Another list of random stuff.

1. So... I just recently discovered Yahoo! Answers. Which is about what you think it probably is.

A recent question was "Why doesn't God punish atheists?" And my answer was "Because atheists would probably enjoy it, and God's not into that sort of thing. God is totally vanilla." Here is what is awesomely ironic: Quite a number of folks felt the need to punish this comment.

The one I won "best answer" for was this: "Are Christians more constipated than atheists?" to which I answered "Well, they *do* swallow the whole Bible."

2. Here is how good at my job I am: Somebody came over to my desk thinking I'd know the answer to something and I had to tell her that no, no I don't know offhand. Then she noticed a piece of paper with the answer in big bold print, stuck on my cubicle wall, about a foot and a half in front of where I sit every day. Durrrrrr.

The Short List

1. I was quite chuffed with the dinner I made tonight (one I've made before and crowed about before so nothing to go on about, though tonight I did add delicious fresh green beans as a side). I was going to liken my sense of being pleased with myself to the sort of low-grade yet fully satisfying feeling of a simple job well done you get when you are storing something in a Ziploc bag and you manage to not only push out most of the air but then suck so much out that it looks like you've damn near vacuum-packed the food. And then of course to achieve a perfect seal before any air can leak back in.

Then I realized that probably I'm the only one who feels that sort of satisfaction, because I'm the only one who is completely and utterly insane like this.

2. We finally watched the Family Guy Star Wars episode, and it was freakin' sweet. They even (we think, though it was hard to tell) duplicated the special effects matte in one place, where the Landspeeder is carrying Luke and Obi Wan towards Mos Eisley - the area underneath the Landspeeder (but above the shadow on the ground) is slightly lighter than the rest of the background. (Apparently this is fixed in the re-releases.)

My only complaint is that the Herbert musical number was painful. I did enjoy his rendition of "Some Place That's Clean" from Little Shop of Horrors, but this time, bleh. His voice is annoying anyway - it worked in the LSoH song, but *definitely* not this time.

Other than that, though, this was absolutely an awesome episode.

Random Notes For The Evening

1. Is it just me, or are the references on Robot Chicken getting more and more obscure?

2. It turns out that quinoa is quite tasty, at least when prepared with lemon and thyme. And apparently it's really good for you - high in stuff that's good for you, low in stuff that's not. Cool deal.

3. Our TiVo picked up an episode of Heroes and I was all excited because I thought the new season was starting, but it turned out to be an old episode. So I was sad. September 24th is the actual date for new episodes. Ah well. As I am not Hiro, I will just have to wait.

4. "Commodus" probably was a better name for an emperor before the advent of the English language. But how was the guy to know that the little island filled with savages, that his empire had already conquered a hundred years before he was born, was going to turn out to become an empire - not to mention spawning yet another empire? I mean hey, in 2000 years, after my reign as Emperor of the World and Moon has ended, the word "Eric" may come to mean "asshole" in Alpha Centaurian. I can live with that. 'Cause I'll be dead.

Why I Am A Bad Person

1. I kind of enjoy the Art Bell show, or at least "Coast to Coast AM with George Noory" which is what replaced the Art Bell show. About half an hour once a week is all I can take, though.

But I enjoy it in a really awful and superior sort of way, sort of like "Oh, this is what the stupid people listen to." I know, it's awful to think that about your fellow human beings.

Still, though. I mean apart from "how do people believe in this crap," there's the element of "how do people believe in ALL of this crap?" The stuff I heard last week was almost diametrically opposed to the stuff I heard tonight, and yet George Noory mumbled along and said "well that certainly makes sense" and such to both of his guests who had written books full of wackjobbery.

I guess you pick and choose, and shake your head at the OTHER wackos.

"Ha ha ha, silly people thinking that it was all supernatural beings who were running everything in pre-history before Jesus showed up and killed them off... how silly is that, everybody knows it was the intelligent reptilian creatures who farmed dinosaurs versus the Atlanteans who, after winning the war against the reptilians accidentally blew themselves up and sunk their continent into the ground! DUH!"1)

2. Most bank/investment websites, when showing you options for various retirement/annuity/etc plans, show marketing pictures of happy old couples being happy. I know, it's marketing, they show happy young people for other types of products, but I still can't help myself from thinking that the old people in these pictures are saying on the inside "We're happy old people, and the money we're making from being in these pictures is OUR retirement. Thank god we're photogenically old."

1 Neither of these were made up, they both came from listening to the show.

I M DUM

I'm pretty stupid, so maybe some of you smart folks can help explain a few things to me.

