Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Life and Times of an itinerant slacker in Sacramento. Thrills, Spills Galore coming soon. Not to mention lots of opinions.

Search This Blog

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Back to the Blog

By popular demand, I present to you an update to hangininsac. I am proud to say that reader requests were received by 100% of hangininsac’s readers (thanks, Lola).

It’s been a busy few months, since my last posting on October 10. I’ve been a full time Government employee as of about October 20. I am sorry to say I will not be able to rant, kvetch, moan, whine, snivel or otherwise discuss work at length, since work relates to public policy. However, I can say that, purely by luck, I have a great cubicle, and, even better, I have found a dive with great $4.00 Chinese take-out. I am a member of the mighty SIEU, through whose awesome might I will receive a (the bad news) 2.5% pay raise next year, whether or not anyone thinks my work adds value (the good news). POWER TO THE PEOPLE RIGHT ON!

I am finding life as a beaurocrat to be fascinating. Check out item number 12 in Shostakovich’s Beaurocrat’s Dance to hear a rather accurate interpretation. By the way, note this sounds like it is band music. Yeah!

Life is not about work alone. We are having the house painted along with some other interior work that needed to be done. I am so glad that we do this only once every 20 years or so. Next week it’s the bathroom and bedroom, so we will shack up with the DMIL. Good thing we get along so well.

K’s brother and his tribe came here for Xmas. The stayed with the DMIL, but I did most of the cooking for a big Xmas dinner. Turkey, ham we ordered from Nuesky’s in Milwaukee, buttery green beans, stuffing, mashed potatoes, jell-o “salad”, candied yams, green salad (made by someone else) and three pies (Other folks provided the pies). We are just getting through the leftovers (note – we finished the pies first). I think a 17 pound turkey and 7 pound ham might have been a little much for 11 people’s dinner.

I stuffed the turkey, even after reading Anthony Boudrain’s column in, assuring me that this traditional and outmoded cooking method was certain to fatally poison all living creatures within 100 miles of the kitchen. I say, “bah humbug”. The food fascists will claw that stuffed turkey from my cold dead hands. I am glad to say there were no reported deaths after the dinner, which is pretty darn good, given two of the diners are octogenarians.

Once again, I gave in to DMIL pressure and basted the turkey. I am sure this is a total waste of time, but I am also sure that a few minutes spent basting is an age of peace bought cheaply.

Well, it’s New Years Eve. We are going over the neighbors’ (after watching the Packer v Bears game, of course – unless someone else there is interested). We all agreed we’ll celebrate the New Year with the Midwesterners, or possibly the Easterners, because we are a pathetic lot. Once again, I will be the sole representative of my gender at the event. I hope one of these days a gay male couple moves nearby, to even up the local m/f ratio.

The Recorder Society keeps me busy, both playing and board business. We are having an all day workshop in February. Read about it here Be there and party like it’s 1699. The teachers are great and somewhat renowned. Eileen Hadidian is famous for “healing music”, and has recorded a lot of new age-ish type cds. The sessions will feature 17th and 18th century northern music, so worries about being unexpectedly healed. Hanneke Van Proojdij H9ollands greatest contribution to northern California early music, will teach as well. She is one of my favorite music teachers. I have one of her recorder ensemble cds. Hanneke is the one with protruding tongue .

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

I Am A Lazy Slob At Heart

I finished my project at le funque yesterday at noon, so I’ve had yesterday afternoon and today off. If you’re expecting a list of accomplishments, you‘ll be disappointed. My main accomplishments from this recent and possibly almost my last time off are (1) I took a great nap yesterday afternoon, (2) I went to band practice last night, (3) I went to a yoga a class at the health club this morning, and (4) at 4:30 today, I am finally writing a blog entry. I have been preoccupied over the last several weeks in activities best not shared through the blog medium. My two readers know what I’m up to anyway.

I finished reading a book about Greek and medieval science, “The Beginnings of Western Science”, by David Lindberg. I thought it was interesting, but I am pretty strange. The author’s main point is that these folks were not as stupid as we lie to think they were, and it’s likely we are not as smart as we think we are. I learned a bit about Platonic and Aristotelian philosophy. I was able to figure out (on my own) that the Newton – Apple incident is definitely a pile, since there’s a perfectly adequate explanation for falling apples that doesn’t require the creation of a new force in the universe, like gravity. The classical Aristotelian explanation would go something like this; the apple’s main elements are earth and water. It is their nature to exist below air (ever seen the ground or a lake above the air?). The tree took “heat” (we’d call it energy) from the sun to transport the elements to a position above their natural state. Once the apple is separated from the tree and its “heat”, the apple will seek its natural position in the universe – below the air. What could be simpler? This certainly makes a lot more sense than a magical force by which masses exert influence upon each other without even touching or emitting projectiles. By golly, if I was a legislator in Kansas, I’d introduce a bill requiring disclaimers for textbooks teaching this so-called theory of gravity. So there.

I found a pretty funny review of a Star Trek The Next Generation (TNG, as it’s known among geeks) Episode, written by none other than Wil Wheaton . A Dopey TV Website has the blog. This was the episode where the Ferengi were first introduced. They were intended to provide an enemy as good as the Klingons in TOS (the original series). He takes savage cuts at the Ferengi, as well as the great Star Trek Dialogue. However, he does credit Armen Shimmerman for creating an interesting Ferengi race in DS9.

Disclaimer: While writing this entry, to the best of my knowledge I wrote no explicit IMs to any Blogger pages, or anyone else for that matter.

That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

Saturday, September 09, 2006


This morning
No other place for
What I needed to buy today
“Abandon all hope, those who enter these gates” it’s said
Unhappy looking ugly folks
Staff and customers
So glad

Monday, September 04, 2006

What I did last Week

Last Week
Working for
The man, yes again
Contract work, stop and go, off, on
I am guilty of the sin of greed, the dollar’s slave
Selling time for a daily wage
I had no better
Plan to spend
Last week

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Recipe Time in The Kraft Korporate Kitchen

Just last night, while lying in bed, I was thinking, "man, I could really use an orange Tang flavored bacon bar cookie". If you have also had this craving, rest assured you are not alone. The Kraft Korporate Kitchen has the recipe. My favorite comment is, "looks like a poor man's haggis."

