Posted on January 2nd, 2022
2022 may be feeling even worse than 2021, but I'm still spitting out those bullets... because an all new 2021 RETROSPECTIVE Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Pizza! As anybody who's been reading Blogography for any amount of time knows, I've been searching for a decent frozen pizza for decades. And in 2021 I've finally found one. It's Red Baron Fully Loaded Five Cheese Pizza!
The sauce it great. The crust is amazing. The amount of cheese is a little excessive, but perfectly acceptable. Put it all together and it's the best frozen pizza I've ever had. With a caveat! As good as it tastes fresh out of the oven, it tastes horrible once it's gone cold. And reheating it in the microwave or oven does not bring it back. I've been sawing them in half and cooking only half and a time so I can eat the remainder at its best as well.
• Potato! As somebody who loves fries, I usually end up making them from scratch out of freshly-cut potatoes that I soak, pre-cook, freeze, then fry to get the best tasting ones I can get. But that's a horrible amount of work. So whenever I see a new frozen fries product, I give it a try. Usually I spray them with oil then put them in the rotisserie basket of my air fryer and they turn out okay. But in 2021 I discovered "McCains Quick Cook Fries." And they are a world different from anything else on the market...
The secret of the reason they cook "quick" with no flipping is that they are coated in oil. This is not a new trick. Ore-Ida did this years ago. But, for whatever reason, McCain's fries taste far better. Even though they do lie about the timing. Even when I preheat my oven, it takes closer to 20 minutes than the 13 minutes they advertise to get perfectly-cooked fries. Usually I don't bother to preheat. I just put them in and set the timer for 25 minutes. Bliss. Their crinkle-cut fries are so good that I'd rather have them that restaurant fries. Possibly even more than my own hand-cut fries! A half-bag is the perfect serving size for me and I anticipate eating a lot of these things in 2022.
• Sustained! I have been really trying to minimize waste more in 2021, recycling whatever I can and eliminating disposable plastics from my life. It's the least I can do, even though it's a ridiculously small dent in the amount of pollution produced (corporations are vastly more responsible than individuals, but convince people it's not their fault). One of the bigger steps I took was to stop buying Saran Wrap (plastic wrap). I used to go through a couple boxes every year, but the one I bought back in March will hopefully be my last. I've also greatly reduced the number of plastic bags I've been buying. My favorite replacement is "BioBag" products which decompose quite quickly in a landfill. They're expensive as hell though, so I've also brought "brown paper bag" sandwich bags for regular use...
They work great! But I also buy Reynolds wax paper bags for things that get sloppy (like the veggie burger with extra mayo I eat on my morning commute!). Or when I'm out of brown bags (like I am now). They have little stickers to keep them closed, which probably makes them bad for the environment, but they are fun to pack for lunch....
Wax paper doesn't biodegrade like raw paper (or BioBags), but it does biodegrade better than plastic. And uses more natural materials, so I'm chalking that up as a win (even though I'm trying to use them less and less since biodegradable bags are better). The best solution seems to be using glass containers with plastic lids which you can wash and reuse for years, so I've bought more Pyrex as well. Maybe one day they will come up with lids that aren't plastic but, in the meanwhile, they have lasted me over a decade so far, which is far less than if I were using plastic bags.
• Apples to Apples to Apples! This past year was a tough year for me financially because Apple ended up getting so much of my money. But boy was it money well-spent! My new iMac M1 is a (relatively) inexpensive Mac that flies through even my most demanding work. Despite it being on the low-end of the spectrum, it's the best desktop Mac I've ever owned. Then I traded in for the iPhone Pro Max 13, which is the best phone I've ever owned (and the heaviest). Then I traded in for the MacBook Pro M1 Max. Legit the best computer I've ever owned. And my favorite. Not even a contest...
It is ridiculously fast and powerful, has incredible battery life, and is an absolute joy to work with. THIS is the kind of "pro" computer Apple should have been making for the past decade instead of the form-over-function bullshit they were married to. The weird thing is that this MacBook is still really beautiful despite being constructed for function over form. Yet "curviness" was more important than power to Apple for a decade, so that was what we got. Blergh. Hopefully they won't slide back to old habits. The wild acclaim for this computer by pundits and customers alike should tell them they are finally on the right track.
