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12/11/2017 10:30 pm  #521

Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Motion is not so much forward as it spiraling upward like a staircase.

As Christmas and New Year's approach many of tend to become a bit introspective, reflecting (in no small part thanks to Charles Dickens) on Christmasses past; our past; the choices we have made; and the innumberble "what ifs" concerning other choices.

Each Christmas finds us slightly different--sometimes greatly different--than what we were before.  Sometimes these are merely vocational and situational; those partial identities of "student" or whatever which last only until the next label comes along.

It is the relational changes which are the most unsettling.  We are somebody's grandchild, somebody's child--but what happens when we become separated by death?   That relationship changes drastically, but does not truly end, at least, on our end. 

The Whos down in Whoville got it right:  "Christmas day shall always be, just as long as we have we"....and so long as the memories are cherished we shall have we.

No matter which rung we are standing upon on that ascending spiral staircase.

Life is an Orthros.

12/12/2017 1:11 pm  #522

Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

I started posting these to a blog on Facebook, it's open to anyone who want's to read it.

  I'm consideriing adding photos to some of the journal posts.

If you make yourself miserable trying to make others happy that means everyone is miserable.

-Me again

     Thread Starter

12/12/2017 1:14 pm  #523

Re: The Random Thoughts Thread


 The mood is good.

 Or good enough, anyway. There's still this background feeling of disconnectedness from everything around me. Lacking self-definition. A pattern without form.

 My birthday is tomorrow. There is a number assigned but it's irrelevant because time is a scale like everything else and, lacking a sense of scale, the actual size, shape, distance, etc... of time is an abstraction.

 I age like everyone else but only in a physical sense. I've only ever lived in my head and time really isn't relevant there.

 I think a great deal about how I was taught to think of other people.

 That is to say, how I learned to form an understandable structure for another person or for groups of people. I had many, many very bad examples of how others should be viewed, categorized, classified, dismissed, feared, loathed, hated... as I said, many very bad examples.

 There was always a 'them', or a 'they', or a 'those'.

 They aren't like us. Those people don't belong here. Never trust them.

 Hearing things like this, seeing how others like me behaved, what they'd say or do always felt wrong. Misfit. A pattern that fits no other pattern. Something that generates variables. Therefore something never regarded as wisdom.

 My own personal apocrypha.

 What I found curious, when I went out into the world was that everything I was told was wrong. In fact, most of what I'd been told was completely the opposite.

 I remember my first roommate at my first overseas assignment in England, Phil. Phil grew up as a black kid in Houston, Texas in the 1970's. As a black kid in a big city in Texas, Phil frequently found himself on the wrong side of anyone who wasn't also black.

 It was a harsh education in life, to say the least.

 I was eighteen years old, autistic but not aware of this at the time, with heavily limited social skills and a general lack of self-worth. I was overweight, had questionable grooming habits, and usually did laundry when my clothing wouldn't fold anymore.

 That last one is a bit of hyperbole but the rest is very accurate. I didn't know shit. I was on an American air base in a foreign country. And I was completely and totally trusting of anyone who'd so much as speak to me.

 In other words, exactly the kind of person the women gathered at the door to the enlisted club are looking for. Their ticket to America. So Phil took it upon himself to watch out for me. I never realized this until after I'd gone back to the States but I'd gone back as a very different person. Someone with some self-esteem. And, at least, a little wisdom.

 I think a great deal about all of my assignments overseas.

 Every place I went, I had people who would watch out for me. People who treated me like family. People who did more to help me find my way than any of 'my' people ever did.

 'Those people'.


 I grew up on the wrong side of those words.

 Thanks for listening.

If you make yourself miserable trying to make others happy that means everyone is miserable.

-Me again

     Thread Starter

12/12/2017 2:28 pm  #524

Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

12/12/2017 addendum

 The mood is good.

 Who I am today is a Ben from the past.

 The Ben who wanted to help his mum when she was cooking or baking or anything else related to food preparation, shopping, cooking, storing, that sort of thing.

 This is a period in which cooking is still considered 'women's work'. Or at least semi-emasculating.

 I'm not sure if mum ever realized what it was I was seeing in all of this. The patterns were fascinating. Especially the changes in state when things are being prepared or cooked. How a liquid becomes solid with the application of heat. How the process cannot be reversed. How solids become liquids then become solids again but in a completely different form.

 Chopping things up was a zen-state thing for me. Before cutting I'd determine how many cuts to apply, at what angle, and in what direction. Determining what size to make biscuits so they don't bake into each other. Same with cookies.

 All of these intricacies were meshing and moving and changing in a dazzling form of pattern interaction that was nearly kaleidoscopic but still holding form and fitting perfectly with everything around it.

 So many abstractions, having nothing to do with each other, forming a thing much greater than the sum of its parts.

 How could a kid not be interested in this?

 So, today, who I am is that Benjamin. The one who buys and chops and stirs and mixes and bakes.

