Saturday, January 30, 2010

Pinball Wizard sea chanty?

Found this through the Coverville blog. Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain doing "Pinball Wizard," but without ukeleles:

Went off to go look through some more of their stuff on YouTube and found this, from the same concert:

You know, I never realized how much I liked Taking Heads until recently.

And then I found this:

Man, they have something for everybody, don't they?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Cantaloupe without ...

Came home last night to find a ladder lying beside my house. I walked by first without it registering and then went back and looked again. 8 feet long. Like a painter's ladder. You know what I mean? Looks like a capital letter "A" when open, with a little tray to hold stuff towards the top.

What the heck? What's it doing here? Landscapers doing something? Maybe someone was trimming the pine tree and forgot to put all their equipment back on the truck. Though the pine tree doesn't look trimmed to me...

I asked one of my neighbors. She hadn't noticed anything. I thought maybe I should move it, then changed my mind. Maybe they'll come back for it.

And maybe in the middle of the night they'll climb onto the roof of your shed and break into your house through the bedroom window.

Oh, stop it. That's just stupid.

Stranger things have happened. Remember last October? Someone walked right into your cubicle and took $60 out of your wallet. Which was in your purse. Room full of people, no one saw a thing. You were away from your desk maybe 15 minutes. Economy sucks, people are desperate, turning to theft.

Yeah but, no but...hmm.

There's never a car in your parking spot, most of the drapes are the thermal, black-out kind so you can't see the light on when you're in the room. It might look to anyone casing the place like you're never home.

Awesome. Thanks, italicized little voice. How the hell am I supposed to sleep now?

Just doing my job, ma'am.

Well, it took a while but I did manage to get some sleep. Today I called the people who administer for our owners' association in the hopes that they'd be able to say yes, there is some maintenance being done over here. They checked. There isn't.

So I sit in my cubicle, getting more and more nervous. Really not liking that there's a ladder next to my house. And, feeling a little silly about it, I use vacation time and leave work early to check on things. The whole way home I'm hoping that a) the ladder's not there any more because whoever used it remembered where they left it (and not because they burgled my house) or b) ladder is in exactly the same position as yesterday 'cause whoever used it really has forgotten it.

It was still here. I picked it up and wrestled in into my shed. Locked it in. I'm going to put the word out around the complex about what I found. Unless someone comes to the door asking for it, I guess I'm now the proud owner of an 8' painter's ladder.

Then I checked the whole house to see if anything was missing or out of place (hard to do when you're untidy, I know, but my memory's pretty good), and tested every single window to make sure they were all still locked. Just in case.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Kitchen experimentation

I'd like to show you the result of my turkey soup experiment last weekend. Can't. Camera is a 2-hour drive away, and my cell phone is ancient technology -- it's from 2001 -- and has no camera attached to it. I'm going to have to make do with description.

Luckily, I can do that.

So how'd it go? The short answer is: Next time, more seasoning, less pasta.

All the recipes I found on the web were very explicit about what herbs should go in the stock, but then when it came to making the soup it was all, "Eh, just throw some herbs in."

So I put in the same things I used in the stock--bay leaves, thyme, oregano, basil, tarragon, peppercorns -- these last I put in a tea ball and attached to the side of the pot. When my mother makes soup she just tosses them in and leaves them there. This makes eating soup a lot like walking in a minefield. Those little buggers like to hide in the vegetables, so there's always a risk of CHOMP=OW! Then I sprinkled a little poultry seasoning in. Not sure of measurements and not wanting to be overpowered by seasoning, I just used sprinkles of this and pinches of that.

Then I tossed in about a cup of orzo, about half the box. I thought it looked so cute in the store, like little grains of rice.

I set things to simmer, knowing it would take a while because the carrots had to cook all the way through. Did I mention the veggies I put in? No, I can see now that I didn't. Carrots, celery, onion, minced garlic, and then from the CSA stash: green beans, wax beans, kale. I also put in some of the stewed tomatoes I made last summer and a can of creamed corn. Oh, and I also put in all the leftover turkey meat, shredded into bite-size bits.

So anyway, I check an hour later. Stirring the pot a bit, I'm surprised that I don't see much of the orzo. So I dump in the other half of the box, stir, put the lid back on the pot, and wait another hour or so.

Can you see where this is going? And can you spot what I missed in the seasoning?

