Jul 29, 2009

Pork Chop Salad

First, I want to just ask a question.
Why... WHY?!?... when it's too hot to be in the kitchen cooking over the stove, do I voluntarily go outside to cook over an open bed of hot coals? It's madness, I tell you.

Anyway, I found a new food blog and was inspired by this the other day and wanted to try it out for myself and Hotness.
It's a 'pork chop salad' and looking at the pictures he had on his sight, I couldn't imagine it not tasting good.

Here, compare his salad with my finished result:

Looks good, huh?

I made a few changes (what cook doesn't?), but nothing so drastic as to change the overall product.
Go read his recipe. No really, I'll wait. Go ahead.

Now, what I did differently was this:
Instead of iceberg lettuce, I used mixed greens (including spinach).
I swapped the cucumber for a zucchini squash.
I added 'shoestring' carrots
and for fun, I added Nasturtium petals.
Then I used only the balsamic vinegar and Parmesan cheese (no olive oil) for dressing.

I would have to say that I would prefer this over a grilled chicken salad any day. It was that good.

In the meantime, while I was slaving over hot coals making the porkchops, Hotness took our cat out for a walk in the yard.

It's a very rare treat for her to be out (she's STRICTLY an indoor cat) so trying to get a good picture of her was difficult, as she was too busy inspecting everything.

I was told not to embarrass the cat by posting these.
I think she doesn't get enough exposure on here, so I was just trying to give her some. *wink wink*

And in totally un-related news:
Hotness and I do not watch 'regular' TV.
Oh sure, we have a television. But we don't get cable or satellite or anything like that.
Whenever we watch anything, it's because it's on DVD.

So when we watch a TV program, it's because we either borrowed it or I picked it up on a whim 'cause I'd heard good things about it.
The other option is when our neighbor "Tivo's" a program and we watch it later at his place.

Due to that last option, both Hotness and I are now totally hooked on "The Big Bang Theory".
He recorded one of the shows, because he thought we'd get a kick out of it.
Oh, how right he was! We loved it!
So he recorded another, and so on.

I just recently ended up buying the first season on DVD and I'm looking at getting season two soon.

Yeah, we're probably behind-the-times on finding out about it, but we're glad we finally did.
I can honestly say I haven't laughed out loud while watching a TV show as much as I have with this one. It's a total hoot!

Jul 28, 2009

Doctor's Orders

It's hot.
And when I say "hot" I mean it's F'ing HOT!!

Right now my weather widget on my computer says it's 95 degrees F outside. That's just too much heat for my delicate constitution, even if it is summer.
I moved out of the south so I didn't have to live with heat like that any more.

I'm no doctor (but I play one in the bedroom! Har har har!), but here's my prescription for tolerating this weather:
Take liberal doses of Mojitos
Or margaritas*
And rest comfortably, preferably in a hammock with your feet up

Repeat as often as required until heat subsides and you can resume regular activity.
Or just repeat as often as you like and forget all about 'regular activity'.
We'll be back to our usual schedule of nothingness after the heat subsides.

* Ferretnick's easy-peasy margarita recipe:
In a 10 oz. glass filled halfway with crushed ice, mix the following;
1 shot of tequila (I prefer "1800" since it's reasonably priced and 100% agave. 'Silver' or 'plato' works fine since it's going to be mixed, but whatever you choose is fine)
1/2 shot of Grand Marnier

No salt. No blender. No fancy umbrella.
Just good drinkin'!

And if alcohol isn't your thing, you could try cooling yourself down this way.

Jul 26, 2009

It Takes Guts

One of the projects I've been trying to do, but never seemed to get around to, was replacing the 'guts' in the toilet in our bathroom.
It's not like it's a difficult job. I've done it before when we lived in Lynnwood and I did it at a friend's place when they had a leaky toilet.
So I knew what was involved, I just never took the time to start doing it.
Until today, that is.

I knew it was going to be a hot one outdoors today (right now, my computer weather widget says it is 90 degrees F).
I wanted to try and accomplish something, and figured an inside project would be much better than an outdoor one.

I moved the rack (for holding extra toilet paper, tissues, and various other items) that sat over the "throne", and started in.

Here's the old insides of the toilet. Kinda gross.

