howmanybeards

070:ECHOES 092313

 

If you’re anything like me, you hate how much time sleeping takes up. Think of all that other stuff we could get done! I mean, think of all the extra reading and writing I could finally accomplish. Heck, I might even start updating this blog more regularly.

  • To start off here’s an interesting look at the preferred writing tools of 20 famous authors. Call me predictable, but I liked Hemingway’s the best.
  • Another great author sadly omitted from that last is Salinger. In this piece from the fine folks at WELL SPENT they look not only at the author but his rather impeccable style as well.
  • And what is a great author without books? Every man should have a library whether it’s a mindless spiral of odds and ends collected over time and spilling off bookshelves into piles along the molding or a carefully curated collection of only your favorites, here a few good lists to help you get started.
  • Last but not least, there are many words that simply have no English equivalent. Here is a fun look 10 of those words coupled with a nice little illustration to go with them. Komorebi is definitely my favorite. Feel free to leave a comment and share which is your favorite.
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069: Pancakes

PANCAKES

                Have you ever made pancakes for one? You look at the back of the box, pick out the recipe with the fewest servings, measure out the mix and you’re on your way; simple enough. So, there I am leering over the counter trying to figure out how many pancakes is this really going to make. 6 little ones, 4 mediums, 2 larges and a runt, or should I just fill the entire cast iron pan with mix and see what comes of it. My head swims and I am reminded that I am in fact making these pancakes to fight my hangover. A hangover which should have been abolished by the tall Tervis Tumblers full of water and the b-12 vitamin I drank before bed last night. I am convinced that these pancakes will cure what ails me.

                The pan is already out. It’s kind of always out. It lives on its burner. A silent sentinel: too heavy to be easily lifted and too large to be easily stored. I scoop a dollop of butter (note, it’s not real butter it’s Earth Balance) into the center and start to spread it around as the pan slowly eats the heat from the blue gas flame beneath it. All of this is done in the near silence of bare feet scuffing on wood floors and utensils and instruments being gently placed on glass plates and Formica counter tops as it is only 7:30 on a Sunday morning and the wife likes to sleep in. Finally (at least for now) I begin to pour the batter. You always start in the center. Then I slowly spiral outwards into a nice, roughly 4 inch cake that would make dad proud.

                And then you wait. You scan the front page, nothing interesting there. Find the sports section and follow the jump on a story about the Seminoles, then change your mind about finishing it and move onto the classifieds. All the while keeping an eye on the bubbles working their way up through the uncooked dough, making sure the timing is right and gently pushing under the edges to make sure there won’t be any problems with sticking. Turn back to the classifieds, peeling back the first page to reveal the full breadth of the Sunday crossword. Another quick glance, still bubbling. I scan the first few clues (none of which I know) as my palm and gravity work in concert to sink the plunger on the French Press. A final look reveals no more bubbles and I grab the spatula for the flip.

                I am 6 years old. I am standing on a chair from the kitchen table. Despite the boost I am still shorter than my father. We are both pressed against the light pink Formica counter; I’m mixing the batter (make sure you get out most of the lumps) and he is fiddling with the temperature on the griddle (always cook at 350). He then carves out a hunk of margarine, drops it on the black surface, and hands me the spatula. Now it’s up to me to successfully push that golden yellow nugget around like Wayne Gretzkey and make sure every inch is greased. I always make sure to take as much time as possible, because after this I take on the role of a mere observer. It would be many years before I would be allowed to help with the actual process of pouring and flipping.

                Dad would patiently pour the batter on the boiling black griddle, carving out uniform 4 inch circles, one after another. And then it was a waiting game. The exposed batter gurgles slowly bubbling and popping like a boil stained teenage face. We had to watch closely. When that last bubble popped you had to be ready to flip. When that last bubble popped they were very close to done.

On the night of Sunday, December 9th we went to dinner to celebrate my brother and I’s birthday. As we left he and I stood to take a picture with dad standing between the two of us. He placed an arm around each of us and I could feel them shaking from the strain, but they remained still strong and defiant. That night my mother took him to the hospital. The next night I was at their house. My father could no longer stand on his own and my mother could not lift him. I saw it the first time I lifted him out of his chair. His pants had sagged low on a frame eroded by 17 years of tight lipped rebellion against death. The tumor in his bladder had grown so big it threatened to burst through his skin, a final bubble waiting to pop.

