Friday, June 30, 2006

but #14 might be my favorite

Unless you have sold your soul to Milhouse or have lost all capacity for enjoyment, you just might laugh 'til you hurt while reading The 50 Worst Video Game Names of All Time.

You've probably never heard of any of these. I sure hadn't. OK, actually, I do remember hearing about the sequel to Parappa the Rapper, but I didn't really pay attention.

Regardless: the names of these games, which are all real, and the comments that voice exactly what you are thinking after reading said names, are frickin' hilarious.

A sample:


A superpower it ain't.

From the Totally Out of Ideas department comes Jumpman.

Let's see...there's a man...and he jumps."

No better way to close out the week before a national holiday.

(Oh, and #3 comes in pretty high on my hilarity list too.)

sport of the future

Lloyd Dobler would be very proud of me. Today I had a one-on-one training session in actual contact kickboxing.

And it kick(box)ed my ass.

It all started because the gym put up a big poster advertising new small group training classes they are introducing in July. Melissa heard from a friend that you can try each one once for free, but she asked me to double-check that with the front desk when I went in yesterday. So I did.

Turns out that yes, you can try each one for free, although if you sign up to take one consistently you have to pay (essentially, you're splitting the cost of a trainer among three or four people, which really makes it more affordable). I was nodding and listening to the girl give me a whole spiel on what each class entailed, in which I wasn't very interested ("beach bodies" -- meh), when a guy behind the desk noticed my glazed eyes, wandered over and interrupted.

"I'm also teaching a contact kickboxing session," he said. "It's not listed there because I haven't scheduled it yet -- I'll work around people's schedules."

Now this was intriguing.

I've been hooked on kickboxing since I first took a cardio kickbox class, but unfortunately the class is at a totally inconvenient time. I also have a pretty great kickbox DVD, but it's too easy to slack off when I'm at home. Plus, I've really been looking for something new and different, as my workouts have, frankly, gotten very boring (going nowhere on stationary bikes and elliptical cross-trainers, it turns out, can actually get old.) I wanted to shake things up, and I thought contact -- where I'd get to punch a bag or targets -- would be awesome.

Then, it got better. Jason, the trainer in question, offered me a free one-on-one session to give me a taste of how the class will run. A free training session? Works for me. I could find out if the whole endeavour is actually worth paying for without embarrassing myself in front of an entire class.

At 10 a.m., I arrived at the gym. Jason was there waiting, and he wrapped my hands and got the gloves and targets out of his office. We headed over to the training area, and he asked me about my goals -- just to tone up, get stronger, work muscles in a new way -- and said we'd do just that.And then he proceeded to destroy me.

I thought I was in pretty good shape. I know I am not strong, because I don't like lifting weights and don't do it enough, but I do a lot of cardio and I'm aware that my heart is extraordinarily healthy. However, "pretty good shape" can apparently be interpreted in a number of ways, and this particular workout?

Interpreted it entirely differently.

I wanted to die about three minutes in. Step-ups with knee lifts, jump rope (fun!), punching with real boxing gloves (really fun!), squat lunges in between punching (not fun!) lateral movement drills, kicking, squat thrusts with pushups in between kicks (really not fun!), more speed drills, high knees, punch combos (aggression!), ridiculously intense ab work. I don't know if my internal cooling system has ever worked that hard, and I'm 100% positive that when I wake up tomorrow, weird muscles I've never thought about are going to mutiny against me and I will be walking like I'm 92 years old.

It was the greatest thing ever. I'm so signing up for this class.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

beam maine up

I learned today that Jonathan Frakes lives in Belfast, Maine, with his General Hospital-star wife, Genie Francis. She is opening a store called The Cherished Home.

Actually, although I have yet to see her merchandise, I kind of take issue with the choice of name. This article states, "Her new business is located in an 1850s-era farmhouse on Route 1 on the city's east side. Rather than focus on antiques, Francis said, she wanted to provide area homeowners with a choice of items previously not available to them."

