Shoe Money Tonight

Occasional ramblings by an anesthesiologist/mother (and sometimes her husband).

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Advice on Internet Dating

Don't be this guy.

Hat tip - Jpod at the Corner .

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


Sure: Obi-Wan was known to hit the occasional bar - though he never was able to enjoy a drink without having to lob someone's arm off (see Episodes II & IV).

Sure: x-wing pilots and New Republic Jedi were known to enjoy their ruby bliels.

But all the alchohol imbibed in that 'galaxy far, far away" in a year wouldn't last a weekend Starfleet Runabout.

Full details here.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

How tough is Floyd Landis?

Check this out. He's so tough, his next big plan is to get his hip replaced and come back next year to defend his title. This must really annoy the French.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Warning! Tear-jerking unbearable cuteness alert.

Grab a tissue. You have been warned.

Hat tip: K-Lo over at the Corner.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Why buy when you can make?

So yesterday, I got bitten by the baking bug again. Photos here . I have the worlds easiest pie crust recipe. To make that strawberry pie, it took a grand total of 45 min of work (not including cooling/setting of pie in the fridge). You read that right, 45 min. And only about 20 of that was pie crust (and most of that 20 min was baking time). So why would anyone buy a frozen pie crust? Do you have to thaw them, because if you did it would probably take as long as it does to make the crust. For the record, I'm the type of baker that considers using an un-doctored mix or those pillsbury cookies in a roll cheating. About the only prepared baking type thing I use on a semi-regular basis is frozen puff pastry dough (but that takes special machines to make and pretty much the only people that make their own are commercial bakers).

BTW, pie beans are beans that I use to weigh down the pie crust while it's baking without a filling. They sell pie weights but I don't see why you'd spend the money on them when a 79 cent package of navy beans does the trick (just put them in a bag labeled pie beans and remember not to eat them).

Edited 8/24/07 to correct image links

Fun at the Italian Fest

Last week was the annual Italian Festival down on Hertel Ave. For those who aren't familiar with it, think of Hertel Ave as a main street through a small town. North Buffalo, while technically just a neighborhood in the city of Buffalo, is really almost a small town itself, populated heavily by Italian immigrants and their descendants.

ES1 was released from work early, so we were able to make the rounds before the major crowds showed up. It was refreshing to be able to go to a street festival in Buffalo and actually have some breathing room. After we had some dinner, we decided to go to a cooking demonstration/book signing by Mary Ann Esposito.

I was only marginally familiar with her. She has had a cooking show on PBS for 17 years. I haven't watched PBS regularly in roughly that amount of time. Trying to find the schedule for her show was an exercise in frustration, as PBS stations set their own schedules, and the schedules tend to be a bit, shall we say, erratic. Still, ES1's mother is a huge fan (we actually purchased one of her cookbooks as a gift for her recently), so I figured we'd stop by.

When we arrived, we took up a spot in the back. ES1 pointed her out to me. At the same time, she, and then her producer gestured over in our direction. ES1 then departed to get herself a glass of wine.

While ES1 was away, her producer, Paul Lally, came over to me and told me that she was taking a few assistant chef volunteers from the audience. He told me that she had seen me and asked me to be one of them. I gladly accepted. ES1 was elated to hear this. She began taking a few shots with the camera on her Treo. We kicked ourselves for not bringing the real camera, but the tiny pictures are better than nothing.

My segment was the 4th and final. We watched the other cooks assist, and then I was brought up. I noted that the ingredients on the table included prosciutto, small fresh mozzarella balls, chunks of bread, fresh basil, and sharp parmesan.

Now, for those of you who do not know me, I have a love/hate relationship with cheese. Mozzarella, and other cheeses are fine with me - but only if they have been melted. I can take them cold, but they need to be cooked and melted first. Desserts based on cheese, like cassatta cake, are fine because the massive loads of sugar take care of the texture. In small amounts, I enjoy the addition of parmesan to certain foods.

In pretty much all other cases, cheese will immediately invoke my gag reflex. My entire system will immediately reject it. For the first 10 years of my life, my parents required me to try cheese once a year. It generally took me several hours to choke it down.

