Sunday, April 27, 2014

Dave's Thoughts of the Day: April 28th

I saw the article via Facebook's trending news sidebar and all I could do is laugh.

I think if you guys are familiar with me over the years, I have zero tolerance for racism.   I don't put up with it, and I fight anyone who justifies it.  That's been pretty consistent.  People even poke fun at me going over the top with it online with mock :vid: smileys yelling "racist!"  I laugh pretty hard at those because I know I've overreacted too from time to time.

but I mean well, I'm trying to push for social equality.   What is so hard about treating everybody with the same respect regardless of skin color?  Anyway, let's return to the subject.

It was a long night.   I took a bus from UCLA to the Dodgers game to check out the Rockies/Dodgers matchup.  It was a damp night, with sprinkling rain throughout the last 7 innings, which included two extra innings into the 11th.   It was a Dodger Fireworks night, but little did I know the *real* fireworks were going to come from the news when I got home.  So I got home... struggling to stay awake as "Honky Chateau" played over Spotify on the S4 on the ride back.

Next I checked into myVEGAS to reveal what the big "mystery reward" was for everybody playing slots that week... it was a 5x chips giveaway on level ups.  It would take way too long to explain without context, so I'll let it be... will have the particulars.  It's basically an online Facebook slots game you can use to get real Vegas comps.

After getting the regular chip collections from the mock Vegas strip in myVEGAS, I returned to the FB news feed and noticed an enormous but hardly surprising story:  "Donald Sterling says he refuses to take Blacks to his games."  and all I could do was laugh.

I *laughed* because I already KNEW what an elitist, sexist, racist, you name the "-ist" he's got it, that a-hole Sterling is.   He has a LONG history of discrimination and injustice that he effectively bought off in court in "settlements" which is just legal speak for "he bought off all the people who sued him."   Sterling is a *BILLIONAIRE*... that is Billionaire with a "b".   Dude has been making serious profits as a slumlord in Los Angeles and in his bottom feeder tactics as Clippers owner.  He has the money to stifle any opposition against him, perhaps extending to that of other NBA owners.   The complication is -- legally what has he really done that was against the NBA's constitution?   Honestly, the answer was "nothing" over these last 33 years.   At the end of the day, I don't think anyone in the NBA truly likes Sterling... they just put up with him.

Sterling is a very awful, yet strangely bizarre human being.  You don't truly learn who he is until you know the entirety of his career.   In LA, many of us are familiar with his act.  I read an article on years ago about his life story, and the NUMEROUS instances of outrageous mistreatment.   To think any person can live in a cultural hotbed like Los Angeles and be such a blatant bigot is mindblowing... at any rate, I'd like to recommend the ESPN story to you, written by Peter Keating.  Check it out:

This is just one of a series of articles in local print and national that describe the man.   Sterling has been so consistently outed, but the problem was, there was never anything concrete as evidence to showcase the true hatred of his mind.  NOW we had something, meaning the recording revealed on Friday night.

Anyway, those not familiar with Sterling showed some serious outrage.   Me?  I was like "OH THAT STERLING."  because I knew that was who he was all along... just an awful pathetic flaming turd that shouldn't even be called human.  The fallout from this incident is simply delicious. 

So instead of being shocked and dismayed and angered, I was pretty amused!   I knew it... that jackass was going to get roundly ripped by people all over the NBA.  The fact that people in other sports and other industries also joined in was a pleasant surprise!   It just goes to show, that in the most obvious cases, people will speak out against any injustice.

It amuses me further because a guy who otherwise was fairly anonymous to most of the nation is finally being brought out into the open.  And baby may the floodgates open!  Whether Sterling is eventually led to sell his team is not important to me -- what matters is that the players owners and fans call him out, and rightfully so.   I hope sponsors eventually cut him off too.   For a guy like Sterling you gotta hit him where it hurts... the wallet.   

Sterling all weekend got his ass kicked, and just when you think it's going to blow over, wait til Monday morning.  All the talk shows, both sports and non-sports, will take their shot.   It is a glorious time for all of us in Los Angeles.  FINALLY that twat is going to get hammered by the media and by famous names all over the land!  I have long waited for this moment... but in an introspective light, I will submit that there wasn't much tangible evidence I could really use so I couldn't make much more of it than what the ESPN article above cited.  NOW we have it... and I will wait to see what the fallout is.

