Month: July 2017

Martini recipe #1

Last night I tried my homemade compound gin.  Basically, you just flavor vodka.  The only requirement to make it “gin” is a neutral base spirit with a 37.5% ABV and juniper as the dominant botanical.

I followed the recipe here.

I didn’t follow the instructions exactly.  Glad I didn’t.

To recap the ingredients.

750ml Vodka (I used cheap stuff, because I’m cheap)

2TBL Juniper Berries

1 tsp Coriander Seeds

2 Cardamom pods

2 peppercorns

Half a cinnamon stick

dried peel slice of lemon and orange

In the recipe at the link, you put it all together (expect the peels) for 24 hours.  Taste.  Add the peels and any botanical boost you want.  Let sit another 24 hours.

Instead, I let the vodka and juniper berries sit for 24 hours and then added the rest for 12 hours.

It came out OK.  Not great.  The reason it was OK was because it actually had a pretty strong cinnamon flavor.  The first time I made it I didn’t use cinnamon.  I might try again and use 1/4 stick.  Maybe I just had some high power cinnamon, but it was real noticeable in the gin.

I will try again.  This time I’m going to pay more attention.  I’m going to taste the juniper and vodka mix before I add anything else.  I might add more juniper to get more of that taste.  Meantime, I need to find some gin cocktail with cinnamon in it and make that drink but leave out the added cinnamon.  Nah, I’ll just power through the remaining and get to work on my next batch.

I did see another recipe that was supposed to approximate Bombay Sapphire.  It had a ton of botanicals, but what I liked was it had ratios of strong/weak botanicals.  I might just use that as base ratios and try different ones.  Maybe split the 750 into two mason jars and make two different batches.  Or buy two bottles and make four mason jars!  Or…….

Today in Music…cleaning up

I’m circling back around and picking up some albums I skipped.  I skipped them mostly because I don’t like that kind of music.  The problem with that method is now I have hours of music I don’t like to get through.  Yeah, jazz, I’m talking to you.

#33 Jazz Samba – Getz and Bird

#41 Getz/Gilberto – Stan Getz & Joao Gilberto

#43 – Olympia ’64 – Jacques Brel (no, no, no.  How the heck did this get on the list?)

#53  A Love Supreme – John Coltrane

#56  Bert Jansch – Bert Jansch (folk)

#62 Fred Neil – Fred Neil (more folk) (this could’ve been yesterday, they all blend after awhile)

#77 Chelsea Girl – Nico

#92 – Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim – Sinatra & Jobim

#99 – I’m a Lonesome Fugitive – Merle Haggard

#103 – Call of the Valley – Shivkumar Sharma

#106 – I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You – Aretha Franklin (finally!)

#116 – Eli and the Thirteenth Confession – Laura Nyro



Summer of Homemade – Pretzel rolls

Dinner is going to be tasty AF! (recipe link)

Martini of the Night…

Summer of Homemade continues…(homemade gin…compound, not distilled, that’s coming in the fall)

A nice night on tap. Play some games with the kids, watch a cooking show with them (Matilda and the Ramsey Bunch), eat some cookies the daughter is making now. All good.

I spend a nice “off day” sitting on my backside.  My legs are cashed from reffing four games yesterday (all without incident and some actually fun.  I’ve had a huge attitude shift and some good teams lately so I’m enjoying it again…which is good because I think the wife and I are going skiing this winter and that won’t be free).

This coming week the daughter is home but McFizzle goes to a local college for a computer class/camp:  Game Design and Development.   Haven’t heard from Little Money in over a week.  Not happy about that, but no news is good news and he’s off on some adventure in Panama.  Good for him.

It’s great to be alive.

Good eats…


Homemade Lox, bagel, cream cheese.  Good stuff.  Even DJ McFizzle loves the lox and bagels, and like Mikey, he doesn’t like anything.  It was simple to make the lox and worth it.  It’s more than 50% cheaper than store bought.  The bagels are a bit on the small side, but it actually works out perfectly.  They are small only because store bagels are big and I really don’t need all that.  Less is more.


Pimiento cheese sandwich and a few meat sticks.  I made the pimiento cheese after I impulse bought the spices when I went to buy other spices.  It’s a bit spicy  (duh, it has ghost pepper salt) and I was just so-so on it, but then I melted it on a bit on crusty bread and holy smokes!  The meat sticks are my last package from my first batch.  This week I’m going to buy some lamb and fat and make lamb sticks.

Now I’m 100% planning on falling asleep on the couch while watching the Cubs game.  I reffed four hockey games yesterday/night and today I have absolutely NOTHING to do and that’s exactly what I’m going to do.  Nothing.  So far I read a bit, played guitar and generally found ways to sit down.

Tonight I’m going to crack open my homemade compound gin for a nice martini.  I didn’t make the vermouth or grow olives, but it’s all a work in progress.

