Fear the cake

There’s an apple pie in the oven right now, requested by Type E for his birthday tomorrow. It’s a big birthday, a multiple of five, so I really wanted to bake and decorate a cake.

Because the cake for the last multiple-of-five birthday turned out so well and was not at all reminiscent of a serial killer:

Happy 30th cake

Happy 30th, Eric!

And there was also that time I smashed the top of my brother’s wedding cake into the door of a Corolla:

smashed wedding cake

the top of Dan's wedding cake, oops!

And when we blinded Hello Kitty and hacked off her ear:

Hello Kitty cake

maimed Hello Kitty

I can’t imagine why Type E would rather have a pie instead of a birthday cake.

Philadelphia blogger summit

Ok, a mini-summit. Well, really just two bloggers. Anyway, Scott over at Blankbaby beat me to the punch and recapped an evening at the Rufus Wainwright, Ben Folds, and Guster show.

A highlight of the night was Ben Folds performing Philosophy. As Ben Folds sang the first line, “won’t you look up at the skyline,” I turned towards the Philadelphia skyline and noticed for the first time that the lights are back on (they were off last month as part of a protest).

Guster’s performance of “Barrel of a Gun” as a huge cargo ship passed behind the stage was also pretty cool. The water, the silhouette of the ship against the Ben Franklin Bridge–perfect!

PS I really do like you, Rufus, but I can’t understand a word you say.

Bring it on.

Fairmount snow

  • Milk? Check.
  • Stack of books and magazines? Check.
  • Blanket? Check.
  • Christopher Elbow spiced drinking chocolate? Check.
  • Leftover tortilla pie and shoo fly pie? Check.
  • Lawnchair to stake out parking spot? Tomorrow’s problem.

Bring it on.

UPDATE: Karl over at Philly Future is compiling a fun list of weblogger storm coverage. Sure beats Hurricane Schwartz.

snow at 22nd and green

22nd and Green

women's way snow

Women's Way

Friday night lights in Fishtown

Friday night lights in Fishtown

Phillies opening day

2005 Phillies opening day

Ah, the soulless office park seemed a million miles away. Welcome back, Phillies! I’m still upset that we lost Doug Glanville, but Citizen’s Bank Park sells veggie burgers now, so the universe is back in balance. Thanks to Blankbaby Scott for the exta ticket!

Overall, I’d rather be a bad dancer than have a nasally voice. See the Blankbaby perspective on the home opener.

Legendary Shack Shakers

An important public service announcement for those in the Philadelphia area. The Legendary Shack Shakers are playing at the Khyber on Tuesday, July 13th.

According to Bloodshot Records, the band’s label, “The ‘Shakers whip up a witches brew of hillbilly hellfire and blues brimstone. The locomotive rhythms of traditional bluegrass, the intensity of Mississippi roadhouse blues, and the full on sonic assault of Slayer create a fertile and jumpy hybrid that will leave you a helpless, sweaty mess.”

It’s all true, but be forewarned: I saw these guys last year, and halfway through the set, the lead singer took out his willy. That’s right—the old one-eyed trouser snake made an appearance. Just thought you should have all the facts.

Samples of the Legendary Shack Shakers are here. If you enjoy letting it all hang out, the band is currently looking for a drummer.

My New Filing Technique is Unstoppable (again)

my new filing technique is unstoppable
I just checked Amazon, and no on has purchased Good Grief’s featured item! Just so you know, this is not just about making $0.80. Everyone should buy My New Filing Technique is Unstoppable because it’s a damn funny book.

Rees, better known for his Get Your War On comic, also has a longer-running series about life in the office. Part of Rees’ schtick is using public domain clipart instead of drawing the strips himself. And this tacky office clipart–you know, the blurry black and white pictures of office workers in plaid jackets talking on the phone–is a big part of the humor. There’s something funny about dowdy office staff spewing obscenities:

Guy hunched in front of computer: These variables are not reconciling to the monthly accounts!

Perky guy popping his head into the office [boss-across-the-hall]: Team Spirit Meeting in five minutes! See you there!