I figured, this clown is about to get his, so I may as well have fun with it:  I went down to meet my buddy in Koreatown on Saturday night, and I knew that as I drove through Beverly Hills to get there, I'd see that idiot Sterling's "World Headquarters" known as Sterling Plaza on Wilshire Blvd.  It's in the heart of Beverly Hills, which to me is a very weirdly named place because the whole neighborhood is as flat as a pancake with no hills to speak of, but I digress.   I go down the street *salivating!*   Then I opened the driver side window and flipped the bird right to the building.  Oooooh that felt so good!  Here's what the building looks like:

Other assorted thoughts...

Man... that really was a big choke by the Dallas Stars wasn't it??

Did you see the story of how some construction folks unearthed that giant glut of Atari 2600 ET game cartridges?  Then what was the point of burying it 33 years ago then?!

No I do not have a Loverboy poster to unearth, and how can *anybody* make 700 dollars selling stuff on Craigslist?   Half the people who respond to those things aren't even legit buyers.

Would you eat a waffle breakfast sandwich?  If it were me, hell yeah!

Did you know the Big Mac hamburger at McDonald's was not the first of its kind?   The double decker burger was first invented in 1937 as a joke by the people at Bob's Pantry in Burbank (I think it was Burbank).  It was such a hit it became their signature sandwich, and the name of their restaurant changed to "Bob's Big Boy?"  ...and what was the burger referred as?  "The Big Boy."  The Big Mac at McDonald's was introduced much later: in 1968.

I had a box of snacks in my room, and it sat there for MONTHS.   It has this picture of cranberries along the top of the box, and all that time I thought it was cranberries.  Then, yesterday I took a closer look and I realized it was cookies.   Would you believe it??   I had been refusing cookies for months under the premise that they were candied cranberries instead.   They were cookies with cranberries in them.   At long last I opened up the box and had a few of the cookies.  They were scrumptious!

Does anyone know of a PC laptop with a built in optical port?  That would come in really handy for lossless music streaming.

That's all from here.  Have a great Monday everyone!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Dave's Thoughts of the Day: April 23rd

I'd like to see if I can do a podcast tonight that has no sports topics.  I've done it before, but it might be fun to try a changeup this time.

Junk man may not be around tonight for Random Questions but that's not set in stone.  We'll know for sure around 10pm ET tonight.

The Kings did everything they could do to win the game and STILL lost in overtime.  Kings down 0-3 to the Sharks.  That's pretty definitive.  I won't worry too much about it.   Sometimes you get the wins and the breaks, and sometimes you don't.   No biggie.

I ate two and a half more cookies last night in frustration during the game.. that really has to be it HAHA.   But I will say this -- those cookies are gooooooooooooooooooooooooooooood.

I'll be honest.. even with the Stanley Cup fresh in memory, it's tough to go to sleep tonight.  That was a tough hockey game to lose... but it happens.   What else can I log here tonight?  Let's see...

What is the best live rock band going today?  By that I mean, a band still in its prime and relatively young.  People can tell me all about Rush and the Rolling Stones, but I gotta go after someone who's just getting started.  The best I can come up with right now is "Train" and "Coldplay".  I *know* there's better out there!  Any ideas?  Send 'em to me:  @diningwithdave

I remember about 15 years ago, Billy Joel and Elton John toured the country together in what they called the "Face to Face" tour.  Now that sounded great on paper... two guys with some really memorable tunes playing their best hits all in a row.  However, when they instituted the trip both guys were pretty old and less agile at that stage in time.  The year was roughly 1998.  Now imagine if the same two guys went on tour together in *1974*... or perhaps, to give Billy Joel a boost, let's make it 1976.   OH BABY.   Those guys were out of this world great live in the mid-70s.  Both of them had stellar singing voices in those days and would wow the crowd with on stage charisma, dancing, the whole bit.  Elton even threw in the costume changes HAHA, although I may be indifferent to that.   I can see where Weird Al Yankovic got the idea to do costumes for all his songs on tour.   That's a lot of fun to think about.

I think yesterday marked the first time I met a lady from Rancho Palos Verdes before.   Tremendous stuff my friends!

Great swim... yesterday.

If I can just tone down the cookies I'd really be going places in the pool, but as it is, I feel faster than before.   Hitting intervals and everything.  I'm very pleased with the progress.

That's all I have for the moment.  Catch you all soon!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Dave's Thoughts of the Day: April 22nd


A second blog entry this week.  I wonder if most of you will catch it today.   Enjoy...

