Tuesday Motorway Music™, May 23 – Just Silence For Today

Today is not a day for music – not after the atrocity, as it apparently was, in Manchester.

Listen – I don’t do religion. Still, I try to have respect for people who do. And I will continue to do so. This simply cannot be seen – I cannot see it – as something any person of religion would be able to do. Deliberately target children and teenagers with death? How can anyone but the sickest of minds think that this can forward any case?

As someone wiser than me has said – if you have to hurt other people to prove your morals or faith, then you don’t have morals or faith to prove.

What does make me believe in people is the response of the people of Manchester. Opening their doors for strangers, offering to give people a lift to safety, even the simplest – but necessary – offerings of something to drink, a phone charge…

That is how humanity reacts. That IS humanity.

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Tuesday* Motorway Music™, May 16 – Fast Idaho Edition

Monday I didn’t really do any driving – I did ride shotgun with a couple of good colleaues but that was it.

On the other hand, or to compensate if you will, I did a few hours and well above 100 miles of it today. For Americans 120 or 150 miles is probably not that long – but as it’d get you across most of Denmark, for us Danes it is.

Idaho? Yep, Twin Falls to BOI via the Shoshone Falls. Very nice experience the falls was too!

And the fast? Yeehaaa – Idaho has a 80 mph speed limit on Interstates. And that’s nice!


Celebration – Kool & The Gang
Hero Takes A Fall – The Bangles
Bring Me Some Water (Live Solo) – Melissa Etheridge
Happy House – Siouxsie & The Banshees
I Cried For You – Katie Melua
Freedom – Beyoncé
Danger Zone – Kenny Loggins
I’ll Be Waiting – Adele
My Last Breath – Evanescence

Photos by me.
*This post was written on Tuesday – and almost finished when I ran out of WiFi access where I was. And it was very close to midnight before I got me some again. Hence posting on a Wednesday and claiming Tuesday. The fate of a road warrior 😉
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Monday Motorway Music™, May 8 – Illinois Motorways In Sunset

Actually, this is either cheating or at the very least maximally utilizing the concept of time zones – after flying CPH-ORD on Sunday, I drove to Wisconsin. Technically speaking, Danish time, that makes it a Monday Motorway session…

(and, this being 6:24pm Monday evening in Wisconsin, this technically is a Monday Motorway Music™ post!)

It’s very easy to make your way from ORD to Madison. Find the nearest Interstate on-ramp and follow the signs to I-90W. And … go!

When you’ve spent an un-Bobly amount of time trying to meet up with a shuttle bus for the Dollar rental cars, you are then, on an evening like yesterday, treated with a drive towards the most magnificent sunset.

2017-05-07 19.55.04

Dancing In The Moonlight – Toploader
I’ll Be There For You – The Rembrandts
It’s A Sin – Pet Shop Boys
The Power – SNAP!
Kokomo – Beach Boys
I’ve Got The Music In Me – Kiki Dee
Celebration – Kool & The Gang

Photos by me.
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Monday Motorway Music™, May 1 – Happy Int’l Workers’ Day

A reasonably normal Monday. Between coming home from work and leaving for a scout’s leaders meeting, I was home for about 25 minutes. Par for the course… 😉

Spring is also trying its best to return to normal – it’s delightfully sunny and temperatures are creeping up. The birds that visit the feeders outside our dining room window are busy – I do suspect that a lot of them already have small ones – if not, the cold weather must have kept them hungry. Because, man – they’re busy stuffing themselves!

The next two Mondays will be from abroad – I’ll still do what I can to have some quality time with a keyboard and WordPress in a browser. But don’t try and hold your breath to make normality happen – just sayin’…

I’m Gonna Love You Just A Little More, Baby – Barry White
Waterfalls – TLC
Ain’t No Cure For Love – Leonard Cohen
If Leavin Me Is Easy – Phil Collins
Somethin’ Stupid – Robbie Wiliams (feat. Nicole Kidman)

Photos by me.
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“Whateverday” Motorway Music™, April 25 – Apparently, Blogging Drought Is A Thing

Yes, looks weird. And yes, I cannot draw for the life of me. But it does carry a meaning 😉

I don’t know if it’s related to the fact that the weather turned cold and at times miserable or what – but I haven’t really been in front of a WordPress window lately. Sorry ’bout that!

Some of it is pure and plain business – work’s been rather hectic and the downtime in the Easter was very needed – and actually, apart from the cooking thing that, after all, did go up here, included a lot of offlime time, too. Probably for the better.

So, what on Earth is that weird line drawing up there?

??

It’s a route sketch of the USA trip that I’ll be doing in just less than two weeks from now. 8 flights in 10 days – routing goes something like this (with stops and coming back to the same airport for onwards flights left out for clarity):

CPH-ORD-BNA-DEN-BOI-DEN-SAT-ORD-CPH.

Phew! All in 11 days or so. And I could have added a drive from Chicago O’Hare to Madison, WI while I was at it.

