When is it litter?

I’m pretty sure if I went and dumped trash on somebody’s front step I would get in trouble. The owner of the house would probably call the police and I’d get a ticket for littering. There are signs on the highway warning about fines for dumping. So why is it that people can just come along and leave their trash on my doorstep? Doesn’t seem fair.

About once a month our local newspaper, the wonderful Greeley Tribune, sends somebody around to dump a ‘free’ paper on my step. Now this paper is some syndicated thing with celebrity gossip that’s two weeks old called Extra. Now, would somebody please explain to me how it’s even legal for a newspaper to hire people and dump trash on my doorstep. I don’t subscribe to their paper, I’ve never been their customer, but somehow they think it’s OK to hire somebody to drive around our city and dump TONS of newspapers on people that don’t want or read them. What a waste.

If we are all so worried about foriegn oil dependency, global warming and saving the planet we should put a stop to things like this first.

Two large pepperoni please

I recieved and email newsletter today with a Fun Factoids section and it included a fact that I found particularly interesting.

Americans on average eat 18 acres of pizza everyday.

Now, this is amazing. I haven't had pizza since Friday, and then I was about 17.8 acres short. Guess I'm not an average American…

‘Small’ town living

Greeley is such an odd place to live in. On one hand it's a (relatively) small town, at least for Northern Colorado and the front range (although it's difficult for me to call anyplace with a popullation of 84,000 small). Much smaller than Fort Collins or Longmont and somewhat smaller than Loveland. We are also east of the I-25 corridor which seems to isolate us a bit. Fort Collins is fairly tech savvy, recently added to some list as a tech friendly city (saw it on www.ncbr.com, but can't find the article now). Greeley on the other hand is just a little backward, at least in the tech and retail sectors. All of the big retail chains that move in here build half a store and wonder why it doesn't do well. Restaurants close early and wonder why nobody comes. It's just insanity.

Along those lines, we have only a handful (3 or 4) furniture stores. There was a La-Z Boy store in Evans, but it closed. The owners of the local Concepts store retired and closed the store when they couldn't sell it. One of the most recent casualties in the retail sector is Greeley Furniture downtown. As report in the Tribune, Greeley Furniture was owned by it's current owners for nine years and closed recently.The building was for sale at 1.8 Million USD. I'm no real estate guru, but this is one of those old rambling furniture stores. The location has been a furniture store for a long time and it shows. You can see where the owners bought neighboring businesses and consolidated them into a much bigger store. I was actually only in there once, last year. It's interesting how out of touch the owners of the store appeared to be. Most pieces were very traditional, I saw little that I would even want to buy. Prices were higher than I would expected. For such a big rambling location it seemed like everything was the same.

A couple years ago I visited some family in Kearney Nebraska and visited a furniture store there. It was similar to Greeley furniture in layout, but there were actually items there that were reasonably priced and quite a large selection. One of the owners of Greeley Furniture is working on re-opening, which is good news for both the downtown area and the city as a whole. Hopefully he will make some adjustments in service, selection and price to be more successful. I know there are residents that can afford quality goods, from furniture to electronics, but many of us make trips to Fort Collins or even Denver because there just aren't local businesses offering what we want.

That great red stuff

Growing up my culinary experiences were limited. Part of this was due to our financial situation. Farming in Colorado during the 70's and early 80's wasn't the most lucrative profession. My mother didn't work when I was young, so we survived on the farm income. With six mouths to feed eating out was pretty much limited to the occasional Friday night pizza and McDonalds after church on Sundays. Being on a tight budget also doesn't give much latitude for experimentation. The other major reason for our standardized menu was my father's tastes. Dad was a meat and potatoes kind of guy (he has advanced somewhat as he's aged), and by meat I mean ground beef. He didn't care much for pasta, chicken or even cheese.

