25 December 2016

Merry Christmas! Happy Festivus!

There is a guy in my neighborhood that puts out a Festivus pole in front of his house every year. It's on a busy street, just a couple blocks up from a Catholic church, so he knows what he's about. I appreciate that, because I reject both the bullshit religiosity and the bullshit commercialism that typifies most Christmas events.

I remain a fan of the Winter Solstice celebration as gift exchange (and because it's fun when the days start trending brighter), and also the reminder that you should do something nice for people you care about, maybe take some time to sit with them and enjoy that experience. Or punish yourself and hang out with family members and in laws that you don't like. Up to you.

Whatever you end up doing I hope you had a good 2016, and that 2017 makes you rich in happiness and friendship.

15 December 2016

RIP 'Smart' Watches

I'll just leave this here:


With some tags so that it's easier to find later: iphone / apple / apple watch / smart watch / I don't find these articles / they find me

14 December 2016

Smart Watches Remain Poop, and Skateboarding is Rad

//Edited to fix the text glitch. HTML oopsie.//

This skate video is insane. There are so many out of this world tricks that you get numb to it after a while. Almost. Enjoy.

Big shout to Big Cheese for sharing the video. But also, he writes:

while i agree with you that the smart watch is unappealing in every way, this sounds a lot like your abhorrence of smart phones. 

regardless, I got a hand-me-down g-shock about 10 years ago, and with a new band the thing is pretty amazing

Yes! My loathing of 'smart' watches has a lot of overlap with my well-documented loathing of 'smart' phones. Part of this is my general luddite attitude, and part of it is rebellion against inaccurate language, and part of it is a simple rejection of a shit product.

My luddite attitude is a bit overstated. I heart the technology as much or more than the next guy. It pays the bills! (As I type this I'm listening to music on my iPhone via Soundcloud. With proper headphones you can dodge much of the bullshittery associated with your smartphone. It's nice! Good thing apple didn't fuck that up. Oh wait. Very courageous. Seriously. Courage.) Inaccurate language is important - 'smart' phones are not really phones, and 'smart' watches are not really watches. Both are computers, and while the phone really is a revolutionary gadget the smartwatch is lame junk. Someday it may not be so lame, like when the battery lasts for more than 12 hours or it replaces your phone altogether

My other spicy hot beef with these products is that 'smart' watches violate most of the principles of good design. What are they good for? Not much. They aren't good computers, and they aren't good watches. There is no reason to buy one unless you cannot look at your phone. Save your money. Or buy something that isn't shit, and wear it with the warming knowledge that you're a jackass that REALLY knows how to waste money on prestige brands.

06 December 2016

Smart Watches are Poop

Excellent Photograph of a Beautiful Instrument
I went in on 'smart' watches a while back. My position has not changed (nor will it, until the product utility improves and/or the price comes down) but it is interesting to know that the products themselves are not proving very popular with consumers. It's almost like people recognize that they are overpriced trash. Weird.

You were probably (not) wondering what a truly smart watch looks like. Any Casio Calculator would be good, and what lack in water resistance is more than made up for by the ability to do maths on a verrrrry tiny keypad and screen. Plus all the ladies will love you.

There are watches that function as an altimeter, watches that are designed to survive the nuclear apocalypse, and watches that just tell the time, but do so very elegantly ($20 for that watch is great).

Thanks to the power of ye olde intertubez it is possible to get small runs of watches made with Miyota movements, such as this affordable model with no branding whatsoever. That's some straight underground shit right there! Robust, classic design in a tidy package sounds very smart to me.

If you want to go upmarket then the Omega Speedmaster Professional (pictured) has a stopwatch and a clever little tachometer on the front. I'm not convinced of the utility of either feature but it's forebear was the first watch on the moon, and it remains the very definition of 'classic design' and still looks the business. Supposedly they use digital watches on all US space missions and have for years but they still bring these analog watches anyway, just in case. I'm not sure I believe that, but it sounds like something you can tell your well heeled associates at your working lunch.

Any one of these remains a better value than a 'smart' watch, so get out there and tell people what time it is.

04 December 2016

What's Better Than Kittens? Nothing!

Ugh Stop It Already
Maybe a kitten and his hunky owner. You can decide for yourself.

Blah blah royal navy pilot found a kitten stowed away in his bumper (!!) and of course the place the kitten feels most comfortable sleeping is in his flight helmet and of course he's ridiculously photogenic and of course his squadron mascot is a tiger and ughhhh kittens and navy pilots and ohh lordy men in uniform and is that stubble even regulation what the hell?

Kittens are better than puppies every time. True fact. Dogs are great, but puppies are a nightmare.

30 November 2016

Flan is Yummy and Sort of Easy

Pictured: Hassle
I mentioned that I made some treats. Aside from pumpkin pie and apple pie and samoa cookies (twice) and brownies and oatmeal chocolate chip cookies I also made a flan. It turned out pretty good. I ate half of it and gave the rest to my peeps that I shared the samoas with. They live walking distance and they have small kids so they're often home and (importantly) they don't mind if I show up with desserts that I already ate a generous portion of, as with the flan. Best kind of peeps.

Getting the caramel right is the hardest part of making a flan. I made a mexican flan with the lechera sweetened condensed milk so the custard part was a breeze. Making the caramel was a bitch. Fortunately I had the advantage of having eaten hundreds and hundreds of examples of flan over the years so I had a pretty good idea what I was aiming for with the caramel.

Took a picture of the finished product but the coating was the real magic. That's the goods right there. Gaze upon it in wonder.

28 November 2016

Getting Caught Up

How was your thanksgiving? Was it good? Did you give thanks? It was a Thursday again this year (weird). Mine was good in that I got to visit with some friends that I enjoy, but not so good in that I made some pies that were merely adequate; the recipe sucked for one of them and then the other one I sacrificed so that my friends pie would turn out better. We shared filling, and she needed more filling for her pie so that it was amazing and delicious. Sometimes you have to make sacrifices for the greater good. It was tough but I managed. Oh also shitty was my back went out on Thursday. I maybe aggravated it doing some boring and lame yoga poses (I don't do the zany shit any more). So I dunno. Just the cost of doing business I guess.

Did I mention that I made some treats the past couple weeks? I made some treats. It's not all about me but still: treats! Pictured here are the homemade 'samoa' cookies I got from a recipe off ye olde internet. They are no longer called samoa cookies btw, and the recipe got pulled for some unknown reason. Could be that the cookie name is culturally insensitive, or it could be that the recipe was not well vetted. It was obviously something that they built in individual parts and then gave you the quantities for those successful recipes; not much care was given to the amounts relative to one another.

