Wednesday, June 30

 

Never go back.

It's no secret we love our vittles here on Tyndale Avenue. I talk about food way too much and this entry is no exception.

I know little about braising, searing or stewing, but, like most men, get me near a Weber and I'm in my zone. Shhh! Quiet Please, ladies and gentlemen. The surgery is about to begin. Grilling meat over coals is instinctual. The history of man goes something like this: Jump from tree, stand erect, hunt meat, cook over fire. Repeat as necessary. Yes, 'FIRE GOOD', indeed.

All these years I thought I'd been doing fine with the mass-made briquets that are sold at every grocery, warehouse and convenience store. But, it has its particularities. If the coals don't burn down enough, you're meal tastes like it was cooked at the local Exxon. Blecch! Icky-poo.

A few weeks back, the original Anal-retentive T.V. Chef preached a show about grilling. What I took away from it was the importance of real lump charcoal. Like a good beer, it has no additives or extenders.

Last week at Trader Joe's, I bought a bag of Cowboy Charcoal. Big, big difference. It lights in a chimney in ten minutes, burns crazy hot and chars your food without a petroleum residue.

Tonight we hit our new fave house of meat and gave it the deluxe treatment. To my brothers of the flame, I say, seek your lump charcoal and never go back.

Tuesday, June 29

 

Advice best left unspoken

- To the anonymous pooper.

Hey, Moron, if you clog the f*cking goddamn public toilet, at least have the cojones to own-up to it and let somebody know so it can get fixed before the fetid mess you left in there evolves, gains sentience and seeks revenge on you for it's horrid existence. Jackass.

- To the gamer girl @ work wearing a minidress.

Um, you might want to appear like you have at least seen the sun in the past year or so before you subject me to your bluish, near-translucent thighs. Eeeep! Keep it up and I'll wear a sleeveless half-shirt to get even.

 

In the dark

First in the door this morning, I disarmed the alarm and read on its diplay: "SYSTEM RUNNING ON BATTERY POWER*". Sure enough, looking behind me, all emergeny lights were lit. Upon further inspection of the office, I was bombarded with the ceaseless beeping of UPS power protectors.

Brian from I.T. called the power company. Their estimate was 11-11:30. Hmmmm. Who's up for IHOP?

Alas, it was not meant to be. Soon after 8:30 the office sprung to life.

*FOOLISH HU-MAN!

Friday, June 25

 

Generation X has left the building.

Poor Perry Farrell.

It appears that he got 'Creeded' by his Jane's Addiction bandmates; the other three abandoned ship to form another group with another vocalist. All this on the heels of Lollapalooza 2004 being cancelled over poor ticket sales.

Here at work, thanks to Bill and his purple Mac, I'm listening to Jane's first major release from 1989. I remember at that time, they were the band that saved Rock music from a continuing spiral of gutless over-production and general wussiness pervasive in the scene. I may be a sentimental bastard, but most of it holds up to time. The lead break to 'Had a Dad' is still one of the better moments in modern music (especially when preceded by Perry's command of "LET"S ROCK!") Now, fifteen years later, the originators of alt.culture are in the velvet jumpsuit days. It all seems like a bad parody of their former selves.

And using the venue of a two-day, outdoor music festival adds to the cliche. The heat, the mud, the crowds, the overcharging. Who gives a f*ck, anyway? Was this even fun when I was in my twenties? Besides, didn't we learn our lesson from Woodstock '99? Eccchhhhhh!

So, perhaps this is graduation day for (wait for it...) Generation X.

Yep. Just another jaded thirty-something wondering where it all went.


Thursday, June 24

 

Metaphors from the past

When I was a kid, the first house we lived in was inside a circuitous subdivision, carved out of old farmland near the river. Not understanding things about engineering, surveying or the realization roads twist and turn around physical topography, the layout of the hilly neighborhood just seemed completely random.

In my five-year-old's mind eye, I imagined a blindfolded foreman in a yellow hardhat planting signs and a huge army of bulldozers blazing headlong into the wilderness close behind.

It's kind of how I feel the Bush administration is handling the regime transition in Iraq: No plan, just follow the blind guy in the yellow hat.

Monday, June 21

 

Carnivorous delight.

