Friday, November 30, 2007

Sailboat Livin' Large

Yesterday morning I got an email. It was the most exciting email I've gotten in a long time. In it I was offered a paid Key which, for at least a part of the time, I will be living 'in a 30 foot sail boat built in 2002 in an upscale marina'. It has electricity and cable. Probably not a shower. But heck! Soooooo. Yeah. Um. Knock on wood, cubicle or wall-space but, like, I'm totally going to be in Key West starting in January....working in a more writerly, though drudgey, fashion.

Yip, yip, yow!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

3 pounder

This is AMAZING!

Yeah, Right

The other night I watched You're Gonna Miss Me, a documentary about Roky (pronounced Rocky) Erikson. Roky Erickson was a singer/musician who went crazy. Or was always crazy. Or perhaps crazy isn't a nice word. He was diagnosed as schizophrenic.

The documentary shares how he went from being a pretty up and coming dude in the late 60s to a dishevelled older man living in section-8 housing in Austin having no contact with anybody other than his (rather freakin' odd herself) mother. Then his youngest (of 5) incredibly new agey tuba player...intervenes, insists on his brother getting medicated and moved up to Pittsburgh (where the dude plays in the orchestra).

Anyways. It's an interesting movie. Even if you never really have a sense of Roky's personality past being, well, pretty darn odd.

But here's the real thing, my point/thought:

There's a 5 years later subscript. In which there's footage of a trial of guardianship where everybody's talking about how Roky's doing so much better...he's performing...he's been off his meds for three months and that he should have legal custody over himself. Along with the trial footage there's this strange conversation between the brother (Sumner) and some new agey pyschologist which they go on at length about how mental illness DOES NOT EXIST. And how Roky was all thinking he was an alien, hearing voices, etc simply because he wasn't taking care of his body. So, in that subscript, Roky gets custody of himself. But he's all twitchy in the video, constantly licking his lips and wringing his hands and generally looking like there's stuff goin' on in his head that isn't so sane.

This makes me rather incensed. Even the judge was like 'well, Roky, you seem to be doin' pretty good and it's awesome that you've stopped taking your anti-psychotic medication...but if you start gettin' all crazy again you should really start taking it again'....but, my understanding anyways, people who need to take anti-psychotic drugs hardly ever want to start taking them once they're in the throes of an episode.

And the newagey bullshit. The 'there's no such thing as mental illness' mindset. They might as well be scientologists.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


After dinner my parents and I hopped into a cab and drove up to Lakeview, where I got out and met up with Exploded Viewer, Mousehead and two others without blog names...we'll call them Stripey 1 and Stripey 2 (mainly because they're a couple and they were both wearing striped shirts) Matilda. Had a beer or two then went back to where E.V. and M.H. were the dogs' house. There I got to see Bear and Mackey and E.V and M.H's dog. All dogalicious and funny. This photograph doesn't really do justice to any of the dogs or people in question but I like it any way....and look at her sparkly!

Dinner a la McCormick & Schmick's

After work I took the train down to the Gold Coast and met up with the 'rents at McCormick & Schmick's Chesnut Street location. When No-Longer-Wayward and I went to their wine/fish event a few months back we got goodie bags at the end. The main goody was a $75 gift certificate for the restaurant. Very generous! Anywho, originally that's why we (my parents and I) were going to eat there. But then -with work, hangovers, lack of functioning phones and general miscommunication- we ended up not having that certificate but eating there nonetheless. I started with Imperial Eagle Oysters after asking our waiter, Bart or Mark (we never were quite sure of his name), what oyster they had that shared the most in terms of taste/size as Kumamotos (as they had none of the wee little beauties). Though, in the end, not as similar, the Eagles were quite good. Larger than kumamotos, they had a less delicate or refined taste but a striking and a more-complex-than-the-gulf bay oysters-I-most-recently have-consumed (and enjoyed...take that stupid Savannah restaurant)-in-large-quantaties, shit that sentence has completely gotten away from me. The point? They were good, briny and different.

All three of us had lobsters for our dinner. Perhaps not the meatiest I've ever had, the meat was tender and, at the end, I was entirely satiated without being stuffed. I even took the time and effort to get the meat out of each little leg...actually I started that way....the way one goes about eating a lobster is interesting. You either start with the best part (arguably the tail) or the very close runners up (claws) and then to the itty bitty leglets. Or you start with the worst (leglets) and slowly move on to the best...running the risk of getting full before your last bite of tail (hee hee).
It was good. How any one could fuck up a steamed lobster is almost impossible to imagine.
For dessert we had the creme brulee...which was entirely forgettable but not bad.

