Sunday, December 12, 2010

Unified Heart Touring Company Show - Portland, OR Dec. 8th 2010

To put it in context....Leonard Cohen is an artist that has fans from all corners of the world and has since the 1960's....who have never seen him in concert. His tours, like his albums have been relatively few, given the years he's been in the business.

Until one year ago I had never seen him in person after 16 years of being a devoted fan. Sitting next to us at the Portland concert a few nights ago was a delightful lady who had been a fan since the 1960's, and the Portland show was her first live performance.

Thus you will understand that the intensity of the typical Cohen fan reaches a level that is far from common. Indeed, for those of us that crave his blend of tragedy, beauty and sensuality, delivered with unfaltering eloquence, the experience must be comparable to witnessing a living prophet. In any case that's how the fans treat it.

As for the performance is marked by extreme professionalism. The musicians are all brilliant in their own right. Their cohesion is perfect as far as I can tell. Leonard's grace, humility and playfulness engages the audience and reinforces their love for him. This, because of and despite the fact that the show is rigorously rehearsed.

To see and hear Javier Mas introduce "Who By Fire" with a virtuosic 1-3 minutes on the archilaud, it feels as though you're watching Picasso paint a masterpiece, or listening to Coelho's "language of the world" or having a balm applied directly to the chapped parts of your soul.
The crowd couldn't contain themselves and repeatedly started applauding before the solo was complete.

Cohen himself brilliantly delivered his ludicrously long set with aplomb, ensuring that the cadence of his delivery was just different enough from his albums to keep a fan like myself hungrily attentive for any new meanings that the altered emphasis might suggest.

As you might expect for a 76 year-old, his voice isn't always resonant. However, I was amazed at how resonant it was in a great many places where it was especially important. And it goes without saying that the lyrics retain all their spiritual and philosophical resonance.

A bit over a year ago Cohen introduced a new song into his repertoire called "The Darkness", which is particularly delightful both because of it's surging, rocking, rumbling guitar notes as well as it's darkly humorous lyrics. In it he says: "I caught the darkness, drinking from your cup, I said 'Is this contagious?', you said 'Just drink it up.'" His delivery is superb and you find yourself chuckling and slightly apprehensive at the same time.

Cohen is that rarest of breed who manage to marry uncompromising art with celebrity within his lifetime. There is no doubt in my mind that his songs will stand the test of time and continue to delight and inspire musicians and music fans for decades and even centuries. To see him in person was a great privilege and one that I will savor as long as memory allows.

He has announced plans to record a new album in 2011, which I am thoroughly excited for.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Why Are Cruel Landscapes So Beautiful?

Overnight as I woke for various reasons, I could not help but notice the brilliant moonlit snow. Venus was blazing crisply with a clarity that only frozen air delivers.

The moon illuminated trees looked majestic with their snow-laden arms glowing brightly against the deep, dark sky.

It occurred to me that frozen, inhospitable landscapes are often thought beautiful. As are crashing waves, deserts and deep space.

I can understand why clear streams, fine horses, orchards and fine china are appealing. Those things clearly help(ed) us and so why not be fond of them.

As for the frozen landscape, perhaps it's just that we appreciate that once in a while, nature brings everything to a standstill. No birds are flitting, no wind is blowing, nothing is walking. The complexity of life is reduced to a still canvas. Is it just that this stillness is a relief to our senses, which see so many chaotic hours and so few still ones?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Update From the SnowCam

Most of this came yesterday, but it has been dumping snow since 8 am today.
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Friday, November 12, 2010

Mt. Haleakala and the Rare Mountain Goose

On our second day on Maui, we visited Mt. Hale'akala. When we got to the visitor's center the first thing we noticed was a firm admonition against feeding Nēnē.

Later on we saw a Nēnē, and though it looked at us with those watery brown eyes, like all it wanted in life was a tasty snack, we did not feed it.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Maui Aquarium

Maui has a fantastic Aquarium. Their most exciting claim is that they have the only captive Tiger Shark in the world.

However, that barely hints at the high quality of their displays.

This one highlights a program they have where they take broken bits of coral that are found by divers and try to rehabilitate them before releasing them back to the wild:

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sons And Surf

Ka'anapali beach surf has a small amount of shallow beach, transitioning quickly into water too deep to stand in. Consequently I could stand in rollers all day while 10-15 feet away the boys were buffeted by crashing waves. Not that I did that. In actuality I took a fair amount of drubbing at the hands of the high seas.