Best ever…

Summer of homemade foods continues.  In advance of tomorrow’s lox brunch, I made bagels.  No doubt, these were the best bagels ever made.

I now know how to MBGA (make bagels great again) but I don’t know how to MPRU (make pictures right side up).

Also, this martini was not homemade.  It was crap cheap gin, BUT the extra little splash to top it off was from a homemade compound batch that will be done tomorrow but I, uh, sampled, tonight.  Gotta keep QA.

Inside the museum infinity goes up on trial…

aka:  notes from a coffee shop

Started on such a high note.  I walked in to “Where Is My Mind” by the Pixies playing on the sound system here.

It went downhill after that.  Always, always, always bring headphones or you’ll be stuck listening to a local talking to two baristas about some former SNL actor (another local) who was sort of dicky to him this one time.  It’s been going on for 20 minutes.  FWIW, I’ve bumped into this actor a few times when our kids played on opposite basketball teams and he was always nice.  Maybe, and I’m not going too far out on a limb, but I think this is on the loudmouth local.

Doing homework for my Ed degree and it is painful.  It’s time wasting.  So much lingo/jargon to say so little.  I think they think using all that lingo makes them sound smart.  I think it makes them look desperate to be taken seriously.  Like someone who keeps trying to use big words but gets them wrong.

Oh shit, now the loudmouth is going on about Saramucci.  STOP.  JUST SHUT THE FUCK UP AND HAVE AN UNEXPRESSED THOUGHT (he says to himself as he expresses stupid thoughts in a blog post).

I’m totally enjoying the charging ring thing on the table.  One less cord I need to drag around.

Big fan of summer nannies.  Just saying.

Now I’m just daydreaming the loudmouth clutches his heart and falls over.  I’d just sit and watch.  Maybe step over his body to get a refill….and then “accidently” spill it on him so his last thoughts are “I’m having a heart attack, this is bad, oh shit, now I’m burning too.”

And now he’s moved on to people riding bikes on the sidewalk.  Is it wrong for me to pray for his immediate death?  Does that make me a bad person?  At least he just left.  Maybe he’ll get hit by a car crossing the street.  We can only hope.

This guy could be an entire Hater Tuesday.

Last few days in triple number music…

Still working on that list.  It’s getting to be a chore because I’m just not into Judas Priest, Yes and some others I’ve been forced (yes, forced!) to listen to.  Like almost every single one of the below albums.  I can’t wait until Festivus, because I have a serious bone to pick with the guy that created this list of 1001 Albums.

Today I decided on a theme for the last few days.  It’s not all that brilliant.  Triple numbers.  I don’t even think that’s a theme.  The theme would probably be “music I’m least likely to enjoy.”

#111 The Sounds of India – Ravi Shankar (not my cup of chai.  Maybe I wasn’t stoned enough and living in a hippie commune in the 60′s…plus, every song sounded exactly the same)

#222- Coat of Many Colors – Dolly Parton.  (Don’t care who knows it, I love me some Dolly Parton…the music and the lady)

#333 – Young Americans – David Bowie (sorry, never like Bowie)

#444 – Rust Never Sleeps – Neil Young (see Bowie but search/replace with Neil Young)

#555 – Suzanne Vega – Suzanne Vega (this day is KILLING me)

#666 – World Clique – Deee-Lite (I am this/fucking/close to quitting this challenge)

#777 – The Holy Bible – Manic Street Preachers (finally, something I like)

#888 – I already listened to this.

#999 – Vulnicura – Bjork (uncle. Un-fucking-cle)

This makes 410/1001

And it begins…

Today I started to make lox.  It’s not really all that difficult.  Basically, coat a piece of salmon in salt/sugar and let it do it’s thing for 48 hours or more.

This is the salmon covered in the salt/sugar.  I wrapped it in plastic wrap, leaving one end open to drain, and put it in the fridge at a slight angle so it drains.  I’ll leave it there for 24 hours and check it.  If the salt/sugar is still there, I’ll leave it another 24.  If not, I’ll add more and leave it for 24.

Tomorrow afternoon I’ll make the bagels to go with it.

Less is more, flipped

I think for my next self-challenge I’m going to start making more of my own food.  I don’t mean I’m not going out to eat because I don’t eat out that much.  I mean I’m going to slow it all down and make from scratch as much as I can.

That means baking bagels, bread, hot dog/burger buns That means making a pizza from scratch instead of heating up a frozen pizza.  That means making fresh pasta.  I do have some stuff to make cheese so I might try to make mozzarella for the pizza or pasta.

I don’t have access to hunting (although I have a gun) so I can’t go kill my own deer or pheasant.  I’d like to, but not much deer hunting is allowed in the city here.  Apparently shooting people seems to be fine, but not the deer.

I’ve enjoyed making sausages and generally enjoy making things.  I can’t do any construction/fixing around the house, but I can cook so that it’ll be it.

