Friday, November 19, 2010

Boneless, skinless, chicken breast

I'm having Elevensees right now: leftover chicken pot pie from Tuesday night. I'm about half-way through my piece. It's late. It's dark. And I just thought, whilst staring admiringly at my pie, "Wow. I made this." As I told my dinner group, this is the first time I've made pie crust unsupervised. And it turned out quite well. The crust has mellowed a bit during it's stay in the fridge. In its prime, it was crisp and flakey.

My exact position right now is rather remarkable. I'm seated on a wooden chair, in my warm house, typing on a portable computer under the light of both incandescent and fluorescent bulbs. Most of the pie resides inside me, now -- only a rind of crust remains. Yum. All gone. That pie was made of flour, water, shortening, peas, carrots, lima beans, green beans, boneless, skinless chicken, salt, pepper, oil, cream of potato soup and cream of cow. The water came through pipes right into my kitchen. The vegetables came frozen, in a plastic bag. I've never grown lima beans... and without instruction would not be able to grow them. Yet I can eat them. I've also never grown wheat or green beans, nor have I ever harvested salt or pepper. I'm not sure how I would go about harvesting salt. I imagine a shovel would help. Cream of potato soup comes from cans -- aluminum cans (They're no longer tin, right? Who cares anyway?). I wonder how many hours I'd need devote for the cream of cow I used...

But back to meatier matters. Boneless, skinless, chicken breast! Of all God's children, how lucky am I? I've never raised a chicken. I've never killed or plucked a chicken. I've never skinned a chicken, or removed it from its bones. And yet I eat boneless, skinless, chicken breast? In colloquial parlance, I can claim that the pie was "made from scratch." But really, I have no clue how to make that pie from scratch. Imagine the hours I'd need to dedicate just to get one part of the pie. Pick any part! Oil? Flour? Pepper? Aluminum? The oven?

I live like a king. And so, likely, do you.

Here's my castle:

Thursday, October 14, 2010

It's that time again

I feel like this again.

I love the Fall after a wonderful summer. Yes, I capitalized one season's name and not the other. Autumn feels like a slow ending to a good movie. Things are wrapping up; preparing to die. Somehow, though, there's a sort of freshness in the decay.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Sleeping Beauty

My niece came over to Grandma's yesterday with a Disney princess sand pail. I asked her the names of all the princesses on the pail, which she knew. She even knew who Sleeping Beauty was. I don't think I could pick Sleeping Beauty out in a lineup.

So I asked Meleah to tell me the story of Sleeping Beauty. She related the story in its entirety: "Once upon a time, there was girl named Sleeping Beauty. She liked to sleep a lot. The End."

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

From bash?

This one, too.

From bash?

This post brought to you by Google's command line tool

Sunday, June 6, 2010

A recent purchase

Guess what I bought. Can you guess? Here's a hint:

Do you know what it is? Here's another hint:

Can you tell yet? No? Here's another hint:

A lawn mower! It's an old-school reel lawn mower -- the kind you push. I really like the exercise I get from pushing it. I also like how quickly it starts and stops. It gets approximately infinite miles per gallon (beat that, Prius!). And it's quiet enough that I can mow in the wee hours of the morning. (The wee hours of the morning are when the Scottish awake) I don't know how long I'll keep the mower, though. It leaves a lot of grass behind (even with a bag attached) and doesn't always cut evenly. I'll give it a few more chances.

Along with purchasing a lawn mower, I also bought a house. The house gets zero miles per gallon and doesn't cut grass nearly as well as the mower. Despite those defects, though, I think I'll keep it for a while.

A few things I like about my house:

1. There's a sink in the garage! I repeat: a sink in the garage!

2. I have a drawer to keep all my scissors in:

The scissors drawer is right next to the kitchen towel. "But Matt," you say, "how would I know where your kitchen towel is?" Good question. Perhaps this is a satisfactory answer:

3. The shower head is actually a shower head and not a shower sternum or a shower belly button:

4. My room is not purple:

I specifically like the non-purpleness of my room because it used to be purple -- this purple:

5. This room:

6. And, of course, the beautiful yard full of plants whose names I don't yet know:

You should come over and see it sometime -- I'll have a housewarming party soon.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

My friend, Ted.

I like this -- you should watch it:

For those of you who didn't watch it, stop reading this post and watch it.

