Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Name That Bug!

Dale came across this critter the other day. Points on color and design, but geez, WTF is it?!?!? No wonder our night blooming jasmines are looking ragged--this guy looks hungry.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Yay Brewers!

Best of luck to the Milwaukee Brewers, who will play in the post-season for the first time in 26 years.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Farming in Torrance and the South Bay

The other night I attended a book talk and signing by fellow South Bay blogger, LA Farm Girl, Judith Gerber. Judi's passion is small and family farms and she just published a book, Farming in Torrance and the South Bay.
I always knew that this area had a rich farming history, even into the 1960's and 70's, but I never realized just how BIG it was. Gardena was the strawberry capital, Redondo Beach was known for carnations, Lomita for celery. The area was dotted with dairies. Torrance even had a rodeo!
The book is loaded with great photos of times past and provides an interesting narration of what the "rural" South Bay was like. From pioneer families to still-operating urban farms--it's all there.
Check out Judi's blog for the latest information on California family farms, farmers' markets, and other farming topics. If you are interested in picking up the book, she's provided a link on the blog.

Twenty Years of The Simpsons

Can you believe it? America's favorite dysfunctional family turns twenty! It is interesting to note that we are coming into an era of the possibility of a Simpsons' writer not knowing of a time when there were no Simpsons.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Sarah Silverman Gets The Vote Out

The always entertaining, always (in)appropriate Sarah Silverman has a unique take on getting people to vote for Barak Obama.
(Disclaimer: you KNOW this is gonna have swears and might be offensive to some)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Polysics Or Die!

Yahoo! I am so excited to hear one of my favorite bands--POLYSICS--is coming to LosAngeles next month. They've got a new album coming out at the end of the month as well. I've heard one song from it so far and I love it.
How to explain the madness that is Polysics.......?!?!? One way to describe them is the Japanese equivalent of DEVO on crack. The live show is insane (and really 'effin LOUD).  They will be performing on Oct18 at the Roxy. (Dang, the last time I was there I saw OingoBoingo!)
Check out their MySpace to get a few songs and more info. Watch the video....!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Yard Haunt Prep Update

One of the new props for this year is "The Wailing Tree". The first step was a chicken wire form over a PVC frame. Sunday we started papier-mache-ing the "skin". Once the skin is completed, we'll slap some paint on it. So far, we're very excited about how it is coming along.
That is a six-foot ladder next to it, so you can get the size. 
I haven't done papier-mache since kindergarten, so if anyone has any tips, I'd be happy to hear them.

Monday, September 22, 2008

End of Summer Beauties

Aren't these gorgeous? I don't think I can go back to eating plain old red tomatoes. These cost a king's ransom, but they taste so good. Each different variety really does have a unique flavor. I like the richness of the reddish ones, and the yellow ones have almost a lemon flavor.

This one was almost too beautiful to eat! But I did it anyway. I think it looks like the Tycho Impact Crater on the Moon. Sorry for the rotated image...I struggled for 30 minutes to get it rotated correctly and finally gave up. It looks OK in iPhoto, but Blogger messes it up.
Check out my brand-spankin' new Virrvar counter top!  I'll be posting all the before/after pics soon, I promise!

Guess what I made with these lovely tomatoes? That's right--Caprese Salad!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

You Got Bacon In My Chocolate!

Bacon and chocolate are two pretty wonderful things on their own, so it isn't too surprising that someone decided to put them together in one orgy of decadence. Actually,  Homer Simpson thought this one up a while ago.....but only now has his dream come to fruition.
Vosges Chocolates has introduced a product called "Mo's Bacon Bar". I picked one up a while back and brought it with me to Milwaukee for a little taste test.

The results:
Dad: "Why mess up good chocolate?"
Bob (BIL): "Tasted more like peanuts."
David (nephew-in-law): Eh, OK."
Allyson (niece): "Pretty light on the bacon."
Andrea (sister): "I'm not a fan."
Me: "Pretty good, thought it would be bacony-er."

Well, there you have it......probably not worth the money (I think it was something like 4 bucks for maybe an ounce?)--but still worth investigating the concept. Right now I am researching dipping actual bacon strips in chocolate. I'll keep you all posted.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Please Help!

MeesterCranky just sent me this urgent plea....please, do what you can to help!

