Monday, March 31, 2008

I So Completely Dig These
First: Beer glasses from Sammy Adams. Not beer goggles. Drinking glasses for beer, that are specifically designed for beer. It may be made to enhance the whole beer drinking experience but it just looks frackin' cool.
And: The Bodum New Kenya Tea Press. I have a teapot but this one looks cool and I like the idea of the press. It's supposed to stop the brewing which I guess it does by pressing the tea below the perforated section of the central cylinder. I wonder how annoying it would be to clean but other than that, me likee.
Poor Choices For Breakfast
As much as I've blogged about food and the general gloriousness of what the world has to offer us to eat, I have to admit to a very poor choice this morning. I haven't had oatmeal in quite a while and figured that I would access the wonderful McCann's steel cut Irish oats. First problem - just how long have I had this can on the shelf? Hmmm. These are no longer the freshest oats I've ever eaten. But not too bad. It was what I chose to flavor them with that really came a cropper. I cut up an Empire apple into the mix as well as a few pieces of sweet ginger (essentially crystallized ginger but without the coating of sugar). And then, because I had a hankerin': a dash of cinnamon.
Oy. Edible but a confused mish-mash of flavor that was neither one nor the other. I think the apple and cinnamon alone might have worked (and I'll be trying that tomorrow am) but if I want ginger flavor in oatmeal, I'm going to stick with the ginger syrup from now on.
If I don't use it up making ginger caramel corn - that's tonight's second try experiment.
And Oh Yeah
I got the polo shirt in the mail today. It's nice and colory: "emerald green." It's tagged to a maker called "Outer Banks" and was hecho in Guatemala. For $14.65, I have a 100% cotton (the only way to go) polo shirt made by some sweatshop laborer in a country far, far away for probably about $2.00 (or 300 bazillion Zimbabwe dollars) and delivered into my waiting hands. Deal. I'll take two. If the coupon code were good for two.
Exploitative? Nah. It's $2.00 that the Guacamoleans wouldn't have had otherwise.
My Next Bumper Sticker
This goes on the bumper just to the right of my Fred Thompson sticker (which I just can't remove yet):

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Weekend Music Embed
You have heard this song. It was used in "ER" when Anthony Andrews character died. It's been used in ads. I think it's been used in several different ads in fact. The singer and ukulele player is the late
Israel Kamakawiwo'ole. A 600 pound Hawai'ian musician of surprising delicacy and grace for his bulk. If this version does not touch something in your soul, you are lacking in feeling. I love this song and have long been saddened that Iz passed before he was recognized for his singular achievement of making a song standard his own. I hope you like it.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Costing It Out
I'm trying to keep records on the Deck Farm™ this time around to see just how expensive my produce is going to be. Of course my cost analysis will be distorted by my building the two new boxes (and not making notes of the purchase of the original EBs). Also, I'm starting over on the potting soil which is not necessarily the cheapest thing to do. The proper thing to do is carve out the soil onto which the fertilizer was laid at the end of the growing season and then add in some more when setting up anew. I'll do that next year.
So what's the freight so far? Plants: $92.45, pond baskets: $8.40, 1" PVC pipe: $5.00, replant kits: $58.50. I still need to buy potting soil, 4" PVC pipe and cheesecloth none of which should be too costly. I'll rerun the numbers when it's all together. And I'm looking forward to next year when the costs will be pared down to plants, maybe one bag of potting soil and, quite frankly, I'm going to try to get just the fertilizer instead of the replant kits.
And I really should amortize the cost of the boxen but ... it's really not worth the effort.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Post Where I Get You In On Dealz!
You like ice cream. You have a birthday. You like free stuff. Why not combine all those facts if you have a Cold Stone Creamery in your local area?
And if you like to poke around for stuff, why not let Dealhack do some of the work for you?
I just used a coupon code from Bargainist to get a polo shirt from for a total of $14.65 including shipping and tax. The code was for 50% off one item and it's here. I don't know how long it's in effect though.
This sort of info comes from my regular perusal of Generally, that site is way too anticapitalist and anti-business for my tastes but it does offer up some tasty nuggets. Enough to make it part of my surfing. And there are some interesting stories about lousy business practices too. Feel free to visit if you wish.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Baby Steppin'
Another small advance toward the creation of home-made ErfBoxen. I have the boxes themselves (18 gallon Sterlite containers from Wally-Mart). I have a 10' stick of 1-inch PVC pipe (more than I need) for the filler tubes. I've ordered the replant kits (fertilizer and covers which I don't really need) from the honest-to-goodness EarthBox people. And today I bought pond baskets (for example) which serve as the holder for the soil where it dips into the water reservoir and thence wicks up. I paid a lot more than the internet price for the baskets but I'm guessing that with shipping I didn't pay a heck of a lot more.
So, what more do I need? Well the potting soil (at least 5 of the 2 cubic foot bags) and about four feet of 4-inch PVC pipe to use as supports for the perforated bottom of the soil section. Oh, and some cheesecloth to spread on that perforated bottom just to keep things clean. As soon as I get the PVC pipe I'll build the things. I do want to be ready when the plants arrive.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Anyway, I Was Thinking About Koalas
They eat eucalyptus.
Their breath must just be magic.
Though This Is Not A Photoblog
I feel compelled to put up a link to "The Ten Tastiest Food Photography Tips." This is, sorta kinda, a food blog and one of these days I need to start snapping pix of the kitchen efforting. It's almost easier than adding a bookmark. Well, that's not true. But I do get to share.
Because I care.
Seriously, there's some good info these. Take a peek.
Food, Stuff
Item The First: Peeps. Did everyone get their peeps this weekend? I don't do Easter candy much but I always eat one package of mushmellow peeps. This year it was a single row of pink chicks. One of the most wonderfully revolting things the world has to offer. And now I have another year to go before having any more.

