Random tidbits, thoughts, ideas, reviews, etc.Aaron Goes Yakkity Yak
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Monday, 12 September 2005 11:55 PM MDT
On Friday morning, the 9th of September, the color of light illuminating the blinds and curtains of my home's east-facing windows was so intriguing, that I grabbed my camera and went out on my front lawn to snap a photo or two.
The house in silhouette is one of my neighbors one street over. The mesa on the left side, angled, sloping upward toward the middle, is Shinob Kibe, a small mesa in the adjoining community of Washington, Utah.
What a beautiful place Southern Utah is!
The Dixie Song
Wednesday, 31 August 2005 4:15 PM MDT
While at the City of St. George's web site, I came across this little gem:
What a great place to live! Where besides St. George will you find a city mayor willing to share like this? (Dare I mention that I'm related to Mayor Dan? He's my dad's first cousin, so I guess that means we're first cousins, once removed.)
Thanks, Cousin Mayor! I enjoyed the song and had a good chuckle.
I must admit, I've heard Roene DiFiore's The Dixie Song before, when my mother has sung it.
From Mayor Dan's web page, the lyrics are:
Are you from Dixie?Roene DiFiore (if you follow the web link, look down near the lower part of the page) and her Program Bureau at Dixie College had a lasting impact on many people, as my mother has said.
I said from Dixie!
Where the fields of cotton beckon to me.
We're glad to see ya
To say "How be ya?"
And the friends we're longin' to see
If you're from Santa Clara, Washington, or St. George fine,
Anywhere below the Iron County line.
Then you're from Dixie
Hurrah for Dixie,
'Cause I'm from Dixie, too!
[UPDATE 18 Jan. 2010: None of the links here work any more, sadly. If I ever find a copy of the audio or video, I'll try to host a copy on my server directly. Also, I fixed the spelling of Roene DiFiore's name (I'd had it wrong: "de Fiore")]
Ug, I Can't Wait
Tuesday, 30 August 2005 12:35 PM MDT
Grrr, I don't think I can wait until February of 2006 for Megan Whalen Turner's forthcoming book, The King of Attolia, the third of her Attolia/Eugenities books that include The Thief (a Newbery Honor book), and The Queen of Attolia.
My sister stopped by today and had me surf the web to check out what The King of Attolia's cover was going to look like. All that did was whet my appetite, triggering my impatient desire for the upcoming third book.
Both my sister and I love the cover art, and the matching new cover art for the earlier two books. I especially like the lighting and contrast on the upcoming book's cover.
My sister lamented, however, that the new art was only available for the first two books in the new paperback editions, not in hardcover. I sympathized, agreeing with her fully.
Some of the art on the older editions was less interesting, and in the case of The Queen of Attolia, the cover with the hand above a building, outright ugly.
In the meantime, will I do until February? Ug, I can't wait!
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Wednesday, 24 August 2005 8:32 PM MDT
Another Geek Alert
Looks like I'm geeking out these days. I just implemented my first AJAX mini web application. You can help me test it if I'm online. Just go to this page, and I may be online. Or it may not work at all.
It's a simple multi-user web chat room that uses asynchronous background requests (so it doesn't have to reload a page or use a hidden iframe like my previous web communications stuff used). I need to make it look better (it's ugly looking right now) and get it to work on more browsers.
Update: Over the following weekend, I improved a few things, including the layout, handling window resizing, etc. It seems to work all right under Firefox and MSIE on Windows, and with Firefox and Safari on the Mac (the versions I have access to, at least), but Opera seems to have a bit of trouble still.
Jail ps - Or jps
Thursday, 18 August 2005 10:34 AM MDT
Super Geeky Post Alert! Don't say I didn't warn you! *grin*
In administering FreeBSD servers, in particular using FreeBSD jails to encapsulate various processes and/or services, I've often wished for a
Here's my solution, a shell script I named jps for
Of course it won't work on FreeBSD 4.x hosts, but...
States I've Visited
Saturday, 09 July 2005 8:37 PM MDT
Saturday Evening Music
Saturday, 09 July 2005 7:04 PM MDT
I'm listening to one of my new CDs, Jane Monheit's album Taking A Chance On Love.
Actually I'm playing a burned copy of the CD. For some reason the actual CD wouldn't play in my DVD/CD player in my living room. I suspect that my player is just brain-dead. I've had trouble with a few other CDs too. But the burned copy—I ripped the original and burned a copy to use—plays just fine. Odd.
It's nice. She's very good at vocal scatting. Picking the right kind of songs, having a good arrangement, and a having great back-up band sure complement a good singer.
My sister, Katie, would be happy to hear I've got this CD, since she's been an avid Jane Monheit fan for years.
