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The Random Musings of Dave

On the road of life, Dave is out there somewhere

Spice Pirates: The Corporate Hijacking of Pumpkin Pie

It’s that time of year when the whispers of the wind capture and carry away the once green and lush treetop foliage turned golden yellow, fiery orange and rust red. The autumnal equinox has come and passed, signalling the official end of summer and the beginning of fall.

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However, there is another “unofficial” kick-off to fall as of last few years, and it became a topic of conversation this morning between myself and my favorite morning show radio hosts… The start of pumpkin spice season.

Ben, Dana & Giselle – “What is the Worst Part of Fall, Dave?”

Dave – “Pumpkin pie spice flavored everything is definitely the worst part about Fall.”

I explained that the flavor by itself is fine, but the fanatic craze of seeing pumpkin pie spice used to flavor everything is just too much. (Followed by awkward silence because I was still in shock that Ben, Dana and Giselle called me after I texted in my hatred for pumpkin pie spice. They are so awesome!)

After we hung up, I started to think “Why do I hate pumpkin pie spice so much?” I realized that I hate the corporate hijacking of my beloved fall dessert.

I absolutely love pumpkin pie. I love it so much that for thanksgiving I make three pumpkin pies. Two pies for myself and one pie for everyone else. I find it best served cold, in the morning for breakfast. There is no better way to awaken your taste buds in the morning than with a nice slice of pumpkin pie.

pumpkin pie spice latteBut that is where the corruption starts. The flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg and clove work so well in the morning that someone came up with the idea to add it to your morning cup of coffee… and the pumpkin spice latte is born.
The tragedy is that desecration of pumpkin spice didn’t stop there. Pumpkin spice products have taken over the world and are diluting what makes pumpkin pie so wonderful. Everything from chewing gum (link) to pizza (link) has been tainted by the fad of pumpkin spice. The Corporate exploitation of the fall flavor trinity has certainly been profitable though. Forbes estimates the pumpkin spice industry brought in $500 million in sales for 2015 (link).  But I ask you, is it worth the degradation of all the goodness that makes pumpkin pie so wonderful?

Pumpkin pie is wonderful because it’s about togetherness. It’s meant to be served to family or friends and enjoyed together. When you eat pumpkin pie, you are reminded of all the times spent around the Thanksgiving dinner table passing pie plates to loved ones while you contemplate the absence of room in your stomach. These things have real solid meaning.

When you pull away from the coffee shop drive-thru with your pumpkin spice latte, you are experiencing something artificial. It lacks substance, like a drug creating a void that will always leave you craving more. So you move onto the next pumpkin spice item and then the next pumpkin spice item. Soon you are surrounded by a mountain range of wrappings and containers torn apart in your lust for pumpkin spice. When all you really needed was to sit down with friends, family and a slice of classic pumpkin pie to experience something real… Love.

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Temptations From The Devil of Retail

I came face to face with the Devil of Retail stores today. He showed up and was willing to make a deal… No, the devil did not challenge me to a fiddle contest (Queue: Charlie Daniels Band.) However, what he tempted me with was much more sinister and ultimately, I had no chance of resistance. You see, this all started when I noticed that I had some Kohl’s cash sitting around that was going to expire today.

“I can’t just let this expire! Time to go buy something!”

And so I entered the Devil’s domain… Also known as Kohls.com. He saw me coming… I searched for a few things and looked at some of their sale items until i discovered a cool plaid sport coat that would go well with my steampunk halloween costume… and this is when the Devil appeared.

“Look here Mr. Dave. This sport coat costs $80, but if you spend $100, you can get %20 off with this fantastic promo code. Why not get $100 worth of stuff for the same cost?”

The Devil’s reasoning was sound… and so I searched and browsed and searched some more until I came across a nice pair of jeans on sale and added them to my cart and this is when the Devil smirked…

“Well now Mr. Dave, once we use the Kohl’s cash that you want to use, it brings the total down under $100 and you lose the 20 percent off. You are so close, why not get something small to go with it?”

The Devil had lured me into his trap. All he had yet to do is finish me off, but he didn’t. He wasn’t satisfied yet. He was playing with me… I stumbled across a pair of cool Star Wars socks. but wait! they are buy one, get one half off. The devil had me in his grasp and was laughing as I added the second pair of Star Wars socks to my cart.

“Mr Dave, I’m not finished with you yet.You are going to spend more because if you spend $10 more, you will get another $10 in Kohl’s cash to use at a later date. You cannot resist this. You are my puppet and I OWN you now.”

like a mindless Zombie, I searched and discovered a cool  Star Wars tee. And into my cart it went without any resistance.

“Mr. Dave, Now that your soul is mine, The Star Wars shirts are Buy two for $20… you will buy another.”

I was a gone. I was but an empty shell of a man that is absent a soul. The devil had his fun and got what he wanted. The true insidiousness of the Devil is in that he made me feel good about it.

“Mr. Dave, You came here to spend $80 on something, and walked away spending $105, but you just saved $202 due to sales and discounts. It’s a pleasure doing business with you and I look forward to seeing you again because You’ve earned $20 more in Kohl’s cash on this purchase, plus another $5 due to my rewards program. I’m even throwing in a 15% off coupon for signing up for my emails.”

Maybe I just should have learned how to play the fiddle…

Netflix Must Watch: Black Mirror

I was recently introduced to a television series that is available on Netflix called “Black Mirror.”

The person that introduced it to me didn’t really give much of a description of the show other than it’s supposed to be akin to the “21st century version of the twilight zone.” I’ve never really watched the Twilight Zone. However, if the Twilight Zone was anything like this show, I’m sure I would love it.

