jack_calls_dances: (Default)
Interview Meme:
1. Leave a comment saying you would like to be interviewed.
2. I will then respond with 5 questions that could be personal, but not extremely so.
3. Then update your LJ with the questions I've asked.
4. Put these same rules (or something that resemble these rules) with your questions.
5. When people ask you to interview them, you will ask them 5 questions.


From [livejournal.com profile] kittenchan


1. Who is that in your icon? :)
Our 14 year old blonde border collie Sweetie. Becky got her when she was 8.5 years old and could still jump over a 6 foot flat fence. She's slowed down a bit, but still has a good bit of energy on walks (mainly because she spends most of the rest of the day asleep -- note icon.
2. Do you still sing? How about play?
Definitely still sing -- currently with my church choir and the Duke Collegium. Not playing as much (though have done a bit with recorder). Am also calling contra dances on a regular basis.
3. What would you consider the most life-changing moment in your adult life?
Probably meeting Becky (my wife). If I hadn't met her, I wouldn't have had a reason to stay in NC, wouldn't have spent three years working for Annas Resources, and don't know what I might end up doing now.
4. If you could go back to school for another degree, what would it be?
Orientation and Mobility -- teaching people with visual impairments to navigate and get around.
5. If you had to lose one sense, what would it be and why?
If I was going to lose it completely, probably vision. Partly because I know much more about the technology available to help with vision loss (it is what I do for a living) but partly because I don't think I could deal with not being able to listen to music

jack_calls_dances: (english language)
I just called for the Charleston, SC contra dance. Wow, was that a fun dance to call. It was fun even with the fact that we had 1/3 or more new dancers. We also had a good group of experienced dancers who kept the dances moving and kept the dances together. Most importantly, we had some seriously kick-ass music in the form of the Avant Gardners plus a few extra local folks (Joey: sound guy, sax player and percussionist) and a local fiddler who was on hand in case Laura's flight from Charlottesville was delayed, and who ended up sitting in on about half the dances. I really love good double fiddle -- done right, there's nothing like it (except maybe triple fiddle....) ;-)

Tomorrow, I'll get to see my sister for lunch (we also met up with her for dinner before the dance) and then it's back to Charlotte to do the dance there, and finally back home to do an advance dance and house concert back in the Triangle. If all the dances are as good as this one, this is going to be an amazing weekend.
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Busy day. Lots of packing and preparing to go out to western NC for the weekend plus a few days during the day today. Then this evening, we went over to have dinner with a friend/colleague and her husband and go to a Carolina Chocolate Drops concert in Raleigh. (Rhiannon -- 1/3 of the Chocolate Drops grew up with B in Greensboro and was her roommate at NC School of Science and Math). Wonderful concert. We had planned to stay for the movie too (The Great Debaters -- which the CCD are in), but had to head back home to get packed. Then tomorrow, it's off to Western NC for family time, contra dance calling, honeymoon reliving and more. (Details to come.)
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I have errands to run but they keep getting put off because I keep getting productive stuff done. Perish the thought. Actual quotes written, appointments set up, calls made. Now I just need to get myself out the door to go to the hardware store and get my hair cut. [makes a dash for the door before he's hit with another bout of productivity]

eta: (about an hour later) Didn't move fast enough. More phone calls. Leaving now, dammit.
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Three weeks ago, I started taking a Pilates class. I've been working for about a year with a physical therapist to try to figure out the various less than optimal ways that I've been using my body for the past 32 years, and working on finding better ways. A lot of the things that we've been working on come down to not using core muscles well. I've really enjoyed the class, but every time so far, I've come home with sore abdominal muscles that I didn't even know I had. The first time they were really sore. This week and last week I've just come home with muscles that feel comfortably well worked. Hopefully all of this will help with the extra tense arm and shoulder and back muscles that I've been dealing with for years.

On another topic, for the past few year, one of our favorite summer meals (particularly when neither of us feels like cooking anything) is to fix tomato wraps. I got the idea originally from a wonderful restaurant (now unfortunately no longer in business) in Knoxville, TN called the Crescent Moon Cafe. Teri always fixed wonderful food with all fresh ingredients. Among the things they fixed were these amazing tomato wraps. After a while, I was able to get Teri to tell me what was in them. We've been fixing them ever since.

