Saturday, January 14, 2006

Shattuck Avenue Fondue {Recipe 1}

"The perfect lover is one who turns into a pizza at 4:00 a.m."

-Charles Pierce

Ok, so I have now officially kept my New Year's resolution, which was to begin creating more original recipes. This was a fun one to come up with. I took a simple Cheese Fondue recipe, and added a few ingredients that I thought would make it more interesting. I named my creation, "Shattuck Avenue Fondue," because my favorite cheese shop, the place where I buy all the scrumptious, yummy, sinfully delicious cheese for my recipes, is located on Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley. This is so easy, and very enjoyable to make. I made it just the other night for dinner, on a night when I just didn't have to energy to fuss too much, and then relaxed in front of the TV with it.

Shattuck Avenue Fondue

1 10 3/4 oz can Cheddar Cheese Soup
1/4 cup milk
1 /4 cup each of the following cheese, shredded
Cotswold, Mild Yellow Cheddar, Prima Donna Gouda, Gruyere
1/4 Vegetable broth
1 tbs. Cornstarch
2 tsp. Nutmeg
1/2 Loaf Extra Sour Dough French Bread, cubed

Pour milk into an electric, 3 Qt. Fondue pot, or medium sized, heavy, non-stick saucepan, and heat until it just begins to simmer. Set temperature setting to 200 degrees. Stir evenly as you add the canned soup and continue stirring until it reaches a nearly smooth consistency. Slowly stir in the shredded cheese in small quantities, while continuing to stir. Half way through, slowly stir in the vegetable broth and allow the mixture to begin to bubble slightly. Continue to stir gently while adding the remaining cheese mixture. When all the cheese appears to be well blended add nutmeg and stir thoroughly, but gently, making sure the cheese is not sticking to the bottom of the pot. The last step is to add the cornstarch to the cheese sauce depending on your preference of consistency. Turn the temperature gauge to warm, and serve with cubed French Bread, 4 cups mixed vegetables or your choice of cocktail meats. Makes 2-4 servings.

y kitchen is decorated with Pillsbury Doughboy everything! LOL. As you can see, he got the fondue all over his face! LOL. I think he liked it also. Tee Hee. I need a lot more practice photographing my fondue recipes. I had a difficult time with it for some reason, but the fact that there is apparently a challenge in it for me is a plus. It will be good to get some practice in photographing a subject that is new to preparation.

"Shattuck Avenue Fondue"
Berkeley, California
January 11th, 2005

Friday, January 13, 2006

John Scalzi's Weekend Assignment #94: Evil Earworms

"Without music, life would be a mistake. I would only believe in a God who knew how to dance."

-Friedrich Nietzsche

Weekend Assignment #94: What's the worst possible song to get stuck in your head? You know: the song that once you hear it you cannot drive from your skull, even with an ice pick and a centrifuge. They have a word for that kind of song: "Earworm." We want to know what you consider to be the most evil earworm possible.

Extra Credit: Is there a song that can drive the evil earworm out?

-John Scalzi This week's weekend assignment was chosen by AOL Journal Land's very own Editor Joe, and a fine fun weekend assignment it is! I have been haunted by many a tune, and YIKES, doesn't it always haunt one at the most inconvenient time possible? Cool idea for an assignment Joe! Now, speaking of being haunted by a tune, in late 2003 and most of 2004, I couldn't get "Take The Long Way Home," by Supertramp, out of my head. Ugg! Well, at least it was pleasant to hear day and night for months at a time. Thanks goodness it wasn't my choice for the worst song ever. Either to have to listen to one time, let alone over, and over, and over again, Unceasingly, unending, like a stuck needle on a turntable. No, THAT song would be the melodramatic wonder, MacArthur Park, as sung by Richard Harris. My whole life...I have NO idea what the heck it is about...

Spring was never waiting for us girl
It ran one step ahead
As we followed in the dance
Between the parted pages and were pressed
In love's hot, fevered iron
Like a striped pair of pants.

MacArthur's Park is melting in the dark
All the sweet green icing flowing down
Someone left the cake out in the rain
I don't think that I can take it
'Cause it took so long to bake it
And I'll never have that recipe again
Oh No!

Huh? I mean I kinda get the feeling that maybe the relationship wasn't working out. I think. Shrug. But what's with all the food references? Is he hungry? Is he a chef in a fancy restaurant? Maybe he is a fry-cook in a greasy spoon. Shrug. And what's with, "In love's hot fevered a striped pair of pants." Sigh. LOL.

Extra Credit: There is help for irritating earworms, yep help is as close as your nearest copy of Chuck Berry's humorous hit, "My Ding-A-Ling." It just makes one smile. Observe...

When I was a little biddy boy
My grandma bought me a cute little toy
Two silver bells on a string
She told me it was my Ding-a-Ling...

My Ding-A-Ling, my Ding-A-Ling, I want you to play with my Ding-A-Ling
My Ding-A-Ling, my Ding-A-Ling, I want you to play with my Ding-A-Ling

When I was a little boy in grammar school
Always went by the very best rule
But everytime the bell would ring
You'd catch me playing with my Ding-a-Ling...

My Ding-A-Ling, my Ding-A-Ling, I want you to play with my Ding-A-Ling
My Ding-A-Ling, my Ding-A-Ling, I want you to play with my Ding-A-Ling

Once while climbing the garden wall
I slipped and fell and had a terrible fall
I fell so hard that I heard birds sing
But held onto my Ding-a-Ling...

My Ding-A-Ling, my Ding-A-Ling, I want you to play with my Ding-A-Ling
My Ding-A-Ling, my Ding-A-Ling, I want you to play with my Ding-A-Ling

Once while swimming cross turtle creek
Man them snappers right at my feet
Sure was hard swimming cross that thing
With both hands holding my Ding-A-Ling...

My Ding-A-Ling, my Ding-A-Ling, I want you to play with my Ding-A-Ling
My Ding-A-Ling, my Ding-A-Ling, I want you to play with my Ding-A-Ling

Now this here song it ain't so bad
Prettiest little song you ever had
And those of you who will not sing
Must be playing with your own Ding-A-Ling!

Imagine having this song stuck in your head! LOL. :) Now imagine humming it to yourself while shopping at the grocerie store. Now, imagine singing the lyrics to yourself while shopping and not realizing your buddy, Rabbi Gold, is walking right behind you...Giggling...Hi again Rabbi Gold! ;) LOL. Be sure to pay a visit to Joe's journal, "Magic Smoke," to read his entry for this week's assignment. :)

"Musician In The Rain"
By Dorsineau

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Great Finds In Blogging

"He who wonders discovers that this in itself is wonder."

-M. C. Escher

It's a new year, and a new chance to share with you some great finds I have been coming across the blogsphere. Some are entries by old friends,that have inspired or touched me some way but one is a new friend I found by simply allowing myself to explore the new neighborhood of Blogspot. Thanks everyone, for having so much patience with me. And now on to the amazing talent around me...

Old Friends...

I was thrilled to find out that Duane, author of the AOL Journal, sotto voce, and contributing writer for The Blue Voice , has returned to blogging after taking a leave of absence from the land this past summer. Duane has recently updated his journal and written an excellent entry, this past week, for The Blue Voice, which can be found here. You should go by and give it a look see. Duane is one of the best political writers I have come across in Journal Land and the great work continues. Good to have you back Duane.

Another excellent entry I came across this past week comes by way of Patrick, author of, Patrick's Place. Every once in a blue moon Patrick and I will see eye to eye...well actually, it's a lot more often then that...LOL...but when that happens it's kinda fun to say, "Good for you! Point well made." In this particular entry Patrick discusses the folly of judging a book by it's cover. And a lot of other good points as well. Thanks Patrick for a thought provoking entry. Good for you! :) Check out the entry here.


The other morning I decided to drop by Phinney's journal, Paragon, to have a look at what she has been up to recently with her photography. I was stunned. Phinney has a talent with the camera that is amazing. Each of her photos displays such a deep well of emotion, even with the simplest of subject matter. If I had to choose one word to describe Phinney's journal it would be "Poignant." Her photographs need no words to accompany them...they speak volumes. Thank you Phinney! Don't ever put the camera down my dear one!


Wil, you just amaze me everyday. LOL. Wil is definitely someone who keeps me on my toes. He has one of the better written journals in the land and he always displays an honestly which can't be beaten. I was surprised once to find out he enjoyed my writing so much, I think I even asked him why? He answered me in a way that had me laughing, and at the same time, taking some things a lot more seriously...such as my desire to be a writer. I have also appreciated his comments regarding my photography. I think I did a little better at it after some encouragement from him. I don't have one particular entry of Wil's to link to, how could I choose just one? Pay an visit to his journal, Daily Snoozee, and see for yourself. Thanks Wil! :)

A New Friend...

