Shake-a shake-a shake-a.

So I’ve been out here in California for about a year. I’ve heard of these earthquake things before. It’s something I’ve never been through before. I like storms and hurricanes, and that same fur-poofed-on-edge interest in those things makes you wonder… “what is it like?”

So for the first few months here I would occasionally check the USGS maps to see if the things I felt or thought I felt were small earthquakes or not. Even a small confirmation would be interesting. But as time progressed, I checked less and less and figured it would just happen sooner or later and I would recognize it.

Boy howdy did I. The first earthquake I got to feel was the strongest down that fault in nearly 20 years. A 5.6.

It sounds so official. The numbers don’t make sense to you until you’ve rated them to your own experience. What’s 66 decibels? A cat 3 hurricane? An f3 tornado? If you’ve been in it or felt it, you now know.

I don’t suffer from any possible delusion that a paltry text description here would convey the feeling of having the ground and building under and around you move in an assured motion and vibration. It’s like a special effect ride at a theme park with a much greater feeling of true solidity and it lacks that inherent air of falseness.

And much like witnessing a car accident, or reacting to someone who has been hurt in first aid, the moment seems surreal because you’re mentally checking if it is real. You stare at each other a moment before realizing what it is and then remembering proper actions.

All in all it was fun. We’re safe. And I’m now officially Californian.

Personally though I think was just down the street kicking off fleas.

So what do you call it?

A mookie? A coofin?

I took the simple cobler base that grandma used to do, added some honey and blueberries and poured it into scone pans.

It came out wonderfully spongy and good.

To quote a roommate: “It’s like the bastard offspring of a cookie and a muffin.”

It’s super easy to make. Try making it yourself and see what you’d call it?

Get muffin pan and butter the surface. (just use your fingers and smear some butter around until it’s got a slick coating all over – nonstick pans help a lot too.)

Get a mixing bowl and:

* Mix one cup of milk and one cup of splenda or sugar
* Sift in and mix 1 cup of self-rising flour
* Mix in 4 tablespoons (aka 4 fl oz) of honey

You should be able to use a small whisk and just gently stir the ingredients in until you have a uniform, rather thin, batter. (If you don’t have a sifter, you can spoon-shake the flour in and mix it as you go. But it’s a pain to work all the little lumps of flour out.)

Pour into muffin tins to about the depth of a blueberry. (around 1/3rd an inch) Go back and add 4 or 5 blueberries per space.

Put in the oven for 30 mins at 350F. They’re done when a toothpick can be inserted and drawn out cleanly. Depending on the thinness of the pan and depth you poured, it may be earlier, so start checking around 27 mins. They should be a tan-to-dark-golden color.

Seems to go really well with milk, hot tea, or coffee.

Geek stars: The secret (nerdy) life of celebrities

Who knew that Major Burns of MASH studied aeronautical engineering at University of Colorado? Mr. Bean has a masters in electrical engineering? Beauty queen Hedy Lamarr pioneered work on spread spectrum technology, which makes both Ethernet and your cell phone tick? Todd Rundgren wrote one of the first computer paint programs? Art Garfunkel has a masters in math from Columbia?

Cool article.

An unsolved mystery?

Was it built by druids? Is it a giant celestial calendar? Is it a temple for secret rituals and sacrifices.

No one knows who built it or why there is … crutonhenge.

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday, !

Here’s hoping you have a good one, with a warm head and a relaxed day fiddling on fun projects.

And to think you almost let it sneak by on us! 🙂

Something for smackjackal?

Success…. kinda

So in the middle of last week I did my duties as concert master for the first time ever.

remembering the music

Financial help…

So mom wants to buy the house from dad as part of the negotiated no-fault divorce.

She might not have all the finances to make the payments.

My brother does not have credit.

Mom’s asking me to cosign.

I’d have laughed in your face a year ago if you asked if I would cosign a loan to help my parents keep their house…

Stage fright

I’ve been on stage to perform easily more than a hundred times. I’ve been on stage as crew for performances to literally thousands of events.

In my own observations both on and near the stage, stage fright can get interesting.

Leading up to the performance there is the obvious build of tension and apparent distortion of time. (Either too slow or two fast) Depending on how well you master yourself or how much you fear it can either be a slight weighty feeling in your stomach up to a near full-blown anxiety attack.

Me personally, I never get much beyond the stomach-knot tension. At one or two of my juries in college it got closer to the fast-breathing stage, but not severe. Right now, with the concert coming up I’ve got that knot going. It’s been years since I’ve had this strong a bout of stage fright. (Last time would have been my first Orchestra concert in PA.) For most community groups I have no stage fright whatever. So it’s almost fun, in an odd way, to be afraid again.

Usually, when I finally get on stage, the stage-fright dissipates and I enjoy the performance. But if it remains, it takes one of two routes:

The first is I go into “surreal” mode where I feel detached from myself. I find myself observing that the performance is happening and passing and noting as parts finish. It feels very odd. I have to remind myself what is going on. I wonder how well I perform like this. Because my concentration is at least partly focused on the act happening rather than doing a good job performing.

The other option, which I haven’t done in years and I hope doesn’t happen tonight, is a complete break down in confidence. You start “hiding” in your performance, backing off, and generally not being a contributing part of the act on stage. I haven’t had this happen in ages but this is the deep-dark item that haunts you on stage: Failure.

The way to kill stage fright is to remind yourself why you’re there. You are on stage because, in the end, it’s fun. Quit worrying about the rest and it works out. People don’t expect a perfect show. If you’re going to make a mistake, make it and make it loud. No one can fault you for trying.

I remember playing in a community group that had a piece start to fall apart. But we pulled it back together and finished. There was a group laugh at the end when the applause hit. I think if I remember those times, things will be much better.


I don’t know why. But this image is just funny every time I see it: