Friday, June 26, 2009

Working long hours and having little computer time has a negative impact on my blogging, but today there are a few things I wanted to say regardless of sleep. Thanks to the explosion on Twitter today I was kept up to date on the situation with Michael Jackson. I know everyone and their mother is blogging about this right now, but I still want to express some feelings.

For as long as I can remember in my brief life there has been Michael Jackson. I cannot remember a time with out him. Off the Wall came out a year before I was born so I was never alive in a world without him - until now. My cousin was a big fan, as well as anyone on the planet, so I heard his music from the very beginning. By the time I was old enough to know a little, around four, I would emulate Michael everywhere. I had a small "Beat It" style jacket, white glove, glittered socks (which I still have) and, of course, the penny loafers. In fact, it was at the shoe store where my show would begin.

The name of the store escapes me at the moment, but it is a kids shoe store in Ft. Worth and this is where my mom always took us for footwear. While trying on the penny loafers I would proceed to do my Michael impersonation. "Beat It," "Billie Jean" or "Thiller" and all the dancing that came along. Learning how to moonwalk was one of the greatest things to me at the time, and it's something I still enjoy doing on occasion.

At this young age all I wanted was to grow up to be Michael Jackson. I would either tell people I wanted to be him or a singer just like him. In my copy of the Dr. Suess My Book About Me I have Jackson's name written in my just-learned-to-write chicken scratch under "Hero." He was my hero, but I was not alone. Kids and adults all over the world worshiped the ground on which he walked. Girls would cry like babies and even pass out during his concerts all because they were witnessing him perform. I never got a chance to see him live, but it was something I wished for all the time. Just the other day I was talking about the few acts that I would pay a lot of money to see if they came through Dallas again and his name was on the top of that list. Sadly, I will never get a chance to see him in the flesh.

Not everyone of my friends knows how much I love MJ. Sure, I had his music on my iPod, but who doesn't have a few of his songs? I have bought everyone of his albums at one time or another (with the exception of Invincible which I heard, but did not really like), and some I bought on vinyl, then cassette and finally CD. Yes, this means I even bought Dangerous. The first two solo albums are the best, without a doubt, and Bad has its moments, but just does not compare. Most of his albums' weight came from Quincy Jones being behind the sounds and lyrics, but no one has been a performer like Michael. An incredible dancer who moved like no one before. Just watch in the video below where he debuted the moonwalk at the Motown 25th anniversary show. The crowd went nuts, as did everyone watching their TV sets at home. No one could believe their eyes. Now so many people have been so heavily influenced by this man that it borders on plagiarism. This was just a small piece of what the man did to make his mark on the world. Look at the "Thriller" video (which is on MTV right now, it's even the long version) - this basically revolutionized the music video. There had been videos before where people would have a bit of a "story" involved, but Michael's musical short films grew the attention of the nation and were helmed by accomplished film directors (John Landis, Martin Scorsese). These videos featured elaborate budgets, FX and choreography that people cannot help but repeat. We had a copy of "Thriller" from the first airing that I pretty much wore out from so many viewings.

I read the news while I was working and while it did depress me quite a bit, there was not much time to think about the news. On the way home I put on some of his music and shed a couple of tears for the man behind the music that has been with me for my entire life. Have I turned into one of the fainting concert girls? I hope not, but I am saddened by his passing, mostly because of the shock. They say the celebrity deaths happen in threes, but I never would have expected Michael. Ed McMahon was old and not doing well and Farrah's cancer had been widely publicized, but this came out of the blue. I still cannot believe what has happened.

A lot of people probably wonder why anyone is sad for the death of a "deviant" such as Michael Jackson. I'm not sure if he did everything he was accused of, but I will admit there was something fishy happening. Why anyone let their child spend the night, alone, with a non-family member adult is beyond me. He had his moment and his artistic, and personal, choices took him somewhere that it was hard to watch. I'm not condoning the actions he is accused of, nor is this any excuse, but this is what a bad effect abuse can have on a person.

I hope people take the time to remember the good things about Michael, and the good times. Listen to some Jackson 5 or anything from Off the Wall or Thriller and you will find it hard not to remember a time you were in love with the King of Pop.

R.I.P. Michael Jackson (1958-2009)

Check out this great article on HitFix by Drew McWeeny (aka Moriarty from Ain't It Cool News).

Friday, June 19, 2009

I love Chinese food. It's no secret, but I cannot get enough far east cuisine. One of the things most people know about Chinese food is what they have learned at the local buffet. While their food is never the best, it's usually rather cheap and you get to try a little bit of everything. Most of the time I would rather have good food, but ever now and again I get a hankering for the buffet. Sue me.

