Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Truck, Please Take Me To...

Self-driving cars are all over the news.  Ed's been talking about the Tesla and it's auto-pilot autonomous option for months.  We will see these cars in our lifetime.  And I think amid the excitement, is a little fear.  Cars without drivers?  Well, not really without, just technologically without.  

Self-driving trucks are also making headlines.  Daimler tested a self-driving truck last year in Nevada, and this year a convoy of self-driving made a trip across several European countries.

If you think people are afraid of autonomous cars....holy crap, they're in for a rude awakening when they know the truck next to them is cruisin' all on its own.  In fact, Otto engineers think automated trucks may be on the highways before the cars, considering the cost of self-driving automobiles to consumers.

This is a hot topic in the trucking community.  People have long talked about how truck driving has gone from "...one of the best blue-collar jobs in the U.S. to an industry one economist said consisted of sweatshops on wheels" and now the future of drivers is at stake.

Not to mention the jobs of those connected to the trucking industry, which according to the American Trucking Associations is 1 in every 15 workers in the country.  It may have more devastating effect, at least initially, than one imagines.

It's at once exciting and a little scary, as no one wants to lose a job, but I see tons of other opportunities that can crop up with these changes.  Of course, I say that with a cavalier attitude because I'm pretty hopeful my truck driving career will be winding down when all of this self-driving technology comes to fruition.  But, we'll see, won't we?

In the meantime, here's a little Q & A I did at the request of Driver Solutions website.  

Now I have to go nap, because today I have to drive our truck if anyone expects this freight to be delivered.

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2015: It's What's For Dinner
2014: The House Was Nice, But The Tree Was Amazing
2013: Doubling The Gold In Wyoming
2012: Down Louisiana Way, Where The Blue Dog Resides
2011: Crossing The Park To 5th Avenue
2010: All Work, All Play
2009: Was My Mother Hot, Or What???
2008: The Fiddleheads Of Maine
2007: Fifteen Dollar. We Make Nail Nice. No Probrem.
2006: Road Testing The Girl
2005: Ed Time

Monday, May 23, 2016

Go Further

We've been new car shopping.  Well, SUV shopping, mostly.

We've looked at Toyota, Nissan, Dodge, Lincoln, Ford, GMC, and Chevy.

Today we changed our course and went to look at a pickup truck.

Ugh.  A pickup truck.  I'm so not a pickup truck kind of girl.

Oh, maybe in my meet-a-hot-cowboy-with-a-million-dollar-cattle-ranch-and-get-married-to-him fantasy, but not in reality.  I know I drive an 18-wheeler, but in real life, in my everyday car driving life, a pickup is just so unrefined.

Although, I have to be honest.  I was surprised.  They're actually quite nice inside.  And roomy.

So much freakin' room!  I can actually sit in the back of a crew cab and not bang my knees on the front seat. 

And they're luxuriously equipped, with all the bells and whistles.

I'm leaning toward the Ford F-150 Platinum.

I'm not sold on them yet, but I am considering the option.

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Until We Meet Again
2013: Pinged
2005: Sorry, no post for this day.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Eff Your Beauty Standards

Photo: Instagram/@tessholliday

She's stunningly beautiful. Her fiance Nick is hot. She's a working model, signed with MiLK Model Management, a major modeling agency in London.  She's been on the cover of People and LA Weekly, interviewed on the Today show, and featured in Vogue Italia.

Vogue, people!

She has 1.2 million Instagram followers, 1.5 million followers on Facebook, and 57.2 thousand followers on Twitter

Her name is Tess Holliday.

And she's obese.

She has coined the phrase, "Eff your beauty standards" to combat the idea that you have to be thin to be beautiful.  Clearly, that's not the case.  And certainly not for Vogue Italia, since they named her one of the top six plus-size models in the world.

Ed and I are still attempting to eat better and move more, which has been renewed to support my mother - a Type 2 diabetic - who started a plant-based diet a few weeks ago. I'm a little annoyed that I have to work at this, some days preferring to stay fat and revel in my beauty and confidence, because the general belief (not subscribed to by Tess) is that losing weight will improve one's overall well-being.  I'm just not exactly thrilled with it this week.

So, I thought I'd share Tess with you before I shared the links to the following weight loss, dieting, and exercise crap, not all of which are in favor of those three things.

Can high intensity exercise help you lose weight? 

If dieting doesn't work, what does? 

