Thursday, March 31, 2005

Today was a very long, but very good day. It started with school, which went okay, it was pretty fun interpreting poetry. Then at work, I actually had work to do, then I spent the rest of the day reading poetry and talking online and playing games. It was really cool, and really nice. Then, I got home and hooked up my new mouse. I love it, but for some reason, FireFox doesn't recognize the forward and back buttons on it, or, in fact, any buttons on it. I'll have to see what I can do about that.

Then I went out to eat with George, Kevin, Mike, Joe, and Jackson. It was really cool, afterwards we wet to play hackysack and see if blockbuster had Clone Wars Vol 1 for rent. They only had it for sale, and it was tempting enough, after seeing the first four complete episodes of the next season, of which the fifth is now available, that I did buy it for 18$ after tax. It was only 69 minutes long, but it was the best 69 minutes of Star Wars since Return of the Jedi over 20 years ago. It blew me away completely. We then played Republic Commando, the demo that was on the DVD, which was good enough that George ran out to buy it at Wallmart and when he gets home tonight will probably be playing for a little bit.

I am tired now though. Good night. I may have forgotten things, but I did my best. I love my new mouse.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Well, today was a pretty cool day, I got my new chair delivered, which is simply awesome, and I got to play plenty of games while I was at work. I guess that's just about all you can ask out of life.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Waiting is so hard, my MX 1000 is on the way. Free shipping is so nice. I'm certain I passed my test over reading Huck Finn at school this morning, but I forgot to take a test for intro to computers online last night, so I'll have to request a chance to take that test again and have some points taken off.

Need to get up early tomorrow to take in a sample for work.

Went to watch a commedy night for chuck at a bar across town with George and Joe last night. It was pretty fun. I went out of my mind and for some reason decided that I wanted to try going onstage and try my hand at five minutes of stand-up. I didn't get so much as a chuckle from anyone. Before I went up, my heart was beating so fast I felt it was trying to jump out. Anyway, I'm never going to do that again.

Installed outcast at work, which I've had lying around my house for an eternity. It's actually rather funny, when you consider that it crashed my computer upwards of 10 times this morning and last night, maybe more, even in scary ways. But at work, it has run flawlessly without even being patched. It's actually pretty fun, and I can't wait to find out what comes next in the games story line, because it actually does a good job of putting together an environment.

Anywho... I've been sleeping on the couch all evening and only just woke up, and I'm so tired I'm just going to go to bed after this. Nite nite.

Monday, March 28, 2005

What a very, very long weekend. Friday was nice and relaxed, spent it hanging out with Mike and George a little bit. I beat Freedom Force and began working in earnest at beating Freedom Force vs The Third Reiche. I really liked the first one an aweful lot, and enjoyed much of the work that went into playing it. Multiplayer is a blast, we just all wish that it had co-op of any kind. Heck, a co-op rumble room where we just beat up on all kinds of super villains would be awesome.

On saturday I had a grill. It was a ton of fun, and I did many very cool things. We watched Being John Malkovitch and I coooked hot dogs, hamburgers, and tons of chicken wings, along with orange chicken and some roasted peppers. Jackson, Marcia, Kayla, Chris Brown, George, Joe, Mike, Zac, Emily, and Justin all showed up and we had a very good time cooking and eating. Football was played, though I was too busy cooki food for everyone. Things went well on, and I tried inviting some friends to eat at the buffet that I was working at on Sunday, but none could make it. So 2 57 dollar buffet tickets went to waste. It was an amazing buffet with fresh cut prime rib, salmon, crab cakes that were to die for, pesto chicken, an entire omlet bar, and about a million other things that I couldnt even remember. I wouldnt have paid 57 to eat at it, but it was worth more than 30. But then, I just don't like paying that much for food. Though, eating it for free didn't bother me at all. I started working early so that Chuck could eat too on Easter, and in the 30 minutes he was eating I had already earned more tips than he had for the two hours he had been there.

By the end of it all, I earned about 36 dollars, plus the 100 for the 2 hours work, and if you count the cost of the free food, I made off like a bandit. When I got home I celebrated with some leftover chicken wings(which were magnificent) and looking up the MX 1000, an 80 dollar mouse that even with 136 dollars I was not going to buy, and found it for 57.99 on and at that extremely cheap price, I had to buy it.

