Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Slow News Day?

Not here in the Land of Lincoln. Pat Quinn tees of on Governor Sound Byte's announcement appointing Roland Burris to President-elect Obama's vacant Senate seat.

The longer this drags out, however, the more I worry about politics in general in Illinois:


Friday, December 26, 2008

Our Dumb Winter Continues


Thanks, CTA. I was a half-hour late for work today because of your antiquated PA system that screeches instead of announces that the Purple Line wasn't running to downtown.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Better Late Than Never





I only play these songs once a year, so going through and selecting a holiday playlist can be a chore. And I wasn't going to put up a playlist this year, but Sunday's trip to the Music Box for the sing-a-long and the way we commandeered "White Christmas" by singing the Jordanaires harmonies a la Elvis Presley's version re-inspired me.

So, in the spirit of the season, here is something that, given some of the song titles, I've ironically titled "Holiday Cheer 2K8." Enjoy:

Leadbelly - "On A Christmas Day"
Julia Lee and Her Boyfriends - "Christmas Spirits"
Vince Guaraldi - "Skate"
The Fleshtones - "Super Rock Santa"
The Rev, J.M. Gates - Did You Spend Christmas In Jail
Mickey Rooney and Keenan Wynn - "Put One Foot In Front of the Other"
Clyde Lasley - "Santa Came Home Drunk"
Fats Domino - "I Told Santa Claus"
Big Joe Turner - "Christmas Boogie"
Mae West - "Put the Loot in the Boot"
Rev. Edward W. Clayborn - "The Wrong Way to Celebrate Christmas"
Binky Griptite & the Dee-Kays - "Stone Soul Christmas"
Eddy Arnold - "Will Santy Come to Shanty Town"
Donny Burns - "Cool Yule"
Binky Griptite & the Dee-Kays - "World of Love"
Rev. A.W. Nix - "Death Might Be Your Christmas"
Otis Redding - "White Christmas"

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Warm It Up A Bit, Would You?


Shit's winding down here. So to all of you who check in, to new people I've met, old friends I've reconnected with and eve you anonymous types who like to leave comments that won't possibly be posted here, have a happy and safe holidays.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Flexing Some Ignored Muscles

Back when I threw my hat in the ring when Chicagoist made a call for new writers, I wasn't certain which section of the site I should try out for. I had no basic knowledge of food writing at the time, but I could break down the taste profile for a beer, wine or spirit like no one's business. Working at HotHouse also gave me a crash course in jazz, Latin, international and improvised music that I was putting to good use interviewing artists and reviewing albums and concerts for Jazz Review, but I didn't think that there would be an audience for it on the site.

So I made my decision with the flip of a coin: heads for music, tails for food and drink. The decision turned out to be great. I was a quick study on the beat and was able to file the occasional jazz and world music review when needed. This spring a new freelance opportunity came up that I again left to the flip of a coin, along with some research and waffling.

An investment firm called PEAK6 is attempting to combine investment advice with social networking via a start-up website called WeSeed. Think of it as Mint.com for the novice investor. WeSeed is trying to make show users that the interests in your life can be great investment tools (e.g. if you're an avid cyclist, you can research and then invest in companies like Trek, Cannondale and Pearl Izumi with some level of information).

An old acquaintance I knew through wine circles was hired to help launch the site and she had me in mind to write about food and drink-related issues. I immediately agreed, then changed my mind after looking at their practice site, a Wordpress shadow page with some extremely cliched writing geared more for SEO than the unique page views that now drive the most successful web sites. My friend pled her case and I started to do some research on PEAK6 thanks to my old friend Chris McMahon, who's Associate Editor at Futures Magazine. Chris vouched for PEAK6's ability to make sound investments for their clients in what was then just starting to become a recession economy and surmised that, if they were backing WeSeed, they weren't intending to see it fail.

So I went back with a tucked tail and asked if there was still room for me. I was told that there was a music spot available. I wasn't sure if it would be a good fit; I hadn't written extensively about music in years. But I accepted and immediately recognized that my musical interests could find a decent audience, and I could expand my own freelance opportunities past food and drink in the process. PEAK6 showed they were serious by hiring former Time Out Chicago editor Joel Reese to helm in the associate editors they hired. I was a big fan of Joel's editing at TOC, and both Scott and former Chicagoist editor Margaret Lyons had nothing but great things to say about him. So, with these two folks now at WeSeed, I resolved to turn in the best possible articles I can for them. Check it out for yourself.

Now if I can only take some time to sit down and create my own "Port-Foli-You."

The picture above is of classic Southern Soul singer Swamp Dogg. I'll probably be writing about him later.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Priced to Move...

Never heard of Zina Saunders until I saw this at Crooks and Liars, but she captures the mess involving Governor Soundbyte perfectly.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Was It Santa Marghaerita?

Received this text from a friend while I was dining on that at Frontera last night:

"In a sea of cheap pinot grigio. Ew! U have Spoild me."

Trying to keep a cold at bay so I can enjoy corn dogs, quesadillas and bowling at the company Christmas Party tomorrow.

I spoil myself.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Soul Santa


Daptone Records just put up their monthly podcast. This month they're featuring holiday music. The link the ever-resourceful Matt Wood linked to on Twitter redirected to iTunes. I don't use iTunes for podcast feeds; the load time and coding is proprietary only for iTunes. I use Winamp's SHOUTCAST subscription service for my podcasts. So I googled "Daptone Jukebox feed" and found this for anyone who also wants to download this without having to go through iTunes (link).

And now, the tracklisting:

1. Jing Jing A Ling ~ Honey and the Bees (Chess)
2. Merry Christmas, Baby ~ Otis Redding (Atco)
3. This Christmas~ Donny Hathaway (Atco)
4. Stevie Wonder Drop (Motown)
5. Snowflakes~ Betty Lloyd (Thomas)
6. What Do The Lonely Do At Christmas? ~ The Emotions (Volt)
7. The Gift of Giving ~ Bill Withers (Sussex)
8. Eddie Kendricks drop (Motown)
9. Soul Santa~ Funk Machine (Creative Funk)
10. Silent Night Chant~ Rotary Connection (Cadet Concept)
11. Christmas in Vietnam~ Private Charles Bowen (Rojac)
12. Let's Make This Christmas mean Something This Year ~ James Brown (King)
13. Without The One You Love ~ The O'Jays (Neptune)
14. Gwendolyn Berry (The Sisters Love) Drop
15. Let's Get It Together This Christmas ~ Harvey Averne Band (Fania)
16. Gee Whiz, It's Christmas ~ Carla Thomas (Atlantic)
17. Back Door Santa~ Clarence Carter (Atlantic)
18. I Wanna Spend Christmas With You ~ Lowell Fulsom (Kent)
19. Mr. Santa Claus (Bring Me My Baby)~ Nathaniel Mayer (Munster)
20. It's That Time of the Year ~ The Manhattans (Starfire)
21. Santa's Got A Bag of Soul ~ The Soul Saints Orch. (Jazzman)
22. Pull My Sled ~ Raindeer Runners (Soul Fire)
23. Merry Christmas Baby ~ Charles Brown & Johnny Moore's 3 Blazers (Hollywood)
24. Smokey Robinson Drop

That's the "No, my brother; you got to get your own" Christmas music mix.


