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The Potential of Acquiring a Church
November 28th, 2022 | View Post

The front part of the sanctuary space
I've spent the past many years looking at warehouses, old elementary schools, firehouses, and churches. There's something about the idea of having the giant open spaces that appeals to me. I'm an extremely project-oriented kind of person. I'm always working on some form of my software, or music, or woodworking, or electronics, or any other number of outlets dear to my personality. So the idea of having a giant space (almost 10,000 square feet) where I can organize all of these different projects into their own collective environments has always really appealed to me. Not to mention, just the remodeling of the building itself using the tools in my own built in shop. That would be a pretty incredible way to spend a year.

On the downside, I'm not sure how many women would be interested in my converted church complete with corpse-filled cemetery, but I'm willing to take my chances on it. I'd much rather have the church than the visitors.

I found this church for sale awhile back and began entertaining the idea of purchasing it. The giant open church space (which is evidently referred to as the "sanctuary" on legal papers) would be the most incredible recording space I could possibly imagine. There are a number of rather well-known singer/songwriters who have done the same thing, perhaps most notably Ani DiFranco.

So when I saw this church, I immediately thought of the potential in that. Not to mention, this one actually has a pipe organ built into it - something I've dreamed of owning for decades now.


A look at the inner part of the sanctuary with the pipe organ pipes visible on the back wall


This particular church also has a cemetery attached to it. And the idea of owning and part-operating a local cemetery would just be one more of those things that I'd be absolutely thrilled to be a part of. I don't know that the local population has ever considered the idea of showing scary movies on the edges of the cemetery itself, but I'd have to imagine that there'd be a group of people pretty keen on the idea. Of course those kinds of possibilities suddenly become a reality when you own a church.

There's still a lot to work out. I have to run all of the numbers and ensure that the property is properly inspected, but it's definitely a potential front-runner for my new recording space.


An outside view of the edge of the cemetery


I'm not sure if the church comes with all of the fancy priest robes that are currently hanging inside of it, but I'd certainly ask for them in the sale given the chance.
Smoothie Recipe - The Don Julio
September 28th, 2022 | View Post
This is actually called a Julio Verde and as far as I know was first made at Juiceland in Austin, TX. But this is my own version of it. It's delicious and it's called the Don Julio.

My mom has been making smoothies lately. I vowed to her that I would share my recipe for this one. I have fulfilled my vow.



A Mobile kevinludlow.com?
September 15th, 2022 | View Post
I've probably had hundreds of people over the years request a mobile version of this site. I suspect the reason it's not already mobile-friendly is just one of those things that non-technical people can't fully understand. Given my actual website contains so much content and given that I'm the sole person who maintains it (and who has coded all of it), modifying the overall format is actually a pretty mammoth task.

There are generally two ways one can approach this problem:

1) The entire base website can be rebuilt into a responsive design fashion so that everything adjusts accordingly regardless of the interface accessing it (mobile, tablet, desktop, etc). This is a wonderful design option, but would require an enormous overhaul of the existing layouts. I'd have to go back through every single page and build the page entities to work in a responsive format. In short, this would be a rather significant amount of work, namely as it would require me ensuring that the desktop maintained its design elements too. This is further exacerbated by the reality that I'm a developer and not actually a designer (despite the fact that I do my own design too).

2) The second option is to build a brand new mobile version of the site that runs alongside of the desktop version. The downside is that I'll have two separate sites to maintain, but the upside being that changing one of them doesn't requiring the maintenance of two of them.

For various technical reasons, I've opted to go with option number 2. The bulk of my website is based upon complicated backend code that handles all of the requests from the database. The front-end is generally pretty straightforward and indeed works well on a desktop. It just doesn't work well on a mobile device. Incidentally, the reason it works well on a mobile phone is because the entirety of the site is built exactly to HTML 5 specifications. This is what allows the site to properly "shrink down" when viewed on a mobile device. The downside is that it becomes nearly impossible to read and navigate.

So essentially what will happen is that a new website will exist for mobile users. The site will incorporate the standard mobile-based navigation options, typically known as the "hamburger" dropdown. The backend code will remain in place and will be used to drive the new front-end design. Some backend changes will need to be added, but the majority of it will already be in place. On the other hand, the secondary design elements will need to all be created.

I've been working on this on and off for some time now . It's finally gotten close enough to being finished that I thought it was time to mention it.

