Monday, July 31, 2006
Speaking of bicycles, I took a big step yesterday and bought a pair of bike shorts. Two reasons: padding in the ass and normal shorts either climb my thighs or bind me in uncomfortable ways while I'm riding. It will be incentive to slim down, because nothing accentuates a huge ass like skin-tight lycra. I better love them because they cost 45 bucks.
In other news we got a big bag o' free homegrown Mississippi tomatoes yesterday from our neighbor's visiting parents, so I decided to make pizza margherita. My crust sucked. I realize that I used too much flour--it was way too dense. Not very tasty, either. Good thing the tomato-y goodness up top completely drowned it out.
Friday, July 28, 2006
The "hiding among civilians" myth--Israel claims it's justified in bombing civilians because Hezbollah mingles with them. In fact, the militant group doesn't trust its civilians and stays as far away from them as possible.
Watching Beirut die--We went to Beirut to film a TV show about the city's newly vibrant culinary and cultural scene. Then the bombs started falling, and we could only stand on the barricades of our hotel balcony and watch it all disappear -- again. (By Anthony Bourdain).
Obviously the Salonites understand operant conditioning and the value of intermittent reinforcement very well--just when I get to the point when I'm ready to stop checking their mostly shit site every day they dangle a treat in front of my nose to keep me coming back.
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Anyway, Friday night we went to see Scene of The Crime Rovers debut:
Also there are Flickrpix:
Also, we went on a bike ride Sunday and in the process of trying to find a trailhead for a greenway path that supposedly exists in north Durham, we discovered a brand-spanking-new bit of street (so new it's not yet shown on any of the online map apps) that could have easily been built with bike lanes but wasn't. This really makes me think that the city of Durham's supposed committment to becoming bicycle-friendly is really a giant crock of shit. Oh oops, that's right, we can't build any bicycle friendliness until we are done drafting, re-drafting and revising our bicycle master plan, and that could take years! It would be better to keep building roads without bicycle lanes and then later, when the master plan tells us that a route between two greenway trailheads should probably have bicycle lanes, we'll go tear up the curbs we just built and put some bike lanes in!
Monday, July 24, 2006
Amedeo's is just gross. I think I'd rather go hungry than eat there.
Friday, July 21, 2006
Anyway, I'm wondering: Does Mr. Phelps want to talk to anyone else, or are we special?
Thursday, July 20, 2006
So anyway, for several reasons, I went to the Cameron Village HT today at lunch. Having few items and not having learned my lesson from previous visits, I decide to go through the self-serve checkout line. Lots of stores have these, and usually they work well--but never at Harris Teeter. In fact, I'm still in a crappy mood over it. I scanned two items and, for no apparent reason, it gave me the message "Please Wait For Cashier." This has happened every time I've used the stupid self-serve line at Harris Teeter (I swear I've learned my lesson this time and will wait in the interminably long lines with the smart people from now on). But there was no cashier--the little desk was empty. There was a "Call Cashier" button, so I clicked it ... still no cashier. I clicked it again ... nothing. So I clicked the hell out of it ... still nothing. Finally I went looking for someone, and it turns out the cashier was helping the full service line bag groceries. She came and pushed some button on her magic control center and then went back to bagging groceries. I scanned my next item, a hunk of specialty cheese, and the machine commanded me to put it on the scale and wait. So I did. And I waited. And waited. And waited some more. Then I waited even longer, and topped that off with another round of waiting. Finally I went and told the cashier to get her sorry ass ... no, I didn't, I just told her she needed to help me. I had to bring the cheese to her, and after lots of button pushing on her magic control center I was able to go scan my last item (whole wheat baguette--to go with the cheese for my lunch).
I shake my fist at you, stupid Harris Teeter and your infernal malfunctioning self-service checkout! You suck!
This is why I have a blog. I feel much better now.
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
I have no idea what happened, but sometime between the morning and when I arrived home from work in the afternoon, Lucy hurt her right side ... we think. She was acting normally when I left for work, and when I got home she was acting like just walking across the room was painful. She didn't seem to want to move--either to sit, lie down or stand back up again, and she was hunching her back just a little when she walked. So I took her to the vet--who could only determine that Lucy had a painful spot near one of her ribs on the right side. The X-rays didn't show any problems with ribs or organs, and the blood tests showed normal organ functions. So the vet gave Lucy a shot of Dexamethasone for pain, and sent some Prednisone home for me to give her.
