Blog Action Day 2008

It’s Blog Action Day 2008, and the topic is poverty. Obviously that’s huge, and I don’t have any solutions to the big problem.

But I do have a small solution that each of us can try. Go to Nothing But Nets and donate $10. That will pay for the creation and delivery of an insecticide-treated mosquito net. Just $10, and you may have saved someone’s life by providing them with protection from malaria–protection they couldn’t afford for themselves.

We’re Going to Live Like Kings!

We closed escrow on Friday and have started moving boxes over to our 3-bedroom, 1-1/2 bath house. The kitchen and bathrooms have been cleaned, and now we’ve moved on to painting. Painting, by the way, is a full-body workout. Climbing up and down the stepladder is better than Stairmaster, and wiping down walls and using rollers and brushes does a lot for the arm, shoulders, and back.

Now I just need a core workout.

The house, garage, and yard give us so much more space, and so much more space of our own. The neighbors on either side seem very nice, and the neighborhood is a delight. I’m told that at Halloween, I’ll need six bags of candy. Hopefully the trick-or-treaters will eat all of it, because otherwise I’ll undo all of my painting workout.

But as it stands now, we’re going to live like kings. Very fit kings.

Chili My Soul–UPDATED

It’s fall, which in L.A. means that we’re in between heat waves. And what better way to get in the spirit of the season than with a spicy bowl of chili?

Well, if you’re at Encino’s own Chili My Soul, there may not be a better way–regardless of outside temperatures.

The board shows the chilis of the day. These are not based on whim, as each one is cooked for at least 40 hours before being served. If you need descriptions, they have a flyer. Have a few samples. And that’s when the hard part begins.

How hot can you take it? Are you a Tenderfoot (Level 1) or a Demon (Level 10+). Yes, that’s not just Level 10. It’s 10+. More than 10. Just a little something for the demons. Mr. Sandwich and I are probably going to stick to the lower end of the scale. Tonight he had Hickory Beef (4) and I had Blanco y Verde (3).

But wait! I forgot about the toppings. You get three. My choice was cheddar, Monterey jack, and sour cream (for someone who is mildly lactose intolerant, I sure love my dairy). Mr. Sandwich went for the same cheeses, but substituted green onions for sour cream.

Later, there was knockwurst.

This is not a discount chili place. But the chili is really good, so I’m okay with that. Enjoy. I know I did.

UPDATE: Sadly, Chili My Soul closed a few years ago. Even more sadly, it’s because the owner died unexpectedly. I’m really glad I got to go there a few times, because it was a restaurant that was a labor of love.

Spies Like Us

So we’re watching “Chuck” and this week’s episode (yes, I know it airs Monday and today is Wednesday–there’s just too much TV on Monday, so thank goodness for complete episodes on the web) features a character named Sasha Banacheck. And what character did Linda Fiorentino play in the 1985 movie Gotcha!?

That’s right. Sasha Banicek.

But does anyone really provide Gotcha! shout-outs? I mean, who other than me would get them?

Ping Pong

There has been a lot of back-and-forth. A lot of back-and-forth.

First there were the multiple offers we had to submit, first in increasing amounts and then, weirdly, in decreasing amounts. (Then they increased again.)

Next, we identified a closing date. Then the seller’s lender specified a different closing date. Then we moved the date up. Then we moved it back. Then it turned out that the seller’s other lender had specified an earlier date. Then the two lenders agreed on a different date. Then we chose a date, and then the current occupant couldn’t move out in time. Then he could.

So you can imagine our surprise when, after signing loan papers and FedExing a very large cashier’s check to our escrow agent, the seller’s lender(s?) announced that there would be no close of escrow until the tenant had moved out.

Why do they care whether the tenant moves out, you ask? Good question. And it turns out that they don’t. They cared that the cashier’s check hadn’t arrived. Except that it had. So we have no idea why they chose to express concern about the check as concern about the tenant’s move-out date.

But in the end, we’re closing on Friday. I hope it sticks.

24-hour Typo Network

What is going on at CNN Headline News? And when did they fire all of their copyeditors?

A couple of months ago, Mr. Sandwich and I noticed that one of the on-screen labels misspelled “Kazakhstan.” Then, a day or two later, they misspelled “Christiane Amanpour.”

No big deal. She’s only one of their star journalists. She’s only worked there for years.

And this isn’t in the crawl, which at least (ostensibly) might be something that gets thrown together on the fly. (Although clearly it isn’t limited to breaking news, so I’m cutting them quite a bit of slack here.)

No, this is in labels. The captions that just sit there at the beginning of a story. The ones that, say, identify the star journalist reporting the story.

At this point, I thought about starting a blog dedicated to pointing out typos on CNN Headline News. Then I realized that I would have to watch a lot more CNN, and I’m just not willing to do that.

But I figured I’d at least write a post about this shoddy presentation. Because what did I see this morning? The word “follwoing.”

Short Sale Revisited, Plus Alligator

That was then, this is now. Tonight we went to meet with our real estate agent and sign still more papers. In the process, we clarified our closing date. Escrow will close on October 6. Huzzah!

To celebrate (and to let the traffic die down a bit), we went out to dinner. On our trip to the office, eastward along Ventura Boulevard, we had identified a number of possibilities. However, we agreed that there was one leading contender: Brats Brothers.

The restaurant–a railroad-car of a place, only 10 feet wide–offers a wealth of brat options. They have everything from Bavarian (smoked pork and beer) and Swiss (mild veal and parsley) to Peking Brat (duck and fig) and Wild West (buffalo and burgundy).

I had a German (veal, pork, onions, parsley) with sides of Grandma’s Sauerkraut and grilled onions. Mr. Sandwich had a Black Forest (mild smoked pork) with roasted herb potatoes and chili. Both were excellent, and all of the sides were delicious.

Then we went really crazy and ordered the Swamp Thing. It’s sausage made from smoked alligator.

That’s right. Alligator.

I know what I’m supposed to say here. “Tastes like chicken!” But it doesn’t. It tastes like pork.

Also it was a little too spicy for me. So next time–and there will be a next time–I’ll stick to something more like the Swiss. Or the Peking Brat.

Eat hearty!