Tuesday, 11 October 2011
Saw Gene Ween and Meat Puppets at a Fort Worth music festival about a week and a half ago.
This is Gene Ween, the white haired guy on the right. I only have two Ween records and I like them but not fanatic about them. It was an acoustic set, just him and some other guy playing guitars. Very relaxed and enjoyable. I looked up Ween after we got home because I was kind of surprised that they had split up. Learned that they stopped touring a few years ago with veiled references to Gene Ween's drug abuse and erratic behavior. In fact just this January he was apparently so fucked up on stage he couldn't finish any of his songs and his backup band left the stage in disgust. Hard to reconcile these stories with the amiable guy I saw. He mostly did Ween songs but had a few covers. Perhaps signifigantly, one was "The Needle And The Damage Done" by Neil Young
Here's the Meat Puppets. They were great, far better than I could have ever possibly hoped for. They played really well with a lot of enthusiasm and they played tons of songs from throughout their catalog. The only cover I remember was "Hey Baby Que Paso" Unfortunately I only got to see about 15 minutes of the show. Sammy was very rambunctious and would occasionally just tear off and run out of sight. Julie was chasing him and holding him down, etc. , but it was wearing her out so I had to take over. I got to hear the Meat Puppets but I spent most of the show supervising Sammy as he climbed trees and ran around.
Here's Corey in a tree at the show. The event was an arts festival so there were all kinds of little booths with artsy things in them. Julie and Corey walked among the booths while Sammy and I watched the Meat Puppets.
Me and Sammy
Sammy in a lawn chair
A few nights ago Julie was messing around with the camera trying to make a new profile picture. I took this one and it's my currently my favorite picture of her.
It was at the Meat Puppets show that I learned why people are always disparaging hipsters. I always thought a hipster was someone who was hip, who was really cool and knew what was going on. Probably a bit too geeky about pop culture but looked and spoke so well that you could forgive them for going on a little too much. Chuck Klosterman and Quentin Tarentino, at least when they were in their 20's would qualify as hipsters in my book. There were these guys at the Meat Puppets show. Maybe girls, too, but I noticed the guys because they wore hats, not just fedoras which is what you usually see when someone decides to wear an old timey hat, but various different kinds of sharp looking hats and nice clothes, sharp looking like people might have worn at a country club bar in the 60's or something. It was a good look, not completely retro. There were several of these guys at the show and I thought to myself, "Oh,I bet those are hipsters.". Then when the Meat Puppets came on, this one guy had an old Meat Puppets 7 inch vinyl record in a plastic sleeve. From where I could see it looked like it was in mint condition. He was holding it up with both hands over his head trying to make sure that the guys in the band saw that he had a genuine mint condition copy of one of their old records. I'm almost positive they don't give a shit and the guy just seemed obnoxious to me and I thought, "Oh, that's why when people say hipster these days it's a put down".
Monday, 18 July 2011
Slowly expanding my cooking repertoire. I made a pretty good high fiber banana bread recipe this morning. My second attempt. First attempt was good but undercooked. Found the recipe on a Google search, it's from this website: http://www.high-fiber-health.com/ I make smoothies in the morning for wife to keep her sugar up and that requires bananas. Sometimes the bananas get too ripe too quickly. I've been cutting them up and freezing them. Daughter continues to have problems with constipation so we're trying to get more fiber in her. And really, all of us could use more fiber. This was the recipe:
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups mashed bananas (about 5)
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
With mixer beat together sugar, eggs, and bananas.
Add dry ingredients, mix well
Pour into loaf pan sprayed with cooking spray
bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes
The recipe actually says 1/2 cup egg subsitute but I figured that's about 2 real eggs. Not real sure about the "mix well" part. Most of my baking experience is with cookies which means after you add flower, you just stir it until everything is mixed. Too much mixing is bad. Not sure how much is too much with banana bread. Turned out great. Can't find camera at the moment so can't take a picture but the two kids I was watching this morning (Sammy and a little sister of one of Corey's friends) really liked it and wife told me that everyone else liked it, too. I watched Sammy and a girl about his age this morning while wife, daughter, friend of daughter's and mom of friend all went and saw the new Harry Potter movie. I was happy to do it. I bailed out of Harry Potter a few movies back. I think "Order Of The Phoenix" but I can't be sure. The one where Gary Oldman died. Anyway, the lesson I learned from first attempt was that 45 minutes isn't enough. One hour 10 minutes was the time on the second attempt. First one was still all hot, unbaked dough in the middle. I cut it into slices and put the slices on cookie sheet in 400 degree oven to try to fix it but I knew it couldn't be fixed. Second one was maybe a little too brown on the outside but great on the inside.
