Thursday, April 29

Good to know ol' Tom is still around. Honestly, my first experience with the Waits aesthetic was rather jarring. But, after a few listens, I was won over by Rain Dogs. This and Swordfishtrombones are sort of peas in a conceptual pod. Sardonic, bombastic and featuring a rhythm section made out of a salvaged chest of drawers.

Thanks to Harry, I began to experience his back catalog, particularly his mid-Seventies work. I'd say it's big on a drunken forties Jazz riff. Lot's of character. By the time Bone Machine hit, I was a fan.

So, grab a fifth of rotgut, sit in the gutter and howl at the moon.


Notes from the Small World Dept.

Let's see if I can get this straight...

This past weekend, another of Heather's high school classmates from Lexington was also visiting for the good doctor's graduation. Donna and her husband Chris drove in from Chicago.

When I mentioned MICA, Chris recalled visiting a childhood friend of his in Baltimore who attended school there in the mid-eighties. Turns out he's a childhood friend of Ben Franklin, a former fellow security guard, not the founding father.


You smell something?

The Rockhaus has this olfactory-themed Thursday Three today:

1. What are your favourite smells?

Wood fires, gasoline, fresh bread, great coffee, a real Christmas tree, driftwood I found on a CA beach, citrus, roast pork, sauteed garlic, a perfect hefeveizen with a fresh lemon. Now I'm hungry...

2. Do you wear cologne or perfume? Scent of choice?

I wear Vetiver cologne, named sfter the aromatic grass.

3. Scent of choice for a significant other?

Heather tends to wear citrus-toned scents. This works well for me.

Wednesday, April 28


Eating well in Western PA, or I Left My Stomach in Pittsburgh

"Jeet?" Yes, I did, thanks.

The Culinary delights in P'burgh began at The Church Brew Works, where I had a buffalo burger* with fries. I also washed it down with a special brown ale. Well, okay, two brown ales. Hey, they were special.

Saturday morning, we bailed on the disappointing Priory breakfast (which featured salami and hard-boiled eggs), and got the real thing in The Strip at DeLuca's.

I should pause to point out, this is the greasiest spoon I've ever been in. And I've seen my share of em. From funky Jersey diners, lonely luncheonettes in North Cackalacka, the Slurp n' Burp here in Bawlmer, and fucking Stuckey's in South Florida. They don't even scratch the crud-encrusted surface. This place, my friends, has a Grecian mural that last saw a bucket of Pine Sol in the Nixon Administration. But the food. Oh, the food. Two eggs over light with real homefries and the best bacon I've ever had. Yeah, I said it.

Just before leaving town, we hit the original Primanti Bros. Heather and I split a steak and cheese. This was a Salisbury-steak kinda patty with a slice of melted provolone on two thick slices of Italian bread. Of course, the fresh-cut fries and a really great, vinegary slaw were shoved inside the 'sam'wich'.


*For those keeping score at home, I once had an ostrich burger one time in San Simeon. So, eating weird burgers is a sort of life-list subset to me.

Tuesday, April 27

Had a good time in Pittsburgh. It looks like the same era as Bawlmer, but bigger with lots of hills.

And bridges. And churches. Lots of big, ornate churches. God seems to be pretty popular in coal-mining country.

Getting in Friday afternoon, we discovered The Priory had a wonderful view... of the Northside housing projects. After one night on the third floor on a postage-stamp-sized bed, Heather got us downstairs in a nicer room with a queensize. Don't get me wrong, the building is pretty, and the converted church/reception hall is a gorgeous restoration. It's just had we known more about the city, we probably would've stayed somewhere else. That night, we met up with Sylvia, got a tour of her and Rob's huge city house and caught dinner at a brewpub in a converted Catholic church. That's my kinda holy water.

Saturday we pretty much had to ourselves to explore The Strip (markets), Shadyside (artsy shopping) , Squirrell Hill ($$$) and Downtown (big with a pretty state park).

Sunday was 'gameday' for Sylvie. We converged with her family and friends, drove near the University, filed into the baskeball arena and watched our own little speck receive her doctorate. Then we dashed to her party at a charming gallery with great food made by her sister, Inez. At the afterparty, we had a few champagne toasts in honor of the new doctor and a mean game of Beyond Balderdash.

Later on I'll have my stomach give a report about all the culinary finds we found.

Friday, April 23


Off like a herd of speeding turtles.

Despite waking like a normal Friday, I'm still a wee behind my own personal schedule.

I hit the self-serve carwash after returning DVD's. I thought I did a decent job until I came out of the Safeway and saw all the mud splatter and dustprints that I could have sworn I hit with a big foamy brush. Ah well, the folks in Pittsburgh have seen worse, I'm sure.

Heather made us some killer sandwiches for the road. Plus, we've got enough snacks for a week and several soft drinks cooling on ice. For good measure, we're taking a bottle of red to relax with once we make it to The Priory. It looks like a busy and fun weekend.

Cheers, all.

