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Friday, July 27, 2007

Fabulous Friday Fixins!




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RECIPE: FRENCH BAGUETTES

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INGREDIENTS:

1 package active dry yeast
2 cups warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
5 1/2 to 6 cups unbleached flour
Oil, for greasing

DIRECTIONS:
In a large bowl or electric mixer, sprinkle yeast over 1/4 cup of warm water. Add sugar and let stand until yeast is soft (about 5 minutes). Stir in remaining 1 3/4 cups water and salt. Add 4 cups of the flour. Mix to blend, then beat at medium speed until smooth and elastic (about 5 minutes).

Gradually beat in about 1 more cup of flour to make a soft dough. Turn dough out onto a boar or pastry cloth floured
with some of the remaining 1/2 to 1 cup flour. Knead until dough is springy and small bubbles form just under the
surface (10-15 minutes), adding just enough flour to prevent dough from being sticky. Turn dough into a greased bowl.
Cover with plastic wrap and a towel let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk (about 1 hour).

Punch down dough; knead dough lightly into a ball on a floured surface. Cover with inverted bowl and let rest
for 10 minutes. Divide dough into 3 equal portions. Shape each into a slender oval loaf 16 to 18 inches long by
rolling the ball of dough under palms of hands to elongate it. Place well apart on a large, greased baking sheet. Let
ride until puffy but not quite doubled (20 to 25 minutes).

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. With a razor blade or very sharp knife make 3 diagonal slashes, about 1/2 inch deep,
down center of each loaf. Before baking use an atomizer or spray bottle filled with cold water to spray with a
very light mist of moisture. Place in oven, then spray twice more at 3 minute intervals. Bake until bread is well
browned (25 to 30 minutes total). Slide onto wire racks to cool.





Obviously for me, the best part is the "concept" of the bread. Once the "concept" is mastered, the potiential for all sorts of sandwiches and stuffings are fair game. I enjoy a bread that's tender but holds its own against sogginess and a little rough handling....so one might think that has very little to do with "french." Ha ha, I make slight political jokey.

Yield: Makes 3 loaves


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

...The Untouchable Tastic!..


surfing without a board


Well it's Wednesday and I am in my rare form — "energyfeeder" form; embracing the "untouchable tastic!" It's like an energy form all its own. It ebbs and swells and is surfable if you can stay with its viscious darting moves. It's a wild ride when you're tapped into the force of the universe. Typically, its very scary knowing you could lose yourself at any minute...like being swallowed by a tidal wave and being wiped out, burried under an unfathomable momentum. Maui is still fresh in my mind; the sound of the surf, the smell of the warm air and the relaxation of the bliss. I have been running full steam every since. The light remains only a dime-sized goal; never moving closer and sometimes blinking. I have re-started making a list of achieveables to guard my focus and energies. Making a reasonably short list of "to do's" helps increase the momentum necessary to be able to funnel and/or ride the energy of the cosmos. My head feels like a Broadway sign with all the old fashioned light bulbs going around the sign...everything is flashing, the hum of the electricity moving from filament to filament is deafening.


Its like watching every movie at once; like hearing a thousand conversations; but trying to listen to just one. That's where I am; not sure how but it happens occassionally; especially when I am on the downside of possible and under the weight of the unliftable. Something else is here with me; maybe within me. It's enuf to make you never want to be without the buzz of it and yet I often am. Arrgh...even now; with the distraction of having a walkman in one ear currently playing "Spirit in the Sky," I can hear the person across the room breathing and snorting, the spit leaking down the back of his throat like cooling lava from a volcano miles away. The lights overhead blink as the electricity nods at its passing opposites on neighboring wires, the cars outside pause at the red light as the gas flows through its veins like metal blood, even the bird taking off from the wire just out the window who chirps at being airborne; all in symphony with the roar of a huge transit bus driving through. Oh well....mmmmm....I like it, I like it all. As my fingers continue to race at emptying the fullness of my mind; I picture the condensation that occurs when cool air glazes a window and droplets form until they are so heavy, they begin to run — then the memory of watching rain on a windshield treated with RainX spread like terrified spiders across the windshield leaving it completely clear and dry. Its all so marvelous. Its all so mysterious. The gift of such little things that we may never understand and typically not even notice are continually given to us almost free of charge. I hope I get to keep this for the rest of my week. Life is most thrilling when we are off the security of the ground; suspended by Faith and Hope; defying the logic to look down; for looking down will steal any freedom from gravity and you will fall — some even sink. The eagle belongs in the sky; he's vulnerable on the ground.


