wombat_socho: Wombat (WTF)
This article sums up pretty much everything I find ridiculous about the foodie movement. The whole point of a Big Mac is that it's cheap, tasty, and YOU DON'T HAVE TO MAKE IT YOURSELF. Taking the time and trouble to go through all the steps in that blog to produce something that is, arguably, not a significant improvement over the original in taste (to say nothing of price) is completely insane.

Don't get me wrong - I'm totally on board with the idea of spending more to get a better-quality burger, which is why I often stopped at Five Guys or Wendy's back when I was in the market for burgers, but re-engineering something unique to McDonald's (or any other fast food joint) is just dumb and wrong. The whole concept of fast food is that it is fast. You don't have to cook it, much less sperg about the actual number of sesame seeds on the bun and come up with a way to get just the right density. (Instapundit)
wombat_socho: Wombat (Boss Coffee)
Posted at [livejournal.com profile] cyloran's request. Why mango cream smoothies?
Because mangoes and cream and I go way back. Maybe even before Chef's fantasy in Apocalypse Now.
Also, because this has a fairly low carb count, and these days, that's important to me.
Culinary secrets itp )
wombat_socho: Wombat (DC)
Haven't really been thinking much about baseball, what with everything else going on...today in the tax mines was moderately busy, to the point where I almost had trouble finding a quiet half-hour to take my mandatory break. The new office manager told me this morning that I couldn't just work straight through my shift; I was going to have to take a half-hour break sometime in there. That's okay, I guess; I'll just work an extra half-hour to make up for it at the end of the shift. So there. ;P
Also on the work front, I finally got my H&R Block business cards in, so now I feel like a real tax pro and not just a little wooden one. Probably still going to be driving the front desk tomorrow since there's no CSP on duty, but I do have two appointments booked which I'm going to go solo on, since my mentor only works during the week. I think I'll do okay, and so do the old heads in the office.

Time to bag up the chicken thighs and chorizo I baked for dinner tonight; it turned out okay, maybe not as good as the crockpot version, but you can't have everything. Johnsonville did a good job on the chorizos, that's for sure. After that, I'm going to read some more of James Schmitz' stories from The Hub: Dangerous Territory, which I snagged for the Kindle from the Baen Free Library, and nod out early. 0900 comes early in the morning, and I want a large breakfast of eggs & meat before tomorrow's shift.
wombat_socho: Wombat (Default)
So today I spent most of the unemployment check and non-sleep time on the Brave Little Toaster; took it to Jiffy Lube and got the oil changed along with the front wipers and air filter, and they threw in the fluid topoffs, window washing, and floor vacuuming as they usually do. Since I'm not a complete bastard, I stopped at the dumpster and emptied out the sizable collection of bottles, cans and miscellaneous trash in the back seat and cargo bay. Holy crap. That took about 45 minutes and filled five kitchen-sized trash bags along with four smaller grocery bags. This ought to do wonders for the gas mileage and make more appropriate room for groceries.

Speaking of which, most of the remainder of my cash was spent on a Costco membership, which may or may not have been wise; I would like to be a little more organized about my food buying/cooking/eating, and buying meat/cheese/dairy product/nuts in bulk at Costco strikes me as one way to do this. We'll see how that works out. I was tempted to go with Sam's Club, but unfortunately those are in the boonies relative to where I live (Woodbridge and Sterling) whereas there are Costco locations much closer. (Pentagon City?!?!) Maybe they'll also have Utz pork rinds, now that Harris Teeter has become erratic about carrying them again.
wombat_socho: Wombat (DC)
I set off a bit of a kerfluffle the other night at the PRSFS meeting by opining that most "classics" aren't worth the time wasted on reading them, and trotted out Trollope, Hemingway and Stendhal as examples. Apparently I'm not the only guy that feels that way. Correia also has an amusing post in which he fisks an e-mail from an annoyed leftist. Hooray for HATE MAIL! indeed.

