Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Watch your music!

I got it yesterday, around 10:20 a.m. Fresh from Shanghai. Fully-charged for 20 hours of battery power.

I have owned every iPod, since they were first introduced. Generation 1-5. Wow. Watch your music. Here are some of the features of this 60Gig, Black, Video iPod:

• Holds up to 15,000 songs and full-color album art
• Bright 2.5-inch, 320 x 240 pixel TFT display
• Up to 20 hours of battery life
• Holds up to 25,000 photos
• Holds up to 150 hours of video
• Plays video or photo slideshows on TV via the optional Dock (which I of course also ordered!)
• Apple Click Wheel
• Accessory-compatible Dock connector
• Dock works with the new Apple Remote
• Charges and syncs via USB
• Syncs contacts, calendars and to-do lists

Duly laser-engraved: Surrender The Booty! In Real Life I Am A Pirate.

Hell yes! Must get back to play work!

Monday, October 24, 2005

Boiled what?

While in Georgia this past Friday, I headed north from Atlanta, up I-85 toward Clarkesville. There is a place on a hill called Jaemor Farm Market, that sneaks up on you with no prior warning. I had been looking for it all the way up the highway, not remembering exactly where it was.

Last year, Bradzilla and I were on a video shoot and he made me turn around and go back to this location for some boiled Jawja peanuts. I shuddered, thinking, "Ick." To my delight, they were delicious and I couldn't wait to get some more!

Well, as fate would have it, I passed it up, but immediately knew I had and made the next U-turn to get back to the location. I pulled up the hill, parked and saw the sign: BOILED PEANUTS $2.50 PER QUART. SEE CASHIER. I waited my turn and then paid my $2.50 and the cashier goes over to a 55-gallon drum of boiling water, dips in a sieve on the end of a pole and deposits the booty into a sack with a plastic liner. He hands it to me and I watch the steam rising from the bag as I take it.

When I got back into the car, I realized I had a problem. Bradzilla was no where in sight to peel them open for me as I drove. Besides that, they were boiling hot, for God's sake.

I waited a few minutes and stuck my hand into the steaming bag, while driving up I-85. I dropped the first one back into the bag. Too damn hot to handle, so I waited a few more minutes. I could stand it no more and grabbed one from the steaming sack in the passenger seat. I deftly placed it on the air conditioning vent which I had tilted up as far as it would go. Then I placed five more on that vent, and started filling up the spaces on the adjacent vent.

With 10 peanuts cooling, I picked up the first one, split it, and popped those delicious boiled peanuts into my mouth. Wow! What a great taste. I blew through the remaining 9 peanuts and repeated the process.

If those Jawja bloggers come to Austin next Spring, I will personally boil them some peanuts! Now if I only had a recipe!

Delicious, just delicious. I ate the entire bag and only burned my fingers once.

I found a couple of recipes that I will be testing. I can't wait!

1. Wash raw peanuts thoroughly in cool water; then soak in clean cool water for about 30 minutes before cooking.
2. Put peanuts in a saucepan and cover completely with water. Because the shells of some peanuts absorb more salt than others, it's best to begin with 1 tablespoon of salt for each 2 cups of peanuts; you can add more salt to taste later.
3. The cooking period for boiled peanuts varies according to the maturity of the peanuts used and the variety of peanut. The cooking time for a "freshly pulled" green peanut is shorter than for a peanut which has been stored for a time.
4. When fully cooked, the texture of the peanut should be similar to that of a cooked dry pea or bean. Boil the peanuts for about 35 minutes, then taste. If they are not salted enough, add more salt. Taste again in 10 minutes, both for salt content and to see if the peanuts are fully cooked. If not ready, continue tasting every 5 minutes until they have a satisfactory texture.

5. Drain peanuts after cooking or they will continue to absorb salt and become oversalted.

6. Boiled peanuts are usually served as a snack, but they make a great substitute for dried cooked beans at any meal. They may be eaten hot, at room temperature, or chilled in the refrigerator and eaten cold, shelling as you eat them. They will keep in the refrigerator for several days, or they may be frozen.

This recipe is even easier, although I could not, in good conscience, wait this long.

• 1-1/2 quarts green uncooked peanuts
• 1/2 cup salt*
• 2-1/2 quarts water
Wash peanuts until water runs clear. Put nuts in crockpot. Add salt and water. Stir well. Cover and cook on high for 5 to 7 hours. If necessary, add additional water to keep peanuts covered.
*The peanuts will get saltier the longer they sit in their cooking liquid.

