**SPOILERS** Top Chef is Back! **SPOILERS**

Posted by Brandon |

I feel like every season of Top Chef starts off with a sacrificial lamb. Someone that isn't who they say they are. Someone that is there so that a real chef doesn't end up looking bad by being the first one kicked off. Last season, that sacrificial lamb overachieved and lasted quite a few show (bad bangs Melissa).

But tonight, the neck tattoo and the gross stretched out ears of Jennifer Zavala made her make the most disgusting chile relleno I've ever seen with the worst choice of fillings and it was obvious that she made the right choice to not unpack. She probably made that choice because she was just some random cooking student they pulled in to take one for the team, and like a good trooper, she did just that. Good, because I couldn't take her ears and her neck tat for more than one episode.

As for the rest of the cast, nobody really jumped out at me as a favorite and I don't think I can make an early choice for winner. But I'll go ahead and make a choice right now and see what happens, so here goes. The winner of Top Chef Season 6 will be....Kevin Gillespie - the guy that won tonight.

As of episode 1, here are how my allegiances break out...

Like/Rooting For

Ron Duprat - Didn't like that he used his story so soon though
Robin Leventhal - She's a Seattle chef, always root for the local
Kevin Gillespie - I like his beard
Hector Santiago - I like the line "I cook with heart and cojones"
Ashley Merriman - Another local. Two Seattle cooks and only one New Yorker this season

Dislikes/Rooting Against

Preeti Mistry - That can't be her real name, right?
Michael Isabella - No surprise he's from Jersey.
Jesse Sandlin - Something about her flighty confessionals and she's a crier.
Eli Kirshtein - Came off as a young, pompous tool.

I had to pause the show for a second and it came at just the right time. Please to enjoy Padma Lakshmi's tongue...

You're welcome!

As for Top Chef Masters, I really enjoyed it. Sure it lacked the drama that makes Top Chef so good, but watching these amazing, seasoned professionals do their thing was fantastic. Hubert Keller, Michael Chiarello and Rick Bayless are my new heroes. Rick Bayless picked up a much deserved win and picked up a big fan as well. I really want to eat at Frontera Grill when I make it back to Chicago now and I've even started buying his salsa at the store (which have all been quite good so far).

The worst part of Top Chef? The rest of the programming on Bravo. I can't take these stupid, awful bitches on any of the Real Housewives shows. We both now turn away from the TV and plug our ears when they come on. And then to have them pop up and take over half the screen in the middle of a show is ridiculous. I want to watch Top Chef live, but these bitches might make me start waiting until the day after so I can speed through their skankiness.

As if Top Chef wasn't enough...PROJECT RUNWAY TOMORROW!!!


Dr Death? on Too Beautiful To Live

Posted by Brandon |

Hi everybody! I'm back....at least for one quick post. My online life is only a shell of what it used to be, for better or for worse, but this was so cool that I had to share.

The wife was on my favorite radio show, Too Beautiful To Live, on Thursday night and I think she did a great job. She said she was super nervous, but it doesn't sound much like it. Listen for yourself....enjoy!

Part 1

Part 2

I'm not so sure about Sean propositioning my wife like that, though. I don't want to have to start a Scrappin' With Sean DeTore segment on my own. Though, if I did, perhaps I'd be as famous as Death?


A Snap Judgement Snap Judgement

Posted by Brandon |

The Stranger, Seattle's alternative weekly, ran a photo on their cover this week of two security guards working on an open ATM at REI and wrote a story about Shane Becker, the self described vegan, straightedge, anarchist (sounds like a big ball of fun!) that took the picture, and how he was arrested by the Seattle Police Department after he refused to show his ID to the security guards when they confronted him about the picture.

The point of the article and the running it on the cover, I suppose, is about photographers rights and the arrest of someone that didn't do anything particularly wrong, and I get that. But does it deserve the front cover treatment? Does it even really merit a mention in even The Stranger? Is this really one of the most important stories of the week? Are there no other false imprisonment/police harrassment stories that merit our attention?

This story only exists and has only been given any merit because it happened to a white kid with an iPhone and a blog. A white kid with an iPhone and a blog that could've avoided all of this. But since he's a straightedge vegan anarchist, he just had to play his role and be uncooperative.

In the same way that the "fake cops" had their role to play, so did Becker. Both roles are wrong, both groups are at fault, neither should be praised. But by picking up this story and running with it in the way that they have, The Stranger has made Becker into the harmless photographer, the one who's rights were stepped on, the victim. When really the only victims in this case are people that are subject to police harassment or worse whose stories fall through the cracks while Becker and this ATM make the cover.

But that's Seattle and that's The Stranger. It's to be expected.

On a related note - Becker sells t-shirts with atheist and vegan slogans on them that I don't want to link to, but I do want to see if anybody can help me out with one of the designs. What in the world is this supposed to mean...

...because I'm completely stumped. I guess it's just a really stupid shot at athletes and sports? This coming from someone that was at REI purchasing a fancy bike rack for his car. Riding a bike is an athletic endeavor, FYI.

I would also like to take this opportunity to remind you that I am a flaming liberal even though this post comes off making me sound pretty conservative, I'll admit. I'm just sick of people that have a lot of power and influence in this life playing the oppressed. Being a white male in America sure is hard these days, isn't it? Makes it hard to enjoy our iPhones and blogs and our fancy bike racks.


Special Agent Oso Is Watching

Posted by Brandon |

I've been thinking a bit about Special Agent Oso ever since it debuted on Playhouse Disney recently. If you haven't seen it yet, well you probably don't have a toddler, so don't worry about it, you aren't missing much. Basically it's about a stuffed panda bear named Oso that helps kids with tasks like brushing their teeth or checking out a book from the library or finding their shoe in their dirty room. It's very colorful, it's got a catchy song, it's got pretty good intentions and it catches my daughter's attention, but there are still some things that bother me about it.

For one, I feel like it was developed by focus groups and committees. It liberally takes ideas from other successful kids shows and puts it all together into one package. A little bit of Spanish? Check. Talk to the audience? Check. Bad catch phrase? Check ("all part of the plan, more or less"). Merchandising friendly characters? They're supposed to be stuffed animals so, yeah, big time check - not to mention the merchandising potential for Paw Pilot, Oso's electronic helper thing or Numero Dos, the voice that comes out of his watch that seems to be his boss. Put all these elements together and it feels a little disingenuous to me.

One of the things that I was joking about today is how there are these little ladybug looking cameras that catch the kids having trouble with some task and send a signal to Special Agent Oso and how they seem very big brother-y. Sure, in the show they are being used for good, but what if they fell into the wrong hands? I mean, Special Agent Oso is about as "special" as it gets, it doesn't seem like it would be hard. But what actually kind of bothers me about them is that it portrays constant, secret surveillance as something positive to kids. I'm half joking about this and I'm sure that it wasn't their intention, but it does seem a little insidious.

But overall, I think Special Agent Oso has a good enough message that it trumps the committee feel and weird big brother issues. It teaches kids how to work through problems in a logical manner - three special steps is all it takes, apparently - and that isn't bad. But adults won't get much out of it if you have to watch it as well. It's not cloying or insulting like Barney or the Wiggles, but there isn't much for you here, though I'm surprised Disney's research didn't figure out a way to shoehorn something under the radar for adults in there.


Another 5th Grade Masterpiece: Fairytale Land

Posted by Brandon |

I showed a very sophisticated outlook on popular culture at the time, didn't I? And I could really draw those titties...Yea-yeah!



