Jan 312017

Lea got me a nifty solar watch charger for Christmas. It works much more quickly and reliably than the bathroom window sill. So I’ve been having fun getting some old soldiers out and enjoying them again.

I charged this one last night. I bought this watch about 12 years ago. It had a brown crocodile strap on it when I bought it that I didn’t think suited it. I like this blue strap with white stitching for it.

I have an interesting problem, though. I now need my reading glasses to see most of the detail on this dial. (Or, no corrective lenses and hold it closely.) I certainly need them to set it.

Now when I have them on, I can see that I still like all of the little touches. And I can read the time fine without reading glasses. The date takes me a second, but only a second.

If people like my watch and compliment me them that’s fine and I say thank you, but I wear them for me. So the question becomes: is it as satisfying to wear this watch now that I can’t just look down and see a lot of what I like about it? I don’t think it is.

The bifocals countdown nears zero.

 Posted by at 10:39 am
Jan 282017

This is part of an ongoing series reviewing hot wings in the Huntsville area. Visit #HsvHotWings for a comprehensive linked list.

Saintseester and I went to Below the Radar for lunch yesterday. Her current gig puts her close to my office, and I had a reader recommendation in my pocket for BTR wings. (Thanks for that! Keep ’em comin’!)

Below the Radar is a downtown gastropub that I never manage to drive directly to, thanks to the heavily one way street-infested part of our fair city in which it is located. I’ve had good meals and good beers there. Yesterday’s lunch was accompanied by BTR’s own thoroughly pleasant Stinger Honey IPA. The wings come in various sizes and heat levels. I selected six wings for $8.72 at the hottest Trinity heat level, which is named for the three peppers used in it. (Ghost, habanero, and our excellent server Carrie couldn’t remember the other one.) A goodly portion of celery and bleu cheese accompanied my three drums and three flats.

Quality: 6/10. My sextet of Trinity wings was appealingly plated, decently sized, capably cooked, and served a little cool, but within tolerance. They were just a little fatty, and at $1.45 each, a little dear.

Flavor: 6/10. There is a sweet barbecue vibe to lead off, followed with a piquant bite that has a short-lived bass note of a little chipotle. They taste fine, but they could use a stronger rhythm track. Roasted garlic, perhaps? Grilled onions?

Heat: 5/10. The heat here reminds me of the little flame jets that spray when your football team runs onto the field. It’s pretty hot, but then it’s gone very quickly. That classic, cumulative burn from C. chinense cultivars, at least two of which are claimed in the recipe, is totally absent. Still, for non-chileheads, there’s enough here to make you momentarily uncomfortable.

Below the Radar’s Trinity wings are hardly offensive, but they’re a little safe. Amp it up, folks. Don’t be shy.

 Posted by at 7:30 am
Jan 272017

Demolition is scheduled to begin February 6. My friend Lucy Berry DeButy, who has journalistically shepherded Madison Square through its senescence, has written the last piece on the mall.

I can’t believe it’s been most of two years since I went in there. When I was going and actively writing about it, every time I left I thought “it can’t get worse.” And every time it did. I remember joking that nothing could possibly match the bizarre, decade-long Thorazine shuffle The Mall went through at its end. But I think Madison Square bested it in some ways.

I remarked to Lea earlier this week that one of my earliest happy memories after we moved was at Madison Square. It was 1986, so the mall was a spry two years old. I was walking through the lower level on what may have been my first trip to the mall ever. The glorious thick-sweet smell of Coffee Tea and Thee enveloped me as I walked toward the escalator, noticing that a public library branch was located immediately adjacent. And I thought “we’ve moved to a cool place.”

Even before I made a friend, it was naked commercialism that made me feel at home. Crass? Superficial? American? Heh.

Thanks for the memories, Madison Square. Here’s hoping MidCity brings its own brand of magic.

 Posted by at 10:50 am
Jan 262017
  • Mary Tyler Moore has died at 80. Laura Petrie was the sexiest sitcom wife ever, and Mary Richards was one of the most groundbreaking characters in television history. Thank you and goodbye to a primary cultural force of the second half of the 20th century. RIP.
  • This week I purchased some music I first encountered on Breaking Bad. It’s the self-titled debut solo album of Fever Ray, and the one that grabbed me was “If I Had a Heart.” It dates from 2009, so no new-and-hip points for me, but wow, what a cool song. Still exploring the rest of the record.
  • Aaron’s supraventricular tachycardia has made the pubescent appearance that we hoped we’d avoid. Since we’ve seen Dr. Israel, his son has also become a pediatric cardiologist and joined his practice. We liked him as immediately as we liked his dad. Aaron’s in “wait and see” mode for now. He’s only had one episode of about ten minutes’ duration, and Dr. Israel taught him some tricks he can try to break the fast rhythm if it happens again.
  • I am proud to renew my association with Rocket City Mom for 2017. My first restaurant review of the year will be up soon—watch for it—and I may even manage a column or two here and there.
  • I’m tiptoeing back into playing chess. I saw the Huntsville Chess Club was meeting much closer to me now. I renewed my U.S. Chess Federation and Internet Chess Club memberships. (Believe I’ll play for at least a few weeks before I show my face at a club meeting.)
  • I saw an old college friend today for the first time since 1991! Katie was in several of my Russian classes. It was great to catch up and laugh with her.
  • Supposed to feel like January again tomorrow.
 Posted by at 8:06 pm
Jan 252017

As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. – Proverbs 27:17

Sometimes we want our friends to be soft landing places. Sometimes it’s appropriate that they oblige.

Other times we need them to hold us to account. We need them to remind us who we are; where we have cast our lot.

To Whose kingdom we belong.

I am so thankful this week for blessings I couldn’t have anticipated even a year ago. It’s a good reminder to keep my eyes open all the time. Awareness is underrated.

 Posted by at 10:41 pm
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