As soon as I scrape together some extra money I’m going to build/buy a still and distill my own moonshine (to make into gin eventually).  Already spent about an hour on YouTube the other night figuring out what I need and how to do it.

So, by next spring I’m going to have a BBQ where every single thing was homemade from the buns to the sausage to the pasta salad side to the hootch.  After that, it’ll be pizzas with homemade dough, raised tomatoes, cheese (although I will have to buy the milk) and pepperoni/sausage/veggie toppings.

Just because.  And because humanity doesn’t bother me when I make stuff.

(starting smaller this weekend by curing my own lox and making bagels)

Things I Like Wednesday

Games (table top):

Pandemic:  My wife, McFizzle and I have been playing this almost every night for the past week.  Now we’ve recruited Hammerette to cure diseases.  Good game.  Even better because all players win or lose together.


The Big Sick

Mineral Water:

Topo Chico 


Oddly, I enjoyed both the Deep Purple and Black Sabbath albums I listened to last week.

Also oddly, Soft Cell – Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret

OCMS covered Blonde on Blonde.  Why did nobody tell me?  Good stuff.


Aliya Fowler –  Wife of ex-Cub Dexter Fowler.  Funny, sassy, lady.


A.D. After Death

Kill or Be Killed (this may be a duplicate, but I got caught up this week)

Fractured Mind – interested to see where this goes.


People of Earth.  Stupid but fun show.  Second season starting Monday

The Keeper (Netflix)

Yeah, that sounds like something I’d do…

In last night’s hockey game I scored a hat trick!  Unfortunately, two of the goals were for the opponent.

First, the good.  I did score a goal in the first period to put us ahead 2-1.

Now the bad.  Later in the game one of their players took a slap shot from the blue line.  I tried to block it with my skate and it bounced off and into our net.  Sigh.

At the very end of the game I blocked another shot with my upper body and it ricocheted in the net.  Bigger sigh.

We lost 11-6.  Actually, I had 2 points (a nice assist on the last goal) and was only -1 for the game.

I ref single games tonight and Thursday and then have five in a row on Saturday (three charity games and two regular).  Lots of skating this week.  At least I won’t be able to score any more goals for the opposition.  🙂

Not that anyone asked…

I used collagen casings to make the meat sticks today.  I just had one and they are delicious.  VERY spicy, but again, when you make chipotle meat sticks what do you expect.

The collagen casings were so much easier to use than the sheep casings.  I don’t know if it was the size, the lack of soaking or what, but they were easy peasy.  So easy that I actually took all the breakfast sausage I filled in hog casings and re-filled them in the collagen.

I’ll work my way up to sheep casings.

I will say, these meat sticks are as good as any I’ve had from a butcher shop.  Next time I might play around with the meat blend (for reasons I used too much pork.  I wanted a 85/15 but it was more like 60/40).  I’ll also make a batch that isn’t quite as spicy although I will be interested to see how the flavor develops as it sits.

All in all, this was the best batch of sausages so far this summer.  The breakfast sausage is a close second.  This was the first with curing and the smoker.  Next up is serious polish sausage.

I might have to have a Back to School-Labor Day BBQ to use up all this sausage.

This has become a sausage blog.  Sorry. (I did run today)

Martini Recap

The end of a great weekend.

Friday:  stayed in. The very bestest way to stay.

Saturday:  Wife and I went to a surprise BBQ B-day for a good friend.  Roasted pig, dogs, burgers and good company.  And, probably made plans to go skiing in Jackson Hole around New Years.  For dinner we went with the kids to my parents for deep dish.  My sister and brother-in-law were in town and it’s always nice to see them.

Today:  I pretty much spent the day making Chipotle Meat Stix.  They are hanging for an hour to bloom.  I snuck a bite of a small one that was sort of hanging uselessly like an appendix (or me in this family).  Damn!  I am the King of Flavortown and D-Bags.  They are awesome.  In an hour I’ll trim the up and pack them up for storage.  I don’t think I’ll bother freezing any.  These will be gone in a week.  I have another batch of spice all mixed up ready to go.  My other brother-in-law is coming in town in three weeks so I’ll make another batch closer to that and sit on the back deck having beers and eating meat stix.*

I’ll watch the Cubs rubber match with the Cards tonight and badly play a guitar to annoy my son in the basement.  I think I’ll find a Jacob Sartorius song to learn.  Max Annoyance!

Meantime, I’m listening to Ted Leo and enjoying the world (as it should be not as it is) [UPDATE – Moved on to Kid Rock]

It is great to be alive!


*doctor said he’d talk to me next year about my slightly elevated creatinine levels.  I took that to mean keep eating sausages and drinking martinis until next year.  Wife took it to mean maybe drop 10lbs, quit with the martinis and eat better again.  She’s not a doctor so I’m pretty sure my interpretation is correct.

