Sep 2, 2010

September 3rd thru 5th, 2010

(internet pic my sax is brass not silver)

Sept 3rd and 4th: Friday was a half day, which was nice after a grueling third week of school. By the third week; I get the hang of the long hours and the early mornings, which made this week the best one so far. Most of my students know me and love me, and I feel the same. No major issues this year, looks to be smoother than last year due to my increased organization and stricter class expectations. Next semester I will be teaching two "Foundations of Art" classes as well as Jewelry one and two, and Sculpture One and two. It will be more hectic than this semester. Its all good in the job department.

I came home in the afternoon and caught up on some well needed sleep, then went to my classroom in the evening in order to practice the sax! Damn I am glad to have the opportunity to play the sax again. Later that night I hung out with my son and drank a bottle of "Mount Gay" rum together. Mount Gay is made in the Barbados Islands and is my favorite rum. They have been making it since 1703. Must have been nice when a happy word like "Gay" didn't have such other connotations. I resent the hijacking of happy words to describe, peoples personal sexual habits. But I do love "Mount Gay" Barbados rum. Its best with sprite and lemon juice in my opinion.

The morning was painful, since rum is not as clean as gin and has more impurities like acetone and the like. Or maybe mixing rum with the occasional glass of cheap paisono Grappa wine, messed things up.

I did get up at 8 and ride the bike around this morning, but I came back home and slept for a few more hours before leaving again at 6 PM. I went on another bike ride, and this time I felt alive again. Went home later to call some friends, and make some "Sag Aloo" or "Panak Aloo", which means Spinach and potatoes depending on which Indian dialect you are listening to. Same cooking procedure and spice combo as the previously describe "Bhindi Marsala". Be sure to boil the chopped potatoes first before adding them to the stew. Just make the Bhindi Marsala recipe again and use finely chopped spinach instead of okra, and potatoes rather than tomatoes. This dish is a bit more bitter but less acidic. I might try adding a small dose of sweetener next time.. I did put a table spoon of butter with the mixture, since "Ghee" adds more flavor than vegatable oil does. I stiill put in quite a bit of canola oil in this concoction.

Way better than the Bhindi in my book. I did make the changes I described earlier and they worked out well. I did hit it too hard with the cumin, but no big deal. This meal was nearly the same quality as the restaurant. Just a couple small changes and I will have this down. Might even start an Indian restaurant someday, in a place like Wyoming or Montana. Charge way less for the vegetarian versions and might even convince a few rednecks that not all meals require a pound of meat. I am down to a mere two or three ounces of meat per day, after having no meat at all. This is not planned, but is a natural result of eating too much indian fare. Meat should be a condiment and not a main course. Unless you happen to be a Tiger, Wolf, or Alligator. Humans, Chimps, and Pigs, are Omnivorous, not Carnivorous. We all share many other similarities as well!

Put my new 8 gallon (Bio-orb) fish tank together. right now its running fishless until tomorrow, when I plan to add a couple fish just to cycle the tank. New tanks need a month with just a few fish in order to grown the benificial bacteria which is known to breakdown the wastes and toxins, that reside in the fishes urine and feces. The benificial bacteria, will turn the shit into clean water. After a month enough of the good bacteria will be present in the under gravel filter, and I will be able to fully stock the globe with fish.

Looks like only about 10 small fish can live in a tank this size, but some of the choices are beautiful small fish, such as guppies, swordtails, platy's ect... I plan to keep mainly guppies, but will throw in a few inverts, such as crabs, mussels, shrimp, as well as anything else that is interesting. The big 8 gallon globe, alone is pretty to look at without fish. With the high tech halogen lighting, it makes my old hotel living room complete.

Woke up on Sunday at 7 AM in order to call Larry and see if he was up for breakfast. Larry said "sure, but lets make it at 9", which allowed me another 2 hours sleep. Larry and I like to sit at the diner bar, since he has a penchant as flirting with all the pretty waitresses. They all love Larry, maybe since he equally flirts with the not so pretty girls in the same manner. Had the double barrel and many cups of coffee.

