Posted by: gochet | November 4, 2007

The Return of Sangria Sunday

Another one of my favorite things about fall is the return of certain rituals that seem to get lost in the summer months.  One of them is Sangria Sunday.

Red Wine Sangria

2 oz Merlot
1/2 oz brandy
1/2 oz triple second
Splash of sprite/7up
Fill with OJ and pineapple juice and fruit chunks
Shake vigorously until frothy

Not only do they tasted like delicious fruit punch, but they pack a little kick in them as well.  These are  best served directly before, during, and after breakfast.  I also recommend that you be either alone or with others.

And, of course, the best place to get one is, without question, the Washington Square Bar & Grill.  See you next Sunday!

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blackberry

I have been with T-Mobile for nearly 7 years.  I can’t name many people who have been with a cellular company for that long, especially because they nearly force you to switch every couple years if you want to update your phone.  The reason I chose T-Mobile in the first place was because I wanted a super cool phone that had this remarkable new Bluetooth technology and a COLOR screen!  Remember, this was in 2001.  And I had the beautiful T68i.

That phone died long ago.  I can’t even remember what happened to it.  So I have been just buying cheap replacements and waiting patiently for some sort of killer deal to come up.  But sadly for me, I only seem to want the best thing available, and I can never afford that sort of luxury, so I just continued to wait.  And wait.  And wait.

Fast forward to October 2007.  I’ve been meaning to get myself something nice for ‘quit smoking for over a year’ present, but I hadn’t really needed anything, or been able to afford it.  T-mobile had been pissing me off for a couple years now, having never given me a deal on a new phone despite nearly 7 years as a loyal customer, but this was partially my own fault, because there really hasn’t been anything I wanted that was in my price range.

And then not long ago something came out called the BlackBerry Curve.  I’ve always wanted a device that had a full keyboard and email functionality, but also had a camera and wireless internet capability.  There has been very little available with that kind of functionality for less than $500, and this is only barely an exception at a street price of $450.  But T-mobile had a special deal going for new subscribers for $250, so I called and made my plea…

Long story short…  I’ve got a new phone for $200, and it can do nearly everything!

Plays video
Plays MP3’s
Has Camera
Full Keyboard
Internet Access through cellular
Internet access through Wi-Fi
Mapping software
Plays games
Makes Chet happy ‘cause he’s not carrying around a big pile of Suck anymore for a phone.  🙂

Anyway, you probably don’t really care about my phone fetish, but I thought I would share a little of myself with you.  Exciting, huh?

Posted by: gochet | November 2, 2007

Zen and the art of egg peeling.

Eggs

Long ago, I discovered that having a diet plan was good for me and my potentially bulging mid-section.  Nothing written in stone, mind you, but at least a fairly competent idea of what breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks should consist of.  Not only does it help offset the massive quantities of beer and wine that I love to consume, but it makes me a generally healthier person as well.

Back in the Ultimate Electronics days, I used to take a mid morning break for a Hot Pocket every day at precisely 11 AM.  Since moving to Best Buy, my day starts much earlier, and I decided that there is nothing even remotely healthy about Hot Pockets, so I’ve switched to an apple and banana every day at 9:30 AM.  This has been a perfect mid-morning snack for about the last year and a half, but lately I’ve desired a little change in life.

Enter the hard boiled egg.  These are a great addition/substitute for fruit in the morning for a few good reasons.  They’re small and easy to carry.  They keep well and are delicious.  They have lots and lots of protein (which is needed now that I’m back in the gym in the mornings).  They’re damn near free.  And there is one unexpected benefit that I just completely noticed this morning.

Peeling eggs forces you to achieve an almost Zen-like calm.

It’s true.  You can’t peel a hard boiled egg when you’re in a hurry, or if you’re pissed off at something.  It won’t work.  You’ll wreck it.  (No need to discuss how many times it took me to figure this out completely).  You must stop… think… breathe…  and maintain a single-minded focus as if you were trying to pilot an x-wing fighter using the force alone.

This ‘forced-focus’ is the same thing that I love about golf (sometimes).  That’s another activity that you’ll completely suck at if you don’t manage to achieve zen-like inner peace and tranquility.  I can play golf when I’m frustrated and unfocused, but I’ll suck at it, and swear a lot.  Only when I’m in my happy place, partial meditation and complete calm, can I hit that damn ball correctly.  Or peel an egg without wrecking it.

