Dec 22, 2009

Livin' Large

Yeesh!
Almost a whole has gone by without any new posts.
I'd like to say I've just been too busy, but the reality is only partially true.
I have been busy but not enough to prevent me from blogging.

What's been happening?

Well, I'm still searching for a job. Lots of resumes sent out but nobody has called back.

I did have an interview, but it turned out to not be for a job directly. It was a 'job placement service' and they called me in to get more information regarding my work history. I think the interview went well, but I haven't heard anything from them since.

Been doing a lot of babysitting and I just recently house-sat for our neighbor last weekend.
Other than that....? Not much.

So see, really nothing exciting to blog about.
------------------------------------------------

I did make a major upgrade in our house a few days ago.

I was out shopping with G-rod the other day and noticed a flat screen LCD TV on sale for the holidays.
I've been wanting to upgrade from our old 29" clunker for a while, but I've been waiting for a good price drop on the new flat screen HDTVs before I made the switch.

This one was marked down $200 from the original price and seemed to have everything I was looking for in a new TV.
I asked G his opinion and he thought it was a great deal as well, especially the price.

So I came home and talked it over with Hotness and did some research online to get reviews and price comparisons before making a purchase.

Almost all the reviews I read were positive (and the few negative ones were really petty complaints) and the prices I found online for it were about the same as the non-sale price I'd seen, so overall it looked to be a good buy.
I decided... "This is it".

To make a very long story short, there were a few mishaps in trying to locate a store that still had stock on this TV while it was on sale but after some dogged perseverance I managed to succeed in my goal of finding one.
I even manged to get it for LESS than the advertised sale price so... BONUS!!!

I loaded it into my car (which was a feat unto itself... take a look at the pictures)


and brought it home to hook it up.

One of the reasons I liked this TV was it had a lot of different types of inputs for various cables.
My DVD player used an S-cable and this TV was one of the few styles I found that had an input for that.
So after I got home and took it out of the box, it was plugged in and I was watching movies on it within 20 minutes.

I'm loving this new TV and do not regret buying it at all.
I've been going over scenes from different movies just to watch how they look on the new screen.

With the surround sound system I acquired not long ago, I feel like I'm starting to catch up with the 21st Century finally.

As for my older 29" television, I gave it to my aunt to replace her tiny, little 13" TV.
(Yeah, people still have some of those!)
So everybody's happy and watching programs on bigger screens now.

I recently bought the "Ultimate Cut of Watchmen", and I'm looking forward to spending the better part of 4 hours watching it on hi-def and surround sound. Probably today since I don't have any other plans to speak of.

The rest of this week will be filled with playing Heroclix with a friend's kids, more babysitting and... something else I forget. (Aw c'mon! I know it Christmas this Friday!)

I don't know when I'll get back to this blog, so in the meantime have a great Christmas and hopefully you have your shopping finished.

Be talking again (hopefully) soon.....

Dec 2, 2009

Das Kr├╝melmonster sagt NEIN!

It's not Monday, but it would qualify if I was still doing those posts.

For your enjoyment, here's Cookie Monster singing with Rammstein:

Stress Symptoms

I gotta take Hotness to the doctor today for an appointment.
She's been feeling under the weather, much more so than I was when I had the cold I just got over. We're hoping it's nothing to serious (as in the flu, or particularly H1N1) so we'll see.

Anyway, it got me to thinking about some stuff in my life right now and I thought I'd talk about them briefly.

Stress does a wicked number on your health in more ways than you can imagine.
When I was selling aquarium fish (many years ago) we always informed customers about the many factors that can cause stress in the fish tank environment and how to try and eliminate them for the overall health of the fish inside.

The same thing applies to us humans.
We have sources of stress on many, many different levels coming at us at all times.
Not all of it is bad, but constant repetitive stress can really wear you down after a while.

About 8 or 9 years ago I started having trouble with my sinuses. I wasn't having infections or anything like that, but I was having difficulty clearing my nose when I blew it into a tissue. It never seemed to work and only got worse as the years continued. I even went to the doctor to try and see what the problem was, but he couldn't determine a cause so it went on without any remedy.
Occasionally I'd take an over-the-counter allergy or sinus pill to help alleviate the symptoms, but they always returned.
At night, I'd have difficulty breathing and wouldn't get a full, restful night's sleep. In the morning I'd wake up barely able to breath through my nose and would spend a good portion of my morning trying to blow it out so I could breath a little.

I thought I may be allergic to the cat, but I never had been before and the symptoms never got drastically worse when I was around the cat.

Then, about 4 or 5 years ago I started having trouble with my stomach. At least once (and quite often twice) a week I'd have an upset stomach.
My tummy would cramp up and I'd have to go. It was not comfortable in the least.
The medical term for this would be called "irritable bowel syndrome". No real way to stop it, it just happens and people have to deal with it for the rest of their lives.

Well a funny thing has happened in the last couple of months.
I haven't had one instance of an 'irritable bowel' at all.
And around the middle of November my sinus started to clear up. I've been able to breath clearly at night, and when I blow my nose... it clears out the junk and I can breath.

What have I been doing in the last two months to make such an improvement to my health?
Nothing, quite literally.
I was laid off two months ago and in these past two months, my body has started to recover from stress I was subjecting it to at a job that I wasn't enjoying.

When my sinuses started acting up, I had just moved into "Will Call / shipping". I was there for about a year or two before moving into sales. Then in the last 4 or 5 years of being in sales and having to deal with customers, vendors, and even some co-workers my stomach started acting up.

When I was let go from my job, my tummy troubles ceased.... practically overnight.
My sinuses took a little while longer to start to clear, but they have been for the last 2 or 3 weeks and I can not only breath easier but I actually feel a lot better than I have in recent years.

You'd think that being unemployed would add more stress and make my body react even worse, but I've really been more relaxed than I ever have been in a long while.
I'm looking for work, but I'm only looking for things I seriously want to do. Not just the first thing that comes along.
I'm not about to subject myself anytime soon to the same stress levels I had been before.

Now, if I would just get my butt into the gym.........

Nov 27, 2009

Funniest Thing I've Seen All Week

This is pretty darn funny.
It's actually safe for work, although you might not want to watch it there.
Just thought I'd warn you first, but nothing to offend anyone really.

Are you ready?
Go here.




(Hint: You have to click the 'play' button more than once)

Post T-Day Food Report

OoOoOoOo..... finally recovered from my turkey-induced coma and can tell you about how the day went.
Ah, scratch that. I just want to tell you about how my recipes turned out.
In a word... Awesome!

I stuck to the list of ingredients, but I have to admit they leave a lot of room to play around with.
You can add or subtract as much sausage, celery, etc... to get it the way you want it.

I did make a couple of modifcations to it while I was mixing it up:
I added 1 small clove of garlic to the butter that I cooked the celery, onions and mushrooms in.
I also added a little bit of rosemary to the stuffing (I didn't measure, but if I had to guess it was about 1/4 teaspoon).
Otherwise I stuck to my original plan and made it the way I wrote it out and planned on doing.