Aside from not being well written, the recipe did not make nearly enough cookie dough relative to the enormous amount of caramel/coconut mixture, and then I needed about 2x as much chocolate as they suggested. In other words it was about what I would expect from a recipe that I got from a popular  internet site that puts shortcuts in almost everything. (Biscuit dough from a can is a regular ingredient.) Upside: The price was right and everything turned out well enough, all things considered.

Photo is from the second iteration because I had enough filling/topping to make a second batch. All I had to do was make more cookies, which was pretty easy since I didn't bother with the doughnut shape cookie called for in the traditional samoa. Rolling and cutting and baking all this was enough of a hassle. Plus it made spreading the topping on a little easier. I ended up sharing most of these with my peeps. They probably took them to work; it ended up being a lot of dense cookie by the end. I could barely eat three or four at a time like I usually do.

23 November 2016

16 November 2016

Colin Nissan is a True Hero for Our Time: Decorative Gourd Season

It's that time of year again! That's right, it's Decorative Gourd Season, Motherfuckers. I'm ready. Are you ready? I SAID ARE YOU FUCKING READY? Get fucking ready because it's called Decorative Fucking Gourd Season for a reason, motherfuckers.

Usually this time of year is above average. I hear Fall is lovely in certain parts of the country. Recent events may have crushed dampened your spirit somewhat, but that's no reason to throw in the towel on Decorative Gourd Season. Now more than ever it is essential to fight the good fight. Do not let unrepentant asshats normalize aberrant behavior, and by that I mean fuck gluten free vegan desserts right into the goddamn trash where they belong. What did you think I meant?

Are you lonely and depressed and disappointed and disillusioned? Me either! So I'm going to give this playlist a try, make some desserts. It might be good. It might be rubbish! There's no knowing until you give it a listen. It's like a metaphor for life in that way. First track is very strong, so start there, and see where it takes you. If that's not doing anything for you then maybe try and take a nap.

See you out there.

15 November 2016

Fundraisers: Wade's Army

Me in a t-shirt / Meredith is festive in a cape (She's rad like that)
My gym participates in a fundraiser every year for Wade's Army. It's a good cause, and the group that organizes it donates their time and resources so that all of the money they raise goes to families or groups that support the families with housing or resources. This is important, because most of the money donated to charity goes to the overhead associated with running a business, which is why most charities end up spending more money on marketing than they do on actual support.

So if you didn't already have enough commitments and were interested in supporting an organization that helps families with children that are battling neuroblastoma, then you can go here and make a contribution. If you sign up for the mailing list you can donate next year and get a free t-shirt (weights and man-tights not included*).

* It's very important to stay warm during workouts. Science.

09 November 2016

This is a Motorcycle

Please Build This Please Please Please
We still love fast motorcycles in this space, although tastes have changed and I now prefer bikes that won't make my back hurt just by looking at them. This bike is a concept and it looks lovely. Put a light on it and go bananas.

This motorcycle is from Honda (it's a cb1100 TR) and it has an analog from Yamaha that is already in production. Supposedly that is a pretty good bike to ride. Unfortunately it is also a bug-eyed monstrocity. (What were they thinking?)

Our Long National Nightmare Is Ov- Wait, What? Oops - Our Long National Nightmare is Just Beginning

A lot of digital ink has been spilled over the last 12 hours about Donald "Grab them by the Pussy" Trump's historic win in the presidential election. Like most sentient people that vote in elections* I have some thoughts. Let's do this!

It's hard to be too surprised that Trump won an election when you remember that this country elected George W. Bush twice. He was a historically bad leader and as a result his successor(s) lost elections to a smart, polished, charismatic senator from Illinois. Obama was 'bad' for the country in that he tried to give poor people health care and protect the environment and reduce the absurd wealth inequality that characterizes America. Along the way he encouraged / forced the country to have some difficult conversations about racism. That is to say, difficult if you are a racist, which is something that a great many people are but would rather not cop to, as they find it upsetting. ("Why do people talk about race? It wouldn't be an issue if people would just not talk about it." - something that a co-worker of mine said to me with a straight face, as though a gangrenous infection that runs through our cultural body will get better all on its own.)

The right-wing media machine has been blowing that racist dog whistle long and hard for the past 8 years. Donald Trump was on board early with his birtherism bullshit, but you couldn't throw a rock in this country without hitting a conservative talk radio host or tv host or columnist or twitter egg trying to identify Obama as the Other. That message really landed!

The next big takeaway from all this is that white people don't care what a candidate says as long as he gives them something to believe in. It might be a complete fiction (immigration is not the problem in America, wealth inequality is the problem), but that doesn't matter if it gets people off the couch.

lol you probably thought the key word in that last paragraph was 'believe'. Gotcha, sucker. The key word was the male singular pronoun HE. White America refuses to be governed by a woman. Educated white America, uneducated white America, male white America, and female white America all voted the same way: Trump. Men by a wide margin (~70% Trump / 30% Clinton), women less so (54% Trump / 43% Clinton), but you can see the numbers and results right there for yourself. These facts are hard to reconcile given all the things that Trump said during his campaign. He is not religious, he had little support from the party. If Trump were even marginally qualified for office we could point to other factors. Fortunately(?) for us he is not, and this throws the gender and racism in the system into stark relief. Welcome to America! It's exactly as dumb as it looks on TV.

Look forward to four years of dismantling Obama's legacy on health care, the environment, wealth inequality (rich people are about to get even richer!), gender inequality, gay rights, and more. This country takes one step forward, three steps back. White America is stupid far beyond science's ability to accurately predict. Fuck them, and fuck Donald Trump.

* And unlike Donald Trump , who voted for only the second time in his life in this election; he is seventy years old.

02 November 2016

Election 2016! PREDICTIONS!!1!ELEVEN!!!

Hilary Clinton is a not a great presidential candidate. I never in my life thought I would consider voting for a Republican president. I am not wealthy by GOP standards. I am not religious. And I am not obviously stupid enough to vote against my own interests. That the GOP promotes and enables religious fanatics and similar idiots does limit my options, but still: Hilary is not a strong candidate. If the GOP could field a decent alternative then they had a real chance at my vote.

The GOP did not field a decent alternative. The GOP trotted out a bunch of clown shoes masquerading as Serious Men of Leadership and Seriousness. The clown that won the party's nomination is historically bad.

There are alternatives to the two mainstream party candidates. These alternatives are also not good. At all. (Hat tip to Jeffy for the video recommendation.)

Is this the best America can do? It seems so, for now. 

