Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Return of True Winter

Our unseasonably pleasant temperatures of the 40s and lower 50s have ended abruptly with a high of 9 degrees, three inches of snow overnight... and the drippings of the bathtub faucet creating a sheet of ice in my tub.

Viva, Wy-snow-ming!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Grubbin' With Fuzzy - Spinach... Stuff

When I was a wee lad, I didn't like spinach. Most kids don't at that age. It probably hadn't helped that my initial impressions were based on a block of frozen chopped spinach that had been heated up. bleh.

Then, my Dad made this. It didn't have a name, but wow, it was delicious. The truly amazing thing was that it combined several things that I simply didn't like and made them into mass of awesome (I still won't eat Swiss Cheese in anything but this).

I've recently made this twice, once for Thanksgiving, and once for a going away party for a former employee of my company.

I've given a name (tribute to Dad!), because I was tired of calling it "Spinach... stuff. With the, uh... things in it." Without further ado, here's the dish that will make you believe in the power of spinach:

** Spinach Emmett **
  • 2 Blocks Frozen Spinach, thawed
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 6 oz fresh or two 12 oz canned mushrooms (approximate)
  • 8 oz Swiss Cheese, shredded
  • Breadcrumbs, enough to cover an 8 x 11 area

1) If you're using fresh mushrooms, slice them, or chop them coarsely (large enough pieces to be positively identifiable as mushrooms and not brownish chunks of mystery foodstuffs).
2) Drain most of the water out of the spinach, but don't wring it dry.
3) Mix to combine the spinach, soup, mushrooms, and 2/3 of the cheese.
4) Spread half of mixture into a greased 8 x 11 baking dish.
5) Cover with the last of the cheese, and spread the other half of the mixture on top of that
6) Top with the breadcrumbs' this will keep it from drying out in the oven.
7) Bake at 300ish for, I dunno, about a half an hour or something.
8) Remove from oven and let it stand for a few minutes. Serves several.

Things to remember:
  • The cooktime and heat are approximate. I can't remember how long it was supposed to cook, nor the temperture, but just remember that you aren't cooking this, so much as you're warming it up enough to get the cheese melty.
  • My sister prefers the texture of whole leaf frozen spinach. I'm kinda partial to the chopped spinach.
  • It's been suggested that this could make a good spinach dip, but I've never tried it. I might add a seccond can of soup or mix in some sour cream or something to try it. Anyone that wants to give it an attempt please let me know how it turns out.
  • Over draining the spinach isn't a deal breaker, but the moisture makes the texture better. Here's a test you can do to test the spinach for the proper amount of moisture. Take a fist sized wad of it, and throw it against the wall, like you're throwing a good fastball. If it sticks to the wall, then there's too much water in it. If it bounces off the wall cleanly, then there's not enough moisture. If it hits the wall with a *splitch* and falls to the floor with a *thwup*, and leaves a nice splatter mark on the wall, then you've got it just right. I recommend you practice this technique on a fairly regular basis. If you have children, get them involved and make it a family activity.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Here We Go...

Batimore: 14
Pittsburgh: 23

Congratulations, Steelers, on winning the AFC Championship!

I was hoping for a Pittsburgh vs. Philadelphia Game, but I guess a we'll have to settle for beating up on Arizona.

And onward, to the Super Bowl!

UPDATE: You see, even Madden predicts the inevitable! Prepare for emotional letdown, Cards fans!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Fuzzy and The Four M's

Originally, I had considered saving this post for Valentine's Day, but Sarah, an acquaintance from the other side of the cowboy state that I've never met (new blogroll addition!) has had a poor experience recently in the realm of potential relationships, and now seemed appropriate. Besides, only hipsters and emo-kids would post something of this tone on V-Day, so it's probably best that I don't go that route. My friends that I have left behind in my exile have already heard this straight from my mouth, but It's long past time I put in in writing.

My parents, my friends, and just about my entire family all ask me the same thing when they ask about my new Wyoming lifestyle: "What are the women like up there?" or "Have you found a girlfriend yet?" This is when I tell them about The Four M's.

