First Tomatoes of 2010

The first of the tomatoes have started. Right now they are small and very green, but within 6 weeks they will be ripe and ready for picking. Since we don’t have a garden I have the tomatoes growing in big pots on the patio. Not too far from the spaceship.
Here is what I do with tomatoes:
1. Tomato sandwiches. My cousin Dan introduced me to these 35 years ago. We would make them with white Wonder bread, the only bread any of us ever ate back in the 70’s. The key for this sandwich is great tomatoes, but the other thing is salt, pepper and mayonnaise.
2. Sliced tomatoes topped with burratta cheese and a drizzle of olive oil. Again don’t forget the salt and pepper.
3. Roasted tomatoes. Heat the oven to 350 degrees and slowly roast for about 30 minutes or so. The tomatoes will lose some of their liquid and the flavor will be intensified. Put the tomatoes in a bowl with the remaining juices. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil. Grill some bread and spread some of the tomato juice on the bread.
4. Roasted tomato salsa. Take the roasted tomatoes and place in a blender with garlic, roasted jalapenos, diced onion, lemon juice, fresh cilantro and salt and pepper. Blend, chill. and serve.
5. Tomato and basil linguine. Using a paring knife cut a few tomatoes into small pieces holding the tomatoes in your hand over a large bowl so that all the juices drip right into the bowl. Tear some fresh basil and add it to the bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Cook the linguini al dente. Reserve a quarter of a cup of the water and then drain the pasta. Immediately add the pasta to the tomatoes. Mix thoroughly. If too dry add a bit of the water. At the end, mix in some freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Before serving drizzle with a bit more olive oil.

What do you guys do with your garden fresh tomatoes?

Painting today

I can be really lazy. Once I start a task I’m usually fine and highly motivated, but getting started is a chore. Today I need to paint the window trim around two of our windows. They have not been painted for years and dearly need some TLC. We chose a chocolate brown color. It is is very bold and striking. Hopefully the color won’t scare the neighbors or drive the house prices any lower. Our house is painted an off white color. The brown will stand out.

Wish me luck. Now I just need to get my butt off the computer. Ciao for now.

Hipstamatic App on the I Phone

I recently uploaded the Hipstamatic applicatio on the I-Phone. I think it cost $1.99. The app gives the photographs an old time look. To me the pictures appear to have been taken in the 1960’s on a Polaroid camera.

Obviously with technology and the I-Phone the processing of a digital photograph is immediate. Even quicker than the time it took for a Polaroid photograph to eject from the camera.

Here are a few photographs I took while on a walk with Anne on the horse trail in Duarte,

Atomic Dogs?

The other day Anne and I ran into a SAG dog. His owner was very proud of his acting dog and was a bit perturbed that I didn’t ask permission to take his photograph. The guy probably bought his lunch with the residuals from the dog’s last acting gig.  (That’s not very nice.)

For some reason that whole dog conversation/situation made me think of the Atomic Dog and I am not sure why because there is no correlation between the SAG Dog and the Atomic Dog.

Some of you probably don’t remember the Atomic Dog, but I do. I was first introduced to it while in college. I had a couple of roommates who loved to sing along to the song by George Clinton.

“Why must I be like that, Why must I chase the cat, Nothing but the dog in me. Bow Wow Wow. Yippee Yo Yippee Yeah.”

It was funny as hell. These  guys were best friends. One was an African American with very short hair. The other was a very tall 6 feet 4 inch white guy with a red afro bigger than Dr. Jay. They would sway back and forth singing and dancing.

A walk on Abbot Kinney in Venice

Saturday we walked Silverlake. This morning I walked Abbot Kinney and took many photographs. Halfway through I dropped by Intelligentsia for a Gibralter (in Italy they call this a piccolo cappuccino). The espresso, cappuccino, coffee and lattes are exceptional at Intelligentsia. Probably the best in LA. I am sorry LAMill, in my eyes there is no comparison.

Watch the steps when you’re leaving Intelligentsia. I just about feel twice, but I must admit I wasn’t paying attention. I had my camera in hand and was looking up and about. The steps are hard to see.

Here are some photos from the walk.

A Walk Through Silver Lake

Anne and I walked in Silver Lake today. Our destination was Forage, a hip, new cafe. Along the way I snapped some photographs and got some strange flack.

I guess I should have asked the hand made jewelry vendor before pointing the camera and clicking. I didn’t think. I was in the moment, as they say. But, it wasn’t a picture that meant anything to me. I didn’t have a specific motive. It was just a photograph. He was afraid I was going to replicate his stuff and sell it on the internet.

I deleted the photograph and apologized.

