Anger Burger

Trick or Treat?

Posted by on Oct 31, 2011 at 6:59 am

Goodbye Guacamole House.

Goodbye California.

Goodbye squirrel archenemies.

As you read this we hurtle forth along I-5 for wetter pastures.  It is time for me to wallow in the beaver swamps for a while and rejuvenate my newt skin.  And for Mike the Viking to hunt and pickle some shark fat.

All things must end, including ThinkTank’s dignity.

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Entropy

Posted by on Oct 23, 2011 at 3:35 pm

I keep waking up thinking that I’d had an especially dust-allergy aggrivating nightmare and then I REMEMBER THAT IT IS ALL REAL.

But the great dragon has been slayed, at least:

The kitchen is formally done, minus the stuff we’re still actively eating over the next week.  And all the cleaning supplies.  And that one giant pan that won’t fit in any boxes so I guess I’ll just throw it in the back of the moving truck by itself.

My mom sent Mike the Viking the greatest birthday card I have seen in my entire life:

And now I will attempt to drink an entire bottle of wine out of a single paper cup before the wine seeps through the welds.

8 Posted in Drama!

There is Not Enough Vodka in the World

Posted by on Oct 18, 2011 at 10:52 pm

Let’s have Bullet Time:

  • I’m still miffed that Chelsea Handler now owns all the vodka jokes.
  • I keep forgetting to tell you about this old article my dad sent me about the cutlery tattoo bandwagon.  We get it.  You love eating.  You know how I prove I love eating?  I got this radical muffin top.  Check it out, deeeewds.
  • I’ve had two food-related celebrity run-ins this week.  The first was at the farmer’s market where a woman said “Hello!” to my friend Hatherly very familiarly, so I assumed she was Hatherly’s friend and just smiled and didn’t get a good look at her.  Then Hatherly whispered to me, “Was that Alicia Silverstone?”  I turned to look, and yes.  Yes it was.  The second was when our friend Scott and Mike and I went to a coffee shop where I stared at a woman’s tattoo for some time before realizing A) that she totally cut in line¹ and B) she sounded like Leela from Futurama.  Probably because she was Katey Sagal.
  • Today was the Viking’s birthday!  But he wanted to hibernate in his office and play computer games all day, so I cooked him quiche and a Victory Pie and we will continue to celebrate his birthday over the week.  Tonight’s dinner marks the last of the functional kitchen days, as tomorrow I start packing it all up.
  • I went on a sugar binge and almost immediately had a serious Crohn’s flare up.  I am furious at what is turning out to be consistent anecdotal evidence that my disease wants to me stop eating sugar.  Furious and miserable.  Sugar is my drug.  Well, sugar and fat.  And opiates.

¹ What made me even realize she’d cut was that she was so apologetic and sheepish about it.

10 Posted in Totally Unrelated

Not Quite Rock Bottom, But Close

Posted by on Oct 12, 2011 at 2:49 pm

Under normal circumstances I’d never let anyone see this.  Mike the Viking doesn’t even know about them, though I’m not sure he’d care as long as I keep his axe polished.  That also wasn’t a metaphor, but he does like it when I do things with his penis as well.

So, what should I call them?  Humiliation Bites?  Spinster Nibbles?  Shame Snax?  All I know is that Jezebel.com is going to declare a shehad¹ against me for damaging the respectability of women everywhere, and I don’t give a shit.

Just this one image should give you an idea of the horrific, Lovecraftian direction I’m going with this:

That’s pickled jalapenos, cream cheese and fake crab.  Normally I get the crab nuggets because then I don’t have to cut the crab, but only “leg style” was available the other day.  That’s how fucking awful and great this is.

I feel a compulsion toward honesty in my sharing this at all, but if I’m being true with myself I have to admit that I normally put more cream cheese on them.  So that was my humiliation line in the sand.

And behold the wretchedness and tremble in its might:

I’d like to defend myself by pointing out that if this were wrapped in rice it would be the special of the day in a college town’s most cut-rate sushi restaurant, but now that I read it all written out like that I’m not certain that’s a defense I want to make.

