Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Will Food for Work

I've been keeping my mouth shut about some personal news, both good and bad, but I can finally let the cat out of the bag:

I've been frustrated for some time by my job. I like the people I've been working for, but the work never turned full time. It's not their fault -- El Vaquero is predominantly a dinner restaurant, with some lunch business and no breakfast, and daycare demands have kept me limited to morning hours -- hence the pastry position.

But a while back, I got called in for an interview at another restaurant here in town. The restaurant in question is in an excellent location, has a great reputation, and best of all, it's in a hotel, so they have a lot more flexibility in the hours they have to offer. I met with the Chef de Cuisine of the restaurant (who graduated from the culinary program I'm attending), then the Executive Chef of the entire facility (restaurant and banquet/catering), and yesterday, with their HR director.

So to make a long story... well, not short, but at least to keep it from being any longer, I got the job! I'll be making slightly more than I was before, I'll be working full time, I'll be eligible for benefits. And best of all, I'll be doing prep work -- the first step on the road to the line!

I gave my two weeks notice yesterday, and the Executive Chef at El Vaquero gave me permission to switch right away. I'm grateful for the chance they gave me there, and I have no ill feelings towards the restaurant or the management or staff there, but this new place is a better fit for ME, not just in terms of the hours and position but also in terms of the featured cuisine. This new place serves Northwest Cuisine, with an emphasis on Oregon ingredients and the use of sustainable, local products. The Executive Chef recognizes how blessed we are to live in a region and a state with an abundance of fresh, tasty foods.

I'm not going to mention the new place by name, I think that was a mistake when I mentioned El Vaquero by name. But I'm sure my local readers have narrowed the identity down to a select few. Regardless, be happy for me -- things are looking up.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Killer "B"eans

So for the reunion cookout on Sunday, the reunion committee provided burgers, dogs, and pop, and we were asked to bring a side dish to share. Since I spent most of the day Saturday preparing to drive south for the reunion, and we were leaving early on Sunday, I opted for somehting I could cook in the crockpot on Saturday, forget it while doing chores, fridge it before leaving, then reheat Sunday morning. My choice? Killer "B"eans: Brian B's Blackberry, Bacon, and Beer Barbecue Baked Beans. Into the pot went:

1 small yellow onion, small dice
1 package bacon, small dice
4 15 oz cans of pinot beans, rinsed
1 12 oz bottle Smucker's blackberry syrup
1 12 oz bottle MacTarnahan's Black Watch Porter
1 tablespoon minced garlic
salt to taste
pepper to taste
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
hot sauce to taste
1 tbsp yellow mustard
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

They cooked on high for 3 hours, then reheated the next morning, and they were delicious. TFR says they'd be better if the bacon were pre-cooked, but I thought they were good as is.

Always a Trojan

Well, it's done. My twentieth high school reunion, that is. The festivities were this past weekend -- Saturday night we had a buffet dinner, just the classmates and spouses; Sunday afternoon we all got together for a family cookout.

For a group of people pushing 40, I was amazed at how many of us had small kids -- The Lad, at 2 1/2, was nowhere hear the youngest, and one classmate had to decline to attend because she had a baby just months ago. The crowd at the bar on Saturday was small compared to the popularity of the playground on Sunday.

It was also intesting to observe the changes: the people who hadn't aged a day; the people who looked 50; the people who despite the aging were immediately identifiable, and the people whose name tags were my only hope. Time is fickle. I remember an episode of the original Star Trk in which the characters aged at a phenomenal rate, I always found it amusing to watch that episode as a rerun after the movies came out. Saturday and to a lesser extend Sunday were the same way -- people don't always age according to our expecttons. The years dole out both grace and harshness, sometimes in the same face, but always in portions specific to the individual.

And time changes us in ways other than our physical appearance. Our experiences, our opportunities, our choices -- each of us took a different path to reach the Moose Lodge this past Saturday. For some of us the road is longer than others, or harder, or more indirect, and we are all at different places in our lives, but we were all in one place that night, and it felt good.

It felt good because for a few hours each day, that place was the same place. We were equals, we were back together in one place in one time: classmates, friends, peers. Whether we work at the local pizza joint or are a corporate attorney -- and yes, the careers did span that wide a gap -- we were old friends, all glad to see each other, all helping each other remember our youth.

Sunday we all sort of drifted off. The farther away we lived, the earlier we left. But there wasn't any melancholy on my behalf, no sentimental sadness. All I felt was a gladness to be reminded that despite all that has changed, I still belong, I'm still a part of a group with a shared experience -- Douglas High School, Class of '87.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Musical Geography Trivia Question of the Day

Baby, you and me were never meant to be,
just maybe think of me once in a while.
Where am I?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Musical Geography Trivia Question of the Day

If you come lookin' for a job, but get no offers, what DO you get?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Quote of the Week

A tip of the toque to Bill Steigerwald via Tim Blair via Ken at It Comes in Pints?

"...NBC's [Live Earth] concert-highlights show Saturday night drew only 2.75 million -- which means more Americans watched Peru and Argentina play soccer on Spanish-language Univision."

Friday, July 13, 2007

Musical Geography Trivia Question of the Day

If you took them out with a well-aimed clout, what were you often heard to say?

Our Borders are Juuuuuuuuuust Fiiiiiiiiine....

Yeah, right.

Friday, July 06, 2007

I Don't Tan, I Rust

A tip of the toque to Troutdale Councilor Canfield:

You are 100% Oregon

Congratulations! You are a native Oregonian. Pick up your honorary singing salmon plaque at City Hall.

How Oregon are you?
Quizzes for MySpace

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Self Evident

In celebration of the Glorious Fourth, I had considered reposting this entry, in which I explain why I believe the Declaration of Independence is a more central document for informing my political beliefs than the Constitution.

Instead, I decided to just post it here and let it speak for itself:

In CONGRESS, July 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. —Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain [George III] is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Happy Independence Day, America.

How Much Greenhouse Carbon is Emitted by Burning Heretics at the Stake?

A tip of the toque to non-blogging buddy Lurch, who sent me a link to this speech by Michael Crichton. In it, Crichton takes to task the "consensus" argument that is used so widely to justify Global Warming alarmism. It's chilling stuff (pun intended), but a must read. The money quote, in my opinion:

Of course, any scientist can be charged as Galileo was charged. I just never thought I'd see the Scientific American in the role of mother church.

Indeed. But that really is what we're coming to.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Musical Geography Trivia Question of the Day

If the seagulls were wheeling high above the wall, what thing made what noise in what place?

We Have No Winner

Wow. For the first time ever, I've posted a Musical Geography Trivia Question that NO ONE has answered, in over two weeks.

So, without further ado:

1. Portland, Oregon
2. Sloe Gin Fizz.
3. If that ain't love, then tell me what is.

Monday, July 02, 2007


Beverly Sills, 1929-2007.

I remember watching and enjoying her on the Muppet Show as a kid. She made opera enjoyable, and entertaining, without cheapening it. In many ways she reminded me of Julia Child -- a sharp mind, a humble graciousness, and blazingly gifted. She will be missed.

All My Rowdy Friends are Coming Over Tonight

A tip of the toque to Ken at It Comes in Pints?

what redneck are you?
Your Result: hank Jr

a bottle of jack and a few rowdy friends is your life. you like country music and just hanging around. you know what its like to be laid up here in a country state of mind

ted nugent
david allen coe
hillary clinton
what redneck are you?
Make a Quiz

Sunday, July 01, 2007