Friday, December 05, 2008

"Go Navy (Bet on Army)"

That was my motto when I served. Twenty years ago, Navy didn't field good teams. While I would always don colors and root for the Mids, I usually placed a bet on Army to cover the spread. They usually did; the winnings went verrrrry far in Montreal one summer.

US ARMY OATH OF ENLISTMENT
"I, (State your name), swear to sign away 4 years of my otherwise mediocre life to the UNITED STATES ARMY because I couldn't score high enough on the ASVAB to get into the Air Force, I'm not tough enough for the Marines, and the Navy won't take me because I can't swim. I will wear camouflage every day and tuck my trousers into my boots because I can't figure out how to use blousing straps. I promise to wear my uniform 24 hours a day even when I have a date. I will continue to tell myself that I am a fierce killing machine because my Drill Sergeant told me I am, despite the fact that the only action I will see is a court-martial for sexual harassment. I acknowledge the fact that I will make E-8 in my first year of service, and vow to maintain that it is because I scored perfect on my PT test. After completion of my Sexual.....er.....I mean "Basic Training," I will attend a different Army school every other month and return knowing less than I did when I left. On my first trip home after Boot Camp, I will walk around like I am cool and propose to my 9th grade sweetheart. I will make my wife stay home because if I let her out she might leave me for a better-looking Air Force guy. Should she leave me twelve times, I will continue to take her back. While at work I will maintain a look of knowledge while getting absolutely nothing accomplished. I will arrive to work every day at 1000 hrs because of morning PT and leave everyday at 1300 to report back to "COMPANY." I understand that I will undergo no training whatsoever that will help me get a job upon separation, and will end up working construction with my friends from high school. I will brag to everyone about the Army giving me $30,000 for college, but will be unable to use it because I can't pass a placement exam.

So Help Me God!"

_____________________
Signature
_____________________
Date

Lest you think I'm picking only on Army...

US NAVY OATH OF ENLISTMENT

"I, Top Gun, in lieu of going to prison, swear to sign away 4 years of my life to the UNITED STATES NAVY, because I want to hang out with Marines without actually having to BE one of them, because I thought the Air Force was too "corporate," because I didn't want to actually live in dirt like the Army, and because I thought, "Hey, I like to swim...why not?" I promise to wear clothes that went out of style in 1976 and to have my name stenciled on the butt of every pair of pants I own. I understand that I will be mistaken for the Good Humor Man during summer,! and for Nazi Waffen SS during the winter. I will strive to use a different language than the rest of the English-speaking world, using words like "deck, bulkhead, cover, geedunk, scuttlebutt, scuttle and head," when I really mean "floor, wall, hat, candy, water fountain, hole in wall and toilet." I will take great pride in the fact that all Navy acronyms, rank, and insignia, and everything else for that matter, are completely different from the other services and make absolutely no sense whatsoever. I will muster, whatever that is, at 0700 every morning unless I am buddy-buddy with the Chief, in which case I will show up around 0930. I vow to hone my coffee cup-handling skills to the point that I can stand up in a kayak being tossed around in a typhoon, and still not spill a drop. I consent to being promoted and subsequently busted at least twice per fiscal year. I realize that, once selected for Chief, I am required to submit myself to the sick, and quite possibly illegal, whims of my newfound "colleagues."

So Help Me Neptune!"

______________________
Signature
______________________
Date

Friday, November 28, 2008

PTSD (Post-Thanksgiving Starch Disorder)

Ten minutes shy of noon and I'm finishing up the bottle of wine I opened last night: an Australian blended red with grenache as the base, with equal parts mataro and shiraz for flavor that went well with the chocolate ancho mole I whipped up.

After the dishes and kitchen were cleaned, I sat down in front of the computer for a bit, surfing and checking e-mail (a compulsion I can't seem to shake on holidays). Whenever I browse YouTube I can't help but root around for old hair metal bands. I found this gem:



The band was called Nitro and, like many bands of the era (Vinnie Vincent Invasion comes to mind) they ascribed to a "bigger is better" aesthetic. Guitarist Michael Angelo Batio was one of those guitarists who could fill an eight-bar solo with thousands of notes. Singer Jim Gillette had claimed to have a six octave range — he legitimately could hit four octaves — and routinely shattered wine glasses with his voice in concerts.

Too bad they couldn't write a good song with guns pointed at their heads. But this was the late 80's, so that never held Nitro back. Both Batio and Gillette released popular instruction videos through Doug Marks' "Metal Method" series in which each purported that, with the right amount of training and instruction, you, too could suck as hard as they unleash your untapped musical potential.

The great thing about Nirvana and the grunge explosion is that hack bands like Nitro were killed off immediately. To their credit, Nitro also wasn't one of those bands that hung on long after grunge died whining that they could have been big if it hadn't been for Kurt Cobain's ability to write good songs.

Not that Gillette has anything to whine about, nor would he give a damn if he ever came across this. He's living a charmed life. Post-Nitro, Gillette took his instruction video money, moved to an island, started training in jujitsu and MMA, and became a legitimate, fireplug-bodied badass.

Oh, yeah, he also married Lita Ford, which is as ultimate a "fuck you" as one can get without having to actually mouth the words.


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Your Thanksgiving Menu

The turkey was pardoned this year. This year's Thanksgiving menu will be:

  • Brined chicken breast confit with ancho chocolate mole and homemade tortillas
  • Cranberry serrano salsa
  • homemade baked sweet potato chips
  • Wild Mexican rice and black beans
  • lots of whisky

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Taking Stock, Making Stock

Yesterday's banner day food-wise was typical of how we've been going lately at the site. We put out a call for new writers at Chicagoist a few weeks back. Marcus and Jim are poring through the applications for general and A&E writers.

