Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sunday Leftovers: Volume 01: Issue 24

Howdy true be-loggers! Welcome to issue 24 of Sunday Leftovers, have no fear, Kiefer Sutherland will not be making any appearances and if he did I would probably smack him in his smug, self righteous face. Lots to talk about this week and I am starting this blog late so let's do it:

[Blog Fallout: Comcast]


After last week's blog that documented my issues with Comcast's billing services, I received a message on Facebook from Comcast regarding the blog. I guess you can take that two ways: On one side, it is a little creepy that Comcast is monitoring personal blogs, but I choose to take the other perspective: they are monitoring public opinion which I view as a good business practice.

To summarize: Comcast had a high level customer service manager call me and within a few minutes my billing issues we resolved (I was indeed over-billed last month). I was also assigned a Comcast-employed cable installer (not a third party contractor) to check out my house and the neighborhood connections. The gentleman who came out Friday was excellent and I am hoping my issues are finally resolved. He also set up a Sr. Comcast tech to check out my cousin's long standing phone issue which they have been complaining about for months.

I am not naive, I know that I got superior service because of the blog, but I am okay with that as I spent the time to actually blog about the situation and they took the time to check these sort of things. Win-Win situation in my book. You did good Comcast, here is hoping my bill doesn't spike again.

[Vendor Rant: Verizon]


Since I kicked Comcast around last week, I should share my Verizon horror story: I use Verizon as my cell phone carrier. I recently combined plans with my wife and added data plans for both of us (we took advantage of the Blackberry 2 for 1 deal). Through my company, I am offered a 19% discount on the service which is very nice. I asked the Verizon associate that I was working with how much I would be paying out of pocket with tax, etc... for the sake of this conversation she said $100.00. When I got the bill, it was more like $140.00.

I called and asked what happened; they broke it down with the taxes, etc. and everything seemed right on paper they just omitted a few details when I was discussing the renewal of the contract with the first girl. I found it very frustrating and viewed it as a sneaky move, but I feel for it (always get it in writing!)

This second conversation ended with me asking about a security/private information feature that customers have the option of opting out of. Basically Verizon will sell/share your information with 3rd party vendors they have partnered with unless you say no somewhere on their website, you can read about it:

Here: Consumerist
Here: Privacy Digest
Here: RCR Wireless
Here: This will tell you how to opt out online

When I asked the girl if I can opt out with her over the phone, she didn't know what I was talking about. My friend tipped me off about the situation after he read about it in the New York Times. The Times article had instructions to opt out online but my menu was different. It was confusing, so I understood when the girl didn't know what I was talking about; she suggested I talk to their tech team which I was glad to do. The gentlemen she transferred me to sounded and acted like a complete moron on every level. When he asked me where I had hear about the privacy issue, I told him the New York Times, his classic response was "You know, I feel like the New York Times have gone down hill, they don't know what they are talking about." I politely told him that I saw the screen shots and knew there was a place to shut this off and I wasn't interested in his opinion about journalism. The useless fellow floundered for a few more minutes before I let him go. I found updated instructions on Engadget. Next time I am looking for an opinion about my news sources I will be sure to avoid the tech support team at Verizon.

For those looking to switch to FIOS: I called a number listed in a local ad during my Comcast debacle and I was sitting on hold for 35 minutes before I hung up. I tried the next say, same thing. I find it interesting that a company interested in getting new customers has them sitting on hold for over 30 minutes. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss....

[Concert Review: Kings of Leon @ Philadelphia Spectrum (4.25.2009)]

I went with my neighbor to see the Kings of Leon last night, and I thought they were really good. The opening act "The Walkmen" sounded good, but the front-man looked like he wasn't interested in being there - he was doing his best imitation of Liam Gallagher from Oasis (hugging the mic stand and making no attempt to connect with the audience). The Walkmen would have been better suited opening for Vampire Weekend.

This will probably be my last time at the Spectrum (it is being torn down in a few months). I grew up around the corner from the sports complexes so in a way, I view it as a part of my own history. I don't remember the Spectrum being so cramped and poorly organized, but memory be damned, it was a hell hole on Saturday night. My neighbor scored general admission tickets which meant we were on the floor and very close to the band. I knew we would be locked in once everyone got down to the floor, so during the Walkmen's set I decide to go to the bathroom and get more beers as it would be my last chance. It took me 30 minutes to get back to the floor because the halls were bursting with people.

