Wednesday, April 4

One moment last week

Crazy skies, old military bases, bird sanctuaries, how can anyone not love our island?

Sunday, January 15

ABQ Gold

I know it's been forever since my last post, but instead of making excuses, I'll offer a recipe.

This week, my friend Lawrence got obsessed with recreating a cookie from his childhood that was apparently unique to the bay area: Mother's Flaky Flix. That got me thinking about some of the "treats" I used to eat as a kid, so I asked if he'd ever had the chocolate and peanut butter brick known as a Gold Bar. He had never heard of them, and a quick web search revealed that Gold Bars were (are?) a hyper-localized treasure created by the culinary minds at the Albuquerque Public Schools.

This blog shares a recipe or two and a slew of funny comments by folks raving about eating Gold Bars at APS. I only had the pleasure of enjoying them for one year in the 6th grade at Wilson Middle School before I got shipped across town to Albuquerque Academy (a school with its own unique housemade delectables like Munch Pudding, Nothings, and Veal Birds). I remember my lunch on Wednesdays at Wilson consisted of a Gold Bar (25¢, I think), a giant pickle, and a carton of chocolate milk. Between all that junk food and the cholas wanting to beat me up because I didn't like Michael Jackson, it's a wonder I survived public school at all.

Anyhow, I combined the recipes from the blog and made a few mods to come up with this:

4 tbsp melted butter
2 c peanut butter (I went with crunchy)
2 c powdered sugar
2 tbsp brown rice syrup (this is my hippy substitution for corn syrup, but you could certainly go for light Karo. My other thought was that agave syrup could also work since it's just a small amount to add pliability.)
2 c rice crispies
1 bag chocolate chips

Combine the first 4 ingredients in a big bowl. Fold in the crispies. Press the mixture evenly into an ungreased 9 x 13 pan. I actually think you could do them in a 8 x 8 if you wanted them on the thicker side. I also covered it with a piece of parchment and rolled over the top with a rolling pin to smooth it out, but that's optional.

Melt the chocolate chips until they're smooth and shiny. I did this in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds for about 4 min (but your microwave is probably more powerful than mine, so just keep an eye on it). A double boiler would obviously work, too.

Spread the chocolate evenly over the peanut butter mixture. Stick them in the fridge for 10–15 minutes until the chocolate just starts to re-harden, but is not brittle. This is the time to cut them. In my 6th-grader's mind, they were huge, like 4 x 4, but as a reasonable adult, I cut them into 24 smaller squares. Stick them back into the fridge until they feel solid.


Monday, October 17

Music Monday?

I know nobody asked, but I decided to make a playlist of my 8 favorite female vocalists while waiting for something/anything to happen at work. Et voilà (there's 2 songs by each):

  1. Mia Zapata (The Gits) 
  2. Joan Jett!
  3. Corin Tucker (Sleater-Kinney): It was hard to choose between Corin and Carrie Brownstein (hot), but since the list isn't about looks...
  4. Jody Bleyle (Team Dresch): Another tough choice between 2 great voices in one band, but Jody's voice just edges out Kaia Wilson's for me.
  5. Penelope Houston (Avengers)
  6. Kim Deal (Breeders/Amps/Pixies)
  7. Kathleen Hanna (Bikini Kill): Yes, I love Kathleen Hanna's voice.
  8. Adrienne Droogas (Spitboy): Maybe an acquired taste, but for me her powerful screams bring me right back to a particular time and place (that would be the Bay Area in 1994) when hope and rage were all mixed up and I was punk rock. :)
And this could all change tomorrow (except #1—Mia will always be #1), but there you have it.

Friday, September 30

Apple snakes and Vampires

Somehow 6 weeks has gone by since my last post. This is what it's like when you get close to 40— time speeds up and then you have to piece together what happened. Luckily, there are some clues in the form of ye olde iPhone camera roll, so here's a short list of events since I last went on about that silly bridge:

  • Liz and I spontaneously produced a child (OK, we went for a hike with Britta, Emily and Hugo in the lovely Redwood park)
That's our little Hugo.

