For one year - I pledge to blog as much as I can - sharing thoughts, links, music, photos, and videos. Enjoy...
Conservative, noun: A statesman who is enamored with existing evils, as distinguished from a Liberal who wishes to replace them with others. — Ambrose Bierce (via early-onset-of-night)
Sussex Still Life, 241113.1
The Pond has frozen over.  
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Sussex Still Life, 241113.1

The Pond has frozen over.  

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Trader Tunes For Tuesday #0x11

Do wake up with a song in your head?  I almost always do.  Usually a song off of whatever new album I’ve been listening to - or some song from radio - or possibly something that just ‘randomly’ jumps into my head.  But almost always a personalized morning soundtrack.

Lately - every since buying the new Alt-J album “An Awesome Wave" - it has been the same two songs over and over.  Perhaps it’s the sleep deprivation from being a new father that is keeping my brain from searching for more variety - or, more likely, it is the lyrical attractiveness of this bands songs.

One song that I loved since the first time I heard it and one that is a constant earworm for me now is Taro.

Alt-J has a sound quality that I haven’t heard in a while.  And I know the singer’s voice isn’t for everyone - but his wordplay is fascinating.  I’ve always contested that you could listen to music in a foreign language and get caught up in the words without even knowing the meaning.  That is true with Alt-J - and it is in English.

Just so you don’t get confused, I don’t think the video has much to do with the original figures in the song - it’s not an official band video

Taro appears to be an homage to a couple of fascinating historical figures.  I don’t intent to go into it here cause frankly - I have to get off to work.  Anyway, suffice to say, this band ain’t Nickleback - their lyrics have some gravitas and I suspect that the band members are ‘readers’.

There are a number of good songs off of this album - give it a listen.

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George Nakashima

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tmbgareok:

Moon Hooch made it to the Huffington Post thanks to this video.

Saw them at Turner Hall when John and I saw TMBG

When small men begin to cast big shadows, it means that the sun is about to set.

Lin Yutang, writer and translator (1895-1976)

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Trader Tunes For Tuesday #0x10

"Love Is The Drug" - Bryan Ferry Orchestra

In the last month I’ve bought 3 new albums.  All of them are good in their own way and each will likely get a nod on this blog.  First, lets talk about Bryan Ferry’s latest project.  He took a selection of Roxy Music’s hits and turned them into 20’s style orchestra pieces - in mono.

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I first heard about this project on a number of NPR programs - Fresh Aire, then All Songs Considered.  I was hooked.  This album is fantastic - and anyone who listened to the original will get a kick out of these new interpretations.

Here is the original for the above piece.

"Love Is The Drug", Roxy Music

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Don’t be afraid to take a big step. You can’t cross a chasm in two small jumps.

David Lloyd George, British prime minister (1863-1945)

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Trader Tunes For Tuesday #0x0f

"Dobro" - David Sylvian

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Trader Tunes For Tuesday #0x0e

I don’t know what took me so long to share this one.  A real gem.  I think I could sing this one at karaoke…. yeah - right - as if this one would ever be available.

"is it wrong to understand - the fear that dwells inside a man?"

moz

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King BLTA

My friend David Rewalt recently posted a picture on Facebook which illustrated his view of the perfect way to fry bacon for the perfect BLT.  I took your idea David (as well as some hints from here and here) and I stepped it up by two notches.

Notch #1 - add avocado (a no-brainer in my book)

Notch #2 - Bake the bacon - less mess, easy-peasy…

Here are the steps

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Step #1 - cut the pack of bacon in half (sorry Patrick)

Step #2 (not shown) - line baking pan with foil.  Ensure to choose a pan with a lip to catch the fat.

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Step #3 - weave the bacon.  Shouldn’t be too hard - but if you need more detail, Google ‘Weave bacon’ and check out some of the tutorials

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Step #4 - put pan in oven (do NOT pre-heat).

Set temp to 400.  This may be a bit controversial, but several bacon baking sites insisted that the process should be started from room-temperature instead of pre-heating.  You can try either way.  I turned the pan 180 degrees after about 16 minutes.

Our oven takes about 15 minutes to get to 400 - the total bake time was about 27 minutes.  We like it crispy.  Watch it closely after 20 minutes.   Our final product looked like this.

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Put the bacon weaves onto paper toweling and then head to the table…

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Which leads us to our final step - building the BLTA (order not important). If you need more specific instructions for this step, I’m afraid I may not be equipped to help you.

Oh yeah - don’t forget the mayo!

bon appétit

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The path of least resistance makes all rivers, and some men, crooked

Napoleon Hill, author (1883-1970) 

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TT4T - Best of 2012

In the past [ here, here, and here] I’ve shared some top 10 selections from my iTunes library. Every year I do a “Best of” based on play count, rating, and date added to my library.

So my best of 2012, for instance, is a list of music I listened to a bunch, liked, and added to my iTunes in 2012 (actually Oct 1, 2011) - NOT that the specific pieces were ‘published’in 2012.

So that’s the nuance of MY playlist.

Here is a screen dump of those songs for 2012.

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For the 2012 list, I am going to go through the above and tell you what my top 5 are for all of 2012 - based on my own, non-scientific, assessment of the songs and how they moved me emotionally or in some way.