• Travel-less! It has been genuinely strange going from dozens of trips each year to zero in 2020 and one in 2021. Unless some miracle cure arrives which eradicates COVID from the face of the earth, I'm expecting the same for 2022. Because right now I have no plans to go anywhere. But still, that one trip I did take during Delta but pre-Omicron reminded me of what "normal" is like. Even though I was masked most of the time...
So maybe after they announce a fourth booster I will make a trip just to remember what "normal" used to be like? If I do, it will probably be a trip to San Francisco because that's where my tattoo artist is, and I've been wanting new ink for years now. Fingers crossed.
• Kitty! Once again the thing that saved me in 2021 were my cats. Even at times when I was at my lowest and didn't care about myself, I always cared about them. In 2021 Jenny learned to manipulate me better than in previous years, coming up with an entire menu of meows and behaviors to get what she wants. Jake and I have conversations now. He meows (or tries to) and I meow back. Then we go back and forth for a while. I have no idea what I'm saying, but it must be interesting enough to him that he feels a need to respond!
• Betty! I'm still crushed. I've been avoiding social media and the news so I'm not seeing news about her death over and over. What a shitty end to a shitty year.
• Boosted! I've had people sneer at me for getting boosted, saying that the COVID vaccine obviously doesn't work if you need to get a booster... "WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO? GET BOOSTER SHOTS FOREVER??" And the answer is yes. Fuck yes. Because there are mountains of data showing that staying current with vaccinations vastly reduces incidents of serious illness, hospitalization, and death. MOUNTAINS OF DATA! So give me all the shots. This is no different than getting a flu shot every year. Except COVID mutates so fast and the vaccine is so new that we may end up getting two boosters a year instead of one. As the science gets better, the boosters will get better. Eventually we may even have the option for a combo flu/COVID booster, and I will take that shot. 1000% I will take it. I have faith in the science which has given us so much. There's a learning process which goes along with scientific research, and I am happy to be a part of it. I have cats to take care of, after all.
So... yeah. Not a lot else happened in 2021, so I guess that's it. Pizza, fries, sandwich bags, Apple stuff, one trip, cats, the passing of a legend, and COVID. Not a banner year, to be sure.
Posted on December 12th, 2021
Snow has finally come to Redneckistan! But will it last? Doesn't matter... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• MACGRUBER! This coming Thursday. Four more days. I love, love, loved the MacGruber movie. I've watched it an embarrassing number of times and have been wanting a sequel forever. But a TV series will do just fine...
It looks like it's going to be even better than the movie. Can't wait!
• Beautiful! Flawless...
Dumbass bigots self-own so often that I just accept it as their default.
• Enter the Matrix! I'm intrigued...
Though I remember being excited for the two shitty sequels we got last time, so I'm cautiously optimistic.
• Crossed-Stitched! This made my entire morning (here's a link if TikTok is being a dick)...
• BACON! In general, not buying Kellogg's products has been easy for me... except Morning Star Farms fake bacon. I eat this stuff by the truckload. I put it on sandwiches. I eat it for breakfast. I crumble it and put it on everything... E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G... because it's such a great product. There are few alternatives in my area, and the ones I've tried have been awful. I seriously hope that Kellogg reconsiders their abhorrent behavior so I can start buying it again... but... oh well. I refuse to buy any of their products now, and may never buy them again. Hopefully stores will replace Morning Star Farms "Bacon" with Lightlife "Smart Bacon" or something I like.
It's so weird. I've been buying shitloads of Morning Star Farms since I first became a vegetarian in 1986. In many stores where I live, they were the only option. And many of their products remain a favorite... Grillers Original Burgers... Sausage Patties... OH LORD, THOSE GLORIOUS CORN DOGS... and, of course, the bacon. At most, it's been an inconvenience for me. I dipped and fried my own Lightlife corn dogs and they were every bit as delicious as the Morning Star Farms (better even!), but a hassle to make. I will have to see if I can made 100 of them and hope they freeze well? I dunno. Fingers crossed..
• Happy Holidays! The irony is not lost on me that it may very well end up that my favorite Hallmark Christmas movie of 2021 is actually a Hanukkah movie...