In a few days days our long - very, very long - national nightmare will be over. I have no idea who will win, but I do know that an asshole will become president. You heard it here first.

24 October 2016

I Have Something I Know That You Want

John Oliver is strong to very strong.
5 minutes of video, but you will need sound.

23 October 2016

Nightmare Fuel: Spider Eats a Mouse

This is all over the interwebs (HONK!) but it's worth revisiting here.

Photo shows a huntsman spider carrying off a small mouse that he, you know, killed, and is going to go eat. A bit of take-away, if you will. Take out? Whatever they call it down under. Who cares? Australia is terrifying. Everything there is poisonous. Even the mammals.

16 October 2016

Your "Smart" Watch is Disposable Trash

Do You Know What Time It Is?
Let's get this out of the way up front: "Smart" watches are trash. I understand that this is a warm to hot take but I feel good about it. Let's unpack their disposable trash-ness.

Some context: In 1992 I bought a stainless steel (unusual for that time, when most Casio cases were resin) Casio Pentagraph DW-7200. I think I paid the princely sum of $120, which is about $200 today, so it was at the high end of the Casio range, mainly because of stainless case and screw down backing. Browsing the internets it seems that most people bought this thing because it looked cool: they liked the dials on the front (hence: 'pentagraph').

Since then I have replaced the band four or five times, and the battery once(!). It is no longer waterproof to 200M but it has served admirably for the past 20+ years. The only threat to its continued service is my own negligence. At this point it's the most reliable object I have ever owned. If everything else I bought lasted this long then the glorious consumer engine that is the American economy would shudder to a screeching halt. And it looks pretty good for what is now officially a 'vintage' Casio.

Contrast this functional, robust instrument with whatever 'smart' watch you like. This device has almost none of the features you can find on your Series 1* Apple "watch" (no retina display, no bluetooth -lulz, no wifi- lulz, no heart rate sensor, no 'watch os2' - whatever that is). It also doesn't have "up to 18 hours of battery life", which is a very interesting feature to offer in a device that is supposed to report the time and date, and also: are you fucking joking? What kind of asshole buys a 'watch' that can't even tell the time for at least 18 hours?

There are other watches that perform marginally better, but for the most part the pattern is the same. It's a micro-computer that integrates with the mini-computer in your pocket or purse, and in that role it is barely adequate. It does do some things, but you can get all of those things from your phone and a fitbit.

Also, let's be honest about what a 'smart' watch is: it's an excuse for someone to check their email and text messages without getting out their phone. So it gives you a new and novel way to be that asshole that is constantly checking your phone. Congratulations?

Will anyone be using these 'smart' watches in 20 years? Hell no. 10 years? No. Five years? Umm, no. In two or three years they will all be obsolete. And you will buy a new one, and then you have a growing collection of junk watches that won't even be as useful as the early-gen Ipods, which were at least viable as external hard drives.

Please don't buy a 'smart' watch. They are bad and dumb, and you are neither of those things. Right? Right.

* Note that the Series 1 is the old, even more trash version than the new version - Apple loves selling you overpriced disposable consumer items more than anyone. Don't people get tired of planned obsolescence?

15 October 2016

Trolley Problem: Solved

Bit late to this but if you are familiar with the Trolley Problem then you will probably enjoy this creative solution. Kid gets a perfect score for fairness; empathy score is, ahhhh, somewhat lower.

Short summary of the Trolley Problem - a runaway 'trolley' is barreling down tracks towards five people. The resulting, inevitable crash will kill all involved. You can intervene by pulling a lever so that the trolley switches to a different track, killing only one person. What would you do?

14 October 2016

Trump Sandwich

Much like the man himself - we know it has terrible taste.

Signboards are kind of a theme this week.

This Will Make You Feel Better

If this doesn't make you smile then I can't help you.

13 October 2016

Microservices: Culture -> Strategy -> Skills -> Tools

(This post is related to a presentation I gave about two months ago on microservices tools. If you don't know what that means and/or aren't interested in it then just ignore. We will return to our regularly scheduled programming shortly.)

I was asked give a talk at a microservices seminar. My job was to cover/demo  the tools used for 'typical' microservices deployments. ('Typical' is a generic term and does not lend itself well to this kind of talk, but whatever.) The tool-specific section of that talk is less important than the overarching themes I explored when I introduced the tools. Specifically, I outlined a hierarchy of dependencies that will enable (or derail) any microservices initiative.* They are, in descending order of criticality:
  1. Culture
  2. Strategy
  3. Skills
  4. Tools
Any organization that attempts to adopt a microservices initiative without alignment in all of these key areas will never reach their full potential. At best they will fumble along with intermediate or haphazard success; at worst they will fail spectacularly.

No strategic microservices initiative will succeed without a culture shift. No amount of brilliant developers and their concomitant skills can overcome a weak or antagonistic strategy. And the best tools cannot help you if you don't have the requisite skills.

If you are considering a microservices strategy and aren't sure what tools to use then it is very likely that you have other, more serious challenges. Is your culture in alignment with microservices principles and best practices? Is your strategy in alignment with your culture? Does your team have the skills to execute your strategy? If so, what tools are they most comfortable with?

Of course there are a great many other issues to consider - that's why Amundsen, et. al. wrote a book. Go there for more information, or use the google. It will not take very long to find more information than you ever wanted to know. If that's not enough then I will unpack each of the component dependencies in a later post (get excited!), but if all you take from this is the four key elements then you are off to a good start.

Thanks for reading.

* None of this happens in a vacuum. I adapted the work of the authors of this book along with some interesting and useful strategic thinking from some other hobby interests of mine.

12 October 2016

Costa Rica is Nice, You Should Go

Click to Embiggen
Liked my trip to Costa Rica well enough. Had some good experiences, and the yoga was great. I took hardly any photos so the only photo record I have is from my friends that were there at the same time. This is one of those photos.

Having my picture taken is a sadness so as soon as the camera came out I made sure to try and get out of the way. Limited success on the photo-dodge but the result is a good example of how I spent most of my non-yoga time in Santa Teresa and surrounding environs: out hiking or at the beach or on the quad to get to different hiking or beach or lunch spots. Good times.

11 October 2016

Van City Beers and Van City Bears

I'm Risk Averse
This is from a couple months ago when I was in Van City. Enjoyed the sign so much I went inside to see what they had in they way of beers. Plus bears are dangerous, and you never know. 

(I didn't see any bears in Van City - I saw a lot of heroin addicts and able-bodied homeless and general street trash but no bears. Go figure.)

