#Travel: Cornering #Oregon – #photography
Oregonians know well the distinctive shape of their state. It’s found on key chains, souvenir shot glasses, business logos, decorative plates and innumerable wood-carved thingies. I feel bad for states like Colorado that have an outline about as exciting as a rectangle.
Colorado, Wyoming and Utah are the only states which have boundaries defined solely by lines of latitude and longitude. (Thanks for the arcane knowledge, Wikipedia!)
After hearing about all of the sunny and warmer days that have been happening on the Oregon coast, this weekend my wife and I decided to go see for ourselves. The plan was to leave cold and foggy Portland behind and go all the way around the NW corner of that unique Oregon shape.
Here are a few photographs from the trip. I’ve left them full-size to they can be clicked to enlarge.
The China Monologues
China, the largest creditor of the United States, has been in the news of late. On Sunday the CBS news program 60 Minutes had a story about a Chinese company called Huawei, a company that makes internet and networking equipment like routers, switches, and has the capability to build things like 4G networks. Huawei has become the largest telecommunications equipment maker in the world.
I’d never heard of Huawei before but apparently my iMac already has. As I write this post the text “Huawei” is already recognized by my inline spellchecker dictionary.
A U.S. congressional report recently released worried that Huawei and ZTE Corp., another Chinese company, have become too powerful and are a potential threat to U.S. national security. The report was produced over the last 11-months by the U.S. House of Representatives’ Intelligence Committee and concludes that the companies could be working with the Chinese government for non-commercial reasons.
I’ve been looking for that niche product that’ll finally get me a chip and a seat at the big table. I think I may have finally found it. It’s hard to believe the answer was right in front of my face the whole time.
Would it surprise you if I said I’m rather chipped off about it?
I’ve decided to invent a new variety of potato chip. Believe it or not, I feel the market is wide open for this sort of thing.
To assist with product design, I’ve identified several key variables: Preparation, Cut, Salt and Flavor.
Santana DVX sparkling wine (aka “champagne”) is the perfect pairing to this post because it is so crisp.
This post is going to require some maths. And here I thought there were lots of varieties of Wheat Thins. Compared to potato chips? Wheat Thins ain’t shit.
Continue reading →
Freedom fries again
Freedom fries have been attacked. Freedom fries will be defended.
Remember the good old days when politician hyperbole was limited to things like “freedom fries?” Well, maybe not. Maybe that golden era never existed. But that’s a far cry from things like a “Satan sandwich” and “Satan fries.” No, I’m not making that up. Google it. It’s there.
But this isn’t a post about that. This is a post about foods.
Last Monday the Cow Orker was hungry. She said she was going to the Mexican fast food drive thru restaurant up the street. She asked if I wanted anything.
“I’ll take some french fries, please.”
Everyone thought I was nuts. French fries at a Mexican restaurant? “We’ll see,” I said with a wizened look in my eye.
She came back with a huge container of piping hot fries. They had made them fresh just for me. They were delicious, gorgeous, plump, beautiful and served up in a large styrofoam container. And the whole order was only $1.80. I think a large order at McDonalds costs almost twice as much.
The Cow Orker was insanely jealous. “I’ll just sit here and eat my chips. The English contribution to world cuisine: the chip!” Mwuhahaha!
Today she decided to go back and get her own. She was positively beside herself with the wanting of the chips. She came back in the office talking about “disappointment.” For a moment, that made me jealous. What the hell is my personal companion doing flirting with someone else?
We gathered around the sad little bag she had returned with. She reached in and pulled out this tiny, greasy mess that looked more like a potato massacre than anything resembling what we had seen on Monday.
Limp. Lifeless. Greasy. Mushy. Lackluster. Wanting. Decidedly not served in a big stryofoam container but a little cup. Sad. Pathetic. Impotent. Spent. Waste. Different. Barely warm.
“What happened?” we asked.
She explained that she had ordered the exact same thing as before. It was $1.80, just like before. But the server had no idea what she was talking about when she explained that these fries were completely different. “No, no,” she was assured. “That’s how they always are.”