I made a big mistake trying to finish the box of cookies.  I bought a dozen enormous chocolate chocolate chip cookies last week in preparation for the Kings/Sharks series, and since that time the Kings absolutely tanked.   Well!  If you remember how much good luck the kebabs gave me two years ago, the cookies gave me the complete opposite of luck.  In fact, I couldn't even finish the box.  I am so tired of cookies.  I ate two more last night in a vain effort to finish the cookies.  I was still down to 8 after last night.  It's just not going to happen, fellas.

Those cookies set me back so much for my health.  I felt like I had a really good nutrition day up until cookie time.   I didn't eat breakfast, but I had a nice lunch from Panda Express... steamed veggies, rice, beef with broccoli and orange chicken.  Delicious and generally good for you.  Dinner last night was a baked honey garlic skinless chicken breast from Foster Farms.  I baked it in the oven for half an hour then took it out of the tray, sliced it and enjoyed.  With it I had some pop chips, a couple blue corn tortilla chips, and my Kale/Carrot/Grape salad.  Then the cookies.  One of those things were not like the other.

but going back to the original topic, the cookies were a TERRIBLE omen for the Kings.  Well, no more.  I ate my last big chocolate cookie.   I'll figure out to do with the remainder of them later.

Other thoughts...

Kevin Durant is not human.  I tweeted that Durant is "not yumen," thinking of my buddy Oomer, and then no sooner than I tweet that, I read his tweet just below mine: "Kevin Durant IS NAWT YUMEN!"   Hahahahahahahaha that really put a smile on my face!

2014 is the year of the selfie.  Is it not?  When I used to work at UCSB, I would keep a small page on my cubicle wall and wrote down what the big trend was that year.  So for instance, in 2006, I wrote "The Year of YouTube."  and I kept the list going for a few years, then I moved to LA.   Once I moved, I was too lazy to dig up my "the Year of" sheet from my archives.  It IS out there but I never bothered to dig it out.  That's too bad... I could fill in those remaining years... 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 the year of Gangnam Style, stuff like that.

There's nothing worse than when you purposely set your alarm an hour later and try to get some sleep only to have your smoke alarm run out of battery and beep every 90 seconds at 5am in the morning.  That is unbelievable!!! I had to wake up and get a chair to take the smoke alarm and remove the battery.  I picked up a battery at the store and in the evening I replaced the battery with a new one.

I was in Vegas once and the smoke alarm was low on battery in my room.. so I called the front desk and asked them to send a guy to fix it.  So the guy comes and he tinkers with the smoke alarm and he claims the battery is replaced.   So he leaves and I go back to the bed and then BEEP it starts beeping *again!*  Then I went over to the door and yelled "IT'S NOT FIXED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"  So he actually heard me from the stairwell and went back to my room with a new battery.  THEN he got it right and replaced it.

Turns out, my friend in the room next to me heard the whole thing.   Hahahahahahahahahaha

Is it even possible to stay anywhere in Manhattan without paying 200 dollars?  I really don't think so.  When you factor in taxes the costs are still about that much.   Anything that isn't 200 bones probably is too seedy to be inhabitable anyway.

I am not dangerous nor bold enough to try a hostel.  The word "hostel" sounds too much like "brothel" so the whole *thing* is just awkward!

Best wishes to Craig Sager.  Jolly dude, kind man, longtime reporter.   I hope he can beat his battle with Leukemia.

What would happen if someone in the media or otherwise that you hate were to get a nasty disease?  How would you play that?  I would feel bad for even the worst human beings suffering from things like cancer, but I probably wouldn't get too emotional about it, if that makes any sense.

Does Dodger Stadium still do the all you can eat section in Right Field?  I haven't heard anything about it lately.  

That's all from here.  Take care everyone.  Stay healthy you all.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Dave's Thoughts of the Day: April 21st

I don't get hockey.  At all.  Onward.

I had a wonderful Easter Sunday with my family back at the 'nard.   Our family meetings get a little larger each year and this year we had a very nice group.  My grandparents, my aunt's family, our family, including my sister and her niece and my other two sisters, my younger sister's boyfriend, and a whole lot of food.

It was really enjoyable.  My younger sister did a great job making the sugar cookies.   My Mom made a spectacular guacamole.  My grandfather was masterful roasting the duck in the oven.  My aunt made some tasty meatballs.

I'm pretty close to landing a two night stay at the Aria comp'd through the courtesy of myVEGAS slots.  It's been a journey, but it's also been a lot of fun.  I really enjoy playing the myVEGAS slot games... it's almost a win win.. play these fun games during spare time and earn loyalty points for room comps.  I can't even land room comps playing regular slots in Vegas.   I mean seriously, have any of YOU ever landed a free room by gambling in Las Vegas?   You could spend like 200-300 bones on slots and still not even get an attaboy from the casino.  Yes, I'm saying this even if you use their rewards card.  I don't know how the other people get those free rooms.  They must gamble way more.

At any rate, with some minimal buy ins and a little creative shopping through the myVEGAS sponsored partners (i.e. Old Navy, Puma, ProFlowers, Hotwire, and other such fine retailers), I'm about to secure a 150 dollar a night room at the Aria for free.   Aria is pretty sweet, so I'm very excited about the prospect of staying there w/o paying a penny.  I *might* have to pay some resort fees but I will try to negotiate out of that.

The Hotwire connection is the best part.  I can get these Hotwire express deals and get a boost in myVEGAS chips for doing so... an unexpected benefit of the game.

It's hard to really think about sports right now - pretty much the entire city @$%@ the bed this weekend in their respective games.   Clippers blew Game 1 to Golden State.  Kings lay down in two games in a row against the Sharks.  Dodgers did pretty well so we do have that.   The worst part about all this is that they're losing these big playoff games to NorCal.  The mongos up in NorCal WILL NOT SHUT UP about these games, but to be fair, even Laker fans here in town were rooting for Golden State anyway.    Nonetheless, NorCal is beating SoCal head to head pretty badly.

I gotta be honest, the Kings had some amazing, inspiring playoff runs.  I think a couple bad games in the 'offs are allowed.  What I'm going to do is take a break from local hockey for a while.   If the Kings are still playing one week from now, great.  If they aren't, then so be it.

but those last two games were just impossible to watch.  I can't stand it.   What even happened?  I'm more confused than upset.

The Twitter account @LOL_KNBR is simply unbearable right now.  The Bay Area teams need to start losing again so he can go back to tweaking his station's callers and hosts like he usually does.

Lenten season is now over, which means, in my case, I can now eat meat on Fridays without guilt.  Do the sorta dance!   I really did that tradition for my Mom as much as any religious motive.  

That's all for the moment.  I will need to sort out my other thoughts and get back to you.  Have a good Monday!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Dave's Thoughts of the Day: April 14

"Genius" is the least applicable word to describe Bubba Watson.

That was the word used in reference to him on the 18th hole yesterday at the final round of the Masters.  You gotta be kidding me.  You really think Bubba Watson thinks that much out there?  Oh HELL NO.

Dude is like "ohhhhhh I'm gonna whack at this thing" and just goes for it.   He makes some *great* shots but he does *not* think about a whole lot of things.   Certainly he doesn't think about his own behavior when he's behind.  He wasn't on this day for very long.   Bubba looks all great today because............ he won, but the dude is such a boorish oaf.   Wait until he loses or blows the big tournament.  Then you'll see the real guy.  The one who tells his caddy "why even bother to show up?" on a shot HE clearly yakked into the water.  The guy who blames the wind when the flag at the pin isn't even moving and he hooks a shot way into the woods.

That's Bubba Watson.   The Masters is the antithesis of what he is.  Masters represents class tradition and dignity, yes, despite its own stuffy foibles.   Bubba is obnoxious, classless and tasteless.   I could not believe how many badly hit tee shots, and when I say bad I don't refer to the distance - his distance has really been top of the class, no doubt.  I speak of his accuracy.  One out of every three holes he'd make a bonehead drive way to the left or to the right and somehow the trees would bounce the ball back onto the fairway.   That is outrageous!  This is the dude who won two of the last three Masters tournaments.  Just unreal.  Then he starts bawling like a baby when he wins I mean uggggghhhh...

He is pretty damn great at golf though, even if he's doing everything by the seat of his pants.  He never had a lesson, he says.   Yet somehow, it *works*... that can be simultaneously dazzling and frustrating.  This weekend he was hitting everything, and after a while, not even a furious run by 20 year old Jordan Spieth on the first 7 holes could overtake him.

