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    Birthday Clusters


    2013 - 01.08

    Dave’s family has two pretty significant birthday clusters: late September to early October (which I happen to fall into) and late December to early January (which Dave already is in and The Passenger will be in). There’s also a smaller one in May that’s starting to build with all of the in-laws.

    The thing that I find funny is that with all of the birthdays in December/January, The Passenger has managed to avoid landing on any of them, as s/he is still hanging out comfortably in Chez Karin. The due date I originally calculated was January 7 (Dave’s mom’s birthday), which changed to the 10th (nobody as far as I know) to the 3rd (Dave’s birthday, and one day off from both of our grandmothers) then back to the 10th after the midwives looked at a bunch of factors including two early ultrasounds. If I’m right, and I believe I am, Dave’s mom has the latest birthday in the cluster, so by making it past there, we’ve streeeeeeetched out the birthday cluster by at least two more days. :)

    Geek vs. Snob


    2012 - 02.28

    A while back one of my cousins posted about the concept of a Geek and how it is different from a snob, with a real life example.

    We were out one evening at a pizza parlor with some friends and their friends, and one person in the party was the son of a winemaker. One of the women, who wanted to drink some wine, asked him which wine he recommended. None of them, he said. Period. He didn’t even offer up a suggested beer or cocktail, and this woman either had to drink nothing, or ignore his advice. What a snob.

    Read more: http://candlewineproject.wordpress.com/2012/01/23/geek-vs-snob/

    I thought it was an interesting read, I also thought it was an interesting choice of terms.  I personally often think of Geek as a noun, and sometimes use it to describe myself.  In that context I’m usually thinking of it in terms of expertise with respect to computers.  I think however that she’s using it more as an adjective: Wine Geek, Cider Geek, etc…  I too use Geek in that way sometimes: Board game Geek.

    For me the difference really is that Geek when used in this way implies enthusiasm and if not a certain minimum level of expertise an aspiration towards it.  Snobbery on the other hand has an implicit negative connotation.  The inherent difference being that by calling someone a snob you’re making the value judgement that they are being condescending in the offering of their opinion (which may be based on just as much expertise as one offered by a geek).  So realistically it’s the way in which the opinion is offered, and not the opinion itself.

    I think the problem of distinction is exasperated by the sphere in which the example is presented: beverages (or more generally food).  Not everyone has the same tastes, and perhaps more interestingly not everything tastes the same to all people.  So even if one were talking about wines, you could have a much better made wine that was actually technically of higher quality, but it doesn’t mean that you would actually like it more, or at all.

    Take that to the sphere of technology instead and there are definitely clear external metrics which can objectively classify something as better than something else, and the subjective element although still present is less important, and less likely to be problematic.

    Getting back to the  central question though of whether or not one is a snob or a geek, I think that it’s not actually a difficult situation to avoid.  Geeks are valued for their knowledge; Snobs are derided for the manner in which they share their knowledge.  So if you want to be a geek and not a snob you share your expertise but in a non-judgemental way.

    If you find yourself asked to recommend a wine (and you have appropriate expertise) then you can indicate that you personally wouldn’t choose any of the ones that are offered, but that wine X is probably the best of the bunch (or would probably make the best pairing with what they’re having for dinner).

    That said a geek is also permitted to have the courage of their convictions.  By this I mean it’s totally alright to recommend against any of the choices if you have a good reason.  Ex: I honest believe that YOU would not be happy with any of the choices, or that you would later regret making one of those choices.  That’s not snobbery, that’s conviction (and well intentioned).

    Haven’t You Always Wanted a MonKEE?


    2011 - 11.11

    Watching a Telus ad tonight (the one with the monkey, in case the title didn’t tip you off) reminded me of my uncle’s store in Calgary.  Pisces Pet Emporium is pretty much the most amazing place EVAR, even according to other people.  Anyway, the Telus ad reminded me that I really wanted to buy a marmoset from them.  Yes, they have marmosets.  I managed to refrain and just took some pictures, especially since I thought I should PROBABLY ask permission before bringing home a pet larger than a gecko.  But if I did buy a marmoset, this is what I would do with it.

    • train him to write rejection letters for me
    • train him to give head scratches
    • give him the bananas that start getting spotty and I don’t like any more
    • share my pizza crusts with him
    • string up a hammock between the posts on my bed for him to sleep on
    • take bajillions of pictures of him
    • not call him Marcel (although according to Wikipedia, the Friends monkey was a capucin)
    • get him a little Canucks jersey to wear (but only if he wanted to)
    • teach him to play disc golf (and help run tournaments)
    • train him to poke me in the back of the head if I start playing Facebook games when I’m supposed to be writing.

