Thursday, April 29, 2004

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, or so they say..

Personally, I'm always at odds between the breakfast I *want* to have and the breakfast I do have.
I'd love to open each day sitting in a sun room, the new daylight streaming in, sipping a fresh cup of coffee, having some French toast, fresh fruit and yogurt swirled with granola. All presented on a tiny table with a pure white tablecloth (imagine your average Gourmet magazine "breakfast" shot ;). Unfortunately, this never happens. I get to work damn early, so my mornings are usually spent throwing something together, chowing down on it and taking my coffee in a to-go mug to work. I really don't know why I do it. After all, where am I rushing to get to? A drab cube farm, filled with meeting notes I'd rather not write and work I'd rather not do?
Instead, this morning, I had a fried mushroom and onion omelets and I'm sipping on my coffee now.

What did *you* have for breakfast?

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Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Who the hell are these people anyways?

I don't know how many of you visit my side-links. But, really, they're there for a reason. Either 'cause they are my friends, mortal enemies (hi Adam!) or that I find their blog's velly interesting.

So, today, I will give props to my side links and let you know what you may find, should you click them. (This is for the blogger's amusement as much as my own).
I'll start off with the bands.

Subliminal Self - The homepage of my band. A synthpop duo with Greyson (from In a Cat's Eye).

Tofu - Remixer and electronic musician extraordinaire. Purveyor of funk'ed up dance/ambient/everything.

State of Being - Seminal (that means old ;) Cleveland electro-rock outfit.

SynthCleveland - A resource group for electronic musicians in the NE Ohio area. That didn't sound practiced, did it?

Pixellation - Genevieve's (my wife) personal blog. I dare not say anything smartassed here. I'd really like to avoid sleeping on the couch.

A Month Full of Wednesdays - The title is a reference to a weekly series of shows SynthCleveland produced last year. The site is a clearing house for all things Crooker that don't have to do with food.

My Defective Life - Viewing this site may cause birth defects (like a flat head) and be followed by the pervasive scent of old pot and booze.

Organic Mechanic - My favorite porn site! *

Me and Bella - The (un)loading dock for tales of my one and only sibling's daily life.

Food Goat - Another local foodie couple and fellow marketeer. (Sadly, the marketeers have no theme song or silly hats yet, but we're working on it.)

Blog Critics - A massive site containing reviews of everything from the latest Australian punk band reissue EP to Janet Jackson's superbowl performance.

Triangulation - Lots of links to geeky music sites. Like this one can be...



* note: this is not really a porn site, so everybody stop clicking it first.

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Monday, April 26, 2004

Two blogs in a day, you don't say?
Well, I decided that, since the Defective one blogged FiveDollarBeer style today, I will blog her style. Well, the sidebar-style at least.

Cd-Listenings
______________

1. The Saint: Soundtrack
2. Metropolis 2001: Compilation
-thanks adam!
3. Project Pitchfork: The Early Years
4. Attrition: At the Fiftieth Gate
5. Love Spiral Downwards: Temporal
______________


Books I'm Reading
or Just Finished Reading
______________

1. Madhur Jaffey - "A Taste of India"
2. Brian Greene - "The Elegant Universe : Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory"
3. Jon Gindick - "Country and Blues Harmonica for the Musically Hopeless"

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So, I was going to blog about the Wine Tasting this past weekend, but Mike covered that way better than I could of here.

It was an...interesting night ;)
I also picked up some booze @ Bob's (hey, that could be a new store name. Screw "Riverside", "Booze at Bob's" has more of a ring to it.) Namely, a bottle of Meeker wine which I'd had a chance to try last weekend, but forgot to place an order for, and a handful of brews. One of which being a Great Lakes summer beer, the "Holy Moses Ale", a damn good Belgian style spiced beer which I look forward to every year.

I spent the rest of the weekend messing with my new toy & playing Pacman on my Namco TV-Game system. (note: I like Bosconian just as much, but I play it so aggressively, I fear I am going to break the joystick once i get past level 5 or so). By the way, I highly recommend the Namco system for anyone who was a arcade junkie in the 80's. Note: you must supply the greasy screen and spill pop on the joystick yourself. Sorry.

And Sunday was, once again, a cooking day. Though, honestly, it was all pretty tame 'cause I was dead tired all day. Lesse.. I made:

  • Black Bean Soup (as always ;)
  • Mexican Rice Pudding
  • Corn Pudding - not a sweet pudding
  • Fried mushrooms with crispy peppers and epazote

    then Genevieve made:
  • Fruit Salad
  • Chili fries (my recipe :)
  • Soy-sausages w/ onions and green peppers


Let me finish by saying this: If you are a Market vendor and you flirt with a customer, say, my wife. You should at *least* do her the service of giving her good produce in the process. I mean, no amount of flirting is going to win anyone over if you're passing off rotten pineapple and strawberries.

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Friday, April 23, 2004

And NOW..c/o Mr. Adam Harvey and myself, retellings of Famous Biblical Stories. Sure to amuse and offend.

The Flood
Act I, Scene I

(Noah is in a boat, fishing. God appears and they start talking.)

Noah: Hey Yahweh, howya been?

