Tuesday, August 31, 2010


So my friends, I could use some help.

I'm starting to work on a new writing project. This one's sort of an interplanetary trek type thingamajig (watch me throw around the technical terms). In doing the prep work, I'm trying to design a few aliens/alien races for my progaonists to bump into.

And that's where I'm running into trouble. I've got one design down (one of my protagonists) and the rest are...well...rip-offs from the Cantina scene, or I've apparently lifted them from Space Trawler (a great read, btw).

So, I turn to you, hat in hand and ask for some help. Got any ideas? They don't need to be fully formed, just the bare essential, a trait, a strange appearance, anything...I'd greatly appreciate it, and I assure you that you'll share in the profits.* .

There's part of me that thinks this hitch might show I should move on to another idea, but I'm not going to. I've got a real good feeling about this one--not that it's the one that's gonna go anywhere, it's the one I might let someone read :)

So, any thoughts?

* Not that there will ever be any.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Odds 'n Ends Reviews

Here's a handful of things I've been meaning to blog about, but the posts would be very small, or I can't just find the time. So, in no particular order:


  • Rubicon. This show is like the anti-Damages, yet it's so similar. Like Damages, you have no idea what's really going on most of the time (and you're okay with that), you're pretty sure you're not really going to know if it's worth it until the last episode (but it probably is), it's absolutely riveting, and it'll make you paranoid, seeing conspiracies everywhere. On the other hand, it's not like Damages--it's told sequentially (not that it's any help figuring out what's happening), it's slow. Glacially slow. People stare out the window and think. People stare at paper and think. People do crosswords. And you can't take your eyes off it. Seriously good stuff. I hear AMC is running all the episodes this weekend for those who've missed out on the first half of the season. It's worth the try.
  • Mad Men, I didn't get the appeal of Season 1. I still didn't get it for most of Season 2 (but kept on just to see what the fuss was about, and 'sides, I needed something to watch at work). But then something--don't ask me what--clicked with me, and I can't get enough of this world. Well, most of it. If Betty Draper vanished into thin air, I'd be absolutely okay. Great, great show.
  • Monk it feels weird not spending time with Natalie, Leland, Randy and Monk any more during the summer.
  • Sons of Anarchy comes roaring back next week and I cannot wait!!!

  • Scott Pilgrim 6: Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour. Not the way I'd have ended the epic, but I can't complain. This series was a real treat to read. If you've watched the movie, or have seen the commercials and thought you might want to watch the movie, you need to check out the source.
  • Richard Yancey -- I've spent a lot of time with Mr. Yancey over the last month or so. Frodo and I have worked through his YA series about the last descendant of Lancelot, the unlikeliest of heroes--Alfred Kropp, and I've read the first three installments in his Highly Effective Detective series. Both feature "heroes" that don't fit the mold for their genres (similarly at times), who nevertheless get the job done. Both are fun, both are well-told/plotted/paced, and both are far more satisfying than you'd think from reading the cover blurbs. Can't wait for the more from this guy.

  • Greenberg/The Runaways. I just don't get it. Some of the acting in these is great. I'm glad to see Ben Stiller can act as well as he did in Greenberg, and it's always great to see Merritt Weaver. Kristin Stewart rocked (sorry, couldn't resist) in The Runaways, and it hardly needs to be said that Dakota Fanning was great. And most everyone else in both films was just about as good. But--UGH. Both were such monumental wastes of time. Is there a word for the opposite of Gestalt? If so, it's what describes these. If not, there should be.
  • Cop Out--not Kevin Smith's greatest movie, but so funny once Tracey Morgan was reigned in. Bruce Willis should do more comedy.
  • Scott Pilgrim vs. The World because of time/money, I've been to the theater 5 times this year--2.5 times mostly as a chaperone/chauffeur. I'd be 100% willing to go another 5 times just to watch this movie. Sure, it's not absolutely faithful to the source material--but it captures the essence and got the story to fit in a decent runtime, so I can't complain. So much fun. So much heart. Why isn't this a hit?

