Friday Fives – hill of beans edition

Vanilla Bean Plant

What is your favorite smell

Vanilla.  And… anything baking.  Everything coming from the oven smells magical.  I wonder if that is because I never bake.  Ever.  I use the over to heat, or to cook a frozen pizza, but I do not bake.  Too much science and specifics.  And waiting.  I cook almost every single night at home, its my happy place.  Yet, I don’t find the smell of cooking anything enticing.  Certainly not like a loaf of bread would smell.

 What is your catchphrase?

On it like a bonnet.  I invented this, and I would like it to catch on.

What is the movie/TV show that you totally love but nobody else around you seems to know/like it?

Chips.  Like all of us, I am guilty of romanticizing childhood tv.  Due to the wonderfulness of technology, I am able to go back and watch the shows that influenced me so strongly.  Shows like Chips, A Team, Greatest American Hero, the Fall Guy.  Guess what… turns out those shows sucked!  With the exception of Chips, all of my beloved childhood shows are unwatchable dreck.  All of the acting is over done, super over done.  The exposition is patronizing.  They leave nothing to intuition, or subtext.  Everything you need to know about that character’s backstory is handed to you on a plate.

Howie: Colt, watch out behind you!

Colt:  Howie, I am working through some abandonment issues from my dad leaving us early on.  Its left me to question my own role in masculinity, and now I see it plays a part in my inability to sustain meaningful relationships with women.  I have been clearly repressing unconscious anger at my mother for my father leaving.  That dormant bullshit has led me to unconsciously sink any meaningful love on purpose… to leave them before I know they will leave me.  I’m not worthy of love, Howie.  I’m just repeating the failed patriarchal tropes generation after generation.

The music is always bad.  Its bad, though, for two reasons.  The first is because it was just the way to ratchet up tension for the viewer.  Note all those shows above were action shows, so there a lot of horn sections playing high pitched minory chords to let us know we are in peril.  Yeah, the bad guy has a gun on them… I didn’t need the alto sax to clue my amygdala in that a guy with a gun is bad.  Mark Burnett very cleverly (and VERY heavily) uses the same effect.

The other reason the music sucks is music licensing issues.  Odds are the music you are hearing when you watch this now isn’t the music that came with the show.  Originally, the tv show didn’t have to pay much for music.  There was no streaming or commercial distribution.  Only consideration was down the line serializing and distributing a show.  Everyone is greedy now and has renegotiated. 

So much punching!  There was so very much punching in the face.  I think I’ve seen someone properly punched in the face maybe 2 or 3 times in person.   According to TV, its more common than a handshake.  The scripts aren’t great… but with a bit of nuanced acting and character development there might be hope.  Was there a punching bonus in every actor’s contract?

There is an upside of 80s shows… there was no CGI.  Yes, ‘special effects’ were terrible.  But, if you see a car roll ten times and then blow up?  They did that.  That shit happened.

Chips, though… it holds up.  Though it suffers from all those cliches and complaints above (especially the horn section) but the stories are really good.  The acting is decent.  Maybe it holds up because that show was story line driven.  The others on my beloved list are not storyline based.  They are more based on explosions, punching, and a couple charismatic actors. 

What were we talking about?

 What is a hobby you’ve picked up recently and why did you start it?

Handmaking pasta.  Wifey got me a book on making pasta, and some equipment.  It’s awesome and fun and cheap and delicious.   It is easy, I can do it now without even having to measure everything to the gram.  300 grams of basic flour (no bread flour, it has yeast), 3 eggs, 3 tablespoons of water, and a fat tablespoon of olive oil.  Here is a pic I took hanging my noodles.  This is one batch, which is exactly that recipe above.  It makes noodles for 3 or 4.  The fresh noodles are SO much better.  They are more buttery, more… gummy.  They hold sauce better (never rinse your pasta).  And they cook quicker, in a few minutes.


It’s fun.  Its like a silly putty factory.  You put the putty in the thingy, turn the crank, and then out comes beautiful noodles.

But the best part, to be transparent… it amazes the shit out of people.  People watch me do this, and then have some amazing spaghetti,  and its like I spent 5 years training in France.  Since I LOVE to cook, it means I love to feed you.  And sure,  I love to be recognized for it.  So, it’s a win win.

My passions are guitar, and cooking.  I am quite good at both.  Well, better than you.  I don’t say that to brag, or to get you

I got into both to impress girls.  It worked!  Also, both keep me happy and alive.