Once I got back the Kings of Leon didn't take very long to start (bonus points for not making me wait). They opened up with one of their new songs and then eased into some of their older material. I didn't know all of the songs, but the band sounded good (some of the old stuff tended to blend together). They talked with the crowd, played their popular material and put on a good show - as a band, they didn't mess around, they pumped out one song after another - no bullshit. We cut out after the 2nd song of their encore to avoid getting stuck in the ol' death trap.

I am not sure if I would see them again right away, as I think the band is going to change their sound up again and once that diversity sets in, the show will improve 100%. For their limitations, they are a great American rock band and I am looking forward to what they do next.

[Recipe of the Week: BBQ Pork]


I made this today and it turned out great! I got the inspiration from an article I read about making BBQ pork easy style and worked my way from there. I highly recommend you cook this on a charcoal grill, and my instructions will reflect that.

Ingredients
7 lb Pork Shoulder (aka Boston Butt)
Charcoals
Wood Chips (Soaked in beer)

(Dry Rub)
2 Table Spoons Sea Salt
2 Table Spoons Black Pepper
2 Table Spoons Paprika
2 Table Spoons Brown Sugar
2 Table Spoons Mustard Powder

Mix everything together in a cup

(Sandwich Sauce)
1 cup Mustard
1 cup vinegar
1 cup brown sugar

Mix ingredients together and spoon on meat as desired

Directions

Finger the dry rub all over the shoulder and focus on the fatty section, but get it all over the pork. Get a charcoal starter and light a tower. When the charcoals are ready, lay them down on one side and then add the grill. Place the meat fatty side up on the opposite side of the charcoals. Place the grill lid and walk away. Every 60 minutes come back and add a handful of charcoals and a handful of wood chips. Allow 6-8 minutes for the coals to heat up before putting back on the lid. The pork will take 4-5 hours to cook.

When it is done (internal temp should read between 170-190), take the pork off the grill and cover with tin foil for 15 minutes. When it is time to carve the meat, it should be tender enough to pull off or easily come off in large chunks with a knife. Use a cleaver to chop up the pieces into smalltasty pieces of meat.

While the grill is still hot, level out the charcoals. Melt some butter and cut the rolls you are serving the sandwiches in half. Brush the butter on the bread and grill it for a few minutes.

Place the meat in the bread and drizzle with the sauce. Enjoy your sandwich. (Makes 10-12)

[Random Oddity of the Week]



Click Here for the facebook crowd.

[Conclusion]


That's all folks. Thanks for reading the blog. We are going to be doing some destination blogging over the next few weeks, so I am looking forward to that (more to come next week). If you are not reading this blog at it's original source, you aren't really reading it: click here for the full experience as it was written. As always, don't take shit from anyone.

Love,
~ Joey

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sunday Leftovers: Volume 01: Issue 23

Howdy true be-loggers! Welcome to issue 23 of Sunday Leftovers. Sometimes you feel like a nut, and sometimes you feel like your nuts were run over with an oil tanker... lets begin.

[Home Improvement]

After last week's retaining wall, I decided to clean up the front yard. The previous owner of the house decided to put river rock in the front garden and a few plants. Over the years leaves got caught in the river rock and the plants all died - it looked like complete shit. Fixing it proved problematic because I had to get rid of 200 sq ft of river rock 6 inches high. This week, I bit the bullet and got it done.

First I dug out a patch of "grass" (really weeds) that holds the street light in front of my house. My neighbor had driven over it during the rain and there were huge track marks in it. I dug it out deep and put landscape fabric in there. I proceeded to fill a bucket with the river rocks by my house and fill in the 5x3 patch. That killed most of Friday and I still had a ton of rocks left (several tons actually).

There was no place to put the rocks, so I opted for a containment area, and started piling the rocks there. Thankfully my wife was there to help me on Saturday and she got remaining rocks in place while I dug holes and got materials to the house. I had to get 18 bags of mulch for 150 sq ft of land. Dug out holes for a few trees and some bushes and laid out a border system. That was about 7 hours on Saturday. The result is a much more pleasant front yard and a very sore wrist and back for me (hence the truck comment in the intro).

