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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Who Dey?

Say gonna beat dem Bengals other than the Steelers and Broncos so far? Nobody as seen at the game last Sunday.

L - I - V - I - N

At Chicago's free zoo

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Norma's new shoes

I can hear Hughes singing "The New Shoes" song in my head while I mumble it to Norma.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Meat Sweats

We survived our first tire blow out today somewhere in the middle of Mississippi.  More about that later because right now we are picking up the story from where we left off.  The following events happened from 4-September-2016 to 7-September-2016

Opening Ceremony: Lighting of the Grill
We made it to the official 2016 host site for the International Day of Gluttony, Topeka, Kansas, Saturday night.  Caught up with my quarter brother and family while preparing meat. 

History: The International Day of Gluttony was started somewhere between 8 and 10 years ago by my quarter brother Jay.  Tired of all the regular holidays and the various obligations that come with each one, Jay wanted something different.  Something dedicated to food, mainly meat, followed by beer.  The entrepreneur he is, Jay decided to create his own holiday and thus is born the International Day of Gluttony.  The International Day of Gluttony is strategically placed the Sunday before Labor Day, a US Bank holiday.  It starts around noon.  If you want to go to church before hand you sure can. Every year on this day Jay cooks copious amounts of meats with a sundry of seasonings, spices and cooking methods.  Some years have a theme, others not.

Seared to create the Maillard reaction                 Pressure cooked                                                    Sauce

This year treats included ridiculous stakes, flank steak, pork ribs, wilted (translated as flashed pickled) lettuce in a sweet vinegar and bacon dressing, and for dessert; caramel and chocolate covered pork jowls on homemade bourbon ice cream.  The cooking tactics were wild and varied, most of it focused on drawing out the Maillard reaction, but I would say the most succinct synopsis of what I saw can be found as a LifeHacker.  I saw all those considerations taken on board and drizzled with wisdom. Jay takes that article from print to practical using propane torches* and pressure cookers.  
Salted, dried and cooked steak    Mound of flank steak                       Caramel and pork jowls

Many gluttons came, including one from as far as Portland, Oregon.

Long after everyone left and the leftovers were sealed, Nicole and I remained.  We got bogged down into this wonder funk that I can only describe as a meat hangover.  The heat was oppressive, and doing anything beyond the minimum required great scrutiny that tore all objectives into idol meanderings.  The day after the International Day of Gluttony, also known as Labor Day, Jay, myself and a bunch of other people had our NFL fantasy draft which set in motion a whole other series of events.  First it is was, "Let's continue the 'beginning of the NFL season celebration' by watching Any Given Sunday".  Next…, we were on a bing.  

A week before I had never even heard of the ESPN series "30 for 30" and now and within a day or two I had seen many episodes: Small Potatoes: Who Killed the USFL, 85 Bears, Broke, Pony Exce$$, Elway to Marino, You Don't Know Bo.  Every episode is on Netflix.  Then we moved onto the Dallas Cowboys glory years.  We watched the stories about the "Great Wall" of Dallas and the bit about Jared Allen.  I would have suggested some Bengals tribute, but we still have yet to develop that legacy.  The meat hangover lasted three days requiring a gradual reduction of meat intake to minimize the meat tremors and terrors.

The last day we were almost travel ready and felt well enough to leave the house to watch my 1/4 niece Larissa in the Topeka production of Nunsense.  If you are in the area, it is a must, make it happen.  Opening night was 9-Sept-2016, we were the sole guests on Wednesday the 7th and it was spectacular.  Many thumbs up (no pictures as all electronic devices were off).

This concludes my research into the International Day of Gluttony. I have determined that this holiday is under-celebrated and should be much bigger.  I for one will be setting up a satellite celebration where ever I am next year.

* To be clear no meat was cooked using propane.  Propane was used to light the lump charcoal and get it to cooking temperatures really really fast.  Obviates the need for any sort of lighter fluid. 

Norma lost a sneaker in Mississippi

Monday, September 12, 2016

Call of the wild

If you haven't figured it out, there are some timing issues going on with the posts.  I am catching up on previous events while rolling down the road.  The following happened September second and third 2016:

We rattled on, a little off course, through Illinois on into Clinton, IA to have a missed connection with a high school friend.

I knew we weren't going to make it to Kansas today, late start as usual, but I thought maybe Des Moines.  The sun was plummeting and the World's largest truck stop was on the horizon, There was no way we were making it to Des Moines.

