Friday, April 29, 2011

The Royal Wedding Obligatory Post

I am probably a Bad Gay. I don't really care about the Royal Wedding at all. I don't care what the bride is wearing. I don't care what the carriage looks like. I don't care what celebrities are in attendance. It doesn't even really phase me that this time the groom is reasonably attractive. Like I said, I am a Bad Gay. I can't take the roller coaster ride again. Charles and Diana wore me out…and we all know how that ended! Even if William and Catherine manage somehow to avoid the same pitfalls, I just can't care anymore.

What I do care about is the FOOD! The only internet posting I let myself indulge in on this momentous day, was about the cake and the menu.

That is one magnificent cake! It's not 10 feet tall. It's not ostentatious. It's simple, and while quite large, it's not over powering(I mean, it has to feed 600 people!). What I love is that there are architectural features of the room piped into the decoration on the cake. Details like that are what differentiate a Master Baker from say…The Food Lion Bakery. But if your wedding reception is being held at Buckingham Palace, then to include elements of that magnificent structure into the cake is sheer genius.

Now lets talk about the reception menu. About a week ago I heard that instead of a more traditional sit-down dinner, the palace had decided to go the route of The Canape. I couldn't have been more excited. Given my obvious flair for 2-bite concoctions, I wouldn't wait to see what they came up with.

I don't want to gloat, but either of these could be found at one of my parties. I mean the food, not the chefs. On the left are miniature Yorkshire Puddings and on the right are a lamb concoction of some sort. I'm no huge fan of lamb, I probably would have used pork. I haven't been able to find a listing of the full menu. I imagine that will come to light in a few days.

I don't even know what those are, but they look scrumptious! That is the amazing versatility of The Canape. The combinations are limitless. Not to mention that they're easy. The worst part of coming up with a canape is figuring out the presentation. Very often the elements of the canape can be whipped up days ahead of the party. For both of my "Shamelessly Self-Promotive Birthday Parties" awhile back I toyed with the idea of hiring a caterer. But once I sat down and figured out the menu…all canapes, I knew I could do it myself.

Now, as a Gay, I have helped plan my share of weddings. (Kind of interesting considering I myself can't be legally married in my state…but that's another post) Anyway, I wish more couples would take The Canape Route. No wedding needs a full sit-down dinner or a filling buffet. It's not what you're there for. You are there to celebrate the couple and their new union, not gorge yourself on free food and liquor. (Ok, maybe the liquor. Weddings should ALWAYS have an open bar)

While I don't give a flying fig about the Royal Wedding, I am very glad that they at least got the food right.

UPDATE -- I found the link to the official menu on, of course, The Official Royal Wedding Site

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Excitement on the Horizon

Now, I don't want to give away any surprises…but my contractor has been here working all week! I can't wait to show you all what he's been working on!

I started a list around the first of the year. A list of all of the little projects I needed him to work on. Well, once the Tax Money came back I decided to give him a call.

I will give you a hint. He had to have his large lift brought in for some of the work. Hint 2: My water pressure is going to need to be increased in order to be able to use some of the things on the list.

Once he's done, which should be next week. I will have all kinds of Before & After posts to show you. Even the BFF Tod hasn't seen any of these improvements. Tho he is aware of one of the renovations taking place…perhaps a few of them. But he hasn't seen any of them complete. he's far too busy working on the show he's currently involved in.

It's all terribly exciting. I love coming home from work each day to survey what has been completed and what is left to complete. That, and of course take pictures of it all.

So, everyone please wait with breathless antici………….pation!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Thin Air

Hello everyone! I have just returned from "The Mile High City", Denver. Not to be confused with the "Mile High Club", of which I am a member…in case you were wondering. But that is another post.

Denver, from the air. I'd like to take credit for this pic, but alas, I was
asleep up until the moment the plane hit the tarmac.
And by "just returned" I mean it's the wee hours of the morning and my flight landed 4 hours ago. This was just an overnight trip for a site visit. For some reason, being off my 2 hours for a day has torn me up more so than if it'd been a week. Hence why I am still awake.

Denver is a wonderful city. One I wish I traveled to more often. They have a great downtown area with plenty of wonderful places to eat. There is a thriving arts community and an even more thriving (thrivingist?) Gay Community.

