My new company is being good to me already

Yesterday, we had a little party with some fruit and dessert to say, "Goodbye," to Knight Ridder. Only being with the company three months, I didn't feel as much connection as some of my co-workers might have. It is a shame, though, that a company that used this great ad at one time has met its maker:

But already, my new company, McClatchy, has won bonus points. We were called in to receive t-shirts this afternoon. Upon hearing that we were getting them, I told some people in my department that the true test would be if there are sizes to choose from. Sure enough, walking into the conference room there indeed were boxes for small, medium, large and extra large. Small even! Wow. Yeah, it doesn't take much to impress me. But I have endured years of companies trying to get me to sign up for something to get their free t-shirt ... their extra large, "everyone can get into this" t-shirt that comes down to my knees. Thanks, but I'll pass.


Well, this is just GREAT ...

I am now getting my first taste of high-rise apartment building fun. The fire alarm has been going off for more than an hour. It freaked poor Perry out so much that when it began going off, he fell off his perch and said, "Ow." For the first 40 min. of the alarm going off, I did leave my apartment (which luckily is very close to the outside courtyard door) to see other people on my floor just looking around, too. We all were trying to figure out if it was real because it is freaking pouring outside. Not many people were out there haha. And I was trying to figure out if I should be getting my pets out of the apartment. Finally we saw some firemen who said that there was no fire. But now, about 35 min. later ... the alarm is still going off. Not cool.

I guess I shouldn't complain though because both ends of my floor are flooding ... down into people's apartments below, too. I'll just be keeping my fingers crossed that it doesn't get to the midsection where I'm at ... And yeah, this is now two blogs in one night. I think I'm going to be up for awhile at this rate.

**Tell us what you're reading, viewing, or listening to: Bleep, bleep ... May I have your attention please, may I have your attention please ... There has been a fire emergency reported in the building, please leave the building by the nearest exit or exit stairway ... Do not use the elevators. Bleep, bleep ...

R.I.P. - The Spartan Inn

So, RobG's comment on my page reminded me of the tragic thing that happened to my favorite small-town restaurant June 16. The Spartan Inn in Wingate, Ind., home of the most-wonderful breaded chicken sandwiches*, is no more.

I made sure to stop in at least one time every trip I made back to Indiana to see my family. Actually, I would plan special to be back early or stay a meal longer if it looked like my other plans were going to keep me from being able to have the delicious sandwich. Little did I know that my trip in there in March before I moved to D.C. would be my last. :(

Most recent news says the fire was arson, and the building was not insured. I better work on finding out if I can get the recipe for that breading ...

*When I searched for pics, I happened upon this review on Yahoo. I promise, Nick, that I did not post it: "wonderful food, especially the hand breaded tenderloin and chicken sandwich. wonderful homemade pies." Pat backs up my claim.

UPDATE: I should have updated this much sooner, but the Spartan Inn has reopened!! Yay. I think it opened its doors again May 21 ... just in time for me to be able to have two chicken sandwiches when I was back for my brother's graduation. Thank goodness they weren't lost forever!
6.14.07 - 10:44 p.m.

UPDATE 2: Again, way behind on updating, but it was a sad day in 2008 that the Spartan Inn changed ownership, and I've been told the breaded chicken sandwiches are not the same. I can't bring myself to go in there to find out. :(
6.12.09 - 12:59 a.m.


The Cubs need me?

This blog is to get my friend, Josh, some help on his monumental task. When I talked to him Monday on the way to the Cubs game in Cleveland, I joked that I was going to be their good luck charm. Josh replied that if that were the case, then it was going to be my full-time job to go to every home and road Cubs game for the rest of the season. And who is going to argue with that? Problem obviously being my pay, Josh said he would raise funds to pay my salary and all travel expenses. Well, I did do them some good on Monday, and I think he might need some help. Why should all the Cubs fans help? Their scoring on Monday was directly related to the time I was there. I arrived late to the game in the second inning, the inning their scoring began. And anyone who watched the game saw their near meltdown in the ninth inning, which very well could have been caused by the fact that I was persuaded to leave during the eighth inning. Luckily, they scored enough runs while I was there to make up for my poor judgment call. Coincidence? Who knows. Don't worry, though. I will take my new job VERY seriously and not make the same mistake twice. Or based on tonight's game, it could just be that they need rain interruptions to win haha. (Personally, I think me being able to go to all of the games is better.)