¹ Like a jihad, but way judgy-er.

12 Posted in Make It So, True Story

Keep On Keepin’ On

Posted by on Oct 9, 2011 at 12:23 pm

The dog is recovering in normal dog fashion, in that she seems as though nothing traumatic happened to her until she suddenly crashes out into deep coma-like naps.  I, on the other hand, am entering into that second-guessing everything stage.

While the vet was right about what needed to be done – the lump had to be sent for biopsy, the tooth was abcessed, the nails too long for non-sedated clipping – I don’t think we’d stay with him in the future, were we staying in Los Angeles.  I don’t like that he told me that dogs didn’t have any recovery to worry about when having molars removed — when pressed he admitted that they could possibly get dry socket like humans, and should probably not eat hard food for “a day or two”.

He was also very offhand about the very reason I took her to him in the first place, that she has an infection around her fingernails.  The home-care for this is a tiny $20 container of  damp antibacterial wipes that are almost impossible to get in and around her nail bed because of the stiff hairs there.  I called and asked how well I should be cleaning them – should I be scrubbing them clean or just wiping them down? – and was given another vague answer of “Just wipe them clean as best you can.”  To which I answer: well, which is it?  Just wipe them clean?  Or as best as I can? Because as best as I can involves stuffing the stupid pad up under her fingernails and up under the hairs, which causes her visible discomfort.

It was my mom who pointed out that I like to know precisely how to do things, and my vet is of the old school philosophy that animal recovery just sort of works out if you surgically remove anything weird and then give them some antibiotics.

I sadly set about making the last pie of the Guacamole House, using the phyllo crust alternative, and was not at all surprised that it turned out way too sweet.  I mean, I was surprised, but not surprised that the last pie of the house would be a fucked up one.

I had some nectarines going south, and a few Honeycrisp apples, as well as some frozen blueberries and about half a cup of dried sour cherries that needed using.  Normally I hate getting rid of food just to get rid of it, but pies are natural recipients of the kitchen-sink method.  Anyway, it was a lot of fruit and I added a loose cup of brown sugar, which would normally be just right for the same amount of apples.  If they are tart apples, which these were not.  Also: overripe nectarines.  And ripe blueberries.  And a sugary phyllo crust. I mean, it was delicious, I just had to snack on some potato chips between servings of the pie, I’m no fool.

4 Posted in Drama!, Food Rant

“I’m just going to take the dog for a check-up before we move.”

Posted by on Oct 5, 2011 at 10:58 pm

That was many, many, many dollars ago.  It’s less funny now.

Each of her little fingernails had a bacterial infection of unknown origin and needed to be scraped back to get the antibiotic way up under her nail beds, which gives me the willies, and we all agreed was way too painful unless she was put under anesthesia, which is no small risk for dogs with faces shaped like hers.   Her nails had also been unusually long as long as we’ve had her, for which there is literally no treatment but to cut them way, way back and cauterize the blood vessel inside the nails, and clearly this is also something you do only when a dog is under general anesthesia.  So we agreed to that.  Then I mentioned the little lump on her side she’s always had but that hasn’t changed size.  Then the vet asked when her teeth were last cleaned.  And then they found the abcessed tooth.

Basically, everyone had a rough fucking day¹.  Well, mostly Tank, she’s the one that got her fingernails chopped off, a thing taken out of her side and a tooth yanked.  But she got cheese and fresh lamb and sweet potato at the other end of it.  We decided that in order to earn her keep she must now learn to play the squeeze box.

¹ I totally cried at the vet like a crazy dog lady.

22 Posted in Drama!

Moving Month: What Poor Choices Have Taught Me

Posted by on Oct 4, 2011 at 7:14 pm

The down side to this expensive and often frustrating cooking hobby that I have is that it’s not a great hobby for someone that moves regularly, which is me.  It’s not by choice, though I’ll admit to no small amount of blind stupidity on my part.  Maybe “blind optimism” is a better choice of words, though anyone who knows me will snort at the use of the word “optimism” in conjunction with myself.