One thing they don't have…is air. Being at such a high altitude the air is much thinner there and it takes me a good 3 days to get used to it. So this trip, the headaches and the breathlessness never got a chance to abate. I am convinced this is also the reason you are hard pressed to find an obese person in the population. I have been to Denver at least 7 times in 11 years and I have never seen "Fat Albert" walking down the street. The thinner atmosphere must cause the body to work harder and therefore it creates people of a more fit nature. Seriously! I have seen people who I would place on a footing with myself…not necessarily fit, but not grotesque. I have seen people who needed the help of a wheelchair, but never the help of one of those Rascal Motorized Scooters. Even the gimps in Denver are fit from wheeling themselves around. (Yeah, I'm probably gonna take crap for using the word gimp…oh well)

Most often, the folks you greet on the street are lithe and occasionally muscled. At the very least, there is rarely a gut hanging over the waist of their jeans. Most of those jeans are low-rise…so you would see a gut if it was there. The people there are also very friendly. Almost as friendly as the folks in Chicago.

So, I am forced to equate a thin atmosphere with thin people. Ergo, thin/fit people equals friendly.

Feel free to disagree :-)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

It's Zombie Jesus Weekend!

Happy Easter Everyone!

Of course, I also wonder what people would be wearing around their necks today if Jesus had died on the toilet?


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Allergies? or a Cold???

Let's just say, I'm tired of the mucus, or mucilaginous fluid, as I like to call it. While I was in Orlando last week I developed my typical Spring Cold. One day of horrible pain in my chest as my sinuses drained into it and then the fever, chills, and coughing.

Now that I feel that's coming to an end I still feel like death warmed over. At this point, I can only attribute it to allergies. Then today I saw this video and I knew it was the pollen that was bugging me.

All I have to say is that had I been standing near that tree, I'd probably be dead right now. I have never seen anything like that! Plants and trees need to stop having sex in my nose!

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Stats

Hello everyone!

I've been checking out the stats page for my blog and surprisingly enough, they aren't all big fat zeros! I'm even getting some international traffic! People in Botswana and Moldova are reading Jim, not Mike.

I am also very happy to report that most of the folks viewing my blog are using a Macintosh computer. I greatly appreciate that…Go Mac!!! I know who those of you are who aren't and I'm wagging a finger at you right this very minute.

Just kidding, I don't care how you chose to view my blog and COMMENT (hint, hint), I just love that you do! That anyone does, for that matter.

A great big thank you to Kim and her blog Fitness, God and Musings. Her blog is solely responsible for the largest number of referrals to my blog. Bless her heart. I picture her just sitting there everyday, clicking away to my blog even tho I know that not to be true…I can picture it! But someone is, and that is all that matters. Also, a great big thanks to Laura over at Strat's Garden. She was second runner up in the most referred viewers listing. I really appreciate you both listing me on your blogs and sending readers my way.

I'm approaching the 2000 page views mark…I guess I need to click over more :-) My visits are down a bit since February. Perhaps I need to become a little more controversial? Perhaps I should post on some more general topics that would come up in Google searches more often. We'll see. I will let you know that I am planning a contest/award of some kind when I reach the 5000 views mark. I can't promise that it will a big money prize, but I do guarantee that it will be truly unique and something that only I could provide. So, think about that and ruminate on what it might be that I could be offering a prize for.

Also surprising is that my post asking if I should put ads on the site wins for "Most Page Views". Apparently, 20 people thought that was a hot topic! The Oscar Fashion post came in a close second at 19…but who doesn't love fashion?

What's really funny is that some found my blog by typing "of it was just the naughtiness" into the Google search engine. Seems like an odd combination of words to me, but if it works…I'm into it.

I'm no statistician, but it's fun to look at the graphs and pie charts.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

At Last Chicago!!! Part Four

Hope you aren't tired of Chicago yet. I know I 'm not, even after being there for 16 days. I just wish the weather had been a bit warmer. It would have got me out and about more.

Myself and WW#1 (Work Wife) Ashlun had the opportunity to make it to one of our favorite Chicago haunts…Kamehachi while she was in town for the first convention I was working. This was my first exposure to japanese/sushi cuisine back in 2000 and like they say, you always remember your first! I'm just glad the place is still here. I can't imagine Chicago without Kamehachi.

These are the view from my table. I just love that they have taken typically Japanese features and used them in unusual ways. If you look into the background of the second photo they have shoved bamboo into the wall and created a water feature with water trickling out of select pieces. Course I wouldn't want to get shoved into it…that could hurt.

