Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Tori Tuesday

I noticed I haven't written much about Tori's newest release, The Beekeeper. That's because I don't like it as much as all the rest. However, Tori has become quite political in this stage of her career, and The Beekeeper touches on a lot of that. So, today I'm just gonna slap this Tori Quote up here to let you chew on......

"I know some artists prefer not to comment, but I’ve followed the US administration and I genuinely believe they’ve emotionally blackmailed and manipulated the American people. We’re living in a frightening time and I wish people would wake up and realise they’re surrendering their civil liberties."
From an early 2005 Tori interview at uncut.net. Click for details.

Amen Tori, amen!

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Friday, February 24, 2006

Ten Top Trivia Tips about Susie!

  1. Susie is picked, sorted and packed entirely in the field!
  2. More people are killed by Susie each year than die in aeroplane accidents!
  3. Susie has only one weakness - the colour yellow!
  4. Susie can eat up to four kilograms of insects in a single night.
  5. Most bottles and jars contain at least twenty-five percent recycled Susie.
  6. There are roughly 10,000 man-made objects the size of Susie orbiting the Earth.
  7. You would have to dig through four thousand kilometres of Susie to reach the earth's core!
  8. Some birds use Susie to orientate themselves during migration!
  9. Twenty-eight percent of Microsoft's employees are Susie.
  10. The Eskimos have over fifty words for Susie.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Gimmee some cookies!!!!!

(Don't tell anyone, but I hate milk...this is really a banana smoothie)
Ratburns got milk......

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Yummy Indian Stuff

Lime's recent post of Buljol a la Lime over at her blog got me all inspired to post some recipes of what I cooked on Sunday night. I got this fantastic Indian cookbook which has a lot of Balti recipes, and so far, are all delicious!
For those of you that don't know, Balti is a style of cooking which some say is native to Baltistan. However, "It seems like the Pakistani community in Birmingham and elsewhere have attached a romantic notion that these so called Balti dishes originate from Baltistan, whereas from my knowledge it is more commonly found in Peshawar North West Pakistan, where it is known as 'Karhai'. It's a kind of curry, its ingredients usually assembled and cooked quickly in a manner reminiscent of a stir-fry. If you'd like to clear up this issue about Balti cooking, go here.
Here are the two recipes I tried. They are easy to make in that you can make them in saucepans and frying pans if you dont have a wok or karahi, and the ingredients can mostly all be bought in the grocery store except perhaps for a couple of the spices which can be bought at an Indian grocery store. (Once you get your own stash of Indian spices, you'll be tossing them into everything you cook!)
A word about the chilies and chili powder: If you are a wimp, then maybe you might wanna go easy.....I compromised and left out one chili from each recipe. I really like it hot, but, I didn't wanna melt my family!

Saag Aloo

4 tbsp vegetable oil
8 oz potatoes
1 piece fresh ginger, 1" long crushed
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 onion, coarsely chopped
2 fresh green chilies, chopped
2 dried red chilies, coarsely broken
1 tsp cumin seeds
salt to taste
8oz fresh spinach, chopped

Wash potatoes and cut into quarters, peel if desired. Or, use small, whole, new potatoes. Heat the oil in a skillet and fry the potatoes until brown on all sides. Remove from pan and put aside.

Remove all but 1 tbsp of remaining oil in pan. Fry the ginger, garlic, onion, green chilies, fried chilies and cumin seeds until the onion is golden brown.

Add the potatoes and salt and stir well. Cover the pan and cook over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a sharp knife.

Add the spinach and stir well. Cook with the pan uncovered until the spinach is tender and and all the excess fluids have evaporated. Serve hot.

Hot Chicken Curry

2 tbsp corn oil
1/4 tsp fennugreek seeds
1/4 tsp onion seeds
2 medium onions, chopped
1/2 tsp garlic pulp
1/2 tsp ginger pulp
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
14 oz canned tomatoes
2 tbsp lemon juice
12 oz chicken, skinned, boned and cubed
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
3 fresh green chilies, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into chunks
1/2 green bell pepper, cut into chunks
fresh coriander sprigs (cilantro)

In a medium saucepan, heat the oil and fry the fenugreek seeds and onion seeds until they turn a shade darker. Add the chopped onions, garlic and ginger and fry for about 5 minutes until the onions turn golden brown. Lower the heat to very low.

Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, mix together the ground coriander, chili powder, salt, tomatoes and lemon juice. Pour this mixture into the saucepan and turn up the heat to medium. Stir fry for about 3 minutes.

Add the chicken pieces and stir fry for 5-7 minutes.

Add the fresh coriander, green chilies, and the sliced peppers. Lower the heat, cover the saucepan and let this simmer for about 10 minutes until the chicken is cooked.

Serve hot, garnished with coriander sprigs.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Pretty Good Year

This weeks selection, is from Tori Amos' 1994 release Under the Pink.
The video is really cool this week, and worth waiting for. When I hear this song, wow, it really takes me back to the beginning days of being a Tori fan and how I thought she was just weird enough for me! Happy Tori Tuesday everyone!
By the way, Pretty Good Year is one of the featured tunes on the new Tori video DVD, Fade to Red...but we'll talk about that later......

Go see the video!

Pretty Good Year

Tears on the sleeve of a man
don't want to be a boy today
heard the eternal footman
bought himself a bike to race
And Greg he writes letters
and burns his CDs
They say you were something
in those formative years
hold on to nothing
as fast as you can
pretty good year
Maybe a bright sandy beach is gonna bring you back may not so now you're off
you're gonna see America
well me tell you something about America
pretty good year
some things are melting now
what's it gonna take till my baby's alright?
and Greg he writes letters with his birthday pen
sometimes he's aware that they're drawing him in
Lucy was pretty
your best friend agreed
still pretty good year

Friday, February 17, 2006

Favorite Photo of the Weekend

It happens that in India, the young boys are the most approachable, friendly and curious. Many times it's because they have learned English, have been to school, and are interested in the rest of the world. So, it is often I find myself in India hanging out with a few young men, chatting about American things and Indian things. Here I am in Mysore, in December 2003, talking with some chaps that wanted to know all about California.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Who doesn't like a good neck nibble now and then?

Mr Ratburn gets nibbled on.......

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy Valentine's Day!

(thanks Damasta for the lil heart!)

Tear In Your Hand

Todays little treat for Tori Tuesday is called Tear In Your Hand, off of her very first release called Little Earthquakes, in 1991. I've included the video link so you can go watch this live version of Tear...it's really cool, and sounds great, but I am afraid the very end is missing.....ack!!!! It IS worth a look and listen though! Happy Tori Tuesday to you all!

Tear In Your Hand

All the world just stopped now
So you say you don't wanna stay together anymore
Let me take a deep breath babe
If you need me
Me and Neil'll be hangin' out with the dream king
Neil says hi
By the way I don't believe you're leaving
Cause me and Charles Manson like the same ice cream
I think it's that girl
And I think there're pieces of me you've never seen
Maybe she's just pieces of me you've never seen well
All the world is all I am
The black of the blackest ocean
And the tear in your hand
All the world is dangin'...Dangling'...Danglin' for me darlin'
You don't know the power that you have
With that tear in your hand
Tear in your hand
Maybe I ain't used to maybes
Smashing in a cold room
Cutting my hands up every time I touch you
Maybe maybe it's time to wave goodbye now
Time to wave goodbye now
Caught a ride with the moon
I know I know you well
Well better than I
Used to haze all clouded up
My mind in the daze of the why it could've never been
So you say and I say
You know you're full of wish
And your "baby baby baby babies"
I tell you there're pieces of me you've never seen
Maybe she's just pieces of me you've never seen well
All the world is all I am
The black of the blackest ocean
And the tear in your hand
All the world is dangin'...Dangling'...Danglin' for me darlin'
You don't know the power that you have
With that tear in your hand
Tear in your hand
With that tear in your hand

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Unneccessary Plastic Objects

On Sunday, Mr Ratburn, Little Rita and I went down to the city for the day. It was a warm February day, and we had a great time visiting Sutro Baths, Golden Gate Park, and Clement Street. (I'm talking about San Francisco, in case you don't know.)
As usual, we ate our way through the city, then ended up shopping for books at Green Apple and then going into the many Chinese Chach-kie stores along Clement Street. Inside these stores lie many unneccessary plastic objects.
Here are most of the many treasures that we found today. We got some Chinese chicken legs too, but they were camera shy.

