Now We’re Cookin!

January 21, 2008 at 1:00 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“Spicy Pork and Chili-Pepper Goulash”
Originally uploaded by OctopusHat.

Julie and I worked on a few goals for the new year (resolution sounds too bureaucratic) this weekend, and ended up with a metric shit-ton of Spicy Pork and Chile-pepper goulash in the fridge. You can read all about it in my flickr set.

One of our aforementioned goals for the year is to cook a large/complex/long meal on Sundays that will feed us for at least the first part of the week, I am going to do my best to document them on flickr and/or here.  I’ve started a “collection” on flickr for all the meals, and we will see how long Jules and I can keep it up.   We are already planning a ribs and sausage stew using Julie’s Grandfathers homemade Hungarian Sausage, Chili for the super-bowl, and a couple other meals that will take advantage of the new enameled cast-iron dutch oven that we picked up on deep discount over the weekend.

This ties into one of my other goals for the year: to reduce the amount of crap that I purchase.  This is really part of the larger major goal for the year of eliminating our consumer debt so that we can move towards other major-life-goals.  The less money spent on crap will also help us on the 2nd major goal for the year:  to kill less Polar Bears.  Sure, ‘going green’ is hip and trendy for 2008 but that is no reason to NOT try to minimize our environmental impact.  More on that later, it should be easy in comparison to the breaking of my in-grained spending habits.

One way I’ve come up with to help not buying more crap is to ask myself, “Will I still be using this in 2 years?” before making the purchase.  Julie and I will feasibly still be cooking in our new dutch oven in 10 or 20 years so I didn’t even blink at the $70 investment (plus, do you know how much a name-brand 7qt dutch oven goes for?)  I’m not sure how long I’ll be able to keep up the crap-purchasing embargo, and I’m not sure how this rule will apply to media purchases (especially videogames,) but it has already prevented be from buying one of those mini R/C Helicopters…


Two! In One Day! ZOMG!

January 18, 2008 at 3:59 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How is this for reheating old content?

I’m going to try, on every friday (though in all honestly probbaly just today,) to post up a ‘from the archives’ post of ‘classic Octopushat.’  Basically I have too much fun reading my own archives, and now I am going to submit you to them as well.

The inagural “Octopushat Friday Flashback!” (here after OFF!) is from the heady days of 2005. Friday January 28th, 2005 to be exact:

“Almost Over
I can hardly believe that today is Friday. This week seemed to exist outside the normal flow of space-time. Or was that just me? I dunno, when the Monday morning starts off crappy, and only gets worse from there, the pressure exerted by this ever-increasing poop-mound crushes the very ability to reconcile the passage of time from whatever dark recesses of my lizard-brain are responsible those functions.

Just to recap, on my way to my car Monday morning I discovered my car had been burgled; its passenger window shattered and my stereo brutally mined from the dash. The weather men shamans foretold of more coming rains, so a replacement window had to installed ASAP. Then we discovered one downfall to my once-new job: a new and inglorious tax bracket. The bulbous and unlubricated phallus of the federal tax code erased our sugar-plum dreams of a no-stress spring jaunt to Vegas and left us wondering how to prevent this next year. That was Monday. The week continued along these lines, spiraling to a near comic level of unpleasantness. Until today where the usually bearable office chaos has escalated into something akin to a big-top circus fire mixed with a bank robbery. I would really like to just curl up in a dark corner somewhere with innumerable prescription drugs.

But I think I can finally begin to see the light at the end of 5:59.”

That was enjoyable… have a good weekend everyone!

Lets Try THIS Again, Shall We?

January 18, 2008 at 3:37 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

I’ve said it before, but I’m going to put in more of an effort to actually post to the blog. So much to say that I get overwhelmed by actually saying it and end up not posting.