Interestingly enough, several of the comments appear to be positive. Tang, Bacon Bits and cereal, they're not just for breakfast anymore.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Yet More About Me, Me, Me

First - A note to my two readers

After some correspondence with a reader in Wisconsin, it has come to my attention that not all site visits are recorded on Site Meter (I guess you get what you pay for when it comes to free internet services). Therefore, you may not be my only two readers.

Now, more about me, me, me

Yoga Class

I have been taking some free classes at the gym taught by William Star. He is a good yoga teacher for where I am, although his website is positively weird on an intergalactic scale. Doing his yoga routines at home seems to make a pretty good workout for me. I feel lighter on my back & feet on days when I do some of the exercises. His routines focus on integrating the various poses into smooth routines, like you’d do in tai chi. Most of the yoga teachers run things more like tumbling in school gym class. Everybody tries to hold a weird pose and we see who collapses first. I stink at that. I also think it’s cool he is a mover in his late 50’s and he can’t sit in a lotus position.

I am not sure why I am running into so much strangeness lately. Must be a benefit of my recently breaking free of the nine-to-five grind lately. I kind of enjoy it anyhow.

Travel coming up

I actually got off my duff and planned a trip to Madison for next month. That should be fun. Hopefully this year’s hot Midwest summer will be long gone by then. I haven’t made any specific plans about what to do while there yet. I just intend to enjoy time to be together with some folks there, and maybe have a beer or two.

Work coming up

I will start tutoring in September, with some one-off review sessions starting next week. Ambitious parents of unmotivated kids are starting to get nervous (for a change), although school doesn’t start until the last week in August. I expect to get mostly geometry, algebra 2 and beyond students, since I am working with an eight grade teacher who does algebra, but leaves the rest to me.

Names for my Recorder Consort

I have been thinking about better names than Sine Nomine (which means “no name”) for my Friday consort. Further, the Vatican Institute for Music already uses the name for their Renaissance music group. I actually did some google research, and found these names to be unused;

Consort Gothica – we have earned the right to call ourselves gothic, and we are truly more gothic than any teen with dyed black hair (unless she plays really old music or writes horror/mystery tales). This is my first choice.

Sacragothica – kinda cool, but it sounds like an historic lower back pain.

Benny & the baroques – probably not a contender

A Baroque Cacophony (ABC for short) - I like this one.

DerBlokfluitenmeisters – this doesn’t do it for me.

The Fippletones – Recorders have a fipple in them

Familia Fipple – this is getting strange

The Sorrowful Slackers – from an old song title, not too attractive.

Dear readers – feel free to express your opinions. I promise they’ll be ignored.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
A Day in The Life of The British Navy

Another entry in the "Why not the wierd" category. This killed me. Leave it to the British. This is pure pommy pandemonium.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Warp Factor Love

This one takes the cake for strange. I give his video two thumbs up. This guy really has a heart of targ.

  • Warp factor Love. . . I Don’t Care About the Prime Directive

  • You can see the entire hour long documentary, about a man who devoted his life to an obsession with William Shatner at Auto Destruct

    Thanks to Will Weaton's WWDN for spotting this. WWDN is now hosted on Geek and Proud. WWDN is a good read, with the exception of when WilWesly talks about poker. It was reading WWDN that inspired Hangininsac. Alas, I imagine WilWesley has a few more readers than yours truly.

    That's my story and i'm sticking to it.

    Wednesday, August 09, 2006

    Jimmy Cracked Corn and I Don’t Care. . .

    Master’s gone away.

    I have made a couple of calls to le funque last week, and haven’t heard anything back. The threat (or opportunity) of another project looms vaguely in the future, but I can deal with that when it happens. I have been enjoying pretty nice weather, otherwise I haven’t been very productive. Have been doing more reading, cleaning up the garden, getting some publicity for the Sacramento Recorder Society’s fall events, but otherwise more or less hanging out. No madcap projects have arisen so far, but some things are peeking over the horizon.

    I am thinking about spending some time and energy to support grassroots efforts aimed at crushing Sacramento County’s financially embarrassing proposal to build an arena with the sole objective of enriching the carpet bagging Maloof brothers. Sacramento needs to grow up, and this hooterville deal isn’t how it is done. This one area where I am a conservative, not a Republican Party crony conservative, rather a true conservative. I believe that given the legal ability to form corporations, sound private financial proposals belong in the private sector.

    That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

    Tuesday, August 01, 2006

    The fallacy of Intrinsic Fit.

    This illustration depicts the fallacy that a calling stems from a match of your skills to your job. From We must have met at some point.

    Monday, July 31, 2006

    Readers Write - Introducing the Reverse Fibonacci

    A reader sent me the following two Fibonacci haikus. Note the introduction of the “reverse fib” structure.

    to leave
    stark boring
    cubicle of doom.
    Cool beer, warm circle of friends - soon.
    Time creeps too slowly.
    I dread each

    The next work is attributed to my reader’s friend who will remain anonymous, because he recently changed his first name. I have not seen him since the change, and I can’t remember his new name (my apologies to Mr H).

    so far no
    lottery ticket
    with winning numbers has been found
    in my possession.
    How unfair.
    I grieve

    “Dear Reader”, as Miss Manners and English students in Korea say, provided the first seven lines of the next haiku, and I provided the rest.

    hot here
    and I must
    rehydrate often
    or I melt like warm Velveeta
    on the dashboard of a pickup in a Walmart lot
    an “Inconvenient Truth” melts me,
    my brain, an ice cube,
    liquid in
    the hot

    and I am

    Thursday, July 20, 2006

    Elizabethan Hit Parade

    I must be a trend setter.

    Early music is becoming trendy for superannuated British pop stars! All of a sudden, we are seeing Sting and Elvis Costello recording John Dowland, trying to convince everyone that they were into early music “first”. The Guardian and The Independent have both recently had articles on this new 300 year old trend. In the Guardian’s words, “Party like it’s 1599”.

    These Brits are obsessed with John Dowland, probably the first British songwriter, although he may have been actually Irish. No one is really sure.

