What do you think of mead?

February 29, 2008 at 11:18 pm | Posted in food | 10 Comments

I like mead. I do. Well, ok, I like lots of different liqueurs, beer; I’ve even enjoyed red wine recently on a regular basis. But I’ve liked mead for a long time. For almost 20 years now, since shortly after I went to my first renaissance faire. (Thanks, Shannon.)

But mead has stuck with me. And I’ve found an excellent local brewer, Magpie. Yes, the name of the website is, “Legendary Magpie Mead.” Yes, he’s a little full of himself, but dammit, he’s right! His mead is just the best I’ve ever had. No qualifiers. No, “well, it’s hard to say since I’ve tasted so many meads in my lifetime.” No. It’s really just the best. And this is about 20 years after the newness of mead first entranced me. I’m no starry-eyed pup with virgin tastebuds. This stuff is the real deal. And if you guys who have known me long enough to say, “That’s a strong endorsement from the king of understatement,” consider that I just may still be understating how superior this mead is.

Ok, I’m done gushing.

Anyway, this all came up because of an article by Nicholas Day about the recent popularity (?) of mead. Ok, the local wine shop these days always has at least (at most?) one bottle of Chaucer’s, the Ernest & Julio Gallo of mead. His main point is that, though you can find it at many farmers markets alongside the beekeepers hawking their various exotic strains of honey, mead hasn’t earned a place on the dinner table. It’s just not acidic enough, he says. Well, perhaps. If I enjoy mead, it’s generally after dinner, perhaps with a non-chocolate dessert. I agree that I have yet to find a mead and a meal that I can honestly believe is a good pairing. But that is at least partly because I haven’t really looked.

I’ll tell you this, though … the first place I’d look is Magpie.

Musical progress

February 25, 2008 at 6:33 pm | Posted in music | Leave a comment

I got A-F done!  I’ll probably do G and H while grading tests tomorrow night.


February 23, 2008 at 12:28 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Overheard recently:

Person: “I think that, if a couple never fights at all, something is missing from the relationship.”

Their partner: “Yeah, the fighting!”

Music storage

February 18, 2008 at 10:54 pm | Posted in music | 7 Comments

Well, I got all the A’s and B’s done.

After my hard drive crashed last November, I have been slowly ripping my CDs back onto my hard drive. And by “slowly ripping,” I mean that I ripped about 30 CDs a week after it happened and haven’t done anything since. And they were random CDs that were just sitting out on the speaker. A week or two ago, I re-alphabetized our CD collection, so we can actually find all our music again. So now I’m ripping it all, little by little.

I got a CaseLogic SKU-PF-200. It’s a hard plastic CD storage filing system. It has 3 drawers and holds 200 CDs in ProSleeves. Actually, I have two of them. So that’s 400 CDs. They aren’t 100% full, and the way things are going they won’t ever be. I’m a little perturbed that the plastic dividers have all broken, and I’ve had to jury-rig something to block the CDs from falling out of the back of the drawer into the case when I pull the drawer open. And the drawers stick a little. But if the unit was made to a bit better quality, it would be fantastic. I should probably just rip all of the CDs to MP3, back it all up somehow, and sell the CDs to a used store while I still can can get a few bucks for them.

In the mean time, I’m ripping them all. Again. Letter by letter.

Next up, the C’s! Woo!

I got tagged.

February 18, 2008 at 9:38 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Roberta tagged me.

1. Grab the nearest book (that is at least 123 pages long).
2. Open to p. 123.
3. Go down to the 5th sentence.
4. Type in the following 3 sentences.
5. Tag five people.

From What the Best College Teachers Do by Ken Bain: “Conversational tones, good intentions, and warm language are all important elements of the craft of good talking, but something else distinjuishes the most effective communicators. The best teachers simply know how to make good explanations. It goes without saying that they are clear and thorough and stimulate learning, but how do they achieve those results?”

I tag Jenny, David, Murph, Shannon, and Sacha.

Vista really is a dog, isn’t it.

February 14, 2008 at 2:35 pm | Posted in technology | 2 Comments

A friend of mine has blogged his nightmare with Vista. Apple picked up on this trend with one of their, “Hi, I’m a Mac” ads.