This just made my week a little less busy because I really shouldn't run Lucy in the flyball tournament we were going to got to in Philadelphia this weekend. Which means I probably won't be spending Friday in a van with two teammates on our way north (although I'm still considering just going for the hell of it--I wouldn't if it were just me driving, but a road trip could be fun). Nonetheless, I still feel stressed, perhaps because I have no idea what happened to Lucy to make her side hurt, and I'm hoping it's not a sign of something worse.
Stress makes me tired, so maybe I'll go to bed now.
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
The Media Rush to Duke's Defense
Wolves in Blazers and Khakis
Sunday, July 16, 2006
Then today it was almost a Durham blogger-palooza when Christa, Sarah, Georg and I converged upon Plant Delights Nursery and Juniper Level Botanical Gardens open house. It's a pretty nifty place and, whadda'ya know, they have a lot of plants there. A lot. Very expensive ones. But they also let folks traipse through the place ooh-ing and ahh-ing several times a year for free, so if they want to charge $35 for a hosta I'm not going to stop them. They had some very hostariffic hostas, I must say. One of the highlights was when one of the nursery dudes (a very cute one, BTW) said to Sarah "I like your style. It reminds me of a John Waters movie." Oh yeah, and then there was when Sarah asked this guy we were talking to if she could take his picture and he said yes, but then he let out a startled yell when she whipped out her giganto lens and put it a foot from his face. Good times.
Anyway, it was all fun and games until Pants dropped her camera in the parking lot right before entering the Pantsmobile for the ride home, and didn't even know it ... Fortunately I wanted to take a photo at the store a short distance from the shebang and d'oh! No camera! Fortunately said camera was found again before having been run over by a luxury SUV and all was well again. Although Christa did point out that it would have been a great excuse to get a brand-new camera ...
Oh, and I must mention food. I made food today, and it was all good! I made a peach thingie ... I don't know if it would be properly called a cobbler, but I sliced up peaches, topped them with a mixture of butter, oats and brown sugar and then baked it. It was yummy. And I fried up a mess o' potatoes (from the farmer's market) with various spices--also yummy. But best of all, I roasted some eggplant with green peppers (also farmer's market products) and it was pretty damn good as well. The problem is that all this cooking is also a pain in the ass. It requires lots of peeling and chopping and whatnot, and I just don't think it's all that fun. No, watching Arrested Development is fun. Riding my bike is fun. Playing with dogs is fun. Taking photos is fun. Chopping fresh, local foodstuffs is work. See, that's the little catch in the whole "slow food" thing: not everyone wants to spend hours futzing with that stuff. I just want to go out and play.
Saturday, July 15, 2006
While at the market I ran into Steve Mobley, a guy I used to work with who raises grass-fed beef in Franklin County. That's another thing Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma has convinced me of--that I would feel OK about eating local, pastured, grass-finished beef. So maybe one of these days I'll buy something from Steve (he'll have eggs available soon, too, so that's who I'll buy from in the future). The problem is that if I pay a premium price for meat, I'm not going to trust myself to cook it. What if I ruin it? Maybe I should just stick with tofu ...
Anyway, after the market excursion, we rode the AmTob trail again, and I thought I was going to die. Seriously, it's goddamn hot out there. I had to stop at one point and sit on a bench under a bridge because I was feeling faint. Then again, after making it back to downtown (which is built on a hill, I have noticed recently), I didn't think I was going to make it home. I was lightheaded and my arms and legs felt like rubber. Fortuitously, the Blue Coffee was open. I stopped and got a "Berry Boost" smoothie, and Mr. Pants had a blueberry cheescake milkshake. We soaked up the air conditioning and talked with the new owner of the place. She was so nice that I'm determined to go back and try more milkshake flavors (they have eleventy million flavors of soft-serve ice cream there.) The smoothie gave me the strength and the will to get back home.
Once here I had cage-free scrambled eggs and toast (The eggs tasted just like any other eggs ... I was hoping they were going to be the best eggs I'd ever had, but no, they were just eggs.) I also watched the made-in-Durham bilingual soap opera Nuestro Barrio. It's a little cheesy--the background music is the worst part--and they sort of hit you over the head with their Important Message (today's was that housing discrimination is illegal). Nonetheless it would be a great way to brush up on one's Spanish because it's all subtitled, whether the dialog is in Spanish or English.
I think I'll lie around for a while, then I'm going to go see Pirates of The Caribbean with Santa Salsera. I've heard it sucks, but it sucks with Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom. I think I can handle that.
