Saturday, August 22, 2015

hitRECord

Have you watched any of last season's tv show hitRECord, it can be found on Netflix?   Season 2 is currently airing on Verizon FIOS, AT&T U-verse, DirecTV, and Dish. The show is supported by TakePart. Its the brain child of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and what an amazing concept it is.  Nothing on the show is the work of one artist, its a collaboration of many artists.  Anything that is sold is split 50/50 between hitRECord and the artists who worked on that collaboration.

This movie was from Season one, Episode one, and blew TH and I away.




So, what did you think?

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The case of the mysterious "graham" crackers


These are my favorite brand of gluten free "graham" crackers.  They are tasty, not the exact same taste like Nabisco graham crackers.  But that's ok, I have a cookie that tastes great and dips well into a cold glass of rice milk.  No, they don't come with marshmallows and chocolate, absolutely the weirdest packet photo ever!

Well, my favorite snacking one became hard to find and one day, while scouring the gluten free aisle at Whole Foods, I found this brand.
They met all the requirements, no egg or dairy and not a laundry list of non-food ingredients, and into the cart they went.  The next day wanting a little something, I ripped open the box, unwrapped one and took a bite.  Sigh, they were WEIRD!  Odd texture, and weirdly enough, little flavor.  Now one thing you might not know about gluten free products, but they are usually pricey, and I trend towards cheap.  But I just couldn't bring myself to eat these, nor could I bring myself to toss em into the trash.

A few weeks later, I had come across a spread made my the same folks that makes the brand of vegan butter I eat, so into the cart it goes. 

With this product as soon as I got home I opened it up to taste it.  Oh my golly gee gosh!  This stuff is AMAZING.  Lightly sweet, with a delicate coconut flavor.  I toasted up a slice of bread, sha-zam!  That was great!  If my life was a movie, this would be a montage of me putting this spread on various items.  In my quest to try this on ever more items, I pulled out the evil hated box of "graham" crackers and spread on quite a bit...and about fell to my knees in bliss!



I'm sure all of you love these cookies.  They seem to only appear in Alaska around the winter holidays and then are gone, but they are hands down my favorite store bought cookie.  Those weird assed crackers, with the spread from heaven, somehow, in some way transformed that dull lifeless cracker into tasting like these cookies! 

Now TH was skeptical to say the least, and he considers himself a cookie aficionado extraordinaire.  But bring the super sweet man he is, he gamely took a plain one, took a bite and needless to say, was not impressed.  Then I spread my magic spread on the remaining piece and handed it back.  Heaving a giant "poor me" sigh, he took a bite, amazement and delight shone from him.

"How did that icky cracker turn into butter cookies?"
"Beats me to hell and back.  But aren't they good this way?"

I later sprinkled the top with some coarse sugar and that took the cookie/cracker to nearly twin status. 

Between looking for new things to put the magic spread on, FYI  potatoes are NOT a great vehicle for it.  I was looking for other things to put on those weird crackers.  After trying a few things, jelly-meh, orange marmalade- better than jelly, but still meh.  Next up was smooth peanut butter.  Again some weird magic occurred and they tasted like these cookies, at least to my best ability to recall fading food flavors from over 2 years ago.
After the success of the magic spread + cracker, TH was much more willing to try this combo, and after one bite, opened and ate about 10 crackers with PB on them!

The hunt continues for other combinations to magically turn these dull tedious crackers into something amazingly tasty and delicious.  But even if these are the only two substances that turn a meh cracker, into a face shoving food, its all good!



Sunday, August 9, 2015

Adventures in the life of Biki

Howdy!  Welp, 'tis been quite a long while, yeah?

The fires are still burning, as the fire season is beginning its seasonal slow down, so far a total of 5 million acres have been blackened.  That is larger than the state of Connecticut!

The smoke for a few days had the air at hazardous levels, add in the moldy carpet, and I became quite ill.  To the point where getting off the sofa became an act of will.  I began to hate leaving the house.  Between the choking smoke, and the three flights of stairs, it wasn't worth it to me.  TH put his foot down, and basically packed my bags and forced me to head to Arizona for 2 weeks,  so my health began to recover in the heat and clean environment.


Before all the smoke invaded our town, TH talked me into seeing a doctor, and then the doctor left on vacation before the results came back.  Doctor man came back from vacation, gave me a jingle and it turns out that my thyroid is on permanent vacation.  I took the first pill, and ZIP!  BOOM!  POW!!!  Did it make me feel better!

