Monday, August 31, 2009

Who's Up For Some Roller Coasters?

Macy and I went to the Twin Cities this past weekend for our annual trip to ValleyFair with our friends Kris and Sunny (and their daughter Bella). We made a quick overnight stop Friday in Maple Grove to visit Tim and Jenny. While there we went to Dave & Buster's, a burgers-and-games chain. It was here we discovered Tim's hidden ability.

Superpowers come in many forms. There's x-ray vision, super strength, spider sense, and of course, the ability to make a rotating light stop on the jackpot space on a wheel. Tim is apparently a Jedi master with a PhD and a 10th degree black belt in this . He hit the 1000-ticket jackpot twice in a row, pushing Macy's total to unheard-of proportions. You can trade the tickets in for various prizes.

In a related note, Macy now owns the Dave & Buster's franchise in Maple Grove, Minnesota. Stop on in for some cheese fries!

Saturday was thrill ride time, so we piled into Sunny's car and headed to ValleyFair, getting there just as the park opened. Over the next eight hours (oh, yes -- eight hours) we rode about everything in the park.

I managed to shoot some video on a couple of the rides:

Macy also rode the Tower of Power, a contraption that launches you into orbit at roughly the speed of light. I couldn't get video because the operator jerk wouldn't let Macy pick her seat, instead putting her on the opposite side of the tower. I couldn't get over there fast enough. Trust me though: it was freaky. She loved it of course.

The last ride of the day was an abomination called Steel Venom. You sit in a seat, legs dangling, underneath a long rail. The operator counts down 3... 2... 1 and then you realize your eyeballs have been compressed against the back of your skull. It's awesome. We're riding it first next year. Here's what it looks like:

On Saturday night we watched Twilight. It was by far the best part of the weekend time I'll never get back. I'll be reviewing it in this space tomorrow in a very special episode of Haiku Review.

On Sunday we went to the Mall of America and did some clothes shopping. Macy is going to be one well dressed lady around the Dave & Buster's offices.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Drink Up: Old Fashioned

This drink is one of my favorites (ed. note: aren't they all? me: no, shut up). Though it's saddled with a name that isn't a siren song to college kids and "hip" Sex and the City fans, it's every bit as sophisticated as the martini and takes just as much attention to detail.

That said, like the martini, it is a drink for people who really like alcohol. In other words, it's not a girls-night-out fruity drink (though it does contain fruit). This is also one of the harder drinks to get in a bar and have it look and taste right. True story -- the best Old Fashioned I ever had in a bar was about ten years ago at a freakin' Red Lobster.

Here's the recipe:

2.5 oz bourbon
1/2 oz water
1/2 orange slice (fairly thick)
1-2 cherries
1/4 tsp sugar

In a rocks glass, pour the water and sugar, mixing until the sugar is dissolved. Add the orange slice and the cherry to the bottom of the glass.

Add the bourbon. Use your favorite of course, but this recipe is where I like to break out the Wild Turkey. Jack Daniels works well. Jim Beam is a notch below, in my opinion, but it works.

Stir, add ice and enjoy. Even with the sugar and the fruit, this drink is very potent, but if you like bourbon, that's a good thing.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Swine Flu: Menacing or Misunderstood?

The government, in between persuading you to trade your trusty car in for a shoebox with an AC adapter, claiming they can run healthcare despite an inability to run absolutely anything else, and finding extra zeroes lying around to tack onto the deficit, is exhorting hospitals to gear up for Swine Flu II: The Return -- This Time It's Personal.

Despite the original "epidemic" having a minimal impact, we are being warned that this time 60% of Americans could be afflicted. Of course, 1% of Americans could be afflicted, but let that pass. The question I have is, what type of response is appropriate?

On the one hand, the swine flu is a potentially deadly illness that can kill. Old people and young children are especially vulnerable. And though that is true of every strain of flu humankind has ever seen, this time is different. Because Diane Sawyer said so. Such a threat must be dealt with swiftly and decisively. All available resources must be poured into this fight, this War on Influenza, if you will. All other decisions must be subverted to this cause. Our foreign policy, educational initiatives, airport screening policy, operating hours at national parks; everything must be reevaluated through the prism of the swine flu fight. Right now, it's out there, plotting, biding its time and waiting for the perfect opportunity to strike. It hates us and it hates our freedoms.

On the other, there must be a logical explanation for its desire to do us harm. The swine flu has a long and glorious history. It has provided civiliation with many advances. That these advances all involve improved methods for eradicating it doesn't diminsh their importance. It seems clear that the swine flu hates us because of our aggression towards it. After all, we've been trying to kill it for centuries. Each person in America should take a long look inside and ask what they've done to bring this upon themselves. Perhaps if we made an effort to understand swine flu we could have peace. Maybe we could even be friends.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Goings On In Harding

We took a trip down to Harding this weekend to visit Donna's family. We were supposed to go to a nearby drive-in movie theater for Cruise Night, an annual event sponsored by the local car club. Classic cars are on display along with dinner, followed by a double feature at one of the few drive-in screens left in America.

Unfortunately, the drive-in chose to show American Grafitti and The Ugly Truth, not exactly kiddie fare. While I appreciated the relevance of Grafitti, I emailed the theater last week to see if they might consider moving one of the two kid's movies they were scheduled to show next week into the early slot at Cruise Night. I got a rather snotty reply from a woman at the theater. Apparently the complaints lodged last year weren't loud enough.

Last year's Cruise Night, known as the Night of Singing Horrors, caused quite a commotion. Unlike previous years, when they showed something in the early slot that could at least be called family-friendly, they scheduled some R-rated movie which name I can't remember. At the last minute, after much complaining, the theater switched the order of the movies. It was because of this I sustained permanent damage to both my retinas and my ear drums. For you see, the movie they showed turned out to be Mama Mia, the greatest abomination in the history of cinema.

This year we decided to boycott and take the kids into Brainerd, Minnesota to see G-Force, which blew whale turds. At least the kids liked it. We also got a little school shopping in. Later that night we drove out to a field and did some stargazing. Macy saw the Milky Way for the first time, which was awesome.

I also saw the greatest sign in the world:

I couldn't decide which of the following captions to use:

(1) God bless those Pagans!

(2) Hey look: a cornfield! And it's full of children!

The first one is funnier, but it's also from The Simpsons. Either way, that picture is now my wallpaper.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

A Trip To The Bookstore

I got a gift card to Barnes and Noble from my parents for my birthday. Last night was the first chance I had to use it, and use it I did. Donna was out throwing a baby shower for our good friend Alyssa, so I had some time to myself. Since Donna is all about ebooks now that she has a Kindle, I headed to the book store.

I love books. I read a lot. However, I'm also a festering ball of impatience, so I tend to zone out and get bored walking through the stacks in the fiction and lit-chura-chur section. I read a lot of different genres, but I generally look for one of two things: a "classic" I've always meant to read and haven't gotten around to (1984, The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress) or some quirky-looking new book that catches my interest (The Raw Shark Texts, House of Leaves). This leads to a lot of scanning every book on every shelf in every aisle.

As you can probably imagine, my eyes start to glaze over before the end. Luckily, I come across whole racks full of the same author that I can skip right over. I've never read and Danielle Steele or John Saul, and I never will. But I do thank them for shortening my journey through the stacks at B&N.

My trip would be a lot shorter if I stuck to science fiction; that section has gotten tiny. I guess you only need so much room for what SF has largely become. I mean, there only needs to be three subsections: Dune knock-offs, Lord of the Rings knockoffs, and books about vampires.

Anyway, here's what I picked up:

13 Things That Don't Make Sense by Michael Brooks

This looked interesting, and should fill my Look-What-I'm-Reading-Aren't-I-Intellectual quota for the month.

The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier

A quintessential "looks weird and interesting" pick. Odd title, funky cover. The back-of-the-cover synopsis didn't turn me off.

fragile things by Neil Gaiman

A collection of short stories from one of the few remaining fantasy/SF writers I still like. It came down to this or the latest from Stephen Baxter. The latter, however, is currently suffering from trilogyitis, which almost all F&SF writers catch at one point or another. I'm not in the mood for a trilogy (or, jeebus forbid, a cycle right now).

Anyway, check the column on the right to see which one I'm reading first. Ooh, the suspense!

And, thanks mom and dad!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

This Doesn't Mean I Know Anything About F-Stops

I like to take pictures. I take a camera with me just about everywhere I go that I think might yield some cool pictures. I am not, however, a photographer. I've never studied photography. I can't carry on intelligent discourse about low-light scenarios, the superiority (or lack) of this or that telephoto lens. I don't know anything about f-stops.

Thankfully, I live in a thread of the multiverse where digital cameras are plentiful, cheap, and loaded with automatic this-and-that. I've taken my share of what I think are pretty cool pictures. But I am not a professional photographer, nor do I possess the skill to become one.

