January 2010 Archives




Sure wish I would've bought Sirius a year ago for $0.11 per share.... Oh wait, I did. Good thing I didn't listen to my financial advisor, who told me it was "dumb" to buy Sirius stock. "I can't stop you from throwing away money," is what I heard.

Funny... I just saw a 736% improvement in this single investment (in under 14 months time), while the rest of my "portfolio" (as managed by him) improved a whopping 5%. I think over the past 5 years or so, my existing portfolio is up by about 10% total.

Sure wish I would've bought Google back in 2004 for $85 like I really wanted to. Oh wait, I didn't - that time, I listened to the advisor. That mistake only cost about $60k. Ugh.

Baggin' on Brett


This may not be a particularly popular post with people, but I'll condition it with the following disclaimer - I'm not a football fanatic by any means. Yes, I enjoy the game, and I will make an effort to watch the Packers whenever I have the opportunity, but I can't quote statistics, records, or players at will. I follow the game, but I'm not obsessed with the game, so take this entry with a grain of salt (or two).

So this past Sunday, I wandered into the local watering hole to watch the Vikings take on the Saints. I found an empty spot at the bar, ordered a Lite, munched on some popcorn, and settled in for what would prove to be a great contest between two impressive teams.

What immediately struck me was the polarity of the crowd that had gathered - there was a clear division of "fans" - those that supported Brett Favre, and those that hated his guts. At first, it was amusing. But, as the game went on, the hatred (and often, pure rage) toward Brett became unsettling.

People were literally screaming things like, "Break that bastard's legs!" I even heard one older lady exclaim, "Beat the s*#t out of that a--!!!!!" My goodness! I've disliked players in my day, but I've never wished serious injury on someone. In fact, when Brett went down with his ankle injury, the place erupted - people were high-fiving each other, and cheering like someone had just won the Superbowl itself.

Call me crazy, but I'm going to side with Brett in favor of his decision to go to Minnesota. Did he waver and waffle on his retirement decision? Yes. Did he give Green Bay a fair shake when it came to negotiating his last few years? Maybe - we'll never really know... only a handful of people really know how that played out. Should he have retired as a Packer and skipped the past two years? Based on his last season, I'd say no. He demonstrated that he's still got some magic in that 'ole arm of his.

I can't, for the life of me, figure out why so many people literally hate the guy, though. It's as if the sixteen years that he spent with Green Bay didn't mean a single thing. Nevermind that he took the Packers to a Superbowl, or countless playoff games. Nevermind that he helped revive the franchise, and likely played a huge role in the remodel of Lambeau Field. I guess none of that matters, for whatever reason... "Thanks for nothing," seems to be the general sentiment.

You can't argue that the guy was one of the game's elite. Easily a top-three or top-five quarterback, for sure. A true asset to the game and the team. So, when the time came to give him a little extra attention, which should've been well-deserved, things fell apart. Accusations were made, threats, and so on... and eventually, 'ole #4 went to New York.

Fans ridiculed him for leaving; they said he should've retired. And, as we saw during that horrible season in New York, the fans may have been right. But, Brett apparently knew more than we did - that he still had some game left in him - so, he moved to Minnesota. And thanks to a decent line, a competent receiving core, and a strong diversion option (#28 - Adrian Peterson), Brett had an amazing season in 2009. Could you fault Seabiscuit for wanting to run a few more races if he knew his legs were strong?

Rather than take a step back and admit, "Wow, Brett's still got it - we probably should've kept him around," we say things like, "Break his legs!" Nice.

So, for what it's worth... I'm glad that Brett did as well as he did. I'm amazed that he took the beating he did against the Saints (bruised wrists, bruised ankles, and a head injury) and still had a great game. I'm happy to know that he was "our man" for 16 years. And I'm disappointed that "our fans" have such short and spiteful memories.

Good luck to you, Brett - if you've got another season in you, good 'on ya. If not, thanks for everything and happy trails. I honestly wish we would've fed you a little extra rather than rushing you out to pasture.


Dexter's Pub


Friday flew up faster than anticipated leaving us without much time to plan for Friday's fish feast. The weather was brisk, but decent, so we decided to venture to the east side of Madison and sample one of the local pub offerings. Dexter's fit the bill, so we meandered into the smallish establishment at around 7:30pm, found the bar, and put in a request for a table.

As we waited in the brightly-lit and paneled bar, my dining partners ordered some Old Fashioneds. I'm pleased to report that Dexter's gets bonus points for building a proper Old Fashioned - they muddled the cherries, used a nice amount of bitters, and finished things off with Squirt. The only foul on their part was including an orange, but that was easily removed. Round two of Old Fashioneds apparently didn't include an orange, so all was good once again.

After nearly an hour's wait (the place was packed), we were directed to our table, where a waiter presented us with an incredibly impressive beer menu that featured approximately 20 specialty microbrews, and a set of food menus. I knew what to go with for dinner, but the beer offerings were a bit more challenging... I eventually opted for a Miller Lite... nothing too exciting.

We ordered curds to start things off, along with soups and salads. The soups and salads arrived immediately and were excellent - I had a garden vegetable soup; Phil had a chili; Mark and Shaun (Phil's wife) had salads.

