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    Thursday, November 26, 2009

    Thanksgiving 2009

    So this year, Thanksgiving plans were kinda up in the air for a while. Sara (my sister) was due to give birth any day (her official due date was Nov 17th, but that date had come and gone). My folks and I then made tentative plans to do a small family dinner (them, my youngest bro Kyle, and myself)...maybe even invite my Grandma Doris & Aunt Jody over (assuming they didn't end up accepting one of their other Thanksgiving invites). We didn't want to do anything super big in case the baby decided it was time to come, and we all would be disrupting our plans to go to the hospital.

    Then on Tuesday (Nov 24) got an email from my dad saying that mom had badly sprained her ankle (not broken, they went to the hospital to x-ray it and make sure). Thus, I ended up cooking dinner for my folks and Kyle. We kept it fairly simple since it was just the 4 of us. And it turned out great.

    My very first attempt at cooking turkey (by myself) turned out wonderful. Fortunately, earlier this year (a few months ago?) while flipping channels randomly, I stumbled across PBS's airing one of Julia Child's tv shows on how to roast poultry (including cleaning & trimming, trussing it, etc.). I thought it was interesting stuff at the time (you all know how I like to cook :), and though I had no plans to utilize the info in the immediate future, I filed her advice away for later.

    And it came in handy for Thanksgiving! :)

    The turkey was about 13 lbs (fresh), and I stuffed it with fresh sage, rosemary, & Parsley, a thinly sliced lemon, 2 large shallots (also sliced), a couple of cloves of garlic (smashed & then cut into large chunks), and a large pinch of salt. I also rubbed the outside of the turkey/skin with some butter. Cooked it for about 15 minutes at a high temp (500 degrees) and then lowered it to like 325 for the rest of the 2-1/2 hrs of cooking time. ( I did baste the bird a few times throughout the cooking process, but not *every* 20 minutes.)

    I also made mashed (red) potatoes. (Discovered that they didn't want the skins on after I had chopped most of the potatoes, so spent next number of minutes slicing/peeling off skins from potato chunks. Oh least I got them all. :) I also cooked some fresh green beans (so spent a while trimming & cutting green beans after I washed them). Oh, and I can't forget the stuffing/dressing! Used the Trader Joe's cornbread stuffing (just breadcrumbs & seasoning) which I cooked on the stove and then finished in the oven. (I added a bit of turkey flavoring to it too...and some of the chopped giblets).

    AND, of course, I made gravy. While I did use some Trader Joe's Turkey Gravy (comes in a small box/carton - no funky stuff/preservatives, etc added), I definitely made some gravy from scratch using the turkey drippings, some of the chopped giblets (and using the broth from the water/herbs that they cooked in), and some flour/butter. My homemade gravy was WONDERFUL, but obviously not much, so I added it to the Trader Joe's gravy, and it mixed very well. (Didn't loose the flavoring, cause mine was strong enough - I had cooked it down before adding it in to the other stuff). So we definitely had plenty of gravy, which is always nice.

    I think the best compliment was my youngest bro, who is a picky eater, giving the Thumbs Up approval on the food...especially the gravy. :) He took plenty of helpings of that (for his turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing). Not that my turkey *needed* gravy (it was flavorful and moist), but it is nice to have a bit of gravy with your turkey. :)

    So the four of us (Mom/Kathy, Dad/Greg, my bro Kyle and I) sat down to a simple but yummy dinner at about 2:30/3pm and enjoyed the food and each other's company. :)

    Thursday, November 12, 2009

    Ludo Concert @ Troubadour Pics now online

    Originally uploaded by marcailgaelyn

    Pics from the Ludo Concert (with Without a Face, Ha Ha Tonka, & Meese as the 3 opening acts) are now online at my flickr account.

    (Well, all but *one* pic that the Flickr uploader just didn't seem to like...oh well...I'll fix that when I get home tonight :).

