Monday, November 30, 2009

Movie Mania Monday - Never trust anyone!

Congratulations to Quote Guesser Calicobebop for last week's identification of The French Connection. Some trivia for you, because I'm nerdy that way: Popeye's Chicken and Biscuits is named for Gene Hackman's character in this movie. (And now you probably have a pretty good idea of where I'll wind up for lunch.)
Maintenant, this week's contest. I know this is posted later than normal this week, but since I'm still on Pacific time, it's barely 8 a.m. to me. Remember the rules. First person to guess correctly the original source of the quote wins a prize - no movie characters quoting other movies. No Googling or asking Jeeves, either you know the quote or you don't. The prize is a Major Award and consists of the people's ovation and fame forever (and the title of Iron Quote-Guesser). Voici la quote de la semaine:

This is your receipt for your husband. And this is my receipt for your receipt.

Allez guessing!!! You all have been so good with these, I need to start making them harder.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Fun Fact Friday - The Tryptophantastic Voyage

Happy Black Friday, everyone! Still feeling it today?

Perhaps you're just finishing up a leftover turkey and stuffing sandwich after slogging through the crowds at 4 am just to get a free gift with purchase. And you know I love me some sandwiches.
Perhaps you're putting up the tree, hanging lights and nursing a sore back from falling off the slippery ladder in the rain.
Maybe you're an unfortunate soul who has to shovel today.

Maybe you're even at work. In the past, I would retreat to the office, since it was the one place I knew nobody would be on the day after Thanksgiving.

Whatever your post-Thanksgiving ritual, I just wanted everyone to remember that the turkey isn't to blame for your sluggish demeanor, that nap you took on the sofa next to Uncle Ed, and your lack of desire to move one inch today.

Tryptophan, though long blamed as the culprit of our blessed drowsiness, is present in many day-to-day foods and doesn't have that much affect on us. The issue here is quantity.

Somehow, no matter how much we try, it's very easy to eat a pound of turkey, maybe some ham, a few helpings of mashed potatoes, three of Aunt Ruth's rolls with butter, and of course you need to sample all of the desserts and go back later for more turkey. And there's always room for Jell-O. And more pie. Bears don't eat this much before they hibernate. Your body is trying so hard to digest those 7000 calories, there's little bloodflow left for anything else.
But that's a long, drawn out excuse. No wonder tryptophan gets a bad rap. It's just easier to pass the blame, especially when we're all this tired.
Enjoy the rest of your hopefully long weekend, I'll be back Monday!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Random Acts of Thursday - Happy Thanksgiving

May it be a time of joy for you and yours. If you're reading this, it means you didn't chew your food long enough. I'm not here in person, but in spirit on this day of gathering, but felt it only fair to share my thanks to you, dear reader, for without you, I'd just be a crazy fat guy talking to himself.

To quote Kevin James: "Thanksgiving, man! Not a good day to be my pants."

Now log off your computer and go get a slice of pie. I'll be back on Monday, save me a piece, would you?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

It's a Thanksgiving Miracle!

Not really, just sane booking. We fly out to Vegas in a few hours, and our flight change is actually ALONG THE ROUTE from Tampa to Vegas. Like someone planned it.

What are the odds?

Last time I flew Phoenix to Tampa, I changed planes in Philadelphia. Oooh, THAT'S direct. Likewise with my flight from Milwaukee to Kansas City, via Atlanta.
Click here for a map if you're confused by why this might cause me stress.

Wherever you're going, have a safe journey this weekend, even if it's just across town or across the kitchen. And feel free to vent about your worst flight connections here. Really, it will help the healing begin.
You can then be thankful tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Well, that was absurd, let's eat dead bird

I'm fairly certain that your week will be filled with posts about turkey, dressing, pumpkin pie and football. Posts about what you're thankful for.

I'm thankful for sentences that end in prepositions, and hopeful that the Pack will trounce Detroit on Thursday. We'll be spending our holiday Griswold style, celebrating a Vegas vacation, though don't count on any damn blog posts about the damn tour, because I'm not taking the damn laptop.

