Saturday, June 30, 2007

Nana's Welsh Griddle Cookies

Here's the recipe for the apparently famous family traditional recipe of Welsh Griddle cookies. The word is that our Great Grandmother used to make these for our Grandmother and our Mother. Of course...none of US had ever had them until they were made for Meka. How did this skip a generation? And here we thought we were loved.

6 cups of flour
2 cups of sugar
2 tsp. salt
3 tsp. baking powder
4 tsp. of nutmeg

Mix ingredients together & then blend in 2 cups of shortening (Crisco); blend like a pie (w/ either a pastry cutter or fork). Beat 3 eggs together add 1/2 cup of milk & 1 tsp. vanilla and blend well w/ beater. Soak 2 1/2 cups of seedless raisins for 1 minute, drain raisins & mix them with a little bit of flour. Mix all together and roll out on well floured surface to ~ 1/4in. thick. Use cookie cutter or glass rim to cut.

Bake 350 degrees in a skillet until light brown (cook like a pancake turning only once).

NOTE: Recipe can be halved OR half of the batter can be frozen. 6 cups of flour makes a LOT of cookies.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Off to Camp...'s that time of year...Camp time!

Cheryl & I are off to Camp Otterbein for the Jr. High Mission Adventure. We're taking a very small group of kids, a little disappointing, but we'll have a blast. Having never been I'm a little apprehensive and afraid I'll mess it up.'s awesome.

Farewell blog. I'll be back soon.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Meka Falls Down the Stairs

We had a horrific scare last night. Meka fell down the entire flight of stairs outside my office at the church building onto the tile floor. She took off towards the stairs, where she usually waits at the top. We ran after her but she lost her balance and went tumbling down. It was terrifying. She had a little bump on her forehead, a little bloody nose and a bit of blood in her mouth but after a couple minutes she was back to playing like normal. It just scared her. I think it scared us worse. She must be made out of either steel or rubble. She's a brusier. Even this morning there's no visible sign of the fall. Crazy.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Ruth Graham

Billy Graham is still alive at 88 but his wife just passed away at 87. I've never been a big fan of Billy Graham though I respect him immensely and love his retreat center in NC. Could be a north/south thing or a generational thing however...the man has been a confidant to presidents of both parties, has shared a simple message of Jesus' love on every inhabited continent to multiple millions of people and has done it all without screwing up morally which happens to too many preachers.

All of that is great, but this cements him in my mind as truly remarkable. And for the record, when I go, contact this prison for a box like this for me.

Billy Graham, like his wife, will be buried in a birch plywood coffin built by inmates at Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, La. The Graham's son Franklin made the request after seeing the coffins on a visit to the Angola prison and being struck by their simplicity, according to a statement from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. The coffins cost $215 each.

(From CBS news: CLICK HERE for the full story)

Monday, June 18, 2007

Kearns/Lopez Trade

Considering that the Kearns/Lopez trade is still so contentious among reds fans, Josh inspired me to figure out what impact the trade has had on the team on the field of play.
Here it goes...

The trade took effect July 13th, 2006.
On 7/13/06: 46-44………win pct. = .511
7/13/06 through 10/1/06: 34-38………win pct. = .472
On June 18th, 2007: 27-44…… pct. = .380

Total after the trade: 61-82…….win pct. = .427

So, before the trade the Reds were playing above .500 ball, on pace for 82 wins. For the rest of the season--with Majewski, Clayton, and Bray on the roster--they played nearly 4% worse (a 93-loss season if averaged out).
Last year, then, if they'd played full seasons with both rosters they would have won 13 more games with the pre-trade roster (82-80 vs. 69-93). Interestingly, this would have put them only a game behind the Cardinals. Considering the schedule is so weighted towards division play, it is not unrealistic to think it could have been a longer season for the Reds.

This year is a different story. Clayton is gone. Bray hasn't pitched. Majewski is, well, terrible. Harris is with the D-Rays.
The resultant new roster includes two main new faces: Josh Hamilton and Alex Gonzalez. Even with these two, the Reds winning percentage is a dismal .380. (For those keeping track, that means that as of tonight they are on pace for a 100-loss season.)

