Wonky's Land of Nonsensical Musings

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Music Monday: Elbow Grounds for Divorce

Big in the UK, I first encountered Elbow in the soundtrack for an episode of Topgear.  I sense fell in love with most of the bands work.

Allerton Park one of my favorite places

 Allerton Park is a large park and conference center near the small town of Monticello, Illinois.  It also happens to be one of my favorite place to visit. I like going there in almost every season.  Fall brings out the best in the place in my opinion.  The crispness in the air, the fall colors, and the slow spread of decay create a bright melancholy.  I love to photograph the place.  Click for larger images.

I got all philosophical as I watched and listen to the leaves fall one by one and looked at the many fallen trees. It reminded me of the scene from The Last Samurai.  “But then I come to this place of my ancestors, and I remember. Like these blossoms, we are all dying. To know life in every breath, every cup of tea, every life we take. “

Sadly the thing that died was the batteries on my camera so I had to take the last few pics with my phone.

Nablopmo 2: and being sick

Most of you will be aware of nanowrimo the national novel writer month. But you might not be aware of NaBloPomo the same thing but for blogging.  You just have to blog at least once a day for the month of November.  I did it last year and will be doing it again this year.  So expect many lame posts over the next month.  Like nanowrimo the point isn’t to worry about quality but just to get words on the screen.

Today I had plans.  I have mentioned in the past that my dad has health problems. He is confined to a bed or a chair.  The current house my parents live in is a quad level. That is a lot of stairs.  My Dad is stuck in the main floor.  His bed resides in the old living room.  So my Mom has recently bought a rather nice ranch one story house. Only one major renovation is needed. The chair doesn’t do well on carpet so the carpet needs to be torn up and then replaced with hardwood. The bedrooms actually already have hardwood floors under the carpet. So my plan for  today was to head up their and tear up the carpets.  My body had other plans.

I had been feeling like I had a minor cold for several days.  I had a cough, sore throat, and a snotty nose. It wasn’t enough to keep me from going to work but it was annoying.  I woke up this  morning feeling horrible. My sinuses were all stuffed up. I had a terrible headache, my throat was raw, and the cough was back with a vengeance. I quickly realized there was no way I would make the two hour drive and then spend all day doing manual labor.  So I had to make the call and tell my Mom I wouldn’t be there. Sorry mom.

I did manage a trip to CVS to get drugs of many kinds.  Funny enough writing this blog post was interrupted by me and the cat taking a three hour nap together.

Food Friday: Special Chilli with insanity peppers

With the temperatures dipping low and the days getting shorter, it’s time to pull out the stews and chilli. Below is a slightly modified version of my normal chilli recipe. I told my Lebanese friend who loves really spicy food that I was going to make chilli.  He told me he had something for me.  He then gave me what I in a incorrect homage to the Simpsons refer to as “the insanity peppers of Itsoplatilacal”.

I have no idea what they are actually called but they turn your mouth numb.

 Ingredients for about 6 servings:

  • Two cans kidney beans
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 onion
  • 1 green pepper
  • some hot peppers  <- my supermarket labelled the two peppers on the left as “assorted hot peppers”  they were less hot then Jalapenos.
  • 16 oz tomato sauce
  • 28 oz diced tomatoes
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • cayanne pepper
  • chilli powder
  • ground cummin

Begin by browning the ground beef over medium heat in a rather large pan.
While the beef is browning chop up the onion and seed and chop up the peppers. Important: if you have insanity peppers don’t chop them up.  We are just going to add them whole to the mixture.
After about six minutes of the meat browning add the onion and peppers.  I also like to add in some salt and pepper at this point, approximately a table spoon.  Mix cover and let the mixture cook for another six minutes.
While that is going on get a big pot going over medium heat.  Dump in the diced tomatoes, the tomato sauce and the kidney beans.
Once the meat is done add it and the veggies to the big pot.  Also dump in the insanity peppers whole.
Season pepper, chili powder, cayenne and cumming to a hotness you like.  Remember if you have insanity peppers they are going to add more heat as the mixture simmers.
Leave the pot simmering on the stove for between four and ten hours.

Remove the insanity peppers which should have floated to the top.  The chilli will be best after a day or two sitting in the fridge.
The final result was more liquid than I wanted.  I had actually dumped two cans of water into the chilli but removed this step for you all since it wasn’t necessary. It had a nice flavor and was just spicy enough to clear out the sinuses. 

Music Monday: Poets of the Fall – Late Goodbye

I first heard this song in the credits for  the video game Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne
If you follow me on twitter you know I love to quote the Max Payne games:

“Vlad was right. There are no choices. Nothing but a straight line. The illusion comes afterwards, when you ask ‘Why me?’ and ‘What if?’ when you look back; see the branches, like a pruned bonsai tree, or a forked lightning.
If you had done something differently, it wouldn’t be you – it would be someone else looking back, asking a different set of questions.”

Guest Post: Jobu again

Hello internet peoples.  This is Jobu back at my daddy’s keyboard again to tell you about my favorite subject: me.

jobu on shirts
My five favorite things are:

  1. Sleeping
  2. Eating
  3. Snuggling
  4. Playing
  5. Sleeping
Daddy calls me many nicknames:
  1. Fuzz head
  2. Wittle Smush
  3. NO!

Things I am scared of:

  1. vacuum
  2. washer
  3. dryer
  4. random noises
  5. invisible monsters

    I know I can never catch the red dot. I just like chasing it.

    I like to pester my daddy all the time to let me out so I can chew on the catnip plants he grows for me.  I even like going out there when it is raining or snowing.

    Daddy made  a video about me on the internet where he said mean things.