With the exception of a few tweaks I'll be working on with the other writers, I'm very pleased with our overall food and drink coverage. Laura Stolpman's become an amazing photographer and is handling the weekly events roundup, taking some load off my shoulders with regularly scheduled features. Anthony Todd and Rob Christopher are tag-teaming on the "Properly Sauced" cocktail column and are just starting to hit their stride re-creating favorite cocktails from the city's better bars and restaurants. Jacy Wojcik expressed an interest in switching to food and drink, so we placed her on a quick learning curve starting with Chicago Gourmet to combine her interest in this with her love of design to give some new facets to what we cover. They're all also very solid writers, which makes editing their copy a breeze.

That, and a lot of trial and error, has helped diversify our coverage to allow a better balance between original reviews and articles and posting to newsworthy links; expand the scope of our coverage past restaurant reviews into subjects that we feel are worthy of coverage such as slow food, sustainability, and agriculture issues; give the others a wide outlet for their work and opportunities for freelance work; and make me a better organized editor (although I still have a ways to go).

I try to check in with them weekly via e-mail (keeping Marcus informed, as well) to see what stories they're working on, hash out ideas for future coverage, and get updates on other stories we might be running behind on. And I'm almost always available via IM for them to pose questions. We've set up an editorial calendar where we can post updates to deadlines, press releases for news ideas and ETAs for openings, closings and events. The most important thing I try to remember is that they all write for the Chicagoist because they love writing for Chicagoist. I could demand that they stick with deadlines, but that appraoch tends to alienate volunteer writers. I love the work they do and make sure they know it; this is another thing I've picked up from trial and error. But they certainly deserve the kudos.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

While You're Waiting For "Chinese Democracy" to Happen...

Yeah, I streamed it on Myspace and you can have my free Dr. Pepper when it comes out tomorrow. I'll stick with "Appetite for Destruction;" a timeless record — one of the last to be mixed with vinyl in mind — and with some salacious stories regarding the recording.

It got me to thinking how dangerous Guns N' Roses seemed at the time. They were the one band that could match Mötley Crüe drug for drug and stripper for stripper, yet, unlike the Crüe, still garner some positive reviews for their music. Plus, Axl could start riots with an unprovoked mood swing.

So I looked for the best example of this balancing act between being a legitimate threat to the public safety and the biggest band in the world. I found it in their performance from Farm Aid in 1990. It would be the last performance with the original lineup. In typical punk sneer, they perform the UK Subs' classic "Down on the Farm." Axl prefaced the song by saying they were gonna play it "for humor's sake, since we don't mind, and if you can take a joke."




This performance was also the first time original GNR drummer Steven Adler ever heard of the song, which he related in this interview with Metal Sludge a few years back (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3).

Friday, November 21, 2008

She Still Can't Pronounce "Iraq" Properly

Sarah Palin was back home in Wasilla Main Street, "Real America," yesterday, to "pardon" a turkey for Thanksgiving in one of those cute political stunts that occur this time of year.

Where did this take place? At a turkey farm:




Sarah Palin — like herpes — is the gift that keeps on giving.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Lost in Norwood Park


Back in my living-on-the-North-Side twenties it became a Saturday ritual for me to walk over from my studio apartment on Ashland to Jim's Grill a few blocks away on Irving Park Road to rid myself of the dog that bit me the night before. Owner Dave Choi is a devout Buddhist and vegan, but he was also a businessman. Dave slowly worked bi bim bop and dry pancakes made with kim chi and brown rice onto the menu, along with a variety of spicy teas and soups guaranteed to clean you out.

Dave and I eventually struck up long conversations as he began to recogize me more and more. Well, I was also a pretty fearless eater, even back then. One day we were discussing eating meat - Dave was in the process of opening the first version of his vegan Korean restaurant Amitabul at the time - and Dave told me, "I want you to go to the grocery store and buy a steak. A good steak. Then cut a couple slices off it, put it in a beaker and let it sit out for a week."

"I know it's gonna sit there and rot, Dave," I said.

He replied, "That's also what it does in your digestive system." So I did what Dave asked. I also ate the rest of the steak while the two slices I removed were rotting in a beaker. When I returned to Jim's Grill the following weekend, Dave asked me how the experiment went. "Steak tasted really good," I said.

I hadn't seen Dave in a many years. He moved Amitabul from Southport to Milwaukee Avenue in Norwood Park around the same time I moved to Bridgeport. The move has don
e him well; Dave has a dedicated clientele who hang on his every word and suggestion as though it's Gospel. Some of them even buy his diet plans: one $65 package has you eating nothing but fiber for three days as a natural colonic. His food is still hands down some of the best vegan cuisine in the city. I've got enough of Dave's cure-all soup to help me fight the hangover I'm certain to wake up with tomorrow and Monday.

It should ahve been a two-hour trip, tops. But I forgot that Milwaukee is still located east of Northwest Highway, even that far north. So when I disembarked from the Metra this afternoon, I started heading west after a disgruntled waitress gave me half-assed directions. I stopped for directions at a Lutheran church, but the deacon I asked for directions wasn't very charitable with his advice. Nor was he charitable with his combover or hair dye.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

We Could Be in Green Bay



  • Never attend a craft beer festival on an empty stomach.
  • Always try on your snow pants before you buy them.
  • If you fall asleep on the couch watching a repeat of "Svengoolie," you deserve the infomercial that wakes you up at 4 a.m. Or worse, the Jay Mohr movie.
  • Turned out the lengthy walks both I and my dog walker neighbor took Emmy on this summer aggravated her pre-existing limp. Thank God there's nothing wrong structurally with her bones.
  • Spent Friday dividing time between the vet and Micro Center. Preferred the vet.
  • Spent Saturday cleaning out my hard drive of eight months worth of eMusic downloads. Still have another 6 GB to go.
  • I really did see a white kid on the Green line yesterday with "The only promise in life is death" tattooed on his skull and forehead. Guess he isn't a glass half-full guy.
  • The pork rillettes are coming, Lauren. Perfection takes time.
  • Fucking Bears. My Pop Warner team could get a better pass rush going.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Northwest Side Love


I've often written that one of the main reasons I love living in Bridgeport is because it reminds me in many ways of growing up on the Northwest Side of the city. Even though Bridgeport is much closer to downtown than Hermosa, Jefferson Park, Cragin, Galewood, Avondale, et al., many of the same traits and coming-of-age experiences are shared.

I found this from a facebook group called "I Grew Up on the Northwest Side of Chicago." Something tells me that longtime Bridgeport residents can relate to more than a few of these. My experiences are highlighted in yellow.

