Signs of the Apocalypse: A Lack of Barrels

•June 30, 2014 • 1 Comment

As detailed in this post from Modern Farmer the high demand for used barrels, paired with an increase of craft distilleries and breweries, a lack of cooperages, and limited wood resources is creating a potentially catastrophic barrel shortage. Interesting stuff really.

It does sound like there is a bright light on the horizon, especially in regards to the use of more locally sourced wood. Also, who knew that in 2014 having Cooper skills in your resume could be a major selling point?

Signs of the Apocalypse: This Fact About BuzzFeed

•June 11, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Which is this: “Viewers have spent approximately 42,972 years on BuzzFeed since it was started in 2006.” Via this listicle.

Now, I’ll admit I’ve probably contributed a week or two to this statistic myself, but seriously, that is a lot of human time spent looking at silly lists or gifs of cats. I feel pretty certain that when the combined time of millions which far outreaches the length of human civilization, and is predominantly being spent determining “Which Disney Princess You Are” then we’re heading for an epic end of time.

Oh well.

30 and 7

•June 3, 2014 • Leave a Comment

So it’s a day late, but I am 30 years old now. Kind of weird to think that my 20s are officially behind me now. It was a good and formative decade, progressing from college student to independent adult. Doing some pretty big and exciting things like graduating from college, moving away from home (in Vermont to South Carolina), getting my first real job, buying my first car, and especially getting married. So yeah, the 20s were pretty awesome (there was some less than awesome things in there too, including but not limited to getting arrested, getting in a car crash, and getting sued. no need to rehash all the down times). So, here’s to hoping that the 30s provide as much excitement and interest as the 20s have.

In other news I’ve also now officially lived in South Carolina for seven years (first moved here on my birthday, June 2nd, in 2007). I’ve really come to think of SC as my home. And while Vermont will always be the home in my heart, South Carolina is now the definite home in my living life. I’ve gotten so many great friends and families in the seven years I’ve been in this state. I love all that the area has to offer. I particularly enjoy the moderately mild winters. And while the local politics are not always in line with my general world views, all and all this has been a great place to live. Seven years down and many more to go.

So really that is all. I got the awesome gift of a two tap kegerator for my birthday from an amazing group of friends and family, so I need to kick my homebrewing back into gear. I’ll hopefully remember to post an update about it soon.


Cover Songs That Are Better Than the Originals

•May 28, 2014 • 1 Comment

I got to thinking about this the other day. I was in the kitchen doing dishes and listening to one of my Spotify playlists. The Townes Van Zandt song “Nothin,” as performed by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss (from their wonderful joint 2007 album Raising Sand), came on, and immediately I thought about the fact that I like their version better than Van Zandt’s original (which is still a great song, I love Townes Van Zandt’s style and voice on it, but it just doesn’t compare the what Plant and Krauss do with it). So I got to wondering what other songs I think are better done in cover versions than they are in their originals.

The immediate one that came to mind quickly was Jimi Hendrix’s version of Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower.” So iconic and flawlessly done is Hendrix’s version of this song that it is often overlooked, if not outright forgotten, that it was originally penned and performed by Dylan. Interestingly Dylan has had quite a few songs that while good in their own right have been better performed by other artists. Specifically I also think of Eric Clapton doing “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” which is made great in part by Clapton’s superb guitar skills. I could also say this for Mason Jennings’ performance of Dylan’s song “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll,” which is very much an homage in style and sound to the original, and yet strikes me as a far superior version.

Other songs that come to mind: Willie Nelson’s version of Dave Matthews’ song “Gravedigger” is wonderful (on that note Willie Nelson has some really excellent covers of a whole bunch of songs). And Johnny Cash singing NIN’s “Hurt” is absolutely amazing (so much so, that I’d consider arguing that it might be the most perfect song cover ever done). Adele does a stunning cover of The Cure’s “Lovesong” on her album 21. Chris Thile’s covering Britney Spears’ “Toxic” is one of the most glorious things I’ve ever heard (or seen in a live performance, as I did at Bonaroo in 2006). I think that Gnarls Barkley and the Violent Femmes exchange the courtesies to each other, where Gnarls Barkley does a cover of “Gone Daddy Gone” better than the Violent Femmes, but in turn the Violent Femmes take Gnarls Barkley’s hit “Crazy” and surpass the original.  And while this may be sacrilege to some, I honestly think that Patti Smith’s cover of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is actually better done than Nirvana’s original (I know, I’ll probably get a lot of hate for that).

