Wednesday, October 27, 2010

And now for something completely different

The above video is just my way of sharing a beautiful fall day up on the Tranquille River, which is part of the Lac Du Bois Grasslands Provincial Park. The colours are almost mother nature's way of saying "Sorry for what I'm about to do to you"

I am not a big fan of the winter months. Not like some who believe that you have to go hungry to enjoy a good meal later, I think I can quite enjoy my summers without having to live through a winter.

I am still working with my software, trying to get just the right settings to show what the new Sony NexVG10 can do, so please hang in there while I figure out all the bells and whistles of the new system.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

What's new pussy-cat?

Actually I should of had a picture of a pussycat to go with the above title, but I am at present too filled with sloth to look through my volumes to find the aforesaid  pic.

I think it is the dark dreary days of fall that have been getting me down - those and the six fudge brownies and the coronas that passed for supper last night. Oh, and about the fudge brownies. . . .

I guess that is what I should write about today - how not to make fudge brownies. Even if the recipe doesn't call for it, a seasoned chef, such as myself, should know to lightly grease and flour the pan before adding the dough. I didn't and I ended up with and upside-down -sideways wreck of a pile of baked brownie goo when I went to release it from the pan. Still very delicious but not very presentable. Loyd and I fell upon the mess like pirates on a merchant ship so as to destroy any evidence of my mistakes.

I had to quickly rebuild the project as I had promised my good wife that I would bake something for her drum group. This time it worked perfectly. My secret - add a cup or two of chocolate chips to the mix - which gives it that extra blast of sugar and chocolaty goodness. Here's the recipe for

Frank's no-fail fudge-ee-ohs brownies!

Melt 3/4cup butter in glass bowl in microwave
Add two cups white sugar and beat in
Add big splash of vanilla extract
When mixture is cool add three eggs and beat til smooth

In a second bowl mix together
1.5 cups flour
.5 cup cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1-2 cups chocolate chips

Mix the contents of the two bowls together
Turn out on a lightly greased and floured 8x11.5 pan
(or whatever your smallest cake pan is - I like to use the blue glass one that I keep next to the flour bin)

Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes
When the brownies start to pull away from the edge of the pan, they are done.

Remove and cool before cutting

And for no particular reason, other than I have just finished it, here is my latest clip from the world of youtube.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Not another ghost story

Every now and then something happens that really sends a chill down your spine. I'm talking about one of those moments when you feel totally ill at ease and even skeptics like myself feel like there is another entity present in the area even though nothing can be seen or sensed within the physical realm.

So it was the other evening when I went out into the hills south of town to get a time-lapse shot of the sunset with my new video camera (the Sony Nex VG10).

The area I had visited needs to remain vaguely described for reasons which will become apparent later. One of the reasons I can state now is that there is no need to panic otherwise sensible people.

This area I was in was the approximate site of the disappearance of a group of hikers from back in the 60's. The local story is that the group had gone out on a warm fall afternoon to commune with nature as was the habit of the flower children of that era and perhaps to partake of the low grade reefer that was available in those days.

Three days later, when they had not yet returned a search party was dispatched and their VW micro-bus was quickly located, but not a sign of the hikers was ever discovered. Rumours persisted for many years about aliens, wood spirits, and military experiments in the area, but of course nothing was ever proven.

Records of the disappearance were quickly lost and as none of the hikers had any permanent links within the community, even the oral history of the disappearance almost died away. I had heard the story personally from an old rancher in the area some fifteen years ago when I was pursuing a story of a completely different nature - a story which would be an interesting enough yarn of itself but would merely serve as a digression now.

I passed the story off as a fanciful yarn and had all but forgotten it until this last evening. After capturing the image of the setting sun I compressed the time sequence and on playing it back got this very weird sounding audio track.

I don't believe in ghosts but this thing gave me the willies. One could almost argue that these are the sounds of something, or some "ones" long since departed, that are still trying to communicate with us on the other side.

I don't think I'll be heading back to those hills by myself in the evenings for quite some time.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Ram a lam a ding dong

Okay this post has nothing to do with the 50's hit by "Big Wheelie and the Hubcaps" (Or whoever it was that did it - and I don't have the luxury of googling the info right now - maybe one of my fine readers can comment with the right info on that one) but there I have digressed immensely and created yet another run on sentence that would have my old English teacher spinning in his grave (if he were in fact in one and not running about like some modern day Don Quixote).

So where was I? Oh yes, the ram thing. I went out for a hike today to get an idea of where the rams were and to test out my new camera. I found these two young rams who, by way of their youngness - and a gale force wind, did not hear me approach, and I managed to get some decent footage. Now my brother tells me if I were to just swing by Mt. Paul I can get much easier footage through the page wire on the sheep fence along the highway. These sheep are much more civilized and are used to human stalkers.

I may try the Mt. Paul sheep another time but I like the challenge of getting on to these "wild" Kamloops lake sheep.

Anyways, hope you enjoy, and Mr. Fieber, you can stop spinning now.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Math to the rescue

How many times has a student, bored to tears, in a math class, said "When am I ever going to use that?"

Now I have been a part of that group, but that was in fifth year university and the formula in question looked as though someone had thrown up a bowl of alphabet soup on the chalkboard. And, "No" I have never had call to use one of those formulas, but I think it did build character or something.

A formula one does have call to use though, are the simple geometric formulas for various shapes. My latest hike out to Kenna Cartwright Park proved this as I pondered the plethora of pocket gopher spoils. The spoils being the dirt pushed out of the burrows that they are constructing with great fervor these days out in the grasslands.

I said to myself - "Self," I says, "Just how long are those burrow?" One could find a long bendy stick I guess and shove it down one of the holes but that process is fraught with danger (especially for the pocket gopher). So instead I turned to math.

I calculated the volume of the spoils, and then calculated the length of the cylinder that had the diameter of the burrow and the volume equal to the volume of the spoils.

The result was that a relatively small volume of dirt was representative of a very long burrow. Of course there are a bunch of assumptions as to the compaction of the soil and the lack of variance in the size of the burrow, and a host of other things that some masters student can tackle when they write their definitive work on the burrowing habits of the pocket gopher.

The video below demonstrates both the math and the fact that I have too much time on my hands.