Category Archives: websites

Interview Series: Sarah Heath

I’m excited to bring you my first Portland interview! Sarah was one of the first people I met when we moved into the Sellwood neighborhood. She was at the meeting the neighbors held to discuss the mural design for the Sherrett Square intersection. She showed up without shoes on in late March, and my curiosity was piqued!

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Jamie: Tell us a little about yourself.

Sarah: I’m a 23 year old artist and playful living extraordinaire! I spend my days working on creative and collaborative projects and try to be as helpful and goofy as possible! I believe that the best way to inspire others to do good in the world is to live your truth. I love graphic novels, harmonizing, loukoumades, and playing my soul sport ultimate Frisbee.

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Jamie: I’d really like to know more about your barefoot philosophy-how did you get into it? Do you ride your bike without shoes? Do you go into restaurants without them?

Sarah: Well sure! It all began many years ago down in the Rogue Valley where I grew up. We lived on a few acres of land surrounded by meadows with views of mountain ranges and I’d spend hours upon hours romping around in “the back 40” unshod. My mom would insist that I wear shoes, but after many futile attempts, she finally conceded to allow me to play without a scolding because I’d never listen. Going barefoot wasn’t even a question. It just made sense. It felt right.

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I wore shoes or sandals in public places when I had to and at school. Shoes became more of an installation in my life during my high school years what with sports and the desire to fit in being larger factors. At some point, I started to realize how odd and almost nonexistent it was for adults to walk around outside of the house without shoes. This was troubling because I felt the most like myself, I felt the most comfortable barefoot, and I didn’t want to be chastised or gawked at for it. At that time I was getting into film and I thought it would be a great documentary topic from a social commentary point of view. I began researching feet and barefooting and discovered that there were several organizations that were totally dedicated to barefooting, which was awesome! I also discovered that many myths surrounding laws and the dangers of going barefoot in our modern societies were false.

I shelved the idea for a while, but kept coming back to it excitedly. While at university, my activist fires were ignited and with my new found confidence I felt empowered to be more vocal and active in my barefooting. I gradually moved almost completely away from shoes and over the past couple of years have been working on the preproduction of my documentary film Foot.

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All of the research I’ve done over the years has expanded my knowledge of the scientific and health related reasons for going barefoot, but the deeper truth was there all along. I knew it as a child, as I think we all inherently know it. When we go the beach or park and slip off our shoes without a thought, instinctually gripping at the sun warmed sand or luscious grass beneath us. Our bodies and hearts know that it’s good because it’s how we come in to the world to experience it. It’s how we connect to everything. To the past, present, and future. To life!

I try to be barefoot as much as I can, but I usually bring sandals with me if I know I’ll be going into buildings that may have an issue with being barefoot. I’ve asked all of the places I frequent and about half of them are fine with me coming in unshod. Usually it’s liability that folks are worried about which is unfortunate. I do bike without shoes. Two summers ago I biked to the coast barefoot!

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Jamie: You are onto something there with the idea about instinct for sure. When we truly connect with nature, we do instinctually take off our shoes. But what about winter? Don’t your feet get cold? And in this climate in particular, a lot of people take off their shoes when entering a house, how do you navigate that custom if your feet are wet or muddy?

Sarah: People who live primarily barefoot actually have warmer feet because their circulation is better. When you use all of the muscles in your feet to support and move your entire body instead of relying on the support of shoes, your feet demand more blood flow which your heart is happy to provide. A lot of times in the winter I’ll start out with wool socks in sandals and a half hour later I need to take them off because my feet are too hot. This isn’t always possible as it does get very cold and wet in a lot of places, so I do wear wool socks with sandals or shoes that I make. I’m crafty and love tedious projects, but there are handcrafted moccasin-like shoe producers out there. The closest to Portland I know of is in Corvallis and they are named Soft Star Shoes. (Website below). They’re really wonderful!

As far as going into homes goes, feet are much easier to clean than shoes for one thing, so it’s usually enough to just wipe on the doormat a few times. If it’s particularly mucky out, I may bring along a hand towel just in case, or I’ll ask for one when I arrive. Also grass is a great bath and mat all in one!

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Jamie:  I am also very interested in the work you do with the Planet Repair Institute. Could you talk a little about that? (And in particular, the project you did about making your bed!)

Sarah: Sure. Well PRI is the home I share with four others as well as a demonstration site and permaculture school. We all work together on experimenting with all kinds of urban homesteading projects such as growing our own food, installing rainwater catchment and other water systems, straw-clay insulation, and community asset sharing. Every year we participate in the Village Building Convergence as a site and we host a 15 day Permaculture Design Course that’s spread out over several months in the summer and fall. We all also have our own projects outside of the house, but at the same time are all very invested in this place. Mostly we’re all very interested in exploring ways in which we can sustain our needs at home, instead of outsourcing them and spending most of our lives apart from the place and people we love.

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My bed project is expanded upon on our blog listed below, but basically I needed a new bed one day and didn’t want to purchase one because beds are weird and chemically and I have no idea where or how they’re made. So I thought, “why not make one!? How hard could it be?” Fortunately because we do a lot of building around here, we had all of the tools and spare lumber for the job. I did source some nice scrap untreated cotton canvas for the mattress and bought some localish straw to stuff it with.

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I love making my own things. It’s one of the most satisfying activities to partake in. I’m so incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to spend a large portion of my days making my own furniture, clothing, food, and artwork instead of performing ultimately meaningless tasks for someone else hours on end so that I can pay for yet another person to provide for my needs. It’s not perfect, certainly not always so dandy or easy, but it is always rich and meaningful. And that’s what matters.

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Jamie: Would you share some of your favorite internet links?

Sarah: http://www.softstarshoes.com/ – Awesome shoe company in Oregon

http://www.barefooters.org/ – The society for barefoot living’s homepage   

www.planetrepair.org – Permaculture demonstration site and home

http://cityrepair.org/ – Great Portland organization that puts on the Village Building Convergence

www.gardensglory.com – My garden inspired earring website

http://www.taprootmag.com/ – A magazine that I really love!

Look out soon for my film’s website!