Posted by Brandon |

Addie and I were on Cute Overload today and we ran across this awesome video...

Now, if you think that video is funny - and I most certainly do - imagine what a 15 month old would think of it. Actually, you don't have to imagine, I caught it on video...

This is kind of mild laughter since this is actually the third time she watched it. The first time she laughed so hard that she couldn't catch her breath which in turn made me laugh so hard I couldn't catch my breath which in turn made Death? laugh so hard she couldn't catch her breath. And the second time we watched it, she laughed even harder.

Death? reminded me of when Addie was about a month old and I was really frustrated because I couldn't get her to smile. I worked my butt off just trying to get something - I'd have taken a gas smile even - only to be met with a quizzical stare. Needless to say, my worry that she would be completely humorless is totally gone.


The New Down With Pants!

Posted by Brandon |

If you didn't notice, there's a new look around these parts. It's not finished, I have a lot more to add and fiddle with, but I was anxious to get it up and going so here it is. What do you think?


We Got a Toddler On Our Hands

Posted by Brandon |

Addie went from being a baby to a little girl overnight simply by starting to walk. Though she's 15 months and doesn't look very babyish anymore, I still thought of her as a baby because I had to carry her everywhere. It took her a while - she's got the family stubborn streak - but now she insists on walking everywhere all day until she tires herself out early. Don't get me wrong, I love it, I'm so excited for summer and chasing her around, but combine that with all the signing and talking she's doing and we've got ourselves a full fledged toddler. Baby time is over.

And we were skeptical about the benefits at first, but we are full-fledged evangelists of Baby Signing Time now. It has been a huge help to have Addie signing things that she wants. Big ones are "all done" and "eat" and "milk" and she loves to sign "dog". And not only has she learned signs, but I think it's also been huge in developing her vocabulary. We think she's saying about 25 words in context, maybe more. I don't know if that's good or not for her age, but it seems high compared to other kids I've met.

Of course, a healthy vocabulary has it's drawbacks. Yesterday she was toddling around our bedroom and found the book I'm reading, Drew Magary's "Men With Balls" on the nightstand...

...Of course, the word out of her mouth as soon as she saw the cover was "ball?" Yes honey, you're right, those are balls.

I guess it could be worst, at least she didn't say "testicle?", right?

Somewhat Related Aside (this time I'm not sorry, Kevin) - Yesterday I took over the Seattle Stay At Home Dads group on Meetup.com. So if you stumble upon here and are looking for other stay at home dads in the Seattle area, please sign up for our group and come out to some of our outings.


Plates and T-Shirts

Posted by Brandon |

Back in August of 2005 I wrote a post about how sad I was to give up my Washington license plates in favor of California plates. Tonight I write a post about how sad I am to give up my California plates in favor of Washington plates.

Don't get me wrong, I'm happy to have Mount Rainier back on my car, but there was something special about those California plates, something intangible that I lose with the Washington plates. Those California plates screamed "GREAT DRIVER COMING THROUGH! OUTTA MY WAY!" It was a form of identification that I was proud of, at least on my car.

Now there's nothing that separates me from the crappy driving Washington State herd other than my total badassness on the road.

Totally Unrelated Aside (Sorry Kevin) - If you have a second, go vote for my design for the TBTL t-shirt contest. They'll be giving the shirts out as part of a night out at the Seattle Mariner's game on May 21st, hence the simple baseball jersey design and number...

You can vote for it by clicking here and choosing #5 "Old School". Thanks!


Hi, My Name is Brandon, I Fucked Up Earth Day

Posted by Brandon |

To celebrate Earth Day today, I took a 35 mile round trip drive to go for a four mile walk, forgot about a load of laundry in the washer that grew a little stench and had to be rewashed, left the kitchen and dining room lights on despite not being here and left a DVD running on a loop all day.

Suck on that Earth!


New EFUE Poster

Posted by Brandon |

In our continuing effort for the upliftment of Edmonds at the Edmonds Foundation for the Upliftment of Edmonds (EFUE), we are proud to release our latest upliftment of Edmonds poster...

We don't know why, but we're really drawn to this one. We hope you'll be drawn here too.


My 5th Grade Masterpiece

Posted by Brandon |

Gee, hard to believe I didn't go into the fine arts. I wish I knew why I made his eyes so bloodshot. And based on the score, I think I watched this game this afternoon except it was the Yankees on the losing end of that one.


I Did It!

Posted by Brandon |

Hooray for me! I made Lent my bitch this year and easily went without soda for even longer than the mandatory time. I started a whole week early, maybe even ten days - I can't totally remember - and I didn't really miss it all that much. There were occasional weak moments played out on Twitter, but in reality, my life without soda went pretty well.

I gave up soda for Lent a few years ago, as well, and I have never purchased a 12-pack since (except for one 12-pack of Jones Soda on a whim). Instead I switched to 2-Liters and my intake definitely went down. Now, my goal is to completely give up purchasing 2-Liters. I don't want to have any soda around the house. I'll still purchase a 1-Liter occasionally or have one at a restaurant, but I don't want it to be the main liquid that I ingest all day, which it has been for the past 15-20 years.

I also am giving up all sugary soda. Again, the occasional regular soda is OK - I love Mountain Dew and all of it's varieties too much to give it up completely - but I'll only drink it on special occasions, like yesterday when I had a Code Red Mountain Dew in celebration of my accomplishment and to celebrate the resurrection of our lord and savior Jesus Christ.

One thing that I have to thank for making Lent and my subsequent cutting back on soda possible is the Mr. Coffee 3-Qt Ice Tea Maker that I received as a birthday gift. When I worked for The Cobblee Spleen and Teal Lief we got all the free ice tea that we could drink and I drank as much as I could drink. But after I got RIFed, my ice tea consumption bottomed out mainly because I had the jankiest process for making ice tea. It involved multiple pans and a strainer and the threat of scalding my beautiful, dainty hands. But now, thanks to the Mr. Coffee 3-Qt Ice Tea Maker, making ice tea takes five minutes and I'm almost back to my Cobblee Spleen tea drinking levels.

Anyway, I did it, and I am patting myself on the back because that's what I do. And, I didn't get anything to endorse the Mr. Coffee 3-Qt Ice Tea Maker. I just really like it, that's why I sound like a commercial.

Lent - bow down before me!


A DWP! Tradition: The Easter Ham Story

Posted by Brandon |

I'll never forget the first Easter I spent in Bowling Green, Ohio. I never thought much of Easter as a holiday, we did the bunny stuff and had dinner, but we didn't go out of our way to celebrate. So when I spent a weekend on campus and there wasn't a soul anywhere in the entire town except my friend from San Diego (who was as shocked as I was), it was a big culture shock. I never knew that there really was something to Easter, some kind of tradition.

Well, here at Down With Pants!, we now have our own Easter tradition, one that would clear the campus on it's own as well. I present to you, The Easter Ham Story...

Ever wonder why everybody always eat ham on Easter? Well, I'm no biblical scholar, but here's how I understand the story goes...

When Jesus was resurrected he rose up from the tomb and found a big bunch of Jews hanging out, kicking it, having a picnic of bagels and lox and pastrami sandwiches and talking shit and high fiving about the crucifixtion a few days earlier.

