Thursday, December 31, 2009
Hoping for pictures tonight of Lasagna making with Agent W and Gaius Derf.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
I think the fact that three of them were cooking related and I'm not picture enabled at the moment had a lot to do with it.
But I'm going out to get a new phone tomorrow so hopefully that problem will be resolved.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
That would be New Mexico where we are having snow today. People think of us as Phoenix but we are a lot higher in altitude. The further north you get the more mountainous it is and the more likely to have snow.
But at least here in Albuquerque we have a pretty good attitude toward. We just stay inside until it melts. Usually that's within 4 to 6 hours of the end of a storm. I'm glad no one is flying in to see us today.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
What I did not find was any, and I mean any, way of communicating with them directly. No phone number, email contact, help inquiry form, nothing, nada.
So I spent an hour or so researching new smart phones.
In spite of my having truly put in the effort to try and fix this problem, I'm going to have to punt and get a new device.
Friday, December 18, 2009
But I can't
Because I still can't get my phone to sync with my computer. Today, I finally got time to call T-Mobile. Great guy (thanks Freddie). We tried a bunch of stuff. He confirmed a bunch of stuff I did earlier was correct. The net...it's not my synching software and its not the device. It has to be the Windows Mobile software on the phone. So I need to go to Microsoft and see if I can find the answer there.
Mike in St. Louis, why aren't you in my neighborhood to fix my IT problems? I'd cook for you and ply you with good wine.
Or maybe the dark side will take over and I'll just by another device (noooooooooo)
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
What were the circumstances?
I am just short or meeting my quota for frequent flier status on both of the airlines I fly on regularly. DREADFUL! To combat this, I organized a few days of intense flying. Today after meetings in the morning I did a flight and back from Albuquerque to Denver. That only took the afternoon. And now I'm catching a flight to Monterey California where I will do a meeting before coming back on Thu. And I will cap it off with jog back and forth to Phoenix on Sunday. All requirements taken care of.
So both the flights I'm on to and from Denver are really, really hot. I need to grab a bite to eat in Albuquerque and get a sandwich with a beer. Nice big frosty beer. It's been a long day (first meeting started at 7). Hot airplane cabins filled with people. Man that beer (Newcastle for those who care) was GOOOOD!
Was it better than any other Newcastle I've ever had? Don't know but it was great today.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
On top of that my cell phone will no longer connect to my computer so I can download pictures. There goes all the cooking demos with pictures which is my usual means of dealing with blog block (picture is worth a thousand words right!). This is too bad because I've done some interesting cooking recently.
Hopefully, as we move into the holiday weeks, I will have a bit more time.
Sunday, December 6, 2009
IT'S ROAD KILL SEASON!
We know this because we got a communique from Agent W that once again Aimee the Huntress has started off the season by putting the Suzuki of Mass Destruction into overdrive with three kills already to her credit! Two possums and chipmunk to date.
The de-I Roadkill Challenge gives all of you who wish to turn your autos into vehicles of extinction a chance to confirm our position as the apex predator in the ecosystem (at least until we extinct ourselves). The Roadkill season goes from November to March. Who ever succeeds in dispatching of the most non-sentient life forms in the course of their normal driving patterns (no off road driving executions are accepted) is the winner.
The reward for the winner is a dinner based entirely on the kills of the winner. Last year we feasted on venison, raccoon stew, and squirrel pie.
Ladies and Gentlemen - start your engines.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Friday, November 27, 2009
I have been a very good guy this year. I sleep on the sofa when Wife tells me I'm snoring. I traveled to Chicago to cook Thanksgiving dinner for Motherrocker. I performed baby bed duties for newborn A and even changed one diaper. I regularly give my friends lots of alcohol to drink.
I would like 4 ounces of real Russian mallasol beluga caviar, one each large white and black truffle, a real French goose fois gras and a bottle of vintage champagne at least 20 years old.
I know this may be a bit on the extravagant side but I've never written before so I assume my account with accrued interest is pretty substantial.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Then today I had six meetings. Got home at 6 PM. Got the mail, did the accounting. Now I'm getting packed so I can catch my 7:15 flight to Chicago tomorrow.
Psst don't tell Motherrocker but I'm really there under cover and on Saturday am going to spring her and repatriate her back to New Mexico.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
(UConn beat Notre Dame in football last night)
...fight, fight Connecticut...
(In South Bend!)
...its victory let's go...
(Charlie Weis at the end of the game looks like he's walking to the guillotine)
...Connecticut UConn Huskies...
(How come I don't know any Notre Dame graduates?0
...victory again for the white and blue...
(If you know any you'd like to kick while they're down just send their emails to me)
...so GO, GO, GO, GO Connecticut, Connecticut U!
