Better And Better

If you don't draw yours, I won't draw mine. A police officer, working in the small town that he lives in, focusing on family and shooting and coffee, and occasionally putting some people in jail.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Just one day. One. Frickin'. Day...

...without idjits at the top of the headlines. That's all I'm asking.

Does anyone else hear hoofbeats?

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I've gone back and re-read Tamara's rant about the state of our upcoming national elections, and it seems that I need to link it:

"And before you even think about puffing up and sputtering something about "Are you just going to give Hillary the White House?" just put a sock in it, because it wasn't me, brother. It was all you idiots who put candidates out there that got tied up in pointless jackassery like rearranging the 'gay marriage' and 'flag burning' and 'stem cell' deck chairs after the USS Conservative had already hit the iceberg. Your typical Republican these days is worried more about what's printed on the money than where it comes from or what it gets spent on."

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Note to all:

You know that cell phone that you're holding to your face in public?
Yeah, that one.
Well you know those little holes at the end that's not at your ear?
Go ahead and look. I'll wait.
Okay. That's your phone's microphone.
It's right next to your frickin' mouth!

Pay attention, because I'm only going to say this politely one time:

You do NOT need to shout or indeed even raise your voice when speaking into a microphone that is within 2 inches of your piehole mouth. Good modern microphones pick up proximal noise better than ambient noise. This may mean that you might not be able to hear yourself speak. That's okay-- they can. If you have to shout, then your phone/radio/communications device is broken-- get a new one.

The movie you're watching? It's not only about you...

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Friday, January 25, 2008

Ready for a little break.

50 hrs of overtime plus started grad school this pay period.
Yesterday and today included more force-on-force training, which is good for a little adrenaline dump, and usually makes you feel good about the world, except that I probably burned a bridge or two when I negatively reviewed a trainer in a signed review, which I handed to him. Which he read in front of me.

Don't spend an hour lecturing me on your xenophobic point of view, telling me entire cultures are terrorists, and then expect me not put that on your review. I don't mind if you feel that way. I respect your position as Instructor too much to shout you down in class. But I will state my opinion on a review form, and sign it.

I'm tired, and frustrated.

I'm going to take a nap before working a deep night today.

But first, a quick Tiny Toons / They Might Be Giants break. (Buddy LawDog prefers Pinky And The Brain, but Tiny Toons had something, especially when they did music videos with TMBG.) (How is it that TMBG released their first geek rock album 22 years ago?).

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Just seems like it would be easier to... well, maybe not.

The new semester in graduate school has started, and I've started with it, if a little late. I'm taking a class on Advanced Criminal Theory (yawn), and a class on Crime Scene Reconstruction.

The professor who teaches the latter is the same prof who taught my blood spatter course a year ago, and is a professional expert reconstructionist. As this course actually touches on my field of work, it's more interesting.

We discussed in class a case study that involved an undergrad college student reportedly found by his roommates dead in his room, with an N frame stainless revolver (I later found from other pics that it was a 629) next to him and a contact wound that went through his head. On the floor under his supine legs was an open pistol case containing a trigger lock, 5 loose cartridges, and a new box of ammunition missing six. The loose cartridges and the single fired case in the otherwise unloaded revolver were of the same brand and type as those remaining in the box of ammo. Witnesses stated that the deceased always kept the revolver loaded.

The professor waited for a reaction, and when he got none, he said, "Maybe I'm making assumptions here, and some of y'all don't know how a revolver works. Uh, Matt, why don't you explain for the class briefly how a revolver works, and why the picture here is significant?"

Quick: In front of a class of mostly strangers, give the briefest, most concise, yet accurate and understandable description of a revolver, and how it works.

I quickly tried to so, and then explained that traditionally, full-sized revolvers like the N frame in the picture held 6 cartridges (with some notable exceptions), so the facts indicated that the decedent had unloaded the five loose rounds from the revolver before shooting himself, which was unusual behavior for someone who planned to kill himself.*

During the whole time that I stammered through my ad lib description of how a revolver functioned, I was thinking how much easier it would be if I just used the M37 in my pocket as an instructional aide. (Note: If mine were as pretty as Tam's nickeled one, I don't think I could've resisted.)

