Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Wishing everyone a spooktacular Halloween!
Here's a classic blast from the past.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Dia De Los Muertos

The plan is to attend this event on Saturday. It sounds awesome.
check it out here

Monday, October 27, 2008

For Your Listening Enjoyment

Here is a podcast I put together with some fun tunes to get everyone into the Halloween spirit. This was my first attempt at making a podcast, so I'm pretty proud of myself. Just one thing got wacky....the OingoBoingo song is out of order in the list.
This photo is one I took last year when I went to Boney Island, the most. awesome.yard.haunt.ever.  and is the creation of Rick Polizzi of The Simpsons fame.  It is an all-skeleton amusement park. Tons of animitronics and lots of fun. Don't know why, but he sold the whole deal last year on eBay.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

One BAD Thing About Milwaukee

You know I'm always saying good things about Milwaukee, but seriously, they have the LAMEST trick-or-treat policy on the planet!
(And I'll bet you thought I was going to say something about gun violence, hyper-segregation or appalling dropout rates, didn't you?)
For the most part, trick-or-treat in Milwaukee County takes place in the AFTERNOON on the Sunday before Halloween. Can you believe it?!?!
This lame state of affairs came to be during the 1970's when the trick-or-treat world was gripped by the widespread panic over razor blade-laced apples and poisoned candy--which ultimately turned out to be untrue in the former and not the seemingly random acts of the latter. (The poisonings were done generally by persons known to the child--like a family member.)
As is the case in these sorts of things, the powers that be get whipped into a frenzy and make some dubious decisions in attempt to make things "safer". At the same time not looking at the "why or how" of the actual problem. (Post 9/11 world, anyone?) But I digress....
This candy crackdown happened during the last year I was eligible for trick-or-treat--6th grade--(Yes, teenagers, you ARE too old to be trick-or-treating. That's why Cryptmaster Dale has that "special" cauldron of candy for you: Dots, Dum-Dums, LaffyTaffy and nothing chocolate.) so it didn't really have an impact on my overall memories of Halloween.
My memories are of going up and down 55th Street--AT NIGHT, like it is supposed to be--accompanied by my parents. We would be getting candy and being crazy with our friends, while my folks would visit with their friends and maybe be offered a shot of brandy at one house or another. Since we lived in an upper flat and no one rang our doorbell, Mom would just give a bunch of candy to our landlady, Auntie Clara, who lived downstairs and got all the action. Sometimes we would take a ride over to my Gramma's house and try to scare her. I also remember the Freitags across the street always gave my sister and me something special.
The next best thing (having a ton of candy being the best thing) was that November 1 was All Saints Day--a Holy Day--and because I went to Catholic school, there was NO SCHOOL!
The suburbs were the first to switch to Sunday, and the City still had the 31st, but now I see the City has also made the change. So now the poor kids have to go out in BROAD DAYLIGHT and beg for candy. Have you ever tried to be a scary vampire with the sun shining in your eyes? It sucks! Or how about a Zombie or Werewolf? Not so good at 2pm. Even Cinderella was a night person.
And its not only the kids that have it rough. Think about all those dads that now have to have their Sunday Packer game interrupted by the incessantly ringing doorbell and choruses of "trick-or-treat!" Its enough to start handing those little grubbing ghouls your empty PBR cans instead of candy.
Its not right, I tell ya.
Even though the consensus is to go with Sunday afternoon, the individual communities can't agree on what time. So I guess if you were really determined to make the most of your candy-accumulating you could canvass Milwaukee from 1 until 4, then high-tail it over to Franklin or Greenfield where the trick-or-treat hours are 4 until 7. If you had really planned ahead, you could have started in Bay View (technically the City of Milwaukee) on Saturday night. If you are starting to come off your sugar high by Friday, the REAL Halloween, you could head out to Waukesha for another round of candy grubbing. It seems the outlying suburbs have stuck with the 31st.
OK...time to go carve some pumpkins!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Happy Birthday In-N-Out Burger!

