Friday, July 29, 2005 has been hectic today and I need a break from it. So, a few rants I've been holding onto.
First up...

eHarmony - Finding everlasting love with 29 Dimensions of Compatibility - except sexual orientation

For those of us with cable, we've all seen the eHarmony commercials, ad naseum. It starts with a wholesome looking fellow, Dr. Clark, coming on TV and telling everyone that he's found the key to "long lasting, meaningful relationships", as various couples relate their heartwarming stories of meeting through eHarmony. But, something always seemed off about the ads. First, it was the lack of well...non-white people. Apparently middle-class white people were not only the best examples, but only examples eHarmony could come up with for their ads. (They did add one black couple, about a year after their commercial debuted).

The second thing you'll notice, and this is more subtle but MUCH more sinister, is that the implied message is that you're going on eHarmony to find a person, not to date, but to marry. There's a definite reason for this that Genevieve and I only discovered this past week. The head of eHarmony, Dr. Neil Clark Warren, is also the publisher of many books through the evangelical Christian group 'Focus on the Family' and has close ties to Dr. Dobson, the conservative head of 'Focus on the Family'. If all this Family talk. In fact, if you happen to be among the group of Americans who are gay, well, you are completely out of luck, eHarmony offers absolutely no option for homosexual relationships on their site. All of these facts turn, to me, a commercial which was once mildly annoying into one whose message that only straight Christian white folks can have meaningful relationships pisses me off to no end. Obviously, I was never going to visit eHarmony in the first place, but I encourage all your single folks to pass this info on to your single friends and boycott this site.

In more lighthearted news, as most of you know, we have some pretty trashy neighbors. It all started well enough, with a single mother moving into the upstairs apartment with her son and daughter. Then, the first boyfriend (we're currently on #2 or 3) moved in with his 2 kids, the wal-mart lawn chairs went up on the completely dirt front "lawn" and the bottles of Wild Irish Rose began to show up all over the place. Then, the trash started lining the side of the house. Half broken grills, moldy and soiled baby strollers, random junk that makes our once nice looking house into something straight out of West Virginia. were increasing on a daily basis. Then we discovered that, through all this *great* upkeep they were doing, they weren't even paying rent. Yup, 2 months and going and they haven't paid a cent of rent to the place. The landlord is in the process of evicting them, but they've either ignored or refused all notices he's sent them. All of this and they live like they own the whole house. The other day, as they sat in our front yard, their conversation got so loud that, on one of the few nice days of summer, I had to shut the front windows so we could hear ourselves think. (Which, despite Genevieve's protests, I had to do with a slam). Needless to say, I plan on leaving them a few "going away presents" on our last day there.


Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Well, I promised a review of Stevenson's and now, as I sit here with it settling in my stomach, would be as good a time as any.

Through a horrible traffic jam and pouring rain, we slogged our way into Euclid. A small shack on Lake Shore Blvd., Stevenson's was the poster child for "hole-in-the-wall." Inside, it wasn't much different. To the left, a grungy bar with the most basic grill and deep frier behind it. To the right, well, not much..unless you count a minature bowling alley machine and a lonely table in the corner.

Sitting down at the bar, Adam and I both ordered a 'Big Guy' and an order of onion rings. The only staff was a friendly older couple, with the guy taking orders and the wife (?) on the grill. Service was prompt and it wasn't long before we saw our burgers sizzling away on the grill. Once cooked and stacked, my first thought about the burger was "massive!" Here we had two half pound patties, topped with cheese and a fistful of lettuce with special sauce (something mayo based), served between grilled buns which just couldn't support the quantity of the fillings. Piled on the side, there were the onion rings. To be honest, the rings didn't do anything for me. Deep-fried, direct from the bag with no accompaniments, they were just too bland, especially when coming from my last restaurant job, where we made all the rings in house.

Anyways..the burger. Let me get it out of the way, yes, this was the Best Burger we've had in far (we have only hit 2 other places in town). It was greasy, juicy and practically ate the bun it was on. This was a good thing. It wasn't fancy, in fact, the menu only had 3 choices ('Big Guy', 'Little Guy' and Cheeseburger). They were there to do one thing: serve burgers. Looking for blue cheese and roasted peppers? You're at the wrong place, pal. On the other hand, if you're looking for a massive burger dripping with goodness that will guarantee that you'll be ripping through napkins like it's going out style, those flimsy bar stools are your transport to burger heaven.

