Oct 31, 2009

The secret is out, I make a pretty good chili!!

OK, at the request of my adoring fans, I am posting the recipe to one of my favorite dishes: 

My Super Secret Chili.

Some of you may be thinking, "Well, if he posts it, will it not be public? Hence, no longer super secret?"

To answer this question, I refer you to one of the more simple words in the English language: Yes.

And now, presenting my Super Secret Chili Recipe!!

First, the ingredients:

1.25 lbs extra lean ground beef
1 med onion (or in my case, usually 2/3 of a large onion), diced
1 package of fresh mushrooms, sliced and diced to desired size
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
chili powder
Worcestershire sauce
2 cloves garlic, freshly pressed
salt and pepper
EVVO (thats Extra Virgin Olive Oil)

One of the best parts about this? A one pot wonder!  In a larger stock pot, pour a little oil into the bottom.  Begin to heat on med-high heat.  Add ground beef.  Add in Worcestershire to taste (I like more than less, but thats just me).  Add in chili powder and cumin to taste (don't worry if you are afraid to go overboard before being able to taste it, we can add more chili powder later).  Brown the meat, then remove it using a slotted spoon.  There should be some residual sauce and a little beef grease left in the pan.

Add the shrooms and onions and garlic.  Begin stirring immediately, coating the veggies in the juice left over from the beef.  Next, as the onions are softening up, add in a little more chili powder, and a little more cumin.  I wish I could give specific measurements here, but I eyeball all of this, so I can't.  Once the onions cook down a little, add the tomatoes and kidney beans.  Lets these new ingredients meld flavors with the former occupants of your pot for about 5 minutes.  Once this is done, add the ground beef back in.  Let it come to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer.

I have found the longer you let it simmer, the better the overall flavor.  However!! If you let it go to long it cooks down to much and you lose some of the vital tomato juice that gives it its somewhat soupy consistency, and that is bad.  The longest I would go is about 30 minutes here.

Taste it after about 15 minutes.  This is when you can add more seasonings to suite your tastes.  The salt is added sparingly here, but I love to add freshly ground pepper.

Once its done, scoop into a bowl, top with a little cheese and a dollop of sour cream and its a pretty healthy and over all very tasty meal.

And now my secret is out.

Oct 29, 2009

Medical Issues -vs- My Notebook.

I recently attended a mandatory training class on Medical Issues in Jail. I am slightly ashamed to admit this, but after sitting there for about three and a half hours I really don’t remember what was said, except for a few snippets (one of which will be featured a few paragraphs down). I actually planned to pay attention, but the first speaker ruined this idea, and my notebook soon became a list of random things I thought about while sitting there.

So, without further ado, here they are (and I even wrote down the times I made these observations and thoughts, just to show a chronological order of events):

0805 hours: The first speaker started five minutes early (a major faux pas is you ask me). He has been speaking for nearly ten minutes and I haven’t heard a word he has said.

0810 hours: Someone should tell this guy when speaking to a group of people it is completely ineffective to do it all sitting down.

  • Further thoughts on this: An hour and half lecture on suicide and he does it seated? Is he trying to get the rest of us to kill ourselves? This guy is a fairly respected Mental Health Worker in the county, you would think he would know the disaster of a class he created by teaching us about suicide in such a fashion.
0815 hours: Holy crap, its only been ten minutes since I first realized I haven’t heard a word he has said and I still haven’t heard a word he has said.

0830 hours: The guy next to me is a little high strung. He asked a question, and his body language made it more like a challenge to fight the instructor. Seriously, the he took off his glasses, leaned forward, used the arm of his glasses to point at the instructor, and his tone of voice simply said (in not the same words), “Hey buddy, if you think this is helping us you got another think coming! And if you don’t like what I have to say we can meet at the bike rack at lunch!”

0840 hours: Some people really seem to lack common sense (this thought is directly related to the previous thought).

0910 hours: Today’s USA Today Crossword is pretty difficult.

1000 hours: The RN who is teaching the section on communicable diseases obviously understands the concept of standing when speaking to a group.

1020 hours: The RN just made one of the most amazing, and unforgettable statements I have ever heard on the subject of tuberculosis: “When in close proximity to a person with this disease, if all else fails (referring to not having a mask available) hold your breath.”

1030 hours: So far, the best presentation of the day has been the shortest.

1045 hours: I wonder if anyone is planning on going to the brewery for lunch??

Ok, so there it is. Did I take anything of note from the training? Not really. It was all review as far as I could tell. But we are mandated by the state to have continual training in certain areas, and “Medical Issues” is one of them.

Fortunately, I will always remember, if I think a guy has TB, I can just hold my breath.