We’re sad to be leaving Guacamole House, but it’s time to be closer to our families again.  My mom is also a medical celebrity because she’s officially had more of the particular chemotherapy she’s on than any other human being in the history of human beings and I expect we’ll be doing the talkshow circuit soon and will need me to be her business manager, so you know.  Time to head back north.

Moving!  Moving is the most tremendous bullshit, but you already know this.  What you may not know are some things that I’ve learned through trial and trial.  And some error.  But mostly trial.

  • This is worth the cost:

    It is U Haul brand packing paper, and I’m sure you can find cheaper paper somewhere in town, but the U Haul stores are always nearby, and at this point in the moving process I say fuck it. I wouldn’t move without buying at least one box and maybe two. $10 or $20 is a small price to pay to responsibly pack your breakables with padded abandon. When I was younger I used newsprint and discovered at our destination that everything I packed in newsprint – MY ENTIRE KITCHEN – now needed to be washed in hot soapy water to get the ink back off it, and She-Hulk was angry.

  • Speaking of spending money on name-brand stuff, this is the tape ninjas use:

    It is Duck brand HP260 tape, and I have no idea what that designation is supposed to mean, but I assume the HP stands for “Harry Potter”. All I know is that for several moves we have used either Scotch brand packing tape or generic, and both came unstuck on our boxes to varying degrees. I even used Scotch tape that is supposedly designed for use on cardboard boxes, and that crap peeled off the easiest of all. Our last move I bought the Duck brand, and it’s the stickiest, meanest tape in all the land and I’ll never use anything else.  Be advised that I can only find it at Staples.

  • Reward systems are where it’s at.  I get very overwhelmed and frustrated during the packing process where it seems like we’ve made little progress and still have so, so much more to do.  Today is that day for me.  Tomorrow might be as well.  But I generally know that things work out, and to just put my head down and pack another box.  Don’t think about the big picture, just pack another box.  In between boxes, I get rewards.  Usually it’s that I get to check my email and blog feeds.  Sometimes it’s a chocolate bon-bon.  Later in the day I’m allowed to have a beer for each box packed – if I start this too early, I’ll fall asleep at like 4pm.  Same with the emergency Vicodin stash.
  • Get rid of stuff.  This is one of the hardest lessons, since moving is a balance of saving money versus saving effort.  Mike and I have continuously over the last few years moved with furniture that we hate.  But we keep it because it’s convenient and we need it on the other end.  We convince ourselves that after we move we’ll replace that stupid side-table with a radical Hobbit side-table that we actually like.  After 10 years, this has never happened.  This move we are trying harder.  I’ve listed multiple items on Craigslist, and if they don’t sell they are going to Goodwill.  Period.  There have also been more personal purges, because I have the time and I’m in the mood.  My mental position is: if it had burned in a house fire, would I mourn its loss?  No?  Then it can die in the garbage bin.
  • Pharmeceuticals are your friends, particularly if you have Crohn’s disease.  Moving drama is the worst of the worst for my Crohn’s though so far (KNOCK ON EVERYTHING) my health is under control.  If you have access to drugs during this time, for god’s sake, take them.  Do not be above altering your own chemistry!  That’s why we evolved brains, for fucks’ sake, to make things better.  A little Xanax while moving is no different then getting your teeth cleaned at the dentist or wearing warmer socks in winter.  I, of course, do not have health insurance, so I have to treat my pain with macaroni & cheese and the occasional donut or seven.  And cuddles:
    , particularly if you have Crohn’s disease.  Moving drama is the worst of the worst for my Crohn’s though so far (KNOCK ON EVERYTHING) my health is under control.  If you have access to drugs during this time, for god’s sake, take them.  Do not be above altering your own chemistry!  That’s why we evolved brains, for fucks’ sake, to make things better.  A little Xanax while moving is no different then getting your teeth cleaned at the dentist or wearing warmer socks in winter.  I, of course, do not have health insurance, so I have to treat my pain with macaroni & cheese and the occasional donut or seven.  And cuddles:

The down side to this expensive and often frustrating cooking hobby that I have is that it’s not a great hobby for someone that moves regularly, which is me.  It’s not by choice, though I’ll admit to no small amount of blind stupidity on my part.  Maybe “blind optimism” is a better choice of words, though anyone who knows me will snort at the use of the word “optimism” in conjunction with myself.

