yes, i am that good

Pretty much the whole cage

Photo credit: Alex Barnes

Sometimes I need a nudge (and someone else’s photography) to remind me of it, but there it is.

In honour of Nerd 3’s1 all too brief return to the world, I hosted a little get together this past Friday.  Me being a single-woman living all alone this year, I didn’t want to go too all out, but what I did do, I wanted to do right.  So, a potluck was called for — with me handling the meat. *ahem*

Wanting to challenge myself a little (and feeling somewhat guilty that the side-box on my smoker hasn’t seen action in far too long), I figured that I should perhaps try to improve my grill-fu by learning how to make something that’s always intimidated me — pork ribs.  The plan was to do baby backs, since they are smaller and easier (shorter cooking time to get to that fall-off-the-bones tender perfection) than their spare cousins.  I’d even bought a rack a couple of weeks ago and did a test run (which while not anything to get overly excited over, was still pretty good).  So I headed to Costco to pick up a couple of chuck roasts (more on those another post), and 6 racks of baby-back ribs (I was feeding all of North Dakota, a bunch of Army Nerds, and a fair sized chunk of Brampton, ON).

Except that Costco failed me. Of the 6 racks of baby backs I needed, the Coon Rapids Costco offered up but 4.  And two of them (one of the two packages left at 7pm on a Wednesday evening) were looking mighty dodgy.  Not wanting to deal with venturing to other purveyors of massive quantities of dead animals, I rationalized to myself that spare ribs couldn’t possibly be _that_ much harder.  And variety is good, right? And worst case, I had five pounds of chuck roast that would end up as burgers anyways (plus brats in the freezer).

So, one 10 lb package of spareribs was added to the bill, along with 5 lbs of baby backs. Cooksillustrated.com and I spent some serious quality time together, and a 20 hour cooking odyssey was begun.  The results of which were some very happy bellies, and a crazy ass recipe, which out of sheer magnanimity, I share with you today:

There Is Nothing Prudent At All About These Ribs (TINPAAAT Ribs, for short)

(portions  adapted from Cook’s Illustrated’s “Authenic Barbecue Pork Spareribs” and “Barbecued Baby Back Ribs for Charcoal Grill” recipes)

(more…)

things that i’ve learned since the last post here

  • That handicapped campsites are really only for handicapped people.
  • That you should avoid thinking about handicapped spaces, for fear of embedding Denis Leary’s musical masterwork deep into your head.
  • That taking delivery of a new fridge is significantly less traumatizing when you have a chest freezer and a bar fridge on your property.
  • That it is possible to feel condiment-related guilt.
  • That the best way to alleviate said guilt is to remind yourself that the bar fridge is not that big, and said condiments have maybe been in the fridge since the departure Nerd 1.
  • That pretty much the entire ass-end of a 2003 Suzuki SV650 is plastic.
  • That those bits that aren’t plastic are probably bolts in really hard to reach places.
  • That it is possible to have a great time camping, even if you can’t devote an entire picnic table to the bar area.
  • That sometimes, even when we bring The Ruckus, we are far from the most obnoxious campers on the St. Croix.
  • That it’s really hard to find fancy stationary that isn’t disgustingly girly, part of a wedding invitation kit, or  in the form of a pack of folded cards.
  • That not working on Fridays is amazing.
  • That’s it’s possible to bullshit your way through being on a Convergence panel.
  • That some nerds (small ‘n’) are seriously pretentious asshats — but most are not.
  • That Presence of Mind means that you can be running when you cast Arcane Blast.
  • That there is a time before the cafeteria at HedoCorp opens, and it is possible to get to HedoCorp before said time.
  • That when you have writer’s block, you should just misappropriate the style of another writer and go for it.

Well, I’m back (for now).  This week is going to involve taking delivery of a major appliance, a triumphant return to the Guthrie, and a BBQ for which my preparedness could be described as both completely inadequate, and also fairly average, considering that there’s still 84 hours to go.  Which means that I should lots to write about… let’s see if I’ll find time.

hello kitty, hello world.

Happy Easter Monday Internets!

I’m not really going to bother trying to capture how much fun this weekend was in words, but I will just say that I need to have spontaneous bonfire parties more often.

The crud that I was fighting last week has completely thrown off my workout/eating right schedule. I haven’t been to the gym since Friday 3rd, and I’m feeling like crap for it. I plan on fixing that this evening, hopefully I haven’t backtracked too much strength-wise.

