Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Charlotte's Web - In Theaters December 15th

I think this is going to be a really good movie with such a great cast. I saw Julia Robert's (Charlotte), Oprah (a goose) and Cedric The Entertainer (the other goose) and Dakota Fanning (Fern) on Oprah earlier this week talking about the movie. It looks great!

Speaking of geese E.B. White says in this 1980 New York Times article that he kept geese for "comic relief" on his small farm in Maine. It's interesting that he could write such gentle children's stories, and funny and smart articles for adults. He was an amateur farmer who raised (and ate) his own chickens, pigs...but still has the gentle spirit required to write a children's story about saving that cute pig Wilber.

E.B. White is one of my heroes.

Charlotte's Web Official Movie Site

The Nativity Story - In Theaters Friday December 1st

The blog News of The Nativity Story has lot's of links to reviews and news articles about the movie that is coming out on Friday December 1st.

I am really looking forward to seeing The Nativity Story after watching the trailers and interviews with the director and writer. It won't be everyone's cup of tea I'm sure, but it's an interesting and historically important story regardless of where you are on the faith continuum.

It looks really well done. Catherine Hardwicke is the director and Mike Rich wrote it. Mary is played by Keisha Castle-Hughes.

You can download an Advent calender with twinkly stars and some pretty cool wallpaper at the movie's website.

This is an interview with the writer Mike Rich -

and this is a trailer from the movie -

Monday, November 27, 2006

Sunday, November 26, 2006

We're Getting Some Snow

We are getting some snow here in the Everett convergence zone tonight. A couple of inches so far.


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Saturday, November 25, 2006

Christmas Light Installation Tool

This is a funny, but functional, tool I use to put Christmas lights up on the trees in my front yard. It's a variety of poles duct taped together with a dandelion digger on the end to hold the strings of lights as I carefully place them in trees.

I added the crutch this year to get a little more height.

I imagine my neighbors think I'm nuts but hopefully they get a little bit of a laugh out of this...I know I do.

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Some times I think it's not so much what we do as what we intend to do that pleases God.

If our intention is to do good, to care, to show compassion and courage; then that is sometimes, maybe always, enough.

We often wish we could do more, that we could say or do the perfect thing, be at just the right place at the right time. But life isn't like that. It's messy and imperfect, with occasional flashes of brilliant perfection - such as when a baby is born or a family finds healing in the midst of illness or death of a loved one. In beginnings and endings, in art, music or the written word we occasionally glimpse the transcendent and for a moment our lives move from the human to the divine.

Most of life is about showing up, being willing to stop, look and listen - as we were told when we were little before crossing the street. There are lot's of opportunities in our day to day life to stop, look and listen - what we see may surprise, sadden or enlighten us and on occasion give us great joy.

We intend to move towards peace, working from within and then manifesting that inner-peace in the world with our actions. We don't always succeed because we are human but every so often we are blessed with the those flashes of brilliance when every thing is perfect. The other 99.9% of the time we are down in the muck doing the best we can, but that's what really matters - Giving it your best. No one does that better.

Interlude: Meditation of the Week - Giving Thanks

Interlude: Meditation of the Week is on giving thanks, not just one day of the year, but everyday. If we just stop for a moment, or moments, each day to think about how blessed we are - that attitude of thankfulness and gratitude can work from the inside out to make you a happier, healthier and ultimately more effective human being.

There's an interesting "Daily Devotion" written by Pastor Kerry Nelson last Wednesday on the topic of thankfulness. It's not the sometimes typical scold about our affluenza, how much we have and others don't, but rather a reminder that we can be thankful for what we have - and that it is not so much what we have but what we do with what we have, that matters. He writes -

Today I’m grateful for my “stuff.” My things. The house I live in. The clothes I wear. My furniture. My toys, my television. This computer that I’m typing on. The Internet that connects us as if we were sitting together in the same room, reading Psalm 112 together. All of our “stuff.”...

