Saturday, February 28, 2009
Pick Your Artist: Stephen Sondheim
Are you male or female: The Boy From...
Describe yourself: Truly Content
How do you feel about yourself: You Could Drive a Person Crazy
Describe where you currently live: Everybody Says Don't!
If you could go anywhere, where would you go: Welcome to Kanagawa
Your best friend is: No One Has Ever Loved Me (As Deeply As You)
Your favorite color is: Gold!
You know that: You're Gonna Love Tomorrow/Love Will See Us Through
What's the weather like: It's Hot Up Here
If your life was a tv show, what would it be called? Silly People
What is life to you: Everybody's Got The Right
What is the best advice you have to give: It's Only a Play
If you could change your name, what would it be: Franklin Shepard Inc.
Your favorite food is: Chrysanthemum Tea
Friday, February 27, 2009
1 - Go to "wikipedia." Hit “random”or click http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Random
The first random wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.
2 - Go to "Random quotations"or click http://www.quotationspage.com/random.php3
The last four or five words of the very last quote of the page is the title of your first album. (make sure you hit the new random quotations button at the bottom)
3 - Go to flickr and click on “explore the last seven days”or click http://www.flickr.com/explore/interesting/7days
Third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.
4 - Use photoshop or similar to put it all together (http://www.picnik.com/) works well, online.
I guess it was only a matter of time before Meat met it's match.
Here is Houston Competitive Eater David Cagle (who is ranked 48th in the country), attempting to eat a whole explosion!
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Imposition - the laying on of something as a burden or obligation. An unusual or extraordinarily burdensome requirement or task.
The Ashes used in the service are made from the Palm Leaves that were used for Palm Sunday Celebrations in 2008. It is a reminder that we can shout 'Crucify' as quickly as we can shout 'Hosanna'. They are a symbol of Penitence and Reflection, they are a visual aid to help us Remember, O man, that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return. Genesis 3:19
Saying 'no' - the act of giving something up is another practice that happens during Lent. The purpose is not to get legalistic or bound up in what you are giving up, but to allow that act of self-denial to lead you into greater awareness of yourself and God. As we give up something important to us we become aware of our own desires and impulses. So many of us say 'No' to ourselves so infrequently that the Lenten Fasting Practice can lead us to a deeper understanding of what we need to say 'Yes' too.
"Everyone must have two pockets, so that he can reach into the one or the other, according to his needs. In his right pocket are to be the words: 'For my sake was the world created,' and in his left: 'I am earth and ashes.'"--Rabbi Bunum of Pzhysha
In a society where people are often judged by their appearance, spending the day with a smudged ash cross on your forehead is a reminder that inner beauty is of more value than physical beauty.
In a society where commercials frequently tell us ways to get '...what we deserve', Ash Wednesday is a reminder that the world is bigger than we are and will go on after we have gone.
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shatter'd visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp'd on these lifeless things,
The hand that mock'd them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains: round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
One thing I have suggested in previous years is Journalling for Lent. There is a list of 40 questions that I have put together here
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
We enjoyed the fountains so much that we went back again another night and caught a couple of different shows each night.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
There is one dance however that I found the background video so distracting (and mildly disturbing) that I had to hunt it down to see what was exactly going on.
This is 'Where's Your Head At?' by Basement Jaxx.
Sunday, February 08, 2009
The 5 minute chocolate cake is one of those recipes that I suddenly seemed to be encountering everywhere, it was like culinary karma or something. I was being led to this recipe. So here it is in all its glory.
4 Tablespoons Cake Flour
4 Tablespoons Granulated Sugar
2 Tablespoons Cocoa
1 egg ( I use jumbo size)
3 Tablespoons milk
3 Tablespoons Veggie Oil
A Splash of Vanilla Extract
Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (optional, see below)
I would suggest a) Not using your best china or any mug you cannot spare. I have not had any problems, but I have heard horror stories of exploding mugs so proceed at your own risk!
First spray the inside of your mug with Pam to facilitate cake removal, and then mix together the flour, sugar and the cocoa.
Put the mug in the microwave. I put down some paper towels for safety's sake, but I've never actually had a boil over yet.
I microwave on full power for 3 minutes. You may need to adjust depending on the power of your microwave. After about 1 minute the mixture will begin to rise at quite an alarming rate and tower over the top of the mug. It's quite cool to watch.
I videoed it to show you, but a) it's done on my cell phone so the quality is not that good and b) the amount of chocolate chips made the batter heavy so it did not writhe around as much as my prior chip free attempt.
(wow, a 30 second badly filmed clip of a cup in a microwave. Can my blog get any more exciting!)
As soon as the microwave stops running the cake will sink very quickly. Do not be alarmed.
BE WARNED THE MUG IS VERY HOT. Use something to get it out of the oven or you will burn yourself.
I've found that even with the greasing the mug it still tends to break as you upturn the mug. Next time I'm going to run a knife around the edge of the mug first, this time I was too eager.
Here's the finished cake. As you can see, even with my own careful instruction to mix carefully I still missed a few spots creating a mottled bottom.
I would suggest serving it warm with either vanilla ice cream or chocolate sauce drizzled over the top.
So how does it taste? Well let's face it, it's a cake cooked in a microwave, it's never going to taste like a lovingly crafted oven baked chocolate dream, but if you are craving a quick burst of warm chocolaty goodness it's definitely worth the time. If for the novelty value if nothing else.
And think of the fun you can have with kids.
JUST DON'T BLAME ME IF YOUR MUG BREAKS!!!!!
Saturday, February 07, 2009
To rectify that I thought I'd post a picture of the current state of the Board Game collection. It's not very well organized to be honest. I have an online list of everything that's there, but I don't have designated spots for everything yet.