Friday, November 20, 2009
I'm just happy to be of help and have a good relationship which as I've written numerous times in the past was never to be expected earlier in life.
Monday, November 16, 2009
I was left out in the cold. My two son-in-laws have pretty much left me out in the cold. They're responsible. Good parents. Good husbands. Deal with life's challenges. What a bore. How I suppose to join the bitch fest?
Totally irresponsible if you ask me.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Also in the news youngest daughter AinA is now engaged and scheduled to be wed in September...in France! All other travel this year has been canceled and attentions refocused.
AinA posted a link to this article from the New York Times. This is absolutely mandatory reading if you are married or going to be married.
Friday, November 13, 2009
Hope this is not a harbinger of the rest of the travel agenda.
Today - one day trip to Southern California (leave at 5 AM come home about Midnight)
Sunday - On to Chicago
Wed - To Connecticut
Sunday - Back to Albuquerque
Tue - Back to Chicago
Sat - Back to Albuquerque
De-I, keeping the air travel system solvent.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
I've also written about how important holding a high frequent flier status is for ensuring more comfort and especially protecting you when things go wrong with the air travel system (I know that's a shocker that things ever go wrong with the air travel system).
So a few weeks ago I was reviewing my statements on my primary carriers, United and USAir and I find out I'm up shits creek! I'm not even close to getting my status again. All the cost cutting during the first part of the year has come back to haunt me. What am I going to do.
USAir turns out to not be such a hard one. They're hurting and they need their loyal passengers so they have a promo that allows me to make 3 flights and I get enough segments to keep me in the program.
United is the bigger issue. It's my carrier for all my long trips. And we use those miles for all our big vacations. The business class seats we got to New Zealand were worth many, many, many thousands of dollars. So I don't want to lose this but I'm way short on segments and over 10 thousand miles short on actual miles (you usually can qualify be hitting a target of either segments or miles).
So my brain is working. How can I arrange a trip where I pack in 10 thousand miles of travel in a few days and not cost me a fortune.
I start by researching going from Albuquerque to the West Coast to the East Coast and back. Not enough miles. The US is all that big. I'd have to go West, East, West and back or something like that. Then I'd have to start paying for a place to stay a couple of nights. And all those flights - what if I hit bad weather?
Next I looked at flying to Hawaii. I could crash with my brother there. But it was pretty pricey and I still didn't get enough miles.
Then I thought about going to Amsterdam and crashing with daughter AinA. I found I could get some really good prices - around $900 bucks. Of course the thought of flying 20+ hours both way in coach with a day off in between wasn't very attractive but what the hey, it would be a small sacrifice to remain among the ranks of the exalted and get those miles for our next travel extravaganza.
I mention my plan to Wife who is very good at doing her eye rolling and deep sighing internally. She says, "Have you called the airline? Maybe there is way for you to buy the miles you need and then you wouldn't have to kill yourself like this."
I doubt this but decide it can't hurt. I call the United. United may be a dysfunctional company but almost all the agents serving their frequent fliers tend to be really pleasant, good, and helpful. The agent I get confirms that you cannot buy miles. We're having a very pleasant conversation. She confirms that I'm no more nutty than most of the frequent fliers and it is common for us to be scrambling at the end of the year.
She checks my account and tells me that I've missed some promotion they started in September that gives double mile credit from 9/15 5o 12/15. She puts me on the promotion and tells me it will be retroactive. We calculate the mile I've flow to date plus the miles I'm scheduled to fly and BINGO I'm 55o miles over the 50K target. How cool is that. Thanks Wife.
It would have been nice to see AinA and here husband to be though.
Saturday, November 7, 2009
This means a lot of time alone for me. And that's OK. Because it has come to my awareness in recent weeks that I really like being alone. With all the travel I've done over the decades for business by myself, I really got used to it. And as I've gotten older my desires for quiet and solitude have increased.
I never really thought about this too much until few weeks ago when I was having a business lunch with two young lawyers. They were talking about going to Las Vegas and the games they like playing there. When they asked me what I liked, I had to tell them that I don't like Las Vegas because I can't stand all the noise and the people. And I mentioned that I'm pretty much a hermit and love being alone. I might as well said I was cannibal. People are social creatures. Look at all the people that love going to parties, or bars, or shows, or sporting events. I avoid them all. Too many people.
Is it really all that odd? I suppose so.
Monday, November 2, 2009
I played around with it for the first time with a pork shoulder (Boston Butt) last week and got good results. This week I attempted a chicken and a vegetable dish.
Rub with your spice mixture.
Note I've turned the bird upside down.
It will give off fluid and I want the white meat that dries out to stay moist.
Add a little bit of fluid...not much at all. I used white wine.
Cook in a 285 degree oven...that's right 285
The chicken only took 3 hours. My pork roast which was about 4 pounds took 6 hours.
