Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Crock Pot Queso

A while back I did a post on queso. I was going to get around to adding pictures but never did; mainly because I never got to make the dip until this past weekend.

You need:
1 block of Velveeta
2 cans of Ro*tel
1 lb of hot sausage(Jimmy Dean, JC Potter, etc)
Spices shown below

Cut the Velveeta into 1 inch cubes and place in a crock pot. Turn crock pot on warm. Strain both cans of Ro*Tel then pour into crock pot. Add 2 TB of Chili powder, 1 tsp each of cayenne pepper, garlic powder and onion powder. I use about 1 TB of cumin but you can use less.

While that is warming, brown the sausage in a skillet over medium to medium high heat. Once thoroughly browned, drain off liquid and add to crock pot.

Mix thoroughly and mix periodically while the mixture melts down. Once all cubes of Velveeta have melted it is ready to enjoy.

Serve over tortilla chips or in a bowl for dipping.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Monday Morning Musings

- I didn’t know a Chihuahua could make a 8 x 10 carpet smell so bad

- A power washer can be used to clean said carpet

- I can pull off a surprise party like nobody can

- A full box of Arm & Hammer laundry detergent falling off a washing machine sounds like a clumsy cat

- Baked fried chicken can taste just as good as pan fried chicken

- Ferrari is king again in Formula 1(after losing 41% percent of the field to attrition)

- An Indy Car race at Kansas Speedway is still just as boring with a unified series

- A pond can be green and cloudy with neglect and the fish( 47 cent goldfish) can still be alive through winter

- Work still sucks

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Friday, April 25, 2008

LOST - The Shape of Things to Come

Another good LOST episode last night. Of course we were presented with just enough information to develop more questions.

- I think we're close to finding out how Kate ends up with Aaron off the island. Claire's demise seems imminent; or her reluctance to keep her child on the island with her.

- Smokey is back and in rare form. Controlled in some way by Ben. He knows how to release it; and odd that it didn't attack the Losties.

- Locke, as good as his character is, is being duped through this whole thing. He plays into Ben's game, hook line and sinker.

- And speaking of game, what "game" is Ben referring to with Widmore's crew. "They changed the rules"

- We now know how Sayid became Ben's assassin. Based solely on revenge for the death of his wife.

- Also I think we've seen straight up time travel now with Ben showing up in Tunisia in a winter Dharma coat. So we have now seen a conscious(I assume) time travel with Desmond and a physical time travel with Ben.

- As much as a Bad dude(thanks Hurley) Ben is I still think Ben is inherently good, trying to protect the island. His daughter ended up dead because 'they changed the rules', not because he didn't care. I could be completely wrong but I'm sticking to him being a 'good guy'.

Until next week...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Elusive Night of Sleep

For two nights in a row I’ve had a pattern. And not one I care to repeat; I do not need THIS much order in my life.

The magic hours seem to be 12:00am and 3:00am. Before I even begin to describe it, you have to strike up the circus music because this is a 3 ring circus. Make it one ring for every child.

Flash back to Tuesday night:

Child #3, 4 years of age, must sleep with his door shut for crawling in to bed with Child #1 the night before. Not that big of a deal, BUT it destroys the night of sleep for two kiddos and then everybody pays the price the next day. This is NOT something he enjoys but it works like a charm. I put his night stand light on, said our nightly prayer, gave him a kiss and reminded him that tonight “we have to shut your door, for going into Child #1’s room last night”. The bottom lip begins to quiver and he struggles to keep it together, “But I’ll stay in my room”. “I know you will but this is for last night”. He never did cry but he was right on that edge. I chuckled later on at how much he hard he was trying to keep his composure.