 The project is called Hog Maw.

 I always got varied reactions to this dish. It consists of country sausage, potatoes, onion, salt, pepper, and any other spices people prefer. The potatoes are cut to small cubes, the onion chopped fine, and spices added sparingly or to taste.

 All of the above is dropped into a mixing bowl and thoroughly mixed by hand. The end-mixture is basically a big ball of sausage and potatoes. The mixture is then stuffed into a cleaned pig stomach and baked for however many hours needed for the size of the hog-maw.

 It's that last step where I tend to lose people.

 Although they'll eat things like hot-dogs, brats, sausages, etc...all of which are cased in pig intestine, they'll balk at eating an actual stomach. Now, granted, a pig's stomach is likely very nasty when it's slaughters, hence the inclusion of the qualifier 'cleaned'.

 Cleaning involves turning the stomach inside out and scraping off the tripe. What remains is basically a very large sausage casing—stuffed with sausage.

 I'm understandably confused by the attitude that eating a stomach is unacceptable, but I digress.

 I've always used my mum's recipe. It's fairly straightforward. Five pounds of sausage, five pounds of potatoes, one large white onion, teaspoon each of salt and pepper, one egg to hold everything together, and two cleaned hog-maws.

 What I end up doing is shoving twelve pounds of pig into the oven.

 I've only ever done this when I was visiting my brother's house. There was never a danger of too much left-over, he loves hog-maw as much as I do.

 I'm using the same recipe but I put one in the oven and wrapped the other in foil and froze it. I never tried storing one this way and I'm curious how it will turn out.

 Right now the first one just passed the 90 minute mark. I just got done brushing it with butter and it's on its second 90 minutes. The things weighs about six pounds so I'm going to go with thirty minutes per pound at 325 covered and another 30 minutes uncovered.

 I did not take a 'before' picture because it always looks like something from an autopsy but they bake nicely so I'll post some pics.

 Time to do the dishes now. I remember how to have fun with this. I borrowed a parenting skill from a very good friend called “The dishes show”.

 It's basically involves interviewing everything going into and out of the sink.

 If you're creative you can not only enjoy yourself but actually get your child to enjoy it too.

 Anyway, I'm off to have an in-depth discussion with the mixing bowl about it's scandalous arrest and conviction for DUI.

 Thanks for listening 

If you make yourself miserable trying to make others happy that means everyone is miserable.

-Me again

     Thread Starter

12/12/2017 3:46 pm  #525

Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

An aside:  There are some posts going on the web page that aren't being posted here.

I'm still having too much troublel trying to post photos.

If you make yourself miserable trying to make others happy that means everyone is miserable.

-Me again

     Thread Starter

12/13/2017 9:54 am  #526

Re: The Random Thoughts Thread


 The mood is acceptable.

 That's as far as I'm getting today.

 I spend a lot of time thinking about the myth of power. The term Myth of Power is something I made up, not a known philosophical concept. At least that I'm aware of.

 The concept, in a nutshell, it this: There is no power. Hence the myth part.

 Power is your ability to do something or to make something happen or to enforce your wishes. In a modern context, each of those things requires others being willing to do what you ask or tell them to do.

 Power is a thing given, not a thing possessed, hence The Myth of Power.

 If you refuse to do what someone with power tells you to, do they still have power? And if their power consists only of what control they have over you, did they ever have power? If power can be taken away by the subject of that power, was there ever any power to begin with?

 As a caseworker, one can expect to be exposed to this sort of power on a regular basis. The difference is economic control. Without enforcing the wishes of those in power, I will not receive what I need to exert control of my own.

 Without their power, I have no power of my own.

 There is, however, a rigid structure to that power and the power of my employer was checked by the power of a collective of employees. One of the things the people who employed me in a social service capacity learned fairly early on is that I'm very difficult to impress and impossible to intimidate.

 Being in situations where others were actively trying to kill me over long periods of time had the effect of making any lesser threats very weak indeed.

 So when that cranky client calls their representative who calls the head of welfare who calls the director who calls the manager who calls the supervisor who calls me, my response was always the same.

 You will not be moved ahead of another client.

 There is no way in hell I was ever going to cave to political pressure to do something I considered immoral. In point of fact, I had a terrible habit of complaining to authorities outside my chain of command every time I was directed do anything I considered immoral.

 So such requests stopped making it to my level. I know for a fact that people were still making them because if a case simply vanishes from my caseload I find out why—it really screwed up my tracking system.

 As one of the people at the bottom of the chain of command everyone above me assumed they had power. And they do. But only as far as I'm willing to give them that power. Take away that willingness and you take away the power.

 This issue is far more complicated that this but as a basic framework it's quite correct. No matter what control another person has over you, they only have power if you choose to grant it.

 That is the Myth of Power.

 Thanks for listening

If you make yourself miserable trying to make others happy that means everyone is miserable.

