Posted on Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018
I spent an hour last night cleaning the cats' bedroom... vacuuming and mopping... picking up all their toys... washing their beds... cleaning out the vents... upgrading their Litter-Robot... so can you guess where they have decided to unleash a tornado of destruction this morning? Go on... guess.
With all that's going wrong in my life right now, I could use some good news. I found it when I discovered Fridays has become This Close and has been developed by Sundance as a series for their streaming service. This is so great, and I can't wait to see it! Congrats to Shoshannah Stern!
I have been feeling a little beat down in life lately, so cooking is not on my radar. The past week I've been eating a lot of frozen pizza because it requires so little effort. Tonight's meal was a big ol' mess thanks to a paradox I'm calling Schrödinger's Pizza...
17 Minutes: Pizza undercooked.
18 Minutes: Pizza nearly incinerated.
I don't know what's happening in my over at the seventeen-minute-thirty-second mark, but it's apparently pretty serious.
And, on that note, I leave you to consume something burnt that used to be sauce and cheese on crust.
Posted on Wednesday, March 28th, 2018
Remember when you would order fries and they would come lightly salted… but include little salt packets so that those people who want to court heart disease with heavy salt can go for it?
Those were the days.
Now it seems as though every time I order fries they are caked with salt. So much salt that I can barely taste the potato. Guess restaurants think that this is cheaper than providing salt packets...
Though a case of NINE THOUSAND of them costs just $63, so you'd think it wouldn't be a problem. And if it were, couldn't they just ask people if they want salt when they ask them if they want ketchup?
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to sit down while my arteries are hardening over the bag of fries I had for lunch.
Posted on Friday, May 11th, 2018
Today I finally made the time to have my winter tires changed over to summer tires.
My plan was to arrive just when the tire store opened because you can usually get right in. Except there was an accident on the bridge into town so I was delayed 20 minutes. By the time I finally got there, the wait was up to an hour-and-a-half, and it would have been faster for me to change my own tires at home with my emergency car jack and a lug wrench.
It was a bummer, but it wasn't the wait that bothered me.
It was the reason for the wait.
As somebody at the tire store noted, there was no skidmarks on the bridge. Which means that the car (van?) which crashed into a car (which then crashed into another car) never made any attempt to stop. Which means they weren't paying attention. Which means they were probably texting or changing their baby's diaper or cooking a steak, or whatever the fuck it is that people do when not looking at the road like they're supposed to be.
Apparently the distracted driving "no-texting" law that Washington State passed has done nothing to solve a serious problem that's only going to get worse. Which begs the question... how many people have to die before this starts being taken seriously?
And speaking of dying...
As I've said many times before, I love McDonalds... despite constantly taking shit for liking McDonalds.
My favorite breakfast is a McDonald's Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Biscuit, no bacon, substitute round egg instead of spongey yellow powder egg. I could eat them every single day because it's just such a perfect breakfast food. The reason I don't eat them every day is that A) McDonald's is a 20 minute drive from my house, and B) they are expensive as hell. But right now McDonalds is running a special where you can get two of them for only four dollars! So, naturally, after getting my tires changed I did not pass GO, I did not collect $200, I went straight to McDonalds for a late breakfast.
It was, as expected, delicious.
Except I made the mistake of looking up the Nutrition Facts for my breakfast while I was eating it.
We'll set aside the 80 carbs in two Breakfast Biscuits and skip right to the 2100mg of sodium... 88% of the sodium that you're supposed to have in a day. And saturated fat? 11g which is 106% of the recommended daily ammount!
I've never been so grateful that McDonalds is 20 minutes away and their McBiscuits are usually so damn expensive, because I'd be dead if they were next door and, you know, affordable and all.
Except they are on sale... and I am driving over the mountains tomorrow... so it looks like I may be courting death once again. Curse you McDonald's and your delicious breakfast!
Posted on Monday, June 4th, 2018
Happy National Cheese Day, everybody! I don't know about you, but I have been celebrating all day.
Cheese has been one of my favorite foods since I could eat solid foods. My most-loved cheeses are cheddar, parmesan, feta, American, and pepper-jack. My favorite time to eat cheese is "always." My favorite things made with cheese are sandwiches, pizza, and pasta.
I blog a lot about cheese, as you can tell when you Google Search my blog for it...
My menu for the day has been...
BREAKFAST: Cheddar Cheese Cubes, Scrambled Eggs and Cheese on Toast.
SNACK: Cream Cheese Bagel.
LUNCH: Veggie Cheeseburger, Colby-Pepper-Jack Cheese Stick.
SNACK: Grilled Cheese with Veggie Bacon Sandwich.
DINNER: Cheese Enchiladas with Yogurt Crème Fraiche, Nacho Cheese Bread.
It don't get much better than that.
Enjoy the celebration, y'all.
Posted on Wednesday, July 25th, 2018
It's 11:59pm and I've been on-site for a job for five hours. There's at least seven hours left to go... probably more... and my brain is starting to feel mooshy. If only I had taken a nap when I got into town instead of doing silly things like eat, unpack, check email, and spend time on Facebook. But, alas, it was my understanding that I would be finding out when work starts at 7:00 rather than actually starting work at 7:00, so my bad.
On the drive up to Maine, I stopped along the way to visit with an online friend I've never met in person before. He lives in a beautiful region of the state called Kittery Point, which is home to Fort McClary. The site is a bit confusing for a "fort" as there are no walls. Just a kind of hexagonal building overlooking the water...
Once you get inside, however, all is made clear. There's a sign saying that the fort was never completed because an advancement in weaponry made it obsolete, and the granite blocks for constructing it were just left where they lay when work stopped...
After meeting up with my friend, we walked with his dogs down to the waterfront on a beautiful Maine day...
I always make time to stop in Portland for a glass of Allagash White (one of my favorite beers on earth) and whatever seasonal dessert is local. I always park across from the Old Customs House, but never thought to stick my camera out of the parking garage until this trip...
My favorite summertime deserts here are made with Maine blueberries (seriously nothing else like them), but this time I happened onto Maine raspberry season, which is so short that I'd never had them before. Delicious, as I knew they would be...
On the way to work, I saw that Maine was still in prime blooming season, even though it's just starting to end back home...
And now? Back to work I go...
Posted on Thursday, July 26th, 2018
When I finished work at around 8:30am (which made it a 13-1/2 hour shift) I went straight back to the hotel so I could try and get some sleep after 23 hours of being awake. I was hoping for more than six hours, but I'll take what I can get.
And what I wanted to get at that point? Food.
When I went to bed, it had just started to sprinkle. When I went down to the lobby to drive somewhere to eat though? Rainageddon. My first clue was when the hotel staff was furiously attempting to clean up the gallons of water that had poured into the building...
I was then told that many roads were closed because they were flooded... and the rain was so bad that part of the roof of the local hospital had collapsed. And so... I decided to walk to a local eatery rather than risk being out on the roads. Problem is, I didn't have a raincoat.
