The Things We Saw: Camping For Critters

Our son’s Boy Scout troop went on a weekend campout in the Cossatot River region, and in a show of solidarity, my wife and I decided to tag along. I’d never heard of this state park before, or the Cossatot, but having been there, I urge anyone who finds themselves in in western Arkansas to visit.

But the point of this article is not to ooh and aah over the beauty of the Cossatot or the amazing park staff at the Visitors’ Center, but rather, to talk about the encounters we had with the local wildlife. Because you can bet that The Natural State earned its reputation, and then some, on this trip.

So here in no particular order are the beasts we experienced there.

Coyotes

Other than the two taxidermied animals on display at the Cossatot River State Park Visitor Center, we never laid eyes on an actual coyote. But we certainly heard them off in the distance! Never during the day, mind you. Only at night, or early in the morning, when we weary campers were busy trying to get our beauty rest. The howling was shrill and seemingly endless. During an impromptu astronomy lesson in the middle of the night, the boys heard the howls and thought it was people pranking us. “Actually,” I said, “I believe those are coyotes”. Coyotes?!? Half the boys nope nope noped their way back to camp immediately.

As menacing as coyotes look and sound, they typically don’t pose a direct threat to humans… though you’d do well to keep an eye on your outdoor pets.

Spiders

Female wolf spider with young. Northshore Trail, Flower Mound, Texas, USA. (Courtesy: Wikipedia)

They grow our favorite eight-legged freaks big in the Cossatot region. Wolf spiders, correctly identified by one particularly sharp Scout, were common around our campsite and the cabin around which we had gathered. One of the boys spotted a female carrying her young, as in the photo above. Another wolf spider decided to “help” us strike a tent on our departure day. As fearsome as the wolf spider may appear, you have to work pretty hard to provoke it into biting you — and no known fatalities from its venom have been recorded.

Image courtesy: BBC

As we were gathering our belongings and getting ready to hit the road, one scout noticed a black widow crawling onto his backpack. A black widow won’t bite unless you are giving her a really good reason, but the venom of the female black widow spider is highly toxic, plus she was acting pretty agitated as we tried to urge her from the crevasses of the (understandably freaked out) scout. It’s hard not to shudder, thinking that there we were, camped out on the ground with these things surrounding us! Are you ready for the outdoors now?

Yeah, the creepy-crawly factor was strong with the Cossatot region, and the spiders were actually the least of our worries. Which brings us to…

Giant Red Headed Centipede

Image courtesy: Missouri Department of Conservation

One part of the Scout trip was a service project that involved cleaning up the nature trail near the impressive Cossatot River Bridge. I was with another scout, a bit off the trail from the rest of the group, when I spotted a critter just like the one pictured above slithering our way. I cautioned the boy to keep his distance and called out to our guide what I had found. “Everybody get back!” she cautioned. Using her trash picker, she was able to grab it and show it to our group. “If you see one of these, stay away!” This critter’s venom can cause moderate to severe reactions in people, ranging from nausea to heart attack, and were apparently quite the nuisance to camping soldiers in the Civil War.

While she didn’t know its official name at the time, a Google search revealed that this is known as the giant red-headed centipede. Seems fitting enough!

Northern Water Snake


During the troop’s river snorkeling adventure (which uncovered a whole other level of cool invertebrates including crawfish and water pennies), we encountered a Northern Water Snake squiggling through the water, stopping occasionally to poke its head up out of the water to breathe. This species is small and nonvenomous, though at first (as I declare in the video) it sure appeared to have the markings of a copperhead snake. Of course, we had nothing to fear from this fellow, who was probably looking for a place to get some sun without being bothered.

Okay… are we ready for the critters to get less unpleasant? Let’s move on, then!

