Wednesday, November 11, 2009

New Home!

We're moving the blog!

I've done a lot of thinking over the past few weeks, and I've decided to take the blog to Wordpress. It's got some better features on my side of things, and I think you'll like it there. For the people who read us on Facebook, the page will stay the same, and so will the Twitter updates - just the blog address.

So switch your RSS Feeds & bookmarks to: - because that's where we'll be!

Leave us a comment at the new site letting us know how we can better serve you and keep you coming back!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


It's been a hiatus to say the least. After a two and a half week vacation, I am back in action in Northern Virginia, and happily living with my wife, Mrs. Buck. I'm already eating better food for dinner, and the Mario Cart competitions are something fierce. Wedding festivities in Pennsylvania were an epic four days of family, friendship, feasting, and booze. I think it would be fair to say the past few weeks were the best days of my life. Therefore, I shall share a few observations from my wedding and honeymoon experiences.

1. Snorkels are not good shot glasses.
2. Good friends get you drinks at your reception. Responsible friends get you water at your reception.
3. Wedding rings are universally awkward for all guys to wear the first month of marriage. It is our common bond of unity, and we can spot each other a mile away.
4. First Class air travel is not claustrophobic, and it gives flight attendants a purposeful job.
5. Although I have been to a mere minority, I'm confident that Maui is the best island in the world.
6. Hawaiian food is scrumptiously delicious.
7. Hawaii weather flawless. Always.
8. A Jack o' lantern carved out with a blow torch is Halloween done right.
9. People do not give you gifts you want or need for your wedding.
10. I like marriage.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Perspectives on a Poultry Harvest: Bill E.

The chickens were ripe for the plucking, and my good friend Ezekiel Mossback was feeling opportunistic. He raises poultry out in Hoosierland, and he needed my help with the slaughter, scalding, plucking and gutting. They say "Early to bed and early to rise makes Bill E. a pre-loader at UPS and very tired", but I made the trek out to Ezekiel's homestead last Friday night for a Saturday Poultry Harvest. Steve's owner Lucas met me out there. It should also be noted that the Willig Matron lent us her artful plucking services for the day.

The day began with what will be forever immortalized (I know that's redundant, but the point needs to be made) as the "Traffic Cone Fiasco", or TCF. For slaughter, the chickens are placed headfirst into upside down sawed-off traffic cones. I had been telling Zeke that his plans for suspending them by taping them to the barn posts would be fruitless, but his country folk stubbornness would not mind my city-slicker attitude. He kept insisting that things be done "the old farm way" and that he was not about to ditch 300+ years of Mossback farming tradition on account of some hokey dude from the 'burbs. But when the pole-taped cone was squeezed too hard to allow a single chicken head through, he begrudgingly allowed me to go with my brilliant idea: a pair of 2-by-4's strung between the barn poles between which the traffic cones could snuggly nestle. I spend so much time on this anecdote because it was really only meaningful contribution I made the whole day.

I caught a few chickens with Z-Moss and wheeled them back to the farmhouse, where I pondered the wonders of man-made technology (redundant again) as I watched something called the "Plucker 3000" skillfully remove the feathers from a freshly dead bird and give Ezekiel a half-way decent backrub.

It could have been my destiny to slaughter chickens that day, but I instead chose what I am going to call "Ignorant Manifest Destiny" or IMD, and decided to help gut the chickens.

As I leaned over a sink with a sage Mossback elder for upwards of the next 9 hours, severing chicken legs and pulling off their heads, scraping my fingernails into their putrid innards, hoping that a stray squeeze on my part didn't cause some leftover excrement to sputter out of their anii and listening to Lucas spew a variety of oaths whilst trying to coerce the scalding water to EXACTLY 145 degrees, I reflected that it is indeed natural for the human to work. Not in the Communist sense of Marx, but in the Christian sense in imitation of St. Joseph. Work in this context is not the telos of man but the result of love, which is man's true telos. I also reflected on how long it would be before I could bring myself to eat chicken again.

Actually, it was today, when I ate a chicken patty sandwich at school. Though it was a processed mess with no resemblance to the wholesome free-range meat of Mossback's farm, it was the first step on the journey back to enjoying chicken.