Today I have to write a podcast description for our Masters Recap show tonight.  I do *not* want to write this description about Watson winning the tournament.  I wanted to write a description about Jordan Spieth winning the tournament.   THAT would have been a great story:  20 year old kid only 18 months into being a pro, a kid who loves his family, doesn't show up anybody, has dazzling insight for his age, and a great reader of greens.   A guy who helped his Texas Longhorns win the Golf National Championship in College, and a fantastic ball striker himself.   Humble and grateful, you're speaking of a dude who went to Augusta National back in October and soaked it all in.   He like many had lifelong dreams of winning the Masters, and every part of that trip and this one here in April mesmerized him.  Doesn't that seem like great copy?  Wouldn't that have been a wonderful article to write?

...and wouldn't it have been grand to see this writer win more than a few extra bones on that premise?  Alas, no.   The monetary confidence was not large but the return would have been enormous.

Now with all of that said, you really couldn't ask for much else from Jordan Spieth this weekend.  Overall I was extremely impressed with Spieth's outing.  Making the cut in the Masters is really hard to do!  He did it as a rookie!!   I loved every second of it up until the 8th and 9th holes when he fell apart.  It's no big thing though... for a first attempt it was truly a sight to see.  Even Bubba Watson was impressed and had the utmost respect for Spieth (one of a rare few moments of humility for Mr. Watson).   I hope this points to even greater things for Jordan Spieth as we go into the meat of his career.  What a start for the rookie!  As I remember it, he hit under par in every round except the final one, where he shot even par.  Some big names didn't make it nearly as far.  Spieth still gets the second place finish and a good cash reward as a result.

Now here's where I want to give the Masters an attaboy:  The Masters and PGA Tour Tournaments will award appropriate cash prizes to the top finishers, but the Masters only has ONE physical trophy: the green jacket.    If they threw in an Orange Jacket for the second place finisher that'd get hokey.   Meanwhile, in Wimbledon they have their shiny trophy for first place, then they add this silly looking plate for the second place guy.  Who wants to go to Wimbledon to win a stinkin' plate?!  It's so dumb that I think people would just hide it.  If I received a plate from Wimbledon I would just take it home and serve chicken fingers on it.  Come on you guys!   Is the plate even necessary?  The second place finisher gets a cash reward already anyway.

I've got a really good trick for booking hotel rooms.   I call it the "Hotwire/Priceline" trick.  What you do is go to Hotwire and book a hotel for particular dates in your city of choice.   The fascinating thing about Hotwire is they'll give you the Star Rating, the discounted price, AND the original price of the room, but not the name of the hotel itself.  HOWEVER, you can open Priceline in another tab, look up the same city on the same dates, and you can match the star rating and original price to the names of the hotels shown in Priceline!

To pose an example, I went on Hotwire and looked up hotels in New York City on June 22nd.  It listed a "Four Star Time Square Hotel for $112" marked down from $249.   If you match the $249 with four star Time Square hotels you'll get the Westin Times Square for that same price on that night.  Ergo, the Hotwire hotel should very likely be the Westin.  How about that?  Imagine I just learned all this on Saturday?  I could have been way further along if I knew this earlier.

That's all for the moment.  Enjoy your Monday!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Dave's Thoughts of the Day: April 7th

So the streak is over!!!!!

Undertaker goes down to Brock Lesnar in Wrestlemania 31 and his undefeated streak in Wrestlemania matches comes to an end.  He *was* 21-0... now he's 21-1...  Reminds me a little bit of the Patriots, actually!

Wrestlemania, with its strange twists and turns and groan worthy moments, sounded like a great success, and for someone like me who didn't see the show, I really got in on all the details through the magic of Twitter, and ohhhh how magical it was!

The "people's champ" Daniel Bryan also won a WWE Championship on this night.  Congrats to Mr. Bryan.   The writers worked that storyline perfectly.

This year's NCAA Basketball National Championship game might be the most improbable matchup of our young decade.  Would anyone have predicted UConn vs Kentucky to decide the title?   That's as improbable as a storyline featuring Undertaker *losing* a WWE Wrestlemania match.  Oh ho!

It all came down to UConn's defense.  They made teams look UGLY.  It started with Villanova, well let's be fair, Villanova plays ugly basketball anyway.  HAHA.   Then they roughed up Michigan State.  Lastly, they made fools out of Florida.   That's incredible accomplishment when you think about it.   Plus the fine work of Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatwright in their backcourt.  It was, as has been said, a sight to see.

