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I think this happens to most people, and in a disturbingly short period of time. I went back to Ocean Springs, MS, after only a few years and had trouble finding my way around, and at the time it was only a little town of about 20,000 people. Folks there would talk about streets and hangouts that I should have had burned into my very DNA, yet I'd be fairly clueless. Perhaps it happens to those of us who tend to look ahead rather than being mired in the past? I'm not sure, but that's my theory and I'm sticking to it.
Toggle Commented Mar 13, 2013 on The Little Differences Are Vast at Sparkwood & 21
Please excuse all the "usually"s; I'm in a hurry. I almost always leave 20% of the final (including tax) amount. For really sparklingly efficient flexible service, I go at least 25%. For substandard service I usually cut a break the first time, then drop back to 20% of the pre-tax amount. After that I usually just don't go there any more, or pointedly ask for a different server next time. This usually only happens when the whole place is poorly run, and the service ends up being only one reason of many why I won't return. If I'm mad enough to not leave a tip at all, I'm going to be talking to the manager to explain why. I never just leave 5% or 10% without someone knowing specifically why; I feel that is unhelpful to the business and the server and is more than a bit passive-aggressive. Again, this almost never happens. Hope that helps.
Toggle Commented Jul 28, 2012 on Be Honest at Sparkwood & 21
Nice day! On a visit to Jasper National Park in Alberta (you REALLY should go someday), we were surrounded by bighorn sheep and elk literally close enough for us to touch. We were told the bull elk are only dangerous during rutting season, and that is in the fall. YECMV (Your Elk Carnage May Vary).
I just hope she's not anyone's mom. Can you imagine that upbringing? She sounds like a "no wire hangers, ever!"
Toggle Commented May 12, 2012 on It Would Be Better at Sparkwood & 21
Excellent. I hardly know you at all, so I won't presume to say anything more relevant than this: I admire you for this decision. Buena suerte, and please keep us posted on Twitter (I tried to subscribe to your TypePad blog but just got raw XML in my browser).
Toggle Commented Mar 20, 2012 on Here Goes Nothing/Everything at Sparkwood & 21
The Good: After decades of denigrating therapy even though I'd never tried it, I finally felt the need. I was succumbing to crying jags for no reason, exhibiting clear (if mild) symptoms of PTSD. On my second visit, I described some things my dad did when I was young. The therapist said, "Sounds like he was a sadistic asshole." And at about age 40 I was, just like that, magically given permission to pierce my dad's fog of bullshit and see him for what he was. I haven't been to therapy since, because that one revelation got me past the problem. The Bad: Against all advice, I went to work for a close friend. He became paranoid and began ordering us in engineering not to talk to marketing or the CEO. In a small startup. A pattern set in: he behaved badly and in a paranoid and micro-managing manner, the CEO took him to task privately, he agreed to a meeting to apologize and resolve the issues. And at every such meeting he balked and did a 180 from what he had promised the CEO. I finally figured out that he always scheduled these mea culpa meetings on Thursday afternoons. Right after his Thursday morning therapy session. His therapist did nothing but tell him that he was right and everyone else was wrong, empower him to be a paranoid road-blocking jerk. By the end, the engineers would lock their doors and refuse to open them when he came to their office, even though he could see them inside. Bad therapist! No biscuit! If you can find a good therapist, it is absolutely worth it. But that finding a good therapist part is the trick. So many very very damaged people who have spent years and years in therapy elect to become therapists themselves. I've known several flat-out batshit crazy folks who have become therapists, and just the thought of them doling out advice gives me the willies. I'm not suggesting avoiding therapy. But I do suggest trying to get a word of mouth recommendation. That's what I did, and it worked out superbly.
I just have to note that individual servings of yogurt used to be 8oz, then 6oz. Now this one is 5.3oz. I have no problem with that whatsoever, but that low calorie and sugar count may be partially because there's simply less in the cup.
I agree with the philosophy, but calories are calories, and 1/2 cup of oil is about 950 of them. You could (for example) sauté some shallots in 1T oil, add tomatoes, lemon zest, some fresh herbs and have quinoa that is ~900 calories less in aggregate and still tastes awesome. Another thing I like to do is take a recipe like this and try cutting the oil/vinegar/mustard amounts all in half. I bet this would taste 97% as good with only half as much sauce because you've wisely used strong flavors.
Toggle Commented Feb 24, 2012 on Craig’s Quinoa Conversion at The Amateur Gourmet
1 reply
A perspective coming from a very different starting point: I have every movie channel DirecTV offers, plus their on-demand and PPV available. It costs a lot of money but, like you, I look at how many movies we watch vs the money and it is still a good investment. With this embarrassment of movie riches, I never even considered Netflix. Then in May we were heading out on vacation, where of course our DirecTV stuff would be useless. Netflix was just pushing their streaming big-time, and it seemed like a good deal to watch movies on vacation. Then I found that every single movie I wanted to see, new, old, whatever, was only available on DVD and not available streaming. Their streaming selection is worse than pathetic. Strike 1. But I saw a lot of movies and TV shows I'd like to see on DVD, so when we returned I upgraded to the same deal you have (streaming + 2 DVDs at a time). Or rather, I tried to upgrade, but they wouldn't let me do so until my original 30-day paid signup period was over. WTF? Why wouldn't they take more money from me, and make me happy in the process? Strike 2. Once I'd upgraded, it was enjoyable for a short while, but then we found that we HATED planning our viewing in advance. We got "The King's Speech", then had a rough 2 or 3 weeks during which we only wanted light escapist stuff, so it sat around gathering dust and Netflix was essentially useless to us. The Netflix DVD model just doesn't match our viewing habits. Strike 3. And then they raised the prices dramatically; that felt like a real bait-and-switch after the barrage of advertising that got me to sign up for streaming in the first place just a couple of months before. Strike 4. I tried hard to like streaming, thinking we'd just drop back to that. But the more I tried to find something to watch streaming, the more I found there was NOTHING we wanted to watch that was available streaming. And that is the long-winded version of why I, only a first-time Netflix customer as of May, am already quitting them in September.
All About Braising is my favorite cookbook of all time. One of the things that makes it so wonderful are the small but important touches such as giving weights for most ingredients. This recipe is a perfect example: 1 large yellow onion (8 oz). In our groceries around here, a large yellow onion will easily go 16 oz. Having the approximate weight lets us know Ms. Stevens' intent. 10 oz pearl onions (about 24 onions). You must have at least 50 onions in the pan in that picture above. But I bet they total 10 oz. By telling you the weight, Ms. Stevens assures that you'll get about the right amount of onions, something that wouldn't happen if she just said "about two dozen pearl onions". The coq au vin is one of the recipes from the book I've never made. I'm going to remedy that this week.
Toggle Commented Apr 5, 2011 on Coq au Vin at The Amateur Gourmet
1 reply
For most easy tasks (carrots, potatoes, most fruits, celery, cardoni, etc) I have a cheap-feeling plastic Kyocera peeler with a ceramic blade. It works great, and has for years. If I stress it overly the blade pops off, but that is the signal to switch to... ...the Oxo Good Grips peeler. This is a traditional metal-bladed peeler for more serious work. For oddly-shaped items with crooks and nannys like hands of fresh ginger, I turn back to the old standby: the very sharp paring knife. I have yet to find anything that can't be peeled efficiently with one of those three.
Toggle Commented Mar 24, 2010 on Peeler at LaurentGras
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Mar 24, 2010