Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Our Best Friends

I saw something yesterday that prompted me to write this. More on that later.

Those who have known me a long time know that I was never a dog person. In the last two years however, that has changed. I am not sure of what caused me to not care for dogs. I didn't dislike them, but would steer clear of an unfamiliar one. It may have been an accident that occurred when I was very young, caused by the namesake of this blog. He came after me when I disturbed him during a meal, and pushed me into the sharp corner of a kitchen countertop. I still have a scar that is quite visible the way I have been wearing my hair these days.

Most people who "convert" will tell you that is was a particular animal that caused them to change. For me, it was Marti's dog, Obi. He's a brown and white Cocker Spaniel. Very goofy, and acts stupid when it works to his advantage, but is actually a lot brighter than that. Now that I only see him on some weekends, he goes nuts when he sees me.

Since I have become friends with Obi, I seem to notice dogs more. Here in Manhattan there are tons of them. I have even taken up going down to the Union Square dog run, just to watch the dogs. I miss my little goofball. Unfortunately, the life of an IT manager, at least currently, would be an unfair match for a canine. Maybe someday that will change. Until then, I will admire everyone else down here that has one, which leads me to what inspired this.

On my walk from 40th street to 33rd street yesterday morning, I saw a homeless man in a doorway. He was leaning up against the door, eyes closed, his little cart next to him with his belongings. A medium sized yellow lab-mix dog was sitting along side him. His head resting on his master's leg. He was watching the people pass by, as if he was keeping watch over the man. Whatever reason this man is homeless, whatever his issues and idiosyncrasies, he had taken the time to tie a bandanna around the dogs neck. The dog had a certain "look" that is hard for me to explain. I guess it was a look of devotion and love to his unfortunate master. Touching.......

Monday, June 19, 2006

Low Crab? Carb Legs?

We seem to have a disproportionate amount of Chinese restaurants in the Kingston, NY area. Not that I have a problem with that. Quite the contrary. All of that competition creates interesting results, and a few of these establishments rise to the top. There seem to be four main kinds of Chinese restaurants in our area. The old fashioned Americanized restaurants, The small take out restaurants, The upscale gourmet restaurants, and the Chinese Buffet.

Three such buffet restaurants are located in the area, with a few other places offering limited ones on certain nights. The best, and by far, most popular, opened a few years ago. The owners of this buffet, did not seem to have such a good handle on the English language at the time they first opened. This gave us such appetizing dishes as: CARB LEGS, CHICKEN CHOPS, LABSTER ROLLS, and, my personal favorite: CLAMS CHEWD (clam chowder).

So, ever since then, in our family, Carb = Crab, and Crab = Carb.

This means that my new diet is a Low-Crab diet. Damn I miss those legs!!

Oh.... 22 pounds and counting. More news to follow......

Monday, June 12, 2006

I'm Still Waiting........

My boss has a Treo-700W. Nice toy! But, it is still a bit quirky. I was sitting in a meeting last week with some high-level execs, and watched the VP of operations take the battery out of his 700W to reboot it. They are neat, but clunky, and not as fast as my Blackberry 7250 with email. Neither of these devices do WiFi either (at least the Verizon versions). Blackberry has WiFi devices, but those don't do EVDO or EDGE broadband.....AGGHHH!

My Blackberry is a very capable email device, and a much better phone than the old ones were. With a Bluetooth headset, I have very few complaints in that department. A better browser would be nice, and WiFi access for when I am in the office. Add some sort of removable flash storage, and an MP3 player, and one device would do most of what I need.

So, where is it? Where is the Blackberry with WiFi, EVDO, Bluetooth, a CF slot, and the ability to run software like the MiniMo browser, and an MP3 player? Or even a non-Blackberry device that did email as well as the Blackberry.

C'mon RIM.... Case is closed, lawyers paid. MAKE MY DEVICE!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms

Cooking for Paul and myself has gotten interesting. We are both on very-low-carb diets. Coming up with interesting things when you crave rice, potatoes, and pasta has been a challenge. The other night I invented something that he claimed was the best thing I've come up with yet, so I have to share.

Neil's Stuffed Portabella Caps

2 large portabella caps, de-stemmed, and skirt trimmed for stuffing
1 medium sized onion, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed in a press, or minced
2 chicken breast-halves, diced, or one can chunk style chicken
2/3 cup 4C brand low-carb bread crumbs
3/4 cup shredded Italian-Blend cheese
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning blend
1/2 cup cooking wine
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a small oven dish with cooking spray. Heat olive oil in large skillet, cook onion, pepper, and garlic just a few minutes and add chicken, and Italian seasoning. Continue cooking until chicken is done. Add bread crumbs and stir well, then add wine. Continue cooking while stirring about 30 seconds more and remove pan from heat. Let sit for about 5 minutes, then add 1/2 cup of the cheese, salt and pepper, and save remaining cheese for topping. Spoon mixture into caps, and make a nice dome shape. Top with remaining cheese. Bake in 350 degree oven for about 20-25 minutes, or until cheese is browned and stuffing heated through. Serves 2.

I suppose you could use ordinary bread crumbs if you are not carb-concerned, but we have found these low-carb crumbs to be excellent for our diet. We also use them in other dishes. When you add liquid to the crumbs in whatever dish they are used in, the swell a bit, and seem to imitate rice, or some other starch. The low carb 4C breadcrumbs are hard to find. I emailed the company and they sent me a list of who has them in the NYC area: A&P, Key Food, Super Fresh, Food Emporium and Waldbaums.

For you low carb folks, I have calculated that this dish has about 13 net-carbs per serving. Using one of the new low-carb wines that have appeared recently would cut another few off the total. I suppose you could also skip the wine, but use some chicken broth for the liquid instead.

Monday, June 05, 2006

A Name For The New Wheels....

Marti got me into the habit of naming my cars. Now, I know that to some it seems strange, but there appears to be more people out there who personify their vehicles than I thought. The car I owned when I met her was a very plain blue Dodge Spirit with a bench seat. We named him Cecil. Then there was Vincent or Vinny. His full name was actually Vincent "Van" Gogh, a Plymouth Voyager. He was missing one of his ears (bumper ends) on one side, so the name seemed fitting. The blue voyager that came later was Emily, named by Alec. I think there was a girl by that name in his kindergarten class that he had a kindergarten-crush on. So, here is the dilemma:

I am acquiring an old VW Fox to run up and down the highway every weekend to go pick up the kids. Its in great shape, white, and a 4-door. Foxes are made in Brazil, but German in engineering. What on earth do I name him/her? Help?

Thursday, June 01, 2006


I have started a new blog page here at Blogger for Freeware. So I won't need to bore you non-techie types with my droning on-and-on about the latest whatchamacallit that I have found. Please check it out!