However, last week I was asked to act as photographer at Microsoft Fargo's annual R&D recognition ceremony. I was simultaneously flattered and apprehensive upon receiving the request. I stressed that I was "a guy who takes pictures" rather than a photographer, but the woman in charge of organizing the event seemed unperturbed. We'll see how it goes. The cool thing is I get to walk around wherever I want and get in anybody's face in the name of Preserving The Moment. I have an all-access pass in the phrase, "I'm the photographer!"

Even if it's a dirty lie.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Who Wants Hashbrowns? (with Guestblogger BlandMan124789)

Hey, thanks to Jay for letting me guest blog today. He's real busy with the "making software" and the "cursing SharePoint", so he asked me to do a post. At first, I didn't know what to post about, but then it hit me: hashbrowns! Everybody loves 'em. Everybody eats 'em. And everybody wants to know how I make 'em (at least, they will once they see how I do it!).

The secret to good hash browns (any good dish, really) is salt. Or, more specifically, a glaring lack thereof. Nothing ruins potatoes more than having a sufficient amount of salt. Have you ever put a forkful of hashbrowns in your mouth and though, "whoa. Enough with the salt already, mister 'chef' guy. If I wanted all that flavor I'd ask for it". Happens to me all the time. It's the reason behind my boycott of Denny's. Well, that and the time my hamsteak was blue.

So, light salt (preferably none). What else? One word: consistency. Hash browns are supposed to be a close (you might say kissin' if you were a perv) cousin of mashed potatoes. And I'm not talking about skin-on homemade mashed potatoes with all the lumps. I'm talkin' about Hungry Jack when you don't have enough flakes in the box for all the liquid you heated up. I'm talkin' grits. When you see someone spoon hashbrowns onto a plate and they stick together in a single flat, stiff latticework of shredded starch, you know you're getting them from an idiot.

Hashbrowns should be eaten with a spoon.

-- BlandMan124789

Monday, August 17, 2009

Rights I Just Made Up: The Right To Tornado-Proof Windows

That's what a family caught in a tornado say they have anyway, in a suit against Honda. At the very least the owner's manual should say, "don't drive during a tornado", right? I really don't understand how anyone that's not a trial lawyer could ever argue we don't have a problem with lawsuits in this country.

This family is probably going to win a huge sum of money because their car window couldn't withstand the vehicle being picked up by a tornado.

In a nod to both rationality and ludicrousness simultaneously, the husband is also suing his wife for driving in inclement weather.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

When Did Fargo Become A Great Restaurant Magnet?

Not long ago Fargo had a glut of good-not-great places to eat. While there was an Applebees on every corner and a Chili's in between each pair of Applebees and a TGI Friday's in between each Chili's and Applebees, there weren't a lot of choices for an exceptional meal.

Apparently overnight, several really good restaurants sprouted out of the ground around Fargo. Last night Donna and I had a belated birthday dinner for me at Norman's, a new steak and seafood joint. The steak was out of this world. I mean it was quite possibly the best I've ever had. There's nothing quite like a 26 oz ribeye cooked rare. Oh yeah: 26 oz.

Norman's is an ala carte restaurant, which is French for "asparagus costs $8". It's not a place you pack up the family for a night out. I question its long term prospects, because the place is huge (it's a renovated Bennigan's) and seats a lot of people. I can't see that place being full on a consistent basis. Not when you're going to drop a minimum of $40 per person. The overhead costs may sink it in the long run. But while it's here, I'm going to enjoy it; I hope that's a long, long time.

W.F. Maxwell's is another gem in the area. It specializes in the kind of high-falutin' fare you normally only see in reality shows about people who got famous because of sex tapes. Stuff with cilantro and cherry-mango salsa and such. It's excellent. Like Norman's, it's not cheap. The menu changes from week to week, which I love (I don't know why more restaurants don't do this, except they probably don't have the chef to pull it off).

There are not one but two great Italian places in Fargo (three if you count Johnny Carino's, which I don't. It's really good, but it's also a chain). Toscana and Grazie's are both excellent in different ways. Grazie's serves more traditional American-Italian dishes. Toscana has more exotic fare, and mixes in a little French cuisine with its traditional Italian dishes. I've been to both several times and love them.

