Crawfish Table Number Deux.

Posted by DmentD | Coolness,Domestica,Family,House,Pictures,Reflection | Sunday 22 April 2012 10:11 pm

In 1994 my brothers an I designed and built a crawfish table (well… adapted a picnic table design, to be honest) — a table made for the intent of standing at and eating crawfish.  Once a pot of bugs was done boiling, it was hoisted up and dumped out onto the table, an inner and outer rail keeping them corralled onto the table-top. Folks bellied up to the table and ate their fill without the need to grab a pile and go find somewhere else to settle in.  While eating, the shells were pitched through a hole in the center directly into a garbage can, rather than making a pile of them to be dealt with later.

Like all of the outdoor furniture we built, it was a heavy, solid, sturdy, beastly monstrosity — anything worth building, was worth overbuilding. Made from pressure treated 2x lumber, it would withstand the elements and insects. It was coated with more than five layers of outdoor polyurethane to help protect it from the crawfish, and us from the chemicals used to treat the wood. Our little furniture “company” was known as Hurricane Furniture (prophetic, I know!), on the premise that come a hurricane or tornado, you should abandon your home and seatbelt yourself into our outdoor furniture — you’d be safer (“tornadoes just bounce right off of our shit”).  It was branded with our signature logo — literally branded — burnt right into the wood.

This table saw eleven years of life in the sun, rain, heat, humidity and cold. Eleven crawfish seasons this table was put to use, occasionally hauled from house to house as needed. It stood the test of time. It was damn near indestructible.

Damn near.

It didn’t give up without a fight.  Oh no. When I evacuated for Katrina, I put it in front of my garage door to ensure the wind wouldn’t blow it open. It was a silent sentinel, a guardian of my tools. The storm hit and I was the lucky recipient of 9′ of water on my street. That foul, acidic water didn’t recede for more than a week, and the table was beneath it the whole time. Upon my return I found it, just about where I left it in front of my garage door and still holding it closed, only it had tipped over onto it’s side and turned 90 degrees. It was still intact, but the table-top had warped and twisted and it was fouled with dirt, the borderline bulletproof polyurethane coating eroding away from the wood. Sadly, the table was ruined beyond future use.

After the storm I moved to Austin, carting my meager surviving possessions with me. Among them was my crawfish boiling pot and burner… they were in the garage attic, and had survived high and dry. I vowed to return to my duties as boil-master some day, but unfortunately that was hard to do in an apartment.

It took a few years, but eventually I got back into the groove — there are live crawfish to be had in Austin, the best ones being trucked in from Lake Charles for pickup on Saturdays during the season. I host a boil a year now, and generally act as boil-master for at least one other hosted by friends, sometimes two. I missed it, dearly. It’s a lot of work, but it’s in my very bones. It calls to me. It reminds me of home, family, and good times. It allows me to make more good times, and carry on healing bits and pieces of my soul.

But, there has been a big, overbuilt table-shaped hole these last seven years. The absence of the crawfish table has not gone unnoticed, or unlamented. I’ve had a yard of my own for it to live in for many years, but hadn’t had the opportunity to build a new table.

Until now.

I knuckled down, and made a new one this year. It took a little digging to find the original designs I had, and some CSI-like action — oh yes, I was a clever motherfucker, for the original designs were done in CorelDraw v3, and nothing opens those any more, not even CorelDraw. Using a hex editor I was able to extract the shopping list and some basic notes I had jotted down. I was also able to see the postage-stamp sized preview to determine that I used five boards for the table-top, giving me the overall dimensions — 3’x5”.

I redesigned the table digitally (in a format that is more universal and likely to stand the test of time). I kept the same basic design and expanded the table-top to 4’x6′. I tweaked the height a bit. I also changed the way the inside rail fastens to the table — from pegs in holes, to a routed recessed area. I’ve also added a removable second tier table made of PVC that can be used to put drinks, paper towels, etc, replacing the paper towel rods drilled into the outside rail, and the car-window drink holders as well.

All the while I was cutting and assembling the lumber, my brain kept whiplashing back to 1994, and building the original table with my brothers. It made me smile for the connection to the past and to my family, and a little melancholy to think of the distance between us now, both physical and emotional — one more thing to thank Katrina for. All the while I was sitting underneath the giant wooden hulk, brushing on polyurethane, I was reminded of how much I despised getting that lovely crick in my neck the last time, and how much — after five days — I was getting damned tired of the smell of it.

