Saturday, December 28, 2013

Versunkener Apfelkuchen

Versunkener Apfelkuchen
(sunken Apple kuchen)

250g plain flour  = 2 cups flour
200g sugar = 1 cup sugar
125g soft butter  = 1.1 sticks of butter
3 eggs (I used 4 since the dough was really dry with 3)
1 pack Vanillin Zucker (vanilla sugar/ I used Dr Oetker)
---If you don't have Vanillin Zucker you can probably just add ½ tbs vanilla.
pinch  salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons of milk
1 medium apple (2 small) sliced

Preheat oven to 180 C. (350F)
Prepare and grease cake tin. I use a round 9.5 inch pan.
Mix together all the ingredients apart from the apples.
Pour the mixture into the cake tin and smooth the top until flatish.
Push the apple pieces gently into the cake so they sink slightly into the mixture.

Bake in the oven for 40 minutes. (my recipe said 25) Turn off the oven and let it rest in the oven for another10 minutes.  Test whether the cake is cooked through by poking it with a toothpick. If it comes out clean then the cake is done.

Let cool. You can ice it, leave plane, or sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas in India - Kippling - Horning

Just uploaded to youtube the recording we took at ConChord for my version of Christmas in India.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Fog - Conchord 25

Another youtube video.


This was recorded during my concert at ConChord.  It's a great venue, top floor of a 9 story tower.  The  stage is really high for the room though.   Jennifer shot the video by setting the tripod on one of the big round tables.

The guitar is one of the AGF custom Rainsong "shorties" that were ordered by Ted at L.A. Guitar sales. It's hard to tell, but I was fighting the mic for the whole concert. I really need to learn to set the mic lower and lean into it; I was actually on my tiptoes while singing which is not comfortable. Pickup is a K&K pure mine run through a DI box and then to the mixer.

Monday, October 21, 2013

ConChord 2013 Mini Review

And another ConChord is in the books:

I generally had a pretty good time. The merging ConChord with ConJecture still has a few rough edges, but generally is working pretty well. Still need some better signage, but the music venue is really outstanding. (9th floor of the tower overlooking the city). We had the same issue as last year in that there were simply too many concerts, and those scheduled too late in the evening, to have much of an open filk circle. I'd much prefer the concerts to end by 10 so that people are still awake enough to go to the circle.

On the other hand, the Dead Dog was one of the best I've been to since we had the AirTel. Lots of folks stayed over to leave Monday morning so we actually ended up Dead-Dogging until just after 11pm. Lots of thanks go to Barney who slaved away diligently at the sound-board all weekend.

 I ended up doing a short concert slot on Sunday. Once again I am reminded that I really need to practice playing standing up more. Yes, it helps your breathing, but working the mic is easier sitting down, as is actually seeing my music. (I'm always so jealous of those who can play without the chords in front of them). I'm told Barney made me sound good anyway.  We video taped the concert, so if anything decent came out of it I'll throw those up on my youtube site.

On the ConJecture side my wife and eldest daughter got to do Regency Dancing, and I managed to hit a few of the technical panels. Dani and Eytan Kollin were there so I was able to get a book signed. (the other 3 in the series were already autographed) . Several pieces of Art followed us home from the Art Show. Note, ConJecture usually has a very decent Art Show, not as nice or as large as LepreCon, but equal to the past few WesterCons I have attended. Now to find more of that mythical substance: free wall space.

Tom Smith was very personable, and the Tangers were simply lovely. The Creasy's made it, which meant that we were able to buy several CD's we didn't already have, and I had the opertunity to drop off several copies of my album since they had run dry. Also a copy will be flying back to Germany with the Tangers which is pretty cool.

Tim Griffin did an outstanding job as Toastmaster and looked like he was having the time of his life.

Looking forward to next year and already bought a membership. We have an outstanding music guest lined up, but I'll let Nick make the announcement...

Sunday, August 18, 2013

On her Jets - 20 years ago - DC-X first flight

Twenty years ago today (18 Aug) was the first flight of the Delta-Clipper (eXperimental).

I was there at the 1993 WorldCon, when Jerry Pournell showed us one of the test flight videos and said those famous words:

"That my friends, is a SPACESHIP!   And she lands like God and Robert A. Heinlein intended, ON HER JETS!"  

Jerry also pointed out an important psychological aspect of the test program.  She was flown remotely, but the full size version would be flown by test pilots, not astronauts.  Why?  Because when a test pilot drives on into the desert you name a street at Edwards after him and move on, when an Astronaut dies it's a national disaster and it puts your space program back 2 years.


