Tuesday, July 24, 2007


I think I've found the perfect birthday present for me:

No, not a disembodied hand. I'm talking about the thing the hand is holding - the Sony Reader for ebooks.

I love reading, and I like having a book with me, but that means carrying it in my purse, which can get heavy. It also means I have to commit to one book, which is sometimes difficult for me. A couple of years ago, I went through a spell of reading on my Pocket PC. I read three Jane Austen novels and Vanity Fair on a tiny screen, but at least I had a portable library. Eventually, I grew bored of squinting, so I abandoned reading books on my phone and opted instead for weekend trips to the bookstore, where I've since read three or four more books, compliments of Borders.

Now, though, I have the urge again to take my reading with me. It helps that I started a great book over the weekend that I can't wait to read more of (Ian McEwan's Saturday). It also helps that most of McEwan's books are available on Sony's ebook site, Connect, for purchase and download.

So... this device is a perfect pairing of my love of gadgets and reading. I've been researching it all weekend, and am going to go see one in person at the Sony store over lunch. Maybe my birthday will come early this year.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Local flavor.

Dan over at Gone Mild has a terrific post about supporting our local Kansas City eateries. We're pretty good about that already. In fact, with the occasional exceptions of Taco Bell, Subway and Starbucks, we're local KC-eatery exclusive. Here are a few of our favorites, in no particular order:

  • Room 39 - 39th St. near KU Med - The menu changes daily, so check their site often to see what's cooking. Everything - I mean everything - we've tried there has been outstanding. They even got me to love crave roasted Brussels sprouts.

  • Tokyo Japanese Steakhouse - Off of 169 highway and Barry Road in KC North - Don't let the decor that is reminiscent of an airport lounge fool you: the sushi here is terrific. They have a happy hour that runs from Monday through Thursday, 4:30pm to 6pm, where all rolls are 25% off and hot sake is 50% off. Try the Rock 'n' Roll - a radish sprout and avocado roll topped with broiled scallops in a creamy sauce. We're there at least twice a week, so if you come early, maybe we'll run into each other.

  • Mr. Le's Sushi Bar and Vietnamese - Sleazy grocery store complex at the corner of Parvin and N. Brighton - There are some places that I would never take my parents, not because the food isn't good, but because of the dubious cleanliness and patronage. Mr. Le's is one of these places. The place is clean on the inside, but the surrounding area is not necessarily one that is conducive to great sushi. However, the sushi is actually quite good, and the spring rolls are even better.

  • Malay Cafe - When this place first opened, I think we single-handedly kept it in business. We'd eat there at least twice a week, and were often the only people in the place. We've cut back in the last year or so, both because we're a bit bored with it, and also because I don't know if the quality is quite as high as it used to be (the owner was not there the last few times we went, which may be why). But it's still a great place, and we do go every couple of months. The best bets are the Royal Almond Chicken, Mas Chicken, and the Green Paw.

  • Kin Lin - 51st and Oak - After some unpleasant experiences, I decided to give this place another shot after they expanded and appear to have cleaned up their act a little. They're on a one-strike-and-you're-out plan, though. If I see another bug in my food, I don't care how broke I am, I am not going back. Jesus, I can't believe I went back at all, but I can't eat at Subway any more, dammit!

  • Vietnam Cafe - 39th and Rainbow - The best spring rolls in town, period.

  • Sakura - 75th and Neiman -The best (and only) sushi train in town, period.

I've purposely left one place off of that list because I think they need more than just a bullet. I am talking about Longboards (6269 North Oak Twfy), my current favorite place to eat. Hidden in a strip mall, the place is so nondescript that I drove right by it for two years, thinking it was a skateboard shop or some other business I had no interest in. Sara at Noodletown wrote about Longboards back in May, and based on her recommendation, we tried it out. Never have I been so happy with a restaurant find.

The menu has lots of choices for every mood.

