Saturday, July 30, 2011

Aliens, Brownies, and Cowboys Oh My!

Wednesday has come and gone as have several minor heart attacks, but I seem to have recovered from the ill effects of my first encounter with Swedish cuisine so back to the task at hand. Speaking of things which are at hand; currently I'm writing this using the blogaway app on my phone and I have to admit I've become spoiled by my iPad. The tiny touch screen on the phone and lack of text editing functions is driving me crazy. I miss having what is essentially a full size keyboard coupled with the predictive text functions that the iPad provides. It's like the best of typing on a computer along with the best of texting on a phone. Who says you can't have your cake and eat it too. Not Apple. Mmmm cake... Sadly there is no cake; as Chell discovered the cake is a lie. But there are brownies. I'm working on a recipe for S'more brownies but I'm having some difficulty with the graham cracker crust. Here are some pictures of the process as it stands.










It's worth noting that we've now returned to the iPad as the means of blog entry a happy necessity since the phone wasn't going to cooperate with multiple photos. The issue I'm having is that the graham cracker crust is more like a pile of graham cracker crumbs even after baking. I'm wondering if I need to up the butter content on the crust recipe. That or add some marshmallow fluff to the crust. I'll let you know what I try and how they turn out next time I bake a batch. The one positive in the brownie experiment is that they taste good. A lack of structural integrity doesn't seem to detract from the flavor. As previously mentioned working at Extreme Outfitters' GA location and living with a number of my coworkers means spending lots of time with said coworkers. Lot and lots and lots and lots of time both on and off the clock which sometimes necessitates an escape from their company in order to maintain my mental health. Last nights escape was the midnight showing of Cowboys And Aliens. In my experience few films have so artfully and completely captured the essence of the film in the title as did this film. It is as the title proclaims all about cowboys and aliens. And while this may seem an odd combination of materials it actually works to create an entertaining, if not terribly deep in the plot department, summer fun film. I'm sure I won't spend long hours pondering the intellectual depths of the film nor do I expect it will find it's way in to the cannon of classic films such as Casablanca and Gone With The Wind. But I wasn't looking for the next great Hollywood classic or a graduate level thesis on the meaning of life; 42. I was looking for an escape and I found just that in an entertaining if somewhat odd package. The escape was further aided by my decision to view the movie in one of Carmike Cinemas new Big D theaters. The Big D experience includes a much larger screen, more spacious seating, and a sound system that shakes said seating like a leaf in a stiff breeze. Not sure it would be worth seeing every movie in this manner given the four dollar up charge but I have to admit it was a more enjoyable experience for having paid those extra dollars. I rounded out my evening, or rather my morning I suppose, with coffee, donuts and a cigar. All told a lovely evening and a tremendously successful escape.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Swedish Death Trap

Living in my bosses apartment in GA has meant spending a fair amount of time several other people who are also here on a temporary basis to help out at the store. Depending on the week there are between three and seven itinerant workers, myself included, residing in the apartment. One of these vagrants is a Swede by the name of Christian; who's father is one of our vendors and a good friend our owner. Saturday Christian cooked for us and I learned something interesting. Despite the disbelief which Europeans, Swedes included, exhibit at the gastronomical number of obese Americans I am not certain I could name an American food as unhealthy as the dish Christian prepared. Lard maybe. However, the flip side of this coin is the fact that I'm not sure I could name many American foods that taste as good either. The dish Christian prepared was a pasta with a heavy, and I mean lead brick heavy, Parmesan cheese and cream sauce which used several cups of cream and a pound of Parmesan. And like many good pasta dishes this one included meat in the form of close to two pounds of bacon. The end result looked something like this.




Fortunately I had Sunday and Monday off which allowed me to spend many hours in the gym trying to work off the 5 pounds I gained eating this meal. I've scheduled an appointment with the doctor next week to discuss options for lowering my cholesterol which has now reached heights akin to those attained by Icarus. And I fear my fate may mirror his before I ever have a chance to see the doctor. But perhaps the like Icarus' body my cholesterol will experience a sudden descent. Preferably without the catastrophic end he suffered. Sunday and Monday I cooked but I forgot to take pictures so I'll fill you in on that, sans pictures, come Wednesday; if I haven't suffered massive heart failure in the interim.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Free Shoe Friday

Those who know me know that I like shoes. So much of our lives is spent on our feet that having the right footwear is a must. Usually this means a pair of Converse All Stars, of which I own 15 pairs, or Vibram FiveFingers; 4 pairs. I also like "free" in fact it's my favorite price for the things I want to buy. Today these two sources of happiness came together in a truly epic way. Inov8, one of the shoe companies we stock where I work, was gracious enough to provide me with a free pair of their Road-X Lite 155 running shoes.