  • Spotted some New Mexico green chile in our local supermarket. Decided not to trust it.
The flags were a nice touch, tho.
  • I read the fabulous new young adult novel, And Then Things Fall Apart by my dear friend Arlaina Tibensky. (Do yourself a favor, folks...) Coincidentally, while drinking wine with our neighbors, Tiffany brought out her nail polish collection. So, inspired by said YA novel, I painted my nails blue. 
Punk Rock
  • I won a prize in a drawing for the first time in my life! The prize was entry to an ePublishing conference. Don't make fun—I got to go to Chicago. The conference was actually really useful (if I want to stay employed, that is) even though the McCormick center in Chicago is a miserable, miserable place. Luckily, I had my evenings free to wander around downtown and hit up 3 local breweries (Goose Island, Revolution, and Haymarket). Traveling for business means eating alone, so I've found that it's more comfortable to do so at a bar. I even found time to do a couple of 3 mile runs along the lakeshore which made me feel like a serious runner since I was making it happen in a new city.
The Palmer House. I stayed in this fancy place after a housing CF courtesy of Graph Expo. Long story.
Goose Island Brewing
Bagel + Pretzel = Bretzel. Brilliant.
  • I got to go to an A's game with my ex Maggie and her 2 kids, Lucas (5) and Sora (3). I admit, I was a bit worried about taking little kids to a game, but these 2 were super fun and totally engaged. Lucas patiently absorbed all of my explanations about how baseball works and asked really great questions. For example, he asked how we picked which team to root for, and I explained that the A's are the home team, they're underdogs, and so on, to which he replied, "Yeah, but which team practices more?" Touché. By far my favorite moment, though, was when Sora asked what the vampires were doing. We looked at her like, "Vampires?" and she said, "The guys in black that hang around." Somehow "umpire" morphed into "vampire" for her and now I cannot stop thinking of them as the undead, lurking around, making judgements.
Lucas and me
Sora and her favorite part of the day, a lemonade
There were other wild moments in the past 6 weeks (including a whirlwind overnighter to the faded glory that is Reno, Nevada), but that's probably enough photo-narrating for now.

Monday, August 15

The blog name is a lie

There are actually 4 bridges and 2 tubes on this island city of ours.

When people talk about "the tube," they're actually talking about the 2 parallel bores right next to each other on the west end of the island. They are officially the Webster Tube (Alameda-bound) and the Posey Tube (Oakland-bound).

That's a minor technicality, but the 4th bridge is just an out-and-out omission on my part for no particularly good reason other than "four bridges and a tube" somehow is less poetic to me than "three bridges and a tube." That 4th bridge is actually quite charming and leads to a strange and magical land called Bay Farm Island (whose name is also a lie because it's not an island, but a sort of chunky peninsula attached to Oakland). Bay Farm is an odd collection of suburban homes, lagoons, golf courses, industrial parks, the Oakland Raiders headquarters, a shortcut to the Oakland airport, and a secret (shh) outpost of the always crowded east bay restaurant, La Penca Azul (née La Piñata).

Liz and I actually spend an inordinate amount of time on Bay Farm because it also features some really beautiful running/walking/biking trails. We do most of our longer Couch-to-10K training runs there because the views are awesome, we can run on dirt for a good bit, and there's something special about how isolated we feel out there in the middle of the bay.

Anyway, back to the bridge. We park the car and do our stretches right under the Bay Farm bridge, and last week we had the rare opportunity to see it draw up to let a sailboat or 2 through. This is exciting because: 1) engineering feats, however small, are neat (read: I'm a geek), 2) I've only seen the bridge go up twice in the 5 years I've lived on Alameda, and 3) the adorable adjacent bike bridge (arguably bridge #5) draws up too! Look!

So, to make up for leaving it out of the blog title, consider this my ode to the Bay Farm Island bridge and all the secret fun it leads to.