Ella pics!


It's interesting how difficult it is to automatically focus on a black cat.

Weekend update




Dinner at Durango's


Replumbed and cleaned the skimmer
Grilled out steaks
Made another coffeecake
Worked on the design for the entertainment center

Aikido Saturday Afternoon - 01/23/10

Aikidokas: Tim, Trey, and Brad.

Ukemi: Regular warm-up.

The Walk: Twice.

Releases: None.


We spent the afternoon working with Brad on Oshi Taoshi. He made great progress and is now able to do the entry, recovery, and advance fairly well. We need more time with him keeping up with uke as uke falls and then the armbar.

Aftermath: Achilles tendon is being weird.

Aikido Friday Night - 01/22/10

Aikidokas: Tim, and Trey.

Ukemi: Light warm-up, spent most of the time watching over Doug and Heidi.

The Walk: None.

Releases: None.


Trey and I spent a long time working on the entry for the garumas in Owaza Ju Pon. It really does revolve around getting uke's arm down and across his body with good timing.

After that, Trey uke'd for me on:

1. Kote Mawashi

Getting decent

2. Uchi Tenkai Nage

Hit it on the first try, moved on.

3. Gyakugamae Ate

Played with the two timings

4. Kote Kajiki

Still playing with the entry. Getting right is still a hit or miss proposition.

5. Mae Otoshi

I need to think about pivoting just before kazushi

Aftermath: Achilles tendon is being weird.


Lunching out: Mom Alone's

A local Tex-Mex restaurant that seems to be quite popular with the local crowd. And it is pretty good.

Salsas: 3 delivered with the chips: red, green and queso. Queso and green were good, the red was just ok.

Chips: ok

Guac: good

The burrito I had was pretty good, the rice and beans the same. The prices seem to be a little higher than I would expect, but I got out of there for less than Frenchie's. $11 for burrito, rice, beans, guac and tea. Happy Hour margarita's are $3, $2 more than Durango's.

Waiter messed up my order and the plate had sour cream on it when it made it to my table.

Ambience: Too formal/fancy for my tastes for a Tex-Mex place. For an Italian joint it would be about right. Waiters were in white shirts and bow ties.

At the Movies: District 9

District 9: 3

I'm not certain what I was expecting for this movie, but I didn't get it. Other than a fun film, that is. It turned out to be the story of a man who is (slowly? quickly?) metamorphosing into an alien. Along the way we talk about segregation and internment camps. There are parts of the movie where the aliens are more human than the humans.

The one thing that puzzled me is the promise of the lead alien to return and, supposedly, reverse the lead human's transformation into an alien. I suppose if I believe that a squirt of some unknown liquid can turn a human into an alien, the reverse can happen just as easily.

I enjoyed the movie, but probably wouldn't seek out to see it again. I would watch it if it was on, though.


Welcome, Ella!

We adopted another kitten this past week. K. though Strider needed a playmate since Vlad is not interested in playing with him and is outside a good portion of the time. Our vet had a kitten in their "adoption" area that was about the same age as Strider and seemed pretty nice. So, when Strider went in for a booster shot, Kim put him in the adoption area to play with the potential adoptee. They got along.

So, when I got off work, I went over with K. to the vet and we sat in the adoption are with the kitten. I thought she was a good match, so we brought her home.

For the first 24 hours or so, Ella and Strider were constantly brawling or sleeping. No damage was done during the brawling, so we thought we'd wait it out. It has now reduced quite a bit and they are occasionally grooming each other.

Ella is still uncertain about the whole house, so we're trying to let her have some time on her own without any of the other animals around. I hope she'll adjust to the house quickly.

I hope to have pictures up soon, but my camera has trouble focusing on a solid black cat.

Weekend update


Slept in the library with the new kitten: Ella


Errands, completely ineffective though as the stores were closed or out of business
Dinner at Durango's
Slept in the library with the new kitten: Ella


Played with the kittens
Started doing taxes

Aikido Saturday Afternoon - 01/16/10

Aikidokas: Tim, Trey, Brad, and Will

Ukemi: Light warm-up, spent most of the time watching over Will and Brad.

The Walk: Twice, as usual.

Releases: I worked with Will. He's now worked on the first 4 releases.


We worked on Ushiro-ate, the Ju Nana Hon Kata version, to give everyone a break from Shomen-ate. It went fairly well.

Next up was the kneeling portion of Koryu Dai San, for me. My ankles got a big workout (it doesn't seem to muck with my knees too much).