10 October 2016

I Am an International Financier! But Also: Diversify Your Portfolio - Kiva Loans Defaulted :(

I submitted my first loan through Kiva in July 2007, right about the time they blew up on Oprah and got all their loans 100% funded. Since then I have circulated the money to 16 different people, which is quite a few more than the 'average' kiva lender, although this is probably down to the fact that most people loan once or twice and quit out. That's a lot of people to contribute to and help in some some small way.

Kiva provides some useful statistics on your account. Turns out I have been mostly lucky in delinquency rates and default rates, because until recently none of my loans had been delinquent or defaulted.

Now for the less than good news: my luck ran out and I went from a default rate of zero to way past the average when a single organization that was managing a couple of my loans went under and I lost about $100. Sad faces. Per Kiva the average default rate is 1.33%, and my default rate went from zero to 8% overnight. This is disappointing but what can you do? Nothing is guaranteed, life is uncertain, etc and so forth. I'm about to re-lend the money I have in my account now. Let's do this!

03 October 2016

Fix That with Gum

Turns out you can fix high-pressure hydraulic seals with chewing gum! This fun fact would be a lot more interesting if chewing gum and o-ring seals commonly used in this application were not comprised of the same material.

This man is a hero. "We'll use the old saskatchewan socket on it - we know we got it just the right tightness because it's rounded right off'. 

28 September 2016

Brian Anderson is Awesome

Brian Anderson came out publicly.

This guy is a legend, and although it was more than a little sad to hear how hard being in skate culture was for him at times I'm pumped that he is out now and living his best life.

Brian Anderson should be your favorite skater, even if you don't like skateboarding. The guy is rad. And not for nothing: he's fucking awesome at skateboarding.

27 September 2016

Story of Your Life (Not Actually Arrival)

I read Story of Your Life by Ted Chiang many years ago. According to the helpful receipt I saved to use as a bookmark I bought the book on 2 Sept 2002 at around 9 PM. Details are fun! What was I doing at a (now defunct) Borders bookstore at 9 PM on a Monday? No idea. Buying books, obvs.

The story is a masterpiece, and it stuck with me over the years. The premise is deeply affecting, and the story itself is very well written. I loved it so much that when I heard they made a movie I dug the book off the bookshelf and re-read it again after over a decade.

You should read it if you like words, and books, and reading. The movie trailer outlines a much different narrative than the one described in the book. Also the story will probably take you less time to read. Even though the movie is getting great reviews they should be considered separately. The payoff of the story will be a lot better if you haven't seen the movie. So buy it, and read it. Think of the rest of the anthology as an excellent bonus.

As an aside: made a rare appearance at the local bar last night and a girl approached me and asked me if I was watching the football game on the tv. I said, no, not really. She said, 'oh because this time of year all the guys I know are obsessed with football'. I said, that's not me. She said, 'what do you do?' I said, 'I read books.' She would have been less surprised if I said "I kick puppies."

25 September 2016

You're Doing it Wrong: Trick or Treating

Originally published this on 2 Nov 2015, but since IT'S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN (GET EXCITED FOR HALLOWEEN) I'm reposting it. You're welcome(?).


I guess this is a real thing that happened. A parent posted these around their neighborhood in Philly or its environs.

Someone forwarded it to me so who knows? The internet is full of things that are not true. But it is funny and sparked a discussion amongst the peeps. I mean a discussion beyond the gross helicopter parenting and projected sadness on display in the flyer. (It is hard to decide which part is the most lame. Is the the 'don't exclude anyone part'? Or is the part where you should hand out candy that is gluten free, dairy free, and nut free? Lord have mercy on this poor kid because his parents are failing.)

What is the lamest halloween trick or treat you can put in someone's bag?

This list is a very strong summary of utter garbage. Let's rate them on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being a full size snicker's bar, and 1 being an apple or whatever.
  • Carrot sticks? Go f yourself. (Not Rated)
  • Smarties - Not good but they will do the job. 4 out of 10 wrappers in your pocket.
  • Necco wafers - have only seen these in movies about the apocalypse because they are the last thing left to eat. 1 out of 10 zombies.
  • Lifesavers - Could eat it if you were dying. 2 out of 10 red tongues. 
  • Brach's Lemon Drops - My favorite, except that they ruin your mouth. 8 out of 10 cold sores. 
  • Raisins - You are a troll. 0 out of 10 opportunities to be socially well adjusted.
There were some other options suggested by my friend Eames:
  • Pennies. This was definitely the worst thing I remembered. 0 out of 10 pieces of garbage you rescued from your ashtray, adjusted for inflation.
  • Homemade popcorn ball -  Depends on if it is caramel corn or not. If it is homemade caramel corn then that is actually good. 8 out of 10 pieces of popcorn stuck in your teef. If it is anything but caramel corn then it sucks. 1 out of 10 balls of sadness. 
Hope you had a good halloween. Mine was quiet. I loathe dress up, if you hadn't heard.

Jose Fernandez is Dead

Sad news out of Miami this morning as Jose Fernandez died in the early morning hours in a boating crash. Baseball is boring and lame - too much baloney about playing the game the 'right way' - but Jose Fernandez was neither of those things; he was the antithesis of boring and lame baseball. He was really good, and he was a joy to watch.

I'm reminded of something Shea Serrano wrote in a series he did on coaching middle school basketball (which I cannot recommend highly enough; read it here in its entirety). In describing one of his immensely talented, handsome, and charming players he said something like, "I don't know how it would feel to be a master of the universe, but it looks like a hell of a lot of fun." That's how I felt when I watched Jose Fernandez.

He was 24.

12 September 2016

I Went There: Vancouver

(One in an occasional series.)

One of the reasons I haven't been blogging is that I have been on the road. First there was a lot of domestic travel (covered that in a previous post), and then I was visiting The Northern United States Provinces of Socialized Medicine Canadia and then a couple cities in Central America (more on that in a bit). 

Vancouver is a lovely city any time of year, but particularly so in the summer. I had to go out there for work (poor me), and one afternoon I had lunch down at the seawall. The great thing about Van City is that it is pedestrian friendly, the people are mostly nice, and there's a lot of cool neighborhoods to visit. If you like to shop while you do your sightseeing then you will be in heaven. (I'm not a big fan of shopping when I travel because there's nothing in other cities you can't buy in Costa Mesa, but if that's your thing, cool.) If good food and walkable areas and the occasional beer is your thing then you will enjoy Van City quite a lot. It is a very popular vacation destination for a reason.