This is ends the house stuff unless something breaks....



[Recipe of the Week: Joey's Chili Version 2.0]



If you are on my facebook page, you will know I totally ruined a batch of chili a few weeks ago. I tried a very different style using chicken broth and beer but I used lime beer and it tasted terrible. I went back because I thought I was on to something and I was right. So here is my new Chicken Chili Recipe:

Ingredients

3 lbs of ground chicken (or turkey if that turns you on)
3 Spanish onions - Dice the onions into cubes (you can cut it any way you like, I like 1 inch cubes)
4 or 5 garlic bulbs - I use a press, but feel free to chop very fine.
3 small jalapeno pepper
1 red bell pepper (optional)
1 can of Guinness Beer
1 cup of chicken broth
8 oz of tomato paste
1 can crushed tomatoes
3 cans black beans
Splash of olive oil
Splash of Mongolian fire oil

Joey's Seasoning Pack

3 tablespoons salt
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon black pepper
2 tablespoons red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon thyme

Prep Work

Cut the onions and set aside, chop up the garlic (or press it), and de-seed the peppers (cut a circle around the stem and pull up - most of the seeds should come out, for the rest, slice in half and rinse under the sink) - dice the peppers.

Directions

Pour a splash of olive oil into a large pot and heat on medium. Once the oil is hot, put the onions in (reduce the heat to medium low), let them cook for 8-10 minutes getting golden brown. Then throw in the garlic and peppers, allow another 5 minutes. Increase the heat to medium and put in the ground chicken. Stir in the chicken with the materials and allow to cook for 10 minutes. Stir every few minutes and cover with lid when not. TIP: I found this stuff called Mongolian fire oil (it is an Thai spiced oil, I throw it in when the meat is raw to add some flavor.

Once the meat is almost all white, stir in the black beans. Proceed with the tomato paste and chicken broth. Mix well in the pot. Slowly pour in the Guinness. Add the can of crushed tomatoes and the seasoning pack. Stir well then increase the heat to high for 4 to 5 minutes. When the mixture starts to bubble, bring it down to a low heat and leave for 1 hour (stirring occasionally). At the half hour mark, taste the chili and adjust based on your preference.

I just made this stuff, and it is GOOD. Hope you like it.

[DIY of the Week: Build a minimalist spice rack]

I saw this on Lifehacker.com this week, but it originated from another site. Since we made chili I figured this would be appropriate for those disorganized chefs.

FROM LIFEHACKER:

If you're looking for a real simple and cheap spice rack with a lot of storage, this DIY solution will keep all your cooking helpers at hand.

Culinary blog The Kitchen features an extremely well organized kitchen put together by one of their readers. Eager readers wrote in, dying to know where the owner bought their minimalist spice rack. Turns out, not only did she build it herself, but it was a particularly cheap, no-mitre-saw-needed project. The entire rack is made out of a lightweight vinyl trim from Home Depot and the jars are from Cost Plus. The trim only cost $11 with some to spare; no word on the cost of the jars, but similar storage jars can usually be picked up for about a dollar a piece. While the general advice is to keep spices in a cool, dark place, regular cooks need convenience more than long-term preservation, in many cases. Check out the link below for the build details.


INSTRUCTIONS: Apartment Therapy: Minimalist Spice Rack


[Random Thoughts]

Following up on my rant about Disney World, Allison and I have been researching where we want to vacation this year. We have been saying for a few years that we want to go to Chicago and Nashville. Flights are cheap but I don't think either need a whole week - I think 4 days (extended weekends) would just about cover it and it would be justified if we get the cheap flights.

I am throwing this out there because if you have been to either city and have suggestions, I would be very grateful if you shared them.




[Conclusion]


Ok boys and girls, that is all I have for this week. I want to thank you all for reading; since I installed Google Analytics I have noticed an uptrend in traffic to the site, so I hope you find this stuff informative and a little bit interesting. Don't take shit from anyone!

