Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My baby is a centerfold

All I can say about the above picture is, it's a good thing Chickens rarely flips through magazines. Because if he saw this he'd be totally pissed.

This month San Jose Magazine published a fun spread featuring local celebrities and their pets, and Chickenbone and his dad were invited to a photo shoot at the Fairmont in downtown San Jose. Now, anyone who has ever met Chickens in person, and perhaps even frequent readers of this web site, will take one look and know this photograph definitely does NOT capture his handsome side. I mean, look at that lolling tongue! Those goofy eyes! The ears pasted to the back of his head!

But still, I totally know this face -- this is the face of a dog whose wee little mind is being blown to bits by a bunch of new people paying attention to him. New smells and noises, new furniture to jump on and carpet to sprint across. This is a face that is going "YESSSSSSSSSSSSS!" Whereas the face I usually see when there's a camera around is "Please stop it with all of the clicking and the flashing, as some of us are trying to get some goddamn sleep."

Friday, October 24, 2008

The saddest dog in the world

This here is a picture of Chickenbone on his first road trip. And as you can see, he's positively thrilled about it.

Seriously, am I the only one who can see those sorrowful little eyebrows? ACTUAL puppy-dog eyes, which bore into my soul every time I turned around to check on him? Pooch, you are KILLING ME.

OK, a little background: This year my husband and I are going to spend Christmas with my family in New Mexico. And while we like PetSmart and how they serve dishes of doggie ice cream to "hotel" guests, I hate how the animals are forced to pee and poop in their cage. I know it gets cleaned up right away, but I also know dogs don't enjoy going to the bathroom where they also sleep and eat. CALL THEM CRAZY. Plus, they don't even get to go outside! Not one time! So rather than make Chickens go through that for five days (five days during CHRISTMAS for heaven's sake) we figured we'd just toss him into the back seat and take him along.

To prepare him for four full days in the car, we took a warm-up lap in September, an hourlong drive to Fort Funston in San Francisco (that's when I took the picture above). And last weekend we tried a four-hour trip to Santa Barbara. The verdict? Chickens and road trips are not exactly getting along.

I mean, it's not like he doesn't love the car. Car rides are his favorite. Trouble is, he likes to spend them staring gleefully out the window, with his back paws digging into my legs, front paws digging into my boobs, and his panting wet doggy lips two inches from my face. So for these trips, we put him in his crate, which gets him off my lap and will keep him from blasting through the windshield like a baseball if we're in an accident.

But in the crate, he is a very unhappy little guy. And he doesn't even have the spirit to get mad about it, which breaks my heart. He just becomes this quivering, mewling mess. He whines and weeps - there were ACTUAL TEARS! - and refuses to lay down and go to sleep. Also, you know how normal dogs often sit with their butts on the ground and their front legs extended? The "sit" position? Well, Chickens never sits like this at home, I think because of his weirdly-shaped torso and short toothpick legs. But on this trip, he sat up almost the entire time. He simply could not relax.

I'm not sure what we'll do now, I guess keep practicing and trying to get him comfortable with being back there. If we haven't figured it out by December, I suppose I could drug him. Seemed to work OK on Saturday, when he wouldn't stop barking at our favorite State Street pub. After I fed him a couple of scotch-covered ice cubes, he crawled inside my sweatshirt and went right to sleep. He also had a good time at the bed and breakfast, where we stayed in a cottage that had a fenced-in private courtyard. There were lots of gorgeous plants, flowers and bushes, as well as an enormous gnarled peppercorn tree, just like the one in our back yard. Here's Chickens meditating in the sun after his petrifying car ride:

And here he snoozing in the cottage. You can't see from the photo, but right next to that bed are his little doggie steps, which we brought so he can get up and down as he pleases. That's also his favorite blue blanket, and the little half-chewed rawhide burrito he likes to nibble on at night. So, see, Chickens? WE'RE NOT TERRIBLE PARENTS! So please stop looking at me like that!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

When the mind wanders at meetings

OK, get ready, you guys. Because you will never in your life hear a better idea than this.

So are you ever grossed out by greasy lipstick stains all over women's Starbucks lids? Like, uh, could you please stop frenching your latte? And it's not just other people -- I don't even want to drink my OWN beverage after I see my big ol' lip prints smeared all over the lid. It seems so unsanitary. So "not to alarm you, but there was just a human mouth here."