Maybe it's because they only get one Hanukkah movie each year that they get to put all their good ideas in a single movie... unlike Christmas where all the ideas are split between 40 movies... but this is another winner after an equally good flick last year.
• Interview! I met Anne Rice twice at book signings. When people ask me what she was like, I had the same response both times... "She was nice. But disconcerting because it felt like she could see right through me." And it's true. Nice as can be... made some sweet chit-chat with me... and made me feel like she had supernatural eyesight that was more than a little intimidating.
Which is why I was very sad to hear of her passing. I liked some of her books. Was less enchanted by others. But ultimately enjoyed the entertainment she generously offered me. But I'm more upset because I feel that a total stranger who knew me better than I knew myself has gone. And, yeah, I know that doesn't make much sense. But it does to me.
And I guess that's all I got to say about that.
Posted on November 16th, 2021
Last night when I got home I was all excited because I was planning on cooking rice noodles with blackened green beans in a spicy sauce and had been thinking about it all day.
So there I was getting all the ingredients out and the Sriracha fell off the counter. It's in a plastic bottle, so I just ignored it while I got everything else out.
THE CAP ON THE SRIRACHA BROKE OFF AND PLASTERED MY KITCHEN WITH A SPICY BLOODBATH OF RED SAUCE!
After 20 minutes of scrubbing down my kitchen, I was like "Meh. Guess a cheese sandwich is good."
I don't even know why I try any more. This is what my life just is now.
Then this evening as I was bending over to put dinner down for Jake and Jenny, I saw that the Sriracha splashed under the counters and I still had more cleaning to do. This time when it's dried and caked on.
I really need to wrap everything I own in bubble wrap. It's the only way I'm safe in my own home.
Posted on August 9th, 2021
Getting older sucks.
But that's not to say that it can't be made to suck worse!
No offense to the AARP, but I'm not going to be clicking through on this story...
Fried potatoes are one of the few pleasures I have left. I'D RATHER DIE THAT NEVER BE ABLE TO EAT THEM AGAIN!
Posted on June 22nd, 2021
Falafel is easily one of my favorite foods. Alas, the only way to get it around here is to make it myself... and I do... but not as often as I want to eat it due to the fried oil mess it makes. Which means falafel consumption is usually reserved for when I am traveling. Except there hasn't been any of that in a year-and-a-half, so I've been sadly falafel-deficient all this time.
So imagine my surprise when I was at a QFC on the other side of the state and spotted "falafel street wraps" in the frozen foods section from TaDah Foods for $3.99 each! It sounded too good to be true, so I bought the three flavors they had... enjoyed them... then immediately searched for a place locally that sold them (which ended up being Fred Meyer, and they had all four flavors on sale for $3.49). Sweet!
Now, before we get to my reviews, a few things...
And now, on with the reviews...
Sweet Spicy Harissa and Labne. ★★★★☆
Easily my favorite of the four flavors. The harissa (a favorite spice blend of mine) adds just enough heat while still allowing the falafel flavor to shine through. And the creamy labne (similar Greek yogurt, but thicker like cream cheese) was the perfect accompaniment. I could eat these every day, and probably would if I could afford it.
Spicy Brown Sugar Harissa Hummus.★★★☆☆
This should have been my favorite by a country mile because the combination of harissa spice, hummus, and brown sugar is a holy trifecta of flavor. But the harissa is just too much here. I love heat in my food, but the harissa is so overpowering that you barely know you're eating falafel, as it's completely buried. My guess is that they were needing to compensate for the disgusting whole wheat wrap, and just piled on heat to make it go away. Well, they succeeded. Too well. If they would have toned down the spicy a notch, this would be heaven in your microwave oven.
Fresh Lemon-Garlic Hummus. ★★☆☆☆
I am not a huge fan of lemon when it's in something that's not lemonade or lemon cake or lemon cream pie... but it kinda works here. Thankfully they didn't add so much lemon that it completely overwhelms everything else... you still get a nice garlic note and a decent hummus vibe... but this ended up being a bit boring to me. Oh I'll still buy them, that's for sure. A sprinkling of feta on top did wonders. But with two other wraps I enjoy far more, it won't be as often.
