Sunday, January 31, 2010

Saab Sister

I didn't always drive European cars.

My first set of wheels was a 1983 Plymouth Reliant K Car. That sweet ride was a gray two-door with a maroon quasi-soft top, complete with an eight-track tape player.

Looking back on it, it was kind of cherry. In 1995, it totally blowed, considering some of my classmates were pulling in to the school parking lot with convertible BMWs, brand spanking new Jeep Grand Cherokees and their parents' Jaguars.

But wheels are freedom, and I was happy to have em'.

The Reliant died when my dad and I drove it through an insane, springtime Nor'easter during my freshman year in college. There we were, cruising through five-foot salty waves crashing on to Middle Beach Road. Dad manned the wheel - I rode shotgun with the camcorder.

The sea water got into the engine and the car died before I came home for summer break.

The plane landed and my dad picked me up at Bradley, jazzed to show me what he and Brigid picked out as our new vehicle-to-share.

It was a ten year old, black, two-door Saab 900 S with a sunroof. We called it Black Beauty, and my parents affectionately called Brigid and me the Saab Sisters.

God, that car was fun.

A quintessential New England kind of car for two teenage girls on the Connecticut shoreline. I still miss those days.

Since then, someone in our family has always owned a Saab. My mother is partial to Volvos (her fire engine red 240 turns 19 this year - and I think it only has 90 K miles on it), but we girls have always loved Saabs.

My dad still dreams of getting a convertible.

I bought my 9-3 four years ago (a good proxy is pictured above) - I am excited about the prospect of owning it outright this fall. The car is built like a tank, though I think GM watered down some of its distinct, Swedish features.

Thankfully the ignition switch is still in the funky place in the console to the right of the driver's seat, and it's still expensive as hell to fix.

Saab is a quirky brand worshiped by thousands around the globe, and its faithful are hoping it can survive the tumult that comes from severing ties with GM. This past week, Dutch automaker Spyker made a $74 million cash play for Saab, offering up stock options and other creative financing to (hopefully) seal the deal. This comes several months after Swedish sports car outfit Koenigsegg was unable to follow through on its interest to buy Saab.

The brand is on life support, and this deal is akin to breaking out the defibrillator.

Born from jets - here's to hoping Spyker can make this deal with Saab take flight.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

My New, Lost Love

I fell in love with two men on May 19.

Actually, it's more like two men, a woman and a smoke monster.

The popular ABC drama, LOST, entered my life last spring, and I've been a changed woman ever since.

For the first time, I do not cringe at the thought of bills and junk mail in the mailbox. No, I run to my door in anticipation of the latest Netflix installment of Jack and Sawyer and Kate and the Oceanic Six (and the rest of their pals/frenemies).

I started watching old LOST DVDs in May in the hopes I'd be able to catch up and watch the series' final season (which starts Tuesday on ABC at 8 PM with an hour long recap, and then the season opener at 9 PM) with the rest of the "Losties."

You see, I made the mistake of watching The Sopranos (the entire series) well after the show went off the air. My discoveries, emotional revelations and other exclamations went lost on my colleagues (save for one fellow Tony fan - I miss you, SCO!).

This time, I thought I wanted to join the Losties and watch the show's ending as it unfolded on national television.

I finished the last three episodes of Season 5 on Wednesday, and I'm anxious to see what happens next week. I have gone so far as to enter LOST into my Outlook calendar for the next 18 Tuesdays.

Appointment television, indeed.

Has a show ever dished up so many twists and turns?


Has a show ever simultaneously featured so many religious allegories while launching a fantastical story about science fiction, physics and other mind bending phenomena?

Probably not.

Here's to a spectacular end to a wonderful series.

Please do not call, text or otherwise seek out my attention for the next several Tuesday evenings.

I'm not busy - I'm just LOST.

*** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

The media is buzzing with the end of LOST. Check out this sneak peek of the first four minutes of Tuesday's premiere, CNN's piece including six secrets from the set of LOST and a great "Last Supper" photo of the cast, and this NYT writeup that explains many of LOST's mysteries will be revealed starting with the first episode of the season. The Times piece also claims viewers can jump in this season without having watched any of the previous episodes.

Man, that's mind boggling.

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Kate's Random Musings by Kate the Great is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Friday, January 29, 2010

About 11 Years Too Late

I guess I wasted years of my life.