Walking Stick Bugs

Image courtesy: National Geographic Kids

Not so easy to spot this fellow! A master of camouflage, the walking stick (in the order of phasmids) can completely disappear almost anywhere on a tree or branch. The five-legged one we found crawling into the troop’s garbage can, however? Not so much. With a little patience, we were able to rescue the critter and set it free to live the rest of its days, but not before gathering around to check it out and reflect on how cool it was. My son also found a deceased walking stick bug around the campsite, and insisted on giving it a proper cremation at the campfire later that night. So, that happened.

Armadillos

Image courtesy: Arkansas Democrat Gazette

Dead armadillos are not hard to find in Arkansas; in fact, our caravan narrowly avoided running over a couple on the final leg of our journey to the campsite. Seeing a live one in the wild here in Arkansas is a different story, one that we were happy to experience. During part of our service project that involved blazing a certain trail, I spotted a grayish-brown blob, roughly soccer ball sized, about twenty yards off the path. It started to wriggle, and then raised its comically tiny little head. We stayed for a bit to watch it forage through the leaves and ground cover before proceeding to the trail’s end.

The western Arkansas animal kingdom is a wonderful, wide, and varied, and certainly we enjoyed seeing and hearing critters that we city-slickers don’t experience in our urban setting.

(Well, except for the coyotes. We have those.)

One HAL Of A Movie

“Don’t mind me, guys. Just watching your lips.”

A few months ago, my 11 year old son asked if he could watch “that movie with HAL”. He was referring to the 1968 Stanley Kubrick classic 2001: A Space Odyssey.

“I don’t think you’d enjoy 2001,” I replied, even though I consider it one of the greatest films of all time. I thought it’d challenge his attention span; after all, this is a movie that takes its time getting anywhere and explains very little along the way. And the shots are long. So, so long. Kids these days! They don’t have the attention span for long shots.

Especially when what feels like 75% of the movie is shots like this.

But the other night he insisted on a movie night with his family. And when your kid, on the cusp of becoming a cranky teenager asks for a movie night with his family, you do not turn him down. I asked what he wanted to watch. “Cars 3?” No, not on video. Not until November, I informed him.

He then insisted. “I want to watch 2001!”

Just to reiterate: we’ve gone from Cars 3 to 2001: A Space Odyssey, within the firing of a few neurons. Ka-Chow!

Meanwhile, back in the ’70s…

Now’s the part where I include an annoying flashback sequence.

I was born in 1968, the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was released. My dad was a huge admirer of the film; I don’t recall the specific moment when he made me aware of it, but I remember that several years later 2001 was going to be broadcast on TV (the only way you could watch stuff when we were kids), and he urged me to watch it with him. I found it absolutely fascinating. In 1976, Marvel Comics issued a giant-sized comic version of 2001 illustrated by Jack Kirby, which I read from front to back dozens of times. The comic, and the Arthur C. Clarke novel, combined to plug the huge gaps in my understanding of the movie.

So now my son was insisting on watching 2001. Well, why not? He’s a big fan of other thoughtful, grounded science fiction like The Martian, Arrival, Contact, and Interstellar. So despite my reservations, I fetched a digital copy of 2001: A Space Odyssey in HD from the Windows store, pressed Play, and we settled in.

The Movie Rolls

Another revelation: I’ve never seen 2001 the way it was meant to be seen (in a theater, duh). I’d only ever seen it on TV: a crappy, washed-out, 480i NTSC broadcast with a 4:3 aspect ratio. Now, I have a decent mid-range home theater projector that is more faithful to the look and tone of actual film, and also conveys the full-frame 16:9 picture. The difference was night and day, or should I say, “Dawn of Man” vs. “Stargate”. Throughout the movie, the colors were more vibrant, more exciting, and more awe-inspiring than I ever knew possible. I could see why Dad and his generation fell in love with it.

The Dawn of Man sequence, far from being BORING to an 11 year old mind as I feared, was in reality a riveting visual tale of struggle, survival, dominance, and death. I anticipated having to explain the appearance of the Monolith, how it drew our early ancestors to it, and how it resulted in their uplift. But my boy was ahead of me. The only question I had to answer definitively was that no, these were NOT animals, these were actors (specifically, mimes) in costume.

