Saturday, March 31, 2007

Where They All Know Your Name...

Is it a bad thing that the local sushi joint Mr. Scoop and I frequent have started to address me by my first name while serving me (yes, I think they got it off they credit card.)?

It is excellent food and service. The first name thing is just creepy. And it's mine. Not Mr. Scoop's. They know him, but not his name. Just mine. It's weird and creepy. That's all.


Oh, and via Bitch, Ph. D.:

Lamest Excuse For Being a Suck Ass Student...Ever...

"You do not seem to care about our grades only that they are up to your too high standards and I can not talk to you because you make me completely uncomfortable. For example, you say you will talk to us about our grades but you really will not because of how uncomfortable you make me feel with your words and what you say."

Read the rest of his lame excuse for sucking ass as a student here.

Frankly, I've been praying for this kind of silly lack of academic ownership in my classroom for a while now. Mostly because humiliating a kid in front of his peers is amusing and doesn't involve a lot of my brain.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

I Love My Thumbs And My Easy, Easy Access To Poison

Apparently, I scream like a girl with the proper motivation.

A couple weeks ago, on the Monday after the switch to Daylight Savings, I stumbled downstairs to get ready to leave for school. I shuffled about on the cold tile floor, barefoot, trying to slap together a bagel sandwich and collect whatever assorted leftovers I could out of the fridge that I could reasonably call breakfast at 5:50 (that was, as far as my brain and body were concerned, 4:50) in the AM. Dinner the night before was heavy on the Corona and about a half a pound of carne adovada was still sitting in my stomach impervious to digestion. Clearly, it was going to be a good day.

I wandered into other rooms looking for other items I might need to get my ass out the door. Cellphone. Wallet. Keys.


Mr. Scoop was up, even though he didn't need to be to work for about three hours. Just a shade too tired to be fully possessed by the first nic fit of the day, he hung at the sides of the room trying to let me do what I needed to do and not huck things at me to make me move faster. We have this cute ritual where he sees me off in the morning (and makes sure I don't drive my car into the side of the garage as I back's adorable. I swear.). Still, nicotine addiction will wait for no man or sleep addled co-dependent. I'd finally found and put on my shoes and was heading back toward the kitchen when I noticed the black, fuzzy shadow that darted from the heat vent by the kitchen sink to the crevice between the dishwasher and cabinet under the sink...and disappeared.

My brain, despite the fuzziness of the shadow and my more than general Monday morning damage, registered mouse. A mouse. Right where my bare feet had been minutes earlier.

And that's when I screamed.

It sounded wrong and almost inhuman - to the point where I can't actually even remember accurately what it sounded like anymore. If you ask Mr. Scoop what it sounded like, he'll just tell you it sounded like wrong. If he doesn't gut you for implying that his girl might possibly be that weak that she'd scream at a mere mouse. Really depends on which beer you get him on.

But the point is, the lizard part of my brain responded to rodent. In my damn, frigging clean house that we pay people to actually come in and clean so we can avoid this shit. Mr. Scoop hadn't seen it and tried to convince me that it was a trick of the light or some weird shadow. But I knew what I'd seen. Shadows don't move like that. The lizard knows. Stupid lizard.

But, I pulled myself together and scooted out for work. About five minutes out, Mr. Scoop called me to confirm that, yes, he'd seen the mouse too. I wasn't experiencing the DT's. When I got home, he'd mined the condo with enough death traps to make moving from the car in the garage to the bedroom on the second floor an exercise in SEAL training. Mouse traps do not belong in the tub. That's all I'm saying.

We drank that night, not to kill the pain, but to kill the rodent paranoia. It was still a restless evening. We had, afterall, been violated by fuzzy vermin after being told by the house inspector prior to purchase that we had no rodent problems.

"How did you sleep last night", I asked Mr. Scoop the next morning as I entered the garage to leave for work.

"Like a baby. I cried through the night and woke up covered in my own shit", he replied.

As I resolved to do laundry when I got home, we noticed the dead mouse in one of the multiple traps Mr. Scoop had set in the garage.

"In your copious free time at work", I said to Mr. Scoop (only mostly joking), "please call an exterminator".

Mr. Scoop hates the idea of living with mice. So he did.

We are now, so far, rodent free. But, I still wear shoes around the house now. Because you just never know.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Wandering Drunken Cooking

I am posting under the influence of a sake called Rihaku, which apparently translates to "Wandering Poet".

It's named after a poet, Rihaku, who "would drink an entire bottle of sake and then proceed to write dozens of poems" (from the promo material). It's good stuff. Very light and mellow and, while it did not necessarily inspire me to write any poetry, it did inspire me to cook quite well tonight.

I've had an idea for this dish kicking around in the back of my head ever since I ate at Nobu about 7-8 years ago. I didn't actually eat it there. I was seated at the sushi bar (and marveling at my good fortune that I'd been seated at all, since I'd turned up bedraggled and sunburned, traveling alone after a Mets game). Looking around, wishing I could afford omakase, I saw a small iron skillet full of something brown and bubbling delivered to a table close by my stool. I had no idea what it was, but it looked wonderful. All I knew was that it was part of a menu I couldn't afford. This made me want it more (although the sushi I did take part of while I was there was quite good, if a bit over priced).