Instead of getting a journalism degree, toiling with internships at radio and TV stations, working overnight/weekend/nightside shifts, learning how to write/shoot/edit/track (not to mention - make beat calls, scan wires, craft questions until the interviewee gave me the answer I wanted, manage time, etc. etc. etc.)...

I could have just watched this video.

What a hilarious commentary on my former line of work.

And no, I don't disagree - a lot of the crap people are turning these days boils down to something this formulaic.

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Kate's Random Musings by Kate the Great is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Art Is Everywhere

Art is not always thickly brushed swaths of oil paint on canvas, wrapped in gilded frame.

It doesn't have to be the finest piece of chiseled alabaster or hand blown glass from Italy.

Art can sometimes be as simple as the world around you.

Don't believe me?

I rather like this shot I snapped while riding the 44 bus to the Academy of Sciences in San Francisco.

Know what it is?

I call it Curve.

It's the central, accordion part of an extra long bus with two segments. This stretchy section helps the bus round corners more easily.

This little vestibule has four seats facing inward, two by two, as opposed to frontward like the other seats. I love the way the folds of the wall fan out where the round, turntable-like floor and the bus meet.

Art is everywhere.

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

01-28-86 I Remember That Day

I was in 3rd Grade.

The nation buzzed about the prospect of sending the first civilian up in space - Christa McAuliffe, a teacher from New Hampshire.

Several of Maple Dale Elementary's 3rd Grade classes converged on a common space to watch the liftoff, scheduled for a chilly morning in January.

I was excited about space travel.

Years later I would discover that math and science were my weaker subjects, but at a bright-eyed nine years old, I was enamored with the idea of being an astronaut.

We watched the final preparations at Cape Canaveral. Then the countdown and liftoff.

The rocket propelled into the wild blue yonder, traveling at a speed likely matching the racing pulse of my little heart.

Then, *poof*.

A giant, wormy cloud spread out across the screen, nebulous parts glowing with traces of fiery orange. As children, we had no idea what was going on, and began cheering at an occurrence we thought was SOP.

The room quickly dispersed, and knowing my teacher (and her lack of aptitude for anything challenging or involving depth), there was no discussion of the morning's events.

A school bus ride later, I made it home to my mom and younger sister, who was recovering from some minor surgery. My mother, a very grave expression washed across her face, pulled a television into Brigid's room so we could watch Tom Brokaw explain the latest information as she cradled my sick sister.

I think I still bubbled with excitement, not knowing seven people had lost their lives on the Challenger. Mom's gentle but serious tone explained to me this was a very sad day and likely something I'll never forget.

She was right.

For months, I clipped every. single. story. about the Challenger out of the morning newspaper. My dad gave me a manila folder I used to organize and protect these scraps of newsprint. They were my treasures.

These days, space exploration is something we take for granted, and yet NASA shuttle launches are infrequent occurrences.

I think the Challenger explosion taught me the bravery that comes with facing a mission that threatens one's very existence. The incident no doubt also inspired people around the world to grow more curious about the great beyond.

Thank you to McAuliffe, Smith, Scobee, McNair, Onizuka, Jarvis and Resnik.

May your lives and commitment to space exploration fan the flames of discovery for generations to come.

And may we remain as dedicated to exploring the universe around us as you were in life and death.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

To Market, To Market

I love a good farmers market.

San Francisco's Ferry Building offers a Saturday Market that is a haven for foodies. Whether you love organic vegetables, homemade salumi, artisanal breads, freshly baked sweets or small batch cheeses, this is the place for you to sample and savor away.

Enjoy this composite of pics from our Saturday in San Francisco.

Confession: this last pic is not from the Ferry Building Saturday Market, but was snapped at Fisherman's Wharf. It gets a pass because I think it works well with the other images.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Grammar Lesson: Sneak Peek VS. Sneak Peak

As a child, I was a horrible student of grammar.

Past participles, dangling modifiers, prepositions - it was all garbage to me.

From my 7th grade perspective, I needed to know how to read and how to write - but grammar was sheer fluff. Like Latin.

Little did I know grammar manages the mechanics of the language I love so dearly. Over time, I've discovered the nuances of the English language, and feel quite comfortable navigating the rules of grammar.

Sometimes I don't know why the rule exists (or even what it is), but I know there's a reason why a phrase sounds better written one way and not another.

It's a little bit like when a prodigy knows how to play classical piano without having any understanding of music theory.

I should state at this juncture that in no way am I am a prodigy where the English language is concerned.

Quite the contrary.


