Saturday, August 8, 2015

I Have Experienced the Glory of...

WEIRD AL YANKOVIC IN CONCERT!!!

The pictures are still on my husband's camera (yeah, we're a little old school like that, but we split pictures and videos up between the camera and phones...always have some if something happens to your tech).

While it was a sold out show at the Ferguson Center for the Performing Arts in Newport News, VA, there were some empty seats. Several, in fact, such a bummer for those people!

While we were going to our seats, there was a sea of Hawaiian shirts and aluminium foil hats. There was even a girl dressed like Al from the "Amish Paradise" video. I wasn't sure if I was at a concert or at a con. It was fantastic!

But holy hell, man, it's not just a concert: Weird Al does costume changes and in during those changes, the big screen behind the band shows lots of funny clips of things he's done, or been mentioned in, over the years.

And anytime he picked up the accordion, the audience went nuts.

I hoped to see him perform "Smells Like Nirvana" and "Tacky." My husband was hoping for the older stuff, like "Fat," "I Lost on Jeopardy," and "Amish Paradise." We both really wanted to see "White and Nerdy."

He even did "Another One Rides the Bus" which just about sent me over the edge, because it's one of his first songs.

But the night was really capped off by two performances: him playing the accordion to his remake of a Billy Joel song, about Spider-Man, and the encore of "The Saga Begins," in which he had Darth Vader and stormtroopers out on stage with him, courtesy of the local 501st Legion...and the stormtroopers even danced.  The trooper to the left of Vader had himself a little Left Shark moment there. And "The Saga Begins" probably had more people singing along to it than any other song.

In a way, Weird Al is in the same category, for me, as Huey Lewis and Billy Joel. They've all been performing for so long, that they could each have played for an extra hour, and you still wouldn't have heard everything you wanted to hear. Personally, I love his original songs too, and would have liked to hear "Trigger Happy" or "Airline Amy" as well.

But, it was damn near magical! The complete geek in me went home satisfied. I did ask  my husband if he ever thought he'd be a Weird Al concert. He said no. :) I told him I never thought I'd go to a Motley Crue concert either, so in a way, we're even.

Set List:
Tacky
Lame Claim to Fame
Now That's What I Call Polka!
Perform This Way
Dare to Be Stupid
Fat
First World Problems
Foil
Smells Like Nirvana
Party in the CIA / It's All About the Pentiums / Handy 
Bedrock Anthem 
Another One Rides the Bus / Ode to a Superhero
Gump 
Inactive 
eBay 
Canadian Idiot
Wanna B Ur Lovr
White and Nerdy
Eat It / I Lost on Jeopardy / I Love Rocky Road / Like a Surgeon
We All Have Cell Phones / The Saga Begins
Yoda

