Saturday, March 10, 2012

Churn Time Grab Bag

Time to churn the two ice creams.

Both flavors should be churned and in the freezer by the first pitch of today's Giants' spring training games...yes, I said games. They're called split squad games...the Giants face the Milwaukee Brewers and the Los Angeles Angels today, the game against the Brewers is on the radio...KNBR 680AM

I'll post results this evening...

AR1429 erupted again with a M6 class CME which should arrive overnight tonight. Forecasters say this will kick up a stronger radiation storm than the the last one. Here's some useful links to help you view the aurora:

Space Weather is my Go-To Overview site.

NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center's Tips on Viewing the Aurora Page has predictions, Kp Index info and clickable visibility maps.

Friday, March 9, 2012

I Scream, You Scream

My apologies Ice Cream Lovers, I wrote last night about homemade ice cream and didn't even provide the recipes!

While recipes are mostly beyond the scope of CorduroyPlanet, here's what I'm making. These recipes come from the new ice cream cookbook, "Ice Cream Happy Hour"

Tonight, I'm making "Rocky Road With Crème de Cacao" because I love Rocky Road, and "Ginger With Dark Rum" which the cookbook touts as a "Dark and Stormy cocktail-inspired treat"

Perhaps ironically, I've got a little case of "cold feet"'s been at least 15 years since I last scalded milk and cream, I'm sad to admit! Back in the mid-90s, I hosted a modest Ice Cream Social every Memorial Day to pump-up the Indy 500 viewing a little. In light of my trepidation, I spent a few minutes reviewing the scalding process in my 1976 "Joy Of Cooking" Know Your Ingredients chapter.

Oh, "Ice Cream Happy Hour" has a tutorial on making the custard  which says: "Continue heating until the mixture is steamy and makes a slight sizzling sound when you move the pan. This is called scalding."

Now I'm a German Engineer's Kid...the empirical kind...and I have a measurable hearing impairment, thanks to years of carpentry and running snowcats without the benefit of hearing protection, so I'm thankful to Ms Irma S Rombauer (she the Queen of Joy Of Cooking) for her visual clues method vis a vis scalding: "In practice, we rely on the age-old visual test for scalding, and in this book milk is scalded when tiny bubbles form around the edge of the pan, and the milk reaches around 180°."

So I have a big evening planned tonight...chopping, blanching, melting, scalding, steeping, separating, whisking, tempering, adding, spiking and chilling. I've been making extra ice cubes for a couple of days, getting ready to churn my new treats.

Tomorrow I churn! If you chill the ice cream custard for at least eight hours before you churn, the ice cream will turn out much creamier than if you rush things.

Extra creaminess without extra cream? Count me in! Taste tests and recipe reviews tomorrow!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Wild Night

I spent my morning and mid day living vicariously, starting at 0600 with the Armstrong and Getty Show. The Chuckleheads (as I refer to them) were in fine fettle. There's no better way to start my day than chortling before I even get out of bed!

Out of bed...Pot of French Roast...watched the meat of the New iPad Debut...garbage and recycling up to the curb...cleared two inches of snow from the car's windows, hood, and trunk...what's this? Giants vs Rockies streamed for Free at 12:05? Duh...

Getting the stream hooked up was a little cranky today, and I missed most of Tim Lincecum's two innings of work...a good thing it turns out, he got shelled by the Rockies' batters. Eight of the thirteen batters he faced made it on base...ouch!

Lincecum, catcher Chris Stewart, and coach Dave Righetti talking it over
Man I love hearing the crack of the bat again! Mysteriously, the stream died in the seventh inning, and it never came back...sigh...I caught the final score Giants-8 Rockies-6 a little later on Twitter.

Out into the cold afternoon sunshine, I warmed up the car, put the garbage can back in the garage, and warmed up the snowblower. The Sun had done it's work on the now almost snow-free car, which I moved to the opposite side of the driveway and blew the last of the snow from my side.

I stowed the snowblower, and off I went.

Sunday and Monday, I failed to find one ingredient, Crème de Cacao, for a homemade ice cream recipe I want to make, in either grocery store, or drug store here in Truckee. I drove Downtown...what's this? The Tourist Club Liquor Store is no more? It's some kind of tony arts n' crafts shop now?

I didn't want to go to Reno with a perfectly good, full gas tank, so I turned right, crossed the tracks and the Truckee River...Next stop Lake Tahoe.

I found the Crème de Cacao in the King's Beach liquor store, and rolled back to town. It was a beautiful afternoon, though it was quite cold compared to Monday's tropical temps. With the bright Sun out, I turned on the A/C, zoned out on the radio, and enjoyed the drive home. It's supposed to warm up Thursday.

After dinner, I scanned for something on TV...nothing but reruns and pledge drive fare. *Ding* I fired up the stereo. I thought about a movie...for all of two seconds...and scrolled through the DVD/CD Jukebox until I found Ronnie Montrose's "Open Fire". I cued it up and turned up the volume. What happened next surprised me to no end! At the vamp between the first two tracks, tears rolled down both of my cheeks. It's been a couple of years since I listened to the whole album.

There's not a single "throw-away" track on the disc. "Open Fire" was one of many late-70s guitar instrumental efforts that were the vanguard of Fusion. Jeff Beck, Miles Davis with guitarist John McLaughlin, Lee Ritenour, Joe Satriani and many others were blazing new trails away from the pure forms of rock, pop, and jazz.

The first track "Openers" is an homage to John Williams' "STAR WARS" themes. This made me curious about the timelines, so I went to the Internet Movie Database and It was one of those chicken and egg deals...who inspired who?

