Wednesday, October 29, 2008

for my homies, the theater folk...

...cause the rest of you will SO not get this.

I'm going to assume that they're not implying that Obama supporters are going to end up, well, massacred on Election Day.
(PS, the Valjean guy is my favorite.)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

this started out about one thing, and kind of evolved in a spiral of bitterness...

This sign reads, "Navy Reserve - Now Hiring - Sign On Bonus Available, Money for School, ADVANCED TRAINING, Military Access, etc."

Wait...Military Access?? What exactly do they mean by this, and why are they using it as an incentive to sign up for the Reserve?

I'll tell you what it means: it means access to the Exchange for you and your extended family. (Because once you sign them in at the door, you know that your [civilian] buddies at the register won't check to make sure that they have a military ID, like they're supposed to.) It means using the Commissary as if it were a big-box discount warehouse, rather than a supermarket, so that those of us who use it as intended can't buy the things we need.

People shouldn't abuse military benefits in this way. But they do. When I saw this sign (in August) I was dumbfounded, because nobody would join up just for the "Military Access", would they? But I'm really starting to wonder. There's an attitude bubbling just under the surface, that that the military doesn't belong here, that we don't deserve the things we have. Why should we have it so good when the locals have so little? Many people seem to feel that they're entitled to use our facilities (like sneaking into housing and using the basketball courts, for instance - AKA trespassing on government property) simply because they happen to live nearby. (BTW, when you call the [civilian] security service about this, they straight up hang up on you!) As if the sacrifices that military families make mean nothing, that we should not be entitled to live in a safe, secure, comfortable neighborhood, free of obscene graffiti; as if all of the individual families who make up the collective "Military bitchs" (sic) are here because we each individually chose to live here specifically. As if I one day woke up in my bed in Belle Chasse, Louisiana, and decided, "you know what, I think I'd like to move to Hawaii and oppress the locals."

Don't get me wrong, I love Hawaii. I love living here. But I did not *choose* to live here, and throwing a shopping bag of fish guts out your car window and leaving it to decay in the middle of the street is not a particularly mature way to deal with your displeasure with my being here.

Neither is buying up all of the cherry yogurt.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

waiting for gabba

I realized today that the choreography on Yo Gabba Gabba reminds me of Waiting for Guffman. It added a whole new level to the show to imagine it as part of a Christopher Guest movie. Seriously. I mean, I've watched it from the point of view of "is this educational for my child?" (yes) and "would this be more awesome if I were high?" (probably), but it's always good to have a new way of looking at it, when you see the same episodes over and over again. (I also think it's fun to imagine Mickey Mouse Clubhouse as a Seinfeld episode.)

So the next time you watch Yo Gabba Gabba, imagine that it's being acted out by Parker Posey and Catherine O'Hara and Fred Willard and all of those guys. It's so obvious, I don't know why I didn't see it before.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Super-Simple Nachos

On Super Bowl Sunday a couple of years ago, I decided to do a kind of party-food tapas. I didn't make any actual "lunch" or "dinner", just a bunch of fun, eat-while-you're-watching-TV kind of foods: wings, fries, nachos, etc. I invented my own "recipe" for nachos, which Brian dubbed "Supernachos", and it has been a part of our regular dinner rotation ever since. I don't think they're necessarily "super"; they're actually pretty basic. But they're good, and they're easy.

All you need is tortilla chips, refried beans, pickled jalapeno slices, and shredded cheese.

Spread a layer of chips on a microwave-safe plate.

Using a 16" pastry bag and a Wilton Cake Icer Decorating Tip (#789), pipe a layer of refried beans over the chips. I have tried many different methods of spreading the refried beans, and finally settled on this - it is by far the easiest, the least messy, and gives the best results.

Place some pickled jalapeno slices on top of the beans. I don't use as many as I used to; they used to be pretty thinly sliced out of the jar, but they've been really thick lately. You could chop them into smaller pieces if you wanted the heat and the delicious jalapeno flavor to be more evenly spread throughout the nachos.

Add a layer of shredded cheddar cheese. I personally like to use Kraft Mexican 4-cheese. (I don't like the "taco cheese", with the seasonings in it, but you could certainly use that if you do like it.)

Pop it in the microwave until the cheese is melted. It takes about 2 minutes in my microwave, but my microwave is old and always takes at least 30 seconds longer than the stated directions for ANYTHING. So maybe try a minute and a half first.

I usually make individual plates for everyone when we have this for dinner. This makes it possible to personalize it - for instance, mine gets more cheese, Brian's gets more jalapenos, and Brandon's gets no jalapenos at all. Last night I put some cilantro on mine.

This is particularly good served with homemade guacamole, but then again, everything is.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I'm so beyond caring enough to be polite

Almost two weeks ago, I placed an order for a part for Jackson's carseat. The part itself costs about $5, but nobody will ship it for less than $15. (Ridiculous!) I found one site that had the shipping cost listed as $5 (although the part itself was $6.99). So I placed an order...kind of. There was never any page to enter payment information. It said that I would get an email from a manager, and I was, what? Okay...
So today, almost two weeks later, I finally got an email. It read:
Sorry, we do not ship outside the United States
That was it.

