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Friday, February 13, 2009

pitchers and catchers

That’s the true harbinger of spring, not crocuses or swallows returning to Capistrano, but the sound of a bat on the ball.

-Bill Veeck

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

pay your taxes

Attention politicians: The economy is in the shitter, and you are asking Americans to foot the bill with our current (and future) tax dollars.  The least you can do is pay your own fucking taxes.  Lord knows you can afford it a lot more than many Americans.

Jokes about crooked politicians have always been popular, but lately it's a stereotype which evokes more crying than laughter.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

peanutty jerks

I never thought I'd find myself so pissed of at a company called "The Peanut Corporation of America."

Ass holes.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

still employed

So far, no one that I know has been canned.  There's been a lot of fear and discussion, of course, especially over at Mini-Microsoft.  Personally, I'm amazed at the negativity over there: the general sentiment seems to be that Microsoft's layoffs are a sign of what a shitty, stupid company it is.  Let's be honest: layoffs are never fun.  Is there a way these layoffs could have been handled that would've left people feeling great about everything?  Probably not.

My only hope with regard to the layoffs is that we are firing the right 5,000 people.  There are a lot of great employees here who don't deserve a pink slip and may get one anyway.


Megan and I had friends over for lamb stew last night, and I thought I'd share my father's recipe.  This is hearty stew (you can eat it with a fork) and quite simple to make:


  • 2.5 Lbs. Cubed Beef (or Lamb); larger chunks are better than smaller
  • 1 Bottles (750 mL) Red Wine (cheap wine is best for cooking!); an extra bottle is a good idea so you can add extra wine instead of water (and have something to drink with your stew, if you're not a teetotaler)
  • 2 Small Onions (or 1 really big onion)
  • 1 Package (2 Lbs.) of Carrots
  • 3 Lbs. Russet Potatoes (about 7 Potatoes)
  • 1 Package Frozen Peas
  • Vegetable Oil
  • 3 Bay Leaves
  • Fresh Thyme
  • Flour
  • Salt
  • Fresh Ground Black Pepper

1. Brown the Beef
In a plastic bag, combine flour, salt, pepper, and beef.  Shake and work the beef until all chunks are thinly coated in flour.  In a large stew pot, heat vegetable oil on medium-high.  Once hot, brown the flour-coated meat on each side.  You do not need to cook the beef through, just brown the outside.  You may need to brown the beef in multiple batches, depending on how much meat you have and the size of the pot.  Once all the beef is browned, set it aside.

2. Saute the Onions
Coarsely chop the onions.  In the stew pot, head some vegetable oil over medium-high heat.  Once hot, add the chopped onions and saute until soft and slightly brown.

3. Start Simmering
Once the onions are ready, add the beef back into the pot.  Pour in a bottle of wine, and add 4 cups of water.  Add bay leaves, salt, pepper, and thyme to the pot. Cover the pot and bring it up to a simmer, then cook for about 70 minutes.

4. Add the Carrots
Peel and chop the carrots (Big chunks!  This is a stew for men, not little babies).  Add them to the pot, cover, and return to a simmer. Let cook for about 30 minutes.

5. Add the Taters
Peel and dice the potatoes.  Make sure to set them in water as they are diced so they do not turn brown.  Again, big chunks are best!  Add the potatoes to the pot, cover, and let it cook for about an hour (or until the potatoes are soft but not mushy).  You may want to add a little more water (or wine, if you have another bottle); you want the top layer of chunks to be just above water level.

6. Keep Cookin' (if necessary)
The stew is ready at this point, but if it's still soupy you want to cook it uncovered for up to another hour in order to boil off some water; your goal is a stew which is very thick!  If you cook it too long the potatoes will disintegrate which isn't really desirable.

7. Add the Peas
Add the frozen peas into the pot.  Return to a simmer and let it cook for about 5 minutes.  Season to taste with additional thyme, salt, pepper, or anything else you want to put in there.

8. Resist Temptation
Smell your stew.  Mmm . . . delicious.  Now don't eat it.  This stew will taste much better in a day or two. Put it in the fridge and let it "stew" for a while.  It can also be frozen and stored for quite a while.

9. Enjoy!
If you made it right, this will be a stew you can eat with a fork.  I recommend a nice loaf of bread to mop up the sauce, and I'm told a nice bottle of red table wine (perhaps the one you didn't finish off while cooking) goes very nicely with it.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

lessons from this morning

  • Reverend Lowery is the shit
  • Aretha Franklin can still hit her high notes
  • Being controversial wasn't enough to make Rick Warren interesting
  • Our country is in much better hands today than it was yesterday

Friday, January 16, 2009

i think i owe you a link

Posting of this link to my blog is probably a bit overdue.  I've been way about handing it out since not everyone who sees it will necessarily be invited, but in the end I figure if it's out on the net, it's public anyway.

Monday, January 05, 2009

getting back to work is more challenging than expected

Like everyone at Microsoft, I have a lot of work to do.  But my load reached near-ridiculous proportions late last year when my co-worker Steven left for CERN.  So needless to say, the last two weeks were a much-needed break.  What I didn't quite count on was how hard it would be to get back in gear . . . I've been at work for 8 hours today (I won't mention how productive I was last week) and still my mind is clouded with a vacationy haze.  I'm debating whether it will be more effective for me to stay at work and hope to get something done today or call it quits and attempt to return tomorrow, revitalized . . .

Friday, January 02, 2009

happy new year, middle east

Albert Einstein once said “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.  Perhaps the Israelis and Palestinians never got that memo?  It certainly seems like the strategy of blowing each other up over and over again has been thoroughly tested at this point.

happy 2009

It's hard to believe that 2008 is already over; maybe it's because I'm getting older but time seems to be passing much more quickly these days.  I'm at work (at least physically) at the tail end of a very enjoyable two-week hiatus.  Now it is back to the grindstone here.  Rumors of layoffs at Microsoft abound, with estimates ranging from no one to 17,000 someones.  While I don't really fear for my job, the thought is definitely sitting in the back of my mind; it would be nice to hear MS come out and see either yea or nay to the rumors soon.

On cheerier fronts, the holidays were very enjoyable indeed.  I was in New York visiting family for a few days, so many friends, relived 2002 by enjoying a chicken parmesan grinder at Yorkside with my roommates, and then headed up to Boston for Christmas with the Murphy clan and an absolutely awesome cake tasting at Something Sweet by Michelle.

Top present honors this year go to my mom, who bade me a Happy Chanukah with a 120GB Zune.  Now I have a lovely Zune Card to put next to my GamerCard: