Tuesday, September 30, 2008


free apples from wild oats

My sister's chutney recipe, which is really Iron Bloomers' recipe, via the magic of the Internet. (Although the haberno swap is all mermaid.)

Because @martingruner is looking to use up a whole mess of apples.

btw? Seriously good on scrambled eggs.

  • 2 quarts chopped cored, pared tart apples

  • 2 lbs raisins

  • 1 cup chopped onion

  • 1 cup chopped sweet red pepper

  • 4 cups brown sugar

  • 3 tablespoons mustard seeds

  • 2 tablespoons ground ginger

  • 2 teaspoons ground allspice

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 1/2 of a habanero pepper

  • 1 garlic clove, crushed

  • 1 quart vinegar

Combine ingredients; simmer until thickened about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Stir frequently as it thickens to prevent sticking.

Pour boiling hot mixture into hot pint jars leaving 1/4-inch head space.

Adjust caps and then process 10 minutes in boiling water bath.

Note: For milder chutney an additional 1 quart of apples may be added.


Originally uploaded by suttonhoo
The coffee & scone are solid, but I was thinking more of the wireless, which is in scant supply at my hotel.

Posting by cameraphone from the JavaNet Cafe in Portland, ME.

like I was saying

like I was saying
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo
Super pretty Fall leaves.

Posting by cameraphone
from Portland, Maine.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Sunday, September 28, 2008

man up the road

pola ghost
Originally uploaded by manuptheroad
Spent some time in manuptheroad's flickrstream today.

So glad for it »

the magic kingdom

plutochina girlslittle pig little pig
song of the southlaughing buddhabompa

I wish I could say that my memories of being five years old at Disneyland with my Nini and Bumpa and cousin S were giddy with cotton candy and Mickey and friends.

They aren’t.

What I remember in high relief is the ambient anxiety that colored everything, edged in the fierce competition that I felt with my cousin, who’s not even a month younger than I am (I'm the tall one).

I remember silently gloating when S put her shoes on the wrong feet and my Nini suggested that she should try to get it right -- like I had. The sweet relief and triumph when her mouse eared balloon popped against the rough cottage cheese of our hotel ceiling and mine did not.

I remember the fierce jealousy I felt when S got to hold Nini’s hand and I had to hold my Bumpa’s, who scared me a little. The keen disappointment when a moshpit of goats ate my brand new white cashmere sweater at the petting zoo (which I suspect must have been Knott’s Berry Farm).

I suspect the adrenal charged moments that fill my memories had a lot to do with circumstances that were, at five years old, out of my control. We’d just moved cross-country from New York to Sonoma, and my Dad hadn’t moved with us. I don't remember that anyone ever explained why, but I do remember one rare and distant phone call when he told me he was living in a place called Denver, which sounded lonely and lost and far away.

I remember the way the sunshine hit the curved steps that we climbed before the large unsmiling building where I received my social security card, how I whined to be in my mother’s arms, how my younger brother was instead. I remember the unkind look of the lady behind the desk, and hearing the word welfare for the first time ever; hearing the shame in my mother’s voice that was tangled in relief.

The slides from the Disneyland trip -- which my Nini set aside for me some time ago but that I only really studied for the first time this weekend -- told me what I couldn’t know then but know now, looking back. Of a gift given by my grandparents: a safe harbor in the storm, a magical kingdom in a world that was unraveling to be anything but. A place of soft velvet giant chipmunk arms that serve up the kind of hugs that still the waters, if only for a little while.

corn shed? or soyuz capsule?
The cosmonauts stepped out from their
splash capsule into a sea of corn.

trout fishing in america

From the time we were very small my brother and I would spend a week a year at my grandparents' house in Rawlins, Wyoming. Their house was Union Pacific White, as I suspect all of their houses had been for the last 50 years. It sat next to the railroad tracks, as they all had. Behind the house there was a coal shed, a predecessor of the grating covered gas furnace in the center of the house. Further behind the house there was a concrete building that had housed dynamite for the railroad crews. Even further behind the house were three giant mountains of cinders, left over from the days of steam engines. The front driveway was a railroad loading dock for Uranium ore, which most likely contributed to my grandfather's eventual losing battle with tumors and cancer.

My grandfather worked on the Railroad for 50 years. When he was a teenager, his father had left him alone for weeks at a time on a homestead near Tie Siding, Wyoming. My great grandfather would go and work on the railroad bridge gangs, my great grandmother would cook for the bridge gangs, and my grandfather would stay on the homestead alone as part of the "proving up" requirements of homesteading land. He would travel the several miles to school and back on horseback each day.

