High School Musical – Woodstock Opera House

Bette and I attended the Woodstock Children’s Summer Theatre performance of HSM at the Woodstock Opera House in Woodstock IL. We have attended many events there, by far this was the loudest — not the show, but the audience. We went to the 2PM show with two young friends, Raea and Keefer, and to fit into their schedule we went to the same show that was a prize for reading library books. Translated — lots of younger kids, and they mostly don’t shut up for most of the show. We were in the center balcony, good seats, really. We were usually on the main floor for past shows, but these were the hottest tickets in years…

We knew Daniel Rausch, the youngest, and sadly the last, of the uber-talented Rausch boys; he was the lead. We enjoyed the PA announcer. The cast was good. Although they were miked up, sometimes the audio was not good, especially given the bad signal-to-noise ratio. But we got the jist of it, and the dancing was wonderful.

Two 10-ish-year-old girls behind us were talking and one mentioned (while the show was going on), “I don’t like this one — they are not the real people.” True, but perhaps she missed the point a bit. It was a fun visit to a new play for us, and for $6 apiece, much better than paying some adult troupe to pretend they are high schoolers for $70 each.

The young thespians constantly amaze us with their talents.

Afterwards, we headed to the Club for a nice dinner, where the kids were well behaved and enjoyed the piano player, Dean Malsack, where he regaled us with stories of his Baldwin piano with black keys.

KeePass Merge

I use KeePass to track hundreds of passwords, securely.

I also use Replicator to synchronize the files between my USB flash drive, home and work PCs. Sometimes it gets confused, mostly when I make changes at both ends. Replicator realizes this and stops. It creates a copy of the file, renames it password~1.kdb and replicates the two copies.

How to tell what changed? Cool tools like WinMerge only detect differences of binary files, not what changed. Especially for an encrypted file.

I export each file to an xml file, say password.kdb.xml and password~1.kdb.xml. I uncheck the top two – encode \n and eliminate backup items. Who cares? I include all fields below.

WARNING: these files now have ALL your passwords in cleartext. DELETE them when done — preferably a DOD delete.

Each record has a GUID — so no matter what change you make to the record, the GUID remains the same. So the way to check is to sort the XML by GUID and then compare the two with a diff tool.

I wrote an XSL stylesheet to sort them:

<xsl:stylesheet xmlns:xsl="http://www.w3.org/1999/XSL/Transform" version="1.0">
  <xsl:template match="pwlist">
      <xsl:sort select="uuid"/>
  <xsl:template match="*">

I use the msxsl transformer cuz its easy on windows. Use your own, or send me a script for cygwin tools.

iconv is required to convert the output of the XSL transform from UTF-8 into ISO-8859-1 or else bad things happen down the chain.

Here is the batch file to drive them:

rem take the xml output of keepass export, sort them by UUID,
rem export to new file for comparison. CLEARTEXT!!!

set ICONV_HOME=c:\Program Files\GnuWin32\bin
msxsl password~1.kdb.xml keepass-exp-sortbyguid.xsl | "%ICONV_HOME%\iconv"
  -f UTF-16 -t ISO-8859-1 | tidy -xml -i -wrap 99999 > password~1.kdb.sort.xml
msxsl password.kdb.xml keepass-exp-sortbyguid.xsl | "%ICONV_HOME%\iconv" -f UTF-16
  -t ISO-8859-1 | tidy -xml -i -wrap 99999 > password.kdb.sort.xml


Now it is trivial to compare the two with WinMerge and identify the differences -- everything lines up!

I had a problem this last time with characters that do not convert -- typographic quotes and em dashes (ala Word Auto-Correcting). If you see
09063 Flaming Moeiconv: x: cannot convert
check the line for the goofy chars.

This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.

Creative Commons License

Recital: Steven Rausch

Steven continues the tradition of talented Rausch boys with his senior recital at Woodstock High School. Claire de Lune was magnificent – I closed my eyes and kind of floated along. The Barbershop Sweetheart was perfect – what a group. She’s Got a Way was a great song for his voice and highlighted his piano work. His duet with older brother Chris was cool on many levels, and their voices work wonderfully together.

See you at Scott’s recital…

Prelude in G Minor – Chopin
Where’er you Walk – Handel
Sound the Trumpet – Purcell – Duet with Chris Rausch
Tramerai – Schumann
Adieu Sweet Amaryllis – John Wilbye – Madrigal Quartet with Alayna DeVar, Ariana Freeman, Scott Rausch
The Vagabond – Ralph Vaughan-Williams
Bring Him Home – Claude-Michel Schonberg from Les Miserables
Prelude in C Minor – Chopin
Dreaming with a Broken Heart – John Mayer
Let Me Call you Sweetheart – Leo Friedman – The “Honey Crooners” feat. Alex Blue, Glenn DeVar, and Scott Rausch
Clair de Lune – Debussy
She’s Got a Way – Billy Joel
Anthem – Bjorn Ulvaeus

Dance Therapy Recital

On 10 July Bette and I attended the Faculty/Student Benefit Concert for the Dance/Movement Therapy & Counseling Department of Columbia College, Chicago. Why?