God: Eh, grouchy. Goddamn people.

Noah: What are we doing this time?

God: The usual... fornicating, worshipping false idols, inventing British cuisine.

Noah: What is wrong with fornicating?

God: Well, I can't do it since I am wholly actualized and complete. So if I can't do it, I sure as hell don't want you doing it.

Noah: Aw c'mon, have some perspective.

God: (thinking) ...Nah, fuck it. (floods earth)

The end
--------------------------------------------------------------
Exodus
Act II, Scene I

(The Chosen People have just arrived in a new town.)

People: Hey, this little 'burb is pretty cool. They got the wine, the women and their god isn't nearly as high & mighty as ours. Rockin'!

God: -AHEM- Mind telling me *what* you are doing?

People: Um...well...

God: Did I *not* just save you from slavery?

People: Well..yea...

God: Did I *not* help you defeat all your enemies?

People: Um..yes, yes you did

God: Then do-you-mind telling me what the fuck you're doing in front of that statue? And, hey, are you not wearing pants right now? I mean, Jesus Christ, what does a God have to do for you people?

People: Are you going to smite us?

God: No, but I wouldn't go fighting any wars for awhile, if I were you. Just trust me on this.
--------------------------------------------------------------
Exodus
Act II, Scene II

(The Israelites have gone vacationing to Sinai. Of the opinion that the burning bush isn't much more than a tourist trap, they let Moses climb the mountain alone.)

Moses: (out of breath) Damn, that was one high mountain. Lets take a look at this burning bush thingy. (walks toward flaming nettle patch)

Burning Bush: MOSES! STOP, I am your GOD. Remove your sandals and humble thyself in my presence.

Moses: Pff. You're just some weird talking on-fire bush. If you are God, what is your name smartypants?

Burning Bush: I AM THAT AM.

Moses: That is the worst grammar I have ever heard.

Burning Bush: Shut the fuck up, bitch. (a duct tape wrapped broken axe handle appears and menaces Moses) Now for your insolence You've gotta carve my rules into these stone tablets. With your fingernails.

Moses: Sonofabitch.

Burning Bush: Yes. now get to work you dumb *insert Jewish slur*.
--------------------------------------------------------------
The Story of Sodom and Gomorrah
Act I, Scene II

(God and Abraham are on a mountain somewhere)

Abraham: So, you're going to just bash those cities, aren't you?

God: Yup. They is all fucked up.

Abraham: Shit, my nephew lives there and, I swear to you, if he croaks, I'll never hear the freggin end of it. "Why didn't you warn Lot? What did Lot ever do to you to be treated that way?" Bitch bitch, whine whine. How about this, send a couple peeps down and maybe it's not as bad as you think.

God: Okay. But, you know, if I spare them, it's just going to be somewhere else and, shit, your family can't keep their dicks in their pants long enough to change clothes, you're all over the medamn place. I can't throw fire without hitting one of you.

Act I, Scene III
Angels are heading into town.

Angel 1: Woah, watch where you step. You could get an STD just from the freggin dirt here!

Angel 2: Hey, is that Abraham's nephew over there?

Lot: Hey HEY, you're ANGELS, aren't YOU?!

Angel 1: Please, sir, keep your voice down, we're "undercover"

Lot: OHHHH, I GET IT! SECRET AGENT STUFF, I GET IT. soo...angels, huh?

Angel 2: Yea, yea. Now shut up.

Lot: Hey, you want to stay at my place?

Angel 1 (whispered to Angel 2): Have you *seen* his place? I've seen cleaner public restrooms.

Angel 1(to Lot): I believe we'd rather sleep outside.

Lot: Oh, shit no, come on in, come on in!

The Angel begrudgingly join him and sit down to dinner.
(knock knock)

Townspeople: Hey, we heard you got some new luscious pieces of ass in there! Bring 'em out, we're hosting quarter Pony rides and we need some ponies!

Lot: Hey, tell you what. Instead of the new guys, I've got a couple virgin daughters inside....

Daughters: DAD, YOU FUCKING SONOFABITCH!

Townspeople: No, you idiot. We're *gay*, as in H-O-M-O. I bet you're one of those types who think all a Lesbian wants is a good man, aren't you? We are GAY, we want the G-U-Y-S..

Angel 2: Well, seeing as how I'd rather not be someone's ass puppet, I think it's time to book out of here. Lot, you coming?

Lot: No, I think I'll stay here.

Angel 1: Um..you are aware we're going to burn the whole place to the ground?

Lot: Oh, no.

Angel 2: Yea, dumbass, why do you think we're here? For the scenery?? so you comin?

Lot: Yea, yea, I'm coming..

(they start walking away from town, as the city begins to burn, Angel 2 turns to Lot)

Angel 2: Hey, by the way, I wouldn't suggest your wife turning around to look back. If she does, she will turn to a pillar of salt.

Lot's: Really? You serious?

Angel 2: Yup

Lot's: To Wife (ahead of him). HEY HON, DID YOU HEAR WHAT MR. ANGEL SAID? HON?? SHOOT, CAN YOU STOP FOR A SECOND AND LISTEN TO ME!

Lot's Wife: (stop, turns around) What do you want, you sonofabi....