    Back in this State Capitol, I am waiting for the pleasures and perils of fame to arrive. I expect my group’s (Sine Nomine’s) popularity to skyrocket, possibly to the stellar realm where we might even be able to raise an audience without playing at other peoples’ church services. When we attract more than five unrelated individuals, then I’ll know we’ve turned the corner. But don’t worry, I’ll always remember the little people.

    That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

    Tuesday, July 18, 2006

    Another Fibanocci Haiku

    not be
    working now.
    Life in my timeframe.
    I move at a leisurely pace.
    Peaceful work at worthwhile tasks brings happiness to me.

    Tuesday, July 11, 2006

    So Ends Another Chapter in the History of Snivelization

    I need to write here more often.

    I am finding myself in a place where I have to start actually thinking once again about where or what I want for my place in this world. My current work appears to be drying up, and the only alternative I have found to date will not be suitable due to an unmanageable commute. The few commutes I have made for interviews have been exhausting for me, and although they are a high quality outfit, their mission and values are far out of line with mine. That is a recipe for unhappiness and despondency if I have ever seen one. I have to face up to the reality that I am not back to full strength. I cannot force myself to give up everything I do outside of work just to be employed. It is the whacky stuff I do like playing in the Concert Band and my recorder group that make my life good. I may be heading for a period sans income des big bucks. Maybe I can use this time creatively.

    Although I haven’t been officially sent packing from the current very long temporary job, it appears the project is completed, and there isn’t much to do. That’s OK, I can use some time off this week. They may in time come up with another project, it’s hard to tell what’s in the plans given the relatively little communication I get. Therefore, I may find I have more time for blogging in the near future, as well as visiting the parents and my only reader (you know who you are) sometime in the next few months. I might want to wait a while until the weather in Wisconsin is nicer.

    I can use this time to get into better shape. I spruced up my bicycle over the July 4th weekend, so we (the bike and I) are ready to go. I am thinking of putting at least a few miles on the American River Parkway tomorrow morning. That is a great place to go and I have missed it while working. I can also use my health club membership that I haven’t used for months. I may try to get a fuller schedule of math students next fall as well. The tutoring business has been pretty slow this summer, a lot of people have purchased tutoring franchises in the last year. I suspect most of them will be out of the business within the next 4 to 6 months. There just isn’t enough money in this to amortize a franchise fee, pay for rent, insurance and supplies, and provide the kind of income franchisees usually expect. The place I tutor has been in business for 20 years, and the owner (who, by the way, is a pretty cool guy) expects to stay in the business. This doesn’t pay a lot, but the work is enjoyable and pretty easy if you remember everything you learned in high school.

    In the words of my slacker hero, Ernie Zelinski, “Hard work pays off in the future, laziness pays off now.”

    That’s my story a and I’m sticking to it.

    Wednesday, July 05, 2006

    My New Neighbor is a Guatemalan Demigod

    Maximon has moved next door! He is a demanding god, popular in rural Guatemala. Read about Maximon here.It is important to spell his name correctly, or else on google you will find out all about maximan, an herbal male enhancement product. His name is pronounced “moshymun” in English phonetics.

    Maximon demanded we provide fireworks in his honor on July 1. We and our mildly insane neighbors had a great time. You can see how happy this all made Maximon. Maximon was pleased, so life in the neighborhood can go on without the wrath of an angry god. Maximon watched the fireworks from his garage. As you can see from the picture, Maximon likes to be surrounded by women more than men. He granted me this audience since I made him gazpacho. I am the only guy in five houses in a row along our street. I am glad maximon appears to be adopting well to his new country.

    Here's Maximon enjoying the fireworks.

    My neighbor took an extended trip to Guatemala last year, and Maximon came home with her. Life around here has never been quite the same since. Personally, I credit Sacramento’s relatively mild summer weather to the traditional gifts of liquor and cigarettes we have presented to placate our local god. We must keep Maximon happy, and he will keep us happy, as my neighbor tells it.

    Kathleen has a coworker from Guatamala whom we have introduced to maximon. We were a little hesitant at first, but fortunately they (coworker and husband) got a real kick out of him. On their last visit to Guatamala, they came back with candles for maximon. You can see the candles in tall glasses in front of my knees.

    That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

    Monday, May 29, 2006

    Only In California

    I quote from the official voters’ guide for June’s primary election:

    Democratic Party candidate statements:

    Cruz Bustamonte

    I will be an Insurance Commissioner who will make rates affordable, guarantee access to insurance, and bring health insurance under the regulatory authority of that office. But I’m starting my campaign someplace different. With myself. Insurance rates reflect not just the behavior of insurance companies, but the behavior of Californians as well. And some of that behavior is not very good. Some people commit insurance fraud, some drive recklessly, or under the influence. And some people don’t take steps to protect their children or their homes or their workplace. But the biggest factor in insurance costs is people not taking care of their health. In my case, it’s my weight. A study by the US Department of Health’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concluded that obesity in California costs $7.7 billion a year. I want to become an example to others to lead healthier lives by losing weight myself. Fighting the obesity epidemic will lower insurance costs. I will keep my progress and program on my website. (Unlike other political websites, this will be a site dedicated to noncommercial health and nutrition information.) If you or someone you know would like to start trying to live a healthier life, join me at “”

    The voters’ guide is meant to provide a forum for candidates to briefly state the main points of their platforms. The insurance commissioner is an elected office in California, and “the Bustinator” is the Democratic Party’s chosen candidate for the position. Although the weight loss website is pretty cool, I can’t believe this is the main thrust of his campaign!

    I work in health insurance in California and deal with some basic issues every day. California’s head resides under several swords of Damocles; a high percentage of Californians without health insurance, emergency rooms closing throughout the state, poor access to healthcare in rural areas, insidious health insurance related fraud, and health insurance contribution increases outpacing citizens’ wage and salary increases. Auto, home and liability insurance in the state each have their own litany of woes as well. Under the current do-nothing Republican as well as previous Democratic administrations, these problems have been ignored and allowed to fester, while wage earners watch increasing proportions of their income eaten up by health care and auto insurance costs, supporting record California HMO profits in the last few years.

    I admit I don’t have the answers, but come on Democrats, at least attempt to propose some kind of solutions, beyond saying that the commissioner will regulate insurance. Of course, if you’ve already been richly paid by the insurance industry to not do that, then keep up the good work. Just blather on about your weight problem, and ignore the real issues.

