Crabs and Cruise Ships

One of the great joys of having friends and family visit is having the opportunity to show off what a truly great city we live in. Unfortunately, one of the great pains of having friends and family visit in the summer is that the city is frickin’ up to it’s proverbial neck in tourists. Every day, cruise ship after cruise ship disgorges hundreds upon thousands of tourists who, while great for the city and local business coffers, tend to make local travel around the city a royal pain. Normally we tend to stay away from the tourist spots during this time of plenty, but when family is in town you have to bite the bullet. So with a 30-30 round firmly lodged in my molars, we took the boys down to the waterfront for a trip to the aquarium, the Market, and then lunch at The Crab Pot.

First up, the aquarium. I won’t even go into the mess that was traffic on Alaskan Way. One of the cruise ships was loading, and the snarl was unreal. After a bit of honking, praying and general good-hearted cussing, I managed to get to the parking garage. I pulled off a miracle, pulling into a space designed for a grocery cart, and we headed to the aquarium. For those who have not yet gone to the Seattle Aquarium, I really do recommend it. It’s a wonderful place to lose yourself for a couple of hours. The local divas of the aquarium, the sea otters, were as entertaining as always. We caught them napping on their backs, lazily floating around like old men at a pool party. One even held on to what looked to be a small frisbee, apparently dreaming of younger days at the beach with his buddies and cases of Bud Light.

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Aged to Perception

What the…? No, I haven’t lost my ability to spell. Hang in there with me and all will make sense in a bit.

My boys are in town visiting for about a month. Marc is almost 19, headed into the Air Force and I could not be prouder, even if it isn’t the Navy (grin). Jake is 15, going through a serious growth spurt, and is a serious sports nut. And again, I could not be prouder. Beth and I took them to LockSpot Cafe for lunch yesterday followed by a trip to the zoo. At LockSpot Marc got the sampler plate with fried cod, shrimp and clams, while Jake decided not to stray too far from Central Ohio and got a cheeseburger. Beth and I went the the fish and chips, always a winner at the Cafe. All four meals were quite tasty, as was the service. I also scored a parking space right out front which was a total bonus. The boys dug the lunch as well as being in the place that After the Catch was filmed in, as you can tell by their smiling, joyous faces. (coughs)

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Pesto Flat Iron Steak

How many times has this happened to you? You get home after work and remember you have nothing in the fridge. Or maybe you stop at a watering hole for happy hour and end up inviting half the bar over for a party, even though you haven’t been to the grocery for days. It’s happened to all of us at one point or another. So what do you do? You ad-lib baby. Ad-lib your ass off.

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It Tastes of Chicken!

I’m really torn by this report in Time Magazine. It’s an article about a new process to create fake chicken out of soy protein powder. According to the article the process involves mixing soy protein powder, wheat flour and water. It’s then processed at a particular temperature and viola, goop that has the texture of breast meat. They also mention that there is a push on to produce meat grown in vitro. Get yourself a Easy-Clone Oven, whip up a batch of chicken meat in a dish and have at it. This effort is actually being promoted by PETA who have offered a $1 million dollar incentive to the first one to do it before 2012.

This should be good, no? I mean, less animals being raised for slaughter means less harmful damage to the environment from the stinky stuff they release, the feed, etc. This should also be good for us health wise, right? Eating soy protein has got to be better than animal protein, so it’s all good, no? I’m not so sure.

First, the soy goop created needs to be flavored to taste like chicken, and to me that hints to the addition of non-natural additives. I’m not sure what the actual time required to make this stuff is, but there has to be manufacturing costs involved, and by costs I mean costs to the environment.

Second, the idea of growing meat in a petri dish freaks me out to no end. I mean, haven’t these people ever scene a 50’s SciFi movie? Suddenly Bill Cosby’s “Chicken Heart” makes total sense.

Third, I completely respect folks that follow a vegetarian or vegan diet for religious or social reasons. It’s a part of who they are. But do these folks really want to eat something that tastes of chicken? There are thousands upon thousands of vegetarian recipes in almost every cuisine. Are there really vegans out there saying, “You know what would make this bowl of beans and rice taste better? Fake chicken.” I know others try an all veggie diet for health reasons, but is eating fake meat doused in flavoring agents really that healthy? I don’t get it.

Wouldn’t it be better to spend all the time and energy going into these “Fake Meat” projects on increasing sustainable farming and humane animal husbandry instead? Or helping out local farmers so that people have access to quality locally grown produce. How about helping change the perception that eating a 32 ounce steak is acceptable? Or even something as simple as the idea that wasting food by having huge portions, or only eating a small part of something and throwing the rest away, is bad! It’s frustrating to me how we continue to try and prove how “smart” we are, when it’s usually common sense and nature herself that produce the best answers.

