Saturday, March 31, 2007

Another Simple Dish

I wrote about the chives coming up. Did you know that there are "onion chives" and "garlic chives" and that they are different plant types? If you're checking Wikipedia look at "Chinese chives" instead of garlic.

If you want to highlight an herb, nothing is better than putting it in some scrambled eggs. Eggs are a wonderful carrier of flavors. This morning for breakfast I ripped off a few leaves. I like my eggs soft but to keep maximum chivey goodness, I added them to the eggs just as the eggs were starting to cook rather than mixing them in the eggs before hand or putting them in the hot oil. Yummmmm.

The Next Culinary Weeks

One could think about global warming, inequities in society, the war, the next killer body from space, or when Yellowstone is going blow up. Or one could savor the prospect of a glorious couple of weeks of eating ahead knowing full well this is totally inconsistent with the obsessive calorie counting or the many weeks previous. Personally, my schizophrenia has become a comfort and I don't have trouble switching gears at all.

This week is Chicago. Lakeview Coffee has organized a networking event on Mon. at Just Grapes, a wine store west of the Loop. This is lots of fun as they have these machines that dispense wine in tiny amounts for tasting. I'm betting sushi at Azuma (sp?). Then on Tue. we're taking a new potential strategic partner and his wife back to Scylla which I wrote about a few weeks back. Finally on Wed. I will be at Motherrocker and John the Armenian. MR wants to eat in. Eating there is always fun. I'll have to pick up a nice bottle on Monday.

Then three days to starve myself when it's off to LA. I'm going early on Sunday because Pulisha, Tim de Buffalo and I are going to trek to the Chinese section of town to get some real good Chinese food. Given Pu's Mandarin language abilities and time in China, this should be special. Then a couple of days of hard work (but we'll probably see Steve our sushi guy in Thousand Oaks) but on Wed. we will have another Westlake Wine and History Symposium.

All in all it sounds wonderful.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Early Spring Garden Report

Since Mrs. de-I is not a blogger, I feel required to keep people apprised of her activities and accomplishments. As you may remember she has been hard at work getting the garden ready to go. The dwarf peach tree is in as are the cold weather veggies. The hardy herbs are already growing so I've been able use some fresh oregano and parsley. There's a slew of nice new chives waiting to be picked.

But the big news is the spring bulbs. Early spring color has up until now not been an area of success for Wife. That has changed this year. The first wave of daffodils (white and yellow)and hyacinths (lavender and white) are up. All the tulip bulbs that AinA lovingly acquired for Wife (and which Wife was afraid she had planted too late) are coming up in abundance. In addition she had the brainstorm to plant a slew of pansies (cold loving, full of color). Good job there Mrs. de-I.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

An Ode to the Simple

To steal from niece Styling w/R-M, I am unabashedly foodie and proud of it. To the rest of humanity that isn't, you have my sympathies. At a minimum it's better than being fanatical Chicago sports fan (blogger name withheld to protect the obsessed).

There is something fantastic about a high quality piece 'o' food done simply. Today I bought a couple of halibut steaks for Wife and I from WholePaychecks - great quality - instant poverty. Simply spiced with a little salt, pepper and savory - browned with a little butter in enameled cast iron pan and finished in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes. It was perfection. But it all stemmed from the quality of the original ingredient.

My enthusiasm was no doubt helped by the fact that yesterday was 1,200 calorie day.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Why Do They Need to Serve So Much Food

OK I know that this is a pet peeve of mine that most who read my blog know because they're all family and friends. But I can pretend I'm actually writing to a wider audience can't I? And it's certainly a change up from the (here I'm in x waiting for a plane - here I'm in y getting off a plane - blah, blah)

As a dyed in the wool gastronome wanna be, when I go out I like to try different things. I want to have an appetizer and a main course and maybe dessert if I'm in the mood. But in the land of gluttony (that would be the U.S.), this is nearly impossible because when you get your appetizer it is enough food for a main course and your main course is enough for what two people should eat.