    You are making the Peace and Freedom Party look like a good deal.

    Their candidate for insurance commissioner, Tom Condit of Berkeley (surprise, he’s from Bizerkeley) proposes;

    I advocate putting human need before insurance company profits. Let's publicly fund and manage a single system of quality health care for all, a state basic auto liability plan, and a single workers' compensation fund. I will fight discrimination based on race, sex, age, or geography.

    These may not all prove to be great ideas, but these are ideas.

    Cruz – I completely agree it’s for the best that you go on a diet. I hope your website helps others take better care of themselves. Hopefully this November, you will be freed from the encumbrances of public service, and you’ll be able to devote your full time efforts to fitness. Who knows, maybe you'll be the next Richard Simmons!

    That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

    Wednesday, May 24, 2006

    Mr Rogers Went to Washington

    In 1969, Educational television’s future was looking bleak.

    Mr Rogers Testified to Congress and managed to win restored funding. I really can’t add anything to what he said, so I thought I would let him speak for himself. In the words of Iggy Pop, “Mr Rogers is a real decent guy. I wish everyone could be like him.”

    That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

    Saturday, May 20, 2006

    Meditation Retreat in Tomales

    Last weekend, we attended a retreat at Blue Mountain Center of Meditation in Tomales. It was a quiet but highly scheduled weekend, designed for people who are experienced with Easwaran’s eight point program. The retreat was in a well- refurbished old mansion in Tomales, with a couple of field trips. I found this to be a good experience, and we had beautiful weather as well.

    We all arrived between 4:00 and 5:00 on Friday afternoon, and spent about an hour getting to know each other. We meditated for a half hour and had dinner. The food was good, which is not a surprise, given one of Eknath Easwaran’s earlier followers was Laurel Robertson, author of Laurel’s Kitchen.

    Among the instructors for our retreat were a couple training to be retreat leaders. They are both doctors at Kaiser somewhere in Southern California. Their experience added a lot to the retreat, since they could share experiences related to living a hectic and busy life, being doctors and raising kids. They gave the retreat a more down to earth feel.

    The other retreat participants were a pretty interesting bunch, including a younger couple with 3 year old triplets, another physician, two or three therapists, three nurses, a guy about my age who had a liver transplant a few years back, an adherent of 12-point programs, and a mother and her two young adult daughters. Everybody seemed to get along pretty well.

    Most of the other participants seem to go to one or two retreats a year. Many feel close to each other, giving meal times somewhat of a reunion atmosphere.

    After dinner we had an evening instructional program where we discussed our meditation practices and mantra. The sessions were more like discussions than lectures. The session ended with a videotaped talk by Easwaran, the founder of the BMCM. Easwaran died in his 80s in 1999. His talks were interesting and entertaining. I found I preferred the older talks, he seemed a bit peppier when he was only in his 60s. We went to bed early to prepare for Saturday. Man, that place was quiet.

    Saturday opened with a meditation session at 6:30. We awoke early, showered and had coffee so we wouldn’t be as likely to nod off during mediation. Meditation was followed by quiet time and then breakfast. Breakfast was made by the handyman, who had a very friendly 20 year old cat hanging around looking for attention. More workshop, more meditation and lunch followed. We had an afternoon field trip to the walk on the local beach, which was very pleasant. Just before going to Dillon beach, we watched a video of Easwaran and his wife walking on the same beach, holding hands and (at least we were told) repeating their mantra. It was a nice walk, but the wind off the ocean was cold. I cheated, I didn’t repeat my mantrum all the time.

    After we drove back from the beach, we had an hour and a half of free time. We walked around Tomales, which is a town of about 500 people or so. At this point, I had half a mind to visit the local tavern and get juiced. We just walked back to the retreat house. The break was followed by more workshop, meditation and dinner. We had steamed broccoli, and tasty oven roasted potatoes with a peanut sauce. That was a good dinner. The lunches and dinners all had home made cookies and sometimes brownies available as well.

    Sunday was a half day, starting with meditation, quiet study and breakfast. We drove out to Ramagiri ashram, just outside of Tomales. This is a former monastery Easwaran bought and set up as a publishing house, small farm and ashram. We all were greeted by Christine Easwaran, who appears to be running things at Ramagiri. We took group pictures, and had a tour of the facility. I have to be honest and say the place creeped me out a little. I got over it.

    That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

    Sunday, May 07, 2006

    Calling All Concert Band Groupies

    For all those band music fans out there, the Sacramento Concert Band Will appear Monday Night at The beautiful and historic St Francis Church just across L Street from the even more historic Sutter’s Fort.

    The band features the hanging guy himself in a tux, no less (that is, if playing non-principal second clarinet counts as being featured. In any event, I am featured as the stage manager. That’s the guy who gets there early and counts stands and chairs. The program includes several “serious pieces”, including Gordon Jacob’s “Original Suite for Military Band" and the Martin Lauridsen’s “O Magnum Mysterium”. “Pops tunes” include works by Hoagy Carmicheal and George Gershwin. By the way, did I mention the concert is FREE? I honestly ask you, does a Monday night in Sacramento ever get better than this?

    That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

    A Night At The Opera

    We went to see the local university's annual opera, put on by the California State University Sacramento Music Department.

    They did a kick-assidly good performance of Don Giovanni. Let the record show that it was in Hangininsac that the first use of the word “kick-assedly” appeared in an opera review. No doubt the New York Times will steal this and claim it as their own.

    Featured in the title role was Schola Cantorum ’s very own Eugene Chan. He was brilliant, although it’s always funny seeing someone you’ve known as a boy in the choir playing the amoral seducer. As in all university productions I have attended, the orchestra was great. Those kids make me realize that in the woodwind area, I basically suck. Good thing I have no pretensions in that direction beyond having a quirky hobby.

    I recommend this opera to anyone in the area who has the time-lost ability to sit still for three hours.