And so I made one by clipping a plastic bag into a long-sleeve shirt...
That coupled with my faithful Boston Red Sox hat didn't do much to keep me from getting soaked, but it was better than nothing. Totally worth it... because pizza and beer...
By the time I had finished eating, it was still raining... but not nearly as much. And yet the damage had been done. My clothes were completely soaked...
I guess dinner will be leftover pizza and a Coke Zero from the vending machine followed by Bugles for dessert, because I ain't going back out in this.
Posted on Sunday, July 29th, 2018
Home again home again... and just in time too, because an all new Bullet Sunday starts now...
• Mutants! The news of the week? Disney's offer to buy out 21st Century Fox's movie properties was approved by the shareholders on both sides. They still have to get regulatory approval, but it's expected there won't be any issues. And so? The X-Men, The Fantastic Four, and Deadpool franchises will be headed to Marvel Studios. Which means we might finally get to see a good X-Men film... and we hopefully won't get more horrendously shitty Fantastic Four films. Deadpool was done right (twice!), but he lives outside of comic book reality, so he won't require a reboot. He'll just comment about his new universe and move on. In all honesty, I don't give too big a crap about the mutant teams showing up alongside The Avengers and so-on... but I am beyond excited to see The Fantastic Four popping up everywhere...
There is so much potential there.
• Big Gunn! And speaking of Marvel Studios... they've cut loose Guardians of the Galaxy writer/director James Gunn over offensive tweets he made almost a decade ago. I have mixed feelings over it all. On one hand he has repeatedly apologized for what he said, explained that it was a poor attempt at being provocative, he has moved on, and he tries hard to not be that person any more. On the other hand though... the jokes(?) were about things like pedophilia and rape and really don't qualify as "jokes" at all, assuming that was the intent. They certainly weren't funny. But... is that worth losing the third act of The Guardians of the Galaxy over? In the end I'd have to say "no." It would be a different matter entirely if he actually was a rapist and pedophile... but he's not. He was just entirely too stupid to understand he wasn't being provocative or funny... he was just being an asshole. And if we're going to start firing people in Hollywood for being stupid assholes, at least half of the industry would be gone.
• Roasted! The Comedy Central Roast of Bruce Willis was on tonight. It was raunchy, horrible fun as always...
But every time one of these comes up, I cannot help but think back to one of the best roast lines ever said. Sandra Bernhard was preceding Jeffrey Ross at the roast of Jerry Stiller. Jeffrey stepped up and said "Yeesh, I wouldn't fuck you with Bea Arthur's dick!"... with Bea Arthur in attendance. I had always wondered if Bea Arthur ever reacted to it, so tonight I Googled it. Turns out Jeffrey Ross has a story about that.
• McWrong! Ever wonder what happens when McDonald's wraps your Egg & Cheese Biscuit Sandwich inside-out? Here you go...
I was too hungry to throw it all out, so I tore off as much of the color as I could. Hopefully it's non-toxic in case I didn't get it all.
• Kurzge-wha?! And here's my new favorite thing of the moment on the internet the Kurzgesagt Channel on YouTube...
If you've got time to waste, here's the place to go.
And that's the end of that. See you next Sunday.
Posted on Friday, August 3rd, 2018
I've never been a really big dessert person. My vice has always been chocolate pudding, but once I had to start limiting carbs and go sugar-free, it got scratched from my list (sugar-free chocolate pudding is heinous). I like an occasional chocolate cupcake, but those had to be dropped too. So now I have an occasional cookie and call it good.
I have a real tough time passing up on berries.
My favorite berries are Maine blueberries. There's really nothing like them. They are smaller than the blueberries I can get here and the flavor is unreal. I will gladly chow down on Maine blueberries on any occasion I can get them. But any berry will do, really. I love strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, Marionberries, boysenberries, blackberries, huckleberries... so many berries to eat.
But... berries have sugar... and so I try not to eat them too often. The fact that berries are so insanely expensive makes this easy. I bought a tiny container of fresh blueberries and raspberries for $8 to eat at breakfast with some poundcake. I managed to get three servings for my money...
And yet my $8 will buy me 8 shitty burritos at Taco Bell or 8 shitty hamburgers at McDonalds off their dollar menus. Fresh, healthy foods are out of reach for so many people, but crappy unhealthy food is abundant and cheap. Crazy.
But typical of what government lobbyists can achieve when they put their mind and money towards something.
Continuing on with my revisiting of every Marvel Studios movie...
MARVEL STUDIOS MOVIE OF THE DAY, No. 2: The Incredible Hulk
Original Grade: B • Today's Grade: B-
Coming out a mere month after the summer blockbuster that was Iron Man, the second movie in Marvel's lineup falls short when you you drop it in the mix. Still... this is not a bad movie, and if you judge it on its own merits instead of comparing it to the rest of the Marvel Universe of films, it fares far better. Unfortunately, I can't do that, so it just doesn't hold up for me. The special effects are good for the day. The story is good enough. The acting is better than good. But it doesn't feel like a Marvel Studios film and I mostly forget about it. Especially after all the amazing stuff that followed. With that considered, I have to drop it a point.
SCENE TO BEAT: Can I say the pre-credits scene where Tony Stark walks in the bar to talk to General Ross, thus starting the long trend of all the movies being stitched together? No? I can't? Okay. Well, The Hulk tearing apart anything and everything is worth watching... but I love the scene where General Ross is in the gunship chasing down The Abomination over rooftops at sunset and The Hulk grabs hold. The aerial battle and subsequent crash is a visual and audio treat.
COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER: General "Thunderbolt" Ross's near maniacal obsession with tracking down The Hulk borders on ridiculous and William Hurt badly overplays it. Doesn't help that he's so damn stupid. Leave The Hulk alone and nobody gets hurt. Fuck with Banner and The Hulk destroys everything. So why not just let him be? And while I really like Edward Norton's body of work and appreciate what he brought to this film, it's tough to overlook just how much better suited Mark Ruffalo is for this particular role. He has an easy charm about him that Bruce Banner needs in order to play against the non-stop angst he lives day to day. Without it, things are just too serious and bleak.
SIDENOTE: Is Betty Ross ever mentioned again? Like ever? I know they eventually paired up Banner with Black Widow, but it still seems odd.
Posted on Sunday, August 5th, 2018
This Sunday is 17% more lethal than usual... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts now...
• Vote! Voting in the August Primary was fairly easy for me. If you're a Republican, I Google to see how hard you've worked to disavow President Trump and his entire cesspool of an Administration. If you haven't... or, heaven forbid, you support the assholes... you get no vote from me. I then look at all the Democrats and research who is in a best position to defeat the Trump-enabling Republican running. Because right now? That's all I give a shit about. Making sure that every last fucking Republican who isn't whole-heartedly disavowing Trump goes down in fucking flames. I don't want Republicans to LOSE in the upcoming election... I want them to be UTTERLY DECIMATED AND DESTROYED. I used to vote with no regard to party affiliation and ended up with both Republicans and Democrats on my ballot. Not any more. After Trump, Republican politicians don't deserve air to breathe, let alone my fucking vote...