The saddest part is that their are still a few games up their in shrink wrap :( There are always more games to be played than time allotted or people available.
Most people know that if I'm going on a weekend retreat or around someone else's house I will often bring a bag of games with me. I saw someone Wednesday who I'd introduced to the game 'Blokus' whilst we were both on the Chapelwood Men's Retreat. He liked it so much he bought a copy to play with his family at Christmas. He mentioned on Wednesday that at a recent family gathering they had 3 copies of Blokus on the table and they were in constant usage all weekend. I love that.
There's something about game playing with other people that I love. It's better than just talking, and it creates lasting memories.
The trick is choosing the right game for the group. Most of the people I introduce games too are 'newbies' to modern board gaming. This means some serious thought has to go into what I pack into my bag. What criteria do I use?
a) Easy to learn
c) Not too long in play
d) Can cover a wide variety of players.
e) Wow factor
'Easy to Learn' - don't get me wrong, I like longer more complex games (well maybe not too complex GRIN), but if it takes me more than about 5 minutes to explain the rules to a group of newbies then they are going to close up. I find this interesting though - have you ever tried to explain Monopoly or Risk to someone? It's tough to cover all the nuances in 5 minutes, but no one seems bothered by it. I guess it's like languages, if you learn them as a child it seems simple, but when you try to learn them as an adult suddenly it's complex.
'Interactive' - many of the games we played as children were of the type that you didn't do much when it wasn't your turn. As we get older we find those kinds of games rather tedious. I try to pick games that keep the players engaged.
'Not too long in play' - some of the games I play can take 2 1/2 to 3 hours. This is great at a game night, but can be terrifying to the newbie. The other advantage of short games is that if you are playing in a public place like on a retreat it's easy to say to observers 'This game will be over soon, stick around and we'll play something you can join in on.'
'Can cover a wide variety of players' - I can't think of one game that works as well with 2 as it does with ten. Consequently I try to include games in my bag for all possibilities.
'Wow Factor' - This is picking a game that has something about it that draws people in. Maybe it's visually appealing. Maybe it contains a mechanic that will be unfamiliar to newbies. Maybe it's a game that draws spectators.
So what games fall into my bag when I'm trying to indoctrinate new people into the gaming cult? It depends a lot on the gaming environment (private house, bar, Retreat center etc), but here are a few suggestions from my collection.
For Sale - Simple to play and explain. The fact that the game falls neatly into 2 sections helps keep the interest going. The bidding factor in the first phase and the trying to predict what other players are going to do in the second helps keep people engaged.
Coyote - If you've got a crowd that doesn't mind wearing silly headbands, this is a great game. It can cause a lot of mental anguish and actually functions well as a spectator sport. Normally I would avoid elimination games with newbies, but this one seems to work well.
Ca$h and Gun$ - There is something wonderful about pointing foam guns at one another around a table.
Saboteur - This game can hold up to 10 people which is a bonus, and once people get into the roles of trying to figure out who the saboteurs are at the table you suddenly discover people smack talking to one another :)
Blokus - At first glance this would not seem a great choice. It needs to be played with exactly 4 people, no more no less which is a drawback. But the game is so simple to learn and looks really pretty on the table that people are just drawn to it. It's one of those games that has crossed over into the mainstream.
Felix the Cat in the Sack - Bidding and bluffing. It has a feel a bit like Texas Hold Em which draws some people in, and the game can produce delicious agony with some of the decisions you have to make.
Cockroach Poker - This is a relatively new game in my collection that is deceptively simple. Lots of bluffing and lying in this one :)
Category 5 - Simultaneous play and second guessing what your opponent is going to do makes this one hit the game bag. Plus it can accommodate ten people. Bonus!
King Me - another game of bluffing and deduction that newbies tend to enjoy.
Pitch Car - there's something about flicking disks around a track that is just fun. It can handle up to 8 people, it's easy to learn and it draws a crowd :)
There are many other games that I have that I would pack, these are the ones that come to mind.
Friday, February 06, 2009
Wednesday, February 04, 2009
Sunday, February 01, 2009
America's Test Kitchen to the Rescue!!! They've found a way to make baked ziti in 30 minutes in only 1 pan!!!! I must admit I was skeptical, but the first time I made it I was a convert.
I made it again today, so here it is with pictures.
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 medium garlic cloves - minced (about 2 tablespoons)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
3 cups water
12 ounces (3 3/4 cups) ziti
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 oz Parmesan cheese grated (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup minced fresh basil leaves
Ground black pepper
4 ounces whole milk mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)
(It can be difficult to grate fresh mozzarella as it sticks to the box grater. If you spray the grater lightly with oil, it makes the job much easier)
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat to 475 degrees
2. Combine the oil, garlic, pepper flakes and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large OVEN SAFE nonstick skillet and saute over high heat for about 1 minute until fragrant.
3. Add the crushed tomatoes, water, ziti and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover and cook stirring often and adjusting the heat to maintain a vigorous simmer, until the ziti is almost tender. (Check the cooking instructions for a time guide as they vary by company. I recommend DeCecco pasta for everything!!!!)
4. Stir in the cream, Parmesan and basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle the mozzarella evenly over the ziti. It will look really runny at this stage, but fear not my friends!
5. Put the skillet in the oven and bake until the cheese has melted and is browned, about 10 minutes. BE CAREFUL getting the skillet out of the oven, it is easy to forget that the pan is hot.
Well it's Feb 1st and I'm glad to say I've lost 6lbs. I was actually on target to lose more, but I caught the flu that has been going around the office so I had no energy to exercise.
Let's see if I can maintain it in February
One product that I'm sure would help me lose weight is the following:
That's enough to put everyone off their food :)