Wednesday, December 31, 2008

@ugusta: The Augusta Chronicle Online: Celebrate 2000New Year's song remains ingrained in public mind 12/31/99

"New Year's song remains ingrained in public mind

Depending on where you celebrate New Year's Eve tonight, the turntables will spin Prince's 1999, Barry Manilow's It's Just Another New Year's Eve, or even, heaven forbid, Will Smith's Will 2K.

But at midnight, in almost every nightclub and home, on every television and radio, the song will be the same: Auld Lang Syne.

``It just fits the moment,'' says Tyrone Traher, who has studied the origins of the song. ``It's traditional. Kind of like how Amazing Grace is always played at a funeral.''

Except that most people can make it past the first line of Amazing Grace.

``Yes,'' Mr. Traher agrees with a chuckle. ``No one seems to know all the words.''

He pauses for a moment.

``Come to think of it, I've honestly never read all the words to the song,'' he concedes.

So there you have it: a Gaelic-riddled song with an old-fashioned melody that many Americans sing as ``should auld acquaintance be forgot ...'' and then trail off into a hum."

READ MORE At The Augusta Chronicle Online

Monday, December 29, 2008

As they say, hindsight is 20/20 and if I had known then what I know now I would have definitely done things differently. I went to work for the company I am employed at which I currently refer to as my "day job" over 19 years ago. I was fairly fresh out of school having graduated High School then taking courses in Electronic Engineering at I.T.T. and working for Dominoes Pizza while putting in applications and doing interviews in the hopes of landing a "real job". I finally did get a job with a company that offered a great benefits package and a future of better pay although the starting pay was actually a step down from what I was making delivering pizzas if you include the tips. I literally began at the bottom sweeping floors and later upgraded into a higher position in the same department operating powered equipment.

I actually had a chance to take several other positions along the way but I chose the "safe" route of staying where I was at because I had built up some seniority which gave me a buffer in case of layoffs and it was guaranteed 40 hours per week whereas one of the other jobs, fleet service, starts off part time until you can build up enough time to bid for a full time position. Then in 1996 a new contract started that had been voted in during the 1995 negotiations. The department I was working in was to be contracted out but all of the people in the department would be transferred to a new position of cabin cleaning. The trouble was, they were also telling everyone that all future pay raises were to be frozen. Well, obviously that wasn't going to work so I started looking for a new place to go. A lot of my friends took positions as fleet service clerks, stock clerks, overhaul support mechanics and other assorted positions throughout the company. I, again going the safe route, decided on a Plant Maintenance Man position and passed the test initially for the Automotive Department where I remained for another 5 1/2 years until September 11th, 2001 put the industry into a tailspin and caused massive layoffs which sent me to a different work location and into the Facilities Maintenance department. After coming to Facilities I became interested in the equipment we worked on and started learning more about it, especially the electrical end of things and eventually got a Maintenance Electrician's License from the state.

The trouble is, after making all these "safe" moves over the years I find myself in a position that hasn't panned out for me. I make an average of $2 less per hour than all of my former co-workers who went on to other positions within the company, I have fewer options for working extra shifts (called CSing in company lingo) and very rarely see opportunities for overtime (which is often more plentiful for other positions. I made the "safe" move to the Plant Maintenance Man (PMM for short) thinking it would be a temporary position for a few years maybe and I would later be able to upgrade into a full Mechanic position (a position that pays $9 per hour more than I make now). But due primarily to politics (under a shoddy facade of policy and experience credit review procedures) I have been shut out time and again from getting such an upgrade but at the same time I have seen others with less experience (in one particular case an 18 year old kid fresh out of High School) who were deemed to be "qualified" which usually boils down to knowing the right people, being related to the right people or filling the agenda of "diversification of the work force". The PMM position requires three years previous maintenance experience to get into in the first place. The fleet service clerk position requires only a High School diploma or equivalent and a driver's license to start then training is provided. PMM is classified in the union contract as a semi-skilled position. Fleet Service Clerk is classified as non-skilled. So, 18 years ago if I had gone into the so called "non-skilled" Fleet Service Clerk position I would be making $2 more per hour now than I do by going into the "semi-skilled" position. But it goes beyond that because with 18 years I could easily have pulled a Crew Chief position by now giving me another $1.70 per hour on top of that. Plus more opportunities for CSing and overtime due to it being a MUCH larger department.

