Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Heteronormative Behavior

Last night with the daughter we discussed some ideas about heteronormative behavior. This is what we came up with:

  • Thumbs on belt buckle – better if buckle is size of small dinner plate
  • Egocentric swagger
  • Aggressive attitude
  • “Well actually”

Friday, November 1, 2019

New Universe of Kombucha Revealed

In a grocery store in Hood River I found the kombucha section terra incognito. There were a few brands I recognized, but the majority were new to me. Many of the companies were local, from Hood River, Bingen, and White Salmon.

I’m guessing the commercial production of kombucha doesn’t need a huge investment which allows smaller players to get into the game.

I tried two local varieties, only one of them earning a “good” rating. I am intrigued to try them all.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Thinking Snow

This is when my mind starts churning when the season will start.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Ramen Notes

I always enjoy ramen-based gifts, as well as eating ramen.

This novelty pack of ramen post-it notes had the following instructions:

  1. Boil 2 cups water in a saucepan. Be sure to use distilled water;
  2. Carefully pour boiling water into sink. You don’t need it;
  3. Write message. Season with profanity as required;
  4. Peel off sheet and apply to desired location.

 There’s more smartassery on the packaging – good stuff!

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

The family and impeachment: Nothing is true, everything is plausible

We are an intensely political family, made more so by the psychotic who currently resides in the White House. What is my current fear? Of course, I fear war, famine, accident, disaster, but in the political sense it is a retreat from objective reality.

The liberal mind says that there is a democracy of ideas, and after a thorough, rational debate, the best ideas will win out, the truth will triumph. That idea has been firmly put to bed. In this new age, no jack-booted thugs (not yet at least) will break down our door for our political beliefs. Rather our views, objective reality, any opposing view to Trump’s, will be shouted down, drown out by individuals or bots with a different message. These actors may, or may not, be in the service of a political party or government.

The liberal also believes in the right of the individual to freely express opinions. But consider that on the internet there is no fact checking – all views are equal, even if they are hateful and untrue.

The world Trump ushers in is one where the powerful create the reality. The GOP is spending tens of millions of dollars to convince people that the impeachment process is a fraud, that all who accuse the president of wrongdoing are the actual culprits. Already at town hall meetings the incurious are demanding that impeachment stop until there is a complete investigation of the Bidens.

The antidote is to say that all views are not valid. There is a place where one needs to stand firm. Hateful people espousing supremacy are not “fine people.” Asking a foreign government to investigate your political rivals is criminal.

I get heartened by the Rachel Maddow Show, as she puts the criminality and arrogance of Trump’s GOP into stark contrast. In the morning I realize it is far from certain that those who read the documents or understand foreign affairs will have the upper hand.

The kids are steadfast on their respective issues, having already internalized this message -- endless equivalence of ideas is a recipe for well-meaning liberals to be consumed by those who have no principles and respect only power.

The impeachment process will be pivotal in the kids’ lives as its conclusion will either be the day reason and the rule of law returned, or the moment where extreme unction for America becomes lit in neon.

Timothy Snyder writes in his book On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century, “To abandon facts is to abandon freedom. If nothing is true, then no one can criticize power, because there is no basis upon which to do so. If nothing is true, then all is spectacle.” 

Stephen Colbert once joked, “reality has a well-known liberal bias.”

When reason fails, the devil helps. —Fyodor Dostoevsky

Monday, October 7, 2019

Cast Iron Skillets For Unrepentant Burger Blast

I saw this array of cast iron heating up and knew the ordinary hamburger had no chance.

A burger seared, almost charred, yet still pink on the inside is perfection come to earth -- add a core of molten cheese and you've transcended the genre. There were sauteed onions and mushrooms to bring this to burgervana.

I appreciate the full-on assault with iron, blazing heat and lots of red meat. The oil in the pans is to provide a non-stick surface. Lots of smoke, oil splattering and happy diners.

Burger stoke!

Thursday, October 3, 2019

The Plumber Joke

The repaired faucet.

I’ve given up feeling bad about not being more capable at doing home repair. I’m still tempted to do simple things, but generally I’m willing to pay the money to have a professional repair that lasts more than a weekend.

Case and point: My friend successfully replaced a toilet in his home, only to sacrifice 72 hours over four days and watching so many YouTube videos explaining the procedure he needed a new eyeglasses prescription.

Over the past few months our kitchen faucet became loose. I understood that something needed to be tightened, but what exactly and how tight?

The plumber arrived and had a space-age tool that did indeed tighten a nut deep in the faucet assembly. I was thrilled because the repair was less money than other options and I had nothing in the garage even close to being able to reach this recessed nut.

The bonus came when the plumber, a lively young man, cracked wise about enjoying a full range of specialized tools.

