Thursday, December 31, 2009

The last day of the decade????

Happy last day of the year (and decade?):

The picture here is one from Photography as Art series, but it looks like Shanghai China.

I made an apple crisp today, to eat tonight as I celebrate the coming decade alone once again.

I will not watch the ball fall in New York. Instead, I recorded To Kill a Mockingbird a few days ago. It is such a good movie I may watch it as the New Year arrives later tonight.

As I told you yesterday, I am in contact with other Schwindt relations in Argentina. They are in Buesnos Aires, five hours ahead of us here. It is just across the bay from Uruguay, on the east coast of Argentina. My grandfather, Joseph Schwindt went there with his brothers, Georg, Johannes, and Franz to Argentina. He was the only one that left, so I wonder if the other Schwindts there are descendants from the other 3 brothers.

Mecha Schwindt, from there, tells me there are over 600 Schwindt families there in eastern Argentina. My dad is so surprised to hear all of this. He did not know if any Schwindts lived there. Los Schwindt, Mecha Schwindt and Mercedes Schwindt all contacted me on Facebook. I believe one or more of them searched Schwindt on Facebook and found me.

Mercedes tells me her great grandfather was Johannes, but I wonder if it was my grandfather's brother? I wrote her to ask around about that.

I have never been interested in genealogy. Paul Schwindt, my cousin in Portland, put together a history of the Schwindt family starting in the 18th century. Most of my relations on the Schwindt line were born in Saratov Russia, a big city in western Russia. All spoke German.

Enjoy the remainder of the decade.

Happy 2010.

Steven

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The last Hump Day of the year

Hello again:

This picture and the next few pictures will be from an email I got from Bill Mosier, a friend in Eugene. He sends me funny and serious emails. The series for this email is called Photos as Art.

This picture is a timed photo of lightening in the desert.

I am getting to know my relation in Argentina. I have been in touch with Los Schwindt, Mecha Schwindt and Mercedes Schwindt. Two of the three speak English fairly well. Los does not so I use the Google Translator to find out what she says in Spanish.

I finished Snow Falling on Cedars last night. I am going to watch the movie again. The movie, like I said, just hit the major points of the novel. The book is so much better than the movie. That is the case regularly with all movies: the book is so much better than the movie.

Steven

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Spitting snow outside here

Hi:

The picture here is my college file, an old Olympia box from my college days. You can see from the price on the box that beer back then was $3.95 per case of beer, that is 24 bottles of the beer.

This box holds my college notes and tests. I am surprised, sort of, how smart I was back then. With no computers back then I used a typewriter. It is fun to see the professors correct my typing.

It is starting to snow outside and it is quite cold.

I am about 3/4 finished with Snow Falling on Cedars. It is a very good novel. I can tell from the movie made from the book the movie just touched on the issues of the book. The book is so much better than the movie, something I find with every book that is turned in to a movie.

I bought a yo-yo yesterday, but the cord does not wrap very easily. I found, a few weeks ago, a yo-yo website. The yo-yos for sale there range over $50.00 and up. I paid much less but maybe I need to get a good one. I do miss the one I had in high school. It was a dark green one and I loved it.

I got a message on Facebook from Mecha Schwindt in Argentina. My grandparents went to Argentina in late 19th century but left to come to Oregon in 1907. I found out there are over 600 Schwindt family members in Argentina. My father tell me not only did his parents go to Argentina but also five of my grandfather's brothers and sisters went there too. I posted two messages on a Facebook Wall of Los Schwindt, telling the group who I am, who my grandparents were and when they left Argentina.

I have a picture of my grandparents and three of my aunts and uncles, taken when the family was still in Argentina. I plan to get it put on to a CD then post the picture on the Argentina Schwindt Facebook page. The Schwindts' of Argentina want to know about my family and me.

My dad was quite surprised at what I showed him. I told him to get his passport because we may be heading to Argentina in a few months to visit the Schwindt families there.

Enjoy the snow here.

Steven

Monday, December 28, 2009

The week in between...

Hi again:

The picture here is another from Washington D.C. Too bad I have to use Washington pictures of deer when we have so many here in Oregon.

I am in contact with Mecha Schwindt in Argentina. My grandparents came from Argentina in 1910. I found out today, from a posting on Facebook to me, that there are over 600 Schwindts in Argentina. I think it was probably my grandparents brothers, sisters and cousins there that stayed there after my grandparents moved to the Jordan area, 14 miles southeast of Stayton.

My father will be so surprised at this information.

