28 September 2009

A world that loves its irony must hate the protest singer

I've never liked being told what to do.

So, you can imagine that I like even less being told what to think.

September 26-October 3 is Banned Books Week.

I posted about this event (I won't call it a celebration, because it's just too tragic) last year and ranted a bit about intellectual freedoms and slippery slopes.

This year, I'm going to be more blunt.

Because - like another civil rights issue I feel strongly about - the answer to this one is so simple: Mind your own freakin' business.

Yeah, that about covers it.

Here's the deal, people: If you find the content of a book so objectionable, then I don't think that you should be forced you read it. But, contrariwise, I don't think that anyone else should be forced to NOT read it.

What offends your delicate sensibilities might be balm to another's soul. Vive la différence.

So, do the world - and your brain - a favor: Read a Banned Book this week.

I will.

If only because I take umbrage to being dictated to by the fear and ignorance of others.

"When any government, or church for that matter, undertakes to say to its subjects, This you may not read, this you must not see, this you are forbidden to know, the end result is tyranny and oppression no matter how holy the motives." ~ Robert Heinlein

A sampling of the books banned or challenged in 2008-2009:

25 September 2009

NCHF: A Photo Essay

The ZenHusband and I attended the
Northern California Homebrewer's Festival last weekend.
(You did know ZH is a long-time avid homebrewer, didn't you?)

The whole weekend was a blast, but the highlight, for me,
was the Brewer's Dinner Friday night.


No, really:

This dinner was TO DIE FOR.
It was six courses of Oktoberfest-inspired deliciousness
crafted by renowned Homebrew Chef Sean Paxton.

That's him below, the one in the chef's jacket
waving at all of the hungry people who are about to worship him.

We ate great food and drank great beer -
a different craft brew to complement each course - for three hours.

The meal was outdoors and had a casual picnic-y kind of feel,
including family-style service, but that didn't diminish
the incredible, gourmet-level food.

The whole dinner was amazing
- from the beet salad starter to the tangy sauerkraut
to the mouth-watering bratwurst,
to the melt-in-your-mouth sauerbrauten.

My two personal favorites were the "David Hasselhoff"
- a pretzel-crumb coated pork cutlet
served with warm German purple potato salad -
and the Wild Mushroom Strudel.

Ohmygawd, my knees are weak and I'm salivating
like Pavlov's pets just thinking about
the savory heaven that was that mushroom strudel.

For dessert: Hop-infused ice cream.
It tasted like green hops right off the vine, but cold and creamy.
ZH dipped his in his schwarzbeir to make a Beer Float. :)

As I tweeted that night:

This is like Iron Chef meets Oktoberfest!
What's the German word for heaven? Mmmmmm. ;D

After dinner, we all stumbled to our tents, very pleasantly sated.
(Did I mention this whole festival was at a lake resort in the foothills
and all of the attendees were camping for the whole weekend?
No? Okay, now you know.)

After sleeping off that little bit o' German heaven,
we were up bright and early (as far as you know)
to get ready for the actual Festival:

The ZenHusband being the beer addict,
um I mean, brewing enthusiast that he is,
we've been to our fair share of beer festivals and conferences.

And I have to say, this was one of the best
and most laid-back events we've ever been to.

Some of that atmosphere, you can probably chalk up to location.
Northern California is a pretty mellow part of the state
(not counting the politicos in Sacramento).

But I think part of it also came from the fact
that almost everyone there was a homebrewer.

Usually at events like these you get a mix of brewers and,
shall we say, "drinkers". And there's almost always a
rowdy "frat boy" element that harshes the mellow.
But, here, there was none of that.

Oh, there was plenty of drinking going on ...

(Yeah, those are both taps.)

And lots of good fun ...

... but it was still more of a connoisseur event than a kegger.

One of my favorite elements of Beer Festivals are the booths.
There are usually contests for the best decorations
and some of the clubs really go all out.
(If you embiggen the photo above,
you'll see that's a working chandelier.)

This year's theme for the NCHF was "Oktoberfest".
A lot of the clubs did a great job with their decorations.
But this one was my favorite:

If you look a little closer, you'll see that the serving wench and the cow
(which I believe were made of papier mache!)
are a tap! Three taps, actually ...

Yep, you could pour yourself three different kinds of beer
from that cute little cow's udder.
Talk about improving on nature. ;)
I was only disappointed that one of them wasn't a milk stout.


And did I mention that proceeds of all of this
laid-back and golden delicious fun go to charity?

Win. Win. Win.

And this concludes Zen's "how I spent my vacation" photo essay.
Thanks for playing!

24 September 2009

His, Hers and Ours

I'm over at The Real World: Venus vs. Mars today, talking about hobbies and compatibility ...

In the before-time, the ZenHusband and I used to do lots of fun things together: Backpacking, hiking, camping, SCUBA, music festivals, movies, video games, sporting events, museums ...

Read more

21 September 2009

The greatest expression of rebellion is joy

I don't watch award shows (I know, I'm all un-American and stuff that way).

But, being the HUGE Joss Whedon fan that I am, you know I had to go looking for his acceptance speech online this morning.

He didn't disappoint: "The greatest expression of rebellion is joy."

Gawd, I love that guy.

Bonus: Dr. Horrible hijacking the show.

18 September 2009

Yo Ho, Yo Ho

I'm going to be off drinking homebrew and talking like a pirate this weekend. (Yeah, I know. You're jealous.)

So, to kick things off, I was going to post something cute about Talk Like a Pirate Day, as has become my annual tradition.

But Daddy Geek Boy topped out my cute meter this morning with his Talk Like a Pirate Day post, so I'm just going to point you to his blog instead, m'kay?

So, go brush up on your pirate talk, check out the dangerously cute Ice-Cream-The-Pirate at DGB's and have a great weekend!

Other than talking like a pirate ... what are you up to this weekend?

14 September 2009

Venus vs Mars: Every Now and Then

I'm over at The Real World: Venus vs. Mars today, pondering the past ...

Sometimes, I wonder what it would be like to run into him somewhere. A chance encounter at the store, on the street, in a coffee shop ...

Read more

09 September 2009

Camping - by the numbers

Our Labor Day Camping Trip: By the Numbers ...

1 - How many of us came home with sunburns.

2- The number of naps I took. (Yay, naps!)

3 - Times my 2-year-old walked right into the lake with his shoes and socks on.

4 - How many books I read during the trip. (Yay, books!)

5 - How many deer we saw.

6 - How many "improved" Deer Crossing Signs we saw.

7 - The number of "hikes" we took around the lake and streams.

8 - The average number of seconds a 4-year-old can stand to watch a fishing line without reeling it in and recasting it. Again.

9 - The number of times I had to untangle a child's fishing line.

0 - How many fish were caught.

Yeah, we had a blast. :)

04 September 2009

The family that dyes together

Daddy and the boys had a tie-dying day last weekend ...

... I think they did a pretty good job, actually. And they had a blast. :)

This weekend, we're going camping.

Which means, I will soon be Interwebs free for four whole days.

I get a little light-headed just thinking about it. Wish me luck. ;)

01 September 2009


Wow, I'm all over the place today.

First, I - along with some other super cool Hot Mamas - answer some probing questions from The Hot Dads ... then, you can find a post from my archives - talking about the importance of talking about sex - over at Venus vs Mars.

Happy travels. ;)