The next day I took my pill and in the afternoon was talking to TH and he told me to stop yelling at him!  And thats when I realized every single thing had me on edge.  The next morning after awakening I was weak and had the headache from the Pluto.  TH called me early in the day and looked up my meds and it turns out I was being overdosed, sigh.  After a few days it began to wash out of my system, and began to feel better again.  No more thyroid pills for me until after a visit with the Doc.

Flew home on the 1st, weather was great again in Alaska, no smoke.  Headed for Seward for our annual b'day/anniversary fishing trip.  Had a great trip down, it was so nice to be with TH without him needing to run off to work.  That afternoon we went to our favorite attraction, the Alaska Sealife Center.   The sea bird enclosure is fantastic, they have room to fly, room to sit on a variety of surfaces, and room to dive to a depth of about 22 feet.  The water holds black rock fish and a few other species.  There are nesting holes, shelters and boxes, and many of them were occupied by babies!



We got up way to early to be bright and bushy tailed and headed for the docks.  I have zero pictures to show you this time, as the sea at the beginning of the trip was the long slow rolling swells and I spent the majority of my time attempting to not hurl.  Except for the sea sickness, we had a great time!  Caught 22 lbs of Coho (silver) salmon, and 12 lbs of black rockfish. 

My shoulder was killing me, that isn't a common motion, the jigging of a pole up and down and all the reeling.  So, by the time we got off the boat my shoulder was screaming at me.  The GREAT and fantastic news is that TH suffered no pain at ALL fishing.  Those two surgeries really fixed him up a treat!  After showers and dressed for dinner, my shoulder was really starting to be an issue, and I decided to have a glass of dry white wine with supper.  Now, after not finding a gluten free beer that I liked, I stopped drinking alcohol as it was my tipple of choice.  I'd been without food most of the day, slightly dehydrated due to fears of hurling, I got tipsy super quick.  Talk about a cheap date!  But, while I may be cheap, I'm also no fun.  After we got back to the hotel room, I was asleep within 5 minutes....  But I awoke to a happy shoulder the next morning! 

Last night, I mixed up the smoked salt, kosher salt and brown sugar for my first adventures into making Gravlax.  My hands were wet and I couldn't find the kitchen scissors, and used my ultra sharp kitchen knife.  Yes, you know where this is going.  Nothing to stitch, as you can see from the photo, so they just cleaned it well, bandaged me up and sent me home. 


Saturday, June 27, 2015

Love, love, love

Wow, what a day, yeah?  While I hoped fervently that SCOTUS would do the right thing, worries still hounded me.  All the what if's that has had us on tenterhooks for months now. 

But even in the very most 'rose colored glasses' moments I never EVER thought I'd see the White House support us to this degree.

To have a President and Vice President behind us so strongly is beyond amazing.  When President Obama says, gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender my heart soars because we are no long an invisible people.  And today, we are full citizens of our country.  Is there still hard work ahead of us, well of course.  But with this win, we are all walking on air.




Thursday, June 25, 2015

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

I had planned an "What I've been doing on my summer vacation" sorta post, but scrapped it for more timely news.

Our entire (well most of it) state is on fire.  This is what the sky looks like from our deck last night, around 8.  Last night the smoke was so thick, the street lights came on.  Remember, during the summer we dont have any darkness at all, so they shouldn't be on.
 We can't open the windows, or we can't breathe.  And while we have a tiny air conditioner for the bedroom so TH can sleep when its hot, we can't run it as the area around the window vent lets in to much smoke.  Even with the windows tightly closed we can smell smoke in the house.  It hurts to breathe and everyone has constant headaches.

Rather than try to write what has already been written much better than I can, here are two screen shots and a few links.

The wee balloons are fires.  The dark blue ones are tiny <10 acres="" span=""> 
turquoise are moderately sized, 10 to 250 acres
the yellow are large fires coming in at 250 to 2500 acres
but the red ones are giant >2500 acres 

The vast majority of the fires shown will be allowed to burn, as they aren't impacting humans.

for fire updates, here is our newspaper link.

a map of the fires, if you click the wee colored balloon, a blurb will pop up describing the fire.

air quality

and a facebook page ran by the Alaska DNR  (department of natural resources

This surprised me a few days ago, and here is today's weather from my iphone.  I didn't even know they had smoke as a weather definition on the app.