Item The Second: Ginger Caramel Corn. First attempt was on Sunday. I've never made caramel corn before and was surprised at how easy it was. But the ginger syrup (previously pictured on PoW) in lieu of the light corn syrup did not carry enough of the ginger with it. My next attempt will be to increase the amount of ginger syrup and reduce the amount of brown sugar. If that is insufficiently gingerific, I will chop candied ginger into the mix. I don't think I can do much more than that.

Item The Last: Cauliflower Parmesan Flans. When I use the plural, it's because they were made in ramekins. Not a bad dish. But my first attempt was not great - I eschewed the cayenne pepper which made them blander than they should have been. And the florets I cooked and pureed were too wet so the cooking time was longer than it should have been. I'll post the recipe when I've made it to my satisfaction.

Monday, March 24, 2008

What trait does our Lord and Savior Jesus the Christ share with Pillsbury Doughboy?
He is risen.
(Highlight line above for answer.)

Saturday, March 22, 2008

In lieu of the usually more ... nuanced posts I put up about food, this one is just plain ... plain. Something I love, I mean eat-my-own-weight-in (and that sayin' something!) love is spinach fettuccine (often sold in those "fresh pasta" 8 oz flats) with a hunk of butter melted into the hot noodles and then splashed with soy sauce. I am so jonesing for that right now. That and a diet cream soda. Not that the two go together but I like cream soda too.
Weekend Music Embed
Again I reach back into the mixed bag of my time in Japan. The song is "Ruby no Yubiwa" ("Ruby Ring") performed by Akira Terao. Back in the early '80s he was considerable less gray and less grizzled. This is a fairly jazzed up version but it maintains the essential character of the song I enjoyed so much all those years ago. Somewhere I have a translation of the lyrics but the likelihood of my laying hands on it soon is quite low. Yet when I do (and ultimately all things are transparent before God), I'll post them and link back to this post. Fair enough? OK then. I hope you like it:

Friday, March 21, 2008

Heard On The Radio
"The markets will be closed for Good Friday." Which sounded a lot like "The markets will be closed for good Friday." Ooh. Better buy now!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

OK, I May Have To Try
Drunken Figs. Drunken Figs! Click the link. If that doesn't make your mouth water, you were born without salivary glands. Yet at $5 per in a 10 batch, a bit difficult to buy into. I'm wondering of I could get close to this in the home kitchen. ...pondering... I'd need a source of fresh figs. Not always easy to come by. Figs are remarkable little beasts when fresh and bursting with ripe flavor. I may have to work on this one. I'll blog it when I do.
(Hat Tip: Peeve Farm. There is much interesting food blogging going on at Brian's Place. Drop by. Read and drool.)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Trouble, Trouble, Trouble
My friend the Guitar Nazi is currently in hospital though he's insisting on release on the morrow. His health has been precarious for a while now yet the hospital event turns out to be a mixed bag of blessing and curse. First, he fell in his home and did damage to his chronically bad knees (both sprained I believe) and hyperextended joints in his ankles. Both ankles. Yet this resulted in his being diagnosed with Type II diabetes. Which is indeed a rather massive steaming heap in the "sucks" category. Yet it is to his benefit that the diagnosis has now been made. It's entirely possible that some of the worst of what he's been through may now be ameliorated through proper diet and insulin when needed.
In posting about this I want to make some comment on the vicissitudes of growing older but I keep returning to the old saw: it's an ill wind that blows no one any good. As much as I give in to my own ill health, I am given chances to see that changes can be made for the better. It's possible, even at my advanced age to repair some of the damage I've done over these many years. I will attempt to take the lesson that when we are given hints, it's best to take them.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Arthur C. Clarke - Immortal
With the passing of Arthur C. Clarke, the world has lost a giant of letters. His body of work from conceiving of communications satellites to writing a novel that was turned into a movie that has become a touchstone of modern culture is an achievement that I doubt will be duplicated and certainly not exceeded. Which is not to say that everything he has written is a masterpiece (I'm not a fan of the Rama books - moreso the ones that he co-authored with Gentry Lee) but he was a superb writer and a thinker. Science fiction needs men like him. The world needs men like him even more. It's a sad day.

