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December 25, 2008

Christmas 2008

Christmas caught me a little flat-footed this year, although the midnight service last night was beautiful and made up for my lack of Christmas spirit.

We had a wonderful time visiting friends today, and then on the way home, I talked Anne into making a detour to take a picture of some extreme holiday lights a la Griswold. It was my first panorama and Photoshop (CS2) made stitching the seven exposures together effortless. I set the exposure to preserve the color of the lights, so everything else is inky blackness. It looks OK, though.

Christmas lights

There are a few even more extreme displays I hope to shoot over the weekend. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

December 17, 2008

Some Love for Richard Bona

After the gig Saturday, I was playing the Jaco Pastorius Big Band: Word of Mouth Revisited CD for our bass player, Rick. (The CD, released in 2003, features a whole mess of world-class bass players covering Jaco Pastorius’ signature tunes.) When we got to “Punk Jazz” with Richard Bona, all of us in the car admired his singing tone and sensitive touch, more in touch with Jaco’s spirit than any of the other (uniformly awesome) bass players. Rick admitted he had never heard of him, and it made me wonder that if a bass player hadn’t heard of him, maybe he’s not as well-known as I thought.

A great introduction would be his appearance on NPR’s Jazz Set recently (the November 27, 2008 show documents Bona’s appearance at the Basel Jazz Festival).

I came to Richard Bona by accident while trawling YouTube for versions of my favorite Jaco tune, “Liberty City.” This version, with Bona as a leader of his own band, was recorded in 2003 at the Vitoria-Gasteiz Jazz Festival in Spain. A slower, clunkier version features Bona as guest soloist at the North Sea Jazz Festival. (The other bassist is Jeff Carswell.) For comparison, here’s the definitive original version with Jaco Pastorius and his Word of Mouth band.

December 15, 2008

Hard Core Lobster Roll Junkie [nanoblog]

While doing some lobster roll “research,” I ran across this rather elaborate video produced in early 2008 for Sam’s Chowder House documenting a lobster-roll addict as he hits rock bottom. This guy’s got it way worse than I do, and unlike him, I don’t need no steenkin’ intervention—I can quit any time I want.


Great page-- the lobster roll deserves this much detailed and loving attention.

Please consider trying some lobster rolls from your neighbour just to the north! They're just a popular in Nova Scotia and the other Maritime provinces.

My own favourite is at the Wreck Cove General Store , on the Cabot trail, Cape Breton island.

Sadly, I have never been farther north than Bar Harbor. My loss, I admit. Someday, I hope. Thanks for the recommendation!

December 13, 2008

Sly Fox IPA Project Day

We went to our first IPA Project Day at Sly Fox last night. The “IPA Project” is to brew a series of IPAs each based on a single hop variety. It started in 2004 with eight varieties and this year there were something like twelve. All this brewing culminates on Project Day when all the varietals are available along with Odyssey, an Imperial IPA that packs all the hop varieties into one brew.

We arrived around 6:00 to a packed house. They had no idea how long the wait for a table would be (“could be 20 minutes, could be 2 hours”), but we put our name in anyway. Turns out the wait was less than 15 minutes, and we were seated upstairs at a cozy table for two. Our waiter attempted to convince us to order the Hop Head Dream Package, which included all the varietals and a case of Odyssey, but it was just too much.

We ordered Flights One and Three, each of which included four varietals and a glass of either 2007 or 2008 Odyssey. This was a fantastic opportunity to sample the different hop flavors, and I was surprised how different they all tasted. Cascade was one of the bitterest and was my favorite, followed by Styrian, one of the milder ones. The others in our flights were Cluster, Amarillo, Perle, Galena, Sterling and Mt. Rainier. Made me want to try brewing my own IPA.

December 1, 2008

These Kids Today: Thanksgiving 2008

Is it too late for a Thanksgiving recap post? I think not! After all, you’re all still eating leftovers, right?

We went to my brother’s house on Thanksgiving (armed with only a coconut cream pie) and discovered that my niece and nephew cooked the entire dinner themselves. I just wanted to say how proud I was of them both for tackling such a big job and pulling it off so well.


Andrew was in charge of the turkey.


The bird is ready for its closeup.


Making gravy.


My brother squeezed between them just long enough to whip up some hollandaise.


Anne carved expertly.


My plate, loaded with everything except the salad.


Note the Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA in the foreground; my brother has good taste in beer.

Anne and I cooked our own Thanksgiving dinner on Black Friday (she did most of the work) and on Saturday we packaged everything up and drove to New York for a gathering with her side of the family.


Our menu included turkey with stuffing and gravy, of course, as well as mashed potatoes, acorn squash, Belgian endive salad, rustic Italian bread and several bottles of wine.