Sunday, January 30, 2005

The Olive Garden

Last weekend my wife and I met some friends at the Olive Garden. I try not to eat at any restaurant on Miller Road in Flint Township because nearly all restaurants are chains that taste the same. Unfortunately, some of our friends seem to prefer those restaurants. Personally, I can't tell the difference between the food, service and atmosphere at Chili's and the food, service and atmosphere at Outback Steakhouse, but it might just be me.

So we met our friends at the Olive Garden, but I wasn't very hungry. I ordered soup and salad. The salad and breadsticks are two of the best parts of the Olive Garden. The salad was good, but primarily because it had pepperocinis. The breadsticks (which I used to love before I came to love food) were fine, but when I caught myself trying to soak up salad dressing with every bite of bread I realized I only used to love them because they were warm and soft, not because they are particularly good.

The minestrone soup prompted this entry to The Mundane Life. It was tasteless. It looked and tasted like a reddish broth with a can of mixed beans dumped in. I'm not sure it was even salted. The bad part was that it wasn't even bad; it was just tasteless. For me, I guess it represents restaurants like the Olive Garden that are the sit-down versions of McDonald's. The food is never good, but you know if you walk into a Olive Garden in Flint, Michigan or an Olive Garden in Ontario, California you'll get the same food, service, and atmosphere.

In the end, the visit with our friends was great, and I guess eating there can just serve as a reminder of the kinds of restaurants I really love.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Quiznos Subs

Okay, I like to think of myself as mildly media savvy and not likely to be swayed much by advertising, but this commercial compelled me to eat at Quiznos. It's too bad they pulled it so quickly from television. Fortunately, linked to it, so now I can watch it any time I want. And you can to here. I think you'll need Windows Media Player. Enjoy.

p.s. The sandwich was fairly good for a chain restaurant.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

A Blog for Everyone

I know there is a blog for everyone, but that still doesn't stop me from being surprised when I stumble across one like like Shaving Who knew?

I wish I knew about this site when I was shopping for my electric razor. I'm happy with the one I have, a Panasonic wet/dry razor, but when it comes to purchases like this one, I'm a compulsive researcher. The more it costs, the more I research.

I dread the day I buy a new car.

Monday, January 17, 2005

It's Cold Outside

It's cold outside. The last time I checked, it said the temp was 11 degrees and with the wind chill it was -4. I would check our thermometer, but it got so cold it came into the house to warm up. Now I like to think I'm relatively tolerant of the cold, especially for a transplant from Southern California, but even I think this is a bit much. It looks like our Doberman, Kisha, will be spending the day on the couch because I'm not taking her out in this for both of our sakes. She doesn't seem to bothered by this, but I'm sure if I have a moment of insanity, she will gladly get off of the couch and venture around the block.

Though I'm very happy living here, I wonder how people decided to setting in such a relatively formidable place, especially before the modern comforts of natural gas heating, cable television, and pizza delivery. I know it's beautiful the other three seasons, but somehow I feel those all get crammed into six months. But maybe the fall is worth it (it's my favorite season). Maybe I shouldn't think about it in temporal terms. Maybe my experiencing of fall is worth the cold months that follow. Maybe the excitement of spring is worth it (despite relapses into winter). Maybe sitting on our back deck late into a warm night in July makes it worth it. But right now, I'm just wondering when our temperature gauge will register in the positive and go back outside.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Oatmeal Cookie and Brownie Recipes

I found this recipe on Kosher Bachelor, a blog I just found. Who would have thought of a blog about kosher food? Well, the Kosher Bachelor found a great recipe that you need to read, but make sure you allow yourself time. It may take a while.

Without taking too much fun out of this recipe, I want to add that as a writing teacher I find it an amazing piece of writing and wonder about audience, context, and how such a document develops.

Though I have much more I'd like to say, let me end by adding that I've never seen a recipe that says anything about insect parts.

Check it out:
Cookie and Brownie Recipe

Monday, January 03, 2005

Update on Effy's Obit

Tonight I went to the synagogue to cook a meal for Effy's family with the other kitchen volunteers. I learned that The Flint Journal didn't print the entire obituary by mistake. Here is a link to the full obituary notice. I'm amazing she ice skated into her late 80s. She is an inspiration. Here is the link: - Life Story

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Loss of a Friend: Dr. Evelyn Golden

There is a bit of irony with my last post. After I had written it, a friend called to tell me of another friend's death. Her name was Effy. We worked together in the kitchen at the synagogue, and she was a favorite person there. She was the oldest and slowest, but she had the best attitude and was a working inspiration. I loved working with her because we would always laugh and talk about our gardens. She always took egg shells home from an evenings cooking to chop up and spread in her garden. She was a tiny woman, bent with age, but she moved fairly well, and she cooked great chicken legs.

A month or two ago she fell ill and couldn't come to the kitchen any more. Her death is sad for us because she was an amazing woman, more amazing than I ever knew because she had no pretending and spent most of her time listening rather than talking. But, she was hurting and her death has spared her more pain. I take solace in that.

But this post was not intended to be a tribute to a friend (though in a way I guess it is). Rather I thought it fitting given my last post about searching to do more in my community. Effie and I had mostly talked about our gardens, the kitchen and my work at Eastern Michigan University. I had met her daughter, though we had talked little. So I really knew little about Effy and what she had done before our paths crossed in the kitchen. I learned a lot about her when I read her obituary. It's the longest one I've ever seen, and it's inspirational. I encourage you to read it and hopefully find your own inspiration. It was printed in today's Flint Journal. Here is the link: - Death Notices

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Happy New Year

It's now 2005, and I'm glad. Good riddance to 2004. It was an abysmal year. So I'm going to keep looking forward and not look back.

Do I have any new year resolutions? No, but I am going to continue to try to be a better person. In addition to being more patient, forgiving, and tolerant, I'm going to try and do more to improve the community I live in. Right now I volunteer cook in a local synagogue that makes meals on wheels. I enjoy that work, but I'm starting to feel like it isn't enough. I want to do more; I want to affect greater change, but I haven't decided what that will be. I'm open to suggestions.

I've considered getting into politics. I doubt I would run for office, but I wouldn't mind working for a politician. I'm a bit disenchanted with government and politics, but I should work for change rather than throwing up my hands in frustration. But I don't know what I want to do. Internet activism isn't enough. I'm not enamored with any politician I can think of that I would want to work for.

So what should I do? What should everyone do?