Yesterday was a pretty slow day in the tax mines. I followed it with some opportunistic bargain-hunting at Harris Teeter, where I picked up a couple of 12-packs of Coke product for $1.88 apiece, then headed out to Mark Taylor's place for steak & conversation, both of which were good. I found myself playing courier for Mark, conveying a couple bottles of homebrew mead to P, who I met for a snack of wings after parting company with Mark. P and I made desultory conversation while paying minimal attention to the ass-whipping the Packers were issuing to the Falcons; we exchanged mead for Butterkaese, and then she went off to work while I headed up the road to the Sterling Walmart, where I filled in some holes in the previous week's grocery shopping. Unfortunately, I forgot to pick up a replacement bulb for the bedroom lamp and tea, so I had to go out for those today, but I did address the heavy cream and pork rind shortages. :)

Back to work on Marketing and Business Administration.
wombat_socho: Wombat (Happy)


(The Corner)
wombat_socho: Wombat (DC)
I spent most of the day inside dealing with a cold, which has returned to plague me after one day wherein it appeared to be done with me and then crept back to bedevil me in the evening. That was the day of the wake, of course; the wake went very well with a large turnout, many stories about the dearly departed [livejournal.com profile] therevdrnye, and a quite remarkable picture of him in a suit, which looked most unnatural since a) he was wearing a suit and b) his hair and beard were relatively short and well-trimmed. Anyway, it was a good wake. There are extremely tentative plans to do another at Balticon for the benefit of people who couldn't make it to Friday's wake, which after all was called on short notice and during the Hanuramakwanzmas season to boot. We'll see what happens.

Aside from fighting a cold, I went out to pay rent, rebuild the essential pork rind stockpile, and get a little exposure to the Great Fusion Bomb In The Sky, which exposure is alleged to be good for one's health. Sauce for the goose, and all that.

Speaking of health, I started December at 357.6 pounds, down about a pound and a half from November's start. Only eight pounds from my goal of 350, and most of three months to do it. I reckon I can whup it. :)

The afternoon was partially taken up with making Heroin Thighs, since I messed up and got thighs instead of breasts when I went out looking for wings a while back. Don't ask. Anyway, I messed around with the recipe a little bit, adding eggs to the butter because I didn't think 1/2 cup melted butter was going to be enough for four pounds of thighs. Also added garlic because the coating was vaguely Italian (Parmesan cheese, parsley, oregano) and substituted chili powder for the salt and pepper. It turned out okay, I guess; not the awesome can't stop eating this results others claimed, but it sure beat plain baked chicken. Also cooked a couple pounds of cauliflower, added butter and garlic, and mashed the crap out of it. Also yummy.

So of course after I finish this, P summons me forth to wings. I only had one basket since I was pretty full from dinner, and wanted the wings mainly for the therapeutic value of spicy Caribbean sauce. Wings delivered.

This post at Power Line reminded me of this song: Fallin' In Love by the Souther-Hillman-Furay band, which got a few minutes of airplay back in '74. It's held up pretty well, and I was glad to find it again; also glad to be warned that Chris Hillman had gone back to his bluegrass roots. I like me some country; bluegrass, not so much.
(Cf. my quip to [livejournal.com profile] stuckintraffik that bluegrass was what NPR listeners called country music so they wouldn't be embarrassed by association with rednecks.)
Anyway, it's a nice song which captured a mood for me back then, and you might like it too, for the same reasons.

Now I'm going to take a couple Nyquil and rack out. I got a long day of driving, Ukrainian prayer, and law readin' ahead of me tomorrow and I really ought to get a decent night's sleep.
wombat_socho: Wombat (Boss Coffee)
Last night I got my monthly shipment of coffee from Boca Java, which contained something different from the usual Mocha Java/Guatemalan [insert horrible Gral. Rios-Montt joke here] combination. This month I'd ordered their Brew of Bravery and their Atomic Joe; the former is a blend of various coffees whose main attraction was that some of the proceeds are donated to MWR funds or Soldiers' Angels or something, while the latter is Boca's equivalent of Dunkin' Donuts' Turbo blend.

