Category Archives: Just Random

Spooning

Standard

This post is actually about spoons. Sorry to disappoint. Actually its about most major utensils and their relationship to food.

I have long classified foods differently then most of the world. Rather than use the food pyramid to create food groups or even the more chef-like starch, protein, vegetable & sugar, I establish food types by which utensil is customarily necessary to eat it. I have five basic food groups; spoon, fork, knife, hand & straw.

Naturally some cross over and any of them can be prepared in a variety of ways that defy my standard classification. For the most part I group it by what you would need if a normal, sane, non-argumentative human being prepared it. A sampling of my methodology is as follows:

Hand Food

  • Sandwiches
  • Chips
  • Pretzels
  • Most varieties of raw fruits and vegetables (notable exceptions – avocado. Avocado is not a hand food. It’s slippery as well, avocado, because its really slippery.)
  • Candy
  • Sushi

Spoon Food

  • Ice Cream
  • Cereal
  • Soup
  • Chili (If this is a Fork Food for you, you’re doing it wrong.)
  • Yogurt
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Curry

Fork Foods

  • Lasagna
  • Meatballs
  • Cake (There is some contest as to whether this is a fork or a spoon food. But because I like squishing the crumbs between the tines of the fork, this is a Fork Food for me.)
  • Pasta
  • Most varieties of cooked fruits and vegetables

Knife Food

  • Most varieties of meat, cooked or raw (Notable exception: tartare which is normally ingested with a spoon…and E. coli.)
  • Butter
  • Really poorly cooked pasta

Straw Food

  • Milk
  • Soda
  • Juice
  • Milk Shakes
  • Technically speaking, literally everything can be made in straw form if you don’t have issues with meat paste and texture isn’t a thing for you.

Now cheese is tricky. Cheese is to my food world what ice is to the physics world. Ice can be a gas, a liquid and a solid simultaneously. Cheese can be a Hand, Fork, Spoon and Knife Food. I suppose if you are really strange, it could be a Straw Food too. As evidenced by the video above. I’m sure that burger had cheese on it. I suppose you could also suck up melted Velveeta via straw. Actually the more I think about it, the more I think the Straw Food category is incredibly creepy. And gross. Just on potential alone.

Shredding

Standard

Everyone has annoyances. Things that drive them up a wall. I present the following for your consideration.

  • When people say crap like “I killed abs at the gym today” or “I shredded some pecs today.”

Dammit people. I’m proud of you for having more willpower and masochism than I. I don’t even mind that you are proud of yourself for dragging your butt to the gym and working out because I sure didn’t today and probably won’t. You earned a bit of brag time. You did not earn the right to make up phrases that make no contextual sense. Unless your workout began with running from your life from a freakin’ werewolf who briefly caught you across the chest with razor sharp claws, tearing apart skin and muscle and ended with you snapping his wolfy neck with your bare hands, you didn’t kill anything. Nothing was shredded. Those words don’t have anything to do with the activity in which you just partook. Yes, I know. Slang. I use it too. But in this instance I’m wholly and unabashedly applying a double standard. You sound like a moron. Stop it. Stop it right now.

Work out, burn, shape, condition, train...all acceptable descriptions of what's going on here. If he's killing something its because of roid rage.

Work out, burn, shape, condition, train…all acceptable descriptions of what’s going on here.

  • When people feel that the amount of experience they have is always relevant in a conversation.

Especially when trying to solve a problem. Don’t get me wrong, experience counts for a lot and I respect those people who have been in the industry for any decent duration of time. I go to them for advice and consider many of them mentors. But the minute you feel the need to remind folks “Well, I’ve been here for 14 years…” it invalidates any argument you have made, will make or could have made.   To me this signifies you feel you are losing the debate and are throwing the adult version of a temper tantrum. It happens constantly in the writing world. Struggling with a plot line and someone chimes in their gem of “Well in my seventeen years of writing, I’ve never seen that work out.” If you truly have  garnered significant experience in a field, career or problem that needs solving, it is because you paid attention in the last x number of years and you apply those lessons learned to actually solving the bloody problem! Now tell me that this person tried this same thing and failed because of x and y and z and you have my rapt attention. On that note, doesn’t matter if a person has been around twenty-five years or two months; a good idea, well thought-out and applicable, is still a good idea.

  • Crinkling chip bags.

Oh, I hate that sound. Back in 2010, these nearly made my head implode.  You’d think I’d be skinnier for my extreme aversion to the tinny, plastic-y squeal of rustling chip bags. Nope. I dump my discs of potato goodness into a plastic container for freshness and easy access.