I was a child when my grandfather was already an old man. Five decades of railroading had made my grandfather weathered and strong, like saddle leather. At 65 he was still as strong as John Henry.

But this is not a story about railroad houses or railroaders. The U.P. White house was not the object of our trips, it was merely a staging area. Our trips to Wyoming were all about fishing with our grandparents. This is a story of fishing gear and fishermen.

Part one in on-going series in which the World's Best Mechanical Engineer, aka B1-67er, will write about fishing gear and fishermen.

Stay tuned.

when super smart nerds who have changed our world vote

During the administration of George W. Bush, vital parts of our country's scientific enterprise have been damaged by stagnant or declining federal support. The government's scientific advisory process has been distorted by political considerations. As a result, our once dominant position in the scientific world has been shaken and our prosperity has been placed at risk. We have lost time critical for the development of new ways to provide energy, treat disease, reverse climate change, strengthen our security, and improve our economy.

We have watched Senator Obama's approach to these issues with admiration. We especially applaud his emphasis during the campaign on the power of science and technology to enhance our nation's competitiveness. In particular, we support the measures he plans to take – through new initiatives in education and training, expanded research funding, an unbiased process for obtaining scientific advice, and an appropriate balance of basic and applied research – to meet the nation's and the world's most urgent needs.

Excerpted from a letter of support issued on 25 September and signed by 61 Nobel Prize winning scientists endorsing Senator Barack Obama for President of the United States of America because he is "a visionary leader who can ensure the future of our traditional strengths in science and technology ... who can harness those strengths to address many of our greatest problems: energy, disease, climate change, security, and economic competitiveness."

Here's the whole letter with the complete list of Nobelists »

Saturday, September 27, 2008

speaking of children's books

give it up

As of Friday, Planned Parenthood had taken in $802,678 in donations from 31,313 people. ... More than two-thirds of the individuals are first-time donors to Planned Parenthood ... and the money came in from all 50 states.

The New York Times reporting on the success of an anonymous email campaign which encouraged recipients to "make a donation to Planned Parenthood, of any amount. In Sarah Palin's name."

Go ahead -- give a little »

Related: John McCain on the benefits of using a condom »

Friday, September 26, 2008

alice's adventures in microscopic wonderland

Illustrator Colleen Champ used micrographs of natural objects created by Dennis Kunkel and arranged them into a picture of three beetles enjoying tea at a table of butterfly wings, surrounded by a field of crystallized vitamin C.

National Geographic's write up of Colleen Champ's illustrations for Alice's Adventures in Microscopic Wonderland, a winner in the 2008 International Science & Engineering Visualization Challenge.

p.s. First person to find two copies of this book available for sale online wins a free copy from me -- 'cause I can't find it anywhere.

testing 1, 2, 3

More from the Horizon 202 test roll (a Flickr slideshow) »

test roll

I picked up my first Horizon 202 [1] prints from the photo lab today.

They were test rolls for a new and unfamiliar camera, and I was hand metering for the first time in a long time, so I expected overexposures and maybe some lens issues.

I got both.

But I wasn’t expecting the lab to make such a cluster of the development work. Especially after I told them that they were panoramic shots when I dropped off the rolls on my run to the airport the day before last.

They had a half a dozen good reasons for why I got 4x6 prints back sliced any which way instead of panoramics (when a simple “woops. sorry. we goofed.” would have worked just fine.) I told them I’d be happy to pay for the negatives (even though those, too, are mangled) but not the prints. They seemed startled that I wasn’t chewing them a new one and, rather than figuring out how to charge me for a fraction of my order, said go ahead, they’re yours.

So I didn’t pay a dime for the development, which in some ways is a shame, because as I’m patching them back together again -- avoiding the temptation to match my seams and deciding instead to show a clear gutter where the machine cut the print, which sometimes leads to repetitions -- and as I’m patching them together I’m slowly falling in love with this beautiful mess.

Plus, bonus points for the fact that the swing lens appears to go quirky when it gets to the far right hand side of the frame, and on several of these prints the odd machine crop has created some really remarkable remnants -- that I think I might like even more than the parent composition.

cow wash, fragment

[1] a Soviet made swing lens panoramic camera from the 1970s that I picked up recently on eBay.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

my presidential candidate can beat up george bush's presidential candidate

According to the September American Pulse of 4,047 respondents (including 3,453 registered voters), registered voters want Sarah Palin to babysit their kids (62.1%), John McCain’s help if they are arrested (34.5%), and Barack Obama on their side in a street fight (36%).