This was brought home to me on Monday when I was eating at a place in Walnut Creek, CA called Bing Crosby's. It's basically a steak place and I was told there are 5 or 6 of them in CA. I was in the mood for a steak but the smallest steak they had was 14 ounces. That's almost a pound and that was for a New York Strip meaning no bone. That's a lot of meat. My host said he just ordered what he wanted but only ate half. But I always have a problem with wasting food.

I just don't know why consuming to excess has become an acceptable value.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Gettin' The (blank, blank) Map Right

AinA says my link took her to a map alright...A map of friggin' Amsterdam! So I will try again.

Voila - map of where I am now.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Just Workin'

Long day today with new client. Started at 8:30 and including dinner with client finished at 8 PM. Then answered emails, called home, and checked out the rest of the blogging nation.

AinA asked about a map of where I'm currently at in California. So like Lakeview Coffee, I am attempting to use the "link" function. Let me know if it works.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Travel Is Not All Bad

Perhaps the last few posts have given readers the impression that this business traveling life is an ordeal. But in all honesty, I really enjoy it. Why?

Well, for one I love the variety of all the places I get to visit. The different cities, how they look and feel different, the difference between the people, etc. If I had to stay in just one place all the time, it would be so boring.

Today I am in Walnut Creek, CA, a new location for me as I'm visiting a new client. Most of you who are not from the John the Armenian clan may have a blank spot in your mind as to where Walnut Creek might be but if you go due east from Oakland through the tunnel you come to it. Since it's late I won't go into a long travelogue but it's hilly, green, a combination of older and newer homes and buildings, and the most bizarre downtown I've ever seen - a virtual series of city blocks turned into one large out-of-doors shopping mall (I didn't say I liked it!).

I also get to visit those I love on a much more frequent basis than I would normally. I get to eat at lots of great places and for all my pain with the airlines, I get miles that I use to go to Europe in a class that I really can't afford.

So cry not for me Argentina (or however that goes).

P.S. Get better John the Armenian!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Still in LA, Still in LA

Got on the plane. Plane pushes back. Announcement - bad weather in Phoenix have to wait 20 minutes. Drive all around LAX in plan. Annoucement - prepare to take off. Announcement - they've closed down Phoenix for bad weather. Drive to waiting spot. Call Wife - don't know when I'll be home. Announcement - going back to gate because we need more fuel, don't know when we're going to Phoenix. My connection? Who knows. Brainstorm! Call Wife. She goes on internet and books a direct flight from LAX to ABQ on Southwest. Get off plane. I don't have Southwest boarding pass. Should I go out and get one. What if the reservation didn't take? Won't be able to get back through security. Do it. Get boarding pass. More time to kill. AH HA, a USAir Club. Go in. Sitting in tranquel quiet and going to get a wine. I have 30 minutes to kill and it's still showing on time. (hope, hope, hope...)

More Airline Fun

Driving to meeting at 6:30 AM and get forwarded phone message from Wife. Your 12:40 Flight has been cancelled. No phone number to call. No rebooking info. Just you're screwed.

Got on the cell phone - another 15 minutes of listening to USAir commercials over and over and over. But I got a guy who was really helpful. He got me on a flight out of LAX at exactly the same time as my Burbank flight was. Not only that but he was singing to himself while he did the work. Too cool.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Why I Aspire to Become a Meglomaniac

I really don't want to be a megalomaniac just for the sheer lust for power (no wise ass remarks from family members or partners). No I want an airplane. A fast, long-range jet airplane. Why? Because of incidents like this.

I was scheduled for meetings tomorrow in Ontario, CA which is about 80 miles from where we are based in Thousand Oaks. My plane reservation home is out of the Ontario airport one of five serving the Greater LA area. The meeting got canceled. I wanted to change my reservation so I left from Burbank which is about 35 miles away. In LA driving world which operates on an entirely different set of laws of physics than the rest of our universe, this is the difference between an hour trip and a three hour trip.