So, long story short, I messed up doing what I thought was the "safe" thing and I'm paying for it now every hour that I work. I can still transfer to one of these other positions and likely will as soon as the economy improves and there is more hiring taking place because I see now that the "few years" that I thought it might take to upgrade has become 12 1/2 years and counting. Transferring will mean throwing away all of my seniority and starting at the bottom of the list for bidding jobs and being among the first to be impacted by layoffs. But my pay will increase at least. It's just ironic that I find myself in the predicament that I have to transfer to a position which has lower initial qualification requirements in order to make more money. It all boils down to politics though. There are more of them than there are of us and our union doesn't care because A.) We don't represent enough votes to do them any good and B.) some of us have more seniority than the very union representatives who are supposed to represent us therefore they have a vested interest in keeping me and others like me right where we are at. The company has no interest in helping us upgrade because, hey, it's cheap labor, we have guys doing essentially the same work for $9 per hour less. What's not to love about that right?

I'm not getting any younger though and if I am going to start over in another department now is the time to do it because later it will be too late. But on the other hand, there is that nagging doubt of what if I transfer out and they finally do the right thing and implement a program to allow those of us trapped in this dead end to finally get an upgrade through training and testing? The current contract is in negotiations and there is talk of just such a program being a part of it but there has been talk before. There is talk at every contract negotiation. Talk is cheap. Talk won't pay my bills or support my family. I need more than talk.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Pete the purple squirrel leaves animal lovers baffled | Mail Online

Here's something you don't see every day... -Troy

"We've all seen lots of grey squirrels and maybe the occasional red, but this chap is definitely going through a purple patch.

He was spotted at Meoncross School in Stubbington, Hampshire, where pupils, staff and parents have all tried to solve the mystery of his unusual hue.

One clue is that he frequently pops into a building where old printers are stored. TV wildlife expert Chris Packham said: 'It is possible he has been chewing on a purple ink cartridge and then groomed that colouring into his fur."

MORE with PICS At Mail Online

Thursday, December 25, 2008

"DALLAS, TX.- DFW International Airport welcomed the ancient Egyptian jackal-headed god Anubis, guide and protector of the dead, to the Airport's popular Founders' Plaza today, celebrating the successful conclusion of the 'Year of the International Traveler.' The 10-ton, 26-foot-tall statue, which will 'deck the skyways' with a giant candy cane staff, will be on display to celebrate the 'Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs' exhibit showing at the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) through May of 2009. Santa and his helpful elves joined a crowd of well-wishers to greet Anubis at Founders' Plaza today, and air passengers will get a unique view of the statue from the north end of the Airport on thousands of upcoming holiday flights."


Sunday, December 21, 2008

LEDs And Smart Lighting Could Save Trillions Of Dollars, Spark Global Innovation

"ScienceDaily (Dec. 20, 2008) — A 'revolution' in the way we illuminate our world is imminent, according to a paper published this week by two professors at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Innovations in photonics and solid state lighting will lead to trillions of dollars in cost savings, along with a massive reduction in the amount of energy required to light homes and businesses around the globe, the researchers forecast.

A new generation of lighting devices based on light-emitting diodes (LEDs) will supplant the common light bulb in coming years, the paper suggests. In addition to the environmental and cost benefits of LEDs, the technology is expected to enable a wide range of advances in areas as diverse as healthcare, transportation systems, digital displays, and computer networking."

MORE AT Science Daily

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Friday, December 19, 2008

Head to to get Straight No Chaser's album 'Holiday Spirits'! The original members of Straight No Chaser perform their comedic version of "The Twelve Days of Christmas"

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

What are you looking at? Japan scientists find out | Science | Reuters

"TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese researchers have reproduced images of things people were looking at by analyzing brain scans, opening the way for people to communicate directly from their mind.

They hope their study, published in the U.S. journal Neuron, will lead to helping people with speech problems or doctors studying mental disorders, although there are privacy issues if it gets to the stage where someone can read a sleeping person's dreams.

'When we want to convey a message, we need to move our body, for example by speaking or by tapping a keyboard,' said Yukiyasu Kamitani, the project's head researcher from the Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International, a private institute based in Kyoto, Japan."

READ MORE At Reuters
This guy went out with a BANG! - Troy

"The body of Wang Diange, from the Chinese province of Inner Mongolia, was found in the wreckage of a house where he had been overseeing the wake of a previous family funeral, after mourners felt a loud explosion which took off half the roof.

As it was raining and thundery, they decided that the house, and Mr Wang in particular, had been struck by lightning. The police came to the same conclusion.

