Muscatoed

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le Muscato.  Artist’s impression

Those few of you among us with their memories still intact might recall that that blogger among bloggers, Muscato from over at Cafe Muscato, blew into San Francisco for some business meeting inflicted by his employers, Golden Handcuffs, earlier this summer.  We enjoyed a couple of quiet evenings together, but never got around to the thrilling San Francisco touring I had promised.

So when the old darling announced he would be back, I was determined to make up for my lackluster show last time.  Sadly, the results were only so-so once again.  This time, my lazy ass laziness was not entirely to be blamed.  The weather was, unusual for the Bay Area, not co-operative.   With more than a week and a half of heavy rains and dank the local scene would would fit in perfectly for the East Coast he was attempting to escape.

Still, we had a charming lunch at Neiman’s.  Muscato allowed how he had never crossed their sacred threshold, so I was delighted to introduce him to one of the grande dames of shopping.  In the Texas of my youth, Neiman’s defined a certain type of quietly stylish and extremely well-heeled Ladies.  These sad times have marked a slide in how much of the 1 Percent still hang their heads there, but the proportion of Good Hand Bags was encouraging.

The Bacchanal was rather subdued.  Neither of us drink much now and Muscato (as perhaps you recall) had a couple of serious heart ailments recently-ish and is being very, very good about sticking with his diet, virtue which can cut into a real Ladies Who Lunch kind of repast.

I am so impressed with Muscato’s determination to stick with his diet.  I know I couldn’t make it past the patisserie around the corner from his office.  There would Dr. Mark be, explaining the evils of carbohydrates while I would be wondering if I could get to the bakery before they ran out of the squishy red berry compote.

Then we rolled out to the far edge of town to a park that was large fort and barracks since the city was founded in the late 18th century.  Now it’s an odd, but lovely chunk of greenery in this very urban corner and includes the very site where Kim Novak throws herself into the Bay in Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo.  The mention of that bit of history had Muscato ready to go like a terrier at a rat.

How disappointing then, that the storm that had been stomping us all week had also brought down a couple of truly enormous eucalyptus trees across the one narrow road that goes out to our destination (technically, it’s Fort Point, but it has such Vertigo induced fame, they really should give up and just call it Point Kim.)

Clouds blew back in by then and had a somber stroll through the AIDS memorial grove, a charming site, but more than a little sad for those of us of a certain age.

and speaking of our certain age, Muscato mentioned how attractive a nap sounded about then an I agreed with an alacrity which might have been the teeniest bit over enthusiastic, but it did sound good.

So Muscato will  be here through the weekend; we plan dinner Friday night when Mr.Muscato will be here and I’ll have a chance to meet him.  I’m terribly excited.   I might not have mentioned to Muscato my history of making up lurid stories about friends when coming across their partners for the first time, I’m sure we’ll find out.

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Of Course, what would an afternoon with a couple of old queens be without an ongoing appraisal of the youth passing by.  Muscato tends towards these dark, pirate-y type.

 

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While we all know my heart belongs to the more luscious, debaseable type.

Cooking Cockup

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I’ve made this point before, but allow me to reiterate, I am a good cook.  I am proud of that fact; I had to teach myself since I left home totally unprepared for the world, including cooking.

So when something I make refuses to go along with the show, I am annoyed both with the dish and myself.  How could I not have seen this particular disaster (whatever it is) coming?

Tonight’s disaster?  A 7 Layer Bar, which many of you will be familiar with from bake sales gone by.  It is the kind of incredibly uncomplicated recipe simple minded Girl Scouts use to get their cooking badge.  I was making red beans tonight and while they were simmering, I decided to make a version of it.  It’s a  cookie I had long loved at my favorite cafe, but which they no longer make.  Nostalgia is a trap.

Graham cracker crust, then just dump in sweetened condensed milk, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, coconut and nuts and then bake.  Since I never liked either the coconut or the nuts in it, I decided to substitute oats, which actually worked out fine.  The problem was all the other ingredients.

Canned sweetened condensed milk is a beloved ingredient for lots of things like dulce de leche, but I should have realized a concoction which is nothing but chocolate chips floating in it is going to be a sugar overdose waiting to happen.

Once I peeled off the wax paper that had lined the pan (and which glued itself to the bottom of the cookies) I got a taste of the oh-so-innocent looking deadly bars.

Even I, with my almost unparalleled fondness for desserts of any sort, kind of choked on the first bite.  There was no second bite.  While there were elements of other flavors slightly floating around, mostly it was identical to chewing a sugar cube.  I just couldn’t take it, and I am the man scarfing down the leftover chocolate ganache with a spoon and telling myself it’s just like eating truffles.