I went online and found I couldn't make the change on line. I had to call the airline directly. I did this while sitting in Kinko's between meetings (much quieter than Starbucks). After waiting on hold for 25 minutes, I reached a human who told me I can't just change my tickets because they're different airports. I need to buy another ticket for the Burbank flight and then I will have credit for any future flight I might want to take out of Ontario. This takes about 15 minutes because she has to check things out. Just as we're finishing up, we get disconnected because I'm an idiot and hit the wrong button on my cell phone. So do I have a reservation or don't I? I don't know.

So I have to call the airline again. On hold again. Get another person who tells me I absolutely can change my ticket and does so. My protestations that I have a new reservation that was in the works makes no impact on him. While we're finishing up this transaction, I get the email confirmation that I have the reservation from the first call. So now I have two reservations and two new charges.

Maybe I can get the seats together so I don't have to sit next to someone. Maybe I need an airplane.

Let's Here it for Moderation - sort of

Yesterday was the successful kick off of the Westlake Village Wine and History (and bad jokes) Symposium. After a few months of attempts, we actually had a meeting in a very over priced restaurant in Westlake Village, CA. WV is in what I call "the great white west" of LA. All the wonderful ethnic mix that swirls in LA seems to stop at the hills that separate the Conejo Valley from the San Fernando Valley (see LA map and no I haven't figured out how do do a link yet). The cuisine seems to specialize in the overpriced and under valued.

There were six of us present and we had a really great time. There are four lender/banker types all in their late 30's and early 40's then Frank and I representing the aged group. I was the modicum of discipline today. I had poached eggs and toast with fruit for breakfast, and a simple turkey roll-up with no fatty fillers on a whole wheat flat bread for lunch. While everyone else in the Symposium were scarfing down mego platters of meat, d-I had an appetizer pasta of which he only ate half. Oh forgot about the wine.

We polished off three bottles. We had a CA Pinot Noir to begin with that was ok. But then we had a 99 Chateauneuf du Pape and a 01 Cote Rotie (another excellent Rhone) which were both really good.

And yes we did actually discuss some history (actually more like current events) the effect of tribal organization in Africa on current political structures and events and a ranking of recent holocausts in terms of deaths over the last 100 years (Stalin wins hands down)

Monday, March 19, 2007

The Holy Trinity - Friends, Food, Wine (other alcohol may be substituted)

Everyone has the things in life that make their life worthwhile. For me its good friends, good food and good wine. When you combine these three elements, I find that something magical happens. Over the last two days, I had two of these wonderful experiences.

On Sunday night Wife and I went to our friends K and J. K has a fanscinating background. His father was a renowned hot air balloonist and K was a participant in many of them. He also operated a winery and really knows the ins and outs of wine. Oh did I mention he has a really nice wine collection? (insert lust here) J is a member of the Minnesota Mafia. No more needs to be said. They had us over to their house which has this very quiet, serene ambiance. Dinner was delicious simplicity. Cheese up front, a great steak, salad and pototoes and a variety of desserts from Whole Paycheck, I mean Foods. He featured a fine 2000 Bordeaux, La Louviere.

Tonight I was with Pulisha and Timothy de Buffalo in LA. A wonderful competition has developed between Pu and older sister Motherrocker as to who can find the neatest places to eat. They do all the creative work and all I have to do is show up, enjoy and pick up the tap. Seems like a pretty good deal to me.

She selected a French Bistro in Manhattan Beach, Cafe Pierre. Luckily for me the restaurant had paper over the table cloths. So for once I was able to write all the dishes down. I think we found the food very nice, but not spectacular. They had a sale on a 2003 Chateauneuf du Pape which turned out quite good.

Well it's late and I have to crash

Sunday, March 18, 2007

2007 Garden Analysis (this is a foodie friendly post)

Mrs. de-I is working away at the garden. We've had this string of warm days (in the 70's) about 10 of them. But it looks like it's going to end mid week and go to more normal temperatures (50-60's).