Later in my life, at a couple Japanese restaurants much closer to home, I was served a couple variations on seafood served hot with a spicy mayonnaise based sauce. Sometimes the entire entree came to table piping hot; sometimes the sauce itself was heated and served over maki sushi, usually california roll.

Is it possible to have too much mayonnaise? I would say no. That's like asking if you can have too much butter. Again, no. If you think you've had too much of either, then I would say you've probably had just about the right amount. Feel guilty? Take a walk and shut up. Or pour yourself a drink and assuage your guilt chemically. We don't need your whining.

The light mayonnaise I use in this recipe is not out of some weird calorie guilt on my part. I've used full fat mayo in this before and I find that it can break down and seperate into white chunks and oily goo if you're not careful under the broiler. The light stuff is just more stable for this application.

Seafood Dynamite

For sauce:

1 c. light mayonnaise
6 oz. fresh cooked crab, picked over for shells
2 T. soy sauce
1 T. toasted sesame oil
1 T. rice wine vinegar
1-2 T. sambal oelek (chile paste) or 1/2-1 t. cayenne pepper
6 scallions, white and green parts, finely chopped

For seafood:

1 T. canola oil
1/2 lb. dry sea scallops
1/4 lb. cleaned squid, bodies sliced into rings (tentacles can remain whole)
1/4 lb. shelled and deveined shrimp, thawed if frozen
salt and pepper

3 c. cooked Japanese short grain rice
2 T. toasted sesame seeds (garnish)

1. Combine sauce ingredients. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.

2. Preheat broiler with a rack positioned in top part of the oven.

3. Season the seafood with salt and pepper. In a large heavy, oven proof skillet over medium high heat sear the scallops for 1-2 minutes per side until browned but still slightly transculent in the middle. Remove the scallops to a dish. Add the squid. Saute 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until just barely cooked through. Remove to a dish. Add the shrimp. Saute 2-3 minutes, or until just cooked through. Add the scallops, squid and mayonnaise sauce to the pan. Reduce heat to medium low and stir until all is well combined and heated through. Remove from heat.

4. Place skillet under the broiler for 3-4 minutes, rotating 90 degrees every minute or so, until the contents of the pan are bubbly and evenly browned. Remove the pan to cool for about 5 minutes.

5. Serve over rice, garnished with sesame seeds.

Serves 4 as a main course and 8 as an appetizer.

You actually can vary up the pound of seafood into whatever amount you'd like, substitute chunks of firm, skinless white fleshed fish, whatever. Just make sure that you are careful to get a good sear on it, but just barely cook it otherwise. It's going to spend some time under the broiler, after all. Overcooking the seafood will turn it into bouncy, rubbery orbs that will not be saved by a spicy mayonnaise sauce, no matter how flavorful. Tonight, the market actually didn't have squid, so I left it out. It did, however, have beautiful sweet little Maine shrimp and awesome scallops, so I just went half and half on them. Just buy what looks good and fresh. Ask the guy behind the counter if you're not sure. That's why they pay the dude.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some sake to finish. I'm not sure if it will turn me into the next Rihaku, but I might bang out some Spam-ku. It's like haiku, but with 100% more spiced pork potted product.

Glistening pink meat
Why do you taunt me, O Spam?
My belly wants you!

Porcine Frankenstein:
You frighten serious cooks
But not Mr. Scoop!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Dear Mr. Vernon...

......we accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was that we did wrong...

"I like to touch my glands!"

This was the exclamation one of my seniors greeted me with today.

He went on like this, as he rubbed the sides of his neck furiously: "I do! I like to play with them when I have a cold. They're bumpy! Of course, I don't have a cold right now but, they still feel really cool!"

Me: "Um."

Him: "Wouldn't it be cool if you could just stick your fingers through your neck until they came out the other side? That'd be awesome!" He was still trying to use his forefingers to destroy whatever bit of glandular tissue was protruding from the lymph nodes in his neck. Or massage it. At this point it wouldn't have surprised me if it was some weird fetish.

Me: "Um."

Kid Sitting Next To Gland Boy: "Did you take your Adderall today?"

Him: "No. Why?"


In other education related news:

Sixth Graders Learn Lots About Planing Wood During Shop Class

"...during school hours in a classroom with an experienced teacher present, two sixth graders completed the act of least ten students were witnesses. No disciplinary actions were taken against the teacher... All teachers were told to keep quiet."

Per Pharyngula via The Education Wonks.


How do you not notice that your students are boning when they're supposed to be making a lamp that looks like an elephant, you know, the kind that lights up when you pull on the trunk?



Friday, March 02, 2007

How Can I Not Share This?

Sure, I avoid "Boo-Boo-Kitty-I-Have-Nothing-To-Say-So-Here's-Some-Quiz-Results" posts as often as I can, but, really, how do I not share the results of this:

You'll die from a Drug or Alcohol accident.

Let's face it - when you get drunk/high you lose all control and do stupid stuff. Unfortunately in your case those propaganda anti-escapism commercials prove true.

'How will you die?' at

Looks like I almost got completely missed "Heart Attack During Sex". I'll take "Mysteriously", though.

This is all so me: live fast, die young, leave a good looking corpse - and try to post more frequently to the blog in the meantime.


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