"As you may have heard, Blink-182's Travis Barker was critically injured in a plane crash yesterday. He is hospitalized in critical condition with burns over his body.

He will require extensive skin grafts, obliterating much of the approximately 400 tattoos on his face, neck, back, calfs, ass, and scrotum.

There is an urgent call out to skin donors, particularly those with tattoos already in place, to try to save as many of these decorative works of art as possible. Please, don't let this scrawny gap-toothed idiot's life work go up in smoke. Donate your tattooed skin now.

In particular, a section of throat is needed with the head of a penis on it and the words "TO FUCK" (part of his tattoo of a penis and the legend under it BORN TO FUCK GOATS.

Also needed are the letters X, RO, G and JES in Old English Script type (we don't know what this spells until we stitch it back together) ; a picture of a garden gnome with urine splashing off it's little face; and a Pokemon receiving head from Betty Boop.

Think of all the joy this stupid-assed little pencil neck has given you then reach deep into your heart and pull up a pound of flesh so he can continue making "music". "

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Last Day to Vote for Brainspoon!


Hey everybody.....Forget all that Obama message of hope stuff for just a minute-- here's your real chance to make a difference in the world today.
A friend of mine is in the band BrainSpoon and they are competing in a battle of the bands for a slot to play in the upcoming Detour Festival.
They are a great band and it would be so awesome if they could play at the festival.
All you have to do is click
HERE to cast your vote.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Back From Bubbler City

I'm back from my fun-packed mini-vacation in Milwaukee. As usual, I had a great time visiting my family. The weather cooperated somewhat--except for two days dealing with the remnants of Hurricane Ike.
It'll take a day or so to write some posts and sort through photos, so here's a quickie to tide you over.

The Pryor Avenue Well is not technically a bubbler, but it is a fine example of public water distribution. Actually it is the only example, as it is the last public well in the city. This artesian well was built in the late 1800's. It is located on a regular city street in the Bay View area of Milwaukee.
The water has a distinctive iron taste and is super cold. I really like it. This is a pretty popular place and people are usually around filling up jugs. The house facing the well is for sale. I think it might be sort of fun to live there, but it could get old fast.

Fill yer jugs here!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Bubbler Research Trip

Tonight I'll be leaving for a week in Milwaukee. The highlight of the trip will be another family reunion. We had such fun last year, we decided to do it again.
Not sure if I'll be doing any posting while I'm gone. We'll see how it goes.

Monday, September 8, 2008


Today begins a new season and a new era for the Green Bay Packers. A blank page. What will be written over the coming season remains to be seen--my only hope is that more good things than bad things will be written by the time the season is over.
The team has undergone a tremendous sea change since last season--a few veterans remain, sprinkled amongst many new faces. A time of learning and adjustment for player and fan alike.
Go Pack Go!

This interesting story was in today's JSOnline. A puff piece, some good PR spin, or the real deal.....I don't know. But I liked it.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Old Becomes New

Chez Melange is moving! After 26 years at their original location in the Palos Verdes Inn, co-owners Michael Franks and Robert Bell are pulling up stakes and moving to a wonderful space in the heart of Riviera Village.
When it opened in 1982, Chez Melange was on the leading edge of a culinary trend that now is the norm for any restaurant that is serious about food. They were among the first to feature a daily-changing menu that strove to use the best and freshest offerings of local growers. Farmers and other purveyors were credited in the menu. The partners also sought to share their enthusiasm of good food and wine by hosting special events with wineries and by having weekly themed food specials and by offering cooking classes.
The name said it all: the menu was a far-ranging melange of different cuisines and choices. French, Californian, American, Asian.....it was all there.
I started going there in 1984 when I moved to Riviera Village. "The Chez" became my corner bistro. It was great...I could walk there and have a wonderful meal. Even though it was a busy, popular restaurant, the place always had a family feel to it. I remember having dinner there one Christmas Eve and Franks' young son--he must have been about five years old--was wandering around in the restaurant. The customers were keeping him occupied while Mom and Dad were on duty. Now that young boy is part of the restaurant operations.
Chez Melange was a favorite of my Mom's and whenever she visited me she always wanted to go there. I had many birthday dinners there too--including my 40th, which was duly noted on that evening's menu.
Why the move? The Palos Verdes Inn has been on-again-off-again for sale a number of times. The restaurant's 25-year lease expired and they were on a yearly lease. The hotel owners weren't really interested in doing the much needed remodeling. So when the new space opened up nearby, Franks and Bell decided to make the move. The old restaurant closed at the end of August and the new place should be open mid-September.
The new location will bring some new concepts to The Chez. In addition to the bistro, there will be a gastropub offering a more casual menu, a bar for each, and best of all...an outdoor patio. "Natural, seasonal and sustainable" is how they describe their new offerings.
Their lease with the PV Inn obligated them to a 365-day, breakfast-lunch-dinner constraint, and this will be changing with the new restaurant. Breakfast will only be on the weekends now. In my opinion, they had the best breakfasts ever.
I can't wait!