But most of all, through all of the table construction, the thoughts looming largest in my mind were: I hope I do this justice, I hope this lives up to what we had created before… I hope I do my brothers proud.

They taught me well, those knuckleheads did. We didn’t always get along, and we never quite knew how to show healthy affection for one another other than through incessant teasing and verbal sparring, but they knew how to create, and they passed that on to me. When there was sawdust in the air, all was right with the world.

Here are the fruits of my labors, and I can’t wait to put it to the test in a few weeks time. I was even sent our brand so that I could properly mark anything I build, proclaiming it properly built in the finest tradition of Hurricane Furniture.

And here are three of the jackasses that helped make me the jackass that I am today. Love you all.

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The Texas Baker’s Bill… Last Gasp!

Posted by DmentD | Coolness,Family,Links,Promotion,Spotlight,Stress | Wednesday 25 May 2011 4:34 pm

After fearing the Cottage Food Bill was dead in the House, turns out it’s still gasping for air!  It has actually passed the House, and is in the Senate as bill # SB 81, and has apparently gone round and round a few times already for amendments.  The unfortunate part is that we have less than a week for the Senate to pass it, or the legislative session will end and it’ll really be dead, not to be brought up again for another 2 years.

So, as before, I’m practically begging everyone to call and/or email your Senator and ask that they support SB 81 — specifically supporting it “as is” with the current crop of amendments, as there is little to no time to make any more.  The passing of this bill is the best chance for Sweets to get a legal baking business off the ground without having to scrape up  thousands of dollars in additional fees.  If you would like to help, I ask that you do so very, very soon.

Find out who your Senator is HERE.  More info on the progress of the bill is HERE.

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Esme The Pup.

Posted by DmentD | Domestica,Family,Pictures | Sunday 6 March 2011 6:00 pm

Well, we sure didn’t waste much time, did we?  *grins* We said we would start visiting the shelters once we got back from England (as in starting after a week or so) to see if we could find a pup to adopt, but first we needed to start gathering a few things to be prepared — general stuff like leashes, toys, bedding, etc., with the stuff that is specific to the size of the pup (both as a pup, and as it grows) to come once we adopted.

Saturday started with a nice long lay-in after traveling all day Friday (between the drive to Heathrow Airport, the flight, and the drive back into Austin from Houston, we were on the move for about 21 hours), and then a good breakfast.  We had planned a lazy day in, but we realized we needed some essentials around the house, so we decided to stop at the grocery store… but first, what harm in heading to the pet shop to start gathering the puppy basics?

Stopped in, lazily wandered up and down the isles and picked out a few generic items.  Gathered a few brochures on the obedience classes, played nice for a few minutes with the Shetland pony… I mean Great Dane that someone brought in with them for obedience class, and checked out.  Walked out of the store, and one of the local shelters had set up shop outside with a host of dogs in gated pens… we see them all the time outside the big pet stores, typically fund raising, and if possible, finding homes for some of their pups.  They were one of the rescue shelters that often takes dogs from the one “kill shelter” in town to keep them from being put down just because they weren’t adopted in a timely fashion. We, being in a particularly doggy mood, decided to stop and say hello to some of the dogs.

It seemed the usual compliment of slightly older dogs, until we got down to the end of the line — there, playing together, were two young pups.  They had to be from the same litter, as they had the same brindle coat (brown with black tiger-like stripes), and similar features — they seemed to be a mix of catahoula, terrier, and a pinch of some breed of hound.  One, the male, had a black nose with a white bib and feet, the other, the female had a white nose with a white bib and feet.  The second we reached in to pet them, they took note and started licking our hands, happily sitting calmly to let us scratch their ears and chins.  They were energetic, but not hyperactive, playful, and had a good spark of intelligence in their eyes.  We asked the keeper how old they were, and she told us they were 2 months.

