Saturday, December 27, 2008

Was going to blog something

Then I became distracted... then I didn't want to blog...
10pm... Tired... Want to wake up and feel like running. It's so cold...

I want to read...

I need to finish "Tough guys don't dance."... I hadn't realized that they made it into a movie with ryan oneal... there is a sort of irony there with ryan oneal being a 'tough guy'....

I'm trying to come up with something.

I'll come back in a few minutes....
Little while back I was looking at Julie's site, Checked out HCwDB... I can't believe those guys take themselves so seriously... then I realized how many were either from OC California or New Jersey.... then it made sense.

Yep.... All I have.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Well!!! seems like it's over

Nothing puts a spring to my step like christmas being over.... now if we can get new years, and winter over... we will have something.

10 more hours

I can almost smell it.... this is the only good part about the holidays, the naping reading and naping...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

24 hours to go

I mean really it is 48 hours till xmas is over.... I always have that question... what do I do on Christmas?.

I'm hoping to find a good fiction book to crank out over the next few days.... or maybe a bad one... what if I started reading romance novels..... that would be creepy....

all I have

Monday, December 22, 2008

Where was I...

So, last we knew I was looking for something good to do for somebody else, but not one of the ungrateful entitled people in my life.

I wake up the next day, thinking Hmmmm.... what to do. Sure enough There is my brother... who "Pops in" to get me to put his daughter's bike together. Of course it's more like "how if You show me how to do it."

I get my cup of coffee, say.." Ok put it in the bike stand, and we will work on it."

"No, I'd rather do it in the garage."

"but it's dark in the garage, and all my tools are near the bike stand."

"we can do it, on the workbench."

So, I watch him struggle with it for 30 minutes.

"no, this is fine.", he said.

BTW, he doesn't even clear the workbench, just sort of places his stuff in the middle of all my crap.

Finally I go and grab my bike stand, bring it into the garage, grab the bike Throw it in. 10 minutes later it's assembled.

"oh, that was easier."
(let me just start by complaining how much Y'all like to realize you need help, but then refuse to listen, or be engaged enough to be helped)

OK... Time for the Gearing on a fucking shitty 13 speed K-mart mtn bike.

"this is the way it works, "First you get placement of the dérailleurs, then we set the limits, then cable tension. In that order."

"ok, I get it" he said

I show him how to put a skrewdriver in the mechanism and move it from limit to limit, then say "get it to go from the big ring to the small ring."I go and have breakfast and more coffee, I come back and he is struggling to pull the cable very tight, and tighten it in the clamp.

"does it go from high to low?"

"I figured I'd do this first? but it's tough....."


I say, "Alright, it has to be done in proper order, And most of the time all the cable has to have is no slack, and you are good."

So, I start again, undo the cable. get the mechanism to work right. tighten up the cable...

Well it's off just a bit. because all the dérailleurs flex like the pop steel that they are made of... but after a few tries, I get it all dialed in.

4 hours of joyous Kmart bike joy....

I then some time untill the next christmas nightmare unfolds.... Sure enough My dad calls, his Sewer is clogged.....

2 days later, giving up my sunday, still getting up at 4am to be ready to do my work thing, and spending most of it covered in grey water and "Else".... All because those damn sons of bitch plumbers don't know what they are doing......

Ya, sure dad... everything is easier when you get someone else to do it for you.... and had I not done it, mom and dad wouldn't have showered for a week....
BAH!!!! HUMBUG!!!!

Christmas will be a joy if nobody calls...

ever wonder why I hate the phone?

and trust me, if I asked my brother to help me with anything, he would tell me to shove it where the sun doesn't shine... He is busy watching sitcoms...

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Trying to remember.

It's been so long since, I ran around the valley dropping off Christmas cheer. I can't remember if it was 2 years ago or 3. No need to answer, it's better to wonder.
I was over at J-Rad's blog, I read all the blogs, with an exception or 2. Things are insane for me these days. I have stress to the level where I suspect impending Strokes... and this isn't My old Psychosomatic stuff, like were I feel some minor pain, and think I have a Tumor. Point is I don't write very much any more, which is a pity, Every once in a while I suspect I have a knack for telling a story, though this run on sentence, and this blog for the past year doesn't show it. Over there it reminded I'm not the only one who hates this Holiday.