We responded in late spring to a letter from Alexandria, a local DMTC Master’s candidate (who actually attended Marian Central) who, for her thesis, held a series of workshops for bereaved parents, using physical activity (or movement) to bring relief. The usual attack is via long drawn out sessions of discussion, which Bette and I both found useful after Sarah died, but this was different. There was discussion, but also a lot of breath work and physical activity. The last session, we played in a 12 foot loop of a diaphanous stretch fabric, which opened our eyes to play and remembering things. She also took some video of us acting out scenes from our memory.

Her thesis was turning these experiences into dance.

The dance was called Buried Treasure, and was part of a series of recital pieces from the students and staff of the department. It was a lot of fun, and the music was very good too. I always find new music when attending these things (just like working with Poms). And I was thinking, I should have invited Poms (and alumnae) to this – they would have loved it. It was a benefit for some scholarships for students, who were awarded them after the dance was over. Just like a Sarah clinic!

Afterwards, there was a nice reception catered by the Melting Pot fondue (chain) restaurant, with a fountain of chocolate martinis and chocolate fondue with fruit and Rice Krispies treats. We were able to talk to Alexandria, who was pouring (free) wine, and she told us she had reviewed the video for our physical presentation and used that to choreograph the dancers for her piece. A lot of thought went into it – amazing. She used the best line, “Everyone grieves in their own way”. If everyone remembered that, the trip would be a lot easier.

Dance Center of Columbia College, 1306 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL
Melting Pot, 609 N. Dearborn, Chicago, IL 60654

Update– here is the playlist — I love music for these things – artists have lots of ideas!
1. Savage Acquiescence / “Fade To Black” by Apocalyptica from “Inquisition Symphony”
2. a sublimer / “Weird Fishes / Arpeggi” by Radiohead from “In Rainbows”
3. Communion / “Journeying” by Steve Halpern from ?
more to come…
4. “Nobody knows the trouble i see” / trad. spiritual
4a. “Trampled Rose” by Alison Krauss from “Raising Sand” (unbelievable)
5. Buried Treasures / “Silent World” by Donna Lewis from “Now In A Minute”
6. Matters of Self / “Hide and Seek” by Imogen Heap from “Speak For Yourself”
7. moving through / “Guaranteed”, “No Ceiling” and “Rise” by Eddie Vedder from the “Into the Wild” soundtrack.
8. Beating / “Feedback”, “So Much Betta” by Janet Jackson
9. Euphoric – Inherent – Drive
10. Shapeshifting
11. Disquieted Front / “Biscuit” by Portishead from “Dummy” (Sarah had this album!)
12. Two Moons
13. Work, Play, Love
14. BESS in Hip Hop / “Smooth Criminal” by Michael Jackson, “Dance and Shout” by Shaggy, “Track 1” by Dabrye, “Go Girl” by Pitbull

Triathlon 2008 — Race, snack, and Vincent: a post-race party

We arose early, to grab some coffee and fruit and headed out at 7 to the race site. We found Sara there by phone. Sam was in an early wave, and was in the water by the time we got there, so we waited on the beach for him to come out. Their running friend Gretchen was also racing, but we missed her. After Sam came out, we went to the transition area, but he was too quick by the time we got over the bridge.

We crossed the other ped bridge and chatted with Sara and her friends from East Troy and Amy, her BFF from Whitewater who arrived soon after dropping off Sara. Our Sarah’s friend from Woodstock, Alexis, now living in St. Paul, met us on the beach. Sara moved off to occupy her slot in Wave 39, and waited to go into the water. We found in her in the chute out to the water, and then moved to the other side of the beach to wait for her to come out.

After she came out in a surprisingly short 20 minutes (Sara did the sprint course, and swam much better than she expected) we tried to get thru the crowds on the ped bridge to the transition area. Bette pushed a little and butted in line, and saw Sara. We didn’t, but waited to see Sam come in from his bike. He came in about ½ hour later, and by that time we were found by Uncle Lou. We cheered, he came to kiss Karin, and he was off on the run. Sara came in about 30 minutes later, and we cheered her and she trotted off on her shorter run.