I realize that we are often scolded for our materialism and “affluenza.” That is no doubt rightly so. It isn’t right that such a small percentage of the population of the world should control such a large percentage of the world’s resources. That can’t go on forever and it won’t. At the same time, we would do well to remember two things about our “stuff.”

First, on the other end of everything we have are the people who thought of it, built it, marketed it, sold it, and shipped it. And behind all of that is God who was working in, with and under the entire enterprise from beginning to end. Our “stuff” is a reminder of the cooperation of the human community.

And second, it isn’t only what we HAVE that matters but what we DO with what we have. There is nothing wrong with possessions unless they begin to possess us. The twin remedies for that are gratitude and generosity. So today I’m thankful for our “stuff.”

We pray that our eyes might be opened to see the gifts that surround us, that link us to others, that enable us to live in a spirit of gratitude and generosity. We thank you for the gifts of human inventiveness and cooperation that provide us with so many wonderful things.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Super Festive - Tinseltown - Firefox 2 Add-on

The Tinseltown Firefox Add-on by TwisterMc : Search Engine Friendly Web Site Design is really cool.

The description on the Mozilla page says -

"Tinseltown is a Christmas theme with holiday imagery including Christmas lights, snow, reindeer, presents and more. This theme is made eve better with great Christmas icons from Watiworks and a semi-transparent URL bar. Get in the holiday spirit with Tinseltown."

You need to download Firefox 2 to use this add-on.


Speaking of Firefox 2 - If you happen to be a blogger who uses Phil Ringnalda's handy add-on BlogThis, which allows you to right click on a page to post it to your Blogger blog, you will need to do a little fooling around to make that add-on work with Firefox 2. The steps to make BlogThis work are in the comments section courtesy of Bronskrat T. Polecat -

1. Right-click download the xpi file to your desktop.
2. Change the xpi extension to .zip
3. Open the zip file and extract the 'install.rdf' file
4. Open install.rdf in Notepad and change the from 1.0 to like 3.0
5. Save it, put it back in the zip, change the extension back to .xpi, and double-click to install.

If you are like me and need very literal instructions when it comes to software changes, Bronskrat T. is talking about changing the fifth line from the bottom of 'install.rdf' from -

to -

Happy Holidays!

E.B. White

Some interesting links, and audio recordings, from the New York Times in the article the Life & Times of E.B. White.

The intro says -
E.B. White (1899 -- 1985), essayist for The New Yorker, author of "Stuart Little," "Charlotte's Web" and "The Elements of Style," was a defining voice of American writing this century. According to one reviewer, "he is the master of an idiom at once exact and suggestive, distinguished yet familiar. He says wise things gracefully."
He was an amazingly - talented, funny, wise, humble and a very smart writer. You can see the sensitivity he had to the earth and living things in his children's books and a wonderful adult book he wrote about life on his small farm in Maine, during the years 1938 to 1943, called One Man's Meat.

There's a funny and wise comment from E.B. White, aimed at academics who want to dissect books into a set of questions suitable for homework or a quiz in The Author of "One Man's Meat" Talks About Writing and Country Living .

In the interview E.B. White is talking about sending a piece of his work to a teacher who wanted to use it in a book he was compiling with various author's works, for his English class. E.B. White was happy to do so, but asked the teacher to send him the compilation in which he had used his work. E.B. White writes -
"'He sent me the book and I read my piece in it. At the end there were a lot of questions: 'Why did Mr. White use repetition here?' was one question. And 'Explain the author's purpose in inserting this phrase.'

'Gosh, those questions aren't easy. I tried to answer them and flunked cold. I admit there was repetition there, but I hadn't realized it. Anyway, I couldn't think of a good sound reason why I'd used it. . . .'"
E.B. White's work has stood the test of time and will continue to delight young and old people for years to come. As a writer, he was a hard worker, who mercilessly edited his own material and had a singular ability to write clearly and concisely, while capturing the essence - all while making it appear to the reader as quite easy, as if he was talking to you - often with a twinkle in his eye.