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Thank you so much, Sarah, for taking the time to answer my questions! You are so interesting, and this interview only scratches the surface. Please everyone reading this, feel free to ask her more questions, and I will make sure she sees your comments.

interview series! stephanie simmons

Stephanie and I met on twitter, and to be honest (because my memory is terrible), I am not sure if we’ve met in real life. Stephanie, do you recall? She now lives in Oklahoma, but we followed each other when she still lived in Phoenix. The Phoenix twitter community is pretty well connected supportive of each other, so it’s no surprise that she answered the call for interviewee volunteers!

 

Jamie: Tell us a little about yourself.

Stephanie: Things I love: winter, the smell of rain in Oklahoma, music, okra developing from beautiful blooms to edible perfection, fresh garden dirt, baseball at every level, patriots & soldiers, and pie.

Things I don’t: people that do the wave when the home team is up to bat, early leavers, bigots, inconsiderate drivers, money, liars and arguments.

I’m a country girl at heart and a city girl at heart. Seems contradictory, but my two favorite places in the world are rural  Green Country (Tulsa) and New York City. I love the quiet kindness and generosity that comes born in Okies, and I love everything about NYC.

I really mean it when I say I want the world to be a better place. I am a socially liberal Republican mostly because I can’t fathom that anyone can actually believe that every human being doesn’t deserve the same rights as everyone else.

Jamie: I know the rain here in Phoenix smells like an interesting mix between asphalt and mesquite. What does the rain smell like there? I’ve never been.

Stephanie: You’re right. I’ve always described the Phoenix rain smell as rust. It’s unpleasant. Here rain smells like spring, like things fresh and new. It smells slightly like the cold water out of the garden hose on a hot summer day.

Jamie: Tell me more about this love of NYC. I’ve only been there once as a girl; it was so brief. But I am fascinated by it. I love television and films set in the city. I have a friend living there now, and his instagram feed is so beautiful.

Stephanie: It’s hard to sum up what New York City feels like. It’s something different to everyone. The first time I went it was in the heat and humidity of summer, garbage bags on sidewalks everywhere, but beautiful tall buildings.  You’re surrounded by history and culture… There’s a little different something to be found every few city blocks. I’ve only been twice (once for NYE on Times Square, I highly recommend the experience) but after the second time I went, I came home and felt lost in the city I grew up in. But, I could have told you where to find anything in NYC. It’s just that comfortable to me.

Jamie: Explain “sports” to me. I’m afraid I lost my interest in playing them in sixth grade, and as an adult, I haven’t enjoyed going to professional games. What am I doing wrong?

Stephanie: For me I have the feeling that it makes you feel like the world is smaller, like there aren’t so many strangers in the world. There are these people, that you really don’t know anything about, that are similar to you in some way. They get excited about the same things you do.

While so many think baseball is the most boring of sports to watch, I find it to be fast paced and interesting. I like to keep score (on a scorecard I design, print and bind every year) so it keeps me constantly interacting with what’s happening on the field and helps remind me what’s happened earlier.

Jamie: Ahhh…that makes some sense to me. I think I have felt that in different ways through theatre and also as an entertainer at the Renaissance Festival. I used to work in the joust arena, and it was the heyday of rennie-led crowd cheering. I don’t think I have ever felt anything quite like it since. And confession, I do find baseball the least interesting to watch, although I will admit I have enjoyed a live hockey game or two!

Would you like to share an internet link? (or two?)

Stephanie: The only site I read daily, and the one that will give the most insight into my missing blog posts is I Wrote This For You. He published something I wrote on there once. I was honored.

Best writing by a dad / rockstar / tormented husband on the Internet

Funny correspondence from this guy to random people / companies / coworkers. This is one of our favorite sites to read at work.

And of course, I’m on twitter and flickr

I actually have been blogging since 2002, but semi-recently I had to begin to rebuild a corrupt database so almost all of my almost a thousand posts are in a text file that I lost when my OS crashed earlier this year.
Jamie: So are you a writer?

Stephanie: Actual writers might take offense to me saying I’m a writer, but I feel like I really could be. I’m pretty good at putting my thoughts in words, and I edit and re-edit constantly. My hurdle to jump is that I’ve always been hesitant to let people read what I write for fear of letting people in too close or being judged. I’m most passionate writing about relationships, but doing that (like giving advice to other people) is so much easier than putting my own issues out there. I think i have a lot to say and it might help me if it were heard. It’s therapeutic to write, just scary. Also, sometimes I’m too wordy (for example: now).

interview series! jeff moriarty!

Hooray! My interview series is back by underwhelming demand! This first interview* is actually the last interview from the previous series. I, uh, couldn’t manage to gather my thoughts enough to post it last time, and Jeff was so gracious about helping me wrap it up to post this time! So thanks Jeff!

Jeff Moriarty and I originally met through The Internet. I think. He’s pretty famous on the Phoenix scene because he constantly works to make the metro area a more creative place built on community. He’s been a founder or an organizer for several really cool events like Ignite Phoenix, Social Media Club, and ImprovAZ. If you heard about all those people riding the light rail here in Phoenix in their knickers or the flash mob dressed like Where’s Waldo at Tempe Marketplace , you can blame Jeff.

 

 

Jamie: Tell us a little about yourself.

Jeff: I have two knees that work well. I have a back and neck that don’t, due to car crash when I was younger. My hair has never killed a man. I believe in change, in motion, in exploration. Savor the world around you, but don’t take it too seriously. Find something new, for as much as you know there is infinitely more about which you have not a clue.

 

Jamie: “Not taking your world too seriously,” why did you develop that philosophy?

Jeff: Not taking the world seriously isn’t a philosophy I cultivated with intent. I got a dose of reality when I was very young, and it made me very sullen, quiet, and bitter. I kept chasing that darkness until I finally started to laugh. Laughter is about pain. It is a primal noise we make to each other, like monkeys hooting in the treetops, when we find a shared element of the human condition. Look at any joke, any funny story, and you will find at its heart a story of someone being embarrassed, hurt, confused, mocked, or otherwise suffering. Laughter is how we release that fear, for ourselves and others. Once I saw that, it became hard to take the world seriously. It’s not like any of us are going to get out of it alive.

 

Jamie: For someone with so public a presence, you are very private. Why?

Jeff: I just don’t think there is that much interesting about me worth sharing. Plus, because very little offends me I have a tendency to upset people with some things I say and do if I’m not careful. So I’d much rather explore and share with other people. And make them laugh, of course.