I've been thinking a little about gun control lately (largely because of Miri's post; it wasn't actually the point of her post, but I managed to completely derail it by my comment -- sorry, Miri). I don't think I actually care so much about gun control as I do about the legislation about gun control. I don't own any guns currently. I might later. Shotgun shooting is really, really fun. But if I never own a gun, I'll be okay. However, some people really want guns, and I'm fine with them owning and using them responsibly (<--- deliberately vague term).

These are guns painted like toys:

Hello, Kitty. May I borrow your knife?

Though I don't particularly care about guns, I do care about excessive regulation and legislation. Like Mr. Howard says, "Life is too complex for a software program. All these choices involve value judgments, and social norms, not objective facts." Laws that attempt to cover every eventuality never will... but in the process of trying, they will restrict freedom rather than secure it. Says Mr. Howard: “we've been trained to squint into this legal microscope, hoping that we can judge any dispute against the standard of a perfect society, where everyone will agree what's fair, and where accidents will be extinct, risk will be no more. Of course this is Utopia, it's a formula for paralysis, not freedom.”

I listened to this speech while I was driving to St. George over the weekend. As I was driving, I started to think about the laws for driving. Cars pass me. I pass cars. Cars speed past my car within a several feet -- but it doesn't worry me. And what prevents me from worrying? Paint. Yellow paint and white paint. Yes, sometimes cars cross the paint when they shouldn't. Accidents happen. (I'll use “accident” and “crash” interchangeably, though they aren't the same -- most things people call accidents are avoidable crashes; but that's a tangent) We could try to prevent all accidents by putting cars on rails and making them all go the same speed. That would be insanely expensive and impractical... and idiotic. And, even if cars lived on rails, we would still have malfunctions, and bad weather and accidents.

How beautiful is paint! It's flexible and cheap and works well. In the cases where a human needs to use their judgment and break outside of the boundaries to avoid an accident, he can.

Let people have agency. Let some use it poorly. Let most use it wisely.

And lest you think I'm advocating anarchy or getting rid of all law, I'm not. I am advocating simple paint solutions. Draw some general lines and let people fill in the spaces. It is not a government's job to eliminate all pain or possibilities for pain.

This one about octopus and dragonflies was interesting. So was this one about simplifying legal jargon; and it's short. I'm hoping that I don't get in a car accident tomorrow... or accidentally get shot.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


I forgot to write about The Brothers Karamazov! That book is the second, long, boring, Russian novel I've read (Anna Karenina being the first). It took me about a year to get through. I recommend it if you're patient. By boring, I mean that the book is slow, and relaxed. There are times of intensity and suspense -- but it's largely a whale chewed bit by blubbery bit. For example, the opening paragraph informs the reader that the story is about the murder of a man. But that man isn't actually murdered until almost exactly halfway through the book.

I actually finished it before East of Eden, but never got around to reviewing it. Like East of Eden, here's a few favorite quotes:

"He spoke as frankly as you, though in jest, in bitter jest. 'I love humanity,' he said, 'but I wonder at myself. The more I love humanity in general, the less I love man in particular. In my dreams,' he said, 'I have often come to making enthusiastic schemes for the service of humanity, and perhaps I might actually have faced crucifixion if it had been suddenly necessary; and yet I am incapable of living in the same room with any one for two days together, as I know by experience. As soon as any one is near me, his personality disturbs my self-complacency and restricts my freedom. In twenty-four hours I begin to hate the best of men: one because he's too long over his dinner; another because he has a cold and keeps on blowing his nose. I become hostile to people the moment they come close to me. But it has always happened that the more I detest men individually the more ardent becomes my love for humanity."
Father Zossima, quoting a doctor he knew (p.49-50)

I am sorry I can say nothing more consoling to you, for love in action is a harsh and dreadful thing compared with love in dreams. Love in dreams is greedy for immediate action, rapidly performed and in the sight of all. Men will even give their lives if only the ordeal does not last long but is soon over, with all looking on and applauding as though on stage. But active love is a labour and fortitude, and for some people too, perhaps, a complete science.
Father Zossima, to a lady (p.50)

"...the stupider one is, the closer one is to reality. The stupider one is, the clearer one is. Stupidity is brief and artless, while intelligence wriggles and hides itself. Intelligence is a knave, but stupidity is honest and straightforward."
Ivan speaking to Alyosha (p.218)

Brothers, love is a teacher; but one must know how to acquire it, for it is hard to acquire, it is dearly bought, it is won slowly by long labour. For we must love not only occasionally, for a moment, but for ever. Every one can love occasionally, even the wicked can.
Father Zossima (p.296)