I had to use the Google translator to find out most of the posts on the Argentina Facebook, although Mecha wrote me in English.

What are your plans for New Year's Eve? Me? Probably reading a book again. I started and finished 3 books this last week. Nothing to watch on TV as most shows are re-runs, so I read.

Now I am reading a 1994 novel, Snow Falling on Cedars. I watched the movie the other night and some places in the movie were confusing so the book will fill that in for me.

I have 3 more books waiting for me at the library but I will not go there until next week in order to give me some time to finish the 3 other books I have here. One is Googled: The End of the World as We Know It. Another is Too Big to Fail and the last one is a book of Chinese recipes. I need to make a copy of two dumpling recipes in this book.

Stay warm and dry.

Steven

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Boxing Day and the Feast of St. Stephen


Hi again on Boxing Day and my Feast Day (of Saint Stephen):
The picture here is a deer in Washington D.C. that appeared in the James Fellows email.
Here is a quiz for you. To see if you are like me, a hardcore Oregonian. The article containing this test appeared on Opinion Page of today's Oregonian, an article by Matt Love.
There is no passing score, but the higher the mark, the more hardcore you are.
1. I've visited Timberline Lodge.
2. I've picked blackberries.
3. I've visited Fort Clatsop.
4. I've sat around a bonfire on an Oregon coast beach.
5. I've visited the Oregon Country Fair.
6. I've seen a play at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
7. I've seen a Portland Trail Blazers game live.
8. I've attended a Civil War football game.
9. I've visited Bonneville Dam.
10. I've visited the Capitol building in Salem.
11. I've walked part of the Oregon Trail.
12. I've visited Crater Lake.
13. I've visited Multnomah Falls.
14. I've visited the Tillamook Cheese Factory.
15. I've visited the Wallowa Mountains.
16. I feel depressed when I see a fresh clear-cut.
17. I've hunted game.
18. I know where Celilo Falls used to be.
19. I've seen "Drugstore Cowboy."
20. I own some article of Pendleton Woolen Mills clothing or bedding.
21. I've read something by Stewart Holbrook.
22. I never drink bottled water.
23. I hate pumping my own gas when I visit other states!
24. I've returned cans and bottles and immediately bought more beer.
25. I've had a 10-minute or longer conversation about an Oregon microbrew.
26. I've visited an Oregon winery.
27. I've eaten pears or apples off a tree near Hood River.
28. I've tasted a hazelnut milkshake from Burgerville.
29. I know some of the lyrics to "Louie, Louie."
30. I know who Steve Prefontaine was.
31. I "know" a professional who uses marijuana regularly.
32. I've played Hacky Sack.
33. I know who said, "We want you to visit our State of Excitement often. Come again and again. But for heaven's sake, don't move here to live."
34. I wince when I see an SUV with a California license plate idling in the parking lot of a real estate office.
35. I've started and finished "Sometimes a Great Notion" by Ken Kesey.
36. I've read "Livability" by Jonathan Raymond.
37. I've read an entire book at Powell's while sitting in the coffee room.
38. I've run naked in the Oregon woods, desert or beach.
39. I've either fished for salmon or seen salmon spawn in the wild.
40. I've seen either a coyote, bear, deer or cougar in the wild.
41. I've ridden a bicycle in the past month.
42. I've climbed a tree in the past year.
43. I've attended the Pendleton Round-Up.
44. I've seen the Painted Hills.
45. I've visited the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
46. I've attended the Oregon State Fair.
47. I've either run the Hood to Coast or biked U.S. 101 or climbed Mount Hood or hiked all or part of the Pacific Crest Trail or surfed in Oregon's oceans or windsurfed in the Columbia River.
48. I've cut my own Christmas tree.
49. I've ridden in the Oregon City Elevator.
50. I never use an umbrella!
I answered no on eight of them (19, 21, 22, 27, 36, 38 47 and 50--but not anymore---).
I am making myself another treat today. My cranberry pie is cooking now.
My next fudge I will freeze and open on the 4th of July.
Boxing Day (today, Dec. 26) is celebrated in the British Empire (what is left of it). It for the staff for the upper class who had work on Dec. 25.
How about this, no rant on Christmas in this posting.
Steven

Boxing Day and the Feast of s

Friday, December 25, 2009

Oh, Christmas Day....

Hi on Christmas Day:

After my rant yesterday about the flakiness of this day (early Christians hijacked a pagan holiday and attached the birth of Jesus to this day to keep people away from the pagan holiday).