    To view the entire set:

    Wednesday, November 11, 2009

    Remembering Remembrance Day (aka Armistice or Veterans Day)

    Today is November 11th, which means its the anniversary of the day that World War I officially ended (or at least major hostilities did) when an Armistice treaty was signed between the Allies and Germany on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. (Or at least that last part is what tradition tells us :).

    While here in the US, these days most people know this day only as Veterans Day (for honoring veterans of all wars)...and as a federal holiday, an excuse for many to take a day off of work, I like to also remember the original purpose of marking the end of the Great War and a hope for peace.

    So whether or not you are working today (like I myself am) be sure to at least take a moment today to remember our veterans , the sacrifices they have made for our freedoms today, and of course remember Remembrance Day (Armistice Day).

    In Flander's Field

    In Flanders fields the poppies blow

    Between the crosses, row on row,

    That mark our place; and in the sky

    The larks, still bravely singing, fly

    Scarce heard amid the guns below.

    We are the dead. Short days ago

    We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

    Loved, and were loved, and now we lie

    In Flanders fields.

    Take up our quarrel with the foe:

    To you from failing hands we throw

    The torch; be yours to hold it high.

    If ye break faith with us who die

    We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

    In Flanders fields.

    — Lt.-Col. John McCrae (1872 - 1918)

    And for those of you wondering, Yes, when I 'hear' this poem in my mind, I often think of Linus (from Peanuts) reading it. (from the What have we Learned, Charlie Brown? tv special) ;-)

    Monday, November 09, 2009

    Rossum Corporation (Dollhouse)

    Something cool for Dollhouse fans like myself....
    The Rossum Corporation has new website.

    Pretty slick website, huh?

    Not bad considering its for a corporation that doesn't really exist (except for within a TV show :).

    Saturday, November 07, 2009

    Ludo in Concert was AWESOME!! :)

    Ok, I had SUCH a blast yesterday going to see Ludo with Gretchen Foltz and Elizabeth Ray at The Troubadour. Truly a Fun Evening. :)

    We all met up a bit before 4pm at my work and carpooled up to West Hollywood, grabbed some food, and then found the theater and some parking. (Garmin/GPS kept telling us to go in the wrong direction - odd - but we had the address, so we looked for the street number and eventually found it :).

    Only downside to the parking we found for the evening - found a 'public parking' area, but no guy in booth (all closed up), and no signs up anywhere saying whether or not it was free or paid for the evening. HOWEVER, when we got back to our car, there was an attendant, NEW signs were up saying a parking rate - which were NOT there when we parked - and a note was on my car saying that we had to pay the Max. Rate of $15.00 for the parking lot. What?!?! We argued with the guy about it. Said that when we arrived it was 7pm, there was no one around, and there most definitely were No signs up saying there was a fee for parking. He argued back that HE go there at 7pm and there were signs around/at the driveways and you had to pay for overnight parking past 7pm. Considering we walked out of the driveway/entrance where one of these New signs were standing (upright sign holder out on the side walk) - the three of us all agreed it certainly wasn't there when we walked by at 7pm. UGH!! Dude!! What a rip-off! We would have paid for our few hours of parking when we got there IF there were signs posted and a guy around. We looked! But we got into a stalemate argument, and there was no 'supervisor' to complain to or anyone to take the issue up with over his head...and we wanted to go we finally gave in and paid the $15 cause it was like 1am and we all needed to get on the road for our hour drive back to the OC.

    Back to the FUN part of the evening. :)

    Both on Twitter and Facebook, Ludo had posted that the doors to the Troubadour would open at 7pm that there might be 'free stuff' available.
    Facebook: "LUDO Is rocking the troubador in Hollywood tonight. Come early for free stuff and Without a Face. Doors open at 7. Tickets still available!"
    Twitter: "In Hollywood tonight at the troubador. Doors open at 7. Tix avail at the door. Come early for free ludo crap and @waftweets !!!"

