Three days crammed into one

Day one: Earthquake Soccer wrap-up. Saturday morning was the last game of the fall season for Will’s soccer team. Because Jim the “real coach” was at a conference, I was in charge. (I see myself as somewhere between an assistant coach and the team manager). The kids played a good game, but came up a couple goals short. Still, the best season by far, 2-3-1, and, if most of these kids come back in the spring, I think we’re going to be good.

Kicking and ScreamingThe “highlight” (or rather low-light) of the game came from the other coach. For non-soccer people (and I am just barely not one of them myself): when the ball goes out of bounds, the other team gets to throw the ball back in. To do so, the thrower must keep both feet on the ground and throw the ball with two hands, over the head, with no spinning or anything. If you throw it badly, the ref will call it and give the ball to the other team. Here’s a helpful wikiHow entry.

Anyway, both teams were getting called on this, probably the other team more than us. Things were going along, and then, kind of all of a sudden, the other coach totally and completely über freaked out. He screamed louder than I have ever screamed (and that’s saying something, believe you me) “THE NEXT ONE OF YOU WHO DOES A BAD THROW IS OUT FOR THE REST OF THE GAME!!! C’MON!! THIS IS FIRST GRADE STUFF!!!” Or something to that effect. It was kind of scary, actually.

The team went out to celebrate after the game for pizza and such (beer for the grown-ups, happily) and opposing team coach’s freak-out was a topic of conversation at both tables. The grown-ups thought that was maybe a wee too much intimidation and intensity for a township rec league for kids 12 and under. The kids (or so I am told by Will) just thought he was kind of a jerk and mean.

Day two: pumpkin carving/halloween decos. We’re quite late in getting our Halloween decorations and pumpkins together this year. And it isn’t the same as it has been, either. Will and I usually to go to this one field and do a “pick your own” kind of pumpkin experience. Well, unless I couldn’t find the right place (entirely possible), that field this year was planted with corn.

Originally, I was going to try to attempt carving with power tools, but that proved to be more trouble than it was worth. I used a drill for some of this, but it was basically a big goopy mess. I did discover two pumpkin carving things this year that I will have to remember for next year though. First, a drywall saw was a super-duper handy tool, much better than the old hacking with a kitchen knife technique. Second, using a template was a good idea and pretty easy to do. My handy-work:

pumpkins 1 pumpkins 2 (including Barack o' Lantern)

The “scar mouth” pumpkin was from a template, as was my attempt at a Barack O’ Lantern. I’ll post some pictures at some point when they are lit up.

Day 3: Fine punkin party. Hosted by Daye The Frenzied Wren and Dickish MacBastard. All I’ll say now is that it featured a pig roast, hanging around in a (kinda cold) barn, and a band of young kids from Milwaukee. Lots and lots of fun.

Oh, and then we came home relatively early and watched Persepolis. Three and a half days of fun. And now I’d better read for English 505 or I will be in trouble come Monday night….

Speedy no-knead bread

As much as anything, I’m posting/linking this here so I can find it later:

“Speedy No-Knead Bread,” which is a recipe/article from Mark Bittman in the New York Times last week. I tried this over the weekend and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised with the results. I might have to give the previously published longer version of this recipe this weekend, if I get the time.


This is the sort of email a married couple made up of English professors send each other– specifically, my literary wife to me Wednesday. In this poem/note, “man cave” refers to the basement, which also serves as my sprawling office/headquarters. “Electric guitar” is an item I often add to lists Annette is putting together, inspired by some friends from the past who used to do something similar.


This is just to say
that I have taken the last
can of tomatoes.

They were sitting,
atop a pile of paper
on the ping-pong table
in your man cave.

You were perhaps
saving them for dinner tonight,
or reminding yourself
to make a shopping list:

electric guitar . . .

And yes, finally, yes
a Costco trip is in order.
this Saturday.