Just after the first of the year, I decided to take a walk around the neighborhood and pay a friendly, "hello" visit to my new neighbors. So, I clicked the little button in the upper right hand corner of my blog that reads, "Next Blog." The very next blog on the block was titled,Virtual Matter, and is authored by my new pal Jordy. His blog touches a little bit on political news, a little bit on the environment, he displays some very thought provoking images and shares some well thought out personal observations on many different topics. I think you will be as impressed with Jordy's blog as I am, please pay him a visit and see for yourself. He is one of those true, great, rare, finds that one is lucky to find not nearly often enough.

So there you have first promo entry of the year. I want to do more of these, because I do see greatness all around me and I am inspired by so many here in the land. It makes me feel good to say thank-you for so many reasons, mostly for your friendship, your patience and for you being you. :) Now I am off to remember a fond memory, my fantasy dinner this past summer with David Duchovny...David I am right over here. :) Sigh.

"Dinner With David"
Berkeley, California
Summer, 2005
Early Evening

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Five Things That Make Me Crazy

"There will be a time when loud mouthed incompetent people seem to be getting the best of you. When that happens, you only have to be patient and wait for them to self destruct. It never fails."

-Richard Rybolt

I found a cute little meme over on Andrea's journal, "Unhinged," and I thought it might be a fun thing for my favorite (NOT) day of the week Wednesday. I don't know why, but Wednesdays have been notoriously bad days for me. LOL. Give me a Monday twice a week, if only we could do away with Wednesdays. Anyway, about the meme. It is pretty straight forward, list "Five Things That Make You Crazy." Okie dokie...

1. George Bush! Oh well, you know me, you know why, you know how...need I say more? :)

2. Christmas Music. Hate it, hate it, hate it! Well...most of it anyway.

3. The fact that my vocabulary seems to be spontaneously deleting itself.

4. Ok, I know it's silly and I put way too much importance on it, but really, there are three dots in an ellipsis. :)

5. Snoring. Alan makes noises that sometimes seem to be somewhat satanic. But then again I tend to talk in my sleep and he tells me that one time, during the years that Pete Wilson was Governor of California, he swears he heard me speaking in tongues. Politics stresses me sometimes. :)

There it is, my favorite things that make me crazy. Boring but true! Now, if you want to play along, and you also happen to be reading this right now, go back to your blog/journal and make your list. Don't forget to comeback here and leave me a link.

Bodega Bay, California
Summer, 2005

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

As The Clock Ticks

"Sam's got the intellect necessary to bring a lot of class to that court."

-George W. Bush
Washington D.C., January 9th, 2005

I heard President Bush's statement, made to the media this morning regarding the Senate Confirmation hearings which began today for Judge Sam Alito, and frankly I am a bit confused. Well, take for example the quote I chose to accompany this entry. "Sam's got the intellect necessary to bring a lot of class to that court." Class? Is he inferring that the Supreme Court is currently without class? Of course he might also be saying that he will bring additional class to the court or that maybe a government entity, such as the Supreme Court can never be too classy. Hmmm...

Maybe it was another case of George being George, but what may have once been an endearing characteristic of our "common man" president, now seems to be a little less endearing and a little more, well, worrisome. President Bush is testing the patience of an increasingly impatient American people. True, his general poll numbers did rise in mid-December after an all time low, but it is not uncommon for a President's numbers to climb around the Christmas holiday. So,here we are, fresh into a new year, and it is the all important 6th year of the Bush White House, and it's time for him to make some changes, if he wants to leave office as anything other then a complete failure to the American people.

Does that mean that now more then ever he will be catering to the religious right? Is Judge Alito part of the agenda to not lose his solid base vote? I don't know. I know that when Bush's other choice for a Supreme Court nominee, Harriet Myers, was announced, the decision seemed to be the first thing that both Democrats and Republicans agreed on, albeit for different reasons, she was just plain bad for America. I watched in awe, and truthfully a bit of compassion, as she had her character killed a little at a time over several days. It was a painful thing to watch anyone go through. All the hubbub was based on the speculation that things would not go one way or the other, even before the questions were asked in a public forum. I think I might have at least liked to have heard her answers to the same questions facing Judge Alito, before deciding what kind of justice she would have made.