Something else for which I am eternally grateful comes from a nation that doesn't celebrate Thanksgiving, a holiday best described by the Indefatigable Mjenks:

"...our celebration of Thanksgiving, which, of course, was a way of thanking the Natives of North America for helping the colonists through the first few years of life, thus allowing them a foothold on this distant shore and making it far easier to usurp their land. Thanks for teaching us that bury-the-dead-fish-next-to-the-corn-plant trick, Squanto. Here's a blanket encrusted with small pox! Now, how many of these brightly colored beads would you like for that island over there?"

The glory of which I speak, the thunder from down under, the Ayatollah of Rock and Rolla, is the Mad Max series of films. Granted, Thunderdome kind of sucks, thanks to the infliction of Hollywood-style over-the-toppedness and dropping Max Rockatansky into a film where he was never intended, but it still has some merits. As a milestone, Mad Max (the original, oft-imitated) which drew some of its own insparation from the works of Kurosawa, turns 30 this year. Mad Max and the Road Warrior epitomized coolness to me in a way I couldn't understand when I was eleven. But I love that they're films you can watch repeatedly, each time noticing something new, understanding something deeper.
But now I'm torn. Seems they're somewhere in the process of making Mad Max 4. As much as I love the Max-ness of Thunderdome, taking the Aussie out of the wasteland seemed wrong. The plus here is that it's in development by George Miller, the same gent who wrote, directed and produced the first three films. The same George Miller who sacrificed his own car to the carnage when the first film was coming in over budget.
Caution: This is not art...

However, this is also the same George Miller who in recent years has given us such crash-bang action adventures as Happy Feet and Babe: Pig in the City.
I'll stay hopeful, but I still expect it to be a turkey. That way, maybe I can be thankful if it actually turns out well.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Movie Mania Monday - I thought of that one, better try again

Congratulations to Quote Guesser Emeritus Courtney, who deserves a lifetime achievement award for her unbeatable record, including last week's identification of Virutosity. Remember, there are still unsolved quotes and quizzes, kiddoes, so get crackin'!

Maintenant, this week's contest. Remember the rules. First person to guess correctly the original source of the quote wins a prize - no movie characters quoting other movies. No Googling or asking Jeeves, either you know the quote or you don't. The prize is a Major Award and consists of the people's ovation and fame forever (and the title of Iron Quote-Guesser). La quote de la semaine:

Hey you! Haircut! Where are you going?

Allez guessing!!!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Fun Fact Friday - Viva la Revolucion

Before we go any further, I would like to thank ReviewYourOwnBlog for such a glowing review, and welcome those of you who are joining us from that brilliant, insightful tome.

November 20th is the 99th anniversary of the Mexican Revolution. How can I not write about that?

Because today is Bo Derek's 53rd birthday, that's how. I get more hits on this post than anything else I've ever written, so I'm just feeding my target demographic.

And since Jenny and David Hanley honeymooned in Manzanillo, Mexico in 10, I can justify it as relevant.

What? I doubt there's a person in my age bracket that didn't encounter Bo Derek at some early moment in their sexual evolution. I remember the bits and pieces of 10 on late night television, and I certainly remember my father's Playboys with Bo in all of her glory.And now, 30 years after the film's release, she's still a beautiful woman. We can all hope to age so well. Born Mary Cathleen Collins in Long Beach, CA, she started modeling to buy herself a surfboard. Shortly after that, she met photographer and filmmaker John Derek, 30 years her senior. They were married in 1976 and remained so until his passing in 1998.
She's an avid horsewoman, pro-gun and pro-hunting advocate (and much better looking than Ted Nugent on his best day).

As fun facts go, I think I went the right direction on this. Sorry, Mexico, maybe next year.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Random Acts of Thursday - 99 and 44/100% Pure Chicken Fat

Gym class was torture as a kid! Surely I'm not the only one who thought so...

Who could have known that novelty trivia books aren't scrupulously edited for factual content? More on that in a moment.