Further inquiries were made a few days later after Mr Wang's own funeral. As his body was being put into the cremation chamber, it blew up spectacularly, bursting the doors off the oven."

READ MORE At The Telegraph:

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Newsletter for Arlingtonites

"At 6000 Bacara Lane, the Artisan at Rush Creek is more than an apartment home community for affordable living. It's a facility offering recreational programs for youth, after-school tutoring, and continuing education classes for adults. In a partnership with the YMCA and the City of Arlington, there's a strategic focus on youth in this south Arlington community of low to moderate income families and people are seeing the difference."

READ MORE At A Newsletter for Arlingtonites:

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Harvesting Electricity From Moving Vehicles - HotHardware

'Parasitic energy harvesting' might sound like it is part of a Sci-Fi plot where alien beings feed off of the energy emanating from human bodies, but it is actually a means of reclaiming wasted energy. An Israeli company, Innowattech, says that it holds the patents to technologies that can harvest the mechanical energy from vehicles traveling on surfaces such as roadways, railways, and airport runways, and convert that energy to electricity. Not only does Innowattech have the technology, but it wants to implement it into our highway, rail, and airport infrastructures.

The technology 'is based on piezoelectric generators; the piezoelectric effect converts mechanical strain into electrical current or voltage.' In other words, when a piezoelectric material is deformed, the energy from the deformation of the material gets converted into electricity. Innowattech has created three different versions of what it calls the Innowattech Piezo Electric Generator (IPEG): a Roadway Generator, a Railroad Generator, and a Runway Generator. Innowattech claims that its IPEGs can 'harvest energy from weight, motion, vibration and temperature changes.

MORE At HotHardware: "

A Perfect Female Companion: Project Aiko

( -- Aiko is a humanoid robot with a built in Biometric Artificial Intelligence Neural System (Brain) designed by Le Trung in Canada. Aiko is slightly less than 5-feet high with 32.24-inch bust, 22.44-inch waist and 33.07-inch waist. Aiko which means 'love child' is the perfect companion. In fact, lovely Aiko speaks Japanese and English and can respond to annoyances and questions.

She has the ability to identify objects placed before her. She is equipped with a sensor which allows her to signal pain or annoyance. If you squeeze her cheeks or other parts of her anatomy she will tell you, 'That hurts or stop touching me.

MORE At PhysOrg Project Aiko: "

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Have you been dreaming of a white Christmas? Scientists could soon watch it on a screen | Mail Online

Have you been dreaming of a white Christmas? Scientists may soon be able to show your winter scene on a computer screen once you've drifted into a peaceful slumber.

A Japanese research team has successfully processed and displayed images directly from the human brain, they said in a study to be published in the US magazine Neuron.

While the researchers at the ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories have only reproduced simple images from the brain, they said the technology could eventually be used to display dreams."

MORE at Daily Mail

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Green tomato pie, green tomato soup, green tomato bread and fried green tomatoes!

We ate them all around here this week. Our tomato plants which languished in the backyard for most of the season and didn't produce much exploded into a tomato frenzy in November and just wouldn't stop. We even tried to give some away but unfortunately no one came to get them but ever resourceful, my wife Eme went online and found tons of recipes for things you can make with green tomatoes. I wonder how a green tomato salsa would be? Maybe next year, but anyway, all of these creations were just awesome and not the usual fare you'll get at the store or from a restaurant for that matter. That's the beauty of growing your own stuff. Not only is the flavor better but you can create all kinds of great dishes that you wouldn't otherwise get to try. Next year we're planning to try out the plan used by some folks up in Chicago who used old, discarded kid's wading pools to make huge planters and grew vegetables on the roof of a building.

No! We're not going grow our garden on the roof of the house, we'll plant them in the back yard but we figure the pools will help us separate the plants somewhat from weeds that might invade and make them easier to maintain. Also, we shouldn't have to dig too deep to get to our potatoes, carrots, radishes and such. I also recently read up on growing spinach in pots indoors. Plus did you know about this neat planter that lets you grow small tomatoes indoors as a hanging basket?

Monday, December 08, 2008

Pre-Columbian Tribes Had BBQs, Parties on Grave Sites

Alexis Okeowo
for National Geographic News
December 05, 2008

Some pre-Hispanic cultures in South America had elaborate celebrations at their cemeteries, complete with feasting and drinking grounds much like modern barbecue pits, according to a new archaeological study.