Today is the 60th Anniversary of the Southern California icon--In-N-Out Burgers. What started as a Mom and Pop drive-in way back in 1948 is now a multi-state burger empire. A no-frills menu made with quality ingredients is the secret to their success.
I was a late-comer to In-N-Out...I don't think I had one until 1990 or so. The stores were mostly in the San Gabriel Valley or Inland Empire, so it would be something that we would have on the way back from skiing. Torrance finally got one in the mid 90's.
All sorts of weird lore surrounds In-N-Out. Most recently was a big rumor that today they would roll back to 1948 prices....not so! There are Bible chapter numbers on the bottom of the cups and fry baskets. A secret menu. Fellow blogger Wandering Chopsticks wrote a great post "In-N-Out Burger and the Hidden Menu" with tons of yummy photos--check it out.
My favorite weird thing about In-N-Out was the wacky tradition of altering their bumperstickers--- the text was laid out as you see on the sign below. The thing was to cover up the B and R in burger, so the sticker would read "In-N-Out Urge". Come on, that's pretty funny!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Sunday Supper #3

I realize I've been lacking in my coverage of the "Sunday Supper" feature. Forgetfulness, not-picture-worthy dishes and a general lack of excitement for cooking lately are all contributing factors. Now that fall is here, I'm trying to cook more.
I'm still trying to hit the farmers' market as often as I can. Like most people, I'm also trying to be more frugal in my buying habits as well as having more meatless meals.
Squash is one of our favorites here at Fartwood Manor. Most of the time I just bake an acorn squash with some brown sugar. Kabocha squash is another favorite--I love it in tempura. It is denser than other squash and has a mellow, earthy flavor.
I found this tasty recipe for Squash and Black Bean Stew on Epicurious. Aside from cutting the Kabocha squash (BE CAREFUL!) it is really easy, and I recommend peeling and baking the squash first and adding it at the end just to warm through.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Best of Both Worlds

This is the latest Halloween do-dad I picked up. It has a light inside, so it looks cool both in the daytime and the nighttime.

Just a quickie post during half time. Rodgers just closed the half with a heroic play. He's looking more Favre-ian every week. Not as many interceptions either.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Jury Duty Sucks

I know it is my duty as a citizen and it is what makes the whole justice system work and blah, blah, blah.....but jury duty is a big pain in the ass.
The whole experience is a lesson in aggravation. Don't get me wrong, I would LOVE to be able to serve on a jury. I think it would be interesting and because I am such a sucker for these types of things, I would get this warm, gooey feeling from being a good citizen.
I was "on call" all week. Every evening I would call the hotline to see if I would have to report the following day. I did this for five days, and on Thursday I got the nod to report on Friday. The problem with this is that your whole life gets put on hold. It never happens at a good time. Right now we are off-the-hook busy at work. In my line of work, we make hay while the sun I am putting in 10-12 hours/day. (I'm not complaining...I LOVE my job and I LOVE the OT $$$ even more). Since I work at a small company, I am 25% of the total workforce and because we are so busy, it's not like the work can get easily absorbed by the others. And I lose a day's pay. The only good thing is that the courthouse is close by, not like I have to go to downtown LA.

So today was my day. About 100 people were in the pool. The woman in charge said that none of the trials scheduled this week went through...there were pleas, postponements, etc. Another fun fact was that if we were in the midst of a selection on Friday, we would still have to come back Tuesday to continue.
All the signing in, watching a video, a judge came and gave us a pep talk...took until 9:30 or so. Then we sat. No one was called. Then at 11:30 the woman said we can go to lunch and to be back at 1:30. So I went and had a lovely lunch at Lazy Dog Cafe. Came back and sat some more. Then someone turned on the Dodger game, so that was interesting. Then at 3pm the woman came out and said the case that was on schedule for us is over--the guy took a plea. So we were FREE!

