Ernest Hemingway:

As Ernest Hemingway once said...
'All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.'

Monday, April 30, 2007

good news on the food front

The first piece of good news is the grocery store opening in the Tower Grove area on June 1 - Local Harvest Grocery. It's run by the same guy that runs the Tower Grove farmers' market. They're going to stock sustainably produced meat, veggies, grains, and goods from the St. Louis area, as well as some sustainably produced goods from outside the area. Very cool. I think this will be my new grocery store. Seriously, it's exactly what I've been waiting for - I love farmers' markets, but I'm limited to the weekends. This will be perfect.

Wolfgang Puck is going to make a major change regarding the food he produces. 'In all of my restaurants, catering businesses, licensed foods and takeout establishments, I'm committed to using organic ingredients and humanely raised meats and fish.' This is exciting, because his packaged goods are available in most grocery stores, and this will mean I can eat his frozen pizzas and dinners with meat on them. It's just one more option for me. Normally I'm limited to eating frozen dinners (Lean Cuisine) without any meat at all. This will be nice. I should probably give up frozen dinners all together, and perhaps some day I will, but they're just so darn easy for lunch. And Lean Cuisine uses all natural ingredients, which is good.

I suppose I should explain my diet. I only eat meat if I know where it came from and how it was raised. This means there are only a handful of restaurants where I can order meat dishes, and am also extremely limited at the grocery stores. Luckily we're able to get our beef from a friend of Q's family (he raises a few cows a year), but when it comes to other meats, I'm basically limited to what I can get at the farmers' market from local farmers. I'm okay without eating meat all the time, I actually like eating like a vegetarian. But I love a good burger.

This began last spring when I saw a PETA video we'd gotten at an Alkaline Trio show. I don't totally agree with PETA's philosophy, but just seeing what happens to animals on factory farms was horrifying. Not only do I believe we have no right to treat another living thing like that, but I don't want the meat from a tortured, hormone-injected, antibiotic-fed, miserable animal as part of my diet. There's no way it's good for you. No matter how good a McDonald's burger may taste, it's not worth it. So my stance is health-driven just as much as animal rights-driven.

I plan to slowly adopt this philosophy in regards to cheese, but that's hard. Cheese is too good to give up, and it's hard to find cheese that comes from sustainably raised animals. Oberweis is an option, but there aren't any close by. And what we think of as 'vegan' cheese actually has a milk protein in it. Maybe it'll be easier once the new grocery opens up. And I switched to soy milk last year, and it's relatively easy to find eggs that are sustainably produced. I also try to limit the amount of foods I eat with artificial ingredients (flavorings, etc.), and try to stick to organic veggies and fruits, though 'organic' doesn't actually mean much in this country. At least it's a start.

So anyway, knowing there's going to be a grocery store that has my ethics at heart is great news for me. Help spread the word. And definitely go there when it opens up.

big relief

We tried our first batch of beer last night and...SUCCESS! It tasted wonderful. We first pulled the beer from the fridge where it had been since that morning, and checked for foam. That was our biggest worry - that it'd be flat somehow. But there it was, evident even through the bottle. And then the pour. There was a small amount of foam on the top, and plenty of bubbles. We were very excited. The anticipation built as we went for the first sip. Ahhhh. Very refreshing, and honestly, the best wheat I've ever had. I think that's a common thing for homebrews. They're just better than anything you can buy.

Instead of just mixing in sugar during the last stage of fermentation, we mixed in sugar and honey. It's extremely smooth with the light hints of honey. Awesome. I'll post a picture it after it was poured.

So now we're super excited to try the next batch, and move on from there. It's neat to know that a month's time spent aging something actually worked, and didn't go down the tubes. So now I get to go home tonight, mow the yard (which is out of control), and celebrate it's hewing with a cold, honey wheat beer. Yum.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

maybe administrative professionals day isn't so dumb after all

One of my bosses gave me this for Administrative Professionals Day:

The other one gave me this:

Well, not really. He kind of sort of lent it to me. As you may remember, faithful reader, my company leased two vehicles last year, a H3 and some sort of BMW convertible. They draw names for them every month, so we'll all eventually get a chance to drive them. Nice. Anyway, my one boss got the Hummer this month, and he's going out of town for a week and a half, so he kindly let me drive it.

It's weird. I'm not really into gas guzzlers, so it's somewhat hypocritical, but it's really fun. It drives really smoothly, and has pick up like you wouldn't believe, though I'm constantly worried about taking out a mailbox or street sign. And it also has a bitchin' sound system.

Be on the lookout, St. Louis. I may be coming to a yard near you.

Monday, April 23, 2007

cankle, anyone?

Picture this. It's a gorgeous, sunny spring afternoon in St. Louis. Kickball teams are squaring off all over Tower Grove park. Bit Tipsy, reeling after a loss to the Toe Jams, goes head to head with Nemesis, a super competitive, good team. We're one or two beers in, starting to crisp from the sun, and ready to kick some ass.

