Categories
Internet Culture

Day 759 and All Dressed

Social media has given us so many ways to become fans. We have ever more content thanks the streaming wars. Give content a chance to live everywhere online and it will develop a fanbase beyond its intended audience. The internet gives small shows outsized impact.

I’m a fan of a Canadian comedy called a Letterkenny. It’s about a small town in Canada. It’s got people and their problems. It’s a very funny character study and has fundamentally warm and loving humor. I’ve watched every episode and the spin-off. I’ve taken a lot of solace in the very human nature of the show, particularly during the pandemic years when everyone felt far away from each other.

There is a phenomenon that is particularly prominent online called parasocial relationships. Someone creates art or a personality and it develops a fandom. Over time, the fans, through repeated exposure to a character or show, believe they know them like a friend. It is fun to be in the fandom. Enjoying art is a universal experience. I am a stan for Letterkenny. I’m in a parasocial relationship with the Letterkenny crew and it’s universe.

How deep is it? Well my husband and I recently ordered some Canadian chip flavor called all dressed featured on an episode of Letterkenny. The chip is, as the name suggests, every single type of flavor. It is salt and vinegar, bbq, ketchup (weird but crucial), and sour cream & onion. And it is absolutely delicious. As a Twitter friend said to me, it is the Dr Pepper of chips. It’s not for everyone but it’s spectacular.

All dressed ruffle potato chips

Because it is Sunday, I am taking a medically necessary amount of THC. I’ve had a gummy. And I thought this was a perfect moment to try the Letterkenny chip.

And it was indeed glorious. All dresseds is a chip made for the munchies. It’s got bite and taste and texture and it all rolls up into an experience. It’s a chip worthy of the extra attention of weed focus.

And because I am extremely online I shared my appreciation for it on Twitter.

Now on Letterkenny there is a clique called the Skids. They are the weird kids. They are the hipster ones. They are the nerds. They are small town weed dealers. Asking me to pick a favorite on Letterkenny is like asking me to pick a favorite child. One of the Skids is Roald. He is a loyal friend but his own man. He definitely likes weed. I love Roaldie.

And I’m delighted to learn through my all dressed munchies Tweet, that the actor who plays him, Evan Stern, is following me. He likes the tweet. What a perfect way to enjoy a very specific kind of fandom. A parasocial relationship’s individual manifestation through social media. Now that I’ve made a big deal out of all this I should probably say hi to Evan. It’s going to be weird no matter what but it brought me a lot of joy. It’s good to be a fan.

Categories
Preparedness

Day 757 and Hunker Down

I really missed the cold and snow while I was in Prague. You might be confused. Isn’t Prague known for its cold winters? Well maybe not this winter. As it turns out, the unseasonably warm winter in Eastern Europe is good for the energy crisis on the continent, but bad for someone who prefers the cold.

Thankfully we’ve got a massive snowstorm bearing down on the Gallatin Valley that has a polar vortex of arctic air coming along as a chaser. We are expected to get a foot of fresh powder over the next 24 hours and then extreme cold (another -30 with the wind chill situation) will hit us on Sunday into Monday. Looking out on our back porch we have some accumulation but it has been melting earlier.

Several layers of snow on the back porch of our farmhouse looking out across our pasture

Alex and I have a standard storm routine that we follow that is part of our habit of preparedness. The best storm preparedness tip I’ve ever gotten was to clean your house. Wash dishes, do the laundry, take a shower, and anything else that requires power and running water. You will appreciate the clean house no matter what and it extends your ability to cope with something bad happening.

I am currently feeling very fancy as I did my Sunday grooming routine today and my skin and hair are looking fantastic. If we get socked in at least I’ll be clean and pretty. I used a hair glossing seal from BeautyPie and a Mediheal collagen mask and I recommend them both.

A shockingly long receipt from Rosaurs

I also did a massive grocery run yesterday as in addition to the storm we have a houseguest coming up. The receipt was so long I had to take a picture of it surrounded by a partial haul as it’s practically CVS length. Our guest is gluten free so I did some stocking up on options for him, along with a bunch of snacks because why not?

Categories
Aesthetics Travel

Day 750 and Interstitial

If you have ever stayed in an airport hotel or a particularly standardized corporate hotel, you’ve encountered the grand global homogeneity of acceptable hospitality.