    So we (and a bunch of others who read the messages) all got there early...only to find out the Troubadour WASN'T opening early...and their staff was pretty annoyed with all of us fans showing up early and keep walking up to the (unlocked) door and inquiring about them being open. They had a line queue up a bit down the street (and there was no signage or anything to say "stand here to wait for concert" so you walk by w/o knowing what the line is actually for...since its a decent distance away from the Troubadour). Basically, the line started at an abandoned building at the corner of Santa Monica Blvd & Doheny, on Santa Monica, and wrapped around the corner back along the sidewalk on Doheny. Eventually (like almost 8pm), they opened the doors and started checking tickets and IDs.

    Got my nifty little orange wristband that says "Troubadour" (proving you had a ticket and could go in and wander around, I guess. Hmm....perhaps they were color coded for those over/under 21?...though I didn't look to see if there was another color. The Troubadour has a bar, so its possible).

    We checked out the front bar area, where they had some merchandise set up, but they had a bunch of stuff for the other bands/acts that I didn't recognize and and who were apparently the groups leading in to Ludo's act....and I didn't spot (at that time) much Ludo stuff out. (A couple of T-Shirts and posters, mostly). Maybe they had more Ludo stuff there...just not out. They people working the area were all trying to quickly eat some food - not focused on hawking merchandise, really. ;-)

    So we headed into the main area. Checked out the bleacher style seating in the upper area, but eventually just kicked it in the main standing-room-only section near the stage. Of course, considering who I was hanging with, the three of us were great at entertaining ourselves and cracking ourselves up. (We broke out into spontaneous movie quotes often throughout the night - even in line outside - and even the occasional Song. "Brave, Brave, Brave, Brave Sir Robin" (Monty Python's Holy Grail) was one of those songs while waiting in line outside. :)

    1st act finally started and it was some guy who called himself "Man without a Face".
    Um...we were not impressed. I got a Guinness and drank it while we waited. He kinda got his target audience with his first couple of songs. Some of which had some potential, but he needs more work/help/pointers.

    2nd Act was a group called "Ha Ha Tonka". I actually liked this group. Better than the 1st act by far, though they were not to Liz and Gretchen's taste. (Too country-ish for them...even if it was a *Rock* Country influence). They said they were from the Ozarks, so a bit of a Country influence makes sense (to me). I loved the A Capella song the guys did. Their voices blended well together. These guys were drinking beer while performing (had beer bottles instead of water bottles to take swigs of between songs :), and its influence definitely showed on at least 1 of the guys soon enough. And wow!, the guitarist was REALLY talented! Liz thought so too - and mentioned that no matter what happens with this band, that guy could probably make it with probably any band. Oh, and overall, this band had good stage presence. (Kudos to them :).

    The very last song they performed they were joined by members of the next Act, Meese. It was a rip-roaring good time. They were all having a blast on stage, which the audience loved. Fun.

    3rd Act, "Meese", got set up after a bit and started in on their set of songs. They're from Denver, CO, and the reason they're called Meese is cause their two main band members are brothers with that last name (lead singer/guitarist/keyboards and a guitarist/signer...or was he base...I forget now). I enjoyed the songs (the beat mostly, cause with the sound as it was, it was sometimes hard to understand the actual lyrics :) Liz mentioned that they were a bit too monotoned for her taste. (Playing style). And we both agreed that they're stage presence could use a bit of work. :)

    And funny enough, some of Ha Ha Tonka members came back on stage for Meese's last song to play with them. (Ha Ha Tonka lead singer & guitar player joined Meese's drummer in the back...helping out on drums ;). It was fun to watch.