Excavations of 12th- and-13th-century burial mounds in the highlands of Brazil and Argentina revealed numerous earthen ovens. The finds suggest that the graves were also sites of regular festivals held to commemorate the death of the community's chief."

MORE at National Geographic
Can you believe this @#&*!?

8-year old Tallan 'T-Man' Latz is unable to play his guitar in clubs that serve liquor because of Wisconsin laws.

Thursday, December 04, 2008


I used to own both of these books until an ex-wife took off with them several years ago. I bought them both when I was about 20 years old and living in an apartment in Grapevine, Texas. Among other things, these books inspired me to start at that early age to begin putting money into my company 401k account and to buy, not rent, a house as soon as possible. Both decisions I have never regretted. Even though the books are fairly old now the advice in them is timeless and I plan to re-quire copies of them soon so I can re-read them and refresh my memory. I can highly recommend them both to anyone who wants to get a handle on their personal finances and to be in control of their money not let it control you...

'Sylvia Porter's Money Book:'

Andrew Tobias' 'The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need'

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Sci Fi Channel orders 'Battlestar' prequel 'Caprica' --The Live Feed

"Sci Fi Channel has given the long-gestating 'Battlestar Galactica' prequel 'Caprica' a series order.

The network has made a significant commitment to the project, ordering 20 hours, including a two-hour pilot. Cast members include Eric Stoltz ('Milk,' 'Chicago Hope'), Esai Morales ('Jericho,' 'NYPD Blue'), Paula Malcomson ('Deadwood,' 'ER') and Polly Walker ('Cane,' 'Rome').

' 'Caprica' will build on 'Battlestar Galactica's' acclaimed legacy of gripping drama and extraordinary characters,' said Sci Fi president Dave Howe. 'It's the beginning of a brand new epic saga that will appeal to both new viewers, totally unfamiliar with the 'Battlestar' franchise, as well as existing loyal and passionate 'Battlestar' fans.'"

MORE on The Live Feed by James Hibberd:
I just got this email from the Obama-Biden Transition Project

Transparency and engagement are priorities for the Obama-Biden Transition Project. Our success depends on not only opening up a process that has historically been inaccessible to most Americans, but also encouraging citizen participation.

Last week, we took an important step towards these goals by asking the public to participate in a discussion about health care on our website.

The result was fantastic. Started by a question from our Health Policy Team, thousands of comments poured in over a few days. Some people answered the initial question, but others engaged with one another debating and developing new ideas and approaches to health care reform.

Members of our Health Policy Team, including former Senator Tom Daschle, read through these comments over Thanksgiving weekend.

Yesterday, they sat down to record a special video response. Watch it and join the discussion:

This is just the beginning. These discussions are a valuable resource for Transition staff and an important way to ensure that everyone has a voice in the process.

Thank you,


John D. Podesta


Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Arlington Parade and Tree Lighting on December 6th

"Arrive early for the Holiday Lights Parade. More than 75 lighted floats, marching bands, vintage cars and Elvis clones on tiny motorcycles. New this year: Entertainment at the Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts. Beginning at 4 p.m., enjoy holiday performances by the First Baptist Church Choir and the Arlington Community Band. The Star-Telegram-sponsored parade starts at 6 p.m. followed by the lighting of the Christmas tree in front of City Hall."

More at the Newsletter for Arlingtonites
Rip, Mix, and Govern: "Barack Obama's transition site,, is now under a Creative Commons license—specifically, the highly permissive Attribution 3.0 Unported license, which allows unfettered copying and remixing of content, subject only to an attribution requirement. Lest anyone worry that they're wild-eyed radicals, though, the copyright policy makes sure to assert the site's conformity with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act."


Sunday, November 30, 2008

Free Online MIT Course Materials | About OCW | MIT OpenCourseWare: "Unlocking Knowledge,
Empowering Minds.

Free lecture notes, exams, and videos from MIT. No registration required.

MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) is a web-based publication of virtually all MIT course content. OCW is open and available to the world and is a permanent MIT activity.

What is MIT OpenCourseWare?
MIT OpenCourseWare is a free publication of MIT course materials that reflects almost all the undergraduate and graduate subjects taught at MIT.

* OCW is not an MIT education.
* OCW does not grant degrees or certificates.
* OCW does not provide access to MIT faculty.
* Materials may not reflect entire content of the course."


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Bush's Last Days: The Lamest Duck - Yahoo! News: - Bush's disappearing act during the economic crisis is a fitting coda to a failed presidency.

