Snow Down A Little.

Posted by DmentD | Coolness,Pictures,Rambling,Reflection | Wednesday 10 December 2008 12:15 am

Ok, Son of the South be damned, snow still holds some sort of magical sway over me.  Used to be I’d see it once every 10 years or so in NOLA, and it wasn’t a very overachieving form of snow… small flakes that didn’t softly pile up on the ground, but instead elbowed the flakes below them into “almost sleet”.

Last year in Austin I was witness to a proper snow.  Big fluffy puffballs of pocket lint, gracefully and slowly poking Galileo in the eye by bringing air friction into the mix and gently moseying down to the ground to gather into downy piles.

Tonight I had the strange fortune of driving through that same sort of snow.  The temperature today started at a high of 79 degrees, and plummeted to 32 in a matter of six hours, bringing rain with it.  The rain, ever the ambitious one, moved on to become pea sized hail, then promptly lost its motivation and became rain again.  After picking Sweets up from school the hail started again, then rapidly became little soft blurs in my headlights that I realized was snow.  Big, proper fluffy snow again.  And I was driving it it.  Trying desperately to pay attention to the road because all I wanted to do was focus on the snow as it blew through the arcs of the streetlights.

Ok, so snow is no big deal… to anyone who lives outside of this temperate region of the South.  We have three and a half seasons down here, and none of them include the need for chains on tires (unless you want that extra traction for offroading).  And a snow shovel is used to pick up after the horses in the parades.

It was fun and novel, and I get to feel like a kid again making mud angels (I didn’t say it accumulated much on the ground, now did I… you just get to enjoy it floating through the air).

I leave you with a picture of our mailbox.

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*shudders*

Posted by DmentD | Links,Rambling,Reflection,Stress | Monday 8 December 2008 12:57 pm

Ladies and gentlemen, your attention please.

I, as you know, was born and raised in south Louisiana.  The glorious land of high humidity, warm temperatures, narrow minds, and expanded appetites.  Louisiana, the land where residents routinely dine on mass quantities of the aquatic equivalent of the Madagascar hissing cockroach, and prehistoric reptiles that would be just as happy dining on mass quantities of you.  A land where the scrapings of a pig’s scull are gelatinized, molded, refrigerated, and served on crackers under the dubious label of “head cheese”.  The land where fresh roadkill is just a time saving step toward getting your grocery shopping done (and consequently the former home to one of the oldest leper colonies in the U.S.).  I am now keeping my food heritage alive and well in Austin… Jeebus help them all.

I tell you, as a man raised in that gastronomical environment, I am disgusted and mortified by the tale of the wee orlotan, a bird from the bunting family that is the size of a lark.  And I figure if it has that effect on me, then who am I to not share it with the people I love the most.  Here — stolen shamelessly from the pages of the St. Kew Inn newsletter — is the finest description of what has me tweaked almost beyond words:

After netting, the bird has its eyes poked out and is kept in a cage where it gorge feeds on millet, grapes and figs until it gets about four times its normal size.  It is drowned in Armagnac, and then roasted in a very hot oven for about 6-8 minutes.  The great experience is entirely in the eating.  Firstly a traditional embroidered napkin is placed over one’s head – some say this is to enable the diner to inhale the earthy, rich aroma, others say it is to hide one’s head from God for one’s gluttony and shame.  Then place the piping hot bird in one’s mouth leaving the head dangling out, bite it off and discard.  Inhale rapidly through the mouth to cool the bird down and allow the ambrosial fat to cascade down one’s throat.  When cool, slowly begin to chew.  In a glorious 15 minutes, work through the breast and wings allowing the delicate cracking bones to lacerate the gums and allow one’s own salty blood to mingle as one moves on to the inner organs.  Devotees claim they can taste the bird’s entire life as they chew in the darkness: the wheat of Morocco, the salt air of the Mediterranean, the lavender of Provence.  The pea sized lungs and heart, saturated in Armagnac are said to burst in a liqueur-scented flower on the diner’s tongue.

Mmm, mmm!  There is nothing quite like having a bird (blinded, fed to the point of bursting, drowned in brandy and roasted whole) — feathers and all — popped straight away into your maw to sear your mouthflesh.  The delight of prizing the head off with your teeth is nearly as wonderful as shredding your gums with its tiny, brittle bones.  I mean, come on!