So there I am, alone in my kitchen at 7:45 on a hung-over Sunday morning flipping pancakes and hoping my sadness will one day be replaced with joy when I teach my children how to mix, and butter, and wait and flip. And I hope they’ll appreciate the lessons I teach them, lessons I learned from a man they’ll never meet.

068: Friday Jams | Presidents Of The United States – Lump

Because it’s a classic.

And long before I ever heard the original, I heard Weird Al’s delightful parody.

067: ECHOES 082813

Building the world’s largest ship in 76 seconds.

066: Required Listening | grouplove – Ways To Go

065: New Belgium Sunshine Wheat

I want to start this off with a disclosure and then an anecdote and finally my thoughts on New Belgium’s Sunshine Wheat.

new_belgium_sunshine_wheat

First the disclosure, I have always wanted to write about beer. As a guy who was a college student as the craft beer revolution finally began to edge its way into Florida I had the distinct pleasure of softly exploring the world of beer. I started at the bottom with those classic standbys of Budweiser, Miller, and all their lighter varieties. Luckily we then progressed into slightly more interesting if not necessarily inventive options such as Yuengling, Guiness, Blue Moon, and Woodchuck. I have no illusions that these are not what are now considered craft beers, but at the time they were leaps and bounds better than what we were routinely guzzling at parties. It was only towards the end of my career at FSU (approximately 2009) that we started to get access to the better stuff. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Sweetwater Blue and 420, New Belgium Fat Tire were among the first. However, shortly after this initial renaissance I shipped off to Korea which to be fair may have some of the worst beer in the world. A year later when I returned the craft beer renaissance had hit Florida like a tidal wave and I dove right in. Two and half years and close to 300 different beers later I surfaced with a new outlook on beer, one of moderation. A view point where I can enjoy the slamming hops of a Cigar City Jai Alai, pick out the intricacies of a Left Hand Fade To Black Vol. 4, and savor the cool, malty crispness of a Miller High Life.

Read the rest of this entry »

064: ECHOES 080713

Because honestly, we all need a few extra reasons to drink more whiskey.

063: The To Do List

Over the weekend the misses (missus?) and I went to see The To Do List. Let’s just say it is a masterpiece of 90’s nostalgia. If you haven’t heard of it, watch the trailer and then go see it.

The movie stars Aubrey Plaza who if you know her from anywhere probably know her from Parks And Rec. If not then you’ll definitely remember her as “that funny girl you’ve seen in a bunch of things but can’t remember her name.” Plaza normal gets pretty type cast as a dead pant master of snark. In The To Do List she finally gets to break out of that role as a virginal teen in the 90’s who has decided to finally start her sexual education before she goes to college.

THE-TO-DO-LIST

 

While the movie is funny in its own regard, a lions share of my enjoyment came from how well it nails the 90’s nostalgia. Probably the best example of this is the spot on attire worn by Bill Hader, Donald Glover, Rachel Bilson, Andy Samberg, and the rest of the suprisingly star studded cast. But the setting does more than present a fun callback, it helps the movie. Had it been set now the core funny factor in the movie would have been killed by the fact that one can hop on the internet and Google everything. In the film it’s up to Plaza’s character, with a little help from her friends to discover what exactly all the things on her list are from “rim job” to “motorboating.”

the to do list popsicle

 

The To Do List is an excellent summer comedy, but is also a wonderful look at female sexuality. It allows the women in the movie to explore their sexuality without the traditional movie drama of them being labeled a slut or an overwhelming load of sap and sentimentality. At the end of the day it’s a refreshing take on the High School Sexual Awakening movie we’ve all seen once too many.

062: Friday Jam’s | Guy Clark – My Favorite Picture Of You

Was recently strolling through the magnificent All Plaid Out and found this gem. I think the lead in to the video makes the song even better. A little bit of NSFW language so put in your headphones if you’re at work.

061: ECHOES 073113

If you’re not caught up on Breaking Bad don’t watch this. Otherwise: hilarious.

  • I’m from the Gunshine State (Florida) home of the weird and land of the 365 BBQ, but this man takes the cake.
  • And if you’re going to be doing some extreme grilling, why not put a personal touch on it with a customizable brand?
  • Finally, if you’re going to all that trouble you might as well invite a few friends over. Make sure you do it right.
  • Tired of BBQ talk? Need something more serious for your world weary head? Check out this (kinda) longread from Gear Patrol about the 10,000 Year Clock.