Friday, August 31, 2007

Salmon Crazy

Tonguethrust, the roommate, returned to Chicago after a month of fishing the Alaskan waters and she brought back just a little bit of salmon. Actually she brought back a lot of salmon and it's good and always trying to escape the freezer.

Hash Browns

To learn how to make my very simple, but still tasty, hash browns go here.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

I Like

I found this at I like it.

And this one. I love scrabble.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Lunch c/o Koon 9

Today I had a job interview. Thoughts on the interview and the direction of my life will be shared in a different post. After the interview I decided I was entitled to eat lunch that didn't consist of the chicken soup I have been faithfully eating for the last week (it's good but after 7 days it gets a bit, well, tiresome). So I went to Koon 9 for a change of pace. I'd never been before but had noticed it, across from the brown line Wellington stop, on the occasions that I was watching the dogs (they live relatively nearby). Financial ruin be damned! The place is cute and at 11:40 pretty quiet. There were, in addition to me, two other tables with people at them. I ordered the Tom Yum soup, chicken satay, white tuna and pickled radish maki and, surprise, surprise, one wasabi tobbiko.
The soup tasted as it ought. It had big chunks of tomato, onions and pepper that I could do without but it also had lemongrass, straw mushrooms and a proper spicy kick that has been lacking in a few of my most recent tastes of Tom Yum. The satay wasn't stellar but there wasn't anything fundamentally wrong with it. The chicken was tender, it just didn't have much of a flavor going on. I think it would have been better if the meat had been a bit salted and maybe even grilled a bit more for that charred look that is so in these days. The peanut sauce that accompanied the chicken was equally okay. But the cucumber salad, again, gave me faith that I do know what to expect from Thai restaurants. Basically this experience has been confirmed as being the worst meal ever.
I'm always skeptical of "Thai-Japanese" restaurants. It just seems like you should stick to one cuisine. And, if you're actually from one of the two countries (usually Thailand), you might as well stick to what you really know. There are plenty of examples of why this thinking is wrong (Hama Matsu is run by Koreans and includes a few Korean dishes) but, generally, I think there's no shame in that food game. To that end, my sample of sushi was not all that fantastic. I took a little of the fish out of one of my rolls and it didn't have that distinctive buttery feel and taste I've come to expect of white tuna. The wasabi tobbiko was properly wasabi-ized but very shallow, yielding a very large rice to roe ratio. Rati-roe? Hee hee.

All in all, I'd go back and try a Thai noodle dish. My meal, with tax and tip, cost $20. Which, though I have no money to spend on such things, isn't so bad for the quantity and overall quality of the food. You could easily eat lunch here for $10 if you just settled on a main entree or soup and appetizer kind of deal.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Pets Watched, Television What?

This past weekend I hung out with No Longer Wayward and her boyfriend's pets: Shut Up the cat and Dottie the dog. I did not watch a single cable television show. Nope. Not one. Because cable is the devil...the devil of love. Yeah, I said it.
Note the blur that is Dottie's tail in both photographs. I have, for a very long time, been quite vocal in my dislike of Jack Russell Terriers as a breed. But having spent a bit of time with Dottie I will lessen my vocalizations. Though still a little too little for me and definitely more excitable than I could ever be, Dottie settled down and cuddled with grace and style. I won't sell Jack Russells so short again.

Rainy Window

Dinner At Adobo Grill

The same night as the whiskey event, M. Lady and I had dinner at Adobo Grill. I wanted to have the chile rellenos but, unfortunately, they were out. So instead M. Lady and I shared a guacamole and I had their soft shell crab I shouldn't have spent, down the drain. The guacamole was very good. As was the margarita I had. Actually, the margarita was super very good. The crabs weren't bad. Almost too crispy but still crab like. My complaint with the dish was that the other flavors/garnishes didn't do anything for the dish. The sauce didn't wow my mouth nor did the small amount of fingerling potatoes. Service was good though. Lighting (as you can see) was low and a bit troublesome.