Over the course of our stay the seas got rougher each day. On our second to last day, the surf was bordering on dangerous. But in true Zimmerman fashion all three of us played in it for 2-3 solid hours. Enough time for no fewer than three other adventurous groups of body surfers to come and go, finding the waves too rough to manage.

For myself I'm mildly pleased to be able to report this display of machismo, but I'm truly impressed by my sons who didn't have the luxury of hiding out from the worst of the waves and were submerged by thrashing white-water dozens more times than I was.

Bragging aside, the body-surfing was loads of fun.
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Monday, November 08, 2010


One of the highlights of our trip to Maui was the lovely scent of plumeria on the breeze. Below is a picture of plumeria flowers. If you get the chance you should smell these.

Sunday, November 07, 2010


At the Ka'anapali Beach Hotel Heidi and the boys took a lei-making class led by the wonderful Mahilini who made our stay feel like we were visiting family (in a good way). By the time we had to leave we wanted to take her with us, or vice versa.
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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Back On Top...So To Speak

Last week, as I was biking back to Hockinson from work while feeling smug in my fitness-level on the bike (not saying I deserved to feel smug, only that I did), from out of nowhere another biker blew past me.

He was a smaller man on a smaller bike. And he appeared to be more flexible, as he was able to maintain the crouched racing position favored by professional bike racers.

So, I did what any male across the globe would do, I tried to keep up with him.

Alas, it wasn't to be. He made it through a light that turned red before I got there. And though after the light turned back to green I huffed and puffed, trying to catch him, he remained an elusive yellow dot in the distance.
He was quite likely in better shape (i.e. cardiovascular health) than me, but I also feel his literal shape played a large role. He presented a strikingly reduced frontal profile as compared to my own.

This raises two important questions:
1. Why does the simple fact of being passed suddenly motivate me to try harder?
2. Why should small, flexible guys have the advantage in wind-resistance?

I think I know the answer to question one, and if I don't it's going to require a psychiatrist to unravel.

Question 2 is not so ambiguous.
The answer: they shouldn't!

I'm not particularly small and I'm exceptionally not flexible, but I can simulate both conditions by getting in a streamlined recumbent velomobile.

When I do, who will motivate me to try harder? Probably anyone passing me in a Prius. Hybrid power? I've got your hybrid power.

But that's a topic for next time.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Clean Air

Moving to the country, I had hoped to escape air pollution and hopefully keep my lungs healthier. Notwithstanding some folks around here that burn their plastic garbage I have pretty well achieved that objective.

With my velomobile I'll become part of the solution.


I noticed some blue and lavendar tones in sap oozing from this fir stump, so I took a picture, shifted the result to blue to counterbalance the strong red and orange dominant colors, then increased the saturation to make the present colors more apparent.
You may notice in the top left quadrant there is a patch of wood that is dry. It is relatively colorless.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Yellow Rocket Under Construction

I've just sent in confirmation to that I'd like to purchase one of their Quest Velomobiles.

This is a moment of great significance in my life. As such, I'll spend some time writing about it over the coming weeks and months.

To begin, I'll expend a few lines on the energy independence I expect the Quest will facilitate.

The efficient design of the Quest means that I can travel at about1-3% the energy expenditure of a family sedan like the one I commute in today. This means that I'm far more able to power the vehicle with locally obtained power sources, such as potatoes and wheat.

When I do require assistance from lithium batteries, I'll draw the minimum amount required to get me from point A to point B, leaving more lithium available for other important uses.

Another hope of mine is that by commuting in a Quest, I'll raise the awareness of the technology in this part of the world and perhaps encourage a few other people to try it.

While we're on the topic of raising awareness, I'd like to take a moment to recognize those that raised my awareness to this possibility.
My brother, father, uncle and friends who have been commuting by bike for years and demonstrated the reality that it is not only feasible, but leaves you fit and much healthier than I have become while commuting by car.

And to the non-biking contingent of my core readership I also owe thanks, as you all contributed to my world view and have enabled me to pursue this goal, despite the relative eccentricity of it.