I turned to look at Sweets, and knew that she fell in love the instant I did.  I straightened up and asked her simply “which one?”, and she smiled and told me “the girl”.  I nodded, because she was the one I had picked out too.  We spoke with the keeper to get more details.  The pups were spayed/neutered already, were as up-to-date on their shots as they can be at this age, had been de-wormed, and were perfectly healthy — we have paperwork on every veterinary procedure performed (shots and all).  They would come with a 30-day “insurance” plan, and the shelter would always be available to take any of their adopted dogs back should adopters ever decide they’d rather not keep them.  We filled out the paperwork, went over a zillion details on what vet procedures were needed (booster shots, and once she’s of age, rabies/distemper/parvo shots, etc), heartworm, training etc.  We paid the nicely inexpensive fee, and we had ourselves a new pup.  *grins*

We put her in a shopping cart, and promptly went back into the store to get the rest of the necessities.  She was well behaved, and was showered with attention from everyone we passed.  We brought her home, and were bonding with her all night.  She’s very mellow with bursts of puppy enthusiasm, and will roll over to have her belly pet if you so much as look at her.  She’s starting to get used to the leash… a bit, anyway.  Someone has taught her to sit, as she does it frequently in response to treat offers or going outside.  She’s got no problems being handled or touched — I’ve played with her feet, ears, mouth, tail and she hasn’t so much as twitched.  She’s a relatively quiet pup too.

She’ll grow to be a little bigger than we had originally decided we wanted our full-grown dog to be, but not much more… we estimate she’ll be in the 30-40 lb range.  Her shelter name was “Rosie”, but we think she’s going to be “Esme” (after Esmeralda “Esme” Weatherwax, one of the witches in the Discworld series of books).  She’s absolutely adorable, and spent a fair bit of time snuggled against me on the floor as we watched a bit of TV.

Today we cleaned up the yard and ensured it was as pup friendly as it can be so we can let her out — supervised of course — with a bit of freedom from the leash.  We’ve started positive reinforcement training already, and we’ll soon be shortly attending some new-pup obedience classes.  We started researching behavioral training months ago, in addition to learning what to expect, and what is expected of us.

I have been told by a source (that I shall leave unnamed) that she is cute, as all puppies and babies are cute, but that she is not beautiful, and that she will grow to be an ugly massive hound.  I ask you, how can that be said of this bundle of fur.


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A Call To Arms! The Texas Baker’s Bill.

Posted by DmentD | Coolness,Family,Friends,Links,Promotion,Spotlight,Stress | Friday 11 February 2011 8:09 pm

Yeah, I know, I’m likely to catch hell from you guys for this… but it’s worth it if it helps at all.

I spammed y’all in 2009 about this, but it’s come full circle again in 2011 – the Texas Cottage Food Law.  Currently it’s illegal in Texas for the operation of a food-based business from a residential kitchen, even if it’s “non-potentially hazardous” foods that are at a low risk for spoilage, specifically bakery products and some other foods — jams, jellies, and salsas — that are considered low-risk for spoilage because they are not able to support the growth of potentially harmful organisms and do not require refrigeration.  This makes it prohibitively expensive and complex to start up a small bakery business. The passing of this bill would allow, with appropriate licensing, home-based bakery style businesses.

Most anyone reading this post knows a married couple in Texas that have been trying to quietly drum up business while flying below the radar for some time now.  They can’t really advertise, as that would call unwanted attention to them, so it’s all word of mouth.  They can’t approach places like coffee houses or other little retail establishments to get them to buy their goods, can’t get a stall at a farmer’s market, etc.  Which means that growth is negligible.  If the Cottage Food Law passes, They could (as early as September) get started making a lot of noise and picking up some business.

What does this mean to everyone?  Well, to get the bill passed, those of you living in Texas have to let legislators know that they want them to support it, and to do that folks need to call and/or write them.  There is a site out there with info on the bill, and what to do/how to help.

Texas Cottage Food Law (they’re on Facebook too).

Those good folks are even providing a letter template, the best way to conduct yourself on the call, along with how to find who your local legislators are.

Even if you don’t intend to actually call or write (and I heartily encourage you to do so!), maybe you could pass the information along – email, Facebook, Twitter (there is a hashtag group on twitter — #texasbakersbill — so follow/use that if you go that route), etc.  The more people who know about it, the greater the percentage of people who will call/write.  C’mon, this is the modern age, and social networking rules the land… there’s no reason this information can’t be spread far and wide in relatively no time at all.

The passing of this bill will allow individuals and small groups of home bakers to generate some revenue in this otherwise tepid economical landscape.  That revenue is subject to local sales tax (more money for the Texas state coffers!), income tax (moolah for the Feds!), and spending cash in the pockets of the bakers themselves to help stimulate the local economy.  It would help build small businesses that may one day flourish into larger enterprises, creating even more jobs and revenue along the way. It would allow individuals to ply a trade they truly enjoy, flexing their creative culinary skills, making for a happier person.

