"Some calls it madness...I calls it HiDeeHo." - Cab Calloway
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Friday, October 04, 2002

AMATEUR RESTAURANT REVIEW #2, not strictly chronological

Great India.

This link is to a review as well. The people who wrote this had completely different dishes than we did, but they also have a little pic of the inside of the place on the site. Cool!

Sean, Renee, Josh, Morgan and I had the following, and except for Mo (picky!), had some of all:

Pappadums: Crunchy garbanzo flour chips w/lots and lots of black peppercorns and two sauces, snappy, yum
Garlic naan: Flatbread with the garlic, instead of being inside, on top and roasted, yum
Kashmiri naan: Flatbread w/raisins and cashews, sweet, yum
Raita: Yogurt w/various herbs, cooling, yum
Chicken parathas: Garbanzo-floured spiced-up deep-fried chicken strips, guess who wanted these most, yum
Sak w/tandoori chicken: Spinach cooked to death w/butter, cream and spices, goes very well on naan, yum
Aloo cholle: Garbanzos and potatoes in hot spicy red sauce, oh!, yum
A mixed grill: Tandoori and tikka chicken, lamb sausage and something else of which I did not manage to snag a bite, yum
A dish of lamb and peas, the Indian name for which I cannot remember, very mellow and subtle, yum
The requisite basmati rice with the requisite bright yellow grains and peas on top, yum

Oh. My. God. I have rarely seen so much food disappear in front of me at once. It was all equally delicious. Sitting here nearly a week later, I can still recall how much of it tasted. I can appreciate the complexity of Indian cooking. Reading cookbooks with recipes similar to these will overwhelm you with the sheer number of spices and prep steps they go through to make these dishes.

The waiter was attentive and friendly, smiling goodnaturedly when I made a joke about khoa for dessert (a candy made by reducing full-fat milk by 87% and carmelizing the lactose, takes quite a while to do properly, not on the menu but eh...), even bringing more napkins when Mo knocked over her water, and then even MORE, and bringing another carafe of ice water for us. He called her, "the baby." Cute.

The serving dishes were very pretty (silvery/ornate little bowls and plates). The portions looked smallish, but then again, we were five very hungry bears. We got so many different things, we all went away quite satisfied (stuffed to the gills was more like it). Besides, the portions at most other restaurants are HUGE, so these were probably normal and only small by comparison.

Mo, the pickiest of us and the most spice-phobic, ate the chicken from the parathas, some of the peas and rice, the Kashmiri naan, and called it dinner. Sean resolved to find the recipe for the aloo cholle. I resolved to go home and make sak and aloo parathas. I haven't had Indian food since 1996, and oh man, now I remember why I liked it so much.

Renee and I both discovered an unintentional feature in the women's bathroom; they have a full-length mirror with a bend in it that makes you look a few inches taller and about 20 pounds lighter than you really are. Nice touch! There was Indian pop music (which was not being sung by little girls, despite what Mo thought) to add to the ambience. It was not at all crowded or noisy. It should be more crowded.

The above dishes and a couple of drinks totaled approximately $60. Not bad for four friggin' hungry adults and a child, eh? People of KCMO, go make Great India more crowded.

posted by Julie Neff  # 10/04/2002 04:04:00 PM


The PQF (Pratchett Quote File).

posted by Julie Neff  # 10/04/2002 03:22:00 PM


Oooh, now I get to do more gamer stuff.

Before I say anything more, I will again attack the stigma that is slapped willy-nilly on gamers. Many of us are successful human beings, in that we are generally happy and are not out killing people. We have friends. We have clean, solid, non-parent-basement residences. We have nice, smart, clean, healthy children. Some of us are extremely well-educated with multi-degrees; others of us are just damn smart in our own rights. We have successful relationships for which we do not need to roll a D20. We are a creative, talented, outrageous bunch of folks who are unfairly demonized, and I use the word demonized on purpose. We may argue style and pacing and technicalities amongst ourselves, but when someone attacks one of our own, we close up like a well-oiled machine (or like a family of Oggs) in defense. Solidarity, brothers and sisters (but mostly brothers)!