 

(photo credit: Joe Abbruscato)

 

Jamie: Tell us an imaginary story about how you met your wife.

Jeff: It was my last assignment. The Sensei had promised me. Few Ninja were allowed to walk away freely, so I suspected a trap. The assassinations went well, as did the bank robbery, the government overthrow, the cooking of dinner, and the counting of all the grains of sand on the beach. For others, perhaps difficult, but such is the value of training. When the clowns finally came, I was ready. Their noses and flowers, the honking and squirting, it was a sordid affair. But at the end, covered in meringue though I was, I stood triumphant. The woman who was to be my wife saw it all. An innocent bystander to the carnage of the Big Top Smack Down, and she did not flinch. I knew then I would marry her as the first act of my newfound freedom. She ran fast and far, but I am tireless and I know mind control.

 

Jamie: Which do you like better: Ignite Phoenix or Improv AZ? (And you have to pick one so we can start a controversy.)

Jeff: I like Ignite Phoenix better than ImprovAZ because it allows people to showcase their passions, but I also love ImprovAZ more than Ignite Phoenix because it pushes people out of their comfort zone and makes them someone new. I like recursion, because it is recursion, and also recursion.

 

(photo credit: Ruth Carter)

 

Jamie: What has been your favorite Ignite Phoenix presentation ever. (And they are not like children-you can have a favorite!)

Jeff: Not trying to be evasive, but “favorite” is tough with Ignite presentations. There are funny ones, insightful ones, powerful ones, brave ones, well-presented ones, creative ones, influential ones, etc. One might be Luz Galusha-Luna’s “Typography as Personality” that she gave at the PodCamp Ignite we did. Wish the sound was better, because she did SUCH a good job conveying her passion outside her field.
Another favorite is Michael Wasserman’s talk about The Humanities in the 21st Century. Many people didn’t think this sounded like a very compelling topic, but Michael’s articulate, insightful view about the neglected role of the Humanities in modern education completely captured the audience and is one of the best Ignite Phoenix talks we’ve had.  But if I had to make my Favorite Playlist, it would probably be about 16 or so in there.

 

jamie: batman or superman?
jeff: I’m heterosexual, so I would not date either one.

 

jamie: please share an internet link (or two…)

jeff:

Bread People

Kim Jong Il Looking At Things

KHAAAAN!

 

I sat with Jeff this afternoon to get a couple of shots for this interview, and it was a beautiful conversation. I was reminded why I started these interviews in the first place. Jeff is a special person. He has these intense eyes, and he doesn’t flinch. And incredibly expressive hands. I like Jeff even more than I did this morning. I hope after reading this interview, you know what I mean. And feel free, as before, to ask Jeff your own questions in the comments.

Also, follow him on Twitter.

 

(*One thing you may notice about this next series is that I decided to use capitalization because it is fancier. And I am nothing if not fancy.)

interview with craig

I’ve known Craig about the same number of years as my husband. They worked together on a computer animated movie. When I began to hang around David, all the animators called me Yoko! Haha! Nowadays, Craig lives across the street from us. Craig is a generous person who likes to laugh and drink good beer.

JM: Tell us a little about yourself

CG: okay! i’ll try {=o) i’m thirty three – the youngest of three boys. pastor’s kids, mom and dad raised us in the church. grew up in a little (1.7 square miles) town in missouri until my family up-and-moved to phoenix the year karate kid part II came out.

i have a lot of teachers in my life: my dad, as well as being a pastor, is a high school teacher, my mom and brother are teachers, and several members of my extended family are teachers and preachers. on top of that, the place i’ve worked for the past ten plus years is filled with teachers – that’s what i get for trying to get out of school as fast as possible i guess.

when i was a kid i wanted to make cartoons. as a teenager that sorta morphed into comic books but by the time i was supposed to be applying for colleges, i was too late to get into comic book school, so i defaulted back to cartoons. {=o) i did get to work on some cartoons in the early aughts with some great people, and hope to work on cartoons again one day.

i tend to stay up late. i put things off. i like movies, characters, cartoons and stories. i like the internet. i’m good at google. i’m pretty good at video games.

i like to eat! and although, not picky, i do tend to get bored pretty easily. so one of the things i like to do is find new places to eat – things i’ve never tried or heard of. i also tend to plan entire vacations around food! oh, by the way, i love to travel!

JM: Where have you traveled? What has been your favorite place? Can you share a favorite travel photo?

CG: well, when i was 16 i had the amazing opportunity to spend a few weeks in europe through the people to people student ambassadors program. we got to go to italy, austria, and hungary – a week in each country. the best part about that trip was being able to spend time with families in their homes. that’s something you really can’t experience most of the time when you go on trips and visit other cultures. more recently, i’ve been trying to do a big trip every year. so for the past few years i’ve been able to go to thailand, vietnam, and hawaii. it’s so hard to pick a favorite place!! but i’m going to say mui né, vietnam. it was just such a beautiful and simple place. the people were very kind … and the food was amazing! {=o)

JM: Can you share some drawings?

CG: sure!

a drawing of batman with my brushpen


a weird crustacean girl i kinda watercolored



a pretty stylized drawing of wonder woman



and a logo for a scooter club some friends of mine are in {=o)



JM: Nice! I really love the wonder woman one!

You are really into obscure bands; what are some of your favorites?

CG:

mariachi el bronx – a punk band (the bronx) that has a great traditional-style mariachi side project

kid koala – the most creative turntablist i’ve ever heard

phosphorescent – really great indie rock / country

the rural alberta advantage – a cool indie band from canada that sings songs about canada

pigeon john – my favorite hip-hop rapper guy

carolina chocolate drops – old-timey string / jug band

roar – great local indie rock band

magnetic fields – killer songs, always funny or bitter and heartbreaking; varied styles

why? – indie folk / rock with a dash of hip-hop

christian scott – jazz trumpeter; kind of a jazz / artrock

menomena – just a great fun indie rock band

damien jurado – singer / songwriter mostly in the indie folk genre i guess

slim cessna’s auto club – kind of alternative country punk gothabilly {=o)

but, you know, i like stuff like radiohead and weezer too.

JM: Will you draw a unicorn for me?


CG: sure!