So, it was a profitable and extremely fun weekend. And today I read 250 pages of Huckleberry Finn in order to finish it. It was stressful, and it stretched me out thin, but I did it by about 5:20 or so, which is MUCH earlier than I thought I was going to have it done by. Needed it done for school tomorrow, and now it is. One more item off my laundry list. Anyway, I have some more things to do, I'll talk aobut them tomorrow.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Missed the past couple of days, sadly. Blogger crashed firefox every time I tried to post a new entry, and by the time I got home I had too many other things on my mind, Freedom Force, Evil Genius, paying bills. Schoolwork has been fairly light, though I need to finish reading Huck Finn by next tuesday morning. Last night was VERY cool. Joe came over. Apparently he's been out of jail for a whole month, but his motorcycle hasn't been working.

We hung out and we did lots of talking, I let him taste all the new liquers I got, and showed him all the games and gadgets we've gotten since he's been gone. He gave me a picture of his baby, a baby boy.

Anyway, I'm going to go, I have lots of Huck Finn left to read.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Where to start... Okay... well, on friday after I got up at 6 am and had a TON of work at work, I got home at 1...I called George and he said he couldn't come over for another hour... he didn't get over till 3:30 because he was fixing Jennifer's computer.... Man am I lucky she couldnt come, because then I wouldnt have had a tent at all... Turns out george totally forgot to bring a tent for me, not that he had any more after he promised his other one away to someone else. So I had to share with George, no biggie, I think I would have thrown a fit if he had brought Jennifer along and tried to just make me sleep in the van...

So, George showed up late, took me to autozone to buy a starter for my truck then to NTB to get all the repairs going to get done over the weekend. Then we go to George's house to get equipment, then to mine, i forgot my peppers to cook for my chicken, but that ended up not mattering as you'll see later. Then we hit the grocery store where I bought a few peppers to replace it with, then we showed up at marcia's house at 5:45.. about an hour late, or so. After that we got up and we left

I had fun on the drive... mike was grumpy but me and george had fun, we listened to some insane ultra conservative talk radio, Michael Savage... the guy is funny, it's like he has tourette's the way he suddenly starts yelling out the words "liberal nazis" and "rats, you vermin, you less than human scum!"

Anyway, after we lost that station we switched to some good music and I napped... I needed it.. So after we got there, Mike was bitching about how we were really annoying, and everyone was setting up their tent and Marcia told ME that I wasn't on anyone's happy list because George and I were late. I felt like I should have just stayed home right at that moment, and left those jerks to enjoy their weekend. I had my truck to worry about not working and spending about 150$ to get running by monday. I bit my tongue and didn't say anything though.

Everyone set up their tents and things got better after we started playing a fun game with a little electronic hot potato type thing where you have to get people to say the word it tells you before you can pass it off. Then, we all went to bed kindof early after we played some card games and chatted for a bit. It was pretty cold and uncomfy, but Marcia and Kayla loaned me a sheet and a blanket and that helped a lot. The next morning I didn't get up till 11, and the first thing we did was split up, some of us went for a walk and some of us went to the grocery store to pick up the last couple of things we needed, an O ring for georges propane stove, and some charcoal to cook with.

Heather prepped her kabobs before we left and I made my orange sauce when we got back and played hackey sack with Mike and Jackson and a friend of Marcia's who had stopped by to hang out with us on saturday who left fairly early on. The weather started out really nice, but by 5 we started hearing thunder in the distance.

Turns out Heather didn't know how to use the grill very well and asked me to do the actual grilling of her kabobs, and I was fine with that, I just love cooking, so I start with those and everyone loves them, they have kick and all kinds of peppers, and onions and everything. They're just really good kabobs.

By the time theyre finishing, George is doing his salmon, but he can never get his coals to start up right, and I'm starting my chicken, but it's starting to rain and everyone but George and I run into Jackson and Marcia's tent.

Well, the worst of the rain was about 30 minutes, George and I weathered it out under the small pavelion we set up the evening before. I never even flinch at the thought of leaving my orange chicken to run and hide from the rain in the tent, George is in his poncho propping up the pole to the pavelian, telling me he hopes it holds and isn't blown away and rain is coming in at an angle.

George's salmon didn't come out well and the peppers never roasted, but I weathered the storm beneath the pavelion with the coolers by my side hunched over the mini grill as I carefully prepared each individual piece of chicken and set it aside in the tin foil just about the time that Heather, Mike, and Kayla left Jackson and Marcias tent and walked out to hang with George and I.

They liked the chicken even though I couldnt finish it and serve it right, it had perfect grill lines all across every piece and a wonderful orange flavor and even Jackson and Marcia came out to hang with us. We talked and we cleared off and sat on the coolers and we sang songs as the ground got muddy and soaked our feet, we roasted marshmallows and made s'mores. Stayed up till midnight talking and sharing stories too.

