Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Week 3 Bucs Post (vs. NY Giants, L 0-24)

So, that was rough. So rough, in fact, that I had to take a couple days to gain perspective before posting about it. My two negatives are:
1) The Bucs had 35 total yards of offense with 9 minutes of game time remaining. 35 yards. Thirty Five. That is really not good. At all. The Byron Leftwich Experiment was most definitely a failure, no?
2) The Kellen Winslow Experiment appears to be a failure as well. The guy cannot catch a ball that matters, and decided to run straight out of bounds a yard shy of the first down on 3rd-and-5 during Tampa's first drive. The thinking was clearly "I could get the first down, but then somebody might hit me. Meh." Not cool. Coach Morris called him out for that play, but I would be shocked if he starts stepping up and earning his excessively large contract any time soon.
Fearless leader Byron Leftwich had 22 total yards, but I choose to view that as a good thing... Nay, a GREAT thing. Turns out that was the answer to the nagging question "How badly would Leftwich have to play to actually get benched?" Josh Johnson (aka "The Other Josh," pictured above) came out and looked pretty darn OK on a 51-yard (non-scoring) drive and was able to convince The Powers That Be it was time to admit that the decision to start Leftwich was a horrible one... So, "Yay!" for the end of the Leftwich Era. It was only 3 games, but they were a LONG 3 games. Next week we've got the Redskins - a team that found a way to lose to the freaking Lions - which is perhaps our best chance at pulling off at least one win this season.
The Bucs defense is ranked 30th in the league right now, which is not a particularly great ranking. Getting Tanard Jackson back in Week 5 will help, but probably not enough... especially with Jermaine Phillips out for the year... After so many years of amazingly dominating defensive units, it hurts to see them play so poorly. I'll go ahead and broken-record that Dominik needs to get Barrett Ruud a contract extension if he wants to pretend we're rebuilding and not just flailing around.
On a semi-related note, my sports bar (Shoppers Cafe) continues to rock my world. Not only did they make me a really nice Chicken Caesar Salad (a whole, perfectly-grilled chicken breast on a bed of lightly dressed greens) but THEY HAVE SILVER STRIKE BOWLING!!! I freaking love that game and, when Yur's didn't have it on my last trip to Portland, I was heartbroken. "I will have to search all of the Boston Metro area looking for it," I told myself... And then: there it was... waiting for me in the corner of my new favorite Sunday hang-out. As soon as I convince a few friends that video bowling is most awesome thing ever, it is on.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Creepy Ads Socializing Girls to Be Good Homemakers

I'm not going to lie to you: I love cooking and cleaning (with the exception of dusting, which I loathe). I don't think this is because I'm a chick, so much as because I'm a person who loves good food (and thus needed to be able to make it for myself or go broke buying it in restaurants) and because I'm fairly compulsive (and thus get a lot of pleasure from putting things in their place and making things perfect). I say this to make it clear that I don't think there's anything wrong with women cooking, cleaning, or being homemakers... but I do find it frustrating when products and advertising campaigns are produced that try to socialize girls to believe that this is a woman's job. This ad from the 1960's (hat-tip to Sociological Images) is particularly creepy:

I think my favorite part is that you're supposed to make sure you stay nice and pretty while you're doing all of this housework... Lest you think this is just a dated phenomenon, this modern ad is not all that different:

My favorite part of this one is definitely the fact that you can entertain your daughter's imagination by letting her do imaginary laundry. Awesome. I'm not going to offer any insightful feminist commentary here, (I have a football game to go watch, after all...) I just find these kinds of things fascinating and wanted to share.

Bunnies al Fresco

The bunnies, they are killing me with their cuteness...I got a new rabbit fence last weekend called the Garden Defender which, as the name implies, is designed to keep rabbits (and deer) out of your garden. I, on the other hand, use it to keep the cute little guys in my yard and out from under cars. My modified version (which had to be collapsible since I didn't want to leave it in everyone's way in the shared yard when I'm not using it) went together in about 10 minutes and sets up in under 5 minutes, giving me a ~40 foot x 30 foot play area for the bunnies:
I bring the little guys out in their pet carrier so that I don't have to leave anyone unattended out there with all the predators while I go fetch the other one. Pedro actually will hop back into the pet carrier when he gets too nervous, so it turns out it's good to have it out there.
Pedro is definitely the more nervous of the two. The moment I opened the door, Rico was out running off to see where the boundaries were, then sitting under as bush being stealthy.
Pedro tends to stick closer to me, running through the tunnel, sitting under my chair, and just generally being sweet and making me feel good that he trusts me to be his protector.
Every now and then Rico would come hopping over to get Pedro
and then they would go off to explore together for a while, thus doubling the level of cuteness.
This weekend Rico was a bit more playful, so they spent more time together and running around. Check out these awesome running bunnies:
Because Pedro is a dork, he ran straight into a corner in the fence when he was hopping at full speed at one point, then proceeded to sneeze for about a minute. Poor little guy. Finally, here's a video of the bunnies hopping around. It got a little grainy on when I compressed it, but you get the idea.