"We have 'only one President at a time,' Barack Obama said in his debut press conference as President-elect. Normally, that would be a safe assumption - but we're learning not to assume anything as the charcoal-dreary economic winter approaches. By mid-November, with the financial crisis growing worse by the day, it had become obvious that one President was no longer enough (at least not the President we had). So, in the days before Thanksgiving, Obama began to move - if not to take charge outright, then at least to preview what things will be like when he does take over in January. He became a more public presence, taking questions from the press three days in a row. He named his economic team. He promised an enormous stimulus package that would somehow create 2.5 million new jobs, and began to maneuver the new Congress toward having the bill ready for him to sign - in a dramatic ceremony, no doubt - as soon as he assumes office." more

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Hey check it out! Here's a picture of my buddy Layne and his Chevelle from far, far away in a galaxy long ago, or something like that... ;-)

My Chevelle and I
Here's an interesting little tidbit I saw on Digg earlier. It's a list of average IQ's by occupation. Not sure what to do with this little bit of info but here it is for you to enjoy....or not...

Monday, November 24, 2008

Kyle says ha ha ho ho ha ha hee hee ha ha ho ho in the bathtub!

Here's a website I have been a fan of for quite some time now. In these troubled economic times it's more important than ever to make your money go as far as it possibly can and here are tons of tips on how to do it. I've also been subscribed to their weekly newsletter for a few years now and I find all kinds of neat money saving tips whenever I get time to catch up on reading it...

The Dollar Stretcher

Sunday, November 23, 2008

As part of my "day job" as a Plant Maintenance Man at American Airlines my co-workers and I occasionally have to replace the flexible material in the expansion joints in the building and outside on the walkways. This is usually a latex based material that goes in as a liquid and cures over time to a rubber like consistency. We usually try to schedule this kind of work on Sundays or late in the evening so as to impact as few people as possible. So today started out as a usual Sunday. We needed to replace an expansion joint on the second floor walkway between the building and the parking garage so we went up there and put up a nice, bright yellow caution sign and began cutting the old material out with utility knives and taping the edges off with bright blue painters tape. The mix we are using today is a product called Deck-O-Seal which is popularly used around the edges of swimming pools between the coping stones and plaster.

I already had my reservations about this because ordinarily this stuff cures in temperatures of 77 degrees and above and today's high was 67 but mine is not to question why mine is just to do or die as they say so we're out there mixing this goop up and nicely and neatly pouring it into the squeeze bottle to apply it. Everything is going fairly smoothly except for this one sinkhole that keeps needing to be refilled on one edge. We're not sure if the sealant is somehow working it's way past the batting underneath or if there is just a big air pocket below but after we manage to get the entire gap filled we move our work cart and a nearby disposal can over the area to join the nice bright caution sign and the bright blue painters tape.

Okay? So I'm trying to paint the picture here that the area is pretty well marked that something is going on around here so you might want to watch your step. We've even had a couple people come by while we were working and they even stepped over the 2 inch gap of grey goop on their way to the revolving doors like any sensible person would so I figure we're fairly safe. We go down below to the first floor to examine the area and see if perhaps some of the material had been leaking through causing the indentation we experienced above. No sign of leakage so that's good but what is that sound we're hearing from above?

Is that the sound of two people pushing a shopping cart across the walkway overhead? The walkway we just put fresh Deck-O-Seal down on? Surely not! Not on a Sunday! Why would anyone be out here on a Sunday pushing a shopping cart across the second level walkway. Well even if that is what's going on surely the people would have the sharpness of mind and consideration to see all the signage and see the fresh grey liquid, not to mention the smell of the stuff, and have the good sense to lift the wheels of the cart while going across the area right?

So up we go to see what has transpired and not only are there two nice rows of tire tracks leading from the expansion joints across the concrete and into the carpet in front of the doors but one of them even managed to stick their big clodhopper of a foot into the middle of it and track it all over the place as well.

Seriously. How dense does one have to be not to see so many signs that there is something going on here so it might be wise to watch your step? So I did what I should have done in the first place. I use caution tape and completely block off both ends of the walkway so no one can use it, unless of course they choose to break the caution tape. This of course inconveniences anyone who might want to use the second floor walkway but what other choice do I have? I tried giving people the benefit of the doubt that they might exercise some common sense and common decency and now I have a big mess to clean up later after the stuff has cured and I am able to scrape it off the concrete with a razor scraper.