Feta Green Pepper Salsa. ★☆☆☆☆
Given my love of feta, I assumed this would be a favorite. It wasn't. First of all, the amount of feta is slight. There's not enough to really register. Second of all, the fibrous nature of the pepper chunks was a weird fit with the falafel patties. I far, far preferred the creamy texture of either the hummus or labne in the other three flavors. This wasn't awful by any means, but I won't be buying it again when there are three others I'd rather have.
And there you have it. I am so very, very happy to have a new easy-to-prepare meal sitting in my freezer that I can heat and enjoy in minutes. For a falafel-loving guy like me, they are as dreamy as frozen gets. No, they aren't ever going to replace a falafel pita sandwich with crispy falafel balls right out if the fryer... but nothing ever could.
If TaDah wanted to make a falafel street wrap that would really push my buttons, here is what I want from their next flavor... FLOUR WRAP... NOT WHOLE WHEAT! ROASTED RED PEPPER HUMMUS! FETA CHEESE! AND A DASH OF HARISSA SPICE. That's it. That would be epic. ★★★★★
Fingers crossed. This combination seems like it would be far more popular with the food-buying public given how roasted red pepper hummus is like ONE OF THE MOST POPULAR FLAVORS OF HUMMUS IN THE USA. So maybe?
P.S. It's the graphic designer in me that notices these things, but... falafel patties must be difficult to photograph, because they Photoshopped in the exact same patty on all four boxes (though the Feta Green Pepper Salsa patty does have a different texture Photoshopped onto it?). Regardless, whomever did the actual compositing work did a darn fine job of it! And I am most impressed with the packaging design too. Fantastic color distinction to separate the flavors on the freezer shelf. Appetizing photography. Fantastic branding for the TaDah! company identity. An all-around great job at a time where packaging design just keeps getting worse and worse. I think the only thing I would change is to make the flavor larger so that it's easier to read from a distance (this would have been easily accomplished by pushing the text a little higher on the box, using a slightly more narrow typeface for the flavor description, and possibly eliminating the word "with" from the front of each flavor, which doesn't really add anything but an extra word).
Posted on June 17th, 2021
This morning I woke up wanting strawberry cheesecake. The closest I could get is eating strawberry yogurt alternating with white cheddar popcorn. AT LEAST IT WAS UNTIL I STARTED ALTERNATING WITH KETTLE CORN! ZOMFG! THIS IS STRAWBERRY CHEESECAKE FOR LAZY PEOPLE, AND I AM SO HERE FOR IT!
Did I invent a thing? I think I might have invented a thing. You're welcome, world!
Necessity is indeed the Mother of Invention... though sometimes the Invention is the Mother of Neccessity!
Posted on June 13th, 2021
The days may be getting longer, but don't worry about finding something to read to occupy your time... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Subliminal! Am I the only one who watches movies and television shows where they eat a certain food... then you crave that food? I just watched one of my all-time favorite movies, Ideal Home (for the hundredth time)... where they're always eating Crunchwraps at Taco Bell. Since my Taco Bell is 20 minutes away, I just decided to make them. Mexican Rice, Nacho Cheese Doritos, plus Shredded Mexican Cheese warmed on a flour tortilla until soft enough to fold without breaking... followed by shredded lettuce and tomatoes... flip and brown... flip and brown... serve with salsa and sour cream...
Delicious! More delicious than I deserve on a Sunday morning.
• Cooking! And speaking of cooking... I made the Walnut Cream Sauce Pasta I love so much that I got from Martha Stewart's meal service. Double batches get consumed in one sitting. Triple batches last me an additional day. So this time I'm going for a quadruple batch...
Assuming I don't eat it for breakfasts, I think I'm good through Tuesday or Wednesday night.
• Victor! The second season of Love, Victor dropped on Hulu. I loved the film that spawned it, Love, Simon and the fact that it is such a great contiuation of the movie... with strong ties to the movie... just makes it work so beautifully. Even if it does stray a little far into teen angst for me from time to time...
The second season is just as good as the first, which is such a welcome surprise. Usually shows like this tank badly after they've exhausted what makes them work. So... yeah... great show. EXCEPT... the amazing theme song, Somebody to Tell Me by Tyler Glenn, is being cut short on the show intros...
