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and things went downhill from there
(a desperate plea for fish)
January 13th, 2016 
Challenging Mood
Two subjects that did not come up during the family gathering at Christmas were religion and politics. At one time our family was unified under the twin banners of Christian Fundamentalism and Conservative politics. Over the years, most of us have migrated to the left politically, and most of us have trod the winding path to various flavours of atheism or agnosticism.

All of us, that is, except for my elder brother and my mother (the two who were hosing the Christmas get-together). Mom keeps her politics pretty close to her chest, but in terms of religion she has moved closer to the centre of the spectrum, leaving the Pentecostal church behind. She was Lutheran for awhile, but I honestly don't know what church she calls home now. On the other hand, my brother has made the leap from Pentecostal to Baptist, and he is unapologetically Conservative - more on moral than financial grounds, though. He is quite content mixing church and state as long as it's a church he likes.

Mercifully, none of that came up over Christmas. Other than my brother's obvious ill-ease over a long game of Cards Against Humanity ("Well, I have to say that this is the first and last time I'll ever play this.) it was a pleasant visit all around.


I experience a muffin disappointment this week that was disappointing enough on the scale of disappointingness that I felt compelled to share it here. Part of our morning routine is that if we get away early enough, and the line there is short enough, we will stop at McDonald's on the way past so that I can get a coffee and an orange/cranberry muffin. It's not that McDonald's is my first choice among places to stop for these things, rather it is the only place to stop for these things between our house and my office.

I don't always order a muffin - usually when I do, it is because I have skipped breakfast and I am counting the muffin into my meal plan for the day. Tuesday's muffin was ... different. I knew it was different the moment they handed us the bag through the window because it smelled extra muffiny. The bag was warm, and it was practically pulsing out waves of muffin smell into the car. At any real muffin outlet, one might reasonably assume this meant the muffin was freshly baked.

I was under no illusion that McDonald's bakes their own muffins. I'm sure they arrive dehydrated and they add water, or they are reconstituted by some other process that would put me off muffins if I could witness the process of their transformation from arrival to sale. In any event, this one had obviously been nuked. I appreciated the gesture until I got to work.

Once I got to the office (pictured below), I discovered the extent of the nuking. This had been nuked from orbit. This muffin had been weaponized. They had managed to render this muffin hard enough to bludgeon somebody senseless if I chose to put it to that application. When I finally managed to separate the bottom from the top, it was browned in the middle and smelled slightly burnt. Somebody must have forgotten this thing in an industrial microwave for a few minutes, so it's not like they started preparing it for me the moment I ordered - it was just unlucky happenstance that I got the shitmuffin. Needless to say, I was disappoint.

Tomorrow I may order blueberry instead.

Office Lunch Room

Trust me when I say that not all of my "picture a day" pictures are in black and white, but I have noticed that my new phone gives a blue tinge to the darker areas of photographs - especially at higher ISO settings. I have heard of this happening on other phones as well. I will just have to remember that it is a fair-weather camera when I use it. This one (and the one above) were not part of my "picture a day" project though.

Actually, this is my only one from this batch that is from my "picture a day" stream. The fact that I am taking more pictures than I need to keep up a this point is a promising sign.

I dusted off the Bodum vacuum pot on the weekend. It makes wonderful coffee, but it is fiddly to use because it needs to be monitored.
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