I will definitely make this stuffing from scratch again. It was totally worth it.

As for the potatoes....
The only thing I did that wasn't on the recipe earlier was I added fresh ground pepper and salt to them before cooking them.
I cut up the potatoes, crumbled the bacon, (coarsely) chopped the rosemary and then put it all in a big mixing bowl. Then I poured the olive oil over it and ground some pepper and shook a little salt over it before mixing it up and dumping it into the baking dish.

They both turned out great and everybody like them.

Today Hotness and I braved a couple of stores to do some holiday shopping.
We weren't looking for any of the "Black Friday" specials, but there were certainly enough people out-and-about that it was difficult to find parking and get through the check-out lines.
Luckily we didn't have much to do so we weren't stuck in any of it for too long.

Tomorrow, I have some errands to run early in the day and then my afternoon will be filled with more babysitting. (I'm thinking of having business cards made up with "Professional Babysitter" on them. Hmmm.... what do you think?)

That's all for now.
More to come soon, I promise.

Nov 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving 2009

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Today I am making the stuffing I posted the recipe for earlier.
I'm really looking forward to how it comes out.
I'll post my thoughts on it after this Friday.
---------------------------------

So yesterday I got to spend the day in Seattle with Technogreek and my friends from Calgary, "K & L".
L is a B-I-G fan of animation and it just so happened that there was an animation exhibit going on at the Pacific Science Center.
Having connections like I do (wink-wink), I was able to get all four of us FREE PASSES to the exhibit for the day.
Which was especially nice, since the whole thing was geared a lot more for kids than for the general animation loving public.
There were a lot of hands-on projects for younger folks, but not a whole lot of history or background for us 'old fogies' who remember the "Good Old Days".
They did, however, have a nifty real-time animation set-up that took your picture in "bullet time" and then animated it right there for you.
This was just one of the three that we did:

video

Overall it was a fun experience, but I'm certainly glad we didn't have to spend full price to see it.

Afterwards, we went to a sports bar across the street for some Kobe Beef burgers, and then to Bellevue to check out a paper supply store for L.

Technogreek had an appointment in the afternoon, so he dropped us off at his place. K and I went to the Comic Stop and then to Jamba Juice before I dropped him back off and headed back home for the day.

Other than that, I watched "Boondock Saints" with Hotness that evening, under the threat of my brother disowning for not having ever seen it.
It was really good, and I'm surprised I hadn't known about it earlier.
Now that I have seen it, my brother has agreed to not disown me and I am back in his good graces again. (*WHEW!* I was really worried there for a bit!)

Anyway, I wish everyone a terrific Thanksgiving and I have some good news looming on the horizon. I'll write more about it when I have something 'concrete' to report.

Nov 22, 2009

Gluten-Free Cornbread Stuffing

I'm up early on a Sunday morning. Hotness is still in bed snoozing.
I figured, now is a good time to blog and put up a recipe I'm working on for Thanksgiving.

Before I start in, I should mention a couple of things:
1) This is a recipe I'm making for the FIRST TIME. I'm not sure how it'll come out, as I'm "winging it" as I go along.
2) All measurements (that aren't specified) are approximate. I'll try to be accurate, but it's sort of up to personal preference on some of this stuff, so use as little or as much as you see fit.

First, we start with the cornbread since this is the base for the whole thing.
You can use a commercial gluten-free mix, like Bob's Red Mill GF Cornbread Mix. (This is probably the easiest way to go, but since I couldn't find it when I went shopping, here's how to make your own...)
> 1 Cup of gluten-free (GF) cornmeal
> 1 Cup of GF flour (I used: 1/2 Cup rice flour + 1/4 Cup Tapioca flour + 1/4 Cup cornstarch.... all available through Bob's Red Mill)
> 1 Teaspoon Xanthan gum (this stuff is rather expensive, but a little bit goes a very long way, so it all works out if you plan on doing a lot of GF baking)
> 1/2 Cup sugar
> 1 Tablespoon Baking Powder (I used Clabber Girl, but make sure the brand you use is gluten-free.... they should be by nature, but sometimes you never know)
> 1 Cup of Milk (I used Fat-free, or "Skim", but that's just personal choice)
> in a 1 Cup measure, put 2 eggs and then top off with vegetable oil to make "1 Cup"

Mix the dry ingredients first, then add the wet ingredients to it and mix well.
(for added flavor, I added about 1/2 tsp of rubbed sage and 1/4 tsp of thyme to the dry ingredients)

Pour it in a skillet or baking dish (8x8x2 should be fine) and bake at 425 F. (Originally my recipe said for only 20 minutes, but it actually took about 35-40 minutes. I'd say start at 20 minutes and check it to see if a toothpick stuck in the middle comes out without any gooey batter. If it does, it's done. If it doesn't add another 5-7 minutes until it is)
* One thing about GF breads is that thay are "heavier" and more dense than typical bread. Don't be surprised if it doesn't come out looking like regular cornbread (such as Jiffy Cornbread).

Let it cool and then slice the cornbread into 1/2 - 3/4 inch slices.
Take the slices and cube them into 1/2 - 3/4 inch cubes.
Then let them sit for a couple of days to get nice and stale. (You want them kind of dry and hard when you make the stuffing).

If you don't have a couple of days, you can spread the cubed bread out on a cookie sheet and dry them in the oven for an hour or so. Turn your oven to 150 - 200 F and check on them periodically. When they are nice and dry (almost like croutons), they're done.

That recipe (plus the stuff we're going to add next) should be enough to make a side-dish for 4 or 5 people. So if you are planning on more people, just double-up the recipe. If you have leftover stuffing, who doesn't like stuffing the next day? Only communists, I tell you.

Now to make the stuffing.
Measurements are approximate, so feel free to add more if you like it, or leave it out if you don't.

In a skillet on med heat, melt about 4 Tablespoons of butter and to it add:
1/2 cup of chopped celery
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 Cup of Mushrooms (see below)
Stir these around for a bit until they start to get a little soft. (The onion starts to turn translucent about that time)
Then add these to your cornbread cubes and toss them around to mix it all up

In a saucepan, heat up 1 cup of GF chicken broth (you could use vegetable broth if you want) and add 1 teaspoon of sage (I use "rubbed" instead of "ground", but the flavor is the same so use what you have... and feel free to use more if you like sage).
It doesn't need to boil, but get the broth to a simmer to make sure you get the sage flavor to mix.
Then add this to your cornbread cubes and mix it up good so that everything is soaked in both, and put it in a baking dish (the size will depend on what you decide to add to the stuffing next...)

I am adding to this mix:
> approx. 1 Cup of wild mushrooms (I bought dehydrated ones at the grocery store and followed the directions for reconstituting them)
> approx. 1 tart apple (like Granny Smith) chopped up into small cubes
> approx. 1/2 Cup of dried cranberries (I'm using Craisins, but you could also use chopped dried apricots instead)
> approx. 1 Cup of cooked and drained pork sausage (not the "maple-flavored" kind, though)
> approx. 1/2 Cup of shelled pistachios (or walnuts, pine nuts, or even shelled pumpkin seeds!)