As a quick side note, I've spent the entirety of 2022 completing a dozen pretty huge goals that I'd set out for myself. I only started working on them in March and yet, I should be on track to finish every one of them. Some of these goals include significantly elevating my work life, rebuilding part of my house, finishing my camper van, recording an album, rolling out several new software platforms, rolling out a new version of kevinludlow.com, and indeed rolling out the mobile version of kevinludlow.com.

I'm extremely confident at this point that the new site will be available soon enough!
9/11 Memorial
September 11th, 2022 | View Post

Benjamin Lowrey


April 30th, 1987 - September 11, 2021


Ben sailing on the Straight of Gibraltar to Morocco

Dan Carlin - War Remains
August 29th, 2022 | View Post

Dan Carlin
I was first alerted to the fact that Dan Carlin was working on a virtual reality production of World War I several years ago. But it was only in the fall of 2021 that I was made aware it would be opening in Kansas City in the coming months. As it happened, I was regularly in Kansas City at that time and was very eager to see his work. I wound up leaving the midwest and so I missed the opening shows that I had otherwise intended to attend. But with the show coming to an end, I figured it would be wise to spend some time in Kansas City so that I'd finally have a chance to see it.

I've been a huge fan of Dan Carlin for many years now. I've purchased his entire catalogue and have listened to each of his shows numerous times, some of them even dozens of times. They're perfect for solo road trips and as it happens, I make a lot of solo road trips. I've only ever found two people who seem to enjoy them as much as I do; generally speaking, they don't play well to groups. Most people don't seem especially interested in a story that takes 14 hours to unfold.

I primarily started listening to Dan Carlin for his episodes about ancient history. His historical accounts of the Romans, the Egyptians, the Carthaginians, and eventually even the Mongols are absolutely riveting. The perspective one can gain from absorbing these kinds of deeper histories in invaluable to the human experience. This is even more the case when considering any number of contemporary political issues we're facing. It's frankly a little shocking just how distorted people's views are regarding the current state of the world. The truth of the matter is that we are improving the world in massive strides almost daily and yet, the general perception is exactly the opposite. But I digress. The point is simply that getting a wider understanding of these histories has real-life value and helps a person to remain grounded in a sea of ignorance of misinformation.

Somebody once asked me, "How many people actually died as a result of the World Wars?" I was quick to respond with "About eighty million". My answer seemed impossible and yet, a quick Google search would confirm that it's estimated just slightly under that figure. This was a highly intelligent and well-rounded person dubious of my response. So I think it begs the question: how can we really qualify the scope of modern conflicts and disasters when the realities of even the recent past aren't hard-coded into our brains? My grandfather was deployed into Germany during the Second World War. This wasn't very long ago; the past matters.

So while I came for the ancient history, Dan is entirely responsible for having gotten me much more interested in the wars of the modern era. What's more is that almost in the style of Howard Zinn, Dan presents the stories from a variety of perspectives. His series on World War I, "A Blueprint for Armageddon" is one of the most fascinating perspectives of that war I've ever heard. The depth that he goes into, the steps he takes to get there, the primary sources that he pulls, and his passion for telling the story brings it to life in ways I'd not have thought possible.

The World War I museum in Kansas City felt the same way. They partnered with him to create what they call War Remains. In short, the experience is a virtual reality assisted walk through the trenches of a World War I battle. Dan Carlin narrates the action happening all around as you explore on your own. A set was built to match the virtual environment and so the person is able to experience the sensation of flying overhead and walking around the battlefield as it rages on.


A small part of the set you walk through. You can see the barbed wire and sandbags along the sidewalls


The scene is set when the user is flying overhead in a newly designed airship. Flak is being shot into the air and there are dozens of other war-bound airships in the vicinity. When the scene changes, the war ship has "landed" and the user steps directly into the trenches of World War I. Artillery strikes are going on all around. The constant bombardment - known as "drumming" - can be seen, heard, and even felt. The level of detail is phenomenal and I would imagine that anybody who has fought in a war like that would likely experience some very serious flashbacks of PTSD.

I realize that Kansas City isn't a very popular tourist destination, but given the opportunity, I would highly encourage anybody who can get to this show to see it before it closes.


Dave and I at the top of the World War I Museum tower after seeing War Remains


My Dog Food Recipe
August 8th, 2022 | View Post
I started making Atti's dog food several months ago. It's been a huge hit to say the very least. I've shared some of the food that I've made with a few other friend's dogs and they too have seemed to really enjoy it. It's not just the fact that she scarfs it down, but rather that her general health seems to have improved dramatically. She was already a pretty happy and healthy little dog, but now she seems to have much more energy, is way better disciplined, and definitely doesn't ever pass up the opportunity to have a meal.

