Monday, January 29, 2007

Jeweler's Hands

Photo of Austin jeweler-gemologist, Cyrus F. Shennum's hands as he inspects a recently fabricated ring mounting.

Labels: ,

Munchie Mondays: Coconut Cream Pie

Oooh how I love coconut cream pie. My personal favorite is the one that the Hoover's restaurant in Austin, TX makes. The entire place is an advocate for clogging arteries (southern soul food) and all of it is damn good. I can't promise mine is anywhere as good, but it's close!

What I like about this version is that the custard part is denser than most coconut cream pies. It has a similar consistency to buttermilk pie, in fact. Furthermore, there isn't this business of whisking hot boiling cream over the stove. I've thrown out my back and shoulder trying to get lumps out and frankly, it just isn't worth the effort in my opinion! Who wants to eat pie when you're exhausted? You simply mix the custard portion in a bowl and bake in this version.

Coconut Cream Pie

1 prepared pie crust fitted into a pie pan, edges fluted.

3/4 cup of toasted coconut flakes
4 eggs plus one egg yolk
1 12 oz can of condensed milk
1/2 cup of coconut milk
1/3 cup of heavy whipping cream
1 tsp of vanilla
1 dash of salt

for topping:
3/4 cup of heavy whipping cream
2 tbs powdered sugar
1/2 tsp of vanilla
1/4 cup of toasted coconut flakes

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
toast coconut flakes in a frying pan over low heat until flakes turn golden brown
Stick large bowl in the freezer to use for whipped topping later

After preparing pie crust, press 3/4 cup of toasted coconut flakes into the bottom and sides of crust. This isn't an exact science...just squish them in there and don't worry about an exact measurement.

In a large bowl, dump filling ingredients and with a wire whisk, combine until smooth. Pour into pie crust and stick into oven. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Afterwards, reduce to 350 degrees. At this point, you may want to cover edges of crust with foil to prevent over-browning (as you can tell in my pic, I didn't bother). Bake an additional 40-45 minutes or until pie is set. Poke center with a tooth pick to check.

When pie is done, let it cool on a wire wrack for 30 minutes then transfer to the refrigerator and let it cool completely (about 2 to 3 hours). When the custard has cooled completely, it is time to prepare the whipped topping.

Take out bowl from freezer (I like to use a glass bowl) and place the whipped cream, sugar and vanilla extract and beat on high until cream is whipped and fluffy. Spoon onto the top of the pie forming and even domed mound and sprinkle toasted coconut on top. It's ready to eat...straight out of the pan if you're impatient like me.

Labels: , ,

Friday, January 26, 2007

Fun Easy Number Theory Proof

I like to show this one to younger students who are disenchanted by algebra.

So, write down any 3 digit number (I started off with "so" because it seems like every math prof I ever had would start their sentences that way...)

Write those 3 digits down twice in the same order so that you have a 6 digit number.

For example:
123 ---> 123123
505 ---> 505505

This resulting number will ALWAYS be divisible by 7, 11 and 13 and will always result in the original 3 digit number.

Let's take 123123 to illustrate:

123123 divided by 7 = 17589
17589 divided by 11 = 1599
1599 divided by 13 = 123

So how do you prove this?

It's a surprisingly accessible proof.
The statement "divisible by 7, 11 and 13" is the same as saying "divisible by (7 times 11 times 13)"

"7 times 11 times 13" = 7 x 11 x 13 = 1001

So, really, we're saying the resulting 6 digit number will always be evenly divisible by 1001 (if you recall, evenly divisible means there are no remainders).

To state this in general terms:
Let a, b and c be integers between 0 and 9. We form a six digit number in the following way.

abcabc = a(10^5) + b(10^4) + c(10^3)+ a(10^2) + b(10^1)+ c(10^0)

This number will always be divisible by 1001 and the resulting answer will be equal to abc

Some reminders:
Any number to the power of zero is equal to 1.
Any number can be written as the sum of integers times powers of 10. For example:

123 = 1(10^2)+ 2(10^1)+ 3(10^0)
= 1(10^2)+ 2(10^1)+ 3(1)
= 1(100) + 2(10) + 3(1)
= 100 + 20 + 3
= 123


The proof only involves a lot of factoring:

abcabc = a(10^5) + b(10^4) + c(10^3) + a(10^2) + b(10^1) + c(10^0)
= a(10^5) + b(10^4) + c(10^3) + a(10^2) + b(10^1) + c
= a(10^5) + a(10^2) + b(10^4) + b(10^1) + c(10^3) + c
= a(10^2)[(10^3 +1)] +b(10^1)[(10^3 + 1)] +c[(10^3 + 1)]
= [a(10^2) + b(10^1) + c](10^3 +1)
= [a(10^2) + b(10^1) + c](1001)
= abc(1001)

In other words, abcabc = abc(1001) which means that abcabc is divisible by 1001 and dividing the number by 1001 leaves abc. Proof solved!


