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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Ah, Finally... Christmas


When you are the parent of two boys Christmas can get pretty hairy - there's not a toy on the market that these kids didn't want although we did somehow managed to trim the fat as they say and get them to buckle down and make a list of the "important stuff" as my oldest son said.

Of course just about everything we got them was trump'ed by the Playsation 2 my sister-in-law got them. It's been sore thumbs and blood-red eyes since then!

It is quite humbling to have your 7-year-old son kick your ass at Madden 08 but downright exciting that despite our age differences we still can muster up competitive game play. The next day they took some of their gift money and we headed off to the game store to get some used games. We picked up NHL 07 and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 (plus some ATV game for my youngest) which should tide them over for some time. Now the focus is on a memory card... or so I'm told.

There's still lots to digest - both literally and figuartively - about this holiday season (and the joys of Guitar Hero III!) but I'm glad it is finally coming to close and the family can now focus our attention on 2008.
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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Sweet, Dude, Sweet...


"Dad," said my 4-year-old son.

"Can I see the camera?"

"Sure," I said and then turned and went about my business of checking my work schedule online, making a few phone calls and folding some clothes.

All of the sudden I heard "Ah! Sweet, dude, sweet!"

This is the picture he took.
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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Is Santa Real?

My 4-year-old walked into the family room this weekend and proudly proclaimed that Santa Claus is not real.

"Who told you that?" I asked.

"Nobody," he said. "I just know."

"Well that's news to me because last I checked Santa was real," I said.

His brother never really questioned the existence of Santa until recently. The last two years we've taken to writing their names on presents from Santa left handed so that they wouldn't be able to recognize our hand writing.

This year my 7-year-old said he was going to ask Santa for his autograph because then he'd know it wasn't me - because after all - I would be asleep when Santa came to deliver the goods. This is the same kid who asked me how Santa got into houses that didn't have fireplaces; we need to update our folk tales quickly if we want to keep up with the future generations.

I've gone to great lengths already to preserve the lore surrounding Christmas.

  • For instance,there was that Rudolph story

  • My youngest also told me that the Santa at the mall was fake. I rallied and explained that Santa can't be everywhere during the Christmas season so he has people stand-in for him. "The elves are fake too Dad," he said.

    If you were at the mall, you probably saw the wind go out of my sails at that moment.

    "Yeah, those are fake elves," I said.

    Then we sat there in silence watching kids get their pictures taken on Santa's lap.

    Monday, December 17, 2007

    The B Brothers Live


    Where my kids get some of this stuff is beyond me.

    Anyway, the B Brothers played their show on Saturday. I didn't have a mic for the vocals so it's pretty much awash in noise but you still get the overall vibe of their performance. I'd tried to post the mp3 but apparently BLogger won't let me.

    The Set List:

    -Life Is A HWY
    -Tony Hall (aka Tony Hawk)
    -Gems Today
    -Snake Attack
    -Hard Cour Wreslers (that's hardcore wrestlers, yo!)
    -Hot Wheels Beat That
    -Race Track
    -Go Kart
    -Kids From The Future
    -Soul Boy
    -Run, Run, Run (which features the nugget, "one thing you can't run from and that's yourself")
    -Shark Attack

    All songs from the forthcoming CD The B Brothers in Outer Space...
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    Saturday, December 15, 2007

    O, Christmas Tree

    The family went out last night and got our Christmas tree. While it's not the cool-as-tits black goth tree that Rock Star Mommy is sporting I still think it's a pretty freakin' awesome tree.

    We've gone to the same place for the last three years and their trees always seem to be spot on: always symmetrical and fresh.

    When we got back home we whipped up some snacks and got to the business at hand of decorating the bad boy.

    Decorating the Christmas tree requires background music. But since I'm in the business of working at holiday parties, I'm just about at my wit's end with kids' choruses backed by cheap Casio keyboards or that insipid James Taylor holiday CD I was forced to endure at a recent celebration. Fortunately, I've been in the business [could you say "business" one more time Greg? - Ed.] of writing about music for the last fifteen plus years and possess some fairly eclectic Xmas discs.

