Need A New Zojirushi

Our Zojirushi cooker finally gave up the ghost the other day. It was a good product and was used almost daily. Time to get a new one.

The cooker is mainly for rice, but is an excellent multi-purpose utensil and we used it for soups, stews, and even bean dishes. Great way to prep beans to fry up for southwestern-style recipes, for example.

I like this brand better than the crock-pot for the versatility, ease of use and cleaning, and all-around convenience. Definitely worth the price.

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Good-Bye, 2016: Year-End Round-Up (Re-blogged)

I used to write longer posts. One of those was my year-end roundup of 2016.

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Eyrie Of An Aries

Well, this year is drawing to a close. In some parts of the world, it is already 2017. It isn’t quite noon in my neck of the woods, however, so there are still 13 hours left in what has been a year of sorrow. Still, it has had many joyful moments – for me and mine, at least!
I’m thankful to have not suffered any personal losses; for the health problems some of my family members have, they are still here – and I’m very happy and grateful for that. So, I’m starting off with the celebrity deaths that impacted me the most, which is my disclaimer for not mentioning every single one who passed – it’s quite a long list as it is, and I dedicated entire blog-posts to the most notable ones.

Natalie Cole: technically, she passed away on 31 December 2015, but her death wasn’t announced…

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Tuesday Tidbits: Cooking & Comedy

Author’s Note: This post was originally published in March of last year. I updated it slightly.

It’s a nice, relaxing Tuesday. Snow is falling outdoors while the delicious aroma of home-made beef stew wafts through the house. Cooking is such an enjoyable thing to do, especially with fresh ingredients! I figured that I’d show a few of the vegetables which I like to use in stews, much like my previous post about the things I toss in with my chicken soup.

Onions, shallots, and garlic make up the base of most dishes. I don’t think that any dinner is complete unless it has at least one of those flavourful bulbs included! Carrots may or may not be used, since the variety of root vegetables used more than makes up for their omission. These herbs and vegetables round out the meal:

Thyme

Rosemary

Oregano

Parsnip

Turnip

Rutabaga

Red potatoes

I love using fresh herbs of many different types…the picture below shows a few of my go-tos.

Since I’m amusing myself with some choice comedy bits, I thought that I’d share them with you. A good laugh does a body good, and these clips had me in a fit of giggles!

Shining the Blacklight on American Democracy

Drumpf’s Agenda: Today, America…Tomorrow, the World!

Conan O’Brien talks about the United Airlines dress code

Conan O’Brien hits Comic-Con(R) Mad Max-Style (2015)

Finally, this post wouldn’t be complete without a few short clips about bots and the role they play in various online scams. Behind every bot, troll, sock-puppet and cat-phishing attempt / attack is someone looking to give you the old “Rick-Roll.”

Creeping Up on the New Year…

’tis just around the corner!

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Eyrie Of An Aries

New Year’s Eve is a couple of days away, so I’m getting a proper post ready for it – out with the old, in with the new! Although, I fear that 2017 will be more of the same as we had in 2016…but far worse for many of us here in the USA. It is what it is, though! Poop doth occur – over, and over, and over again!

Here are three good songs for this Thursday. It’s time for my workout! Afterwards, I’m going to make a nice pot of chicken soup – after showering, of course – then it will be time for a bit of gaming, which will be live-streamed if no glitches happen. Otherwise, I’ll try to capture some footage and share it via screen-shots or YouTube…whichever one I can get to work correctly, LOL! Talk at you all later…

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Mmmmmm…Mushrooms…

Portobello mushrooms stuffed with onion, shallots, diced tomatoes, spinach, and aged white cheddar cheese. I’m having one with my soup for lunch, and one with steak and salad for dinner. I’ll try to save half of one for the hubster, as he is sure to be hungry when he gets back from getting parts for our various vehicles!

Wuxia Weekend!

Every holiday weekend involves binge-watching a marathon of some sort. This time around we are enjoying the original Star Trek series, as well as some of the best “Kung Fu theatre” films which do – or don’t – star the late, great Bruce Lee.

So far I think that Crippled Avengers has been one of the best!

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Tuesday Tidbits: 28 February 2017

‘tis Tuesday – the last day of February! I’ve been busy editing my NaNoWriMo novel of fiction; I will have another excerpt posted here before the week is out.

