Saturday, December 31, 2011

Resolution 2 - Make More Time For Friends.

Friending someone on Facebook, and occasionally liking their posts, is not in and of itself how you make and maintain a friendship. I am not saying technology is bad, it just can't take the place of being in the moment and having real human interaction. I know we cannot always be together, e-mail is nice but nothing says "you matter" as much as a letter sent through the mail, or a phone call or better yet a lunch together.

My second resolution is to make more time for friends, in the real world. More face time, less Facebook time.

Friday, December 30, 2011

2012 New Years Resolution #1

Resolution - No more supported bike rides without a riding buddy

I went on three supported cycling event rides in 2012. I only really had fun on one of them, and that one was a blast! My friend Elaine and I promised to stick together no matter what; and we did. We had great conversations and even got lost together; no problem!

On the other two I rode alone and that was much less fun. I don't mind riding alone, but if I am doing so I just as soon not have to worry about making it to rest stops before they close; or feel like I have to ride a set distance, no matter what and no matter the weather. I am a fair weather cyclist. If I am riding alone, with nobody to talk to, I would rather carry my own food, maybe a camera, and set my own agenda.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Linguine with White Clam Sauce

Amazingly simple, and good too!

Quantity Unit Description
1 lb. Linguine
4 tbs. butter
1 lg. clove garlic (1 or 2 tsp. of minced garlic works too!)
2 tbs. flour
2 7 oz. cans Snows Minced Clams
4 tbs. Chopped Parsley
3/4 tsp. dried thyme
3/4 tsp. dried basil
varies varies Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat butter and cook garlic about 1 minute. Stir in flour and juice from clams. Bring to a full boil, stirring. Add clams, parsley, thyme and basil and simmer 5 minutes, stirring. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with hot cooked linguine.

Serving Suggestions

Makes 8 servings. Really good served with a white wine, like Chardonnay (or even the cheap Almaden stuff), and some decent bread like Colombo Extra Sour Dough French bread or better yet, Il Fornaio Country Loaf.


This recipe came off a pasta box and was a staple of my years as a single parent in Patterson. It was easy to make and could feed a tribe. Sue tried to modify the recipe once by substituting granulated sugar for flour, which didn't work.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Corn Bread to go with the Chili

Goes great with a big pot of good Chili.

There is no secret to this except one. Coat the pan with butter then flour before pouring the batter in. Yes, like a cake and for the same reason. Then, when it is done you can just turn the pan over and it will drop out and never, ever stick. Drop onto a plate upside down, then put a second plate on top and turn it over, the result is a perfect corn bread!


Quantity Description
1 cup Yellow Corn Meal
1 cup Flour
1/4 cup Sugar
1 tbs. Baking Powder
1-2 shake(s) Salt
1/3 cup Oil (like Wesson Oil)
1 Egg
1 cup Milk
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees (F.)
  • Combine dry ingredients in larger bowl and mix well.
  • Combine oil, egg and milk together and mix well.
  • Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients until just blended.
  • Pour into well buttered 8 inch square or 9 inch round pan.
  • Bake 25 minutes or until done.
Serving Suggestions
Really good served warm with butter, beer (preferably a Southern Tier Phin & Matt’s Pale Ale) and chili.

This recipe is a family favorite. It's slightly modified from the one right off the Albers box.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Dad's easy chili

Triple Batch Ingredients

Quantity Description
2 lbs. Lean Ground Beef
1 lb. Ground Turkey
2 ea. Medium Onion, chopped
1 ea. Chopped Green Pepper, chopped
3 ea. 1 pound cans, or 48 ounces, Tomatoes, broken up
1 ea. 1 lb. can, Dark Red Kidney Beans, drained
1 ea. 1 lb. can, Pinto Beans, drained
1 ea. 1 lb. can, Black Beans, drained
1 ea. 1 lb. can, Pinquento Beans, drained
4 ea. 8 ounce cans, or 2x 16 oz., or 32 ounces of Tomato Sauce
1 Dash of salt.
6 tsp. Chili Powder (Good stuff tastes better!)
3 ea. Bay Leaves
2 tsp. Ground Cumin
1 small or medium can Diced Green Chili's
If you dare! A bit of crushed red pepper and minced jalapenos and/or bottle of beer, preferably an amber ale.
  • Cook chopped onions and pepper in a dab of butter until onions are translucent and peppers are softer, set aside.
  • Fry the meat in a large covered skillet until meat is lightly browned, drain when almost done and add onions/peppers, green chilies and cook a bit more with stirring.
  • Meanwhile, in large pot, mix all other ingredients and start heating.
  • When skillet mixture is ready add it to pot.
  • Cover and simmer an hour. Stir every now and then.
  • When done remove bay leaves.
Serving Suggestions
Makes boucoup Chili. Really good served with beer and corn bread.

