Monday, July 31, 2006

Pondering the great mysteries of life: croissants, forgetfulness, the Jew's Harp, old man spies, and the return of System of a Ho-Down

Every workday morning I wander groggily into the same cafe for my morning coffee and croissant. And yes, I am aware there is free coffee at the office, but are you aware that it tastes like stagnant pond water? I thought not. So, yes, every morning, the same thing. It's compulsive and sort of obsessive but, seriously, eating that croissant is like sucking on a flaky butter lollipop---it's amazing. The only people who don't agree are my arteries and, well, they're not people, so I disregarded their input long ago.

Where was I? Right: Croissants and coffee. See, the two employees there, they know my name and I don't know theirs. It's getting embarrassing. It's probably heinously obvious. "Hello Justin," they say. "How are you this morning?" "Heeeyyyy you," I say. "Just fine. And yourself?" And they say "great" (they're far too chipper at 8:30, I'll tell you that much), take my money, give me my butter in a bag and a cup for my coffee. And then: "Thanks Justin." And then: I walk out feeling like a gigantic ass.

So what do you do at this point? It's far too late in our friendly, employee-customer relationship to ask "what was your name again?" They don't wear nametags, so that's out. What I need is a spy. Some overly friendly old man, perhaps, who could waltz in, buy a cruller and ask them their names, then report back to Birdmonster HQ.* Plus, if I forget their names again---always a possibility---I could send him back under the guise of senility.

The moral of the story: I'm an idiot, albeit, an idiot who just enjoyed a really, really delicious croissant.

Birdmonster news, wholly unrelated to breakfast pastries: Zach's out of town for a week, so our triumphant progress on Tiger Woods and other, less hilariously named ditties is on hold. Although, inevitably, two or three of us will meet up in his absence and reform System of a Ho-Down. Pete's already called the washboard. I'm taking the banjo and those inner-knee-one-man-band-cymbals and Dave, well, I vote for the nose flute. Or the Jew's harp. Or some other ludicrous thing. Then, there's this thing, which you can check out with your ears and eyeballs. It's a video that Rachael at Underrated (see link to the right, although she has not yet provided a substantially delectable muffin recipe, so the wording is in fact misleading) made whilst we were in New York. Sad to say, I have yet to see it, as I was at a bed and breakfast all weekend (which was wondrous) and can't watch things like this at work because a) I sit right in front of the bathroom and fancy, boss-like humans walk by my desk all the time...right before they defecate, and b) I fear looking like a self-absorbed boob staring at myself at work. I save that for home.

Expect further tour dates this week and a detailed examination of our preposterous schedule from mid-August on. And more rambling. But you knew that part already.

*It's almost like an episode of Seinfeld, isn't it? Or Curb Your Enthusiasm (which is, essentially, vulgar Seinfeld).


Gasoline Hobo said...

see, you're worrying too much. you need to relax a little. i have a foolproof method (granted, it helps if you dress shabbily and smell like charred dryer sheets). if you can't remember a name (and sometimes if you can(pardon the use of parenthesis - sometimes i just can't help myself)) just remember that all men are either Chuck or Ken, and all women are Barbara or Shirley.

maybe you could even mix it up a little bit. call Barbara Shirley one day. hell, call Ken Shirley once in a while. you'll be regarded with fondness as the friendly local eccentric.

they may even start giving you free stuff!

birdmonster said...

I'll do it tomorrow. If I end up with scalded-coffee face, I will contact the Gasoline Hobo Insurance Society.

Gasoline Hobo said...

just don't forget that your premium is $1000 and a walrus. we will happily cover any losses up to and including a pack of Wrigley's (Spearmint) gum upon receipt of said items.

on a related note, insurance (or lack thereof) was one of the reasons for my sadness this weekend. apparently it's just dumb to think that your storage unit won't get flooded. it's not like they're providing anything other than storage. if i don't want your stuff to get wet due to poor drainage or burned due to the owners sacrificing a goat on top of your ABBA records, you've gotta pay extra for the insurance. it's totally logical.

birdmonster said...

Storage units are basically a place where you pay for room in which your shit gets ruined. It's way more fun than the garbage because you get to stack it yourself and smell the mildewy pain of your favorite, not-so-necessary items when you open it three years down the road.

Can the walrus be half-sized? Because, you know, I have a miniature walrus farm. They're just like Shnausers, actually.

Gasoline Hobo said...

*girlish squeal*!!! We at GHIS would gladly extend full burn coverage* to the face and lapels in exchange for a miniature walrus.

does they have dainty tusks?

*bottle of aloe vera cream and a "Get Well Soon" card

Rachael said...

I guess I have to live up to the hype now, eh?*


Blueberry Struesel Muffins (mmm struesel)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the rack in the middle of oven, line muffin pans with paper liners or spray with a vegetable spray....

In a small bowl mix together milk, eggs, and vanilla extract. Then, set aside....

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut the butter into small pieces and blend into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or two knives. The mixture should look pretty crummy (literally).

Remove one cup of the mixture and place in a small bowl to make a streusel topping later. Gently fold in the blueberries and lemon zest. Add the milk and egg mixture to the flour mixture. Stir until just combined. Do not over mix this, or apparently they wont be good.

Fill each muffin cup about two-thirds full with the batter using two spoons or an ice cream scoop...

For the streusel topping (mmm strusel)..melt the remaining two tablespoons butter and drizzle over the one cup of streusel topping. Mix together with a fork until it is crumbly. Sprinkle a couple of teaspoons of the streusel over the top of each muffin. Place in the oven and bake until very lightly browned, about 18 - 20 minutes...

Place on a wire rack to cool.

Makes 16 -18 regular-sized muffins.

Ta da!

*I've baked muffins twice in my lifetime.

Anonymous said...

there may be just a slight problem with this appears that the amounts have been left out. *sigh* i supose we'll have to wait for justin to guilt trip u into giving them up

rachael said...

see! this is why i should never be allowed near an oven. [calling mom for amounts]

1 cup of milk
2 eggs
1 tsp of vanilla extract
3 cups of flour
1 cup of sugar
1 tablespoon of baking poder
1/2 tsp of salt
1/2 cup of butter
2 cups of blueberries
1/2 tablespoon of lemon zest
2 tablespoons of butter, melted (for the topping)

birdmonster said...

My God! That's amazing. I can't believe there's a muffin recipe in the comments. When bad jokes go good, we get muffins. When good jokes go bad, you get...I don't know. Crusty fondue? ::reaches for coffee and eraser::

Gasoline Hobo said...

when good jokes go bad there's usually a crusty hobo lurking somewhere.

also, i cannot see the words "lemon zest" without visualizing a lemon in a vest.

rachael said...

oddly, i visualize the same. and for some reason they are dancing across a movie screen like those old commercials. why can't i think of the song they would sing?

birdmonster said...

It would certainly involve a ukelele. That's all I know.