Monte's is another hoity-toity place where parts of the menu change over time. I haven't been there in several years, but I remember that the food was very good (but pricy) and the Espressotini was incredible. (Ed. note: you don't consider it a real martini, right? Me: nope)

A step lower on the ladder for me, but still very good, are Kobe's, which I've mentioned in this space before; the Thai Orchid, where I recommend the spring rolls; and Lone Star, where you can get a pretty good steak at a pretty good price.

A couple places I haven't tried:

The Silver Moon Supper Club is a new restaurant in the area. It is owned by the proprietor of Monte's. I haven't tried it yet, but I will in the future. Based on the commercials, wherein Monte proclaims it "simply the finest dining experience in the world," I'm expecting it to be something special.

The Hotel Donaldson has a decent reputation. I've stayed in the hotel before and it's very nice; each room is uniquely decorated with pieces from different local artists.

So, who am I missing?

Friday, August 14, 2009

My MP3 Player Won't Stop Playing: Conquest

I remember several years ago playing a new CD I had picked up earlier in the day for some friends, telling them that this "new" band was really cool. I played a song and they both panned it. I took the CD out and that was it. The CD was White Blood Cells, the song was Fell In Love With A Girl and the band was the White Stripes. So, to those people (who shall remain nameless), I say [adopts Cartman voice] ha ha ha ha haaaaa ha, I was right about the White Stripes!

My Zen has played Conquest at least once every day for the last six days, which is more than enough to qualify for this mini-feature. With the number of songs I have, it's not uncommon to hear a specific song less than once a month (understanding that I basically only listen to it while I'm at work). To hear a song every day for almost a week is uncommon.

I love this song because if the Stripes were not one of the biggest bands in the world it would certainly pop up in a Quentin Tarantino movie at some point. Probably in a scene where the heroine is kicking the crap out of the lover that done her wrong with a katana. In other words, in something totally badass.

What this may mean: my Zen is into quirky, offbeat singles featuring mariachi horns.

What else this may mean: since this song also serves as my personal ringtone on Donna's phone, it may mean that I don't call enough.

Drink Up: Martini

This is a new little thing I'm trying out. As you may know, booze is like the son I never had. I love a good drink, and I'll drink almost anything: bourbon, whiskey, gin, vodka, tequila, rum, brandy; it's all good.

I feel a little selfish keeping all this drinking expertise to myself when it could do so much good for mankind. So for this inaugural installment I'm going to explain how to make a martini the right way. What's 'the right way'? Here's a hint: James Bond is a bad dude, but he doesn't know how to make a martini.

There are a few basic truths about martinis that everyone should know. These are not negotiable:
  1. Martinis are made with gin.
  2. They have only one other ingredient: vermouth.
  3. You stir a martini.

Once you accept those three things, you are ready to make a martini. Note that there is absolutely nothing wrong with a vodka martini; I love them, myself. But if you order a martini in a bar it should be gin. If you want vodka, order a vodka martini. Okay then.

Beyond that, you've got some choices. Do you like your martinis dry? Wet? Perfect? Dirty? Except for that last, those are all just terms that describe what kind of vermouth you like. Dry indicates the use of dry vermouth, whereas wet calls for sweet. Perfect is a blend of the two. Dirty involves adding a dash of olive juice. The resulting cloudiness is what birthed the term.

On a few occasions I was called upon to help out behind the bar at Seasons At Rose Creek, the fancy restaurant I worked at while in college. This is where I perfected my personal recipe:

2 oz Bombay Sapphire
1/2 oz dry vermouth
1 olive (as garnish)

A couple things: the garnish is not an ingredient, so I don't violate rule #2 above. Also, while you should certainly choose your own gin, personally I highly recommend Sapphire. If you can't get that, Beefeater is also high on my list. Use Tanqueray only if drinking distilled pine cones is your thing. Seriously. Most people who tell me they don't like gin complain about the piney taste. It shows that their only experience with the stuff is Tanqueray. Don't drink Tanqueray. I can't stress this enough.

Back to the recipe. If you don't chill your gin, then shame on you. All is not lost though; you can still save the situation. Add the vermouth to a martini glass. Swirl the vermouth around the glass until the inside is thoroughly coated. Dump the vermouth out. It has served its purpose.

Pour the gin into a shaker or glass of ice and stir it. Don't shake it; it waters down the gin too much. Strain the gin into the martini glass. Add the olive (impaled on your most fabulous garnish spear). Congratulations! You've just made a ridiculously good (and very dry) martini.

Drink three or four of those watch your self-esteem and confidence soar (while your motor skills. depth perception and enunciation plummet like America's credit rating).

