Author Archives: rustypants

About rustypants

at 46 years of age i still defy definition. what can i say?

Vegetarian Goetta? Aw, heck yeah! I got your recipe right here!

Cincinnati is a strange place.

Strange customs. Strange sayings. Strange food.

Mmmm. The food!

Having gone vegetarian a number of years ago, I rarely ‘miss’ meat. I don’t really even think about it anymore. But there are things that I do miss from back home like Gold Star Chili, Graeter’s Ice Cream, and Goetta.

Now, Goetta’s definitely a strange one, and it’s uniquely Cincinnati in the sense that, besides scrapple in the NJ / DC corridor, you won’t hear about this elsewhere or even have a reference for what it’s similar to. The traditional recipe is a combination of leftover pork (post-processing), steel cut oats, onions, and a variety of other spices, the likes of which vary from family to family / recipe to recipe. I’ve not had goetta in a good number of years because of the vegetarian journey I’ve been taking, but that all changed last year when my Dad took me to Melt in Cincinnati’s Northside community. They had a vegetarian Goetta sandwich that was absolutely divine.

And it drove me nuts. Being in Pensacola, FL makes it difficult to stock up on this stuff, so I did what I usually do when there’s something I really want to eat again but cannot afford it or cannot obtain it: I figure out how to make it.

It took 7-8 test batches before landing on the following recipe, an amalgam of several traditional goetta recipes, some vegetarian cooking common sense, and a few ideas offered by family and friends. Let me reiterate this: goetta does not have a single, end-all recipe, so what follows is simply what I’ve come to enjoy for any number of reasons.

Rustypants’ Vegetarian Goetta

1 c Steel Cut Oats
1 c Bulgur Wheat
1/2 lg onion, pureed
6 tbsp real butter
2 c vegetable broth
1.5 tsp poultry seasoning
1.5 tsp ground sage
3 garlic cloves finely chopped
1/2 c cooking sherry
1/2 tsp pepper flakes (or more or less)
2 bay leaves
Salt
Pepper

1. Soak the oats and wheat together in water for 4-5 hours. Drain leftover water.

2. Add all the ingredients together and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium / medium-low and continue to boil, stirring frequently (say, every 5-7 minutes). Mixture will begin to thicken after a while and won’t “boil” any longer, but it’s still not done. Maintain the heat and stir frequently. Keep stirring. Keep cooking. Nope. It’s still not done. That’s right – keep stirring. Keep cooking.

Now, here’s the trick: You want your goetta to stay together, right? So you can slice it and cook it in a loaf-like way. Well, your mixture needs to become thicker than wallpaper paste. Thicker than glue. It needs to be so thick that you’re wondering how much more you can possibly stir it. It doesn’t need to be dry like play-doh, but it needs to be difficult (way difficult) to stir. There can’t be any “juice” left, just a paste-like consistency. (I’m gonna say that the double-batch of this recipe takes no less than an hour from the time I put all the ingredients together in the pot and when it’s finished)

3. While you’re waiting, get a 9×9 square glass pan, spray some Pam (or spread some butter) in the pan. Once you’ve determined it’s done, you need to pop that stuff right into the pan, smooth it out on top, let it sit on the counter for an hour or two and cool off, then saranwrap that sucker, pop it in the fridge and let it “set” for at least 8 hours.

4. In the morning, slice that loaf up into 1/2″ slices, put some butter in a pan, and fry the hell out of it!

Mmmm-mmm! You just made some damn fine goetta!

 

A photo posted by scott (@rustypants) on

Big (old) Dog vs. Great Blue Heron, pt. 2

dolby-GBH

 

We don’t take Dolby out to the beach nearly as often as we used to. Back in the day he’d follow us up and down the shoreline as far as we could go, chasing after crabs, taking a dip in the water here and there, sniffing after weird stuff washed up on shore, and running pell-mell after errant pelicans, seagulls, and Great Blue Herons.

But Dolby is nine years old now. He’s slowed down quite a bit in the last couple years and having arthritis in his hips hasn’t helped that. Some days, just seeing him trying to get into the car is a painful thing to watch. So we’re more selective about when we take him down to the beach where the shifting sand makes walking more difficult.