As previously stated I pretty much live in my Chucks and FiveFingers and for well over a year the Fives have been the only running shoe I would use. And while I'm not retiring the Fives I have finally found another running shoe worth using. And they were free. And they're a ridiculously loud yellow which while not as ridiculous as toes shoes and maybe not quite as stylish as the Chucks still makes me smile. 'Cause thats what ridiculous things do; they make me smile. I can't wait to actually have a chance to get out and run in them. Maybe tomorrow. But now it's bedtime. The midnight showing of Captain America was well worth the loss of sleep but the Sandman is calling to collect and much like our great nation I've reached my debt ceiling and it's time to cut the deficit spending and pay the time I owe. If only the senate and congress would do the same. More on the movie and maybe first impressions of the 155's running performance next time.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Stir-Fried

Being on the road usually means eating out more often than I'd like but fortunately my boss has leased an apartment for those of us who came to work at the new store and with the apartment comes a full kitchen. And thanks in large part to having been home-schooled growing up I actually know how to cook. I'm not going to claim to be the next Bobby Flay but I can manage myself in a kitchen; with what passes for a fair degree of competence. To prove this point I offer exhibit A.




A fairly simple, but tasty if I do say so myself and I do, dish of stir fried chicken and vegetables on a bed of seasoned noodles. And, if you're reading this Mom; please note that I did in fact purchase the ingredients for, cook and eat a dish which includes a variety... nay a plethora, and yes El Guapo I do know what a plethora is, of vegetables and all this of my own volition. Aren't you proud. I'll be chronicling some of my further culinary exploits in the near future so stay tuned and bring a bib; you'll probably be drooling.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

We Now Return You to Your Regularly Scheduled Programming.

Now that I've gotten settled in to the grind here in Georgia we should be back to our regular schedule for posts. I'd like to be able to work on some of my art projects but I'm not sure if I'll have the space or time. But I'll be keeping my eyes open for some of the supplies I need so I can be ready to roll when I get back home. In other news America is on the verge of yet another economic crisis. But the news is not all bad. The coming economic collapse will likely result in the failure of the companies that hold my student loans. Not much of a silver lining but it'd make my life easier and you have to take your wins where you can get them. Speaking of winning apparently Charlie Sheen is getting a new sitcom; and several species of tiger have seen major population declines. Not that there's any correlation here just some random observations. In entertainment news the final Harry Potter movies has been released and after finally after ten long years I won't have to see any more Facebook post on that subject. Thank God for that. This month will also see the release of one movie I am excited, if somewhat apprehensive, about. Captain America: The First Avenger sees it's release on the 22nd and I assure you I will be attending the midnight showing. My inner, and outer, comic nerd is looking forward to seeing one of his favorite Marvel characters make the leap to the big screen. In other nerd worthy news it was recently announced that Terrafugia's Transition Roadable Aircraft has been cleared for launch in the US. That's right ladies and gentlemen a real flying car. Welcome to the future. Now all I need is close to 300,000 dollars of discretionary cash and we'll be taking off in no time. After all what's the point of having friends and a future brother in-law who are pilots if you can't have them fly you around in your new car.



Thursday, July 14, 2011

Dear Georgia

What is wrong with you. No one seems to be able to drive without trying to run me off the road. You have narrow winding two lane roads with a 70 mph speed limit and eight lane interstates with 55 mph speed limits. And the drivers insist on doing 70 mph in the 55 zones and 55 mph in the 70 zones. You tell me that the next two exits are 196a and 196b but not which is a and which is b. And don't get me started on the exits which feature only a single sign announcing the exit number and destination with said sign positioned some 10 meters beyond the point at which you needed to exit. Your drivers insist on racing past me in the fast lane and then getting over in front of me only to reduce their speed to something just under the current limit causing me to then pass them. A process they seem only too willing to repeat each time I subsequently pass them. Then there are the really brilliant signs which you so thoughtfully placed at excessively regular intervals to remind us that "speed checked by detection devices" is the order of the day. As opposed to the practice of many states in which speeds are checked by non-detection devices. But despite all that I don't think you're ever going to succeed in what I can only assume is your intentional, I like to there's no way this much highway horror is accidental, attempt to beat out New Jersey as America's most infamous place to drive. After all at least there are good reasons to drive through Jersey; no good reasons to stop there, something you both have in common, but there are locations worth visiting that require passing through New Jersey to reach. Not so Georgia. Some would argue that Florida is worth Risking the drive for but I say no. The relatively low cost of a plane ticket and the fact that florida is surrounded by water make plane and boat both viable and infinitely safer options for the traveller concerned with arriving in Florida riding in something other than a hearse.

Monday, July 11, 2011

On the Road Again...

Today I found out that my job is sending me to Georgia for the next month in order to help out with our new store. And I leave Wednesday. As in two days from now. And while it should prove an interesting change of pace and will allow me to pick up some extra hours the short notice does mean that certain projects will have to be put on hold. Hopefully I'll have time tomorrow to finish up the craft project currently in the works but the other projects will have to wait until I return from Georgia as I can't take them with me. In the mean time I'd like to share this little gem with you.