What I was getting at, is that I'm very much "The Grinch". Even worse this woman I'm "kind of Seeing", was on the phone with her,(I must like her, because I used the words phone and her in the same sentence.), and she brought up Christmas, and I just grumbled and mumbled about it, Roughly saying that the best thing is when it's over, which is cause to celebrate, and that at this point we only have One more hard month and we can start thinking about spring.... of course it is that grim month of blackness and cold....

So, she feels all sorry for me.... Talk about adding asshole to injury, to be felt sorry for, because I just admit what a horror Christmas is.
I guess that is part of Christmas, to make other people feel good about it who hate it so bad. Even if you are doing it out of empathy.

I guess with just a few days left before the day.... Maybe I want to try and do something. Maybe In order to get rid of my Christmas gloom and doom, Maybe I'll perform some random act of Kindness.

I'm going to reflect on this, and maybe this is the way to ward off that Holiday Nightmare, of greed and Gluttony.
Will it help if I challenge the rest of You Grinches to do the same thing?

Maybe this is the lesson, I/We can take from that Christmas a few years ago, Maybe some Random Act of Kindness in your community, maybe a Walk Cleaned of snow, or some other Kindness, Especially one that doesn't involve money... Especially to reach out to one of those people you know who do not feel "entitled", to your kindness.

Maybe try and give the holidays, the meaning that it should, as opposed to the Orgy of Ipod Greed that it's become.

then I dare you to blog about it... or not.
Random act of kindness

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


I'm in the middle of reading Kapital...

Nothing better than Socialist reading material when in the middle of an economic collapse... I think Marx was a better philosopher than economist.
So, one reason I'm optimistic about the economy, was the Dollar, which up until a few weeks ago was doing quite well,(cutest girl from the singles ward, kind of thing) and yet... in the past few weeks we have seen what is a death spiral move. Now I was hopeful that the reversal had been severe, which reflected... good things, yet here we are and the counter correction has been just as severe.

my biggest concern is how much instability it shows. The way I read economics, we need stability... this is not so much stability. Just to let you know back in july that was the dollar with $150 oil. Oil prices are $45 here, but in the rest of the world they are more like $30 right now.

Lets just hope this is just a correction..... Cause I'm with Kudlow on this, " you can't weaken your currency into prosperity."

Real housewives of Orange county, or real housewives of Atlanta... makes me want to slit my wrists.

Monday, December 15, 2008

I'm always hoping for something to blog about.

I was self conscious a while ago, since somebody blogs about something... and I just throw in my 2 cents.

I received an award once, one of those gag awards: "Everybody is entitled to my opinion." Yep, that is me, can't do anything about it.

I'm in sort of a toil mode. I was reading some Marx, earlier.

SO 8th photo of 8th folder.Look how interesting...

Ok, you are getting Jipped...
070415_165833 by you.
Here is an oldie, that was a great hike.

Over the summer some quail moved into the garden, they are harmless, and seems like part of the ecosystem, I'm against throwing the ecosystem of the garden off, so... They are company.

Hmmm, this seems like a good time for this. So, I've been spending this time "Trading that hororshow that we call a stockmarket." You know, we have these crazy notions we get from Hollywierd, which are mostly brokers and financial advisors all dressed up in suits coining money doing very little but giving out poor advice.

The reality is very different. In fact some of the things you have to do are so counter intutative, it's gut Wrenching sometimes. Most people involved get about 4 hours of sleep a night, and suffer tons of sleep disturbance... some of my Real friends are Jellous... almost bitter, all they see is that it's like making money from nothing. I stare at charts for 3 hours a day, watch several charts live from 7:30-2. Spend the rest of my time reading newspapers, and news flow. All of that is about 12 hours of my day. The rest of the time is spent wondering what will happen, filling my head with "If->Then" statements.

as much as I have massive disdain for the entire financial industry, anyone who makes decent money at it, works very hard... Not to say that there aren't some worthless shitbags, Leveraging a Ponzi scheme at 40-1, even losing a shitload of peoples money, who still Bank shit loads of money...

but I still have friends who somehow think that it's easy..

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Toffee Redux

I was making toffee and was reminded of the old toffee posts. I figured I'd repost them.

Toffee 1 of 4

Toffee, Game on!!!!!!!

Ingredients needed are:

2 cups milk chocolate(I used to use the big Hersheys bars)

2 cups nuts(pecan's or walnuts... these are $$$$$ so you can reduce if you want.)

