Bygones

You might remember that last week I mentioned I would probably grow bored with my Tobermory painting soon. Well, it happened more quickly than I expected, and, what's worse, the painting started looking so wretched to me that I could see it needed some major fixing.

I started thinking that it would take less time to paint a completely new version of it than to tediously noodle at this piece of junk. But I have grown so tired of looking at the scene that I cannot imagine spending another six weeks with it. So, I decided to start over on a brand new painting.

Plus, I'm going to save money by reusing the canvas:

So now you bloggy readers are the only ones who'll know that I started a seascape but never finished it.

While I waited for the yellow thing to dry, I painted a sky on a smaller canvas.

Then, I started adding some detail.

Does it look like Kansas to you?

Pixar Does Steampunk

UP: Animated adventure from Pixar about an old man who flies his house to South America.
Theater Location: Beltway Plaza
Noise Level: Fine
The Skinny: This movie made me cry twice and laugh a lot of other times. I'm not sure how kid-friendly it was, but I loved every minute.

Today's Inkblot

What does this look like to you?

It's not really a bad day out, all things considered. Sure, there's no sunshine and the clouds are glowering, but the sticky humidity isn't around, the temperature is nice, and it isn't actually raining. This is my kind of weather.

Did Someone Spill Popcorn?

Honestly, there were a group of women in the corner while we were at Silver Diner the other night. I don't know what they were talking about, but what I did hear was intriguing:

They were buttering the floor. It was caught on video. They buttered the kitchen floor!

I'm certain that's what they said because they kept repeating it.

Foundation (Isaac Asimov)

I was sitting in my car at a traffic light visualizing whirled peas when Bertie opened the door and jumped into the passenger seat.

"Bertie! Don't do that!"

"Do what?" Bertie opened the glove compartment. "Do you have any bars?"

"Yeah, I can hear you fine."

Bertie gave me a disgusted look, so I jerked my thumb at the back seat. He scrambled back and came up with an oatmeal bar. He was disappointed.

"Aw, it's low fat."

"It's always low fat. Stop whinging and tell me why you're jumping into cars in the middle of traffic."

Bertie carefully unwrapped the cereal bar, peeling the foil down in strips like a banana. He broke a bit off with his fingers and examined it closely. Then he sniffed it and sighed. He broke the piece into smaller bits and repeated the performance. I felt my knuckles grow white on the steering wheel. (How do you feel a color?)

"Just eat the thing already!" I shouted. "Don't play with your food."

"You're grumpy."

"So you've just appeared out of nowhere to tell me something I already know? Thanks. Now go away."

"I think it'd help your grumpiness if you pulled up and gave that car there a little nudge."

"You want me to ram another car?"

"I think it'll just take a little bump. Just enough to get the driver to jump out of the car and start screaming at us."

"And that's supposed to make me less grumpy, how?"

"See that bumpersticker? 'I follow GPS (God's Positioning System)' There's a believer in that there car."

I was appalled. "You want me to go around running into religious people? What is wrong with you?"

"Not hard enough to hurt anybody. Picture it: he jumps out all screaming and stuff and you just calmly shake your head -- maybe you're a little sad -- and say, 'You know, I was thinking about giving my life over to Jesus today' -- here is where you indicate the marvelous marketing he has provided on his bumper -- 'I was feeling inspired, don't you know, but now I think I'll skip it. Guess I'm going to hell now. And you'll just have to live with knowing it's all your fault.' Then he'll walk back to his car all dejected at ruining his mission, and (worried about his souls saved tally) he'll be so much nicer the rest of the day."

"There is something seriously wrong with you, Bertie."

"It's the best way for an atheist to have fun."

"Ok, look: one. No it is not. two. I am not an atheist, I'm a possibilian."

"Well, Asimov says it's not worth wasting time thinking about things that don't exist."

"What? The writer of a gazillion science fiction books says not to worry about things that don't exist? I think you got it wrong."

"Well, I -- "

"Look at that book of his about the triumph of psychohistory or whatever it is. This big old universe where everything is logical and predictable and whatever. But what do they do? They turn to religion."

"Only to control the masses."

"Well, that's a little elitist, don't you think?"

"I have no problem with meritocracy."

"Oh, geez, Bertie. Forget about the religion the scientists created out of whole cloth just to control the plebes. All of the major movers have a deep abiding belief in a religion of their own: Hari Seldon."

"It's science."

