Sunday, February 24, 2008


For some reason on weekends with my Fridays off, we tend to eat out a lot. This weekend was no exception.

Thurs night: Garcia's kitchen -- New Mexican. This is our local place. We're separated from it by only a dentist office, so we walk over somewhat often. I got the southwest burrito, and Jill had beef brisket taco.

Fri noon: Mykanos Cafe -- very nice Greek food. I had a creamy-citrusy pork pasta and Jill had grape leaves filled with beef, rice, and some strong spices. Highly recommended.

Sat noon: Duran's station -- New Mexican. I had a grilled roast beef sandwich on sourdough, and Jill had the enchilado and relleno combo. A curious feature of this restaurant is that the waiters do some cooking and assemlbing in addition to serving the food. We watched the tortillas being made right in front of us. Yummy!

Sat night: Tucano's -- Brazilian bbq. Celebrated Garry's 30th birthday by eating as much meat as possible. Topped off the night by hitting Coldstone for some ice cream. Yummy!

Sun noon: Steak on a Bun -- Philly cheesesteaks. We both like this place a good bit, but it's a bummer that the place is nearly deserted every time we go there. Either there's lots of people coming for lunch during the week, or this place is not long for the world. Good stuff!

Is this excessive? Probably, but look at this picture that was hiding on our hard drive:
We do indeed have a secret life of excessive consumption :) To make up for it, I'll follow Al Gore's example and buy some carbon offsets ;) ;>) ;

You should know this already, but Jill is a wonderful cook. In the last couple of days, she's been cooking in this:

You too can dress this well while cooking, simply check out our friend's Etsy shop. We make no guarantees that a similar apron will improve your cooking though. Good luck with that.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Valentine's Day Observed

On February 14th, we celebrated a friend's birthday and joined our weekly "Survivor"-watching group (mock as you please, but watching "Survivor" with a group of friends makes for a hilarious weekly social event). So the observance of Valentine's Day was postponed to Friday.

Chad and I are both of a fairly even-keeled disposition ("low-drama," as our friend Jessie once put it), and Chad even takes this so far as to be unenthusiastic about holidays. But for my sake, because I love any chance to be festive, he's begun to enter more into the spirit of occasions in recent years. Our Valentine's tradition is to work together to cook something out of the ordinary. Chad's fancy alighted on rack of lamb this year.

with brussels sprouts

baked brie on crackers and strawberries,

and Nigella Lawson suggested a flourless chocolate cake (it did, in fact, have a "hint of pudding about it" in the middle).

While working on this feast, we heard a Studio 360 about the brilliant mad scientist Nikola Tesla. He and Mark Twain used to shoot an x-ray gun at each other and make giant pictures of thier skulls.

This may seem unromantic, but to me the book I just finished today is even more anti-romantic. I thought I'd read Wuthering Heights before, but I remembered no details-- just a general feeling of darkness. Maybe I quit reading in the middle last time. I don't believe in desperate, violent love. Though she saves it a little at the end, and (*spoiler alert*) maybe Catherine's ghost comes back not only to torment Heathcliff but also to save her daughter and her nephew from him. Still, I was mostly just angry with the characters and hated almost every page.

Chad, on the other hand, has been living in the world of the Count of Monte Cristo. "I've given up sports," he said to me this morning. "I'm only interested in revenge now."

Happy Valentine's Day, everybody!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

lovin' the 3 day weekend

Another nice 3 day weekend thanks to my every other Fri off schedule. It would be really tough to go back to a normal work schedule.

We visited the Art and History museum to see the Egyptian tomb artifacts before they move back to Britain. No pictures allowed inside, so you'll have to take our word that the sculptures were amazing.
Are you surprised that we rode our bikes there? Note that it's getting warmer. Yea!

This pensive, quiet guy is usually sitting on a bench outside the museum.
On Saturday, we rode for a short while with some friends (of course, I forgot to take any pictures while they were there) and then rode up to La Luz trailhead.

Bonus picture: this was actually last weekend. We like to educate the younger generation whenever we babysit. Here Jill is reading Adam Bede to a rapt Heidi.

Monday, February 4, 2008

On the Civic Plaza

On Friday I ride my bike downtown to see Barack Obama. Around 11:30 I take a gander at the line to get into the convention center, where he's due to speak on the economy at 1:30. It doesn't look too long, so I go and eat a BLTG (G for guacamole). When I return, I follow the line from the door backwards all the way around the entire city block.

As I'm not much of a concert goer, this is by far the longest line I've ever stood in. But I'm game. I've never seen a potential president either. After waiting a while, my line-friends and I find out that we accidentally line-jumped. The end of the queue was actually across the street, behind a series of zig-zags on the civic plaza. We feel a little guilty but keep our places. In the end, it doesn't matter because the convention center and all of the overflow rooms are full. However, this works out great for me because Obama decides to speak to us out on the Civic Plaza before going inside. This means I get to see him up close, hear a short campaign speech, and get home in time to make brownies for girls' night.

I guess these pep talks are always vague. He says some things about hope for the future and an emphasis on cooperation rather than special interest. As a preview to the talk on the economy that he's giving inside, he says that we need to stop giving tax breaks to the top 1% and start making it easier for average, working Americans to climb the ladder of success. That sounds pretty good, but the "ladder" image always makes me furrow my brow a bit. It seems to imply constant climbing-- that everyone (except maybe that top 1%) can and should get richer and richer and buy more and more stuff. But isn't there a reasonable rung where some of us should just hang out?

Though Obama is the best speaker of all the candidates, and it would be a relief to hear his voice in the sound bytes for the next four years, I'd listen better if he said something like this:

"In a nation that was proud of hard work, strong families, close-knit communities, and our faith in God, too many of us now tend to worship self-indulgence and consumption. Human identity is no longer defined by what one does, but by what one owns. But we've discovered that owning things and consuming things does not satisfy our longing for meaning. We've learned that piling up material goods cannot fill the emptiness of lives which have no confidence or purpose. . .

We are at a turning point in our history. There are two paths to choose. One is a path . . . that leads to fragmentation and self- interest. Down that road lies a mistaken idea of freedom, the right to grasp for ourselves some advantage over others. That path would be one of constant conflict between narrow interests ending in chaos and immobility. It is a certain route to failure."

Jimmy Carter said that in 1979 in his "Crisis of Confidence" speech. It was mostly a speech about energy, and in it he asked Americans to "take no unnecessary trips, to use carpools or public transportation whenever you can, to park your car one extra day per week, to obey the speed limit, and to set your thermostats to save fuel. Every act of energy conservation like this is more than just common sense - I tell you it is an act of patriotism."

My problem with today's politicians is that they don't ask me to do anything except elect them. I don't believe that they can do a whole lot to make this country better. But I believe that I can. Ask me to do something specific. Ask me to sacrifice for the good of my country and the world.

I am the people, and I am not as selfish as you think I am.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

business idea

As part of piecing together my weltanschauung -- perhaps more on that later -- I've come up with a sure-fire business plan. Feel free to use it because (1) I'm sort of busy with my current job and (b) I don't have any capital with which to start it.

Here goes: A new health insurance company. Now you might be saying, that's really dumb, there's a gagillion of those already. The critical difference is that this company doesn't ALLOW for tests that use expensive, high tech equipment (e.g., and Another feature of the company is that the CEO won't be paid $120 million per year like William W McGuire of United Healthcare (healthcare provider for my work). How about $100k? All the details need to be worked out, but this is just a blog, not a free business plan center.

So now, more people can afford health care. Great! They just won't have the best possible technogadgets at their service. Could be a bummer. But now more people get decent treatment.