Saturday, August 29, 2009

Fall Preview

Place: Taco Bueno
Lunch: Mucho Nachos (no tomato), combination burrito, Dr Pepper

Mucho Nachos is a meal unto itself. Not sure why I bothered with the burrito.

We're getting a sneak preview of Fall this coming week. Clear weather, low humidity, low temps. Highs in the mid-60's to low-70's through the week. Lows in the mid-40's to mid-50's. When I get home, I'm opening the windows. The cats will be thrilled.

The signs don't just start with the weather. Football is starting. The local high schools started up regular season this weekend. Colleges next week. NFL the week after. NFL pre-season is all over the dial.

Then there's Garden Ridge, who is starting to put up Christmas stuff.

For the uninitiated, Garden Ridge is like a Pier 1 on steroids. The stores are roughly the size of a Target (in fact, the one I was in this morning IS an old Target building, and Garden Ridge takes up the whole space). They are the ultimate stop for wall art and picture frames. Plus they have vases, candle stuff, some furniture (interior AND patio), mirrors, throw pillows, throw rugs, fake plants, flower pots, discount books and CD's, storage and laundry totes, and an impulse buy area you have to navigate to the check stands that rivals Fry's Electronics. Lots of chips, candy, and "As Seen On TV" crap. I think I counted three knock-off variations of Sham-Wows alone.

"But what about garden stuff?" you ask. No, none to speak of, really. I have no idea why it's called "Garden Ridge".

The whole place is in sort of a thrown together warehouse style. It isn't unusual for whole aisles to be empty of any product as they get ready for changing seasons. There's maybe five employees in the whole place at any one given time.

Stuff comes, stuff goes, and you really can't resist browsing the whole store every time to make sure you don't miss something. I take about an hour to get in and out of the place.

Everything's really cheap too.

Anyway, they have Christmas trees in already. Green ones, white ones, black ones, silver ones, purple ones, orange ones, red ones, pink ones. Not the lights...the actual trees. In blazing color.

I got a couple of clear orange pumpkin candle holders and some frames. And some strawberry Piroulines. Stupid impulse buy aisle.

Tonight, I'll put out the fall accessories and candle stuff. And light up the candles, which I get at Pier 1. You have NO idea how expensive Yankee Candle has gotten until you comparison shop at Pier 1. NO idea.

I love Fall.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Pasta Al Decent

Place: tesg's Townhouse of Solitude
Lunch: Marie Callenders "Pasta Al Dente" Cavatelli Chicken Carbonara, Dad's root beer (in a glass bottle with real sugar the way God intended), Brown Cow "Cream Top" strawberry yogurt

Have you seen these Marie Callenders "Pasta Al Dente" thingies?

It's a microwave meal that comes packaged in a plastic bowl with a floating basket. The sauce is in the bowl and everything else sits above it and gets steam-cooked from the heat below.

Then you just dump everything in the basket into the bowl and mix it together.

No microwave burn. No crunchy meats or pasta. No punching holes in plastic. No cooking part way and stirring. Put it in, set the time, press "Start", it's done, toss, eat.

Somebody at ConAgra should be proclaimed an international hero.

These are being used in two ConAgra brands...Marie Callenders "Pasta Al Dente" line, and Healthy Choice "Cafe Steamers".

I'm totally into this.

My favorite is Rigatoni Marinara Classico, but there's about five different varietes that I like. They're REALLY good.

Website here. They're under $3.00 at Walmart and Target.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

John Hughes

Place: Texas Roadhouse, Dinner: 10oz Ft. Worth Ribeye, chili, rice, Rattlesnake Bites, bread, Coke

Every once in awhile you get the right server and the right guy making the steaks and everything is just perfect here. This is one of those nights. Nice.

John Hughes died today, and I felt like waxing philosophical, so it's a rare dinnertime post.

His signature accomplishment will always be "The Breakfast Club". He wrote it. He directed it. He was also responsible for the only other movie you'll remember Molly Ringwald for..."Sixteen Candles".

He was a writer for a couple dozen other things you'd recognize...the "Vacation" movies, the "Home Alone" movies, the "Beethoven" movies, "Pretty in Pink", "Weird Science", "Planes, Trains & Automobiles", amongst others.

So I was a bit surprised to discover I don't own a single one of his movies. In fact, I haven't seen a single thing he's been involved in the past twenty years. In fact, I'm pretty sure it's been at least that long since I've sat down to watch ANY of his movies.

I saw "The Breakfast Club" on TV after it had left its mark on teens and just-past-teens everywhere. I recognize the greatness of it. In its own little way, it was a masterpiece. Still...watched it once, that was enough. I remember when St Elmo's Fire came out, people who knew I'd seen it would ask me "Is it like "The Breakfast Club?" Not because of John Hughes, who had nothing to do with it (it was a Joel Schumacher turd)...but because some of the "Breakfast Club" stars were in it. I couldn't reply, because I hadn't seen "The Breakfast Club" by then.

I saw "Some Kind of Wonderful" largely because of Mary Stuart Masterson. Masterson and her character "Watts" reminded me of Ginger, a girl who was my best friend for about five minutes of my childhood before she got better sense and walked away. People do that with me. A lot. This is why I will never let my cats outside. "Help us! We need a better human!"

I saw "Pretty in Pink". Can't remember a second of it.

If you were to peg me down to a John Hughes favorite, it would have to be "Sixteen Candles". I may have even had a VHS copy of that one for awhile. Upon reflection, Sixteen Candles was more like a light Kevin Smith movie. Maybe I'm just remembering it wrong.

Hughes used to talk about a sequel to "The Breakfast Club" if he could 'just find an excuse to bring that group of people into the same room again'. I thought the 20th high school reunion would be a fascinating study to see how those characters turned out.

I wonder if they'll all be at the funeral.