Source: BIGresearch, American Pulse Survey, September 2008.

The survey goes on to ask "if you had to choose between the four candidates, which would you choose for the following:"
Go to Vegas with for a weekend
Obama 27.7%
McCain 15.0%
Biden 14.9%
Palin 42.3%

Have as your next door neighbor
Obama 32.0%
McCain 17.3%
Biden 9.2%
Palin 41.5%

Will be the most remembered by historians
Obama 53.4%
Biden 1.8%
McCain 23.0%
Palin 21.8%

Related »

more information than you require

I don't want to give anything away, but there is Moon writing in my new book. If you read it the right way, you will find a map to a hidden door in a mountain, behind which is a room filled with wonders!

Also, there's a disclaimer: There is no hidden room.

John Hodgman in the October 2008 issue of Wired speaking of his new book, More Information Than You Require.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

700's a lot of billions

700 is a lot of billions.


Originally uploaded by suttonhoo
I never get tired of this flying over the clouds business.

Posting by cameraphone from 30,000 feet.

good morning, maine.

good morning, maine.
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo
You're beautiful.

Posting by cameraphone from Portland, Maine.

I like it here.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

j's oyster

j's oyster
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo
Great blue collar dive on the waterfront in downtown Portland, Maine. Just what you'd expect from eating at the bar with the locals (all the tables were full) and then some: I had a lobster risotto with pan seared scallops finished with a lime curry aioli. Plus serious down home clam chowder, the best white rolls evah, and a local dark ale called autumn somethin'.

Green salad came with a sealed foil packet of pepper parmesan dressing on the side, and while we were eating the owner sat down at the bar with a parrot on her shoulder. She knew everyone there except us.

It's that kind of place.

Our new friend the lobbyist said you browse Trip Advisor for J's Oyster and you'll see nothing but 1 star or 5 star ratings.

'Cause it's that kind of place.

Posting by cameraphone.

breaking news, Portland ME

I have no idea what this is all about. But it's *news*, baby.

Posting by cameraphone from Portland, ME.

job well done.

inside looking out

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellows were announced this morning. Each Fellow will receive $100,000 per year for the next five years, no strings attached. The Genius Grant is made "to talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction. There are three criteria for selection of Fellows: exceptional creativity, promise for important future advances based on a track record of significant accomplishment, and potential for the fellowship to facilitate subsequent creative work." [1]

This year's Fellows include:
A Fiction Writer
An Urban Farmer
A Rural Family Physician
A Plant Evolutionary Geneticist
A Sculptor
An Infectious Disease Physician
An Astrophysicist
An Anthropologist/Epigrapher (and Mayanist)
A Fiber Artist
A Violinist
A Physicist/Computer Scientist
An Instrument Maker and Composer
A Developmental Biologist
A Geriatrician
A Geomorphologist
A Structural Engineer/Architectural Preservationist
A Critical Care Physician
An Astronomer
A Music Critic
An Historian of Medicine
An Optical Physicist
A Neuroscientist
A Stage Lighting Designer
An Experimental Neurobiologist
A Saxophonist

There's something about this annual role call of extraordinary individuals -- in a world where celebrity culture and its rewards predominate our perceptions of what matters -- that never fails to reassure me that there are good people doing good work that's deeply authentic.

I'm lucky to have met two genius grantees: worked for one; have in my home a stabile (a standing mobile) created by another. Normal folk. Good folk. Solid People. Listeners. Thinkers. Dreamers.

My kind of heroes.

[1] http://www.macfound.org/site/c.lkLXJ8MQKrH/b.4536879/

Monday, September 22, 2008


I think they should keep it. Turn it into an aquarium. Fill it with fish. Do something special — not just another building.

Al the Mechanic commenting at Ground Zero on the glacial pothole characterized by "plummeting holes, steep cliffsides and soft billows of steel-gray bedrock, punctuated by thousands of beach-smooth cobblestones in a muted rainbow of reds and purples and greens" that underlies the construction site where the former Twin Towers stood. As reported in At Ground Zero, Scenes from the Ice Age in this morning's New York Times.