This lovely dish/ritual comes to us courtesy of the French, who have had a hit-and-miss relationship with their influences on world gastronomy (admittedly, mostly “hit”, but still…).  The cherry on top is that it was as late as 1999 that they outlawed the preparation and sale of the orlotan as a dish, but it took till 2007 to outlaw consumption.

This ranks up there on the squick-me-out-scale alongside the Dirty Jobs episode where Mike was docking the tails of sheep, and castrating them with his teeth.  I was squirming in my seat the whole episode, and frankly had to avert my eyes a few times out of sympathy.

Oh Jeebus.

Thank you Sweets for intoducing me to the orlotan.  You never fail to surprise me with the things you know.  I will have my revenge one day.

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Mishmash.

Posted by DmentD | Domestica,Links,Rambling | Wednesday 1 October 2008 2:43 pm

Random points of (dubious) interest in my otherwise uneventful week so far:

Sweets — in a feat best described as magic — managed to not break any bones in her hand after having it smashed between two heavy, wheeled, stainless steel tables at school.  I’m sure she’s not feeling too magical right about now, but I have to tell you that accidents do happen… and her bones pulled off some kind of fucking Houdini trick by not actually being in her hand at the moment of impact.  I keep telling her to take this act on the road, but she reminds me that the bill for splints, ice and Advil will far outweigh any profits from the performance.  You can read her account of the incident HERE.

On that note, and swinging the sympathy spotlight back toward me for a moment — and this site is all about letting my inner narcissist out of his cage — my ankle is doing remarkably well.  Walking is mostly back to normal, I have a little soreness now and again, some swelling when I don’t keep off it enough, and a lovely jolt up my leg when I step awkwardly on a piece of uneven ground.  Subtle reminders of the frailty of the human body.

The new dishwasher was delivered today, to be installed by me tomorrow.  Thank goodness, as I fear that some sort of boogeyman has taken up residence in the gaping maw under my countertop that the old dishwaher was removed from.  I’ll have to shoo him out with a broom and a flamethrower.

Been eating more delicious baked goods than I can conceivably begin to list here.  Had many and varied breads the last three weeks, and there is a dubious looking container of white goo in my fridge labeled “Bready Kreuger”, looking for all the world like a failed experiment in Dr. Frankenstein’s lab.  Sweets tells me it’s a sourdough starter, but I suspect it’s some sentient beastie that is going to nuzzle up to the lid of its container, pry it free, ooze under the fridge door, fall to the floor with a wet “plorp” sound, and come and kill me in my sleep.  Or give me a yeast infection.  *ba-dum-tish* Thank you, thank you, I’m here all week.

We have made two cakes for actual money so far.  A slow start, but a start nonetheless.  Looking for more like that.  Am putting together a price-list for my friend who manages a local eatery, to supplement their dessert menu.  Not a lot of money in it, but lots of fantastic practice, opportunities to hone and retool our processes, and of course, a stack of business cards to be handed out if folks ask who made what they just enjoyed.  *crosses fingers* We wouldn’t complain to have more paying gigs during the week.

On that note, also working on a front-end for curiousconfections.com, to make the site a little more than a gallery.

Have been teaching Sweets how to drive on our shores… and not use the backwards, metric, left-side of the road style that makes up only 28% of the world’s total road distance.  *ducks* She’s doing astoundingly well, and it doesn’t hurt that she does know how to drive (even if she hasn’t done it in a while).  Not once have I had to grab the oh-shit handle, or stomp on the voodoo brake — I feel safe and confident with her in the car.  In a year, once she’s feeling confident and plucky, that’s when I’ll be diving under the dashboard for safety.  *grins*

That’s all my brain feels capable of yarfing up onto your screen for now.  More later, as later brings more.

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Growing Pains.

Posted by DmentD | Aggravation,Rambling,Site | Monday 15 September 2008 3:21 pm

The new site makes me very happy.  I’ve been tinkering with it nonstop since I decided to make the changeover, and especially now that the changeover is official.  There is one issue that will affect only a small portion of my readership, and that is because they are still using Internet Explorer to browse the web.