Charlotte's Web

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Reading Frenzy ~ An Independent Press Emporium

Reading Frenzy ~ An Independent Press Emporium from Portland Oregon has some interesting links to homemade crafts, independent arts, zines, comics and a lot of other things that make it a fun place to surf.

Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury

I ran across a nice essay on Ray Bradbury's book Dandelion Wine on

I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed that book when I read it so many years ago. I highly recommend this short book for it's ability to convey the meaning, beauty and transitory nature of simple things we may take for granted.

There are pieces from the book I still remember 40 years or so after reading it - if that's any indication of the strength of some of the writing.

I imagine Jim Croce might have read that book or at least been thinking along the same line when he wrote the song "Time in a Bottle" from his album Photographs & Memories -

"If I could save time in a bottle,
The first thing that I'd like to do
Is to save every day till eternity passes away,
Just to spend them with you"

Excellent book.

I can't write a summary of it any better than this one written by an reviewer S. H. Towsley -
"DANDELION WINE is first and foremost the story of a 12 year old boy discovering that he is alive. I was lucky enough to read this gorgeous, perfect novel, wrapped in a library's dandelion yellow hardcover, the summer of my 12th year, in the small town of New Haven, Indiana, probably wearing my own pair of Red Ball Jets or Keds, lying in my living room as usual, curled up in a chair with the screen door open to let in the blustery summer wind and sun, with the lush green Indiana grass blowing in waves just outside.

I understood what Bradbury was saying at age 12, an incredible thing in itself, since the themes here are fairly grown-up. Essentially, this book is about a boy flooded with the sudden realization of his own "aliveness", and never has a child's experience of innocent living been so perfectly, passionately illustrated. Douglas Spaulding lying in the grass, or feeling the keen pleasure and pain of carrying heavy laden buckets of self-picked berries out of the woods while the handles crease the insides of his hands. Douglas Spaulding discovering the wonder of a Number Two pencil, and the joy of rising early in the morning to watch his town come to life with the sunrise. Douglas Spaulding discovering that nothing makes a boy fly weightless through his summer vacation better than slipping his feet into the cool, cloudwrapped heaven of a new pair of tennis shoes.

I found this book, at age 12 and several times since, to be an experience ranking with the most important books about human life that I have ever read. Bradbury sees so much, and conveys the experiences so clearly that one knows what Douglas and Ray know by the end. This is a book about passion and joy and being fully alive from moment to moment. It is a sonnet to and affirmation of childhood and innocence of such persuasive power that it has become a key volume of my core library. I don't expect everyone to have such a trascendent experience in the reading, and not everyone is fortunate enough to read this book at as perfect a moment as I did. But it is undeniable in its power and equal to the greatest work Ray Bradbury has produced, in my opinion. I was fortunate enough to meet him and thank him for it while at college. But this book has meant more to me than I could tell him.

Give this to a boy you care about, or read it to evoke, soothe and elevate the child in you. It is pure poetry, Bradbury at the height of his powers, written with genius, on the vital topic of the nature of life. I can only say Douglas Spaulding has never left me. You may find him equally provocative."

There's a Reading Guide available for Dandelion Wine from HarperCollins Publishers and excerpts from the first chapter at Ray Bradbury | Books.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

PDF Online

Portable data format (pdf) files are usable by so many applications it's nice to have a way to create them. If you have a lot of cash you can buy a copy of Adobe Acrobat. If you only need to create an occasional PDF file PDF Online is a free alternative that will convert the following file formats to PDF and send them to you via email -

-MS Word (DOC) -MS Publisher (PUB) JPG, PNG

-MS Word (RTF)

-MS PowerPoint (PPT) -HTML (MHT) WMF, EMF
-MS PowerPoint (PPS) -Text (TXT) GIF

This service comes in very handy if someone sends you, for example, a MS Publisher (PUB) file but you don't have that program. By using PDF Online can convert the .pub file to a .pdf file and view it.

The company that makes this service available BCL Technologies has a lot of other interesting sounding applications and has worked with a lot of well known companies to develop software to fit their needs. I thought the program to convert a .pdf file to a Microsoft Word document sounded useful in some instances.