Based on a very limited one-cup sample, I think I like the Atomic Joe better. The Brew of Bravery definitely reminds me of the tread juice found in percolators and coffee machines from Monterey to Berlin, which is not necessarily a good thing. It is strong and a little too acidic for my liking, probably caused by the Kenyan and Columbian beans in the mix. The Atomic Joe, on the other hand, is a nice medium blend without the acidity one might expect from the extra caffeine. It also tastes a little better than the DD Turbo, and seems to have a bit more kick to it, as well.
wombat_socho: Wombat (Catholic)
Or maybe the reverse, I 'm not sure. Anyway...because I had somehow gotten it into my head that the 7th of November was yesterday and not today, I was very surprised to show up for Mass 45 minutes late and find a bunch of people standing around outside, traffic cones all over the place, and a table set up on the porch of the church. I asked one of the people standing around if there was a wedding or something going on, and he looked at me strangely and answered that no, the church was celebrating it's 30th anniversary today and there would be a reconsecration starting at 1 PM followed by a Mass and a celebratory banquet. "But I thought that was yesterday," I replied. He shook his head. "No, the seventh is very definitely today." So, well, that threw a monkey wrench into the day's plans. P and I were planning to head up to Baltimore to see [livejournal.com profile] therevdrnye and hopefully talk to him a little, and our plan had been to meet up in Laurel at 1330 or so, which would allow me to attend Mass and also require that we'd only have to take one truck up to the hospital. Having a consecration ceremony starting at 1300 would be Awkward.

Well, there was nothing for it but to hang out and wait for P's call, and meanwhile take lots of pictures of a procession of cute Ukrainian girls in traditional costumes, hunky Ukrainian guys (ditto), icons, gonfalons, and bringing up the rear, our pastor and the Metropolitan, both of whom were decked out in liturgical regalia that would have made Elvis slack-jawed with amazement. I'm not sure even the Pope has vestments this flashy. Makes me wish I'd brought a real camera, but then if I'd remembered to bring that...ah, never mind. P didn't call until after the Metropolitan had blessed the cornerstone, so I got to see that, at least. (Pics posted on Facebook because this totally happened.)

And so I motored over to Laurel, met up with P in the parking lot across the street from [livejournal.com profile] digex' office and Warehouse of Holding, and proceeded up 95 to Baltimore with her. We were somewhat surprised to find about a dozen of Richard's friends from gaming and other fandoms/businesses there along with his father; introductions were made, and redone shortly afterward when [livejournal.com profile] therevdrnye's hosts Tad and Carrie showed up. Eventually P and I went in to visit, along with his father, but unfortunately [livejournal.com profile] therevdrnye was unconscious. Not too surprising, given that they had been at him with tubes and hoses for a good part of the morning. I'd like to think he knew that we were there for him.

By then it was about 1500, and we escaped just in time to miss most of the traffic from the Ravens' game. Not early enough to stop by the fabulous Laurel Meat Market, though, which was disappointing; we wound up doing dinner at the Japanese Steak House off Route 1 instead, being very careful to inquire about sauces and to decline the rice. Very good food! Got home ~1900 and have been putzing around on the internet since.
wombat_socho: Wombat (DC)
Made some Filboid Studge last night before I went to bed and had a piece for breakfast with coffee. Of course, since I'd slept for about ten hours to help rid myself of this cold/flu/plague/whatever, it was more like lunch, but either way it was pretty good.

Wasted most of the afternoon playing Organ Trail, an updated version of the old edutainment software classic Oregon Trail except with a station wagon and zombies. I am now confident in my ability to guide a small party of friends from DC to Portland without being eaten by the zombie hordes.

Spent the rest of the afternoon going to CVS and Harris-Teeter for the same stuff I could have gotten at Walmart for probably less money, but as it turned out I got some pretty good deals on drugs & tissues at CVS; saved about 50% off everything once sales discounts and various coupons were added. Wound u pblowing all that money and another $10 besides at H-T, which had exactly two steak knives for sale: an insanely expensive knife, and one whose expense was merely annoying. I added a small jar of Truvia, which is handy for cooking and other low-carb nonsense, a couple of pork butt steaks, and some cheap spices, and managed to escape only $20 lighter.

Tonight, Game 4 of the World Series, more studying, and not so much time-wasting silliness on the computer.
wombat_socho: Wombat (Diabeetus Chef)
The Low Carb Megathread 2: Shut the fuck up about Ketostix! - The Something Awful Forums:
Frik posted:

"Something that's really bringing me down, however, is my father. I live with him while I'm going to school, and he won't stop telling me how dangerous this is. Last night was the worst as he brought me to tears telling me that I am poorly informed and know nothing about ketosis, that my kidneys are going to fail, I'm going to get stomach cancer, ulcers, and high cholesterol, and then proceeded to list everyone in our family that has ever had high cholesterol. My step-mother chimed in, saying I could easily follow a healthy diet instead. It baffles me because my father is double my size, and my step-mother is nearly the same size as me, and they eat sticky buns, cakes, cookies, chips, pizza, etc. Everything I say is invalid, because apparently WebMD.com is the keeper of all knowledge."

MomJeans420 replied:
"The trick is make sure to buy your father lots of carb and sugar heavy items now, like doughnuts. Then wait 10-20 years for him to get type II diabetes and have his feet amputated, and you can make him acknowledge that he guessed wrong on the diet question before you'll bring him his food, or help him go to the bathroom."

Frik:
"I like this advice a little too much. "
wombat_socho: Wombat (DC)
Went to visit [livejournal.com profile] therevdrnye yesterday afternoon in the hospital and spent several hours there talking about music, SF and stuff like that. His O2 levels are up and CO2 levels down, apparently, since he's been moved out of the ICU up to the telemetry ward, and seems to be tracking pretty well. Considering he's subject to the vitals check every four hours, he's not getting big solid blocks of restful sleep, but then again the odds are pretty good that he's going to live through this. Life's full of trade-offs.

Headed down to Famous Dave's in Alexandria on Route 1 to cash in birthday coupon, ate a slab of (naked) ribs, went home with sampler platter. After doing stuff online, I was about to go to bed when P I.M.'d me and wanted to know if I wanted to do breakfast at the Paper Moon in Baltimore. Not having been there before, I said yes, and set 9 AM as the meetup time. Which would have worked fine if I'd gotten a decent night's sleep, but unfortunately my right leg woke me up at 0400 itching like the tortures of the damned, and wouldn't quiet down until I'd re-bandaged it and taken a couple of Benadryl. So I got about five hours of sleep in two chunks, got up and headed out on a cup of strong coffee. About two hours later, filled with rage at the state of Maryland, its drivers, the city of Baltimore, and humanity in general, I got to the Paper Moon. Breakfast followed, and while the havarti/avocado/bacon omelet was exceptional, the coffee tasted like ass. We therefore decamped to a coffee place near Baltimore's art college which had what I needed, after which P and her friend Page decamped to do bra shopping and I headed home in a semi-catatonic state.

Got home, vegged out, missed the small business class on account of leaving my phone in the bedroom with my pants, ate dinner and am typing this up before heading for an early bedtime, which I richly deserve. Tomorrow's going to be busy, and it makes me even more tired just thinking about it.
wombat_socho: Wombat (Diabeetus Chef)
Justin Stoneman: America: A Big, Fat, Stupid Nation:
What strange event happened in 1977? Elvis died; perhaps the aliens who took him started to replace his fellow Americans with clones of fat, singing, hamburger-addicts? The truth is no less remarkable.