First, though, I have to give the Bangor News a nod for their generosity in considering Belfast a city, given that it has roughly 6300 permanent residents. It's actually the larger town in the area near Searsport, where my sister-in-law will be getting married in slightly over a month, and we can't wait to get up to that region, which is just phenomenally beautiful.

However, the Mid-Coast is the kind of area where the tourists come to relax at the Maine coast, eat some fabulously fresh lobster, and go shopping -- which usually means antiquing. A name like "The Cherished Home" will fit right in, but I'm afraid it might be misleading

Francis apparently got the bug for owning a home decor shop by "examining the furnishings on the General Hospital set." Forgive me if I'm a little off on this, but I would tend to think that a soap opera is not the place to take inspiration for cherishing the heart and home. For example, take the recap of the plot for merely the week of January 3, 2005, which reads as follows:

"Luke discovers that the woman who was following Emily and Connor around was paid to do so. Emily and Connor work on becoming more comfortable with each other. Diego learns that his sister, Maria, is really his mother. Sonny plans to take his children and Jordan to his island but agrees to let Kristina get used to Ric before taking her on vacation. Sonny buys Greystone out from under Ric and Alexis. Someone knocks Jordan unconscious and takes a mold of the key to Sonny's new house. Carly convinces Jason that even if Bridget takes her baby back in the year he can't deprive her of the love he has to give her now. Sam wants to name the baby "Hope." Courtney shows up at Jason's just as he and Sam are going to make love and tells them about Bridget's issue in her new school."

Not so much with the cherishing, as it were.

But we'll see. After all, she might be thinking more along the lines of Luke's place, which is sort of vibrant and fun and eclectic. And she does play Laura, of "Luke and Laura" fame, so you never know.

Had she asked me, though, I'd have turned to her husband for inspiration. See,
soap watchers are probably already in the local tourist demographic. She should be thinking more of marketing to new and different clientele. Clearly, The Next Generation would have been a better direction to go in naming a home shop that intends to break the mold. She could get an entirely new group of tourists to the region, I'm sure.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

how to combat (un)seasonal affective disorder

1. Realize you have to get out of the house and decide to go to CVS.

2. Look out the window. Notice the fog is so thick you cannot see the building next door.

3. Ask husband if he needs anything from store. Write down "deodorant" and "face wash."

4. Drive over bridge, wondering idly what the actual visibility is, and if Casco Bay is actually still there below you.

5. Park in slightly puddly, damp parking lot.

6. Realize husband's deodorant of choice is on sale -- two for the price of one. Grab two of the same scent.

7. Spend ten minutes reading various men's skin care labels.

8. Go back and get two different scents of deodorant.

9. Choose a face wash.

10. Wander into hair care aisle.

11. Go back to face wash and get a different one, just because.

12. Back to hair care. Notice that the fun hair color with the built-in kit for highlights is 33% off.

13. Decide that if you're going to highlight your hair, you'd better get some self-tan spray and do the whole thing right.

14. Go to cash register. Justify the fact that you are buying hair color and self-tan spray by noting the free deodorant. Ignore the fact that these two items cost six times as much as the amount you saved.

15. Banter with checkout girl when total spent comes to exactly $45, even.

16. Banter more when cash register prints out nine coupons.

17. Go home. Put away purchases.

18. Take purchases back out. Contemplate usage.

19. Use products as offering to gods of sun and weather.

20. Sun comes out. Life is good.

21. And tan.

Saturday, June 24, 2006


Seen today in a parking lot (in Maine, not New Hampshire, actually).

Amazingly, this is not my license plate.

And I'm a little weirded out.

would you like some whine with that?

I apologize. I've been whining a lot lately, which really doesn't get anyone anywhere.

Except for the fact that the rain has been overwhelmingly intermittent at best, friends with busy calendars are gradually becoming more available, and my work schedule is picking up (which has the always-welcome dual benefits of added income and mental stimulation).