If you do buy a copy of one of the versions of Adobe Acrobat try to get it via a group license e.g. from your college bookstore or a group license agreement through your place of employment. The individual user prices for Adobe products are pretty steep for most non-business casual users.

Another free alternative for creating pdf files would be to try OpenOffice, which, according to some people, is becoming a credible contender in the office software suite arena.

The Onion Store

Know someone who has it all?

Give them a special box this Christmas from The Onion Store.

The ad copy says, "Give a gift that will confuse, disappoint, and possibly anger. Give it in an Onion GotchaBox, a real box with fake product graphics and descriptions that holds your real gift inside."

"Gee I've always wanted a USB toaster."

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Second Life: Your World. Your Imagination. Your Money. Your Time.

I'd never heard of Second Life until I read the Wired Game|Life blog about a grey goo attack in the virtual world this weekend. I'd never heard of a grey goo attack either, for that matter, but Slashdot says:

"Apparently, most people are willing to touch an object they've never seen before and this invoked a worm script that was designed to multiply and spread across the 2,700+ servers run by Linden Labs in California, the game's owner. Many of the six hundred thousand active users experienced serious lag and lost connectivity to the servers, making it one of the largest known denial-of-service attacks in an online game."
The Wired blog entry is pretty funny - particularly the picture of the little kid who has been spreading the goo that is getting these netizens riled up, but the amazing thing about this story is the amount of real money people make and spend in this online virtual world.

The October 28, 2006 article in Something Awful - The Internet Makes You Stupid by Chris "Petey" Peterson has some interesting (and pretty funny) stuff about Second Life. Asked to describe this online world he gives these three features -
Take someone and deprive them of any sort of "real" social contact.

Give them the ability to script any program, animate any action, or build any object through intuitive processes.

Allow them to own their creations, and to sell them to the highest bidder.
He says when he wrote the article, Second Lifers had spent $494,196 in the last 24 hours on virtual goods that have no tangible worth outside of Linden Labs, and that a prominent Second Life landlord named Anshe Chung makes over six figures a year just buying and selling virtual land.

From the Oct 19, 2006 New York Times on Second Life -

"The “people” there make friends, build homes and run businesses. They also play sports, watch movies and do a lot of other familiar things. They even have their own currency, convertible into American dollars.

But residents also fly around, walk underwater and make themselves look beautiful, or like furry animals, dragons, or practically anything — or anyone — they wish.

This parallel universe, an online service called Second Life that allows computer users to create a new and improved digital version of themselves, began in 1999 as a kind of online video game.

But now, the budding fake world is not only attracting a lot more people, it is taking on a real world twist: big business interests are intruding on digital utopia. The Second Life online service is fast becoming a three-dimensional test bed for corporate marketers, including Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Sun Microsystems, Nissan, Adidas/Reebok, Toyota and Starwood Hotels."

I just checked and the 1,544,736 residents of Second Life have spent $652,081 real dollars in the last 24 hours in their virtual world.

Second Life - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

NPR : Second Life: Real Money in a Virtual World

Wii Senses Motion Using Tiny Springs and a Trampoline

Have you been wondering how those new Nintendo Wii controllers sense motion?

Technology Review has an AP story about these new controllers that is fascinating considering the shrinking size and cost of this technology.

From the AP article -

"When you wave around the new Nintendo controller, two tiny, flat pieces of silicon inside it, each weighing about a millionth of a gram, flex against silicon springs that hold them in place.

The movements are minute, or to put it another way, they're on the scale of 10 to 100 hydrogen atoms stacked side by side.

But these tiny movements can be measured with incredible accuracy. A charge is applied between the moving pieces of silicon and two nearby sensors. Faint fluctuations in that charge, as small as that of 10 electrons, are picked up by a chip that translates it into an understanding of how the controller is moving.

The two moving weights, which fit together on an area less than a millimeter square, have different roles. One has two sets of springs, which allow it to move from side to side and back and forth. The other weight is a flat piece anchored almost like trampoline. It senses vertical movement. This way, the chip can distinguish motion in all three dimensions of space.

