Sunday, September 30, 2007

Bewitched, Bothered, & Bewildered

SO this is a partial photo of the current contents of our refri-gerator. Try not to be distracted by the Red Hook Longhammer IPA, or the gorgeous kaiser rolls to the left. What I want you to see is the two containers on the left of the bottom shelf.

Anyone who comes here regularly knows what is coming next.

My brother asked me to bring some of my special deviled eggs, which usually contain dijon mustard and dill relish in the filling asnd are dusted with chili powder as a garnish, to my nephew Zeb's 1st birthday party. (These are known as "bedeviled eggs.") We got about half way across town before El Wiferino recalled that the eggs were still in the fridge, too late toi turn back and get them.

So I have eggs in my fridge. My brother has threatened to come over some time this next week and snag them. We shall see. In a nutshell: the smaller container, which now contains 3 eggs, was full, containing six eggs when we got home. That was a half hour ago.

But the real purpose to this blog entry is to share the formula of this batch. The standard formula for devilled eggs is about 3 tablespoons of mayo for every 6 whole eggs, with a tablespoon of sugar, mustard, and a teaspoon of vinegar to the same number of eggs, and salt and pepper to taste. For this batch, I used no sugar at all, about a tablespoon and a half of dijon mustard per half dozen eggs (so about 3 tablespoons of mustard), then sea salt and black pepper. And rather than starting with a predetermined mass of mayo, started with enough to start mixing, then added mayo until the texture was perfect. (I am convinced this is the correct method.) Right before that step I added the dill relish, and, for a last, tart finishing note, malt vinegar.

The result is an object of unrefined beauty, tart and salty and eggy and slightly custardy in the filling, just wonderful. I have decided to christen them . . . Any guesses? Bewitched, Bothered, & Bewildered. I was going to tyack "Eggs" onto the end of the sobrioquet, but that would have just been unweildy. Of course, assuming that I get asked to bring eggs again, and assuming the platter gets there (and no, I have not ruled out some sort of gastronomic Freudian slip as the cause of this oversight), I am anticipating the following exchange:

'imself: "Bewitched, Bothered, & Bewildered!"

Party-Goer: "Which ones are bewitched, which are bothered, and which are bewildered?"

'imself: "Yes!"

It's at moments like this when I suspect my wife bought a digital camera as much to take pictures as to provide a method by which she can be conveniently absent during such exchanges.

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Friday, September 28, 2007

The more things change . . .

So, as some of you may know, last year I registered a domain name, Which I quite like, I thought it was pretty cool. I just dialed until I found a domain including some form of the word "poet" (to be frank, "poetry" was the bait I used), until I found a domain name that wasn't spoken for, bought it for $9.95, and spent a week wrestling with Dreamweaver until I had the thing in some semblence of order, and launched it. I used to have a link to it here, over on the right.

Click on it now, and it leads you to my old fashioned, hand-cranked, lead-based Geocities page. (Not that I am proud of the stone-aginess of my techno-fab.) I concluded that I really was so much more comfortable writing my HTML by hand and diddling with the Geocities file manager than I was using Dreamweaver (which my wife swears by as much as I swear at). This was a casual enough conclusion, meriting no real action, aside from announcing it on the Geocities page, which no one in the known world would have noticed at any rate.

Then the administrating company sent a note indicating that it was time to decide if I wanted to keep it-- another payment of $9.95, due immediately-- and on clicking on the link to my very own site, found they had blanked the content and filled with ads for their own services. On the Geocities page I referred to this as "extortion," so, in the service of variety, I will herein call it, er, um, hmmm . . . "blackmail."

So I did the two petty things required to reflect my dissapointment and disgust with the internet service provider, which were to change the link here and in my e-mail signature. Hurray and huzzah.

In other news, free Burma, dammit. I am in no way what you'd call an activist, but, for the love of God, something's gotta be done.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Strip Clubs

I just heard an antecdote about a strip club that made me pause and reflect.

Seems an HR director at a regional branch of a larger corporation was recently fired for taking a work team out to a strip club.

I don't get strip clubs.

I don't get HR directors either, but that's a whole different subject.

Don't get me wrong-- about the strip clubs-- I like nudity. It just strikes me that there are alot better ways to enjoy people getting naked.