I think I'd better not take this turn of events too much to heart. If I do, well, next thing you know, I'll be throwing temper tantrums when the store runs out of my favorite olives or some other such nonsensical idiocy.

After all, with great power comes great responsibility. I must save this talent for moments of real, true, desperate need.

Or for items like this.

Friday, June 23, 2006

even worse, it looks the same for the next ten days

If you'll excuse me, I'll be sticking my finger in an electrical socket now. I figure it's my best chance at finding some bright light.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

hope in a pastry shell

Today has been one of those days where things just don't seem to be going right in the world: people gone who shouldn't be gone; no answers to major questions; a general feeling of life-drift. Dinner didn't happen until after Jim played a double-header in kickball, and by then I'd just about given up trying to puzzle out the rest of it.

Then my friend Melissa called.

Melissa: "Hey, what are you two up to?"

Me: "Crashed on the couch watching TiVoed Daily Show and Colbert."

Melissa: "I just got out of rehearsal and I'm coming over. I have something yummy for you."

Me: "Oh, geez...really, we just ate..."

Melissa: "Tough. I'll be there in ten minutes."

Me: "{silence}"

Melissa: "Trust me, you of all people will appreciate this, whether you eat it now or later."

Me: "Uh...ok. Come on over."

Ten minutes later, Melissa came in the door holding a box from Mike's Pastry.

Which was, as you might imagine, chock full of cannoli.

Me: {almost drooling}"Oh. My. God. You. Didn't."

Melissa: "See? I knew you'd think this was worth it."

Melissa is, truly, the best.

And suddenly, even if the world is not quite living up to expectation, well... at least it has Mike's cannoli.

Trite as it may be, this is for Alan, the first person -- via FAP -- to take me to Mike's. I'll miss you.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

schlemiel, schlimazl

Yesterday, the New York Times printed this article about Jews in northwest Arkansas, brought there by Wal-Mart and/or its providers.

The article in and of itself is moderately interesting, but what really caught my eye was one of the "Related" links.

See, one brief paragraph mentions "Ron Haberman, a doctor and synagogue member, who has introduced Jewish cuisine to the county. His new restaurant, Eat This, next door to a new 140,000-square-foot glass-enclosed Baptist church, serves knishes, matzo ball soup and latkes." The sidebar links to the Eat This menu which might be the funniest menu I could ever have imagined, much less actually read.

Don't believe me? How about the entry for the Eat This! Soup Special: "Ask your server for details. You can also ask your server for money or a Lexus but if all you get are soup details, be happy. At least you still have your health, kinehora!"

Or the description of Bubbe Sadie's Blintzes: "Language Alert: The "Bu" in Bubbe (which means grandmother in Yiddish) is pronounced like the first 3 letters in "book." This is in contradistinction to the pronunciation of the Southern name Bubba (who is somebody's brother-cousin in Central Arkansas). "

You gotta give this guy credit for whistling in the dark. I can really only imagine that the people actually giggling at the menu are people who don't need the explanations, but still, if you need a little chuckle, check it out. It's good times.

Now if you'll excuse me, I wants to get me some of them thar LOT-kuz.

ETA:Jim points out that this article falls squarely inside the "Wacky Jew" beat, which we and our friend Alana used to laugh about each week. I feel like the beat has not been terribly active of late...perhaps this heralds a return to form, as it were.

That, or the reporter just really wanted some rugelach.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

someone left the cake out in the rain

Apparently the good part of having crap weather karma in day-to-day life is that you get fantastic vacation weather karma.
The bad part is that you have crap weather karma in day-to-day life.

We just returned from a wonderful trip to Hilton Head. It was positively gorgeous the entire visit -- sunny, low- to mid-80's but not terribly humid, and a lovely breeze. We couldn't have ordered better if there were...ah...a weather-ordering service.

(My brain, it seems, has not entirely returned from Relaxation World.)

