Sunday, December 02, 2007

I felt a little cheesy

This morning I had one of the best meals for breakfast. Last night my wife and I went Christmas shopping with her sister and husband. We were looking for some kind of delicious dessert and stopped by this pretty good bakery right near our house. There was, unfortunately, only one poor fellow working and a huge line. So we went next door to this place that sells fancy cheeses and wine. Well, we were in luck because that night they were having a wine and cheese tasting extravaganza. As we learned, there was a few cheese reps. doing their "stuff" (I didn't even know there were such careers, but it makes sense).

I don't drink wine, so I went straight for the cheese sampling. There was a Spanish bleu cheese, a parmesan and a asiago at one table. These were all fairly strong and delicioso. I seem to like the stinkier cheeses. At the next table there was a camembert, a three cream brie, and a "breakfast cheese". These were all fairly mild, but very creamy. The texture was very nice, but again, I crave the stinky ones. They also had these dessert cheese things. It looked like cream cheese with stuff on and in them. One was a orange cranberry and the rep served it on a thin ginger cookie. Another was a Mediterranean served on a cracker. It had those salty Kalamata olives in the topping and some other stuff. It tasted really rich and good. The next table has a brie with bleu added to it. It was good, but I was drawn back to the first table.

After having some more I decided on the Spanish bleu cheese. I found a blog that talks about this very same cheese that I bought:

Apparently it's made with cow, sheep and goat milk. It's also wrapped in maple leaves, which I think is kind of cool. It was very strong, but not too strong. I bought some French roquefort once that was so strong it made my tongue tingle. While I was talking to the rep about the Spanish bleu, I mentioned how much I liked the parmesan and that people don't usually eat it in chunks, but that it's quite good. It was then that I made a great cheese comment and was complimented in return, so that I felt very hoity toity. I mentioned an Irish cheese that I like called "Dubliner" and that I thought it tastes like a soft parmesan . She said she was a rep for that cheese company also, and that they do indeed use a parmesan starter culture for the "Dubliner". She then said "You have a very discerning palette." Well, I never had someone comment on my "palette" before, but I felt very sexy as a result.

The point of this story is that I bought the Spanish bleu and this morning had it for breakfast. I only had some white bread in the house to eat with it (though it is a good quality). What I did diferent this morning came from my brother in law who has lived in France and told me in France they put butter on the bread first, then the cheese. I tried it and it's exceptional. So if you like cheese, try a very strong bleu on bread with butter. It was fantastic.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

What's milky, white and skinny

Recently I had a friend tell a joke about "What's white and skinny?" The punch line is coming.

Today I went with my business partner to a somewhat nice Italian restaurant. We went there to check out the food for catering of a Christmas party were are having in a few weeks. So I get a call from my wife and she wants to come along (because, let's face it, she's the one doing the planning and we just wanted to go some place good for lunch). So we get there early, sit down and order appetizers. The place is filled with business lunchers and rich women. The kind of people that hate real life because real life tells them they are not all that important. When my wife arrives, I forget that she also has my four year old son with her, but I am always happy to see my boy.

So we sit down and are having a pretty good conversation. Needless to say, the four year old gets bored with this kind of conversation and starts acting out a little. The posh and wannabe posh in the restaurant are getting annoyed so we ask my boy questions in an effort to entertain until the food comes. At one point he informs us that he is all done seeing Daddy.

Well, finally we turn to jokes. We ask him what his favorite joke is and he repeats it verbatim and we are feeling terrific because he is so very charming for my business partner. We should have stopped there. I don't know how many times I have said that in my life, but I seem to keep saying it. "I should have stopped there". So we ask him to say another joke.

The joke, as referenced above, is "What's white and skinny?" The punch line is "skin". We didn't make this up, but he loves the joke it is quite cute when it is executed properly. The important term is "properly". We should have seen the signs. We should have known nothing good was going to come of it. We tested our luck. Our fate, if you will. But we proceeded. "What is your other favorite joke?"