2 cups sugar

2 cups butter-1 pound-4 cubes

(I know....... Take one pound of fat, and put one pound of sugar in it, and then cover it in 2 pounds of chocolate and nuts......... Ya!!!!! You don't have to tell me. Normally I stretch it out and do a little over a cup of chocolate, and a little under a cup of nuts. someone once told me about a meatball, wrapped in bacon,covered in sausage, Deep-Fried, then candied... this is that bad)

1-2 Cups Chocolate Coarsely ground, as seen in bag to the right.

1-2 cups Pecans, some say walnuts

Nuts should be ground into small pieces,

but not powdered, Maybe the size of aspirin and a little smaller.

They can be chopped with a knife if your hoping to burn some calories doing this.

I use that little food processor below. Notice my coffee pot in the background...mmmm coffee.

Grinding chocolate manually will require a cheese grater. I always thought was fun as a kid. But.. to do this, and in order to get chocolate to grind up really well, chocolate needs to be frozen in the freezer and then can be ground. And... Us cyclists have such good circulation that chocolate just melts in my/our hands the second I/we touch it.

So I actually use a Salad shooter. :) And it rocks... years ago the worst part of toffee was the grinding... the difference between this process and the one I grew up on is so much easier... It literally used to take a team.

And have burned up 3 salad shooters in my 5 years of doing this.

did you know they are hard to find if it's not X-mas.

There it is Full color. Here is the calorie count.

6 oz of chocolate(one cup, not 2)= 900 calories

1 cup pecans= 900 calories

2 cups Butter= 1600 calories

2 cups Sugar= 1600 calories

Grand total= 5000 Calories or roughly 2 pounds of body fat per batch.(roughly)

So, I switch over to a Teflon pan 2 years ago. The pan on the right is the one I used before the Teflon. There are 2 reasons the Teflon is superior. less chance for your toffee to burn or "Smoke". Cleanup is so much easier, Before the Teflon I had to scrub the pot after every batch. Now I just rinse it.

To be continued...

toffee 2 of 4

Ok, here we go....... Take one stick of the 4 sticks of butter, in a one pound box(one pound butter = 2 Cups)(With Salt(FYI there is salted butter and unsalted)) Spread some butter on a cookie sheet(your not using the whole stick, just a bit of it). You're greasing the cookie sheet. Spread 1/2 to 1 cup ground chocolate on the pan(300-1000 calories) Then spread 1/2 to 1 cup ground nuts on the pan. (Notice the towel under the pan, insulation from the counter will be important later, as I poor 2 pounds of 300 degree sugar and butter onto it.)

It is Key that you have 1/2 -1 cup ground, both nuts and chocolate sitting in reserve at this point. At this point go Pee, take a crap, take the garbage out... Whatever, cause your going to be busy once you start the next step... In 45(can be less) minutes this batch will be done. and you get to stir that whole time..... you may need a sidekick.A Sancho to your Don Quixote.

Ok, Seriously Game on!!!!!!!! Put that game face on and get ready to dig in, Stretch it out, breathing and focus exercises. Time to Rock!!!!

The rest of the 1 lb box of butter(4 sticks including the one you greased the pan with), and 2 cups sugar into the pan med to medium high heat(sure, you can melt the butter first then add the sugar, that's safer. I usually just put it all together and run and check my e-mail). Go medium if your using stainless steel I've done toffee on High heat, but seriously I paid for my Hubris. It is possible but it's way advanced and I don't do it anymore. As the butter melts you still have time to Pee or whatever... but after that your screwed once the butter melts you get to stir constantly till it's done.

Have I made it clear enough that the stirring is everything in Toffee, As a kid me my mom and my sister all had to take turns as the lactic acid built up in our arms... As cyclists be weary of that build up and that this is where your backup/sidekick comes in.... I on the other hand have built up the slow twitch necessary to do this on my own... I suspect that most of your Cardiovascular abilities are up to this task of stirring a pot for 45 minutes, but do not take this lightly... or you end up with a pot full of ($5-$10 worth)Burned Sugary gue at the end of this process.

Toffee 3 of 4

The Stirring.... Ok, it's all about state changes.... first the butter and the sugar don't mix at all(from previous post) and over a few minutes the two will combine and you kind of get this Foam like bubbly stuff.