I was a bit nervous, but none of the other people had been asked to taste food, so I figured it was fine.

During the course of conversation, I let slip that I did not like cheese. She could not believe that anyone would not like cheese. She then took a section of very sharp parmesan, a triangle 1 inch wide and 2 inches long, and shoved it right in my mouth.

I suppressed the reflex, choked most of it down, but the last parts I simply could not handle. As she saw the oncoming regurgitation, she said I could run to spit it out for a second. I dove behind the stage, grabbed a water bottle (belonging to lord knows who) and washed it down quickly. I recovered, came back on, and finished the segment.

ES1 was nearly in stitches. She promised to tell the story to our grandchildren at our 50th wedding anniversary. Paul told me that he would be editing that out, but that I could email him to get a copy of the outtakes. When I get those, I will post them over at our homepage.

Other than that, I had a great time. I was not as nervous onstage as I thought I might have been. I was told that I looked very comfortable. Afterwards, we purchased a book and had it, as well as my apron, signed.

The Episode of Ciao Italia will air sometime in next year's season. As soon as I find out when, I will post the time. Until then, here are the rest of the photos we took.

Coming up: ES1's baking tips!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Fat Doctor: Advanced Directives

The Fat Doctor has a great post on advanced directives. It's pretty much every thing I've wanted to say about codes and advanced directives, but haven't bothered to post yet. For those of you I've spoken to about this, some of it may sound very familiar to you.

Fat Doctor: Advanced Directives

Random Silliness

Gakked from KLT

I did it two ways, first with my blog name, then with my real name. So which one do you think fits me better? Let me know in the comments and feel free to post your own results.

If You Ruled the Land . . . by wackyweasel
Your first name:
How you gained your rule:
Your title is:The Awesomest One
Your symbol is:the eagle, for grace, power, and big freaking wings
You rule from:a cloud castle - so fluffy . . .
At your side is:the band who plays your theme song
Your enforcers, troops, and guards are all:sexy elves with swords
Your most popular law is:Free alcohol to pretty people if they sit with ugly people
Your least popular law is:Pinky swearing equals a binding contract
Your worst enemy is:Ringo Starr, but you can't remember why . . .
Your popularity rating is:: 18%
Your chance of being overthrown is:: 5%
Quiz created with MemeGen!

If You Ruled the Land . . . by wackyweasel
Your first name:
How you gained your rule:
Your title is:The Big Cheese
Your symbol is:the eagle, for grace, power, and big freaking wings
You rule from:a cloud castle - so fluffy . . .
At your side is:your fluffy kitty, Puffpants
Your enforcers, troops, and guards are all:archers with mad skillz
Your most popular law is:Harry Potter named national hero; he's done so much!
Your least popular law is:Banning of people over six foot two
Your worst enemy is:cranberries - ewww
Your popularity rating is:: 71%
Your chance of being overthrown is:: 16%
Quiz created with MemeGen!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Must Read

I used to spend many an hour at SPoT Coffee down on Delaware & Chippewa while I was in College. It was a great place to hang out late at night. There were also always the regulars. You hadn't the foggiest idea who they were, but they were always there, and you expected them. You missed them when they were gone.

Around here, the bars are open until 4:00. At that time of night you've basically got three types of people.

1. The largest group - people who left before closing.

2. The second group - people who stayed until the end, but then moved off to an all-night diner, like Denny's or Pano's. These restaurants are off the strip, and thus require some driving. This means that most of the members of group 3 have conked out long before arriving.

3. The last group - the drunken morons who screw up everything.

Spot being right at the end of the Chippewa strip, it was an easy target for group 3. They decided they didn't want to deal with them, and so ceased staying open 24/7. Since they were now closed, we had to find other places to go, usually just ending up at Denny's.

As much as I loved going there, there was something that always bothered me. I always thought of myself as a coffee person, but no matter how much I drank it, there was just something about Spot's coffee I didn't like. Since I tasted the same thing at pretty much any other specialty coffee shop, I figured it was just me.