Has there ever been so petty a piece of shit president in this country? LeBron has done more for education by opening up ONE SCHOOL than Trump, DeVos, and their entire administration has ever done.
• Shit! Late-night television is really something else. SexToys followed by Larry King? Seems about right...
And after that? More shit, along with some other program before it...
Larry King is one of those people who I can't for the life of me understand how they got famous. He has to be one of the worst interviewers of all time. He has no fucking clue what he's talking about and always seems woefully unprepared and completely ignorant as to the person he's interviewing. At least now he's putting is "talent" to appropriate use by hawking senseless shit in infomercials.
• Cool! This week I took the "What I have in my refrigerator" challenge...
YES! FOUR KINDS OF MAYO!!! I use the cheap stuff for salads, Best Foods for burgers, Kraft for egg salad, and Dukes for fries (I use it when I'm out of Dutch mayo, like now). If I had to give them all up, I'd eat only Dutch mayo.
• Big Gunn Two! Another take on where we are now...
Twitter... memories that never really go away...
• Failure to Launch! Johnny Rockets, where I first discovered Boca Burger patties years ago in Santa Monica, has now replaced them with a Black bean patty. Which is stupid as fucking hell. People go to Johnny Rockets for a BURGER. Even vegetarians go there for a BURGER. They just don't want to kill a cow to get one. And what's really stupid? THEY'RE ALL FUCKING FROZEN! They could have had both of they wanted a black bean burger so badly. And so... after decades of visiting Johnny Rockets around the globe... no more Rockets, bitches. No more Rockets for me.
• Liberty! And, lastly, here it is for those eating paste right from the jar...
This is the most insane, fucked-up bullshit yet. We now need a task force to protect Christianity?!? Because it should be painfully obvious that they are NOT doing this to protect Muslims, Buddhists, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, or any other NON-CHRISTIAN religions. Since when are Christians a minority in need of protection? Last time I checked, they weren't fucking BURNING CHRISTIANS IN THE STREETS. Last time I checked, you could still go in a fucking UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT POST OFFICE AND BUY NATIVITY STAMPS FOR CHRISTMAS. Last time I checked, CHRISTIANITY WAS THE LARGEST RELIGIOUS GROUP IN THE COUNTRY. Make no mistake... NO MISTAKE... this is nothing more than a full-on attack on gay, lesbian, and transgender persons... and any other American who doesn't fit into the mold that these fucked-up assholes feel is acceptable. Disgusting. Task force? Horse shit. Nothing like your own government spreading fear and persecution to keep their power. I wonder if they'll be required to wear uniforms? Brown shirts, perhaps? No... probably more like white hoods...
Until next Sunday then...
Continuing on with my revisiting of every Marvel Studios movie...
MARVEL STUDIOS MOVIE OF THE DAY, No. 4: Thor
Original Grade: B+ • Today's Grade: B+
I was never a huge fan of the Thor comic books. Sure I read them off-and-on... sure I loved what Walt Simonson did with the character in his run... but he never got to the level of Doctor Strange or Black Panther or Fantastic Four or Iron Man for me. But then this movie dropped and I became a pretty huge Thor fan. Partly because the movie was done so well... but mostly because I could see just how Thor would work as another piece of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. A lot of the credit can be given to Kenneth Branagh for bringing a majesty to the character and to Asgard that the film needed to sell the story. Asgard was epic in scope and beautifully designed. Silly concepts like Bifröst, a "rainbow bridge," were given perfectly believable representations that worked. And though his full potential wouldn't be seen until Ragnarok, how frickin' perfect is Chris Hemsworth in the role? Not anybody else was a slouch in the acting department. Anthony Hopkins is about the best possible Odin we could have hoped for. Tom Hiddleston brought so much energy to playing Loki that the character has been as much a lynchpin for the MCU as its heroes. Idris Elba, Natalie Portman, Renee Russo, Stellan Skarsgård, Kat Dennings... anybody and everybody was so wonderfully, thoughtfully cast. And a standing ovation to Patrick Doyle for the score. Soaring and beautiful, it was a tangible presence throughout the film. Overall, Thor was a crucial step on the road to Avengers that could have been a disaster. Instead it's a worthy addition that totally holds up.
SCENE TO BEAT: The frost giant battle puts a pin in what makes Thor be Thor.
COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER: There are two problems with this film that I have a tough time getting past. 1) The entire span of the film happens over like... what... two... three days? Yes I love the movie, but if you stop a minute and think about how insane the timetable is, things get a little ridiculous. 2) They bleached Hemsworth's eyebrows and it looks crazy distracting. Thankfully they gave up on this absurdity in future movies.
SIDENOTE: When they decided to do away with the whole secret identity nonsense in Iron Man, I honestly thought that would be the end of it. But then along comes Thor, and Dr. Donald Blake was brought up, then dropped like a hot potato. It was a fantastic decision which has been carried forward (more or less) with each new movie. So smart. Given the rather short runtime of a major motion picture, there's just not time to waste on the whole idea, so why bother? It was cute in the original Superman movies, got tired in the Batman films, and is downright silly now. Sure special effects are so economical and amazing that we can show Superman doing all kinds of crazy awesome stuff... but let's blow precious screen-time having Clark Kent investigate a story. And while Hawkeye is the butt of a lot of jokes when it comes to the Marvel Studios films, I have to say they gave him a really good cameo here as we ramped up for Avengers.
Posted on Thursday, August 9th, 2018
Ooh! Strawberries and blueberries were on sale!
I've been eating them morning noon and night in an effort to get through them all before they rot. Because the only thing worse than having berries be absurdly expensive is having affordable berries that you end up throwing away...
Now I'm on the hunt for marionberries, blackberries, or (if I've very lucky) boysenberries on sale.
Thought it's probably better if I don't find them, because those suckers would end up going in a pie, and I don't need that kind of carb load this late in my life!
Continuing on with my revisiting of every Marvel Studios movie...
MARVEL STUDIOS MOVIE OF THE DAY, No. 8: Thor: The Dark World
Original Grade: B • Today's Grade: B+
Often seen as a weak link in the Marvel Cinematic Universe canon, I actually liked this film very much. Not necessarily for the story, which feels slapped together and disjointed... nor the villain, since Malekith looks more silly than threatening... but for all the parts that work so well. Hemsworth and Hiddleston are totally on their game as Thor and Loki. Natalie Portman, Stellan Skarsgård, and Kat Dennings are perfectly inhabiting the roles of Jane, Selvig, and Darcy that they created. But my favorite part is marveling over the sheer adventure of it all. The battle at Vanaheim... the Dark Elves attack... the escape from Asgard... every minute on Svartalfheim... Thor's hammer finally acting exactly like Thor's hammer should... so many cool comic book moments. Marry all that to lush visuals, stunning production design, and epic special effects, and it was a much better movie than some critics made it out to be. This is one of the Marvel Studios films I've only seen a couple times and I hadn't watched it in years. I ended up enjoying it more than I thought I would so I'm bumping it up a half grade.