While listening, I got thinking of some of my all-time favorite vocalists. I think my all-time top female vocalist would have to be Ella Fitzgerald. My all-time top male vocalist pick would have to be Nat King Cole. Anything either sings is going to sound good. I'd have to include Frank Sinatra up there among the greats, and Norah Jones too. But Nat and Ella win the top spot, no contest.
At this point in listening to the CD, I'd have to say I mostly prefer the quick, energetic songs. When Jane sings the slower songs, a little Jane goes a long way. Don't get me wrong, she's very good. I like variety, and apparently this evening, I like a little energy.
Jane probably ranks at about the same place as Harry Connick Jr. They're both good, but sometimes I can't make it through an entire CD.
Harry's CD Songs I Heard is an exception to that rule. It's one of my top favorite CDs. I can listen to it again and again. Proving that with such talent, picking the right music, the right arrangements, and a good band or orchestra can make a very good singer sound great.
I did really like the duet with Michael Bublť, I Won't Dance. (He's another favorite vocalist.) And now Love Me Or Leave Me is playing. I like it.
Except even with the burned CD, my stupid player is introducing audio glitches here and there now. Argh! I'm gonna have to get me a new DVD/CD player it looks like!
Oooh, using an acoustic guitar as sole accompaniment for Gershwin's Embraceable You was a good way to provide some contrast. Good choice! Nice. And it's hard to go wrong with a classic Gershwin.
From acoustic guitar to symphonic orchestra for accompaniment for Dancing in the Dark is nice. But I would have broken up the two slower songs with an energetic one in between, though.
Independence Day on Kolob
Saturday, 09 July 2005 10:14 AM MDT
On Monday, the 4th of July, about eight miles away from where I was (as the crow flies -- well over 30 miles away by motorized vehicle), just outside of Zion National Park, my friend and co-worker (not cow-orker) Cassidy Larson was hiking and taking pictures. (Check out Cassidy's Photo 'Blog where he posted a few of his photos.)
Unbeknownst, eight miles away from Cassidy and Matt, on Kolob in Zion National Park south of Pocket Mesa near where my maternal grandmother was born, I too was among the Ponderosa pine trees and moutain meadows and taking pictures, as well as...
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What a Blow to the Ego!
Monday, 27 June 2005 7:14 PM MDT
What a blow to my pride, my ego. *laugh* I did a Google search, searching for "gifford" as the only search term, just to see what I could see. How awful it was, to see that my web site only finally shows up near the bottom of page six. *smirk*
I shouldn't be surprised. I don't regularly churn out new and interesting material on my site. I don't exchange links with friends. I'm quite a web recluse after a fashion.
The search did reveal another Gifford (no relation that I'm aware of, though if we both traced our genealogy back to the 1600s, perhaps we'd find we were cousins), another blogger, Matthew Gifford who appears to be a tad geekish and interested in technology. Cool! I browsed his blog for a bit, and even visited his Amazon.com wish list. There was some interesting stuff there that could have easily been on my wish list, like C.S. Lewis's Mere Christianity or perhaps (if I didn't own the books already), C.S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia (boxed set).
Mr. Gifford also managed to attend the Gnomedex, which I only heard about today while listening to the latest episode (episode 11) of TWiT (This Week in Tech).
If I'm ever to rise in the ranks of Google's search, I'm going to have to change, and become interesting so that people will link to my web site. *sigh* It's not going to happen, however. I'm too lazy for such an endeavor. I shall have to continue where I'm at, way down the list. Fame is not everything, and in fact isn't that desirable. It's often destructive from my own observations, so why should I bother?
Well I need to stop ruminating and go hold Family Home Evening with my friend Jason. See you later!
Have You Ever Booed a Pest?
Thursday, 23 June 2005 8:39 PM MDT
Peter Schickele's opening narration to the track Kangaroos from the Carnival of the Animals composed by Camille Saint-SaŽns from the CD Sneaky Pete and the Wolf/Carnival of the Animals open with this awful poem:
When a check bounces, it's very bad news.Then the music begins.
The same is not true of Kangaroos.
Their bounce, their pouch, their nickname "Roo,"
Is why we like them, if we do.
There are some folks, it must be said,
Who call them pests, and want them dead.
When someone mentions the kangaroo,
These folks say, "Boo! Boo! Boo! Boo! BOO!"
Such hateful people, it seems to me,
Should all be sent to Hungary
And made to stay, 'till they've confessed,
That they were wrong when they booed a pest.
What does it mean that I love that? I mean, I really go for the puns and the corny humor like that. My family members will gladly warn anyone that I'm a regular purveyor of puns and one had better have a strong constitution for tolerating such if they hang around me too long.
I also must admit, if I'm being completely honest here, that I like Peter Schicklele's musical humor, and his P.D.Q. Bach compositional humor. I've got a few of his CDs and I thoroughly enjoy them, though I'm quite sure some of the parody is way over my head due to my musical ignorance.
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