Five O'Clock Somewhere

Welcome to Five O'Clock Somewhere, where it doesn't matter what time zone you're in; it's five o'clock somewhere. We'll look at rural life, especially as it happens in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, cats, sailing (particularly Etchells racing yachts), and bits of grammar and Victorian poetry.

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Location: Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, United States

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Reunion Saturday night

Looking good


Thanks to classmate Nicki, who got a good photo of me and Pat (well, a good one of me, not necessarily as good of Pat) at the formal Saturday night dinner-dance at the class reunion. I was wearing the Zuni needlepoint turquoise-and-silver jewelry that all of the burglars have missed so far, and my hair was looking really good for a blustery evening more than a month after Vicente had last worked his magic on it. I was told that I looked "very Santa Fe."

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Sunday, June 27, 2010

The class reunion was a blast

80 rules!



This was probably the best class reunion we've had so far. And technology has a lot to do with it. The chairman of the planning committee was in New Jersey, of all places, but thanks to modern communications, he was able to coordinate a team of classmates to put together a great event.

And on a personal level, communications helped me a lot. Before the reunion, I was able to re-establish contact with friends I had lost track of, and I was also able to get to know people whom I didn't know so well back then, and make connections.

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Friday, June 18, 2010

Totally silly

Take something serious, and then do it with toys ...

OK, I don't know what more I can say about this, except that I laughed until I cried.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Waves

Coincidence, serendipity, whatever you call it …

OK, this post is going to be a tracing through of a lot of one thing leading to another leading to another, a la the former PBS/BBC television series "Connections" (which reminds me, I still haven't explained how the Earth's being spherical led to my car getting totaled, but I'll get around to that).

First, Captain JP put up a post about a website that maps photos taken online. This website not only plots where the photos were shot; it also makes an educated guess about how many photos were shot by locals versus how many photos were shot by tourists. Now, according to this website, London is not only the most photographed city in the world; a preponderance of photographers in London are actually locals and not tourists.

This got me to thinking about Japan, a country whose people seem especially fond of cameras and photography. I have heard it said, for example, that Mount Fuji is the most photographed mountain in the world. Think about it; there's even a brand of film named after it.

That led me to think about Fujiyama itself – even before there were cameras and film, the mountain was special to the Japanese people, and artists were making images of it. The most famous of these artists was Katsushika Hokusai, (1760-1849), who created a series of woodblock prints depicting the mountain, Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji. The best-known of these prints is "The Great Wave off Kanagawa," which depicts three boats whose occupants are taking refuge as a massive wave crashes down upon them. Fujiyama is merely part of the background of this drama. This picture is also used as a signature image on Zen's Sekai II, although Zen has stretched the picture horizontally, so the wave isn't so steep.

In 1985, the science fiction author Roger Zelazny, who lived in Santa Fe at the time, wrote the novella "24 Views of Mount Fuji, by Hokusai," inspired in part by the mountains of Northern New Mexico, and in part by Hokusai's work. Zelazny won a Hugo and was nominated for a Nebula for the novella.

Meanwhile, mathematicians have been looking at Hokusai's style. I can't pretend to know very much about fractals, except to admire the images they produce, but the way Hokusai depicts the foam on the waves in his art is, according to what I've been told, an accurate rendition of fractals in action.

Then, Joe over at The Horse's Mouth put up a video featuring big waves. Duuuude! The weird thing was that I kept looking for fractal curls in the foam of the waves – at least during the few nanoseconds when I wasn't watching for the surfers' next moves – or wipeouts. What would Hokusai have done if there were surfers in his view?

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Friday, June 11, 2010

Waterbloggers’ Food Tour so far

Turnout has been low – let's see more responses!

As far as I can tell, I have had only two responses to my writing challenge to describe the menu for the Waterbloggers' Food Tour – what would you serve if you were entertaining your tired and hungry fellow waterbloggers after a day on the water?

The requirements are fairly simple: It has to be yummy. It has to be relatively easy to prepare, as you will be just as tired as your fellow waterbloggers at the end of the day. And it has to be on or near the water, using whatever facilities are available wherever you are.

First, almost simultaneously with my issuing of the challenge, Baydog came in with his oysters with shiitake mushrooms and jalapeños in a cream reduction garnished with basil chiffonade. Now, some might debate whether this dish meets the criteria for the contest, but I'm going to make a couple of assumptions here. One, he's a foodie who doesn't mind putting forth the effort to create this dish even at the end of a long day; and two, his kitchen is somewhere near the water, so he can prepare this food more-or-less on the spot.