I’m sure there are a good number more too. Covers are fascinating and I really enjoy them, even when I don’t think that they are better than their original source. I maintain a large playlist on Spotify of nothing but cover versions of songs, and periodically add new ones to it as I encounter them. I’d be fascinated to hear what other cover versions of songs people think surpass their original sources.

I hate Knockout Roses

•May 8, 2014 • 2 Comments

A little over a year ago I wrote about how I don’t care for scentless roses. This still hasn’t changed. But if anything, over the past year, committing myself to the pursuit of permaculture practices and really trying to learn more about plants and their uses, I’ve hardened my position on the non-fragrant roses in general, and the Knockout varieties of roses in particular.

I hate them. They are stupid and gaudy and really just the worst.

There, I’ve said it for all to read and take as they will.

Really, I feel like they are just entirely too overly planted. I know that what is deemed attractive is pretty subjective, but I honestly feel like there are better choices than the cloying magenta of the Knockout varieties. They are just ridiculously cookie-cutter and silly looking. Honestly, not too insult anyone too much, but they strike me as very amateur and lazy roses (which probably accounts for much of their popularity).

So, am I a plant elitist? You can be damn well sure I am. I make no apologies about it. We can all be growing more interesting varieties plants, roses included. Sure, part of that is the challenge of finding a better place to make purchases besides Lowes and Home Depot (I’d be happy to make some suggestions if you’d like), but another part of it is holding ourselves to a higher standard of what attractive is (meaning, not having to look like every other yard or landscaped lot. Remember, I’m a damn dirty plant snob).

So, want to break out of the lame-o Knockout rose mold? Maybe check out some David Austen roses, some of them are quite nice (and there are many many other varieties to boot. People have breed a vast diversity of roses).


Hey, check it out, two blog posts this week. Neato!


•May 6, 2014 • Leave a Comment

So . . . it has been so damn long since I last posted. Definitely feel like I have fallen off the blogging wagon heavily. Not sure what to think about that. I’d hate for General Lordisimo’s Apocalypse to die from neglect, but of late I seem to have lacked any drive to write things here. Maybe I can rally, and re-inspire myself to utilize this space again. Maybe not. I’m not about to make any promises (I don’t need the guilt from if/when I break them).

That being said. I’m alive. I’m well. Maybe there will be more sometime soon.

An absence and a Nexus 7

•February 19, 2014 • Leave a Comment

So . . . haven’t been around much. Mostly because February is always one of the busiest months for my work and then at the end of the day I am too tired to want to write blog posts. But, busy times are wrapping up now and if I don’t end up too busy outdoors in the garden instead I’ll try and post a bit more frequently.

With that in mind I wanted to share that this is my first blog post using the WordPress app on my new Nexus 7 tablet. So far so good. The app seems more than usable, and offers about all that I’d want from a blogging app.

As for the Nexus 7 itself? I love it. Its a great tablet with pretty much all the features I could hope for. I’m still in general learning mode with the device, but I’m figuring it out fast. All and all I’m pleased with its purchase.

Anyhow, that’s all for now. Till next time.

The Polarizing Take on Condiments

•January 30, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Some years back now I wrote a post contemplating condiment usage and preferences. I stand by pretty much everything that I wrote in the post, and so this one isn’t really anything too different, just a general update of sorts.  Two reasons for this: first, being this io9 post and the comments that follow that illustrate the point of the polarizing nature of condiment use/preference, and secondly, because while eating lunch yesterday, Eliza and I had a bit of condiment consideration.