My love of vocabulary and language have brought on a crop of pet peeves, one of which I'll share with you today.


Sorry for the shouting, but it's the kind of thing I want to exclaim from a mountaintop.

Which is exactly what you're talking about when you use 'sneak peak.'

To give someone a 'sneak peek' is to offer them a preview, an early glance, a secret look ahead.

When mentioning 'sneak peak,' you are talking about a secretive mountain, as PEAK refers to the top of a mountain or ridge.

Now, here's the little trick I discovered to remember the difference.

Put the words in all caps.


The second version (the one about the secretive mountain) has a capital A in it. Imagine that capital A is a big, snowy mountain in the Alps - the Matterhorn, Mont Blanc - whichever mountain you prefer. Take a long hard look at that A. See how the top half, the part above the crossbar, is snowy and white? And can't you just picture little Alpine skiers whooshing down both sides of that jagged mountain?

Can't you taste the gluhwein at some cozy chalet at the foot of the mountain (hat tip to Julie)?

Next time you write 'sneak peak,' think long and hard about that secretive mountain in the Alps, and the skiers who don't want you to spill their secret.

And then, type 'sneak peek.'

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Monday, January 25, 2010

Banh You - Banh Mi

What's in a sandwich?

By any other name would it taste as sweet?

Take everything you know about sandwiches - your love of hefty versions overly stuffed with lunch meat, or perhaps your favorite flat pressed, cheesy variety - and throw it out the window while you're crossing the Brent Spence Bridge.

And when your brain has eradicated any hint of the traditional, two-pieces-of-bread variety hackneyed by an English earl in the 1700s, I want you to envision a concoction that the masses of Cincinnati have failed to embrace.

That concoction is Banh Mi.

Liz has extolled the virtues of this Vietnamese sandwich before; I'm told that Take the Cake sometimes includes it on its daily lunch menu.

But there are few other places I know of in town where I can enjoy one of these culinary achievements.

Wingman and I had just arrived to our hotel on a Thursday afternoon, our stomachs believing it was 3:30 in the afternoon, when we decided to set out for cheap Vietnamese in the nearby Tenderloin district. Not the most safe/clean/glamorous of neighborhoods in San Francisco, we were confident we'd discover a cheap meal to offset the decadence planned for later that evening.

I clicked on one of my Droid's apps and discovered Saigon Sandwich was just a few blocks away from our hotel.

That this bodega was honored with Best Sandwich in San Francisco a couple years ago should have been a sign of things to come.

That these sandwiches were around $3 a piece was just a bonus.

As we walked, Wingman waxed poetic about a Vietnamese sandwich he had 10 years ago. He said it was one of the best things he's ever eaten, and he's been searching the ends of the earth for another taste.

We walked to the little shop and found a line of people waiting to order their version of Banh Mi. The traditional Vietnamese sandwich is served on small baguette with pickled carrots and daikon, cilantro, chili peppers, cucumbers, mayo and a variety of protein fillings.

W went with a combo with ham, pork and pate, whereas I went with the "fancy pork" option.

We waited as two ladies made around a dozen sandwiches for the waiting crowd. Five minutes later, the older lady handed us our sandwiches in little plastic baggies.

We hit the street and chowed down while passing crack whore trannys, alleys reeking of urine and homeless people sleeping under bundles of blankets.

It was hard to focus on the sandwich, as my taste buds and eyes were facing an onslaught of sensory overload. That said, I only had to take a few bites before admitting I hadn't had a sandwich this good in quite some time.

The cilantro, carrots, cucumbers all crunched with flavorful freshness, and the "fancy pork" was tasty, but apparently Vietnamese code for pork lunch meat. The bread's exterior was firm but not too hard to compromise the consistency of the sandwich, and the dressing at the base of the sandwich was creamy, tangy and a perfect contrast to the fresh flavors in the sandwich.

This version of Banh Mi was sprinkled with a bit of spicy hot seasoning that only made itself known at the finish of each bite.

We downed what was left of our respective sandwiches before walking to Twitter headquarters for a photo-op and then the Yerba Buena Gardens.

I hope to God I don't have to fly to San Francisco to enjoy my next Banh Mi sandwich.

Life just shouldn't be that cruel.

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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Review: Chez Panisse

Dining at Chez Panisse is supposed to be a spiritual moment akin to sitting beside Christ at the last supper.