A little consideration can go a long way folks. Not only do you inconvenience the person whose work you just messed up by doing such things but you also inconvenience others by causing precautionary measures to have to be taken to prevent further damage caused by carelessness.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Don't forget to go down to Ancient Traditions tonight for game night, or every Friday Night for Drum Jam or next Saturday for the Rummage Sale!

Friday, November 21, 2008

There are three kinds of people in the world. Those who make things happen, those who watch things happen and those who wonder what's happening. Ask yourself which one you are.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

PROTONJOE - Protons kill Cancer not People. I hope this information helps you, or someone you love. Joe is a co-worker of mine at American Airlines and he has personally undergone Proton Beam therapy to kill his prostate cancer. Now he wants to spread the word about this life saving therapy so others can benefit too. Go see the videos he has posted on his site for some real eye-opening information.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I've been putting in some major updates for one of my client's sites. Eagle Solar Screens. I know the owner, Tommy Sparks, personally and he's a good, honest, hard working man. He deals with everyone with a handshake and unyielding integrity. I highly recommend getting solar screens to help lower the summertime electric bills in your house and of course you should get them from:

* Lower your utility bills
* Block up to 90% of the sun's heat
* Protect your furniture
* Increase comfort in your home
* Increase daytime privacy
* A variety of colors to choose from
* Custom grid work available
* Window washing available

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


TroyForge: "I do some freelance web design and internet promotion work these days for small, usually locally owned businesses, individuals and organizations. You might be surprised at how affordable it can be to get your small business an established internet presence and drive customers to your site. Most of my clients' websites cost $29.95 per month. Not only does that cover hosting and domain but I even build and maintain a website as well as help promote my clients' businesses by posting ads for them with links to their site in places like Craig's List and other promotional places online that are appropriate for their particular business. But this involves ABSOLUTELY NO SPAMMING! Like most people who have had their email boxes bombarded with junk, I hate spammers with a passion."

Monday, November 17, 2008

How to really start the Kitchen Garden:
First of all, draw a plan (to a scale) of the ground at your disposal. Make allowances for paths, borders, etc. It's fascinatingly interesting after you get started. Next, take inventory of your likes and dislikes in vegetables. Put down on paper every vegetable you wish to grow. Then go back to your plan and mark out a definite space or number of rows for the different vegetables. Select early, midseason and late sorts of these vegetables, which you like best. This will give you a constant supply of them. When garden operations start, be sure to follow your plan. A disregard of your carefully planned program may easily spoil results. I can not lay too much emphasis upon this point, since most gardens fail to yield satisfactory crops for lack of adherence to the original plan."

More from Backyard
Living a virtuous life in Hardships: -
"Do we show each of these in our life: wisdom, piety, vision, courage, integrity, perseverance, hospitality, moderation or fertility? Do we live them in the good times and hardships?"

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Container Gardens-The City Dwellers Guide to Fresh & Healthy Home-grown FoodThe best gardening teachers are gardeners themselves. Many people in inner-city areas have come from other areas where they had farming or gardening as part of their heritage. Look for these people to be part of the core group of initiators when starting a community garden.

Any group of people can create a community garden. Senior groups, youth groups, women's and men's clubs, civic associations, or just an informal group of friends, neighbors or relatives.

Urban Food Gardening: Anna Bee is an urban farmer - and has been for the past 13 years. She is not self sufficient, but grows a lot of her own veg out the back in a fairly tiny space. This blog is the story of how she does it, what grows, and how she uses it. Urban farming/city gardening is great for lots of reasons - not the least of which is the delicious and healthy food that you can produce for yourself & your friends & neighbours. If only a few people reading this blog are inspired to trade flowers or grass for vegetables, then she will be happy.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

November 1st at 1101 N Carrier Suites C&D in Grand Prairie, Ancient Traditions will be opening it's doors.
All day Saturday day and evening will be an open house and chance for you to come check out the new center, meet the staff and some of the teachers, sign up for classes and get a membership if you like!

The following weeknights ( will be for class sign up and also meet the teacher/staff, and classes will begin the following Monday (11/10) and going forward. Our Website with class descriptions and more information is at .
You can send an email request to and she will add you to the Yahoo group too so you can get the announcements direct if you would like!

Ancient Traditions Membership Fees and Basic Information

Single - $25 month

Family (limited to 2 adults and children living in same household) - $35 month

***We will not be offering any discounts for prepaying for a quarter or year yet but will visit this idea again after we hit our year mark!***

What does membership include?

