Saturday, March 20, 2010

Persistence Hunting

This video got me motivated to get up and run yesterday. The videography is the outstanding in itself, but aside from the fact the San people can run down a Kudu until it nearly dies from exhaustion; the striking thing is the connection the hunter has with it's quarry. The San people have been hunting this way since paleolithic times. The hunter ceremonially thanks the animal for giving it's life for the hunter, and the hunter rubs saliva from the animal's mouth onto his burning thighs to relieve the pain from the hunt. Similar to American Indian hunters thanking the animal and eating the animal's liver in tribute (not to mention the large quantities of vitamins and minerals present in raw liver to replace the electrolytes lost in the hunt). There is a close respect for their environment and resources. The human race has nearly lost this notion under the guise of civilization and progress. We would benefit as a people to know where our resources, specifically our food, comes from.

When you think of dinner, do you think of the vine the tomatoes grew on or the herbs in the ground that make up the pomodoro sauce? Do you think of the feild of semolina field the wheat came from to make the pasta? Do you know the cow the burger was ground from hat made up the meatballs? My guess is no. You think of a box of pasta, a plastic can of spice mix, and a tube of ground beef. When someone says "steak," my guess is the picture that comes to mind is a red package cased in cellophone with a perfectly trimmed, one inch thick t-bone. Generally, I would be willing to guess the thought of Bessie the Angus doesn't come to mind.

The problem in this fracture from our food source enables CAFO's, factory farming, franken-foods, and the situation we find ourselves in today. Food is no longer a spiritual event (for most...), and we are feeding ourselves manufactured products made from inedible resources. We are becoming the cattle in the CAFO lot. We are bloated, unhealthy, ignorant masses waiting around for the end, refusing to believe it is near. We eat whatever is put in front of us.

I am not perfect, nor do I claim to be. I eat junk. I buy steaks from Wal-Mart out of necessity, and hate myself when I do. Economics plays a large part in all this mess as well, but I will not go into that today. I am trying to get to the point where I can buy grass fed beef, with pastured pork and eggs. I try to vote with my dollars and buy "fresh" produce along with healthy choices, but life gets in the way sometimes. I want to shop at farmer's markets. I want to have wild game in a freezer in my garage like my childhood, but it's not that simple. I live in suburbia. I travel a lot for my chosen profession. I can only do so much. The best I can do is See. I try to think about where my dinner comes from before it landed on the styrofoam plate under he cellophane. I stay away from the aisles in the grocery store. I vote with my dollars on produce over bar codes and nutrition info. I try to cook like my great grandmother did. I do my best, and i hope I can instill the same principles in my daughter.


Friday, March 19, 2010

Bayou "Trail" Adventure/Run

I work in South Louisiana. South of New Orleans, in Lafourche (La-Foosh) Parrish, is a little town on Bayou Lafourche called Galliano. Near Galliano, is the Airport I live and work at while on the job. Well, being that we are on a short tether, I don't get to venture far from our base very often. We have to get creative with ways to entertain ourselves. Today I was afforded the opportunity to ride shotgun to Houma, LA for a coworker's errands. This was my first time in Houma outside of the Airport there, and I was pleased to find a smidgen of history and fun there. It was nice to be away from home-base for second. It was a beautiful day, and the drive there took us through some really deep swamp country. I enjoyed the few minutes of countryside between the normal shacks, bayous, dry docks full of rusty boats, and overgrown farmland. S. Louisiana is a different world from the rest of the country.

After we returned from that little excursion, we decided it was a fine day unload a few boxes or 12 gauge bird shot on some clay targets. 5 of us went through a box and a half of targets, and three boxes of shells. It wasn't a giant amount, but i hadn't had a chance to really shoot since I was a kid, and it felt really good to put some shot on some clays. I even got to shoot a .410 gauge! I had never shot one before. That is a fun little gun.