"It's not science when you prevent anyone from studying the same field even if it's out of fear that they'll learn something that will undermine the experiment. Hari Seldon is playing God."

"Most of the time, he's dead."

"Exactly, and what do his faithful do? They wait for some significant event that is out of their control, where they'll have no choice but to follow the plan set out (secretly) by Seldon, and then wait for him to return with a message from beyond the grave. And the message is, 'I'm not going to help you, but you should feel good that I have a secret plan.' What use is that?"

Bertie interrupted my tirade. "The light is green."

I hit the gas, but he had lied. The light was still red. And so I had to quickly brake, but I was not quick enough. I tapped the rear bumper of the car in front of me, and the driver sprang out of the car and onto the pavement. He stalked back toward us with grim determination. He was at least six foot five, with muscles and tattoos and everything. A bright jagged scar curved along his left jawline. He was not looking like my new best friend.

I started to wonder if maybe it wasn't his grandmother's car.

"You're going to feel better soon," Bertie said.

"Next time I'm grumpy," I said as I locked the door. "What I want is a hug, OK?"

Sliders

Are kids really supposed to slide down this thing?

I've now photographed all of the playgrounds of Greenbelt except for one.

The playground where the slide above lives is marked as suitable for 2 to 5 year olds. I'd have thought it a little older with all the slides. At any rate, it's still under construction. Poor duck:

Also, I hope that the playground over on Jacob is about to undergo renovation. Otherwise, it might just be the saddest playground I've ever seen:

You can interact with the map right here; there's a picture from each of the playgrounds.


View Playgrounds of Greenbelt (plus GNP) in a larger map

Boat Painting

The boats of Tobermory keep pulling in. This is the point in a painting where I always want to give up. I'm tired of looking at this scene and really unsure how to refine the details. I'll probably do some work on the water, then move on.

The United States of Don't Go See This Movie

Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian: Sequel to the movie about museum exhibits coming to life at night, this time in the basement of the Smithsonian.
Theater Location: Beltway Plaza
Noise Level: Fine, but the kids were loud
The Skinny: Amy Adams in boots. I don't know if anything else was ever on the screen.

Early and Often

clear ballot box

Had enough time to go down to the cooperative's annual meeting and participate in the vote. Our home is part of a 1600-member cooperative. Every year, we get to elect half of the board of directors, discuss important topics, and pick up a free plant that will die within the year. Every year they give out these plants, and every year mine dies.

At any rate, this is a neat example of democracy on the human scale. And the meeting always brings some wonderful character out of the woodwork. This is a 91-year-old coop member who got up to admonish us to volunteer and participate in the boards and committees. I think that only 91-year-olds are allowed to "admonish" people.

We Don't Need No Stinkin' Badgers

I'm working on site a lot this week, so little time for chit-chat, but lots of time to see movies, apparently.

Is Anybody There?: Old magician in old folks' home meets youngster fascinated by the dead in the '80s.
Theater Location: Old Greenbelt
Noise Level: Fine
The Skinny: As far as I can tell, the movie's message is: "Old people die. It's sad. Get over it." I know I've lost the will to live.

Star Trek Babies

Star Trek: Prequel to the science fiction television serieses, cartoons, and movies. (Except for the Enterprise series and (in a way) First Contact, which take place before this movie.)
Theater Location: Beltway Plaza
Noise Level: Fine
The Skinny: This movie avoided the prequel suspense problem Wolverine had by mucking with time travel and alternate reality. This is a funny movie. Scotty is a hoot, though he's still not Scottish.

Updated Painting

Slowly trudging through this painting that you saw earlier.

Some days, the acrylic paints just dry so dang fast. Today was one of those days, so after three hours, I put everything aside.

Not Red Dawn

Wolverine: Prequel to the X-Men comic book adaptations.
Theater Location: Beltway Plaza
Noise Level: Waaaaaaaay too loud.
The Skinny: Hard to build up the tension about the danger of death to an indestructible superhero who has an important part to play in "future" movies.

Bike Bucket

Look at this cool bike with convenient storage for your kids:

They should all be wearing helmets. Shame!

Morninglight Mama is trying to win one. Click through twice to help her out.

I saw a similar bike from Kona without a bucket at Proteus and also on the bike trail the other day, so they actually can be ridden. I'll bet Proteus would put a bucket on their bikes for you.

Picture of the Day

From 1977, actually. This picture shows the approximate ground level for the years 1925, 1955 and 1977. That's USGS scientist Joe Poland standing there in San Joaquin Valley, California.