I can’t speak for the rest of Texas, but Austin is fiercely proud of it’s reputation for locally owned and operated businesses and the eclectic atmosphere that comes when the majority of the shops are run by individuals and not mega-corporations and chains.  Think of the vast variety of tastes and styles, ethnic and cultural confections that only ever get served up at the family table… then imagine those miraculously being available in farmer’s markets and little stalls and shops around town, all across the State.

It was once stated (quite sadly by a member of the committee with her hands on the bill in 2009 — her name rhymes with “Lois W. Kolkhorst“) that home baking businesses were “the worst kept secret” in Texas, and it was asked why there was need for a law to make it legal?  Go ahead and read this post from the beginning again, I think I’ve covered that quite nicely already.  Seriously, who would oppose passing a law to let people come out of hiding, become legitimate, start paying taxes and earning income above board?  These legislators have other agendas… they simply must.

The bill has been filed with the Texas House of Representatives — HB1139here’s the text of it.  The next step is for it to get assigned to a committee, then read before that committee (which, by the way, is open to the public… so why not show up in support of it?).  Then it goes up for a vote, and if that works out well it gets passed to the Texas Senate to be voted on.

So, Texans (and family of Texans who can poke their kin with a sharp stick for us), we need to be BIG and LOUD about this.  This needs to be more than just a fart in a hurricane.  Put it on the radar of your legislators.  Make yourself heard, dammit!

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Curious Brew Too.

Posted by DmentD | Coolness,Domestica,Entertainment,Family,Homebrew,Links,Promotion | Monday 10 May 2010 11:09 am

This week continues my month-long series on homebrewing over at Curious Confections. This week I dive right in and get into the nitty-gritty of brewing some actual beer.  It’s a long post, so get a bowl of popcorn and fermented beverage of your choice and sit back and relax while reading.

Also, a few other pints… er, points of interest.  Sweets and I celebrated our 1 year wedding anniversary this weekend.  Time has zoomed by so fast.  Love you so much, my sweet girl!

We celebrated with dinner at North by Northwest, a local restaurant and brewery here in Austin. The food was wonderful, and the beer (all brewed in-house, obviously) was outstanding… truly top notch.  Of note specifically was their Duckabish Amber (as per NXNW: “Pilsner, Caravienne, and Chocolate malts give this beer its beautiful, deep amber color.  It is soft and creamy and balanced by Horizon hops.”) and their BlackJack, which is their Okanogan Black Ale aged in oak barrels (smooth, rich, and malty with a fantastic oak finish that stayed on the tongue for minutes after each sip).  I took home a growler of the Duckabish.

We will be going back.  These people deserve support.  *grins*

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Let’s Play Catch Up!

Posted by DmentD | Cooking,Coolness,Domestica,Family,Links,Rambling | Monday 8 February 2010 4:03 pm

Ok, ok… I’ve been lazy.  I admit that, you expect that… so let’s not dwell on it, hmmmm?

What has happened in DmentiA since last I rambled on at random?

Christmas came and went, and left many wonderful things in its wake… including (but not limited to) a new art print for the wall, books, and seed money to procure the bulk of my start-up gear to begin home brewing beer.  *squee* Much intense and focused research was done and equipment was bought.

We made many delicious things as Christmas gifts this year, and Sweets has a great write-up about it all HERE.

Austin saw much rain, and very cold temperatures.  Much of the garden did the usual die-off/leaf drop gig, and the yard started looking bleak.  A few plants were protectable, and even fewer actually prospered form the cold (our garlic, to be specific).  Leaves dropped from trees and littered the yard.

The new year came and went, and left me with a kidney stone as a parting gift.  Thanks… it’s what I’ve always wanted.

Sweets’ family came to the States, and after a week in Disneyworld, they trekked into NOLA where we met them and stayed a few days, then made our collective way to Austin.  They stayed for a week — it was a lovely week at that — and I think I managed to keep from frightening them sufficiently with my crass American ways… I was on my best behavior, and didn’t disgrace my family.  Suckers!  Fooled you all.

They specifically came in to attend Sweets’ graduation from Culinary School, join us in a bleated (very belated!) wedding party, and basically make sure I wasn’t keeping Sweets in squalor (I kid!  I kid!).  The graduation was very nice, and I can’t adequately express how fiercely proud I am of her.