I don't like the first instinct I have at the moment, which is to suspect anyone who would be nominated by President Bush. But then again, look at what he has given us in the way of appointments. A long string of underqualified individuals for government positions. Anyone remember his appointing John Bolton to the position of U.N. Ambassador? A man who had previously stated that the U. N. was of very little worth. "There's no such thing as the United Nations. If the U.N. secretary building in N.Y. lost 10 stories, it wouldn't make a difference." Sigh. Just yesterday morning Bush again appointed an individual who has come under scrutiny as being considered underqualified. Julie Meyers will now be the head of the Department of Immigration. Previously Ms. Meyers was assistant secretary for the Department of Commerce and more recently served as the president's special assistant for personnel. I guess what I find disturbing about both of these appointments is that in both cases President Bush has chosen to bypass senate confirmation hearings and used his power of recess to appoint them.

Now other presidents have also used this ability to make appointments, but with the level of arrogance and what seems like misuse of authority of this administration it all seems a little frustrating that we apparently have a man in office who feels that as the president, he is really accountable to no one. Is this true? No, of course not, and yet here we sit with the disturbing fact that we have a president who engages in illegal wiretapping...he knew warrants needed to be issued...he knew it wasn't just a few isolated cases...and yet still insists that it was within his authority under the issue of the Patriot Act. However, in a report released last Friday, by the Congressional Research Service, a bipartisan research group of Congress, President Bush did not have congressional authority to order the wiretaps by the NSA. But he did it anyway.

We will see how that plays out over the next few months as more inquiries are made, but I think you see the trend. Bad decisions are being made on behalf of you and I whether we voted for the Bush Administration or not. And now we have a man, who could very well be appointed to the Supreme Court who may or may not be trusted with the serious issues that will affect all of us to one degree or another. If you can't believe in the leaders of your country, who can one believe in anymore? Tell me what you think, do you have confidence in Judge Sam Alito? Was Harriet Miers given a fair shake? Do you think more bad choices are on the way? And with each new scandal, do you feel a tug to educate yourself about politics by keeping current with what is happening that affects you on both a local or a national level? This being an election year, will you become more involved?

"Sather Tower"
U.C. Berkeley campus
November 24th, 2005
2:15 PM

Monday, January 09, 2006

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Body Parts

"The beginning and end reach out a hand to each other."

-Chinese Proverb

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Photograph a body part. Tell us something interesting about that body part. "Body Part" for these purposes can also include scars and such.

-John Scalzi

My hands are probably one of my better features. I like my hands. They type interesting words, like "Fussbudget" which is today's "Word Of The Day" according to I put one of my five fingers on my right hand to good use. I use it to press the little button on my camera that let's me take my photographs. My hands can wave " hello" and "Goodbye." My hands knead bread and pets my cat. My hand is my friend! Her name is Phoebe. LOL.

"Meet Phoebe"
Berkeley, California
January 9th, 2005
4:00 PM

Look At What Alan Went And Did...Again!

"They say that age is all in your mind. The trick is keeping if from creeping down into your body."


Today is Alan's birthday and what do you think he wants to do with it? He wants to fiddle with his brand new Blogspot journal, "F-Stop." He decided to keep the same name he had for his photoblog on AOL. I am glad he did, I always thought it was kinda cool. So, he is going to sleep in today, then probably go out to breakfast, then I have a couple surprises for him later in the afternoon, after that I suppose we will either BBQ or go to a steakhouse. I am not teasing him too much about turning 44, because I am only 6 months younger then him and my time is coming soon. LOL. We are definitely growing better together. We don't use the "O" word (older) in this house! Hop over and have a peek at his new journal when you get the chance...he is excited to back in the land again, and in your company. Happy Birthday Alan! :)


"Alan's Head"
San Francisco, California
Spring, 2005
Late Morning

Sunday, January 08, 2006

On A Clear Day

"It's an odd thing, but anyone who disappears is said to be seen in San Francisco. It must be a delightful city, and possess all the attractions of the next world."

-Oscar Wilde

This is the view of San Francisco from Twin Peaks. I have been meaning to get back up there to do some night photography, but my energy has been too low. Soon I hope to post some night shots from up here. By the way...the hills in the background is Berkeley and the East Bay...where I live. :)

On A Clear Day

On a clear day
Rise and look around you
And you'll will see who you are
On a clear day
How it will astound you
That the glow of your being
Outshines every star
You'll feel part of every mountain sea and shore
You can hear
From far and near
A word you've never, never heard before...
And on a clear day...On a clear day...
And ever
And ever And ever more.

"On A Clear Day"
Twin Peaks
San Francisco, California
Winter, 2005