Oct 22, 2009

Attempted Transition and Reconciliation.

I’m a little disappointed in myself. Why you may ask? What has happened to cause such a drastic feeling?

I attempted to move my Blog to Wordpress and in the end was disappointed with the product and have returned to my beloved blogger.

Here is what happened:

I was sitting in front of the computer the other day and messing around with my blog. All at once, and with not sort of warning what so ever, I suddenly felt a weird sense of disassociation with my blog. It was a rather surreal moment altogether. Like when I realized my favorite sweatshirt was no longer wearable because of all the holes in it. Did my sweatshirt do anything wrong? No, but I sure felt like it let me down somehow.

So what was I to do? Well, a few other blogs I frequent are through the Wordpress application. So I though I might give it a try. They present a fairly smooth interface. They present a fairly slick image. They even present a pro’s and cons of their own application. And to boot, they have an importing tool for bringing my blogger account over. Fantastic.

So I tried it. I even went so far as to import my entire blog’s worth of postings. And then I started playing around with it. And I eventually though to myself, “Hmm, apparently the grass isn’t always greener.”

So to my good friend Blogger, I’m sorry. I’m sorry I strayed. I’m sorry I forgot the things that have brought us close these past two years. And I’m sorry I have let our relationship falter. In fact, I realize now you were always there for me. It was I who let this relationship stagnate.

So I am going to my part. I will pay more attention to you. I will make use of the tools you provide me with to better my presentation.

I’m sorry my friend. Thank you, for welcoming me back with open arms.

Oct 19, 2009

A quest for a broader range of readership.

For a while now I have had a growing desire to somehow increase my following. As I have said before, I started this whole blogging ordeal in order to keep up with family. Over time, though, it’s slowly evolved into a whole different animal of its own.

My following, such as it is, is fairly limited; some family, some friends, and a few people who I have actually come into contact through other friends. And that’s about it.

So I ask the question, “How do I expand my following?”

This is not an easy task. It’s not as easy as simply just saying, “Hey world! Check me out!”

Or is it?? After all, I am publishing written content on the Internet, the Information Super Highway. Why can’t I just scream out to the world? The thing here is knowing what venue would spread my wandering thoughts to the masses. 

My personal choice of blogging is Blogger (a Google web-based application). As far as I can tell, there are generally two widely used applications, Blogger and Wordpress. Overall, they function generally the same. Each has its own pro’s and cons, and which application a person chooses would simply be whichever really appeals the user. I ended up with Blogger, and I have been perfectly happy with it thus far.

Blogger has what is called a “Blogs of Note” section. There is an extensive list of various blogs complied for the purpose making these otherwise somewhat obscure blogs available to the masses.

Wait, isn’t that what I am looking for? Or is it? Do I simply want to put my thoughts and ramblings out there, in a directionless sort of way? Or am I looking for something more focused? Not sure really. I wonder if there is some sort of application process to Blogger in order to get myself noticed? Should I start some sort of internet-type crusade I can start to get myself noticed by blogger? This certainly bears some further scrutiny.

My other thought? Why none other than the NaBloPoMo web site itself. Here, people who are focused on posting daily can actually post to this site as well as their own personal blog. As I type this, there are currently 13,307 members of this site. I certainly couldn’t go wrong posting here and there on the NaBloPoMo site.

And, although I have already been publishing my isms to the world at large already, I’m now on a quest for a larger audience. Will it pan out? Will I succeed? Or will I be putting out all this hype only to be likened to a straight-to-dvd movie?

Only time will tell.

Oct 15, 2009

The 10 Truisms of Adam (Not the Only 10, But a Good Start)

Ok, so the challenge of being true, not only to myself, but to my readers at large, has arisen.

The truth to be told, you ask? Ten; count them t-e-n (oops, I spelled that). I don’t know how many people here have ever attempted something as bold as this, but it’s actually quite difficult. How honest should I be here? Where do I draw the line between simple honesty and a complete and total bearing of my soul?

Ok, perhaps that was a bit over dramatic? I think so. Ok, lets get this started.