With limited exercise facilities (read: none), i have to get creative with my workouts. I usually jump rope, hang rings from a tree, and do various functional movements with 5 gallon water jugs. Running is always included in there as well, but I don't run as much as I could or should to build my distance. It is so hard for me to get motivated to pound pavement just for the sake of running if I can get my workouts somewhere else. After reading Born to Run by Christopher Mcdougall, I decided I wanted to try and enjoy running. I might train for an ultra marathon one day, but I doubt it. I just don't want to hate running anymore.
I almost didn't workout at all. I was sitting on the couch and was looking for the end of the Internet again when i stumbled across an interview with Barefoot Ted about his experiences running, mostly from the book, and it led me to a YouTube video about the Sans people (also in Born to Run) filming their persistence hunt. I won't delve too far into that discussion (I'll Save it for Tomorrow), but it got my ass off the couch, and out to complete a workout. The idea was just to run a couple of miles to warm up for a ball-busting High Intensity Interval Training workout full of Constantly Varied Functional Movements, but I decided to go on an adventure. I ran about 200 yards, turned around, grabbed my phone with headphones, my generic CamelBak, and took off with metal music blasting in my ears. There is no avoiding the pavement for portions of runs around here, but the area is abound with Primal Fitness obstacles. I ran until the road ends and kept going. I ran on trails, I threw heavy stones. I jumped over streams. I climbed over levees and rock piles. I chucked re-bar like a javelin. I ran through stands of trees. I walked when I was out of breath, ran when I wanted to get somewhere, I jumped when I needed to, I HAD A BLAST. I felt like a kid exploring his surroundings. I didn't run for time, and I didn't feel like it was torture. I don't know how far i ran, and I don't care. I could have gone longer, but the sun was setting, and I needed to be back in case we got called out.
My music died in the middle of the run, and i lost some motivation to keep moving, sure. However it led to a new discovery. The sound of the wildlife at dusk. The birds and frogs and crickets were all coming to life around the time I was heading back along the canal. The Airport maintenance folks had just mowed this week, so it wasn't hacking through jungle for a mile to get back. It afforded me the delight of running off-road next to the canal. I actually got to enjoy the serenity of nature and the enjoyment of a run at the same time. This was the reason I wanted to get off the road so bad. It was another beautiful sunset to boot. I wish I could have taken a hundred pictures, or made a workout vid to show how fun it was, but I only had my cell phone (no service). I snapped a picture along the canal as the sun was setting.

But what about snakes, and alligators, and mosquitoes you ask? Well, it is still chilly at night, and the water temps are still below 60F in most places; so the snakes are holed up at the end of the day, and the gators are still in hibernation. I am vigilant not to corner a rattlesnake or a water moccasin, nonetheless. Snakes usually get out of your way anyway. The only casualties of the day were a shoe stuck in the mud when my foothold broke through into the bog on a leap across a drainage ditch, and a few mosquito bites when I stopped to take the picture. It will be more challenging when the weather warms up and the heavy summer air sets in, but I still look forward to more of these adventure runs. They are a great way to break up the monotony. It was so Primal, and so fun to just act like a kid and have some fun.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

One Hungry Mother Clucker

Sometimes you have to make a good meal. Sometimes that meal happens to be by yourself. Why ruin a great opportunity for gourmet cooking with a burger and fries? Let's have the staple of all healthy diets... Chicken!

But, it's too much food, you say? It will all go to waste, you say? go with a Rock Cornish game hen! with only 1 pound net weight of good quality chicken, and the ease of the oven, you can't go wrong! Plus, it gives you the advantage of being able to get your hands and face covered in chicken grease without having to worry about not looking like a slob in front of your significant other! I made the mistake of thinking of Blogging this after I devoured it, so I don't have a picture. I was caveman hungry, so forgive this one. I stole a pic from somewhere else.
Now, It may sound gross to some with a name with "game" and "hen" in there, but it actually has no bearing on the meat. It's just a chicken folks. It happens to be an all white meat chicken. The USDA defines a Rock Cornish game hen as:

"...a young immature chicken (usually 5 to 6 weeks of age), weighing not more than
2 pounds ready-to-cook weight, which was prepared from a Cornish chicken or the progeny of a Cornish chicken crossed with another breed of chicken."

It's an awesomely delicious little bundle of awesome. Basically a woman by the name of Te Makowsky bred together the Cornish game cock with several other species of chicken including the Plymouth Rock chicken and the Malayn fighting cock to create the stumpy little meat bombs that PETA enthusiasts love to hate. The term "hen" requires the chicken to be harvested under 2 pounds, usually at 4 to 6 weeks of age. This makes for a moist, tender little mother clucker. You can buy them in any grocery store, and if you do have a party you can prepare one for each guest. I prefer to buy them when I am on shift, and I can cook more with less.