This recipe is a family favorite. It evolved from the Chili recipe in the Homes and Garden cookbook. Dad significantly modified it to suit family tastes.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Candy's Jalapeño Pepper Jelly

Important: Use rubber gloves when preparing pepper jelly

  • 4 Large green peppers (bell peppers)
  • 14 Medium jalapeno peppers.
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice.
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 6 cups sugar
  • 6 ounces liquid pectin
  • (optional) green food coloring
  • Rubber gloves
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Blender
  • Heavy four quart saucepan
  • Sterilized canning jars
Seed and grind the peppers in a blender. Combine this with lemon juice, vinegar and sugar in a heavy four quart saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil. Boil, stirring constantly, for about 15 minutes. Add the pectin and boil for 3 to 5 minutes more. Remove from heat and (if desired) add the green food coloring, a few drops at a time to make the jelly a bright green. Cool slightly, stirring occasionally and spoon into sterilized jars. Seal immediately and store in a cool dry place.
Serve with cream cheese and crackers for a colorful and easy appetizer.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

My Capitol Subaru San Jose Horror Story

Over the July 4th weekend 2011 my battery light came on in my 2006 Forester. When I brought it in to Capitol Subaru in San Jose, CA on July 5, the service consultant Mike Wallace gave me an initial estimate of $145 and said it would be ready that afternoon.

Since I did not have another car, Mike offered me a ride to the public transit station. I chose to walk.

That afternoon Mike called me and told me that the alternator had gone out and they did not have a replacement in stock. He said it would take two days to get a replacement and he did not offer me a loaner car. I was surprised the alternator on a Subaru went out at barely over 70,000 miles. I have had Hondas, Acuras, Toyotas and even Fords, Chevys and Dodges and I never replaced an alternator at 70,000. I was also surprised a dealer did not have that part, that they wanted $750 to replace it, and that it would take two days to get it. But, what really surprised me was that there was no loaner car offered. When I take my wife's Honda in for service, even if it is a matter of only a few hours they always say, "would you like a loaner car Mister Sloan?"

Two days of using public transportation later Mike called again. He said the Subaru part will not be in for ...two months. So, he said, they could put in a third party rebuilt (used) alternator. But, he said, there would be no warranty on the installation. When I complained he said he could give me a 10 percent discount. The cost was about $675 for the installation of a part I could have gotten put in at a gas station. I still do not have my car. It was in pieces at Capitol Subaru. There was still no offer of a loaner. What choice did I have?

I already told them to get me my car, fix it. I also told them I am never buying another Subaru, or going back to Capitol Subaru. The whole situation reminds me of the car dealer in Fargo (reference is to the movie).

I began to wonder if my car would have the undercoating applied when I got there. I am sure their equivalent of "Jerry" has already taken care of it. If I see William Macy in the show room I will know for sure. Even so, as a Honda owner I have NEVER heard of a Honda alternator dying at 70K!

Just got my car. After sticking me $700 for a no warranty alternator I noticed as I was driving home, they didn't even reset my clock in the car. I know it’s a little thing. But, it seemed symbolic. Capitol Subaru, what a joke.

It is still hard to believe they did not have a single new Subaru replacement alternator in the whole US (according to my Mike.) But, they were happy to sell me a rebuilt third party alternator for the same ..price (they charged me $499 for the part) without a warranty. Now, before you say "it's just the dealer." It's who Subaru US authorized to carry their brand. Oh yea, they had me walking on the street and taking the bus and light rail for two days. When I drop off my Honda, I am offered a loaner car; no cost, no question. Subaru offered to give me a ride to the light rail station. I walked.