Guy hunched in front of computer: Go the fuck away! I’m working on some bad-ass computer shit right now! I have no time for team spirit!

I know these guys, and you probably do too. In fact, most of Rees’ trash-talking clipart characters are familiar enough to make part of you laugh in recognition and part of you consider hara-kiri. The clipart device also works well because Rees treats the pictures literally and builds absurd stories around them. Two women in front of a filing cabinet have intense and profane conversations about filing techniques; co-workers gathered around a workstation are business trainees who use the spy computer to learn about office politics; a shadowy man with a stack of dot-matrix printouts contemplates stealing the paperwork to start his own company.

So take a cubicle break and visit a world where management can drop a Triangle Body Mode on your ass and bring in Dr. Niles Fanderbiles to make sure your filing system is in the Realm of Excellence.

The Dessert

I just ate the last kosher, low-cal, low-carb vanilla Passover meringue. There’s really nothing else to write, so I’ll leave you with some eye candy.

Eye candy #1 is a picture of Pat Burrell’s backside.

The Dessert
Eye candy #2 is The Dessert, last week’s main culinary accomplishment.

Pat Burrel
The Dessert has many layers:

  • A crust made of homemade chocolate chip cookie crumbs
  • A coating of dark chocolate espresso fudge sauce
  • One pint of Ben and Jerry’s vanilla ice cream
  • One pint of Ben and Jerry’s chocolate therapy ice cream
  • Another pint of Ben and Jerry’s vanilla ice cream
  • More cookie crumbs
  • More dark chocolate espresso fudge sauce.

War against eighties

Bad news from the front of the war against eighties clothing. Dave the Lunabomber sends this picture from the King of Prussia Abercrombie and Fitch.

popped collar
In other news, Keeny D reports three Fourth of July mesh shirt sightings on the Ben Franklin Parkway. Things are heating up. Though these developments are daunting, we must not be intimidated by the enemies of good taste. Stand firm, and keep on fighting that good fight.

Beer and cheese

beerHave you heard?  Beer and cheese is the new wine and cheese.  You probably have heard, since I’m usually a latecomer to culinary trends.

Anyway, next month I’m throwing a pre-holiday beer and cheese party, and I recruited my friend Clair–beer judge and brewer extraordinaire–to help with the pairings.  First requirement for such an undertaking?  Research!

Tria is a fantastic Philadelphia tapas bar that “celebrates the fermentation trio of wine, cheese and beer:”

Sadly, almost all wines, cheeses and beers sold in the United States are bland, insipid products churned out by scientists in factories. Tria’s mission is to bring to you only the good stuff: wines, cheeses and beers crafted by artisans, as in the past, before the Wonder Breadification of our food supply.

As I review the notes from this mission, I understand why my career as a food critic never took off.  In my defense, this conversation happened towards the end of the evening, after several strong beers.

Clair: Try this.  It’s J.W. Lee’s 1999 Harvest Ale.
Becky: 1999?  This beer smells seriously rancid.
Clair: Just taste it!
Becky: Fine.
Becky: Holy shit, that’s awful!*  What did you think?
Clair: Very reminiscent of a port wine.  I taste licorice, anise, caramel, and toffee.  The alcohol is very evident, the hops are virtually non-existent, probably as a result of the 5 year aging.  Very drinkable.
Becky: Not.  So how ’bout this gouda?  It rules.  Five year gouda good.  Five year beer bad.
Clair: How’s the gouda with the Ommegang?
Becky: Intellectually, I understand how the Ommegang compliments the gouda.  However, this is my tasting note:  🙁
Clair: I say that this beer is rich, fruity, and aromatic.
Becky: Uh, okay.  I wish they would change the music because Coldplay makes me cry.
Clair: Yeah, kind of like Meatloaf’s Bat Out of Hell album.  “Two Out of Three” is a heart-wrenching song.

* In fairness, beer geeks seem unanimously enthusiastic about the Harvest Ale, so I’m sure it’s not really awful.  Barley wines just aren’t my thing.

Skeptical about the whole beer and cheese idea?  Internet to the rescue!

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