It was great, but by the time to go to sleep it was just to wet and muddy for me to get to sleep, so when everyone else was gone i used a pot for a foot rest for my bare feet and sat my socks on top of the propane lantern to heat them dry and pressed my shoes on it and basically just sat there barefoot with my pants rolled up like a big ol' huck fin.

After that, I finally got some rest, though I didn't sleep a wink.

I got up at 7 in the morning to use the restroom and got back and layed back down as things started to warm up and George, the boyscout, was still sleeping but i hear him grumble and so I asked if it was time to rise and shine and make pancakes.

He said something that made it pretty clear that it wasn't.

He's a boyscout, so he was up long before me, at 10 in the morning. I can't even imagine waking up that early, but then, he was a boyscout.

At 11 I finally got up and by that time he was trying to make pancakes, but he had forgotten to oil the pan, or I don't know what and they were sticking. I tried my hand at it, oil didn't help at all but then I put a pad of butter in the pan and the pancakes started coming out GREAT. But everyone was already mostly full by that point. I made all the pancakes, and then there was lots of batter left so I asked if I should just make them all and keep them, or what.

Someone said, use it all at once and make a giant pancake cake.

Being the impressionable youth that I am, I did. Covered 97% of the skillet.

It was clear no one thought I would be able to flip such a pancake of the gods. Even I was doubtfull, but after working it clear of the skillet, and with all gathered around to watch me fail I made the flip perfectly without even folding the cake. After the pancake was done, I put it onto one of those paper plates, and it was just exactly the right size.

I poured honey and put some butter onto it, then folded it into a pancake burrito in order to eat it. After that we spent the rest of the day cleaning up trash and packing before heading home.

I spent most of last night just relaxing in front of the computer with the internet out, and just watching TV and reading Huck Finn for school. And this morning before work I got my truck from NTB with the new starter, and after the oil change it runs better than it has since I changed the transmission. And that, my friends, was this weekend.

I'm sorry I didn't write friday or thursday.. One of these weeks I'm going to have a full five day blog.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Last night was pretty cool, I started playing around with the recipe for the chicken and I've gotten it even better. It's warmer, with less sweetness and more tang, so it tastes better. I cooked it indoors, which ended up doing well. Everyone liked it. I bought a ton of peppers since there was a huge sale and it will save me work later on. They had red pepper for 50 cents each and it must have just happened because I was able to find 7 HUGE and NICE red peppers that I bought and will be roasting on friday or saturday. For desert I'll be grilling peaches and making a cinnamon sauce out of butter and brown sugar and strong cinnamon flavoring, dunno how else to make a sauce, I'll play around with it tonight and thrusday to see what I can do, and then I'll serve the peaches on vanilla ice cream with the sauce drizzled on it.

We'll see how people like that, maybe I'll do grilled pineapple and rosemary. It's a tough decision, i really need to learn how to do a good cinnamon flavored sauce so that the cinnamon is the strongest flavor.

Anyway, I'm visiting my mom tonight, and I'm going to maybe do the peaches after that.

Oh, and Jackson and George came over last night after Jackson was hanging out with everyone at IHOP. I wasn't expecting them, so I was practicing my orange chicken and I let them eat some while we all watched Flight of the Phoenix. After George left, Jackson played hackey sack with me for an hour or so and we got to do a lot of talking and catching up. I wish he could hang out more often, that would be cool.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

I wrote an editorial:

The strong issue of the separation of the sexes over the past fifty years or so has left a strong imprint on all of society. Throughout all of history, boys have had boy toys and girls have had girl toys, and only relatively recently, even within the lifetimes of many who are still around today, have these ideas been challenged. Should men and women be targeted as different groups and developed for differently by companies who produce products designed to address specific needs of a demographic?

There are some strong questions tied up in that. Certainly the genders do differ in many ways that anyone can see. Is it even right or fair to teach children from the time of birth to be as different from each other as possible though encouraging or discouraging their tastes based on what their tastes should be and suppressing what their tastes in reality actually are. There are those who feel this is a serious issue with raising people in general. All this has been around, but it is only slowly pushing its way into gaming as gaming grows up and achieves the audience that it lacked when it was ruled totally by guys playing with the most basic and difficult programming you can imagine in a basement while being frowned upon as a social misfit.

No company can be taken to task for doing what it feels is the best way to produce value for their stockholders. On the other hand, it is very clear that by producing games of extremely low quality that focus on Barbie and Ken and dressing them up, the entire industry is failing as a whole. The concept of a female gamer should be the same as the current concept of the male gamer. That is to say, the average girl gamer is the mature woman, rather than the Barbie doll, bright eyed little girl. Despite this statistical fact, there are calls for games that appeal to women as a specific demographic. There is something inherently sickening at the concept of Laura Croft being a champion of women everywhere, when it’s clear her entire appeal is as a giant pair of breasts with nice, long legs to carry them around with. Such “championship” is degrading to the gender as a whole. How is anyone supposed to take that seriously?