I mean, lots. Back in the day, I got lured into going to a series of strip clubs, and the whole time I remember thinking, I think I might enjoy seeing these ladies naked, in a different setting, but this is just stupid.

Of the probably 14 women I saw naked (or semi-naked, which seemed to depend on relative age), only one of them could really dance, and few of them seemed to be enjoying what they were doing at all. In fact, the guys watching seemed to enjoy the ones who were not enjoying what they were doing, which was weird. The whole thing was just . . . well, depressing.

Here's the best thing that happened to me the night I went out to a bunch of strip clubs.

It was a week night, a Thursday, I think. Towards the end of the night, at the last place we went, they had shots of Canadian Club for a buck and a half. I was bored with the strippers, one of whom had sat down to talk politics with the guys I was with (and proceeded to con them into paying her "cab fare"), so I got up to go to the bar for a second Canadian Club (I had been drinking beer previously, and had managed to keep a fairly even keel). The bartender poured me two shots, saying the second one was on the house (this was at, like, one thirty in the morning), so I stayed to chat with him. He asked me what I did for a living, and I said nothing yet (I was a college student), but I wanted to be a writer.

A guy who had just come up to the bar to get his next whisky said "Don't bother. There isn't any money in it."

His words hit me in the forehead like a shotput. I drunkenly asked "What do you mean?"

"You ever see that movie Terms of Endearment?" He asked. I nodded. He said "I wrote that." And he turned and walked away, without another word.

By this time my friends were out of money and asking if I had any left. I had thirty bucks, but I lied and said not enough for another round. So we left.

A bit later, on the mercifully short ride home, I managed to drag the name out of my murky memory: Larry McMurtry. I just got shot down by Larry Freakin' McMurtry. What the hell he was doing at a strip club in Charlotte on a Thursaday night was anybody's guess.

I got no use for strip clubs. Anyone ever asks, my vote is include me out.

(A quick PS After the Yours Truly: On looking up Doc Nagel's blog I was zipped tot he Wikipedia entry on the concept of the Invisible hand, the intro to which reads thusly:

"The invisible hand is a metaphor coined by the economist Adam Smith. In The Wealth of Nations and other writings, Smith claims that, in capitalism, an individual pursuing his own self-interest tends to also promote the good of his community as a whole through a principle that he called “the invisible hand”. In detail, a free competitive market ensures that those goods and services perceived as most beneficial, efficient, or of highest quality will naturally be those that are most profitable. Thus, self-interest striving for profit has the side-effect of benefiting everyone by increasing standards. The mechanism for this, Smith saw as being the free price system.[1]. The Invisible hand would have been true if we could have actually seen it."

Ah, Wikipedia. You just know, you just gotta know, that that last line was inserted by some cranky academian, screwing with Wikipedia because he belongs to the freakin wiki, strictly because he/she could.)

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Sunday, September 16, 2007



I sit on the porch with a cup of coffee steaming its way up to my nose and eyes. Partly I am waking up, but mainly I’m just staring out into the thick, green expanse of woods that I wake up to every morning. It’s why I put the trailer here. Well, the land does belong to my family. But why it’s here, beside what’s left of some make-shift road to some forgotten mine, is so I can get up and look out onto this forest.

Mandy is coming up the road. I guess I expected her to come over, because I barely even turn my head as she turns onto the driveway from the road. She parks her old Ford Bronco by the shed. The slamming door reverberates in my aching head. She hesitates before walking up to the porch. As she sits down next to me she says “Jody’s dead.”

“I know,” I say, sipping coffee. I knew it this morning when I woke up on the floor with the whole left side of my face hurting. I don’t know how I knew it, but I did, and it was too much for me to think about first thing. All I wanted was my coffee and to come out here and look at my forest. Sometimes I pretend it’s one of those forests in Mexico I’ve read about, so dense that only two men have been known to cross them in the course of a century. But this morning it’s cold, so it’s a medieval forest, where there might be dragons and griffins lurking. But mostly it was just the green wall I rested my eyes against. “When?”

“Well, his Aunt Sue called me from the hospital just a little while ago. So some time this morning, I expect. She didn’t say. She was pretty shook up.”