SCENE TO BEAT: Loki becoming Captain America. Bless Chris Evans for being such a good sport and making appearances like this!
COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER: Malekith and the Dark Elves were just awful as antagonists. And it drives me bonkers how Jane and Selvig could "science" their way out of a situation they have practically zero knowledge to combat. The result being Jane's "science box" which inexplicably transports exactly the stuff needed for the story? And Selvig's "science poles" which save the day in the most deus ex machina way possible? Beyond lame.
SIDENOTE: "The Aether" MacGuffin actually being the Reality Stone in liquid form was just one more step to Avengers: Infinity War... and giving it to The Collector in the mid-credits scene beautifully set up Guardians of the Galaxy. Loki becoming Odin seemed like such a tired decision at the time, but was so wonderfully wrapped up in the third Thor movie, Ragnarok, that it turned out to be a great twist.
Posted on Sunday, August 26th, 2018
Time to make the donuts... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts now...
• Mars Investigations! In what can only be described as the best news I've heard all week, Hulu is apparently developing a new 8-episode season of one of my favorite television shows of all time: Veronica Mars...
And now I want to watch both television seasons and the movie for the hundredth time.
• Globalization! Oh how cool. When you zoom out on Google Maps now, it backs into a globe! No more misrepresenting the size of land masses! Africa is now that massive continent it actually is... whereas the US, Europe, and Greenland are proportionally correct!
This is hugely important. The traditional Mercator projection is a grotesque distortion of the world we inhabit...
If you want to play with The True Size of Things... here's a link for you.
• Nothing! Heard Chinatown by Wild Nothing while watching the Netflix Original To All the Boys I've Loved Before (which is excellent) and am now obsessed with it. Such a pretty track...
This track is from their 2010 album Gemini, which sounds like it's straight out of the 80's.
• Expertly Paired Cheese! This. Stuff. Is. AMAZING!!! It's awesome on tacos, but I have been putting it on everything. Eggs. Veggie Sausage. Sandwiches. Even STRAIGHT OUT OF THE BAG. Where has this been all my life?
They have a Swiss/Cheddar blend that I'm going to have to try too. Not that I couldn't shred the stuff myself and make my own blends... but convenience!
• Enchanting? I was anxiously awaiting the new Matt Groening series from Netflix: Disenchantment. From the looks of things, I was guessing it was Game of Thrones meets The Simpsons...
This week it was finally released and I binged the entire series. It was... okay? The background art is beautiful and full of sight-gags that had me pausing my DVR more often than I care to admit. But the story? It's entertaining. But the funny did not come as often as I was expecting. Every episode seemed a little... slow. Even so, it was clever enough to keep me watching. I was more than a little upset that they ended on a cliffhanger. What if there's no second season to conclude it? Oh well. Wouldn't be the first time a show left me hanging because it was canceled.
And... that'll have to be enough bullets for today. See you next Sunday!
Posted on Wednesday, October 10th, 2018
Since I'm supposed to be on vacation this week, but ended up home with a sick cat instead, I've been working
He hopped on the bed with me after he'd eaten his breakfast... then proceeded to puke all over me. And, let me tell you, it was an impressive amount of vomit. Kind of shocking he was even able to contain so much spew in such a tiny body. Fortunately, it was all contained on my blanket so all I had to do was stick it in the wash... four times (just to be sure).
Afterwards he hopped right back on the bed and fell asleep...
I wanted to keep an eye on him for a while, hence my being an hour late to work.
Before heading home to see if Jake had left any puke for me to find, I headed to the grocery store since my refrigerator and cupboards are bare. While there, I was excited that there was a new brand of mayo for me to try (Heinz!)... until I looked at the price tag...
SIX DOLLARS AND TWENTY-NINE CENTS?!?? FOR MAYO?!? WTF?!? IS THERE GOLD IN IT? DOES IT COME WITH A FREE PONY? WHAT?!? Needless to say, no new mayo for me. Perhaps when I get to The Big City next I'll see if they have it for a reasonable price at the Safeway.
And... back to my home.
Which was pleasantly puke-free!
A quick look at the security cameras and I saw that Jake it still able to pee... many, many times... so I'm chalking this day up as a win.
After I run my blanket through the wash just one more time.
Posted on Sunday, October 14th, 2018
Spent my weekend getting ready for winter, but it hasn't been all bad... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts now...
• Jakespreading. My concern for Jake is either growing or easing depending on which minute of the day it is. On one hand, he is peeing regularly. On the other hand, it's too often... sometimes up to three times an hour. On one hand, he is pretty much back to normal. On the other hand, he has been increasingly clingy. Now he's sleeping with me every night. Which mostly looks like this...
He's sleeping next to me, using my leg as a pillow.
For the past two nights, sleeping beside me hasn't been good enough. He wants to sleep on top of me. Which is no biggie when I'm laying on my back but, given my recent back pains, I'm more comfortable on my side. He tries to climb on me but there's not enough room, so he falls off and starts getting upset. I fix the problem by leaning against a pillow. He falls asleep on the pillow (and against me), but is fooled to thinking he's sleeping on me. So it's all good, I suppose. But I think I'm going to start looking into some warm pads that might prove more tempting than a pillow. In the mornings when I come back from taking a shower, I always find him laying on the slats above the heating vent, so I'm guessing he might be in love with a warm place to lay just like his sister...
Tomorrow I'm going to place another call to his doctor so I can ask about the alarming number of times he's peeing... and to ask if I should be concerned that he's grooming his junk more often these past couple days. Call me paranoid, but I'd do just about anything to make sure he doesn't have another extended stay away from home.
• Who? First of all, I love Jodie Whittaker in the new season of Doctor Who. She is sublimely perfect in the role, and everything you could want for The Doctor she projects in spades. Quirky without being silly. Smart without being stuffy. Entertaining without being absurd. She IS Doctor Who...
Which is why my disappointment in her first episode being horribly boring was more upsetting than it usually would be. Things picked up a bit in the second episode that aired tonight (the new TARDIS is pretty great), but it still feels like a bit of a slog to get through. I really, really hope that things start picking up... giving both Whittaker and Doctor Who fans the show we deserve.
• Boca? When I was last at the grocery store, I noted that Boca Burgers have pretty new packaging. What surprised me is that the burgers inside are different. They are darker. And the taste is different. Not necessarily in a bad way... they're just... different. Still tasty...
