Sunday, September 29, 2013


There are a few times when the boyfriend and I just don't see eye-to-eye.  I know, shocking, right? Disagreement in a relationship? Totally a new thing.

Long story short, the boyfriend used to be Mormon.  He converted in college but has long since "left" the church.  By left I mean stopped attending and has come to the conclusion that he doesn't hold those beliefs anymore.  It's not like he sent them a letter or made a big deal out of it.

While I'm not a fan of organized religion in general, I try and have a "live and let live" policy to life.  You can believe whatever you'd like, and as long as you don't try and force me to do the same or get the government to legislate based on your belief system, we're cool.  I might even engage in some debateful conversation if it's done in a spirit of learning (not conversion) and you don't mind me recommending some Christopher Hitchens books.

However, something that totally goes against my policy of "live and let live" is the practice of knocking on people's doors on the weekend and attempting to gain access to their house in order to talk to them about religion.

The southerner in me finds showing up uninvited INCREDIBLY rude and the Texan in me hates uninvited people on my property.

We've been living under the Mormon siege for a few months now.  Prior to the Great Shacking Up, the boyfriend lived in a third floor condo with an interior door.  That means in order to get to his front door, you had to gain entry into the condo building itself.  My personal theory is this prevented many Mormon visits.  But now they've found him.

It started out by them leaving cookies and notes "We heart the <boyfriend's last name> family!!".  I found this note in the trash where the boyfriend had tossed it.  I'm still debating if he honestly thought nothing of it or attempted to hide it because he knew it would freak me out.  It totally freaked me out because #1, it's massively creepy and #2 shows a terrible lack of research on their part.  Housing records are public and the house is in my name.  We are not the "boyfriend's last name-family".  When we refer to our household, we hyphenate.

Since then they've left us more notes and visited twice (that I know of).  The first time I answered the door and they asked me if I was "Sister Boyfriend's-last-name".  Nope.  Wrong on at least two counts there.  Now I'm pretty sure they think I'm the boyfriend's ex-wife, which annoys me on new and interesting levels.

I kept telling them that we weren't interested and to please have a nice day while slowly closing the door.  They tried the brilliant tactic of "if you just let us in, we can take you off our list".  Nope, nice try kid.  Get off my lawn.

It's my theory that they think I'm some crazy harpy and if only they could talk to the boyfriend alone then they could save him and they keep coming back in an attempt to do so.  The boyfriend thinks that they keep coming by because that's what they do.  If he's right this means I'm going to try extra hard to earn crazy harpy status.  If anyone is up to the challenge, it's me.  Except for today.

They stopped by again today and I refused to answer the door, I was enjoying my day off while watching The Colbert Report and eating caprese salad in my bathrobe.  No way was I going to deal with Mormon teenagers trying to get into my house to talk to me about religion.  I was way too tired to attempt to earn crazy harpy status, which is pretty damn tired.

Strange fact that I'm still researching - they signed their note "The Elders", now the people who knocked on my door were clearly teenagers.  Since when are kids "elders"? This makes zero sense to me.  Also, people should not send children to deal with grouchy me.

How do I get this to stop?  How do they think it's OK to keep knocking on my door interrupting my weekend?

This really is starting to annoy the crap out of me.  They boyfriend thinks I'm nuts for getting so alternately creeped out and annoyed.  I think he's nuts for just assuming that Mormons are going to constantly visit us and that he's OK with this.

Baldwin's Station

While planning to go to the beer festival, my friend Dave decided to try and find a place for us to go eat dinner afterwords.  Dave and I have similar taste in food, so I have to admit that that much mocking ensued.  What did he hope to find in the middle of nowhere, Maryland? I heard they just got an Olive Garden.

Allegedly, he found a good Mexican restaurant in Westminster, MD.  Being from Texas originally, I have a blanket aversion to Mexican food this far north, especially in areas that aren't known for having wide ethnic diversity.  I abruptly vetoed this suggestion.