We took him to Pensacola Beach with us this past Thursday. He walked maybe 30 yards one way, then 30 yards the other with us, but finally took up residence on the beach blanket while Lise went hunting for shells and I went hunting for perspective.

The sun was already near the horizon and was shaping up to be a very nice sunset. I noticed a Great Blue Heron had landed 30 yards away from us, so I mounted the camera on the tripod, turned myself around, and took a few shots. I asked Dolby who it was that was down the beach from us, and he got his excited-puppy look on his face, his ears perked up, and he searched the shore for what intruder I might be inquiring about.

I watched him for a few seconds, determined that he was more than likely not going to move, and went back to zooming in on the GBH and getting a few more shots.

Now, I noticed the heron quickly turn its head, but I didn’t realize why he’d done it. UNTIL. Until the fuzzy black butt of my dog appeared in the frame of my next shot. He didn’t get as close as he used to, and he was more bumbling than running, but he gave it a good try.

And of course I have a series of shots to prove it and an overly long story to tell of our sweet old boy.

Anticrepuscular Rays

One thing about Pensacola sunsets that has blown my mind since we moved here is this optical illusion known as anticrepuscular rays. It’s not an everyday thing, but it’s frequent enough that I’m not surprised when I see it. IMG_2751sq This shot is from Christmas Eve just as the sun is setting. Because of how those rays appear, one might think that this is looking due West, after the sun has actually set. This is not the case, however! This view is to the East, and the point where the rays converge is the exact opposite of where the sun is setting in the West.

Quoting the website “Atmospheric Optics” (atoptics.co.uk): “They appear to converge towards the antisolar point, the point on the sky sphere directly opposite the sun. Like crepuscular rays they are parallel shafts of sunlight from holes in the clouds and their apparently odd directions are a perspective effect. Think of a long straight road, it converges towards the horizon but turn around and it also converges to the opposite horizon.” IMG_2753sq Sometimes I get so focused on the sunset itself that I forget to turn around and see if this effect is in play on that night. Thankfully I did, as this is one of the most amazing displays of anticrepuscular rays I’ve seen yet.

Movies That Stamped Me

I’ve had several conversations recently with folks about Top Five or Top Ten movies of all time / movies that made an impression / movies that changed our lives (for better or worse). I realized that I’d not put a definitive list together of OMG All-Time Favorite Movies.

Now, having had some time to think about it, this list is not exhaustive or definitive, but it does contain movies that have left their mark on me in one way or another.

Top Twenty Favorite Movies (in no specific order):

  1. Amélie
  2. Dead Poet’s Society
  3. Terminator 2
  4. The Producers (1969)
  5. Big Fish
  6. 12 Monkeys
  7. Hot Fuzz
  8. The Last Waltz
  9. Cinema Paradiso
  10. Stranger Than Fiction
  11. Being John Malkovich
  12. Monty Python and the Holy Grail
  13. The Game
  14. The Fisher King
  15. A.I. (Artificial Intelligence)
  16. Kill Bill Vol. I & II
  17. Eyes Wide Shut
  18. Star Wars trilogy
  19. Pink Floyd’s The Wall
  20. Young Frankenstein

 

Five Reasons You Might Meet My Middle Finger While I’m Biking

Before I started commuting by bike in 2010, I’d heard stories about the abuse that can be dumped on cyclists. I’d seen the rants on cycling forums, talked with folks who had horror stories of interactions with motorists, heck, I’d even seen some of it firsthand. But I doubt that there was anything that could have prepared me for the realtime, in-the-moment attitudes of automobile drivers towards me on my bike.

I offer to you, in response to those attitudes, the Five Reasons You Might Meet My Middle Finger While I’m Biking.

Five Reasons You Might Meet My Middle Finger While I'm Biking

Reason #5 – Trash Talkin’

I’m lucky in my daily commute that I’m unable to wear my hearing aids while biking. It probably reduces the number of times I give the finger significantly, but nevertheless, I have folk who are determined to make sure I hear them yell at me out their window as they drive by.  I’ve been screamed at (no intelligible words, just screaming), and been told:

  • I’m fat
  • My mama _______________
  • Get on the sidewalk
  • Get the fuck out of the street
  • Get a car
and my personal favorite:
  • “Get your fat, cracker ass out of the street, motherfucker!”
Friends, believe me: If you scream at me out your window in frustration or exasperation, I’m going to be sure to give you one more thing to be frustrated about. That’s right: The Finger™.

