Sunday, April 20, 2008

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

Tonight, our chef in training Sarah prepared an old family favorite. We call it Dad's Mac and Cheese. Jake swears that the recipe is a secret. What that really means is that he has been too lazy to write his recipe down and just throws whatever he wants into a pot without measuring. Sarah though actually went to the trouble to write down the ingredients as she was preparing this easy but tasty dish.

  • 3/4 Cup Milk
  • 3 Tbl Butter
  • 1 handful of flour
  • 1 pinch of garlic salt
  • 1 small onion chopped (Optional)
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 lb dry elbow macaroni pasta
  • Cook Pasta
  • In a sauce pan, melt butter
  • Reduce onion
  • Add flour
  • Add Milk
  • Add Cheese
  • Slowly melt cheese stirring often.
  • Combine Pasta and Cheese Mixture
  • Enjoy!
Recipe Credit: Jake Pohick

Novo Lenio Alabama All State Band 2008

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Novo Lenio as performed by the Alabama All State Band on 19 April 2008. This piece was conducted by Carla Gallahan and composed by Samuel Hazo.

Overture For Winds Alabama All State Band 2008

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Overture For Winds as performed by the Alabama All State Band on 19 April 2008. This piece was conducted by Carla Gallahan and composed by Charles Carter.

Nettleton Alabama All State Band 2008

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This piece called Nettleton. It is performed by the Alabama All State Band. It was arranged by Johnnie Vinson and was conducted by Carla Gallahan.

Dillon's Flight Alabama All State Band 2008

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Dillon's Flight as performed by the Alabama All State Band on 19 April 2008. This piece was conducted by Carla Gallahan and composed by Ralph Ford.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Auburn Symphonic Band

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After a long day of rehearsing, the participants of the Alabama All State Band Festival were treated to a performance by the Auburn Symphonic Band. The Symphonic Band, conducted by Dr. Rick Good, is the premier performing ensemble of the Auburn University Bands. A select group of 70 players, the Symphonic Band performs a broad and diverse repertoire of standard and contemporary band literature along with occasional transcriptions. In recent years, this group has performed numerous times for Alabama Bandmasters Association and Alabama Music Educators Association events, and has undertaken tours within the state each spring. The performance by the Symphonic Band was awesome and left each of the All State Participants with a goal to work towards.

Friday, April 18, 2008

All State Band Rehearsal Day

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Today was rehearsal day for the Alabama All State Band Festival. Each of the bands had rehearsals from 8:00 till 11:30 and then again from 1:30 till 5:00. The students were pretty worn out after 7 hours of rehearsals.

Jake was pretty worn out too. He had to entertain himself for 7 hours. It is never a good idea to leave Jake alone with that much time on his hands. To amuse himself, Jake dressed up in college-student-like attire complete with back pack and shades and tried to blend into the crowd with the college kids. He thought he was doing pretty well, but apparently the slang has changed somewhat since he was last in college. One of the kids asked Jake if he was a NARC.

Since his cover was blown, Jake returned to the rehearsal facility and walked around and spoke with the various college recruiters who were set up in the exhibit hall. Surprisingly, the University of Alabama and Auburn University recruiters were set up right next to each other. This seemed to be a pretty bold and gutsy move given the alleged rivalry between the two schools. Jake attempted to start a bidding war between the two recruiters to see which one would give Scribbles the larger scholarship. Though they were mildly amused at his tactic, they did not however make any firm offers.

All State Band Audition Results

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The results are in! At 5:30 PM, Scribbles and 650 of her closest friends crowded around the seating list to find out how they fared during the Alabama All State Band Festival Auditions. She was selected as number 9 out of 31 for her instrument. Not too shabby considering she was competing against the best musicians in the entire state. During the audition, she was handed a piece of music she had never seen before. She had one minute to study the music, and then she had to perform for the grader.