There are big plans afoot that if successful could provide yours truly with lots of material for the kitchen this summer and fall. First she's got the colder weather veggies already in or near in. This includes cauliflower and broccoli. Then she's planting carrots and beets. We've had great luck with carrots. Beets will be new.

She took out (or I should say had someone take out) a big ole tree that was falling over and now that we have much more sun coming in she's thinking of putting in a dwarf fruit tree. We're leaning towards peach since it is so hard to get a good peach in the stores. That'll be peachy (ha, ha, ha - I'm such a wit)

Finally, our neighbor (who is also from Minnesota meaning she works like a maniac) is in negotiations to garden with Wife since the neighbor has dogs who ruin her yard. This could mean all kinds of different veggies. Could be a good year for the Pewter Chef.

Bulge Counter Attack

Got on the scale today after eating only slightly more than Friday and the friggin' weight was up 2.2 pounds to 179! AAAARRRRRGGGGGHHHHH!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Battle of the Bulge Breakthrough!

As all of my close ones know, I have been on a quest to get my weight down. After a long slow deterioration through my 40's and 50's, I made a commitment last August to get my weight down. It was even worse then I thought. Mrs. de-I bought us a new scale and I found the old one was off 5 pounds ...too light.

So at commencement I was around 190. We have been on a calorie counting regime and through November I had gotten my weight down to 177 - a figure not seen in two decades. I would be happy at this weight but figured I needed to lose another 3-4 pounds to give myself some leeway to resume a slightly looser eating regime.

Along come the holidays, and to my surprise without sacrificing much I held to 177. Then came the resumption of business travel and now my weight was ballooning up to 181! Back to the regime and down to 177 again. For two weeks I've cut the calories back substantially further. Up until Friday it was no go. I was stuck at my low of 177.4 and that was it. Then Friday I hit 177.2 and this morning 176.8.

Of course I hit the road again this week (and NO I do not want to change any dining plans with my foodie offspring thank you very much). But at least I know that I have gotten through the barrier.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Signs of Spring

There's only one real sign of spring here at the ole de-Intimidator household. That's when Wife (Mrs. d-I) starts working in the garden.

Watching Wife in action is an awsome experience (unless you get roped into helping with one of her projects). I'm convinced she can out work just about anyone I've met. As we speak she's outside sifting excess mulch out of the garden (leaches out nitrogen when it decomposes). I once saw her spend two straight days in the 90 degree heat sifting rocks out the garden using a kitchen hand strainer! And no I didn't feel guilty, though I did cook dinner for her - but I do that all the time anyway.

I have mused that this incredible work ethic is some how culturally related. Mrs. d-I is a farm girl from Minnesota. We have a neighbor across the street with a similar background and I've seen her work insanely in the heat and cold as well. Plus I have a friend also married a woman from the same part of Minnesota and she works like a nut as well. Maybe it comes from having to keep warm during the winters there.

All I can say is keep your trophy wife, I want a Minnesota farm girl.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Why I Love Albuquerque

Twas a really fine day today. I had breakfast with my friend and ex-partner (business partner if you live in the vicinity Roscoe and Broadway in Chicago) in turnaround work, Art. Art's a great guy and a phenomenal businessman. As his kids are getting older he's getting more and more interested in business again. Thus we were talking about a wide range of potential opportunities.

Then I had a meeting with a client that provides mobile dental services. Another fun meeting. These guys have great prospects and are wonderful clients. This means they do most of what we suggest and they pay promptly.

Had lunch with another turnaround/investment banking pro here and talked about some networking things and some possibility of him aiding my client above. Was on the phone on the way home and converted a job in Atlanta.

Now the icing on the cake. I got home at 2 did another hour of work and took off for a short hike. It was 72 degrees. I'm wear shorts and a polo shirt. A bit of breeze - just enough to keep you from getting too sweaty. On the way back (down) the view west over the city to Mount Taylor was clear. I love when you turn to go down you get hit with this kick butt view looking 60 miles away with about a 150 degree panorama.