Certainly there is something to be said about finding new and untapped markets, and developing products that they’ll enjoy. As with every other point here, true success in this venture can only come from objectively marketing to people as individuals. Not all women are the same, as not men are all the same. Suppose that studies found that the majority of women are not playing computer games for the same reasons that old people do not play games. There are serious what ifs involved in this, what if women who avoid playing games do so because all their lives they have been simply taught that it is not an activity for them. It is a constantly supported image of the entire industry that it is solely for adolescent boys rather than for people who are genuinely interested in it as the form of expression and entertainment that it is growing to become. In this case, it is the stereotypes that people build themselves on, and the attitude of the market, which needs to mature. Like any other industry, gaming will most certainly mature along with the market it serves by integrating developers who come from gamers and wish to produce games that they would themselves love, and as more voting dollars call for games with different focus.

There are certainly counterpoints available to this market. Certainly the very definition of a game denies the potential of The Horse Whisperer for the Playstation 2 ever being made. By very nature the conflict of a video game requires the player to be actively seeking a resolution to a conflict. This has never before stopped quality games from being released that have great emotional impact on players and even equal literature, though, it must be pointed out that such games never did well at retail even when they were heralded as brilliant.

As an emerging medium, and as a new form of entertainment, gaming has a great deal to learn about from more established forms such as film. There are strong advantages to this, as the advent of film was recent enough that gaming can not only look at where the state of the medium is now, developers and gamers alike can easily look back on the development of the medium to draw examples of how others dealt with the very problems being faced now. As a medium, gaming is not going beyond the boundaries of what literature, art, and film have previously charted, but it is clearly finding a whole new path to all the same destinations. Film, music, and even literature are all at their lowest and most base form when they pander or target any single specific group of people based on a difference that makes them feel different. Children’s books for children are never as good as books that are accessible to children, and still maintaining a quality to be enjoyed by everyone who reads them.

Can anyone say whether a movie such as Shawshank Redemption was targeted at men, women, or instead was simply made with the intention of telling the best story possible for whoever watches it? Something can be said for the fact that Everquest has such an extremely large following of women. The quality of games, eventually, and in many cases currently, appeals to girl games and guy gamers equally. It is funny that no one ever notices the poor sales of games that are targeted at men, purely on the stereotype of the immature and base behavior of the common gaming guy. Take for example The Guy Game. These markets have as much legitimacy as the Dress Barbie genre.

Equality is there to be had, but it is not there in the way that the most vocal supporters of the games for girls’ movement are asking for it. Better quality, better story, better game-play, newer fresher ideas, and truly original settings and designs are better for the industry as a whole. The dollar is a vote, and the women who like to play games are already voting, and they are not voting for crud, or divisive programs. That, after all, is the defining point of the whole system that allows such passions and marketplaces to develop for the world.

In the worst case scenario, there is an inherent challenge offered up to those who feel they are not being represented by the games on the market, but who feel that gaming should appeal to them. If the passion is strong enough, then make the game. Rather than place the burden on the marketplace, be an active participant and develop what others have failed to develop. Challenge people by putting out what is lacking, and changing the face of what is considered acceptable and unacceptable by the whole world at large when it is confronted with its own questionable segregation of the sexes based on stereotypes of media demographics. That is the beauty of the whole system after all, and if the idea is right, the execution well done, and if the demand exists, why feel guilty about doing something that could net a genuine career and a successful reputation in a growing and profitable industry. The whole world is waiting.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Okay, I forgot to post on friday, I'm forgetfull, I know it. As it happens, friday was a very good day, where I got to install Freedom Force at work, which I have very much enjoyed, though over the weekend, I played it much more at home. And on the way home I was in a fender bender. Some kids decided to ride across the street in the middle of traffic after a light had been green for a good while and about 5 cars nearly ran over them, me included, and in my braking, someone tapped my fender. Everyone was very cool, and no damage or harm was done. I was between manslaughter and a hard place, and it's really good I saw those kids. It was a less than a second reaction that probably saved 2 lives.

Over the weekend I played lots of freedom force, and I went to watch the movie Robots, which I loved, and spent most of saturday just hanging out with Mike while he ran errands. Chris called Mike and we got to talk to him for about an hour before he had to get off the phone and go back to work. Army must be hell, but he's doing awesome. He's earned the rank of sharpshooter for accuracy, and he's played with more guns now than I've ever even seen in real life. I'll be sending him my novel when I write him next time so that he'll have plenty of reading material.