Obituary: Maryam Mirzakhani died on July 14th

Obituary: Maryam Mirzakhani died on July 14th

Martini of the night

– Annual physical. Another report of perfect physical health. I know that won’t last and actuarially it’ll be sooner rather than later, but for now I’ll accept it in gratitude.  Meantime, I will make one or two tweaks to be in even more perfect health.  Of course, that’ll be tomorrow and won’t include abstaining from weekly martinis.  But the reverse vegan diet of all red meat all the time probably needs to end.

– Had a text-conversation (textversation?) with Little Money last night.  He’s getting used to being in Panama.  The spanish is getting a bit easier and the heat is not longer an issue.  We’ll get to talk to him on Sunday and find out more.  Most days he spends helping out at the school and/or building the park.  I’m glad he’s staying seven weeks.  Originally he was thinking of just three, but was counseled that you just start getting comfortable with the language and culture around then and it’s worth it to stay as long as you can.

– Daughter finished up a week of basketball camp at a local high school.  Good news is she had a great time and loved the coach, counselors and kids.  Bad news is she had a great time and now wants to go to that high school.  It’s the hardest high school to get into in Chicago.  Great.

– Probably gonna post a reply about North Side/ South Side.

– Other son has spent most of his time since he returned from Africa sitting the basement playing video games.  Not my ideal plan for him, but he works very hard all school year and if this is a “break” then it’s his break.  He is going to a computer game design/programming camp for a week soon.

– It’s great to be alive.  I know it doesn’t feel like that sometimes for some of you, but it is.  I was specific that I had another annual report of perfect “physical” health.  My report of “mental” health hasn’t been perfect in years and it’s probably going to get worse if hereditary factors come into play.  Still, it’s never as bad or good as you think.  That’s all.  Back to keeping my nose out of it.

Be excellent…

I actually received a “Recognition of Excellence” in the mail today.

‘bout damn time!

Today in Exercise…

Today in Exercise:  Like NASCAR.  Except without a car.  And slower.  And no sponsors.  And not really at all like NASCAR except I ran on a track and made nothing but lefts.

I have to ref two hockey games tonight but I felt like a run.  I ran four miles going around and around.  It was nice.  Nice day, lots of sun.

This morning I did 90 minutes of homework while I waited for my daughter’s basketball camp to end.  Got that out of the way.  I’ll do another 90 tomorrow.  I’m enjoying having that time each morning.

One of her friends comes home with her each day so they play, but today I played some card game (Five Crowns) with them.

And now…nap time!

It’s great to be alive.

Summer of Sausage – Breakfast Sausage

Summer of sausage continues.  Not smoked.  Still waiting on some supplies for that.

Decided it was time for a basic spicy breakfast sausage.  These came out great.  These are about the four best ones.

Working with sheep casings was way to frustrating.  I couldn’t find the opening (twss), they kept bursting, just not good.  I managed to get one solid tube filled and then said “F it” and used hog casing.  No links, just big old sausage.

I lost patience to try different things.  More water in the meat?  Colder meat?  Was it the brand of casings?  Don’t know.

What I do know is I’m going to use collagen casings for my meat sticks next week.  That will be it’s own side issue because they might not taste as good, but I don’t think my blood pressure can deal with sheep casings for a bit.

In the meantime, I won’t run out of breakfast sausage anytime soon.

And while I haven’t posted music in a bit:

While making sausage:

#500 – Pornography – The Cure

While doing homework:

#501 – Too-Rye-Ah – Dexys Midnight Runners

Now what I need it @trivialbob to start homebrewing beer so we can swap encased meat for beer.  And I need Mr. @jessilloo to hunt a few deer to swap making venison sausage for a 10% cut of the meat.  Even better, stage at Mr. @ironinsideandout for a week.

Little Money in Panama…

Where in the World Are My Kids, Part 2

Little Money (left) still in Panama.  He and his partner (the kid on the right who I’ll call L) spend about 90 minutes each day teaching kids various health related topics.  Most of the other time they are planning and building a park/playground across the street from the school.  The rest of the time they are hanging out in the village or goofing around.

He brought a tiny ping pong set and UNO to play.  If not that, they play baseball and soccer with the village kids.  Shots of L playing with kids.  Maybe this should be Where in the World is L.

Last we heard from him, it’s getting a wee bit better.  He’s understanding a bit more and trying to speak more too.  The only English speaker around is L so it’s a bit of sink or swim.  He’ll get it.  Again, that’s why he is staying seven weeks instead of three.

Tonight we are hosting an Empty Next cocktail hour for the other families whose kids are in the program.  Not L’s because he’s from Portland.  No kids from the Chicago chapter would be partnered together.

It’s weird having him gone, but this is quite and experience and I’m happy he’s taking advantage of it.

Today in Exercise:  I’m officially NOT training for a marathon or any more long course.  Just done with it.