Mix everything (or at least, everything you want to add from the list of extras) and bake it in the oven at 425 F for about 30-40 minutes until everything is heated through.

I've never made this recipe before, but I did make good old Stove-Top Stuffing and added these ingredients to it and it was wonderful. I can't see that making stuffing from scratch would be any different.
I'll let you know how mine came out after Thanksgiving is over.

***** Bonus Recipe *****
I'm also making some roasted red potatoes. This recipe is E-A-S-Y!!
Chop up some red potatoes into approx 1 inch cubes (about 7 regular-sized taters), and put them into a bowl.
Add fresh ground pepper and salt (enough to taste) and a generous amount of chopped rosemary (if I had to measure, I'd say at least a tablespoon)
And crumbled cooked bacon. (Mmmm! BACON!) Maybe about a 1/4 Cup (or a little more... it IS bacon after all!)
Then pour olive oil over (just enough to coat everything evenly) and toss everything around a bit to mix it all up.
Put it all in a baking dish and bake at 425 F until the potatoes are done (usually about 45 minutes, but check them periodically... it could take an hour)

Anyway, that's what I'm making this year.
If you try either (or both) of these recipes out and have any comments or suggestions, let me know.

Until next time.....

Nov 19, 2009

KISS Alive 35

I apologize for the tardiness in getting this up on the blog, but I was kept down with a bad cold when I woke up on Monday and I've just been taking it easy.
Apparently rocking out on Sunday night took too much out of me. But before I dive into what happened, a little history first....

I'd never been a big fan of KISS growing up. Mostly because my mom thought they were a bad influence, but also that I wasn't really into that kind of music as a youngster.

As I grew older, and started to develop my (warped) sense of musical taste, I never really took the time to 'discover' them and see what the fuss was about. The few songs I'd heard were just okay to me.
But they have a devoted fan base of all ages.... the KISS Army, it's called.

I saw them about 8 years ago during their "Official Farewell Tour", back when all original four members were putting on the makeup and hitting the concert circuit.
I thought, "Well, I'll probably never get to see them again so I ought to check them out and see them live before they retire".

What a fantastic concert!
They pull out all the stops to make their show a spectacle beyond any other.
I became a fan of the band after that night.

Their "Farewell Tour" turned out to not be so 'final' after all, as they have continued touring during the last 8 years since I saw them.
When I heard they were coming back to town, I thought it'd be fun to go see them again but having been recently laid off (and therefore having to watch what I spend), I figured I'd have to pass.
Besides, it was only two original members and two others who've been in-and-out of the band over the years, so really it probably wasn't going to be the same anyway.

Then on Friday (before the show), I was putzing around on Facebook when I saw a post by Wicked Juan... "Going to try and score $10 KISS tickets".
WHAT!?! Tickets for 10 bucks?! Seriously?!?
I wished him luck, and he turned around and sent a message back to me, "You can try and get them too, here's the link....".
How... HOW, I ask you?... could I pass up a chance to get super-cheap tickets to go see KISS?
I couldn't.
So I followed the link, typed in the "secret code" and.... I scored them as well!
I figured I'd get two tickets, because really, what good is going to concert by yourself. Especially to see these guys?

I was so excited. Not only did I get the tickets for dirt cheap, but I was going to take my concert buddy with me.
I called her up and asked if she could join me, but it turned out she already had plans for that night.
So I called Elwood... same thing.
I called a buddy who works with Hotness, but he couldn't make it either.
I was getting bummed because I was afraid I'd have to go to the concert alone.
I mentioned that I got the tickets but hadn't found a "date" to go with me, when one of my friends suggested a camping buddy of mine.
I called him up and asked him and he said, "Hmmm.... I don't really know what they sing, but it sounds like fun. Sure."
So on Sunday night we headed into Seattle to meet up with Wicked Juan and his wife and have pizza before heading to the show.

We got to the concert, found our seats and got ready for the show.
Here' our view of the stage:


The opening band was Buckcherry. Not only was I unimpressed by them, but the sound was awful. If they were any good, I couldn't tell because they just sounded horrible.
In fact my ears hurt after their set was finished.
This isn't the first time I've had this problem with opening bands at the Key Arena.
The same thing happened when I saw Van Halen in 2004 there. Their opening band was Rose Hill Drive and they played so gosh-darn loud that I put in earplugs (something I rarely ever do at a concert).
Luckily, the main act doesn't have this problem and the sound is much better.

Anyway, they finished and left the stage. Then a big banner dropped while they switched out equipment:


After about 20 minutes, the lights dimmed and over the speakers everybody heard...
"ALRIGHT SEATTLE! YOU WANTED THE BEST, YOU GOT THE BEST!!!"
The banner dropped and the band started right in with "Deuce" and even set off fireworks right off the bat!
From then on it was hit after hit, explosions, fireballs, confetti, elevated stages, fog machines and the craziest rock costumes ever!


Gene Simmons did a bass solo, complete with the "spitting blood" routine and flying up from the stage.

There's a good video montage of the show we went to that night here on YouTube.

What the band lacks in profound musical lyricism, they more than make up for in showmanship on the stage.
There is no other concert like a KISS concert!


People were decked out in costumes all over the place, and all ages were represented.

There were young kids with their parents, teenagers, on up to the 40+ crowd.
Once the music starts and they start performing, no matter what age you are in real life you suddenly become an pre-adolescent and get your face rocked!

It was a total blast and I think if they come back to Seattle again, I just might have to go see them... one more time.


****** BONUS ******

A little Gene Simmons goodness to put on your desk so you can rock out at work.

Nov 15, 2009

Going Mobile

I tend to run along a fine line between being a technophobe and a gadget-freak.
I like nifty gadgets and such, but I don't always feel that I need to have the latest-and-greatest whenever it comes out. In fact, I tend to shy away from some things because I feel that they invade my person space a little too much.

I went a long time without a cell phone for this reason. I felt if anyone needed to get hold of me they could call my home number, leave a message, and if they were somebody I wanted to talk to (i.e. NOT a telemarketer!) I'd call them back. I don't need to be getting calls when I'm not near a phone. But Hotness talked me into getting one and now it's with me all the time.
And it has come in handy. I'm constantly using the camera, and texting has become second-nature to calling when I need to relay a message but don't want to make an actual call.

I felt the same way about my first iPod.
I wanted something to listen to when I went to the gym, on a plane ride, etc...
I tried to find an mp3 player that WASN'T an iPod, simply because I wanted to support somebody other than Apple. (They had a H-U-G-E market presence and I wanted to 'support the little guy')
But I eventually broke down and got an iPod Nano (because everything else on the market was geared for use with the iPod) and loaded it up with songs. It's served it purpose at the gym, camping, on my plane rides to Calgary, and so on.
I can't say that I couldn't live without it, but I do appreciate it's convenience and portability.

