Hullo from Texas!

Hey folks,
Just a quick update from a Kinkos copy center — my boss stopped by, and I discovered they had internet access, so I ran and got my laptop! As you may have guessed I didn’t get back last Friday as I thought I would in my last entry; here’s a short note I wrote up for the blog in my hotel the other night, in the event I got an internet connection. If I don’t get a chance to write again before I get back (this coming Wednesday) — there’s no internet where I’m working — take care and we’ll talk soon. ๐Ÿ™‚

3/26/2004 - 11:00pm.
Dear krishenblog
I'm not sure when I'm going to get a chance to post this, but here goes... I'm sitting in my hotel room in San Antonio, typing this on a 15" Powerbook loaned to me from work. I just got back from a wonderful seafood dinner. Blackened halibut with a "diablo" sauce (shrimp, crabtail meat) on "dirty" (read: spicy) rice with veggies. I gotta say, I feel totally spoiled. I don't think I've ever worked anywhere with this nice a meal policy. Much better than my meals while I'm on my own. :D
Although with just over a million people San Antonio is a real mix of things, Mexican culture overwhelmingly permeates day-to-day life; even the sushi restaurant I went to a few days ago had a "Jalepeรƒยฑo" roll. According to the tourist mag in the hotel lobby, there are over 800 mexican restaurants available to choose from. Una รƒยงervesa por favor?
San Antonio is a military town: there are four military bases within a short drive from the city; at the Spurs basketball game I went to last weekend, there were well over a dozen yellow schoolbuses of soldiers who had made the drive out to see the game. It's also highly religious; the restaurant beside the hotel has a big billboard on the bottom of it's 120 ft high green neon signpost which reads: "Closed Sundays For Worship". Temperature has been hovering between 70-80 F on a daily basis -- perfect. It's only rained once so far, yeah!
Just an aside here: it's been really odd not having internet access of any kind for the past week. I bet my inbox is getting close over-full. With luck I'll get a chance to check it soon.
I'm back in Sarasota on Wed the 31st -- just in time to pay rent! We'll see; the trip has already been extended once. So far work has had a couple of hiccups but has otherwise it has been a productive experience.
Well that's it for me tonight -- hopefully I'll get a chance to post this soon. Take care everyone!
See ya,

American Splendor/The Alamo

Happy St. Patty’s day!
Watched American Splendor tonight, what an enjoyable film. I had heard about in the New York Times Magazine, back in December when I had a trial subscription. I bought the movie Sunday, sight-unseen. The tagline for the movie is “Ordinary life is pretty complex stuff.” And so is this movie — so instead of butchering a synopsis, I’ll quote from the back of the box:

AMERICAN SPLENDOR is the story of a little-known working-class everyman, and first-class curmudgeon, Harvey Pekar. Harvey Pekar finds love, family and a creative voice through the underground comic books he creates, but still can’t manage to find the quicker supermarket checkout line.
Pekar, played by Paul Giamatti, is a frustrated file clerk at a V.A. Hospital, but also a comic book fan who befriends the young illustrator Robert Crumb and is soon inspired to create comic books based on his own life, entitled AMERICAN SPLENDOR. Along the bumpy journey, he meets, marries and falls for Joyce, and admiring comic book seller, played by Hope Davis.
Also appearing in the movie are the real Harvey and Joyce, comic book renderings of the couple, and cameos by some of Harvey’s closest friends. In this truly original, ultimately heartwarming film, you will find yourself deeping immersed in a world of AMERICAN SPLENDOR.

And indeed it was heartwarming. Quite an amazing film, really — very original and engaging; the description really doesn’t do it justice. The film has a few surreal scenes with both video and cartoon in the same frame — think Aha’s “Take Me On” (listen to a retro midi), but cooler. “But Krishen,” you ask, “how is that possible?”
You’re just gonna have to trust me on this one. Or don’t. Check it out next time you’re at the video store; I think you’ll enjoy it.
In other news, I’m totally procrastinating packing! A company car picks me, Jeff, my boss, and three or four folks from hardware up tomorrow at noon, then it’s an hour north drive to Tampa and a 2-hour flight to San Antonio. San Antonio, as you may know, is home to the historic Battle of the Alamo. Was talking to Dad tonight over iChat about the trip, and he mentioned I should learn the words to the Marty Robbins‘ song, Ballad of the Alamo. So, I bought it. Ah, the joys of free music.
What have you thought of the plant shots, by the way? Today’s pic is a “Wandering Jew” (what a funny-strange name), and is the last in the series I took from the garden in Amy’s lanai Sunday. Unfortunately I haven’t been out with the camera as much as I would have liked, but hopefully that will change soon. ๐Ÿ˜€
This is likely my last entry before I hop on the plane; if anyone would like a postcard, just email me your address, I’ll do my best to get online during the trip. Otherwise, if I don’t hear from you, hope the next eight days treats you wonderfully, and see you on the 27th!