The Nintendo Wii Remote one-ups the Sony controller by including an infrared camera. It picks up signals from a sensor bar the owner attaches to the television set. This enables the remote to ''know'' where it is in relation to the screen, so the player can use the controller to point to things on the screen -- a useful feature in shooting games (and a lot of games are shooting games).

So where has this technology been until now?

Accelerometers have been used to guide missiles and aircraft, said Richard Marks, who worked on an underwater robot before his job as head of special projects at Sony Computer Entertainment America.

''We had a $25,000 inertial system that was probably comparable,'' to the one in the Sony controller, he said. ''These things have become so much less expensive.''

In the past, accelerometers were large mechanical devices, with springs or liquids that sensed orientation and movement. The reason they can go into game devices now is that they're made not by assembling mechanical components, but with the same techniques used to make computer chips."




Saturday, November 18, 2006

Thanksgiving - Sharing the Bounty

From The ONE Campaign -

"Harry Truman said, "Give Americans the facts and they'll do the right thing." In the real world 850 million people go to sleep hungry every night, but the problem isn't a lack of food. We have more than enough to go around. The problem is the distribution, something we, with other countries around the world, can be the first generation to fix. As you give thanks next week, consider sharing the idea of an Oxfam Hunger Banquet with your family and friends -

If 20 people sit down at your table, representing the world’s population:

3 would be served a gourmet, multi-course meal, while sitting at decorated table and a cushioned chair.

5 would eat rice and beans with a fork and sit on a simple cushion

12 would wait in line to receive a small portion of rice that they would eat with their hands while sitting on the floor.

The true power of an Oxfam Hunger Banquet is that as you eat your meal, unlike the real world, you see what’s on everyone else’s plate."

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Easy Bake - Cooking With Light Bulbs for 40 Years

The Easy-Bake oven came out in 1963 and kids have been making weird stuff in them ever since. They are fun, safe and cool (figuratively and literally). I'm not sure that you couldn't just do away with the light bulb and let your recipe bake/dry inside the oven for awhile and get similar results. A great Christmas present for your future chef. Click on the pic to order the oven or accessories from Target or the cookbook from Amazon.

Hasbro Classic Easy-Bake Oven

Easy-Bake Essentials Measure and More Set

Easy-Bake Essentials Bake and Decorate Cake Set

The Easy-Bake Oven Gourmet

Lots of Teachers - Choose Yours Well

Pastor Kerry Nelson's "Daily Devotions" are, for me, an excellent example of content that shows what the internet can be at it's best. He offers his devotions free of charge, with no ads, no spam, and with permission to use the devotions any time, in any way you wish, with no need to attribute anything to Kerry. Regardless of whether you consider yourself a Christian it's easy to find some pieces of wisdom in his essays. He's a long way from being a fire and brimstone, political, or money-motivated preacher, but is rather a practical honest "real" writer (I'd say person but he's a virtual person to me...even though I feel like I know him; having read his devotions for years now).

You can get on his mailing list and have the daily devotion emailed to you daily. They are as good and sometimes better than anything else I've seen.

I can't stress how valuable an open mind can be.

It would seem any educated person would consider the bible as a potential source of wisdom literature, or a philosophy book, or just something that you would want to know something about in case you ever get on Jeopardy.

The easiest way I've found to learn about what is in the bible is to read daily devotionals which take a bible passage and then tell a story related to that passage. By doing that daily practice you will eventually begin to see the themes in the bible. Lot's of talk of redemption, forgiveness, healing, generosity, helping, loving oneself and others. Not much if any talk about gays, gay marriage, abortion, political parties, stem cell research or any of the other hot button topics that you will find many of the well known TV or radio preachers focusing on - who unfortunately are some peoples only exposure to Christianity. If your only idea of Christianity is Benny Hinn or Pat Robertson or James Dobson, I can't say I'd blame you from being turned off by the whole idea.