I appreciate all of your support.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Garlic Planting Time, The Sequel

My order of seed-bulbs came in today. Heidi ordered them for me for Father's Day. I received 8 oz each of Kazakhstan, Spanish Roja and Mt. St. Helens.

The Kazakhstan is an older variety that comes from the area that is geographically near the origins of garlic.

Spanish Roja is touted in my book (Growing Great Garlic) as being the best tasting garlic.

And Mt. St. Helens is a local favorite, said to be as explosively fiery as its namesake.

So, I have some truly fine choices to anticipate next summer.

Be sure to get yourself some garlic in the ground by Halloween! I don't know if it will protect you from the undead, but come July 4th, the garlic could be the life of the barbeque.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Bike Falling Guinness Record?

I rode the 5 miles in to work with my new egg-beater pedals and bike cleats without incident. I was so excited to try them out and begin realizing the 10% boost in thrust I thought I heard about somewhere.

However, my fortunes shifted in the afternoon when after getting my hair trimmed and styled I began the return trip to the office by hopping on my egg-beater-equipped Rampar and heading out of the parking lot. Coming to a stop just behind an SUV that was leaving the parking lot, I realized that I had stopped without disengaging from the pedals. A second or two later I was writhing on the ground with a freshly scraped elbow.

One bright spot was that a concerned man behind me came and gave me a hand up. The kindness was really appreciated.

Thinking one good, painful spill was going to be enough to enact a Pavlovian caution response, you can imagine my surprise when not 30 minutes later I crashed again!

Perhaps I shouldn't blame Pavlov, since the basis of my second crash was arguably an excess of misplaced caution.

See, I decided for the short trip from building 1 to building 3, that I didn't even need to engage the pedals (elbow still throbbing a bit), which I didn't.
But my mind was a little distracted with smugness as I quickly caught and then passed others that were going to the same meeting I was heading for. And, as I shifted my weight to dismount, and my bike started tipping left, my cleat suddenly engaged in the pedal and Whomp! My second crash in about 30 minutes' time.

I was able to look up in time to see my coworker looking down on me looking smug that he wasn't foolhardy enough to ride a bike to meetings.

I got back on the horse, but not without wondering how many times I could get on that particular horse before I should begin questioning my sanity.

Monday, September 27, 2010


This post is a fireworks display.

It is a massive chrysanthemum of gold followed by a huge Ka-Boom!

Now it is a series of deep blue stars exploding until their streaks fill the sky from horizon to horizon, finishing with crackling hot-pink tips.

It is the stiffness in your neck from craning up to witness the ballistic show against the blue-velvet backdrop of the sky, flecked with diamond.

It is the cool smell of dew in the air
and on the grass
and on your blankets
and on your camera lens, which prevents you from snapping any more shots of the fireworks.

Finally it is tucking the children in bed. It is their contented faces, suffused with the novelty of massive, colorful explosions. It is their rummy little chubby faces reluctantly accepting they are too tired to party any longer. It is the proud knowledge you have amused them well and properly.

After all this is the 500th post on Letters From Amboy, so it should be something dynamic, special and memorable.

As you drift off in satisfied slumber, with party well thrown and everyone drowsy, you hear this post in the distance. Someone has made it into something like a stick of dynamite, and as you drift asleep it is ignited and the last thing you hear is a distant, rounded, earth-trembling

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Bike Upgrade

To prepare for the eventual receipt of an electrified velomobile, I have decided to get and stay in shape so that when I do get it, I'll be ready to ride it all the way in to Vancouver for my commute.

My old mountain bike was pretty worn out and not ergonomic for me, so I upgraded my bike to a 1984 Rampar R-1 ten-speed bicycle.
It looks like this:

It rolls really nicely and is a larger frame than my old mountain-bike, so I have a lot less weight on my wrists.

However, recently I was reminded just how uncomfortable it is to ride in wet conditions with no fenders. The constant road-spray on the backside provides a chill, clammy sensation that is as hard to endure as it is to describe.

So, I was determined to resolve the fender problem this weekend.

Then I got to thinking about how much I needed a new pair of shoes. And, since I had discovered a pair of cleated biking shoes that work as "regular" shoes when you aren't biking.... I thought to myself (and explained to my very patient wife) that I might as well kill two birds with one stone and get the biking shoes I wanted and just use them as my every day shoes as well.