-Me again

     Thread Starter

12/13/2017 10:10 am  #527

Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Hog maw....that Pennsylvania Dutch delicacy surpassing all others!

Nothing like the browned stomach "skin".

And yes, I helped to "clean" the stomachs (and intestines) at country butcherings back in the day.

Life is an Orthros.

12/15/2017 6:45 am  #528

Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

I really appreciated the posts on Hog Maw. I must admit that I lived in York County for 18 years and never tried it.
Yes, I was turned off by the idea of the pig's stomach.

And, yes, it makes no sense at all. I love sausage, which is, as CT noted, just all sorts of parts packed into pig intestines.
I love Guianciale, the cured jowls of a pig.
Duck confit,, a duck leg slowly cooked in a vat of liquified fat.
I love calamari, escargot, clams,,,, assorted slimy invertebrates.

But pig stomach?

I'm suddenly struck by how silly my food likes and dislikes are. Not rational in the least.

I suppose we are all like this?

Last edited by Goose (12/15/2017 6:46 am)

We live in a time in which decent and otherwise sensible people are surrendering too easily to the hectoring of morons or extremists. 

12/15/2017 1:00 pm  #529

Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Did you get the see the pictures on Facebook?

I just put the experimental one in the oven (made a 6 pound hogmaw then froze it solid).  Spent the last two days patiently waiting for it to thaw.

I undercooked the last one slightly, the sausage and onion were great but the potatoes were a little more firm than I like.

Anyway, I'm potsing a "Before" picture of the one in the oven now if you wish to reaffirm your disgust.  ;)

I'll post the after picture in a few hours.

Truly, they look like food if they're prepared properly.

The pics are on Facebook under Benjamin Weikert....everything is open to the public but if you'd like to friend me that's okay too.  


If you make yourself miserable trying to make others happy that means everyone is miserable.

-Me again

     Thread Starter

12/15/2017 5:16 pm  #530

Re: The Random Thoughts Thread


 The mood is low.

 I had an odd encounter last Friday. At around 6:30pm, a collection of random assholes began talking very, very loudly right next to my living room window. This is not an unusual occurrence as I share the property with two very thoughtless parties who frequently fail to remember someone lives here.

 After about twenty minutes I finally went, opened the blinds, and began to glare daggers at them. In response, the head asshole (they never introduced themselves) indicated he'd spoken to Elite (the company that manages the property) and he's going to show some people around inside my home.

 If you read back over that, you'll notice something that would likely set most people off: The head asshole did not ask if they could look around, he –told-- me they were going to look around.

 Like most people, I tend to take exception to people showing up at my home unannounced, at dinnertime on Friday night, spending an excessive amount of time getting on my nerves prior to knocking on the door, then telling me they're coming in.

 I simply told them I hadn't been contacted by anyone and closed the door in the head asshole's face.

 Problem solved. Or not.

 The head asshole returned yesterday, knocked on my door, shoved a flier in my hand, then again –told—me they're showing my house between 6 and 7pm on Friday.

 I thought it best to just let it go until I calmed down a little. I set the flier aside and spent the night pacing and pondering. And, behold, the answer did present itself. The flier that the head asshole, John Birkeland at ROCK Commercial Real Estate, shoved in my hand has the address of the property next door.

 No one told good old John that there are three distinct properties and the one he's showing consists of an overpriced shed that had been re-purposed as an office and three parking spaces on the other side of my living room.

 The residential part, my home, is –not—part of the property he's showing but he thinks it is and he likely told the remaining assholes that it is. John is also blissfully unaware of the fact that he's not my landlord.

 I'm fairly certain an invasion notice has to be sent by someone with the authority to do so, not my whomever want's to visit this week.

 So there's a number on the flier. I could have called to clear things up. But it's snowing, the roads are slippery, and the entire apron around my carport is currently a skating rink—oh, and I just don't like him.

 I'm willing to put up with a lot of things. I had to put up with a lot of things, it was just part of the job. If I encounter an asshole out in public I have the option of being elsewhere.

 But there is no way in frozen hell I'm going to be ordered around in my own home by a pompous tool with delusions of self-importance.

 They could have simply asked the first time they were here.

 They could have chosen to be polite.

 Instead, what I received was a complete lack of even basic courtesy.

 So, tonight, some people are going to be coming a long way through difficult road conditions and variable weather, they're going to stand outside at twenty degrees with a ten mile per hour wind because they pissed me off.

 And they're going to be turned away.

 I've been questioning this decision all day and I'm still working out how to go about it. I'm considering being civil; that is to say, I'll put on a coat, walk them around the property, and point out how and where it's divided and explain who rents what.

 Or I'll tell him they have the wrong address and close the door in his face again.

 I'm leaving -that- decision up to John.

 Thanks for listening.

If you make yourself miserable trying to make others happy that means everyone is miserable.

-Me again

     Thread Starter

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