    That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

    Sunday, April 30, 2006

    An Appeal To Reason From Great Minds

    Recent developments have made me start thinking about the wisdom and sanity of the various approaches to managing relations among nations. In my mind, the unspoken reality is that technology has advanced to the point that even talking about a nuclear oligopoly keeping the nuclear peace simply will not work in the 21st century. I believe we are at a crossroads, where the futility of attempting to control nuclear weapons in a world full of bellicose nations becomes self evident. The Soviet Union’s rather speedy development of a nuclear arsenal in the late 1940s and early 1950’s raised similar questions.

    The greatest minds of the day rose to the challenge. Their response and vision is summarized in the Russell-Einstein Manifesto, first issued July 1955 in London. You can read it for yourself here.

    The manifesto brought to bear the realization that with two nuclear powers competing, the idea of reliance on military means to address international conflict is not acceptable. It seems to me that with numerous nuclear powers, the agenda becomes far more immediate than in the 1950’s.

    That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

    Saturday, April 29, 2006

    Enumerating Binomials for Fun and Profit

    Going from the sublime to the ridiculous, let’s talk about my favorite subject, me. My full time at work has been extended two weeks into May. Since I had expected to be about half-time, I have a lot of commitments outside of work. Funny they are a little irked at me, since I will miss several partial days in order to keep my commitments. I’ll be involved in pursuits far more enjoyable and suitable than they can provide.

    In any event, I actually was able to use the binomial theorem to solve a real and immediate problem involving individual and family – level payment limitations. A note to snotty high School Students who like to ask, “When will I ever use this?” Well, I learned this in Algebra 2, and I made about $500 using it for a couple of hours.

    That's my stroty and I'm sticking to it.

    My My Hey Hey, I Heard An Angry Voice of Hope Today!

    Neil Young has pre-released his soon-to-be-released record on the internet. Hear it here: Mr. Young has raised quite a buzz. I listened to the entire album, and I am thrilled. The album speaks to me, to my deep feelings betrayal and heartbreak at what a small group of criminals and their unwitting dupes have done to the world’s greatest country, and the unfortunate citizens of other countries who happen to cross their murderous path. Forming the backdrop to Young’s unapologetic lyrics is a nearly religious optimism that, starting with appropriate remedial action, i. e., “Let’s impeach the President”, America can and will be great once again.

    That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

    Hey Ho Let’s Polka

    Punk Rock Accordian Classes!!! Clarinets welcome!!! In the name of “Our lady of Anarchy”, I think this guy is serious. Check out his website – . His page even has some samples for your listening pleasure, not to mention the shock and awe. Ramones and Sex Pistols, all stuffed into one squeezebox. Bob and Darlene’s in Milwaukee has nothin’ on Oakland, nothin’ I tell ya.

    I have half a mind to try to team up with this guy (accordion and clarinet) and become famous rock stars. We'll make the Schmenge brothers look like a two-bit comedy routine!

    That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

    Tuesday, April 18, 2006

    Another Fibanocci Haiku

    May be
    For ever
    A day lost to time
    The relativistic impact
    Of fluorescent lights in modern work environments
    Causes time to stand still, energy to become mass and the minutes to move like hours.

    Saturday, April 15, 2006

    Haikus for Geeks

    The use of
    Recursive concepts
    In the writing of haiku verseIt makes my heart sing like a young Algebra student!

    This new breakthrough in structured verse comes to us via a math geek with a blog. The syllables in each consecutive line follow the Fibanacci sequence (1,1,2,3,5,8,13. . .). Each number in the sequence is the sum of the two preceding numbers.

    See for the birth of this math geek blog game that has transformed the world of poetry in a short, two week period. Okay, so I accept transforming the world of poetry is not the biggest deal in the world. I also am beginning to think maybe iot doesn't take a lot to rock the wrold of poetry.

    Don’t take my word for it, read about it in the NY times: Fibonacci Poems Multiply on the Web After Blog's Invitation .

    And I am
    Now sticking to it.

    Sunday, April 09, 2006

    Now, Let’s Talk About Me, Me, Me

    It’s been a busy few weeks, and I am feeling pretty tired. I have to play a band concert tomorrow night, after that I should be able to take it easy. My major project at work is really done, except for tying up some loose ends. I will reduce to 24 hours per week effective May 1, then in theory down to 2 days per week in June. We have lots of fun vacation time planned for June, so much fun it’s possible the bosses won’t be able to stand seeing someone having so much fun. I am making every effort to be cooperative (however without putting out too much effort) so they might consider another consulting engagement when they have their busy time next year. It is fortunate their busy time corresponds with the local rainy season.

    Per usual, I really do not have any plan or long term vision for where I want my life of work to go. I think that I am a very lazy person at heart. The deal is that I am no less ambitious than anyone else, it’s just that I am truthful with myself. Maybe I should become a motivational speaker. Blah,blah,blah.

    I should probably come up with some immediate plan for something besides being a bum in the near future. I am talking about getting more math students for the summer. Parents like giving their kids tutoring in the summer, so they don’t forget everything. Summer tutoring is a little more fun than tutoring during the school year, since I get to hand out a lot of homework, and I get to hear the kids whine. Tutoring will probably be good for about 2 or 3 afternoons per week. High School kids are too lazy to get up for morning sessions.

    That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

    Wednesday, April 05, 2006

    Einstein on The Planet of the Apes - It's About Time

    Thought I’d pound in another entry while listening to BBC World Service (Whilst listening, as they would say).

    It’s been rainy ‘round here, so we’ve been spending our time indoors. I have been working on playing a new soprano recorder that came in the mail last week. I feel like I am catching up pretty fast, however I will never enjoy the very high vocal range of that instrument. We’re talking piccolo range here. Soprano recorders are tuned in C, while alto recorders like mine are tuned in G. If you want to be respected by other recorder players, you need to be able to read music and play in both tunings. I started all this because my group which normally rehearses on Fridays is taking two weeks off.

    What about Planet of the Apes, you may ask. I read an interesting article about the Theory of Relativity and Euclidian Geometry in the Science Column of The Magazine of fantasy & Science Fiction. The article is here: . The point of the article is that you can use a pretty cool thought experiment and the Pythagorean Theorem to calculate the relative passing of time from an astronaut’s versus earthbound perspective. The explanation is clear and the math is pretty easy to follow (you need nothing more than H S Algebra 1 and the Pythagorean Theorem, and some serious thinking time to set things up).

