Aug 312017
 
  • Earth and Stone Wood Fired Pizza, one of my very favorite local businesses, is donating 100% of its proceeds this Saturday, September 2, to Hurricane Harvey relief. Go by and have the best pizza available for four counties (or pick a few up for your football party!), and say hi to my friends Stan and Tina.
  • The younger boy is hooked on pico de gallo sauce. In fact, it was the only game day food he specifically asked for. You got it, man. Pretty much 100% raw vegetables by weight? Slam-dunk. Yeah, there are the chips too, but still.
  • The “Buy 3, Get 9 Free” deal at Feelin’ Good Tees is legit. I just got my 12 shirts, and even with various upcharges for custom colors, larger sizes, etc., they were $9.40 each delivered. They’re reasonably heavy T-shirts, too.
  • I tried an episode of The Man in the High Castle, and it’s obviously a high-quality production, but it didn’t really take with me. I have two other recommendations in hand—for The Americans and Ozark. Given from whom each recommendation came and what I know about each series, I’ll probably watch them both.
  • Reading between the lines, it sounds like Tony Kanaan may be driving for A.J. Foyt in 2018. If you still had any doubt that it wouldn’t be Chip Ganassi Racing next year, Chip’s jackassery Saturday night should have removed it. I don’t have anything against Scott Dixon, but I hope TK can stuff CGR at least one good time next year.
  • The new Saxon album is called Thunderbolt. It’s due in January.
  • Lows in the 50s. They’ll be short-lived, but they’ll be here. More to come. Ahhhhh.
 Posted by at 7:05 pm
Aug 282017
 

When I was a little boy, we had a Hamilton Beach popcorn popper. It had an electric base, shaped like a shallow wok on top. You filled up the middle with kernels, then covered them with oil. Finally, you put the bowl on top. It was transparent yellow-orange plastic, shaped something like a broader-than-normal top hat, with two handles. Then you plugged it in. Over about five minutes, the oil would sizzle, and then all of the popcorn would pop. When it slowed down considerably, you unplugged it, turned the whole thing upside down (making sure to hold the handles!), and now all of your popcorn was in the bowl, ready to be salted.

(I didn’t remember it being endorsed by Broadway Joe, but there you go. Ours was “Avocado Green,” by the way.)

I’m pleased to see there is still something similar available. This is the right form factor, though ours didn’t have a “stirring rod,” and it looks much lighter than ours was. You could have cracked someone’s skull with the base from the one we had.

Thinking of that old popcorn popper makes me happy. I was always having a really good time whenever it made an appearance. David from up the street was spending the night, and we were playing Atari and trying to sneak a glimpse of flesh on HBO. Or Dad just decided it was a popcorn night, and got up and made some. (He didn’t really do that unless we were all into something on TV, so it was good family time. We loved Real People.) I remember the salt would stick to the thin film of oil around the side of the bowl, so you could get a really salty and greasy piece by rubbing a kernel around and mopping it up.

That popper made great popcorn, but I don’t want to get one like it today. For one thing, apart from a perhaps-quarterly trip to the movies, I don’t eat super-oily popcorn like that anymore. We have an air popper that I use, or we have lighter varieties of microwave popcorn. For another, Lea would kill me if I came home with another countertop appliance, because countertop appliances must be stored.

Mostly I wonder whether my children will have any comparable items in their childhood memories; seemingly trivial things around which a halo of joy forms for them. I have such stark delineation between what I remember pre-divorce and post-divorce, and they won’t have that.

It’s hard for me to tell just how much I’ve “supercharged” the pre-divorce memories, but I’m not sure that imprecision bothers me. However they are in my heart is exactly as accurate as they need to be.

 Posted by at 2:15 pm
Aug 252017
 

I attended a seminar on human trafficking last night, sponsored in part by the North Alabama Human Trafficking Task Force. The meeting had a profound effect on me. I can’t recall any time in my life feeling so actively motivated to support a cause.

There are more people held in slavery today that at all other times in history combined. Human trafficking is the second-largest industry in the world (and the fastest growing). There are children for sale right now, as you read this, in northern Alabama. And there are always predators looking for more. There are hardly any places in the world where it isn’t happening.

Ever spent any time on I-20, running right through the middle of the state? That is one of the largest human trafficking superhighways in the United States.

I’m excited about getting my boots on the ground, and I’m going to my first NAHTTF meeting next month. I’m also interested in seeing how my church can get involved. I will have a lot more to say about it in the days to come. The evil is unspeakable; the war against it, daunting. I have to fight. I can’t not. If I have time to do anything in the world, I have time for this.

If you’re interested in knowing more, or finding out how you can get involved, send me email.

 Posted by at 3:48 pm
Aug 242017
 
  • Hurricane Harvey could be bad. Thoughts and prayers with everyone in the affected areas.
  • We had a good time watching the eclipse with the boys, though our 97% coverage didn’t equate to nearly as much loss of light and heat as we’d anticipated. I haven’t talked to Lea about it yet, but we may travel to totality in 2024. Cape Girardeau isn’t far.
  • Aaron asked for cucumber soup a little while back, and I told him I’d make some for him. I’ll do that this weekend. Guess I better learn how. Anyone got a favorite recipe?
  • Related: what is with grown-ass people who can’t cook at all? And I don’t mean they’re not gourmet chefs; I mean they can’t brown hamburger meat or fry an egg? And then too many of them announce this with near-pride, instead of shame? I’m sorry a parent or an older sibling or a girlfriend/boyfriend type never showed you, but sheesh, get a book or find a YouTube video or two. Don’t revel in your ignorance of a basic life skill. Cure it.
  • It’s an odd, bumpity-bump start for football this weekend, with five college games on. I prefer the start on Thursday night, with the first Saturday being a big affair. (But they didn’t ask me.)
  • IndyCar returns to Gateway Motorsports Park this weekend, for the last oval race of the season. Pocono was ridiculously entertaining. Here’s hoping this race is just as good! See you at 8 CDT Saturday night on NBCSN!
  • We just got the bill for using the toll bridge just north of Louisville on our Indianapolis 500 trip. It was $8 ($4 going, $4 coming). Did you know that the U.S. Interstate Highway System contained toll roads? And that you could be using the interstate, and just be upon them? I didn’t until this past May.
 Posted by at 1:25 pm
Aug 222017
 

I’ve worn regular old briefs for my entire life, and for the past several years I’ve replaced all of them annually.