So how good is this. Three great meetings, I picked up some $'s, I get another job, and I get to go hiking - all of this before 5 PM. Love it.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Political Career Dashed!

You will remember my earlier post related to the banning of alcohol on flights in and out of ABQ and my fervent response and commitment to 'throwing the bums out' of our state legislature for this sop to supposed drunk driving enforcement.

Well it turns out that it wasn't the legislature. It was people in the bureaucracy. And it seems that all of the airlines that are affected are in the process of getting the required liquor licenses. So the whole thing is going to go away.

So what do I do with all the money I got by obnoxiously waylaying people in the airport. Should I sell my Bernalillo County Jail customized escape plans! What about all the placards and posters I had made!

You just can't trust government.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Hiking Season Disaster

Sunday de-Intimidator began training for the big Spring Hiking Season. It was a glorious day in ole ABQ with the temperature in the 60's, clear and dry - perfect hiking weather. As I've been at sea level the last week, I needed to do a test run and find out where I was at conditioning-wise. And the results were excellent. I went on one of my favorite 'conditioning' trails by the house and hand no problems. Heart and lungs not killing me (this is a short, steep trail) and no after effects when I got back.

Ok, we're ready to rock and roll. I've got my training schedule set for the next couple of weekends to really get up to speed and then it;s on to the major events. This season we had mapped out our traditional South Crest Trail Hike (17 miles, 4000 foot gain) and we were going to do the North Crest Trail (12 miles, 4000 foot gain) which is going up the mountain from the other side. And we had a number of other adventureous hikes planned as well.

I'm at home getting pretty excited by all this and preparing to call my partner in crime, Mr. Bill, when he calls me instead. So I relay all my positive upbeat take when he says;

"You may want to hold up on those plans because I tore my Achilles Tendon this week."

It takes a lot to silence d-I but this did it. He was playing indoor soccer and it went pop and that was it. He's out of action for at least 8 weeks.

I checked his contract to see if we had some sort of clause preventing him from doing stuff like riding motorcycles or playing soccer but no. Mr. Bill is 60. He should have known better. I should have traded him this winter. I could have gotten a minor leaguer and probably could have had draft choice as well. I tried to get old partner Mr. Fred to consider commuting down to ABQ from SLC on weekends to fill in because his wife works out of town on weekends. But he wants too much, insisting on wine from the aging bin each meal. Forget it.

Looks like it's going to be a tame spring hiking season.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Importance of Counting

In de-Intimidator's work with business owners one theme that comes up again and again is the criticality of counting that which is important. People have this tendency to "feel" that they know what is happening. And in many cases they do. Unfortunately in many cases they are mistaken. When one measures and counts what is important there is much less room for error or self-delusion. Typically when we start tracking things that are important to us, it leads to improvement.

This little fact of light was brought home recently when I sat down to actually count a couple of factors that have been major recently in my personal life - how much I'm traveling and why the hell I gain so much weight when I travel.

People ask me all the time how much I travel. My own perception is that it is frequent but not that much. However, since the question keeps coming up I decided to actually measure a recent 8 week period. Over this period, I took 6 trips and was actually traveling on all or parts of 21 business days. A little simple math and that tells us...let's see 6 divided by 8....5 working days in in business week...Ok. Over the 8 week period that's 75% of the weeks I take a trip and I was traveling on 52.5% of the days. Zounds! As my daughter AinA might say, "That's a whole buttload".

Let's apply this same principle to the weight problem. I left last weekend on a trip to CHI and LA weighing 177 and came back weighing 181. (We'll skip the part where I ran to get my Mauser and blow my brains out in frustration). In my own mind, I was saying, "Jeepers, I know I was watching what I was eating. How could this happen."