Love,
~ Joey

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Sunday Leftovers: Volume 01: Issue 22

Howdy true be-loggers! Welcome to the Easter edition of Sunday Leftovers. I am two family gatherings full right now and glad to be home to get this issue knocked out. It is going to be quick because it is late, and I don't have too many interesting things to talk about... So lets get to it.

[DIY of the Week: Retaining Wall]

You probably think it is odd that I am starting with the DIY, but this week's DIY is also my big story. I built a retaining wall (well really it is a retaining system, since it is only two pieces of wood high) over the last few days and it wasn't too hard.

If you have been reading the blog, you will know that I had a new deck and paver patio installed in the yard over the last two months. The guys who built the patio put in a beautiful stone retaining wall behind the patio and then left a nice area with top soil and mulch behind it. The problem is that my yard drops dramatically after a few feet past that point and the mulch started to wash away, so I needed something to retain that.

Since I didn't need to go crazy, (the drop off was one foot), I opted for wood, lets discuss all of the materials now:

My back yard is 24 ft wide, the drop off was 11 inches.

Materials:
4 - 6x6x12 pressure treated pieces of wood
9 - 50 lb bags of gravel
6 - 48 inch (4 ft) rebars
6 - 18 inch rebars
1 - Gallon of Valspar outdoor wood paint/sealer
1 - stick of silicon sealer (that can be painted)

Tools:
Shovels
Tamper
Drill w/ more that 12 inch bit to get through wood
Sawzall (saw head needs to be longer than 6 inches)
Hand Mallet

Note: If you are building a wall that is over 4 rows, you need to put in a "deadman". A deadman is basically a horizontal anchor that holds the wall to the soil it is supporting. Place a deadman about every 4-8' feet apart depending on the height and width of the wall. The anchor itself is made of two 3' long lengths of timber connected in a 'T'. See picture. Placedeadmen every third row up a wall. Since we are only going two high, I didn't need to do it.

Also if you are building a full retaining wall, you should build a trench at the base on the retention wall and place some corrugated pipe (leading away from the house or connecting to an existing drainage system) on a bed of gravel and then cover completely with gravel. Since this is away from the house, I just want something that breaks up the water.

STEP ONE: Seal any cracks in the wood with silicon, let that dry, and then paint with the Valspar sealer (Allow at least two hours to dry).

STEP TWO: Level the ground where you are putting the wood. Dig out two holes (8 ft from each end). The hole should be 6 inches deep, fill with gravel. (This is assuming you don't need a pipe system)

STEP THREE: For my 12 ft piece of timber, we decided on the holes for three pieces of rebar. Mark the wood and drill three holes (each ends and the middle).

STEP FOUR: Lay out the wall to ensure everything looks okay. If it is, put the wood down and hammer in the 4 ft piece of rebar in each hole. Repeat for the other piece of wood.

STEP FIVE: Cut one of the 12 ft pieces of wood in half.

STEP SIX: Lay down the 2nd layer like this: 6 FT Piece | 12 FT Piece | 6 Ft Piece. This will help lock down the two pieces at the bottom.

STEP SEVEN: Drill two holes in each piece of wood (make sure you miss the rebar in the pieces below)

STEP EIGHT: Drive the 18 inch rebar into the 6 holes

STEP NINE: Dig out a small trench in front of the retaining way and pour gravel to aid with breaking up water.

STEP TEN: Cover the rebar holes with the silicon wait to dry and then paint over with the Valspar.

COMPLETE

My thanks to Mr. Sean Patrick Anderson. Without you and your tools, this would have taken a week, you are always there for me my friend and it is greatly appreciated.

[EASTER]

It was nice to see both sides of my family today although I was so tired from doing the wall. We got into a discussion at my in-laws about how ham became an Easter meal. I find it interesting that people choose to honor Jesus, who was Jewish, by eating pork... but anyway, here is what I dug up about the tradition:
What is the origin of Easter ham?

The Easter ham, and most other "Easter" traditions actually have their roots in Paganism and have nothing to do with Christian commemorations of the Resurrection of Jesus. Although Christianity observes Easter to acknowledge the Resurrection, most know it is not the actual day of this event.