Remember whomever wrote Mark had no Christmas myth in his account so it never happened. Later gospel writers had to account with claims that Jesus was the child of no known father, the bast...d, so they created the Christmas myths to counter this claim of a fatherless Jesus.

Be like me, I don't believe much what I read in the Bible. Most of it is stories and myths. It bears no relationship to reality. Just wait until you hear what I say about easter. We have no idea how he died and there was no resurrection. Even whomever wrote Mark shows an empty grave, meaning it could be the body was stolen. This is what I believe, no resurrection and no idea how he died.

The picture here shows Haystack Rock in the distance, just south of Seaside.

Happy Holidays to all of you. Or, if you prefer, Marry, Mary, or Merry Christmas.

Steven

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve


Good morning:
It is Christmas Eve even though Christ was not born this time of year. The early Church took over a pagan holiday on Dec. 25 to get people away from the pagan celebration. We have no idea what month of the year he was born.
I watched a four hour program on Frontline last week and this week called From Jesus to Christ. It showed me I was so right to believe only what is written in whomever wrote Mark (we don't know who wrote the four gospels: It certainly was not Mark, nor Luke, nor Matthew, nor John) is the one to sort of believe. This writer wrote about 60 years after Christ died. It ends with an empty grave. Whomever wrote Matthew wrote next. Then came Luke; whomever wrote Luke wrote the gospel as part one and the Acts of the Apostles as part two; John wrote his gospel about 100 years after Christ died. Who can believe anything he wrote.
We either believe the ancient writers wrote the literal truth and we are smart enough to realize it is allegorical or we believe the ancient writers wrote the allegorical stories and we are so dumb to believe that the writings are to be taken literally. I believe the latter one, we are so dumb to read the gospels as the literal truth. Mark ends with an empty tomb. Nothing else. (if you read whomever wrote Mark, he did not write the last chapter in the book. All experts agree on this).
This rant is on the belief Jesus was born this time of year. We don't know what month he was born but it certainly was not in winter.
This morning I lost my coffee cup around here, somewhere between the kitchen and my office here at home. I still cannot find it after six searches.
The picture here is the battery pack in the Nissan Leaf, the new electric car from that company. It has 48 lithium ion batteries in it. It gets between 100 and 150 miles between charges. Our cars will have close to 100 lithium ion batteries, giving our cars a much better range than these cars. I saw a presentation online by the sales person telling us the car will sell comparable to a Camry, over $40,000. We will charge between $5,000 and $7,500 to take out your engine and exhaust system and replace it with batteries, a controller, an electric engine, and a charger.
Time to make my peanut butter fudge.
Steven

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Big Question

Hi again:

I got this email on Facebook from a Los Schwindt. I do not recognize this language. Can any of my readers know what language this is? It does not appear to be Spanish, or so I think.

Creemos que por lo dificil de nuestro apellido somos pocos pero si abrimos cualquier guía telefónica podemos ver que somos más de los que creiamos ser.Si tu apellido es Schwindt o alguien de tu familia lo tiene podes unirte a este grupo y entre todos tratar de armar un arbol genealógico o algo por el estilo.Puede suceder también que como el apellido resulta dificil de escribir algunos tengan el mismo apellido pero con variantes por ejemplo una v en vez de w, sin la d o sin la t final, etc., si alguien sabe que su apellido original es Schwindt, pero lo tiene mal escrito, claro que también puede unirse.Si no tenes este apellido igual podés unirte, quien no te dice que en algún momento te encuentres a algún Schwindt en tu vida.


This is the description from the Facebook page of Los Schwindt.

If you recognize this language, write me at schwindt68@hotmail.com.

Thanks so much.

Steven

One great Christmas coming...OSU lost...

Like I have been telling you all season long, how well I feel depends on whether OSU wins or loses. It appears OSU did not want to play last night, probably due to the loss in the Civil War.

So this will be one great Christmas this year as OSU lost big in their Bowl game, a minor bowl if ever there was one.

I fully expect to see U of O win the Rose Bowl. Combined with a loss by stupid beavers, a win by the Ducks will make this the best of the year.

Steven

Mid-week or Hump Day

Hi again:

It is cold this morning, 22 degrees outside when I got up. (That is -5.55 Celsius).

The picture here is from six months ago on the 4th of July.

I may make fudge, freeze it and take it out the next 4th of July. A connection, as it were...

True Blue is such a good book it is hard to put down. I want to sit for hours to finish it in one reading.

