Just Another Blog
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
 
Cheap Music

CNET is reporting that the Russians are going to shutdown Allofmp3.com. Figures that I reloaded $60 onto my balance last night. Well, I paid $60, but they gave me $72 worth of credit for using Xrost which is the only way you can reload with a visa anyway.

I went through and bought 308 songs on 18 albums for $47.11 last night. That's roughly an 84.4% discount to the Apple service, and the tunes aren't locked, the files are named to my specs, and all of the meta information is prefilled (although the genre always shows up as other). I've spent a fair amount of money on the site over the past few years because it's just so darn easy to find and download what you want. And you always know what you're getting; no worrying that some moron has mislabeled some song and Stiff Little Fingers is really Blink 182.

The site is currently up and running, so I guess I'll have to buy a bunch more music tonight. Shouldn't be too tough to find stuff. I hope it's not really going away, but I guess I wouldn't be surprised if it is. If the country shuts it down, I sure hope they take their massive, massive collections and flood the p2p networks or even start their own.


 
Ryes Above!

"We are tired of your abuse. Try to stop us; it's no use. Ryes above! Ryes above! Ryes above!We're gonna ryes above!"

Rye whiskey is the next small batch bourbon. I'm already a fan. They quote the Jim Beam Rye at $20 a bottle, but I'm pretty sure I paid closer to $14. I really enjoy rye in my manhattans which is a drink to which I am fairly new. When I was a bartender, I rarely added bitters to the manhattans that I crafted only using them when requested. As a drinker, I now realize I must apologize to those I served. Bitters are a proper and important part of the recipe. I drank a rye manhattan most recently on Saturday in advance of the massive steak dinner. Seemed like a natural choice to me although most of my guests tended toward the clear spirits; my gin supply took a tough hit that evening between the martinis and the 'n tonics.


Tuesday, November 28, 2006
 
Cut and Run

That's what I'm doing with my old 401(k) this morning: gettting out. Yesterday may have been the first in a long line of down days. I know I'm always the pessimist in the market, and I've been wrong more often than I've been right. Merrill had run up to what I think were all time highs before puling back over the last couple of days. I had gotten in back in the low 60's, so I feel good about sitting out for a while now. I still like the company and will be back in probably some time in the new year, depending on how things continue to play out. I'd sure love to see some continuing downward pressure. In any case, the plan lets me trade commission free, so at least there's no transaction fees to worry about.


Monday, November 27, 2006
 
Good Nights for Gastronomes

Thanksgiving dinner was pretty spectacular. It was one of the better Thanksgiving meals that I can recall in the past several years, which says something. It was pretty amazing to see the quantity of food and for all of it to turn out just perfectly.

We had dinner for 19 adults, 1 child, and 1 baby. The oven-roasted turkey was giant, juicy, and fabulous. The turkey from the rotisserie was smaller, but it was what left people talking. It was the first time I had done a turkey in the rotisserie. My spinner supposedly can hold a bird as large as fifteen pounds. This bird was eleven, and I have a hard time believing a twelve pounder would have fit. I rubbed the skin with a spice mix of sage, basil, oregano, garlic, salt, and a little rosemary. The skinned crisped-up darkly and was probably the defining flavor of the day. Delicious. Well, maybe a touch heavy on the sage depending upon your particular palate, but very good by all reviews. I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the mashed potatoes, gravy, two dressings, sweet potatoes, corn, beans, and, of course, pies - five of 'em: two pumpkin, two apple, and one mincemeat.

Friday night, while the rest of the family tended to leftovers at my siblings' houses, my father and I went to Highland Pacific, a restaurant in my neighborhood that I've been meaning to try for ages. I started with mussels and frites before moving to poached shrimp with grits and onto white chocolate bread pudding for dessert. It was excellent. The grits were nothing shy of amazing. My father had fresh New Zealand salmon followed by warm, chocolate bundt cake. The salmon was awesome, and the cake, well, it's hard to go wrong with warm chocolate cake. I drank a couple of glasses of Dry Creek chenin blanc with my appetizer and dinner that impressed me too. A nice, light wine full of flavors at a very attractive price point. Highly recommended as that white you keep in your fridge for the occassional guest who prefers white wine to your other bar selections or for those days when you just need something a little lighter as an apertif or end-of-day softener.

