Wednesday, May 31, 2006

DAY 10



The struggle with Adelphia continues. They are scheduled to arrive tomorrow to personally inspect their shoddy product. In an effort to cheer up Our Subject I grilled a couple of bacon-wrapped filets and baked up some potatoes and tossed back a few Corona with him. Want the recipe? Okay, here it is:

Go to Costco and buy 6 bacon wrapped filet for $12 (no kidding!)
Thaw the filet... oh this is where it gets tricky.

So, as you know Gentle Readers (and I mean BOTH of you), I have a day job because this little anthropolical experiment only pays in experience -- you know, like an internship. Anyhoo, said day job means that I cannot be at home preparing meals for Our Subject during the week. He needs to help out if he wants to be fed. So I called him and asked him to thaw out the steaks. And what did he do? Are you sitting down, Gentle Readers? He freaking unwrapped them and put them on a plate in the fridge totally uncovered. So, yeah, they got a wee bit dried out. But I'm pleased to report they were still mighty tasty. You couldn't REALLY tell (unless you knew, which I did). So, back to the recipe...

Fire up the coals
Put the steaks on the grill and sprinkle with Lowry's Season Salt
Put on plates and Voila!

Our Subject's evening appeared to be off to a good start but I've come to know that it just can't last. Sure enough, circa 4 a.m. one of the gazillion smoke alarms in our house began emitting ear-piercing chirps. Five short bursts and then a period of silence. So the first time we ignored it. The second time we got up and looked around but it had stopped chirping so we couldn't tell which one it was -- they all had green lights. The third time Our Subject dashed about in an effort to locate the chirper while still chirping. I am happy to report that he identified the offending unit, ripped it off the wall, and now it's worthless carcass lays in the hall next to the linen closet. I bet it's sorry now.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

DAY 9



All quiet today. Made Brown-Sugar Glazed Salmon for Our Subject's dinner. He appeared to enjoy. Here is recipe for future reference:

1 (1 lb) salmon fillet
Salt & Pepper to taste
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
2 cloves of garlic crushed
1 tsp of grated fresh ginger

Cut salmon width-wise into 4 pieces; Place in a foil-lined(release foil works great)15x10x1-inch baking pan; sprinkle with salt & pepper. Bake uncovered at 425 degrees for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the brown sugar, maple syrup, soy sauce, mustard, vinegar, garlic and ginger; bring to a boil and reduce by half.
Brush sauce evenly over salmon; broil 6-inches from heat for 1 to 2 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Serve with steamed rice and asian-inspired green salad or with asparagas and wedges of lime.

DAY 8



I was very busy today hooking up the new Linksys wireless router. I am pleased to report that it only took one phone call to India (due to an incompatibility with Windows XP) to complete. Anyway, due to said busy-ness I was unable to cook and Our Subject really wanted chicken. The best chicken in the greater Sherman Oaks area is available at Koo Koo Roo.

In the course of securing said chicken, however, I discovered that the Koo Koo Roo on Magnolia and Woodman no longer exists. I know because I called to inquire about their hours and kept getting this woman who was EXTREMELY displeased that her number was listed on google under "Koo Koo Roo, Sherman Oaks, CA." Anyway, I ended up calling Koo Koo Roo in Studio City instead and while on the phone with a very helpful employee I asked about the Magnolia location. The girl on the phone informed me that the Ventura Boulevard location is the only location in the Sherman Oaks vicinity. For whatever reason, Our Subject suddenly developed bionic hearing and vociferously barked in my ear: "Congratulations!"

I suppose he thought it was the pinnacle of hilarity to congratulate the girl on the phone for working at the last standing Koo Koo Roo, but it was just irksome to me (and my now ruptured ear drum). So I told him how irksome his barking was and he shrugged. Which irked me further. Which caused more shrugging. In fact, I was so irked that I breifly considered calling off the whole Sherman Oaks Experiment and letting him fend for himself in Brentwood -- but then I realized that is EXACTLY what he wants. He nearly tricked me; he is very crafty indeed.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

DAY 7



I am growing suspicious that Adelphia is conspiring with the Forces of Evil to throw this experiment off the tracks. Once again the fine company that is Adelphia (and by "fine" I of course mean "crappy") has failed me. For reasons I cannot explain, Gentle Readers, Adelphia is not offering the most recent episode of The Sopranos on demand. Needless to say, the first thing Our Subject wanted upon return to his new home was an episode of the The Sopranos but lo ... it was not there for him. Fortunately, however, the DVR did capture the two-hour season finale of Desperate Housewives. You see, Our Subject has almost no tolerance for DH and so a two-hour episode of same is just what he needed to fall fast asleep last night.

