Wednesday, April 30, 2008

which is the couch to beat?

we finally decided that our loveseat couch is too small. we need a couch for grownups.

picking out furniture always seems to be a torturous process, deciding on style, size, shape, pattern, color, cost. and the couch issue is kind of like when i was looking at getting a new bike; what i like and what i would like to spend seem to be 2 very different things. I wish i just had cheap taste, we could pick up a new couch at the Living Spaces monster store and be done with it. But that is not the case.

So we gotta decide. we like leather, we've got an idea of size & style, sorta. Now color and price seem to be the biggest stumbling blocks. Maybe technology will come to our rescue. I took some photos and did a cheap & dirty job of superimposing different colored couches into the room. Comment on the options below:

"pick all new other furniture" is not a valid suggestion, we're only getting a couch right now.

Dark Brown

Light Brown

Beige / White


Monday, April 28, 2008

paris part II

A follow up to the original post about our Paris vacation. We got all the photos sorted through, here is a selection.

At the Arc de Triumphe, surrounded by the largest traffic circle in the world. Crazy drivers, but it looks pretty good in the light of the sun setting.

Here we are in the Musee D'Orsay, with out iPod headphones on, listening to a little commentary on the place. The building was a train station before becoming a museum 20 years ago. The collection is overwhelming, the building impressive.

Sarah in front of the massive Monet Waterlily paintings which surround two separate rooms in the Musée de l’Orangerie in the Tuilleries garden.

And all the rest of the photos on Flickr

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Little Armenia

I went to go pick up my car for service today at Hollywood Ford, which is basically in Little Armenia in Los Angeles. There are many Armenian immigrants in LA, Glendale has I believe the largest Armenian population of anywhere other than Armenia. What I failed to realize was that today is the commemoration of the Armenian Genocide, and the official march was in Little Armenia.
Armenian drivers

On the commemoration day, people decorate their cars with Armenian flags. Sadly, the first time I saw this I had not idea which country's flag this was and figured some big soccer match or something must have been won and people were celebrating. Now I know.

The Armenians have done well in Los Angeles, here was a big Rolls Royce Phantom decked out in Armenian flags... probably a $300,000 car. I hope those flags don't scratch the paint.
Armenian drivers

Thursday, April 17, 2008

road bikin'

After having an old road bike in a non-working state for months, I finally bit the bullet and got a new (to me) road bike. The old Cannondale had done me well for a long time, but pretty much everything was starting to wear out, and the minor eccentricities of it had started to grate on me.

You can spend as much as you feel like it on a bike these days, and being of a frugal mindset, i wanted a good deal. I monitored craigslist and ebay... and eventually got this Scattante (performance bike's in house brand) with nice 10 speed ultegra components and everything. All I had to to was battle rush hour LA traffic to get there.

So that's the new ride. I will probably take it out for a good distance jaunt this weekend.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

paris part I

Our trip to Paris was great!

we tried to see all the main sites, and do a good job of following the "must see while in paris" lists. We walked ourselves tired each day, got to know the Metro system fairly well and shivered in the non-Socal weather. There will be a Paris part II posting later, when Sarah gets back from the germany/work part of the trip.

some of the highlights were going to the palace and gardens of Versailles, the Eiffel Tower (of course), the Louvre, the Musee D'Orsey (probably our favorite museum of the trip), Sacre Couer Basilica, the Arc de Triumphe, the Pompidou Centre, Cathedral of Notre Dame, St. Sulpice chapel and too many more to keep track of.

The collections of the museums in Paris are just stunning. For example; in most museums, of they even have a Van Gogh painting it is a star of their collection and is called out in all materials. At the Musee D'Orsey, there is an entire gallery of Van Goghs, 4 of which would be considered some of his key works, included in about every article written on him. Kinda blows your mind.

I had collected and downloaded a bunch of audio walking tours and audio guides of things in Paris for our iPods before we left. I had done this before for some walking tours in Sydney, and I thought it might work well for Paris. It really is a nice way to be a tourist.
  1. It's cheaper & faster than getting audio tours everywhere you go.

  2. You look less like a tourist, but you do look like some sort of aloof american who wants to listen to their iPod more than see the sites.

  3. The walking tours bring you to places you may not have visited.

  4. It gives you some additional flexibility when touring: you can go in whatever order you want, people can navigate at their own pace... all good stuff.

Some of the tours we enjoyed were:
  • Rick Steves audio tours - free! for both France & Italy

  • Tourcaster - the Rick Steves guides were a bit more polished, but there is a far larger selection of the tours on Tourcaster... and they are worldwide. These are what I had picked up for Sydney.

and fyi - the Paris Playlist worked well... Sarah was less excited about the Jimmy Buffett inclusions, but overall it was good.