Airwave bedroom at a Marriot in Prague

This aesthetic owes a debt to Silicon Valley and the way we’ve sanded off peculiar edges and smoothed over individual characters to make the real world’s brand book as consistent as our virtual ones. It’s called Airwave.

If you enjoyed the silky sameness of a WeWork or a perfect Airbnb or the reclaimed wood counter at a third wave coffee shop in Prague or Frankfurt, you’ve enjoyed Airwave.

If you travel enough, you find the aesthetics comforting eventually. As if your entire palette or taste profile was subtly sifted into the window of preferences set by an art director at an advertising agency in Brooklyn or Amsterdam.

Soothing sameness

Sure you seek out newness and novelty, but also you are glad for the suite at the just nice enough Marriot which delivers you a club sandwich with a request to room service. Remember when Jonny Mnemonic screamed for room service? If you are of a certain age I bet you do.

Ah the height of luxury for a data currier criminal of cyberpunk legend is now the expected outcome for the rootless cosmopolitans. Who is to stay which of us as a worse dystopia?

Categories
Travel

Day 749 and Beef

Living in Montana means I have no shortage of excellent beef. I’ve yet to have a bad steak or even a mediocre burger when I’ve shopped locally. Grass fed free range Montana beef is a luxury that is worth it.

I’ve got higher standards for meat because of it. So it was a very pleasant surprise to discover that the Czech appear to have the same affinity for meat as Montanans. I had some truly excellent beef in Prague. And I didn’t even eat a single steak. It was all peasant working class cuts.

Beef Goulash from Pilsner Urquel

Obviously I made time to explore beef goulash while in Prague. It’s not made with expensive cuts of beef. It’s generally Chuck or round. It’s stewed to be tender. The goulash I had at Pilsner Urquel was less than $20 and was absolutely stellar. I don’t drink but the few sips of dark beer I had cut the fat and spice perfectly.

I also I unexpectedly had one of the best burgers of my life at a butcher’s shop called Naso Maso. Their beef comes from Czech Fleckvieh cattle and is butchered in Jenc by hand. The shop only has a few seats but you can come in and order a burger to be grilled on the spot.

Naše maso cheeseburgers

Blessedly the Czech don’t have the same regulatory habits as the Germans so meat can be served rare. Nothing is worse than overcooking a hamburger in my book. Smash burgers were clearly invented to sell low quality beef. The Maillard effect isn’t enough to overcome the fact that it is lower quality.

It’s a real pleasure to enjoy exceptional beef from people who clearly appreciate everything about the nuances of the execution. Montanans and the Czech clearly share similar values.

Categories
Aesthetics Culture

Day 723 and Season’s Eatings

Maybe it’s because we’ve had to do so much packing and unpacking this year, but we didn’t bother with getting our Christmas decorations out of the boxes in the barn. We didn’t dig out the Menorah for Chanukah either. Seasonal decoration just didn’t seem like a fun use of limited energy and focus. We’d already spent enough of it on simply furnishing the house.

We aren’t entirely without the spirit of the season. We’ve got a beautiful large pine next to the house. Alex recruited a friend to put lights on it and it’s served beautifully as our Christmas tree. It’s quite magnificent in the morning light in particular. The dawn on the morning of the solstice bathed it in blue light.

Our Christmas Tree lit up by white lights

Equally we didn’t entirely ignore Chanukah. One of our favorite jokes is a simple guide to Jewish holidays is as follows; they tried to kill us, we won, let’s eat. So rather than prayers and candles we made latkes on the first night.

Latkes and applesauce

Tonight is Christmas Eve. Stockings aren’t hung. But as has been our tradition as a couple, we will be preparing a Feast of the Seven Fishes. Neither one of us is Catholic but we’ve taken to a seafood feast on Christmas Eve as being sacrosanct.

Despite being in Montana we have acquired a variety of seafood including a lobster tail, mussels, clams, cod, and shrimp. We will have cioppino and lobster fra diavolo. We get to the full seven with the help of Goldfish crackers and Swedish fish.

