Sunday, April 23, 2006

Odometer Reading

It was a shocker, the Herald-Leader ran my letter pretty much as is, including the cheap shot at our guvnur. Only one dumbass reply. It might be because they ran it on Sunday, where they have a full page of letters.

Biked the last two weeks. It's a pain to reset the odometer on the bike, so I need to record the start point for the year: 657 miles. I thought I had done more than that last year, I guess not.

I biked with my wife the last two weeks. Our oldest daughter sent her a mountain bike she wasn't using, it really has trouble keeping up with my 13 pound road bike. 1st week, did 16 miles in 1h40m, this week 16.5 miles in 1h35m. Under 10 mph, I normally average 12-13. Need to get her a road bike.

Wednesday night jams at the Good Times Lounge have been going really well. Lindsay Olive didn't play last week (nor did the other unbelievable guitarist, David Ponder). I brought my amp to replace Lindsay's, so had to stay until 11:30 to get my amp back. Didn't get to sleep until 1:30, seriously dragging Thursday.

I got drafted to sing lead when they had a group up with no singer: "Little Red Rooster", "Move It On Over", and "Stormy Monday". I changed the line in "Stormy Monday":

Sunday I’ll go to church, and I fall on my knees and pray


Sunday I don't go to church. There ain't no god, why should I pray?

Doing my part for atheism. I do have trouble singing theistic lyrics tho.

A country guy showed, did an upbeat Merle Haggard and "Folsom Prison Blues", but also did "Good-hearted Woman" and "Can't You See" and I sang the harmony -- both great harmony parts. I still prefer 1st harmony to singing lead -- but, I'm afraid I'm becoming a real blues singer, I can growl with the best of them. George Carlin says, no one white should sing or play the blues, too bad. I decided 6 months ago that I would take the playing as an emotional outlet, so I'm putting a lot of emotion into my singing and playing, I think it's working.

Reading stacks seriously backed up, spending too much time practicing guitar. I think of a song that would work at the jam, google the lyrics, print it out, take it downstairs and work the song out, write the key on the lyrics sheet. Up to about 20 sheets now, I'm smelling a band ;->

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Letter to the Editor redux

Well, I swore off letters to the editor (in this very blog) after they butchered the one I sent them, but I'm trying again. Too good an opportunity to try to poke a stick in the eye of our fucking dumbass (and a bad dumbass, not a good one) governor.

Letter to the Editor:

I enjoyed the article "Genetic code isn't perfect, after all" in the April 6 "Frontiers" section. It reminded me of the excellent book "Genome", by Matt Ridley, that I read a couple of years ago. Both touch on the fact that the genome itself is composed of genes and even smaller DNA sequences that reproduce with imperfect replication under environmental pressure, i.e., undergo evolution. The article and the book both show the beauty and, more importantly, the explanatory power of evolutionary biology. All that is required to create the chaotic complexity of the genome, or of all of life on earth, or of the human mind, is imperfect replication under pressure to survive (and billions of years).

This is why it is so saddening and discouraging when our governor proclaims that intelligent design (ID), which has no scientific beauty and absolutely no explanatory power, is a "self-evident truth". No one with any scientific training would ever utter such words. In science, everything is a theory -- but there are good theories and bad theories, and all theories are constantly tested by observation and experiment.

Evolution is one of the best and greatest theories of science -- generally placed in the top four, with relativity, standard particle theory, and quantum mechanics -- while ID is one of the worst, ignored by 99.9% of scientists.

I guess, though, that we can at least be thankful that our governor no longer practices medicine.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

It's All Out There

One thing I have been trying to remember to do for the last year or so is the following: anytime I am wondering about anything or don't know the answer to something, google it. It's amazing to me how I still sometimes go days or weeks, thinking "I wonder ..." about something -- then I remember to google it and the answer's there. Only one failure that I can think of: trying to find out the percentage of Indian computer science grad school graduates who return to India vs stay in the US.

Had a great google moment the other night. Somebody told me I should play "Hard Times", by Ray Charles, at the blues jam. So, I was listening to it on my iTunes and was going to play along on the classical guitar and found the guitar was way out of tune. So googled "e note", fifth entry, under "e note guitar", was this site. Sure enough, click the note for each string and it plays. Being the luddite I am, I saved the MP3 files to my desktop. So now I can just click and tune! Ain't technology great!