Of course, for a conspiracy there must be a party with whom one conspires. And the party that Adelphia appears to have carefully selected is: the United States Postal Service. That's right, Gentle Readers, no conspiracy is complete without the government.

Today the U.S.P.S. has vexed Our Subject by having not one but TWO distinct post offices on Magnolia and in the vicinity of Sherman Oaks. Our Subject was jonesing something fierce for the two issues of People Magazine that should have been delivered whilst we were in Maui and first thing this morning he headed out to claim our held mail (and his prized copies of People). But the first post office he visited was not the right one and this actually drove him to curse. The second post office, however, was not only the right one but also soothed him dramatically by ushering him to the front of the line -- but this whole ushering business was just a ruse. Yes, an incredibly crafty technique by the government to get Our Subject in high spirits again only to bring him crashing back down. That's right, despite going through the pile several times, Our Subject discovered there were no issues of People.

First no Sopranos, now no People; he needed soothing fast and nothing soothes Our Subject like bagels. So it was off to Noah's New York Bagels on Ventura Blvd (in the La Reina shopping center.) Our Subject put down two whole lox sandwiches on onion bagels. Luckily, they remembered the pickles. I fear that a pickle shortfall could have pushed him over the edge and sent him packing for Brentwood.

DAY 6



I have returned from the Hawaiian Isles with Our Subject (and while it is not the sixth calendar day of our cohabitation, it is the sixth actual day of cohabitation). I could post quite a bit about the sojourn but that would be rather a significant departure from the topic of this journal: Our Subject's Assimiliation in Sherman Oaks. Accordingly, I proceed without further ado.

As you know, Gentle Reader, I had rather high hopes that the South Pacific would calm Our Subject's nerves and thereby make his transition smoother. Alas, my hopes were dashed on the rocks less than 20 minutes after we landed at LAX. Despite Our Subject's downright playful mood during his days in Maui, the second we merged on to the 405 North, Our Subject turned to me and said: "I'll have to be sure not to get off at Sunset Boulevard [his former freeway exit]." I realize that, at first blush, this seems like an innocent comment but that is only because you do not know Our Subject like I do. I fear this statement to be a harbinger of dark days.

Friday, May 19, 2006

DAY 5



I am taking Our Subject to the South Pacific this evening. We leave at 8:00 pm PST. I suspect some R & R will put him in a better frame of mind for assimilating in his new habitat.

It is uncertain whether I will be able to post notes on his progress during this sojourn. But fear not, Gentle Readers, I will take copious notes and post them upon my return, if need be.

I am also bringing my new Canon digital camera. I am hoping to document Our Subject frolicking in the wild.

Aloha! And until next time...

Thursday, May 18, 2006

DAY 4



We had a significant setback last night and so I will have to double my efforts.

First, Adelphia continues to vex Our Subject. As you recall, they failed to install cable prior to Our Subject's arrival in Sherman Oaks (see DAY 1). Now, the cable modem they provided is not properly functioning and their Video On Demand service was relentlessly serving up error messages (recall, that On Demand is how Our Subject accesses past episodes of The Sopranos whenever he needs comforting). Witnessing that Our Subject desperately needed quelling at this point, I delivered him posthaste to Antonio's Pizzeria (located at 13619 Ventura Blvd).

Of course, Our Subject is rather attached to his old Italian eatery in Brentwood: San Genaro (located at140 Barrington Place). San Genaro does have impeccable old-school service, I have to admit. The waiters are all seasoned and highly knowledgable about the dishes and the wine. They deliver your various dishes at exactly the appropriate moment and clear the table in the most subtle fashion. But I honestly find their menu to be wholly unremarkable. Antonio's, on the other hand, makes a positively smashing calssic clam and garlic pizza. Nice big pieces of chopped clams and enough garlic to stop an army of vampires in their tracks, I tell you. Antonio's also makes a fine meatball and Our Subject loves him the meatballs.

