January 31, 2010


For my birthday, I received a gift certificate for Fromagination. On Saturday, I stopped by Cheese Heaven (as I like to call it) and sampled some delicious cheeses. It was sublime.

I walked out of the store with 5 - count 'em, 5 - blocks of cheese. Here are some pictures and descriptions.

Sarvecchio Parmesan

This is an amazing hard cheese - I had some tonight with fettucini and brown butter.

Bella Vitano Merlot-soaked Parmesan

I have tried this cheese before - in a specialty foods store in Door County. The cheese is infused with a delicious essence of wine. To top that off, the rind is a beautifully rich plum color.
Bohemian Blue Hidden Springs

Calli and I tested about four of the store's blues, but finally settled on this one. It was much stronger than the other candidates, and I look forward to just enjoying it with crackers and wine.

Carr Valley Black Sheep Truffle

This is a semi-firm Italian-style cheese with little flecks of black truffle in it. I hate to keep referring to the cheeses as delicious, but seriously. Go to this store. You will believe me.

I used about a third of this block in scrambled eggs this morning, and they were superb.

Cesar's Quesadilla Cheese

To wrap up the day, I got a block of quesadilla cheese. Lately I've been on quite a quesadilla kick, and this can only help, right?

Here are my cheeses all hanging out together:

January 30, 2010

Restaurant Week Recap

Restaurant Week was once again a delicious success - Wednesday night Calli and I went to Lombardino's.

We went with the Insalata Lombardino and the Squash Soup for appetizers, and the Spaghetti alla Bolognese and Truffled Trumpet Mushrooms for the entree. When we had finished enjoying those courses, out came a Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Panna Cotta and Tiramisu. How can you go to Lombardino's and not order tiramisu, really?

Last night I made reservations for 6 at Sardine to officially celebrate my 24th birthday with the family. The only things we did not try were the Grilled Salmon and the Assorted Cookies plate.

It was my first time trying Duck Confit, and I was blown away. Hopefully I will be able to have that dish again and again. Also, Sardine made the absolute best Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee our table had ever met. We just barely managed to restrain ourselves from licking the bowls.

Congratulations, Madison Restaurant Week Winter 2010. I'm about to go make a countdown until the summer version...

January 29, 2010

Cutthroat Competition

I'm at a bit of a loss for what to write today, but in honor (solidarity? honor isn't quite right) of the Vikings heartbreaking loss last weekend and the Badger's deflating last-second loss to Purdue last night, I will share a story of a loss I suffered a month or so ago.

For a game night at my apartment, Greg and I pulled out some old classics - Candyland and Chutes and Ladders.

My character was the little dork in jeans and a green shirt. He got stuck on space 99, as you can see here:

Unfortunately, Greg got a lucky roll to win the game,

although Lucy was not impressed.

Finally (and here is where the heartbreak comes in play), my next two rolls after the game was finished were, of course, ones.

January 28, 2010

Thursday videos

I was shown a couple of very interesting/amusing videos today, courtesy of Good.

First up: Werner Herzog narrating Curious George.

Second: Dinosaur Ballet!

If Curious George being read with a German accent (and with supplementary editorial comments!) or animated dancing dinosaurs can't brighten a cold January day, then nothing can.

January 27, 2010

January 27th

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

On this day in...

1982: Philadelphia trades Larry Bowa and Ryne Sandberg to Cubs for Ivan DeJesus

1973: U.S. and Vietnam sign cease-fire, ending longest U.S. war and military draft

1967: Apollo 1 fire kills astronauts Grissom, White, and Chaffee

1888: National Geographic Society organizes in Washington D.C.

In Wisconsin history, apparently the only thing of note is the death of a Dr. Joseph Schafer, a superintendent of the State Historical Society.

Famous people born include:

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - 1756
Lewis Carroll - 1832
John Roberts, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court - 1955

I promise this will be the only post of this nature this year, mainly due to it's lameness.

Let it be known that I wish to one day have a page in wikipedia, or at least be in the Wisconsin Historical Society's "things that happened today" page.

Perhaps I could convince National Geographic to hire me on the basis of us sharing birthdays.

January 26, 2010

How do you spell...

Misguided - adj.
misled, mistaken

Use that in a sentence? Sure.