Monday, August 27, 2007


Last month the lady friend of my mother's that I helped a bit in June (or was it July?) sent this photograph of a cake her friend's son made. It has bananas in it which means, technically, that I find it disgusting. But it looks good...something to do with ice cream sandwiches! It was kind of cool getting to see a 13 year old boy's efforts in the kitchen. So I thought I'd suggest that others send photographs of things they've made and feel proud of. Which I will. Though first I'll need to get another email account. Which I will. Eventually.
A former professor (you should read her books) also sent this to me. The caption is: "Who Brought The Cat?". Personally I think Photoshop brought the cat.

Linky Dooo

Go here to read about the rum and whiskey I learned about in the last week or so. If I wasn't so lazy I would rotate the above photograph. hee hee.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Now Let's See

Blogger, Every Once In A While, Makes My Life Easier

Like when it lets me upload a video directly to opposed to going through youtube. Though it's still uploading and may end up, well, screwing me. It's been a number of minutes now. All's I want to do is share the crazy, verging on tornado-like weather, the Chicago area experienced yesterday. Sheesh. Well, while I'm waiting I can tell you about other things I've been meaning to share. Like how I've started watching Clark and Michael and how funny it is and how you, too, will think it's funny (start with episode one). I think I have Chuck to thank for coming across them. Five minutes later, still no video. Hmm. What else? Oh yes, I've been checking in with Ross the Intern's blog every few days for about three weeks. I first checked it out after he was on the Jay Leno show and mentioned his blog with the same kind of enthusiasm that I have when trying to encourage a skeptic to start reading my blog. Of course, I don't have a job with the Tonight Show, nor am I a squeaky voiced gay man...though it seems I went to college with someone he went to high school with...not that I actually knew her, oh no of course not. The video thing just said it couldn't do it. Well, I'll give it one more try.

Yeah. Fifteen minutes later and the title of this post should be: Blogger Never Fails To Fail My Expectations. I'll go to youtube, I guess.

It Ain't Easy

If you google image search "It Ain't Easy" this is one of the images that pops up. It's a pregnant lady with a shirt that says: "It ain't easy being queazy". I always thought queazy was spelled queasy. And, according to blogger's spell check I am correct.
Here is what's not easy:

1. Learning that the one firm job opportunity you had was gone (the Savannah people decided not to hire me).

2. Searching about for more possible jobs, getting so desperate you apply to something that you wouldn't otherwise apply for, getting a message from that job, thinking (for some unknown reason) that it would be a good idea to google the phone number and finding things like this and this.

3. The ebf coming to Chicago to collect a fair amount of his stuff and generally feeling sad and a bit mad about the whole thing. My feeling sad, not him. Though he was probably sad too.

4. Paying bills and thinking about rent when I have yet to even find temporary employment.

5. Imagining terrible futures involving the inability to ever find work, pay off my student loans, finish my novel, get married, have children, go on vacation or dine out ever again.

On the up side it's stopped raining and things always get better.

The Saga of the Painted Whore

Yet another installment in everybody's favorite game....painted whore or not? This time around it was in preparation for a whiskey event I am, as we speak, writing up for Chicagoist. I wore a new shirt and, for a while in my apartment, the scarf my mother gave me from France.

You can learn about the event later. But I'll tell you now that I underestimated how hot it was outside. Or how muggy hot it was and how quickly one sweats when walking in muggy hot weather for four or five blocks. It wasn't that bad...but note to self: even if it's cooler than it was two days ago, it's still summer in Chicago so don't wear long sleeved shirts no matter how cute you think they are.
Obviously I didn't do a close up on my eyes this time around...but the paint was on.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

An Incomplete Account

Since summer began I have watched a large number of movies and read a large number of books. So many that I can't remember them all. But here are some I remember (because they were either recently seen/read or because my netflix queue told me so. This is in no chronological order, simply the order in which I uploaded the image files which was itself arbitrary.

Nanny Diaries: I listened to Julia Roberts read this on tape back when I worked at the sheep farm. It was better listening to than reading. The movie seems to already have deviated greatly from the book. All in all I found it depressing.

