April 3, 2015

Post 1,001: Must-See Deadpool Clip

I was only half-assed watching this yesterday because the title kind of cheesed me off, but I had to re-watch it again and again.

So far I have no doubts that the Deadpool movie will be great!


...and I just realized that this is post 1,001 on this blog. Wow....

March 23, 2015

Umm.....There's Some Freedom in my Coffee!

Umm.....There's Some Freedom in my Coffee!
First off, I know.....two posts in as many days. Well, don't get your knickers in a knot, I just had something worth posting about.

Last Christmas the Mrs. wanted a Keurig coffee maker. We aren't that big on coffee, or even tea for that matter, but every once in a while....

I bought what I thought was a reasonable machine...not a Keurig, but something I thought would work reasonably well. It could easily brew into travel mug, didn't take up too much space, and didn't come with the dreaded Keurig 2.0 DRM...or at least I didn't think it did.

I never got to find out because my wife wanted to return it and get an "actual" Keurig. Didn't hurt my feelings any....that's the nature of gifts. Luckily there was a pretty good deal going on at Fred Meyer and by the time everything was said and done, the Keurig only costs about 2x what I had spent on the "lesser" machine (my emphasis, not hers). She had the money for the "upgrade", and the coffee, so go for it!

My only real problem at that point was that some of the other gifts I had gotten her, namely some coffee and some reusable cups wouldn't work with the new machine because of that pesky DRM. Now I know it isn't hard to get the Keurigs to recognize the "ordinary" cups, hardly even considered a hack, but my tinkering with the machine was verboten......

.....but not for long!

March 22, 2015

Homemade Ketchup that Rocks!

Homemade Ketchup that Rocks!
I'm sure I've mentioned a few times that I like to make my family & friends Christmas presents, usually food, every year. Last year I made everything gluten-free since a family friend has a gluten sensitivity and another friend eats gluten free because his son is a bonafide Celiac.

Last year's offerings were Worcestershire sauce, Tamari Sauce, and some good old-fashioned BBQ sauce. For the BBQ sauce, I found a base sauce I liked, and started to tweak from there. For me it was more than interesting that the BBQ sauce was going to use as ingredients some of the other things I've made, not just this year, but in the past as well.

Now the base of most BBQ....ok, wet & not white BBQ sauce (oh God, never the white...) is some sort of ketchup, sugar, and spices. My intention was to substitute my homemade pineapple jam for the sugar in the BBQ and I really didn't want to be adding other sugar in the form of store-bought ketchup.

This means I have to make my own ketchup......CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!

This is actually pretty easy to do, but it takes a decent amount of time and at least in my case, a bit of trial and error. Cooking is done in a slow cooker, but I learned that not just any slow cooker will do. Out of the three I have, only the smallest of mine, the 1 & 1/2 qt, worked worth a damn. I tried scaling this up with my 3 qt and 8 qt slow-cookers and it just didn't cook down.

The original recipe comes from Chef John at allrecipes.com and is tweaked mostly by substitution ingredients, which have been denoted with italics. "Substitution" might be an odd word selection because some are the regular ingredients, just once I made myself.

Ketchup cooking down
1 hour in, 10 more to go...
2 x 28 oz cans ground tomatoes
2/3 cups Pineapple Jam
3/4 Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 3/4 Alderwood Smoked Salt
1/8 tsp Celery Salt
1/8 tsp Mustard Powder
1/4 tsp finely ground black pepper
1 whole clove

1/2 cup water

Dump everything except the water into your slow cooker. Use the water to swish-out the cans to get every last bit of tomatoes out. Give the thinned ketchup a stir, turn the slow-cooker on HIGH, and cook for 10-12 hours uncovered. Makes sure to stir the cooking ketchup every hour or so.

Once the kecthup is cooked down, turn off the cooker and allow to cool. Blend the cooled ketchup and strain. Tweak seasonings as needed (but I haven't felt that was necessary) and bottle for future use.

This smells awesome as it cooks down....plan accordingly!

February 28, 2015

A Leonard Nemoy Memorial Post I Just Don't Get

A Leonard Nemoy Memorial Post I Just Don't Get
I've been on Facebook more and more lately...and I usually find it hilarious. At first it was just a way to keep tabs on some of my old classmates, but as these things do my Friends list gets bigger and bigger. I'm probably not as keen as I should be about paring down that list, but sometimes a Friend literally asks for it.

Facebook is, of course, inundated with fans grieving over the loss of Leonard Nimoy. As par for the course I've seen a wide variety of memorials (even though I like Blogography's the best, even though it isn't on Facebook). One of my Friends posted a picture of four larger ladies.....naked, as part of wherever he was going with it.