I graduated from high school and began my career of evil. :rimshot:

Seriously? I think this guy is one of those corporate-conspiracy tinfoil hat types, but that doesn't mean he's wrong about the way Anglosphere diets have changed, and not for the better. As previously discussed in this post, a lot of dietitians and public health types think they know what's going on in the body based on various studies, but as Taubes points out in his books, the science underlying those studies is shit, and we'd be getting equally valid guidance if we went downtown and spent an hour with one of the homeless crazy people. So do yourself a favor: start eating more meat and fat (and more fatty meat), and less bread & taters. You'd be surprised how much better you're going to feel a month or two down the road.

(h/t [livejournal.com profile] digex )
wombat_socho: Wombat (Happy)
The Low Carb Megathread 2: Shut the f*ck up about Ketostix! - The Something Awful Forums:

Piperifle posted: Also, lols from WebMD:

"Basically when you are on a low-carbohydrate diet, the key to success is breaking fat into ketones to create ketosis, and as ketones get into urine and saliva, it can cause horrible breath"



They get in your urine, causing horrible breath? Damn, doc. You a freak.
wombat_socho: Wombat (Boss Coffee)
Virginia Postrel on Locavores and Michael Pollan - WSJ.com:
This cornucopia of choice and convenience is a tribute to logistical ingenuity and gains from trade, the very progress the local-food movement is sworn to overturn. For those of us blessed with a Mediterranean climate, giving up imports means higher prices. For everyone else, it means a far more limited diet. New Yorkers sometimes complain about farmers' markets that seem to sell only varieties of apples. Were they expecting locally grown oranges and mangoes? Coffee and spices from the plantations of East Hampton?

The local-food movement's ideological parochialism would be dangerous if it were somehow enacted into law. But as persuasion, it tends to focus on the positive: the delights of local peaches and fresh cider, not the imagined evils of Chilean blueberries and prepeeled baby carrots. In this regard, it resembles the English Arts and Crafts movement of the late 19th century. William Morris, who is remembered today more for his wallpaper and book designs than for hjs social theories, didn't manage to overturn the industrial revolution. But he and his allies left a legacy of beautiful things. Pleasure is persuasive.


This is pretty much how I feel about the whole locavore thing. I like the idea of encouraging people to eat locally produced food, but putting social pressure on them to do so is just obnoxious. Trying to put laws in effect to compel it on any scale (or subsidize it, for that matter) is evil. RTWT.
(Instapundit)
wombat_socho: Wombat (Diabeetus Chef)
Very seldom do I come across a book that so enrages me that I have to put it down and go do something else for a while because I'm SO FILLED WITH RAGE that reading further at that time would be a Very Bad Idea. Usually when I come across a book like that, the rage comes from reading something so mind-bendingly stupid that it's hard to believe that any sensible person could believe crap like the book is trying to sell. On the other hand, there's Gary Taubes' Good Calories, Bad Calories.
Cut for spoilers )
wombat_socho: Wombat (DC)
So P and I went forth to Skyline Drive, stopping en route at our favorite Sheetz for fuel, fluids and pork rinds; we also stopped at Front Royal's Walmart for cooking gear and MEAT. We probably should have gotten some other stuff, like plates and forks, but what the hell; we're both tactical, we had knives and stuff to flip the meat with, right?

Well, pretty much. We lit the bag (blessings on Kingswood for coming up with the Barbeque in a Bag, which is truly awesome), grilled the steaks, grilled the beer brats, butterflied the brats to make sure the insides cooked, and then did the same with the Italian 4-cheese sausages, but by then we were pretty full so only a couple of them got eaten. Welp. We had already eaten a pound and a half of meat at that point, after all, even if we were both ravenous by the time the steaks hit the grill.

