Intro my Greatest Strength and Possible Character Flaw: I am a Serial Obsessior

I am a serial obsessor. I get an idea in my head for a project and it consumes me. Sometimes I am able to investigate the topic and then quickly move onto another, setback only days or hours. Other times I pursue them insofar as I am able and then save them for another day. Others I work to realize ahora.

When I become obsessed with an idea I heve to learn more about it. I get to the computer stat, and start researching. I google and google and sometimes EBSCO. As  I become more informed my research turns to scheming. I go detail by detail, identifying what needs to be done and how to do it. The project is usually eccentric. The obstacles, numerous. Therein lies the fun and the challenge. The end result can vary anywhere on the spectrum from disaster to aesthetic masterpiece.

Last year I found the holy grail of the the aquarium world on craigslist for $200. As soon as I saw it, I swung into action. I made a call, garnered the blessing of my wife, drove the two hours to pick up the tank, and returned with it riding shotgun.

Above is the ensuing Michelangelo-like creation of beauty contained in 6,000 some-odd square inches of freshwater masterpiece. The obsessing and scheming paid off. And so the next obsession begins: The King of the Aquarium.

The tank photo includes: 13 Cardinal Tetras, 6 Rummynose Tetras, 2 Siamese Algae Eaters, Philipine Java Fern, Narrowleaf Java Fern, Anubias Congensis, 2 Anubias Haistfolia, Anumias Lanceolota, Anubias Pygmy Nana, Narrow Leaf Chain Sword, & Jungle Vallisneria.

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Home Alone 2: Fleeing our Parents to Portland

So tonight my wife and I got to walk around downtown Portland and caught a beautiful moment with the city Christmas tree. The air was cold, she was happy, and the tree complimented the deep blue sky.  Somehow though it felt like we weren’t actually two adults choosing how to spend the holidays by visiting the northwest. I felt like we were in Home Alone 2. Not going home for Christmas only made us two kids experiencing the forbidden excitement being alone in the big city. Any minute our parents would find us and the gig would be over.

Cockroach Boots

So while my wife and I were working/living in Buenos Aires for a while after college, she would frequently run for her dansko shoes anytime she saw a cockroach. She hated the cockroaches and would ferociously insist that I quickly come and kill them. I hesitated at first because I couldn’t imagine that she was serious. It was so cliché, it was surreal. Anyway, being the savy, self-preserving and relationship-preserving man that I am, I learned to quickly come and kill the cockroaches.

Even though the threat had passed, the shoes stayed on. And stayed on. It drove me crazy. When we were out walking in the city, she would trip and nearly roll her ankle on the uneven sidewalks. When we were home in the apartment, it felt like she and the shoes had become synonymous, like no woman had since the Wicked Witch of the East. It felt like her hostility toward the cockroaches was spreading to me. I implored her to shed the shoes and again join the ranks of the loving and the mortal. But with the threat of cockroaches, she stomped around in the safety and power that only the cockroach boots could provide. Damn the relationship.

Fast forward five years. My wife has been encouraging me to get a pair of comfortable  shoes for work. I had been keeping an eye out for something, when I learned that the Acadians wore clogs they learned to make from the Dutch before arriving in Louisiana. Now, admiring Coonass culture as I do, I that would be the perfect solution for my new pair of shoes. I could be cool like the Cajuns!

I bought my pair of dansko clogs and my wife could have died. She was incredulous and brought up her scarred memory of the cockroaches and really hard time I gave her FIVE years ago. How could I have possibly remembered my opposition to clogs? Turns out, it wasn’t a problem for her!

Fun Silent Night in Spanish

In the spirit of the holidays, here’s an fun little Spanish music video. ¡She’s hawt ta boot!

Back on the Plains, DIY Beef Jerky

So my wife and I are getting ready for our trip to Portland for christmas. We are forsaking our families in the name of peace and adventure and are heading northwest. On our last trip I remembered that back in 8th grade I used to make venison jerky before family road trips. I enjoyed eating it to pass the time and keep from thinking about food. I resolved to resurrect the tradition for my next trip.

Come a week ago, I remembered my resolution and got excited about the mini diy project ahead of me. Yesterday at wholefoods I picked up a small roast, sliced it up last night and sprinkled it with garlic powder, cayenne pepper, black pepper, salt and soy sauce. I let it marinade overnight and today slid the slices onto bamboo skewers. It’s now in the oven aromatizing the apartment. Here’s the simple process. Give this a try if you’ve never. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Its a lot easier than you might think. Post your experience and ideas here. Looking forward to hearing how it goes. Enjoy the semi self reliance and spirit of yore.

Homemade Jerky Recipe

  1. Slice beef or venison into thin 1″ wide x 7″ long strips
  2. Sprinkle with seasonings of your choice
    garlic powder
    cayenne pepper
    black pepper
    salt
    soy or teriyaki sauce
  3. Marinating is optional. Skewer slices onto steel or bamboo shish kabob skewers.
  4. Set oven to around 200°F and hang the meat through the oven grating on the top rack.
  5. Leave meat to dry for around 6 hours, more or less depending on thickness. Should be firm.

Caution: May give you gas of a similar smell to the jerky. Hence, I will definitely be playing this one by ear, or nose, on the plane.

Opossum Smile

So my wife has this thing when I say things that aren’t okay, she smiles. But she’s not really smiling. It looks like a smile. Almost like she thought I was funny. The side of her smile is uncomfortably showing her molars and gums,  like an opossum playing dead, or one actually hit by a car. Anyway it is sad to realize that instead of being funny, I’m in a little bit of trouble. Its really cute, and definitely turns me on. So I have no incentive to stop saying bad things.

Photo courtesy of and copyright Johnruble, 2006.