Thursday, January 25, 2007

plug for Pandora Radio

I just learned about this radio site from a buddy of mine, DJ Void. It's the coolest thing in the world. Simply type in your favorite band or song and a radio station will be tailored around the group for you. This is a fantastic way to discover groups you may also like. It's like having your own DJ!

Pandora Radio

Monday, January 22, 2007

Shakira: Pies Descalzos

A talented hot Columbian siren- that's what she is.

Here's another artist I wanted to squeeze onto my last podcast. Pies Descalzos was recorded when Shakira was only 18 and even back then she possessed the thick awesomely heavy and emotional voice she's known for.

There are a few fan who insist that this is not her best work. Perhaps it isn't as exciting as 2001's crossover mega hit Laundry Service or as mature as Donde Estan Los Ladrones? However, I find myself coming back to this album quite frequently. This album captures her raw untainted talent prior to her super-stardom days. The tracks aren't heavily processed and you can really appreciate her talent at face value on this album.

Listen to:
"Pienso en Ti"

Shakira's Official Website
Purchase Pies Descalzos from Amazon


Munchie Mondays: Meatballs

Someone told me I ought to record more of my recipes so here we have it, an Adzuki Blog exclusive Munchie Mondays! (imagine that announcement in a big booming voice with lots of reverberation.) Speaking of deep voices, my jeweler just called and got me mixed up with my husband. Good grief!

Anyway, I figured every Monday I'll try to record some sort of Cindy recipe on here. Let's see how well I can keep to schedule....

Meatballs-Cindy Style (as in super calorific)
(makes about 24-30 meatballs)

1 lb ground beef
1 cup of chopped Kielbasa pork sausage
2 slices of bacon chopped coarsely
3/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsely
1/2 cup of chopped chopped fresh basil
1 small onion diced
4 cloves of garlic crushed and chopped
3/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 egg
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 tbs Soy Sauce
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
(milk for adjusting consistency)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Dump everything into a bowl. Using hands mix well. If the consistence is too dry, add milk. If it is too wet, add bread crumbs. This isn't an exact science, so there's a lot of room for deviation for the mixtures, so don't worry about perfect measurements.

Form meat mixture into 1 1/2 inch diameter balls. Some people use a small ice cream scoop---me, I'm not that anal, so I just estimate using my hands. Place onto an ungreased baking sheet about 1/2 an inch apart. Bake for a about 20-25 minutes or until center juices are no longer pink.

Since there's a lot of fat from the bacon and sausage, the likelihood of drying out is diminished. Hence, you don't have to rely on copious amounts of sauce to make them moist. The nutmeg, cinnamon and soy sauce give a nice rich and complex flavor. If that's just too weird for you, just omit and use 1 tsp of salt instead.

These things freeze really well too. Just stick the entire baking sheet in the freeze and then transfer the meatballs into freezer bags.

I actually like eating these on top of rice with peanut or fish sauce, but of course these are perfect with spaghetti or as filler for Italian sandwiches. Yummy!

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Fairy Attendant in Sleeping Beauty

I found the snippet of the choreography I'll be part of on YouTube!

So, just imagine me as the second gal in the left hand row of purple dancers. I eventually will end up being in the dancer on the farthest left after we move to the back. I love these costumes. Since the group I'm in are the "Fairy Attendants" (or baby fairies depending on how you look at it) we get the little itty bitty nubby wings.

Later on, the Big Momma fairies come in. They've got the larger more grandiose wings (and the longer legs, the slimmer thighs, the better technique, etc. etc.)

I can say after just 1 rehearsal that forming a diagonal line while dancing backwards is really hard--even harder than marching band was. There's also the issue of running into folks while you're turning. So far, I'm not doing all that great in that department.


On an unrelated note, I think I start work tomorrow! Temperatures are above freezing now although I'm guessing they'll dip below tonight. I'm excited. :)

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

the fluff that launced a thousand tunes

Hippo has inspired yet another song!
My brother sent this to me today and it features his fantastic guitar work as well as the glockenspiel my mom got him for Christmas some years ago. He slapped it together using Audacity and voila! A new hippo song. I love the title too:

"Hippo Dances in the Rain"

Isn't that the cutest imagery?

Of course, she'd be dancing in this motha-fucking ice storm right about now dodging ice pellets. Ugh...we can't get our mailbox open. It's completely fused shut at the moment.

That's not too bad, but I am concerned about driving conditions. Us Texans aren't used to driving in harsh weather like this. You've got your scaredy cats like me who will inch super slow and those crazy soccer moms in their SUVs who think they're invincible. They closed the upper deck of I35 today and the stretch to Georgetown only just now opened. Yikes!