Anything that puts me into that zone, even for a brief minute, is a good thing in my book.

Posted by: gochet | October 27, 2007

Last weekend with my Sister

 

Last weekend, my Mom, her boyfriend John, and I all drove down to Troy, Missouri together to visit my sister Kati. While we were down there, we went and saw the Deutsch Country Days, and visited several wineries. It was fun. Blah blah blah.

So if you click on the pictures, you should be led to more photos of the weekend. I’m really not in the mood for storytelling right now, as you can probably tell, but I wanted to get these photos up, and at least put something on my blog today. This is already more than I was planning on getting done today, you know…

Posted by: gochet | October 6, 2007

Things that you should probably know about Money.

Got a few minutes? Then watch this…

Above you will find a video that is the first of a 5 part series on http://www.youtube.com. It is a fascinating explanation of money, and how the concept of money has changed and been corrupted over the decades by a banking system and governments until money no longer has anything to do with value.

I put this on the front of my website because I think this might be one of the most important documentaries that you’ll ever watch.

Below I have direct links to all 5 parts being hosted on YouTube. Watch, learn, and enjoy.

1. Corrupt Banking System – Cartels Robbing the Public (1/5)
(This is the one that you see above)

2. Corrupt Banking System – How Money is Created (2/5)

3. Corrupt Banking System – Money is Debt (3/5)

4. Corrupt Banking System – Monetary Reform (4/5)

5. Corrupt Banking System – Warning About the NWO (5/5)

Posted by: gochet | October 6, 2007

I need to ride my bike across this.

This is beyond amazing.

HighBridge

Click the photo to see a whole article, including construction photos, which are psychotically awesome.

This, of course, is now where I want to learn to basejump.

Sometimes life forces a lesson onto you.  And sometimes it takes many years for that lesson to gel.

Actually, I find that this happens quite a lot.  This is a story of those types of lessons.

I once had the opportunity to stay, sleep, and eat for a few weeks in a musty and prison-like Christian Rescue Mission in Macon, Georgia.  It was a non-descript warehouse type of building in a less than glamorous section of downtown Macon, with a stereotypical neon sign above the roof that proclaimed in glowing red light that “Jesus Saves.”  It’s not that I wanted to sleep in a warehouse with a bunker full of creepy and unwashed homeless men.  It’s just that the local police wouldn’t let me sleep in the park under a bush.

Because I suppose that would have just made me a creepy, unwashed homeless man, too, albeit a much younger one.

So, for a few interesting weeks during the early months of 1994, I was spending a great deal of my days looking for work in and around Macon.  The rescue mission had a policy that you could stay in their lodgings for as long as you needed, on the premise that you would either donate to the church (unlikely, due to the homelessness we all suffered from), or would spend all day either working or looking for work.  Either way, you were expected to be absent from the building during working hours, unless you had a valid reason to be hanging about.

One of the ways that the mission helped men get back onto their feet was to encourage some of the better-off members of the church to hire us for day work.  A little painting, some light carpentry, a bit of landscaping, occasional yard work, and that sort of thing.  Being young and of solid health, I did quite a bit of day labor while in Macon, and managed to pocket a bit of cash to finance the rest of my journey homeward.  (I was in the middle of a country-wide hitchhiking expedition, but that is another story for another day.)

The day labor was usually the kind of work that one envisions when one thinks of ‘day labor.’  It was sweaty and hot, often involved shovels, axes, and other hand tools, and was very hard on a man’s clothes.

I had been traveling very light for the last couple of weeks (I was hitchhiking, remember?), and only owned a couple pairs of jeans in all the world.  Everything I owned could fit into a duffel bag at that point in my life, and a big shopping expedition to the local mall was unequivocally out of the question.  So my clothes kept taking a beating, and were beginning to look much worse for the wear.  But at least I had work, so the days weren’t so bad.

The nights, however, were a different story.  I have had occasion to spend a few nights in the local county jail a couple times in my life.  In a county jail, you are usually locked up with other folks from the neighborhood.  A lot of times it’s just a bunch of guys who also should have learned to call a cab.  And usually everyone is just a normal Joe, the type of guy you would expect to meet at the grocery store or the gas station.  People in jail, by and large, are pretty average folk.

People in homeless shelters occasionally meet that definition, but not very often.  The root cause for homelessness, so far is I’ve been able to discern, is one of two things.  Crippling addiction (to alcohol usually) or insanity.  Our great society, in over 200 years, has still not come up with a method of dealing with people who have these problems, unless they come from a family of means.  If you are poor and insane, or poor and addicted, you will live on the street.  And then, very possibly, you will live in the Macon County Rescue Mission.