I love waiting for the FedEx guy!

OK, SWF got me a present. It is enroute. It was ordered on October 13th and shipped on October 22nd, as shown below.

Anyone care to guess what I will be wrapping my eyes and ears around?

I had it laser engraved with the following:
Surrender the booty!
In real life I'm a pirate.

Ah, how sweet it shall be!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Wrapped …

… in the cold blanket named FEAR.

I just had an opportunity to do something I thought would be really nice, considerate and unique for someone. I wanted to a send present to a fellow Texan that I had never met … who didn't know me from some steet-trash, Colt 45-drinking, whoring-scumbag predator. All I asked for was a mailing address. "Um, no. Ye canna ha'e me address!" Seems I forgot that some folks never had the same trust for their neighbors that I did as a child, as a pre-pubescent adolecent and even as a teenager. My bad.

When I was growing up we'd always leave the keys in the car's ignition, and we'd always leave our doors to the house unlocked - God forbid, what if our neighbors needed something? Back then it was June and Ward Cleaver in Leave it to Beaver or the Father Knows Best that set the tone of the 50s and 60s.

Those days are gone now, those days of innocence and trust. Makes me sad. Those halcyon days are long gone; those idyllically happy and peaceful days of yore are nothing but a memory and it is doubly sad that there is no trust in the world in general.

People are wracked with fear, fear that is undoubtedly merited, in these modern days of distrust and war. Fear for their safety, fear for their family's safety. Totally understandable and yet, regrettable, sadly regrettable.

Most of the people who visit here on a regular basis, know me. Some do not, yet I have their addresses and phone numbers which I asked for and received - without gnashing of teeth or freaking out.

I know there are "predators" out there in cyberspace. I know people want their anonymity. I just am saddened that our reaction to the world of chaos that we now live in, is to wrap oneself in a cocoon of "imagined" safety. We are not safe anymore. No one is.

There is a saying that I have been seeing regularly lately: "Be the change you want to see in the world." So if anyone needs anything - whether I know you or not - just drop by the Good Ship Sycamore and ye'll be welcomed as ye'r piped aboard and introduced to the comfort of our ship. Ye'll dine on what 'er Stomps With Foot and I have in the kitchen, drink grog or make a beer run. We'll entertain each other with stories and generally have a great time.

I know all about war - been there, got decorated, got back to the world in one piece, both mentally and physically. Viet Nam was a long time ago, in a galaxy, far, far away. So was Kent State, Martin Luther King, RFK and JFK. It seems things started to go downhill during the Nixon administration - back when Richard was King.

Damn. We need a new generation of protest songs - to get the message out that people are generally trustworty, good-hearted and kind. Damn.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler saves day

Here is the icing:

Here is the cake:

Shortly after these photos were taken the Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler killed 'em all and ate their cake.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Idiot lights and electrical tape.

As SWF and I were travelling to Ft. Worth this weekend, I notice the "idiot light" on my dashboard is reading:

Well, OK, my '98 Ford Exploder just rolled over 140,000 miles. Maybe it's just the fact that it rolled over that I need to have it "diagnosed" for $75 and whatever is causing the problem will be rectified with a $30 part PLUS $580 for labor. You know the bottom line of these types of warning signs.

But the more I looked at that idiot light I found it to be changing before my eyes into:

Don't need the SUV anymore, really. The kids are all grown and there's got to be a car out there with better mileage. Sheesh, I hate this part; a new car today costs more than my first home (back in the '70s).

My friend, Shooter, has a solution for these types of problems. Grab some electrical tape, and cover the offending idiot light.

Hmmmm. Something to think about besides a $30,000+ replacement vehicle. Electrical tape is really really cheap, and I have plenty at home.

Strength and far-sightedness

My youngest brother, codename: Gogo and his family were in Ft. Worth this weekend. My sister-in-law's father passed away last week in Houston and was interred in Fort Worth on Saturday afternoon. Stomps With Foot and I made the trip over from Dallas to give our last respects to Dr. Dan. We had only met him a couple of times, weren't close to him, but he was dearly loved by all his family.

When we arrived at the funeral home, SWF and I were early, so we found a shade tree to park under and waited. When the family arrived, I couldn't see my brother so I called his cell phone. He was inside, trying to find the minister who would say the prayers over the coffin. Alas and alack, no minister. Wires got crossed somewhere and he was fit to be tied. He was crawling up and down the back of he funeral home representatives (God Bless them) and we were all at the gravesite.