Still, Paganistic rituals infiltrated the Christian Church and have become intermingled to the point of misconceptions. The word Easter is in the Bible only once and is used Acts chapter 12. There it tells that King Herod (an evil pagan) was preparing to participate in Easter rituals at the time of Peter's arrest. So Herod delayed bringing Peter forth for sentencing until the pagan rituals were over. (You can read this miraculous story in verses 1-19)

What were these rituals and where did they begin? Noah's grandson (Cush) and his wife Semiramis had a son named Nimrod. Reports say that after Cush's death, Nimrod married his own mother and became a mighty king. He too was eventually killed. His mother then began the deceit of deifying her son/husband, claiming he had become a "sun-god" (the origin of "Easter Sunrise services), and he was then to be called Baal. (Baal was worshipped as a god of fertility and promoted sexual sin.)

She proclaimed that the people of Babylon should worship him and that he was with them in the form of a flame. This wicked Queen, doing the work of Satan, was creating a new religion and set herself up as the goddess called "Ishtar." Hence the root of the pronunciation "Easter."

After she became pregnant, she bore a son named Tammuz claiming he was the product of a sunray, which caused her to conceive. But Tammuz grew to be a hunter and was later killed by a wild pig. "Ishtar" then designated a forty day period (the source of Lent) to mark the anniversary of Tammuz's death.

During this time, no meat was to be eaten. Every year, on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox, a celebration was made. Ishtar also proclaimed that because a pig killed Tammuz, that a pig must be eaten on that Sunday.

This is of course a condensed version of all pagan beliefs originating Easter. Satan is a master deceiver, and has filled the world with idolatries, lies, and misconceptions. The Easter Ham and all else promoting the ancient pagan religion of Mystery Babylon (per "Ishtar") are customs of the false god, Baal.

In addition to that idea being tossed around we got into churches and weddings and how people who don't care about being catholic want to use the churches and how the church should do what they can to stay relevant and produce income.

Religious discussions on a religions holiday are never a good idea. I should learn to keep my mouth shut.


[Recipe of the Week: Easter Ham with Bread Pudding]
Credit: Mike Chiarello (Food Network)

Since I discussed Ham, I guess I should have the damn recipe in the blog....


Ingredients
2 cups honey, for glazing ham
2 tablespoons Toasted Spice Rub, recipe follows
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 country ham
6 celery stalks


Toasted Spice Rub:

1/4 cup fennel seeds
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon peppercorns
1 1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1/4 cup (1-ounce) pure California chili powder
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

Toast the fennel seeds, coriander seeds, and peppercorns in a small, heavy pan over medium heat. When the fennel turns light brown, work quickly. Turn on the exhaust fan, add the red pepper flakes, and toss, toss, toss, always under the fan. Immediately turn the spice mixture out onto a plate to cool.

Put mixture into a blender with the chili powder, salt, and cinnamon and blend until the spices are evenly ground. If you have a small spice mill or a coffee grinder dedicated to grinding spices, grind only the fennel, coriander, pepper, and chili flakes. Pour into a bowl and toss with the remaining ingredients. Keep the spice mix in a glass jar in a cool, dry place, or freeze.

Chef's notes: Toasting freshens spices, releases their oils, and makes them more fragrant, as well as adding a new dimension of flavor.

Taste your chili powder before adding and, if spicy and hot, cut back the amount. California chiles are almost sweet, not hot.

Yield: about 1 cup

Directions


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Blend together the honey, Toasted Spice Rub and thyme. Place ham on an open brown paper bag or waxed paper for easy clean up. With the tip of a paring knife carefully score a 1-inch grid pattern around the outside of the ham. Brush the entire surface of the meat on all sides with some of the honey mixture.

Add about 1/2 cup of water to the base of a roasting pan. Lay the celery sticks in the bottom of the pan and then place the ham on top of the celery.

Cook for 1 hour. Every 15 minutes, baste ham with juices that collect in the base of the roaster and the honey. Let rest for 15 minutes before carving as desired

Savory Bread Pudding


1 loaf country-style bread (about 1 pound)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-sized pieces, divided
1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
Finely ground sea salt, preferably gray salt
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan, divided
3 cups whole milk
6 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 pound blue cheese, crumbled Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Using a serrated knife, shave off the thicker parts of the crust from the bread loaf. Cut the bread into 1-inch cubes and place in a large bowl. Spread the bread cubes in a single layer on a 13 by 18-inch rimmed baking sheet. Bake until lightly toasted, about 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and place in a large bowl. Leave the oven on.