Well, Starbucks, why don't you just make PINK AND RED LIDS! That way women can slurp to their heart's content without being icked out. And people who aren't paying attention because it is their sixth meeting in five hours won't have to sit there staring at your waxy, germy mouthprint.

p.s. Ooh, special disease bonus! Do pink in October (breast cancer) and red in December (AIDS/HIV) and you'll "raise awareness" AND make the world a less unsightly place!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Why more dudes should write cookbooks

These two recipes were given to me by male friends - one is in the middle of a bond-measure campaign, and the other only gets invited to parties if he swears to bring this dish. After the chuckles, make the food. Both dishes are certifiably to die for. 

p.s. Don't even THINK of wincing at the vegan thing, because goddammit, I'm from New Mexico. If I say this is good posole, it is.

Cee Dub’s Vegan Posole
(serves six, or one for a few settings, or two big dudes)

*2 cans of Juanita’s Mexican style white hominy, 29 oz.each
*2 cans diced green chilies, 4 oz. each
*Fake pork or similar – enough of your favorite. I tend to use around half as much meat as I use hominy, or thereabouts. Worthington’s “tasty bites” or veggies steaks are good, St. Yves shredded turkey is great, or simmer a big brick of tofu, chopped, in your favorite Mexican spices.
*Four or five cups of water
*Two or three veggie bullion cubes, or a dollop of “Better than Bullion” (my fave)
*Four or five cloves of fresh garlic, chopped
*One peeled and finely chopped yellow onion (optional)
*One glass of chardonnay (not optional)
*At least one tablespoon of New Mexican chile powder (Hatch, Nambe, Dixon, Chamayo if you can get it;
*Plenty of ground cumin, Mexican oregano – maybe half a tablespoon of each
*Half of one bunch of fresh cilantro, washed and chopped

In a large pot, cook the onion and chopped meat in a little oil until the onion is soft and the meat is browned a bit. Toss in the garlic for four minutes and six seconds.

In a large election, cast one (1) vote in favor of Measure A. Quickly add the resulting revenue to the construction of one (1) large hospital (public).

Add everything else into the big pot. Stir it up, little darling, cover and simmer low for 30 minutes.

Drink the glass of chardonnay.

After 30 minutes, examine. It should have enough liquid to be stew-like, but not quite soup-like. Add h20 if you need, remove the lid for 20 more minutes if you need. Taste it. Need more chile? Sure you do! More garlic? Why the hell not? Depending on the meat you used and the amount of bullion you spooned in, you may want salt. Add more chile too; this isn’t Quiet Riot.

Simmer some more, 30 minutes additional at least. Did you save any of that cilantro? Just before serving in small bowls, cool people sprinkle some on top and stir it in. Other cool people say they top with chopped purple cabbage, which sounds good though I’ve never done it. Serve with Sonny Rollins’s “The Bridge” or Burning Spear’s “Dry and Heavy”.

Kevin's Taters

* You want about one supermarket plastic bag full (the kind you get from the roller in the produce aisle) of potatoes. I prefer the smaller yellow yukon potatoes over your typical brown baking potato. They take longer to cook, but have better flavor. Yeah, some real motha-fuckin' gourmet advice here! Also, you don't have to peel those potatoes if you don't want.
* Two yellow onions, medium to big.
* One of each: red pepper, yellow or orange pepper, green pepper
* New addition: one shallot. I keep hearing how much flavor they add. So, fuck it, give it a try. Might be a little too onion-y, so, use at your discretion.
* Two jalapeno peppers. Dice those fuckers up good and fine, and keep the seeds for heat. If you go the habanero route, just slice one and leave it sitting in the taters, so you can pull it out whole. I've never tried dicing one. It might kill someone.

You need three pieces of aluminum foil. Lay them out like a flower, so you have three layers in the middle, and a fan all around.

Put the potatoes in first. Salt, pepper (tons), cayenne (just a bit, don't overdo it) and crushed red pepper (i love this shit). You want the taters to have a nice seasoning to them.

Add everything else in, and mix with your dirty, just-scratched-myself hands.

Cut two or three sticks of butter into halves, and spread them in the mixture, generally toward the top (so the butter melts onto everything below. Mmmm...).

Begin pulling up the leaves of your aluminum foil flower. Try not to spill, but make it as tight as possible. Add another two pieces of really long foil to tighten up the corners. DON'T RIP THE FOIL, DOUCHEBAG! THE BUTTER WILL LEAK OUT!

* Added bonus: Crisp up a shitload of bacon, and dice it. Add if you want to die.

Throw it on a hot-ass grill, but don't leave it over high heat for too long, or the bottom will burn. If you've got the gas grill, leave one side on high, the other on low, and put the taters over low once the sizzling begins.

After 40 minutes or so, begin burning your precious little fingers by opening the foil into a giant bowl. Start pulling taters out to taste their texture. Keep cooking them until you're happy with the texture. Could take 10 more minutes, could take 30. You never know.

Sprinkle on a shitload of cheese.