05 August 2005

Some People Will Eat Anything

...because calling it "Speckled Cock" would've been way too offensive. Posted by Picasa


Yes, I haven't blogged in a while but I'm sure you haven't noticed other than I haven't done a lick of the work you sent my way. Here's the deal:

As you know, I "took the blue pill" and became a permanent employee of RealNetworks. After four rounds of negotiation, they gave me exactly what I asked for in the first place. In short, I'm happy. They also gave me an office that's big enough to park Shamu in. I'm sure it was available because it's out of the way, which makes it exactly perfect for me. The less I get bugged by humans, the happier I am. And the more productive I am to boot.

Speaking of productive, I've been doing another experiment on my brain, one which should interest you because it's aural. I heard tell of this Emmy-winning sound recordist named Gordon Hempton who is on a mission to preserve natural silence. Come to find out, Olympic National Park is - or at least was - one of the quietest places in the US. Hempton went and did some recording at a spot in the Hoh Rain Forest that is apparently so quiet, that you can hear a butterfly beting its wings. (Yeah. I know. Daaaaaaaaaammn.) Must be the Dr.Seussian amounts of moss in there. So anyway, what I did was put together a 20+ hour Rhapsody playlist of nothing but Gordon Hempton "jams" which are comprised from the natural sounds from various locations around the world. I let this roll in the background all damn day long, and strangely enough, I am far more productive and focused than I ever was. Now this may also be due to the fact that I have an actual office with walls and stuff, and there's not somebody babbling incoherently in work-induced psychosis mere inches from my desk, but I really do believe that I'm on to something with this "natural sound" and productivity thing. Plus, it's just fun to meet with people and have 15 minutes go by before they realize that they're hearing crickets in the hot and hissing plains of Kansas with the sound of an approaching thunderstorm in the background.

Okay, so there's that - I've been spacing off to natural sounds in my office. And then there's like other work and stuff, like finishing off things that I had promised to clients before I dutifully got the chip and became a corporate cyberzealot. So yeah, all that, and then hiking every weekend as though the warranty on my legs was about to expire any minute.

Speaking of which, last weekend I went to the Scottish Highland Games and went hiking on Mount Rainier in the same day. Am I hardcore? Mais oui! The games were incredible as always, although I believe this may have been the first time I attended them as a vegetarian. As the day wore on, the realization slowly dawned on me that Scotland is a country made entirely of meat...and stones, come to think of it...and that I would be hard pressed to find anything to eat that didn't once have a face and a beating heart. But then - aha! - I happened upon what the fry-merchants were calling "tatties", which were certainly not like the tatties and neeps that I make (to much laud and honor, I must say), but were exactly like ale-battered french fries. Before your curl your snout with disgust, let me say this: they were damn good! They were like Scottish manna. I suppose I could bring the recipe back here to Chinatown and hawk it as tattie tempura. But yes, good, and did not leave me with that "Christ, I swear the Exxon Valdez just ran ashore in my duodenum" feeling. As for the rest of the games, there were the requisite wee doggies and bonnie wee cows and yes, the 1,000 pipes and drums (no exaggeration, I actually counted) that took the field at noon, roaring like a Pratt & Whitney turbojet with a herd of cats caught in it. And then there was our dear Secretary of State of the State of Washington, Ralph Munro, who is also the Chief of the Clan Munro, delightfully shit-pied as per usual and on the mic in front of 25,000 Scots. (He may not have been actually shit-pied. He may suffer from a speech impediment brought on by too much wool.) And of course men the size of beef cattle throwing telephone poles. All of this is my idea of a very good time.

But here's the funny part: Elizabeth happened upon a can of something called "Spotted Dick" at a grocer called the British Pantry that had a booth at the Highland Games. It was obvious at first glance that it had to be purchased, if only for the comedy mileage. I mean, c'mon, it sounds like something you'd treat with amoxycillin. Even the grocer couldn't say the name of the product without sputtering with laughter. Now here's the kicker. It's really good! It's some kind of cake-in-a-can. Kinda like Boston Brown Bread. Remember that stuff? That awesome molasses and raisin bread that came in a can? And we always took it camping with us? Okay, so this is like that, only not as heavy or dark. I highly recommend it, although I wouldn't follow the preparation directions on the can. They say you should microwave it for 2 whole minutes, which in my opinion would render it radioactive. Thirty seconds to a minute should be just fine. Throw some hard sauce on there and you're pimpin', Limey style. You can purchase it here.

And then, yes, a very nice hike at Mount Rainier from the Sunrise Visitor center just down to Sunrise Lake, which is not a long ways, but at 6-thousand-some feet is still enough to get a person winded. And then I hiked the same trail this past weekend, only this time I took it 4 miles out to Upper Palisades Lake, which is gorgeous beyond belief, and actually got to speak to a Park Ranger in his natural habitat, and photographed The World's Fattest Marmot. I'll cover all of that in an upcoming edition of The Mud Shoe Diaries.

Okay, now I have to get back to all that work that I told you about, the work that has thus far prevented me from doing any of that other work that I was supposed to do for you, which I swear I will get to shortly.

Cheers, and give my best to Marie.

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