Saturday, December 4, 2010

I Know What I Saw

On December 2, 2010, sometime between 1:30 a.m. and 2:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time I saw something in the sky. I was facing a southeasterly direction in my backyard. It was a very clear sky; no haze, no clouds. Just me and the stars.

I had already finished one glass of wine and was working on my second. I decided to go out the back door to have a smoke. It was tobacco, by the way. I'm always looking at the stars. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a flash. Nothing spectacular, but it caught my attention. So I looked in that specific direction expecting to see an airplane passing over high up. Since the lights on airplanes flash about every one to two seconds, I was already curious when it took longer to see the light a second time.

For reference, while facing southeast, there is a star in the top of the constellation Monoceros, just below the left foot of the left sister in Gemini. At the time of this blog, I do not know this star's name or designation.

So after a period of more than two seconds I begin to think I just imagined it when I see the flash again. It was at 10 o'clock from this, as yet, unnamed star. I kept my eyes on that part of the sky. I see the flash again and I begin measuring the time intervals by counting 1-one thousand, 2-one thousand, 3-one thousand, etc. I counted 8 seconds and then another flash. It was more brilliant than Betelgeuse, which was close by and to the right, but no brighter than the marker lights on an airplane. I kept measuring the intervals and found that they were  between 8 to 12 seconds apart; and the light source was NOT moving; it was stationary in the sky, fixed at 10 o'clock from the same star.

I watched this phenomenon for about 5 minutes. I see a shooting star to my left, and shortly after, another to my right. Okay, I think I just ruled out any sort of meteorite. I'm pretty certain it's not a satellite because I've seen plenty of those over the years. Satellites are usually seen within a few hours after sunset. We're way past that time frame. And this light source is still NOT moving.

Now, I don't necessarily "believe" in UFOs, and I'm not the kind of person to categorically neigh-say, but a lot of people are experiencing something. That being said, my next thought was "Okay, so maybe we're dealing with a UFO"; in the truest sense of the acronym, only I can't rightly use the word "flying" since the object is not moving. But let's go down that path. UFO enthusiasts, hunters, and supposed contactees have said that, in a lot of cases, using a flash light is an effective means to get a UFO's attention and to get them to come in closer. So, I get a flash light.

Each time I see the flash I do the same in return with my flash light. The 8 to 12 second intervals do not change. After doing this a few times, I give two flashes for every one that I see. Again, no change in the object's intervals.

After working my flash light for several minutes, I do notice a change: the light flashes in the sky begin to get dimmer and dimmer with each subsequent occurrence. Eventually the object dims and ceases to flash.

For the record I have considered the idea that I could have seen a pulsar, but with the naked eye? Maybe. But I would also think that pulsars would be more consistent in their timing, not that I had a 100% consistent method for measuring time during my experience. But then, pulsars are not fly-by-night events. They last for a very long time, like eons.

For the past two nights, I've gone into my backyard looking at the same point in the sky hoping to see it again. And I find nothing. So, I never saw any flying triangles, circles, or cigar shaped craft. And definitely no little  green men. But I did see a light in the sky that I have yet to come up with a reasonable explanation for. I'm open to any suggestions.

Thanks for reading

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

My Thoughts On Proposition 8

Proposition 8, the law banning homosexual marriage in California that was voted into law by the people, was overturned today by a court ruling as unconstitutional. The fact that a person's right to choose whom they love or marry is being debated as LAW is still confounding to me. At first, my issue with this was not homosexual marriage being made legal, but that a judge was overturning the desires of the people. I thought that was scary. But then, after talking with my wife, I realized how wrong I was.

The United States of America, contrary to popular belief, is a republic; a rule by law. Most people think it is a democracy; a rule by the people. In fact, we are a republic by a democratic process. To prove this I will state two words: Judiciary Branch.

The courts interpret our laws and, hopefully, bring clarity to their meanings. The courts are the only thing that keeps our beloved democratic process from becoming an angry mob. The people may want one thing, but if the Constitution says another, we need to go with the Constitution. The United States is, after all, a republic.

