30 October 2007

gransfors bruks: because less is more

Saw this in the Outside gear guide. The gear "guide" is a a big advertising brochure jerk-off, but every now and then they feature something exceptional. Like the Gransfors Bruks splitting maul. This thing kicks ass.

Any axe/maul/splitting wedge that comes with it's own book is my kind of tool. I share it with you because it's an example of simplicity as a hallmark of good design. This should be in a museum, but you can buy one for yourself. That is a unique combination.

The original website (in english) has all the information, but you can't buy there. You can get your own at Gransfors.us, but they don't come cheap. You get what you pay for in bespoke tools.

29 October 2007

that's quite avant-garde, sir

I am not a fan of dress-up. never have been. But I know people that are. One all-star went to three halloween parties in three different costumes. And not just some I-have-horns-on-my-head-so-now-i'm-a-devil costume. Oh no. I'm talking about costumes that take some planning. and some pre-party shots to get you out of the house. like if you're going to be a mexican wrestler with the sweet mask and matching socks. and a speedo.


i am an international financier

Microlending (or microcredit, or micro-credit, depending on who you're reading) is all the rage right now. It's in Bill Clinton's book, it's a pet project of Natalie Portman, blah blah blah. Whatever. You heard about it here almost a year ago. Hate to brag that I was a little bit out in front of the curve on this one, but I watch public television. Weird, I know.

Kiva forwards updates on the person to whom you loan the money, so here's the latest:

Karomadjon is very happy, because due the loan from KIva she increased the volume of her goods and she could paid education for her children and also she could buy new clothes for daughter.Her business is gradually takes rate of groth.In thew end of this month she plans to purchase vegetables and other food product for winter season.She is very thankful for KIva.


25 October 2007

happy anniversary: Dick Vitale still has a job

In honor of our 2 year / 300 post anni over here at GJAW (formerly firedickvitale), I thought it would be fun to take a look at an early theme from the blog. Yes, Dick Vitale still has a job, and yes, he's still an idiot. If you think I'm just jealous because Dicky V. gets paid to say stupid shit and I don't, you're right. (image courtesy someecards - get over there and send someone you know an ecard right now.)

Dick Vitale writes like he speaks, and since he speaks like a drug-addled 4th grader, it's not hard to find fault with his writing. Some people probably think he does a good job. Some people think The Secret is full of insight. These people should get together, actualize themselves a brain.

So, Dick, where do we start today? The Stock Watch is too banal. It's lame and empty, but there's no there there. Thus nothing to critique. Ahhh, heeeeeere we are. Surely you can provide us with some insight on this repeated violation? No? How about some redundant idiocy? Perfect.

Down at Indiana, you would have thought Kelvin Sampson and his staff would have taken every precaution to avoid the embarrassment and humiliation of the latest telephone scam.

Would you? I'd have thought he would break the rules again, since he was an inveterate rule breaker at his last job.

On May 25, 2006, the NCAA banned Sampson from taking recruiting trips or calling recruits for one year.

This is important; we will be coming back to it shortly.

There were stipulations placed upon his hire at Indiana. The feeling was Sampson would be under a zero tolerance policy. No recruiting violations would be tolerated.

Is this the same thing as a "zero tolerance policy"? Because you just said that.

I spoke to Kelvin Sampson and he stated that they did not cheat, but they made an error in judgment.

Sampson was not supposed to make any recruiting calls, so he was conferenced in when they called him. And also, he had assistant coaches make calls for him and then put him on the phone in a 3 way conf. call. So technically, the coach didn't make any conf calls. Great leadership, coach. Way to set an example for your incoming guys.

He [Sampson] claims he unknowingly was patched in to calls with an assistant and a recruit.

I do not believe that you are telling the truth Mr. Sampson.

It will be interesting to see how Sampson cleans up this mess. For those who were critical of The General, Robert Montgomery Knight, I simply ask ... was there ever any talk, conversation or innuendo about any violations?

Bob Knight never violated recruiting rules. However, he punched his players, kicked his players, threw chairs/tantrums/fits, berated and physically threatened support staff, erupted at the slightest provocation, and set new standards for awful behavior as a human being in general and coaches in particular. People have written entire books about it. I'm too lazy to find the links describing how awful Bob Knight is, but I did google Bob Knight punch and got 151,000 hits. Start here if you need a refresher.

Clapton, pre-Fender; headaches; the apocalypse; anniversaries

We're all over the place in this post.