Recently, we've been frequenting Cierello's Italian store at Belvedere Square. One Saturday we stumbled in for some ground beef for burgers that night and left with some mozzarella and broccoli-rabe sausage as a bonus for Sunday's sauce.

With Bill and Jen coming last Friday night for a cookout, we were determined to score a quality London broil. After being served the counter man (who looked a LOT like Method Man) asked if we planned to have it grilled on-the-spot. Huh?

As it turns out, Friday nights is Cierello's grill night; buy your wares fresh from the meat counter and they'll grill it right out front. Paired with a cocktail from The Grand Cru and you have the start of a fantastic weekend.

We've penciled it in for this Friday. I think I'll work my way through all the specialty sausages. Hmmmmm.... Maybe a traditional sweet Italian followed by a fennel sausage.

Friday, June 18

 

A little disturbing.

This morning, as I was getting into the car, I noticed the unzipped CD case on the passenger seat.

"Did you drive somewhere last night?", I asked Heather.

"Well, I drove us home from Chameleon," she replied.

Upon getting in the car, she says to me, "Someone went through the car last night."

It was true. Other clues were a console 'stash door' being left open and a tin of Altoids on the driver's side floor. Quickly rifling throught the inventory, all possessions checked out: glovebox contents, sunglasses, all our non-commercial pop CD's. The only thing missing was about a dollars worth of change we keep in the cup holder.

Perhaps it was some younger neighborhood kids out for a cheap thrill. Perhaps not. Even though I often joke Arcadia is such a small and out-of-the-way neighborhood that the thieves can't find it, I still must be more vigilant and make sure we lock our doors at night.

Thursday, June 17

 

We Are The Robots

Those ca-raaaaaaazy Germans!

Actually, lots of interactive electronic flash goodies with our favorite Teutonic musicians.

Wednesday, June 16

 

It's craptacular.

Looking for a transcription for the intro for a live version of Steely Dan's Bodisattva, (don't ask) I stumbled on a site for a little radio show in Minneapolis/St. Paul: Crap from the Past.

 

Fill-in-the-blank Advice

"You cant judge a _____ by its _____."

Monday, June 14

 

Celebrity gossip, without those annoying facts.

For no apparent reason, Heather and I made some grist for the celebrity gossip mill on the ride to Hunt valley this morning.

- Jennifer Lopez is pregnant with Marc Anthony's love child. That's why he got a quickie divorce, so their bambino can be as legitmate as possible. As far as going public, well, it depends on how pregnant she is. Most women show around the fifth month. With her being a curvy girl for starters, it could go a touch longer. P.S.: If it's a boy, she'll name him Benjamin Sean Backupdancer.

- When Brad and Jennifer have a kid, it will be crowned the new Hollywood Superbaby(tm). It'll be long and skinny, with a f*cked-up jawline and bad skin, but nobody will really notice that. The public will be mesmerised by its freakishly blonde hair and hypnotic, peircing blue eyes. S/He will have an awful, new-age, flaky name like Shane or Dakota.

- Britney will now drop out of sight after her knee surgery. This will give her time to get addicted to pain pills, recover, cut a dance record to bolster her ranks in the gay community, and make the Oprah/Today/Dateline circuit: "I was really in a lot of pain, Stone. With success at such a young age, it was really just too much. I needed time to focus and really recenter myself." Blah, blah, blah. A close second is she'll find Jebus under the sofa and become a lame Country star.



Sunday, June 13

 

The Quest Fulfilled

For weeks we've been out of our favorite chili pepper sauce. Even a trek to our usual ace-in-the-hole for all things exotic and tasty was fuitless. Since then we have been hitting every international food aisle at every grocery store chain around. Every attempt resulted in failure.

Yesterday, Heather even made a plea to the chili gods themselves, asking where, oh, where on the face of the Mobtown planet may we find our spicy salvation?

Then she remembered Asia Food on York Road.

A quick drive to Govans resulted in paydirt. This place is a funky remnant of the old school asian market; a dusty warehouse crammed with merchandise on one side. It's also a treasure trove of Asian restaurant equipment. Shelves crammed with clay pots, covered serving dishes, dipping bowls of all manner, steamer pots, chopsticks, novelty polynesian barware and honest-to-buddah woks. Stacks and stacks of them in several sizes, and all the necessary implements for real stir-frying.