So...what's in them? First, take mayo, fresh garlic and fresh dill and mix them up to taste. We tend to like lots of dill, and generally a couple of cloves of garlic to a batch of mayo. Your mileage may vary. Note that once it's sat in the refrigerator overnight, the flavor of the garlic in particular will spread through the mayo.

After you've got the mayo, your more or less home free. Chop some good fresh tomato (about 1 smallish to medium tomato per person). Drain the tomatoes of excess juice (stick the chopped tomatoes in a bowl and pour off any juice that's come out on its own.)

Spread some of the mayo on a flour tortilla. Put a couple of slices of Swiss cheese along the center of the tortilla. Pile on the tomato. Wrap it up like a burrito. Enjoy! (We do tend to slice them in half -- they're very slightly less messy that way.)
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Great video from a Crooked Still concert in Nasheville a few days ago. This was the encore from the concert. Most of the rest of the concert is available on YouTube here:
http://youtube.com/view_play_list?p=B046656B521CA085

Sleep

Jul. 9th, 2008 09:25 pm
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Friday got to bed around 2:00. Saturday got to bed around 1:30. Sunday got to bed around 12:30. Monday got to bed around 2:00. In all cases had to get up around 7:30 or 8. This is not enough sleep. System is shutting down. (And has been telling me this today by the fact that I've had a migrane for a good bit of the day.) Going to bed now. Sleep is good.

Ugh

Jun. 9th, 2008 12:37 am
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Gawdawful hot today. This evening, the AC went out. Gawdawful hot in the house right now. Can't sleep. Ugh.
jack_calls_dances: (english language)
edit: to reflect correct price from McGeorge Toyota

I've been thinking pretty hard for the past few weeks about getting a prius. Last week, I borrowed a friend's prius (2005) and drove it for a business trip up to Boone, Blowing Rock, Lenoir and back (about 550 miles). I did the whole trip on one tank. One 11.6 gallon tank.

Since then, I've been researching dealerships, and the prius itself. The price I got quoted locally (Raleigh - Fred Anderson) was $26,122.30 plus tax 3% $783.67 + tag fees $143.10 + doc fee $499.00 = $27,548.07

Please note that the MSRP for package 2, which is what I asked for is: $24,110, including the $660 destination charge, but not including taxes or tags. Why you ask is there a $3500 difference in price? Mostly because NC gets their cars from the Southeastern Toyota Cartel -- I mean the Southeastern Toyota Distribution system, based in FL. They control distribution for all Toyotas in NC, SC, GA and FL. (But not TN and VA). They charge extra fees ($599 documentation fee -- that's some dammed expensive copying and filing). They also add extra options ($600 Toyotaguard -- aka Scotchguarding the inside, and waxing the outside, and giving you a free oil change and roadside assistance).

So, I emailed a dealership in Richmond (McGeorge). The price they quoted as an out the door price was $2,5450.24. Even if they find another $500 in fees that they "forgot about", that's still a difference of $1,500!!!

I'll be renting a 2007 or 2008 Prius the 2nd week of June for another trip, and will make a decision after that. If anyone has any experience with McGeorge that they'd like to share, please chime in!
jack_calls_dances: (Default)
From a friend's facebook album:

This is the Business Hours sign for this place called Captive Minds in Asheville. They're pretty much going to get to work when they feel like it, and leave when they get tired of being there.

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For any of you folks between the VA/NC line and north of DC, Becky and I will be coming north to see folks and for me to call the contra dance at Glen Echo Park, north of DC. We'll be down at Lake Gaston Friday night and Saturday morning, and then coming to Northern VA Saturday early afternoon, probably stopping at some wineries on the way -- anyone want to meet up at a winery? We'll be staying in the DC area Saturday night, and then up to MD sometime in the afternoon on Sunday. I'm calling for a family dance from 3-5, and then calling the evening dance from 7:30 - 10:30. I'd love to see some familiar faces out on the floor. For directions and more information, check here:

http://www.fsgw.org/

I'd love to get together with some folks while we're up there, so drop me a note if you've got time! I'm going to screen comments, so if you'd like to get together, leave me a phone number! I might even bring some of the cider from our first batch.

And now, I'm going to go fall into bed and become unconscious for at least 8 hours. 9 would be even better.
jack_calls_dances: (Default)
Gah. Too much driving recently. Last Monday, 222mi round trip to Greenville and Stantonsburg, NC. Then 165 miles to Eden, NC and Greensboro on Wednesday. Yesterday, down to Lexington and Concord (252 mi). Thursday and Friday, back and forth to Raleigh. Then on Monday, I head out to Western NC (500mi+ round trip) and then I get about a week off.