When the iPhone came out, it was eye-catching but didn't lure me in with it's sleek design or it's functionality.
What bugged me most was that you couldn't replace the battery on it. So once it "died", you were stuck with buying another one, and so on.
That's not to say I still didn't like it, but I managed to avoid being sucked in by it's sexiness.

Until, recently that is.

No, I didn't get an iPhone. But I did upgrade my iPod to an iPod Touch.
I have a friend who works for a company that builds applications for the iPhone and iTouch and was very impressed with what it was capable of doing.... besides just playing music.

I can talk myself into rationalizing just about anything, so it didn't take long to talk myself into getting one.
Hotness didn't dissuade me, but tried to get me to explain my reasons for wanting one.
I explained to her that with it, I could:
1) check my email when I'm not at home (especially while I'm out job-hunting)
2) use various applications, or "apps", that are specific to my interests (more on this in a bit)
3) I could instant message for free with her when I'm mobile, particularly when I'm in Canada (instead of texting her at $.30 per international text... which adds up after a week!)
... not to mention just playing around with it for fun.

"Okay, if you think you'll actually use it for that go ahead and get it," she said.
So I did.
I didn't go crazy and only got the 8GB version. I figured if it worked like I thought I'd be using it for, I could always upgrade at a later date.

I have fallen in love with it during the week I've had it.
I could probably live without it, but I have already gotten accustomed to having it with me at all times.

I was able to check my email and update my Facebook status while at the local coffee shop before heading to a job search.
I went to dinner with Hotness one evening and sent an email to a friend about something I had just thought of (and would probably forget before I got back home).
I loaded some "kid-friendly" apps on it and have used it to keep my niece and nephew entertained for a few minutes when I'm babysitting.
Not to mention, using it as a day-planner. (Am I free to babysit on Monday afternoon? Lemme see... why yes I am. Anytime after 2:00 p.m.)

I've been searching the iTunes store for applications, mostly free ones, that I can use for myself.
There's a ton of them on there. A lot of crap and a lot of useful ones.
Obviously you get what you pay for, but for the most part I've been pretty happy with the free apps I've picked up.
I got a few games (to kill time and keep kids busy), and a couple of conversion apps (i.e. inches to meters, Fahrenheit to Celsius, foreign currency to U.S. dollars, etc...).
I also picked up a language translator, not that I need it all the time but "just in case".
And I got a sale price calculator that will determine the cost of something with original and additional mark-downs plus figure in the tax so I'll known what I'm about (or NOT about) to spend on a sale item. (Since I do a lot of shopping, this comes in very handy)

Did I need it? No, probably not. Obviously I've lived this long without having one and could've continued to do so.
But like I said earlier, I've grown accustomed to having it in the very short time of owning it.
It's also helped me realize that having an internet-capable phone is something I'll want to have if I can find the kind of job I'm hoping to get. Portable internet access will be a necessity for me.

So here I am, sucked in by another shiny object on the technology shelf but very happy with it.


---------
Coming up soon:
KISS in concert
Gluten-free cornbread stuffing for Thanksgiving

Nov 13, 2009

Beware Of No. 3

Sorry for the lack of posting.
I will try to rectify that soon, but in the meantime please enjoy this Public Service Announcement from BabyLove Diapers.





Heh heh heh... a "poo explosion"!

Nov 7, 2009

Being A Local Tourist

On Wednesday I took a break from my standard schedule and headed into Seattle for a "job search / ticket purchase / walkaround town" day of adventure.

I called up 2.0's girlfriend to see if she'd like to join me.
She's currently looking for work as well and since I was heading into town to buy her a ticket for the opera as part of a trade we made (she's joining Hotness & I in January), I thought she might like to join me. Plus, I always like having company when I drive to Seattle.

It turned out she had a job interview that day... in Seattle.
So joining me into the city was a double-treat for her, as her car was not driveable that day and she'd been planning to take the bus.

We met up around 10:00 a.m. and drove to the Big City.
Her interview was at 11:00 and I needed to kill some time while she was there, so I went to the Uwajimaya store and looked around. (There's ALWAYS lots of stuff to look at there)
I ended up buying a DVD of some classic kung-fu action by the legendary Shaw Brothers.
It was "The 5 Deadly Venoms" and I'm still trying to find time to sit and watch it. I'm really excited to see it.


After the interview, we went to Seattle Center so I could pick up her ticket.
The ballet and the opera share the same venue, but apparently they do not share the same ticket office. We had to go about a mile and a half uptown to get the extra opera ticket.
We decided to hold off on that, as there was other stuff we wanted to do.
So we took the monorail to Westlake Center and then walked to Pike Place Market.
There were some businesses in that area that I wanted to check out and I wanted to wander around town since it was a nice day.

Unfortunately, my trip into Seattle to look for a job turned into a wasted effort, as everybody I went to see only took applications online. It didn't do me any good to actually drive into the city and try to apply in person.
However... the day was not a total loss as the two of us had a great time walking around Pike Place and looking in the shops.

We had lunch at a pasta bar in Post Alley. She picked up a present at the (ORIGINAL) Starbuck's shop. We went to the Great Wind-Up Shop. We stopped in at Golden Age Collectibles. And many, many other places.
It was a really fun day.

Then we headed back up north, where I dropped her off with her boyfriend and she caught a ride home with him.
Later that evening, we all met up again at the Comic Stop and hung out until after closing when we all went out for dinner afterwards.

Thursday & Friday were sort of uneventful, but tonight Hotness and I have another ballet to attend.
This one is "Director's Choice", so there are lots of smaller works with a lot of diversity to them.
I'm looking forward to it as there is usaully one 'stand-out performance' which makes the whole evening worthwhile.
After that, perhaps a late-night nibble at Pomodoro.

------------------------

I hadn't posted my Halloween costume from this year yet, so for those of you who missed it, here it is:

I intended to go as "The Fly" from the 50's sci-fi film, but never got around to finishing the mask for it.
Since I had all the major components of the costume, I opted for a 'mad scientist' instead.

And here was Hotness:

Me-ow, baby!


Well, that's all for now.
I'll be back soon when I have more to alk about about.

Nov 5, 2009

Breakdance Competition: Batman Vs. Joker

No real content today, just fluff.

Have fun with this bit of interactive YouTube fun:

Oct 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween everybody!

Have you got your costume ready? Are you all set for going out and making a "ghoul" of your self at a party, or are you going to be hanging around and 'trick-or-treating' with the kids?
Well, whatever you do have fun!


Also... Happy Birthday to Peter Jackson, who turned 48 today.

What have I been up to lately?
Until yesterday, not a whole lot.
I've working on my unemployment obligations, so nothing exciting there.


I'm still doing the organization work for a friend of mine. Finally starting to see some progress there. It felt like I really wasn't making much of a dent in it but I'm starting to see that's not the case now.

On Wednesday I applied for a job position that I'd been hoping would open up.
I'm really excited about it, although I haven't been called in for an interview so I'm just in a holding pattern for now.