JM: Yay! I love it! Would you like to share an internet link?

CG: oh, wow. i dunno. i have a website that i don’t keep up to date heycraig.com
i like google and twitter


Thanks Craig for participating in the interview series! Ask him any of your questions below!

interview with bree

Bree and I went to the same high school. I guess. We didn’t really know each other then, although we were probably only about two people removed. Her friend (and future husband Ty) was friends with my friend Beth. Then about a year or two ago, Erin started chatting with her on the twitters.  So I did too.  And then Erin was all, “Hey let’s start #ClubAwesome-you, me and Bree!” And I was all, “Yeah! We are awesome. Let’s start this club.” So then I went to her house and met her. Or did we meet before then?  Anyway, Bree is awesome. And so is this interview.

JM: Tell us a little about yourself.

BKQ: My name is Bryony Kathleen Mackey.  No, I was not supposed to be a boy, and no, my mother did not invent my name.  I was named for the heroine in the Mary Stewart novel ‘Touch Not the Cat’ which for some reason I can’t bring myself to read.  Useless knowledge: Bryonia is a genus of flowering vine in the cucumber family native to the UK and neighboring regions, mainly North Africa & South Asia.  It used to be used in medicines, namely sedatives, until they figured out that it’s generally poisonous.

I am currently 31 years old, born on the 20th of September which makes me a Virgo, although I’ll say I’m 90% Virgo, 10% Libra since I am much more A-type personality than the average Virgo.  But the anal-retentiveness I’ve got down pat.  Useless knowledge: coincidentally to my name, September is considered the vine month in Celtic Astrology.

I am in my third, wonderful year of marriage to Ty Mackey.  He still won’t let me forget the time I didn’t go to Homecoming with him.  (I already had a date.)

I am the youngest of 3 girls.

I currently earn a living as a HTML Programmer and Application Developer for a financial services company.  I have no formal training for IT or programming at all, but rather a BS in Business Management and Equine Management. I find IT suits me fairly well as it’s a male-dominated field and I generally get on better with guys than girls.  Also, I’m not what you’d call a ‘people-person’ so the less human interaction, the better.

If I had to fit myself in a nutshell (that’s gonna be one big nutshell): I am an insufferable know-it-all.  I’ve been a bullrider, a soldier, a team roper and reiner.  I’ve lived in a housing project and been on food stamps.  I adore Apple products and believe Microsoft to be evil.  I was an NCAA All-American swimmer.  I played collegiate water polo.  I was president of my sorority, Lambda Zeta Theta.  I was secretary of the National Collegiate Honor Society, Gamma Beta Phi.  I was president of the Business Honor Society, Delta Mu Delta.  I am mildly bi-polar/manic depressive and mathematically dyslexic.  I read the Iliad and the Odyssey for the first time in 5th grade.  I’ve never done drugs.  My motto is (sometimes unfortunately) ‘How hard can it be?’  (That or ‘Everybody Wang Chung Tonight’)


JM: What does an equine manager do?

BKQ: We just manage equines…OK, for real an equine manager would generally run a stable/ranch.  When I was little my dream was to own my own stud farm and racing stable.  (I was big on Black Stallion books.)  I started college as just an equine major, but quickly realized I’m far too materialistic, and the odds I could get a really good paying job in that field are null.  I kept with it because I had my mare at the time, so like all other things I just wanted to learn as much as I could.  It was pretty fascinating.  I took classes on barn construction and architecture, feeds and feeding along with anatomy and physiology.  We also had general farm animal classes so I know a lot about pigs, cows, sheep, dogs, etc.  Little known fact about me is that I know how to artificially inseminate a horse.  That’s always Plan C at work.  Because by the time Plans A & B fail, there’s nothing left to do but that.


JM: What does it mean to be a geek?

BKQ: Wow…I’ve typed and erased like three paragraphs so far on this question.  In general, I’d say most geeks love sci-fi, gaming, and comic books, among other things.  I used to be terrified of people finding out just how much I loved Star Wars, or comics.  To me, I guess being a proud, adult geek means that I don’t need my likes and actions validated by other people.  I love the things I love because, well…I love them.  I think a geek is someone who is just fanatical about something.  Whether its sci-fi or rock collecting, it’s just about loving something that brings you joy.

One thing that makes me a little sad is that some people won’t accept someone as a geek if they don’t fit a certain profile.  Geek culture like mainstream culture has a caste system of its own.  For example, one time when I was at a Browncoat Shindig, a girl snottily asked me if I was sure I was in the right place.  Not to be too disparaging, she was probably what most normal people picture a geek girl to be: greasy hair, no makeup, overweight…not generally attractive.  When I told her I was there for the Shindig, she told me there’s no way I could be a real geek because I was pretty and wearing designer clothes.  After I proved my geek cred in a conversation, she did accept me, and we became friends.  But she assumed that because I care about my appearance there’s no way I could make a serious, scientifically backed argument about how a lightsaber could not cut adamantium.  (It can’t)*


JM: Does Ty share any of your “geeky” interests?

BKQ: Not really.  I mainly married him for his money.  And his body.  So we don’t have much in common.  He likes some of the stuff I’m into, he really liked Firefly and Battlestar Galactica.  He likes Angel and Big Bang Theory (which he should, since he’s married to Sheldon) but hates Buffy.  I took him to a Serenity screening once and we’ll just say it wasn’t really his thing.  He tolerates my idiosyncrasies pretty well, and I like to think he thinks they’re cute rather than annoying.


JM: How do you find balance between your “geek” self and your “rodeo” self?

BKQ: I don’t think it’s so much about balance as it is about just plain being me.  Like I mentioned above, people make assumptions that someone can’t be something (smart, funny, great backgammon player) because of something else.  Growing up I didn’t think I could be a girly girl and a tomboy at the same time.  Girly girls were weak!  They weren’t strong!  They couldn’t play football and fight.  But somewhere along the line I had an epiphany…and just like that I thought “Um…Why not?  Why can’t I be both?”  That question probably drives most of my life.  ”Why not?”  I think the most fascinating people are those who are just bursting with layers, and I’d be lying if I said I don’t try to be one of those people.

