Monday, March 29, 2010

The other night* we watched Mystery Science Theater 3000, a show I've been basically obsessed with since I was 13. Over half my life. It's mind-boggling when I think of how young I was when I started watching. It was an episode from 1992, season two. It brought back memories of VCRs and Friday-night viewings; the awesomeness of new episodes, the marathons, the tape trading. It goes on and on. And the reason for this nostalgia is the latest in DVD viewing: using the Playstation to stream movies through Netflix directly over the interwebs. They have EVerything on there. It's the most amazing thing in a long time. And here we were, an ungodly number of VHS recordings of MST3K (three per tape because they are 2-hour episodes) right in the next room, with old commercials for Comedy Central and AbFab and whatever products they thought us Msties would buy; and now, with the push of a button, we get perfectly clear streaming episodes with no commercials or anything.**

I miss the old shows like Dr. Katz, Short Attention Span Theater, The Vacant Lot, Small Doses (Patton Oswalt's first show), Ab Fab; and Penn Jillette was the voice of CC. Then there were the old days of VH1 (pre-reality show), when they had Stand-Up Spotlight with Rosie O'Donnell (pre-lesbian), and the first few seasons of Saturday Night Live (pre-suck) every night. This is what I was raised on. A bit too old for me at the time? Probably. But I grew into them, and I look back on those days of comedy as some of the best TV I've watched. All comedy, all the time. It definitely had an impact on me and my sense of humor.

A Hot Pocket and MST3K...that was my teen years, and they were great.

*Like, two weeks ago.
**I blame Infinite Jest for this run-on. I'm picking up his style.

Dear Blogger,

FIX YOUR S@#$!!!!!

(the above anger was because you can't see any pictures. I trust they are working on this.)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Moving Right Along

I know you are all just DYING to hear how I am doing with Infinite Jest, by David Foster Wallace, so here it is. I finally made it past the halfway point (currently on p. 557), and I have a good grasp on the storylines and how to follow them, as well as where we might be going in the story. It's very good, just the type of book where you have to really sit down and read for at least an hour at a time to get a section done and comprehend it (I will use "section" instead of "chapter" because there are no chapters). This, plus the fact that I've always got several books going at once, accounts for the slow rate it is moving. I'm also going to predict: I will be reading it again someday. There is just too much going on to get the first time. On the whole, it is captivating like a train wreck, but less morally questionable to look at.

There are storylines regarding: a filmmaker/founder of a tennis academy and his family who live and go to school at said academy; the students of the school; the Boston AA/NA underground (itself involving numerous people); US and Canada relations; two guys who must have a purpose that remains to be seen; and several random stories about people which will hopefully be explained later.

Here are some highlights, just enough to interest my readers without giving away any of the story (there are a lot of gratifying moments when you say "Oh wow, I wish I knew that sooner, but I'm so glad I didn't!"). I'm hoping this will interest someone else enough to read it, so that we may converse.
  • P. 223: heard it was an important, bookmark-able page. It is.
  • P. 384: "First US President ever to use 'boss' as an adjective."
  • Footnote 178: "Don't worry about getting in touch with your feelings, they'll get in touch with you."
  • I've learned many awesome, pretty much un-usable vocabulary words: eschatology, anfractuous, felo de se, fantods, lachrymose, cartioid...and many more!
  • P. 442: Best fictional name for an AA group ever: Tough Shit But You Still Can't Drink Group
  • The non-word "irregardless" has been used twice. That makes me uncomfortable. Well done, Wallace.
  • Sometime in February: I decide to forgo IJ on a car trip for the slighty easier Cosmo magazine
  • Footnote 134: we are casually updated on the outcome of an important character's actions from a previous, seemingly unrelated section. That's how the whole book is; plot points are more or less hinted at, rather than given to you directly.
Well, I hope you find this new information useful in case you are going to read Infinite Jest, and if so, please let me know! It is a lonely world over here.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Pineapple Donuts

I got a fresh pineapple from Costco (they are surprisingly cheap), and wondered what the heck to do with it. One option was sauteing slices with brown sugar. Many people don't like fruit warm; I am not one of them. I love pretty much any fruit cooked somehow, be it in things or on things. So I cooked up some pineapple slices for dessert, and topped them with vanilla yogurt, grape nuts, and cinnamon, and served them with an Oreo (don't judge me). The dish looked just like a donut, and let me tell smelled like one too! Didn't Dunkin' Donuts used to have a pineapple filled one with a crumb topping?

So then today, I made Pineapple donuts again, but photographed the process for the first time ever. I was curious how the photos would turn out with the fancy camera. I was not thrilled with them. Here are the steps for making Pineapple Donuts, with some pictures. Please let me know what you think!

First off, swirl a little butter in the a pan over medium or so heat. You could probably skip the butter if you want. Then drop in a slice of pineapple (mine are pretty thick so I just made one) and sprinkle with brown sugar. Let it cook for a couple minutes, then flip it and sprinkle with brown sugar again. Let it cook a couple more minutes.