Calls were made, pacing ensued. I took my brother aside and suggested that the worst-case scenario wasn't bad at all. No minister, no problem. Just have everyone who wants to speak about their dad/ex-husbands (yes, there were two ex-wives), stand by the coffin and say what is on their minds, and close with the Lord's Prayer.

And so they did … it was beautiful. In fact, a red-winged hawk flew very close to the coffin, from left to right. He swooped low over the graves and then pulled up and disappeared into the sky. Everyone immediately glommed onto that sight and translated it as his spirit leaving the area for heaven. Wow. What a thing to behold. It was more than beautiful, it was awe-inspiring. Dr. Dan would've loved the graveside service. Everyone said their piece and made their peace with their departed loved-one. Stories were imparted, prayers were said and it was a wonderful thing to behold.

In Native-American lore, the hawk represents strength and far-sightedness. May the strength of the hawk, renew the spirits of those who witnessed this magnificently-timed event. I know it was his spirit, not a coincidental event.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Don't you love it when …

… someone solves a really important problem?

Who says you can't train a man to do better?

Tears are for the living

Death rains from the sky
Upon people, caste low or high
People will live
People will die
But their prayers will be heard on High

Whether volcano, flood or hurricane
Man's intervening efforts are in vain
We cannot take away the pain
Of death, of ruin or Nature's bane
Nothing man does is germane

Tis God's work, some will say
It fills our hearts as we pray
For come darkest night or brightest day
He is the One with whom we stay
He is the One our sorrows allay

Let them sigh
Let them cry
Let them try
Let them look into the sky
Let them find comfort in His eye

You've been pumpkinned!

How to carve a pumpkin!

Just click on the Jack-o-Lantern carving instructions below. It's easier than you may think.


Tuesday, October 11, 2005

You decide …

Simple question, simple answer.

More smoke on the water …

The Cap'n has the rest of the story. Click the photo for a look-see.

Must distract Stomps With Foot!

My brother-in-law, codename: Red Spectrum, has one of these bad boys and let me fondle handle it last week. El Capitan and his buddy Zibig both responded to my inquiries on the .40 versus the .45. Whoa! My wallet will be heavier with the Concealed Handgun license, but lighter for the cost. Seems to be an even trade off.

SIG PRO 2340
The Sig Pro is available in 9mm Para, .357 SIG or .40 S&W. The Sig Pro features a polymer frame using the latest technologies in synthetic materials manufacturing. The Sig Pro also features an integral fire control unit for easy conversion from SA/DA to double-action-only, integral accessory rail to mount a tactical light or laser sight (mmmmmmm, laser sight), and a unique four-point safety system. The magazine release is reversible for the left thumb to release the magazine.

Hey kids - now you know what you can get yer old man for Christmas - accessories!

• Mechanically locked, recoil-operated semi-automatic.
• Stainless steel slide.
• Fiber-reinforced sythetic frame.
• Four-point safety system: patented automatic firing pin lock; frame-mounted decocking lever; safety intercept notch; trigger bar disconnector.
• A variety of sight configurations let you adjust for all kinds of angles and heights.
• Available in 9mm Para, .357 SIG and .40 S&W (calibers are interchangeable between .357 SIG and .40 S&W models only).
• Optional grips and trigger available for custom fit.
• Available in Nitron and two-tone finishes.

Safety Features: Auto firing pin lock; frame-mounted decocking lever; safety intercept notch; trigger bar disconnector. Operation: Mechanically locked, recoil-operated, semi-automatic pistol Trigger: DA/SA and DAO Caliber: 9mm Para, .357 SIG, .40 S&W Length, overall: 7.4” Height, overall: 5.7” Width, overall: 1.4” Barrel length: 3.9” Rifling twist: 1:10” (9mm); 1:16” (.357 SIG); 1:15” (.40 S&W) Rifling grooves: 6 Sight radius: 5.9” Weight, w/o mag.: 25 oz. (9mm)* Weight, empty mag.: 3.0 oz. Magazine cap.: 10 2009 NITRON® All weights and dimensions are approximate. *Add 2.2 oz. for larger calibers. Specifications are subject to change without notice.