Then we headed off to the finish line, staked out our spot near the bridge, and waited. Sara came in soon, and then Sam and Gretchen. Turns out Gretchen was cramping and was feeling bad and bailed before the 2nd lap.

We headed back to Sam and Karin’s and made burgers and dogs for lunch and visited. Alexis and Gretchen headed out, and we prepared for our evening with Chef Vincent.

Sam ran this there with Chef Vincent’s team, a fundraiser for Fraser, a support organization for Minnesota special needs persons and their families. Sam raised quite a bit, including OUR donation, and all the team runners got a nice Chef Vincent running jersey and invites to the post-race party at his establishment, Vincent: A Restaurant in the Nicollet Mall. We valet parked and passed white linen alfresco seating and were directed up the stairs.

We were on time, and it was still empty, but the wine was out and some of the food was there, so we dug in. Vincent is a French native, and the restaurant leans French, but he had an eclectic combo of appetizers – and lots of them. My favorite was the Veggie tempura and the salmon toast, and the beef thingies – heck it was all good. Nothing was bad. Okay, the fries were the real thin ones, and those are very hard to keep warm. Everything else was great.

Sam and I talked to Vincent, and he is an interesting guy. Nice, and with a lot to say. We chatted about his work with the organization and his restaurant. Then I spoke with a gentleman, Joe, who is taking Vincent and a bunch of bikers to ride around Provence. Joe’s Mello Velo tours were about $3K less airfare, but the idea of waking up at 10, riding thru wonderful countryside, and returning to a chef-cooked dinner sounds really nice. Except they do 100 miles a day – a bit much for this couch potato.

We headed back to the house, and sat on the porch with some more wine discussing how weird our families are till 11. Time for bed.

The next morning, Amy and Sara, along with Lou and Joan came by for a fresh Frittata breakfast from Chef Sam. Joan and Sara rode back with us to the Fort and home.

Vincent: A Restaurant, 11th Street and Nicollet Mall

Triathlon 2008 – Carbo Loading at Al Vento

Up in Minneapolis to visit Sam and Karin and cheer them on at the Lifetime fitness triathlon. We arrived Friday from a series of thunderstorms thru Wisconsin, and the weather in Minneapolis was gorgeous, but real hot and humid.

We checked into the Casa, and visited with Sam for a while. Karin was out getting groceries. Sara was competing in the sprint distance event, but was out with her BFF Amy from Whitewater for dinner. We would see her tomorrow.

We sat around and chatted awhile and headed off to Al Vento, a local Italian place for carbo-loading. It was busy, with outside seating, we chose to be inside to stay cool. Sam was preparing for a race, of course – we have to be serious.

We started out with Truffled pecorino packets with Swiss chard and brown butter, fried pillows of Pecorino cheese with an oil sauce. Yum! Sam, Karin and I split a bottle of the house Solapaca Rosso red. Bette had a Sauvignon Blanc and Karin had some Col Vetoraz Prosecco sparkling.

Bette and I split the beet salad (Roasted beet with frisee balsamic vinaigrette and hazelnuts), excellent. Sam and Karin split the Mista with balsamic blood orange and local Donnay goat cheese salad, a collection of greens. The choices for dinner were excellent. I never heard of Radiatore, but it is a pasta resembling radiators in meat sauce. Sam had that, and I had the bucattinni, with noodles with a more spicy meat sauce. Mmm. Karin had spaghetti (Spaghetti with mother sauce and veal meatballs) with meat sauce and Bette had the halibut.

We topped off the meal with dessert. Bette & I split a pistachio Semi Fredo …..which was spectacular, but I can’t remember a thing about — I think a ganache type thing. Karin had a Chocolate Oblivion cake, and Sam had a scoop of gelato.

A great meal – Sam said the next day the meat sauce was probably more that he should have had before a triathlon, but, what the heck. This was a nice place, fun atmosphere with a young crowd, and great food. Recommended.

Al Vento, 5001 34th Ave. S., Minneapolis MN

Bette’s Birthday 2008 – Green Zebra, Condo

At the Green Zebra we got a little of everything. Yes, it is loud and expensive, and yes, you may hit White Castle on the way home, but it was all good…

We had some beignets. We had two orders of potstickers (Curried Potato Potstickers, cilantro tamarind sauce, fresh coconut) for appetizers. We had roasted beets (Roasted Beets, wasabi gelee, cocoa nib foam, chippys) yum!

Good but small pricey plates. I had the chef’s selection which are all the items on hand in small quantities, each individually explained to me.

I had a rare Vos Amber Belgian-style ale — should have done wine, bottle was huge but good… Lots of wine all around. We had a Sha Na Nas, a Sundance and a Drunken Peach — sounds like Sara’s drinks! Should have gotten the wine flight, but I was smashed as it was.