* Access to the lending/resource library
* Access to on site exercise equipment and massage therapists sign up list
* Half price on all center sponsored classes and events – special events, seminars and outside classes not included but may be discounted as well
* Free admittance to Friday night drum circles
* Breaking news on events and classes – you get it first!
* A say in what we do at the center! You have a voice and we want your feedback!
* Access to clubs/groups being formed – we are looking into a re-enactors group, a brewers group, a gun club, a reading and/or poetry group, a travel group, and possibly a singles group….

* Performance troupes – we will be growing our current Belly dance troupe into several specialized areas including a ritual dance troupe, a kids dance troupe, a tribal BD group, an ethnic dance group, etc. We will also be growing our current drum troupe and expanding it to include other instruments… We would also like to create a performing re-enacting group, a ritual performance group, and a musical/choral group.

* Ability to be a “vendor” at the 5th Saturday Rummage sales (details below)

Event schedule – first draft!

* Friday nights – 8 – 12 Drum and Dance circle $5 for non members, free to members, starts 11/7/08
* Saturday nights –
o First Weekend each month : TBA
o Second Weekend each month: HAFLA – come party with the dancers! OUR FIRST HAFLA WILL BE HELD ON 11/15 SO AS NOT TO INTERFERE WITH THE DALLAS WITCHES BALL
o Third Weekend each month: Game Night – poker, darts, backgammon, chess, other card games and whatever else we want to throw into the mix!
o Fourth Weekend each month: Theme Party – we will begin choosing themes and will dress up the center to match the theme and hope you join us dressed to match! Have a suggestion for a theme? Email it to us!
o Fifth Weekend (4 a year): These Saturdays will be reserved for a full day rummage sale open to all members to sell/resell their stuff to help clear the clutter out of their lives.
Sale dates will be advertised in Thrifty Nickel, Craig’s list and via other email lists… Imagine… no more weather permitting garage sales and money in your pocket!
* Rituals will be scheduled among/around weekly/monthly events.

* Saturdays from 12 - 4 we will be setting up seminars of all types, so watch your email or the website when it gets on line to find out what is happening!

Class Schedule

* Mondays 7- 8 PM American Raks Sharki Bellydance with Candy
* Tuesday 6 – 7 PM Beginner Stretch Class (open to all levels of health, age and weight)
* Tuesday 7 – 8 PM Basic Bellydance with Sukayna
* Tuesday 8 – 9 PM Tarot Class
* Wednesday 7 – 8 PM Beginning Drumming with George
* Wednesday 8 – 9 PM Intermed/Advanced drumming with George (this will feed the drum troupe!)
* Thursday 6 – 7 PM Stretch 2 class – higher level/more intense workout
* Thursday 7 – 8 PM Advanced Belly dance with Tahiya
* Friday 6:30 – 7:30 – Druidery class
* Saturday 3 AM (yes! A third shift class offering!)Basicbell y dance and/or stretch class
* Saturday 4 PM – Kids Belly dance with Lami – 5 yr and up
* Sunday 12 – 2 PM Drum troupe rehearsal - troupe members only
* Sunday 2 – 5 PM Dance troupe rehearsal - troupe members only
* Sunday 5:30 – 6:30 PM Craft class

Most classes are $10 at the door for non members, and half price for members. detailed info will be available at the open house and class sign u week. We will be getting descriptions of the classes, teacher info, etc. out to the group as well as up on the website ASAP. We are still looking for teachers for Tai Chi, Tribal BD, Yoga, and any other classes that people might be interested in. We are heavy on the drum/dance/exercise end of things because people have stepped up to teach the classes.
I would love to add some classes based on our beliefs, history, creative process, art, craft, numerology, divination, meditation, and other subjects I cannot think of yet! We have timeslots open on Monday nights 6 – 7, 8 – 9, and 9-10, Tues 9 -10, Wed 6 – 7 and 9 – 10, Thursday 9 – 10, Saturday 5 – 6, and Sunday 6:30 – 7:30 and 7:30 – 8:30 for ongoing classes… Saturday 12 – 4 will be reserved for seminars on various subjects as we book them!

We are also setting up a beautiful retail area with crafts and items from many local artisans, from clothing to jewelry, candles to music, swords to never know what you will find! Come check it out! Retail area will be open weeknights from 6 - 10 PM, Saturdays from 10 - event time (around 7) and Sundays 10-6...


Troupe will rehearse as planned at the center on Sunday from 2 - 5...