  • The Reason Why by Little Big Town. I've only had this album for three days, and have listened to it maybe 4 times, but it already feels like an old favorite I can turn to and relax/think with. These guys are too good to be so small.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Zorro by Isabel Allende

It takes a certain kind of skill to write a boring book about a character like Zorro, and apparently, Isabel Allende possesses such. It also takes a certain brashness to pronounce your protagonist as "fun" in the first paragraph--and several times following that--and then fail to produce any real evidence of it.

I was excited about the prospect of this book--a great pulp hero like Zorro in the hands of someone with Allende's lit cred? It'd have to be great, right?

It took maybe 20-30 pages to disabuse me of that idea. Allende's narrator sets out to tell the origins of Zorro--starting with events years before his parents met, and then proceeds at the pace (and in a style) fit for a medium-sized biography. We're less than 60 pages from the end before a 20-something Don Diego de la Vega returns from Spain to California and begins his career as America's first superhero in earnest. This would be something like making the audience sit through 90 minutes of Aaron Smolinski and Jeff East working on the farm with Glenn Ford and Phyllis Thaxter before Christopher Reeve catches Margot Kidder and the helicopter (and then foils Lex Luthor's big nuclear missile into the San Andreas fault/real estate scam in 15 minutes).

Again, it read like a biography, and an unimaginatively written one at that. He did this and then he did that. He was this adjective, and was that often. Over and over and over--no showing, plenty of telling. For a couple of paragraphs on either side of a section of his life/escapades, the narrator would break in with a little commentary and bordered on developing an engaging voice, but that would disappear within a page. It had to be the slowest 390 page book I've read in years--I kept at it, waiting for her to pull it around once the setup was finished. What a mistake. Save yourself from following in my footsteps.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Friday Frivolity - Smells Like Rockin Robin

H/T to Weird Al's twitter feed:

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Real Health Care Reform

The Idaho Press-Tribune today talks about a new local company doing something to offer real, needed change to the Health Care Industry (and no, I'm not being sarcastic/ironic/snarky/whatever).

An RN and an anesthesiologist* have developed this little thing they call "Privacy Preferred Hospital Gown" and it offers just that--a hospital gown with privacy, which most people (other than sitcom writers looking for an easy joke) prefer. Y'see, it parts on the side and ties in the front, yet provides all the easy kinds of access people with IVs, needles, stethoscopes, etc need to have.

Simple, straightforward, an idea that who's time has come (decades ago, really). May their tribe increase.

* yes, I had to copy and paste that word to make sure it was spelled correctly.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Just the Thing for Miniature French Gourmands

Zoologists with Conservation International in Borneo have discovered a new species of frog--the world's tiniest (so far). Just how tiny is tiny? 10-12 mm long--but loud enough to hear, apparently, because that's how the zoologists found them.

io9 has a fuller story and some more cute pictures.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Not to Get All Pedantic or Anything...

These radio advertisements for The Western Idaho Fair (maybe TV, too, I haven't seen any) are really getting on my nerves. Is it really so difficult/time consuming to say something like "at The Western Idaho Fair" rather than "at Western Idaho Fair"??

A couple of years ago, as I recall, the logo and advertising campaign for The Western Idaho Fair referred to it as simply "The Fair." Are we to expect it to just be "Fair" now?

I get it that language changes and evolves, but have we really reached the point where the definite article has become vestigial and obsolete?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Boy Proof by Cecil Castellucci

Victoria Jurgen is an honor student, a budding photographer with a heck of an eye, a social misfit, a movie geek (there's a correlation of the two), who's nicknamed herself after a SciFi movie character. All this makes her (a goal for her, a criticism for her mother) "boy proof."

She has no real friends at school--only rivals, acquaintances, and those that she ignores. Until a transfer student rattles her cage, awakening ideas, feelings, and goals she's not ready for.

Victoria is what Bella Swan could've become if she were a bit geekier, and didn't fall in with the supernatural set. Speaking of ol' Bella, early on in Boy Proof, there's a scene involving a transfer student, the only empty seat in class, and the newcomer's odor that is very reminiscent of a scene from Twilight. IMNSHO, Castellucci pulls if off better than Meyer did.

