Thursday, October 30, 2014

Voting Season

I love reading the Voter's Pamphlet, don't you? To be honest, I like looking at the pictures of the candidates. It's like choosing what you want to eat from a Denny's menu. Hmm, what looks good today?

Like Bill - isn't he the cutest thing ever? Qualifications include: He did volunteer work with his fraternity. Never mind that he didn't hold an office in his fraternity or graduate college. Let's just focus on the facts: He went go to college at the University of Washington, was in a fraternity, and volunteered his time to a worthwhile cause. (The incumbent has a Master of Public Policy and Public Administration from Washington University - in St. Louis. Yawn.)

Don't we need young people in public service? People who have lived all twenty years of their lives in the districts they wish to represent? Yes, I think we do. Screw Kool-Aid in the drinking fountains, let's have a toga party every weekend!!

State of Washington
Voter's Pampet
I also like anyone who goes by the name Zamboni. Is that his name or his profession, I wonder. No professional experience is provided on his resume for Supreme Court Justice. Looks funky but he graduated from the University of Washington (in Seattle) with honors with a major in Physics and a minor in Mathematics. (Dude might be smart even if you don't agree with his point of view or appreciate his handsome good looks.)

Why do they put photos in the Voter's Guide in the first place? Why are there names, even? Would bias be eliminated if we labeled them Candidates #1 and #2? Would that affect the outcome of elections, if we couldn't choose our public servants like we select our breakfast skillet entrees? 

Not to equate politics with criminals, but why are defendants in the courtroom, btw? I understand that an accused has the right to face his or her accusers but they don't have to be there, do they? They always are but what if a defendant looks guilty? I'll let you decide for yourself what that means but don't we all make judgements? You see mug shots on the Eleven O'Clock News all the time and don't you think Yep, that guy definitely did it?

As a matter of fact, I was invited to join a jury pool not all that long ago. First impression: The guy looked guilty as hell to me. That impression did not improve when the multiple charges were read. Every potential juror who was asked any kind of question vowed that the defendant was innocent until proven innocent. I'm not saying that wasn't true or that I don't believe in that ideal. I'm just saying that they all lied when they said they didn't form an impression when they first walked in the courtroom. 

I was not invited to participate in the rest of that trail.

Luckily, I can still vote.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Dracula Soft On Blood, Favors Cookies!

I know it's a little early to think about this but you know how the Girl Scouts like to camp outside grocery stores to guilt you into buying cookies whenever you happen to also need milk? Where I live, this happens from mid-January to mid-February - right after the New Year, ending on Valentine's Day - just in time to go into a sugar-induced coma to ride out your winter hibernation. In fact, if you haven't already ingested enough calories by January 15, you can download the Official Girl Scout Cookie Finder Mobile App to ensure your fix.

This cookie season, I'm going to offer $100 to the first Girl Scout I see outside my favorite grocery store to move her little cookie stand over to the blood bank to hand out cookies for free. How many cookies is that? Ten boxes? Twenty? I'll help hand them out myself - the first 10-20 people to give blood on a certain date in the 2015 cookie season gets a free box of cookies! (And then you can thank me that you're able to get your milk hassle-free.)

By the way, if you are a member of an organization that would like to organize a blood donation at your place of employment or - ahem - moorage, I'll personally bake the cookies myself and bring them right over. I'll even help you arrange to get the blood mobile to your location.

Hey - how's this for a Halloween costume idea for a couple: He goes as Dracula and she goes as a Girl Scout?

Monday, October 27, 2014


Yesterday, was my 1,000th published post on Chocolate Chip Mint:

That doesn't include posts to my other pages:

Some of you have discovered my "." page which has garnered 100 views even though that page is, essentially, blank. The reason for its existence is part tongue-in-cheek (h/t Kellie) and partly because the page was used previously for something else. I'm guessing that few of you know what that page said yesterday and even fewer of you new what the page was originally created for. But I love that people are curious.

You might be aware that I am not a fan of articles with headlines that include the words, "Top Ten . . . ." Here, nonetheless, I provide you with The Top Ten Posts on Chocolate Chip Mint. (At least this information will not be provided in a slide show.)

