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Overthinking It, Cars Edition

December 6, 2017

There are several small cars shown which are clearly intended to be “kids.” And several cars who refer to other cars as “dad.” So how do baby cars get made?

In the first movie, a van passes Mac with a mattress strapped to its roof. Where is it going with that mattress? Who is going to sleep on it?

Mac says “Thank the Manufacturer” when Lightning McQueen is found. Do cars have religion? Do they worship Henry Ford?

The second movie talks about Doc Hudson’s death, but never how he died. There’s a scene where one character “drowns” and another which shows a character getting burned up by the Evil Plot Device. But multiple other characters are shot by the Evil Plot Device and are only incapacitated. It seems like most car parts can be replaced, so what exactly has to break in order for a car to die?

The second movie shows several monuments which were created well before our modern invention of cars. But they are built to the scale of cars, implying that these monuments were built by this society. What came before motorized cars? Anthropomorphic carts? Boats? Bikes?

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Restaurant Review: Zaxby’s

November 25, 2017

In a town full of amazing fried chicken options, Zaxby’s is a resounding “Meh.”

Props to the chain for having their allergen information readily available. The website has a pretty thorough listing of the most common allergens and the restaurant itself had the allergy and allergens binder right being the counter for easy employee access. The restaurant we went to had one of the fancy Coke machines that has a whole slew of flavors.  It was also very clean. And while this isn’t going to be a negative review, that’s about the sum total of everything good I have to say about the place.

Zaxby’s is apparently intended to be a fast food wings joint. And the food certainly came out fast. So that’s another positive thing. But we were rather unimpressed by their wings. I got the BBQ wing sauce in the hopes of getting some decent barbeque flavor. The wing sauce managed to be both disappointingly bland and much too hot. I suspect it was relying almost entirely on some kind of capsaicin oil for impact. I wound up peeling the skin off of half my wings because I was still hungry and yet unable to stand the heat anymore. The flavor of the sauce simply wasn’t worth it.

Moose had the original sauce and also declared it kind of meh. Despite supposedly being a butter based sauce, the flavor and texture was barely there. He specifically described it as “thin.” The kids had the chicken fingers, which they apparently liked. I had a couple of bites and found them fairly dry. Moose also had a chocolate chip cookie milkshake and declared it “okay.”

If you’re looking for wings, go to Wings and More. If you’re looking for chicken fingers, go to Caine’s, Layne’s, or Chicken Express. If you’re just looking to play with one of the fancy Coke machines… Go to Fuddruckers.

Thankful for my Pain

November 21, 2017

Years ago, I wrote Squirrel’s Theory on Smoking With Asthma. For those who don’t feel like clicking the link, the theory basically goes that smokers who claim they aren’t having as many asthma attack just aren’t noticing the attacks because the percent change between their baseline breathing and an attack isn’t as noticable.

My fibromyalgia had been flaring up these past few days. It’s probably not the first time this has ever happened, but I think it is the first time I’ve ever noticed. Before, a flare up meant the difference between a stabbing chest pain once a day and a couple of stabbing chest pains a day.  It was all the same to me.

Now, though, a chest pain is an anomaly. The tingling pain when I rotate my wrist is unusual, not just something I register as part of my baseline. The aches and pains in my joints are a noticable annoyance rather than the background to my every day. And while I’m not feeling as well as I was last week, I’m still feeling far better than I did before starting the new medication.

So while I haven’t been feel well, I’m still better. These small pains remind me that things were so much worse. And I’m thankful every day for that. 

Restaurant Review: Blake’s Steaks

November 13, 2017

I got the chance to try Blake’s Steaks during their first training shift. I figured I would throw my no cheese eating self and my kids at them to see just how ready they were.

This was literally their first hour being open, so some wackiness is to be expected. The print on the menus was super small, which made it hard to figure out what to order. What I could see looked pretty tasty, though. I figured I’d go for the basic Steak rather than try to get fancy with something I couldn’t fully read. Imagine my surprise to find that the cheese option was “wit or witout.” So much for throwing them with a dairy allergy!

I got some mini corn dogs for the kids and they were sufficiently pleased by them. They came out a smidge cold in the center, but that’s easy enough to work out. Props to Blake for giving the line that feedback right away, despite it being highly unlikely that any other customer was going to order off of the kids menu before close.

The French fries are ordered separate, and they’re well worth the extra money. They’re the slim cut I prefer and they came out perfectly crispy. It’s not a small basket, so be prepared to share with a friend (or two rambunctious kids).

The real star was obviously the sandwich. The meat was seasoned perfectly and the onions and mushrooms were both very well sauteed. I imagine that the “wit cheese” version is amazing. I’m going to need someone to do the Steak Challenge (5 sandwiches in 45 minutes) so that I can get some goat cheddar on the menu.

