Archive for September, 2003


Solaris & Big Sunday Dinner

September 28, 2003

The kids weren’t around last night. Paige was babysitting for her niece and Dan stayed over at a friend’s house, so Angela and I went to Casa del Rio to celebrate our childlessness. After dinner we ordered Solaris on iControl. It wasn’t bad, I guess. It made me wish I’d read the book by Stanislaw Lem, though.

fallleaves.jpgAngela and I got up early and took Logan on a walk through Minooka this morning. I got a few decent pictures, including some of Logan’s doggie friends that we met along the way. (See the Shot Recently album.)

She had to go in to work this afternoon. I stayed home and started cooking so we could all enjoy a big dinner together. I made beef stew, butternut squash, and homemade biscuits. Anglea was delighted to return to such a feast. And, believe it or not, after we ate all that we had room for the apple pie I made yesterday along with some fresh frozen custard from Mack’s.


It’s A Beautiful Day Cafe

September 27, 2003

beautifuldaycafe.jpgI want to introduce you to some wonderful friends of mine. I also want to introduce you to a speical place I know about. Lucky you, I can do both at once.

It’s A Beautiful Day Cafe is located at 316 Oakton Avenue in Pewaukee ((262) 691-2233). In addition to first-rate coffee and espresso drinks, they also have a full menu of other good food. The coolest part, though, is that they have live music every Wednesday and Friday nights. I highly recommend this. I listened to a set by a talented fellow named Bill Holly last night. Listening to musicians for the price of a latte has got to be the best deal in town. The cafe itself is in a renovated house so it’s small and cozy and charming.

angiedebbie.jpgSpeaking of charming…the people who run this joint are also very special. It’s clear to me, in fact, that they are the source of the cafe’s success. You can feel it when you walk in: someone has put their heart into this establishment. Those “someone’s” are behind the counter. Dan, Debbie and Angie Aukofer are not only top-notch entreprenuers, they are long-time and very special friends of mine. You’ll never meet more terrific people.

I told them I was going to put them on the internet so there are a few pictures up in the Shot Recently Album. Go see, already!


Stephen King, Jackie Chan & Mark Twain

September 23, 2003

My books are water; those of the great geniuses is wine. Everybody drinks water.

– Mark Twain

Snooty, high-brow literature and film critics can’t often bring themselves to appreciate anything accessible to a larger audience. They seem to believe nothing popular can be good. Consider how horrified the literary intelligentsia was at the news that J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings was voted “greatest book of the 20th century” by readers. They’re a bunch of sour-grapes snobs unable to appreciate works which capture the popular imagination. Not everything that’s popular is bad. Even pop music is a valid art form that can be perfectly exquisite when well-executed. Elitist bastards.

I just didn’t realize I was one of them.
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First Day of Fall & Apple Pie

September 21, 2003

Summer is over. Fall has officially begun. To celebrate and mark the arrival of my favorite season several Fall-like activities were on the menu this weekend. First, Angela and I took the kids to the Apple Harvest Festival at the Retzer Nature Center. We shopped the arts and crafts booths, ate carmel apple sundaes, and then walked the nature center trails. On the way out we bought three things: a quarter bushel of Jonathan apples, an apple recipe book, and a half-gallon of fresh apple cider.

applepie.jpgLater on that evening Angela served a turkey dinner. Mashed potatoes, gravy, corn and biscuits even. “Just like Thanksgiving!” the kids said. “No,” she answered. “There’s no stuffing. It’s not Thanksgiving if you don’t have stuffing.” I guess I buy that. But, damn, it was good anyway. I washed it down with some of the apple cider.

This afternoon Paige and I decided to put our other two purchases to good use so we took the cookbook and the Jonathan apples and made a pie. I’m not a bad cook generally speaking, but I’d never made an apple pie before. When I told Angela what I was up to she asked if we needed advice. “Nope,” I said. “We have it under control.” She seemed very skeptical indeed.

But in the end Paige and I prevailed. Our apple pie was universally hailed as a success. I ran out for some frozen vanilla custard and the pie was half gone in an instant. It’ll be a challenge not to eat pie for breakfast at this rate. And I’ve still got more apples and more pie crust. Should I make another this week?


Dual G5 vs. Dual Xeon

September 20, 2003

g5vsxeon.jpgI don’t often rant about my computing platform of choice – Apple’s Macintosh line – but I had to pass this one on. For those just tuning in, Apple computers are generally very nice and worth every premium penny you pay for them, but for the last couple of years their top-of-the-line boxes played second fiddle performance-wise to top-of-the-line Intel-based PCs. This was due largely to failures at a company called Motorola but nevertheless everyone in Macland held their breath, hoping that the performance gap could be caught up, that these things come and go, that it would pass.

And so it has. Apple’s new desktop machines are packing the IBM-built G5 processor and the results are trickling in. I just read a review of the G5 at PC Magazine (a publication that can hardly be called Mac-friendly, I might add). They pitted it against “a similarly configured (and priced) Dell Precision 650 Workstation running dual 3.06-GHz Xeon processors.” How did the Mac stand up to this Dell monster that out-clocks it by 50%? In their own words:

…indeed the G5 is generally as fast as the best Intel-based workstations currently available.

I am expecting to recieve six of these dual 2 Ghz beasts at work this week. Yes, six. S. I. X. No, you can’t have one. They would have been delivered already except we recieved an email telling us that Apple was sorry but our order would be delayed 10 business days. Why? They didn’t mention it, but I happen to have read that Virginia Tech ordered 1100 of these puppies to make a supercomputer out of. Yep, they’re gonna wire ’em together and use ’em as one big Deep Thought-esque supercomputer. Why the G5 and not PCs? Simple: they won the cost/performance comparison. Here’s a picture of our G5s over at VTech.

It does a Mac user good to read this kind of news. And actually if all goes well financially, we maybe picking up a G5 for the family by this spring. 🙂


Raynor Dedication

September 19, 2003

I took a crappy picture of Martin Sheen!

He came to Marquette today to recieve an honorary degree and also to speak at the dedication ceremony of my new building, the Raynor Library. I didn’t actually hear him, though. The crowd was too much for this non-crowd guy. I did take other pictures on this day of dedication, though. They’re in the shot recently album so get ’em while they’re hot.


Tech Update & First Two Leaves

September 14, 2003

leaves.jpgIt appears as though all nerdy technical issues have now been ironed out. Not only do I have my new email address,, but is now working again. I’d broken it getting the email address up and running. Long story. But everything is working now. I’d like to reiterate that is really great to deal with. Even when you don’t listen to them and break stuff.

Angela and Logan and I got a lot of park walking in this weekend. I’m on a hunt for the First Signs of Fall. For the past week or so you can just see a few leaves turning. Just one hint of color in an otherwise sea of summer green. So far, that is. In another three weeks or so we’ll be in full color. I hope to take plenty of pictures. Lucky you. When I get a few worth looking at I’ll upload them into the photo gallery. Until then, enjoy these two leaves found in Minooka park. They are, I can personally assure you, the very first two leaves to fall in all of Southeastern Wisconsin. Update: I have put six recent photos in the gallery so have fun.