In a misguided attempt to completely insulate her child from what she decides to be unsuitable, a parent in Southern California has achieved in banning a vulgar piece of non-fiction -

Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Tenth Edition.

Hopefully the committee that the school district is now forced to assemble will rule that this petition is too ridiculous to be taken seriously and return the dictionaries to the classrooms. In the meantime, click here for a definition of over-protective, reactionary parenting.

January 25, 2010

Rule 5: The Proper Handlng of Fortune Cookies

I recently ate at Chin's, and received a rather disappointing fortune cookie.* It read, "you will use a confidential tip to earn financial success" or something lame like that.

*Still, not as bad as my worst fortune ever. I was with my family and got the fortune "Don't worry, looks aren't everything." Jody still laughs when remembering that day.

Anyway, having this fortune cookie reminded me that there is a very specific protocol regarding fortune cookies - a rule, if you will.
Rule 5: The Proper Handling of Fortune Cookies

When receiving fortune cookies at the end of a meal, a table must briefly examine them and then choose the correct cookie. There is not any correct way to choose your cookie, but look for smoothness in the texture of the cookie and a consistent color.

Once you have chosen a cookie, break it in half.


The cookie must be eaten completely before the fortune is read. Reading the paper prematurely results in misleading, inaccurate fortunes. Once the cookie has been eaten, read any token Chinese translations or lucky numbers on the back side. Only then, after everything else has been completed, can the fortune be read.

January 24, 2010


I recently bought a shirt from shirt.woot.com - and I am quite pleased with transaction.

It's tyrannosaurus rex wearing a parka! Jurassic Park...a.

How was I supposed to not buy this shirt??

January 23, 2010


What's a dorable, you ask?

Oliver the Koala.

Get it? a dorable? adorable? ha ha ha oh, I'm amazing. But seriously, I would like a baby koala for my birthday, please. See more pictures of Oliver here.

January 22, 2010

The Twelve Days of Christmas, part III

(go read parts I and II!)

So by now, the total figurine count is up to: 8 trees, 14 turtledoves, 18 hens, 20 calling birds, 20 golden rings, 18 geese, 14 swans, and 8 maids. I will be finding little bits of clay in my room for the next several months, I am sure.

Just for a little scale, the figurines in today's post all are pretty much between one and one and a half inches tall.

Nine Ladies Dancing

The calling birds are cute, true, and the turtledoves are pretty nice as well, but...the ladies dancing are my favorite. I'm sort of proud of how they turned out. The one in the back left here seems to be really grooving.

Coincidentally, they seem to be tied with the geese for Dinah's favorite as well.

Ten Lords a-leaping

If the ladies dancing are my favorite, well...the lords leaping are my least favorite. They were very frustrating, and the one component of the gift I struggled with the most. Eventually they ended up looking like some guys in red walking around. This one has no left arm, but that's the cat's fault.

Eleven Pipers Piping

Here's a piper. If I had been less of a procrastinator, I would have tried to give them little painted belts and stripes down their pants. However, I was a bit cramped for time on this gift. If you're nitpicking, the flute or pipe or whatever is probably a little large, but - hey. Cut me some slack.

Twelve Drummers Drumming

Yup, they have different drums.

Here's a sad story about the drummers - they were created the second night I was working on this project, and I had dreams about painting the UW marching band uniforms on them. However, at about 3:30 in the morning I pulled them out of the oven, where they had gone in looking like this:

Hey, those legs look different, right?

Right. The black clay I originally used just melted in the oven. When I checked on the drummers, I found 12 sad drummers' torsos sitting in melted puddles of legs. I was too stunned/exhausted to do anything but climb upstairs to bed, heartbroken.

Finally, I just fashioned brown legs for them and glued the legs and torsos together. If they hadn't melted, the drummers might have won the title of "favorite figurine" from the dancing ladies...but alas.

So ends a too-long saga of a ridiculous Christmas gift. The entire collection of figurines fills a shoebox - here are some pictures of the last 3 days of figurines.

January 21, 2010

The Twelve Days of Christmas, part II

(continued from part I)

The first four days had seen me make four trees, six turtledoves, 6 hens, and 4 calling birds. Pretty reasonable, right? It starts to get a little crazy.