It was so lovely to see my folks. We're really not used to going quite so long without seeing each other -- none of us likes it. In that wise, it really was so lovely just to spend time with them. We walked on the beach on Father's Day morning, sat outside at the Yacht Club, and all played number 16 on the Club Course on Monday afternoon, when the course was officially closed. The rest of the time? Well, we just couldn't bear to be too far from their much-heralded new arrival: La Belle Miss Elle, Shih-Tzu extraordinaire.

Playing with the puppy definitely dominated our trip, and it was so worth it. They say that having physical contact with a pet is therapeutic and I would have to agree fully -- I could sit there and play with and pet Miss Ellie for hours and never get bored or tired. She's just too freakin' cute.

She already has favorite toys -- her rubber duckie, the fuzzy chick, her new pound puppy, the Isaac Mizrahi for Target cell phone she got at her "puppy shower," and La-Di's old stuffed lobster. Apparently, Miss Ellie was born the day that we had to say goodbye to La-Di, and she definitely has a guardian spirit. (We always said that our cocker spaniel, Lissy, was the reincarnation of my great-grandmother Belle. I think this pairing makes a bit more sense, or is at least slightly less anthropomorphic.)

She also loves toes, but we're trying to break her of that one.

Miss Ellie, it seems, is also ridiculously smart. She sits, focuses, and much of the time trots right on over when called after only two puppy classes. She loves her little harness and walks well on lead. She also already knows where Mom and Dad keep the treats.

Smart cookie.

We didn't just spend our time oohing and aahing over the puppy. We also took a great golf lesson -- it's amazing how much my muscles remember from childhood. Doesn't mean I hit the ball where or as far as I want to, but my swing looks good. Heh. We had a party on the beach with lots of dogs and kids (see "puppy shower," above), explained the concept behind Wikipedia to my folks, found some great clothes, and ate a ton of fabulous food, including a taste of the top tier of our wedding cake. We brought the rest home to share with friends, so if you want some awesome cake, you know where to find it.

Anyway. Then we flew home.

After a smooth flight, the plane began its descent into Portland, which evidently was surrounded by the world's bumpiest lightning clouds. Thunderstorms had rolled through earlier in the day, and while it was not still raining at 9:30 last night, the skies had not cleared.

Still, we made it safely to the ground, and taxied to the gate. Or almost to the gate. And then we stopped.

Sixty seconds later -- just long enough for all of us on board to realize we had not, you know, parked at the actual gate per se -- the pilot came onto the intercom.

"Folks, we've just been informed that the jetway is closed right now, due to lightning."

In other words, "Sit down and shut up and no you may NOT get off the damn plane."

OK, fine. Closed for lightning. But...I can see the terminal. It's right there. Let me go hoooome.

After a few more minutes of just sitting there about ten yards from the gate, the plane started moving again. Apparently, the instructions were to escort the vehicle back out away from the terminal, almost to the runway.

And then to unload the passengers onto the tarmac.

No, seriously. Because the jetway can't risk getting hit by lightning, but the airline doesn't give a damn if the passengers burn to a crisp.

Wait! I take that back. They decided that any gate-checked bags would go to the baggage claim, so by not asking us to carry metal-handled wheeled bags, they were obviously ensuring our safety.

So, in order to disembark, we descended the plane's staircase, traipsed across the wet tarmac -- I've almost never landed in Portland when (a) I haven't been unloaded onto the tarmac and (b) said tarmac has not been wet -- into a door that was as far as geographically possible, in our small terminal, from the baggage claim area, back up some stairs, along the empty terminal to the exit, back down some other stairs, and over to baggage claim.

I guess I've got to look on the bright side. We didn't check the cake, so if we'd been stranded on the aircraft, we would have had something to eat.

Too bad I didn't pack the puppy. At least I can call her on her cell phone.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

block and blue

All day today I've been dealing with a horrendous case of writer's block.