Monday, July 23, 2007

The Power of Touch



We easily dismiss or overlook the power of touch. I saw my double amputee, diabetic grandmother this weekend in the nursing home is Adamsville, TN. I can never explain the energy from her smile when she sees and recognises my ugly mug. It is as joy abounds in her heart and spreads to her face. I was born out of wedlock and my folks were married a year later and 5 others followed. My father tells the story of how "granny" refused to let me leave her presence for that year. My grandmother babysat us for many years while my parents worked. We have a very strong bond that time or illness or age hasn't been able to tarnish. The gift of touch speaks volumes in a hand massage or kiss on the cheek.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Fabulous Friday Fixins





Well here we are at the end of the week again. As you can tell, I dont believe much in dieting. Every day alive is a gift to be cherished and enjoyed. You're gonna enjoy this one. Yes, I am sure you can adjust it to some low cal version; but you've earned all these calories; so have at em, you deserve a break today.



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RECIPE: RAINBOW COOKIE POPS

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INGREDIENTS:
3/4 cup butter, softened
3 ounces cream cheese
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
red, blue, green, and orange paste food coloring
dozen lollipop sticks

DIRECTIONS:
In a bowl cream butter, cream cheese and sugar until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla; beat until smooth In a medium bowl
combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add dry ingredients to the creamed mixture. Stir till soft dough forms. Divide
dough into fourths. Tint each with a different food color.


Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Working with each color, shape dough into 3/4
inch balls. For each cookie place 1 pink, 1 green, 1 blue and 1 orange ball together to make large rainbow colored
ball. Shape into a 12 inch long roll (like a snake); starting at one end, coil roll to make a 3/4 inch round cookie.
Place cookies 3 inches apart on lightly greased baking sheet. Carefully insert lollipop sticks into bottoms of cookie
4. Bake cookies for 8 minutes or until lightly browned.

Cool and store in an airtight container. And there you have it. Give it a shot!


Thursday, July 19, 2007

You Can't Make the Jump Til You Bump the Hump!


Superman


It's Wednesday; the one they call "hump day." For me, it's that point that says "half way over." You can't get there without going past here. I suppose that's true of a lot of things about life. We always want to fast-forward to the part we anticipate to be more exciting or relaxing. Typically, if it is actually either of those, it goes way faster than the other long days before and you're back at jump.

All that aside or at least in stride; back to the title. I love watching the X-sports — yeah, the ones with the motorcycles doing 360's over eighty feet above the ground. Even as a kid, we would set up ramps consisting of a plank, a block and something in the way. There's something about barreling toward a ramp knowing how great its gonna be if everything goes well. We love to defy gravity. That's why we love Superman, Evil Knievel, drifting and "hey bubba watch this." I cant image what it feels like to ride a bull. I watch PB Riding too....eight seconds can be a lot longer than u think.

Evil KnievelAnyway, the moral of the story is this: You can't make the jump, til you bump the hump. Part of the reason we experience tough moments in life is that it helps us make the jump. These "humps" or opportunities as some might try to make you believe make the tires of our lives disconnect from the norm and allow us through upset to leave the ground, to be free of our humdrum, to dislodge from our expected and mondane to become airborne, even weightless. It is at these times, somewhere between "oh yeah" and "oh no," we encounter our bump and are catapulted to a new destination, a new level of "us" that leaves us stronger, more alive or at least "unsame."

We seem to hate change the older we become. I am trying to train myself to pedal faster toward the new ramps. I know that will increase my hangtime in an attempt be more "unsame" evenmoreso.


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Dont Worry....Wait Until the Moment!



buffalo monkey



My motto is typically not to worry about things...it's wasted energy until you actually know what's real or the outcome is actualized. Well yesterday around 2pm I got some really bad news. Unfortunately, something was COMPLETELY my fault and I had no recourse. It was clearly me in the wrong. I HATE that. I don't like mistakes and certainly not my own. They always look better from the "them" position. Better "them" than me. Anyway, the night was spent looking for mental solutions or at least some logical way of explaining my way out of this horrible mess; nothing came except "it's your fault."