1. Oshi Taoshi - Knee walk with left leg first and extend uke's arm over the left leg.

2. Gyakugamae Ate - Nothing new today.

3. Kote Gaeshi - Down-the-line for the first off-balance so that uke can recover. Almost 90 degrees to that line for the final off-balance.

4. Ryote Mochi Sukui Nage - Push up

5. Tentai Kote Hineri - Must get the proper grip for this to work well.

6. Shiho Nage - Left leg is the working one on the initial movement

7. Gedan Ate - Use uke's knee as a prop to rise up onto your knees with

8. Hiji Kime - Inside butterfly was the key light bulb on this one. It causes a balance break for uke.

Trey then did 1-17 of Ju Nana Hon Kata on the left side. He did really well. A couple of missed techniques, but he flowed from those misses into other techniques.

Aftermath: Sore right ankle from so much time on my knees with the tops of my feet flat on the ground.

Aikido Friday Night - 01/15/10

Aikidokas: Tim, Trey, and Sal. ( I think. Saturday was a tougher workout and washed Friday from my mind)

Ukemi: Light warm-up, spent most of the time watching over Doug and Heidi.

The Walk: Twice, as usual.

Releases: We did a round-robin on the releases: Trey uke'd for me, Sal uke'd for Trey, and I uke'd for Sal.


I know Trey and I spent a lot of time working on the garuma entry, playing with the off-balances, etc. I'm sure we did something else with Sal, probably Shomen-ate.

Aftermath: My right wrist is much better, I wonder if it was the extreme cold that made it angry. It's still a little sore, but I can flex it the usual amount without an issue.

Lunching out: Frenchie's

This was going to be my usual week at Franca's, however, it looks like they are not open for lunch for a while. I hope it's just while they deal with papa's medical issues.

So I drove just a bit further for Frenchie's and had my usual Meatball sandwich and Blueberry cheesecake. (My wife's favorite, when she can get there, is the Broccoli Rigatoni. )It's a lot of food, but for a fairly high price: $16. Still it's a good restaurant with lots of business from the local NASA folks.

I don't think I'll make this the replacement for Franca's on my regular schedule. I'll have to give that issue some thought.

Lunching out: Colosseum Italian Restaurant

A long-standing restaurant just a hop, skip and a jump away from work. I think they only do a buffet for lunch. I chose to have their chicken parmigiana, fettucini with meat sauce and chicken and green beans in a cream sauce.

The parmigiana was not as good as Franca's, but not bad. The meat sauce had an interesting wine/vinegar taste to it and the cream sauce was pretty good.

One of the workers walked by the tables saying it was "Free Cake Friday", but I did not take them up on their offer of dessert.


Weekend update (a little late)


Brrrrrrr! Cold!


Brrrrrrr! Cold!
Dinner at Durango's with K.


Brrrrrrr! Cold!

Recipe: Sour Cream Streusel Coffee Cake

I found this recipe on epicurious and relly liked it. I did alter it a bit before making it the frist time (something I *never* do) because, again, I wanted to use up some blood orange juice. I also cooked it in a springform pan instead of muffin tins.

Original source:



* 3/4 cup granulated sugar
* 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1 cup packed light brown sugar
* 2 sticks (1 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
* 1 teaspoon cinnamon
* 1 1/2 cups (6 oz) pecans, toasted and chopped
* 1 cup sour cream
* 1 whole large egg
* 1 large egg yolk
* 1 teaspoon vanilla
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated fresh blood orange zest
* Juice of 1/2 blood orange

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Stir together granulated sugar, flour, salt, and 3/4 cup brown sugar in a large bowl, then blend in 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) butter with your fingertips or a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal with some pea-size butter lumps. Transfer 3/4 cup to a bowl and blend in cinnamon, remaining 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) butter, and remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar with your fingertips or pastry blender until crumbly. Stir in pecans, then chill streusel topping 15 minutes.

Whisk together sour cream, whole egg, yolk, vanilla, baking soda, juice and zest, then stir into remaining flour mixture until just combined (batter will be stiff).

Pour 1/2 to 2/3 of the batter into an 8 inch springform pan. Spread 2/3 to 3/4 of the streusel mixture over the top of the batter. Pour the remaing batter on top of the streusel. Spread the rest of the streusel mixture on top of the batter, pressing it lightly into the batter. Bake coffeecake in middle of oven until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 70 to 90 minutes. Cool in pans on rack 30 minutes. Loosen cake with a thin metal spatula, then carefully remove cake from pan.