February 14, 2008 at 10:08 am | Posted in holidays, romantic stuff | 5 Comments

Ok, I just got what I think is the best V-Day gift I’ve ever gotten.

Jenny & I don’t celebrate V-Day as a rule. We may say Happy Valentines Day with a kiss, but we don’t spend money on each other. We decided we spent enough on each other with birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, and just-becauses. We made that decision when I was in grad school, but we’ve kept up with it. Until now.

This semester I teach until 5 p.m. every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. It’s kind of a bummer on Fridays, but to be honest I always had a hard time doing anything productive Friday afternoons. For me, It’s just as well that I am forced to work.

So yesterday, seconds after I had dismissed class at 4:50 p.m., as students were standing up and donning their coats, I didn’t notice at first that some students who were not in my class were walking from the door through the classroom toward my desk. They made it through my students and one of them started singing a bass line and snapping his fingers and strutting. Then another of them joined in with the bass line and the snapping. Some girls were obviously with the guys, and when they all got to the front of the room, most of them were singing that be-bop, harmonizing kind of a capella stuff we love so much.

Now, for those of you not in the know, Potsdam has two a capella groups — one male, the Potsdam Pointercounts, and one female, A # Arrangement. My first thought was that they were going classroom to classroom advertising some concert or something they were performing in. There are several Crane students in my class, so that seemed right to me. I thought to myself, good for them, at least they waited until class was over. (The Crane School of Music is part of SUNY Potsdam. I hear from everyone that being a major in Crane is extremely demanding. Those few Math majors who are also in Crane are among our very brightest.)

It was when they stood in a circular arc all facing directly at me that I knew something else was going on. One of the young women stood front and center and started singing a sweet, romantic, upbeat song with the others backing her up. I was shocked. I didn’t know what to do. I had been putting away my papers, and I alternated between looking shocked and nervously continuing to put away my papers. In a short time I just put everything down and gave them my full attention, since it was completely obvious at that point that they were singing to me. They were singing to me! I realized that someone had sent me a singing telegram. That had never happened to me before, so when it happened I didn’t realize what was happening at first!

When the lead vocalist finished her part, and one of the guys stepped up and sang out the note that Jenny wrote to me, “Ha ha – Happy Valentines for the first time ever! -Jenny.” The whole thing took about 2 or 3 minutes, and when they were done they handed me the note and a box of candy. The class and I applauded, and I shook their hands. I was beet red from the time I realized they were singing to me until well after I had arrived at my office.

It turns out this was a (relatively) new co-ed a capella group on campus, the Potsdam Pitches. They don’t have a website yet (come on, guys!), but they, along with the two aforementioned a capella groups, will be part of the A Capella Jam, and invitational hosted by the Pointercounts, on March 15 at the Crane School of Music.

You know I’ll be there! Beware the ides of March!!!

P.S. I love you, Jenny. I’ll be smiling about this for a long time. 🙂

General Update

February 6, 2008 at 8:28 pm | Posted in life, martial arts | 8 Comments

I’m up to my nose in grading.

TKD is going well. 3 classes down so far. The other beginner and I have both had martial arts before, so they’re really throwing everything at us. In 3 classes I’ve learned 1 punch, 4 kicks, 4 blocks, 4 self-defense techniques, a white belt practice combination with 12 moves, and the first form with 19 moves. And that’s interspersed with being exercised to the point where I’m shaking.

Friends are visiting Friday night. We started something when we bought our house. We call it Bring Your Own Happy Hour. We used to go to happy hour a couple times per month on Friday’s at a local place called Maxfield’s. But being homeowners, we decided that should happen much less frequently. So we invited people over our place and said, “Bring something to drink and/or share. Pay liquor store prices instead of bar/restaurant prices. We’ll provide ice, munchies, and the space. Show up at 5pm on Friday. Those who stay past 6pm often go in on take-out/delivery.” In practice we also throw in some drinks of ours.

The last one was two months ago, and for the holiday edition of BYOHH we served up some warm, mulled holiday wine and some homemade egg liqueur and coffee liqueur. (Yes, it’s Oma’s recipe.) It’s cool. We get happy hour, we get to see some of our friends. We don’t have to drive or pay bar/restaurant prices.

But we do have to clean. And that is what I must do now. Fare thee well.

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