worry cures


Despite sleeping well, I was dreading this day; but fully convinced that it was my medicine to take and swallow with joy. I was prepared to do that. One thing is for sure....worrying doesn't help and it certainly can add to one's stress level. However it can be a great weight-loss enhancer. I think this cartoon sums up why people worry.... In resolve, I was declared innocent and it wasn't my fault! My "out of jail card" and over-worked guardian angels were on the job. Perhaps thats what irritates people so much about Jesus. He always used the foolish to confound the wise. Somehow He is always on top of the job and always willing to extend His hand in spite of who is wrong or "undeserving." I certainly didn't feel deserving and I am certainly not perfect...but somehow His abundance and love continue to warm my cold places and teach me more in gentle ways. That would be irritating...like those people who always smile as though they knew something you don't. Notice how people who go to the movie with you that have already seen it before — no shock, no fear, no anxiety; they know how it ends. Jesus has already seen our movie; but he lets us discover the plot twists. That's generous love.

Well thats all I got for a Tuesday and it will be a long one to boot. See you in 24 hrs (or there-a-bouts). In the end....the motto stands: Don't worry 'til you got something to worry about, then don't worry at all. You may find it was a waste of good time.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Manalagous Monday!


Pirate dog



Cry Havok and Let lose the dogs of war....
Well its been a great weekend in spite of working most of it. That's ok; it's crunch time and there's plenty of crunchin to be done. I got more than my share of things to do; but I will get it all done. That's the way I like it..."booty to the stone." Soon you will also be viewing Maui trip pictures...Anyway, I have a million things to blog about today; so I will just have to start and which ever one gets out first is probably the only one you will get today.


The Disguises That Reveal The Truth
We are always hiding from each other and ourselves
That's one of the reasons we wear nice clothes, suits and ties, flattering dresses/blouses or just an well maintained body. But what gives? What is the real reality of our visage? What do we attempt to hide in our presentation of something else? Is the force truely with us or are we "faking it" til we make it? When we "make it" will there be an email or memo letting us know just that?

Friday, July 13, 2007

Fabulous Friday Fixins!!!




The Face of Doom Peering Forward





Fabulous Fridays and Fixins!

Well, you haven't heard from me in a while. Not that I haven't thought about you; just trying to catch up from vacation time. I am just beginning to see a small speck of light at the beginning of the end of the tunnel...but I like it like this — "the frantic fantastic" — when deadline is everything and whatever it takes is all that matters. Those are my kind of odds. I love to come through in the clutch; that's what I do best...under impossible circumstances.

Last night around 2am, I completed transferring and converting all my Maui digital pics in preparation for "My Vacation Blog" link. It's sad that I didn't get more pictures; but let's face it — when you're having a great time, do you really think about stopping to get pictures...kinda ruins the mood. Anyway that's its own blog. The weekend looks bright and I am looking forward to it. We have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING planned and its going to be nice to just relax [not that that will actually happen-something always trumps those kinds of plans unless you actually go away]. So I will leave you with something tasty until next week or who knows, maybe a weekend blog too.

Soft Pretzel


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RECIPE: HOMEMADE SOFT PRETZELS

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INGREDIENTS:
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 package active dry yeast
1 cup water
1 tablespoon margarine
1 tablespoon water
1 egg yolk; beaten
Coarse salt for topping

DIRECTIONS:
Mix 1 cup flour, sugar, salt and undissolved yeast. Heat 1 cup water and margarine to 120 to 130 degrees. Gradually add to dry ingredients; beat 2 minutes at medium speed of mixer. Add 1/2 cup flour. Beat at high speed 2 minutes.

Stir in enough additional flour to make a soft dough. On floured board, knead 5 minutes. Set in greased bowl; turn to grease top. Cover and let rise in warm, draft-free place 40 minutes. Divide dough into 12 equal pieces. Roll each into a 20-inch rope. Shape into pretzels or other shapes.

Place on greased baking sheets. Cover; let rest 5 minutes. Mix egg yolk and 1 tablespoon water; brush on pretzels. Sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake at 375 degrees 15 minutes or until done. Cool on racks. ...and Voila!







Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Big BANG! Theory

Box Office Magnificience!!!

Transformers the Movie




It was an atypical days when my sweetie and I took off the mall to see a movie. It didn't make sense to be spending money on a movie when we had three already rented from Hollywood Video; but I had to know. Sure, I liked the cartoon; but it wasn't love. The trailers had sucked me in. My friends who had seen it only made the slopes more slippery with their prolific words of grand delight and emotional exhileration. While it may not have been good; the effects alone deserved a big screen viewing. I had my concerns after the Silver Surfer movie; so I went all the way — IMAX baby! ....so its big bang or big flop!

