First Ski Day Winter 2013-2014.

As ski season is now upon us, I enjoyed this and thought I would reblog this in anticipation of getting up there, probably by January… and Copper Mountain is definitely my favorite place to ski. Will have to download this Ski Tracks app – looks like fun… for the stats freak in all of us. Of the Pre-ski season ski exercises listed below, #6 is definitely most helpful, particularly at Copper… – CT

John's Space .....

[CATEGORIES: Skiing, Travel.]

Wed. 5 Nov. 2013 was my first day skiing this season.  Ski area of choice, and season pass: Copper Mountain, Colorado.  It is very early in the ski season but the snow was decent.  Copper is very good at making and grooming man-made snow but that kind of snow can be very hard-packed.  Six inches of natural in the last 48 hours softened it nicely.

It wasn’t much of a photo-op day.  It was moderately overcast in the mid-20sF and I wanted to concentrate on making turns in the snow.  Of course with modern technology and smartphones one is never without a camera.  I snapped a few and that task was done.

[For group photos click on any photo to enlarge and view group in a slide show.  Photo info is in lower right corner, as is ‘View full size’.  View full and zoom again for extra…

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The Trichordist

As we suggested on our post, Over 50 Major Brands Supporting Music Piracy, It’s Big Business! the best way to start to effect positive change is to simply encourage like minded people to send a daily tweet to one of the brands on the list. A tweet a day to just one of these brands will create enough awareness to bring this issue to the attention of the brands themselves. There are over 50 brands, so that’s nearly two months of tweets just by doing one simple tweet a day.

By using the hashtag #StopArtistExploitation we can also easily help others find out about this problem and build support for artists rights online.

Thanks to everyone who participates, you really can make a difference. We’re also tweeting a brand a day, so feel free to retweet us if you like – which is even easier.

Here’s a directory of the…

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new song: “agave blues”, and time for…. chili!

Well now that the Hostess Twinkie has met its ultimate demise (for now) and as we move further into the holiday season – Thanksgiving was a whole week ago, the recent election already seems like months ago – it’s the perfect time to haul out the chili and soup recipes and maybe share one on here, even though it’s still relatively warm in Colorado for this time of year (where’s the snow?). Particularly since we have the annual Candlelight Walk tonight here in downtown Golden and it was requested that I whip up a batch of ‘red’ to go with the white and green chilis we’ll be eating post-walk at a friend’s house. You’ll find the recipe down below, but first…

A new song posted this week: “Agave Blues” from the forthcoming album, “Another Day in Paradox” in 2013 (it’s right around the corner). “Agave…” is kind of surf-y, kind of blues-y, kind of hip-hop, and kind of electronic. This is the home-mastered demo version – as always, the final album version will sound slightly different.

(© 2012 Nights on Venus/Craig C. Thomas. All rights reserved.)

A few more details about the album are known now: it will not be a double album – it will be a single album but a more lengthy one, probably more than 70 minutes containing at least 13 or 14 songs. As I finish up these songs that were recorded during the summer one by one, I’ll make a final decision on what goes on the album by the end of the year. Currently finishing up “Empty Stretch of Road with Sky“… an ‘electronic haiku.’ Release date for the album has been pushed further back into the spring – Erin and I are still hoping to get down to Louisiana for Toddstock II (V. 6.5) in June, which should be a blast… but first…

This is kind of a first for me ’cause I’ve never written down any recipes I work from and tend to be terribly lax and inexact on technical documentation when I cook, but over the years this has become a tried-and-true recipe and you can try this at home. This is a basic mild red chili with still the right amount of heat that is a staple around La Casa NoV during the winter months. Here’s what you’ll need:

60 oz. Petite diced tomatoes
20 oz. Hatch green chilis – 3 hot, 2 mild
3 lbs. of Ground beef
75 oz. Black beans
1/3 cup of Chile Rojo (mild)
2 tbsp. Minced garlic
2 tbsp. Cumin seed
4 tbsp. Chili powder
1/2 oz. of Roasted red pepper olive oil
6 oz. Beer (optional)
6 oz. Red wine (optional)
1 bag of Garden-of-Eatin’ non-GMO tortilla round corn chips
1 Red onion
Cheddar/Monterey jack marbled cheese

In a 6-quart pot, combine the petite diced tomatoes and Hatch green chilis in 5 oz. of water over medium heat. Add 1/3 cup Chile Rojo, 1 tbsp. of minced garlic and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and add the 75 oz. of black beans – if you’re using canned black beans, that’s 5 cans and 2 of those can be the jalapeno and lime juice black beans (Kuner’s). Stir occasionally and cover and simmer.

Meanwhile, in a good-sized skillet, brown the 3 lbs. of ground beef (usually 91% lean) in 1/2 oz. of roasted red pepper olive oil  – you can substitute 3 lbs. of beef tenderloin for a more “upscale” chili. Season with 2 tbsp. Cumin seed, 4 tbsp. of Chili powder, and 1 tbsp. of minced garlic as it cooks. Then add about 6 oz. of red wine – I usually use the Rex-Goliath Free Range Red or a Malbec or Cabernet for more earthiness (plus you’ll just want to have it around to partake of while you’re slaving away at the stove). Finish cooking until oil and wine have been cooked off.

When the beef is done, add it to the pot of chili and stir well. Slowly pour 6 oz. of beer into the pot while stirring – for this batch I used New Belgium’s Abbey Ale, but you can try it with a stout (Guinness) or a hefeweizen (Breckenridge Brewery’s Agave Wheat, sticking with the whole ‘agave’ theme here…. I don’t recommend using an IPA). Cover and simmer for about another 2 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Finishing touches: crumble up the tortilla rounds and put them in the bowl, chop up the red onion, that goes on top of the chili with the grated cheddar/monterey jack marbled cheese and away you go… enjoy! Serves about 8-12.