23.5

A little less than I told my co-workers. I forgot I left from Artemesia instead of Greenbelt, so it was only 16 miles down. I rode to my company's annual meeting in Crystal City, Virginia. It was beautiful weather for it. Still, I was the only person there in jeans. They'll get over it, I'm sure.

The bus/bike lane on 7th Street is awesome, but not enough people follow the rules there, unless a taxi counts as a bus. The place was swarming with cops, but they didn't seem interested in enforcing the law. The court house was also swarming with police. The area was blocked off when I rode through before 5, so I had to take a detour.

All-in-all, I enjoy biking in downtown DC. With the numbered and lettered streets, it's really easy to figure out where you are, and the mall and the monuments are a refreshing sight. Plus, it's not all that hilly. Well, I suppose it's all down-hill toward the river from my house to the Potomac, and I did take the metro back from the Convention Center stop.

The Human League: Dare

I like this: "Classic records lost in time and format, remerged as Pelican books. Just for fun." Check out the whole set.

Questions Questions Questions

Is it just me, or is something wrong with the shape of this building?

On another topic altogether, what's your opinion on paying for job searches? In the olden days, it seems like the companies covered the cost of finding employees. Even when you worked with a recruiter, they were generally paid by some percentage finder fee thing by the company. But these days, if you search for a job at TheLadders.com, you have to pay to even see the job descriptions. That doesn't seem to me like money well spent, but then I'm a dinosaur. Is this the new trend?

I Can't Go On

For the third time this year, I'm probably going to give up reading in the middle of a novel. I'm generally pretty obsessive about finishing a book once I have invested any time in it. I used to think I owed it to myself and to the author to at least struggle all the way through to the end before giving it a harsh judgment. I had this idea that there might be times when I'd find a little satisfying reward when I fought to the end. It stands to reason: if I am sometimes thrilled with a story right up to the last few pages where I am horrified to find the author destroying everything that has been so beautifully built, then surely I must occasionally stumble upon a book that will redeem itself in its waning paragraphs.

I cannot remember a single instance where this latter situation has ever occurred.

And so, three times this year before I've even reached the midpoint, I have given up well before finishing a novel. I think that this might be a sign that I am finally recognizing my age. As I creep over the midpoint of my life and face the downward slope (my, isn't that melodramatic?), I see that I will not be able to read everything ever written. I must begin to hoard and parcel out my time with a miser's eye to the balance sheet. I will no longer push hard to finish a book with which I am bored at the halfway-mark if there is no reason to believe I will have gained anything from the experience.

(Of course, if it's really just an OAP's concern about the preciousness of time remaining to me, I don't suppose I'd spend so much of it on Twittering, refreshing RSS feeds, and constructing maudlin blog posts about my impending sunset years.)

So, these are the books that I have given up on this year, and this is your chance to jump in and convince me that it's worth my trouble finishing them. I cannot say whether these books have anything important to offer the world, but I can say that I was unable to finish them. I wonder if this spate of unfinished reading is why I haven't written a book tale since April? No, I think it's the lack of commuting.

  • Ghost: A Novel. Alan Lightman brings us what should be a pretty interesting story: a man in a funeral parlor thinks he sees a ghost and is drawn into conflict between scientific and spiritual explanations. But the moody molasses of thinking and pondering make this a true slog of a read and I just am not seeing the point in continuing. It's a 250 page book that feels like 600 pages.
  • Cyteen. This is a Hugo-award winning novel from C.J. Cherryh, who is a leading writer in the SF/fantasy field, though I've never read anything else by her. In this case, the book is physically as long as it feels, but I'm just totally bored by the people in this story. The first gazillion pages or so are filled with political posturing and meetings and motions. Yawn. It felt a bit like she had read the Foundation books and decided that she could do a better job by adding even more detail to the political machinations bits. (The Foundation books are sadly lacking in character development, but we don't spend enough time on anything to really care.)
  • Glory Season. This is a man's view of a woman's utopia, which means that David Brin has given himself a tough row to hoe. But issues of politics aside, I have grown tired of the main character and just don't care what happens to her or her planet. It's a travel novel, I suppose, in that we wander over this world to look at all the odd natives, but even the stuff that happens (dangerous storms at sea, train accidents, etc) doesn't seem to happen. That is, the happening of the happenings has no weight. They lack inertia -- which is an odd thing, I suppose. Generally, we think of inertia in this sense as meaning everything stays still, but inertia also has to do with how much mass and force keep things in motion until stronger forces stop them. In this book, very weighty things happen but the effects flitter away like so many feathers.