Well let's use the objective light of measurement to see what actually happened

  • Saturday Lunch - At Motherrocker's who made homemade pizza (yum!) and drank a few glasses of wine. # of calories - a lot
  • Saturday Dinner - French picnic with triple cream cheeses and a soporessata with tons of fat plus more wine. # of caloires - a lot +
  • Sunday Breakfast - Motherrocker makes homemade pretzel rolls. # of calories - not that many if you eat one with no butter. I didn't
  • Sunday Dinner - We go out to dinner. Three course, drinks before, wine with. # of calories - don't even want to think about it
  • Monday Dinner - Go to dinner with Lakeview Coffee at Goose Island Brewery. Jumbalaya and a beer. # of calories - probably not too bad
  • Tuesday Lunch - At some Jimmy Buffett inspired chain (Cheeseburger in Paradise). A Tilapia Sandwich - # of calories - so, so
  • Tuesday Dinner - Lebonese take out at Motherrockers where I devour seconds of everything including two helpings of the fattiest pieces of a roast chicken. # of calories - Danger, Danger Will Robinson!
We'll skip Wed and Thu because those were the days that I was actually making attempt to control my intake.

Conclusion - It's a wonder I didn't gain 10 pounds!

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Can You Guess Which Airport I'm In?

Ok it really isn't that hard since I essentially commute from ABQ to and from Chicago and LA. Phoenix - you're right! Once again having had the pleasure of the USAir express special commuter jet with seats so short only half your thigh is supported and with litterally no padding on the seats. Thank goodness it's a short flight.

Got the bad news today that I dropped from Gold to Silver status on USAir's frequent flyer program. This means that fewer automatic upgrades to first on the flights to ABQ where they serve NO ALCOHOL.

The wine choices at the USAir Club are rather limited. Unlike AinA we're not worried about the "wine exploding" in the mouth. We're more hoping that it is just drinkable. How to choose? Simple find out which wine has been open the least long.

"How's this cabernet?"
"That's not too bad. It's only been open for a week."

I am taking donations to remove at least a million people from the 405. For you non-LA initates, all the freeways are designated not by "Interstate so and so" or "I so and so" but as "the so and so" So we have the 405 for I-405 and we have the 110 for the I-110 etc. The 405 at least in my little corner of LA (see discussion on "valleys" as in the San Fernando Valley, the Conejo Valley, etc. - an essential aspect of understanding this sprawling mass of humanity) is the most unpleasant of roads. There doesn't seem to be a time of day when it isn't backed. And certain of its intersections with other "the's" like the 405/101 interchange or the 405/10 interchange can give fear and trepedation to the most stout-hearted of men (or women)

Certainly there is some alien race willing to swope down and do a random sampling of drivers - just so long as it's no one I know.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

No, Even Less Inspired

Long freakin day. Left Motherrocker's a 6:15 AM (that's up at 5:20) to catch 8 AM flight to LA so I can make 11:20 LA lunch. Mercifully no one was next to me. I had used some points to upgrade. Dozed once or twice on the flight. I'm feelin' better after the bout with the crud yesterday.

One nice point was I left Chicago with a inch of snow on the ground and was having meetings outside in the 70 degree warmth in LA.

My last meeting was in Century City which for you folks not initiated is in the most inconvenient place to get in and out of in the general LA area. Plus my LA partner, Mr. H lives in Thousand Oaks which is WAY WAY out west. If he lives in Thousand Oaks, I'm sure his house is at Oak #999.

Oops Mr. H just came home and we're on to our favorite sushi guy Steve.

Views from the Red Carpet Room (or USAir Club) as appropriate

7 AM in the club waiting for my flight to LA. Took two cups of coffee to figure out AinA's golden rule reference 30 minutes ago. I someone is stalking me it sounds like they're a sorry stalker. Seems like there'd be better targets.

Got sick yesterday and dragged around Chicago with a mild fever. Fortunately my late meeting canceled and got to motherrocker's at 5 PM in time for the grandchild 2nd birthday festivities. I'd give it a 9.5 on the incredibly cuteness scale.