The little guys have so much fun outside, I will definitely try to get them out there every weekend until the snow comes.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Obligatory Non-Bucs, Non-Bunnies Post

Hey there. I've been having a rough go of things as of late, so there has been minimal culinary adventuring taking place relative to the amounts of football-watching, hanging out with therapeutic bunnies, and moping. I was going to make a batch of paella this weekend and post about its awesomeness, but then I didn't really want traditional paella, so I'm not sure what I would call the (delicious) thing I made... and then I slightly over-cooked the rice because I was waiting for halftime of the Panthers-Falcons game before pulling it off of the heat (which took way longer than anticipated)... but it was still super-delicious and somehow sort of exactly what I wanted it to be. My Pseudo-Paella ended up looking like this:
not-so-al-dente rice and all... The one bit of non-football, non-bunny excitement recently was going to see The Walkmen (possibly my very favorite active band) at The Middle East in Cambridge. Joe and I had seen them as an opener for the stupid Kings of Leon at BU, but it was a sadly brief show in a too-large venue. This time (after a decent opener called The Big and a even decent-er second opener in Here We Go Magic) we were ~4 feet from the lead singer and were treated to a nice long set. The audio could have been a bit more nuanced (Why do lead guitarists insist on overpowering lead vocals?), but they still rocked the house and it was an awesome evening. Also, the lead singer is freakishly tall (which is a good thing) and has a very cool leather jacket (as Joe noted a time or two).
Not much else to report... unless you want to hear more of my thoughts on the Bucs? No? OK, then. I go in to get my new and improved cyborg parts in about a week and a half. That day really can't come soon enough at this point.

Week 2 Bucs Post (@ Buffalo, L 20-33)

Hey. That score's almost identical to last week... Yet, somehow, this game was much more depressing. My two negatives for the week are:
1) The Bucs committed 112 yards of penalties. ONE HUNDRED AND TWELVE. 60 yards in face mask penalties alone (e.g. the one pictured above). Sigh. It's REALLY hard to win a game when you give the opposition 112 free yards (and score 10 points for them with your offense). Seriously.
2) The run game looked bad this week. Playing without Antonio Bryant, Leftwich looked even worse this week, which allowed Buffalo to just crowd the box. There's apparently no telling when Bryant will be back, so we need to find another deep threat (or a decent quarterback) soon. Leftwich threw for almost 300 yards and 3 TDs, but the 2 picks and countless badly thrown balls were killer. Don't even get me started on his screen passes.In good news, Sabby Piscitelli (above) redeemed himself with a pick and a fumble recovery. With Jermaine Philips possibly knocked out by a broken thumb, kid needs to step up like this. Elbert Mack made a great play breaking up a TD pass (below), as well, making up a bit for getting burned last week.
The defense also put some solid pressure on the QB this week, including some nice play by Jimmy Wilkerson. That needs to continue to take a bit of pressure off of the less-than-stellar secondary.
I'm willing to believe this is a rebuilding year, and I would even be able to accept a possibly winless season in the name of "rebuilding"... but I can only have faith in the future of this team if they give this man:
a contract extension. Seriously, Dominik. Get on that.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Bunnies!

I don't know about you, but I've had a rough week... and when I have a rough week, there's nothing that cheers me up quite as well as adorable bunnies. Because you can't see these little guys in person (and because I can't bring them to work to watch them all day), I'm posting (excessive amounts of) their awesomeness today. I can't think of a cuter place to start than with Pedro being a giant dork. I posted this (awesome) picture (along with a couple more subtle versions) previously:
while noting that Pedro really likes to stand on Rico. In case you thought this was an isolated incident, here he is doing it again:
and again:
and again:
I can't blame him. I would do the same thing if I were his size. Rico is so soft, I would be snuggling him constantly if I were Pedro... but I'm still not entirely sure why Rico puts up with it. From (an odd version of) snuggles, I'll move on to a bunny "fight." I've mentioned that Pedro has been getting more assertive since I built the HPFC. Here he is fighting with Rico over a piece of kale:
and the winner is...
Speaking of kale, I've had this picture around for a while but I don't think I've posted it here yet. This is the most ridiculously large bundle of kale I've ever seen at Russo's. The bunnies had never seen anything like it, either:
The bunnies still snuggle in the cage from time to time:
and are sometimes still tunnel bunnies (especially Rico):
They both take their turns napping in the HPFC:
or just lounging there being very handsome:
Pedro has gotten better at eating his hay:
and takes his nomming time in the HPFC very seriously:
Finally, in case you're having the kind of day where watching 23 seconds of bunny nomming would do you good, here you go:

Monday, September 14, 2009

Week 1 Bucs Post (vs. Dallas, L 21-34)

I'm going to try to keep these brief this year, in part because I think it will most likely be a very long year and ranting/whining on a weekly basis is not particularly becoming. Thus I will limit myself to two negative comments per week and try to focus on the positive. My two negatives for Week 1 are:
1) Watching Byron Leftwich as the starting quarterback for my team sort of makes me want to vomit. Literally. I have no words for how much I hate this situation. Nobody who has seen him on a football field would ever mistake him for a leader of men. Nobody.