Friday, July 14, 2006
(Thanks to .:DataWhat?:. for yet another fine link.)
And I need assistance with something: Would someone please explain the whole skirt-over-pants thing to me please? Women do this as a joke, right? Right?
Thursday, July 13, 2006
Early in the evening I took a snippet of video (it's very short because I decided I was more interested in dancing than documenting):
And then later, during the finale, I took another one (but you can't see much because it's so dark):
Here are a few more pix I took over the course of the evening:
In other news, before the show, I made zucchini bread. I though it turned out really well. It was pretty, too:
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
In other exciting news, I really do want your opinion, even if you don't feel like giving it to me.
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Monday, July 10, 2006
Sunday, July 09, 2006
It's a real sham, because wanna know what is located in that shopping center? Baba Ganouj Mediterranean Grill, that's what! How wonderful would it be to work up a nice appetite on the bike trail, have a heavenly, healthy meal, and then work it off on the way home? Oh, too bad, cars only! Mr. Pants made the observation that both shopping centers had been designed and built under the assumption that no one would ever want to walk from one to the other. Even though they are well within easy walking distance of all kinds of suburban tract housing, there is no provision made for anyone who might want to forgo use of their cars.
I noticed the same thing once when I was at Briar Creek (aka The Wasteland.) Even though the whole sprawling mess of a shopping center spans both sides of US 70, there is absolutely no provision made for enabling pedestrians to cross from one side to the other. Furthermore, the shopping center was designed as part of a huge development with single family homes as well as higher-density housing like apartments and "townhomes" (what a stupid name for something out in the middle of suburban nowhere, but I digress) all within walking and/or bicycling distance. Yet they are separated by high-traffic roadways with no places for pedestrians to safely cross. Stupid, stupid world we've built ...
Before the show I had been feeling pooky not only because of the headache, but because it was making me idle--I wanted to get out and do something. So I decided we should just go ride bikes anyway. We biked over to the farmer's market and purchased some fresh local foodstuffs, and then we took a ride down the American Tobacco Trail. I was hoping that an endorphin rush would help the headache go away, but instead I got a headrush--several of them, in fact, and my headache felt a little worse.
At dinner time we decided that pizza from Satisfaction would be good, so be decided to biik on over there. This is actually not as easy as it would seem considering that it's barely a mile from the house, because at a certain point Gregson Street narrows so much that bicyclists are forced right into the traffic lanes. And even though the speed limit there drops down to 25 mph, the cars all seem to be in way to much of a hurry to obey it. So the only safe alternative is to go up on the sidewalk at a cartain point. Then Brightleaf Square offers barely any bicycle parking--there is one teensy little rack at the far end--big enough for three bicycles--and it was full. Fortunately we were able to eat outside at Satisfaction and keep an eye on the bikes, and the hostess said that if we wanted to eat inside we could bring them in with us. That was nice. After dinner I would have liked to take a gander at the offerings in Offbeat Music, but since we had no place to lock our bikes I decided against it.
Despite all the miles of wonderful bike trails, Durham is not a very bicycle-friendly city, in that riding on the streets--trying to use the bike for transportation and not just recreation--is often fraught with peril. Mr. Pants bikes to work many days, and he says there are several places where the only safe choice is to go up on the sidewalk. I'd like to ride more places--for example I need to go to Costco today--but I don't know if there is a safe route. Can I ride across I-85 on that new Duke/Gregson St. bridge? I doubt they made anyprovision at all for bike safety, considering it was built by NCDOT and all they care about is moving cars and trucks as rapidly as possible. I could try Guess Rd. to Broad Street, which is a longer route, but I think it would be a tight squeeze trying to cross I-85 there, too (But hey, there's always the sidewalk, I guess ... but that's such a cop-out). Also, I don't think Costco has any bike racks, and they probably wouldn't let me bring the bike in with me. What a stupid world we've made.
Oh, yeah, and I was able to check out The Omnivore's Dilemma. It has killed my appetite for everything but grass-fed meat and eggs. But otherwise it's a hell of a good book--he demonstrates very powerfully that we have indeed made a very stupid world for ourselves. I wanna go back to my home planet.
Saturday, July 08, 2006
It's one of the 173 reasons why I've never wanted children: I can't even stand adults when I have one of these things--if I had children I'd surely have to bind and gag them and toss them in a closet until the headache went away, but I just don't have that kind of closet space in this house. It's easier to just not have them.
Thursday, July 06, 2006
fatoush, baba ganouj, potatoes & pita
Originally uploaded by bunchofpants.