The toilet wasn't leaking, so it's not like there was a problem with that.
What was happening was that sometimes it took more than a couple of flushes to....
er... "get rid of the evidence", if you catch my meaning.

I figured a new set of parts would fix that and make life (especially mine) easier.

This is the valve and float that was in there originally.
It was just a matter of turning off the water and un-threading the nut under the tank. Then this whole assembly just came right out.

And here is the new valve and float. It's more of a one-piece unit and eliminates that tacky, black round 'balloon'-type float.

I put it in the tank. Adjusted the height for the water level. Threaded the nut on it. Then hooked up the water hose underneath.
Just like new and now it flushes better.
No more "surprises" for the next unsuspecting customer.

Total amount of time doing the project: about 30 minutes.
"Why didn't I just do it sooner, if that's all the time it took?", I hear you asking.
I don't really know. Lazy I guess. At least it's done now.

Last evening, Hotness and I had dinner with Elwood and his wife at their place.
With the weather being so warm lately, I suggested maybe something to eat that didn't involve cooking.
He suggested a cold cut and cheese platter and I thought that sounded fantastic.
He also made a wonderful pasta and smoked salmon salad.
I made a couple of salsas (corn and verde) and some fixin's for mojitos and we were set.

After we ate, we sat around and talked for bit then we broke out my JLA Monoploly game.
I had gotten it as a gift almost 10 years ago, but had never played it.
Elwood got to take the 'virgin' role of the dice to break it in, and after that it was GAME ON!

Hotness was buying up everything she landed on and ended up winning the game when Elwood and his wife had to bankrupt after landing on one of her spots.
That left me and Hotness in the game, but I'd been having a bad run of obtaining anything useful so I defaulted.
(here I am, stuck in jail)
After that, it was time to go home.

Another fun evening with both of them. It's getting to be a habit.

*** Update 07/27/09 ***
I forgot to mention that we got a guided tour of the "Toy Story" studios while we were there.
It is a sight to behold in all it's geeky majesty.
If you have not had the fortune to see it for yourself, your life as a nerd is certainly lacking!
Seriously though, it's really impressive. He has a LOT of action figures (NOT dolls!) and I was amazed that he had them all displayed without having to rotate some of them into the room while others had to be in storage.

Today (aside from my toilet project earlier) I watered plants on my deck.
Here's how things are coming along in the ol' container garden area:

These are my cantaloupe vines.

Here is one of the two cantaloupes I'm growing.

Here's the other. This one is the larger of them.
I'm enjoying this warm weather (even though we could really use some rain soon), because these plants really dig it when it's warm. At this rate they should mature just nicely and be very tasty when they are fully ripe.

These are my cherry tomatoes, just starting to turn color finally.
And this is my Roma tomatoes (I have two of these plants growing)
Looking forward to making some homemade sauce with these!
(Add maybe even dry some of them in the sun for pizzas! Yum!)
Finally, one last photo for you:
This was sent to me on my cel phone yesterday by Jedigeorge.
He took this at San Diego Comic Con.
This girl is dressed as Julie Martin from Terry Moore's comic "ECHO".
(Now scheduled to be a major motion picture, by the way!!!)
Rock on girl! Show the Terry Moore love at the convention!

Right now, Hotness and I are heading over to our neighbor's for pizza and TV.
And that's my weekend.
Hope you all had a good time as well.

Jul 25, 2009

Zombie Strippers

I'll watch just about anything, as evidenced by some of my previous posts.
I do have some limits, but for the most part, everything is fair game.

So I've had my eye on one movie that came out about a year or so ago: "Zombie Strippers".
Hmmm.... strippers that become zombies. Sounds good, but then I've been fooled before.

After having it on my Amazon wish list for a while (to watch and see when the price dropped to a reasonable amount in case it turned out to be a stinker), I finally ordered it.
It arrived last week, but with camping that weekend I didn't get to watch it right away.
And this week, after getting home from work, I just didn't feel up to putting the effort into watching it.
But last night, with Hotness out of the house for most of the night with friends, I decided it was time and a great way to start the weekend.

I was not disappointed.
So in case it wasn't clear in the title, this movie is about strippers who turn into zombies.
In other words, lots of 'T & A' and flesh-eating shenanigans.