  • You went to a Catholic grade school
  • You went to a Catholic High School, and chances are it was a same sex school
  • Your eighth grade graduating class went to at least 5 different high schools
  • If you're a girl, you have no problem wearing plaid wool skirts
  • You hung out at a park (ie. Oriole Park) For me it was Hermosa Park
  • You rode your bike everywhere, every day, and it was probably either a GT, Dyno, Haro, or Redline
  • You are either a Cubs fan or one of the few people in your circle of friends who like the Sox
  • You don't mind the sound of airplanes flying overhead at any given hour
  • At least one person on your block is either a cop or fireman (Uncle Stu was a cop)
  • You shopped at the "HIP" (Harlem Irving Plaza) before it was ghetto (and spent many lazy Friday nights at Rolling Stones Records trying to pick up girls.)
  • You very occasionally went to the Brickyard, but it was usually only to buy basketball shoes (I also worked at a Musicland in the Brickyard)
  • You took the train and bus to the Cubs game without adults at a very young age
  • An ideal summer afternoon was spent swimming at your friend's above ground pool
  • You, or someone close to you, had a bike stolen at least once in your life
  • You have heard stories of scary things that go on in the forest preserves
  • You are either Italian, Polish, Irish, German or a combination of any of the above
  • You couldn't wait for "Carnival Season"
  • You partied on Harlem Ave. after one or more of the Bulls' titles
  • You didn't go to Chuck E. Cheese; you went to Caesarland
  • You loved TBK (that's the Taco and Burrito King on Harlem and Belmont) before you ever had your first beer, but now you rarely walk in there sober
  • You used to "peg" for your liquor
  • You have an alley
  • Your alley has a yellow sign warning you about rats
  • As a kid you drove by the huge Gold Domed Church on Cumberland and thought it was the Taj Mahal that you read about in school.
I'm feeling wistful.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Whisky Weather

Also some weather for some really good pork. I went back to the Publican again last night for for the final preparation for next week's review. This time, in addition to previous partners-in-crime, I extended open invitations to a few folks and my friends Todd and Linda took up the offer.

For me, the high points of the evening were watching Todd get starstruck twice. First, it was when he recognized one of the women at our four top as none other than Gina Black. That was followed shortly after once the party split up when I, Todd and Linda stayed for dinner and none other than Paul Kahan stops by to chat us up a bit. Earlier I stopped by the bar and thanked Kahan for hosting the Reader's mulefoot pig dinner, which culminated a fourteen day stretch where I ate pork for at least one meal.

After that, Todd looked at me and asked, "Do I always get to meet world class chefs and rock stars when having dinner with you?"

That was just an off night.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Thank You, General Powell

It's a hard time to be a veteran and politically progressive, but General Powell's endorsement of Senator Obama reminded me that one can serve his country and make an independent decision.


Saturday, October 18, 2008

Mmmmm... Pork

In the past week I think I've eaten every conceivable part of a pig that can be prepared as food. If you haven't had the deep-fried bacon at Risque Cafe in Wrigleyville (served with a side of white bacon gravy) do yourself a favor and trade in your planned long lifespan for a serving. This is easily the best menu item they have, although the pulled pork (above) - while a bit on the dry side - is nothing to scoff at.

Meanwhile, I've been to the Publican on Fulton Market twice in the past week in preparation for a full review for Chicagoist I'm scheduling to run around Halloween. Jacy Wojcik, who we're bringing along slowly to help augment the food and drink beat while I get back to some new writers, has a first look at Paul Kahan's homage to the German beer hall, with dishes from executive chef Brian Huston.

Even with our banana republic economy it's been a banner year for restaurant openings around town, and the Publican is in my top five. If you do plan on checking it out, order the charcuterie plate, the pork rillette and the pork rinds. The latter is easily the most whimsical appetizer I've ordered this year. Too bad last night's crowd was a combination of post-collegiate sausage party, extremely high-maintenance women and their husbands who would make a clean break of them, if they thought they could get their penises back in the divorce settlement.

I'll use that as a seque and offer another round of advance congratulations to Scott and Erin, who are eloping in Vermont next weekend (although I do question the use of the term if everyone they know is heading there to get married). It's also fitting that they've set up a blog leading up to the wedding. They've even gone so far as to compile a soundtrack to their "eloping." Any soundtrack that includes "Cigarettes and Coffee" by Otis Redding and "If I'm on the Late Side" by the Faces is worth checking out.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Fall Check-Up


It's been a while since I've been around these parts. That's because, between Chicagoist, work and extracurricular activities I haven't really had anything to write about here. I won't write just for the sake of writing.

Just know that I'm hale, hearty, happy and still alive. And that's enough for now.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Living the Gimmick For Tool Long


I've written about being a fan of Ric Flair in the past. The thing about Flair (and other successful wrestlers) is that they live their in-ring gimmick. In Flair's case the gimmick was that of the "jet-flying, limo-riding, kiss stealing Nature Boy: WOOOOOOOOOO!!!"

Gotta question why one needs to live that life as Flair nears 60. This shot was taken a day or two after Flair's daughter was arrested for assaulting a police officer. Charlotte cops were summoned to Flair's daughter's apartment to find Flair, his daughter and her boyfriend fighting. Judging from this shot, Flair is probably saying "You should see the other guy."

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The Artsy Champagne Shot


Artsy Champagne Shot
Originally uploaded by bridgeportseasoning.

For the longest time, photography was one of the major weaknesses of the food and drink coverage at Chicagoist. A self-inflicted weakness, I might add.

Then I bought a good camera, Stolpman bought two good ones, Anthony made his own light box and Jacy just bought a Nikon D60. Food pr0n (or "porn") is now one of the beat's strengths.

This is an homage to some of Laura's better shots, taken at Jen and Ed's wedding last weekend. By now, most of my friends are accustomed to seeing me break out the camera for some shots of what we're eating.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Chris Puts In His Dinner teeth


Chris Puts in His Dinner teeth
Originally uploaded by bridgeportseasoning.

They work wonders with corn on the cob.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

The Weekend


Finish Line
Originally uploaded by bridgeportseasoning.

Sadly, when this shot was taken I still had six miles to go to get home after the Boulevard Lakefront Tour. I figured I'd take the long way home and make it an even fifty.

Paying for it now, as well. I only got four hours of sleep the night before. My friends Jenny and Ed were married last night at the Cheney Mansion in Oak Park. Weddings, of course, bring together people you haven't seen in a while. I haven't seen one of my birthday twins since she moved to New Zealand to work for Peter Jackson. Middle Earth seems to be treating her well.

Additionally, a couple other friends are now expecting. Didn't hear from one on it formally, but I was allowed to feign surprise. Anyway, I'm beat.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Your Republican Nominee

And narrated by Ian McShane, no less.