A downside to Van City is the large drug addicted and able bodied homeless population. I had not seen anyone shooting up or nodded out in the streets in a while but all of that was a part of some minor sightseeing in Gastown. It's pretty sketchy down there in spots! Liberal cities are great until you see so many people completely uninterested in any kind of work. Again: there's no shortage of drug addicted and mentally ill homeless in my neighborhood but Vancouver had hundreds of young, able people sleeping in the streets. It's a fine line between lazy and addicted, and Van City seems to encourage the former while enabling the latter. Overall a fun visit. Recommended. 

11 September 2016

Go to a Show: Sam Outlaw

Went to a Sam Outlaw show last night. It was great.
He wrote this song for his mom, which is also great.

Full disclosure: Sam and I have been friends for a long time. He has popped up in this space a few times over the years. Funny thing about Sam is that he was always a star, even when he was a 21 year old kid fresh out of college. He wasn't famous, but he was always a star. Some people are like that. Anyway, his music is good if you like melodies with some twang. It probably has more in common with the Eagles than it does with modern prototype 'country' music, but that's a credit in my opinion. And if you aren't here for my opinion then what are you here for?

Sam is touring now. Get out there and see him in person. If you're lucky he will do a live reading of the letter someone wrote his manager because they felt Sam was going to hell because he wrote/performs a song called Jesus Take the Wheel (and Drive Me to a Bar).

21 August 2016

What's New?

Hello friends!
I know you come to this space to enjoy regular updates on moderately interesting topics. I haven't done many updates lately because I haven't done anything moderately interesting. Work is work. Sometimes I get on planes and do work at other places besides my local spot. What is there to say about that? Not much. I haven't finished any books in the past week, mainly because I'm lazy. Made some cookies - is that interesting? Not really.

More trips are on the horizon so that's... something. I'll share more on those after they are over.

The olympics were on, and now they're over. They are a scam but it's still great to see the athletes get emotional after they win. That never gets old, even for a cynic like me.

Why do they hold the olympics in a city in a third-world country renowned for corruption? The Sochi  (sp?) winter olympics in Russia were bad, and the Rio summer games were worse. How is that even possible? We know the reason that those cities were awarded hosting rights: it starts with big bags of money and ends with big bags of money. You would think that at some point the people collecting all that money would feel somewhat ashamed and maybe try harder to make the graft less obvious. Maybe someday. It's not like we do that sort of thing in the United States. Oh, wait. Never mind.





15 August 2016

Get Down with this Slow Jam: Flume - Tiny Cities feat. Beck, Headphone Activist Remix

It's been 12 days since my last post.
In that 12 days I have been in Chicago / home / Thousand Oaks* / home / Oakland / San Francisco / Oakland / home / Torrance / home / Phoenix / home / Denver / Boulder / Denver / home.

Along the way some stuff happened and stuff. Whatever. Work is work. August shaped up to be the busiest travel month of the year, and that was just the first two weeks. So that's fun.

Please enjoy this free download that I may have posted already. I can't even remember and I'm too lazy to look. I do remember that I think this remix is amazing, and for $0.00 you can't beat the price. Can you believe you get this song for free? What a time to be alive.

More to come since I don't have to get on a plane for a whole week. Very excited.

* Fuck Thousand Oaks so much. When I die and go to Hell it will look just like Thousand Oaks, except it won't be as bad.

03 August 2016

You busy?

What IS this? How is it possible?

People are awesome. I came in first in a round of Battlefield once. Definitely pwned some n00bs, is what I mean. Just saying.

25 July 2016

Barry is the Best

With my apologies for the crummy phone photo - this is what Barry the Hummingbird looks like when he's sitting outside on the feeder:

This is how he sees himself:

Good Books are Good: Uprooted by Naomi Novik

This book was on a list of recommended SF&F novels I bumped into a while back. I picked up a couple of them and one was trash (literally trash - I enjoyed throwing it away more than I enjoyed finishing it) but this was excellent. It has garnered numerous strong reviews and awards so you can either take my word for it or aggregate all the feedback and decide for yourself. It is excellent. Highly recommended for all readers.

24 July 2016

Musical Interlude: Alone by Marshmello

This smash hit has been described on the radio (when I was in Hell Phoenix and had to listen to the radio) as "happy trap". I don't disagree with that categorization, but I would suggest that it's more fun than happy, and who doesn't need a little more fun in their life? Your kids will probably love it, is what I'm saying.

The mixes from marshmello are kind of all over the place but probably great in person, if that's your thing. 

23 July 2016

Good Books are Good: Ventoux by Bert Wagendorp

Do you like cycling? No? Oh. What about weird coming of age stories set in the Netherlands? No? Oh. Hmm... not sure this is the book for you.

I confess I'm not much interested in cycling or coming of age stories set in the Netherlands either but this book was good. It's very much a retrospective, first-world problems, white middle-aged guy story. (Dutch people LOVED it - they bought hundreds of thousands of copies, made a movie out of it, etc.) I fit the target demographic and as such the book appealed to me on levels that may not appeal to you. If you regularly read Jodi Picoult or Nicholas Sparks novels then you should maybe give this one a pass. (And also you should read better books.) 

It is a difficult novel to classify - kids grow up? Kids go cycling? Bad things happen? Adults go cycling? No idea. I liked it. You might not. It's that kind book. 

Long Time No Talk

Not Actually a Bond Villain
Two weeks between posts is a long time. We have have so much to talk about! I usually fill this space with rhetoric about politics but our current two-party system has delivered only two options for a presidential candidate. One is a warmongering (though otherwise moderate) Republican, and the other is a barely sentient, toad-shaped blob of orange whip. What's a voter to do? One is bad, the other is worse. Sam Harris says he will 'hold his nose and vote for Hillary', which is an endorsement, I guess.

Anyway congrats to Drumpf on his nomination. He makes G.W. Bush look like a polished statesman, so it's true that money can really buy anything. I look forward to seeing how he blusters and bullies his way through debates. It will be difficult for a craven politician like Hillary to take him seriously, because he is not a serious man. He is a spoiled brat playing the tough guy, and that plays well with the faux-tough electorate looking to blame someone besides themselves for their declining economic influence. The only thing more embarrassing than his candidacy are the people that believe his nonsense. For a party that got extremely bent out of shape over Obama's ambiguities and vagaries back in 2008 the GOP faithful seem to be very content to let Drumpf free associate platitudes. Funny how that works.

Election season! Get excited!

10 July 2016

Read It: All Quiet On the Western Front

I picked up a copy of All Quiet on the Western Front to re-read. *(They can be had on amazon for pennies, plus shipping.) There is a very informative series of videos on youtube that can get you caught up on all the minutiae of WWI, and there are a great many historical novels that can do the same. These overarching narratives will talk at length about troop movements, and shells fired, and lives lost. So many lives lost. Too many to count. It was a nightmare beyond reckoning.