Yesterday I reffed four hockey games.  Two were charity games and two regular mens’ league.  It isn’t the hardest skating in the world, but it is still five hours on blades.  My legs are tired, not to mention I didn’t get to sleep until after 1:00 a.m.

It was enough today to run three miles and do 20 minutes of TRX in the garage.

This upcoming week I have a hockey game Monday and I’m reffing two games Tuesday, one on Wednesday and Thursday.  It’s a bit much to get that in and run during the day without further killing my legs.

I’m good with just running 3-5 miles 3x week, skating a few days, light strength training and calling it a plan.

So today was a quick run and an easy day around the house.

The day in good…

1)  My daughter came home from camp after four weeks.  So nice to have her home.

2)  I took my last of my three tests for teaching licensure.  I still have a year to go in course work, but all the required knowledge tests are done.

3)  Didn’t just take the last test, I passed it.  Even better, the results from that ridiculous test I took Monday posted.  I hate to be that guy who says they bombed it but gets an A, but I did really well.  Passed all the sections and it wasn’t even close.  I guess I’m a better guesser than I thought.

4) I got to spend a chunk of time with my wife.  My test was downtown so I met her at her work and we went to lunch before picking up our daughter.

5)  I’m not reffing tonight; I’m caught up or ahead in homework; It’s rest day.

It all adds up to….

Today in Exercise…

Today in Exercise:

Needed.  This was the best run I’ve had lately.  Not by time or distance, it just felt good and I felt better for having done it….even if I did go for two slices of pizza after.

Still doubt I’ll run a marathon this fall, but it’s been nice to burn off some excess mental energy.

I still have to ref a hockey game later tonight (10:45pm) so it’ll be a shakeout skate or I’ll just be dead on my blades.

Tomorrow I’ll try to get in a four mile run before I go take my last teaching test (hopefully).  And then, the best thing all day, my daughter will be coming home from camp after a month.  Gotta say, I’ve missed her terribly.  Love my wife, love my boys, but I have a very different relationship with my daughter* and, while the first two weeks were easy, this last one got tough.

That’ll make two home and only one still away.

*this does not mean she is my favorite. (in case any of my kids ever read this).  I truly do not have a favorite child.  They are each unique and loved in their own way and never compared to one another.  I have good relationships with all my kids, but it’s just different with my daughter than my sons.  Could be she’s the baby, could be she’s the only girl.  Whatever.

Summer of Sausage – Brats

Homemade bratwurst with kraut and brown mustard on a pretzel bun. #ideal


Today in Exercise…

I needed this run more for mental health than anything else.  I just needed to tire myself a bit and get a good sweat.

Last night I played hockey and I didn’t sleep well because I was pretty beat up.  I had run 8.5 miles on Sunday, skated hard last night, took a puck off an unpadded part of my skate and generally was sore.  As an aside, I played pretty well finally and was +2 in a 4-3 loss.  I was not on (defense) for ANY of the opponent goals.  So, I was happy.  Of course, next week I’ll give up 10 goals in one shift, but for today I’ll think I’m making progress.

This morning I just need to get out of the house and try to loosen up.  It was what I need although I’m even more beat up.  All good though.

I think it’s time to just shut down for a bit an nap (even though I won’t sleep…so really, time to just lay down and opt out for a bit).

Today in Music…

{updated – not that anyone cares]

Driving to Praxis exam:

#771 – Drive Like Jehu – Yank Crime

Fixing garage lock

#772 – Parklife – Blur

Making homemade bratwurst

#768 – Definitely Maybe – Oasis

Crossword puzzles:

#696 – Apocalypse 91..Enemy Strikes Back – Public Enemy

So far it has NOT been a good day for music.  I liked Yank Crime but the other two just aren’t my cup of tea.

I still have driving time to and from my hockey game tonight.  I’m planning on going old school

Driving to:

#694 – O.B. Original Gangster – Ice T

Driving home:

#697 –  Low End Theory – A Tribe Called Quest

There it is…

I took my Praxis exam for social studies content (5081 if you care) this morning.  What an absolutely ridiculous test.  

It covers:

World History

U.S. History



Economics and

Behavioral Sciences

from the dawn of man to today.  I had questions ranging from 1500 B.C to today (they had a questions about gender/sex identity).

I’m sorry, but it is impossible to study for a test like that.  WAY too broad in scope and time.  I solidly knew most of the government/politics stuff, had a good shot at the econ questions (good plan to work ahead in those two classes) did OK in US history and probably bombed world history.  Hey, ask me something about WWI or WWII forward.  I’ll admit, questions about the Silk Road and Trans-Saharan Route at the time Christ was born aren’t in my wheelhouse.  

Oh well, fact is, this exam isn’t required in my State.  It is required to go on in my masters program, but you only need to pass like three out of the seven sections.  I’m sure I did that.  My scaled score was actually pretty high, but it seems odd so I don’t trust it.

