Tea! Quality tea at that.

July 9th, 2014

If you are into tea, or even just curious about it, try Teavivre. They are a company with fantastic customer service, super high quality teas at reasonable prices (for the quality you are getting). They are having a 3rd Anniversary celebration this month and next with some giveaway contests and later in the celebration, sales! Their shipping is also awesomely fast for overseas shipping and with $30, the shipping is free. It’s pretty easy to buy $30 of tea, I am somewhat ashamed to admit.

I’m extremely happy that their sale on the black teas isn’t until August. After adding up my tea purchases for the year so far I have sworn not to buy any tea this month. None.

The tea my mom bought for me doesn’t count. She’s using that to pay for her part of the phone bill. Shut up. Obsession logic at work here.

 

Aging…and food stuff

July 5th, 2014

So, it turns out that a habanero ranch bacon cheeseburger with fries in Buffalo sauce followed by a half pound of Skittles and a Drumstick ice cream cone isn’t something my system is prepared to handle any more.

Man. This sucks.

But it sure was tasty at the time… :) And yes, as a matter of fact, that was my choice for an anniversary dinner. :)

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We are doing our cookout tonight. Last night we listened to the neighborhood explode. It was pretty cool. Grumpy Codger syndrome set in about 11 pm but before that it was all good listening to the idiots and waiting for ambulance and/or fire truck sirens. I hope everyone out there stayed safe and appreciated the rockets’ red glare and the reason for them.

This is a recipe that I got from Laura’s site and it’s become the go-to potato salad around here.
3 pounds red potatoes
Kosher salt
1 cup mayonnaise
¼ cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
½ cup chopped fresh dill
Freshly ground black pepper
½ cup chopped celery
½ cup chopped red onion

Wash potatoes, cut into large chunks and place the potatoes and 2 tablespoons of salt in a large pot of water. Bring the water to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until the potatoes are barely tender when pierced with a fork. Drain the potatoes in a colander, then place the colander with the potatoes over the empty pot and cover with a clean, dry kitchen towel. Allow the potatoes to steam for 15 to 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, buttermilk, Dijon mustard, whole grain mustard, dill, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Set aside.
Place the cut potatoes in a large bowl. While the potatoes are still warm, pour enough dressing over them to moisten. Add the celery and red onion, 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Toss well, cover, and refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to blend. Serve cold or at room temperature.

I sometimes use stone ground mustard but I cut the amount to 1 tablespoon when I do that. And I usually skip the onions. Uncooked onions are De Debbil.

I also cooked up these spicy beans from Homesick Texan. I used black beans instead of pinto, but otherwise, followed recipe. And it is tasty.

Strawberry Cobbler also from Homesick Texan. This was pretty good. Needed about another 10 minutes baking time as the center was not quite set up. Had lots of sugar, but the strawberries were still tart so either needed more time to macerate or maybe it’s supposed to be like that. The ice cream definitely cuts the sweetness.

Creamy Stovetop Mac & Cheese. I didn’t bother with the ramekins stuff. We just dumped on plates. This was strange. I want to like homemade mac & cheese, I really do. I think I should. Cheese, pasta, butter. How can that go wrong? I followed the directions to the letter but the sauce wouldn’t adhere to the pasta. It just glopped into the bowl in a big mess and I tried to stir it around with the pasta but it just strung together and slid off the pasta. Eh. Maybe I just don’t have the touch to make homemade mac & cheese.

 

 

Best Action Movie Evar?

June 29th, 2014

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The Raid is not going to be for everyone. It is massively brutal, bloody and unflinching. But it is hands down the best action/martial arts movie I’ve seen to date. The fight choreography, the cinematography, the direction – all absolutely top notch. The production quality is amazing for the type of movie it is, equaling and often surpassing that of some big budget epic Hollywood movies.

We grabbed it off of iTunes last night along with the second one. The second is much longer on dialog (albeit subtitled) and shorter on action but what there is is still fantastic.

The first movie is very reminiscent of Judge Dredd (not the Stallone version). Group of cops go into a complex under the control of a crime lord and attempt to make their way up to the top to arrest him. The second is also familiar in plot. Cop goes deep undercover to expose dirty cops. The plots are not complex but they serve their purpose.

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There is an odd note in that Yagan Ruhian is used in both movies but as different characters. We thought at first that his character from the first movie had improbably survived. But no, he’s a totally different character. Well, not totally different. He’s still a tiny little terrifying ass-kicker. Who looks a lot like a male version of one of the OAM’s employees. Pretty spooky.

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Ruhian and Iko Uwais are both stunningly impressive and scorchingly fast. A vid of the two of them doing a ritual combat before Iko’s wedding, apparently.