WTF?!? HULU, YOU ARE A STREAMING SERVICE... NO NEED TO CUT ANYTHING SHORT BECAUSE YOU ARE NOT ON A BROADCAST SCHEDULE!
• It's Magneto! Watching all these people claiming to be "magnetic" after getting vaccinated having their worldview shattered when their claims are defeated by frickin' baby powder is both hilarious and profoundly sad. OUR BODIES PRODUCE OILS. THAT'S JUST A QUARTER STICKING TO THE OILS ON YOUR SKIN! YOUR FIRST CLUE THAT THIS IS BULLSHIT SHOULD HAVE BEEN THAT MAGNETS DON'T WORK ON QUARTERS! It all reminds me of when The Amazing Randi used to debunk this idiotic crap oh so many years ago...
Interesting to note that not one person was ever able to prove their "powers" and claim his One Million Dollar Challenge. Not one.
• It's NOT Magneto! I am all for poking fun at ignorant people who buy into stupid shit because the refuse to use even the smallest amount of brain power in verifying the crap they see on the internet. Though, like I said above, it's still profoundly sad because truly ignorant people refuse to admit they're wrong, often-times doubling down on their stupidity. But you know where I draw the line? When ignorant people actually attempt to educate themselves and admit when they were wrong. That doesn't deserve ridicule. That deserves admiration and respect...
Reply to @b2daruce♬ original sound - Rob Marrocco
Now see... this gentleman right here was willing to dip his toe in the enlightenment pool by listening to reason, testing his beliefs, drawing a new conclusion based on evidence, admitting he made a mistake, and coming out on the other side better for it. Like rational human beings do. You don't poke fun at that. Mostly because it's something so many of the smartest stupid people will never do. They're just not that brave.
• ADOBE, STOP IT!!! For some stupid fucking reason, Adobe changed the MACINTOSH SYSTEM-WIDE KEYBOARD SHORTCUT TO HIDE THE APPLICATION from ⌘H to ^⌘H. It was a damn stupid decision that no Mac user would ever fucking want. Fortunately you can manually change it back to normal so you don't go insane wondering why the application won't hide when you tell it to. But every once in a while Photoshop will update itself and it will go back to what it was. Shit like this makes me insane. Why in the hell would Adobe change a MACINTOSH SYSTEM-WIDE KEYBOARD SHORTCUT in the first place? Because it seems like Adobe just fucking hate Mac users. Which is pretty shitty when you think about it. It was the Mac that allowed Adobe to build the defacto creative applications they have.
And that's all I have to say about that.
Posted on May 25th, 2021
I don't buy chocolate milk very often. The sugar content is too big a hit, so on the occasion that I happen to have milk in the house and want choccy milk I just use a heaping tablespoon of Nesquik and call it a day.
But last time I was at the grocery store, they had an entire gallon of choccy milk for some ridiculously low price... like $1.69 or something like that. Half the price of a half-gallon. I thought it might be because the expiry date was two days away or something, but it wasn't. I had two whole weeks to get through it!
Because surely I could drink a gallon in two weeks, right?
Yeah. Not so much.
I am barely half-way through it and the expiry date is tomorrow.
Now, I know that you can drink it past the expiry date, and I will probably try and have a glass for the rest of the week so I can get the most for my money... but it will likely not be because I've wanting a glass of choccy milk. And I will likely be dumping out a lot of it.
Oh well. I wish I could say that this was the first time I've been suckered into a "too good to be true" deal that didn't end up being that great. Though since it was cheaper than a half-gallon and I managed to get through half of the jug, I guess it kinda is?
Stuff like this messes with your head. In a day-and-age when groceries are just so darn expensive, I need to remember the chocolate milk fallacy... and that I am a single guy living alone who doesn't eat a lot.
That will save me from crying over spilt milk... as it goes down the drain.
Posted on May 16th, 2021
Feeling lost? Feeling that the internet has let you down? Want to be let down even further? Well have no fear... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• BREAKING NEWS! Holy fucking shit... CANADA DOESN'T EXIST, y'all...
I KNEW IT! THANKS FOR THE LIES, NASA!!! This is Antarctica all over again!