Sunday.. I didn't leave the appartment all day long. It was a nice day. Played lots of Freedom Force. Went to sleep. It was very very nice. This week is spring break, but I already got my vacation from work, so I still have to work all week. Discussing getting a bit of friday off, but I might not get it for when we go camping next week.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Some very cool things today. Got some very good feedback and advice in class today on my critical analysis paper from the substitute. Was up all night working hard on that, didnt get to sleep till a little after one. All in all it was about an hour and a half of work interspersed with lots of chat and talking Chuck about rent, etc.

Today has been a really cool day as far as news on the next generation consoles go. It looks like even with the Cell chip, the other two consoles should very well be able to compete with it considering the specs of what they'll be pushing as well. Top that off with the fact that Nintendo isn't stressed about graphics and is looking at a totally new direction. Well, you can bet that I'll be keeping my eye on that. To top it off, the DS is going online. There will be free access to worldwide games for the DS, with games like Mario Kart and others. That will blow away even the Xbox's online capabilities. The revolution should have Wi-Fi too, in fact, it's confirmed.

later tonight, I think I'm going to be doing cooking. I'll let you know how that goes later.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Well, today was a nice relaxing day. But I didnt do any work at all on my critical analysis paper, so I believe I'll be spending the evening working on that. Other than that... life is good. I like cheese.

I had the most bizarre dream last night. I dreamed that Mike and Jerry of Penny Arcade hung out with my family. I think through some kind of screw up or other, basically incompetance on my part I somehow got them killed or something at an amusement part. I honestly don't know how to feel about that. It sounds like a fun weekend, but the loss of life wasn't worth it. I don't think, anyway.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Well, I'm getting involved in a competition for forum signature design that pays off with a top level domain name paid for one year. So far I've finished what might end up being my entry, as you can see. It was three or four hours of work, and so far I'm very happy with people's reactions to it. Most people are reminded of sunrise, which is interesting because it's made out of sunsets. But I like that it gives the impression of sunrises better.

I mentioned that I saw Constantine this weekend, but I don't know if I mentioned how much I liked it. I liked it quite a bit, a lot of people said that it was pretty shallow, but to be honest, it wasn't particularly shallow, it was internally consistant, and it was extremely enjoyable. I liked the ending, the happy ending didn't feel tacked on and the characters didn't do everything you expected, still maintaining a distance. It was the best movie of the year so far, but there's still a lot to look forward to. Notably, Sin City, and A Scanner Darkly, at least. Whenever it's an adaptation of a PKD novel, you know you're in for something cool on some level or another.

Finally made the s'mores with orange peel, and they were indeed most delicious, though they wont be the desert, that will be determined later, maybe grilled peaches, I'm thinking.

School today was nice, we discussed Death of a Salesman, which was an incredibly depressing play. It was probably more so for me because it touched on my family with similar isues caused by parents who weren't in full possesion of their faculties.

Ironically, between Death of a Salesman, A Doll House, and Hamlet(my favorite), I picked Death of a Salesman to write my thesis about. Decided to write about the tragic flaw of Willy Low-man. I think somewhere in my critical analysis I should point out thy homonym of his name wiht that term.

Anyway, on that note, I'm out, see you all later.

Monday, March 07, 2005

I was bad last week, and didn't write hardly at all. No particular reason, just felt drained. It's particularly funny too, because I actually had quite a bit that I wanted to say. I finished reading "A Doll House", and it was indeed enjoyable till the last scene. There were clearly a lot of problems and dishonesty in the relationship, and both characters needed to change fundamentally, and other characters, who I liked, made a point of forcing them to air out their dirty laundry. But then the main character made a 180 change, and goes through a list of all the political points that the play is trying to make, and the writer doesn't even try to mask this, and divorces her husband without ever giving his character the chance to change. I just felt as though they didn't even try to make things better. There was this, oh, it's all broken, time to give up and start over someplace else all over again. That's an attitude I just can't stand, that's not airing out dirty laundry, that's throwing it away, as though it has no value at all.

Now we're reading "Death of a Salesman", which I need to have finished reading by tomorrow, and I have sixty pages left to go. It's not impossible, but it wont be pleasant, especially since I haven't finished all my work from the weekend. I visited my mom, and she is fixing a cell phone that I'll be able to use, and that is really amasing news. I'll be able to make calls again, with unlimited nights and weekends that start at 7 pm. Unfortunately, while I was there I learned that Alan is getting drunk, and maybe worse on a fairly regular basis, and still doesn't have a job since the last one. I can't believe mom is considering moving so far away with him and taking such a big risk considering all the things he's done. He blames me for wrecking their computer, when it was pretty clearly his porn surfing that picked up the harmful programs.