In other news, it is cold – we’ve been hovering between 0 and 7-9°C lately, with the odd morning below freezing. And the occasional, very quick, snow, sleet or hail shower. In late April, for Bob’s sake! Nevertheless, the spring is happening – as I alluded to in the last post that goes for anything like regular around here.

To witness:

Lady (Radio Edit) – Modjo
Please Don’t Leave Me  – Pretty Maids
Take On Me – A-Ha
Beautiful Ones – Suede
If God Is A DJ – P!nk
Twisting By The Pool – Dire Straits
Hey, Good Lookin’ – Backseat Boys
I Saw Her Standing There – The Beatles

Photo by me. Map clipped from Google Maps.
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CFR Notes – United’s Front Desk Problems

 

I guess that anybody with just a passing amount of interest in air travel by now will have seen the debacle over United 3411 and the violently “re-alloctated” passenger. (If not, One Mile At A Time has a lot of coverage – this one will work as a starting point.)

I am not going to enter into the specific case – but for the record, I’ll say on the issues in it that –

  • I do believe United royally screwed up
  • I am happy to hear about the suggested analysis and revision of all their customer-facing policies
  • I think that the US consumer protection for air passengers stinks

But what I will say here – and it relates to the second point above – is that, in my experience, United simply does not empower their front line personnel to do much at all for their passengers.

Case in point: my experience from a cancelled LAN-ORD flight in September 2015 (read about it here).

What happened when we had received our text messages from various services that our flight would be cancelled and rushed to the airport was … nothing much.

The United lady behind the counter there flatly told us that she couldn’t do any rebookings, any information, anything at all – and on top of all of that, that we had to call United’s service center on our own (foreign plan = expensive) cell phones because her phose system was dead.

I mean… Anywhere else in the world when I’ve had a flight delay, a cancelled flight, any disturbance, the gate agents have at least been a pillar of professionalism. I’ve had rebookings done, I’ve had information on alternatives, I’d had status updates on the situation… in rare circumstances, I’ve had a professionally compassionate and excusing explanation as to why they couldn’t do anything right now – but then, invariably, advice as to how and when I might get help.

In fact, I will usually tell people that when you find yourself in dire straits while travelling, always remember that the gate agent is your friend and maybe the only one you have. But here? She flatly stated that in our sutuation, no help was going to be available for us because her systems did not allow her to help.

Whether that was “no help in general” or “no help because you are flying, ultimately, internationally” (and Lansing is a rather small, primarily domestic, airport) I don’t know. To state the obvious, I am not directing my ire at the specific lady in question but at the policies and systems that were so inadequate that they left her in a hopeless situation.

But I do know that I felt utterly let down by United’s lack of empowering their people – through systems availability and policies – to help their customers.

So I am not so surprised that they’d end up in a situation where lack of empowerment led them with only the bad options left. As we’ve all witnessed.

Photo from united.com
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Cobblestone Cooking Music XXXVI – Danish Classics: “Leverpostej”

There, in the bowl to the upper left next to the bacon…

Like so many other Danish staples or classic recipes, “leverpostej” or “liver paste / pate” involves pigs – well, pork – and is best eaten with a cold beer alongside. And, just to get the disclaimers out of the way: it in no way looks anyway near appetising while you make it up…

  • Bette Midler, The Rose
  • Kate Bush, Feel It

There is a Danish saying that the only thing of a pig that is not utilised in Denmark is the last squeal it makes when it is slaughtered. Surely, for some, this lunch dish is made with parts that not everyone would involve in regular cooking: lard and liver.

Liver, of course, can of course be eaten on its own – at least according to approximately half the population. In that case, fried – but never, ever beoynd pale rose. Liver, fried until it’s dry? Those doing it will be among the choices for first against the wall when the revolution comes 😉

  • Chris Isaak, Wicked Game
  • Celine Dion, Pour Que Tu M’aimes Encore

In the old days, these two items would be passed through the mincer together and end up in a paste – nowadays, we buy them separately, frozen in 1/2 kg portions. You can buy them premixed – but we prefer a bit higher a liver to lard ratio than the regular mix offers. So we use 1 kg of liver to 0.5 of lard.

  • Paul Young, Everytime You Go Away
  • Queen, My Melancholy Blues

The downside of buying it that way is that the lard is very hard – yes, yes, also after thawing it, you cheeky… 😉 It takes quite some working with a couple of utensils to split it into reasonably small chunks and I’ve always had a devil of a time mixing it evenly into the rest of the ingredients.

That, however, I solved today with a lucky mix of engineering thinking (I am a chemical engineer by education) and general methods development 🙂

  • U2, With Or Without You
  • Diana Krall, The Boy From Ipanema

See, to bind everything together and possibly also to further stretch the valuable ingredients and feed more people on the farm, you add in  a “poor man’s roux” – melt some butter or cooking margarine, add in flour and bash together, then slowly add water, bring to a boil, stir until even and repeat. For this, 100 g of butter, 3 dl of flour and 8 dl of water. Finally, let it boil for a little bit to get the most flour-ish taste out of it.