It's been a long time since I've reviewed a restaurant here at Pantsville. Usually I'm moved to write a review by a totally crap experience (Cheescake Factory: Blecch!). Today it's quite the opposite: I had a heavenly lunch and I must proselytize.
There's a new place in downtown Raleigh, on Salisbury St. (upstairs from Nero's, next to the Subway--it's where the Station II used to be) called the Baba Ganouj Mediterranean Grill. Holy crap it's good. Last week I got a falafel pita there, and it was probably the freshest, tastiest falafel pita I had ever eaten. I watched the guy make it, and he placed everything in the pita so perfectly and with great care--as if it were going to be the only falafel pita he would make all day and so it better be good. I almost felt bad asking them to wrap it to go--a work of art like that should have been savored on a plate, right away. Nonetheless, even after being wrapped in foil and transported two blocks to my office, it was still one damn fine falafel pita.
Monday I got their "3 sides and a drink" plate. I chose baba ganouj, hummus and falafel. The baba ganouj was a revelation. Done incorrectly, baba ganouj can be a nightmare. I've shied away from baba ganouj many times because bad baba ganouj will ruin your day. But done well it's like a little flavor circus in your mouth--each delicate essence performing little backflips in perfect balance over a creamy safety net. Or something ... I dunno, I'm not a real food writer, I just play one on the internets. Anyway, this place gets it right--so right that I couldn't wait to get back to Baba Ganouj for more of their namesake dish.
I was even willing to walk through the rain today to get my fix. This time I got the baba ganouj (of course!) with fatoush and a potato dish that they simply called "potatoes." But these weren't just any potatoes. They were the best facking potatoes I had ever eaten. Seriously, I said that out loud a couple of times to my co-workers. And silently to myself I though "Goddamn these are some good potatoes!" They were fried in garlic and parsley, and then I think they were sprinkled with lemon juice--or at least that's what it tasted like. The fatoush was veggilicious and the the baba ganouj was even better than before.
The only drawback to the Baba Ganouj Mediterranean Grill is that it's in Raleigh. We need a place like this in Durham. I also believe that it's only open during the day on weekdays because downtown Raleigh is a dead zone at night. At any rate, if you do find yourself in downtown Raleigh on a weekday and you need some outstanding grub, there is no choice. You must eat at Baba Ganouj.
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
for the many.
And it's a double-whammy week: I'll be doing Mondo Mundo this Saturday as well. Smae as above except that it will be 1-3 pm Eastern. I think I'll have a theme this week: Cumbia is Cool. All cumbias, all the time ... or at least for two hours.
It's Mr. Pants' birthday today. He doesn't like cake so I'm making him ... well I won't say just in case he's reading this. (Can you believe he doesn't like cake? Must be because he's a total crackhead or something because NORMAL PEOPLE LIKE CAKE!!)
UPDATE: Mr. Pants says he does like cake and that it must be my other husband who doesn't. At any rate, I made him bread pudding, which he loves.
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
We rode the American Tobacoo Trail from downtown to its current ending point at Southpointy Crossing shopping center (which is just north of the Streets at Southpointy.) (I'm only calling it Southpointy because Georg does.) The last mile marker I remember seeing was six (although we went farther), so we went at least 12 miles which, after you add another couple of miles getting to and from the trailhead from home comes out to about 14 miles. Not bad for my third bike ride in a couple of years. Turns out there's a way we could have gone farther on a gravel trail that goes to the Chatham County line (the actual line, not the band), but we didn't find that out until on the way back when we ran into someone we knew (fortunately she wasn't hurt, as it is only a figure of speech and as such has soft and squishy edges).
Down around the Woodcroft area the trail is packed. Lots of kids with little training wheel bikes, stroller-joggers, rollerbladers, dog-walkers, dog-joggers (with fat dogs! Argh, people, it's not fair to make a fat dog run like that! Take the weight off and then run with the dog!). It's really cool that lots of people are out using the trail, and I hope it means that people will support massive expansion of the trail system. I'd be willing to pay a bicycle license fee if the money went into expanding the system. The American Tobacco Trail is part of the East Coast Greenway System, which I think is the coolest idea since ... well whatever the last really cool idea was. Could you imagine biking from Maine to Florida? That would be a hell of an interesting vacation.
Anyway, I think the rest of the day should be spent indoors, because the heat index is supposed to hit 103. But maybe I'll go out for food ... I wonder if Bali Hai is open? Or maybe Neo China? Yum, that would rock.