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I've been part of the LJ community for almost 10 years now (user number 13,845 baby!). That's a long time. Other than school, I think that's the longest I've ever committed to a single thing. When I started, the community was small, scrappy, and surprisingly close knit. I remember going to LJ meetups in Seattle and meeting people from all walks of life. It was great.

During those early days I made friends in the community pretty quickly and there wasn't quite the signal to noise ratio that there is today, nor were there the problems with advertisers, etc. Now LJ is much more insular and cliquish than it was. You don't meet random friends the way we did in the early days. Hell, one of my friends (twirlingtulip) was someone who just happened upon my journal, and another friend (gina) became my friend largely because I shamelessly stole her user icon and she called me on it. The idea of something like that happening on facebook seems unlikely to say the least, which might be why I really dislike facebook.

With the rise of "friends only" LJ posts, LJ acquired many of the symptoms of facebook. It lost the openness of it. But there's still a charm here that I'm quite fond of and that I haven't seen in any other medium.

Ok, this post is getting away from me.

The point is that I think I'd like to return to LJ. It's been a very long time since I've used LJ on a regular basis. I think I'll change that.

Here's my chili recipe

My chili seasoning
2 tbsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. seasoned salt
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. Cayenne

1 (14.5 ounce) can Fire Roasted Organic tomatoes, chopped
1 (6 ounce) can organic tomato paste
1 onion, chopped
1/4 cup rose wine
1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1 chopped green bell pepper
1 chopped red bell pepper
2 tablespoons of HP sauce (steak sauce will do)
1 tablespoon of worcestershire sauce
5 slices bacon
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained
2 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
2 serano peppers
1 anaheim pepper

In a crockpot, combine tomatoes, tomato paste, onion, wine, pepper flakes, bell peppers and steak sauce.
While tomato mixture is simmering, in a large skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until crisp. Remove to paper towels. Cook beef in bacon drippings until brown; drain. Stir chili seasoning into ground beef.
Stir seasoned beef, peppers, beans and bacon into tomato mixture. Leave in crockpot for 4-5 hours.
Stir in cilantro and parsley. Heat through and serve.

My guide to making a British roast dinner

The Roast
  • A good cut of meat (I’m partial to prime rib, but a simple cut of roast beef can be fantastic)
  • 1 yellow onion (sweet if you can get it)
  • 5-6 sprigs of Thyme
  • 1 table spoon of Coleman’s mustard powder
  • 1 table spoon of flour
  • ½ tea spoon of garlic powder
  • Liberal amounts of pepper
  • Worchestershire sauce
1) Massage the meat with Worchestershire sauce and put it in the fridge for 30-60 minutes.
2) Mix the flour, mustard powder, garlic powder, and pepper together in a bowl.
3) Cut the onion into 1/2" disks and pace them in the base of your roasting tin. The idea is for you to rest your meat on these onions.
4) Put the sprigs of Thyme on top of the onion (these will sit between the meat and the onion)
5) Heavily dust the meat with your mix that you just made. You want it covered. If you like pepper a lot, add to taste.
6) Put it in the oven pre-heated to 475 for 15 minutes to sear. Reduce to 375 and leave it for 15 minutes per pound (it’ll be bloody at this level). Add 15 minutes to get it to “medium/well” Alternatively you could just use a meat thermometer.
7) The gravy - When you pull the roast out let it relax for 15 minutes and then get all the drippings, black stuff on the bottom of the pan, the onions, etc, and put it in a saucepan. Add a cube of oxo (beef bullion) and a roux to the dripping along with a little water from the potatoes you were boiling (see below). Add salt/pepper to taste.

Yorkshire puddings
  • 2/3 cup low fat milk
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 egg
  • Beef drippings if you didn’t make gravy (or a little veggie oil)
Make this while the meat is relaxing.

1) Put a little oil into each cup of a muffin tin and put it in the oven at 425. You want the oil piping hot.
2) Mix the milk, flour and egg in a bowl. Beat it.
3) Pull the tin out and pour the mixture in, and put it straight back in the oven. You want that oil VERY hot when you pour it in and you don’t want to lose any heat.
4) Do NOT open the oven for the next 15 minutes. You’ll want to. Don’t.
5) Pull them out, pour gravy on them, and eat.