Five Golden Rings

This is what a pile of forty "golden" rings looks like. They were surprisingly difficult to make, and my hands were yellow at the end of the process.

Six Geese a-laying

Hey geese! The casual observer might mistake these guys for the turtledoves. The trained eye will spot the nest underneath the geese, a clear indicator that they are a-laying their eggs.

No, I did not make tiny clay eggs.

Yes, I thought about it.

Seven Swans a-swimming

Okay, now hold on. I know what you're thinking - "Jeff, you idiot. Why are those 'swans' red? Swans aren't red."

True. Most swans I've ever met have been white, or grayish at worst. Nope. I ran out of white clay with 21 swans to form. Now, I didn't actually form the gifts exactly in order - I started with the rings, then the drummers, the trees, the birds, and finished with the people at the end. However, by the time I had gotten to swans, my brain was pretty much fizzling. I had no time to get back to a store and get white clay, and my attempt at painting the swans was pitiful. Didn't work.

Despite this, the gift was accepted.

Eight Maids a-milking

I could only get one of them to pose, and I apologize for the poor quality of the picture. This was the best of the bunch. The maids were probably the second-hardest to create after the lords a-leaping. I eventually decided that they would be sort of sitting on stools, with a silver-ish milk pail on their lap.

Up tomorrow: the thrilling finale!

January 20, 2010

The Twelve Days of Christmas, part I

Call me Andy Bernard, because one of the Christmas gifts I gave to Calli this year was a complete* clay set of the gifts of the twelve days of Christmas.

*Sort of. There ended up being two extra french hens, and one goose a-laying is missing in action. The goose is presumed to be dead at the paws of Dinah.

Because the gift ended up being a large undertaking, I'm going to break this up into a 3 part series of posts.
Before I begin recapping the individual gifts, let's try and settle a debate. In the twelve days of Christmas, does one give a partridge in a pear tree once, or 12 times? I say there are 12 partridges, making the total gifts break down like this:

1 partridge in a pear tree x 12 days = 12 gifts
2 turtledoves x 11 days = 22 turtledoves
3 french hens x 10 days = 30 hens
4 calling birds x 9 days = 36 calling birds
5 golden rings x 8 days = 40 rings
6 geese a-laying x 7 days = 42 geese
7 swans a-swimming x 6 days = 42 swans
8 maids a-milking x 5 days = 40 maids
9 ladies dancing x 4 days = 36 ladies
10 lords a-leaping x 3 days = 3o lords
11 pipers piping x 2 days = 22 pipers
12 drummers drumming x 1 day = 12 drummers

Calli says the gifts are given just once.

She's wrong.

Tonight: Days 1-4

Partridge in a Pear Tree

Basically, I combined a generic tree shape with a small little dab of gray clay to signify the presence of a partridge. You can see one in the top left corner of the photo above, sitting amid nests full of calling birds and a bunch of canoodling turtledoves.

Two Turtledoves

These cute little guys are turtledoves - you can tell because they have beaks!

Three French Hens

Although they aren't wearing berets or talking about baguettes, these hens are most definitely French.

Four Calling Birds

Wikipedia told me that there is some dispute as to whether the fourth day of Christmas highlights calling birds or colly birds, but honestly? They're 1 inch clay figurines. Even if I knew the difference, you probably wouldn't be able to tell. I'm not exactly sculpting at Michelangelo's talent level here.

Stay tuned for days 5-8...

January 19, 2010

Mapping the Beatles

I was directed to a pretty interesting collection of graphic design today. Michael Deal has an assortment of graphs related to the Beatles - their songs by author, their songs' keys, their work schedule, and their self-references. It's an ongoing project, but I highly suggest stopping by.

On a separate note, who has been reading from Novgorod, Russia? Sort of random...

January 18, 2010

Beer and Cheese

The Isthmus is sponsoring a Beer and Cheese Fest at the end of the month. I don't have a lot to say about it other than one year, I hope to have $40 to burn so I can attend without feeling a little anxious about my wallet. However, I was walking to work today and the thought struck me - much like some foods are meant to be eaten together, some words beg to be combined.

Examples are:
tomatoes and basil
marshmallows, chocolate, and graham crackers
glove + mitten = glitten
headband + bandana = headbandana
rockstar + archaeologist = rockstarchaeologist
bacon and ______ (seriously, everything)

Well, I do not think it is a coincidence that beer and cheese taste excellent together, and when combined form cheer (Cheese + Beer).

January 17, 2010

How Cool I Am

This is what I spent a good chunk of October and November doing:

I tried (and failed) to do this puzzle on my own once in high school...and now you all really know how cool I am. I came back to this puzzle. However, this time I had help.

Maybe the title of this post should have been "How Cool We Are."

Of course, this time I also had some opposition. Dinah has this love for sitting on the table - specifically, for sitting on the puzzle pieces on the table. She'll hop up, move around for a bit, and then just flop and sprawl all over the place. After a visit from Dinah there will usually be 5-10 displaced pieces on the ground. She's a terror.

January 16, 2010

Saturday Recap

Saturday was not very successful in terms of wins and losses.

My broomball team went 0-2, being shut out in both games. To add injury to insult, I was checked not into the "boards" but over them by Dan Holmes, and Calli took a soccer ball to her left eye. Everybody involved will be sore tomorrow for sure.

Joe, Kelly, and I went to Buffalo Wild Wings in Monona to watch the Badgers game. They lost by 9 to the Ohio State University...oh how I hate that. If I have children, I think that I will be adamant about them not attending these schools:

Ohio State
Michigan State (or wherever Coach Izzo is blessing fans with his presence)

(That list is not final by any means.)

So the Badgers lost, the Dirty Girl Scouts lost (that was the broomball team name), and the guy sitting next to us lost the BW3 Blazing challenge...

At least the Cubs didn't lose.

January 15, 2010

Upcoming Weekend

I have a three day weekend coming up, and here's a bit of a sneak peek at how I will spend it:

Tonight is a bit uncertain, but tentatively may involve watching Indiana Jones 4 incredulously with Scott, Amanda, et al. (Cracked.com recently ran a piece involving insane fan theories that actually improve films - IJ4 was on it, and yes. It was improved.)

Saturday calls for my first Broomball game of the winter, and I'm probably more excited than is appropriate for it. The only thing left to do before the first face-off? Buy a new broom.

Broomball is not kind to brooms.

Sunday is full of piano, between Albany and Common Swift.

Monday is MLK Jr. day, and therefore shall be spent cooking and reading in pajamas.


January 14, 2010


I enjoy going through the short stories of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle every several years or so - specifically, the Sherlock Holmes volumes. I haven't seen the movie, but I did come across some Holmesian nerdiness a little while ago.

Strange Maps found somebody who has created a floor plan of 221 B Baker Street, and it is pretty detailed (or insane, for you normals out there). Go here and look at it! Actually, check out the rest of Strange Maps, there is some pretty impressive stuff there.

January 13, 2010

Crazy x 700

When I was in high school, my family would watch a lot of Whose Line Is It Anyway?

I would continue watching reruns of the show on ABC Family while I was home during the first two summers after high school. (Yes. I was that cool.)

Anyway, the reason I bring this up is because sometimes while watching WLIIA on ABC Family, I would fall asleep on the couch. When that happened, I'd usually wake up and find myself watching something far different - the 700 Club. This was invariably disconcerting, as Pat Robertson is all sorts of crazy. See what he has to say about yesterday's catastrophic earthquake in Haiti:

So...yeah. Take that, Haitians. Pat Robertson's God is punishing you for, um, overthrowing colonial rule?

January 12, 2010

Worse than the Fighting Meercats

The Fighting Meercats, of course, were the not-so-great (and short-lived) intramural slow-pitch softball team I organized in spring 2006. We lost the opening game of the tournament, largely due to my complete failure to throw strikes.

Despite the demoralizing loss, there are three good things to take from the experience.

1. Fighting Meercats - as a team name, this can not be beat. It was chosen because nobody else on the team suggested anything, and I was forced to write something on the sign-up sheet. I will continue to use the name...Fantasy Football 2010 watch out!

2. We lost, true, but that didn't stop me from shaking up cheap bottles of champagne and popping them afterwards. Always a positive.

3. It appears that we aren't the worst baseball/softball team ever assembled - Wezen-ball looks at Charlie Brown's baseball team and finds decades of heartbreak. (h/t to circling the bases)

I imagine his field goal percentage isn't very good either...