Now, I can’t tell you what browser to use (but shame on you if you’re still sailing the Intarwebs on that leaky tub IE), but I can tell you that at this point DmentD.com may never be optimized to work perfectly in IE… and here’s why: Microsoft has deemed it unnecessary to bother conforming to the ever changing world of web design standards and conventions.  MS picks and chooses what it feels is optimal to them, makes up a fair amount of their own shit, and discards the rest.

The case in question here has to do with integrating my gallery into the WordPress front end here.  The gallery is optimally viewed in an environment that favors a landscape page design, whereas I utilize a portrait page design that employs tightly controlled design elements.  In FireFox, and indeed on the other non-IE browsers I’ve tested the site on (including, I would like to add, an iPhone), the gallery merely extends gracefully past the confines of the right border of the page design as needed because that content is”floating” above the page design itself.  IE, however, triggers a “float drop” (a phrase coined specifically for this little anomaly), causing the gallery to appear below the navigation bar because it is wider — by narrow and wide degrees — than the space allotted for it.

There are workarounds (not solutions, mind you, but the equivalent of using a coat hanger to keep your muffler from dragging the ground as you drive), but none of  them are readily applicable to this situation.  I s’pose I could find or build another theme that is laid out better for these circumstances, but I like the one I’m using, I’ve spent a considerable amount of time making it pleasing to me, and to selectively quote GonzO:

I found out that I don’t really care, on a personal-site level, about standards, language validation, or other such nonsense.  I care about people reading what they came to read, not using excessive amounts of bandwidth, and being able to use the entire site. This should happen across any platform, and on any browser, you can think of, though I no longer test in IE or even in Windows for that matter. The site will not fit if you’re using anything less than 1024×768, so sorry to all the dudes out there still using a 4mb video card, but COME ON and get with the program, already.

So, I apologize to the IE users, you’re just gonna have to scroll down a bit more than everyone else.  I’ve got more important site tasks to work out than fixing the gallery display in one browser, only to have it broken in another, and so on, and so on, ad infinitum.  If you’re particularly upset about this, you can always just bookmark the direct link to the gallery and use that.

And having blathered on about all that, I also want to point out that I am still working on the backlog of fixing broken links and images in the remaining posts, and assigning them to appropriate categories.

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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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Sweets, Celebrity And Grilling.

Posted by DmentD | Cooking,Domestica,Links,Pictures,Rambling | Thursday 21 August 2008 5:33 pm

Hello loyal readership (and by loyal readership, I mean my near countless minions numbering in the single digits).  So, while I do not have a trip journal to entertain you with yet, I do feel like blabbering.  So, why not?

First and foremost, the HMS Sweets has docked on our shores.  Her flights — in complete defiance of common practice — were all not only on time and effortless, but even had the audacity to arrive early in some cases.  I don’t know what we did to deserve this cosmic/karmic boon, but I sure as hell won’t be forgetting to toast DeJockamo any time soon.  I threw a “Belated Happy Birthday & Welcome Home” party in her honor the day after her arrival, complete with lots of grilled animal flesh, and a cake in the shape of a sheep.  Good food, good company, and puppies galore running around and being cute as can be.  Capped off by some homemade tiramisu ice cream (my own recipe, thankyouverymuch), the day was a success.

We then spent the following week getting her settled in: opening a US bank account, a cell phone, getting a dresser, unpacking, hanging pictures (I left them down so she could help me hang them, and contribute to decorating the house and feel like it’s her place too, not just my house that she is staying at), going to her orientation at the culinary academy, birthday present clothes shopping (for Texas-heat appropriate apparel), and other such things.

It’s spooky how well and easily we’ve settled into the house together, and have established a happy routine.  Mind you, this is only the second week, but so far it’s gone well.  As different as we both are, we see eye to eye on a lot of things, especially when it comes to keeping house.  She’s spent so long trying to keep her head above water — cleaning wise — in a house with three to four other housemates, that she’s developed basically the same housekeeping philosophy it took me thirty four years to evolve.  Neither of us are OC neat freaks, but we like a tidy house… and a clean and orderly kitchen especially.  Things get put away in a timely fashion, but we shun dusting unless absolutely necessary.  We keep house in such a manner that we would never be embarrassed if company stopped by unexpectedly.  So, we seem to be domestically very compatible at this point.  Check back, gentle readers, in a year.