In other cooking news, I got a copy of "Joy Of Cooking" in clearance racks at Half Price Books for only 3 dollars. My mom had a paperback of this when I was growing up and I got a lot out of it as a kid in the kitchen. This one looks a bit different than the one I remember. I couldn't understand why what I thought was one of the most famous cookbooks out there would be on clearance. Looked it up on Wikipedia and this is the controversial 1997 All New All Purpose Joy Of Cooking. To quote from Wikipedia:
"After the 1975 edition, the project lay unchanged for about 20 years. In the mid-1990s, publisher Simon and Schuster, which owns the Joy copyrights, hired influential cookbook editor Maria Guarnaschelli, formerly of Willam Morrow, and editor of works by Jeff Smith and others. Guarnaschelli, under the supervision of Rombauer's grandson Ethan Becker, oversaw the creation of the controversial 1997 edition, published by Simon & Schuster's Scribner imprint. The new edition kept the concise style of its predecessors, but dropped the conversational first-person narration. Much of the book was ghostwritten by teams of expert chefs instead of the single dedicated amateur that Irma Rombauer had been when she created the book. The 1997 version is fairly comprehensive, covering a great deal of detail that is not traditionally part of American cooking; however, it deleted much information about ingredients and frozen desserts."
This book looks great to me, 1100 pages, thumbing through it, looks like it has a lot of good information.
Monday, 11 July 2011
I worked 4th of July but on Friday July 1st, Mansfield was having a fireworks display at a corporate sports facility called Big League Dreams not far from the hospital where Sammy was born. It was a wonderful park with at least 4 different miniature baseball fields, each one modelled after a famous ballpark, like Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, Dodger Stadium. I forget what we had, I'm not a connoseur of vintage baseball parks but they were very cute and well kept. The grass was awesome. The place wasn't too crowded, either and it felt safe. Maybe I was just being naive but I had no problem setting up our chair and blankets, leaving most of our stuff in a cloth walmart bag under the chair and going into the other fields to see the sites. There was a church giving away helium balloons which kids were constantly letting go of. Within minutes of leaving our stuff to find something to do, I became the balloon and socks and shoes protector. I eventually tied the balloons to one of Sammy's sandals and setting everything around it off to the side of a bounce house so I could walk around unencumbered, watch kids, get some pictures.
Riding on the bus from parking lot to stadium
First thing we did was buy cotton candy and set up our towels.
The kids played on the various bounce houses
Monday, 20 June 2011
Money is tight. Money is always tight but now it's tighter than ever. It's not like we've been hit with some big car repair bills or something. There has been a new monthly bill of about 300 dollars a month for Tuesday/Thursday preschool for Sammy and, of course, we've got to spend 2400 dollars on medical expenses before our insurance is worth anything. The general cost of everything has slowly been going up. Gas is the most noticeable but bread and meat and peanut butter are also on the rise. Doesn't help that we're not the most careful shoppers. I'm all for a good deal but don't always check to make sure we're running low on something. Bought a 10 pack of Kleenex at Costco last week and we still had 7 packs in the closet. We're not running out of Kleenex any time soon.
Weather has been in triple digits last few days. Our air conditioner can't keep up and we have no cash, all major credit cards maxed out. Wife called me at work yesterday. It was 104 or something outside and 89 inside. We bought a portable air conditioner a while back for our converted garage and it works great. That room stays plenty cold, it's the rest of the house that's having trouble.. We still have credit on the Best Buy card so I ordered a smaller portable A/C and picked it up this morning. Got it about half installed in kitchen before I had to go to work. Currently writing this from work on my lunch. I envision portable air conditioners or window units in all the rooms. Yes it would be expensive and I'm not sure how energy efficient they would be but would be cheaper to set up than replacing central air.
