Monday, February 18, 2008

Happy President's Day

I love long weekends. Who doesn't? But it really sucks to be sick on a long weekend. I could feel it coming on Saturday and prayed that the "tickle" in my throat would go away. But it never does for me because my immune system grabs at any chance to take a vacation.

I spent the morning today buying sacks of kiwis, oranges, lemons, grapefruits and limes. If the Florida citrus industry ever needed a spokesman, I'm their guy.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Holy Crap, THAT's Cold

Record cold for northern Minn.: 40 below

MINNEAPOLIS - It lived up to its name: The temperature in International Falls fell to 40 below zero Monday, just a few days after the northern Minnesota town won a federal trademark making it officially the "Icebox of the Nation.

It was so cold that resident Nick McDougall couldn't get his car trunk to close after he got out his charger to kick-start his dead battery. By late morning, the temperature had risen all the way to 18 — below zero.

Now THIS is the time when a subway strike makes sense. I'm all about union power, especially in cases when it stops me from going to a place where I really do not want to be.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Sunday Groove

I'm so lame. I spent hours tonight on Youtube (three words for Youtube: Ad-Dict-Ive) looking up covers of classic songs from the 60s, 70s and 80s. This one is a very corny, but strangely captivating, cover of my favorite Supremes song. And I'm also inexplicably curious if either of the dancers ever made a name for herself.

Speaking of the Supremes, Diana Ross got booed down in Jamaica a couple weeks ago when she refused to allow the concert organizers to put her up on the giant screen TV, so that 3/4 of the people who paid good money to see her, couldn't actually see her. Diana, isn't the diva schtick getting old now?

Thursday, February 07, 2008

I'm A Straight-Forward Packaging Type Of Guy

In addition to losing my iPod Nano and shuffle, I lost my fancy noise-cancelling headphones. Mine were in-ear headphones, and so not those conspicuous giant-ass Bose ear-muffs that would be somewhat noticeable if I had left them on a gym locker room bench. Although, knowing me, it's not impossible to think that I would be that stupid.

So I bought myself some fancy new headphones and got them in the mail recently. Like many electronics, it came in that evil hard plastic packaging. You know the kind? I'm talking about that hard-as-titanium, thick, no-one's-getting-inside-this-thing plastic that is soldered together like an iron sarcophagus. Who the hell designed this?

With packaging in general, I am by no stretch an "elegant" package opener. I tend to tear at packaging with grubby hands like a 5 year old. I have a friend who actually designs packaging for chewing gum, among other goods, and one day, when she gave me a pack of gum, we had the following conversation:
Me: "How the hell do you open this?" (I had just ripped open the entire box and all the pieces of gum had fallen on to the floor.)

My friend, D: "You just ripped the box! Don't tear at it! You're supposed to open it here. See the instructions!"

Me: "Well I don't think it was designed very well."

The hard plastic though is worse. There are no "instructions" to follow to open these things cleanly or in any way that avoids injury. No way. You're always reduced to hacking away at chunks of plastic like a caveman trying to open a can of food with a rock. It becomes a battle. Screw the headphones. I just want to beat the packaging. Thirty minutes later, with jagged shards of plastic all over the floor, bloody fingers, punctured wounds that would put paper cuts to shame, and a now-blunt samurai-quality butcher knife, I've finally won.

At least I can bask in victory.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Call Me Mr. Hellman

I've cooked long enough now to not really need measurements anymore. I used to not be like that. I would sometimes try to follow along cooking shows, valiantly trying to understand vague instructions like, "It's done when it looks done," or "throw in some garlic," with me in my kitchen holding a whole chicken in one hand, a perfectly mixed vodka tonic in the other and having a nervous breakdown screaming, "FUCKING MEASUREMENTS, LYDIA! I NEED MEASUREMENTS!"

Over time I got the hang of it and was able to make myself meals that involved vegetables and ingredients. Before I knew it, I found myself actually enjoying cooking. But there are still a few things that I either won't make or hate making because of the amount of work, clean-up or other tasks that make cooking it supremely annoying.

Mayonnaise used to be one of those things. It just seemed like one of those items that you're supposed to buy. But I made it for the first time the other day, and it was a surprisingly thrilling experience. You throw all of these food ingredients into a food processor that you would never eat straight, namely oil and egg yolks and some lemon juice (well, I guess body builders drink (eat?) egg yolks by themselves), and voila! That liquid mass turns into the gelatinous blob that we all know and love as mayonnaise. It's like magic happening before your eyes.

Next up: Ketchup!

Monday, February 04, 2008

Our Captain The Comedian

This past weekend, I was in Bonita Springs, FL. Everyone kept asking me "Where the fuck is that?" when I told people that's where I was going. Well, as I've mentioned before, I love my Hyatts (there's a great one there), and I needed a break from work and annoying people to recharge my batteries (and maybe get myself back into regular blogging).

The hotel was pretty nice and afforded me the break that I needed from the real world. For beach access, the hotel featured a boat ride to their private beach on Big Hickory Island, which I thought was really more of a "hassle" rather than an "amenity." But, even though I am not much of a beach person, I wanted to check it out, since going to the beach is still a novelty for me.

As we embarked from the dock across the estuary (which I relearned from our captain is a body of water where freshwater and seawater mix together), our captain gave us the safety spiel. Now, keep in mind that the water here is never more than three feet deep, and the boat crawls at about 5 miles an hour. So telling us about safety for the ride bordered on the absurd.

Some snippets from the highly entertaining safety talk:

"If you fall out of the boat, it makes our lives much easier if you just simply walk back to the boat."

"If you do choose to fall out of the boat, try to land feet first. Landing head first is not advisable"

"While the boat is moving, it's important to keep your hands and heads inside the boat....(long pause)...wait, I mean head."

Give the guy his own show.

Hope everyone had a Bonita weekend!