But I’ve wondered about boxer briefs. Now I know I don’t like regular boxers. I went through a boxer period in college and shortly thereafter, and while I love the comfort, I don’t like flopping all over the place. They’re just a bit too free. I don’t need it to be slammed against my leg like we were in a centrifuge, but I don’t like having absolutely no idea what it’s going to do next either. Follow?

Let’s get this out of the way up front too: I’m a fat guy. I’m not sideshow gigantic, but I’m also rather beyond “a bit chubby.” Nobody wants to see a photograph of me in my underwear, and you won’t get such in this post. I’ll also be discussing comfort and practicality much more than aesthetics. Each product I evaluated was in size XXL/2XL.

So, we’re all on the same page? Excellent. Let’s proceed.

Here are the Two Universal Truths of Boxer Briefs—things you should be ready for if you’re moving from briefs:

  • If you’ve been maneuvering Mr. Happy under one of your underwear legs at the urinal, you have some relearning to do. When you wear boxer briefs, the legs go way further down. Work on mounting and dismounting through the dedicated fly. Practice at home if you need to. It may be harder than you think in the heat of the moment, particularly if you really have to go.
  • You feel your underwear very much less on your bottom when you wear boxer briefs. From time to time, depending on the exact position of your pants, this is going to feel like you’re walking across the room or the parking lot with no pants on. It’s all good. Relax. They’re there. They’re just not grabbing you.

I have evaluated three different pairs of boxer briefs in this test. Product-specific comments follow.

Duluth Trading Buck Naked Performance boxer briefs ($23)—When a cartoon guy is pole-dancing wearing this underwear in the ads, that gets your attention. I was excited to put these on for the first time, and guess what? I was impressed. These grab where you ought to be grabbed, and let you float—just a bit—where you ought to float. There is no chafing anywhere—the wide yet exceptionally friendly waistband is particularly impressive in this regard—and where the fabric does contact your skin, it’s smooth and unobtrusive.

This fabric blend excels at keeping you cool, though it’s a bit jarring at first. It’s like an athletic jersey, almost, and I wondered about its absorbability when it might be needed. It performed admirably. The fabric visibly holds moisture, but also wicks it very effectively. I saw it on the garment, but did not feel it on my skin.

Mack Weldon 18-Hour Jersey boxer briefs ($24)—This is the line of underwear that introduced me to the concept of a single pair of men’s drawers costing this much. I wrote about it in my first underwear post. That being the case, I wanted to include them in my evaluation. They get big points for presentation, arriving in their own reusable container (which I suppose I would call a lingerie bag were it not a man’s). The fabric feels fabulous. It’s soft and soothing against the skin. I’d love a shirt that felt like this.

The Mack Weldon fit paradigm, however, is quite different. These are designed to be form-fitting, and much tighter against the skin than the Duluth Trading product. For a man 100 pounds lighter than I am who goes to the gym three times a week, this may be a good thing. For me, the experience is not awful, but it’s much less correct. I have slept in the Mack Weldon boxer briefs and worn them all day, and I was much more comfortable than not—but I was also aware of them much more often. I was supported, but I also encountered a patch of localized sweating if I was too still for too long. That did not happen to me with the Duluth Trading underwear. I also didn’t care for the direction to wash the Mack Weldon product in cold water. Underwear should be washed in warm water. My mama taught me that. It should be manufactured to withstand such.

Hanes ComfortFlex Tagless Men’s boxer briefs ($4)— I included this product as a control. If I were simply switching form factors and not looking at premium products, this is in the neighborhood where I’d have landed. These are comfortable out of the package, and the compromise of boxer briefs is well represented. There is support in the crotch. There is no pressure point chafing. These do hit me a little more in the butt than the Duluth Trading boxer briefs.

However, this fabric feels just like the briefs that I’ve been turning over 100% annually for the past several years. There is probably two-thirds of the Duluth Trading experience here initially for only one-eighth of the price, but how long will it last? And how much is that third worth anyway?

Conclusions

Whether a single pair of men’s underwear is worth $20+ is a tricky question. From a fashion perspective—and really, probably a comfort perspective too—a pretty man is getting some value from a $24 pair of Mack Weldons. The garment is put together well, and it’s comfortable (in context). And, if said pretty man is going to lounge about in his underwear in the presence of other pretty people in their underwear as a matter of course, then this is the product in which to do it.

The Hanes boxer briefs are more comfortable and practical to me than the Mack Weldon boxer briefs, but they also give me every indication that they’ll age rapidly. Nevertheless, I will keep the four pairs that I purchased in the rotation. They wear well enough during the day to use, and I would like to gather real-world data on their durability. I doubt that’ll be another post, but it may be a comment here, dig?

The Duluth Trading underwear has won me, as much as it can for the moment. I’ve augmented my initial supply a bit, and we’ll see how we go. It’s going to hurt my feelings if they don’t last any longer than a year, but then I probably need to work myself up to two weeks’ worth in inventory to make that comparison valid, don’t I?

Watch for follow-ups, and thanks for reading.

 Posted by at 11:42 pm

BoWilliams.com is using WP-Gravatar