Monday, October 20, 2008

Larry King Style

  • Found the UA line vs USC is +15, that is very enticing. I'm officially pretend betting 100 virtual dollars. My concerns are numerous but I'll be at the sold out homecoming game screaming my head off as we try to keep a streak of homecoming upsests alive against a top 10 oppenent for first place (?!?!?) in the Pac 10 with my sonand I defy you to name a better thing than that.

    1. Actually 1-25 are variations on: RUN DEFENSE which means time of posession.
    26. Grigsby getting back his confidence
    27. Remembering to throw the ball to Gronkowski on every play.
    28. Jordan Hill foul trouble, I know this isn't football as such but I'm getting an early jump on worrying about this.
  • If you are a nerd you should look at xkcd every day, if you are not a nerd you should still look at it and will probably appreciate 50%.
  • I'm new to the Facebook and I am fascinated by many things but today's headscratcher is the status update feature. The following from a married couple who as far as I can recall do live in the same house...together, you'll notice I cleverly replaced their names with pronouns (or something).

    Husband is finished putting up Halloween decorations.
    11 hours ago

    Wife: at 9:34pm October 19
    and you did a fantastic job :)

    at 9:37pm October 19
    Thanks :)

  • Old people sometimes embarrass themselves through their own bad ideas and sometimes by listening to people around them. I'm glad to know Lute isn't the craziest coach in bball right now. Click the pictures for links and the context is that this is Midnight Madness celebrating the 1979 Final Four run.

  • I'd like to celebrate our 1997 National Championship run with a throwback day where DJ's on Campbell would reopen, wing guy would make me wings, beer guy would pour me beer, my order would be hopelessly screwed up and I could watch the most exciting 3 nights of basketball of all time with good friends.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

El Tour Training Ride #1 9-28-08

Did the El Tour training ride with Chill and GABA on Sunday. I had never ridden in a pack before and it took some getting used to. A big upside was in always having someone to chase and set pace from. I still believe that drafting works but can in no way prove it. If I ride on someone's wheel I spend more time thinking about not crashing into them than riding.

We rode with some people Chill knew and I did what I could to keep up but the Craycroft hill climb dropped me badly. I am still learning about optimum gears to use and I think


Up at 5 to have enough time to get dressed and have time for a bit of food. I take a silly amount of stuff on bike rides but I don't think there is any I would leave behind. Before I ate I weighed in at 257 (252 on the return).

I'm guessing I had about 280 calories right at an hour before exercise consisting of a small bagel and 3/4 cup of yogurt. I also probably had half a bike bottle (11 oz ish) during the morning.

I took a Camelpack with about 50 ounces of water of which I took in about 34 ounces during the ride. I had an extra 24 oz bottle just in case but didn't touch it.

I figured 3 hours for the ride (40 miles ~15 mph with some reserve) is 7.5 scoops of Perpetuem (per the chart for a @ 250 lbs. dude) and filled the bottle with about 10 oz. of water. It combined pretty well as long as I shook it up well before drinking it. I took a gulp about every 15 minutes and chased it with water. The taste was fine but the texture was a little gross. Chasing people faster than me throughout the morning was hard work but I never felt out of gas. I can compare this against the first time I went ~40 miles and took 0 calories during (yes, I am a moron) the ride and bonked badly at the end.

I'm happy with the overall pace I rode and definetly happy with the gear I brought in terms of water and fuel. In fact another 40 miles I could definetly do without the camelback and instead just fill the bottle at the turnaround point.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Who is the famous-est?

Today I had luch with James van der Beek. He was very polite and we had a brief conversation about an available table. So this summer I've bumped into 2 famous people (see the Morgan-freaking-Spurlock episode from Vegas) and im wondering who is the most famous. JVB has the teen thing from the Dawson Creek but MS had a movie about big macs. MS is certainly better known to me but I assume JVB would famouser. I had no intrest in asking for an autograph so I took a sneaky phone pic from a mile away so there would be n doubt this happened.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

NYC 2008 Day 4

Our last full day in the city and we made it a big one.

Breakfast in the hotel and then took 2 trains to the American Museum of Natural History. We were joined on the train by some kids from a YMCA day camp and their counselors. The counselors (teenagers themselves) kept constantly counting to make sure they had the right number of kids. I think they counted Jackson in there a few times causing some head scratching at having too many. I was surprised that the back door to the museum (cool mosaics)was accessible directly from the subway. We missed seeing the big impressive lobby until the end when we went out that way. In the lobby is a dinosaur with a neck too long to ever have been real. I'm beginning to wonder about this whole dinosaur thing honestly. Maybe the christians are right after all.

The museum is pretty old school and if you've seen Night at the Museum you get the idea in general. All of the animal stuff was very cool but the geology section is totally not interesting, rocks just don't move me. The science\space area was really great and we watched a show about things crashing into the Earth narrated by Robert Redford. I'm a sort of jaded entertainment consumer but this really blew me away. The round theater experience was totally immersive and everyone loved it.

For lunch we caught a train down to Katz deli which is about 700 kinds of awesome. Un-awesome is the fact that 'When Harry Met Sally' was filmed here and they have a big sign indicating where Sally sat to ENJOY her sandwich. We followed the general advice here (scroll down to Lower Eastside Excursion) and were made happy. The counters really are 5 deep and it wasn't even busy apparently. They have a system to keep gawkers out where you get a ticket upon entry and they total up your purchases on that ticket as you order stuff. After eating you are then funneled out through the payment chute and have to present the ticket to pay. I think it was like $10 if you had a blank ticket. Its one of those funny situations where they don't have a good sign explaining the system but instead pay a dude to sit on a stool by the door and repeat the same thing over and over and over all day long.

The food was awesome, the pastrami just melted in the mouth and the pickles were killer. Tina almost didn't get pastrami but after the cutter gave us a taste she was hooked. There are 4 or 5 cutters, each with his own line. You elbow your way to the front and make your order. It was kind of expensive but 3 sandwiches plus pickles were way more than our team could eat.

Down the street for the egg cream mentioned in the linked post above. I was glad we tried it but it was underwhelming. I don't drink alot of straight milk but the kids and Tina do and none of us loved this. I'm glad we tried it because its allegedly very New York-y.

Caught a cab to get us back to the train station, it was pretty hot and the kids were beginning to wilt. Unfortunately I again made the mistake of assuming that all trains run both directions. Sometimes you can take a certain train going one way but not take it back the other from a given stop. We had to fudge a bit to get back but eventually got to the museum to make it through the Horse exhibit. It was fine but I'm tired of museums for a while now.

