Tales from the commute

Been heading in earlier to beat the traffic nightmare that is Route 17… It splits into two lanes, left goes to the Thruway, right goes to the Thruway as well in addition to offering exits to Bear Mountain and 17 South. Leaving an hour later puts me into a 10+ minute traffic jam.

So I get to the train this morning which thankfully was NOT cancelled, and as I’m standing on the platform, this woman shoves past me to get to the yellow line. Not realizing she’s now standing in a puddle on an otherwise dry platform, I laugh as the water proceeds to dump on her head.

Getting to the ferry, the usual slip is closed, and normally there’s a guy shouting to tell us which slip to use. He’s not there so we all line up at the next available berth like last week. He shows up about 5 seconds after we all mistakenly rush to yet another slip where we hear someone shout Wall Street. Here’s an idea, move the sign until whatever maintenance is complete.

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The Ranch… Come on Netflix, you can do better.

The big question going into season 5 of The Ranch on Netflix was how they planned to handle the firing of Danny Masterson, who played Rooster – one of the 3 leads of the show with Beau (Sam Elliot) and Colt (Ashton Kutcher).

Old rape allegations caught up with Masterson during the height of the “metoo” movement and he was summarily fired.  I’m not getting into why he was fired, I’m focusing here on how the show handled it.  Spoilers ahead.

The main arc this season is a wildfire that heavily damaged the town and Ranch, and burned down the Peterson ranch that Colt had planned to develop and raise his family on with Abby (Elisha Cuthbert) and how the group of family and friends recover from it.

A big chunk of this season surrounded Rooster’s actions to protect the ranch, Colt’s efforts to cover for his brother, and of course Rooster’s relationship with Mary who recently started up again with her ex-con boyfriend Nick (Josh Burrow).  That’s when the trouble started.

Nick’s character just sucked the life out of the show, the writing didn’t fit, the character didn’t fit.  Threatening to kill Rooster if he ever went near Mary again (who pretty much runs his mother’s bar)… Then subsequently threatening to kill him and his family if he didn’t leave town right then and there.  That’s it.  That’s how this character, this lead is written off the show.

Dexter had a better sendoff.

The next season will introduce a new character played by Dax Shepard to fill the empty space left by Rooster.  Honestly, with how this was handled I’m really curious if the writers can dig the show out of the massive hole they’ve landed in.  Personally?  I would have kept the character and replaced the actor.

As of right now – Rooster’s gone to who knows where, no idea if the character will return.  Mary’s broken up from an ex-con who was crazy enough to break into Rooster’s cabin and force him out of town at gunpoint.  The show just took a really dark turn here, Empire Strikes Back dark.  It used to be light-hearted and hopeful.  In one fell swoop that mood is gone.

There was some great character development here, especially when it comes to the father/son dynamic between Beau and Colt.  I still want to see where the story goes but I’m not entirely sure it’s salvageable.  Wait and see I guess.

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15 Minute Ribs?

Got my hands on a pressure cooker over the weekend, and I can honestly say if I use it for nothing else – making ribs with the thing has turned a half day ordeal into a quick snack.

I always heard that the steam pressure and heat generated in the cooker can rapidly accelerate the cooking of meat and they were not kidding. I picked up a rack of baby backs with an idea to smoke them for Sunday dinner.

Instead, I quickly thawed them in the kitchen sink (fill sink with hot water, drop ribs in while still in the plastic) and give it 20-30 minutes. Once thawed, I took the ribs out, quartered the rack, and seared them in 6 tablespoons of vegetable oil I added to the cooker.

Once seared, I applied a coffee based dry rub, and lined them up vertically in the cooker. To the cooker I added a cup and a half of chicken broth and a half cup of Larceny bourbon.

Lastly, I locked down the lid and set the timer to 15 minutes.

I was stunned. These were not overcooked “fall off the bone” ribs, and they had perfect tenderness and mouth feel after only 15 minutes, fully cooked in the pressure cooker.

After I took the ribs out, I fired up the pressure cooker one more time with the vent open to reduce the sauce that was created, and then I basted the ribs with it.

Next time I’ll be finishing them in the smoker at very low heat to infuse flavor and not overcook them.

If you prefer overcooked ribs, 20 to 30 minutes in the pressure cooker would ruin them nicely! 🙂

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Far Cry 5

Finished Far Cry 5 the other day. Despite the scale of the game and its various story / side missions, to me it seemed to go really quick. Not to mention, I dropped extra $$$ on the “Gold” edition which entitles me to two DLC’s, a handful of weapons with marginal benefits, and a free copy of Far Cry 3 Classic when it arrives for Xbox One in “September 2018.”

Was the extra cost worth it? After I play the DLC’s and whatnot, I’ll chime in. That said, one of my biggest complaints of Far Cry 3 and 4 (forget Primal, that shit bored me) – is that the games felt TOO long. Too much to do, so much so that actually beating the  game felt like a chore.  Not this time around, I got to the end, finished the story, finished the sides, and kept asking “is this it?” not realizing that I actually spent 65 hours on it. Comparatively speaking, I spent 30 hours on Far Cry 3 and 58 on Far Cry 4.  5 didn’t feel nearly as drawn out as either of those.

