Historic church with beautiful acoustics

Nice article about my aunt and uncle’s efforts to preserve one of the last buildings left from Preston Ranch – it’s church:
Cloverdale site testament to religious leader, healer

The acoustics in that church are supreme for classical and folk instruments. The room is 100% seasoned wood paneling, giving it perfect resonance with the instrument. The church itself is quite cozy and very beautiful inside. The old Seth Thomas clock in the tower there has been running since I first saw it in the 1970s, and it’s an amazing piece of machinery.

The ranch mentioned in the article is a place where I spent many weekends and summers. It was there that I began studying flamenco guitar with the great Chris Carnes – although I’ve mostly let the flamenco chops slide in lieu of more classical technique lately. I should do something about that one of these days, but I have too many hobbies and responsibilities as it is…

Turkey, turkey

We just survived our first T-Day in our new house. Headcount was 13 including us, and we are all stuffed. For the main course, I did Alton Brown’s Roast Turkey recipe, and it was damn good. I followed it pretty close but forgot to give the turkey it’s tinfoil hat until about halfway through stage two of the roasting; still, the over-basting seemed to compensate just fine.

MusicXML

During my recent round of trying to evaluate the right music notation software for myself, I came across an XML application that I can truly relate to: MusicXML.

Much like how MathML is used to describe mathematical documents, MusicXML does this for music. It’s brilliant. Just looking at the spec, I can think of oh so many cool things that could be done with this, from extracting patterns out of the self-describing XML data all the way to doing some interesting procedures over the web.

And heck, if I was ever that much of a cheapskate, I could always write up a composition using XML rather than hoofing up the $650 bill for a full copy of Finale…

OK maybe that would be impractical for all but the simplest arrangement of Three Blind Mice. But it’s nice to know that, hey, it is an option if someone had the time…

Another day, another complete reinstall

Recently, my now-two-year-old PowerBook had been doing Odd ThingsѢ. Things like the Keychain suddenly freaking out. Beach balls o’ death at every turn. All my calendars disappeared, and my Mail was not happy.

I tried so many things. It seemed that most of the errors were tied back to the Keychain issue. It was as if Keychain was suddenly suffering from Alzheimer’s. Nothing really helped. So I had to put her down.

There was so much clutter on this thing anyway. Some files trace back to 1996. A lot of junk didn’t need to be on there any more.

The work upgrade went so well that I thought I’d give this thing a fresh start. So far so good. Noticeable improvement in overall performance, and I’m feeling like things make sense again.

Lines on ale

ABC News is reporting that Beer May Fight Disease. Studies are showing that the compound xanthohumol, which comes from hops, is found to inhibit cancer growth and to help wash out the bad mojo. Looks like I will be living long.

For me, the hoppier the ale, the better. Some of my faves include the Bombay Bomber IPA at Steelhead Brewery in Burlingame, the local Hoptown IPA from Pleasanton (available at The Hopyard pubs in San Ramon and Pleasanton), and a recently discovered ThunderHead IPA from Pyramid, available in bottles. Cascade, Chinook, Willamette, and Fuggles hops are my favorite hops varieties I’ve worked with in home brewing, but I really haven’t met any hops that I don’t like. I particularly like the hops that leave the bitters on the back of your tongue for hours after you imbibe. It ruins the palate for tasting anything later, but true hops aficionados care not.

Still, no one knows how much beer is needed to reap the benefits. Mice studies show that the compound is metabolized quickly by the body, so it’s hard to get a large amount in the body at one time, Stevens said.

I am absolutely certain that our best and brightest members of our universities all across North America are working on that very problem as we speak. Godspeed, lads.

And lastly, I’ll leave you, dear reader, with a poem from our most morbid of poets the legendary, Edgar Allan Poe:

Lines on Ale

Fill with mingled cream and amber,
I will drain that glass again.
Such hilarious visions clamber
Through the chamber of my brain –
Quaintest thoughts – queerist fancies
Come to life and fade away;
What care I how time advances?
I am drinking ale today.