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foggy as hell out there

January 23, 2012 Leave a comment

We got our first real bit of snow here early Saturday. Just a couple of inches where I live, then it changed to sleet and freezing rain which crusted it over, which made shoveling a lit bit more annoying.  The turkey has been a bit unhappy about the snow. I don’t blame him seeing how he has to go around in bare feet.

But today warmer air is overrunning the snow and it’s foggy from that.  It’s supposed to rain later on.

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It was a couple of weeks ago I was in one of the supermarkets near my home and I noticed they were selling beef heart. It’s the first time I had ever noticed beef heart being sold in the supermarket and I also noticed it was cheaper than all the other cuts of beef like roasts and steak. It was also cheaper than pork roasts and pork chops. My first reaction was a sense of weirdness, since I had never really heard about anyone eating a heart of an animal. Well, I had seen it once before on an episode of Dual Survival, where those two guys demonstrated a survival situation on a small island near Nova Scotia. In that episode, the one guy killed a porcupine and they ate its heart. Waste nothing was the motto.

Plus I also reasoned that the heart is simply muscle, slightly different muscle, but muscle just like you eat when you eat a roast or steak. So I then used my google-fu to find out some ideas about how to cook beef heart. Last Friday, I bought ~3 lbs of beef heart and this last Saturday, I cooked up a beef stew with the heart.

It’s got a slightly different flavor from regular cuts of beef, but it’s still recognizable as beef. I think it’s a good flavor, the slow cooking I did of it in the crockpot resulted in a very flavorful gravy. So hopefully if the supermarket keeps selling it, I might make it a fairly regular part of the meal rotation.

The next thing I might try, since I see they’re selling it as well now, is beef tongue. That’s got a slightly more awkward psychological barrier to hurdle than the heart (although it felt a little strange when I was dicing up the heart for the stew). Plus from what I’ve read about its prepartion, the whole part about having to remove the skin or peel of the tongue might have a certain ick factor to it.

I continue to make progress with Esperanto. Reading is becoming easier and easier, almost every time I begin reading something that’s written in Esperanto. I definitely have good stretches where I just read it as Esperanto and understand it as Esperanto, with little to no translation into English. I’ve improved at recognizing how the sentences tend to be structured, so there’s much less of me of having those instances where I need to labor through figuring out the meaning of what was written.

It’s making me feel better about the chances I have of being able to learn a language well enough to think in it and use it. There were times with French I was feeling extremely frustrated, wondering if my use and knowledge of English was so deeply embedded there might be no room for me to ever acquire another language. But with Esperanto I see it coming. The understanding is growing steadily. Plus when I watched a couple of completely new videos this last weekend with people speaking Esperanto, I was pleased by how much I understood. The big remaining barrier is having me beginning to produce Esperanto output, speaking it, writing it.  But I have a sensation like if I were to have an opportunity of going some place where there were people consistently using Esperanto around me, that I would probably figure it out fairly quickly.

For now, I’ll keep on reading as much as I can in Esperanto, and maybe I’ll start working on translating stuff that it already written into Esperanto.

Once I get Esperanto really working well in my head, then I’ll return again to more diligent study of French, knowing that it will take more time because of its irregularities, but also knowing that it won’t be impossible.

Winter Classic

January 3, 2012 Leave a comment

Before now, I suppose my biggest time of interest in hockey was in the 80s. First there was the famous miracle on ice team of the US hockey team in the 1980 Olympics at Lake Placid. Then my interest in hockey got another boost some in 1985, not really because of anything going on in the world of hockey, but because of how I got diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. There I was, March 1985, in the sort of empty sterility of a hospital, my life changed more than I could possibly know, stuck with my quiet tumult of thoughts. The Flyers had had a famous hockey player, Bobby Clarke and he was a type 1 diabetic and he still is since he is still alive.

Now I’ve always been a fan of the Philadelphia sports teams. So I became a bit more of a Flyers fan now that I shared a metabolic problem with one of the Flyers players. I also remember that one night while I was still recovering in hospital, the Flyers and the Blackhawks had a game.  According to NHL reference, the Flyers lost that night, 5-2. I can’t remember all that much in terms of my feelings towards the game, I do remember there seemed to be a lot of charging back and forth, up and down the ice by both teams and the game was fairly exciting in spite of how I was probably rather disappointed at the result. In a limited it would be nice to get a good favorable sign egoistic perspective, I would have rather liked it if the universe showed a little justice and sympathy by having the Flyers win.

Oh well. Wishes have little bearing upon the outcomes of reality. Reality is the cold hard relentless brutality of itself. Oh well.

I watched yesterday’s Winter Classic with the Flyers and Rangers. I’ve been following the Flyers pretty closely this year, I’ve had my interest in hockey re-inspired due to some influences from 2009 and 2010, although there was also a core emotional reaction of feeling some angst about associations with hockey from events in 2010.  Funny thing about that day in May I rode home on a train. When I got off the train, Roy Halladay was approaching the end of pitching a perfect game for the Phillies, and the Flyers and Blackhawks were playing the first game of the Stanley Cup Finals. Once again, the Blackhawks would deliver a message in beating the Flyers.

But since the Flyers are a relatively solid team, I’ve been able to push down the despair from certain emotional associations with hockey, and I’ve followed them this year. Claude Giroux is an exciting player to watch.

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It was warm this past weekend, Saturday and Sunday and I golfed both afternoons. I could have had a fairly good round on Sunday if my putter had behaved. I did have another important swing realization — I need to keep my tempo slowed down on the backswing. I have a horrible tendency to get quick. It’s very very bad. It came through very clearly to me on the 1st hole of Sunday. First I yanked my tee shot left some with a bad hook. Then I sort of chop hooked my next shot. Then I thinned a 9-iron back behind the green. Fortunately I save bogey with an up and down from there. It then hit me what was going wrong. I was jerking the club back fast and there was no consistent swing resulting from that. I slowed down the tempo of my swing and from then on, I began striking much more solidly with better consistency.

So I’m thinking of putting a new mark on my golf balls with a Sharpie — EZB. Easy back. So I can look at the mark every time I tee up the ball and remind myself not to get quick on the backswing.

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I had one of those crazy maze-like dreams last night, one that got creeped out by the sensation of evil lurking somewhere in the dreamscape. It woke me up at 2:11.