"...We peep into the Gospel only on the eve of making speeches, in order to dazzle the audience by our acquaintance with what is, anyway, a rather original composition, which may be of use to produce a certain effect -- all to serve the purpose!"
Prosecuting lawyer in final "sermon" (p.703)

And here are the words (there's a little overlap from Eden's list):

abashed, abject, abnegation, absolution, accede, acquisitive, adroitly, affable, affably, afface, anathema, antipathies, antipathy, apiary, apprehend, apropos, aquiline, arch, archimandrite, ardent, ardour, arrogate, ascetic, aspect, asperse, aspersed, austere, austerely, avowal, balsam, balustrade, barrister, benefactor, benumbed, bereaved, besmirched, brooked, burdocks, caddish, callous, calumniated, calumny, caprice, cassock, casuist, casuistry, censer, censorious, censure, charing, charlatanism, chattel, churlish, consiliating, convalescence, copse, coquettishly, coxcomb, crape, cupola, cursory, decoction, demur, demurely, derision, derisively, despatch, despotic, diffidence, diocesan, dirge, disavowal, dissipated, dissipation, dissolute, doggerel, doles, drivelling, dyspeptic, echeat, effrontery, effusively, emancipation, emasculate, epoulettes, equanimity, erudition, evinced, expansive, expiate, extant, extenuate, extortionate, extraneous, fain, fixity, foundered, freak, gesticulating, gibes, gibing, goading, gratuitous, hetaira, homeopathic, hurdle, ignominy, imperious, impertinence, importunate, importunity, impudent, impudently, impunity, incisive, incorrigible, indefatigably, indignation, indolence, ingenuousness, ingratiating, inoculated, inscrutable, insolent, insolently, insoluble, inveterate, irascible, jackdaw, kaftan, ken, knout, laceration, lackey, latent, lavished, lenten, licentious, listlessly, locker, lorgnette, loth, loutish, lumbago, lurid, mawkish, morass, mummery, novitiate, obdurate, obsequious, obtuse, opined, opulent, paltry, paragon, paroxysm, parricide, parsimony, particoloured, pedantic, pedantry, pernicious, peroration, phlegmatic, pining, piquant, piquante, poseur, prate, prating, precocity, prevaricate, privation, profligate, propitiate, prosaic, punctilio, pusillanimous, quadrille, qualm, rapacious, repine, reprobate, repudiate, requiem, restiveness, sallow, salutary, samovar, scrupled, scruples, seething, self- effacement, self-immolation, sententiously, solicitude, solidarity, sordid, sot, sottish, sphinx, spleen, staid, stint, stole, stolidly, straitened, subterfuge, suffused, supercilious, superciliously, surmise, surplice, swinishness, tallow, timorous, unexampled, unmannerly, veriest, verst, vociferated, vogue, voluptuary, vouchsafed, waggish

Some of these words I've included because they are used abnormally. For instance: freak and apprehend. From the book:

Of the commercial value of his scheme he had no doubt, not the slightest, and was only uncertain how Samsonov would look upon his freak...

...that we cannot apprehend the reality of things on earth...

I like books that are smarter than I -- almost as much as I like "I" supplanting "me" in an effort to sound smarter :)

Sometime soon expect a post more about me and less about me reading.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Blog Post Section 1

There's a small test I run against various things to probe their greatness. It's highly scientific. If, after experiencing or using or seeing a certain thing, I find myself spontaneously exclaiming, "that was amazing!" or, "I love that," then I know that thing is great. Once or twice I've shouted at myself, "Man! That was fun!" after an exceptionally fun date. Frequently at work, "I love git," escapes my lips unprovoked.

Monday night, East of Eden by Mr. Steinbeck, passed my test-o-greatness. What a fantastic story! I like John's writing style -- how he moves quickly, leaving some things un-described. And the characters in this story seem both realistic and metaphoric. How can I describe that? He has embodiment-of-evil Cathy that could actually be someone you know -- though I don't actually know anyone that evil. Make sense?

And I feel inspired reading the book. Timshel! I can make my life wonderful!

I didn't like Steinbeck's crudeness and vulgarity, however. In fact, due to unnecessary crudeness (I use this word as it's used to describe oil, not stupid bathroom humor), I loathe The Grapes of Wrath. This book had some "rawness" (that seems to be the current, politically correct way to describe something that's not politically correct) that was not needed -- but it didn't flavor every swig of the story as it did the Wrathful Wine.