    In a strange synergy kinda thing, today I had my first taste of the Ben and Jerry’s ice cream “If I Had A Million Flavours” inspired by the Barenaked Ladies song “If I Had A Million Dollars”, which is where I got the title of this post from.  WOW!! (it’s really tasty…swirl of vanilla and chocolate ice cream, toffee, white chocolate chunks, chocolate covered almonds, peanut butter cups and probably something else I missed…)  I’m sorry that you can’t have any ice cream, and I’m sorrier that you now have “If I Had a Million Dollars” stuck in your head.

    …I’d buy you a green dress…but not a real green dress, that’s cruel….

    Outstanding in the Field


    2011 - 03.29

    One of my cousins posted a link to this on Facebook and it sounds pretty cool.  You get to go to a farm, and probably sit in the fields and eat a presumably delicious dinner.  There’s even a couple of events in BC (July 9, Pemberton; July 10, Aldergrove).  It really sounds like something that Karin would totally love to do, and that it would be fun.  Unfortunately there’s a downside: the price.  The BC events are $190/person, which might be justifiable for the experience but is not something that I think I could justify in the near future.  If someone out there goes, let us know how it is/was.

    Outstanding in the Field

    WHAT WE DO
    Our mission is to re-connect diners to the land and the origins of their food, and to honor the local farmers and food artisans who cultivate it.

    Outstanding in the Field is a roving culinary adventure – literally a restaurant without walls. Since 1999 we have set the long table at farms or gardens, on mountain tops or in sea caves, on islands or at ranches. Occasionally the table is set indoors: a beautiful refurbished barn, a cool greenhouse or a stately museum. Wherever the location, the consistent theme of each dinner is to honor the people whose good work brings nourishment to the table.

    Ingredients for the meal are almost all local (sometimes sourced within inches of your seat at the table!) and generally prepared by a celebrated chef of the region. After a tour of the site, we all settle in: farmers, producers, culinary artisans, and diners sharing the long table.

    The Candle Wine Project


    2011 - 01.12

    Hmmm, seems that there’s a bit of a theme at the moment, giving shout outs to friends who are doing something interesting on the Internet.  This one however is perhaps a little disturbing in that it’s probably a little too close to the sorts of things which Karin would love to be doing with her summer’s off, urban homesteading, or actual homesteading I suppose.

    This “project” is spearheaded by my cousin-by-marriage*, Heather, and it revolves around turning an interest into a hobby, and hopefully eventually into a viable business.  Here’s what she says about The Candle Wine Project:

    I am documenting my growth in what I hope will lead me to start my own business of selling cider and fruit wine.

    The idea was a slow growing one. I was raised on a farm, but went to live and work in the city. The recession was coming on, and I’m always looking for ways to do things myself to save a buck. You know, go back to the basics. I moved in with my boyfriend in a house in the suburbs, and finally got to grow a garden. After my boyfriend was upgraded to fiancé, we went to a local distillery, and I was really impressed, thinking, this would be awesome to do myself, but I didn’t really do anything about it. However, there was a man in our tour group who said he had brewed cider, and I thought that would be a better starting point since my parents have six apple trees on their property. Free material source!

    I got a hold of some books on cider and started reading them on my honeymoon since I now had time with the wedding being over. I was strictly thinking of doing it as a hobby at this point. There was one day, however, where I was jealous of my husband’s summers off from teaching, and the increased recession fears that my new boss was going to let me go. This idea of having a winery suddenly popped into my head, and I’ve kind of obsessed with the idea since, knowing that I still wouldn’t get summers off.

    My winery would not sell grape wine because that can be found anywhere. Instead, I draw my inspiration from Shallon Winery in Astoria, OR. It is run by an old gentleman who makes the most wonderful fruit wines, including a cranberry whey wine and a chocolate orange wine. One time I when I was there, before I had my business idea, I asked what would happen upon his death, as it would be a terrible thing to lose his recipes. Now I hope that I could purchase at least the cranberry whey wine recipe from him.

    I hope you will watch as I try to turn this little hobby into a business.

    There’s also a Facebook page for The Candle Wine Project if you prefer using Facebook.  Go ahead, you know you’ll “like” it ;-)

    * when I was thinking about this post, I thought to myself, how do I describe this relationship: the wife of my cousin, or more precisely my father’s brother’s son’s spouse.  I suppose the appropriate and commonly accepted term would be cousin-in-law, or because most people don’t question the lineage of cousins (at least in polite conversation) cousin probably would have been an acceptable shorthand.  That said, I elected to go with cousin-by-marriage, because well it’s accurate, and it also in my mind seems less insulting than cousin-in-law, which felt to me to imply that if it weren’t for some “law” you would not recognize that individual as having any relationship to you!