Monthly Archives: May 2012

Gonna Plant Me a Carrot Patch


First, I’d like to talk about this graphic. This is probably my favorite portrait of myself. It was created by talented artist and friend Paul Kjelland, who has collaborated with me several times.

This portrait was created 5 or 6 years ago. I spent 30 days living and learning about a vegan lifestyle and was trying to sell an article I wrote on the experience titled “Vegan in a Black Leather Jacket.” The article didn’t sell, and reflecting on it I can see why– it was a rambling, directionless 5,000 word piece that could probably be condensed to a single sentence…

“Vegan cooking is pretty damn tasty when done correctly, if not, not so much.”

I bought those carrots from the Riverwest Co-op. This season, I’m growing my own. This summer has had a lot of new experiences for me, I’ve gotten into a few things I’ve been meaning to try.

* * *

“Many people may wonder if it is worth growing carrots when they are so cheap to buy,” reads How to Grow Root Vegetables by Richard Bird and Christine Ingram. “The answer must be an emphatic ‘yes.’ Fresh carrots that are taken straight from the ground before being cooked taste infinitely better than shop- bought ones: there is no comparison.”

So there you go. Emphasis mine, by the way.


Here is a pic of Plot A, which is a small corner of my downstairs neighbor’s garden. It’s about two foot by three foot. Five rows of Scarlet Nantes. I planted the seeds about a month ago, and as you can see they are starting to spring up.



Ut! The garden is protected by Flaming Carrot!

I also got a plot in the community Victory Garden at Kilbourn Park and planted 6 rows of Scarlet Nantes, two rows of Long Imperator #58s, and two rows of Danvers #126.


And a beautiful day for it, too.

I was amused to see what number lot I drew for the garden- Plot #42. If you’ve read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, you’ll know the significance and why carrots might be the meaning of life. If you haven’t, well, you should. You’ll learn why Douglas Adams fans celebrated Towel Day yesterday among other secrets of the universe.


I was also glad I got to keep all shopping for the gardens in the neighborhood. I pulled the wood to build Plot A from a construction dumpster down the street and bought the seeds, soil, and sand from Bliffert Lumber & Hardware, a great addition to my neighborhood. I also stopped by Fischberger’s Variety Store and picked up these hot mamas:


The tall one on the left is Xena, a cayenne pepper plant and the other is Zelda, a Jalapeno pepper plant. I’m going to transfer them to larger pots and keep them by my desk here awhile and see how they grow. They were only about two bucks each. I hate to keep telling you what to do, but if you live in Milwaukee you should really check out Fischberger’s.

Plot A and Plot #42 should yield close to 100 carrots. I got no big plans, I’ll eat a bunch and give some to friends. Or maybe try a carrot cake.

Fast Transactions at Krulos Savings & Loan

Cinco de Mayo: Our intrepid blogger finds himself trapped at work all evening cutting vegetables, carrying plates, making salads. He decides that he will add some interest to the shift by finding out how to place bets on various sporting events taking place throughout the evening. He then makes high stake bets with imaginary money ($500 on each of three separate events)  with an imaginary bookie, and asks friends to text him updates as the evening progresses.



Nooo! Dullahan, you obese, clumsy beast! Just kidding… you know I love you, bro.

To be honest, I’m torn on the Kentucky Derby and horseracing. One part of me inside is a pretty radical, balaclava sporting animal rights activist. Another part of me is a seersucker suit sportin’, cee-gar chompin’ Kentucky Colonel, I sure do like me a mint julep, I do declare. So obviously I have mental issues that need to be sorted out, but let’s not talk about that or the ethics of horseracing now.

Let’s talk about showing me the muuuuuuu-nay.

Just kidding. I don’t have money to gamble (hence the imaginary money) and even if I did, I probably wouldn’t. I placed these bets to further my general knowledge of how the world works and character development. Knowing things like this is randomly helpful, and can come in handy if you’re a writer. I think I got that right, maybe.

Now– the 138th Kentucky Derby. I took a look at the line up and felt my right hand itch when I read about Dullahan. Good looking horse, not the favorite, but not a long shot. I made the bold move to bet all $500 on Dullahan TO WIN. Here is the formula I found for placing a bet: A x B +C= pay out.

A is the odds divided into itself, both B and C are the amount you are betting. Dullahan’s odda were 8-1, so 8 divided by 1 is 8 x 500 + 500=$4500. Man, that would have been some sweet imaginary money. Dullahan, however, did not win and placed third. I’ll Have Another, a long shot at 15-1, won the race. The predicted favorite Bodemeister grabbed second. If I would have bet TO PLACE instead of a win on Dullahan, this would be a different story.

Loss: 500 imaginary dollars.



Yeah! Oh how I’d like to bet on that number, when the 8’s go skating in!

I like all the Bruiser teams, but a backward talking midget snapped his fingers and whispered in my ear that the Crazy 8’s would win in a dream I had.

No oddsmakers have formulated roller derby (that I know of) yet. I’m sure it could be done in a similar method to other team sports like baseball or basketball, you’d need to analyze a few factors–win/loss record, injured players, etc. Added elements to the bet might be point spread or number of times a team takes lead jammer status. Anyway, that means I had to imagine the bet as a straight up bet with another person– I bet you 500 imaginary dollars the Crazy 8s win this.

It turned out to be a lead pipe cinch of a bet- the Crazy 8s won over the Rushin Rollettes, 153-63.

Win: 500 imaginary dollars.



Cotto’s punches were mustard, but he still lost.

By now I was done with work and heading home with one win, one loss, and excited to hear who would win my third bet on the highly anticipated boxing match between Floyd “Money” Mayweather and Miguel Cotto. I wasn’t going to pay for the expensive pay- per- view to watch it, so I monitored a stream of tweets from ESPN, rolling out as quick as a flurry of jab-cross combos.

My money was on the underdog, Cotto. I thought Mayweather’s turn to lose was up and Cotto is a solid fighter. It was a really great fight, with both boxers going strong through the 12th round. Mayweather won by decision and just by 7 or so points.

Here is what my bet looked like: Cotto was rated at +525. This meant he was the underdog and if he won, the pay out would be sweet. The number means that for every $100 dollars bet, you would win $525. Taking 500 imaginary dollars would be $525 x 5 (plus the 500 staked)=$3125.

Cotto did much better than a lot of pundits thought he would, he was close. But he lost. And in gambling, if you lose, you lose.

Loss: 500 imaginary dollars.

Krulos Savings & Lone, Imaginary Gambling Debt Department: negative $500