There. End of gamer-geek-chick rant.

Ron Edwards, with whom I once played and who read a story with a zebra in it to my daughter, has made this thing called Trollbabe. Any of you remember doing solos with your older siblings, or doing them for your younger ones? Seems like this is the nostalgia factor at work here, because Josh, the elder of us two, is going to run my trollbabe, Oga, through her paces. And we start just north of Foggy Bottom, between the mountains and the forest...

And thanks to Sean Demory for providing Pooka with what I think is probably his prettiest, shiniest game book so far: Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

I LOVE being a geek sometimes.

posted by Julie Neff  # 10/04/2002 02:53:00 PM

O.H.A.S. (Obligatory Humorous Acronym Section)

Spending 8+ hours a day buried in hospital notes can give you a bleak, black and twisted sense of humor. So can working EMS/EMT duty. I found this while searching for an obscure abbreviation that is NOT supposed to be used in a discharge diagnosis. So...here are the acronyms you shouldn't use on your PCRs: (Patient Care Reports). Note: Some of the naughty words have been edited out, some have not. You have been warned.

AMFYOYO Adios Mother F***er, you're on your own
BOHICA Bend Over Here It Comes Again
BTFOM Beats The F* Outta Me
BTW Balls To the Wall
BWS Beached Whale Syndrome
CCFCCP Coo Coo For CoaCoa Puffs
CHAOS Chief has Arrived on the scene
CMP-Certified Medical People
CPR Come Put-em-ta Rest
CRAFT Can't Remember A F___ing Thing
CRS Can't remember shit
CTD Circling The Drain (see: Close To Death)
CYA Cover your ass
DFO Done Fell Out (or Over)
DFO-SFJ Done Fell Out Screaming For Jeezus
DFU Done F**ked Up
DIN Dispatcher Is (going) Nuts - too many alarms
DIRTBAGS Dirty Indigents Requesting Transport Because Alcohol Gives them Seizures
DOASTW Dead On Arrival, and Stayed That Way
DRT Dead right there
DRTTTT Dead Right There, There, There, and There (used after pedestrian/train altercations)
DSA Dying Spoata Act (Usually accomp. with tachyLORDYa)
DVR Darth Vader Respirations
DWPA died w/ paramedic assistance
EKGWFLB EKG w/funny little bumps
EMS earn money sleeping
EMT early morning transporter
EMT Extraordinary Masochistic Tendencies
EMTI Effectively Medically Trained Idiots
EMTP Every Menial Task Plus
FD fu**ing drunk
FDGB Fall Down... Go Boom
FIBD Found In Bed Dead
FLB funny little beats
FNG frigging new guy
FORD Found On Road Dead
FUBAR Fouled/Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition/Redemption
GDA gonna die anyway
GOMA Get out of My Ambulance
GOMER Get Out of My Emergency Room
GPH Goddamns Per Hour
GSH Giant Sweat Hog
HBD (or SBD) (S)he Be Dead
HIF Hysterical Italian Family (Any ethnicity fits here)
HMFIC Head Mother Fucker in Charge
IBM Incredible Barfing Man
IDM it don't matter
IJADAD I'm Just A Dumb Ambulance Driver (Used in court after a bad call, "I was driving, I didn't even touch him!)
JAFO Just Another Freaking Observer
JFA Jive Funk Attack or Just F**king Around
LASGLH Lights and sirens go like hell
LOL Little old Lady
LOL FOF NAD Little old lady, found on floor, in no acute distress.
LOLINAD little old lady in no apparent distress
LTD-Lower Than Doctors
MAGGOT Medically Able, Go get Other Transportation
MDFO Multiple Done Fell Out
MFFLB multifocal funny little beats (see FLB)
MICN May I interrupt (your) Call Now
MMMMW My Mother Made Me a Wimp
MTF Metabolize To Freedom
NKDA Not Known, Didn't Ask
OWO On the way out.
NTID Non Traumatic Injury, Dumbass!
PD Pretty Drunk
PGBFH ParaGoddess B*tch From Hell (do not assume a PGBFH is female)
PIA Pain In the ass
PID Paramedic Induced Death
PIM patient is mangled
PITA Pain In The ass
PST Positive Samsonite Tendencies, as in the pt. greets you at the door
with suitcase in hand
PUHA Pick up Haul ASS!
PVL Patient Very Large
SCENE Severe Coronary Event, Not Ending
SHPOS Sub-Human Piece of S---
SID Spoata In Distress (Spoata's are those that think abusing EMS is their God given right! - "You Spoata take take me to da hospitil")
SNAFU Situation Normal, All Fouled/Fucked Up
SOCMOB Standing On the Corner, Minding my Own Business
SOI Shit On It
SOL Shit Outta Luck
SOS,DD Same Old Shit, Different Day
SSDD same shit different day
STASBT Stuff that ain't spoda be there
SWAG Scientific Wild Ass Guess
TMB too many birthdays
TRO Time Ran Out.
WNL We Never Looked!
WWW Wimpy Wimpy Wimpy