Though subtle for a guitarslinger's album, "Openers" was recorded after "STAR WARS" lit up the big screen.

AllMusic is a fabulous reminded me that Ronnie Montrose did all the session work for Van Morrison's amazing 1971 "Tupelo Honey"...the disc was just four slots away from "Open Fire", and I played it next.

"Tupelo Honey" is Morrison's tour de force of love found and going Back to the Land. Again not a single "throw-away" track on the disc.

AllMusic said:
"Tupelo Honey is typical of Van Morrison's early-'70s work in both sound and structure; after dispensing with the requisite hit -- here, the buoyant, R&B-inflected "Wild Night" -- he truly gets down to business, settling into a luminously pastoral drift typified by the nostalgic "Old Old Woodstock." At the heart of the record are a pair of stunning love songs, "You're My Woman" and the hymn-like title cut, one of Morrison's most enduring and transcendent compositions."

These love songs were written by Morrison for his new bride, jazz singer Janet Planet. (see what I did there?) She sings backup and is pictured on the Album Cover.

Like the first single from "Tupelo Honey", I'm hoping for a Wild Night! Our very quiet Sun stirred when huge sunspot active region,  AR1429 erupted in an X5 Class Solar Flare sending a Coronal Mass Ejection towards Earth at 1300 miles per second. We've got a good chance of seeing the Northern Lights with our Full Moon for the next night or two.

Bookmark those links, they're gonna be handy for our new Solar Cycle 24!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Hazy Daze

I'm still in a haze I guess... 

Big winds all night, they even blew my DSL offline for a few minutes! 

A little bit of snow whitened up the neighborhood in the morning. 

News of another avalanche victim in the Tahoe Sierra broke via Twitter over the weekend and made the local press on Monday. Poaching doesn't pay...

One of my favorite Rock n' Roll guitarists, Ronnie Montrose passed away Saturday . RIP Ronnie... Ronnie's 1978 "Open Fire" album has what I consider to be the best version of "Town Without Pity" ever recorded. YouTube has a good version from Midnight Special in 1978, and a 1991 show.

On life's lighter side, The Giants are at Spring Training and walloped the LA Dodgers today. This game was not on TV or radio. 

Monday's game was on television, and it was great to hear Giants' golden throated announcers, Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper doing play-by-play again. For my money, they're the best announcing team the Giants have had in my lifetime...that includes Hall Of Famers, Russ Hodges and Lon Simmons (who called the Giants when they went to their first World Series as the San Francisco Giants in 1962

In spring training, the score isn't important. Pitchers usually pitch 30 or less pitches, and games are nine innings...even if the score is tied. The idea is to get everyone, returning stars and prospects alike some playing time in a game situation...without hurting anyone.

In the morning I'll shovel the driveway yet again. I may churn up a batch of ice cream while the driveway melts...

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Information Overload

It's a beautiful Sunday afternoon in Truckee. It's forecast to reach nearly 60F this afternoon. I tell ya, it feels like the 70s on the front porch once the sun moves around to the west side of the DaveCave.

I didn't have anything to say last night, so here I am 8+ hours late to scratch out a screed.

The truth is I'm a little lost wallet made a lot more stress than I needed at this time.

I got a good night's sleep and got up in time to listen to Farmer Fred Hoffman's Garden Talk Shows this morning.

Sunday's second Cactus League game for the San Francisco Giants is streaming on from Scottsdale, AZ...while I've got NASCAR racing from Phoenix on the tube with the sound off.

This is weird! The Giants-Diamondbacks game is being delayed by...a swarm of the Giants Announcers are calling the play by play of the stadium maintenance crews, who they described as looking like something out of "Ghostbusters", as they try to rid the stadium of the huge swarm...confusion reigns as the D-Backs players take to the field...except for the guys on the right field side where the swarm action is!

The delay is almost 20 minutes now, and the swarm is now in the Giants' dugout! The play by play is fascinating! None of these guys has a clue about bee swarms. I made a plea via Twitter for some no avail...

Now 40 minutes...still no beekeeper on site...OMG! 41 minutes in, and the game resumes with the swarm still hanging in the Giants' dugout!

I heard on the Trainwreck News this morning that sunset is after 5PM now...bee swarms are usually a springtime thing, though sometimes they will swarm later in summer if the hive outgrows it's home...

Speaking of information, my cloud-based backup vendor, is suddenly in the news...In the wake of Conservative talker Rush Limbaugh's unfortunate dissing of a Georgetown Law Student on his show, Carbonite has dropped his show as a sponsor...Carbonite was a major advertiser on Rush's show...

Now I listen to Rush from time to time, after being a regular listener a few years back. I don't really have a dog in this fight, but the Left has been looking to silence him for years...good luck with that...

What scares me about the whole kerfuffle is this...Seven Rush advertisers have dropped Rush now...and in reading about it, I found that the conservatives who love Rush are mounting a counterattack to those advertisers who dropped Rush...

One account I read cited Carbonite's financials...they've never made a dime since they fact they've lost millions a year since they went live.

From their most recent quarterly filing with the SEC:

"We experienced net losses of $17.4 million for 2008, $19.2 million for 2009, $25.8 million for 2010, and $17.4 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2011, respectively, and have an accumulated deficit of $94.3 million as of September 30, 2011."

Doing the math, that's $156.7 million down the drain! I fear if the Conservative Social Media folks can mount a campaign half as effective as the DumpRush forces, Carbonite might go down the drain with all my cherished photos and files! Carbonite has shareholders, they'll have a say if the stock starts tanking!

No wonder I'm burnt out! I fear I need a new apolitical backup service...ASAP...