Once inside REI the typical REI-fever set-in and before you knew it, I had my fenders, my shoes and some nice egg-beater pedals from Crank Brothers to really upgrade. And I had some really nice socks and weather-resistant pants to keep the wind and rain off my "engine-house".

REI-fever tends to dent the budget, and this was no exception. However, if you look at the recent report from NPR, it puts the cost in a better perspective:
the annual cost of being obese is $4,879 for a woman and $2,646 for a man.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Zebra Beetle? Nope...a Banded Alder Borer.

Arthur and Jamey found this bug and tried to describe it to me a few days ago. But I had no frame of reference because I'd never seen this before.

Yesterday Arthur spotted this one and called me over to see it.

I can't wait to learn about this one.
UPDATE: as usual I wait to do my research until after I post.
I found out that this insect is native to North America (after fearing the worst when I cam across the Asian Longhorned Beetle in my search). It turns out they like to use dead wood to raise their young, and aren't considered economically damaging. Whew!
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Thursday, August 05, 2010

Free French Fries

OK, so they weren't entirely free. We had to buy the oil we fried them in and the propane that boiled the oil, not to mention the seed potatoes that seeded the potatoes. But with our adjunct gardeners clearing and fertilizing the land for us, so that one fine summer day we simply walk down and dig up a mother lode, one does get the sensation of getting something for free.

And of course we can be certain they are free of herbicides, pesticides and other unknowable icides.

Of course none of that would matter if not for the fact that they are good enough to rank higher than the fries at Burgerville and Arthur claims they have supplanted Pad Thai from his number 1 favorite food slot.

Not that I'm bragging or anything. ;)
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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Dangers of the Beach

1. Quicksand
Or maybe it's just that Arthur is so thin he slipped right between the grains of sand on the beach? Either way, it was a gut-wrenching few moments before we were able to rescue him.

2. Too much fun!
Having nothing to do but play in the sand and plan your next meal has an enduring appeal. Jamey could be the poster-boy.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Think Ink

After feeling raked over the coals for years whenever I've had to buy ink for my HP Photosmart printer, I finally found an alternative with ink prices that are not completely insane.

I bought a Kodak Printer/Copier for $120 that uses an ink cartridge that is only $15, instead of having to buy 2 cartridges that total close to $70 to print photo color.

But, you say, I don't care about the cartridge cost, tell me about price per page!
OK. Here it is based on this Quality Logic report:
You may notice on the right-most column that the Kodak are the only ones with 0 directly to the right of the decimal.

My Photosmart cartridges aren't even in this study, but I feel certain that their results would be equal or greater than the costliest of the HP cartridges that were reviewed.

I don't claim that the photo-quality is better than the HP Photosmart that I've had for years, but for the price of the ink, I'd rather send out for prints when I need them than continue to operate my Photosmart printer.

One other interesting thing I read about the Kodak is they are the best manufacturer for keeping their cartridge form-factor consistent. Most other brands have a plethora of ink-cartridges to choose from, whereas Kodak has reused its 10C in almost every printer. I expect this is one of the ways they are keeping costs down.

So, three cheers for competition. I'm glad someone finally entered the market with some reasonable prices for ink.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Mothra Lives

Arthur spotted this beast on our exterior wall today. It looked like a tarantula carrying a large piece of bark on its back.

I used my telephoto lens because I was scared to get too close.

Once I saw how furry it is in the hi-res photo, I can't decide if I should run screaming or snuggle it.
Decide for yourself:

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Poppies and Potatoes

Although I'll never admit it, the chickens helped me to discover that some spring potatoes were ready for harvest.

We've been having issues keeping the chickens trapped in their field, due to the holes that keep appearing in the plastic fencing material we used. Heidi broke down and bought some real, metal chicken wire, so once we set that up, the problem will be solved.

In the meantime, however, they are asserting their status as adjunct gardeners and providing weed and pest control in our various garden beds.

Though their work, while vigorous, is typically spotty and overly destructive, in this case it proved useful, as they uncovered a potato that was clearly large enough to harvest.

Therefore I harvested some and fried them up yesterday for a delicious breakfast. And with all the potatoes we have planted, we'll probably have all we can eat for the next two months at least.

Now on to the discussion of Poppies.

