Monthly Archives: August 2006

Indy Recycling

The city has decided to beef up its recycling efforts, according to the Star. The city needs to do something, because recycling in Indy is a pain.

We started recycling about two years ago. I never bothered to sign up for curbside recycling because I know the city loses money on it. Instead, I take all my recycling to the drop-off locations. The city just added a new drop-off bin in Garfield Park. Just having the bin in the neighborhood makes a huge difference.

We started out just recycling plastics 1 & 2, cans, and bottles. These are the items you can recycle using a curbside program or drop-off bin. Last year, I stepped up our recycling to include cardboard, paper, magazines, and plastics 3 through 7. I take all those items to Indianapolis Recycled Fibers on West Street.

Now that we’re recycling more items, our weekly trash is down to the equivalent of one-13 gallon trash bag per week.

Of course, it doesn’t make sense to recycle without also looking at reducing and reusing. We try to buy building materials that use recycled content or can be recycled. For example, we’re looking at installing an aluminum roof instead of asphalt shingles. It would be nice if the city cut us a break for spending twice as much as money on a roof than we have to.

Reducing is challenging, but we’re working on ways to reduce the volume of materials that come into our home. By having a garden, we cut down significantly on the amount of plastics and other vegetable containers that we get from the store. I try not to put my produce in bags at the market anyway. I think the biggest thing we’ve done in the area of reuse is eliminating junk mail and prescreened credit offers. By opting out, we’ve cut our mail by two-thirds.

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Public Park = Public Sex?

A couple of friends of ours are honked off because a woman called the cops on them. They were sitting at the park enjoying the sunshine and minding their own business. The park was filled with moms and their children. One of these moms called the cops because she suspected these two men of intending to engage in some kind of illegal activity. I don’t know if she thought they were going to kidnap a child, go have sex in the woods, or what.

Needless to say, these friends are indignant. Who wouldn’t be? Some bitch calls the cops on you, you’d be pretty fried, too.

This friend decided to post about his unfortunate experience on his blog. Naturally, all the gays and gay wanna-bes are honked off and ready to take action. I think it’s bullshit, too, but what’s the appropriate response?

In my opinion, one appropriate response is for the gay community to address their responsibility in fostering this stereotype. Men of all sexual orientations commit crimes and do nasty things in public parks. Only gay men get the bad rap. Yeah that’s unfair and it sucks. But sex doesn’t belong in our public parks. The gay community needs to define its position on public sex and cruising in public parks and actively discourage members of its community from engaging in these behaviors.

Another way to take on this problem head on is to form a coalition of straights, gays, lesbians, and their pit bulls to patrol our city’s public parks. We should send a message to the lurkers, and the cruisers, and the elementary school teachers having public sex that we won’t tolerate it. We should send a message to the soccer moms and their bratty ass kids that we’re members of this community, we have families in this community, and we’re taking a stand against inappropriate behavior in our public parks.

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Afternoon Delight

I really get annoyed when people post lengthy lists of the music they’re listening to and the books they’re reading. But I have to admit, there are times when I like to share…

“what you need’s a sugar daddy
diamond rings and a brand new Caddy
little things to help a girl make it through

what you need are satin pillows
ribbons flowing down like willows
what you need is me to love you”

Oh yeah baby. The Bellamy Brothers – Sugar Daddy

And in case you didn’t know it, “lovers live longer/lovers live right/lovers get crazy/deep in the night.” (It’s not playing yet, but I know the words.)

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Fresh Tomato, Pepper, and Basil Frittatas– Indymel style

For those who might be unfamiliar with frittatas, it’s an open-faced Italian style of omelette that requires a skillet that can go from the stovetop to the oven. You start it on a burner and finish it off under the broiler. It’s a little like quiche, but much simpler and less fattening.

Ingredients

1 large tomato (been using my Better Boys and Celebrities for this)

2 Jalapeno peppers (Sub in any pepper you’ve got in the fridge.)

1/2 cup plain white rice cooled to room temperature (I’ve been thinking about experimenting with crumbled tortilla chips instead.)

4 eggs

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (I use whatever I’ve got in the fridge. Sharp cheddar or a colby-jack blend work well, too.)

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

Directions

Core the tomato and then cut in half down the equator. Squeeze out as much juice and seeds as possible. Cut into 1/4″ strips. Place in strainer and squeeze out as much excess juice as you can. I salt it and let it sit for about ten minutes and then squeeze more juice out with a spoon. You don’t want it to make your eggs too watery. De-seed (unless you like it really spicy) and chop the peppers into rings. I’ve been de-seeding by chopping the stem off the pepper and, if the pepper’s big enough, reaming out the seeds with a potato peeler.

Heat a 10″ skillet or omelette pan that can go from stove to the oven. We have a tri-ply stainless steel skillet with a copper core that works well. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees and position the oven rack so that it is under the heating element if you don’t have a separate broiler.