    I usually save my Etta James 12 Songs Of Christmas for Xmas morning and the opening of presents because her voice is so pure and divine it seems appropriate and definitely sets the setting. Last night I decided dig deep and go for Merry Axemas Volumes 1 and 2. And while Al Di Meola, Steve Vai and Joe Satriani make my skin crawl, tucked between cuts by them are seminal holiday favorites tackled by guitar virtuosos. Some of my favorites tracks are Steve Stevens' "Do You Hear What I Hear," Zakk Wylde's "White Christmas," Robin Trower's "O Little Town Of Bethlehem," Joe Perry's "Blue Christmas," and the Brian Setzer Orchestra's "Jingle Bells." Shit, even the Nuge's "Deck The Halls" is tolerable!

    I hope everyone has a very rockin' Holiday Season.
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    Friday, December 14, 2007

    I Heart Shudder To Think

    Last night, while tending bar at some neighborhood holiday party in Chapel Hill, a Shudder To Think song popped into my head. Shudder To Think has been on the tip of my tongue and on Recently Played in my brain for a few weeks now.

    I'd like to go on and on about what a great band they were - often overlooked and almost always misunderstood - but I'll just let this clip speak for itself. Not the best quality but they signed to Sony towards the end of their career (and quite possibly could be argued as the band's death knell - like so many other early '90s alt.rock bands who gave up the indie label ghost for the majors). So Sony vids can't be embedded. Bastards.

    Thursday, December 13, 2007

    Awesome Show Coming Up!


    I worked late last night and when I woke up to make the kids breakfast I saw this gig poster stuck to the pantry.

  • These guys rock!

  • Hopefully I'll have a show review to post after their gig but be forewarned - they've pulled a George Jones on me before and just never showed up for their performance.

    And they've bailed me several times when I had the studio booked for their inaugural (and soon-to-be seminal!) recording session.

    Fucking rock stars...

    [UPDATE: I've since noticed two more gig posters - one in the hallway and one on the back of my bedroom door - for the upcoming show. One even has an admission price: "Two bucks."]

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    Tuesday, December 11, 2007

    Found Art, Lost Friend


    I recently found this little drawing in my desk from Craig Grasso.

    Craig was a pro freestyle BMX'er back in the late '80s/early '90s [he once road naked during a King Of Vert contest!] that I met through my bmxing friends. He fell in love with a girl who lived in Maryland and ran with my circle of friends so he came out from Southern California a few times to visit. I even put him up with a place to stay at my parents' house during a summer between college semesters when I was home in Aspen Hill.

    I showed him all the trails we rode and the old, hot jumping grounds from when I was a kid riding Torkers and P.K. Rippers and doing crossed-up kick outs at places like the Alligator Pit, the big launcher at Wood Jr. High, and that big ass hill behind Peary High School (which is now totally overgrown and wooded by the way). He would do the same a few months later when I came to Hermosa Beach to visit some of my friends. Only Craig's repertoire involved wall rides, something I was not well-versed in.

    He was a super nice guy and crazy talented both on his bike and off it: the guy had this Mark Gonzales style of illiterate outsider art going on. I was never quite sure if Craig really couldn't spell or if misspelling words was part of his style.

    After I relocated to Southern California in '91, I still kept in touch with Craig even though he lived in San Francisco where he was part of the storied bicycle messenger scene and a soap box derby racer. He also had the claim to fame of living at one time with Puck from the Real World.

    Once during a visit to SF, Craig and his buddy took me to some crazy ass warehouse party where we drank assloads of Jagermeister and then on the way home from the party, before we could stop at some "killer burrito joint," they initiated me into the seedy world of gay SF.

    They pulled over curbside in what appeared to me to be some random place in town and instructed me to get out of the car. They said they had a dare for me. This was the pre-Jackass days of skate/bmx culture which was - and still is - filled with fiesty challenges of bravado and courage.

    My request seemed simple enough: I was to walk down the alley in front of me and they would meet me on the other side.

    Didn't seem like much of a challenge so I eagerly flung into action.