Ok, I'm going to stop and talk about candy thermometers... I have 2, I hate them both. Nothing like a thermometer to screw up some toffee. Hard Crack is what we are going for..... These are the Candy states in order.... Soft Ball, Hard ball, Soft Crack, and Hard Crack.... all the ones below hard crack are a bunch of silly stuff like Caramels, and Nut Brittle, and divinity(which is fucking hard to do "Divinity", problem is in the end all you get in divinity(tastes like a bad marshmallow... But according to some it "Tastes like heaven"). There is only Toffee in Bob's world.... That's it... there is no substitute...

Ok Hard crack BTW is 300+ degrees, here in Utah you have to go to about 310 because of the altitude. Now the names of these candy states have to do with this:

What happens, when you put some of your confection in a glass of water with ice... Soft ball, hard ball, soft crack, hard crack. you taste it!!! hard crack shatters in your teeth, not shatters your teeth. but should literally smash into powder.

5 minutes of stirring.Ok, state 1 Soft Ball....(below) what starts happening is that the butter starts to separate out of the mix(much less foamy)... and you have to stir progressively harder to get the butter back into the mix.(it's probably more the fat from the butter... but ..)

State 2 hard ball (below) ok its very hard to keep the butter/fat in the mix. 15 minutes of stirring. This may give you some idea of how hard I'm stirring at this point(below)

Hand of Bob!!!... are you tired yet.... about half way done......

Toffee post 4 of 4

Ok, so your stirring is getting difficult, almost impossible to stir it enough to keep the butter/fat into the mix.... This is good news your 15 minutes from being done. See how it's impossible now to keep it together....

At this point I'm stirring just short of making it fly out of the pan..... Just let me warn you how tragic 2 pounds of 300 Degree sugar and butter would be if it did come out of the pan, and landed on you or someone/something you care about.... These colors are not indicative of the color toffee should be at this point. if your toffee is this dark... you may be in trouble... if your done and it's this dark you may be ok.

Ok the Below color is representative of what it should look like. and notice it's getting smooth and the butter fat is coming back into it.

Ah Ha..... Sugar and butter are now one again...... This is Soft Crack!!!!!!!! this is not the proper color(damn camera)... Here is the next key... there is still a slight granular texture to the Toffee... and that goes away at hard crack.But you can use the water glass method...or... a thermometer... but realize sometimes the thermometer is measuring the butter fat and not the sugar....

What happens in the next 5 minutes is the difference between good toffee and Great Toffee... Ok here it is again (below) This is very close. at this point it's would be much easier to do in a stainless pan at lower heat because the state change isn't as fast. .... The Glass of water.... Ok at this point you start putting it into the little glass of water next to you.... When you taste it.... what should happen is that it should almost shatter in your teeth, throwing a beautiful powder around your mouth *Crunch* *Poof* It should not be chewy... But if that's what you get its still Yummy.... Also you must still rapidly stir... at this point the more you stir the less "Smokey" it will be.... Ok, one year I worked my ass off and my toffee was White as snow, no "smokiness" at all.... it was awfully... Toffee has to be a little brown. But it's like when you cook marshmallows by a camp fire... There is a light brown caramelized.. and then there is burned sugar that gives you heartburn.

So I don't have a picture of a final product in the pot, because the time to take a picture could mess it up.. So Seriously what is slightly granular above goes away(without burning.... If it starts to smoke. give up and throw it on the cookie sheet, better to have underdone toffee(soft crack, slightly chewie, than burned toffee.) don't waist $5 of chocolate and nuts on $5 of burned sugar... Know when to give up and toss it.... you may lose 5 but you won't lose 10.

Once the toffee is done quickly stir in a Teaspoon or 2 of Vanilla(Optional) Other options would be to add Almonds or the other nuts just as you pull it off the stove. if they are unroasted nuts you need to add them 5-10 minutes before this

then poor the mix onto the sheet.

ok throw the pan in the sink after your done poring and throw the nuts on it, then give it a few moments and start the chocolate... You want to put the chocolate on top at the point that it doesn't sink into it completely. your just trying to coat the outside with chocolate. Notice there is a towel under the cookie sheet... this shit is hot....

5-7k Calories of Toffee Joy

Alright get that pan clean as you let it cool Nonstick this takes 2 minutes, stainless steel. this could go for 30 minutes.When you scorch the stainless pan while stirring, don't grind at it with your spoon... try and keep the scorched toffee from building but don't grind at that stuff or it will ruin the whole batch.... From what I remember about stainless steel toffee making..... also you have to stir twice as hard with stainless. and twice as long... but to be honest I bet with stainless you burn 300-400 calories per batch. as opposed to maybe 200-300 with Teflon.