    After about a week of messing around with diagrams of time and space viewed from two alternate frames of reference (me in Sacramento, and a fast spaceship with a light bulb within), I finally set it up so I could work out the time dilation factor from first principals.

    I finally got it right during one of my High School Geometry tutoring sessions. A couple of the kids got a kick out of this, which is a good thing. Geometry is much more interesting when you can use the Pythagorean Theorem to figure out how fast the astronauts in “The Planet of the Apes” needed to go to make any sense out of an otherwise goofy movie. The formula reads: K=1/(1-V^2/C^2)^(1/2). K is the dilation factor, which represents how many years I’ll age here in Sacramento while the astronaut ages one year. V is the astronaut’s velocity, relative to my frame of reference in Sacramento, and C is our old friend, the speed of life, equal to the square root of energy divided by mass for reasons I do not comprehend.

    What is interesting is that even at 90% of the speed of life, the astronauts only age about 2 years and 4 months while I age one year. The “Planet of the Apes” ship must have been traveling close to the speed of light. As write this, Pythagoras is probably turning circles in his grave.

    Ender and Valentine Wiggins must have been traveling at about to have experienced their aging effects, they would have needed to travel at many time the speed of light (between 10 and 50 C, I am too lazy to research the novels) to reach other star systems, so they lie outside of the range of values for which this formula, as well as anything else I know about physics is relevant. It’s good not to let the science constrain the fiction.

    That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

    Tuesday, March 14, 2006

    Living the Big Lie

    First I promise to remember to spell check my entries. My hands manage to drift out of home position, allowing anarchy to reign. Maybe that can be my late New Year’s resolution. Every time I make a blog entry, I look at the last entry, and end up spending the first few minutes editing out errors. Release before error checking. That is so Microsoft.

    Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I am feeling less confident about finding another contract where I am working. I could use some time off. I never find the time and energy to exercise and do everything I should when I am working. I really fall into what only can be described as a drone pattern of the literate Kind. Get up, eat breakfast while reading the funny papers, go to work, go home, do the crossword puzzle, read some more, maybe play some music, go to bed and read some more. If there wasn’t a physiological need for exercise, I could probably live with this.

    When not working, I find time for multiple weekly visits to the gym, long bike rides, sunsets, walks on the beach. Sacramento doesn’t have a beach to walk on. In any event, when I was single and did place a personal ad, long ago in beer and Kraut filled galaxy far away, I used a different formula. I wrote a mystery story thirty words at a time (30 words was the limit for a free ad). That was a pretty good ploy. I don’t know of what use this information will be for my loyal readers, since they’re both married. I can’t believe I have a blog with only two readers. Better than none, I guess.

    I was thinking about adding some porn-style language, but after that I’d have to wash my hands with Lysol before making another entry. Eeeeeuuuuuwwwww.

    The Hanging guy and his sidekick K (just as likely K and her sidekick. . .) are planning a busy time in the pretty near future. A June wedding in Mendocino, a June trip up north, yes, this part of CA has an up north, too. It’s equally rural in that strange way, but the hills are a lot bigger.

    In the interim, yet another local music organization’s board wants to nominate me. A board member of the local Symphonic Band Association asked if I would run. They are a much larger organization, with about 7 or 8 member bands, probably an average or 40 people per band. Board elections are often actual contests (they actually find more volunteers than positions) so I have a chance of dodging this bullet. Nobody ever asked me to join boards before. I suspect the last few years have smoothed some rough edges in my manner, or else these organizations are desperate.

    That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

    Saturday, March 11, 2006

    Living the Big Life

    Sitting in the background radiation dandelions sprouting in the front yard. Pull them out if they dare to bloom. Just like management practice. March, the first sign of spring. Listening to the radio. Habeous corpus, show me the body, George. They’re interviewing Guantanamo alumni.

    A quiet Saturday night, time for a blog entry. Listen to "This American Life” and “A Prarie Home Companion”. Urban sophisticates and country corn. Too much.

    Cleaned the house today, that’s news around here, possibly the first real housecleaning we’ve done in about a month or more. Looks and feels like a new place. We should do this more often. Only takes a couple of hours, but I still never quite get around to it.

    Still working, likely I will get a new project that may span across several more months. Like it’s been for months, I anticipate this project will end sometime in the next few weeks.

    I may be joining the Board of Directors of a local music society, looks like among the membership, I will be running unopposed. The society has a small budget, so it’s mostly a matter of arranging events, hiring the solo performers/directors, and making sure they show up.

    I need to work less, so I can be involved in more blog-worthy expereince.

    That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

    Saturday, February 25, 2006

    Turandot Meets the Little Mermaid

    We went to the Local Sacramento Opera production of Turandot last night. The soloists, choir and orchestra were very good, although the large orchestra drowned out about half the vocal performances. Turandot’s arrangement must take after an Italicized version of a Wagnerian paradigm, since the orchestra (including at least 12 brass players) didn’t soften during the singing. The orchestra, in many songs, sounded like the Marine Band with a few strings thrown in. So you get the effect of choir and soloists attempting to scream over the orchestra. This opera always is presented this way.

    Seated directly behind us in the nosebleed seats were about 6 high school girls, all in stunning formal gowns and looking good. They had bought the gowns just to wear to the opera. It was like a scene from an old Audrey Hepburn movie. Tierras, gloves, and everything. There were some similarly aged boys running around in ill-fitting rental tuxedos. The casting for Turandot assured that eventually we would get home, since the fat lady did finally sing.

    I swear the libretto for this opera could have been written by Disneycorp. The plot in a nutshell:

    Evil Princess establishes challenge – answer riddles and win my hand, fail and face the executioner. The comic choir of Taoist priests complain that far too many princes have been executed. They are tired of doing funerals.

    Enter handsome stranger. He accepts the challenge. While singing about accepting the challenge, he is reunited with his long lost father and his father’s companion named Lui, a paragon of virtue and pureness of heart.

    In his effort to win the princess’s hand, the Stranger allows Lui to face death by torture. Lui’s fate could have been changed by the stranger simply giving up his pursuit of the princess. Alas, that is not the way of opera.

    Lui sings a beautiful aria, pierces her own heart with the princess’s hairpin, collapses in a heap, and the Stranger’s father dies of grief.