“Some plumbers can do everything with a screwdriver,” he said. “I asked one such fellow how it was he was so dedicated to the pursuit of excellence with just a simple tool.”

“He told me that it wasn’t so much the screwdriver, but rather the time it took to wield it. `If you got two hours, I’ll dig your hole with a screwdriver.’”

This underscores my friend’s toilet experience, with unlimited time and dedication I’ll figure out a repair, but it certainly sucks less to get some help.

I proclaim stoke for the blessing of being able to get a plumber to repair the faucet – over and out!

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Kid's Reusable Lunch Sack

We're all trying to cut down on consumer waste. Sometimes it seems futile, but it's important to have a conservation mindset if we are to make significant progress on the climate crisis in the future.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Comrade Kid Guesses My Communist Joke

Me: What is guacamole in Ljubljana made out of?

Comrade Kid: "Slavacadoes"

I will return to the gulag to sharpen my wit.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Repo Man Showcase: A Star Is Born

So proud of the daughter for performing the Repo Man soundtrack at the School of Rock. I love the music as well as the movie, which spawned years of oblique references.

The kid was the headliner, as she was lead vocalist on “Institutionalized,” arguably the most iconic of all songs on the soundtrack and the one that closed out the show. She gave a raw, electrifying performance. No half measures with this song -- go wild and loud or go home.

Other excellence included “When the Shit Hits the Fan” on which she played guitar.
Often it was hard to hear the vocals, but as this was a tribute to punk rock a glossy perfection would be anathema to larger aesthetic concepts. Other high points included two rockin' songs in Spanish.

I am so happy the kid wanted to perform the songs of my youth – she could have done a Hall and Oats showcase, the Lion King soundtrack, or just played a tambourine at a drum circle. But no, she chose the raw angst bubbling out of suburban rebellion. Rebelling against what, you might ask. What do you have?

Here is the “Institutionalized” video:

The other songs:

Here's a blast from 2013 with "Wilderness Punks"

Saturday, September 21, 2019

All the slow cooker food now cooked under pressure


Once upon a time I used the slow cooker several times a month. Now every time I want to cook a slow recipe I throw everything into the pressure cooker.

It's like all my misgivings about the government, extra terrestrial visitation, political unrest are expressed in the way I cook. The apocalypse won't wait 10 hours. Better do things quickly.

I embrace my neurosis and hope for a lighter load.

Mental health stoke!

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Rats Love Hide and Seek: Scientists Prove What We Already Knew

Above: Great rats thinks alike -- yesterday both rats at different times thought hiding in a tissue box would be most excellent.

Rats enjoy the game of hide and seek. Any rat owner can tell you this. When you let them out of the cage for free play, there is often an exploratory burst of energy, and then a settling in at the new hiding spot.

Scientists researched this behavior and concluded that for the rats this is a game with specific rules associated with it. Check out the story here.

This is yet further verification of what we already knew, that rats are highly intelligent, social animals that delight in play.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

“Buchamos:” The Spanish Word I Invented

The hard truth: Our favorite flavor of kombucha sold out at the market -- mango passionfruit.

Celebrating the love our family has for kombucha, I invented the Spanish word “Buchamos” – meaning, let’s gather and drink kombucha, or “booch.”

The obvious question is why mess with a foreign language I know next to nothing about? Thinking back to the time I was a pseudo (pa-swee-do) intellectual, I learned that all languages mutate and change, and the engine creating the change is need, practically, humor, and everything else one can think of.

And why is Spanish the language of Kombucha? Indeed. At this point, one kid is studying German, the other Arabic. Somehow all of us in this household had a year or two of Spanish and regard it as an important language, even if none of us speak it well.

I commiserate with Spanish-speakers who might get angry with this cultural appropriation. To you I say, I mean no harm, only to celebrate the unique and refreshing taste of kombucha with everyone.

Kombucha stoke!

Sunday, September 8, 2019

New Sport Attempted: Downhill Mountain Biking

This picture sums up the experience well. You put your mountain bike on a chairlift, then ride it down a trail and try to avoid catastrophe.

I borrowed a friend's bike, which wasn't built or fully configured for this purpose, which slowed my speeds considerably. Downhill bikes have forks with 8" of suspension travel, cushy rear suspensions, and tires looking like they belong on motorcycles.

Still, the experience was excellent -- what's not to like with endless downhill? I kept having to remind myself that this wasn't like skiing, where a minor fall is no big deal. Here any fall, however slight, had the potential to break an arm or leg. Lots of full-face helmets and shin, knee and elbow guards on those who appeared more expert. Also, there was a system of access roads where the pickup truck with a stretcher in the back could evacuate an injured rider.

Another way to get up on the mountain and proclaim stoke!