Thursday I had to attend mandatory "orientation" at the local unemployment office. *YAWN!*
But that's out of my way now. It counted as a job search for my requirements, and since it was early in the day AND it completed my week's quota... I blew the rest of the day off and watched horror movies while Hotness was at work.

First up was the remake of "Friday the 13th".
Other than being a newer "retelling" of the story, this movie didn't bring anything to the table that was really all that good. (Except for Julianna Guill. RAWR!)
I wasn't shocked in the least and the suspense wasn't really there.
On the plus side, it was better than the original in that it had a better budget and so the effects were on a higher level than when it first came out. Overall.... meh.

Second movie was the remake of "Halloween" which was directed by Rob Zombie.
This one fired on all 8 cylinders and was a great remake of the original.
I thoroughly enjoyed it.
My only regret is having watched it during the daytime, as I think it would've been much better to watch it after dark with the lights turned down. Other than that, I thought it was top-notch for a horror / suspense movie.

On Friday I was supposed to babysit my nephew for the morning, but that ended rather abruptly when he decided that he'd had enough excitement and fell asleep in his highchair while eating breakfast.
I'd only been there 45 minutes before the little tyke crashed and burned. His mom was already home, so she put him to bed and didn't need me to stick around anymore.

I went the next town and picked up some Halloween candy to hand out at their house tonight, and while I was there I went to see a movie.
I'd been looking forward to seeing it ever since I heard it was coming out and wanted to catch it in the theater.
It was just under 2 hours long and when it was finished I felt like I'd really spent my money on a "non-experience".
I don't know... The cinematography was well done. The music was appropriately moody and fitting. The costume design was incredible. But when the movie was over I just felt like it really didn't say anything.
This is one case where I really think the book was better.


With that finished, I came back home and putzed around the house for a bit.
Then I took off in the late afternoon to catch up with my good friend Liz and go see a concert in Seattle that night.
She had won tickets to go see UFO at Neumo's and asked me if I wanted to join her.

The music was great. They are a band from the late 70's that has continued to have a somewhat lucrative career in rock, although they are somewhat unknown to a lot of people in the U.S. who are under 35 years old.
I looked around the crowd and it seemed like I was the youngest person there. Kind of a shock, but at least I wasn't "creepy old guy" for a change!

As for the bar, well.... I won't be going back just for drinks there anytime soon. If ever.
I'm not much of a social drinker when I'm out and about, so I didn't know what I wanted when we were at the bar. I sat down with Liz and looked over the drink menu.
Let me clarify that a bit. It's a "menu" of the types of drinks they can make which you pay for to enjoy. Sort of like going to a restaurant and ordering a food item that they offer on their menu.
So I went up to the bar and ordered my drink. The bartender said "A what?", so I repeated it and then said, "It's in your drink menu".
He fiddled with some cash for a moment, filled a beer glass and then came back to me and said, "What is it called?". I repeated it again. He looked puzzled.
Then he grabbed a glass and mixed up something that sounded like what I wanted and handed it to me. Plus he overcharged me for it.
So not only only did I not get what I wanted, but the bartender WHO WORKS AT THE BAR THAT OFFERED THE DRINK MENU didn't know what drinks were on that menu. Plus I paid extra for his lack of knowledge.
Customer service FAIL in my book. Thank you very little.

We finished and our drinks and then went to see the band. They rocked for over an hour and had a couple of encores. Then we left and headed for home.
It was well after midnight and the roads were very wet, so I stayed at her place and had breakfast there before coming back to my house to Hotness today.


Tonight we'll be handing out candy to costumed hoodlums at separate locations.
She'll be downtown at the auto parts store and I'll be at our friend's house.
Then after the ghosts and goblins (and princesses) settle down for the night, we'll be heading to a local restaurant for their Halloween shindig. It should be a fun evening.



** UPDATE!! **
I forgot I'd taken pictures of the band last night.
They aren't great but here they are:


We were on the left side of the stage in the second row, so we got a great view.


Oct 25, 2009

Wall Of Sound

I mentioned earlier that I had acquired a 5.1 surround sound DVD player in trade for some work I did for a friend, so I thought I might talk a bit about that.

A buddy of mine recently upgraded from an older system to a newer, wireless surround sound with Blu-ray DVD system. (OoOoOo... fancy shmancy!)
He had recently gotten it and hooked it up, so his older system was still at the house.

He mentioned offhandedly that he wasn't sure what he wanted to do with the old system.
He didn't want to waste time trying to sell it, since it was older and probably couldn't get much for it, but he also didn't want to throw it away, as it still worked perfectly good.

I said, "Well if you want to get rid of it, I'd take it off your hands if that's okay."
He thought that'd be great, seeing as how I was already doing stuff for him and it would be a good trade.

So I packed it up and brought it home.
Along the way, I also picked up some new speaker wire. (The ones it came with were a bit damaged from his kittens playing with them)

I've never owned or set up a surround sound system before, and since I didn't have the directions that came with them I wanted to devote a whole day to work on getting it together.
My buddy Imperfect found the instruction manual online at the mfg'r's website, so I downloaded it in preparation of setting it up and read through it briefly to familiarize myself with it.

On Wednesday, Hotness worked from home and I had no other plans that day, so I picked that day to get working on taking apart my previous system and getting the new one hooked up.

I'm not going to go into details about the process ('cause it's pretty boring actually).
But I wanted to tell you what I had been using compared to what I have now.

I bought a Panasonic DVD player about 10 years ago. It was my first and only DVD player I purchased (for myself, at least).
I hooked it up to my home stereo and when Hotness and I would watch movies we had the "luxury" of listening to movies play in quadraphonic stereo (two stereo speakers + two TV speakers). This was the height of my sound system and has worked for us all this time.

I'd watched movies at friend's houses with better systems, but was still quite happy with my mediocre system.

I got done fixing the wires on the newer machine and hooked everything up. I turned it on and balanced the speakers.
Then I put in a DVD that I new had a lot of "sounds" so that I could see if I noticed much of a difference.

HOLY COW!!! What a difference indeed!
This new sound system is amazing compared to what we were using before.
There are so many little things we weren't hearing before when we watched movies.
I think we were only getting about 2/3 of the actual soundtrack at any given time.

I'm not an audiophile so I don't go around looking for the latest and greatest to try and get perfection for my ears.
But having used the set-up I had been for the last 10 or so years, I am very excited and happy to have this newer system to use.


In case you're interested, this is what I have now: SONY DAV-C770
It's gotten mediocre reviews, but I can honestly say that I have no complaints about it.
Now I'm going to have to re-watch all my DVDs so I can hear what I'd been missing all this time!

Oct 23, 2009

And Here Are Those Pictures I Promised

Well, I may not be speedy, but I do deliver.... eventually.


I meant to get some pictures up about a week ago but I let it slide and look where we are now.
Anyway, here a few pictures from things I've been doing lately. Enjoy.

In between job searches I been filling my time up with babysitting for my niece and nephew.
A few nights back I had the chance to watch them for the evening while their parents went out looking for a new vehicle (read: bigger kid-transport).
My niece put these fangs on and tried to scare me:

It worked 'really well' as I was certainly terrified and couldn't sleep at all after being frightened by that cute face. (*wink wink*)

On a different day, I watched her brother in the morning.
He hadn't yet had breakfast, so I thought I'd make cinnamon toast for him and see if he liked it.

Trying it out
Seems to be a success!

Other than babysitting, I've also been doing some organizing at a friend's place.
He's been behind in getting his comic books filed and asked if I could come lend a hand while I'm available.

In trade for some of the work, he gave me his older 5.1 surround sound DVD player, since he'd recently upgraded to a newer system. (More on this later)
Also, I get to hang out with his kitties all day while I'm there.

See what rough working conditions I have to deal with?

Wednesday last week, I was running some errands and ended up in Lynnwood.
I stopped by the Comic Stop and later treated myself to some sushi at Sushi Misoya next door to the shop.
This place is tiny, but what they lack in size, they more than make up for in excellent food.
On this trip I had the 'paradise roll' and the 'tarantula roll'.

Absolutely wonderful and the people who run the place are fantastic!
If you like sushi and find yourself in Lynnwood one day, I highly recommend going there to eat.
Their prices are reasonable and their food if well worth it. (They also have non-sushi items on the menu as well, if that's not your "thing")

On Sunday, Hotness and I went to our first opera of the season.
Well, technically it wasn't the "first of the season" but it as OUR first one this season.
We went and saw "La Traviata". (Click the link to find out the synopsis)
It was wonderful. A very tragic opera with a suitably sad ending.
I'm not ashamed to say that I was bit sniffly at the end, but Hotness was definitely teary-eyed.
It was a good thing we'd brought tissues with us!
Here's a shot of the traffic afterwards as everybody was leaving the parking garage.

I took it from the Skybridge.

After that we went to Pomodoro for a bit to eat.
The two of us haven't been there together since I'd proposed to Hotness... 7 months ago!
Oh, it was so good and we'd missed coming there. The food was splendid (as usual) and we got to see our favorite waitress (who missed seeing us as well!).
We had our usual: calamari, halibut ceviche, as well as the Penne alla Vodka which we shared.
(Mmmm... calamari!)

I am so looking forward to our next opera, "Il Trovatore". It has treachery, deceit, political intrigue, attempted murder, kidnapping... and gypsies!
It also happens to be right around my birthday, so it's a double treat. (Guess we'll have to celebrate at Pomodoro again!)

That's most of what's been happening lately.
I probably forgot a few things, but I can't give away EVERYTHING.

I'll try to get back to this again soon, so stay tuned.

Oct 16, 2009

Pictures To Follow Soon

Hey there!
I haven't forgotten about you all.
I just didn't think anybody would be interested in hearing my daily unemployment status.
("Woke up. Applied for some jobs. Didn't get called. Went back to bed. Etc.... Repeat daily")

I've actually been keeping quite busy, so this break from work has been kind of pleasant to get caught up on a few things.

I've got some pictures to post, but I don't have them loaded on the computer yet. I'll try to do it tomorrow and get 'em up on here for you to see.

In the meantime, I thought I'd chime in to let you all know I'm still very much alive and kicking. Just not very "blog" active lately.
Actual content coming soon though.

Oct 6, 2009

Barbie Couch

Yesterday I spent part of my afternoon watching my niece and nephew so their mom could take a break and catch up on things she'd been putting off.

My nephew was asleep for most of the time, so it was my niece and myself for the better part of the time I was there.

We painted some rocks together for a craft project, and when we were finished I asked her what else she'd like to do.
"Let's play Barbies!" was her reply.
We went up to her room and she was very specific on which ones we'd be taking downstairs to play with.

We came back down and she decided they were going to all go on a "camping trip". So it was a Barbie slumber-party on the living room floor.

While they were 'setting up camp', they all took a break to "chat" and sat down on the couch...
which was conveniently similar looking to my leg:


Anyway, we played Barbies for a little while when I heard a "POP" noise come from the kitchen.
I knew what it was, but I made a funny face anyway.
My niece said, "Oh, that's just the 'fridgerator. It makes that noise."
I said, "I thought it came from you".
She replied, "No it's makes ice and does that".
I told her, "Well, I thought maybe you made ice with your butt".
She laughed and said, "Uncle Ferretnick*, you make me laugh so hard that sometimes I cry!"

She's almost four years old and saying things like that? She's such a trip!



* Obviously, she didn't call me "uncle Ferretnick", but I avoid using real names on here as much as possible.


Oct 5, 2009

Cthulhu Cupcakes

Saturday was quite a fun and eventful day.

It was the day that some of the members of the Comic Stop Social Club got together to have a baby shower for Dr. Zoltar and his lovely assistant.

He (being a big fan of H.P. Lovecraft) and she (being very tolerant of his geeky ways) were given a "Cthulhu-themed" shower.

I wanted to bring something, as we are a bunch of snack-eating people, so I decided to make Cthulhu cupcakes.
I'd never made any before, so I did a quick Google search which directed me to here.
They were cute, but the Mt. Dew cupcake recipe is what really intrigued me about them.
This I had to try.

I should have started on Friday night, but instead I got started on Saturday morning.
It became apparent that I wouldn't have time to make the cupcake batter in the recipe but I could at least make the frosting.
So, going forward from there I got out my supplies and got busy.


The frosting recipe called for me to boil down the Mt. Dew and reduce it into more of a syrup to concentrate the flavor. So I did that while I started in on the cake batter.
I decided to use a white cake batter and just add food coloring to it.
I added a few drops of green food color and to add a little flavor I put in 2 teaspoons of lemon extract and the zest from a whole lime and half of a lemon.
Then I spooned the batter into the prepared paper lined pans and put them in the oven.

They came just fine with a nice pale green color.


While they were cooling, I mixed up the frosting.
It wasn't very green, so I added some food coloring to it. (Mostly some green but also a couple drops of blue to make it darker than the cupcakes)

Despite the amount of flour and butter in the frosting, it was still a little soft and tended to spread. But for the most part it stayed on top of the cupcakes.
(I've since found out that the frosting holds in place better after it's been chilled in the fridge for a bit, but it's a little harder to spread evenly)


Once they were all frosted, I got the garnishes ready.
I used "very cherry", "watermelon" and "peach" Jelly Bellys for the eyes and "Zappin' Apple" sour punch straws for the tentacles.


and made a few to get the look I was going for.


Then I left Hotness to finish them for me while I jumped into the shower to get ready.


They were VERY moist cupcakes and only had a hint of citrus flavor to them. (Less than I'd have preferred, but at least I didn't go overboard and make them too "lemony")
The cup cakes were a hit and went very well with the punch that was served


as well as the cake


The baby shower, itself, was a total blast and we all had a great time.
We all look foward to the "geekling" when she makes her appearance to the world next month.