Monday, March 17, 2008

P(h)il(ly)grim's Progess
Sic Transit Gloria Mundi. The Philly Boys are no longer the Philly Boys. Actually haven't been for a while. They're Arizonans now. The explanation for that will be forthcoming one of these days. Soon. But todays is the travelogue. We start with a stop out of Philly and beyond the brief sojourn at Chez BlogDog. Pink bikini. I'm just sayin'.

Then a stop for the food, the atmosphere that is Norlins. Click the image for a postcard version of a recipe for red beans and rice. Yum. Someday I, too, will go to New Orleans and eat my fill of beignets, gumbo, red beans and rice, coffee with chickory and a good seafood boil.
But the trip goes (went) on! Westward ho! Wagons away!

San Antone. While I'm pretty much a homebody, I'd love to visit Texas. See the Alamo. Sample the music scene of Austin. There must be other things to do but I'm just spitballing here. Austin. Sounds a lot like "autism" doesn't it?

And, as the hobbit said, the road goes ever on. All the way to:
Woo hoo! A new home in the Wild West. To be specific, the Philly Boys are now the Yuma Men. One day, one cold, cold day, I'll go out to visit with them.

And one more thing, since this was a first trip, one of the Yuma Men had another trip to the Great White North. Got to cool off after that dry (ahem!) heat.

Happy St. Patrick's Day To Ye!
When being green doesn't force you into enviro-contortions or alien pretensions. Have Guiness, or a Harp. Maybe a sip o Bushmills or any of the waters of life. Slainte!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

I May Have To Call This The Weekend Embed
I keep getting ahead of myself by a day or so. Submitted, early, for your delectation is The Fratellis brilliant "Flathead." It's another Apple-related song but I expect you to overlook that. This is one of the songs I bought from the iTunes Music Store and it is now the most played song in my iTunes library (by a mere two plays). I love (I mean love, love, love) that "ba da da ba da da" chorus. I totally dig the white Telecaster. And a trio of busty, burlesque-y babes just doesn't hurt. Lemme see - sex, rock 'n' roll. We're only missing drugs from the trifecta. No great loss. Enjoy.

Friday, March 14, 2008

A Couple Of Dumpling Links
Via Amazon's "Al Dente" blog I pass along, first, an LA Times article on "Asian Dumplings" with a sidebar of links to such delights as a dumpling skin throw-down and several different varieties of filling. And the other is an article from on Nepalese "momo" dumplings.
Very intriguing. I'm going to have to explore these in depth in the next few weeks.
A Must Buy?
I've just dropped a few bucks over at Amazon on the complete set of DVDs of "Arrested Development." It's a tragedy that this series which is one of the cleverest, funniest, ribald and just laugh-out-loud shows ever on TV was limited to three seasons. And the ribaldry is so brilliantly done that it's all implication. You could play this with kids in the room. If they're not old enough to get the joke, they just won't see what's funny. And Amazon has it on sale for a mere $46.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Further Comment Would Be Superfluous
Billy Beck says everything I would say about Eliot Spitzer. Let the scum continue to be skimmed from the pond of the body politic.
The Canadian dollar coin is called a "looney" (linkage for image) since it has a loon on it. I saw (somewhere) recently that the Candain two dollar coin is called a "twoney." Though that spelling maybe wrong. That's kind of cute but I think it would be much cooler if the two dollar coin were called the "dubloon." Enh? Enh?
Too clever by half? Too precious? Better? You tell me.

Monday, March 10, 2008

I get the monthly newsletter-ish device from the homeowners association of my neighborhood. It has, unsurprisingly, a "classified ads" section. I'd like to reproduce one of the entries in its entirely less the phone number (and I stress entirety apart from that exception):
1 each of the following: 10 (navy blue), 12 (black), 18/20 (black), mens small (black), mens medium (black), mens size 38 (black bibs). All in excellent condition $15 each.
You tell me.
A Bit Sad
The decision has been taken for Atlantic Cycling (no link for reason to become clear momentarily) to cancel its riding season and, for all intents and purposes, disband. It takes a lot of work to put on a ride the way we did. I think our ride support stops were second to none in variety and quality of fruit, snacks and drinks. But it takes a toll and this year we sought to bring more people in to the committee from the ridership but got very little to no response. We were all burnt out and tired. So I'm sad AC will no longer on the scene but i will have a huge bundle of great memories about a fine group of people and a great bunch of riders. And some T shirts and a water bottle and a cap and a some riding togs. Swag is always a nice way to remember.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Final "Best Of" Music Embed
This one, the only music video I bought (from the iTunes Music Store when I first got a viddy-capable iPod) is the immortal "Weapon of Choice" by Fatboy Slim, featuring the great Christopher Walken. But you already knew that.
What more needs be said about it? ... That's right. Nothing.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