    When they were done, it was a flurry of activity as the stage was fixed up for LUDO! (Last 2 bands had to get their gear off-stage, and Ludo's gear had to get on and set up how they wanted/needed it for their performance). As each Act had performed, the Troubadour was getting more and more Crowded. Now, as Ludo was just about ready to go on, it was pretty packed! Definitely standing room only in this downstairs section between stage and bar. :)

    Eventually, everything was set up how they wanted it (the band members were down there working away with the stage hands, making sure guitars were tuned, levels were ok on mics, etc.). The band members left the stage for one last gathering (up in a box office area, stage right up a flight of stairs along the wall leading from the stage/corner of the room) and then made their grand entrance.

    Woo-hoo! Everyone was ecstatic! Opening song for the night - "Go Getter Greg".

    This guy recorded some pieces from few of the songs (from his cell phone) at last night's concert and posted them on his youtube account

    Go Getter Greg:
    Hum Along:
    Saturday Night:

    While the first songs were great to sing to, and they played to the crowd (the energy of the crowd was really high!), the Band REALLY kicked it into gear once they started playing Broken Bride. (Entire album!)

    That was AWESOME. If you don't know about Broken Bride, the entire CD is one long story. Its a Rock Opera about this guy (known as The Traveler) who's wife died in May of 1989, so he builds a time machine to go back and save her. Only he shoots too far and ends up in pre-historic times, is attacked by Pterodactyls and ends up hiding in a cave. Next song on the album is "Save Our City" where we go back to the 'present/future' and where the world is in chaos due to a zombie apocalypse and we follow the story of a young boy trying to get people to rise up and help fight the zombies (and their evil leader, known as the Dragon). Then we head back into pre-historic times with the next song to catch up with the Traveler. He makes a run for the Time Travel Machine and manages to reclaim his machine (narrowly avoiding a pack of pterodactyls). He then activates the machine and tries again to get to 1989 to save his wife...only this time the machine malfunctions again and he shoots too far forward and lands in the zombie apocalypse. The Traveler, faced with a decision to help save mankind or to go back and rescue his wife....and I'll stop there. (But I will tell you there's a twist in the end :).

    Note - when they perform Broken Bride, I mean they perform it *all* w/out a break... straight through. Just one song into the next. Like I said...AWESOME!!!

    They performed a bunch more songs after that, including Hum Along, Druken Lament, Topeka, and (I think I recall) a few other songs from "Your Awful, I Love You" album (which meant I could sing along cause I KNEW those songs :). Oh, and Andrew Volpe sang "Horror of Our Love" before the band started in to Broken Bride. (He had the stage to himself for that one). Great song, so couldn't forget mentioning it. :)

    Lake Pontchartrain was DEFINITELY a fan favorite. The crowd ate it up and they were having a blast on the stage. (I really started getting horse by this time, shouting/singing along...along with everyone else in the audience).

    It was really fun when the band would stop singing on some of the songs throughout the evening and let us just sing for a bit while they played. (Testing us to see if we would continue/know the lyrics).

    One of the last song of the night: Goodwill Hunting by Myself. (Yay! Crowd loved it)
    AND final song of the night: Love Me Dead!
    YES!!! Definitely one the crowd was waiting for. Such Fun! :)

    Oh!!! And at the very end of the night, after all the songs, they said they have one more CA show (tonight - Sat, 11/7 - at the Glass House in Pomona) and announced that in January/the new year, they'll be back in CA to work on a new album. YES!!! :)

    After the concert, most of the people headed in to the front are to buy merchandise, and Ludo's band members came out to meet the fans, autograph stuff, take pics with fans. It was great. I got 4 signatures, and got one pic with Andrew Volpe (and got to say to each of those guys how much I enjoyed the concert - totally fun seeing them live).

    RE: my 4 signatures - They signed my copy of "Your Awful, I Love You" cd liner :). Forgot the CD in my car (doh! thought I grabbed it) and my sharpie marker (also in the car), but at least I had the case so I could get the liner signed...and I had a regular gel/ink pen in my purse that worked for one signature, and others either had a sharpie on them, or a fan lent them theirs :).

    Souvenir for the night - besides tons of photos and autographs - Liz got me a copy of the Broken Bride album as a Thank You for driving and such. (You're awesome Liz. Thanks!)