Wife continues to hammer out stories for her MFA. Sammy tearing it up as a 3 1/2 year old boy. Corey seems to be having a pretty good summer, lots of pool time and sleepovers. I'm working my ass off to try to keep it all going but I do have some free time. In my free time I like to figure things out on computer, usually involving transcoding media, watch some TV, currently making my way through Season 2 of "Fringe" and re-watching "The Sopranos" by myself. Yardwork, house chores. I got some herb seeds a few weeks ago and helped Corey sprout them. We're growing basil. Just planted them outside a few days ago and most of them seem to be doing okay. Before Corey was born we had an okay garden in back yard. While I was at the hospital with Julie in the day or two after she gave birth, my dad decided to do me a favor and mow our yard. He totally mowed over my little garden. Couldn't get too mad at him since he's my dad but haven't tried to garden since. We'll see how the basil does. I have seeds for dill and parsley as well.
Never a dull moment.
Friday, 12 November 2010
The refrigerator is sick. I noticed a few days ago that the milk wasn't as cold as it usually is but honestly thought that Julie had turned down the refrigerator thermostat. Things in the back of the refrigerator tend to freeze. I thought maybe after all these years she had turned the thermostat down. Last night (Wednesday), she called me at work to tell me that she was pretty sure the refrigerator wasn't cold anymore. Fortunately we have a few mini-refrigerators that I used for home brewing. She moved a lot of the stuff to one of the refrigerators and when I got home I found the shelves that I had taken out of the other one and moved most of the rest of the stuff to the other refrigerator. We had to throw out a lot of long-term residents of the fridge, like 5 different jars of pickles. I cleaned some of the inside last night, about to do some more. Did some online searching and I don't think this is going to be too expensive to fix. Not sure if I can do it myself but all the online information says it's not that hard. The freezer works great and from what I've read the freezer is what cools the refrigerator so there's either some kind of blockage or needs a new fan to blow the cold air down into the fridge. Right now we're so broke it's not even funny. Julie's had student loans for most of her college career but this semester we have to pay for ourselves, 3 installments of 620 dollars. We've made 2 and a half with the last 310 coming out next paycheck. These last couple of months have been the most trying, financially, since before I got married. Luckily there's unlimited overtime at work. Unluckily, I hate work and I'm needed at home.
I was about 45 minutes late to work today. The highway that I take into Dallas was completely shut down. Somehow a westbound cement truck jumped the median and plowed into eastbound traffic. Here's a picture from local paper. It was a hassle taking an alternate route but I'm glad I wasn't one of the eastbound cars involved in the mayhem.
Here's a picture of Sammy by one of the dog crates.
Wednesday I made lemon pepper chicken which is chicken breasts sprinkled with lemon pepper seasoning and baked, broccoli and cheese and brown rice.
This is what it looked like.
This is Sammy eating it.
Today I used the leftover chicken and leftover broccoli and cheese in baked potatoes. Didn't get a picture of them but they were very good.
Wednesday, 10 November 2010
Gorton's Lemon Herb Crunchy Fish Fillets with homemade mayonnaise and french cut green beans. Salad was bag lettuce with a few pieces of sandwich ham cut up, some shredded cheddar cheese and fat free bleu cheese dressing
It was pretty good except for the beans. Accidentally bought the No Salt Added beans and they were pretty damn bland without salt.