And then we waited. And waited. And waited some more. An hour went by, and we hadn't seen our waiter or our curds. We flagged down a waitress and inquired about our order; she came back a few minutes later and apologized - our order had been lost, but the curds would be right out. Sure enough, they arrived within a few minutes, and despite looking a little odd, were quite scrumptious.


I believe these were hand-made curds, but it's hard to say for certain. They were absolutely delicious and featured a light breading and white cheese. No signs of grease, and they weren't over cooked, so the curds scored big points.

Our fish arrived a few minutes later - I went with cod; others chose lake perch and shrimp. All were excellent - easily top 7-8 fish offerings. Here's the cod with waffle fries:


While it may not appear to be, the fish portions were perfect. Those cod fillets were thick and meaty; the beer batter was perfect (from flavor to form), and it was served steaming hot. Top-notch fish, for sure.

And, Dexter's made good on their mistake; they comped our drinks and appetizers, so the meal cost about $40. Not bad by any means - we'll definitely be back.

Saturday arrived and the weather was nice, so I rode the trainer for 2.5 hours and then took a 1.5 hour run. It felt to good to get out and run in the 40-degree air. Unfortunately, the nice weather won't stick around for long... they're calling for falling temperatures this week...sigh. Hope all is well with everyone out there.

Fish Fry at the VFW Post 8483


Mother nature dealt us a healthy serving of snow over the past few days - the temperatures dropped to single digits (and around 0 or below at night), and we received a good 6-8 inches of snow. Things weren't looking good for an adventurous fish fry, so we decided to stay local.

After pondering several choices, from golf courses to old favorites, we decided to try the VFW Post 8483, which is located near the airport in Madison. Rumor had it that their fish fry was good and reasonably priced. It was worth a shot.


The place looked more like a bunker - it's sunk into a hillside, is constructed completely of cement block, and didn't appear to have a single window. Inside, things weren't much more "inviting..."


But, when a deep-fried cod plate with sides, bread, and coffee runs a total of $8.50, I'm more than willing to sacrifice a little ambiance.

The VFW has an interesting ordering process, in that upon entry to the VFW, you're greeted by an older gentleman who shows you a "chart" of fish options. They had cod, haddock, and shrimp, all of it served deep-fried. You tell him which fish you'd like, and he gives you a card that indicates your fish choice. You then carry that card to your table, where the waitress takes the card along with your potato choice.

Beer is served at the bar and costs $1.75 for a 16oz tap.

Our waitress arrived, took our potato order, grabbed the cards, and was off to the kitchen. She returned with a small bowl of bread and coleslaw. And soon after, she returned with the fish.


We went with the cod, and it was simply delicious. The perfectly applied breading was lightly spiced and cooked to perfection - no grease anywhere. The fish itself was fantastic as well - light, flaky, moist, and delicious. Easily top 10 fish - after wolfing it down, we figured the fish ranks #8 on our list; just behind the Esquire Club and just ahead of Jordan's Big 10 Pub.

The sides, the service, and the ambiance all left a little room for improvement, but the fish was absolutely solid, and would warrant a return trip by itself. All in all, a good fish fry experience, even if it was a bit out of the ordinary for us. :-)

After filling our guts with the tasty fish, we stopped by Phil's house (a coworker) for some great conversation along with a beverage or two. We really enjoyed hanging out with Phil - he's got a great family (his wife and three daughters were all super fun and interesting to chat with) along with two of the cutest dogs (Fiddle and Badger). Thanks for having us over Phil - we had a great time!!

Holy Smokes!


Took up smoking over the past couple of days, and so far so good. Yeah, sure, you cough a lot and your hair and clothes stink as a result of it, but it's a pretty enjoyable way to spend your free time.

Oh - what? Wait - you didn't think I meant that kind of smoking did you? No sir, I'm talking about BBQ smoking - pork butts, turkey, hickory wood, and the like. Hee hee!


There she is, a Brinkman electric smoker. Nothing fancy - it doesn't even have a temperature control, so it's a bit nerve wracking at times. Fired it up for the first time yesterday, threw on a 6-lb Boston Butt (aka "pork shoulder") that had been generously and lovingly rubbed with a variety of seasonings, and filled it with apple and hickory wood chips. Figured it would take about 8-9 hours to smoke.

Whoops - we may have made a slight miscalculation, Houston. It wasn't until this morning that the pork found its way out of the smoker... apparently when it's 10F outside, these lesser-model smokers don't keep up so well. So, after nearly 24 hours of sitting in the smoker, my hope is that the effort was worth it! We'll find out soon enough - the roast is resting right now, and with any luck there'll be a pork sandwich in my belly by lunch time.

In other news, I decided to try taking the bus to work, and I found out that I really like it! There's a bus stop within 100 yards of the apartment, and as luck would have it, that particular stop offers a nearly direct route to my workplace. Here I am, sitting on the bus, riding to work:


This particular route gets me to the office in exactly nine (9) minutes! That's incredible! I may purchase a monthly bus pass and leave the car at the apartment from now on. I never knew the bus could be so easy and efficient. Live and learn, I guess!!

Finally, it looks like we got another little dose of snow last night - about 5 inches or so... just enough to make a mess of the sidewalks and roads. So, I rode the trainer this morning for an hour or so and will probably skip the run today. I did manage to put on 66 miles of running last week, so it's probably best to take a day off.

Look for a fish fry update after the weekend.

Update: The wait was well worth it. This is some tasty grub:


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