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As Seen By Me. July 28, 2008

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, macro photos.
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Today’s flowers (yes, I know, I’m not treading any new ground here) began as fog-drenched roadside blossoms

and ended with a brief visit to Miz Lu’s dooryard, where wonders abound:

It’s always a pleasure to stop by the Rolling J Farm, whether for an anti-mosquito elixer or just for the flowers.

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Plan B. July 28, 2008

Posted by littlebangtheory in Dinner with TCR.
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So “Plan A” was to try to make raviolis out of a mushroom I found.

But I couldn’t find my flour, which of course shot that plan all to hell.

So I did the next best (and way easier) thing and cooked some good, freshly made store-bought units:

(These being of the Roasted-Red-Pepper-and-Smoked-Mozzarella variety)

Then sautéd the first fruits of my garden into a sauce built around the afore-mentioned mushroom.

I got a little red onion and a handful of basil on the board, then minced half a bulb of fresh garlic:

Then I toasted the ‘shroom and garlic in a thin slick of Extra-V olive oil, mostly ’cause I can, and added the red/green onion a bit later. As the mixture danced on the razor’s edge of carbonization, I splashed in a couple ounces of white wine, full-throttling the heat ’till it all exploded in a cloud of spicy steam and pan-bound sugars.

“I dream of caramel, and long for you…”

Yes, dream on, I’m not quite done.

Out with the veggies, in with the cream, and deglaze ’till it’s a done deal, the bubbling reduction containing every atom of its original incarnation, but now transformed into sugars and a thick sauce, into which the veggies return, are tossed, and are ladled onto the waiting raviolis:

Toasted Wild Mushroom (of unspecified genus) in a White Wine/Cream Sauce on The Raviolis of Your Dreams.

Enjoy it while you can.

G’Morning! July 27, 2008

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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After a night of rain, the sun rises, and with it, the river:

We’ve been needing the rain; crops and gardens are behind schedule:

Now the race is on, with the weeds taking an early lead and my garden plants struggling to stay competitive.

At least the woodchucks haven’t returned!

ISO 3200 July 25, 2008

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, Love and Death.
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After a month of wind and some truly crappy photos of Things That Move, I’ve discovered the “H”-setting on my DSLR, which allows me to effectively boost the ISO from a max of 1600 to double that. This should allow me to get in closer to moving subjects like leggy flowers in a breeze, or shoot hand-held shots at lower light levels.

Yeah, I know – I’m a slow learner!

But still, here are my first ventures into that faster (albeit grainier) terrain.

Bugs Fucking:

Bees Buzzin’:

Yeah, thems iz tiny ones!

And a hand-held low light take on a quiet neighborhood up in the hills:

Some day I’ll read the instruction book which came with this unit. Then you’ll be sorry!!

When All Else Fails… July 24, 2008

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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…there’s always (well, not always ) The Water Shot.

The mountain stream:

Or maybe a little cascade in the woods:

Baby animals can save the day too, but I don’t have any.

A Weekend Of Music! July 21, 2008

Posted by littlebangtheory in music.
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Ah, Summer – hot sun, cold beverages, finger food and outdoor music. Throw in some little cotton dresses, and I’m all over that!

…Figuratively speaking, of course 😉 !

The Granddaddy of music festivals in these parts is the yearly Green River Festival, featuring an eclectic mix of performers on two stages, a nice selection of fine restaurants representing on-premises, craft vendors and hot air balloon rides (although with those going at $225 per person, I’ve concluded that ballooning is a spectator sport.)

This year’s festival began with a free show in downtown Greenfield on Thursday evening and ran through a scheduled Sunrise Balloon Launch on Sunday. The Pagan Sphinx and I got together with our daughters, Elder Progeny and Ultimate Spawn (or Supergirls 1&2, if you’re you’re a Pagan ) for the Friday evening and Saturday shows, braving an unsettled weather forecast in true New Englander style.