We transitioned to the Space Waltz sequence, which is awesome no matter how old you are, and probably the reason 99% of us know Strauss’ Blue Danube. We eventually journeyed with Heywood Floyd through the fiction of the “outbreak” and on to the moon, indulging in the lush, colorful, and striking sets and visual effects.

It was sometime around this point that I realized — and remarked — that the film was almost 50 years old. My son was blown away. “Oh my god!” he said. “I thought this movie was way more recent!”

No, dude, this film is as old as I am, but way better-looking.

We continued to watch 2001 in relative quiet. Occasionally I’d plant little seeds of insight or explanation into the story, but he had a few observations along the way. I remember “Why is she (the flight attendant) wearing that thing (a silly white ball) on her head?” on the way to Space Station V. (I theorized it was for head protection in a weightless environment, but I suspect the real reason is so they didn’t have to figure out how to recreate the effects of weightlessness on long hair.) There was a snarky “Why would anyone build a space station and not finish it?” and a more awed “It must have taken a long time to build that place” when Floyd’s moon lander arrives at Clavius, and is swallowed up into the cavernous landing bay beneath.

Just What The HAL Is Going On?

At this point, there’s been a lot of movie, but no HAL, and the boy asked, somewhat confused “Is this the movie with HAL?” I explained that yes, this was the movie with HAL-9000, and we’d be getting to that part before much longer. There was much rejoicing.

He sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake, he knows if you’ve been bad or good and will murder you either way.

At long last, we’re introduced to the Discovery and her crew, along with the AI who is practically perfect in every way. I could see my son absorbed in the beautiful sets of the ship, the depiction of day-to-day life for the astronauts, and the design of the spacecraft itself. He observed, and I had to admit, that Frank Poole’s morning workout that included air-boxing seems comical in retrospect, but other than that, no element on board the Discovery comes across as dated.

The boy didn’t say a whole lot during the Discovery sequence. HAL himself, with his creepy, quiet, whispery, monotone, proved as fascinating as he expected. I can’t recall any notable remarks, apart from a slight giggle when HAL started to sing Daisy during his deactivation sequence.

Discovery reaches the monolith at Jupiter, Dave Bowman sets out to investigate, and to my surprise, my son actually sits through the interminably long Stargate sequence, offering only a “Trippy” remark near its beginning.

“Totally trippy, dude.”

At the conclusion of the journey, he’s a bit confused about why Dave Bowman is shaking and shivering in his pod, sitting in this grand bedroom. But he’s engrossed as Bowman watches himself settle in, live to a ripe old age, and “die” in his bed. He gets it. All of it. Right up until the Star Child is born and approaches earth. And this was his one serious WTF moment. “Wait, what? Okay… so he got old… and died… and now he’s a fetus?”

I laughed and said “I’m sure at this point, you have a lot of questions.”

Indeed he did, and I told him that a few of those would be answered in the sequel 2010: The Year We Make Contact, which we started watching immediately. He enjoyed that movie also.

So, the takeaway? I’m not going to underestimate my son again. Thanks to his persistence, I got to enjoy 2001 with my son, the way my dad watched it with me. May this movie keep the father-son bond alive until 3001 and beyond.

Thank you, Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick!

That Ten Mile Bike Ride

10MileRide_Map
Click to view a full-size image.

In case anyone is curious about the sessions I post incessantly from Runtastic Road Bike, I’ve finally gotten around to assembling the GoPro video I shot while riding this route over a year ago. The session lasts around an hour, and I certainly won’t have my feelings hurt if you don’t sit and watch the whole thing, but I want to point out a few interesting stretches.

Typically, I start out from my home for this ride. As I bike down the driveway, Runtastic is calling out the countdown and Kate Bush is sending me on my way.

At 1:55, I ride past a couple of cool neighbors.

At 3:00, I cycle past my son’s elementary school.