    The princess has a sudden change of heart, marries the stranger, and they live happily ever after.

    This ending brought back to mind my irksome thoughts about Disney’s The Little Mermaid (strange for a middle aged man, I know).

    You may recall, both Andersen’s and Disney’s Little Mermaid sold daddy’s soul to the sea witch (archetypal interpretation of the devil). However, Disney’s mermaid lived happily ever after, while Anderson’s tragic heroine came to a tearful end appropriate with her callous and selfish behavior.

    What lessons are these fables intended to teach? I can only hope that if Puccini had lived to complete Turandot, the ending would have been more of the 19th century tragic opera we’ve come to know and love. With the stars each singing their guts out and croaking in an orderly procession. Isn’t that what opera is all about?

    Let’s leave “happily ever after” to the Disneys of the world.

    That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

    Sunday, February 19, 2006

    Dinner in The Kitchen

    From 8:00 in the morning, It started to look like a strange Thursday at work. The Director for whom I do most of my work called me in, said I was doing a great job, and gave me an gift certificate.

    Quick aside:

    I immediately returned to my office and bought a book: “The Left Hand of God”, by Michael Lerner. Although I haven’t yet reads the book, the premise is that the left can unseat the Neo-Fascist Right (Lerner politely calls them the Religious Right, but, as Saruman once said, “You know of whom I speak”). The left can do by this speaking to the same yawning spiritual void to which the right speaks today. However, the left can deliver a more rational and effective agenda, because the left supports causes that help and empower, rather than impoverish and subjugate American families. Expect more on this subject later.

    Now, back to our previously scheduled program:

    Early in the afternoon, I was called back to talk with the very same director. A marketing executive had scheduled a festive dinner that, night, but several of the employees she invited called in sick. I have always been on good terms with this executive. In the desperate search for breathing bodies, they asked me to come with my wife. “Sure”, I said, thinking “who am I to refuse a free dinner?” When they gave me the particulars, the deal got even better. Dinner was at The Kitchen Restaurant in Sacramento. The Kitchen has become a regional nouvelle cuisine food-snobbery icon, second only to Chez Pannise. The schtick is that the design is an open kitchen surrounded by luxurious seating, with the diners sitting around the area where the chefs do the final steps of preparing, a lot of sautee and plaiting activity. The one seating took about 4 hours.

    After everyone was seated, the chef gave a short talk about the restaurant’s philosophy, “We’ll do anything your way as long as you don’t make animal right’s comments about my foie gras”. He showed us a trick involving hypnotizing lobsters to stay in a headstand. Pretty entertaining. Several time he repeated that guests are encouraged to ask for seconds at any time. He explained each course in excruciating detail, with great emphasis on reductions, truffles and foie gras, exotic sources of onions for soups, Kobi beef, which is a breed of cattle imported from Japan and bread in America. By this time, it all gets pretty fuzzy, since my hosts were buying what felt like an unending fountain of posh champagne, followed by reinforcements of pricey red and white wines, some in magnum bottles.

    Course the First:

    A pasta pillow (read loosely wrapped ravioli) stuffed with Bolognese sauce in a beef reduction that was rich, slightly salty and delicious. The Bolognese had very little resemblance to the Hamburger Helper product of he same name.

    Course the Second:

    French onion soup garnished with teenage chives and thin slices of black truffle, you know baby vegetables are so nineties. Very good soup. This joint is so nouvelle, even the soup has food piled up in the middle of the plate. I never had imagined anyone would balance a crouton on its side with a crust of burnt cheese balanced on top. I think there were grilled thin slices of foie gras in the soup, but I was too pleasantly overwhelmed to notice.

    Course the Third:

    The fish course. A lightly breaded and fried pie of a fish I had never heard of stacked (for a change) atop a small handful of baby greens sitting atop very tasty chunks of lobster and crab meat. The food tower emerged from a shallow lake of a light broth (likely chicken stock) drizzled with a cross between aoli and Mrs pauls red seafood sauce. The tower and plate were sprinkled minature hushpuppies. These were not you father’s hushpuppies! These babies wee almost solid crab and lobster meat, with just enough cornmeal and egg to hold them together. They were scrumptious.


    We were invited out to the walled patio, warmed by a raging fire, for oysters and sashimi. The oysters were a smaller tasty variety, most oysters in northern California are over six inches long and best served bar-b-qued in the shell. The sashimi was excellent, even the octopus, which was sliced paper thin and not rubbery. The chef made great noise about the real wasabi he hand grated for us. Tasted just like the stuff from the grocery store. At this point I started feeling some concern about my capacity to continue eating. Don’t worry fans, I toughed it out. We took the break as an opportunity to chat with guest at some of the other tables.

    Course the Fourth;

    Meat! Slices of perfectly grilled medium rare beef, served over a delicious brown gravy, and a wild mushroom tart. This was the most popular course with most of our table. About half the party asked for seconds. I thought about asking for A-1 sauce, but thought better of it. The mushroom tart was one of the tastiest moments of a very tasty evening for me. By this time, I had noticed a conspicuous lack of vegetables, but they had no prune wines in stock.


    Desert was relatively modest, featuring a scoop of blueberry sorbet and a small piece of a very rich chocolate tart. It was good. I was surprised to see a second desert appear, a scoop of palette-clearing Myers lemon and passion fruit sorbet. Although I was already full, the sorbet was unbelievable, very tart, but never pushing the envelope of too tart.

    As we waddled out to the car, I was very glad The Kitchen is in our part of town. Most of all I am so grateful that my digestion cooperated. I actually slept most of the night!

    That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

    Wednesday, February 15, 2006

    Protect Your Beloved Homeland From a Cartoon Conspiracy

    Spring comes every year to Sacramento sometime in February. It has been a beautiful Saturday, sunny and temperatures around 70 or 75 degrees. We went for a walk by the American river, and we are going to dinner at the neighbors’ tonight. That sounds like a pretty good day, in my estimation.

    The river has receded from its earlier flood stage, so the grass and trees near the river are all bent in the direction of the flow. Woodpeckers, harriers, and deer, the usual suspects, have all returned to the river’s edge. Everything is green, although the flowering grasses and other plants need a month or two before they come into their own, not bad.