Thursday, August 13, 2009

No Keillor Reference Left Behind

One of the mostly-forgotten relics of the second Bush administration was the No Child Left Behind Act, which, as best as I can fathom, was designed to make sure every child in America was safely above average in academic achievement. Standards that weren't clearly explained (at least, not so an uneducated software engineer that used to work on nuclear weapon systems like myself could understand) are applied to every public school in America. If a school doesn't meet these standards, they get on the government's list of schools that are falling behind.

It appears that Macy's school, Ellen Hopkins Elementary in Moorhead, just made the list. I received a government-mandated notification letting me know that my child was now in a "district in need of improvement". This doesn't sound good. My first thought was that Macy was getting a substandard education; her school was spending too much time making dreamcatchers and not enough time studying the deficit.

Then I remembered that the federal government was involved and I relaxed. What's the problem with Macy's school? The truth is, I don't know. The email contained a link to the official letter from the district, but that didn't clarify things much. Here is the letter (click on the image to enlarge):

Apparently, while All Students are showing acceptable rates in math, reading, attendance and graduation, the same cannot be said for black kids, American Indian kids, ELL kids (east Lithuanian Lollygaggers?), Hispanic kids or special ed kids. How individual groups can fail while All Kids pass, I don't know. I also don't know why we, as a nation, continue to put up with a free- and reduced-price lunch program that continues to fail at math and reading.

I should also point out that there are about six black kids at Macy's school, which is actually quite high for a Minnesota public school not centered in Minneapolis-St. Paul. But if just one or two of those kids don't perform, the failure percentage skyrockets.

I have no idea what this means for the school in general. I can't imagine funding will be cut (how would that improve things?). I'm not too worried about Macy as an individual, and you shouldn't either. When she finished 2nd grade she was reading at a 5th grade level. As for math, she struggled a bit with counting money, but we worked on that. Considering the routine manner in which she wipes the floor with me in Monopoly, she seems to have the money thing down.

In the meantime, I'll just hang onto this letter as another reminder of the efficiency of the federal government. I won't bother to draw the obvious tie-in to government-run healthcare; you're smart enough to do that yourself. But you might want to explain it to any school lunch programs you know that may be lagging behind in reading comprehension.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Double Standards Are Fun

Remember James von Brunn? This was a huge story for weeks. It had all sorts of important lessons on tolerance and race to teach us[*]. How about the Gates affair? That also had much to tell us about intolerance and America, and a big chunk of the internet was reserved to tell us about it. That one is still in the news (albeit tenuously at this point).

How about this story? Is this the first you're hearing about it? Are you wondering how the story of a white mob kicking the living crap out of a black man never managed to make it into the same white-hot spotlight as the above incidents? Yeah, me too.

One theory: a black man protesting for a conservative cause doesn't rate the same handwringing over race. On second thought that couldn't be true. Otherwise, a double standard would have to exist in the media establishment. One that assigned value to a story based on the ideological perspectives of the players. One that selectively covered stories in order to promote a mindset over fact reporting. That's. Just. Crazy.

[*] Meanwhile, this story? Not so important, even though it happened the day before. And it certainly had nothing to say about race.

Monday, August 10, 2009


It's no secret that Detroit is a city in decline. It is a city that tied it's economic future to a single industry and systematically poisoned the atmosphere to other businesses, discouraging new investment and driving out many existing ones.

The blame for this lies largely with a government mired in corruption, beholden to automotive union special interests. It also lies with the populace that kept electing such people. All that aside, though, what's important here is the outcome.

What happens when a government does all it can to discourage business? Well, business stops coming to that place and some existing businesses go away. This results in lost revenue, as taxation on business is a big part of the tax base. This is where the attitude toward business and its purpose shows. Because, rather than look for ways to entice business back (incentives, tax breaks, lower tax rates), taxes are raised as the municipality tries to squeeze the last drop of blood out of the stone before it crumbles. Businesses aren't looked at as partners in making a community thrive, they're looked at as ATMs for social engineering (and all too often, graft).

Detroit is an abject lesson in the high-tax, business-averse form of government. This blog has the pictures to prove it. Detroit is dying and until it changes how it looks at business and taxation, nothing can save it.


Saturday, August 8, 2009

Bathroom Facelift

The previous owner of our house installed a jacuzzi tub in the upstairs bathroom. Unfortunately, the tub is a drop in, which didn't play nice in with the shower to which it was mated. Because it sat directly upon the floor, it tended to shift and rock while showering. This made it impossible to keep properly sealed. So, time for a new tub. We took the opportunity to repaint and redecorate a bit:


The old tub.