Child #1, meanwhile, has a terrible coughing fit. We do an asthma treatment before bed and it never lets up. K and I go to bed around 10:30 and it’s STILL cough central. I get up take the cougher downstairs and give her a dose of Delsum. By 11:30, no change. So I tell the cougher that she can sleep downstairs in the guest room, trying to save sleep for the rest of the family. “Ok”. By midnight there’s a knock on our door. “I’m not comfortable downstairs; I want to be in my room”. “Thank you for the statement Child #1, now go to bed”

3:00am – Another knock on our door; Child #3, who is darn near sleep walking, is babbling about a light. I guide him back to his bed, give him a kiss and shut the door. The only thing K & I can figure is that he woke up to his light being on instead of off.

This will surely drive me insane.

Flash back to last night:

Children #1 & #3 are at their mom’s, under our joint custody arrangement.

It’s a dark and stormy night (no really it is). We keep a few windows open to get a draft through the house. We try to convince Child#2 to open her window so she is not sleeping in a sauna. It’s been humid and the house feels stagnant. No dice, she’s going down in flames before that window opens. Ok.

10:30pm – Child #2 is up and hot. You can sleep downstairs in guest room or open your window. Those two choices turn out to be no dice; she’s sweatin’ this one out.

12:00am – I think Child #2 knocked on the door (I’m not sure I was somewhere between Care Bears and Charlie’s Angels in my dreams). K got up to take care of it. Upon return K says that Child #2 was informing her, “it’s raining and you need the shut the windows”. We are SO lucky to have found out we have window patrol living under our roof. I think K told her to go back to bed and not to worry about it. I’m not sure because I was trying to find the Angels again.

3:00am – YES, again. I wake up to K going, “ssssst. Sssssst”, which is the universal sign to the cat that she better get the heck out of the way becomes hell is coming down on her. Then I heard it; our clawless cat is scratching on our wicker hamper. I grab her by the scruff and toss her out the door. We do not let the cat in our room; she’s too excited to be around us and will drive us insane.

Two nights with exactly the same pattern; if I don’t find my way back to slumberland tonight I may never find my Care Bears or Angels.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Open Wheel Wednesday

In just under two weeks the Indy Car Series will roll into the Kansas Speedway full of momentum. So far this year we’ve seen Graham Rahal become the youngest driver to win in the Series and last week saw Danica Patrick become the first woman to win at Motegi.

All eyes will be upon Kansas instead of Talledega?? That’s right, the bigger story right now is open wheel racing and I’m all for it. The only problem is that there couldn’t be a more boring place to have a follow up race than the Kansas track. I’ve seen one IRL event there in the past and I have to say it was a snooze-fest. These 1.5 mile tracks just don’t cut it for me; I’d rather see them turning right as well as left. But all eyes will be on Danica now that she has captured her elusive first win.

The rumor mill is starting to heat up. Reported on Autoracing1.com is a story out of a German publication that F1 driver Rubens Barichello has been approached about a possible swap from the F1 Honda team to the AGR ride while Marco Andretti, who has tested in F1, would take the Honda seat. We’ll have to see if this rumor gains any legs.

And I guess Hans-Joachim Stuck is quoted as saying that Danica Patrick would be a good fit in F1 in order for the sometimes elitist series to gain market share in the United States. I definitely see this as a marketing possibility but don’t see her ever making it into an F1 ride based on talent.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

BMW Oil Change Light Reset

Just because I got the oil changed in K's car, doesn't mean I'm off the hook yet. Look below, "Tony I've only got one bar!?". Which in some weird way reminds me of Raising Arizona, "Have you got him his DipTet yet?", "H.I., have we got him his DipTet yet, hon we've got to do that."

So, I've got to figure out how to reset the oil change indicator light. It's not like any others I've done before. Nope, you can't do it from the odometer button while turning the ignition. Not with Herr Von Frankenschnitzel models.
You've got to go into the engine compartment and locate the above device, full of pins and receptacles. Once that is located take a paper clip and make a U shape out of it. Then turn the key to ignition stage II. "Roger that mission control." Now get out of said VonSchnitzel's car and take the paper clip into receptacles 7 and 19.

Is my hair really that thin? Oh man I need help.

Hold it there for exactly 4 seconds. Yes, 4 seconds or the world may end; or Hillary may become President. Joking aside, if you hold it for 11 seconds you'll be resetting a different indicator. Maybe the one that tells us the end is near and HRC is our president.