Zenimax Online Studios (ZOS), the geniuses behind the marvel that is the Elder Scrolls Online, have decided to do some in-game testing this week, so there will be no Twitch broadcasts from me in the interim – watching endless loading-screens and constant crashes would be as boring for you as they are frustrating for me, LOL! Here’s a little in-game background: The Elder Scrolls Online was officially launched in April of 2014, but I began playing during the last week of March of that year. I was a beta-tester, and decided to pre-order the game for an extra week of gameplay before anyone else jumped into it!

Anyway, the base character levels are from 1 – 50. Once you hit level 50, you become a ‘champion’ and earn ‘champion points,’ or ‘CP,’ which can be applied to your character and enhance the build and skills you have exponentially. The old system used to just allow you to be a ‘veteran’ to a certain level and there were no champion points, initially. The only challenges available to veteran characters were a daily ‘grind’ in the PvP battlefields of Cyrodiil. With the addition of CP, many players feel that Cyrodiil is imbalanced, even though there are PvP campaigns which have CP disabled – so, those buffs don’t apply to your character, whether they are a lowbie or a veteran. This week’s testing has disabled CP for all players in all campaigns, and will give a double bonus of Alliance Points (AP). These points are only used in the PvP / AvA area, and can be used to purchase items such as siege weapons or specialized armour / weapon sets which are of great benefit on the battlefield.

The amount of AP you can earn or ‘farm’ gets you on the Emperor ‘leaderboards,’ where you can see how your score stacks up against other players. These numbers can give one a false sense of superiority, especially amongst people who run in the middle of a zerg-swarm. Safety in numbers doesn’t equate fighting skills, but telling that to some players is like telling a cosmetic-surgery addict that their looks don’t make them anything special. The responses from that are equally petty, as the suggestion to “GIT GUUUUD!” makes as much sense as the accusation of “you’re just JEALOUS!”

Anyway, this test requires as many players as possible to be online at the same time, spamming massive AoE spells of offensive and defensive nature; full raiding groups, and as many zerg-swarms farming AP at various choke-points as possible…more changes will be happening in-game in the near future, which is a good thing! Stagnation of any sort is undesirable, don’t you think?

Time for a bit of music while I take a gaming break, check my email, and get some dinner cooking. Beef stew is on tonight’s menu! Talk at you all laters…

Serene, Snowy Sunday…5 February 2017!

Sundays are always a nice relaxing day here on the coast. Snow, rain, or shine, all year-round, I always try to make Sundays lazier and more relaxing than any other day of the week. I do laundry on Mondays, for instance, and do vacuuming on Wednesdays or Thursdays. Shopping is done on Tuesdays, Fridays, or Saturdays; the day I go depends on whether I need to replenish my coffee supply or not. Even my workout is put on hold for today – yoga is the only fitness activity that I do on Sundays. It’s important to have a ‘rest day’ in the middle of a workout to allow muscles to recuperate, and I’m not about to overdo my workout and injure myself. Slow, steady progress is the way to go, for me!

Speaking of sports, today is Super Bowl Sunday, something that is treated with religious fervor and reverence by some American citizens! We’re going to go watch the first half at an acquaintance’s house, then return home at halftime for a proper Super Bowl dinner. I have some nice T-bones marinating as I type this; they’ve been in the refrigerator since last night, so they’ll be more than ready to broil when we get back. Steaks with salad and baked potatoes, topped with a red-wine sauce and sautéed garlic, shallots and onions…a perfect meal, in my opinion!

Super Bowl 51 – or, if you want to use Roman numerals, Super Bowl LI. How boring! Using Roman numerals for the Super Bowl during the late ‘90s, and all the way up to only three years ago, was much more satisfying. All of those Xes just adds an aspect of coolness to me, for some reason. Same with TV or movie credits – remember how they just became ‘MM’ after Y2K? Just didn’t look the same as, say, 1988 with its MCMLXXXVIII. I like Roman numerals…they’re just fun!

Yes, Super Bowl 51, where the champions of the American Football Conference (AFC) face off against the champions of the National Football Conference (NFC). This year, the AFC is represented by the New England Patriots, who will be in the big game a record nine times since the championship began in 1967. The NFC is represented by the Atlanta Falcons, who are considered the underdogs in this game. I’m hoping for a well-played, hard-fought game! They are always much more satisfying to watch than a lop-sided blowout.

I’m rooting for the Atlanta Falcons, for many reasons! For one, I’ve never been a fan of the New England Patriots. Also, I just can’t stand Tom Brady. I find him to be extremely overrated, in much the same way that Beyoncé, Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, and countless others are. Besides that, the whole ‘Deflate-Gate’ thing was so trite! If you’re good at something, you shouldn’t have to cheat, IMHO. Then again, people don’t really give a crap about cheaters, whether they do it to land a job, win a game, or deceive their spouse or partner. I suppose that’s why many enjoy watching the so-called ‘reality’ shows chock-full of contrived drama, starring vapid attention-whores (male and female) who can’t keep their respective body parts inside of their clothes for any length of time!