  • Stupid grammar rules.

Let’s get one thing straight. Most grammar rules are fantastic. It’s unifies the effort to communicate with each other, creating smooth and fluid structures under which we understand each other and express ideas and opinions. But there are some grammar rules that are just stupid. This particular struggle makes my career of choice just a little more irksome from time to time. As a writer, I know what the rules are. I think they are stupid. But I have to follow them.   For instance, split infinitives. Who the hell came up with that? Why does it matter at all if I say “To boldly go” or “To go boldly”? It doesn’t. It doesn’t matter at all. The exact same idea has been communicated with no mix-up as to intent. Someone is going boldly. It’s the rule of monkeys at this point and has been a long-standing debate. And why can’t you start a sentence with a conjunction or end a sentence with a preposition?  Seriously, its a weird position I’ve put myself in.

On an slightly related note, commas confuse me. I don’t consider commas a subsection of stupid grammar rules. Just know that figuring out where these dumb things go manages to flip my brain out.     ,

These are not real problems. No one will die as a consequence for any of these things. (Well maybe for the chip bag thing should that Sun Chips bag ever be revived…) They are just annoyances, things that make me go just a little twitchy. That’s all.

Practice Might Make Perfect

Standard

I suck at practicing. On my own that is. When surrounded by a group or compelled through other means of passive aggressive guilt trips I do just fine. I pay attention, accept critique, and strive to improve. But as for self-motivated, make-yourself-better practice, I really suck.

Nearly a year and a half ago, I was in the then newly-formed worship band at a local church and all the other instruments were covered. Keyboards, drums, a variety of guitars; all had been lovingly brought forth by their owners to contribute. I was vocals. Lead vocals, but still just vocals. This wasn’t odd; plenty of bands, worship or otherwise, have had front(wo)men armed only with a good set of lungs and a pretty voice. It just meant I had to figure out what to do with my awkwardly empty hands. So with no bassist stepping forward to fill the void, I picked bass guitar.

I got my hands on a loaner bass guitar and attacked Google. Yes, Google taught me how to play an instrument. As with all my projects I set upon this one with extreme fervor. A week of mild obsession followed and I had the basics figured out. For the record, beginning bass is not complicated, particularly for the musically inclined.  My fingers were constantly on fire and the moment I found out anyone played any version of guitar I felt the need to show off my newly forming callouses.  Two weeks later I figured it was sink or swim, so I played the bass for the worship set in church. It worked. So I kept going. My fervor for practicing had already begun to fade.

Time marched on, I continued playing weekly at practice and worship service and eventually a kind donation from an anonymous benefactor plus a bit of earnest saving bought me my very own silver Yamaha bass guitar. I play it twice a week, every week, but recently realized I’m not getting any better. I’m maintaining status quo.

I now find myself staring at the bass players anytime I watch a band perform. Their nimble, strong fingers fly across the neck, working those four cursed strings for all they are worth. There are rhythms and walks and beautiful arpeggios that weave underneath the rest of the music. A bit more Googling and I find terms I couldn’t begin to define. Slap-bass, tapping, dual plucking. And chords. Chords are possible on a bass. After watching a few videos and trying a few of the “easier” ones myself I decided that my left hand will need professional attention from those creepy Asian children in Cirque De Soleil to fold that way. Either that or I need finger extension surgery.

When did I go from that awesome chick who taught herself to play bass to that chick who thinks she can play bass? About the time I stopped practicing I suppose. So about a week after the idea popped into my head.

Sure, over time I’ve gotten better. A year and a half of anything and you are bound to show some improvement.  The sounds are more fluid and my hand naturally moves from note to note. It doesn’t really require much in the way of thought anymore. That might be a good thing but I don’t think it is in this case. Music should always require thought. That’s sort of the point. Anything you give your time to, as precious as your time on this Earth is, should always require thought and care and effort.  When it becomes mindless something has gone wrong. Mindless actions lead to boredom and burn-out. It’s the challenge that keeps us coming back to something. The opportunity to conquer, learn, improve drives us to keep doing stuff.

So how do I conquer this? I’ve heard practice makes perfect. Maybe I’ll give that a shot.

Update: Over a year has elapsed since the original posting of this. The gig has since ended and my bass has gone woefully unpracticed and unplayed. Thus it is looking for a new home and a new opportunity to grow the love of music in someone else’s heart.