Garden-wise, my string of bad luck with small engines seems to have ended (this might have something to do with me understanding what a “choke” is for), and I managed to get both Nerd 2’s chainsaw and Mantis tiller running with a minimum of fuss on Saturday, so a lot of wood got cut up (helpful for the afore-mentioned bonfire), and I’m set to till my major garden plots this coming weekend — my topsoil was still too wet for safe tilling on Saturday.

Finally, a slight break from format, since this isn’t really a music video. But it is awesome and mind-twisting and silly and wrong all at once, so I know you’ll love it (or be horrified, either way, I’ve done my job).

It takes until around 1:30 to really get going…

in like flynn

I got my receipt from Harmony Valley Farm today, so it looks like Amber and I are in for their 2009 CSA.

We signed up for the weekfly, full season share, so we’ll be getting a box of veggies to split every week from may until december.

Special thanks should go out to Kayepants, who pointed me to A Good Appetite, who in turn had lots of great info about Harmony Valley, and helped sell me towards them.  If I manage to keep my act together this year, I’m hoping to document my first CSA experience as well as they did.

In other news, Saturday night was Nerd 2’s 2nd goodbye (#3 is tomorrow, and the fourth and final is Thursday).  The service at Space Aliens was pretty dismal, but much fun was had at Brunswick Zone — seriously, we need to go there more often, there is even a bizarro version of Joe-the-emo-gameworks-bartender there. Maybe I should let my knee recover for a week or so first though…

honestly…who throws a shoe?

And who thinks it’s a good idea to run around downtown minneapolis in a skirt and high heels in December?

Well, the answer to the second question is me and my friends who decided back in October (when it was still reasonable to go outside with exposed skin) that it would be fun to dress up and act like adults for an evening. We hit Barrio for dinner (verdict: the food is good, but not worth the hassle, at least not on a Friday night), and hung out at the twin lounges at the W hotel for drinks afterwards. Nerd 2 ordered a very expensive, very large drink which involved dry ice and and much liquor, and because he was driving, I had to drink most of it…oops…thankfully I had help.

Saturday was Chele and Marshall’s xmas xperience, which was mucho fun (even if Nerd 3 and I did end up doing a tad too much grandstanding in front of GHIII).

Tonight, I need to bake for a potluck — surfer squares based on Jenni’s recipe, since most of my good recipes involve more effort/planning than my co-workers deserve — and possibly bottle a batch of beer.

BTW, I haven’t forgotten my bread related promise — I’m pretty sure I have the ingredients right and now it’s all about fiddling with the timing…maybe next weekend.

the dichotomy of weekends

So, tonight, I’m heading to the 50th birthday party of a co-worker. No drinking allowed, but it’s entirely possible that I’ll be up way too late playing Killer Bunnies or Munchkin.

Tomorrow, I’ll be attending the housewarming party of a couple of my BFFs.  Jello shot salad is on the menu, and it’s entirely possible that I’ll be the only person there who has even heard of Steve Jackson.

And I’m ok with that.

p.s. given the recent newsworthy comic relief (day 1 ballot 5), what would you guys do if you happened to own a domain like, say, lizardpeople.org?

a food pairing dilemma

What’s more appropriate with pancakes-for-dinner? Red wine, or homebrewed bourbon barrel porter?

I went with the latter, I hope I’m not offending anyone who actually knows about this sort of thing.

Let’s see, Friday night I had people over for Hallowe’en, and as much as my broken brain was all angsty about calling it a “party”, I’m pretty sure a good time was had by all. Thanks to all that showed up to geekrock out, and extra thanks to delobius, for bringing over Rock Band 2 (and appropriate accessories) so that we could do a little back to back comparison of the two games.

On Saturday, I took a yarn dyeing class at the Textile Center with Amber. I’m not so sure how I feel about the colours I ended up choosing for my skeins, but I am pretty sure that I’m more likely to stick with dyeing as a secondary hobby than spinning. Oh, and a quick aside: Dear Old White People, I don’t care how interesting, beautiful, or unique you think my full name is — I have zero interest in teaching you how to pronounce it properly, and it is hard for me to restrain my rage when I hear you murder it. I give you a short, easy, two syllable name to refer to me by for a reason. Please respect that.

Anyways, I managed not to smack a bitch during class, but I really wanted to at Roy Wilkins Saturday evening when I realized that the Beastie Boys/Tenacious D/Ben Harper get out the vote show managed to violate all the basic heuristics of show timing by #1 starting _right_ on time, and #2 having one of the 2 awesome acts play first (i.e. before the one sucky act). So we missed Tenacious D, but I did manage to cross the Beastie Boys off of my list of acts-from-undergrad-that-i-should-see-live-one-day.