If done correctly you get the full bar graph as below and I hold my super-husband status for approximately 2 more hours.

Tony Sticks has some good schematic pictures on his site.

Free Chihuahua

I think we either have the most stubborn or the laziest dog for her age.

She absolutely hates anything other than warm weather(well she is Mexican and would rather have the summer heat coming down on her ya know). Under inclement conditions you have to keep a set of eyes on her; all the way out the doggie door. But don’t let you guard down, because she’ll do a quick U-turn just to check for a clear path back inside. Then once she’s in it’s nothing for her to ‘drop trou’ wherever she pleases. She’s got her special places for that though. It can’t be on bare floor, which would be easier for us to clean. It MUST be carpeted and warm if possible. Remember, she hails from closer to the equator than most of us.

But that’s not the best part. When you’re calling for her to go into her crate she tries to ‘not make eye contact’ as if she’s in a line for potential volunteers to peel potatoes or clean grease traps. It’s downright comical the way I can look under a blanket for her, see her, say her name and she’ll keep turning her head away thinking, “he won’t see me if I don’t make eye contact”. Maybe not that intelligent, maybe more along the lines of “this soft, crate not, don’t look”.

We enjoy the doe headed rat, but K and I continually say, “we had her sign a DNR form” in which we are not to take heroic measures to save her in the event of a disaster(man made or otherwise).

So she better keep Mrs. Peepers pointed to the ground. The outside ground.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

How long should this really take

It was just supposed to be an oil change; that is until I unscrewed the oil plug and thought, "man that oil sure is red"

Sonofamotherscratcher this is the transmission pan. Assuming everything on K's BMW 318i would be similar in layout to the rice burners, I made a fatal mistake. I uncorked the transmission fluid in error. Of course it would not be that big of a deal IF you could pour the transmission fluid in from the TOP of the engine compartment.

Oh no no no. Not in this frankenfurter von shnitzel. The fill up/top off port is on the side of the transmission pan, which was impossible to get off. To make a long story long, I had to take 16 bolts off the transmission pan to get it off in order to pour the vacated fluid back into it. Then I had to have K put the bolts back in while I held the pan in place, which was not an easy task.

We had transmission fluid everywhere, including on us. Although I have to say, K in a wifebeater with greasy spots on her arms and shirt were working for me. If it hadn't taken me another 45 minutes to finish the transmission pan and do the real oil change I might have done something about that urge.

I did get to watch the Long Beach Grand Prix and oh, how I'll miss those turbocharged V8's.


Friday, April 18, 2008

Photo Friday - Poison Dart Tree Frogs

As a follow up to the zoo bit, my beautiful K took these pictures on our trip to the zoo. These frogs are only about 1 1/2 inches long and striking in their colors:

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Polar Bear Lost His Marbles

Last Friday I had volunteered with my wife to chaperon her daughters', kid #2, field trip to the zoo. I will use ANY excuse to not go to work. And I also like the zoo. One of my best friends is a primate zoo keeper so I've gotten the behind-the-scenes view of the zoo and it's pretty interesting. And loud. And stinky. And dangerous(we're talking chimps that will tear you limb from limb).

But what got me this time was the polar bear.

It all seemed just fine at first. "Hey look at the polar bear! Look at him walking around in a circle."
Again, and again, and again.

I even commented to K, "look he even sniffs the same spot on the back wall every single time around.
A little bit later we caught up to my friend the primate zoo keeper, "they're not monkeys they're chimps!" Ok, ok simmer down now...

He said it was not a good sign; just like we had thought. The bear is basically going crazy and obsessively does the same thing, or pattern over and over. If there happened to be another door opened to, say, a holding pen, it would be enough to give it the change it needs to keep it's sanity.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Open Wheel Wednesday

It's double your pleasure weekend in the IRL. The former Champcar Series drivers will bid adeiu to Long Beach in their final race this Sunday, while the IRL regulars will be racing in Japan. Both races will be televised. You can catch the IRL race Saturday night at midnight and the Long Beach Grand Prix will be seen on Sunday. And it is a points paying race for those teams that made the move to the IRL.

