Sammy the Seal

Archive for the ‘experience’ Category

Garlic pesto rolls, impatient scones, a quick night drive

In delicious, experience, You're a kitty! on Monday, 30 July, 2012 at 7:39

garlic pesto rolls

If it can be done with cinnamon, sugar, and butter, and strawberry, why not pesto and granulated garlic? I think it was a wise decision to leave the grated cheese out of it, I don’t think it would re-heat well. Maybe put it on top, but not in it. They turned out well, maybe I could’ve added a little more of each flavoring. Also, I’d bought a very small (it’s a bit pricey…) collection of sliced saucisson to put on one end of it, but completely forgot because I was rushing to prep and cut the rolls before the dough warmed up too much and got even harder to handle. However, the rolls themselves were great. Very light browning (not visible here), light, soft, and tender on the inside. That’s likely because I used the dough hooks to knead, instead of using my hands and then getting impatient and adding flour to the dough, which needs to be moist and sticky. I’m pretty sure that was the difference here. (Even the cinnamon rolls, right out of the oven, weren’t too soft.) Funny thing is, right after, I got impatient with moisture again.

When people say “I don’t/can’t bake”, I sort of roll my eyes, because it just requires good sense and attention to detail and instructions. However, I can understand the patience aspect. I still fail on that occasionally. I made scones right after the rolls, but quickly lost my patience with the wetness of the dough and its lack of shape or even a vague sense of structure. (Not to excuse, but it was more moist than I can ever recall. Somehow, as I followed everything properly.) So I dumped some flour into the dough, even though in the back of my head I knew that moisture is needed for voluminous scones. Such a shame, as I had held my ground with the rolls. The first batch gained less than ½ inch in volume, but fortunately the second I got ½ – 1 inch, though still not as puffy as I’d hoped. It seems obvious, but when you know the right thing to do/not do, stick to it, regardless of what your surface impulses say. In the kitchen and in life.

That part didn’t work out so hot, but it was nice to get out for a delivery and get some night air. Ahh… Thank goodness for the fotogenic feline, something extra that’s good to look at is never unwelcome.

night rider 1

night rider 2

night rider 3


Ugly strawberry rolls, cute girl

In delicious, experience, vinyl on Friday, 13 July, 2012 at 12:26

ugly strawberry rolls

Song: Dull Life
Artist: Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Album: It’s Blitz!

Usually iPod-quality sound is decent, but hearing this through a computer, I had no idea the bass tones (guitar and percussion) were so full and thick, just through headphones. I really like the ones at the beginning, like that beefy bounce at 0:42. The sound is not terribly original– it’s pretty much “modern rock”– but it’s very spirited and rousing. It’s great for dancing and/or getting amped.

Now, as far as the food, I wanted to make cinnamon rolls, but with strawberry filling instead. They tasted fine, but the appearance, well… As long as it’s edible, it’s functional. The consistency of the filling and rolling technique are main things to work on next time, that’s for sure. I wanted to impress people, but I didn’t want to waste lots of time on it though. I was seeing family I hadn’t seen in 3-4 years, and I had about 12 hours, and wasn’t about to allot time to obsess, analyze, or fix. (Also, I may have found another typo in my cookbook. These were done after just under 20 minutes, book said it would take around 40. Sigh… Hopefully, school ought to straighten this out.)

My excuse was that I was too busy interacting, but this was the only photo I got. I hope to get more from my sister when she has the time. It felt nice to be so popular for one day, before returning to inverse, mundane reality. This niece was hanging on to me much of the day, which is how she got the glasses. Earlier that morning, I was talking with four of the kids about missing and pulled teeth, which three of them had. This one didn’t have any, I guess she felt left out, but I told her to be happy her teeth are in good shape still. I think I’m in the minority in saying this is better than a missing tooth/teeth smile, which would be cute, but not as nice. Pretty almost always beats cute, anyway.

cool corynn 1

cool corynn 2

I think it would’ve been sweet without the sunglasses, she looks a little too cool. But she asked for them, and when asked if I could see her eyes in the photo, and I replied that they were hidden pretty well, she was satisfied at people not being able to see them. You have to respect your subject, especially when she’s awesome. However, she lost some of her desired mystique about an hour later at dinner when cleaning up a few drops of chocolate milk spill on the table… with her shirt. (Napkin, ehhh.) But, she gained a buttload of charm. That’s the preferable one to have, anyway.

“We’re not like underpants– we’re people! We’re not supposed to be perfect!”

