Plumb and Plumber

July 28th, 2014

Saturday was a slightly worrisome day. I was trying a new bagel recipe, and the dough was stiff enough that my stand mixer (a 6-quart KitchenAid) quit while kneading. I called Marion to let her know that these would likely be the most expensive bagels she’d ever had. I then went online to look for troubleshooting and repair information.

Luckily, it was only a thermal cutout to prevent damage from overheating. Half an hour later, the mixer worked without problems.

The other problem was that one of my cats decided to start disassembling the toilet in the ground floor bathroom. Nothing serious, but whichever cat it was (and I have my suspicions) had removed one of the caps that cover the bolts that hold the toilet in place, and had been batting it around as a toy. Idiot beast.

I think I’ve mentioned that I like snarky movie reviews

July 16th, 2014

I caught most of Conan the Destroyer this evening. I find it enjoyable enough, but I preferred the first one. The sidekick in this one is very annoying, among other things. I really like the music during the scene when they’re reviving the god, though.

I do remember part of one review when the movie came out, referencing Wilt Chamberlain’s role as a warrior assigned to kill Conan: “The man can’t even defense Bill Russell, how’s he going to stop Arnold the Barbarian?”

Now, that is a comment that’s tough to refute.

Good, interesting, music

July 12th, 2014

I’ve been down for a few days with some sort of digestive system disorder, but Marion had tickets for Thursday’s performance of the Colorado Symphony at the Arvada Center, so we went. The weather was threatening, but never actually rained during the concert, which was nice.

There was music I’d heard before, and music I hadn’t. Two pieces, one of which was Habanera from Carmen, featured a soloist on musical saw. Definitely not what we were expecting, but quite interesting. Scott O’Neil, the conductor, was also very entertaining. He started doing high kicks during the performance of Can-Can, and had some amusing anecdotes about some of the pieces, including the problems with performing certain pieces at educational concerts (“The theme from Peter Gunn? Oh, no, Mr. Neil, we can’t have Peter Gunn performed!”)

The concert was in three sets, with two intermissions. The first two sets were mostly classical music, and the third set had all of the television and movie themes: Peter Gunn, the Pink Panther, Raiders March, and so on. The only way the third set could have been better for me would have been if it included Harlem Nocturne, which was used as the theme for the Mike Hammer TV show.

Happy Independence Day

July 4th, 2014

As I sit here and listen to my neighbor’s children setting off fireworks, in addition to the larger (and louder) fireworks being set off outside my neighborhood, I’m torn.

On the one hand, I dislike the fact that I’m going to be getting less sleep tonight than I’d like because of the noise. On the other hand, I appreciate the fact that there are people who are willing to defy the local municipalities who outlaw everything but sparklers. On the gripping hand, I have to realize that most of these people are idiots who are defying the law because of a desire to play with explosives, not out of principle.

Then again, maybe I’m over-thinking things. Take your freedoms where you find them, people. The freedom to be obnoxious and foolish is necessary. As C. S. Lewis said in his book, God in the Dock: Essays on Modern Theology:

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be “cured” against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.”

The Great Loss

June 28th, 2014

It’s the 100th anniversary of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand by Gavrilo Princip, the event that triggered the start of World War I. General Sherman famously said, “War is Hell.” World War I, also known as “The Great War” and “The War to End War,” was particularly hellish.

I’ve seen estimates that up to eighty percent of the young men of that generation in Europe were crippled or lost their lives, between valiant but stupid charges in the trench warfare, the poison gases, the shelling, and the disease. That is incredibly tragic, but the extent of the killing had other effects once the fighting was over – a lot of traditions and knowledge were lost because the people who maintained them either died during the war, or had no-one to pass them on to after the war.

Among the knowledge lost was most of Europe’s martial arts. There were schools and clubs for such things as quarterstaff, rapier, and the like. Japan has had a continuous martial arts tradition, but after the war in Europe, there were either no instructors or no students, because there were too few men left for any of them to have time for such activities. That’s in addition to the fact that not many people overall take such classes, anyway, so there were fewer who had the interest, let alone the time.

There are groups such as ARMA working today to reconstruct some of the knowledge that was lost. It’s slow going, but fascinating.

Now, imagine that four out of five men in their late teens and 20s die in the next few years. What might be lost? Could our society survive both the loss of manpower and the loss of continuity? Are we more or less robust than those earlier societies? Where would vacuums (of power, of people, of whatever) occur, and who would fill them?

And what would that mean for you?

Dueling with himself

June 26th, 2014

I ran across this and thought it was pretty fun.

One of my neighbors is an asshole

June 15th, 2014

Our trash pickup normally comes on Friday mornings, so you usually see trash cans appearing outside garages on Thursday evening. The only time it changes occurs when we have a holiday during the week, which causes pickup to happen Saturday.

I put my trash out this past week like I usually do. Friday, when I got home, my trashcan was still full, so I thought they hadn’t picked it up. I left it out, even though I couldn’t think of a holiday that would have caused the delay. Saturday evening, it was still full. This morning I realized that the trash in my trashcan wasn’t mine. Someone had come by after trash was picked up and dumped their trash into my can.

I understand that they didn’t want their trash stinking up their garage for the next week, but I’m pissed they felt justified in stinking up mine.

Nothing quite like a good meal

May 26th, 2014

I had Marion and my daughter over for dinner this evening. I’d marinated some Copper River salmon in an oriental-themed marinade, then grilled it on a cedar plank. We had grilled asparagus and spinach-quinoa cakes as side dishes, and chocolate brownies for dessert. All very nice.

With dinner, I had a beer that a friend brought back from his recent trip to Germany. It worked quite well with the meal.

A minor peeve

May 21st, 2014

I’m watching one of the Japanese ‘rubber suit monster’ movies that “stars” Ghidrah. Given how the name is spelled, I’d expect his name to be pronounced, “GHEE-drah.” All of the voiceover actors are saying, “ghee-DOOR-ah,” though, which is bothering me more than I’d expect.

These movies are an acquired taste that I’m not certain I’ve really acquired, so I’m trying to decide if it’s irritating enough to cause me to stop watching.

Had dinner with my daughter this evening

May 21st, 2014

We tried the Kokopelli Beer Company, which is fairly new in the neighborhood. A bit noisy for my taste, but it was a good meal. They have a small “pizza and sandwiches” menu. The pizzas we had were tasty, and the drinks were good. I had an IPA (good) and a pineapple cider (not much flavor, I thought), and Cheryl had a regular cider (good) and a raspberry/chocolate stout (she liked it; I didn’t). I prefer the IPA at the Yak and Yeti, but I’m more than willing to go back to Kokopelli, as is she.