January 11, 2010

Good news/bad news

Sometimes, people come back to places they never should have left. That happened (again) today, as Greg Maddux returns to the Chicago Cubs organization as an assistant to GM Jim Hendry. While I love Maddux and am glad he's back working for the best team in baseball, it sure would have been nice to have him from 1993-2003 as well...stupid Cubs.

In the bad news segment of this post, Jon Leuer broke his left wrist in Saturday's game against Purdue. It's not good news - Leuer has stepped up his game this year, and when he's not in foul trouble (v. Ohio State and Penn State) or breaking his wrist (v. Purdue) is pretty tough to guard. Thankfully, he's only expected to be out 4-6 weeks, and his broken wrist is on the non-shooting hand.

January 10, 2010


I heard some very interesting news this week - very exciting news indeed. Remember the old (and brilliant) game NBA Jam? I have definitely gone into the wee hours of the night with Joe and Chris, futilely attempting to beat every NBA team. Once, Christ lost a key matchup because the clock ran out as his character was 20' in the air catapulting through his dunk animation. Such a disappointing loss...

Well, go and buy a Wii, because soon you'll be able to sink shots from dowwwwwwntowwwwwwwn!

Curious about potential matchups? Nymag.com runs down modern-day dynamic duos, but I'm more excited to see my mii v. Jody's as she puts up a BRICK!

January 9, 2010

Restaurant Week 2010 (Winter Edition)!

It's Restaurant Week time again in Madison! Or, it will be on January 24-29th...
This will be the third winter I participate in the week-long amazingness that is Restaurant Week. The winter version is a favorite of mine because it tends to line up with my birthday. This means that my birthday dinner with the family has been at a restaurant week participant venue for the last two years - Quivey's Grove two years ago and Harvest last year.

This year, I am trying to decide between L'Etoile, Sardine, and El Dorado Grill. (this is your cue, family, to click the links and tell me if you have any preferences!)

I can only hope we don't get this waiter (with a special cameo by Michael Steele!) -

January 8, 2010

A loss

Tuesday night saw a great loss in my life - a loss that has sent me reeling, although I did see it coming. It will be tough to recover from...at least until August. I'm pretty certain I'll get over my grief in August.

RIP right Moccasin

(note: I do not, nor have I ever, named my moccasins)

This right moccasin served me well for about a year and a half - the mortal wound along its right side had developed initially due to wear and tear. Tuesday night,
Lucy (see right, in a more peaceful mood)

was insatiable - only one thing would appease her crazy, animal appetite (Duh duh duh...)

And so, I became Lucy's favorite friend ever. All it took was the sacrifice of half of a pair of heavenly footwear that had done nothing wrong.

I think you can read Lucy's eyes in one of two ways here.

1. I'm sorry for devouring your moccasin, Jeff. Please forgive me.

2. So...where's the left one??

January 7, 2010

The most brilliant mustache of all time

I think even without the above-referenced award-winning facial hair, I'd still be interested in seeing Youth in Revolt. The "mustache" just seals the deal.

I wonder what my alter ego's name would be, since The Hulk II is apparently wildly off the mark :(

January 6, 2010

Badgers v. Spartans, take 1.

In just 3.5 hours, the Wisconsin Badgers are going to play the Michigan State Spartans. In ~5.5 hours, Tom Izzo will limply shake Bo Ryan's hand, avoid any interaction, and then whine to East Lansing sportswriters about either the officiating, his team's shots "not falling," Hughes/Leuer/Bohannon "catching fire," or some combination of the three.

I rely upon Kenpom to satisfy my college basketball jonesing. Pomeroy consistently provides more intelligent analysis than any of ESPN or SI.com's writers, although Luke Winn will regularly cite his statistics. Besides the great analysis, I got sucked into the site with my old roommate Mike Schroeder because it doesn't overlook the Badgers. Tempo-free statistics look past the "boring, glacial Big Ten pace" and illustrate the true talent level of an offense. Tonight, Pomeroy projects the Badgers to win 67-66 (preview) in 63 possessions, with a 55% confidence level. You won't find many people picking the Badgers to win tonight, but I've learned not to doubt Bo.