In a skillet, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter over high heat and cook, without stirring, until it turns nut brown, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium, add the onion and a pinch of salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the thyme and cook for 10 seconds to release its fragrance.

Pour the onion mixture over the toasted bread. Add 3/4 cup of the Parmesan and toss well.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, and nutmeg. Pour the milk mixture over the bread and toss well.

Butter a 9 by 13-inch baking dish with the remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Arrange the toasted bread evenly in the baking dish. Pour the custard evenly over the bread. Scatter the blue cheese and the remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan over the top. Bake until the bread is golden brown and crispy on top and a thin knife blade inserted into the custard comes out almost clean, about 30 minutes. Remove the dish from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes. Cut into individual servings and serve warm.

[Conclusion]

That is all I got tonight. As always, I recommend reading this blog here at my personal blog. I will post some pictures of the retaining system if you care. Have a good night and don't take shit from anybody.

Love,
~ Joey

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Sunday Leftovers: Volume 01: Issue 21

Howdy true be-loggers! This week is the 21st edition of Sunday Leftovers, so you can take her to a bar, get her drunk, and hope she has the day after pill.

[RANT: Family Fun?]

A few weeks ago, Allison and I were traveling home from work on the PATCO train and a group of women were chatting behind us: the loudest woman had just returned from a family trip to Disney Land with her children and extended family. Between taking pot-shots at her sister-in-law this woman complained non-stop about the prices and the wait time for the lines. As I sat there listening to this woman ruining my peaceful train ride, all I could think of was "serves you right for taking your kids to a swamp created just to part you with your money." My stop came and I was back into my own little world (but making the promise to myself to never take my children to Disney).

Yesterday I went to the Camden Aquarium with Sean. He had invited me and I had never been there. I didn't really have any expectations, I just thought it would be like going to the zoo or to a museum. When we got there, we noticed a line wrapped around the building. I am thinking "there is no way that this line could be just to get in, this is standard walking exhibit, no guided tours". I ask my wife and she confirms that it was a self guided tour and there were no set times to get in. As I stand there in the cold (I did not bring a jacket), I am just thinking "This is just like fucking Disney Land". 45 minutes later we get the privilege of paying $20 dollars a person to see fish (it is more if you want to get into the interactive presentations). We did the tour and I am not going to take anything away from the place, it is very nice and they keep it clean, but it is designed with several bottle necks always near someone selling something. There were ALOT of shops and mini-shops, and mini-snack carts. If you keep moving you can get through the Aquarium in 90 minutes (two hours if you are slow) - so do you really need that many carts (this place has a huge cafeteria too)? As I made my way I just started feeling very bad for the parents who were getting asked every 10 minutes to buy cotton candy or a stuffed penguin. The one educational criticism I have is I am assuming the modus operandi of the Aquarium is fish are nice to look at. They make great presentations, but the information about the creatures was sparse. Little cards about the fish and not much else. I would have liked to have learned more (tours at the zoo and the museums are more educational). But I guess if they leave you wanting more...

As I processed the days events I wondered what the expectation is for people with children when it comes to entertainment. Is it acceptable to drop hundreds of dollars for a family to get into a place just to stand in lines and then be sold more stuff? Trust me, I don't mind spending money, but I fucking hate spending money to stand in lines (I REFUSE TO GO TO THE CHEESECAKE FACTORY - 3 hour wait for microwaved food). My cousin is an avid camper and he often takes his family on extended camping trips and they love it. I enjoy it too but I start to go a little nuts after one night and just "relaxing" (I have learned the older I get, the less inclined I am to just want to sit around and "do nothing" - my dad is the same way).

