fishing for words

(and tossing out random thoughts)


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black holes and teenagers

Chuckled at this yesterday on Pete Wilson’s afternoon radio show on KGO in a discussion with Andrew Fraknoi, an astronomy teacher at Foothill College (Los Altos Hills, Calif.):

We have never seen the blackness of the black hole, but we see black holes the way we often see teenagers. We see them because they’re eating, and the mess they make as they eat, it reveals them.”


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a thought, a truth?

I was struck Sunday (inspired by the homily) with the thought that a person following a path of faith — of most religions — often will find that the practice of that faith will be a “one-way street,” as we cannot and should not expect reciprocation for forgiveness, charity, or tolerance.


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moving on up

Checked today, and a search of “Konoske” shows this modest blog in the No. 3 position on Google and ranked No. 8 on Yahoo. Not too shabby for a domain that’s only been around for less than two years.

My blog is just behind the San Diego law firm of Shifflet, Kane & Konoske where Gregory Konoske, a first cousin once removed, practices in the areas of general civil litigation and insurance fraud. The Web site konoske.com (Konoske Photography and No. 1 on Google) is owned by former skateboarder, now automotive photojournalist and my second cousin Brian Konoske.

Then there’s the ZoomInfo summary for Michelle Konoske, who seems to be the CFO at The Towbes Group Inc., but I don’t know if she’s related to me.  Further down the list is my first cousin once removed Jim Konoske (removed from what I do not know) with his Web site for Jim Konoske Consulting; the well-published Paula Konoske, a lecturer in the Department of Psychology at San Diego State University and another first cousin once removed; and, finally, there’s another ZoomInfo summary for another first cousin once removed, Vince Konoske, who apparently has been a teacher in the Ocean View School District (Huntington Beach, Calif.) and a principal in the Poway (Calif.) Unified School District. Also somwhere in the Yahoo list is the bizarre ”Konoske” character listed on the Who’s Who of the CrossGen Universe…whatever the heck that is.

Now, who do I pay to be ranked No. 1?


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enough already.

I’m a long-time video gamer — maybe even nearly an addict with a modicum of self control — and lately I have come to lament the good ol’ days of simplicity. I blame it on Madden NFL ’07. I picked up a copy of this latest game, looking forward to going head to head with my son, Sean, in online play. On the drive home I imaged blitzing on defense and sacking his QB at least every other play. (That drives Sean nuts!) Got home, had dinner, and slipped the game into the console and pulled out the instruction booklet. No big deal, I thought, the instructions are no longer than years past. Having played this game for the last four or five years on the Playstation 2, XBox and now the XBox 360, I figured I could get a quick grip on it. Then I actually read the instructions and realized that “bloat” has finally hit the video game scene.

A sample of the controls for Madden ’07:
    • Defensive Line Audible: Left Button, Left Analog Stick, Directional Pad…
    • QB Action Mode: Right Trigger and Left Trigger, then shift to directional running controls.

How many fingers am I supposed to be able to use and still hang on to the blasted controller?

I’m not too bad at most video games. I play fair. I always stick with an online game even if I am or my team is losing. But I don’t want to spend months mastering a multitude of button combinations just to have a chance at winning a few games. Video games, in my mind, have always been a simple form of entertainment for my generation. That’s why games like Call to Duty 2 and the Halo series have done so well. Simplicity. Is that too much to ask?

After all, as my forty-third birthday looms on the very near horizon, I will need every advantage, lest complex controls, carpal tunnel syndrome, or arthritis become excuses for losing to my kids and grandkids in deathmatch competition.


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a good season

This morning the air was just that much more crisp — specifically at oh-dark-thirty (actually 5:45 a.m.) — hinting that a change of season will soon be upon us. While I am widely known for rarely choosing a favorite this or favorite that, I will say that the fall is one season I truly enjoy, if for only one reason: the apple harvest and, more importantly, the resulting apple cider. The harvest has begun at Apple Hill, and I hope that we can get up there by mid September. Go early enough and you can avoid the crowds.

This year we are trying a different strategy. Rather than go once during the apple season and hauling six to eight gallons of cider down the hill, we expect to make two trips with more modest cargos of cider. Though there is a sameness to every visit throughout the years, it’s a sameness that is, in its own way, comforting. My favorite stop is Bolster’s Hilltop Ranch. They make, in my ever so humble opinion, the BEST apple cider. (You can also pick blueberries there during the early summer.) Then there’s the Mill View Ranch for apple turnovers and apple cider doughnuts and the various crafts vendors at almost any farm and orchard.