Here is a recipe that is damn near sailor proof -- The hardest part is waiting for it to cool down!

1 Rock Cornish game hen
1 medium size Lemon
6 cloves fresh garlic
1 TBS Tony Chachere's Original Creole Seasoning
Extra Virgin Olive Oil


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. After your Rock Cornish game hen(RCGH) has thawed, remove it from the packaging and rinse under cold water inside and out. Peelthe Garlic, but leave whole. Halve a lemon -- with one half to be sliced, and one to be wedged. Set aside one wedge for juice. Stuff cavity of RCGH with garlic and lemon wedges. Now set bird in a small dish with substantial sides to hold onto juices. Here is the trick: Make sure to place the bird BREAST SIDE DOWN to preserve the juice in the dryer meat. You'll thank me later. Coat the topside of bird in EVOO, and rub in Tony Chachere's. Squeeze juice of the reserved lemon over the bird, and place lemon slices along the outside of the bird or under the wings. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes for a 16 oz bird, or 1 hour 30 minutes for larger.

Try not to burn your hands as you tear into this one.

Monday, March 8, 2010


I just came across this. I don't know if I would want to try and make it at home, though. Mommy's Milk Cheese

The whole idea of drinking from my wife kind of weirds me out, but it brings up some interesting questions. The natives of the Swiss Alps found that the cheese cured from cows that grazed on wild herbs had a strong aromatic flavor different than that of regular cheeses. Sooooooo... if i feed my wife a lot of butterscotch, will the cheese made from her Mommy Milk taste like candy? Or in the converse, if she eats a lot of junk-food will it taste like Fun-yuns? It's apparent that whatever she eats, my baby eats, so I can only imagine what flavor combination could be created.

Another point to make, if I decided to make cheese out of my Spouse's Milk, and assuming there is a surplus of milk so as not to steal from my daughter's mouth; is would I share it with people? I am not talking about a milk bank style donation to the needy. I'm talking about sharing with friends and family like a cheeseball at Christmas dinner. Would I be willing to look someone in the face that is ingesting something from my wife? I guess it takes a special kind of person to give it away like that. Images come to mind of the weird family on the side of the mountain that dry out their significant other's placentas to be used in some sort of witch-doctory. This kind of thing just doesn't happen in Western Society. I'm not sure I'm ok with it. Just because something can be done, doesn't necessarily mean it should.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

I'm Addicted to Take-Away Shows

The sound quality doesn't do this particular song justice, but the drumming is amazing as always with Menomena - even with only two drums! The best part is about 2:30. Simply the coolest reaction to a song I have ever seen.

More on Menomena:

I was fortunate enough to see them perform up close and personal at Jack Rabbits in Jacksonville, Florida a couple years (holy crap! has it been that long? ago. I have to put that particular show in my Top 5 shows of all time. I would venture to say it earns the silver medal. The energy they convey in their music live is other-wordly. Upon first hearing the album Wet and Rusting, I thought it was at least 5 people, or studio magic layering tracks. I was pleased to find out there is no special trick to the songs, it truly is a three-piece, and they put every bit of sound into their live shows that is on the album. Anyone who has seen a show at Jack Rabbits knows the place is freakin tiny. That is part of the charm. You get to see some really great bands close enough to get their beers spilled on you if they get too froggy. The intimacy of the club is my favorite aspect of it. I lurv me a good indie rock show.

Anyway, The band has just released a new song, so hopefully they will be putting a new album out soon, and I can see them on tour again.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Kristi Howell at Jax Underbelly

I will let this one speak for itself. Kristi has a great style, and I encourage everyone to go check it out. I love when Jacksonville is all grown up and has culture. I wish wholeheartedly I could attend, but I have to keep food on the table, a roof over our heads, and Maker's Mark in the cabinet.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

No Over-Production Here

Phoenix - 1901 - A Take Away Show from La Blogotheque on Vimeo.

I love this song. I had my doubts about how these guys would be live, thinking the album must have been really produced in the studio, but this video made me love the song even more. Phoenix - 1901