Recipe: Blood Orange Bundt Cake

I tried a recipe for this in order to make use of some of the blood oranges my tree produced this winter. It came out a little denser than I like, so I might try altering it on the next go around.

Here is where I got it:


Here's the recipe:

Blood Orange Bundt Cake

Cake Ingredients
3 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
1 cup milk
4 large eggs
2 blood oranges (zest & juice)
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt

Glaze ingredients
1/2 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
2 cup confectioner’s sugar
juice from 2 blood oranges


1. Preheat oven to 325F.

2. In a stand mixer, cream together the sugar and butter for about 3 min. or until smooth, pale and fluffy. (NOTE: Scrape down the sides regularly throughout this process.)

3. Add one egg at at time and continue until all eggs are intergrated.

4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the baking soda, baking powder, salt and flour. On low speed, add the flour mixture to the creamed butter and eggs in small increments, alternating with the milk, until both are intergrated. Don’t overmix. It does not need to be smooth, a few lumps are OK; they will cook out. If you overmix, the batter will form lots of gluten and make your cake more like a bread.

5. Using a spoon or spatula, hand fold in the juice and zest of the orange.

6. Grease/spray your bundt pan making sure to cover every ridge and crevice. Add the batter to the bundt pan; it should not be more than 3/4 full.

7. Place in oven and bake for 1 hour and 15 min. Check after 1 hour using a skewer or toothpick. Once it pulls out clean from the center of the cake, remove and let cool for 15 min. before turning out.

8. It’s glazing time! In a medium bowl or stand mixer, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and blood orange juice and mix until smooth. Pour over warm bundt cake. Serve cake immediately or later. Enjoy!


Aikido Saturday Afternoon - 01/09/10

Aikidokas: Tim, Trey, Brad, Tom, Sal and Doug. A big crowd!

Ukemi: I got to the dojo early enough that I was able to get in a full complement of falls before anyone else arrived. ARMA left early, so the mat was open.

The Walk: Twice, as usual. I also spent some time with Doug running through the stones while Tim was working on Shomen-ate with the other guys.

Releases: I watched Brad/Tom and Trey/Sal go through the paces.


None today

Aftermath: My right wrist was quite troublesome and reduced my abilities quite a bit. I have no idea what happened to it.

Aikido Friday Night - 01/08/10

Aikidokas: Tim, Trey, Doug and Heidi (two new students). The new students had around 9 months of classes with an Aikikai organization before they moved away.

Ukemi: Light warm-up, spent most of the time watching over Doug and Heidi.

The Walk: Twice, as usual.

Releases: I served as uke for releases with which I attacked with my left hand.


Trey was tori for 1-15 of Ju Nana Han Kata (left-sided only) and did fairly well. He had bobbles on Ushiro-ate, Wakigatame, and Mae-otoshi.

Aftermath: My right wrist was quite troublesome and reduced my abilities quite a bit. I have no idea what happened to it.


Aikido Friday Afternoon - 01/01/10

Aikidokas: Tim, Trey, Sal, and Will.

This was our first session of the new year, so it was a short and light one, with a meal afterward.

Ukemi: Light warm-up, spent some of the time watching over Will.

The Walk: Twice, as usual.

Releases: None.


Trey and I did some work together. We worked him on 1-16 on the right side.

I then worked on a couple of Owaza Ju Pon and some from the standing portion of Koryu Dai San.

Aftermath: Full stomach from the meal.

At the Movies: Avatar

Avatar: 4

The story may not have been much, but the visuals were stunning and I got absorbed into the world. I thought it neat that they brought Sigourney Weaver in for another alien movie.


At the Movies: Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes: 4

The first of what I expect will be numerous installments in the Sherlock Holmes franchise. Robert Downey, Jr. played a good version of the master detective and Jude Law was his companion Dr. John Watson. This was not a Holmes who was perfect, but a Holmes who had flaws, foibles and neuroses.

I'm looking forward to the continued adventures as Sherlock battles his nemesis, Prof. Moriarty.

At the Movies: Up in the Air

Up in the Air: 4

A fabulous effort by George Clooney and the rest of the cast. A story about a well-traveled "ax man" and his attempt at a personal transformation. It works very well and does not have a "happy" ending. The ending is appropriate, but not happy.

The only thing I didn't like was that Alex (played by Vera Farmiga) led Ryan (George Clooney) on in their relationship. The fact that she was willing to go with him on a weekend trip to his sister's wedding did not play well with a later revelation.