Thursday, September 04, 2008

I Was Wrong

When I said that Sarah Palin was "Dan Quayle with a vagina." The more that's discovered about her - the seccessionist party of which she was once a member; her outright lies about being a reformer and opposing the "Bridge to Nowhere;" her political pettiness; her demand to inject religion into her governing - the more Palin goes from "unqualified" to downright scary.

Which leads me to last night's speech. Never mind that McCain's handlers had to re-write it because they didn't want it sounding "masculine" (another indicator that they rashly picked Palin for the ticket) or that Palin paralleled her rise in politics to that of Harry S Truman.

What should frighten you is the way the GOP tried to place Obama's experience as a community organizer as a negative (we're also looking at you, Giuliani) when one of the strengths the McCain campaign touts about Palin is her work with her local PTA.

Isn't the PTA a community organization?

Anyway, I had to re-watch the speech online last night because I couldn't believe what I heard. I get the feeling that McCain chose "Ilsa, She-Wolf of the SS" as his running mate. Can't wait to hear how many times McCain uses the phrase "POW" tonight.


Wednesday, September 03, 2008

See You in April, Buck


Buckingham Fountain at Lollapalooza
Originally uploaded by bridgeportseasoning.

Hopefully with the full-on facelift complete.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Hood/Cooley '08


So I spent the Labor Day holiday running errands, going to manufactured street festivals in manufactured neighborhoods, eating scrapple at Ina's, gnashing my teeth while tolerating shopping at Target and Pete's Fresh Market, painting the home office a wonderful shade of sagebrush and hanging the newly framed posters. I don't update here as often as I'd like, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Then I get home, log online and read the day of stunning Sarah Palin disclosures. Way to vet her, McCain campaign. As it has throughout this long Presidential campaign, once again in the argument of Barack Obama's judgment versus the "experience" factor of his opponent, Obama's judgment wins out, as I pointed out to my friend Sue after brunch.

I'd jump for joy at all the revelations but I learned not to underestimate the half of the country that twice elected the Bush/Cheney ticket into office. As Erin pointed out in her twitter feed, the GOP will turn this into a positive.

They already are. Saturday night I'm on the train home from seeing Chaplin's "City Lights" at Bank of America cinema in Portage Park (an aside: I own the movie on DVD, but there's something about watching it in a crowded theater that's just magical.) and two guys are talking about the Palin choice. They were looking at a photo of the Alaska governor holding a rifle and hooting, "Boy, she don't let those titties get in the way of handling that gun, does she?"

Between that and the announcement that Palin's daughter "decided" to "have her baby and marry the child's father" (as though Bristol Palin really had a choice), one can't say that the GOP doesn't know their base. Only in America can someone go from beauty queen to sports anchor to VPCILF and future GRILF.


You Don't Have To Go To Florida To Ride Space Mountain

Man, I loved watching Ric Flair in his prime.


Saturday, August 23, 2008

So What Did You Do This Summer?


Bertucci's Corner: Toasted Ravioli
Originally uploaded by bridgeportseasoning.

Just back from my monthly haircut from Adriana at Nancy's. The hair keeps getting shorter and I'm alright with that. It's easier to maintain, not to mention the fortune I'm saving in shampoo and conditioner.

I've been riding back and forth to work to the tune of an average 120 miles a week. I've lost some weight and the rest of what I'm carrying has shifted, between the biking and stretching, to where I no longer fit into some of my favorite shirts. So I treated myself to some new cycling jerseys.

For the first time in years I went to the procession of St. Rocco. I highly recommend the toasted ravioli from Bertucci's Corner on 24th and Princeton.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Everything's Better With Bacon And/Or Prosciutto


Especially sushi. You are being mocked by the "five-o" roll at Sushi X. I and two others stomped a mudhole in this bad boy's ass and walked it dry last night. I've posted a review of Sushi X on Chicagoist this morning.Between the "five-o" and the "pollo loco" (made with panko-crusted chicken) I was floored.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Pressure


2008_07_botw29
Originally uploaded by bridgeportseasoning.

A few weeks back Gabriel Magliaro of Half Acre Beer e-mailed me and said he wished to nominate me for the Michael Jackson Beer Journalism Awards at this year's Great American Beer Festival.

I was flattered, actually. As is my nature, however, there's that niggling though in the back of my brain that thinks I'm not deserving of the nomination. Sure, writing about beer is my freelance bread-and-butter, but confidence level writing about it (hell, freelance work in general) ebbs and flows. Even though I've written about it for so long now that breweries, distributors and other beer geeks now come to me with tips and suggestions for stories. I feel that some editors might take a look at the AP style errors I miss, realize the jig is up and stop giving me work.

Due to the nature of the rules, I had to grant Gabe permission first, sign a waiver acknowledging this and provide clips for submission Naturally, I waited until the last minute to sort through my clips. Found a couple pieces on Chicagoist that might pass muster, Googled another Sun-Times story that I wasn't displeased with and printed that out at work. I'll probably have to root through my Sun-Times clips at home to find another one I think isn't cringe inducing. Ultimately, it's a nice problem to have, I assume, to have someone think enough of your work that they want to recognize it in some form.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Classic Cool...

from none other than Bill Withers. This is just too sweet.



The Weekend in Cliffs Notes


Random Goodness 020
Originally uploaded by bridgeportseasoning.

Graham Elliot on Friday: Wonderful. Proof that maybe we as food writers should probably wait two months or so until doing a full review.

Saturday: Margaret Lyons celebrating her birthday with karaoke. Did a very off-key rendition of this song, the last documented moment where Gene Simmons realized the music than the money worked hand-in-hand:


"Domino" by KISS from "Revenge" (1992)


Stopped by Pontiac on the way to the train. Ran into a friend whose show I missed while I was waiting my turn at the mic. Invited me to join her and some of her friends for beers in the backyard of some Australian guy who just got back from the Mackinac sailboat race, claiming he sailed to the island on the Stars & Stripes. Dude was blitzed out of his mind, even for an Australian.

He kept telling stories about how he used to rustle cattle in Brisbane while trying to start a fire. Had no reason to doubt him. After all, he was waving a scorched and sharp piece of kindling in my face as he said it. A quick mention of Victoria Bitter and we were fast friends.

Extricated ourselves from that predicament and headed to the Note. Yikes. Walls decorated with work from some of the city's best graffiti artists. Wasn't impressed. Said my goodbyes and hopped in a cab to Bridgeport. Three blocks from my apartment a Denali pulls up beside the cab and asks the driver something as two girls hop out of the truck and into the back of the cab with me, flush with the glow of clubbing. One of them lives a couple blocks away from me.