Jesus, as you can imagine, was not pleased. In his deepest, darkest, foulest voice, he bellowed, "silly Jews, I am back. And guess what? We're eating pork, bitches!" And Jesus started flying through the air shooting whole hams from his hands like lightning bolts at all of the Jews.

Seeing this, the depressed and downtrodden Christians joined in and picked up all of the hams that Jesus shot and started chasing the Jews around and throwing the hams at them.

When the very last Jew was either chased off or knocked out by Jesus and his Christian ham throwing posse, Jesus took all of the hams and prepared a gigantic feast and proclaimed, "from this day forward, Christians shall eat the meat of the dirty swine just to piss off the Jews" and in honor of Jesus, his resurrection, and his freeing of the Christian world from Kosher dietary laws, Christians celebrate each Easter by eating ham just to rub it in the faces of the Jewish people.

And that, kids, is why everybody eats ham on Easter. It's also where the game of dodgeball was invented - Christian kids have been using that game to bully little Jewish kids for years - and it's also where the saying "when pigs fly" comes from, although the meaning of that saying got a little mixed up over the years.

But that's a whole nother biblical story that I'd love to share with you sometime very soon. Like I said, I'm no biblical scholar, but I'm pretty sure I know how that story goes too.


Edmonds Foundation for the Upliftment of Edmonds

Posted by Brandon |

Ok, so I lied. I didn't really get a job with the Edmonds Chamber of Commerce. Instead, I have founded the Edmonds Foundation for the Upliftment of Edmonds (EFUE). EFUE is devoted to the upliftment and embiggening of Edmonds. Phase one: tourism posters. Yep, we've got more...

We sincerely hope you'll come ride our ferries.


Wondering What I'm Doing?

Posted by Brandon |

I got a job with the Edmonds Chamber of Commerce. I'm designing their new tourism posters. It's going great so far...

I think it's a pretty effective campaign.


Taking A Little Break

Posted by Brandon |

Trying to recharge the old blogging battery. Just nothing coming to me lately. But I'm sure I'll be back very soon.



Posted by Brandon |

I was just thinking that it's been way too long since I saw Calvin Johnson wandering around Olympia in a pair of airport earmuffs. So to get my CJ fix, I had to hear Beat Happening's "Pine Box Derby"...

I miss the good old weird Olympia days. Not that I was ever really a part of them, but still.

And how about a little bonus Halo Benders "Don't Touch My Bikini"...




Posted by Brandon |

So I turned 32 years-old last week and I have to say that I had a great birthday week. But a couple of things also happened this week that really didn't make for such a happy birthday and have left me feeling old despite not really being old.

First off, my lower back has been really sore all week long. I think it's because I did a few new exercises on the Wii Fit that worked a few muscles that haven't been worked in a really long time. Whatever the cause, my back has been messed up, I walked around Seattle and Portland gingerly and I'm getting a little tired of smelling like Icy Hot all day. It felt a little bit better today but I've got a doctor's appointment on Thursday just in case it's not getting any better by then.

Secondly, I got cut from my soccer team. Yep, you read that right. I got cut from my 30-and-over, beginners division, rec-league soccer team. I got an email on Sunday from the captain saying that they had too many people on the team and that there wouldn't be a spot for me for the upcoming season. He said the players that he's keeping are all guys that are his neighbors or have connections to other guys on the team. And while that sounds good, I know it's not totally true. He was just being nice. I got let go because I'm not very good. If I were good, I'd still be on the team no matter my relationship with the guys, I'm sure.

In the past, something like this would make me stop playing. I've never been one to buckle down and rally when facing adversity. When I got cut from my baseball team in 7th grade (the only year they ever made cuts) I stopped playing baseball - I never played organized baseball again. When I turned 16 and I failed my driving test (guy said I made a California stop, which was bullshit since I had to wait for a ton of cars) I didn't even drive for another four or five months. When I got let go from the Richmond Roosters I stopped working in baseball.

But I really liked playing soccer despite not being very good. I was getting better every game and I want to continue to play especially since it feels like a sport that I could play for years and years to come. Plus, I'm a little pissed off. I think I'd like to play in the same league and try to make them pay for cutting me. So I have a couple feelers out and hopefully I'll land a team before the season starts next week.

Anyway, I guess I'm having a big ole pity party. 32 really isn't old by any means. I just felt really old all week. A bad back and getting the boot off a soccer team on my birthday sure doesn't make me feel young.


March Madness Recap

Posted by Brandon |

All I wanted this weekend was for the Huskies and Zags to move on to the Sweet 16 and to get a picture with Western Kentucky's mascot Big Red...

Well, two out of three ain't bad.

By the way, ticket to the NCAA Tournament is the best birthday present ever. Thanks honey!


My March Madness Gets Even Madder

Posted by Brandon |

Like I mentioned the other day, I have the March Madness. I have a serious, serious case of it, in fact, and today didn't help.

For my birthday (which is coming up on Wednesday by the way) Death? bought me a ticket to the NCAA basketball tournament in Portland. It seemed like there was probably a pretty good chance that my Washington Huskies would end up playing in Portland, but even if they didn't I was excited to go anyway. College basketball is my favorite sport and this is my Christmas, it's easily my favorite time of the year, so experiencing the tournament firsthand...for the first time...how could I pass that up even if my team might not be playing in Portland.

But oh, the basketball gods smiled on your boy Brandon tonight. Not only are the Huskies playing in Portland as a #4 seed against #13 Mississippi State (kind of a scary game though), they also put my other favorite team, the Gonzaga Bulldogs, in Portland as well (another #4 seed playing #13 Akron who beat my alma mater Bowling Green in the conference tourney).

So tickets that were selling for relatively low prices earlier this week when I got my ticket have already skyrocketed. The Rose Garden is going to be packed - Zags fans and Huskies fans travel really well, especially so close to home, and I am even more geeked about being a part of it. I can't wait to spend a few days in Portland and I'm praying for victories for my teams and hoping to get some upsets in the other games.

And if you want to join in with my madness, please join my DWP! Twitter Tourney Pool. All you have to do is click here. The password is downwithpants.


Commemorating FU & THNX CS&TL RIF

Posted by Brandon |

Sorry about the nearly week long absence, I am in the throes of a sickness. Yep, I've got the March Madness. And it won't end until maybe April.

In all the basketball excitement, I forgot to commemorate the one year anniversary of me being laid-off from my last job. I haven't worked in a year now, though staying at home with Addie is as much a full-time job as any other one that I've had. I can't say that I miss working. I miss being around people, especially my friends at my last job, and the fun parts of work. But the tedium and the frustrations that go along with it - I don't miss those at all.

I hesitate to say this out loud and put it into the Googlable ether, but I'm not totally sure how I'm ever going to be able to go back to a conventional job. Being my own master has been AMAZING. I think it's going to have to come down to me opening my own business or working in a super small, untraditional kind of environment.

Don't ask me how I plan to hook that up or how I expect that all to happen, I truly don't have any idea right now.


DWP! Yelp Review: Wonder Pets Rescue Inc.

Posted by Brandon |

If you are a baby skunk or a baby griffin or the itsy bitsy spider and you are in twouble, I can't recommend Wonder Pets Rescue Inc. any more highly. Linny, Tuck and Ming Ming too, they're the Wonder Pets - give them a call and they'll help you.

From the time that the phone, the phone is winging to when they show up in the Flyboat to try to get you unstuck from a rock or a bush or whatever happens to be holding you back, the Wonder Pets will work together to fix the problem. When life gives you a sewious situation, you need what's going to work - teamwork. What's going to work? Teamwork!