A week before this happened, my wife and I were talking about replacing her 2004 Honda Accord. We were considering a new Subaru Impreza. After this experience, I would never buy another Subaru again.

Just for grins I checked Amazon for new alternators for my car.....  $185. Then I went to Kragan, they wanted $230 for the part that Capital  Subaru charged me $499 for.  We obviously feel we were ripped off and  got horrible service and are extremely dissatisfied that we were left with a used part and no warranty on the labor.

My letter to Subaru USA, in PDF format, on this subject is here.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Got the bastard!

Is it bad to be glad Osama is gone? Is it bad to be glad he will not be killing any more of our friends, parents, siblings, sons or daughters? What if the November 8th 1939, Munich bomb planted by Georg Elser had killed Hitler? Is it bad to wish it had?
At some point the only response to deadly force is deadly force. Should we have unilaterally disarmed in the 1930's instead? Should we then and now disband our military? Should the sailors manning the guns on the ships that were being bombed at Pearl Harbor not shot back?
Unilateral disarmament has a poor track record of success compared to failure. Appeasement of tyrants seldom works. When Neville Chamberlain signed the Munich Agreement in 1938, and Czechoslovakia's Sudetenland was handed over to the Nazi German Reich, the result was not peace in our time. Killing Osama is a risk. But, I think it was a risk we had to take. I don't think surrender was an alternative. I am not celebrating in the streets; but I remember watching those towers fall. I was not in New York on 9-11. Had it been my family in those towers; I might be celebrating, you might be too.
To the brave soldiers who put their lives on the line to terminate Osama's command with extreme prejudice, I say thank you. A thousand times; thank you.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Twenty years ago today

Candy in 1976 at John Muir House
Click on photo to enlarge
Twenty years ago today Candy; the mother of my children, my first wife, died in a car accident. Following the recent unexpected passing of a friend's spouse, and thinking of what happened to my family and I; I wrote this:

A moment of a moment

April 4, 2011
In a moment, of a moment,
everything changes.
What was once granite,
becomes dust.
Our solid handhold;
sifts through our fingers.
We are left falling,
an abyss,
with no bottom.
It is the great injustice,
that defines us!
It is;
our mortality.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Politics: Obama is missing!

Here, on my opinion blog, I have posted about my deep disappointment with President Obama. You can post comments there as well. If you want to read my personal political opinion, it is here, on my opinion blog.
If you disagree and get steamed, remember by clicking on this link you have chosen to read my opinion!

Friday, April 08, 2011

My opinion on the Federal Budget Mess of 2011

I have an opinion blog where I post my opinions on many things including politics. You can post comments there as well. If you really want to read my personal political opinion, it is here!
If you disagree and get steamed, remember by clicking on this link you have chosen to read my opinion!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Winterail 2011

Winterail is the annual gathering of west coast train fans, the trainorati in Stockton, CA at the Scotish Rite Temple.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Today is Marie's 57th Birthday

Marie Roby died of a apparent heart attack on May 2, 2009. She was 55. Marie was my oldest and closest friend. I did this video tribute of her for her husband Kirk that was shown at Marie's funeral. Marie was a keystone in many lives. You could tell Marie something and know it would never get retold. She was the only person who I let read all my journals.

She accepted and loved people for who they were. She was a friend you could depend on. She was a safe harbor in a storm. She was selfless, loving and kind. She was stoic and strong but soft and tender hearted. She had an inner beauty that radiated. I have never known anybody who did not like Marie. She was the kind of person people would call and talk to for hours about the troubles in their lives. I know I did. Yet, she seldom would complain about troubles in her life.

Marie's sudden death is a sadness I have still not gotten over. Marie is a dear friend and is part of who I am. Marie and Candy were dear friends. Marie and Kirk were the first people I called after I learned of Candy's death. I like to think Marie and Candy are together in heaven. They are waiting for me to join them, all of us as just friends now. We will have a lot of great stories to tell.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

My bike is on my car

For the first time since I broke my foot.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Blossoms in January

Seen today in a parking lot in San Jose. The warm weather is bringing out the blossoms!