It's a brown rice base with either lamb or turkey and a ton of vegetables. I would prefer to use lamb, but it winds up being considerably more expensive and so I instead use turkey. It's still more expensive than ground beef, but I generally read it's much better for dogs so I use it.

So with that, I thought I'd share the recipe with others.

Ingredients
  • 50 plastic sealable bags - $2.88
  • 6 lbs of 85% lean ground turkey - $19.98
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken broth - $1.98
  • 2 cups long brown rice - $3.05
  • 2 cups organic carrots with stems - $2.98
  • 2 cups spinach - diced - $1.38
  • 2 cups kale greens - diced - $1.18
  • 2 cups organic beets diced - $2.98
  • 4 cups sweet potatoes diced - $1.56
  • 1 Fuji apple - $1.44
  • 1 Asian pear - $2.09
  • 2 cups cucumber diced - $0.48
  • 4 cups broccoli diced - $2.96
  • 2 cups cauliflower diced - $3.18

Total Price: $48.12 (price per meal: about $0.96)

Required Tools
  • cutting board
  • large dutch oven with lid
  • cast iron skillet
  • large pot with lid
  • sharp knife
  • digital scale
Prepare the Rice

Add 2 cups of organic long brown rice into a large sauce pan. Add 4 cups of low sodium chicken broth. Add 1 cup of water. Cover with the pot lid. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for about 35 more minutes or until all of the water is absorbed / evaporated.

Prepare the Vegetables

Wash the vegetables, but do not remove the skin. Dice all of vegetables except for the spinach and kale. Be sure not to include the seeds from the apple and the pear. Place all of the newly diced vegetables to the side.

Using a large dutch oven (or equivalent pot), place a little bit of olive oil at the bottom of the pot, add the vegetables while continuing to mix them up. Once all of the vegetables have been added, pour in about 4 cups of water. Cook over medium-high heat with the lid on. You'll occasionally need to remove the lid to stir up the vegetables. The goal is to soften them.


My dutch over full of the vegetables that I'm steaming


Prepare the Greens

Dice all of the spinach, kale, and carrot top stems and place them to the side.

Prepare the Turkey

Using a cast iron skillet or equivalent, cook 3 pounds of turkey at a time. Start by coating the skillet with a light amount of olive oil or cooking spray. Add the turkey. Cook over a medium high heat until brown. You'll need to break the meat up using a spatula or similar tool. Once 3 pounds have been cooked, place them into a separate bowl and begin preparing the second 3 pound batch.

Blend the Vegetables


The softened vegetables being 'ground up' in my Kitchen Aid
Add the spinach, kale, and carrot stems into the dutch oven with the vegetables. Stir them sufficiently into the mix. Once they have been mixed, begin taking small amounts of the vegetable mix and place it into a food processor or kitchen aid to be blended. Blend the vegetables into a mix that resembles a pâté.

Mixing Everything

Once everything has been cooked, use a large bowl to mix everything together. Add the rice, the blended vegetables, and the turkey meat. Generously stir the bowl to ensure that everything is properly blended together. It will be about 15 pounds of food and will require some time and effort.

If you don't have a bowl that is large enough to mix all 15 pounds of food together, you can do this step in multiple mix stage. Just try to keep the portions as accurate as possible so that everything is properly mixed together during the final bagging phase. Otherwise you'll have meals that will be disproportionally heavy in either rice, meat, or veggies.


Use a large mixing bowl to mix all of the ingredients together


A bowl full of cooked brown rice ready to be mixed in


Portion and Store the Meals

Determine the sufficient quantity of food that is right for your dog. Atti gets about 5oz. Use a kitchen scale to determine how much of a sealable plastic bag constitutes a single meal. Portion all of the food mix into individual bags.


50 bagged portions stored in 3 separate bags


At about 5oz per bag, I usually wind up getting about 50 meals worth of food out of the mix.

Seal the bags one-by-one and place them into a larger bag. Place this bag into your freezer.

Reheating the Meals

Take one of the meals out, add it into a bowl, and ideally add some boiling water to it. Let it sit out to warm up or place in the microwave for about 90 seconds. Be sure to stir the food sufficiently. Also be sure that it has properly cooled down before serving it.