Joey’s List Musical Interludes: Bossa Nova

With our angel Joey scheduled to come into this world in under two months, I have been playing songs on Jenelle’s belly to give her a taste, if only prenatally of her parents musical tastes.

Music is a very important thing to Jenelle as well as her Grand Pa Frank and Nanna Sandra. They all get such joy from attending concerts or singing Karaoke that I know that if Joey could grow up she would be attending all sorts of concerts all over the world with her mumma, Grand Pa and Nanna.

Friday’s selection was Best of Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’65. I have had this album for at least 15 years and it is one of my favorites. Now for people my age who hear “Sergio Mendes” and immediately think of elevator music and easy listening covers of rock tunes, that is Brasil ’66. And oh what a difference a year makes. You can check out the whole album of Best Of Sergio Mendes and Brasil ’65 at or if you prefer iTunes.

Here are the four songs I played.


She’s a Carioca

Tristeza Em Mim


Joey’s List: Musical Interludes II

As you may know, Jenelle and I are expecting our first child next February. In July we found out our baby Joey was diagnosed with a severe, and unfortunately fatal, Neural Tube Defect and is not expected to live more than a day. To celebrate her all too brief life Jenelle and I are keeping a list of experiences she would have had if she wasn’t expected to leave us so soon.

Last night I played the following song for Joey. It is a VERY popular song in Australia as you will see in the second video.

You’re The Voice John Farnham – This version was played.

Having seen that, I played a favorite version of the song by Coldplay.

You’re The Voice Coldplay with John Farnham – This version was played.

After that Jenelle wanted to play a version that was her and her brother Matt’s favorite. She explained they would pantomime the actions of John Farnham as kids. In fact she started to ape his actions as she lay in bed.

You’re The Voice John Farnham – This version was played.

This final version was not played for our little Joey.  It is a scene in the Andy Samberg vehicle Hot Rod.  I had seen this movie before Jenelle and I met and the song didn’t register.  When I watched it on Netflix a few months ago, I recognized it right away.

You’re The Voice John Farnham

Traveler Bill Test Kitchen: Dim Sims

While Traveler Nell is away in her homeland I have had a lot of time to fill up, as well as I have been left to fend for myself. I decided to mash these two problems together to form one solution… Make myself Dim Sims.

Dim sims, or “Dimmies” are Chinese dumplings for the the Australian palate.  They are a particular favorite of Traveler Nell.  And while there are countless varieties her preference is for the Pork, Prawn and Cabbage.

In all honesty we have been planning on trying to home-make these for some time.  In fact, a while back when we found ourselves in Chinatown, we picked up a package of wonton wrappers.  Knowing that I had these in my pantry I decided to put them together this weekend.

With Traveler Nell out of town I had to determine a mix for the filling.  I opted for this recipe as a starting off point.

So this past Sunday night I ventured into the fray.  Essentially tripling the recipe, it ended up looking like this…


The Filling Mix for the dumplings. Ground pork, shrimp, cabbage, scallions, fresh ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, eggs and corn starch.

After making the filling I pulled out the wrappers…

They were stale.

And moldy.

So needless to say I was disappointed.  I had over a kilo of filling and nowhere to put it.  While on lunch the next day I went to a local hippy foods establishment and grabbed a couple packages of egg roll wrappers. Then, as soon as I got home, the steamer was set to HIGH and I set to assembling.

A dim sim is supposed to be larger than a typical dumpling.  That said, my dimmies were extremely generously filled.  After I had three ready I placed them in the steamer.


Raw dumpling in the steamer basket

Let me take a break from the blog to do a little algebra

Raw Pork + Raw Shrimp = Bad News

That in mind I made sure to steam them for a generous 15 (closer to 20) minutes. Nerdishly I took the internal temperature of the dumplings before opening them up. The all registered around170° F. (75° Celsius)


Serving suggestion, with low sodium soy sauce.