Lot: Ooops...

Angel 1: Smooth move, exlax

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Back to food next week, I promise.

As for now, I figured I'd finish the week out with music. Today: getting songs stuck in your head.

As Genevieve knows quite well, I am veritable SPONGE for ambient music. I don't mean Brian Eno, I mean the stuff they pump out of the loudspeakers at grocery stores and restaurants. All of it kept at such a level that it doesn't interefer with your shopping "experience", but invariably drills its way into my head for hours to come. Shopping at Dave's, in Ohio City, it's not as bad. They play alot of 70's funk and generally semi-hip stuff. Tops in Lakewood, with their sheened over light rock, is way worse. Still, there's not a week which goes by where I don't end up humming or singing some song which I don't even remember hearing. But all of that pales in comparison to the staying power of one song:

Come on, Eileen - by Dexy's Midnight Runners. I don't know what it IS about this song, but all I need to hear are the first few opening bars and, for WEEKS, it's "Come on Eileen , I swear at this moment, you mean everything" over-and-over-and-over. I don't even particularly *like* the song.

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Thursday, April 22, 2004

Well, seeing as how we only got one real vote (and one forced one ;), Resolution it is.

First, the lyrics.

Resolution
--------------------------------
Go to grab the sun
burning from the earth
as the sirens call
the last child's birth.

This is the song of redemption,
resolution
to feed retribution.

Singing the voice of confusion
despair
leading to disillusion.

As it rains down tears,
pours from the sky.
The horizons turn to black
the days turn to night.

But just as the soil is burning blood
The moonlight fades to day
but the dawn will come
through fight, or faith away
--------------------------------

Let me start off by saying that I attribute alot of this song's strength to Greyson's vocal performance. He seemed to really be able to get into this song lyrically and, as such, delivered some killer takes in the "studio". It's one of our first songs, but I feel it's held up rather nicely, with a few tweaks along the way.

That aside, I have to say that I'm kind of relieved this one got chosen, as it's probably the least personal out of all of our songs. In fact, that was kind of the point of it. With other songs, I tend to write in a very "I" or "me" stance. They deal more with internal goings-on, rather than tell a story (except "Rift" - which is the only other completely non-personal song). So, with Resolution, I wanted to do something broader in scope, more grandiose. Yes, maybe even a little over-the-top, which it is. In short, it's about the faithless surviving the biblical apocalypse (not to be confused with the weekly apocalypse on Angel ;). As most of you know, I am an atheist, but I enjoy reading about religion and, for awhile, was quite on a bible-reading kick. So I wrote a song about if the "end times" came and, instead of the faithful surviving while all the atheists were destroyed, people died, regardless of faith and people lived, regardless of faith. I know it's a bit much to put into so few words and, to be honest, I don't think I did it effectively at all. I think the whole "end times" thing is pretty clear, but the other tones in it are not expressed nearly enough. Ah well, it's still a fun ditty.

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Okay, some music stuff today.
Genevieve is always asking me what the songs I write are about. Normally, I'm pretty reluctant to give in-depth descriptions, but I figured I'd take up some blog space with it. But, only one....
So, vote on which one in the comments section. Your choices are:
Resolution
Able-Bodied
- both of which are available for streaming on www.soundclick.com/subliminalself
(I am skipping Nostalgia, since, I think, it's a pretty damn obvious song. And, no, it's not about "another girl", NONE of them are.)
Song for Tomorrow
(check back in the blog for a link to DL it)

I'll post the lyrics and commentary to the winning song before the end of the day.

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Wednesday, April 21, 2004

And this is the time on Sprockets when we ..whine..

So, I had an awful bout of insomnia last night. I ended up keeping Genevieve up so much tossing and turning that I attempted to sleep on the floor (or, get into a near sleep stage and then crawl into bed.) I sooo hate when I can't get to sleep. It's this neverending loop, where nothing is comfortable and all I can think about is how I can't sleep, hich, of course makes it even harder for me to get to sleep. I'm neurotic, I know.

Because of that, I am so out-of-it this morning. I can't concentrate on work and everything seems irritating to me. Of course, the fact that things *aren't working* as they should in my "perfect work world" only makes it worse.

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Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Food Interview:

1a. What is your favorite food?
1b. Alternate: What is your favorite food to make?

2. What was your biggest culinary disaster?

3. What's the most you ever paid for one food item (be it olive oil, cheese, mushrooms or whatever) and what was it?

4. Have you ever spit out food (as a baby does not count)? What was it?

5. You're on a dessert island with water and an unlimited supply of one other beverage, what would that be? (beer, wine, soft drink, juice, etc.) Be specific.

6. What was the last thing you ate?

7. What % do you tip at restaurants?

8. Apples or Oranges?

9. Have you ever eaten one or more of the following: spam, pig's feet, cow's tongue, McDonald's pancake sandwiches?

10. Is there really a difference between gazpacho and cold tomato soup?

I will answer my own questions at the end of the day.
As for everyone else, please answer in my comments section.

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Monday, April 19, 2004

Random Note: I am listening to Johnny Cash and I have a harmonica in my breast pocket. Somebody grab me a pedal steel guitar, quick!