I like to surprise people; it’s fun to watch their pre-conceived notions fall away.  At work, I showed up to a guy’s desk and he didn’t believe I was actually an official IT person because I’m a girl.  I’m surprised his head didn’t explode when he found out that I rode bulls, I knit and crochet, I bake breads from scratch and can (have) replaced the clutch in a vehicle.  I love rodeo and the western lifestyle.  I love the smell of manure and hay.  I love getting into discussions about how I think the most genius thing George Lucas did was blame the entire Clone War on Jar Jar Binks, who’s probably one of the most hated characters in the Star Wars ‘verse.

I think my beliefs are aptly summed up in my favorite quote from Robert Heinlein:

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly.  Specialization is for insects.


JM: When do you sleep?

BKQ: It’s funny you ask that, because I don’t like sleep very much.  It’s highly improbable that you’ll ever find me napping, and if you do I’m pretty ill.  Ty and I both work early, so we’re usually in bed by 7:30pm.  I’m a total morning person, which I don’t think I came by naturally.  Growing up I got up at 4:30am for swimming every day, so you get used to it.  I feel like sleeping is a waste of time, wish I didn’t have to do it at all.  I’ve definitely got the H in ADHD because down time in general is not something I enjoy.  Ty sleeps enough for the both of us; he can fall asleep anytime, anywhere and can sleep through a dump truck driving through a nitroglycerin plant.


JM: Would you like to share an internet link?

BKQ: Fark.com My favorite website ever, because nothing is sacred there.  It restores my faith that I’m not the only insensitive asshole around.


* JM: Why can’t a light saber cut adamantium? (I really want to know).

BKQ: Preface: this argument assumes we’re talking about the most well-known form of Adamantium which would be the man-made metal alloy invented by Dr. Myron MacLain, a metallurgist in the Marvel Universe, which is bonded to Wolverine’s skeleton.  There are some other types of Adamantium which exist in the MU, but I’m not getting into those.  I’m also not getting into the Earth-1610 reality (Ultimate Marvel Universe) where Adamantium exists, but has some different properties.  We are taking into account the light sabers of the Star Wars Expanded Universe as well as cannon.

With that said, here’s a little background on Adamantium.  It’s formed by mixing certain chemical resins (few know the exact formula) and keeping the mixture at approximately 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit.  The liquid can be molded into a shape, and after 8 minutes becomes solid.  The shape of Adamantium can only be altered by the migration of an atom or bond, otherwise known as molecular rearrangement.  However, the molecular structure is highly stable, making this unlikely.  I believe that currently the only thing which is known to be able to pierce Adamantium would be Antarctic Vibranium or ‘anti-metal’.  (Useless knowledge: Dr. MacLain created a vibranium/steel alloy which was used to forge Captain America’s shield.)

In the Star Wars Universe, there are more than a few rare materials which can withstand a light saber blade (aside from the blade of another lightsaber).  Some of these materials even cause the blade to short out.  Basically, a lightsaber is high levels of energy converted to plasma by a series of focusing lenses and energizers.  The plasma is projected through focusing crystal(s) which lend the blade its color and allow for adjustment of power and length.  The plasma is sent through a series of field energizers after being focused by the crystals, and then being further focused by modulation circuitry, it becomes the beautiful, coherent beam of energy we all know and love.  A lightsaber blade does not expend energy or radiate heat until it comes into contact with something solid.  I did a quick Google, but was unable to find an approximate temperature, because I’m guessing it would depend on the material it’s in contact with.

Useless knowledge: one item which many people may be familiar with which is lightsaber-resistant is the Mandalorian Armor worn by the bounty hunter Boba Fett.

So anyhow.  Now that I wrote that all out, did a bunch of Google searches to check my facts and realized if I had been this interested in Algebra I’d probably be a much better programmer I’ll come to my scintillating conclusion:

A lightsaber cannot cut Adamantium because it does not possess a molecular reorganizer, nor does it have the properties to cause a chemical reaction which could (in theory) cause molecular reorganization.  Assuming a lightsaber could reach the temperature of 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit without destroying the focusing crystals and/or the handle construction (not to mention the holders skin, Midichlorian count notwithstanding), Adamantium cannot be ‘re-liquified’ after being molded.  So you couldn’t melt it like Plasteel, Transparisteel or some alloys of Durasteel which we see lightsabers melting through in the SW movies.

Phew.  That totally could have been my thesis.


(‘zombie stompers’)


Thanks again to Bree for participating in this interview! Please feel free to ask her any of your questions in the comments below.

interview with dan

My latest in the interview series is my friend Dan who I’ve known for about let’s say twelve or so years. I have no idea. I am sure we met sometime in college when we went to the same college church group. It sure feels like a lifetime ago. I used to hang out with Dan and his brother-they are two really funny guys. Some of my best memories of them are wandering around Magic Mountain. And telling pickle jokes. More on that later.

JM: Tell us a little about yourself.

DH: Name:  Daniel Ryan Hunt

Age:  33 years

Hair:  Reddish-brown, short

Eyes:  Blue, two

Ears:  Yes

Height:  5′ 10″

Weight:  Plenty

Distinguishing features:  Large sideburns, glasses, sardonic wit

Likes:  Martial arts movies, video games, reading, writing, making people laugh, the spotlight, listing vague things like ‘reading’ and ‘writing’ as things I like to sound smart and/or creative

Dislikes:  Unsolicited career advice, listing my previous work history, the word ‘douchebag,’ when Wikipedia is seen as a valid source of information

Favorite breakfast cereal:  Cracklin’ Oat Bran

Outlook:  Stoic, mostly

Demeanor:  Pretty middle of the road

Marital status:  Married to Sarah Hunt, going on 4 years

Highest education level:  Some college

Current occupational status:  Fledging stand-up comic, cab driver

I have been diagnosed with: schizoid personality, gout, 1 cavity

People think I have:  Asperger’s syndrome, a sadistic streak, encyclopedic knowledge of computers and GPS-level knowledge of the Phoenix area, including locations of every building, everywhere


JM: So…you can’t just drop a completely unknown (relatively huge) fact like you have been diagnosed with schizoid personality on me without any details.

Can I ask you about it “on the record”?

Can you explain what it is?

When did you get diagnosed with it?

Did the diagnoses come with any emotions or a sense of clarity?

DH: You never knew…?  I coulda swore… Okay.