• It's a Dip! I had Wavy Lay’s potato chips and Rold Gold pretzels with my grandma’s dip for breakfast. AND I DON’T NEED YOUR JUDGEMENT! Anyway, here’s the non-recipe for the dip ("non-recipe" because it’s all to taste, and there aren’t measurements I’ve ever used because I start with small amounts and add more as needed by dipping a chip to taste test as I go)...
Mash together with a fork until well-blended (yes, it looks like barf, but it tastes amazing!)...
Now, my grandmother used a splash of Worcestershire Sauce (to taste) instead of the Colby-Jack, but when I became a vegetarian, she made a separate bowl without it because Worcestershire contains anchovies that I don’t eat. It tastes great without, but something was missing. I tried adding a lot of different spices and other stuff to try and replicate the original and was about ready to give up… when my (now-ex) girlfriend said that it would be good with cheese in it. So I tried all kinds of cheeses… but it was Shredded Colby-Jack I liked best. Medium Cheddar is also very good. Yes, yes, I know it looks awful… but this is my most favorite dip ever.
• Hello Victor! I was recently re-introduced to the theme song from Hulu's Love, Victor, the sequel series to Love, Simon...
Such a pretty pop track. A little surprising that it's so short! Two minutes and forty-eight seconds is all you get.
• Arena! Wait... Magic the Gathering: Arena was released for iPhone back in March and nobody told me?
It looks and plays beautifully. And, unlike Magic The Gathering Online, it seems more geared towards casual play. But do I really want to get back into the game that financially wrecked me in the early 90's? Turns out it's actually not that expensive to play... IF you're content to grind your way through games to earn coin. If you just want all the good cards right away, then you'll have to spend real cash. I barely have time to play a game of Minecraft Dungeons each day. But maybe a quick game of Arena before bed is in the cards for me? Guess I'll have to tap my land cards to find out.
• DEER! I constricted the event trigger area for my back yard to just my patio because it was being triggered by raccoons too often, but a neighbor told me that the deer are back, so I extended it. And, sure enough, they wander by every day in the early morning. If you look closely, you can see some out in the field in addition to the one that walks across my back yard...
I don't know where they come from or where they go, but they graze in the field then leave. Really hope they don't get hurt... wherever they go.
• WHAT! Wait... Saturday Night Live is funny again?
Keegan Michael Key was the guest-host, and this disturbing take on The Muppet Show was funnier than it should have been given the violence against a Muppet...
Dang. Poor Statler! Serves him right, I guess?
• FUCK! The fact that people are THIS stupid should not still surprise me. But here we are...
Oh yeah! Because I just LOVE wearing a mask! We all do! Just LOVE it!
The CDC saying that fully-vaccinated people don't have to wear masks indoors is fucking stupid too. It's supposed to incentivize people to get vaccinated. But all it's actually going to do is cause anti-vax dipshits to lie and say they're vaccinated so they don't have to wear a mask any more... which is something they never wanted to do in the first place. Well, I'm fully-vaccinated. But people who are vaccinated can still get COVID and may not know they have it because their immune system has been programmed to attack it... which means they can still pass it to others. So I'm going to continue wearing my fucking mask inside public places so I'm doing my part to keep COVID deniers out of the fucking hospital. You know, in case I get a heart attack and need to be in the hospital or something. Jesus Christ. The people most pissed off about COVID precautions and restrictions ARE THE PEOPLE RESPONSIBLE FOR MAKING IT LAST SO LONG! Hope you break a dick.
And I am done. No more bullets for you! (which is probably a good thing given my rage level right now).
Posted on May 12th, 2021
I need more polysorbate 60 in my diet, so I ended up getting some Hostess Ding Dongs. I haven’t eaten them in a long, long, LONG time because they were always made with lard. Now that they switched to palm kernel oil, corn syrup, and soybean oil, I’m golden!
So there I was, anxiously awaiting peeling back that shiny aluminum foil...
ONLY TO FIND OUT THAT THEY ARE WRAPPED IN PLASTIC NOW?!? WTF?!? WHEN DID THIS TRAVESTY HAPPEN?!?
=sob!= Still delicious though.