Monday, October 27, 2008

Fall bike camp trip

Salsa La Cruz

John's Surly
Heaths NOB trailer and Fuji

Heath and John have recently blogged about our fall bike camp trip. Here is my post on the trip. It was very fun to spend the time with John and Heath and to get to use my Salsa LaCruz in its element. The little Zebra toy is what Ella gave me to take on the trip.

Danger philosophy

This is kind of a crappy pic but that darn Maya just will not stop moving for a pic. What I attempted to capture is the precarious nature of a 9 month old at the top of the stairs with a dopey dad trying to figure out his new LG Dare phone camera buttons. I think I did that much. I also attempted to capture a kid/danger philosophy Susan and I have adopted with both Ella and Maya with good success. We generally don't use gates at the top of our stairs or any other baby safety devices but rather attempt to expose our kids to each danger in a highly supervised setting as early as possible as a way to teach them the natural consequence of dangerous behaviors without them having to experience the painful effects. Stairs for example are an area parents often use gates. I would argue that the chance of Maya doing something dumb on the stairs and falling is about the same as a tired, stressed out parent trying to step over the gate and tripping while carrying the same kid. (This is not true if you have very dangerous stairs without a landing that could lead to a dead baby of course) Instead what we have done is as soon as our kids can crawl to the steps we invite them to crawl near the edge with tight supervision. When they inevitably make the fall down the stairs move I allow them to fall in slow motion in my hands. It is kind of a slow motion version of what would have happened in fast motion if I wasn't there. The kids did not like this at all even though it doesn't hurt. About three pretend falls and 10 minutes later both kids were mostly safe around fall situations. The main exception with Maya is that she would still crawl up to a ledge and do a little turning sit move that would put her in a fall position. A couple of weeks of tight supervision later and this issue has also been resolved. Now whether at the top of the stairs or on the edge of a tall couch she will carefully schooch her legs off first and safely slide down feet first on her belly. This danger exposure method worked great with our first child Ella. I initially thought the method worked because of Ella's naturally cautious way of being, however so far it has also worked very well with the very different non cautious Maya. Next week I plan to teach the girls how to shoot up heroin in a safe way.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Coen Brothers Watching

My last post talked of the new Coen brothers movie "A serious Man" that is being filmed in part half a block from my work. The plot and other info can be found here. Today I got to see the movie being made from about 30 feet from the action. No filming was going on when I watched but I got to see the Coen brothers walking around saying smart artsy stuff. If you have been living in a hole for the past 15 years below are a few of their more popular films. The guy in the center of the pic is not a Marx brother but rather some other director I have been told.
The Big Lebowski
No Country for Old Men

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A serious man

Well you can't easily see it from my second pic but the new sign says the "JollyRogers Motel" and it also has a scull and crossbones on it. It is going to be filmed as part of a Coen brothers film coming in the future called "A Serious Man". It will be a comedy set in the late 60's. They will be filming on Thursday 10-23-08. It is of interest to me because it is a half block from my work and in a place where many past and current clients have had issues to say the least.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I am dying to roast

One of my earliest posts on this blog was one year ago on October 16 and was about my new Ron Kyle coffee roasting drum for roasting coffee in a gas BBQ grill. That early post can be found here. About a week ago I was roasting a couple of pounds of Ethiopia Organic Wet-Process Koratie from If for some reason you also want to roast this special coffee it is no longer available from Sweetmarias but can be found at my place of work for a few more days so give me a call and come on by for a cup. Good coffees sell out fast. In the first pic I put the Ron Kyle Coffee roasting drum on my SUV windshield not just to show its relative size but also to amplify to any readers who don't know me personally that I really am a living stereotype of a white, male, SUV driving, suburbanite. Not that there is anything wrong with that. I mean other than the sexist, ignorant of my white privilege, environmental damage that I represent.
I love this roaster. It is bomb proof in its construction and can roast any amount of coffee up to 4 pounds at a time while giving total control over the roast profile. The profile usually consists of first crack at 10 minutes and second crack (if I go that far) 4 minutes later with a dump into the cooling fan/mesh colander cooling system to stop it at a full city roast. The second pic is to show the agitating blades inside and the third pic is to show what happens if you try to hug a product you love when it is somewhere between 500 and 800 degrees. My temp taker says 800 but I know the coffee roasts to under 500 degrees. So who knows how hot the metal rotisserie is that holds the drum.
Sadly Ron Kyle the inventor and creator of my drum roaster recently died. He was a great home roast innovator who found out he had cancer three weeks before dieing on August 13 of this year. I wanted to post a pic of him but his site and any pics on the web seem to have been deleted. (update... John found that a friend of Rons put the site back up today. Here is a
link.) It is strange how reading hundreds of Sweetmarias homeroast list emails from him and having participated in about 15 personal emails with Ron made me care about and feel like I knew him like many of my other friends. I miss him like anyone else I care about. Thank you Ron for all the great coffee I will roast in your drum. Jared

Monday, October 06, 2008

U of M Landscape Arboretum trip today

A pretty berry tree. Or as Heath calls unknown berry trees. "Deadnbury" trees.

A bunch of pretty flowers.

Ya like my hair?

Ella posing with a stick she said she planned to take home and "sleep with in my bed."

The Arboretum had a bunch of tree related art installments on the grounds. Here is part of a big leaf hammock and chair installment.

These last two pics are in the "weeping tree" area of the arboretum. They are not topiary/purposefully shaped plants. I however see an elephant and a dog.

Maya is a climber

Maya is able to climb our little slide and almost get to the slide position by herself. She can't however yet walk to the slide but crawls. I am sure like Ella she will be using the slide completely independently before she can walk. Apparently walking is hard. Climbing, not so hard. Falling, easy.
I love pumpkin/squash seeds done right. Problem is I cook them differently each time and cook them really well about every third time and forget how I did it by the next time I do it. Solution: blog it so I can look it up again. These little beauties came from an acorn squash Ella and I enjoyed a few days ago. I decided to make the seeds while convection baking the squash at 325 degrees this time. I sprayed a small toaster oven pan with olive oil then spread out the seeds in in the pan and sprayed them with the same oil. I took them out and stirred, turned over and salted them about four times in the next hour. I stopped cooking them when they were a little more brown than seemed right. They came out perfect. Like a whole bowl of the best little unpopped popcorn kernels.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Ella's kind of President

During the VP debate last night I was talking with Ella about the presidential election process and told her the VP's relationship to the President is a little like the relationship between Boots and Dora. When I asked Ella what issues she would like the next president to work on she said very thoughtfully that she would like a president who was in favor of "more pets." I have to agree with Ella on her issue priorities but of course no one is talking about this "main street" issue. An issue that would actually enrich all of our lives. Apparently there just isn't enough money in the pet lobby for anyone to take a stand.