Oct 1, 2009

Unemployed


Not a very "catchy" blog post title, but it does get right to the point don't it?

Anyway, like it says, I am now currently unemployed.
After 15 years of working for the same company, I was let go today due to economic conditions.
Basically, they couldn't afford to keep 5 salespeople on the payroll when there was really only enough work for 2-1/2. So, somebody had to go.

I've kind of seen it coming and was expecting it to happen right about now.
September was the last month of our fiscal year, and October was the beginning.
If layoffs were going to happen, it was going to be around this time.

I'm not looking forward to my unemployment status (who does, really?), but I'm not all that shaken up about it.
I expected it to happen for a while and if I'd been thinking "Well, it won't be me" I'd have just been thinking like an idiot.
Now it's like a weight has been taken off. I don't have to get up in the morning and wonder if it's going to be my last day or not. I just had my last day.

I promised when I started this blog that I wouldn't gripe about my work, and I think I've honored that.
I'm not going to start now, but I would like to get a few things out of my system.

I'd been there for 15 years. That's along time.
I could've gotten married, had a kid and have that kid in High School this year during the length of time I've been there.

One thing I've been asked alot is "What do I want to do?"
Honestly... I do not know.
What I do know, is that I don't want to work in the same industry anymore.
I'm tired of it. In fact, I never really liked it. But the pay was good and it let me afford my hobbies. I may not have been enjoying it, but I'm not going to rock the boat . That'd be foolish.

On the other hand, I haven't had that many different jobs. The ones I've had have been V-E-R-Y diverse, but I haven't had that many of them. And for the last 15 years, I've been doing the same thing.
Now I've got to go look for another job, and I'm pushing 40 while there are a whole slew of younger bucks out there fresh on the market. That doesn't seem too favorable for me.
I may have to suck it up and do what I know how to do, instead of something different.
We'll see. I'll be sure to keep you posted one way or the other.

One of the downsides is that while I may have had a 'customer / provider' relationship with people I dealt with on the phone, there were quite a few whom I was friends with.
I'm going to miss talking with them.
Luckily some of them have my personal email and I'll be able to keep contact with a few of them.
But not all of them.

On the plus side, I won't have to deal with the same old office beauracracy I've been dealing with these past years.
I get to look forward to a whole new one.
Also, I really didn't want to be there when I turned 40. Now I guess I got my wish.

Now that that's out of my system, I get to start all over.
Tomorrow I'm going into Redmond and Elwood is going to help me with my unemployment paperwork.
It sucks that I've had friends lose their jobs recently as well, but thankfully they can help me navigate this uncharted territory. I'm very appreciative for their help.

I got a pretty generous severance, so as long we tighten our belts and don't do anything stupid, we should be okay for a while.
I'm actually not too worked up about this.


..... and by the way, that stapler in the picture above is mine.
I bought it.
Nobody's keeping my red Swingline stapler!

NUDGE Music Maker

I've playing around with this for a few days.
It's kind of addictive.




You can pick and choose the particular notes you want to have play, or just drag your mouse over random spots and see what happens.
You can also change the tempo and volume for each "instrument", and you can speed up or slow the beats per minute. (or 'BPM' for you Ravers out there)

I wish there was a way to save your music.
If there is I haven't found out how to do it yet.

Sep 30, 2009

Gamer Droid

No wonder Obi-wan used his Jedi mind tricks to keep the stormtroopers away.
With a droid like this Artoo unit, who'd want to give it up?!?

With eight... EIGHT!!!!... game consoles, a projector, and a sound system this droid rocks!

I tried to find more pictures and information about this project, but a Google search just turned up a bunch of sites repeating the same limited info.

Needless to say, somebody with a little too much time on their hands and lot of technical savvy deserves an award for this!

Sep 29, 2009

What An Idiot

Sometimes it just doesn't pay to get out of bed in the morning.

At lunch this afternoon, I took off from work to run to Target and get some stuff.
The weather forecast showed rain, but at noon the sky was clear and blue. In fact it was quite warm.
So I rolled down the windows as I was driving around around to get a breeze in the car.

I got back to work and went inside to eat my lunch.

As the day progressed, it began to get darker and the beautiful blue sky of earlier was replaced with cold, grey colds.
Then finally around 4:15 the clouds broke open and DUMPED rain like you wouldn't believe.

We all watched it coming down and joked with each other about having somebody bring our cars to us so we wouldn't have to get wet.
I even made a comment about needing to open my car windows so it wouldn't be all 'stuffy' inside when I left work.

It rained hard for at least a good 20 minutes or so, then slacked off a bit into a steady regular rain when 5:00 rolled around.

I got my stuff together and went out the front office to my car to discover....
that I had left my windows open the WHOLE time it was raining.
Both of my front seats were soaked and there was a little pool of water on the floorboards. (thankfully I have rubber mats so it didn't soak into the carpet)

Aw man!
I quickly rulled up the windows and then went back inside to get some newspapers or cardboard to cover my seat so I wouldn't have to have my butt get soaked on the drive home.

Now I'm home. The car is parked in the parking area at the house.
And I have to figure out how I'm going to dry out my car seats while it's expected to continue raining the rest of this week.

It never occured to me that my windows were still open from my lunchtime driving.
In fact, I can see my car in the parking lot from my desk and I didn't notice they were down at all.
I totally spaced on it, all the while the inside of my car got a nice shower.

What an idiot.

Sep 28, 2009

Comedy, Tragedy & Babysitting

A lot happens in between the posts here.

My last entry was on Wednesday the 23rd, and since then I have done a lot stuff that kept me from the computer.

Thursday started out with work as usual. Nothing exciting there.
But that evening, I had plans to meet up with Elwood and go see Christopher Titus at the Snoqualmie Casino.

I left right from work and got to his house to pick him up, then we grabbed a bite at a local Mexican place before heading to the Casino.

That place is freakin' H-U-G-E!
I'm not a gambler, so I don't spend a lot of time checking out casinos. My only other experience was back when I saw ZZ Top and G-rod & I stopped into the Muckleshoot Casino before the show. It was kind of dark inside and not a place I thought I'd find myself coming to again.
But the Snoqualmie Casino was really nice.

The show opened with Duane Goad who was pretty funny and great start to the main act that was billed.
Then Christopher Titus got on stage and started in.
Most of his performance came from his "Love is Evol" tour, which I'd seen on TV a while back.
It was just as hilarious to see it live and he really does a good job.

We both stayed around for a bit after the show. Elwood tried his hand at one of the poker tables, while I walked around and looked at everything.

I dropped him off afterwards and got home myself sometime around 11:30-midnight.

I didn't have to work that Friday, so I took advantage of being able to sleep in. Which was really nice after getting home so late.
My big plan for the day was to go babysit my niece and nephew that afternoon.

I got there around 1:00 p.m. and my niece met me outside looking like this:

She said she got all "fancied up" because her uncle was coming over.
(She's been on a "Fancy Nancy" kick lately)

Her brother was asleep when I got there, so the two of us had a late lunch, walked around in the backyard, read a book and dressed up Barbies. (Yes... you read that right. I dressed up Barbies.)
When her brother finally woke up, we went to the park where I kept them entertained and out of their mom & dad's hair until 5:00 p.m.