And the price for their services can't be beat. All they ask for in return is a little bit of celery. Heck, if you don't have any celery, usually they bring some of their own and they might even share it with you.

Oh Wonder Pets, Wonder Pets. They always find a way to help a baby animal and save they day. You know they're not too big, and they're not too tough, but when they work together they've got the right stuff.


One star off for the goofing around that they do en route to save the baby animal. It must be torturous to sit there and watch the Wonder Pets sing and laugh and have a good time while you've got waves lapping up all around you threatening to take you off into the ocean. They always get the job done, but couldn't they do it a little more efficiently?

Verdict: Four Pants Down! (equals four stars)


Spring Is In The Air

Posted by Brandon |

I know what I'm doing tomorrow...

Oh, what a way to start my sixth year of blogging.


Holy Crap - DWP! Turns Five Today!

Posted by Brandon |

Holy crap everybody! Lost in my self-pity about my less than stellar blogging lately, I almost totally forgot that today is the five year Blogiversary of Down With Pants! That's right, it all started on March 3rd, 2004 and it's all gone downhill from there.

I just went through five years of posts really quickly and here is one from each year that I found that I'm kind of proud of or illustrates what I'm all about...

2004 - A Dirty Shame - October 1st
2005 - DWP! Suggestion Box Day 1: Dwarves - August 15th
2006 - The Lost Blogs - Day 1 - April 10th
2007 - My Saturday Morning TV is Skankier Than Yours - June 11th
2008 - The Boomer - January 11th

I plan on doing a contest this week - I really should reward all of you that have stuck with me through good times and bad - so stay tuned. I'll figure it out tomorrow.

But until then, thank you so much for reading Down With Pants! Going through all those posts really brings home how much blogging has meant to me over the last five years. It's really been the best hobby a boy could ask for and though I haven't met many of you face-to-face yet, I do feel a part of a community and like I've made some great friends doing this. Cheers to you and thanks again!


Go Cougs?

Posted by Brandon |

On Saturday I caught the last few minutes of the Arizona State/Washington State basketball game. They finished regulation tied 43-43 and went to overtime. Wazzu was down 49-48 when senior Taylor Rochestie, playing the last home game of his career, hit a game winning three pointer with 2.3 seconds to play. When he hit the shot, I - a hardcore Washington Huskies fan - screamed at the top of my lungs and clapped my hands. It was a great shot and the celebration that followed was awesome to watch.

Minutes later, I texted my Cougar friend to see if he had watched it or had it on DVR...

DWP! - "Did you watch your Cougs?"

J-McG - "Man oh man. What a great game. It honestly brought tears to my eyes. Next week should be a good one for sure" (WSU plays the Huskies on Saturday)

DWP! - "I screamed when he hit that bucket, and when he celebrated with his moms, that got me too."

J-McG - "I knew you had a soft spot for the Cougs"

It's true, I do have a soft spot for the Cougs. Hell, I almost went to school there, in fact I was accepted twice but things just didn't work out. I root for them whenever they aren't playing the Huskies...or whenever they aren't playing someone else I root for.

Here's kind of how my rooting for the Cougs breaks down. I will root for the Cougars if they aren't playing one of these teams (in order of how I would root for them if they played each other)...

  • Washington Huskies
  • Bowling Green Falcons
  • Gonzaga Bulldogs
  • Cornell Big Red
  • North Thurston Rams
  • Evergreen Geoducks
  • Saint Martin's Saints
  • Ventura College Pirates
  • Green River CC Gators
  • Washington - Bothell or Tacoma campus intramural rec-league champions
  • UC Santa Barbara Gauchos
  • Seattle Pacific Falcons
  • Ithaca College Bombers
  • Edmonds CC Tritons
  • Linfield Wildcats
  • Western Washington Vikings
  • Central Washington Wildcats
  • Seattle University Redhawks
  • Earlham College Quakers
  • Cal State Northridge Matadors
  • Elmira College Soaring Eagles
So yeah, as you can see, I really have a soft spot for those Cougs.



Posted by Brandon |

We just got home from seeing Super Diamond, a Neil Diamond tribute band. The show was great except for one unfortunate part...

It kind of got ugly, but we all cooled out and it turned out OK.

By the way, concerts anymore to me feel like the end of a soccer game. You're up 1-0 , you're out of breath, your legs are tired and you know that it must be getting close to the end and at that point all you want is for the game to end and you can all go home happy. But of course the game seems to go on FOREVER and FOREVER and all you can do is push on through and keep praying that you'll hear that whistle and they'll finally play "Sweet Caroline".


Album Cover Meme - The Ultimate Seduction

Posted by Brandon |

Of all the memes going around Facebook right now, this is easily my favorite...

  1. Go to "wikipedia." Hit “random... Read More” or click http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Random. The first random wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.
  2. Go to "Random quotations" or click http://www.quotationspage.com/random.php3. The last four or five words of the very last quote of the page is the title of your first album.
  3. Go to flickr and click on “explore the last seven days” or click http://www.flickr.com/explore/interesting/7days. Third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.
  4. Use photoshop or similar to put it all together.
  5. Post it to FB (or your blog) with this text.

I've actually done three of these album covers so far, though I've done all of them really quickly. I'm sure I could've done a lot more with them if I had a little more time, but this is what I came up with...

Morning Becomes Eclectic
darlings CaƱada del Hoyo and their Spanish/Japanese fusion album "The Problem is the Problem".

If Nation Brands Index's album "This Is The Ultimate" doesn't make KEXP's Top 90.3 of 2009, I'll shit myself.

Without question, this is "The Ultimate Seduction" in Grand Coulee, Saskatchewan. Easily my favorite of the three.


Jim Henson's Fantastic World

Posted by Brandon |

I've always wondered if somewhere in Los Angeles there is a warehouse filled to the brim with all the stuff that Jim Henson produced over the years. It would probably be filled with some of the amazing pieces they created for Labyrinth, all of the Fraggles, the Skeksis from The Dark Crystal, hundreds of Muppets....etc. I dream about being set loose in that warehouse digging through boxes and bins discovering all the things that Henson did and the Jim Henson Company has been doing (for better of for worse) since his untimely passing in 1990 (wow, has it really been that long?).

Well, today I stumbled upon the news that there is a traveling Smithsonion exhibition called Jim Henson's Fantastic World that features over 100 pieces of art, storyboards, puppets, videos and photographs that will be at the Experience Music Project in Seattle, May 23rd to August 16th. I'm really excited to see this exhibition. I'm sure my curiosity and my dream to be set loose in the warehouse won't be totally fulfilled, but just to get an opportunity to see some of these pieces from one of my favorite artists will be wonderful. The exhibition is currently on display at the Orange County Regional History Center in Orlando, Florida until May 3rd.

And while doing some Googling about the Henson exhibition, I learned of the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta, Georgia. The CPA already houses a few Henson items - Henson and Kermit actually cut the ribbon when the center opened in 1978 - including the aforementioned Skeksis. But what really caught my attention is that they are opening a new wing of the center devoted to Henson (links to a PDF). It's going to feature 500-700 retired Muppets, a ton of artwork, drawings and videos. It's not slated to open until 2012 though and because of our financial turmoil, I'm a little worried about it, but if it does open, I'll be making the trip to Atlanta to see it. It sounds like my kind of museum.