Slept on the couch at motherrocker and went to bed early and seem to have pretty much recovered.

Man this is not a very interesting post. See my dull life. Read about my dull life. Delete this blog from favorites.

Hopefully I'll be more inspired tonight in LA

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Credit Where Credit is Due

When would think reading the recent comment from Alexis in Amsterdam, that total credit for the fearsome visage of de-Intimdator was her creation. Actually the history is more complicated.

The original image was a candid shot taken some time in the 80's by Wife. The motivation has been lost in history but if you can imagine raising a household with motherrocker, Pulisha, and Alexis in Amsterdam as being some sort of 50's family sitcom, you would be wrong. I think the Osbournes would have been closer. Hence any slightly deviante behavior I my part is totally understandable.

This image would have safetly rested in anonymity amongst the thousands of other family pictures except for (now we get to the A in A part) Alexis going to France as a junior in high school as part of a Rotary Club program. A student was supposed to bring pictures of the family. And which picture did AinA bring? Of course the one with the celery in the nose. This was evidently the cause of much mirth among French Rotarians.

Moving forward to the present, I had enlisted the aid of motherrocker and her husband Harvey Finkelstein in getting me into the blogosphere. We were in Chicago when this happened and the original picture was not available. Not wanting to wait because I anticipated problems getting the picture uploaded (I have trouble with any technology more complicated than a stone axe), I enlisted the aid of Wife and motherrocker. The final picture was selected was actually taken by Wife...So don't try and deny your complicity! And it was added to the blog with the assistance of Harvey.

The record is now clear.

Monday, March 5, 2007

What Do You Call Partners that Aren't Partners

There is a legal definition of a partner and it implies a specific business structure known as a partnership (duh). At The Podolny Group everyone works with us as a sub-contractor and is an independent business person. However, we do present ourselves to the world as a unified organization.

So what do I call my co-workers? Associates? Sounds to much like Wal-Mart. Colleagues? Sounds too informal.

My personal favorite would be something like 3 of 5, Terciary adjunct of Uni-Matrix 1.

Aliens! Industrial Espionage! - no just young goats

Earlier I related the mystery of our garbage. Cans and bags disappearing into thin air without a trace. This led to all kinds of conspiracy theories. People were going through our bags of berry bush clippings in order to figure out Podolny Group secrets via the angle of the pruning cuts. Unfortunate wife talked to our trusty neighbor who while walking their dogs found our garbage can (or one just like it) a block and half away. It seems that some kids were taking them for kicks. Oh and the neighbor had picked up the bags too the night before we left.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Now This is Good Eats!

Having just ranted about the dire dining prospects in Albuquerque, I have to rave about the latest meal we had in Chicago. Daughter Mother Rocker goes out of her way to find new and intriguing dining experiences whenever I'm in Chicago and willing to pay. This time we (MR, husband, and my beloved wife) went to a place called Scylla (

It was great. The food was wonderfully creative but not over the top. I have a tendancy towards the traditional. This food was inventive but all the combinations worked. You can go to the web site to see the menu. All those fruity and acidic touches were light accents and complimented the food. The prices were unbelievably moderate. Who ever heard of a fine dining establishment delivering coffee after the meal for $2! I even ordered dessert, some ricotta fritters that were like little puffs of air and I'm not a dessert person.

Go to this place before it's discovered and the chef moves to a bigger place where she'll have to charge standard prices.

Yet Another Example of Albuquerque, The Culinary Desert

Albuquerque is high desert - 5-6,000 feet in altitude and only 10 inches average of rain a year. It is also a culinary desert. I stopped years ago going out for dinner because of my consistent disappointments with both food and service especially considering the high prices.

Recently a local restauranteur spent has spent a whole bunch of money revising a former 50's diner themed location to be a high end, California wine themed locale. A number of people I know went there and made positive comments (that should have been the first danger sign). It's really close to where we live, the first close high end place. So we decide to give it a try.

