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19th July 2011

2:53am: And for the Hobbit fans, the full cast of dwarves.

I'm a little disappointed in the lack of fullness in the beards of so many, especially Thorin. However, it is still a great looking bunch. I foresee lots of fighting and fun ahead.

(Poke the monkey with a stick)

18th July 2011

7:55pm: So, music festival was fine. Blues were ok, later music was better, but not so Bluesy.
Crowd was friendly, small, older. Beer was tasty, cheap. I had Black Butte Porter, which is high on my list of alternatives when Guinness isn't available.

Had some BBQ pork, ribs, beans and coleslaw. Mmm.

It was hot. Didn't feel too bad in the shade at the park. (I'd walked down, anticipating beer.)
However, when I left, I was fine until I left the shade. It was maybe a minute in that sun and I found a tree, called the hotel shuttle to come get me. Found out later it was 100 degrees out there. Couldn't tell in the shade except the bottle of cold water I bought was more than lukewarm before I finished it.

At least the soup was done.

Remember me talking baout how there'll be music next weekend, and I'll be leaving?
There's like, FOUR major music events on Saturday, including a free music fest in the park behind the hotel. Last year they had 70,000 people attend. The stage has been moved to almost right behind the hotel. This year has lots of headliners, including Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. In other events; Katy Perry (so what?) Steve Martin playing banjo!, and another bunch of people I've never heard of. All on Saturday.

Guess what day I'm planning on flying out of here? Hehehehe. It's almost tempting to use points and stay a night to see the concert, but I'd really rather be home.

(2 Puncture wounds | Poke the monkey with a stick)

17th July 2011

10:38am: As mentioned last night, today is soup day.
I'm making potato soup or as I called it in the memo for the potuck, Willamette Chowder.

I'm making about half again as much as normal, and I have a bag of fresh basil to chop up and throw in. Mmm.

Too bad I can't eat this stuff anymore. :(

Later today there is apparently a blues festival at the park. Not the one next door, of course- No, I get to walk about a mile or so. Still, good music and shade. Plus I have three cans of food I can donate, so I get to do that.

I thought briefly about taking the soup to the park, and offering it up for free, with a donations can, and turning the whole mess over to the food bank. The potluck people would just shit.
But there's the whole 'coordinating with the festival, finding a place to set up, keep it hot, serving bowls and utensils, health inspectors' business to deal with, so no. Not happening today.

(Poke the monkey with a stick)

16th July 2011

10:22pm: It always seems to be the weekend when I post. I don't know why I bother, since almost everybody seems to have lives and don't check their LJ until Monday, but that's how it works out.

It's not like I don't have things going on as well though. Tomorrow is potato soup day, so I'll be making that all day for a potluck at work on Weds. (The lucky bastiches. They probably won't even appreciate it.)

And I'll have laundry to do, and things. It looks like I'll be going home soon. There's a festival in the park (a couple, actually) next weekend, so, if my luck holds true, I'll be leaving for home that Saturday morning. :) Otherwise, I'll go home the weekend after.

3 weeks at home. All I really want is to spend some time with ms_issicran before heading out again. (The problem is, the more time I take off, the farther away retirement is. And it's not like I get to live my life in the meantime. Yes, I'm getting tired of the job.)

I know that when I go out again, I'm going to regret not getting more things accomplished while I was home, but it's become the standard routine now. Go home, do just enough to keep the place from falling apart while I'm gone, then go out for another 2-3 months. It's impossible to get relaxed anough to start or finish any projects, or read any books, or do any of the things one might want to do at home.

There are times I think just living without a home would be the best thing. Sell all the belongings, work all the time, live in hotel rooms, and when I'm not working, live in a room with ms_issicran while SHE works. But I know how rotten hotel room living actually is, and it doesn't matter how nice the room is, whether or not you have a kitchen- you don't have your stuff. You don't have your own cookware, or your books, or your tools or toys or anything. Because all that has to be packed into bags to be carried on planes. As nice as it might be to be untethered by Stuff, it's what makes places Home. So, soon I get to go home to visit my stuff. (Having ms_issicran there is just a really nice bonus.)

(3 Puncture wounds | Poke the monkey with a stick)

14th July 2011

9:01pm: Also, first peeks at Oin, Gloin, Dori, Nori and Ori, and Fili and Kili.

More to come as they are released, I'm sure.