First, though, I made chicken the other day, and generally can't do so without singing the 'Chicken Fat' song, along with Suzanne Vega's 'Fancy Poultry Parts Sold Here...' (What? You know I'm a nerd already, so shut up). I found chicken backs at the store, a big package for two dollars (two dollars!) and since they're gelatin-laden, thought they'd add a fair amount of stock to the dinner, which I ultimately cooked with rice. I was also left with nearly a pound of pure, golden chicken fat.
Not growing up in the Great Depression or pre-war Europe, I don't have a habit of spreading this on toast. Mmm, schmaltzy! However, I do still know when throwing something out is wasteful, and I know there must be something exciting to make with this. Something that isn't just simply a matter of replacing olive oil or butter as a cooking agent. Something that won't give me some sort of coronary artery disease.

Who am I kidding? I'm probably going to have to just chuck it, but don't think for one second that I'd ever do that to my pure, snowy bacon fat. Rendering, not just a term for sketch artists. In fact, I've had some of the best French fries and donuts of my life cooked in rendered beef tallow. Um, why is my left arm tingling?
Rendered fat can be used to make soap, if you're an extra in a bad Western or just a hippie earth-mother greenie. In fact, rendering plants often render beef fat for use in soap, so you don't have to worry that I've somehow missed the opportunity for a proper segue.

So, yes, there is that urban legend that Ivory soap floats because some slacker fell asleep at the soap mixer and incorporated too much air into the bar. Not true, at least according to Proctor and Gamble, the floating was intentional. So there's that little myth debunked. And irrelevant, since changes in the soap formula have since made Ivory sink like a stone.
And really, who still takes baths for sanitation purposes? Isn't that just like making You Stew, soaking away in warm water while all your oils, body salts and juices melt away into the brine? Sounds like rendering to me.
Which leads us to today's trivia question:

Which two actresses both featured in Ivory soap ads before they became famous, and which one caused her ads to be pulled by Proctor and Gamble by her subsequent work?
One hint, they are NOT mother and daughter, as my cheaply thrown-together trivia book would have you believe.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I can feel you but you're nowhere in sight

In case you haven't figured it out by now, I am a nerd of the multi-purpose variety. However, you may have also discerned by now that I am not, despite my work in the software field, a gadget nerd. I was the last person I know to buy a CD player. Ditto with the cell phone. I don't know what I'll do if the cassette deck in the Buick ever gives out. I only have a laptop because work provides me with one. Ditto with the cell phone. And I own no mp3 players, Bluetooth devices, gaming systems or flat-screen televisions.
It isn't that I don't like these things, per se. I just don't feel compelled to own the latest and greatest.

I mention this mild technophobia because until a few months ago, my crackberry was set to vibrate with every email I receive. That's about 80 in a normal work day and 20 more after hours, and it was getting to where I couldn't concentrate on the task at hand. I finally found the 'phone only' setting, to fight the compulsion (and uncontrollable compulsion it was!) to check email every time the phone went off, and now it only vibrates when my phone rings, about five times in a normal week.

The issue I'm having is that my hip and leg still vibrate 20 times or more in a given day, even when I don't wear the phone. People refer to this as "phantom vibration syndrome", or "vibranxiety". Apparently our bodies just grow so accustomed to the vibration that when the phone isn't doing it, our bodies take over and mimic the sensation. Cell phone companies have paid doctors to insist there's no real nerve damage behind this phenomenon. That's akin to the National Diamond Council suggesting the appropriate price for an engagement ring. Can you say conflict of interest? Good, I knew you could!
Because apparently our nervous systems are screwing with us.

I used to just worry about the potential brain tumor from the phone's radiation, but now it's attacking me even when I'm not talking.

At least I can rest securely knowing that as I struggle furiously typing my manifesto in a tiny shack in Montana (on a manual typewriter, of course), I'll never develop Texting Thumb, or Guitar Hero Wrist, or Wii injuries. I'd be especially worried about that last one.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Tied Up In Knots

It's the little things, really. I put new shoelaces in my boots yesterday, since I've been fighting with a frayed lace for a while, and the boots would loosen up while we were out riding. Last evening's ride was bliss, and the boots stayed snug and comfortable.

