Sunday, May 31, 2009

farmer's market and baseball

Nothing perks up a day at the office by spontaneous baseball that I don't have to play. Before the office and baseball, though, there was a trip to the Farmer's Market downtown, where I didn't intend to buy anything. I just wanted to go walk around somewhere for a little while before I spent my whole day at the office.

I parked down on State Street, where weekend parking is free and where the parking garages besides the one behind the movie theater have all seen better days:


Granted, the abandoned building with smashed out windows isn't the actual garage, but see how the sign is all rusty? If Knoxville is ever going to get serious about revitalizing downtown, then they need to revitalize the places that you have to park at to be downtown. If it looks like the place where Batman's parents got killed, then probably no one wants to park there.

Walking up to the Farmer's Market, I passed the Wall Avenue wall and saw that someone else agrees that Knoxville could use a little improvement:


If you click on that and look at the bigger size, our river is apparently nasty and our zoo ghetto. I didn't think the zoo was really that bad (a little poorly laid out, maybe) but I might have just gone in with low expectations.

Bob Dobbs had no commentary to offer on the zoo or on the state of the city:

bob, in fire or motion

Moving on, I walked through the Farmer's Market:


honey bears

vegetable baskets

Even though I didn't buy anything, I noticed a surprising lack of actual food at the Farmer's Market. This is the first time I've gone to it in at least a year, but last time I went almost every stand was vegetables and cheese and baked goods, the kind of thing I expect from the Farmer's Market at home. Those stands are all still there, but now there are at least the same amount selling wind chimes and candles and crafty stuff. I guess it's good that the Farmer's Market has gotten a lot bigger since the last time I went, but at the same time I think of food when I think of farmers, not jar candles that smell like cookies.

After an hour or so of walking around I headed in to work, where I am trying to get ahead on things before my vacation in a week. This year my goal is to try to get some pictures up while I'm still on vacation, so that I'm not spending five hours doing it when I get back.

Anyway, I was at the office for a couple of hours when I got an email inviting me to meet up with Jess and whoever else showed up for Tennessee Smokies minor league baseball. Since I've never been and baseball is way more fun than being at the office, I immediately said yes.

Smokies Park, deep in the Smokies, was just small enough to be cozy while still feeling like a baseball stadium.

Smokies Park

If it holds more than five hundred people I'd be terribly surprised, but you never know. It does hold two mascots:

Slugger and Diamond

The green one has a ponytail, and we couldn't tell if it was supposed to be a girl or if it was just sporting a genuine Tennessee rat-tail. Either way, we managed to find nachos and hot dogs, Jess and George got themselves on the Dance Cam:

dance cam

and we stayed all the way through the end, when it got dark out and we lost:

night lights

Losing was still better than spending four extra hours at the office, except that now I have to go in today again instead.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Devil's Eggs

Cooking this evening is not going well. This is not surprising, as my cooking anything that isn't made of pasta or chicken (and, really, the chicken is also frequently fraught with the possibility of disaster) tends to wander into the realm of cuisine that I like to think of as "Blair Witch Dinner". I coined this term in the dining hall at my old job, where every once in a while the evening selection on the dinner line wouldn't be turkey or chicken or beef, but would instead be something that caused teenagers to stare in mindless wide-eyed horror shrieking "What the fuck is that?" while sobbing, like the kids in the second half of the "Blair Witch Project" screaming into the forest.

At any rate, tonight I was going to make a recipe I saw in a food magazine called Ham and Cheese Croquettes. The idea of croquettes, tiny crunchy fried fingerfood with yummyness inside, seems kind of quaint and old fashioned, like an appetizer they might have served on the Titanic. Beyond that, how could anything fried with cheese inside be bad? At some point during the day, though, I decided that leaving the house was just too much to contemplate, and that I would just make something else since the only ingredients for the croquettes that I had here were cheese and flour. Not only that, but the recipe called for the croquettes to be fried in three inches of boiling oil, and I might not be up for that ever.

Already defeated before I turned the stove on, I opened the refrigerator to peruse the goods.

"Oooh, we have eggs. How about scrambled eggs? We could use up that bacon, too."

"I'm confused by the 'we'. Have we become plural? Or British royalty?"

"Shut up. We can't make scrambled eggs. We're out of milk."

"Egg salad maybe? Egg salad sandwiches with bacon. On toast."

"Then we'll have all this egg salad left, and by the middle of the week you won't want it anymore."

"Deviled eggs! It'll use up all the eggs, and... oh! Let's cook the bacon and crush it and put it in the deviled eggs!"

"I love you."

"I love you, too. You really should have gone to the grocery store, though."

"Shut up. I hate you."