Tuesday, 09 November 2010
This morning alarm went off at 6:30AM, I got up about 6:40. 7 year old daughter Corey is in 2nd grade. The school she's going to starts at 8:00 AM which is a bit earlier than the other schools. I asked her what she wanted for breakfast and she said, "Pancakes!". I wasn't too tired and cranky so I went for it. We have Mrs. Butterworth's syrup. I talk to Corey with the Mrs. Butterworth's voice. "Good morning Corey, how are you today?" "I'm okay Mrs. Butterworth, how are you?" "I am thick and rich.". I bought Mrs. Butterworth's a couple of months ago when we ran out of real maple syrup and I decided, for the time being, we can't afford real maple syrup all the time. If you don't remember Mrs. Butterworh ads from the olden days, here's one of them:
I showed Corey most of the ads available on YouTube so she has a firm grounding in Mrs. Butterworth history. Got Corey to school, went to local Walmart Marketplace to pick up a few things that we had run out of, came home and Sammy and Julie had gotten up since I left. Julie was woken up by phone call from her college. She didn't go to school over the summer and, apparently, that started the clock ticking on her student loans. We've started getting notices from the various loan holders that it's about time to start making payments. She's been calling the registrars office and I've been faxing various forms but it still hasn't all come together. I made pancakes for Julie and Sammy then started on dishes. We've cut back severely on eating out which is good but when we cook and eat at home it seems like the sink and counter are always piled with dirty dishes. We even use paper plates a lot of the time but the pots and pans and cups and silverware are relentless. Washed dishes while catching up with the Diane Rehm News Roundup from last Friday. Then I hung up all the shirts from the basket of clean laundry on the couch. I suck at folding towels, never got the hang of it so Julie does that but I can hang some shirts and I can fold blue jeans. So got some laundry done and got more laundry going. Laundry isn't quite as bad as the dishes, you can let laundry go for a while but let it slide too long and all of a sudden there's a desperate need to all the laundry as quickly as possible. Julie usually handles most of the laundry but she's been under the weather for over a week. Severe allergies to the changing season I think. So, I've been picking up slack where I can. Took a nap on couch from about 10 to 10:30. Julie went to the doctor about 11. Me and Sammy hung out, watched some of The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. I unloaded dishwasher and loaded it again. Started lunch around noon. Made Wanchai Ferry Kung Pao Chicken.
I've made some pretty terrible chinese food at home but Wanchai Ferry Kung Pao Chicken turned out really well. It's all been eaten or I would have taken a picture of lunch, only the box left. Julie got home around 1, we ate lunch, I jumped in the shower and rushed off to work.
Monday, 08 November 2010
Quite a cliffhanger, I know. Sammy's made a full recovery. He's got a scar on his thumb but doesn't seem to have lost any use of it and it certainly hasn't slowed him down
We went local park in Dalworthington Gardens yesterday, Sammy in play firetruck.
Corey feeding ducks
I loved this goose. Not aggressive at all but completely fearless.
Saw 'Saw 3-D' earlier yesterday, didn't take the kids. I have a close friend who is a big fan of the 'Saw' movies. Several weeks ago saw preview that made it look awesome. I'm not a big fan of the movies, saw the first one and stopped right there but was very curious about this one, the preview totally sold me. Turns out it wasn't all that great. It certainly doesn't skimp on the gore which I can appreciate but I spent the whole movie completely tensed up and uncomfortable, secure in the knowledge that just about everyone in the movie was going to die a horrible death, and they did. It didn't matter much that I've missed 2 thru 6, I was able to get the general idea of what was going on. Highlight was the return of Cary Elwes from the first movie.
Thursday, 29 April 2010
Son Sammy slammed kitchen door on his thumb yesterday. I was at work. Got call from a friend of Julie's that they were at the emergency room in Arlington and were about to go to Cook Children's Hospital in Fort Worth. I took off from work, Julie and Sammy rode an ambulance from Arlington to Fort Worth. We arrived at the hospital about the same time. They numbed up his hand. A nurse held a book by the side of his head so he couldn't see what was going on. Julie held an I-Pod with an episode of Barney The Dinosaur up to distract him. The doctor started working with us in the room which was kind of a trip. I've never been in the room while surgery is being done. He removed the thumbnail and did a hell of a lot of sewing. He got the thumb back into a thumb shape and re-attached the nail. The stitches he used will dissolve by themselves. He said the nail will fall off when the stitches dissolve but keeping it in place for a week or two helps the new nail to grow. All kinds of things can go wrong, the nail might not grow back, he could get a bone infection, he may have lost all feeling in his thumb, or he could heal up just fine. It's a wait and see thing. It hasn't dampened his spirit and the pain medicine seems to make him hyper instead of sleepy.