The obesity epidemic map. 

How to lose weight and keep it off.

Why do Americans still believe bad science that suggest "fat" means "unhealthy"?

Why you shouldn't exercise to lose weight.  

Skinny women also get diabetes.

To feel better, eat less.

And in case anyone's interested, I haven't had Dunkin' Donuts since January.

But I reallly want it.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
This Steak Caused A Buzz

2014: There Was Gold Everywhere
2013: Two Telephone Poles And A Cloud
2012: I’ve Yet To Make Lemonade
2011: Alien Ribs Of The North
2010: White’s Bastard Cousin
2009: Jake
2008: I Might Have To Be Put In Restraints For Our Next Conversation
2007: People Who Are Happy To Help You Drown In Debt
2006: I, I, I
2005: Sorry, no post for this day.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Summer Fun!

School is out.  Let the fun of summer begin!  This is my best friend Vicki's daughter Mina (top) and her friend Kennedy.

Oh, to be on the verge of sixteen again.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2014: What Lies Behind The Gates And Beneath The Gilding
2013: Super Smooth Ride
2012: Handling Meat For Over 144 Years
2011: Investing In Your Investment – Part Two

Here’s Your Sign

2009: A Mini And Me
2008: Wild In Tennessee
2007: Isn’t There A Third Evil?
2006: What The Hell Is This??
2005: Sorry, no post for this day.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Butter Sculptures And Luxury Camping All In The Same Post

Photo:  AutoCamp Airstream camping site in Santa Barbara
Butter sculpture goes way beyond midwestern state fairs.

The world's hottest and coldest places.  I know where I'm going.

I know I'm old because I don't "get" a lot of things anymore.  Shade is one of them.

Your kitchen can never be clean enough.

Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook COO) talks about her husband's sudden death in UC Berkeley's commencement speech.

Oh, sweet Italy.

If you're in New York, you have to go test these cookie places.  And report back immediately!  (And send me a box if you're so inclined!)

This is great - name the TV show with one clue.  I got 15 out of 26.

If you have an extra $7,000 burning a hole in your pocket, you can buy a chair to read to three kids at once.

The Met Gala is a great place to see some amazing fashion.  This guy agrees, and attempts to hilariously recreate the looks.  

A luxury Airstream camping experience?  Yes, please.  

Sometimes, when you just don't like someone's face, your instincts may be telling you something very important.

Failing isn't the end of the world.  

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Eye See You, Orlando

2014: Handmade Import
2013: So Serene, Even Serial Killers Would Be Drawn To It
2012: Time To Lounge
2011: You Can All Stop Complaining Now
2010: This Puss Doesn’t Have Bots
2009: Milling, Spinning And Bleating
2008: What Happens When You Have Too Much Time To Think
2007: Eddie Rides A Polar Bear Friday
2006: Lite Brite, Making Things With Light
2005: Texas Pride?

Monday, May 16, 2016

On Shaky Ground

Do you know which state in the Lower 48 has the most earthquake activity?

Most of you will probably say California, right?

That makes sense considering we always hear about "The Big One" hitting and shearing off the western side of the nation.  But you'd be wrong.

In actuality, the top state for seismic activity is Oklahoma.

That's right, Oklahoma.  The Sooner State.

I found this out this week during a podcast I was listening to, while driving through Texas, on my way to Oklahoma.

Out of all 50 states, only Alaska experiences more quakes than Oklahoma.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), from 1978 to 2008, Oklahoma averaged one to three quakes per year of magnitude 3.0 or greater.

In 2009, that number went up to 20.

In 2012, there were 36 earthquakes.

In 2013, they had 109.

In 2014, the number more than quintupled to 585 quakes.

Last year, 2015, Oklahoma experienced 907 earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or greater.

And as of March of this year, they've experienced over 160 quakes.

That's a LOT of shaking.

The numbers are actually in the thousands for regular 'ol earthquakes, but only those 3.0 or greater seem to be where the concern starts.  In January of this year they had two larger quakes, one of them a magnitude 4.8.  And back in 2011, a 5.7 quake damaged 200 buildings.

A 3.0 is considered small (movement wise) on the Richter Scale, but each level is 10 times stronger then the previous level, so 3.0 to 4.8 seems like a significant jump.

The reason the earth is moving so much in Oklahoma?

Underground wells used for the wastewater produced as a result of the natural gas and oil wells.