In other news, I think the inaugural batch of cider is done (possibly past done, but I think it's recoverable if so). It's quite dry, possibly a bit too dry. We decanted it this evening and it's still bubbling a little, but not much. I'll do it again after a day or so. If anyone has any suggestions I'd love to hear them. Right now, it's a little dryer than we would like. As of Saturday, it was still too sweet (after 1 week). What's the best way to proceed?

Finally, I (and hopefully my wife Becky) will be coming up to (through) northern VA the weekend of May 10th. I'm calling for the contra dance at Glen Echo (MD) park on that Sunday evening. Would love to see folks up that way if you'll be available. We may also be looking for places to stay Friday night or Saturday night (and possibly Sunday, but I suspect that we'll be able to get a place to stay from someone at the dance.) Hope to see some of you Northern VA folks next month!

BTW: Don't know what this contra dancing stuff is? Have a look at these:
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2001897&l=1e7a0&id=1043123407

or these: http://flickr.com/photos/jhm4/sets/72157604646988608/

Cider

Apr. 12th, 2008 02:11 pm
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Started our first batch of hard cider, using cider that I bought at an orchard out in western NC. Sugar and yeast in, gas trap in. Now we wait.

Obama

Mar. 19th, 2008 11:21 am
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I've been listening to the commentary on Obama's speech in Philadelphia yesterday. Now I've had a chance to listen to it myself. It's a heck of a speech, and I highly recommend that you give it a listen or a read.

NPR's Transcript and Recording of Obama's "More Perfect Union" speech on race in America.
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Had a great time today on a mini wine tour around a few piedmont NC wineries with some friends. Since it's spring break, folks were available during the week, so we took a carload and visited three wineries (and came home with about 20 bottles of wine between the 5 of us.)

Back home, Becky and I are watching the commentary on the pilot of Firefly -- if you haven't discovered this show yet, go out and rent/buy/download it and watch it now!!
jack_calls_dances: (english language)
I still haven't figured out how to get organized and stay organized about getting stuff done when I'm working from home. If I manage to get some momentum up in the morning, things generally go pretty well. If not, not much happens until lunch, when the same thing is true. It's so easy to get off track and end up dealing with household stuff -- particularly when the office is a mess, I'll just find myself getting sucked into organizational stuff and not actually get any work done. Gotta find some structure to the day, but I haven't figured it out yet.
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After about 6 months without a laptop, I just bought a new (to me) laptop from someone on Craig's List. I ended up with a Dell D600 with 1GB RAM (and unfortunately a smaller hard drive than I had hoped) for $240. I think it'll be a good computer for what I need it for -- mainly to have a computer when I'm traveling for work and to use to do demonstrations when I'm on the road. It ended up cheaper to get a newer laptop than to replace the hard drive in the one I had (with it's cracks in the monitor hinges and other...issues. Got to spend the morning actually getting things done on the computer at a coffee shop this AM rather than being stuck in the office. Definitely a plus!

Back Home

Jan. 13th, 2008 10:24 pm
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Back in Durham. Took a nice meandering route from Blacksburg through the back roads on my way to Roanoke and then down the mountain home. I love living in Durham, but being back in the mountains of Virginia or Western NC always reminds me how much I love it up there. Driving down Ellett Valley in the late afternoon, I just wished I had time to just stop and enjoy the view. Hopefully my next trip out won't be so rushed. Even so, it was good to be back, even just for a bit.
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Had a great time last night calling a dance in Floyd, VA with the incomparable Laura Light and George Paul. I love working with them -- Laura always picks wonderful tunes and they really work to pay attention to the dance and adjust the music if needed. We had 130 or so people -- about 30 more than usual -- and so space was pretty tight. Also, about half of those folks were beginners. It was one of those dances that was work, but with Laura and George's music, it was impossible not to have fun too! I can't wait until the next time I get to call with them. I just wish that Becky could have been here too, but she came down with a sinus infection yesterday morning. In any event, now I'm off back up the mountain to have lunch with her cousins who I'm staying with this weekend, then probably some time to wander around the VT campus before I head home.
jack_calls_dances: (english language)
Home and winding down after an amazing contra dance with Contrazz and Adina Gordon. Wonderful music, great dancing, amazing energy. Tired and happy. Now off to bed with me.
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