Though Our Subject rather enjoyed the fare at Antonio's, the service was clearly unsettling to him. There was but one waiter and he was constantly being harassed by a small boy named Dillon who followed the waiter through the restaurant demanding that a sleight-of-hand coin trick be performed over and over. Even if you could get the waiters attention, he was prone to holding up a single finger (no, not that one) to buy himself more time to roam about the restaurant aimlessly. Antonio's is truly a "neighborhood" restaurant with regular clientelle who don't mind the "relaxed" service, but I have grave concerns about the success of my experiment if these setbacks continue. Accordingly, I will be certain to get Our Subject's Italian food "to go" in the future.

One final note on Our Subject: I have observed that he consistently orders an extra meatball which he cannot consume. As a test, I made audible note of this point whilst he was ordering. He scoffed in response. As predicted, he appeared fully sated after consuming the first. I commented. He defiantly choked down nearly half of the extra meatball but he simply could not put down what remained. And yet he would not admit defeat. What followed was truly intriguing: he chopped up the remains of the meatball (when he suspected I wasn't watching, but I was) and camoflaged them in the remaining pasta! Astounding! I, of course, refrained from further comment as I did not want him to become agitated so close to bedtime. Come bedtime, he definitely appeared smug.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

DAY 3

Today is a very special day for Our Subject because it is the day of the blessed cable TV appointment. Our Subject again appeared anxious but this time over the possiblity of not being prepared to answer the door quickly enough for the cable guy and thereby having to wait another full 24 hours to see The Sopranos (god forbid). Accordingly, he got up extra early and put on jeans, a t-shirt, and a baseball cap, and got back into bed to wait for that heaven-sent knock. When I got home from work the cable was indeed hooked up and, in honor of this auspicious occasion, I made Spaghetti Rustica which Our Subject rather appeared to enjoy eating while sitting on the newly slipcovered couch. He is a rather fastidious eater, however, and I am pleased to report that not a drop of spaghetti sauce landed on said newly slipcovered couch. Here's the recipe for future reference:

Grill 3 or 4 Italian Sausages
Saute one large yellow onion in butter
Add one large can of stewed tomatoes to the onions
Add salt, basil, oregano, and crushed red pepper to taste
Add one teaspoon of sugar (to cut the acidity of the tomatos)
Add a dash of red wine
Slice up the sausages and add them to the sauce and continue to simmer while you cook the spaghetti.
Toss pasta in sauce and: Voila!

DAY 1



On the first day in his new digs Our Subject was irritable and hungry and, needless to say, there wasn't a bite to eat in the new fridge. To give you some background on Our Subject: he is a native of Maplewood, NJ and therefore a devoted fan of Rutt's Hut. Thus, in an effort to make Our Subject comfortable in his new home, I delivered him to the Wiener Factory, on Ventura Boulevard (near Kester Ave.).

I think he actually purred. Despite this fine establishment's "A" rating from the Department of Health (I do not think that Rutt's Hut can make the same statement, by the way), and shockingly courteous staff, WF makes the finest chilli dogs around. After all, they've served over 4 Hot Dogs! It says so on the sign over the take-out window so it must be true.

While the whole hot-dog thing satiated Our Subject for a brief period of time, he became noticably agitated later in the evening when he realized he could not watch The Sopranos during its regular time slot as the cable is not yet hooked up. (I won't mention any names but somebody knew perfectly well when The Sopranos airs and that same somebody is the one who set up the cable appointment and so he has nobody to blame but himself. But I digress.) He was comforted somewhat by the fact that we have subscribed to HBO On Demand so we will ultimately be able to see the episode once cable is hooked up. Nevertheless, we had to briefly discuss the merits of inviting ourselves over to the neighbors to watch it during it's regularly scheduled time. Luckily, he didn't require it.

Why May 5?

Because that's the day I moved to Sherman Oaks with a certain somebody who thinks the Valley like totally sucks for sure. (See what I did there?).

Unbeknownst to him I am documenting his totally awesome cultural assimilation.