Friday, May 30, 2008

Another One Bites the Dust Jacket

Got some bummer news from O.G. Lansing friend B. Shiels yesterday: Lansing's Community Newscenter has finally closed. I can't believe it lasted this long. Shiels and I were reminiscing yesterday about how the porn mags were right next to the sports pubs, so we always found ourselves standing next to the greasies who commonly came in to get their adult fix. The bookstore was maybe the last remaining link with the old, weird Frandor shopping center just across from Ma's house. Frandor is still there, but it long ago lost its spooky, musty charm to the vagaries of renovation.

The Newscenter was preceded in death by Grand Gourmet, the Spartan Theater, the Odeon, that Native American gift store no one ever shopped at, Frandor Barber (right?), and an ATM that gave money in $5 denominations. It's survived by (the new) Marshall Music, Kroger's, Video to Go, Tripper's, Frandor Deli, and Gumby's Pizza (I hope!).

Here's to the inevitable ...

Welcome: Alden M. Kirby

22 May
Originally uploaded by The Kolorado Kirbys
Rocket Fever is proud to announce the birth of the family's first boy, Alden Kirby. He was born in Colorado on May 22 to Meghan and Michael Kirby. My Ma reports he's a handsome guy, and that he instantly has some very recognizable facial features.

My parents are out there right now doing their grandparental duties, helping Meghan as they can and having tons of fun with granddaughters Ivie and Elly. Mike, as you can see from the photo, got to come home for the birth. He shipped back out to Iraq yesterday.

Please join me in offering the Kirbys that time-honored Rocket Fever salute: HUZZAH!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

frequent posting and capital letters will take a back seat for the next few days as i recover from a devastating (not really) elbow injury suffered after wiping out during street football this past weekend. this is the price i pay for running a good route; hairpin turns on gravel are inadvisable.

but in case you were wondering, the weekend up at bodega bay was once again incredible. more details to follow.

until then, make rocketboom a regular part of your internetting, join the fracas on 90 percent, and buy scott mcclellan's book.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I didn't bring my camera to the Dirtbombs show because I knew Rena would. Check it out!

Another Memorial Day Tradition

My yearly trip to wine country for Memorial Day Weekend means that I always have to miss the Valley Greek Festival. I'm going to talk to Alethia Calagias, the marketing queen behind this Olympian-size event, about moving it to Labor Day next year. C'mon, Alethia, just for me? Huh?

That said, if I can't be there, it means I'm leaving a spot for you to fill. If you're in L.A. this weekend and love the Mediterranean (and its food — I mean, seriously!) as much as I do, the Valley is the place to be.

This Is What Happens When You Live and Work Alone:

The wind just blew open my windows, and I said, “It’s like Neverending Story in here!”

And there was no one around to make fun of me.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Best May Ever?

  • Traveling through Turkey, which stands as the coolest thing I’ve ever done.
  • Seeing the Dirtbombs — finally! — play live, which stands as one of the greatest rock shows I’ve ever attended.
  • Making a well-received Turkish breakfast for L.A. friends, just to give them a taste of Anatolian greatness.
  • Watching the Dodgers grind out a come-from-behind victory over the Reds at Maggie June’s first baseball game.
  • Planning a return trip to Sonoma and Bodega Bay in keeping with what’s becoming a legendary family Memorial Day tradition.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Fun with Eggs

I bought two of these ... what do you call them? They're not pots or pans, but you put them on the stove. They're not bowls or plates, but you can serve food in them. One of you clowns must know what you call these things. Anyone?

No matter. What's important is that I bought two of them from a stall near the Egyptian Spice Bazaar in Istanbul, and they are handy little pieces of hardware. I'm sure they have many kitchen applications, but as of now I'm using them primarily for egg dishes. The Gaines kitchen will produce many variations on the scrambled-eggs-with-X theme during the coming months, so long as the summer heat doesn't shut me down.

Above is my first go, and I'm proud to say it's a hit. What we got here are two eggs, mixed with a bit of water and thrashed before pouring into a hot ... thing. Then, after letting the eggs cook for just a bit, in goes chicken basil sausage (sautéed beforehand), sun-dried tomatoes, and feta cheese. Toss in pinches of kosher salt and top-secret Turkish red pepper, and let the family slowly coalesce over medium-low heat. Next time I'll chop the sausage a bit smaller, but other than that, I'm happy as hell with dinner tonight.