So, since the trade the Reds have a total winning percentage of .427--8.4% worse than pre-trade. Irrespective of Kearns and Lopez's individual numbers this year, which are admittedly terrible, the Reds team performance (baseball is, after all, a team sport) has suffered considerably.

That being said, I want to make it clear that I do not wish Kearns and Lopez were back. I commend Wayne Krivsky for getting Josh Hamilton and Alex Gonzalez and do prefer them over the other two. It is simply about value and the Reds failed to take get as much as they could have.

Reds Rant

Apparently the Reds have taken it upon themselves to show just how inept a baseball team can be. And they are truly thriving at the task, I must say. This is the earliest in the season I can remember having no hope. At the same time, it is the first time in memory that there is actually something to look forward to. Rich and I have been calling for Dunn's trading for years now (always preferring Kearns) and I am hoping it will finally come to fruition. But then, the Reds already have the most ineffective relievers in the league, so Krivsky has no one to trade for.
In seriousness, though, I would love to see the Reds start playing it smart. Even in the Central they're dead in the water. Build for 2009. I won't venture a guess as to who they'll trade for, as that is hardly a worthwhile venture, as Hal McCoy recently pointed out. However, if reports are true that they asked the Angels for three major leaguers, I find that rather ridiculous. You can't make up for last year's gaffe by gouging another team--not because of ethics, but because no other GM is so desperate to prove himself. I can only imagine Bill Stoneman laughing as he hung up the phone. If they could get just Kendrick or Wood they'd be getting enough. I hope Krivsky doesn't blow it by being greedy--or by insisting on getting pitching. Literally every position can stand an upgrade if they get the right guy.
So I'm looking forward to--and severely fearing--the trade action. Also, the possibility of acquiring a top prospect or two and pairing them with Bailey, Bruce, Stubbs, and Votto next year or in '09 sounds pretty good.
Embedded are photos of my top three wishlist for Dunn, realism completely and utterly aside: James Loney (1B from the Dodgers, knee injury not withstanding), Matt Garza (SP from the Twins), and Jarrod Saltalamacchia (C from the Braves).

Paul McCartney // Dance Tonight + iPod I just picked up Sir Paul's new record and it's quite good. I can almost smell the Starbucks coffee.

Dance tonight is ridiculously catchy, borderline juvenile and sophmoric but he pulls it off and I can't get enough.

The video is pretty cool too. Here's a snipit from the new iPod commercial.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Working with Students

" all comes down to dropping a few seeds on the ground. If the soil is ready, the seeds will grow, and if not, you could have the Archangel Michael buzzing around the room in a thong and the kids still won't get it."

Anne Lamott // Grace (Eventually)

Friday, June 15, 2007

The Coffee Set-up

So I'm borderline obsesively into roasting coffee now. Thanks, Scotty. Couldn't you have just gotten me hooked on some illicit drug with a cool nickname that I don't even understand?

I've done quite a few roasts. I don't know what went wrong that first time but I've gotten it hooked up to a pretty consistent roast.

I'm using 3/4 cup of beans, attached chimney (more on that in a bit), and stirring 3 times every 15 seconds. Though the beans flow and bounce enough I'm not even sure I need to stir. But I do.

First crack is around 3.30, 2nd is around 6 and then I stop the roast nice and dark and oily at 8.

This is a recent roast with the above recipe.

I've attached the chimney (aka. can of peas) with HVAC duct tape. Note: duct tape melts at this temperature, even heat resistant up to 200 degrees. So...I'll have to figure something else because I can't stand to hold the chimney in place. I'm too lazy. I'd rather work ridiculously hard at rigging it so I don't have to hold it. Think, I'm going to search for the remote control for 10 minutes instead of changing the channel or using the power button on the TV.

Anyway...Here are a couple more pics. Happy roasting!


How about this picture? Yowser.

