Monday, November 30, 2020

Hey, look at that! Our eleventh month of this project is rolling to a close and we’re still here, showing our resolve and our commitment to utter madness and seeing it to the very end. Do we love this project? On some level, maybe. Mostly we’re looking forward to seeing how much free time we’ll get in January. Mostly me – Jodie’s focus is on her teaching, her studying, her tutoring, and all of that fun stuff. I’m the one writing about French toast and hip hop and finding a way to squeeze a few commemorations in before noon so I can get some real work done. Yesterday was all about relaxing and resetting our brains for the week ahead, so there wasn’t much celebrating. But there was this:

National Lemon Cream Pie Day

No, we did not go out and purchase a lemon cream pie. We did not harass our team baker (hi, Mom!) to craft one for us. And we sure as hell weren’t going to bake one ourselves. How much time and energy do we have left at this point?

But we do have a habit of going out every weekend for doughnuts from Destination Doughnuts, where we have yet to be disappointed by a single ring of doughy bliss. And pictured above is their Ode to Sunshine doughnut, which I enjoyed yesterday whilst watching some kid no one has ever heard of get a chance to start for the Denver Broncos because all of their quarterbacks were out on Covid-watch. It’s their take on lemon meringue – which I understand is different from lemon cream pie, but it’s close enough.

Lemon is not my #1 flavour for a doughnut or pie filling, but with the creamy meringue (or, I assume, with the plain ol’ cream) it’s delicious. And, as the calendar told us yesterday, it was mandatory eating.

Historic Bridge Awareness Month

Really? Yes, really. We are going to take a moment for this one because I actually am fascinated by some of the great bridges out there. The physics involved in designing and constructing a bridge are so far beyond my understanding it might as well be magic. For the life of me, I don’t know how they went about slapping some of these up, even back in the 1800s with their limited technology. I know, the answer to that is that many people died, but I’m still impressed. Here are a few fun facts I found:

  • The first man to die in the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge was designer John A. Roebling. He was taking some compass readings when his foot was crushed between some pilings and a boat, which led to the amputation of his toes and his death from tetanus not long afterward. The last person to die in the construction of this bridge was his son, who suffered from a deadly case of the bends.
  • The Manhattan Bridge, which I believe is the prettier New York bridge, was tilting badly to one side by the 1950s because of the subway that cruised through on its busy side. Extensive renovations were required to fix this.
  • The Golden Gate Bridge was estimated by the city engineer for San Francisco to cost $100 million at the time, roughly $2.3 billion today. The project would have been turfed were it not for engineer/poet Joseph Strauss, who said he could do it for 1/6th the price.
  • Our High Level Bridge in Edmonton still has the pipes in place to turn on the world’s largest man-made waterfall if they feel so inclined. It’s kind of a silly attraction, but the audacity of it is impressive and I hope it makes a comeback some day.
  • The Quesnell Bridge, which Jodie drives across every day to and from work, used to contain an accessible walkway underneath it. The walkway has (I believe) been closed off, but it was a great place to check out some of our city’s most impressive graffiti, and to do stupid teenage stuff like smoke weed and throw stuff into the river.

My next project – which, and I can’t state this often or emphatically enough, will not be an everyday project like this one – may have something to do with local history, as that has really been sparking my imagination lately. Bridges are an important component to any area’s history, and they probably deserve more attention than they get.

Small Brewery Sunday

Yes, we only managed to cover three celebrations yesterday. That’s three more than we would have on pretty much any other November 29 though, so that’s saying something. And one of them involved a doughnut while the other involved beer, so I’d say it’s a solid win for a lazy Sunday.

For this day I opted for something from Analog Brewing in south Edmonton, a brewery I’ve been dying to try because they are clearly marketing directly to my type of people: they use 8-bit video game artwork that almost seems in danger of a lawsuit. They specialize in ‘sessionable’ beers, which is a term I’d never heard before. It means you can drink more than one without being overwhelmed by an overpowering flavour or too much booze to keep you vertical. That’s fair.

The beer I sampled is their Power-Up Porter, which has a lovely vanilla tone to it, and will satisfy anyone who has fallen in love with the annual Lion’s Winter Ale from Granville Island Brewing in Vancouver. It’s a creamy little porter and it was fantastic.

I also picked up some of the Unity Brew, which is pictured above. This is a collaborative effort released by the Alberta Small Brewers Association, and it’s brewed by five different Alberta breweries, all using ingredients donated by local suppliers. Each brewery did their own take on a Scotch Ale (which I love), and they put it into stores together. The breweries participating this year include O.T. Brewing, Village Brewery and Railyard Brewing from Calgary, Canmore Brewing from Canmore, and SYC Brewing from Edmonton. I’m not familiar with any of these companies, but this united effort is a great way to promote them.

Small breweries are still producing the most interesting stuff in the beer world. I encourage everyone to get out there and get adventurous.

Today we gear up to our final month of celebrating. Despite its big banner holidays, December is actually the quietest month of the year, according to my preliminary research. Today we’ve actually got a lot to choose from though:

  • National Personal Space Day. This has, of course, become every day during this pandemic.
  • National Mason Jar Day. It’s the most famous jar out there, apart from Jar Jar Binks, and very much more deserving of a celebration.
  • National Mississippi Day. They love shrimp in Mississippi. I’ll make something involving shrimp.
  • National Mousse Day. We don’t have any for our hair, or any chocolate stuff for our bellies, unfortunately.
  • Computer Security Day. I guess it’s time to update the ol’ virus software.
  • Stay Home Because You’re Well Day. Initially this was supposed to be a day for everyone to slag off work and stay home, but since I’ve been working from home for more than 8 months now, this is just another every day thing.
  • Cyber Monday. Yes, it’s the day to shop online.
  • National Methamphetamine Awareness Day. Good day to catch up on an old episode of Breaking Bad perhaps.
  • Perpetual Youth Day. Now we’re talkin’.

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