September 19, 2013

A full season

File under "personal statistical stuff no one cares about but me." You've been warned.

MLB's iPhone app At The Ballpark allows one to check in at major league games, cross-posting to Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare. It also allows you to manually enter games you've attended, going back to 2005 (which helpfully is the year the Nationals came into being), and then compiles the data. Since I am a completist about such things, I went ahead and entered all those games, based on ticket stubs and the spreadsheet of Nats games I've kept since the beginning (because I am a huge nerd).

Last night's game, according to the app, marked game #162 that I've attended since 2005 (including playoff games, not including any pre-season games). That being a full season, it seems a good time to look at the numbers.

  • 14 ballparks visited in that span. Nationals Park and RFK are #1 and #2, of course. Camden Yards is #3 with 2 visits (yeah, since the Nats came here I've all but abandoned the O's). 11 tied with 1 each.

  • Overall home team record: 88-74, a .543 winning percentage. Much like this year's Nats, not a bad record, but maybe not enough to be a playoff team.

  • The Nats are 80-70 (.533) in games I've attended. My big dumb spreadsheet says 81-69, so something is off in there somewhere. On the whole, pleasantly surprising given how crappy the team has been in some seasons.

  • Not surprisingly, after the Nats the teams I've seen most often are the four other NL East teams. The O's are the top AL team.

  • The only team I have not seen over that span: the Cleveland Indians. I did go to Jacobs Field in 1995, and I'm sure I saw them in Baltimore at some point before 2005.

  • Assuming I go to the eight ballparks I haven't been to (Miami, Tampa, Arizona, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Detroit, Milwaukee, and Denver) in the next eight years or less, I suppose my next task will be to revisit ballparks I went to before 2005, so I can check them all off in this app.

Posted by Carl at 12:16 PM | Comments (0)

September 03, 2013

Seaweed and tofu, together at last

Seaweed & tofu beignets

For the uninitiated, the cooking blog The Bitten Word (which is awesome and you should read regularly if you don't already) announced their second annual "Cover to Cover Challenge" last week. They've harnessed the power of their readership to try to cook every single recipe from one issue of a cooking magazine, specifically the September issue of Bon Appetit. I get Bon Appetit, and I'm always up for a cooking challenge, so I signed up.

It was not without trepidation, though. The only qualifier I provided on enlisting was "no corn," as the wife is allergic. But my initial reaction upon flipping through the September issue was "This is the most obnoxious collection of über-foodie pretentiousness they've ever put together," which is saying something, as I've had a love-hate relationship with BA in recent years. Upon further review, there are some recipes I'd be happy to cook. Others, less so. A couple are insanely complex, though they sound enjoyable in the end: a full-blown ramen setup that requires making two stocks, and something called "Fat Rice," an amalgamation of chicken and seafood with over 30 ingredients. There are those with ingredients I'm not a fan of: a fennel salad, a farro dish with "runny eggs"--yeesh. I'll cook those eggs until they beg for mercy, thank you very much. And then there's the article about the Los Angeles restaurant Alma, with recipes that sound like they were written as parodies. Buttermilk Cake with Sour Milk Jam and Gin-Poached Cherries? Greens with Horseradish–Crème Fraîche Dressing (which also contains flaxseeds and amaranth)? Seaweed and Tofu Beignets with Lime Mayonnaise? Seriously, who comes up with this stuff?

Anyway, the assignments for the cooking challenge came out on Thursday, and... yeah, I got the seaweed and tofu beignets.

OK OK OK. I got this. Yeah, neither seaweed nor tofu are on any list of my favorite ingredients. But at least I know I can get that stuff at the H Mart. Plus I have my deep fryer out already from frying okra earlier in the week. Fried stuff is pretty much always good, right? And part of this challenge is going outside your comfort zone and trying something you otherwise might not.

My first thought upon mixing everything up was "That's a LOT of seaweed." But the fryer worked its magic, and the seaweed really didn't have that strong a flavor. In the end, it tasted like a fried appetizer, which isn't at all a bad thing. The lime mayo, and especially the lemon-pepper paste totally made the dish. Folks enjoyed them, but didn't devour them all as I might have hoped. In the end, not bad, but I doubt I'd make them again--I'd sooner make hush puppies or something else of the fried-but-simple variety.

Posted by Carl at 03:53 PM | Comments (0)