_ _ _ _ _
*The authorities investigating the case ruled that it was suicide. My professor's hypothesis-- and I agree with him-- is that the decedent had played Russian Roulette... and lost. The difference is seemingly minor, but it's important.

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Friday, January 18, 2008


The winters's largely been dry this year, and the wind blows in from the northwest and occasionally from the southwest, bringing dry air. Add that to the dry interiors from heaters working, and lips begin to chap a tad. I feel like a damned sissy whenever I put chapstick on-- I never used it as a kid, and it looks like lipstick, to my Texas male eyes. But shoot, even an old[er] dog can learn new tricks.

Reminds me of the tale of the Easterner couple that was vacationing out west, and found to their charm that in one small town, the cowboys would often just ride their horses into town for supplies and lunch, tying off to the still-functional hitching posts.

One cowboy climbed off his horse, remarking how chafed his lips were. Lifting his steed's tail, he planted a big kiss right on the gelding's brown eye.

The couple, taken aback, asked the cowpoke if that really treated chafed lips.

He thought on it and responded,"Well, I don't rightly know about treating them, but it sure's hell keeps me from licking 'em so much."

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Protesting too much? No, no, no...

. . . yes.

Is anybody else beginning to feel like we're being subjected to a marathon screening of Weekend At Bernie's III?

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Hammer Bite.

You have GOT to be kidding me.

I've been shooting the 1911 or 1911A1 type firearm for a long time. Simple fact. I know how to use the pistol, and it's my preferred main duty gun.

Dad introduced me to it (as he had 40 years ago introduced it to a certain now-famous gun writer). I learned to shoot it the way Dad taught me, which was largely influenced by his personal instruction from Jeff Cooper in 1980, and in Dad's nationally-ranked participation in IPSC during that time.

When I went off to be a ranch hand for a summer at age 17, I took a Series 70 Mk IV 1911 of Dad's, and carried it and shot it enough to remove almost all of the parkerized finish from it. I got pretty familiar with its trappings.

As I grew into my manly size, I found that my orangutan-like hands wrapped all the way around a big pistol. While I can shoot a big double-stack pistol, I still prefer the single stack 1911. But that big hand comes with a large web between thumb and forefinger. When I grip a 1911 in its original configuration, I have to take care to roll my hand into the grip safety so that the tang will cover the top of the webbing of my gripping hand, lest the skin of the web of my hand overlap the tang and receive the dreaded Hammer Bite.

Hammer Bite is caused when the spur on the back of the hammer on an exposed hammer design firearm bites the bit of flesh between the tang --in this case the top of the grip safety-- and the back of the hammer. For many years it was a common modification to put shorter Commander hammers on Government Model 1911s and later to put custom "ski jump" extended-tang grip safeties onto them.

In the early to mid 1990's, Kimber revolutionized the handgun world by marketing quality 1911 firearms with custom features for reasonable prices. While this seems like old hat today, it is a simple fact that "custom guns" came at custom prices before Kimber created this market that others (especially Springfield Armory) hurried to get into.

I've been hearing some (admittedly anecdotal) unfavorable reviews of some of the newer Kimbers, these days. If quality has slipped, that's a sorrowful thing, but Tamara spoke correctly when she said that 1911 owners owe a debt to Kimber, for what it did to the industry of affordable "off the shelf custom" fighting handguns.

When I bought my Kimber Stainless Classic new in 2001, I specifically went looking for an older Series I (they were at that time in transition, and both Series I and Series II were in stock). I did not want a firing pin interlock device, though Kimber's grip safety technique is novel and reportedly reliable. I wanted a stainless version of the Series 70 I had been carrying on duty, that was easy to disassemble and reassemble.

The pistol came stock with a slightly extended safety, a loop hammer spur (not a true Commander style, because it's too long), and an oversize grip safety/tang. It came with a flat mainspring housing that I discarded for an arched knurled mainspring housing (with loop, of course), and a full-length recoil spring guide rod that I gave away in favor of a proper short guide rod. Other than that, I did nothing to it, besides attempting to wear it out.