Except for that apparently make-believe land of 48 hours ago.
And that’s how I earned the title, Lord of the Fries.
Rivering the stone cold nuts
This is the tale of a Texas Holdem “miracle card” on the river.
I had playing conservatively and pushing hard on solid hands. When I was called I generally took the pot with a strong hand, and if I lost a showdown it was generally because I had the best hand at the turn and was beaten by the river. So the players at this table could generally assume I was a pretty tight player who only moved in when I had the goods.
Unfortunately this screen shot doesn’t show the action that led up to this point. I had limped in and called weak bets all the way to the river. Both of my opponents were weakly playing the two-pair they had flopped. I called a weak bet at the turn hoping to see another diamond, thus getting a nut flush draw. That wasn’t mean to be.
Again they bet weak and I called, hoping to see a jack that wasn’t a diamond. (A jack of diamonds would mean there would be a potential flush on the board and I wouldn’t have the stone cold nuts.)
The odds of a non-diamond jack were about 6.5% in that situation. (That is three cards desired divided by the number of cards still unseen. Or 3 / 46 = 6.5%.) Bingo! I rivered that card for the stone cold nuts. An ace-high straight AKA “Broadway.” No other hand could beat me! The worst thing that could happen is someone else was holding KQ, too, and we’d split the pot.
Now these two players woke up and bet hard. Eventually they ended up all in and I had them both covered and every chip in the game was mine. Mwuhahahahaha!
It doesn’t happen often but when it does it is sweeeeeeet! 🙂
Personally I think flopping two pair can be extremely dangerous. You really need to bet it hard to get people away from their drawing hands. What you’re really hoping for is the board to pair aces or sixes and give you the full house. I’ve seen two pair on the flop end up losing way too many times. I almost consider it a jinx. I also consider it extremely dangerous to flop a straight, too. The danger is that the initial excitement of hitting something big can tie you to a losing hand. You have to be extremely careful.
Now please excuse me. I have to go count my chips. 🙂
China wants and don’t wants
The idea for this post came from two places.
First, some time back, I heard a news story about China wanting to develop their own company to build jumbo passenger jets. (Here’s one story I just dug up about this.) It seems they aren’t too keen on having to rely on buying Boeing aircraft made in the USA. For China it seems to be sort of a “control your own destiny” kind of thing.
Then I recently came across a story in Wired magazine that China wants to develop their own microchip company because, again, they don’t like relying on getting them from American companies. (Even though they aren’t made in the USA.) They especially don’t want military technology based on American computer chips.
Oh how very interesting! We’ll just go ahead and file both American computer chips and American-made passenger jets in China’s “do not want” column.
So, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, what goes in China’s “want” column?
First and foremost I think an argument can be made that China wants us to buy cheaply made plastic crap, like the Google Marble Maze pictured on the left, which I received for Christmas a few years back. They are willing to make that crap at wages less than most Americans would be willing to accept, so the crap can then be sold at prices Americans find palatable.
By the way, I don’t think you can buy this toy from Google anymore. China and Google are having a little tiff right now. But I’d bet my paycheck that Google still happily sells plenty of other useless items manufactured in China.
China also wants a middle class with more buying power so they can dump walking and bicycles and ride around in gasoline-powered internal combustion engine vehicles like Americans. They want western-style fast food. Believe it or not, Chinese people in their new cars have to be trained how the drive-thru works. We’ve been trained on them for decades. It’s new stuff to them.
Something else that China wants is the United States in their debt. According to Wikipedia, China is the largest creditor of the United States. Says Wikipedia, “In May 2009, the US owed China $772 billion. In total, lenders from Japan and China held 44% of the [United States] foreign-owned debt.”
Now I’m no economist, but it sounds to me like China has no problem with us owing them big time (no doubt our own fault for selling them things like our treasury securities and what not) and buying their cheaply made pieces of plastic crap, but at the same time they don’t want to be beholding to us for our computer chip technology and our passenger jet aircrafts. Is it just me or does that leave a bad taste in my mouth?