Beat the eggs in a medium-sized bowl and stir in your rice, cheese, peppers, and as much salt as you would normally put in an omelette or scrambled eggs. Just before you’re ready to add it all to the skillet, throw in your tomatoes and basil.

Cook on medium heat on the stovetop. Do not scramble, but do lift the edges with a spatula and let uncooked egg flow underneath them. Let the egg set up until it’s about 3/4 of the way done in the skillet– usually 4-6 minutes on our stove. Then, carefully position the entire skillet under the broiler for approximately 7 minutes– until the egg is cooked throughout and it starts to brown on top. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a couple of minutes. Then slide the entire frittata onto a plate. I cut it into 6 pieces and serve with a little plain yogurt and fresh berries.

Faster, easier, and not near as fattening as a quiche. It looks really fancy, too, so it’s a great brunch to serve to guests. I’m slow on Saturdays, so the whole process from chopping to removing from the skillet probably takes me about 35 minutes, but I could do it a lot faster if I wanted to. I got the idea out of a low-fat cookbook, and then I adapted it to be tastier but still not as fattening as other frittata recipes I’ve seen. For instance, there’s no half and half here. Enjoy!

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Just Sign Here

I don’t see how young people can avoid making bad credit decisions. It seems everywhere my brother, who is 18 and starting university next week, turns there are companies offering him credit. He has received no fewer than ten different communications, mostly e-mail, from his school’s financial aid office imploring him to sign a master promissory note. He was all ready to sign it until I told him he doesn’t need to. He’s not getting student loans.

He tried to decline the student loan offers via the school’s self-service Web site, but every time he cleared the check marks and clicked submit, the check marks re-appeared next to the student loans. He telephoned and e-mailed his financial aid office and told them he wished to decline the loans. Yesterday he received an onimously worded letter in the mail from his financial aid office warning him that his tuition may not be covered if he doesn’t sign his master promissory note.

Uh, excuse me, for whom do these people work? It’s obviously not the student.

We stopped at Chase yesterday so Eric could deposit the refund check he received from the bursar. Before we could approach the teller, a lady at a desk (who wasn’t much older than Eric) summoned him over. She told him she would gladly take care of him. And, boy, did she. First, she completed the deposit slip for him. All he had to do was sign his name. Hmm, I’m starting to see a pattern here.

In the process of depositing his check, she tried to sell him three products: a) student loans (!), b) savings account, c) auto loan. While he could use a savings account, I doubt that she had his best interests at heart.

It’s little wonder we’re a nation of debtors.

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When We’re With Child

The Star has an interesting article this morning on the blahs of motherhood. About a year ago, Mel and I decided we wanted kids. We decided I should get inseminated because I’m older and, at the time, I was amenable to the idea. The more we researched it, the more I found myself feeling ambivalent. Insemination is not something you should undertake with ambivalence, unless you have money to burn. We don’t, so I backed out.

About six months ago, Mel started pining to have a baby. I was still ambivalent, but Mel had made up her mind. Along for the ride I went. There’ve been many arguments in the past few months. More than once my less-than-enthused glaze over topics as stimulating as ovulation, implantation, and tiger stripes has been called out.

It’s not that I don’t want to have a child. But, I do have reservations, too. I’m concerned about how it’ll change our lives. Neither Mel nor I want to sacrifice our careers to have children. We’re worried about schooling. (Mel’s more worried than I. No, she’s a nut about it.)

Mel and I have a good, strong relationship. We have Rosie and Carrot. We have a bungalow and money in the bank. We have a good life. Will a child make our life better?

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Shake or Barrel Redux

I personally like the Spanish-influenced barrel tiles (see previous post), but there are a few other things to consider. Aluminum is lighter-weight, has higher recycled content, and is more energy efficient than steel tiles. (Recall that the attractive barrel tiles are steel while the shake tiles are aluminum.) Aluminum is slightly more expensive than steel, but it’s an Energy Star product which means it qualifies for a $500 tax credit.

In terms of materials, I think most people agree that aluminum is superior to steel. Unfortunately, the aluminum tiles aren’t as attractive. Also, the barrel tiles have a stone-coated finish. The tile feels abrasive, similar to an asphalt shingle. My feeling is that the finish would wear noticeably over time. Rosie knocked the tile sample off the couch and there were crumblies all over the floor. You can repaint an aluminum tile, but you can’t refinish a stone coated tile.

So while I really like the barrel tile, we’re leaning towards the shake. I think if you do the shake in an earth tone such as terra cotta that you can’t tell what kind of tile it is from a distance. The roof just looks textured and warm.

I noticed today that Pizza Hut has a red shake roof. I don’t want my house to look like a Pizza Hut.

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