Now I'm not used to seeing nudity at all in my Facebook feed. I don't have an issue with nudity and aside from some usually-false modesty, I don't give a rat's ass. I did, however, question this post with a simple "WTF" and I did follow up with the simple statement that I'm "not used to seeing nudity of any kind in my Facebook feed."

Of course my Friend simply replied that he didn't need to be in my feed. OK, simple fix there.

Since I made that post I still get notifications when others post and I've already started seeing a defense of the female form, regardless of size. I find this hilarious....because I pretty much don't care. It wasn't like I was offended by the fact that they were larger women. Hell, I'm still scratching my head at why or how this has ANYTHING to do with Leonard Nemoy. Now to be fair I did actually click on the post, thinking maybe my clue-bucket would get filled, but all I got was an additional photo of these women.....I have to assume it was the same four women, but I honestly cannot remember.

Of course this was on my iPad and I've been noticing that it screws up way too frequently when trying to show me content that isn't just the truncated Facebook post.

This'll probably be a mystery for a while...but seriously, WTF do these women have to do with Leonard Nemoy? I think I liked it better when people express their grief subtly and/or privately, but I won't begrudge those that do otherwise....unless I just don't get it.

2015.02.28 EDIT: Ok, I was able to find out a little bit more about the "original" post on FB though another, much better post (of course it helped I wasn't using the mobile FB app) about this article of 20 Cool Things Nimoy Did Other Than Star Trek

February 24, 2015

Remembering One of My Briefly-Lived PCs

Remembering One of My Briefly-Lived PCs
I was completely planning on putting this on my other blog, but wisely decided against it because.....well the because will become readily apparent. I may have told this story before, but I doubt everyone has heard it (I might like it, but it isn't that good)....

I was reading a RPG-themed post on Facebook asking about "epic" skill check failures. Now some games, or maybe just some GMs, don't allow you to completely screw the pooch, but I remember 4th Edition HackMaster sure did. Heck, you could fail so bad when trying a skill untrained that you could never....every, learn that skill because the earlier failure was so traumatic.

Now this isn't a HackMaster story, but a D&D 3.5 story. I didn't play too much 3.5, but this edition saw the beginning of my "infamous" PC that started out as an inside joke about what would happen when two gamers had a kid and treated him like a PC. The mythical tyke's name was BALADAR and he would refer to himself in the 3rd person. BALADAR wants a juice-box! BALADAR wants his blankie! Yes, BALADAR is always fully capitalized....just like on his birth certificate.

After a game session of laughing and having a fun running commentary about this poor mythical kid I had to create my next PC in honor of the joke, but I went with the subtly different "Baladar". He was a 1st level cleric and we were off to our first adventure, once we could overcome the usual DM dickery. Our DM wanted out first obstacle to be actually getting to the adventure location, which was on the other side of this desert. The quickest and easiest way was to get hired on as caravan guards, but the caravans were already full up when our Sorcerer went to make arrangements with the caravan matron, an older woman of "generous" proportions and appetites, according to the DM. Think a female version of Jabba the Hut, but not worm-like. Evidently she was more than willing to hire on a few more guards if the Sorcerer was willing to "satisfy her". Yes, this is the part where I'm to go

Well neither the player or the PC was willing to partake in the means to an end and instead offered up my PC to do the deed. Now I'm trying to think quick on my feet and see something to my advantage so I agree to it. The DM smiles like he's going to roll 3d20 to see how many STDs I get and I just point out that I had prayed for the "Command" spell today. "No problem," I state triumphantly......"I got this." My PC casts the spell and commands the caravan matron to "orgasm".

Now at this point I'm pretty smug with myself and the DM lets me have my 10 seconds in the sun before "politely" pointing out that we are playing D&D 3.5 and not AD&D or even HackMaster. Evidently what used to be a pretty multi-purpose spell was "nerfed" to one of something like 4 command words that could be used. Instead of choosing any one word the recipient had to unfailing try to act upon, I had t pick one of the four. I think I remember him managing a "nice try" as he laughed in my face.

So Baladar figuratively had to take one for the team. It was no surprise to me that in our first combat my dice turned on me an Baladar died a quick and painful death. It wasn't a curse or twist of fate....it was a blessing for that PC because he didn't have too long to live with his shame.

Needless to say, I'm a little more careful about spell selection when I play...especially if it is a new system. I'll just stick with archers until I get the spell mechanics worked out, thank you very much.

$5 Says DM Rob still thinks about that and laughs.....that bastard.