Lobster fra diavolo

Tomorrow will involve lamb chops which seems like a very fine Christmas Day feast. I’m sure we will prepare it while listening to Dr. Demento’s Christmas Album. And yes we will be watching Die Hard. Which we should technically be watching tonight but whatever. I’m not entirely sure how we will manage Chinese takeout tomorrow, an absolutely crucial meal in a Jewish-Calvinist household. There are surely Chinese restaurants in Bozeman but we’ve not bothered to find them thus far. In in a pinch we’ve got frozen dumplings in the chest freezer.

With all of these season’s eatings (the proper grammar I’m riffing on is season’s greetings) it’s no wonder I’ve traditionally done a fast between Boxing Day and Epiphany. I’ve not yet decided if I’ll do it this year as it can be a bit intense. I like to start the year with a 10 day water fast but it’s not feasible sometimes. But I’m putting it out into the universe to see what comes back.

That I’ve got the incredible good fortune of enjoying exceptional food and also the capacity for extended fasts is very much a gift. I hope you have the good fortune to chose nourishment that brings you joy this season.

Categories
Travel

Day 713 and Travel Logistics

I’m planning my first international trip since we moved to Montana. I will be going to Prague for a couple weeks in January if you happen to be around. And the logistics are very much only for experienced travelers.

I’ve not yet had to fly out through the Bozeman Airport but Alex tells me it is easy and straight forward. We have many short hops to international airports. The real issue seems to be that with a pilot shortage getting out of hand, arranging layovers eats up more of your travel time. Airlines are less able to do hub banking with their flights so I will be enjoying a six hour layover in Munich. Finally all my German lessons on Duolingo will get a property stress test.

I love optimizing for Airbnbs when I travel. I have a lot of little details that I look for when I’m going to be somewhere long enough to settle in. For instance, I like to cook my own meals. I like to be walking distance to a grocery store so I can pick up ingredients and cook when the mood strikes. That can be trickier if you are staying in a downtown area. So I look to be near the major neighborhoods but maybe just a bit off the beaten path.

I managed this quite well in Frankfurt last year where I was a short 10 minute walk to a high end grocery store in one direction while also being only 15 minutes from the main shopping area and farmers market in the other. I didn’t take a single cab or Uber the entire time except to get to the airport. It was absolutely perfect planning for enjoying living as if Frankfurt were my home.

I think I’ve achieved this for Prague. I found a cute spot that is equidistant to to most of the sights I want to see as well as the errand and obligations on my itinerary. I am yet again attempting to help someone with an American visa so I wanted to be near the embassy. But the embassy row isn’t much for other amenities like grocery and nightlife so I found a spot on a small park next to all the crucial shops. I am excited so if you have suggestions I am all ears.

Categories
Preparedness

Day 699 and Storms A’Coming

I love preparing for a big storm. It’s all of the fun parts of preparedness with none of the dystopian fantasies that sidle up to larger types of resilience & doomer chores. A big snowstorm is prepper-light, all the taste and none of the calories.

We’ve got a big snowstorm coming into Southwest Montana that is likely to close a few passes and drop significant snowfall. We’ve yet to map how predicted snowfall in town matches our actual snowfall. Sometimes it’s two or three times as much. If town is getting 4-6 inches, I’ve learned to expect at least a foot. I’d be thrilled if we got the 2-3 feet that is predicated for our neighbors in Big Sky & Yellowstone but it probably won’t drop that much on us.

The last time I wrote about preparing for a big storm was the day of the Marshal Fire in Boulder. I wrote about how I do all the washing and cleaning before a storm hits just in case we lose things like heat and water. Little did I know I wasn’t preparing for just snow that day but for one of the most devastating fires in Colorado history. Freakish outcomes have become commonplace and we humans adjust our hedonic treadmill to accommodate the bad and the good.

So I’m excited for the little preparations we get to make before this storm comes into the valley. I did an inventory of our fresh foods. Recipes and meal planning were done to reflect existing purchases (we’ve got a New York strip that is calling to me) as well as what could be easily incorporated into new meals if we stay snowed in.

Alex put a plowing plan in place for our driveway and parking area. We brought in wood from the cord that is stored in our hay shed. A run to to the grocery store and the dispensary is being down as we speak by my husband. The dispensary is next door to one of the cheaper gas stations so that’s a double win. Always remember to gas up before a big store. This includes diesel too if you have a tractor or snowblower that needs it.

My last chores will be doing laundry and washing my hair. As we recently had some well pump repairs I’m feeling relatively confident about water staying flowing but you never regret a fresh head of hair and plenty of clean dry socks.