  • I'd like to take a tour of a Navy sub, but my husband and I don't know anyone that works on board a sub.
  • I'd like to take a tour of a Navy ship that most people will never get to go on. I got to go walk around under a ship while it was in dry dock, and then I walked up the scaffolding around the mast, almost to the very top!
  • I'd love to go for a ride in a fighter jet of some kind.
  • I want to go jet skiing in the Atlantic Ocean.
  • I want to go scuba diving or snorkeling in the Caribbean.
  • I want to go to the top of the Washington Monument. 
  • I want to go to NYC, and see the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, the Twin Towers, and go to a show of some sort. We went there in 2000 and saw The Late Show with David Letterman.
  • I want to go to the Saint Louis Arch. We did this in 1999.
  • I want to go to Niagara Falls. We did this in 2000.
  • I want to go to Universal Studios Florida. We did this in 2001 and I'd love to do it again!
  • I want to go to the Poconos and stay in one of their themed suites. We did this in 2006 and stayed at Caesar's in the champagne glass suite.
  • I want to stay in a themed suit at the HoJo in Florence, KY. I'm crossing this one off without doing it. I took a look at their rooms again (apparently, they were bought by another hotel chain). The rooms on the new website look pretty cheesy, even for a themed hotel. Plus, the room I would have liked is a smoking room only, so you know it's going to stink.
  • I want to visit Santa Claus, IN, "American's Christmas Hometown."
  • I want to go to Metropolis, IL.
  • I want to get a memorial tattoo in honor of my mom and my mother-in-law.
  • I want to take a road trip up to DC to see the Madame Tussaud Wax Museum and go to Horace and Dickie's Seafood Restaurant This one was both completed (wax museum) and not completed (Horace and Dickie's) in April 2015.
  • I want to write a bad sci-fi horror script and present it to The Asylum to see if they'd be willing to make it into an actual movie for the SyFy Channel. I finished this on April 12, 2015.
  • I want to finally order the "Hell's Admin Assistant" patch for my motorcycle jacket that I've been thinking about for years.--I figure it's a funny alternative to a Hell's Angel patch, which I'm clearly not a member of Hell's Angels. I ordered one from Star City Stitchery
  • I'd like to cuddle a baby gorilla. I really don't know where this one comes from, but aren't baby gorillas the cutest babies EVER??!
  • I want to take a painting class, a la Bob Ross. I did this in a restaurant in Virginia Beach with a bunch of motorcycle riders from an American Legion post, in 2014.
  • I want to go hang gliding in Kill Devil Hills, NC. I did this over Memorial Day weekend with my husband.
  • I want to see the archaeological dig at the Jamestown Settlement.  I did this in April 2015.
  • I want to go charter boat fishing in the Atlantic OceanI tried doing this in 2012, but the water was really rough that day. I didn't catch anything but I sure made a lot of chum! In July 2015, we went charter boat fishing in the Chesapeake Bay.
  • I want to go to the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art.
  • I want to see KISS in concert, in the make-up. 
  • I will get a job at some kind of animal shelter, and I'm going to be damn good at whatever I end up doing there. 
  • I will get at least one old, beat up piece of wood furniture, save it from going to the landfill, and refinish it. I've actually done two pieces now.
  • I'd like to go on an LCAC ride with my husband before he transfers to his new command.I had to cross this one off finally, because Shane left this command already. This bummed me out. I never got a ride on an LCAC out on the bay. Some of his family members did, and even though I offered to take any number of half days off from work, I never got to ride. 
  • I will go to see the Booth Trail in 2013. 
  • I will go to Natural Bridge, VA (We did this in 2013) and the Shenandoah Valley and stay in a cabin in the woods.  We did this for the end of the year in 2014.
  • I will go to Hiddenite Gems, an emerald mine open to the public, in NC. 
  • I will go to the Richmond Zoo and the Virginia Zoo (they have done a lot of remodeling and I haven't been there for a several years). 
  • I can't drive a clutch and have no desire to learn, but I'd like to go for a ride in a 1957 Chevy BelAire and a mid-80's Lamborghini Countach.
  • I'd like to sit in any of the Batmobiles (did the original series Batmobile at ROFCON 2015), ECTO-1 from Ghostbusters, KITT from Knight Rider, and the General Lee from The Dukes of Hazzard.
  • I will go to the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. 
  • I want to go to Rhode Island, Boston and Seattle, just for the sake of going.
  • I want to go to Tokyo some day.--I've been to Hanoi and Hue, Vietnam, but it wasn't close enough.
  • I want to see the pyramids and sphinx in Egypt. 
  • I'd love to see the Mona Lisa (she's in the Louvre in Paris) and The Scream (there are a couple, two of them are in Munich). 
  • I want to go to London, and maybe look for the TARDIS and the Doctor. 
  • I want to go to San Diego to see my best friend, go to Comic Con, wear a costume, take lots of photos, find an awesome looking Spider-Man so I can give him a hug for just being Spidey, and then walk a beach on the Pacific Ocean, looking for shells. 
  • I'd like to go to a taping of "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" if we ever go to California.  I had to cross this one off: On April 28, 2014, Ferguson announced that he will leave the show on December 19, 2014.
  • I want to have at least one great, wildly creative crochet pattern published in a real book somewhere. 
  • I'd like to have our yard be featured for our Halloween decorations with a local tv station, so people might understand you don't have to spend big bucks on decorations and still put together a great display (I say this because we don't go as crazy for Christmas decorations). 
  • I'd like to win a challenge on Craftster. 
  • I'd like to compete on Craft Wars on TLC. I had to cross this one off too, because I'm pretty sure it's no longer on the air. I can't find any updated information on it. 
  • I will finish the Jedi costume finally and I will join the Rebel Legion I was accepted in December 2014!
  • I want to ride a mechanical bull. --I did this in April 2015.
  • I will finish the doll house I started several years ago. 
  • I want to go to Ohio and see Ralphie Harper's house from The Christmas Story. 
  • I want to see Weird Al Yankovic in concert (saw him in Newport News, VA in August 2015), and maybe even the Bangles if I ever get to California. 
  • I want to see the Barenaked Ladies again, the next time they come to Hampton Roads.
  • I want to take my friends to the Virginia Safari drive through park in Stanton, VA. Did this in July 2014.
  • Friday, August 7, 2015

    Cucumbers in Vinegar

    I got a couple cucumbers from Nicole the Knitter. My own cukes didn't do a damn thing in the pot they were planted in, except grow green and not produce anything. Nicole plants ONE seed in the ground and it ends up looking like something out of "Little Shop of Horrors."

