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)

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status update

The thing about having a week off, is sometimes it takes you about 6 and a half days to realize that you need another week off.

Stupid “milestones” and “project delivery dates”, you’re getting in the way of the perfect summer, dontcha know?

I could look backwards and tell you all about the royal mountain, and OHMYGODTHECROISSANTS, and the team boobylicious silent auction, and OHMYGODTHEWINDCHIMES, and game night, and jokur’s belated birthday, and just enough yardwork and green garlic & cheese quesidillas, etc. but where’s the fun in that?

Let’s look ahead, shall we?

Tomorrow’s knitting, followed by dessert & adult beverages at Zeno.  Can’t complain about that at all.

Apparently, I should be expecting a 60lb-ish mystery package sometime soon.  Supposedly, it’s not a kegerator, yet it belongs in the basement.  Nerd 2 wants to give me more hints, but I really just want to be surprised.

At some point in the next week or so, I need to dig my teeth into BESM, Third Edition.  Yes. It’s a table top RPG. Which is pan-genre anime-based. And Delobius is GMing. I feel like a scared 17 year-0ld school girl, all over again.

I started on my 2009 State Fair project.  I’m going to keep it relatively under wraps until I’m sure that I actually finish on time (the going is slow with this one).  Even if I don’t win another ribbon this year, I’m super excited about this project, and can’t wait to show off the finished object this winter.

I found the first modification that I’d like to make to Beauty. Cosmetic, yes, but also a safety feature when you consider how hard my current turn signals are to see.

And finally, I’ve decided that more of my monday evening’s in future need to involve New Holland’s Dragon’s Milk. Oak and Vanilla, chocolate and smoke. An ABV that would make it illegal in several states. I found it at Tournament Liquor, but I’m willing to betcha that Alvey has it too.

it must be spring

Because suddenly, everyone in Minnesota wants to do, something.

Here’s a list of just some of the events that I know are happening tomorrow, May 2nd:

  • St. Paul Craftstravaganza – State Fairgrounds Fine Arts Building- you know me and craft sales, I’m definitely going to try to hit this.
  • Living Green Expo – State Fairgrounds Grandstand Building – admittedly, this runs through Sunday as well but if it makes sense to combine it and the craft sale into one trip, especially since this is all about being environmental and stuff.
  • Free Comic Book Day – The Source, Big Brain, etc – Comic books, first one’s free… The Source usually has a lot of fun with this day (I seem to remember cake and costumes), and if you are going to the fairgrounds for Craftstravaganza and Living Green, you might as well go the extra half mile up Snelling and hang with the nerds.
  • Art in Bloom – Minneapolis Institute of Art – On now through Sunday, and exhibition of floral arrangement inspired by pieces in the museum’s collection.  Sounds interesting, I’ll probably skip it this year.

The weather looks like it will be decent this weekend… so whatever you plan on doing… GO OUTSIDE!

reunion

The awkwardly named, Cost Plus World Market is going out of business.

This is somewhat sad to me, because I always thought that it was pretty neat for a chain store.  Its selection was reasonably interesting (if somewhat static), and I could even find proper (albeit stale and overpriced) Smarties there if I was really jonesing.  It’s also never let me down for Awesome Christmas (an amusing little tradition where one must get a large number of people presents that perfectly suit them, for under $3).

Besides the various strange foodstuffs, stupid toy things, and papasan chairs, Cost Plus also had the distinction of being home to the one piece of furniture that I’ve ever really coveted — the Spruce Bar.

Basically, it’s a wine-rack/bar thing, with extra storage on the doors, and leaves that fold out to double the width when you find yourself needing a larger surface area for your mixology.  It’s constructed out of a mahgony stained hardwood, and manages to have both arts & crafts and asian influences.  It’s the perfect thing for my dining room, and has been since I bought the house.  It also was $550, which, while probably a perfectly reasonable price for what it is, I just could never really justify paying.

So instead, I would console myself by just visiting the Spruce Bar.  Stopping by to look at it whenever I happened
to be in the store (or even near the store), hoping that the price would change for the better, but it was stubbornly firm.  I’d mentioned to Nerd 2 more than once how much I liked it, and even dragged him around an entire HOM Furniture looking for something similar but to no avail.  Once, I found a $100 off coupon for worldmarket.com, and I almost pulled the trigger (it was the $50 shipping cost that killed that deal).

