Why big dogs are better

Though I am fond of my family’s lap dogs, I don’t understand the popularity of small dogs. Big dogs are much better.
Dogs are supposed to be Man’s best friend, and long-dead dogs that we still fondly remember are the ones that fearlessly protected or faithfully served their masters.
Old Yeller, Rin Tin Tin, Lassie, Hachiko, Balto: these are the names of dogs we remember for doing something other than promoting cheap tacos. Benji is the only small dog that was relatively worth a damn despite his small size.
Little dogs taken into public, especially if they are wearing clothing or carried in a bag are a red flag. Sometimes the owners are regular people who like small dogs. More often than not, they indicate that their owner has a better than average chance of being selfish, annoying, and just generally someone you wouldn’t want to waste your time on. In my experiences, it is best to avoid such parties, if possible. This isn’t to say that people who own big dogs aren’t the same way, but unpleasant owners of big dogs tend to be unpleasant in different ways than unpleasant owners of small dogs.
Small dogs can be formidable ankle biters, but they are nothing that a decent punt can’t handle. Big dogs, like this one, can literally kick your ass. And if that fails, they can bite it…

No time for love Dr. Jones

Indiana Jones is who I wanted to be as a kid, and nothing much in that regard has changed since then. Respect to Harrison Ford for demanding to use a real whip instead of a CGI one (hopefully it will not turn into a radio, like the guns in E.T. did).
This is one of the few movies that I would wait in line for on opening day, though not in costume. After the Star Wars prequels, I’m a bit cautious when it comes to movies that revisit the stories I knew as a child, but I’m pretty sure that Indy IV is not going to suck. Even if it does, I’ll treat it like Episodes I, II, and III, and just ignore it and pretend it never happened.

Here’s a bit of trivia, a Welsh friend of mine let me know that Jones is indeed a Welsh name, meaning “Son of John”. And Sallah, the Arab dude, is actually a Welsh actor named John Rhys-Davies.

I miss Japanese 7 Eleven

Clean. Efficient. Choices.
These are the three things that define Japanese convenience stores that American ones lack.
This video, despite the eccentric staff, made me remember how nice it was to have a large selection of canned coffee and tea, nigiri, and those sweets that come in such unexpected packaging and flavors. I wish all 7 Elevens were Japanese 7 Elevens.
I think this video is pretty old, because that Vidal Sasoon and soap with a name I don’t remember have a retro 80’s look about them.

*Bonus Vid: Japanese Baseball Slide*

**Yet more Bonus: Evolving Art (I’ve posted something by the same group before)**

The Keratin Harvest

Every few weeks, right before my morning shower, I perform a ritual not unlike the Shingon monks that sit under the freezing streams at Oiwasan Nissekiji temple in Kamiichimachi. I mentally prepare myself, even when I’m still in bed contemplating what is to come. I squinch my upper lip to my nostrils and feel the scratch of my protruding nose hairs.
Barring some horrible event that results in cauterized follicles or severe emotional trauma, I think I’m always going to have a lot of hair, that is, except for a full mustache and beard. My super follicles push out thick, black hair at a slightly accelerated rate. Among my follicles, there are a few super follicles as well, that I wish were not such over achievers.
My nose seems to be the club where these turbo charged hairs like to hang out. Maybe it’s because my nose is a pretty spacious, warm place to be, like a greenhouse or tropical island. I doubt that animals that have adapted to live in deserts, where they need long nose hairs to keep sand out of their respiratory systems, have nose hairs that would outgrow mine.
You know those electric nose hair trimmers? You would have about the same luck using a weed whacker to take on a giant sequoia as you would using one of those on my nose hairs, and the tips of nose hairs that are cut turn into miniature Punji sticks that slowly grow and poke the inside of my nose.
To effectively manage my nose hairs, I turn to the trusty hemostat for help. Not only are they handy when you’re trying to control bleeding or need to suture something up, they also are ideal for nose hair management. The fine needle nose, with the help of the ratcheting lock, maintain a firm grip on hairs.
What comes next can only be explained as a sharp pain that travels to the brain almost instantaneously. When you rip a bundle of nose hairs from your septum, it goes against what your body thinks is a reasonable thing to do for the sake of self-preservation. In other words, it f*cking hurts. I remember the first time I did this, I had to wait until the pain passed before I did it again. It took me ten minutes to clean out both nostrils.
Nowadays, I can pluck my nose free of hairs that are too long in a few minutes, and I have gotten used to the pain. It sounds like a horrible thing to do, to rip out your nose hairs, but it’s the only way I can clean them up without spending an unreasonable amount of time on those bastards.
After I’m done, I understand how you can gain a bit of horsepower by changing out a dirty or inferior air filter in your car. More air is reaching my lungs via my nasal passages without all of those keratin strands getting in the way. I clean off my hemostat and flush the small fallen forest of nose hair down the drain. If trees grew as quickly as my nose hairs, I muse, we would have to thin out the woods to keep them from encroaching on human habitations.