This pistol immediately became my go-to pistol. I carried it on duty. I carried it a lot off-duty. I carried it hunting. I carried it to pistol matches. I shot it in turkey shoots (and won turkeys). I pretty much quit carrying my beautiful old Gold Cup except for weddings. My early Kimber Series I feeds everything I put in it, and is more accurate than I am. I actually had to add weight to the trigger, which broke the scales at 2.25 lbs from the factory. It's now a perfect 2.75 lbs or so, and loves semi-wadcutters.

Then I went to an agency that issued and mandated Glocks for duty. I focused on the Glock because, frankly, I needed to. I've gotten fairly decent with it, but still have some work to do to improve my skills with it. It's just not my preferred piece. So even my trigger time with my beloved Kimber 1911 was diminished.

I went by my Dad's today to chat and do a little reloading. We eventually (after coffee and tacos and gorditas) loaded a couple of hundred rounds of .45 acp. While in Dad's reloading room, he handed me a decent-looking 1911 and asked "What's wrong with this picture?" I looked at it. It had a nice black parkerized-style refinish, and fresh import marks. It was a Sistema, complete with knurled trigger, short tang, original style 1911 beaver-tail type hammer spur, tiny blade front sight and...

"It's missing its rear sight," I responded. Nope. Can't get one past me. Trained observer.

Dad said that he'd picked it up last month for a decent price, and hadn't even shot it, seeing no point until he had a rear sight on it.

"I wonder how the trigger is," I muttered as I racked the slide to check the chamber, feel the action, and cock the hammer.

Ow. OW! That hurt.

What the hell?!?

Oh, good Gawd.

Remember how I said that I had had to learn how to carefully roll a 1911 into my huge hands to keep them from getting hammer bite?

And remember how I related that I've been kinda spoiled by using my Kimber, with its extended grip safety?

And remember how I've been focusing more on my duty Glock, lately?

Well, I have managed to achieve an injury from Hammer Bite, from a single cycling of a pistol, without even firing it.

I put the pistol down, lest I get blood on it.

Crap .
_ _ _

Gripping my Kimber (loosely). Note extended tang on the grip safety, protecting the web of the hand.
_ _ _

Top view of my hand holding my Kimber Stainless Classic. Even with the ski-jump grip safety, one can see how the webbing bunches behind the tang.
_ _ _
Oblique view of my hand holding the Kimber, with good view of the extended grip safety guarding against Hammer Bite.
_ _ _

The injury. My hand is basically in a shooting grip here... but the lower fingers aren't curled in, so really, it's just a really mutant-looking picture.
_ _ _

See? I'm not really a freak. This picure shows a normal hand. Not a great pic, though, because you can't see the dead piece of skin that was initially pinched by the the Sistema. Okay, maybe I'm just a baby.
_ _ _

Okay. Maybe I am a freak. My... my hand doesn't really look like that. That picture is a lie.

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"And have fun!"

Per Terrierman by way of LabRat, I have just read one of the coolest disclaimers of all time.

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Monday, January 14, 2008

Ear Worm Of The Day

Some jerk on the radio played this last night, and now I've got it running through my head.

(Don't click there.)

I give it two more hours, and if I still haven't rid myself of it, I'm fighting fire with fire, and pulling out the big guns.

("But Doctor! How do you know the cure is not worse than the disease?")

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Sunday, January 13, 2008

She likely wasn't going to mention it, but

...congrats to Tamara for 3/4 M hits to her porch.

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Why in the world would you keep a fire extinguisher?

The Police Department Fire Department is only seconds away on 911!

Go listen. Please. And know that the couple of minutes that it takes you to hear the 911 call of a desperate woman were much, MUCH longer for her.

And take heart-- she perserveres.

H/T to Michael Bane.


Friday, January 11, 2008

Must be sending the new batch of cards out.

Site Meter tells me that I'm getting a LOT of hits by people Googling "Magna Cum", "National Scholars Honor Society", etc.