Surprisingly, I'm ok with most of the representations. Oin and Gloin especially. I mean, Gloin definitely has a familial resemblance to his son. On the other hand, I think Nori (I'm guessing it's him, anyway,) bears a striking resemblance to that guy from the MC Hammer concerts, with the triangular hairstyle goin on. (Tried to find a picture, but no luck. Google has failed me.) Hard to take that very seriously. Fili and Kili look like they might have a little woodland critter in their blood.
I am liking the wide variety of weapons- Including a bow and arrows! Not the most appropriate choice, but the rest work very well.

Overall though, I think they fit their names, and my mental imagery pretty well. Can't wait for the rest.

(Poke the monkey with a stick)

8:00pm: Girls with Slingshots. D'aww. Warm fuzzies.

Jamie and Erin are the best.

(Poke the monkey with a stick)

5th July 2011

6:35pm: Also...Whatever is Nancy Grace going to do NOW??? \O/
The Caylee Anthony story is the only story she's told for the last THREE FUCKING YEARS!
I mean, every time I turn the TV on, HLN has more on this story. The whole station is going to have to go away!

Even OJ didn't get this much airtime.

Just wait. Some Grace-head is going to ambush and kill Casey (Is that her name?) because they think she deserves to die and Grace will have another couple years of stories to tell.

I think it's funny that the name of the station is HeadLine News and they only have one story.

(5 Puncture wounds | Poke the monkey with a stick)

6:24pm: So, I didn't actually make it to the park. I sat outside the hotel and watched the fireworks.
And, of course, even though it was Tuesday today, it had to be Monday for me. My laptop hard disk at work crashed this morning, first thing. Naturally I didn't have my work backed up, so about half of a month's worth of work is gone. (Yes, yes, I know better. You don't need to tell me.)

Now my back aches, I had a headache most of the day, and I'm just hoping tomorrow goes better than today.

On the plus side- I have a kitchen in my hotel room! W00t! I made a decent dinner for me.

(1 Puncture wound | Poke the monkey with a stick)

4th July 2011

9:34am: It's a day for walkin in the park, I think.
Chalk art, nice weather, music tonight starting at 5ish, and fireworky stuff at 10:15.

But first, a nap. Wait, what? Screw that! I wanna d something! I'm just gonna.. hrm.. I have a whole day of activities to.. *yawn*
Maybe I could..just for a few minutes...


(1 Puncture wound | Poke the monkey with a stick)

30th June 2011

6:16am: I'm back. Kinda.
Still in Boise, but back online. At least for now.

I can walk a 20 minute mile, apparently. Yay for me. Now I need to work up to a 40 minute 2fer.

(2 Puncture wounds | Poke the monkey with a stick)

30th May 2011

8:46pm: AllrightallrightallrightALLRIGHTalready!

Logging off, packing, going to Idaho. I'll see y'all tomorrow night or the next, once I get settled in the new digs and figure out just how fucked up this is going to be.

I'm a tad bit reluctant to go. You may have noticed.
It's just the back-to-work blues. Nothing dramatic. I just like not working, except for the whole 'no money' thing.

Someday, before I die, I hope to be retired. Maybe in just a decade or so. If I'm lucky, and if I live that long.

If there were a God, this is where I'd be bitching him/her out for not having their shit together. As it is, I can only bitch at the person responsible for the mess I'm in. Me.

If I have this all wrong, and I come back (as a human, or other sentient being, instead of as a swallow, or a fish, for instance) I'll do lots better next time around. I'm doubtful about that eventuality though. O_o

Bye, til tomorrow.

(3 Puncture wounds | Poke the monkey with a stick)

28th May 2011

11:10am: It's a great day. Not.
My back aches, and not entirely from driving ms_issicran's truck, which has a seat designed specifically to torture my back.
My laptop, which has no functioning battery, came unplugged halfway through this post, wiping out everything I had written so far.
My cell phone fell apart yesterday, and had to be replaced today. Apparently, the fact that I have been a T-Mobile customer for 5 years doesn't reassure them that I will be around, and so they require a 2 yr commitment, even though the rate stays the same, etc. Fucktards.
And finally, C. Dennis Moore's Smashwords page is going to be updated this weekend, and the lineup of what's free and what's not may be altering. I highly encourage you to swing by and pick a few things up. Also, boost the signal. There's some very good stuff on that page. Right now, a lot of it is free, and what isn't, is cheap. Merry Xmas.