The Four M's are four traits of All of the women in Southwestern Wyoming. These traits make any pontential relationship a deal breaker. Some fall under more than one, a few others fall under all four, but ALL of them, as far as I can tell, fall under at least one. They are:

  1. Married - You're sweet, you're wonderful, you're attractive! We enjoy the same things, like the same music, you're- wearing a ring on your finger... sigh.
  2. Mothers - I don't like to label all single mothers this way, but statistically, you're carrying some baggage from a previous relationship, not to mention another responsibility. Maybe it's my own self-centered ego talking, but I'm not ready to jump into a prefabricated family, and any romantic attention directed at me makes me suspect that you're looking for a new instrument of breadwinning, not a serious loving relationship. Maybe it's not you, but me, but that doesn't move you out from the stigma of the 2nd M.
  3. Minors - I'm 28 years old. Looking towards the local high school as a dating pool seems to make people want to call the police. Can't say I blame them. High school kids are also emotionally immature as well, so it's a moot point. I'll pass.
  4. Mormon - I'm not going on a tangent here about Mormon doctrine and beliefs right now, so I'll just leave it at this: If your religion explicitly forbids coffee, then I want nothing to do with your religion. That is all.
Much like the Beatles, this group has an unofficial 5th member. Even if someone dodges the odds, along with the 4 M's listed above, they will always without fail fall under the 5th M:
  • Mnuts - (The 'M' is silent in this case.)
So that's why I don't see my singleness ending anytime in the near future. But you know what? I'm just fine with that. I know and have known friends that have almost a symbiosis with being in a relationship. It's almost as they think of a relationship as a litmus test of their self worth. I've always thought it was pretty sad myself. Sarah looks like she's recently come to terms with that, and I'm happy for her.

Sometimes, I think it might be nice to meet that Someone that will change my life. I consider getting back into the Game... then suddenly, one of my friends' relationships will crater, complete with acrid smoke and jagged emotions. This is when I take a breath, think "Glad that's not me!" and return back into a state of blissful singleness. I'm having fun, because I knew it all along, that I'd be better off without you.

HEY! That's a song cue if I ever heard one! Bring on the Clarks!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Lava and Tonic

When I first moved out here, I'm pretty sure my Mother worried about me constantly. Not so much like she was waiting by the phone for me to call, or resisting the urge to call herself while fighting off images of me being trampled by herds of elk, found frozen in the mountains after the spring thaw or being run out of town by the locals after inadvertently offending some cowboy by making a wise-assed comment about his hat or belt buckle.

No, just a general thought to what I've been doing, if I'm eating right, If I'm developing a social network of friends that would help pull my car out of a ditch, chase off that herd of elk, or organize a search party before the spring thaw. It probably doesn't help that if have some great need, Mommy is more than a day's drive away and can't get there in time to stem the bleeding from a nasty wound, then kiss it to make it better. This is, after all (I think), the furthest west that anyone with my last name has been for more than a few weeks, and I lived with my parents up until the day I got on I-80 and went long for Wyoming.

But I've been here a year now, arrived just before the worst winter here in about 16 years. I've held a steady job (still holding it, Praise God!), built friendships, and adapted to life in the middle of nowhere. I'm pretty sure that my mother is far less worried than she was this time one year ago.

But because I am a terrible son, I have to give her something else to worry about. When this sucker blows, it's taking out the entire west and most of the midwest, but at least I'll be killed instantly and won't have to worry about fighting packs of Feral Cowboys for the few scraps of meat from a wild chipmunk.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Getting My Nerd On

This weekend, through the Magic of the the Intarwebs, I'm going to join my old Steel City friends online for a Dungeons & Dragons session. Also my first time playing with the 4th Edition Rules.

At the end of this month, me and another co-worker will be attending an organized play event for Magic: the Gathering. I'm hoping for a good draft game after dumping the online game due to WotC's tone deaf response to my customer service complaint.

And this Summer, I'll be squandering three or four of my five vacation days to attend Origins, one of my favorite events that I had to miss out on last year. At last, I'm beginning to indulge in some geektastic hobbies, the like of which are rarely seen in This part of the country.

One last thing about Origins, they have a program where you can get one free Convention Badge good for full access to the show if they have never attended Origins before, with the purchase of another full access badge. Who wants to geek out with Fuzzy this June 24th-28th?

I know a lot of you have other commitments or limitations, but if any of you who have never been to Origins wants to go, and is able to go to Columbus, OH that weekend send me an email. The badge has to be reserved with the early bird registration, and that ends January 11th, so decided quickly!