From my understanding, being schizoid is where a person (me) levels out their emotional experiences.  Lower highs, higher lows.  The affected also have difficulty expressing emotions, having meaningful relationships, and other social awkwardnesses.  I was diagnosed with this in my early to mid 20′s when I went to a therapist to seek help for depression I was going through.  Well, it was the result of this test I took, SAT style, complete with bubble fill in sheet and #2 pencil.

When it comes to things like being schizoid, or depressed, or anti-social, or even things like possibly having Asperger’s Syndrome, I shrug it off.  I’m okay with me, and I’m at a point where I realize all the crap that happened so far was for a reason.  I am the person I am, and I can not, will not, nor want to be anyone else.  I feel that there’s a certain beauty in sadness, when you think about how bad a thing (whatever) is, you realize there is another thing (whatever) that is, to quote Teen Girl Squad, SO GOOD that not only does it make up for the sadness you feel, it surpasses that sadness, and all the other sadnesses that you’ve had or will have.  I get sad.  It happens.  I also get happy.  Sometimes the sadness in my life outweighs the happiness in quantity, it never comes close to it in quality.  I guess the ultimate question here is, where does that happiness come from?  How can it be better?  One word: Christ.  Knowing that all this (living life in this world) leads to something greater (eternity with Christ) nullifies all the crap this life can throw at me.  Sometimes I forget that for a while, but I always come back to the security I have in Christ and the Father.  The Spirit, too, even if I have a hard time understanding It.

That, and the Keebler Elves released a line of cookies that are versions of the Girl Scout’s Samoas that are available all year round.  How can that NOT make someone happy?


JM: Thanks-you saved a lot of people from looking that up on wikipedia. Speaking of happy, tell us a pickle joke, and give us the background on pickle jokes in your family.

DH: Who’s green, Egyptian, and married Marc Anthony?  Cleo-pickle.  Who’s green and was shot nine times?  Pickle Cent.  What’s green and hangs above a baby’s crib?  A mo-pickle.

I come from two large families.  Mom had five brothers and sisters, Dad has six.  The vast majorities of these large families lived far away from where I grew up, mostly in Portland, Oregon and various parts of Oklahoma. A lot of childhood memories I have involve riding in cars on long road trips for family reunions.  Going to see the extended family was always a treat for my brother and I.  Well, when you’re ten hours into a 20-hour road trip with no stops, people get tired, and random things get hilarious.  Pickle jokes were born out of these late night/early morning drives, and they are part of those random things that get hilarious.

JM: Why do you find yourself drawn to stand up?

DH: I like laughing and I like making people laugh.  I was doing improv, which qualifies, but I think I’m drawn to stand-up now because I get to control everything that comes out of my mouth (in theory).  So if it’s funny, it’s funny that came from me and wasn’t dependent on something or someone else.  That’s not to say that I’ll never do improv again, but now is the season for stand-up (again).

My foray into stand-up started a lot earlier than I realized, when I stop to think about it.  Back in the fifth grade, I asked my teacher if I could tell jokes in front of the class during lunch.  She let me, and I proceeded to bomb day after day for pretty much the entire school year.  Fast forward about three years, and while I was attending middle school, I was put in the gifted/accelerated class with the other nerds.  One of the things we did every year was a career assignment, where we would pick something that we were interested in doing when we were older, then we would be paired with someone who did that for a living, and we’d spend time with them as they did their job.  I selected to do stand up one year, and I was paired with a comic whose name I no longer remember.  I tagged along while he did a corporate gig.  He gave me a video from one of his open mic nights that he hosted, and I remember all the comics either being filthy or extremely bad.  To wrap that assignment up, we had a ‘career night’ where we had presentations of what we learned.  I did about three minutes of material that I ripped out of a joke book.  I remember everyone was polite about it.  Since then, my desire to get on stage and make people laugh has manifested itself in various ways, like being the ‘announcement guy’ at VI, or doing improv at a theater in Scottsdale.  Around the end of September last year I happened upon a class for stand-up comedy taught by one Tony Vicich, comedian who was prolific during the stand-up boom of the 80′s.  I took the introductory and the advanced classes, and was in two showcases, one at Dave and Busters up in North Phoenix, and one at the Tempe Improv.  Currently, I have an open-mic night coming up on the 30th in Scottsdale, and a set at ToSo’s up in North Phoenix on the 4th.  Maybe it’s the 5th.  I should probably find out.  I’ve been told that I’m ‘edgy’ for whatever that’s worth.

JM: What would be the ideal comic “job” for you?

DH: As fun as it would be to be a touring comic, I think that would take me away from my wife and soon-to-be daughter too much.  I’d be perfectly content to work a singular city like Vegas, LA or New York if I could provide for my family doing it.  I also wouldn’t argue with acting, voice acting, or directing.  But not producing.  Maybe gaffing.  That’s a ways off, though, I’m still working my way into the shallow end of the comedy pool.

JM: Who are you influenced by comically?

DH: I am influenced by any comic that can make a room full of people laugh without resorting to excessive swearing or crude/sexual/scatalogical/racial material.  It’s a mistake to think that doing clean comedy is talking about rainbows and kittens and peaches.  I actually pulled off a joke in which there is a baby that is on fire.  You can be dark and edgy without dropping an f-bomb.  Or an s-bomb.  Want examples of who I am inspired by?  Sure!  In no particular order:

Demitri Martin

Brian Regan

Eddie Izzard (I said excessive swearing)

Jim Gaffigan

Ken Kaz

Donald Glover

Christopher Titus

Steven Wright

Ritch Shydner

I’ve also had the joy of being able to learn from good comics, both veteran and not-as-veteran.  Tony Vicich, like I mentioned before, along with Emily Galati, Kevin Odea, Joleen Lunzer, Mike Gillerman, Dave Thurston, Jim Bambrough, Mike Bengoeceha… lots of people named Mike, all said and done.

JM: Would you like to share an internet link?

DH: As much as I think that the internet is nothing more than 99.99% filler and a horrible time suck, here are a couple things I like looking at:

www.basicinstructions.net – One of the two funniest non-episodic webcomics ever.

www.xkcd.com – The other funniest non-episodic webcomic.

If you’re curious to see what I’ve done in stand up:



Shameless plug, I know.