Yay Chuckles!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Maybe He Was Aware of the Current Weak Value of the Dollar

We really are raising a generation of idiots:

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sorry, "Anonymous," I'm Not Moving Anytime Soon


Polo Cafe
Originally uploaded by bridgeportseasoning.

Especially after nine years in the neighborhood. I've grown accustomed to it.

As for your contention that I'm a "faggot ass bitch," are you asking because you'd like to blow me?

JImmy Sabbia Talks Politics


Jimmy Ethyl 2
Originally uploaded by bridgeportseasoning.

I stopped at Freddie's this evening on the way home from the White Sox game for a bite and saw Jimmy Sabbia standing around. He's not getting around as well as he used to, folks. He's also not feeling as well as he usually does - he didn't go through the whole "You know Gene?" routine. So help him out if you have a chance. At the very least make sure he's okay.

Which is what I was doing. Anyway, he took a look at my t-shirt with the '83 Sox logo and "Obama" written underneath. Turns out Jimmy's up to date on the current political landscape.

"Oooohh-Bah-mamamamamamama," he croaked.

"Just, 'Obama,' Jimmy," I replied.

What followed shocked me, even knowing Jimmy's outbursts all these years. "Why are you wearing that shirt? This is Bridgeport, you know that?" He asked.

"It's 2008, Jimmy. Get with the times," I said.

Jimmy continued, "This is Bridgeport. We don't don't vote for..." I cut him off before he could start dropping racial epithets while the black family in front of me waited for their Italian ices.

"It's okay, Jimmy. the 11th Ward Local Democratic Organization endorsed Obama."

That set Jimmy off. "The 11th Ward? Where's that?"

"Here, Jimmy. This is the 11th Ward."

Jimmy then proceeded to give me a lesson in Bridgeport political history you don't find in newspapers or textbooks. "I grew up in Chinatown. You know the Bertuccis?"

"I know of them." (In fact I think I may have written about them in regard to the Jimbo's saga.)

"They run this neighborhood, from Chinatown. They'll kick your ass for wearing your Ooooh-Ba-mamamamamama t-shirt." Then he staggered away south on Union.

If what Jimmy says is true, it looks like I might be donating to the Order of St. Rocco next month.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Feeling It


Fish Tacos from Lupita's Ristorante in Evanston
Originally uploaded by bridgeportseasoning.

Last night I saw Public Enemy perform It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back in its entirety at Pitchfork. I jumped around like a 20-year-old and this morning my 39-year-old body felt it.

I think the rest of the festival is going to be anticlimactic.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Chocolate cake with cascabel chile and raspberry basil sorbet


Chocolate cake with cascabel chile and raspberry basil sorbet
Originally uploaded by bridgeportseasoning.

Like that? That was the final course of the latest underground dinner by Efrain Cuevas' re-christened Clandestino Supper Club, held last night in a Humboldt Park loft. The kicker was the wine I brought for the dinner, a rosé from Solo Rosa vineyards in Napa, paired perfectly with every course.

I've written before that rosés are truly one of the more versatile wine styles and not completely deserving of the ugly "white zinfandel" stepsister burden they sometimes carry.

I Remember My First Beer...

and it wasn't at a Cubs game:




The video (via Deadspin)is also posted at Chicagoist right now.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

"Dirty South" Saturday at Sox Park


Ozzie Curses Out Contreras in Two Languages
Originally uploaded by bridgeportseasoning.

We occasionally get free tickets to Sox games at work. I mentioned to someone in an e-mail that I thought about attending the game last Saturday and she was all "IWANNAGOTOTHEGAMETOO!!" As luck would have it, tickets to Saturday's game became available and we met up at Bernice's for pre-game drinks that included an introduction to a Lithuanian liqueur called "starka" that tasted like scorched caramel, but in a good way.

Incidentally, I started off the evening with a shot of Malort.

So we're at the game settling into our seats and sitting next to me are two young girls who managed to smuggle beer into the game. But only one can each. One can each? Why go through the effort?

Carlos Quentin comes to the plate and the girl to my right screams, "You're an asshole, Carlos!" Apparently they were Annie Savoys in training and didn't take kindly to Quentin's rebuffing of their advances. Then Quentin stroked a double and they're cheering his ass. We looked at them and said, "Must be hell to have such conflicting emotions about someone."

It wasn't an invitation to start dishing about their experiences with White Sox players, but they used it as such, anyway. One of them said, "I'd love to have Joe Crede's baby. I'd tell my boyfriend it's his." Crede and AJ were their favorites, for those of you who are curious.

The highlight for me was when Alexi Ramirez came to the plate and the PA folks started playing some salsa. And not some weak-ass Desi Arnaz stuff, but some bone-raising salsa dura the likes of which we used to book at HotHouse.

When the music ended, the Annie Savoy closest to me screams, "What's with that salsa crap?" in her best Southwest suburban sneer. I told her that Ramirez was from Cuba. I wished I'd had taken the question to be rhetorical.

She said, "He's Cuban? I thought he was black!" Try as we might, we could not close the floodgates. She as rolling about how her fiance was Mexican, "but he has a brown ass. My fiance's a brownie!" She then said that she was going to marry her fiance and move to Mexico with him, with one reason for marriage being that she's "never been anywhere. I've never even seen the ocean."

It was the kind of ignorance that comes from not having been anywhere, although I suspect that she could probably travel the world and still ask why the Sox play salsa for Ramirez.

My friend asked her why she needed to get married to see the ocean, but this one didn't have an answer. Eventually, she and her friend worked their way down to the Sox dugout to tempt Crede and AJ, apparently. We leave our seats to grab food and beer, come back to find Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn and his family in our seats. Lt. Gov. Quinn got my boss started many years ago. I also think he appreciated my "Winning Ugly" white Sox logo Obama t-shirt. But he didn't say.

We didn't mind. The floor show was over by then.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Sparkly!!


Good friend (and resident firebug) Jenny LoCascio threw a holiday barbecue last night, which eventually turned into a fireworks display once Mike showed up with the mortars. You don't need city-sponsored fireworks when you know Mike.

As pretty as the display turned out, the highlight for me came when Mike toasted Independence Day by quoting Jeff Spicoli:

"What Jefferson was saying was, Hey! You know, we left this England place 'cause it was bogus; so if we don't get some cool rules ourselves - pronto - we'll just be bogus too!"

You know what? In the context of the holiday, it seemed very relevant.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

...It's An Adventure

I'm pretty sure these were the same reasons I joined the Navy.



Sunday, June 29, 2008

Working on Some Photos


Shonna Tucker 1
Originally uploaded by bridgeportseasoning.