We’re sad to be leaving Guacamole House, but it’s time to be closer to our families again.  My mom is also a medical celebrity because she’s officially had more of the particular chemotherapy she’s on than any other human being in the history of human beings and I expect we’ll be doing the talkshow circuit soon and will need be to me her business manager, so you know.  Time to head back north.

Moving!  Moving is the most tremendous bullshit, but you already know this.  What you may not know are some things that I’ve learned through trial and trial.  And some error.  But mostly trial.

  • This is worth the cost:

    It is U Haul brand packing paper, and I’m sure you can find cheaper paper somewhere in town, but the U Haul stores are always nearby, and at this point in the moving process I say fuck it. I wouldn’t move without buying at least one box and maybe two. $10 or $20 is a small price to pay to responsibly pack your breakables with padded abandon. When I was younger I used newsprint and discovered at our destination that everything I packed in newsprint – MY ENTIRE KITCHEN – now needed to be washed in hot soapy water to get the ink back off it, and She-Hulk was angry.

  • Speaking of spending money on name-brand stuff, this is the tape ninjas use:

    It is Duck brand HP260 tape, and I have no idea what that designation is supposed to mean, but I assume the HP stands for “Harry Potter”. All I know is that for several moves we have used either Scotch brand packing tape or generic, and both came unstuck on our boxes to varying degrees. I even used Scotch tape that is supposedly designed for use on cardboard boxes, and that crap peeled off the easiest of all. Our last move I bought the Duck brand, and it’s the stickiest, meanest tape in all the land and I’ll never use anything else.  Be advised that I can only find it at Staples.

  • Reward systems are where it’s at.  I get very overwhelmed and frustrated during the packing process where it seems like we’ve made little progress and still have so, so much more to do.  Today is that day for me.  Tomorrow might be as well.  But I generally know that things work out, and to just put my head down and pack another box.  Don’t think about the big picture, just pack another box.  In between boxes, I get rewards.  Usually it’s that I get to check my email and blog feeds.  Sometimes it’s a chocolate bon-bon.  Later in the day I’m allowed to have a beer for each box packed – if I start this too early, I’ll fall asleep at like 4pm.  Same with the emergency Vicodin stash.
  • Get rid of stuff.  This is one of the hardest lessons, since moving is a balance of saving money versus saving effort.  Mike and I have continuously over the last few years moved with furniture that we hate.  But we keep it because it’s convenient and we need it on the other end.  We convince ourselves that after we move we’ll replace that stupid side-table with a radical Hobbit side-table that we actually like.  After 10 years, this has never happened.  This move we are trying harder.  I’ve listed multiple items on Craigslist, and if they don’t sell they are going to Goodwill.  Period.  There have also been more personal purges, because I have the time and I’m in the mood.  My mental position is: if it had burned in a house fire, would I mourn its loss?  No?  Then it can die in the garbage bin.
  • Pharmeceuticals are your friends, particularly if you have Crohn’s disease.  Moving drama is the worst of the worst for my Crohn’s though so far (KNOCK ON EVERYTHING) my health is under control.  If you have access to drugs during this time, for god’s sake, take them.  Do not be above altering your own chemistry!  That’s why we evolved brains, for fucks’ sake, to make things better.  A little Xanax while moving is no different then getting your teeth cleaned at the dentist or wearing warmer socks in winter.  I, of course, do not have health insurance, so I have to treat my pain with macaroni & cheese and the occasional donut or seven.  And cuddles:

Doggy Gets a Treat

Posted by on Oct 3, 2011 at 8:48 pm

I did not have high hopes for this box of chocolates.  They’d bloomed a little from the heat, and were pretty scuffed up.  There was no lid on the chocolates, just a sheet of plastic wrap.  I mean, don’t get me wrong: I’m the one that’s genuinely pleased when Mike the Viking buys me boxes of discount Russel Stover chocolates after Valentine’s Day has passed, but I’m pretty realistic about it.  It’s not the good chocolate, it’s the gobbling chocolate.