They say that sometimes life gives you signs, though rarely are they quite so literal, and when it gave me this one a post was inevitable. Now at first glance there might not seem to be anything out of the ordinary but just take a second and think about what the sign says... Uneven steps... Of course the steps are uneven if they weren't uneven they wouldn't be steps. They'd be a sidewalk. And as much as I like a good sidewalk they're really no substitute for a good set of steps.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A Day Late and a Dollar Short

So.... Late... Again... My bad. The grand plan for today was to wrap up a arts and crafts project, I know it sounds like sixth grade summer camp all over again, and display the completed work here. But you know what they say about "the best laid schemes of mice and men". Personally I've never known any mice that could stick to a plan even to save their lives. Anyway the plan was sidetracked by my spending the evening hanging out with a friend and catching up on what he's been doing to recently. So new plan; completed project on Monday or maybe tomorrow if I have time after church. In other news the I'm starting up a new blog dedicated to my thoughts, insights, rants, and anecdotes on surviving the zombie apocalypse. Which is not to suggest that zombies will no longer feature here, as they most certainly will, but rather that it amuses me to have a dedicated venue for chronicling said thoughts, insights, etc. And those thoughts, insights, etc shared with me by my like minded friends. The new blog will be titled The Extraordinarily Undead Life of Brian and a link will be posted once some actual content has materialized. Also new art idea spawned from pondering uses for the detritus generated by the current craft project so maybe that'll make it up here next week as well. Also an idea for a photo project may come to fruition if I can get my hands on a camera that is slightly less lame than mine. But one thing at a time. In parting here's an insight I garnered from events I observed at work today. Talking to yourself doesn't make you crazy. Talking to someone who isn't there makes you crazy.



Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Few of My Favorite Things

When the dog bites; when the bee stings; when the post is late; when I'm feeling sad a simply remember a few of my favorite things and then I don't feel so bad. No The Sound Of Music is not one of my favorite things, but that is what were going to talk about today. That is to say we'll be talking about few of my favorite things. Well not talking about them so much as simply listing them in no particular order. So without further ado; the list.

1. Further ado ( I also enjoy much ado about nothing)
2. Chucks (Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars)
3. Eating breakfast at inappropriate hours of the day (Thank the Lord for IHOP... Hmmm... iHOP... Sounds like the name of a pogo stick designed by Apple)
4. Excessive use of ellipses
5. My dog


6. The Gaslight Anthem
7. Not paying full price
8. 42
9. The potato
10. My iPad 2
11. Monty Python

There you have it a list of ten of my favorite things... Eleven, eleven of my favorite things; many of which will be the subject of more in depth discussion in future posts. And now I don't feel so bad.

Monday, July 4, 2011

National Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum Day

As many of you know 15 years ago humanity faced the greatest threat to its existence since the advent of disco. It was at this time that the earth was suddenly and viciously attacked by an overwhelmingly superior extraterrestrial force. The attack came without warning and without mercy and in a matter of moments millions were dead and hope seemed distant than the depths of the cosmos our enemy had crossed to reach us. Were it not for the selfless bravery of Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum who risked their live traveling to the alien mother ship and launched a cyber attack which crippled the alien vessel's otherwise impenetrable shields none of us would be here today. And let us not forget the sacrifices made by the brave pilots led by president Bill Pullman who flew unflinching into the very teeth of the monster; laying that beast low. So on this our Independence day we remember those who fought to make this day possible. And we salute those brave souls who stared death in the eye and did not blink. And now if you'll excuse me I believe I hear the fat lady.

On an unusually serious note I'd like to dedicate this post and my thanks for the freedom to post such nonsense to my friends and brothers who today are standing in harms way to defend the freedoms I daily enjoy. Nick and Ben this ones for you.



Saturday, July 2, 2011

Pack Light

This weekend I'm on the road going traveling to Virginia for a friends wedding and in order to cut back on the amount of baggage, insert joke about my having lots of baggage here, I've decided not to pack two of my travel staples on this trip. Caffeine and sleep have been left at the boarding gate back home. So far things seem to be going fairly well but we'll see if that lasts. We're only one day into a three day trip and already I'm beginning to wonder whether ditching those two at the same time was a good idea. Normally I'd be using one of the two to compensate for a lack of the other and it wouldn't much matter which side of the equation they fell on but now the equation has become as unbalanced as this guy. Perhaps I'll have to consider swinging by Wal-mart and picking up some sleep; maybe a three pack. I'd grab some caffeine from the gas station across the street but I'm trying to kick that habit cold turkey so that's out at this point. Plus with the shakes I'm experiencing from the caffeine withdrawal it be hard to hold a drink anyway. I'd feel kind of like I'm in rehab except there aren't any celebrities here so I know there's no way I can be in rehab This may not get posted until Saturday morning due to a general lack of wifi at the hotel where I'm staying. That's the case then I'll have an extra post or an amendment to this post to update you on all the latest developments in this breaking story.

Ok so it's now Saturday night and I owe you an update. Last night I finally caved and picked up some sleep which ended up being a good idea because today has been a long day. The wedding went off without a hitch; well I suppose that's not really correct seeing as how the whole point of the wedding was for people to get hitched and that's what happened. The reception was great though I was falsely told that my tuxedo with purple accents made me look like a pimp which was completely untrue. I know this was untrue because I didn't meet a single girl. But enough about my relationship or lack of relationship issues. In fact enough of everything for tonight. Time to use the rest of the sleep I picked up yesterday.