Sunday, August 24, 2008

Circus circus

It's so nice to have friends with little kids, so I can tag along when they go to the circus! I think I was more excited to take Giana to the circus on Saturday than Rebeka was.

I've always loooved the Circus. When The Greatest Show on Earth would come to DC when we were little, mom would take us down to see them unload the train cars and walk the elephants over to the Armory. I used to love Gunther Goebel Williams - he was flashy and fun, and was an expert at making the tigers do exactly what he wanted!

We even skipped class one day, senior year in high school, to go down to the DC Armory to see the circus - we got hopelessly lost along the way, but made it in time to see Gunther. It was his farewell tour -- here's the program that I had kept *forever* -- I think I might have gotten rid of it when I moved to TX. (Drat! might have been worth something!)

Summer of '87, we went to Milwaukee, WI for the APIC National Convention (see previous post about APIC). Mom piled us into the car and we drove to Baraboo, to the Circus World Museum, which displays the artifacts, old train cars, and other historical materials in the place where Ringling Bros. started. Somewhere, I have pictures of me and Bryan and the beautiful antique circus wagons, and even inside a train car with a (fake) gorrilla!

In those days, there were two "versions" of the Ringling Bros shows - the red tour and the blue tour. Now, apparently there are three - red, blue and yellow. The Red tour, the "Bellobration" is what we got in Austin this week. It's all about a clown named Bello... though he's actually much more than a clown - he's a heck of an acrobat, too!

Giana and Nicole were riveted by the whole spectacle, but both admitted that they liked the performing dogs the best. Somehow, the three rings seemed so much larger when I was little. Hmmm. (Here they are goofing off during the intermission) :)

I am interested to learn that Ringling Bros now funds the Center for Elephant Conservation. Good for them.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

That's my dad!

I missed the APIC National Convention in Las Vegas two weeks ago, but my friend Adam is expert at the PR thing (it's his job, natch), so he corralled a good number of media outlets to come and report on the event.

He got everyone from the New York Times to UPI photographers to the Las Vegas Review Journal to come and interview folks and record the event for posterity. A reporter from the Las Vegas Sun spent some time talking to Dad -- I could recite the stories he tells about small buttons on lapel pins, and people's habits changing because of air-conditioning... in my sleep! ;) (love ya, Dad!)

It's nice to see that the hobby is getting good press. Now if only we could find somebody other than old white guys to join! We're forming an Obama collectors chapter, so maybe we'll drum up some more members in the next few months. Election years are good for that.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Food meme

The rules of the meme: bold those you have tried, strikethrough those you wouldn't eat on a bet.

The Omnivore's Hundred is a list of foods the gastronomic Andrew Wheeler thinks everyone should try at least once in their lives.

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding (aka blood pudding or blood sausage)
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses [ahem. lactose intolerant]
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda [never had it, but it sounds good!]
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi (is that a different version of mango lassi? I've had that.)
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar (I used to be part of a cigar-and-networking club)
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly (red/white wine jelly, yes. Vodka jelly, no.)
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal [see #26]
44. Goat’s milk [again with the high-lactose items!]
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu (aka pufferfish)
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi [there are a lot of Japanese items on this list...]
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini [not a martini fan, but I've tasted it.]
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine [uuuugh. cheese curds on my french fries? no thank you!]
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs (No Kermit legs, please)
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette (aka chitlin's)
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost [and even more cheese!]
75. Roadkill [I suppose it would depend on what kind of animal and how much gravel was embedded in it... ;) ]
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse [I've eaten camel, does that count?]
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

Monday, August 11, 2008

From Line Dancing to Pole Dancing...

All in one night! Ah, the contrasts of Austin. :)

Saturday was "get your groove on" night. While we do absolutely loooove seeing Skyrocket or the Spazmatics at Cedar Street, sometimes it's nice to go hear music someplace where you won't sweat to death within 60 seconds (i.e. indoors). So on Saturday we decided to go to the famous Broken Spoke. Cowboy boots required! (well, not officially, but strongly encouraged!)

We had to have dinner first, of course, so El Sol y La Luna was destination #1. Yummmm. A carpool of four turned into dinner for five - no, six! - and then a table for seven at the Spoke. The singer -- Dale Watson -- looked a good deal like Billy Bob Thornton, though with more hair (and a little more meat on his bones). The dance floor was packed most of the night. The people-watching was amazing - everyone from long-time-practically-pro-dancer couples, to little kids being held up by their (grand)parents as they spun around the room, to a sudden influx of CLOWNS (I kid you not!) spinning around the floor in their makeup, colorful wigs and floppy shoes. And yes, Aubrey and I did a spin around the floor. So now I can say I danced at the Broken Spoke -- I might even have to go back!

Unfortunately, the crowd and the lackluster A/C made it a little difficult to hang out for too long, so we bailed. But it was only midnight - too early to go home! - so we found our way to Charlie's. Needless to say, the four of us ladies were the only females in the place -- 12:15am is early at Charlie's -- and we were not, um, the focus of any male attention... at all. The two speedo-clad guys dancing on the "stage" were very popular, however. I think all Atesha could say for the first ten minutes was "oh my." But, the music was good, and the dance floor was empty, so we boogied! Each of us made friends in a different way on the dance floor, but those are stories that are better left untold. (don't want to shock the masses too much...)

Then the clock struck 2am, and I just couldn't stand up any more (good thing my boots are comfy!) so it was time to get some munchies. We headed straight to Kerbey Lane, but the service wasn't particularly fast and we were all sooooo tired... I took my gingerbread pancakes home to have for breakfast (i.e. lunch) on Sunday.

It was definitely "cultural whiplash" to go from the Broken Spoke to Charlie's, but it was the most fun I've had in a while -- and I was even the designated driver! :)

Monday, August 04, 2008

Politics, Religion and Science don't mix!

"...And even if the book itself isn't that sexy, the title helps: 'Sex, Science and Stem Cells.'"

The Washington Post notes that Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO), a chief architect of the stem cell research bill that was vetoed twice by President Bush, writes about the Bush administration's politicization of science and sex and warns that if the country elects John McCain president in November, "we'd be signing on for four more years of more of the same - the same blind faith that dogma and ideology ought to stand ahead of science and reason."

... And more government invasion of women's bodies:

Ahem. The pill is not equivalent to abortion!

The Bush Administration has ignited a furor with a proposed definition of pregnancy that has the effect of classifying some of the most widely used methods of contraception as abortion.

A draft regulation, still being revised and debated, treats most birth-control pills and intrauterine devices as abortion because they can work by preventing fertilized eggs from implanting in the uterus. The regulation considers that destroying "the life of a human being."

Many medical groups disagree. They hold that pregnancy isn't established until several days after conception, when the fertilized egg has grown to a cluster of several dozen cells and burrowed into the uterine wall. Anything that disrupts that process, in their view, is contraception.

Please, can we listen to the DOCTORS instead of the Religious Right and the politicians?! There are many more important things for the government to be worrying about! ugh.