We're not announcing a winner yet, there's still alot more burgers in Cleveland to try, but at least now we have a benchmark against which to judge all others.


Yesterday, I caught the premier of Anthony Bourdain's new show 'No Reservations'. For those who don't know who Tony Bourdain is, imagine a chain smoking, foul mouthed, anti-veggie asshole of a chef, who somehow manages to pump out highly entertaining books and TV shows. This is as opposed to that Gordon Ramsey fellow, who just looks like an asshole without the redeeming entertainment value.

Mr. Bourdain's show is on the Travel Channel and features a weekly trip to some location, where he seeks out food and culture way off the beaten path. After watching this show and reading his books, I begrudgingly have to admit, I kind of relate to him. I don't know if this means I'm an asshole, I've certainly been called it enough times that it may be so. But, his philosophies on getting away from the tour busses and iternaries and reaching out to local culture really jives with my sense of what I want my travel experiences to be like. His basic work ethic of "show up on time and work hard while you're there", well, it might not so much apply to my current job, but it's something that originally, to me, seemed jerky in how he presented it, but really just boils down to an anti-slacker attitude, which I can relate to (even if I continue to slack at my current job).

Anyways, in this past week's episode, he hit Paris, which must've been a no-brainer for the Travel Channel (he spent part of his youth in France and his restaurant, Les Halles is French). Overall, the episode succeeded in getting Genevieve to yearn to return to France and wax nostalgic about her trip there. It really did well in giving a feel for the culture. We each had our segments we could have done without though. For Genevieve, it was the trip to the meat market, where wild boars, fur still attached, hung by hooks on the walls. For me, it was a section of Absinth, which employed lots of special FX to give the feel of a strung-out hallucinatory experience, but really came across as really silly in a show otherwise very built on reality.

Well, that's it for now. Oh yes, Adam and I are finally heading to Stevenson's tonight, on the recommendation of FoodGoat. I'll be sure to post a review here tomorrow.


Monday, July 25, 2005

Hammond 'Model M' organ for sale - $75

1950's Spinet organ with drawbars.
2X 44 note manuals (keyboards)
12 note bass pedalboard
Vibrato/Chorus Vibrato
2 sets of Drawbars (one for each manual)
Tube Amp (you can actually run external audio through this, for those who like that tube sound)

Unit is in good shape. There are some scratches and wear on the Mahogany wood paneling and the drawbars are kind of scratchy, but with a little cleaning, that could be taken care of. Electronics are all in excellent working order and plays beautifully. Comes with original music stand, as well.

Buyer *must* pick up (downtown Cleveland are). Though the Model M is one of the smaller Hammonds out there, it is heavy and I have no way to transport it in my compact car.

This is a beautiful instrument. I love it and would ordinarily never sell it, but I'm moving to NYC in September and I'm afraid I won't have enough room for it in a tiny NY apartment.

Will include a bottle of special Hammond oil for free.
I wasn't able to find a picture of one, but it looks almost exactly like a M-2, pictured here:
E-mail me if you're interested or for more info.


Sunday, July 24, 2005

My weekend in short..

Saturday, spent a majority of the day packing things up, cooking, cleaning & etc. In the evening, went to a great party (full of awesome food...I could have snacked on those peanut butter & chocolate balls all night, had I not had to head out) at the home of Miss Defective Life.

Sunday, after a night of very strange dreams, I spent a majority of the morning transferring data to the laptop and playing video games, while Genevieve shopped with Kerry. Spent the rest of the day doing more sorting and packing. It's very strange to have stuff in boxes already, makes the whole "moving to NYC" event that much more real.

Oh, I promise more food related blogs..soon.


Sunday, July 17, 2005

Today, Genevieve, Kerry and I went to Taste of Tremont, an annual celebration of the restaurants within Tremont, as well the neighborhood itself. I hesitate to say it was our last time going there, since I love it so much I would probably schedule a trip home, just to go. That said, I was filled with a little sadness, knowing it would be our last time as Tremonters. We took full advantage of it though.