There's nothing ground-breaking here plot-wise, but Victoria's character and voice are so strong, you don't care. This book is about watching her change and grow. Could the book have been more than that? Sure. Did it need to be? Nope. I wish I could remember what blogpost/tweet/whatever it was that tipped me off to this book, but whatever it was, I'm glad I read it.

Friday, August 20, 2010

What is Truth? - Quote of the Day

"...Like the whole concept of truth, Mr. Hinton. You know what the most haunting question in the Bible is? When Pilate says to Jesus, 'What is the truth?' You know, is it empirical and objective, or it is all relative and subjective? Is my truth your truth? Or is truth something outside both of us, immutable as the atomic weight of lithium? When you think about it, all science, religion, philosophy, morals, everything, turns on Pilate's question. What is the truth?"

Now, standing on the corner of Church and Henley, waiting for the light to change, Hinton said, slightly out of breath, "All right, then. I'll bite. What is the truth, Mr. Ruzak?"

"Boy," I said. "You got me."

- Richard Yancey
The Highly Effective Detective Plays the Fool

Thursday, August 19, 2010

First Day of School 2010-11 (part 1)

So less than a week before classes started, I got a call from the same Charter that Frodo'd enrolled in saying that there was an opening for Samwise--thankfully, I didn't make a fool of myself and actually got him into the school.

Today was the first day there for both of them. And no, they don't have to wear that fast food worker looking outfit every day, they just happened to both pick the same thing. (and unlike me and my sister at that age, didn't feel immediately compelled to change into something else once they saw the other). So far, we've been very impressed with the teachers and staff; and while the school's educational philosophy might not align with ours perfectly, but it's good enough for government work (and thousands a year cheaper than the only school nearby that comes closer).

Anyway, the boys had a good first day, and ran into a good number of fellow "refugees" from their old school (their word, not mine) and are looking forward to what's coming up.

Of course, not everyone was hard at work this morning:

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Boise Beer Fest 2010

Like last year, it's taken me a lot longer than planned/expected to get around to writing up anything on Boise Beer Fest 2010.

While I enjoyed 2009's festival, I thought there was room for improvement. As did many others--including the people who put on the fest :) They got a bigger space, spread out the lines more, and got in more food vendors, and a few other improvements that were all smaller than their effect. It was as close to perfect as you can ask for (the weather helped, too). While I wouldn't call the atmosphere last year as anything approaching businesslike, it seemed a lot more laid back this year (probably because we weren't herded together into such a tight group).

and finally, some thoughts on the brews I sampled:

  • Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale (Stone Brewing) - Basically, it's Arrogant Bastard with a little extra zing. Pretty good way to start the day.
  • Devastator (Wasatch Brewery) - Nice, still had the aftertaste of Self-Righteous going on, so I'm not sure how to describe it, but I liked it and fully intend to buy some as soon as I can.
  • Summer Ale (Crescent Brewery) - from Nampa, ID's very own new brewery, so new they don't have a website. This was fruity, sweet and totally not for me. But it was well made, could tell it was good.
  • Georgetown Porter (Georgetown Brewery) - had this last year under its old name, 9lb Porter. Still nice, a very pleasant reunion.
  • Great Divide Claymore Scotch Ale - very flavorful, I really like this. Will be back for more.
  • Great Divide Yeti - I've had a few bottles of this from Brewforia, and I'll have a few more. Tastes slightly better on tap (not news, there, I know)
  • 90 Shilling Ale (Odell Brewing) - TLomL and I both couldn't think of a better way to describe the taste than "simple." But that's not bad, it's a simple, straightforward ale. Very tasty, probably worth more than 90 shillings.
  • Crescent Brewery ESB - another entry from the local boys...very alcoholy taste, but it pulls it off. Yummy.
  • Black Cat Porter (Mac & Jack's Brewery) - a sweet porter (what?), tasty, tasty...a very non-porter-ish porter.
  • Oatis Oatmeal Stout (Ninkasi Brewing) - Nothing all that distinctive, but very nice, will keep my eye open for this one. The guy working the tap gave me a hard time for taking notes, but how was I supposed to remember how to spell Ninkasi when I made it back to my seat? Phonics would be no help here.
  • Dragonstooth Stout (Elysian Brewing) - can't describe it (my palate needs more training and/or a better vocabulary), nice stout that doesn't taste like most stouts (I realize I've described the last two similarly, but best I can do)
  • Turbodog (Abita Beer) - this is a brown? Really? Brown Ales are typically my favorite, but this one seems very atypical (whoops, there it is again). Very nice, very flavorful.