That's a photo of Eric Clapton, a man synonymous with the Fender Stratocaster, holding (and, one presumes, playing) a Gibson Les Paul. It's fun because you would probably never see it today. Photo courtesy AP and the CNN website. and the magic of the interweb.

got a tooth filled yesterday. dentist left the filling too high and I had to go back this morning and get it shaved down some more. still have the headache, though. sweet.

The apocalypse continues down here in SoCal. It's raining ash but at least it's not blocking out the sun today (like it did on Monday). All my peeps have been lucky and no one is in immediate danger, but it's still a mess. Miserably hot outside, everything reeks of smoke and ashy filth, air quality is awful, can't open doors or windows, hundreds of thousands of displaced and at-risk people in San Diego, etc. It's bad news. I volunteer at the local animal shelter and people are bringing in animals that are displaced or traumatized by the fire. crazy.

If you're counting, this is pithy, relevant post #300. I think it's been almost exactly two years. Or something. Number milestones are silly and arbitrary (if we had 8 fingers we would celebrate special annis on 8, 16, 24, 32, etc.) but as long as we are keeping track, I'm glad you're here.
love you.

23 October 2007

I know the taste of cork

ahhh, funny article about movies and the Boston accent ('pahk yah cah in Hahvahd yahd') in Slate.com today. here's the highlight:

But for those of us who grew up possessing, or shedding, a Boston accent, it's a deal breaker. Consider, if you will, the embarrassing hilarity that tends to ensue when my dear father, unapologetic owner of a medium-thick Boston brogue, returns an off bottle of wine at a restaurant because "I know the taste of cork. And this tastes like cork."

22 October 2007

devin hester is good at football

Devin Hester is fast. He plays for the Chicago Bears and scores touchdowns. He also likes to get his dance on before he scores touchdowns. And, because I know some people that know some people that live near Chicago, I know he pumps his own gas, as you can see in the photo at left.

I think that paint is custom.

19 October 2007

breakfast is the most important meal of the day

today is the second day in a row I had one of my favorite breakfasts. i put three homemade choc chip cookies in a large cereal bowl, poured rice krispies and then milk on top. mmmm... You feel kind of ill when you're done eating, but you can work through it. my cookies are pretty much the best choc chip cookies ever, but you can make them too. no secret recipes here.

(i knew a girl once that actually had a secret cookies recipe that she wouldn't divulge - seriously, like it was some kind of unique gift that no one else could have. pffffft.)

here's the recipe, in it's entirety:
recipe for cookies of awesome is based on classic toll house semi-sweet choc. chip recipe. what follows is that recipe, w/ small additions. Note that the changes aren't for everyone. some people prefer a crispy, dry, flat cookie. the standard recipe will work fine for those idiots. for more discriminating palates, and moist, fluffy cookies, use the recipe below.

Buy semi-sweet nestle chips in yellow bag. I like buying the big bag so I can throw in a few extra choc chips when I'm making the cookies, but it's not a requirement. do not add nuts.

* = special steps i figured out through accident and error. they are what separates my cookies from the pretenders.

2 1/4 cups + 1 Tblspn all purpose flour
1 tspn salt
1 tspn baking soda
Pinch of baking powder*

3/4 cups white sugar
3/4 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar (light brown is fine too)
2 sticks margarine* (nucoa or imperial work best - do NOT use butter when baking b/c it burns)
1 tspn vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups semi-sweet chips

Preheat oven to 375.

Put flour/salt/b soda/b powder in small bowl. Set aside.

Beat margarine, sugars and vanilla in large bowl until creamy.
Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. when well mixed...
gradually beat in flour mix. I do it in three parts, works great.
Mix in choc chips. throw a few extra in if you're feeling zany.

cool dough for 8-10 minutes in fridge before you bake put dough to pan. also, cool dough again between batches.*

put cookies on sheet. I use two regular teaspoons (the small ones in your silverware drawer) because I have years of practice and I'm zen, but some people use a mini ice cream scoop. whatever.

bake 9-11 minutes. be careful not to overcook.

to cool, place on cut up cardboard box laid flat on countertop, or on a paper bag (like the kind you get from the grocery) cut open and laid flat on countertop.* store when they reach room temp.