What I cannot tell is what in the hell they are replacing. Used to be there was "Original Vegan" and "All-American Flame Grilled"... these are "Original All American," which I can only guess is taking the place of both? They ain't vegan (contains cheese like the All-American Flame Grilled) so maybe they are discontinuing those? Confusing.
• The Vote. LOLOLOL! Maria Cantwell just released a commercial saying that "drug companies are too powerful and prescription drugs cost too much money." Guess the blowback she got after accepting $75,000 from Big Pharma then voting against cheaper drug re-importation has her worried? Typical piece of shit politician... says whatever she feels she has to at the moment in order to get elected, and then she'll jettison it when she decides to suck Big Pharma dick for cash again. We get the politicians we settle for. We get what we deserve. Not that we're given much choice. My Washington State Voter's Pamphlet just arrived and there's only one candidate I actually want to vote for. The rest are just votes against Trump-enabling Republicans.
• Asshole. Vice President Pence would do best to just shut the hell up on all matters pertaining to anything because, odds are, his boss has tweeted something totally fucked up on the topic, which makes Pence come off as a hypocritical asshole. Like this...
Why the hell Pence pretends to give a shit about journalists when it's been made very clear that Trump's administration condemns journalists as an "enemy of the people" is beyond me. Disgusting and pathetic. Like most everything to do with President Trump.
• Groupon! Congratulations to Hasan Minhaj on becoming a father...
I can't wait for his show, Patriot Act, to debut on Netflix come October 28th! And, needless to say, if you have Netflix and haven't seen his incredible standup show, Homecoming King, you should do that immediately.
Annnnd... scene. See you next Sunday.
Posted on Wednesday, October 17th, 2018
You know how you can take two breakfast cereals you like, mix them together, and end up liking the result even more than the individual cereals? Magic! I experiment with food mix-ups like that a lot. I do it with a lot of different foods, but cereals have always been my favorite. I made Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Cereal by mixing Cocoa Puffs with Cap'n Crunch Peanut Butter before actual Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Cereal existed.
The best food mix-ups always seem to be accidents.
I was eating some freeze-dried apples and remembered that I had bought some Apple Pie OREOs that I hadn't cracked open yet. So I grabbed a few cookies and found them to be surprisingly good but not great.
As I ate the last cookie I had in my hand, I picked up the bad of freeze-dried apples and noticed there were some crumbs in the bottom, so I poured them in my mouth and...
No, it's not apple pie. But it's a lot closer in flavor than the OREOs on their own. And it's darn tasty.
And so now I'm completely addicted to Apple Pie OREOs mixed with freeze-dried apples.
Until the next mix-up comes along.
Posted on Thursday, October 18th, 2018
If there's one thing that I'll never run out of, it's mayonnaise. This is by far my favorite condiment, and I eat it at a crazy pace. I love it on fries, sandwiches, grilled cheese, salads, dressings... a lot of things, really.
Not long ago when I was cleaning out my refrigerator, I had six bottles/jars of the stuff... with at least another six in the pantry...
My favorite mayo is Dutch mayo for its delicious flavor and oh-so-creamy texture. But it's pretty expensive since it has to be imported. The easiest-to-find mayo that I buy most regularly is Best Foods (Hellmann's to some areas of the country). I like Duke's but it has to be bought via mail order because they don't sell it here.
I loathe "light mayonnaise." It tastes just awful... and usually has a harsh lemony taste to compensate for whatever it is they suck out of it to make it "light." I would really like to go vegan so poor chickens don't have to be exploited to make real mayonnaise... but there's no vegan stuff I've tried that I really want to eat (I've added a small section on that to the end of this post).
You have to be careful here, because some people want to group mayo-like dressings and sauces in with actual mayo (like Miracle Whip). Well, newsflash, MIRACLE WHIP IS NOT MAYO! Not to say I don't like it, because I do (especially on grilled cheese and in macaroni salad... at least until they made it water-based instead of oil-based), but when I need mayo it's not going to cut it. Here is what does...
Flavor: creamy dreamy • Texture: creamy • Score: 10
Here it is... the mayo to beat all mayo. Unlike American mayo, Dutch mayo is so creamy and velvety without any kind of gross gelatinous gloppiness to it. And when it comes to flavor, it's sublime because it doesn't have this overwhelmingly eggy taste... but still tastes like mayo. Great on sandwiches. Great in salad dressing. No need to mix with ketchup for your fries, it's flawless straight out of the bottle. My favorite over any American mayo by a mile.
Flavor: creamy dreamy • Texture: creamy • Score: 9.5
When tasting this Dutch miracle side-by-side with Remia, they're very close. And I'd take either one over any American mayo any day of the week and twice on Sunday. I think I give Remia the edge because that's the one that's easiest for me to find. Remia also has a slightly cleaner taste to me.
Duke's Real Mayonnaise
Flavor: tangy great • Texture: gelatinous but creamy • Score: 8
If somebody is going to battle me to the death over my Best Foods (Hellmann's) addiction, this is the mayo they're willing to fall on their sword for. The texture is definitely a little oily but mostly creamy... even a little creamier than Best Foods... but what I like about it is that it's all zip and doesn't have a sweet taste to it. For that reason, this is the American mayo I prefer for fries. But not sandwiches, where it can easily take too much away from other toppings. When it comes to salad dressing, this one is in a toss-up with Best Foods. If I have sweet toppings on my salad (like dried cranberries or candied walnuts) I'll go with Best Foods because it compliments better. If it's just veggies, give me Dukes, where that added tang is appreciated.
Best Foods (Hellmann's) Real Mayonnaise
Flavor: baseline great • Texture: gelatinous glop from hell • Score: 7.5
This is essentially the "baseline" mayo for me. It's what my great grandmother used. It's what my grandmother used. It's what my mother used. It's what I use most times. The flavor profile is eggy but clean with a hint of sweetness. Where it falls way, way short is the texture, which manages to be creamy when spread, but a gelatinous glob when you spoon it out. For this reason I like it on sandwiches and burgers quite a lot... salad dressing okay... and fries not at all. I might have put Best Foods (Hellmann's) above Duke's for sheer nostalgia's sake, but they went and changed the recipe in the early 2000's. And not for the better. I don't know that I taste a heck of a lot of difference from what I remember (I'm probably romanticizing it) but it doesn't seem the same.
Flavor: savory eggy bliss • Texture: creamy • Score: 7
Japanese mayonnaise is equal parts Dutch mayo, American mayo, and Miracle Whip... but not in a bad way. And while I don't know that I would want to eat this all the time because it has a bitter note to it, I very much like having it in my mayo arsenal. Good on fries. Fantastic on sandwiches. Amazing on vegetables and salads. I really like dipping grilled cheese in it. The secret? MSG. Ah yes. That much-maligned savory additive that freaks Americans the fuck out for no good reason. So much so that when Kewpie decided to start selling direct to the American market they dropped the MSG! I haven't tried the MSG-free version, I have no plans to do so. There is absolutely nothing wrong with MSG, and the bullshit myth that's propagated through the USA is pretty stupid. And, according to Anthony Bourdain, racist. Find out more right here. NOTE: The primary ingredients for Kewpie are oil, egg yolks, rice wine vinegar, salt, and MSG. But there are also "spice" and "natural flavors" in the ingredients. Whether or not one of those "natural ingredients" is fish-derived, I do not know. Being as this comes from Japan I wouldn't doubt it. As a vegetarian, this bothers me somewhat but, since I eat it only on rare occasions, I just pretend there isn't.