Hey T, remember when we went to that Tiger's game with Jimmy & Dad and the foul ball came right towards us and hit that old guy in the face? That was wicked. I also remember the hot dog peddler who would toss buns up in the air and then people would cheer for him. For throwing buns in the air.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Another Coffee Roasting Ferry I've entered into the world of coffee roasting with a popcorn popper. Woohoo!

It is strangely, ridiculously fun, slumped over a little popcorn popper with a tin can teetering as a chimney, oven mitt in hand, wondering what in the world is 1st crack, 2nd crack, how long is too long, etc. It's oddly amusing and so piece miel that I feel like I'm cooking crystal meth or something. Maybe crystal meth isn't so much fun to take as it is a trip to make. Sorry. Crystal Meth jokes aren't in any way appropriate.

Anyway...while roasting I cheesed out at 30 minutes. It took like 15 minutes to get to what they call in the biz "1st crack" which is ironically what they call your first visit from a professional plumber after you've bought a house.

Then it was another 5-10 minutes until 2nd crack and as aforementioned I cheesed out at 30 minutes.

The roast looked about like it is above. A little light for my taste but not terrible. Tasted earthy and had low acidity when I brewed it. The gist: it didn't suck, which is nice.

Commentary on today's greatness for two reasons, well, many reasons:

(1) I drank Sulawesi first thing. Not home roasted yet.
(2) I had Chipotle for lunch w/ Cheryl & the Mekster. Mmmm...burrito.
(3) I'm going to roast again after work.
(4) It's Wilco day! Wilco show @ the Aranoff tonight.
(5) I've got a huge stack of books that I can't wait to get to reading. Now it's just finding the time.

Off to finish working and then off for coffee roasting and Wilco!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Zimmers

So apparently this is a band of old folks gathered from nursing homes and what not in Great Britain. There's supposed to be a BBC documentary coming out with these folks.

It's sort of the opposite end of the spectrum of: The Langley Schools Innocence and Despair Music Project

THE CHALLENGE: Watch this with out smiling and/or laughing out loud with joy.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Seven Deadly Sins : : Laziness

This week we began a new series on the 7 Deadly Sins.

There's two reasons it was a bit of struggle preparing a message this week: (1) Sin is stupid and (2) I'm lazy.

This first week was laziness. And by many accounts we as a people are not lazy. The average American works 65 hours a week. Yowser. That makes my 27 pretty paltry. I'm kidding. Mostly.

Anyway...I found that laziness for the early church was much more like apathy and joylessness rather than napping and hitting the snooze button (good thing for me).

Does apathy and joylessness sound like church? Uh...yeah. I thought that's what the word church meant for a long time: joyless and apathetic.

So the opposite of laziness is diligence, and not just diligence at whatever but diligence in the things that matter. Our busyness on things that don't matter can be our laziness. Ooooh, deep.

So here's to diligence! Bottom's up!

Saturday, June 9, 2007

bloody mulligan!

if anyone is looking for a birthday present for me, may i recommend stupid looking pants! or possibly a plaid scottish beret!

turns out i love golf.

i should never have hated the game of golf. i got confused by all the rich white people in ridiculous outfits celebrating their wealth via a classist, land-wasting activity. however, i have discovered the beauty of public courses and even saw a mexican there! a real live one too! that wrong? sorry pedro. ...thanks for carrying my clubs.

hey fellas.

sorry for the absence but between my morning carpentry work, evening work with the somali refugee kids, and 2 classes i am taking (not to mention homework, music, building an art portfolio, and studying for the gre), i am just trying to keep my head above water. i literally leave the house before 6 am and don't get home until about 9:30 pm during the week and i don't have internet at the house. therefore, i am requesting slack about not posting. i am enjoying yours though.


Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Braves AA manager goes crazy

Uh...this dude is out of control. My question is how did he keep this up without laughing.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Bill "The Thrill" Richardson

I don't have the ability to post videos, so here's the link.

I have recently become very impressed with, and converted to support of (for now, anyways), Bill Richardson for president. He's pretty much right on for just about everything--his proposed energy policy is particularly refreshing. So, while I was doing my digging I came across two campaign ads. Good stuff.