Now if I can just distract Stomps With Foot with something shiny - beads and baubles, perhaps, I can sneak this into my stocking over the fireplace, and let Santa bring me the jacketed hollow-point rounds.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Sail On, Jimmy, Sail On

My first cousin, Jimmy, passed away Sunday evening, as a result of a losing battle against brain cancer. He bought a year of life by paying for the pain of chemotherapy. I will be in Houston, tomorrow, through Friday. Sheesh. I wish I could see El Capitan, but things will be hectic as it is. I know you all understand how this "suckiest" part of life is, but it remains a huge part and I must do the needful.

Tell your loved ones, you love them; even if they are your first cousins and you haven't spoken with them in 30 yeArrrs - life is short; I am reminded of Paul Simon's musical query, "Why am I so soft in the middle, when life is so hard?"

Monday, October 03, 2005

Desdemona's building a rocket ship

My partner in Art Department Crime, codename: Desdemona, sent me this. I think she is trying to encourage tact, but that isn't necessarily the case.

A couple had been debating the purchase of a new auto for weeks. He wanted a new truck. She wanted a fast little sports-like car so she could zip through traffic around town.

He would probably have settled on any beat up old truck, but everything she seemed to like was way out of their price range.

"Look!" she said. "I want something that goes from 0 to 180 in 4 seconds or less. And my birthday is coming up. You could surprise me."

For her birthday, he bought her a brand new bathroom scale.

Services will be at Downing funeral home on Monday the 12th, due to the condition of the body, this will be a closed casket service.

Please send your donations to the 'Think Before You Say Things To Your Wife Foundation," Dallas, Texas.

New State Mottos

Our union of 50 states has been strengthened by the addition of these new State Mottos

Hell Yes, We Have Electricity.

11,623 Eskimos Can't Be Wrong!

But It's A Dry Heat.

Literacy Ain't Everything.

By 30, Our Women Have More Plastic Than Your Honda.

If You Don't Ski, Don't Bother.

Like Massachusetts, Only The Kennedy's Don't Own It Yet.

We Really Do Like The Chemicals In Our Water.

Ask Us About Our Grandkids. And Our Voting Skills.

We Put The Fun In Fundamentalist Extremism.

Haka Tiki Mou Sha'ami Leeki Toru. (Death To Mainland Scum,Leave Your Money)

More Than Just Potatoes … Well, Okay, We're Not, But The Potatoes Sure Are Real Good

Please, Don't Pronounce the "S."

2-Billion Years Tidal-Wave Free.

We Do Amazing Things With Corn.

First Of The Rectangle States.

Five Million People; Fifteen Last Names.

We're Not ALL Drunk Cajun Wackos, But That's Our Tourism Campaign.

We're Really Cold, But We Have Cheap Lobster.

If You Can Dream It, We Can Tax It.

Our Taxes Are Lower Than Sweden's. And Our Senators Are More Corrupt!

First Line Of Defense From The Canadians.

10,000 Lakes … And 10,000,000,000,000 Mosquitoes

Come And Feel Better About Your Own State.

Your Federal Flood Relief Tax Dollars At Work.

Land Of The Big Sky, The Unabomber, Right-wing Crazies, and Honest Elections!

Ask About Our State Motto Contest.

Hookers and Poker!

New Hampshire
Go Away And Leave Us Alone.

New Jersey
You Want A ##$%##! Motto? I Got Yer ##$%##! Motto Right here!

New Mexico
Lizards Make Excellent Pets.

New York
You Have The Right To Remain Silent, You Have The Right To An Attorney … And No Right To Self Defense!

North Carolina
Tobacco Is A Vegetable.

North Dakota
We Really Are One Of The 50 States!

At Least We're Not Michigan.

Like The Play, But No Singing.

Spotted Owl … It's What's For Dinner.

Cook With Coal.

Rhode Island
We're Not REALLY An Island.

South Carolina
Remember The Civil War? Well, We Didn't Actually Surrender Yet.

South Dakota
Closer Than North Dakota

Home of the Al Gore Invention Museum.

God Save The Republic!

Our Jesus Is Better Than Your Jesus.

Ay, Yep.

Who Says Government Stiffs And Slackjaw Yokels Don't Mix?

Our Governor Can Out-Fraud Your Governor!

West Virginia
One Big Happy Family … Really!

Come Cut Cheese!

Where Men Are Men … And The Sheep Are Scared.

and finally, that location that is not a state …

The District of Columbia
The Work-Free Drug Place!