Squash Soup/Going to San Antonio

So for dinner tonight, I ended up using Tigereyess’ suggestion from the last entry and cooked the squash by itself in the oven, scooped out the “spaghetti strands” with a fork, added a little butter and salt and pepper and mmmm, lovely! Random factoid: yellow squashes smell a lot like corn. Weird. I think next time, though, I’ll use bigger squashes; these ones were mostly seed! Still tasted great though.
Oh, and Hilary was kind enough to write up an original squash soup recipe for me in a text file and IM’ed it to me, so I thought I’d take the liberty to repost it here for all ๐Ÿ™‚

Hilary’s Squash Soup
i recommend using butternut squash – easy to peel and has good flavour. acorn squash is good too, but hard to peel with all the ridges. i haven’t tried spaghetti squash, but i know of other good recipes for it… just not off the top of my head
1 butternut squash – pic a pot then make sure the squash will fit.
peel squash and chop up, put in pot with oil (tbsp or 2) and begin frying. you can add onions and garlic if you like at this point. go easy on the garlic -very powerful.
add enough water (and white wine is good too!) to cover the squash
boil until squash is soft.
if you have a hand mixer use it to puree. if you don’t ummm be creative -use a potato masher or put in blender/food processor?? i have a hand mixer -they’re great.
add some herbs and a bit of butter. turn off heat and let the soup cool. once cool add some cream or milk.
add any other flavors you’d like. butternut squash is pretty creamy so you shouldn’t need to add any more dairy/soy products.

Anyhow, it sounds excellent, I shall definitely have to obtain a blender/mixer and try it out.
Guess what? On Thursday, for work, I’m going to San Antonio for 8 days! We’re doing a big customer installation out there and I’ve been asked to come along for support. That should be fun! Needless to say I probably won’t be updating much during that time, but I shall be taking lots of pictures, so I hope to see you all back here March 28th ๐Ÿ™‚
Any of you ever been to San Antonio before?
Update, 12:48am: Killing the Music: Don Henley lays out the scape of the music industry in Tuesday’s Washington Post (via voxpopgirl). I can’t help but be reminded of Courtney Love’s excellent article in Salon on the topic — nearly four years ago. Wow. I’d love to see this get more attention.

Squish squash

So I’ve definitely had less busy weekends; worked five hours extra Friday, 10 Saturday. Slept in Sunday until about noon; skipped Ultimate and went to Bradenton beach with Amy, where we threw the disc around for a bit. That was fun, definitely the downtime I needed.
So I need your guys’ help; last night I made this with one of these, but I’ve still got those three left, and even though I only paid $1.94 for the four of them, I’d really hate for them to go to waste — can anyone recommend a good (preferably edible) way to use ’em?

Which book are you?

You’re The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe!
by C.S. Lewis

You were just looking for some decent clothes when everything changed quite dramatically. For the better or for the worse, it is still hard to tell. Now it seems like winter will never end and you feel cursed. Soon there will be an epic struggle between two forces in your life and you are very concerned about a betrayal that could turn the balance. If this makes it sound like you’re re-enacting Christian theological events, that may or may not be coincidence. When in doubt, put your trust in zoo animals.

Take the Book Quiz at the Blue Pyramid.

(via Alison)

Quick post

Just a quick update; had a very busy day today at work, getting ready to ship a 1-million or so dollar product out the door. Stress levels aren’t nearly so high as they’ve been in the past, so that’s good. Taught Kai some ebonics today.
Me: What up?
Kai: It all good, dawg.
Today’s pic is of a tree I read under for a few hours in Winter Park, just south of Orlando. A fantastic little place, definitely check it out if you’re ever in the area. Okay I’m leaving for Ultimate now — actually, 10 minutes ago — pics later tonight if I can fathom the energy!
Update, 11:48pm: Well, the pics are in a new gallery, just waiting to be captioned — check back early tomorrow am!

