Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Why you should join a whistling ensemble

  1. Creating harmonic music with others is a transcendental experience
  2. Working with others forces you to listen more carefully and pay attention to your tuning, rhythm and tone. This deepens your appreciation for music and makes you improve.
  3. Having a deeper appreciation for music will add to the pleasure you experience every day.
  4. Improving at something so worthwhile will give you pride and a sense of accomplishment.
  5. Working with others to make music will help you learn to work better with others in other contexts.
  6. They say developing musical ability improves your mathematical abilities.
  7. When whistling with a group, you develop your breathing (this also applies to singing and playing a wind instrument) , giving you many of the benefits of yoga practice while having more fun.
  8. Every now and then you get to dress up and perform somewhere, probably to thunderous applause, maybe even a standing ovation. Who couldn't use that?

Monday, August 29, 2005

This Time for Sure

All right, so I missed the audition weekend, but I've still got a chance to get my gnarly self in the Pirates of the Caribbean. Or at least my gnarly hands:

Johnny Depp’s hands too girly for a ‘Pirate’!

London: Fans may consider Johnny Depp a ‘macho man’, but according to the producers of his upcoming movie ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’, the actor’s hands are so ‘girly’ that they have to search for a hand double for his role in the sequel.

According to sources, the producers are on the hunt for a gnarly-handed actor to replace Depp’s feminine hands in his role as swash-buckling pirate in the movie. “Johnny has very feminine hands with long, slender fingers. It’s posed a bit of a problem,” femalefirst quoted a source as saying to America’s MSNBC website.

(Thanks to the CRTF Research Team for putting me onto this. And for the news that I'll get a chance to meet Keith Richards if I get the part. Apparently he won't be needing any gnarly parts doubles.)

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Another one for Coyote

So this Coyote is behind a bush relieving himself when a prairie dog comes along. "Say," asks the Coyote, "does shit stick to your fur?"

"Oh, yeah," says the Prairie Dog, "big time."

So the Coyote picks up the Prairie Dog and wipes his arse with him.

There's a version of this story where a bear asks the same question of a rabbit and the rabbit says no and the bear uses the rabbit as toilet paper. Bears aren't as bright as Coyotes, I figure. It'd be like using wax paper or something. Pointless, he'd just smear it around.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Back to School Soon

Y'know, although I could use a longer summer break and have been enjoying life at the salt mine, I'm looking forward to my last year at Pirate School.

Here are the courses I've signed up for in the fall semester:

SHIP ORGANIZATIONS: There are many different choices in organizational structure with a ship. My ideal is the democracy of a pirate ship with every pirate taking their fair share of the booty. But when you're battling merchantmen and government ships, you'll want to know how they're run. My favourite way of capturing a tyrannical merchantman is to offer all the downtrodden sailors the life of a pirate and an even share of the proceeds. You'd be surprised how many ships give up without a single cannon being fired when that offer is made.

PIRATES AND THE FAMILY: A pirate's life is hard on a family. What do you do when the spouse wants out? How do you divide the treasure? Are there options to duelling a man to take his bride?

CHILDREN AND LIFE AT SEA: Is it okay for the young ones to be working aboard ship? Should they be kept below decks during a battle? What share of the loot should they get?

PIRATES AND SOCIETY Selected Issues in Feminist Piracy: Should we male pirates be cleaning up our language? What can be done to increase the number of female captains? And flogging - is it a women's issue only? What about the violence of a pirate's life - does it encourage the abuse of women?

PRIVATEER PRACTICUM: This is going to be the best. I'll get one day a week of privateer life. Sure it's government work, but it's just like real piracy with better hours and the law on your side.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Is it a Date Square?

The Amazon took me to the Loblaws this afternoon. In one of my favourite aisles, the one where they keep the giant cans of tomatoes and the big bags of walnuts, they also keep big bags of pitted dates. An urge suddenly came over to me to make date squares.The Finished Product

This is remarkable for a number of reasons:

  • I don't bake (unless you count lasagna);
  • I've never made date squares or any other kind of dessert square (unless you count the brownies I whipped up last summer from a box of Betty Crocker mix);
  • I've a long list of things to do today that does not include making a dessert, but does include "lose weight"; and
  • With today's heat, I'd planned supper based on not using the oven or stove.

But something told me to make date squares, so I bought two bags of pitted dates and a bag of rolled oats.

Back at the cave, I looked in my first reference when I'm learning something new in the kitchen. Rombauer and Rombauer-Becker's Joy of Cooking (the 1975 edition). I was non-plussed to discover they don't have a proper date square recipe, only something called Date Bar Cockaigne, which looked to be a poor substitute and required pecans.

I tried another cookbook with no luck and then went to the internet.

The first recipe called for shortening. Having none, I went to the second recipe. It turned out to be from Diana Rattray! Our dear friend Agatha tells us that this Rattray woman ran off with Aggie's first husband and her lemon square recipe!

Could it be that if I used this recipe, I'd be getting something that came from Aggie's great-great-grandmother? Worth trying, I said to myself.

So I mixed it up, following the recipe closely, except, maybe a third more dates than called for. For me, a date square should have a lot of dates. Also, instead of "chopping" the dates, I used my blender.

Look at how nicely pressed that bottom layer is!But it came out okay. Here's a picture of the date mixture going on top of the bottom layer of oats, flour, etc.

Follow-up News

  1. The blender caused no harm, the dates were really smooth (except for the unpitted pit in one.)
  2. Next time, I'll use more margarine for the crust, (and perhaps try butter - it's hard to believe Aggie's great-great grandmother used margarine, and I bet she wouldn't have skimped.)
  3. I gave six of the squares to the gardening gnome in the hut next door. "Dwarfie," she cried, "how did you know date squares are my favourite thing!" (She's done wonders for the flowers around here, I owe her.)

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Clowns to the left of me. Jokers to the right.

Yes, those are child circus slavesYes, I missed the audition for the pirate movie. The car broke down on the way and I wound up kidnapped by circus folk.

When BlogAdmin realized I'd gone 16 hours without checking in to the ESI site, he knew something was wrong. It took him until Monday morning to track me down and rescue me.