Let me assure that is not the whole idea. I'm sorry to say they, like so many others, have taken Christianity and exploited it for their own purposes - not infrequently in the name of power and money - offering quick-fix, mindless rather than mindful solutions, sometimes tinged with hate; knowing that they can manipulate a certain percentage of the populace. For my money's worth I'd take someone who takes a vow of poverty (either literally or figuratively), is talking/teaching because they believe in what they do and if they are Christian based hold to the basic tenet of love over law that Jesus taught.

Pastor Kerry Nelson, a Lutheran Pastor in Houston Texas, is right up there at the top of my list, along with Tom Barrett, a "cybermonk" in Portland Oregon (I have no idea what his religious affiliation may be - he has a strong bent towards Buddhist thought, but his writings are ecumenical in nature) and Father Larry Gillick a Jesuit priest from Omaha, Nebraska. There's all kinds of teachers available - choose your's wisely. These are two apropos snippets from Pastor Kerry Nelson's devotional from Tuesday -

"Consciously, we have thoughts throughout the day. The songs that come and go through our minds. The decisions we make and anxieties and worries we carry. And we also have the “background noise” of our minds – the thoughts and connections and day dreams that drift in and out. The radio playing in the office that we ignore. The drone of the TV in the other room. We live our lives immersed in this white noise…not realizing that it is all getting in, running through our filters of understanding, and finding a home back in the recesses somewhere.......

Let us pray; Dear Lord, every day we find ourselves inundated with a constant barrage of information and suggestions about the way life is or ought to be or could be. It is hard for us to sort through it all, to filter out the unhelpful, to even know how we are being affected. So we pray that your Spirit bring a new measure of mindfulness into our lives. Help us to see the deeper realities of life rather than skimming the superficial surface. In Jesus’ name. Amen."

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Lowe's Katrina Cottage

Interesting articles from and

The Christian Science Monitor article says,
"The "Lowe's Katrina Cottage" offerings range from a two-bedroom, 544-square-foot model to a three-bedroom, 936-square-foot house. The cottages will cost $45 to $55 per square foot to build, Lowe's estimates, meaning the smallest would run about $27,200 and the largest $46,800. Estimates do not include the cost of the foundation, heating and cooling, and labor."
These cottages are designed by Cusato Cottages.

I heard someone say a 500 square foot condo was going for 300K in parts of Seattle. Interesting to think you could build a 500 square foot Lowe's Katrina Cottage for 1/10 that.

300,000 dollars sounds like a lot to spend for a 1 bedroom condo, but it's all relative. I used to think it would be really cool to live downtown near the Pike Place Market. I see a 1 bedroom 1 bath condo near Pike Place Market is about 1.4 million. The real estate listing says -

"Unbelievable oasis in the mist of the historic Pike Place Market with Majestic Puget Sound and Olympic Mountain Views. Truly a beauty in one of the most coveted condo Addresses in town. Extremely sophisticated with major updated interiors.Interior features include:double sided marble gas fireplace,marble/granite bathroom with 2 shower heads,granite kitchen counters with double ovens. This is a definite MUST SEE!!!"

Like my old real estate agent friend said - "location, location, location."

You can buy a 3 bedroom home on a 5000 square foot lot in Minot, North Dakota for $60K, a 2 bedroom fixer-upper on a 4000 square foot lot for $25K in Conrad, Montana, a 3 bedroom 2 bath mobile or manufactured home on a 12,500 square foot lot for in Choteau, Montana for $52K....or how about 80 acres with a well, septic, road and electric near Alturus California for $110K?

Obviously the key is to find a place you like - that everyone else, particularly the real estate boom/home flipping folks, haven't discovered. Aside from the temporary aberation of a real estate bubble - homes are worth some relatively fixed amount proportional to wages. Someone could buy a condo for $300K or $1.4M, but the vast majority of people are going to be in the market for homes that have a price that makes sense given the income available to average working people in that area. In the long term, homes like anything else are worth what someone is willing to pay.