So here’s where my annoyance with myself comes in.  How could I have read the recipe and not realized where it was headed?  I blame Pandora, the music jukebox site.  I was listening to it while cooking and once again it insisted on playing Flock of Seagulls, despite my best efforts at removing them from my stations.  How am I supposed to concentrate on culinary arts with “I Ran” racketing around the kitchen?

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This, this is what I want in my kitchen, not some disgusting cookie so sweet it makes your sinuses ache.

 

Tradition

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3:00 AM and mrpeenee is tucking into some seriously tasty Boston cream pie, made by his own two loving hands.  Those of us familiar with his passion for sweets will not be surprised by the menu, but the hour might seem unlikely.

I have been on a new regime of pain meds for my back which seem to be helping a lot.  Yay. A drawback is I take them 4 times a day and cannot eat 2 hours before or after knocking them back.  That means I can only eat, I don’t know, you do the math. I can’t count that high.  But 3:00 AM is in the safe zone and I take advantage of it.

I had made New Years Eve dinner for our friends and had centered the menu around dishes their families had insisted on as Ne Years traditions.  There are lots of them to choose from.

My American Southern family demands black eyed peas for good luck and cabbage as a symbol of money.  Super Agent Fred’s late husband Paolo was Italian and they go for lentils to suggest abundance and grapes as wealth.  Our friend Jen is Hungarian and the only tradition she brings is to place coins on a window sill to keep money coming in all year.   Seems contradictory since you start with money going out, but what the hell, I have a stack of quarters now hanging around the sill of the door onto the patio.

Since no one not raised in the South will willingly eat black eyed peas, I snuck them into the menu by making a hummus with them instead of chickpeas (which I don’t really like anyway, so no great loss) and lime juice and tahini.  I was concerened everyone would be equally unenthused about cabbage, but a dynamite recipe for stirfry with star anise in it was a big hit.

And then Boston cream pie.  It’s a simple two layer yellow cake with a custard in the middle and then glazed with chcolate ganache.  Ganache is one of those wonder recipes that can be the basis for plenty of greater things.

Ganache is just chocolate melted in cream with a little butter to make it shiny.   You change the proportion of cream to chocolate for what you want to use it for.  Equal amounts of each gives you a thin glaze like I used on the cake.  More chocolate and less cream and you have the basis for truffles.  More cream and less chocolate is chilled and whipped to make mousse.

I was perhaps a tiny bit distracted while I was pouring the glaze over the cake and wound up with it not only pooling in the bottom of the cake dish, but making a big puddle on the counter beneath.  I decided it was Bacchanalian, a glorious excess.  Certainly not just a fucking mess.

I might also have considered the results of a dinner with peas, lentils and cabbage, which result in an aftermath that could move a freight train.  I was going to hang a sign out front saying “For god’s sake, don’t light a match,” but the neighbors are already nosy enough.

And so we’re off to a gassy, but no doubt prosperous New Year, blasting 2016 off into the unlamented past.

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You’re gong to make fart jokes, you need a classy nude to balance things out, and this guy certainly appears balanced.

Flights of Angels and Naked Muscley Boys

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I think the best thing about Christmas is its end.  It doesn’t trail off, or go out with a whimper; Boxing Day and that’s that.  Pack up all the ersatz sentimentality and the go go boys in elf hats and move on.  Safe for one more year from Bing Crosby and David Bowie sneering at each other over Little Drummer Boy.

Of course, one still needs to deal with  the snow drift of bad news that always shows up just in time for the New York Times’ teddibly, teddibly tasteful obituary extravaganza.  Every year, some loss just seems more bitter than others, or just too much cumulatively.  David Bowie AND Prince?

And some bad news that just adds to the sum of woe.  I don’t know how I missed the bulletin that Terry Jones of Monty Python has dementia, but I just stumbled on it this evening and then the very next page I opened was MJ’s Infomaniac to find out the charmingly insane Kabuki had died.

Several of us bloggers sort of started out as commenters on other more established sites and none of us was funnier or more droll and bizarre than Kabuki.  His comments were always less to do with the topic than they were news reports from deep left field.  They weren’t simply written, they were crafted.  Of course, tin foil hats that block the alien beams are crafted too.

Also, he was always very appreciative of not only the lurid photos I use as illustration here, but he always, ALWAYS, enthused the most over the very ones which I liked the best.  We were sympatico in the ways of feelthy pictures.  So, to wish farewell to a star, a gigastar unlike any other, here

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The Goose is Getting Fat

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So apparently I am now blogging on demand.  I had assumed when I threw off the oppressive shackles of employment, I would be passed this sordid sort of thing, but no.

Because that was without considering our perennial favorite Chaturbate.  You know of Chaturbate, right?  All sorts of people (and I do mean ALL sorts of people) get on there and broacast themselves doing ALL sorts of things.

