Saturday, February 23, 2008

Democratic Debate Hoo-Haa

I voted in the primaries today...Obama of course. I'm not going to go into a political spiel because there are plenty of highly opinionated blogs out there that do that with much more eloquence. Instead I'm going to share with you yet another example of why I love working where I do.

Some of you may or may not know that Hillary and Obama had a face off on Thursday at the University of Texas at Austin, my alma mater and my current place of employment. Sure, it's a state job, but nothing beats the benefits---flexible hours, decent steady pay, free classes, and best of all, the cool and exciting things that happen on campus year round...lectures, concerts, festivals and other events. The debate was no exception.

Even though neither T nor I got picked from the lottery entries to watch the debate live, we still got to take in the debate excitement on campus. He took a few photos to document the hubbub.

First off, from the wee hours of the day before news crew had already congregated themselves outside of the Rec Center.

In addition, the number of "inconspicuous" black sedans cruising around campus and people who look like Scully and Mulder suddenly multiplied:

The Student Union held a debate screening party in the grand ballroom, but due to security reasons, only the first 1000 people were allowed in. Let me tell ya, this debate was hotter than a rock show! It warms the heart to see number that rival a boy band concert. Many people waited several hours to get a spot. The line kept going..

and going...

and going...

Needless to say, either T nor I got into this event, but that's okay because up the hill we got to mingle with a bunch of supporters who surrounded the building where Hillary and Obama were having their debate:

I loved these Warhol-esque ones of Obama:

In fact the bulk of the signage was impressive...backwards and forwards. :)

Not sure why T decided to take pictures from behind as well, but I figured I'd post them anyway.

By far the best sign though...

This is when I suddenly remembered that there are indeed other parties that run in the presidential race. Heh.

A couple of others:

Seeing all this restores my faith that young people are still fired up by politics.

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Monday, February 18, 2008

Munchie Mondays: A Hot Cindy Toddy

As you may or may not know, I'm recovering from the flu or maybe it's bronchitis...I'm not sure which. I'm also not sure if this is merely a continuation of the sore throat I had back in January. Point is, I've been sick for ages.

Lately the issue has been waking up in the middle of the night with this super dry, uber ticklish, annoying as hell cough that just kicks you in the gut. Cough hack-hack-hack-hack-hack....I have not gotten enough sleep. I *could* take some Nyquil or some other over the counter medicine, but why bother when there's an age old Scottish solution right in the pantry? If you think about it, this is not too much different from what you'd get at the drug store.

A "Toddy" is technically any sort of hot drink, but here in the States it usually refers to a hot alcoholic beverage that involves whiskey or brandy and some kind type of sweetener plus spice. This is my version.

A Hot Cindy Toddy

2 shots of whiskey (I've got an affection for Bulliet bourbon these days, but I think good ole Jack Daniels would do fine)
juice of half a lemon
1 tbs of honey
some boiling water to top the tumbler
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of ground cardamom

Mix the lemon juice with the honey. Add alcohol. Pour boiling water on top and mix until honey is melted. Serve with spices on top (some people do this with cinnamon sticks are stirrers)

Ta da! Instant cough medicine that'll knock you out in a jiffy so you can get rest. It warms you up. Cleans out the air ways and makes you forget you're sick.

I do not recommend doing this every night when you're ill! By all means, orange juice and plenty of fluids is the way to go. However, if you're at the stage where you're pretty much recovered except for that annoying wheezing gut wrenching night time cough that come out of nowhere, consider imbibing in some good spirits.

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

I hate Valentine's day....

I'm married and I hate Valentine's day. As sucky as it is to be single on a day that celebrates romance and love, it's just as annoying to have a corporate holiday guilting you into spending money for objects you wouldn't normally buy.

Curse this holiday! I'm celebrating by posting MP3s damnit.

"Music is Happiness"- The Octopus Project

"I'm Gonna Buy Me a Dog" - The Monkees

"Future X-Girlfriend" - Voltaire

"Endless Horizon (I love Bob Mix)" - Electric Skychurch

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Monday, February 11, 2008

Munchie Mondays: Asian Comfort Food (Peanut Noodles)

This is really quick easy and tasty recipe that packs well for lunches. It's the ultimate in Asian comfort food and I make this disk often for friends who are over my place hanging out.

The secret ingredient is Chinese BBQ Sauce. That's what the label says and you can find this brand and its brethren at almost any Asian grocery market. I'm not sure if that is a proper translation, but I've included a pic for reference:

The other ingredient is this hot vinegar based chili sauce that is found often in Vietnamese cooking. Sammi and I call this stuff "Rooster" Sauce. Again, here's a pic for reference:

All the measurements are approximate (which is typical in Asian cooking) so you can adjust things to taste.