There are lots of options - It's interesting to think you could build a brand new cottage for around 50 dollars/sq foot; and dream about where you might build it. Maybe build it in a backyard, and do your part to help combat sprawl? For people who are retired and don't have to be located near job centers there would be lots of potential nice spots to build a small cottage, or for someone starting out who could live simply and work locally, or someone who didn't mind commuting to a higher paying job in the city.


How to Profit From a Cooling Real Estate Market: Why the Rich Get Richer - Yahoo! Finance
(I think the simple answer might to be a Real Estate Agent or a Banker).

Lots of interesting information on housing at and other things as well like - How and why to bike to work and Build-UR-Own Housing.

Information on a variety of Modular Kit Houses-PreFab Housing Modular Construction, Manufactured Homes including the Cusato Cottages.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Under North End of Aurora Bridge

I took this picture with my cell phone while laying under the Aurora bridge last August.

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The official name of the Aurora Bridge is the George Washington Memorial Bridge. It was dedicated on George Washington's 200th birthday - February 22, 1932.

The little grassy park under the North end of the bridge is a nice spot - just east of downtown Fremont and Peet's Coffee, PCC, Adobe, Getty Images, Google Seattle. The Burke-Gilman Trail runs by the park which overlooks Lake Union, some cool houseboats and the Seattle skyline.

It's a nice spot for a walk, or a picnic lunch.

The Fremont Troll is under this bridge (to the North).

Wikimapia of Aurora Bridge Area

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Absentee Florida Ballot Sent With Precious Stamp has the story of a Broward County Floriday ballot that arrived in an envelope with a 1918 Inverted Jenny stamp which is possibly worth half a million dollars. It's possible the stamp could be a fake.

The envelope had four stamps in total - two from the 1930's, one from World War Two and the 1918 Inverted Jenny.

There was no return address on the envelope so it will not be returned. It's assumed that someone with a failing memory was looking for stamps in a drawer or somewhere, and accidently used the valuable stamp.

The Jenny was named after the Curtiss JN-4 World War One trainer. A very small number were accidently printed with the biplane upside down on the stamp which makes it so valuable.

The ballot was disqualified because it contained no identification.


Tofurky - A Delicious Vegetarian Feast - Maybe

I can hardly believe it but I'm going Tofurky this Thanksgiving.

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I was at the local Sno-Isle Natural Food Co-op to pick up some nutritional yeast, a good nutritional supplement for vegetarians and some Couscous, a quick cooking semolina wheat pasta - when I spotted this complete Thanksgiving dinner in the frozen food section.

It includes (as you can see on the box) - a Tender Juicy Stuffed Tofu Roast, 8 Delicious Cranberry-Apple, Potato Dumplings, Rich Tofurky "Giblet" & Mushroom Gravy and best of all - Our Signature ....

Tofurky Jurky Wishstix

I'm thinking with the right herbs it's going to be a real good meal.

I have a lot of frozen peach slices from fresh peaches I got at the Farmer's Market last summer - so I'll make some peach pies and probably some peach/blueberry/banana smoothies. I'm thinking about making some more fresh pumpkin pies if I can find some good sugar pumpkins around Thanksgiving. It's fun to play with the pumpkins.


I made a good soup today to have while we watch the football game.

Sauteed some onion, diced peeled potatoes, fresh frozen garlic (from
Trader Joe's) and a couple of tablespoons of Chef Paul Prudhomme's Magic Seasoning Blends.

Added a can of red kidney beans, a can of black beans, a can of corn, a package of Boca crumbles, baby carrots, sea salt, a little pepper, garlic powder, Rotini pasta, and a few tablespoons of nutritional yeast.

Let it simmer for an hour and a half or so, and serve with a crusty Baguette.

I generally don't use things like Chef Paul Prudhomme's Magic Seasoning Blend - but someone gave us some and it works good for soups. The one I used has chilies, toasted onion, brown sugar, dehydrated garlic, green bell pepper, dehydrated onion, red bell pepper, paprika and vinegar powder in it. It's salt free if you are interested in cutting back on sodium.