Ding dong

I heard. Huh, weird, someone at the door? Not expecting a package, not that they would ring the bell anyway. I don’t remember maintenance leaving a note up to do anything else either. Well, let’s master the fear and go see who it is.

Open the door… no one here. Oh no wait. Insurance salesman.

insurance salesman

We went sight-seeing

Well hi there. Been a while, hasn’t it? That sums up 2020 for pretty much all of us, doesn’t it?

We are still more or less house bound, but just slightly less than almost a year ago, but sometimes we find some things that require a couple hours of driving and are mildly interesting.

There’s a thing called the NC Musician Mural Project that show cases NC born musicians. There aren’t many currently, but the few around here that are an easy drive include Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane. Earl Scruggs and Randy Travis are a much larger drive, west of Charlotte. Maybe another time. Maybe.

Coltrane’s is on the back of the Hamlet Opera House, at least when it did that. These towns are super small, and Covid has made extremely sure that the downtowns were heavily ghost like. So many boarded up or empty shops in Rocky Mount on the main drag and it felt kind of recent.mural of john coltrane in hamlet nc

thelonious monk mural in rocky mountand all of this, was made extremely comfy in <price is right voice> a new car!!

helgaApparently it’s a 3 year itch because Ingrid had just had a birthday. There was a lone tear, it was a good car, no complaints there. But, this is going to likely be the last hurrah for the gas powered cars, so I went big. This is Helga. She be stout, matronly, cushy, but, believe it or not, a rocket ship.

We are all now indoor kids

The plus side of not going outside, we get to do all those projects that we talked about months ago, but never did. Here was our Sunday, though mostly J’s and not mine since mine was way less effort. I suppose it’s real handy that I bought some lighting for photo stuff a few months back… daylight isn’t something I’m getting much of. Though I could tell you the harrowing journey of how I went out for the mail once.

You can click on the images and get a much prettier movie out of it.


Hagrid’s hut.

spinning ncc-1701d

Enterprise NCC 1701D.


Discovered by the Germans in 1904, they named it San Diego, which of course in German means ‘a whale’s vagina.’

Go fuck yourself, San Diego.

Well, nah, not really. It was ok. It’s still coastal California in the Fall which just means it’s brown and lots of sun and palm trees. That’s fine and all, but the brown and perpetual highway situation can get to you after a few days.

My visit was far less stressful than Js, but at least, all was well that ended well. She did get to enjoy some random tourism after the nightmares of testing. We got in Thursday early afternoon with enough time to drop by a Trader Joe’s for random snacks and some fizzed water.

Since she passed out of day 1 tests, she had nothing to do but continue to cram on Friday and I didn’t take off work, so we holed up at a couple local establishments. The morning was spent at the House Of Black. A Harry Potter-ish themed coffee spot where I drank a powerful nitro-cold-brew coffee and she had some coffee confection that had enough sugar to instantly trigger type 2 diabetes. We could have mixed them and it would have been ok, but we suffered in silence on our respective beverages.

I followed up with a slightly better situation where we drank cider from another place down the road in the afternoon. I don’t remember much about it but they did have a contraption that I hadn’t seen before next to the taps. If you were looking for a cider to go, they could fill and seal a tall boy for you. You fill the can, put a lid on, and a big lever would form and roll a seam on top.

While J confronted her D-Day, I had a date downtown with a ship that was just a year late for the real D-Day. Everyone on board had to keep letting you know that the USS MIdway was the largest attraction in California and the something about the largest/most open maritime exhibit in the world. I would have enjoyed crawling through more of it (even though I’m sure it wouldn’t have been that exciting), but I saw some cool things. Even if you served on it, you would have seen more on the tour as you could get up to the ‘Island’, which is the towery bit at the top where command stuff is, down through bunk areas, kitchens, mess haul, captains/admirals quarters, laundry, engine room (number 4 only), the brig, radio rooms, operations center, and flight ready rooms for all the air wings stationed there. $20 to walk around an aircraft carrier for a good part of the day was pretty good in retrospect. blinkenlights on midwayThat picture should link you to the rest of them, but one more that I liked was dude that would give the ready signal to launch planes.

Sunday was a better fun day as J finally got to unwind some amount. We took a trip back to where she was taking her test but went to the fun bits instead at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. I planned poorly and and should have brought the long lens, but still caught some interesting things like a brand new tree kangaroo,

and this yellow lab who we were assured was sleeping, not dead. He could have been dead. At the very least, he was real comfy sleeping in the sun there. He kept the big cat on the left company.

not actually dead.

Monday was chill though. We had loose plans to go visit a couple art galleries. Real hifalooting places. The Doctor Seuss gallery was first up in the super glam and glitzy La Jolla where damn near every other store front was an art gallery of some sort. It was cool to see a bunch of things including this guy.That painting was the inspiration for Cat in the Hat. The print hanging there, if you’d like your own, would only set you back 26,500$. I admired it from a far. Plenty a far. But I did want to come away with something from there so we bought a limited edition (as they all are) cover of The Lorax which should show up sometime soon.

We went further down town again after that to take a look at the Chuck Jones gallery. If you were ever into Looney Toons, there you go. So much adulting. 2 art galleries in one day and I even bought something.

The rest of the day wasn’t super eventful as we found some nosh, gassed up the nissan to give back to dollar rental and got ready for our red eye back home. We survived with enough energy left to not even take a nap and catch cheese sticks at the state fair.


I improved a dangerous skill

Dangerous to my waist line, at least. It’s already imperiled. I finally got into one of the baking classes down at La Farm where I had a frenchman shouting at a group of 12 on how to properly man handle dough.

We started out shaping a whole bunch of pre-made dough so it could get a rise in before baking. The video is the ginormous german oven that they do all their baking in. If you want to imagine size, think about an oven that’s probably a 12 foot cube that has 8 levels each. The slide to load it up is probably about the size of a stretcher. It was mesmerizing. I’d go watch them add/remove bread except the baking is pretty much done by the time they open for the day.

The last bit of class was the first bit, mixing and shaping dough by hand. Nearly everyone was freaking out (well, deeply concerned I should say) about having to work with sticky dough and they thought it shouldn’t be that way. Spoiler. It was. It should be. You can avoid some stick by just working with quick movements and it helps a lot. Think slime or corn starch+water and those non newtonian fluids. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, go put those words into youtube.

And to wrap it all up, they hand you a brown paper bag, collect all the bread the class made (if you can find your own, you probably didn’t do a very good job), your dough, and go home.

I opted to bake the following night. I need some practice as my boule was a little bit flabby and shapeless, as well as probably too big because I remember when we made them there, we got 2 boules out of 1lb of dough and I just used one. And my scoring was poor too. There’s some wordplay possible about a butter face in here somewhere I’m sure of it.i made dis

But I’ll keep practicing. I have some other pictures too.