Sweets has written up the visit, complete with pictures, HERE.  She’s done such an elegant job of it, that I won’t shame myself by endeavoring to do it again. (see paragraph 1, i.e. “being lazy”).

And, most recently, Sweets and I finally brewed our first batch of beer.  It’s a lovely Belgian Golden Ale, similar to Duvel, and it was a blast to make.  I spent the preceding ten days doing massive research into the brewing process, basically discarding the generic process that comes along with the recipe kit.  I learned a tremendous amount about the overall process, what shortcuts can be taken, the very specific stages of mashing grains and making a wort, the hows and whys of the specific gravities of the liquid at every stage, and so much more.  I also learned that for all the minutiae that can and should be paid attention to, that you can just chill and not worry about it.  There is a popular phrase I’ve read a lot while doing my homework: “RDWHAHB Relax, Don’t Worry, Have A Homebrew.”

The hooch is in the primary fermenter where it will live until the yeasties have done most of their work converting the sugars into alcohol (about a week), then it gets moved into a secondary fermenter where it basically clarifies for two weeks, then into bottles for conditioning and natural carbonating for 3-4 weeks.  Yup, it’s a lot of time to wait, and that’s why most home brewers have multiple batches going at once.  Time, equipment, and experience will eventually allow us to do that to.  Eventually.

For now, I’m enjoying the sheer adventure and creativity of the process, and I’m learning a hell of a lot of new things as well.  When you stop learning, you may as well lie down and die.

That’s it for now, kiddies.  Expect to hear a lot more about homebrew from me.

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Uncle Sam Says “You can Stay”.

Posted by DmentD | Coolness,Domestica,Family | Monday 14 September 2009 1:31 pm

It’s official — The US Government was unthreatened by the presence of a quiet, deceptively sane-appearing, nerdy English girl in our country, and has granted her the permission to legally hang out as long as she likes… with the caveat that she check back in two years time to let them know that everything is still groovy, and deny wholeheartedly that she is turning the denizens of these shores into her willing zombie slaves through the cunning use of delicious baked goods.

Sweets has written a thorough account of the immigration interview that we attended on Friday, Sept. 11th (how’s that for an ominous date to have to attend a government appointment?), and I’ll point you in her direction for the big picture and just add my own embellishments here.  Go read, then come back.  I’ll wait.  Shoo!

Alrighty, then.

First, we’ve had an unholy amount of rain the last week — a refreshing change considering the drought that Austin has been suffering, but c’mon… overcompensating much? — and the drive to San Antonio on Friday was like nipping at Moses’ heels while passing through the Red Sea, all the while knowing that the mass of water coming down on your head was a mere few seconds lead-in to the crashing sea that was going to wash over you.  So yeah, a fun drive in the rain, both ways.  Being a NOLA native, and being accustomed to driving in the rain every damned afternoon in the summer months, this was no big deal — even down to dodging around the idiots who acted as if they’d never seen moisture tumble from the sky.

We got into San Antonio stupid early, on purpose.  Looking to kill some time we searched out a coffee house, and I’d have even gladly accepted a Starbucks… but it was a hell of a job trying to find one.  I mean for the love of Jeebus, you can see them from SPACE, but I couldn’t find one anywhere along the I-35 stretch we were searching along.  We were in what passes for a business sector and in the vicinity of a government office building… I mean, isn’t it in the zoning ordinances to have a Starbucks every 50′ or so given the area?  Eventually common sense gave in and we used our fancy-pants Blackberry to search one out.

Entering the USCIS building we had to put bags/boxes/etc through an x-ray machine, and pass through a metal detector.  The usual dance for metal detectors is to strip all metal things off and put them in a little tray and pass though.  I wear steel-toed boots and they can occasionally set them off, so I asked the officer (an honest to goodness cop, not a rent-a-badge) if I should take them off, to which he replies “no, because I’m not STUPID.” It took me a beat or two to realize he wasn’t insulting me, but taking a shot at the TSA and their retarded flavor of airport security.  We were then treated to a highly entertaining rant on why it’s ineffective, and “do  you know what grows on those floors with all those barefoot people walking through?” I liked this guy immediately.

As we waited to be called, we were concerned that with all the Latino names being called that they would mispronounce Sweets’ name (as the officer did when we were passing through security).  She suggests we listen for our last name as that ought to be distinct enough.  When they finally called for us, they used Sweet’s first and middle name, mispronouncing the first.  Figures.