Surfing for porn is the number one cause of crashed computers, I would bet. I'm really mad at him, and I don't know what to do about my mom. I can't tell her what to do, and she knows more than anyone else everything that's happening with her. She simply never should have married him. That's what you get for getting married after 2 months.

That's where I was on thursday and friday evening. I started to watch Shaun of the Dead with her, which is a pretty funny movie, but I had to leave at 11 so that I could get home at a reasonable hour and not fall asleep on the drive. Then, when I got home, chuck had Hamlet, the four hour version by castlerock on VHS waiting for me from the library. I have had plans for what to do when this got to me since we first started reading hamlet in English 1302.

See, this particular version of hamlet, the best, and full four hour play in it's entirety acted out in a real castle in denmark, isn't available on DVD. So, somebody has to make a copy of it that wont degrade over time because it's on a VHS. I'll get to this later though.

Saturday morning, I woke up and played around, after I beat silent storm, and eventually got washed and went over to my dad's at 4 o'clock. We were going to do some grilling and have lots of fun. I brought all my laundry to do at his house, and i forgot to bring recipes and to bring some of the other stuff that I wanted to show him when I got there. And, I think, I forgot to bring a thing or two back from his house, my GURPS books, mostly. Anyway, so, when we went shopping for ingredients, we stopped by my house where we found Chuck pretty much wasted, which made me pretty unhappy, but I didn't dwell on it. I showed my dad Nubbs all finished, and a few other things before we grabbed the recipes that I had and we went to H.E.B. where we got a pineapple, and a red pepper, and some potatos and porterhouses and everything else we needed for the recipes for the evening.

When we got back, we got straight to work at cooking. We were grilling artichokes, and garlic potatos on rosemary skewers, and roasting a red pepper to go with it all, and grilling a pineapple. I only recently found out about rosemary, it's a powerful flavor, and it was so fresh on saturday that I had the sap all over my fingertips, when I picked up a piece of pineapple to eat, the flavor of rosemary was all over it, and it was so perfect, that it was just like the two flavors were made to go together. When I grilled the pineapple after everything esle, I sprinkled it with rosemary leaves, and it was soooooooo good. We used all the extra pineapple juice to tenderize the porterhouses, which was a very good idea.

Before I went home, they gave me some fresh rosemary in a ziplock bag so that I could do some cooking of my own(they have a whole bush of it in their backyard), as well as a potted little cilantro plant for me to start growing near my appartment so that I will always have the very freshest cilantro as I start growing my own herbs. I think, before all is said and done, as a cook, I will have my own herb garden where I will grow most of the spices that I use. They even told me about the woman who started growing herbs of all kinds in Texas, way back when people thought that parsley was the only herb that would grow here.

After that I stuck around and talked and did laundry and we watched sponge bob, square pants together, and I went home around midnight and Pattie was online so I talked to her, and we had some really good talks, that ended up keeping us up till 5 in the morning my time, 6 her time, but there was no school or work, so that was okay. I had made plans to do the hamlet thing with George at noon, we ended up meeting at 2 instead because of sleep. We ate lunch at pizza hut, cheese pizza with peperoni. Then, after that, we took so long deciding what to do and getting the ingredients together, that it was six by the time we got back, then 8 before we got all the cooking and eating done.

We made honey mustard glazed salmon fillet, and grilled rosemary pineapple(had to show the new recipe off) and we started work on some really gormet s'mores. Everything came along great, but we didn't get to finish the s'mores because they have a part where you candy an orange peel that takes 24 hours, so we're going to finish that tonight, maybe, the candy peel should be finished, and then, finally, it was around 8:40 before we got ALL the bugs ironed out and the movie was started recording. We had so much trouble not messing with it while we watched it, we had to go to the movies and just let it record. So, we went to see constantine, which was an awesome movie, I liked it a lot, it had some very cool moments, and some very cool graphics, and it had a happy ending, which should put me in a good enough moood that I won't mind the unhappy ending of "Death of a Salesman." I know it's going to be an unhappy ending, I can just feel it.

Anyway, we got back just in time, George's computer only had about 20 more minutes before his hard drive filled ALL the way up and maybe crashed his computer. So, we recorded the first tape of Hamlet, and that should be encoded by now, and we'll be ready to do the second tape tonight, again, if I have time after reading the aforementioned play. After all that is complete, we can give the video files to Mike, who can then make up menus and burn us some DVDs of the movie, which should be nice to have.