So, setting that aside, I give East of Eden five stars and a hearty recommendation.

Blog Post Section 2

My last English teacher once remarked that some people spend their whole lives reading the scriptures like they read bumper stickers. I'm considering making a bumper sticker with something like that on it. Therefore, when I share these nice, bumper-sized snippets from the story, don't let that be your only encounter with this book -- these are, after all, only a few of the many that I recorded:

And it never failed that during the dry years the people forgot about the rich years and during the wet years they lost all memory of the dry years. It was always that way.
Narrator speaking of weather in Salinas Valley (p.6)

It was well known that Liza Hamilton and the Lord God held similar convictions on nearly every subject.
Narrator (p.178)

"You know, if chickens had government and church and history, they would take a distant and distasteful view of human joy. Let any gay and hopeful thing happen to a man, and some chicken goes howling to the block."
Samuel Hamilton remarking about the chickens being killed by Lee in celebration (p.258)

Every man has a retirement picture in which he does those things he never had time to do--makes the journeys, reads the neglected books he always pretended to have read. For many years the sheriff dreamed of spending the shining time hunting and fishing--wandering in the Santa Lucia range, camping by half-remembered streams. And now that it was almost time he knew he didn't want to do it. Sleeping on the ground would make his leg ache. He remembered how heavy a deer is and how hard it is to carry the dangling limp body from the place of the kill. And, frankly, he didn't care for venison anyway. Madame Reynaud could soak it in wine and lace it with spice but, hell, an old shoe would taste good with that treatment.
About Sheriff Quinn when he came to see Adam (p.559)

"When you're a child you're the center of everything. Everything happens for you. Other people? They're only ghosts furnished for you to talk to. But when you grow up you take your place and you're your own size and shape. Things go out of you to others and come in from other people. It's worse, but it's much better too."
Abra speaking to Cal about Aron (p.576)

Blog Post Section 3

When I read good books, I often write down words I read that I (1) couldn't use in a sentence of my own making or (2) like. Here are those words from East of Eden: abetted, acumen, alluvial, astringent, bacchanalianism, baleful, battens, bellicosity, bindlestiff, bollixed, brogue, bumptiousness, busby, caisson, chiseler, cloy, coagulate, codicils, concupiscence, convalescence, coquetry, dawdling, demure, derisively, dissemble, dour, doxology, efface, entrained, eructation, ferment, foppish, freshet, garrulousness, incipient, incontrovertible, indefatigable, inimical, inscrutable, intransigent, inviolate, latigo, litany, lucent, obsequious, opulence, palaver, panocha, pantomime, paragon, paregoric, perfidy, pique, plait, poultice, precocious, preternaturally, ptomaine, puling, querulous, quirt, rakishly, ribald, stultifying, surrey, swagger, swale, tarpaulins, toilet water, torpor, tractable, trestle, truculence, truculently, valise, and vulpine.

Please consider including at least one of the above words in a comment you make about this post.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


The Internet doesn't visit the place I'm living right now, and for this cause I haven't posted to my blog. It's refreshingly nice and surprisingly tolerable to disconnect from the tubes while I'm at home. I can't email or blog or check the FacenBok or mindlessly surf. However, did you know you can download the entire Wikipedia? Well, you can, and I have. So I can browse the Wikipedia despite my webless abode.

Another great thing about my current home is its proximity to work (and Apollo Burger). Most days, I walk to work. I love walking to work. I absolutely love walking to work. And thankfully, I also like walking home from work. A few times, on my way home, as I've passed the Catholic ... I'm going to call it a church even though it's labeled "Catholic Center." So as I've passed the church, in the dimming light of the evening, the bells start ringing while people go inside to worship. It makes me smile.

Penultimately, I'm now the proud owner of a piano. I've been considering buying one for several months and have been saving up for it. Finally, yesterday, I got it. It's electric (thinking that I'll probably still be living in apartment-style dwellings for a least a little longer and should use headphones), but the action and weighting is nearly true to an acoustic. Also, the title of this post corresponds to this paragraph and should be attributed to Barb, who, if I remember right, coined the term for Mr. Hill's benefit.

Finally, since the Super Bowl's going on today (right now, eh?), I must offer an obligatory cheer to my team:

Go Tigers!!!

Go Tigers!!!