I really don't want to use the word "Scam," to describe them. (Mostly because I already did that back in November.)

I'll just say that you're probably not getting what you think you're paying for.
Gosh, I hope they don't sue me, or anything. [/yawn]
Scam, National Scholars Honor Society looks like a scam, worthless organization, magna cum, is a scam, don't bother unless you really need to throw away $85.

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I hear Hitler liked dogs.

I wonder: does Mr. Al Sharpton ever go to bed at night thinking to himself, "Boy, howdy-- I sure did my part at bringing unity to my country today!" Or more narrowly: "I'm helping under-represented people by calling attention to their unfortunate plight in a manner that everyone has to respect!"

I mean, most people want to believe that they're good people, attempting --if not completing-- good tasks. Surely Mr. Sharpton thinks that he's doing good things in his rabble rousing. I have to believe he does.

But does anyone really appreciate it when they see that Mr. Sharpton is up to his one-trick show again?

I mean, aside from the entertainment value?

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Didn't have far to go.

We lost another good one. Sir Edmund Hillary passed to his great beyond this last week.

The man was known for his humility, even while achieving personal greatness. He then quietly used his fame to try to save one of the planet's greatest wonders.

It's worth reading the above obituary-- the man was a mountain all his own.

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There's your front runner ticket, right there.

A.P. photo

If not, you'd best get busy finding one alternative or another.

_ _ _

Note: assertions that my opposition to an Obama / Kerry ticket is based upon a problem with the content of melanin in Mr. Obama's skin will not be entertained.

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On the other hand...

Bad: I woke up earlier than I had planned to this morning, because of someone banging on my door and ringing my doorbell.

Good: When I got to the door, I found the Big Brown Truck of Goodness driving away, having just left a Package of Happiness for me.

Bad: I was up, and would never get back to sleep.

Good: Now that I was up, I got to open my Package of Happiness.

Bad: This would lead to me making a mess, and getting involved in a minor project. It also feeds my addiction.

Good: But, yay! Feed my addiction!

Bad: This crap is costly.

Good: But, yay! I paid for it last week. Source is here.

Bad: That box looked awfully damned small for the $30 I spent having it sent to me.

Good: Did I mention that the Stuff. Is. Here?!?

Bad: Well, they over-taped it and over-sealed it and I'll be lucky if I don't cut a finger off getting to the...

Good: ...pound of Guatamalan Vista Hermosa Peaberry, pound of Mexican Malinal Washed, pound of Costa Rican BCT Dota Select, and pound of Hawaiian Kauai-Reserve green coffee beans.

Bad: Now I had to decide which to try first.

Good: This is a problem? Every coffee drinker should have such a dilemma.

Bad: After roasting, grinding, filtering, boiling, pouring, stirring, steeping, and pressing, it took me 26 minutes to finally have a cup of Guatamalan Vista Hermosa Peaberry coffee.

Good: But what a cuppa.

Bad: While moving the supposedly ziplocked bag of Guatamalan Vista Hermosa, I slung about a quarter lb of the hard little beans all over my hardwood kitchen floor. Which really needed to be swept. Wow. Look at how far those hard little beans will bounce. To the living room, even. Huh. I wouldn't have guessed.

Good: I could pick it all up, right?

Bad: The floor needs to be swept BADLY. And mopped. I'm not consuming this.

Good: The Black and Decker 7.2 V DustBuster is the first example of the DustBuster that I've ever seen that was worth a crap. And we just got one for Christmas. This thing is mighty powerful, and is a wet/dry vac, too. Impressive. The battery life is surprisingly long, as well.

Bad: Should I recycle the beans out of the dust chamber? Should I? No, of course not.

I made the right decision. Into the trash they went.

There goes about $3.00 US and a good pot of coffee or two.

Good: I've got more.

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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Movie worth seeing.

Dad and best friend Scott and I went to the movie house today to see No Country For Old Men, a movie based on the book by Cormac McCarthy, who's one of my favorite living authors.