Thursday, April 22


The Getaway

We're off to the exotic land of Pittsburgh this weekend.

A few weeks ago, we got a phone call from Sylvie, Heather's best friend from high school. She's receiving her doctorate in Art History from University of Pittsburgh this Saturday and invited us to her graduation party. Well, the whole thing evolved into a long weekend for us.

It'll be nice to have a change of scenery for a few days. We're staying at chic-looking B&B, we'll most likely go to the Warhol Museum and, if I'm lucky, enjoy a sandwich at Primanti Bros.. (That's right. The fries and slaw are served inside the sandwich.)

Wednesday, April 21



Woo-wee. Look out. I'm getting fancy with the addition of the comments.

Now your pearls of wisdom can be read by everyone, and not just by me, your humble host.

Tuesday, April 20


"...pulled the trigger."

Today I decided which shark was going to eat me and bought Heather a contraption DaVinci would most likely refer to as Camera Digitalis. Even though it's for her, I'm sure I can wrestle it away every now and then.

So far I've taken a few snaps of the cats. And then decided to put the camera away because everybody takes photos of the damn cats.

So, if I stick with it, I might jump to a photo-enabled blog and share my visions of beauty.


I was talking to Peachy-Peach about kissy-kiss.

Recent reports about the Pixies reunion tour sparked a new interest in Surfer Rosa around the Brizzi-Caudill camp. A few days ago, the CD found its way into the car. It's fine driving music on a beautiful Spring morning. I'm sure more than one young pierced punklet I drove past today wondered:

"What the hell is that old guy listening to?"

Saturday, April 17



I've just been raided by the Blog Enforement Agency.

Because I'd been nursing a splitting headache since I awoke, I decided I would not hit the garden as I mentioned last post.

While scurrying out the upstairs, a beatnik elf pulled up in front of the house in a green convertible Saab. She informed me she was The Beer Fairy, the kind soul who swoops from on high with cold beer for the dilligent yardwrorker. Since I was not performing as advertised, she would have to write me a citation with the B.E.A. Next time, she's hauling me in.

Perhaps tomorrow I'll derserve the love only a 12-ounce green bottle can give a man...

Friday, April 16


Tending the garden.

It appears that this weekend I'm blessed with the good fortune of perfect weather. I should have no excuses to keep me from raking the leftover leaf sludge, hack the bamboo grove to life size, de-ivy the side of the house and generally make myself a nuisance around the overgrowth on my clod of dirt. It's time to get serious and start to tend my garden.

This afternoon the office sponsored a happy hour at a nearby watering hole. I drank a few free Guiness and made idle chit-chat amongst my co-workers. Mostly talking about the weather and the large task list that awaits me on my back yard. By the time I was tapped-out with small talk, Heather pulled into the parking lot.

Despite her busy day of diversions, shopping and time at home, my wife had a difficult day.

I realized there's another delicate flower of mine that needs tending.

Wednesday, April 14


Happy Birthday, Baby.

Today is my wife's birthday. I unabashedly played hooky from the salt mines today to spend it with her.

You could say we're doing most things French to celebrate. We have a reservation for lunch at Petit Louis. We haven't been since Christmas Eve, so we were due for a visit anyway. As I write this, I'm donning the slacks and fancy shoes, so, you know it's serious.

Later this evening we plan to see Les Triplettes de Belleville at The Charles. We've been wanting to see it for months, and this is pretty much our last chance. It closes tomorrow night.

In between, I plan to buy a digital camera for her birthday gift. I know, yeah, that's not very French. But who can find an early camera to make daguerreotypes these days?

Sunday, April 11


Happy Zombie Day from the Godless Heathens!

I'm enjoying my own traditions on this uncomplicated Rite of Spring.

This morning we had our eggs soft boiled. No messy dye to fuss with and I knew right where to find them this morning. No jellybeans, and no chocolate bunnies. For dinner, were forgoing the glazed ham. Heather has the Hamersley's Bistro chickens on deck for the broiler with roast potatoes and onions. I just sampled the shortcake we'll be covering with strawberries and real whipped cream. Jon should be over about six with a fine bottle of red, no doubt. Man, am I lucky.

No traveling to New Jersey, no uncomfortable shoes, no brown-nosing noon Mass.

Now, if you'll excuse me, my final tradition of Bombay Sapphire and tonic is due....

Saturday, April 10



Dropped in The Chameleon after closing last night for Chef Jeff's birthday party. By midnight, it was jam-packed full of beer-swilling chainsmokers. Heather and I squirreled off the the dining room to chat with Tina.

We were speaking about tattoos we have, so it was time to spill the proverbial beans. I have little difficulty showing the ones on my back and shoulders. It's just as simple as discreetly lifting areas of my tee shirt to reveal what lies underneath. Besides, male nipples are quite acceptable in public, even mine. Showing the two pieces on my legs, however, gets to be problematic without a pair of cargo shorts on. My better half, and tattoo-revealing cheerleader, kept insisting I 'drop trou' and show 'em off.

After about the third insistence of dropping my 'trou', I questioned whether it was time to put my hat on backwards and cruise for chicks, all the while flashing the metal sign and blurting nonsense like a Fast Times extra.

Um, no. There was no dropping of trou. The show will continue at some time in the future when my wardrobe is conducive to such revelations.

Thursday, April 8


*Thursday Three*

The Rockhaus is servin' up a trio of delicous food-ralated questions, wrapped in bacon and served with a vinagrette.

1. What food will you absolutely not eat, no way no how? And not something exotic, like prairie oysters, or screaming monkeys, because really, how often do those items show up on the menu at a dinner party?

Hmmmm. I've had this question posed to me many times over many years. The fact is, I haven't found an answer yet. If the question is "What food would you rather not eat?" I would put picked beets on the top of the list. Outside of that, I've enjoyed just about everything I've ever ate

2. What's for dinner tonight?

Leftover Indian take-out from Mount Everest. It was Chicken Masala, Veggie Junelly and a Samosa. Later on I'll prolly have a dish of vanilla ice cream with fresh strawberries.

3. Favourite fast food?

As in corporate burger/chicken/taco fast-food? Well, lately, nobody. Not that I'm health conscious or anti-burger --- far from it. It's just that my usual lunch is brought from home. When I do go out for lunch near work, I've found so many great made-to-order places that I find it difficult to go back. But, given the choice, I'll take the Whopper with cheese, and rings in lieu of their funky-ass fries.


Screw the damn robins and baseball games.

My true signs of Spring:

- Classic Ford sightings. Saw my first Galaxie of the season yesterday morning. I was taking the back route to work, so near the Bel-Loc Diner, she pulled out in front of me. A black '62 fastback, 2-door hardtop, with that unmistakable throatly growl of a finely-tuned 390 Y-block. I followed her for about a quarter-mile, inhaling the heady aroma of beautiful exhaust. Mmmmmm-mmmm. I almost burst into tears.

- Gin and tonics on the porch. I'm a big fan of the cocktail hour when the weather is balmy. I encourage all of you out there to try this time-tested recipe: Bombay Sapphire, a fresh lime and a new bottle of Canada Dry.

- It was beautiful weather yesterday. Now it's overcast and chilly. Typical.

Wednesday, April 7


Strife in Our Peaceable Kingdom.

Sunday morning we awoke to Lola, our special-needs kitty, hunkered-down in the hallway and growling at out other cat, Mollie. Like many double-cat households, there are flare-ups between them. This was markedly different. Most of that morning, she remained in this state. The thing that really got to me was the fact she was acting like she'd never seen Mollie before.

About a two years ago, our vet diagnosed her with feline hyperesthesia. She's been on a steady dose of Paxil, which we give to her everyday. We gave her a 'bump' and let her have a spa day in the guest bedroom, her usual hang-out. After an afternoon of solitude, she emerged the usual nervous cutie-pie we know and love.

Until Monday night. She had a small episode just before bedtime.

We have a hunch her dosage of 'koo-koo drops' needs to be readjusted to accommodate her fuller figure. Saturday morning she's of to the sawbones, so we'll see what's what.

Monday, April 5


But I regress...

It's kinda been a fanboy weekend around here.

Friday afternoon I caught the matinee of Hellboy with some co-workers. One of the benefits of working for a game company is whenever there's a geek-tastic movie released, it's almost like a company holiday. Then, yesterday, I took Heather to see Hellboy for herself. I would say twice is enough; I can safely await the release of the DVD later this year before I see it again.

In the time in-between, we bought ourselves an X-Box Saturday afternoon. This idea has been brewing since February, but the price drop on the console didn't hurt either. We also drove all over creation to find a copy of Voodoo Vince. It's a creative, clever little game. Lots of great level design and fantastic use of lighting.

Although, with Heather and I not being well-practiced gamers, there's lots of cussing and screaming when we zig instead of zag.

Game Over, man.

Thursday, April 1


Thursday Three.

What'll it be, mack? The Rockhaus is proudly serving qustions about drinkin'.

1. Drink of choice

Bombay Sapphire and tonic with lots of lime, lots of ice. Until last Summer, I was a devotee of Tangueray, mainly as a holdover from my Martini days. (Early Nineties, anyone?) Then, after many arguments with several gin drinkers, I made the switch to Sapphire. Now I can't go back.

2. The one drink you can never forgive, and never ever go back to?

Straight Tequila. Actually, to be precise, Mezcal. A Summer bender with a certain fellow blogger several centuries ago permanently etched an image and vile odor in my subconscious. Nope, can't do it.

3. The drink you can always return to, no matter how it has hurt you in the past?

I'm always down for a cheap Mexican Cerveza. Tecate or Sol usually fits the bill. But, hand me a Corona and I won't complain either.


Let the games begin!

My bid for the first fake news item today.

Check out these classics.

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