We arrived at Friday’s show a little late (just in time to hear the first act get cut short by a sudden rain squall, which we sat out in the parking lot. Then in we went, getting to see Eilen Jewell:

…Local Gurrrl Made Good, and her excellent band, featuring Jerry Miller on guitar:

Remember when people who looked like that played clarinets and accordions? I do!

But on Friday night, Jerry played the bejeebus outta his red electric, laying down a mix of Texas Swing and good ol’ rock-n-roll and quite effectively stealing the show.

Which was unfortunate for headliner Jimmy Vaughan, who was up next and seriously suffered from the comparison. He put on a helluva show, though:

And sang up a heartfelt storm, for which I have nothing but praise:

We all hoovered vendors’ food, stuff like Elmer’s legendary jambalaya (’twas guuud!), Thai spring rolls and fried whole belly clams (yeah, I know, it’s rabbit food for the next month! 😆 )

Saturday was an epic Summer outing, with the first band starting at 1pm and the last scheduled to wrap it up around 11pm. We got a late start (three-ish,) electing to endure the record heat and humidity for a couple less hours so as to hopefully have some energy left for show-closer Lucinda Williams.

The day was indeed tumultuous, with record crowds sweltering under brooding skies

while the rockin’ music was punctuated by the crackle-and-boom sound of reeeeally close lightning:

Fortunately we got not much more than a couple of brief showers, just enough to bring out a sea of umbrellas and, thankfully, cool things down incrementally. We learned later that the entire area had been ringed by violent, damaging thunderstorms, while our happy expanse of sun cabanas and high voltage wiring was spared.

Pretty cosmic, eh, man??

Anyway, the afternoon was tons of fun! We ate like piggies, with Elder P making good on her stated intention of learning to cook this summer by assembling a delicious Portuguese tuna salad and a spectacularly good batch of salsa; PS brought a variation on her prosciutto and watermelon salad, which was excellent, and I brought chicken quesadillas and guacamole.

Oh yeah, and a big batch of margaritas on ice. ‘Cause I read something about electrolytes being important on hot days 😉 .

But as good as the food was, we came for the bands, and every time they started I was up and moving toward the front, drawn to the music, which was as excellent as it was varied. Forro In The Dark took me by surprise, being a standing line-up of guys playing the kind of instruments which might wind their way down a cobbled Columbian back street, including a drum worn around the neck, played on both sides and lacking none of the insistence of a full kit

and a player of flutes and horns who was a total crowd-stopper:

Followed by Crooked Still, a barely categorizable blend of genres melding banjo, fiddle, cello and double bass with gorgeous vocals:

Followed by Los Straight Jackets, a south-of the border surf band with an, um, original sort of stage presence:

Yeah, that’s right, stretch masks. I gotta wonder what they thought about the black tuxes and spandex masks in the 200% humidity which came along with the 95-degree weather. And then to hold this pose

…for a ten minute drum solo… Seriously, some ideas are better on paper. But they tore it up on the twin guitars, kicked my ass really, with a South-of-the-Border Surf Thing happening which was technically brilliant, and still made me sweat!

Then came Mavis Staples, a Living Legend on her Last Leg:

She roared through a set of classic Gospel and R&B numbers before collapsing in a metal folding chair and fanning herself with a program, letting her band take a half-hour solo which I never regretted, ’cause they were great! Seriously, catch this Legend while you can, because nothing lasts forever, even if it’s this good.

Then came the Grand Finale, Lucinda Williams, who refused to stand still for a photo, but totally rocked the house:

Very cool.

And all the while, the hot-air balloons rose and sank in the background, occasionally synchronizing their “blows” in a musically informed light show:

It was a good show, right down to the last ghostly revelers leaving the Second Stage dance tent:

Friday Kitteh Blogging! July 18, 2008

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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Today:

Turkittehz!

Momma and four chickittehz, enjoying the paths I mowed through the chest-high weeds of my back yard. The paths delineate the gone-wild berry patches therein, and apparently turkittehz love berries! I got to watch them peck their ways along, stopping for occasional dust baths in the defunct ant hills which dot the area:

Then they discovered my garden, Dust-Bath-Heaven.