(2 Puncture wounds | Poke the monkey with a stick)

27th May 2011

6:26pm: Next tuesday, I go back to Idaho. Yay.
(Hey, it's better than Mississippi. At least in Idaho my life won't be in danger. Plus better weather/temp/humidity, etc. Of course, the number of strange people is probably higher in Idaho, but I haven't actually seen a survivalist there yet. I think maybe they hide. So, as long as I don't stumble into a camp... Hmm..Mississippi is starting to sound a little safer...)

No Tequila this time though! >:D

(Poke the monkey with a stick)

21st May 2011

6:47pm: The end is near. Soon, we won't have to hear from the religious nuts anymore. (Because it will be tomorrow, see?)

I love all the money they gave away to Camping, rather than help others. I love how dismayed some are that it isn't going to happen. And, of course, there's the group that thinks a mistake was made, so just wait.

But mostly, it's the people who just don't understand why it hasn't happened. I wish we could take away their right to vote, because they're obviously too stupid to be entrusted with that responsibility.

ETA: I also like the pastor who decided to troll the parking lot trying to pick up new converts. Smart guy- He has a ready pool of already-known-to-be-gullible idiots to target.

(Poke the monkey with a stick)

18th May 2011

4:57pm: It would be really nice to have an email address or phone number for some people who are absolutely convinced that the world is going to end this Saturday.

I so want to talk to them on Sunday.

And really, if they're so convinced, shouldn't they be perfectly fine with letting their info out, this close to armageddon? It's not like they could be harassed for more than a day or two at the most, and I'd be pefrectly fine with not speaking to them before Sunday.

Well, other than to ask them to give me all the money they're not going to be needing. Hah!

(1 Puncture wound | Poke the monkey with a stick)

9:42am: The cold is almost whipped. Well, the sniffly, runny nose is nearly gone anyway, and the throat, which never achieved strep-like soreness, and is probably the result of post-nasal drip, is coming along nicely. I didn't get well last weekend, and may not quite make it this weekend, but feel much better as of now. I'm tired, but not fuzzty-brained. :D

Today is a busy one, what with updating wills and dealing with maternal unit. No word yet on deployment, but expect it by week's end, or next week's end at latest.

I might try a curry this evening. We'll see how the workload and personal energy are holding up.

(Poke the monkey with a stick)

16th May 2011

6:55pm: Hungarian Goulash
(Adapted from Cook's Illustrated)

3.5 lbs chuck roast, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1-1/2 inch cubes
1 cup (approx 12 oz jar of) roasted red peppers, drained and rinsed
2 tsp vinegar
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1/3 cup sweet paprika (not hot or spanish)
3 large or 4 medium onions, diced (about 6 cups)
4-5 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks (about 2 cups)

Spread meat pieces out and salt both sides, let them sit for 15 minutes or so.
Puree the peppers, paprika, tomato paste and vinegar until snooth. (Usually a couple minutes, depending on processor-more if needed.)

Start the oven preheating to 325, and place a cast iron dutch oven on stove top on medium to medium low heat.

Add two tablespoons of oil to dutch oven, put onions in and salt with about 1 tsp salt, and cover. Heat, stirring occasionally until soft. Do not brown.

When softened (translucent) add paprika/pepper mixture to onions and stir together, and continue to cook, until onions begin to stick to bottom of pot. (I went until the blend started sounding like it was beginning to sizzle a bit too much.)

Add beef and carrots, stir together to mix/coat everything thoroughly, cover and put in oven.
Cook for 2 to 2 1/2 hrs, stirring every 30 minutes. (I did this, but don't know how necessary the 30 minute rule is. With a cast iron dutch oven, it retains moisture, and doesn't burn the bottom)

In theory, after this the liquid level shoulld be down about 1/2 inch under the top of the meat. At this time, you add beef broth until approx 1/4 inch below top of meat. Meat should not be submerged. Frankly, I don't think the beef broth is necessary, but it adds a bit of flavor. For this purpose, about 1 cup of beef broth is fine.

Recover, and return to oven for another 30 minutes.

Skim off excess fat from surface after it has settled down. You can now add about 1/4 cup of sour cream, stir it in and serve over pasta or boiled/mashed potatos.We used whole wheat rotini pasta.

I think the above recipe needs about another teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 tsp black pepper, but you can adjust to your taste.