In celluloid, experience on Monday, 11 June, 2012 at 14:36

Not that its essential to the plot but if you’re familiar with the old Hanes® commercials, the premise makes more sense. This is only one of three I found online:

And from that, comes the wisdom of those lines and of Pete And Pete. Oh, imagination, where have you gone to? Poor kids today. I think I was no longer a part of the Nickelodeon set when this came out, but I remember this one, because of the greatness of those lines and the premise this one. Offbeat, but well-written, with a good “message” (I hate that word) too. I’m also partial to this one because I am a functional eater and therefore not always picture perfect and mannered and clean, and Nona’s (adorable little Michelle Trachtenberg) slightly didactic, but true, admonishment that “you’re supposed to use your hands!” vindicates me. If you’re not going to take her word, take Little Pete’s then: “eating perfectly is imperfect.” I think the barbecue scene at the end is actually kinda sweet. The end credits song by Solaris (who did the theme song) is a nice, melodic, 90s-jangly bookend.

“You gotta find your f—in’ place in the sun, jackass”

In experience, funny ha ha on Tuesday, 29 May, 2012 at 14:43

I love that line, it’s very real. I like this guy. He did Fear Factor, UFC and the other fighting stuff, and he looks and even jokes about being a meathead, but don’t let his appearance, humility, or self-awareness fool you. He’s a pretty intelligent, self-aware human being. There’s nothing like taking the piss out of people who think they know better, and this clip brings it boldly. “Can’t compete” is the diplomatic, polite way to say “lazy”, “makes excuses”, and “avoids”. “You’re trying to pull the playing field down….. you’re not trying to rise.” Say it, brother. I especially like the last bit, as a hypothetical retort those who would judge or rationalize others. Besides, he already acknowledges the importance of balance and compromise (0:45). (Ugh, I wish there were no music in the background, it ruins it a little for me. The words are strong enough that they sure as hell don’t need to be scored.)

Then again, one shouldn’t be worried how one is perceived anyway. I have no idea what the hell the video is, I just listen to the audio anyhow:

If you can be objective and impartial, this is actually scarily coming to pass, I think. If you can look past his intensity, he’s making a lot of insightful points, while still being funny. That’s the best kind of comedy.

Change doesn’t necessarily (or at all) mean progress

In experience, vinyl on Sunday, 29 April, 2012 at 23:54

Song: Aurora Borealis
Artist: Meat Puppets
Album: Meat Puppets II

Don’t mistake the former for the latter. It’s just something that occurred to me, given recent circumstances, that I thought important to remember. It’s not a line from the song, which is just an offbeat little country, blues-y instrumental piece. Those ostensibly atonal guitar lines give the song an slightly trippy, otherworldly feel.

Seriousness aside, I do enjoy my new (relative) backyard. If I had a mic, I’d have captured the seals/sea lions barking and embedded them here too. And, this isn’t even with sunshine or at night.

backyard view 1

backyard view 2

“To: Sam, Lovely meeting you in Cambridge, ♥ Marit Larsen”

In experience, vinyl on Monday, 5 March, 2012 at 9:30

And so, Marit Week + 2 ends. Quality trip, even found some CDs I couldn’t find at home! Spent a lot of money, but getting the hell out of town was my goal, and it came off highly successfully. Special thanks again to my friend who happened to be in Boston this weekend so I could stay at his place for two nights. I otherwise flat-out couldn’t have gone, with no place to sleep and all. I owe him. And another thanks to the fellow Marit fan stranger for the high-quality photo. Your payment will be arriving through Paypal when I get back home.

Here’s one last Marit tidbit before I act sane and return to normal, mundane life. Evidently, she was nominated for an Echo, a German music award I think, in 2010. I’d heard she had a good following in Germany, but listening to her nominated alongside huge American pop stars is a bit surprising, “comically” so, in her word. For two non-native English speakers, it’s a decent interview; the German interviewer’s actually got some decent questions, not too vapid nor pulled directly from stock. And Marit, as always, is quite unassuming and charming about the whole thing. Let’s just say she’s got some perspective and humility to spare, and a very soft, yet assured voice. In person, even more so. Though I was embarrassingly nervous, she was just like how I see artists and performers– a normal person who happens to have a public profession. She was very friendly and appreciative, and more gracious, humble, and down-to-earth than you see here. It felt normal, how we were all hanging out. Me and Marit down by the schoolyard. I warned my lady that I might be Mr. Larsen at the end of this weekend, it’s all okay now, I’m not going to Norway.