I put walnuts in my fudge yesterday. This is the first time I put walnuts or any nuts in my fudge. I did not put nuts in fudge in the past as it takes the place of more chocolate. But I had a lot of walnuts so I added some to the three batches of fudge I made yesterday. It does make it taste better, I must admit.

I may go the 11:00 pm Mass tomorrow, the Christmas Eve Mass here. I don't want to go the 7:00 pm Mass as that is a Children's Mass, quite boring and way too long.

Marry Christmas to all of you.

Steven

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Tuesday

I guess the spell checker does not check the title of the posting. So it goes.

Steven

Christmas Tueday

Merry, Mary, Marry Christmas:

How is your Christmas week going? Today was my fudge cooking day. I made 3 batches of chocolate fudge today. Two as gifts and one for me. I had to use butter instead of margarine that the See's Recipe called for. I wonder if it tastes different by using butter. For the first time I added walnuts to my fudge.

Tomorrow I will make peanut butter fudge.

On the 24th I will make a cranberry pie for my dad.

I already make peanut brittle.

I am reading True Blue by David Baldacci. It is a page turner from the first page. I read it in all sorts of places. Today I put a walnut on the fence next door to see if a squirrel would come to get it. I continued to read my book as I watched to see if the critter would come. He never came back for the walnut.

The picture here is the first flight. The new Boeing Dreamliner is longer than the distance of this first flight.

Happy Holidays.

Steven








Monday, December 21, 2009

Pouring rain outside

Hi:

Here is a picture of the Old Executive Office Building at night. It looks so much better at night.

It is raining all day today. I went on errands in the car today instead of on my bike.

I now have library books to be keep me busy for the next two weeks. I will read every night instead of watching reruns on TV.

My books are:

A Rumpole Christmas by John Mortimer. I love Rumpole on TV but the novels and short stories are great.

Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson. I saw the movie the other night but it was confusing, so I will read the novel this week. I have never read this novel before.

Googled: The End of the World as We Know It by Ken Auletta. I like the way this author writes. I read most of his other books.

Too Big to Fail: The Inside Story of How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the Financial System and Themselves by Andrew Ross Sorkin. I have read two books on this topic already. I saw this author on C-Span2 a few weeks on BookTV.

True Blue by David Baldacci. I find this author the best among the mystery writers. His novels are so much better than what other best-selling authors write.

I will finish up Cheap tonight then on to the Baldacci book.

Stay dry and Happy Holidays.

Steven

Sunday, December 20, 2009

the start of Christmas week

Hi again:

The picture is what we don't have this year, a potential for a white Christmas. This picture is the backyard of James Fallows place in Washington D.C.

It rained most of the day here today. I rode my bike to Safeway near noon, but got somewhat wet even though I wore a hat. Me in a hat, there is something to behold. I rarely wear hats, so unlike my dad or my kids. I think wearing hats skipped a generation with me and my fellow baby-boomers.

The book Cheap is quite interesting. The author explores all sorts of our efforts to get stuff at below the posted price. In China, negotiating the price is the norm. It is better if you are native Chinese and not a laowai (pronounced "law way"), a foreigner like me.

The part of the book I am reading now is our fascination with outlet malls. Americans travel great distances to save the few dollars at an outlet mall, so much so Americans have travelled from the earth to the moon 44,000 times each year.

The closest outlet malls here are Woodburn and Newport. I have been to both but found little at each place that interest me.

Have a good Christmas week.

Steven

Saturday, December 19, 2009

cooking today

Hi again:

The picture here is the Old Executive Office Building, once described as Washington's ugliest building.

I spent a few hours today cooking in preparation for Christmas. I made my cranberry pie again, this time at 36 minutes instead of 40 minutes. It looks so very good.

I also made some peanut brittle. It is a sticky recipe so I like to make it only once. We shall see if one batch is enough for this season. I don't care for it, but others like it a lot.

I have a shopping list for tomorrow as early this week I will finish my cooking.

I have 12 quarts of sauerkraut to get out of here. I put that stuff on my cheese list. It is so easy and cheap to make, but I have to give it all away. My dad will get the vast majority of sauerkraut from me for Christmas.

I finished Pirate Latitudes. It is quite the page-turner of a book. The last 100 pages you must read in one sitting as you cannot put it down.

I see I have the latest David Baldacci book waiting for me at the library.

I am reading Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture by Ellen Shell. It shows the rise of our seeking cheaper and cheaper stuff. I can see the coming of goods made in China. I read where over 4,000 factories closed this past year as demand for cheap goods from China dried up. Over 3,000,000 factory workers were laid off.