    Anyhoo, I had enough vinegar here to make these pickles.
    • 1 cucumber, sliced thin
    • white vinegar
    • water
    • 1small sliced onion--I left this out and instead, went heavy on the garlic.
    • 1 -2 diced garlic clove
    Put cucumbers, garlic, and onion in a bowl. Pour in vinegar and water until covering cucumbers, at a 3-1 ratio between vinegar and water (3 parts vinegar for every part water). Allow to marinate overnight before serving.

    It smelled really good, and I actually left this in the frig for two nights before getting into them.

    They are good, but they still have that good cucumber crunch with that sharp vinegar bite to them...but they do not make good "pickles." 

    I'm actually going to trash this recipe and stick with Ardel's (known to be good) freezer pickle recipe.

    Here’s the Full Text of Jon Stewart’s Epic Final Rant

    I'm not some kind of raging Jon Stewart/"The Daily Show" rabid fan or anything like that. I did enjoy his show but I only watched it with my husband. If he wasn't home, I didn't bother watching it. It's a show meant to be watched with others so the issues on the show can be discussed.

    That being said, I wanted to make sure I had Jon's final rant on bullshit here. It's too good to not keep.

    Monday, August 3, 2015

    Working On Achieving Another Goal


    I came across this quote, supposedly from Dwayne Johnson, about the same time I came across a great quote by Mindy Kaling. They've both been my mantra lately.

    The freelance writing I'm trying to do isn't really taking off. I can't get a straight answer from either of the magazines as to what's going on with the articles I've sent them, so I'm holding off on writing anything more for either of them until the new issues come out. Hell, I'd write for free, if I could just get published somewhere.

    But for the last several weeks, I've been working on a special writing project...an episode of "Star Trek Continues."

    STAR TREK CONTINUES is a critically-acclaimed, award-winning, fan-produced webseries… the brainchild of long-time Star Trek: The Original Seriesfan — and producer, director, actor, voice-actor, musician — Vic Mignogna. 
     
    STAR TREK CONTINUES is proud to be part of Trek history, aimed at completing the final two years of the original five-year mission.

    I know it was unsolicited, but I am damn proud of the episode I wrote. After much tweaking and tightening up, I emailed if off today, to Trek Continues and to whoever runs Vic Mignogna's website. Hopefully, the partial script I sent is enough to pique their interest. What I really hoped for was to appeal to Vic's geek nature..."As a young boy, Vic fell in love with Star Trek and is realizing his boyhood dream to play the role of Captain Kirk." So today, he gets to be Captain Kirk, while also serving as the Executive Producer and lead writer.

    Fingers crossed here. What they are doing is so incredible, that I can only hope to be a part of it. I never had the chance to see new episodes of "Star Trek TOS." I have only seen it in syndication.

    But now, I'm seeing new episodes of it as it appears online and I'm blown away. I want to be someone to take Kirk and Spock, and the Enterprise herself, on an adventure. I want to hear and see the words that I've written come out of their mouths. I want to be a part of that five year mission.

    Live long and prosper, as my late adopted Twitter grandfather, Leonard Nimoy, used to say,

    Slow Cooker Pepper Steak

    It's kind of weird to me that someone will post a recipe on their site that came from somewhere else, but the original site takes it down for whatever reason. Like with the pineapple glazed ham recipe I posted recently, this Slow Cooker Pepper Steak came from some unknown site (I printed it out) but supposedly inks back to Ring Around The Rosies. I looked for it tonight at Rosies and couldn't find it. 

    Who deletes perfectly good recipes from their own site? People, please! There are an abundance of really good cooks out there! Continue to share those recipes and how you make your dishes. The internet is our word of mouth. 