Heidi obtained some poppy seeds three years ago from a long-time grange member Lily Meek. Mrs. Meek has spent years cultivating poppies in an attempt to create a uniquely beautiful variety. Though I'm not sure which traits she was most interested in, here are some examples of what we have this year. I'm flagging them with their variety so that we can isolate the seeds from a given variety if we want to next year.

We have 6 general varieties this year.
We have pink and red, and in each color we have "Simple", "Complex" and "Dense" petal structure.

Pink, simple

Red Simple

Pink Complex

Red Complex

Pink Dense (not fully opened)

Red Dense (not fully opened)

It will be interesting to see what we can get by isolating the seeds we get from each of these types.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Latest Goal

My latest obsession is to commute with the most efficient vehicle I can find. That means this:

The biggest problem with this is raising the money to spend on the "risky" idea that it will be a suitable car replacement.

Heidi gave me some of her egg money to start my fund. By the time I get there, I'll have had plenty of time to weigh the risks.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Jumpin' Jack Spraddle

I've already been accused of being a "Gentleman Farmer" by my co-workers. Now they're going to have to add "Country Doctor".

Approximately two days after hatching, it became apparent that one (let's call him Jack) of the 20 surviving chicks our recent brood was spraddled. That means the legs are spread in a way that makes walking impossible.

What made it really apparent was that the other 19 chicks were really zipping about on their legs, while Jack was laying, limp and listless, letting his siblings peck and trample him.
Heidi kept him alive all day by feeding, watering and holding him so he could rest. But when she left last night for an event she had planned, I got to looking at Jack, and thinking....that I don't know the first thing about caring for chicks. So, I did what any sensible gentleman farmer of the 21st century would do and consulted Google.

Within minutes I found a technique involving a matchstick and a band-aid to fix the problem.
So, I cut the matchstick to a respectable length and taped it in place between Jack's legs with a band-aid. The advice said it could take up to a week to fix the condition.

I replaced the chick in the galvanized tub with the others, only I set him in his own box with walls that were taller than any of the chicks, so he'd be safely alone with no one to pick or peck on him.

This morning, before leaving for work I saw that Jack was already standing in his hobble and looked well rested. Then I saw him try to jump the wall to get to his buddies, then peck at his hobble in irritation as he correctly identified it as the impediment to his athletic prowess.
I smiled, confident that the sticky band-aid would withstand the puny pecks of a chick for the day.
"We can take off the hobble tonight, when it has been 24 hours" I said to Heidi, soberly prescribing the chick a day of confinement for his own good.

However, Heidi, returning from errands at 11:30 found that not only had Jack managed to slip his hobble (it was floating in his water dish), but somehow he had also managed to jump over his wall to rejoin his fellow hatch-lings.

Despite Jack's disregard for doctor's orders, I am nonetheless pleased with his progress. And he appears ecstatic to be "one of the guys" standing on his own two legs.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

When I Grow Up....

...I want to be David Attenborough.

We watched The Life of Birds last night; the "Songs and Signals" episode. The final bird they featured was shown mimicking the sound of a camera shutter, with and without the motorized film winding. It also was able to sound identically like a chainsaw from lumberjacks it had previously heard.

There have been a lot of very cool things in the series thus far, but the fidelity of the impressions done by that bird knocked all of our socks off. It was fun to see the boys so enthused and amused by that remarkable bird.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Arthur Biking

Arthur has had the hang of biking before, but we didn't keep up on it before and so recently when some neighbor kids came to play he was left out of the fun because he couldn't stay up on his bike.

Knowing that he had been riding on his own last summer, this news bothered me and I determined to help him become proficient.

It took just an hour or so on Sunday, a few mild spills and one medium until we both felt that we had succeeded.

Success was confirmed when today Arthur was able to bike along with the other kids on the block.

Hopefully Arthur will remember yesterday fondly for years to come. If not, he can always read this blog. ;)

Oh yeah, and I inadvertently learned a bit of pragmatic advice for would-be bike-riding coaches: let them crash one time, then teach them about the "controlled stop".

Monday, February 22, 2010

Still Getting Better

Even though I've been happy with the Sullivan Street bread recipe from the beginning, I am finding that my loaves keep getting better.

Pictured above is my latest. The dough remained in the refrigerator for about seven days. When I shaped the loaf, the dough smelled more like beer than bread.