Something that has perplexed me for years is the waitress at the Chinese buffet. You walk to your table, they take a drink order and then you go get your food. Throughout the whole dining experience all this person does is get you refills, slowly, and pick up your dirty plates for your return trip to the smorgasboard. I guess it is nice to have someone bring you the drinks, but then the end of the meal comes. At any normal restaurant there is no question to the validity of the waiter/waitress and tip accordingly to the service. At the buffet you finish and then what? I guess you should tip, but what did they really do? You got all of the food, the plates could have been taken by a busboy, so that just leaves the beverages. Is it really worth dropping a dollar or two for a couple of refills? Sure it's just a couple of bucks, but I don't know that it's really tip worthy. I wish they would just get rid of this and you get your own drinks too. Most every fast food restaurant on the planet has the fountain drink set up, why can't this transfer over to the buffet?

I say we start picketing.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

It has been a while since I have done a cooking blog. I wanted to get settled into the new house a bit and get used to the new appliances. I have an oven that works very well, but it is probably the original piece from when the house was built in the early sixties. The stove is one of those flat smooth electric cooktops and it works great as well, but very different from the conventional coils I'm used to. In any event, last night I made some Brinner (that's breakfast for dinner, for those not in the know) and took some pictures for your enjoyment. Enjoy.

On Tonight's Menu: Homemade Buttermilk Pancackes with Scrambled Eggs and Maple Sausage Patties

Now I don't use any store bought mix to make my pancakes, I don't want to do that to my mouth. Instead I use a homemade "instant" pancake mix that I got from my hero Alton Brown from Food Network's Good Eats. For this mix you fill your container of choice with:

  • 6 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar

Then shake everything up and you should be able to keep it in your air tight container for about three months.

When you are ready to make your pancakes get two mixing bowls and separate two eggs.

Now whisk two cups of buttermilk in with the whites and four tablespoons of melted butter with the yolks. The reason you do this is adding the eggs, buttermilk and butter all together is like mixing oil and water together - it just doesn't really want to work. The chemical make-up of the yolks to the butter, and buttermilk with the whites are very similar so by doing this you have a much better bind. Then you can mix the two together. If the butter is pretty warm then it is best to temper with the buttermilk/white mixture.

After all of that is mixed together then you take a much larger mixing bowl with two cups of your "instant" pancake mix in it and add the liquid mixture to the party. The crucial part here is not to over mix. Make sure all of the ingredients are combined, but there will be lumps. Lumps are good, they will cook out.

For cooking my pancakes I use a flat cast iron skillet over medium, sometimes low-medium, heat. Once hot I rub the end of a half stick of butter all over and wipe up the excess with a paper towel. The rest of the butter I throw into a small sauce pot on low, but I'll get to that in a moment. I use a 1/3 cup measuring cup to dish out the batter, I find it gives a good size. Then you flip once the bubbles start as normal, usually about a couple of minutes per side.

Now with that butter in the sauce pot... Instead of putting butter on the pancakes at the table I like to use a spoon and drizzle the some melted butter over each flapjack as soon as it's off the griddle. This way the butter penetrates the disc and you get a richer flavor. Hey, I never said these were healthy.

This "instant" mix makes the best tasting pancakes I've ever made. While last night's were rather plain you can spice them up. Sometimes I add some cinnamon to the mix, or some blueberries, chocolate chips or whatever floats your boat. Once I even added some chopped bits of cooked bacon. It was alright, but not as good as I hoped.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

For all of you office drones out there, your prayers have been answered. How many times have you sat at your desk nursing hunger pains for some beans? I know, too many to count. The problem has always been having to get up and walk all the way to the break room and wait for that microwave to heat up your snack, all the while your work is going unfinished. Say goodbye to these problems with Heinz's new invention - The Beanzwave!

Not only does this small microwave (only 7.4 inches in height) make for the perfect snack size and portability, but it runs via USB. This can cook other things besides beans like your tea, or other goods. Heinz did create this to go along with their Snap Pots (small plastic containers of beans) but as long as your food fits in the small opening it will heat in a flash. Not only is this the smallest microwave created it also makes use of mobile phone radio frequencies to heat your item, inside and out, in under a minute.

The Beanzwave has not officially hit the market yet, Heinz is still in the testing phases, but you know you want one. Don't let the, roughly, $160 price tag deter you from beans at your desk in less than a minute. Write your congressman today!

Now instead of getting up and going to that dank break room like a common worker you can propel yourself into the way of the future where all cooking devices will be powered through your computer. I can't wait for the firewire hotplate and the SATA refridgerator!

For those of you not familiar with the hilarity that his 30 Rock, they had a small microwave as a device this season. Click the picture below to watch a clip of The Fun Cooker at Eat Me Daily.

