Saturday, November 22, 2008

IMBA fantastic!!!!!

I spent the day with the Subaru IMBA trail building team of Collins and Kelley Bishop. It was a great day. We had about 20 or so in our class. Lookout southeast, Mississippi is serious about making great trail. I'll post up about it later.

Tomorrow, we are leaving for a short vacation. Posting should resume Wednesday.

See ya!

Friday, November 21, 2008


When I was about 16, we went on a youth trip. One of the girls saw a sign, and said, "What is a smo...smor...smorgaaasssboard?" Our youth director told her it was a diving board with food on it.

There is nothing more quintessentially southern than an all-you-can eat restaurant. It's not a reasonably price selection of various foods. It's an challenge to your manhood and waistline. It's not an all-you-want or all-you-need. It's ALL-YOU-CAN.

It's a triathlon of eating.

First event, the salad bar. Hey it's healthy.........Well, lettuce is healthy. Tomatoes are healthy. The rest I'm not so sure. Since when did pork rinds become a salad topping? The bar is twelve feet long. They had to fill it up with something.

Second event, the main meal. Think of your meals at home or any other normal restaurant. One meat, a selection of sides or vegetables. Now before you lies 12 different deep fried entrees. Potatoes three ways and to balance out, one vegetable, battered and deep fried corn on the cob. My platter (they don't use normal sized plates) is a mounted of unidentifiable deep fried objects and the all taste the same dipped in ranch dressing.

Just as in a normal triathlon, by the time you get to the third event your body is beat down, crying "No mas! No mas!" (my body cries out in Spanish, No more! No more!) But alas you are a long way from the finish and there is but one way to get there........the dessert bar. Cake, pie, cobbler, ice cream......why choose? You've already consumed 12,000 calories and enough fat to feed Yogi bear through winter. What's another 2-3000? You must push to the limit.......

And the finish!!!!!! If you properly complete the Triathlon de Gluttony, then you should be nauseous and unable to drive home without loosening your belt and unbuttoning your pants. If not, you were under trained and not properly prepared. Eat a sackful of Krystals and prepare yourself for next time young grasshopper.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

SueShe.....Or........ Wasabi's happening?

I am a somewhat adventurous eater. Well, if you saw me, you'd probably realize that I don't pass on much. I live in a small town that currently doesn't have a restaurant at all. The extent of our culinary fair ends at the 24 hour gas station that makes pizzas and fried chicken. I was in college before the next town over got a Chinese or Mexican place. That said, rural Mississippi is not the center of cultural culinary exchange. Most of my exposure to regional and multi-cultural cuisine came after I started to work. I have traveled to many different parts of the country and had the privilege to dine at a lot of really nice places. (Thanks Mr. Employer!)

One of the things I had always wanted to try (but lack the courage to order on my own) was sushi. I finally had my emancipation thanks to Coach, who invited us out for dinner and theater. We went to a Japanese hibachi restaurant (or "the place where they cook on the table" according to Bug). Turns out Coach was a sushi aficionado.

I lost my sushi virginity with a spicy tuna, crunchy shrimp, and an eel roll.


The next step is to talk Woody's (the local gas station) to add sushi next to the fried chicken livers and gizzards. So that's not going to happen, so what's a guy to do?

Make his own.

I used catfish and brim from the Pearl river.....Naaaaa. Given the lack of a local fish monger, we made a spicy California roll (with crab) and a crunchy shrimp roll. Here's the final one before rolling. Using up the left overs this one was half and half.

And a plate of the final product.....

Coach gave it his seal of approval.

Hey check out Sushi Day. It's a great website that covers all the basics and has a bunch of recipes.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Day late and a dollar short

I know...I know...Halloween was so last month. But since I didn't start blogging last month, let's have a Halloween refresher. Pumpkin carving is one of our Halloween traditions. We make a pilgrimage to the "Pumpkin patch", pick out our victims and head home to carve them up. We pick up pumpkins too (don't tell the FBI, where the bodies are).