When I baked it though, it became wonderfully aromatic, light, spongy and delicious bread. Perfect for dippng in balsamic vinegar and oil.
Equally so it was divine this morning, toasted, with butter and honey.
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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Greenhouse Complete!

I bought areenhouse kit for Heidi's birthday last year. Lo and behold we got it complete a mere two weeks before her next birthday.

The plastic panels are held in place by strips of plastic, cleverly engineered to snap into place and hold the panels under firm tension. The roof panels are designed similarly, only with rubber strips. Yesterday afternoon we put half of the wall panels and all of the roof panels in place. Putting the rubber roof strips in was murder on our thumbs.

As we gazed at our handiwork, Heidi remarked that the roof panels didn't seem right. I had to agree and we resolved to fix them in the morning. Hopefully a night of rest would heal our wounded thumbs.

This morning we wanted to get an early start, so despite the frost on the greenhouse and our still sore thumbs we went out to fix the roof.

As it turned out, the frost made the rubber strips so much easier to slip into place, that we finished in record time with minimal additional trauma to our thumbs. We just had to warm them up a few times.

Just another example of how something that seemed unfortunate turned out to be the opposite.

So, here it is. The place where Heidi will launch the lives of multitudes of beautiful and delicious vegetables. (And it really will be only Heidi. I can't stand up straight in the greenhouse.)

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Full Day of Fun

Not mine, mine was a fairly full day of fun. I got to so see where the kids are taking art classes and I have to say 'Wow!'. Not only are my two churning out fantastic drawings at a rapid clip, but it is clear from the 'before and after' pictures on the wall, that the institution gives fantastic instruction.

Next we got to eat out at Tan Tan, a Vietnamese restaurant with my nomination for 'friendliest waiter'. Heidi said it is her new favorite restaurant. She was able to get a veggie dish that was delicious and satisfying.

Finally, we headed off to The Jim Parsley Center, which is a public pool.
From childhood years of spending long summer days in a swimming pool, I have been accustomed to feeling like a dolphin in the water. Last night I felt more like a sea-turtle. Or, maybe this:

Next stop: driftwood.

Heidi and the children had other fun before I could join them.
First going to their Mad Science class where they played with optics and got to take home a periscope. Then on to OMSI (the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry) where they got to see themselves in infrared. The images apparently back-up what we suspected: Heidi and Arthur are cool little cucumbers and Jamey is practically a nuclear reaction in progress.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

What do Gram Parsons, Neil Young, Mark Knopfler and Conor Oberst Have in Common?

Emmylou Harris.

Is there anyone cooler than Emmylou Harris?

eMusic has added Warner Bros. back catalog, so this morning I downloaded:
Emmylou Harris' Wrecking Ball (Neil Young wrote the title track)
Neil Young's Greatest Hits
Gram Parsons' Grievous Angel (Emmylou duets with Gram)

I can't wait for my commute!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Microsoft vs. Malaria Deathmatch

OK, it's not Microsoft per se, but it is the money that Bill Gates made during his career at Microsoft that is helping, under his guidance, to eradicate Malaria.

I'm already in awe of the man for providing the software upon which I've based my career. Now this!

To me, this is the meaning of "American idol".

Thanks Bill.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Hibernating Hamster

As the family grave keeper, it is my duty to dispose discreetly of any pet that meets his end at our home.

Most recently it was feared that our hamster Chewy had come to the end of his days. Unusually however, I soon discovered we were mistaken.

You may ask yourself, "How can you not tell if an animal is dead?"

To which I would reply, I'm sure one could tell, but in this case it wasn't particularly obvious. He was curled up in his food bowl, which has about a one cup capacity and is roughly the dimension of a typical metal measuring cup.

When I pulled him out of his bowl he as very stiff. And he didn't wake up from the relatively rude handling.

Moments later, I had the hole dug. I even went so far as to drop him into it before I noticed him begin to faintly twitch.

Brief observation was rewarded with signs of life.

I scooped him back up and replaced him in his home where he has resumed normal activity for the past several weeks.


From northern Mali, in the southern Sahara, former Tuareg rebels and nomads turned musicians.

Guitar style is similar to Amadou et Mariam.

This is track seven, my favorite from their album Aman Iman: Water is Life