We ended up going to a place in Sykesville, MD called Baldwin's Station.  I've driven by this place a ton of times on my way to visit friends, but I'd never stopped to eat there.  It was surprisingly good.  It wasn't crazy gourmet, or particularly innovative, but it was on the nicer side of casual and the food was solid.

For an appetizer, I had what I think they called a scallop bisque.  It was OK, but it wasn't a bisque, wasn't creamy at all.  Not 100% sure I like scallops in a soup.  My favorite part about scallops is the nice crust they get while being seared and their sweet, delicate flavor.  All of this gets lost in a soup and the scallops just become a bite of mush.

My main course was much better.  I had beef shortribs served over mushroom risotto and grilled squash.  The squash seemed like a bit of an afterthought, just placed on the side and not really incorporated into the dish.  It could have been any vegetable/side: asparagus, mushrooms, an artichoke.
The shortribs were cooked perfectly, and would have fallen off the bone had they still been on the bone.  The bones were nicely arranged on the side of the plate, I guess to show me that they were once attached to the meat ... or something.  But, the meat was delicious and covered in a tasty glaze.  The risotto provided a nice texture and flavor contrast to the richness of the meat.

They had a shockingly good scotch menu, so I had a glass of Oban for dessert.  Dave had Talisker, which I actually liked more than my Oban.  The Oban was a bit too smoky and didn't go well with the rich, almost fatty taste I had left in my mouth from the beef.

All in all, it was a solid restaurant in an unexpected location.  I know this review sounds incredibly picky, but my meal was good and I cleaned my plate.  For having zero expectations of having a good meal last night, I was really pleasantly surprised.  

Beer Fest Wrap-Up

The Maryland Microbrewery Festival was a total blast.  Aside from a few GPS-related incidents (navigating somewhere totally incorrect, slight off-roading in a vehicle really not designed for that), it was a well-organized event with delicious beer held on a day with beautiful weather.

Unfortunately I had zero cell signal, so I'm going back through today and logging everything I drank.

I drank:

* Hampden on Rye by Union
* Saison Pecore (with Kefir Lime leaves) by Brewer's Art
* Riot Rye by Monocacy Brewing
* Kolsch by Brewers Alley
* Boomerang by Ellicott Mills Brewing
* Saison by Johansson Dining House
* Milk Stout by Ruhlman Brewing

I was most excited to finally try beers by Ruhlman and Johansson breweries, those are much smaller farm-based breweries here in Maryland so you pretty much have to go out to the brewery to find their stuff.  All in all, Maryland has some really great breweries for a state that isn't that large.  You'll see that the largest, most popular breweries are missing from my list, but that was really intentional.  I wanted to use this beer fest to try things that I couldn't find everywhere. This isn't anything against Flying Dog or DuClaw, but I can happily sample their beers at most local restaurants or on my couch with a six-pack I picked up from the store down the street.

My favorites were the Saison Pecore by Brewer's Art, the Riot Rye by Monocacy, the Kolsch by Brewer's Alley and the Milk Stout by Rhulman.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Beer Fest Day!!!

I can't believe it's already been a week since I last posted.  This past week has both flown by and been entirely grueling.  Lots of passing out on the couch happened.

Today will be different, today the boyfriend, some friends and I are spending the day at the The Maryland Microbrewery Festival.

I totally messed up and made a bunch of herbed chicken salad and caprese salad to bring with us before reading on their website that coolers aren't allowed.  Oh well, at least I got a head start on this week's lunches.

Keep posted here and follow me on Twitter (@CinnamonWinter) to see how the fest goes!!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Ol' San' Antone'

Just booked plane tickets to San Antonio for a few days in October.  The boyfriend is going on this fantastic-sounding bachelor party / brewery crawl of the East Coast.  To assuage my jealousy (*I* want to go to breweries too!!!) I'm going to go spend some time with my old friend Paul and see my college stomping grounds.

San Antonio has improved *so* much since I lived there.  I don't know if that's because the city itself has discovered good beer and food, or if it's always been there and I was just too broke / ignorant to find it before.

I'm looking for suggestions on where to go, I always seem to go back to the same places whenever I'm there.  These places are great, so I'm perfectly happy in my rut, but I'd also love to break out and see/eat/drink new things.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

All the veggies!

