Friday, December 29, 2006

First Comment

Yay! Diamond Lil dropped by and found the Garlic Chicken Soup of Doom worthy, and passed the link along. It's GOOD to be read.

Beyond that, had another little power blip tonight (just a 15-min) but geared up for the full-bore OMFG version shutting down mail servers and things. I'm going to have to cave in and get a baby UPS for the WAP as it seems to actively dislike power fluctuations, and the ritual to bring it back up is a bit tedious.

Still...this is far better than the last blast...5 days w/o power....and this time the fireplace insert worked. Call it a good test run...

Next week sometime popping down to get the local version of Concealed Pistol Licenses signed up for (it never fails to puzzle me, the difference between California and Northern laws regulation self-defense tools - down there, you've got to sleep with the Sheriff just about, to get a CPL...but you can carry any folding knife you can pick up off the ground. Up here, once you license...with an objective standard, no can carry so many firearms you clank when you walk in perfect legality...but a blade over 3.5" is a bozo nono), and pick'm up in 30 days or so...

Getting all configured for NW weirdness is both a relief and a challenge... weather/quake/volcano/tsunami/urban unrest are all featured on the list of possibles to a greater extent (with one exception) than in an odd little town like Palm Springs out in the middle of the California desert.

On the other hand, the array of available/legal tools is much broader, and with just a bit of planning and attention to current events, it's far from impossible to arrange to miss out on local bits of high, getting the rest of the family in on plans...well...that's more of a challenge, but one step at a time. Probably the next step here is building out a solution to ensure my aging folks a secure and dependable power-source during wind storms and other adventure....which of course is going to eat a few dollars.

New Reading

Before he passed, Jim Baen & Co. over at Baen Books did something fairly revolutionary - they made most of their books available via e-copy - pay up and take your choice between HTML, PDA-Friendly Formats, or online reading. YAY!

Then, as a bonus, they created Webscription (a neat system where you get books prior to hardcopy issue) and the Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) system...where you get unproofed copies of your favorite authors books even sooner. YAY x 2!

The latest little bundle of joy is a John Ringo & Tom Kratman novel in the Military SF Posleen universe, Yellow-Eyes. I strongly recommend this one as either a stand-alone or as another volume in a fascinating series that fearlessly takes on social issues from a conservative/libertarian standpoint at the same time it deals with ground level tactical, strategic, and logistical considerations of a world under siege.

Now, if only Glenn Cook would hurry up with the next Garett, PI fix...

Thursday, December 28, 2006

A little help for our friends

Lawdawg is rumored ill, and aside from a comment posted over on his blog, I'm also reminded it's flu/cold season (gawd, the NW is so much CHILLIER than Palm Springs) and others are likely afflicted, outside of N. Texas.

The below always provides me with good nutrition, and about 45 minutes relief from any sinus/bronchii/lung crud.

Garlic Chicken Soup of Doom

2 Large Cans Campbells Condensed Chicken Noodle Soup*
1 lb Boneless Chicken Breasts, cubed to ½” to ¼”
1 8 oz. Can peas
1 8 oz. Can carrots
1 8 oz. Can sliced potatoes
1 8 oz Can Kidney Beans
2½ c. Chopped Garlic
6 tbsp Oregano
6 tbsp Basil
Chili Powder
Tabasco Sauce
Olive Oil

Coat the bottom of a large fry pan with olive oil. Add 3 tbsp of chopped garlic, 2 tbsp Oregano and Basil, and sauté over low heat until garlic shows just a hint of brown, stirring occasionally. Add chopped chicken breasts, stir vigorously until intermingled thoroughly with spices, then continue to stir occasionally until the chicken is cooked white all through.

Meanwhile, drain all vegetables and place in large crock pot (slow cooker) with Campbell’s Chicken Noodle soup. Add water to within 2" of top of pot. Throw in a couple of handfuls of pasta to thicken, if desired. Add remaining garlic and spices at this time, put crock pot on high setting.

