The Trick With Presents

B pointed out several years ago that the trick with presents is to get people things that they actually want, not things you want them to want. It's the kind of idea that seems pretty intuitive but is deceptively difficult to stick to. Example:
  • Things B actually wants: nice, classic clothes.
  • Things I want her to want: cute indie girl clothes.
We've now been married for...let's see...one billion years, so we've got it about sorted finally. For xmas, she got me gin, a record (we are totally setting up a stereo in the new place with a functioning turntable again), and a rad vintage cowboy shirt. I got her a necklace and a badass restaurant-quality mandolin.* Other family gifts were equally successful - lots of weapons and liquor, mostly.** My eight year-old niece even busted out a bunch of crafty hand-sewing and gave everyone cute stuff; I got a brown fleece cap that makes me look kind of like I'm going to go pillaging across the open steppes.

Only a week or so until I start teaching. I have vowed never to be in this particular position again, come hell or high water; once I start teaching, I'm going to push hard to get the lid back on the sanity kettle.***

* A mandolin is a kitchen appliance used to produce uniformly-sized slices, not a renaissance-fair instrument for playing ballads.
** Seriously. Gin and sharp things for kitchens were well-represented under the tree.
*** As in, I will not be doing class prep on top of super-hard IT crap at the same time ever again, for fear of heart attacks, homicide, and insufferable complaining.


Make Some Lager, Bitches

...more on the stress, overworked, kind of terrified front going on in the background here, but let's go ahead and bracket all of that and talk about something else instead:


Lager is a nice kind of beer. A good lager is very smooth and easy to drink and gives you a wonderful feeling of beer-satisfied. Unlike stouts and porters and IPAs and ales (all of which I like), the taste of a good lager doesn't kind of add up until it's unpleasant, nor are lagers likely to make you more tired than their sheer alcohol content would suggest (I find that other beers do that sometimes.)

Two example really good lagers: Kingfisher (Indian) and Carlsberg (Danish...I think.)

Now, the thing is, almost no microbreweries make good lagers, if they bother and make 'em at all. Lager is too declasse, too quotidian, too obvious and boring and vulgar and mundane, so they concentrate on crazy hoppy stuff and beers that sometimes take as much work to drink as, say, a sandwich would. To drink.

I don't blame them for this; the glory of microbrews is that people who really love good beer tend to run them, and there is no question that the microbrewery phenomenon of the last twenty years has dramatically altered the face of American beer selection for the better. I just think it's time that they realize that crafting a smooth, delicious lager is a worthy goal, one they could certainly address with their extensive command of beer mastery.

Thus: I call on the microbrewers of the western US to rally and offer delicious golden lagers to accompany their already-excellent selections of other kinds of beer. By the power vested in me by absolutely nothing, make it so.


What Can I Say?

Besides talking about being tired, there's nothing quite as tedious as using a blog to talk about how one blogs infrequently...so I won't.

I will say, though, that the KFR show has been pretty schizophrenic, or at least bifurcated. Observe:
  • Every single time we hang out with friends, which is generally 3 - 4 times a week, we have a lot of fun. Last night, for example, we had our compadres B + C over for a massive Indian feast from Bombay Cricket Club, our favorite restaurant in Portland.
  • I am really stressed out, you guys.
  • The stuff I do at work is easily the hardest, most complex IT stuff I've ever done. I'm setting up a whole security infrastructure right now to link our Cisco networking gear and our Linux servers to the same kerberos environment. It is not that easy to figure it all out.
  • My classes start in, like, two weeks. I have some lectures ready(-ish) but I have the sinking feeling that I'm going to be standing up there and run out of material, like always happens to me.
And then there's:
  • Plan C has been changing up sleeping patterns and getting all erratic on us.
  • Oh, and apparently, it's Christmas now? What?


Right On, Sister

Sometimes her own vast privilege makes her hard to read, but in general I totally agree with Tenured Radical. I ESPECIALLY agree with:




I Represent

I got my Oregon license, plates, and insurance all sorted out yesterday. I missed one question out of thirty on the knowledge test: what causes the most accidents involving motorcycles? I bet you did not know, but it is the scourge of abrupt left turns.

The agenda has been more nuts than usual of late. B's been minding Plan C and finishing the unpacking / organizing / logistics while I bang my head against code at work and trying to write lectures as fast as humanly possible. We had dinner with friends twice in the last three days, with a massive birthday celebration planned for this evening following a Xmas-tree outing and a visitation with B's brother at the puppet factory.*

Here are some of the things that have been just amazing and help counterbalance the stress and sleep-dep lately:
  • Pad Khee Mow (mao?)
  • More coffee than usual, if such a thing is possible
  • Friends of taste and learning
  • Oregon plates
  • This apartment
  • I like the bus
  • Kind of crappy fantasy novels set in D+D worlds
  • Copying and pasting other people's code and changing it slightly
* Seriously, he works at a puppet factory.