Saturday, June 14, 2014

Me, Christmas, 1973

The date on this old laminated photo refers to when the film was developed.  The shot is clearly from Christmas.

Click on the image to see a larger version.

Jeans, long-sleeve sweatshirt, and Converse All-Stars--my uniform back then. 

I don't remember this scene or someone capturing it in a photo.  I don't remember what I was thinking then.  I remember the times, that odd first year of college, and how I felt during them, but I have no memories of this particular day. 

What a long, strange ride indeed.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Good on you, Tesla

I was happy to read this announcement from Tesla's CEO, Elon Musk, which Lynn brought to my attention.  Though the move is neither entirely altruistic--see this analysis for more on why--nor a surrender of control--"Tesla will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use our technology."--it is still a good move for the world.  We need more electric, zero-emissions vehicles, and Tesla's action may help us reach that goal.

I don't expect to see a flood of EVs, but I am hoping this will help other companies create more of them.

I also like it when a company does something that both makes good business sense and helps the world.  In this case, Tesla may well be trying to create a bigger market for the batteries it will one day produce, but in doing so it is helping others.

Well done, Tesla.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Because sometimes we all need this reminder

I know I do.

I want to watch this movie again soon.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Edge of Tomorrow

I understand the temptation to write off any Tom Cruise movie without seeing it, because from many reports he is a world-class ass-clown.  (I've never met him and have never bothered to look into him or his behavior, but plenty of folks I respect have issues with him.)  I also understand the temptation to write off Edge of Tomorrow after watching the trailer as just Groundhog Day with alien battles; to some degree, that is a reasonable summary of the film. 

Don't succumb to either temptation.  Go see Edge of Tomorrow.  It's worth your time. 

In many ways, it is a Tom Cruise film, and the plot does indeed revolve around the relive-the-day gimmick, but the movie is a great deal more.  Cruise starts out as a coward, and his smarmy desperation oozes from the screen in those early scenes.  He grows into the hero's role, but it takes time, and he portrays the growth credibly.  The gimmick is indeed central to the movie, but director Doug Liman handles it with skill, never boring us or abusing it.

Emily Blunt is a joy to watch, an exo-suit-powered warrior who snarls her way through her early scenes and who never lets up on Cruise.

I know I often have to explain my odd tastes in movies, but in this case, as I write this, RottenTomatoes has the critics rating at 90% and the audience's at 92%, so I'm not alone in my enjoyment. 

I don't want to go into spoilers, so I'll just wrap by saying that Edge of Tomorrow is exactly what a summer big-budget action film should be, and then some.  Check it out.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The wonderful Prodigal Farm

Back in mid April, I recommended supporting a Kickstarter program that Prodigal Farm was running to fund the construction of a space to age hard cheeses.  I signed up for a reward that featured a dinner at the farm from chef Sean Fowler of Raleigh's delightful Mandolin.  I was happy to learn that the Kickstarter program succeeded, and tonight a group of us went to Prodigal Farm to see the place and enjoy the meal. 

It was a wonderful evening.

The farm itself is lovely.  Though the evening was warm, a light breeze made being outdoors quite pleasant.  Here's a shot from the tent under which we ate, looking back toward the building where Fowler's team prepared the food and the Prodigal Farm folks milk the goats.

Click an image to see a larger version.

The owners, Kathryn Spann and Dave Krabbe, were excellent hosts, full of information and energy and enthusiasm.  Dave showed a couple of us his 1939 one-ton truck, which was an amazing piece of machinery he still drives.  The truck in the photo above is another old one they use; it was born the same year I was.  I very much enjoyed my brief chats with Kat and my longer conversations with Dave.

The red sofa they put in the field held many of us during the drinks and appetizers portion of the evening, and we all loved how it looked.

The menu appeared promising.

The chefs delivered on the promise:  every dish was delicious.

The mackerel in the starter was tasty, but the star of this dish was the superb cold corn soup.

I would happily eat a bowl of that creamy soup every day in the summer. 

As we were finishing the soup, the goats began heading back to the fields.

These folks obviously see this sort of thing every day, but to many of us it was a bit of summer magic.

Next up was the head cheese, which was flavorful and rich without ever even coming close to being too intense for any of the meat-eaters in our party. 

The vegetarians had an equally tasty option.

The final savory dish, the goat chops with vegetable salad and scone, both looked and tasted great.

Dessert, a cheesecake built around the farm's own chevre, was a perfect end to the meal, creamy and smooth and light and utterly lovely.

My thanks to chef Fowler and his team for a delicious meal, and my thanks to Kat and Dave for running such a great place, creating such delicious cheeses, and generally for being such lovely people.

As Sarah said to me after the meal, North Carolina in June is magical and wonderful.  With Farm to Fork on Sunday and this dinner on Tuesday, I've been privileged to experience some of that magic recently.  I could not agree with her more. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Things that piss me off: George Will on rape

Read his piece of crap column here, so you can decide for yourself. 

His intro might be the most amazing part, with the bolding mine:

Colleges and universities are being educated by Washington and are finding the experience excruciating. They are learning that when they say campus victimizations are ubiquitous (“micro-aggressions,” often not discernible to the untutored eye, are everywhere), and that when they make victimhood a coveted status that confers privileges, victims proliferate.

Think about this.  Exactly how many assault victims have you ever met who covet that status?  How many women covet being raped?

I have never been a fan of George Will, but this latest bit of wrongheaded shit is simply one too many turds this particular monkey has lobbed at those he sees as his enemies.  He's now splattering women everywhere.  Hell, he's splattering all the men who see rape as the very real, very pervasive problem it is.  I don't expect Will to apologize for this piece, but he should.  He really should.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Farm to Fork 2014: A glorious feast

Last year, I wrote about my first experience at a local foodie event and fund-raiser, the Farm to Fork Picnic.  Today, a group of us returned to the same location for this year's version of Farm to Fork.

It was grand, a glorious feast on an overcast and breezy day that proved to be absolutely perfect for the event.  The food last year was good, but this year it was even better.  The 33 individual tents paired local chefs with local farms; the dishes they created were delicious.  (You can read the menu here.) A central tent featured another half-dozen places offering great food.

The way it works is simple:  You check in with registration, and then you go anywhere you want and eat anything you want in any quantity you want.  Each plate is small, but with so many delicious goodies on offer, you can easily fill up.  Even if it takes a lot for you to feel full, you will get there with this many things to try. 

I didn't sample everything, but I tried most of it, and every single thing I tasted was at least yummy, with most being way past that. 

You even get to feel good about going, because the event supports a good cause: farmer apprentice and internship programs.

It all happens in the field of a family farm. 

Click the image to see a larger version.

Though it is expensive--a hundred bucks a ticket--if you can afford it, I highly recommend Farm to Fork.  Everywhere I looked, people were talking and eating and smiling.  I was happy to live here in North Carolina, happy to be enjoying the day with friends, and happy that we have such a great and growing foodie scene. 

So much good food and so much happiness makes the price feel like a bargain.


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