Went to Walmart to buy three zebra danios (minnows from India), and a fiddler crab. These fish will cycle the tank and once the beneficial bacteria are established, I can add the guppies. On my way out of Wal-mart the bell goes off and I get some semi-retarded old lady asking for my reciept. I bluntly told her that I'm not a thief , she seemed amazed that I would be offended by being stopped at the door like a common criminal. I told her I lost the receipt but I would find it if she gave me 5 dollars for bothering and embarrassing me. She didn't know what to do so I took pity on her and pulled the reciept out of my pocket. She quickly let me leave. Funny, i could have actually had stolen merchandize in my pockets, but she was only required to check my bag and receipt. Walmart treats their customers almost as bad as their employees. I dislike the place, but they do have the lowest prices so I go there when I have no choice.

After adding my fish to the tank, I grabbed my computer and headed to the coffee shop for a few hours of uploading blogs, drinking fine coffee, and listening to some old hippy playing the Spanish guitar. This small town has far more local culture than the huge city where I come from. All within bicycle distance. I will leave here someday, out of boredom, but I doubt many towns are as nice as Logan, Utah.

September 2nd, 2010

Another backyard cellphone pic.

-September 2nd, 2010:

Pretty tired today, but a stout cup of "Highland Grogg" coffee before leaving the house, brought me to life at 6 AM. I started waking earlier, so as not to be in such an insane rush in the mornings. It was a good day overall, but I was a bit cranky and my veteran students expressed their discontent.

The 1936 "King Zephyr" Tenor sax arrived today! It is an early model "Zephyr", which is basically a rebadged "King Voll True", which is a great jazz horn, but with serious high end intonation issues and a few hard to reach keys, However, The horn is absolutely beautiful! The Art Deco engravings surrounding the "KING ZEPHYR" logo is a site to behold. Most sax engraving is a bit flowery, but the early Zephyrs were pure, in your face, Art Deco. The Saxophone equivilent of the Chrysler building! I love the looks of these horns. I went to the local horn shoppe and bought a used mouthpiece, ligature, and reeds. The owner gave me the lig and mouthpiece for free, since I promised to bring the sax in for a tune-up. I also told him about my series 3 "Zephyr" alto, which needs a complete repad, and he will get that business as well.

I got home, looked and my tenor, which is as beautiful as a Mercedes S-500 and more beautiful than any women I know, and put her components together, being careful to get the reed good and wet before attempting to play. A few of the pads leak a bit, and some of the action is a bit slow, but once I started up and down two octaves of the "C Major" scale, I could tell I have a winner. The Zephyrs were the best sounding Jazz saxes that were ever made. They can scream loudly, then whisper softly to where they can barely be heard. This is the best sounding Tenor I have ever played. Couldn't make much noise in my apartment, so I headed to the school at 7 PM, in order to play in my classroom. Once there, I downloaded, some jazz warmup scales, and a Coletrane song "Giant Steps", which I plan to work on this weekend, up in the mountains where no one will laugh at me. I still play pretty good after 30 years out of high school, and my understanding of how to play is much more evolved than when I only played marching tunes. Despite the intonation issues, I bought a world class professional, beautiful jazz horn for only $500. A series 3 Zephyr tenor (1942) would be worth over 3 grand in the same condition. And the series one's (1936) models have much more interesting engraving in my opinion. Once tuned up, it will be worth well over $1200 but I will not sell her, unless I get good enough to require a more perfect sounding instrument. Even if that should happen, I will mount her on the wall for she is genuinely a fine example of American Art at its best.

I also downloaded Bachs' "Tocatta and Fugue", and Beethovens "Moonlight Sonata", for the organ. I know I can play the latter, but I will have fun attempting the former, which is 20 pages long. I will try to play the intro first, and if thats as far as I get, that will be fine with me. Just need some scary sounding Halloween organ music to impress my neighbors with. Under no circumstances will I attempt to impress anyone with my sax playing for at least 5 or 6 months!

Came back to the house around 8:30, drank my only beer of the day and watched the glorious sunset over the tall, steep, Wellsville range (the "Wellies" as Logan calls them), from the fire escape (AKA: My back yard). Afterwards, I returned to the apartmentand in order to study the Art of making "Bhindi Marsala", also known as Okra and Tomatoes Hindu style.