All in all, a good start. I look forward to trying them again sometime after their December 1st official opening. Located at 700 University Drive E, where Mickey’s Sliders used to be.

When Both Sides Are Telling The Truth

November 10, 2017

There was a story a while back that has stuck with me. In it, a man was walking with his son in their neighborhood one night. They passed by his workplace and the man noticed that the doors were wide open, but no one seemed to be around. The lights were all off and it seemed strange to him. He went inside to investigate, taking his son with him.

As he was about to come back outside and call for help, a police officer arrived. The man says that he was immediately on his guard. He very clearly explained to the officer that he worked at the building, found it open, and had been about to call for help.

The man said the police officer was aggressive from the start. The officer demanded the man’s ID, treated him like a criminal, and made his son afraid that they were both going to be shot and killed. Because the man felt the officer’s actions were inappropriate, he filed a complaint with the police department.

The police department issued a statement about the complaint, saying that their officer had acted completely within the department’s guidelines. The officer had also noticed the open doors and stopped to investigate. He found a man and his child exiting the dark building and stopped them to determine what they were doing inside the building. The department defended their officer, saying he had done nothing wrong.

Now, take some time to think about that story. Does it change your mind to know that the man was black and the police officer was white? What if I told you that the man was a fire fighter and the place he was investigating was a fire station? Now what if I told you that the police officer was wearing a body camera?

What struck me most about this was how both sides claimed the camera evidence backed up their side of the story. And when I watched the video for myself, I realized that it really did. Both sides were telling the truth. The officer really did confront a firefighter at his own station and the man’s son really was crying and seemed genuinely afraid that he and his father were going to be shot.

The officer was acting in a way that he felt was professional, without considering how his actions might appear to a black man in a time where so many innocent black adults and children have been shot by white police officers. The fireman was acting as someone who had a right to be where he was and doing what he was doing without considering that there was no way for the officer to know that during their initial confrontation. Neither side considered how their actions might be viewed by the other, nor took into account the motivations of the other when evaluating what they were doing.

Both sides were telling the truth. And by some measures, that means that neither side was wrong. But neither side was exactly right, either. The police officer completely ignored how his position of authority and privilege would make his actions seem more aggressive to the black man he was speaking to. And the firefighter completely ignored how suspicious it would be to find a man wandering around a dark building with no obvious signs that he was within his rights to be there.

That middle truth can sometimes be hard to recognize, especially if you have a personal investment in one side or the other. But that middle truth is important if either side is ever going to find a resolution that satisfies both.

I have no solutions to offer. No easy tips or tricks to help solve things when problems like this arise. All you can do is keep talking. And make sure you’re really listening. 

Pinky Jinx

November 8, 2017

Well, Moose was right. I jinxed myself by talking about how quiet it’s been. Acorn got her finger caught under the wheel of the cart at Target. She likes to ride underneath the cart, and when she’s being a PITA to P’khan, it’s frequently easier to just let her. Today was not one of those days.

At first I thought it was just a small rub burn, but I got down on her level to check it out just in case. The piercing scream she let out when I touched her finger made my heart sick. The nail on her pinkie finger was partially pulled up and was bleeding a little.

Fortunately, we were in a Target, which has an excellent selection of first aide supplies. Including chewable Tylenol tablets, spray antibiotic ointment, and Dory Band-Aids. Dory Band-Aids apparently don’t make everything all better, but they distracted long enough for us to check out and get home.

She’s doing much better now, though milking the injury for all she’s worth. This evening she claimed she couldn’t work the light switch in her room. I’ve been attempting to distract her with ballet videos, but she seems to prefer the Disney versions. Ah well, I tried.

Quiet Days

November 7, 2017

It’s been a quiet few days around these parts. Other than the joy of dealing with Daylight Savings, our life has been pretty routine. P’khan has been fairly grumpy these past few days and I suspect the 2 year shots have got him feeling kind of cruddy. Acorn has officially entered the “why” phase of development, which has actually been fun thus far. We’ll see how long that lasts. I did get out and vote today, which makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something besides the kitchen and the laundry. Little things.

I’ve got a half dozen posts started but let unfinished. Random things that pop into my head but haven’t fully formed. It’s like untangling threads from the rats nest of my mind. But I’m still pulling on those threads, one sentence at a time.

Tasteless But True:

How To Fake Looking Sick And Get Out Of Stuff You Don’t Want To Do: I wouldn’t wish a chronic illness on anyone. But I can hope that she gets everything she deserves and more.

Yes, this $375 ‘antifa’ jacket from Barneys is actually real: On today’s edition of Missing The Point, we have the designer of this travesty of mass production. “We developed the Barneys M65 anarchy jacket to encompass the artistic and graphic expressions of individuality.”

A Restaurant Ruined My Life: DOOD. A restaurant didn’t ruin your life. Your belief in your qualifications as a mediocre white dude ruined your life.