Have I mentioned that I'm nerdy? Not as nerdy as the dude who built this site, but still...the link takes you to the way I laced the boots this time, because I felt creative.

Makes me wish I had taller boots, let me tell you.

When I was a wee lad, three things frustrated my child's mind. First, and very early on, was tying my shoes. I could read at a 4th grade level entering Kindergarten, but heaven forbid I should ever have to take my shoes off. I may have known by that age how to do it, but it wasn't much before that.

Second was the whole bicycle-riding thing. Mainly because I'd get hand-me-down bikes, or things my dad would buy from the police auction, bikes I had to grow into. Difficult to balance when your center of gravity is suddenly high above the center.

Finally, was subtraction. Third-grade subtraction killed me.

Now I'm a motorcycle rider who ties his own shoes and does math in his head. How's that for progress?

Movie Mania Monday - I recall Central Park in Fall

As many of you have come to expect, congratulations once again to Courtney, for her identification of one of the many stellar quotes from Ferris Bueller's Day Off.
Now, for this week's contest, it's anyone's game again. Remember the rules. First person to guess correctly the original source of the quote wins a prize - no movie characters quoting other movies. The prize consists of the people's ovation and fame forever (and the title of Iron Quote-Guesser). La quote de la semaine:

Which god would that be? The one who created you? Or the one who created me? You see, in your world, the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh, but in my world, the one who gave me life doesn't have any balls.

Allez guessing!!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Dinnertime - Beef, it IS what's for dinner.

I've been trying to cook more often again, especially since making nice dinners gives me cause to break out some nice wines. This week has been particularly beefy, since both grocery stores on my regular route had steaks on sale. And, since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I really wanted to relive some of the great meals I've had on the road in the last month or so.
Earlier this week I found beautiful filets, and I've been craving the oven-roast method lately. Add sauteed mushrooms, roasted butternut squash polenta, and a Brussels sprout gratin, and it was a perfect meal to compliment a lovely '98 Montepulciano d'Abruzzo. This wine was the next-to-last bottle from the case we bought after our first trip to Rome in 2002. Having had a bottle every year or so, it has matured beautifully, still smooth with hints of apple, and overall, a warm, drinkable wine. This went from aggressive and peppery to even and mellow over the years. Still so happy we have one bottle left.
We never made it to the other bottle. What can I say, I'm a lightweight.

Tonight was a mix of ribeyes and green beans on the grill, with horseradish mashed potatoes inspired by the accompaniment to the scallop and beef cheek dish at the Flying Fig a few weeks ago. I cracked an '04 Amancaya, a cab/malbec mix from Chile. Delicious and quite drinkable, but I think it could have benefited from a few more years in the cellar.
These were such simple meals, giving you recipes seems counter-intuitive, so I'm just going to let you drool over the photos.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Fun Fact Friday the 13th - Good luck with that

How lucky could anything that follows 'Rock-a-Hula Baby' be? Since Elvis Presley's 'Good Luck Charm' reached number one back in 1962, I'd say pretty lucky. But, really. 'Rock-a-Hula Baby' sounds like something that should be in the juke box at my local Waffle House, next to 'Waffle House Hashbrowns, I Love You'. Really, that one's in there, along with 'There are raisins in my toast', 'Waffle Do Wop' and about 20 other WH-themed songs. I do love that the 'b' side is 'Anything that's part of you'. As if this was an answer when asked just what part is the good luck charm. Can't you just see Elvis sawing up bodies, perhaps humming 'Love Me Tender' as he carefully separates the joints? Or is that just me?It bothers me that airplanes don't have a 13th row, and that my last hotel glaringly went from floor 12 to 14. This is irrational. Generally speaking, I don't have a fear of the number 13, I don't carry good luck charms or amulets or tokens, though as a kid I had a weird, bony yellow rabbit's foot. I could do extensive research on why they're considered lucky in this day and age of modern science and technology, but ultimately that bores me. The fact that I can still buy them in a myriad of colors does not.
If you really need to get your nerd on today, click here to find out why 13 is unlucky. I can never hope to top the Straight Dope and would never deign to paraphrase.

