hollyking: (ahead full)

In preparation teaching Whist at SteamCon I've started putting together notes and information on the Seattle Whist Club blog. It's just a start but I hope to post the content that will become the info I'm planning on handing out at the con.

Om Nom Nom

Oct. 20th, 2010 11:07 am

On an LJ German group I read someone asked about translating the phrase “Ask not for whom the telephone rings; it rings for you.” into German. I can’t help with the translation but a few people commented that they didn’t understand the phrase and had never heard anything like it in English before. I suspected that the original poster was referring to John Donne’s Meditation XVII. It turns out I was right and the relevant passage is:

No man is an island. entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were; any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

Some thought the line to be translated referred to the hour being struck by a clock. I’m not an literature major but I feel that Donne was referring to church bells being rung at a funeral. But then what are the ringing of a phone or the striking of the hour but little shreds of that final bell being struck as we all march to the inevitable. Cheery, eh?

Maybe not but I like that image of all the small bells ringing as we get closer to that last big bell. (If you didn’t know by now I am amused by the macabre and thoughts of horrors that lurk just around the corner.) Again I want a long case clock that ticks and chimes nice and low on the hour.

hollyking: (ahead full)

One of my favorite memories from childhood is riding the train to and from Grandma and Grandpa's house. We were living in Kansas City but Mom was from Webster Groves and her parents still lived there. Thanks to Amtrak [livejournal.com profile] ragnorokt and I were able to visit our grandparents every summer even if our parents had to work. Mom and Dad would drop us off at the Kansas City station and Grandma and Grandpa would pick us up at the Kirkwood station. At the end of our visit we would reverse the trip and come home. Sometimes our parents would drive to Webster Groves for the weekend and we would all drive back together. (The train was more fun and we had more room.)

To this day I still love train travel. It doesn't matter if it's a short hop on the local light rail or a longer trip on Amtrak. So I'm still bouncy from booking a train ride to Leavenworth yesterday. I haven't travelled as much as I would like but it's a small price to pay to get out of debt. I look at those balances drop, and they are dropping quickly now, and remind myself that when it's paid off we're going redirect some of that budget toward travel. An some of that travel is going to be on trains.

The weather has turned and I've been bitten by the baking bug again. I picked a new recipe to try, restocked the pantry, cleaned the counters and started to gather the ingredients. I put the first one, 2oz of butter, on my scale and it read 3/4 oz. I know it wasn't a full 4oz stick but that sounded a bit light to me. So I pull out the next, untouched 4oz stick, and weigh it. The display read 1 7/8 oz, which is way too light. Great, my scale seems to be broken. Maybe I'm lucky and it's simply a weak battery. Maybe it was dropped or something when I wasn't around and no longer reads true. Either way it halts my plans for the day.

Being frugal I'll try a new battery first. If that doesn't work I'll be in the market for a new scale. I've a few requirements for my next scale that my old one didn't have. Mainly higher capacity and a more stable base. This one can't weigh enough for some of the recipes I want to make and isn't very stable due to it's small center column that connects the plate to the control unit on the bottom.

The geek inside of me says I should spring for a balance scale and some accurate weights but as cool as it would be it's overkill for baking.


Lunch of the Day
Originally uploaded by hollyking
The guest brew sampler from Elysian. Too many IPAs (3) for my taste, but the Night Owl (3rd from the right) and Pumpkin Porter (left on the tray) were my favorites.

Taking a break from the fiction I’ve been reading I picked up a couple of books at the library that looked interesting but didn’t draw me enough to buy them outright. I started reading Logicomix last night and I’ve found it fascinating. Here’s the blurb about the book to introduce it to you:

Covering a span of sixty years, the graphic novel Logicomix was inspired by the epic story of the quest for the Foundations of Mathematics.

This was a heroic intellectual adventure most of whose protagonists paid the price of knowledge with extreme personal suffering and even insanity. The book tells its tale in an engaging way, at the same time complex and accessible. It grounds the philosophical struggles on the undercurrent of personal emotional turmoil, as well as the momentous historical events and ideological battles which gave rise to them.

The role of narrator is given to the most eloquent and spirited of the story’s protagonists, the great logician, philosopher and pacifist Bertrand Russell. It is through his eyes that the plights of such great thinkers as Frege, Hilbert, Poincaré, Wittgenstein and Gödel come to life, and through his own passionate involvement in the quest that the various narrative strands come together.

Reading the book has made me want to read more books about mathematics such as Whitehead and Russell’s Principia Mathematica. My concern is that my lack of higher mathematics will make the book frustrating and incomprehensible. Have any of you read the book? Would someone who doesn’t know much calculus be able to understand it? If not which areas of mathematics should I study first?