Sweets’ first week of school is going well for her, all three days of it so far.  They’ve covered sanitary practices and health codes, temperatures and other things.  She’s covered all this in her UK courses already, but just needs to learn the Fahrenheit temps instead of the Celsius temps.  Day one, in the first few minutes alone, she charmed the pants off of her instructor for this first three week course, simply by opening her mouth and talking — her accent made the instructor nearly swoon, and now she’s telling the other instructors to just listen to Sweets talk.  I told her before she got here, that her accent is going to be key in charming and winning people over, well before her culinary talent is called to action.  Americans are predisposed to accept a smooth, posh English accent as a sign of culture, refinement and intelligence — and I’m not saying “ha, she’s going to have everyone fooled“, because she is wickedly intelligent and charming too, but that she should use our genetic weakness to make friends and contacts in the industry as it is a fantastic foot in the door.

And I must say, I have discovered a hitherto unknown fetish for cute, bespectacled women wearing a crisp, white, double-breasted chef’s jacket.

And on to thoughts that do not involve domestic bliss.

Been reading a lot of Kevin Smith’s blog My Boring Ass Life, as well as Wil Wheaton’s blog WWdN: In Exile.  It’s oddly quite comforting to know that two pop-culture icons of my generation, two moderately successful guys who occupy the limelight, are just a coupla’ normal schmoes like me.  If you remove their fame, money and notoriety — hell, in spite of their fame, money and notoriety — they lead relatively normal human lives.  They’re geeks, have everyday insecurities, do their best to hustle up work and provide a decent life for themselves and their families, get pissed off at the drive thru when their order is wrong, and basically are human to their very core.  They’re warm, decent guys, and I have an overwhelming desire to spend a few hours just sitting around and bullshitting over a few drinks with them (and Wil, I recommend PranQster Belgian Style Golden Ale).

They make my list of “celebrities” I’d like to drink with, which is composed of people who are earthy and interesting.  As a result they don’t trigger that idol-worship reflex that causes one — when in the presence of someone famous — to sweat profusely, stammer uncontrollably, say inane things and give limp, damp handshakes.  Others on that list include Fred LeBlanc of Cowboy Mouth, Douglas Adams (now a long gone chance), Chris Elliot and Bruce Campbell.  All hard working, intelligent stiffs, and not infected with a prima donna complex.

Been grilling a lot.  I’ve always liked grilling, but have had a near three year hiatus due to some blowhard bitch that killed my home in NOLA.  The staples of grilling live in my freezer — boneless skinless chicken breasts and sirloin burgers from Sam’s — but I’ve started a meat-affair with my local semi-fa-fa grocery, Central Market (think Whole Foods with only half a stick up their ass).  They offer pre-marinated fresh animal flesh of all types that walk, fly or swim.  Their chicken is divine, especially the pesto garlic marinated variety, and dear Jeebus their dry-rub seasoned fajita beef rocked my world.

Have also grilled my fair share of veggies, too, most notably corn-on-the-cob.  And while I’m a sentimental, aesthetic fool and like the notion of grilling corn in the husk, I think the best method yet is to de-husk it, brush it lightly with butter, sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper, wrap in foil and throw that on the grill over medium heat, turning it two times at five minute intervals (15 minutes total).  You still get some color on the kernels, but you preserve most all of the moisture, and the butter can seep between the kernels nicely.  Even with soaking in cold water, the husks still dry out quickly, char and catch fire.

Aaaand, that’s what I gots for now.

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Insert Distraction Here.

Posted by DmentD | Entertainment,Links,Rambling | Friday 4 July 2008 12:48 am

Ok, some videos and such to distract you from the fact that I haven’t posted anything about my recent trip to Wales.

First Where The Hell Is Matt (2008).  The back story of the video is this:

Matthew Harding spent 14 months visiting 42 countries in order to produce “Where the Hell is Matt?”, a four-and-a-half minute video featuring Harding (and anyone else he could rope into it) doing an incredibly silly, high-energy dance in some of the most breathtaking scenery around the world. This may be the best four minutes and twenty-eight seconds of your week.

I happen to agree. The video made me grin like a fool for no reason — and for every reason, it just made my heart feel light, and made me happy.  I liked the song enough to actually pay for it (conceal your shocked expressions, please).  If you wanna know more about Matt and his 15 minutes of fame, you can read all about it on HIS SITE.

