JUNE 2008

06/01/08 - Big Band in the Gardens – Sunday was our annual trip to the Concert in the Gardens series hosted by the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens and the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra.  We're both big fans of the Big Band era - the music and dance.  I always enjoy this concert each year.  It is a chance to unwind in the gardens (if it isn't sweltering from the Summer heat - which it wasn't last night - it was a pleasant 80ish with a light breeze), a chance to enjoy a picnic lunch (we had Subway - what can I say - we're easy), and a chance to show off our dance moves (keep in mind the concert starts at 8PM so most of our dance moves are in the dark - hey, you can't tell how bad someone is if you cannot see their feet move!). 

The orchestra provided a lovely variety of music and several good pieces with vocal accompaniment.  They even threw in a little jazz and one ragtime piece.  It was lots of fun and the fireworks show at the end was spectacular (I keep telling Susan we need to simply stop trying to watch fireworks on July 4th - they never hold a candle to the garden show).

- Nathan

06/02/08 - Hey Rana - Top This! – I hardly ever get the chance to give a plug to my favorite blog - Notes From an Eclectic Mind.  Rana's writing is frequently humorous, always entertaining, and sometimes informative.  I've been following for a few years now, and something happened today that just simply required a blog entry on my part.  You see, Rana has been trying to kill the kilowatt.  It has been a long battle over several years, and from what I can read, she is winning. 

Susan and I are also big on conserving electricity.  We have about 95% cfl bulbs in our house (I haven't found one to replace the "waterproof" light in our shower and I haven't replaced the tube fixture in the kitchen - one of the least efficient types of bulbs).  We've disconnected most of our vampire devices, raised the thermostat on our AC and fridge (which is easy since we're hot natured to begin with), and try to turn off anything we simply aren't using at the time.

Truth be told we probably haven't come very close to Rana's numbers of watts used, but I do think we beat her this month.  I received the following bill from Green Mountain Energy today.  I called and they assured me it was correct, but I tend to thing I used a little more juice than what they say I did. 

We'll see if they catch up next month ;).

- Nathan

06/03/08 - Six Years Strong – I'm not going to type up a long entry here - mainly because our anniversary probably isn't terribly interesting to anyone other than us :).  That being said, I certainly did want to mention Susan arranged a lovely dinner at Saint Emelion, French cuisine, near downtown Fort Worth.  We enjoyed a four course meal and a bottle of wine - Happy Anniversary sweetie!

- Nathan

06/07/08 - Gone to the Birds – Susan and I made a semi-spontaneous trip to Lawton this weekend.  While there we watched the new Indiana Jones movie (I enjoyed - Susan did not), we visited an art show at Winery of the Wichitas (nothing terribly interesting there), and we also attended a local renaissance festival (the highlight of our weekend). 



The festival itself wasn't very large, but it was still tons of fun.  They had a jousting match, some fencing, and a couple of shops selling homemade crafts (nothing even close to the scale of Scarborough Faire); however, their birds of prey show (by Soaring Heart Ranch) was outstanding!  The falconers didn't bring more birds - they didn't even bring unique birds.  What they did bring was a level of interaction that Susan and I thoroughly enjoyed.  We were allowed to hold the birds, pet the birds, feed the birds, and Susan even had one of the falcons fly to her arm on demand.  It was (as Barney on How I Met Your Mother would say) legendary!

- Nathan

06/14/08 - So You Think You Can Dance - Season 4 : Week 1 – This is the only reality show Susan and I enjoy.  In addition, it is also a hit for Nina.  The dancers are always outstanding and the performances moving and entertaining.  We were definitely happy to see the start of the 4th season earlier this month.  The competition really began this week with performances by the top 20 dancers.  Here is a run down of the top 20 after the first show and our opinions (we really liked just about everyone, but our absolute favorites have more check marks - red indicates who has been eliminated):


Couple 1st Round Our Opinion
Rayven Hip-hop  
Susie Smooth Waltz ü
Marquis üü
Kourtni Jazz ü
Matt ü
Chelsea T. Cha-Cha  
Chelsie H. Contemporary  
Kherington Broadway üüü
Twitch üüü
Comfort Jive  
Katee Hip-hop üüü
Joshua üüü
Jessica Tango üüü
William üüü
Courtney Disco ü
Gev ü


- Nathan

06/15/08 - Wine: Day <108> – If I go off the assumption harvest will be October 1st then there are 108 days until I begin my 2008 batch of wine (in accounting, having braces, <>, around a number indicates a negative amount).  Last year was the entertaining, but slightly unpalatable, production of Mustang wine.  This year I will be producing several other varietals.  From the Van Vineyards in Oklahoma I have a small selection of Muscat grapes on order.  This morning I also planted a surprise gift from Susan - Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes.  I'm uncertain if I will produce enough grapes to make a full batch, but I'm certainly going to try (it will likely be a blend of the two grapes).  I'm shooting for 4 gallons of juice, and if I'm unable to fill those buckets, then I will likely order some concentrate from the local wine store.  Since growing my own grapes is a new step this year I will be posting pictures of the vines as they grow.  In addition, I may also occasionally have pictures of the Muscat grapes in Oklahoma.


Muscat Grapes - All grapes are really tart at this point

Muscat Grapes - Lots and lots of grapes

Cabernet Sauvignon - They won't turn red until much later in the year

Merlot (with Cab in the distance) - There are a few hidden grapes on the vine

I figure this is also a good opportunity to update everyone on my Wine Century Club progress.  I'm currently 60% of the way there and I have uploaded my list of grapes here.

- Nathan

06/15/08 - Golden Dragon – The Golden Dragon Acrobats performed at bass hall today and Susan and I were lucky enough to snag some spectacular seats to the show.   We were only a few rows back from the stage - close enough to make me a little nervous when one of the star acrobats stacked about 6 chairs on top of each other and was practically touching the top curtain on the stage. 

The performance was very similar to Cirque Du Soleil - lots of contortion, strong men, and plenty of balance acts; however, they did feature a lot of juggling I had not personally seen before.  Their jugglers were absolutely incredible - they were doing stuff with their feet that I could only dream of doing with my hands.  The women juggled umbrellas, small balls, and even tables - all while performing acrobatics, flips, and twists.

It was a spectacular show - definitely worth seeing if you get the opportunity.

- Nathan

06/28/08 - So You Think You Can Dance - Season 4 : Week 2 – Week 2 is complete and two more contestants were sent home.  Although I did think Susie had good Latin technique, I never thought should could even hold a candle to Lacy from last year.  Thus, I wasn't sad to see her go.  I really thought Marquis was better than the other two guys in the bottom 2 (good technique, but not a lot of "warmth" and personality from him), but I also wasn't sad to see him go either.  Katee, Joshua, Kherington, Twitch are still my 4 frontrunners and Susan also has a thing for Will.  The following is a breakdown of the results thus far:


Couple 1st Round Our Opinion 2nd Round Our Opinion
Rayven Hip-hop      
Susie Smooth Waltz ü Salsa  
Marquis üü ü
Kourtni Jazz ü Foxtrot ü
Matt ü ü
Chelsea T. Cha-Cha   Jazz  
Thayne   ü
Chelsie H. Contemporary   Argentine tango üü
Mark   üü
Kherington Broadway üüü Viennese waltz üüü
Twitch üüü üüü
Comfort Jive   Krump ü
Katee Hip-hop üüü Broadway üüü
Joshua üüü üüü
Jessica Tango üüü Hip hop  
William üüü üüü
Courtney Disco ü Contemporary üü
Gev ü üü


- Nathan

06/21/08 - So You Think You Can Dance - Season 4 : Week 3 – Week 3 was awesome - I really thought nearly all of the dances were superb this week.  Comfort is still on the bottom of my list and I'm unsure why the judges are keeping her around since they have had ample opportunity to eject her.  My favorite routine was the hip-hop by Chelsie and Mark.  Susan's favorite was the samba by Katee and Joshua.


Couple 1st Round Our Opinion 2nd Round Our Opinion 3rd Round Our Opinion
Rayven Hip-hop          
Susie Smooth Waltz ü Salsa      
Marquis üü ü  
Kourtni Jazz ü Foxtrot ü Contemporary üü
Matt ü ü üü
Chelsea T. Cha-Cha   Jazz   Quickstep ü
Thayne   ü ü
Chelsie H. Contemporary   Argentine tango üü Hip-hop üüü
Mark   üü üüü
Kherington Broadway üüü Viennese waltz üüü Hip-hop üüü
Twitch üüü üüü üüü
Comfort Jive   Krump ü Jazz  
Chris     ü
Katee Hip-hop üüü Broadway üüü Samba üüü
Joshua üüü üüü üüü
Jessica Tango üüü Hip hop   Disco ü
William üüü üüü üü
Courtney Disco ü Contemporary üü Rumba üüü
Gev ü üü üüü

- Nathan