Last Saturday [livejournal.com profile] ragnorokt, [livejournal.com profile] hollyqueen and I went to the the First Annual Cider Summit N.W.. It was the first cider summit put together by the new Northwest Cider Association. I had a great time tasting all the cider and meeting some of the faces behind the scenes. We’re at the leading edge of a craft cider explosion and it’s a great time to be a fan. I’m looking forward to future events such as the Vashon Ciderfest and Ivar’s Cider Celebration.

In other news, I’m getting excited about teaching Whist at Steamcon II. Soon I should know my schedule and I’ve been working on a short history of the game and rules so I can create handouts for people who learn the game. My not-so-secret goal is to educate enough players to create a Whist club.

Speaking of Steamcon II, I think I need to make new calling/business cards. I have “eyeball QSO,” but they met with confusion and a lot of note writing on the back of the them as people tried to match up their view of me with the person on the card. At the same time I’m thinking about dropping some of the email addresses and web sites I have scattered out there. I’m not interested enough to expend the energy to become a “superstar” blog star so one blog on LJ is enough for me.


N0BML Field Day 2010
Originally uploaded by Brendan N0BML
See, I really do get my radios out sometime and play with them. Too bad this time it was a flop. I couldn't find several key parts, like the microphone. I was able to copy a few callsigns and QSOs. The radio is a Yaesu FT-817ND and you can see the base of the Buddistick antenna on the table. My best results were on the 20M band.

I still miss my friend...


Have you seen this flier?
Originally uploaded by hollyking
While walking around I found this posted on a telephone pole. I figured I would help spread the word so the poster could find their flier.
Last night I finished my first play through of Alan Wake... (Spoilers Inside) )

The Old Gods of Asgard songs in the game are performed by Poets of the Fall. A band I hadn't heard of before but I'm glad I looked into them. In particular I want to share their video for Carnival of Rust. You can check it out below.

This was a hoot!

hollyking: (us)

[livejournal.com profile] hollyqueen and I think it's high time to have another gaming open house. So we're doing just that. This time we'll be rolling back the rock and opening the cavern on Saturday, May 29th starting at 2pm and going until we kick you all out. After I first announced this I realized it was Memorial Day weekend. I know folks have plans so this is open house style. Drop by when you can and stay as long as you like (subject to previously mentioned kicking).

Bring snacks and drinks and we'll figure out some kind of dinner if necessary. The patio is under construction but it might be finished before Saturday so I can fire up the grill.

We'll have, and I'd like to play:

While talking with a coworker about my experience volunteering with the 2010 Tour de Cure I mentioned I was participating in the 2010 Step Out walk to raise money for Diabetes research as a Red Strider. She surprised me by writing out a check for my first donation. Suddenly I'm 5% towards my goal of $500.

You can see my progress, and donate yourself if you're so inclined, at My Step Out page. All donations are 100% tax deductible and help a good cause.

Today I pulled out my portable radio and went to Marymoor Park to volunteer for the 2010 Tour de Cure. While I have volunteered at public service events before today was full of some firsts. Among them are:

  • This was the first event for me in the Seattle area.
  • This was the first time I was positioned as the "shadow" (1) for the event director.
  • This was the longest shift I've ever worked. I was on station from 6am this morning until 5pm.
  • This was the first time I came home with 3 pounds of cream cheese. (2)

It was a good day though I'm tired and sunburned now. I'll certainly be helping out the ADA in the future and looking for other public service events too.

  1. The shadow position follows a key person and acts as a bridge between them and the amateur radio operators assigned at various locations during the event.
  2. There were three pound tubs of cream cheese that were donated for the bagels and a few were unused. Most of the leftover food was donated to a food bank. The food bank wouldn't take them so they were just going to be thrown out. I might not be able, and certainly should be allowed, to eat three pounds of cream cheese but at least some of will be used. Need any cream cheese?

Next month my brother, [livejournal.com profile] ragnorokt, is moving to Seattle. While he looks for work and a place of his own he'll be staying with [livejournal.com profile] hollyqueen and I. As you all might know he's an award winning home brewer and makes some pretty kick ass mead too. We won't have the space for him to brew anything so we thought that someone might like an opportunity to learn how to make their own beer or mead.

The general idea is [livejournal.com profile] ragnorokt will help you make your own recipes in exchange for space to make his own. If anyone is interested in this I'll put the two of you in touch to work out the details. I'm just the messenger.

[livejournal.com profile] hollyqueen and I think it's high time to have another gaming open house. So we're doing just that. This time we'll be rolling back the rock and opening the cavern on Saturday, May 29th starting at 2pm and going until late in the night. Since this is open house style drop by when you can and stay as long as you like.

We'll have, and I'd like to play:

We'll figure out some kind of pot luck thing for those who will be there around dinner time. This is a special game time because soon [livejournal.com profile] ragnorokt will be with us and we won't have as much room to host for a bit.

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