1. Money Stuff
So, if the minimum wage is currently 6 bucks or whatever, and we raise it to 8 bucks, won't stuff that currently costs 6 bucks come to cost 8 bucks? I mean, not overnight, not two weeks from now, but a lot quicker than it would have otherwise. And won't everything else in life cost more by about the same percentage? And if it's not a problem to raise the minimum wage to 8 dollars an hour, why not make it a real "living wage" and raise the minimum wage to $40,000 a year or the hourly equivalent, about 19.25 per hour? Anywhere but Manhattan, 40K seems like a pretty decent wage, right? In fact, heck, why not raise it to $100,000 per year? We'll all be sittin' pretty! Won't we?

2. Lame Emo Stuff
You people that I like, stop getting divorced. Why you gotta do that? 'Splain that... actually don't explain. There's probably good reasons. I can't even say knock it off. But still: Dammit.

3. Political Stuff
So apparently we're going to legalize the approximately 12 million illegal immigrants who've come here over the past 15 years or so... or however long it's been since the last amnesty bill that was supposed to stop illegal immigration in its tracks. Apart from the pointless $5K fine, what is supposed to happen for these people? Will their employers suddenly be forced to pay them minimum wage and start collecting taxes? Seems unlikely, but even if it did do that, doesn't that just create a 12-million-person hole in the labor market for new illegal immigrants? And leave the 12 million new immigrants high and dry?1

4. Tom Jones Stuff
Why, why, WHY, Delilah?


1Please note for the benefit of the stupid and knee-jerk: I'm absolutely 100% in favor of immigration, and I absolutely do not care where it comes from. I'd be in favor of massively increasing the amount of immigration we legally allow into this country. I'm not a racist/anti-immigrant/John Bircher/Neo-Nazi/whatever. I just don't think illegal immigration is a good thing for anybody, especially the illegals themselves, who are generally exploited into doing shitty work that they *ought* to get paid a lot more for. And yes, I'm willing to pay more for lettuce and lemons to stop this stuff from happening.

Two Notes: One Short, One Long

1. There is a coalition called Operation Traffix, consisting of a number of California state and city agencies. Operation Traffix' main campaign is one which urges you to "Watch The Road." I'd like to suggest to this coalition that perhaps one place your banners which ask me to Watch the Road should NOT be is high on light poles over Venice Boulevard, where I have no choice but to take my eyes from the road to read your message.

2. One thing about making leg of lamb for Easter dinner is that you don't have to care about religion to do so, although you're welcome to. However, you *do* have to be committed, at least if you're making the Cook's Illustrated recipe, 'Garlic Roasted Leg of Lamb.' Because they say to trim pretty much every bit of fat off the thing, and having done so, let me tell you that it's worth it but it is not fun. It takes forever, especially if your butcher leaves the skin on (I'll know better next year). It's worth it because the usual weird, slightly "off" taste that you can get with lamb disappears more and more with every bit of fat you trim off. Also you should buy American, instead of the New Zealand stuff they sell at Costco. Not out of any misguided patriotism - I love the Kiwis, they're great folks - but grain-fed tastes way better than grass-fed.

But, and here's the actual point I was getting to, it will also leave you with a huge pile of trimmings, and no matter what, no matter how much of a hurry you are in, you absolutely must take that pile of trimmings straight out to the outside trash. Wrapping it in 5 or 6 shopping bags and maybe a thick garbage bag probably isn't such a bad idea, either. I know this because I just emptied my kitchen garbage and was greeted with the most astonishingly horrible smell the moment I started to pull the bag out. Mind you, this had only been thrown away on Sunday afternoon. The bag of trimmings was at the very bottom of the garbage bag, and I can only assume that the smell festered down there, waiting merely to be disturbed by my garbage-emptying to violently assult my nostrils. Moreover, despite the fact that bag had dripped no liquid of any sort I could see, the can itself was also infested with the foul smell.

I have now probably scandalized our neighbors by ferrying eight quarts/liters at a time of hot water (the first time with about a quarter cup of bleach) to pour into the garbage can, then shuffling out to the street with a full and extremely heavy garbage can to pour several dozen gallons of hot water (and a quarter cup of bleach) into the gutter. But it seems the foul stench is gone. I think.

So now you know: The next time YOU trim a leg of lamb, make sure you throw the trimmings into a container that's already entirely befouled and most importantly not inside your house. Or, you can just come to our house, where I've already learned. Because hey - for all the before (and after!) pain in the butt, the lamb itself was seriously delicious.

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