Friday, January 23, 2015

Can Music Be Perfect? Vol. 53

So... what is it that makes it so damn funky? It has to be super laid back, but tight like a coiled spring at the same time. Oh, and the band, and Maceo and Fred, and the Godfather himself, a vocalist with few peers and a bandleader with none.

Hopkin's Rose, II

Laura took this picture out at Mavericks. Looks like a cat toy. And I bet the kitties would enjoy playing with it, although the tempting structure collapses out of water.

Cookers slow and fast

This article on the Crock-Pot and women's labor force participation is interesting, if in need of some editing. In my household we have owned a slow cooker for a few years, and more recently I purchased what might be considered the device at the opposite end of the speed spectrum, a pressure cooker. Neither one gets used very often. I'd much prefer to load up one of my wonderful Creuset Dutch ovens and stick it in the oven or on the stove top at low temperature for a couple hours... It's more civilized to eat late, anyway...

I've never been very happy with the results from the slow cooker, but maybe it has something to do with the bland recipes. The pressure cooker, on the other hand, is really rather amazing for certain tasks, such as dried beans or braised short ribs. But no matter the assurances from me or the manufacturer, Laura doesn't quite trust the thing... and I confess that the hissing and sputtering from the pressure valve is indeed a little unnerving.

Untaxed household labor

Here's an excellent post from Josh Barro on Obama's proposed childcare tax credit for "working" parents... in quotes because of course all parents work, inside and/or outside the home. Barro's point is that we don't tax home labor, so in fact the tax system provides an incentive at the margin for parents to stay at home. A perfect little lesson in Beckerian economics, and even with some back-of-the-envelope data analysis. Nice.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Sleater-Kinney Reunion

I'm going in May. I suppose it will be crammed with Portlandia fans. Me? I wanna hear Corin wail, and Janet whale. Mostly I wanna hear Corin wail. Not sure why.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Hopkin's Rose

I love tide pools, and so it was highly fortuitous that this weekend's negative low tides coincided with sunny, unseasonably warm late afternoons in Half Moon Bay. The reefs at Mavericks were fully exposed, and the marine life was stunning. In addition to the lovely anemones, algae, and sea stars: a couple octopi, and many of these radiant little nudibranchs. A marine biologist was wandering around, overturning rocks, and I asked him what adaptive advantage could possibly be served by this visual attention grabbing. "Ahem," he began in professorial mode, "Often brilliant colors serve as a warning to potential predators, and may be a form of mimicry..." I.e., he was bullshitting, and might as well have said 'cuz God made 'em that way. I didn't hold it against him... his answer was incidental. I belong to the tribe that cannot attribute beauty to God, but this disbelief never diminishes my sense of wonder, and perhaps only serves to heighten it. I'd like to know why, but I do not need to.

Photo credit.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Yelp storytelling

Yelp reviewing is a literary form, and some people are very good at it– intentionally or not. I will not name the restaurant, because I haven't been there and don't know whether the reviewer can be trusted. Still, she is a talented storyteller... the narrative really picks up steam with "the bad" chapter... as one might expect...
High Highs and Low Lows... overall, I would come back, but hope these items were addressed in the meantime. 
Let's start with the good: 
- The oysters were really fresh and delicious- there were two varieties offered, and we got 6 of each, a great start to the meal. Additionally, there was fresh bread (possibly made on-site?) 
- The scallops were very good, as were the dishes ordered by my two friends: beet salad appetizer, lamb shank entree and duck breast entree. 
- Everything was very good, but I don't think anything was mind-blowing 
- The desserts were also very tasty. we had the lavender panna cotta, an affogato and a duo of fresh sorbets. I had the sorbet (one scoop of mango, and one coconut) and they were delicious- super fresh and flavorful. My friend who had the lavender panna cotta was also extremely happy with her dessert. 
Now, the bad: 
- Early in the meal, I excused myself to go use the restroom. I walked from the table out and around over to the restroom (the most direct path was blocked off by temporary walls, so I am thinking there was a private party or something) so I had to walk through the whole dining room in a giant U-turn to get over there. No biggie, but the restaurant floor was a little crowded, so getting over there was a bit of a dance. 
- About 10 feet from the door of the restroom is when things took a severe turn for the worse. I smelled a vaguely familiar, heavy perfume scent, and thought "ugh, I hate when people wear strong perfumes to restaurants- its really inconsiderate." then as I got closer, I realized that the smell wasn't perfume but incense. YUCK. 
- I walked into the bathroom and there was a haze of incense smoke. I will admit, I am overly sensitive to smells, but this was unbearable- I thought I might throw up and instantly got a headache. There were not one, not two, but at least three sticks of incense ALL burning in the women's restroom.  
- I got out of there as quickly as possible, hoping that I could get back to the table and shake it off. However, the smell was SO strong that it permeated my clothes, and I kept getting whiffs of it throughout the meal.  
- The other odd thing that happened was that one of the three people in our group ordered a bottle of sparkling water, while the other two of us opted for flat ice water. We had to stop the staff from pouring the sparkling into the tap water glasses at least half a dozen times, including once where it was too late. It would be better if there were two different types of glassware used so that it would be clear which glasses are tap and which are pellegrino. This was a small gaffe, but it was irritating ontop of my already cranky mood from the incense smell. 
I genuinely feel like the incense issue ruined my experience, ultimately leaving me with a headache and horribly affecting the taste of what was otherwise a delicious meal. I do think that there was an underlying issue with the restroom, as there was an aroma of sulfur that I think the incense was intended to mask, but I think that this actually made things about a thousand times worse.
And still, overall, she "would come back"!