Istanbul is overrun with stray dogs. I believe the city neuters/spays and tags them, and they're harmless, from what I've seen. (Although they don't fare too well on an F1 track.) So here's my question: How come I saw dog poo only once during my three weeks in Turkey, but I hop over it daily in Los Feliz?


I think I've finally readapted to citywide use of areas dedicated solely to pedestrian traffic. I think we call them sidewalks. Istanbul is lined with miles and miles of side streets that serve walkers and drivers. They're narrow and hilly, and the drivers couldn't care less if they hit you: caveat pedestrian. Every day, Karis, blessed with 180-degree vision, sensed cars coming up behind her and smoothly moved to the side. I, on the other hand, narrowly escaped death by Peugeot or Renault on an hourly basis.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Rube Goldberg Lives

The City Desk has a dandy piece about a junk hoarder's house ruined by fire. Well worth your time.

(The fire's intricate line of causation reminds of me of the classic, if I do say so myself, Hudson & Gaines episode about the meek nerd who was injured after an impossible series of events started by a surprise scorpion.)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Final Post Card

We visited three towns on our week of travel throughout Turkey, and thoroughly enjoyed two of them. Bodrum, where we flew in to, confirmed for me that junky coastal towns exist everywhere, not just in the U.S. The chintz factor, and the rain, chased us out of the city the next day up to Izmir, also on the Mediterranean coast.

This is a bit of a stretch, but Izmir is the Cleveland of Turkey. It's gritty, and lacks the immediate beauty of the other Turkish towns I visited. But it is home to some of the nicest people I've ever met. The merchants are friendly and not pushy in the least. The restaurateurs are helpful and smiling. Even the seedy hotel proprietors invite you to drink tea with them.

After a few days in Izmir, we hit the road for Ayvalik, where I fell in love. It's the most beautiful town I've ever seen. I had a moment the first time I walked onto the patio and took in the view. As the picture in my previous post shows, the view is built around the church that was converted to a mosque after the Greeks were deported early in the 20th century. (Long story.) I wonder if Ayvalik is one of the few places on Earth where you hear church bells at the bottom and top of every hour and the call to prayer five times a day.

We were in Ayvalik for only four days, but it seems like we did so much: spells on two deserted stretches of water, a memorable walk down a country road, gorgeous archaeological sites in the nearby town of Bergama, olive oil procurement, market browsing, not nearly enough lounging around. It occurs to me that I've never missed a place. I miss Ayvalik.

There are some thoughts rattling around my head regarding life in Turkey and a changed perspective on life in the U.S. But those haven't composed themselves yet, but I'll be sure to relay them when they have. 

The Flickr set, almost complete, is here.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Let's Get to the Happies

Happy birthdays to Michael C. Hudson (today), and Nazanin X. Arandi (tomorrow)!

And Happy Mother's Days to: my dear, sweet Ma; family matriarch Joan "Nana" Mellinger; Grandma Ida Gaines; new mama Rebecca A. Hudson; the highly esteemed Mrs. Ruth Eklund; Grandma Diane Baird; my sister-in-law (and soon to be mother-a-third-time) Meghan Kirby; other sister-in-law and bird lover Sarah Kirby; O.G. S'news mom Katie Rexrode; Cleveland's own Christine "Flash" Moran; the pride of Greenville, Erin Davis; Valley queen Mary Glarum; Guy's favorite au pair, Andrea; the pride of Izmir, Turkey, and expectant mother Yasamin; and Bay Village's own Kelly Zawacki!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Back in Istanbul

Ayvalik. Sigh.
Originally uploaded by cbg_rocketfever
Holy moly and jeeze Louise: We had an amazing trip throughout Turkey. Bodrum, Izmir, and beautiful Ayvalik.

But now it's on to a mad rush during my last two full days in Istanbul. Don't quite believe this visit is coming to a close. Certainly wouldn't mind if my flight were delayed a week.

A flurry of reports will come when I'm back in the States.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

90 Percent: A Great Day in Title Town

Check out our awesome mostly-baseball blog here for good times...but especially today, where we relive the Glory Days of the Tigs historic sweep at Yankee Stadium, the Pistons advancing...but most importantly, the Avs/Wings rivalry...

Sure, hockey is not all that interesting...but the late 90s were in the D. And it's worth revisiting now that the Wings swept the hated ones out of the Cup Playoffs with an 8-2 win last night. Plus, lots more...