Life is hard for most, harder for some than others.
This was the show opener at his concert last November. We didn't have the full orchestra, but it was good anyway.
I always think of rain as the original percussion instrument, and listening to a rainstorm pound out a solo on the roof has always been one of my favorite things. If I'm curled up with a quilt on the bed as I listen, so much the better. In the absence of rain, a good rock and roll drummer can fill the gap. I've always been partial to John Bonham and Nick Mason, with some latter days Phil Collins. How about you?
Many a good Friday and Saturday night in my youth included taking doses of Mark, Don, and Mel far above prescription levels. But not for the last 40 years or so.
I always loved the blues sensibility that David Gilmour brought to the greatest progressive rock band in the world, and this video introduced me to Mica Paris several years ago. Tons of artists have covered this song since Screamin' Jay Hawkins wrote it in 1956. Quality must have something to do with that.
A little something from the godmother of rock and roll. We could use some rain, the grass is wanting to turn green again.
It's my birthday and this video is part of my present to myself. My favorite SRV song. Bluesy, jazzy perfection.
I'll start with one from the pandemic playlist. The story goes Stevie Nicks heard Little Red Corvette and wanted a song with that kind of sound on her new album. So she called Prince and they wrote this one together. Stand Back made it to #5 on the Billboard charts, the second highest ranking for a single in Stevie's solo career.
Several months ago I had plans to do another upgrade project on my laptop. Built in 2010, the Dell Latitude E6410 has been my daily driver for many years now. I had already done the quick and easy upgrades, exchanging the original hard drive for an SSD, swapping out the wireless card for an 802.11ac model, and adding an HD decoder card for flawless video performance. But I wanted more. I did some research and found that you could replace the stock Intel i5 processor with an i7 and thereby increase the RAM capacity from 8GB to 16GB. Since more is better but I also tend to procrastinate a bit, I got the parts and then never got around to doing the project. Until now. There are lots of reasons to like a Latitude - good design, solid builds, and value. Because of their widespread enterprise use you can pick up 3-4 year old off lease models on eBay for a song. But for me the kicker is how easy they are to work on and upgrade. The back cover is held on with a single screw, and once removed you have access to the whole can of worms.
Right there in the middle is the new CPU, an i7 720qm quad core running at 1.6 gigahertz. Over to the left next to the cooling fan compartment is the NVidia video processor, and that is where my project went sideways. When I removed the cooling fan to get access to the CPU, the thermal pad between the GPU and heat sink tore and I had to scrape it off and throw it out. Thermal pads are used to fill gaps between processors and heat sinks so they maintain good contact and provide efficient heat transfer for cooling. When I reassembled the unit I gooped it up with thermal paste, but the gap was too big. I got good heat sink contact with the CPU, but not the GPU, so when I tested it out the GPU temperature was spiking up to 80 degrees Celsius. It got so hot that it affected my keyboard, which started to lag and glitch. No good. So while I consider the project successful, it's not quite finished. I have some thermal pads and copper shims on order that should be here by Monday. In the meantime, I'm working on my daughter's old Lenovo Thinkpad T400 that I resurrected to serve as a backup until my parts arrive and I can complete the Latitude project. After that I'm going to tackle another long overdue project, upgrading the processor and adding an HD decoder card to the old 15.4" Thinkpad T61, the last of the true IBM laptops, which is currently running Linux Mint 19.3 Tricia like a champ.
With the Super Bowl* right around the corner, I've got finger foods on my mind. As far as I'm concerned, there's no better snack for watching a football game than chicken wings. There's a whole national restaurant chain built around this idea, so I've got some company. A couple of weeks ago I came across a recipe for crispy wings that turned out to be pretty awesome. You start with the wings, of course, about 8 or 10 of them unless you expect company, then multiply the recipe as you see fit. I can easily eat half a dozen of these babies myself, so keep gluttony in mind when planning. I like to start by looking over my wings and making sure all the little feathers are gone. Take some kitchen shears and cut off the wingtips. You can throw them away, or if you were raised during the Great Depression you can boil them up with some onion and celery to make a small batch of stock. If you like, you can cut the remaining wings in half at the joint, but I don't bother, they pull apart nice and easy after cooking and cutting them can be a chore. Once prepped, you dredge your wings in a mixture of baking powder and salt. For a basic recipe, use 1 tablespoon of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. You can get creative at this point and use seasoned salt or add some spices of your choosing. I used Cajun seasoned salt in mine, but let your taste buds be your guide. One important note. Some baking powder is made with sodium aluminum sulfate, and you want to avoid that at all costs as it give the wings a bitter flavor. We use the Rumford brand which is free of aluminum salts, so no worries. Mix your baking powder and seasonings in a bowl, then dredge your wings to give them a thin coating of the powder. Place the wings on a baking rack on a cookie sheet (cover your sheet with foil for easy clean-up) so the hot air will circulate around the meat and pop them into a 250 degree oven for about 30 minutes, then crank the heat up to 425 and cook for another 40 to 50 minutes. In phase one, the low temps combined with the baking powder dry out the skin and start the fat rendering. In phase two, the high temps crisp up the skin, seal in the juices and cook the meat to tender perfection. You will want to have a vent fan running during the high heat stage as the fat dripping onto the cookie sheet can generate a surprising amount of smoke, enough to set off a smoke alarm if you aren't venting (trust me on this). Once the wings come out and cool a bit, you can eat them as they are (that's my preference) or toss them in some barbecue or hot sauce of your choosing. I've tried several different ways of cooking wings over the years (grilled, deep fried, pan fried, pan baked, etc.) but this is now my favorite method and I'm going to stick with it until something better comes along. Enjoy.
*Yeah, that's right, NFL, I said Super Bowl, not the Big Game or some other such nonsense. You don't own language, you insufferable pricks.