Thursday, May 12, 2016

Time to Celebrate

It's almost May and Summer is around the corner. The end of April has been very busy for me so I hadn't really thought of anything that I could write about. But I discovered the National Day Calendar ( And if you're needing a reason to celebrate they've got you covered.

Did you know that May is National Barbecue Month, Hamburger Month, Egg Month, Salad Month, Salsa Month, Strawberry Month and perhaps most importantly Chocolate Custard Month? (Of course there are important things that aren't so celebratory like it is also Lyme Disease Awareness month, but I'll leave that for you to explore.) And Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month sounds good.

Is a whole month too much for you? Well, May also has some important days. Of course if you're so inclined May first is May day. But it is also National Chocolate Parfait Day. And National Mother Goose Day. And this year (since it officially falls on the first Sunday) National Lemonade Day. I'm certainly going to try to celebrate that.

And if you're looking for something a little different May third is National Lumpy Rug Day. I'm not exactly sure how one celebrates that, but I've got just the rug. And that's immediately followed by National Candied Orange Peel Day. Though sometimes I think that that one has just gotten too commercial.

Are you in to beer? Well May seventh is National Homebrew Day. You aren't in to that, how about May ninth and National Butterscotch Brownie day? Though it seems to be the wrong season, May thirteenth is National Apple Pie Day. And the fourteenth is National Buttermilk Biscuit Day. And just a few days later we have National Cherry Cobbler Day on the seventeenth.

And if that's too exciting you can dial things back on the twenty-second with National Vanilla Pudding Day.

I think I will not be doing anything special on May twenty-fourth which is National Escargot Day. Though it is also National Scavenger Hunt Day. And May twenty-fifth appears to be National Wine Day.

And then we get to Memorial Day Weekend. With Hamburger Day on the twenty-eighth. Of course Memorial Day is on the thirtieth this year. And we all observe that day in our own ways.

 And on the thirty-first there is a day that I can't quite decide if it is a celebration or a punishment. It is National Speak in Sentences Day. Nope. I don't think I can do it.

Getting Animated

Due to getting access to YouTube on my TV I've been watching more stuff on YouTube than I used to. There seems to be something for everyone on there. I've found cooking videos for people who are Revolutionary War reenactors and others for how to take apart your computer.

Some of these videos have pretty high production values, while others might have trained their dog to hold the camera mostly still. But production values don't have much to do with how much a person can learn from the video. If you're wanting to learn how to make toum (a middle eastern garlic sauce) it doesn't matter too much how well it's “filmed”, just how well they show the steps. (And I found some that were explaining the steps mostly in Arabic, but were still helpful.)

But one of my favorite categories is animation. In particular, student animation. Apparently there are a lot of animation schools around this world and many of them have the results of student projects put out on YouTube. Some are vast CGI worlds filled with strange creatures like in Avatar, others are small little projects that look like they came from the 50s.

Many (perhaps most) don't have any dialog which means there's seldom a language barrier for the animations that come from around the world. Though that doesn't always guarantee understanding. I'm still pondering one called “Tsunami”.

Perhaps it is because I'm mostly viewing student videos, but a lot of what I watch is either angsty or optimistic. But the ones I'm going to recommend are all pretty much optimistic.

(1) “Omelette”. This is about a dog whose person has just come home and is very tired and trying to cook dinner. Dog to the rescue. (

(2) “Grandma's Hero”. This one has a young many who is about to graduate from hero school, but still needs to do his final project. Slaying a dragon. Well grandma tags along and her way of dealing with problems is very different than the way he learned in school. ( there is some brief nudity and some violence so watch it before you share with children.)

(3) “Monster Box”. A young girl is looking for housing for her monsters. She goes to a maker of birdhouses. There is conflict, disasters and a happy ending. (

 And if you'd like to help me out watch “Tsunami” and tell me what's going on... I've got an idea, but I'm open to other ideas. ( But do check out the remarkable work that is out there on YouTube.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Burning Daylight

So, it's just around the corner. Yet again. Daylight Saving Time. Another year with the horrible weeks of adjusting to a new timezone without even moving. Now I can sort of theoretically understand that there are people that like it.

Wavy Gravity

Physics was making big news again just recently. When Albert Einstein created his general theory of relativity it suggested that gravity was actually warping space. And that's the model that people have been using since many of it's predictions have been verified. Like gravity bending light, and slight differences in the flow of time between the Earth's surface and out in space (which has to be accounted for to make your GPS work). 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016


Time is a strange dimension. Mathematically we can move all around in space, but with time all we can do is follow along as time keeps moving “forward”. We can look back in time through memory, history and scientific methods, but when we go forward we have to make predictions. These can be as good as predicting a solar eclipse years in advance. Or as poor as guessing who's going to be president next year.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Out in the Cold

I don't always know where my projects are inspired. But this time I'm pretty sure that my interest in cold smoking came from how expensive smoked salmon is. Cold smoking is like barbecue in that food is flavored by smoke of long periods of time, but since it's “cold” the food doesn't get cooked.

Saturday, January 9, 2016


Not too long ago we were watching PBS (it happens) and saw a short segment on a group here in California building structures out of EARTH (don't call it “dirt”). They had gracefully curved buildings that would remind a person of a hobbit home. Cozy.