On the other side, Kentucky has really gotten me burned the last few weeks.  How many more wins will they pull out of their butt?  Well, rather than bemoan their lucky wins, I shall denote the incredible run by the Wildcats and one Aaron Harrison, who has just been as clutch as can be.   Can you believe the impossible shots he's made to win two big games in a row?   Near buzzer beaters in both instances, from long range, with a defender all over him.  I was indeed shocked to see it happen twice in a row.   Props to Kentucky.

Will Kentucky have the size and talent to rise up once more for the title, or will UConn's Cinderella story close with a spectacular finish?  Time will tell.

My friend Coach, a UConn alum and huge fan of the team, was so excited after that win on Saturday that he wanted to maintain all the same foods and snacks we had on Saturday.  When we gathered to watch the game, I brought in four Peanut M&M packs, four Orange Gatorades, a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos, and a giant Pepperoni, Sausage, Bacon, and Ham pizza from "Grey Block Pizza."   I ate two of the M&M packs and drank two of the Gatorades.  Coach even brought in a 5th Red Gatorade.

So for *tonight*, we have to get two more M&M's, two more orange gatorades, one more red gatorade, one more bag of Cool Ranch Doritos, and that enormous pizza.  That pizza cost over 30 bones, but it was amazing... to be fair 8 of those bones were for delivery charge and tip.  I think I'm going to just go drive over there to pick it up this time around.  Good luck to Coach's Huskies... and well, I gathered a few extra bones in the same interest.  Or put another way, we have selected:

UConn +2.5, which also means they could lose by 1 or 2 and they'd cover.  That's probably what's going to happen knowing Kentucky.

Is anyone's bracket still alive?  Probably not.  Incredible isn't it?

Remember our entry about the "Tourney Ten".  ALL OF THEM were eliminated from the tournament.  Wisconsin was the last one standing and they lost in heartbreaking fashion to Kentucky.  So of these ten teams: Wisconsin, Florida, Michigan State, Michigan, Iowa State, Wichita State, Arizona, Louisville, Kansas, and Virginia, none of them won the title this year.   That's extremely rare.  To put it in perspective, ESPN tells us that only two other times since 1979 did we have a National Title game without at least a 1 seeded team or 2 seeded team in contention.  Those two other times were 1989 and 2011.  Uconn also was featured in the 2011 game, the most forgettable NCAA game I can remember against Butler where neither team could shoot better than 35% from the field.  Butler shot 18% from the field.  It was awful basketball.   However, this year's game really should be a lot better.  I look forward to it.

As a result of this unusual occurrence, neither Coach nor I won the taco restaurant bet that we had.   We each picked five of the tourney ten teams, and the person who has the winning team would receive a free meal from "Tacos Por Favor" furnished by the losing party.   Instead, we have a push.

Some other assorted thoughts...

It's going to be very strange to go the next five months without regular access to Dodger games.  My only workaround is through my Dad's account on the Time Warner Cable app.   It's very weird.  I need to buy my Dad lunch to thank him for letting me use it.

Either TWC or DIRECTV, mostly DIRECTV, really needs to get with the program.   DIRECTV can't go more than a month without having some dispute with somebody about channel carriage.  They went REALLY cheap on us over the last five years.  Remember when DIRECTV was cutting edge and they'd be the first ones to carry the latest channels?  They'd do it without any hesitation.  Today, every frickin channel that they add is like pulling teeth.  The Lakers channel, a presumed slam dunk, still took them nearly 3 months into the season to launch on DIRECTV.  The archived Daveblog entries will indicate as much as I moaned about it almost every week that year.

Anyway, the whole thing is a mess.   C'mon DIRECTV.  I read somewhere they deleted the Weather Channel.  Really?!  The Weather Channel!  How big of a circus do you have to be to pick on the stinkin' Weather Channel.  Unbelievable.

It's tougher for me to absorb alcohol these days.  Yes, EVEN TOUGHER.   I had a beer on Saturday night and struggled to sleep most of the night.   Just one!   I'm not sure what the problem is... I had plenty of water to go with it too.  I didn't feel inebriated for much of the night.

Grey Block pizza puts a bagel style garnish on its crust.  Do you like garnish on the crust of your pizzas?   From what I've had so far, it's tremendous.

I had a craving for ice cream for a while, and I suppressed it briefly with some trips to Menchie's.  It's a frozen yogurt place, with many fresh ingredients.  I like it, but still I yearn for the real thing: ice cream or some soft serve.