Find Frog - Trucker Style

After a quick magnet and bumper sticker pick up at I80 Iowa, we flitted like a moth into the Amana, Iowa.  Not quite to Des Moines, but close to where my father's parents and my ancestors are buried, we crashed.  We found an RV park among the Amana Colonies and called it a night: Nothing unusual, a call ahead, an envelope to pick up, and a slot to sleep in.
<vuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu>OOOOOOWWWWWW, HOW, HOW, HOWWWWWWWl!<ummmmmmmm>HOW HOW HOWLLLLLLLL!<mmmmmmmmmmm>. 

"Are those coyotes?
"Who the hell is vacuuming their RV at 8 am right next door?"
"Are coyotes even native to the area?"

I am irritated,  Nicole is looking out the blinds, and one mystery is quickly solved.  

Not vacuuming, but blow drying their dog.  What?  I have a new mystery on my hands.  I throw on the coffee and stumble out of Norma like a new dawn being birthed; stumbling, births and new days happen all the time but every one is different.  Only one new camper sitting next to us from the previous night, and it is the women drying her dog off on the table while smoking a cigarette in her pjs.  I walk down the loose gravel path toward the sound of coyotes.  I found another RV out on the edge of the park by itself with a fence caging a dozen huskies.  I look down the slope and there are dogs, hundreds of dogs.  We woke up to a regional dog show put on by the Cedars Rapid Kennel Club.  I have to watch "Best in Show" again soon, real soon.

As I said, so close I have to visit the relatives in Pilot Grove Cemetery that traces me back to Germany on my father's side. Well over 30 headstones say Lortz here.  I haven't met 30 Lortz's in my life.

That and my parents stone from Billings, MT makes this a bit retrospective and yeah you can take 1985 and '86 back and
while we are at it 2001.
Mom and Dad
We bypassed the western side of Iowa and cut down south from Des Moines and sombered onto the Day of Gluttony… I'm not ready to visit the headstones on my mother's side in the other half of Iowa.

Found a demon frog in AR

Memphis World's Fair - Bass Pro Shop

Just think of the missed opportunities for consumerism at other World's Fair sights. I am looking at you Paris and Seattle.

Bill library

Is it worth 10$ per person or would I rather go golfing?

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Catching up in WI

Where did we leave off?  Somewhere in Minnesota into Wisconsin.  That seems like miles away and ancient history.

We roared into Wisconsin and didn't even slow down for fog or corners.  Minnesnowta was nice and fun but we had to get to Madison.  I have been wanting to see the Madison crew in their natural habitat for a long time and it was finally happening.  We drove past loads of corn and smells in the fog to get to the Henderson's.  

First question out of the way - no, Harry was not there, sorry.  However, even better than Harry was Bentley, Sir Bentley Furry Bottoms.  While still a pup, he clearly is ready to assume the throne at a bodacious 150 lbs (68 kgs for the rest of the World and those Brits who think otherwise). 

Oddly enough there were not many pictures taken in Madison, probably best for all those involved.  It was low key and pretty much the best soul soothing experience to be with a mellow family that have worked on getting the groove right for years.  Thanks Mike and Emily. 

Then there was Care Bear, then there was Care Bear who wanted to be Care Bare in Lake Mendota.  As Nicole says, that bear is "coocoo for coco puffs".   That didn't happen, but he did successfully coax a guy, with a speaker on his shoulder, to follow us while we rocked it.  By "it" I mean the Terrace at the University of Wisconsin, yeah we owned it.  Ask anyone. I have video footage.  We totally owned it.

The Henderson's all of them: Mike, Emily, Nina, Anne, Will and Bentley and their gracious hospitality. (mis-spellings all over the place I am sure).
Madison peeps I saw: Brad, Mandy, Emily and Brian
Madison peeps I missed: <sort of an unknown solider thing here but they know who they are>
National Mustard Museum - Go Poupon U!

Not visiting my cousin in Milwaukee 
My sportsmanship Slamwich conduct - I am officially retired, I am too competitive with this one game and I feel dirty when it is over.  Fun game, but not with me.

By Day
By Night

Sandy, this is my platform.

Epic, is Epic.  This campus is like no other work campus I have been on. Hats off to Epic and all the people that built that place brick by brick, variable by variable, compile by compile.

<cough> and then we trampled onto Kansas, via Illinois and Iowa.

Notional ideas for further travels

Hopeful, notional and possibly too aggressive.  Oh well here we come.  If you are in the 'danger zone' and willing to host Norma Rose for a day let me know.

Saturday, September 10, 2016