Reason #4 – The Side Door Smackdown

Cruising down the street, paying attention to my surroundings, other vehicles, the pavement, loose animals,  broken glass, stop signs, stop lights, pedestrians, road conditions – it’s all a part of commuting to work and using my bike to run errands and get around town. One thing I’m not always able to do, however, is keep track of who’s behind me and what they’re going to do.

I’m glad that this has only happened to me once, but coming up on a street to the right of me in a quiet, residential section of Pensacola several months ago, I had a car make a hard right turn directly in front of me into the side street. I slammed on my brakes quick as I could, but still hit their back door and went flying off my bike into the street, yelling at the top of my lungs (and scared to death).

Their reaction? Didn’t even slow down. Kept right on going.

Now, I’d hit their car (tactile). I yelled at the top of my lungs (auditory). I flew off my bike (visual). And they didn’t see, hear, or feel that? Yah, right. A dude in an SUV traveling the other side of the road, music blaring with his windows up heard me and made a u-turn to make sure I was alright.

And I was alright. You know why? Because I’d unleashed The Finger™ on that jackass who doored me.

Reason #3 – The Buzz

I wish I didn’t have so many incidents involving The Buzz to share, but I do.  There are several variations to The Buzz that all involve cars getting too close to me while I’m on my bike, so allow me to explain:

  • The Texting / Makeup / Sandwich Buzz – this buzz happens when folks aren’t paying attention to the road while I’m biking in their immediate vicinity. I can usually tell these folks by the sudden jerk / swerve after they hear me yell at them. They don’t do it on purpose, but it doesn’t make it less dangerous.
  • The “You’re Going Too Slow, I’ve Got Places To Be” Buzz – This is self-explanatory. I’m in your way. I’m slowing you down. You’re going to get by me at any cost, even if that cost is my life.
  • The Old People Buzz – I love old people. Seriously. But I’m never quite as spooked while being buzzed when it’s by an old person who doesn’t seem to know where they are. Many old folks are spared The Finger™ simply because they wouldn’t know what it meant, even if they did see it.
  • The “I’m Bigger Than You” Buzz (sometimes known as the “I’m Compensating For Something” Buzz) – These folks truly scare me. My best (worst?) story – picture this: Sunday morning. Pensacola, FL. 90% of the populace is in church. 9 of the remaining 10% are at home in bed. Roads are dead. I’m heading South on N. Davis Hwy – 2 lanes S, 2 lanes N, and a turning lane in the middle. Dude in a big-ass truck gets less than 6″ from my shoulder while I’m in the far right-hand lane. As I look at him incredulously, I watch as his head spins to see how I react in his rearview mirror. Well, I’m not going to disappoint him – I give him The Finger™! What does he do? He SLAMS ON HIS BRAKES in the MIDDLE OF THE DEAD FIVE-LANE ROAD, rolls down his window and screams at me all manner of profanities about what he’s gonna do to me. I think to myself, “Goodness, this person perhaps does not know what the middle finger means. I suppose I shall have to explain it to him verbally.” and proceed to give him The Finger™ again along with the verbal explanation. The good thing about these jackasses is that when confronted by someone who isn’t afraid of them and their oversized vehicle / undersized penis, they usually drive off in a huff (as was the case here).
  • The School Bus Buzz – School busses are the worst offenders in my area. It’s like a double-whammy if it’s a full bus, too – first you’re spooked by the front tire that’s as big as you are 6″ from your left hand, then you get all the students hanging out the window yelling at you while you’re trying to recover from the first scare. And don’t bother trying to retaliate against bus drivers: they deal with worse shit all day long than some pissant cyclist upset that you got too close to him.

Reason #2 – Dodging Projectiles

I’ve had stuff thrown at me out car windows, even over the tops of cars by the driver. The worst thing was a full, 42oz fountain drink lobbed at me by two dumbasses in a quiet residential neighborhood while I had a full backpack on. It was like slo-mo – they weren’t going 20mph, but they overshot me with the drink and missed. What was the purpose of that? They didn’t even speed away, but kept right on going, even as I talked about their mothers’ sexual preferences. But I honestly just don’t get it. Oh, but you know by now what they got, right?

