Pie Day

Thursday, 22 November 2007

DSC02375 Pie Day! Last night, we made pie. A slight al­ter­ation to my mother’s pecan pie recipe [maple syrup in­stead of corn syrup] and a new one, an Apple and Tart Cherry pie. Debbie made the crust from scratch, im­press­ing the hell out of me. It took a few hours, and I was ex­hausted by the time I pulled the pecan pie out at 11pm. I can’t wait to eat them to­day, though. Recipe time, oh hell yes. Click on the pic­ture to go to the whole set of pho­tos from the night.

Pecan Pie v. 1.2


  • 3 eggs
  • 1 C. sugar
  • ½ t. salt
  • 13 C. melted but­ter
  • 1 C. fake maple syrup
  • 1 C. finely chopped pecans for mix
  • whole pecans for top­ping the pie
  • 1 t. vanilla ex­tract


Mix every­thing to­gether in a medium mix­ing bowl.
Line a 9” pie pan with the dough and bake for 5 min­utes at 450°; re­move and change oven to 375°.
Pour pie mix­ture into crust.
Cover en­tire top with whole pecans.
Bake for around 45 min­utes.

I found the Apple and Tart Cherry pie recipe on Epicurious, posted there from Bön Apétit’s November 1997 is­sue. Cardamom was a great and in­ter­est­ing spice to use, a first time for me. Although it looks like mouse crap when you de-pod it, it smells de­li­cious af­ter it has been suf­fi­ciently pes­tled and will be of­ten added to my hot choco­late this win­ter.


Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Quandary These signs have been around Downtown for a month or so now. I still don’t quite know how I feel about them. I don’t know how bad the homeless/​panhandling sit­u­a­tion is here in Cleveland, and whether or not it war­rants a cam­paign with this level of blunt­ness or scope. It is sup­ported by The Homeless Grapevine, and var­i­ous other home­less-tar­geted so­cial ser­vice agen­cies, but it cer­tainly doesn’t give off a very char­i­ta­ble vibe. The Downtown Cleveland Alliance [DCA] web­site of­fers some elu­ci­da­tion:

One of the ul­ti­mate goals of the cam­paign is to show a dis­tinc­tion be­tween pan­han­dlers and the home­less. Many of the pan­han­dlers down­town are in fact not home­less and dam­age the im­age of the home­less that are in need. Our goal is to make sure people’s gen­eros­ity is not mis­guided, but rather goes to­wards or­ga­ni­za­tions mak­ing a real dif­fer­ence. Instead of giv­ing money to a stranger on the street, peo­ple can now do­nate money to help rep­utable or­ga­ni­za­tions that have been pro­vid­ing food, shel­ter, coun­sel­ing and job train­ing to the home­less for years.

Nevertheless, it hurts to see those im­per­sonal signs next to the panhandlers/​homeless, on the streets. At the same time, it is an in­ter­est­ing chess game be­tween this ini­tia­tive and those it tar­gets, and the ter­ri­tory be­ing fought over is the moral mind of any­one walk­ing the streets down­town. I’ve wres­tled with this is­sue be­fore, but now that there is an­other player it is eas­ier to ex­am­ine my own re­ac­tions to home­less­ness and char­ity.

The DCA is try­ing to cur­tail pan­han­dling and si­mul­ta­ne­ously force the home­less to ac­cept the so­cial ser­vices avail­able to them by re­mov­ing the DCA’s main com­pe­ti­tion, folks who do­nate on the street. I’m not mak­ing a moral judg­ment here, just show­ing what I see as the mech­a­nism be­hind this ef­fort. The ads play on the guilt of passers-by, and ab­solve them for not giv­ing while si­mul­ta­ne­ously of­fer­ing them an al­ter­na­tive to as­suage the guilt on their own by do­nat­ing to the DCA.

The homeless/​panhandler re­sponse has been in­stinc­tive and quite clever, I think. By just about every sign there are one or two homeless/​panhandlers with their cups out. Their in­ten­tional jux­ta­po­si­tion com­pletely sub­verts the in­tent of the sign and strength­ens the guilt one feels by not giv­ing. The sign, next to an ac­tual hu­man in need, seems in­hu­man. Too bad the whole sit­u­a­tion is emo­tion­ally abus­ing to the bat­tle­field. A bit hy­per­bolic in this sit­u­a­tion, but:

When two ele­phants are fight­ing, the grass is what suf­fers.


Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Birthdays get pro­gres­sively more bor­ing as one ages. Other than the ini­tial “Yay It’s my birth­day!” upon wak­ing up to­day isn’t go­ing to be much dif­fer­ent than usual. Although I might stop by Dave’s and pick up a sugar-cream pie on my way home. Oh man, I love me some sugar-cream pie. One year ago, I put in my no­tice at my old job. That was a great birth­day present. Whenever I get frus­trated here at the County, I just re­mem­ber how life-suck­ing the work at Thomson-West was and thank my lucky stars.

A lot has changed in a year. I’ve grown into my job, there is a new con­fi­dence in me when I hop around town talk­ing to dif­fer­ent County de­part­ments about im­prov­ing their web pres­ence. I ac­tu­ally have an ex­per­tise that can im­prove the way they in­ter­act with the pub­lic on the web, and the chance to use it. In the last year, I broke up with an old girl­friend, bought a house, found a new great woman, rode my bike to work for seven months, and took pub­lic trans­porta­tion for the other five. I also broke a big toe and an el­bow and fi­nally got to play Punk Rock Softball. I’m also se­ri­ously cash-strapped as the house ab­sorbs all of my money. So if any­one wants to treat me to my new fa­vorite meal [a cheese­burger, sweet potato fries and a Guinness at Prosperity] tonight, I’m cer­tainly down for that. Tuesday is the day for the cheese­burger deal at happy hour, if I’m not mis­taken.

I didn’t make ribs this year, which was un­for­tu­nate. I am go­ing to have two Thanksgivings though, so that will make up for it.

I must be hun­gry.

Not Grounded

Thursday, 15 November 2007

A few weeks ago when I in­stalled a dim­mer in the mas­ter bed­room, I was heart­ened to see that the wall box had a ground wire in it, wait­ing to be hooked up. I hoped that this was a good sign for the rest of the house, which has un­grounded sock­ets. Unfortunately, tonight when I tried to change a socket, there was no ground wire present. That means I’m go­ing to have to have an elec­tri­cian come in and in­stall them through­out the house, in all the sock­ets that don’t have them. Only the kitchen, and the room im­me­di­ately off of it have grounded plugs, and I’m not even sure if they are truly grounded, or just have three holes and no ac­tual ground wire in­side of them. This is en­tirely pos­si­ble, be­cause even the an­cient plugs that are cur­rently scat­tered about were in­stalled in­cor­rectly to my un­trained eye. You can screw the out­lets di­rectly into the wall boxes from the out­let it­self, but also through some ex­tra screws in the wall box. The old out­let was all bent out of shape be­cause this wasn’t done.

It is in­ter­est­ing and crazy at times to won­der what peo­ple were think­ing when they did cer­tain half-assed things. I mean, I haven’t done all that I can in the paint­ing of the two rooms I’ve done thus­far, but I haven’t don’t a shitty job on any­thing.

Also, nearly three weeks af­ter get­ting my wis­dom teeth re­moved, I pulled a shard of bone from one of the up­per sock­ets. I’d felt a lit­tle hard nub­bin up there for awhile, but wasn’t able to get it out un­til to­day dur­ing the Use Case class I’m tak­ing in Independence, right down the street from my old job.

Physical Therapy II

Monday, 12 November 2007

I had my sec­ond phys­i­cal ther­apy ap­point­ment to­day. The ther­a­pist put heat on my bi­cep for ten min­utes and then gave it a mas­sage for a bit more. She thought that it might be tight­ened and pre­vent­ing my arm from full ex­ten­sion. She was right, a bit. I’ve made good pro­gress with the ex­er­cises al­ready, only 10° [the hard­est ones to get back] from nor­mal on ex­ten­sion, and about 20° from bend­ing it in half. Pretty good con­sid­er­ing that I have four more ses­sions to get the rest back on track.