In the year since I shot this video, the road from 15:55 to 19:20 has been recently re-paved, and marked with the sharrow icons that we learned about on Sez You last weekend. I don’t miss the giant gouges, ruts, and cracks that made this steep downhill dash so nerve-wracking.

The Big Dam Bridge makes an appearance at 19:50. If it’s a nice day or I’m feeling energetic, I’ll cross it, because the riding on the North Little Rock side is amazing.

At around 27:10, I reach the Rebsamen Golf Course. I adore this stretch of the trail! The golf course and the bluffs across the river are gorgeous.

37:55 begins the long slow climb behind Allsopp Park. Although it’s a beautiful canopied stretch of trail, it’s also a rather tortuous climb that leaves me huffing and puffing every single time. It’s finally over at around 42:00.

At 44:00, I’m riding down Kavanaugh Boulevard near the Allsopp Promenade. So peaceful and pleasant.

44:36 sees me turning right and dashing down a small hill into a picturesque Hillcrest neighborhood, and then climbing. And climbing. And climbing some more. I always breathe a sigh of relief when I get to the stop sign at 48:07, because it means I have a nice long downhill stretch from there!

53:30: Thank you, Fleet Foxes, for bringing me back home.

 

 

18th Century Fried Chicken

fried_chicken
This delicious image courtesy the Jas. Townsend And Son YouTube channel

I figured that fried chicken, being a thing that clogs American arteries most aggressively, would be an American invention invented by Americans. (Simplified redundancy intentional.) But to my great surprise, fried chicken — my second favorite thing to eat after BBQ spare ribs — apparently has roots back to Scotland and England. And here’s a video that shows you a step-by-step recipe from the 1736 English cookbook, “Dictionarium Domesticum.”

I defy you to watch that video and not want to make fried chicken. The video is a perfect blend of simplicity, historicity, authenticity, context, and authority. Plus a tri-corner hat!

So, with the sense of urgency that a new discovery like this I cast aside my plans to make some tenders to accompany Giada de Laurentiis’ amazing lemon spaghetti and do some serious 18th century homemade fried chicken.

2016-06-22 14.20.47The Marinade

The Townsend video recipe for the marinade lists lemon juice, vinegar, salt, pepper, cloves, and bay leaves and a three-hour soak. I ended up going with malt vinegar as my secondary acid, partly because the video suggests this is what they used, but also based on my love for malt vinegar with fish and chips. Although the video suggests a three-hour marinade for chicken parts, I felt two hours would be more appropriate for these tenders. I don’t think I was wrong. The meat had a very malty character after frying which I think suited it perfectly.

2016-06-22 16.33.33The Batter

Batter up! As in the video, I used a cup and a half of all-purpose flour, and some salt. He calls for a fair portion of wine here to thin the flour out and make a pancake-batter consistency, but I forgot to get a box of cheap white wine when I was at the store, so I used white wine vinegar and about a cup of water instead. Needless to say this batter was a tang-fest, and I don’t say that this is a bad thing. Once the egg yolks were added, I couldn’t help but look at this bowl of batter and say “You know, you’re really a thing of beauty.”

The Fry

The video says “use whatever oil you want”. Oh, holy vague advice, Batman! I went with a big honking container of peanut oil, because Google said that its smoke point was good for fried chicken. And it was.

The video doesn’t pretend to give a fry time for the chicken, just advises to keep it in until it’s a beautiful golden brown color.  “When it looks like you want to eat it” is probably the best advice you’ll ever get on fried chicken of any kind.

A bit of an aside, this fry made an unholy mess of our cooktop.  The problem wasn’t necessarily the oil splatters (that happens) but the slopping of the batter as I transferred the chicken to the skillet. Tenders in the batter ended up stuck together only to divorce in the most ugly way on the way to frying, causing batter splatter and burnt offerings on the cooktop as well as the edge of the pan. This is not the fault of the recipe or anything other than my own inexperience, but it doesn’t mean I don’t feel betrayed.