Crispy roast potatoes
  • 4 russet potatoes
  • a little veggie oil
1) Peel and halve the potatoes.
2) Boil the potatoes until they’re semi soft (you don’t want them falling apart, but they shouldn’t be hard either).
3) Drain the water and rough them up in the pot by shaking it.
4) Place them in a pan that has oil that has already been heated to 375. Roll them around the oil to make sure they’re entirely coated.
5) Put them in the oven and ignore them for about the next 30 minutes (they should be done around the same time as the meat).
6) Serve with the gravy.

Carrot and turnip mash
  • Equal amounts (by size, not number) of carrots and turnips.
  • Butter
  • Salt
  • Pepper
1) Slice the carrots and dice the turnips.
2) Boil for ages. Basically, the entire time you’re cooking, have these things at a low boil.
3) Drain and give them a minute or three to let some of the moisture evaporate otherwise they might end up soupy when you mash them.
4) Add a small knob of butter, some salt and pepper.
5) Mash the bejeezus out of them.
6) Eat.

So I made a list...

Things the GOP does to (I believe intentionally) annoy us.

- Claim they're fiscally conservative.
- Claim they're strong on defense.
- Misquote things and when they're caught, keep misquoting.
- Lie. And when they're caught, lie more.
- Turn political differences into theological wars.
- Boycott France
- Three Words: Free Speech Zones
- Ejecting/arresting people for asking questions they don't like.
- Support the Iraq war
- Parrot Rush Limbaugh
- Drive a gas guzzling V-10 pickup truck with one or more stars and bars bumper stickers
- Support Creationism
- Complain about political correctness, as if they long for the good old days when they could call women and black people whatever they damn well pleased.
- Vote for Bush/Cheney, McCain/Palin
- Insist that every publicly-placed television set they see is tuned to Fox News
- Troll websites asking why [Generic Democrat] won’t release his [Generic Official Personal Record]!?!?
- Say the words "fair and balanced" without a hint of irony.
- Name their astroturfed political campaign after a sexual act/fraternity prank
- Take Jonah Goldberg seriously
- Insist that Bill O’Reilly is the best source for news.
- Speak with an exaggerated regional accent
- Believe Bill Kristol
- Complain about the Liberal Media
- Refuse to believe the president is American despite the evidence.
- Insist that [insert policy] is a plot to kill Grandma despite a total lack of evidence.
- Insist that [insert policy] is a plot to kill soldiers despite a total lack of evidence.
- Insist that [insert policy] is actually communism/socialism/fascism/nazi-ism.
- Deny climate change.
- Claim forms of torture that people were convicted for in WWII isn't torture anymore.
- Employ the Nuremberg defense and browbeat anyone who says "Hey! That isn't allowed!"
- Fail to know what the Nuremberg defense was.
- Cut Veteran's benefits while declaring that democrats hate the troops.
- Laugh at or tell conservative jokes
- Form mindless mobs to shut down any intelligent discussion at townhalls and declare it a victory, declaring that it's the voice of the people.
- Make all GOP townhalls invite only to give the impression that america has a love affair with the GOP.
- Blather that anytime someone doesn't wear a bunny suit or a santa costume that it's an OMFG WAR ON CHRISTMAS/EASTER!!!
- Declare that Christ would support their policies of war, death penalties, bootstraps, and torture.
- Declare that anyone who went to college or lives in the northeast or west coast isn't a "real american."
- Buy-Cot Whole Foods
- Carry a gun to the mall
- Carry a gun to political rallies

This is really impressive


Watching it made me think to myself that I seriously need more productive hobbies. ;)

Left 4 Dead Survival Mode

Ok, so we played a little Left 4 Dead Survival last night. I have to say that it provides the most realistic zombie situation I've seen in a video game or movie. Here's how it basically plays out.

