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Harlan vs. Food Round Two: Smoked Brisket

| Posted by Harlan

Smoked brisket is an amazing thing. There is an incredible amount of joy that comes from finding a place that has a perfectly smoked, thick-cut brisket with a great sauce. Yvette and I have enjoyed many briskets in many states across the U.S., but I have yet to dare to attempt making one myself. Something about it always intimidated me.

That said, I’ve been on the cooking and man-stuff kick lately, and I refused to be intimidated by this cut of beef anymore. So I went to the grocery and picked one up. After choosing between a 2-lb. and a 12-lb. brisket, to which there was no middle ground, I decided on the 12 and cut it into 3 sections of about 4-lbs each.

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Harlan vs. Food Round One: The Thanksgiving Turkey

| Posted by Harlan

I’ve been on a bit of a cooking kick lately, as well as a “things a man should know how to do but I don’t” kick. On both of those lists for a while now has been the art of smoking meats. While I have been known to grill up a mean burger or chicken breast, I had until recently never dared to make a run at a brisket or bird. I have this fancy grill that I bought several months ago to replace my poor neglected grill, with the hopes that it would encourage me on the journey of meat. So far, it has.

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MLB Parks Tour #17 – Coors Field, Denver, CO – 2013

| Posted by Harlan

Our trip to Colorado in August was a bit of a last-minute thing. I (Harlan) had been offered a job at an agency in the metroplex, and it afforded us the opportunity to take a mini vacation between employment. We couldn’t decide initially where we wanted to go, but plane ticket prices eventually landed us in sunny Denver, Colorado, home to the Colorado Rockies. With the short-notice, we didn’t have a ton of time to prepare for the trip, which in the end proved an asset, as we spent a lot of time simply relaxing together and taking in the outdoors. (Except for the Duck Dynasty marathon we got sucked into, despite never having seen an episode prior to the trip.) During the trip, we explored a hiking trail, found a hidden castle, ate wild raspberries, fought off a bear (not really), explored the sanctuary of rock (Red Rocks Amphitheater), ate a stupid amount of gourmet pizza, and spotted the purple mile-high seats at Coors Field.

It was a great getaway before starting a new job. The only complaints we ever have about our baseball trips is that we won’t get to come back for a while.

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The Grey Matters – Perfection

| Posted by Harlan

The Grey Matters was the landing spot for the creative and contemplative works that bounce around the confines of my head, as well as the inspirations that put them there. With the re-release of Viva, we decided to merge the blogs. Click here for more behind the meaning behind TGM.

I think my innate (or perhaps indoctrinated) desire to do all things to the best of my ability hinders me in the pursuit of nearly all my goals. While you may think this sounds counterproductive to something you’ve been told, I think in my life the proof is no further than in this blog, or maybe more specifically in this post. I kept thinking, “I need to have a design ready”, or “I need to be ready to post regularly”, and all of this would have to come prior to embarking on the journey at all.

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The Grey Matters – Duplicity

| Posted by Harlan

The Grey Matters was the landing spot for the creative and contemplative works that bounce around the confines of my head, as well as the inspirations that put them there. With the re-release of Viva, we decided to merge the blogs. Click here for more behind the meaning behind TGM.

The greatest mountain to cross in any relationship is that of duplicity. I wake up, I dream, I’m alone, and the thoughts in my head are a version of myself. When I connect, when I converse, I am another version. Neither is the whole story, nor is one the real, or authentic, me. They are both me, and the combination and interception of those versions is where you can meet the true version of myself.

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The Grey Matters – For Better or Worse

| Posted by Harlan

The Grey Matters was the landing spot for the creative and contemplative works that bounce around the confines of my head, as well as the inspirations that put them there. With the re-release of Viva, we decided to merge the blogs. Click here for more behind the meaning behind TGM.

I think when you say “for better or for worse”, you’re often drawn to the idea of the worst that can/will arise from a situation, or from the other person. But the real question is, do you have the strength to remain committed when the worst doesn’t come from them, but instead arises from within you, from that deep dark place you either never knew existed, or that you had chosen to ignore? Can you find it within yourself to say, “I’m flawed, but no I won’t give up. I can muster the power to remain in this fight, when I know the war is my fault.” When all you want to do is flee, that’s when you’ll know you meant your vow; when the fight is internal, the place where your weapons are weakest.

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MLB Parks Tour #16 – Chase Field, Phoenix, AZ – 2013

| Posted by Harlan

We’re all caught up…thanks for following along with all of these. We’ll get back to regular posts soon.

The day we visited Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona was a packed day to say the least. We woke up in Las Vegas, about halfway toward the final ballpark in our 3 park journey that took us to San Francisco, Oakland, and Tahoe before landing us in Sin City. Our plan for the day was to get out of town early, so we could make it to the Grand Canyon before trekking to Phoenix for our 6:40 first pitch. We hopped in the car and drove off to the desert, to see the sight I hadn’t laid eyes on since I was a boy, the Grand Canyon. The best word I could use to describe the place would be disorienting. I know that’s not the word most people would use, but it fits for me. I think it’s because it’s just so vast, it becomes difficult to judge distances and depth. The view becomes a sort of painting; a two-dimensional space in a three-dimensional world. It’s about as awe-inspiring as any natural wonder I’ve seen. (Now that’s the word most people would use.)

The final part of our journey led us from the Grand Canyon south another 200+ miles to the Arizona capital of Phoenix, and to Chase Field, the home of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Chase Field is an indoor oasis in the Sonoran Desert. Thank God for the invention of the retractible dome in sports, because it was a closed roof day.

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