Archive for the 'Foodage' Category

Sunday, April 7th, 2013

NaBloPoMo Day 7:

Winter is coming to an end, and before too long it’ll be too hot to use the stove — in fact, there will be a time in August when even the thought of hot food won’t be appetizing. We won’t want to do anything but sit on the couch and suck on frozen dinners.

But I digress: My wife took advantage of our semi-cool weather today to roast two big trays of fresh vegetables:

And that picture brings up an interesting point: I do most of my blogging on Facebook now, and I notice that I can link to something really interesting, or carefully craft a very clever paragraph, and my FB followers will totally ignore it — but I publish a picture of a particularly eye-pleasing lunch or dinner, and my likes and comments will explode.

I’m beginning to think I missed the boat: I should look into being a food blogger …

Tea for Two … or Not

Sunday, July 20th, 2008

It is my solemn duty to announce the death of our long time friend, our iced-tea maker. It was a Salton 2-quart model, cost around $20 back then, and it has served us well since at least 1996.

Now, however, the brew button won’t push in, so we have to break down and get a new one — which, it turns out, is not easy. WalMart only had ONE model, a flimsy Mr. Coffee job that if infamous for its easily breakable/warpable pitcher. Linens & Things had NO models — they said they were sold out, and Bed Bath & Beyond had only a bigger version of the Mister Coffee model, with a poorly designed pitcher: The filter basket was build in to the pitcher lid, so the pitcher had to be 50 percent taller than the amount of tea it would hold! Target was little better, having only a weird, expensive but off-brand model in addition to the too-big Mr. Coffee model.

There is a Hamilton Beach model that looks really good and which has gotten good reviews on Amazon, but none of the stores carry it.

And of course, the Salton machine like we have, and which worked well above and beyond the call of duty, isn’t being made any more.

What the hell is wrong with American manufacturing and retail these days? I guess this is why the economy is down the tubes.

Oh sure, all those stores had dozens types of coffee makers, many with bizarre and frivolous (and expensive) options, but iced tea drinkers barely get noticed.

That’s another thing my wife and I have in common, fortunately, that we don’t drink coffee, and consume lots of iced tea — this is a hot locale we’re in, after all, so cold tea does make sense.

So why the almost total lack of choices when it comes to iced tea makers??

Somebody’s missing a big opportunity here.

On Weight Loss, Tornadoes & TV

Saturday, April 5th, 2008

Okay, so it’s not March any more, but, rebel that I am, I’m trotting out the shamrock icon one more time for this miscellaneous stuff:

I wanted to post this while the posting’s still good: As of last Sunday, I’m below 190 pounds (189.8, to be exact) for the first time since the months following my surgery two years ago. At any rate, my size 36 khakis are fitting nicely, and maybe even a bit loose. That means I’ve now got about 12 pairs of khakis that fit, and three really loose ones.

The amazing thing is I’m losing weight while unemployed — that is, while having too much time on my hands, time that could be used sit around and stuff my face. I’m also surprised since the past four months were not only the coldest of the year (when it’s toughest to get outside) but also the most fattening.

But I’m managing to keep to my walks almost every day, since we’ve had lots of warm days lately, and I’ve been keeping my daytime meals small, so that seems to have done the trick.

The only problem is that my wife reminded me that she doesn’t like skinny men, so I’d better not overdo it.

So I had some ice cream and she feels better about it now.

Yesterday morning we discovered that the TV in the computer room was totally dead (probably a dead power supply).

And what’s a computer room with a TV? NOTHING, that’s what! A BIG FAT GOOSE-EGG-LIKE ZILCH!

So anyway, I went out to check prices on TV. But since there were storm clouds rolling in, we checked the local news stations for the weather. The local CBS weather guy said, “We’ve got a few little clouds up in Denton county”, that’s where we live, “but what we’re really concerned with is down here in Burleson” (60 miles to the southwest) “where this situation could easily spawn tornadoes”.

So I went on to WalMart, and as soon as I was back in the TV department, my wife called on my cell phone and told me that the tornado sirens were sounding. “You don’t hear them?” she asked. “I hear about 40 TVs, and piped-in music. I’m toward the back of the store!” Nobody else in the store was panicking, so I wasn’t going to perform solo. I just figured stick close to the sturdy looking shelving, and the second anything hit the building, I’d have an edge on ducking under it.