Ubisoft’s Far Cry series has become extremely predictable at this point, the only thing that changes with each iteration are the weapons and story – besides that just fill in the blanks and go.  Is predictable really bad though?  Definitely feels like they’re working to strike a balance between “LETS DO ALL THE THINGS” and “Why did they stop playing so soon?

As far as complaints?  My only real complaints involve the weapons and vehicles.  The vehicles have a few major classes, beyond the class (sports car, off roader, big truck, etc…) the individual options are all functionally identical.  Off roaders are always faster and better handling than cars.  Care to fly?  Helicopters have significant visual variety, but performance is identical, same for planes (which can be landed in 20 feet on any road).  The main difference being some have guns, some have guns and rockets, and others have neither.  Guns?  Again you have classes, pistol, shotgun, SMG (never actually used one), rifle, heavy machine guns, sniper rifles, etc… Outside of each class?  Visual differences, no real functional differences.  Once you unlock an HMG with a silencer and a scope – 83% of the remaining weapons become pointless.

They’re doing it right.  I saw a complaint from a major online video game reviewer that they couldn’t take the story seriously, that was their biggest complaint.  I laughed.  These are the same people who looked at a guy named Mario tossing fireballs at turtles with wings and tossed the controller aside because nothing like that existed in nature.  While Far Cry is predictable, it is as challenging as you want it to be, and most importantly – fun.

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The Blue Tent Sky

Just finished reading one Hell of a story with a capital H.  It’s something that apparently blew up on social media over the past few years that I completely missed, and only caught wind of due to my Conservative leanings and Facebook’s ability to point out things a deplorable like myself may want to read.

The cliffs notes?  Guy is in an unfortunate situation due to his ex wife, moving between a house in Colorado, an apartment in NJ, and his parents home in NJ.  His mother gets worried about something he says (thinking he might be suicidal) and calls 911.  A dirty cop takes the call.  Brian Aitken gets arrested for possessing legally purchased firearms, ammunition, and magazines.  He’s prosecuted by a dirty prosecutor.  Convicted by a dirty judge.  Ignorant, knee-jerk, gun hating politicians tried to make an example of him.  He wound up making an example of them.

Guy lost his home, his son, all because of a bullshit legal system trying to score points.  This is entirely true, and not the only story I’ve heard of law abiding citizens being victimized by the state of NJ.  It’s all fact, it’s all public record, and something that should be seriously considered any time your first reaction to any gun incident is MORE LAWS.

We’ve got the laws, most are completely inane and only serve to punish the law abiding.  Criminals don’t care, and neither do the politicians in their rapid-fire placation of voters to stay in office and gain power.

I suggest whether you’re for or against guns – read this book.  It’s $2 in Kindle format, and I finished it in about 3 hours.  It’ll either open your eyes or confirm the terrifying reality of how our government really doesn’t know what they’re doing when it comes to guns.

The author has recently received a full pardon, but be aware – you could be next even if everything you do follows the letter of the law.

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You can keep it.

So I overhear a guy in the office saying something about wearing a “blazer” and I honestly couldn’t remember what the hell it was, so I ask.  He explains then says “I didn’t realize you lived that far upstate.”

“Yea I’m surrounded by like 2000 acres of farm land”

“You can keep it.”

“It’s quiet at night, I own my home, and drive a $60k pickup truck.  Gladly.”

Blew his snark right out the back of his head.

I don’t understand why people need to be that way, but I’m more than happy to sink to their level and beat them with experience.

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What is with…

Every day on the bus home, there are folks who will rush up to the front before it’s stopped only to be abruptly tossed forward when the driver hits the brakes. I kind of enjoy watching it, waiting to see who misses a grip and gets launched into the window.

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Tales from the bus stop, episode 2

So I wound up working from home the past few days, normally Chivalry Guy doesn’t show up on Fridays.  I get to the lot around 5am, and see Lady Innarush who usually shows up 2 minutes before the bus arrives and gets on first pull in.  I decide to hop out of the truck and head over.  I had actually planned on getting up around 4:20 this morning to grab the 4:43 bus, but I really wanted that extra 20 minutes of not getting out of bed.

So she gets to the shelter after me, as per usual.  I’m in my own world, usually standing there with my earbuds in, eyes shut, listening to Highway on Sirius.  A few more folks arrive who all understand the concept of “Whoever gets to the stop first, gets on the bus first.”

Bus arrives, Innarush immediately takes two steps toward it but stops dead when she sees me approach the door.  Look, I don’t know you – and I don’t give a fuck that nearly every other day of the week Chivalry Guy lets you get on before him.  I was here first, I get on first.  If you’re here before me, you get on first.  I just want to get on the bus and go to sleep.

Thankfully Frau Helga Von Bratwurst wasn’t there, however I’d probably let her get on before me though, just to hold up Lady Innarush a bit longer.

