The New Thing!

The new Thing came with our DVD's today.

You'll have to add your own tape and eyes though (we just happen to have all that type of stuff handy.)

Offer from Newegg ends tomorrow: RiDATA 4.7GB 8X DVD-R 50 Pack with FREE Newegg CD/DVD Wallet with "Ridata" Logo



Today was Tom's Annual (or at least it's becoming that way) Crawfish Boil.

I'm not a fan of lobster but I like these little things. It's probably because of the heat induced by all the good spicy things in crab boil (Zatarain's!.)

Crayfish, Crawfish, Crawdads... it's all the same.

I made and brought an edamame salad that kind of went like this:

1 16 oz. bag of frozen shelled edamame
1 medium-large can of shoepeg corn (drained)
1/2 red onion (chopped)
1 clove of garlic (minced)
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
juice of one lemon
2 teaspoons "greek spice blend" (or some oregano would probably work)
8 oz. of feta cheese (crumbled)
salt & pepper

Cook edamame as per package directions. Cool under cold water and then drain. Mix with corn and onions. Combine oil, vinegar, lemon juice, spice blend and garlic. Pour over edamame mixture. Add crumbled feta. Salt & Pepper to taste. Let mixture sit for at least an hour to let all the flavors meld.


Towel Day

Today is Towel Day: A Tribute to Douglas Adams. Adams is the one who brought us The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy which many consider science fiction. Some however, find that it's not quite as fictitious as once thought :) .

(Photo by Bear.)

Sass those hoopy froods.

For more info on Towel Day check out: http://www.towelday.kojv.net/


Silica Gel

We're saving all the silica gel we find around the office and putting it in a jar.

So far we almost have enough to cover the bottom of the jar. Some of it is in little clear plastic beads. Some of it looks more like cat litter. According to this Wikipedia entry the blue ones are dry and the pink ones are wet. I guess the clear one's don't have the color-indicator stuff added. I might have to separate some of the different kinds out once we get some more and do some experiments.

I always used to wonder what would happen if you ate it (since all the little packets advise you not to.) I found an article once from an EMT that said it was about like eating sand. However after reading the above entry and the things they actually do to it, I think I'd try sand first.


This is Pie

We went to see my grandmother this weekend. She made me a chocolate pie.

People kill for these pies.

This was my pie.

I shared... a little.

I love Grandmother. :)

And from Weebl & Bob: Pie!


I'm a bad person...

Oddly enough we were having a short discussion at lunch the other day about how red light cameras work.

This came in today's mail and answers all the questions. This happened weekend before last on the way home from getting a haircut. By the time I realized I was screwing up, it was too late. I was wondering at the time how tight the tolerances were. They're pretty tight. Oh well. I think I should have at least got a discount for using my turn indicators.

Lilburn's online payment system works pretty well.

Nothing more to say on this one. :(


Inside the Carillon

It was cool and wet out this morning. but I still decided to head out to Stone Mountain to hear Ms. Mabel play the carillon at noon.

(this picture is from the top of the mountain taken a few months ago)
For those of you not familiar with the Stone Mountain Carillon, the instrument was built by Schulmerich Carillons in Sellersville, PA for the Coca-Cola Pavilion 1964 World's Fair in New York. At 610 bells it was the largest instrument of its kind. After the fair Coca-Cola moved the instrument to Georgia's Stone Mountain Park. By this time 610 bells wasn't the largest any more so a few more ranks were added during the move putting it at 732 bells.After Ms. Mabel played I dropped by the console to say hello and give her dog Max a few scratches. It turns out that Max wasn't here today because we had guests. The guests were from Schulmerich. One from HQ up in PA and the other is the "local" field engineer who currently resides down in Florida. They were here for a checkup to assess how the instrument is doing and plan any corrective actions. I was in for a treat as the field engineer and his son took me down to the vault underneath the console to see how it all worked.

The Carillon resides in 9 equipment cabinets in a climate-control room underneath the console. The original cabinets were mounted to the wall. The current arrangement seems to give them more space and make it easier to work on the instrument.

This is the digital control panel. It controls the hourly chimes and the daily "recorded" performances for the carillon when Ms. Mabel isn't playing live. There is a recorder up on top of the console that accepts a memory card of sorts where performances can be recorded. They can then be loaded in and programed for playback down here.

Here is rack #5 all opened up. These are the bells for the harp, celesta and quadra bell sounds. The lower notes (longer bars) are at the top and they get higher (shorter bars) as they go down.

The bell's bars have 3 solenoid controlled strikers under each one. I presume that's how they get three different bell sounds out of the same bar in this unit. Each bar has an electromagnetic pickup along the back (similar to guitar pickups underneath the strings.) Each pickup then runs to a preamp/mixer.

All the various preamps run to a master mixer where each one of the sets of sounds can be finely controlled to mix with the others when played together.

Finally the sound goes through power amplifiers (I counted at least 6 of them) and out to the tower by the lake.

Mabel Sansing Sharp at the Console

It was quite a treat to be able to be in there while they had things opened up. It's not like the equipment cabinets had doors or easy access to what's inside. I just lucked out on visiting on the right day. One of these days I plan to put up a web page or two detailing the history of this instrument. It deserves a little more than the 3 lines of text the park devotes to it on their web site.

Further Reading:


Tiki Bags & Ketchup

I finally got a chance to drop by one of our new Trader Joe's we have here in Atlanta. It's not quite a cool as the one I remember from San Francisco in the late 90's but I'm still glad we got them. I picked up some snacky things for work and some cool soap for home and got to put it all in a nifty Tiki Grocery bag. I had read about them on the Tikievents mailing list a month or so ago and was glad to find they had them here in GA (and still had some left.) I may have to go back and get more.

On a totally unrelated note (but in the same picture!) I've done a lot of reading about ketchup in the past few days. It started from a trip to Ketchup World from another blog somewhere (A Hunger Artist I think.) It's amazing how many different ketchups and ketchup-related condiments are out there. It got me to wondering about the history of ketchup. Evidently it got started from some sort of soy and fish sauce and eventually had mushrooms, walnuts, and all sort of other spices and flavorings added to it. Later on tomato ketchup became the standard for some reason. I guess that's good because I don't really want fish sauce on my hot dogs. However I did decide it might be cool to try and make some soon and found a few recipes (that don't start with 24lbs of tomatoes and a ton of mason jars.) Let me know if you try one before I do: