chewing ideas down to stubble, then moving on…

Archive for December, 2008

1st Place Sheepdogs!

Posted by Jason on December 28, 2008

Just have to brag. We ran in a little AKC practice trial at our local sheep ranch this Saturday. I worked with Scout and Wifey worked with Pepper, as we usually do. I didn’t feel Scout was ready for the Herding Intermediate level and asked the trial secretary if we could bump him back down to Herding Started, which Pepper would be working for. Apparently there’s some rule that says you can’t go down a level once you’ve signed up for a higher level. Great…

Scout had a pretty rough run, mostly because I’m an idiot and didn’t remember how to do the damn course. We did finish though, and the judge didn’t throw our asses out of the arena. Sooooo, since Scout was the only dog in his class that qualified (scored 67 out of 100 – 60 is passing), he automatically earned a first place!!!
Pepper won her class with a 72 (also not stellar), but she did have enough points to win the giant “Reserve High in Trial” ribbon. That means that she got the second highest score out of all the dogs in the entire trial! What a champ! Funny, the “High in Trial” dog only earned a 75. Usually “High in Trial” and “Reserve High in Trial” dogs get scores in the 80s and 90s. It was super muddy and wacky in the ring, but we got the job done.

Our dogs won first places!!!


Posted in Dogs | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Additions/Subtractions in the Bonsai Family

Posted by Jason on December 25, 2008

Partially from the Christmas holiday and partially from me helping out a maestro grower, there have been some changes in the bonsai family. It’s been real rainy and ugly out, so I haven’t really had time to get pictures of some new trees that have made it my way. Super-cool grower-man Dave has hooked me up with a couple more olives and has told me to not buy any more trees… 

I gifted the Big Ollie and Nano the little Juniper to my mother-in-law, who has been very interested in my newfound hobby. I figured I’d give her some forgiving trees to take a crack at, and she was so thankful to me. It was sweet. If she kills them, no biggie. It’s not like I gave her two puppies or anything…

I’ll post new pictures and remove some other pictures on my bonsai page soon.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Posted in Bonsai | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Pay It Forward

Posted by Jason on December 23, 2008

I went to the nursery the other day to pick up a bag of worms for wifey’s worm compost bin. I poked around some of the bonsai plants just to see what they had, and then I went to pick up my $15 bag of worms. The manager of the nursery started to ring me up and then just said, “Eh, you’re all set. Merry Christmas. Pass it on.” 


“Yeah, pay it forward.”

“Wow, thanks a bunch. I will pass it on! Merry Christmas!”

And that was it. I got a $15 bag of worms for free. Now I’m going to pass it on somehow. I’m not quite sure how. I did help some friends of ours move for like 11 hours yesterday. But that’s pretty much what friends do for each other. I think it would be a cop out to count that as my paying it forward. Maybe I should just keep doing nice things and not worry about when I’m paid up or not. That sounds like a better plan.

I got to thinking this morning about this whole thing, and I don’t do religious pondering very often on my own, but this whole pay it forward business really encapsulates my views on faith, works, and grace. The nursery lady was ridiculously nice to me for no good reason, and now I’m looking to do good stuff for other people (in addition to continuing my patronage of her nursery) purely out of gratitude for the good thing that was done for me. The gift of grace, given by God through Jesus Christ, was ours when we really didn’t -and still don’t, in my case- deserve it one bit. When we act in accordance with Jesus’ teachings, it’s out of gratitude for that gift of grace. Faith comes in because we believe that this wondrous gift has been given to the world, which includes us. 

Now I know this isn’t fleshed out and it’s not theologically perfect, but the free bag of worms provides a nice little illustration of what I truly believe, in a concise little way.

Merry Christmas, and do something nice for somebody else!

Posted in Musings, religion | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Xmas UPDATE: Bonsai, Coast Live Oak

Posted by Jason on December 21, 2008

So Christmas will be my two-month anniversary with Oakie. We’ve had some rough times, but it’s all good and he doesn’t resent me for chopping his head off. Here’s some pictures of the progression:

Freshly Butched

Freshly Butched


3 weeks later

3 weeks later



Two Months Post-Chop

I’m stoked that I did something drastic and it’s working! I’m not sure if any of my other major operations have been successful yet. We’ll see come springtime! 

With Oakie I’ll now have to work on getting the lower branches to grow out and thicken up while keeping the top branches small. Trees naturally want to grow the most at the top and outsides: that’s how they compete for light and ensure airflow around the trunk. I’ll interrupt this growth pattern of apical dominance by pinching off new top growth in spring. When you pinch growth on the top and outsides, it sends chemical signals down to the rest of the buds and branches that it’s ok to grow. The same thing happened with the trunk chop, just on a much larger scale. I chopped a huge portion of the foliage off of the top, and this sent the signal down to dormant buds all along the trunk that they could grow. That’s how we got the explosion of new growth from places where there weren’t any leaves of branches before.

Pretty cool, eh?

Posted in Bonsai, California Natives | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Yet More on the Don Juan Myth

Posted by Jason on December 21, 2008

In my previous posts on this topic, I’ve explored -very briefly- the possibility of Don Juan being a Spanish iteration of Zeus and his philandering exploits from Greek mythology and literature. 



I’ve done some researching and it seems that most of the Arab literati that came into Spain really had little use for Greek literature and mythology. John Walbridge, in his book Wisdom of the Mystic East, asserts that most of the translators that brought Greek knowledge to the Arabs were not interested in Greek literature per se. Most of the emphasis was placed on philosophy and scientific writings, rather than drama and mythology. According to Walbridge, “…the Greek gods appeared even to the best informed medieval Muslims as little more than names…”

So, apparently the Arabs brought only philosophy and science with them from the Greeks. Some scholars like Gustav Grunebaum say the Muslims were quite aware of Greek literature and literary forms, citing formal similarities between some stories in The Arabian Nights and some Greek novels. It’s probable that this knowledge was floating around in those days, but identifying a viable link could be difficult.

There is still the possibility that stories Zeus and his exploits were brought to Spain in the 6th to 8th centuries B.C. when the Greeks and Phoenicians had several trading posts and villages along the Spanish Mediterranean coast. Could this oral tradition have endured and evolved in some way through for almost 2000 years in the hearts of the common people until Tirso de Molina codified the legend of Don Juan in 1630? I don’t know. I’m not very smart in the ways oral history and folk history.

I also saw a bit that Greek literature really came into Europe in the early Renaissance through Italy, etc. If Don Juan is a Spanish corruption of some Zeus mythology, it might have come from Spanish contact in the Italian campaigns of the Spanish Habsburg rulers. More info later…

Posted in Literature, Spain | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Love the picture in this post…

Posted by Jason on December 18, 2008

Check it out right here…

It reminds me of the Ebonics Delta Airlines commercial that was floating around the internet in the 90’s. 

By the way, I do also resonate with the author’s love for language.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Weighing in on the Rick Warren Pick…

Posted by Jason on December 18, 2008

Seriously people… the guy is saying a damn prayer. It’s not as if Obama is selecting this dude to do anything important. Anyone remember who G.W. picked to say his prayer off the top of your head? Of course not. Why?


Everyone is reading way too much into this. Dems are all up in arms and Republicans are thrilled. Heaven forbid Obama does something that isn’t along party lines. Maybe we picked the wrong guy for president, since a churchman he wanted to say a prayer doesn’t like gays and hates abortion. So many crazy liberals see this as a giant betrayal. Guess what? Obama is still going to be the president, and your opinion doesn’t really matter one bit anymore.

You’ve spoken with your vote, now shut up and let the man do his job. I don’t really care who gives the opening prayer. It doesn’t have anything to do with policy or anything. Maybe Obama actually did something that can bring some of his opponents to respect him more? You know, like working across the aisle, showing some graciousness in whooping John McCain’s ass? People say they’re tired of politics as usual and the partisan crap that goes on in Washington. But the second that someone does anything outside the red and blue box, the nation is up in arms.

You asked for it, people. Now let Obama be the president…

Posted in politics, religion | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Brilliant!!! Beer myths!

Posted by Jason on December 17, 2008

This is a great post about all kinds of beer myths. Read it and drink up!


Posted in beer, Musings | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »