Sunday, April 30, 2006

Life's a beach

So with all my insanity in prepping for long trips, I somehow managed to miss packing my toothbrush. (Made damn sure I had a computer, so priorities seem correct!) Now, it's not that big of a deal since I can go get a regular toothbrush at almost any of the grocery/gas/drinks/"live bait" stores nearby, however I have become accustomed to ~my~ toothbrush. Some time ago (on the recommendation of my dentist) I picked up a Sonic Care Advance (yes, it's like the cheapest of the line, James). At first the vibration was very offsetting, and I almost decided to add it to the giant heap of unused appliances that most people have at home in some enshrined corner, believing that "some day, I'll use that so I'm NOT throwing it away!" We all know you're never gonna use that Nordic track skier for anything more than the over priced valet that it is now, and don't get me started on the other ridiculous items from RONCO, like food dehydrators, the inside-the-shell-egg-scrambler, or Ron Popeil's pasta maker. But perhaps I speak too strongly, despite my rabid anti-"as seen on TV" sentiment is... I must reveal that not only do I own, but also frequently use his Rotisserie. No really. I've made all sorts of chicken, turkey, beef roasts, and pork (or prok as I frequently mistype) roasts in this thing, and they have ALL come out delicious. From a simple season salt coating to a highly protected family recipe from my wife, everything has been easy. I hate to admit, but it really is as easy as "set it, and FORGET IT!" Even my wife (after getting over her initial skepticism with the first roast) now uses this hot lil item to make fantastic roasted beef dinners with ease. The only note I can make is to make sure you just put a drop of oil (olive or other) on the 2 points of rotation... They can make the most annoying rhythmic squeal once the thing gets going, at which point it is of course entirely too hot to pick up the thing and put oil on. (and yes, this IS covered in the instruction manual. Shows how important RTFM can be... *grin*)

Where was I? Oh yeah, the beach. Here are some gratuitous images of my worn out K9s.

Roxie utterly passed out in a stripe of sunlight on the couch.

The big brown Boris eyeing me suspiciously from his haven of comfort on the other couch.

More will be coming as the week rolls by (especially now that I have the computers working!) and I get a chance to take some pics and maybe even video. Hopefully the "High surf advisory/strong winds" will truly go away on Tuesday. I had to turn furniture over on the deck to keep it from pummeling the house, and the dogs continuously think an intruder is trying to get inside. NOT a restful environment! And hopefully the construction they're working on next door (like 20 feet away) will NOT start at 6am on Monday. If it does, they might have an "accidental" power outage and equipment malfunctions. The perils of this caustic seaside environment I'm sure.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Mooooom! He dun it again!

Yep, that's right. I've been video editing again. As usual I used my favorite stars. You wouldn't believe what these guys work for! It"s practically dog food! Ok, so maybe it ~is~ dog food, but they sure seem to like it. So here are my furbabies in another misadventure.

Ok, it's not much, and it's totally cheesey. So it's perfect.

That's all for now, just counting the days until we leave for the beach!
(that would be 5 days...)

Saturday, April 22, 2006


Ok out at dinner tonight I was doing the things I was always told not to do. Namely, playing with my food. It's something I've almost always done (or wanted to do) every time I had something like mashed potatoes or similar consistency. In this case it was rice & beans and there's your flashback to the old (now defunct) blog. Note the intricate detail created.

I don't always play with my food, but things with a paste/clay like consistency simply bring out the artist in me. This particular batch of rice & beans was prepared (and mostly eaten) at Don Pablo's. I love Don Pablo's, they have good cheese and onion enchiladas. I prefer the ones at On the Border, but that's a lot futher away. Although the best enchiladas I've had in the area, do not come from any of these. There is a place just west of the 28/29 intersection (on the north side of 29, about a light or two west of 28) that used to be called Catbo. It's called something else now that I can never remember (after searching for a bit it's now called Border Cafe ). It's next to a Carrabas and some other place. Anyway... they have some very good items, chiefly the Gulf Coast Enchiladas are my favorite. Shrimp and Crawfish in a cajun cream sauce, slap some jambalaya on the side and you got my attention! They also have some of the best catfish in the area, decent sized pieces and very fresh (I recommend the Tuscaloosa style). Here are some excerpts from the menu:
    A fresh catfish fillet seasoned and fried until tender. Topped with a fresh lemon pepper sauce. Savor a taste that made NewOrleans famous ........ 9.91

    This is a creole family tradition as served on “Royale” Street in New Orleans’ “French Quarter.” A bubbling-hot blend of cheeses, lump crabmeat and Cajun spices, served over a delicatelyfried eggplant ........ 8.76

    The best of both waters! Fresh flour tortillas are stuffed with tasty shrimp, crawfish and Poblano Jack cheese, then covered in a poblano pepper sauce ........ 8.97
That last one is simply the best, unless you don't like seafood, or you happen to be allergic to shellfish... then, well.... nevermind. They aren't worth a trip to the E.R.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Was it something I said?

Over the past few months (Mid January and this week), I've had the opportunity to go to some professional classes for my career. The first was a CISSP boot camp, the second was a formal ISSO class. I attended the CISSP class with my coworker Brian, and the Information System Security Officer (ISSO) class with a coworker named Carlo. Now... I think I'm at least amusing to be around, but perhaps being around me in a classroom setting is too much over a period of time for most people to take. It has certainly seemed to take its toll on these guys.

Apparently sitting next to me for an entire week has caused Brian to lose control of some basic motor functions. He remained this way for most of the class. As if a difficult class for 8 hours, with a 1.5 hour break for dinner, followed by 2 more hours of evening review for an entire week were not bad enough, he was forced to endure my company. Poor guy. Then we have Carlo. Who managed to get a seat a row away from me. Which saved his basic motor functions, but apparently he's had juuuust about enough of my company.

Is it me? Is there something about me that continued forced close contact causes some kind of synaptic shock? I think I showered every day, and I'm ~mostly~ sure I had deodorant on too. Perhaps an extended period of time being made to listen to horrific puns, bad jokes, and all around bitterness is just too much to bear.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Did you say... Cake?

Ok. I know I've been over it before, but it bears repeating. Years ago, I would never have even considered celebrating my dog's birthday. However, I have come to realize the dogs have fun (even if they don't really know what day it is), and I mean... it's CAKE! Here is Roxie's 1st taste of the birthday spotlight.

You'll also notice that she likes presents. Likes to kill and eat them that is. My dogs are not happy unless they are crushing a squeaker, tearing a seam apart, pulling out fluff, and/or generally causing destruction in the toy kingdom. Isle of Misfit Toys BEWARE!
(no animals were harmed in the filming of this video, with the possible exception of the stuffed cat.)

This is the last "dog" cake we had (Boris' 9th). And if you're wondering, NO they do not get the whole cake, and yes the humans get to partake in the cake (from the other side...) . I'm so entertained watching them snarf cake and open presents that I will continue this for as long as I have canines. Who knew dogs opened presents? None of the dogs I grew up with seemed to know what to do. Not even when it was a bone or a chew for them. The ones I have now eerily seem to know which presents are for them. I've watched them dive into a large pile of presents under the tree, only to emerge moments later with something belonging to one of them (ok, ~sometimes~ they don't know if it's theirs or the others, but it's always a puppy present). I would assume they are smelling the fiberfill "fluff", but they also pick out the non-"fluffed" toys, and the treats. It shall remain a most entertaining mystery. I can only suggest you (loosely) wrap a toy or treat for your canine(s), and see how well they do. (They may need some pointing, direction, and encouragement the first time, but they pick it up very fast!)

I leave you with an image of the big, tough, guard dog gently holding Roxie's bag while she visits the powder hydrant. He's such a sensitive guy.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Speaking of drinks

I have found something that I like as much as Bailey's Irish Cream on the rocks. In fact it's very similar, but different. White Chocolate. Delicious. This makes a fine addition to quite a few beverages such as lattes, coffee, tea, and of course the ever popular hot cocoa. Indeed, it can even be had on the rocks. I was surprised to learn it's actually considered a flavored wine, but that hasn't stopped me from acquiring several bottles. (the one pictured is empty already...) The only place I've been able to find it thus far has been World Market. The wife also prefers this special adult beverage, for her it's a latte addition. (Maybe that's why she's so happy when she comes to visit for lunch!) I think the only thing I like to drink more than either of these, is mead. My particular brand and variety would be from the Lurgashall Winery in UK, where they concoct the most delectable Christmas Mead. A most exquisite tour on the taste buds, that your tongue can revel in its honey laden goodness. I can almost taste my next glass now. If you prefer something a bit drier, then you could sample their English Mead (all the honey flavor but not so sweet). A good mead, but not my bag, baby!

For those not into the adult beverages.... I bring you a tasty alternative, in the form of a flavored, carbonated, and canned beverage. Diet Black Cherry Vanilla Coke. (big picture) While not a HUGE fan of the Diet Vanilla Coke (I prefer the Pepsi version) the addition of the black cherry makes it a success. Although I'm still a bit skeptical about the new Diet Dr. Pepper Berries & Cream (picture Dr. Pepper mixed with raspberry vanilla). It tastes pretty good, but I don't think it will be able to hold enough market share to maintain production. Such is life.

Until later, Happy Imbibing!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Back to the grind

With the weekend comes the never ending list of tasks around the house, or what I commonly refer to as "working for free". Since I was gaming most of yesterday (yes, CoH) that left Easter as my working day. The list was slightly shortened, but still includes little things like hanging a new air vent, patching the wall where I installed a new switch, and grinding the dogs nails down with a dremel. (This is my dremel of choice.) I use the coarse sanding discs for their nails. I can usually grind all of the little one's nails with one drum, and start on the big dog, who quickly finishes that with his one front paw, and burns through another with the back two. Believe it or not, it's actually easier to take power tools to their paws (for them and us) then it is to wrestle with nail clippers. Personally I think they just let me do it so they can have the cheese afterwards. NOTE: If you plan on trying this there are several links on the internet that talk about it. I will offer two suggestions. If you can wear a face mask or bandana - do it. The nail dust lingers in the nose too long. (Though I do wonder why their paws smell like Fritos.... kinda makes me not want to eat Fritos...what do ~your~ dogs' paws smell like? I'll call them... Feet-ohs.)

And google is hanging on to my other videos, I decided to take James' advice and resubmit one that seemed to be stuck at "verified, stay tuned for the link" stage. Also, I can strongly recommend NOT using blogpsot (note that's blog P S ot) for any referral links... that was another typo that lead to "not work safe" content. Although my favorite wrong URL story is still from some years ago at work. James had dropped by and wanted me to read a page from ShackNews, only they had a different name back then - Shugashack. Well I hadn't been there before and James says "Hey man, go to" now... in his defense he did say that, but in my mind I translated the slang into, "Hey man, go to". So I dutifully typed in and much to my horror pr0n of an impressive magnitude filled my screen (I'm at work mind you) and as I'm yelling at James asking him why he told me to bring up a pr0n site, he's yelling back "I said shuga shack... SHUGA! SHUGA!!!". I still can't remember the article, but I know not to go to I now also know not to go to, but who doesn't?

Saturday, April 15, 2006

I will survive

I should put this for the first section:
If you watch Survivor and have not seen the 4/13 Episode, skip the first paragraph.

Ok maybe not me, but Terry (the fighter pilot on Survivor). He won immunity again, third time in a row. He's a machine, it's awesome to watch. The more he wins the more bitter and petty the remaining cocky tribe mates become. And Jeff Probst (the host).... man he really stuck it to them at tribal council... he basically said "So it's not that he's cocky, but that you're sad about losing to him all the time, because you're competitve too?". Totally called Danielle out. But they're now down to no one else to vote out, so next week they'll start cannabalizing themselves. Should make for a good show. Have I mentioned how much I love TiVo? I liked it so much I had to get a second one. I hadn't realized how much it had changed the way I watch tv, and not just tv. TiVo has changed the way I think about the things I see on screens. While watching a movie last weekend "V is for Vendetta" (highly recommended by me AND the wife) there were several scenes where I felt myself reaching for the remote to "go back" and hear what had been said, or to see some of the items in the background. Only to find myself empty handed and amused that I thought I could rewind the big screen. Between that and rapid commercial skipping I don't think I can ever go back to watching normal tv.

