Thursday, November 13, 2014

Pac'n Sausage

It's a well-established scientific fact that carbohydrate cravings intensify this time of year. There are several theories for this, many having to do with serotonin levels. Luckily, I'm one of those rare individuals immune to this syndrome, having been born without a serotonin gland. (I'm an all-dopamine guy.)

Despite yet another congenital defect, I do find myself presently focusing on food more than usual. Preparing it and, of course, eating it. But most of all I find myself studying food. I think this is due to a combination of several factors: the approaching holidays, the extra time on my hands and my latent maternal instincts triggered by raising two baby kitties.

Mmmm, dirty Levis...
So while my Tivo simultaneously records the Food Network and the Cooking Channel, I'm on my googler looking up recipes. I admit to being partial to The Pioneer Woman. Not just because she's my role model for parlaying a blog into a lucrative multimedia empire, but also to catch every possible glimpse of Cowboy Josh's intriguing package. -->

But most of my focus lately has been on recreating flavors from my youth. This means quintessential Yooper food. Things like pasties, pickled eggs and cudighi. While pasty pies and pickled eggs have always been staples at my house, this was the first time attempting my own cudighi sausage.

Growing up, a "cudighi" was a sandwich. A pork sausage patty slathered in pizza sauce, topped with melted mozzarella cheese and tucked inside a hogie roll. But now I realize this tasty sausage was used in all sorts of yoo-talian dishes, including my favorite pizza.

Cudighi sausage was never something we made at home. Not even my grandmother, who made everything from scratch, attempted this to my knowledge. It was always something we'd get at a restaurant or sub shop. Now I know why. Making sausage from scratch is kind of gross.

Not planning to blog my sausage-making adventure, I didn't take any photos. I'll do that next time. And based on the results, there will be a next time. Even the Jumping Bean was raving about my sausage. This made me feel good, considering the last time he was on a nostalgic cooking kick, he tried recreating his mom's eggs & cactus.


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Containment Arrangement

It's been three and a half weeks since we adopted our new kittens, Cosmo and Rusty. While Aggie and Emil can never be "replaced", the quiet emptiness that has descended upon our home since their passing has been completely filled by these two little ones.

At first I had a difficult time telling them apart. They're both black, and while Cosmo has a small blaze of white on his chest, it's mostly obscured by his collar. Of course JB picked out collars with absolutely no consideration as to how they might look to someone with red-green colorblindness.

But it didn't take long for their distinct personalities to emerge. Rusty is definitely more outgoing. His affectionate kisses quickly turn into playful nips which become less cute and more painful with each passing day. We were warned by the shelter about his tendency to bite. Fortunately, he seems to be gradually exiting this phase as he learns how quickly the fun can stop.

Cosmo, on the other hand, never bites or scratches. But he's less affectionate and hates to be held. But if I patiently let him come to my on his own terms, he'll snuggle like the dickens. He was a rebound child, having already been adopted and returned to the shelter. Poor baby.

Rusty is quickly becoming the more physically imposing of the two. At his first-week checkup he'd already gained 2.5 pounds! And it feels like all muscle. While Cosmo is more demure at meal time, play time is a different story. He's usually the chaser, keeping Rusty on his toes.

For his part, Cosmo is the more adventurous of the two. There seems to be no place in the condo which is inaccessible to this little climber. This tendency is keeping his daddies on their toes. Especially the other day when we found Cozzie walking the one-inch ledge on the outside of our balcony railing.

While I'm not so worried about him hurting himself (it's only a ten foot drop) I am worried about him getting lost. But making the balcony off-limits seems like a draconian measure considering this is the only fresh air they get. It just feels wrong to make even a small part of our condo inaccessible to the kitties, considering it's now their place as much as it is ours. More than ours when you consider we're free to come and go as we please while they're consigned to spend every hour of every day here.

So after a trip to Home Depot I kitty-safed the balcony railing. I know at first blush it sounds trashy, but I assure you this is not your father's chicken wire. It's color-coordinated polyurethane poultry containment hex-netting. Still, I wasn't sure this important distinction would be fully appreciated by the HOA. So as a pre-emptive measure, I made an arrangement with an influential board member.

Quid pro quo.

The things we do for our pets.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Gravely Entertaining

So I watched "Dracula Has Risen From The Grave" even though the ending was utterly spoiled by the TV Guide.

It was awesome!

True enough, Drac met his demise by falling on something sharp. He fell backward onto a large crucifix... the short, top part of the cross (where Jesus' head goes) so that most of it was sticking out his back. And try as he might, he couldn't reach it. OMG it was hilarious watching him flailing around like an albatross in a BP oil slick. I almost died laughing.