Through all that numbing information the actual cost and consequences of the war get lost. It's all well and good to know that the troops were in one place or another, but what where they doing? All Quiet On the Western Front makes an effort to bring that to light. It is a superb book that is just as thoroughly modern and relevant today as it was the day it was published in 1929.

Mostly they were trying to kill other people, at which they excelled, and also they were trying not to die, at which they did not.

The book itself is a slim volume that can be read through in a few sittings, if you have the stomach for it. More likely you will have to read it in smaller sections, as the wretched misery of trench warfare in 1916 is only occasionally interrupted by 'happy' moments.

If you read only one book about WWI, or only one book about war in general, then this is the book to read.

30 June 2016

The Lobster Place in Chelsea Market, Manhattan, NYC

The Lobster Place (Interior, Partial)
There is a place in Chelsea Market where you can get a delicious lobster roll, and also lobster bisque, and also sushi, and also boiled lobster, and a great many other things. It is called The Lobster Place. I took a picture. Here it is.

28 June 2016

Meditations on Violence by Rory Miller

This is a fascinating, insightful book. Miller writes with clarity about the nature of human violence in modern Western society and punctures the myth of the dojo and practiced martial arts training. It's an interesting topic in part because I (and probably you) live in a society where people prefer to ignore violence, pretend that it exists at a remove, and move blithely through the world as though it can't happen to you. Ignorance is bliss. 

You don't need to live in fear or paranoia, but a greater understanding of violent human nature is probably a good idea, not least so that you can recognize a real danger when it presents itself.

The book does not attempt to share techniques for training or exercises. Instead it does what it says on the tin (meditations): philosophical topics rooted in real-world experience. 

Highly recommended. 

Punctuation is Important

From Friend Scott, via the internet:

Dear people who type in all lower case,
We are the difference between helping your Uncle Jack off a horse and helping your uncle jack off a horse.
Upper Case Letters

27 June 2016

I Went There: Phoenix

10:00 PM in Phoenix is Lovely This Time of Year
(One in an occasional series.)

Phoenix is awful. Phoenix is what would happen if someone decided to build a huge shopping mall in Hell. 

The only nice thing I can say about it is that there is a weirdly disproportionate number of attractive women there. Why is that? No idea. Must be some kind of social pressure, like in some Southern cities. It is weird. They must enjoy being sweaty, because living in Phoenix is like living in the business end of a blowtorch.

26 June 2016

I Went There: Manhattan

Room with a View Means I Take a Lame Photo
It's been a couple weeks since the last post because I was in  New York / San Francisco / Phoenix for work. Lots of airports and hotels and uber rides and conference rooms but along the way I was able to have some good experiences. They put me in a hotel room with a view of a tall pointy building. So that was fun. Ate some really good Korean food in Koreatown in Manhattan, which was also fun.

In between attending a conference for work and meeting with customers in Manhattan I was able to visit some amazing food places. I could eat at Gotham Market every day and never get tired of it. I would also weigh 800 lbs in about three weeks. Everything looked amazing. Same with the Chelsea Market. Went to both those places on the same day, because you work up an appetite walking around the upper west side.

Also visited lavains (purveyors of the finest store-bought cookie that I have ever had, and possibly the best cookie available at any price), and also Balthazar (purveyors of a great many delicious items, but I was there for the coconut cake). You can skip the hassle of trying to get a table at Balthazar and just go to the bakery and get a slice of that cake. It is the shit. Technically it is the same as the Minetta Tavern Coconut Cake, so you can review the recipe here if you want to try and make it at home. If you want some help let me know - my kitchen isn't big enough for that project, although I may try and build it this winter just to see if it can be done.

Yeah there are other things in Manhattan besides food but the American Museum of Natural History is well documented (underrated). So is Central Park in the summer (overrated). Plus the Hayden Sphere was under construction so I couldn't visit the exhibit. So that sucked. Still a great trip overall. Manhattan is a superb visit but it wears me out.

12 June 2016

Good Books are Good: America's War for the Greater Middle East by Andrew Bacevich

America is at the Mall
As per usual, not much to report. Work and the gym, and sometimes I go places (and go to the gym, or yoga). In the next two weeks I have to go to New York City, San Francisco, and Salt Lake City. It would be great if it weren't exhausting. Middle aged white guy problems for real. 

In between trips to exotic locales I finished America's War for the Greater Middle East by Andrew Bacevich. It was very good. The book examines the United States continuous (and continuing) failure to demonstrate any kind of success in its' ongoing war in the Greater Middle East. 

Bacevich adroitly points out that the rise of military commitment in the Greater Middle East started up in earnest just as the cold war was winding down. What a happy coincidence this turned out to be for the US military industrial complex! (Was it actually a coincidence? No!) He also points out that, unlike the war in Vietnam, everyday life in America changed not at all: there were no sacrifices, no draft, no request from the government to maybe cut back a little on the conspicuous consumption. Quite the contrary: the public has been asked to proceed as if we are not at war. Why should we do otherwise?

This lack of investment or involvement encourages apathy on the part of the American voter, and it enables the various participatory entities to piss away trillions of dollars on military operations across the globe to no appreciable effect. It's quite a little racket the senior level military commanders, politicians, and defense contractors have set up for themselves. All this while the rank and file soldiers get put in the meat grinder.

If you are at all interested in a tidy summary of the epic catalog of failures that is US foreign policy and military action in the Greater Middle East then you will be fascinated. Highly recommended. 

06 June 2016

There is No Such Thing as Free Will

I wrote about this already when I covered the book Free Will by Sam Harris, but there is an article available in the Atlantic that covers the same topic, and examines the implications. Enjoy.

05 June 2016

Let's Do This: Pastry Class - Verrines

What is a verrine? I had no idea before I looked it up on the Googletubez. All I knew was that I had limited interest in a class on macarons because those are pretentious, trendy cookies. It's great that macarons are So Hot Right Now but enh, whatever. So I signed up to take a class on verrines, which was a very good choice because a) verrines are goddamn delicious, and b) verrines are usually comprised of dessert components that I think are goddamn delicious. Synergy, for your face.

Fun facts about verrines: it can be anything you want as the dessert type is actually the way it is served (in a small glass or cup thing) - the only limit is your imagination. So that's fun. Another fun fact is that the form factor (served in a cup/glass/small container) gives you the chance to use ingredients and textures that would be impossible in a cake or other pastry, because the container will hold everything together. How great is that? Pretty great.