As you might expect, the oil and gas industry has downplayed the occurrence of quakes and have only complied to changes under duress.  And the politicians in the state have been slow to respond to the problem, which is no surprise considering one in five Oklahomans are employed by the industry and many of the politicians (like Governor Mary Fallin) receive thousands of dollars in contributions from them.

"Although critics contend that earthquakes have caused millions of dollars of damage, Oklahoma’s political leaders have long been reluctant to impose restrictions on an industry that dominates the state’s economy. Until last spring, Gov. Mary Fallin, a Republican, maintained that the cause of the tremors was unclear, and the state Legislature refused to consider legislation addressing the issue."

I guess people who live there are used to it, although those whose houses have been damaged aren't too thrilled about just having to deal with it for the good of the industry that keeps the state afloat.

The reporting of these quakes has been going on for many years, but I had never heard anything about it until I heard the podcast.  My only concern driving through the state had always been tornadoes.

Now I have to worry about being shaken off the interstate.  

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Harnessing The Power Of The Wind

2014: Listen And Learn
2013: Escape From Texas
2012: Like Cattle In A Penn
2011: Another Day In The Trucking Life
2010: Ed Prepares For The Italy Trip
2009: Strolling Along The Atlantic
2008: Eddie Chatting It Up Friday
2007: The ABC’s Of Me
2006: After The Storm
2005: The Essence Of Me

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Checking The Shot

Photo by MacG
This sculpture is called Chimping - it's part of the Carpenter Avenue Classics Avenue Man series.  

"Chimping" is a colloquialism used in digital photography to describe the act of checking every photo on the camera's display screen immediately after taking the picture.  This piece has articulating arms, mimicking the gesture made by a human photographer.

It's an original piece - using parts from a discarded chainsaw - made exclusively for our photographer friend at LWNFA.  

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The World Races To Newport

2014: Every Time You Open Your Mouth Diamonds Come Rolling Out
2013: The Real Way To Save The Planet
2012: Lunch At The Park
2011: I’ve Got A Crush On You
2010: The D’Angelo Bros. Outfit The Navy
2009: One Day A Revered Indian Chief, The Next Day Wagon Train Eye Candy
2008: Not Exactly The Best Way To Reach Out To Your Community
2007: Carny At The Junction
2006: Mother Superior
2005: Great Expectations

Friday, May 13, 2016

Un Pingüino Prepares For The Ride Of His Life

Photo of Maezy sniffing the pingüino by MacG.
While thrift shopping this week, I came across this penguin.  I had no idea what it was - I was thinking ice bucket (his head comes off) - but after some research, I decided he was obviously created to replicate Emil A. Schuelke's circa 1936 silver-plated Napier penguin cocktail shaker.

I had to get him.  He was perfect.

Perfect for what, you ask?

Perfect for travel to India, that's what!

Let me explain.

My friend Greg and his friend William are traveling to India in August (cray cray!) to do The Rickshaw Run.

A 2,100 mile trip from Shillong, India in the north, to Kochi, India in the south to raise money for their three chosen charities, the trip will be made in what many people call a Tuk Tuk.  So, essentially, a three-wheeled motorcycle with a roof.

The penguin comes into the picture because they've decided the name of their team is going to be Dos Pingüinos - Two Penguins.  But since I could only find un pingüino, he'd have to be given a special place on the Tuk Tuk.  Hood ornament?  Mascot?  Candy dish? 

Whatever purpose he serves, he'll have a helluva story to tell.  Well, to have told for him.

In the meantime, you should probably head over to the Dos Pingüinos FUNDRAISER PAGE and donate to their crazy adventure.

100% - that's EVERY CENT - of donations received will go to the charities.  All the other crap that happens on the trip will be paid for by Greg and William.  

And as the CrowdRise fundraising site states:  If you don't give back no one will like you.
And you really don't want to be on the shit list of a pingüino. 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2015: Cash Only Seafood
2014: Exactly
2013: Cottage Industry
2012: The Whole World
2011: Weekend Retreat
2010: I Might Even Give It An Academy Award
2009: Two Poles, One Man, No Fish
2008: When You Don’t Have Time To Make More Than One Trip
2007: A Mother Of A Mother
2006: Could You Love William Perry?
2005: Herding The Blogger Sheep

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Rollin' The Dice

What do authentic Las Vegas dice have to do with Carpenter Avenue Classics?  Well, several of them show up in one of their signature pieces which will be unveiled in the near future.