When chicken is sautéed white all through, dump entire fry pan contents into crock pot, stirring in. Simmer for at least one hour.

Returning, take test sip. Add garlic until the soup begins to taste salty. Then add another tablespoon. Now, add chili powder and Tabasco GENTLY, a bit at a time, until when you take a test sip it goes down smoothly…but you feel a distinct heated bite at the back of your throat after imbibing. (Note, if you over do, just let the soup boil down a bit, add some more water and pasta, let that boil down – repeat as needed…and all will be well).

*substitute any preferred chicken stock, and if substituting fresh vegetables rather than canned, be sure to increase cook time for proper spice saturation.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Events & Adventures

Oy. Survived the holiday, and far too many noshes laying about. Gymbunny friend and holiday orphan that joined family for the holiday was somewhat boggled at finding slow cooker, kitchen implements, and a 34" chocolate santa under the tree for him, but he should know my low sense of humor by now and count himself lucky. :)

Nieces were quite pleased with their various loot, collecting a wide variety and being young enough to take pleasure from violently neon-pink sheets/comforters/pillow-cases and Bed/Bath/Beyond's "yard of gumballs", yet sophisticated enough to be thrilled at the notion of an entire wheel of Stilton.

I did rather well, too, and came away with a lovely new french press coffeemaker and sundry other lower-bulk items. No complaints here. Rest of the family did well, too.

Cheese & meat tray went over well...there is an odd little shop up/over in Seattle that does artisan cured meats & such, and they are now producing a "mole salami" that I ran across in my local store...completely different flavor combination, but it works. Yum.

Yesterday was "recuperation". Today, need to get back to business on a number of fronts.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Yet another Christmas tree image...just finished the non-perishable appetizers here, setting up the meat'n'cheese thing in the morning.

A good day overall, brunch at a local restaurant over in the LGBT district of town w/ online friends, and a shut-in was able to make it...which kind of justifies the effort put in to get seven queens in one place at the same time before 2pm on a Sunday.

All the last minute bits, rushing about getting the ingredients forgotten earlier, buffet dishes arriving early for proper presentation, and the last minute frantic cleaning for guests (and ensuring all the sharp pointies and loud banging devices are out of reach of little hands) seems mostly done.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Lesser of the evils

Every year at this time I deal with folks interacting, or not interacting and missing, their families - all too often, with varying degrees of rejection/denial/dysfunction over the notion that *gasp* one of their own might be gay. Not surprisingly, it's usually the gay one I get to hear bitching/moaning/cursing at the effects of it all (I expect somewhere out there, someone else is dealing with the befuddled hetero half of the equation).

For any hetero readers - no, it's not a choice (are you MAD? Who is going to VOLUNTEER for all the BS that comes with this one?); it's not a sickness (any more than drawing the low hand in a poker game), it doesn't *need* to be fixed (and any efforts in that direction usually just lead to more dramatic and less socially acceptable outlets...).

That said, I'm reminded of a friend some years ago who combined really enthusiastic introversion, a desire to come out and be done with it (after awhile, living a lie gets tiresome), and deep-seated white-hot fury at most of his clan. Something about the way the family treated his father when that gentleman came out at around the time my friend was 12...

His theory was that the best way to deal with all this was a blood'n'thunder confrontation over Christmas dinner, followed by his marching off into the night, never to deal with them again. Umm. That didn't sound really good.

Most families, soon or late, if the collective IQ hovers somewhere over two digits, come to accept and cherish their gay loved one - sometimes it takes milliseconds, sometimes it takes years, but eventually everyone gets over themselves in most instances and recalls that aside from the "gay thing" the party concerned is still the same person who's a talented doctor, makes a killer gingerbread, and spoils the rugrats rotten. Big dramatic confrontations don't really help this process.

Thought for a moment, and realized while friend needed some sort of release, that the power of comedy might be a better venue than "evil drama queen harpy swooping in from the wings, bringing devastation and horror, naming names and peccadillo's in excruciating detail during the overflight." Purchases ensued. Diversion seemed appropriate.