    About 25 yards down I realized something wasn't right. The alley was littered with bottles and condoms and wreaked of piss and shit. And soon enough I was greeted by a man in a 10 gallon hat and leather chaps, cock in hand being stroked asking me if he could "service me."

    "No thanks," I said and just kept walking only to find the entire alley overrun with gay male prostitutes all who resembled in one way or another a member of the Village People.

    When I got to the end of the alley, Craig was hunched over holding his ribs laughing his ass off.

    My face must have been pale. I'd had never seen anything like that before.

    "Welcome to the Castro!" said Craig.

    And with that we got back into the car and got ourselves some "killer burritos."

    I lost track of Craig sometime before I moved from SoCal to NC in '95 and haven't heard a peep from or about him since then...

    [UPDATE: A contemporary told me that last he heard Grasso was living and working in that alley he dared me to walk through...]

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    No Shit


    We took the kids to the Chapel Hill/Carrboro Christmas parade on Saturday morning. We've been going to that parade and camping out in front of the Orange County Social Club since before we had kids. Even though we moved to Durham it still is an annual tradition.

    Usually I don't get to make it because of my catering work schedule and usually it is cold as hell out but this year the temperature was downright balmy and I managed to squeeze in some free time.

    And just to show you how serious they take their basketball here in Chapel Hill, the fire engines are painted Carolina blue and have the patented Tar Heel logo imprinted on them.

    I wonder, are there any other college towns out there who eschew the traditional red fire engine in favor of the local university's colors?
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    Friday, December 07, 2007

    Looking Back

    One thing I love about blogging is the archives. Having always been one to keep some sort of diary or journal, being able to word search your archives or go back to a certain date in time appeals to the archivalist in me.

    The first week of December in 'O5 I was
  • being abducted by aliens

  • and in '06 I was
  • channeling my middle age rage

  • Well, I haven't had any visits from aliens lately but I'm still channeling my middle age rage: Chest Pains with
  • Gun Metal Black
  • and
  • Tooth
  • tonight in Durham...

    Thursday, December 06, 2007

    A Task Of Herculean Proportions

    Well maybe many tasks but starting with the show my band played last night, I will either have to work a catering gig or play with my band 11 out of the next 13 days.

    That's pretty brutal if I may put it bluntly: Imagine getting up with your kids at 7:30am everyday, making them breakfast (and lunch for school), doing household chores for the next few hours while Number 2 is at playschool (and writing to meet deadlines), entertaining both kids afterschool until dinner (which I will have to make) and then head off to work some party until God knows when (or in the case of last night play in some smoky club until God knows when). Then come home and pray for a good night's sleep so you can wake up and start the whole process over again... like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day.

    This is my life right now.

    In two weeks I'm sure I'll be writing about having bronchitis or the flu or some shit.

    I'm smart enough to wade through the waters with caution but being dead dog tired doesn't ward off the cooties very well.

    I Smell Like An Ashtray

    It's one of the downsides to being in a band.

    You sit around for hours in a club pounding your free beer, waiting to play, then make $40 and come home smelling like an ashtray.

    I've already showered and still wreak of cigarette smoke.

    Playing smoke-free clubs is such a pleasure...

    Wednesday, December 05, 2007

    I Regret To Inform You All

    I have passed down SAS to my 7-year-old son.

    It's true, I had my suspicions for months now but last night was the deal sealer.

    I heard him calling me from behind the bathroom door.

    It was the sound of distress.

    I open up to see what was the matter and was greeted by the most heinous smell ever.


    His ass fucking stunk like a cesspool baking in the hot, humid sun.

    I gagged and then asked him what he needed.

    "I can't reach that book," he said.

    So I grabbed the book in question, the one the finger was pointing to and gave it to him.

    Then made a hasty exit and bowed my head in shame for passing on the Stinky Ass Syndrome to my son.

    But I did look up and say a quick prayer to God and tell him that I'm thankful, thankful we've got two fucking shitters up in this joint!

    And yes, the little fella reads on the toilet.

    Wonder where he got that idea?