What cracks me up about this list is that three of the top ten are "10," "9," and "8." These posts are nothing more than blank pages. (I have no why idea 1-7 were not as popular.)

Noticing that "Cornhole Chronicles" ranked third reminds me that I am well past due for the 2014 installment. I have been carting around my notes and photos since August and someday I may well convert that into a post lest you think I'm bad with deadlines.

I was just telling Hubby that I'm not sure I have time for this anymore. (Anyone who is truly devoted to avoiding work knows just how much time that actually takes.) But this is too much fun.

Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

And Then This Happened

Just the top of the tree rests on the roof.

A pretty good storm blew through here last night and there's more to come. (Hold on to your hats!)

A neighbor's tree fell and hit the house. We were downstairs when it hit and the crash was so loud we were certain something had been hit by lightning. I saw the windows shake. It didn't take long to figure out what happened but we waited until morning to take these pictures.

It was a very tall tree set well back from our house. The trunk snapped in several places when it made contact with our roof. Just the top of the tree rests on the house. The bottom starts in the neighbor's yard and ends in ours, the trunk easily crushing the chain link fence that used to separate our lots.

This is the bottom of the trunk extending
back into the neighbor's yard. We are told the
base of the trunk snapped about ten feet
above ground.

This is the part of the trunk that snapped when the top hit our
house. The part extending to the right rests on the house. The trunk
laying on the ground lays atop what used to be a chain link fence.

Skylight is shattered and will need to be replaced.
It has started to fill with water.
Skylight from the outside. We also have a 4-6 inch hole in the roof.
Hubby is grumpy.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Starbucks Doesn't Believe In Making Espresso
More to the point, Starbucks doesn't believe you should make espresso.

And The Snarky Award Goes To ....

5 Unique Winter Warming Gadgets for Under $50 | Time

I'm not going to buy a damned thing on this list but the snark factor was enough to last me through the Holiday Season. Plus, I appreciate that if a headline has to include a number it's less than 10 by a factor of at least 2. 

And, this article does NOT include a slideshow presentation. Right there are three reasons to read this article. A recap:

1) snarky
2) less than 10 anything
3) no slideshow
4) takes less than five minutes to read

(Who's counting?)

On the other hand, if you have something snarkier - well, I'm all for that!

Merry, jolly, something or other.

Shaking With Anticipation

To Promote New Pre-Pay Program, Starbucks Offers To Foot Coffee Bill For 30 Years | OPB
"As a promotion for its new order ahead and pre-pay program, Starbucks is offering free drink or food every day for 30 years to 10 customers. 
"You can get in the running by paying with the Starbucks app, starting Dec. 2. The offer runs until Christmas. 
"Portlanders will be the first test market for the new pre-pay program. Right now, the program is scheduled to start here before the end of the year. The rest of the country, including Starbucks’ home base in Seattle, will have to wait until the end of 2015."
Here's why:

Portlanders Like Their Coffee Almost As Much As They Like To Sleep | OPB
"According to data collected by the alarm clock app, Sleep Cycle, Portlanders spend the most amount of time in bed when compared to other major U.S. cities." 
"Our northern neighbors in Seattle come in at No. 4, getting about five minutes less sleep than Portland. 
"But all that sleep isn’t enough to curb our coffee addictions. Sleep Cycle found that Portland is also No. 2 in coffee consumption nationwide, behind Boston. We’re trailed by other fast-paced metros like Washington, D.C., Chicago and New York, and we’re the only Northwest city in the ranking."
I'm thinking I might move to Portland.

(h/t Hubby)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Virtual Wine

And you thought wine was made from grapes!
This is currently available at Terracotta Red, an inconspicuous but entirely real restaurant located in Everett, WA. We didn't try this particular wine (the house Sauvignon Blanc, whatever it was, was nice) but the food knocked our socks clean off.

We tried the Singapore Street Noodles and the Pan Roasted Pacific Ling Cod from their fresh sheet, and the Chili Spiced Calamari, Pork and Chive Potstickers, Wok Seared Spiced Lamb, with sides of Si Chuan String Beans and Jasmine Rice off their regular dinner menu. (We had help.) It was all delicious but my favorites were the calamari, potstickers, and beans.