Shortly old-fashioned wooden crates were being built, a brad gun purchased, custom rubber-stamps were ordered, and the plan swung into action. Cards were purchased.

Assembly day rolled around and cellophane wrapped fudge was laid into styro peanut cradles in wooden boxes, cards attached, and the whole shooting match boxed up for shipping. That year puzzled folks (and a few giggling ones) received these intricate assemblies....

On opening the shipping container, they found a nailed-shut wooden crate prominently stamped "well-packed" and a teeny-tiny crowbar strapped across it (HomoDepot has the most amazing selection...never saw a 4" crowbar before); after much effort, the cellophane-encased fudge became apparent, and finally the card beneath it...depicting a Jolly Santa with a message within..."Merry Christmas from your favorite fudge-packer, Sven"

Sven got an evil giggle, and in a passive-aggressive kind of way, his confrontation. The family missed out on Sven in evil pissed-off harpy mode. In the years since, they've come to a sort of detente. All in all, a good days work, if I do say so myself. :)


We've all seen the perfectly wrapped packages under the tree - sharp-cornered, unwrinkled, and flawless with paper and bows chosen in exquisite taste by a high-end interior designer at the NY Macy's Mother-ship and perfectly coordinated with every other gift under the tree in a cohesive visual presentation worthy of Martha Stewart in overdrive.


Then there is "guy-wrapping". Wrinkled, contorted, and with a hot pink bow from fashion hell the gifts are barely Big Momma of lawdog's memoirs dressed in a mini-bikini, the high points are covered, but there's not a whole lot of doubt about just what's going on. Co-ordination? Umm. "They're under the tree and nothing has fallen over or collapsed, right?"

I am a guy-wrapper. While I envy my fey brethren their skills, I'm a lot more comfortable with a table saw and a brad gun than I am with a roll of wrapping paper and a bag of bows. When the time came for the powers above, having issued a fairy membership card with my name upon it, to check off the various categories of competence - elegant wrapping skills, fashion appreciation, and flawless taste somehow never got checked off. In a moment of confusion, whoever was in charge instead checked off "likes things that go bang", "firearms appreciation", and "fondness for individual liberty". Ah well...

This year shopping consisted of several scream'n'leap events focused on acquiring items for the house-apes and the occasional item for friends and adult family (though mostly just baking huge quantities of gingerbread for the grown-up segment). A quick trip to the bookstore to introduce the eldest niece to Discworld and the youngest to Nancy Drew bore fruit, followed some days later by a mad rush through the big housewares store and evil humor moments as the nieces were lined up with neon pink fleece comforters and 300-count sheets, vast quantities of sugary chewables, and sundry other items. A friend who has asked me to help build his kitchen equipment inventory ended up with, surprise, kitchenware and that fundamental tool, the slow cooker...anyone who helps me on a 1000 mile drive gets a few little trinkets, in my book.

I'm thinking that next year the 10yo will be ready for Garret, PI, but I'm looking for more girly books that will introduce the notion "self-defense/preparedness=good, defenseless=bad"...

Burbling done, back to wrapping abominations...

Saturday, December 23, 2006


Feh. I've been burbling on about matters politic for years now, and having stumbled across LawDog's blog after having been exposed to his tales of rural Texas law enforcement, find his musings on society and life inspire me to chime in...seems he's having that effect on more than a few folks.

I'm over on the upper part of the left coast, and don't know if it's best for me to get more specific just presently. Something about an in-progress job-hunt.

My claim to fame is mainly a multi-varied life led mainly on the left coast, a bit of political activism here and there, working dispatch, college security, tech support, and in the cellular industry here and there over time. Can't say I've been there and done that as much as some, but can say that I've been around the block once or twice more than others. Politically, I'm more libertarian than anything, but generally peeved with equal vigor at both major parties.