“Damn, that is some serious gourmet chili…”

Until next time…

“In 4 the Evening” is the second and current album from Nights on Venus and is available as a digital download on CDBabyiTunesAmazon.mp3Bandcamp and other fine online retailers. On CD through the NoV website.

Follow Craig and NoV on Twitter (@xlntsky) and Facebook.

Free Pussy Riot Now! This is what Real CENSORSHIP Looks Like.

Re-blogged from The Trichordist… Sign the Amesty International petition.

The Trichordist

This is what Real Censorship looks like for those who confuse easily. This is sad breaking news.

(Reuters) – Three women from Russian punk band Pussy Riot were sentenced to two years in jail on Friday for their protest against President Vladimir Putin in a church, an outcome supporters described as the Kremlin leader’s “personal revenge”.

For those who remain confused about the difference between FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION and FREE BEER (er uhm music) please read this report from Amnesty International regarding  Pussy Riot and do take action.

Freedom of Expression is truly a right to be protected and preserved, as ARTISTS RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS:



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dog days… (a.k.a., another summer from hell)

Dog days…. have found us. Dog days have tracked us down (to borrow from Jim [Morrison]). The term is usually used to refer to the hottest, most sultry days of summer and here in north Texas, we are right smack dab in them. The car becomes a pizza oven in as little as 15 minutes out in the sun and with temperatures expected to reach 110 degrees today (again) and the next few days, there’s the possibility of rolling blackouts during the hottest part of the afternoons (let’s hope not). Still no rain… the drought continues. At least we’re not in the horse latitudes…

The Australian Outback? Nah, just good ol' Texas.

I’ve mentioned the relentless heat in a few of my previous blogs and I really hate to belabor this subject – promise this will be the last time I bring it up – but it has become so pervasive on a daily basis and it’s what most everybody is talking about here wherever you go, now that the debt ceiling crisis has been ‘averted’ temporarily (for the more adventurous readers, I’ll refer you to James Howard Kunstler’s blog on what the debt crisis ‘solution’ might actually signify – hint: you won’t hear this on the mainstream media).

It seems that summer, not content with keeping us on slow simmer in the low 100s, has decided to “take it to the next level”. So if the heat has become unbearable where you are, how are you staying cool?

I come not to praise summer, but to bury it !

In the sphere of Nights on Venus, it’s business as usual more or less – working on new material (continuously), writing that new topical “hit” single, “Jesus, Please Don’t Let the Power Grid Go Down“; beginning work on the new NoV website, no upcoming gigs in the near future (probably 2012), and ongoing marketing efforts and projects in support of the debut album.

Nights on Venus - 1st album

The Nights on Venus debut album is available as a digital download (MP3) and can be found on CDBabyiTunes,  Amazon.mp3eMusic, and other fine online retailers.

What follows then is not so much of a rant or complaining about the heat – just some final musings about it for the season (with a month-and-a-half left to go). It should already be obvious from reading this blog that I don’t like the heat; animals, birds, pets (and hopefully yours are inside) don’t like it; my car, 10 years old now, doesn’t care much for it either (I imagine).

You can’t do anything about the heat – it is what it is – but it has spurred a few changes in the everyday routine. For instance, I only go outside in the early mornings and after sundown now to avoid the hottest part of the afternoons (which prompted one friend to say that I had become a quasi-vampire, which I suppose would be like the Diet Coke of vampires, in which case I’ll only quasi-bite – all theoretically speaking of course).

David Lee Roth (another Libra) - "Crazy From the Heat"

For some odd reason, this album has been on my mind this week…
Need something cool to listen to (when not listening to Nights on Venus of course)? Try the B-52’s “Girl From Ipanema Goes to Greenland“…

Also, it’s amazing how relatively ‘cool’ 98 degrees feels at 10:00 at night after a day of ‘hot and sunny’ and these triple-digit temperatures. And that started me wondering about why people settled here in the first place (as in why here, why?) – how all these towns came into being in the 19th century (or early 20th), because they sure as hell didn’t have any A/C (or ceiling fans from Home Depot) that we’ve come to rely on.

A few conclusions I reached:…

a) Most of these towns in places like Texas and Oklahoma, must have been settled in the fall, winter, or early spring and they had no earthly idea of the impending broiling hell called ‘summer’ hurtling straight toward them in May and June, which would last through September.

Mutiny on the Prairie: "If we build it, they will come..." ---- "No man, this place sucks!"

b) If the settlers did come through here during the summer, did they just get exhausted beyond all common sense and reason in those covered wagons et al., and having lost a few more people along the way and unwilling to go any further, finally give up and say, “OK, we’re done”…?

c) It must have been at least a little more temperate in these areas back in the 19th century. Since our cities of concrete, steel, and glass with asphalt roads and man-made lakes, etc. become “heat islands” and there was nothing like that back then, it had to have been at least a little cooler… (global warming hadn’t been “invented” yet).

And, d) It seems clear that those settlers were much heartier folks than we are. Going “19th century” and camping out/backpacking might give you a little taste of roughing it, but there’s no way I would voluntarily do either one when it’s as hot as it is now.

Whether any of that was actually the case – except for d) – who knows. Just some revisionist ponderings on an evening when it’s still 105 degrees after the sun has gone down (still too hot). Tomorrow, more of the same. By Thursday next week it cools down, finally… back to 102.

Follow Nights on Venus on Twitter (@xlntsky) and Facebook.