Go see this thing in the theatre. There's a lot of subtlety in the sounds that make a person turn around, and the change in shadow that imply that a bad guy approaches, which will get lost on the small screen.

The Cohen Brothers have managed to get past the fatal flaw that they showed in Fargo: they've quit making fun of a regional culture. Good for them.

This movie takes place in southwest Texas in the summer of 1980. (Side note: they took some liberties with location, sometimes portraying mountains 90 miles from the location that was supposed to be the setting. That area of Texas is vast. Eagle Pass is almost 500 miles by road from El Paso, and both places are set in the movie. All of that is west of San Antonio.)

In the first few minutes of the movie, a welder (portrayed by Josh Brolin) hunting pronghorn in the high mesas finds the remains of a drug deal gone wrong. He ignores the tons of heroin, and looks for and finds the money.

You find yourself wondering if you're supposed to like the man. He's sly. He's a little insensitive to the fact that he's rooting around the bodies of several dead men for the cash. He's a little greasy, and he lies to his wife some, to start with.

I found myself liking the character. I liked him a lot.

That's a mistake, when you read one of McCarthy's novels. He'll endear a guy to you, so that it'll tear your heart when you see what they go through.

Tommy Lee Jones finally is in a movie where he's not playing a cocky man shouting orders and saying witty things fast. He is an aging sheriff, who doesn't hide the fact that he doesn't understand what the hell is going on with the world. He is from a different breed than what he is seeing today. And he's beginning to suspect that the world's always been different from what he understood it to be. The only people that he can really talk to are old people.

Let me say this about Jones' performance as Sheriff Ed Tom Bell: I know this man. I've been around him for years, wearing different faces, standing different heights, and carrying different weights. They mostly all spoke with a drawl, and they all wondered sometimes how it all got to be so crazy. Between McCarthy, the Cohens, and Jones, I saw the bewildered squint of people that I've known personally, perplexed and aghast.

The bad guy was a deliciously sinister madman, and you get this from the way he quietly picks an argument with a store clerk. The clerk knows that he needs to be very afraid, even though no overt threat has been leveled against him. The bad guy has an odd array of weaponry, which I'll leave to you to find out about.

Shotguns figure heavily in the movie. An autoloader (M1100?) of the bad guy's, modified in a way I've never seen (I'll let you go see it yourself), and an 1897 Winchester that Brolin's character cuts down with a hacksaw fore and aft are both particularly evident, along with an unseen model of shotgun early in the movie that makes a nasty but not fatal shoulder wound. Also seen are a bumper-chromed Government Model and the sheriff's custom 1911, carried hammer-down on a loaded chamber with a thong loop on the holster. His deputy had some blued K-frame (Probably a M19, though I really didn't notice if the sights were adjustable or not.).

The worst part about this movie was that they cast that idiot Woody Harrelson to play a small supporting role in it. I suppose that it's somewhat comforting that the guy he plays is also a cocky jerk, but no matter; he doesn't belong in the movie. If I'm not making myself clear, then let me be plain: I personally think the actor (I'm not confusing the the actor with the roles he played) Woody Harrelson is a frickin' moron, and I think that his acting is over the top. I won't say that I wouldn't micturate upon the man if he was afire, because, hey-- it's not every day that you get to piss on a dumbass and get congratulated for it.

I could stand to see a little more of that actress Kelly MacDonald.

The movie does not end the way you expect it to, unless you've been tipped off.

You're left thinking of some of the conversations that hung in the air like smoke, between the killings.

Two thumbs up. Way up. Matt G sez Check It Out.

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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Maybe I'll just do it all the time, then...

Just a reminder:

The main reason to go armed in the wilderness is not because of wild animals (though that can be a reason, especially in the case of feral dogs). The main reason is because when you're out in the wilds, help is harder to get when bad guys utilize the seclusion to do with you as they wish.

Then, too, the reason to go armed in the urban environ is because there are many more people around you, some of whom are likely to be reckless with your safety, and wish to use the anonymity of the city to do ill against you for their own profit or sick pleasure.