The first one out was opened in the kitchen for examination. I wanted to double check the doneness and give it a try.  It met my (admittedly low) bar of edibility.  I put the remaining two on the plate with the low sodium soy sauce and allowed them to cool as I wrapped the remainder, prepping them for the freezer.


With one of the dumplings cut open


Detail of the cooked filling.

I was amazed how easy it was to put these Dim Sims together. It was ridiculously simple (As long as you have wrappers!) and I will not hesitate to make these again. I’ll probably try to make them a skosh smaller as I only got a dozen dumplings out of my supersized adaptation.

Joey’s List: Home Made Pizza

Jenelle and I are expecting our first child next February. In July we found out our baby Joey was diagnosed with a severe Neural Tube Defect and is not expected to live more than a day. To celebrate her all too brief life Jenelle and I are keeping a list of experiences she would have had if she wasn’t expected to leave us so soon.

Joey’s List: Home Made Pizza

I love pizza.  I acknowledge this isn’t a very controversial position.  That said, I am certain at some point I would have taught Joey how to make home made pizza.

During Jenelle and my 2012 trip to Rome we visited the Coliseum and it was there I found a round book, entirely in Italian, giving 50 pizza recipes.  I wanted to buy this book…I’m talking REALLY wanted to buy it.  But Jenelle made some excellent points…namely it was in Italian, so on the shelf it remained.

It was a few weeks after we got back that I received a mystery package at work.  Inside was this.


Conveniently translated into English by the good people at Readers Digest.  I’ve have the book for a year now and this is the first time I have used the recipe for the dough, which was amazingly simple.

1 cup of warm water divided.
1/2 tbsp Active Dry Yeast
2 cups of Bread Flour plus more for the counter
1/3 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil (optional)

In a measuring cup add the yeast to 1/2 cup of warm water, put aside until frothy – 8 to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile mix the flour and salt together in a medium bowl.  Add the yeast mixture along with the oil if using into flour and stir.  Add the second half cup of warm water gradually until you have a sticky cohesive dough.  Turn onto the counter and knead for 8-10 minutes until a smooth ball that does not stick to your hands or the counter.

Place in a large oiled bowl and let rise covered for an hour. Turn your oven to it’s highest non-broil setting (500°F) and shape your dough into a disk.  Add whatever topping you prefer; we used ham and pineapple on one (a VERY popular pie in Australia) and the leftover ham on the second.

They turned out pretty good.  I cannot wait to try the recipe again.

Here I am, kneading the pizza dough.

The first pizza was a ham and pineapple pie as that is a popular flavor in Australia a favorite of Jenelle. Obviously I approve.

The second pizza I made…mostly cheese with a smidge of black forest ham.

Here is the Hawaiian pizza, close up.

Such is my dedication to the craft that I found myself with this mild burn at the base of my thumb.

Joey’s List: Our Happy Little Vegemite

Yet another update to Joey’s List. Todays checkmark is Vegemite on Toast with Hot Chocolate.

For those unfamiliar with Vegemite it is a staple in Australian cupboards. To my palate it tastes like a salty beef bouillon paste. That said, I really enjoy it. A thin schmear on lightly buttered toast with a sliced boiled egg is my idea of a great on the go breakfast.

You may also remember it from the Men at Work hit ‘Down Under.” (Scroll to 1:10.)

Jenelle has always been a “Happy Little Vegemite.


She eats it for breakfast, lunch and tea. Here she is having lunch earlier this week. As you can see she also likes to dunk her toast into the hot chocolate. (Much to the chagrin of Joey’s Blevins half)


And as a special added bonus, here is a vintage Vegemite ad.

Ear Worm of the Day: Mike and the Mechanics

Have you ever had an Ear Worm?  Of course you have because you are a human being or a sentient animal.  I’ve had one for a couple days now and it’s time for me to pass it on to you.

Mike + the Mechanics “All I Need is a Miracle.”  Off their self titled debut album from 1985. For the record, the recording below is a live version but this Ear Worm (which is from 1:25 to 1:46) is perfectly captured in this performance.