Sunday, I moved as little as possible (which was good, because the fact that your knee is sprained doesn’t mean that the rest of your body won’t try to dance when certain songs *cough*bodymovin*cough* are performed), and today, I’m mourning the days when I could leave work at 5:30 and it would still be light outside.

Farewell sunshine — I’ll see you sometime after the solstice!

more hours in the day, please?

I know it’s cliche, but it pretty much describes the way I’ve felt of late.  Here’s a list of things that I’d like to get done this week, for example:

  • go motorcycle shopping
  • brew another batch of beer
  • bake cookies
  • get the house ready for a barbeque this weekend
  • buy and prep food for same
  • organize the pictures from my trip to the south
  • finish watching twin peaks
  • knit for more than an hour at a time
  • write a decent article on my experiences with homebrewing so far

Needless to say, some prioritization has been occurring, and 2, maybe 3 of those things will actually get accomplished, but it’s nice to get them written out, so I have something to refer to in my copious free time.

that’s my shiny thing!

Well, I finally took the twitter plunge. I may or may not be adding one of those nifty flash badges to the sidebar, it depends on how often I use it.

Some things that are shiny right this second:

  • It’s strawberry picking season here in Da-Snow-Ta. Since I decided to give up on my strawberry patch this year, I’ll need to get my fresh strawberry fix elsewhere. Pickyourown.org has a great listing of pick-you-own-farms in Minnesota, and I’ll probably be checking one out when I get a free afternoon (which will probably be well after the berries have peaked, but oh well.)
  • The Democracy Player (soon to be renamed Miro, apparently). Any video format, any OS, anytime. Built-in BitTorrent client and YouTube search, as well RSS grabber. I can’t wait to get home and try this.
  • Shojo Managa! Girl Power! East and West! I’ve never been to MCAD before, but this exhibit might just get me there.
  • The Cash Box has pointed me towards this game theory based analysis of the classic up vs. down debate. Reading it has gotten me on another brief obsession with game theory, and now I’m in search of reference material. Know any decent Game Theory for Dummies type books (but not written at a for Dummies level, more of a Brief History of Time level)?
  • The party on Saturday was great, as has been discussed elsewhere. The follow two awesome things were learned:
    • Cook’s Illustrated’s recipe for Grilled Shrimp with Charmoula sauce is the win.
    • Brining chicken before grilling makes it pretty much impossible to overcook, and therefore greatly enhances the yummy.

drink up me hearties

I hate going so long without posting, because it feels like I have too much to say and everything comes out jumbled and I miss the important points and it’s boring for you all to read anyways so I’m going to try to hit on a handful of quick points about the last few days.

Saw Pirates 3 on Thursday with Nerd 2. I had wanted to avoid the opening night insanity, but it was his birthday and he was unbelievably excited about it (he even turned down dinner at Origami). It was pretty much what I expected: zany, over-the-top, convoluted plot, characters that are really more like caricatures, etc. Good fun for sure, though I’d like to see 2 and 3 again on DVD so that I can understand what the heck really went on.

Friday, I headed out to Costco to buy supplies for camping at Interstate Park for the weekend. I was in charge of meat, and I think I did a pretty good job. Interstate Park is kind of funny to me, as I’ve driven past it dozens of times (Nerd 2’s grandparents live about 30 minutes north of there), but I’d never stepped foot inside. We had one of the group camp-sites which was great, because not only was there lots of room (we easily could have fit another 3-4 tents), we were isolated enough from the nearest sites that we could make as much noise as we wanted (as evidenced by the 2am KDWB dance party on Saturday night).

Gear-wise, this was my first time trying out my fancy new thermarest and pack. Even though we were car-camping, I did my best to fit all of the “essentials” in the pack, so that I could prove to myself that I could probably handle carrying everything I need on my back. The major things that didn’t go in were: sleeping bag (it’s place was taken by my massive beach towel), tent (there was no way that my 9′x7′ 6 pole 4 person tent was going to fit in the pack so I didn’t even try…I’m still in the market for a packable tent…I’ll probably check out REI’s scratch and dent sale for one), and food (really haven’t figured out how I’ll handle this yet). All in all, I’m pretty happy with it. Also, the thermarest proved that it was worth all of the angst that it caused me previously.

This week promises all sorts of new levels of crazy, mainly due to the fact that my house is in no way ready for a party on Saturday. It doesn’t help that I’ve got plans just about every evening this week, and Super Paper Mario is proving to be a tad bit addictive. At least I have Friday off.