The boyfriend and I are happy members of the CSA at Gorman Farm.  This means that towards the end of every summer, our fridge is packed completely full of produce and I go on a canning / freezing rampage.

I don't know why, but this brings me a ridiculous level of glee.  I feel like I'm in Little House on the Prairie and I'm stocking up for winter.  However, it's not as if we're not members of a winter CSA (sooo many parsnips) too, and have relatively well stocked grocery stores all around us, but whatever.  I like stocking up.  Maybe we'll have another insane snowstorm like we did in 2010 and everyone will be grateful for my OCD insanity.

I do kind of wish that we'd have a bunch of house guests soon though, I can always get rid of a bunch of random things when there are too many people in my tiny house.  That also brings me glee; feeding people and using stuff up.  Maybe it's the OCD, but I love the cycle of using up and restocking.

At the moment I probably have about 12 pounds of tomatoes.  I canned six pints yesterday and then gave up.  I hate how tomatoes have to process for 85 minutes, my entire day is eaten up by canning tomatoes.  I still have a ton left, but I've moved on to pickling beets and peppers, I can get through those pretty quickly.

I just have to keep telling the boyfriend that a messy kitchen is a sign of a happy house.  I'm really lucky that GTA 5 just came out, it's possible that he barely notices the insanity.

Friday, September 20, 2013

The quest continues....

When I'm visiting family, my mother likes to put the boyfriend and me in charge of drinks.  It's her sweet attempt to include our interests and it usually goes horribly wrong.  We usually pick up some really interesting looking local craft beer that we've never had before or a bottle of wine that's usually a less common variety that I'm obsessed with.  (For example, we picked up a six-pack of really good IPA from Deep Ellum Brewing Co.).  This doesn't go over well and we're met with comments like "No Bud Light?" or "Why didn't you get Dos Equis? That's a fancy beer.".  

Despite all that, we continue to pick up "strange" beers that nobody else drinks.  Maybe we think one day we can expand their knowledge of beer.  That or we just want good stuff around for us to drink.  

After an arduous quest, we found a decently big liquor store along the side of the highway and I decided on a whim to continue my sherry quest.  I was looking around and the store manager (I think) offered to help me.  When I asked if he could show me his sherry selection, he responded with "cooking sherry?".  I should have been deterred by this, but instead replied "nope, the good stuff".  He had two bottles of non-cooking sherry, both by Sandeman.  I went with the Amontillado. 

It had a nice oaky character, maybe a bit of figs or raisins, which I liked.  The problem was it was still way too sweet and cloying.  I had a glass, it was OK, but I wasn't excited for another.   

Everyone else hated it.  I didn't hate it, but it's not what I'm looking for.  I think I need to stick to Finos or Manzanillos.  The quest continues.  

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Is this real??

This cannot be real.

No way.

The Common Table

The boyfriend and I spent the weekend in Dallas, Texas celebrating my Dad's 60th birthday.  As is usual with my family, it was largely awkward and In and Out Burger was the best food I had, until we escaped "to get to the airport early" and found The Common Table.

We were just looking for a place more our style with some good beer and appetizers.  The Common Table was exactly what we needed.  The food wasn't gourmet amazing, but I was really OK with that, I didn't want a big fancy meal covered in truffles and foie gras, I wanted comfort food and that's exactly what I got.

The place itself is super cute from the outside, with a great outdoor dining area.  If I'd lived in Texas more recently and could handle the heat I'd gladly have eaten out there underneath the bright red umbrellas standing out so nicely against the painted black building.

The employees were really nice (they let me charge my dying phone in the staff area) and very passionate and knowledgeable about beer.  Sports were on, but it didn't annoy me and it wasn't overpowering the whole restaurant.  It seemed like if you wanted to watch the game, you could, and if you wanted to just sit and have a beer, that's cool too.

It was a total refuge.