We started our grazing lunch with a stop by Sokolowski's (a polish cafeteria and well known local establishment) to grab their impossibly good Perogi (matched equally in it's tastiness by it's artery hardening abilities). Unfortunately, we had to enjoy our perogi under the safety of a nearby overhang, as a harsh storm swept in and pelted the area with rain. But, within about 20 minutes, the rain let up and street began to, once again, fill with people.

Next up, we stopped by Grumpy's stand, which we were a bit suprised to see, as it's original location had burned down awhile ago and had yet to reopen in it's new location. But, we were happy to see them up and about at the festival and enjoyed a couple yummy kabobs (which seemed to be the food of the day, featured at no less than 3 stands, in different forms). Genevieve had, of course, a veggie kabob, while I chowed down on a spicy sausage one.

Just a few stands down from them was La Tortilla Feliz, who we make a point to visit during every one of these type of events (as they're always there). I grabbed a small pupusa, which was very enjoyable, if not completely fireworks to my taste buds.

After that, Genevieve and I split a pasta salad from 806 Wine Bar and ginger limeade, care of Theory. Neither of the offerings did much for us. The pasta was certainly serviceable, but nothing to write home about and the ginger and lime drink scored sour faces from everyone. Genevieve did take a trip across the street and pick up an excellent little bowl of watermelon, topped with honey and mint from the newly opened Lolita though, thus proving that Michael Symon can take any basic ingredient and give it a twist to make it great.

Genevieve finished things up with an awesome berry and chocolate dessert from Sweet Mosiac, while I, not in the mood for sweets, grabbed a apple and jalapeno slaw from SouthSide, which was so good, I was scraping the cup to get every last bit.

I did return a few hours later, on the hunt for frozen bananas (which had sold out), but instead grabbed a certainly worthwhile (but not *the best*) burger, also from SouthSide.

I'm sad the festival is over, but I look forward to seeing how the neighborhood's culinary offerings evolve, through the years to come.


Monday, July 11, 2005

So, I have put in my notice at work. August 19th will be my last day. I was originally going to wait until next week, but Genevieve was telling her work today, so I thought it best that we both do it on the same day. As it turned out, it wasn't too bad. My supervisor was very excited and supportive. Of course, as I thought, it means the beginning of the great 'Documentation rush', where I have to write down all the haphazard procedures I've used to piece together my products through the years.

Ah well, it's a relief to have the end in sight.


Wednesday, July 06, 2005

what we came home to

We have some very happy housecats right now.

After picking Genevieve up at work, we came home to find Byron playing with something. Upon closer inspection, it turned out to be a dead mouse. Now, Byron isn't the brightest kitty around, so I have real doubts that he killed it (most likely the smart and stealthy Audrey did the deed). But, he was enjoying the spoils.

I let him play with it until I heard the loud *crunch*crunch* of mouse skull. Byron seemed to be trying to eat it, but not having much luck with it. For fear he'd choke on it, or worse, manage to swallow it, only to puke it up hours later (they are just housecats, used to dry food, after all), I took it away from him, but gave everyone treats for their good deed.

Beware the deadly kitties!


Back from Vacation (addendum)

Oh, I also devoted a huge amount of time to watching Sci-Fi Channel's 'Twilight Zone Marathon', which they seem to do every year (and I always seem to have the joy of catching). This time, I actually did find a few episodes which I had not seen. As it turns out, there was a reason, they weren't particularly good ones. The "twist ending" which defines so many Twilight Zone episodes, was apparent very early on in each of them.

I still love the old Twilight Zones, which is why I flat-out refuse to see any of the "newer" ones.


Back from Vacation

Nothing overly fun to report. Well, besides heading out to see 'Batman Begins' and dinner at Fire, but Genevieve chronicles that well here. Other than that, I played alot of video games on my not-so-trusty Genesis, watched Gremlins with the Commentary on (geeky, I know), had an awesome lunch at Lelolai (tres leches cake...mmmmmm) and did some cleaning. big fun.

Oh, also did some biking at the "Bike and Hike Trail". The trail is part of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy and was really nice, for the parts we could ride (we were met, on either end of our ride, by a very steep uphill climb and a chunk of trail which is on the road, which then appears to hit a trail going back the way we came). Recommended for those who have ridden the Towpath to death, as we have.

That's about it...