Monday, April 07, 2008

paris playlist

We leave for Paris tomorrow. For the trip i decided to make a playlist for our iPods. I tried to find typically "frenchy" music. It was kind of fun, hunting around. I bought a few songs off Amazon, now that they offer DRM free mp3 songs. Some of the songs we already had, and Les gave helping hand. I also drew from a couple of similar playlists I found;
* Postcards from the Trail
* The Best Trip Ever

I've got a whole pile of stuff in here, I tried to be a bit eclectic, but still include music which was familiar. So here we are, the playlist for Paris.
1Madeleine PeyrouxYou're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You GoCareless Love
2Edith PiafLa Vie En RoseLa Vie En Rose
3Shawn ColvinYou And The Mona LisaA Few Small Repairs
4Pink MartiniVeroniqueHang on Little Tomato
5Eartha KittUnder the Bridges of ParisThat Bad Eartha
6baguette quartette en doucePutumayo Presents French Cafe
7Diana KrallLet's Fall in LoveLive in Paris
8Paris ComboTouriste d'une VieMotifs
9Nat King ColeMona Lisa (2003 Digital Remaster)The World Of Nat King Cole - His Very Best
10Pink MartiniSympathiqueSympathique
11Toots ThielemansSous Le Ciel De Paris (Live)Chez Toots
12Paris ComboRefletMotifs
13Feist1234The Reminder
14Toots ThielemansNe Me Quitte PasChez Toots
15Edith PiafL'EtrangerLa Vie En Rose
16georges brassens je m'suis fait tout petitPutumayo Presents French Cafe
17Lee PhillipsMona Lisa - GrantKFOG Live from the Archives 11 (Disc 1)
18Diana KrallMaybe You'll Be ThereLive in Paris
19CamilleLe FestinRatatouille
20Jimmy BuffettLast Mango In ParisMeet Me In Margaritaville (Disc 1)
21Toots ThielemansLa Vie En RoseChez Toots
22Eartha KittJe Cherche Un HommeSomething's Gotta Give
23Toots ThielemansMoulin Rouge (Live)Chez Toots
24Count BasieApril In ParisVerve's Grammy Winners
25jane birkin elaeudanla téïtéïaPutumayo Presents French Cafe
26Louis ArmstrongLa Vie En RoseThe Essence Of Louis Armstrong
27Madeleine PeyrouxJ'Ai Deux AmoursCareless Love
28Diana KrallI've Got You Under My SkinLive in Paris
29Ella FitzgeraldI Love ParisThe Complete Songbooks: The Cole Porter Songbook- Disc 2
30Paris ComboHigh, Low, InMotifs
31Jimmy BuffettHe Went To ParisMeet Me In Margaritaville (Disc 2)
32polo la fée clochettePutumayo Presents French Cafe
33Toots ThielemansFor My LadyChez Toots
34Paris ComboEtoile PâleMotifs
35Grateful DeadFranceShakedown Street
36sanseverino mal ô mainsPutumayo Presents French Cafe
37Nat King ColeDarling, Je Vous Aime Beaucoup (2003 Digital Remaster)The World Of Nat King Cole - His Very Best
38Madeleine PeyrouxDon't Wait Too LongKFOG Live from the Archives 12
39Etta JamesThere Is No Greater LoveBlue Gardenia
40Diana KrallDevil May CareLive in Paris
41mathieu boogaerts onduléPutumayo Presents French Cafe
42Edith PiafJ'Ai Dansè Avec L'AmourLa Vie En Rose
43Pink MartiniDansez-vousHang on Little Tomato
44Madeleine PeyrouxDance Me to the End of LoveCareless Love
45Eartha KittC'est Si Bon (It's So Good)That Bad Eartha
46Madeleine PeyrouxCareless LoveCareless Love
47Geno Delafose and French Rockin BoogieBye Bye Mon NegPutumayo Presents: Zydeco
48Pink MartiniAutrefoisHang on Little Tomato
49Paris ComboAquariumMotifs
50Charlie ParkerApril In ParisBird: The Original Recordings of Charlie Parker
51barbara si la photo est bonnePutumayo Presents French Cafe

Friday, April 04, 2008

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

We got rhubarb and strawberries, among other things, in our CSA box this week. I had been wanting to make a strawberry-rhubarb crisp for a while, and this was the perfect opportunity. Sarah had claimed to be no fan of rhubarb, but strawberry-rhubarb anything is a whole different thing - the tartness is gone from the rhubarb with the included strawberries.

My mom used to make lots of peach, and blackberry, as well as strawberry-rhubarb cobblers and crisps, especially in the summer. I think I prefer a crisp to a cobbler these days, the crunch is nice. Some time ago I made a fig-raspberry crisp which was great, i made a cranberry-cherry crumble also, which was not so hot.

I used a combination of my grandmother's recipe from the "Minnaert family cookbook" and a recipe from Emeril.