I wasn't sure which beer to get until I saw they had a local beers flight.  I had no idea Texas, and the Dallas area in specific, had so many good breweries.  Next time I'm back, I'm definitely going to visit some of them.  I had:
* The Temptress by Lakewood Brewing
* Texas Pils by Community Brewing
* Velvet Hammer by Peticolas
* The Chosen One Coconut Ale by 903 Brewers (it tasted like a Samoa Girl Scout Cookie!!)

They were all fantastic. The coconut ale might have been my favorite, but I've been on a big coconut in beer kick for a while.

They also had a rare bottles list, which had Alaskan's Smoked Porter.  I'm really shocked we didn't get it, but I guess we didn't want to have too much beer before our flight .... or something was horribly wrong with us.

For food we had an appetizer called "The Three Little Pigs" which had sausage, bacon and chorizo each in a pastry with maple syrup dipping sauce.  Yum!  The chorizo one was a bit soggy, but it's hard to do much with chorizo without having grease go everywhere, so I'm going to forgive them on that one.  The sausage pastry had a serrano pepper in it, which gave it a nice kick without burning my face off and was easily my favorite of the three.

We then split a grilled cheese sandwich.  They great thing about their grilled cheese is that it has pork loin in the middle, also delicious.  We asked to split the sandwich since neither of us was super hungry so when I saw them heading to the table with two plates I thought they had screwed up.  Nope, they were super nice and put the sandwich on two plates and gave each a heaping mound of thin, crispy fries.  Sorry for not giving you the benefit of the doubt The Common Table!!!

All in all it was great, it was the perfect place to have found.  If I lived in Dallas I could easily see this place becoming one of my default places to go.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Why didn't I do this sooner?

I really wish I had started this blog sooner, I have so many great events this year I could have written about, to include

* Top Chef cruise
* Indy 500 (with an Indy Beer Bus tour)
* Great British Beer Festival in London
* National Homebrewers' Conference in Philly

and several other great meals and drinking occasions my friends and I have had.  I'll probably make retroactive posts to summarize some of those events.  They probably won't be as good as the posts I would have made if I'd written them sooner, but I'll take what I can get right now.

Just got back from a quick trip to Texas, so please keep an eye out for a quick review of the one good restaurant we found there (we weren't really looking, and my family has terrible taste in restaurants).

Thursday, September 12, 2013

I have a twitter??

I also never thought I'd be on twitter, totally didn't see the point to that one.  But seeing as how I'd like to have this blog become something people read some day, I thought the ability to reach out to others might be a good thing.

I was so wrong about twitter all this time, it's totally fun.  Please follow me @CinnamonWinter!!

Another summer winds down

After last night, I think I only have three sailing races left in this season.  That went by incredibly fast!

We did really well last night, no major snafus.  Race committee did, however, stop the race early, which was crazy since it was barely 7:00, still light out, and we had a ton of wind.  It did work in our favor though, since we were doing well and hadn't had enough time for massive screwups.

I'm debating not doing frostbite races this year.  They're fun and I love getting more experience, but they eat an entire day out of my weekend for months on end.  As busy as I am, I really need that day.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


Such a fun homebrew club meeting last night!!  There were some really quality beers there, especially the last coffee bourbon stout.  Delicious!

Les White gave us a tasting session designed to help us learn how to pick up "off" flavors in beer.  He offers a beer judge certification course and I'm considering taking it in the spring.  If nothing else, it'll help train my palate and make me a better, more informed beer drinker.  The boyfriend took it a few years ago and it looks like a TON of work.  I wish they offered it in the winter when I won't be sailing quite as much.

When I reminded the boyfriend that Les would be giving a tasting session last night he replied, "tasting beer with Les, we do that all the time!!".  "No, we drink beer with Les all the time, this will be a guided session, with learning."

When I have more time, I'll post a write-up on the entire session, it was quite interesting.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

goal ... units?

Who has two thumbs and really hates football season?

This lady.

My knowledge of sports extends to the fact that I know I can watch hockey live an enjoy it, that I got to go to a rugby game in England once and that was totally awesome and that I like Indy car racing now that the boyfriend bought me a track scanner and I know there's strategy involved (as opposed to "go faster and you win!" which is what I always thought).