Speaking of bad weather conditions, I'm still utterly fascinated by snow. It's just so strange how it makes no sound as it comes down. It's fluffy. It doesn't look like those pretty snowflakes you cut out from paper for elementary school projects. It doesn't taste like anything either (I maintain that rain water has flavor whether it be pollution or what not). Snow is so powerful that it inspires me to run out of the house wearing mismatching pajamas two jackets, socks and clogs just so I can stand outside with my mouth open and look like an idiot:

Fortunately, UT is closed tomorrow. I get another day of vacation and another attempt at getting my sleep schedule back on track. However, this also means that my first day of my new job is delayed yet again. I guess that isn't too bad, but it is kind of strange. I suspect I'll have more catching up to do than before. But enough of that...

Because of the cold, my cats are snuggling more than usual. In fact, they don't normally sleep together. In fact, Genghis and Hippo fight all the time, but here they are snuggled up in the warmth of our bed:

Genghis looks like a passed out college student.

Labels: , , ,

JBro: "Hippo Dances in the Rain"

My brother Johnny (I call him JBro for short) has this amazing talent with coming up with songs on the fly. He's also good about creating beautiful or haunting melodies from mundane inspirations: dolphins, salad dressing and most recently, my cat. Granted, Hippo has been the subject of several songs over the years and even drove the last impromptu "recording session" with my bro and I.

Why? might ask. Well, it's because we're all a silly bunch of folks, but to be honest, anything that exudes that amount of cuteness is worthy of more than one song.

But seriously, I think the guitar work here is quite good and surprisingly catchy. Add to that the lovely glockenspiel that my mom got him for Christmas ages ago and I think we have another classic on the way. If not, we've certainly created a great homage to my adorable cat.

Listen to:
"Hippo Dances in the Rain"

Johnny's Myspace
Johnny's Blog

JBro with adorable half-Ragdoll half-Siamese chubby kitty, the inspiration for so many songs.

Labels: , , ,

Monday, January 15, 2007

Munchie Mondays: Divine Fudge

I was getting a little stir crazy this morning though and decided to make some fudge. I didn't quite have the items listed so improvised and hot damn, it came out yummy! In fact, I think my version is denser and chewier than regular fudge. I imagine it would be particularly decadent on brownies or chocolate cake. It would certainly work as a pie crust glaze for coconut cream pie (which I made yesterday...crust and all).

Here it is...

Cindy's Divine Fudge

1 can of sweetened condensed milk
1 cup of semi sweet chocolate chips
1 cup of milk chocolate chips
1 cup of Ghiradelli bitter baking coco (unsweetened)
1/2 tsp of salt
1/2 cup of chopped pecans

Melt the condensed milk, chocolate chips, baking coco and salt over low heat in a heavy sauce pan stirring frequently. When thoroughly mixed and melted, stir in nuts. Pour into wax paper lined 8x8 pan. Spray Pam or butter a sheet of plastic wrap and smooth over fudge pressing down so that it forms an even layer on the bottom of pan. Place in refrigerator (or stick it outside LOL) for 2 hours or until set. When set, cut into squares and store in refrigerator. Easy!

I was up all last night working on Podcast #9. I almost did an all industrial podcast, but actually got tired of the music after 20 minutes. This is a definite sign that I am starting to get old.

There are patches of ice on our front lawn and there's definitely frozen rain coming down. All 3 cats are sleeping on my bed which never happens. I suspect they're cold (downstairs is rather drafty since the floors aren't carpeted). I wonder if UT will be closed tomorrow due to the ice storm? That would be kind nice to have another day off especially since we've got tons of food at home. :)

Labels: , , ,

Therion: "To Mega Therion"

Operatic death metal? Bombastic progressive goth rock? Or is it symphonic metal?

It doesn't matter what they're described as. Therion Rocks! (and wails and riffs and...yeah, you get the picture)

These guys didn't make it onto my newest podcast due to space limitations, but I really wanted to put them there. They're from Sweden, have been around since 1987 and the name translates from Greek to "the beast." What I like most about them though is even though they're basically a death metal band, their music is incredibly lush and beautiful. It's suprising to the ears.
Listen to:
"To Mega Therion"

Therion's Official Web Site
Therion's Myspace
Buy Theli from Amazon

Friday, January 12, 2007

ah freedom

I woke up at 10:30am this morning. It was absolutely wonderful not needing to think about work at all.
I spent the day doing housework. Now, I know what you're thinking: how could housework possibly be something you want to do while off on vacation? But the thing is, although I don't mind clutter, but there's something to be said about the satisfying feel of being in the presence of an utterly clean and organized space after putting in the effort to get it to that state. This is the same reason why I loved doing things like programing library and file clean up at work...oh, there I go again thinking about work. Must stop that!