The Chinese government wrongly thinks it can spur domestic demand to make up for the lack of demand in the west; in other words, it believes it can sell the same goods to the locals that it used to sell overseas. What a joke. Do not believe what you read from the Chinese government on the growth rate there. It needs at least 8% annual growth to keep the population happy. It is in the negative region now but you never hear China tell you that. Remember, that government lies and lies and lies.

End of this rant.

Stay dry this week. Happy Holidays and Merry, Mary, Marry Christmas to all of you.

Steven

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Hi again


Hi:
The picture here is one of the moon's of Saturn, Iapetus. The light and dark material is ice. It takes 80 earth days for this moon to make one revolution. As it slowly turns the ice surface facing the sun thaws and is blown to the dark area where it freezes again.
I am reading Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton. This book was found on his computer, fully completed, after his death earlier this year.
Unlike his other books with strange science, this takes place in 1665. You can tell he did a lot of research for the scenes in the book. Jamaica is held by the English, but other islands are held by Spain. Pirates abound in this area. I am about half way through this book, and like all of his prior books, this one too is a page-turner.
My cranberry pie I made yesterday was so very good, a nice surprise for me. I usually don't like whole cranberries but these add a slight sour taste to the pie. I made this pie in order to test it out as I plan to make it for my dad for Christmas if it turned out alright. It is more than alright, it is quite tasty.
I also made another batch of fudge yesterday. I put in the frig right away. I have not tested it yet to see if it set up.
Today I will make some peanut brittle. Again, I don't care for peanut brittle, but it will be part of the my gift-giving this Christmas.
A week to go until we have Christmas eve. Mary, Marry, Merry Christmas to most of you and Happy Holidays for the people like me.
Steven

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Hump Day



Good morning:
The pictures I got here from James Fallows, a writer for the Atlantic magazine. I get an email from him every day.
The top picture shows you how millions of people live in China.
The bottom picture is Beijing a few weeks before the Olympics there. This is what it looks like in most big cities in China. Shanghai was the same. I just wonder what happened to my lungs during my two years in China.
Those of you who seen the video I added, what are your thoughts on the "silent monks" treatment of the Hallelujah Chorus.
The Republicans are so stupid...so very stupid. I hope they fade in to the background and try to elect only those who are tea party members. No one of those jerks will ever get elected.
Enough of my rant today.
Steven

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

To run video

Hi again:

To run the video below, just click on the white arrow in the lower left hand side of the picture. It will start the video. Just sit back and be amazed as the "silent monks" sing the Hallelujah Chorus.

A special video for you

video

Hi again:

This is my first time trying to attach a video to this blog. Click on the white arrow.

We sang the Hallelujah Chorus in glee club at Regis High School. But this is a funny version of it, since it has been around for such a long time. In this one you see the Boston Gay Men's Chorus together with a group of "monks" who have taken a vow of silence. See how they sing the chorus.

I don't know if this will work, so I am posting it and trying it there. It will not play here as I write this, but I think it may work once posted.

Enjoy.

Steven

Tuesday after...noon....

Hello:

It has been raining here all of the time for the past two days. It is indeed good to have a winter storm here to refill the ponds behind the dams here.

The picture here is a country road near the fruit and vegetable stand we went this last summer.

There is little traffic in our small town. We have 7,700 people in Stayton. This was according to the 2000 census here. It will change little according to the 2010 census that is upcoming.

This is a radical change from Shanghai China, where there are 18,000,000 people. There are people outside there 24/7. The traffic is so bad there, it takes 45 minutes to go 4 km every morning. After dropping Wenny off at the subway station, it takes me 10 minutes to travel the same distance back to our apartment there.

Some people think China is now a world power on par with the U. S. Tomorrow I will show you two pictures that contradict this view.

Stay dry and warm.

Steven

Monday, December 14, 2009

Monday morning

Hello:

It is cold here but only 30 degrees, not the -0- degrees it was last week at this time.

The picture here is Depoe Bay on the east side of the highway.

My See's Fudge did not set up yesterday. I used a recipe a friend sent me. The ingredients are chocolate chips, margarine, 2 eggs and powered sugar. The recipe for See's Fudge I found online also had marshmallow cream and evaporated milk. My recipe did not.

I made peanut butter fudge yesterday. It worked out fine. It is a gift for Christmas so I need to freeze it for a week until Christmas.

Like I said, most of my gifts for others this year is food. A new way for me to give gifts. Canned goods, fudge, pies...

