Friday, December 31, 2010

A few of my favorite 2010 things...

Favorite Album
(Do the kids still call them “albums”?) - Die Antwoord, $O$.

This South African sensation (Ninja, Yolandi Fisser and DJ High Tech) keeps you guessing as to their intent and their legitimacy. All the songs are real toe tappers, with lyrics that bounce between obscene and descriptively clinical. I don't think any of their videos are something you would want to watch at work or with your mom. My favorite is Enter the Ninja.

A close runner-up is Major Lazer's Guns Don't Kill People, Lazers Do.

Favorite Kilts - Utilikilts are great. They are made in Seattle and are really pieces of art in themselves. However, lately I tend to favor Sport Kilts, made in So Cal. They have more options than Utilikilts - lots of different tartans, designs and colors. Plus they weigh a lot less than a Utilikilt. Unlike Utilikilts, unless you order a Sport Kilt with pockets, you will need to get a sporran too. I think your best bet is buying The Works version - it comes complete with belt loops, leather straps and a fringed side. Think of all the money you can save not buying underwear anymore.

Favorite Restaurant - For consistently good meals with great service, it's hard to beat Picabu Bistro.

The menu has almost all bases covered, and when you factor in their daily special, it's gastronomically unstoppable - in a good way.

Favorite New Store - The Apple Store. Hey, I know it's corny, but buying an IPhone there was futuristic and smacked of fraternal lodge pledging with less hazing. It is an awesome place to people watch.

Favorite Old Stores - A tie - Boo Radley’s, Time Bomb and Harbor Freight.

Boo Radley’s always inspires. We have friends who live in fairly cosmopolitan places, but Boo’s is usually on their list to visit when they come to Spokane. They don't have anything like it where they live. If you are ever undecided on what to gift someone, go to Boo's.

Time Bomb has some of the best antique toys and furnishings around. A while back, I was waxing sentimentally about my 3rd grade bike - a Sears Super Spyder 500 from 1968. Time Bomb’s owner pulled out a 1968 Sears catalog and there it was! $5 later I was walking out with this catalog - a tome of Christmas wishes past.

Lastly, Harbor Freight is a Chinese dumping ground of cheap tools, sporting goods and all sorts of oddball crap - solar panels, combo radio/flashlight/fishhook removers and inflatable doll scarecrows. I try to buy American, but if I am faced with buying a $20 made-in-China, with an established name or a $3 no-name made-in-China, I go with the cheapo most of the time. You will walk out with some weird shit that you didn't know you needed to have until you saw it. Then you will have to figure out what you want to do with it.

Favorite Running Shoe - OK, not so much one shoe, but a company. New Balance features many shoes that are made in the USA. So I buy them. When I was a kid there was not much of a push to buy stuff made in the USA. Why? Because it was almost all made in the USA. It only made sense. Why get your tube socks shipped in from Pakistan? Thanks to other nations maintaining their tariffs and the USA abandoning ours, almost all of our manufacturing has moved to China. Here’s the good news, though. Sure we have lost a lot of good paying jobs and increased our global warming and oil dependency by having to have our Depends shipped in across the ocean. Yes, we have killed off entire US cities, and we drown in a mountain of cheap crap we don’t need (see favorite store - Harbor Freight above). The upside is that we have enabled investors and CEOs to become more wealthy and hire better attorneys and congresspeoples, so they don’t have to pay taxes. Pheeewwww. Now, you have to work really hard to find stuff made in the USA. New Balance is the last of the running shoe companies that still provide manufacturing jobs in the USA. Their shoes will have to get really bad before I quit buying them. New Balance, there is your challenge.

Favorite Firefighting Tool - the pick head axe. Sure, it’s a pretty old design but this beauty does it all. It chops walls. You can pull ceilings with it. Hold it horizontally like a battering ram and it makes short work of opening doors (both literally and metaphorically). You can pry open car doors to get a puller in there to unlock a door. It is the best. Make sure you get one with a wooden handle.

Favorite Paramedic Tool - The EZ IO.

Its a small electric drill. But, instead of a drill bit you use a big-ass needle. Whhhiiiiirrrrrrrrrrr! When you can’t get an IV because there are no good veins and the person is dying, you can instead drill into their tibia and deliver the goods into the bones vascular system. You have to use a pressure bag to keep the IV flowing, so don’t forget that. This device has saved more than a few in Spokaney-town.

Favorite Book Series - Flashman!

This series began in 1969 and continued until 2005. The author, George McDonald Fraser is now dead so there isn’t much chance that he will be writing anything new. The protagonist is a character who reminds me of Dr. Smith from Lost in Space only with skills and self awareness. He is lazy. He is a drunk. He is a cheat and scoundrel. He is a womanizer and a lousy human being on just about every level. His only redeeming grace is that Flashman knows these things about himself, and as he writes his memoirs, he is pretty honest with the reader about his motivations and shortcomings. You find yourself rooting for this scalawag, even while cringing at his utter contempt for anyone but himself.

Podcast - A tie - Marc Maron’s WTF and AM Coast to Coast. If you read this blog you already know of my affinity for Coast to Coast . Marc Maron is a comedian who you might remember from Air America’s Morning Sedition. He doesn’t talk much about politics anymore. Now, he talks about his personal life a little and talks to other comedians a lot. Funny stuff with a lot of behind-the-scenes glimpses of other standup comedians’ lives. I believe that doing a standup comedian’s job takes a lot of courage, and this podcast always makes me wonder what that life would be like, if I ever had enough guts to do it.

Favorite European Fast Food - Bicky Burgers got its start in Belgium, I think.

It isn’t much like McDonalds, in that the ones we saw were all kind of small, run down and with a lot of personal touches from whomever owned the individual store. There’s a counter at which you order. Under this counter, is a bunch of frozen items - burgers, McRibbish looking things, fish, you name it. Whatever you want, they throw in the fryer. There is no grill. Just a fryer. Maybe two fryers. The food tastes great. How could an entirely deep fried bacon burger not taste great? Plus, they're all located in the holy birthplace of the french fry! The meat tastes like it might be mostly-meat. The food and advertisements have a Lego feel to them. They’re cute. The startup costs would be minimal. A fryer, some cases of frozen food, lots of mayo, some buns and a spork or two. I don’t know how it would go over here in the USA. It might be fun to see.

Favorite New Bike Stuff - My Carradice Camper Long Flap Saddle Bag and the shop apron Sarah made me. Again, you might have already read about the shop apron here. John let me borrow his Carradice and I was hooked. This thing expand mega big. It smells like an old canvas tent, and is made by nonslaves in England. Cheerio.

My only complaint is that it really moves your center of gravity up kinda high. The effect on me, in this regard, was to fall down a lot when I got stuck inside ruts.

That’s enough. Happy New Year!


Hank said...

What? No aqua sox or Vibrams?

My (former emergency room) nurse wife says my veins are so great she could start an IV on me blindfolded. Let's hope that's the case should I ever require the services of an EMT. The thought having a needle drilled into my tibia makes me shudder.

EvilElf said...

Hank, I never moved beyond my Feelmax Pankas.

I would imagine you would be a really easy IV start. Obese people and people who are mostly dead are the toughies. An obese, mostly dead person? Forget it. The conscious people I have used it on don't mind the drilling so much as the lidocaine push to numb the bone. That seems to be real painful.

John Speare said...

Great list. Is that a catus burger up there? I've been warming a bit to your Picabu place. if it wasn't a loogi hawk away from Benni's I'd be there more often. Liza really likes it. And she really does'nt like Benni's. I wish Picabu took their beer a tad more seriously. Speaking of which, when are you going to make an appearance at a bike hang?

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