Wednesday, January 21, 2015

GOOD FOOD



If you can't beat them, join them. I heard that one somewhere. That's how I feel around the house and food since arriving in California. Not total resignation, since I go on road trips and such where I can eat at In-N-Out Burger and other favorite food joints of mine. But at home, it;s good food now. 
Not that bad really once you get used to it. 

I say good on purpose and not healthy, since today's dinner for example were bacon wrapped dates. It`s all about the ingredients more so than calorie counting.

Today I found some bacon without nitrates, one of Victoria's no go ingredients. And Coachella Valley, where we are supplies 95% of dates for the US market. While we normally buy them at the Farmers` Market here in town, we found some pitted organic dates at COSTCO this week.

We first had them at a Spanish Tapas place in Las Vegas and made them at home frequently. Victoria roasted some purple sweet potatoes and dinner was complete. As I said, good food. See? I can compromise.  I can go without nitrates.

For dessert we had a gluten free chocolate jelly roll with butter cream and raspberry jam.  All made from scratch, no pre mixes.  When are you coming over for dinner?


EVEN TODAY'S PAPER WAS TALKING ABOUT GOOD FOOD

VERY VERY EASY TO MAKE

VERY FEW INGREDIENTS AND YOU RECOGNIZE ALL OF THEM



GREAT DATES FROM THIS AREA

BAKE UNTIL BACON IS CRISPY

MORE COLORFUL FOOD


THE JELLY ROLL

Saturday, January 17, 2015

THE WELLNESS CENTER



Ever an active community, La Quinta celebrated the grand opening of a new wellness center today.
Located inside the civic park, next to the library, it's a multi functional place with meeting rooms, a computer room, yoga, dance rooms and of course a fitness facility.

That newly elected mayor was on hand for a speech and the official ribbon cutting along with other local dignitary. There was a crowd for sure. Free food and gifts bring us out it seems. 
While this is not going to be a Gold's Gym sort of place, as a community owned and managed facility it's really impressive. The machines are all connected to the net, which enables you to keep track of your workouts. Each of the cardio machines have their own TV screen attached, might as well watch "The Days of our Lives" while you walk on the treadmill. 

The best news about it? Membership is only fifty dollars a year. Can you believe it? 























Wednesday, January 14, 2015

AT THE DMV


Just by reading the title of this post you know where I am going.....

My very first interaction with a DMV office in America was in 1993 in Savannah, Georgia. Back then I arrived on a boat and the captain told us since we would spend three month in a ship yard, we might as well rent cars and for that he suggested, to get an American license. 
Plenty of free time and not much else do to, a trio of sailors and myself went to the local Department of Motor Vehicle and applied for a license. I  recall that from walking into their office to driving away with a shiny permit, it did not take longer than 1 hour. For the four of us. The test was skipped based on our existing ones from our respective home countries (Austria, Australia and the UK), just take a mugshot, that's how easy it was back then.

Fast forward to 2000 when we up and moved to Las Vegas, then the place everyone else migrated to. My Georgia license long since expired, the Nevada DMV deeming my Canadian license invalid and I had to pass both the written and practical driving test again. Easy all in all, minus an excruciatingly boring day of waiting around with hundreds of other newcomers. But Vegas was the fastest growing community in all of the USA back then.

Fourteen years later I am back in my favorite country of all. Contrary to common believe, you can live and work here without that magical social security number, however you do need a state issued ID if you want anything done. Cable, medical, anything really, they do ask for a valid ID. Enter the DMV office the only place to get one.
You can opt for just an ID with your mug on it, or as I did, apply for a new drivers license as well. My Nevada license being expired (of course), so back to square one. That was on October 9th, 2014. Having passed both tests for the third time, I was issued a temporary ID with the advise that if my permanent one does not arrive in 90 days, to come back and inquire. And so I did.  
Yesterday, the day before yesterday and again today. 

Three days with an average of four hours waiting around to realize that it was my local DMV office who made a minute, yet crucial error TWICE, which delayed my license to this day. 
Mistakes can happen, no worries. Civil servants around the globe are no better, I am sure you heard about the odd horror story from other countries. 
What is amazing though, that this  country that soon plans to colonize Mars, cannot fix the DMV.  If you Google DMV horror stories you can read all the fun stuff being written for years.

Today's wait in line just to get a number to wait in line was an inexplicable 50 minutes. I counted 26 heads in front of me, so that's two minutes per person, just to get that number your pharmacy hands out in one second.
Then you are confronted by the receptionist, who seems to decide how important your matter is and hands you a "random" number. Random my ass. She probably assesses your patience level and hands you the worst number accordingly.
Then you take a seat however long it takes (no standing around permitted) for your number to be called. So for a couple of hours you just sit there, hoping for some sort of miracle, or lighting to kill you in mercy, but neither did  happen to me the last three days. 

I'd advise a book to pass time faster (which in my eternal optimism did not bring on day 2 & 3), or just as I did, sit, watch and be amazed.
 According to some salary websites you can make 65K plus ALL the benefits if you worked at the DMV for a while. What a bloody waste of tax payers money. I need to meet their fat cat Union boss to learn how he was able to negotiate a 10 minute break every hour just so those poor staffers can rest their fingers from all that relentless typing they must perform. Unless they all have urinary tract infections from sitting around all day?
 What would happen to these employees in the real world? I tell you. They would have to collect welfare, nobody in their sane mind would hire them. "I am just doing my job", should automatically disqualify you from being employed the moment you utter the sentence.

In my simple mind performance pay would be the quickest, least expensive and easiest fix. Disband any unions ( I know, I am entering dictatorship territory), establish a baseline for performance that's related to the real world and then reward staffers who are prepared to do better than the minimum task required and deduct wages from those who are unwilling to show up for their job. If you under perform three month in a row, you are fired. Time to move back into your parents basement.
Once you think about it, how about applying this concept to every job that's directly funded by tax payers money? Holy smokes, soup kitchens get ready. 

How about this nugget on the SEIU Local 1000 website:

Thanks to the relentless efforts of Local 1000 members, more than 4,000 DMV employees will enjoy new job descriptions and pay raises after a nine-year, member-driven campaign to recognize the scope and complexity of the jobs performed by our members.

Complexity? We are in a pile of merde.



FIFTY MINUTE LINE UP TO WAIT SOME MORE

ONSITE SECURITY

ENJOY YOUR VIEW

WAIT TIME FOR A CALL BACK 90 MINUTES, EARLIEST APPOINTMENT IN 3 WEEKS

JUST PUT THEM UNDER THE COUNTER, SO THEY CAN PICK AT THE SIGNS


G STANDS FOR LOW PRIORITY??

A SMART CUSTOMER

I WANTED TO SMUDGE THOSE LIPS TO SEE IF IT'S A REAL TATTOO

 HAS A GUN......GOT HIGHER PRIORITY SERVICE!

WHERE ARE THE G NUMBERS

SHE'S BEEN GROWING THEM SINCE 1988

I AM JOHANN NOW. APPARENTLY. MAYBE. WE ARE NOT SURE. 

DO YOU REALLY WANT TO KNOW?