 What is something wonderful that happened to you today?

It’s Friday!  I am pretty please about that development. Nothing remarkable happened today, and nothing changed – which I am terribly happy about. I love my life. I love where I live, I love my wife, I love my home, i love my neighbors, i love my truck, i love that I work from home. None of this is ever lost on me I am thankful and gracious.  and I have to pee now.  Have a great weekend, we’ll talk soon.


They gonna get caught!

The shootout scene in Heat is so good the Marines use it for training | The  Digital Fix

If you track my readings  (and there is no good reason you should), you know my favorite books are cobs and robbers.  On the law side… I love reading books by undercover agents.  They are fascinating.  I also love reading books by the people they track.

I just read a story about an armed robbery gang in Los Angeles called the ‘Chesapeake Bandits’.  This is a group of fellas robbing cash delivery vehicles to ATMs.  They gonna get caught.  Know why?  Same reason everyone gets caught… they can’t stop.  Since they have a name, it means there is a pattern.  First mistake.  It means their next crime will be so identifiable that they will get pegged for the others.  Like epilogue in ‘Home Alone’.  The bad guys get busted for a series of break ins and robberies because they always leave behind a running sink.  It’s a gag, but it holds true.

If these guys just stopped (which is what you should do once the FBI publicly involved, and gave you a name) they would walk off into the sunset.  But they never do.  Perhaps you are thinking ‘you watch too much FBI files’, and you would be right.  Perhaps you are thinking ‘you only know about the ones who get caught, there are probably many more who go under the radar and get away with it’.  this is where you would be wrong.  I’ve read every book I could find by (or about) bank robbers.  One thing they can never do is stop.  It’s gets too easy, and they get too dependent on the loot.

Update – oops.  They blew it.  the Feds know who they are.

On Feb. 17, Deneyvous Hobson, 36, and James Russell Davis, 34, both of Los Angeles, were charged federally in a criminal complaint filed in United States District Court in Los Angeles with Conspiracy to Interfere with Commerce by Robbery.

ow?  Will this is kinda funny.  And super avoidable.  The gang leader and accomplice had the police called on them last year.  Why?  Because they were casing an armored truck ATM delivery.  Casing it so hard that someone called the police on them.  Cops showed up, dudes were still there.  They were in plain clothes, and their own vehicles.  Why?  Because casing a bank job is not a crime.  The police still wisely take down all the information available.  The nice men are released then and there, as they hadn’t done anything illegal. 

Except when… three weeks later, on the exact date and to the minute… that same delivery truck was robbed at gunpoint.  Gee, who could it have been?   They have since gone underground, but that won’t last.  Now that its’ public, and guns and Feds involved, they are going to turn on each other.  Maybe if the cops bust you casing a job… don’t do that exact job.

Remember the huge gonzo Los Angeles shooting that took over blocks, and was freakily mirrored by the movie Heat?  Two guys held like 30 cops at bay for hours because they were completed decked out in bulletproof gear and had some awesome guns.  Those two guys got pulled over years before that job, here is what was in that car.

police who stopped Phillips and Matasareanu in a rented car confiscated two 9 mm pistols, two .45-caliber guns, two AK-47s, six smoke grenades, two homemade bombs, three machine guns, two bulletproof vests, one gas mask, six holsters, wigs, ski masks, two police radio scanners, a stopwatch and about 2,800 rounds of ammunition.

That kinda screams out to me “keep an eye on these guys, I don’t think they were going to church after all”

*** note to armored car delivery folks:  when the Feds tell you someone has been casing your delivery trucks, maybe change up the route, even a little?  This guy’s route was so well known (due to the casing and such) that he arrived at exact minute they expected him.

So listen, I am not telling you to stop robbing armored trucks.  It makes for great re-enactments, and everyone involved is insured (ironically, by the Feds.  Maybe that is why they are so uppity about the whole thing).  No, go on and rob as needed.  That is your own business, and this is America.  But Jesus, man… mix it up.  Different communities, different outfits, different weapons, different targets.  These guys need an agent, a ‘consigliere‘.  Not gonna take any money, or rat anyone out.  Just gonna say things like ‘guys, I think that neighborhood is fucked out.  Four robberies in a year with the same MO, let’s bolt to Canada for a few jobs.  We come back in a couple of years, hit a different region.  You gotta get off the radar of law enforcement before they give you a nickname.”