Across the street from the museum was Central Park. We had skirted it previously but now decided to cruise through, get some ice cream and generally hang out. We wound up by The Lawn (link) where people were being very picturesque playing frisbee, softball etc. I think we stayed about an hour just lounging under a tree cooling off and napping. Ok, I was the only one napping, the kids were digging something and playing with the dogs that people were walking. On the way out we watched some pickup basketball on an outdoor court. I expected pickup ball to be like amazing here but it was totally a game I could have played in and that made me irrationally happy. I think I mentioned this to Tina about 400 times over the course of the next 2 hours.

A cab over to Anthony Bourdain's place Les Halles. This was in part driven by the boy's request to go some place 'fancy where they have smaller sizes and more presentation'. I'm thinking he might be a chef someday.

Its a nice place, dimly lit with dark wood, kinda hip but not overly anything really. Background music was present but not too loud and of particularly good quality. As if someone with generally good taste brought in their ipod and hooked it up on random play.

Brie topped with honey & cracked black pepper, roasted and served on croutons
Snails in garlic butter
Assiette de Charcutailles ( you know, the one with various meats)

Steak, Frites, Salad
Moroccan lamb sausage, french fries, salad

There were alot and they were good. I made no notes on this because my daughter ate it all before I had a chance to react.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

NYC 2008 - Day 3

Wednesday July 2

Still kind of beat from the prior night's adventure we slept in a little and so did not beat the rush to breakfast and had a short wait. Next up was the M&M store which we promised the kids we'd get to after they spent 2 nights freaking out over while watching the billboard from our window. Its an awful place. Everything costs alot, they play terrible, saccharine pop music at jet engine decibel levels. We spent money, took pictures and got M&Ms. I don't really want to talk about it any more.

From there we headed uptown to the Met stopping on the way for a bit of baked stuff and coffee in place of lunch. The upper east side looks like it does on tv, rich people with tiny dogs in apartments with doormen.

The Met is an impressively large place and a total maze inside. We spent a little time going through some egyptian stuff at the beginning and then headed for the Arms/Armor (what did you think the 9 year old boy would pick?). The collections are documented pretty well and the scope of what they have is really impressive. Just to name a few:pre-Crusader stuff, Renaissance European, some non-European (Indian, Tibetan and Japanese in particular), amazing wheelock/flintlock, combo sword/knife guns and some fully decked out out armored horses sporting armored knights with lances. It was all very amazing but there was a group of Germans there and somehow hearing German spoken in the context of military weaponry gives me pause.

From there we decided to spend some time (turned out to be all the rest of the time) in the modern art sections. I bet we saw 15% of the whole place in the 5 hours we were there.

We started up on the roof where they had some Jeff Koons stuff. I'd seen a thing about him so am vaguely aware of what he's about. I was initially kind of dismissive (my art appreciation-fu is not strong) but hes kinda growing on me.

Both pieces are pretty big and at first its just a big balloon dog...but up close when you really look at it, its an amazing piece of craftsmanship. I'll have to think some more about what I think a giant ballon dog 'means' but if nothing else its easy to enjoy this on the level of an interesting thing made awesomely.

From there we went down into the museum proper and cruised around. I made scribbly notes in the margin of my crossword and found images of some of what I liked below.

Susan Rothenburg - Galisteo Creek

Chuck Close- Mark

Must be seen to really get the full value. It seems pixelated here but in person looks like a photograph. Amazing

Kusama - B. 62

A red painting that looked like dragon scales, can't find it online

David Smith - Beca

Up close the etched wavy lines seemed 3D and in motion

Bridget Riley - Blaze 1


Joel Shapiro - (didn't catch the name on this)

Sophia loved this one

Sol Levitt 13/3

Picture does not do it justice. The shadows and light made this simple set of boxes totally amazing. I probably wandered around this one almost as long as the Kapoor one.

Marco Reille - The Battle

Can't find it online, it was on the wall next to Pollock (who I'll freely admit to having no use for) and I really want to see it again. It reminded me of 'the scream' but like 100 of that guy all sort of woven together. I'm sure I wrote it down wrong.

Matta - Being With

Tina hated this one because the dudes seem like they are being tortured, which I guess they are. I liked that it had alot of depth (literally I mean) I kept seeing little things further back in the background. I get the torture stuff but I saw it more about a big machine that sort of eats us up.

Jasper Johns - White Flag

Kenneth Noland - Magic Box

Sophia loved this one, can't figure out which it was from him but here is our picture:

Anish Kapoor - Untitled

Kinda hard to explain but here is a picture...sort of. Its like a concave piece of metal made of small scales maybe 1" by 1". standing dead center in front of it bends all the sound from the room around you kind of like you hear it going past you but you are no longer in the room. The scales also reflect strangely so that at most angles you don't see anything but a shine until you find just the point and then its like seeing a fly's eye seeing you. Totally freaking loved this.

Kandinsky - Garden of Love

Chuck Close - Lucas different in person. This is a huge grid where he did a sort of color by numbers deal putting colors into the squares to replicate a photograph. The picture is like 8' tall and frankly terrifying.

Picasso - Girl Asleep at the Table

Dali - Madonna

This is like one of those mall paintings (oh pipe down art guy) where you can get different pictures dpending on how you focus your eyes.

Max Bechman - Beginning

After all this we headed over to Plataforma for dinner. Tina and the kids had never been to a Rodizio so we thought to give it a shot. The place was fine but lost on a little family who aren't big enough to really eat their weight. We had Caipirinha's which were nice. I didn't bother to take any notes, the salad bar was all great and mostly not salad. Most of the meat they brought was between fine and good and we hated the yucca flour salsa combo. It was a nice time but hugely expensive and not at all worth it. If I was 21 I could have eaten enough to pay for all of I am old.

We had a relatively early night and watched Nim's Island which Sophia liked but wasn't very good.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

NYC 2008 - Day 2

Tuesday (July 1)

After a late night we got up late breakfast at the Doubletree. I still have a little status there so we got breakfast for free. It was a nice enough buffet, the fruit was all fresh and the bacon had been cooked in the recent past. There was a sort of short-order cook doing waffles, pancakes, omlettes and fried eggs. He was a great guy and made me good food. I noticed that very few other people tipped him which is a shame since he is making great stuff to order and most of the tourists on line were probably free-rolling breakfast anyway. Jerks.