If you're ever in the unusual position of needing to find a good restaurant in Everett (good as in very well prepared, reasonably priced food rather than good as in white linen tablecloths with a view of Puget Sound), you should check out this place. And if you need help getting through the menu, we'll join you. (It's served family-style.)

The restaurant is on Hewitt right off I-5.

As for the Pop Crush Red Blend, I'm not sure it even exists.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

October 16

Ah, feel that? That's the relaxed feeling of having enough time for a second cup of coffee. Of being able to sleep late but choosing not to because you want to enjoy a little extra time to lounge around in your jammies and read a book. It's what it feels like to go to work and know you don't really have to get any work done. It's the day after tax season (the extended version) and it feels so good.

You know what else feels good? Finding an upside to working in two different cities: I need half as many clothes. Sure, you might see that as a downside but think of this: Half as much laundry. Half as much ironing. For example, I can wear one outfit on Monday in one city and then wear the exact same thing on Tuesday in the next city. If I worked in five cities, all I'd ever have to change is my underwear.

Think about that the next time you ask me, "So, when did you get back in town?"

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

If A Woodchuck Could Chuck Wood

A Personal Drone That Catches the Shot No GoPro Can | MensJournal

A personal drone of your very own! If the government isn't interested in following you around, you can just follow yourself around!

Just in time for Christmas, you can get a videographer without the videographer - a companion who will literally hover around you and record every exciting, high-octane moment of your life. Imagine, a timeless record of going to the ATM, standing in the line at the post office, or having a face-to-face conversation . . . or whatever it is kids do these days.

I can hardly wait! It'll follow me around everywhere I go and lavish me with adoring attention. Just like a dog, only it doesn't require a leash I don't have to carry a pooper scooper!

H/T Ron's Log

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Taking a Break

May I suggest 76003.1414 - the Internet's most exclusive blog? (They never take a break over there.)

Sunday, October 12, 2014

To Bee or Not To Bee . . .

. . . or Sorry I Asked
"Starbucks is coming under fire from vegans for using ground-up bugs to color its Frappuccinos, but the use of cochineal insects is actually quite common in the food industry."
Here's What You Need To Know About The Ground-Up Insects Starbucks Puts In Your Frappuccino | Business Insider 
Bugs in our food - included by intention or by accident - is, actually, old news. But this isn't: Big Cricket Farms - the first commercial farm to raise crickets for human consumption.

"Finally, crickets just taste good!"

The 2014 startup is in Youngstown, Ohio, and I understand that when the crickets get loose, the owner will hire exterminators for his neighbors.

Heads up, foodies, bugs are the new trend in food according to Tiny Farms:
"With UN recommendations and exciting new startups, the market for edible bugs and insect-based products is growing like never before."
From an NPR blog, The Salt, (the tag line of which is what's on your plate [the answer to which, it appears, is good question]):
"Lots of people are excited about the potential of edible insects. A 2013 report from the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization noted that insects like crickets, mealworms and grasshoppers are nutritional powerhouses, high in protein, fat and the essential amino acids lysine and tryptophan, which are scarce in cereal proteins like soy. Insects also can be farmed on far less land and emit fewer greenhouse gases than traditional livestock."
Startups Pitch Cricket Flour As The Best Protein You Could Eat
Not convinced? Eating bugs is also the right thing to do for the environment:
"The challenge with Six Foods is to convince the rest of America that eating insects is the best thing since sliced bread. When you look at the facts, it’s really a no-brainer: the livestock industry produces 18% of global greenhouse gas emissions, more than all forms of transportation combined, but insects produce just 1% as many greenhouse gas emissions as cows. Raising insects requires far less land, feed, and water than raising livestock, and furthermore, insects don’t feel pain since they don’t have pain receptors (so you can feel less bad the next time one dies from flying into your face as you bike to work)."
How to make insects appetizing to Americans | Boing Boing
Decide for yourself. You can pre-order Chirps, shipping in November - just in time for Thanksgiving - a cricket-based, high protein, chip snack. There are three flavors to choose from:
  • Aged Cheddar - "A zesty cheese seasoning that matches perfectly with the bean base for a delightfully addictive flavor kick."
  • Sea Salt - "All-natural flavors . . . "
  • Hickory BBQ: "Taste the summer . . ."