So where do I begin....hmmm.... Personally I amnot much on previews....all worked up with nowhere to go but down.....so I will skip that part. Basicly the story is this: The planet Cybertron is inhabited by robotic lifeforms called Transformers. The Transformers are split into political or ideological factions, and have been at war with each other for a very long time. Millions of years, in most of the stories. The factions are usually called Autobots (good guys) and Decepticons (bad guys), but not always. ...more...

With all that basic stuff said and done; the movie is hot right out of the slot. You want to go to the movie and not regret what you spent; go see this movie! It is the Terminator II of 2007, the Abyss of the Modern Age, Die Hard-Face-Off-Lethal Weapon Big Budget Original Matrix Bang 'em Up Shoot em Up Man's Movie of the year. Even better; the chicks will dig this one too. My wifey loved it and I even heard a few sniffles by the end. This movie has something for everyone. Say what you will; but I give this one the coveted "Don't Drink Anything Award" ... u will not want to be gettin up missin any of this one. Rotten Tomatoes review...

You gotta see this!
Stop reading this and get your butt to the theater...Hurry up! Don't walk, RUN!



Speaking of everyone...there were babies and small kids in this movie. In the beginning, that really turned me off almost as much as people who don't turn off their cell phones or talk all through the movie. That didnt change; but the movie made me forget they were there. There was some "teenage humor" and of course, "the black guy dies first" syndrone. I left this movie with a sore buttocks from gripping the seat too long. You will be satisfied by this movie investment. Its a winner. You know how some movies are so good; you hope they don't make a sequal so they dont screw it up — This is one of those. Fantastic action, great dialogue, incredible story and absolutely amazing cinematography and special effects!




Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Infinite Engine of Imagination

Pan's Laybrinth



I am always beguiled by truely creative people's minds. How do they think the things they think? Where do they get their ideas? How do they work through their ideas? What is the source of such brilliance or alternate visions?


I often say, give me a book and watch me nap; show me and you've taught me for life. Everybody learns and processes information differently. It's important to discover which way works best for you. I know that visual communication is best for me in all things. Like "they" say, a picture is worth a thousand words. I marvel at the "known amazing" and the "infinitely undiscovered!" Take a beautiful butterfly for instance; the tiny wings that defy gravity, the curly hollow tongue and the beady eyes...not to mention their ticklish feet. What a creature! It starts from a worm, eats like a pig, sleeps like a bum and transforms like a phoenix. Talk about your extreme makeovers.





Anyhoo, I saw this movie last nite that was really cool on a lot of levels. It reflects the imagination of a little girl in some very difficult positions as she discovers or tries to hold on to the innocent magic of life as her mother suffers some unknown illness during her pregnancy with the little girl's brother. In a troubled land, she discovers a maze. A maze is a place where you get lost. But a labyrinth is essentially a place of transit, an ethical, moral transit to one inevitable destination. Hmmm...great psych blah blah or is it? Most things we don't see because we aren't ready to. Even worse, we don't realize what we're looking at already. They say vision is the art of seeing what others do not. I want plenty of that. I always wanted to see and slay demons; even cast them out, trample them under my feet. I even prayed for it a couple of times. Once I think I did. Things don't always look like we expected and that hinders our vision. What grand creatures are near us at all times? Anyway, see the movie. There are some fantastic creatures and incredible life lessons that will leave you spellbound. It is amazing what children can see that adults cannot. Children haven't been told yet that they cannot or are stupid for believing or hoping or that anything extraordinary isn't possible...nothing good is real. Isn't there a sad truth lurking under that smelly statement?


eyes in handsOur lives, like the butterflies are a labyrinth that take us from one understanding to a new level over the coarse of time. We struggle to keep hope, magic, innocence, faith and love alive in our veins. We want to blindly believe as we did like children and love always like the first time. The problem with mazes; you have very little idea where you are going. You cant see the path; only where u are; but you do get a great rearview mirror. Someone once said "we must begin with the end in mind." I believe our perceptions limit the true potiential of our minds. The universe is hidden right before our eyes.