So there you have it folks. The comments are open.

Can Someone Explain This Sign to Me?

I mean, yeah, the lower sign indicates handicapped access (though I'm not sure how this door is different from the other electronically activated one). But the lower sign? Aren't the target audience for this sign going to miss it?

While I'm rambling, what's the difference between electric and electronic? Does electronic imply semiconductors or something? As an engineer, I'm embarrassed to not have this information at my fingertips. Of course, I'm a mechanical engineer, so let me tell you a little about springs and dashpots...oh, you don't want to hear? OK. I'm not really a mechanical engineer anyway.

Manly Men

Yeah, so the Brunette's away. It's just us two guys sitting around doin' guy stuff.

I'm not sure how many tequilas he had...

Hoser

Another relaxing Sunday in the studio. I carry my painting supplies over to the Community Center in a blue wheelie suitcase. I imagine I look like an oddball walking along in my baseball cap and sunglasses, pulling a suitcase behind me in the middle of the day.

Actually, in Greenbelt, I suppose that might not be so odd.

To fill out the bill for the upcoming show, I made another quick painting. This one is on a small piece of wood and only took about 4 hours. I don't like it as much as last week's door knob.

So I went back to boatscapes. This is my third ever, but I'm still annoyed by cockeyed angle of the buildings. One thing I should have learned, though, is not to spend so much time on useless detail. I spent about an hour and a half on that wall and it's going to wind up behind several boats.

Well, the important thing is that this is relaxing, right?

I have decided, by the way, to stop making black paint. Oh, I know, all the cool painters mix their own blacks so that they can adjust to exactly the right kind of black for the situation. But I'm never going to get to the point where I'm one of those kinds of painters. I spend too much time on black and can't tell a cool one from a warm one. So, I'm going to go look to see if they sell black paint.

Leaves

Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers who read my blog! You are all tough cookies. In fact, give yourself a cookie; you deserve it.

Yesterday, before I ran downtown, I got a couple more playgrounds.

playground-ad7

Fiona asked me if I play in the playgrounds I'm visiting. Obviously, she hasn't read the rules posted at the playground:

playground-ad10

That last rule says, "Do not use equipment unless designed for your age group." Granted, it doesn't say which equipment is for which age group, but I'm having trouble imagining what kind of a rocking horse would be appropriate for an old man. In fact, I did climb up to the top of the slide to get a picture of the agricultural research center, and I promptly banged my head on the slide cover.

Good thing I was wearing my bike helmet.

Some of the playgrounds did have age stickers on the equipment. The stuff has been pretty random.

Does anybody know what this sign is all about?

I Forgot to Post this Yesterday

I have found where all the shopping carts go to die.

Either that or I've discovered the secret ceremonial dancing grounds of the wayward trolley tribe.

If you click on the picture and stare for a while, it starts to look like a brawl outside a Glasgow pub. "You talkin' to me, big man?"

I Never Saw Bruce Springsteen

Rode my bike down into DC today to watch a movie. (I need to have destinations to get up the gumption to exercise.) The buttercups are out in force along the North East Branch Trail:

I tried to stop by Union Station for the celebration of National Train Day, but it was just so dang crowded inside. I should have guessed from the bike parking alone:

By the end of the ride, the day had gotten pretty hot. Does it count as one ride if there's a two hour movie in the middle? At any rate, I enjoyed the ride except for the five people who nearly ran me over turning across my path through intersections. I have real trouble believing there's any way to make big fat me any more visible to these idiots. Of course, three of the five were talking on cell phones.

Past My Limits

The Limits of Control: Artsy flick about an assassin on assignment in Spain. (IMDB calls it "No Limits, No Control" for some reason, probably to reinforce the message of life meaning nothing.
Theater Location: E Street
Noise Level:Too Loud at the beginning, too loud next screen over in all the quiet bits.
The Skinny: There are looooooooooooong stretches of this movie staring at its own navel. This movie is filled with SIGNIFICANCE; The whole movie -- every word (there are few), every silence (there are too many), every look (there's plenty to look at), and every object in view -- is in the final weeks of a pregnancy of SIGNIFICANT MEANING, but the delivery day never really arrives.

WTF?