Second, a video that I’m sure everyone has seen, but just hit my radar today, courtesy of an email.  I present to you, the heartbreak of COOTIES.

Lastly… sometimes it’s worth watching the ORIGINAL, sincere, but unintentionally silly video, just so you can really enjoy the PARODIES, as most of the time they are FUNNIER, and more LUDICROUS.  And then someone comes along and does THIS (ignore the video, listen to the music).

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Stress Fractures.

Posted by DmentD | Aggravation,Rambling,Stress | Friday 25 April 2008 2:44 pm

The date to close on the house is rapidly approaching — April 30th.  So far, the stars are in alignment… the contract is a lock, the loan is a done deal (at a fairly awesome interest rate), my mortgage company deserves some sort of posthumous Medal of Honor for throwing themselves on the worst of the paperwork grenade and absorbing all the shrapnel for me.  I cut a check for my portion of the roof as a deposit (upgrading to the better roof for a fraction of the cost), and the work is a go as soon as the ink dries next Wednesday.

So why do I feel like a guitar string being tightened to the point of snapping, giving off metallic pings and tremors just before shearing?  I’m raw, I’m on edge, and my nerves feel like they’re being sandpapered.  I feel like I’m drowning at times, for want to get my head above the waves of this emotional ocean.

I’m lonely as hell.  The one person I want to spend as much time as humanly possible with is 5000+ miles, and an ocean away.  We IM, we video every so often, we talk on the phone now and again and I am comforted, elated and feel her companionship… but the second the signal is severed, I’m left alone again in my little apartment.

I can be alone, that’s something I learned about myself and am quite comfortable with.  But now that I have a such a wonderful girl in my life, I want nothing more than to be close to her, and I can’t.  At least not yet.  Yet the loneliness I feel is not from living alone, and is felt more sharply owing to the immediate stresses pressing down on me.

I have friends galore, whom I don’t get to see enough of.  Some of them are new friends, and they’re wonderful but we’re still trying to get our equilibrium with one another.  Some of them are old friends, and are the backbone of my emotional support system — they are the comfortable, well known easy chair I can turn to when times are rough, to cradle me, support me, and give me comfort when the world is crumbling down around my ears.  Except that they have problems of their own, or are soul searching and rediscovering who they are, or they are growing in a different direction, or they don’t feel like putting up with my crap any more, or I’ve done such a wonderful job of disguising my emotional state that they don’t realize anything is amiss.  So with a few notable exceptions, my comfy easy chair has left the building… I have a small cushion left, and that’s about it (and I’m thankful for that cushion, or I’d have lost my mind completely by now).

And this lack of being able to lean on my friends for a change has done nothing to improve my mindset.  I’m grouchy, irritable, and throwing off negative waves like a corpse off-gassing the stench of decay.  I’m afraid I’m wearing thin on those who have been putting up with me, including my girl who is oh-so-far away.  But still, what underlies it all is the fact that I’m bone-achingly lonely, and normally it’s not a problem except that right now it’s compounded by the fact that I’m about to lay out a huge sum of money all in one go, and that a figurative chunk of blue ice could fall from the empty sky and wreck the whole house deal.

I need some familiar company.  I don’t even want to go on at length about my problems, I just need companionship and a meal, a movie or a beer in comfortable surroundings.  I need distractions from my stresses, preferably in a small group of two or three.  I need someone to make me laugh — to release that valve on the top of my head like a pressure cooker.  Someone to engage me in a conversation that does not include “house”, “contract”, “closing” or “down payment” in it.  I have made attempts with sub-par success.  Maybe I am too good at hiding my mental state.  Maybe I’m comically lousy at it, and that’s chasing everyone off like Frankenstein’s monster smashing the door in.

But the one thing I don’t want is sympathy.  I don’t want a pat on the head and exclamations of “poor baby!”.  I’m not fishing for a pity round at the local pub.  I’m not looking for a sudden onslaught of calls and texts out of the clear blue sky looking to hang out because people read this post and suddenly feel bad for me, or guilty, or obligated — I’ll take my lonely little apartment over that any day.  In fact, I don’t know what I want, except to not feel like too little butter scraped over too much bread.