Back a' Track

The day after Thanksgiving I had to go to work. The fact that I, as usual, got there 10-15 minutes early, is no small feat considering the massive amounts of wine I consumed and the generally hazy nature my memory has of the last few hours of the holiday...more photographs of which will come when my oft-talked about but still not available new software kicks in. In the morning it was gloomy. Above is a photograph looking south from the Belmont red line stop. You can see the Hancock (or at least I think it's the Hancock) in the far left corner. After work--which was awesome, let me assure you--I took the brown line to the Fullerton stop in order to recatch the red line. Below is the Fullerton stop. Both are in the midst of major renovations.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Pho and Rolls c/o Tank Restaurant

Yesterday was my birthday and so I took the day off from work. I got to sleep in a little bit and I got to eat a fair amount. For lunch the parents and I went to Pho Xe Tang (Tank Noodle) for some pho and spring rolls. The rolls didn't have as much natural flavor as I was hoping for...a big helping of cilantro or basil and a little lemon juice would be so very nice. I had Pho # 44...because I wanted brisket. It also had tendon. But I didn't eat the tendon. I just looked at it and felt confident that I didn't want to eat it. The bowl of noodles and broth was huge. Noodles were plentiful, the meat was not so amazing (especially in comparison to our dinner meal...but that, my friends, is another post entirely). The broth, as my father pointed out, definitely had a little sweet taste to it that it hasn't in the past. Or not exactly sweet. Dad thought maybe allspice. I'm not sure what I'd say it was. But it was there. I want to go back there or to another one of the myriad Vietnamese restaurants in the area and try a sandwich or something other than Pho.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Welcome to My Haircut

Today I got my hair cut on my lunch break.

Horizontal Thanksgiving

There are other pictures I want to post but they're vertical and in a few days I'll have software that allows me instant we'll all just have to wait. Until then, however, I'll show you the turkey and the salad my mom made.


Last month I wrote a post or two about Fromartharie's Rosey Goat cheese. The post inspired the company to start distributing the cheese in Chicago area Costcos (look at me I'm a cheese taste maker). Then the people at Fromartharie contacted me about a recipe I had mentioned making with the cheese...and how they'd like it to be on their label. So I sent them the recipe. And in return I get credited as the creator of the recipe and on the day before Thanksgiving they sent me 9 billion pounds of their different cheeses and salami. Above you can see the majority of what was sent, but there are cheeses lurking outside or behind as well. Like goat gouda! Mmmm, goat gouda!

Cheese. For the rest of my life....and on Christmas.

It Begins Again

I asked to be taken to a random blog from Windy City Webloggers and I got this dude's blog. Which was interesting enough. But what I really like is his large number of photographs of the trip to Japan he and his wife took this summer. I want to go to Japan. Not to teach or anything...mainly to eat and go out into the country. What's that book I'm thinking of? The one about a dude going to a country resort and a prostitute? Or something.

Saturday, November 24, 2007


This wasn't a complete waste of my time.

Swing and a Miss

I'll take this one, thanks.

At the risk of whatever, I'll say this: my specific job is very slow on weekends. I can't possibly pretend otherwise. I'd say that most people in this office would agree. Soooo. Well. I can't really blog properly since this computer doesn't allow photographs, or anything, to be downloaded. So I'm going to take a look around the internet and link things that I like.

It'll be a fun surprise link fest!

A wonderful way to keep track of blogs.
A place I might be going.
Bookies love their books.
High school friend sings the songs.

Ever suddenly realize that you have very few interests? Other coworkers, when it's slow, check their myspace accounts repeatedly. Some shop online or "window shop". Myspace isn't that much fun and shopping drains me even when not being squished up against the massive humanity factory of malls.

So many people have opinions about cats talking.
Relatively entertaining.
Who needs a house when you got land?
I wouldn't mind being Peter Sagal.
Who wants to go on a vacation with me here?
100 notable books o' the year.
Remember the nun bun.
Flickr has this new thing where you can type in a geographical place and see photographs that were taken there. For example: Rhinebeck, NY...look at all the sheepies!
I could be this guy...we both like tea.

Uh. Yeah. Maybe you should suggest other places for me to look.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Japanese Lunchy

Today for lunch the 'rents and I went to Tokyo Marina for lunch. I had the Bento Box 1: a piece of mackerel, tuna sashimi, inari, futomaki and a smattering of tempura. I hadn't been in a while and I forgot that, though not fancy, Tokyo Marina does do what it does well.