Then we all came back and by that time Uncle Ferretnick was pooped!

I came home and made dinner and watched "Shoot 'Em Up" before falling asleep early and going to bed. (In that order!)
-------------------

Saturday found me up shortly after the sun was up (so much for sleeping in again).
I bummed around the house for a bit and decided I wanted to get out of the house instead of sitting inside all day.

I took off for Bellevue to see if Uwajimaya had any Ultraman toys (which they didn't. Well, not what I was looking for anyway).

Then I drove up to Lynnwood and picked up comics where I ran into Technogreek, back from his recent Euro-trip.

It was starting to get later in the day and I needed to get back pronto, as Hotness and I had tickets for the ballet that night.

Got home. Showered and shaved. Ironed my clothes for the evening and took back off out the door.
Traffic was good for a Saturday evening, so we made it in plenty of time.

The evening's performance was "Romeo & Juliet".
This was a more modern and minimalist version of the production, with music by Prokofiev (who's best known for his children's piece "Peter & the Wolf")
We'd seen this version before, and thought it was... okay.
Actually, I think that Hotness liked it more than I did. But I'm more of a classicist and enjoy the version with the elaborate sets and music by Tchaikovsky.

This production, while very well done and well-performed by the dancers, just didn't hold my interest. Especially the second time around.
We ended up leaving after the first part during the intermission and coming home.
We got home and went straight to bed to sleep.

Sunday was a do-nothing day.
We did some shopping for a project I wanted to start on, but I've had to give up on it for now.
I have this great idea visualized in my mind, but when it comes down to making it a reality I need to work on it some more and get it fleshed-out better.

That evening we had dinner with our neighbor and watched some TV with him.


And that brings us up-to-date to today.
Back at work again and nothing exciting to talk about.

Sep 23, 2009

Learning Korean.... The Hard Way!

The other day I was killing some time and found myself shopping around Hmart in Lynnwood.

I wasn't looking for anything in particular. Just browsing around at all the funky packages and taking in the smells of the seafood dept. (which seems to be found throughout the entire store) when I happened along a sale of a particular product.

The sign said they were "stuffed pancakes", but as there were two very different looking pictures on similar-looking packages, I figured that one of them (the one that actually DIDN'T look like a sort of pancake) had to be something else.
Ironically enough, it was this other item that looked more enticing to me. Unfortuantely both the packages were in Korean, so there was no way to tell for sure.

I looked the package over, thinking "Well, they gotta have English directions on here", only to find:

that it didn't.

I studied it for a while and figured that according to the picture, all I needed was;
a package of the mix (250 g)
one egg (approx. 50 g)
and liquid, presumably water (70 ml) with a little extra to spritz on the rolls(?).

"Okay. Good enough for me", I thought. After all, I'm no dummy around the kitchen, so I could probably figure it out. Besides, maybe they had English directions inside the package. (One could hope, anyway)

I opened it at home and discovered that was sadly not the case.
I decided to hold off until the weekend to make them so I could spend some time on them instead of trying to figure it all out after coming home from work.

The next day, I went online and looked for the product via Google.
Keep in mind... the package was all in Korean (except for "Enjoy Home Baking" on the front), so I really didn't have a lot to go on.

I muddled around online for a bit when I came across a blog that described making this very product. YAY!
Of course, it was all in Japanese so NOW I was trying to decipher how to make a Korean biscuit(?) using Korean to Japanese directions.
It wasn't looking good.

One of my coworkers suggested I translate the page using Babel Fish.
Good idea! .... sort of.
It translated the page, but I think it actually made it worse.

There was a lot of references to "Military officer" and "empress" but not a whole heck of a lot of info about how to actually make the darn things.
I did see that it's called 'Kaechal bread', but whether that's the Korean name or a Japanese term for it isn't clear.

I'll try to attempt making them soon and let you know how they come out, but don't expect great results.
I'm going to be working blind.

So... I guess I don't really have a point to this story except to say this:
If you are in a foreign foods market and buy something "cool", you'd best be prepared to know what you're getting into if the directions aren't clear to you.
Lesson learned? Probably not. I'll most likely do it again.

Oh Snap!


I've been "Kanye-fied!

Sep 22, 2009

It's Not Blog Neglect... Honest!

Yeesh!
The posts around here have been pretty lean lately, huh?

It's not that I'm tired of this blog or anything.
I just haven't had a lot of things I wanted to devote a post to.
Usually when I find something funny (typically a news story), I've been posting it over on my Facebook page. I don't feel like writing up some big involved post about it, so it's just quicker to put it there.
I've also had a couple of recent posts over at the Comic Stop blog, so it's not like I've deserted Blogger.

But I finally had something I wanted to put on here, so if you're still coming by here and reading this thing every so often, well today's your lucky day.

A while back (in March, to be precise), I made a gift certificate for a friend and offered to take him to a Mariner's game as a Birthday present.
Life quickly got in the way of things and there were a couple of comic book conventions shortly afterward, so going to a game sort of became an afterthought.

Not much was said about it until the other day when I reminded him that my offer for the game was still open if he'd like to go.
He was still up for it and as luck would have it, the next game coming up was Sunday against the New York Yankees.

I got the tickets through my work and we made plans to enjoy the game that day.


We met up in Lynnwood and carpooled into Seattle from there.
Traffic was lighter than we expected, so we had lots of time to kill before the game.

We parked and then walked to Uwajimaya to get something to eat.
Then we walked around the International District for a bit. (I wanted to stop into Pink Godzilla and a Japanese toy store while I was there)


While we were wandering, there was a large group of people gathered at a small park in the neighborhood.
We asked one of the police officers what was going one and they said it was Chinese National Day celebrations.

Looked like they were all excited, but we had a game to get to, so we headed back to Safeco Field.


We missed the National Anthem and the first pitch, but got to our seats not too long after.
Our seats were in the 1st row, right off the third baseline. A great view with nobody in front of us to spoil it.

I'm not a big sports fan (hence the lack of "sports talk" on this blog), but I do enjoy a fun game with the sun shining and spending it with a friend.
Especially one that answered my questions about the things I didn't understand.
(I finally learned how they figure baseball averages, and why the home team didn't need to finish the last inning if they were ahead. Things like that.)

The Mariners scored two runs in the first inning and then 5 more in the second inning.
The Yankees only scored one run, but like I mentioned to George, it seemed like they weren't even trying.
So overall it was a fun game but not very exciting. Glad that the home team won anyway.

In the last inning, a foul ball headed our direction.
George went to catch it but it got knocked out out his hand. One of the players threw it back and this time George caught it.
It was a nice way to top off his birthday present!

After that, we headed back up north to get my car and parted ways.

And that was the highlight of my weekend.

Coming up:
Ballet season starts this week
New Ultraman news
Learning Korean... the hard way!