Archive for March, 2008

Best Dog Breakfast Ever

March 30th, 2008

This morning Theresa discovered that we were plum out of dog food. I should have noticed that last evening when I fed him dinner, but I just assumed that we had more grub in another bag. We usually buy a 40lb bag of food and fill a container that hold about 20lbs when we get home. So, there’s a 50/50 chance of the food bin running dry while there’s still more food in the house.

Alas, that wasn’t the case.

So, for breakfast this morning he got a pork chop that I had cooked up on Thursday. It sat with 5 brothers in a slow cooker for about 8 hours in a mix of applesauce and cranberry sauce. They weren’t half bad, but I probably won’t make them like that again.

To round it out I threw in a can of green beans. The dog loves green beans.

I haven’t seen him eat that fast since he was a puppy!

Oddly enough, considering that I bought the pork and green beans on sale, it probably cost about as much as the old premium dog food we used to feed him. Seriously, the stuff was about $45 for a 40lb bag.

I Love Halo

March 30th, 2008

So, I went out and bought my first XBox ever this weekend. I’ve played hours of Halo 2 and 3 on other folk’s systems, but never actually owned my own. Heck, I’ve had my own XBox Live account for some time now without my own XBox.

I’m honestly not that big into games* but Halo is hours of fun. I’ve got it wired into a 720p 37″ LCD mounted on my living room wall and it’s amazing how clear the graphics are. I stopped nerding out about graphics capabilities when I was, oh, 16, but this is stunning.

I think part of the reason I’m finally noticing this is because one of my Wii habits has transitioned over to playing the 360. I stand when I play, or sit in a chair directly in front of the TV only 4 feet back.

I’ve wanted a 360 for some time now but couldn’t really justify spending the money on it just for Halo 3 and the upcoming GTA IV release. That was until I got a letter from the Michigan Department of Treasury. Seems that the state of Michigan owned me a bit of money (not sure why) and I had forgotten to a cash an old paycheck from GVSU when I worked for them as a student employee. So, I got a letter from the Michigan Department of Treasury a while back letting me know all this. Boom, there’s a check for just about what the 360 costs.

*: Theresa laughs when I say this. The closet in our nursery is currently full of old crap that I own. A PS1, PS2, Dreamcast, N64, Color Gameboy, and a Gamecube. The living room has a Wii and now the 360 in it.

Hillary in Bosnia

March 26th, 2008

Say Uncle and Les Jones don’t seem to think Hillary’s claims on taking sniper fire upon landing in Bosnia in 1996 are true.

I guess they haven’t seen the actual video from the event:

Yay! We found some money!

March 26th, 2008

So, a few months ago Michigan’s government shutdown for a few hours because we couldn’t pass a budget, we got back online, and then magically discovered that instead of just breaking even we ran a surplus this year.

Hobos pay better attention to their finances than these guys.

Anyway, it looks like state universities are going to get a 3% increase in funding this year. Guess we found some extra money for them after all.

Now, here’s where I do a double take:

Democratic Governor Jennifer Granholm wants to base the increase on factors such as how much research is done and how many students graduate. That formula would give some schools more than 6 percent more and others just over 2 percent more.

Well, mark this date on the calendar. I actually agree with a Democrat on matters related to fiscal policy! Giving the higher performers more money? Yeah, I’m all for it!

The Republican-led Senate prefers an across-the-board increase.

It passed the university spending bill 37-1 on Tuesday and sent it to the House, which will start working on university funding next month.

Based on that I have a gut feeling that 3% across the board was cheaper, or at least easier to compute. With the vote being 37-1 I’m leaning heavily towards easier to compute.

And, sadly, I’m OK with that. The legislature has already shown their epic inability to predict state revenue so if they want to try and keep their cost prediction models down to the level of 5th grade math on this matter that’s fine with me.

I can’t imagine the mess they would create if they actually tried applying mathematic models that required a high school education.

Soviet Ingenuity

March 25th, 2008

I can’t help but wonder if that was a planned featured.

Oven’s Fixed

March 25th, 2008

On Saturday we discovered that our oven stopped working. That was unfortunate because I had a bunch of batter sitting there ready too cook. I’ll get to that later.