Dinner at Kamehachi always begins with Sake. This is also the place I was introduced to the lighter, fruitier taste of unfiltered Sake. Unlike it's warm, anti-freeze tasting counterpart, you can down bottle after bottle of this silky-smooth chilled delight without passing out.

Looks like milk…that's what I tell the kids.
"Daddies just drinking his milk. Does a body good!"
I no longer need to look at a menu in this restaurant. I do look at it, just to see if there is something I have missed these past 11 years. But I always get the same thing.

I start off with an order of Edamame. Who knew lousy old soybeans could be so wonderful! I love wrestling them out of the shell with my mouth, it's so hedonistic. I also love the little bite of Sea Salt you get as you slide the shell across your tongue…just perfect!

The Edamame are followed by Gyoza. A complicated term for dumpling.

Nice lamp reflection mimicing the dumpling shape…so artistic!
I am a huge fan of dumplings, potstickers, call them what you will. I just call them delicious. There is a place in NY that all they do is dumplings of every flavor and assortment you could possibly want. I wish I had the patience to make them here at home. My dumpling making is limited tho to Chef Boyardee Mini-Ravioli. Yes, ravioli is considered a dumpling :-)

So far so good, a light meal. Considering Hub 51 was the night before…I need light. The lighter the better! On to what I consider my main course.

I know…it looks like sushi, but it's not. Well, in terms of it's presentation it is. But this dish is comprised of asparagus wrapped in very tender roast beef and then it is broiled. This way it cooks very quickly and the beef is tender and medium-well, while the asparagus retains it's crunch. The sauce is some sort of soy glaze, not too salty and so flavorful. Now these I could make…and I have made something similar as the folks at Fire Pit Frenzy can attest. This is what, 11 years ago, gave me the idea for Soo Shee. Get it now?

There you have what I would consider a perfect dinner. I've had all my food groups, nice and balanced. I'm not needing to loosen my belt. AND I still have room for dessert!!!

All done. Look! I still have Sake to finish…yum
Now across the street from Kamehachi there used to be a Jamba Juice. I'll save my praise of Jamba Juice for another post. But, it was always dessert after Kamehachi. Ashlun and I discovered that there was a BerryGood Yogurt place across the street now. I'll also save the whole frozen yogurt rant for another post as well. Wow, I have a lot of post ideas piling up!!! Anyway, a small cup of vanilla yogurt was the perfect end to my Kamehachi experience…both nights that I ate there. Yogurt tho, wasn't the same without Ashlun. She is very serious about her frozen yogurt. It's a little scary almost to watch her pick her toppings.

Well folks, that's Chicago! I hope you enjoyed the travelogue.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

At Last Chicago!!! Part Three

I want to break up the food posts. Yes, there is another one coming. This time, however, I actually remembered to photograph the food.

I took this photo my last night in town. The client invited us to a reception at a neighboring hotel and as I was walking back to mine, this was view. Really, the most beautiful city EVER! The way they have managed to mix the old and new architecture, as if by happenstance, just mesmerizes me.

This is a very creative flower arrangement that was gifted to the client.

Those "bows" are leaves of some kind! I am always in the outlook for creative use of materials and this just blew me away. The others thought I was crazy as I stood there and snapped pics of it from every angle imaginable.

I love my job. There are things, even as "simple" as this flower arrangement, that I never would have had the chance to see or experience if I had a desk job here at home.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

At Last Chicago!!! Part Two

I love to eat. Who doesn't know that about me? One thing I love more than eating, or perhaps in congress with eating, is stumbling upon new a wonderful places to do so.

Chicago is a great town for food. Yeah, everyone talks about the pizza. I can't say that's my thing. As far as I'm concerned deep dish pizza is just two days of heartburn waiting to happen. Anyway, on this trip my coworker DeAnn made us all reservation at Hub 51.

Had I been walking down the street and happened upon this restaurant, I probably would have never walked into it. From the outside it leads one to believe that is much more expensive and shi shi than it really is. Inside it's cozy, comfortable, and almost rustic in a modern way.

There were some nice little touches. Almost immediately upon being seated a frosty bottle of filtered water arrives at the table.

The menu is a terrific hodge-podge of items. You can have sushi, a sandwich, or filet mignon. We ate WAY too much food simply because we felt like we had to try a little bit of everything. Their bartender, bless his heart, also was able to fashion the closest thing to a Homemade Mojito that I've ever had without picking the mint myself.