It's completely possible that football is the same way, that there's strategy involved that is jut completely unknown to me.  It's also completely possible that this dislike of football is some holdover, some vestige remaining from my emo teenage years.

"Go to the football game? No, my friends and I are going to watch Evangelion and write really bad poetry".

I'm a Cowboys "fan" in that I lived in Dallas once and now that I live in Maryland being a Cowboys fan seems to annoy people and I find that hilarious.  The problem is, even that level of fandom leaves me vulnerable to people talking at me about things like "downs" and "kickers" as my eyes slowly glaze over and I look for an exit I can hurriedly run towards.

Maybe this year my strategy will be to constantly chug coffee so I always really need to pee.  It's a good a strategy as any.

I guess we all have our thing

The boyfriend is currently freaking out over Breaking Bad, a show I was never really able to get into.  It wasn't the violence that got me, which is what everyone assumes.  It was that after the first three episodes I couldn't really identify with any of the characters and I honestly didn't care what happened next.

Last night the boyfriend was all riled up over the show (we watch everything on DVR since we're rarely home, I have no idea when the show actually airs).  While he was talking about gun battles and voice mail messages, my ever so supportive and loving response was "Dude, I have to be up in like 6 hours, so I'm gonna turn off the light, that cool?".

Then I remembered I was once an X-Files fan, and when this:

Changed to this:

I completely lost my shit.

I've also gotten sucked into Lost and Battlestar Galactica, both which had really disappointing endings, so maybe I'm just jealous that he picked a show that actually knew what it was doing and could end itself with dignity.  

Monday, September 9, 2013

Apps I love

This week's app I love is Untappd

It's great for me to track the beers I've had, to make a beer wishlist and to see what friends are drinking.  To make matters worse (better?) you can earn badges.  My OCD loves this, it's like a variable rewards schedule for drinking! Friend me on it.  I'm Sandra25!

My bungalow

It's my mission to turn my house into the warmest, most comfortable and inviting home/speakeasy/yoga studio ever.

What nobody warns you when you buy a house is that everything will take about a million times longer than you estimate it should.  That being said, five years into owning a house, this place is finally starting to shape up.  I think part of it is that I finally have enough money to buy furniture that isn't from Ikea.  Or that I've learned things that don't at all work (why did I paint my small living room UPS truck brown!??!).

We're now in the final round of the Great Shacking Up.  This means that the boyfriend's place is now rented out, he lives here full-time and all of his things are now out of storage and delivered straight to our basement. Yes, the house is covered in boxes again, but they're happy boxes that bring joy to our lives.  At least the cats really like them.

The unpacking will undoubtedly take a while, as we give truckloads more stuff away to charity and find homes for everything.  The really happy upside of this is that our stuff blends together nicely, all of our furniture matches and we now have a lifetime supply of books on food/brewing/cocktails, etc etc.  And that's not counting all the technology-related books we have, which is impressive.  We are huge nerds.

Our cooking / brewing / drinking library might be a little nuts.

To celebrate, or just cause, we finally hung Winston.  We got Winston a few weeks ago at The Great British Beer Festival.  He's pretty much the best bottle opener ever.  I think he needs something else hanging around him, but I'm not too sure what yet.

We christened him by opening a Pumking by Southern Tier Brewing Co.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

In other news ....

To be completely random - does anyone have a clue what this is???

I saw it at the Yotel in NYC.  It's easily as tall as I am and the horns stretch out pretty far.

I have no clue what it is, nor does anyone I know.  Help?

Some days, I just give up

I'm incredibly jealous of all those bloggers who seem to have it together.  The ones who take amazing pictures of delicious looking food that they made while wearing vintage dresses and perfect hair.

I mean, I can make delicious food but the similarities end there.  I'm a terrible photographer, all of my pictures turn out blurry, and most have a thumb in front of the lens.  It's like I'm constantly taking pictures of Sasquatch.

And while I can make pretty good food, I'll usually do it in yoga pants that may or may not have cat hair on them (usually erring on the side of may), and the kitchen will look like the prom scene from Carrie when I'm done (especially if I'm making pasta sauce).