Anyways, so, as I mentioned in my last post, it was a big foodie weekend. It started off on Saturday morning with a French Bread class at Western Reserve School of Cooking with Kathy Lehr. Now, this lady *loves* bread. Because of this passion, she was very knowledgeable about all the aspects of bread-making. I learned not only about the process of making bread (the mix, the kneading, the slashing, etc.) but the various salts, flours and yeasts available and how they affect the taste and texture of the bread. In the end, I definitely felt I got what I was hoping for out of the class. I learned a lot about the techniques that go into making a good loaf of bread. Of course, between spending the morning making pizza dough and the class, I was less than apt to make the beer bread that Genevieve suggested doing on Sunday. Too much flour for one weekend.

After class, I headed over to Mike's for the night's wine tasting. Unlike the previous tastings, this one was buffet style. So Mike and Liz were not in a state of Level 5: Code Red cooking, by the time I arrived at least. The tasting went really well. The buffet style was really low maintenance (none of the, dead-time, dead-time, need 26 plates NOW! That's next weekend). The winemaker, Charles Meeker, was awesome. I remember from helping organize the panels for SynFest (an electronic music fest we did a few years ago) that the #1 type of panelist you can ask for is one that is: talkative, engaging and knowledgeable. Mr. Meeker was all three of these things *and* a vegetarian (ex-vegan), so he was overjoyed at the food. The wines were damn good too. The only one I didn't care for was his 10th Rack 2000 Zinfandel. It wasn't bad, per se, but just left me a bit "eh..". On the other side, he had other kick-ass wines, including some really big reds like his 2002 Barberian and 2001 Ed Demostene Zinfandel. Mike really enjoyed his Winemaker's Handprint Merlot, though my personal favorite was the Demostene.
He also had a 2001 Pink Elephant Dry Rose, which opened up the tasting. At 9.99, it's definitely a good buy for those on a budget. No, it wasn't nearly as good as his other , more expensive, offerings, but for the price, I wouldn't mind grabbing one for a party or such. The evening ended with a dessert wine, the Tu Tu Luna (love that name!), which was a pseudo-ice wine. (The basic procedure was the same, but because he's a California vineyard and grapes, obviously, don't freeze in CA., they were frozen artificially). The plus side of this is that it was very reasonable (18.99) for a dessert wine. But, though good, I didn't like it was much as other dessert wines I'd had in the past. Overall, some damn good wines. I've posted the full listing, with prices and descriptions, at the end. The food was, of course, awesome. My little pizzas went pretty well, though I felt the day hadn't been kind to the taste of the poblano's. Mike's sushi, as always, went like hotcakes, as did the endive leaves topped with black bean salsa.

Sunday, we spent the day enjoying the great weather with a 10mile bike ride at the Towpath (avoiding "Walk for MS" participants) and lunch at Mustard Seed. Definitely an awesome weekend.

2001 Pink Elephant Dry Rose $9.99
A blend of Cab Franc, Valdigue, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Guwurztramer.
Think of a sunny afternoon or a warm evening. A picnic at the beach, lunch by the swimming pool, or dinner outside on the deck. A chilled glass of wine, light bodied like white wine, but with a little more character, and bursting with a broad range of berry-fruit aromas and flavors, all followed by a satin-smooth finish. Or maybe something just plain refreshing after a hard day's work, before you turn to your more serious, classic Meeker red.

Meeker 10th Rack 2000 Zinfandel $14.99
Zinfandel, plus some Carignane and touches of Syrah and Petit Verdot
A wide array of aromatics and flavors for your gustatory enjoyment. Start with blackberry and black cherry; then throw in nutmeg, vanilla and a little clove, plus a dash of toasty French oak, a pinch of tobacco, and a finish featuring caramel and cola.
Built for your everyday drinking pleasure!

2001 Idle Home Zinfandel $23.99
Zinfandel plus a touch of Syrah.
This spectacular wine comes from vines planted in 1885 - that's correct, no typo, 1885! At Dave and Sharon Dowdy's Idle Home Ranch located in the cool Russian River Valley appellation of Sonoma County. The nose features peach, blackberry and black currant aromas with floral overtones, while in the mouth, cherry joins the same peach, blackberry and black currrant flavors, supplemented by notes of vanilla custard, nutmeg, and peppery spices.

2001 Ed Demostene Zinfandel $24.99
100% Zinfandel
There is nothing shy about this large-scaled (15.2% alcohol) offering from the Ed Demostene Vineyard. In the nose you will find cherry cola, vanilla, and toasty oak with cocoa spice and pecan praline. On the palate there's a beautiful mouthfeel, and cherry creme, black raspberry, cola, cocoa and vanilla flavors. This hight-spirited wine will sing with pork tenderloin, butterflied and stuffed with goat cheese, thyme, pepper and kosher salt.