Now flip it one more time, to caramelize the sugar on top, and cook until your desired doneness. Remove to a plate. You might have juices in the pan you can pour over the plate, or not. Mine cooked away this time.

Now cover with yogurt (the vanilla flavor contributed to the donut smell); you could use any kind here really, because pineapple goes with a lot of flavors. Then sprinkle with Grape Nuts and Cinnamon. Mmmm, can you smell that? Donutty.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Oh, the Carnage!

We had a wicked storm last weekend here in New Jersey. Crazy winds and nonstop rain for over 36 hours, Friday into Sunday. We listened to the police scanner for a lot of Saturday night, and I'm please to say there was minimal crime, but a lot of downed trees and wires. The next day, driving around was an obstacle course of branches, blocked roadways, and flooding. It was pretty crazy, and the cleanup is still going on. Today's pictures aren't anything special, they are just "HOLY COW LOOK AT THOSE TREES" type of pictures. That Guy's mom had three huge trees fall overnight. When she said "I had a tree fall," we thought it would be like one tree or big branches, not the forest that follows. Keep in mind, her yard is pretty big, and is just lawn, with four big trees along the fence. Well, one big tree now. Well, really like half a tree now.

Here we have the cement wall that lined the back, as well as a dislocated section of normal-sized fence. Thank goodness the yard is so big; the middle tree is probably about 50 feet; if it had fallen the other way it would have hit the house behind hers.

It's not the worst damage I've seen this weekend, but it was pretty crazy, so I wanted to share it with the world. Thank you.

Friday, March 12, 2010


I've seen a lot of biscotti recipes lately, and since I love biscotti, I wanted to give it a go. Biscotti is unique because you actually bake them twice, but I think they are still considered cookies. There's so many variations too, you can add pretty much anything to jazz them up, though almonds are traditional. Then if you want to get REALLY crazy, dip them in chocolate. With a hot cup of coffee, any biscotti is amazing.

So here is what I made with stuff I had around the house, but you can substitute whatever you want:

Peanut Butter/Banana/Walnut/Chocolate Biscotti

2 cups Flour
1/2 cup Sugar
2 tsp Baking powder
1/4 tsp Salt
2 Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla
1/2 Mashed Banana
1/2 cup Peanut butter
3/4 cup Chopped Walnuts
3/4 cup Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 350°
In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, walnuts, and chips.

In a medium bowl, mix the eggs, vanilla, banana, and peanut butter.

Work the wet ingredients into the dry until a soft dough forms, adding more flour if needed. Turn out dough onto floured surface and knead 1-2 minutes more. Shape into to logs, about 4 inches wide and 1 inch thick. Place on a parchment-covered baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, until golden.

Remove to a cooling rack, and cool completely, at least 30 minutes. Slice logs diagonally into 1/2" slices. Place back on covered baking sheet, cut side down, and bake again at 350° for 10-15 minutes, until browned around the edges.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Some Photos

I've been playing with That Guy's old-ish digital SLR camera. It's basically a digital camera on steroids, and has different lenses you can attach. I'd like to start taking food pictures with it, so I tested it out by taking some shots around the apartment. What do you think?

Valentine Candy...
He got me an assortment of truffles, and man were they good. I saved one little guy for last: cinnamon-sugar coated coffee truffle. There were two in the box, and I see why: it was the best one.

Cool candlesticks. They don't match anything, but I love them. Any suggestions for alternate uses? And here are some Christmas presents for my niece and nephew in Maryland...I suppose they will be birthday presents now. Lame.

I call these "Self-Portraits in Downdog." I think that explains it sufficiently.

I have a food post coming up, I will try that with this camera, so look for some cool photos to come!

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

It's Happening Again!

And this time, Cablevision is PISSED. We turn on the TV, and it automatically goes to channel 1999, with a disheartening message revealing a fight with ABC. It's exactly the same as the Food Network struggle: as in ABC is asking for an exhorbitant amount of money, and we don't understand what the hell is going on. So up goes this alert message, the difference this time being that Cablevision is totally trash-talking ABC. They are saying ABC just wants more money because their "theme parks are struggling." And something about ESPN being expensive and executives at ABC needing bonuses. "Don't be fooled by slick ABC advertising." And ABC threatened to pull itself from the air if Cablevision doesn't pay up.
They must have seen Food Network fighting and decided they should do the same.

I'm posting this debacle under the label "failure." As in a failure on all parts. I better not miss any Jeopardy. Jerks.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Thanks, Canada!

I enjoyed the Olympics this year. Especially curling. Man those dudes can CURL. I'm not kidding. If you missed it, that's a shame. Every night for ten days we watched curling on CNBC (motto: "All Olympics, all the time. F* real news."). It's confusing at first, but once you figure out what they are trying to do (get the rock down the curling sheet toward the house and land on the button while sweepers change the curl accordingly) then it makes sense and becomes really really good.
Here's a link to a nice video from about the USA curling team: USA Curling

And one last tribute to our friends in the Great White North!