1) You make a plan to survive the zombie apocalypse with your friends.
2) You quickly arrange defenses in accordance with the aforementioned plan.
3) Zombies come at you screaming, jumping, and sprinting right into your face.
4) You initiate the plan, which works for about ten seconds.
5) Then the zombies chew RIGHT THROUGH A BRICK WALL!!! and laugh at your plan. Well, scream and moan at your plan.
6) You shout "OH FUCK OH FUCK OH FUCK!" and kiss goodbye to your plan. There's a new plan. That plan is "fire wildly while screaming and panicking."
7) The wall chewing zombies become brain chewing zombies and eat one of your friends.
8) This causes everyone to shout "OH FUCK OH FUCK OH FUCK!"
9) Someone says in a panicked voice "What's the plan! Where do we go!?! WHAT'S THE PLAN!?!?!"
10) Someone else says "This way!"
11) The group follows because he sounds like he knows what to do. However, there is a problem with his plan of "this way!" Zombies are that way.
12) More shouts of "OH FUCK OH FUCK OH FUCK!"
13) Zombies feast on everyone's brains.

This all takes around 2 to 3 minutes to play out. And frankly, if we woke up tomorrow morning and the entire world was zombified ala Dawn of the Dead, that's probably how things would play out for any of the survivors.
Justice Breyer elaborated on what children put in their underwear. “In my experience when I was 8 or 10 or 12 years old, you know, we did take our clothes off once a day,” he said. “We changed for gym, O.K.? And in my experience, too, people did sometimes stick things in my underwear.”

*laugh* That's an actual quote. It's even better than the argument between Justice Breyer and Former Chief Justice Rehnquist where they were discussing privacy and decency issues connected to sodomy laws and Justice Breyer brought up the point that he thinks lying at the dinner table is quite indecent and wondered whether the Former Chief Justice thinks Texas could regulate that as well. Heh.

Side note: Former Chief Justice Rehnquist DID think that Texas could regulate lying at the dinner table.
Roast Lamb with Goat Cheese


* 5-6lb leg of lamb, boned and butterflied
* 1 tsp salt
* 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
* Olive oil, for drizzling
* Large handful of mint leaves
* Firm goats cheese, (such as Crottin), half frozen
* 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
* Few sprigs of rosemary
* Mint and lemon vinaigrette
* 6 tbsp olive oil
* Handful of mint leaves, finely chopped
* Zest and juice of 1 lemon
* Salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees and put a roasting tray in the oven.

2. Put the lamb on a board and open it out. Season with salt and pepper and rub all over with olive oil. Scatter the inside with the fresh mint leaves, rubbing the leaves into the meat.

3. Take the goats cheese from the freezer and using a microplain, grate it over the mint leaves, followed by the garlic.

4. Roll the joint up and over to form a nice long sausage shape, tucking the ends in, if needed. Secure the joint in place with kitchen string at 3-4cm intervals. Tuck some rosemary sprigs under the knots of string around the lamb.

5. Take the preheated baking tray out off the oven, scatter with a few more sprigs of rosemary then sit the lamb on

top. Season once more and drizzle with a little more olive oil. Roast for 20 minutes.

6. Reduce the temperature to 375 and continue to roast, allowing 20 minutes per pound, basting every 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to rest. To serve, cut into thick slices and serve with mint and lemon vinaigrette.

7. For the vinaigrette pour the olive oil into a small mixing bowl. Add the mint and lemon zest and season with salt and pepper. Whisk in lemon juice to taste, until emulsified. Check for seasoning then drizzle over the lamb to serve.

Potatoes Boulangère


* 1 can chicken stock
* 1 sprig thyme
* 2 sprigs rosemary
* 2 crushed cloves of garlic
* 2 large onions, peeled and sliced
* 4 medium Yukon Gold potatoes peeled and finely sliced, on a mandolin if possible
* Olive oil
* Salt and Pepper

1. Bring the chicken stock to a boil and infuse with thyme, rosemary and crushed garlic cloves. Strain before use.

2. Gently sauté the onions and garlic in olive oil until softened and lightly colored.

3. Rub an oven proof dish with olive oil and layer the onions followed by the potatoes, repeating until the dish is full finishing with a final layer of potato. Make sure to season each layer as you go.

4. Pour over the stock until it comes 2/3rds of the way up the dish. Press down on the mixture to help the liquid absorb and finally drizzle a little olive oil on top.

5. Bake in the oven at 400 degrees for approximately 20 - 25 minutes or until soft and golden on top.

I present to you...

The best Rock Band 2 costume... ever.

Seriously, you can try to top that... but you can't. It's just too retarded/awesome.