Bring on Beer Fest 2011!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Day Every Parent Dreams Of...

...before they wake screaming.

I took my son to the orthodontist for an initial consultation today. Ahhh, the memories we'll cherish.

First off, I should say that all the staff were very friendly, very pleased to see us in their office, and gave an overall impression that this was a great place to be. Now I know that many companies strive for their employees to act that way amongst customers/clients (esp. prospective ones), but I got the impression that these people were genuinely excited about orthodontics. Which is pretty scary.

Even the waiting room was interesting--the tasteful photographs on the wall were enough to make the subconscious open to the idea of braces--a shot of the Statue of Liberty under construction (or the remodel in the 80's) surrounded by scaffolding, another of a suspension bridge being built. Which at least gave us grounds of an impromptu lesson in bridge construction (Frodo was convinced the guys in the picture were doing it backwards).

So we go back and get all sorts of X-rays and close-up pictures of his teeth, the shape of his mouth and whatnot--several using oddly shaped pieces of hard plastic to pull his lips out of the way (and man, I wish I could've been taking pictures of that to use as blackmail)--and a couple involving mirrors, of all things. After which, the doctor did the typical poking and prodding thing, using a light so bright I halfway think Frodo wished he was struck blind before being exposed to.

Then, rather than talking to us there at the chair, we were taken back into this tiny little office for a description of what was going on. I'm not exactly sure why--it's not like there's a great need to protect our privacy, every other patient/parent in the place knew what we were there for--the same thing as them. Anyway, we're shown those photos just taken, highlighting the several areas of concern/problems. The main issue is that he has 4 deciduous teeth (if he were younger, he'd feel okay with me calling them 'baby teeth') that have no permanent replacements growing beneath them--and 2 of those are starting to cause some big problems--so gets to have them removed (oh, the fun never stops!). Then they'll work on moving things around so those gaps are filled, and start to align things to correct his "deep bite." "Deep" being a polite euphemism for "overbite so bad he might as well be drawn by Matt Groening.

But the good news was that he doesn't want to start this right away--for one thing, we have to have those extractions, and then there are a couple more deciduous teeth that need to come out on their own, etc. So we'll get a checkup or two and then probably start this whole process in earnest in a year and a half or so.

And just as I start to think about that time frame and feel a sense of relief (on Frodo's behalf), he adds, "Which is good, that'll give you time to go home and start saving your pennies--because this one's going to cost you."

That's right, the orthodontist thinks this is gonna be expensive.

Anyone have a rich, dying uncle to spare?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Judging by Covers

Stumbled onto the latest blog posting by Sugarland's Jennifer Nettles today, and frankly, I wish (on the whole) it was something I'd written about the state of publishing/book buying/music buying, and what effect that has on inter-personal relations (no matter how shallow they might be).

n the super high tech world of iPads (which I love, but not for books), kindles, etc., I find myself sad at the potential of losing the tangible literary arts to the digital deity of convenience. I love books. I love the way they smell. I love libraries. I love the way they smell. I love discovering the artwork and choice of paper by the author and publisher. I love book marks. They can be beautiful little pieces of functional art in and of themselves. Metal and hook-like. Beaded. All sorts of book marks. I love book stores. I love the way they smell. I love the way you can see so many different kinds of people searching through sections of so many diverse subjects and disciplines. Sigh.