Anyway, all that cooking was practice and searching for good recipes to use on the cookout on the 18th through the 20th. Salmon and s'mores are both out as my only dishes because Mike, at least, doesn't like salmon, or chocolate at all, so I need to come up with some other recipes too. It's really fun, means I get to do LOTS of cooking over the next two weeks in prep. Anyway, Pattie has been giving me a ton of recipe sites to look at, and that have given me some very good ideas from. Right now, one of my favorites is orange grilled chicken, made with chicken breasts and then sliced and served on a bed of multicolored peppers that have been roasted and sliced into thin tender strips, with a side of garlic potatos, and maybe a third main dish, but maybe not, with grilled rosemary pineapple for desert. But the desert might change too, if I find a really good recipe to substitute.

After that I went home and played on the computer some and went to sleep, only to wake up groggy. Then it was time to go to work, and here I am. Well... on with the rest of the week, and hopefully a new blog entry every day.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Last friday I stayed home and just sat around. I enjoyed excellent conversaton online, and even played some games. Went to sleep at 5 am. Woke up at 9 when Jake showed up. Talk about luck, I mean, it wasn't luck, I made plans to spend the day with Jake all week long, but I'd forget it the instant we talked about it. I swear, every two days I'd be talking to him, and he'd remind me and I'd be like, wow, cool, I'm so glad I didn't accidentally make other plans on Saturday, because I didn't remember at all.

Well... I had totally forgotten friday night. Until Chuck let him in Saturday morning, so, a little sick, I got up at 9 am, dressed and we left instantly. We stopped for a lite snack on the way into down town. I don't think I mentioned what the plans were. His dad is a part of a competition cooking team of electritions, the kilowatt kookers. Competition BBQ. So week before last, or last week, dont remember which, Jake told me about the competition and invited me to come along. To be honest, I was a bit nervous because he was talking about learning and being around real pros of the art of BBQ. I'm a decent little home cook, but what I do is like playing in the sandbox compared to what these guys are doing. Fortunately, they said they didn't want me doing anything before I ever met them. When I got there I mostly talked about games, and some cooking with Jake, I ate bbq just about every time I was remotely hungry.

Started with chipped beef or chicken sandwich. I went with the chicken. And had a beer, mostly because it was what everyone else was having, so I stomached it just to be polite. It was the only one of it's kind for the evening, after that it was mostly water, lots of water, plus a seabreeze(1 part vodka/1 part grapefruit), a kahluah and pepermint schnapps(2 parts kahluah, splash of schnapps), Apple martini, tasted a genuine quality cognac, I like cognac, a poor quality cape cod(1 part vodka(they used low quality vodka), 1 part cranberry juice), a parrot ice, splash of cherry liquer in a frozen lemonade. Now, back on that, it sounds like a lot, but it was spread out over 12 hours easily, and there were also Dr Peppers, Cokes, and once again LOTS of water throughout the day. A day that I only sat down to eat during while I ran around and burned lots of energy. Leave it to me to have access to multiple open bars and not get drunk over time. Woot, I'm not an alcoholic.

Well, we watched all kinds of cooking, one of the highlights of the day was the band that kept visiting our private party. It had more brass than the army. Horns, trumpets, saxaphones, and one or two other instruments. They played some of the sweetest jazz, and they played it loud. Easy tunes that drive you, beats that make your feet tap, and they played it all loud. Talking over it left me squeaking sunday... monday... and most of today. Maybe I'll have my voice back tomorrow or the next day. One does hope.

Later that day we walked around, looked at other booths. The Jack Daniels booth was giving out bandanas, they were tying them on as armbands, and doo rags, and they gave us both one as an armband. It was very nice, and then we got back and we watched the cooking, and preperation of pico de gallo. One of the guys pulled out an onion, tomatoes, cilantro, lime, and jalapeno and he was wicked fast with his knife. In no time flat he had diced his pico de gallo from scratch. He mixed it plane, then made 4/5 of it hot by mixing in jalapenos, then made medium by mixing a little bit of the two. Later on other people were cutting apples and pineapples.. apple for apple cobler, and pineapples for straight up grilling (I missed the apple cobler, sadly), and whiile everyone else was slowly slicing and coring the apples, this guy just got all showy and did his whole pile in just a few seconds. His name was David, and he'd been a chef for 13 years. I want to be like that guy with a knife, practically surgical.

Then we went to go eat, ribs that were sweet as honey, brisket that was flavorful and delicious, the chicken was ssweet and tender, (it was ALL better fresh of the chop block, but those were exclusive backstage privledges... 10 times better), sausage was spicy, baked beans were awesome, as well sa the potato salad. I ate so much when dinner actually happened that I got a little sick. I wish... I wish I could have just tasted the food, because becomming full on that food seemed to be a crime. As though it were so delicious, that tasting it was a delectable activity all it's own, with awesome party music blaring in a tent full of smoke from the smokers. It was something akin to paradise to spend it with a friend. I can't thank Jake enough for bringing me.