And one last photo
There is a radio tower that should be visible but isnt as the visibility is down to 1.5 miles.





Wednesday, June 3, 2015

North to Alaska

I've got the last load of wash in the washer, after lunch the last of the dishes will be done.  There are some things that wont get done, and things that wont be remembered until I'm in no position to do anything about them.

As it gets closer to my appointment with a cab, I become glacier slow, unwilling to let my Arizona life end for the summer.

Oh well, maybe this summer won't be as boring and sterile without things to do and friends to do them with?



Saturday, May 30, 2015

Have Love, Will Travel


One lazy afternoon after lunch and acres before supper, we were out on the lanai, enjoying the uncommonness of actually being within smiling distance of each other.  We were enjoying the breeze and listening to birds and chickens and the odd random car struggling up the road, when a mosquito of an idea began buzzing around.

Now this idea, flitted about for a few days before it landed and bit and hung on.  With that bite I pulled out some paper, pushed the breakfast dishes to the side of the table, yanked my calculator from my pocket and feverishly began to write, and figure.  I wrote and added, punched the minus key a zillion times, and after running the numbers several times, and coming up with the same number (a math miracle) it was time to let TH in on my tremendously scary, and yet terrifying exciting idea.

This is how the conversation went.  (more or less)

"Ok, so my lease on the Arizona apartment runs out the end of next May, yours the end of November.  Your last day ever of work is January 1st, right?"

He agreed with me, with a worried look beginning to form.

"We'll need a short term place to rent for that summer in Alaska, but then what?  You don't want to live in Arizona, and I refuse move back to Alaska full time.  We both are fairly young for retirement, 57 and 55, and in great health.  This is our time!  What would you say about stuffing our belongings into a storage unit and heading out and travel for a while?"

"Do you want to buy a motor home or just drive around in my truck?"

"Neither!  Let's save seeing the States for later, I'm thinking much further away.  What would you say if we packed a few bags, grabbed our passports and took off to see the world?  No matter what, we have to have a place to live, right?"

Slowly, and hesitantly he nodded his head, yes.

"What's to stop us from living where ever we want?  You want to go back to Japan and see Kyoto and spend time in New Zealand, why dont we live there?  Or any other place that takes our fancy?"

"Are you saying we wouldn't have a house to come home to?"

"No house. Just two storage units and my car George and your truck."

"But?  No apartment?  Nothing?"

"Nothing!"

"But......we'll need someplace to live!"

"We will live where ever we wish.  Look renting an apartment is cheaper than hoteling it.  We can't eat out a great deal due to my food allergies, so that saves us a ton of money right there!  I pulled out my phone and called up Airbnb and found perfectly wonderful apartments in Kyoto for 2K a month."

And just like that the idea caught fire in TH and we began to discuss it, and started researching things like transportation costs, average food prices.  Our liking of Asian cuisine will really be a boon in Asia as rice and fish and veggies are much cheaper than milk, cheese and bread.  In South Korea we could actually save money by living there, which would be helpful if there is something pricy we want to do.  Charter fishing, helicopter rides, etc. Or we could be Scrooges and just save the bloody stuff.  Staying in one country for 3 months, the average length of time most countries allow foreigners to remain in their country for leisure travel, would allow us to experience each country and really get to know and learn the country.

We have batted the idea back and forth, talking about what we wanted and how difficult we think certain things might be.  Talked it over with the boys, who are very excited, and think its a great idea.  We have offered a blanket invitation that any of them may come and stay with us where ever we happen to be.  The only proviso is that they must let us know before we book the apartment so as to have enough sleeping space.

And just like that, we are planning for a grand adventure!  First stop Japan.  When I come back to Arizona in September, I hope to have a lady I met during Table Talk help me with my Japanese.  Orginally our plan was to keep the hops as short as possible and go from Japan to South Korea, to an few days lay over in Singapore then off to Australia and New Zealand.  But I'd like to be able to say more than hello in Korean.  And it is a bit wearing to not understand most of what is said.  We are thinking that Australia and New Zealand will fall between Japan and South Korea.

After we visit the Pacific area whats next?  No clue, and thats half the fun isnt it?




I've really been digging the bands from Australia lately!