Finally, remember the movie Soylent Green ? It was set in the year 2022.

Go chicken heart, go.

Gregor

Dinner at the McMurtrey’s

Last night Beth and I had the pleasure of dining at the home of our friends, Kelly and Lisa. They have a lovely home not too far from where we live. Kelly took the original house down to it’s foundation and rebuilt it himself. He has landscaped the yard, complete with pond, into a showcase that could be featured in a Home & Garden photo spread. But best of all, he has a man-cave garage to beat all garages. All I’ll say about it is that I have a severe case of garage envy.

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Pacific Cod with Grapefruit and Avocado

Okay, I’ve been off on a bit of a rant lately, so I figured it’s time to get back to the core of what this blog should be about. Not to mention that Valentine’s Day is soon upon us, and this works great as an easy dinner for 2. So today I give you another way to prepare pacific cod. I used cod for this, but any firm white fish, like halibut would do just as well.

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Controlled Chaos

I sit here at my keyboard eating pistachio nuts, casually throwing the empty shells into my over-flowing ashtray. I light up a Marlboro, take another swig of my Ballantine’s neat, and I wonder how the the hell did I end up here.

It was not so long ago that I was in charge of a USS nuclear fast attack submarine. Well, to be honest, the Captain was in charge but I ran the engine room on my watch. It was me and the engineering officer of the watch who determined what would happen in an emergency. And truth be told, as most engineering watch supervisors will tell you, it was our word that mattered. Billions of dollars in materials, and 120 lives rested in our hands. I never felt so alive.

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Quantity or Quality?

We all have a limited time here on Mother Earth. How do we spend that time? Does quantity trump quality? Or is it the other way around? Do we want to live a long life, or do we want to live? Whatever the answer, it is a uniquely personal one. We all need to keep this in mind. How we look at it may not be the same as our family or friends.

Most, if not all, of us have been in a position of dealing with a loved one who is dealing with a life-threatening situation. “Do whatever it takes!” “You have to think of the kids” “What would your wife (husband) do without you?” “So what if it hurts, you’ll live 6 months longer!”

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William & Jo – A Wedding Story

Instead of the normal rants, recipes and reviews that usually appear here, I’ve decided to write about a wedding Beth and I attended this past Thursday. William and Jo are 2 friends of ours that live out here in Seattle. William I’ve known for over 15 years now. We just met Jo a couple of years ago. William is originally from back east, Ohio to be specific. Jo is also from back east, England to be specific. They met online, discussing poems and writing in general. Makes sense to me that too people so good at crafting words into art would be destined to meet this way. Well, long story short, they got legally married last year, and then went about setting up this more formal wedding to allow for friends and relatives to share. After months and months of working at the location, flowers, dresses ( Jo’s, not Williams), food, vows, you name it, the big day finally arrived. Truth be told, I think they were more relieved to be over the planning, than excited for the actual wedding. So with that bit of back story, on with the wedding.

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Living with Type 2 Diabetes

Back in Aug, ‘08 I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. Also known as Adult Onset, it’s the diabetes that in most cases doesn’t need to be. It’s caused mainly by diet, although other factors, like genetic predisposition can contribute. It can be controlled by diet, and in some cases oral medication. Bottom line, there is a problem with the cells response to insulin, which is different than type one, which is a problem with the production of insulin. Left unchecked, it can cause renal failure, blindness, heart failure, etc. Normal Glucose levels are around 100. I averaged 300-350 for a week prior to starting medication, and now hover around an average of 150-200.

What the hell does all this mean? First off, it means I’m overweight, and it’s time to face that fact. I also enjoy the fruit of the vine, and that needs to cut back. Bottom line, I am the Ghost of Christmas Past, and if I want to live longer than my next pair of underwear, I need to slow it down. Plain and simple and ….well not so simple.

See, the issue here is I believe as strongly in the quality of life as I do in the quantity of it. Maybe even more so to be honest. Hell, when I was in the Navy, I honestly thought I’d never make it to 40. I remember sitting in the Reactor Compartment fixing some detectors thinking to myself, “self, you ain’t makin it to 40 son.” And yet, here I am nearing 50. Gads.

Okay, so let’s get to the nitty gritty here. What does this mean to the loyal 2 readers of this blog? Not a damn thing. Well, I may start throwing in a “Diabetes Friendly” version of some of the recipes, and I may talk from time to time about my own battles. But for now, I’m taking my pills, watching my sugar levels, and still leaning towards quality of life.

Moose out.