As soon as she heard the sirens, she grabbed her purse and the phone and a flashlight, and herded Bristol and Molly into the bathroom, then called me to see if I had pulled a Dorothy yet.

Anyway, nothing happened, but I learned I can’t trust the local weather wizards to know what’s going on.

Anyway, enough about life and death matters, back to what’s really important: Replacing the TV in our computer room. I found a passable small Samsung at WalMart, but we wanted to check at our local resale store before spending the big bucks.

Long story short: I found a fairly recent model 20″ Panasonic for $9.99.

It’s a combo TV/VCR and the VCR part doesn’t work, and they didn’t have the remote …. but hey, NINE NINETY-NINE!

It actually took some work to get working — and in this case the tech support guru was my wife, who sacrificed a fingernail to freeing the VHS tape (Star Trek, The Original Series) that was stuck in it, and then stopping the tape ejector mechanism from making a constant clattering sound — and more work to get it programmed — again, it was my wife that found the solution on the internet, and without losing a fingernail this time — so there was indeed some “sweat equity” involved …


We got an $8 remote at Dollar General — again, my wife’s doing (this could give a geek a complex) — and now we’re back up and running, entertainment-in-the-computer-room-wise, so we’re happy.

Yes, we’re partying like it’s $9.99.

I was supposed to bring this up on Monday, but better late than never: Go to Renny’s site to see how they celebrate April Fool’s Day in Norway.

Quick Catching Up

Monday, March 3rd, 2008

Let’s see if we can make this quick:

It’s snowing! And it’s the first and probably the last time this winter, but it snowed quite a bit, already 3 inches accumulation on our cars at 9:00. This is on top of the fact that it was 80F here on Saturday, and pretty warm yesterday too.

And yes, I probably should have posted this a couple of days ago … but I did actually finish the RPM Challenge! And since I actually finished, on time, and my finished album isn’t a total humiliation, I’ll gladly give credit (as opposed to blame) to Yay Kim, who told me about the challenge and encouraged me to enter.

Of course, I also need to thank my wife, who told me I really needed to do the challenge, and was patient through all the time I spent doing music. She understands creative urges like that.

Anyway, I’ll give you a link soon to listen to my stuff, but until then, listen to somebody else’s stuff, namely that of Another Cultural Landslide (ACL), one of my favorite artists from the challenge, in an instrumental track cryptically entitled Fred and Ethel Go Bowling.

So why hadn’t I posted until now? Because I was at the Irish Festival yesterday, duh, and that brings me to a shout-out that I promised Emily from Luton, England. Emily works in one of the clothing shops during the festival. I bought a shirt from her last year, and we talked about the TV show that she & my wife like (“Keeping Up Appearances”), so this year I decided to snap a picture and make her a part of my festival commemorations.

You can see more of my festival pictures (just the first 100 that I’ve uploaded so far) by clicking here. (That picture yesterday was one of them, the most amazingly healthy bit of festival food I’ve ever heard of, a fruit salad served in a hollowed-out half-pineapple! And it was great!)

More pictures forthcoming.

And speaking of this month’s Irish celebrations, our Flickr friend Miss Sarie rode in the Saint Patrick’s Parade and fun dog show in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia (they have it early to beat the rush, apparently). The first year she went, she won the coveted “Best Irish Costume”, and this year she got her picture in the paper. Click on the picture to see more!

And now for something completely different: One of the commercials in the Snickers “Feast” series.

I didn’t really care for them at first, since the whole concept seemed kind of pointless, but for some odd reason I get a kick out of this one that they’re showing these days:

You can just never tell what’s going to make me laugh …

It’s a long story …

Sunday, March 2nd, 2008

… but until I get a chance to do a real post, this should hold you over …

Sunday night, quickly …

Sunday, January 27th, 2008

Okay, I haven’t posted all weekend, I’ve been cooking. A LOT. Like blackened chicken tonight, and chili last night. I also started brownies tonight (no, not that kind of brownies, grow up), but my wife, who doesn’t even eat sugary things any more, supermanded my kitchen authority and insisted on cooking them herself, since, she argued, that it needed to be done right.

And who am I to argue?

At least I got brownies out of the deal.

I’ve also been listening to more of last year’s entries at the RPM Challenge; I’m particularly intrigued by a band called Bee Sting Proof Suit. Their recordings are very rough, but also very suited to late nights with the headphones on. They’re sort of like Sigur Ros, but less glacial.