2001 Winemaker's Handprint Merlot $34.99
88% Merlot, 9% Cab Sauv, 3% Cab Franc
Mendocino County
This is not your basic shy, underwhelming Merlot, but rather a large-scaled, layered example, with aromatics ranging from cherry, red licorice, mulberry, plum and tea leaves, to vanilla-laced oak. On the palate you will find more of the same cherry-centered and spice flavors, with fine tannins that are integrating nicely with the fruit. Try this with your favorite beef preparations or a mixed grill of lamb, portobellos, shallots and red bell peppers.
**Each and every bottle is handprinted by Charlie or Matt to indicate their pride in this butt-kicking, intense Merlot. If is our fondest hope that the wine is as good as the bottles are beautiful.

Meeker 1999 Four Kings $38.99
Proprietary Bordeaux-style blend
In the nose you will find plums, bing cherries, brown sugar, red leather, cocoa and pecan praline, followed by toasted oak and vanilla. On the palate, there's all of the above plus currants and spices, silky tannins, waves of flavor like ripples in a pind, and an exotically long finish. The well-rounded and luscious mouth feel just doesn't quit. We made it, we love it, and we hope you do too.

Meeker $32.99
"Redefining Civilized Wine"
Zinfandel and Barbera
Sonoma County
Big aromas, big flavors, big fruit, big structure, big persistence!
The huge, blooming nose of blackberries and carmelized brown sugar is followed by intense flavors of blueberry cream, cherry, black pepper and vanilla, all wrapped in a bear hug of sweet French oak. Go ahead, dive in, it can take it! It will pair terrifically with a thick hunk of beef crusty with a spicy rub and a side of juicy portobella mushrooms.

Meeker 2001 Tu Tu Luna $18.99
A blend of muscat, chenin blanc, and guwurztramer.
This dessert wine opens with incredible pear/floral/lychee aromatics, then dances on the tongue with pear, peach and apricot flavors. A healthy acid balanced ensures a long life and prevents the residual sugar from being cloying. A romantic and delicious finish to any meal. Try is with stilton cheese, sliced pears and salty almonds, with apple or pecan pie, or any great dessert.

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Friday, April 16, 2004

Experiment, Day 1 Conclusions:

Yesterday was "crust & cheese" day. When I made this last time, I used my general, all-around pizza crust. It's crunchy at the bottom, with a good degree of "chewy" factor going on. But, it's not the perfect crust. It could be better. And that's what I was going after last night.

First, I experimented with the use of some white corn meal. I started with a base of very very wet dough and split it out into parts. Part one would be my standard pizza crust. It was finished off with flour, a bit of kneading, and left to rise. Part two was made up of 1/4 white corn meal. Of course, the addition of the corn meal made kneading it a bit of a snot, but I worked the dough for a bit and left it to rise as well. Once the doughs had risen, been punched down, settled and worked out, I cut each into approx 1.5" diameter circles. Probably about the size of the mouth of a small glass. Okay, so I *used* the mouth of a small glass. But it worked very well, thankyouverymuch ;) Because of the small size, I thought any pre-baking would be a bad idea, so I immediately topped 'em with a basic chipotle tomato sauce (which was a good spice level for me, but will definitely have to be turned down on Saturday, esp. because the inclusion of wine into the mix resulted in some definite enhancement of the heat). I then topped each with roasted poblano's (good, but I cut them too small. Next time I'm going to go for more long, thin strips instead) and queso fresco. I tried two tactics with the queso fresco. One was strips. I was thinking of a bit of an art deco look. Sadly, it did nothing for the look or taste of the dish. Trash that idea. Next up was very thinly grated queso. This was much better, but because queso is so crumbly to begin with, it got more than a bit "dusty" and messy. I'm thinking I am going to grate it, but into larger pieces.

Into the oven, I worked with two temperatures. I've noticed most recipes either give 450 or 475. For these, 450 worked best. Because of their small size, 475 got the pizza crunchy before the cheese had a chance to melt. All were baked on a pizza stone (except for a disaster of an experiment where I tried to use a sope instead of crust) and ran just a few minutes of baking time.

The end result: While the corn meal pizzas had a good crunch and taste, they were *way* too dry. Almost cracker like. For some other recipes, this may work, but for here, it did nothing for me. The regular pizza dough ended up being too puffy for me. The chew-factor was definitely there, but I'm thinking a mix of the two is going to be what gets me there. I'm going to try a dough mix with 1/8th corn meal.

Today, I'll be adding the roasted corn and cilantro.

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Thursday, April 15, 2004

Okay, I'm blogging, I'm blogging.
Sheesh, I feel so wanted.

Anyways, this weekend is a semi-big foodie one and it fills me with a both a sense of excitement and nervousness.
First up is my French Bread class. I know, it sounds kind of silly to take a class just on making French Bread. But, it's my hope that I can parlay some of the knowledge into other types of bread making. (Note: we neither own nor plan to own a "bread machine". Bread Machines are for pansies). This also marks my second WRSOC class. In related news, I've started the process of enrolling in Tri-C's Culinary Arts course. At this point, I just need to take my math placement tests. It's already my assumption that I'm going to be in "dumb person math", so I doubt there will be any surprises there.