I suppose this is Fun Fact Lite, so here are a few things that amuse me, maybe in the process you'll forget that today's post was mostly content-free.

Happy Friday.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Random Acts of Thursday - The original 'Pimp my Ride'

As is the nature of how my mind works, I was thinking about cars the other day, and my focus landed on Corvettes after watching 'James May on the Moon' the other night and learning that the American astronauts were bad-asses, with matching Corvettes and wicked 70's mustaches.
I considered another quiz like the Trans Am query I posed that is as yet unanswered, but obviously I need to give y'all a week off to let your brains heal from the fury that is my brilliance.

No, really.
So, anyway, as I'm looking at Corvettes in Film, I came across quite the gem: The Corvorado.

I spent my childhood lusting over custom cars, checking out the Chuck Barris/Ed Roth books from the library every chance I got, and being intrigued by any and all car mods, from the simple metalflake paint jobs to chopped tops, frenched trim, lowered suspensions and gull-wing doors. The one thing these modifications had in common was what they didn't have in common...each car was unique in every aspect.

Which brings us to the Corvorado. Designed and built by Les Dunham and Dunham Coach in New Jersey, which gave us the Superflymobile and other such blinged-out goodness in the '70's, the Corvorado was actually manufactured as a kit, meaning more than one such Corvette-cum-Cadillac was built in the world.
This is swanky, to say the least. Can't you just smell the crushed velvet, soaked with Hai Karate? One of these was even used in a Bond film, thankfully NOT by Roger Moore himself.Which brings me next to 'the Buick'. My car, despite it's relative youth in the car world, has somewhere over 250,000 miles on it, and a great deal of rust, thanks to six winters spent driving on Wisconsin roads. However, it runs perfectly, and everything critical for comfort works (A/C, radio, cruise control, power steering). It just lacks...personality. (The picture here isn't mine, just an incredible simulation...but my windows aren't tinted and the foglamp is full of water, and there's a big scrape down the side where I hit that Dumpster...) So part of my car intrigue since early childhood has included the extreme modifications, those occasional masterpieces known as Art Cars.
These little gems could be adorned as simply as changing paint, or as ornately as hot-gluing pennies or broken china to the entire car, or even adding a shark fin and monkeys playing cymbals to the roof.

Right now, Lori just shivered in her office at home, and has no idea why. Be nice and don't mention it to her, would you? It'll just be our little secret.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I'm not witty enough to find a title that ties all this together

Just some random thoughts for the day and shameless links to my older stuff. I know you missed me, but it's proving to be a long busy week, and I just don't have much energy for this today, Wednesday being theme-free for me.

First, a hearty thank you to the men and women of our armed forces past and present who have given some, if not all, for this country. Enough said.
Second, I've started to load more blogginess to the Lori Mason Photography site (read: I've finally added something). Go. Look. Enjoy. It's not much yet, but it's certainly a start.
I just finished reading 'Red Alert' by Peter George. While it varies GREATLY from Kubrick's 'Dr. Strangelove', still a high-paced read, and really makes you think where we've come in the last 50 years.

Finally, here are a few things that amused me in the past week. First, for anyone who doesn't know, I train and support users of our Payroll/HR software. As much as I'd love this shirt, I don't think I could make it work, even on casual Friday.

What would you do?

Finally, I found this during my quest for images on last week's Fun Fact Friday.

I know I shouldn't find it amusing, but I do. But since God's put up with my sense of humor so far, I don't see this being the straw that breaks the camel's back. After all, I didn't make it, I just passed it along willy-nilly to the world population at large.

Speaking of 'willy-nilly', does anyone else wish they ran old 'Electric Company' reruns on Nick at Nite or some such show?

Oh, and I added a few new things to my page, including a little koi pond at the bottom of the page. If you clicky on it, you can feed the fishes. There's also a wine gadget that I added to the side, but I haven't figured out just how to make it work yet.

Finally: Remember, there's always time to submit a question to 'Ask The Nerdy Fat Guy'! You could be featured in a future column! Gain fame, fortune, notoriety!

I now return you to your regularly scheduled lives.

Be nice and share!

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