Woman in an FUV:

  • Runs over a bicyclist who was riding legally and wearing "bright yellow windbreaker with reflective strips"
  • "Told police she never saw" the bicyclist
  • Kills the bicyclist
  • Is charged with nothing whatsoever
The police say they can't see any evidence of negligence. She keeps her license.

This is a woman who cannot see a big ex-Navy Seal decked out in bright yellow with reflective strips, right in front of her face, and she is deemed safe to continue driving around with her bicyclist-killing machine.

Thanks, Virginia, for keeping us all that little bit safer.

The Playgrounds Continue To Mount

When the sun came out today, I hopped the bike in search of playgrounds. The Assistant City Manager was kind enough to put together a list of playgrounds for me, and I was able to add a few more to the map. I wasn't sure I was going to find the one on Breezewood, since I couldn't see where it might be on the satellite photo, but it's there, tucked into the woods.

I didn't cover as many playgrounds as I'd have liked. I stopped for lunch and the clouds came out in force again. The rest must wait for better light. Some thoughts on the playgrounds I visited:

The playground at 7 Southway is recycled. I assume that means they took this equipment from some other site when the other site decided to upgrade theirs to safer equipment. Actually, these don't look so bad, I just haven't seen very many metal slides on this trek.

The playground at 1 Westway is hidden behind the apartment complex's pool. I wouldn't have guessed this to be a city playground without the City's list. I loved this climbing apparatus:

playground-y2

The playground near 1 Crescent was the first one I found without a slide. But it did have a single swing.

The playground near the community center is not open to the public at all times, but it does have a race track. At least, that's the best I can figure this is for: The only other thing I can figure is it's some sort of nefarious engine that the overlords bring out and place on that platform, yoking the children from the preschool to ropes and gears to turn the engines of doom.

The playground at Spring Hill Lake was one of the playgrounds with a climbing wall. I know we've been moving away from metal slides for safety, but it seems like we're adding the danger back by putting these things in.

The playground at Breezewood is very well shaded and has a half-fence, I suppose to reduce the momentum of children heading for the road, but not to actually prevent them from making it to the road.

That puts us at 29 photographed playgrounds. I also rode by the one next to St. Hugh's, but it was in use. That makes it only three playgrounds out of thirty in use when I stopped by to photograph them.

La Bonne Aubergine

With the Brunette away, I've been eating out a lot. I think my plan is to gain a couple hundred pounds so that when she comes back, it's like she's got an extra man waiting for her. Won't she be impressed with that?

But today I am apparently obsessed with making my own meals. You might think this would be healthier. I am so dang stuffed I might be sick. I doubt I can keep up this kind of "healthy" living. At any rate, I'm going to have to sleep on the futon; I can't lift this full stomach up the steps.

My craving was for eggplant parmigiana , but there's no real point in making food I can get after a short walk to Generous Joe's, our local greasy spoon. So I continued the day's theme of gustatorial experimentation. I'm going to call this Aubergine Farce Double: a big mess of a dish.

Eggplants are hard to peel. I got a medium-sized eggplant from the organic market, cut off the ends and peeled it.

I greased a cookie sheet with olive oil. I don't know if it was extra virgin. I don't know anything about its personal life, to be honest. I'm not sure how comfortable I am with acronyms in my food life. Acronyms should stay at work where they belong. Keep your EVOO in the office, thank you very much.

I sliced the eggplant lengthwise into 3/4 inch thick slabs. I put these on the cookie sheet and dusted them with sea salt, black pepper and garlic powder. I'm not going to win any awards for freshness in this creation, you see. It's just so much easier with one person to use powdered stuff. What am I going to do with a whole ear of garlic?

Do you call it an ear?

So, the oven had been preheated to 450° (that's F, it's about 230° in C. It'd be gas mark 8 if we weren't using an electric stove in the United States). I wanted to dry out the eggplant a little bit. I'm not going to fry this thing and I like a crispy parmigiana, so I thought it'd be a good idea to pop these in the oven for about 15 minutes. They came out of there with a slight golden glow.

A suntanned eggplant.

For a nice coating, I wanted to avoid carb-heavy breading. I found a mention on-line of using almond meal in a breading substitute. I mixed 1/4 cup of that with about the same amount of un-hulled sesame seeds that I also found at the organic market. The market bulk shooter listed that at 11 grams. The almond meal was 6. To that I sprinkled in crushed red pepper, oregano, and basil.

The other bowl just has a beaten egg, some soy milk and a handful of diced onion.