Empowered to cook but now completely lacking in self-esteem, I loaded up my Clucky the Chicken chicken-shaped egg cooker with seven eggs. I noticed almost immediately that Clucky was leaking a little of the water the eggs were supposed to be boiling in, but I've had that egg cooker since 1998 when I got my first apartment and I love boiled eggs and I refuse to accept any suggestion that Clucky might be wearing out. Instead I put a dishtowel under Clucky and went to get the bacon out of the bacon keeper in the bottom of the fridge.

"Hey, is bacon supposed to be gray?"

"Shut up."

"Are there any other groceries rotting in secret in the bottom of the fridge that you'd like to try to eat?"

"Shut up."

I was all hung up on the idea of bacon and deviled eggs, though, so I decided to use bacon bits. I'll be on "Semi-Homemade" with Sandra Lee frosting a Kwaanza cake any day now, I'm sure. While I was grinding the bacon bits in the mortar and pestle because I decided they were too big and I like my deviled eggs smooth and creamy ("You're insane. You know that, right? Fully, completely insane." "Shut up.") Clucky started beeping. I pulled the eggs out, dropped them into a bowl of ice water, and started loading up the food processor with the filling ingredients. Ready to roll, I peeled the first egg, and noticed immediately that it seemed a little soft. Worried, I cut it in half and sure enough, the middle was soft and gross.

At this point I was ready to give up and start drinking, but I decided to load up Clucky again and try double boiling the eggs. And, thank God, it worked. I don't know that I could have taken more mental verbal abuse.

Oh, and just in case you're curious:

Bacon Horseradish Deviled Eggs

6 hard boiled eggs, peeled and sliced in half
2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
1 teaspoon horseradish mustard
6 teaspoons light Miracle Whip
1 handfull of bacon bits

Pop the yolks out of the eggs, put the whites on a plate, and throw everything else in the food processor. Process until smooth. Spoon into ziploc bag, seal bag, cut off the corner, and pipe filling into eggs. Pipe extra filling directly into open mouth from bag. Chill and eat, or just eat.

They're delicious.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

My Visit With Loco

It was derby time in town again this weekend, but this home game was the best one ever (out of the three that I have to choose from) because my friend Loco Chanel, who skates for both the Midwest Mega Team and the Hell's Belles team in the Windy City Rollers league, came to town to lay some smack down on our Hard Knox Roller Girls:

me and loco

She's not really a full head taller than me. That's after both bouts, and she still has her skates on. Also, you should click that picture so you can see her awesome glittery Loco Chanel helmet logo.

Anyway, before Loco's team got to play, we had an opening bout against the R.O.C.K., the Roller Girls of Central Kentucky. Based on the number of times they hit the floor, it went pretty well:

tagged from behind

jammer down

Granted, our girls fell a few times, too:

knox jammer down

but we still won.

It was our last win of the night, sadly.

It started out kind of even:

Jamie and Carrie

It became clear fairly quickly, though, that even with half their team in the penalty box (Loco's at the head of the line, waiting to get back in):

penalty box

we still couldn't score. Our girls tried really hard, but the Midwest Mega Team was an unbreakable wall, a metaphor best symbolized by this shot of one of our girls bouncing off of Loco and hitting the floor:

bouncing off

I don't remember the final score, but at one point in the bout they had three times the points that we did. I did get three friends to go, though, which was the most people ever, and everyone claimed to enjoy it.

After we sent Loco to the after party, I met up with her and Karmageddon this morning for breakfast at the Market Square Kitchen:

tuscan omelette

followed by posing with local statuary:

loco and karma

me and loco

Before they headed out and I headed to work.

As a side note, look how baggy my damn jeans that used to be tight are! Bye bye, morbid obesity!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Oklahoma, Tauntiest State in the Union

I have this book my mom gave me back in 1999. If it wasn't mad of cardstock, it would probably just be a pamphlet, but instead it has firm covers with plastic holders on the inside for you to press state quarters into.

I didn't ask for this book. I thought it was kind of lame, actually, but my mom gave it to me and she'd already put a couple quarters in the slots and really, how hard could it be to pick quarters out of your change?

It turns out to be pretty hard. I've been carrying this book around since 1999. I have lived in three different cities and had three different jobs in that time. I've also had three cars, earned a degree, moved off campus, and the whole time I've been presing quarters into this book. I carefully analyze every handful of change, and this morning I was wildly excited to discover New Mexico.

Finally, I can stop pushing quarters in my little book. I ignored the friends who told me that there were quarters for Guam, or Washington, D.C., or Puerto Rico. My book says "50 States Quarters", and I now have all fifty states. Screw you, territories, protectorates, and districts.

When I got home, before I even took off my work shoes, I went straight to my bookshelf and got down the quarters book, and took out my New Mexico quarter, and made a shocking discovery:

the last one

I never had anything bad to say about Oklahoma, ever, before now. They have that musical, the people were friendly when I visited, it's the only state I've ever purchased a pornographic magazine in; until today I had nothing bad to say about them.

Now I wish the whole state would secede. Then I wouldn't need to fill that last slot.