Wednesday when we have power (WOOHOO!) we will start getting organized, doing retail inventory and getting everything arranged, set up, put up, and decorated.

We got a couple of more trips done last night (Thank you Troy, Sharkbait, and Missy!) while George and Laurie worked on the plumbing and bookshelves, plus we got temporary curtains up in retail.

Thursday night I hope to get the last of the stuff moved up to the center from our house (can use help then too since we have a desk, PC, sound/lighting equipment, and exercise equipment) while George gets the sound system hooked up/speakers hung (if I can find the stereo!) , then do some final arranging and kick back and enjoy each others' company for a while on Friday night! Maybe order pizza or something unless we want to do something more organized...

Please contact or 469-556-6204 (Sanjni Tara) if you would like to come out and lend a hand.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Still loving Ubuntu. It's been more than two years now since I switched to using strictly Ubuntu Linux at home and after reading the following article on Digg I was reminded of how often these days when people ask me to help them fix their computers that have picked up trojan's, spyware and other nasties from places on the internet that I have to remind them that I am getting a little rusty at my skills of dealing with such problems as I haven't had the need to use them that much in awhile.

Ubuntu's Rising Revenue Makes A Small Dent In Microsoft

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Isn't this cute? I do a little freelance web design and internet promotion work on the side and the page on my personal site that I talk about that on is called TroyForge. It was just a kind of play on the name of the popular Open Source site SourceForge that I came up with so I would have some kind of moniker to stick on the endeavor. Well, someone apparently thinks I might decide to go big time and get a domain under the name so they went out and registered the name hoping I would eventually come along and buy it for an inflated price.

Ha ha ha! I hope they don't hold their breath waiting...

By the way, here's a link to my real TroyForge page:

The Real TroyForge

And a banner I created to help spread the word...


Sunday, September 14, 2008

By the way, have I mentioned lately how much I LOVE hosting with DrakNet? For years whenever someone has asked me to build a website for them, or help them with a site they already have or just ask for advice on getting started I always send them to DrakNet for professional service, fantastic features and an eco-friendly ethic. Lately they are running a great introductory plan that offers web hosting with SoHoLaunch website building tools included for $36 per year!

DrakNet Web Hosting

Thursday, August 07, 2008

I've had it with Dell's shoddy computers. The last three Dell laptops in a row I have purchased have developed problems shortly after the 1 year warranty expires. The latest is my Dell Inspiron E1505N which I bought in June of 2007. It has a problem which a little digging around on the internet reveals is quite common and that Dell is doing nothing but paying lip service to help. My screen is filled with 1 pixel wide vertical lines of varying colors. At first there was just one of them, then another and another 'til now I have some 20 lines on the screen rendering the display more and more useless. Here are some links to articles about the problem:

The first link has links for several other articles about the problem. Unfortunately the link for the is no longer active and it redirects you to the Dell Customer NoSupport site which asks for your Service Tag number then basically says YOUR WARRANTY IS EXPIRED! Nah-nah-nah-BOO BOO! Get out your wallet!

Oh, they admit to some of their models having the problem. But according to them, mine is not one of the affected models. Yeah, okay, these lines are just a figment of my imagination! Whatever!

Needless to say, I've bought my last Dell.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Pagan Pride Day Logo

North Texas Pagan Pride Day is committed to bringing folks of open minds together for a time of fun, learning and sharing.

Our North Texas Pagan Pride Day 2008
Will Be Held At...
Unitarian Universalist Church of Oak Cliff
3839 W. Keist in SW Dallas
September 13th
10am to 10pm

On Pagan Pride Day we come together for dancing, drumming and fun! There are vendors, workshops and lots of things to do! We host the Annual Hot Goddess Chili Cook-off. If you think you have the best chili in North Texas , bring a pot for tasting and sharing. We take donations to support charities like Adopt a Soldier Now and the North Texas Food Bank. So bring your donations, open minds and fun loving hearts.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Remember Caelum Moor! Never forget the tragedy of the stones now lying forgotten in a water treatment plant.

If you'd like to help resurrect Caelum Moor in Arlington and restore a wonderful roadside Texas attraction, contact the Arlington Arts Advisory Board and let them know how you feel!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Yesterday I joined: Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship (ADF) and am looking forward to beginning my studies on the Dedicant Path. I've also been practicing with my guitar everyday since January 10th or so and have been getting better every day. Maybe by the end of this year I'll get good enough to sit and play with a group of other musicians here and there.