After the pan is clean, I take the pan of toffee out to the porch outside to cool off(away from animals).

in an hour or 2, bring it back in and break the toffee into small pieces.. make sure the whole pan is cool.

3 batches of toffee.

*Plonk*... This is where I'm a total snob.... The top one was 1 minute from being perfect. middle needed about 30 seconds more... but it's excellent. Bottom one was a bit overdone.

It took me till noon the next day to recover from the 600-800(probably 6-8 pieces) calories of pure toffee bliss I ate, just testing it out. I try and have food on hand like soup or something while I'm making it or I tend to eat tons of toffee, which if your going to kill yourself with food, is the way to do it. If your going to be Tubby, this is it. don't waist your time on shitty cardboard Burgers...

Dogbert figures out subprime.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Grand Torino

I saw, the clint eastwood movie. It's not million dollar baby, but it's solid.

I made my first batch of toffee. Not good for me, I like to toffee... You all have no idea how obsessive I am about it. Not only do I have to have it be good, but I'm always working on that "perfect toffee"..
I guess it's like people, "All toffee is perfect, but it could use a little work."

of course then we burn it sometimes... Not sure how it applies to life.

I hate christmas, just a few more days left, then new years and it's all over. Then it's just a few months left, and winter is all over.... Yippee...

Damn I hate Christmas...

"I did say the movie was just 'ok', didn't I".

We do get a reprieve of the Clint Eastwood singing career. I'm not sure how I feel about the Jesus stuff, in the movie.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Red Dawn

I figure it's the Armageddon MEME going around these days, but some of the movie channels have been running "RED DAWN". What a great movie... You just have to love it.
Patric Swazie's Character's dad,"You know boys, I was hard on you, sometimes even did things that made you hate me... You understand now!, don't you!?"

"Cant afford to be crying now, I don't want any of you boys to ever cry for me."
And how hot was Jennifer Grey, Skrewed herself up with that nose job, silly girl.

Also Did you hear Patrick Swayze has pancreatic cancer, I suspect the prognosis isn't good.

It also brings a question up, "Are Eagle Scouts, Leaders of a Paramilitary organization?"

You know, Sometimes we have to ask, then answer "Who are we?, and What's the point?"(sorry different media reference.)

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Some days

I look out from my little terminal here, and it's like I can see across the planet, into infinity.

Then there are the days that I sit here, and it's like looking at a brick wall.

The Buddha sat in front of a wall and when he arose he was enlightened.....


Here we go again

... I haven't posted in a while, the thought occurred to me that Art was dying to know what I think of the auto bailout/Rescue, or not, or he assumes he knows.

To start off I'm agnostic about it, I suspect that to some of you it's a moral question. To me I just want to know what is going to happen, and bet accordingly.

I stated before that this thing will resolve in some kind of "moral Collapse", I was pointed to a story a few months ago "The Fable of the Bees", in the story there is a breakout of Morality, and the bees refuse to work because of it and the hive failed. If it's "Price Controls" or a Trade War... or something, I think in a socioeconomic way, that is the outcome that is most probable.

Congress is all abuzz about how once the banks got the money "they havn't lent it.". Well, half the banks didn't have strong enough ballance sheets to take that risk. Most are waiting for a more meaningfull recovery in the economy, so that they know they won't need aditional money for loan loss reserves. And those with excess money, well... do we realy think that they should just throw 250 billion into the pockets of the first drunks that show up at the teller windows. My point is that Congress is poised to do some very stupid things, out of moral outrage.... Sort of a "I'll show you, I'll cut my nose off to spite my face"

The problem I see... When you provide "Bridge financing" what a company will do, instead of making cuts, and getting Leaner, is that they will just shove their heads up their ass and pretend it's all not happening. I'd propose that the car manufacturers will do the same thing.

If one has a conversation with me about cars IRL, I like to point out that there are only about 5 types of cars, and the only difference is slight differences in the shapes, Very slight. Seems like we could use about 20 less models. And I'd love for a new line to come out "The Functional" Comes in white black red blue, a 2 door, a 4 door, a Minivan, and a truck. Has no features and is very light, all models get over 30 MPG.... that advertisement says "gets you where you are going".