Anyway, the thing I tackled today was getting the computer cables all organized and the computer credenza cleaned. It may seem like a relatively simple task, except that the credenza weighs a ton and there are only 3 small holes with which to thread cables and wires through in the back. I spent long hours tying hard wires to cables so that I could thread them behind the large credenza and through the back slots contorting myself in small cubby are, maneuvering around shelves and balancing pieces of hardware just so I could reconnect my computer in such a way that none of the cables showed from the front. This was not an easy task as many of the cord were not long enough for me to connect to the back of the computer with it sitting in front of the shelving. No, much of the time, it had to be somewhat far back and I had to slip my arm and shoulder back behind the box and feel where the cables were supposed to connect into. None of the convenient color coding would help me here. The computer box was sitting next to the desk. Now it sits beneath it under the keyboard tray where it's supposed to be! I condensed everything so that the computer only needed one USB splitter and also found logical places for the speakers, video cam, microphone and camera input line.

I also dusted all the shelves, organized the computer books, games, blank CDs and DVDs and paper stock. I really felt accomplished. When the darling hubby came home, I made him close his eyes and led him upstairs. He was incredibly excited when he saw how organized and clean the computer area now looked. He also said "I'm so proud of you for being able to do all of this completely on your own. See! Small hands are useful!"

I'm glowing right now. :)

I also made fettuccine alfredo with basil, sun dried tomatoes and pecans for supper. I did 2 loads of laundry and cleaned up my craft room. T and I just watched the movie Cowboy Beebop. Now, I'm sipping on a mojito and enjoying my new computer station.

Ahh. Life is good!


Thursday, January 11, 2007

ballet and their absurd story lines

Well, I found out how I did at auditions yesterday evening and these are my roles:

Coppelia- Corps member
Firebird- Enchanted Princess (one of many)
Sleeping Beauty- Fairy Assistant (As Sammi pointed out, for some reason this sounds kinky when it really shouldn't.)

First of all, I had no idea I'd be assigned more than role in more than one ballet (we're doing a montage in the Spring). But what got me was that the roles aren't double cast. There are 3 nights of performances all at the end of March and well, I guess that means I'll be dancing my heart out all 3 nights. Yikes! I didn't realize this prior to signing my name in blood. Actually, it's not in blood, but there was a lengthy contract I had to read in detail and sign before accepting the parts. Good
grief! Why is show business so complicated?

I was relieved that I got to be a corps member for Coppelia, at first, that is. If you recall in my previous post, all I aspired to be was a nice cute little doll sitting on the shelf serving as human scenery. When I mentioned this, the ballet master responded with:

"Are you kidding me? You're going to be doing character work and lots of complicated point combinations ..."

Oh geeze. So, I'm not a shelf item. Apparently I'm one of them jolly towns people who break out into perfect choreography every time something significant happens like when someone buys bread or something. (Dance interludes in ballet are just as absurd as the filler songs in musicals.) They're also not particularly bright since they
can't seem to tell the difference between a cute doll with the awful name of Swanhilda and a jealous chick who pretends to be her come to life. When I hear "life size doll" I think of things that are inflatable and only used by lonesome middle-aged men. Also, why the hell would you ever name anything Swanhilda? It's the Hilda part that irritates me.

As for Firebird,I get to be one of the Enchanted Princesses. I'm guessing they're virgins and one of them has the hots for the garden variety prince. The sit around eating golden apples and whine about this evil dude who turns travelers into stone. I don't know what they're complaining about because he's ain't turning any of them to stone, but I digress. Due to the magic of the spastic
Ms.Firebird, she's able to ward off evilness with her powers and Mr. Prince Ivan snags of them broads.

Sleeping Beauty is Sleeping Beauty...we all know the story. I still have no clue what a fairy attendant does. I guess we fluff up their tutus, straighten out their wings and smile and nod every now and then. I'm not really sure and I have no idea what the choreography is like. Some of it is ridiculously hard. Case in point, the Blue Bird variation. Now, this leads me to wonder about something else. Why is it that Blue Bird, Puss and Boots and Little Red Riding Hood were all invited to Sleeping Beauty's return to life, but Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs were excluded? I'm sure Santa wanted to be invited too...In terms of fairies we've also got: Canary, Strawflower, Lilac, Silver, Sapphire, Diamond...and Breadcrumb. What color is breadcrumb???? That ain't a color. I would hate to be named such a mundane food item as well.

Heh. So, there you have it. Those are the 3 ballets I'm in. I'll keep y'all posted on when I'm performing. :)

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, January 08, 2007

dance dance dance!