The benefits of ice plant

This afternoon, I jumped in the car and headed South towards Big Sur. I was cruising along at the speed limit, driving with the windows and sun roof open, enjoying the sunshine and looking for spots along the side of the road that might grant me coastal access.
Every few minutes, I would spot an opening in the barbed wire fences that run along Highway 1, or for the telltale absence of brush, usually only a shoulder-width patch, that usually signaled the start of a hidden trail.
It seemed that everywhere I stopped, other people would see the car and follow me to see what I was looking at. I’ve grown to really like having these places all to myself, and so I’ll hike places that are a bit more steep or challenging to get to than the average person is willing to brave.
I came upon a well-hidden path a few miles South of Garrapata State Beach, obscured by the thick brush. Once through the beginning patch, I spied a pristine beach, with what looked like a steep, but climbable path that made it back up to the highway. In order to get the secluded cove, I would have to descend the granite cliffs, skirt my way around some tidepools, and it looked like I would be home free. As if to motivate me, a group of tourists appeared a few hundred feet behind me.
Along the way, I looked among the wave-beaten rocks, and at the newly exposed layers of soil for cool rocks or artifacts. It was low tide, and though the waves weren’t large, I knew that if I fell in, there was a good chance that I would be injured by the wild surge and the jagged rocks.
And so I came to a large mass of granite and quartz that stood like a large knife between me and the beach that I wanted to visit. Though the rock was tall and vertical, it wasn’t too hard to climb over and around it. Before I started, I considered what I would do if a sleeper wave came in when I was on the blade of granite. It would have to be a huge wave, at least ten times larger than the largest wave I had seen crash, in order to get past the little islands that sheltered the cove and its immediate surroundings.
I made it to the beach, and enjoyed laying the only foot prints into the sand that I could see. There was something satisfying about knowing that no one would follow me to this beach, at least not the same type of people that had been following me earlier. I walked around for a while and soaked up some much needed sun.
From the waterline, I surveyed the cove, and picked the place where I would climb back up the surrounding cliffs. I could follow up the stream, but that was likely to be a pretty messy option, so instead I picked the area of granite that led to the path that I had seen from the beginning of the trail.
Hand and foot holds were sparse, and so I took my time testing to make sure that they were strong enough to support me. Before long, I had climbed much higher than I had though, and reflected that if it would be really hard to climb back down. I felt confident that I could fall and not hurt myself, but if I did, no one might come looking for me for a long time.
So I continued my climb, and the granite slowly turned into hard packed sand that formed a very steep grade. It was at this point that I regretted climbing so high in dress shoes. The smooth soles of my shoes had a hard time keeping purchase on wet concrete, and did not inspire confidence on the compacted sand. I flattened my body along the cliff, and shifted my support to my hand holds. A few arm lengths out of reach was a lone ice plant patch, and a larger patch was just a few feet above the closer patch.
Slowly, I tested crags and outcroppings of substrate, some of which crumbled before I committed to put a load on them. Digging my fingers into some of the firmer parts of the wall, I made steady progress to the smaller ice plant cluster. I grabbed onto the thickest part of the stem and tested it for strength. It snapped off, leaving me with a fleshy branch of withered lobes. I tried another part, hidden under a healthier part of the plant, and used it to reach the next, larger cluster.
The top of the ridge was in view, but it became a near vertical climb. Quickly, and carefully, I rooted out healthy stalks to hold on to under the green spikes, and scrambled onto a manageable area. The rest of the climb was through thick scrub, full of dead, pointy chaparral and hidden ground squirrel holes, and still rather steep, but it was a relative walk in the park.
I had noticed sand in the crags of the granite below, and had even seen the sand cliff, but it had looked less steep from the beach. Next time I will bring the appropriate shoes. Next time, I hope not to depend on ice plant in order to pull myself up and out of danger. I am glad for the ice plant, though. For a hand hold, I’ll take ice plant on a cliff wall over chaparral any day, as long as it’s healthy.