I have really started to question the concept of travel: going to a place to look at something doesn't hold much appeal to me anymore - especially when you can get a documentary in high def with a British dude telling you all about it, getting into places you would never be allowed to go. If I am presented with an option to meet people or do something active and engaging, I am in. Sitting on my ass or walking around to look at an old building just doesn't cut it. I certainly hope your next vacation is free of lines and your wallet is full of cash when you get home ;-)

Here is some video of the Aquarium:


For the facebook crowd: Click Here

[Sunday Sermon]

Some of you may recall that I became an ordained minister in the United Life Church last October. I have been letting it sit for a while until I gathered some creative juices. My plan is simple: To provide religious services to anyone who wants them but doesn't want to buy into another church's bullshit.

As I told my wife earlier this morning, what happens when you take gods, saints, and magic out of religion? You have politics. People believe life should be lived a certain way, and I am sure 90% of those ideas are universally accepted, but what about that 10%? I am not comfortable with someone telling me I can't do something if it isn't hurting anyone else or the planet. Should someone be allowed to send you to "jail" or "hell" because they don't believe in some of your lifestyle choices? The people getting poked at are the people most passive about having decisions made for them. Your voice is only heard when you open your mouth.

I think people are waiting for "that something else" - removed from the propaganda of politics and the spiritually corrupt morals of organized religion. There is a middle ground for the people who just want to live well and pass on this planet in better shape then how we found it. I personally feel that middle ground getting closer...more to come.

[Recipe of the Week: Choco Taco]
Credit: Seriouseats.com

This one is going to blow your mind and if it doesn't, you are a complete asshole:

- Makes 12 -
Ingredients

For crepe taco shells:
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 to 3 teaspoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup flour
1/8 teaspoon salt


For chocolate syrup:
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
Dash of salt

Chocolate chip ice cream (vanilla also works)
1 cup peanuts

Procedure

  1. For crepe shells: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar. Gradually add in the milk, vanilla, and melted butter, stirring to combine. Add the flour and salt. Beat until smooth.

  2. Heat a lightly oiled, small griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. (We used a tiny 6-incher for easy maneuvering.) Pour about 1/4 cup of the batter onto the pan for each "shell," tilting to make sure the liquid coats the surface evenly.

  3. Cook the crepe on each side for about 2 minutes, until light brown.

  4. This is the fun part. Pick a book. We went with Franz Kafka's The Trial. Oh yeah, make sure it's a pretty clean book. Shape the crepe around the bookbinding so it forms a taco shell mold. Freeze this contraption for ten minutes. Be careful when setting up; these are delicate.

  5. Continue cooking crepe shells, shaping them around books, and freezing.

  6. For the chocolate syrup: Combine cocoa, sugar, and salt in a saucepan. Add water. Mix until smooth. Bring to boil for one minute, then remove pan from heat. Once cooled, add vanilla.

  7. After the first frozen shell is pretty sturdy, pull it out and drizzle inside with this (not burning hot) chocolate syrup. A paintbrush comes in handy here. Throw syruped shells back into the freezer so chocolate can firm up

  8. Wait at least five minutes before pulling them out. Delicately stuff them with ice cream, then return them to the freezer for another ten minutes of firming-up.

  9. Remove proto-Choco Tacos and drizzle them with extra syrup. Crush peanuts and throw those on top too.



Full Link with pictures: Click Here

[DIY of the Week: Business Card "Cardapult"]

I saw this earlier in the week and thought of my cousin Ryan who is fond of paper-craft.




Cardapult the Business Card Catapult - More DIY How To Projects

Full Link: Instructibles: Cardapult

[Jose Pistolas]

We went to Jose Pistolas last night and as always had a great time. Casey might be the best bartender in the city. I highly recommend you go there and try the Raspberry Lambic Beer.

[Oh Sunday]



[Happy Birthday Rob]

Today is the birthday of one of my best friends, one of the best men in my wedding, and the oldest friendship I have managed to maintain. Happy Birthday Rob! Don't forget to bring the table back in the basement after the party.

Here is a little history on Rob: Meet Rob

[Conclusion]

I think I covered quite a bit this week, so now I am going to ask you to kick back and enjoy the rest of your Sunday. Remember if you aren't reading the blog at Joey's Blog you are not getting the full experience. As always don't take shit from anyone!

Love,
~ Joey

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Ryan Adams: Rare Version of "Desire"



To the facebookers that are getting this on the re-blog feed. Check it out @ the blog:
Ryan Adams - Desire