    Monday, December 03, 2007

    Product Review - The Baby Butler

    When I recently received an email about reviewing some baby products, I figured what the hell. We at-home dads are sailing in unchartered waters so any light I can shed on the situation I feel is a good thing.

    It took me several years being the at-home primary caregiver before I decided to reach out to other dads on the interweb and seek guidance and counsel.

    And when I did find web sites and blogs dedicated to the AHDs of the world, well it was sorta like replying to a classified ad in the back of the punk zine Flipside as a teenager – suddenly I found myself surrounded by like-minded people in a similar situation.

    I’ve been extolling the virtues of punk rock D.I.Y ideologies since as long as I can remember and if you really think about it, me being an at-home dad is just an extension of the do-it-yourself philosophy.

    So I am eager and excited to be able to help educate the world on the needs of fathers who are the primary caregiver: 7 years ago there were no black diapers bags, rather it was world filled in pink and covered in bunnies and bears. We have truly made some strides in the last few years.

    This brings me to the Baby Butler – a unique and clever way to free up your hand during bottle-feeding an infant. Now I must say that my boys are way past the days of bottle feeding but damn I do recall wanting to grow another appendage to help me out in my day-to-day dealings with a baby. Which is exactly what the Baby Butler does for you: it essentially gives you a third hand.

    The basic premise is that you have a burp cloth with a velcro’ed spot to affix a bottle. This is all fine and good but one thing that is often overlooked in the kid market is versatility. Because what might seem like a wise investment now will only end up being an item taking up closet space the next. Kids develop at an alarming rate of speed (take note you non-parents out there) and spending your hard-earned cash on something your child will age out of in mere weeks can dissuade the frugal parent from exercising their purchasing power. The beauty of the Baby Butler is that its not only a weighted burp cloth slash bottle holder but can also double as a diaper changing pad and even has a pocket to store your binky, er, pacifier. And it is the Baby Butler's ability to be utilized in many different ways that makes it a good thing. Plus, at $22 a pop, they are reasonably cheap.

    Now all we need is to take it one step further and invent the ManBoob™ so that fathers can truly enjoy the breastfeeding experience.

    *click the headline for a link to product website

    Tuesday, November 27, 2007

    And Still More Talk About Food


    So here it is: the veggie quesadilla I made from grilled leftovers.

    I know cheaters never prosper but suffice it to say I didn't make the salsa or guacamole from scratch and I substituted Mexican-blended cheese for goat cheese.

    But damn it was still really good!
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    Monday, November 26, 2007

    Call Me Crazy


    Apparently I didn't get enough to eat over the Thanksgiving holidays because I had the urge to fire up the grill yesterday. It had been some time since I got to do some grilling and in some sense I guess the urge to have a campfire and I used the grilling as a way to supplant that jonze.

    But it was a rainy, overcast day and really not conducive to either. It got dark quicker than I expected so I had some concerns about being able to tell when the food was done. The backporch light just didn't cut it - my wife said I needed a coal miner's hat.

    So I hunkered down and made some grub anyway. Much like Thanksgiving, I usually try to grill enough food to make it through two meals if not three.

    On the menu yesterday was a piece of salmon marinated in soy sauce and maple syrup and seared with a coat of crushed red pepper. I also made mini-burgers (because nothing is worse than your kid leaving a half-eaten burger on his plate), grilled some veggies (orange/red peppers, zucchini and red onion) as well as some bread.

    I know I have gone on at length about the joys of grilled bread but that shit is awesome. This morning my wife made a sunny side up egg, took some leftover bread, topped it with the egg, salmon and hollandaise sauce. Fucking grilled bread cannot be denied!

    I made jalapeno and cheddar mini-burgers for lunch (often called sliders on popular restaurant menus).

    Tonight I'm thinking about making veggie/goat cheese quesadillas with the rest of the batch of food.

    Can't you just smell it?

    What I do smell is a hardy exercise regime in my future!
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    Sunday, November 25, 2007

    A Story About Beer

    Just click the header...