Usually when I'm pissed off and writing an email, I go out of my way to be civil and polite and intelligent-sounding. I try to never stoop to anyone's level. But I just don't have the patience for these people. So this was my response:
"Sorry, but Hawaii is part of the United States. Has been for quite a while now.
But thanks for getting back to me ever so quickly."
I mean, sheesh.

Monday, October 13, 2008

busy busy busy

I've been complaining a lot lately. Sorry to be such a negative Nellie. I have a friend who has the exact same birthday as I do (same year and everything) and he's been really intense lately with posting political stuff on Facebook. So I think that we both have the same kind of energy right now - I'm totally blaming it on astrology - it's just that he's channeling it into something somewhat productive, whereas I just come here and bitch. *shrug*

I do have some entries planned...For instance, I finally finished knitting that lace scarf, I'll post about it when I have it blocked. I've just been putting my energy into different things lately. I'm working on a knol about natural alternatives to shortening in buttercream icing. I joined Facebook and am totally addicted to it. I've been reading a lot; I was invited into the Amazon Vine program and I have some reviews to write. I've been doing a lot of work on the video montages for Brandon at age 1 and Brandon at age 2 - I'm working on them both simultaneously, in an attempt to get caught up. I'm still sorting through photos and video clips, and editing together the music. (These video montages will be posted on my family blog; if you would like to be granted access to the family blog, let me know. I'm obivously picky about who I put on the list, but I know that there are people who read this blog who I wouldn't mind reading that blog.)

I've been spending a lot of time chasing Jackson around, since he's started crawling. I've also been spending a lot of time holding him, since he got his 6 month shots on Friday and has been feeling a little cranky. He's also been waking up before dawn...seriously, it's dark out right now as I'm typing this and he crawls around the living room. Brandon's also been a little clingy lately as he gets used to the changes in his bedtime routine. (We started moving Jack into the crib, so Brandon has to be consierably quieter since the baby is asleep in the same room!)

I also managed to hurt my ankle yesterday...not sure if it's yet another sprain or not, it doesn't hurt all that much, but I kind of passed out a little right after it happened, which happened two or three times of the five or six times I've gotten sprains. (I've honestly lost count.) So things have been a little crazy lately. But on the bright side, I finally got my waffler/sandwich press/pizzelle maker. And I made pizzelles last night. And the angels sang.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


So I got a response from DeCA. Something to the effect that they can't impose limits, but they SHOULD be doing a better job to keep the shelves stocked, and if something sells that fast, it should be ordered more often. And if I were ever to actually witness somebody abusing the Commissary privilege, I should contact Base Police!!! ( would that go? "Somebody is trying to buy all of the Green Tea root beer! Bring backup!")

The funny thing is, they also forwarded my suggestion to the director of my specific Commissary. So when you consider that I also dropped off a complaint letter at the office yesterday (see the comments from my last post) - yeah, um, I guess I'm THAT guy. The one who has nothing better to do than write complaint letters. And yes, my full name was on both of them. And one of the baggers was giving me a funny look while I was dropping the letter through the slot in the office door. ("I know who wrote that letter about you! It was that crazy lady with the giant baby in the front-carrier!)

Maybe I'll shop at the Marine Base for a while.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

if you're one of the people who does this...SHAME ON YOU!

This is a comment that I submitted to the DeCA (Defense Commissary Agency) website today:

"I would like to suggest that a limit be placed on how many units of a single item one customer can purchase at one time. I can completely understand the temptation to buy up the store's entire stock of certain items, especially when they are priced at a fraction of their cost at civilian stores - however, I tend to be of the mind that "we're all in this together", and I know that I'm not the only person who wants or needs these items. So I buy only what I need for the next week or two.

It is EXTREMELY frustrating, therefore, when I do my weekly shopping and find that an item I regularly buy has been completely cleared out (often in the wake of a price cut). This happens with at least one product every single week. This week it was FIVE different products.* And once an item is out of stock, it is often weeks or even MONTHS before the item is back on the shelves. For instance: vanilla extract was gone for a month, and lemon juice has been gone for about two months now. The brand of peanut butter I like to buy was completely missing from the shelf today, and the last time that happened, it was almost three months before it came back.

Like I said, I can understand the temptation to stock up on items that are hard to find and/or expensive elsewhere...but it seems to me that in order to serve your patrons better, an attempt should be made to ensure that there is enough for everyone. Some of us can't afford to buy 20 jars of peanut butter or 30 bottles of lemon juice all at once, just to make sure that we will have some available to us when we need it.

So once again, I suggest that a limit be placed on the number of units of a single item that one person can buy at one time. Nothing too restrictive, obviously, but I think that perhaps one person coming through the checkout with 15 bottles of vanilla extract or 20 tubes of toddler toothpaste should raise some red flags."

