Archive for June, 2007

Thursday night mezze.

28 June, 2007

The menu:

  1. Adds bel tamatem (lentils in tomato sauce);
  2. Baba ganooj;
  3. Beet and mint salad;
  4. Hummus;
  5. Pickled onion salad with mint and sumac;
  6. Plate of herbs (mint), peas (sugar snap) and cheese (feta) plate;
  7. Cherries.

The pictures: (click here)


Gaining bicycle respect from motorists.

25 June, 2007

Critical-Mass does not work, it just makes motorists (even more) angry. “One less car” stickers do not work, because angry motorists would prefer you to drive a car than to have a cyclist slow them down (a whole 15 seconds). “Share the Road” signs do not work, for 1) people do not like to be told what to do (unless it is by corporate advertising [e.g. “just do it,” “think different,” etc.], 2) people think they are doing someone a favor when they share. The fact is that motorists often appear to hate cyclists, whether commuters, recreationalists, or racers. In my opinion, the only real way to gain respect, or at least some granule of courtesy from motorists is to do one, some, or all of the following:

  1. Get out & (try to) ride often, preferably in “civilian” clothes, on “civilian” bikes, regardless of the ride’s mileage (errand or sports ride)[or is it, “ride smileage?”]–you heard that pun here first, by the way. People on bicycles should look like just that–people on bicycles.
  2. Claim more road and do not fear the car (as long as you are seen): If the pavement is in rough shape, or if there is no bike lane, or if you are almost at a stop sign, or you are on a right hand turn (car front/rear wheel radii are asymmetrical, and you can get clipped on a right bend), or if you are on a blind hill, etc., etc.. The fact of the matter is that drivers do not want to hit anyone, they only seem to want to almost hit you. Killing a (wo)man on the way to work will ruin anyone’s day and a hit-and-run will most likely cost tens of thousands in therapy (and/or legal fines);
  3. Be communicative with cars (no, not with “the bird,” or a “What the F***?!”). Unlike motor vehicularists, it is possible for a bicyclist to hear cars coming in the both directions. If you can safely wave cars past (i.e., you are confident you will not cause a head-on collision), do so, and motorists will (somewhere deep down) appreciate it. Try giving them an “OK to pass” arm swing (with the back of the palm facing them), and as they pass, try to wave courteously. Hope, however, that they do not honk their horn to say “hello,” or “thanks,” or “I ride a bike, too,” or “I had a bike as a kid,” etc.. Horn use near a bicyclist is inconsiderate and LOUD (if you do get honked at a lot, carry a portable air horn, and blast it in the passenger window when you catch up to the car at a stop light). Also, on the same primary topic, feel free to communicate with cars when things are not cool, like when there is a car coming from the opposite direction, or if you have a really slow (or timid) cyclist ahead of you, or if it is simply not safe to pass due to any number of reasons. This is best done by claiming more road space, dropping your left arm down and out (left arm in the U.S.A., Mexico, Canada, etc.), opening your hand with the palm back, and sort of pushing or pressing back with your arms a few times in a firm, confident way. This is the closest a cyclist can get to saying, “don’t even try to pass right now.” The circumstances might not be wholly understood by one driving a car, but the motive of the message is to guarantee the motorist’s (and the cyclist’s) safety. Most people get the point.
  4. Be communicative with motorists, redux (for when they are simply too angry & aggressive). Feel free to flip them the bird, call them names, pull out a squirt gun, slap their potential “involuntary manslaughter” vehicle with a convenient object, etc. I think most of this can be avoided by claiming more space, so the driver has to fully commit to, say, crossing a double yellow with the threat of a head-on collision. These redux communication techniques might lead to some sort of altercation, and should it come to that, I recommend attempting to diffuse the situation by being friendly once everyone is out of the car and off the bike. You can explain the bird/word/slap thing on being “really scared” at how close everyone was to each other, like “I thought you were so mad you might accidentally hit me,” or some such victimized nonsense.  Try to get an impatient driver to imagine how (s)he would feel if it were their child being put in jeopardy by a car veering inches close at a speed over four times as fast as they, etc.
  5. In the event of an altercation, appeal to the universal experience of cycling or being the parent of a child / loved one who rides a bike (see the end of #4), If you have a clear view of a license plate, make/model of the car, and description of the driver (try to get them to say their name), and they strike you (or spit on you, or throw food at you), do not do anything. Remember the information. call the police, and have them booked on felony assault. This will be far worse then you deciding to kick their ass on the spot, should you be so lucky to kick their ass. If you are in a life threatening situation, reach for the pepper spray you reserve for rabid dogs and give them a sample–but only in extreme self defense. If you assault them physically, they can try to sue you. That is bad.
  6. Try one of the two following novel techniques to give drivers pause (or invent your own). Ideas courtesy of Velo Apocalypse.


Note: Be sure not to wear your Ipod!




Or maybe make a sign like this:


The point is to trigger angry drivers’ sympathy, guilt, or whatever. No one really wants to kill a bicyclist; but even more so, no one, but no one wants to hurt a deaf person on a bike, or to hit a fellow “farmer” on a country road. These suggestions are courtesy of Velo Apocalypse, but I have actually seen another good one not of my own design: a recumbent rider in town with a “Senior Citizen” sign taped to the back of his seat. Very cool. He got lots of space, even in the morning rush hour.

Flashback to July 21, 1969 via The Onion.