I've already stated that I like Harry Potter more than His Dark Materials. I will also say that I liked the final book in the trilogy the best.
Smart, and sometimes cute, British boys talking all smarty like. You can definitely feel that this movie was at one point a play. Relatively interesting and funny even with all the philosophical debate on the best way to educate. Though I did wonder what exactly we were to think about molestation.
Good premise for a documentary but boring in reality. There is hardly any, no wait, there was absolutely no drama in this film that followed a bunch of kids as they went to drama camp. That's all they did, go to drama camp and get into shows. Ugh.
I very much liked The Last Mimzy. I didn't find either of the child actors annoying and I felt like the adult actors got to play relatively interesting and not completely non-existent people (ie the perfect parents, the brilliant teacher etc). I was a bit disappointed at the pacing of the movie and a bit of the ending. But, all in all, a good children's movie that is far less sappy than others around.
Funny it was not. It was almost funny a lot of times but every time they got close to it...well, they made it unfunny. Except, perhaps, for the Zooey Deschanel scenes.
The Motel was decent. Artsy and indie and lacking in true dramatic resolution but pretty and quiet to watch.
Widow Of The South is a book. It's a historical novel. I learned about a big battle I didn't know about and one woman's fight to respect the more than 8,000 soldiers who fought and died in Franklin, TN....actually she fought for about 1,500 of them.
Rent A Rasta was billed as a documentary about rich white women who come to Jamaica and pay for sex with native islanders. Rent A Rasta is really a documentary about Rastafarianism (?) and has very little substantive things to say about the sex trade (other than women go there because they're fat, old or ugly and that going to another first world country doesn't change those things while in Jamaica it does). I'm not saying Rastafarianism (?) isn't interesting. I'm saying this movie isn't.
Case Histories is a book by Kate Atkinson. It takes the whole intersecting lives thing in an interesting-ish direction. It's a mystery but it does, somehow, transcend being a genre novel.
Driving Lessons is another movie that could have been funny but wasn't...not even with the same Sufjan Stevens song popping up every fifteen minutes. I think Rupert Grint is a cutie but I don't think he or the director could decide if his character was smart or not. Similarly, the old lady that plays his employer etc waffles between being a crazy alcoholic and a put-together eccentric, which makes the entire thing rather stupid.
The Eyre Affair is another book that is definitely in the mystery category and yet has a charm all of its own. Set in a futuristic world, you know what I have no idea how to explain this book. I suggest you read it. It's funny.
I watched the Jonestown documentary. It was very good and extremely disturbing.
Why I bothered getting Underworld Evolution when I thought the original Underworld was entirely without redeeming qualities is beyond me...I think it had to do with Scott Speedman....he seems so cute when he's standing around but every time he tries to act I can't help but think that he must be very, very unsmart.

The end of this installment of random things I have watched or read!

Chicken Soup

To see how to make a tasty chicken soup (no noodles) go here. And if you live in Chicago and want some of this soup I have jars upon jars available...well, three or four jars.

Monday, August 20, 2007


On Monday a former college colleague and now Chicago pal and her sister came over for dinner. I made the chicken I can't seem to get enough of this summer. Unfortunately my guests weren't quite on time and so the chicken suffered a bit in terms of staying in the oven about half an hour more than it really needed to. There were no complaints though. They brought a lovely bottle of wine and mini chocolate souffles! Souffles! They were very rich and good and marvelous. If you would like to make a souffle you can go here and see how I did it...I just saw, on television yesterday, a recipe for a vanilla souffle that looked and sounded like it would be delectable. Perhaps I should try that out.

Artichoke In The City

Though no spring artichoke, this artichoke was far better than the artichoke I had in Tennessee. Maybe. Actually, I may take that back if I think too hard about it. I didn't bother with any Hollandaise...just straight up butter with a bit of lemon. Since I went away the apartment buildings/condos on either side of my building have, for the most part, stopped being renovated and have started being occupied. It's a bit strange to look to the left or right (after a year) and suddenly see furniture on porches and lights on in apartments. So far I have no actual complaints. It's just weird.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

It Hurts!

This American life is doing a thing about mysteries and priveate eyes. You know what would be a good thing for this show? MY essay on Veronica Mars...stupid David Sedaris and me for not getting the essay out two months ago. Grr.

Friday, August 17, 2007

My Goodness

I just applied for a job teaching English in Japan.

