Friday, March 30, 2007

Undomesticated Produce

This spring, as the grass has turned green I've noticed these strange long tufts of green randomly growing across the quad. In fact they're all across town. This afternoon, I found out what it is: Wild green onions. It's true. Scattered about the landscape here in NW Arkansas, wild green onions. Dinner just got a little more tasty.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

A Great Pair of Socks

Does anything satisfy your toes more than a comfy pair of socks? Now what if those same socks were also the best pair you've ever worn for running & exercise. That's what you get with:


The place where I like to buy them is Sierra Trading Post. I highly recommend the Adrenaline line.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

10 Minutes A Day


Carolyn picked this up a couple months ago at Walmart and I've started using it this week. It's great. You can customize you workout from 5 different 10-minute sessions. My favorites are Pilates for Abs & Pilates for Flexibility. Easy enough to learn first time through & complex enough that it'll be a good source of challenging exercises for some time. Only $9.99 at Amazon.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Jed Dominates

This round goes to Jed. He is the only one to pick all four winners into the final four. He had at least double the points of anybody else. So here is how it the cookie has crumbled.

Who:Total Points:How many of final four picked right
1. Jed: 1,050:All four!
2. Greg B.: 890:2/4
3. John: 860:2/4
4. Hutch: 810:1/4
5. Greg R.: 800:2/4
6. Carolyn: 790:2/4

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Tourney Update

Now that the Elite Eight is decided, here are the standings with a three way tie for first:

Who:Total Points:Possible Points Remaining
1. Jed:730:700
1. Greg B.:730:620
1. Hutch:730:240
4. John:700:-100 (I don't know how this is possible, to have negative?)
5. Greg R.:640:500
6. Carolyn:630:580

Every other year I've done a bracket, there has been greater separation. This is definitely the closest I've been a part of. It's still open for many different people to win.

Friday, March 23, 2007

End of St. Louis

We're back from St. Louis & we arrived home to find my bike frame had arrived in the mail. I've been spending a lot of time looking up parts & prices to realize it'll be a long while before it's road ready. On Wednesday before we headed for home we visited the Gateway Arch. It's taller than the Space Needle & is the largest National Monument. The so called "tram" that you ride up in is more like a capsule that they stuff five people into. It was shockingly small, maybe 5 ft. high & wide. After four minutes cozily stuffed into it with perfect strangers we arrived at the top viewing area. It was a windy day and it was shaking the whole time we were up there. The view was great, but I still couldn't stand up straight. Glad we got to experience it, but I'm not dying to do it again. I also took for granted that it isn't that old. It was build in the mid 60s & is quite an architectural marvel.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Red Blitz

Coke's latest version of Vault: Red Blitz. I already liked vault, this adds a little sweetness to the citris. It's more berry than cherry and I like it.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Spring Break

We had a great first day in St. Louis. We went to the zoo which is always a good time and it had free admission. In the afternoon we ate a St. Louis tradition, Ted Drewes Frozen Custard on Historic Route 66. I'm hoping to come back tomorrow to have a different flavor, it was good. On the drive here we stopped in Mansfield, MO so that Carolyn could visit Laura Ingalls Wilder's home where she wrote the "Little House" books. I never put together that her stories were actually of her life. Anyway, I actually ended up enjoying it mostly because of a girl who went through at the same time. She was about 11 and she sat next to me as the intro movie played. She was decked out in her homemade prarie dress & bonnet and giggled and oohed the whole time. She was in paradise. Throughout the tour she kept giggling and looking at her mom in sheer delight. It made the tour far more meaningful, simply because it was a dream come true for her.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

2nd Round

I've held onto the top spot, but Jed has made a big jump forward. Just to show how potential I've also included the possible points remaining.

Who:Current Points:PPR

1. Greg B.:490:1080
2. Jed:470:1040
2. Hutch:470:780
4. John:460:1000
5. Greg R.:440:880
6. Carolyn:430:960

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Build-a-Bike

I've been in the market for a road bike for some time now. However, with not more than $100 to spend, I haven't come close to finding anything suitable. So, I took the plunge and bought a frame tonight on eBay:
I'm starting from scratch. Do you think it'll be hard to build a bike? I'm about to find out. I don't think it'll be as easy as building a bear though.

Bracketering

First Round of March Madness is complete, and here are the standings:

Name:Points:Expected winner
1. Greg B.:270:Kansas
1. Hutch:270:Ohio State
3. John:260:Texas
4.Jed:250:Florida
5.Greg R.:240:Ohio State
6.Carolyn:210:Ohio State

With a tie for first and only 60 point separating top from bottom, anyone could still win it all. The second round this weekend will definitely cause a little more separation.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Non-habitual

I promise not to make a habit of blogging about American Idol. This is the first time we've watched it and I just have to say that Sanjaya is horrible. I knew it would be all guys booted off for the first few weeks. No one can listen to Ain't No Mountain High Enough without feeling energized. But when he sang it, I was bored. He needs to go, weeks ago.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Ode to Betsy

It's the end of a dynasty. Our Buick Regal, Betsy, has moved on to a new home. On Saturday we parked her in front of our church and in one day I had cash in hand. I still can't believe how fast it sold and the great price we got for it. Gramma, thanks again for helping me out in college & passing along a car that has proven incredibly faithful. Who knew it would last for 228,000 miles?