What's more, the judge, that sits on the bench, is there to, in essence, protect us from ourselves. The judge was either voted into office (democracy), or he was appointed by a governor or the president (democracy by proxy). We then have to trust that the judge on the bench is honoring the true will of the people by upholding the Constitution of the United States.

With that said, I trust that the overturn of Proposition 8 in California, was indeed, performed by a judge that put all his/her bias aside and weighed the evidence against the letter, and the spirit, of the law (republic).

I am a conservative (I'm a LIBERTARIAN, not a Republican) voter. I am also a follower and believer of Jesus the Messiah. I believe in freedom; the free will of the individual to make his or her own choices, so long as they fit within the confines of these words:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Macaroni and Cheese REDEFINED

When I cook, I seldom measure my ingredients. The measurements listed below are approximations. Even still, I'm sure you will enjoy it!

1 lb cooked and drained rotini pasta (I prefer whole wheat)
1/2 cup mozerella cheese
3 slices American cheese
1 -8 oz package (2 cups) shredded Monterey/Colby cheese
1 jalapeno diced (seeds removed)
1/2 medium yellow onion (NOT VIDALIA) diced
1/2 cup red bell pepper diced
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (feel free to add more)
1 tsp ground mustard
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp red curry powder
1 tsp garham masala
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
2 cups milk???
1/2 to 3/4 cup milk as needed for later

You'll need a small stock pot by the end of this, so I suggest you start with one. It will make it easier.
Melt the butter over medium to high heat and then stir in the flour. You're making a roux, like you would for gravy. When you get a bubbly paste, add the milk while stirring and brink to a boil. When boiling reduce heat to low.

Once thickened, add jalapeno, pepper, onion, garlic, and spices. Once thoroughly stirred, all three cheese products.

When all the cheese is melted and you have a good cheese sauce, add about 2/3 of your cooked pasta. I say this to err on the side of caution, because I don't want you to end up with too little sauce. At this point, you may want to add about another 1/2 to 3/4 cup milk. Once the pasta and cheese is well mixed, continue to add more pasta until you are satisfied with your preferred consistency. Now, enjoy the worlds best mac and cheese. 

It's going to be a little spicy, and may have an Indian Curry/Southwest US taste to it. Serve it as a side to Mexican dishes, steak, salmon, or enjoy a small portion as a midnight snack! I'm open to CONSTRUCTIVE criticism, so let me know!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Triple Chocolate Bundt Cake

You saw it on Twitter. Now you can eat it at home

1 pkg devil's food cake mix
1 Lg chocolate instant pudding
1 1/4 cup water
1/2 cup oil
4 eggs
3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (2 cups for batter, 1 for icing)
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
Greased bundt pan. You may grease and flour if you wish

Combine cake mix, pudding, water, oil, and eggs in a mixing bowl, then beat for 2 minutes. Gradually stir in 2 cups of chocolate chips. Pour batter into greased bundt pan. Bake at 350 for 50-55 minutes. Turn over onto your cake plate and let cool.
Combine 1 cup chocolate chips and the whipping cream. Slowly melt in small sauce pan. Remove from heat and let stand for 15 minues. Drizzle sauce over cake.
I have learned that you can also put your chips and whipping cream in a microwaveable dish and microwave on high for 1min 30 seconds and stirring every 30 seconds is another to make your sauce/icing.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Flooding in Nashville, TN

I'm sure you've heard about the flooding in Nashville, TN. Here are some shots from the Bellevue Work Center and Central Office in Nashville.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Nomenclature of a Warrior

Thanks, again to Game Informer for this image.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Will You Survive the Zombie Apocalypse?

Whether it be video games or movies, zombies are a recurring threat. But will you survive in a real zombie apocalypse? Game Informer was kind enough to provide this flow-chart to prepare you for that day.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Super-Simple Pan-fried Fillet

The following recipe does NOT have exact measurements, as I have never exactly measured this stuff out so the measurements are approximate. If you're adept in the kitchen, you will understand where I'm coming from.