Henry Troup wrote the original list, which has been greatly altered since then.

posted by Julie Neff  # 10/04/2002 02:06:00 PM

Tuesday, October 01, 2002


The Atlas World Grill.

Even if this place wasn't owned and partially staffed by a couple of Josh's friends from school, I'd still rave. Let me first detail what Mo had. She has a predilection for chicken strips/nuggets/fingers/etc. in various forms, so that's what we got for her. They came with herbed mashed potatoes and these little fried onions that were REALLY REALLY good. Those onions would go well on a pizza, as a matter of fact. Okay, the taters actually had tarragon in them, and parsley and chives too, I think, and yum yum again. Who would have thought, licorice-y mash? It worked. Mo is a picky eater and she approved. The chicken also met with her approval, and later on supplemented the wraps which Josh and I had ordered.

His was a Jamaican jerk chicken (which I only had a tiny nibble of, spicy and salty) that came with some tropical fruit on the side with the pepper and stuff sprinkled on. THAT was good. Nice presentation. The fruit was deeelicious. Josh declared it to be divine. I believed him.

Mine was a grilled portobello mushroom/polenta/ratatouille with sun-dried tomato sauce and feta. Also, spiffy presentation. The sauce was swirled all over my plate and not too much feta, and was a perfect complement. He didn't skimp on the 'shrooms. The ratatouille didn't have the overbearing bell-pepperiness that I've found in some. The polenta...well, I confess, I have a weakness for polenta. Gaaaaah, drool. I could have eaten just the polenta and raved.

These wraps are fucking huge to me. I barely finished half. BUT THEN...surprise! At the door, he said "well, I'll have to put a cake on for you." I thought it was a figure of speech, but lo and behold, as we were finishing, out comes this platter with a little chocolate cake shaped like a jello mold (flourless, melty gooey in the middle ugga-mugga!), a scoop of vanilla ice cream with those oft-touted specks of bean, a dollop of whipped cream, mint leaves (which I nabbed), and a little puddle of peach-raspberry sauce which was florentined into red hearts on an orange background. It was so cute, but we tore it apart. Oh man. Stagger, sway. And it was free!

It wasn't too busy inside. It was a nice warm day and most of the lunch rush was out on the sidewalk/patio area. Inside, the decor was spare but comfortable. The waitresses were quite friendly. We heard compliments from what looked like a regular. Apparently, they know who to hire. Mo ended up chitty-chatting with our waitress, as a matter of fact. Any waitress who chats with a 5-year-old is all right by me.

That meal fed us dinner too, and you know what? Couple hours old is just as good as fresh.

James, you cook like a badass. Coming from an amateur of perhaps Olympic standard, that is high praise. I want to go back there.

Now, I'm no Dennis Getto, but I think that was a damn good review.

posted by Julie Neff  # 10/01/2002 04:36:00 PM


Tell me again why I like this job? I have been bitching and complaining about it so much that I have forgotten the fun side. You know what I love? When the doctors say, "The patient was transferred from a telemetry bed to the floor."