Not only am I not one to get starstruck nor take photos, neither am I terribly interested in autographs. But, as in life, there are rarely absolutes:

marit album covers

To Marit,

Likewise, and then some,

♥ Sam

Fainting spells in New York City

In experience, vinyl on Thursday, 1 March, 2012 at 16:47

Song: Fainting Spells
Artist: Crystal Castles
Album: Crystal Castles (II)

This song is great for switching subways, though it likely sounded good because also felt good just to step on one again. Perhaps it’s because I haven’t had a real vacation in two years, or because I hadn’t been to New York in three years, I must admit that it felt really fucking good to be here again. Even if only to frantically run errands for less than four hours before shipping off to my sister, and in a couple of days, to Boston. Stepping onto the A at Howard Beach brought back a welcome and familiar, yet weird feeling, almost like I hadn’t left. It was cool to hear the “stand clear of the closing doors, please” guy greet me. The only bummer was that the pizza joint at 33rd and 9th that sold slices of cheese pizza for $1 and whole cheese pies for $5 is no longer there (not that I saw, but maybe I was rushing too quickly). Sucks, because I’ve been running on almost no food for the last twelve hours. By the time I made it to Grand Central for a northbound train, I was finally starting to feel the effects of carrying things up and down stairs with no fuel but half a Clark bar in the tank. A little lightheadedness and fatigue, but no fainting.

And yet, even though I was lugging around my laptop and carry-on and pounds of Economy Candy candy all over and up and down stairways, I still felt grateful. The day or two before I left home, I was stressing out a little about what a hectic, restless day it would be. It was, but not in a bad way like I had thought. More like natural.

“I’m still the mack”

In experience, vinyl on Saturday, 25 February, 2012 at 21:09

Song: Hotwax
Artist: Beck
Album: Odelay

I forgot that line came from groovy “Hotwax”, I was just going to use it as a link to the t-shirt. Awesome rhythm, great random moments, like the accordion between the first and second verses, and The Enchanting Wizard Of Rhythm, and memorable guitar lines and tones, like the ones that open. No wonder everyone likes Odelay!

mack shirt

As long as I’m reminiscing, I thought this shirt would fit right in. It’s from a computer game we played as kids, Hard Hat Mack. Pops used to be a computer programmer back in the early 1980s, so we got on the home computer train well over a decade before home computers started to become commonplace. It was kinda cool to get in on it so early, we got to see exactly how far the technology has come. So, thanks, dad! As you will see in the videos, the copyright is 1984. I don’t think we had it quite so early, but I had no idea the game had been out a few years by the time we got our hands on it. So that’s the backstory. Then, quite a few years back, my younger sister had this shirt made for and sent to me as a birthday present. I don’t wear it much, but one of the primary reasons is because I want to preserve it. I hope it never falls apart.

Samples of the game are below (run on emulators of course), two videos demonstrating gameplay, and one with fun audio commentary, done by famous, fabulous Youtube “Let’s Play” authors hercrabbiness and LateBlt. As you see in the intro, the antagonists are someone from OSHA and some weird creature named Vandal. I assume it’s human, though it doesn’t look so up close. I’m happy with my shirt, but I would have been just as happy with an OSHA or Vandal shirt. Oh man, if only action shirts were possible, I could have OSHA waving his fists in the air like in the game.

This is the PC version, which is what I had. The visuals are the same, though the sound effects, of course, aren’t exactly the same:

This one shows more levels of gameplay, though it’s the Commodore 64 version, so the colors and sound quality are different. The author of the video doesn’t show it, but at the end of the third level, you start back at the first, and I think the game speed increases is all:

And finally, the fun version. It’s great to hear hercrabbiness’ frustration, as LateBlt finds it amusing as well, so I don’t feel bad for laughing at her. The sad/cute thing is, she never gets the hang of it, all ten minutes of the video are spent playing the first level! 🙂

“…and my little hedgehog Humphrey”

In celluloid, experience, funny ha ha on Wednesday, 22 February, 2012 at 13:44

I know I’m old, but still, it’s hard to find someone I know (apart from siblings) who has heard of Pinwheel, Nickelodeon’s answer to Sesame Street that began in the early 1980s. (By the way, the two bees– or whatever– in the clip are there because it’s the only version of the intro that was good quality.) It was back when my parents would pay for cable, was having cable so special back in the 1980s? I actually think it was. I had a cousin who had Showtime, HBO, and the other premium channels, and I thought that was a pretty big deal.