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Tales from the bus stop, episode 1

So every morning I go to work, I take the NJT bus out of Warwick.  It’s not the least expensive, or the fastest, but the benefits of driving 10 minutes to hop on a bus and get an extra hour+ of sleep can’t be denied.

A few months back I switched to a much earlier run so I could get in and out of work outside of the usual “rush hour” melee.  Sure, I lost my usual seat to a member of the NYFD, but generally at that point in the morning I get my pick of seating.

I’d noticed something about the bus I take though. One particular guy who was usually there first insists on letting any and all ladies go ahead of him.  I call him Chivalry Guy.  Now when it comes to every experience I’ve had with bus transit – whoever gets to the stop first, gets on first.  It’s just how things are done.  I never really minded the pointless gesture until one specific lady, an older woman with a German accent (Frau Helga Von Bratwurst) would get on, insist on a receipt and having a short conversation with the driver.

Now I realize this entire transaction only added a mere 20 seconds to me boarding, but when it’s 5am, dark, 15F, and all I want to do is sit down and go to sleep, IT’S REALLY FUCKING IRRITATING.

The usual pattern is – I get there at 5:05, wait in my warm truck until about 5:10 and head over to the shelter.  Chivalry Guy?  Did the same but was parked closer so he normally got there first.

A few weeks ago I just figured I would just get out of my truck earlier, get to the shelter first, get on the bus first and let Chivalry Guy do his thing.  Day 1?  Worked fine.  The next day when I pulled in he was already in the shelter.  It was a distinct change in behavior.  The regular schedule ensued with the lady who gets there a minute before the bus (Lady Innarush) arrives getting on first.

So yesterday I decided to change things up a bit.  I woke 5 minutes earlier, got to the stop 5 minutes earlier, immediately jumped out of the truck and got to the shelter first.  Chivalry Guy was there, but didn’t get out until the usual time.  When the bus arrived, I got on first and promptly passed the fuck out.

This morning?  I got to the stop at the normal time.  No sooner did I park then I saw Chivalry Guy and Lady Innarush practically leap out of their vehicles and walk very swiftly to the shelter.  While laughing my ass off at the obvious, I decided to fall back to my original habit and wait until 5:10 to exit my warm and cozy truck.  I get to the shelter, and as the bus arrives the Innarush nearly runs into the closed door as it pulls up she’s so eager to get on… again I’m cracking up.  Chivalry Guy let another woman who arrived after all of us get on, and I followed.

Now while I’m prepared to come in 10 minutes earlier just to be a real troll, I think I’ll just let things remain as is and keep this tucked in my back pocket for when I need a reason to smile at 5am.

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The Don’t List

So I’m going through my old documents on my laptop… stuff many, many years old at this point, and I ran across “The Don’t List.”  Long story short, I dated a girl who was very particular (read: narcissistic, a pattern I didn’t get a handle on until recently) and after I broke up with her, compiled a list of the things I wasn’t allowed to do while dating her.

Since i’m approaching 40 and seemingly haven’t found “the one” yet, I figured I’d go through my back catalog of failed relationships in the hopes of realizing what it is that I actually need.  Without further ado, The Don’t List.  Each entry here was something I was specifically told I could not do over the course of a 3 month relationship.

Don’t listen to classical music.
Don’t listen to offensive comedy.
Don’t listen to music I don’t like.
Don’t hang out with your friends, just mine if you expect me to hang out too.
Don’t mention female friends.
Don’t talk to female friends.
Don’t hug female friends.
Don’t mention ex girlfriends.
Don’t talk to ex girlfriends.
Don’t watch any movie I don’t like.
Don’t cook with onions, lettuce, or eat salad.  I think it’s gross.
Don’t play video games unless they are games I like.
Don’t talk about sex.
Don’t talk about your feelings.
Don’t talk about your problems.
Don’t use the word ‘fart.’
Don’t talk about bodily functions.
Don’t talk to people I am not getting along with.
Don’t laugh at things I am laughing about, it’s not funny, and it makes me feel stupid.
Don’t drink wine.
Don’t sit on the right side of the couch.
Don’t look at other girls.
Don’t not look at other girls. (22 wasn’t a problem, but I was yelled at for not looking at other girls).
Don’t discuss your career.
Don’t bake.
Don’t talk about motorcycles.
Don’t talk about selling your car.
Don’t not have a DVR.
Don’t grow your hair.
Don’t shave your beard.
Don’t not clip your nails every day.
Don’t eat at restaurants I do not like
Don’t eat at restaurants which I consider ‘preppy.’
Don’t tell jokes.
Don’t talk to my friends unless I am there to supervise.
Don’t forget to open the car door every time for me.
Don’t ever think you will not have to pay for everything.
Don’t wake up early, ever.
Don’t talk to my ex boyfriends.
Don’t let your truck idle next to my house.
Don’t do anything that could make you happy unless I like it too.
Don’t call me, I only do texts.
Don’t take advice from people you’ve known for 15+ years.
Don’t tuck in your shirt.

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