The old tub. Again.

New tub is in, waiting for the drywall guy.

Ooooh. Just like the bathroom at Windsor Palace where the Queen craps!

Friday, August 7, 2009

New Digs

We moved into the newest building on the Microsoft Fargo campus this week. The Vision building and the Commons that links it to the rest of the campus are by far the most arresting buildings. Here's a little tour:

South exterior

South exterior, alternate view including the Commons

South entrance

Security checkpoint

This is where the magic happens. The part I'm responsible for, anyway.

The gameroom. That's air hockey in the back.

Game room, alternate angle

The Commons. This is the cafeteria, which is set up a lot like the cafeterias in Redmond.

Another angle of the cafeteria.

This fountain becomes a fireplace in winter. Really.

Shot from the second floor overlooking the entrance.

Monday, August 3, 2009

We Came, We Saw, We Camped. Then I Got Stabbed.

We headed out into the great outdoors this past weekend, back to Breeze Campground, site of the our previous adventure titled, "How to put up a tent in a downpour". This time we were there with my old Air Force buddy Kris, his wife Sunny and their daughter (Bella) and niece (Selene).

This time the rain didn't come until after the tents were up, so an hour into the trip we were already ahead of the game. Fortunately, I learned the trick of buying a tent large enough to hide a battleship in from Kris and Sunny, so between us we had plenty of room. So Friday night basically consisted of eating chili in a big tent. Kris and I had cooking duty, so naturally I got soaked. It wouldn't be camping if my body temperature was above 70 degrees.

This actually worked really well.

The next day was better weather-wise, if you consider trading rain for 35 m.p.h. winds "better". The good news is the sun was out, so we were able to put together a viable volleyball game that consisted of Sunny, Bella, Macy and a horde of tween girls versus the team of me and, uh, me. Don't worry, I still won.

That evening was steak night, and don't let anybody tell you that there's anything better than an inch-and-a-half-thick ribeye on an open fire and a beer to wash it down. They're lying. You shouldn't trust them and you certainly shouldn't be their friend. They're probably robbing you blind as you read this.

The shirt does not lie: Kris wore this shirt the entire weekend.

Donna's steak was a little underdone for her taste, and mine was a little overdone (medium rare), so we attempted the always-dangerous steak swap. The first maneuver (getting my piece onto Donna's plate) went without a hitch. However, either due to the wind, a defective fork, or perhaps a saboteur, bad things happened during the second transfer. The rare ribeye slipped its mooring and plummeted to earth. Everyone looked on, horrified, as the succulent meat dropped to a sooty, dirty end.

I knew I had to act.

Utilizing the scissor maneuver, I clasped the ribeye between my outstretched hands, temporarily averting doom. Unfortunately, I still had a six-inch buck knife in my left hand. It's a great knife: I use it for cutting the twine off cords of wood, slicing tomatoes, and skinning animals. I also use it to cut steak. Anyway, it went point-first into the fleshy part of my palm, right where my thumb does that bendy thing that classifies it as opposable.

Yeah, blood, pain, more blood, terror, whatever. The upshot is, this made me drop the steak again. This is the point where my ninja-like reflexes really showed themselves. With one hand bleeding like an extra in a Sam Raimi movie and the other hand still holding a knife now glistening with my blood, I executed the off-the-scale-difficulty maneuver of catching the steak between my shins, mere inches above the ground. I imagine bacteria were reaching upward toward a future that was not meant to be. Suck it, germs.

Some manual pressure, neosporin, and a bandaid later I ate that steak, and damn it was good.

This has nothing to do with anything. I just find it funny.

Stuff happened after that: found some neanderthal graves, foiled some terrorists, wrestled a llama. I won't bore you with the details, as they don't involve my shins.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Cool Space Picture, The Amazing Rubix Cubewich, & Was Dan Rather Always This Insane?

  • Check out what you get if you combine expensive cameras and layers upon layers of sun filters.

  • Make this with better ingredients (pork fat?) and you've got a winner.

  • Dan Rather laments the decline and fall of the watchdog media: "A truly free and independent press is the red beating heart of democracy and freedom". His plan to save it? Have the government set up a 'commission on public media". Because if there's one thing that will ensure an independent media, it's the government telling it how to run itself.

  • Shocker: it appears the multi-billion dollar organic foods market may be propped up with phony health claims.