The Finger™, indeed.

Reason #1 – The Laying On of Horns  (or, Can We Unseat Him)

I recently wrote about a specific incident involving the Laying On of Horns and how I was able to confront the driver (and actually made a positive difference as a result). Most confrontations like this aren’t resolved as easily, however.

The horn-blowing individuals out there seem to have varying reasons for their hornyness. I’ve broken them down as best I can into the following categories:

  • HA-ha!! Let’s See If We Can Scare Him Off His Bike!! – Pure, unadulterated stupid. The worst incident of this was when two rednecks in a pickup pulled next to me and blew an airhorn out their window (the kind in a can) at me.
  • I Don’t Know The Laws Regarding Cars And Cyclists – These folks think I’m supposed to be On The Sidewalk Where I Belong. My favorite incident of this was when I caught up to the driver 2 miles later after she blared her horn at me on a narrow, twisty, hilly, no-shoulder section of my commute. She’d gotten stuck at 2 lights and I caught her at the 2nd one. The Finger™ wasn’t even necessary here, as the look on my face as I said loudly, “I bet you weren’t expecting THIS, were you?” while she pretended not to notice, was enough.
  • C’mon, Already! Can’t You Go Faster Than That?? Another self-explanatory one.

I understand the frustration the motorists feel being “stuck” behind me in traffic sometimes. I’m sympathetic to their plight, and I don’t always flash The Finger™ at offending drivers. I don’t think it helps anything except my own psyche (perhaps I’m overcompensating for something by doing it?), but I’ve been surprised at the frequency of the offenses over the last 2 years.

It’d be nice if The Finger™ came with instructions on why their offending behavior was misplaced / misguided. I need a sign saying, “Text ‘Finger’ to 40404 to see why you received The Finger™ from me.”

Of course, they’d text while driving, then I’d get buzzed, leading to…

Nevermind.

2011 SB Urban Adventure / Team Funny Fo’ Sho’

The 2011 South Bend Urban Adventure was a blast! For the 2nd year in a row, my cousin Christine and I ran / cycled / swam / rafted / slip ‘n slided / shortcutted / bullshitted / videoed / commented / connived / contrived / schemed and had an incredible time completing 24 checkpoints, biking 20+ miles, and attempting to win fame and glory on the streets of South Bend, IN.

We’re already planning for 2012 – watch out!

“I can’t go out & ride – it’s raining!”

Silly me.

It’s been raining the last 4 days off and on. I’ve been doing a test ride of a 2011 Bianchi Camaleonte Uno this weekend and wanted to get it out as much as possible. This morning, sitting dejectedly in the living room watching the continuing rain, I thought, “I can’t go out on the bike and ride! It’s raining! I’ll get wet! The bike’ll get wet! I’ll look silly! Dang!”

At some point, I started thinking, “Hey, dumbass! When you were a kid, did the rain stop you from wanting to go outside & play? What’s wrong with you? Are you gonna melt? Is the bike gonna break? Don’t you remember the fun of riding your bike through the biggest puddles? Good lord, what’s happened to you?!?”

Riding the Bianchi in the rain

That was about as much fun as I’ve had riding a bike in a long, long time.

I’m reminded that there’s nothing wrong with childlike thinking.
There’s nothing wrong with getting wet.
There’s nothing wrong with getting dirty.
There’s nothing wrong with doing things with abandon.
I don’t need to worry about what others think.
I don’t have to color inside the lines.

This may seem like a stretch for a guy who already pushes the envelope as much as possible, but even I get into a rut. An hour out on the bike in the rain, careening through puddles, feeling the water against my face, not worrying about my clothes, the bike, my hair, what others might be thinking… that was a refreshing reminder.

Google+ Invite Rap

*Google+ Invite Rap*

I got Google+ magic / Come feel my flow
I invite you to da party / Make you my Google+ ho
I get you in my circle / you feelin’ Google+ crunk
I bombard you wid my links / den you be readin’ my junk
All yo pics I be lookin’ / On your life will I spy
(I’ll only show you my good ones / so you think I be fly)
My problems be yo’ probs / My downer words and my woes
But I be king of da world wid my Google+ hoes
I got dat Google+ magic / Do you want an invite?
Just respond to these lyrics / You can rock it tonight!