Icosium Kafe Crepes!

The parents arrived on Monday. That night we went to Icosium Kafe for dinner. I made my own crepe. It had: halal merguez (lamb sausage), cilantro, olives, baby mozzarella, roma tomatoes, spinach, pine nuts and artichoke hearts. It was very good.
I also had a dulce de leche coffee as well, it was leche.

Lunch Hour Fare

Lunch at Penny's on a work day. Nothing is ever so good, but it's so close. I take a fifteen minute walk around the neighborhood then I eat less than amazing food at Penny's. This time around I had the Tom Kha Khai soup. It was actually quite good, could have cut the coconut milk a little but the lemongrass etc was good, good, good. The crispy vegetarian spring rolls were not as surprisingly good. Not bad, just not so great.
The other night I had some pie. Believe it. I had pie. I had pie and a hot toddy. Well, I have hot toddies most every night, but this night there was pie. I topped the pie with some 4 year old Grafton cheddar cheese. I topped a bit of the pie with a bit of fancy brie. I topped all the pie and all the cheese with craisins. It was an entirely satisfying eat-fest.

I Am So Happy, All The Time...Look I Have The Faces to Prove It

Additional things bestowed to me by the dude who sat at the cubicle before I started sitting there.

Big things may be on the horizon.

Monday, November 19, 2007


To learn about the perfect companion to a slice of apple pie, go here.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

American Music Awards

I can see why pre-teen girls would like the Jonas Brothers. It's unfortunate, but I get it.


The other night I had a burger with the cheese of the month (post link to follow). The beef was 85% lean and seasoned oh so lightly with garlic salt, freshly ground pepper and chopped green olives. I made it a little rare but in a way that didn't make me question myself (which is what usually happens if I don't cook something until it's turned rubbery).

Provenance in Lincoln Square

On Wednesday I went to Provenance (Gourmet Food Shop? I don't know if it has more of a name than simply Provenance) in Lincoln Square for a Chicagoist cheese of the month post. Small little shop. Made me think of a gourmet food shop in Rhinebeck, NY. I wonder if it is still in business. Hold on one moment, I'll take a look. (7 minutes later) I couldn't find anything out, there's no obvious webpage for the store nor is there any mention of it at may not actually be the best source of information about a place. Anyways, I've emailed a former professor and-dare I say it?-friend, who still lives in the area. I hope she will shed a little light on this cheese shop disappearance. I wonder what's there instead. It was near another restaurant I had brunch at once. It was a little shopping area that sprung up in the five, no wait, six years I was in that area. Across an alley-like street there was a health-food store and cafe. Also across the street was a restaurant El Toro Negro, maybe, it was in Spanish and the it meant black bull. The Black Bull. I don't speak Spanish. And Osaka! Oh my I'm ranting and raving now. I can picture so many of the meals I've had in that area. Food was less disappointing there. I think. No, it's true. So many Culinary Institute of America chefs staying around the area, bringing quality cooking to many a fine establishment. Le Petit Bistro. Cafe Pongo (before it closed). Diaspora. Osaka. New World Home Cooking. Red Hook Diner. Luna 61. Broadway Pizza. Oh, I don't know for sure that all these places had CIA chefs, by the way.
Back to the point. Provenance was small and unbusy which wasn't too surprising for a Wednesday afternoon. I zipcarred from 12:30-3...and this was my first maybe could have possibly made more sense for me to take the train because there was a stop nearby, but it was a brown line stop and I hate leaving the proximity of the red-line. I have narrowed the city of Chicago-as I live in it- in doing this. Below is the zipcar I drove. It had the option of a sort of automatic stick shift experience and straight-up automatic. No clutch, just a matter of shifting the gear-thingy. I have grown to like stick-shift on occasion, it's a much more involved way of driving and you can find yourself being very pleased with feeling like, for one small moment, it's effortless. It's a driving in a movie kind of thing. Anyways. I am rambling. Which I rarely do on this blog so I'll stop.

Spicy Defeat, Kind Of

Last Tuesday I went to trivia night again. The team (Caroline's Fierce Foursome O' Fun) did not fare half as well as we had the week before. I did, however, run into a Chicagoist writer or two. Their team did better than us...but whatever, I don't even care. M. Lady and I arrived early enough to grab the table area I like. We both ate a little food and had a Unibroue Apple. I had the chips and curry (fryer was back up). The fries were good, the curry was a nice change of pace with chips but if compared to other curry I've had in my life time, well, it wasn't spectacular...a little salty...and little bland...but also, to be fair, with a little more nuance of flavor than if they used only curry powder from Jewel.