It stars Robert Englund (of Freddy Krueger fame) as a strip club owner, and Jenna Jameson (former porn princess) as the top diva in the stable of dancers.
The years (and plastic surgery, and drugs, and MULTIPLE sex partners, etc...) have not been kind to Jenna, but after some spackle and a few coats of paint she looks pretty good and pulls off the part fairly decently. In fact, it's fair to say that she isn't that bad an actress in this film.
Which isn't saying much, but let's face it... this isn't an Oscar contender.

In a nutshell;
The movie starts out announcing that in George W. Bush's 4th consecutive term in office, we are at war with pretty much everybody, including Canada.
With our forces stretched so thin, scientists have been working on a way to re-animate the dead so that fallen soldiers can return to the battlefield.
After all, once you die, what is is there to be afraid of? Keep on fighting soldier!

Of course, things never go as planned (those tricky zombies), and a group of rag-tag, special force, soldiers-for-hire are called in to fix the problem in a science lab that has been taken over by the undead.

One of the guys gets bit and soon after runs away, instead of getting killed by his troop for being infected.
He breaks a window and jumps in to hide inside a building, only to find out that he's broken into an illegal, underground strip club. (Can you see where this is going now?)

Then we cut to Kat (played by Jenna) dancing on stage who is soon attacked by our spec-op zombie.

After that, it just gets sillier.

The owner and the other dancers aren't sure what to make of Kat's recent return to life after having her throat taken out, but after she goes back up on stage, it's apparent that the patrons of the club really dig dead, naked, dancing chicks. So, since money is to be made, the owner decides it's for the best to leave her be.

Some of the other girls want in on the action and become zombies themselves, much to the delight of the crowd.

While the other girls are frightened by what could happen if things continue.
Anyway, this movies progresses as you'd expect.
The zombie strippers start eating the clients of the club. The owner and 'live' employees try to kill the zombies and escape, but to no avail. And then the special forces team shows back up in the nick of time.

Unlike "Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus", which I had low expectations for and it STILL fell short and was disappointing, this movie was surprisingly good for what it was.
Well, maybe "good" isn't the right word but it was enjoyable.

If I had to pick a highlight in the film, it would have to be near the end when two of the girls (who are now both zombies) fight out their rivalry on the stage.
One of the girls attacks the other by shooting billiard balls at her... in an 'unusual' manner.

Overall, I was not disappointed by this movie. It delivered the goods and was entertaining.
In fact, Hotness (who typically avoids this kind of stuff) got home and watched part of it with me.
She attempted to read a book, but couldn't get through one page and finally gave up to just watch the movie. I wouldn't say she loved it, but she didn't leave the room either.

So let's review:
Military forces called in: check!
Scientific experiment gone awry: check!
Robots destroying structural property: fail
Zombies attacking and eating the living: check!
Lots of boobies: check! (or is that "DOUBLE check"?)
Ninjas: fail
Monkeys: fail

So there you have it. It may not be a perfect movie, but it's not bad either.
Definitely fun to watch.

In other Zombie -related news:
Zombie Pinups. Where Beauty meets braaaaiinns.

Jul 23, 2009


For lunch today I had a half-sandwich and a Cup Noodles.

Making Cup Noodles is about as easy as it gets when it comes to making something to eat.
Just add hot water. That's it.
Even Ramen requires a *little* more effort, in that you not only have to add hot water but also open and distribute the seasoning packet.

So as I open my Cup Noodles, I notice there are microwave directions on the lid:

Well, okay. Not really directions but rather 'guidelines'.

But I was thinking, if all you have to do is add hot water, doesn't it stand to reason that the water could be heated up in a microwave or on a stove? Do they have to spell it out?
And if you were such a total cooking-retard that you nuked the container of noodles in the microwave anyway, then I'll guess you'd learn a valuable lesson... not to do it again.

Some people would call that "experience" and it helps us to make better choices later in life.
For instance: Today, 'Johnny the kitchen-retard' cooks his Cup Noodles in the microwave and now has a pile of melted styrofoam and wet noodles. Awwww.... poor Johnny!
Tomorrow however, he decides to heat up the water and pour it in the cup instead and voila!..... it's soup!
Johnny is now well on his way to being a productive member of society and is capable of cooking a romantic dinner of Cup Noodles for his sweety.

.... Or maybe I'm just thinking too much into this.