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Fire Men.

Posted by DmentD | Aggravation,Rambling | Tuesday 25 March 2008 11:42 pm

It’s always mildly disconcerting to be about to lay down for bed and hear the sound of a large vehicle’s air-brakes bringing it to a halt outside your window, then you look through the blinds only to see a firetruck parked there.

Suddenly, the nice men in their turnout gear had my full attention.  If my building was on fire, I’d kinda like to know about it.

They weren’t in a hurry, and they didn’t have their sirens a-blazing, but they were there.  Flashlights in hand they explored the breezeway on my side of building 4, and then went to the other side where it looks as if they were met by a woman and her dog.  They disappeared over there for about five minutes.  They then leisurely walked back to the truck, got in and disembarked.  The guy in the front passenger seat spotted me on my patio watching them, and gave me a half hearted wave.

I have absolutely no clue what the hell that was all about, but needless to say it was strange, and a little surreal.  As I was walking back to the bedroom, I knew in my heart of hearts I had to pause to blog about this.

Fuck.  I need to find a house to buy.  I’m very tired of living with the possibility that the residents of 15 other apartments could possibly burn my home to the ground.  I don’t like those odds, and frankly, I don’t trust that most of these chuckleheads could pour water out of a boot if the instructions were written on the heel, much less be completely focused on day-to-day common sense and safety.  All it takes is one asshole to leave a candle burning somewhere, or decide it’s perfectly ok to smoke in bed so long as the windows are open.

If I burn a house of my own to the ground, I have nobody to blame but myself.  I wouldn’t be rolling the dice with a mob of lowest common denominators.

*sigh*

*** ADDENDUM ***

During the next hour a number of Austin Energy (the local power company) trucks came and went through my parking lot.

Curious.

And then around 1AM I was woken from a dead sleep by the sound of chainsaws.  They went on for a number of hours, continually waking me on and off.  This morning there was a tree-service company disposing of lots of large branches.

I can only surmise that a tree was rubbing on a power line to the building and causing some trouble, specifically something that may have caused some sparks; hence the firetruck, power company and tree-service company.

I is tired.

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Pratchett-isms, And WTF.

Posted by DmentD | Entertainment,Links,Rambling | Monday 3 March 2008 11:00 pm

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series.  It has evolved and grown beyond just a mere collection of books, and into a realm that commands as rabid — if not more, and politely so — a fan base that the Harry Potter series.  It’s been around longer, requires no particular reading order to enjoy, and boasts such a wide variety of amusing characters that while you may not like all of them, I guarantee you’ll find a quite a number of them that you do (and generally, they character subsets switch around from book to book so you’re not inundated with a bazillion characters at once).  And having just said that you can just pick up at any book and read, it’s nice to start at the beginning and work your way through, as it’s nice to watch the characters evolve and become quite well rounded indeed.

Been re-reading a few of the earlier books, very purposefully, to gain a sense on how far some of the characters come in their growth.  Stumbled across a few quotes (of many) that struck me as worth repeating.  The first is from Granny Weatherwax in Equal Rites, and while short, speaks volumes and mirrors a small splinter of my personal philosophy:

They say a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but it is not one half so bad as a lot of ignorance.

The second is from Reaper Man, and made me giggle for about a minute solid, while riding a recumbent bike in the gym, surrounded by sweaty people who seemed to have left their sense of humor in their lockers.  The context you need to understand this quote is this: it is between two wizards on the staff of Unseen University (a college of sorts for wizards of the stuffy, elitist, six-meal-a-day and do not much else type), and the Librarian is an orangutan who once was a human, was changed by an unfortunate accident, and refuses to be changed back as it suits his particular vocation.  He also communicates (quite clearly somehow) with a vocabulary that mainly consists of the word “oook“.

Oook.
You? We can’t take you,” said the Dean, glaring at the Librarian. “You don’t know a thing about guerrilla warfare.
Oook!” said the Librarian, and made a surprisingly comprehensive gesture to indicate that, on the other hand, what he didn’t know about orangutan warfare could be written on the very small pounded up remains of, for example, the Dean.

And, as a final, completely unrelated note, THIS must be destroyed before it can reach the children! Seriously man, it’s freaking me out.

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