Also, some of you may think it is heresy that I am not GRILLING a fillet. If you feel that way, then you can get lost, NOT use this recipe, and deny yourself a new and rich experience! Without further ado, I'm going to write this out as a dinner for two; so here goes:

- 2 beef fillets of your choice (Sirloin fillet is cheaper than Mignon and a little tougher)
- 2 tbsp Flavored/seasoned olive oil. (best if you can find some with the herbs/seasonings still in the bottle. Check your grocer's salad dressing section where all the fancy dressings and marinades are)
- 1-2 tbsp chopped shallot
- 1/2 cup Cream
- Splash of dry white wine
- 1 tbsp chopped Rosemary (fresh is best)
- 1 tbsp flour
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cooking thermometer

Before you start, I recommend you go ahead and chop your shallot and rosemary

Put about 2 tbsp olive oil in a medium skillet and put it on medium-to-high heat. Once hot, add your fillets. LIGHTLY salt and pepper them. SEAR them on all sides.

When all sides are well seared, reduce temperature to medium-to-low and cover. At this point, they're going to be pretty bloody with a cold center. If that's what you want, then your good to go. Otherwise, keep them covered and cooking, flipping them every few minutes to keep them from burning. I usually cook them until the core temperature is somewhere around 130 - 140. This will give you a nice pink center.

When the fillets are done to your liking, remove them from the skillet onto a small plate. Make a tent over them with aluminum foil and place them in the oven on your lowest "warming" setting.

To the drippings and oil in your skillet, add your rosemary, shallot and flour. Turn the heat up to medium.

Use a wooden spoon to scrape any bits off the bottom of the skillet, and stir all this together until all lumps of flour are broken up. Add about 1/2 cup cream, and a good splash of your white wine. Stir constantly. When it comes to a boil, it should start to thicken up. Reduce heat to low. Salt and pepper to taste.

Drizzle the cream sauce over your fillets, and enjoy.

For a side I recommend a spinach salad with your favorite trimmings and this most delicious substitute for mashed potatoes:
White Bean Mash
2 - 19 oz cans Cannellini Beans
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp lemon juice
1-2 tbsp minced garlic (the kind out of the jar. I don't use fresh for this recipe)
1-2 tbsp butter
Fat Free Half and Half
Salt to taste
Tools - Masher or Mixer

Drain and rinse the beans in a collander and put them in a medium sauce pan or pot. Add lemon juice. Mash the beans, and mash'em GOOD!

Put sauce pan over low heat. Add garlic, thyme, and butter. Then gradually add and stir-in the half-n-half until the mash is at your desired consistency. Stir often to prevent sticking and burning on the bottom of sauce pan. Salt to taste. Remove from heat and cover when mash is at desired serving temp.

FYI, no matter how well you mash the beans, this dish will be a little more coarse than potatoes, but WON'T have the calories and WILL have fiber....which more Americans NEED! But it won't give you gas like pintos will.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

New Work Schedule

I think I'm going to like these new hours

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Charlie the Unicorn

I'm a fan of Charlie the Unicorn. Here are all 3 episodes, back to back!

Don't EVER Jump To Conclusions

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Random Shots @ Duke UPDATED

The entrance to the  cafeteria. Yeah, kinda nice. That's the sushi cooler in the foreground. Mmmmmmm, suuuu-shi

A bake sale going on to support the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Aaron on the left has had two double-lung transplants and is doing quite well. Will, on the right, is a nurse on this floor, and is in school here at Duke to eventually become a Parish Nurse; allowing him to work as a nurse and to counsel in lieu of chaplain, if need be.

The BROWN patch on the roof below was one of Duke's attempts to "go green". To help offset their carbon footprint AND to insulate the roof, they decided a year ago to grow a patch of grass on the roof. A few months later, it was DEAD. Instead, they have "gone brown". I laugh at this.

This was Christy's dinner. Meatloaf with steamed broccoli. The meatloaf had the texture of formed and cooked wet dog food. Surprisingly, it was quite tasty.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sunday, February 21, 2010

All American Outhouse

I saw this on the roadside in Vale, NC.

Friday, February 12, 2010

...a NEW CAR!!!!

The Cavalier is my old ride. The Astro van is my "new" one. Yeah, sure, I know. It's a hand me down from a outside tech. But check out the tinted windows and the TOTALLY rockin' rims!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

My Ears Are Pierced

I want to put my manly hoops in. Until then, I have these manly studs