Being in Longboards is like being in a Jack Johnson video. There is soothing yet upbeat music (a rotating blend of Jack Johnson, 311, and others), calm, beach-inspired colors, lots of surf boards and tikis, dim, but not too dim lighting, and it always seems to be the perfect temperature in the place. All of the employees are laid back and very friendly. When we go for dinner, there are usually one or two other couples there. However, last week while on vacation, we made the mistake of going there during lunch, where we were greeted by half of Cerner. Those Cerner folks have good taste.

Our typical meal consists of their pork luau grilled wrap (we sub chicken) which is meat, pepper jack cheese, rice, stir-fry veggies, something they call Hawaiian relish, and teriyaki sauce, wrapped up and grilled. We have them cut it in half, and then we get two spring rolls. We spend less than $10 bucks total, for great food and atmosphere. I can't recommend this place strongly enough.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Vacation - all I ever wanted.

I was off work last week, during a vacation which consisted of a whole lot of baseball, Warcraft, sushi, movies, TV and sleep. It was fantastic.

  • Our nephew, Nate, played in the 2007 11 and under AAA World Series. His team, the Remax Rebels, placed second out of 72 teams. Nate, being the consummate catcher that he is, caught for all thirteen games during the 7-day series. While the Rebels lost in the championship game to the Kansas Coyotes (a ringer team made up of the best players from several Kansas teams), they played their hearts out, which made for some pretty intense baseball. I don't even like baseball, but I'm starting to come around. Here are a few shots from some of their games:

    While we've gone to many of his games over the years, we weren't what you would call regulars until this season. In fact, we were out at the World Series tournament for four out of the seven days, seeing a total of eight games. Couple that with the sun and heat, and we are practically saints.

  • We went and saw two movies last week. The first, Ratatouille, was absolutely fantastic. I loved every second of it. Not only is it a remarkable animated film, it's a remarkable film, period. The story and characters are every bit as real as "traditonal" film. I look forward to catching this one when it hits high def.The second film we saw was the John Cusack/Stephen King flick, 1408. It was okay, but not very memorable. It was pretty creepy, and was sufficiently scary without being over-the-top gross or disturbing. What I'm saying is, 1408 doesn't turn into a Nine Inch Nails video, like so many horror flicks do anymore. What happened to good ol' fashioned suspense? Most filmmakers seem to think you have to have pig heads in jars and severed appendages to be creepy. No thanks.

  • As it's summer, I'm of course getting sucked into the black abyss that is Big Brother 8. It happens every year, so don't act surprised. While I didn't want to like Evil Dick, I think he's currently my favorite hamster. I also like the whole America's Player thing - the fact that Eric was surprised that America wants Jessica out of the house is proof that we know better than the hamsters can ever know.

  • Rags seems to be doing really well on his insulin. He's also getting a little too used to the soft food, demanding it every time we step foot in the kitchen. I may be reaching here, but I actually think his fur is looking better, too - not as dry and dull.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Friday Throwdown

I've been lazy with the blog lately. Get over it.

  • Remember Rags? Don't worry - he's not dead. He's just recently been diagnosed with diabetes. The good news is that it's totally treatable, so he should be okay. The bummer is that now we have to give him insulin shots twice a day. Rags sees this as a positive, since we give him some canned tuna right before he gets the shot. Here's another picture of him in all his Ragamuffin glory:

  • Last week I was in St. Louis for a class. I got to see Adam and Rob, which was excellent (thanks for being my tour guide and for buying me dinner!), but I developed a really awful sore throat the last day I was there, which wasn't so excellent. It's better now, but I still sound a bit froggy.

  • Yesterday, I read The Last Question by Issac Asimov. I enjoyed it. That's all I'll say about it, other than you should read it, too.

  • I am loving the new HBO series, Flight of the Conchords. Also, I think the character of Mel must be partially based on the woman who runs this site.

  • I really, really hate fireworks. Not the big display kind - those are beautiful to watch. I'm talking about the fireworks that the dirtbags in my neighborhood shoot off. Why do some people take such pleasure is blowing stuff up? It's loud and dangerous. It scares the hell out of my dog and keeps me awake until after midnight. Go out to the fucking country if you want to shoot off fireworks, assholes.

  • Apparently, zombies like brains and turtles. Go figure.