We went on a Sunday night. They're in the shakedown period prior to the "official" grand opening. So we need to cut them some slack. I read some good things about the bar and decided to go early before our reservation to have a drink. We arrive and tell the hostess we're in advance of our reservation and will be in the bar when our time comes around.

The bar decor is very austere. High ceilings black tables with stone walls and floor, a very cold environment. G and I got gimlets which are seem all lime juice and no gin. The tables have a bizare dimensions so you seem to be twice as far away from your company as you should be.

Our reservation time comes and goes so we decide we'd better get over to the restaurant side but I can't get the cocktail waitress to notice us. I mean there are two other parties in the bar besides ourselves, she's obviously slammed.

Then we go to the hostess who since we've been gone for 40 minutes doesn't remember that we've been there and asks us if we have a reservation. Dinner with the exception of a couple of appetizers is non-descript. Two had tasteless beef, and two had overcooked, tough poultry. At least the wine was good, a Pinot Noir from Oregon.

Oh well, back to eating in Chicago and LA

Crop Circles? Passe - Try Garbage Cans

Wife and I are getting ready on Thursday night because we are visiting our daughter, Mother Rocker in Chicago. Wife (G) is getting the trash together and concerned because she had pruned Berry Lane and thought the garbage can wouldn't take too much more. She goes out, comes back with a shocked look on her face.

"Did you do something with our garbage can?"

"Why no I didn't"

I went out and where are can normally is now a pristine spot accept for the two bags of trash G had put out in frustration. We called our neighbor because we had asked them to take the can out on Sunday and thought they might have brought it to their house early. No, other than being insulted that we would think they were trash theives, they had not taken our garbage can.

Next morning we were leaving early (6 AM) to go to the airport. G remembers the bags of trash she has left out and realizes that's not a good idea and goes to bring them in. Except they're gone too! (background music from the Twighlight Zone).

Is someone able to do identity theft by reading the angles of berry bush prunings? Are they taping together the shredded credit card applications? Are their telltale DNA traces on the open cans of Swanson Chicken Broth?

Stay tuned

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Time to be Political

I am not a political creature. Even though I started with a degree in Political Science, I soon found that the activity of politics was totally not to my liking. But recently an event has taken place that is going to push me into the arena.

The State of New Mexico has evidently in its supreme wisdom decided that all airlines coming into and out of the state must have a liquor license in order to sell or serve alcohol on planes. The airlines have responded by saying up yours and aren't serving alcohol on any of these flights. Gloria tells me this decision on the part of the state derives from an incident where a person was drunk coming off an airplane and in an accident killing some one. I haven't verified this.

I am against drunk driving. New Mexico is notorious for its drunk driving problem and the total unwillingness of anyone in authority to really get serious about it. We have at least two to three incidents a year of people driving the wrong way on the interstate and killing people! And this has been going on for as long as we've been in the state (13 years).

And has anything been done to change this. Nope/nada. But let's pass a law or a new regulation affecting thousands of air travelers most of whom aren't even going to be on New Mexico roads. I don't drink that often on planes. But I travel at least 2-3 times a month and really look forward to a drink after a hard business trip.

Stay tuned, because I'm going to research what actually took place to cause this and if it is as I expect some political gesture I may need to become involved. Watch for scenes of de-Intimidator being dragged from the airport for unauthorized political activity

In the Beginning

Last weekend my wife and I had her brother and his wife at our place for a long weekend. They've been in the process of unpacking after moving into a new house (a topic which justifies an entire book) and after six months were ready for a rest.

During dinner one night wife asks her brother if he was intimidated by me when we were young and had first met. It seemed that this came out of the blue but later I found that wife had been discussing the topic with sister-in-law. Afterwards this brought on memories of my father, the original intimidator (as all in our family can attest) and experiences when I was coaching girls soccer. Though I have never thought of myself as intimidating, perceptions are a part of reality.

The whole intimidating thing would be a lot more fun if we lived in Medival times