Sunday, June 28, 2009

Fledgling Trekkie?

While I wouldn't go so far as to say that I'm a Trekkie, I went to see the Star Trek movie yesterday afternoon, and indeed enjoyed it!

Over 34 years on this planet, and yesterday was honestly the first time that I had ever seen anything Star Trek-related. I had nothing against the franchise. I simply felt that I had missed the boat, and jumping aboard along the way would have been too difficult - the characters, the plots the subplots, the time investment...I just didn't see much of a personal ROI.

But yesterday after softball, a few of my friends invited me to see the movie, and I went.

Turns out that each of the three had seen the Star Trek movie at least once or twice already.

Unfortunately, I have been going to the movies so infrequently of late that I can't remember the last time I saw the same movie twice in a first-run theatre.

Nonetheless, I had heard from a number of sources that enjoying the Star Trek movie did not require prior knowledge of the series or past movies.

I totally agree.

My knowledge of Star Trek had been this simple and incomplete list of facts:

Spock was Leonard Nemoy
Captain Kirk was William Shatner
Vulcan Death Grip
The Enterprise
Live Long and Prosper
Beam Me Up, Scotty
That hand signal that I can't do

That's it. God's Truth. I had no idea when the series took place, why they flew around in that ship, and who the other characters were.

Yet I found the movie mostly easy to follow, and didn't feel ignored as a newbie.

But now I'm intrigued. While I'm far from becoming a Trekkie, and I certainly do not have the stamina to catch up on all that I have missed, I would like to know more.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Garlic Scape Face

Last year, during the week in which our produce boxes included garlic scapes, we received 2 or 3 of them.

Different story this year. I have 17 garlic scapes.

What am I going to do with 17 garlic scapes?

Well first of all, I had to create Garlic Scape Face, of course!

There is not much online about garlic scapes, but according to our CSA newsletter, here is what a garlic scape is:

"The curling flower bud of the garlic plant, garlic scapes are less pungent than raw garlic cloves. They can be chopped fine and eaten raw on salads or added to stir fries. I love them roasted - brush with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and cook on a grill or in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes or until they are soft. Check and flip them half way through cooking."

I have a feeling if I eat too many of these things, I'm going to have garlic dragon breath for weeks.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Wet Trash Day in Southie

As if garbage day in Southie isn't bad enough due to the leftover litter that remains after the trucks have long gone, garbage day in Southie IN THE RAIN is far worse.

Clearly, this has been an awful June here in the Northeast weather-wise.

No sun, daily rain, grey skies, wet Rosie walks, and now wet garbage left on our streets.

Usually, it's standard fare left behind - boxes, wrappers, dog poo, containers - but I had to chuckle at these items all found around a tree:

One high-heeled shoe
Prosecco bottle
A box, formerly containing sausages

In some circles, that COULD be considered the remnants of a very good night.

Monday, June 22, 2009

No Longer 18 Years Old

Every so often, I'm reminded that I am no longer 18 years old.

Case in point, Sunday morning and afternoon.

I woke up with sore muscles from my waist to my ankles. Nothing excruciatingly awful, but nothing pleasant either. Just a dull tightness and stiffness.

All from catching 4 innings at my softball game on Saturday afternoon.

Normally, I'm not a catcher. Pitcher and catcher are the two positions that I have played the least in my baseball and softball careers. I never volunteered to do either, and much preferred being a position player.

But our opponents on Saturday weren't that good. Fun team. Great guys. But not skilled at softball. They're presently winless this year, and remain that way after our 17-4 victory. Knowing that we were likely going to win the game decisively, our coaches shuffled the deck and allowed a few of us to play positions that we normally don't.

Early in the season, I made it clear that my favorite position to play is first base - I love being involved in many plays, and prefer catching balls thrown at me rather than fielding hard grounders or long fly balls. First base is the position that meets all of that criteria.

So I started at first base and played there for three innings, during which I had six put outs (of the nine outs recorded), including a great play where I caught a ball thrown off the base and tagged the runner as he ran past me at that instant.

I felt great about my defensive play for a change. Not that I don't play the field well, but when I'm in the mix of most plays, I make fewer errors and feel like I'm contributing more.

Fourth inning comes, and I'm asked to be the catcher.

I dread catching. But I did it.

As we don't wear masks in slow pitch softball, I have visions of foul balls smacking me in the face, knocking out my front teeth. Further, I picture swung bats cracking me in the back of my head as overexcited hitters toss their bats aside in mad dashes toward first base.

