Street Corn

I frequently become obsessed with some food and binge-eat it at every opportunity. Brisket, Pico De Gallo, Rib Eyes, and Bluebell Homemade Vanilla ice cream have all had the honor of making my list, and being the focus of these periodic food crazes.

The latest edible object of my obsession has been Street Corn, aka Elotes.

Feast your eyes on that! Whoa, man, my mouth is watering already. Here’s a LINK TO A RECIPE I found on the interwebs … it sounds delicious!

If you don’t feel like doing the work to get a grilled or smoked ear of corn, then you can try this out. It’s not quite as good as properly cooked Street Corn–it’s the 80% solution–but it hits the spot in a pinch and gives you most of the taste.

  1. Pour a can of corn into a microwave-safe dish. Add 2 TBSP of butter and microwave for 1:30 – 2:00 minutes.
  2. Remove and spread out on your plate. Mix a teaspoon or two of mayo into your corn. Add more, as desired.
  3. Sprinkle a layer of grated parmesan cheese on top.
  4. Sprinkle some chili powder, to taste.
  5. Add a few drops of lime juice.

Enjoy! Man, I am telling you this is seriously good stuff!

If you want to eliminate steps 4 and 5, you can add both at once by sprinkling some of this awesome stuff on it: Tajin!

Oh, man … and if you are Catholic and can’t eat meat on Fridays right now, this is your new meal ticket. Too good.

Okay. I felt compelled to shout this from the mountain tops. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Cheers,

Bart

Angels of Light by Jeff Long

Angels of Light

by Jeff Long

It might sound silly, but I was torn about how to rate this book.

On the one hand, the author has bursts of prose so fantastic that it’s like seeing the aurora borealis. And his understanding of the climbing world is either from personal experience or the most devilishly fastidious research.

The flip side is that every now and then, there is this 70s style machismo underneath the surface of the writing that I caught in snatches, like whispers almost, that seem a little outdated. It’s like spying on an earlier, celebrated style of writing and writer that has evolved and gotten better, and it’s still good, but it was the precursor to what was later greatness. (I should note that this was written in 1987.)

The masculinity of the writing, and also some moments of brutal honesty, reminded me of Hemingway or Barthelme or Bukowski. Don’t get me wrong, because I love a lot of their work, but sometimes … I don’t know, I guess at times it isn’t fully appealing.

The odd thing about this novel, however, is that it seemed to me that the writer was on the precipice between that more old-fashioned style of prose and something more brilliant. It was like Long was bridging a divide, and you were able to witness it.

For any type of climber, this book will no doubt yield a bunch of head-nods and “been there, done that” type of moments.

I really enjoyed it. Maybe my rambling makes sense, and you’ll have a good idea whether you can enjoy it, too.

I’ll end with a favorite passage:

“They had seen tiny spiders clambering across snow on twenty-six-thousand-foot mountains and solitary blue flowers in the Antarctic. They had seen that where life was possible, it persisted. Especially on the brink. In their vertical wilderness, that was the measure. It was more honest than right or wrong, sin or justice. Survival itself was right and just. The fact that each of them was still on his feet with air in his lungs on a day like today made it so.”

Audiobooks & Saliva

This Christmas, some of our best friends gave me one of those Ancestry DNA Kits. You can check it out here:

My son and I had been talking about how awesome it would be to take one of these tests during the last couple of months, but we hadn’t really told anyone else. So, I was stoked to get one.

The crazy thing about this is that you simply spit into a collection tube and mail it in. What? That is CRAZY!

I’ll share my results with you when they come in. Will one of you be a relative I didn’t know about? You’ll find out in just 6-8 short weeks.

In addition to all of that awesomeness, something else amazing happened. Audible Hall of Fame Narrator Luke Daniels read my book, THE BENDS, and you can check out a PREVIEW of it here, or find it HERE on Audible. If you haven’t listened to his work, be it mine or from someone else, you should give it a try. He’s dynamite!

And … that’s the latest. I hope you all had an awesome 2017, and that 2018 treats you right, too.

As always, keep a good book nearby and Happy Reading (and listening)!

  • Bart

Manliness 2

*Blog Post originally published in 2013, but re-heated for your amusement and reading pleasure*

I’m frequently told that I’m, like, this really macho guy.  My nickname in high school was The Michelangelo of Manliness.

Okay.  I might be exaggerating just a smidge.

This week my 2004 Ford Expedition (aka THE TANK, aka THE BEAST) died on me.  The Service Engine Soon light popped on Wednesday night, and Friday morning it wouldn’t start.

The guys at work had me describe the problem and repeat those fatal final sounds THE TANK made:  Click-Click-Click-Click.  Their diagnoses were varied, but the consensus was that it should be jump-startable.

My cars have been fairly reliable since high school.  Back then I owned a couple of real pieces of, well, they were unreliable vehicles.  So it’s been, err, twenty years since I jumped a car.

To bone up on the process, I did a quick search and found this website: THE ART OF MANLINESS.  Their logo says they are “reviving the lost art of manliness” and the site is chock full of great things, such as how to tear a large phone book in half with your bare hands.

With some borrowed jumper cables (regrettably, I am often ill-prepared for these types of things), I juiced the Expo from our BMW, then deposited it at the mechanic’s front door where it awaits a Monday morning appointment.

So that you don’t find yourself in this same bind, check out this review of jumper cables on Auto Deets to find a great set of cables today.

