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Friday, March 31, 2006

Poetry: The New Beat Generation

A poetry reading...


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My poetry on Sundown Lounge

A reading of my poem, The New Beat Generation, can be heard this week on Sundown Lounge with host, Larry Winfield. You can find it at around 6:30 in the podcast.

Sundown Lounge is an eclectic mix of music and spoken word and never fails to offer new and intriguing content. My thanks to Larry for selecting one of my poems to share with his listeners.

Larry is also a fellow member of LA Podcasters, our local, regional collective of podcasting folks.

Link: Sundown Lounge with Larry Winfield

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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

DIY Frappuccinos from LifeHacker and thekurths.com

While I am more a Grande Latte man myself, I can appreciate any way you might reduce your Starbuck's bill each month. (SMILE) Now you can make your own Frappuccino replacement at home for cents on the dollar.

As they mention say in the article, "It tastes even better when you know that!"

DIY Frappuccinos

Man, am I ever a sucker for that chocolatey coffee goodness that is a Starbucks Frappuccino, even though you have to take a second mortgage to drink the stuff on a regular. Fellow Frap-lovers Derek and Karianne Kurth mixed up their own recipe which included vanilla coffee, cocoa and sugar, and saved a bunch of cash as well.

(Via Lifehacker.)

Related: Previous mentions of Starbucks

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Monday, March 27, 2006

Douglas Speaks at SongsAlive- Los Angeles - April 2, 2006

If you are in the Los Angeles area, you can hear me speak on podcasting at the local chapter of Songsllive. My presentation will be from 45 minutes to an hour. I plan on doing a lot of question and answer, so this might be the place to ask those burning podcasting questions you might have.

Admission for non-members is $5

From Songsalive web site...

Invented out of the already existing pieces of the Internet, MP3 audio files, web sites, weblogs and RSS feeds, Podcasting opens up a new way of communicating your music to the world. Easy, fast and cheap, you can be podcasting your words, music and commentary to your friends, your fans or the entire world in a few hours. Imagine your own radio station where you pick the playlist, you choose the message and you get to talk directly to those who are most interested in your work. Podcasting allows listeners to have what they want, when they want, where they want it, and you can use that freedom to your advantage.

Join Douglas E. Welch, computer consultant, author and podcaster (and a so-so guitar player), as he introduces you to the terms and tools of podcasting and shows you just how easy it can be to get started.

Los Angeles Workshop: Sun. April 2, 10am - 2pm at Mazzarino's - "Podcasting: Your Own Private/Public Radio Station"

Mazzarino's Italian Restaurant is located at 12920 Riverside Dr, Sherman Oaks, CA - (818) 788-5050 [Map]

Coming Soon: Podcast Q&A sessions at the Brewery Artwalk, April 22 & 23, Downtown - Check back for more information

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Cooking hints from Italy

I love to cook, although not in a particular fancy way. I like flavorful, complex foods, but find no need to go far afield into organ meats and other exotic foods (at least for Americans). Getting to know my wife's (and now, my) Sicilian relatives has turned a desire for Italian food into a true love. I now know what a true Ragu Bolognese is supposed to look and taste like, as well as how much better fresh foods can taste. Just as I am at our friends vegetarian restaurant, I eat much more adventurously in Sicily than I ever eat at home. Perhaps it is the concept of traveling that opens up your mind and your palate.

Of course, you learn something new every day. This morning, as I was working my way through a stack of Bon Appetit and Gourmet magazines given to me by a friend, I came across this shocking (at least to me) information from a story on cooking classes held in a Tuscan villa.

"Pasta", Giuliano told us, "doesn't like cold. So never make it on a marble or stainless-steel surface."

-- Gourmet, August 2005, Page 33

Ooops! This is exactly what I do. Hmmm....I don't seem to have trouble making pasta this way, but maybe I will bring out the wooden cutting board and use it next time.

It is in the small hints like this that I find the most joy. Once learned, I incorporate them into other recipes that don't call for them specifically, but where it seems they will fit. Several years ago, I learned that whenever you use tomato paste (conserva, in Italian) in a recipe, try lightly browning it in the pan before you add the other ingredients. This subtle caramelization adds another layer of depth to any dish. Try a recipe once without it and then again with. I guarantee you will notice a difference. It isn't and "in your face" difference, but something much more subtle. You will notice it in the fore-taste, in the aroma and in the aftertaste, but most of your guests will only notice that the dish seems more flavorful, deeper, more intense. Even something as simple as chili con carne benefits, becoming something more than chili powder, cumin and meat.

So, take what you learn from magazines, television and books and put them to the test. Try it and see. You may find that one simple step or technique can open up an entirely new world of flavor to your cooking. I know it has for mine.

Related: Previous mentions of cooking on welchwrite.com
Related: Previously mentioned cookbooks
Books: Top cookbooks from Amazon.com

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Saturday, March 25, 2006

MIT Lectures in Video

More educational video goodness from LifeHacker.org.

What do you want to learn today. Visit MIT's video archive and dig in!

MIT Lectures in Videos With yesterday’s link on UC Berkeley Lectures Web Cast, many people sent me great words about them. There is a news spreaded out from digg.com that MIT has similar archive with video files you can download for classes. There are 309 classes - so have fun on learning!

MITWorld Distributed Intelligence via [digg.com]

(Via lifehack.org.)

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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Why you should shred credit card applications

When I saw the results of a little test where a credit application was torn into pieces, taped back together, submitted and a credit card arrived in the mail, I have been a bit more diligent about shredding any that I receive before they go into the recycle bin.

There is a larger issue here, though, that credit card companies need to address. They know there is a problem with blanketing the world with these applications and yet they continue to do it. Why should I have to work so hard to destroy mailings that I never wanted in the first place? The credit card companies, through their mindless marketing campaigns, are aiding and abetting identity theft in order to protect their bottom line, placing the burden on consumers to try and protect themselves the best they can.

Why you should shred credit card applications Most folks these days don't just pitch credit card applications in the recycling bin without destroying them in some manner, since they could be used by someone else to obtain a card in your name. However, it turns out that simply tearing apart the forms may not be enough of a deterrent. [Continued]

(Via Lifehacker.)

Monday, March 20, 2006

Event: Totem Carving at the Autry - Mar 27 - Apr 2

Totem Carving at the Autry - Mar 27 - Apr 2

March 27 - April 2

Haida artist Jim Hart carves an original Northwest Coast-style totem on-site at the Autry in conjunction with the opening of the exhibition Totems to Turquoise: Native North Amerirican Jewelry Arts of the Northwest and Southwest on March 31.

Link: Autry National Center
Link: Photos from the Southwest Museum Galleries
Link: Books by the Autry Museum

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Sunday, March 19, 2006

Event: Free Cultural Workshop - Satwiwa Native American Indian Culture Center

SUN 3/26 - 10am

Free Cultural Workshop
Satwiwa Native American Indian Culture Center

Create your own gourd necklace with Nadiya Littlewarrior.

Info: 805-370-2301. 2hrs NPS

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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Sketch: Pine Tree

I have an affinity for trees. I often find my self studying and sketching them when I am out. I also find that I often doodle trees of all sorts, more than any other particular form.

Here is yet another pine tree sketched while I waited to pick my son up from school. There is something about the symmetrical form of a conifer sticks in my mind. They are all similar and yet distinctly individual. The trunk on this one has the look of a Giant Sequoia (Sequoia Giganticus) even though it has been 10 years or more since I saw one up close. Perhaps I am dreaming through my sketches?

What are you sketching lately? Add your links by clicking on Comments below.

Related: Previous posts on sketching
Link: Books on Sketching

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Bugs in the garden paper crafts

More great paper crafts, this time via ReadyMade, the blog of the great magazine that presents all sorts of DIY projects for almost every aspect of your life.

The Rodale Institute provides these excellent models, educating us all in the amazing world that exists just outside our door or, in the case of the bacteria series, right inside our own bodies.

There are enough activities here to keep everyone busy through even the longest rainy day.

Paper Garden

While they are probably meant for kids, these paper model projects featuring assorted plants, insects, and organisms are fun projects for any age. Models include your standard garden fare; lady bugs, and butterflies but take learning about the ecosystem of the garden to another level with nematodes, bacteria, and more.

(Via ReadyMade Blog.)

Related: Previous papercraft projects
Link: ReadyMade magazine at Amazon.com

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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Free Starbuck's Coffee Tomorrow (Wed, Mar 15, 2006)

I drink coffee at Starbucks more because of the easily availability of its stores than the quality of its coffee, but here is a chance to get a free tall coffee at your local branch.

500,000 Cups Runneth Over

Tuesday March 14, 9:00 am ET

Starbucks to Serve More Than a Half-Million Cups of Complimentary Coffee across the U.S. During First-Ever Starbucks Coffee Break

SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--March 14, 2006--More than 70 percent of Americans take at least one coffee break per day(1) and tomorrow, Starbucks Coffee Company (Nasdaq:SBUX - News) wants to treat those Americans to a great cup of coffee. Starbucks will host its first-ever National Coffee Break, inviting customers in for a complimentary cup of freshly brewed coffee, on March 15 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. In more than 7,500 stores, partners (employees) will pour tall (12-ounce) cups of coffee for surprised customers and delighted commuters. [Continued]

Link: Starbucks Coffee Web Site

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Monday, March 13, 2006

Event: Getty Family Festival - March 25

March 25, 2006

Getty Family Festival

Saturday March 25, 2006 - 10 am
Museum Courtyard, Getty Center

Explore folk traditions and nature at this Family Festival inspired by the exhibition Courbet and the Modern Landscape. Hear music from the French provinces, dive into picturesque folktales, and make your own landscape inspired by the Getty's dramatic setting.

Link: Photos from previous Family Festival
Link: Getty Center Web Site
Related: Previous posts about the Getty
Link: Books and more about the Getty Center

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Sunday, March 12, 2006

Los Encinos Living History Day

March 19, 2006

Los Encinos Living History Day

1-3 PM. Music, blacksmith, children's activities from 1870s Southern California. Los Encinos State Historic Park.

Link: Google Maps for Los Encinos
Related: Previous mentions of Los Encinos
Book: The San Fernando Valley by Kevin Roderick

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Saturday, March 11, 2006

Pearson's Bun Bars Candy -- WooHoo!

If you have known me for any amount of time, you will have heard me wax poetic about Maple Bun Bars. I loved these as a kid and still try to pick up a couple whenever I am back in Ohio.

Now, the Candy Blog, gives you an up close and personal description of the Maple Bun, so you can see what I have been talking about all these years!

Pearson's Buns

I’ve ignored these bars for years. Well, they’re not really bars, they’re lumps. Maybe that’s why I avoided them, they’re just plops, like something you’d make at home...

(Via candy blog.)

Link: Pearson's Candy
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Thursday, March 09, 2006

How to take great digital portraits

Here is a great article from Lifehacker.com on taking good portraits of family and friends. I cannot reinforce enough their suggestion for getting close to your subject. The best pictures always seem to arise when I follow this rule religiously.In general , you always need to get closer than you think.

There is even more great advice in the article, though. Click the link to check it out.

How to take great digital portraits by Scott D. Feldstein

Need a headshot for your web site? A good photo of the little one for your holiday cards? A portrait of Grams for your self-produced family history movie? Taking good pictures of people can be hard, but don't despair. An average digital camera can take great portraits if you keep a few simple guidelines in mind. These steps should prove doable for non-professionals everywhere; no special equipment is required and the features discussed are widely available on most point-and-shoot cameras. Who knows, if you follow along carefully you may never have to pay for those expensive school pictures of your kids again. [Continued]

(Via Lifehacker.)

Related: Previous posts on Photography
Related: My Photos at Flickr.com
Books: Photography Books from Amazon.com

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Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Book Review: Death by Meeting by Patrick Lencioni

Book Review: Death by Meeting by Patrick Lencioni
Published by Jossey-Bass An Imprint of Wiley Books, 2004

Listen to the audio podcast version of this review

Fables have been used for centuries to teach important lessons and, even today, the form has significant advantages. With his series of books, Patrick Lencioni has taken the form from its earliest beginnings into the corporate office of today. His recent book, Death by Meeting, which I only recently discovered, takes on the bane of nearly every worker – the departmental meeting.

It is a rare person who hasn’t spent hours in unproductive and unnecessary meetings. Through his storytelling, Lencioni demonstrates a way out of the meeting morass and back to productivity.

Like all fables, Death by Meeting is a simplified and idealized view of the business world. Readers will see much of their own experience in the fable, but also a healthy dose of oversimplification. Change, especially corporate change, is rarely as smooth as depicted in the book. In any case, though, storytelling is an effective way of quickly and clearly make a point and educate the reader.

I found myself quickly moving through the book, completing it in only one day, but by the end I not only had a clear picture of Lencioni’s ideas, but also a collection of concrete methods of how they might be applied. As with his other books, I found little need for the “Executive Summary” at the end of the book, which explains the book concepts in a more traditional manner. The fable itself was more illustrative and entertaining than this, rather dry, summary.

Like all good books, Death by Meeting engages your mind and generates many questions. Is there a better way to run meetings? Are we stuck with our unproductive, and possibly even destructive, meetings? The book offers hope and a starting point many companies would be wise to absorb and apply.

Patrick Lencioni’s other books include The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, The Five Temptations of the CEO and The Four Obsessions of the Extraordinary Executive. I found each one of them useful and enlightening – something not always found in other business books.

Related: Mini-review of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

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If you find this column and podcast helpful, please leave a donation for the author.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

This Month's Full Moon Hikes

Nearly Full Moon Hike

MON 3/13 -- 6:30pm

Franklin Canyon Ranch

Explore the canyon by moonlight on a moderately strenuous hike. Look and listen for wildlife. Enjoy a spectacular view of the stars and city from atop the canyon trail. Fun for all ages. 2hrs WODOC/MRCA

Full Moon Hike

TUE 3/14 -- 5:30pm

Charmlee Wilderness Park

Enjoy a hike under the full moon. No dogs please. Reservations required 310-317-1364. Parking fee. 2hrs CMPRD

Full Moon Hike

TUE 3/14 -- 7pm

Coldwater Canyon Park

Come howl at the moon and explore this site at night. Reservations required 818-623-4866. FEE. 1.5hrs TP

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Monday, March 06, 2006

Things To Make...A Free Book

Growing up on a rural farm in the 1970's, I got to experience a 1950's childhood, so I was familiar with a lot of things from this antique book, Things to Make. My son is turning 8 tomorrow and I think there might be several items in here that we can put together as a father/son project.

As much as I like computers, i still like to make things with my hands and putter in the garden. There is just something special about working with your hands. That is not to say I am great at it, only that it feed good.

Download this PDF version of Things to Make for yourself and see what you can come up with.

Things To Make...(free book)

Wayn3w pointed out this great ebook from the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation - "Things To Make by Archibald Williams - Whether you simply want to travel back into the mind of a young boy at the beginning of the twentieth century, or want to try your hand at some interesting projects in carpentry, machinery, kites and many other areas, have fun." Link.

(Via MAKE: Blog.)

Saturday, March 04, 2006

A Wildflower Walk (somewhat)

Last Year
Originally uploaded by dewelch.
I needed to get out of the noise of the city today so I headed out to one of my favorite parks, Rocky Oaks in the Santa Monica Mountains.

I really had just planned to go for a short hike, but even though it is early in the season, I came across a few wildflowers putting on a show. This is an artsy shot of one of last's year's seed heads against the green of the new growth.

My garden is much too shaded to support wildflowers, but I often wish I could grow them. Their show is short, but they really pack a lot of bang for the buck.