Categories
Emotional Work

Day 653 and Flat Lay

I am “enjoying” the monthly gift of a horrific migraine pattern courtesy of my Aunt Flo. It appears to be one of those all day twenty four hour beasts. I am laid out flat from it.

My suspicion is I made the symptoms modestly worse by barreling through the past two weeks in my enthusiasm for my life. Life is good and that presents some challenges for me in over doing things.

The world may be unraveling but the personal realm of Julie Fredrickson has rarely been better than it is now. As it turns out, moving to Montana was an inspired long term investment right from the get-go. So naturally I want to share this good fortune with my most beloved. We’ve had an influx of friends and family.

One of the spiritual guardians of the the homestead is Elle Morrill. She was with us when we found the farm and made an offer on it. As we built out our guest rooms, Elle’s Room, has been name that stuck. As you can imagine, I was beyond excited to have her come visit for my birthday.

It is a beautiful thing to feel loved and cared for on one’s birthday. This whole week has been a rush of joy and support, running the gambit from being fed and nourished by Elle to being welcomed and aided by wider the startup community with my fundraise for chaotic.capital.

I can feel myself expanding and reaching for new competence and new horizons through the efforts of my friends. Elle made a Coq au Vin. Is there anything that says a love language quite like feeding someone? My love language might be writing but I think this gesture is easy to translate.

Coq au Vin or Chicken in Win with rice pilaf.

But nothing sweet can be enjoyed fully without a hint of bitterness for contrast. Light is only illuminating against the presence of the dark. A painting without shadows is flat. And so the flat lay photographs of sumptuous gourmet meals made with love and care by someone I love perhaps has to be contrasted by being laid out flat with a migraine.

So as I lay flat in bed yearning for the energy to be with Elle, with my work, and with my life, I must remind myself that the work of art that is my life needs the shadows too.

Categories
Aesthetics Community

Day 650 and Reaching

Yesterday was quite a day. I decided to commit to doing a fundraise for chaotic my fund in public as it was my 39th Birthday

I would like to raise $5m for chaotic.capital’s rolling fund before I turn 40 next year. #5Before40 has a nice ring as a hashtag right?

If you would like to be a part of the fund grab a spot on my calendar and let’s discuss!

But lest you think I only thought about venture funds on my birthday I promise I did some celebrating with my family and friends. One of my favorite girlfriends came up to visit. She went straight from the airport to the food cooperative and stocked our half empty fridge with a full harvest of food.

A well stocked fridge

She then proceeded to cook a gorgeous dinner with grilled chicken and roasted cauliflower along with kale chips and a big mixed green salad with a shallot and fresh fig dressing.

Gorgeous, health and nourishing.

And lest you think the most important part of a birthday was forgot here is a picture of the most impossibly beautiful chocolate cake I’ve ever seen.

A chocolate birthday cake

I had a wonderful day filled with love and support. It’s only taken a couple decades but I am finally feeling like I’ve built a life where I feel secure, loved and cared for by those I’ve chosen to be in my life.

Categories
Biohacking

Day 642 and Feast

WARNING: I am discussing food and my relationship to food for anyone that has any triggers around food, eating disorders, or disordered eating.

I accidentally didn’t eat anything of substance today. I had some coffee and a banana so just enough to break my fast but not quite so much that I had a meal. The weekend was packed with meals in huge portions due to slightly more socializing and being out of the house than was wise. I really felt it yesterday as we had two very hearty meals planned and I managed to eat maybe a quarter of it.

I have always been a bit of a feast or famine type. Some of this is probably related to some childhood incidents. I’d much rather eat as much as I’d like and then fast for a day or so. I like the feeling of choice and control.

Some of worst parts of having to combat an autoimmune disorder is sometimes being put on medications that need to be taken with food. I hate when any outside force interferes with my body. Even medication.

I also happen to buy into the research that fasting is a a generally positive force for good health. The intuitive notion that we evolved for feast or famine is slowly being proven out. Every major world religion incorporating fast as a component also reassures. Nothing is more lindy than fasting.

But as I come to the end of my day it is probably time to eat a proper meal. My stomach is rumbling. I can feel my focus faltering. I don’t have much of an appetite but I will need to find the middle ground between feast and famine today.