Christmas time home movies

My Dad enjoyed his Super 8 movie camera, and while he might decide just about any special event was worthy of documenting, you could guarantee that it would be in use three times a year: fishing trips, the Fourth of July, and Christmas.

This is a selection of various Christmases with the Howard clan, taken from our home movies. They're in no particular order, so don't be surprised when the kids get older and then younger. The point was to share some memories of Christmases past with folks. Enjoy.

My pumpkin pie recipe

Up until recently I thought that I didn't like pumpkin pie. Sure, every turkey day or Christmas I'd eat a slice, but that was primarily out of politeness because somebody went to the trouble of bringing it.

What changed for me was when Barb and I hosted the family Thanksgiving dinner a couple years ago, and I had the wild idea to make a pumpkin pie from scratch instead of using the canned filling. One bite, and I realized that this was the first pumpkin pie I'd ever tasted. Not only that, but i liked pumpkin pie, oh yes indeed.

And so, to spread the blessing of real pumpkin pie - and maybe prevent me from ever having to eat another slice of "polite" pie - here is the recipe I use. Enjoy.

Stuff what goes in the pie
  • 1 1/4 cups pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 9-inch pie crust, unbaked (I use Pillsbury - why not? they make a good product)
Prep the pumpkin
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Cut a medium sized (about 4 pound) pumpkin into palm sized sections. Scrape insides with a teaspoon to remove the seeds and pulp. Save the seeds to dry and roast (if you're into that sort of thing).
  3. Place pumpkin chunks skin side down on foil covered sheet; bake for about 45 minutes.
  4. Allow chunks to cool then scrape the softened flesh into food processor bowl. Puree until smooth.
  5. Set aside 1 1/4 cups of puree for pie; scoop the remainder into a zip top freezer bag (or make some cookies - umm, cookies).
Put it all together
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. In food processor bowl combine pumpkin, sugar, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and flour; mix well.
  3. Add eggs; mix well.
  4. Add evaporated milk, water and vanilla; mix well.
  5. Pour pumpkin pie mixture into the 9-inch pastry lined pie pan.
  6. Bake at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes.
  7. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F and bake for about 35 minutes longer, or until pie is set.
And finally, find a friend and share, 'cause that's why God invented pie.

Back to the Future

1992: Compaq releases the Concerto, the world's first tablet computer. It had a detachable keyboard, stylus, and ran a special version of Windows for tablets. Despite winning design awards, the product failed to catch on with the public and was soon discontinued.

2012: After years of research, Microsoft announces the Surface, their first tablet computer. It has a detachable keyboard, stylus, and runs a special version of Windows for tablets.

"The Microsoft Surface brings new technology to the Windows PC platform." - Steve Ballmer

Little grief bombs

David Lowery of Cracker fame once labeled pets as "little grief time bombs." We take them into our homes, give them love, and then, just when you forget they're mortal, Boom! goes the grief bomb.

Our latest grief bomb went off this fall when we had to say goodbye to our Mouser after 11 years, and it still gets a little dusty sometimes. Earlier today while looking for something on my computer I found this video that I made with iPhoto a couple years ago, and I thought that I'd share. Enjoy. (Mouser is the striped kitty. Gandalf is the large grey tom, and our dog is Buddy)

Site layout changes

It's time for the latest chapter in the ongoing saga of, "Let's revamp the web site." I'm slowly moving toward making everything HTML 5 compliant, but with fallback for older browsers. More improvements should drop in over the next few weeks - we'll see how that goes.

As if I needed a new challenge

The Epiphone Les Paul Studio edition in matte black.

I've been looking at this beauty for over a year. I finally decided to get off the fence and order it from Guitar Center, and now it's in my office. Now I just need to make some free time (hah!) for practice.

Farewell to the STS

Back in March of 2001 I was in Orlando for the annual Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education conference when I heard there was going to be a shuttle launch that week. I rented a car, drove over to Cape Canaveral, and witnessed something that I'll never forget. So, in honor of the Shuttle Transport System's final mission I've uploaded the video I took that day ten years ago. (the video is in H.264 and ogg formats)

August 2015