Also this weekend is another Wine Tasting w/ Chef Mike aka Tofu. This one is going to be buffet-style, so much more of a low-impact workout. The other side of it is that I'm getting to make my first dish for one of these tastings. After much research, I settled on a pizza with a chipotle tomato sauce, roasted corn and queso fresco. I tried it out last weekend on the guys from Cyanotic (see Monday's blog) and it was a big hit. I'm going to do a little bit more experimentation today and tomorrow to perfect the recipe. My only concerns with it right now are that I'm going to be going straight from my class to Mike's, so I need to figure out how I want to prep the pizzas. Right now, my thought is to do little mini-servings, get 'em almost done w/o the cheese at home and then throw the cheese on and throw 'em the oven at the tasting for about 5 minutes. I'm going to test this out today and find out if it dries the crust out too much. I'm also going to work in a bit of cornmeal into the crust, for taste (and take it further down the Mexican road). I also need to work with the spice level a bit. Personally, I love spicy food, so I know when I made it last weekend, I had the level up pretty high. I know I need to tone that down a bit and find a happy medium that gives a bit of a kick without burning the average (or even non-firey)pallette.

So, I'm heading out to the Mi Pueblo grocery store for a little shopping today.
Wish me luck!

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Wednesday, April 14, 2004

I've massively screwed-up at work. As such, until that is fixed, there will be no blog today.
sorry

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Monday, April 12, 2004

Before I relay this past weekend’s shows and how they went, let me explain what went on with the on again/off again show at the Hi-Fi on Friday (April 9th).

About two months ago, I was contacted by an Indiana band, Cyanotic, who were looking to book a gig in Cleveland. Since I was already thinking about getting together a spring show, I added one more band and approached the club with the bill of: Cyanotic, Subliminal Self & The House of Sectionals. They were interested and offered me an April 9th date. After talking with the band and their management, we accepted and moved forward with promoting the show. Things were going along smoothly until one week before the show. I got an e-mail from Cyanotic’s manager saying that, though Subliminal Self was listed on the Hi-Fi’s website, none of the other bands were. I contacted the club about the discrepancy and was told that, apparently, they decided to make the night a cd giveaway party and that, though they kept my band, they dropped the others. Of course, up until this point, nobody had told me. I let the club know this, as well as the fact that I would not perform unless, at least, Cyanotic were added back onto the bill. They agreed and the show was back on, kind of. There were now 6 bands scheduled to perform that night.

On Friday, Greyson and I (along with Greyson’s mother and girlfriend, Beth) showed up at the club for load-in/soundcheck. Immediately, I was pulled aside by a member of another band performing that night, who was helping run the club for a bit. He laid down the situation. Because the event was now overbooked, we had two choices: one, we could play the front stage and go on at about 8:00pm or two, he had brought along a second PA system and we could play the back stage and go on at 10:30. At this point, the 8 o’clock hour was approaching and, since neither the people who were coming to see us or the other band were there yet, I opted for the later hour. The way it would work is this: the stages would be staggered. So, as one band finished, the other would immediately start. This would allow both stages their time and still have everyone be able to perform their set. Everyone wins, right? Well, no.

As 10:30 rolls around, Cyanotic shows up and starts loading in. We were already setup and ready to go, so as the other stage’s music ended, we launched into our set. Oh, perhaps I should have mentioned this: all of the other bands were metal/thrash/hair bands. These were not people interested in sissy synthesizer music. So, our response was decidedly..underwhelming. More accurately, because of the apathy of the audience and the really low volume of the second PA system (which turns out to be nothing more than a glorified practice PA), it went badly. The only golden light of the performance was the awesome support from our friends and family. (Big thanks to Adam, Lauren, Anne, Eric, Dave, my Dad, Sally & my aunt Charity for coming out, despite the confusion!) After a merciless set where we could hear the audience more than ourselves, we got offstage. As the other stage started, Cyanotic began to setup. (sn.1) Unfortunately, technical difficulties with their setup resulted in them going on later than expected. Since the event was so tightly booked, this also meant their set had to be shorter, way shorter. Think about 15 minutes. They were, needless to say, pissed. (sn.2) They finished their set and all parties headed out. At this point, I’d been up since 5am and I promptly crashed for the night.

The next day was the show in South Bend, once again with Cyanotic. (sn.3)

The trip into town was pretty uneventful. We made good time and, along with the time change (they are one hour behind Cleveland), we arrived at about 4pm, a full two hours before we needed to be at the club. Before we sought out something to occupy ourselves in the meantime, we scoped out the location of the club. As we approached it, our hearts sank. The club was located in a semi-sketchy part of town and, from the outside, looked like an old run-down church hall, which is exactly what it turned out to be. Determined to press on, despite the now bleak outlook, we walked around town, waiting for the doors to open. On the upside, I grabbed some an *excellent* chorizo torta in a Mexican Taqueria/ Grocery Store. The place was almost triple the size of my dear Mi Pueblo grocery story. Yea, I was also the only gringo in the whole joint, but it's not like I really needed to know any Spanish to be able to get some food. The torta was huge and stuffed with queso fresco, tomatoes, chorizo and a very liberal amount of cilantro (which might be why I liked it so much) and served with a side of picante salsa to spice things up. I grabbed a pastry to round it out and still only walked out of there $4.00 poorer. (I'm now in a state of depression that this amazing site of Mexican products is so far away.) By the time we’d finished dinner, the club was open and the first act was loading in.