Let's see if Paul Tracy can put on a good performance to help land him a ride. Open wheel racing needs this guy. He's the boss applesauce.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Best thing since sliced bread(almost)

If you've ever done any spackling around the house you never quite know when to sand. There is a compound out now that is pre-made and works like a charm.

You apply it to the area you need to spackle; in this case it was a hole from where I removed a recessed toilet paper holder(K needs a fancy schmancy brushed bronze one to match the light fixture-yes, dear).

The cool thing about this stuff is that it goes on pink, and as it dries it turns white. As you can see below, it is not quite fully dried so no use in trying to sand it down yet.

Just wait until you have full on white and you're good to go. It's called Dry Time Indicator Spackling by DAP.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Mr Mom Monday

Here's a great plan ahead deal for kids school lunches. Make a whole loaf of bread into PB & J sandwiches,

You know, peanut butter on one side, jelly on the other. Put each individual sandwich in a ziploc bag and place back in the bread bag that should now be empty. Voila!

Put the whole bag in the freezer and each morning, pop a new sandwich into the kiddos lunch sack. By lunch time the sandwich will have thawed out and no one is worse for wear. That just saved me time that I can devote to doing absolutely nothing before I go to work!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Apple pie, Chevrolet and freezing your rear off

What ever happened to baseball in the summer time?! When I was growing up, we played exclusively in the summer; of course I lived in northern Illinois so the climate had a lot to do with that. We also didn't get the 'every body is a winner' speech from our parents. It was more of the 'well you guys stink, try harder'. Nowadays everyone is so enmeshed in their children's happiness and ability to do well that in a lot a ways we don't prepare them for growing up like we should.It was cold this weekend. Really cold. This would be the reason you didn't see Spring Little League back when I was a kid. The wind was blowing around 15 mph and it was in the 40's F. It was unbearable for all the adults in attendance. We'd much rather be in our pj's drinking coffee at 10am than sitting outside watching mini-me's play T-ball.

Saturday was child #3's first go round with T-ball, at four years of age. I can't remember how many balls went past him in the field or how many times the coaches had to holler to get him to stand on the bases, but he had a blast. You couldn't tell by the look on his face how cold it was but you sure could from his red nose and ears.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Photo Friday

Remember the old Doublemint commercials? "It's two, two mints in one!"

Here's two for ya.

From the base at Crested Butte, CO. A great place to ski that is away from most of the crowds that hit the resorts on the outskirts of Denver.

Speaking of Denver; here's a shot from the Denver Grand Prix. Paul Tracy is getting a lift from, then teammate and now open wheel defector, AJ Allmendinger back to the pits.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

If this isn't a double standard...

This just really burns me. If this was a public school practicing anything related to Christianity they would be ripped apart by the fascists on the far left. However, since it deals with Islam nobody is up in arms about it other than the conservative radio show hosts. The people of Minnesota have tax money going to this PUBLIC school!!

If you are going to be so adamant on keeping Christianity out of public school then keep ALL religion out of public school.

Maybe some of those tax dollars can go to training him on raising a flag.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Open Wheel Wednesday

Probably one of the saddest situations in the unification of American Open Wheel Racing is that of former Champcar Series racer, Paul Tracy. Who is the most recognizable driver to come out of Champcar in the past 10 years? Paul Tracy. Who is the one driver, who should have but does not have a ride in the unified series? None other than Paul Tracy.

Sure he may be a little long in the tooth(he’s 39, which is old by open wheel standards), but he drives balls out – every weekend. This guy has no fear and drives his car on the line(and sometimes over) every single moment.

Now we find out that he will not even be representing Champcar in their swan song at Long Beach. Can you believe it?! The relationship between Tracy and Forsythe, and Forsythe and open wheel racing has soured to the point of bitterness with all fans. It’s one thing to be staunchly against the IRL, it’s quite another to hold your driver in his contract out of spite and then not field cars for the unified series.

