"I suppose there are people who can pass up free guacamole, but they're either allergic to avocado or too joyless to live."— Frank Bruni

Saturday, January 26, 2013

what harbowl means to me

Oh my goodness, I haven't written about sports in a long time, and there's only the biggest story to talk about: SUPER BOWL!

(image cred: here)

My mind is blown. The Niners in the Super Bowl?! I admit, before last season, my attitude toward the Niners was tepid at best, but mostly not even that. I grew up as a Niners fan, as a Bay Area child of the 80s and early 90s. Funny I never paid attention to the Raiders, having grown up in the Easy Bay. I used to tear out the centerfolds of players from the Sports Illustrated for Kids that we would borrow from the library - Ronnie Lott, Roger Craig and Jerry Rice among them. My middle school PE teacher used to call me John Taylor because of my mad receiving skillz. While the team sucked in the latter half of the 90s and through, well, the 2000s, until about last season, my interest waned, and then I married a Steelers fan. Good thing the Steelers organization is one that's easy to like.

But now! Now, they're back! ...and good thing they're facing off with the Ravens because had it been the Steelers, my allegiance to both teams would be strained. I wouldn't know what I would do. Funny how this match-up is one between brother coaches, and two cities that are similar in more ways than one. They both are cities by bays (though SF is far more superior in city, bay, and crabs), they both have significant minority populations (Baltimore has a minority majority), and they both are in regions in which I have spent the majority of my years. Unfortunately, I'll be watching the game on the East Coast where Niners fans are far and few between...but sometimes, that makes it even more fun.

A great Super Bowl party idea is to have a crab taste test: Dungeness vs. Maryland Blue Shell
Dungeness hands-down. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

why so stupid, stupid

For this first List Wednesday list in a while (yes, on Thursday), I'm going to have to share all of the instances in which I've experienced the most intense stupidity ever, all within the last couple of weeks.
  1. This was at Room and Board. I walk into the 2-stall bathroom. There's a woman standing "in line." I stand behind her. After about 5 seconds of silence, she turns and says to me "I hope there's someone in there." WHAT? My mind is racing. I say "Did you even check?" She says no, and we both move toward a stall door. She does a pathetic little knock while I just open up the door - no one. I look at her. I open the other stall door. No one. Who doesn't check the stalls before standing in line, especially when it's silent? Why would you just stand there and "hope" someone is in there? How long was she waiting there before I walked in? How much longer would she have waited had I not walked in?? I was baffled.

  2. The second instance took place in the driveway (see photo below, taken a few days after this incident) we sometimes take into our building parking garage that is shared with the public who patronize the businesses on our ground floor, which includes a shuttered grocery store, as indicated by the sign. (The driveway splits to resident and retail parking.) As we approach the driveway, we see another car just sitting in the driveway, blocking it. We honk. Nothing. We honk again. Nothing. HHOONNKK. Then a man gets out of the car waving his hand in a "take it easy" kind of way, and asks us if the grocery store was open. Let me, once more, refer you to the photo below. What part of "TEMPORARILY CLOSED" did they not understand?? (2 question marks = mind blown by stupidity)

  3. If you have the capacity for one more stupid incident, here you go: It's rush hour on a southbound Metro train. A woman on a sit-scooter rolls onto the train, parks her scooter in the opposite doorway, gets up, and walks to a seat! At the next stop, the doors open on the side that her scooter is parked. As predicted, her scooter is completely in the way, creating a bottleneck for people boarding the train at rush hour. Furthermore, she's taking up a seat when she could have just stayed seated in her scooter. I'm looking at her seeing if she gives any inclination of "oops" or "oh sorry, let me move my scooter..." Nope. Nothing. And as expected, once out of DC, the scooter creates a bottleneck for people getting off the train...including me.

  4. Here's one more little one: A woman speeds down my street in the early hours of a weekday morning without her lights on (it's still dark). She is proceeded by another car, who stops for a crossing pedestrian carrying a baby. The speedster then honks twice at the stopping car. 'nough said.
Stupidity doesn't deserve civility.

Monday, January 21, 2013

inauguration/Martin Luther King, Jr

On this Inauguration Day that also falls on Martin Luther King, Jr Day, let's remember the historical events that brought us to this significant point in history. Here's a reminder from an unlikely vantage point, that I shot from a window in a Room and Board store in DC. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

more home-cooked meals

Still playing catch up, here is a round-up of some home-prepared meals from the last month or so.

This was an instant meal, courtesy of a good friend who brings us goodies every time she goes back to Japan. As you can see, it's from a 7-Eleven, but it tasted much better than anything you could get from an American 7-Eleven. It was a wet-pack of mushrooms and various root vegetables in a bit of gravy that I simply poured in with my uncooked rice. Turn on the rice cooker and voilà, a meal!

This is a picture of a lovely romanesco that I roasted one night. I forgot what I put on it, but I remember liking it a lot. We love our cruciferious vegetables. (see cauliflower below)

This is just some scrambled eggs with ketchup and hot sauce on an English muffin, made on a telework day. One of my favorite things about working from home is I get to prepare my meals fresh (or not, depending on how I feel) and enjoy them without anyone asking me "What are you eating?" or saying "I smell..."

This was a more recent meal (prepared last night) of roasted cauliflower with capers, pork chops (shown with a stray caper on it), and red chard. We were proud of this no-carb creation.

An old favorite I used to make in my Brooklyn efficiency, now made in a bigger, better-equipped kitchen. It's a Turkish-style lamb pasta dish: ground lamb, bow-tie pasta, zucchini (original recipe calls for eggplant), yogurt and mint. It's smelly (garlic and lamb) but so frickin good.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

at the end of the day, it is what it is

It makes me cringe every time I hear it. I probably don't need to since I've yet to say it, but I resolve to never say "At the end of the day..." in the context of, well, in most cases, anything. Most of the time, there is no need to preface a thought with that phrase. A pretty accurate definition offered by Urban Dictionary called it "a verbal crutch" and I couldn't agree more. What I thought was just an epidemic within the professional sports world has not only been heard among my senior leadership at work but out of the mouths of congressmen.

Equally cringe-worthy is "...it is what it is..." What does that even mean? It adds nothing to a conversation and makes you sound like a dud who likes cliches. It's usually an afterthought, an under-the-breath statement said at a lull in a conversation, when before this phenomenon, one would just sigh. Hence, this 5-word phrase isn't even worth saying. You're better off just sighing.

I blame these linguistic fads on laziness. I hope they pass soon and we return to days when we spoke of ideas containing sincerity, substance and thoughtfulness.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013


Often the object of my dreams... only this version is better because I made it. Homemade wontons! (not shown with chili sauce - a must-have condiment)

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

catching up

I usually make resolutions by birthday, not calendar year, but on this first day of 2013, I am making an effort to come back to the blog more. As you may have noticed, after life-changing events last May-June, my posts were sporadic at best, while my psychological need for engaging in things I enjoy was ever-present and unfulfilled. It is my resolution to get back to doing more of what I enjoy. So, please allow me to play catch-up a bit to get back into things. I hope I can keep this resolution, and hope there are a few of you still there to read (thanks, by the way).

Below are some random shots taken of some tasty treats I've consumed over the last few months. Hopefully it won't take me so long to post more of what I've acquired in my phone photo gallery. Enjoy and happy new year!
kouign amman from Dominique Ansel Bakery
super tasty sriracha flavored chips made from extruded peas!
from Thanksgiving: brussel sprouts with smoked turkey neck meat  (in place of bacon)
poutine with smoked meat from Mile End

also from Thanksgiving 2012: cheese plate with fixins

mantu or aushak from Afghan Restaurant