Missing the Blue Skies

February 24th, 2012

Cliff Walk

Sakura - Rochester Hills, MI

February 22nd, 2012

Sakura is a sushi restaurant tucked away in an awkward corner of the Papa Joe's shopping center. It might be difficult to find, but it is worth the effort. This has become my favorite restaurant. Yes, I called this my favorite restaurant, not just my favorite sushi restaurant. The fish is just of a higher quality than that offered at other sushi places. The freshness is the pride of Sakura's owner, who is frequently on site interacting with customers.

At any sushi restaurant, I need to eat a lot to eat my fill. Our standard order contains at least 1 Bom Bom Ba Roll, 1 Manhattan Roll, and 1 Spicy Scallop Roll. Their Volcano Roll is pretty awesome, too. I think sushi is expensive, generally speaking, and Sakura is no exception. They did, however, just start a program with Oakland University where students get a discount on their bill. That doesn't do me any good, but maybe it will save you a few bucks.

This place just can't be beat. I highly recommend it.

6866 North Rochester Road, Rochester Hills, MI (248) 608-3867

Touchstone - Melanie Rawn

February 21st, 2012

Touchstone by Melanie RawnCayden Silversun is part Elven, part Fae, part human Wizard -- and all rebel. His aristocratic mother would have him follow his father to the Royal Court, to make a high-society living off the scraps of kings. But Cade lives and breathes for the theater, and his troupe is something very special.

The four of them intend to enter the highest reaches of society and power, but not the way Cade's mother thinks they should. They'll be the greatest players of all time, or die trying.

Come experience the magic of Touchstone: wholly charming characters in a remarkably original fantasy world. You'll never want to leave.

Cayden and two of his childhood buddies are looking for the missing piece to their theater troupe when a charming, though difficult-to-tolerate, elf asks for a tryout. Fortuoutously for them all, he is just what they need. Together, the four young males seek to become the greatest performers the kingdom has ever seen.

This book fell short for me. The story begins without laying any foundation; Touchstone is the first book in a new series, but it starts off like it is the continuation of some other story and no recap is given. The plot is shallow at best and the author writes descriptively about things she should skip and skips things about which she should be descriptive. The story jumps ahead whimsically and is difficult to follow.

At the beginning there were a few pieces of wisdom from Cade's old teacher. I thought they were beautifully written and poignant. There were three of them in the first few chapters. I was excited that there would be more. No dice.

I wanted to like this book, but I did not.


February 20th, 2012
Michael Connelly - Trunk MusicBosch had never liked Las Vegas, though he came often on cases. It shared a kinship with Los Angeles; both were places desperate people ran to. Often, when they ran from Los Angeles, they came here. It was the only place left. Beneath the veneer of glitz and money and energy and sex beat a dark heart. No matter how much they tried to dress her up with neon and family entertainment, she was still a whore.

Merry Christmas

December 23rd, 2011

Rockefeller Center

Maxell AirStash Wireless Flash Drive A02 8GB

December 22nd, 2011

This device was seemingly conceived out of the public outcry for expandable storage for iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, iTouch). Since Apple hasn't come to the rescue, Maxell stepped up to the plate with an external harddrive that connects wirelessly. So basically this serves a very targeted need for a niche market; if you, for example, have a 16GB iPod Touch and it is full of music/apps/movies/photos and you don't want to buy a second iPod Touch with more space...buy an AirStash. Then you can expand the amount of media you can access.

(Note: The AirStash is sold as either 8GB or 16Gb, but the product comes with a SDHC card that you slide into the card-reader slot. Maxell says the AirStash will work with SDHC cards up to 32GB and SDXC cards up to 2TB!)

Maxell has an Airstash+ App available in the iTunes App Store that you can use for relatively seamless integration of your AirStash. Currently, there is no "official" app available for Android devices (smartphones, tablets and your Kindle Fire). If you have an Android device, Maxell says any app that has webDAV capability should work fine (or just point your browser to to airstash.net). When turned on, the AirStash emits a WiFi signal. You "join" your device to that WiFi connection and then use the app or browse to www.airstash.net to see your content.

From the web interface at airstash.net (when you are connected to your AirStash via WiFi) you can change the SSID of your WiFi signal and set a password. The default SSID includes "AirStash" in the name and if want to customize it, you may. Also by default, there is no password to connect to your AirStash so you may want to include a password if you want to control access to your content.

This will be a fun device for me to have on me when I visit family and friends so I can take my recent vacation photos with me. Sure, the easy way is to post them online and e-mail blast the link. I'm a little geekier than that and I will really enjoy making the ones I love connect to my AirStash. My parents each have their own iPad so they will be able to flip through my photos at their own pace.

If you haven't run out of space on your iPhone, you may have a hard time understanding what need this product serves. But if you have, the AirStash is pretty cool. And when Maxell partners with a development company for an official AirStash Android App, I will be even happier with it.