Kraft Real Mayo
Flavor: sweet and serviceable • Texture: gelatinous • Score: 6.5
If you were to look up "generic mayo" in the dictionary, a photo of Kraft Real Mayo would be sitting there. It's not bad... but not particularly great either. Mostly due to it's sweet taste, which is kind of bizarre in a sandwich. Not good for fries by itself, but when mixed with relish and ketchup it can work.
Flavor: weird • Texture: gelatinous • Score: 5.5
This is the new kid on the block and one I was quite anxious to try because they claim to be the creamiest mayo out there. Could it be as creamy as Dutch mayo? Only one way to find out... so I ordered a couple bottles. First of all... LIES! It's the same gelatinous texture you'll find in most American mayo. The first thing I did when I got the bottle was to squeeze out a bit then shake the bottle. If it were truly creamy, it would have some "flow" to it. But it most certainly does not. It "breaks" in the bottle and hangs together in a gloppy mass. Even worse, the flavor is "off" in a way I can't quite describe. Not necessarily from the ingredients, but because of the way they process it maybe? Not heinous, but not something I plan on buying again either.
Sir Kensington's Mayonnaise
Flavor: weird • Texture: gelatinous • Score: 5
Everybody was raving about Sir Kensington's Fabanaise vegan mayo, so when I ordered some to try I ordered a jar of their "real" mayo as well. I don't exactly hate it... but it's got a weird taste to it. Kind of a lemony toxic waste flavor that lingers in an odd way. It's almost bordering on Miracle Whip, but not really. Might be okay in a potato salad? Wouldn't buy again.
Flavor: sweet on the back-end • Texture: gelatinous • Score: 5
Despite coming from Alabama, I actually bought this when I was passing through Mississippi. This is another Miracle Whip wannabe masquerading as mayonnaise. I liked it on a grilled cheese sandwich, but almost nowhere else. It was pretty abysmal on fries.
Blue Plate Mayonnaise
Flavor: sweet vinaigrette • Texture: gelatinous glop • Score: 5
A New Orleans staple, I was crushed that I didn't know to pick up a jar in my many visits to the city, so I had a blog reader send this to me to try. My initial thought is that it's trying to imitate Duke's, but is doing a bad job of it. If I was having this plain on a salad it might be okay... but there's this strong vinegar taste that is fighting a weird sweetness that comes off all wrong to me.
Whole Foods 365 Mayonnaise
Flavor: overly eggy • Texture: gelatinous glop • Score: 4.5
This tastes more like light mayo than traditional mayo to me... saturated in weird lemon overtones in an effort to be tangy. Like they ran out of vinegar and just decided to dump extra lemon juice in there to compensate. Absolutely terrible on fries, even when mixed with ketchup... but not entirely terrible in an egg-salad sandwich (which is the only place I used this stuff until it expired and had to be thrown out). If there's a redeeming quality to this it's that it's not as heinous as the Whole Foods vegan mayo, which is foul.
Safeway Organics Mayonnaise
Flavor: grotesque • Texture: gelatinous • Score: 4
This is the skunk weed of mayo. It has a bizarre taste (dirt?) that lingers on your tongue and kills your palate. The texture is okay for an American mayo, but I'll only use this when there's nothing else available. If I have this on fries, it has to be mixed with a lot of ketchup.
Look, the stuff is not mayonnaise. It's just not. So stop trying to make vegan mayo happen. Sure, some are more tolerable than others, but I just don't care for it. The stuff will never take the place of authentic real mayonnaise.
Sir Kensington's Fabanaise
Anybody saying that this is "just as good as regular mayonnaise" is seriously deluded. That being said, this would be my go-to mayo if I decided to go vegan. It lacks the density of a good traditional mayo, but has a decent substitute flavor profile that isn't awful.
Best Foods (Hellmann's) Vegan Mayo
No, it's not the same as Best Foods... not even close... but it's at least serviceable as a sandwich condiment, even if it doesn't really taste like mayo to me.
Follow Your Heart Vegenaise
This is the very first vegan mayo I tried (it may be the very first ever made) and I found it gag-inducing. Threw out the jaw after trying just once. But... that was a very long time ago. I may be more tolerable of it if I tried it now knowing what I know about vegan mayo substitutes.
Hampton Creek Just Mayo
How the fuck can you call this "just mayo" when there's no eggs in it? It takes like whipped oil. Greasy and flavorless. You could probably use it to lubricate door hinges, but I wouldn't eat the stuff.
Whole Foods 365 Organic Vegan Mayo
So gross. Offensively gross. I would rather go without mayo than eat this slop.
And that's that.
At least until the next jar I find to try.
Posted on Friday, October 19th, 2018
A couple days ago when I was at the grocery store I decided to grab a couple frozen bean & cheese burritos. They're handy for when I need a quick dinner or lunch and don't want to cook. But when I went to pull one out of the freezer case, I was shocked to see that they were THREE DOLLARS AND FIFTY-FIVE CENTS EACH! They were just 99¢ a minute ago! What happened?
That's when I decided to make my own dang frozen burritos. I started with white rice, black beans, and some cheese. They turned out great. So great that I decided to make another batch... but this time use Mexican rice, seasoned beans, add some onions and green chilis for some flavor...
They are perfection!
So easy to make. So much better than the frozen ones I have been buying. And so cheap! Instead of $3.55 each, these are around $1 each, which is what I was looking for in the first place.
Just in case you might want to try making your own freezable burritos, here's my recipe...
Cook up a box of Mexican-style rice (or any rice you prefer). While that's going, dice one-half a medium onion and soften in a skillet with a little oil over low heat. Once it begins to turn translucent, stir in a couple tablespoons of diced green chilis. Add some ground pepper to taste. Drain a can of black beans and stir into the onion mixture. Once the rice has finished cooking, stir it into the rest. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a large pan, soften burrito-sized flour tortillas over low heat for 10-15 seconds each side. Add two heaping spoonfuls of the bean/rice mixture to the tortilla, then sprinkle with as much cheese as you like (I use a lot!). Fold-up burrito-style. Wrap in foil and heat in an oven until cheese is melted and inside is hot (in my oven it's 350 degree heat for 17 minutes). I eat them with sour cream and guacamole. I get 8 burritos per batch, but you may get less if you fill them really full (or more if you skimp on filling).