The Berkeley, California restaurant is an institution with a history as old as your favorite variety of Heirloom tomato - it's the Mecca of the locavore, organic movement, and Alice Waters is its Muhammad.

If you've ever dined at a place championing locally grown foods and pure, fresh produce - then you've been to a place run by one of Alice's disciples.

Chez Panisse is one of the top five restaurants in or near San Francisco, and I consider it a sheer culinary gift from God that I was able to savor its goodness.

That said, it's got nothin' on Cincinnati's dining scene.

We went to Chez Panisse just five days after we had the most spectacular meal at Boca. We headed to the restaurant, which is hidden behind an arbor of overgrown trees and understated signage, after enjoying a cocktail at Mint Leaf (side note: I tried the most delicious cucumber gimlet cocktail there - it was tart, refreshing, and I imagine a perfect accompaniment to the restaurant's Indian cuisine).

We made our way to the restaurant of the evening and were greeted by a pleasant maitre d who whisked away our coats and showed us to our table near the open kitchen upstairs. We sat there with pent up excitement, expecting a meal we hoped to describe as orgasmic, spectacular and stunning.

Instead, we found ourselves remarking the courses were bland and unremarkable.

"This just isn't as good as Boca," we said - after every. single. course.

Our starter was a fritto misto of artichokes, squash, onions and parsley with watercress. These seasonal vegetables were served fried tempura style with a sauce akin to a caper flavored tartar sauce. I liked the starter but wasn't really bowled over - the deep fried vegetables weren't all that flavorful and something I'd expect from the likes of P.F. Chang's.

Our server Gianni brought us a nice 2006 Bourgone-Aligote Chablis, explaining it was a white wine made of hand harvested grapes from Burgundy.

The wine paired well with the next course - local rockfish and Dungeness crab brodo with olio nuovo. The fish was prepared well but was not very distinctive in flavor, save for only a hint of parsley.

Gianni and his crew brought us the third course, Grilled Becker Lane pork loin with shell beans and breadcrumbs, and Chino Ranch carrots and turnips. Nobody does pork better than Iowa, and that's where the star of our entrée was bred. The pork loin was tender and well flavored (I distinctly tasted something from the cinnamon/nutmeg/allspice genre), but we both remarked that we were not nearly as impressed with the course (or any, for that matter) as we were when dining at Boca just days earlier.

Dessert sometimes has a way of making everything better - and we held out all hopes that the final course would somehow redeem our evening at the legendary Chez Panisse.

We were served a date-rum and candied orange ice cream coupe with espresso granita. I enjoyed the date-rum and orange pairing - a perfect flavor combination for the winter months - but I thought the granita was overly icy/watery and lacking a strong coffee flavor.

I had photos of all of the courses, but cannot share them with you as they are on the cell phone that was stolen in San Francisco. As I was taking all of these photos, Gianni kindly offered me an opportunity to tour the kitchen and talk with the chefs. As much as I would have enjoyed the opportunity, I  was on vacation and wanted to just enjoy the moment, not look at it as an opportunity to review a restaurant.

So then, why the review, you ask?

A dear friend of mine suggested I post this review, not as a chance to knock one of the West Coast's greatest restaurants, but as an opportunity to champion Cincinnati's own culinary scene.

Kids, we can eat just as well in Cincinnati as they can on the Coasts.

Sure, San Francisco, New York, etc. all have a glut of phenomenal restaurants, whereas we have but a handful of truly remarkable dining experiences. That said, it's wonderful knowing we don't have to jump on a plane or drive a car if we want to taste something truly sublime.

And I also firmly believe sublime does not have to equal fancy/expensive/exclusive.

Heck, I think Terry's Turf Club is out of this world.

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Friday, January 22, 2010

Ding! Ding! Ding! Goes the Trolley

God, I love public transportation.

I struggle with embracing Cincinnati's bus system, what with its poorly designed wheel-and-spokes system. That said, it's a great service for people who really need it (including me - I was bus-bound for 2.5 months in 2007 when my car's turbo blew up. I was grateful for the public resource).

The thing is, I wish ours was a system that was used more by people who wanted it, instead of just needing it.

I just got back from spending almost a week in San Francisco, where public transportation is a way of life. The people don't just dig their trains, trams and trolleys because it's environmentally friendly - the truth is, riding public transportation is infinitely more convenient, too.

We flew in to Oakland before noon, and only had to hop on a quick bus before we piled on to the BART. In all, our trip from baggage claim to hotel lobby took about 35 minutes.