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just working on a little yoga.

Mikey is one of our favorite.  I don’t understand how someone embellished with humpy muscles can be so sweet and unaffected, but he is.

I was on there this evening watching him flog the hog.  Eventually we started talking amongst ourselves about our respective cats, because that’s just something homosexualists do.  I’m aware of the whimsicality of watching a beautiful naked youth getting all freaky and meanwhile the fans are talking about kitties, and what’s the weather like, and “What time is it there,” a conversation that comes up in almost every session I’ve ever attended.

Mikey asked me if I had gotten his email with the pictures in them because Mikey is fully involved in the nattering conversations wandering along in the comments sections even if he is naked and spreading his butt cheeks at the time.

Indeed, I had received Mikey’s message and thanked him for it and the photos.  Although they’re not the sort of thing that would probably turn up in the Hallmark card section, they do have a certain charm.

That was when Mikey was struck by the brilliance of me writing about getting a christmas card from him.  It might be a little flimsy, but I’ve milked blog post topics out of less.  What the hell?  Plus, I’m fairly sure my readers will not object to a little Mikey objectification.

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From all of us at mrpeenee Gobal World Headquarters, to all of you, whoever the fuck you are,  Happy Capitalist Consumerism Fetish fourth quarter earnings projections.

Weep a Little Weep with Me

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I know it may hard to grasp this from reading these posts, but I am by nature, a blythe spirit.  I may hide it behind a scrim of brittle bitterness, but deep inside am of Pollyanna, butterflies and lollipops and adorable kittens.  And muscular naked men right around the next corner.

 

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I was surprised these last few days, then, that I was suddenly in the grips of a real depression.  I’m old.  I have more dead friends than live ones.  My eyebrows are falling out.  Even here in California, it’s winter.  Trump.  And R Man is still dead.

Of course, I miss R Man every hour of every day, but it is a pain I’ve become resigned to.  This, however was a sadness more pronounced than usual.  So cold and dark.

After a fitful sleep I felt much better and I now realize it was the new pain medicine I’d been prescribed and had auditioned for three days.  Once the trial was over and I  went back to vicodin until I could get a regular prescription of the new one, whammo the black dog of depression was waiting for me.

The drug (Nucynta: it’s hip, it’s fresh, it’s fun, it’s funky.  It’s today) came with a set of warnings of drug interactions and “don’t drive bulldozers while taking this” and all the usual crap, but in much greater detail (it went on for two pages) and with way too many BOLD FACE CAPS.  The one side effect they mentioned that really caught my eye was hallucinations.  All right!  All hopped up on some strange drug and trippin like a million screaming monkeys.  Didn’t happen.

Instead, I got the depression, which is decidedly second place in my book.

Still, the pain reliever part worked fine and this contains neither ibuprofen nor acetaminophen  both of which are in Vicodin and both of which were quietly chewing my liver to pieces.

So now it’s off vicodin and on to Nucynta.  I miss the vicodin like an old friend.  Vicodin carries with it a charming little cloud of euphoria and even after all these years knocking it back, I still felt some of that.  Nevertheless, the Nucynta keeps my back from hurting, I’m no longer depressed and I’m back to keeping an eye out for feral pron stars.

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It’s a wonderful life.

Turkey. Of Course

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Over the last several years I have come to be the host of Thanksgiving dinners for a regular group of my friends whom I think of as “The Children.”  As in “The Children are coming to dinner.”  Mostly because they are all young enough to actually be my offspring, were I wacky enough to spring off, but also because, as in the case of providing the traditional Thanksgiving, I have somehow morphed into a mother figure. To be more accurate, a grandmother figure.

Four of the Children are out of town this holiday and I was remarking to Super Agent Fred (the only one who would be around) how I was looking forward to taking drugs and sleeping all day instead of cooking.  Fred looked absolutely stricken and protested that he was looking forward to turkey.  And gravy.  And mashed potatoes.  And dressing.

Of course I relented and thus wound up slinging a menu that exactly reproduced what my grannies would have knocked out 80 years ago.  And it was delicious, thank you very much, so I guess I’m glad I did, but the dinner did leave behind a refrigerator full of left overs because it turns out scaling down a celebratory dinner for 10 to one for 2 does not work.  I just don’t know how to make my granny’s cornbread dressing  in a size smaller than what could be described as a vat.  We will be dining on that fucking turkey all week.  Turkey salad, Turkey Tetrazini, turkey sammiches.  OK by me.

Also in other domestic news, the garden always looks sort of shaggy around this time of year.  Most thing suddenly green from the rain finally starting, but also quietly revving up for the burst of flowers spring will have.  The most appealing contradictions are the Australian Tea Trees, brilliant rose and pink and crimson right now.  The two in the picture are about 20 years old and have taken that long to really get established and turn out such show off blooming.  I see them from my bathroom window every time I go pee.  That is not what the average garden planning book would consider, but I’m glad I planted them where I did.