Plus, I didn't have a cup on. Normally, I'm an outfielder and skip wearing one.

I managed to escape any permanent injury catching those four innings, and did record three more put outs including two pop flies that I caught.

But since we were ahead by so many runs, our opponents batted their three final innings all at once. It's a rule in the league that if one team is up by so many runs, then they fore go their final at-bats and remain in the field for the final six or nine outs (although the bases are cleared after every third out is recorded).

So, I'm now catching for nine consecutive outs, those three innings that were pitched by our usual first baseman. I'm estimating I caught about 40-50 pitches in that inning, as he walked 6 or 7 guys, and went deep into the count many other times.

Hence, my soreness. I even worked out at the gym during six consecutive days last week, including Saturday morning before the game.

Sigh. I'm not 18 anymore.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

R.I.P. Goose, May 4, 2009 - June 16, 2009

Rosie's new friend Goose has moved on to the plush doll storage chest in the sky.

Usually, she is pretty gentle with her American Kennel Club animal toys. A few days ago, however, she managed to break Goose open at a seam. I found some clumps of Goose's stuffing innards on the kitchen floor, and decided that he needed some repair work.

At first, I tried sewing Goose back together, but for some terrible reason, I thought that Gorilla Glue would be a better solution. Never mind that Gorilla Glue isn't meant for fabrics, nor is it meant for human or animal ingestion, a likely result if applied to a dog's chew toy.

So, sadly, Goose made it into this week's garbage pickup.

Duck, Beaver, and Squirrel are still kicking around, and I have a feeling that Goose II might be making an appearance sometime soon, once I make my way to the store later today.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Mortality at Stop & Shop at grocery store yesterday:

Older Female Cashier: "What are these?"

Me: "Tomatillos."

OFC: "What do you do with them?"

Me: "I don't know. I think you grill them or make sauce. They looked good, I thought I'd try something new."

OFC: "Y'know? I tried something new a few weeks ago. Fiddleheads. They're only in season for a few weeks."

Me: "I tried them once. I didn't like them all that much."

OFC: "Yeah they kind of taste like grass. But I figure I'm not going to live much longer, so why not try them?"

Monday, June 15, 2009

Palm Trees in Copley Square

Am I crazy, or are those palm trees planted in Copley Square?

I'm not an expert horticulturist, but I'm thinking these won't survive a Boston winter. Whoever planted them, however, probably knows far more about the survival of palm trees than I do.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Butterfly Splatter

I took a quick trip to Foxwoods with Tye for some poker, and we both managed to have very good days at the tables. Thankfully, we did not play at the same one, as I basically ran my table, and Tye did the same at his. I'm glad we didn't find ourselves bumping up against one another in large pots.

During the drive back, we're both an great moods given our day and the fact that the sun had finally emerged after hiding for the past four or five days behind rain, clouds, and 58 degree temperatures here in June.

The mood changed - temporarily - when a beautiful yellow butterfly met its untimely death, victim of a windshield splatter. Somehow it found its way caught in my windshield wiper.

Tye opened the window to lift the wiper and let the wind carry the butterfly carcass into the highway graveyard that many insects, squirrels, birds, deer, and armadillos find themselves in every day.

It made me wonder - do bugs feel pain and emotion? I would imagine that feeling emotion requires some thought processes more complex and incomprehensible to the simple brains of insects.

Regardless, I waited a while before flashing my wipers. I have always found it better to let bug innards dry first before smearing them across my windshield.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Waiting For Grub

Waiting For Grub, originally uploaded by southiejason.

Last week, I went to Parish Cafe for lunch on a gorgeous Thursday afternoon here in Boston. The patio was filled with diners, and people were waiting for tables.

Oddly enough, the outdoor waiting area had these unoccupied chairs. I'm not sure why people were waiting inside for outside seating.

Personification is a bit far-fetched, I suppose. But I thought the chairs took on a personality with their proud metal backs anticipating patrons. The chair on the left almost looks like I startled it, turning toward the camera rather than continuing the conversation with the other chairs.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Yanks-Sox, Round 3

Here w go again.

Yanks-Sox, round 3 for 2009.

The two best records in the American League going head-to-head. The way it should be.

It never gets old.

Even with the Yankees appearing, on paper, to be an overfed brahma bull in a league of dairy cows, I'll pull for them. I think about those terrible Yankees teams of the 80's that the childhood Jason pulled for without question - collecting the baseball cards, studying the box scores, watching every game while doing homework. The investment of time paid off in the 90's with well-assembled and home-grown teams that captured the souls of Yankees fans everywhere.