Too late for me to go into work, now I will have to go on Sunday for a few hours to get stuff done. When I called my boss with the good news, he was so happy.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Torrance Historic Home Tour

The Torrance Historical Society's Original Fall Tour of Historic Homes is this weekend. 
If you are like me and like to check out how the other half lives, then this is right up your alley. This year's tour will consist of six homes--all located in beautiful Historic Old Torrance. 
I've done the tour twice now--last time I even got to see "The Buffy House" on Cota Avenue!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Grill of my Dreams

Dale reminded me that our grill is ten years old. It seems like yesterday when we got it.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Byrne-ing Down The House

How's that for a Robert Hilburn-esque headline?! Dang, I can't
believe that guy is still around. He was already here when I arrived,
sometime during the last ice age. Doesn't The Times have a 25-and-out policy?
From the little bit of research I just did, apparently he's as loved now as he was then (NOT!)
Not real flames, thankfully, but the house was definitely on fire. I had forgotten how much I really enjoy David's work. After years of being a huge Talking Heads fan, I'll have to admit I drifted away just a bit during his forays into world music, which ironically, I find myself listening to often now. I was so excited when I heard of this new collaboration with Brian Eno.

The show was incredible. The songs he chose were about half Talking Heads and half from the new album, with a few extras thrown in. A few songs in, he played Houses in Motion, which brought everyone to their feet and ended with a huge ovation from the crowd. David seemed genuinely pleased and a little surprised, in an almost "you-really-do-like-me" sort of way to the reaction he was getting.
The arrangements of the TH songs were from the "Stop Making Sense" tour, but even these were woven such that it allowed one to look at the songs in a different way. It was as if he "turned the beat around".  The new material was every bit as strong as the old stuff, and it was great to finally get to see it performed.
The staging was very sparse, no gimmicks. In addition to the band, he was accompanied by three backing vocalists and three dancers. All the performers wore white. I'm sure the show was at least two hours long, but it seemed to pass in five minutes!
I'm gonna go dust off my Talking Head albums and  maybe start a little fire of my own.

Since my photos came out crappy, I stole this one from The OCRegister. They also wrote a great review that includes a set list.
Losangealous has a bunch of great photos.
You can follow the tour at David's Journal page.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Why I Heart The Simpsons

*****UPDATE 10/7/08*******
Well, well, well......looks like Big Brother doesn't want us to see this here video.
The link to a snippet of an upcoming Simpsons episode has apparently been yanked by the powers that be.
The scene was of Homer trying unsuccessfully to cast a vote for Obama at an electronic voting machine, which in turn, tries to eat Homer. "This doesn't happen in America," Homer exclaims, "Maybe in Ohio, but not in America!"
So...we shall soon see if the scene is cut from the actual episode as well.

Just one more reason why The Simpsons is the!
My tears of laughter were mixing with my tears of rage at the reality of the situation.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

I Found Steve Fossett's Plane!

Wow! He MUST have hit hard...the debris field reached all the way to MOCA in LosAngeles!

Saturday, October 4, 2008


OK OK--I know that is sooooo lame to say Rocktober, but hey, how better can I explain the awesome weekend I'm having?!
Last night was David Byrne at the Greek Theater--I'm still tingly!

This afternoon is The Detour Festival in Downtown Los Angeles. The streets around City Hall will be blocked off and four stages will host an exciting array of bands. I am looking forward to seeing Gogol Bordello and Datarock.
Earlier in the week I was worried the weather would be blazingly hot, but yesterday things changed and overnight we actually got some rain. Today will be cool and overcast--which is just fine with me for this sort of event. I nearly perished at Coachella a few years back. Not fun.

Time to hop on the Metro and head to the show!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Happy October

Ah...October is here. Fall is in the air--that is if your idea of fall is a hot, dry wind blowing and an air temperature of a thousand degrees. Humidity so low that you can actually feel the moisture being sucked out of your pores.
October does have some good things Brett Favre and my mom's birthdays, but most of all lately, October has been preparation time for the yard haunt.
Each year we add more stuff, so it seems now the whole month is taken up with prep work. Painting, testing the foggers, re-furb.  Dale wants to have everything up by the 18th, so we have to get cracking.
So tonight, after a year's hiatus, Ms. Stuffy is back. She's sporting a new frock and new shawl and I also think she had a boob-job.