Kitchen sink dinner

June 27th, 2014

I came up with a good dinner last night by throwing in bits and pieces of leftovers. Sometimes those turn out the best although reproducing them is impossible. :)

I had leftover lemon pepper rotisserie chicken, some Aidell’s Italian sausage and some bowtie pasta. I cooked the sausage in a skillet with the chicken to spread the flavor to the chicken and added some leftover corn – corn goes with everything. For a sauce I had some feta garlic dip (feta, cream cheese, garlic, dill, basil) that I thinned out with some milk. Poured it over the mess in the skillet, heated through and sprinkled with some Italian blend shredded cheese. Heated the pasta tossed it all together.

Even the OAM thought it was pretty good and this kind of pasta dish is not generally his thing.

Stinky the world traveler

June 20th, 2014

Okay, so he’s only a US traveler at this point. He has high hopes. First installment of New York trip is up!

Update: Installment 2 is up and so is the final chapter!

Totally worth the cavity search the poor lil' guy had to go through to get in!

Totally worth the cavity search the poor lil’ guy had to go through to get in!

 

Favorite Poems (Childhood Memories)

June 17th, 2014

The Owl & the Pussycat

The Owl & The Pussycat by Edward Lear

The Owl and the Pussy Cat went to sea
In a beautiful pea-green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money
Wrapped up in a five-pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
And sang to a small guitar,
“O lovely Pussy, O Pussy, my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are,
You are,
You are!
What a beautiful Pussy you are!”

Pussy said to the Owl, “You elegant fowl!
How charmingly sweet you sing!
O let us be married! too long we have tarried:
But what shall we do for a ring?”
They sailed away, for a year and a day,
To the land where the Bong-tree grows
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
With a ring at the end of his nose,
His nose,
His nose,
With a ring at the end of his nose.

“Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
Your ring?” Said the Piggy, “I will.”
So they took it away, and were married next day
By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon,
The moon,
The moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.

I had no idea this was a poem until I got older. As a kid, it was a song on a Burl Ives children’s record. Do libraries have lending programs any more for music? I guess they probably don’t, huh? We used to check out kids’ records all the time. Where’s Joe was another Burl Ives favorite.

I don’t remember specifically but I’m guessing we also checked out Disney records pretty frequently as this Pecos Bill song is burned in my memory as well.

More great photography

June 15th, 2014
No idea where this is.

No idea where this is.

Colorado River under Toroweap, a remote location in the Grand Canyon

Colorado River under Toroweap, a remote location in the Grand Canyon

Rainbow Mountains in China. Supposedly just a little color enhanced, but having seen some other pix of this area, I'm saying a lot enhanced. Still a pretty outcome.

Rainbow Mountains in China. Supposedly just a little color enhanced, but having seen some other pix of this area, I’m saying a lot enhanced. Still a pretty outcome.

Matsushima, Japan

Matsushima, Japan

Just a good photo

Just a good photo

Cool animals or cool photography – whichever

June 13th, 2014
Cuckoo Wasp. It may be pretty but it's still a wasp.

Cuckoo Wasp. It may be pretty but it’s still a wasp.

A spotted dog from Kalimpong. Not a huge dog fan but this is a cool looking one.

A spotted dog seen in Kalimpong, India. Not a huge dog fan but this is a cool looking one. Probably not a breed – just a mutt.

Just a great photo of the eyes. Probably a poisonous frog, though.

Just a great photo of the eyes. Undoubtedly a poisonous whatever it is, though. Almost nothing in nature is that brightly colored and not poisonous.

Whatever this dog is, it is awesome looking.

Whatever this dog is, it is awesome looking.

Out again for awhile

June 11th, 2014

centralpark

Not a fan of the city or the state as a whole, but it’s probably something one should experience in person at least once if possible. The main reason for going is this:

Obviously not in Manchester, though. At the Park Avenue Armory instead.

Obviously not in Manchester, though. At the Park Avenue Armory instead.

My favorite Shakespeare play with one of my favorite Shakespearean actors. And I don’t have to be dressed up to go see it. That right there is a win-win-win.

Should have internet access but not sure how often posting will happen (I will have a few of my standard lame-ass posts scheduled). The only things for sure on the itinerary are stops at tea shops, a ferry ride past the Statue of Liberty, a probable walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, the Met (not MoMA), and the Museum of Natural History (because of the early Preston-Child books if for no other reason). Otherwise, I have a list but we don’t really have a plan. The OAM is  not a plan guy when it comes to travel… I am but since he’s pretty much going under protest I am trying very hard not to push. Plus, he’s convinced based on his previous business trips and such to NY that any plan will not survive contact with the enemy so we are just as well off playing it by ear.