I have to take my state required test on Friday.  Hoo boy.  Better read up on travel routes in the central coast region of Spain in 1215 or Mongol hordes and the plague (had a question about that, something about Mongols and did they bring the plague, representative government, and a two other answers…I picked one of the other answers…time to good Mongols now)

Meantime, when I came home I made 5 lbs of bratwurst.  This will be my last batch of uncured sausage.  Next week (or two) I’m going to try smoking meats. Bring on the nitrates/nitrites!

Somebody pour me a drink.

UPDATE:  Probably got the Mongol one wrong.  Turns out the probably did inadvertently bring the plague with them.  Always thought rats were the carriers.  Good thing teaching poli sci/law that probably won’t come up.

Saved a few bucks

Didn’t bother going to the local street fest because I’m lazy.  I didn’t want to go two nights in a row.

Doesn’t matter.  I can still hear the band.

Meat Puppets.  Last time I heard them live was around 1986 in Madison, WI.

Tomorrow night I convinced the wife and McFizzle to walk down to listen to Lucero.  Maybe I’ll save the money and sit on the porch instead.

More music for the day…

While doing homework:

#203 Abraxis – Santana

While talking to my wife (she was not a fan of making her listen to this):

#205 Aqualung – Jethro Tull

More homework – Econ test #3

#207 There’s a Riot Goin’ On – Sly and the Family Stone

Because my mind was FRIED from the test so I figured I wouldn’t pay attention anyway:

#209 – Trafalgar – BeeGees.

Making blueberry muffins with McFizzle (wife out for girls’ weekend with some law school classmates)

#211 – Who’s Next- The Who

And now, I keep listening to Who’s Next while the muffins bake and I pour myself an ice cold martini. 

It is great to be alive! 

Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. 

Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.

Four dollars, bitches!

Today I did another chapter in Econ.  For the record, I am taking three classes this summer.

Econ (to check off 3 credits of Econ to get my social studies endorsement to teach high school)

Global Economies (to check of 3 credits of Human Geography for the same reason)

Teaching Content Literacy (for the actual masters inself)

Yesterday I did “lessons” in Econ and today I knocked out a third.  It hasn’t been that hard, but the math and graphs are not things I’m familiar with.  We don’t do a lot of graphing in law and the only math are simple formulas like SV = P * Q where SV = street value, P is price and Q is quantity of price.  Sure you have to calculate it retail and wholesale and sometimes you have to figure out how many dime bags you can get from one kilo if you cut it at various ratios, but really, not much math in criminal defense. 

Anyway, I was pretty happy with this test.  I still got 38/40 but then spent another 20 minutes figuring out the one I got wrong.

 I have to say, I’m a bit happy I was able to figure out how to calculate the equilibrium price if you make the demand to P = 7-.3Qd and supply is P = 2+.2Q.  I got it wrong because I skipped a step. Forgot to plug Q back into the formula once I solved for it.  Lesson learned.   (and yeah, don’t ruin my high by noting that’s a pretty easy equation to solve.  I haven’t had math in 32 years and my older son wasn’t home to show me how to do it)

After I finish this masters I’m going to keep taking Econ courses to add that as a secondary endorsement.  I love econ and finance and, while political science/history is important, I think I might prefer teaching econ eventually.  But, maybe a real basic one where I avoid math (don’t know if that’s possible).

Not much has changed in 31 years since college. Still drinking and doing homework on my front porch. Except, back then I was drinking beer and not doing my homework.

Today in Exercise

None.  It’s rest day.  Sing hosannas!

I did walk the dog and mow the grass.  And that’s pretty much all the movement I plan on today (other than walking down to the liquor store for a rest day treat).

Meanwhile I checked off:

#435 Fear of Music – Talking Heads

#202 – McCartney – Paul McCartney

Sometimes the list surprises and sometimes it confirms.  This morning it confirmed I can’t stand Paul McCartney.  Too twee.  And really, any twee is too twee.


I never saw a wild thing
sorry for itself.
A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough
without ever having felt sorry for itself.

Behind the music…

As I make my way through the 1001 Albums list, I usually google the album and band while I listen to an album.  Even with bands/albums/songs I know, I find something interesting or new when I do that.  It makes listening to the album a bit more interesting.

It might be an “hmm, I didn’t realize that.”  This week I’ve listened to two albums from Big Star.  Hmm, I didn’t realize Alex Chilton was in that band.

Other times it might be “Oh, so that’s what this is about.”  Wikipedia has the full story on Smoke on the Water.  When I listened to it I thought, “Oh, so that’s what this is about.”  It was always just a riff to me.