A little ways down I noticed a scraggly dog lying in the middle of the sidewalk. I leaned down and took a quick photograph. Again it was a meaningless photograph. I looked up and at a nearby table a man said “that’s a SAG dog.” What? What is a SAG dog? Is that a movie star dog?

I am no paparazzi. I am just a guy taking some photographs for fun and if I was a paparazzi I wouldn’t be taking photographs of that scraggly dog.

I was confused. It felt like twilight zone. Is there a full moon? Did I wake up on the wrong side of the bed or is it just a weird coincidence that I ran into these two guys who were so worried about me taking photographs. One of some jewelry and the other of Movie Star Doggie.

I guess it’s just Los Angeles. Where else would you find Movie Star Doggie? Not in Pasadena or Monrovia.

The Remains from The Fort

My boys wanted a fort. They swore to me and their mother that they would use the fort everyday. They would play in the fort, do their homework in the fort and maybe even spend the night in the fort. We stopped that idea after we saw the bear.

It was 11 year ago. I built the fort with some old wood from one of my restaurants. It was ratty wood that must have been about 25 years old, but it was free and I took advantage of it. I had never really built anything before. I had an idea of what I wanted to do. I had a few pictures from a magazine and I drew it out on a piece of sketch paper. It wasn’t drawn to scale but It looked OK.

It turned out as you might expect from a guy who has never built anything before. It was a tad lopsided. Most of the lines were not level, but it was sturdy as hell. An elephant could have stood in that fort and it would not have collapsed. Well, maybe if it was a baby elephant.

Yesterday I dismantled the platform from the fort. I began the fort demolition project probably 4 years ago, but I left the platform because my oldest son Patrick said that him and his friend Jonathon would use it to hang out. Well that never happened. Not even once. The platform collected dust and leaves from the oak tree above. It was an eyesore and my wife finally had enough. So yesterday I pulled it apart. The good news is that I have enough wood for maybe 4 fires in the wood burning oven which comes out to about 24 pizzas.

If you are hungry I will be burning a bunch of 2by4’s this weekend.

A Bear in the Hood and it ain’t no Yogi

When I retrieve the paper in the morning I open the front door a crack and peer out. I then open the door wider and step out on the stoop all the while talking loudly to myself. I am not quite sure what I say, but I make some noise. As I start down the walkway I stomp my feet like a young boy having a temper tantrum. I make solid, firm stomps that are noisy, clear and crisp and at 5:30 in the morning it probably sounds a bit strange. Since I have started doing this I have not encountered a neighbor or anybody else for that matter. It’s been about 4 weeks. Ever since the last sighting.

Sighting? You might be thinking UFO, Leprechaun, Ghost, Racoon.

We live in Los Angeles. I thought I would mention that before I reveal what I am afraid of at 5:30 in the morning.

I am afraid of the big fat bear. Yes, that’s right a big FAT (He is really fat. Jenny Craig would have a field day with this guy) black bear. I guess he is a black bear but he is actually brown. Go figure. I am not going to worry too much about his skin color. I am more worried about his teeth.

The experts say never startle a bear. You could scare him and he might attack. Did the experts ever think about me? Who could possibly be more startled than a guy going  to get his paper at 5:30 am with no shoes on and to look up and see a bear on his front lawn. Now this has not happened yet, but the whole thing plays itself out in my head every morning. Damn, I have to get the paper I think to myself. Where are my car keys? What am I going to do if he’s out there. Should I jump on the hood of my car? Will anyone hear me when I scream or will they simply turn over in their beds thinking they were having a nightmare?

These thoughts started recently, but grew worse last month when I saw the Fatso standing on his hind legs across the street. He must have been pissed because there was nothing to eat in the neighbors trash can. It was Friday night. The trash is picked up on Friday mornings.

He ain’t that smart a bear now is he (Yogi)?

When I saw him I started making noises. Again, I am not sure what kinda noises, but I guess the kinda noises anyone makes when they see a bear. The bear freaked and started to run and I mean run. That sucker was fast. I am not sure how something so large could run so quickly. Before I knew it he was gone, over a fence and out of sight.

A friend was delivering some firewood and he saw the bear  as he pulled up. He didn’t want to get out of the car. He screamed from his rolled down window, “Bill, there is a bear on your neighbor’s lawn!”

This all seems kinda funny. The Monrovia black (I mean brown) bear strikes again. Over the past few years he has been known to go skinny dipping in the pool down the road.

I always thought that was amusing too, until this incident and the fact that I’ve had huge bear prints in my compost pile 2-3 times in the last couple of weeks. Maybe we’ll have to move to Montana or something. I can probably retrieve my paper there without any problem.

That’s all Yogi.

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