These particular dice have been in our family for years.  My step-father Frank used to go on gambling junkets from New York back in the early sixties and seventies and brought them back as souvenirs.  Smart Gaming dot come describes junkets as, "Junket programs in those days were pretty straightforward. Casino operators would hire junket reps to fill a plane with qualified gamblers. These players would get free airfare, free hotel accommodations, free meals, free shows (and just about anything else they wanted) in exchange for their commitment to gamble a specific number of hours per day at an explicit average bet size. The casinos of course were gambling that the players would lose more than their out of pocket expenses for bringing, housing and feeding them."

The red dice up front bear the name of the Aladdin hotel.  The Aladdin opened in 1966 and a year later was the location of Elvis and Priscilla Presley's wedding.  The hotel formally closed its doors in 1997 and in 1998 the entire original resort was imploded to make way for a new casino.

Having visited the original hotel in my youth, I feel lucky to still have a little piece of it!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2015: The Pond Is A Lot Smaller Than You Think
2014: You Can't Sleep Here But You Can Get A Fruit And Veg Fix
2013: Mommy And Me Kickin' It At The Yacht Club
2012: Dinner At The Diner
2011: My Guitar Hero
2010: The Competition Is Getting Fierce
2009: A Little Smooch Makes Everything Taste Better
2008: The Greatest Spectacle In Racing
2007: Jalapenos Basking In The California Sunshine
2006: Millions Of Miles Of Knowledge
2005: Midnight Snack

Wednesday, May 11, 2016


This week we've had our friends Marlaina and MacG visiting with us.  We always try to up the meal ante when they're here, and in a friendly competition with another couple they're friends with, we decided to spatchcock a chicken and throw it on the grill.

I've never spatchcocked a bird before - I didn't spatchcock this one either, Marlaina had the butcher do it for us - and I never cooked a whole bird on a grill.  This was going to be interesting.

I marinated the birds in tequila, lime juice, salt, pepper, garlic, minced hot cherry peppers, and a little bit of olive oil.  This is what they looked like when we put them on the grill:

We were told to start 'em with the breasts up.  Isn't that always the best way to start?

At about 20 minutes - which is about when the skin released from the grill easily - we turned them over and cooked them skin side down for another 20 minutes.  Here's a shot of them (showing both sides) just before we took them off the fire:

We brought them inside and let them rest on the counter for a while.  They were exhausted after being flipped to and fro on the grill!  Look at that absolutely gorgeous skin!  It was crispy and tasty and just beautiful.
I cut the chicken in smaller pieces - taking the wings and legs off at the joints, cutting the breasts in thirds, thighs in half - so everyone can get a little piece of the bird.  Our first attempt was super successful and I'll definitely be making this again.  It's a wonderful presentation for guests!  
If you want to learn how to spatchcock your own chicken, check out the queen of the cooking, crafting, gardening, and DIY lifestyle - Martha Stewart - she'll show you how.

Or you can have your butcher do the dirty work.

Either way, you should try it.  Whether you put it on the grill or roast it in the oven.  It's a delicious way to make a bird and you get to say "spatchcock".


Think about it.

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Completely And Utterly In The Pink
2014: Hammer Down Thrifting
2013: Does Anyone Have One Of These I Can Borrow?
2012: Built Like A Mack
2011: Luxor-ious Seating
2010: Sharing A Moment
2009: When Sunny Gets Blue
2008: Putting The Friendly Back In The Skies
2007: White Squall
2006: Free As A Bird
2005: The Heat Is On

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Work In Progress

The beauty of this run - on the road two-and-a-half days and home for the rest of the week - seems to be all the time we get to spend with my brother in his shop.  He's been working on his new venture, Carpenter Avenue Classics, and we've been getting things ready for the eventual product launch.

Here you'll see him working on a 1936 Dodge Coupe.  We don't know what it'll be yet, but if you follow him on Instagram, you may be lucky enough to see it transform before your very eyes!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2015: Music City Drive-By
2014: I'll Meet You At Sue's
2013: And Then The Rains Came
2012: When You Need To Point Out Which One Is Herb
2011: A Road Diverged In The Wood And I Lived To Tell About It
2010: I’m A Researchin’ Fool
2009: The Closest I’ll Ever Come
2008: Who Is He Kidding?
2007: The Captain Of My Vessel
2006: Baking Is Fun!
2005: Sticks And Stones