And if you’re curious about stand-up classes, you can go here for more information:

www.comedyschools.com

Thanks Dan for participating in my interview series! Feel free to ask him any questions you have in the comment section below!

interview with joe

I knew who Joe was before I met him. He’s a bit of a local celebrity who dresses particularly and is known for his restaurants. But I knew him as the only person in my area who owned a Vespa. And I had just bought one. So about three years ago, I introduced myself, asked if I could go along on any group rides he was planning, and somehow found myself helping to open the future Liberty Market. But be careful! Once you are Joe’s friend, you must succumb to all kinds of crazy adventures-many of them involving blind taste tests of food. And believe me, this guy will wear you out! He’s made me visit more than five espresso joints in a day.

You can find many interviews with Joe and his journey of starting the Coffee Plantation, Joe’s Real BBQ, or the housing development complete with childhood-home-turned-restaurant Joe’s Farm Grill, but I would like to illuminate the more personal side of Joe. Because I dare to ask the questions!

JM: Please tell us a little about yourself.

JJ: That is an open question, so I’ll answer it a bunch of different ways.

I am happily married (to the lovely, talented, power-house: Cindy), have two married sons, and live in Gilbert.

I am chubby, moderate in build, wear a hat, have a titanium rod in my leg, blood pressure within the normal range.

I am self-deluded in thinking I can eat anything and not gain weight, that I am 30, that I am not dying, and certainly much more that I am oblivious to.

I am a visionary. I don’t mean that in a proud way any more than if I was to say that I am an artisan, a craftsman, or a farmer. The primary gift that God has given me is in the realm of ideas and how to advance them to become reality.


JM: I love the story of how you and Cindy met, would you mind sharing the tale?

JJ: At the time, I was an engineer and happily single, living in an apartment. I don’t mind being alone and don’t get bored easily, so I enjoyed working on cars and general tinkering. My mother was quite concerned that I would never get married. For one thing, she identified me as a nerd with fashion problems that might make me un-datable. To work on my fashion problem, she sent me to “Sincerely, Sandra”, a modeling and personal improvement shop at Dobson and Elliot. The basic idea was that the owner, Sandra, would color drape me and then teach me how to shop for clothes. Sandra is a vivacious lady of Lebanese ancestry. Through the process of figuring out that I was a “spring” and taking me shopping at Marshall’s, she decided I was a normal person, so she asked me if I would like to meet her sister. She hooked me up with her little sister, Cindy, who was living with Sandra and her husband at the time. It took me a while to get around to a first date. When we met, I thought she was beautiful … we got along fine. For many months we went out, just as friends and then we fell in love. That’s the best way.



JM: You have a distinct fashion style. Tell us how you created it and what your inspirations are.

JJ: My awareness of fashion started in the same way I met Cindy (see above). Since then, I have become more interested in fashion and have developed certain philosophies regarding dress:

1. Be comfortable with who you are and where you live.

I am a bit chubby (but cuddly), have a short inseam, a bald head, and ordinary looks (which I think of as a blessing). Doesn’t sound like a promising physique for fashion, but I have come to accept my situation and be happy about it. I also live in a warm state. Given these factors, I try to dress in ways that make sense. Being bald has opened up the world of hats, an area where people with hair seem timid to explore (except with the baseball cap [yuck!]). It protects from the sun and has many more options than hair. Being chubby, tight fitting clothes are a big no-no. Guayabera shirts are a favorite. They are loose fitting, a traditional shirt in warm climates, and come in great colors. I do not wear jeans. They emphasize the wrong part of my body. T-shirts: only at the gym.

2. Don’t go with the trends.

I used to wear classic Hawaiian shirts for the same reason as a Guayabera. Then they became popular and started showing up at Costco and all sorts of unstylish people started wearing them in horrible ways. I stopped wearing them. Hats have become popular again (I’ve been wearing them for 25 years), but most people buy cheap ones from China at Target, so it really hasn’t diluted quality hat wearing and I am not planning on abandoning hats. I avoid trends like “Affliction” shirts, Ed Hardy, and all of that stuff. I prefer classic, timeless pieces that go together well and last.

3. Buy quality.

I don’t buy poorly made stuff. It won’t last and it won’t feel good. That doesn’t mean it has to be expensive. Just be picky about quality, inspect your goods carefully, and then try to get the best price. For instance, my go-to fedoras are US made and are fashioned from wheat straw. They are very well made and cost about $35. Yes, that’s more than a Chinese “felt” fedora, but not that much more. It fits and lasts, plus you’re helping US workers. Some things are just plain expensive, but worth it. My LV “murse” is a great accessory that I use daily. It is SO well made and perfectly designed. It will last forever instead of some bad fitting, cheap mini-messenger bag. There’s some truth in the phrase “you get what you pay for”.


JM: Would you please share some Joe “before” pictures?

JJ:


JM: Would you like to share an internet link?

JJ:

Best food related periodical: http://www.artofeating.com/

Best antidote to Rachel Ray: http://bitchinlifestyle.tv/


Thanks again Joe for participating in my interview series! Please feel free to ask all your burning questions of Joe in the comments below!

And you can follow him on twitter (@realjoe)-although rumor is he might take a hiatus for a month in February!

interview with hannah

I met Hannah because she is the teenage daughter of my friends Joy and Jim. Hannah has become a friend of mine. She is smart and beautiful, and I can’t even begin to tell you what a creative and gentle soul she is. I have faith in the future because of her.

JM: Please tell us a little about yourself.

HS: I am currently a junior at Gilbert Classical Academy, a college prep school.  And when they say college prep, they mean it.  I can definitely say that the amount of work that is given to college students does not faze me at all, it is the idea of the adult-like maturity and responsibilities that I will need to quickly adapt to while living by myself that is scary.  As you can tell, college has probably been the number one thing on my mind recently.  (Or at least somewhere in the top five).  I do not intend to go to school in state after I graduate.  No, it is not that I have a problem with the local schools, in fact, they’re actually not bad.  I have lived in Arizona my whole life and I almost feel that if I don’t leave when I have the chance, I will be stuck.  And plus, I want some seasons other than summer.  For college, I want to either go into the field of education or global public health…anything that has to do with helping kids.  I love kids.  After I get my BA or BS (whichever it happens to be…still in the process of deciding if I want to take a more artsy or medical route), I plan to join the Peace Corps.  From there I think I will decide if I would rather get my Masters and continue on in my field on my own or stay with the Peace Corps.  And somewhere in there, there will be a marriage and babies but that’s not necessarily something that can be planned.