    Anyhoo, I'm off my soapbox and here's tonight's dish: Slow Cooker Pepper Steak
    • 2 lbs of beef round steak (sliced against the grain)--I actually had a package of thinly sliced ground beef that I originally bought for hot sandwiches. When I came across this recipe, I knew I had the perfect meat for it. (That's what she said. Sorry.)
    • 2 pink cherry tomatoes or 2 cans crushed tomatoes--I used stewed tomatoes and didn't drain them. It was a good choice.
    • 2 green peppers, sliced--Had to leave these out, unfortunately. My husband doesn't like green peppers.
    • 1/4 cup soy sauce
    • 2 tsp sugar
    • 1 onion, sliced--Half an onion was enough for me.
    • 2 cloves minced garlic
    • 1 tsp ground ginger--I left this out too, because I don't care much for ginger.
    Cook on low for 5-6 hours, and serve over buttered rice.

    BOOM! Instead of a mic drop, drop the ladle.

    So this is where the changes I made really take place. I didn't use the slow cooker. For today, the slow cooker would have been left on too long. Sure, I could have put it on warm and let it go all day, but we are talking about cooking shaved beef and there wasn't a need to slow cook it, in any form.

    I combined everything into my large pot, threw it on the stove and let it cook on low. Once it finally came to a nice low rolling boil, I actually turned the heat up to almost medium. I wanted to make sure the beef really did cook thoroughly. I think I may have let it go for 20 minutes, if not longer.

    When it was done, I served it over a long grain and white rice mixture. No buttered rice here for. That just sounds slightly slimy going down the gullet.

    This was a fantastic recipe and it made the kitchen smell so good! Even my husband was going on about this one. It's a definite keeper.

    Sunday, August 2, 2015

    Buffalo Chicken Monkey Bread

    Last night, my husband had some of his friends from work over for poker and the Rhonda Rousey UFC match. Holy shit, that was a good match! Even though it only last 43 seconds! :)

    Anyway, one of the things I made last night was Buffalo Chicken Monkey Bread. This was another Imgur find, and pretty damn good.

    Ingredients:
    • 2 cans (7.5 oz each) Pillsbury® Country Style® refrigerated biscuits--I used two cans of biscuits and about 1 1/2 large cans of chicken
    • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
    • 3/4 cup buffalo wing sauce
    • 1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles (1 oz)--I really don't like blue cheese, so I used  finely shredded cheddar cheese
    • 2 tablespoons ranch dressing
    • 1/4 cup butter, melted
    • Additional ranch dressing for dipping
    Directions:
    • Heat oven to 375°F. Lightly spray 12-cup fluted tube cake pan with cooking spray.
    • In medium bowl, toss chicken with 1/2 cup of the buffalo wing sauce until well coated; set aside.
    • Separate each can of dough into 10 biscuits. Cut 4 biscuits into quarters to make a total of 16 pieces. (I stretched out the biscuits individually and cut them into two halves. If you cut them into quarters, you're really going to be working the dough to try and get anything into it and then seal it.) With hands, press and stretch each piece slightly to make dough round. Place small chunk of blue cheese (about 1 teaspoon) in center of each round. Enclose cheese by bringing sides of dough up and over; pinch dough to seal and enclose cheese.
    • With remaining 16 biscuits, press and stretch each into larger rounds. Place 1 heaping tablespoon buffalo chicken in center of each large round. Enclose chicken by bringing sides of dough up and over; pinch dough to seal and enclose chicken. I just did them all with chicken and cheese together.
    • Drizzle remaining 1/4 cup buffalo wing sauce in bottom of tube cake pan; drizzle 2 tablespoons ranch dressing over sauce. Dip each ball of dough into melted butter (I actually melted the butter and mixed it with about 1/8 cup of ranch dressing); layer balls in pan.
    • Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until tops of balls are golden brown. For some reason, this took closer to 30 minutes here, in a pre-heated over, before the tops turned golden brown. 
    • Cool in pan slightly, about 5 minutes. Place serving plate upside down over pan; carefully turn plate and pan over. Remove pan. Serve bread with additional ranch dressing for dipping.
    This was a good recipe! From the outside, it looks like the regular sweet monkey bread variety we all know. So when the people here tried it last night, they were surprised what was actually inside the bread!

    And thing I realized while making this: it would be super easy to make different variations: pizza monkey bread with pizza toppings inside the biscuits; pulled pork BBQ with sauerkraut inside...you name it and it could probably work!