I have been contacted to be a part of clinical study. I will let you know more about it the more I learn about it.

Winter arrives in a week. Hope you are staying dry and warm. Once winter starts the days start getting longer. By Jan 21 we will have 30 minutes more of sunlight than we see now.

Steven

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Warming up here

Good morning:

Even though this picture is a little blurry, it shows the farm stand where we got corn, tomatoes and prunes during the summer. There is a rumor that it will not be open next year. I will be sad if it no longer open. It had very fresh vegetables and fruit.

It has warmed up here. This morning it was 32 degrees out when I saw our outside temperature. Much better than last week when we had 0 and 4 degrees on four different mornings.

Once I finish today's paper, it time to experiment with my cooking. I will try a new fudge recipe and a cranberry pie today. If both turn out correct, then I will repeat the process in the middle of next week, most of my gifts for others at Christmas are things I cook.

I spent last night reading Superfreakonomics; it is such a good book.

Hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Steven

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Ice and slick

Hello again:

This morning it was so icy out. We had about 2 inches of ice over everything this morning. It has been warming up already, so I do believe the ice is gone.

The picture here is a ring of dark matter in the sky, taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. Dark matter remains a mystery, although I believe it is what is left over from the Big Bang.

This week I plan to test my recipes. I want to try See's Fudge, a cranberry pie, peanut butter fudge, peanut butter cheese fudge, and Korova Cookies. I may also try some peanut brittle.

Most of this stuff will be gifts for friends and family for Christmas.

I will not eat peanut brittle nor will I eat peanut butter cheese fudge.

Too many good recipes to try.

I will let you know how each comes out.

Steven

Friday, December 11, 2009

Information

Just a reminder that you can join me as a follow on this blog if you have a gmail address.

Look in the right column on the main blog page to do this.

Happy Holidays.

Steven

The cold weather ends soon????

Hi:

The picture here is from my nephew Richard, showing a sunset he photographed.

Four degrees again this morning upon arising. Today, later, a winter storm hits us with snow, turning to freezing rain, then to traditional rain in the middle of the weekend.

This deep freeze has lasted too long for me. I want ride my bike to the library and store but it has been too cold to get on a bike.

A good weekend to stay inside to read my book this weekend.

A friend sent me the See's Fudge recipe, so I will try making it. I need to go to Safeway to get some ingredients yet to do this.

I found a peanut butter fudge recipe yesterday. But I also found a peanut butter cheese fudge recipe. If I don't want to eat fudge I will make the latter one as you know how much I hate cheese.

The peanut butter fudge recipe uses Velveeta cheese, which I use as bait in Marion Lake. Bait is the only good reason to buy Velveeta cheese.

Stay warm and dry this weekend.

Steven

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The COLD continues

Hi again:

It is quite cold here still. The past few days it was -0- when I got up. Today it warmed up to 4 degrees.

I do not watch local news so I don't know if snow is in the forecast. We would be deep in to snow if we had moisture during this cold break.

The picture here is the bridge at Newport from the distance of a very low tide.

I finished Typhoon last night. Then I had a very weird dream where I was in Shanghai looking for a road address in Stayton. I had my fishing pole with me, so when a large group of us were walking through water, we came to a jetty near the ocean. I caught a small Chinook salmon, but we had to check it if had a clipped fin. Like I said many times, dreams can be fractured fairytales. The story in Typhoon took place first in Hong Kong, moved to Shanghai, went to Beijing and ended up in Shanghai.

Tomorrow I will make some applesauce. I am getting tired of eating apple crisp. So I will mix Granny Smith apples with Fuji apples in this applesauce.

My next book is Superfreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance. I read their first book Freakonomics. I read this latter book before I went to China but now I have it on my Kindle in case I want to refer to it.

I hope you are staying warm.

Steven

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Even colder today

Hi again:

It was even colder this morning when I got up. Yesterday morning it was 10 degrees. This morning it was -0- degrees. Now that is very, very cold.

The picture here is one taken by one of my nephews on the way to Mt. Hood. It shows Mt. Hood in early winter.

We must be in an El Nino situation again this winter. The bad storms are tracking to California instead of hitting us. The big storm that dropped snow in Sacramento is now east of the Rockies, creating havoc among all of the residents there and the east coast. I do believe we are the only dry place in the United States today.