[Daily Mail via Gizmodo]

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

This is a very special edition of the Potty Talk series. In this post we delve into a new device in the world of pet needs. Everyone hates to pick up dog doo, so one company took the initiative to create the first outdoor yard toilet for your puppy - the PowerLoo.

This flushable small toilet seems to work much like the can in an RV, only this hooks up directly to your existing water/sewer lines. The commercial, posted below, boasts that you never have to pick up or touch the poop ever again. Oh, except for the fact that you do! The website clearly states you have to pick it up yourself, and the actors in the spot are putting the business in there themselves. Can you really expect a dog to lift up the lid, do his dirty work then flush? There have been cats trained to use toilets, like in Meet the Parents, and I'm sure something like this could happen with with dogs, but not with the PowerLoo. There is a peddle to depress in order to open the lid otherwise you would just have an open water hole, kind of like a mini-well.

The worst part about all of this is the price. Be prepared to fork over just under $1000 for this gem, and that is not including installation or the heated pipe option for those in colder climates. Sounds like a big expense and hassle when you could just carry the dung to one of the house's toilets for much cheaper and a few more steps, or take it to the trash can.

On the plus side if you had one of these you could always pinch one off in your backyard.

[PowerLoo via Gizmodo]

Monday, June 8, 2009

Cross My Heart

I don't consider myself very knowledgeable in the ways of women's undergarments, but I've seen my fair share. You don't spend five years on a Rocky Horror cast without seeing a bit of lingerie. It seems that recently there have been more tech heavy bras on the market. When I saw Japan's Marriage Hunting Bra I was sure I had seen the craziest undergarment. This has LEDs showing the countdown to the wearer's ideal wedding date. A little weird yes, but I guess if a guy were to come across a girl like this he would know she was husband hunting and they could stick around or run for the hills.

This all falls to something that is the a new development in the U.K. - the Smart Memory Bra. What this bra does is senses a rise in body temperature and assuming this means an increased horny level the foam expands to push the breasts up and give more cleavage. The theory is great, now women can automatically look sluttier while on the go and find some guy, or girl, that gets their motor going. The only problem here is if the wearer gets hot due to any other factor, like some physical activity or being outside on a hot day, the boobs will rise.

On the plus side give this bra to a woman going through menopause and when the hot flashes start let the show begin.

By the way, yes, that is a bra made of bacon in the picture above.

[Lisca via Gizmodo]

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Earlier, while perusing the normal sites on the interwebs, I came across an article about the television theme song on Variety. It should be no secret that I love my fair share of TV themes. If you were to scroll through my iPod once you get past the viking death metal and "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" from the Mannequin you would find over eight hours of boob tube tunes. This may be a bit of an unhealthy obsession, but I love to listen to them. Pulling up to a stoplight with my windows down rocking out to Alan Thicke crooning "show me that smile again," next to some guy blaring Lil' Wayne is awesome. Especially when their song ends and they hear what it coming from my car. I have no shame in listening to themes in the car. There was one road trip in particular where the whole way to Oklahoma City all we listened to were my precious short tunes.

It is no secret that the TV theme song has taken a back burner over the last few years. Gone are the days of the minute, or longer, opening credit sequences with iconic themes to get stuck in your head. The thought is to stop wasting the time with the credits and give more show to the viewer. I am all for this, but at the same time it is sad to see the theme song get shoved to the side. If you went to pretty much any bar/restaurant/mall/coffee shop and sang, "making your way in the world today takes everything you've got" most everyone within earshot would know exactly what you were singing, or whistle the tune from The Andy Griffith Show. These songs do not just start our favorite shows, but become a part of us. If you went into that same place and let out a pitch perfect cry in the tone of the ten second Heroes opening it would be highly unlikely anyone would no what the hell you were doing.

The does not make or break the show, but if there is a catchy tune I firmly believe the show will stick with you much longer. Each show that shortens there trademark opening to ten, or fewer, seconds takes away one of the best things about watching TV, in my opinion. They aren't all winners, but I still loved them - except for one. For some reason I was always weirded out by the start of Perry Mason. It might be the very dramatic tones or Raymond Burr, but I would change the channel with a quickness. I could sit and watch horror movies nonstop but the opening to Perry Mason was my one weakness.

There are still a few shows who still do a great theme song. Most of the good ones are on cable, HBO and Showtime seem to respect the art of TV themes, but network TV has its fair share. The Barenaked Ladies recorded an awesome song for The Big Bang Theory. While I have never been one of their fans, I find myself singing this all the time. "Our whole universe was in a hot, dense state..."