I nodded. I’d guessed she would be. It made enough sense that she would be the one to make the call. Jody hadn’t talked to his Mama in maybe a year. And Jody’s Daddy, well, he just isn’t anyone to be making phone calls is all. So it made sense Sue would call, even though she hadn’t been in the bar that night herself.

Mandy puts a hand on my arm. “Look, no one blames you. Everyone knows how Jody’s been.”

But somebody should blame me, I want to say. Nobody made me work at the bar.

“Still,” Mandy said, “you may have to find somewhere else to call home for a little while.”

I look out at the forest, and suddenly the only thing I can see is Jody’s face as he came across the bar, beer bottle in hand, that crazy sneer in his eyes. I half remembered the feeling of the gin bottle in my hand, the sweep of my arm along the bar.

“No,” I say. Somewhere else to live, maybe. But home is where the heart is.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Been Practicin'

Actually, it's not quite as dramatic as it looks. The oxidization from the phosphor-bronze strings discolor the fingertips a bit, so it makes it look a bit like the caluses are, say, half-an-inch thick.
And, actually, I did not actually take this picture, actually. The Wifey wandered in as I was fooling with the camera and volunteered her assistance. This was the best of the half-dozen-- I kid you not-- snaps we took between the two of us. Mighty long way to go for a Stroh's. (This also had the best view of my beloved Adidas Samoas, very important.)

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I Am Watching The Great Escape

That's my story, and I am sticking to it.

(I'm sure this violates some copyright law somewhere. I don't care.)

I am certainly not watching The History Channel today. I remember what happened six years ago today. I don't need what I can only describe as canned histrionics to make me feel more "special" about what happened on this day six years ago.

It's raining in New York. I feel good about that. It should be raining in New York.

(They're doing memorials in my town, too, which doesn't make any @#$%ing sense at all. But I'm not gonna stop 'em. I guess they can do whatever makes 'em feel better.)

I am watching The Great Escape. That is my story, and I am sticking to it.


Thursday, September 06, 2007

I Ain't A Addict, But I'd Kill A Man For Another Hit

SO they say the first step is admitting that you have a problem.
I certainly don't have the largest collection of running shoes in the world. I have at least one friend/co-worker who admits to having upwards of 25 pairs of basketball shoes. But should I find it troubling that I can describe the era of origin, the manufacturing details, and, most of the time, the name of the designer? Should it trouble me that am collecting running shoes, despite the fact that I no longer run? Should it bother me that one pair, the Adidas Somoas in the upper right hand corner, I don't even wear, that I have them on ice, for when the original Samoas, lower right, finally wear out?


Now here's a picture of deviled eggs, on the grounds that almost nobody doesn't like deviled eggs.

Actually, this is by way of mentioning a revelation. Every recipe I have ever read for deviled eggs says "salt and pepper to taste," but I have never quite been able to get my deviled eggs salted and peppered to my tastes. Then it dawned on me: garnish with salt and pepper! That way I can make them as salty and peppery as I want.

(There were six of these yesterday afternoon. I was going to save the last two for breakfast tomorrow. They may not make it that far. The time has come, the Walrus said, to speak of many things . . . )

And then here's a pic of the dog, Gabby, because she's just so damned cute. (Especially in the Papa San chair, which we bought some years ago because I liked it for reading, and which the dog has absolutely nationalized since then.)

I was going to use all this as a lead-in to a poem about Bakersfield, California, but I've changed my mind.

I mean, that would just be cruel.

PS: And then there was ONE.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Damn Straight I Got 'em

" . . . Any sneaker conglomerate will tell you they don't make them like they used to. This is fact. Don't be fooled, even re-issued models are made differently now, with mass produced, inferior leather compared to their originally issued counterparts." --Bobbito Garcia, Where'd You Get Those: New Yor Sneaker Culture, 1960-1987

Behold: the Nike Oregon Waffles. Sure, they're re-issues, but these are the real thing. I found out less than a week ago they had been re-issued, and yesterday I got 'em.

Note to fellow purists: the re-issues come "weathered," with yellowing on the foam insole and laces that look like they've been peed on. A little sneaker shampoo and a new pair of strings do the trick. Good as . . . well, new.