I am really liking Typhoon, the novel I am almost finished with now. The first part of the book takes place in Hong Kong during the time of the turnover. The book's title refers to a CIA plan to grow dissent in China to force the overthrow of the Commies there. The middle part of the book takes place in Shanghai, in places I readily recognize from my time living there. The last part of the book takes place in Beijing, where I never visited during my time there. The book even mentions Xi'an, where I lived and worked for six months.

One reason the novel is so good is that I cannot predict how it will end. I have less than a hundred pages to go. I plan on finishing it this evening.

I wore my new coat when I purchased in Port Townsend WA last Spring. A major department store was under a liquidation sale when we visited it. I got a heavy winter coast there for $32.00, with a printed list price of $160.00. This coat is very, very warm when I took it outside today. I really like this coat.

I made my apple crisp yesterday. This time I cooked the raw Fuji apples for 15 minutes before putting on the topping. This ended up with very tender apples under the topping. It is so much better this way.

I trust you are staying warm these days.

Steven

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The weekend ends soon...

Hi:

A little warmer today; instead of 15 degrees, like it was yesterday, it was 25 degrees this morning. No rain or snow yet.

The picture is one you recognize.

I woke up at 1:00 am last night, for some unknown reason. I read my book for 45 minutes then went back to bed. Typhoon reads very fast and is an excellent book.

I recorded all three of the Lord of the Rings today. TNT broadcast there movies in a row today, so next week, some evening I will turn off my computer and watch then in order.

Do you watch White Collar on USA channel? The Fall Finale on Friday shows a very surprise ending, completely out of character with the theme of the TV show. Kate, the reluctant girlfriend of the main character, is being held by Peter, who is married on the show to the prettiest character. There was no prediction that this ending was proper. I could rant more on this but I will not bore you with more.

Continuing on the TV theme, the series ending for Monk was very lame.

Nineteen days left before the big holiday.

Steven

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Cold---COLD this Saturday morning


Hi:

It is very cold here this morning, 15 degrees by our outside temperature. That is -9.5 Celsius. No snow yet, just this bitter cold.

The picture here is the American-born panda heading back to China to live where its parents lived in Sichuan area. Some say it goes back because we owe China so much money for the government bonds it owns from the U.S. Not really, this off-spring was suppose to go back in 1997 but the parties agreed it could stay until now.

I did see panda bears when we visited Hong Kong. I posted pictures of those back in the days when I was in China and this blog was on yahoo.com. I will post those pictures next week to remind you of what I posted while in China.

I started Typhoon last night. It is a very good novel. It starts near the time Hong Kong goes back to China as the English 100 year lease expired.

My fudge is so very good but I must limit myself to 3 to 4 pieces per day. I will put on so much weight if I eat more that a day. The problem is, though, I ate 4 pieces already so no more for the rest of today.

Very little BookTV this weekend as the U.S. Senate is in session over this weekend. C-Span2, which has BookTV every weekend also broadcasts the Senate when it is in session.

Stay warm this weekend, a great weekend for me as the Ducks won and the beavs lost. Cannot ask for anything better than that.

Steven

Friday, December 4, 2009

Friday here now...

Hi:



I soon will be heading out to dinner with Connie for a belated celebration of my birthday. My birthdays are no longer important to me so they pass me by every year. I don't care if I have another birthday...



The picture the Telsa Roadster. It lists for $109,000, but you can get a $42,000 discount on this all-electric car. It costs so much because the founder uses cell phone batteries hooked together--6,600 cell phone batteries lumped together. But because he uses so many he needs to put a cooling system throughout the many batteries.



My back remains very tender. I sit on a heating pad every time I sit down. Now that the back spasm is all gone, it appears I tore a muscle in lower back on my left side. It is very sore in just one small area of my back now.



I see the new Michael Crichton book is coming to my library soon. This book was found among his papers after he died so this will be his last book. I read almost everything he wrote while he was live. I look forward to reading to the last book of this author.



My Ducks won last night, making me so very happy. This will be a very great weekend as my Ducks won and the hated Beavs lost. If you watched the game you saw the better team was obviously the Ducks. When the Ducks fell behind I had no doubt they would come to beat them. I do believe the Ducks are the best team in the nation now. They will beat the other OSU in Rose Bowl.



I went to the Rose Bowl in 1995 but I rather doubt I will make to California this year.

Enjoy your cold weekend.

Steven

Thursday, December 3, 2009

60 years + 1 day....