Taste of summer?

Uh, no thanks.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Art: A hobby or a business?

For starters, you have to be able to sculpt, draw, or paint things that, you know…look like things. But even if you can, you know damn well that when you tell someone at a dinner party that you’re an “artist,”  they’ll smugly assume that’s just a pleasant euphemism for “unemployed trust fund baby.” And on the off chance that all your creativity and hard work pays off and you have a piece prominently displayed in a gallery or museum, you’ll have to repeatedly deal with a boorish lout like me eyeing up your magnum opus and dismissively professing, ”I don’t get it.”
Artists Rejoice! Tax Court Concludes Painter's Activity Isn't A 'Hobby' - Forbes
The real question is, "What does the IRS think it is?" The answer is, "It depends. . . . "

Hawk 1; Drone . . .

. . . We could use a few more hawks.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Beach Music

When was the last time you went to the beach? Did you bring a book? Did you bring a hundred?

These days I read everything in pixels rather than on paper although I have a deep nostalgia for paper. In fact, I used to carry a little notebook around with me everywhere I went. It was part journal, part list and reminder keeper, part address book, and a place to jot down my many random thoughts. Now, I can do that all on my phone which isn't as romantic but is sometimes more convenient. Still, I love seeing people read books on non electronic, no batteries required, paper. Especially, young people. 

But then I got a Kindle which is an amazing, light weight reading device. I can literally carry a hundred books in my pocket although it's rare that I can read more than one in an entire month not to mention a week on the beach. I love reading on my Kindle but that's all I can do on it which, in fact, is one of the beautiful things about it. Much like the beach novel, I can't check my email and I don't get Facebook notifications on it. 

I also travel with a laptop for the times I actually do want to stay in touch or need to check in with the office. I recently acquired a iPad so I felt like I should bring that along as well if for no other reason than to become acquainted with it. And, of course, it's hard to go anywhere without my cell phone and maybe some earbuds. 

So, all last week, I packed my backpack for the beach with our two phones, two iPads, and two Kindle readers. I tried to leave the laptop behind but, truthfully, I did bring it with me at least once. Loaded, my backpack weighed at least as much as a hundred books.  

Maybe I should simplify. The next time I go to the beach, maybe all I need is a paperback novel. 

Friday, October 3, 2014

On Being 51

Last year, I had this shirt made:

(This is the view the other way around:)

Are you still with me or did everyone just doze off into a Paradise dreamland? I'm with you on that. I'm not sure I ever want to leave. I'm just getting my aloha on. 

I know no one will feel sorry for me that I had to work this week. Just look at the view from my office, will you? Even when I don't have to work, it always takes a few days to unwind. But yesterday, it finally hit me, my aloha. I was walking to the general store when it occurred to me that I wasn't wearing any clothes. I wasn't naked - I was wearing a bikini top, something similar to a tennis skirt, and flip flops. My hair was still wet from the ocean, tied up in a knot with a flower tucked into it. I would never - ever - wear that to the grocery store at home. Or anywhere else for that matter. But I've gone local which throws quite a bit of caution to the wind. Or the waves. 

There are some here for whom personal appearance is a big deal. (Think of surfer dudes and bikini babes.) But for the vast majority, personal appearance, including body image, is no big thing and of course that's the way it should be. Yesterday, I saw an old dude with a mullet, a gut, and a Speedo. There are old wrinkled women in bikinis. I saw a fat lady in a thong. And you know what? No one gives a rip. I feel right at home. 

Which is a good thing, considering I'm one year past my "best by" date. (See how I worked my way back to the shirt?) I was so excited to turn 50 that I felt like I was really at my best. Sure, I realized that my shirt also announced that it was pretty much downhill after that. (Yeah, yeah - everybody says that.) I just didn't realize how true that was going to be. (Yes, I'm sensing a collective eye roll here.) Everything hurts more. Everything sags more. And my body seems to be shape shifting. (You can understand why I might want to move here.) And, don't even get me started on the subject of hormones. 

But I can't complain much. Life is pretty good. (Have you seen the view from my office?) And even if it's all downhill from here, at least I get to coast.