Addie and I watch Sesame Street almost everyday and not a day goes by that I don't think about all the great things that Jim Henson would probably still be producing if he were alive today. I think the world really misses his genius and it makes me sad that Addie won't get to grow up with Henson in the same way that I grew up with Henson. His creations live on, but they aren't even close to being the same without him.


Clap Happy

Posted by Brandon |

Tonight we all watched Obama's State of the Union speech Congressional Address, including little Addie May.

Addie loves to clap now, especially when other people are clapping. And if there is one thing that the State of the Union Congressional Address is, it's definitely a festival of clapping. Good god, do our representatives love to throw some claps down. The applause is always off the charts at a State of the Union. So whenever Obama said something great and the place got all clap happy - and he said a lot of clap happy things tonight - Addie started pounding her little hands together like crazy.

Now, I know that if she were able to clap last year or the seven years prior, she probably would've been clapping no matter what sludge came out of George W. Bush's mouth. But to see her sitting there, watching Barack Obama give his first State of the Union Congressional Address, clapping along to universal health care or whatever, it made me very, very proud and very hopeful and very thankful that we finally have someone in office that I have no problem with my one year old daughter giving a round of applause to.

So thank you Barack Obama and thank you America for sparing me the absolute shame and horror that I would've felt had we been watching our little girl clapping along to George W. Bush or John McCain's State of the Union speech.


DWP! Review: Gallagher's Where-U-Brew

Posted by Brandon |

I know this is a little lame, but I'm going to start cross posting my Yelp reviews on DWP! so that the material isn't just on the Yelp site. I might even migrate all my reviews over here eventually. I think I'm getting a little paranoid.

I'm not totally sure how all of the recipients felt about it, but I think the Christmas presents that I made at Gallagher's Where U Brew this year were some of the best presents that I've ever given away and I had a ton of fun brewing the beer - WAY better than shopping.

I chose to brew a beer that they had on tap that night called the Giant Octopus of Winter (why that name, I don't know). It was an IPA style with a hint of oranges in it. I know, oranges don't really scream winter ale, but it worked and it really hits the spot up against any of the other winter ales that I like to drink. I was really impressed with the flavor.

So they give you the recipe, show you were everything is, and let you go to it. They have all the equipment and all of the ingredients, you just have to supply the manpower. The guys are really nice and are easy to track down, most of the time. When it's really busy in there, they are sometimes hard to get a a hold of if you are confused by something, but the process is more or less straight forward and written out so it's really not that difficult.

Most people that come into Gallagher's come in a small group and that's definitely the way to go. Since I was giving away the beer to all of my friends, I ended up doing the brewing by myself. It was fine, and I socialized a bit with some of the other guys that were brewing, but next time I'll definitely bring at least one other person. Especially to the bottling. Two weeks after you brew, you go in and bottle and especially if you are by yourself, it's a really tough job. It took me over two hours to bottle 135 bottles of beer and by the end of it, I was beat. That is definitely a two or even three person job.

Like I said, I got 135 bottles of beer. I paid $155 for the brewing process and I had to purchase bottles, which was another $50 or so. One of the biggest tips I can give you to save money is to start saving all the non-twist top beer bottles that you drink.. Just rinse the bottle out with a little bit of soap and let it dry and store it somewhere until it's time to bottle your beer. They'll sanitize it for you and provide the caps.

They don't offer any kind of labeling, but all you have to do to add that professional touch to your beer is go to Staples or Office Depot and pick up some address labels, design yourself a label and slap it on there. It's not perfect - the labels aren't waterproof - but they looked great when given as a present and still look great after a month in the fridge.

I'll definitely be back to Gallagher's, in fact I could see this becoming a long time Christmas tradition. And since they have a handful of their tasty brews on tap, I'll probably stop in there between the holidays too.

Verdict: Five Pants Down! (equals five stars)

Gallagher's Where-U-Brew

120 5th Ave S
Edmonds, WA 98020
(425) 776-4209


Moral Kiosk

Posted by Brandon |

Somebody went to Archie McPhee today and somebody LOVED it...and Addie had fun too.

Anyway, what's with Facebook and all the memes lately? I think non-bloggers and non-MySpacers have just discovered them. Anyway, I did one tonight just for the hell of it and so I can show off my kickass iPod...

1. Put Your iTunes on Shuffle.
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
3. You must write down the name of the song no matter how silly it sounds!
4. Put any comments in brackets after the song name.


1. What the hell happened to question number one on the meme you copied?
"Marijuana" - Reverend Horton Heat [Oh...makes sense Courtney!]

2. What do your friends think of you?
"Hide Away Folk Family" - They Might Be Giants

3. If someone says, “Is this okay?” You say?
"Already Too Late?" - Ted Leo & the Pharmacists

4. How would you describe yourself?
"We Are Wild Stallions" - The Riot Before

5. What do you like in a guy/girl?
"Australia" - The Shins

6. How do you feel today?
"Friend is a Four Letter Word" - Cake

7. What is your life’s purpose?
"Jerry Falwell Destroyed Earth" - Ben Kweller

8. What is your motto?
"Let's Pretend We're Bunny Rabbits" - Magnetic Fields [Perfect!]

9. What do you think about very often?
"Crash Course" - Crash Test Dummies [Yes, I have Crash Test Dummies on my iPod, deal with it Cate Blanchett]

10. What is 2 + 2?
"Come Undone" - Duran Duran

11. What do you think of your best friend?
"OK With My Decay" - Grandaddy

12. What do you think of the person you like?
"Elevation" - Television [Yes!]

13. What is your life story?
"Space Oddity" David Bowie [If only I were that androgynous]

14. What do you want to be when you grow up?
"You Can Be As Loud As The Hell You Want (When You're Making Love)" - Avenue Q

15. What do you think of when you see the person you like?
"That's Amore" - John C. Reilly [We are married after all]

16. What will you dance to at your wedding?
"Dusseldorf" - Regina Spektor [If we ever renew our vows, maybe]

17. What will they play at your funeral?
"Commotion" - Credence Clearwater Revival [Fuck yeah, Credence!]

18. What is your hobby/interest?
"Square One Here I Come" - The Hives

19. What is your biggest fear?
"It Hasn't Happened Yet" - William Shatner

20. What is your biggest secret?
"Time For Livin" - Beastie Boys

21. What do you think of your friends?
"Hang On To Your Ego" - Beach Boys [fucking stuck up friends!]

22. What will you post this as?
"Moral Kiosk" - REM


Editing For TV Fail

Posted by Brandon |

Noticed this while watching Idiocracy on Comedy Central tonight...

At first, the restaurant Butt:Fuckers is edited for TV.

Then, seconds later, there is Butt:Fuckers in all of it's glory.

I think Comedy Central has Frito working in standards and practices.


Some Valentine's Day in Seattle Suggestions

Posted by Brandon |

First of all, thank you for bearing with me while I took a short break from blogging. Don't know why, but it just wasn't working this week. I'm not totally sure if it is working now, but at least I'm writing a post.

Tonight the wife and I celebrated Valentine's Day a day early. I got her flowers, cards from me and Addie, tickets to see Super Diamond - a Neil Diamond tribute band - later this month when we'll really do Valentine's Day right (you know, a night out without the baby), and I made a nice dinner. I even went out and bought Tropic Thunder but didn't end up watching it. It was a very good V-Day considering we had our little girl here and it came a day early since Death? has to work all weekend and I'm going to Olympia tomorrow.