Oh How I Laugh

Friday, November 16, 2007

Udon Soup From Penny's

I tried Penny's Noodle's Udon soup on Monday. Or Thursday. It was too salty. Way too salty. And it's funny what I expect and imagine when I read 'fish cake' and what fish cakes actually are (see I think of tempura battered piece of fish) according to the establisment. The photographs are kind of pretty though.

What I Inheirited

This is my new desk. It used to be somebody else's. That blue happy face thing is full of happy face erasers. There are no pencils on or near this desk. My desk.


On Tuesday I made an apple crumble kind of thing, two pies, and baked the remaining apples and pie crust remnants.
That's a lot of pie.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


To learn about the marinade I made my lamb in go here. And you can also tell me I don't know what I'm doing. That would be great too.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Tuesday Brunch For Tomorrow, Yesterday

Yesterday I met up with a SAICER with no name in this blogosphere. Let's call her Accessorized. Anyways. I got to M. Henry a little early, so I ordered a cappucino and wrote nonsense in my nonsense notebook. Then Accesorized arrived. That name stinks, I'll have to think of a better one if we ever brunch again. We chatted while eating. I had the French toast and a size of bacon. Name-Still-to-be-Determined had an omelet.
I'd say I ate maybe one piece of french toast. So unbelievably rich. Good, but it just stops you cold and it's very sweet. The bacon was very satisfying in my belly.

Meat Doughnut

On Monday I also got around to using some recently thawed 85% lean ground beef. I flavored it with a little salt, pepper and garlic and a few shakes of my liquid smoke. Then I put an egg in the middle of it and fried the whole thing. It was a medium success.

Monastery Goodness

On Monday I came home and found a big ol' box in our vestibule...foyer?....vestibule. It was full of tasty treats from a monastery in Berryville. My parents have a monk friend there. I assume that my father ordered all of this up. That night I ate five truffles and I am not ashamed. I would do it again. So there. Whatever.

The Falls on the Bus

Monday, November 12, 2007

Why Not

I found this at It's not all that cute. I mean it's relatively cute. What makes it awesome, in my humble estimation, is the soundtrack.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Roll Eyes

Yesterday I was told that our company's not as busy as they expected, so the position I was hired for is being disappeared. But that it's nothing personal and that there's another similar job in the company that I'd be welcome to have. I have until today to decide. I mean the decision is pretty obvious: same basic job function, same salary, different department and title. But then this morning I get an email from a job in Florida I almost got then didn't back in May. Asking if I'm still interested. I mean. Now what?

Thursday, November 08, 2007

That's Right, Bitches

On Tuesday a similarly motley crew and I came together for some trivia at The Globe Pub. I decided I would try their chips and curry but their fryer was down, so I had the cheese quesadillas instead. Good in a simple way. The guacamole was surprisingly good considering it was served in a little plastic cup. I also had beer: Twisted Thistle, Unibroue Apple (gooooodness).
Then we won. This, in case you're not sure, should really impress you. The questions were not easy, obvious and we were up against at least 7 other teams? Two of the team members looking rather pleased with themseleves...

We won a gift certificate for $50 to the bar. We used it to pay the majority of our tab.
Our team name was Caroline's Continuing Club O' Fun.

Pie Link

Learn how the pie was made here.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

A Little Research

Where should I have my parents take me out for my birthday?

Here? Or perhaps here?<----They've got their own bull and salt cave right in the restaurant (the cave, not the bull)for goodness sakes. Or back here? Or here? Then there's unlimited meat, maybe we should go here. The parents love their frenchies, so maybe here here or here.

I don't think I've ever been to a steakhouse. And I sure am craving meat.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Working On It

The latest "unit" in the monstrous and unyieldy photo essplorationay.

I am on E's left. We are standing in front of my Volvo under Crash Landing's driveway. I am wearing a grey visor. You can't exactly make out the orange letters, but it says GAP with frayed edges along the outside of each letter. I called it my ironic visor. I liked wearing it on long car rides and at other times that seemed appropriate. I think I look like I'm about to laugh or that I just said or was about to say something I thought was funny. I'd like to imagine that when the photograph was taken I was thinking that, though it was awkward for my mother to be taking a photograph of E and me, it was a good thing as well. I think I was happy. I didn't know E. that well, still, and the sex wasn't as good as it was going to get. We were a preliminary couple. He is smiling, showing teeth. He still has the eyebrow ring I hated that was always getting infected. We drove to his home in Virginia after the photograph was taken. We took adderall for the drive and E matched me cigarette for cigarette for a large portion of the trip. At the time the fact that he did this wasn't strange to me, I can't remember if I'd seen him smoke a cigarette ever before. Looking back it was a very strange thing for him to do. Something he never did again. He took to pretending to eat my cigarettes and throwing packs into the street or onto the floor.