I'm really stoked over my pumpkin this year. Usually, the carving are more mundane as dictated by our young children. Of course, Sunshine had a Dora silhouette and Bug chose the bat signal.

Here's theirs.....
Here's mine.....

Don't you just love the sheer look of terror on the little one's face......

I know it's awesome isn't it? Mad props to Tom Nardone for the inspiration. Check him out and order a book while you're there for next year.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The only thing certain is death and taxes.......

You learn a lot from kids. I have two, so that means I learn twice as much...or twice as fast as people without kids. It's an eye opening experience to raise a child. You get to see everything again for the first time. Look daddy! It's a pretty cloud (tree, bird, rock, piece of chewed gum). All the things we have become desensitized to. The amazing things we don't pay attention to anymore. You get to relive all those first childhood experiences. Swinging at the playground, going to your first movie, learning how to ride a bike. Think of everything (you've done, seen, smelled, tasted, etc) in your life, and at one time or another it was your first time.

This not only including the fun stuff, but errrr....strange first times as well. Take for instance, going to the funeral home. Now all cultures have different last rites for the dearly departed. Here in the deep south, once someone has "passed", the norm is for a visitation time (with our dearly departed on prominent display), followed by a grave side service the next day.

We had a death in our extended family. As we prepared to go, Sunshine (our 3 yr. old daughter) couldn't grasp the concept of death. My son, Bug (5 yr. old) tried to explain that our uncle was dead like Granddaddy. Sunshine gleefully replied,"Yeah! we're going to the funeral home to see uncle and Granddaddy! I love old people!" So I took my shot, trying to explain that it was like they were asleep, but never going to wake up. It was just his body laying there, that he was really gone. She looked at me with a puzzled look and said, "He's not going to have on clothes?" I reassured that he would.

After waiting to pay our respects, we finally moved by the coffin. I could see the wheels turning. Sunshine leaned over and whispered, "See I told you he'd have clothes on." Much to the bewilderment of the deceased daughter-in-law who was standing near by.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Welcome to Mississippi

Ahhh....Mississippi.....A word full of imagery. Muddy waters, delta blues, stately mansions, and a friendly wave from everyone you meet. Unless you live outside the southeast, then your visions are of racial tensions, poor folks living in shacks, and illiteracy.

Don't confuse the low rate of college graduates with ignorance. Somethings you just don't learn in books. Take just the other day, one of my co-workers got a lesson from a shop guy that he won't ever forget. Apparently the best coon' dogs have flat heads and large b***holes. Hey, now that's something you can't learn at one of them there "ivy" league schools.

I bet that tidbit of information just confirmed every misconception you've ever had about Mississippi. But don't take it the wrong way. The guy giving the class on coon' dog shopping fits every redneck stereotype you can think of. But he's smart, real smart. His knows all manners of mechanical things, but not just knowing but understanding. There's difference between being able to do something and fully understanding how it works.

He knows animals: horses, cows, dogs, etc. He can grow and garden and pretty much support his family with out a grocery store. How long would you last without an Albertson's?

Maybe I haven't convinced you yet. Sure he knows a lot of menial things by the world's standards. I believe if he would have been born into a family of baccalaureates, he could have been a doctor. Yep, he's probably smarter than you.

Now your thinking, how sad that he was deprived of his true potential. He was raised by parents that taught him a fair day's wage for a fair day's work. In reality, that is what makes our nation run. People that do their job and do it well. I can dream and invent all day long, but eventually it's down to the people who make it happen.

Take a look around you, surly there is someone who appears bright, who does their job well, who goes the extra mile. Someone who didn't get the opportunity to go to college. Someone you can see the potential in. Don't feel bad for them. Keep an eye out, because successful people find ways to succeed.

So to end today's lesson, be respectful to those beneath you. Just because you graduated magna cum laude doesn't make you better or smarter. Beside's that hard working, greasy, shop guy's coon dog will run circles around the one you pick out.