Jul 22, 2009

"Car 54, Where Are You?"

On my way home from camping on Sunday, I ran across this beauty of a car wreck not even a mile from my house:

More than likely alcohol is to blame, as it happened sometime around 3:00 a.m.
The amazing thing is that the driver did all that damage and managed to walk home afterwards without any serious injuries.
The wreck was there all day Sunday and when I went to work on Monday, but they had towed it away sometime before Monday afternoon.
No idea when they are going to replace that pole.

Jul 21, 2009

Lazing In The Woods

The camping trip this past weekend was just awesome.

The weather was great (upper 70's - low 80's) and we had even more people than I originally thought were going to be there. The total count was 20 people in our group!

We got three different sites that happened to be next to each other so we all spread out and took over our little piece of "forestry acreage" to maximum effect.

Luckily there wasn't a burn ban to prevent us from having a campfire, as long as we had a fire extinguisher or a 5-Gal. bucket of water nearby in case things got out-of-hand.

Friday we all showed up and picked out our spots. G-rod & I took a site by ourselves so that everyone else could be closer together since they all had children.
We made some food and sat around talking for a while until the bugs started coming out and it was getting dark. Then we built a fire in the pit and the kids all made s'mores while I got busy mixing up a few mojitos for the adults.

Some of us stayed up until well after midnight, just hanging out by the campfire and talking.
Finally we started to get sleepy so we headed of to our separate tents until later that morning.

The kids, of course, were the first ones up and ready to play.
The adults kind of stumbled around for a bit until somebody got some coffee brewed and then things started to come into focus.

Imperfect treated all of us to some fantastic French Toast on Saturday morning.
His French Toast is the bomb and always a welcome treat at camp.
While he was cooking up breakfast, some of the kids wanted to snuggle with "Uncle Ferretnick", which was just fine by me.
It was a bit chilly in the morning, so having a kid or two on my lap kept me warm until my breakfast was ready.

When they weren't snuggling, they were busy switching everybody's hats until all of them ended up on G-rod.

We all talked about what we were planning to do that day, but the general consensus was..... nothing.
Pretty much we all just wanted to relax around camp and enjoy the weather.
I had brought some crafts for the kids, but they were mostly busy running around and entertaining themselves when they weren't hanging off of me.

After a little while, we decided to take the kids to see Franklin Falls. It's a pretty short hike (2-miles round trip) and not very far from camp in case any of the little ones pooped-out.
We got about 20 yards into the trail when somebody noticed that there were some nice, smooth rocks right next to the creek. So we diverted off-trail and spent the next 45 mins to an hour hanging out on the creek side while the kids threw rocks into the water and splashed around for a while.

I also took a few pictures of the scenery while I was there.

Then everyone finally tired of that and decided to get back on the trail.
We got about another 30 yards and then the kids started getting hungry and fussy, so we just trucked 'em all back to camp.
It may have been only a 50 yard hike, but everyone had fun.

Lunches were made and the kids played while the adults mostly napped or read a book under the trees.

I got out the coloring books I'd made and took the kids to one of the picnic tables to color and keep them busy for a while.
I also made necklaces from rocks that the kids found at the creek. They loved them and wore them around camp for most of the remainder of the day.

Hotness didn't camp with us, but she did come out to visit briefly.
She got there in the late afternoon and stayed until dinner before heading back home again.

As evening wore on, I brought out some glow bracelets for the kids to wear around camp as it got darker.

Then we all brought out the s'more fixin's and got busy making some sugary treats.
I try to shake things up and stay away from the ordinary when we're at camp.
So for making s'mores I brought cinnamon-covered graham crackers and a bevy of exotic chocolates to choose from.
We had:
Caramel-filled milk chocolate
Peanut butter-filled milk chocolate
Dark chocolate w/ orange
Dark chocolate w/ pomegranate
and Raspberry-filled dark chocolate

Everybody experimented with the selection to come up with their own favorites.
No word yet on which one was the best.

After dark, the kids hit the sack (or rather, the sleeping bag) and a few of the adults stayed up for a bit around the campfire quoting scenes from movies and telling poop jokes. (Wait... did I say the kids had already gone to bed?!?)