Friday Fives – the last fight

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What are you really, really bad at? Like, hilariously bad?

Ironing.   Fucking HATE it  I wish I could put a larger font there, because I not only suck at it, it angers me.  See, each thing I iron creates a new crease/wrinkle somewhere else.  I mean… I get the principles of it, but unless I am ironing a flat handkerchief I will make more wrinkles than I solved.  I have a workaround, though.  Well… two.  Locally, I just take my dress shirts to a dry cleaners.  But traveling is the big challenge.  If traveling, you gotta look nice.  Its prolly a special event.  AND… all my shit is wrinkled because I had to back it all into a carrying bag.  For that… we now travel with a steamer.  This thing is the BEST.  It has the same effect of ironing, but its idiot proof.  Wifey got one years ago, looks about like this.  I admit I thought it was ‘chick stuff’.  Until… I realized it was my ironing alternative.  Now I am a travel steaming mutha!


During the holidays, this thing just stayed out full time.  I truly wish I had know about this simple ass user friendly technology 30 years ago.  I didn’t have to be such a slob.  This is not an endorsement of a specific product (like something I get a kickback from if you buy).  Quite the opposite – I have no idea what brand we have, and that pic to the left was just stolen off the internet.  the product in general, though, is dope!  Get one and get your shit together!

What song would be blasting if you were driving on an open highway?

Assuming I am by myself… Born to Run.  Have to be myself, though.  See, it’s a very very long song.  Wifey can’t go that long without talking.  Born to Run can not be interrupted.  It has to be paid start to finish.  If I am driving around town running errands with wife, that song comes on?  I change the channel.  That song demands ALL of focus.  I’d have to say it’s the best rock song ever!

So, what do you think WAS in the briefcase from Pulp Fiction?

Your sisters panties.  Gross.  Oh, and an LED light.

How the hell did we get anywhere without GPS navigation?

I always had the mountains, and still do.  Growing up in Phx, we were surrounded by mountains.  You think of Phx as desert… which is correct.  But if you also think of Phx as flat, that is wrong.  Phx is super mountainy, they are just little baby mountains.  But, we lived at the foot of Camelback mountain.  Pretty much anywhere you were in Phx, you could see Camelback Mountain, and it was to the north.  In Flagstaff, we had 13,000 Mt Humphreys always to the North.  Now in Colorado since 1997, the Rockies are always to your West.  And they range from South America up through Canada… so you can’t miss them.  The names change:  Cascades, the Andes, Sierras.  I can even see the mountain range outside my kitchen window, its awesome.  We are up on a hill, at 6,000 feet, so I can see the mountains from CO Springs to the South (Left) all the way up to Longmont to the North (Left)

Point being, if you are lost… get yerself a nearby mountain range.  They are awfully handy.

What’s a song that mentions flowers or other plants?

Huh?  What?  What does that have to do with anything?  I am going to veto that question, for your own good.  Or… am I deflecting away from some issues that I told you NOT to asking me about in front of everyone?  Just kidding, its just a dumb question, Barbara Walters.  I am going to do what I always do when your questions are weak.  Going over to Live Journal to steal their content.  Btw, I thankfully no longer use the term ‘gay’ to describe things which are lame.  I purged it decades ago, and it wasn’t easy.  With that in mind we do need to be honest to a degree here.  That question is gay as shit!

 What’s the last thing you got in the mail?

This.  It’s a guitar pedal.  To you.  To me… it summons the dark lord master himself.  Satin!  Not Satan… Satan is a myth, like compassionate conservatives.  Satin is the dark lord master.  This pedal below, it after 26 years together, it crapped out on me.  Now, I have a ton of other distortion options.  I have tube pedals, ‘distortion’ pedals, and even my Fender Twin amp has distortion channels.  They are all fine if you want to play boogie, or AC/DC or something.  Fine.  But when you want pure chunk death metal early Metallica or Anthrax – Joey Belladonna era – you want I want the DOD Super American Distortion FX56-B.


having spent over 25 years with this pedal, I didn’t want another one  Problem is, this pedal is LONG off the market.  If I know me, I probably bought it used at a garage sale.  I don’t have the time or desire to go hang out at a guitar center to test pedals.  That is an hour away… each way.  And I know what I want.  Enter – and god bless – eBay.  Problem solved, just got it in a couple of days ago.  Am SO happy.  Hail Satin!

With that pedal, and my strat below, there is nothing we can’t do. No lands we cannot cancer!