It Is Not Meant To Be

December 9th, 2011

Hang in there lil' fella

'Tis the Season

December 8th, 2011

For many people, late November/early December signifies the opening of Eggnog Season. Eggnog Season is simply the time of year where it is socially acceptable to drink eggnog. Wikipedia tells us that eggnog is, "a sweetened dairy-based beverage traditionally made with milk and/or cream, sugar, beaten eggs (which gives it a frothy texture), and liquor" (a popular recipe from The Food Network's Alton Brown is here).

I'm not sure that I have ever ingested more than a sip or two of eggnog over my many Eggnog Seasons, so I am not the resident expert. But the mere mention of this "frothy" holiday drink causes this scene (which is only referenced briefly in this trailer) from National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation to play in my head. To me, this is one of the most iconic Christmas movies.

As I sat and pondered eggnog recently (I'm not ashamed to admit it) I wondered why no one sells those wonderful moose-shaped mugs that are featured in that scene from the movie, the mugs from which they drink their eggnog. As luck would have it, they are actually available to buy. It would appear that you can get them relatively expensively from Amazon or a little more affordably from a company called Melk Mugs.

This is probably a useless piece of movie-related holiday merchandise, and I have no room for these mugs in my home, but I am thrilled to know that they are for sale.

For the record, this is the most useless piece of movie-related holiday merchandise.

Antica Pizzeria Fellini - Royal Oak, MI

November 29th, 2011

415 S. Washington Royal Oak, MI (248) 547-2751

This pizzeria is awesome. They import their ingredients, their process, and even their pizzaiolo from Naples, Italy. (Pizzaiolo is roughly Italian for "pizza maker.") The dough is just crusty enough on the outside and pillowy soft on the inside. The cheeses are fresh and delicious. I cannot write about this place without yearning for another bite.

When you eat at a restaurant that uses higher-quality products, you will pay more. You will have to decide for yourself if $15-$17 for a plate-sized pizza is too expensive. Let me offer this suggestion, however, have one first and then decide if it was worth the price. You can get pizza that costs less from many other places, but pizza from Antica Pizzeria Fellini is an entirely different experience. And it is an experience that I say is worth the price, but probably not even once a month. As much as I loved the food, this is still not a place where I will eat with any regularity due to the price, but it is a place to which I cannot wait to return because the food was so good.

For four of us, we started with two orders of Bruschetta. Our server suggested that for four people, one order might not suffice. For thinly-sliced, lightly toasted bread topped with chopped tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil and some Italian herbs and spices...it was just delicious. The consensus at the table, then, was that we would each forgo our pizzas for more Bruschetta. I don't like to think of what might have happened if we'd only had one order...

Calzones and strombolis were much more available along the Atlantic coast than here in the Midwest; I've never understood why. When I saw that a calzone was on the menu, I had to have it. I am sure that you have a list of ingredients that you feel make any dish better. One of the items on my list is ricotta cheese, which also happens to be a staple in calzones. The dough was so good. The cheeses were so good. The salami/ham (Artisan Salame) was so good. I lie awake at night thinking about this calzone. If only it were bigger; I was still hungry when it was gone (though I eat more than the average person, generally).

Our friends suggested that the pizzas here were big enough to order three pizzas for four people, so keep that in mind when you go. I would consider that to be a fair assessment, unless you want leftovers to take home. It might make more sense to just let everyone order their own, which is what we did.

In addition to my calzone, there were two orders for the (house specialty) Fellini and one for the Sofia. The Fellini, I'm told, was very good. The presentation sets it apart from the other pizzas on the menu; it is a star-shaped pizza and each of the star points is a pocket full of sauteed vegetables. When I told my coworkers about the Fellini, I believed at that moment that I had helped this pizzeria sell a few more.

I was given a piece of a piece of the Sofia, piled high with prosciuto and arugula. How can you go wrong with those toppings? Ok, let me expand on that. I have had this same pizza from another local brick-oven chain (one known for its pizza and wine, if you know the place) and it was good, but the Sofia from Pizzeria Fellini is major league and that other place plays double A ball. Honestly, I will have a difficult time choosing between the calzone or the Sofia next time. I cannot stress enough how important the right ingredients are and how much better they can make your food taste.

Leave room for dessert? We shared a cannoli and a light but flavorful pistachio/custard gelato dish called Coppa Pistachio. I recommend the cannoli. And the pistachio dish was good, but not worth the money.

And if you are still reading and are not already on your way to Pizzeria Fellini, grab a bottle (or two) of wine. The place is BYOB and there is no corking fee. So they will open your booze and pour it for you and not hit you with fees. Glorious.

I cannot speak highly enough of my meal at Antica Pizzeria Fellini. Keep that brick oven warm, I will be back.

Top 5 Movies: Starring Christian Bale

November 28th, 2011