More photos on Flickr.com. Click on the photo to go there.

Event: Evening Birds - Franklin Canyon

SAT 3/11 - 4pm

Evening Birds

Sooky Goldman Nature Ctr

Learn how birds survive at night on a casual sunset stroll around a lake. Bring binoculars. Beginning birders welcome! 2hrs WODOC/MRCA

* For more events like this, join the WelchEvents Mailing List

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Friday, March 03, 2006

Photography how-to videos

Although the videos on this site are available for purchase at $1.99 each, they also present one free video each week. This week's video is on how to take great sunset pictures.

Tightly focused "classes" like this are often the best way to learn as you can focus on a few elements and work on making them part of your normal working behaviors so you can then move on to other concepts. Even more important, though, is to immediately apply what you have learned. This helps to "lock-in" the knowledge and make it available whenever you go out with your camera.

Photography how-to videos

Justshowmehowto.com has some great photography how-to videos for download. They cover a very wide range of topics, and while they're not free, they're not all that expensive either. Oh, and they offer a free video each week. This week they're covering how to shoot great sunsets.

(Via Lifehacker.)

Related: Insect Photography
Related: Free online photography course
Related: AnandTech Guide to Better Photos: Night Photography
Related: Previous posts on photography
Link: Books on Photography from Amazon.com

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CD/DVD cases made with old 5 1/4 floppy disks

What a great way to re-use all those old 5 1/4" floppies you have sitting in the closet. Instead of buying jewel boxes of paper envelopes, just slice open an old disk remove the floppy and insert the CD. Recycling works!
CD/DVD cases made with old 5 1/4 floppy disks

Jarabito show how simple and easy it is to use old floppy disks as CD/DVD cases - "With old 5 1/4 floppy disks you can make cases for your cd & DVDs. You can use colors too! I bought them in a garage sales (1000 floppys for u$s 2). Only needs scicssors and adhesive tags for naming them..." Link.

(Via MAKE: Blog.)

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Thursday, March 02, 2006

500 experiments from the Exploratorium

Looking for some great science projects for this year and years to come? Check out over 500 experiments from The Exploratorium, the world's finest, hands-on science museum. Years ago, when my wife and I visited San Francisco, we set aside 2 hours for the museum and ended up spending all day...and this is before we had our son!

Each experiment includes detailed instructions, materials and more.
500 experiments and more - Exploratorium

The Exploratorium has hundreds of simple experiments, hands on activities, projects and things to make!

(Via MAKE: Blog.)

Link: Previous posts on science fairs
Link: Books on science fair projects

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OS X and iTunes updates released

Lifehacker points out that there are 2 updates awaiting Mac users in their Software Update system preference panel. One closes a (somewhat overblown) security hole in OS X and the other is an update for iTunes to 6.0.4.

The security update requires a restart, so plan accordingly.

OS X and iTunes updates released

Apple releases a slew of OS X updates that patch 20 vulnerabilities; and iTunes 6.0.4 is now available for Mac and Windows which also includes security and performance updates.

The OS X updates include measures to stop the much-covered Leap-A "pest," plus other upgrades to Safari, Mail and iChat. Update your Mac from the Software Update pane or download directly from the Apple site. The iTunes update is a free download for Mac and PC.

(Via Lifehacker.)

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Wednesday, March 01, 2006

ASL sign language dictionary with video

I have always wanted to learn sign language and I have picked up a few words from my friend, Michael, but here is a great way to expand your vocabulary and comprehension.

Each word is demonstrated with a Quicktime video and they also offer descriptive ways to remember the sign. I have heard from one of my friends that her husband is taking ASL lessons and he thinks this will be a great resource for him.

Learn sign language

Michigan State University has provided a neat way to learn sign language: The ASL Browser. You select words you'd like to learn the sign for and it displays a small quicktime video of the sign you've chosen. It's easy, fun and potentially very useful. (Continued)

(Via Lifehacker.)

Link: Books on American Sign Language

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