So, again I state here for the record that I haven’t posted in, like, forever. And that I’ve been busy. And yada yada. There are any number of reasons to excuse my absense (sw release, xmas, new year, promotion, etc), but what draws me back? Sony.
I caught this off Daring Fireball, and I generally don’t operate in the true ‘blogosphere’ of link-linking, but seeing as how I’ve railed on Sony before, I found this to be particularly hilarious as I read it:
So, let’s step into the Way Back machine. A couple years ago, a national car insurance agency launched a pretty funny ad campaign. It featured the saying “So easy a caveman could do it” which offended a caveman who happened to be working the boom mike on the set of the commercial. IMHO, it was funny not because of the joke, but because of the creative, unexpected subject matter. The ad campaign continued, and was pretty humorous: caveman + squash racket; caveman visiting his shrink; caveman at a dance club (“Hey, Tina called. We’re getting back together!”). Thirty seconds seemed like a perfect length of time for this sort of absurd humor.
Fast forward to last season’s NBA finals on ABC, and a very teasing spot about a new show “this fall” — very brief, and very identifiable. Modern day Cavemen on the west coast. My very first reaction was a laugh-out-loud, “Hah! That might be funny.” And then I saw another spot or two and began to wonder how quickly the “stupid caveman” joke would get played out. And since pretty much every clip was of the “caveman being insulted” or “caveman doing dumb thing” variety, I figured it was gonna happen pretty damn fast.
Welcome to the present. On Sunday, I saw another spot for the show that said the premier was Wednesday at 7, along with Carpoolers at 7:30. I went ahead and plugged them both into the DVR, because I’m a TV fiend and I would feel bad if the shows were actually good and I missed them. So, late last night, after I got the kids in bed I sat down to watch them. Carpoolers was stupid and not worth anything, but Caveman.
It is despicable. Turns out that since all the blacks and chinese and crippled and fatsos are actually offended by racism and bigotry, that the television execs have cooked up a perfect storm where they can make every single filthy, hateful, racist joke but play them all off on a made-up race that’s just trying to “fit in” with the “Sapes” (homo-sapien).
Top it off with a racist landlord (Stanley Roper, anyone?) and a interracial relationship that the cavemen don’t approve of (“Keep your penis in your genus”).
Oh, and the make-up is pathetic and the writing is just awful. I don’t expect it to go far on its production merits, but that’ll usually carry a show for a season or two to give the characters their ‘sea legs’. But hopefully a few more people will realize that these jokes are terrible and just redirected from people who’ve dealt with enough of this shit for long enough that it manages to not only miss being funny, but is also patently offensive.
Now, I’m the last person in the world to preach about funny. I love irony and sarcasm and gallows humor. I’m not proud — it’s just the way I’m wired. But if you watch this show and laugh at any of the jokes, you should probably take a step back and think about why you’re laughing. Is it because the joke is funny or because the joke is hateful? Oh, and “both” isn’t an acceptable answer — haters are never funny. Don’t laugh at a hater. Don’t be a hater.
A long, long time ago there was this really fabulous restaurant not far from where I work. Several of the people I’ve worked with over the last 8 years loved this place. I include myself in that list of people. In fact, it is one of the establishments in the Austin area that I cut my adventurous chops on!
Yes, that’s correct. I have not always been such a culinary daredevil. Before 2000, I think the most exploratory I would get is mole on my enchiladas. Every once in a while, I might’ve been excited by jalapenos in the queso, but my most outrageous experiences tended to my tex-mex heritage. That’s not to say that I wasn’t schooled in spice a few times during my tenure in New Orleans. In fact, there were probably a few times at a few festivals in good ol’ Looozyana when the crawfish boil brought tears to my eyes. But the people that I met in Austin taught me just a thing or two of the esculent arts. And of worldly cuisine. Turns out we Texans, while perhaps a little more culinarily brazen than your average Rhode-Islander, are still pretty humdrum when put against Thai or Afrikan or Morrocan fare. I have been to plenty of establishments where I never could have conceived of going before…
But this one place… Oh, I remember it fondly. Most of my coworkers at the time were only too happy (or too ambivalent) to agree to going there. Especially on Wednesdays. Massamun curry day! It was deee-vine. Back then, we were a two-income household, and Hays — well, he didn’t drink 4 gallons of milk a week and so I had a little more disposable income. And I was all too happy to go to lunch with the crowd. And we went to places I’d never been before.
Well, that is except for Thai Spice. We went there all the time. This one guy didn’t really believe there were any other restaurants than this. And it was close. But mostly I loved it on Wednesday for the reason stated earlier. I had never really gotten into curries before — especially Thai curries. And being a good Texan who grew up on carrots and potatoes, well Damn! This was some good stuff. And throw in peanuts to boot!
But then, one day, we went and it wasn’t Wednesday. And I was stumped. I’d already had the Pad Thai and a few other curries and I just wasn’t all that impressed. But another good friend of mine… he introduced me to a whole new level of yum. He’s gone now — not dead, but moved to a different plane of existence. New Zealand. And a different life. Same family, but all mellow and free-spirited. I admire that “up-and-gone” idea but I’m too much the coward. Anyway, back to his fave dish at Thai Spice….
It had a very simple name. It was Basil Fried Rice. And it was all of about $6. Me, I’m a bumpkin, so I don’t really know much about Thai food, but, hell, I knew this was good. So did Meredith. Mainly because every time I would have it, she could tell. We’d go to bed at night, and after lying there for about 2.8 seconds, she’d announce (not query, but ANNOUNCE) “You went to Thai Spice and had Basil Fried Rice today.”
She was never wrong.
You see, BFR is loaded with garlic. And basil. And cilantro. All are very pungent. And apparently, I exude them from my pores when I have consumed even less than two or three grams. Of course, I always consumed more than two or three grams, which made it quite obvious. But still… it was amazing. It was all basilly and garlicky and chili-ey. That’s Thai chilis. An insidious and delicious culprit if ever there was.
But it has all changed.
It is true that Thai Spice is still there. And BFR is still on the menu. But it’s not the same. It’s damn near $11 now. And the serving size is about half what it was. And there’s nowhere near the broccoli or chicken. Not to mention that the place has gone all “mod” and stuff.
I’m baffled why I never thought to find out more about BFR, but within the last couple years, I’ve started exploring in the kitchen…. I could always whip up a good stir-fry or dash together some yummy casserole, but I’ve been looking for more diverse fare lately. And somehow I stumbled across the fact that BFR wasn’t just a one-time-thing. Plenty of Thai places had it on the menu.
It’s true. But still, somehow I managed to always skip over this recipe when contemplating dinner preparations.
This afternoon, I found an interesting video (with an incredible wok/burner combo!) that demonstrated the simplicity of the BFR recipe. And I took it to heart. I improvised a little, as I’m wont to do — I replaced the bell pepper with a bit of celery. And maybe used less chili (so everyone else would like it). And (at present) there’s no way I could generate that kind of heat on my stove, so I had to batch things up a bit to get it all done. And I made quite a mess of the kitchen. But the results…
Let’s put it this way: I made what I thought was enough for me to have some extra for lunch on Monday. Well, that’s just not going to happen. The recipe was a hit. And the real kicker is that I can’t really believe how simple it was. No really. I’ll show you:
I’ve always been fascinated by bowties, but I’ve only ever worn one as part of a tuxedo. And I think in my entire life, I’ve probably worn a tuxedo a grand total of, oh I don’t know… let’s count backwards:
My cousin Kelly’s wedding
My cousin Michael’s wedding
Uh, yeah. That’s it. But bowties… they’re pretty cool. I love their whimsy and the way they look much better with short-sleeved oxford shirts than a necktie does.
I think I will look to Mr. Kevin Greene for inspiration and perhaps go out and pick up a bowtie or two and maybe a new oxford shirt to wear with it.
This past weekend, Meredith and the kids and I went up to Olney, Texas, to visit my grandparents along with my folks. It was the opening of dove season in the Texas North Zone, and up to just a day before 9/1 I had been feeling very ill and afraid that we would not make it. Well, Friday came and I felt at least decent enough to make the 4.5 hour drive from Austin, so we packed up the kids and supplies and headed north.
Saturday, my dad and grandfather and I got up early and headed out to some land behind their place that we’ve got permission to hunt on. Some others were hunting around the stock tank we normally occupy so we set up around another nearby. I guess by about 8:00 or so that morning, the birds started to fly. Most of them were white-wing dove coming out from roosting in the city overnight and I had quickly limited out on my two ww. I was going to have to keep a close eye on the flyers so as to not drop any more ww that morning, which was difficult because of the angle I was at on the stock tank — they were mostly flying directly over some brush/trees on the far side of the tank about 40 yards away or so and then breaking to my right across a fenceline. If I shot too early, they’d drop into the tank and too late, they’d drop on property I couldn’t get too because of the terrain. I did manage to bag four other mourning dove before we headed back to the house for coffee and breakfast.
That afternoon, Hays expressed a serious interest in going out with us. I hadn’t really expected it at all. My dad brought my old .410 break-over and we had some shells for it, so we let him come with us. Of course, if you’ve ever been hunting with kids who haven’t been out much, you know that you’re not so much hunting as mentoring and tutoring them. We set up in a treeline under some low overhanging cedar with the sun at our backs. After showing Hays how the .410 worked and giving him a quick rundown of the “this gun can kill things, don’t point it at stuff you don’t want to die” speech we were set up. A little while later a couple dove came in from the far right (away) moving to cross in front of us and pass about 20 yards over our left shoulders. Hays cocked and raised the gun and took aim and fired. He didn’t bring any bird down, but the shot was certainly close because of the reaction of the bird. I don’t think he’d pulled the gun in tight against his shoulder as the next few minutes were him overreacting to how it kicked and frogged his bicep. He quickly figured out that drawing the butt of the gun into the shoulder keeps it from doing that!
A couple more birds did fly in that afternoon, but very few. At one point I did drop a bird out at about 30-40 yards and was having a helluva time finding it in the thigh-high scrub that was pretty green from this Summer’s rains. Then Hays, with his eagle-eyes managed to walk right out to it and say, “Well, duh, dad! Here it is.” Thanks to him, I did manage to bring the one dove I shot that afternoon back to the house.
The next morning (Sunday, September 2) we went out again and set up around the tank we had originally wanted to get around. The birds just weren’t flying, so after maybe a half-hour or so, Hays and I headed out across a big patch of sunflowers and set up in a treeline waiting for the birds to fly in to feed. None ever came. I think we might have seen a grand total of a dozen birds on Sunday morning. It was pretty disappointing, but I had a lot of fun nonetheless, since I was out with my grandpa, dad, and my son.
I had a lot of fun, and so did Hays. He’s enjoyed telling his friends at school that he got to go hunting and on Monday (Labor Day) we stopped in at Cabela’s and he got to look at some different shotguns, including a nice 870 Wingmaster Youth Model. It was still just a little big for him, but they make an even smaller one with a barrel just shy of 19". I might try to find a shop around town that has one in stock to see how it handles for him. I think it’s time to track down a good hunter’s safety course to get both him and Griffin into. Even though she doesn’t want to do any hunting, she’s still interested in shooting skeet and clays with us whenever we do. I’m looking forward to that and even Meredith has expressed a strong interest in getting involved. Not that she’s ever been opposed to it, she’s just not as gung-ho about the whole thing as I am, I guess. Anyway, there’s still quite a bit of dove season left, so I certainly hope we get to go out at least a couple more times. Otherwise the seven birds I’ve brought down this year are going to amortize out to about $20 each!
Those who’ve known me for a while know that I come from a graphic design background. Actually, technically, it’s an architecture background, but I never really did any of that. I did, however, do lots of design and typesetting for print media. I hadn’t done any real design work for about 10 years, but a few years ago that changed as I took on a logo design project for a friend. Then another. Then I designed some stationery and business cards for another friend. And since I’ve got a printer in the family, I did some pass-through printing (brokering).
Before long, I was doing a fair bit of design work for mostly friends, but I was also doing the occasional referral job, so I decided to set up a dba. It took off. Nothing major, but then again, nothing to sneeze at.
However, recently, I just haven’t been able to answer the phone and take on the jobs and be able to be as reliable and as thorough as I feel like I have to be in order to really do this well. So, I’m doing the only thing that I really feel like I can do. I may (may) take on the occasional design job, but it’ll be a while before I do.