Saturday, we kicked it up a notch. A seven-pound, delicately seasoned tenderloin cooked perfectly medium-rare and washed down with a 1994 Shafer cabernet knocked our collective socks off. Potatoes, asparagus, and a fancy salad shared the plate. Dessert brought a 1998 Rocha LBV port served alongside chocolate lava cakes with a scoop of peppermint ice cream.


 
Left Behind and Then Some

"Lifestyle security comes from financial independence."

"And then they went to the 20th-year reunion and saw that somebody else who was 10 times less smart was making much more money."

I had a revelation on Friday about what it is that I thought I should do with my life. A couple of good nights of sleep later, and those dreams have faded quietly back into the ether. The MBA in me tells me to weigh the odds of where the potential for money lays. The American-rugged-west-independent spirit in me tells me to go do something I like. Of course, I am far more cerebral than spiritual, and my resume suggests little potential for greatness.


Monday, November 20, 2006
 
Pork Rinds

Cops love 'em. Criminals love 'em. Good thing they solved this caper quickly. I know the detectives in those parts would have been too distracted by the pork rinds to otherwise crack this one.


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Thursday, November 09, 2006
 
The Leg

Just after I bitched last week about how I hated my knee being the first thing that I thought about every morning, I had a few mornings where I woke up and my knee felt nearly normal. Of course, the first thing I have to do is roll over and get out of bed at which point I am instantly reminded by my crutches of my continuing convalescence. Still, I crossed some sort of threshold that I can feel.

My flexion continues to improve, and I continue to feel less and less stiff through the mid-part of my range of motion. Extension continues to be a problem, so I have a new exercise that I am doing. I start by filling a grocery sack with two five-pound weights. I step throught the handles of the sack so that it can hang from my ankle. I then lie on my bed with my knee hanging from the end of the bed, propped on a rolled pillow to serve as an elevated fulcrum, and let the weight hang while my knee is straightened. I try to make it three minutes, give myself a one minute rest, repeat, and repeat again. I like the exercise because it is passive and because I can lie there and not do anything. I hate it because it hurts after about 45 seconds and because I can feel it in my knee for hours afterwards. I'm sure that means it's working. I've only been doing it for about the past six days, but I've been diligent about doing it twice a day as I have an appointment with my doc this afternoon, and I would hate to show up and to not be any more flexible than I was four weeks ago.

My latest bitch is my crutches. I'm sick of 'em. I'm ready to walk without help. I'm ready to be able to carry things in both hands - or either hand - when I walk. I'm ready to get up from a chair and a sofa and a bed and to not have to stop and reach out for my crutches. Maybe it's just from having seen American Hardcore and hearing a bunch of Minor Threat: "Never want to use a crutch!" There's a wee bit of irony there considering how completely loaded (to just the right point on the blotto continuum) I was going into the movie and then singing along with Straight Edge.


 
Colorado Politics

Voting here was ridiculous. I'm glad to see that Hickenlooper is pissed and is going to do something about it. If there's anyone who can make sure it doesn't happen again, it's probably him. And how cool is it that he has said he will personally pay the parking tickets of anyone who got tagged while they were stuck waiting hours and hours to vote? Very cool, that's how cool: very cool.

I went to the Tattered Cover where conservative estimates were putting the line at three hours. So I bailed from there and went home to check the intertubes for other nearby polling places. Rude Rec Center supposedly had short lines, so I headed there. After creating my own parking space, I queued up for what was going to be nearly as long of a wait: fewer people, but more computer problems. After about 40 minutes in line, a kind, old voting judge took pity on me and my crutches offering to get me to the front of the line. "Not necessary," I politely protested. But she assured me that they were to help out the disabled and the discomforted. I was the latter if not clearly the former. Before I even left work for the day I had begun hoping for such a break. I took her up on it; she moved me to the front of the line, and counseled me to walk slowly and to look like I was in a lot of pain. Yeah, like I was going to be able to wipe the big smile off of my face after jumping 300 places in line.