We had some subway issues...the train doesn't always go where I want it to but the Bangladeshi guy running the newsstand got us on the right line. I should also mention here that I bought my daily new york times from him as I will be trying to complete the puzzle everyday. As you may know from the movie Wordplay or just general nerdliness the puzzles printed in the nyt get harder from Monday to Sunday. I'm pretty good up to Wednesday though Wednesday is not always a sure thing. I have completed 1 Sunday puzzle in my short career but had to look up 2 words to put the last 2 letters in. Anyway I thought it would be soooo special to do the nyt crossword in in ny with an actual nyt paper get it? Monday was no problem and I was cruising on Tuesday but left it on a subway someplace and had to redo the whole thing to finish the last 25%.

We got off the train way, way downtown under Trinity church and walked by the WTC site. You couldn't see much and frankly I don't like going down there anyway. We took a brief trip through Trinity church and the tiny graveyard. Its an amazing place right in the middle of the canyons of skyscrapers. If not for all the dead people it would be as Tina said 'a great place to eat lunch outside every day'.

From there down a few blocks to Battery Park to get the ferry over to the statue. Battery park was full of people doing portraits and selling knick knacks. There were 2 of those silver dudes that stay motionless and then do the robot thing. They were in the full sun and it was hot and humid. Insane.

Fortunately this was one piece we had planned well and Tina had a reserved spot for us on the ferry and statue tour. The other schlubs had to wait in a 1 hour line in the freaking heat. We went through an airport style screening before getting on the boat and then another before going into the statue. You can't take anything bigger than a purse so I had to drop the backpack in the rental locker which was slick because it used fingerprint scans instead of a key to manage access. The security before the statute itself was the airpuff type. All the women wearing skirts/dresses giggled and blushed when the air hit them. Not sure why. Jackson got pulled out of line for having a hackey-sack in his pocket. They were cool about it but it makes me wonder what sort of corrosive chemicals are in what is obviously a chinese import.

If you haven't been to the statue I don't want to spoil it but its not as tall as you think. Not even close. It is still awesome and if you have any sense of history etc. you'll enjoy being there. Just saying it didn't freak me out climbing to the observation deck. Amazing views of Manhattan and NJ and also out the toward the bay where there were dozens of cargo ships lined up. The observation deck is not very wide so everyone is really scrunched together. A nice Aussie family in Harley Davidson t-shirts took a picture for us and we returned the favor. We also met a nice teacher from Miami that travels the world with here little kid (maybe 8) during the off times from school. That is kind of cool but I can't imagine how she affords it. We talked Scandinavia a bit her and the 2 Norwegian high schoolers over her au pare-ing.

Next the ferry takes you over to Ellis island. It was kind of late in the day so we just hit the highlights of the museum. They had some great 3-D graphical representations of demographic data on immigrants and a flag that was people on one side and a flag on the other. We also watched a movie about the immigrant experience narrated by Gene "Hoosiers" Hackman that left most of the audience misty. It's one thing to hear about how hard it was to get here and how great it was to see the statue. Its something else to hear a guy talking about having a life here that is not even possible to dream of back home and how by being here he came to believe that literally anything is possible. Personally I just had some dust in my eyes I think.

The one downside to this long hot part of the trip is the line standing. I know I've said it one million times but walking is for suckers and I can't stand getting herded around like cattle. There is alot of that on this trip but I'm not sure how to avoid it, that said its a requirement that you go.

Back to Battery Park to take the train so far uptown that we are going to leave Manhattan and visit the Bronx. This was a bad idea and I am damn lucky that it didn't end badly. We switched trains at one point and met a really friendly 'spanish' guy. I enquote-ify that because it took us a minute to sort out what he meant by 'spanish' food when he was making recommendations. In NY apparently 'spanish' is someone who speaks spanish and eats food from Puerto Rico. Once we had that sorted out he recommended a couple of places and warned me to be careful in the neighborhood I was venturing into. He also told me not to drink too much water, recent scienctifical (sic) thinking is that 8 cups is too much and it swells your internal organs or something. Not sure how to evaluate this so consider yourself on notice.

When we got off the train at 182nd and Gran Councourse it quickly became apparent that we would be taking a stroll through the hood to get to dinner. I encourage you to take a street view of the walk. It was fascinating. I'm pretty sure we saw 3 junkies freshly fixed staggering around. There were cops standing in pairs on several corners and everywhere were people sitting on stoops staring at the well-dressed (we were going to dinner after all) obvious tourists stomping around. No one hassled us we just got weird looks. Several times a black car would slow menacingly near us and honk his horn twice. I later found out these were gypsy cabs that could have saved us a 1 mile walk through the heat but no regrets of course. The first set of crazies we encountered were sitting outside what was a clearly labeled halfway house. These 5 women had probably 6 teeth between them and were caring on an animated screaming match prominently featuring the f-word. Did I mention I have my 2 kids (9 and 5) on this walk with me? no? Yeah...moving on. About 2 blocks away just when we though we'd made it a reallllllllly stoned/drunk guy took up station on the port wak and followed without talking for half a block. Finally I turned and said hello and accepted his offer to shake hands (obviously not a great move but keeping him civil seemed wise) and he eventually continued muttering and drifted away.

We made it to Roberto's finally and it was exactly what I wanted. Roberto (I later discovered) was on a cell phone in check chef pants and black jacket screaming in engtalish (english+italian+spanish) at what seemed to be a cook that didn't show up for work. It was a caricturare of an italian guy screaming at someone with the cigarette pasted on the lower lip just flailling wildly to keep the non phone hand free to make that gesture (upturned palm, fingers together like you were balancing an egg) for em-a-phas-a-sis. Inside it was more upscale than a red-check tablecloth red-sauce place (which I do like and would like to have found a good example of but didn't) but not overdone. It was kept dark and seemed to be filled with neighborhood types because many at the tables seemed to know each other. Roberto made the rounds throughout the night and sat down with several tables to chat. The hostess was a college senior, very cute and friendly who before we left made us a list of places to have lunch near the park the following day. Other than the people selling tickets on trains who were universally jerks we found the people we talked to to be incredibly friendly and hospitable. NYC gets a bad rap imo.