Look, I realize that Borders or Barnes and Noble aren't just about to ,poof, disappear. But, if you look at the way the music industry has changed with technology, well, let's just say your friendly, neighborhood record stores are neither in the neighborhood nor record stores for the most part. (Don't get me wrong. I love the ease and convenience of going online and getting the latest album of interest! I just miss the romance). Does anyone remember "High Fidelity"? Or the awesome scene in "Pretty in Pink" when Ducky comes in and does his killer dance to "Try a Little Tenderness" by Otis Redding? Record stores were a place of culture. A place to find culture. A place to share culture. So are book stores.
Read the rest...

While I'm at it, shouldn't mention a band without some sort of reference to their music...here's their new, ever-so catchy video

(for balance's sake, should add that Jim C. Hines had a good post with a different angle on the state of publishing today, as well)

Monday, August 09, 2010

Summer Belongs to You

This is going to be a no-brainer for many of my readers, but the Phineas and Ferb extra-long episode, "Summer Belongs to You," is a must-watch. Those of you with kids probably knew/assumed this, based on the rest of the series. Those of you without kids should rent some (or volunteer to babysit some) so you have an excuse to watch this series--you'll be glad you did (this is probably not the episode to start with, tho).

The episode opens with Phineas looking for a more difficult daily activity (than something simple like building a self-aware robot who decides that jumping rope is his raison d'ĂȘtre).

"Our vacation is more than halfway over. And what have we accomplished? (Looking through Ferb's Log) Okay, so we built a roller coaster, traveled through time twice, found Atlantis, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. See, we've hardly done anything. We need a real challenge. We need to make the biggest, longest, funnest Summer day of all time."
He and Ferb build an airplaneish thingy (The Sun-Beater 3000) to fly around the world on the summer solstice keeping up with the sun as it travels, to make what's already the longest day even longer (yeah, I don't understand that sentence either, let the little pointy-headed kid explain it when you watch).

So Phineas, Ferb and their friends (and sister) take off on a quick 'round the world trip--with scheduled refueling stops in Tokyo and Paris (and an unscheduled stop in Nepal and one somewhere in the Atlantic). These stops allow other supporting characters to join (and leave) the voyage and some hilarious musical moments.

There's action, laughs, music galore (and even a couple of odd choices in the way of guest singers), a little romance, intrigue, good advice, and a silly "you can do anything you believe in" after-school special lesson that doesn't detract too much from the overall quality of the episode.

I don't remember the last time my kids and I were able to sit down and laugh at something together (mostly, but not entirely, at the same things) so consistently and frequently since early Veggie Tales. Wish we hadn't watched it while TLomL was at work so it could've been a whole-fam thing, but we'd been too busy over the weekend to watch it, and none of us were in the mood to wait any longer. Honestly, can't wait to watch it again--and figure I'll laugh almost as much, and probably find a joke or two I missed.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

The Dancer

In Case I Don't Get Something Else Written Up for Today...

Here's a short film/long commercial for your viewing pleasure. Way to go Mr. Bateman.

Friday, August 06, 2010

A Blob of Yolk on the End of my Nose

Back in August, I mentioned that we were sending the Offspring to a charter school, a move that we were slightly uneasy about, yet convinced it was the right move at the time.

I still think it was the right call to make, although the leaders of the school, as well as the state's Charter School Commission, have made me rethink and regret that call approximately seventy-nine billion, three hundred and four times. Don't ask, I don't want to talk about it. Actually, that's less than true--I'd like to talk about it, but I don't know what to say. And, honestly, more and more I think anyone who has talked/is talking about it is misinformed, lying or fooling themselves (or a combination thereof).

As calamitous as last year was on the macro level, it was also very beneficial on the personal level for the members of this family. Enough so, that we're trying (at least) a couple of different charter school programs this year. Sadly, we (were forced to) choose this a little late, so we had to get the kids on various waiting lists for various appealing charter schools. Frodo got into a school, that for our purposes today we'll call Decision Charter School. The others have been enrolled in a virtual charter school until they can get into a brick and mortar place (not necessarily Decision Charter, tho' that'd be nice). We'd gotten Frodo registered back in June, making the frightening realization that he's a junior higher now--making his parents old.

Then the other day, I got a voice mail telling me that an opening had been made in the seventh grade and we had twenty-four hours to respond before they'd offer the spot to the next student on the list. WHAT?!?! That ain't right. So, despite the fact that I was out of breath because I was about halfway through with my days' exercises, I returned the call immediately.