    As Usual


    Well Thanksgiving was a blur, as usual, but it was good to spend plenty of time with my family and friends. We hosted dinner this year and had two families over for a total of 14 people (6 adults, 8 kids). As you can imagine - lots of food and beverages were consumed.

    Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays. But it wasn't until college when it became a full scale blowout. Wednesday night Thanksgiving eve I'd usually go to a beef & beer kind of thing at my old high school with my brother. Thanksgiving morning was spent with my neighborhood friends mountain biking and then the day long feast at my parents watching football, eating, drinking (sometimes napping!) and then reconvening with my homies at a select bar in DC.

    But by the end of college everything change: I moved to Los Angeles. Those were dire days back then when money was scare so I don't recall ever making it home for the holidays. One year I drove to Seattle with my roommate. It never occurred to me to look on the map - I just took his word for it that it was 16 hours like he said. Since I had nothing better to do, I opted to join him for the drive. I believe it took us close to 22 hours to get there. We left Wednesday, arrived Thursday as dinner was being served. slogged through Friday and then left Saturday to arrive back in LA on Sunday night. Crazy stupid shit that you only do when you are young, dumb and care free.

    I remember another Thanksgiving in LA where I spent the majority of my day at work as a pool boy at the Beverly Hills Hilton. It was like a ghost town there. On my way home from my shift, I was hit by an uninsured, illegal immigrant who told me in broekn English that he would fix the damage to the door on my truck at his garage. I opted to take the $60 he had in his wallet and go our separate ways. It totally sucked; I spent the money at the liquor store...

    When we relocated back to the East Coast in '95, we made the trek back up to my parents' house in Maryland for the holidays but with family scattered all over the place and few friends still left in the area, it had lost its luster. The five hour drove back home took us 8 and since then we haven't really made it back to my parent's place for Thanksgiving.

    But now that we have our own family and a gaggle of friends and some relatives around us, it feels like it has come full circle - we even hosted my parents a few years back.

    So aside from the gluttonous feast that it has become and a consumer wet dream, it still is a day that I will always want to spend with family and friends.

    And maybe it is because I have had to endure Thanksgiving without those close to me that makes me appreciate when I get to do that all the more.

    Let the holidays begin!
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    Monday, November 19, 2007

    Snacks That Saved The Day


    We needed some snacks to watch one of the greatest of sports rivalries this past weekend: the Redskins versus the Cowboys.

    Let me just say that I grew up in a die hard Skins household - my father has had season tickets since before I was born and I'm going to be 40 next year so that's a mighty long time. [Also, the last song played at my wedding reception was the Skins Fight Song...]

    I been to and watched many a Skins vs. Cowboys game. I seen beat-downs of gloating Cowboys fans in the parking lot by the hand of drunken angry Skins fans after a severe defeat; another loss at the hands of the Cowboys ruined a family Thanksgiving dinner as the house fell sullen and dejected.

    I've also been on hand for victories at RFK stadium where you could see the upper deck bouncing for Redskins fever and had my conversations with my brother or dad drowned out by a thunderous, excitable crowd.

    So now it's a favorite tradition I'm passing down to my sons: when the Redskins and Cowboys play all chores are put on hold and we get to the task of eating, drinking and hollerin' at the TV.

    While I'm not happy about the outcome of yesterday's game, it was still enjoyable to watch (although I don't understand how any team much less the Skins could leave T.O. open. Duh).

    Food served: beef tenderloin with goat cheese on toasted bagettes and brie cheese tarts. Nothing too elaborate but tasty none the less.
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    Thursday, November 15, 2007

    The Story Of The Leaning Pine


    At least once a month for the last I don't know how many years, somebody would knock on my door or ring my door bell and as I'd could to answer the door I'd see them smoking a cigarette and staring at my leaning pine tree.

    "Yawanmetatakerdown?" they'd ask.

    Or they'd tell me what kind of damage it would do to my house if it did fall like I wasn't aware of this lumbering pine tree in my yard.

    Usually I'd tell them that it survived a couple of hurricanes and a wicked ice storm or two and that despite the looks of it, I wasn't too concerned about the tree coming down on my house.