1.  I actually spent an unbelievable amount of time trying to decide if should start this thing at one and count up, or start at ten and count down. This is indicative of my nature to seriously over think things. For example, my thought process was such:
  • If I started this accounting of self-truisms at ten and counted down, it would imply I was leading to some grand finale, something everyone would either find ridiculously funny or completely amazing. I have nothing like that going on here. The sad fact is, there is a very real possibility by the time I get to number ten I’m going to be reaching pretty deep and the actual description of this end-all truth might be rather boring, and in turn a big let down.
2.  I am a total geek, in certain areas of my life at any rate. Mainly because I love all sorts of techie-type gadgets. I’m always looking for the next little gadget to add to my arsenal of electrical equipment that really serves no purpose in life other than to entertain me. But in my quest to find the next technical wonder that will turn my life around, I read every review I can find. I scour the internet for various user opinions and thoughts. For example, CNET is one of my favorite places for technical reviews. I feel like Bonnie Cha and I are close friends by now (she’s a senior editor for It’s to the point where I affectionately call her Bon-bon (that’s a complete lie, and since this is all about truth I felt compelled to come clean; but at least it gets the point across).

3.  My first experience with swearing was walking to school one morning with friends whom I can’t even remember. The one thing I do remember is the thrill of doing something I had been told all my life (which at the time was only 8 or 9 years, and on top of that I don’t really remember the first four or five; so it was a relatively short span of time when I really think about it) was oh-so-wrong. “Damn.” “Shit.” Oh yes, I experimented with them all. This whole culmination of events ended with me and a bar of soap in my mouth after a passing car received a hearty, however completely unprovoked (unless you call driving a flashy corvette through our shabby, middle-class neighborhood a provoking action), “F**k you!” I don’t actually remember this event, but my mother retells it often and finds it quite amusing. I doubt, at the time, I did.

4.  I am scared to death of heights. Seriously, looking over the railing from the second floor of an indoor shopping mall gives me the willies. I know, that’s rather pathetic. But its true, and this post is all about truisms. Lets take Knott’s Berry Farm for example. There, in southern Cal, is a ride called the Supreme Scream. In essence, they take you into the air an astounding 254 feet (for those of you who can’t really imagine 254 feet as anything tangible, think of it as being on the roof of a 25 story building), and then it drops you. The distance to travel before the seats come to a halt allows you to attain speeds of 50 mph or more. Holy S**t that’s fast. I have actually ridden this ride. And I whined and complained to my friends they entire time while we waited in line. They, in return, made a show of how proud they were of themselves after convincing me to ride. Selfish buggers.

5.  I love video games. So what? It’s a great way to pass time. Now I don’t spend all my spare time sitting in front of the TV vegetating while being sucked into some mindless activity such as “fragging” my friends in a Halo Death match. However, I have at times done just that. I also love puzzle games, and those that actually challenge the brain a little. I own an Xbox 360 and a Playstation 3 (however, the PS3 was purchased mainly as a Blu-ray player, thanks to the review from CNET, which to this date still rates it as one of the best Blu-ray players on the market). Am I a geek? You bet. Do I mind? Nope, not at all.

6.  I do all the cooking in the house. However, I don’t wear an apron. I do like to cook. Its an enjoyable hobby. However, I am not a very adventurous cook. I generally stick to a few certain recipes that I have down pat. For example, I make a pretty mean chili that is extremely health conscious. Perhaps I should post this simple recipe for others to enjoy? Or perhaps I should simply hint at its goodness and leave others to wonder.

7.  Reading is something I do for enjoyment purposes only. I have never really been into true crime, or historical accounts. I like fiction. I like to read something that could simply never be, for the sole purpose of escaping the monotony of regular life and losing myself in something that could only be seen in my own brain. This sadly, leaves me with a very limited selection of books. Over all, I find the science fiction and fantasy genres hold my interest the most. I have tried others, but in the end all this leaves me with is a bookshelf full of books that I will never finish. As a side note to this, I am a book hoarder. I can’t get rid of them. I don’t know why. I can’t give them away; I can’t sell them, nothing. Fortunately, I’m still able to cram all my books into a smaller bookshelf. Eventually, though, I will need something bigger.

8.  I’M A LIBERAL. Yes, that’s in capital letters and yes, its in bold on purpose. Over the last 15 years my views in life have certainly changed. And slowly but surely, I’ve come to the realization being registered as a republican is a lie, and somewhat contrary to my statement made here on number eight. My friends in general are decidedly conservative. This makes me a quiet liberal. Remember people, “If don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”
9.  As a guy, I want to believe that I can do anything. This was never proven more wrong than when I attempted to teach Wife the sport of downhill skiing. She wanted to set me loose on the slopes for the morning while she attended some private lesson with a guy whose name would obviously be Sven and would resemble Fabio in general looks. However, I thought I would be able do the job. In the end, I knew things were going horribly, horribly wrong when I had finally talked her into getting on the ski lift and she looked at me, with a tear running down her cheek, and said, “I hate you.” Lesson learned, I can’t do everything on my own. Next time we attempt this, I’ll be looking for Sven.
10.  I’m on a continual quest to be more organized and efficient. I started with a Palm TX, hand held organizer. Palm, the old stand-by in PDA’s, didn’t disappoint. With what I would call superior calendar features (something of which I find pretty important) and lots of software extras, I found myself overall pretty pleased with it. Soon, though, I found myself annoyed by carrying the PDA and my cell phone. Seriously, two different devices? So the evolution of my own organization and productivity has taken an unexpected turn. I bought a small zip binder and printed out a calendar. Strange. All this technology and I find myself completely motivated by the use of good, old fashioned paper and pencil. Figures.
So, in the end I don’t think I let slip anything that would leave me feeling like my ass is hanging out too badly. But there are some truths here.