While the Sox return the favor to the Cubs for last week's sweep, I decided to work on some photos that had been sitting on the hard drive from Taste of Randolph Street last weekend. This one is for Marcus of his sweetheart.

Ms. Tucker and her tiny but strong hands makes me miss Muscle Shoals, too.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Surprises Guests


Andre Williams 1
Originally uploaded by bridgeportseasoning.

More goodness from the Sadies concert at Schubas last Friday. This time, the incomparable Andre Williams takes the stage to sing "Agile, Mobile and Hostile."

Bad Thin Lizzy Cover Theater

I've always wondered why there aren't any Thin Lizzy tribute bands. It can't be that hard to find light-skinned black man with wild eyes and an unruly natural who plays bass to impersonate Phil Lynott. I personally think a Thin Lizzy tribute band would go over like gangbusters on St. Patrick's Day and eventually make bagpipe bands obsolete.

Until then, I'll have to salve my wounds with suspect covers from aging hair metal bands, like this cover of "Suicide" from Europe. Actually, with John Norum handling the lead guitar duties this version isn't as bad as Def Leppard's cover of "Don't Believe a Word" from their covers album a few years back.


Monday, June 23, 2008

Sunday, June 22, 2008

That Kind of Weekend


Andre Williams with The Sadies 3
Originally uploaded by bridgeportseasoning.

The one thing that makes me feel old quicker than being outside the L&L Tavern at 2 a.m. is being inside the L&L Tavern at 2 a.m. I know things change, but back when I used to live up north I could count on the L&L being filled with barflies and theater folks at last call.

Not anymore.

Anyway, I and a few friends wound up there Friday night after seeing the Sadies at Schubas. The Sadies are great live, but you can pretty much count on seeing a guest appearance onstage by Jon Langford any time they come to town. What extra bang we got for our buck included guest appearances by Sally Timms and the great Andre Williams.

Lucky I packed my camera and managed to snap some shots (above is one of a few with Williams singing with the Sadies). The set's up on flickr, if you want to peruse 'em. I'm so glad I bought this new camera.

Tonight, after working on edits for some work I picked up from Time Out Chicago and fleshing out the week's food and drink coverage on Chicagoist, I'll be editing shots from Taste of Randolph Street, where Drive-By Truckers and Bobby Bare, Jr. brought the house down, I ran into more people than I thought I would and helped someone with her stated goal of getting blind stinking drunk before her gig last night. How I found the energy for a glass of cotes du rhone at the Tasting Room after, I don't know.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I Chat With People About Vapid Things


Our Man in Chicago: Mmm...Anne Hathaway
The uncomplicated Man's Angelina Jolie
me: The uncomplicated Man's Angelina Jolie?
OMIC: Yeah. All of the hotness and smokiness, none of the complications (mild weirdness, desire for a million kids from various countries)
Also, married
me: There's nothing smoky about Anne Hathaway.
She's a brunette version of Betty from the "Archie" comics.
OMIC: Hmm
me: Hot, yeah.
Smoky, not so much.
Unless she goes for one of those Reese Witherspoon post-breakup makeovers, then...
All bangs, Pilates and push-up bras
I could deal then

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Learning Curve of a New Camera


Your Humble Photographer at Al-Khayameih
Originally uploaded by bridgeportseasoning.

For the life of me I have no idea why I resisted buying a new camera for so long, but I'm glad I finally did. Now if I can just tear myself away from this ten-year-old cell phone I'm hauling around. In fairness, Peg took the picture, but the settings were mine.

New Belgium Brewing is bringing their Tour de Fat to town Saturday and a longtime Chicagoist reader is gonna trade in his car for a bike. I'd like to think that I had something to do with it, but gas prices at $4.50 a gallon might have more to do with it.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Things You Step In Sometimes


Yesterday I found myself in the lounge of a famous hotel working on an assignment. Word to the wise: never order a $20 martini on an empty stomach and proceed to drink it while interviewing the bartender.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

The Short Drive to 40 Begins


Cucumber Soju at Kohan
Originally uploaded by bridgeportseasoning.

The main problem with a three-day weekend is that it ends too quickly and you wind up thinking of other things you wanted to do after it's gone. I still managed to do a lot, like drink for cheap, drink for cheap, and drink for cheap.

Being a food writer there was also dinners and photos involved. The best thing I did this weekend, however, had to have been getting a massage.

I hadn't had a good thorough massage in ages and forgot how amazing a great one could feel. It's like a reset of your whole body. For an hour Friday afternoon, by body was a set on a complete F5.

If there was anything about the massage that gave me pause it was a rather odd compliment that the masseuse gave me twenty minutes in, as she started working on my legs.

She starts poking me in the buttocks and said, "You have a nice ass." I was in the middle of bliss, so I responded, "Thank you." That was followed by my realizing what she said. Then I asked, "What?"

She repeated her statement. "You have a nice ass."

I know I do; I work hard for it. I just found it odd that she should bring it up.

Anyway, I walked out feeling no pain at all. The following day, waking up with a hangover and at Morning yoga I was able to reach positions I have a hard time reaching.

Like I said, never discount the feeling of a good massage. If you have a nice ass, even better.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Finally, A Rockumentary I'd Pay to See.

Peep, Peeps!


Just posted an interview with "Top Chef Chicago's" Stephaine Izard on Chicagoist. Read it, then DIGG , reddit, stumbleupon and add it to your facebook profiles.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

I Almost Forgot


Deconstructed Turducken with Microgreens, Sweet Potato Puree and Jalapeno Foie Gras Cornbread
Originally uploaded by bridgeportseasoning.

Between curbing an urge to check Facebook every fifteen minutes, filling in for Stolpman on Top Chef Recaps, dropping deadlines, checking appeal briefs at work, figuring out how I'm going to eat at all the places I want to eat on my birthday weekend next week without gaining weight, knocking out a serious 75-mile bike ride on Memorial Day in under six hours and treating myself afterward to a nice bath filled with bath bombs from Lush (the soap store, not the wine shop), I wrote about the rise in good BBQ on the north side in yesterday's Sun-Times.

As you read it you may want to double check what I wrote. But I stand by it. Sheffield's has some serious good BBQ.

Now it's time to find out who's in the coffin on Lost.

Monday, May 26, 2008

... And Full of Vim and Vigor


_MG_1677.JPG
Originally uploaded by P4O4E4T.

I rode Bike the Drive yesterday with my friends Todd and Miguel. Those rides to Evanston and back for work have really paid off. I felt like I could have done the 30-mile loop twice. Unlike the gentleman in the photo, who is actually a neighbor and does a daily round trip to Albany Park.