I'm terrible at crafts, I can't make crap.  I'm trying though, I really am.  I bought those adorable chalkboard stickers for all the jars in my kitchen and attempted to have decent handwriting.

So, that's a start.  (And yes, I have more mustard seed than any one person really needs.... it was for sale in bulk on the internet).  I was considering buying the paint and painting it on myself, but who was I kidding.  Stickers are far more my speed.

Because of all this, I'm having a Pinterest debate with myself.  I kinda want to sign up so I can get ideas.  But I kinda don't want to sign up because I'll just feel more useless than I already do.

At least it's something the boyfriend and I have in common.  He hates working with his hands with a fiery passion I can't quite understand.  I thought he was going to leave me the one time I made him hang blinds in the laundry room.

I really want to have a garden, but I've tried several times and everything repeatedly died.  Probably because I went on vacation and forgot all about it, or because my schedule is so irregular that sometimes things just don't get watered.

At least all humans and kittens in the house are clean and well-fed.  We have clothes and lunches for the week and I guess that's as good as things are going to get today.

Please excuse me while I watch this video over and over.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Thanks, Philadelphia

I was in Philadelphia a few months ago for the National Homebrewers' Conference.  Not knowing what to expect, I fully expected a couple of guys who were up to no good making trouble in my neighborhood. Little did I know, Philly is a fantastic city full of great bars and restaurants and we had a fantastic time eating and drinking our way around the city.

We went to a lovely little tapas place called Jamonera.

I wasn't going to drink there, since we had some homebrewing parties to attend later that night.  However, that plan was ruined when I saw they offered flights of sherry.  "Sherry?" I thought, "I don't know anything about sherry."  The extent of my sherry knowledge is that my mother drinks the cooking sherry when my grandmother (her mother-in-law) is in town.

I'm never one to pass up a learning opportunity about food or drink so I was compelled to order a flight.  It was amazing, everything I had was far from the rich, syrupy, cloying ingredient I was expecting.  I wish I had written down what I had.  I swear the waitress did that for me, but I can't for the life of me find the note.  I think I'll likely be on a quest for a while trying to find those beverages. 

The first attempt was a bottle of Fino from Jerez by Lustau en Rama.

Apparently it's bottled straight from the cask without any finishing, filtering, etc.  It's quite good, but not quite what I was looking for as it's a bit sweeter than I usually prefer.  It's probably the sweetest sherry I like, and I'll probably keep it stocked as I continue my quest for drier sherries.  It's great by itself and pairs nicely with most foods I've tried it with, although I do think spicy food would overpower it.  Not a bad first try!! 

Ah, the redneck boondocks

Most times, I love where I live.  It has a great small town vibe to it and sometimes it feels like you've stepped back into the past. They still carry your groceries out to your car for you, businesses are locally owned mom-and-pop type places where they recognize you if you shop there frequently, there's a giant neon pig outside of a bakery (that one is a bit odd, but I still like it).

However, I yearn for just one upscale wine/cheese/meat store within reasonable driving distance.  I stopped by the local liquor store hoping to pick up some Muscadet, or some Chenin Blanc or good sherry if all else failed.  I've been reading about Muscadet in Food and Wine magazine, and I *really* want to have a tasting at my house.  Everyone knows it's best to have a pre-tasting before the tasting to ensure you don't serve any "bad" wines.

Sigh.  Total failure.  If I wanted a crapton of Chardonay, Muscato or Pino Grigio, I was in luck.  Anything more exotic than that, forget it.  Even all the sherries were incredibly cheap and that fact scared me away.

There's a something under construction a few blocks away, they tore out an old gas station that used to be an incredibly small church (it was cute, even had an old-timey steeple!).   I so want that to be something local, artesianal, I'd shop there all the time.  Heck, I'd get mega excited about a Trader Joe's.

The boyfriend jokes that they're building a dog pound or a place for people to drop off toxic chemicals or a used tire store.  I just hope he's joking and doesn't know something I don't.