Monday, July 02, 2007

Live Free or DIE HARD!

bruce willis




Movies cost quite a bit these days. Most times, you could have rented and been fine or at least you just want your money back. Sequals have it pretty tough these days; we expect a lot. Well McClain is back again! The basic plot: John McClane takes on an Internet-based terrorist organization who is systematically shutting down the United States. Of course, the culprit is a dissatisfied nerd. The plot actually makes way too much sense...it could probably happen. This movie BRIMS with ACTION, ACTION, ACTION! It is well worth big screen time and the buck. By the end of the movie I could hear sobs in the darkness. There was one particular word I HATE used 5-6 times: "GD" That's a term I have no patience and complete distaste for. It demonstrates a complete lack of disrespect for anything greater than yourself. Other than that; excellent movie!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Fantastic FLOPS!


SILVER SURFER


Isn't it funny how you can look forward to something so much because of the fond memories you have or how the expectation of something makes it some delectable "future sweet tease?" I tremendously enjoyed watching the "300" on the IMAX screen after seeing the History Channel's presentations of the historical coverage of the real battle and strategic thinkers of the time. Since comic books were my first friends, I was an avid collector of all things Marvel and #1 issues for many years. This Saturday, after returning from a week-long jaunt in Maui, Hawaii and still in vacation mode; I heard from a friend (LAM) about a drive-in movie theater in a nearby town. So my wifey and I dropped the top on the convertible and headed that way. First off, convertible bug is the ultimate drive-in movie vehicle; wifey: perfect makeout partner; warm, starlit summer nite: perfect for anything outside. Turns out it was a double feature of Ratatouille and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer; so hey, I thought I would suffer through the cartoon for the real treat.

rat cheese

First things first: I WAS DEAD WRONG! The rat-movie was real cheese! Not only were there great characters and story present but it was laced with extremely powerful social overtones. It reminded me of the original "Planet of the Apes" in terms of addressing social ideals. GREAT MOVIE! While I felt it was more for the child in all we adults, it was still entertaining for the kids of the audience. I could hear their laughter in attentive darkness and dashboard lights. ...more on Ratatouille...



As all things fantastic go...vaccant on arrival. I was first seduced by the magic of the Surfer back in comicdom. Great hearlds of the comic world like Chris Claremont, John Byrne, John Buscema and Jim Starlin are landmarks in great comic history. [For all the non-nerds out there, and u know who u r...] Chris Claremont, the greatest writer Marvel ever employed; John Byrne, the Father of my Comic Desire to Draw; John Buscema, the master of the comic drawn line and Jim Starlin of irrefuteable comic mastery and innovation have provide long and exciting history/legacies in comicdom. For the generations that remember; they represent everything right with comics! Unfortunately; they had little to do with this movie. As I begin my 90 degree dash into the bowels of this rot; remember you were forewarned. The rat takes the cheese!

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer follows along with comic movies of equal or similar disdain including but not limited to "The Incredile Hulk, Daredevil, Electra, X-Men 3, Ghost Rider and I am sure others to follow. These represent all that is wrong with the jump; dare I say leap from comics to screen and the meddling dirty fingers of Hollywood in an artform before moving pictures. One might think that a great cast (excluding miscasting of Reed Richards, Susan Storm; Dr. Doom talking too fast and voice too high) would not be deserted by a good story. Obviously; most of the economic thrust went to special effects and their salaries. Aside from the reused voice tracks from the Matrix for the Surfer voice, Terminator 2 silver man graphics and Pitch Black / War of the Worlds end-of-the-world effects, the movie hobbles along like a one wheel cart on a degraded cobblestone path with large potholes every mile. If I hadnt enjoyed the Rat movie and loved comics so much; I would have departed after the first appearance of the Surfer...but hope wouldnt let me leave. Like the Incredible Hulk movie or Godzilla; I kept thinking..."its gonna get better...I remember it that way..." Sometimes memories let you down and are better left with the cobwebs of perfection. While only supported by a cracked axle of reused special effects; my imagination limped to the end with barely the energy to jump the last mudhole. The Surfer by far was the best character; but that says very little at this point. Victor Von Doom, as I recall, always made great long speeches of his superiority and ultimate destiny to rule the world! Unfortunately, he only manages to rule his Nip with a slight Tuck. Alba is a lame Sue in as much as Reed was absent. Johnny and Ben tried...but the energy/connection was pretend at best. The best chemisty of the movie was between the Surfer and his board. It was a doomed sequel ....nuf said. P.S. Stan, there's a good reason you shouldn't have been on the guest list....