It got me to thinking about some of our other Valentine's Day dates. We're not one for the traditional so no super fancy dinners or anything like that. Usually it consists of staying home and either cooking or getting take-out and watching movies. Let's be honest, lots of times those are the best dates.

But when we lived in Seattle a few years ago, we had three really memorable going out dates that I would like to share and offer as suggestions for you Seattlites that may not know what to do tomorrow...

  1. Ethiopian Food - Our very first Ethiopian food experience came on Valentine's Day. I can't remember the name of the restaurant but it appears that it no longer exists or has been replaced by Awash, another Ethiopian restaurant (I know Awash wasn't the places name). I can't really explain why Ethiopian food is good for Valentine's Day, I just know that it is. It has something to do with eating with your hands and sharing plates and all of the wonderful vegetables and exotic flavors. It just works. I haven't had Ethiopian food since we've come back to Seattle, so I can't recommend a place, but there are plenty to choose from and most of them seem to have a four star rating on Yelp.

  2. Hot Pot - One year we went to Seven Stars Pepper and had a big old bubbling vat of soup called Hot Pot. They bring you out this crazy broth to your table top stove, they then bring you uncooked meats and vegetables and fish and, really, whatever you want and you sit there and cook all the meats and veggies in the broth. It's delicous and fun and for someone that's never had hot pot or, in the same vain, Korean BBQ, it's can be quite the experience. Again, it all comes down to the exotic flavors and adventurous cuisine and the sharing that make a hot pot at Seven Stars Pepper a really great Valentine's Day meal.

  3. Kenyon Hall - Formerly Hokum Hall, this West Seattle gem of a theater keeps Vaudeville alive and well. I can't figure out whether or not they have a Valentine's Day show tomorrow, but the year that we went for V-Day was great. It was old timey songs and skits all about love, lots of them very funny - plenty of Tom Lehrer songs - and lots of them very sweet. They have a beautiful circa-1929 Wurlitzer organ that is masterfully played by theater manager Lou Magor, who also does a lot of the singing. If they do have a V-Day show - which it doesn't look like unfortunately, I highly recommend checking it out. I highly recommend checking it out some other day as well.

And if all else fails, just rent a movie and watch it at home. If I may, can I suggest Secretary?

Happy Valentine's Day everybody!


Fish & Street Meat

Posted by Brandon |

I love Vancouver! This is the view from our hotel room. We 're right downtown within walking distance to nearly everything and although the room is a little out of date, it's still nice enough for us and there is tons of room for Addie to crawl around and you can't beat it for the price.

Our first stop of the day was the Vancouver Aquarium in Stanley Park. It's easily one our favorite aquariums that we've ever visited. It's maybe not as big as the Boston Aquarium or has as many touch tanks as the aquarium in Long Beach, but the Beluga Whales, the dolphins and the above Amazon exhibit make up for what it's missing. The fish in the picture above are HUGE. Addie loved these things despite absolutely dwarfing her and looking like dinosaurs.

She also loved the Harbor Seals. They are very much like puppies of the sea. I love them too.

Then our foodie tour of Vancouver began. It started down near Granville Island with a stop at Go Fish Ocean Emporium. This little tiny shack with a handful of seats makes the best fish-n-chips. And the fish tacones - basically big old super delicious fish tacos - are arguably the best fish tacos that I've found since moving from SoCal and they even rivaled those in flavor. The fish was so fresh...

...as it should be considering that when you turn around, there is most likely the boats that caught it. Even Addie loved it. She ate her first fish, a little bit of halibut and a little bit of salmon.

We then went shopping at the amazing Granville Public Market where Death? bought a bunch of cheese and salami from her favorite cheese and meat stand, Oyama Sausage Company. We also had the greatest piece of chocolate ever from Rogers' Chocolates. I think I would kill for another Ice Wine Truffle right now.

Later, we ended up getting some street meat for dinner. But this is no average hot dog stand. No, this is Japa Dog...

Japanese style hot dogs with things like teriyaki sauce, miso, nori, radishes, diakon sprouts, fish flakes, black hog sausage...it was all so good. We had to get one of all the specialties even though it was a lot of food.

So there you have it, our first day in Vancouver. We've barely even scratched the surface of this town yet, luckily we have been here a lot in the past so we don't need to see everything and we have to take it easy because of Addie. If tomorrow is nice we're going to bike around Stanley Park before heading to the Canucks game.

Did I mention I love Vancouver?


In Vancouver

Posted by Brandon |

"O Canada!
Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all thy sons command.
With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
The True North strong and free!
From far and wide, O Canada,
We stand on guard for thee.
God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee."

I'm going to say it...that song kicks the Star Spangled Banner's ass! Boom, roasted!

Yes, we're in Vancouver for the weekend. I normally would say there won't be any blogging here for a while, but for the first time ever, I've taken my laptop on a trip and after paying $9 Canadian a night for wifi, here I am. I'm totally cool with that, I've already Yelped a ton of places in which we could eat and since we now have a small child that kind of requires an 8:00 PM bedtime, we'll be in our hotel room a lot more than we used to be.

So what I'm trying to say is, I might blog a little while I'm here...if you're lucky (Ha! Who am I kidding with that line?).

I know that there are some people that find this to be the lowest form of blogging, but I really want to try to start documenting my day more with my posts, not necessarily for you the reader, but more for me as part of my own personal diary I suppose. It's going to be more about documenting events or places I went to than anything. It may not make for the best blog, but it'll keep me more interested and give me lots more to write about on a day-to-day basis. Anyway, here's more or less the first one...

Tonight I traveled to Southern California Kirkland, Washington - where I was nearly run off the road by a guy in a BMW and minutes later by one in a hulking SUV of some kind - to see the uber-Christian Northwest University Eagles take on my hometown uber-liberal The Evergreen State College Geoducks in basketball. NAIA Division II basketball....Catch the Fever!

The Pavilion at Northwest University has to be the smallest venue I've ever seen a college basketball game in. Only South Puget Sound Community College can rival the itty-bittiness of this gymnasium. It only has six rows of seats on each side and without any room on the baseline, one bad foul on a layup and you could end up sprawled out halfway up the gym wall. Of course that means that it's easy to fill up and on this night I'd say that 500 of the 550 seats in the place were full. And with nowhere for the sound to go, it got loud in there at the end.

That's Evergreen head coach Jeff Drinkwine trying to get his players to get in the game. The Geoducks came into the game at 10-4 in conference and 14-7 overall but were given a very strong test from 11-12 Northwest. League leading scorer Nate Menafee scored 23 points, but they were kind of silent because Northwest's Marcus Wright blanketed him all night long, hardly letting him breath. I was impressed with his defense and I was surprised to see that Menafee ended up with 23. He made the most out of all of his shots.

The Eagles took the lead with 30 seconds left before Evergreen's Julio Feliciano put in an easy layup with only ten seconds to play. Northwest had a good look at the bucket in the final seconds, but fell short and Evergreen came out on top 89-88. It was a great, fast paced, hard fought, emotional game by both teams.

However, the Northwest University students took it a little too far by basically challenging the guy that was sitting next to me - who admittedly was taunting after the buzzer - to a fight. Ummm...NU is a hardcore Christian college - lots of ministerial training going on there - perhaps they should look at their wristbands and ask themselves, WWJD? Punch a Greener because he had the gall to tell you it would be a long walk home? I think not.