Digressing: Super Bowl 51 also signals the end of football season, so I’ll soon turn my attention to Major League Baseball, Spring Training games, and the return of my Seattle Mariners to Safeco Field. Football used to be my primary sport, but baseball has slowly edged it from the top spot. I enjoy watching both sports, but baseball is just a bit more enjoyable for me. Besides, the sports channels that I have rarely show rugby or Aussie rules football, which I also enjoy – and it’s really difficult to follow a sport that can’t be viewed on television or during normal waking hours!


Henry Louis “Hank” Aaron: 5 February 1934

Speaking of baseball, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the birthday of one of the greatest baseball players ever: “Hammerin’ Hank” Aaron! He is currently the senior VP of the Atlanta Braves MLB team, but became well-known during his 21 seasons with the Milwaukee / Atlanta Braves (National League), and two seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers (American League). He played the position of right fielder for those teams from 1954 – 1976, but he is best known for his career home-run record, which I say that he still holds for reasons that many baseball fans might know about and agree with me on. He hit 24 or more home runs every year from 1955 – 1973, and is one of two players to hit 30 or more home runs per season at least 15 times. In 1999, The Sporting News ranked Aaron fifth on its “100 Greatest Baseball Players” list. Happy birthday, Hank!

I will update this post after the big game is over, adding my thoughts about how the game went, and closing the football season with some comedy and music. Later, ‘gators!

*** UPDATED ***

Well, the game is over…the Patriots won in overtime, 34 – 28. According to the statistics, this is the first Super Bowl ever that has been decided in overtime, which is pretty significant. I’m pretty certain that this is the first Super Bowl that I’ve seen (personal caveat), where the team that scored the first touchdown, and led at halftime, LOST the game. Then again, I guess I should probably be used to this scenario by now! Those with talent, tenacity, and sheer guts still get steamrolled by puffed-up, over-rated nothings. I suppose I shouldn’t say “nothings” as the Pats have a few good players on their team…I just don’t consider Brady to be one of them! That’s my story and I’m sticking to it, so there!

As promised, some comedy and some music to close out this season of football. Spring Training, here we come!

Chicken Soup Sunday

I love cooking. It is a relaxing, enjoyable activity and consuming a delicious kitchen creation can’t be beat. Some dishes that I especially enjoy making are soups, stews, and chowders. Utilizing a variety of complimentary meats, vegetables, and spices is a lot of fun and I experiment with different flavours once in a while, or substitute one ingredient for another if I’m short on something. It doesn’t take a whole lot to make a great soup, with or without meat proteins.

I decided to cook up a nice big pot of chicken soup today. I always use fresh herbs and ingredients and wanted to list a few of my favourite veggies that I toss into it. Onions, shallots, garlic, and carrots are always used and they make up the base for stews as well. I am likely to use these other garden items in chicken soup, since leafy veggies go best with poultry and root veggies are excellent with beef, venison, or lamb.

The leafy varieties are:

Kale (purple variety)

Bok Choy

Swiss Chard (rainbow variety)

Corn (fresh when in-season)

Parsnip

I used to put noodles in because chicken noodle soup was always a staple when I was growing up. After moving to Seattle and getting access to fresh vegetables and herbs, courtesy of the famous Pike Place Market, I began experimenting with the old recipe and tweaked it to where it suited my taste. I make it with chicken or tofu; either way, I think that it’s delicious. I also feel that it gives a healthy boost to my immune system, which is a bonus. Good, healthy food, made with fresh ingredients, is one of the primary foundations of living a healthy lifestyle. It works.

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Creeping Up on the New Year…

New Year’s Eve is a couple of days away, so I’m getting a proper post ready for it – out with the old, in with the new! Although, I fear that 2017 will be more of the same as we had in 2016…but far worse for many of us here in the USA. It is what it is, though! Poop doth occur – over, and over, and over again!

Here are three good songs for this Thursday. It’s time for my workout! Afterwards, I’m going to make a nice pot of chicken soup – after showering, of course – then it will be time for a bit of gaming, which will be live-streamed if no glitches happen. Otherwise, I’ll try to capture some footage and share it via screen-shots or YouTube…whichever one I can get to work correctly, LOL! Talk at you all later…

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