"Um, we registered Frodo back in June. So, I'm a bit confused about this." I panted at the secretary, who I hoped wasn't going to report an obscene call to the authorities.

"Oh? Well, I don't see him on my list."

"That's odd, because--"

"But there are two lists, so maybe he just didn't get put on my list by accident."

I tried to ignore the troubling ramifications of this kind of problem and the reflexive fear that we'd found ourselves another #$*!ed up school, "Well, a couple of weeks after we turned in all the paperwork, I spoke to the administrator there and she said everything was perfect, no problems at all." Because I've been made very paranoid about the organizational abilities of anyone related to a charter school, and this phone call wasn't helping me at all.

"Well I'm sure there is no problem and we'll get this glitch cleared right up."

Yeah, right, I didn't say. Rather I said, "Now is this going to cause any kind of problem for the electives we were trying to get? Is he going to be at the bottom of the pecking order for those now?" I was preparing to rip these people a new one if that was the case.

"We don't have electives in seventh grade."



We don't offer electives until high school."

Then what had he, his mother and I talked and talked about for days? Of all the stupid, useless paperwork items...oh no... "Er, what school did you say this was again?"

"Destiny Charter School," replied the secretary now thinking I was a stupid pervert. [not the real name]

"Oh, er, I'm sorry, I thought you'd said Decision Charter. In that case we won't be needing that opening."

"He's going to Decision next year?"

"Yes, again, very sorry." I said, realizing that there's a really strong chance that his siblings' applications were milliseconds away from being "misplaced."

I'm sure there's a lesson to be learned from all this, but I have no idea what it is.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Anyone using this?

Anyone out there using this? Why, why not, etc. Anything similar you'd recommend?

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

...After all adequacy is the hallmark of great education

The Idaho Press-Tribune calls this "excel"ling.

Those assembled at Caldwell High School for it's announcement deemed it worthy of "spontaneous applause."

The Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction has been "celebrating" this.

What is it?


That's right, Caldwell High School made "adequate yearly progress" for the first time. I don't want to debate the relative merits (or lack thereof) of No Child Left Behind, because like it or not, that's the mark they're supposed to be hitting, and in 2009 CHS met the mark. Adequately.

Merriam-Webster defines adequate as:

1 : sufficient for a specific requirement ; also : barely sufficient or satisfactory
2 : lawfully and reasonably sufficient
if those aren't words that describe greatness and inspire the hearts and souls of all, I don't know what would.

The state of public education in Idaho (and really, nationwide) is such that we celebrate and applaud schools that are sufficient?!?! Talk about ridiculous.

I can't help but think of the late, great adequate Bill McNeal:

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Easy Rider

Dutiful parents that we are, when Frodo and Samwise hit the age of 5, we bought them bicycles (Huffy Rock-Its, as I recall). In both cases, their excitement and interest soon waned--in a matter of hours, really.

The presence of training wheels, their parents, and as much safety gear as a NFL quarterback could not dissuade either of them from their conviction that they'd fall over and/or off the instant they started moving; causing several serious, permanent, life-changing injuries. That conviction soon gained some inertia and it became impossible to get them on the bikes.

Tho' to be honest, we probably could've tried harder. But given the neighborhoods we lived in around that time, it was hard to blame us. Even not considering that, it wasn't like our kids would ever ride their bikes as much as we did as kids. This was seen by my father as some sort of great character flaw--mostly ours (but partially the boys'). He'd occasionally make some sort of effort to teach them to ride--whether they wanted to or not.

Which is all just a rambling, should be edited preamble to this:

Last week, out of the blue, Samwise approached me, wondering if I'd dig Frodo's newer bike out of the garage, so he could try to ride it (At some point, Frodo'd picked up a "bigger kid" bike, which, thanks to its larger size, collected dust faster than his first). I assured him that was a good idea (it was), but that'd be something I needed to think about (I almost promptly forgot it) and see if I could get him a helmet (forgot about that, too), and we'd pick up the idea over the weekend (we didn't).