So, here is a braindump:

  • Vegas was tits. An amazing and ledgendary trip.
  • Bouchon was one of the big highlights of the trip. Kobe-style pork short-ribs cooked sous-vid for 36 hours. I’m dubbed the meal “The Incredible never ending porkathon.”
  • Halo3 is far funner than I had imagined it would be. Having a designated time to play set-up w/ a group helps a lot.
  • The Xbox360 in general is a blast. The funnest system since the dreamcast.
  • Rockband is an amazing and thrilling experience. Redefines the party-game genre.
  • I’ve been sick for nearly 3 months straight and I’m really fucking tired of it. Can’t wait to be able to smoke a cigar or (my recently revisited) pipe.
  • New Years Resolutions are, in no real order: buy less shit. Cook more and eat better. Try not to kill any polar bears (mainly by minimizing my use of plastic bags).
  • The D40 is still a joy and I’m getting some great results. Lets see if I can’t make some more $$ with it this year…
  • No Country For Old Men is the best movie of 2007, JUST beating out Zodiac
  • “In Rainbows” the new radiohead Album is awesome*awesome.  It is awesome squared.
  • The ‘television renaissance’ that I posited about in past years is dead and buried. TV is a fucking wasteland that has Jules and I seriously considering shit-canning cable and the beloved TiVo.
  • only 6 months way from THIRTY. Still coming to grips with that.
  • Lost is back in 2 weeks.
  • I hope the Cloverfield monster is Cthulhu
  • That is all. Carry on.

Meme me

October 22, 2007 at 10:48 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Over at I Fought the Law, Matt has a post about cleaning his trunk.  During this purge he runs across the “oldest material possession, or at least the thing that [he’s] owned for the longest time” and I thoguth this might be a nominally interesting blog-meme for our little corner of blogistan.  So, what is the THING that you have POSSESSED for the longest amount of time (hereafter referred to as ‘OMP’)?

I’m a bit of a packrat, and have a few contenders.  I have a  journal that I’ve owned and used off-and-on since I was 12 (1990,) I have a Swiss Army Knife that probably dates to around the same time, but I believe my OMP would be “A Field Guide to Insects” that I would pour over when visiting my Nonie in Louisiana as a very young (5? 6?) boy.   I’ll try and take a picture of it this evening.

Your turn.

Convenience Evolved

September 26, 2007 at 3:42 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Convenience Evolved
Originally uploaded by OctopusHat.

The biggest videogame in the history of videogames was released yesterday (Halo 3 for those not keeping track) and I bought my copy from 7-11 on my way home from work when I stopped for redbulls and snacks.

Actually I stopped at an EB Games on my way home first and when I asked for a copy of Halo 3 the clerk asked if I had a preorder I could barely contain my sniggers. Then he told me that they only were selling it to people who preordered. I scoffed at the absurdity of that and left. Microsoft is supposedly shipping over 4 million copies of the game in the FIRST WEEK alone, and EB’s company line is they are only selling it to people who preordered?

So I stop at 7-11 on my way home and there is a modest stack behind the counter. I put my redbulls and Halo-themed doritos on the counter and ask for a copy of Halo 3 as well.

The clerk there had no idea what I was talking about. So I point to it and say one of those. “You know that is $60 right?” she replys completely flabergasted that I would be purchasing such a thing.

Whatever. It beats the hell out of parking at Target, giving BestBuy any money, or patronizing EB and their ridiculous preorder scheme. The quickly approaching future of direct-download videogame distribution makes me happy to be rid of the retail albatross.

Annika Grayson!

September 25, 2007 at 1:04 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Originally uploaded by scribbledes.

Andrew and Jodi’s daughter Annika Grayson was born yesterday afternoon!

Everyone is doing great and Andrew sounds exceedingly happy and excited.

Drop by their flickr stream and wish them well!

Voros 50th Anniversary Party

September 24, 2007 at 1:01 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Originally uploaded by OctopusHat.