I apologize for not having pictures of the food. We got so caught up in eating it that I completely forgot to grab my camera. Feel free to take a gander at the menu linked above and tell me what you would select.

Once we had stuffed ourselves to the point where I had to loosen my belt…TWICE, the waitress showed up with a piece of Carrot Cake for the table. When I say it was "for the table", I mean it barely fit on the table! What sat in front of us was quite clearly a quarter of a large triple-layer round cake smothered in cream cheese frosting with a mountainous dollop of whipped cream on the side and an even larger scoop of extra icing…"for dipping", she said!!! You could have dipped a small chicken into it and had room for Peeps. Despite how full we already were, we dove fork-first into this cake like a pack of raving Ethiopians. (Yeah, ok…go ahead and give me crap for that metaphor) We didn't finish it. Between the 4 of us there is no way we could have packed away that much cake…AND icing. I mean maybe if we hadn't just eaten dinner? Maybe???

Sunday, April 10, 2011

At Last! Chicago!!! Part One

Ok, here is it. The post you've been so patiently waiting for. This might get kinda long, and if it does I'll find a way to break it up into a couple of parts.

The day I arrived it was in the high 60's. My hotel room wasn't ready yet, so I stowed my bags with the bellman and set out to find lunch. Down along the Chicago River (not dyed green, even tho it was officially St. Patrick's Day) this was my view.

The New Trump Tower & The Chicago River
Yeah, how about that! They don't dye the river on the actual day they dye it on the weekend before. Stupid!!! I did eventually make it down to the convention center to work, dang job interfering with good weather in Chicago!

Once I got back to the hotel that evening I decided it was time to make a grocery store run. Fortunately there was one a block away…something else I love about Chicago. You never have to go far to find what you're looking for. On the way back from the store, I had to stop and take this picture.

Again, you can see the Trump Tower, but also the Wrigley Building and I'm not sure what the gothic building is, but I would love to live at the top of it. In all my trips to this city I have tried to use my various contacts to try and get a trip up to the top of this building, but so far no luck. I have been to the top of the Wrigley Building thanks to a friendly cleaning lady who happened to be the sister of one of the temporary staff working the convention. Also once a "friend" I met and I broke onto the roof of the Hilton hotel so I could take pictures of Conrad Hilton's mansion which is perched on top. Conrad had a golf course up there! Now it's a helipad, but still! A golf course on top of a hotel!!! Conrad Hilton was my kind of guy.

Anyway, I won't bore you with the details of the conventions I was there for. Neither of them were very exciting. But, one morning when I arrived at the convention center I was greeted with this view.

Some how, watching the sun rise over Lake Michigan made being up at the butt crack of dawn to go to work a whole lot less miserable. It also helped that I had a very strong cup of coffee in my hand.

I really appreciate cities that go to the trouble to build their convention centers in a picturesque spot. Some cities just plop theirs in the least desirable part of town and hope that it revitalizes the area. (Yes, Dallas and Atlanta, I'm talking to you!) Chicago has placed theirs right along the lake front, just past the museum area. Therefore, you have great views wherever you look.

Looking back towards the city
An interesting note about the small island you see. Years ago it was an airstrip for small planes. You could stand outside the convention center and watch them land and take off. After 9/11 the city decided it was too apt to be used in a terror plot, so they closed the airport and turned the area into a running/biking path. So, you can jog/bike the entire lakefront and then head out onto the island for even more exercise. Of course, that being the case, I will probably never make it out there.

More to come…Food, food, and more food!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

A Cocktail Call For Help!

Ok, ok…yes I am back with cocktail post and not a Chicago post. Sorry about that. But I need your help. And no, this isn't an intervention.

Absolut Vodka came out with a wonderful flavored vodka called Absolut Brooklyn. It is a delicious blend of apple and ginger flavors and I have found many great mixtures that it pairs wonderfully with. The problem is that I am having trouble finding out here in the back hollows of Western Maryland.

So I implore you blog readers. Please look for this the next time you are at your favorite liquor store. Heck, if you happen to be driving by one you don't frequent, stop in and see if they have it. If they do, please either pick me up a couple bottles (I will gladly reimburse you and mix you a cocktail from it as well). If you don't have the resources to buy me a case, then please let me know where I can find it in the comments section. I would hate for this limited edition to disappear without me having any stocked away.

Thanks so much for your help with this. Once my stock is replenished I've got a post ready and waiting of the cocktail I mix with it.