His response was "What's milky, white and skinny?" With a big smile on his face, my business partner asks "What?" It was then that my son hops down from his chair, walks over to my wife and states "These here" while stroking his two hands over my wife's breasts.

We all about lost our lunch from laughing, the wannabes were offended, and my son now thinks he's the funniest kid on earth. Which, for a moment, he probably was.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Steve Miller Band is TRUE

This will most likely be the last entry about the Chicago trip. It was great fun and full of memories, but I can’t to share everything, so why continue, right? But what I do want to do is bear my testimony about how The Steve Miller Band saved my vacation.

As my wife and I were leaving to go to the airport to catch the big old jet airliner to Chicago, we were waiting at a light to turn left onto a very busy street. The light turned green and I began to pull out, but as I was doing so I paused to turn on my Steve Miller Band CD in the car stereo. I turned on the CD player and out of nowhere a guy in his SUV (talking on his cell phone) goes barreling through the intersection, running the red light.

I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, with every fiber of my being, with all my heart, might, mind, and strength that The Steve Miller Band saved my life. Had I not tenderly supplicated The Steve Miller Band at that moment, by turning on stereo and playing Take the Money and Run, I would surely have been hit, and maybe even killed. The guy was going like 38 MPH!

The rest of the trip was blessed by The Steve Miller Band. For example, we had no idea how to get from O’Hare to the hotel. There was a shuttle bus, but we didn’t have the phone number and it wasn’t listed on the board where they list hotels. Then, out of the blue, the very shuttle bus we needed pulled up. I felt so great. As if I could fly like an eagle, . . .to the sea.

Many other things went our way. Someone called me Maurice on the trains for example. Another person called me a space cowboy, but I don’t really know why. In any event, my trip could have been ruined, and I could have been seriously injured or killed. At the very least I would have missed the flight.

I know that The Steve Miller Band can bring you blessings too. You just need to believe. I invite you to listen to The Steve Miller Band for yourself. At least the greatest hits CD. It WILL bring you happiness. If it doesn’t, then there must be something wrong with you. Or you didn’t try hard enough.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

I always lose my keys

I always lose my keys. I also lose my wallet. I literally lose these items, and others, on a daily basis. For example, right this instant I have no idea where my keys are. I also have no idea where my wallet is.

Actually, that's not true. I have an idea. But that is only because I have properly trained my future self for these very issues. I have trained my future self to put my keys and wallet in a predictable spot. I believe in my past self, that this was actually done. My way, way past self has gone through years and many, many incidents where the keys could not be found, or the wallet was concluded to be lost. When in reality, the past self was, well, quite selfish and threw the keys and/or wallet down just anywhere. Or, as happened to me just the other day, hid the wallet under the driver's seat in the car to protect against robbers.

Well, as you can expect, this is sometime expedient (because robbers are often where you least expect them). However, it does pose a great dilemma for the future self. If the past self hides the wallet and/or keys somewhere (to keep them safe from robbers, for example) the future self will have forgotten all about the robbers (now that the crisis is over) and search in a vain attempt to find them.

Since I have begun training my future self for these very instances, when my present self is looking for the keys and/or wallet, he will only look in the obvious places. My present self will look in the obvious places, over and over again. And I will become more and more insane with every look. I will begin to cure my past self for his short sightedness and selfish behaviour. I will begin to consider obtaining outside help. I will even accuse my wife of hiding them (which is usually when I am about to crumble on the floor in frustration).

So my future self needs to be reminded that when he arrives in the present, to consider all the wonders and great things that can happen in the present. Including consideration for the future self that will be looking for treasure, but is too absent minded to remember where he buried it.

Sunday, November 04, 2007


To preserve history and my own memory, I really need to write about the play Wicked. This was the pretense of going to Chicago, even though it was really to get away and meet up with old friends (which by the way, was the best part of the play).