18 October 2007

The War: the best miniseries on television

I've been catching up with the WWII program on public television. I dvr'd it when it was on, but it was too much tv to watch all at once. Also, I had a lot of Halo3 I needed to play (war Lite). The program (officially titled The War) is outstanding. I cannot watch too much of it at once. Even the 2 or 2.5 hour format gets long, because a lot happens, and almost all of it is terrible.

Parts of it are funny, as when Sidney Phillips recalls a Marine recruiter telling him "you can't be in the Navy anyway, because your parents are married." Sidney joined the Marines.

Much of it is horrifying, with staggering numbers of dead and wounded. According to the program, 1 in 4 of all the men shipped away from the fighting were victims of some kind of mental disorder, for which they had names like "shellshock" and "battle fatigue". A phrase like "lost his mind because he got tired of killing people and people trying to kill him" is untidy and doesn't fit on reports.

Parts are both funny and horrifying, as when a cook being shelled at Anzio (7,000 dead, 36,000 wounded or missing, 44,000 "battle casualties" - about which see above) fell to his knees and shouted "God help us! You come yourself; don't send Jesus. This is no place for children."

The program is full of rich stories, compelling characters, and original images. I highly recommend it.

17 October 2007

gifts come in all shapes and sizes

i got a great gift yesterday. it came in the shape of an e-card, and it opened up a whole world of superb.

You can get yourself over to someecards right now and send some of your own. their tagline is "when you care enough to hit send", and it doesn't adequately convey the magic. You probably know at least one person that you can send a card to. Because you care enough to hit send.
Please don't confuse this with my post on gift cards; those are reserved for when you care enough to say you don't care very much.

16 October 2007


there's lots of ways to tell a story. If you're into writing stuff down, you can pick up one of these. Plus they come with a list of "practical applications" on the inside, such as:

Lengthy To-Do Lists
Big Ideas/Insights
Small Ideas/Notions
Gambling Debts
Loose Promises
Escape Routes
Shoddy Sketches
Half Ass Calculations

Buy yours here.

If you're the sort of person that likes to diagram stuff on 3x5 cards, then you might enjoy this. If you're like me, and you enjoy some quality time with your xbox and Halo3, then you especially liked this.

15 October 2007

the government is looking out for you

The feds are looking out for you, protecting your interests, keeping you safe from people that want to come over here, do your dishes, and then go home again.

I'm trying to figure out what part of this story would make sense to anyone but a government bureaucrat, but I can't.

I guess this guy's crime was that he didn't pay into social security (although he wasn't going to collect it) and maybe owed other tax monies. So of his $59,000 hard earned dollars, the feds said he could have $10k, plus some other $$ that people donated when they heard about the story. 11 years of work, and the feds say he can "keep" 1/6th of the original total. I love the federal government. They hardly ever waste my money. I'm sure they'll put this to good use.

That's US Customs: keeping you safe from, umm, people that want to earn some money and go home.

ps. I know this story came out some weeks ago, but I've been busy.

08 October 2007

I can't spend all my free time playing Halo3; I have to mix in some movie watching

saw no fewer than three movies this weekend. you don't get a body like this just going out and doing stuff. pfffft. f that noise.
in order of viewing:
  • In the Valley of Elah - highly recommended. It's heavy though.
  • Shooter - if you're bored shooting other people in Halo3, sit back and let Marky Mark do the heavy lifting for a couple hours. Recommended if you're bored and don't expect much; nuanced storytelling this is not.
  • Easter Promises - Recommended. Not on the level of Elah, but a good entertaining story. Viggo Mortensen (-son?) plays another hard case, and this latest makes that guy from History of Violence look like a sissy. He doesn't kick much ass, though. Mostly he just stands around and looks tough. Sometimes less is more.
More later. thanks for reading.

05 October 2007

more serious dog

yeah, this isn't as serious as serious face, but it is serious pants.

is it abuse to make your dog wear toddler pants (9 mos) so he won't scratch the place where his junk used to be? i'm saying no. but the dog might disagree.

hopefully I didn't lose you, because i'm back now

it's been too long.
way, way too long.

work has been hectic. but it's better now, so I don't mind doing some post-work updates for my peeps.

so much to discuss. I'm back on a regular twice- or thrice-weekly posting schedule, starting today.

in celebration I give you serious dog, with serious face. I could make him an internet superstar but the person that took the original photo resized it for email. so no close-up. bummer. he and serious cat could be bff's. except serious dog doesn't always play well with others. is it abuse to give your dog a bad haircut and make him depressed? maybe. is it funny? definitely.

thanks for reading.
see you soon.