We got a table in the back and started with the Calamari e gamberi alla griglia ( Grilled calamari and shrimp served over a mesclun salad and drizzled with virgin olive oil and lemon) which the waiter divided up from the common plate he brought out. I don't prefer this method when eating with the kids but I appreciate that its their style and its fine. The calamari was really excellent, very fresh with just a hint of oil and lemon. None of the rubbery texture you get sometimes and I had to arm wrestle the 5 year old for the little tentacle-y bits. The shrimp were tiny but not overcooked which is easy to do and the salad and dressing was nice and light. A good refreshing start.

For dinner Sophia and Tina got specials and Jackson and I ordered off the menu. I had the
Vitello piccante (Veal scallopine with hot cherry peppers and white wine sauce) which while good was a mistake. I'm a sucker for spice and big flavors and this was just some nice veal in a nice white wine with some pickled cherry peppers on top. It tasted like something i could make and that is fine but I expect a little more from a chef. The dish had no subtletly. There were 20 other things I wanted to get and they all would have been better. I am a jerk.

Jackson had
' Orecchiette con salsiccia e broccoli di rapa (Orecchiette with Italian sausage and broccoli rabe sautéed in garlic and oil)' but they subbed orecchiette for another name I couldn't catch. All the pasta was homemade and this was like orzo kind of but longer. They were very dense and a little flour-y (dumpling-esque?). A plate of that would make you gain 20 pounds. The sausage was very homemade had just a hint of some mild herb flavor that went great with the rabe. Btw, until this trip I had never heard of broccoli rabe but it turns out I loved it. Looking forward to trying the roast pork with broccoli rabe in Philly when we get back. The sauce was very light and not in the way at all. The only criticism of this dish was that this particular pasta was too heavy and kept us from finishing much. I even took some back to the hotel for a midnight snack but was stuffed after about 5 bites.

Tina had foil wrapped pasta
with marscapone, artichoke, tomatoes and onions. I think it had a light kind of pesto and was very tasty.

Sophia had a plate of homemade ravioli stuffed with blue cheese and a sort of asparagus puree which sounded weird (the puree not the cheese) with a cream sage sauce. This was outstanding. The pasta melted in your mouth and the funkiness of the bluecheese went great with the sage-yness of the cream sauce. I didn't really taste much of the puree but I didn't care a bit. We fought for the scraps and licked the plate. We really should have ordered it again.

We had some wine with dinner (I took a pictue with the phone but the phone is now broken) which we liked and I even mixed some with water for the kids which they both liked. It was a super tuscan but thats all I remember. Stupid phone.

For Dessert the girls got
Tiramisu (Light composition of Pavesini biscuits in a coffee liqueur mixture then layered with rich mascarpone and sprinkled with cocoa.) Jackson had Tartufo (Chocolate ice cream envelops a heart of vanilla with chocolate chip sprinkles) and I had the Bricciolata (Specialtv crumb cake made with Amaretto, chocolate chunks, fresh ricotta cheese & sliced almonds served with Hazelnut Gelato). My gelato was silly, it was a top 5 dessert of my life. The crumb cake was also outstanding, moist and delicious.

So as not to take any chances we had the waiter get us a cab to get to the subway stop. The ride back was uneventful except for the drunk guy in a kind of half squat near the door for the first 4 stops. He looked like he was going to poop on the floor but had fallen asleep and somehow perfectly balanced himself so that he didn't even rock with the train. It was very zen. After him we got crazy repeating guy. He got on and began addressing the train though not loudly
saying "whatever, Americans say whatever" over and over again but changing inflection some each time so it sounded like a conversation. He would occasionally riff onto short bridges of "don't follow her she don't love you no more" or "smell of coffee, I like the smell of coffee".

NYC 2008 - Day 1

Monday morning was the first day of vacation for me. We got off to a slow start but eventually returned the car to the Enterprise in some little place that isn't Trenton, NJ but I'll call it Trenton because I am now totally out of patience with the whole township/burrough/city/town/county thing that I may begin to rant.

The friendly man from the car rental place drove us to the train station in the tiny PT cruiser with our 2.5 huge suitcases. I have a good sense of direction but I could not retrace a step of the route he took interchanging between highways, state routes, turnpikes etc. The unhelpful counter lady sold us tickets on the NJ Transit NE Corridor train and we got on a mostly empty train to NY Penn station. Don't get off at Newark Penn Station because you would be in the wrong state and city. Just FYI. We shared the train with some guys who sell weed for a living and they spoke loudly about the same. To prevent the children from listening I made Jackson read a book and I played his Lego Indiana Jones game on the DS.

Arrive in NY and begin to schlep the bags around (gotta say schlep cause thats what people in NYC do in the movies) to find the taxi stand. About 30 seconds into the trip we come across 2 guys screaming obscenities at each other across 2 escalators. I couldn't sort out the root of the argument but there were several suggestions to perform anatomically impossible or at the very least unsanitary acts. Several suggestions. Loudly.

Living out west it still amazes me how many cars can fit across what would be 1 lane. Our cab driver had the magic squeeze button that could suck the sides in to put us between a cab and a bus and was not afraid to use it.

We stayed on the top (43rd) floor of the Doubletree right in the heart of Times Square and it was a zoo at all times. I'd imagine its kind of expensive but we used points so didn't feel the sting. Overall it was a perfect place for us. The suite had a fold out queen sized bed in one room and a separate bedroom for me and Tina. I'm not looking forward to when the kids are slightly bigger and not able to share a bed any longer. Not sure what people do in that case other than getting 2 rooms. The staff was all very friendly and we got 4 of the infamous cookies plus a kid's pack for each kid upon arrival. After check in and cleanup we just did a couple hours of walk about including Rockefeller Center, St. Patrick's, the Atlas statue that I like and heading down for the NY Public Library. From there we hopped trains to Chinatown.

This was my first time in Chinatown and it was really struck by how foreign it was. I literally could have been in another country. I'm making these little walking maps which would be good with a street view but not sure how to mash those together. Anyway I had done some research and decided to go for a place next to the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory for obvious reasons. The walk from the subway was fascinating and we passed a dozen Peking duck shops that on reflection might have been a better play but in any case had display windows chock full of odd looking pieces of fowl/pig. The smell of Chinatown is pretty unique because you have the fishmonger shops with their ice pans draining onto the sidewalk mingling with the bags of trash that are left on the street for pickup ( I assume) nightly. Add to that the produce stands everywhere selling lichis, dragon fruit, coconuts and all manner of strange asian fruits.

