Saturday, July 30, 2005
Thursday, July 28, 2005
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
I love monsoon season. It's a great break from the constant sun we get here in Arizona, with short but intense thunderstorms rolling across the valley at irregular intervals. Today at my house we had a rare type of storm- most monsoon storms start in the late afternoon, this one hit us just before 2 PM. For much of the day you could see clouds building outside, and the rain lasted just long enough for me to get into a mood to put jazz selections on iTunes. The weather got me into a food mood, too- something suitable for a rainy day. Chili sounded good, but I really didn't feel like taking three hours to make a bowl of (admittedly awesome) red. Then, the idea struck- British food. There are a few places to go in town for chow from across the pond, and my favorite is the Cornish Pasty Co. (and before we get any farther, it's pronounced PASS-tee), tucked away in a little strip mall on the northeast corner of University and Hardy.
As you can imagine, they specialize in Cornish pasties. What is a cornish pasty, you ask? It's a relative to the Italian calzone, the Spanish empanada, and the American Hot Pocket- ingredients of your choice wrapped in pastry and baked. The Cornish pasty has some function designed into its form; as long ago as the 1200s, wives and mothers of Cornish tin miners made them with the folded over edges twisted along one side. This provided a handle for the miners (who were not only covered in dirt from head to toe but arsenic as well) to hold while eating the pasty, ensuring that the meal itself stayed clean. Traditionally, the pasty is filled with a mixture of steak, onion, potato, and rutabaga (known to the Cornish as swede), but the Cornish Pasty Co. offers over 30 variations on the theme, with ones that follow the original closely (the Porky, a mix of pork, sage, potato, onion, and apple) to other popular British fare such as bangers and mash, shepherd's pie, even chicken tikka masala (which you would think is Indian but is indeed British) to things with all manner of international flair such as carne adovada, Greek chicken, even the good ol' American Philly cheesesteak. Every time I get in the mood for a pasty, the one I want is the Oggie, the steak one described above. This time, I branched out a wee bit and got the Porky. It, like the Oggie, is quite delicious. It's seasoned with a heavy dose of sage (enough that if you don't fancy sage much I would recommend trying something else on the menu), and the light sweetness of the apples rounds out the meal nicely. My friend Phil tried out the Philly Cheesesteak pasty, and it hit all of the right cheesesteak-y notes, with one minor quibble: The pasty uses a mild Swiss cheese, while the most common cheeses on a Philly cheesesteak are American, Provolone, or Cheez Whiz. My other dining companion, Anonymous, tried the Meat and Cheese, a combination of house-made sausage with cheddar, swiss, and mozzarella cheeses. I recommended he try HP sauce (a popular Brit condiment that has no equal stateside; A1 comes closest but is still miles away) with it, and the combination worked well... so well that I didn't get a chance to snag any of his. Le sigh. Somehow, both Phil and I had room for dessert (your guess is as good as mine, the main course pasties are HUGE), and both of us opted for a caramel apple pasty. Thank God it wasn't the size of the regular pasties, I would have likely exploded on the spot if I'd managed to eat two full-size pasties in one sitting. The caramel apple pasties are sweet, but not overly so, with a nice hit of cinnamon; the whipped cream and vanilla ice cream add a silky mouthfeel to round out the dish. (Wow, that last bit sounds like something right out of Iron Chef!) The only thing holding this back from being utterly fantastic were the apples themselves, likely because apples are currently nowhere near in season.
I'll definitely go back to Cornish Pasty Co. many more times; it's a place that I want to go through and systematically try every single item on the menu, if I wasn't already so damn hooked on the Oggie. Some great things about the place I haven't had a chance to mention- it's some of the best (and most filling) cheap eats in town (most expensive thing on the menu is 7 dollars, most everything is around 6), they're open til 10 PM every day but Sunday, they have vegan pasties available (just call ahead an hour in advance, they'll be glad to set you up), and if you want, you can take home some par-baked once and heat them up at your convenience I think next time it would be a good idea to get oh, about a dozen Oggies to go...