Today was the “Oh, this is creepy.”  I was listening to GI from the Germs.  It was one of the first hardcore albums and their only studio album.  I’m more than a bit of a hardcore/punk fan so I was enjoying the album until I googled it.  “Oh, this singer committed suicide a year after singing this album.  I’m listening to a kid (he was 22) who is going to kill himself in a year.  Oh, this is creepy.”

GI also gets an “hmm, I didn’t know that” for being produced by Joan Jett.  I didn’t know that and wouldn’t think she’d produce a hardcore album.  But she did and it’s one more thing I’ll love about Joan Jett. (big fan)

At the moment I’m listening to #434 – Live at the Witch Trials (which isn’t live at all).  Time to go read up on The Fall.

Today in Exercise:

Slog.  The first two miles were easy but then the humidity and fatigue got to me. I played a hockey game last night and was gassed all game.  Unfortunately a good night sleep and a hearty breakfast didn’t make much difference.

The hockey game was fine. We lost, again.  I played OK until one shift where the less said the better.  It was ugly.  Oh well.  It’s fun and I can only get better.

The run this morning was a standard around the ‘hood run.  I listened to some tunes to cross of more of the list.

#415 Van Halen – Van Halen

#427 Highway to Hell – AC/DC

#428 We Are Family – Sister Sledge

Yeah, one of those things is not like the other.  I listened to Sister Sledge for my cooldown which consisted of spreading mulch in the flower beds.  I like to do one of the many things my wife asks me to do and that seemed quick. Since I already wasn’t going to enjoy it, seemed like a good time to get that album done with.

Now I’m listening to another album while I get ready to clean the kitchen, make a double espresso and get ready for family dinner.

#430 GI – Germs

I have to ref tonight at 11.  It’s fine, but one of the teams playing tonight has a guy that just whines every single game.  Just play and STFU.  Of course, I should just ref and STFU.  Mostly I should have an espresso and stay awake for it.


Closest I’ve ever seen. Still not sure how they decided that.

Make yourself at home, kid!

First photo of Little Money working hard on community service projects in Panama.  /snark.

On the plus side, he is reading one of the books I gave him for the trip. (I gave him Confederacy of Dunces and On the Road….I can tell that one is On the Road).

Rough life.  Sitting in a hammock reading a book or napping. 

 I want to go to Panama!  Oh wait, I’m just watching the TdF and reading (although I did my Econ homework)

Side note:  daughter decided to stay at camp on more week, so it’s just McFizzle and I hanging out.

He went full local. #heshomenow

Where in the world are my kids…

Per Flight Tracker, McFizzle is somewhere over Quebec.

 We received an email letting us know the corregimiento in Panama where Little Money is staying. I had to look up the place and what a corregimiento is. 

 A corregimiento is a subdivision of a district, which in turn is a subdivision of a province. It is the smallest administrative division level in the country; which is further subdivided into populated places/centres. 

 He’s in Llano Grande but we still don’t know the exact village. 


Of course, for the rest of the summer I’ll think he’s in Macho Grande.

And so it ends…

It’s appropriate to have fireworks and a celebration for the end of the empty nest.  As I type this, McFizzle is flying over Macedonia on his way to Frankfurt.  He’ll stop in Germany for a brief layover and then fly straight to O’Hare.

He’s scheduled to arrive at 10:20 a.m. and I’ll be waiting for him at the airport.  I’m happy his flight got rescheduled because now I’ll have some hours to hang out before I have to go to class tomorrow night.

We’ll have him to ourselves for 48 hours and then my daughter returns from camp on Friday.  It’ll just be the two of them until mid-August when Little Money comes back from Panama.

It was wonderful having the week without kids, but it’ll be nice to have them home (for five minutes and then I’ll be wondering when they leave for somewhere/anywhere again)

Tour de France Boots Peter Sagan

Tour de France Boots Peter Sagan

Fourth of July in Exercise:

I ran down to the lakefront.  I posted earlier a picture from the lakefront.  The lakefront is always my favorite place in Chicago and possibly THE only redeeming thing I like about this dump I call home.  However, it’s REALLY my favorite on the 4th.  

The place is packed with people.  Not just sitting on the sand, but huge groups of people with BBQ’s going.  Whole extended families set up for the whole day with tents and hammocks, lawn chairs, long tables filled with food.

90% of them are hispanic.  I don’t know when or how this tradition started but every single 4th of July the lakefront (at least near me) is packed with hispanic families picnicing, playing soccer, volleyball, cranking tunes or napping.  There are elotes and shaved ice vendors, whatever those odd pink puffed pretzel looking things are in the big bags.

The other 10% are African-American doing the same thing.  There might be two or three eastern europeans.  I don’t know where all the white people.  Maybe they’re actually on the sand.

One year I won’t just run through there.  Maybe next year I’ll set up my tent and hang out all day people watching.  Of course, you have to get there like at 6 am to get a spot.

Oh, the run was nothing special.  Just kept a steady slow pace and people watched.