Thankfully, over the weekend, he brought it up to his mom while I was out running errands. TLomL grabbed the bull by its horns and got the bike out and ready. Within fifteen minutes he was riding the thing--not well, but he wasn't going knees over teakettle. Yesterday he spent hours, hours riding up and down the block in 97° heat(110° with the wind chill), burning off more calories than I took in last week.

He had a blast, as you can see--and plans on doing it again today, and to watch him, you'd have no idea that he hadn't been doing this for years. For a moment, it looked like he'd inspired his older brother to give it a shot, but he backed off. He still might come around, but I'm not holding my breath. His younger siblings are very gung-ho about it now and are demanding we do the same for them this weekend, tho. I imagine we'll encounter a few skinned knees and elbows when we try with them, but they'll survive.

Monday, August 02, 2010


I'd determined that I was going to post something every day this month (or at least try) and already I'm falling behind. I had something in mind for today and one for tomorrow...and I'm not going to get them done. But I have a good reason. Well, a reason.

See, a couple of weeks ago, my trusty new laptop's hard drive went kablooey. I got it back at the end of last week and spent most of the last few days getting it back into fighting shape. When I went to get these posts together, I realized I forgot a software piece or two that I need for this...and honestly, I'm not up for finding/downloading/configuring them at the moment. I'll try again tomorrow (and, of course, by the time I get around to actually needing the aforementioned software, I'll have come up with other posts entirely making this whole thing moot).

So instead of actual content, I'll shut up and post this cute little song by Jewel.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Who are You Calling a Foodie?

An old friend asked me "as a foodie," where he should eat as he's visiting Boise.

At first, I was flattered that he'd bother to seek my opinion--it's so rare that anyone cares what I think anymore, even my dog seems to have a "can take or leave it" approach to what I think. But then I focused on that qualifier, "as a foodie," and flattered turned to umbrage.

You'd think in this PC day and age, that asking something based on someone's ethnicity would be passé. Just because I have a good deal of German blood in me, I can't imagine someone in polite company asking me how to get France to surrender (answer: Show up.). I mean, come on, people, how long are we going to tolerate this kind of thinking?

And just why would a Foodie know where to eat? Just because the name sounds like the stuff you eat? It's like asking a Scot if he knows something about Scotch er, wait, bad example. Still, wouldn't it be a better bet to ask someone who's French or Italian that question?

By the way, just what country do the Foodies hale from, anyway? I'm not sure what part of the WASP-stew that is my genetic pool came from it. Maybe it's from somewhere near Croatia, I've lost track of what countries are around there lately. Does Boise even have a strong foodie presence? I know there's a lot of Basques...

Whoops. I've just been informed what a foodie is. Apparently, it's not an ethnic term, but

is someone who has a deep interest in food. In addition to being interested in food itself, foodies are also interested in the back story: the history, production, science, and industry of food. As a general rule, foodies are amateurs, rather than professionals working in some aspect of the food industry, and many of them are self-taught.
To be a foodie is not only to like food, but to be interested in it. Just as a good student will have a thirst for knowledge, a foodie wants to learn about food. A foodie will never answer the question "What are you eating" with "I don't know." There are some basic traits of being a foodie, as there are basic traits that come with all labels. Generally, you have to know what you like, why you like it, recognize why some foods are better than others and want to have good tasting food all or certainly most of the time. This doesn't mean that you can't eat flaming hot Cheetos every now and again, but it does mean that you don't fool yourself into thinking that it's a nutritionally balanced meal. Do you have to know the difference between a beefsteak tomato and an heirloom tomato? No, but you might be interested to find out what it is. Do you have to only shop at farmer's markets? No, but you still look for good, fresh produce. Are there some foods you just don't like or weird foods you like? That's ok - it doesn't make you any less of a foodie. Just like food, learn about food and, most importantly, eat food.
Which is a totally different ball of wax.

After some thought, I guess I might just be one after all. A rookie foodie, anyway.

Never mind.
* Incidentally, on my recommendation, my friend went to Boise Fry Co., and he thought it was great. If you haven't been there yet, you should. Even if it involves interstate travel.