Hence my surprise that these came to understand that their battered and scruffy demeanor was due entirely to their packing mishap.

The chocolates themselves are very, very high in cocoa and palm fat, which means that they melt into chocolate sauce the second they hit your tongue.  No waxy Easter chocolates here.  The fillings were all unique, and I have to admit that I’ve never seen a more attractive assortment of chocolates in my life.  The box has turned into my packing reward: I finish a box, I get to cut a chocolate in half and share it with Mike.  I should have thought of this motivational system sooner.

0 Posted in Eatin' Fancy

Not Pikelets

Posted by on Oct 2, 2011 at 8:00 am

This is the exact kind of thing that Mike the Viking goes totally berserk over.  The blander and dryer the biscuit, the happier he is.  I suppose in this he’s the most British man I’ve ever known, possibly more even than actual British men.  I mean, it’s not a contest, everyone relax.

So: Welsh cakes.  There are many recipes¹ for them and if you’re interested, I encourage you to make them.  I’ll get around to it sometime in the next couple of months, just as soon as I have a kitchen again.  (Sorry, give me a moment while I clear the snot bubbles off my keyboard.)  Anyway, they are actually griddled, like a pancake.  But in flavor and texture they are closer to a sweet American buttermilk biscuit, or even a soft scone.  Very strange!  Really, you should take a whack at it.

Mike saw these in the package from Wales and threw his axe between myself and them, thus telling me to keep my hands off them.  I waited until he went out to fight jötnar and sampled one for myself.

To our great surprise, I really liked this version, and he was not wild about them.  He actually said they were too dry, which shocked me.  I mean, yes, they were very dry.  Which is normal, I think – don’t inhale while taking a bite from them or you’ll get crumb lung – but he said that homemade ones were better.  All I know is that these were surprisingly rich and buttery tasting, and despite needing to drink a glass of water, I couldn’t stop eating the one I had intended to take only a nibble from.

Truly, it rekindled my interest in a treat I had written off.  The world is a strange and confusing place.

¹ Just Google it, I don’t actually have a favorite recipe.

2 Posted in Food Rant

Breakfast of Champions

Posted by on Oct 1, 2011 at 11:24 am

I think it’s safe to say that I’m going into the crazy-laugh stage.  I drank four or maybe five beers in about three hours last night, I can’t really remember, and then I made a grilled cheese sandwich and watched House Hunters International while vowing to cut the ears off of people who remark snottily that the master bedroom is a little smaller than they “thought it was going to be.”

You see, we’re leaving the Guacamole House.  Our beloved Guacamole House.  But it’s okay because we’re moving to be near family, and that’s good, but then there’s this part in between where we have to play possessions-Tetris.  And I fucking hate possessions-Tetris.

I hate it so much that my breakfast today is Excedrin, super-mega-C and some 7-Up because that’s what my stomach can handle.

That’s not entirely true, I also tried these cheese-flavored oatcakes from Wales because the interior package was busted open from the hilarious packing job.  I pushed the paper box back into shape to take the photo, but it was gruesome.

I like oatcakes already, and these with cheese were totally tasty, as you might imagine.  I had to look up Caerphilly cheese to see what it was supposed to taste like, and there are few descriptions outside “salty” and “mild” which is good, because that’s what the oatcakes tasted like.  So, success, I suppose.

Apparently the slang for Caerphilly cheese is “the crumblies” which is entirely too accurate for what happened to the oatcakes.  ALSO.  The town of Caerphilly has a festival called The Big Cheese, which as near as I can tell is a Renaissance Fair with cheese, and I honestly can’t think of a better time unless there’s also a Firefly/Serenity convention there at the same time.

7 Posted in Drama!, Food Rant