and during.
Yesterday I was called, for the first time, to go be a substitute teacher.
Regular readers know that I signed up for this about a month ago. And though for the first few days I waited for the call each morning, lately I've kinda forgotten about it. Then yesterday, part-way through cup-of-coffee-number-one, I got the call.
I wasn't an actual sub-teacher yesterday, instead I filled in for a teacher's assistant, so I roamed between four different classes, helping out with exercises and tests. This was a very good way to start, 'cause I've been a little intimidated about being dropped into being the leader of a room for a whole day. Here I was able to help out, see the regular teachers in action, and ease into the whole thing.
Helping the kids with their math problem, spelling exercises, and writing assignments, was a lot of fun, and surprisingly satisfying. It really felt like I was doing an important thing.
Toward the end of the day, the regular teacher left me in charge of the room for 45 mins, and although it was a little bit hairy for awhile (the moment she left, the energy in the room changed, and I had to learn quickly how to keep the lid on. It's not real easy, and I still have a lot the learn about this aspect), I eventually started to learn what tone to use, and what limits to insist upon. I think if it had gone longer it would have gotten even better.
All-in-all, I really enjoyed the "teaching" part, the "crowd-control" part, not so much. But I'm looking forward to the next time they call me.
As you can see, I'm not a big fan of this time of year.
2004: "I'm hunkered-down, indoors today. The forecast is to get down to like minus 10 degrees F tonight."
2003: "Baby it's cold outside."
2002: "Weather-wise it's been quite a week. It's snowed 4 out of the last 7 days. There's been more snow this spring than there was all winter." (March 26)
Following up on yesterday's post about Splenda, Etcetera friend AlexR suggests we consider Stevia. It claims to be genuinely natural, and being held back in the U.S. by the sweet-stuff-cartel. From the Stevia website:
If you've ever tasted stevia, you know it's extremely sweet. In fact, this remarkable noncaloric herb, native to Paraguay, has been used as a sweetener and flavor enhancer for centuries. But this innocuous-looking plant has also been a focal point of intrigue in the United States in recent years because of actions by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Here's an aerial photo taken by Doc Searls of the location of the recent west coast landslides. It's amazing to see how the recent slides, along the base of the hills near the right-hand edge of town, is really only a small part of the larger slides that have been happening here for many, many years.
You see this sort of thing all up and down the California coastline.
My friend, and SoBeDi buddy, JanK has embraced Splenda as a reasonable alternative sweetener. The folks at Green Generation are trying to get the Feds to stop Splenda from implying in its ads that it is "natural".
“Any substance whose listed ingredients include 4-cholo-4deoxy-alpha-D-galactopyranosyl1 cannot be considered natural,” Ms. Davis said. Phosgene, one of the chemicals used in making Splenda is described by the Centers for Disease Control as a major industrial chemical used to make plastics and pesticides. “Parents need to have accurate information in order to make appropriate food choices for their families,” she added.
McNeil has no reasonable basis for its marketing slogan, “made from SUGAR so its tastes like SUGAR.”
The press release does not describe any danger to Splenda, just that it's no more natural than other artificial sweeteners.
A couple of days ago.
Overnite low was 2F. It's only 3F now. And the wind is whipping clouds of powdery snow across the ice, swirling like frigid tornados.
Not coincidentally, we are in the third week in January, which is historically the coldest week of the year here in NE. It's supposed to start getting better after this.
Early reports are that the new Mac mini low-cost mac is causing many Microsoft Windows users to consider switching. Cnet.com:
Olly Hodgson is another who says he may switch when the Mini officially goes on sale Jan. 22.
The Cheltenham, England, Web developer says he, too, is considering buying the Mac Mini as a way to try out life as a Mac user.
"I hear so many good things about Apple's OS X, but I've never actually used it," Hodgson said in an e-mail interview. "With the Mac Mini, I can buy into it cheaply and see if I like it."
Brian and Jo, are a pair of techy geeks (I think that's right), who have decided to take the plunge and follow their dream. They have enrolled in the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts. For the next year they will be blogging about their experience.
I've now missed two consecutive, new eps of The West Wing, and I don't really miss it.
Partly it's that I'm not at all happy with the demotion of Leo, and ascension of CJ. It really hasn't been the same since Sorkin left the show.
I've also stopped recording, and watching, the daily early season reruns.
Could this be the end of my fandom?
Premieres Feb 17. Early favorites are: Kimberly Kim, Jennifer, and Stephenie. [Oh, and Katie too.]
UPDATE: Here's the website.
I've been off the net all day, first on an errand in Concord, then down to Boston for this evening's BMac meeting. I'm in withdrawal.
Excessive posting will probably resume tomorrow.
Steve made a bunch of product announcements in the just ended Macworld Keynote. I'll be writing about them over on the TECHPopuli site.
The big stories will be "Pages", a full-featured word-processor... "iPod Shuffle", a really tiny, shuffle-only, iPod... and "Mac Mini" an under $600 desktop Mac.
Previously I told you about the satisfaction of discovering that, due to my success with the SoBeDi, a winter coat from years past, now fits again.
Yesterday I was surprised to discover that an old pair of hiking shoes, which I actually thought were too small for me, now fit more comfortably than I remember.
What's up with that?
Scott and Me on the levee at the north end of Burnhams Marsh during three hour snowshoe on Jan 8, 2005.