Let the chicken cool in the fluid (breast moisturizing)
Then take it out and let it cool.
(I'm not sure this part was necessary but I was making it ahead of time)
Then cut into pieces.
I nuked the pieces for three minutes just to bring them up to heat.
I put the pieces, skin side up, in a pan that could take high heat.
That's heavy duty aluminum foil with plenty of Pam - No cleaning when done!
Finish the cooking at 500 degrees for about 20 minutes until the skin is good and crisp!
Leeks have a lot of sand in them so you clean them like the chard I explained last time.
Put them in water, agitate, the lift out of water into strainer. Repeat until water left no longer shows sand.
The leeks which were very tough came out soft and wonderful.
Don't waste those giblets!
Put them in with the leftover canned chicken stock.
Simmer for an hour or so and you have the base for a sauce.
This sauce was just the stock from the giblets, a little of the juice from chicken cooking reduced with a little sherry and half & half.
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
The first was a fish pate and the second was a gratin of swiss chard.
This is all about making use of what you have hanging around because I made it from with the leftover fish I had from a whole baked fish with a parsley garlic oil that I made for Wife the night before.
Anyone who made some simple fish fillets and had leftovers could do the same thing (though probably not if they were battered).
I didn't have quite enough fish so I cooked up some frozen shrimp with the same olive oil, garlic and parsley flavoring and then added the leftover fish to meld the flavors.
GRATIN OF SWISS CHARD
I like making mini portions of things to serve as a first course because it allows for portion control. I like working with vegetables because you can be lighter and save room for the main course. I especially like Swiss Chard. It has a lot of positives of spinach with less of the negatives. It's a bit firmer. Less bitter.
Processing any of the greens is a bit of a pain.
Monday, October 26, 2009
We're back home now and into our day-to-day life. Always tough to get back to real life when you've had a great vacation right?
But as I have been going around town here in Albuquerque, New Mexico, I've looked at our mountains, our vistas, our beautiful clear blue skies, our fantastic weather. And I've looked at the beautiful house we created for ourselves. And I came to this realization. Yes there are beautiful, beautiful places out there like New Zealand. And yes there are lots of lovely, wonderful houses with views and everything out there.
But every day I actually live in one of those beautiful places and get to live out my daily life in it. I live in one of those beautiful houses with vistas and views and everything.
How cool is that?
How wonderfully fortunate am I?
And I feel very grateful indeed.
Friday, October 23, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
ROLE DESCRIPTION OF THE CAMERA SHERPA
Purpose of the Camera Sherpa is:
To facilitate the photographers desire to achieve their true artistic goals by fulfilling the mundane activities a photographer needs done to physically take pictures
such that the photographer overcomes obstacles inherent to any photographic effort that are preventing them from achieving their true personal goals,
so that the photographer is able to accomplish their artistic goals and a satisfied photographic experience results.
Camera Sherpa Functions:
- Be responsible for the transport of all camera gear whether my mechanical device or by bodily transport
- Assist in the setting up and take down of gear as appropriate
- Be prepared to protect photographer and equipment from elements
- Provide food and shelter for the photographer
- Provide reconnaissance for all potential places to ‘pull of the road’ in order to ‘catch the shot’
- Research all meteorological information so the photographer can adjust the itinerary as appropriate to have the best light
- Be aware and make suggestions of potential shots – keeping in mind your position and never forgetting who is the artist
Three Weeks in New Zealand Seen Through the Photographer
Sunday, October 11, 2009
We started with seafood appetizers - for once modest sized portions appropriate for just tempting the appetite. I went with their version of small eels which is the whitebait I've tried in omelets twice before. Wife does garlic shrimp. They do the whitebait in the same manner. The shrimp were excellent. I'm not sure what the huge uproar is over whitebait. Just doesn't seem to have much flavor to me.
Then we went on to the main courses. Wife had a filet of hake. It was very good but after our meal at Fleur's Place it was just a little less. The lamb I had was a whole roasted shoulder. It was HUGE...and DELICIOUS!
It was very different from other lamb preparations. Since I live safely a hemisphere away, he gave me the recipe. You cook the lamb at a low temperature with a few herbs, garlic, olive oil and white wine for a long time - 5 hours or so. Then you finish it in a 500 degree oven for about 20 minutes to give it an extremely crispy crust. The result is a lamb that is tender like a pot roast surrounded by a crispy exterior. It was addictive.
Filet 'o' Hake
Because of driving and our different dishes we were drinking wine by the glass. For the lamb our waiter told me to leave the selection to him. He chose a syrah from Hawkes Bay that had a great nose - almost like a cabernet - but that characteristic dryness I've come to enjoy with New Zealand wines.
It was a great end to our dining in New Zealand.