Speaking of Sigur Ros, our Newcastle pal ILuvNUFC has rounded up some excellent S.R. music videos, so go check ’em out.

He also found some excellent games, one of which I hereby challenge The Spook to, he being trained in drafting/mechanical drawing from way back: Dupligon, a game where you’re shown a geometric figure, then have to draw it from memory.

But my original point here tonight, from which I have sorely digressed, is that I’ve been busy this weekend micro-crafting my resume for a job that sounds really cool, for a change: Working in a small office – a NON-CORPORATE environment! — sysopping the LAN and webmastering the website. I want it so bad I can taste it.

But then we shall just see, shan’t we?


We shan.

Winter, Music, Music, Politics

Tuesday, January 8th, 2008

Yes, my 5th Blogiversary bullet point is working well, so let’s continue pounding it into the ground with this miscellaneous stuff:

Well, Winter’s back, or what passes for Winter in Texas. It had been around 80F for the past three days, but now the temperatures are more seasonal. While it was nice to putter around in the garage — We actually cleared out a couple of paths! We took some old junk to the charity resale shop! — it’s nice for the night air to have a nice little bite to it again, since for most of the year it’s way too warm here. Let’s enjoy the cold while we can.

The Wife did her part by making her special tortilla soup recipte tonight.

Speaking of winter: Even though it was warm, I started geting a hankering for my “Classis Rock Winter Mix” CD, that I’ve been rocking since the Winter of 88-89. The exact song lineup has changed slightly over the years — due in part to what I’ve got available on MP3, as opposed to what I had available then on vinyl — but there are a few unwavering pillars, like Led Zeppelin’s “California” and “Battle of Evermore”, Leo Kottke’s “Bean Time”, Melanie’s “Ring the Living Bell”, ELP’s “From the Beginning”, Steve Miller’s “The Window” and “Wild Mountain Honey”, and of course “Bare Trees” by near-original-lineup Fleetwood Mac.

I hadn’t listened to it as much the past couple of winters, but for the most part the mix has been a huge factor in helping me recover from the post-holiday blahs of the past 19 years.

The problem this year was that over half the songs in the directory where I keep these MP3’s had fallen victim to the Great MP3 Drive Corruption of 2006, and I couldn’t find any of the CD copies of the mix.

Except this weekend I found it in the above-mentioned garage, so everything’s cool now.

Speaking of cool music: I’ve been listening to some older CD’s lately, like “Star” by Belly. You might (or not) remember their (very) minor 1992 (or so) hit, “Feed the Tree”: Here they are performing it on Letterman:

Hey, remember when bands used to do “music videos”? Good times! Anyway, here’s theirs for this:

The whole album is really good, especially for late nights: It’s jangly flow-of-consciousness quirky chick rock, the perfect soundtrack to after-midnight blogging with the headphones on.

And for something totally different: Today was the day of the New Hampshire primaries. And going back to something I said last week, a lesser man myself might say that this was the day that a bunch of sap-witted lobster-jockeys get to dictate which candidates the rest of the country doesn’t get to vote for when our turn rolls around.

But I certainly wouldn’t say it, in part because I happen to like who the lobster-jockeys chose to put in first place, at least on the Republican side.

On the Democrat side: Ever wonder why the Democrats have had such a hard time holding on to the Oval Office in the past 40 years? Maybe it’s because they’re horrible judges of the American public — specifically, in this case they haven’t realized that the only one of their current candidates who could beat the Republicans — pretty much ANY Republicans — in the general election is John Edwards.

Seriously. Nominate anybody else, and they’ve got a tsetse fly’s snowball in Hitler Hell chance.

The only other person who could win is Clinton — BILL Clinton, that is, and there’s that pesky matter of presidential term limits, so Edwards is it.

Need more proof that the Dems are clueless?

I used to think, without knowing much about his policy’s, that Bill Richardson might not be too bad, for a Democrat.

Then he goes and gets Martin Sheen’s endorsement.

And now I have to be embarassed that I could even think that he’s a passable candidate.

Plus, Richardson is mired even more hopelessly in the single digits.

It’s just like four years ago when Howard Dean was just so freaking proud to have Michael Moore’s endorsement …

… an endorsement which just happened to immediately precede the candidate’s massive flameout.