IF YOU ARE GOING TO FREEZE THEM...
If you'll reheat them by microwaving, there's no need to wrap in foil. Just stick in a plastic baggie and get the air out before zipping them closed. If you'll reheat them in an oven, then wrap in foil before placing in plastic bags.
TO REHEAT FROM FROZEN IN THE MICROWAVE...
Open plastic bag and zap for a minute. Remove burrito from plastic bag, put on a plate, then massage the burrito to break up frozen bits. Transfer to a plate and microwave for another minute. I then massage again to make sure there are no frozen parts. Then I let sit for a minute and zap for another 20 seconds or so... which has them come out perfect in my microwave (kinda low-powered). Your microwave may vary.
But before I go...
I am gravely concerned about rising food costs. It's been bad in the past, but it's insane now. Some of that probably has to do with my small town grocery store having higher prices... but it's been a growing trend for quite a while even when I shop at a chain store in The Big City. Used to be $100 would fill the entire back seat of my car. Now I'm lucky to get three bags out of it. If this keeps up, how are people going to afford to eat? Something tells me that food ain't going to be getting any cheaper any time soon.
Posted on Monday, November 5th, 2018
I have work in Spokane early tomorrow morning, so I'm heading across the basin today rather than have to leave at some ungodly hour tomorrow. I really, really don't want to be away from Jake while he's sick, even for just one night, but duty calls (disappointing though that may be).
This was far from the only disappointment today.
Things went off the rails early this morning because my cats are not thrilled about Daylight Saving Time ending. As in seriously not thrilled. They were anxious at 6:00am (their 7:00am feeding time, as far as they know). Concerned at 6:10am. Upset at 6:20am. And absolutely livid by the time I went to feed them at 6:30 (I am slowly adjusting them to the hour time difference, whatever good that does). Jenny was pacing the room and meowing her head off. Jake was pawing at my face while squawking. It's exactly how you want to start a Monday.
I pulled their "Feed-and-Go" automated internet feeders out of storage so I could get them set up and filled. Except... I couldn't get them set up. The company that makes them went out of business last month. Bad enough that they had to close and shut down their cloud servers, rendering their $200 feeders useless. But it's reprehensible that they didn't bother to notify their customers... or keep their website up with a message to warn their customers... or push out an app update which warns their customers. Because otherwise there is NO WAY TO KNOW that the cloud service has been shuttered. The blue network light on the units still glows blue! Luckily I test the units every time I haul them out, otherwise my cats wouldn't have been fed. And had I been gone longer? They wouldn't have been fed FOR THREE DAYS. With the Feed-and-Go website down, I had to find out the news via a cached Google search...
Feed and Go is sad to say, it's closed it's doors.
We're extremely sad and sorry to say that Feed and Go has closed its doors. We had an amazing time helping thousands of pets eat healthier and on schedule. The time has unfortunately come to close the operation of our web app, and mobile app services. This will mean that unfortunately your Feed and Go's will no longer work as an automated feeder, and will not connect to our servers. We want to take this opportunity to thank you for being a part of our mission and wish you and your pet many happy moments ahead.
What a bunch of pig-fucking monsters. They are perfectly content to LET YOUR PET STARVE rather than contact you so you know that their product no longer works. I can only hope that whomever responsible will be roasting in hell soon. I also hope that some genius electronics expert out there will come up with a circuit board replacement that will allow the feeder to be programmed directly, instead of relying on a cloud service that's not there any more.
I had a couple other automated feeders from back when I was feeding Spanky, but they needed D batteries and I didn't have time to go get some. So instead I filled bowls with way too much food so Jake and Jenny can graze 'til their hearts' content. And hopefully not over-eat and puke everywhere.
I noticed that the motor on the drinking fountain had burned out. It's less that a year old. Guess I'm putting out a bowl of water next to the heaping bowls of food...
Since I was coming to Spokane, I decided to get the passenger airbag replaced in my car. Toyota has been sending dozens of notices telling me that there was a recall, but I would rather die than go to the asshole who owns the local Toyota dealership. Since Spokane was where it was purchased, it made sense to go there.
After dropping off the car, I decided to get a falafel wrap at The Pita Pit. Only to find that they had gone out of business, just like Feed-and-Go...
No problem, I walked a couple blocks to a cafe with good sandwiches... only to find out they closed at 10:00 this morning for "maintenance."
Rather than wander around aimlessly, I decided to just go to Red Robin. They no longer have Boca Burgers (inexplicably replacing them with a veggie burger that's so gag-inducing awful I'd rather eat meat). I ended up eating their guacamole, salsa and chips, which wouldn't have been bad except the chips were stale. For dessert I wanted some of their cinnamon sugar mini donuts with caramel sauce. Except they came plain with no cinnamon sugar and instead of caramel, I got raspberry sauce. As if that wasn't enough, the donuts were overcooked.
The Apple iPhone Upgrade Program I've got allows me to replace my iPhone with the newest model every year. Since my replace-date is coming up, I thought I would drop by the Apple Store and take a look. I also wanted to look at the newest MacBook Pro models, as I'm sure I'll have to be replacing my 2012 model sometime soon. When I asked the Apple sales guy if there was a MacBook Pro that had an SD card slot and a USB and Thunderbolt port... you know, LIKE ACTUAL FUCKING PRO MACHINES WOULD HAVE... I was told no. "Everything has moved to USB-C, because that's the new industry standard." Alrighty then. We're back to Apple being clueless fucking assholes as to knowing what professionals need, but whatevs. So I moved on to the iPhone XS. I thought to ask if the charging cable that came with it had USB-C so I could charge it from the new MacBook Pro. The sales guy told me "No, it comes with the older USB-A and I would have to buy a $20 dongle." And so... I guess USB-C is not quite the "industry standard" I was just told it was since Apple itself isn't using it on their most popular product (by far).
Which begs the question... "Does Tim Cook, Jonathan Ivy, or absolutely anybody at all at Apple know what the fuck they are doing?" Because it honestly doesn't seem that way.
In the past their products were overpriced, but at least I knew I'd be getting something that provided value for the money and would be cutting edge when it came to features. But now? That's not even close to being the truth. Less features with less power and with less flexibility... all while being grotesquely overpriced. It's as if Apple has been working overtime to become the cliché they've always been painted as.
As I was leaving The Apple Store, I was very nearly run down by a group of amish(?!?) women on motorized scooters. They were driving on a busy sidewalk way too fast and seemed as if they were barely in control of the things. At least I think they were amish because they had those little hair covers on their heads and were wearing dresses. But I thought the amish didn't use technology... and since you have to have a mobile phone app to rent the things, maybe they weren't amish after all?
In any event, these stupid fucking scooters are littering the sidewalks everywhere downtown, so apparently the latest episode of South Park isn't just hype...