Look at how tall Sammi and I look when we're standing next to each other.

In stark contrast to her and my darlin hubby:

It's still amazes me how she managed to squeeze all of that long beautiful red hair of hers under that wig. Still though, she looks damn cute and I have to say purple is very flattering on her.

The three of us danced the night away (or rather S and I thrashed about while darling hubby bought us drinks) as the bands Hipnautica and Lucid Dementia performed. It was a great show and the club Elysium was packed with lots of beautiful people. One particular beautiful person, the bassist from Hipnautica (Sandy, if you need a reference, he looked exactly like Scott but smaller...), brushed up against my hubby. We were mildly jealous of course.

There was a big burly dude who just sat right up again Sam at one point while she and Trav were taking a break. Literally, he came right up and hunkered down smooshing his hip up against hers. Good grief. Talk about subtle...versus skinny goth boy who was dancing next to me:

Dear Skinny Goth Boy,
I acknowlege that you're nice to look at, but you know what? You lost your chance 5 years ago when I smiled at you while you worked the cash register over at Cheapo's Used CDs. You could have started a conversation then. Inching into my thrash space is not gonna work. In case you didn't notice, I've got a volutous hot chick wearing a purple wig and a cute guy who looks a little like Dave Grohl and John Linnel dancing right next to me. They're with me. You...I can't figure out what the hell you're doing. Your boot is nuzzling next to mine. At least Mr. Boot knows how to make a pass. I'd like to think its a mistake except that everytime I move to the left, Mr. Boot keeps following me and at one point your arms came dangerously close to messing up my eyeliner. Don't smudge my eyeliner, boy I'm warning you. Otherwise I'm gonna go after your lipgloss!

Actually it wasn't that bad...

Now, I was having such a grand ole time that I sort of forgot that I had a ballet audition the next day. Ugh, first of all, I had a hangover when I woke up the next morning. My going away happy hour in my department was earlier that evening and I had drank a few beers and munched on too much queso. At Elysium, I downed a couple more drinks and forgot to drink water. Dancing to the goth bands that played that night included a lot of thrashing and hip action, so my back and neck were killing me. However, by far the worst thing I did to myself though was not taking a break and letting my feet rest.

By the time I arrived at the school for auditions, I discovered much to my horror that my feet had swollen so much that I could barely fit them into my pointe shoes. Even worse, the bottoms of the soles of my feet were completely blistered.

I frantically bandaged up each toe and the balls of my feet with medical tape, ripped out the toes of my tights and smooshed my feet into my shoes. Ouch. I already paid the audition fee, so I figured I'd make the best of it.

If you're wondering, I auditioned for Coppelia. Don't I reek of obnoxiously cute doll? I mean, come on...that's totally me. Just imagine me sitting on that chair wearing a tutu. It screams Cindy. Actually, I just want a small part in the corps, live a villager or something. Or, maybe I can be one of those dolls who just sorta sit on the shelf as scenery.

I didn't do great, but it was fun despite the feet that hurt. In fact, I'm sure I could have done better had I been in a more focused condition, but ah well. No biggie. It's one of those moments where you're encouraged to be a ham. :) One of the gals got really sick though and was throwing up due to not feeling well and being too nervous. I felt really bad for her and couldn't quite concentrate after she left. But, I got through it all and hopefully I'll get a small part for the spring show.

I should add that I am, according to the people at my ballet school, officialy 5'1''. I'm going gloat about that extra inch as much as I can to my other petite friends.

Labels: , , , , ,

They Might Be Giants: Indestructible Object

Are you one of those people who buys so much music that you eventually lose track of what you do and don't have?

I'll admit to it openly. I can't believe I forgot that I owned this EP because every freaking song here is great. Furthermore, the first track "Am I awake?" is a refreshing departure in sound from the typical ska-kissed "nerd rock," not that nerd rock is remotely bad. I've always loved the bizarre lyrics of They Might Be Giants-- so cryptic yet so easily applicable to anyone's interpretation.

Check out some of the lyrics to "Au Contraire:"

Au contraire, Mahatma
Hate to contradict you, but
As it happens, au contraire
Au contraire, yes au contraire

And au contraire, you square
Wash that notion from your hair
If you're still there, I must declare
Au contraire, mon très
Bon frère

Listen to:
"Am I Awake?"
"Au Contraire"

They Might Be Giant's Official Web Site
They Might Be Giant's Myspace
Purchase Indestructible Object from Amazon


Saturday, January 06, 2007

No Doubt: Rock Steady

I know, I know. Rock Steady ain't an obscure album and No Doubt is not an obscure band. Most people know who Gwen Stefani is and almost everyone can sing along to "Hella Good" word for word.