2) Oh, Sabby... I've got a lot of love in my heart for Sabby Piscitelli, and am often praising him to random people, but he looked bad this game. Really bad. So bad that I thought for a minute that Aqib Talib was about to beat the crap out of him on the sideline after he handed the Cowboys an 80-yard TD to put the game out of reach. Here's hoping he's as smart as I give him credit for so he can put this behind him and be the player I've always thought he could be...

The good is that Cadillac Williams looked absolutely fantastic in his return from his second torn patellar tendon. Not a lot of guys would have come back from the first one and, after seeing him come back so strong from the second, you can't question his toughness. (His durability, maybe, but never his toughness...) The run game was beautiful, as was the play of Michael Clayton (again) (finally) and Antonio Bryant. The offense has a lot of potential once they get a decent quarterback, and the defense will improve when Tanard Jackson is back. At least Ronde Barber looked good, which always puts me in an optimistic mood. Everything is going to be OK. Still hanging on to mild "We're going to the Super Bowl" delusions over here...

Monday, September 7, 2009

Steph's Visit: Day Ten

Alas, the final day of Steph's visit had arrived and, despite all the awesome times and amazing food, it seemed to come a bit too soon... as the end of vacation always does, I suppose. The trip ended much as it had begun: with a bit of spontaneity. Looking at a map of Massachusetts and seeing the town of Gloucester on the coast north of Boston, we hit the food boards and found recommendations for a place in Gloucester called "Lobsta Land." We were both instantly too amused by the name not to go, so off we went...
When we arrived at Lobsta Land, we saw that they not only had the New England Haddock Chowder (which several people on the interweb claimed was the best soup on the planet) and New England Clam Chowder (which we had to get to compare with our beloved Captain Parker's), but they also had a Lobster Chowder. Thus, Chowder Fest became inevitable. We ordered a bowl of each to share and compare (pardon the sunlight jacking up my beauty shot...):
The fish chowder (front) was sort of surprisingly amazing, since it didn't sound like something I would generally order on purpose. Not the best soup on the face of the planet, but I can definitely see why people love it. The clam chowder (back left) was really nice, if not as much my style as Captain Parker's is. It's a thinner style of chowder (which I always prefer to gummy, flour-laden chowders) but I like the thyme-y accents in the Parker's chowder and the slightly thicker (while still nice and creamy) consistency. Still, this chowder was overflowing with clams and was definitely something I would eat again on purpose. The lobster chowder, though, was the clear winner. It was amazingly delicate, made with a lovely lobster stock, and loaded with chunks of sweet, buttery lobster. Totally awesome. I'm not even going to talk about the lame, bread-crumb-filled crab cake (below) that we accidentally ordered, except to say that the strength of Lobsta Land (aside from its awesome name) is clearly in the chowders...
From here we drove out to see a castle which, for unknown (to me) and surely arbitrary reasons, exists on the shore of Cape Ann. The view was absolutely breathtaking (aided by the gorgeous day), and many pictures were taken.
We drove on a bit further to see the coast out by where the rich people who don't live in castles live
then drove back towards Waltham to get started cooking a Thai food feast. On the way we made a quick stop at the Lexington Battle Green so that Steph could claim the day-trip was educational as well as beautiful... and increasing the symmetry between this day and Day One, both of which now featured spontaneous trips, chowder, and big famous rocks:
(I personally think our rock in Lexington is way awesomer than Plymouth's stupid historically-significant rock...) Unfortunately, our brilliant cooking plans hit a bit of a snag because we are very very stupid... We started with Crab Rangoon (a Steph-and-Emmo classic):
and our best-ever batch of Tom Kha Goong (which the picture really doesn't do justice to, since most of the yumminess is at the bottom of the bowl under the super-delicious broth):
and then... we were full. After torturing Pedro with duck-roasting smells the day before and curry-making smells today, there was no chance of eating another bite... (We decided to enjoy the curry for lunch the next day before I drove Steph to the airport, but had the exact same appetizers with the exact same result. It's almost like we're deeply, deeply stupid...) Nonetheless, here's what the curry broth looked like while simmering (I like to simmer the carcass in the broth to infuse it with ducky goodness while not over-cooking the meat from the roasted duck, which is later added just to warm through...)
and on my plate for dinner Monday night... all by my lonesome. Sorry, Steph!
There you have it. Ten days, the vast majority of which were thoroughly awesome (and the rest of which provided much-needed recovery time from the thoroughly awesome ones...). It was great to have one of my favorite people from back "home" come see my new city, even if she didn't let me convince her to move out here... Good times...