The next morning, I got up and started working on a breakfast recipe that I came up with at camp a while back.
Basically it's a biscuit crust bottom with seasoned hamburger & toasted pine nuts (and sometimes I throw in a can of mushrooms too), topped with shredded cheese and then on top of that I cover it with more biscuit dough.
Then I stick it in a Dutch Oven to cook for about an hour.
Here it is cooking:
But I'm afraid I forgot to get a picture of it after it was finished.
It went over well with everyone and was finished quickly.
This was the last day of camping and we all had to be out of the sites before the afternoon.
Most of the people had a pretty good drive waiting for them on their way back home, so soon after breakfast we all started breaking down camp and packing up.

I got out around 11:30 a.m. and made it home shortly before 1:00 p.m.
I unpacked the car and then took a shower to wash the smoke, dirt and general camping "funk" off of me.

It was great time and everybody had fun.


Here are a few other pics from the weekend:

Jul 16, 2009

Kind Of Like "Julie" From The 'Love Boat'

Hey there! How have you been doing?
Good, I hope.

I haven't had a whole lot to really mention on here, so I've been keeping a low profile on the blog lately.

Stuff's been going on, but nothing really worth typing up a big ol' post to bore you with.
But that's about to change this Friday.
That's right! It's camping time again!
And this time we're expecting a pretty large group at this one. (Last count was at 17 people!)
I'll be bringing the magic with my Dutch Oven and I have a few other tricks up my sleeve I've got planned for the weekend.
I'm sort of like "Julie" from the 'Love Boat'.
I'll be the recreation event coordinator for the camp.

We have a few more kids this time, so I put together a coloring book with lots of 'camping -related' pictures for them to color.
Since the older kids are all girls, we'll also be making "nature necklaces" so they can wear a piece of their camp trip after the weekend is over.
There are a couple of short hikes (especially nice since I'm still nursing a sore ankle from when I sprained it) to get them out of the campsite for a while.
I'm also bringing a couple of games for them to play and last but not least... the popular biscuits-on-a-stick that seem to be a hit with the kids (and the adults!).

And that's not all!
For the adults, I'm bringing plenty of fixins' for mojitos, since the weather is supposed to be N-I-C-E the whole time.
I'm planning to make the breakfast biscuit meal that I originated in camp a few years back, and perfecting more gourmet s'mores to report on afterwards.
And in the evening, after the kids go to bed, I'm bringing "ZOMBIES!!!" and "ZOMBIES!!! 8: Jailbreak" to make the dark woods a little more... interesting. Bwa-ha-ha!!

I'll have a full report after the weekend is over, as well as pictures (if I remember to take any) and let you know how it all went.


Ah, but what's been going on in the meantime, you'd like to know?
Well, let's see....

I made a metric ton of enchiladas last weekend and on Saturday night I had dinner with Imperfect at his place and we watched "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" (Ugh!) and "Waiting" (pretty funny).

Sunday I went to Costco with G-rod and loaded up on groceries.

Monday night I watched "A History of Violence".
I liked this movie. I wasn't sure what to make of it when I read the synopsis, but my neighbor loaned it to me and said he thought I'd like it, and he was right.
I wasn't quite prepared for the full on "beaver shot" of Maria Bello, however. That caught me by surprise. I've always thought she was kind of hot in a "MILF"y sort of way, but I never expected her to do a nude seen like that. (Not that I'm complaining, though)
Overall, it was a good movie. Good and violent.

Hotness has been out of town the last week and a half. She's coming back home tonight, so I need to change the sheets on the bed, wash dishes and generally get the place back in order before she comes home as well as pack the car for this weekend. Looks like I'll be busy tonight.

Here's something I'm kind of proud of:

An itty-bitty, teeny tiny watermelon that I'm growing on my deck.
It still has a way to go before being nearly big enough to eat, but isn't it just cute?

Oh, and one other thing...
I found this last night while I was shopping for exotic chocolate bars to make s'mores with:
Yup! A bacon chocolate bar. For reals!
I saw this at Cost Plus World Market in Woodinville last night.
It ain't cheap though. Just one bar was about $6.50!!!
I decided to pass on getting it. But if any of you are interested in trying it out, now you know where to find them.
(FYI: They're gluten free! So have at 'em my gluten-allergic friends!)

Well, that's all for now.
Catch back up to ya'll again soon. Probably after camping.