Asian Comfort Food (Peanut Noodles)

feeds 1 to 2 people

1 bunch of soba or buckwheat noodles

1/4 cup of peanut butter (chunky or smooth matters not)
1 tbs of Chinese BBQ Sauce
1 tsp of "Rooster" Hot Sauce.
1 tbs of Sesame Oil
2 tbs of Soy Sauce
2 tbs of chopped cilantro
2 tbs of chopped basil
Salt and pepper to taste

1 handful of mixed greens for garnish

Bring 6 cups of water to boil, add soba noodles and cook until tender. Meanwhile thoroughly combine sauce ingredients in bowl. When the noodles are done, dump into bowl and toss gently until noodles are well coated. Serve atop greens.

Is there anything easier than that?

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Thursday, February 07, 2008

Austin Music Foundation and ATX underground present...

(RitchN of subNatural did the artwork, by the way)
I know it's been ages since Shawn and I have updated. Shawn's writing his dissertation which is enough excuse. Me, well, I've been busy with work and getting my chops up as the newest member of Lucid Dementia.

As you know, Sammi's been gone for a long while being glorious in her own way, working on her writing...and unfortunately repeatedly fighting colds, infections, depression and the ilk. The idea was to have her come back and visit to cover this concert, but she's not quite on the mend and won't be making it. Shawn's in Kansas, so he can't cover it.

That means the only way to get the scoop on this concert is to come see us!

We're headlining, but the rest of the bands are fantastic as well. You've heard us talk about them on here many times in the past, so please traipse on out to Elysium in Austin, TX for fantastic show for a good cause.


Lucid Dementia:

Sub Natural:

Tungsten Coil:

G Fire

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Monday, February 04, 2008

Munchie Mondays: Cindy's Citrus Berry Cheesecake

Remember that night I was craving cheesecake? Well, here's it is!

Frankly, I've never baked one before, but it came out pretty good. I'm darn proud of my cheesecake, yes sirree! At first I thought it might have been too "wet" but ended up setting up nicely in the fridge after it cooled down. I'm assuming that the amount of actual cream cheese can be varied some if you want something a little lighter.

I will say that this cake was incredibly labor intensive and I doubt I'm going to make another one any time soon. However, I suppose it's worth the effort. It is kind of important to either have a cake leveler or be adept at leveling a cake with a sharp knife if you want this to look pretty. I actually didn't know cheese cake came out of the over with a "skin" but that makes perfect sense. The ones you get at a store or buy at a bakery are all prettified. With that said, you do lose a lot of cake when you do that! A friend of mine suggested dumping the scrapings into a vat of home ice cream. Not a bad idea. :)

Cindy's Citrus Berry Cheesecake

1 cup chocolate graham cracker crumbs (plain works too)
3/4 cup chopped pecans or almonds
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted

4 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 (14z) can of condensed milk
4 eggs
juice of one lemon
juice of one lime
1 tsp lemon rind
1 tsp lime rind
1 tsp orange rind

1/4 c of dark chocolate chips
whipped cream (1/2 cup yielded enough for my topping)
fresh berries (I used raspberries)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F

In a bowl combine cookie crumbs with sugar and melted butter. Mix thoroughly until crumbs are moistened. Dump into a 9 or 9/5 inch spring form pan and press crumbs down firmly and evenly to the bottom of the pan:

In another bowl beat cream cheese until fluffy. Add the rest of the ingredients and beat on high or medium speed until well incorporated. Pour into pan.

Place pan atop cookie sheet in case batter spills. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until cake is set. You can test this by poking the center with a toothpick.

When done, let it cool inside of the pan for 5 minutes. Run a sharp knife around the perimeter of the pan and release cake. Cool a top a wire rack for an additional 10 minutes. Meanwhile, if you so desire, level the cake with a cake lever or sharp knife to remove crust:

Place cheesecake (lightly covered with plastic wrap) in refrigerator and let cool for at least 4 hours. I let my cool and set up overnight. The cake with become much more dense when it settles.

Prior to decorating, wash and dry berries. Melt chocolate chips in a Ziploc baggie by placing bag with chocolate in a vat of hot water. Beat heavy cream on high with a pinch of sugar and vanilla to make whipped cream (or just go to the store and buy some...doesn't matter to me).

To decorate, snip the end of the ziplock bag and draw designs on top of the cake. You can do whatever you want. You could even skip this step, but the chocolate goes well with the tanginess of the citrus and berry flavors. Some people like to do chocolate shavings instead.

Top with whipped cream and fresh berries and you're good to go! Voila!

Pretty eh? Don't forget to put this back in the fridge after serving lest you get food poisoning or fuzzy mold on your berries. That was the hard lesson I learned. T, my mom and I each only got to eat one slice before I left the thing sitting on the counter.

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