Finding a healthy quantity of our target purchase, we invested in two bottles. Just to be safe.

Huzzah! No more bland meatloaf and lacklustre pasta sauce!

Thursday, June 10

 

1930-2004

Thanks, Ray.

 

*Thursday Three*

Mis Lis is back in the saddle with cinematic tour de force like no-one has ever seen.

This weeks theme is Film (or movies, since well, some of the titles perhaps don’t actually deserve such an illustrious title as *film*). Since it’s the Thursday Three, it’s all about triple features….

1. GUILTY PLEASURES: Three films you can always watch, and always enjoy, but you can’t necessarily find anyone else to enjoy them with you….

2. DIRECTOR TRIFECTA: Pretty self explanatory

3. [INSERT THEME HERE] – make your own triple feature – give it a title – tell us why.

---

1. GUILTY PLEASURES:
"The Hunt for Red October" - When this is playing on TBS every other weekend, we manage to surf by it and watch it 'til the end. It's a good script, although a little dated with the 'Evil Empire vs. the Good ol' U.S.A.' Reagan-era overtones. It's really well cast: Sean and Alec, of course. But it also has Scott Glenn, Liam Neeson, Tim Curry and James Earl Jones for good measure.

"Labyrinth" - Okay, I don't often mention my fondness for this film, but these are guilty pleasures after all. I saw it at the cusp of my Fantasy Gaming life. I was a pair of suede-fringe boots and a Jethro Tull discography away from Ren-Faire fandom hell in 1986, so the Fantasy element got me in the door. So did Bowie. 'Let's Dance' was a popular record at the time, plus I was a big fan of the 'Ziggy' years. What really makes me dig this film is the technical aspects of the puppetry. Realise this is before CG took off, so all the mythical characters were made by Henson's Creature shop, which was the ultimate career goal for me at that time.

"Time Bandits" - This was the first movie I 'got' that a lot of my friends didn't. I really love the Pythonesque overtones, thanks to Terry Gilliam. And I *love* David Warner as The Evil Genius. His portrayal sparked my interest in discovering the imprtance of really good character actors (see the triple feature). Only he could walk the line of funny and treacherous so well. And he had a cool costume made of bones. And I think it's secretly influentail on a lot of Tim Burton's work, especially "Beetlejuice".

2. DIRECTOR TRIFECTA:
My choice is Steven Soderbergh. I haven't seen everything he's done, nor do I love everything I've seen, but a few of his smaller films, I think, need some attention.

"Schizopolis" - A little difficult, at times really stupid, but you can see him sort of finding out his style in a film he cast himself in. I particularly remember a scene to be really funny. Soderbergh's character (well, one of them) is having a conversation with his wife, and it's entirely made of stage direction.

"The Limey" - This film came out between "Out of Sight" and "Julia's Tits" --- oops, I mean, "Erin Brockovitch", so it got no attention despite a great performance from Terrence Stamp. His character is simply a badass. A revenge-minded badass who underpromises and overdelivers. Plus, this story best utilizes Soderbergh's quick-cut/non-linear style that make some people motion sick, but it works for me. Added bonus: Luis Guzman as his foil. (Another fine character actor, I might add.)

"Ocean's Eleven" - It's pure Vegas fun, baby! I like the chemistry between the principal characters: Clooney, Pitt, Damon and Roberts. Naturally, there's plenty of love for the character actors too. I also like the fact the 'arrogant millionaire' gets hustled by the 'devilish rogue'. I'm also looking forward to the sequel.

3. "The Richard Libertini Extravaganza" Character actor extraordinaire, the leagues of Aiello and Shawn. For this, he gets the 'New York Times' treatment.

"The In-Laws" (1979) - This is the Peter Falk/Alan Arkin version, not that slick Hollywood turd from last year. Mr. Libertini plays a corrupt Latin-American dictator with a penchant for Senor Winces and boobies. Trust me, rent this one.

"Fletch" (1985) - Made when Chevy Chase was actually kind of funny. Here Mr. Libertini plays Fletch's harried, frustrated, neurotic boss. The role all harried, frustrated, neurotic bosses model themselves after.