We wandered a bit soaking it all in and eventually got to the place. Its now called Shanghai Kitchen and used to be Moon House. There were about 10 tables mostly full and 100% asian. Ours was the only english being spoken so I kinda thought I was in the right place. We started with a communal bowl of hot and sour soup that was not spicy in the least but was exactly the right amount of sour. Delicious. For dinner we got some veggie noodles, Chow Fun noodles with beef, orange chicken, some kind of kung pao variation that featured broccoli stems and was billed as super hot but wasn't very spicy at all. The bill was $30....AFTER a %20 tip. I thought about coming back every day. The food was excellent and our seat near the dumb waiter fascinated the kids (and to no end. I love chow fun and this was the 2nd best I've had. I still love the Crispy Fry in Emeryville but whatever it is they do at the Fry to make the beef so tender and delicious was well replicated at the S. Kitchen. The plate was overall kinda greasy but so flavorful and the beef had maybe a hint of curry. The only thing it was missing was some heat even though I ordered it spicy. Both the chicken dishes used dark meat which is alot more flavorful. The orange chicken had lots of fresh orange slices along with some fried rind, it looked smelled and tasted great. The kung pao was only disappointing in lack of spice. The nuts broccoli and sauce were all outstanding. The veggie noodles were kind of forgettable but what do you expect from food without meat?

Next up was the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory. I'd seen several references to it as a must stop kind of place so we stopped. They had a good selection of standard ice cream and sorbets along with some nice asian flavors. We got lichi, mango, green tea and tangerine plus a couple of shirts for the kids which are pretty fantastic.

We wandered some more and finally got back on the train for home. It was a long day but the kids did a great job trooping all over and I considered it a wild success.

Monday, June 30, 2008

The Neeful Part 3

Saturday (6/28) was a drive into Philadelphia for me to do some sightseeing with the family. Did I mention we have a purple PT cruiser? Its basically the perfect little in town car for my team of 4. We spent the morning at the Franklin Institute which is a very cool hands-on museum for kids. The first part was a Pirates exhibition. This guy actually dug up a pirate ship and found actual booty and its now sitting (the booty not the ship) in a glass case for me to look at, impressive. The rest was pretty standard fare: a gigantic room-sized heart that you can walk through, airplane experiments, awkward teenagers holding plasticized monkey brains out for children to fondle. There was also a cool sports room with a rock wall, virtual soccer goalie training, reaction time tester in a mock drag racer (my best was 12 ms and JB got a 3) and a vertical leap tester. Not to make too big a deal of this but this picture makes it look like I can kind of jump. I'm framing it.

After the museum we navigated over to Jim's Steaks (the Center City location) for my cheese-steak experience. The ended up not having the roasted pork on the menu and its not the kind of place where you ask a-lot of questions (late addition: I am an idiot who cant' read... the roast pork is at Tony Luke's). We waited in the line of about 50 people (we were there at 3 Pm hoping to miss the rush and apparently this was a light volume) for a couple of steaks and a hoagie. You order the steak before the hoagie but lets knock out the hoagie first.

It took forever to make. The guy moved like molasses and since the hoagie is like an afterthought at this place I think put their slowest guy on this station. The rolls they use are great, a little texture on the outside but then soft and fluffy inside perfect for soaking up juice. I think the meat was cappicola, prosciutto and some just boiled ham type thing (imagine Tina's horror). The hot/sweet peppers, salt/pepper, mayo, tomatoes etc. were all great and this would have been a great sandwich if it had not prevented me from eating my cheese-steak for 10 minutes.

For the steak portion you tell the man cooking the steak what you want (see previous post for the lingo), we went with 1 wiz and one provolone. The guy has an impressive volume of food on the griddle at all times and clearly is an experienced pro knocking out steaks at about 10 second intervals each one identically sized and with customized topping combos. You have to tip the man for the pleasure of watching him work. In the back you can see the other guys slicing the meat. There is a regular meat slicer but set to an impossibly thin setting and a kind of basket that catches the molecule-width steak and creates probably 2 lb stacks of meat in slightly offset piles so that Griddle man can scoop a known amount of steak onto the griddle when he needs to refill. Many cows meet their end at this place, I was awed. He keeps a pile of onions and peppers caramelizing right next to the steak and is like a Benihana chef with the metal spatula making a quick chop and scoop move to fill the steak. I could go on for hours about how much I loved standing at this counter watching an awesome thing being made awesomely.

As for the steak itsef this guy really says it all. The chopped texture IMO allows each bite of steak to be fully integrated with wiz and meat sauce. The bread texture is really perfect, holds the juices so that the last quarter of the sandwich kind of makes your head explode with happiness.

I plan to try some others next week when we get back toward Philly but this was pretty damn great and I'm officially putting it on the list of Places That Rock.

On the way back to the car we stopped into a little deli/bakery (Famous 4th), which was an accidental find and turned out to be great coffee (fresh ground) and amazing pastries. They are deservedly famous for the cookies and the rugelach (wow, there alot of ways to spell that I had no idea) was amazing.

After leaving to walk back to the car I noticed a weird guy in the second floor window across the street looking up and down the block with tiny binoculars. The camera was packed so I couldn't get a shot but it seems he is a fixture because on the google street view I'm pretty sure you can see him in the window. From that link go to full screen and look at the rounded corner window on the right. Anyway, he was a creepy dude.

That section of town was pretty funky and interesting, by funky I mean a million tatoo/piercing options and by interesting lots of great looking ethnic restaurants. Could be all tourist setup I guess but I would go back.

Next up is drive over to another foi's house for a home cooked Indian meal. I'm gonna need some time to put together all the notes on the Indian food we are eating, Tina has a notebook with recipes and notes but its in at least 3 languages and I'm not even so good with english.

Before the trip I got Tina a new phone as we are migrating over to AT&T. I wanted something PDA-ish but small for her but that had internal GPS for a backup to the general use of google maps on all our wanderings. The samsung blackjack ii has been a nice little phone. No complaints so far except that GPS kills the battery fairly quickly and couldn't get the satelites through the roof of the PT cruiser most times. Using it to get a fix on location though is great and the Locate Me feature in google maps that works off of cell towers is usually plenty when you are totally lost.