And on a completely different topic: "Big Brother" is starting up. Yay! But please, America, can we NOT vote Ivette back in the house?? Anyone else will be fine. I would like to know why there is no opportunity to get to see Drew from Season 5 or Nathan from Season 4 ... no one wanted the attractive boys back? Oh well ... at first I was annoyed by this "All-star" version, but then I realized that they did it for me because they knew I wouldn't be able to leave my new job so soon to be on the show. Next summer though ... yeah, someone help me come up with something to send in on video, and I'm SO there.


Lunch meat

OK, we're starting with the people that work at the deli counter of the grocery (the troll isn't the only horrid one, Nick). At the store last week, I wanted some roast beef sliced thin ... like shaved. The roast beef in the case already was not sliced thin. (Some of you know of my aversion to questionable-quality lunch meat, and if my friend, Wally, were on MySpace, he would get a great laugh out of this. Look, I'm not the biggest fan of lunch meat, and if I'm going to eat it, it has to have decent texture and not be Subway slimy.) So, the woman stops, looks at me for a minute, rolls her eyes and goes to find the roast beef to cut. When another person working there points to the precut meat in the case, the woman serving me says in a Fran Drescher-like voice, "No, she wants it cut thiiiiiin." Um, you're not behind a glass wall, ladies. What else do you have to do back there? Make cole slaw? Slicing meat is what you are there for. Sorry that's your job. (As an aside, yes, my need for thinly-trimmed meat means mine is always fresh, not the stuff that has been sitting in there for six hours. It really isn't about that, although that is a bonus.)

I uploaded some photos to the face-recognition Web site that Chuck had mentioned in one of his earlier blogs. I probably tried four or five different photos to see how different the results were. In each one, the top or second best match was Kelly Clarkson. Um ... I think it should be that Kelly Clarkson looks like ME. Haha. On one of my pics, Beyonce was pretty close to the top as one of my look alikes, so I don't know how much I trust it. Actually, I don't even know about the Kelly Clarkson one either ... but your match was good, Chuck.

Hmmm ... OK, some good stuff ... there's a restaurant here named Five Guys. The burgers are pretty good, but what makes the place is how many fries you get. In the bag, you get your sandwich, a 12 oz. cup of fries stuffed full, then they dump a whole additional scoop of fries on top. I usually am full and have had plenty of fries before I even get to the ones in my cup, so it's definitely a waste, but it's good that they're there if you're really hungry. Better to have too many fries than not enough in my opinion.

My favorite baseball park food is not the hot dogs, but the nachos with jalapenos. I've been to both Camden Yards and RFK Stadium, and both places' nachos blow Wrigley and Busch out of the water (especially Busch, where I wouldn't even get the nachos because they pour the cheese on top of the chips instead of letting you dip ... hopefully they have rectified this issue in the new stadium). Both stadiums here have trays with two areas for cheese, so you never run out. Spectacular. Of the two, RFK kind of loses out because the cheese is spooned in from a shallow tray, which hurts consistency, so Camden is the winner so far. Also, RFK just kind of sucks in general for atmosphere anyway. Oh, and on the topic of baseball games, "Thank God I'm A Country Boy," is NOT an acceptable replacement for "Take Me Out To The Ballgame," in the seventh-inning stretch. Take note, Baltimore.

And here's a shocker ... there are some things I miss about Springfield: The top, of course, being La Mex. I've replaced the weekly routine with Chipotle, but it just isn't the same ... they never know exactly what I want when I walk in like Lupe did. Even Ernie butting into our conversations would be nice haha. Oh, what am I saying ... I love Chipotle, but I'd rather just be able to eat both every week. The next is Polar Pop ... 59 cents, a styrofoam cup and a high-flow straw ... nothing better than that. And finally, the biggest shock to me since I don't really like Italian food, Saputo's baked rigatoni. Never would I have imagined that I'd miss that, but it's so deliciously slathered with melted cheese that I could deal with the marinara sauce. Yes, if you're still reading now, it has been revealed: I care the most about food.