* Toddler toothpaste, lemon juice, chocolate peanut butter, coconut oil, and Steaz Green Tea Soda in every flavor but key lime (which is nasty). According to their websites, the peanut butter and soda aren't actually sold ANYWHERE in Hawaii - except for the Commissary.

ETA: Actually it was seven things...I forgot about the two kinds of yogurt I like to get: YoPlus Cherry and DanActive strawberry/pomegranate-berry. Why on earth people buy up all of something PERISHABLE is completely beyond my comprehension. I know it isn't just that those flavors sell "faster" because the other flavors are *completely* stocked, so it's pretty obvious that one or two people came in and bought ALL of the one particular variety.

Friday, October 3, 2008

oh, puh-lease

Can I just take a minute to roll my eyes about how acai berries are the new fat loss trend? Just because something is good for you, it doesn't mean you should take it in pill form in an attempt to lose weight. Stop eating junk and start exercising. And if you're living your life in a healthy way and you still aren't as small as you'd like to be, maybe - just maybe - you should consider that you aren't supposed to be any smaller than you are. And maybe we should all try to develop an attitude where we eat things that are good for us because it is enjoyable to do so, because we like how it tastes and we like how it feels to be healthy - rather than viewing the things we consume as fuel for our weight-loss plans.

So, I'm going to go make an acai smoothie now - because it is delicious.


The Britax Marathon is now available in Mossy Oak:

So that, you know, your child's carseat can blend in with the terrain when you go hunting. ...?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

let's all have a good laugh at my expense, shall we?

I wasn't going to post a picture because, frankly it's embarrassing as hell, but Josh asked so nicely, and I have to admit that it's pretty funny.

I baked a cake yesterday. I wanted to try using marshmallow fondant at least once before Brandon's birthday, because I want to make a truly awesome cake for him this year, and the way my mind works nowadays, that means fondant. What can I say, I've been watching a lot of Ace of Cakes and Food Network Challenge and I thought, well, I can do that! It's just cake. (Go ahead and read the site that I linked to, and see if it doesn't make it seem sooooo super easy!) I did, however, have the common sense to realize that I should try it a couple of times first.

I thought I'd start with something simple: just a 2-layer, 9-inch round cake. Easy-peasy.

I don't know if the fondant itself was the right consistency because I've never used it before. It certainly didn't turn out looking right. But that was the least of my problems. First of all, even though I used the same buttercream recipe that I used for my birthday cake two weeks ago (and the same size cake), and I had leftovers then, there wasn't enough to completely cover the cake. So the buttercream layer wasn't nearly as thick as it should have been.

Then, the ganache that I made for the filling turned out...just...not right. Apparently, Ghirardelli squares that are completely oxidized (to the point of crumbling to a fine powder at the slightest touch) make a pretty good ganache - this is what I used for my birthday cake. But Hershey's semisweet chips? Not so much. I don't know how it happened, but there were little chunks and bits of chocolate and it was just not right.

So maybe the filling being "off" contributed to the two layers sliding apart when I layed the fondant over the top. I don't know, but suffice it to say, the layers didn't stay where they were supposed to.

And when I started "smoothing" out the fondant - not only did the fondant start tearing, but the cake did, too.

So why didn't I peel off the fondant, reposition the cake (maybe make another batch of buttercream to help rebuild), then re-cover it? Because it was sticky as all get-out. Like I said, smoothing the fondant tore the cake. Maybe the cake was too moist. Maybe the sticky consistentcy is the way marshmallow fondant is supposed to be - after all, it is just marshmallows and powdered sugar. Or maybe I just f***d it up completely.

Anyway. Here's the picture. And yes, I know you're not supposed to refrigerate fondant-covered cakes...but I wasn't all that worried about ruining the finish.

Let's call it my cakey tribute to Josh's staph-infected-poison-oak-face. That makes it art, as opposed to just being sad.

It did taste delicious, though.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

I express my opinion at the risk of being blacklisted by the New World Order

I'm sorry, but I just don't understand why the jackasses on CNN are talking about how horrible and irresponsible it was of the House of Representatives to fail to pass the Bailout, how they're supposed to do what's right for the country...wait, what???? They did! Because, you know, the last time I checked, America is a democracy. Which means that, first of all, the opinions of the constituents are supposed to matter; and second, this is not a feudalistic society, where the hard work of the serf peasant average man pays for the ruling class's right to do whatever the hell they want. There are other ways to fix the economy without giving people who f***ed up a free ride at the taxpayer's expense.

Two years ago, I had it as a goal to get my weekly grocery bill under $100. Yesterday, I paid $249 and was glad it wasn't higher. I fail to see how giving Wall Street $700 billion would help that situation at all. I thought Trickle-Down Economics didn't work?

So why are the pundits pissed off, when the rest of us are relieved? I don't get it.