On a lighter note, I am so jealous that I can not pull off the spiderweb haircut.


Happy Birthday Adelaide!

Posted by Brandon |

Happy belated birthday Adelaide! Yesterday was Addie's first birthday, I can't believe it.

This has been an awesome year. Being a daddy is even better than I ever expected it to be and being a stay-at-home dad for the majority of that time has been super rewarding. I wouldn't trade it for anything. I have a blast with her every day and I'm so excited for another great year in which she'll start walking and talking and growing and all of that good stuff.

Yeah, she had a little too much cake and ice cream.


Blog Culture Box: Puppy Bowl Edition

Posted by Brandon |

If it's hard to read, click image to bigify.

Who cares about the Super Bowl, it's Puppy Bowl time! Thanks to Catherine, NYCWD, Becky and Shiny for their great answers.

If you'd like to join in, please feel free to answer these questions (and yes, this week they are questions) in the comments...

  1. Super Bowl, Lingerie Bowl or Puppy Bowl?
  2. If you were a puppy, what kind of puppy would you be?
  3. What should the Obama's name their puppy?
  4. Who's a good boy? Who's a good boy?

The Blog Culture Box will be back in two weeks. If you haven't participated before and would like to, please let me know.


Keyboarding and Driver's Ed

Posted by Brandon |

Personally I think this is kind of a sad commentary on both my education and the state of schools in general, but there are only two classes from high school that the information taught to me there I still use on a day-to-day basis. Sure some other classes contributed to my knowledge, but two classes stand out in my mind as being very important to me now. Those two classes: Driver's Education and Keyboarding.

How many people had Driver's Ed in their school? I rarely find anybody outside of the North Thurston School District that learned how to drive from their high school. Our Driver's Ed was taught by two sports coaches: Mr. Mendleson and Mr. Dunn - both total a-holes, but not terrible Driver's Ed teachers.

I remember Mr. Dunn getting unbelievably frustrated with me when I couldn't figure out passing - it took me like five tries to get checking my blind spot when I move back over into the correct lane. I also backed into a rock the very first time I ever got behind a wheel when Mr. Dunn had us back around a corner on the very first day - he was not happy. Surprisingly, those two a-holes helped shape a, I'd like to consider, better than average driver and I still remember a lot of the obscure rules of the road that they drilled into our head and use them quite often.

Keyboarding was a required class at North Thurston, unless you were smart and went into AP classes or were in music, and I contend that it was the single most important class that I took in all of high school, and I knew it would be. I was a choir-nerd, I could've gotten out of it, but I wanted to learn how to type and it's served me well over the years. What you are reading now is all typed without looking at the keyboard one bit and in near perfect form all thanks to one of the most mindless classes there ever was.

Death? never took keyboarding and it has come around to haunt her. One of her biggest frustrations with work is not being able to fly through the typing of notes and reports and whatnot. Now she really wants to learn how to type correctly. I suppose I'll have to teach her (in combination with online tutorials). I don't mind, I really do think that Keyboarding is super important and I wouldn't pass up my high school training in it for any other class.

What about you? Were there any classes from high school that you took that stand out as being important in the long run?


Hot Cheetos Phantom: A Letter to TBTL

Posted by Brandon |

Yes, I've officially crossed over into uber-fandom or ten-ness...I wrote a letter to Jen Andrews, producer of Too Beautiful To Live - my favorite radio program - to relay a little coincidence (or not) that happened to me the other day. I am a nerd. Also, you should get the Hot Cheetos ringtone or any of the other TBTL ringtones.

Hey Jen,

Just wanted to thank you guys for playing a part in freaking me out a little bit the other day.

I was listening to the show on Wednesday night (I'm usually a time bandit, but was driving back to Seattle from Olympia and listening live) and when you played the Hot Cheetos song (note: a listener submitted song inspired by the audio clip the ringtone is from), at the very same moment my phone started ringing, blasting the Hot Cheetos ringtone. At first, I thought it might be part of the song, but nope, it was my phone telling me all about the Hot Cheetos. When I picked up the phone and tried to answer it, the caller had already hung up...but I never got a missed call notice or a voicemail or anything.

Was it a Hot Cheetos phantom triggered by that song or just a coincidence? I like to believe in the phantom nature of the Hot Cheetos, myself.

Freaked out-edly yours,

Of the Edmonds tens


Winner Winner Pepsi Dinner

Posted by Brandon |

Congratulations to Anthony for taking home the Super Bowl prize pack from Pepsi. Mike Singletary intimidated me into picking his name out of my hat.

No Top Chef recap tonight despite tons and tons to write about since it was muthafucking Restaurant Wars! The wife had to work and didn't get to see it yet and if she were to accidentally read spoilers on my blog, there would be hell to pay.


What a Day, Huh?

Posted by Brandon |

Well, that was something else, wasn't it? What a day. I really have no words to describe what happened today and I really don't think it needs any. Once I found out it was pundit-less, I watched C-SPAN so I could just let the pictures and words of the participants move me, and that they did. No punditry needed, no analysis necessary, no explanation needed. Just history.

My favorite part of the inauguration was Rev. Joseph Lowery's Benediction...

I'm not religious at all, but even I was yelling AMEN! AMEN! AMEN!


How To Cook A Wolf

Posted by Brandon |

One of the best things about having a kid and not going out on dates as often as we used to is being able to go to nicer places than before. Our one date usually equals the four we would've gone on two years ago. So that's why we ended up at How To Cook A Wolf before we went to the Seattle Rep for a play on Saturday night.

We got there at about 5:15 and were informed that it would be an hour and a half for a table but could be seated immediately at the bar - so at the bar we sat. It's a very comfortable place to sit, unlike most bars, and watching all the action in their little tiny kitchen is interesting. We were very impressed with how they use their available space. The kitchen is probably smaller than our kitchen, and we don't have a big kitchen by any means. They really get the maximum out of the square footage that they have.

I expected How To Cook A Wolf to be much more trendy and uncomfortable and pretentious than it was. It was actually kind of cool and laid back, service was friendly and helpful and everybody seemed to be genuinely enjoying themselves. Perhaps it's pretentious for Seattle standards, but I just spent three years in the Los Angeles area - I know pretentious when I see it.

On to the food. Plates were bigger and more substantial than I was expecting, but overall it was kind of a mixed bag...

Bread - Great bread from Columbia City Bakery, served with olive oil and some olives. I don't like olives, but Death? was really into them.

Buffalo mozzarella with shaved fennel, green apples and red onion - The cheese was great with the fennel and green apples but the red onion and parsley were a little off-putting.

Seared scallops - Scallops were perfectly cooked and tasty. Too bad there were only three of them ($6 per scallop) and the sauce that they were in tasted like ranch dressing and not even good ranch dressing - like Hidden Valley light ranch or even fat free.

Frissee salad with oil poached tuna - Tuna was great but overall the salad was all over the place. The red onions in the mix were unbelievably overpowering. One bite that included red onion got up into my nose like horseradish does and I had to take a minute to let it clear. The onion stayed with both of us and we were tasting it throughout the play. A Coke at intermission was the only thing that helped kill the flavor.

Cavatelli - Absolutely delicious. Perfect pasta with hedgehog mushrooms, cheese and cream sauce. The highlight of the night.

