Thursday, March 21, 2019

Getting in Trouble

One of the things I hated most as a child (and into adulthood) was getting in trouble. I was always afraid someone would yell at me for being wrong. For years, this meant I wouldn't do things if I thought there was the slightest chance of getting yelled at for it. I would simply refuse. This did not go over well when I worked in the corporate world. So I worked hard to overcome that. But I still have that issue.

For instance, I would not pull up to the front door of a hotel to check in and unload luggage for fear someone would get mad at me. Now I do it anyway (but it's a struggle every time). And, guess what, no one has ever gotten mad at me.

Part of this is also my fear of screwing up. If I don't know for sure how to do something, and don't think I can figure it out, I will just shut down and not do it. My middle son does the exact same thing. I guess he got my genes.

All of this is part of why I think I might be on the Autism spectrum, admittedly not far on it. But when I look at my childhood, I think I might be further along the spectrum than I think, I'm just faking it well as an adult.

And I still hate getting in trouble. People who don't care if they get in trouble amaze me. I kind of wish I could be like them, but a lot of them are criminals and psychos.

It's also part of my over-active imagination. I can always imagine the worst case scenario.

How do you feel about getting in trouble? Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Best Steak Ever

Steakhouse 55 Steak
I like steak and I'm always looking for a great one. Some of the best steaks I've had were bought from local ranchers and cooked at home. My son has this method of cooking steaks that makes them delicious. I believe he learned it from YouTube.

But the best steak is one you don't have to cook, i.e., bought in a restaurant. Ruth Chris Steakhouse (which is a chain) makes really good steaks. I haven't been to one of those forever (since my oldest son graduated the University of Washington and that was June of 2012). I keep waiting for my second son to graduate college so I can take him there.

But the best steak I've ever had was at Disneyland. Seriously. Off the Disneyland Hotel is Steakhouse 55. Like Ruth Chris, you order a steak and then you order side dishes to go with it. And it's quite expensive (Ruth Chris is cheaper, relatively). I didn't see the bill (it was a family dinner and my father paid) but I saw the prices on the menu. I was there about 11 months ago.

The steak was in every way perfect. Tender, juicy, flavorful, and cooked to perfection. The only weird thing was it was served with a bit of bone marrow inside a bone (see picture). I wasn't sure what to do with that, so I left it alone.

It felt as if the steak literally melted in your mouth, it was that tender. And it tasted so good. And the sides were delicious. They had both potato and vegetable sides. We ordered a multi-layer chocolate cake for dessert, and it was amazing.

If you're in southern California, I would suggest visiting Steakhouse 55. I also recommend reservations. And maybe a short-term loan to pay for it.

In my novel Treasure of the Black Hole, there is a scene where my character is having breakfast with the emperor of the Core Empire. And it's almost food porn. You should check it out.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Volcanoes

Mt. Rainier (left of center) from my house
Ah, the first of March. We're getting closer to spring. Spring brings warmer weather, of course, and clearer skies.

On a clear day from my house I can see three Cascade Range volcanoes. The most prominent of these is Mt. Rainier, the tallest mountain in Washington State. At 14,411 feet, it lords over much of the State. I've seen it from east of Ritzville when the conditions are perfect.

One of the best views of Rainier is from a ridge called Ryegrass between Vantage and Ellensburg on I-90.

Rainier is considered on of the most dangerous volcanoes in America. It's proximity to urban areas (Tacoma and Seattle and their suburbs), means there is great potential for destruction if it ever erupts. Unlike volcanoes in Hawaii, the threat isn't lava, it's lahars. As snow and glaciers on the mountain melt from the volcanic heat, they mix with dirt to make mud flows that head downhill. That's a lahar.

Here's a story from last fall about Rainier's (and Mt. St. Helens) eruption potential.

The other volcano I can see is Mt. Adams. Mt. Adams is more isolated and volcanologists don't think it's going to erupt soon. So it's much safer than Mr. Rainier. If you drive through the small town of Goldendale in southern Washington, you get a great view of Mt. Adams if the weather is good. And, if conditions are right, Mt. Rainier and Mt. Hood. You used to be able to see Mt. St. Helens from there, until it blew its top.

Finally, the third volcano I can see is just the very top of Glacier Peak. While Glacier Peak has a similar expectation of erupting as Mt. Rainier, it is very isolated so the danger is mostly from ash. Glacier Peak is so isolated you have to hike miles just to get to it.

Living in central Washington State, I don't have to worry about hurricanes or tornadoes (although we do very rarely get small ones that don't last long). But earthquakes and volcanoes, those are our disasters of choice. I should know, I was here for when Mt. St. Helens blew.