I swear, the last great gasp in imagination, especially in children’s programming, happened in the 1980s. And it lasted all morning. Today’s Special was next in line at about 1pm or so. Apart from having puppets and marionettes and such, the show also featured animation and other international shorts, though the only names I can muster off the top of my head are Hattytown, Emily, Simon, and Paddington Bear. Jesus Christ, I’m going to start tearing up, just hearing the music. Not just the Pinwheel theme, but the Simon and Emily themes set my heart a-flutter– they’re so good! Back when theme music was as important and essential to the program.

Emily. Ah, Emily. Originally in French, this was dubbed into English for airing in anglophonic countries. A note about the video, the “yippee” visual was added by the author of the post, it was not in the original. God bless the little girl who sang the dubbed version of the theme song. I never knew what she said at the end, now I am utterly thrilled and overjoyed to learn that it’s “yippee!” Dressed all in red, but sometimes her gloves are green. Fuckin’ A, yes.

For kicks, I found the original French. Good lord, so much awesomeness, I might explode. I love you, Emilie/Emily. Quelle douceur. Les français, je vous remercie.

“Well, you know my name is Simon…” (Still fighting the tears….) I believe Simon In The Land Of The Chalk Drawings is a British creation, I never checked though. The theme song explains the premise, but a little explanation of the weird psychedelic thing at the end of the clip, is that climbing the ladder (mentioned in the song) is what took him over the wall into The Land Of The Chalk Drawings:

And finally, Hattytown! It appears that there is no theme song, just a spoken intro. Bless you again, British people.

Keys to semi-lucid dreaming

In experience, words, words, words on Thursday, 27 October, 2011 at 3:52

How can you verify that you are dreaming? Current events, or, more specifically, current sporting events. It is rare that I am up past 3am due not to having stayed up, but having slept. I fell asleep shortly after dinner (thank goodness I remembered to put the food away!), and here I am eight hours later, though it was actually a struggle to rouse myself, being still exhausted. The call of the shower and the prospect of cleanliness vs. stink got me through.

So anyway, lots of dreaming last night, involving co-workers and family, details which I remember well but can’t describe, but as usual, a storyline and context I didn’t have much of a grip on. One definite detail of my dreaming misadventures was the death of my brother and oldest sister. One dream was bleeding into the next, adjacent locations that don’t match, people that don’t belong in certain places (like south Texas), and suddenly I found myself at the church I went to when I lived at home, which is when I found out about the deaths. It was like a normal church day, then I suddenly stumbled upon a line/procession of people in black, against a wall. Of course I was shocked and saddened, but shortly afterwards figured something was not right. (At one brief period of my life, I was good at recognizing dreams, but not so much anymore.)

In retrospect, there was something fishy about driving to the graves, which I’ll explain later, but, and here’s the key to semi-lucid dreaming, I used as my litmus test sports. (It was weird, like in a film or show containing time travel where someone asks what year it is and everyone else humors them but thinks they’re crazy.) Upon expressing my skepticism of this reality to my dad, I asked my dad what major sporting event was going on, the correct answer being, of course, The World Series. I want to say he almost mentioned something about basketball, but instead asked me something like, “well, which one is it where you’re from?” I think the dream ended shortly thereafter, as I don’t remember much else. I didn’t get to solve it, but at least my dad didn’t treat me like a complete loon.

Other details that aroused suspicion, or should have:
1) This one is the weaker of the two, but when I learned what was going on was at the wake (though it could have just been the services, I’m not too sure), which happened before my dad and I drove out to the cemetery. However, it could have just been the services, I’m not too sure.
2) This one I feel dumb for not catching, but when you’re shocked and stricken by grief, you’re not always aware of things. I mentioned earlier how I found a line of people in black and church, of whom my family was a part? That’s when I found about my brother and sister. It would seem no one had mentioned it to me until then, and I’m pretty sure my family likes me.

I remember growing up loving baseball, even though neither Texas team had ever amounted to much then. Even when I was grown, I remember Texas getting stomped by New York during their occasional playoff years. (Admittedly, I was more an Astros fan as a kid. I was a bit incredulous in 2005, though I should have been more happy for them then. Maybe it’s because they got stomped so quickly, I didn’t really have a chance to be.) From decades of being nobodies, to two pennants in a row. One game from finally winning it all. The Rangers, really? Good luck tonight, guys.