We really only needed a car for our one daytrip to Sonoma (though Wingman held on to it for two excursions to see high school pals elsewhere in the Bay area), and so the rest of the time we decided to stick to the MUNI. I was chomping at the bit to get the MUNI Passport; I discovered its significant convenience when I visited San Francisco just over a year ago. The pass (1, 3 or 7-day options) allows you to ride an unlimited number of buses, trolleys, and streetcars - as well as San Francisco's classic cable cars, which carry a hefty, $5 one-way fee.

My three-day pass was 20 bucks, and over the three days of use, I more than made up for my investment.

The other, super-cool thing about traveling around a city with excellent public transportation - many smartphones (Droid, iPhone, etc.) feature a Google Maps option that will give you a transit option, complete with walking directions to specific bus/streetcar stops.

We were quite the pair - pulling out our dueling smartphones, racing to discover the directions to our planned destination first.

The thing is, people in these big, freakin' awesome cities champion their public transportation because it's. so. easy.

Forget driving in circles, looking for an open parking meter or the cheapest parking lot. And ditto for dealing with road rage-laden traffic jams and idiots who don't know how to drive.

Public transportation gives you an opporunity to get to your destination swiftly, simply and with complete sanity. Bonus points for the chance to indulge in some pleasure reading.

The other thing that pubic transportation complements - getting a chance to actually see the city. Had we been trapped in a car the entire time, I likely wouldn't have noticed the lovely street detailing in the otherwise grungy Tenderloin. I wouldn't have known that the names of the streets were engraved in the concrete at almost every street corner.

I wouldn't have had the chance to let my eyes linger a little longer as I peered in the shops, restaurants and businesses we passed.

Public transportation also gives you a chance to rub elbows with real humanity. We saw beautiful and interesting people of all colors, backgrounds and social classes. We had the chance to eavesdrop on a few hilarious conversations.

We got to know a little bit more about life in San Francisco thanks to public transportation.

I am really hoping Cincinnati steps up its game and rolls full steam ahead with big plans for public transportation. A streetcar system could do wonders for our communities, and would likely be the first in many significant steps to improve our fair Queen City.

And someday, maybe some 30-somethings from San Francisco will come and get the chance to learn a little bit more about life in Cincinnati.

And maybe, just maybe, they won't leave.

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I'm baaaaack...

What a wild ride.

I am safe and sound in Cincinnati.

I've spent the past 36 (miserable) hours without a cell phone.

And I had to wake up at 5:30 this morning to clean my apartment after discovering, upon my arrival at midnight last night, the leasing company would be inspecting all properties today.

Let's just say getting back to normal after vacation has already dished out a few curve balls.

Here's a fun video I shot Monday along the coast in San Francisco. The weather was really wild (coastal tide warnings, severe wind and rain advisories) and I was pumped to capture a bit of it. This video was shot just west of the Cliff House, an historic restaurant next to the ruins of the Sutro Baths. The wind was whipping at around 20 to 25 miles an hour, and the afternoon suffered through on-and-off drizzle.

Not exactly ideal vacation conditions - but we were in San Francisco, and I would have tolerated just about anything.

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Friday, January 15, 2010

Crossing Golden Gate

It's one of the nation's beautiful landmarks.

And it's marred by my rambling commentary.

Check out this fun ride across Golden Gate Bridge.

We took Highway 101 to Sonoma to do a bit of wine tasting today.

Wingman and I are having a blast in San Francisco, though I am still struggling with the time change.

I'll fill you in on some of our fun in a bit - but first, a nap, then dinner at Campton Place. It's Restaurant Week in SF, so we're enjoying some dirt-cheap dining.


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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Party In My Mouth

I experienced oral euphoria with two men over the past weekend.

It sounds decadent - and, oh, but it was.

Because these two forays involved truffles, caramelized Brussels sprouts and bread pudding made with French toast.

Yeah, I never thought Brussels sprouts would be sexy, either, but this dish was a hot mess on a plate.

My edible expedition started Saturday night at Boca in Oakley. Wingman and I decided to set out for a first rate dinner in anticipation of our trip to San Francisco later this week.

From start to finish, we were impressed with everything that passed our lips. The tender poured a wonderful Woodford Manhattan - perfect balance of my favorite Bluegrass bourbon and sweet vermouth.

For starters, I went with the roasted pear salad. The pears were tender and bursting with tartness. W went with a buttery pasta graced with flecks of truffle. He waxed poetic about the dish's bold earthy flavors, and I couldn't help but agree when we swapped our half-finished plates.