 

Life can be a real pain sometimes.  Thankfully, people and websites are there to help us dodge all the debris in the asteroid’s wake so that we can land on the asteroid, drill down 800 feet, insert our nuclear bomb, and blow it apart just moments before it strikes Earth, destroying mankind forever.

Sorry.  We recently watched Armageddon.

Expo…we’ll see you soon, my old friend…BEAST.  And if any of you need to jump-start a car, check out that website, or check your owner’s manual because it’s usually in there, too.

BEAST Update: Although the Expo was a loyal part of our family for nearly eleven years, she was sold to another family in Germany. I’ll never forget having three car seats spread across the middle row for years, with room to spare, and still hauling stuff in the back. Wherever you are, I hope you’re staying manly, Beast.

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

I read a lot of good books each year.

That could be because I choose most books from “tried and true” authors. Or it could be that I’m an easy audience. I laugh a lot and keep an easygoing and open mindset. My palate is broad and accepting. Bring on the words and I’ll eat them.

Dark Matter, however, was more than simply good. It was fantastic. Not only is it a page turner, but it makes you sit back and think. Kick around ideas of what is possible. What is important.

The prose is unbelievably tight. Razor sharp. Pleasing. This dude can really, really write his butt off.

Hands down, the best book I’ve read in 2017. Two huge thumbs up, five glowing stars, and all of that.
Superb work, Mr. Crouch!!

Dad Jokes

When dropping off my kids at school today, I lowered my window and said loudly, “Go get your learn on!”

They pretended not to hear me.

I chuckled to myself the entire drive home. It truly is the little things in life that amuse me. Yes, I’m a silly guy who laughs at most everything.

Last year, my youngest daughter was in 5th grade and I made an effort to go to lunch with her at school least once every two weeks. That is no easy feat when you’re working full time, but it was so worth it.

Well, the other day I asked my now 6th-grade daughter what she would think about me coming to have lunch with her. She made this really awkward face, sort of like a grimace.

Man! Now that she’s in middle school, everything has changed?

So … since I couldn’t have lunch with her, I chaperoned the middle school dance instead. Ha ha! That’ll show them to mess with their old man.

Okay, time for me to pull something out of the oven. Have a great night world & happy reading!

Bart

Review: New York 2140

A review of New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson

A very interesting book!

I saw this one on the “NEW” shelf at my public library, and I grabbed it up without having a clue what it was about.

You can read the description, but the gist is that it’s set in a future New York when the sea level has risen by 50 feet worldwide. Instead of abandoning those towering buildings, the future New Yorkers have waterproofed lower levels in many skyscrapers, and now instead of streets between the buildings, there are canals. Maybe like Venice, Italy.

I really liked the idea. Fairly original and clever. I also enjoyed the people and how they cope with this change.

The reasons I think of it as 4 stars instead of 5:

First, there is too much unneeded descriptive commentary and narration. I skimmed about 10% of the book … barely glossing over it to make sure I didn’t miss something important. Hemingway would not approve. Second, I thought one of the key characters was a little too quirky to be realistic.

Still a very fun read, though, and I would encourage SCI-FI people to give it a try.

4 STARS

Sonic Tickles

We were at the dentist the other day, and the technician gushed about how awesome sonic toothbrushes were for kids with braces, and everyone else in the universe, and how we would be crazy not to own some ourselves. Just angle it 45 degrees at the gum lines and the plaque disappears like turkey dinner in my house.

So I bought some.

It was only $20 for mine, and my son’s upgraded model was $30 with online coupons, courtesy of that online behemoth commonly known as Amazon.

I was eager to test this puppy out, but I had to wait through a twenty-four hour charging period. And, I’m a rule follower, so I didn’t cheat. A full day after arrival, I dampened the bristles and put my pea-sized dollop of toothpaste on the brush and put it in my mouth. Hit the button.

The whirring and vibrating began in earnest. What a strange feeling! Not bad, but different. Oh, man, and then the little bristles glanced off of my lip.

It was the craziest tickling sensation. Have any of you out there felt it? Experienced it? It’s been three days, and I guess I am getting used to it, but I’m not sure. It’s so weird. So weird.

My teeth feel polished and clean, though. Which was the point. So if my teeth are healthier, I guess I can deal with the strange tickling sensation.

I posted a link to the toothbrush I bought below, if you’d like to check it out. Pretty cool. Very cheap. Take note … replacement heads are needed every few months.

As always … happy reading & keep a good book handy!
Bart

Always Tired

This is for all you parents out there who have had one of your kids come to you at 9:30pm and tell you they have homework due the next day.

You have no realistic choice except to stay up and make sure they get it done. Some lecturing is fine, if desired. You know, the standard, “you should have done this earlier” type speech.

Maybe you have five or six hours of sleep, maximum, which is possible after that last-minute flurry of homework helping.

But it’s cool. In the end, it’s just darn great to be a parent and have amazing kids.

Hope you all have your hands wrapped around a good book – happy reading,

Bart

Dad Stories, New Release, and Deals

Procrastinators unite … tomorrow!

Readers of the world, however, unite today. I just finished up another newsletter in which I share some stories of fatherhood, and some sales ongoing. I’d love for you to check it out and share some of your own dad tales.

CLICK HERE FOR NEWSLETTER

or click the cover of CIRCUS below.

Hope you have an awesome day!

Bart

Living the Writer's Life