The io9 post highlights how mayonnaise is the most popular condiment in the US.  Honestly, that doesn’t surprise me much at all (much to the dismay of the author of the post). Mayonnaise is ubiquitous in our culture, and have even spread outwards to other cuisines (Japanese, Mexican, etc.).  Personally it doesn’t bother me much, because I am pretty cool with mayonnaise, but for many people, like the author of the io9 post, the news of mayonnaise’s success is dismaying and potentially disgusting.

Along with the whole mayo popularity thing I am made to think of lunch yesterday. Eliza and I caught a bite to eat downtown at The Trappe Door. One of the things that The Trappe Door does is serve a variety of homemade flavored mayonnaises with their pomme frites for dipping. I like them a lot (especially their chipotle one) and pretty much always enjoy.  Eliza, on the other hand, falls into the camp of not liking mayonnaise (which is fine because a ton of people don’t like mayonnaise), and so only wanted to try the curry mayo with her fries.  She liked the curry mayo fine, but mostly she attributed this to the fact that the curry flavor pretty much covers up any quality of mayonnaise.

Look, as I mentioned in that past post, condiments are all about controlling the personal flavoring of the food we’re eating. As such, it is no surprise that opinions vary widely for each kind of condiment.  Personally, like most of my food considerations, I’m pretty down with all condiments. If I really had to pick a least favorite it would be ketchup, but I still eat ketchup quite often, especially with fries, so it isn’t even that I hate the stuff.

So what is your stance on condiments?  How do you feel about the domination of mayonnaise.  Go ahead, discuss.

RIP Peter Seeger

•January 28, 2014 • Leave a Comment

I awoke this morning, and as per tradition, went to The New York Times to read the headlines only to discover that famed folk singer and social activist Pete Seeger had passed away yesterday at the ripe old age of 94 (b. 1919).  As I wrote on Facebook upon learning the news, I am both sad that he is gone but grateful that he had lived and done so much with his life.  I know, that through his songs, he will not soon be forgotten.

I fell in love with Pete Seeger at a young age even though I didn’t realize it until much later.  As a child I loved watching Reading Rainbow and once Pete Seeger was a guest and played his banjo and did a reading of the story Abiyoyo.  I fell in love with the story and song.  My parents quickly bought me the picture book.  I would remember it for years to come.

Flash forward many years to my college days.  In college I worked hard to expand my musical repertoire beyond just classic rock (The Who, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Pink Floyd, etc.). In one direction I exposed myself to more contemporary music and styles, but in the other direction I sought out the roots of so much of the music I loved. I delved into a lot of jazz and the blues and invariable I found myself listening to a lot o folk and bluegrass music.  Seeger was in that mix.

Around the same time, Bruce Springsteen, that staple of good ol’ American rock-n-roll, released an album called “We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions” in which he, and several other artists, played versions of many songs that, while not original to him, had been made more well known and famous by Mr. Pete Seeger.  I loved these songs so much, especially the poignant and sadly always timely “Mrs. McGrath,” a solemn anti-war ballad.  This really kindled my Pete Seeger love and from there on out he has been a staple of my music listening.

Pete Seeger was a good and caring person in an often cruel and uncaring world. He worked to change some of that, even if just a bit, through his songs and his willingness to take a stand for those who couldn’t always stand for themselves. His lovely voice and beautiful banjo picking will continue to move and make a difference even though the man is now gone.

Thank you Pete . . . for everything.

Zero Theorem

•January 27, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Here is something to be excited about.  Terry Gilliam’s latest film The Zero Theorem starring Christopher Waltz (which is something worth being excited about in and of itself).

I’m a huge fan of Terry Gilliam.  Besides his famed works with Monty Python, I’ve been watching his films for years, having been early introduced to The Adventures of Baron Munchausen and Time Bandits at a young age. I still count 12 Monkeys as one of my all-time favorite movies. And of course there is his super bizarro quasi-1984-ish look at the future in Brazil.  All around I think Gilliam is one of the weirdest directors out there (Spike Jonze and Lars von Trier can content for the title at times too).

Personally, I’m really looking forward to The Zero Theorem, there haven’t been enough weirdo movies out there for me lately. Hope It’ll be showing somewhere nearby.