"All of Me" (1984) - Sure, dopey Eighties romantic comedy making fun of 'channelling' and death. But, oh, how Mr. Libertini steals the show as Prahka Lasa, the wacky Eastern mystic. Yes, he's the "Go fix bowl!" guy.

Close Second: "The Vincent Schiavelli Experience"


Wednesday, June 9

 

Fill-in-the-blank fortune cookie:

"A bundle of ____ is worth more than a bushel of _____."

Tuesday, June 8

 

Stump the Band.

This sly interview from VH1.com is very telling of Kim and Thurston.

I got a chance to preview the new Sonic Youth album. Yep. Noisy and melodic, just like it oughtta be.

Sunday, June 6

 

Duck and cover.

Hey, kids! Remember when Uncle Ronnie singlehandedly defeated Communism?
Remember the foolproof anti-missile defense plan he thought of?
Remember when he fought off the Martian hordes?
Parted the Red Sea?
Invented sliced bread?

Well, no. I don't remember it that way.

Now that Bonzo's caretaker has passed to that B-movie set in the sky, I'll do my best to let the media specials, tributes, and misty watercolors wash over me for the next week.

Friday, June 4

 

3 out of four band members agree...

Scott Stapp is a jerk.

 

Meanwhile, on George Tenet's answering machine

>You have 1 message.<

*BEEEEEP*

George. It's Rumsfeld.

Look, I don't have long to talk. I have to catalouge 36 more boxes of torture photos from Iraq and Afghanistan this morning, but I wanted to extend my thanks for 'taking one for the team'. This smoke screen should keep the media elite occupied for a while.

You're a good man. I'm certain our paths will cross in the future on the lecture circuit.

*click*

>End of messages.<

Thursday, June 3

 

Fill-in-the-blank advice

"People in _____ houses shouldn't throw _____ ."

Wednesday, June 2

 

Random Images: DAKOTA

1 2 3

 

Wknd., Sun., Mon.

Our big event was having Maria and little Clara visit for Korean dinner on Sunday. Clara is 17-months-old and very feisty. It took her about 45 minutes to warm-up to me and Heather. Then it was showtime. She can point to her nose, ears, and head. Ask about her belly button and she'll show you. Ask her where her teeth are and she chatters them.

Then it was pure comedy with a container of raisins. Raisins from the container to the mouth, back to the container. Then onto the dress, in the mouth, on the chair, back to the container. Then all the raisins on the dress. Then back into the container. But first, one to the mouth. Than back to the container. Pure Chaplinesque genius.

After a lovely dessert of ice cream and sorbet, she hit the wall; she was whirling like a dervish then hitting the floor.

She's awesome.

---

Monday was like another Sunday. We hit IKEA good and early for a new bookcase for Heather's side of the bedreoom. Naturally, we couldn't stop there.

With our front porch shaping-up more like and outdoor room, I wanted to complete the look with sheer drapes and a couple of potted plants. Thom would be proud.

To offset all this yin, I scored a burger flipper to prop-up the yang.

That was mostly our day. Except for the nap. It was good to nap. Later that afternoon, Meg and Catie dropped in. They were fresh from the road, spending a weekend at Mike's friend's Revolutionary-War-era plantation in Virginia.

Yeah. I have one of those too.

Tuesday, June 1

 

Wknd., Sat.

Not too terribly exiting, but rather busy.

Saturday we shot out to Han Ah Reum early. We hadn't been for months, and with Heather planning a Korean meal for Sunday, we needed to re-up on the essentials. As usual the produce department was out of control. Stacks of things usual and exotic pounced upon by ev'ry manner of folk. The trip is worth it for the produce alone.

What was strange was, no Sriracha. This is the backbone to peppery-spiced asian food; we use this stuff like ketchup. But it ain't there no more.

Our 'family chore' for the afternoon was finally cleaning the front porch floor after a whole Winter's worth of grit and grime. Ick! We removed some excess furniture and Heather rescued a steel table from the backyard I thought was a lost cause for sure. We also came to the conclusion the rope hammock we've had in storage for years it too big for the space.

That night I christened the new cooking grate on the Weber with some killer burgers made from the good stuff from Whole Foods. Yummah.

more later.

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