Sunday, July 24, 2005
After more than 100 dead dogs were dumped in a trash dumpster over four weeks, police in Ahoskie, N.C., kept an eye on the trash receptacle behind a supermarket. Sure enough, a van drove up and officers watched the occupants throw in heavy plastic bags. They detained the two people in the van and found 18 dead dogs in plastic bags in the dumpster, including puppies; 13 more dead dogs were still in the van. Police say the van is registered to the headquarters of People for the Ethical
Treatment of Animals, and the two occupants, Andrew B. Cook, 24, and Adria Joy Hinkle, 27, identified themselves as PETA employees. An autopsy performed on one of the dogs found it was healthy before it was killed. Police say PETA has been picking up the animals -- alive -- from North Carolina animal shelters, promising to find them good homes. Cook and Hinkle have been charged with 62 felony counts of animal cruelty. In response to the arrests PETA President Ingrid Newkirk said it's against the group's policy for employees to dump animals in the trash, but "that
for some animals in North Carolina, there is no kinder option than euthanasia." (Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald) ...Oops, my mistake: that's "Playing God" Defined.
In his author's notes section, Cassingham had more to say about this story:
The more I learn about PETA, the less I think of them. The story of them killing animals isn't even unusual. According to PETA's own filings, in 2004 PETA killed 86.3 percent of the animals entrusted to its care -- a number that's rising, not falling. Meanwhile, the SPCA in PETA's home town (Norfolk, Va.) was able to find loving homes for 73 percent of the animals put in its care. A shortage of funds? Nope: last year PETA took in $29 million in tax-exempt donations. It simply has other priorities for the funds, like funding terrorism (yes, really). But don't take my word for it: I got my figures from http://www.PETAkillsAnimals.com -- and they have copies of PETA's state and federal filings to back it up. The bottom line: if you donate money to PETA because you think they care for and about animals, you need to think some more. PETA literally yells and screams about how others "kill animals" but this is how they operate? Pathetic.
And you know what I wonder? PETA's official count of animals they kill is 86.3 percent. But if they're going around picking up animals, killing them while they drive around and not even giving them a chance to be adopted, and then destroying the evidence by dumping the bodies in the trash, are those deaths being reported? My
guess: no. While 86.3 percent is awful, the actual number is probably much, much higher. How dare they lecture anyone about the "ethical" treatment of animals!
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Tuesday, July 19, 2005
Or if your pet is a bit less exotic:
It just goes to show you, the US Postal Service does have a sense of humor. It's just repressed.
Sunday, July 17, 2005
Incidentally, the music is "Jenny" from The Rocketeer. If you've seen David Copperfield do the trick where he levitates a sofa (and a couple of audience members sitting on it), it's that song. The wine is my personal house red, the cabernet/shiraz Wine Cube blend from Target. Yes, the cube means it's box wine. It's pretty darn good. And at the equivalent price of 4 bucks a bottle, it's certainly an everyday luxury.
Number one: Joy! Method makes body wash now. A bottle of the Mango Mint is now happily residing in my shower; it's only a matter of time before the other ones (olive leaf, cassia flower, and lavender-thyme) show up to join the party. The Mango Mint joins up with a bottle of the most refreshing soap I've ever used, Dr. Bronner's peppermint soap. Ya see, Dr. Bronner's uses real peppermint oil in the soap... You haven't lived until you're minty fresh all over your body.
Number Two: I just saw someone with 1337 tattooed on the back of their neck. My brain is still going "WHY GOD WHY?" You want something 1337? Who's the one updating their blog from inside a grocery store? I would have been delighted to provide you with pictorial goodness, but there's no way that I could have snagged a pic of something that small without risking getting a restraining order (and the pic coming out blurry as hell because the lens was too close to the subject).
Friday, July 15, 2005
Saturday, July 09, 2005
I think lamps like this:
are banned by the Geneva Convention for crimes against humanity. The image really can't do it justice; the thing was at least three feet tall, and had more of a greenish tinge, a sort of baby barf green if you will. To think, for it to end up at a thrift store, someone somewhere bought it at retail.
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
#2: Park way the hell far away and walk to the venue. We parked at a garage (that's free after 7 PM) north of Terrace, just west of Rural, quite literally on the other side of ASU from the big event. Some friends parked in the big lot where everyone else did; we both got in our cars at roughly the same time, and we were at the rendezvous point (that they were a mile closer to!) by the time they were just getting out of the parking lot.
Friday, July 01, 2005
pillowcase and bedspread
the IKEA catalog
the bowl on the nightstand
The other things in the picture were:
the candle holder on the nightstand (the tall black thing)
the candle (round thing on top of said candle holder)
decorative stones (in the bowl)
floating candles (in the bowl)
the orange pillowcase