I voted for just about all of the losers and voted Libertarian where I could. I just don't understand the Colorado political landscape. The voting makes no sense. Tancredo is one of the more conservative guys in Congress, and he won no problem. Likewise, the corrupt Republican, Musgrave, won against her well financed Democratic challenger. But the state races went strongly to the Dems. In the governor's race Dem Ritter pummeled Beauprez who was a generally-moderate, well-regarded conservative while in Congress. But the state issues went strongly conservative with marriage definitions passing and domestic partnerships failing. Marijuana went up in smoke which I am really shocked by. If decriminalization can't be voted in here, but can in Alaska and Oregon (or is it WA? or both? whatever...) then I can only imagine how many tokers those states must have. Coloradoans were (stupidly) progressive in their making yearly minimum wage increases part of the state constitution. But Denverites were (smartly) not progressive in voting down a minimal tax raise that would have funded preschool programs. ("Fuck the children," as Hope rightly said.) It just doesn't all add up. The cognitive dissonance felt collectivley by the state should be enough to bring our businesses to a halt. I know that I for one have barely been able to focus on work since hearing all of the contradictory results.


Friday, November 03, 2006
 
Movies

Still haven't made it to Jackass 2. Sounds like Borat is even better. "The jackass has landed." That's one of the better reviewed movies I've seen in the NYT. American Hardcore finally made it to Denver too. Will probably see something this weekend.


Thursday, November 02, 2006
 
Hop-a-long

I continue my gradual healing. I was using just one crutch for a few days, but I ended up always stomping my good leg when I stepped through. That was starting to bother me, so I'm back to two crutches until my strength and control improves. Theoretically, I hit the stage of being able to bear 100 pounds of weight come tomorrow. We'll see. I still am not steady (confident?) enough to manage a step without the crutches. I did bend my leg to 130 degrees the other day; that was some good progress. Extension continues to be a challenge.

Between my fall and my kick in the face, it's been a tough year for me. I've got nothing though on the kind of life that this fellow lived. Hopefully my luck hasn't turned to a course parallel to his.


 
Offal Lover

Before this trip I was unfamiliar with finanziera, a Piedmont specialty that mingles various kinds of organ meat with butter, Marsala wine and porcini mushrooms, which are abundant in this region. The version of the dish put before me included veal sweetbreads as tender as any Id come across and veal brain with the consistency and richness of custard. It could make an offal lover of anyone.
A fine article of gastronomic tourism in Italy. Some day...


 
You Already Mentioned It

I just want you to have strong teeth, baby.

A fine interview with Ms. Paglia on the problems on both sides of the ticket. No matter whom you vote for, you're gonna get screwed. Better at least vote yes on 44.

Sounds like the South Park Season has just been phenomenal. I know I missed the Flying Spaghetti Monster (blessed be he) last night. They made The Irwin one of the most popular Halloween costumes the week before. A couple Brits are all up in arms over the propriety of it all: "'To lampoon somebody's death like that is unacceptable and - so soon after the event - is grossly insensitive,' he said." Whatever. Was it 24 or 48 hours after the first shuttle crash before you heard the joke:
Q: What were Christa McAuliffe's last words to her husband?
A: You feed the dogs, I'll feed the fish.

I still like that one. I'm looking forward to the Simpsons Halloween special on Sunday for a dose of animated humor delivered over the airwaves instead of cable.


 
Art

I'd happily get naked and climb upon a dead whale for the perfect photo opportunity. Happily.


 
Job

It's not that I hate my job. Heck, I don't even dislike it all that much. I am, however, bored out of my frickin' mind. Dull, dull, Dullsville.