I'm playing first base, as usual. Some jock with a ponytail from the other team kicks the ball my way. I mean the kind of twenty-something jock who lives Monday through Saturday to play kickball on Sunday. I get it, but not in enough time to get him out at the base. No big deal. But before I know it, he's rounding first and heading towards second. I'm flabbergasted to the point of having no idea what to do next. I finally snap to it and lob the ball towards second, but this fucker is fast. By the time the ball even gets to second base, he's sprinting towards third, and eventually takes home plate. I was stunned. A fucking home run on what should have been a single. Lots of teams play aggressively, including us, but this was way beyond that. This was a ballsy move.

It's an inning or two later and the guy is up to kick again. I'm playing well behind first, as the winds were ablowing and the guys on this team could get good distance. He kicks a beeliner directly towards me - I mean so dead on that I didn't even have to move to get it. It's a grounder, however, so I have to make the play at the bag. My brain assesed the situation with record speed, and I knew I could beat him to the bag. I took off - probably not unlike the Looney Toons road runner. I was gunning for him. No way this fucker was going to take first, much less round towards second.

I was there. I was going to beat him. It was in the bag. Until a small hole in the field bent my ankle in half, that is. I swear, it wasn't an inch from the base. It was so close that both teams thought this guy stepped on my foot. I calmly walked (or limped) off the field, forcing Cootie to play the field (her worst nightmare, even though she did really good). Oh my god, I was so pissed. Not because of my ankle, but because I couldn't get that shithead out. SO PISSED. And now my ankle looks like there's a tennis ball shoved inside it. Nice.

Hopefully I'll be recovered enough to play next week. Darn ankles. Darn horribly uneven field. Darn ponytail guy from Nemesis. He did apologize afterwards, which was nice, but unnecessary. He totally thought he stepped on my foot, and I had to convince him otherwise. Believe me, I'd have knowin if he stepped on my foot. That would have been a real nightmare.

Monday, April 16, 2007

it's beer season

Here's our first batch of beer. We bottled it on
Saturday, and it should be good to go in about 2 weeks - that is if we didn't mess it up. We'll find out soon enough, I guess. Very pretty - all the little soldiers lined up.

We also started our next batch that same day. It's a wheat again, but this time we boiled a few flavored tea bags in with the wort for a few minutes. I have to admit we stole this idea from someone else, so I can't take full credit. But it smelled really good. I'm excited to try it. I promise not to steal their name, however - Teat. Hilarious. This is an actual picture. So far so good - it's supposed to get a layer of foam, and the air lock is bubbling.

Let me tell you, there is no smell like the smell of boiling wort. It's amazing. Kind of like the smell as you drive by Anheuser Busch, but more concentrated. If I could figure out how to make an air freshener in this scent I'd do it in a minute. Yum.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

no, no, you're most definitely not smarter than a fifth grader

I was lucky enough to overhear the most intelligent conversation ever today. And now you get to hear it too. Ready?

Office Peon 1: What is bigger than five eights?

Office Peon 2 (and I say this with the utmost of respect, as I am also an Office Peon): I thought a half was.


Office Peon 1: No, 5 is bigger than 4.


Office Peon 1: Yes, five eights is bigger than one half.

Wow, I bet our clients are glad these folks are here to support the advisors. Pure genuis.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

one ugly mug

I have one question regarding Don Imus and this whole mess he's in. It's not about whether the comment was racist (in case you live in a hole in the earth, he called the girls from Rutgers 'nappy headed hos'), or whether he should have been suspended, or where talk radio is headed. It's not about Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, and if they're media whores and what right they have to deem who is considered a racist. It's not about how Don Imus has been on the radio doing the same damn thing for over thirty years, or why he should be fired over making comments about female basketball players when he's made comments about virtually everyone else. It's not about where lines should be drawn, or how we can make the country more respectful. It's this:

How can someone with a mug as ugly as his make comments about the looks of anyone else? Answer me that. Take a good, hard look. Hopefully you won't have nightmares.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

our very own beer

Q and I have embarked on the strange but great adventure of brewing our own beer. That's how much we love it. Enough to spend the money on the equipment - it's not cheap.

The thing pictured here is called a carboy. No idea why. It's where the beer lives during fermentation. This isn't ours - I found it on the web - but it looks similiar, only ours is less fancy (without that crazy yellow thing and a much simpler air lock). But the beer looks similiar, except ours is only half full. We halved the recipe in case we mess it up. We're currently waiting for it to clear up and finish fermenting, then it has to age in the bottles for a couple of weeks. It's a wheat beer. We want to mess around with the next batch, maybe add some lemon or honey. Yum.

I'm ready to try it. It should be ready in time for our first camping outing of the year. Very exciting!