Sons of Anarchy is a show that’s had a lot of ups and downs for me. On one hand it’s one of the best modern American-outlaw shows I’ve seen. It’s hard to argue with the thrill and cool-factor associated with the motorcycle gangs, tattoos, leather and guns. When I first saw Eastern Promises (2007), starring Viggo Mortensen, I must admit I was a little mystified by the whole Russian prison/gang tattoo thing. Some of that exists in this show with their tattoos, patches and pins, but I still haven’t figured out what they all mean.
I’ve never been a soap opera person, but I must admit I was really getting into the storylines and plot twists. After my two favorite characters had been killed off in seasons four and five, I threw in the towel. I called it quits and said, “no more.” Well, it’s been a few months and I decided I had cooled down a bit. The sixth season is going to start this fall and I decided I needed to get over it and watch season five. The rest of the episodes turned out to be not so bad. I know this is by no means reality and the story that unfolds is often ludicrous, that doesn’t mean it’s not fun to watch. In a build-up to my thoughts on season five, I’m going to re-post some thoughts on seasons one through four back in the day.
Every Tuesday I try to spend some quality time with my kid. She looks like her mother, but received a lot of my personality. Tuesdays are one day every week that we watch a movie together and eat popcorn, and today was no exception. Today’s flick was The Polar Express. Chuck gets to pick the movies, which actually aren’t too bad. She’s not into most of the awful kid programming I hear some parents complain about and her favorite movie is Fantastic Mr Fox. With all the problems going on in the world today, I figure the least I can do is try to ensure my child has a good appreciation for film and knows I care about her. Some day we’ll watch the Alien Anthology, Star Wars or all six seasons of Oz. For now we’ll stick with more G-rated stuff though and continue to make popcorn together on the stove.
I just found an article talking about the FDA’s review of a new drug developed by GlaxoSmithKline and Theravance. It’s called Breo and is targeted towards COPD patients. If you’ve always heard “COPD” but don’t know what it is, the acronym stands for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and includes chronic bronchitis, emphysema or both. It’s a scary thing. Now if you don’t have COPD, but do suffer from asthma or related lung condition, this drug could still be for you.
Breo is a combination drug containing both fluticasone furoate (corticosteroid) and vilanterol (long-acting beta-agonist). Other drugs similar to this on the market include:
Advair (fluticasone propionate and salmeterol)
Symbicort (budesonide and formoterol fumarate dihydrate)
Dulera (mometasone furoate and formoterol fumarate dihydrate).
Lots of big words in there, but these are all comprised of a steroid and a long-acting bronchodilator or beta-agonist. I tend to always be prescribed the latest and greatest, so I’m wondering if I’ll be switching to this some time in the future. One change Breo brings to the game is one dose a day. Many patients using combo drug inhalers are needing to take them both morning and night.
Also mentioned in the article is Anoro which could be competing with Spiriva. Anoro contains both vilanterol and umeclidinium. Vilanterol, a LABA, is one-half of Breo and umedlidinium is a long-acting muscarinic receptor antagonist. Supposedly this is the first LABA-LAMA combination drug.
My worst cockroach experience would have to be in Mexico while on working trips. There’s just something unsettling about waking up in the middle of the night with cockroaches covering the floors, walls and ceilings of the room. I don’t think they crawled onto the bunkbeds where I was sleeping, but I’ll probably never know.
The house we’re living in is pretty clean, but we do live “in the country.” So it has its own set of quirks and considerations like woodland creatures, field mice and well water. The other day we noticed what I think was a German roach and winged ants. Obviously we don’t want either of these pests in the house. My special lady friend really hates roaches and I really hate ants so we’re equally invested in trying to eradicate them. The first thing we tried was a little Raid, but knew that wasn’t a real solution to the problem. We waited until the next day to really tackle the problem.
So while our bundle of joy, who hates all kinds of insects, was pre-occupied elsewhere, we pulled out both the fridge and oven/stove to clean everything behind and lace these common insect hideouts with a mixture of Borax and sugar. While Borax is toxic enough you don’t want to eat it, I’d rather put that behind an appliance than spray insecticides all over. It’s not the same compound as Boric Acid, but they’re both derived from Boron and the Borax doubles as a laundry detergent if you don’t use it all for pests.
I mixed some up outside and placed it inside some coffee filters to place behind the appliances. Fortunately we didn’t find any real signs of insects. We’re pretty sure everything was coming from the attached garage. We’re also glad to have cleaned behind everything because it obviously hadn’t happened in years.