So what did we make? Oh man we made some delicious items. First type of verrine had a seared banana custard layer, a chocolate sponge layer, a mango/passionfruit jello layer, vanilla and rum whipped cream layer, and a crumble top. It was good.

The other type was a vanilla custard layer, a vanilla sponge layer, a strawberry puree jello layer, a pistachio whipped cream layer (!!), and a bit of chocolate covered rice krispies on top. It was also good.

I've got big plans to make some verrines at the crib. Mine are going to be in a larger glass though. Not too big, but larger than those tiny shotglass sized treats we made at the swank pastry shop/school. Serving dessert in minuscule portions is a sadness. Let us not perpetuate this sadness in the world.

Speaking of perpetuating sadness, the pastry class draws all kinds of people. No men besides me and the instructor, which is typical. The range of kitchen experience on display among the students was... broad. I can tell at a glance if someone has spent any time in the kitchen by whether or not they put their hair back when they come to class. Put another way: if you put an apron on and don't pull your hair back and out of your way at the same time then you have no idea what the fuck you are doing in the kitchen. That said, there were 8 people in the class and three of them didn't know that if you don't get your hair under control it will turn up in the food. One of the students didn't even know how to make whipped cream. A reasonable person might imagine this impossible, as the entire recipe is in the name of the dish. But here we are. We got through it anyway. (I made the whipped cream.)

Very much looking forward to taking more classes. Even if it's macarons.

30 May 2016

MOAR BOOKS: The Regional Office is Under Attack by Manuel Gonzales

This is an entertaining book, very easy to read, and also somewhat difficult to categorize. There is violence, the narrative jumps back and forth in time, and while details are frequent the macro view is occasionally ignored.

If you want to punish yourself with some of the reader reviews on amazon (never do that! why would you do that?) then you will quickly notice that the complaints are that the book is confusing or that the characters are shallow, or similar things which completely miss the point of the book. The point is that the regional office is under attack, and that drives the story. How it drives the story, and the characters, is well explained, although the tendency to shift back and forth in time during the narrative will only make sense after you get to the end.

Highly recommended.

29 May 2016

Read a Book: The Numbers Game - Why Everything You Know About Soccer is Wrong

The Numbers Game aims to use statistics to take a closer took at what is (and isn't) valuable on the soccer/football pitch. It is a very interesting read, although much less accessible than Moneyball in that there are no central characters to drive the narrative. (The authors do a a good job covering some of the personalities in the game but they don't have much punch.) Instead the facts drive the narrative, and while that doesn't make for a very good option on your movie script, it is a very informative and educational book. If you like statistical analysis applied to athletic endeavors then: highly recommended.

28 May 2016

Reading Sam Harris: Free Will // Letter to a Christian Nation

We are big fans of Sam Harris in this blogspace. He is a very practical man, and I like practical people. I picked up several of his books and have been making my way through them. The books are quite short, which I appreciate, since typical pattern in an academic book is to make your point once, then make it over and over again so that it fills up enough pages that you and (especially) the publisher can make some money when the book gets published. This is boring and sucks and it's why you can skip the majority of the pages in books like Reclaiming Conversation (an otherwise good book!) without missing much in the way of pithy content.

I started with Free Will, a slim volume that explains why free will is an illusion. You can finish this book in a single read, although breaking it up into smaller chunks will make it easier to process. Harris writes: "Thoughts and intentions emerge from background causes of which we are unaware and over which we exert no conscious control. We do not have the freedom we think we have." (Page 5) He spends about 60 very tidy pages providing proofs for this position, and doing some work explaining the implications. Highly recommended. 

After taking a break to read some fiction I read Letter to a Christian Nation. This book is a direct response to all the hate mail that Harris got after he published The End of Faith. Like Free Will, this is a very compact, economical book. Harris takes only as many pages as he needs to rebut the absurdity and hypocrisy that surrounds modern evangelical Christianity in the United States. He is not a man to waste words on boring topics, and his cool rationality is a soothing balm if you want to purge the memory of some new and impressively stupid religious news. Highly recommended. 

27 May 2016

I Thought You Said Your Dog Would Not Bite

Didn't mean to suggest that the sweet pups in the last post is my pups. If I got a dog that would be the first thing I mentioned. I bought that bear as a gift for my accountant because it is his office dog, and that dog is awesome. In related dog-sharing news, this is Bruno the Portuguese water dog meeting a tortoise for the first time. Much excitement. Very reptile.

As an aside: Feel free to name your dog whatever you want, but if you choose a name that ends in "oh" (like Bruno, or Bilbo, or Bo, or Potato) then make sure you choose a negative cue that is different than the word "no", or else the dog will get very, very confused. That dog owner sucks. Don't be that dog owner.

Operation Macballs continues apace. Gotta retrain the brain. Keeps your brain fresh, or so I'm told.

Operation Drop Some Ell Bees is well under way. The Fat Kid is in a pool with some of the other peeps to see who can whip themselves into shape in preparation for the 4th of July. I have been supporting the efforts of my fellow competitors, and by "supporting" I mean "dropping cookies off at the houses of". Same thing. I cannot make them eat delicious treats but I can at least make them available. Here to help, people.

If the title of the post doesn't make sense then enjoy this classic. You're welcome.

26 May 2016

Too Close for Missiles, Switching to Guns

Doggie Got a Bear
It's been a busy time over here. We did some things, and did some other things. First things first, this is the inaugural post from the new MacBook Pro. I now drive a Prius (pretty much) and go to yoga and use a mac. I'm a cliche. Car is fine, and yoga is hot girls in yoga pants fine, and the macbook is also fine.

I'm anti-apple bullshit but the macbook pro is wonderfully light, which appeals to me because I have to carry it around places. It looks cool because I put a sweet, sweet SKT T1 sticker on it already.

iOS is OMG totes amazing if you want to integrate your iMessages from your phone or manage music on garageband or dick around with those awesome photos you took of your dinner.  If you have to, you know, actually work then it might be tough adjusting to the fact that the entire MS Office product suite is still years behind the same software on Windows. I remind myself of how nice and light this computer is every time I run into another absent feature or function. Related: The single-button mouse is straight garbage. LOL 'two-finger click'. Why are you telling me to fingerblast my computer? Use a two-button mouse.

Overall the best I can say for the new device is that I don't notice it much, and that apple's management of both hardware and OS seems to make things work with less effort than I would expect on a windows box. Probably most important is that it cost me $0, which is nice. Now that I think about it, not only was it free but I actually get paid to use it. Not bad.


Pups with her bear is a sweet beast. You can tell she likes the bear a lot because she hasn't eaten it yet. Good girl!