Monday morning I phone up Ron’s Appliance Services after I was referred to them by another local shop with a good rep. They referred me to Ron’s because they didn’t work on my particular brand. Phoned them at 10:00am and around 1:30pm he was there and had it fixed in short order. Nice. I’d use them again.

Now, why did I have a bunch of batter sitting there on Saturday? I figured I should learn how to bake. I’ve taken up a fair amount of the cooking around here because it turns out I actually like it. It’s not uncommon for Theresa to come home to a ready meal these days, or at least something that’s 90% done.

So, back to Saturday. Theresa went to work and I went shopping. I came home ready to make some cornbread (the right way) and some lemon poppy-seed muffins. I always loved those things.

First, we need to see Steve Graham’s cornbread recipe:

2 cups self-rising WHITE WHITE WHITE cornmeal – I like Martha White.
1 1/2 cups milk or buttermilk
1 egg
1/4 cup bacon grease – Lard is not as good.
1 tbsp. sugar

Okay, bacon grease isn’t something you just buy off the shelf. I didn’t feel like actually cooking bacon that day so I snagged some salted pork. I could see the fat on it and figured it’d be easy to melt. I came home and sliced off a thick hunk of fat and threw it on my George Foreman rip-off grill with the grease catcher on it.

Not a good idea. The grill seared the fat and left me with a steak-like thing. I cut the thing into pieces, threw it into a measuring cup, and tossed it into the microwave. That worked much better, but I warped the plastic measuring cup. Whoops. I got my grease though. As an added bonus I ended up with bits left over that tasted a lot like really greasy pork rinds. I fed them to the dog as treats. He loves me more than ever before.

So, the cornbread turned out OK. A bit dense, but it’s what I like in cornbread. Theresa informed me that I’m no longer allowed to cook with bacon fat (something about our health) so I did a different batch this evening using butter instead and tossed in an extra egg to fluff it up a bit. She likes that a bit more. I’m not sure I actually made it any healthier.

For the muffins I ran with this recipe but changed out the lemon zest for 1.5 teaspoons of lemon extract, skipped the salt, and used salted butter instead of unsalted. I also threw in 1 teaspoon of mint extract because in my mind lemon and mint go together. I made 18 (left 9 with my parents) and only 3 existed as of today. Somebody must have liked them. I know I did!

After dinner tonight I ran with this recipe for whole-wheat flaxseed muffins but added half a teaspoon of cinnamon because that shit goes well with apples. I threw the whole thing into a breadpan and gave it 35 minutes in a 400 degree oven. It seems to have worked out well. It’s a bit crumbly though. I might try nixing the whole-wheat flour and just doubling the white flour to fix that. The only reason I made them is for the Omega 3 oils in the flaxseed, and so long as I keep that I figure I’m doing OK. My brother that lifts weights with me takes flaxseed Omega 3 oil supplements and I’m thinking he might find them a handy snack. We’ll see.

I figure for the next month or two I’ll make it a regular thing to take some baked goods into the office when I actually head in because there’s no way we can actually eat all the stuff I’m baking here.

The Neighborhood Idiot & Easter Chicken

March 24th, 2008

I awoke this morning to Theresa’a calls and Chuck Norris pitching a fit. Seems the neighbor’s chickens escaped their back yard and were running about in the field behind our house.

They’re nice folk. Last winter they pulled my brother out of my driveway when he got stuck trying to plow it.

So, Theresa looked up their number (I know their last name) and called. No answer, so she left a message. It’s about 10:00am on Easter Sunday so I figured they were at church.

So, I figured I’d be a nice guy and keep ‘em from running away. Plus I didn’t want them to wander into my yard because then we can’t let Chuck Norris out for fear that’d he’d kill one of them. My first thought was to round them up and stick ‘em in my dog kennel for safe keeping until they returned home. When I arrived on scene I figured it’d be better if I just herded them up and tried driving them back into the yard. I could see that the fence was broken, but chickens are pretty stupid and once they were in probably wouldn’t venture back out for a while.