Wouldja lookit those crazy sox, and, what would Little Rita's life be like without the Candygirl Tiny Box!?

Ok, now Little Rita can eat her rice with chop sticks like the rest of us. FUN CHOP, get yours today!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

"Violet, you're turning violet, Violet!"

What's that Ratburn up to?

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Stinky Mystery Smell Updated

UPDATE!!! 2 stinking rotting dead wood rats and one very large unidentified thing that might have been a raccoon at one time............and counting......

OK.......If you can believe it took this long to get someone brave enough to crawl under my house........yes, it did....and the winner is........


I knew I was right, even though I got "the look" from the handyman when he told me it smelled like cat pee......excuse me, Oaty does NOT pee in the house. I also told him the smell was coming from under the house....he raises one eyebrow...."well, ah dint see nuthin under thar dead"
Um, hello? You didn't see anything under there dead because you didn't look hard enough, moron!

Anyway, one dead rat was found, and I sure hope there aren't any more. But, the problem is, all that searching around stirred up that smell and it isnt gone yet...unless there's more than one...arghhhh!!!!!!.....to be continued.

Tori Tuesday

Todays Tori post is a song from 1998's Choirgirl Hotel called Cruel. I've included the link so you can go watch the video! Also today, I discovered this really cool lyric book that I didn't even know about! Woo hoo! Happy Tori Tuesday y'all!!!!!!


So don't give me respect don't give me a piece of your preciousness.
Flaunt all she's got in your old neighborhood, I'm sure she'll make a few friends.
Even the rain bows down, let us pray as you cock-cock-cock your mane.
No cigarettes only peeled Havana's for you.
I can be cruel, I don't know why.
Why can't my bal-la-loon stay up in a perfectly windy sky?
I can be cruel, I don't know why, I don't know why.
Dance with the Sufis celebrate your top ten in the charts of pain.
Nah... Lover, brother, bougainvillea, my vine twists around your need.
Even the rain is sharp like today as you sh-sh-shock me sane.
No cigarettes only peeled Havana’s for you.
I can be cruel, I don't know why.
Why can't my bal-la-loon stay up in a perfectly windy sky?
I can be cruel, I don't know why, I don't know why.
I can be cruel, but I don't know why.
Can't my bal-la-loon stay up in a perfectly windy sky?
I can be cruel, don't know why, don't know why... why... why...

Look what I found!!!!!!!!

The official lyric book containing the words to every one of Tori's released songs, from the best-loved hits to the rarest B-sides. Featuring the lyrics to over 100 songs, a foreward by Tori herself, and orignal artwork by Hern Leonhard, this beautiful, collectible book is a must for all Tori Amos fans. Includes 35 full color illustrations.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Let's Take A Trip To Dilli Haat!

One of the most enjoyable and interesting experiences that I had in Delhi was to visit this project put together by the New Delhi Municipal Corporation and Delhi Tourism Departments. It's called Dilli Haat, and it is an open air bazaar of some of the finest craftpersons, artisans, Indian chefs and textile makers from all over India.
But first I had to get there. Just try telling an autorickshaw driver that you want to go to Dilli Haat, and they will tell you, "No madam, too much traffic" or, "No sir, too far!" Or they will simply tell you that they don't know where it is (c'mon yaar, everyone knows where Dilli Haat is!) Finally, and I'm not kidding here, after about 2 hours of visiting overpriced emporiums that probably belonged to the family of the rickshaw driver that I had employed, I decided to try again, this time with a different driver. Success at last!

The vegetable market where the autorickshaw driver pulled over and wagged his head toward Dilli Haat, across 6 lanes of horrendous traffic!