Think about that for a second. Transferred to the floor. Now doesn't that just conjure up images of cardiac patients in beds being up-ended and BOOM! on the hard tiles? I think Morgan was transferred to the floor in a couple of the places we stayed on our trip.

I know what they mean. In doctor-nurse-speak, the floor refers to the normal hospital rooms. It just sounds so damn funny to hear, "the patient was doing well, so we transferred him to the floor." All of a sudden, the patient's not doing so well and is asking for some help getting back in bed? Naaaaah. Knock it off and get back to what you're supposed to be doing.

posted by Julie Neff  # 10/01/2002 04:12:00 PM


Well. That was one hell of a road trip. I can't recall the details right now, as I'm supposed to be working, but it was about a 9.9999 out of 10, marred only slightly by the appearance of my little friend Dot. Need I say more? That always happens, doesn't it, ladies?

I got to meet all sortsa fun people and their animals, sleep in a different place each night, eat all sortsa WONDERFUL food (more to come about that particular bit later), see all sortsa stuff, drink about 3/4 of a bottle of red wine all by myself in front of some of Josh's friends and not make a complete fool of myself. They liked me. They REALLY liked me (I think).

1. Mo does indeed take car sickness in stride, as well she should.
2. Illinois is not worth the bother. Take I-94 west through Madison to 151 to Dubuque to get into Iowa instead.
3. Josh's friend James makes one hell of a polenta-ratatouille-portobello wrap.
4. James also makes one DECADENT molten chocolate cake.
5. Missouri and Iowa make for some pretty driving in the right season.
6. Sean is indeed one cool guy; his wife Renee is similarly cool, but in an entirely different way. They gave Mo toys and books! Taffy is adorable. We may abduct her.
7. We were accosted by strangers at the Plaza in KC and had our pictures taken for a scavenger hunt.
8. Gregg and Kim and Max and Siva, Colin and Jacquie, Jason and Kaya and Alexandria (whom I saw more of than the boy, Ian?), all the peeps at the library, gee am I forgetting anyone? All unreasonably cool and nice. When I say unreasonable, it seems as if I have known you guys for a lot longer. The unreason is on my end, not yours. Thanks again for the camaraderie.
9. Renee is correct; Renaissance Fests should be held in much later fall and/or winter, so as to allow for the people to wear the full effect clothes and not all be sweating so profusely. Mo liked the barrel ride and the jousting. I liked the shops and the apple dumplings. Didn't so much care for the heat.
11. It is very very easy to overeat when the food is of such quality and diversity and just overall damn yumminess. Everything from the eclectic above-mentioned wrap to good ol' BBQ to cafe' breakfasts to exquisite Indian dishes to vin avec canapes...lord. Issues with food, begone!

I know there's more. There has to be. Oh my god, the food. Oh my god, Mo's fascination with Muddy's. The blueberry pancakes. The Indian food, again. The sheer amount of stuff to gawk at. The temporary vagabondary. Being able to wake up with my Pooka right next to me or even closer for five days straight....ah. There's a thing.

We tried to fight. Honest. In the car on the way back, we said, okay so are we going to fight now? Okay, what about? Um, I don't know. Never mind. In the slight traffic jam in which we found ourselves somewhere in Iowa, car getting hot, getting impatient, too full from lunch, worried about family members...we didn't fight. We amused ourselves by irritating Morgan with our French and British accents. Having to have a silly amount of potty breaks? He didn't even blink. Getting off track a few times because I have no sense of direction? Nope. No fight. Back in KC, hanging at a bookstore because we were waiting for a hotel check-in, me with sick-making periodicity and pain-grumpies, did we fight? No. When Mo got whiny and spazzy and tired, did we butt heads? No. We collaborated and managed to keep her at least mostly in check.

No fights. This bodes preternaturally well. There was never any doubt in my mind, but this trip has erased all the nonexistent doubt. You're all invited. Draw straws for honors. Blessed be and blessed be again, y'all.

All right, all right. Back to work. More later.

posted by Julie Neff  # 10/01/2002 12:51:00 PM


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