My first clue that it wasn't just me, was this broadside against Starbuck's attributed to Jackie Mason.* A few more sources later and I discovered the issue - instead of purchasing good quality beans, places like Starbuck's will buy cheap beans and over-roast them. This burns out the essential oils, leaving it bitter. Strong coffee does not mean bitter coffee. Bitter coffee means bad coffee.

Regrettably, good coffee is difficult to find. Most coffee shops either buy crap, or turn their beans into crap. I've found that the most enjoyable coffee I drink is found either at Dunkin Donuts or a nice greek diner.

Today, I stumbled upon this very important post over at Manolo's Food Blog.

Take the time to read it**. ES1 & I will be trying the coffee mentioned in the article.

*I have yet to see definitive proof that he wrote it, though it would not surprise me at all if he did.

**Ironic that I should put it that way, considering this post is almost as long as that one.

Good Customer Service

I have always had great experiences with customer service from Apple. I know there are some who have not had such great experiences, but that happens with any large company. Nobody's perfect, and as somebody put it on their show the other day, the internet tends to function as a giant echo chamber, magnifying any small problem. As I put a little while ago, this has a tendency to keep Apple's quality control rather high, if nothing else just to keep the mac-macs at bay.

Yesterday I received an email from Apple informing me that I had accidentally been charged twice for a song at the iTunes music store. They informed me that they were correcting the situation, and that they had given me a free song for my trouble. The email included a link to redeem the song.

Naturally, my first thought was "phishing." The link, however, was clearly one for iTunes itself. although iTunes contains a web browser (based on the same Konqueror engine in Safari), it is limited to going to the iTunes music store itself. It would be exceptionally difficult to spoof that. Besides, they gave me a plain text copy of the coupon key, something I doubt a phishing email would do.

In my experience, Apple's been very good about things like that. Last year, when ordering 10.4, I wrote them an email complaining about the fact that it didn't arrive in time. They responded by offering me my choice of either a free copy of iWork or iLife.

Every business makes mistakes. Bad customer service treats mistakes as though they are too much of a hassle to correct. Decent customer service corrects them right away. Great customer service fixes problems before you see them, then gives you something for your "trouble."

Attention to detail is the hallmark of a very good business. It's what keeps us coming back to places like La Marina* As a wise man once said, "if they won't bother with you, then you don't bother with them." With all the choices there are in today's society, there's no reason to settle.

*that, and the salmon head we found in bed with us after we had been away for too long

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

I have said it before and I'll say it again

Stephen King stories are best told in miniseries form. For prime examples I recommend The Stand and the second version of The Shining. Very rarely does a movie version do the story justice (Misery and the Green Mile are good example). The best movie versions are from his novellas (Stand by Me, The Shawshank Redemption). But by and large his stories are too long or too short to make proper movies.

Tonight I watched the first epsiode of Nightmares and Dreamscapes on TNT . I'm watching the second as I type this. I have one word for the episode titled "Battleground".


The story comes from one of his earlier collections, Night Shift. It stars William Hurt and was directed by Brian Henson , yes that Brian Henson. Not a word was spoken aloud in the entire episode. The entire thing should be considered a work of art. I can only hope the other seven episodes are as good. And I will be buying the dvd.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Mmm.... Sangria slush

So my husband and I went to the Taste of Buffalo yesterday. Three hours of wandering up and down the street eating interesting foods from restaurants I haven't been to before (for me that's quite a feat). It mildly disturbed me that in a festival covering about 5 city blocks (including a square) had at least 4 beer tents. I'm not really sure why they needed so many, one slightly large one would have sufficed. I just felt like the beer tents were more about getting drunk than anything else (and this is a daytime, supposedly family-friendly festival). Maybe I'm just biased because I had to share a subway car with a bunch of drunken tattooed pierced poser college students each carrying 5 or 6 empty beer glasses.

While wandering I got to eat: vegetable pakora, tomato-basil-mozarella mini sandwich, chilled melon soup, BBQ pork "wing", vegetable samosa, spicy nuts, beef meat pastry, BBQ pork and beans, chocolate covered coffee beans and the above mentioned Sangria slush. Yummy.