15 May 2016

Derp, plus: SKT T1!

I was so excited to go to that pastry class I forgot I already had a class at another cooking school place where I'm going to learn how to make pasta or some shit. Derpy McDerpface. Why did I agree to do that? I don't even eat pasta. It will be fun and good but not as good as eating pastry. So many pastries. All the treats. *sigh* So it'll be pasta this weekend, but as soon as that's done, ohh we are going to make some fuckin' treats up in here. Get your mind right.

This past weekend was the finals of MSI, which (spoiler alert) was won by my favorite pro game team: SKT T1. The sticker you see at left will adorn my new macbook* as soon as it gets here. 'It' = my macbook, because you know I've been saving that sticker for weeks. I'll write a longer post on how great it is to watch Duke / Blank (or Bengi) / Faker / Bang / Wolf do their thing later on, but all you need to know for now is that Faker is also called The Demon King, and he is very skinny, which means that the tears of his enemies must be very filling but also extremely low in calories.

* Ugh yes I am getting a macbook, because the windows laptop I've been carting around for the past two years is a punishment. This new one should be much easier to carry. Apple is still bullshit, but I didn't pay for it, so whatever.

08 May 2016

Just Play the Hits: Faded by Alan Walker (bootleg by Asnozm)

This bootleg is a smash hit by any metric. It is the good shit. Thanks Soundcloud! 

07 May 2016


Long time readers know that making treats is one of my favorite things, possibly second only to stuffing treats in my face. So I make them, and then I share them with friends and family ('friends and family' is redundant in my case, but whatever), partly because sharing delicious treats with people you love is pretty much the best, and partly because if I ate them all then that would be Not Healthy. 

(Now would be a good time for you to review Kings of Pastry if you haven't already.)

So when a famous patissier opened a pastry school right down the street I was super pumped and signed up for a class immediately. My regular cooking school is superb but they mostly do meals and breads, with only occasional seasonal forays into what I consider the staple foods (i.e. dessert). Awesome for dates, but maybe not so awesome if you're flying solo. 

I like meals as much as the next person but I'm not much interested in taking a class and eating by myself. I want to focus on the good stuff. Speaking of the good stuff, get a load of this shit right here: macarons; eclairs; tart; tea cake; macarons again (different kind); verrine (no idea); frasier (no idea); Paris brest (I don't think that means what I think it means); st. honore. Classes every weekend! Let's do this. 

I'll let you know how it goes. 

02 May 2016

Whiteboard Camouflage


Do you know anyone that is white enough to disappear in front of a white board? I mean besides me.

Where does the white board stop and my arm begin? Impossible to say. It takes a special combination of Irish/German ginger genes, 'winter' weather, sunscreen, and League of Legends viewing on sunny days to get this white. Experts only, is what I'm saying.

Thanks Bennycakes for the photo.

01 May 2016

I Went There: San Ramon

Unrelated - Sigil of House Greyjoy, Which is Cool
(One in an occasional series.) 

I went to San Ramon to talk to some people about some things. I didn't know where San Ramon was before I was assigned the meeting. I can now report that it is (supposedly) 30 minutes from the Oakland airport, and (supposedly) 40 minutes from the San Jose airport. As with any driving time in the Bay Area it is highly traffic dependent. Both routes are hell during rush hour, is what I mean. If this report on San Ramon seems boring then you are getting the correct sense of what it's like to visit San Ramon.

After San Ramon I got to visit Rancho Cordova, which was similarly exciting but with a better lunch.

Next week I'm in Monroe, Louisiana for a couple days to talk to some people about some things. I have a strong suspicion that Monroe is to Louisiana as San Ramon is to California, but more humid. I will let you know when I get back.

21 April 2016

Prince Died Today

Prince was awesome and fun and weird and more than a little bit crazy. He died today at the age of 57.

He did many great musical things in his life, one of which was to boot Kim Kardashian (who?) off the stage during a concert. He didn't even get mad, he just treated her like the clueless trash that she is.  Legend.

19 April 2016

I Broke Up with My Audi

The Prius
I broke up with my RS4. It was a breakup, because I was emotionally invested in it, but: it wasn't working out. In economic terms it wasn't worth the investment. In more plain language it was fucking killing me, which it would have to be in order for me to sell it because I loved that car. I still love it, and driving it was fun (sometimes) but living with it day to day was a nightmare.

It never actually left me stranded - it was too well mannered for that. Instead it just cost a fortune to own and operate. Every few months some new thing would go wrong during 'routine' maintenance and I'd be out another two to three grand (or more!). At some point the juice just isn't worth the squeeze, so I sold it a (considerable) loss and moved on to a known, reliable, robust quantity.

Opted to lease a Prius. That's it in the picture. Don't be confused by the logo - it's a Prius - same engine, same hybrid system, blah blah blah. It's pretty nice! Lots of features! The best part is I don't have any maintenance costs and it's covered by a warranty (obvs.) so basically I just have to show up with a check for three years and it will work very well. If I'm going to have a car payment I might as well have a new car. Be sure and wave if you see me on the road.

13 April 2016

Enter the Dragón

(Posts are infrequent because there isn't much to report.)
I live in a moderately shady neighborhood. Not much in the way of street crime but there are a lot of motels that rent by the week, drug-addicted homeless, mentally ill homeless, and local trash that doesn't bother cleaning up after their dog. So I see a lot of weird shit, both literally and figuratively. A surprising amount, considering that the area is largely suburban, with a few streets zoned for shopping and food and a few others zoned for industry stuff like auto shops and furniture shops and offices.

Dining at the mexican eatery just around the corner is always interesting. The fajitas are adequate, and it draws a mixed group of white collar office types, some blue collar types, students, and whatever homeless guy felt like a burrito that day. Winos having an argument on the lawn while a table of students enjoy taco Tuesday is, well, typical Tuesday. What was not typical was the kid walking down the street with nunchucks in his back pocket (or 'nunchaku', if you're that person). Skinny jeans, hoodie, and nunchucks, all casual like. You know, just in case you need to get down with some kung fu on your way to the burrito spot? No idea. It was pretty great.

I have never owned nunchucks but coveted them as a young person, even though you were more likely to hit yourself than someone else. And - it bears mentioning - they aren't very concealable. And I'm also not sure they are strictly legal. They are less illegal than brass knuckles, but maybe more illegal than a pocketknife, so I guess homie was on his way to/from martial arts school and kept his clothes/pads/gear onsite but didn't have room to store his 'deadly' weapon. We'll never know.

The fajitas were pretty good, btw.