That’s academic/goals side of me.  I also enjoy music; listening and playing.  I have been playing the cello for seven, going on eight years now, took bass guitar lessons for a couple years because it’s similar to the cello, I am a self-taught, amateur guitarist (don’t expect me to be a prodigy – I’m not), and recently I’ve had a fascination with trying to learn piano.  The only instrument that I can read music for is the cello.  All of my musical endeavors were started due to a sort of domino effect – the cello triggered the bass, the bass led to the guitar, the guitar led me to the piano.  And none of it would have happened without my mom.  When I was going into fourth grade, my mom told me that she had always loved cello music; loved the way the cello sounded.  She wanted to play it when she was younger, but her teacher was mean, so she quit.  And that was it for me.  That year I joined the orchestra.  And my very first year, I hated it.  At first, I couldn’t understand how to read the music and I had to learn all my songs by ear, which really frustrated me.  Of course, my mom wouldn’t let me quit.  And thank God for that, because I would have quit in a heartbeat.  It seemed unfair then, but I look back now and realize what a pivotal point that was for me.  If it hadn’t been for my mom, I would never have thought to play a musical instrument.  Ever.

So…there’s a little peek into the inner-workings of Hannah.


JM: You are a creative person. Since I’ve known you, you’ve explored music, painting, and photography. What does art mean to you?

HS: For me, art is a catharsis.  It is expressing the elements about yourself that cannot be communicated through words.  It’s my stress reliever; my hobby; It’s in my genes.  It’s always on my mind.  I view my world as a photograph – I am always trying to see the image in front of me as I would through my lens.  I want to see the objects in front of me as the finished product in my head before I even pull the camera towards my eyes or put the pencil to paper.

Art is life.  It is in everything everyone does all the time.  Everyone does things in a different way…to me, that’s art.  To take something – an essay topic, a room, a pair of shoes, a piece of paper, a website, a sandwich – and put a little bit of yourself into it is art.  People are beautiful, and to take an object and make it show the elements of your unique beauty can only be defined as art.  Art’s in everything and everyone.  It is everything and everyone.




JM: You are a social activist. What drives you to care about others when so many teens are driven by popularity and the “mean girl” culture?

HS: For me, it’s difficult to understand why anyone would be motivated by the “mean girl” culture.  It might be genetics; my parents are caring people.  It could just be the way they were brought up, and likewise the way I was brought up.  My parents always told me 1. to treat others the way I would like to be treated, 2. to put others first, and 3. would you like it if I did that to you?  Of course, this all stemmed out of the “conservative Christian” way of life that they had at the time, but the lessons are still valuable and important to me.  So naturally, I grew up asking myself if I would appreciate it if so-and-so was mean to me, and acting on those thoughts versus whether or not what I was about to do would make me happy.  I can really appreciate the example my parents set for me when the church wasn’t able to.  Some of it is just being willing to acknowledge my own hypocrisy and that of others, and trying to deal with it instead of turning a blind eye.  It’s amazing to me how a church Sunday-school can teach children songs about wanting to be sheep (followers of Jesus) versus Pharisees, yet turn out the biggest batch of Pharisees I have ever seen in my life.  It’s amazing how people can claim to follow Jesus – the guy who hung out with hookers, tax collectors, thieves, murderers and the like – yet so strongly oppose those very people – the out-casts, the different ones – that he had an explicit love for.

But back to teens…I’ll be honest, teenagers are selfish.  Possibly the MOST selfish people on the face of the earth.  American teens, that is.  Or teens from any other country as privileged as America.  And we’ll try to deny it, but it’s so obvious that the only person on our minds is ourselves.  We’ve never had to work for anything, thus automatically assuming we deserve everything, and never appreciating that which we do have.  And I think this goes for a lot of adults too.  To me…something seems amiss with this whole mentality.

Some people see activism as a negative thing, which is something that I all together do not understand.  How can the desire to help people be bad?  I may be a “bleeding heart”, but at least I have a heart to bleed from.  I don’t know…sometimes it seems that it should be common sense and common decency to treat others the way we want to be treated, to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes, to care about people.  I know for a fact that if I was a little girl in Africa who had contracted HIV and I knew there was someone out there rich enough to pay for my vaccination, I would want them to do so.  I think we all need to go back to Kindergarten when we were taught to share with others, to be kind, to use our inside voices (notice how many people that get air-time are extremists?), to treat others with respect, and to be kind.  Obviously, we didn’t get it the first time.


JM: can you attach a drawing or a photo that you’ve created?

HS: Sure can!



JM: Would you like to share an internet link with us?

HS: How about…5 million links?  Just kidding, I don’t have THAT many, but I will have to narrow it down quite a bit…how about my top five?

http://www.invisiblechildren.com/about

http://www.endhumantrafficking.org/about

http://www.worldvision.org/content.nsf/about/aboutus-home

http://theywilldie.org/

http://www.toms.com/our-movement/
Funny story about the first link.  I was just perusing photo bucket, looking for pictures of Africa for a school project/presentation type thing when I came across a picture that said children are born with these arms (picture of arms) not these (picture of guns).  This really piqued my interest, so I typed in the web address that was in the corner (invisiblechildren.com) and read all about it…it’s incredible, really.  As an American, it’s so hard to imagine that people live like that…anyways.  You just have to check it out.  Educate yourselves…the websites for those organizations are EXPONENTIALLY cooler than Facebook can ever dream to be.



I want to thank Hannah for taking the time to answer my questions and be so open and honest. Please feel free to ask her any questions in the comments below.

burger daze

I’ve been photographing the burgers that Chef Traina’s been creating at the Liberty Market where I work. It’s been a great way to play with my new lens! I’ve been having a blast doing it, and I even was able to create my own burger which will be featured on August 26th. The original burger was supposed to be The Ostrich Burger, but apparently, it’s ostrich breeding season. Which means you can’t get ostrich meat. Weird, I know. Anyhow, mine will feature mushrooms, a demiglace, and a special cheese that’s a cross between a blue and a brie. Chef’s really excited.