So I learned very quickly to keep to myself.  I stayed out of the mission until dinner was served, I would take a walk after my meal, and I would read myself to sleep with books that I traded my way into along my travels.  Almost never did I allow myself to be drawn into a conversation with the men that I bunked with.  Because for the most part, they were quite insane.  And insane men can be most unpredictable at times.

And then comes the part about the lesson.  Because this is a story about a lesson, remember?  And the lesson, for me, came in the form in the form of a crazy looking, scary, unshaven, homeless man who never once uttered a single word to me.  He never said anything at all.  He didn’t eyeball me, or try to fight me, or anything at all that you would expect a crazy looking homeless man to do.

What he did was, as I looked at and considered once again the condition of my work-stained jeans, walk up to me and put a pair of pretty nice jeans on my cot, turn without hesitation, and walk back to the other side of the room to pick up a book that he had been reading.  No words were exchanged, no explanations, no requests, no opinions, no nothing.  Just a pair of jeans.

Small acts of kindness are never small acts.

And that is now a lesson that I will not soon forget.

Posted by: gochet | October 2, 2007

Chili Dogs.

Quite a number of years ago, I decided that I would no longer be eating hot-dogs, because they’re made of such disgusting stuff. I don’t really even like hot-dogs, so it wasn’t that hard to stick to the decision, and life continued to pass. Occasionally, however, I would find myself in a position where having a hot-dog was really my only good option for a quick meal, and I fell from my self imposed hot-dog-free lifestyle from time to time…

Then, sometime this past summer, I had a Chicago-style dog at the VFW here in White Bear Lake, and it was like finally figuring out how to do math. Since I’ve quit smoking (over a year and a half now!), my taste buds have underwent phenomenal changes in what they like and don’t like. And while I really used to just hate lots of crap piled on top of a hot-dog, I have now found that I really, truly like it a lot.

So I am going to share with you my current favorite hot-dog toppings, and I encourage you to do the same for me. Thanks!

Chet’s Ultimate Hot Dog

One old-fashioned skin-on wiener.
One poppy-seed hot-dog bun.
One zucchini.
A little bit of onion
A little olive oil
Sauerkraut
A can of good meaty Chili (Firehouse brand used to be my favorite, but now I can’t find it, so I’m using Stagg)
Sweet relish

Cover the inside of the bun with garlic flavored hummus and sweet relish, and put your cooked (preferably grilled) wiener on. Cover with sauerkraut, chili and zucchini that’s been chopped and lightly fried in olive oil with some chopped onion.  Chopped tomato on top is good, too, if you think you’ve got the room.

Eat 3 of these, and lie down on the couch for 4 hours, because you shouldn’t be moving around very much right then.

(See, this is what happens when I can’t think of anything to post to my blog, but I really want to post something to my blog…)

Posted by: gochet | September 30, 2007

Normally I’m not a rap listener…

 

 

Frontalot

But this goddamn rules.

“Never has a little boy sat so alone at his computer and busted out such in- conceivably thick rhymes. MC Frontalot has tapped the zeitgeist. It is with good reason that he is so very famous and rich.”

—Noam Chomsky

Visit BoingBoing.net here, and watch the video for a truly awesome song that will appeal to anyone who grew up playing text-based adventures like Zork on a Commodore 64. Like me.

Posted by: gochet | September 26, 2007

Sharon’s Back!

 

Santorini

So my girlfriend got back from Greece yesterday, and she brought back all sorts of cool things. Jewelry and olive oils, cheese and wine, paintings and knick-knacks… All the sort of stuff that you’d buy when on vacation in Greece. She also took over 700 photos, which I have not had a chance to see yet, but if they’re cool (and I’m sure that they will be), I’ll be sure to post some of them up on this site somewhere for you to see.

She, you see, doesn’t have a blog. So we’ll just use mine. 🙂

Also, I’m going to try to add a cool new slideshow feature to this website, so we’ll just have to see how that goes…

I’m super happy to have her back, and I plan on spending every minute I can with her this week, but seeing as how I *really* intend to start posting more to this blog, I thought I would at least take a few minutes to give you all a little update.

Also, I’m going to try to take some time this weekend to take some fall photos, and maybe I’ll share some of those with you as well.

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