Mate and Ilona met at Sunday School in the early 50s in Hungary. One day Mate walked Ilona half-way home, and they fell in love. Soon after Mate joined the Hungarian army and was posted on the Yugoslavian border. He used his post as a border guard to help Hungarian refugees flee from the Communist Government. The Hungarian people staged a revolution in October of 1956, but when the Russian army quashed it and killed thousands of people Mate decided it was time to flee the country as well. He asked Ilona’s parents if he could take their daughter with him and they agreed on the condition that they be married at the first opportunity. A few days later they left the village of Davod in a sleigh and crossed the border into Yugoslavia thanks to Mate’s contacts on the border. They would not return to the village of their childhood for over 20 years.

They spent months moving from camp to camp and were finally able to be married on September 10th 1957. And while their wedding was large, as it was witnessed by the thousands in the refugee camp, it was not the story-book wedding that young girls dream of. Shortly thereafter they made the voyage to New York. Their ultimate destination was California where Mate had dreamed of living since a Missionary from a church in the Bay Area had visited his village when he was a child. They arrived in Redwood City around the new year, 1958 where they stayed with other Hungarian families until they could get on their feet.

The Voros family flourished in the California sun where Mate’s entrepreneurial sprit and DIY ethos made led him to an early ‘retirement’ from the real-estate market, while Ilona, with the help of her daughter, discovered that American women had options beyond homemaker and had a successful career of nearly 20 years working at Stanford university.

Over 50 years after fleeing the Russian Army Mate and Ilona Voros finally had the story-book wedding in their church in Redwood City. They reconfirmed their vows and were joined in celebration by the very close-knit community of Hungarians in the Silicon Valley who have become their extended family.

Their story is an amazing example of the American dream-come-true, and I am very happy to have been a small part of it

I can’t get no…

September 7, 2007 at 4:45 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I can’t get no…
Originally uploaded by OctopusHat.


5:30 on a LONG Friday at work and I decided to give the nicogel a shot.

It looks gross and it smells worse (kinda like puss and dogfood respectively.)

And the bottom line?
Inconclusive unfortunately. I’ve waited 15 minutes and can’t detect much, if any, nicotine high. But my hands are tingling a bit and there is a mild euphoric sense (though that could just be that I’m off in 10 minutes…)  I’m now going to go wash my hands.

NicoGel?! WTF?

September 6, 2007 at 8:47 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Originally uploaded by OctopusHat.

During the blackout Jules and I stopped at the local 7-11 for supplies when I spied these small foil packets in a display on the counter. They advertised “cigarette satisfaction in a hand gel” and of course I had to buy a couple (I think they were around $.80 each.)

I’m not sure WHY one would want “cigarette satisfaction in a hand gel” apart from times when you can’t smoke, but the idea of drug-delivery in a topical gel was simply too cool to pass up.  And in doing some research into he product it seems to be marketed simply as a way for smokers to “beat the ban” and get their fix in public spaces, indoors, and anywhere else that you can no longer light-up.  Also, in addition to these single-use packs they also sell a 50-use pump-bottle.

The ingredients are listed as “water, extract of tobacco (40%v/v)…” and a whole host of alcohols and gums.  And the only directions are “open packet and rub contents into hands until gel is gone.”  I have yet to work up the nerve to open one of the packs and try out the gel, but when I do I’ll report back.

Back From the Dark Ages

September 5, 2007 at 9:15 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Power was restored to our area of Hollywood around 11pm last night.  We had just come to grips with the idea of spending another night w/o cooling fans or light and were sitting out on the balcony enjoying the mercifully cooler weather and listening to the LADWP crews work on a transformer on our street.  Suddenly there was a flicker and then the click-WHOOSH of dozens are AC units turning on simultaneously.  Hoots and applause rung out from the units in our building, but just as we started to blow-out candles everything went dark again.  But HOPE was restored!  And the workers redoubled their efforts and everything was back on in another 20 minutes.  We had some minor food spoilage and some major Popsicle meltage, but other than that everything is now back to normals.

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