Tuesday, September 26, 2006


If you grew up in the 70's then the above title may mean something to you. I was talking with some friends about an educational TV show we used to get to watch during elementary school - it was The Electric Company. One of the most memoriable segments from the show for me was a short cartoon with a plumber and a parrot. Well, it turns out that this video clip is available online here: www.sesameworkshop.org/tec. If you click on the videos button and then pick "more videos", you'll find the segment called "It's the plumber".

What I found odd about watching this video after not having seen it for about 30 years was how different it was in reality vs. my memory. In my memory, the scene was reversed from left to right, the lady of the house was much older and overweight, and the plumber was a lot taller and shouted a lot louder. And I didnt remember the plumber having a strong NYC accent. Yet again I learn I can't trust my memory at all.

Anyhow, if you are interested in some old childhood nastalgia from the 70's, the web site is worth checking out.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

My latest addiction

Mmmmm.... carrot juice.

At the local supermarket they carry a wide assortment of juices and I recently tried carrot juice. At first it seemed a bit odd tasting, but after finishing one bottle of the stuff, I found myself growing attached to the flavor. Now, after drinking it for a few weeks, I find it very cool and refreshing and I'll often find myself craving it when I'm thirsty. I find it's much better than any soft drink, although I don't know if there's any downside to getting all this extra vitamin A. Just one glass has about 700% of the US recommended daily allowance and I'll usually drink a whole bottle in a day.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Green Heron?

I'm not 100% certain, but I think this is a green heron. I saw it today at low tide while it was poking around in the mud outside my window. It's definitely not a great blue heron - that's for sure. If it is a green heron, I'm not really sure why it's called greeen. It looks brown to me.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Moving into the late 20th century

I tend to be interested in the latest technology and the newest gadgets, yet I've never owned a microwave oven. It's hard to say exactly why, but I've always had this underlying negative opinion of the microwave oven. I think it is mainly because of what I tend to associate with the microwave oven - the fast-paced culture of modern times and the desire for immediate gratification. In some way I felt if I didn't own a microwave, I wasn't fully part of that fast-paced world. As a result, I've gone the past 15 years or so with just the trusty ol' range-top, oven, and toaster for my cooking needs. (Ok, I'll admit, the toaster was also a fairly late addition to my life, but for other reasons. The girlfriend/fiance who I was with for about 10 years felt a toaster represented too much of a commitment in a relationship, so she didn't want to have one - but she had toast and jam for breakfast every day! Do you know how wasteful it is to use a full-sized oven to make toast?? And as for commitment, never mind the fact that we built a house together or were engaged to get married - those things apparantly didn't represent commitment like a toaster did. Come to think of it, I'm now wondering if it was shortly after the toaster purchase that she left. Hmmm.... maybe the toaster was just too much...)

Anyways, back to the topic of microwave ovens. Today I bought one. It just makes sense. With my current schedule, I generally get home at 10:00pm on weeknights and I haven't even had dinner yet. The time it takes to cook something on these nights directly affects when I get to go to bed. Plus, I'm already eating many things that can be cooked in a microwave oven so it's not like I'm altering my diet. These items generally are cooked dramatically quicker in a microwave vs. stove top or conventional oven. In general, the microwave will save me anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes. And it all only costs me $49 (and some loss of kitchen counter space). I can now eat earlier, which means I can get to sleep sooner, which means I can either get a bit more sleep, or get up earlier, giving me extra time in my day. The wonders of 20+ year-old technology....

Monday, September 04, 2006


While on a short hike through the woods with some friends, I was talking about a plant I remembered when I was a kid. It had orange flowers and small seed pods that "exploded" when you tapped them. Neither of my friends were familiar with the plant and I started to wonder how I could find a good description of it to know what the plant really was. As it turns out, today I noticed a bunch of these plants growing along the edge of the dojo parking lot. Here's a picture:

The pod is visible directly under the orange flower. If the pods are ripe, when they are bumped they split open and seeds go flying in all directions. I remember when I was a kid I'd enjoy seeing chain reactions go off when the seeds from one bursting pod would hit other pods, causing those to split open. It's pretty odd to see.

Now that I have a picture of the plant, it was easy enough to look up in my Audubon Field Guide to North American Wildflowers. It's called a Spotted Touch-me-not, or Jewelweed. According to the field guide, "the stem juice of the plant is said to relieve itching from poison ivy and has also been used to treat athlete's foot. Scientific data confirm the fungicidal qualities." I guess the scientists are still debating the anti-itching qualities.

Tree Frog

While I was mowing a lawn this afternoon I noticed a tiny little thing jump in front of the mower. It was about the size of a dime and at first I thought it was a grasshopper or maybe a small toad, but when I looked more closely, I discovered it was a tiny tree frog. Surprisingly, it wasn't at all afraid of me. When I tried to pick it up to move it out of harms way, it simply climbed onto the palm of my hand and then just climbed around on my arm. It's got a pretty good sticky grip with its feet. This is a picture I snapped of it climbing a small sappling.