I’ll admit that I’m a huge paranoid wuss about frying stuff indoors. As much as I adore fried chicken, which is only one letter off from friend chicken, I don’t relish the idea of uncontrollable grease fires that leave me homeless, nor burns that leave me looking like Deadpool. But with the aid of a sturdy iron skillet and a frying thermometer, the frying process went easier than I expected.

The Result

2016-06-22 17.18.53Yum.

These fried tenders were good, and not just a little. The tenders were crisp and crunchy, without being greasy. The lemon/vinegar brine permeated the tenders thoroughly and added zest to every bite. The white vinegar in the breading made every bite feel like a salty treat, even though I only used a teaspoon of salt in the marinade and a sprinkle in the batter.

I enjoyed every bite, but the real validation came most from my ten year old son, who told me “You have got to make this again.”

 

No Thai Like The Present: Part 2

Saigon Cuisine did the pan-Asian thing and served up some fine dishes, but we learned quickly not to go there for Thai food.
Saigon Cuisine did the pan-Asian thing and served up some fine dishes, but we learned quickly not to go there for Thai food.

Absolute Beginners

IN my previous No Thai Like The Present, I discussed the magic of the food from Thailand, and celebrated the fact that Little Rock finally has actual Thai restaurants serving exquisite Thai dishes, ones that take me back to the fare I enjoyed as a D.C.-area denizen. It’s a dramatic change from 2003 (the year I moved to Dogtown), though the road to today’s improved scene was full of bumps.

lillysFrom 2003 to around 2009, Little Rock had a smattering of restaurants hinting they served Thai food, with varying degrees of success. My favorite, and the one working the hardest to bring Thai flavors our way, was Lilly’s Dim Sum And Then Some. While not strictly Thai, Lilly’s winter menu offers a zesty, coconutty variation of tom kha kai soup and a well-balanced panang curry that a friend of mine declared “the best dish in Little Rock” (I had to agree with him, at the time). Lilly’s is still chugging along, its menu in the words of David Byrne “same as it ever was, same as it ever was”. (If it ain’t broke…) I loved Lilly’s at the time, but due to a combination of daddy-hood and a plethora of other restaurants that have arrived since, I haven’t been in years. Writing about Lilly’s makes me want to go back!

Lilly’s wasn’t the only Pan-Asian restaurant on the scene; Saigon Cuisine opened a couple of years after I moved to Little Rock, its awning claiming “authentic Vietnamese – Chinese – Thai food”. Their menu went on forever and ever, which usually tells me this isn’t exactly a laser-focused restaurant, but the entrees seemed enticing on (laminated) paper. Unfortunately the Thai curry I ate on my first visit had more in common with curries from China and Vietnam than Thailand, in my humble, so from then on I stuck with the Vietnamese items. The food was decent enough, but we stopped going after discovering pho at Van Lang. Saigon Cuisine packed up and headed to western Cantrell a few years ago (where according to this article the food was vastly improved), then they moved to Conway, and then eventually moved out of existence altogether.

Van Lang Cuisine near UALR deserves a mention during this period, for its hot lemongrass soup with shrimp which was for all intents and purposes a huge, zesty, sour bowl of tom yum goong which I enjoyed immensely. I don’t believe it survived the transition to its new Korean owners

Gone, But Mostly Forgotten

They probably serve better food than the restaurant did.
ABOVE: Despite selling printing supplies, it’s probably a happier place to eat now.

We had one small Thai restaurant on West Markham, where Cartridge World now happily sits. I don’t remember its name; my memories of dining there are clouded by sadness.

Despite this being a dedicated Thai restaurant, I only managed two or three visits. I never had sit-down dinner service, nor ordered off the menu, so my swift harsh judgment comes solely by the weekday buffet. I know, I know, I respond as you shake my shoulders violently and tell me “YOU CAN’T JUDGE A RESTAURANT BY ITS BUFFET” but I calmly reply with “Taj Mahal” <mic drop>.