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The view from the toilet.

Pancakes and Rain and Smacking Fred in the Head

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I know I’m always yammering about how balmy (and fucking expensive) life in San Francisco is, but even here, winter visits occasionally.  Like today, gray, drizzling, the kind of dank cold that settles into your every nook as soon as you set foot out the door.  Of course, when I feel the urge to whine about our winter, I remember Mistress Infomaniac trapped up in the tundra of Canadia, battling caribou just to get a goddam coffee, eking a living as a professional seal blubber gatherer, and I have to count my blessings.

Like going out for delicious pancakes and sausage for breakfast in a cozy cafe with humpy waiters.  Since I tend to go to sleep at dawn, breakfast is a rare treat for me, but today I couldn’t get to sleep so I battled my way through the clammy chill and wound up with my favorite, lemon pancakes with marion berry sauce.  Because it’s San Francisco and we’re all fancy and stuff.  originally, the waiter appeared with French toast and when I demurred, he corrected his mistake by reaching over to the table behind me to pick up my pancakes from them and give them their French toast.  Which leads one to wonder, why hadn’t they said something when a large plate of pancakes appeared before them?  Do they not know what French toast looks like?  Were they simply blinded by the waiter’s massive chest muscles? The waiter (and his big round titties) assured me they had not spit on the pancakes, so I tucked in.

Anyway, tasty.

I came home, made a pot of stew, puttered around, never could get to sleep until about 9:00 this evening, almost exactly one hour before a thoroughly drunken Super Agent Fred decided to rock out downstairs with the worst music ever recorded.  Dylan.  The Association.  Gary Puckett and the Union Gap.   God knows why, his tastes are eclectic to the point of random.  I went downstairs, threatened to hit him in the head with gong mallet (it’s padded, OK?) and then did because he turned the volumeback up.  Sometmes beating your child is the only answer.

Speaking of abusive realtionships, have you seen Good Behaviour?  It’s fabulous.  It stars Michele Dockery, late of Downton Abbey’s Lady Mary, as a white trash crackhead grifter who hooks up with the astonishingly hot Juan Diego Botto who is by turn both sexy and menacing.  The banter is very tight and amusing, but not brittle and Dockery is great.  Thumbs up.  Go watch it.

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Botta.  Mmmmmm.  Botta

Always, Always, Listen to Cher

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via GIPHY

Allright bitches. It’s been a week. Unless you are planning a coup (and if you are, I ask, please don’t) it’s time to move on. We’ve all been through the stages of grief now: anger, denial, bargaining. whatever the other one is, and now it’s time for acceptance.

Unless of course, you are Secret Agent Fred, in which case the stages are Valium, cheap beer, Vicodin, cheap beer, and cheap beer. Also, Fred has used his art as therapy to “work through his issues.” Personally, I don’t think Fred could get through all his issues with a GPS and a machete, but, you go, girl.

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President Trump.  Snap out of it.  But also, here, just to make us all feel a little better on this cold gray day

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In Which We Explore Not Much

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Having just bragged about my culinary expertise, I am here to report that for dinner tonight, I am having a bowl Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal.  You know why?  Because I am a motherfucking adult and I want to.

Did my previous post about the glorious San Francisco weather seem a tad sketchy, even by the admittedly low standards we maintain here at mrpeenee World Headquarters? Mmmmmmmmmaybe.   I had spent quite  a while hammering out what could only be described as a diatribe about an argument I had been involved in with a some Neanderthal. It was cathartic, explaining how brilliantly I defended my position and how stupid his hair was, but once I finished it and read it over, I realized it was dreadful.  Mostly “And then he said….  And then I said….  And then he said….”  I know you guys get on my nerves but even so, you deserve better than that.

And so I deleted it and dashed off the little bulletin about how nice nice weather is.  Also, this just in, lollipops.   I suppose I could have included something on kittens, but living with the terror that is Saki leaves me sort of tepid to that whole idea.

Super Agent Fred continues to steam along with his art.  My favorite current series, Nekkid Guys in Gold Leaf, is particularly fine.  He’s planning on participating in Open Studios, so if you find yourself in the Bay Area November 4 or 5, come on by to see the master himself and buy some fucking art.  He’s listed in the catalogue both as Tim Gately and Super Agent Fred.

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Nekkid Guys in Gold Leaf

Lastly, we’re planning a Yahtzee tournament Friday evening with a group of friends collectively know as the children, solely because they are all young enough to be my offspring were I given to spawning and not because of their IQs.  I swear.