I mention this right now because any machine is only as good as the data we give it. To get to foi's house we pulled up directions 'from here' to 'contact address' and headed out. The problem was that she lives on Forrest drive as opposed to the Forest drive we had stored. The mailman can figure it out as she has gotten mail before but the little phone map sent us to a very nice house with a very nice family who were not at all Tina's and totally refused to make us any Indian dinner. A few miles away we got to the right spot and I at a silly amount of crazy hot food. We had to open all the windows during the cooking process because the kids were starting to choke/wheeze/cry that they couldn't breath for the chili fumes. Good times. After dinner we took the kid's to Friendly's for ice cream which seemed to be a corporate and ghetto mix of Tucson's Austin's. The place was filthy, the waitress sucked, the people at the table next to us were overfed/loud/NJ jackasses eating waffle fries and sundays at 11 PM on a Sat. night plannng their trip to the strip club. Oh and the ice cream wasn't great.

Saturday night and Sunday day was at another uncle's place. He has 2 girls and a boy who have all gotten married in the last year or so. They are all staying together while the 2 new husbands (from India) get all their work stuff setup. We did a short Valley Forge trip in the morning but the oppressive wet heat kept us from touring too far. The re-enacter guy who had all his kit laid out for like a demo was particularly unfriendly. E. Coast people are an odd lot.

From there we were meant to drive back to Newtown, PA for a night of staging before the NYC adventure but we got lost again when I couldn't get to the N. bound lane quick enough to make the PA turnpike and we got stuck in a morass of little country roads that were all under construction and not showing as such on our map. We cursed the phone but really not its fault. We also ran a turnpike payment stop when I got stuck in the Fast pass lane and some jackass tried to kill me when I went to merge to the cash lane. I assume I'll get a bill someday but whatever.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Needful Part 2

Tina and the kids have been spending the days messing around: Monday was berry picking, Tuesday was a kid's museum, Wednesday was the aquarium.

So I didn't work much on Monday (Baker, Mouth, Out) but the rest of the week is pretty much the usual pace. Getting used to the time zone is strange. The account I'm working now is in Denver so MT, AZ is currently on PT (back an hour) and I am currently on ET (Denver +2) so my annoying 7 AM call (AZ time) now starts promptly at 10 AM (ftw!!!1!1). Granted we don't go to bed early but I'm rolling out of bed every morning promptly at 7:45 having a leisurely shower, shave breakfast etc. and am still at my desk 90 minutes before Denver even starts to come online. No one is the wiser unless they check my ST status and see "Working from the Needful".

Dinner is pretty late out here but I don't know if thats just this house or everybody. The sun goes down at like 8:30 and I don't think we've finished dinner before 9:30 even once. I do know that we are always done by 9:45 because that is when we watch the Hindi soap Doli Saja Ke which you can find all over Youtube and is some amazing stuff. Keep your Mexican telenovellas, this stuff is corny like off the charts. My daughter and I speak no Hindi and everyone is too engrossed to explain it to us (and not afraid to shush me and the 5 year old) so we have created our own names for the characters and plot lines for everyone. The music is pretty obvious for the heavies and they do an awesome 'dun dun dun' camera shake deal when some one is shocked to learn the revealing truth about something, or whatever. Great fun.

Tina is filling a notebook with recipes and instructions so she can cook me some Indian food when we get home .........or so she can carry on family traditions or whatever. I am to report back to the foi (thats paternal aunt if you weren't paying attention to the earlier primer) on how well she is feeding me. Did I mention I love it here?

I plan on doing some sightseeing myself in Philly this weekend and having a real cheesesteak experience. There are the famous Geno's and neighboring Pat's (best website) along with some recommendations for Dalessandro's but I'm going to try for Jim's and get a cheesesteak plus pork sandwich (dude, I've been eating at a vegeterian house all week...I'm due). Rick's has a great how to order site and this freaking guy is my hero.

The Needful Part 1

I love maps. I liked paper maps back in the day and now I'm a google map/earth super dork. One day while playing with the maps at my home office I had a burst of inspiration. I work from home and home is just where my internet connection is so home is really wherever there is internet so home is really everywhere and therefore I can work from everywhere. You can't argue the logic so far. I also realized that Tina and the kids are out of school for the summer and its kind of a waste of time to just hang out in Tucson when its 100+ daily. Adding this all up I decided we should go on a huge cross continent road trip. I would break the trip into chunks and drive a few evenings a week. We would stay mostly with family but also use the Hilton points (we do all our family bidness on an Amex card that racks Hilton points) for intermediate stages. Everyone loved the idea (by that I mean my son.....and pretty much just us) so I laid out a rough plan and map including dates and everything. That trip got whittled down to Tina's version which is fly to PA, stay with family for a few weeks in PA and NJ and do some sightseeing in the area (mainly Philly and NYC). I'm ok with baby steps I guess but the big trip is still out there...someday. Anyway this will be my journal of the trip that actually was (scroll down past the trip that might have been).

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TuesdayJul 1
5pmDrive Tucson to LA
ThursdayJul 3
5pmDrive LA to SF
SundayJul 6
12pmDrive SF to NV
MondayJul 7
8amDrive NV to Yellowstone
WednesdayJul 9
1pmDrive Yellowstone to Denver
ThursdayJul 10
8amDrive Denver to Wichita
MondayJul 14
5pmDrive Wichita to St. Louis
TuesdayJul 15
5pmDrive St. Louis to Chicago
ThursdayJul 17
5pmDrive Chicago to Cleveland
FridayJul 18
5pmDrive Cleveland to Pennsylvania
WednesdayJul 23
12pmDrive Norristown to Richmond
ThursdayJul 24
5pmDrive Richmond to Knoxville
FridayJul 25
5pmDrive Richmond to Knoxville
FridayJul 25
5pmDrive Richmond to Knoxville
SaturdayJul 26
8amDrive Knoxville to Atlanta
MondayJul 28
5pmDrive Atlanta to Vicksburg
TuesdayJul 29
5pmVicksburg to Ft. Worth
WednesdayJul 30
5pmDrive Ft. Worth to Midland
ThursdayJul 31
5pmDrive Midland to Tucson

Tucson to Newtown PA (map in the sidebar is in development)

The trip out was fortunately uneventful. We had a 7:15 AM flight which means out the door at 5:30 AM. We were loaded up with a backback each plus 1 carry on and 4 big time suitcases all right at the 50lb limit. Luckily we bought the tickets before the extra fees went into effect.

Air travel with kids is always potentially dicey but ours are pretty savvy and well behaved. The same does not hold for the little hellion behind me on the way from DFW to Philly. He spent the whole trip being a snot screaming loudly at his parents and even more loudly to the plane in general “I am Optimus, I will blast you a million!!!!!!!!! (three year old mouth explosion and laser sounds)".