Strike one: Most of the food on the buffet was Chinese. Sweet and sour chicken, egg rolls, egg drop soup, and only a couple of actual rather ho-hum Thai chicken curries doth not a Thai experience make. There might have been pad thai, or something else humdrum and stir-fried. If you’re going to claim you’re a Thai restaurant, you might start by serving Thai food.

Strike two: The dining room was dominated by a woman who I presumed was the owner; whoever she never let me eat in peace. “You eat too fast!” she once complained to me.  (She wasn’t wrong, but I was there on a tight one-hour lunch break which didn’t permit a drive to and from the Heights and leisurely meal.) On another visit, she bemoaned her empty tables and went on a rant about how people of Little Rock don’t appreciate different types of food. “Only one Thai restaurant! Only one Indian restaurant! People here don’t want to try anything different!” Well, sorry, ma’am. It’s not us, it’s you.buh-bye

Strike three: The place closed not long after my last visit. I never missed it, but it left that gaping Thai hole even wider. I knew Little Rock would love a decent Thai restaurant, but it seemed pointless to hope.

Then again, who would have thought there would be a new Star Wars movie coming out in 2015?

Next: The Road to Recovery

 

Heart & Soul (And Easy Pizza) In The Kitchen

Clockwise, from top left: Taco; Spanish; Prosciutto-Arugula; Olive/Onion Pizzas
"Hi, I'm Jacques, and you're about to submit to my charm."
“Hi, I’m Jacques, and you’re about to submit to my charm.”

One of the most striking passages in Jacques Pepin’s absorbing Heart & Soul in the Kitchen was a simple off-hand suggestion to “use flour tortillas for a quick lunch pizza”. He mentions this and then is off and running to his next kitchen reuse/repurpose hint without letting the reader stop to ponder the potential mind-blow.

“Don’t be stupid. Flour tortillas are Mexican, and pizza is Italian,” you retort. But believe it or not, flour tortillas work and the simplicity is brilliant. A package of a dozen flour tortillas is basically a dozen mini-pizzas waiting to spring into action, along with their sidekicks Tomato Sauce Girl, Cheese Boy, and Toppings Acquaintance. Then some time in a 450º oven “until it looks like you want to eat it” and Boboli’s your uncle! My ten year old son now declares this his favorite type of pizza, so I guess I’m doomed to make it until he decides he likes something better.

tacopizzaI want to take a moment to discuss my favorite mini pie. This is my tribute to the Happy Joe’s Taco Pizza from the famously fun pizzeria chain of the Quad Cities region: tomato sauce, cheddar/jack cheese, chorizo (HJ’s uses spiced ground beef), homemade salsa, Doritos, and arugula (subbed because I didn’t have any iceberg). Yes, Doritos are a pizza topping! This is a thing to be celebrated, not feared. Nobody outside the Quad Cities seems to appreciate the wonderful creature that is Taco Pizza. It was my favorite of the bunch… and I’m determined to make everyone in Little Rock try Taco Pizza before I die.

If you prefer bready, doughy pizza crust then flour tortillas are probably not your preferred base.  And I’m probably way too excited about how this worked out for me. But for this revelation, I salute you, Mr. Pepin! May your heart and soul live long in all our kitchens.

No Thai Like The Present: Part 1

2016-05-19 11.30.46
The Green Papaya Salad at kBird is a big ol’ flavor explosion.

IF you’ve lived in Little Rock for any period of time and never tried Thai cuisine, you might ask “Why are these columnists and bloggers always wondering when we’re going to get a decent Thai restaurant? What’s so great about food from Thailand, anyway?”