"Bhindi Masala for one"

1/2 lb chopped frozen okra

one small/medium tomato

four green onions or one small/medium round onion

a couple cloves of Garlic (I didn't do this but missed out)

1/8 cup olive oil or canola (if you use olive oil, be mindful of the low burning temps)

1/4 tsp or less of salt (sorry mom, this dish needs some)

2 tablespoons of hot curry powder

1 tablespoon of marsala powder

(some recipes add a tsp of baking soda to counter-act the acidity of the tomatoes, I wish I had done that too)

put oil in good heavy bottomed sauce pan.

Fry onions and garlic until translucent

Lower temp to medium

Add curry powder and other spices

stir till the gravy thicksns (two minutes at the most)

add okra, stir gently so as not to smash it and make it more slimy

once its bubble for a couple minutes, turn heat to low, and cover for 20 minutes, or until you think your okra is tender but not too squishy.

Serve with rice or naan bread. I somtimes substitute a tortilla but its not the same. Much cheaper though. I didn't make rice tonight, but used some frozen Naan that was kickin around the fridge. Rice would have been better, since this dish is quite acidic and pungeant!

Overall, it was pretty good for a first timer. Not as good as in the restaurant across the street, but close. Next time it shall be better with the inclusion of garlic and soda. I suggest you research different recipes, especially regarding the spice mix.

Next time I plan to make my own Marsala and Curry powders using my mortar and pestle. Packaged curry is just not the same.



September 1st, 2010

Yes that is my foot in the picture.

View from my backyard!

September 1st, 2010:

Had another Swell day at school, happy with the present crop of kids I have. Maybe I'm just getting better at whipping them into shape, but this seems to be a good crew. Came home and dozed for about an hour then went for a drive on the Kawasaki 1000. Stopped in to see my Hindu friends at the only Indian ran conveinience store in town, and bought the ingredients for "Bhindi Marsala", which is okra and tomatoes, cooked with the usual Marsala group of spices. "Marsala", is pretty much a Northern Indian curry powder, that contains some weird shit like "powdered mango". I plan to cook all this on Thursday or Friday, depending on the mood. I also stopped by "Pets Mart", to get a new powerhead, so the right side of my classroom, marine aquarium would get some badly needed circulation. I only have one small fish and a handful of crabs and snails in a 55 gallon marine aquarium, so its time to get the bastard back in shape. Turns out that our local "Petsmart", is about to be renovated so they had high priced objects marked down to nearly 90 percent off for some things!

I have always wanted one of the new high tech smalled acryilic aquariums, and they had the 4 gallon "Biorbs" FIFTEEN DOLLARS, marked dowyn from 85 dollars. The tank is a beautiful globe, with built-in power filter, high tech ceramic bio-gravel, and a halogen light. One could make a small coral reef from these fine components. I bought one. An hour later, I cam back to buy another one for my son, but they were gone. So I bought a larger 8 gallon "BiOrb", which costs $140 dollars, and I paid $24 dollars for it! I plan to make it into a coral reef, which I have never attempted before. I have kept many saltwater ("fish only" tanks, but never a reef. Coral needs strict water quality, and even periods of sun light, to moon light. This tank has most of the stuff to achieve, building a small coral reef system. Of course with salt water, I can only keep one tiny fish in it, but the corals will be beautiful. I need a hobby, and this will be a cheap one. (sept 4th: Had a change of plans an d decided on a guppy tank. Way cheaper and I want to breed some beautiful guppies. I can also put some frogs, crabs, and snails in the tank. Plus, Guppies are quite cold hardy and salt loving. My crabs and guppies will enjoy the same environment. I'll be growing a few plants in there as well.. The reef tank will be a later project once I'm not so busy.

I do have another 55 gallon, bowfront salt water tank in my storage, but it was too big of a hassle to keep running, so I can now sell it to someone who wants it.