So - starting with number 5 and moving towards number 1

#5: State of the Art - Gotye

I like the song that made him famous - and it’s actually higher in my list based on play-count.  But this song is better. 

#4: I Fink U Freeky - Die Antword (NSFW)

Yep - it’s rough and raw - they use bad words and are crass.  It’s also very artistic and the beat is awesome - the way it builds and builds.  This video really took me by surprise.  Not for the faint of heart

#3: Open - Regina Spektor

Regina’s album, “What we Saw from the Cheap Seats” is another awesome addition to my collection.  I featured this song back in October.  I nearly included her song “Old Jacket” in my top five instead - but I just couldn’t do it.  This song is too good.  See “Jacket” in the list below.

#2: Sun & Moon - Above and Beyond

This is another song that I’ve featured on my blog.  It made it to number two on the play count list this year and for good reason.  I usually play this song at 11.

and…

#1: Same Love - Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

Just listen - please - I’m begging you.  It’s an anthem, a sermon, a plea, and an appeal.  Beautiful lyrical rhetoric!  This song can bring you to tears… I promise.

Now for the full list - from most played (29 times) to the least (11).  But note, the song that only was played 29 times in 2012 - it was only added to my library on October 5th.  Just hit the links below to give a listen.

Alchemy - Above and Beyond

Sun & Moon - Above and Beyond

Giving it Out - Above and Beyond

Somebody That I Used to Know - Gotye

Sweetest Heart - Above and Beyond

Thing Called Love - Above and Beyond

Eyes Wide Open - Gotye

Love is Not Enough - Above and Beyond

Sun In Your Eyes - Above and Beyond

State of the Art - Gotye

I Fink U Freeky - Die Antwoord

Breakin’ the Doors (mashup) - Kap Slap

Bridges and Balloons - The Decemberists

Hello Without You (mashup) - Markito

Old Jacket - Regina Spektor

Bad Things Will Roll With The Devil (mashup) - Titus Jones

Still California (mashup) - Wick-it the Instigator

Ohio - CocoRosie

Uprising Bodies (mashup) - Dan Mei

Smooth Gasolina (mashup) - Elocnep

Nighttime, Anytime (It’s Alright) - Jim Guthrie

Same Love - Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

Who Knew Someone Like You… (mashup) - Mashup-Germany

All the Rowboats - Regina Spektor

Open - Regina Spektor

Enjoy…

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Solstice Siren

I didn’t post a TT4T this week because I was busy with Christmas preparations and I simply forgot. However,  I’ve been planing on sharing a song on the Solstice (assuming the Mayan’s were wrong - of course).

I have a lot of holiday music, some of which is Celtic compilations and the Windham Hill New Age samplers.  I like them very much and they put a different twist on the typical mall-fare music we get over-exposed to during this time of year.

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Loreena McKennitt

This is one of my favorites - an particularly appropriate after the snow storm we received yesterday.

Stay Warm!

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Resource Rightsizing

"Redundancies", "Restructuring", "Reduction in Force (RIF)"

Why do all the euphemisms for being “laid off” begin with “R”?  I really hadn’t considered that question until just now.  Truth be told, I am sure that there are many others that don’t start with “R” - but they escape me right now.

Why am I writing about this?  Well - because I’m the target of a RIF and I wanted to share that with friends that may not know.  I’ve told a few friends and some family - but I’ve kept the news pretty tight to the chest otherwise - call it pride, embarrassment, or simply being private.  I’ve never lost a job before.  I’ve actually only changed jobs a few times in my career - and always on my terms.  So this is a new experience for me.

I’ve been around reductions before - I’ve never had to execute one myself - thankfully.  I believe my manager when she tells me she was having trouble sleeping for the days leading up to the event (November 14th BTW).  If I had to deliver this news I know have trouble sleeping too - probably with some vomiting as well.

The job market is looking up - I’m cautiously optimistic.  I’ve updated my LinkedIn page, my resume (though it needs another go round), as well as my cover letter template.  I’ve had a couple introductory phone calls and actually had a formal interview today.  It went pretty well and I know there will be more.  

I’m confident in knowing that my skills are relevant and my qualifications are sound.  But it still feels like a kick in the stomach.  I don’t allow myself a pity party as others have gone through this (and much worse).  I truly liked working for GE Healthcare.  I was, and still am, a huge fan of the technology.  It is the most complicated system I have worked on in my career (and may remain so).  MRIs are the closest thing to magic I’ve every been around - and I was just beginning to understand them.

So there’s this sense of loss.  I’m not a fatalist - I don’t believe that this was “meant to happen” - but it did.  It is what it is.  I was literally in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I apologize to friends and family who find out this way - it just wasn’t possible to have this conversation with everybody before saying something about it publicly.  

The irony is that this experience is something that I share now with my mother.  See, she worked for GE in Morrison Illinois - as a factory worker building appliances.  She was laid off in the mid 70’s.  A single mom with 3 children.  You see why I’m reticent to belly ache about my situation.  She turned that experience into a life changing action.  So, again, I’m optimistic.

One final point - it was a risk for me to switch industries and move to medical devices.  I’m not sorry I took this risk.  The word risk implies a potential downside, and this was one of them.  But taking calculated risks has also served me very well in my personal and professional life, so I expect that to continue going forward.

Stay tuned - the next chapter is yet to come. 

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