Speaking of appetites…  Another restaurant on my list of those I’d like to visit: Camp 18. More truthfully, I want to eat there. It was featured on the Food Network’s “Secret Life of…” as a theme restaurant (centered around logging) and is about 24 miles east of Seaside, Oregon, at mile marker 18 on U.S. Highway 26. This place — called in one review “the sturdiest restaurants in the West” — serves “lumberjack food” and a Lumberjack Special for breakfast that could easily feed a family of four. (Two “flatcar” pancakes about a foot in diameter with strawberries, a waffle with blueberries, a slab of grilled ham, two grilled kielbasa sausages, biscuits and gravy, fried potatoes, and an omelet stuffed with steak, onions and cheese.) Besides the substantial food, Camp 18 is supposed to have quite a logging museum.


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the crash and the resurrection

Unless you were visiting me here you didn’t notice that my blog went “dark” at about 7:00 p.m. and until 8:23 p.m. I finally decided it was time to upgrade to the current version of WordPress (the application that powers this site)…and, yes…crashed everything! After a few minutes of dismay, I wiped the site clean and started with a clean install of the latest WordPress (v2.04). Then I pulled out my trusty jump drive, copied the necessary back up files, restored the SQL database, and reactivated my plugins. Thank God for backups!


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miscellaneous

Got an e-mail message yesterday that a woman in Sweden found what she was looking for on Alton Brown and his new show “Feasting on Asphalt” in my post titled “When I grow up…” I find that pretty funny, as I found in the info on the Web myself. Almost like the guy who referenced my Aloha Shirt page.

Now for some interesting things that passed through my day…

“A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.” ~ Lao Tzu (Chinese taoist philosopher, founder of Taoism, 600 BC-531 BC)

“Humans are the rusty vessels into which Life pours the pure water of eternal truths.” ~ Actually, I made this up, but it was inspired by and paraphrases a comment made during a radio interview with Dr. Francis S. Collins, geneticist and former atheist, author of “The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief.”


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loosing 2 lbs. and an appendix

Nothing like four hours sleep in a 40-hour period to make one feel closer to 43 years old. But that’s what an angry appendix can do. One would think that a pinkie-sized organ wouldn’t be so much trouble, but there’s no rhyme or reason behind appendicitis. My son was the unlucky soul in this case. It was a sharp pain in the so-called “lower right quadrant” that hinted at something not quite right. The resulting recommendation from a call to an advice nurse at about 2330 hours pushed us out the door. We arrived at the E.R. just about midnight. (A visit complete with some mope handcuffed to a gurney.) After blood tests, some poking by the doctor, half an IV of “Lactate’s Ringers,” a UA, a visit from a surgical resident, and three and half hours the diagnosis was made. Another three hours later Chris was wheeled into the O.R. A night to remember. And oh, I did lose two pounds between Saturday morning and Sunday noon.


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when I grow up…

Now that I’m closing in on 43 years old, I can proclaim that when I grow up I want to be Alton Brown (aka A.B.).  He is my hero.  When not creating and playing with “Good Eats,” A.B. had the time and resources to tool around our great nation last spring on a 2005 BMW 1200 LT (motorcycle) in an often hilarious month-long search of food found off the beaten path on a show called “Feasting on Asphalt” (F.O.A.).

F.O.A. offers an enthusiastic and skewed look at the burger joints, diners, drive-throughs, pizza parlors, pharmacies — yepharmacies — and sandwich shops that fueled American’s travels during the ‘30s, ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s.  The rules are simple for Mr. Brown and his four companions: (1) there will be no travel on major interstates, (2) there will be no eating at major chain restaurants, (3) if they can’t locate food or lodging, they will fend for themselves via camping, and most importantly, (4) there will be no whining.

His F.O.A. compañeros include Tom Munroe (Producer, Security, Omnivore; 2001 BMW 1150GS), Jean Claude Dhien (Photographer, Motorcyclist Extraordinaire, Role Model; 2006 Triumph Speed Triple), and Michael Clark (Motorcycle Maintenance, Recon, Intelligence, 2001 BMW 1150GS).  They are all culled from the staff of Be Square Productions, the team that I think that A.B. might agree elevates “Good Eats” in every measure.  They are supported by a truck manned by Mike Clark (Sound Recordist, Mixer, Navigator), Ramon Engle (Cameraman, Protocol, Dairy Enthusiast), and Lamar Owen (Cameraman, Lighting, Wheel Man).  One of the most unique, although fleeting, aspects of this show is a sharing of the latitude and longitude of the group’s various stops, ostensibly for us GPS fiends.  Very cool.  Very A.B.

After all, how can one not like a guy who calls MacGyver his patron saint and gets “…very uptight paying more than $100 for a meal — and that’s two people — because I expect so much of it that it makes me uptight.”  Another A.B. witticism: “There are only two kinds of food: good and bad. Also, all of life’s big problems include the words ‘indictment’ or ‘inoperable.’ Everything else is small stuff.”

Almost cool.  Somewhat nerdy.  My hero.