I don't normally get blocked when I'm writing standardized test content, but then, I don't usually get asked to write prose fiction as content.

Usually when I have to create a passage, I mine my expository writings from college -- of which there are plenty, with far more than enough words, heh -- or even Jim's. But fiction? Fiction isn't hard to understand. (Riiiiight.) Test passages are supposed to be dry, boring pieces of social science analysis. Not fiction.

I mean, are they serious?

Apparently, they are. That doesn't change the fact that I don't have all that much fiction to reshape and edit into test content. Instead, I'll actually have to belly up to the bar and, oh, I don't know, write something from scratch.

So, since I clearly have far more work to do on this one assignment than usual, it makes sense that all I've been doing is sitting here, compulsively reading blogs and fretting over what to pack to take to Hilton Head tomorrow (clearly, not sweaters).

Finally -- finally! -- I had a breakthrough. I knew what I was going to write, and how to write it. I hit the groove.

And Microsoft Word crashed.

Someone up there is telling me something, don't you think? Fine, gods of technology. I yield. I know that the last time I wrote a lot of fiction I did it the old-fashioned way, and apparently my attempt to update that system offends your sensibilities. So I'll do whatever you ask of me. I'll sacrifice to the pen and paper demons and stab myself with graphite. Just let me get this damn passage written already, will you?

Monday, June 12, 2006


The best thing about the old Celebrity Poker Showdown was expert Phil Gordon.

I am not a gambling girl. However, CPS was fun to watch, as long as it was TiVoed so that we could skip the commercials. And it was all about Phil.

I mean, yeah, I love Dave Foley, but really, Phil was the best. He was just so...Phil-like. Even the contestants seemed to have a thing for Phil. After having had tutorials with him -- screw charity! -- they all seemed to be playing just to make him proud.

Moreover, he and Dave really mastered the whole "big guy picks on little comical guy" banter. They may both be straight, but they had frickin' great chemistry.

In short, Phil made me want to play poker -- preferably with Dave Foley, who would, you know, lose to me.

Or something.

Now, however, they have this new Phil's just not the same. The chemistry isn't there. There's just sort of awkward dorkiness, like two eighth-graders on a first date. At a mall foodcourt. At 2 in the afternoon.

Phil is dead! Long live Phil!

What a shame.

i love me some double-hung windows

You know how some days are just good days?

The sun is out.

The sky is blue.

We're having filet mignon for dinner.

And the guys are here hanging our new bedroom window.

Today? All right, I give. Today is a good day.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

'cue summer

Grilling is the key to summer, as far as I'm concerned.

Up here I'd say "barbecue" but I know that the 'cue has an entirely different meaning south of the Mason-Dixon line -- a meaning I am happy to indulge. Particularly if it includes hushpuppies.

But up here, "barbecue" is essentially synonymous with "grilling," an activity in which I have been unable to indulge since I migrated from the midwest to upper New England, with the rare exceptions of visits to South Carolina.

Until now.

Although our apartment has a terrace -- or perhaps more rightly described as a "terrace," sarcastic air-quotes necessary -- the lease stipulates that gas and charcoal cooking apparatuses are not allowed out there. Electric grills, however, are entirely kosher (rim shot).

Jim had some birthday money on Amazon and they were running a great deal on the George Foreman Indoor/Outdoor Grill, so we ordered one.

Of course, it arrived in the middle of the Endless Weeks of Soaking Rain (TM), so we didn't get a chance to use it in its desired outdoor capacity until tonight. Luckily, a weather fairy arrived in the person of my fantastic sister-in-law and her fiance, and the sky cleared at last.

Now, I can safely say, The Grill rocks.

Unlike your average apartment-dwelling Foreman grill, the outdoor domed version:

1) has variable heat settings;
2) does not automatically press the "fat" (and sometimes flavor) out of meats;
3) can accomodate larger sizes and amounts of food.