Now my wife is making me go play tennis with her.  Last night she made me go to a movie.  I’ll admit I liked the museum she dragged me to and thoroughly enjoyed the movie last night (The Big Sick) but, again, I’ll bitch about doing this.

Tonight we have a volunteer thing and then…martini time and fireworks.

The lakefront on July 4th is the best place on earth. (at Chicago, Illinois)



Still going

who wore it better?

i vote for @goldbikinis

Maybe more of a Jennifer Beals in Flashdance?

But I never liked him anyway….

Ouch. Money or integrity. You chose wrong, Chef. Hawking the Gotham steel pan in infomercials? SMH.

Imperial Bedroom

Imperial Bedroom

So he’ll be just fine…

I got a two minute proof of life phone call from Little Money down in Panama tonight.  He was dropped off at his host family’s house today and will be there until August 15.

He called, on speaker phone, to let us know he was safe in his placement.  Apparently the host family has wifi! He’s not supposed to use the phone or call home, but his host mother wanted him to let his parents know because she’s a mom and knows we’d be worried.

So two things.

1.  If his host family has wifi I figure he’s in a pretty nice placement.  We didn’t know where he’d be and it could’ve been anywhere from in a city in a nice place to a shack where he poops in the woods and baths in a river.  I’m guessing wifi is on the nicer end.  He said the name of the town but he said it so fast I didn’t get it.  The mom chimed in it was four hours from Panama City.

2. I think Money will be just fine.  One, I’m a fan of the “this rule is dumb, we aren’t following it.”  Two, I’m a fan of, “it’s dumb, but you can call to say you are safe and that’s it, and it’s on speaker.”  Granted that’s what a kidnapper would do, but I like that she broke the rule, but not so much that it was broken for good. He won’t call again.  And three, I appreciate that he is with a family where the mom knows enough that other parents would be worried and had him call  (I know the call wasn’t his idea).  I feel pretty good if he is with someone like that.

Still going…

Still working on listening to every album on the list of 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die (2016).  Ya know, I could die any day so I’m trying to get them all in.  I hope not because I’m only at 349/1001  (I could swear it’s more than that, but Google Docs line numbering says 349 entries)

Today I listened to It’s a Shame About Ray (#714) from the Lemonheads and Rage Against the Machine’s first album (#715).

Yesterday I listened to Slint’s Spiderland (#701), Calenture (#606) from The Triffids and Bad (#607) by Michael Jackson.  

It’s hit or miss on most of these.  I’ve sort of hit most of the one’s I liked ahead of time.  There are a ton of 80′2-90′s I just cannot make myself listen to.  It was hard enough to listen to Bad.  I pretty much put it on a cleaned the kitchen.

Today hasn’t been bad and Slint and Calenture were good.  I’ll have to hunt for a a good one or two for my drive to/from hockey later.

Another text from McFizzle burying the lede

McFizzle: We went to a school and hung out with the boarding kids, went to their church session, then a small nature hike and we killed goat.
The Festival: You what?!
McFizzle: Someone in our group slit its throat and we all watched.

This trip just took bizarre turn. Oh well, Goat. It’s what’s for dinner.

I couldn’t live the lie any longer

I’ve been married to my wife for something like 18 years (yeah, I don’t know exactly how long and I’m too lazy to take off my ring and look at the inscription) but I finally came out to her family tonight.

I had to admit that I don’t like Dale Jr. (as a driver, he’s supposedly a fine human being).  Her family is mostly in the south so I’m not sure how this will be taken or if I’ll be accepted, but I had to live my truth.

I’ll admit.  I’m a Kyle Busch fan and, I know, most people don’t accept that because he’s an unconventional fan choice.  

I’m letting my freak flag fly and if that means I have to sit at the “other” table next Thanksgiving, so be it.  I’ll proudly wear the rainbow colors of someone sponsored by M&M’s and Interstate Batteries.

Gentlemen, start your engines!

Reading in the park with Wilson. (at Winnemac Park)

48hrs of heaven…

Older son:  Panama

Younger son:  Africa

Daughter: Wisconsin

Wife:  Ohio

I have 48 hours all to myself.  No kids.  No wife.  No work.

I’ve already watched one TV show, played guitar and run errands.  Still up is watch Cubs game, walk the dog, Daytona 500, martini, pizza and books.  Tomorrow is brunch with Mom and sister (in from out of town), homework, hockey scrimmage (read: crack open a cold one with the boys), more martini, more pizza, more books or binge-watching, more bad guitar playing.

Monday I’ll get up and supposedly do a long run before I have to go the airport to pick up my wife.

It is great to be alive!

Texts with McFizzle

McFizzle: We also saw some cheetahs.
The Festival: Cool. What were they doing?
McFizzle: Eating a wildebeest.


Oh right…

You check and check and keep checking but the new Doctor Who torrent isn’t out and then you remember it’s only Friday.


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