Ear Worm Annoyance Level: Inchworm

I Have Good News (and Bittersweet News) -or- How I Became A Dad

There is one place I never thought Traveler Bill would ever go. That place is Parenthood.

First, lets take a step back. I set up this page on June 20th as a place where I could document (probably in fits and starts if my history is anything) our baby’s progress and achievements. I never thought I would be a father, a dad, but here we are, in my 44th year and I’m looking forward to my first child being born.

What a difference a month makes.

I joined Jenelle for the 12 week ultrasound at Weill Cornell Medical Center on Monday the 29th of July. We were finally looking to broadcast our news. I actually had gotten into trouble on Sunday because I had posted a link to some “Be A Better Dad” site on Facebook. Jenelle had me delete it as she still hadn’t told a bunch of people in Australia. Thank goodness she had.

Jenelle didn’t see anything strange with the ultrasound. The heart was visible and beating like a champ, I thought I saw something odd with the head but what do I know. The tech excused herself and came back with a doctor…and bad news.

Continue reading

Hanging Around: Inside Two Travelers Plaza #blogjune

A couple months ago my terrific In-Laws picked up this nifty vintage Hudson Valley commemorative “post-card” from the Brooklyn Flea around the corner.



The illustrations inside were pleading to be framed.  The problem was that the pictures were 3½ X 5½, a little small for a decent frame.  Traveler Nell, undaunted, found a discount framer right here in Brooklyn that made a custom frame…for $16!  Art to Frames received the order and we had the frame in less than a week.

Here it is on the wall


And here are the specific illustrations in detail.  The Rip Van Winkle Bridge 20130603-202410.jpg


The Mid-Hudson Bridge


The GWB.  When I moved to NYC 15 years ago this month I made a promise to my friend Mike who helped me move down here that I would never refer to the George Washington Bridge as the “Gee Double-yew Bee.”  Sorry Mike.20130603-202331.jpg




Yes, I am participating in #blogjune

Whatever that means! Traveler Nell has suggested I join her in the annual June Blog Challenge. At least I think it’s annual.

Nevertheless, I thought I’d start the month with some photos of some things I received to end May.

Yesterday at work I was greeted by a pair of packages.  One was a birthday present from my in-laws in Australia.  Inside was a pair of lambs wool slippers.  Cool in the summer and warm in the winter these babies are incredibly comfortable 365 days a year.


Black Australian Sheepskin Slippers

Additionally I received a package from  Inside was a pair of glasses I ordered last week.  Now less than two months ago I bought two pairs of glasses from Warby Parker.  I’ll save that story for another day.  The only reason I got another pair is because while I was playing Turbo Racing League on my iPhone and I received an offer for a free a pair of glasses.  I was skeptical but wanted extra “tomatoes”, the currency of the game, so I clicked on the offer.

Turns out it wasn’t a scam.  In fact I found the frame I had been looking for since 1993.  It was back then that my buddies and I saw Falling Down with Michael Douglas.  In this film he was wearing these glasses.


Michael Douglas in Falling Down

So when I saw the measurements on the these glasses I knew my search was over.


Coastal Derek Cardigan 7011 Tortoise Shell

All told, I was only charged $9.95 for the shipping. (Plus a little extra for the clip on shades.)

20130601-180957.jpg Derek Cardigan 7011 w/Clip-on Sunglasses

It’s only been one day, but I am confident I have found my favorite glasses ever.

My Ties with Lunch: On Tie-atus

I like neckties and I try to wear one every day. Lets see if I can make a swing through my entire collection.

Well I did.  There might be a tie or two that I havent worn yet, but for the most part I have gone through my all my ties.  Funny, I thought it would be more than this.

When I get more ties, or if I wear a different knot, I will make anothjer post, but for the tie-me being, I’ll be taking a break from My Ties with Lunch.