Plus, well, it's just fun to be able to grill stuff outside -- moreso if said "stuff" comprises baby back ribs. No one will ever make them the way my dad does, but at least we'll be able to have ribs more frequently than we can afford the cost of a plane ticket to Hilton Head.

I know they won't be the same, and never fear, the presence of The Grill will not impinge on our desire to visit various sets of parents, all of whom possess far more authentic and seasoned grills than ours. Still, it's nice to have a little bit of that domestic staple on our own home turf.

Tomorrow night: filet mignon a la Grill. After our return from the Low Country? Well, let's just say that a good portion of Father's Day will be passed as Jim takes copious notes on how, exactly, my father produces the world's best baby back ribs, and soon, we will put his apprenticeship into action. I'm sure it will take countless attempts even to come close.

I'm up to the challenge.

Friday, June 09, 2006


I don't often discuss politics, mainly because I don't want to get yelled at. People in my life are bound to tell me my opinions aren't correct, which is blatantly incorrect insofar as one's opinion cannot actually be right or wrong, but ... that's another story.

Point is, if you pinned me down, I'd be socially liberal but fiscally conservative and more inclined to vote my wallet than my conscience, proportional to my age. (We'll work out the algorithm another time, preferably before Elizabeth cuts off my pinkie finger for my idiocy.)

Still, I think that this guy has the world's best domain name, and that would totally make me vote for him, if I lived in his state.

I don't live in Nevada, of course. Thank the heavens above. Sorry, Reid, but...some things just ain't worth it.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

somewhere, someone thinks it's funny

The weather gods of Maine have a sick and twisted sense of humor, which they have chosen to indulge by sending us some rain.

Because, you know, we need more water up here. We were in serious danger of not being overrun by mold and mildew, after all.

And lest you think I'm blowing this out of proportion, just, you know, take a peek into the immediate future. Really! You don't even need a crystal ball -- they've laid it all out for you!

Enjoy your glimpse into the world of foresight. I, on the other hand, am frantically working on a schematic for a matter transporter. I'm getting out of here come hell or...

Well, you know.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

eat your heart out, vongerichten

Our dear friend Brian Quinn came up to Portland yesterday for an evening of fine food, wine, and conversation.

See, that rack of lamb had been burning a hole in my freezer (not literally) and I really wanted to have a little dinner party.

I also wanted an excuse to bust out the fine china.

Luckily, Brian is something of a connoisseur of haute cuisine and the grape, and he's been searching for weekend trips out of Cambridge while he waits for his MCAT results. Really, it was a match made in the kitchen.

Down in the 02138, Mr. Quinn packed his bags with wine and other liquors, while here in the rainy north I gathered my recipes and ingredients. Only a few minutes before his bus was due in at 3:30, however, I realized that my flat-leaf parsley was -- horrors! -- actually cilantro. (I chalk up the mistake to my allergy-clogged sinuses when shopping earlier this week.) I sent Jim off to the bus station, cilantro in tow, to have Brian confirm my diagnosis, and the two of them hit the grocery store while I made sure I hadn't made any other grave errors.

Like, you know, forgetting to defrost the lamb the previous night. Haha! I would never do that. (Sigh.)

I had put Brian in charge of dessert (and it turns out the grocery store trip was a necessity for him regardless, but more on that later), so I just had to whip up my herb paste for the lamb, toast my walnuts for the endive salad, and gather my mushrooms for the wild-rice pilaf saute.

No, seriously.

The food processor made fast work of my mint, rosemary, parsley (once the gents returned with a bunch), garlic, black pepper, thyme, and fennel-seed mixture, held together with some good olive oil. That sat around to let the flavors meld while the lamb came to room temperature. In the meantime, we sat around looking at Paris photos and giving Brian the run-down on the trip, which of course included detailed descriptions of everything we ate.

After about four Parisian dinner recaps, Jim pointed out that all the talk of food was making him hungry. And the cooking was on.