Went to dinner at "Le Nonne", considered to be the finest restaurant in town. I've never been, its way to pretentious for this old guy, but since the bass player of the jazz group is an aquaintance of mine (I gave his family my llama), and a fellow teacher, I decided to stop in. I told the snotty acting "greeter", that I was here to watch the band. She looks at me and told me that "You will have to buy dinner to watch the band" WTF? I was pissed. I didn't react well to being talked down to by some snotty college girl on her first job. I asked "Do I look like I'm too poor to buy dinner?" I was dressed well enough, wearing a silk jacket and everything, but since I came alone, and mentioned the "band", she in all her ancient wisdom decided me to be a pauper of sorts. I realize I over-reacted, but dumb people have to learn who their talking down to. Directed to the "table that most couples do not want", right in front, was actually the optimum table for me. Although my friend wasn't playing tonight, I got to chill to some classy, cool. The world class Italian meal, failed in comparison to cheaper Italian places, like "Napolies" in Allen, Texas, or even in my own kitchen. I think the chef there was mainly up on making Gnocci (Northern Italian Potato Dumplings) and (Fagioli....which is Bean soup), his "Penne Bolognese" was ok, but wasn't anything, me or my father couldn't have improved upon. The wine was 1/4th of a glass for the card board stuff (5.99 per), so after the two partial glasses of wine, and the pasta, I left. I did spend an hour listening to the incredible music of a female jazz keyboardist, and a drummer and bass player. My aquaintance wasn't there, but I enjoyed their music just the same. Their rendition of "The girl from Ipanema", was touching as were many other songs that I was fortunate enough to listen to. I would have stayed there for another hour but the pretentiousness of the restaurant, and the speed of which the waitress gave me the check, made me feel a bit unwelcome. I plan to go back next week and be cheap and only order appetizers, while ordering a cola, which will make a fine vehicle for a few shots of flask rum.

The waitress, who was warned about my surliness from the greeter, was quite professional, did her job well without snottieness, and won a 35% tip for her courtesy. I will be back,

hopefully I can talk Logan or Larry to join me.

Came home around 9:30 and studied more of the works of "Dashiel Hammet", writer of the "Maltese Falcon". Now I'm reading his first novel entitled "Red Harvest", which is a good read. I am totally in love with the slang of the 1920's, and find it quite interesting. Hammet, apparantly (correct me if I'm wrong), only wrote 5 little novels all between the years of 1929 and 1934. He was born in 94 and died in 1961. What makes writers how they are? Some like Louis Lamour or Stephen King seem to write all the time, while others, only write a few and only then for a little while. Fitzgerald, Hemingway and Steinbeck, didn't really write that much come to think of it by comparison. Hammets' life works only consist of some 700 pages total, by far, the least amount of total pages for the group. But DAMN, he was a good writer. Maybe the star that shines the brightest, burns out the fastest? Seems to be the case here... Too bad he couldn't have gotten away from the detective theme. His writing style was the best in his genre, if not all genre's. Hammett, didn't mess around with character discriptions, yet his characters where fully described in such a little space of text. He didn't waste words. His 120 page novels, had as much info or more as the Epic novelists. I also read all Grishams works, but Hammett could easily tell all those stores, using 120 pages as Grisham does in 700. Funny, it tends to take me about the same amount of time to read a short Hammett novel as it takes to read of of Grishams' 700 pagers. Nothing against Grisham, or the other novelists. Maybe in the days of the pen and ancient typewriters caused writers to economize or something. Steirnbecks novels were short as well for the most part. East of Eden is pretty long, but sucks compared to many of his shorter works. Works like "Tortilla Flat" and "Cannery Row" seem to radiate from Steinbecks heart, where "The Red Pony" and "East of Eden", seemed like Steinbeck was trying to be a popular writer when he wrote those. "The Grapes of Wrath" was more of a news report than a novel. But a damned good read nonetheless. All of the above are probably turning in their graves at having a very novice writer analyze their works. And to the souls of the previously discussed, I do humbly apologize for misinterpreting your writings, but all criticizm is opinion, and hopefully I presented them as a view from my perspective and not in the absolute. Did I just stay up reading and writing to 2 AM again? Work should be painful in the morning. Maybe this winter when its dark around 5 PM, I will be able adjust my schedule to get to sleep earlier. Nite all.