However, I can tell you that this is one of those albums I enjoy not necessarily because of the music itself, but more because of the memories associated with it. I'm sure everyone has a few songs or albums like that. For me, hearing "Hella Good" takes me back to the time I met Trent Reznor and the rest of Nine Inch Nails and needless to say, each and every detail of that day is imprinted in my mind.

This was during the 2005 With Teeth tour. A entourage of us obsessive fans were waiting in line, sitting on the hard concrete hours before the show passing the time by playing cards and obsessively checking the Spiral boards on various laptops to see if any announcement of a meet and greet had been made. As the crew was setting up the stage inside of the SBC Center in San Antonio, TX we could hear the throbbing beats of the house music. It was when "Hella Good" was blaring that one of the crew members came out and announced that we would have the opportunity to meet the man himself in a short while. After the concert while my husband and I drove back to hotel still in awe at the entire experience, "Rock Steady" was playing on a local college radio station. Hence, you can imagine why I have a soft spot in my heart for this album.

Listen to:
"Hella Good"
"Rock Steady"

No Doubt's Official Website
Gwen Stephani's Site
Buy Rock Steady on Amazon

Labels: ,

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

What's wrong with them carrots?

I swear to God I have the weirdest issues with supermarket cashiers and their lack of knowledge of root veggies. This is not the first time. No indeed it isn't.

Again, greeted by an adorable teenager, this time Latina with glitter eyeshadow, another abomination occurred. My precious parsnips were mistaken for a common vegetable!

What's wrong with them carrots? Why they white an all?

This is marginally better than that chick who got the rutabaga mixed up with the onion, but Christ, the cellophane package even said "parsnips." If she looked at the computer monitor when she scanned, she would have noticed my fragrant and delectable rooties were indeed much more interesting than a mere carrot. Ugh.

But, to add insult to injury, she stared at my beets with with awe and confusion (I was making roasted root medley for dinner, by the way) and had to galls to go:

And what are these? Spinach or something?

To give her credit, they did still have the greens attached. So, at least she was using her brain a little. I calmly explained that they were beets.

I thought these things come in cans... fishing around for the scan tag and thumbing through her produce code book not believing me.

It's not like those things are born inside of tin houses or that they roam around in Wyoming waiting to get shot, processed and preserved. What did she think beets were? A relative of tuna? I just couldn't believe it.

For fucks sake, people. Feed your children more vegetables. There are plenty of things much more tastier than broccoli and peas.

Labels: , ,


Shawn pleaded with me to edit the bio on a band he was in back in the early 90's, entitled Solemn, but it was so jam packed with information, an amusing read...AND they have no website. Hence, I'm just gonna have to reproduce it in its entirety and function as the official web (hopefully that'll encourage the gentlemen to send pictures my way). Sorry buds. :)

For those of you who have an incredibly short attention span here's some of their music which is quite good...freakishly good when you realize how young they were when they recorded this. Most jr. high rock star dreams don't last long nor do they include a core set of people who continue to perform together into high school. Rarely do they even get gigs. So you're listening to true talent right here, folks. What I find most interesting is how much their paths diverged yet many continued with music.

Listen to:
"The Unusual"
"Key in the Clouds"

One side comment, I watched some video footage of them performing the Backroom and still recall guitarist Josh Watson reaching over and tweaking Shawn's bass tuning in the middle of a performance while they were performing. That's what you call a sharp ear.

Read (bio by Shawn Westmoreland, via email):

Hi Cindy,

Solemn never had a website or anything - Solemn was before the internet.
Well, I guess the internet was still there, but we sure as hell didn't
know about it like most people. Let's see, I can relate a history of the
band. (I'm sure you won't want to use all of this..)

Founded in 1989 by Chad Hunter (drums), Shawn Westmoreland (bass), and
Danny Burrows (singer) while attending middle school. Danny Burrows left
for Amarillo very quickly, and was only in the band for a few months. Then
Ricky Valenzeuala joined us as guitarist. Eventually, Chad and I convinced
Josh Watson (the best guitarist in school) to leave the band he was
currently in and join Sin 'n Solemn. Josh's friend Chris Luton also joined
as rhythm guitarist. Ricky was then out of the band.

1989 lineup: [Sin 'n Solemn]
Josh Watson (lead guitar)
Chris Luton (rhythm guitar)
Shawn Westmoreland (bass)
Chad Hunter (bass)

Our main influences were Guns 'n Roses (even modeling the name of our band
after theirs), Motley Crue, '80s Metallica (that was the only Metallica at
the time), Whitesnake, big-hair bands and stuff. I'm glad now that we
never really sounded like our influences! I don't really like the kind of
music we used to listen to anymore.