Gee, I wonder why that was.

My 5th Blogiversary, Part 2

Monday, December 31st, 2007

Continuing now with my Five-Year Blogiversary commemorations, here’s more yammering about personal things that nobody cares about, just like bloggers used to do it during The Golden Age:

I have several long-sleeve dark t-shirts that are among my favorite things to wear in the winter, because they’re comfortable, they’re relatively warm, most of them have pockets, and even I look better in dark colors.

The reason I bring this up is that, as of last night, I have one fewer of those shirts.

Well, I still have the shirt, but two places on the collar — right in the front, very prominent — have big chunks torn out of them.

Yes, Bristol Destructodog has struck again. We keep thinking that he’s over that phase, then we turn around and find something of ours with huge chunks forcibly removed by tiny but powerful little jaws.

Here’s a picture of some of his early work, along with a picture of the artist (inset):

You can click here to view a gallery of more of his destruction.

Speaking of pictures … But first, here’s a bit about one of my favorite films, Koyaanisqatsi. Throughout the movie, Hopi Indian prophecies are sung in their native language, and those songs are translated at the end. One of the prophecies is:

“Near the Day of Purification, cobwebs will be spun back and forth across the sky.”

Well, here’s a picture that I took on Christmas morning:

Click on the picture to see the large view, and click here to see all the pictures I took.

Pretty strange, huh?

“Day of Purification”, remember those words.

I made stuffed mushrooms tonight, for the first time in at least three years, and they were wonderful, probably my best ever.

No pictures, though, sorry.

We watched another movie today: Open Season (the one about the domesticated grizzly and the one-antlered elk [Martin Lawrence, Ashton Kutcher] trying to get back to civilization on the first day of hunting season. It wasn’t bad, but it’s no Pixar work. It seemed very derivative, and of second-tier works like Shrek and Madagascar.

I’ll bet you’re wondering what music I’m listening to right now on my Logitech USB headphones as I labor over this mess.

Well, since you ask, little Miss Nosey-Nose, I’m listening to Luscious Jackson‘s Fever In Fever Out.

‘Cause you know how I feel about Chicks with Guitars.

Here’s a video of their biggest hit, Naked Eye:

Well, that should be enough pointless Blogiversary blogging just to prove that I’ve still “got it”.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a New Year’s date.

Photographic Interlude

Wednesday, November 28th, 2007

Oil can!  Oil can!

These isn’t a rusty robot graveyard, it’s the decoration above Cristina’s Restaurant in Frisco, where we went for our anniversary a couple of weeks ago. (For some reasons, those Mexican chain restaurants, all seem to be really big on rusty decorations.)

Anyway, I came across this photo this morning, and figured I’d post it; click here for the full size.

And while we’re at it, here’s a shot I took of the chips:

They too look good at high resolution.

Gobble Gobble!

Thursday, November 22nd, 2007

Our Thanksgiving turkey this year was free, courtesy of the fine folks at Kroger supermarkets for their “Plus Card” customers. I was able to pick out a big one — 24 pounds! — by going early on a weekday, more than a week before Thanksgiving.

And it’s a good thing I got it early, because it took that monster almost that whole time to thaw in the refrigerator. Seriously, we weren’t sure it wouldn’t still be frozen by Wednesday night, since also because of the size, we started cooking it the night before.

Ah, good old American excess: What could be more perfect for the first American holiday!

And speaking of which, my wife made an excessively good pie:

It wasn’t even as unhealthy as you might think: The chocolate pudding filling was fat-free and sugar-free, and the Cool Whip on top was sugar-free. Of course, the Oreo crust was just regular Oreo, and there where Hershey’s Symphony bars broken up into the pie, so we didn’t go completely health-nut.

Anyway, it was great pie, and we both had two pieces.

Plus there was all that other good Thanksgiving stuff, like dressing, mashed potatoes, turkey gravy, green beans, and whole-cranberry sauce, but I didn’t get pictures of all that, because we were hungry and more concerned with eating that documenting, and besides, except for the green beans and cranberries, that kind of holiday side dish is all beige and tan, and not that photogenic with a point-and-shoot.

The above photos are the good stuff, so I’m satisfied with that.

Anyway, we hope your Thanksgiving (or whatever you celebrate in your country) was as tasty.