My special lady friend insisted I wear some kind of mask over my face to prevent me from breathing in any borax, ancient dust or insect/rodent junk. That worked for a while, but I had to walk outside a few times to get some fresh air anyway. The good news is we haven’t seen any more insects yet. We’ll probably check behind the fridge and oven again to see if anything is dead behind there.
So many people are looking for my old grilled cheese posts from version 1 of this blog, I’ve decided to re-post a few. This one is a cheddar bacon pepper jack grilled cheese made by my special lady friend back in April of 2011.
Two slices of bread
Two slices medium cheddar cheese
Two or three slices pepper jack cheese
Take one buttered slice of bread and lay in pre-heated pan
Place cheddar, then bacon, then pepper jack on top of bread
Top off with other slice of buttered bread
Cook on medium heat until each side is golden brown
Slow cooking is important on a sandwich such as this one. It’s important to melt the cheese all the way through without burning the bread. It will take longer before your sandwich is done, but it’s definitely worth the wait. Have I mentioned I like ketchup with my grilled cheese yet?
Columbia River Knife and Tool or CRKT, also referred to as “cricket” by some of my friends, produces various knives, multi-tools and accessories. I’m a big fan of their every day carry (EDC) line and tactical fold outs. They’re built fairly solidly, are available with different configuration options, have great locking mechanisms and cost much, much less than some of the other big-name manufacturers.
The first thing I want to try and explain is the model number. The left half, “M16” designates the model. The next two numbers reference the length/type of the blade and the letter(s) on the end signify the type of handle, left-hand/right-hand and other options or features.
Clip – Not too stiff when new and doesn’t eat your pants pockets. It can also be repositioned to all four corners of the handle.
Blade – the tanto style is great for utility purposes and stabbing things, as awkwardly morbid as that sounds. The knife is just under 10″ and the blade is just under 4″. This isn’t always the best tool for opening tiny packages and doing precision cutting.
Handle – lightweight and non-abrasive. It’s not the easiest thing to hold if your hands are wet though, but I will say the size fits perfectly in the palm of my hand.
Liner lock – I absolutely love the AutoLAWKS system. I’ve seen more people praising this design than complaining about it. If this is a knife you’re actually going to use, you’ll figure it out in no time. If this is just a pretty thing to make people think your tough, then it’s not really a tool nor is it an EDC knife and you might have issues with it.
For me, this is a great working knife. I use it outside, cutting open boxes and the top of the blade can double as a flat-head screwdriver in a pinch. This isn’t really something to carry at work if you’re in an office environment. People will freak out. Did I mention it snaps open with a sound not so different from working the action on a Remington 870?
Some of the blade finish has started to come off. I think it’s because I didn’t clean something off the blade which then etched the finish. It might have been from cutting an orange or some sort of adhesive stuff. I can’t really feel any difference on the blade itself, it just looks a little weird. Sharpening the blade is a little interesting if you’ve never dealt with a tanto before. Just be careful with that obtuse angle on the end of the blade.
While CRKT offers all of their knives for sale on their website, the MSRP is more than you can purchase it elsewhere…like Amazon. There was one issue when the M16-04Z was purchased – I received a very old version of the knife that had opening/closing issues. When I contacted CRKT, they had me send in the knife and replaced it without any hassle or questions asked. There are a lot of fakes being sold on the market so if you’re concerned about getting the real thing, you can always buy direct.
In 2010 I was finally fed up with trying to lug my giant nebulizer compressor from home to work and anywhere else I needed it. After a lot of research and internet searching, I came across the Trek S offered by Pari Respiratory Equipment.
Some of the first things that stuck out to me:
I could power this with a standard electrical outlet (AC), car adapter (DC) or a battery pack (DC)
Weighs 0.8lbs by itself or 1.2lbs with the battery
Comes with a carrying case
Comes with two Pari LC Sprint Reusable nebulizers and two sets of tubing
Produces decent air flow (14.5psi standard and 35psi max)
Has great reviews on Amazon
I ended up purchasing it for an upcoming trip and LOVED it. Since then I’ve pretty much carried it with me everywhere I go. The small size and compact carrying case allows me to carry it or drop it into any backpack, messenger back, etc that I’m also traveling with at the moment. The compressor comes with a three year warranty and the battery pack has a six month warranty. I’m going on three years of use and haven’t had any hiccups with either the battery or the compressor.
This unit ships with two Pari LC Sprint nebuilzers that are good for six months. Pari also provides a sticker indicator that will let you know when six months is up. To make it easy on myself I replace mine in January and July every year. I have two in use at a time so I always have one at home and one wherever else I happen to be.