Survey says....

good idea?

bad idea?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Phad Thai

So I got back on Tuesday. Mousehead and Exploded Viewer were kind enough to pick me up. We made our way slowly back from O'Hare (highway traffic was slow so we got off the highway and took Lawrence from far, far away). Then the two of them were kind enough to buy me a dinner of Thai delivery...they ate as well. There is some strange thing about Thai food...I often have an entirely difficult time taking photographs of it...not compositionally but in hand steadiness...countless, countless times I have had this same experience. And Tuesday night was no exception...this is the best photograph I could manage. Is it that I'm always eating Thai food in exceptionally low lit situations (this time out on the front porch with one lamp at night time)? Maybe. I had Pad Thai with shrimp...though I know that is considered by some as an entirely Thai dish...and I liked it. I think we got it from Thai Pastry.

I am not all that excited to be back in Chicago. It's loud here and full of crazy people and I've forgotten how to walk around the city. The exact position of my eyes and pacing. Basically, in Tennessee I walked with not so many of my guards up. And now all the things to guard against are being remembered. And they're gross. Well, not gross really.

Today I tried doing a transcribing test for a possible job. But these damn fighter jets are practicing for their big airs how this weekend (I assume and plead that it is this weekend) and they really make listening to a focus group discuss cell phones very hard to hear. So, I may try this again when, at least, the planes have stopped their sonic booming.

A Starchy Mess and An Oversized Load

I got on a plane on Tuesday. My parents had to drive me to the airport. We stopped, on our way to Nashville, at Cracker Barrel. I had chicken and dumplings with green beans and mashed potatoes. It was up to Cracker Barrel's standards. I wonder, always, whether -for franchised restaurants like Cracker Barrel, or, say, Red Loster- there's a big warehouse full of not-quite kitchy-but-leaning-heavily-in-that-direction stuff. S-t-u-f-f. Fake fishnets, nineteenth century washing machines, Victorian tricycles, framed and weathered photographs of people sailing. I once asked an unsuspecting teenage waiter this question while dining in a Red Lobster. He was mightily confused and guessed that there was such a warehouse. Which leads me to another question. If there is such a warehouse:

a) are there people who go around thrift stores and junk yards collecting it,
b) if option "a" is true, then what, exactly are the qualifications for that position?
c) if there are no people going around looking for all this shwag does that mean that there are factories and businesses whose entire business is pumping out objects for all the Cracker Barrels, TGIFridays, Applebees and Red Lobsters in the world?
d) if option "c" is is a stupid world that hosts businesses to make artificially homey objects for absolutely corporate restaurants.
We also saw this. Those tires were HUGE. The size of a big car huge. Yikes.

Some Food

On different days I had these two food items. Above is the pulled pork I made from the pork butt I made a while back...we had frozen the left overs before going to Savannah. I put some medium cheddar cheese on was entirely unnecessary but not quite gluttonous...which is exactly what I'd call the cheesy bread I made below.
One piece has an egg on it. I'm thinking about doing a Chicagoist post on it...what to do when your cheese drawer gets out of cheesy bread!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Dinner at Mi Casa and Boredom Photoshopping

The menu turned into (shoot I forget which funny filter it is) mosaic? Stained Glass?
I had a chili relleno and a chimichanga. We also, my parents, their friends and I, drank a good number of margaritas.

I Have Turtle Eagle Eyes

On one of my last days in Tennessee I was checking my email. The computer room looks out into woods and has a hummingbird feeder on it. These features make it a lovely spot to just look out at and stare. Some times I've seen birds and twice I've seen grey foxes. On this particular day I stared out and suddenly a certain kind of movement --many, many yards away-- caught my eye. I looked back and, in the far distance of trees and dry, brown leaves, I saw a little box turtle turtling its box towards one thing or another (is it actually toward? or can I use either). I got up and quickly ran in my nearly barely feet out to say hello to the turtle. It stuck its head in its shell very quickly. I took a few photographs of him (or her) on the rock and then put him (it or her) by the tomato plant. Then I went back to computer world but got up every five to ten minutes to check on the turtle. First three times he was by the tomato plant but with his head very much not in view. But on the fourth...which admittedly had a longer interval of time...I went out and that sucker had scooted on. Scooted to some place that I could not see. I tried using my turtle eagle eyes and my not entirely shabby ears and looked. And looked. And looked. And I would like to be able to say I found it again and got to take a photograph of its turtly little head and it was awesome. Unfortunately even turtle eagle eyes have limitations.

He Looks A Wee Bit Maudlin But He's Not