On that trip, I think, I told E that I loved him accidentally. I remember being surprised when I realized what I said. I wasn't entirely sure it was true. I tacked on a 'you're so funny' to try to take it back. He had said something funny. It's a shame I can't remember what he actually said. It would be handy to have the ability to see if the comment was worth a declaration of love.

A few months after the photograph was taken, my mother sent me a package. In it were two identical frames with identical photographs of E and me in Tennessee about to drive off to Virginia. At the time of the photograph we had been dating for four months. So perhaps we had reached the sixth month mark before the frames arrived, I don't know. I felt funny about the two frames, one for me and one for him. It seemed too soon for physical objects especially matching ones provided by my mother. I told E about the two frames, I think, but I didn't give him his. I took the photograph out and gave it to him but kept the frame. Though I felt uncomfortable giving E that kind of keepsake, for fear of seeming to be moving too fast, I did keep my framed photograph intact. And when I moved into a new apartment it was on my mantelpiece, I think. Then in Chicago it was placed in both living rooms we shared. We look young, the two of us, and amused. The frame now is in the second drawer of a dresser in the dining room. It is full of envelopes, shitty pens and out of date stationery.

I eventually filled the other frame with a photograph of L, E and me in the Bard College studio arts building, the night before L and I graduated. R.S. took the photograph. L is wearing a 1980s prom dress monstrosity and a hot pink wig. It looks like E was just holding her and she's sliding off or she's hoisting herself up. I am moving towards the camera, one hand grabbing at it, my mouth in mid-syllable. I didn't want R taking the picture, I didn't have many very left (before the digital age became omnipresent, if you can believe it) and R seemed to be a little cavalier in his framing. It turned out to be the perfect representation of that night and many other nights like it. We drank too much, partied too hard and, in this specific instance, I almost missed graduation because of it, but the night was a lot fun. Or I think it was. I don't quite remember the very end of it, of course.

Can I always remember the nuances of context and my thoughts if given a photograph as a reference point? Perhaps not. But I can look at a framed image and know that (at least half of the time) the people within the image are lost to me now. Often enough that is a sad thing but not always. The first year after graduation I stuck around the Bard College area. I did this, in part, because E was still in college down the road and I wanted to stay near him, I wanted to give "us" a chance. But another reason I didn't pack up and drive away from the area was because I had no idea where to go or what to do and so staying in a small town, working at a suffering restaurant and then a sheep farm seemed to make sense. Of course most of my classmates and friends did move away from the area with diplomas in hand. This led to a social vacuum that I filled by inviting acquaintances (and remaining friends in the area) to my house once a week (Mondays, I believe) for 'adult macaroni and cheese night'. Adult because the dish included five kinds of cheese and didn't come in any shade of bright orange. Each week I would make this dish, buy a bottle of vodka, orange juice and lemonade and each week 4-10 people would show up and eat the food and drink the vodka. I have hundreds (literally) photographs of these nights and their ever rotating participants. One night we ended up going to a nearby bar after the food was consumed. T, the bowtied bartender, took a photograph of that week's crew: me, E.S., I.M., K.M., A.R. and R.P.M (actually he's not in the photograph but I really feel like he should be). We all look more sober than we were (though, upon closer inspection we all have water in front of maybe we weren't entirely 'schnockered') and just as entertained as we were. When I look at this framed image I don't feel sad. I don't really feel like I especially miss any of the people in the photograph. They are simply people of the past. Drinking buddies, social fillers and former neighbors. But that is unkind because I remember that general time period, or at least those Monday night get-togethers, fondly. Though I don't actively miss any of the people in the frame, I do appreciate what they brought to my life at the time: fun, silliness, drunkenness, conversation and distraction. How long does it take to know someone? Forever. It's about whether you like who YOU think they are as you continue to get to know them.

Leftover Lunch Makes Dinner

Yesterday I made good use of my lunch hour. I took a little 15 minute walk then went to Penny's Noodle Shop for sustenance. I had the vegetable noodle soup. LIke everything else I've had from Penny's it wasn't bad but it wasn't close to aaaamazing either. I took the remaining soup home with me and heated it back up for dinner. And that is what you see above.