We went to the Ford Oriental Theater in Chicago on Randolph Street. We took the train into the city and talked the whole way. When we came out of the subway onto the street there was a homeless dude (in my youth they were called bums) dressed entirely in a silver robot costume. I started to run across the street to give him some money for his efforts, and to get some great video, but there was too much traffic and he was gone before I could get to him.

The theater was grand. That’s the best word for it, grand. We were up in the balcony and had a pretty good view. The whole theater was so ornate with carvings literally everywhere. I don’t know how long it has been around, but I can imagine there have been thousands of plays seen there. There have been a thousand trillion friends get together and laugh and joke. It was a very grand theater.

The play was so good. The thing that struck me most was what a totally professional production it was. Everything was so well done. The first thing that struck me was the set. I had read the book and I knew what was involved, but I wasn’t so sure how they would pull it off with just one stage. The set production was amazing. They allowed the witch to fly, went to college, the Emerald City, etc. The other great thing was the performance. The acting, and particularly the singing, was perfect. The first act ended with the song “Defying Gravity”. It ended with this very powerful song and a very intense moment in the play and then it ended suddenly with the whole theater black. Wow. It was incredible. I also like the part where Fyerro and Elphaba hook up. It was sweet; however, as I mentioned to my friend next to me, quite a bit different than the book. The whole experience of the play was thrilling, but just being with our friends was the best. I know, bla bla bla about your friends again. But you don’t know my friends. They are way cooler than your friends. Unless, of course, it is my friends that are reading this, and in that case, your special. Like a snow flake.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

In the Desert by Stephen Crane (1871-1900)

This is a great poem that seems to summarize how I feel when I'm melancoly.


In the desert
I saw a creature, naked, bestial,
Who, squatting upon the ground,
Held his heart in this hands,
And ate it.
I said, "Is it good, friend?"
"It is bitter -- bitter," he answered,
"But I like it
Because it is bitter,
And because it is my heart."

Thursday, November 01, 2007

John Hancock

Another exciting tidbit of Chicago was the Hancock Center (1127 feet). This was something I really wanted to do after going to the top of the Bank of America building in Seattle (937 feet) two years ago. So we decided to go to the lounge instead of the observation deck because buying a desert at the lounge actually cost about the same as the observation deck, and it was four stories higher. And delicious.
I didn't quite know what I was in for. When we got off the very fast elevator I was a little dizzy. We walked over to the lounge area and found a table in the corner right up against the glass and that is when I started to feel sick. The lack of any thing in the space around us was what did it. Like there was nothing by which I could position myself on the earth. I sat down and tried to look out the window, but the sickness seemed to increase. My palms started to sweat and I could, for a while, only look at the floor. There is also this certain twinge I get in my groin when I have height issues to deal with.
I have always been one to dream of falling. So heights are something I like to challenge myself with, but only so far. I would never bungee jump. Never ever sky dive. Ever. Well, as I was overcoming my height issues at 1000 feet above the earth, my friend starts to talk about 9/11 and the World Trade Centers. At this point, I plugged my ears, crossed my legs and bent over looking at the floor. I also started humming to myself. I was scared I was going to panic and run out. I was pretty close to letting everyone know they could meet me down at the bottom.
There was also a spider on the outside of the building. We talked about how he was the great, great, great, great, great grandson of the first spider that started climbing up the building several years earlier. Seeing that spider on the outside, and even thinking about it now, makes me twinge.
In the long run I overcame my fear (due in part to the dessert I ordered) and made it out alive. I looked down a few times and marveled that I was staring down at skyscrapers. Overall, I came back with an enormous respect for engineers and architect. The skyscrapers in Chicago are a true wonder and amazing testimonies as to the power of mankind.
Many Workmen
Many workmen
Built a huge ball of masonry
Upon a mountaintop.
Then they went to the valley below,
And turned to behold their work.
"It is grand," they said;
They loved the thing.
Of a sudden, it moved:
It came upon them swiftly;
It crushed them all to blood.
But some had opportunity to squeal.
Stephen Crane (1871-1900)