The "Grand Canyon of Lower Manhattan" will be obliterated by the construction of Tower 4 of the new World Trade Tower.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

karaoke 7 days

Six out of seven nights he took to the stage with Witchita Lineman. On the seventh he nursed a scotch and soda.

sunday sacrament

breakfast at the coyote cafe

I’ve come to depend on this

two eggs over medium
yours scrambled
          an offering of bacon

pancakes sponging syrup

the pepper passed
the salt
    hot coffee half gone, topped off

the worshipful silence broken
by brief passages from the Sunday Times
recited chapter and verse

Saturday, September 20, 2008

forb covered nobs & my kind of conservatives

whorled milkweed

Spent the morning at the Nachusa Grasslands near Rochelle, Illinois, climbing rocky nobs where some of the last remnant scraps of authentic prairie in the Midwest were preserved in a land-grab by the Nature Conservancy some 22 years ago. The Conservancy secured the parcels of land just 15 minutes before they were slated to go up for auction to housing developers who were expected to slice them into subdivisions.

doug's nob

True prairie started to slip away when the European immigrants first hunkered down on the grasslands with their cattle and sheep in tow, but the true beginning of the end, according to Al, our guide -- who is also steward, along with his wife, of Doug’s Nob, one of the high-quality prairie remnants within the parcel -- coincided with John Deere’s invention of the cast steel plow in 1837. [1]

thimbleweed gone to seed

When folks got around to taking a head count in the early 1900s, after Deere’s highly efficient deep cutting steel blade had had its way with the terrain, they realized that less than one percent of the diversified prairie landscapes that once covered over 250 million acres in the Midwest for nearly 8,000 years, remained.

Nachusa forb (flowering plant)

The Nature Conservancy is trying to bring this 2,500 acre patch back, through careful stewardship that includes regular burnings, weed pulling, seed harvesting and spreading, and a hundred other ways to volunteer your Saturdays (they meet every Saturday, year round, at 9AM right next to the barn. all are welcome.)


We’re gonna try to be there, at least once a month over the course of the year, out of pure selfishness. I want to see how the fragrance of that place changes as the seasons change, see if the grasses always crunch underfoot like snow that’s crusted over, or if that’s a quality that’s unique to autumn; particular to today.

And I want to take more pictures »

yellow coneflower

[1] Of ironic interest: The John Deere historic site is just half an hour down the road from the Nachusa Grasslands.

dump the fold

There were two lessons learned: Dump the fold. And the silk setting worked great.

Registrar Stephen Weir in Contra Costa County, east of San Francisco, who spent nearly two weeks ironing, by hand, about 16,000 ballots to make them flat enough to feed into vote-counting machines in the California primaries, as reported in the Washington Post piece on High Turnout, New Procedures May Mean an Election Day Mess.

smells like fresh cut hay

smells like fresh cut hay
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo
Posting by cameraphone.
Probably lost.

happy trails

happy trails
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo
Posting by cameraphone from I-88, just past Peace Road.

Headed to Nachusa Grasslands, which is something sort of like authentic prairie.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

lost in the weeds

Norway, IL

fine mess.

I will eat your money

Highly recommend giving Terry Gross' interview with law professor Michael Greenberger a listen. He explains in straightforward language what exactly it is that's currently shaking up the financial world, how we got here, and how we might hope to dig ourselves out.

Smart guy.

Greenberger is the director of the Center for Health and Homeland Security at the University of Maryland and the principal deputy associate attorney general at the Justice Department.

Could Wall Street Woes set off a Global Crisis »


miesian tease

We elevated everything. We have a flood plan and it involves lot of milk crates, duct tape and garbage bags.

Whitney French, historic site director for the Farnsworth House, commenting on the two feet of water that breached Mies van der Rohe's Farnsworth House when the Fox River spilled its banks on 14 September in a Wall Street Journal Blog.

I try to avoid loving objects much, but the Farnsworth House is one that I do. Maybe too much. Getting the news of the flood was like hearing a friend was in the hospital. And worrying that he'll never be entirely all right again.

About the Farnsworth House: beinahe nichts – almost nothing »

And a slideshow of images, from back when it was dry »

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

catching some air on 37th street

Check out the brick building, second window on the right. Wish the cameraphone had a zoom lens.

Posting by cameraphone from standstill traffic on Broadway. UN Assembly convenes next week and the whole city's a mess of closed streets and snarled traffic.

With a whole lotta luck I just might make my 8PM flight home.
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