    I’ll be working at least until the end of February, not a bad deal. I figure the more money I can make in the short-term, the better. Colder and rainy weather is coming back as we speak, so more power to the Lords of Funk, if they want my time. They have hired another consultant to replace me (so I thought), but we just spend a lot of our high-priced time talking. Really not a bad deal, until I get a life.


    They haunt me. Have we let their conspiracy go beyond the point of no return?

    I am starting to wonder if we are not falling into the cartoon dimension. First cartoon protesters, then a cartoon Vice President. This is Roger Rabbit all over again. I can smell this evil toon plot plain as carrots in the morning.

    First, the world is rocked by “cartoon protesters. They chant their toon liberation slogans, such as, “If anvils are outlawed, only outlaws will have anvils.”

    Oh my god; the toons have infiltrated the Whitehouse.

    The perpetrators of this vast toon conspiracy had me fooled, but no longer. I thought he was Darth Vader, he turned out to be Elmer Fudd. Who else could be that irresponsible with a weapon? He fooled me by cleverly not using a disguise. Why just a few months ago, he was heard saying; Oooooh, I’ll bwast that wascally wiberal with a damaging secewity weak. If you don’t fowwow my evewy ordew, the tewwowists have alweady won. I’ll bwast that pesky owd lawer.

    That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

    Sunday, February 05, 2006

    Snowshoes and Groundhogs

    A truly eventful first week in February, with the coincidence of Groundhog’s Day and the State of the Union Address. We all watched a small-brained mammal come out of his hole to make a prognostication only an idiot would believe. We also saw the groundhog.

    Dateline Sacramento. . . We’ve had a couple of beautiful days, morning fog giving way to sunny afternoons with highs in the 60’s. The warmer sunny winter days here are the best weather days of the entire year for me.

    Now, something about me, me, me

    I went to a very enjoyable “commemoration of recent firing” get-together for a gentleman I have gotten to know and like. I will code-name him Pedro, to protect the innocent. I will not even attempt to speculate as to what caused this manager to get canned, although it may have had something to do with his decency and competency (okay, okay, I am speculating, so sue me). That is not a popular management style everywhere. Over a 15 year career, Pedro has consistently been very popular with his staff, and a decent guy. I am sure he’ll be better off removed from that negatively biased senior management environment. He will be missed.

    During Pedro’s last week, we talked about a snow shoe outing in the Sierras sometime in the near future. By the end of the beer-fueled evening, we may have an outing of over 10 people. Snowshoe rental facilities and capacity issues have already been addressed. Mrs Pedro has previously guided large outdoor trips, so I feel pretty confident we won’t have a Donner Party experience. Just in case, maybe I’ll bring some bologna for the most ravenous among us. I can’t wait. I’ve never been snowshoing. The mountains should be breathtakingly beautiful in the snow.

    That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

    Wednesday, February 01, 2006

    February Limbo Again

    It looks like it’s time to start another month (almost certainly my last) making the big bucks at the same old place. In some ways, I can’t wait to get out of there, but the work ahead of me is pretty easy, and I can handle it, and the money is good. I keep reminding myself I can make enough dough in February for this to actually make a difference. Heck, it’s February, the weather here sucks right now. If I wasn’t at work all day, I’d be sitting around the house waiting for the rain to stop. Upper management is providing much entertainment, that is, if you think watching “Survivor” is entertainment. They are in a phase of axing people, several so called permanent employees in middle management won’t be sticking it out as long as I expect to stay around. I am tryiong to plan an outdoors outing with one of the recently fired guys. Maybe we can go snowshoeing in March.

    I had my first math students tonight. Both are Geometry students working on special triangles and the trigonometric ratios. They are a couple of pleasant girls, one certain of her future stardom on Broadway (for a change), and the other a quiet and possibly deep-thinking kid.

    That’ my story and I’m sticking to it.

    Saturday, January 28, 2006

    Joining the 21st Century

    I am hoping to begin more regular blog updates once again.

    We have finally made the big jump to DSL. Readers who have my current email address can expect an update in the near future. But first, I need to transfer all my addresses. I expect to keep my current address active for at least a month. We are very impressed with the ease of setting up SBC Yahoo DSL. We have also purchased a shiny new desktop computer.

    My current full-time consulting assignment will probably continue through most of February. I am seeking some other concrete avenues for employment; however it is a challenge to find suitable work. My wimpy health won’t allow me to have a heavy travel schedule or work tons of overtime. This is a blessing in a way, since now I have a concrete reason to support what previously were my reasonable preferences. It’s tough to prefer part-time in a working world controlled by unproductive workaholics. In any event, I start tutoring Math again this Wednesday. I enjoy spending time with teenagers far more than executives.

    I bought a really cool recorder last weekend. A cherry wood Alto made by Kung in Switzerland. New wooden recorders must be broken in very gradually, since the inner workings need to be gradually introduced to moisture in small doses at first. I’m limited to 15 minutes per day for the first two weeks, 30 for the next week, and then as much as I want, if the instrument feels broken in. You can see a picture of the guy who sold me the recorder next to the guy who made it.

    Those most familiar with the hangin guy might be surprised at this spree of buying stuff, a behavior radically unfamiliar to me. I decided this is the time to spend some of the money I have made in my full-time consulting since September.

    Monday, January 02, 2006

    Happy 2006 to You

    A happy New Year to both my readers. As a New Year's present, I copy-edited my last two postings. Ouch. Looks like I never actually read those posts myself. Guess I was only looking at the pictures.

    As long as we're still here, I am still working on contract full time, although I expect that to end soon, likely in the next couple of months. This is not the type of temporary position I want to try to hold on to forever. Enough said about that.

    I have nearly assembled a weekly night of tutoring on Wednesdays. My services are highly sought after, since very few adults, math teachers included, are willing and able to teach advanced high school math topics like Algebra 2, Calculus and AP Statistics. An extra bonus for me - the kids in the more advanced levels tend to be easier to deal with. I am lucky that, for some reason, I never forgot what they taught us in High School.

    That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

    About Me

    My photo
    I must enjoy shouting into a vacuum, but I think about getting my act together one of these days. My mom says I am very handsome and intelligent.

    Blog Archive

    Play Super Chick Sisters!