After dinner, Jake and I hung out in the back again, when Jakes dad said that he had an invitation to another private party and that we were welcome to go if we wanted. We took the invitation and walked through the rain, oh yeah, it was sprinkling ain all day, my shoes were soaked through long before we left, because we didnt let that keep us in, and it was about 40 to 50 degrees, so the best place to stand most of the day was next to the fireboxes on the smokers, and we went to one of the most eye catching booths, with multiple fake mountains with red glowing lights inside. We had seen it earlier and it had particularly taken my attention, just my luck that we actually got to go into it, with a fire lamp in the center, uncovered though, so exposed to the light rain while they slow roasted an entire pig on a giant spit. I REALLY wish I had stayed for that.

Turns out they were competition winners... for skits. They had a funny act, with such sayings as, "we mountain men are not proud of our meat. Well, that's not true, but our meat, is quite simply, easy to beat, " pun intended. They even had a fake snow machine, blowing off suds into the air adding awesome atmosphere, especially at night. This was where I had the cape cod with the lousy vodka. Well, not lousy, but I've gotten spoiled on really good vodka in mixed drinks as I'm very particular now, as I'm not particularly fond of the flavor of alcohol, but in the right mixtures it can add something nice to a drink. And the meat, was good, but by no means competition good. However, they did more than make up for it, and it was very enjoyable to stick around and watch it.

Whenever we were walking, every tent we passed, wooden front, or straight up tent, had loud enough music that it could be heard from the street, people were dancing and it was simply wonderful.

We ended up leaving at 9:30... and sadly, on the the way out, after all the thank you's were said, I lost my bandana. Alas, maybe next year. Jake says he'll invite me again. The ride home was uneventful except for lots of talking about the evening. Wasnt till I got home that I realized that the combined forces of yelling all day and a phlegmy cold were taking out my voice. Either one of which would have been enough for most other peoples voice. Mine.. took them both.

All day sunday was literally spent in recovery, my calves were sore from all the standing and walking, my throat hurt, my caugh was really bad, and I had tons of drainage. I did play lots of Silent Storm, getting the cool armoured suits.

Monday was nice and busy. I finally got the title of my truck put into my name. Only cost 150, then I payed rent and electricity and cable, 375, together, both were larger than a single paycheck, so... I'm losing for the month and it hadn't actually started yet. On the other hand, I got a 30 dollar discount on my car insurance because of my move. I should have told them about that a year ago. Then I had to deliver a sample for work, and at work itself... I loafed and didn't go check on something. When I was reminded to do it, it was 6 and it was ready for me to do. I worked till 10:30 so that I didn't look like a jerk for waiting till 6 when I didn't have time to do it, and I could have done it at 2.

Got home just in time to say goodnight to Miss Taylor, and go to sleep for school today. Turns out I didn't miss anything last class, but I only got a 78 on my critical analysis paper. That's pretty disapointing, I was really proud of it. We finished Hamlet, and started reading A Doll House. I'm liking it so far. It's no Hamlet, but then, what is? After that I came home in time to relax a little, change for work and head off to finish cleaning from yesterday. After that, no responsibility. Met George at the grocery store and we got everything we needed to make fresh pico de gallo, like at the cookoff.

Before we left we stopped by EB Games where George bought a seriously wicked game on my recommendation, and I browsed the used games, promising I wouldnt buy anything. Till I found a copy of Blade Runner, one of the best adventure games ever made right at the end of the generation by Westwood Studios.. who no longer really exist. Chalk them up to the list that was bought up and dismantled by EA Games. We got up to the front, Blade Runner didn't have a tag, and my poor, not buying a game for two months, mouth said, " hehe, no tag on it, does that mean it's free?" James, being the incredibly kick ass dude that he was, looked at it, the run down cd only package of bladerunner, a 4 year old game, at least and just said sure, and then checked George out, charging him the full 40 for his game. Woohoo... so, I still haven't bought a game. I'm doing good. I had to get it because I've been wanting to play it, and suddenly all my copies were gone.

George is STILL playing his game. And I have to be honest, it looks REALLY awesome from here. Like a space opera with amazing stellar warfare. He's cracked it, so I'll be able to play it later on without the CDs. It's called Nexus: The Jupiter Incident. Frankly, tonight was an awesome find, my instinct calls a wicked cool game from a distance, yet again.

And that leaves me at right now. Tomorrow I'll do fun stuff and post links and have some fun. For right now, I'm done. Good night.
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