Apparently, Kalin Lucas thinks the Badgers are a dirty team. Last year, center Goran Suton said similar things - I'm looking forward to their post-game interviews.

Prediction: Badgers 70, Spartans 64 in 66 possessions.

Whale Wars!!

Making its way around the news wire today is a story about a Japanese security ship ramming a Sea Shepherd Conservation Society catamaran. The story is pretty interesting, so you should go read it - here are the things that stood out to me.

1. The SSCS boat looks super-cool. Batman would be jealous: 2. There's a new ocean?...and it has been around for nine years?? I am a terrible geography nerd.

3. I have a renewed desire to watch this show.

4. I want to create and sail that ship around Lake Monona, singing pirate songs and drinking rum.

January 5, 2010

Seasonality Map

I came across a really useful, informative, and easy to use map today. The map tells what foods are in season, letting the user choose what state and month to display. This is something that I've been wanting to find for a while now - I've been going to the farmer's market for a couple of years, but I still don't have a solid grasp of all the produce that's in season in Wisconsin. The map isn't an exhaustive authority on all foods, but it seems to be a great start. After reading The Omnivore's Dilemma a few apartments ago* I got fairly interested in seasonal eating and slow food. Combine that with maps? I'm sold!

Map found at Epicurious.

*Maybe this is just me, but since I've been living in apartments I think I've started keeping time by them as well. I've got multiple calendars in my head now, and it's getting confusing. Calendar year, school year, field seasons, apartment years, baseball season...I need to consolidate my brain.

January 4, 2010

Alter Ego

This past weekend, I experienced the loss of a dear friend. Prior to going to a band concert on Saturday afternoon, I tore the sleeve of a blue (baby blue, if you will) striped shirt that I've probably had since before senior year of high school.
Not a crushing loss by any means, but mildly disappointing. Once I moved past the initial shock, the realization of what had occurred gradually dawned on me. Yes, friends. I, meek and nerdy Jeff Ingebritsen, am the Hulk II. Watch out, Edward Norton.

Just try to imagine the smile as a howl of rage and the arms being gigantic and aggressive rather than dorky and pre-teen. There you have it. Hulk II.

January 3, 2010


It seems that my brain works best when there are several different tasks vying for my attention - in fact, while writing this post I am also watching Bull Durham (the overdubbed lines are fairly ridiculous), reading about the apocalypse, frustrating Calli with the sluggish pace of my writing, and playing one of the assorted games and puzzles that are oh-so-addicting. On a regular day, here are the ways I kill time:


Also, I have completed/won more than anybody's fair share of Minesweeper, Freecell, and Solitaire. Good times.

January 2, 2010


I regret two things today, and have decided to share them with the world to ease my pain.

1: I took too long getting out of bed today to write a more drawn-out post, and will be away from my computer tonight. I can't fail my resolution on January 2nd, so a short one will have to do.

2: My dad didn't stretch me out by letting me hang on clothes hangers when I was a child, then teach me a curveball and show me to Jim Hendry. Seriously, the man is giving money away.

January 3rd update: Apparently blogger decided that it didn't want Jeff to be able to keep his resolution, and completely befuddled me in my attempts to post this yesterday. You'll have to trust me that this was actually written and ready to go yesterday, readers. (Mom)

January 1, 2010

Jeff Ingebritsen: Lounge Pianist

DSC01916 by you.

To close out 2009, I traveled down to Freeport, Illinois to play piano at Cannova's. It's a nice Italian restaurant with a piano in the center of the dining area. I played from 5:45 to 8:45, mainly doing the usual jazz standards but mixing in some Beatles, Billy Joel, and Once music.
Going into the night, I was fairly nervous. I haven't actually done any restaurant-background-ambience type playing before, and the owner of the restaurant is a very talented musician in his own right. However, the night went "wonderfully."*

To see some photos from the evening, go here. If you want to taste some killer lasagna, go to Cannova’s. It was amazing, and I only got Calli’s leftovers. Even so, I had no complaints.

*sources may be less than objective, given that they are my:

On a side note, I may have resolved to have something new on this blog each day of 2010. It’s 10:06 P.M. on January 1st, and here’s the first post of the year. I’m already pushing things - it does not look promising for my resolution...