If you or a family member has serious asthma like myself and you’re getting tired (pun intended) of dragging that giant compressor around I highly recommend getting something more portable. General complaints I’ve heard and read about other hand-held models are noise levels and lack of air pressure creating a longer wait to complete a treatment. I’ve had neither issues with the Trek S. I’ve used this many times on airplanes where variations in the cabin pressure make it difficult for me to breathe, in cars, outdoors, indoors and anywhere else I happen to find myself.
Scrambled eggs with cayenne and chopped onions added as filling to a grilled cheese sandwich
Two slices of whole wheat bread
Four slices of Cabot Extra Sharp Cheddar
Chopped onions (optional)
Cayenne pepper (optional
Scramble your eggs to taste
I sauteed some onions and added the cayenne to spice things up
Rough scramble – I dropped the eggs into the hot pan with the sauteed onions and while they’re frying I mixed them up with a wooden spoon
Butter your bread and slice your cheese
You can use the same pan for the eggs and cheese, you’ll just need to temporarily move the finished eggs to a plate/bowl while you build your sandwich
Place one piece of buttered toast in the pan with the cheese
Add the scrambled eggs on top of the cheese
TIP: Sometimes you need cheese on both sides of the “sandwich” to help keep the insides together. I didn’t do that with this sandwich but I took extra care when flipping the sandwich to keep everything together.
I also added some extra cayenne on top (optional)
Ok, I realize this may look like an insane amount of cayenne. Feel free to substitute any “spice” you prefer. Even black pepper would work well here.
Cover with the other slice of bread and cook on medium heat until the bottom bread is firm and golden brown, and then flip to cook the other side
Roger Ebert (1942-2013) died a few days ago on April 4, 2013. Mr Ebert had an incredible story of hope and perseverance in the later part of his life while fighting an incredible battle with cancer that took part of his jaw, his ability to speak and eat/drink without a feeding tube. What some people may not be aware of are Mr Ebert’s contributions to film and cinema in the Midwest region as well as the country and the world.
I first discovered Mr Ebert in the basement of my parents’ house in the late 80s while watching TV on the old set we had where you actually had to walk up and crank a dial to change the channel. Pretty rough, eh? I have no idea what station I was watching or what the program was called, but I assume it was Siskel & Ebert & the Movies. This show aired from 1986 to 2010 with different hosts and co-hosts along the way. Gene Siskel died of a heart attack in 1999 and Roger Ebert continued the show until he stepped down in 2006. During this time Siskel and Ebert reviewed many, many films. I didn’t always agree with what they had to say, but there aren’t many who really have the same film tastes I do.
Ebert wasn’t just a guy who watched movies. He also cared about them and the industry. Have you ever wondered why the MPAA rating for a film makes no sense? Well Ebert thought so too. He was a fan of films being shows at 48 frames per second and also disliked the recent 3D craze. I came across this video clip today of Ebert defending Better Luck Tomorrow at a Sundance Film Festival screening.
Ebert was also an advocate and supporter of Asian American cinema, famously coming to the defense of the cast and crew of Justin Lin‘s Better Luck Tomorrow (2001) during a Sundance Film Festival screening when a white member of the audience asked how Asians could be portrayed in such a negative light and how a film so empty and amoral could be made for Asian Americans and Americans. Ebert responded, “I was on a panel today with Chris Eyre, the Native American director. And he said, that for a long time, his people, American Indians, had always had to play some kind of a function, like they were the source of spirituality, or the source of great wisdom and they spoke to the trees and the wind and so forth. And he wanted to make a movie that allowed Native Americans to be people. People in some cases who are alcoholics or who are vigilantes, or in prison. What I find very offensive and condescending about your statement is that nobody would say such a thing to a bunch of white filmmakers: how could you do this to ‘your people’? This film has the right to be about these people, and Asian American characters have the right to be whoever the hell they want to be. They do not have to represent ‘their people’!” He was a supporter of the film after the incident at Sundance, and also supported a number of Asian American films, having them also screen at his film festival (such as Eric Byler‘s Charlotte Sometimes). Ebert was a fan of Asian-American filmmaker Wayne Wang.
One other clip I always chuckle about is Siskel and Ebert’s review of The Big Lebowski (1998). Siskel really hates the film and Ebert defends it, even using some of the vernacular from Joel and Ethan Coen’s script. Start watching at 7min 15sec. I wanted to embed the video, but it starts autoplaying and I find that annoying. Check out the link below.