Of all places, Chick Fil A serves the best soft serve of any fast food place I know.  I think it might even be better than Foster's Freeze out here in California.  It's delicious!  Creamier than any kind out there between McDonald's and Burger King (albeit a worthy competitor there).

Tony P's, in Marina Del Rey, is serving up all you can eat Fish and Chips on Fridays for the lenten season.  THAT is excellent!  Haven't had the chance to try it out yet, but I have one more shot at it this coming Friday.  We'll see how it goes.

I've been about 3 days without my Kale/Grape/Carrot salad.   It's been busy and lazy simultaneously for me.   Sunday in particular was extremely lazy.  I went the entire day without changing out of my pajamas and I *loved* it.  I have not done that in at least six months.  Good times.  Hopefully I can re-up tonight.

Whenever Monday comes, and we all dread Mondays at work, all you want to do is get through that Monday.  Who cares about the details, just cling and survive the Monday and you can work out the rest of the week from there.  For all those who work on Mondays, my advice is, do what you gotta do, but never try to overwork yourself on Monday.   Manage your stress, I'd say it's all downhill from there.

Maybe not so much in my case - I find Tuesdays much tougher workdays than Mondays, but that's a unique case to my department.  Nonetheless, Mondays are wonderful once you hit the last two hours of the workday.

Imagine what work was like before the internet?   Did we depend on little radios that brought the best hits of the 70's, 80's, and 90's?   Were the moments between tasks spent playing Solitaire and Minesweeper?   Ooh!  And how about in the days before computers?   What were the options then?  Newspaper crosswords maybe?  Comic strips?  Wow, this is funny to think about.

Or maybe people just got more work done.   That's what the "get off my lawn" types would say, but somehow I'm not convinced.

Have a great Monday, whatever you do!  We'll catch up soon. 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Art of Burgers

Some of the best meals you make are the ones that aren't planned at all.

Last night I went to the grocery store, looking for chicken, and I struck up a conversation with the butcher there, and we really had a good conversation we were talking weather and meats.  He says to me that he's rolling out some fresh ground beef, 50% off, and I was intrigued.   I thought this wasn't going to be my red meat night but 50% off ground beef that's too good to pass up, and I said "I could make some great burgers with this!"

So I got the ground beef… at 50% off the total price was just around $2.50.   Then I got a pack of buns for $1.50 for a total of 4 bones.   Depending on the day, a middle of the week home cooked burger is one with just the patty and the bun so I saved some money by not getting lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and cheese.

Bringing that stash home, I went right to work.  There wasn't a ton of time as I had a podcast the same night.   I took out the ground beef, molded them into four pretty thick 1/3 lb patties, and added salt and pepper to each side.  I only use a sprinkling of salt and go heavy on the pepper for each one.   Let that sit, and started up the gas grill.  

Here were the keys to burger success:

First, I heated up the gas grill at maximum and even covered the grill for a few seconds.  After that I opened the top and set the burners to medium heat.

Next, I put the four burgers right onto the grill.  I got a little lucky with a loose flame coming up to the surface.  This is how I like to do the burgers.  What I want is the kind of heat where the flames actually touch the burger patty and practically engulf the patty with fire.  It's fantastic.

Some of the work was positioning the other patties close to loose flames on the grill… then it really got cooking… you could see fire wrapping up the patties like you see in the fast food commercials!   I left the patties on one side for about 5 minutes, then turned over the patties for another 3-5 minutes…

Unlike a lot of people I do a few extra flips with the burgers… and I do that to make sure the fire gets enough  coverage all the way around the patty.   After about 10-12 minutes of cooking voila!  The burgers are ready to go.

I can't speak to the specific done-ness of the burgers but from my taste they look like they were cooked medium to medium-well.   They were fantastic!   A funny little comment about the shape of the patties… I don't think I flattened them a whole lot so they had this mango pit shape to them, although thicker than an actual mango pit.  but!  The patties fit on the small buns perfectly!   To these burgers, all I added was some Gulden's mustard on the other bun and then smothered the top bun onto the burger.   This created a little coating of deli mustard which was just terrific.

Simple, effective, and remarkably cheap.   It's neat to know how simple it is to make your own hamburgers, and it was fun too, so long as you have the time for 'em.

I still go to fancy places to get the best burgers, but I got a feeling my hamburgers hold their own!