Anyway, I practically bunny-hopped my bike from Lawrence to the rest stop at Bryn Mawr, where the three of us were trapped by a volunteer. This man would not let us go as he told us that we should exercise for "balance, stamina, strength and flexibility." He asked if we did yoga; we each allowed that we did.

"That is good," he said. "But only do the stretchy yoga, not the jumpy kind." He wouldn't let us return to our bikes as he told us about climbing mountains in Nepal and hauling a wheel barrow from Edgewater to Washington Park. When he returned to the subject of yoga, I made a downward dog quip that went way over his head.

But the unsolicited advice was enough to carry us through our respective exits and into the remainder of the day.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Notions


Friday night I checked in with ChEfrain Cuevas at his latest underground dinner, this one in the breakroom of a grocery store on the North Side. It was originally supposed to be on the roof, but the possibility of bad weather forced it inside. I thought it worked out better this way because it gave diners the feeling of actually doing something illicit.

I was lucky to get my hands on one of the drumsticks from the turducken that was served as part of the main course. Andrew Huff of Gapers Block also snagged one. However, while Huff removed the meat from the bone with a knife and fork, I tore into the drumstick like a Viking. Or Henry V.

It was a good night, on many fronts.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Just a Few Hours Until Game Time



And this is how I'm gonna get ready for this evening's media slam at Hideout.

Congratulations

Sometimes watching the two of them together makes me fear for diabetes (I kid) but Scott and Erin are a perfect match. They're like one of those couples you refer to as one word; scottanderin, if you will.

Erin announced on her blog yesterday that they're getting married in the fall. It makes one hope that everyone could find the happiness the two of them share.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Leisurely Thoughts

New Glarus, WI - Greetings from "Little Switzerland." The beer is cold, the air less so.

I'm up here just gathering my bearings and catching up on some overdue things. One of them is finishing reading this week's New Yorker. It has a killer piece on Alinea's Grant Achatz and his battle with oral cancer, a story which has been covered exhaustively locally but is only now starting to break out nationally. It is a killer article worth the read.

In the process, author D.T. Max manages to humanize the usually reserved Achatz, a chef who rarely shows emotion but who constantly elicit them from his guests from his carefully crafted meals (a question I asked in my own interview with Achatz from last spring). Most notable is the passion with which Achatz sought the radical form of treatment that he eventually took to fight the Stage VI cancer, continuing work on his cookbook and putting in eighteen-twenty hour days at Alinea as he was fighting radiation sickness and undergoing treatment.

It's also given Achatz a lesson in trust. As the radiation treatment resulted in a loss and slow return of his sense of taste, Achatz has had to rely on his sous chefs to ensure that his "prototype" dishes are ready for the ever-changing menu at 1723 N. Halsted. I find it astounding that he was going through all of this at the time I interviewed him. According to Max, Achatz had been plagued by this since he was at Trio, nearly five years ago.

It also reminded me that, when I was in the lost post-HotHouse months trying to make ends meet freelancing, I pre-ordered the Alinea cookbook set for release this fall. Pre-ordering (and it's only $50, so don't be a cheap bastard) grants you access to the Alinea mosaic, which for me is like the ultimate Harry Potter wiki for anyone else. Customers holding pre-orders on the cookbook are allowed to view hi-res images of some of Achatz's menu creations, video of the process for some recipes, and recipes themselves. Achatz mentioned in our interview with him that it all boils down to it simplicity, a theme repeated in countless interviews before and after. After reading his recipe for cheese and crackers, I now see that.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Correcting an Error

A couple months back I had the bright idea to switch my office and bedroom around, which turned out to be a monumentally bad idea. The office was relocated to the back of the apartment, past the kitchen and away from the street view and living room that offers me motivation when I sit down to work. Meanwhile, the bedroom now had the street view, and - at night - a streetlamp burning its essence into my brain as I slept.

I switched the rooms back around today, as well as tossed out an old sofa that I gained possession of when Sue and I finally stopped being roommates four years ago that had long outlived its usefulness.

After I switched the rooms around I did some moving around of the Chris Voit Botanic Garden, now in its third uninterrupted smash year in my apartment, and started getting inspired to fully utilize the front room for the sunroom I always aspired it to be. I think I'll get down to that order of business after Mothers Day.

Back in the day I would have been content to stack some milk crates up, drape a piece of fabric over it and call it a divan. Someone I dated briefly called it "early bachelor," 'cause I also was alright with having my California king mattress and box spring rest on the floor with just a simple fitted sheet covering it (I may have bought some actual bedding for it once she started sleeping over, although I doubt it which was one of the many reasons we only dated briefly). That was 27, 28.

Now I'm a month away from 39 and walking into Nordstroms looking for the right sized storage benches to parallel the front room windows and obsessing about the right tone of sagebrush to complement the tile in the fireplace mantle when I paint an accent wall.

I'm probably gonna make someone a really good wife.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Trying to Forget the Early 90's (And Late 80's)

Spending the weekend in working through a stomach virus. There are better things in life than running to the bathroom every half-hour to drop a soupy deuce. Like, everything. But the worst is past and even Mom called in unannounced because she had a feeling that something was wrong with me. I just told her that it was a really bad case of gas.

I haven't always been a paragon of refined taste. It has taken some mistakes along the way to get to where I am. 'Course, if I'm still using phrases like "soupy deuce" there's probably a ways to go still.

Case in point: during my military service I listened to a lot of, well, crap music. Bands like Extreme, for example:




And they're getting back together, too. Who asked for that?

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Never Say Never

I'm usually not one to follow tagged memes; I already have more recipes, music quizzes and good luck charms than I know what to do with. But when El Hombre en Chicago tags you, you might want to take a second look.

The rules of the meme:

1. Pick up the nearest book
2. Open to page 123
3. Find the fifth sentence
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people and acknowledge who tagged you.

Well, part two of the fifth step was already applied; I'm tagging Random Esquire, TGI McFunsters, Hixx, Mario, and C.O.O.B.

Now, for the book. I closed my eyes and found Extra Nutty: Even More Letters From a Nut, by Ted L. Nancy.

"I will sit in your lobby for hours and talk like Carol Channing. And don't worry I sound just like her. 'Charles never touched me in 48 years of marriage.'"


Deep reading, I know.

In the Desert, a Blog Grows

My good friend Elizabeth is the Operations Manager of the Western Colorado Botanic Garden in Grand Junction. While I try to figure out when a good time would be to go visit her, she started a blog where she's showing the day-to-day operations at the garden, in particular what's blooming.

Check it out.