In truth, it’s been a while since I’ve truly pined for the Spruce Bar.  I think the stress of buying new living room furniture  (and a fridge) may have stifled my desire to reappoint the dining room somewhat, and the $50 wireframe wine-rack that I’d picked up at Costco seemed to be doing the job well enough (despite the fact that its open design has a nasty habit of light-striking any actual wine stored in it).  So, when I’d heard that Cost Plus was going under, like I said, I was sad, but I didn’t really realize the true import of the event.  The Spruce Bar is a Cost Plus exclusive — I wouldn’t even be able to visit it anymore.

Luckily, Nerd 2 is a little better at putting 2 and 2 together than I am.  And, given that:

  • he was instructed that a  Valentine’s Day present was expected this year (I generally am pretty against celebrating v-day, especially with gifts because I believe that true love is shown every day of the year, via actions, not things*.  But given that said actions are going to be a little more difficult for about 12 months starting this Feb, I decided to make an exception).
  • he was not given any hints about what I had in mind for him to get me (because its fun to watch nerds squirm)
  • if I had missed my chance to get the stupid thing, he’d have to hear about it for years.
  • the impending closure implied CLEARANCE PRICES

His path of action was pretty clear.  So, numerous phone calls, trips to Roseville, Maple Grove, and Minne-frickin-tonka, and many, many, allen wrenched screws in awkward places later,  I came home last night to find my long lost (lumber-based) soulmate, standing smack dab in the middle of the living room.  From what I understand, it may have been the last of the things in the Twin Cities (even the website doesn’t have it, though there is a picture of it as the icon for “Bars and Wineracks” on the furniture page), hence the trip to the scary land out east.   So, if you want a Bar-ry (Not Barry, more like  Chairy, but  a bar) of your own… too bad suckers!
*fact: this may be the lamest thing that has ever been written on this here blog-thingy.  I promise not to let it happen again.

answering my own question

Your friend and mine, Mr. Google, decided to help me figure out the answer of how to get a Wii connected to a projector with Composite, S-video, and VGA inputs, over a span of about 15ft worth of cable, without looking like crap.

Given the cable lengths necessary, I figured that composite and s-video were not the answer. Plus, the projector can do 640×480 on VGA which is, technically, an HD resolution so I figured some high-def loving was appropriate.

The two solutions I found were these:

VDIGI VD-W2 Wii VGA Cable

VD-W2 in the hizzay This guy goes straight from the Wii’s proprietary connection to a VGA output (as well as providing handy RCA for audio and old-fashioned video). At $40 though, it was a little pricier than I wanted, and their website didn’t give me confidence that it could ship in time for The Main Event

Hyperkin VGA-2000 (honestly, who comes up with these names?)

VGA2K, yoThis is the component-to-vga adapter that I was looking for. Online reviews of it seemed pretty good, and I like the fact that since it takes component as input, I can use it with other devices besides just the Wii (I’ve been wanting a DVD player for the basement for example, and maybe one of these days I’ll drink the kool-aid and buy a PS3.)

So, I ended up buying the VGA-2000 ($29) and a Wii component cable ($8) from meritline.com, and if all goes well, I should have them tomorrow. One of these days (don’t tell Nerd 2) I can see myself investing in a fancy new projector that does 1080i/p and has HDMI inputs and all that jazz, but it is nice to know that I can keep on keeping on with my relatively ancient technology for the time being.

true story: i thought the song was called “man on the run”

I don’t know how I feel about weekend updates in this little corner of blogistan. On the one hand, I’m sure they aren’t all that interesting to read, but on the other hand, I hate going back to my old entries and seeing a weekend that I knew was filled with fun and awesome described simply as “my weekend was fun and awesome! the end.”

I guess if I could come up with witty summary phrases like “my sequel filled weekend started with rock band and ended with guitar hero” I could maybe wow you all with my scintillating prose. But then I’d probably want to smack myself, and that’s just no good for anyone.

My weekend, however, was indeed fun and awesome. Played Rock Band 2 at chez delobi (verdict — very much like Rock Band 1), perhaps got a little tipsy (thanks for the ride Joe) and drunk dialled Nerd 2 — who answered the phone at 2 am (that’s kind of a big deal).

Saturday, after successfully fighting off what was promising to be at least a level 3 hangover, I headed to south Minneapolis to help Jenni & Matt make the transition to officially living in sin. This was harder than it should have been, given that 75% off all roads into, out of, and through the area were closed for construction, block parties, and/or “running events”.