Take them for what you will.

Oct 14, 2009

Over indulgence without the guilt.

Over-indulgence.  We have all been there.  Perhaps your favorite, decadent food.  Maybe a certain sweet.  Or perhaps a favorite drink.  At any rate, you choose your poison, indulge, and spend the next few days wondering what you have done and if your palate will ever recover in order to enjoy your favorite whatever.

My over-indulgence?  Blogging. 

Crazy, huh?  But its true.  I went for a personal best.  30 straight days of posting.  Sadly, I only made 21.

Actually, its not sad.  In fact, its pretty amazing.  What amazes me most is the fact that very few posts were of the "post something, anything" variety.  And while some posts were wordy, others were not, some had substance, others were fluff, it was an exercises in Patience and evolving my thought process into tangible and coherent sentences. 

So do I feel bad for not completing my first attempt at blogging daily?  Nope, not one bit. 

Do I plan to try it again?  Yep, you bet.

Am I taking a break after a long indulgence and savoring the taste of a little something different?  Absolutely.

Oct 4, 2009

NaBlo what??

Holy crap. My goal of posting something every day for a month fell flat on it's face.

Here is the rundown.

For nearly 22 days I managed to post something. And surprisingly, a lot of these posts were more than just a simple "I have to post something so I am posting this pathetic one sentence post in order to meet my requirements" post.

So what happened? I stayed awake for nearly 27 hours.

On Monday I got home from work in the early morning. I did a couple of things around the house then jumped in the car to make the 5 hour drive to my home town of Vacaville and see my son for a few days. Usually I go on a 4 day weekend, however circumstances dictated a 3 say visit instead. So I figured rather than waste a full day by sleeping half of it then driving down later, and getting there sometime after dinner, I would be leave early and get there before he gets out of school. I figured I could take a small nap before he got home.

Well, I managed to get to my parents house, my preferred place to stay when I visit, around noon. This would have allowed me nearly 3 hours to nap. However, I chose to have a rather lengthy conversation with my parents (which will be the subject of another post sometime in the near future) and in the end, the nap never happened. Bummer.

The boy's mother dropped him off around 3:30. By this time I had been awake for about 24 hours.

Anyone who has never been awake for that long of a period of time, let me suggest you continue to live in ignorance of the effects it has on your body and mind.

Let me try and describe it:

About half way to my folks house I was beginning to really feel the effects. Muscles start to ache, the eyes feel like raisins coated in sand in your eye sockets, speech becomes somewhat impeded, and your hands become rather shake (this last symptom might possibly be more associated with the copious amounts of caffeine I had consumed to simply get myself to a state where the other symptoms became so readily apparent).

I get to may parents, long conversation ensues, and soon I'm not sure of I am going to make it. My eyelids feel like two ton weights, and every time they close it became increasingly more and more difficult to reopen them.

The boy arrives and while we are sitting there talking a little and engaging in generally pleasant conversation I suddenly realize I have absolutely no idea what has been said in the last 20 minutes (either by my ex-wife or by me). Was I talking? Was she talking? why am I drooling on myself??

We went to dinner and came home. On the drive home from the restaurant I remember seeing the hills that separate Fairfield and Vacaville and how the somehow resembled some painting by an impressionist who has done entirely too much acid in his or her lifetime. All the lines seemed to mesh and intertwine in weird sorts of ways. Everything else was somewhat blurry and distorted. The brown colored hills and the many oak and walnut trees that adorn them looked to be mountains and mole hills all at the same time.

We got home and I sat on the couch. I was through. It was nearly 27 hours awake and I could take it no more.

I remember waking briefly to find Ben practicing his saxophone right next to my head. Apparently he felt it was worth a try to attempt to wake me by his own rendition of Mary Had a Little Lamb. This proved to be an exercise in futility.

The next thing I remember was waking next to him, who was also passed out and curled up in a blanket. He was cozy, at least (its amazing the weird positions children can be in and still fall asleep).

So thats how it went.  Its now too late to even rationalize a continuance. I guess there is always next month.
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