The Lowest Form Of Humor
A high-rise condo was recently built in Miami Beach. The real estate agents decided it would be a good strategy to cater for a Jewish clientele. Which turned out to be a good business decision and soon the entire building was leased and sold to elderly Jewish retirees who, not surprisingly, spent a majority of their time complaining about the world and, well, everything.
Needless to say, the place became known as the Oy!-full Tower. (highlight "missing" text to read it)

Deck Farm™ 2008
And so it begins ... again. My order to the fine purveyors of plants at Burpee is in today's mail. The plants should not arrive until April but I have to get started or ... I'll never get started. I'm adding a couple of home-made faux ErfBoxes to the store-bought real things this year so I can expand my purchases. All the plants are sold in sets of three, just so's ya know.

We start with the hot peppers: Zavory (a mild heat habanero!), Hot Lemon (nice and bite-y little yellow peppers that worked well last year) and Biker Billy Hybrid Jalapenos (great jaloppys that I grew last year).
Then the bell peppers: Golden Giant Hybrid and Red Delicious Hybrid (I'm intrigued by the description of an "apple" taste).
And, of course, since I want to take pictures of horn worms, the tomatoes: Supersteak Hybrid and Health Kick Hybrid.

I won't go into agonizing detail on these because you can click the links and know as much as I do about each. I invite you to do so if you're thus inclined. I will blog the development and I'll try to take more pictures of the progress than I have in the past. I'm hoping to have a good tomato season this year and I'm thinking that I may be returning to the pepper jelly in the fall. People seemed to like it. And if the bell peppers work out, I can use all of my own peppers in the recipe!
Next year, I assay the brutal 1,000,000 Scoville unit, hottest pepper ever - the Bhut Jolokia!
In my channel surfing last night I watched a portion of a re-run of CBS's "Criminal Minds," at least in part because the episode was old enough to feature Mandy Patinkin. I find his work consistently interesting from
Inigo Montoya in "The Princess Bride" to the lead reaper on "Dead Like Me." So, despite the re-run tag on the episode, I watched some of it. When the episode ended I was struck with a major whiskey tango foxtrot moment.
The story of the show was a sexual predator on a college campus who turned out to be a kampus kop. A murder
copycat to his modus operandi got him out from under the charges after he was caught (I may have missed something in that - channel surfing after all). It turns out that the copycat was a sad Goth chickie whose desire was for the killer to kill her since she couldn't bring herself to do the deed. Which is all fine in fiction and the world of the teleplay. So what goes hugely wrong? As the show is reaching its climax, the FBI types are watching the sad Goth chickie and the bad guy on security cam and from a distant, hidden eyeball-vantage point. She admits to killing "for him" but the bad guy won't kill Gothie baby (he knows he's on camera). So she knifes him in the gut. At which point the FBI eyeballers start running toward her. She then finds the nerve to stick the knife in her own gut (as the FBI stands there, pointing guns [?] and telling her to "drop the knife"). Finally, maybe 30 or 45 seconds after the kampus kop gets the shiv, only after Gothie stabs herself, the FBI types watching on the security cam shout "Call an ambulance!"
OK, maybe we don't like the bad guy but doesn't someone call an ambulance the moment the knife goes in his gut? I'm sorry but that's just stupid scriptwriting.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Morning Linky Lagniappe
The beatboxing basset.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Oh Wow Man
When did the hippies start designing frogs? Trippy. Maybe God gave one to Jerry Garcia for all the good music.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Sunday Music Non-Embed
The video is Johnny Cash's immortal version of Trent Reznor's "Hurt." I don't know how old Mr. Cash was when he did this video but it is the most remarkable expression of human pain I can recall seeing in almost any video format. Surely some movies have done it. But here we have an artist take another's words and music and turn it into indelible images of his entire life come crashing on the shores of mortality. "What have I become/ my sweetest friend/ everyone I know/ goes away/ in the end"
You can actually see his pain at missing his beloved June. You can see a man who, while having nothing more inside, a man ready for nothing but Jesus, makes one of the purest expressions of art in music video history.
This video tears my heart out. It is beautiful. I hope you find it as moving and incredible as I do.
And I apologize for the lack of embedding but the embedding is disabled on this one.
UPDATE: Another one has the embed code. I'll try it.