We’ll have to see how that goes. 😉

Sons O’ Bitches! July 16, 2008

Posted by littlebangtheory in Love and Death, Politics and Society.
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Yeah, you.

And me.

Sixty-three years ago, on this day, the United States of America, staggering under the realization of our Godless Potency, detonated the very first atomic bomb.

It was magnificent.

There in the desert, 120 miles south of Albuquerque, at five thirty in the morning, as Good Americans lay sleeping, the order was given and the portal to Hell opened, gaped wide, and delivered unto us a vision of Armageddon which would never be erased from our collective consciousness:

The birth of a New Sun, the unleashing of unearthly power, and the death of the human soul.

And among the witnesses to this Birth of Death was Kenneth Bainbridge, Director of the Manhattan Project, who had orchestrated and coordinated the efforts of so many brilliant yet conflicted scientists as they strove to create an Evil powerful enough to deliver us from the Evil of World War Two.

And their success, as the Galaxy’ Newest Sun came into being, was punctuated by a simple, knowing observation by Mr. Bainbridge, before the city-wide fireball ascending into hell, before the never before imagined mushroom cloud building, expanding, rising to a height of over forty thousand feet, before God with His head hung down at the sight of what He’d wrought:

“Now we’re all Sons O’ Bitches.”

And right he was.

President Truman delivered this gift to the good people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, despite the repeated offers of surrender from Japan’s Emperor, delivered this Hell unto two foreign cities filled with blameless civilians, hundreds of thousands of innocent people, men, women, children, grand-parents, babies, all incinerated just because we could, just to show the world how bad we were.

Do we blame them for learning the lesson?

Do we fault them for noticing that we carpet bombed Cambodia and soaked Viet Nam with carcinogenic chemicals to stave off the advance of the imagined Red Threat? That we threw every moving thing under the bus to win our ideological pissing match with a system which we deemed too egalitarian to allow our Filthy Fucking Rich to own the world?

Do we wonder at all that they’re skeptical of our present day hegemony in Iraq, that they suspect us of not really being there to help them, but rather to help our Corporate Selves?

We shouldn’t wonder. We should know.

Because decade after decade, administration after administration, election after election, we prove ourselves to be One Trick Ponies, self-serving little fucks who don’t give a Rat’s Ass about the rest of the world, as long as our Rich keep getting Richer.

They don’t hate us ’cause we’re “free,” people, because you and I are not free. We’re indentured servants to a system which sucks the little people dry and discards the bones, a system which relegates anyone not at the top of our American Food Chain to the same fate as those who stand in our way.

Our present day military might is our Ring, corrupting us as it corrupts any who possess it. Ask Bilbo, he knows.

“Now we’re all Sons O’ Bitches.”

Straight Up, Ken.

I’m glad you’re not here to witness this, our abdication of our democratic rights, our spineless caving to the fascist pigs we allow to run this place.

Sons O’ Bitches!

YAQ!* July 16, 2008

Posted by littlebangtheory in Dinner with TCR.
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*Yet Another Quesadilla.

Hey, I like ’em, and they’re quick and cheap!

Tonight (like the last few nights, as I tend to cook in batches,) a Chicken Quesadilla with a medley of peppers, some hot, some not, and caramelized onions, with a home made guac (with roasted red peppers and kalamata olives) and some store-bought salsa:

’cause I was feeling lazy.

‘Twas once again good!

This Little Guy Had Style! July 15, 2008

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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I know, “guy” is kinda anthropormorphic, and sexist to boot.

So sue me, it just fell out.

But style he/she/it had, from it’s balls-out approach pattern (“all in!”)

Gotta love that “Geronimo!” attitude!

…to its totally competent contact with a moving object (it was windy):

To this full-tilt re-do, ’cause apparently a nice placid crash landing didn’t use up enough Agro-Juice™ to sate this little critter:

Gawd I’m glad we’re not that size, ’cause that thing might lunch on me!