Wait! Did I say success? The driver pulls up to a fruit and vegetable market, gives me the head wag and points across a huge crowded, busy traffic packed 6 lane road! I didn't really think he was going to take me right to the front gate did I? Not in THIS traffic! This is Delhi, get with the program! First, I had to navigate across 3 lanes of traffic, climb through a hole in the wrought iron fence in the center divider, my backpack being about 12" too fat for the opening, causing some locals to assist me by giving my backpack a little shove to make it through!. Then dash acorss the other three lanes of traffic. This is done by watching the locals, when they go, you go. They know what they are doing, trust me! (Hey! That's just the way it's done in India, you wanna cross the street or not?) Finally, I made it safely to the other side.
Once inside Dilli Haat, I was rewarded with a silence, a calm so unlike that of Delhi. Ok, so maybe it wasn't like being in a forest all alone, but this is India, yaar, and this is paradise!

My doctor pal, Devashish, (on right)wheeling and dealing with a texile vendor, to get the "best price", while I hide so as not to be charged "rich American tourist" prices!

If you'd like to see a really fun panoramic view of Dilli Haat, go here:

OK, I know this is long, but I like to include all the info in my blog, I don't want someone chasing all over the web looking for the articles I've already found, so just read the darned thing!

Dilli Haat, the food and craft bazaar is a joint venture of Delhi Tourism and New Delhi Municipal Corporation. Showcasing India's unity in diversity, this market operates all the year round. The tickets costing a mere Rs 10 can take you into the fascinating world of Indian art and culture from all the states in India.
Situated in the six acres, Dilli Haat is the first of its kind providing encouragement to the upcoming artists. Not just the food, but handicrafts and rural products from all over India are available in this 'traditional mela'.
Dilli Haat is a forum, which seeks to preserve Indian art and heritage. There is a right mix of craft, cuisine and Cultural activities, giving you a feel of the rural life in India.
The complex has been designed in a traditional North Indian style. There are in all eighty- seven stalls, including twenty-five food stalls. A plaza paved with stone and brickwork skilfully interspersed with grass, flowering shrubs and towering eucalyptus trees have conjured up an oasis in which visitors can browse at their leisure. The stalls to the craftsman are allotted on rotational basis for a period of a fortnight. The Haat is permanent but the craftsmen are mobile and ever changing.
The food plaza offers a wide choice of ethnic food from all over the country. A variety of crafted handicrafts, from each region are available in this exotic bazaar. From candles, terracotta, crockery, artefacts, jewellery, garments, dry flowers, show pieces, beads, metal ware and bags it's a colourful sight to watch shoppers buying their favourite wares. The prices are kept to their lowest, so that cottage and small industries are promoted. The ethnic market provides an ambience for all alike from piece and quiet for the students who love to hang out here, for the elderly just passing their day or taking a walk. The bill does not leave a hole in your pocket.
There is an adequate open space just in front of the Haat providing ample space to sit. If you want to savour momo's from Nagaland, Dosa from South, sandesh from Bengal, this is the place to hit. The international pavilion serves the best of international delicacies.
This place is always throbbing with one festival or another. It might be a state specific festival or a handicraft festival, a puppet show or a street play, the Haat has its own charm. There is also a hall in the complex, where exhibitions are held. A meeting room, PCO facility, Cyber café and a souvenir shop by Delhi tourism are some of the facilities available here.
The Haat also holds summer workshops in pottery, paper machie, painting, craft etc at very reasonable fees. This place is full of life and enthusiasm all the year round and has emerged a favourite destination among shoppers and tourists.
Dilli Haat does not only showcase the Indian culture but also provide a platform for cottage and small-scale industries. The place is open from 11 am to 10 p.m.

Address: Dilli Haat, Sri Aurobindo Marg, Opposite INA Market, New Delhi - 110 023.

Ok, and may I just say that, while in Dilli Haat making my purchases, I was offered to be a young Indian mans "first". First what. you ask? I have no bloody idea! But, I wasn't gonna be his first anything, that's for sure!
Anyway, if you ever go to Delhi, take advantage of this fantastic market to find arts and other hand made items from all over India, in one place. It's just a wonderful, fun thing to do with lots of delicious chai stalls, Indian snacks like samosas and chat, and a fun place to meet people as well. Just don't fall for that "come home with me, madam, you will be my first!" routine and you will be ok!

Friday, February 03, 2006

Happy HNT

Oh, how i'd love to be half nekkid on a warm sunny beach somewhere....but this will have to do!
Happy HNT everyone!

What's happening over at Mr Ratburns blog?