Friday, November 10, 2006

"We're knocking down the door. You've got to let us in."

Sometimes New Yorkers enjoy snarking New Jersey... but last night even the Empire State caught Scarlet Fever.
Go Rutgers!


Rutgers doesn't have a fight song like Notre Dame. We have a cheer:

R-U rah rah
R-U rah rah
Hoo-rah Hoo-rah
Rutgers rah
Upstream Red Team
Red Team Upstream
Rutgers Rah

I know, it's deep. And it's actually about our crew team, which we don't have anymore due to budget cuts. But it sounds pretty cool when you get a bunch of Rutgers kids doing it in unison. We have songs too, like the alma mater, but they aren't as good for a football game

My first year at Rutgers, our college football team won 2 games. We lost 60-0 to Notre Dame (Wendy's crowing still rings in my ears - though I can't imagine why she would do such a thing - us losing to Notre Dame back then was akin to a teenager beating up a granny). Well, this granny has learned jujitsu and Rutgers doesn't suck anymore. Not only does RU football not suck, we frakkin' rule! I should probably watch what I say, as I write this we are down 25-22 to Louisville. But who cares.

I find myself wishing these days to be around campus - to be a student and really experience what it's like to be at a school with spirit for its sports team. I'm sure it's infectious.

I was also reminded by old college friend Molson the other day that the Rutgers 1000 is probably having trouble getting new members (they were a group devoted to pulling RU out of Division I). A little research showed that Rutgers 1000 dissolved in 2002 because they thought that the new prez would extricate them from the Big East. Oops! Guess they were wrong. Whatever, the point of this post wasn't to talk about them anyway

It was to talk about Rutgers football! Everyone knows a solid football team brings in more alumni bucks. But for me, I loved Rutgers College and never cared about whether we sucked at sports. I'd give money to them regardless. I just hope this sudden football success brings in more dollars, and that more people take note of good old RU, on the banks of the old Rar-i-tan.

Like Jersey itself, Rutgers has for too long been overlooked and unfairly maligned. It's time for a little more pride, and if we need to kick some Cardinal ass to get it, well then so be it!

Go Rutgers!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Foodie Ideas Welcome

Two days in a row. Bananas.

I dread the coming holidays, as is expected and common, or so I am told. A kid I once know, who had lost his dad some years before, once told me that even after many holidays without his father, he still hated Thanksgiving - it just highlighted the loss that much more. I hope that won't be true for me, but for right now, I am definitely sad and nervous about the holidays.

Last year, I was stressed while hosting Thanksgiving, and as you may recall, I had a car accident on Turkey Day and declared it the "worst" Thanksgiving ever. As for Christmas, well, I just felt like it snuck up on me, which is why I did not decorate my apartment at all and bought everyone's gift at the absolute last minute.

In constrast to that, this year I already have my Christmas list nearly completed and have already started shopping. The planning soothes me.

And it soothes me that we are keeping Thanksgiving and Christmas as close to what they have been in year's past as possible. I will be hosting dinner for Turkey Day, Dad and I will spend Christmas Eve and morning together, and we will have Christmas dinner at my sister's.

This is where the problem lies. My sister and brother-in-law have decided, in their infinite wisdom, to cook.... steamed buns for Christmas dinner. Steamed buns are a soup filled dumpling that I personally like to eat at Joe's Shanghai in Chinatown. I really like steamed buns. But not for Christmas dinner. And certainly not my brother-in-law's version - he doesn't believe in using salt, oil, butter.... anything that makes food tasty.

Dad and I were terrified - what would we do? If my mom were still alive she simply would have picked up the phone, called my sister and said, "Lorien. We are not having steamed buns for Christmas dinner. You will make a ham. I will buy it for you." And that would have been the end of it. Except that Mom would have done it in a sweeter way and would have almost made it seem like it was my sister's idea.

Anyway, Dad and I have decided that we will cook what we want to eat and bring it with us. Any suggestions are welcome - whatever it is should be transportable and only require warming at my sister's.

Happy Fall, everybody.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Benny Sitting

On Friday, I played hookie because.... my job sucks! Woohoo! Seriously, it had been a long week and I was in desperate need of a mental health day. I spent a lot of time sleeping and then I went to hang out with Gena who was babysitting Baby Ben.

Something bad happens when I hang out with Ben, though - he gets wired. My own nephews find me pretty boring and have no trouble dozing off when I am around, but not Benny! Despite my serious recommendation to him that he take a nap, Ben preferred to chew on his toys and bang on his Fisher-Price drum. Like me, he didn't want to work, he just wanted to bang on these drums all day.

Eventually, Gena and I strapped Ben into his stroller and the sheer bordedom of listening to us talk about shoes and Project Runway put him right to sleep. Please note that this apparent lack of enthusiasm for our convo did not stop Ben from grabbing at the InStyle with Heidi Klum on the cover that I had brought for Gena.

Benny, I'm glad I spent a workday with you instead of researching estate tax law. And I'm glad you find me fun and interesting now - in a few more months you'll realize that I really am quite soporific and your mom will start inviting me around at bedtime again.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Chez Zoppo

On Saturday, Jeeves braved New Jersey Transit for the second time and came out to my fair state for a get-together at Mike and Gena's.

Mike and Gena's house continues to wow me every time I am there - they still have my dream kitchen. The theme of the evening was a French bistro type affair - all French wines and we brought along some French cheeses. As for the spread of food - impressive as usual. Mike concocted what he calls, "the best part of french onion soup without the soup" - toasted bread with onions and melted gruyere on top. There was also my personal favorite - steak tartar, and artichoke dip on escarole leaves, mushroom turnovers, an array of sausages and the aforementioned cheeses.

In the cheese department - the bleu cheese brought by Emma was my personal favorite - smooth and just strong enough - so good you could eat it plain. Though, I also liked the petite reblochon that I brought.

As for wine, one can always trust Mike to provide excellence and he certainly did - six different wines set out for us with the Chateauneuf du Pape Blanc Vieux Telegraphe as my favorite. He also generously shared a 1990 Sauterne with us - very delicious.

It's been awhile since a Mike and Gena wine event - it was good to be back.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Happy Halloween

I know - no posts all month. Just terrible.

Today (or at least for the next hour) is Halloween, a personal favorite in the holiday front because I like being scared (or really, the giggles I get after a good scare), love the trick-or-treaters, the costumes, the horror movies, the crisp fall weather and the caaaaandy.

I took my nephew Connor trick-or-treating - he was a ghost - and sadly, he was the only trick-or-treater on the street. Where was everybody? We also discussed the meaning of the word "nocturnal" or, as Connor calls it, "octurnal."

On the way home, I got to stop off at Anh's house and see Baby Ben dressed as a bear. To me, this is the highlight of Halloween - dressing small children up as little animals or fat pumpkins. My friend Marc has always disliked little kids - except when they are dressed up in puffy animal costumes. Precisely for the reason that it is so damn cute. As was Ben.

Hope it was a good holiday for all.