But it would appear that life in a small town offers no more relief from the perils of one's fellow man.

The answer would appear to be just to carry all the time.

Pocket plunder for the real world.

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Monday, January 07, 2008

List Of The Day is kind of hit and miss,

But their send-up of Olan Mills photography and similar studio photos from the '70s is nothing short of brilliant. I literally laughed out loud several times.

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Sunday, January 06, 2008

Looking through old catalogs.

When the 1976 JC Penny's Catalog came out, I was five years old.

I clearly remember seeing my grandmother using items on page 278 to document my unwrapping of stuff, that Christmas. 110 Instamatic with built-in flash. No more flash cubes. Man, we were livin' in the future. No need for a jet car, for me; the Jetsons were Now.

I wish to hell I'd been given some of the fine fitness equipment available at the time-- think of what a stud I'd be today, if only my parents had had the foresight to buy me and ExcerGym.

But I probably got something like the Play Family A-Frame House, as listed on page 356. Dig how the little Play Family people precisely fit a windpipe. Awesome.

I seem to recall having gotten a Big Wheel the year before. But I still wanted a Green Machine.

I definitely remember getting a LiteBrite that Christmas. Actually, I got two. Didn't ever really jack with either one of 'em, except for one afternoon when Mom ordered me into the dining room to play. Hm. What was Mama doing in the kitchen?

If you didn't have Lincoln Logs, you sucked. Hell, my Dad had Lincoln Logs.

Ooh, I had an Evil Knievel stunt motorcycle, and it rocked. But I think it was the next year.

I KNOW I got this hook and ladder fire truck that Christmas, or maybe the year before.

Say-- why is this woman from 1946 sniffing her underwear?

Why is the 1947 Christmas Catalog calling boys who hunt "gay"?

I recall my dad later on getting an AR-7, as featured in this catalog for $69.99. Hm. They seem to be missing from this year's Sears catalog.

See more catalogs here.

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Friday, January 04, 2008

Cooking makes you cold.

I'm chilly.

I'm chilly because it's 33 degrees out despite the 11 mph wind from the SSE, and I got home hungry.

I saw a bowl of red new potatoes on the counter, and thought I'd just bake a few right up in the microwave.

Now, a couple of Christmases back, Holly's mom gave us this really cool baked potato thing that was basically a double thick cloth back that you could fit about three bakers in, fold it over, and bake them in the microwave, and they come out incredible. They cook faster, and they come out fluffier. Damndest thing I ever saw. Something about retaining just enough of the steam that boils out of them to help properly bake them.

Or whatever.

Anyway, I wanted the thing.

And it was in the laundry hamper, right on a pile of my daughters' and my own occassionally skid-marked undies and dirty socks. I ain't cookin' potatoes in that, 'til it gets a goodly cycle in the Whirlpool on Hot.

Well, hell-- what's an oven mitt but some quilted cloth, kinda like that potato-cooking bag?

So I sat 5 new potatoes on one oven mitt, and covered them with the other. I didn't want to put them in the oven mitt, because... Um, I just didn't. Hell, I don't know why.

And I set my 'wave for 5 minutes and some, and sat down to surf.

The 'taters finished by evidence of the ding, and I smelled something kinda pungent. Hm. Musta been something on one of the oven mitts, that heated up. I kept surfing. Ten minutes later, it seemed worse.

I opened up the microwave, and got my potatoes from two smoking oven mitts. Actually, the proper word is "smoldering." Opening the microwave made one of them go into a low flame. After a visit to Mr Sink for some expedient fire extinguishment, I realized that we were soon to be hearing from Mr. Fire Alarm, damned quick, if I didn't do something. As it was about 1 AM, that would mean that I would be visited by Faces Like Walnuts, and Mrs. Bitchy-Pants.

I got to work.

Front Door: Flung open.
Back Door: Flung open.
Bathroom stink fans: On.
Ceiling fans: Turned on to Warp-Factor-4-Mr.Sulu, Scotty-can't-you-get-me-more-power?.

Took about 10 minutes of that fresh breeze blowing through to get the stench out.