Skyline Drive is pretty awesome this time of year, and the back country along route 55 isn't bad either. We're going to have to do this again before it gets too cold/icy/snowy.
wombat_socho: Wombat (Catholic)
That's how I feel about Epiphany of Our Lord Byzantine Catholic Church (which is really Ruthenian, but let's not go there). It's a very nice bunch of people, a thriving community of Slavic Americans with a lot of stuff going on, and it doesn't feel right to me. I'm impressed that they use a lot of Old Church Slavonic in their liturgy, and the fact that the rest of it is in English certainly makes it easier to follow along, but...I don't think it's the place for me. Bizarre as this may sound, I'd rather drive further to take part in a liturgy I don't completely understand and have trouble following -because my Russian is rusty and Ukrainian's not quite the same anyway- and I can't quite put my finger on why that is. Part of it is the language, of course. I like the challenge of adapting my Russian knowledge to Ukrainian, and it's in a good cause. I also like being part of a smaller parish. Chances are more than good that as I become a regular member of the parish and make a habit of showing up, they'll miss me when I don't, and I think that's something I've been looking for in a parish for quite a while. We'll see how it works.

In the meantime, for those of you who are local, Epiphany of Our Lord is having their 36th Annual Slavic American Festival next Sunday, and I am given to understand that there will be a small mountain of holubki and kielbasa there which can be consumed in air-conditioned comfort for the benefit of one's low-carb diet. I'll be going to Mass at Holy Trinity, but I don't think they'll run out before I get there. :)
wombat_socho: Wombat (DC)
I had thought about going out today for another long walk, since last night's walkabout in downtown DC with [livejournal.com profile] smitty1e and Tom the Editor didn't kill me or even leave me groaning and incapacitated this morning, but I slept in and decided not to head downtown for the Restoring Honor rally, about half of which I watched on Facebook. It seems that was a wise decision, given the immense turnout.

Instead I stayed at home, futzed around with different stuff on the internets, started a piece on Libertarians which I decided to let simmer a while instead, and eventually decided to make chili, since I hadn't had that variety of comfort food in a while. No beans, of course; I'm too lazy to fix them from scratch, and the canned beans all have sugar added. It turned out okay, and the low-carb tortillas from La Banderita were excellent stand-ins for their usual soft versions, which have five times the carbs of their low-carb version. Add in Harris-Teeter's 4-cheese Mexican blend shredded cheese and a couple slices avocado, and the result was tasty goodness without bending or breaking the diet. I also made the We All Scream for Ice Cream recommended on the Something Awful low-carb megathread yesterday. Even though I screwed up by using whipping cream instead of heavy cream (they're not the same! Who knew?) it turned out well, just had more carbs in it than I wanted.

Going to go to bed early tonight, since I want to eat breakfast & leave early so I can arrive on time for mass at Holy Trinity, which is on the other side of DC. :(
wombat_socho: Wombat (DC)
As part of the ongoing effort to get out of the basement, get more exercise, and continue with the weight loss/general health thing, I drove out to Manassas National Battlefield Park where the First and Second Battles of Bull Run were fought. I looked around the exhibits in the park headquarters, which aren't very numerous but are very well done, sat through a short movie that related the events of the two battles in the currently fashionable "through the eyes of common soldiers" style, and then went out to walk the grounds. I was good for about half a mile before becoming tired; took pictures of various monuments, cannon, and the truly impressive statue of Stonewall Jackson while hiking around, although they don't seem to have turned out all that well.
Pics )
The park headquarters has quite a little store inside, too. I daresay they have more books about the Civil War than most bookstores I've been in of late, including the classic Civil War history by Bruce Catton, various well-known tomes on the battles of Antietam Gettysburg, and a mountain of not-so-well-known books on lesser-known battles like Corinth, Iuka, and the unpleasantness in Kansas. They even had a copy of The Last Full Measure, the epic history of the 1st Minnesota Volunteers. They had a lot of other stuff too; the usual souvenir gewgaws, T-shirts and such, but by and large the inventory was heavily slanted towards books and maps. It took real effort to remind myself that I shouldn't be spending money on that sort of thing right now, no matter how tempting it might be.

Stopped in Chantilly to consume mass quantities of chicken wings, then came home to maek post and get my stuff together before heading off to class for Cost Accounting by way of the bookstore. May go back to Manassas tomorrow for more hiking and marinating in history, since I have a three-day pass. We'll see.

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