And then I thought – maybe just bring this, as it s hot, and the lard together. And presto!, it became manageable and easy-peasy to mix everything else in. “Everything” else is the minced liver, 4 finely grated onions and salt, pepper and allspice.

  • Nat King Cole, Unforgettable
  • Styx, Clair de Lune / Ballerina

And here we are, far enough down on the page for me to throw a few pictures in from the proceedings. See, told you is wasn’t really pretty…

Finally, I for one don’t really fancy tasting that mix to judge whether it’s had salt or pepper enough. The trick here is to take a couple of teaspoons of the “slurry” and microwave it for a minute or so to bake it. And taste that – also has the benefit of being closer to the end product, so to speak. It took two iterations to get it right.

Most of this rather big amount is now portioned and in the freezer – we have these ceramic bowls that can go straight from the freezer to the oven, so for a number of weekends in the coming half year or so, we can enjoy freshly baked “leverpostej”.

  • Roy Orbison & kd lang, Crying
  • Joan Jett, Have You Ever Seen The Rain?

Because that is how you prepare it – you bake it for about an hour or so at 200°C / 390°F. And serve warm on Danish rye bread with crispy (!) bacon and pickled red beets (or, as it will be today due to a sad lack of those, cornichons). Optionally, also put champignons on a pan or in the oven for a bit. And, as mentioned, with a cold beer – could well be a dark variant.

Happy cooking!

Photos by me.

 

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Easter Vacation

…off without electronics and data coverage 🙂

Photo by me
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Monday Motorway Music™, April 3 – Spring Is Springing

We’ve had some excellent spring weather lately – even if it’s been a little on and off (Sunday, I’m looking at you!).

The sun’s really making a difference, the light in the morning is battling the hour lost to Daylight Saving Time and there is absolutely all the something in the air that spring is known for! Of course, it helps that we’ve passed the spring equinox.

On top of everything else, I had the luxury of having this very Monday off 🙂

Most of it, to be honest, spent at all sorts of practical chores in and out of the house. But still…

The pictures are from a nice wee break in the sun late Friday afternoon.

PS What happened to last week’s Monday? Flew by like the deadlines in the Douglas Adams quote, I reckon…

 

What A Wonderful World – Joey Ramone
Roll Over Beethoven – ELO
Telephone Line – ELO
These Boots Are Made For Walkin’ – Nancy Sinatra
Guns and People – Eric Serra
Rock Me – ABBA
I’ll Kill You If You Don’t Come Back – Meat Loaf

Photos by me.
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Monday Motorway Music™, March 20 – A Whiff Of Royalty

 

We spent a long weekend in Scotland this past weekend – throwing a few days of luxury at ourselves with a two-night stay at Culzean* Castle.

* Don’t know why, but the “z” is silent…

The aim of the weekend was to un- and rewind and with the fabulous setting, the care and gentle, warm service bestowed on us by Billy and the other staff at the castle plus a couple of walks out in the Scottish terrain – and weather! – we certainly achieved what we came for.

We started, actually, even before arriving at Culzean – by having lunch at the Brig o’Doon of Robert Burns and Tam o’ Shanter fame:

Ah, Tam! ah, Tam! thou’ll get thy fairin’!
In hell they’ll roast thee like a herrin’!
In vain thy Kate awaits thy commin’!
Kate soon will be a woefu’ woman!
Now, do thy speedy utmost, Meg,
And win the key-stane o’ the brig;
There at them thou thy tail may toss,
A running stream they dare na cross.
Excerpt from Robert Burns, Tam o’ Shanter poem

The Brig o’Doon

The castle itself was of course a lovely place to stay – and on top of everything else, the weekend guests were treated to a tour of the castle on Saturday morning. Where we learned and saw many interesting things – history, architecture, anecdotes and much more.

We learned that the other door in our bathroom actually was to a servant’s starircase – there were a handful or so of those along with anterooms etc, so that the servants of the castle’s heyday could come and go and see to their chores without unduly disturbing the family and their guests!

And there were bell calls in a lot of the rooms – in fact, in the lower floor down by the kitchen and other practical rooms, there were 31 bells all originally connected to each their room. Each bell had its own tone – so the experienced servants didn’t have to look which room was ringing down, they could hear it.

Often, the rooms had two of the small jandles for the bell call – especially if these were next to the fireplace. Only one worked – the other one was there to create symmetry. For the same reason, a door on one side of the room could well be duplicated in the other side – the second with no function other than balance.

Bonnie Scotland is indeed that – beautiful!

Since You’ve Been Gone – Journey
Real Wild Child – Iggy Pop
Leader Of The Pack – The Shangri-Las
She Bangs – Ricky Martin
Hey Good Lookin’ (Your Place Or Mine?) – Backseat Boys
I’m Gonna Getcha Good – Shania Twain

Photos by me.
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