Monday, August 30, 2010
Saturday, August 28, 2010
It's the time of year when I can start buying hearty fall beers. I picked up a case of Sam's harvest collection, with black lager, Oktoberfest, pumpkin beer (more on this some other time), and Dunkelweizen. Before we know it, it'll be Old Fezziwig Ale time, then Samuel Smith's Winter Welcome, then back to cherry wheat and summer ale again. It's the nature of things.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Something about green onions seems incredibly wholesome. I buy bunches whenever I can. And then I forget to use all of them and they get brown and thin like weeds. The trick is to slip them into every dish I make from now on until they're used up, except cereal.
Monday, August 23, 2010
Went for a run today and saw, sitting in the gutter a few houses up from mine collecting rainwater, an open Tupperware container of alphabet soup. Possibly Boyardee's work -- the nuclear orange glow has Boyardee written all over it. And definitely alphabet noodles. I got closer and saw some Ms, a Z, and some Ps and Es.
Nik and I popped out to Whole Foods to pick up a couple of non-essential items, like jicama. There's no situation on the planet where you absolutely need jicama -- at least not on the part of the planet I'm from. Whilst browsing the various organic tubers and fronds I sauntered past the fish section and snapped off this shot of snapper and, if you look above, a bass with a cherry tomato in its mouth. The Whole Foods fishmonger lady gave me the stink-eye as I did it, too, not pleased with my snickering. She's the one at bottom with the deep red tan.
As always when we visit Whole Foods, Nik and I have to pay a visit to the Bullshit Aisle, where they sell the homeopathic "remedies." As I've noted before, homeopathy is a load of utter horseshit that cannot possibly work according to our most well-established laws of science, foisted upon sick people who should be obtaining medicine that actually does something. Nik and I saw a homeopathic "remedy" for poison ivy, which would be a tiny bit of poison ivy oil diluted into 100 parts water, and a drop of that diluted solution mixed into 100 parts water, and a drop of that diluted solution mixed into 100 parts water, and so on, over and over, 30 or more times, at the end of which you're left with just water. You're just as well-off by wishing your rash away, and better off getting some fucking real medicine. It makes me angry to see a store sell snake oil to people who could have real medical problems.
At least the stuff above is for people without any real problems. The "rock water" homeopathic crap is meant to help you "to enjoy life's pleasures rather than stick too rigidly to your ideals or personal habits." I can help you do that for free: it's called relax a minute. Scleranthus allegedly "allows you to make decisions more easily when you cannot choose between two options." Not three options or more. Just two. How specific is this piffle? How about a bit of water violet? It's for "people who feel lonely because they have a tendency to appear proud and anti-social." If you feel any of these things and more, put 2 drops of this fluid in a bottle of fresh spring water, mix it, and insert the bottle up your ass. Lather, rinse, and repeat as needed.
By the way, this stuff is 27% alcohol. If it's relaxation you want, have a shot of brandy instead. At least that's honest.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
This has been the summer of seeing old-timey vehicles while out on runs. Seems like every time I'm out, someone has gotten the tarp off their classic car and is tooling around.
I used to have a car just like this when I was a kid. It was about 4 inches long and driven by Fozzie Bear.
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Made another batch of guacamole. The previous one I made, earlier in the week, was tainted because I dumped a load of salt into it by accident. It was like eating salty fat-paste, and while I could probably sell the recipe (and name, Salty Fat-Paste™) for big money to a fast-food chain, it didn't agree with me very well. This one was much milder.
Somewhere along the line, one of us, I think Nik, taught Stanley that when he comes back in from a walk he should stand in front of the refrigerator and wait to be massaged with ice cubes. Here's the process: He comes in from a walk. He's a little hot and tired from the exercise, needs to cool off a bit. He stands in front of the fridge and waits there until you figure it out. Then you take an ice cube from the freezer and offer it to him to eat. Instead he dips his head, meaning you have to rub the ice cube on his head, neck, and shoulders. After a while, when he's had enough he'll lift his head a little and take the ice cube from you in his mouth, run into the living room, and eat it. A few moments later he comes back and the whole process starts again. It repeats as many times as he wants.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
1. Nik and I had a date in Boston. We arrived just as the British forces were invading Boston Common.
2. They wore fur hats despite the heat, and kept putting their bayonets on and taking them off and putting them on again for the amusement of the crowd, which is probably why they lost the American revolution. Some British diplomat in a navy blue blazer and Dockers visited to "inspect the troops," a duty he took seriously.