Interestingly, a stake through the heart – let alone a crucifix – wasn't enough to dust this Dracula. To be fully effective, the impaling had to be accompanied by a reciting of the Lord's Prayer. The twist here was that our hero was an avowed atheist. I'm not sure if that makes him incapable of saying the words, or if his prayers don't count. Ha! Stop, I can't breathe!

So the hero and his rescued bride could only watch Drac cuss in Romanian as he struggled vainly to reach behind for the four-foot crucifix poking out his back. At one point Drac tried to push the short part (where Jesus' head goes) back through his chest wound, only to yelp in pain and soothe his sizzle-burned fingers in his mouth. Which probably should have made him glad he couldn't reach the back part. Because crucifix blisters are the worst. Hee hee!

I could have watched this go on for another fifteen minutes if the evil priest hadn't decided to turn good and put poor Drac out of his misery with a hearty latin Pater Noster. LOL!

At the end of the evil priest's prayer, the squealing vamp goes poof and the blonde bimbo falls into the hero's arms. It's at this point our atheist hero does a strange thing: he says "amen" and makes the sign of the cross. While I was a bit disappointed by our hero's apparent foxhole conversion, I admit to having done the exact same thing last Thanksgiving dinner at JB's sister's house.

According to IMDB, this 1969 movie has the distinction of being the
first move to receive a rating from the MPAA. Oddly, rated "G".

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Spoiler Alert?

I love the old scary movies they show on TV leading up to Halloween. I'm tempted to watch this one just to see if it lives up to its brief — yet surprisingly thorough —  synopsis.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Crowning Achievements

I've had my hands full these past several weeks. Beside the full time job search, I took it upon myself to use some of my "down time" to tackle some home improvement tasks around the house. JB still won't let me do the kitchen. (For some reason he hid the sledge hammer.) So I'm having to prove my handy-manliness by installing crown molding. Crown molding. It might sound like the minor leagues of home improvement, but there's evidently trigonometry involved. I've added this skill to my resume, hoping no one asks for references.

I've also been teaching myself to write iOS apps. I find a great deal of satisfaction in seeing my practice apps work in the simulator, however I'm having trouble coming up with an original, practical app idea. The best I've come up with so far is a hook-up app for guys who talk a big game but have no actual intention of ever following through with meeting one another. But I'm afraid I'll get a cease-and-desist from Scruff.

If this weren't enough, two weeks ago JB and I adopted two baby kitties. Since then most of my time has been subsumed by these little monsters. Even when I try to work on something else, I find myself mothering the babies. Their little paws on my keyboard wreak havoc on my non-hook-up-app class methods. I have to wait until they're both napping before using the circular saw or taking the safety off the nail gun. And last week I was reduced to staking out the litter box all afternoon to make sure I put the correct cat shit into the correspondingly labeled specimen cups.

Saturday, October 11, 2014


I'm going to blame my lack of posts on my recent iPad upgrade to iOS 8. Since then I can't switch away from my Blogger app without losing all my work. This is the 2014 equivalent to "the dog ate my homework". I know that.

Until this problem gets fixed, I'll keep my posts short and sweet with minimal spelling and grammar checking. And I'll have to ask y'all to refrain from distracting me with texts, tweets, instagrams and tumblrs. My attention span has only gotten shorter since my kindergarten teacher, Ms. Cordish, told my mom I'd never make it to high school.

Last weekend I attended an Oktoberfest bear party in the north Georgia mountains. This gave me one last opportunity to wear my lederhosen before returning them to storage until next September. By "bear" party, I mean a party hosted by bears. And by "bears" I mean hefty, hairy gay men. Although I did spot one literal bear. In the bathroom.

This party also gave me the opportunity to learn not to wear my lederhosen-- or any clothing with chest buckles -- in temperatures below 70°. My nipples are still killing me.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Pilgrim's Progress

While StevieB made a pilgrimage to his holy land, so I made my way to mine. There's something about leaving Atlanta's still-oppressive heat for a completely different climate; one which more accurately represents the calendar. Last Thursday morning I once again found myself in Munich, Germany for the opening day of Oktoberfest. Yet my passage was far from complete.

Like StevieB's spiritual journey, mine required donning traditional vestments of leather. I'm not sure if his mission included sacramental drink. If it did, knowing Stevie, it was probably coffee.

My pilgrimage may have begun with planes and trains, but the final leg of my journey could only be completed by imbibing the ancient, mystical nectar of the gods. There are only five consecrated Oktoberfest brews, all strictly adhering to the Gospel of Reinheitsgebot. Served by the liter and consumed in song and fellowship to the sound of deep brass horns and cracking whips.

It took nearly two gallons of sacred brew (and at least half a dozen offertories to the urinal trough) but I finally achieved spiritual enlightenment. I touched the face of God. Well, I belched in the face of God. The rest is kind of fuzzy.

Pac enjoying mass. (Here they call it "Eine Maß".)