Tracy is now free of Forsythe but has been unable to find a ride. Crowds at the St. Petersburg race were treated to a great coming out party for the old Champcar teams and also Graham Rahal, but it rang hollow for me. It was missing Paul Tracy.

It remains to be seen if Paul will be in the Indy 500 or the rest of the unified series schedule. Word has it that Tony George may field another car for him within Vision Racing.

At this point, I don’t even care if it’s a competitive car. I just want Paul Tracy doing what he does best; race.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Where Am I?

I’m not sure how coherent I can be to post anything today. I’m in a state of delirium after being awakened somewhere around 2 or 2:30am this morning by thunder, kids and tornado sirens (in no particular order). Extremely severe weather moved through our county and town, with the worst passing North and South of us. Sleep did not join us any time after that.

I’d love to go on and on about the high I’m still carrying over from Sunday’s race in St. Petersburg but I’ll leave that for tomorrow.

What I will leave you with is yet another example of the Iranian President Ahmadinejad’s madness. He has not minced his words or pulled any punches; he fully intends to wipe Israel off the face of the Middle East. But he won’t stop there; his final target will be the United States. Yet nothing is being done to stop him.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Monday Morning Quarterback

Monday Morning Quarterback

We finally got to see what our Champcar guys, what is left of them, had for the IRL regulars on a more level playing field – a street course; the bread and butter track of the now defunct Champcar World Series. And let me tell you, things could not have gone better outside of sweeping the podium. Here’s how they fared:

  1. Graham Rahal

4. Ernesto Viso

5. Enrique Bernoldi

7. Oriol Servia

8. Will Power

9. Justin Wilson

16. Mario Moraes

20. Franck Perera

24. Bruno Junqueira

This contest had changing conditions throughout; rain at the start, a very wet track, and the added variable of when to change to the faster racing slicks from treaded rain tires. It was evident with Justin Wilsons’ early domination and Graham Rahal’s eventual race win, that Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing work like mad men to gain as much knowledge as possible. KV Racing had a similar showing with Oriol Servia and Will Power consistently in the top 10 throughout the race.

But the biggest surprises of the afternoon had to be HVM’s Racing, Ernest Viso(Hard Charger Award Winner) and Conquest’s Enrique Bernoldi finishing fourth and fifth respectively. While not household names these guys are no strangers to racing. Viso has won two British F3 (B) championships, raced in GP2, and was involved in F1. Bernoldi raced in F3000 and also had a taste in F1 as a test driver. Neither driver looked out of place on the grid, never really putting a wheel wrong.

It’s obvious that Dale Coyne Racing has still got a lot of work to do, but if anyone can find a way to make lemons out of lemonade, it’s this guy.

Other notable takeaways from St. Petersburg:

  1. As promising as the street course results were, don’t look for quite the same results in the next oval event. Those teams have not had the testing and telemetry hours necessary to be up to speed with the IRL requlars.
  2. After getting a lot of their clocks cleaned by the newcomers, some IRL regulars don’t want it to be an ‘us against them’.
  3. Danica is not that good (never was). It’s even more obvious with the influx of more talent.
  4. Sponsorship is up and the IRL has a much better marketing group than Champcar ever had. Expect good things.
  5. Graham Rahal is the real deal with an exceptional team. He will be in the hunt.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

I Don't Believe This Was On The List

As luck would have it, there was water droplets under the kitchen sink. K, "I think the disposal is broken". Me, "Let me see, no it looks like it's coming out of the cold water line to the faucet." After toweling off the drops, "I stand corrected; it is the disposal."

Notice the food particles in a nice smattering on the disposal. Notice the McGuyver tape job. Flash backwards a few months, "Hey, where did that screw go?" Now flash forward two hours after dinner as the disposal is engaged, 'chink, thwack, chink, thwack' and so on. "Found the screw" And the screw found the side of the disposal.