That night, Sage Elder Mossback took us to eat at the local tavern in appreciation for the help. Actually, he was just really hungry and too tired to cook. None of us ordered any chicken. I was effectively asleep before the meal was finished and we drove back. In lieu of our usual night of Mossback Music, I dreamt of a local bishop playing "The Night they Drove Old Dixie Down" on the piano for the entrance song at a mass to make a facetious point about good liturgical music. I blame the poultry.

Needless to say, I have baited my breath for the summer poultry harvest. Give Mossback a ring on the tele for the finest free-range chickens east of the Mississippi.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Lucas and Bill - Roommates turned chicken butchers

So, this weekend, Bill & I have agreed to spend our time with our dear old friend Ezekiel Mossback assisting him with the unfortunate task of slaughtering, plucking and gutting chickens for sale to the general public.

While initially, I agreed to help with this endeavor because I enjoy spending time at & helping out with chores at Ezekiel's farm, I am now reconsidering the enjoyment factor of such activities. While the end goal of prividing healthier farm products to those who are more health conscious is noble, there lies a responsibility with the person responsible for taking the lives of the chickens. Taking a life is a serious thing - and it must be done with the utmost respect for the God-given gift of life.

That said, I'm kinda scared. I'm scared that I will not be able to fulfill this duty properly - I'm afraid that these animals will suffer unnecessarily on my watch, and I'm not sure how comfortable I am with that.

That said, I will try my hand at butchering chickens this weekend. I've watched a few instructional videos on the most humane way to bleed out a chicken, and the care needed in the situation is humbling, to say the least. Hopefully, I can emerge from this experience with some good stories to tell & cross off one of the lines of my 'bucket list'.

I hope I don't puke my guts out. We'll talk Monday.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Thursday Rant

Judge Judy, that lace collar isn't make me take you seriously...

Every day around lunchtime, I mosey on over to the break room. With such amenities as a refrigerator (albeit gross and infested with month-old leftovers), a microwave, tables and chairs, the setting is perfect for enjoying a delicious Healthy Choice meal. This affords me the chance to take a break from the mental strain of a stressful work day, collect my thoughts, and prepare for extreme productivity in the second half of the work day (like blogging...).

Occasionally, I find myself as the only person in the break room, allowing me to control the complimentary 19 inch television mounted to the wall. In such instances, I enjoy the freedom to watch ESPN and catch up on all the tired, overplayed stories like Brett Favre and his waffling over whether or not to retire (they're probably still talking about him right now).

Finding myself as the only break room occupant, however, is rare. Most times, I am forced to share my quiet time with coworkers. Now, don't get me wrong. I like my coworkers - and I'd like to think they like me. My issue is not one of like or dislike though. Most times I head to the break room for lunch, other people have comandeered the break room for their evil ways. Evil meaning that they have the remote, and I don't.

Problem is, I don't think many of them realize that the television programming they watch greatly affects my truly trivial opinion of their tastes. If you, dear readers, were to collectively ask me what would be on the TV in the breakroom if one of my coworkers were in control of the remote, I would definitively answer "fake court show depicting uneducated low-income people involved in ridiculous disputes", I would be 100% right, except for the other 50% of the time there's "World's most extreme explosions" enveloping the screen.

Now, I don't doubt that these shows can be entertaining, even addicting to some, but the level of serious fanship that exists not only at my workplace, but undoubtedly in countless others to these "Judge Judy"-style shows reflects negatively on my perception of the person and how well-educated or well-rounded they may be. This applies not only to fake court shows, but reality shows as well. When did we become a society that entertains itself by watching the drama created by mixing together a bunch of seemingly incompatible and combatitive personalities?

Regardless, people (my coworkers especially!) need to realize that the content of the material they are ingesting into their heads is, while entertaining, severely influencing and helping to form my ultimate opinion of them. Brett Favre needs his airtime, and I aim to give it to him.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

My brain hurts...

But what if...I don't know what would that?..

That Pinnochio is a LIAR.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Well, DUH...

 *Picture "borrowed" from