We got our first gig in 1990 at a "teenage night club" in Round Rock known
as Boltz. Now, that place is known as "Joy." That's right, "Joy" the strip
club. By 1991, Chris Luton was gone and the band was a trio. We also
shortened the name to "Solemn." Our parents didn't like us having "Sin" in
our band name anyway.

1991 lineup: [Solemn]
Josh Watson
Chad Hunter
Shawn Westmoreland

In 1991 we playes several gigs at the Backroom in Austin and other clubs.
We were only like 14-15 years old. We couldn't play the clubs unless our
parents came along with us, and they did. The crowds were always quite
small, consiting of family and friends. Our following was extremely small
but it was loyal and seemingly fanatical at times.

At some time in 1991 - 1992, we got another rhythm guitarist, Steven Haas.
He only stayed with us for a few months and moved on to a very successful
local metal band called "Soul Gate."

In 1992, Josh quit the band, and this devestated Chad and I. We sought a
few new guitarists, but had problems finding someone that Chad and I both
liked. Eventually, we ended up getting Ricky Valenzuela back and also a
fellow by the name of Jeremy Langsworth. We continued playing clubs around
Austin occasionally. (Oh yeah, keep in mind we still didn't have a singer.
We were "instrumental rock.")

1992 lineup: [retrospectively nicknamed "Solemn 2"]
Jeremy Langsworth (lead guitar)
Ricky Valenzuela (rhythm guitar)
Shawn Westmoreland (bass)
Chad Hunter (drums)

In late 1992, our dream of finding a great singer finally materialized.
Since 1989, we had been looking for singers, auditioned several people.
But they always sucked and just didn't fit with us personality-wise
anyway. But Brian Lamere was like a gift from God. He had a great voice,
and was pretty cool overall. Well, there was occasionally some friction
between some of the other band members and Brian which I never really
understood. At any rate, Brian was incorporated into the band and I quit,
leaving bass guitar duties to Jeremy Langsworth. The reason why I quit was
beacuse I was no longer interested in music. I wanted to conentrate on

Late late 1992:
Brian Lamere (vocals/guitar)
Ricky Valenzuela (guitar)
Jeremy Lansgworth (bass)
Chad Hunter (drums)

(My absense from Solemn was so brief that it is easily overlooked, even by
the other band members.) But then I heard what things sounded like with
Brian's vocals and I thought it was great. I figured that I could play
bass and still study physics, so I talked things over with Chad and
replaced Jeremy as bassist. I was only out of the band for about a month
at the most. It was not long until Josh heard the stuff we were doing with
Brian and he also came back to the band. Thus, the canonical incarnation
of Solemn was born

1993: [Solemn}
Brian Lamere (vocals)
Josh Watson (lead guitar)
Ricky Valenzuela (rhythm guitar)
Shawn Westmoreland (bass)
Chad Hunter (drums)

Brian and Chad forged a very fruitful collaboration on writing songs.
Ricky and Josh also made substantial contributions. Although I had been a
major contributor in the past, my interest in music had waned, and I was
no longer contributing creatively to the band. I just played very simple
bass lines to support the amazing songs that the other people were

We just continued writing songs, playing clubs, and such until we
eventually dissolved in 1995. Although the band appeared to have been
short-lived, it was our whole world for a few years, and the innocence of
youth made those few precious years seem to stretch out for decades.

Looking back, I wish I hadn't burned out on songwriting back then and took
the music a bit more seriously. We were just starting to get attention
from producers when we fizzled out and went separate ways. Selfishly, I
did not want a career in music. I should have put more effort in it for
the sake of the others, though.

I don't know what caused the break-up, but it was pretty clear that Solemn
was no more at some time in 1995.

There was the occasional talk of reunion, but it never happened.

Where are they now?
Chad Hunter went on to work with children at his church and devoted
himself to Christ. He was also a good poet and some of his poetry has been
published. He died in a tragic motorcycle accident in August 2005.

Josh Watson released an awesome solo album in 1995. It was only circulated
among friends and was never released on any large scale. (Which is
unfortunate because it was fucking awesome!) He is currently getting back
into music and has built a new home studio and working on a new album.
He's also playing guitar for a Christian metal band.

Ricky Valenzuela went on to form several bands after the break-up of
Solemn. Notably the funk-rock band QP. Shawn Westmoreland joined QP as
keyboardist in 1999 and stayed with QP until that band disintegrated in
2000. Currently, Ricky is married and living in central Texas. Last time I
saw him (about a year ago), he wasn't that interested in music anymore and
said that his guitar is just sitting there collecting dust.

Brian Lamere eventually married his girlfriend, who he started dating
while with Solemn. He now lives in New York and last time I talked to him
(about a year ago) he said that he was thinking about going back to school
to do a Masters degree. He attended Texas A&M. I don't remember what he
majored in, I assume he graduated. He was really smart and I enjoyed
talking to him about philosophy and stuff when I was around him.