I jokingly asked the server if we could box up the emptied bowl for W, what with its bottom still awash in buttery, creamy, woody flavors.

For our main course, W went with the Branziano - a grilled sea bass dressed with lemon and atop a pile of sautéed Swiss chard. The fish was substantial in texture but light in taste, well complemented by the tart flavors of the grilled lemon and the subtle bitterness of the chard.

I went with an entrée sized portion of Boca's legendary scallops-and-Brussels sprouts. As an East Coast transplant, I was indoctrinated with the ways of authentic seafood preparation as a teen. These scallops were gentle and gave way to a little bit of the murky, muddy flavors of seafood I've come to know and love. But honestly, they were upstaged (significantly, I might say) by what may be the most wonderful thing I've ever put in my mouth.

Caramelized Brussels sprouts.

And herein comes the point where I dropped my fork on my plate, leaned back in my seat and exclaimed, "That is oral euphoria."

W, jealous he didn't come up with as spectacular a turn of phrase (we have a thing for the nuances of language and discuss complex vocabulary words - who says we don't know how to have a good time?), retorted his truffle pasta dish was oral euphoria, too. So, there.


The Brussels sprouts were soft and buttery with every single bite. Forget those bitter, horribly tasting sprouts your mother served up for dinner - these gems had the consistency of tender, roasted artichokes but offered an incredibly rich, somewhat salty flavor.

You would be foolish to order anything different should you have an opportunity to dine at Boca.

Our night was capped with two spectacular desserts - a caramel creme brulee and a flour-less chocolate bourbon torte (my choice, but it was honestly outdone by the creme brulee).

The only misses of the evening? That our entrées were brought to the table as W was in the restroom, and when the desserts were served without silverware.


Sunday, a new friend and I set out for lunch. We rode off in a big Cadillac, Destination: Northside, for an opportunity to see twitter pal James at Take the Cake's newish Sunday brunch event. A snowy Sunday plus clever company and minus football (moment of silence for the Cincinnati Bengals, please) seemed like the perfect opportunity.

James had previously tweeted about the Bread Pudding of the Day - a decadent homage to Elvis' 75th birthday, made with French toast (have you ever heard of bread pudding made of French toast??), peanut butter, banana slices, caramel and homemade marshmallow fluff. I knew, in the span of 140 characters, that I had to. try. this. dish.

We arrived and were ushered to two stools perched at a counter ringing the kitchen (my favorite space to sit because I can catch all the culinary art in motion).

I sipped on my coffee for a while until I was served a heaping, golden brown pile of goodness, awash in a pool of caramel and topped in fluff. This was the kind of lunch/brunch item that Little Kate would have swooned at.

I am so grateful Grown Up Kate takes every opportunity to indulge the little girl inside.

My fork dove in to the French toast/banana/peanut butter conglomeration and my mouth opened wide, practically trembling in anticipation.

Oral euphoria round two.

Try as I might, I just could not finish my breakfast/lunch/dessert. James was kind enough to box up the remaining half of my dish and even drizzle a little more caramel on top.

Because who doesn't like a little extra caramel?

In all, the past weekend served up heaping helpings of decadence. Looking back on it, I still can't believe I lived so high on the hog in a 24-hour span.

I guess when it rains, it pours.

And in the case of oral euphoria, I always love a good soaking.

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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Boxing It In

I have a secret.

For all my effervescence, gregarious perspective and openness, sometimes I get a little worked up over the commingling of friends.

Most of the time, the mixing of my social circles is wonderful. We explore new places, give birth to new ideas and conversations, and revive common passions.

But sometimes the introduction of one group of people to another leads to nothing good.

It's almost as if I wish I had one of those grade school lunch trays - you know, the ones with the compartments that keep the runny mashed potatoes-and-gravy away from the dry, overcooked dressing and the watery green beans.

Because sometimes I want to enjoy my mashed potatoes and gravy all by itself. Sometimes I think it tastes great with a couple green beans. Sometimes I want to mix it all into one big, flavorful mess.

All analogies aside, I guess I prefer keeping most of my social circles apart because they appeal to different facets of my personality.

I am most protective of my "inner circle" of friends. These are the people with whom I feel most comfortable being exactly as I am - brainy, bawdy, boisterous. These friends do not threaten, intimidate or make me feel inadequate.