The interview process was… brief.  Startlingly so.  Literally, it was confirming our basic information (with a check-off on the form as we did so), and I suspect it was as much to ensure we were the ones who filled out the form as it was to guarantee accuracy.  They quizzed me on Sweets’ birth date and our marriage date (and my brain has a retarded habit of transposing March and May, so I had to do a quick mental check off before speaking —  January, February, March, April… “May!”). The whole time I’m looking at the HUGE stack of paperwork in her folder on us and wondering what else is in there… just curious, as I always am about these things (“Wow, they have a copy of my high school art-class projects in here!  This is incredible!”).

I don’t know what I was expecting, but it wasn’t this brief polite exchange.  Maybe a bag would get slipped over our heads as we ascended in the elevator and we’d be brought to separate rooms to be quizzed under a single 100 watt light bulb, never seeing the faces of our inquisitors.  Electrodes would be strapped to our sweaty extremities to detect if we were lying or truthing.  Who knows?!  As nervous as we were about not inadvertently screwing up, I think none of that would have come as a shock.  At the least I was expecting a little more behavioral observation while being asked a few more probing questions about our relationship, you know, to see if we betrayed any of the common “tells” of someone who is lying — not that we were, but with my luck, I’d raise some suspicions from just being so nervous.  *shrugs*

I guess the answer lies somewhere between the fact that the English aren’t rampantly running/climbing/swimming illegally across our borders (the “Mexican Triathlon” — not my term!) and thereby aren’t much of a threat, and that we obsessively researched the entire process and over-anticipated their every requirement — not only on the forms we submitted, but on what we had to bring with us to the interview (as was evidenced by our box full of stuff, where everyone else had a single, limp folder with them).  We must not have raised any red flags.  Go us!

So, Sweets can now work and travel without restriction, and without the need for any other government issued IDs beyond the Greencard (once it arrives).  In 3 years time she can start the citizenship process and can eventually count herself amongst he ranks of “stupid Americans”… a title she will have not only chosen willingly, but will have worked hard to earn.

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Happy Happy Birthday Baby!

Posted by DmentD | Domestica,Family | Sunday 5 July 2009 12:30 am

Today is the birthday of my sweet wonderful girl, who I love so much.  My life has changed — so much for the better — since you’ve chosen to share it with me.  I hope this year, and years to come, bring you as much joy (if not more) than you’ve brought to mine.  I hope to be instrumental in that joy.

I hope you enjoyed the fireworks yesterday, my love.  I arranged for the entire country to celebrate the eve of your birthday as a special treat for you.  It worked out so well, I might just do it again next year.  *grins*

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We Done Gone To The Chapel….

Posted by DmentD | Coolness,Domestica,Family,Links | Wednesday 13 May 2009 2:09 pm

I’m a married man.

I’m blissfully wed to a woman that I have been head-over-heels in love with for the better part of two years, and whom I am thrilled beyond mortal words to be able to share my life with.

And because I’m a lazy bastard who doesn’t want to recreate the wheel, I’m sending you over to Sweets’ site to read the details and see the pictures*grins* She’s done an excellent job of it, and by law I’m now entitled to half the credit for the post.

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Canadian Animal.

Posted by DmentD | Entertainment,Family,Links,Rambling | Friday 22 August 2008 3:58 pm

Ok, I’m seeing double right now.

My favorite shows on the idiot box are mostly composed of cooking shows (Good Eats, Ace of Cakes, Iron Chef America, and an outside contender that skirts the line between food and travel show… No Reservations), Discovery Channel fun/danger shows (MythBusters, Dirty Jobs, Deadliest Catch), BBC America imports (Top Gear, The Graham Norton Show… and hoping like hell that QI makes its way across eventually), and a number of one-offs that aren’t defined by a genre.

I just picked up a new one, basically a “contractors fucked up my home, I’d like you to make it right” type show.  The host comes in and soberly, with minimal sensationalism, tears out as much of the original poor construction as necessary — pointing out where the original contractor screwed the pooch with relation to safety and code — and redoes it properly, explaining what and why he’s doing.  The show is Holmes on Homes, and the host, Mike Holmes is a sturdily built dude, with a no nonsense attitude, and a Boy Scout complex a mile wide.  He looks, sounds and behaves almost exactly like my brother, Animal, if he would have gone into construction.  It amuses me to no end.

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