Then the unbelievable happened. The Sox caught up and surpassed the Yankees in the 2000's.

I don't simply cheer the uniform, but rather root for the history, the tradition, and of course the $2,500 field box seats. Swallowing the Yankees present incarnation is the bitterest of pills. But I purchase a jar every March, and keep taking them until October.

Being a Yankees fan in New England does not make me universally popular. My friends who were raised in the area fully understand this rivalry and probably better understand my resistance to changing sides than my local friends who were raised elsewhere do.

The true fans are born into it and allow for fate to take them on the ride.

I am indeed a bit of a non-conformist. I'll gladly admit to that. I suppose if I lived in a National League city (Denver, San Fran, Milwaukee, wherever), I would probably cheer for the local team. Why not?

But being from New York, even years removed from truly living there, the Yankees are my team.

So here we go again, Sox-Yanks. Wouldn't have it any other way.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Anatomy of a Skype Call With The Parents

For Christmas last year, I bought my parents a new laptop with webcam and all software installed and configured. I thought it might be nice for them to have the ability to webcam with me instead of simply talk on the phone. Little did I know that each call would start as a production...

This is a fairly common pattern of the start of each weekend's Skype with my family:

9:36 AM - I login to Skype and skype the parents

9:37 AM - They pick up after 10-15 rings.

9:38 AM - We begin the "I can see you / I can't see you / Can you hear me? I can't hear you." game, which lasts for a couple minutes.

9:40 AM - They finally figure out how to start their video. Mind you, this is six months after I bought them the new laptop.

Like clockwork, this is pretty much for a spend a portion of my 9:30-10:00 AM half-hour on Sunday mornings.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

My New Bodum French Press Coffee Maker

I have been checking out French Presses for a while now, and finally purchased this Bodum model on Friday. Stylish and fashionable, I'd leave this model on my counter any day.

I think I've found the contraptions to be interesting little devices, and wondered what the coffee would taste like after this type of brew.

After a few cups brewed in the French Press, I can say that the flavor seems to be more robust than what my Krups automatic drip machine generates with the same amount of coffee grinds. I'm also liking the temperature of the coffee, as boiling the water separately on the stove makes a much warmer cup than the drip machine spits out.

It's still all about the quality of the beans. I'm still working with a few packages of Kona and Kauai Coffee that I brought back from Hawaii, and mixing them on occasion with the Starbucks grounds that I bought a few weeks ago. The flavor isn't acidic at all, and I'm even able to drink it without adding half and half.

My next step is a coffee grinder and purchasing whole coffee beans. I'll get around to that...someday.

Friday, June 05, 2009

First Produce Box of the Season

It's finally here.

After months of waiting, stumbling through lifeless produce at Stop & Shop, attempting to utilize Boston Organics as a suitable replacement, FINALLY The Food Project weekly vegetable boxes are back.

OK, Stop & Shop isn't awful, and Boston Organics is indeed an admirable delivery service, but neither creates the excitement that a simple box of Food Project produce does.

It's more than just the produce, which is always excellent.

It's knowing that their organization is socially conscious, creates leadership programs for youth, feeds the hungry, and builds a sustainable local food system.

But of course, it's knowing that these vegetables were harvested hours before I picked them up.

Yesterday was my first of about 22 weekly drives to Jamaica Plain to retrieve my weekly box.

As I parked and walked over to the pickup site with great anticipation, I wondered what presents would be inside this week's box. Usually the first couple of boxes are not as full, and the quantity of produce mounts as the growing season progresses.

This week's box had radishes the size of plums. I couldn't help but cut into one immediately upon coming home. It tasted amazingly peppery, firm, and crunchy!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Potted Plant on Stoop on Appleton St.

Potted Plant on Stoop, originally uploaded by southiejason.

I had my camera cleaned last week at Sanford Camera and Projector Repair in Arlington, MA, and reclaimed in on Friday, just in time for this past weekend's festivities at softball and for Jamen's 30th Birthday party.

Walking over to the party, I thought I would snap a few random shots along the way to the party. I walked down Appleton Street in the South End, and saw this awesome contrast - metal railing painted with a shiny, deep black paint, the weathered blue-grey paint of the concrete stoop, and the bright red flowers breathing color and life into an otherwise elemental scene.