    I'd usually ask them for an estimate or a card and tell them I'd call if I ever needed the job done.

    And that was that.

    Until the drought hit this summer and some report on the news said that dry, brittle trees could pose serious problems this winter having been weakened by the drought.

    Not that we could spare the money but we finally decided it was time to take it down before it took us down...
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    The Tree Guy


    The Tree guy knew how to use a chainsaw with such precision.

    It was damn'ed impressive to watch.
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    Was Bad Ass


    He took the pine down and had the branches chipped and timber loaded onto a truck in less than an hour.
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    Feeling Naked


    My front yard minus one big pine tree.

    Neighbor: "It really makes the front of your house pop out."

    Me: "Yeah, I guess now I'll have to do something about those shrubs and that flower bed..."

    Neighbor: "You'll probably have to mow your lawn more now."

    Me: "Damn, you're probably right."
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    Sunday, November 11, 2007

    Welcome To Hell


    Friday night my band Chest Pains played a show in Chapel Hill at a bar called Hell.

    I'll spare you all the silly rock crit cliches I could dish out regarding the night's events but suffice it to say the place lived up to its name invoking Dante, Sartre and Hesse's versions of the evil entity all rolled up into one.

    I must say that Eddie Sanchez is the coolest bartender ever.
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    The Time Honored Tradition


    Of making a set list whilst sitting in a smoky bar waiting to take the stage.

    Calmly snapped just moments before disaster struck...
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    Juan Huevos' Dancin' Feet


    Party rapper, Mad Libs MC and my fellow catering buddy Juan Huevos poppin' off the joint Saturday night in Hell.
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    Getting Out Of Hell


    Rough night.

    Plagued by sound issues, our drummer forgot his hi-hat and the stench from the men's urinal could be smelt on-stage.

    But we soldiered on like the punk rock troopers we are...
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    The First Fire Of The Season


    Seeing as the temp finally dipped below freezing, I took it upon myself to have the first fire of the cold weather season. I love making fires, especially of the camp variety, but outdoor fires have been put on hold until the godforsaken drought in the Southeast ends. Which also means the kids haven't be able to rock the smores as much as they like to when dad gets to making campfires.

    Although my wife razzed me a bit for jumping on the opportunity to build a fire (she didn't mind staring it! you could hear her singing in industro-goth hit "I'm a firestarter! I'm firestarter) I'm glad we did because when I peeked at the weather for next week I saw that it is going to be back up in the mid-70s so it might be some time before I get to have another.
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    Beer Cheese Fondue


    Nothin' goes better with the first fire of the year then some noshable food.

    Last night we enjoyed beer cheese fondue which consisted of 8 ounces Swiss, 8 ounces American, 2/3 cup of beer
    (Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale), some Worcestershire sauce and corn starch (for thickening. Consumed by dipping a ripped up French bagette into it. Yum.

    I've substituted all kinds of beers over the years but Sammies Nut Brown is by far the best. Guinness or any variety of stout works as well but please adhere my warning when I say to avoid domestic swill.

    In addition to the fondue, I whipped up one of the more popular appetizers from my work: A seared tuna, avocado and chipotle mayo combo placed atop a tortilla chip. The downside to this one is that I tend to gobble down modest amounts of seared tuna during the prep process.
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    Friday, November 09, 2007

    Things People Say (And Do!)

    I've had a busier than usual month or so of catering recently.

    Here, er hear (?), are some choice things heard:

    - "It was costing me $3,200 for a round of golf"

    - "When I was living in Indonesia, I would have paid $100 for a glass of water like this"

    - "I'm holding out on my husband even though we are away from the kids this weekend. I'm pissed he doesn't help around the house more"

    - Girl #1: "You should see how nice the men's bathrooms are!"
    Girl #2: "It doesn't matter how nice a bathroom is, you can still do cocaine in it."

    And some things seen:

    - A group from Ohio at a wedding brought their own Ohio State beer coozies. No need for bev naps for these folks!

    - The same group had a few people wearing necklaces made out of buckeyes. Or made from the nut from the buckeye tree. I plead total ignorance of such knowledge.