Sunday was a sleep in day and then to a first birthday party for one of the cousins. Lets set the stage here because we'll be talking alot about Indians. My wife's father is from India, specifically Gujarat which is a major supplier of the Indians (see language on that page) you'll find here in the US. He came over for college and met my mother-in-law (who like me is one of the whiter people on the planet) at Kansas Univ. His pickup line was something to the effect "would you like to smell my sandalwood" which just goes to show its not what you say but how you say it that gets you girls. He has several brothers and sisters in the NJ/PA area and Tina was born here before he came out to Mesa with Motorola. We've been back here a few times for weddings but never really stayed long. We will be staying with an aunt (foi) in PA (there is a crazy complex way of titling people in Gujarati that I only barely have down) and uncle (kaka) in NJ with a few days in NYC in the middle. Indian hospitality is frankly ridiculous, in the good way. They go so far overboard to be welcoming and taking care of guests that I can't help but feeling a overwhelmed all the time. The women do 100% of the cooking, cleaning etc. and I'm really trying hard to instill those values in my home (good thing Tina never reads this). Because I married in and took (traditionally thats kinda how it happens) one of the daughters they are supposed to be extra nice to me so that I 1) won't beat her too much and 2) will let her come back to visit occasionally. I'm obviously overstating but we all know its not possible that they like me this much, it must be an obligation. I can't refill my own water, make a plate of food, throw away a napkin without causing a great commotion. I might stay forever. All kidding aside my wife's family are as a whole and individually some of the nicest people you would ever have the chance to meet and I'm very proud to be considered part of their extended family.

ANYWAYS, Monday was d-day for me. I have crap teeth due to gross negligence in my formative (pre-marriage) years and now am fairly discolored with several fillings in the front that are beginning to show. I’ve wanted to deal with it for a while but the cost of veneers are prohibitive even with my good dental insurance. After we put this trip together Tina came up with the idea to get my teeth done back here. Her uncle and cousin have a cosmetic dental practice just outside of Philadelphia and were very kind to offer to do the job on my top 8 teeth.

I don’t have a paralyzing fear of the dentist but certainly a healthy anxiety about the process in general. This is in no doubt a direct result of the quacks and charlatans I was subjected to when I was young. I always wondered why those Argentineans they sent me to had such strong German accents.

I went in with Dr. Patel the Younger to the main office for one of the digital x-ray deals where they lock your head in place with a set of vices and screws and a giant magnet slowly swirls around your perimeter while the staff hides under lead fallout shelters. From there we went to the older office where the real work gets done. Dr. P is great guy in general and is one of those doctors that makes people feel comfortable without seeming false. I listened while he worked with other patients explaining procedures, calming kids etc. and I was very impressed.

Irena the mostly silent Russian assistant however lacked some of the office charm. She ran me through a lot of before tasks like taking 'before' pictures and specific x-ray stuff communicating only with grunts or (go thick Russian accent now) ‘turns the head’ commands. I’ll admit to feeling afraid that if I got out of line she would not hesitate to plunge a pick deep into my ear to ensure compliance.

Once she was done the Dr. came back and got down to it. Irena's big left babushka was flopped onto my shoulder during the morning’s work and was somehow maternal and comforting despite weighing roughly 40 pounds.

First he hit me with some numbing stuff and then did the shots. This was the worst part of the whole thing and really not bad at all. The shot in the front teeth was the worst and actually burned a bit. I barely felt the rest and soon my whole upper mouth and nose was totally numb. Then the grinding/drilling process which sound and smelled bad but I couldn't feel so no problem. After he got them all ground down I had to bite on a mouthpiece full of play-do for 5 minutes to make the mold. When he told me "this is the the grossest thing you can have in your mouth" I had to suppress my inner Michael Scott and the very obvious 'thats what she said' moment.

Net of 3 hours later and he had me setup with some temporary veneers that 3 days in are doing fine. I just have to avoid eating rocks, apples or laffy taffy and I'll be fine.

Vegas = Win , Blog = Fail

Um, I forgot something. We had a celebrity sighting that I forgot to mention. Maybe you have heard of a certain director with certain distinguishing facial hair and a certain vegan wife? Thats right we partied with Morgan-freaking-Spurlock and I somehow forgot to document this.

I noticed him walking to the sports book at the Venetian and scurried back to tell the gang at dinner that I finally had the only celebrity sighting of the week. I think they didn't believe me because if you are going to fake a celebrity sighting its gonna be of Morgan-freaking-Spurlock. Anyway, when we were leaving dinner I was walking a bit ahead and came across them AGAIN so I very very nonchalantly and with great subtly turned around and inclined my head slightly in their direction to indicate to my close friends for whom a huge display would not be necessary what direction to look. They immediately caught my subtle signal and I didn't have to resort to frantic flailing and jumping up and down and we all stood and marveled for a few minutes at the most famous people in the room. I think the wife had a tribal armband tattoo which is too bad and he was taller than I expected (movies = tiny people). I missed Javon Walker's champagne incident so this was as close to newsworthy as it got.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Vegas - This Time with Less Running Day 3

Tuesday morning, our last full day on site. Breakfast should have been simple but the E. germans at the bakery didn't want to sell me coffee so we had to go up the escalator to the coffee shop where the son of the Rico Suave guy, a girl and a guy with an impressive afro shaped by his visor hat. Afro guy was literally dance humping the girl when I arrived trying to convince Rico's kid that he (Rico's kid) knew the lyrics to the Back to the Hotel song and using his dance hump to trigger the memory for lil Suave. He was unsuccessful as Gerardo was already (or still) stoned. After repeating my order 4 times (medium Americano) we got the man paid off and moved on. The pastries, yogurt and coffee were all great.

The girls went shopping again and we shot dice for a bit at the Venetian, losing again and had no drinks. An executive decision was made to go back to the CR and stop flushing money at the Venetian. It was not a mistake.