3. Also staying in the same camp were American minutemen re-enactors, who stood at attention for a while until their leader gave them an hour lunch break, literally. That's more than I get.
4. We hit the Museum of Fine Arts to see some exhibits. They're keeping some of the more fascinating stuff in what we call the "paper rooms," galleries devoted to photography, prints, and (in this case) collage. This is one bit of Michael Oatman's fascinating, funny, brilliant "Exurbia" (2004).
6. I usually irritate the museum guards by taking photos of everything in the museum.
7. It may be my beard or my typically low-class style of dress, but the guards focus on me whenever I walk past and fix me with a suspicious gaze. I'm careful never to use flash, and I turn the shutter sound off.
8. This time, they left me alone.
9. Nik: "There were so many paintings like this at the time. End of parties, food going bad, transience of life, death, blah blah blah."
10. Nik: "God, what awful skin he must've had."
11. This French painting is called "Le Nip-Slip."
12. There was an exhibit of photographer Richard Avedon's fashion photos on display. We looked at six or seven of them, realized they were mind-bogglingly overrated, some bearing such a stink of schoolishness and unconcealed imagery that we left the room in a huff. Every so often the museum has to throw a bone to the pedestrians to sell tickets. A much better bet was the exhibit of photos by Nicholas Nixon.
13. Nik and I ended up joining the MFA as members. It's not that much money, and it pays for itself in just 3 visits a year. We'll be back more than that between now and next August.
14. We went for a walk down Huntington.
15. It led us to the reflecting pool by the First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston.
16. There are few places I'd rather live than Boston. It thrums with history and life and expectation, and contained in every square inch are billions of possible universes existing in common with and tangent to billions of other possible universes, which are themselves home to billions of other possible universes.
17. A lot of my own history is here.
18. I still think of it as home.
19. Near the reflecting pool is the fountain, which Nik believes was designed by a fellow RISD alum.
20. It reminded us of our trip to Iowa City years ago, where they have a fountain just like it -- a thing I only vaguely remember myself because I spent most of the time having panic attacks. Most of what I remember between episodes of anxiety are walls of corn and quiet and people who were friendly.
21. After dinner, we went to the Boston Common and sat on the lawn to watch the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company perform "Othello."
22. It was the second-to-last night of the run. Nik and I don't miss a year if we can, ever since a summer night in 2001 when we happened to be in town and walking aimlessly and talking, and stumbled across a sea of people on lawn chairs and blankets waiting to see "Twelfth Night." We'd had no idea what was going on.
23. Most of the characters in "Othello" are frankly dipshits duped by Iago, who isn't even particularly bright, but it's still a fascinating piece of theater. From what we could see, the staging was a little bland and not particularly friendly to people in the back, but it may have been the distance.
25. Nik, listening: "I'm using my imagination."
Monday, August 16, 2010
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Some days at work are 100% shit. Others are merely excruciating. But every so often this bright young lad gets to come home a champion. Today was one such day, as the office was delivered a package from the Boston Beer Co. with two gratis bottles of a special, secret, not-yet-released-to-the-public Samuel Adams beer: Patriot Homebrew. I couldn't wait to take them home to meet the family.
The press materials (yes, the beer came with press materials) tell me "rauchbier" is German for "smoke beer," and it tastes like it. It's a dark brown-amber beer that tastes very pleasant, with a nice char-broiled taste with some hoppy, grassy overtones. So it's sort of like a brush fire, but much less destructive unless you have 7 or more of them. It's also deliciously smooth and would be the perfect dining complement to some grilled fish sprinkled with the ashes of a beloved relative. I generally prefer dark, hearty beers, so this is right up my alley. If Sammy sold this stuff in cases I'd buy it by the pallet. As it is, I only have one bottle left and I'm not willing to be held down through a Patriots game to get more, so I have to savor it.
We have a hedge right near the front porch -- I don't know what a botanist would call it, but I call it "a bush." Anyway, it had been growing long, grasping, shaggy branches, because I haven't bothered to trim it in I don't know how long. A year? I finally got a chance to prune it today, mostly because I was getting disturbed at how dexterously it was grabbing our arms as we walked by.
Sunday, August 08, 2010
Today I finished removing the rest of the awnings from the house. We got rid of them because they were old, ratty, nesting places for spiders. On the other hand, having spiders around is handy -- they find beetles delicious.
Please note, this spot is inaccessible except from the outside of the house, by ladder. Otherwise we would've cleaned it long ago.