Rants and Raves

Left of Boom – **

Left of Boom: How a Young CIA Case Officer Penetrated the Taliban and Al-Qaeda

Left of Boom: How a Young CIA Case Officer Penetrated the Taliban and Al-Qaeda by Douglas Laux

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Certain parts were interesting. Overall it’s predictable. I’m not sure I’d recommend it to anyone unless they’re really interested in the plight of adventure junkies who return to sedate lives and try to adjust.

The book is also really uneven. It could have used more editing. As other commenters on Goodreads have posted, the “redacted” sections are a nuisance. They’re cute at first an then just get more and more annoying.

View all my reviews

Book updates

Looks like the blog was down again. Here are some books I read recently:

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson – **

Ten Arguments For Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now
by Jaron Lanier – ****

Twilight at Mac’s Place by Ross Thomas – ***

The Mercy Rule (Dismas Hardy #5) by John Lescroart – ***

notes: The Manson book was interesting but it really needed an edit. It seemed like it was a bunch of mashed up brochacho blog posts. The writing style really distracted from the message.

The Lanier book was interesting and spells out what we all know and implores us to act on it. I’m not sure I can, but it’s something to think about.

The mysteries I like- I’m a Ross Thomas fan and I’m slowly getting caught up to the late 90s in the Dismas Hardy series which are set in SF.

Supper Club Updates

I wrote in this post last year that I was starting a Supper Club. I did and it’s been going well. I decided I would start posting notes from our gatherings- recipes, book ideas, notes on wine and random Kenny thoughts.

But what’s the background on the supper club? What’s going on and how is it organized? 

The background is that I miss having a regular meetup with my friends. I used to do a 1st Friday Happy Hour. The girlfriend also has a regular girl’s dinner with her crew and I thought I could do something similar. I also go to, organize or host irregular wine tastings (even a CDP that I’ve written about before). Basically I wanted to get something back on the books, but with some differences.

Why didn’t I just organize another happy hour? I have a ton of wine and I like sharing it. Other friends are in the same boat. The other thing was that we usually liked the post-happy hour dinner part of the evening more than we did the happy hour part. I knew I was already leaning towards a food gathering.

Why didn’t I just copy Girlfriend’s monthly dinner idea? They rotate to a different restaurant each month and it seems easy/convenient. And it works for them.

It’s because I love dining out, but I hate dining out in groups of 6 or more. I’m particular like that. It could be done, but I thought I’d take a different approach. I’d rather have a smaller group and be able to actually talk to people. 

What about the wine tastings? We’re usually pretty organized about the wine tastings- eg themes, blind tastings, etc. I thought this could work, but make them less rules based about the wine. Something less formal. But I knew that we could easily fold the wine into the food event. 

The other background piece is that yes, I’m still obsessed with the Basque Supper Clubs. The Basques have clubhouses.  There is no way in hell I can buy a clubhouse with a communal kitchen (hell, I can’t even buy a normal house).  

Hosting on its own could be a problem. [We have a small table in the kitchen but it’s usually holding groceries and I don’t know when I ate there last]. Most nights Girlfriend and I eat in the living room. But we can make it work. Living in a small SF apartment requires adjustments. But it can work. 

So here’s what we’ve been doing and you can do the same with your group (or not). 

  1. We get a date on the calendar as quickly as possible. Try to offer multiple dates. If you’re doing this on your own, don’t get worried if people can’t make it to the event on the night that was picked. Not everyone will be able to make it.
  2. We pick a theme. Last month it was Soups, Stews, and Chili. We pick a theme for the next month during dinner. Next month’s theme is Balls
  3. We email each other what dish we’ll be making as the event gets closer so we’re not all bringing the same thing. 
  4. If possible, rotate hosts. This isn’t a requirement if you start a Txoko, but it’s been working for us. Some friends have space for grills and others don’t. We make it work.
  5. We’re much more loosey goosey on the wine “rules” so people are more likely to bring a variety of things to share.
  6. Don’t be afraid to skip a month if it doesn’t work out. Sometimes everyone is busy.

So if you’re interested try and organize something. It doesn’t have to be regular. But break bread with your friends.