There were also several local vineyards providing for tasting/purchase by the glass local wines. And one or two had a wine slush machine set up. One of them had this really tasty Sangria slush. Our friend Erin put it best in her AIM away message today: "It's time for another edition of Real Men of Genius.... Today we salute you, Mr. Sangria-Slushie-Inventor. You took one of the world's most refreshing beverages, the slushie, and gave it some class, a nice fruity taste, not to mention a kick-ass buzz by adding yummy sangria wine. In the tradition of peanut butter and jelly, vodka and red bull, or green eggs and ham, you've taken two great tastes and made them taste great together. So crack open an ice-cold Labbatt Blue Light, mr Sangria-Slushie-Inventor, because slushies aren't just for kids anymore :)"

Still tons of fun and the weather was beautiful. It's not all cold and snow here in Buffalo you know ;).

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Baking Frenzy

I'm not sure what's come over me lately. I've been on a major baking binge. Right now I'm on a pie kick. I haven't really done much pie baking in my baking career - usually I stick to cakes and cookies. But at Thanksgiving I'm good for a pumpkin and/or a sweet potato pie or two. I've not really done much with fruit pies though. Peter wanted me to attack apple but they're out of season right now. So I tried strawberry first. It was mostly ok, the filling just didn't thicken well. It tasted just fine. Right now, I've got a cherry pie in the oven. I always make the crust by hand and we've had this canned cherry pie filling in our pantry since my bridal shower. We figured now that we've had our 2nd anniversary it was high time we used it. But we didn't just use the canned filling - we doctored it up of course. You know we can't leave well enough alone.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy 4th!

There are many ways to celebrate today.

Many of the blogs I read celebrated by posting the text of the Declaration of Independence. Here is a good copy, courtesy of Black Five.

Many people will, as the Simpsons put it, "Celebrate the independence of your nation by blowing up a small part of it." People in my neighborhood have been doing so for several days now.

PBS is showing "A Capital Fourth." This year's description, from TV Tracker, "A musical celebration of the nation's birthday features a birthday tribute to Elmo and performances by Vanessa Williams and Jo Dee Messina; hosted by Jason Alexander."



Others will simply ignore it and go on about their lives as though nothing ever happened.

ES1 is on 24 hour call down at the hospital right now. I, as I do every year, re-watched "The Patriot." Fictionalized though it is, it fairly accurately depicts the sacrifices made in the war for independence. For a bit of historical perspective, I highly recommend this piece by the father of a certain controversial radio talk show host. It helps to put in perspective what sacrifice really means.

In the end, today is a day to celebrate. It is also a day to remember.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Superman Returns

So the husband and I saw Superman Returns today.

Before I get to my thoughts on the movie, a word about movie food. While in line at the concession stand, we had a discussion about what size popcorn to buy - small or medium. We ended up with the small. Now, I worked for a movie theater from my senior year of HS through my sophomore year of college and I worked in the concession stand. The current small popcorn size at a Regal theater is the size of the medium popcorn I used to sell. The other sizes go up too in a similar manner. And we wonder why we keep getting fatter?

Now on to the mini-review. Overall a very enjoyable summer action type movie. Well worth paying the price to see it in the theater. I'll probably buy it on DVD (after I get Superman I and II but before I get III and IV). At about two and a half hours it does feel a bit long (mainly at the end) but it moved at a decent pace. Batman Begins it's not. I'm not sure it will revitalize the series. But it was good enough that I didn't walk out saying "Bryan Singer didn't do X3 for this."

Things I liked: Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor; the integration of John Williams' Superman Theme into a new score by a different composer; the visual effect as Superman uses his x-ray vision, Parker Posey (looking like Lara Flynn Boyle in MIB II) as Luthor's moll; the fact you hear/see a sonic boom as Superman breaks the sound barrier (a realistic effect not seen in prior films); the fact that the dorkiness is still there (ie Clark says things like "swell" and Perry says "great Caesar's ghost"; the movie retains the wholesomeness that is the essence of Superman.

Things I didn't: Lois Lane - Kate Bosworth is just plain boring and they dumbed Lois down (ie "how many 'f's are there in catastrophic?"; fact that Kate Bosworth and Brendan Routh both look significantly younger than Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder (and this on takes place after Superman I and II); the ending was dragged out too long.