I dragged each of those dried eggplant slices through the egg and dry coating. Then I stacked them neatly on each other, separated by slices of mozzarella from an 8 oz chunk that I had sliced. Did I fail to mention the slicing of the mozzarella? Well, here's a picture:

Feel better? Now, the best eggplant parmigiana I ever had was in a restaurant in North Carolina that did something to prop the eggplant above and away from the tomato sauce so that it didn't get soggy and sloppy before I had a chance to enjoy the texture of the eggplant and its coating on its own. So I decided that this baking was going to happen without any tomatoes getting in the neighborhood until plating occurred.

So here's a quick sequence of pictures demonstrating my architectural prowess. The unequal heights serve as a metaphor for our daily travails, all of us able to scale higher on some days and less high on others both due to the pressures of society and the unreliable narrative of our own inner consciousness. Not, you must understand, simply because I cut the eggplant into an odd number of slices. This is art!

The oven temperature was moved by some mysterious force (aided by the intervention of my hand) down to 350°/175°/4. I have to stop here and say that if you're trying to follow along at home, keep in mind that I have no idea what I'm doing. You might want to wait a few days and see if I survive this thing, especially the egg. Do you think the egg cooked properly at this temperature? The other thing you might want to consider is cutting back on the breading. I threw about a third of it away.

I slid what I had into the oven and waited 35 minutes. I think it could have gone another 15 minutes to get nice and brown, but the cheese had melted enough for me and I was getting dang hungry. It's really not good to be hungry when you're about to eat. Someone should really write a book about that: Eat only when you're not hungry. Believe me, you'll eat a lot less.

I think it came out lovely.

All that was left was the plating. That means, for you lay folks, putting it on a plate. I chose one with the image of a train on it. It's a sort of Thomas the Tank Engine for grown ups.

Since I was already experimenting and I didn't feel like making a sauce, I served this eggplant thing draped in a Tequila Salsa I found at the store, along with a dusting of shredded Parmesan cheese. I should have gotten Romano!

You might be asking yourself if I liked it. I believe I already mentioned that I felt so overwhelmingly full that I might have to call in the SeaWorld dolphin transport team to wrap one of those stretchers around me and haul me away with a crane. That's because I ate the whole shebang. In the real world, this was at least two servings, and with a good salad or hope of a dessert, it could easily satisfy three. But I ate the entire thing, which means I consumed an 8oz package of cheese and a whole eggplant all by myself.

So, if I'm sick later, it might be volume at fault as much as undercooking of the egg.

I liked the taste very much, though I wouldn't mistake it for a typical eggplant parmigiana. Instead of crispy, the coating is crunchy and the seeds maintained their individual existences, which is interesting, some might even say fun. The consistency of the eggplant itself was perfect. I think the drying really helped prevent some of the icky slimy you sometimes get from eggplant. And, of course, anything covered in cheese has got a leg up in the world. Were I to do it over again, I'd reduce the cheese by a third (just like the coating) and increase the green and red spices.

That might be all the cooking I do for a while. Can I count the eggplant as my serving of vegetable for the year?

Gourmet Corner

Welcome to my experimental lunch!

Folks, I enjoy a good grilled cheese sandwich every once in a while, but today I thought I'd experiment with something different: a grilled cream cheese sandwich.

Pause for applause and cheers.

Wait, wait, I'm sure you're going to love the idea even more when I reveal that it's not just any cream cheese, it's fat free cream cheese.

The taste buds are a shakin'!

I put buttery spread on the outside sides of two slices of bread and then put those sides facing each other. I spread the cream cheese in a big heaping mess in the middle. I sprinkled the cream cheese with Splenda. I reassembled it with the butter sides out and plopped it in a frying pan.

Toast to a golden brown. Lovely.

Pause for oohs and ahs.

I cut the sandwich into pieces to make a sailboat:

And set the boat sailing on a sea of potato chips:

Pause while audience gasps and rushes to its feet with thunderous applause.

Now, now, folks, I know it's odd to see such culinary skill in this corner of the interwebs, but the real test is in the tasting. Hold on a second while I give the experiment a try.

...

...

Um, OK, so the important thing here is that we tried something new, right, kids? Right?

Actually, I like it, but the wheat bread is a little strange. I think a nut bread or plain old white bread would be nicer. The sweetened cream cheese is awesome and I think this would be excellent with a dipper of jam. Maybe I'll try that for tomorrow.

We now return you to your regular schedule.