Sunday shall go down in history (well, not that anyone will actually write it down) as the first time that I’ve ever purchased a video game on opening day. I felt like a giant dork, but I really wanted to grab Guitar Hero: World Tour before the christmas rush when all the stores would be out of stock of it forever (also, I wanted to be able to play it at Hallowe’en on Friday).

I’m sure there are probably a trillion write-ups about GH:WT on the internet right now, but I figured I’d give some of my first impressions (behind the cut, to save your scrolling fingers):

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the single least user-friendly aspect of reading books on a kindle?

Having to explain what it is all the time. It’s to the point where I hesitate to bring it out in public because I know I’ll get interrupted every other page by someone asking “hey! what’s that?!”. People? Hello! I’m reading this book so that I _don’t_ have to interact with you, not so that I can give you an impromptu product demonstration. Amazon has people to do that for you, you know?

Honestly, if you are so technologically illiterate that you don’t know what an e-book reader is, you probably don’t want one. If you do know what it is, then you know that I’m probably reading something, and therefore am not really looking to strike up a conversation.

Oh, and if you know me IRL, don’t worry, I don’t mind showing off my toys to my friends, and if I’m hanging out with you, chances are I’m not all that embroiled in reading something so feel free to ask away. I only use my reading as a forcefield against strangers.

yes, i know

  • that t-shirts aren’t really flattering to my curves
  • that I’m too damn old to be running around in jeans and a t-shirt as my basic daily uniform
  • that ironic silkscreened t-shirts are _so_ over (unless they are vintage circa the year of my birth, and you are a hipster).

babe_factory.gif

But I don’t really care. I have a whole line-up of shirts (mainly from Threadless) that make me smile all day when I am wearing them (and make the occasional perfect stranger smile too, when he or she figures out the obscure french art/video game pun displayed across my boobs).

Why am I telling you this? Because someone (I can’t remember who now) wanted to know where I got my awesome Science! shirt. And I couldn’t remember. But I found them again, so now you can be awesome too.

take a second to do the math

My boyfriend Omar and his friends at Surly Brewing are having a party, seemingly to celebrate the fact that Darkness seems to be the unofficial “status” beer of the twin cities microbrew appreciation crowd. Here are some deets from MNBrew:

Lets talk about D-Day. That’s the day we will be selling 750 ML bottles of Darkness at the brewery on October 25th. Here is the latest info…

  • We will open the brewery gates at noon on the 25th.
  • The first 700 people can purchase up to 6 bottles of Darkness.
  • Cost is gonna be $100 for 6 bottles. Tax included and cash only.
  • We’ll have some bands.
  • Food and beer for sale at the brewery.

$100? Really? I mean, I guess when you figure that we are talking about six 750’s, and it works out to <$17 a bottle then it's not so bad. But when you realize that they seem to think that it's likely that more than 700 people are going to be willing to shell out a Benjamin for this magic nectar...wow. just wow.

I'll admit to never having tried Darkness before. Maybe I can score 6 bottles, drink one, and sell the rest on eBay?

In unrelated news of awesome:

things not to do on a sunday…

  1. Eat ice cream
  2. Take the lord’s name in vain
  3. Go motorcycle shopping

I didn’t do the first yesterday, as I was still pretty full from the 8 hour graze fest that was Saturday’s BBQ. The second is something I do on a regular basis, so I’m pretty sure I got my fill of that. And #3, while not a complete failure, was not as productive as it could have been, thanks to both Motoprimo and Sportwheels being closed (not that we bothered to look that up or call before driving to Lakeville and Jordan).

The day was not a complete waste however, because Lee’s South was open, and I was able to get a feel for a few bikes, and I think I can now narrow my search for The New Toy down to either the Suzuki SV650 or the GS500 (clickey here for magic comparison technologies!). Preferably, I’d like to find one of these used, but they seem to be the type of bikes that people are holding on to, so I might just bite the bullet an pay the $5200 MSRP for the GS500. These are the only two bikes that I’ve really seen that marry my desire for a sporty look with my need to have a bike that will be comfortable for my not-little-girl-sized frame.

This coming Saturday, is my company’s official state fair day, during which I will walk around wearing a fugly t-shirt in the hope of winning at $50 amazon gift certificate, but afterwards, the search for The New Toy shall continue…