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.

Drinking Speeds

•January 27, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Have you ever thought about how long it takes you to drink something?  I have (hence this post)!

Obviously drinking speeds can be quite adjustable.  If you have a glass of water and are told to drink it as fast as possible you can probably put it back in very short order.  Also, with the same glass of water, you might be apt to drink it faster if you are thirsty having just come off some physical labor or exercises, versus if you just had a glass but didn’t feel any particular thirst.

But there is more.

Some drinks are generally deemed “sipping” drinks.  Hot beverages and wine are both great examples.  It isn’t that you can’t take a big ol’ gulp of coffee or merlot, it is more that that is just not the generally accepted proper way of drinking.  Hot beverages the sipping drinking is obviously a product of caution to avoid mouth burning.  For wine?  I imagine it is to encourage more awareness of the flavors and characteristics.  Sip drinking, I suspect, slows down the overall drinking speed.

Then there is also the situation of drinking, specifically socially or alone.  I suspect, quite unscientifically, that people drink beverages (whatever they may be) faster in social context than they do on their own.  Why?  Because taking a drink is an acceptable break in conversation and filler action while listening. Alone  one might be able to nurse a drink for quite a while, whereas in a group the act of drinking is kind of habitual and occurs with more frequency.

In regards to my own personal drinking speeds?  I very often feel thirsty and so drink water with a lot of frequency and quite quickly.  On the other hand, I often drink tea or coffee (predominantly decaf now) at work, and have found that, as a rule, it takes me about an hour to get through one mug-full. Obviously I could drink it faster, but because I am working and only take sips intermittently it seems like an hour is about the bare minimum amount of time I have to get through a cup of coffee or tea. I think I used to drink beer and mixed drinks a lot faster than I do now, but I also think that I used to drink them for different reasons (to get drunk versus to just enjoy a beverage).  Other drinks I seem to consume at various speeds.

So what does this all mean?  You got me, I really don’t know, just popped into my head.

Happy drinking folks!

That’s Witchcraft!: God Damn-it Math!

•January 16, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Sometimes even our mathematics is subject to the dark arts of warlockery. If we can’t trust our numbers what can we trust? . . . *sigh*

It’s Cold!

•January 7, 2014 • Leave a Comment

This morning the thermometer at my house read only 6 degrees F.  I was not pleased with this. In the six and a half years I’ve lived in South Carolina this is the coldest temperature I’ve seen.  I’ll be happy if it is another six and a half years (or more really) before this kind of cold comes around again.

I think it is safe to say that there are “cold” and “warm” people in the world.  For these people one temperature extreme is clearly less desirable than the other (they may not care about the opposite extreme too much either, but it is usually less of an annoyance).  I am very much a cold person, and tend to almost always be cold.  Even in the heat of summer I keep a sweatshirt in my office because the AC is too cold for me. Sure, I don’t love being sweat drenched in 100 degree temperatures either, but I’ll gladly take a hot day over a cold one any time.

When I say I am cold there is a certain sub-set of people who like to laugh and say “But aren’t you from Vermont?”  Why yes, yes I am . . . your point is?  OH! . . . Hahaha! I see now, you think, just because I came from a northern state live Vermont, which is known for some real cold weather, that I must be totally cool with the cold? How silly of me! . . . and now I’m scowling at you.  Look, just because I was born and raised in a state that can experience wretched winter weather doesn’t mean I like the cold . . . at all.  Why do you think I’ve stayed in South Carolina so long (well besides because of my wife and job and all that stuff)?  It’s because it is warmer (and the wife and job and all that too, obviously)! Regardless of how much else I love about Vermont, and New England in general (went to college in the mountains in New Hampshire), I hate hate hated the cold winters.  So yes, it is generally less cold here in South Carolina, but it is still “cold” and I still dislike “cold” regardless of my previous habitation of even colder localities.

And for what it is worth, 6 degrees F is not the coldest I’ve ever encountered. In Vermont and New Hampshire I feel pretty safe saying I encountered at least a few days in the negative double digits F, add in wind chill, and it was real real nasty cold.

For everybody in colder places than South Carolina today . . . I’m sorry, cold weather really sucks.  I hope you can wrap up in some warm blankets  and sit by a fire or something.

Stay warm folks, its nasty out there.

And Now its 2014

•January 2, 2014 • Leave a Comment

. . .Isn’t that nice?

I’ve never been big on the whole “New Year’s Resolution” thing, in part, because if I do not succeed, it just makes me feel like crap, and I don’t like feeling like crap.  The only thing I resolve to do this year then, is to turn 30, which will happen no matter what unless for some reason I cease to exist before the beginning of June (consequently I should maybe also resolve to “continue to exist, at least through June”).

Anything else?  Not really . . . I don’t care for January much because its still cold and dark (though slightly less dark than December).  So that is all I’ve got for now.

Until later.