And Stinky will not be forgotten this time.

And Stinky will not be forgotten this time.

 

 

Soooo cool

June 9th, 2014

Capstan table

capstantable

It expands. Watch the videos.

Maybe in my next life I’ll have a house in which a table like this would be at home. If I could afford the house I could afford the table. :)

Well, I don’t have much queued up, as I’m sure you’ve noticed

June 7th, 2014

I’ve been busy working, obsessively drinking tea and dreaming about crime.

Probably need to wrap up my Norwegian murder mystery binge on the Nesbo books soon. Reading 9 of them in the last couple of months, a lot of times right before I go to sleep, has been contributing to dreams with a menacing or downright violent content. Good thing is that I only have 1 more left.

By and large, they’ve been good. A couple would probably make decent movies if the right person got ahold of them. If the wrong person got ahold of them, they’d make standard crime movies – meh to blah. The thing so far with them is that after reading so many back to back bits of backstory that get repeated to bring new readers up to speed get a bit tedious. That and since I haven’t even heard that much Norwegian spoken much less do I speak it myself I have some problems with people and place names. When I can’t pronounce them or even imagine how they are pronounced it interrupts my flow.

Anyway, as throwaway time fillers, they mostly pass muster with me. So far, The Redbreast and The Snowman have been the ones I enjoyed the most. The Redbreast includes quite a bit of content about the role of Norway in WWII, with which I was unfamiliar.

—–

New Godzilla movie? Totally worth a matinee price. We didn’t see it in 3D. My brother, the huge Godzilla fan, did see it in 3D & Imax and loved it. The human story is completely irrelevant, a waste of time and makes almost no logical sense. But the monster fights? Super awesome. As the OAM put it, they could have cut out 30 minutes of “plot” at the beginning, added 15 minutes more monster fighting and it would be have spectacular.

—–

We also been watching Orange is the New Black, which has been decent. Odd to have a show about prison be sometimes humorous, but as a snapshot of life, I suppose that’s accurate. In almost every situation we can’t be serious 100% of the time.

And also Person of Interest. The dreams that come after bingeing on those are much more welcome than the crime dreams.

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Saving Longmire up for when we get a backlog of new episodes. :) I’ve been slowly watching The Tudors when the boys are having their Saturday mornings out. Eh. It’s not awesome but has been okay. Never was terribly interested in that era of British history but have always remembered large chunks of the poem:

Bluff King Hal was full of beans
He married half a dozen queens
For three called Kate they cried the banns
And one called Jane, and a couple of Annes.

The first he asked to share his reign
Was Kate of Aragon, straight from Spain
But when his love for her was spent
He got a divorce, and out she went.

Anne Boleyn was his second wife.
He swore to cherish her all his life,
But seeing a third, he wished instead
He chopped off poor Anne Boleyn’s head.

He married the next afternoon
Jane Seymour, which was rather soon,
But after one year as his bride
She crept into her bed and died.

Anne of Cleves was number four.
Her portrait thrilled him to the core,
But when he met her face to face
Another royal divorce took place.

Catherine Howard, number five,
Billed and cooed to keep alive.
But one day Henry felt depressed,
The executioner did the rest.

Sixth and last was Catherine Parr
Sixth and last and luckiest far
For this time it was Henry who
Hopped the twig, and a good job too.

 

A knead to be sated

June 2nd, 2014

I need to do this over the summer. I need to get a sourdough starter together. I’ve given up on dieting of any kind so I may as well bake bread every week. But since, most (I think most) starters can be frozen, maybe I don’t have to make loaves every week for the whole summer.

I’ve only ever done the Amish bread starter prior to this. It was about 4 years ago that I fed the beast for a summer. Everyone I knew got loaves and everyone I could badger into it got starter kidlets. I felt slightly guilty when I just let it die because I simply couldn’t make any more quick bread. I used my last deep-frozen loaf last year.

I may cheat and use yeast in my batch of starter since I don’t make bread very often any more and I don’t think I probably have as much wild yeast wandering around my kitchen as I might once have had… Plus, impatient.

My starter and I know that what counts in baking is not the number of loaves we bake, the clatter of our pans, nor the aroma we make. We know that it is the taste of our loaves that counts. We will bake tasty loaves…

-Lost in the Cheese Aisle

Cuteness!

May 31st, 2014

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Awesome lamps/lights

May 29th, 2014

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More detailed how-to DIY here

More detailed how-to DIY here

Made from bike gears

Made from bike gears

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OMG… adorableness

May 27th, 2014

For some reason I am drawn to miniatures. I don’t have a need in the world for or space to put them.