The short answer: because it’s not afraid to get into your mouth and kick your tongue right in the buds. When you’re ready to branch out from pad thai and discover a vibrant, saucy phat phrik khing or the brazenly in-your-facehole tom yum soup, chances are you’ll become a fan also.

kBird‘s colorful papaya salad in the photo above serves as a tantalizing sample: an assembly of crunchy strings of green papaya flesh, dressed with palm sugar, tangy lime juice and the pungent, salty fish sauce; a sweet crunch of roasted peanuts which add additional depth and texture; and finally, an ample dash of chili which provides a delightful lingering heat that opens up your senses for the bites to follow. The warm, slightly toasty sticky rice that accompanies it is perfect for capturing the dressing from the bottom of the bowl (can’t let it go to waste, now!). The range of flavors is exquisite.

"Because too much is never enough."
kBird’s Spice Tray: “Because too much is never enough.”

And because it’s possible that the food isn’t salty enough or nuclear-hot enough, the really good Thai places bring out the spice tray to enhance the already intense sensations. It’s tempting to think of the spice tray as condiments, but it’s more accurate to think of the fish sauce, crushed chili flakes, vinegar-soaked peppers, or other items as extensions of the basic ingredients.

ABOVE: Thai food on vacation
ABOVE: Thai food on vacation

So, in answer to the question: Why Thai? It’s bold, it’s fearless, it’s an adventure. If this were the mid-’90s, one might say it is the most exXxtreme of all the cuisines.

Oh, how I missed it!

When I moved to Little Rock in 2003, the city already had a pretty well-established food scene, but Thai was sorely under-represented. I had grown to adore the abundant Thai restaurants over my 17 years living in the Washington, D.C. area, and it took Little Rock almost a decade to bring it home with any sort of permanence. This made me Saddy McSadface. (Is that meme worn out yet? Shrug.)

Thai food at Oishi is sometimes miss, but mostly hit.
Thai food at Oishi is sometimes miss, but mostly hit.

But in 2016, here in the Heights, I’m within walking distance of two places where I can get my fix! And I’m in easy driving distance of a third place at the Shackleford Crossing that is doing Thai the way I remember. Other restaurants are incorporating spicy Thai dishes into their menus to get in on the game; basic ingredients that you normally wouldn’t find at Kroger, such as lemongrass and Thai basil, are finding their way onto store shelves. Little Rock may be late to the Thai party, but now we’re drunk on fish sauce, which is a disgusting way to describe such a beautiful movement.

As I sat in kBird on Thursday and snapped the photo of the green papaya salad on my smartphone, it struck me how interesting it might be to revisit the Thai restaurant scene from my own perspective, to remember how barren it was back in 2003, and work my way back up to the present day where I’m sitting in a fabulous Thai place which I arrived at on foot. It turned out to be too much for a single blog post, because it turns out I can’t stop yammering about Thai food.

So look to this space for upcoming entries, and please feel free to share your own.

Next time: Absolute beginners

 

I Think This Space Is Mostly Filler

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ABOVE: The site is newer, but the face is older and grayer.

I’ve migrated my site from my old host that I signed up for 10 years ago. How 10 years ago was it? Their banner, which they haven’t changed in all the time I was with them, declares they’re giving away “a free Xbox” for referrals. Not an Xbox One, or even an Xbox 360. The original Xbox. Their hosting tools are similarly antiquities, having caught up with that promotion precisely never.

I’ve been dabbling with WordPress and other publishing tools lately. I wanted something like that for dub273.com; while I actually enjoy digging into HTML code and designing style sheets, I’m also happy to just sit down and type and hit ctrl+B to make something bold on my site, or ctrl+I to italicize, or drop in a photo and just type a caption.

And the good thing is, if I want to, I can still get into the HTML and the CSS and tinker around. Everybody wins!

Except, of course, for Microsoft Outlook, which is a loser. Loser McLosington. It’s a loser at life, and a loser of data. Things Outlook has lost for me in the past twenty four hours: e-mails, folders, exported messages, time, and patience. I am currently researching the fictional Dothraki language so that I can invent a curse that conveys how much I loathe Outlook.

Anyhoo, thanks for stopping by. I hope this space becomes at least a little interesting.