We played some craps and met the greatest cocktail waitress of all times. We didn't catch her name because she never stopped long enough for a good look at her badge. Upon delivering my second drink she wouldn't even stop long enough for me to tip her. SERIOUSLY. When I got a later drink I gave her a handful of white chips to make sure I didn't get behind and she was a machine after that. I don't recall the end of the crapping but I eventually convinced the boys to try out the live 3 card poker table. We sat down with a ginormous hawaiin lady dealing who was having more fun than our happy drunken selves. She was a riot, making fun of the silent asian guy that eventually joined us and just about everybody that walked by. Hawaii was spelled for a few by some weird Canadian-ish white guy who was a real buzz kill. She made fun of him too. I remember betting for her alot but no idea if she made money from us. Dan hit one of the small jackpots with a straight flush or 6 monkeys or something. Other than that Sprintwaitress didn't slow down and I was pretty smashed by the end of all this ( I assume the other guys were too). Waiting at the slots for the others to relieve I played a dollar on the penny slots (AND GOT 2 DRINKS IN 5 MINUTES!!!!!) and turned it into 1,000 on one of those video slots that has lines that go everywhere. When the lights started flashing I began laughing uncontrollably and when the screen came up asking me to play a memory game to quintuple my win I think I actually started crying with laughter. I somehow picked 3 cameras together so I got up to 6,000 or so and finally cashed out with like 4,000 pennies. I desperately hoped they'd pay me off in pennies but a very nice lady gave me dollars instead.

Lunch at Cafe Ba Ba Reeba was really good and I am thoroughly impressed we were able to navigate there on foot. We met up with the girls and had some unimpressive white and red sangria along with a wide selection of tapas. Again I wish I had made notes but I was a little sloppy by this point.

We split a small paella plate. It was pretty good but not great, very little crust on the rice but it was very moist.

spanish white anchovies, avocado & roast pepper - very good but the avocado wasn't ripe

spanish cheese - manchego and a few others I don't recall for sure but all were very good.

squid a la plancha, olive oil, garlic - was good and seemed pretty fresh

rioja short ribs, manchego mashed potatoes - again very nice but I didn't catch alot of wine flavor

beef skewer, horseradish cream, red onions - this one was so good even ate the caramelized onions. seriously

spicy potatoes with tomato alioli - were good but I prefer my homemade version

I think there might have been a couple of other plates in there but I frankly lost track.

We walked through the Wynn to get back which was very posh but for cripes sake is just another casino and I don't care at all. As near as I can tell I stumbled back to the room and took a 2 hour nap until dinner missing the first half of the final NBA game. I got up and showered and realized I had just enough time to get down to the book to make a halftime bet. I literally ran to the window and didn't even look at the score just caught that the Celtics were getting 5 in the 2nd half. I jumped on it and then later realized that the Cs were up like 20 at the time. They wound up covering for me but it just goes to show you that no matter what you cousin sal tells you with sports betting its a coin toss everytime.

Dinner was at Pinot Brassiere and I gotta give it a mixed review. I think the food was great across the board but again the service was well....problematic. I hate to sound like the guy that totally gets hung up on that but I guess for this trip I'm that guy. First up big points for the no corkage policy. I'll need Dan to fill in details but he brought a magnum of chateauneuf de pape, a great pinot and an outstanding one from bordeaux. The wine was fantastic and Dan gets several merits for arranging its delivery.

There was a long delay in having someone come over and deal with us but not a huge deal as were in no rush and having a nice evening. I should mention here that TinaH ended up having to send back her steak requested m. rare when it came a few degrees past medium. It took a while to make but they handled the best you can, the manager came over and comped the plate and she and the waitress apologized. It happens sometimes just saying that there were several missteps like that.

The waitress was very nice and even brought us a decanter for at least 1 of the bottles. I was looking forward to trying the sweetbread foie starter having still never tried sweetbreads but it wasn't on the menu and in its place was a foi and seared scallop so I got that instead. The foie was great and the scallop would have been perfect but it was like 5% too dry. So I guess thats either from being frozen or cooked just a few seconds too long. It was still buttery delicious just saying it wasn't perfectly perfect.

For dinner I had the pork belly from the regular menu. I was debating between that and the osso bucco and asked the waitress to help me break the tie. She did the 'both are good' routine for so long that I finally threw a dart. This is a pet peeve of mine, if I want you to recommend something then freaking do that. I'm sure they are both tell me which to get. Anyway it was delicious but I'll always wonder about that osso bucco I missed out on. I loved the citrus flavor with the pork. I'm going to have to find a way to infuse that the next time I smoke some butt. The truffle vinagrette was a light background, not overwhelming. I really liked that someone thought this dish through and 1) didn't go crazy with flavors and textures and 2) balanced the few flavors on there with the fundamental flavor of the pork which is the right thing to do. There were vegetables and they were fine but didn't do anything else one way or another.

For dessert I had a plate of cheese that offhand I know had Savarin, Humbold Fog, Pierre T something and a hard Basque sheep's milk. They were fan-freaking-tastic. It was served with little crackers and a plate of currants, honeycomb and celery (maybe celery I can't be sure). We basically licked the platter on that one. As we were ruminating waiting for the check one of the waiters moving a table lost control and dropped the point of the corner into the center of my back. It hurt and I got a little bruise (cue the awwwww from the crowd) and the waiter asked if he got me and apologized but on the whole made it seem like that happens some time. Someone might crash into you with a table, you know it happens. Again the food was great but the service wasn't so much.

There was no question we would end up back at the CR to shoot some dice and introduce the girls to our new dark mistress. She did not dissapoint and I had all I wanted for drinks and we had a good craps session. It was a packed table and we each had to elbow in for room. At the other end of the table a couple of youngish guys bought in for like 2K (at CR...come on). Our dealers were a weird lot we had a very grumpy slovak that refused to pay Dan off on the $10 change only bet he made. The stickman had a stool to make him the same height as TinaB. He moved slowly and Dan named him Lawrence which seemed to fit. We hit a run of bad shooters until Bill from Chicago got us all back on track. I ran off to the restroom and returned to find everyone heading for the cage to cash out. Apparently my TinaB had called game over right as Kerrie was about to get the dice. She has been properly chastised and it won't happen again.

Dan and Kerrie flew home in the morning and we were on the road around 9 I think. The only notable part of the return trip I recall was at the cowboy cafe in Wickenburg. We all ordered and TinaB was last looking at the ham and cheese sandwich. Let me set the stage a bit and say that this is the cowboy cafe. Posters (many signed) of pro bull riders cover every wall and there are handmade doilies everywhere. ANYWAYS, my little wife asks "in the ham and cheese sandwhich what kind of ham and cheese do you use" to which the now exasperated waitress replied "I think its boiled ham and american cheese". TinaB will argue this point but I swear I heard her say 'that won't do' under her breath a little and she went with like a chicken salad or something instead. They obviously spit in our food after that but my club sandwich and chili hit the spot.

I think everyone had a great time and I'm looking forward to the next trip which probably won't be to Vegas but if it is will take us back to CraftSteak.