September Progress Report: De-Amazoning

In our first month of cutting our ties with Amazon, we have taken the following steps.

1. Spouse cancelled her Prime subscription

2. Shifted all book purchases to a trustworthy list of independent booksellers, with Powell’s as our primary go-to.

3. Cancelled all “subscribe-and-save” subscriptions and found new and economical sources or substitutes for those items.

4. Ceased purchase of all Kindle books and began buying used hard copy editions from independent bookstores.

5. Began transcribing my Amazon Prime Music playlists in preparation for terminating Prime and beginning a long term effort to acquire LPs, DVDs, and legitimate digital recordings of my favorites.

The humidity was high, and the winds were low, so this looked and smelled worse than it was. Might have been a homeless encampment, or it might have been the brain-damaged testosteroids setting off illegal fireworks on the beach. Thanks to Oxnard and VC fire for jumping on the hard-to-access flare-up at 10:30pm.

Watched: The Adam Project

Watched this on a whim with the family Thursday night, not quite knowing what to expect.

It was a fun evening of suspended disbelief, the best part of which was having TWO characters with Ryan Reynolds’s trademark sarcasm squaring off against each other.

Side note: the film was a subliminal advertisement for British Columbia. I know because I woke up the following morning ready to emigrate to Canada. Well played, Mr. Reynolds: well played, indeed.

Patchology: Procrastinating Goldfish Patrol

My Life Scout son Aaron was elected as leader of his patrol in the contingent that our Council assembled to represent Ventura County at the 2017 National Scout Jamboree.

Soon after, the patrol named themselves “the Procrastinating Goldfish Patrol.”

Against all odds, I managed to find them appropriate BSA-regulation patrol patches. As you can see, the patch above shows a goldfish clearly in the act of procrastinating. At the Jamboree, the patrol wore this and all of their other insignia and regalia with slightly snarky pride.

Hoping the BSA can get back into the post-COVID game with a Jamboree in 2023. I won’t be there, and Aaron won’t, either, but at least that gives us a shot at going to one together in 2027.

I am a Euro-Semitic-passing-as-white, male, Jewish (traditionalist but pan-denominational), cisgender, hetero, fit/active, monogamous, Freemason, and American.

I can be proud of my identity without taking anything away from yours.

Happy Pride Month. Hope yours was amazing.

Chihuly Dreams

This is your brain on 12-year-old small-batch Kentucky bourbon.

Make mine a double. Rocks.

Vacations are wonderful…

A great mooncake

My idea of a great mooncake involves a savory filling, not sweet. I like my dairy-free crust on the lighter side. Meats with a light gravy is my choice of filling, and I actually prefer them hot.

So, I guess what I am saying is that my preferred mooncake is not really a mooncake, more of a meat pie.

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival, and keep those steak-and-mushroom pies coming!

Family in a moment

It had been a long day. The drive into the city had drained all of us, and even the bear was tired.

The kid spent the afternoon squeezing the last juice out of his summer, thumbs flying across the iPhone as he lay jacked into his virtual life. The spouse stared at the ceiling, comfortably drowsing and wondering whether to trust me with dinner or just do it herself. And I meditated on the balcony in the fading sunlight, awash in the echoing rhythm of the traffic on the boulevard whooshing like blood through the city’s carotid artery, whispering Teslas, whining buses, roaring trucks, and growling Ferraris.

And yet I could not rest. Because as I looked across the vale below to the hillside a mile opposite, the great dignified temples of higher learning at the university set against the brown hills that reflected the setting sun, I thought of Rome. And then I thought of a parched land, in the shadow of the Hindu Kush, whence came legions of men who knew me not yet resented me, hated me for what I was and how I lived.

I felt the wind shift a few degrees from the East. I thought of tyrants, of Taliban, of climate change, of terror, of pestilence, of Anti-semites. I thought of a culture of waste and decadence and Kim Kardashian and Real Housewives and three-truck households and of a tide of anger and hatred that was rising ten thousand times faster an higher than glacier-melt sea levels.

I wasn’t sure if I was having a premonition, or if it was just the fatigue. I looked back at my family and told myself to quiet, to enjoy the moment. The storm is coming, I thought. Cherish the sunlight.

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