Spinach Salad

I can’t stand lettuce. I can’t. And cabbage? It’s good in Colcannon or Soup, that’s about it. There’s one leafy green veggie that is near and dear to my heart, though, and that is spinach. Delicious delicious spinach.

It’s easy to make a salad out of it. How easy? Follow these steps:

1. Open spinach bag.
2. Insert fork.

Done. Priceless, and its saves time on dirty dishes.

In all seriousness, though, I do more than that usually. I take the spinach out of the bag, put it in a bowl, and then dress it up. My dressing of choice is Sriracha. Squeeze some of that on there, sprinkle some salt and pepper (if you’re feeling uppity, then add some parmesan cheese). Cover bowl, shake it like a polaroid picture, and then eat. It’s awesome.

Also, when I’m feeling lazy, it’s good to eat just straight from the bag while waiting for the soup to warm up or for your sandwich bread to toast. Tasty.

Pro-tip: when opening a new bag of spinach, open it from the bottom and eat that first. It will avoid that getting too soggy as time goes by (since it’s been sitting that way for however long in the market), and that will get rid of the majority of the moisture that stuck down there due to gravity. Your bag o’ spinach will stay more fresh.

Cats: nature’s pest murdering fuzzy pal.

According to the BBC, cats are killing billions of animals. So many animals, so many dead dead animals.

And you know what I say to that?

Good.

See, what most people think is just your average every day cutesy wittle critter which is mercilessly hunted and killed by a cat is -in reality- a disgusting pest. Mice, for instance…thanks to the cats in my neighborhood, I don’t have to shovel mice turds out of the silverware drawer. Pigeons, for instance…again, thanks to those fuzzy feral critter cats, I don’t have to put up with pigeons crapping all over my lawn furniture. In fact, I see the birds I want to see, the ones that are evolutionarily capable of avoiding cats, when they want to be seen. I don’t feed the birds, but I have the feeling if I did, I’d be able to see them even with cats running rough shod o’er the city.

In fact, let’s focus on the types of critters cats are eating according to the article: birds native the U.S. (y’know the ones that poop on cars and that nest in places where they annoy you? The ones you can’t get rid of in the city limits because of bans on discharging firearms, even BB guns?), and then mammals such as mice, shrews, voles, squirrels and rabbits. I’m glad I don’t have mice droppings. I’m a little sad about the shrews and voles, I guess? Maybe? Actually, scratch that…I’m not. As for squirrels, I’ve got plenty of those, even with a couple cats running around the neighborhood. It doesn’t hurt the squirrel’s chances that they’re nearly as large as a cat…the corner oak tree has good eatin’ acorns, I guess.

Which leads us to rabbits: cute, fluffy, hoppity, bundles of garden destroying, vegetable munching, window staring, monstrosities. If cats get rid of them, good. Good on them.

Growing up, with bird seed and chicken feed standing out in the open, you’d think our farm would have seen more mice. We really didn’t, though, largely due to the fact that there were always 3-4 barncats eating them. It was great.

So, I guess I just needed to get this off my chest. People are complaining in the U.S. that cats are killing these animals. I can see the reasoning if the complaint were from New Zealand, for instance, but here? Here we’ve got more than enough rodents that I say let the cats have free reign. One of them has free reign in my house already.

Monday Night Writing Group

My monday evenings have become far more enjoyable since the beginning of the year. Every two weeks we meet and share some writing. Last time was just to discuss what we were planning on doing with writing and what we wanted out of the group.

This evening we got together and actually got some writing out there. It’s pretty solid to discuss things with people of like minds. I’ve missed that since the good ol’ days with sci-fi/writing club. It’s nice to get back in the swing of things.

Writing in a vacuum isn’t really healthy. I’m just sayin’.

Fire Emblem…

I’ve got a kidney here…that should worth enough to get this Fire Emblem 3DS Blue Bundle.

Fire Emblem may be one of the most enjoyable game series I’ve played. And right up front: I haven’t played the Japanese fire emblem games. Just the American. I enjoy the games, just not enough to learn a second language. Games are my hobby, not my job. Anyway, back to the point. They’re fun with just the right amount of micro-managing. Some games (like FF Tactics) require far more management of character progression and class. Those are fun about once every few years. It’s tough for me to marshal my resources to play one of those games more often. FE games are more enjoyable.

Fire Emblem games are notoriously difficult as far as character lives go. If a character dies, they’re out. The plot points that included them don’t happen, they get no mention in the end game, it’s just like real life…etc. etc. So the difficulty is punishing. The reset buttons will be your best friend when playing Fire Emblem. The stories are so so, but the games are fun.

Except the game on the Wii. That was so frustrating it wasn’t funny.

But anyway, yes. This game will be the one reason to purchase a DS, just like the previous iteration was the reason I bought a Wii.

Which game…

Kudos to anyone who recognizes which game this song is used a lot in. Now, aside from the excellent game and the catchiness of this tune, there’s the ever present concern of treating the “other” as an idyllic existence. That aside though, I still enjoy the song. Some folks could call me a horrible colonial imperialist, but some of the sentiments in the tune are still applicable.

Re-reading books.

I know a goodly number of people who do not re-read books. And they do so for a variety of reasons, all of them perfectly understandable. As far as I’m concerned, however, if the book was good enough, or had just a part that resonated with me, then it gets put on the bookshelf to be re-read at a later time.

Sometimes the story is good enough that I just plain enjoy reading the book again. Most sci-fi/fantasy books are because the story is good. However, when the book resonates with me, or even a portion hits me as clever or insightful (like the Dune series), they warrant a re-read. This happens more often than not on books that have a more philosophical bent to them (Russian novelists such as Tolstoy and Dostoevsky).

Some folks may say, “But you’ve read them, you know what is going to happen.” Yes, it’s true. However, that may make me enjoy it more the second time around (as was reported back in 2011). So there’s that. But there’s also the passage of time and the changes we go through in our lives outside the book.

As we change, different parts of the book or different thoughts may strike something far differently than what happened when reading the story just a year ago. A job completely gave up on you and you’re desperate for work? The poor character who doesn’t have much going for them suddenly becomes your favorite one because you can identify with them. Just got a girlfriend or entered a relationship? The character who’s falling in love is the one you identify with and set up as a mirror to what you’re going through.

This happens often, because good books (and not just good literature) allow the reader to escape (Tolkien’s defense of escape in On Fairy Stories is relevant here) from the real world to get a breather. It allows them to see what they’re going through in new ways and helps them notice things in more relevant light. That’s what reading does…and since I’m constantly changing, I re-read things a lot.

So, my message to you who don’t re-read is to try it. See what you think if you’ve not re-read something in a while. Even if it’s not your common practice, give it a go. Start with a book you especially enjoyed, though…as you may be surprised how much you still enjoy it or that you enjoy it for different reasons.