I’m two episodes into watching Black Mirror and I am already hooked. So far, the first two episodes have been suspenseful, intriguing and thought provoking. Almost satirical, it really hits home with the darker side of technology and what it’s done to the human psyche. I don’t want to spoil too much about the show. But it is an absolute must watch.

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And yet, its very ironic at the same time. I’ll write more about this later I think as I watch more episodes. For now, check it out on netflix.

Lunchtime thoughts

There is an art to maximizing the yields of a Yoplait yogurt container…I have yet to master that art. I haven’t been a big yogurt eater being that I am lactose intolerant. However, Yoplait makes a lactose-free yogurt and the peach flavor is amazing!

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There is rain after all

I woke up extremely early as I usually do (not by choice by the way, it just happens. I blame being in the army for 8 years.) I took advantage of a storm moving through to open the window and just listen to the rain. Whispers of rain filled my ears.The smell of rain poured into the room, filling it full of a fresh aroma that tingles the nostrils (or maybe  that was just my allergies) the booming roar of thunder lingered off in the distance with occasional dances of light gleaming across the sky. It was very relaxing and humbling at the same.

There is a duality in rain that makes it poetic and aww inspiring. It is such a transformative force. Rain is gentle and brings life to plants and nature, yet it can bring floods that can destroy entire communities and crop fields. The sound of rain is soothing and relaxing, yet we feel the urge to run from rain and protect ourselves with umbrellas and raincoats.

Rain brings perspective. Not only from within ourselves as we ponder  self-reflection while staring at puddles filling with rain, but in a manner of comparisons. How can we learn to appreciate value of a sunny, warm day if we’ve never experienced a dreary, cold and wet day?

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Having a dentist appointment later in the day, it allowed me to drive into work today instead of carpool. The significance of this is that I love to listen to music while I drive. And by listen to music, I mean blast it loud, sing along and channel my inner rock star! I am the performer and the driver staring at me in their rear-view mirror is my audience.

Today’s drive into work was no different than my usual drive into work except that I was really feeling one particular song today.

18 miles of traffic really allows me to get my jam on and when I listened to this song, it really spoke to some emotions that I have been feeling as of late so I just went for it! I kept restarting the song over and over for the whole drive into work.

Music resonates with our emotions. It can sooth the savage beast. Music can incite a generation of anarchy and rebellion (note to self: add sex pistols to my playlist.) And most important to me, music allows me to express my emotions that I generally do not express. I’m not an outwardly emotional person but in many ways that makes music even more important for me. I depend on music for that emotional outlet and I don’t want to imagine a world without it.

Home is where the coop is

Earlier in the year, the US had its worst bird flu outbreak in history. This led to the speculation that the cost of America’s number one digested meat was going to skyrocket.

With the cost going up, and the risk of infection so high at commercial chicken farms… Why not just raise chickens yourself? Well that is exactly what my In-law family decided to do.

With the decision made to raise chickens, the need for a home for those chickens became the first project to tackle. After determining the number of chickens that would be needed. we started the construction of this marvelous coop you see below.

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It wasn’t easy getting to this point however. What originally started as a one weekend project turned into multiple weeks filled with blood, sweat and foul language and the occasional visit from a curious cow.

Most of the wood that was used was reclaimed from around the farm already. Which was a blessing and a curse at the same time. The cool thing about using reclaimed wood for this project was that it is free. Thus keeping the initial cost of raising chickens low. However the thing about using reclaimed wood for a project like this is that nothing is exactly perfect. Some boards were too long, other boards were too short and inevitably the board you need is covered with nails. Your favorite swear word gets used a few times while you pound out nails in the board that you need at the moment.

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Despite using reclaimed wood being a minor nuisance (but ulitmately worth it in the long run), the hardest task for building the chicken coop was digging a trench and running the water and electrical line.

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An entire day was spent in that hole you see above trying to get everything hooked up to an existing water line. Most of the frustration was dealing with trying to disconnect an existing hydrant from the line so we could install a T to run the line to the chicken coop.

The cows of the farm were curious of our project. It’s quite an ominous feeling to stand up in a trench, only to see black cattle 6 feet in front of you just staring.

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In the end however, we were able to tackle all the issues and get a pretty decent chicken coop built. The chickens have been moved in and are growing so fast!

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The entire album will be uploaded to imgur and I will post a link once it is finished.

21st Century Ambrosia

I was recently introduced to the most heavenly, delicious condiment of the 21st century…

Cookie Butter!

What is cookie butter you ask? Its a spice cookie that’s been ground up and turned into a spreadable condiment that would taste amazing on anything!  It has the consistency similar to hazelnut spread or peanut butter.

The only word that seems good enough to describe cookie butter is “ambrosia.”

From Reading This article over at Bon Appetit, I learned that cookie butter and those Biscoff cookies you can get on Delta airlines flights are one in the same! It also brings back memories of living in Germany and going to Christmas markets and sipping hot gluhwein and eating spiced cookies dipped into the delicious, hot beverage.

Trader Joe’s has a selection of cookie butter, Aldi also has cookie butter currently (who knows for how long though since its a special price at Aldi.) I am telling you this so you can go out and get a jar yourself so I don’t have to share!

 

New beginnings have to begin somewhere

Welcome to my new site. This page will be a reflection of myself, my mind and my life.

The creation of this page involved a sleepless night, heartache and whiskey! I don’t condone alcoholism, but a few drinks really get my creative mind working. Follow through is a little lackluster however as I’m now writing my first post a few days later after seeing some emails and being reminded of what I had done. I think it will be a good thing. This will be a good outlet for me and a focusing lens for my thoughts. I’ve tried blogging before. I never usually made more than a few posts before abandoning it. This time might be different we shall see

New beginnings have to begin somewhere. What better place than here? What better time than now?

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