Monday, March 12, 2007

Sketchy

For me, the most sketchy part of the Bush administration is the whole Halliburton no-bid contract deal. It seems really unethical for Cheney to have been the president of the company that gets this mega contract. Well, now Halliburton is paying back the country by moving it's head quarters out of Texas and to the country of Dubai. You can read all about it here.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The Original Do, Re, Mi

The monk who came up with the foundation of musical notation was Guido d'Arezzo and was born in the 990s. Before Guido's innovation the only way to distinguish between notes were lines pointing up or down and one didn't know for sure how far up or down to sing. So, Guido set an existing hymn to a new tune and arranged the melody like "Doe, a dear, a female deer." The first note was the lowest note of the scales, and each subsequent phrase began on note higher than the previous phrase. Then Guido used the first syllable of each phrase to name that note of the scale. He did all this to teach musically illiterate people how to sing so they could then lead worship themselves. The hymn's first phrase was Ut queant laxis. So Guido named the first note ut. The second phrase was resonare fibris. So he named the second note re. The hymn had six phrases, and so his charges learned to sing, "Ut, re, mi, fa, sol, la."

Back in those days the chants usually stayed within that six-note range, but a few went further, and so Guido allowed for a note below (which he designated by the Greek letter gamma). And thus the range of notes became known by their first two syllables, gamma + ut, or gamut. That explains why today when you "run the gamut," you move through the entire range of something.

But how did ut, re, mi become do, re, mi? Once the syllables became completely independent of their original hymn, some unknown Italian of the 17th century thought do sounded better than ut. I think he was right.

-adapted from Christian History & Biography, issue 93

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

HP6

Carolyn & I have been going listening through Harry Potter in prep for the next book coming out this summer. We just finished the sixth book tonight. Wow. It's such a hard ending and I still can't accept the circumstances. There just has to be more that will come out. I also haven't given up on Sirius showing up again. Is the book even going take place at Hogwarts this final year? There is a lot of pressure for this final book, and JK is sure to close with a bang. I just hope there aren't too many loose ends.

Maxed Out

Credit cards are fine, as long as you pay off your balance each month. Oddly enough, there are many who spend and spend and spend, then look aghast at their bill and exclaim, “This can’t be right!” Oh yes, it can. Credit-card users and the lenders who prey on them is the topic of “Maxed Out,” a sharp new documentary that does for plastic what “Super Size Me” did for the fast-food business. Director James D. Scurlock examines the people who get into credit-card debt up to their eyeballs, and the devastation such debt can wreak. Meanwhile, the corporate suits rake in more money than they can count. Some friendly advice: When you go to the box office to buy tickets for this picture, pay in cash. You’ll be very glad you did. (Magnolia Pictures, opens Friday) - from msnbc.com

I read this today, and I'm excited about it. Should be very interesting and a message I think America needs to hear.

Spam

Thank goodness for spam filters. The filter on my email just hit 10,000 in the last month.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Spring & Personal Bests

The signs of spring are here. Runny nose, itchy-red eyes, and lots of sneezing. Plus the first daffodils have popped up, I saw about 3 on our 6 mile run this afternoon. Today was the farthest I've ever run in my life. I know for real runners 6 miles is nothing, but I hated running only a mere month ago. It won't be the last distance record set for myself, since we're training for the OC half-marathon (where we live the OC stands for Oklahoma City, not Orange County).

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Spring Break

I took this picture on my way through St. Louis on my way home from picking up our car in New Jersey two weeks ago. My total time in the city was maybe 15 minutes and I was really impressed by it. So, Carolyn & I are heading back to St. Louis for Spring Break (It's a 5 hour drive). There is a number of things that are free to check out there, like the zoo & art museum, so it should be a lot of fun. We're also excited to visit Turtle Park.

Book Stores

For the first time in a long time I bought a book at retail. I feel a little dirty now. I almost always buy books online or used, if I buy them at all. I usually use the library and with Carolyn being a librarian now it is easy to get books. So, I bought a book at Barnes & Noble because I had a gift card. It was $27. However, neither the public library nor JBU's library had it and I wanted to buy it, so it's okay. It's a John Gottman book. He's a researcher at University of Washington that is known for in depth marital research. I highly recommend his stuff on parenting and marriage. It's all based in empirical research and highly pragmatic, just the way I like it.