16 June, 2007

I’m just in the mood to share this with my occasional readers. This is from the gag-rag, The Onion. Be sure to read the TRANQUILITY / HOUSTON dialog that starts on the left under the photo. What makes it really funny is if you read it out loud to someone else. One of the former House-of-Yes-mates (Sqvirrel) had a shirt with this page printed on it. Click on the thumbnail to see the full-sized, readable version.


This is my kind of safari. The so-called “Battle at Kruger.” The best 8 vicarious minutes of your life.

14 June, 2007

Best safari video, and possibly best youtube video ever. No, really, the best ever. Feel free to skip the first couple of minutes. Click on the thumbnail to view on YouTube.

Battle of Kruger



A little oat soda comic relief provided by Rudeboy.

13 June, 2007

Rudeboy sent me this link. Some advertising geeks get all the fun work.


Holy Crap!!! This is the best site ever. No, really, it’s the best site ever!

13 June, 2007

I have not even begun to delve into the awesome information on this site. I discovered it by searching for homemade bicycle panniers and discovering their archives. Then on to their blog (and their main site). Wow!


And this site is neck and neck for the best site ever: 

Candycane and Zoot’s bachelor(ette) party.

12 June, 2007

This Saturday the House-of-Yes will be hosting a party to celebrate the forthcoming wedding of Candycane and Zoot.

Yes,” there will be food: Smoked pork, grilled salmon, grilled vegetables, rice, salad(s), mezze (homemade hummus, baba ganooj), etc., maybe even a homemade pate.

Yes,” there will be beverages: 5 gallons of beer, bourbon for juleps, vodka for the hangover brunch on Sunday, etc.

Yes,” there will be games: Two or more of the following: Horseshoes, badminton, bocce, smashball (Kadima), frisbee, yo-yo, melodicas, maybe even keg stands, beer pong, etc.

Yes,” there will be strippers! Or is it, “”Yes,” there be no strippers”? You will have to be here to find out!

Holy Crap!” Cromagnon will be here. Actually, he got here Thursday!

In case you have not seen it, you gotta watch “more cowbell.”

9 June, 2007

Awesome skit. Click thumbnail to view.


Awesome sky above the House-of-Yes.

9 June, 2007

Our 92-degree day ended with an awesome thunderstorm, followed by an eerie pink sky, and then hours of electrical storm clouds (the kind that don’t rain). The photo below has not been doctored, and was taken after 8:00pm without a flash (though shots with the flash on display the same color). CountryCoburn can confirm the phenomenon.


Monday night mezze: 6-4-07.

5 June, 2007

More mezze last night. I set up a plate for a pic. The lamb was particularly moist and tasty (a baked mixture of lamb, cumin, red pepper, bread crumbs, one egg, salt, pepper, olive oil, and sumac). The eggplant was brushed with olive oil, baked for a while on a rack, then finished off under the broiler. They were a bit dry. Next time I’ll set them directly on foil to keep them in their own moisture. Finally, there was a bit too much brown/beige in this meal. We’re low on some staples, so I had to make do with what we had. I should have dusted the yogurt with paprika and a dash of turmeric for visual bling.

  1. Yogurtlu patlican (roasted eggplant slices with yogurt and mint dressing);
  2. Fava beans dressed with olive oil and fresh thyme;
  3. Radishes (edible garnish);
  4. Mint leaves (edible garnish);
  5. Lamb meatballs;
  6. Bulgher pilaf with raisins.


Friday night mezze.

2 June, 2007

More good food last night (I wish I had taken photos):

  1. Baba Ganooj, garnished with parsley and radish half-moons;
  2. Onion/mint salad (onions “quick picked” with red wine vinegar, salt, and sumac);
  3. Radish (edible garnish);
  4. Peppermint leaves (refreshing after-meal palette cleanser);
  5. Flame roasted pita bread;
  6. Bulgher pilaf;
  7. Koftit Ferakh = “fried minced chicken balls”-hmmm, gotta find a better translation for that! (See note below). Sort of like chicken burgers meets meatballs. We ground chicken breasts up in TimmyB’s small grinder with some onion and bread. To this mixture we added whole cumin, salt, pepper, olive oil, a bit of cooked bulgher, and red pepper flakes. After kneading the spices in, we divided the meat into balls and coated with flour. We pressed the balls down into patty shapes to facilitate cooking (though traditionally, they would have been marble sized and not needed pressing. Transfer to paper towels, squeeze on some lemon, and voila! Though next time I’d serve them with lemon/parsley/sumac sprinkled on top, with a yogurt sauce nearby. TimmyB decided to mix some Mayo and Vietnamese “rooster sauce” together to function as a sauce for the chicken, and that was pretty tasty. Next time, we will marinate the chicken for a few hours in some sort of concoction.

**Note on Gallus gallus: In the current parlance of our times, “chicken” refers to the whole species; the female of Gallus gallus is a “hen”; a young female is a “pullet”; the males are “roosters,” “cocks,” or cockerels.” Should a male rooster be castrated, it is called a “capon.” All chickens are called “chicks” when recently hatched.

In relation to this entry and this meal, while it is awkward to refer to a portion of our meal as “fried minced chicken balls,” the fact is that, in the U.S., only the females are eaten. Despite implied anatomical impossibility, it would seem further absurd to refer to the dish as “fried minced hen balls.” So if you feel like snickering at our eating “fried…balls,” well, I invite you to come up with a better name.