Today, Bonnie Frogma rang in with her entry, a complete meal rather than just the entrée: Spam musubi from L&L Catering, plus side dishes made from fresh produce from her garden. In fact, she had originally toyed with the idea of having L&L do the whole meal, but then she decided the garden produce needed to be given its chance to shine. Wait a minute, I hear some of you saying, isn't it cheating to have a caterer provide some of the food? Well, if you look at the rules, I don't actually have a requirement that you, yourself, prepare the food. The requirement is that you, yourself, not over-exert yourself since you're as tired as your guests. As long as the food is on or near the water, and you have the budget to pay for it (and of course you do, since this is fantasy), you could conceivably take us all out to a waterfront restaurant and serve us up something special in the banquet room.

I, of course, have already described my main dish, beer-can chicken, but I will be adding side dishes and beverages to make this a complete meal. You can expect some down-home cooking thanks to my Arkansas relatives, but there's one dish I picked up in England that will add an international flair to the menu (and no, it's not mushy peas). Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, I'm still looking forward to hearing from some of the rest of you. Tillerman, with your house facing the water and with Tillerwoman's bountiful garden, what will you serve? Captain JP, what can we look forward to on the London stop of the Waterbloggers' Food Tour? O Docker, even if you have trouble keeping basil from going the way of Monty Python's parrot, can you serve up a banquet on or near the Berkley Marina? Zen, is it possible to create Asian fusion on a boat?

And anybody else out there, feel free to jump in with what you would serve up, given the resources available to you, if you were hosting a gathering of your favorite waterbloggers. The deadline is midnight Sunday, June 20. Of course, since this blog is about using time zones to advantage, that's midnight in the UTC-11 time zone.

If you have a blog, write a blog post describing your meal, and put a link in the comments here. If you don't have a blog, put your meal description in the comments.

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Sunday, June 06, 2010

A brief update

A few more questions answered

Heard today that the Office of the Medical Investigator has released findings. Apparently Marty had a massive heart attack -- although it's not clear whether it was before or after he hit the water.

So a life jacket might not have saved his life. It would, however, have saved his family and friends 20 days of searching and anguish, and the State of New Mexico tens of thousands of dollars in search expenses, and a couple of other guys the trauma of finding his body on the beach.

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Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Serendipity shopping

Luck + creativity = success

For the most part, I hate shopping, especially for things like clothes. I don't like malls or department stores; I don't like big crowds of people; I find it excruciating to pull money out of my wallet and hand it over to someone else, even in exchange for something nice.

On the other hand, when I take measures to minimize the amount of money I have to fork over, I get into adventurous country. One such realm is the dollar stores, which get leftovers from other retailers and mark them down to a fraction of the original cost. The trade-off is that what's in the dollar stores is somewhat random. For example, not too long ago, one store had some super-premium brand shampoo and conditioner in the color-preserving formula – but only for red hair. Sorry, blondes and brunettes … but I'm set for a couple of months.

Another great place to save money is thrift stores. I've discussed them before, here, and here, and here, and I've given them passing mention a few other times. Even more so than the dollar stores, what is found at thrift stores can be seriously random. I have discovered that when I have a need, the thrift stores will provide, although not necessarily in the way I had envisioned at the start. Call it fate, or God, or whatever you happen to believe in, but the randomness of thrift stores has often led me to come away with something far better than I would have ended up with by going to a department store or mall boutique with something specific in mind.

Sunday, we had a shopping trip of that sort. First, I was looking for a dress to wear for the formal dinner-dance at my high-school class reunion, which is fast approaching. The Methodist thrift shop in Pagosa Springs is usually best for clothes, but that shop was closed – funny thing, they all seem to go to church on Sundays. The Humane Society's shop has a much smaller clothing section, but that was what was available. But in that small clothing section was the perfect dress – floaty, flowing chiffon in a swirling Victorian rose print, with empire waist, cap sleeves, and a solid enough lining to hide various figure flaws. That was eight dollars.

On the way to the cash register, I paused to look at the rack of CDs. There, I spotted a two-disc set of great artists from the mid-20th century – Doris Day, Petula Clark, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, and more – Zorro's favorites. I figured he could use a little cheering up, so I nabbed the CD set for two bucks.

Then we went down to the bargain basement, where we stumbled on our greatest find. There were two brand-new, never-been-used, still-in-original-packaging inflatable life preservers for $16 each, a fraction of their original price. We pounced on them. Since May 1, Zorro has been wearing a life jacket every time he goes out on the water, but he's been complaining about how bulky and uncomfortable it is, and he's been saying he wants to get an inflatable. Well, now he'll have one.

Seek and ye shall find. For that matter, ye shall find even if ye don't seek.

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