My tour to the Food (W)hole #2/Naughty grocery store pictures

Whole Foods Ann Arbor, with typical shopperI had to run a few errands and/or wanted to stall on starting commenting on student essays, so on my way home, I swung by the new Whole Foods in Ann Arbor– or, as the web site says, Cranbrook, which is really the name of a shopping center on the other side of Ann Arbor. It’s a good location for the chain because it’s close to lots of upscale west AA neighborhoods, and it’s also reasonably close to Saline and Dexter. But since we live completely on the other side of town, this visit to the Food (W)Hole was more or less just a field trip.

So, what’s the new store like? Why, it’s like a grocery store–or, to be more specific, it’s another location for one of the “world’s leading natural and organic grocer and we’re passionate about healthy food and a healthy planet,” a place that is “lucky to have a whole bunch of smart, passionate people doing incredible things in areas like organics, supporting local growers, green practices, fair trade, micro-lending and all kinds of food related stuff.” Pretentious? Sure. Am I a loyal customer? You bet.

The new store is pretty much the same as my regular Food (W)Hole: the usual large seafood selection and grass-fed or otherwise organic meat selections, supplements and herbal things, a coffee bar area, etc. Besides the layout (the space is much more narrow and long), I noticed at least four differences with this new store:

  • An even larger prepared/take away food section, and one that features a special gelato and ice cream counter. This strikes me as kind of funny because this strip mall also features an Old Country Buffet. So now you can fatten up either for cheap or for not cheap.
  • A sushi counter, where you can get fresh (and not packaged earlier that day) sushi. I suspect Will will require a visit.
  • A wine/beer/cheese tasting bar. I’m not quite sure about this arrangement (I didn’t ask and I wasn’t around long enough to find out), but it appeared to me that you could buy a glass of wine or a beer on tap and from our own Arbor Brewing Company (made in Ypsilanti), and then perhaps continue your shopping. This is what this video says about a store that opened in Rochester Hills, MI with a similar wine bar arrangement.
  • A rule against taking photographs: at the store’s entrance and next to the “no smoking” and “no roller blades” signs was “no photography.” Now, perhaps this is a policy at all Whole Foods, as this photo and the discussion about it suggests. One of the reasons discussed here says this is so other stores can’t steal design ideas, but it seems pretty easy to get around this. I mean, just go in and look around.

    In any event, I was feeling naughty, so while sitting at the coffee bar at the front of the store, I took this picture of the store behind me with the little camera on my laptop:

    Whole Foods Ann Arbor, "against the rules" inside pic

    Remarkably revealing, isn’t it?

The only down-side of the store for me was the wifi access in there was very spotty, but I suspect that’s something they will work out later.

By the way, I took the picture at the top of this entry after I left. How about my timing in capturing the transportation used by a typical Food (W)Hole customer?

Oh, and while I’m at it, I came across this pretty cool set of grocery store pictures when poking around on Flikr for this post.

Why not enjoy some Scream ice cream?

I would post something interesting or relevant, but a) I’ve been pretty busy with the beginning of the Fall term, and b) I haven’t thought of much lately that would be all that interesting or relevant. So in the meantime, why not enjoy this Scream ice cream, an image my friend Chris sent me quite a while ago?

Scream for Ice Cream!

The weirdest spam I’ve ever received

I’m pretty sure this is the weirdest spam/email I have yet received, and, like everyone else, I get plenty. Or at least I assume it’s spam.

This comes from “Information Technician <>” with the subject line “Requested update.” I present it in its entirety here:

Recipe: Overnight Fruit Salad


1 small head cabbage, shredded (about 5 cups)
1 15oz can pineapple chunks, well drained
2 11oz cans mandarin orange sections, drained
2 cups seedless green grapes
1/3 cups light raisins
1 1/2 cups cubed Edam cheese
1 8oz carton lemon yogurt
1 cup dairy sour cream

Instructions :

1. Place cabbage on bottom of large salad bowl.
2. Top with pineapple chunks, mandarin orange sections, grapes and
raisins. Sprinkle cheese atop.
3. Combine yogurt and sour cream; spread over salad, sealing to edge of
4. Cover and refrigerate for 4 to 24 hours. If desired, garnish with
lemon and lime twist, curly endive, and a grape.

That’s it.

Wha? And this frankly sounds like a pretty gross recipe. Though jeez, I hope I’m not offending some relative who has sent this to me disguised as a weird spam…..