Yep, shot right through the side of the disposal like a bullet shot out of a gun. We did the McGuyver repair job and it worked just fine until this weekend.

So Mr. Handyman had yet another project attached to his list. And in no time flat I had the old one out and the new one in. Now we're the proud parents of a brand new bouncing Badger I.

And everyone knows that, pound for pound, the badger is one of the fiercest animals around.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

My Kind of Humor

I find this hilarious. If it's disturbing to you, so be it!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

There Was a Connection...Sort of

On the way home from our dinner at my dad’s house the kids make their obligatory request, “Can we listen to Radio Disney?”

Anything that will keep them occupied for more than five minutes is good enough for me and K. You won’t mind listening to it as long as you enjoy hearing a shuffle play of what seems like no more than ten songs. Of course we’re talking about short attention spans so I get it.

On this night, though, we heard Queen’s ‘We Will Rock You’. You may remember this tune from way back when; when it wasn’t played at every sporting event known to man. And lo and behold, child #2 makes the statement, “this is the song they play at the stadiums”.

Without missing a beat children #1 through #3 are all clapping there hands and yelling ‘we will, we will rock you’. And with impeccable timing child #2 asks, “Can you turn it up, this is the good part” right before Brian May starts wailing through his famous guitar solo. Talk about goose bumps!

Meanwhile K and I were reliving our childhood, “I had this on a 45”, and “My aunt had the 8 track album”

I think we all had a connection…….until MileyHannahJonasBrothersMontanaCyrus came back on.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

You be the judge

The son is a hero in my book:

Read here.

Open Wheel Wednesday

This weekend will see the first street course race of the 2008 Indy Car Series. The St. Petersburg course has a wide open front stretch with a very accommodating turn 1.

There will be a new qualifying format the larger field, which is up to 26 cars. It will be interesting to see if they pull it off; but I think with Tony Cotman involved, only good things can happen. It may also afford the Champcar teams the opportunity to be up the grid.

I have a feeling that KV Racing will make a good show; maybe even qualifying in the top 10. However NHLR has not been able to catch a break, having their Sebring test shortened by inclement weather.

So keep an eye to the TV on Sunday at 2:30pm.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Yes, dear

Spring has sprung and oh how the winds of change are in the air. I like to tease K because we both are basically project managers. She's a Planner by title and I'm an Estimator by title. I've managed large scope and small scope projects. And when we have a project to accomplish at the house there are no two people that can scope it out and get it accomplished(I mean, we painted a wood paneled living room in a few days-and we're talking, sanding, priming, painting and trim painting).

HOWEVER, while TD suffers from a mild case of procrastination, K suffers from severe scope creep. If you've taken any PM training scope creep is when things get tacked on to a project that are not allotted for monetarily or time wise. K's creep is more like, "Man doesn't this paint look great on the walls!! Oh, this window sill looks rotted, I think we should tear it out and replace the window and possibly put in new gutters while we're at it"

'yes, dear', I reply with my tail between my legs.

I've learned it's best not to be argumentative and just go with it; chances are those tasks will be forgotten when it's discovered you have to build a raised flower bed before it's time to seed this Spring.

Here's my list so far:
  1. Take ceiling fan out of extra room and put it in kid #2s room(it gets freaking hot in there already)
  2. Take ceiling fan out of our bedroom and put in kid #3s room
  3. Put new ceiling fan in hole that was left in our bedroom ceiling
  4. Install new bathroom vent in our master bath(ok, ok, we've had the vent fan now for 6 months and I haven't gotten it done yet)
  5. Change fuel filter on K's BMW
  6. Figure out why her BMW door panel is falling off and fix it before her head explodes
  7. Aerate front lawn
  8. Plant Bermuda grass by June
  9. Install new front door
  10. Paint guest room
I came home early from work today and edged the front lawn, mowed it and bagged all the leaves in the flower beds. I'm already wincing as I brace for K's inspiration from what I've done. "You know, it would look really good if we moved the front porch over 10 yards to the south and built an arbor"

'yes, dear'