My first BNL show

Wow, I don’t know how to start, so I guess I just will. The Barenaked Ladies were awesome! They’re crazy, a bunch of certified nuts I tell you! So nice to finally see them perform. My first memory of the fabric-phobic-fivesome are from 1992 when their debut album Gordon came out. They were on MuchMusic in a self-produced bit demonstrating what one could do to get a better seat inside Toronto’s SkyDome. You know, like scaling the walls. That kind of thing.
I instantly went out and bought their album. A couple years later, I inherited Rock Spectacle from my then-girlfriend, and received Stunt as a birthday present, both of which are excellent.
So the moment I found out the ‘Ladies were coming to Orlando, I made plans to go see them, come hell-or-high water. Twelve years is a long time to wait!
Monday afternoon I was in a bit of lurch, since I was planning to sit with Cam and Melissa, but they’d already left for vacation and we had only made tentative plans about where and when to meet. I made it to the TD Auditorium by 6:30pm, after a little more than two hours of driving. 30 mins early for meeting Cam and Melissa. It was okay, though; I used the time to walk around a bit. The TD Waterhouse Centre is a gorgeous building, with 1000-foot-wide staircases rising 20 feet up to the doors, on both North and South sides. On the East side, a graceful flying walkway connects the staircases to each other and overlooks the will-call/ticket pick up area.
I made my way down to the will-call area, where I was supposed to meet Cam and Melissa. I had just my small backpack me, containing my wallet, camera, and book. Since I had found my bearings and still had 25 minutes or so to go, I took out my book to read a few pages in the twilight. That lasted, oh, all of two minutes. It was just too much fun to people-watch; needless to say there was plenty of Canadiana about, which always helps an ex-pat feel at ease. Oh, who am I kidding… this time of year, Orlando is practically a small chunk of Canada, regardless of the presence of your & my favourite Canadian-folk-pop-rock superstars.
Just after 7pm I met up with Cam, Melissa and part of Melissa’s extended family — Sid and his son Jeff — and we made our way through the gates. After picking up a brand-spankin’ new BNL t-shirt (woo woo) we made our way to our seats for a warm-up by brand new Aussie guitar-vocal one-woman sensation Butterfly Boucher, whose album had just come out two weeks prior. She had a real great stage presence about her, and a good sense of humor to boot. She played perhaps five tracks and then made way for opening act Howie Day.
After seeing a video of Howie creating several tracks by sampling his acoustic guitar for percussion, bass and melody — live — back in December, I was really looking forward to his set; unfortunately we didn’t get to see any of that (it was a straightforward setup with a drummer and two other guitarists), but that’s not why I left disappointed. Why? Because the levels on the bass were way too high, downing out his vocals, as well as any ability I had to communicate verbally with Cam, who was sitting beside me. Later that night he’d also pull a bait-and-switch: promising to sign his CD if you bought it (for sale in the lobby) and then running off just 15 minutes after the show ended, leaving dozens of people with unsigned CDs. Not cool!
Anyway, between Howie and BNL, while folks were at the washroom and buying Bud Light in plastic bottles, we were treated to video of Ed grape-jellying an entire loaf of bread together. This was a follow-up to 20 minutes of rock-paper-scissors shown earlier while Butterfly was setting up.
To make a long story short, the ‘Ladies’ performance was nothing short of stellar. Even though I knew their live shows were good, it didn’t keep me from being thoroughly amazed. They did an tribute to all-things-Orlando, and halfway through they played a trivia game with the audience. Do you know which member of the band recently had laser corrective vision surgery? No, I didn’t know Ed did either, and neither did the guy who they asked, but he got a t-shirt anyway. Nice guys, those ladies.
Some two-dozen songs (including a number choreographed to include shopping carts), a couple parodies of Britney Spears and two encores later, the show was over and it was time to head home. After some negotiation with the security guards, I managed to make it around to where Howie was signing autographs. After watching him flee, I headed out the door toward my car, and was in the process of sidestepping my way past a crowd I thought was composed of Howie and a few more autograph-crazy fans, when a police officer politely informed me of my “nice try” and motioned I stepped back. Uh, whoops! Turns out I had turned onto the street where the BNL tour bus was parked, and that this wasn’t a crowd for Howie at all but BNL superfans hanging out back, waiting for a chance to meet the band. I had a hotel waiting for me and with Tuesday off work, nowhere to be, so I decided to join them. It was straight out of Almost Famous. We were bandaids.
Hah. Except we wait around /after/ the show in order to inspire. *grin* There were about 70 of us, and, after about an hour or so, one-by-one, Ed, Tyler, Steve, Kevin and Jim came by and chatted with all of us. Wow, I was totally star struck, tongue-tied; I think I managed to stammer “The show was totally great!!!” in two syllables and wore a smile much too large for my face…. but I got to meet the Barenaked Ladies! Hee hee.
During the wait I got to talking to some very cool folks; Carrie and Kendra were two of them, and when the batteries on my digital ran out, they offered to take a couple pictures and email them to me. I’ve already got them, and, well, they’re proof positive about that smile I was talking about. Heh.
Epilogue: I spent the next 9 hours until 11am lying in king-sized bed. Oh, man, did I ever sleep well. I definitely need to toss this futon I’m sleeping on right now. Spent the day in Winter Park and had an absolutely great time at an Irish restaurant for lunch and reading in the sunshine in a gorgeous park (lined on one side by a railway line and the other by a quasi-European cobblestone-lined downtown strip filled with cafes, bookshops and restaurants), and then took a leisurely drive back to Sarasota, arriving just after sunset. Best one-day vacation I’ve ever taken.
To come: the pictures, of course. Bed for now.