The first band of the night was called Peace Patrol. A group of seemingly 15-year-old kids, they played a set of tight punk (oxymoron that it is). Though the music was solid, the crowd didn’t raise our hopes any. Disaffected punk kids are no more our core audience than the metalheads of the previous night. I was starting to wonder what we had done wrong to end up with this string of bad luck. (sn.4) The first band ended at 8:30 and, as the crowd wandered around, we tried to find out what was going on next. Sean from Cyanotic showed up about this time and let us know that we’d be going on last and that they expected a great crowd later on in the night. This assumption was shortly countered by the club owner’s fear that, though more people might come later, they’d lose the ones that were there now. So, they wanted someone to go on at 9:00pm. Well, since we were already setup (sn.5), we agreed.

Taking the stage, the tension of the night went to work…in the form of an absolutely killer performance. Greyson was spot-on, nailing an energetic stage show unlike any I’ve never seen out of him. I was making my share of mistakes, but the whole of it was synching like spy watches. Shoot, I even talked to the audience, something I usually shy away from. I only wish we had the forethought to tape it. As it is, we did get some awesome pictures from Beth (which will be posted later). As we got off the stage, the night got even better. We not only sold some cd's, but also made a bit of cash off of the door. The latter of which was a first for us. I'm proud to say that, after deducting gas and expenses, we made a whole $3.00 each. $3.00!! Who said that you can't make money doing music? ;) We also got a tour of the place c/o the club owner. Through in serious need of repair, the other areas of the club were freggin *awesome*. I mean, I'm talking an expansive living room/bar, a commercial sized kitchen, a music studio w/ a sound proof room, a bowling alley. Let me repeat that last one. A BOWLING ALLEY! Yup, Club Cackle is also the home of an operational, stocked, 4-lane bowling alley. The club owner invited us to come back and perform anytime we'd like. Providing we can get a corresponding gig in Chicago, we most definitely will. I have to say, this show made up for the crappy gig the night before. The club owner and soundman were great, we put on our best show to-date and, shoot, I got some good food. Definitely a big thumbs up. (sn.6) We ended up driving back that night and crashed at about 4am. Rock n' Roll.

What else happened that weekened?
My Dad & Sally came by on Thursday night. I made some of my patented sweet & spicy pasta. He also brought with him a computer for me. This baby has like twice the specs of my current one. -nice- I only wish I had some time during the weekend to start loading the current system's software on it. But, no such luck. Either way, it was a very cool night.

Oh, I also picked up a small practice guitar. It's an old Stella Harmony (Mine looks exactly like the model to the right, except it doesn't have the white part)

Once again, sending thanks out to:
Greyson, Beth, Boyd (Club Cackle), Soundman (Club Cackle - name slips me), Sean (Cyanotic), Drew (Cyanotic), Beth, Greyson's mum, my dad, Sally, my aunt Charity, Lauren, Adam, Eric, Anne, Dave & all the others who came to the show!

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Friday, April 09, 2004

Just a reminder that tonight @ the Hi-Fi Club: Subliminal Self will be performing, along with those purveyors of harsh industrial, Cyanotic.

Note: There are 6 bands playing tonight and I have been unable to find out the band order. Buuuut..music starts at 8:30 and though we could go on at midnight, there's a better chance of the former than the latter. So, *please*, if you are coming, come early.
The Hi-Fi is located at 11729 Detroit Ave. in sunny Lakewood, Ohio

Thanks much and hope to see you there!
Patrick

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Thursday, April 08, 2004

As anyone who reads this blog knows, I am anti-Atkins. Actually, I'll go even further than that. The Atkins diet *pisses me off*. It's like watching "Survivor". Just thinking about it, the very idea seems idiotic, but, still, people do it. A whole slew of people do it. Yes, maybe a few do lose weight. But, to me, every single person on the diet could be a size 1 and it would *still* be irritating and it would still be idiotic. Why? Because it annoys my inner-foodie ;)

I love food, in all it's myriad variations of colors and flavors. It's a great thing. So, if you're going to serve pizza without the crust or pimp a ranch slathered salad by calling it "Atkin's friendly", well, you might as well blow snot and piss all over it as well. Sure, I've heard about how people eat way too much grains in the first place. But is that an excuse to cut it out altogether, make a diet centered around it's exclusion? Noooo.. It's called moderation. Atkins is called bastardization. If you want to eat better, don't eat at T.G.I Friday's every week, don't order pizza every day. Take the time to make food at home, eat at restaurants which have a real interest in serving health conscious food (note: health conscious does NOT mean tasteless). Nobody has to do it every day, I certainly don't. I love rich fatty foods just as much as the next person, but I recognize I can't have that every day. And I don't think I'm on a diet or even health-conscious. I just don't want to be the iggy-piggy.

I think this is where the fundamental difference between myself and many people who go on this diet comes in. I do not think of food as simply a means for gaining energy and sustenance. I see it as a celebration. Last Night, I made a dinner of Uruguayan Bean Salad and Paraguayan Corn Bread (yes, big on the "guayans" ;) , which turned out awesome and, you know, it put me in a good mood. I was happy simply because of this good food. Things like McDonalds, Burger King, KFC. They're not doing it cause they love food. They're doing it because they know they can put low quality meat with lots of salt on a bun and your average Joe will gobble it up, thinking they're getting a deal by getting a hamburger, which probably cost 0.10 to make for 0.99.