Next up in the process is three hours of rehearsal from 6:30 PM till 9:30 PM.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Alabama All State Band Auburn University

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Scribbles was selected to represent her school as part of the Alabama All State Band festival. She was one of the two students selected for this honor. The festival is being conducted this year at Auburn University. Today, Jake and Scribbles drove to Auburn from Northern Alabama which is about a four hour drive. Auburn University has approximately 24,000 students and it appeared to Jake and Scribbles that every one of them was out on the streets today. It took forever to find the music building and then a place to park.
The first event after arriving in Auburn was to audition for seating in the band. In all, there are approximately 650 students participating in the festival which is broken down into four separate bands. All 650 were preparing for their auditions at the same time in the wooded grove outside of the music hall. The cacophony (jarring, discordant sound) was just a little overwhelming. The Scribbles spent approximately 40 minutes preparing for her audition which lasted all of 5 minutes. We will find out tonight at 5:30 PM how she did. Then she will begin a three hour rehearsal with her band from 6:30 - 9:30 PM. That's it for now. I will post another note later letting you know how everything is going.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Pikes Peak Colorado Springs

Jake was in Colorado Springs this week. When he left Alabama, it was 80 degrees. When he arrived in Colorado, it was 25 degrees and there was a blizzard taking place.

In this photo, you can see Pikes Peak in the background. Pikes Peak is a mountain in the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, 10 miles (16 km) west of Colorado Springs, Colorado, in El Paso County. It is named for Zebulon Pike, an explorer who led an expedition to the southern Colorado area in 1806. The first European to climb the peak came 14 years after Pike in the summer of 1820. Edwin James, a young student who had just graduated from Middlebury College in Vermont, signed on as the relief botanist for the Long Expedition after the first botanist had died. The expedition explored the South Platte River up as far as present-day Denver, then turned south and passed close to what James called "Pike's highest peak." James and two other men left the expedition camped on the plains and climbed the peak in two days, encountering little difficulty.

There is a visitor center with a gift shop and restaurant on the summit of Pikes Peak, and there are several ways to ascend the mountain. The Manitou and Pike's Peak Railway is a cog railroad operating from Manitou Springs to the summit year-round, conditions permitting. Automobiles can be driven to the summit via the Pikes Peak Highway, a 19 mile (31 kilometer) road which starts a few miles up Ute Pass at Cascade. The road has a series of switchbacks, treacherous at high speed, called "The W's" for their shape on the side of the mountain. The road is maintained by the city of Colorado Springs as a toll road.

Check out Pike's Peak on this map of places we've been.

Other Colorado Springs Destinations

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Rosetta Stone Software Learn Spanish

Hola amigos. (Hello friends) Jake's boss has decided that everyone in the office must learn a foreign language. He feels so strongly about this that he provided Rosetta Stone software to each of the employees. The software seems to be very effective and easy to use. Each employee was also given the option to choose which language they would like to learn. The problem is that Jake really doesn't want to learn any language. Oh, the thought of learning another language is cool, but in practice, it is very time consuming. And like many people, Jake really doesn't like doing things that are "Mandatory". Each month, Jake has to complete his mandatory lessons and turn in proof that he has completed them in order to achieve success on his performance metrics. After four months, Jake has managed to successfully complete his requisite lessons, but there have been a few last minute scrambles to get the work done.

So is Jake actually starting to understand Spanish? un poco. (A little) In fact today, Jake was at the store and overheard two people conversing in Spanish. To his surprise, he could actually make out what they were saying. He was so overcome with this new linguistic revelation, that he kept drifting closer and closer to the speakers until he has practically standing on top of them. They immediately stopped talking and looked at Jake as if he might be insane. (Which of course is a distinct possibility.) Jake muttered a feeble Perdón (Pardon me) and slunk away.

So that's Jake's story. Have you had any success or failure learning a new language as an adult?

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

US Space and Rocket Center 2007 Annual Report

The US Space and Rocket Center (USSRC) located in Huntsville, AL has released their 2007 Annual Report. Here are a few interesting highlights from the report:
  • 10,755 attended a weeklong program which is an 8% increase from FY06; 877 were teachers
  • 22,479 attended a 2-night/3-day program
  • 71,647 attended a museum daily/field trip program
  • 104,881 total attended a program at the US Space and Rocket Center during 2007
  • 50 states had campers attend
  • 57 countries had campers attend
Already known as the largest museum in the world devoted exclusively to space artifacts, the USSRC took a gigantic leap forward with the addition of the Saturn V and Federal Transit Administration complex that totals 68,200 square feet. The building called the "Davidson Center" houses the new ticketing area for the museum complex, a 360-seat auditorium equipped with 3-D projection equipment, and more than 42,000 of exhibit space in the gallery where the Saturn V is displayed 10 feet above the floor.

Financially, the USSRC had a good year. They took in $37.19M in revenues while managing to hold expenses to $26.43M. This is great news as it should allow the USSRC to reinvest the surplus and make even more improvements to the facilities and collections at the center.

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