Those were hopeful times.  Of course, the USAF eventually gave the program over to NASA, and NASA had to kill her, because nothing could challenge the white elephant/eternal money pit known as shuttle.

The things we could have had.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


A newer song that I wrote especially for my concert at CopperCon.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

CopperCon 2013 Review

Just back from CopperCon.

Worst CopperCon Ever. 

Possibly even the worst Con ever, but definitely the worst I've ever been to:

No Music Guest
No music track
No Science track
No Regency Dance
No Masquerade
No Artist Guest
No Art Show
Con Suite: Calling the Con Suite pathetic would be an insult to the pathetic.

The dealer's room had one bookseller (Massoglia Books) and a whole bunch of comic book dealers.  Yeah.  Let's just say that not a lot of commerce was taking place.

 I ended up volunteering to do a concert on Friday night. Thanks to last minute rescheduling of the rooms, we didn't even have time to run a proper sound check, so I suspect it sounded pretty bad. I know the mic was popping like crazy and one of the guitars was a lot hotter on the board than the other.

Clearly the Con Chair had no clue what he was doing.  Anyone who lets this guy run (and ruin) their con has been warned.

The convention hotel is actually pretty good.  It's an older property on the old/former US-60.  Although the bones are clearly pretty old (slump block construction and popcorn ceilings) they are in the process of fixing it up and were actually doing external painting while we were there.  It's one of the most affordable convention hotels in the area, which actually encourages locals to stay rather than commute.  Also since the place is probably 40-years old all of the trees are huge and provide plenty of shade.

The good: I did manage to sell one (1) CD, and we had a rather decent room filk going in Gary Swaty's room Saturday night.

This is very sad. CopperCon used to be a very nice convention in years past. Needless to say, until there is a major shakeup in the organization, we won't be doing another Copper.

Note, although there is some overlap, the folks who run LepreCon are a completely different group of people.  Lep has really gotten their act together lately and is putting on a much nicer con than in years past.

Friday, August 2, 2013


I've been asked to do a concert of "NewSpace" songs for CopperCon.  This will be on Friday at 17:00.  At 18:00 Henry Vanderbilt will give a talk on NewSpace, so it's a nice tie in.

Henry is of course the founder of the Space Access Society.

Tentative song list:

Countdown Toward Tommorow
Fire, Fire Fire, (Tim Griffin)
Modern Myths
Space Ship One
Bloody Bastards (Jordin Kare)
Dreams of Tungsten
Spaceflight in Mohave
The Right Question

I'll have a few extra in reserve just in case.

Most of these are on Space and Freedom, but Dreams of Tungsten is newer, and Dragonflight was written a couple days ago so is brand new.  I also like throwing a couple of other folks songs into my concerts which is why one of Tim's and one of Joridin's songs are in there.

The "plan" is to get a decent recording with the Panasonic HD camcorder and upload a few to youtube.  We'll see how that goes.

Monday, July 8, 2013

WesterCon 66 Review

And so the 2013 WesterCon is in the bag.

Overall not a bad convention.  Major issue was poor communication and organization.  WesterCon has always been known as a "relaxacon" so this is par for the course.

Communication: Hotel Parking was free for hotel guests and con members, but said fact was never on the convention website, I only found out about it a day and a half into the con from one of the convention newsletters.   I know a couple of folks who may have decided against going to the con due to the parking situation, so the fact that it was not clear may have cost the con memberships as well.  I never saw a bulletin board so the newsletters were not posted anywhere either.

Organization:  The filk programming track was pretty much a disaster from the get-go.  There were three "scheduled" concerts, but none of them were actually on the scheduled.  (again they eventually showed up in one of the daily newsletters a day late) They were also in the filk room instead of on the main stage.  Seriously, you can put a guy with a freakin' SITAR on the main stage but not the filk concerts?  The Tyras very generously provided sound gear for the concerts (totally unnecessary in the small room we had) which meant that the filk room was locked up for most of Saturday instead of being open for singing.

ConSuite:  Nice selection of snacks and a good view of Sacramento since it was on the 12th floor.  They were supposed to be open until 1 (unless preparing for a party).  Party's start at 9, so one might expect that the con suite would close at 8 or so.  No, they closed at 6:30.  Again, bad communication and organization.  By Sunday at noon they had a huge spread of food due to donations from the previous night's parties.

Hotel:  3 working elevators out of 4.  Probably needed more like 8.  We used the stairs a lot since we had a 6th floor room.  Nice pool, 8 ft at the deep end.  Was in partial shade by 1700. Convention space was good, and generally well used.  Only one meeting room was separated from the rest of the con, and many times the rooms filled to standing room only.  The open "atrium" area was a really nice venue for the headline band and masquerade, but was a horrible choice for actual panels due to all the hubbub and milling about.  Lack of microphones meant that nobody could really hear any of the panels in this area either.  Hotel restaurant was very expensive and we went elsewhere.  Also the chintzy-ass Hilton provided neither a microwave, mini-fridge, or free internet. (I've stayed at Motel 6's that had better amenities.)

The Phenomenaughts played Saturday night.  In typical WesterCon fashion they ended up starting 40 minutes late.   They were loud.  They were distorted.  Sort of a Punk/Grunge hybrid sound.  Couldn't understand more than one word in ten.  (maybe if I was 20 years younger) Nonetheless they had a great stage presence.  They really know how to work a crowd and got the younger folks dancing in no time.  I was very, very, impressed with their stage presence actually. I left after a half hour or so as my head was starting to pound.

Panels: Best panel by far was "Page 119"  the panelists read page 119 from various books and asked folks whether it would be a "buy or not buy" based on the passage, then brought out the book for the big reveal.  For well known books they would change the characters names or use initials to help disguise the book.  Great panel, need to steal this one.  Some books were instantly recognizable though, (page 119 of FEED for example)

The 2014 WesterCon is in Uta (not going to go to that one); 2015 is SanDiego, and is a likely one to go to.

Monday, June 3, 2013

16000 Signatures

Congradulations to the people of Colorado.   They just turned in 16,000 signatures to recall State Senator John Morse, leader of Colorado's civilian disarmament effort.

Note 16,000 signatures is more signatures that the number of VOTES Morse recieved in the last election.


Monday, March 18, 2013

Euros, Bankers, and Cyprots

So in the grand scheme of stupid, greedy, impulsive, and just plain "damn the consequences" ideas by stupid bureaucrats/bankers/politicians, the government of Cypress thought they could simply steal 10% of everyone's bank accounts overnight.   Because apparently stealing via inflation is simply "too bloody slow".

The government is now backpedalling faster than anyone has ever seen before due to two reasons, 750,000 pitchfork and torch wielding Cyprots who for some reason were stupid enough to think that money in Banks was actually safer than burred in you garden and the Russian Mafia who probably owns half the deposits we are talking about.

Does anyone really think the Russians are going to accept a 10% tax as the cost of doing business?  Let's put this in perspective, if the Russion mob decides to "disappear" you, you stay disappeared.  Finding Jimmy Hoffa would look like a game of Where's Waldo by comparison.

The only question now is whether the bankers who came up with this scheme can get themselves out of it before either the mob, or the Mob, gets a hold of them.

Oh and if it isn't obvious, this is going to do "Bad Things" to the value of the Euro which might actually in the end do the same thing by effectively taxing everyone who holds Euros via inflation.

Oh yeah, Europeans are going to be buying Gold and Silver, and it will take tremendous effort to prevent bank runs on the fiat held by Italian, Portuguese and Spanish banks. 

Friday, January 25, 2013

QOTD - Ted Cruz on Gun Control

From Senator Ted Cruz:

Washington politicians shouldn’t be taking advantage of recent tragedy to try to push an aggressive gun control agenda. Real assault weapons—machine guns—are already functionally illegal, and they have been since 1934. This proposal would have done nothing to prevent the terrible murders in Newtown, but it would limit the constitutional liberties of law-abiding citizens. And gun control doesn’t work – the empirical data overwhelmingly demonstrate that strict gun-control laws consistently produce more crime and more murders.

The Second Amendment exists to ensure that law-abiding Americans can protect their homes and families, and I look forward to helping lead the fight to defeat this bill and to protect our constitutional right to keep and bear arms. 

Hey Texas, got a few more of this guy, McCain is getting long in the tooth and isn't really conservative anyway.

Saturday, January 19, 2013


Next time a leftist asks you why you "need" a semi-automatic with a 30 round "clip" look them straight in the eye and say:

"You're right, I don't need an AR-15.  Rosa Parks didn't NEED to sit in the front of that bus either." 

Take notes on exactly what shade of purple they turn.

Hat tip to "gromulin" on The Gun Counter for the idea.