But, I digress. I can understand the non-foodie perception. Shoot, I did not grow up celebrating world cuisine. It's like anything, to some people it's just not as important. I don't doubt their enjoyment of a good food and I certainly don't think any better or worse of anyone based on their culinary knowledge/enjoyment. But, I think people just need to stop and say, "Damn, I'm eating pizza with no crust. How fucked up is that?"

Now don't get me started on pie/hot dog/etc eating contests ;)

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Tuesday, April 06, 2004

SPECIAL NOTICE:
Hello all,

Sorry to play yo-yo with everyone, but this Friday's (April 9th) show at the Hi-Fi is back on! Kinda.

Here the deal: The other bands (The Billy Morris Band / Elahn / Mourning Star / Chain Link Society) will still be performing. But I'm proud to say that, in addition to Subliminal Self, those purveyors of harsh industrial, Cyanotic, have been added back onto the bill.

And this is the part where I tell you to get your butt out there! Seriously. I realize this event has gone a bit haywire, but all the more reason to come on out and show your support for Cyanotic & Subliminal Self. We want to see your lovely smiling faces out there, we *need* to see your faces out there. Help us rule the roost at the show and prove that metal isn't the only thing that plays in Cleveland!

Show will be starting early. 8:30pm. I'm going to try and find out when we'll will be on and I'll let everyone know as soon as I do.

See you there!.

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It's funny how our diets change over the years. Take something so simple as breakfast.

When I was a kid, I wanted nothing more than to fill my face with sugared cereals. Frosted Flakes, Lucky Charms, Count Chocula. Instead, I got Kix, Cheerios (which, to this day, I hate), Rice Crispies...

The one time I remember getting a sugared cereal (beyond family vacations, where my sister and I would get those lovely little multipack boxes of cereal), it was a "Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back" cereal. I think there were little marshmallow Death Stars in there, which is kind of funny in retrospect. I vowed that, when I grew up, I'd get sugared cereals every *day*!

And, true to my word, once I moved out on my own, it was all about every sort of spaz-inducing, sprinkle a bit of grain in a tub of sugar and call it cereal, breakfast I could find.

Fast-forward to today.
This morning: fried polenta stuffed with toasted walnuts, strawberries and topped with brown sugar. (Which sounds fancy, but really tasted a lot like pancakes - good pancakes, but..nonetheless. Yesterday's fried mushrooms and queso fresco omelet was much better.) Now, if I were to eat cereal, it would most likely involve heavy amount of granola or be Grape Nuts.

Note: I am a deadly assassin, check it out

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Monday, April 05, 2004

Ever have one of those weekends where it seems that you're always running into someone you know?

This past Saturday was that for us.
First, up at the West Side Market, we ran into fellow Marketeers FoodGoat & LadyGoat.

After that, we grabbed some lunch at The Dinner on Clifton (excellent Gorgonzola Burger!) and there was Android, Stygz & Annabelle.

We then headed to Lakewood for shopping and ran into Shara from Stateofbeing.

Finally, I had to grab a new harmonica (a lovely "Bluesman" by Hohner) and, handling the shop, one of the guys who helps run the Hi-Fi Club.

Of course, then we ran into Jesus/Mad Max and all hell broke loose.

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Sunday, April 04, 2004

Due to circumstances beyond our control, the April 9th - Cyanotic/Subliminal Self/The House of Sectionals show @ the Hi-Fi in Cleveland has been cancelled.

Please keep an eye out for future shows. Thanks much.

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Thursday, April 01, 2004

Goodbye "Chicago Blues" Harmonica (only $1.99 at Musician's Friend!), you will be missed.

So I broke my first Harmonica yesterday.
And, at this point, Genevieve says either "And this is a loss..how?" -or- "Well, if you wouldn't take it apart."

Of course, I'll buy another one, they're like about $5.00 each at any music shop. But the question is: Why? I mean, most of you have heard my music. It's not exactly what you'd called "Blues Harmonica" friendly. Though our more recent songs (live, anyways) have incorporated tribal drumming & acoustic guitar, the harmonica hasn't earned it's place there yet.

To me, it's the portability of the thing. I loved the fact that I could take it with me when driving, when walking down the street, anywhere. And there, I could have music. Maybe not *good* music, yet..but I'm improving. Maybe it's because the other 99% of the time, I play keyboards. Big, clunky, deli board type of things that involve cabling, stands, cases and on.. I can't take a keyboard into a field or play it in the car (unless I want to get in an accident, of course). And, weird as it may be, I liked the sound. Granted, no one else did. Genevieve, the cats...neither were particular partial to it. But, eh...it makes me think of chain gangs, Bob Dylan, and lonely blues men. I liked it.

By the way, the way that it died is this:
Two of the reeds had ceased to work. Assuming I'd laid some nasty glue spit down at some point, I opened it up to take a look.
And couldn't get it back together.....

This is why I should not perform musical instrument repairs.

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