I decided pretty quickly that I didn’t want to try picking them up. I’ve done that a couple thousand times in my life and the chickens don’t like it. They’ll fight, might even hurt themselves in the process, and they’ll shit on you 10% of the time.

About five minutes into me playing retarded chicken herder the neighbor lady came out and let me know it was fine. They knew they was a hole in the fence but they always come back.

Oke-dokee. Fine by me, but may God help them if they wander into the yard when the dog is out.

In related news I’m not sure why you’d fence in your entire backyard only to leave a hole big enough for anything smaller than a horse to get through. Seems kind of pointless.

On Heller

March 18th, 2008

My thoughts pretty much resemble what GeekWithA45 said early today on the topic.

I’m pretty relaxed about the whole thing. We should get a ruling that declares the right to keep and bear arms an individual right. That’s good enough for me. That would remove the whole argument that one needs to be in a government controlled militia to own firearms.

Now, as to the question of whether or not an outright ban on certain arms qualifies as an infringement, that’s a whole new ball game.

They may come back and just say that the DC law on handgun ownership and functional long arms isn’t constitutional. Or they might refer back to the Miller case and get a little more expansive and reassert that there’s an individual right to keep arms that are suitable only for militia purposes. Or they might take the view of the DOJ brief filed and say that while it’s an individual right the government is still free to ban anything they want to.

The latter opinion, obviously, confuses the hell out of me, but the DOJ made a case for it.

If Heller results in a pro-individual rights ruling we’re probably going to see a number legal battles related to the 2nd amendment in short order. I read that Bob Levy wants to after the 1911 NYC Sullivan Act next. That’d be a good way to take on the incorporation issue that isn’t going to be addressed in this case.

If Heller results in a collective rights ruling there won’t be a legal battle on the issue ever again.

Super Smash Bros. Brawl

March 17th, 2008

Theresa snagged me a copy of Super Smash Bros. Brawl on Saturday. Thanks, hon!

I used to play the original on the N64 back in college with some friends. Later on I picked up a Gamecube and got the Melee version but never took to it all that much. It’s really not that much fun unless you’re playing head to head with other people, at least not for me. So, with Brawl coming out on the Wii and being playable over a network with complete strangers I was geeked.

I haven’t tried a private match yet, and I hear those work pretty well, but when you enter into the “play random people on the internet” side of it there’s problems. It can take 4-5 minutes for the network to find 3 other people for you to play. That’s annoying. Once it finds a group of four you’re pretty much stuck with that group unless you want to hop out and let it search for another 4-5 minutes again.

I don’t understand the problem. There’s only two game types that they can match you up against. It’s either two on two in teams (not what I play) or a four way brawl. How hard can it be to match that up? Even worse, sometimes there’s a huge lag and play will slow down to about 25% of regular speed. That’s just unplayable. Granted, it’s only happened to me 3-4 times in the single day I’ve had it, but it sure is annoying. Hell, once it fucked things up so bad that I ended up in a four way brawl with 3 other CPU controlled characters. Thanks, but I can do that without a network.

I’m really hoping they come up with a fix for these things soon.

Oops

March 11th, 2008

The above video shows the muzzle blast of a .50BMG rifle blowing out the taillight of a truck. The bullet didn’t impact that taillight, contrary to what it looks like on the video. You can see a discussion of this actual shooting here which is a board for gun guys and the dude that actually shot the video is also a member. The fourth comment was really funny:

Guys-

I know who that is.

Really.

So do y’all…..

Later the dude in the video (Jamz) shows up.

There’s a bit of a myth surrounding the .50BMG that it’ll vaporize guys if it even comes close to them. I heard this last repeated by my own father (not a gun dude) and he got that from a Marine Reservist that works for him. It’s not true, and it only took 10 seconds of explanation for him to understand the whole matter.

I can’t help but wonder if such videos contribute to the myth. It sure looks like that bullet vaporized the taillight when it passed by but what actually happens it the muzzle break directs gasses, at the muzzle, that would usually push back on the shooter, off to the sides at a backward angle. If the muzzle was 6″ behind the taillight nothing would have happened to it.

They’re tremendously powerful rifles, but they aren’t capable of transforming a .50 caliber projectile into a 3 foot cylinder of death.