This is a rich, creamy stew, very filling, and the beef and carrots should be extremely tender and tasty.

(4 Puncture wounds | Poke the monkey with a stick)

12th May 2011

6:50pm: Miscellanea
I can haz a cold? Yes, yes I can.
I'm not sure where I got it, but I suspect my adorable redheaded grandson. I've had a runny nose since Tuesday morning, and saw him on Sunday. While not thrilled to be sickly, of course, I don't regret the visit to my daugher and her boys. I don't get to see them much, what with the job and all. I'm hoping to be well again by the weekend.

In the meantime, weather is wonderful, mostly. We got sunshine today, and if I were feeling better there'd have been a bonfire.

I had plotted to do some curry earlier this week, but got sidetracked, and allowed myself to be swayed by hot pizza from a nearby place that's expensive but delish. I hope to get some cooking done soon. Either the curry, or perhaps some Hungarian goulash I found a recipe for. It requires lots of sweet paprika, so I'm not sure it's going to happen, but a nice spicy curry just sounds marvelous. Maybe tomorrow.

I've managed to avoid most political crap for several weeks now. Sure, I hear about Palin, and Pawlenty and the rest of the GOP idiots, and reading even the financials leaves me fuming sometimes, because people like Boehner seem so incredibly oblivious to what they're doing, or just seem incredibly duplicitous. ('Raising the debt ceiling is too serious to politicize.' Three days later; 'We're not raising the debt ceiling until we have slashed all these 'entitlement' programs and expanded the GOP/Tea Party agenda.' Asshole.) I found myself wondering what it would be like when the Chinese invaded, and thinking..Hmm, maybe communism wouldn't be all THAT bad... but then reality intrudes, and I go back to worrying about whether or not the Republicans will wipe out what little retirement I have saved.

I find I am unable to track down a local replacement for the video card for the desktop, so it appears I'll have to order it online.
I'm pondering whether or not to spring for a netbook, since it's so portable, and it would allow me to do 90% of what I do online, and allow me to write whenever I want, wherever I want. I know the keyboards are small, but then, I hunt and peck anyway (3 fingers, about 30 wpm.) I doubt it will slow me down much, once I get used to it.
If I'm here next week, I'm going to buy and install the short strip of gutter for the shed I've been meaning to get for the last 3 years. I think I might install a rain barrel at the same time. It's a small shed, so it might not be very efficient, but it'll be something, anyway, and then I'll know what I can/should do with the house gutters.

I transplanted about 6 lineal feet of daffodils into about 5 big pots the other day. Next year, I'll likely have more yellow flowers than I know what to do with. However, the drawback is I'm so fucking old my back is still sore several days later. Still, I enjoyed it.

I see Facebook stepped in it with Google. I'd find it amusing if they hadn't had so many other, serious screwups. This is what happens when your multi-million dollar, society changing company is run by an inexperienced kid. Someone needs to slap that boy.

ok, that's enough random crap to say for one day. Maybe next time I'll have something substantial to say.

ms_issicran got new specs, and suggested, kindly, that I should be getting new specs myself if I wasn't such a stubborn little shit. So, if you find a mess of typos, you can blame her. ;)

(1 Puncture wound | Poke the monkey with a stick)

8th May 2011

1:23pm: Chicken Vegetable soup
4 large celery stalks, chopped (about 1 ½ cups)
6 medium carrots, peeled and sliced (about 2 cups)
1 teaspoon ea of thyme, basil and marjoram
1 bay leaf
¼ tsp black pepper
6 shiitake mushrooms, sliced thin
6 med green onions, chopped
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chopped in ½ inch pieces
2- 15 ½ oz cans chicken broth
¼ tsp salt to be added near the end
1 lb shell pasta, (or your favorite style), cooked, rinsed under cold water and drained
Pint of cream (optional)
In large pot, just cover carrots and celery with water and 1 can chicken broth, add spices, bring to boil, simmer for 20 minutes.
In a skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil until hot, but not smoking. Add and sauté chicken over medium heat for 5 minutes, turn once and add onions and mushrooms, and continue to sauté for another 5 minutes. Do not over stir. (It helps to cover the skillet and allow the steam to help cook through.)
Add the contents of the skillet to the pot, bring back to simmer, add the other can of chicken broth and ¼ tsp salt, bring back to a simmer, cover and turn heat to low for 10 minutes.
Add cream, if desired, stir in and serve over pasta. Artisanal bread makes a nice compliment.
You can gauge how far along the soup is by testing the carrots. By the time you cover for the last ten minutes, they should still be just slightly al dente, so they are firm, but cooked through at finish.
Others may find the salt and pepper weak, and wish to increase. It should be noted though, that not just the pepper, but the marjoram, basil and thyme will settle out, and be found at the bottom of each bowl.