Hello again:
I made my fudge and canned 8 quarts of sauerkraut today. I got more sauerkraut than I thought I would. The cabbage stayed in the crock for five weeks, as the temperature went down in the house. Since I do not eat sauerkraut so I cannot taste it to see how it is.
My fudge is very good, but I put the marshmallow cream in last after the chocolate. The next time I will put the marshmallow cream as soon as the milk, sugar and butter are up to temperature. I will add the chocolate as the last item.
The picture here you recognize.
My sauerkraut is in the canner right now. Since I have 8 quarts I am cooking four at a time in the canner.
This is the first batch of fudge I ever made. It is quite good but with small marshmallow pieces inside of it.
I need lids as I have none here. Safeway had none, but Ace Hardware had a small supply.
Not much else happening here except the cooking today.
Steven

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

60 is the New 40

Hello:

Today I turned 60, but I don't feel like it. I ride my bike everywhere around here.

The picture here is me in Hong Kong. You see downtown Hong Kong in the background of this picture. We are on a hill and park just outside of Hong Kong.

I have all the necessary ingredients to make fudge tomorrow morning. It seems odd to me that 7 oz of marshmallow cream, 12 squares of chocolate and 5 oz of evaporated milk makes four pounds of fudge. Maybe it is the 3 cups of sugar added to this mixture.

Most of my family here will get food I made this summer or this winter. I am learning to cook. I could ask my ex-wife for her fruitcake recipe but I don't like to eat fruitcake (it is on my new Popcorn list).

Tomorrow I take out my second batch of sauerkraut from the crock. I will can all of this sauerkraut. My dad will get more than a few jars of this stuff for Christmas. (Sauerkraut is on my Cheese list--something I will never eat as I don't like the taste of sauerkraut).

What do you do with many green tomatoes? I have quite a few of them.

My to-do list for tomorrow is

1) Make fudge

2) Can sauerkraut

3) Clean out garden area.

After every event I must sit down with a heat pad on my back. My back is very tender still.

I am reading The Men Who Stare at Goats, a 2004 book on a black ops for spies who tried to kill goats with thoughts. One general, early in the book, thinks he can walk through walls. Walls have molecules and he has molecules, so it should be, he thought, he could move his mass through the mass of the wall. All he got was a sore nose from his efforts.

Except for Harry Potter, I do not like to see movies based on books I read. Having read all of the Twilight series, I find the movies lacking many important scenes that carry the story forward. Also characters in the book with big roles are not explained in the short movie time. All of this points to the fact I will not got see the movie The Men Who Stare at Goats.

I picked up 3 more books from the library today.

On Thin Ice: The Changing World of the Polar Bears by Richard Ellis. I saw him on Sunday on BookTV; ordered the book from the library as I watched the TV program. It was ready by yesterday. This book comes from the Stayton Library.

Super Freakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dunbar. This book is from the Newberg Library. I really like the previous book by these authors, Freakonomics.

The last book is Typhoon by Charles Cummings. From the Silverton Library, this is a novel I hear or read about two weeks ago. Set in Hong Kong near the time of the transfer of ownership to China and later near and around the Olympics in Beijing.

I cooked dinner here for Nolan tonight then we went to the DQ for ice cream. I got a larger than usual Chocolate Extreme Blizzard. It now sits half eaten near me here.

From my to-do list for tomorrow you can see I took it easy today, after all I am 60 today.

Hope you have a great week. Stay warm.

Steven

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

It is a Blue Moon month

Hi:

It is a Blue Moon month. This means we have two full moons in December, one tomorrow and one on December 31. "Once in a blue moon..."

The picture here you will have to click on to enlarge the map. It comes from an expat in Shanghai. Each map is how others see China. One is how Shanghai sees. Another one is from Beijing. Another one is how Hong Kong people see the people of China.

I got this map from an email from James Fallows, an Atlantic writer who sends out a daily email. I like his emails as he spent three years in China, both in Shanghai and Beijing.

I published Ray's poems again today. But after sending a copy to my Kindle I opened what I thought I sent to the Kindle page and I became very upset. I thought I published the wrong copy. So I deleted that copy from my computer, looked up a more recent version of the poems, edited those like they need to be done. I then looked on my Kindle to see what published on Kindle page. I did in fact send the correct one to Amazon. I apparently opened the wrong version on my computer, thinking that is what I was sending to the Kindle page.

Luck was with me as my Kindle copy showed it was the correct one. But I had deleted from my computer. So I had my Kindle open as I corrected an older version of the poems.

The Second Edition will be ready in 48 to 72 hours but I think it will be ready by tomorrow. Once it is available on the Kindle page it is up to me to promote it.

Steven