Gnocchi - Not really gnocchi, made from semolina, they were more like polenta cakes than anything. Covered with a little bit of cheese and butter, they were delicious. Perfectly creamy - almost like a fried piece of cheese. We ordered the gnocchi after finishing everything else and deciding we wanted one more thing. It took almost half an hour to come out and we were sweating getting to our play on time, but the waiter did give us a free half glass of wine each to make up for it and since we'd gone dry that perfectly complemented the dish.

Booze - Both of the wines Death? got were great and the oatmeal stout beer that I drank was delicious.

My biggest problem with the meal is that there was nothing mind blowing. In fact, I'm no cook, but quite honestly, I think that I could make reasonable facsimiles of those dishes at home. The buffalo mozzarella was just a hunk of cheese with some sliced stuff. The pasta, while very good, wasn't very complex. The scallops - well, I'm bad at cooking scallops, but I have some Hidden Valley Ranch in the fridge right now.

That being said, we didn't feel ripped off by the meal and we weren't upset about it any way. In fact, we really enjoyed ourselves at How To Cook A Wolf. I just doubt that we'll be back or if I would really recommend it to others.


Top Chef Recap **SPOILER ALERT**

Posted by Brandon |

Right away, Hosea is wearing an I (Heart) Padma t-shirt and as soon as it comes on, a little advertisement flies across the screen to get your own I (Heart) Padma t-shirt at the Bravo website. Ugh. I also found a Team Rainbow t-shirt over there. Double-Ugh.

How many of us hours before this episode aired had something made from a can or package for dinner? Look, I know they aren't quality ingredients, but to just be outraged in the way that these "chefs" were when the challenge was revealed was ridiculous. For me, if I were on there, the random crazy challenges would be the most fun. Just doing haute cuisine every time would be boring as a competitor, don't you think?

Anyway, was it just me or was this the most boring episode of the entire season so far? Hung added nothing, the supposed drama wasn't very interesting, the upper-class white folks posing as farmers were off-putting and Toby Young's zingers were just stupid. The only remotely interesting part was Arianne getting the boot.

I think that Arianne probably deserved to go based on this meal alone - though Radhika and the dead-to-me lovebirds all could easily have gone because of their lack of effort, but I would still eat any meat dish that Arianne made over all of the others. Except for that lamb, every piece of meat that she cooked over the course of the show was cooked perfectly. I want her to make my turkey, cook my steak, lamb chops...whatever.


Blog Culture Box: 2009 Predictions Edition

Posted by Brandon |

If it's hard to read, click box to bigify

Big thanks to Replicant, Ginger, Anthony and Pixie for taking part in the first Blog Culture Box of the new year.

If you are wondering about the color, I totally didn't know what color to use for 2009 predictions, so since Pixie was reminding me of Bowling Green State University - my kind of alma mater (no degree) - on Twitter earlier, I had the brown and orange on my mind. Oh yeah, the beautiful brown and orange of BGSU. Roll along BG warriors.

Anyway, if you would like to join in, please feel free to answer the questions in the comments...
  1. After leaving office, George W. Bush will...
  2. Who will make the biggest comeback of 2009?
  3. In 2009, I will...
  4. Down With Pants! biggest contribution to society in 2009 will be...
The BCB will be back in two weeks.


Baby Dreams

Posted by Brandon |

Since Addie was born, I've been thinking about baby dreams. Don't you think that the dreams that babies have must be totally and completely crazy? They don't have language, they don't really know what the things they see everyday are or what is real and what isn't real and they have no idea of narratives and whatnot. They must just be jumbles of images all mixed up together.

Example: yesterday we went to the zoo and Addie was totally taken with the gorillas and the Willawong Station - which is one of those walk-in bird cages where the lorikeets and other tropical birds fly around and land on you and eat feed sticks that you offer them. Combine those two things - baby gorillas and thousands of birds flying around - with her favorite commercials on TV - the Lectric Shave commercial where the guys face is on his whiskers and those NoStankYou.com commercials - and her dreams have to be super trippy.

Those things mess up my dreams sometimes and I totally understand them. I can't even imagine what it would be like to have those floating around in your head without any way to tie them together.


Shameless Commerce: It's a DWP! Giveaway!

Posted by Brandon |

I am happy to announce the very first real Down With Pants! contest/giveaway. I've got the "Ultimate Super Bowl Party Pack" from our good friends at Pepsi to give away - Pepsi, the choice of a new generation of pantsless pop drinkers. If you win, you get all this...

That's a football, a snack helmet, a beverage pail, two hats, two t-shirts, two keychains, five Pepsi 24 pack coupons and five Frito-Lay coupons.

And all you have to do is just leave me a comment telling me who your favorite NFL football player of all-time is. You have to name an NFL football player to be eligible. I'll pick the names out of a hat on Wednesday, January 21st so you can get your prize pack before the big game.

UPDATE - And make sure that there is some way in your comment to contact you. Either it goes to your blog with a email address posted there or you are on my Twitter or whatever. But a link to a profile that is private won't work especially if I don't totally know who you are.



Posted by Brandon |

Addie was sick for the very first time today. She was running a fever and had a runny nose and a little bit of a cough. You know, a basic, normal cold. But we're very lucky to have such a great baby - instead of being a little pain like I had anticipated (the day started off with much crying), she calmed down and she got all cuddly and sweet and we basically had a nice day of sitting around, watching college basketball, napping and generally taking it easy. She had her moments of fussiness, but overall, it was almost kind of nice to just have her sitting on my lap all day.


Diet Dr. Pepper Top Chef Recap **SPOILER ALERT**

Posted by Brandon |

Despite being excited for the return of Top Chef from what seemed like an unbelievably long hiatus, I was half-asleep during the episode so some of the thoughts I had during the show have already escaped me - I need to start taking some notes.

By the way...did I mention that this post is sponsored by Diet Dr. Pepper? This is the Diet Dr. Pepper Top Chef Recap - the Diet Dr. Pepper Top Chef Recap that tastes more like Regular Dr Pepper. Diet Dr. Pepper and Down With Pants!...There's nothing diet about it!

First of all, did anyone else think that it looked like a lot of people got into fights? Everybody looked bruised and battered. Fisticuffs may have broken out in the house and we were not informed. What gives?

So Radhika wins immunity in the Diet Dr. Pepper Quickfire Challenge by making bread pudding, which isn't Indian, so I find it odd that we didn't hear about how she doesn't want be to be known as the one that makes Indian food. Usually, we hear her say that she doesn't want to be known as the one that makes Indian food...and then she goes off and makes Indian food. It's like clockwork.

Hold on for one second...**click, fizz**....Mmmm, Diet Dr. Pepper. It's like there's a chocolate cake in my mouth but without the chocolate cake. Now, let's return to the Diet Dr. Pepper Top Chef Recap.

Following the Diet Dr. Pepper Quickfire Challenge, Tom tells them to make to make one kickass family style dish. My first thought when I heard that of course was fish tacos! I mean, it had to have been yours too, right? Any rational person with bangs that cover their eyes and no clue how to cook would automatically pick fish tacos - that's why I did.

Mmmm...did I mention how much Diet Dr. Pepper tastes like regular Dr. Pepper?

So predictably, Bangs - the non-chef that the producers set up to get kicked off first (my theory) but then got lucky for a few weeks - finally got the boot. And Eugene, oh Eugene, oh Diet Dr. Pepper Eugene, also got sent packing - which was also easily predictable not only because of his bad food but because they showed him talking to his family. That's the Diet Dr. Pepper kiss of death.