Back in the day, Shawn thought that if Solemn broke up it would be the end
of the world, but the breakup of Solemn in 1995 was tolerable since he had
come to believe that his true calling lie with physics and mathematics. In
2002, he released a solo album titled "Mystery Box" under the alias "Das
Mobius." Currently, he is working on his PhD in mathematics at Kansas
State University.

OK I'm trusting that you will use your good taste and editing skills to
make this into a descent sounding biography! :)

Too bad I don't have any pictures. Maybe I can get some to you sometime,
but that won't be anytime soon!



Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

More pics from Funeral Party XVII by Mary

My beautiful and talented friend Mary just uploaded some fabulous pictures from Funeral Party XVII. She's a photographer, so needless to say, her pictures rock. I'm sure she won't mind me reproducing them here. She does a fantastic job capturing the jovial yet elegant quality of the whole celebration...and our fucking fantastic clothing :)

T and I look like we're getting married:

Jason and Sarah are getting married soon:

(I'm chuckling at the angle because Mary is my height and Robert is 6'7''...and how am I gonna recognize Cassandra from the back now that her hair isn't blue?)

Very cool bonfire photo:

Bunch more of her pics here:

Labels: , , , , ,

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year!

Good riddance to 2006 and hurray for 2007!

It's been going good so far, frankly. Heck, it started late last night when I discovered an extra pair of contacts in the bottom of my drawer (I thought I was out) and then another happy surprise this morning when Sandy called me to tell me that we had a University Holiday due to President Ford's passing. So thoughtful of her and gives me more time to recuperate.

Funeral Party XVII was an absolute blast. We celebrated the memory of Wylie and we celebrated ourselves. As usual, there was a lovely bonfire:

Decadent and sumptuous clothing is always encouraged. This of course is an excuse for me to make my lovely husband dress up. Doesn't he look dashing?

I chopped off the train to one of my "scrapped" wedding gowns I had sewn right before I supposed to get married. The finished product ended up being too small so I couldn't wear it then, but now it fits just fine. In fact, it's a tad bit too loose! I knew the gown would come in handy one of these days. Plus, it just seemed like such a waste to throw out something made out of such nice satin. So, here's me...can you sense the Edwardian thing going?

I made a necklace for the occasion as well. It's supposed to be a snowflake, but I don't think anyone got that:

Don't I look regal? Yeah, that didn't last too long. If you look below, I ended up looking pretty plastered after a few hours. Troy makes a killer punch. I'm not raging drunk, but I am a little absent minded here. Lets just say I can't remember who all I kissed that night except for my hubby and Ross's wife...

You have to excuse the fact that I don't have my boots on yet in the above "classier pics." Speaking of which, aging Goths tend to have pretty fucking cool boots. Heck, it doesn't take much encouragement to get us to dress to the nines. I did ponder the massive amounts of leather, velvet, satin and occasional vinyl in the crowd.
Lisa and Darrel look great here, but the pic cracks me up:

Doesn't it look like they're arguing? I can imagine a conversation...

L: I told you. No throwing ammunition into the fire.
D: [whines] But whyyyy! It's fun making things explode
L: Absolutely not. We only burn effigies here. Plus, it's dangerous. There's enough hair spray amongst us to pin a foundation. Now go finish your wine before you open that bottle of champagne.
D: Yes Ma'am...

I'm not kidding about the effigies by the way.

Here's Troy and his friend (gosh, was his name Darren?) starting the fire:

Poking the fire (it felt really nice by the flame, actually):

I'm telling you-- velvet, leather and boots, baby. That's what we wear:

We all sit around reminiscing about Sir Wylie:

And of course, in the name of style, some people were insistent on bringing their own fancy chalice for such a toast...I just find the juxtaposition of such a lovely object resting on a rusty folding chair quite amusing.

Also, check out Lee's kick ass cavalier get up. That's another person I smootched. Favorite quotes from him:
"I've known you for over 10 years and I just now get a kiss from you?? Can I get another one?"
"I'm a very masculine guy, damnit. I love women. I love my wife with the passion of 100 men. I very straight. VERY the way, is my lip gloss still on?"
"Oh-My-GOD is that velvet?" while feeling up Trav.

Messages to Wylie, bad memories from 2006...and yes, a box of firecrackers were all throw into the roaring fire as Troy announced that 2006 has finally been put to rest as the clock struck 12.

We all hugged and kissed our loved ones and enjoyed the fireworks display in the night sky as the glowing ashes of all our worries and concerns floated up into the atmosphere, soon to be forgotten.

Happy New Year Everyone! May 2007 be filled with joy, prosperity and good health.

Labels: , , , , ,