    Members of Ludo:
    Andrew Volpe
    Tim Ferrell
    Tim Convy
    Matt Palermo

    Links for Ludo:

    Overall - Wonderful, Wonderful time. I'm SO glad I went. Totally recommend them live. If you Like Ludo's stuff - Go see them in concert!

    (p.s. - I'll upload my pics in a few minutes...and will post again to here when they're all up on Flickr...and I'll add at least some on facebook too :)

    Thursday, November 05, 2009

    The Islander (song by Nightwish)

    A friend shared the youtube link for this music video on my facebook acccount yesterday...and I gotta say I really like this song (and the music video). I listened to it a few times last night/this morning, and the song is still stuck in my head.

    So *I'm* going to share the link and post the lyrics here.

    "The Islander" - by Nightwish


    An old man by a seashore at the end of day
    Gazes the horizon with seawinds in his face
    Tempest-tossed island, seasons all the same
    Anchorage unpainted and a ship without a name

    Sea without a shore for the banished one unheard
    He lightens the beacon, light at the end of world
    Showing the way lighting hope in their hearts
    The ones on their travels homeward from afar

    This is for long-forgotten light at the end of the world
    Horizon crying the tears he left behind long ago

    The albatross is flying, making him daydream
    The time before he became one of the world`s unseen
    Princess in the tower, children in the fields
    Life gave him it all: An island of the universe

    Now his love`s a memory, a ghost in the fog
    He sets the sails one last time saying farewell to the world
    Anchor to the water, seabed far below
    Grass still in his feet, and a smile beneath his brow

    This is for long-forgotten light at the end of the world
    Horizon crying the tears he left behind long ago

    So long ago....

    This is for long-forgotten light at the end of the world
    Horizon crying the tears he left behind so long ago

    - - -

    Wikipedia link for info on the song:

    Remember, remember the 5th of November

    "Remember, remember the fifth of November.
    Gunpowder, Treason and Plot.
    I see no reason why Gunpowder Treason
    Should ever be forgot."

    For those of you wondering what this rhyme has to do with anything...well, it cause I'm a history buff, an Anglophile and today's the 5th of November. :) The Rhyme basically a warning aganist treason (and not to forget its consequences.)

    For more information on Guy Fawkes Night, the Gunpowder Plot, or even the nursery rhyme itself here are a few links:

    Guy Fawkes Night Wikipedia entry:

    Britannia History: The Gunpowder Plot (Overview)

    Gunpoweder Plot Wikipedia entry:

    Rhymes: 5th of November

    Monday, November 02, 2009

    Jane Austen Evening Tickets Now On Sale

    Passing along the info for the Jane Austen Evening 2010.
    I've already bought my ticket (dance portion of the evening only)




    ---------- Forwarded message ----------
    From: Dance & History <>
    Date: Sun, Nov 1, 2009 at 8:57 AM
    Subject: Jane Austen Evening Tickets Now On Sale

    The Jane Austen Evening

    You are cordially inivited to the Jane Austen Evening, a civilized afternoon and evening of tea, entertainment, pleasant company and dancing. It will be held at the Pasadena Masonic Hall (200 S. Euclid) on Saturday, January 23rd 2009.

    The high tea begins at 4 PM. The dancing at 7 PM. Tickets may be purchased to the tea and dance or for the dance alone.

    Live music will be provided by the "Philadelphia Academy of Music". Our dance mistress will be Marsden Macrae.

    Formal attire or military uniforms (any nation) of the time of Jane Austen is suggested. If you don't have period attire, please wear modern formal wear (tuxedo, coat and tie, long dress etc.). Formal wear of some description is a necessity in refined company.

    Classes to teach the dances for the Jane Austen Evening will be held on the two Sundays preceding the dance on January 10th and 17th.

    For more information, and to purchase tickets online or through the mail, go to the website at