I could probably survive without XM radio, but on long trips when the same old CDs just get that much older... the comedy channel (XM 150) has been a life saver. It was much welcome on the trip to the beach last year (see Xanadu link on right) and we brought the roady2 with us as well and set that up in the house. Everyone from my parents to my brothers kids could find music they enjoyed. Definitely coming along this time.

But back to the post... I wound up watching Survivor today, because I was playing with video software on Thursady. It ain't much, but here's one of the results:

Ok for some reason the embedded player isn't running... I'll have to ask James...
Click here for the video.

[Edit 2]
Somehow the url string got chopped when I copied it. So nevermind...
[/Edit 2]

Take it easy on me, that's my first official homemade video with soundtrack. The source footage was taken the day before Boris (that's the big one) lost his left foreleg to osteosarcoma. He still gets around pretty well for a tripod. I'm still amazed at how well he gets around the yard, the park, the stairs, in and out of the car, not to mention roughhousing with Roxie (the little black dog in the video). He's managed to find a way to rear up on his hind legs in order to take a swipe are her as she's charging him.

I will be working on other videos and posting them (once google decides that dogs wrestling isn't pr0n....)

Thursday, April 13, 2006

The first of many secret shames

Survivor. Yes, I watch it. I watch every episode. I have a season pass on my TiVo. I'm not proud, it just is. Frankly I blame my wife. I never watched before I knew her, and had no plans to start. I had lumped all "reality" tv into one big glop of goo that I had no intention of watching. And now... it's like a car wreck. I know it's bad, I know some of it's staged or at least contrived... but I ~have~ to look. The people I want to win the game almost never even make it to the final four, and the people I don't want to see even in the background somehow make it to the end. It's a lot like life in that respect I suppose. Looking around I see people advancing in the world that lack honor, loyalty, and in some cases even a decent personality. Lagging behind those "winners" I see those that have character, are good people, and generally are at least non-toxic to others people. This is not a universal or all encompassing occurence, only that it happens more often than not which is more often than I think it should. I guess it's just the adult version of the games one learns to play in high school.

But back to Survivor... it's Thursday so it's on tonight, and those that get voted off now come back as jury members. Every week I keep hoping it's Shane, Cerie, or whats-her-name-fire-dancer-girl (Courtney- yes I had to go look it up).

Cerie I've wanted to see gone since the first episode and I can't believe she's still around. I mean... why would you go on Survivor if you're afraid of leaves?!

Shane - He's just insane. How nuts do you have to be, to be a 3 pack a day smoker (ok that's crazy enough in and of itself) that quits the day Survivor starts? I am surprised that he too has managed to be around this long....

Courtney - something about her interactions and attitudes... she exemplifies the self-absorbed personality that drives me nuts. Not surprised she's still around, but hope she gets voted out soon!

Unfortunately I think it's Sally's turn to go. She was nice enough, but unless there's a big shakeup... she's done.

Terry, I really like him. Retired fighter pilot, good character, excellent leader. The kind of guy you'd ~want~ to be stuck on an island with. Which means he'll be out before the 4 unless he pulls every single immunity challenge out of his... well his something. Go get 'em Terry!

All I can say is that they must have an excellent group of editors for the show, because they manage to steer the people and the show into a variety of directions that seem to sometimes be at odds with the individuals' personalities. Good editing indeed.

I still wonder what it's REALLY like on the show. Though I've mostly given up on the idea of ever making it to the show (as James says I'm "too normal"), the idea of being on a vacation for that long even those conditions seems relaxing. Plus free mind games to people you're not beholden to for anything. Sure sounds like fun.

This is enough musings for now. Maybe there will be more, maybe not.

The Dogfather.

Another round here bartender

After the dismal failure of the rice and beans experiment, I've decided to give this crazy blogging stuff another (and most likely final) try. I simply don't usually have the kind of addictive time that James has, plus I don't take pictures nearly as well.

Most of what you'll find here will probably be about my two "kids", the ongoing house projects, and possibly some of the reasons why I'm barely sane.

So whatever time I can steal away from City of Heroes, house projects, work, and not to mention trying to help setup and possibly manage a new forums location (when it's open you'll know), I'll post. I can guarantee it will not be as prolific as James.