Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks

Don Smallidge

"It always takes longer than you expect!" - Douglas Hofstadter

Moved across the pond with this version. Not much in the way of improvements but you may notice some subtle differences after two years of neglect. Certainly not all at once, but eventually I hope to clean up the site. Some things may not work (if I forgot to upload the relevant bits and pieces). Drop me a line if you notice that something is missing.

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Don with iPad and tea Healthy Mind in a Healthy Body with an iPad Drinking Green Tea

You should not underestimate the power of relaxing. Every once in a while it's a good idea to just take a break and enjoy the fruits of your labors.

Lately I have been taking a little more time for myself and sampling the pleasures of Maine. Years ago (as a tourist) I came to Maine on weekends to recharge my batteries after a long week at a hot keyboard. Living here is even better! Shorter drive (or a good healthy walk to and from breakfast or tea).

This is a good place to mention just how good the service has been in local restaurants and cafes (especially my favorites: Selah Tea Cafe, Portland Pie Company, 2 Cats Cafe, Brandon & Laura's Cafe, The Olde Post Office Cafe, Richard's Restaurant, the Riverside Farm Restaurant and Wine Market, Slate's Maine Restaurant in Hallowell, Cloud 9 at the Senator Inn & Spa and Romano's Macaroni Grill). No wonder people come to Maine from all over the world!

Now all we have to do is figure out how to breathe life back into the economy. I have given up on my fantasy about retiring any time soon. Good thing I like to work!

Company Beef for the crockpot - from an old Rival Crockpot recipe

	  1 medium onion, thinly sliced
	  1/4 cup butter
	  1.5 lb. stewing beef (or steak tips), cut into 1.5-inch cubes
	  salt and pepper to taste
	  3 bay leaves [remove after cooking]
	  1 tablespoon dried currants
	  3 tablespoons tomato paste
	  1/4 cup red Burgundy wine
	  1 tbsp. wine vinegar
	  1 tbsp. brown sugar
	  dash garlic powder
	  1/8 tsp. cinnamon
	  1/8 tsp. cumin
	  dash ground cloves
	  1/4 lb. Monterey Jack cheese, diced or grated
	  1/4 cup walnuts
	  In a skillet, saute onion in butter until limp. Season the beef with salt and pepper;
	  add to skillet and stir to coat beef with onion and butter. Place in the crockpot.
	  Stir together the remaining ingredients (except the cheese and walnuts) and pour
	  over the beef in the crockpot. Cover and cook on Low setting for 7 to 9 hours
	  (longer is better). Stir to blend. Sprinkle with diced or grated cheese and walnuts;
	  cook on Low for additional 15 minutes. The recipe claims it makes four servings, 
	  but we find that it can sometimes disappear in one sitting. We favor serving the
	  Company Beef over pasta, but it would go well with potatoes or rice (and lots of
	  green vegetables, of course).

JavaScript Slideshow

This little slide show is based on a bit of JavaScript I found taking a course from Lynda.com. The course is terrific, but I am not crazy about the jumpiness of displaying the portrait and landscape images intermixed. This is my first cut (so bear with me). I will see if I can fix this. I noticed that it makes it a little tricky to use the links in the "dock" below the slide show.

Music to Soothe the Heart of the Savage Beast

Note: A lot of the images were captured with the iPad2 (which seems to like 480 x 640 pixels and appear a bit "grainy" to me); the quality of the image seems to vary significantly based on the ambient light when the photo is taken. I will need to experiment with this a bit more. I have added a few more images taken at the end of the summer. I'm not sure what the final mix of photos will be, but I wanted to try out the technique before using it for more professional purposes on other sites. I will probably explore using jQuery here before making any final decisions.

A Dog's Breakfast

Not really sure where I first hear this term used!

I have a feeling that George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and their ilk would be profoundly disappointed if they were alive today to see what their labors have wrought (or not wrought). I recently came across news of a statement by a Republican State Representative in Washington state asserting that bicycle riding is contributing to global warming. What an interesting (not to see completely unexpected) way to think about riding a bicycle! There are other views of the cause (and some very interesting flowcharts for doubters out there).


Butch Thompson [played Duke Ellington's Caravan on the Prairie Home Companion for 3 Nov 2012]