UPDATED: More pics...
I just wanted to say that.
We've had plenty of time to get used to the idea that Redsox pitcher Derek Lowe would not be returning to the team in 2005.
I've always liked d-lowe, and he is a great clutch pitcher. He has won some seriously important post-season games for the sox. That great closer performance against Oakland in 2003, and don't forget that he was the winning pitcher for all three series-clinching games of the 2004 post-season.
But he struggles in the regular season, and he and the redsox front-office seem to be like oil and water. So we've known since mid-season that he wouldn't be back.
Now the word is that he's close to a deal to join the LA Dodgers. The thing is, my favorite National League team is the San Francisco Giants -- who, BTW, play in the second nicest ballpark in America. And the traditional rivals of the Giants, their "Yankees", are the Dodgers.
So I guess I'll be rooting against Derek next year. But I thank him for his accomplishments with the Redsox, and I wish him well.
In Blink , author Malcolm Gladwell makes the argument that people frequently make some of their best decisions in mere seconds. We think without thinking, sizing up situations and determining how we feel about someone or something based not on voluminous new information, but rather on our accumulated experiences. And, Gladwell says, that's a good thing.
AP via Yahoo! News: "Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston have finally made official what was rumored for months — Hollywood's A-List couple is splitting up."
SteveG and his wife, Carol, have published the first episode of their duo video-log-cast. The Carol & Steve Show. I like the setting, just sitting at their kitchen table noshing. Very a-la My Dinner With Andre.
Steve starts the first episode by saying, "oh yeah, Carol, I turned on the camera."
I want to see more.
A freelance photographer took some pictures of a breaking news story in a WalMart parking lot, and WalMart tried to confiscate his camera, and worse! ban him from the store! The Herald-Mail:
Roy said a store official told him not to take pictures or publish them without getting permission. Then, a man in a suit who identified himself as a store security official ordered him to surrender his camera, Roy said.
Roy said he refused, so the man demanded the film in his camera, unaware that it was a digital camera.
Again, Roy refused. He locked the camera in his car.
"He said if I didn't turn the camera over to him, he would have me arrested" and ban him from the store, Roy said.
You'll remember that I recently published a pic I took in the local WalMart lot.
I made meatloaf for dinner tontite. Yum.
I had my sou-chef, Beth, make the frosting. She has potential.
CNN has announced that they are (probably) canceling Crossfire, and showing Tucker Carlson the door.
CNN said goodbye to pundit Tucker Carlson on Wednesday, and with him likely the "Crossfire" program that has been the granddaddy of high-volume political debate shows on cable television.
The weather radar says it's snowing here. But it's not.
UPDATE: 6:15 am -- It is now.
I was fingerprinted this morning.
My friends Jan and Cindy have been urging me, for a long time now, to sign up to be a substitute teacher here in town. Now I've finally followed through on the idea.
Lat week I met with the Asst Principal, and had a nice talk about how it works, and what's involved. Then this morning I went to the regional school office to fill out the forms.
Because it involves working with kids, they need to do a more intense background check than like for a job at WalMart. So among the other forms I signed, they got out the ink pad, and a sheet of paper with 10 boxes on it.
When I lived in California, they take your thumbprint when you get a driver's license, so technically this is not a first. But in Calif. they don't do the whole ink and paper bit. There they have an electronic scanner which you put your thumb on.
Here, she took my hand, and one finger at a time she inked it up, and rolled it in one of the boxes.
Me and Al Capone.
David Isenberg summarizes a paper which describes one possible Atlantic Ocean tsunami. From the paper:
Geological evidence suggests that during a future eruption, Cumbre Vieja Volcano on the Island of La Palma [in the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean near Africa] may experience a catastrophic failure of its west flank, dropping 150 to 500 km3 of rock into the sea. Using a geologically reasonable estimate of landslide motion, we model tsunami waves produced by such a collapse.
Luis Tiant pitched a complete game shutout to allow the Sox to win game one.
Tomorrow's starting pitcher: Bill Lee.
Here's the box score. BTW, the Reds' roster was no slouch either.
It was a very pleasant day here today in Northern New England.
The hi temp was 51. It's still over 40 now at 9:30, but it's raining. The forecast is for "wintry mix" tomorrow, turning into snow on Wednesday.
It's the bottom of the 7th, no score vs the Reds, in this first of the World Series replays on NESN.
It's great to see these legendary names back on the field. Rico Petrocelli, Fred Lynn, Carlton Fisk, Luis Tiant, Yaz.
The game was played October 11, 1975.
I give NESN a lot of credit for airing these games. I'm a little disappointed though, 'cause I thought they were gonna show the entire games, but they're skipping the occasional half-inning.
Still, pretty cool.
UPDATE: Don Zimmer is the Redsox third-base coach!
I'm trying to decide if this is a spoof, a whacko, or for real. It's an explanation for the mysterious "bulge" in the back of the President's jacket during the debates.
George W. Bush apparently is wearing a medical device for "persons at risk of cardiac arrest." It is a LifeVest wearable defibrillator. He started using it sometime after his January 2002 fainting spell, which was attributed to choking. Based on photos showing him wearing the device, one can conclude the fainting was due to atrial fibrillation (AF), which his father also had.
There's more here. After more careful reading, I'm not convinced, but who knows?
It's 55 degrees here. We're going hiking.