Thoughts re: Sunday night TV

The Sunday night TV lineup has become one of my (Nikki) favorite rituals that Ben and I have as husband and wife. We make dinner together and watch shows after. Our TV shows are mostly dramas that provide a “settle down from the weekend” and “prepare for the week”. How zombies could be involved with settling/calming I don’t know!

Every week we get through 3-4 shows back-to-back. I’ve noticed a trait I have is that I take on the emotions and struggles of characters. Many times between shows we will have to pause and do a reality check. Example: My name is Nikki. I live in Fresno. I’m married to the amazing and handsome Ben. Sometimes a character is so BAD i.e. horrible and if they’ve wronged my favorite character and keep up that path of horribleness sometimes I wish for the TV show to produce something/someone to kill them. A hero (heroine), perhaps. This is a TV show, I know. But why is the solution to kill them?

I borrowed a few books from friends in Fresno (thanks Brendan and Emily!), one of which is The Art of Happiness in a Troubled World, an interview of the Dalai Lama by Howard C. Cutler, MD. While on a plane I was reading the chapter “Violence Versus Dialouge” and came across some words that made me think differently about the power of anger and hatred when not combined with empathy and effort to educate on the full view of a situation when someone has been wronged by another.

“The second main danger,” the Dalai Lama continued, “is when the label ‘evil’ is applied to an individual or group of people, it naturally sort of demonizes that person or group. Once this kind of perception takes root, a process of dehumanization takes place. They are seen as subhuman. And if we no longer see the person as a human being, as someone like ourselves, then we have no common ground. They are seen as subhuman. And without common ground, there is no basis for empathy to arise. The end result of this is that it opens the door to justifying any injustice done against them, any horror, any atrocity, even genocide.” – Dalai Lama 

This excerpt is part of the section “The Root of Violence” which details many levels of root causes of violence. The above quote is based on internal causes. But that can very easily be exaggerated or oversimplified to hatred of a person, or group, seen as “evil”.

So, what’s the point? To me, it serves as a reminder that empathy is important even for characters in tv shows who are just such meanie heads. And to not let these thoughts extend into your reality. Don’t look at anyone as subhuman. Bad people are out there but there is more to the story.





Cutler, Howard C. “Violence Versus Dialogue.” The Art of Happiness in a Troubled World. By Bstan-ʼdzin-rgya-mtsho. New York:      Doubleday, 2009. 145-46. Print.


We’re Finally Regulars

Sequoia and Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Company

A few years back I (Nikki) made a list of things I wanted to do before I died. One item was to take my sister Taryn to Disneyworld which was crossed off in 2012. That’s a foo-foo one, but still good to have been completed and the sisters Walters had a blast. Another one was to “Be a regular somewhere”. Living in Denver, there was always some new, hip place to go to that we never really had a spot. Since moving to Fresno, our spot is right around the corner from our place and conveniently hosts the weekly trivia nights that we compete in.

How do you know you’re a regular? Our big moment was when the wait staff knew our entire table’s preferred beverage. I know, dream big!, but it still felt good.

Since we’ve been going for a year we thought we share our favorite “go-to” drinks at Sequoia (by our place) and the Tioga-Sequioa (downtown Fresno).

Nikki’s preferred beers:

  • Del Oro – my go-to trivia beer. Light, refreshing, and easy to drink. Also helps keep the mind sharp. Must be served with lime.
  • Pomegranate Ale – the beer to combine with brunch. Sequoia offers a great breakfast on Sundays and if I’m not in the mimosa mood, this beer is a great breakfast beer. I feel weird for saying that. Sorry Grandma.
  • Half-Dome Wheat – Named for the famous Yosemite landmark that Ben summited last year (see blog post), this is a wheat beer made with SJV grown lemon and orange peel. Good stuff, not too heavy. Orange slice optional, but nice!

I (Ben) moved out a few months before Nikki did and one day I ventured to Sequoia for to do a tasting of their beers. $10 for tasters…ok, a little pricy but ok…until they brought out a cafeteria plate full of beers AND squeezed a few extras in just for good measure. After 13 or so samples I found out a few that I liked and have stuck with those ever since.


Cafeteria tray full of beer!

Ben’s (‘don’t give me no light beers’) choices:

  • Black Oak Porter – really nice Porter…very easy to drink for non dark beer fans…very, almost too, similar to 1554 from New Belgium.
  • Oatmeal Stout – my version of the breakfast beer. The times we’ve done brunch at Sequoia I always get roped into ordering their Oatmeal Stout. It’s a sucker bet, like putting $5 on red in Vegas, but I’m a sucker and I keep ordering it. Is it my favorite? Nope, not even close…but it’s Oatmeal…and that goes well with pancakes and eggs…right…?
  • Seasonal Releases

o   Russian Imperial Stout – thumbs up…not too boozy. Big complaint with other RIS category beers is that they taste like I am taking a pull off a Burnett’s lightweight traveller before a fraternity party in college…not really what I am looking for in a beer. Chocolate and Vanilla with a background hint of coffee…smooth and strong enough…only recommend one.

o   Double Pilsner – my favorite seasonal they have come out with. Really good…hoppy…light…overall a good and stronger alternative to a normal Bud/Coors/Stella style beer.

  • Tioga-Sequoia

o   Catacomb Brew – Blueberry Saison, 5.5 ABV, 20 IBU – not super fruity but the blueberry taste is there in the background…milder than a typical saison…smaller brewery and can tell with the beer being more small batch and it is slightly more carbonated. Not something I would order but definitely one for the ladies and craft beer newbies.

o   Sugar Pine Porter – Cocoa-Vanilla Porter – slightly too sweet for its own good. If it were just Cocoa or just Vanilla I think it would really stand up…maybe trying to do a little too much here.

o   General Sherman Double Dry Hopped IPA – This is a great improvement on the normal General Sherman IPA…they’ve clearly taken time to source some good hops and make the Double something that you’d feel great about buying ($4-5 for a bomber).


Catacomb, General Sherman Double Dry Hopped IPA, Sugar Pine Porter

The Innovation of Loneliness – Commentary

Relevant…wanted to repost.

Colorado 2 California and Back

Shimi Cohen published a great video about the connection of social media and human’s sense of loneliness.

Watch this video –

The video is masterfully done and the comparisons are smart and accurately pointed. Social media, video games, electronic devices have done amazing things to bring people together, increase efficiency and provide entertainment. Unfortunately they have also created lazy and out of shape kids, distracted spouses and effectively eliminated the need for face-to-face interactions.

Shimi asks “What is the problem in having a conversation? It happens in real time and you can’t control what you are going to say.” People and companies who operate in the same town as I do would rather have an email chain conversation with 12 people cc’d on it that lasts 4 days than take 30 minutes over lunch and discuss everything we would have accomplished in those emails before our entrees arrived at…

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