One of my favorite premium cable themes was taken away and I still cannot condone this action by the fine people on Weeds. "Little Boxes" was a perfect fit for the suburbs where all looks exactly the same, just like the fictional town of Agrestic in which Nancy began her pot dealing career. Through out the second and third seasons different musical artists did cover versions of the song and it was grand. When the Botwin's left Agrestic so did the theme. I know the theme didn't make sense anymore, but I also know I'm not the only one who misses hearing about those "little boxes made of ticky-tacky." I guess I'll always have my MP3 version to keep me company.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

As if there weren't enough stupid man accessories out there already e-Volve has taken it to a new level with the e-Holster! This is a shoulder holster similar to what a detective would wear for their gun, but this is for all of your tech toys. The main compartment has plenty of room for your iPhone, Blackberry, Palm Pre or whatever smartphone you have. Of course, you could alway put your iPod there, PSP, Nintendo DS or a twinkie (I guess). There are even places to snake your earbud cord so it stays hidden and out of your way while you are styling in your new holster.

You may think this is just for tech gadgets, but that is where you would be wrong. Replace your normal wallet with slots for all your cash and cards, even a secure passport pocket.

I guess this is no worse than any money belt or fanny pack but there is just something really lame about wearing a holster for your freaking cell phone. You can't help but think about Gareth Keenan from the original BBC version of The Office. People laughed when he removed his jacket to reveal a holster for his mobile, why would that not be any different in real life?

[e-Holster via Engadget]

Monday, June 1, 2009

Recently in Gastonia, North Carolina a couple was arrested after being found "going at it" in a car in a Wal-Mart parking lot. Sex acts in public are nothing all that new, but the age difference between the couple is the kicker. The mugshots paint a pretty picture too.

It turns out Asia Marie Howard, 25, was paid $20 to blow Mr. William Walter Stephens, 83, in his Buick. You expect prostitutes to troll truck stops and seedy areas, but I never figured a Wal-Mart parking lot the place for working girls. Though I'm not surprised.

The officer on the scene stopped them as they were leaving the parking lot, after they had been seen having sex in the aformentioned car. At least he let them finish, I'm sure that is not a sight one would want to see up close. You would think the charge would be prostitution since Howard admitted to being paid for the oral sex, but not in North Carolina. The charge - crime against nature. Yep, in some states certain sex acts, other than missionary I presume, are still illegal. This includes anal, oral, bestiality, necrophilia and in some cases homosexual acts. I understand not wanting to see anything like this in a public place, but if two consenting adults want to have a little ass sex, what is the big deal?

I remember around the time I graduated from high school there was a sexual arrest made in the parking lot of Wal-Mart in Burleson. A nineteen year old guy, who I knew, was caught getting hot and heavy with a thirteen year old girl in his car. Way to screw up your life for some action. He is still registered as a sex offender, as confirmed by the website, and just went in for his yearly check-in and photo update on his 30th birthday last week. How can you ever enjoy a birthday again when you know you have to go have your new sex offender picture taken?


I'm a bad, bad blogger. Lately I have been neglecting posting updates here, and that will change. After moving into the new place last week I have been somewhat busy with unpacking and just getting settled.

Fulci has also needed tons of attention. He is finally getting used to the idea of this being his new home, but he was barely eating or drinking for the first couple of days. There is also the going into the backyard for the bathroom thing he had to "learn." I put that in quotes because he knows what to do at my parents' house, but not at his home. In just over a week he is getting so much better and I can kind of tell when he needs/wants to go outside.

I did take the time to see two great movies this weekend - Drag Me to Hell and Up. The first is a great return to the horror genre from Sam Raimi. He took his Evil Dead roots and mixed it well with a much bigger budget to create a fun thrilling ride. It is wonderful to live so close to a decent movie theater, Galaxy 10 (around 635 & Jupiter), with the special twilight prices, $4.75 for any show between 4pm and 6pm. For Up we had to see it in 3D and that theater does not have the technology so I figured this is as good of a time as any to try out Cinemark's XD3 screen at their location off the tollway in Plano. This auditorium has a VERY large screen (I believe around 70-80 feet), high end sound and a sweet digital projector. Of course, it is also equipped for 3D viewing. Because of all the added top end equipment tickets are $14! For that price I could see three flicks at Galaxy. Was it worth it? The experience was great, I know some people have had less than desirable experiences with this, but it was awesome for Jenny and me. None of the theater stats can really compare to the film itself, Pixar cannot be touched. With each film they release things just get better and better. I saw someone on Twitter, I think comedian Paul F. Tompkins, said on it seems Pixar has started making films for adults, and that is so true. While kids will love the jokes and animation the story really gets to adults, and there were many tissues used throughout the audience.

Both of these films, while way different, are freaking great and you should rush out to see them ASAP! I will be blogging regularly again, hopefully another post later tonight, and I apologize for my absence.