One day I will build a fountain
Drink and never grow old
Then I’ll market an elixir
that will eliminate the common cold
Find your sickness on my list
Pay up front and make a wish

Woowoo… guess who’s going to see the Barenaked Ladies in concert tonight? This will be the first time I’ve seen them, I can barely contain my excitement here at work. ๐Ÿ˜€
BNL – Some Fantastic [5.8mb, 192 kbps, 4:17] (full lyrics in “more” link)

The Hockey Post

So the game Friday night was pretty cool — with 9.6 seconds left in the third period, the Lightning popped one by the New Jersey netminder to tie the game at 2-2 and went on to win in overtime. Talk about drama! Naturally I took a couple pictures ๐Ÿ™‚
The drive up to Tampa is about an hour up the highway:
[picture: Devils at Lightning, March 5th, 2004]
Downtown Tampa is a little blurry at night.
[picture: Devils at Lightning, March 5th, 2004]
Inside the St. Pete Times Forum, getting some coffee immediately before first period. This took about 15 minutes. They brewed a new urn, and 3/4 of the way through realized they need to put new coffee in the filter. Darren kept me company.
[picture: Devils at Lightning, March 5th, 2004]
Off to a good start!
[picture: Devils at Lightning, March 5th, 2004]
The organ player was in the crowd!
[picture: Devils at Lightning, March 5th, 2004]
We were really high up, so it’s kinda hard to see — but in the center they’re having a beanbag jumping contest. The idea is to jump onto the beanbag as soon as the music stops. Good fun — but don’t miss the beanbag like one of the poor guys here!
[picture: Devils at Lightning, March 5th, 2004]
Jersey player gets a broken nose.
[picture: Devils at Lightning, March 5th, 2004]
One of the Lightning Girls blows a kiss to the audience.
[picture: Devils at Lightning, March 5th, 2004]
A look to my right:
[picture: Devils at Lightning, March 5th, 2004]
A bit of the action.
[picture: Devils at Lightning, March 5th, 2004]
[picture: Devils at Lightning, March 5th, 2004]
The Lightning score and it’s a tie game, yeah! Tampa was being badly outshot to this point.
[picture: Devils at Lightning, March 5th, 2004]
“How’d my hair get so blue?!” Hehee… the crowd is loving the tie game.
[picture: Devils at Lightning, March 5th, 2004]
[picture: Devils at Lightning, March 5th, 2004]
[picture: Devils at Lightning, March 5th, 2004]
Another shot of the arena. Note the netting around the boards near the goal. No puck for you!
[picture: Devils at Lightning, March 5th, 2004]
Cam and Jeff.
[picture: Devils at Lightning, March 5th, 2004]
Darren and me.
[picture: Devils at Lightning, March 5th, 2004]
[picture: Devils at Lightning, March 5th, 2004]
Wahaooo!! Tampa takes it 3-2 in overtime.
[picture: Devils at Lightning, March 5th, 2004]
Cam and crowd.
[picture: Devils at Lightning, March 5th, 2004]
See the guy in white red and black? A big Devil’s fan – aka Joe Mullet. He had the perfect short-long, and every 30 seconds or so he’d yell out “Center it!”.
[picture: Devils at Lightning, March 5th, 2004]
It was a quite a ways down.
[picture: Devils at Lightning, March 5th, 2004]
After the game we headed out to get some dessert. Melissa pops Cam’s cherry.
[picture: Devils at Lightning, March 5th, 2004]
A happy, stuffed and tired bunch.
[picture: Devils at Lightning, March 5th, 2004]
Death by chocolate.
[picture: Devils at Lightning, March 5th, 2004]
Time to head home.
[picture: Devils at Lightning, March 5th, 2004]