(Poke the monkey with a stick)

2nd May 2011

9:12am: I'm not going to get into whether or not he's dead, how he died if he is dead, or whether or not his being dead is a good thing.
I'm not going to write about how this is somehow the biggest story in the country today, or note the fact that Yahoo has changed its front page layout so that this is almost entirely the only story you can read today. Nor will I talk about presidential campaigns, information engineering, propaganda or any of the rest of that tripe. You're all reasonably intelligent adults- you can see the ramifications.

I just want to note that if bin Laden had been killed shortly after the towers went down, it would have been a strong statement from the US; You fuck with us, and we will take you down.

The longer he lived, the less effective this message becomes; You fuck with us and in a decade or so, we'll get lucky and blow you up. In the meantime, you get to do what you want, live in a luxurious million-dollar compound in a resort town, and be a hero to your cause.

Sure, it could be worse; You fuck with us, and you may die of old age, debauched and pampered with your own private doctor, and surrounded by your loved ones.

Kind of lacks that deterrent impact, doesn't it?

So, if you're out there throwing parties or dancing in the street because we finally killed the bastard, just remember that if Bush hadn't walked away from this job a year and a half after the towers, we wouldn't be submitting to being groped and nuked at the airport today.

Although, I guess if there's a precedent of people walking away from the responsibilities they pursued so vigorously, Palin's really not that bad a choice, is she?

That's right- I just compared Bush to Palin. Unfavorably.

(Poke the monkey with a stick)

24th April 2011

7:59pm: Tried a stir-fry recipe tonight. (Yeah, I know... who needs a recipe to stir-fry?)

Anyway, this worked out pretty good, with the following changes and comments;

I substituted chicken italian sausage, from my local butcher. Only 3.5 g fat, and minimal carbs. (Check labels, they vary widely from brand to brand.)
These weren't precooked or smoked, so I sliced em up and sauteed em in the wok oil, with some sesame oil added, until they were browning, well before the veggies went in.
I added 3 med tomatoes, wedged. I put them in last.
I added about a cup of onion.
I drizzled a bunch of teriyaki sauce; the runny kind. (There's two types; thick and sweet, which is what you get on most bentos, and is delish over grilled chicken meat; and runny, which is about the thickness of soy sauce, and has a bit of a soy sauce taste.)
I made a little brown rice for it, which turned out well. It was a long grain, so probably not as healthy as a true brown rice, but I'm adjusting slowly, ok?
The pea pods could have been added sooner. I used sugar snap peas, which are extra crunchy to start. Still, tasty stuff.
I also added a bunch of hot chili paste/sauce to mine.

(2 Puncture wounds | Poke the monkey with a stick)

21st April 2011

2:00pm: You ever been late to the party? Discovered something awesome that everyone and their brother raved about, got bored with, and forgot about years before you ever discovered it?
Kinda like- "Oh man, you have GOT to go see this movie that's out on VHS called Star Wars!"

Yeah, like that.

Well, that's me today. I'm not going to write a review because A: I don't even know where to begin, and B: You've probably already seen this movie.

But on the off chance that you haven't- Fellini's La Strada Go. See. It. (You can probably rent it for a buck!)

I stumbled into this on lunch on the TCM. It was probably already 20-30 minutes in, and I was instantly hooked.

btw, I am so in awe of Federico Fellini's dead wife.
Anthony Quinn is an ass.
And Richard Basehart?? Really??? (Admiral Nelson, for all you old folks out there.)

But really- Giulietta Masina

(1 Puncture wound | Poke the monkey with a stick)

1:16am: Poor man's Trance
Stressed? Need to zone for a while?

Try this in one tab, hit play, then open another tab and go here, and set the browser window to full screen, move your mouse out of the way, and just watch the middle for a while.

And no, I don't think it gets stuck, but sometimes the music seems to stay the same for a bit too long. If it loops, it's not a real short loop.

You might prefer this track. It's a little more mellow.

Or make your own. :)

(Poke the monkey with a stick)

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