One of the results of this sheltered existence was a lack of exposure to Chinese cuisine. My idea of Chinese food was ground beef mixed with LaChoy Bean Sprouts La Choy Bean Sprouts, topped with La Choy Chow Mein noodles and covered with soy sauce. It's not that this wasn't good, but it wasn't my favorite dish, and based on this I wasn't keen on trying additional Chinese recipes. As a result, I ended up being 20 years old and hadn't really eaten at a good Chinese buffet.

One day I was going to meet a friend for lunch, he suggested Chinese. Due to some problems with my bike, I ended up being late. My friend had to leave, but he had already paid for my lunch. I thought, “what the heck, I can eat some bean sprouts”, so I stayed and ate lunch alone. The food was excellent, and at the end of the meal I started looking for something to finish off the experience. I noticed a pan full of some kind of red stuff at the beginning of the line, next to the soup, so I tasted it. Having never been introduced to sweet and sour sauce I made the logical assumption – this must be a Chinese dessert. I'm sure everyone else at the restaurant thought I was insane, but I went and got a bowl me a bowl of sweet and sour. It wasn't until I later related this story to some friends that I realized Sweet and Sour wasn't normally eaten from a bowl…

Last Friday I had lunch at a Chinese place with my sister and nephew. John, who just turned two, makes a total disaster out of Chinese food – rice and noodles go EVERYWHERE. The thing I found funny was his love for sweet and sour. He started using his fork (Chinese restaurants don't seem to like to give you spoons) to eat the Sweet and Sour all by itself. I'm not sure if I should be proud that my nephew and I share the same good taste in food, or be embarrassed that as an adult I behaved like a two year old.

It’s Fox’s U-Bet

I have a bit of sweet tooth. Now this sugar addiction isn't for normal things like Gummie Bears or Hot Tamales (although I am a big fan of Dots). I have more of a penchant for baked goods. Not out-of-the-box desserts, but things that require a bit of work and talent, more like what Grandma makes. Fortunately I have a sister that enjoys creating these types of items. She bakes for me while I cook for her.

When I am out and about I am constantly on the lookout for new recipes. Recently I stopped at a garage sale and found a new cookbook. It was a collection from Junior's restaurant in Brooklyn. In this book are several recipes for things like egg cremes using a chocolate syrup named Fox's U-Bet. Being an aficionado for anything unusual I decided to order some Fox's U-Bet and make an egg creme.

Last Friday my order of Fox's U-Bet arrived, so on Saturday we made some egg cremes. The conclusion was less than stellar. Neither my sister, brother-in-law, nephew or I were greatly impressed. It's an interesting and unusual concotion, at least for a Colorado boy like me, but definitely not a new favorite. Perhaps they would be better from a soda fountain, but our homemade rendition was not spectacular.

One bright spot out of this endeavour was the Fox's U-Bet. It is definitely different than the Hershey's product that is in stores everywhere and amounted to a nice change. If you are a chocolate syrup fan (and who isn't) I would definitely suggest buying a bottle and giving it a shot.

My next acquisition of culinary delight? Probably Bosco Chocolate Syrup. While researching Fox's I found some references that said it's even better. We will see…

New Look

OK, I'm working on a new look for All The Info. Actually, more of an old look. Found this new template named thirteen which I like, but is a little too pretty for this site. I'm going to start with it and see if I can mangle it into some kind of mix with this, but with more of a pulp look. Probably end up as a disaster, but it's fun anyway.

UPDATE: So here it is, my new look. Three hours later. What do you think?

Why is Windows so dumb

I run both a Linux machine and a Windows machine at home. My linux workstation is also my firewall/router to my cable connection. The other night I came home and doing some web work. I tried to connect to the site I was working on to review my work in IE, and it wouldn't connect.

So I screwed with it for a half hour or so. Finally, decided to change the hard coded DNS adress in my network settings. This fixed it. Appearantly, the DNS server I was using was no longer available. Now, how hard would it be for Windows XP to say – hey, your DNS server isn't talking to me any more. Nope, it just refused to connect to any websites. Grrrrr.