The potatoes were just right, though.

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Thursday, January 03, 2008

The joys of savoring.

As I sit here, I'm having trouble typing without rubbing my palms together [which position was generally frowned upon in my sophomore typing class (where I met my still close personal friend Bill The Almost Accountant.)].

See, I have a thick slice of ham on my large cast iron skillet, and I can hear it sizzling and and smell it. Said slice was carved off of the Giant Ham Of Doom. The GHoD was given to me for Christmas, and has lived in the bottom of the refrigerator. Originally, we planned to cook it and use the ham bone for our New Year's Day black eyed peas, but we just didn't get it in the oven early enough. See, it takes eight hours to cook a 24 lb ham. I have no idea what this bad boy cost, but one would start by pricing a large porcine animal.

The meat's incredible.

Almost ready.

I'm as excited as this girl.

Eerie, ain't it?

- - - -

Of course, one needs a fine beverage to wash down this (succulent, juicy, tender) dish with. No, not a beer. A: too early in the day, and B: They frown upon me showing up for work (as I am scheduled to do in a couple of hours) reeking of IPA.

No, it's Coffee Time.

And I'm not just throwing down a cuppa cheap mud.

I am drinking the Real Thing.

Regular readers of this blog know that I have a certain... uh... relationship with coffee. My own beloved mother commented on this blog that I had an unhealthy obsession with it. "Coffee" is probably the most-used post tag on this blog. Yet until this week, I had been appreciating something less than what this brew could fully be. I was as a car afficianado appreciating the superb renditions of Hondas out there (quality cars to be sure, but there is a point beyond which they cannot exceed), or a shotist waxing poetic about the wonders of his Uberti clone. I was ignorant of what lay beyond.

Oh, I had heard of greater lands. Friends and bloggers whispered in my ear of coffee presses and fresh-roasting. But I had an $11 handy grinder, and I bought good Starbucks beans, and why should I listen to them?

[Fie on't? Oh fie, fie 'tis an unweeded Garden...]

To think of the portion of my life that I have wasted, with my parched lips unannointed by this nectar that I have decocted in my own kitchen.

Why is this method not more popular? Answer: It takes time, and attention.

Last year, I upgraded to a quality burr grinder.

This Christmas, I received from Holly and Dad a chambord French press coffee maker. I uncharacteristically read the instructions, and found that, although it takes significantly more effort to make a pot of coffee, the results are spectacular.

Then, on New Years Eve, Mom-- the same lady who accused me of having an unhealthy obsession with the Dark Brew Of Happiness-- gave me a Fresh Roast Plus 8 Coffee Bean Roaster. Put a couple of scoops of green Colombian Valencia beans into it, dial it up for 6 minutes, and let it turn those bad beans brown.

While it's roasting, double-filter a couple of pints of tap water and get that to boiling.

Grind the roasted beans in the burr grinder on Coarse setting.

Pour the whole batch into the chambord.

When the water's boiling or just below, pour it over the coffee in the French press.

Stir with a plastic spoon.

Cover and let sit for four minutes.

Slowly press the straining plate down to the bottom of the coffee pot.

Turn the strainer to the front of the spout, and pour a cup.

I haven't managed to go from cold green bean to cuppa coffee in less than 20 minutes, but I'm trying.

One of the most amazing things about this method is that the last cup is better than the first. Also, it's far, far, far, far, farfarfarfarfarfar more caffiene-rich than regular drip or espresso.

Dammit. I am so frickin' ruined. I feel like the main character in a certain fictional movie discussed over breakfast in Reservoir Dogs; nothing will ever feel as good again.

It's like my first cup of coffee.

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Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Dang it.

I hate when I get my esoteric movie quotes wrong.

I was thinking, in the title of my last post, that I was quoting Brazil.

In fact, I was quoting a line from a train conductor who is being asked by a passenger to perform some menial task during a major crisis that eventually results in his death. Of course, as I heard the line, I had to read the subtitles to understand it, as it was uttered in German. Zentropa.

Not completely off the topic, but still out of context. Oops.

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