Chez Melange
1611 S. Catalina Avenue
Redondo Beach, CA 90277

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Bad News

The other day I got an unwanted telephone call--sewing class has been cancelled yet again! This makes it two semesters in a row, and it is messing me up!
I thought for sure this semester would go as planned, since I saw that my favorite teacher was back after taking a semester off. We had a replacement for one semester--who was a little nutzo and might have caused the low sign-up for the following session (which was cancelled), now this semester is also cancelled because again not enough people signed up.
The class I attend is through Torrance Adult School and is more of a sewing lab than an actual class. Students can work on whatever projects they want to and the teacher is there for assistance. I like it because there is a lot of space to spread out your cloth and projects and it's great not to make the mess in my own house. The same students keep coming back, so the atmosphere is like an old-fashioned sewing circle. The Torrance version of a sewing "Stitch 'n Bitch" I guess.

I really had a ton of projects I wanted to work on--
--dress for lady scarecrow
--curtains for bedroom
--misc things for the yard haunt
--ver 1.2 of bedside electronics caddy
--electronics caddy for co-worker (he's really disappointed the class is cancelled)

Why not just get a sewing machine? Lately I'm in the mode of trying not to acquire too many "things". I really don't have any where to put a machine and once it gets stored in the garage, I'll think of 1000 reasons not to haul it out when I need to. The class was perfect for me. But I do need to get these projects DONE, so who knows, I might have to get one. Although.....

Next week I am traveling back to Wisconsin for a visit. One of the things on the agenda is to help my dad and sister deal with my mom's "sewing closet". My mom was a fantastic seamstress and throughout the years accumulated quite a trove of patterns and material. In fact, at her request, her obituary included the line..."The one with the most fabric wins". I think she won. Now we have to figure out what to do with it all. My younger niece also sews and has expressed interest in taking some things. I know I will be bringing some back with me. Depending on what we find, I may eBay some of it.
There is also the possibility of me taking her sewing machine. It is an old Singer--the type that came in a nice cabinet that looks like a piece of furniture. Mom worked at Singer and bought the machine on employee rate right before she quit working to have me! These models are considered work-horses and can sew just about anything. How to get it to California is the dilemma.

This is close to what it looks like...the machine is the same, Mom's cabinet is different. I got this image from a nice blog named Blackbird Pie, a sweet, crafty blog.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Soup and Salad Days

The other day my neighbor came by with a big bag of tomatoes from his garden. This is the second time he's done so, and I am thankful for the generosity. Last time I made a small batch of tomato sauce, this time I made Roasted-Tomato Soup With Parmesan Wafers. Move over Campbell's--I scoff at your puny offering! Easy to make--I roasted the tomatoes yesterday and finished it today. Roasting the tomatoes intensifies their inherent sweetness and the result is incredible dose of tomato-ness. The little bit of cream at the end is almost gilding the lily, but it adds another level of flavor. Many cooks commented that they skipped the straining step. I didn't and it is totally worth the extra time to get a completely silky smooth soup. I just pass it through a coarse chinoise--it gets all the seeds and stuff the blender doesn't get. I really love silky soups.
The roasted tomatoes--

Soup, beautiful soup--

Monday I made some salads for our dinner. The Ribboned Zucchini Salad is one that I make often. I use the recipe as only the barest of guides--and I skip the anchovy paste, endive, mint and basil. The olives too, are sometimes absent.
The garbanzo bean salad is just something I throw together with lemon juice and olive oil. Tomatoes, cucumbers, onions...whatever is around. Feta is nice too if you have it.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

"It'll Rock You In The Head"

For all my nerdlinger readers--I share this awesome video about the Large Hadron Collider. Now I totally understand particle physics! Enjoy!