When the soup only had about half an hour to go, I popped open a tube of dough and made some biscuits. Got my timing just right on that one. Biscuits came out and were on the racks just as the soup hit the "done" mark.

I ladled out some soup, and I had no trouble finding the orzo now. They were much larger, and there sure were a lot of them. Took a taste from my bowl, and I have to say, it was like a mouth full of nothing. It needed something. Something basic. Something like...salt! Oh, for pity's sake. No salt at all in the soup. And all the time I kept stirring and tasting and thinking it didn't taste like much, I kept expecting things would change as it got hotter. Dumb. Dumb, dumb, dumb. I salted the bowl, then went and salted the pot. It was still hot in the pot, so I hoped for the best.

Later, as I went to pack the soup for storage, it looked like the orzo was still getting bigger, and there wasn't very much broth at all. I set 2 big containers into the freezer, one in the fridge, and had enough left for two small containers -- there's lunch for the next two days at work.

Leftovers, day 1: This is turning from turkey noodle soup to noodle soup with turkey. And it still needs salt.

Day 2: I have officially named this Turkey Concrete.

Day 3: The container in the fridge looks like a casserole, not like soup.

Today I have taken that container and dumped it into a pot (it was like noodle pudding or something), mixed in 1/2 a carton of chicken broth, more salt, some of every herb or spice I think might go with this stuff, and set it on the stove to simmer.

Next time I do this, I'm not using orzo. Dang, those little guys soak up liquid. Maybe I'll use rice. Or egg noodles. And I must remember to be more patient with the starchy stuff. It'll expand (boy, will it ever!), I just need to wait.

And salt! Don't forget the freakin' salt.

Update: Lunch has been eaten. Much better. Next container's worth, though, will not be getting red pepper flakes and cayenne and paprika. I'll probably keep the paprika and cut out the flakes.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Dr Pepper and I Can't Believe It's Not Butter

Reading the Bloggess's post about Diet Dr Pepper's new slogan "There's nothing diet about it!" for some reason made me think of this bit from the Vicar of Dibley:

Lordy, I miss that show.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Last day of vacation

I go back to work tomorrow. I've spent this last week the way I would have spent the one before it if I hadn't stepped on that emotional land mine on the 29th. Sleeping in, staying up late, watching movies, wandering around town, browsing through stores that I never get to go to 'cause their hours are the same as mine, doing crafts, cooking.

My knitting project accidentally went home with my Mom after Christmas. While digging around in my craft room looking for something to do I found a half-done project I set aside years ago in favor of something else (can't remember what that was any more) and decided to drag it out and finish it. Click here to see what it'll look like when it's done.

Yeah, it's a cat. What are the odds? The colors don't look nearly that bright in person, though they are very cheerful. The directions on this thing instruct you to work left to right, top to bottom. I got as far as the red corner behind the cat's head before I set it aside a few years ago. This past week I've done the variegated purple-red rectangle, the green one, the other red corner, the purple body section, and right now I'm working on the variegated blue-green chest. I'd show you how it looks right now, but my camera bag was packed with my knitting, so it's up in the mountains as well. I probably won't get anything back until Easter. Mom offered to send things down to me, but I really don't like the idea of my camera bouncing around in the mail.

I made stock yesterday from the carcass of the Thanksgiving bird. Today I make soup. Which means that I'll have lunches for this week. I'm going to be using some of the CSA veggies that I blanched and froze this past summer, along with a can of creamed corn (my Mom says she always uses a can of creamed corn in her soup. As a thickener, maybe?) and some of the stewed tomatoes that I also made this summer using my crock pot. Did I mention those before? I can't remember, and I'm too lazy to go look through past posts.

I got Delilah's ashes back from the vet on Tuesday. When my other cat died, his ashes were returned to me in a decorative tin, and that's what I was expecting this time too. Instead, they came back in a little wooden box with a carved top. There's an engraved brass nameplate as well, with stickum on the back of it so that I can affix it anywhere I want on the box. I was so surprised at how nice it was that I burst into tears again. It's a good thing I decided not to inspect the package I was handed until I got home.

And then tomorrow it's back to the daily grind. I'm dreading the first opening of email. That'll take up a large chunk of the morning. And I'm also dreading the recitation of how things went over the holiday. I only told two people about Lolly's illness, but by the time I left the whole freakin' department knew about it. I should make sure I put it out there that anyone who offers me a pet right now might leave my cubicle with hurt feelings. I could probably just tell those same two people.

Off to make some soup!