I blame the Puritans ... or the Victorians, still debating which

In a sudden Saturday-related influx of free time, I found myself watching videos on the internet, like ya do.  At some point in the past week (two weeks? It's been a blur) my office was all "Miley Cyrus, blah blah blah" and "ass, blah blah blah".  Because I run around like a crazy person all day at work, I didn't pay much attention.  Since I have nothing to do but clean my house and procrastinate today, I found myself looking up the video.

I found it here

The video is titled "Watch Miley Cyrus' Childhood-Ruining VMAs Performance". Whose childhood? I somehow doubt someone else's performance would ruin my childhood. And I *think* Miley Cyrus is about 20 something, so her childhood is also over. Did she dance so poorly that she traveled back through time and ruined her own childhood?

I just don't get it.

It's really not that bad.

It's the Music Video Awards.  On MTV.  Now I haven't watched MTV in a long time and I'm pretty much completely out of their demographic, but I used to watch it back in the 90's when it was super wholesome and only encouraged rampant ass-shaking on Spring Break.  You know, in moderation.  Anyone who was surprised about ass-shaking on MTV has just come out of a really long coma.  

Second, she was dancing around to Blurred Lines, a song that comes with an x-rated music video.  

I hate this song.  Not because it's misogynistic, or because I don't like Robin Thicke's singing, but because it contains this lyric: "You wanna hug me? ... What rhymes with hug me".  Am I so old that there's a new slang word for bone that rhymes with hug and I don't know it??? Or does Robin Thicke NOT KNOW WHAT RHYME MEANS????  

Third, I'm pretty sure that everyone who is currently getting the vapors over this has had the same conversation about Madonna, Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, etc. etc.  Remember that time Elvis wiggled his hips and it made all the girls want to have sex???? 


Seriously people, get over it.  We were all 20 once and found ourselves newly sexual beings awash in hormones.  "But she was so slutty, and on TV too!!"  Whatever.  I don't see the big deal about being slutty vs not being slutty.  It's an arbitrary distinction.  I have two rules about sex 1) wear a condom and 2) don't be a jackass.  Can we all stop stigmatizing sexual behavior? There's nothing wrong with it, we all come from a long line of sex-having people.  Sex isn't wrong, or dirty.  It's awesome, and when done with someone with whom you share mutual respect, it's super fun as well.  If some girl wants to grind on some guy dressed as Beetlejuice on national TV, go for it.  If you don't want to watch, don't watch.  

For the record, I wasn't a fan of the performance.  Not because I was offended, but because that was seriously weak ass-shaking.  Twerking has been around for a while now (20 years?) and professional dancers can do some seriously amazing things with their butts.  Can Miley jiggle one cheek at a time? Can she jiggle while doing the splits?  If you're going to call something twerking, please actually twerk and leave me amazed at the skill level involved.  Please read up on Big Freedia

Someone, I forget who, asked me if I had a daughter, would I let her do that on TV.  My answer was absolutely no, we have standards in this family.  If my daughter is going on TV to shake her ass, that better be ass Cirque du Soleil.  She better do things her mother can't do.  

Also, it worked.  We just had a Miley Cyrus conversation, which before this ass-related incident, would never have happened.  

Neil Gaiman makes me regret my atheism

Neil Gaiman makes me regret my atheism, or alternatively titled, Holy Crap, Neil Gaiman, what psychological vein did you tap into???

I just finished The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman and it did something to me, something I can't quite explain or understand.  It was like he knew of some psychological artery and tapped right into it, pumping the story right into every hope, dream, fear and insecurity borne from a childhood of nerdy isolation that I didn't realize I was still carrying around with me decades later. 

It wasn't that scary, but it was TERRIFYING.  It made my heart pound like almost nothing has in recent memory.  It wasn't that skin-crawling, creeped-out feeling from horror movies, it was a visceral horror that was all-consuming at the time but that I don't understand days later.  There was nothing fundamentally scary about it, or maybe I have it backwards, maybe it WAS fundamentally scary and I don't recognize that because it's FUNDAMENTAL. 