    - And again, at the same wedding, during the break in "Hang On Sloopy" the crowd did this whole Y-M-C-A-esque shout out: O-H-I-O!

    - A couple cupping each other's asses at the same time (and you guess it... it was at the same wedding!)

    - Legendary soul/r&b beach music artists The Spinners performed

    - George Dickel and pickle shots

    If I remember anymore I'll be sure and add them...

    What We Eat

    Here's a peek at this past week's dinner menu:

    Tuesday - San Francisco pork chops (a soy sauce, garlic, brown sugar, dry sherry sauce) with Parmesan risotto and a pear, pine nuts, feta and mixed greens salad.

    Wednesday - fish (cod deep fried in a ESB beer batter) & chips.

    Thursday - bastardizing my mother-in-law's savory chili recipe which features red onion, garlic, celery and jalapeno (sauteed), ground beef and white corn, black and kidney beans. Topped with shredded sharp cheddar and sour cream and served with tortilla chips.

    I try to cook from scratch as much as possible because a.) fresh seasonal products taste so much better b.) doing it yourself is cheaper.

    Even something simple as lunch - where I usually buy cured meats like salami or Lebanon baloney as well as shaved ham or turkey and cheeses (Swiss, American and provolone) from the deli counter at my local grocery store - gets the do-it-yourself treatment. What's not to enjoy about buying some decent rolls from the bakery and then crafting your own hoagie? Just don't forget the pickle...

    Sure there are times I fall back on chicken nuggets and sliced apple for the kids or maybe order out sushi for the wife and I. And there are times pizza becomes the quick & easy default meal (although I still buy the crust, sauce, cheese and fixings and then built it up myself) or a chicken mixed with pasta casserole but for the most part our dinners are made with tender loving care and because of this - because my sons see me making dinner and because sometimes they help make dinner - I think they are a little more open and aggressive with their eating habits than most of their peers.

    Thursday, November 01, 2007

    Otherwordly Visitors


    So we had visitors from various dimensions come to our house last night for Halloween.

    I had this grand idea to plunk down some money for dry ice to add to the evening's vibe.

    Only it turned into one big debacle.

    You ever try to use dry ice?

    Well in order to get the ice to "smoke" you need to put hot water on it and - depending upon the size of the chunk of dry ice ( was using pint glass size pieces)- you may get a good 5 minutes out of it.

    So there I was running back and forth from the sink with hot water for my dry ice like every ten minutes or so. I felt like I was running food at an all-you-can-eat buffet. I stopped after about 45 minutes because you really take the thunder out of the scariness by popping out of your door with a pitcher full of hot water to pour on the ice; it surely doesn't set the mood.

    It also occurred to me that I just might tap out the hot water and I really wanted to save that for my shower later in the evening. Not to mention, we're still pretty much in a drought here and pouring hot water on your dry ice seemed a bit gratuitous so I opted to end the whole thing pretty much before the trick or treaters arrived.

    One neighbor joked that I'd be better off with a fog machine.

    "You could get the band to pay for that right?" he said with a wry smile.

    So I came to the conclusion that dry ice used as a spooky device (for longer than five minutes) is a useless propostion.

    I also came to the conclusion that waiting for trick or treaters to come to your house is like waiting for a date - both never seem to come soon enough.
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    Monday, October 29, 2007

    Spook City USA


    Ghouls and goblins and jack-o-lanterns... oh my!
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    Tuesday, October 16, 2007

    The NC State Fair


    So we went to the NC State Fair this past weekend. We opted for the early Sunday morning trip figuring - being the aethist heathens we are - that we'd beat the church goers by a few hours.

    But it was still crowded as shit.

    Kudos goes out to my kids who kept their chins up during 30-45 minute waits in line for rides, getting let down by not winning that giant, stuffed animal at the softball toss and long walks around the fairgrounds.

    They didn't bitch once which is more than I can say.

    We did see the racing pigs.

    That's something you must see at least once in your life.

    I believe they call it local color.
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    The Old School Tractor Exhibit


    Was a pleasant surprise... even the kids dug it.
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