Bette had a good halibut. (Vegetarian???) They have a great Tater Tot facsimile (Potato Tots, sunny-side up egg, nicoise olives, heirloom tomatoes).

I had the Thai spiced soup (Thai Spiced Carrot Soup, crispy rice noodles) and loved it. It had a cilantro foamy sauce on the surface. Actually, Brad had it too – was good to see him outside of his zone. Someone had Heart of Palm (Hawaiian Heart of Palm, blueberries, passion fruit cream, szechuan peppercorn). We had the tofu (Crispy Tofu, Thai basil, baby bok, Jasmine rice). Someone had the popover (Foraged Mushroom Popover, smoked cippolinis, Michigan cherries, manchego), a kind of pastry thing. We had artichokes (Marinated Artichokes and Feta cheese, arugula, preserved lemon). We had cucumbers (Cucumber and Radish Salad, sea beans, kohlrabi, greek yogurt panna cotta).

Desserts: French press coffee, I had ti kuan yin tea (no big deal), Alberto had a good looking cheescake, Bette and I split a chocolate cake. Someone had the Napoleon. One had poppy cake. None was poisonous.

We caught Gemma taking pictures of the food for Pro Bono Baker. She looked a little embarrassed, but I wondered how she got all those great food pictures for her blog. Now we know.

After dinner, Sara left to visit sister Liz and Alberto and Chellie invited us to their new condo on Franklin in the River North area. We cabbed back to the condo and went up the elevator to 11. What a nice place. They had nice art, a view of the buildings on the river. The club across the street was loud they said, but that what happens in the city.

Alberto talked me into some Lambrusco, a slightly fizzy wine. Good, but on top of the other wine I was flying. Good thing we were cabbing back to the Hyatt. Bad thing was I had to get up the next day for a train back to work.

They had art from Alberto’s trip to Guatemala, and also a 4-image panel from a local artist, who makes cartoony images in the style of Roy Lichtenstein. Their panels were of Chellie’s various pet sayings, but a lot of thought went into the characters and the placement. Amazing.

Chellie gave Bette her birthday presents, a small red book of Italian cooking, and a succulent e.g. cactus in a lovely pot. Very nice. We wobbled back to the hotel.

Green Zebra Chicago 1460 west chicago ave. • chicago illinois 60622

Bette’s Birthday 2008 – Hyatt, Tri-Delta

For her birthday, Bette wanted to go to the Green Zebra, a nouveau-vegetarian restaurant in River West Chicago. We heard about it, seen on Check Please, and talked about with friends, none of whom had anything bad to say. Sign me up!

Sara, Bette and I headed down on Wednesday afternoon on Metra, overstuffed heavy hanging bag in hand. Hanging bags are very hard to manage when overstufffed — bulky! Bette was attending the Delta Delta Delta convention at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, so we were staying overnight. Sara had to work the next day, so she was training back.

Since it was holiday weekend, the $5 passes were for sale. The train is so nice for going downtown. The Hyatt is a good 1.5 miles from the train, and there was no way I was carrying the bag that far without a shopping cart. So we hopped in a cab with a dour driver and were there in a few minutes.

We checked in, while I got over my feeling of deja-vu from being there the previous week for the Tufte seminar. We moved over to the assistant manager check-in desk since Bette’s Tri-Delta pals had only signed her up for one night, but things were settled, and we headed up to 2330. It overlooked the river and we could see the new Trump tower, Wrigley building, and other places. Nice room. I changed, Sara worked on her newly shorn locks for a few hours.

Plan A was to go to Chellie and Alberto’s new place, and check it out. Bette checked in with Chellie, and they were in the middle of finding a repair service to fix their A/C. So we would head over there after dinner. Plan B was the Big Bar downstairs.

Sara had been here before, and we pulled up to a table, noticing it was REAL hot there. I took off my sport coat and noticed the table was warm to the touch — maybe the sun was on it all morning, it was now cloudy. We ordered a large Cosmopolitan for $24. Well, it was large! It was a large martini glass about 1 foot tall and 8 inches in diameter with three straws. (No backwash!). Needless to say we were all a little tipsy leaving. And it was still early!

Had a little challenge getting a cab — waited too long, and the evening rush had started, soaking up most of the cabs that had been dawdling outside. We found one, called Chellie to warn her we were on the way, and called the restaurant to warn them we were late, and to expect Gemma, who is usually very punctual. As a matter of fact, she was already there!

We stopped at Chellie’s on Franklin to pick up her brother Brad who, a football player and big guy, would not fit into the back of Alberto’s Miata. 5 minutes later we were down Chicago Ave and at the Green Zebra.