When I was in college, I used to watch crime scene forensics shows because they fascinated me. Then when it came time for 9:00 pm orchestra rehearsal, I'd make a friend walk me across the dark campus to ensure that if I got serial killed, at least I'd have company.  

That was scary.  This book wasn't scary, this book was terrifying.  It embodied all of the terror in being alone, powerless, abused and ignored.  When reading, I was that child, had always been and maybe perhaps still was. 

How can something that in hindsight was so unrealistic, such an obvious fantasy story have caused a physical reaction like it did?  Crap, man, I don't know.

When I was a teenager, I so desperately wanted Avalon to be true.  If there were other worlds, other dimensions full of fairies and magic, then I could be from there and that would explain why I was so alone and awkward in this world.  I could belong to another place, one far less mundane, where people didn't care about popularity and being well-dressed and social awkwardness, there were far more pressing problems like magic and dragons and vampire space robots to fight off.  It would be possible for me to to become far greater, far more wise and immortal than any parent or teacher or adult I had ever met and that would show them!

And then I grew up.  Or thought I did.  I realized/admitted that things like this just don't exist.  They just don't and there's no scientific proof and never will be.  There is no magic, there are no other worlds just through the mist.  There's no higher power and things like souls and heaven and hell are also untrue, no matter how many times my mother uses those words in sentences.  I put my trust and belief in things that are provable and factual.  I read Dawkins and Hitchens ravenously.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane made me almost regret all of that.  I found myself again wishing, hoping so completely that the fantasy were all true.  If I could find a place, so peaceful with the immortal maiden, mother and crone, then I could transcend all of the worries of my life.  Careers and the question of having children or not would all fade away when compared to the power of being able to magically repel ancient creatures from long forgotten places and to repair the fabric of the universe with the force of my spirit. 

Having the book, and thus myself, leave all of that left me sobbing and confused.  How could such a normal ending be so sad, so heart-wrenching and give me such a sense of loss?

This book messed me up for DAYS.  I can't recommend it enough, although I do recommend reading it alone so nobody can see what it does to you. 

I recently had lunch with a friend of mine from high school.  She said the book did the same thing to her, and was beautifully equally unable to articulate it quite right.  I just nodded, kept saying "no, I totally get it" and ordered another round of mimosas.  

I think my next read will be on stock-trading algorithms, just to provide a counterbalance and to prove that the fantasy I just lived through was all really just a dream.
I have a blog? This turn of rather mundane events is something I never saw myself doing, never much saw the point to it.  But now I'm here, on a lazy Saturday, staring down a blinking cursor and thinking this might be much harder than I had thought.  I've been kicking around this idea for quite some time, but actually doing it seems almost surreal, because seriously, I have a blog?

Thanks, tequila in my coffee, for getting me into this. 

I think (or rather, am slowly realizing) that this trepidation stems from what I so desperately think I want from this whole process.  I'll start a blog, will become famous, will quit my job that gives me high blood pressure and will be paid to eat, drink, write and be merry!!  The original idea for this blog was to be a restaurant review site, to dip my toe into that arena because wouldn't it be great to be a restaurant critic?  A blog has to have a point, a unifying theme, it has to be about something, right?  The more I thought, and the more I wrote in my head, I realized I am not that organized and I have more to say (ramble about?).  I don't want to have to not write about books, about yoga, about mustard I just made.  Do I still in my imagination and crazy dreams want to be the bastard combination of The Bloggess and Anthony Bourdain and shit let's just throw a dash of Amanda Palmer in there for fun, hell yes.  Do I honestly think a blog will get me there? Probably not, not without more luck than any one person has and a decent amount of bribery (who would I bribe? I have no idea, I'm just assuming there's somebody).  Will I most likely continue my job as a computer programmer and happily go about my 30-something life with zero changes and slowly post less and less? Absolutely.

Instead of fame and fortune and a contract with Food and Wine magazine, I'll aim for becoming a better writer and maybe having a small outlet for the words that bounce around in my head.  Maybe I will review a restaurant now and then, for giggles.  

Not that I'd turn down Food and Wine magazine if they came knocking .... or Conde Nast Traveler.  They're all welcome to call.