At the very least, they should be illegal to drive on the sidewalk. Given how fast they travel, somebody could get seriously hurt. And if somebody ever runs into me with one of them, I'm going to pick up the scooter and beat them to death with it.
After walking eight blocks in surprisingly cold weather, I picked up my car and headed to my hotel. They asked if I had a room preference, so I told them top floor and as far away from the elevator as possible so it would be less noisy and I could get some sleep. They put me on the top floor... but right across from the elevator. And next to a room with a woman coughing her head off. Which makes me even more thrilled that I wasn't able to stay home tonight.
If there's a bright side to having to drive three hours to Spokane, it's that some of my favorite pizza on earth is here... David's Pizza. Their DaVinci pizza (with tomato, pesto, and feta) is seriously delicious...
Unfortunately I had the grave misfortune to arrive on "Let Your Screaming Kids Run Apeshit Through The Restaurant Night." A whole team of the little fuckers were running around screaming and screaming and screaming and screaming... while the parents were in some kind of group meeting in the next room not giving a fuck that people were trying to eat in peace. By the time I left I had such a splitting headache that any enjoyment I got from my pizza was destroyed.
I decided to end this entry at 8:00pm tonight because I'm worried that continuing on any longer is just inviting more disappointment. Hopefully work will go smoothly so I can head home as soon as possible in the morning and be done with all this nonsense.
Until the next time, of course.
UPDATE: There it is! MobiLinc (the internet connect platform I use to control a good chunk of my home automation, has gone down...
It's been up and running 24/7 perfectly for months... so of course it goes down when I'm away from home and really need it. No idea what's wrong, as the cameras, alarms, and all the non-MobiLic devices are connected to the internet just fine. Perhaps it's time for me to go to bed and turn off the world.
Posted on Monday, December 3rd, 2018
When traveling in the winter... especially a place with the possibility of a notorious winter like Maine... I always add a day before and after my work dates so I can be sure I'll still make my start-time if there's a weather delay. This time I got my start-date too late to have much choice in my flights. This means there was no getting here a day early. If a problem pops up then I'm probably screwed.
So of course air traffic into Seattle last night was slowed down, which meant I'd be landing late and might miss my connecting flight to Boston. Then they moved up the flight to Boston, which made it even more likely I'd miss it.
Lucky for me, my arrival gate was right next to my departure gate and I managed to make it onboard ten minutes before they closed the door. Thankfully I didn't have to check any luggage.
After landing at Boston Logan International Airport, I retrieved my rental car so I could drive 2-1/2 north to the job site. But first? Breakfast.
Usually I just stop at McDonald's for an egg & cheese biscuit. They aren't great, but they are edible (unlike Burger King's shitty Croissan'wich). My biggest problem in eating at McDonalds is that most of them don't know how to ring up an egg & cheese biscuit. They ring up a bacon, egg, & cheese biscuit and remove the bacon. This is hardly fair because I end up paying for meat I don't eat.
But here in New England, Panera Bread restaurants are plentiful. This means I don't have to eat at McDonald's and can get one of Panera's "Egg Over Easy with Cheddar on a Brioche Bun"...
So far as breakfast sandwiches go, I've found nothing better...
All-in-all, my highest possible recommendation if you're near a Panera and are hungry for breakfast!
I had a few hours before work started, so I took a nap. Or, more accurately, I tried to take a nap. It was one of those bizarre situations where I was so exhausted that I was having trouble sleeping. No idea how that works, but it's incredibly frustrating.
And now... I'm at work.
Where the internet is broken, which means that this will have to be posted when I get back home.
Five hours down, eleven hours to go...
Posted on Tuesday, December 4th, 2018
Originally I was to fly home on Thursday. This "buffer time" was in case weather caused me to arrive late or there was a problem at work that delayed my leaving by a day or two. Well, there were indeed problems at work (we started four hours late) but, fifteen hours later, I was free.
Exhausted to the point of feeling like my brain had melted. But free.
So instead of waiting until Thursday night to fly home, I rebooked my return trip for tonight. I lost my premium seat, but I'll take getting home two days early in a coach seat any day.
After two days without sleep, I managed to sneak in a four-hour nap at my hotel before they kicked me out. Then there was a 45-minute drive down to Portland for dessert for lunch...
Followed by shopping for new Dr. Pussum's Organic Maine Catnip toys that my cats go crazy for...
And, no, I decided against buying a President Trump toy. If Jake and Jenny want to play with something like that, they can dig in the litter box.
The remaining 100 miles to Boston Logan International Airport blew by in two hours and... viola... here I am flying home... TWO DAYS EARLY! Can you believe my luck?
Sure I'll get home after midnight and still have to go to work in the morning, but still... home.
Posted on Friday, December 21st, 2018
When I was a kid I wanted to be a chef (also a fireman, airline pilot, doctor, and astronaut). I loved cooking and would goof around in the kitchen whenever the mood struck me. But that was decades ago. With the exception of an occasional falafel, I haven't done any serious cooking in a very long time. But recently all that's been changing.
It all started when I saw the frozen burritos I used to buy for $1 were costing me $3 to $4, which is absurd. And so I started making my own. They ended up tasting far better than the frozen burritos I had been buying (and were far cheaper), so I started wondering what else I might be able to cook better for less money.
Bread was the easy answer. Before I moved, I was flirting with different kinds of bread-making, and found it tedious fun. But to start saving money, I'd have to branch out and start making my own hamburger buns and sandwich rolls too. That will take some research, because I'll want the same light-and-fluffy buns I get in the store and the same crusty rolls I get from the bakery.
Next up is pizza. I loathe every frozen pizza I have ever purchased, so coming up with my own recipe for the perfect crust, sauce, and seasoning is something I'm anxious to try.
Then there's pasta. This is one area where it would undoubtedly taste better, but I'm doubtful it will save any money.
Last up? Baked sweets. I'm not supposed to have them any more, but I do like an occasional cupcake, cinnamon roll, or sticky bun. This type of baking isn't that difficult once you find a recipe you like.
The trick is finding a recipe you like.
A Facebook friend sent me this video...
And so... sticky buns it is then!
I watched the complete video, wrote out the recipe, then I was off to the races. It was all fairly easy. Except for patting the dough out into a 15 x 18 rectangle. The stuff was springy and kept snapping back. Eventually I kinda managed it by scraping the flour from the edges so it would stick a little bit. Then it was time to rise...
They looked pretty great out of the oven...
And on the plate...
I cut the amount of pecans in half because I didn't want too much crunch intruding on the fluffy texture. It was perfect. I wouldn't want any more than half the nuts.
The flavor was really good. Not orgasmically good like they lead you to believe... but incredibly tasty. What lead me to try the recipe was the light, airy texture (I don't like dense sweet breads), and on that front it totally delivers.
Not sure how they'll freeze, but I'll be testing that out. There's no way I can (or should) eat an entire pan of these before they start to turn stale.
And... next up? I'm thinking hamburger buns.