My Inner Circle pushes me to be the best I can be, while enjoying the best out of life. I've discovered I don't feel quite as good about myself when the Inner Circle is watered down by variables from the "outside."

Another wonderful social segment - my social media peeps. These are people who I "know" because we've developed a relationship through blogging, Twitter and other online social applications. I know some of these people in real life, and others I just know by avatar and handle.

I love my social media peeps because they mostly appeal to my intellectual side. Many of these brilliant individuals share my political beliefs - reviving my conviction and passions. Others demonstrate specific expertise or interests that either compliment my own or inspire me to learn more.

A few of my social media people are simultaneously grouped into the IC, but most belong to a wonderful group all their own.

My social circle involves still other groups of people - individuals I see casually and infrequently and people with whom I've failed to form a deeper connection.

These people are fun and an important aspect of my social frame of reference, but I hold some of them at arm's length.

As if you haven't realized by now, I am quite protective of the people with whom I reveal my truest self.

A few weeks ago, a man who is both in my IC and one of my social media peeps referred to this very dynamic. He said he initially thought it would be wonderful if, "Everyone knew everyone."

His voice trailed off and conceded, sometimes it's just easier to compartmentalize some social groups.

I appreciated his honesty; sometimes I wondered if I was the only one who was selfish (is it selfish?) enough to prefer this separation.

But then, sometimes, I wonder who is keeping me away from a social circle I don't even know about.

Wanna join my social circle??!! You can follow me on Twitter @Kate_the_Great. Shoot me an "@" and let's chat! - Kate

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Kate's Random Musings by Kate the Great is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Saturday, January 09, 2010


You really love me, don't you?

Well. Maybe you don't - but someone does. Because my blog traffic has gone through the roof in the past 24 hours.

I used to see between 150 and 400 visits daily - not bad for a random blog about nothing.

Well, somehow I hit the stat jackpot, and now I'm getting hits in the thousands. As of 9:43 this morning, I'm at 4,092 hits for the day.

I think there must be some kind of weird Blogger glitch, because it looks like you're all getting here from the navigation bar's "next blog" button.

Regardless, I'm so glad you're here. Let me put on some lip gloss, fluff up the virtual pillows and pour you a nice Manhattan. Or perhaps lemonade is more your style?

Whatever the case may be - welcome.

Since you're here, let offer you a random selection of some of my favorite posts. Some of these pieces may make you laugh your ass off - others will definitely require some Kleenex.


Welcome Home
One Voice
One More Angel To Watch Over Us
Reason #513 Why Women Should Wear Stilettos
Peter Pan Syndrome
The Last Shampoo
You've Got To Be Kidding Me

Clarence and Rocky


Kate the Great

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Kate's Random Musings by Kate the Great is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

I'm Really Trying

This is what I had for breakfast:

That said, if someone is able to overeat granola and salad, I think I did today.

It is probably a little insane that I am entertaining the idea of cracking down on my diet, what with my vacation in a week and a half.

If you know San Francisco dining, I'd love to hear your suggestions/opinions.

I have a bunch of reservations on the books:
Big 4 Restaurant
Campton Place
Bourbon and Branch
Supperclub San Francisco
Sutro's at the Cliff House
Fifth Floor
Foreign Cinema

I have a feeling we might skip out on lunch at Sutro's, but for now, the reservation stays.

Right now, the highlight of my trip is our stop at Bourbon and Branch. I've been dying to check that place out for a year and a half.

Can't wait to see what they do with my favorite elixir of the Bluegrass.

Creative Commons License
Kate's Random Musings by Kate the Great is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

2009: Mwah

It was a very, very good year.

Sure, 2009 had its ups and downs. I said goodbye to treasured friendships and made a hurtful mistake I hugely regret.

But by in large, it was a wonderful year and I am grateful for quite a bit. New friendships and wonderful memories with treasured ones. Distant adventures that I won't forget any time soon. Hard work that pushed my boundaries as a professional and volunteer.

I am lucky I can claim this life as my own.

As for 2010 - I am pushing myself to seek more restraint and discipline. I know these qualities will help me as I pursue two new endeavors - the goal of looking good naked and hopes of a new residence in Over-the-Rhine in the coming months.

This year promises to dish up untold adventure. For now, San Francisco is on the calendar in less than two weeks - and I imagine more far flung fun is expected in the days and months ahead.

I am grateful I am traveling a road paved with opportunity, and I can't wait to share the story with you.