The rice simmered in vegetable stock while the onions and mushrooms got a good saute going. I seared the lamb, spread both sides with the herb mixture, and into the oven at 450 degrees it went for just over 15 minutes. Brian opened his contribution -- a Chateauneuf-du-Pape! -- to let it breathe a bit. Meanwhile, leaves of Belgian endive, toasted walnuts, and crumbled gorgonzola met up with a tarragon-Dijon mustard vinaigrette.

I pulled the lamb out, checked the temperature (perfect!) and let it rest while we sat down to salad. Le diner etait servi.

Not that you can really go wrong with endive, gorgonzola, walnuts, and Dijon, but the salad was really lovely. When we'd finished, Jim cut the lamb into chops. Truly, I have never seen a more perfect-looking piece of meat; it was gorgeous. I plated it up on the platter with the balsamic-grilled asparagus, and set the mushroom pilaf on the table separately.

Oh lordy was it delicious.

I admit, I was a little bit scared; I've never done lamb before, and there's always the worry that it won't taste right, or won't be cooked to everyone's liking, or blah blah blah perfectionist-cakes. But: Wow. Everything on the table was just divine.

When we could eat no more (but had saved room for dessert, of course!), we cleared up a bit and then Brian went to work. When the men returned from the store, Brian had been toting a bag full of berries. "Yeah, I realized last night I hadn't, you know, actually procured anything for my dessert," he laughed. "I was sort of asking myself, 'And just when did you plan to do that, Quinn?" Hannaford's to the rescue, it seems.

While I was doing my prep, he had macerated those delightful blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries in a bit of sugar, and now he brought out a recipe from his brother Jason for a Grand Marnier-white wine sabayon.

Jason, I should mention, has worked as a chef in several extraordinary restaurants. Brian told us that he'd asked his brother for a recommendation on what to make for dessert, and without reference to any kind of recipe or measurement chart, he rattled off the ingredients and proportions for the sabayon.

Me: "He just...came up with it, off the top of his head?"

Brian: "Yep, pretty much. I've almost never seen him cook from a recipe, and when he does, it's invariably Thomas Keller's."

Me: "Does he cook like this all the time?"

Brian: "Essentially. For New Year's Eve we made duck breast, and we were cutting and plating it in the kitchen before taking it out. He stuck a sprig of rosemary into each one, lit it, and then blew it out, so the plates were trailing this immensely fragrant rosemary smoke as we set them was gorgeous."

Me: "And why, again, is he going to become a philosophical historian? Why doesn't he open a restaurant?"

Brian: "Oh, he hates cooking."


Jim: "Well, that was the perfect punchline."

Anyway, Brian whipped up this sabayon -- which took a slightly grotesque amount of upper-body strength, as my pots and even whisk are quite substantial -- and we poured it over the berry-filled dishes, stuck in a sprig of mint, and sat down again.

I would have taken pictures of the dessert too, but it was almost as though three human vacuums had set upon the table and it was gone before I had the chance.

We lolled around in a stupor after that, reminiscing about, well, what we had just eaten. And what we had had to drink. The Chateauneuf, as is its wont, did not disappoint. No sir. I highly recommend picking up a bottle if you get the chance.

All told, the evening was as close to perfect as you can get in a tiny apartment in Portland, Maine. If med school (for Brian) and teaching (for me) don't work out, we figure, we can always take an executive stake in a restaurant. Brian and I could share menu duties, and Jim can handle the bar side. We'd fiddle with the presentations, come up with clever tasting nights, but not have to work horrendous hours.

It's only partly the worst idea ever. Restaurant name suggestions welcome, since the best I can come up with right now is "Quinn's Falcon."

...Or maybe I should just stay in the kitchen.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

laugh it up, fuzzball

I'm becoming one of those people who cannot resist sharing the cuteness because OH MY GOD IT IS SO CUTE YOU WILL DIE.

And on that note, here's a picture of Miss Ellie with some toes.