    Bored now.  Jobu out.

    Music Monday – Naomi – How Many Loves

    Three middle age white guys sing Daft Punk

    Imagine, it is kinda late on  a Friday night and three middle age white guys sit around a table in a local sports bar. Over the speakers starts to play the now familiar sound of Daft Punks’ Get Lucky.  I’ll admit not the most appropriate lyrics but a catchy tune.

    “Hey I karaoked this the other night”, one of the men says and begins to sing the intro. He gets to the chorus.   “No you are butchering it”, one of the other men interrupts. “It goes like this.”

    She’s up all night ’til the sun
    I’m up all night to get some
    She’s up all night for good fun
    I’m up all night to get lucky”

    Corrected, the two of them belt out the chorus.  At this point, the third man begins vigorously chair dancing.  After about a minute of this, the group notices that the three twenty something women who were sitting at the bar.  Got up quickly and left the building.  I think the term fled might be most accurate. 

    A Series of Disasters

    Recently life has been beset but what are a mostly comical series of disasters.

    The man gets his money

    The day I went to go see the Peter Frampton concert, I opened the mailbox to a very large envelope in the mail. Along the return address were the words so many American fear, Internal Revenue Service. With more anger than fear I ripped open the envelope.  Hadn’t they taken enough? They clearly didn’t think so.  I had a bill for more money.  I didn’t have time that day to check to see if their calculations were correct.  I did go through my records later and realize they were probably right.  After a short consultation with a nice woman from the IRS I realized I would have to pay.. Grrr

    Never look a gift horse in the worn out gasket

    You all remember the free clothes washer I got a month or so back. After my fifth or sixth load I walked into the small utility room the put the clothes in the dryer and promptly slid across the floor. The floor was covered in about a glasses worth of water.  I turned off the water to the washer and mopped up the floor.  I checked and it looked liked one of the ancient hoses was leaking a little. About  a week or so later I finally bought some new hoses and installed them.  I put a load of laundry in  and I waited in the utility room as the washer did it’s job.  I am alarmed to here a splashing sound as water starts leaking out of the bottom of the washer.  I turn the water off at the hoses and start trying to figure out what is wrong with the thing.  It eventually stops leaking and I manage to get the washer through the cycle. Checking online it sounds like I might have a bad agitator gasket.  I am not going to pay someone to fix a twenty year old washer I got for free.  So I’ve begun the process of taking apart the washer myself if I can see what is wrong with it. 

    Who needs level pictures anyway

    I have been wanting to get some shots with my camera trying out a new idea of mine.  For this I wanted to have the camera on my tripod.  I went outside and pulled the lever to release one of the legs. Oh it released alright.  It fell right out of the socket and clattered to the ground.  I couldn’t believe it. I tried to fit the leg back into the socket when another leg fell off.  Finally the middle piece dislodged and bits of broken plastic cascaded to the cement.  Seeing as I was standing about ten feet from a dumpster I picked up the mess and tossed it in.

     You get what you pay for lesson 3

    I needed to put a new item on my wall so I had to drill a few pilot holes for the drywall anchors.  I dragged out my old cordless drill.  Being me I had purchased the cheapest one on offer a few years ago.  I plugged the battery into the charger and was greeted by the familiar red light indicating charging. I went off to do some stuff while it charged. Upon my return I was met with the smell of burning electronics and the charging light was dead.  The wall charger almost burned my hand when I yanked it out of the wall to stop a fire from starting.  Needless to say the battery was not charged and the drill is useless.  I never liked that drill anyway.

    TMI WARNING you probably don’t want to read this!.. who knew cats could get constipated.

    I had noticed that my fuzzy little ball of annoyance seemed to be more unhappy than usual. Also I watched him several times try to use the litter box without success.   I planned to take him to the vet the next day.  I didn’t need to. I was met the next morning with a nice pile of cat poop.. .in the middle of the living room.  My worries that he would stop using his box were unfounded as he spent the next couple of weeks happily regular.  But that didn’t last.  He was exhibiting the same signs as before.  I called the vet and got some advice on what I could do.  I came home from work and again could stop worrying.  This time the giant poop pile was in the bed.  I warned you not to read this 🙂

    If you want to know what advice I got it was to start feeding him some canned gooshy food and had a tablespoon or two of pumpkin to it.  He loves his new dinners and eats up all the pumpkin.  Important warning: make sure to buy plain canned pumpkin NOT the stuff for pumpkin pie.  Cats cannot digest sugar and it quickly will cause feline diabetes. Note I am not a veterinarian and you should not do anything I’ve said. 

    I wonder how many posts on blogger have  “constipated cat” as a label?  No I am not going to check.

    Food Friday: Roasted Red Pepper and Gouda Soup

    Yeah yeah I know it is sunday.

    I first had this soup from a local cafeteria.   I loved it so much I had to try and make it at home.  Made at home with fresh ingredients, I can tell you it is even better.

    fresh veggies


    2 tomatoes  can and have used roma tomatoes then you need 6-8 depending on size
    1 yellow onion
    1 red pepper
    1/2 to 1 cup grated  Gouda cheese
    salt and pepper
    and a little olive oil

    grated gouda


    Chop the tomatoes and onion into largish same sized chunks.  Deseed and also chop up the red pepper.  Put into a bowl and lightly coat with olive oil.  Place the veggies on a cooking sheet and place it in an oven at 350 for about fifteen minutes.  You want the peppers to actually get a little brown. 

    rasted veggies

    There are two ways to puree this mixture. You want to do it while the veggies are still hot so the cheese melts.  The first option is to put the veggies in a pot and use a stick blender.  Or if you have a nice thick glass blender like I have you can just dump it in there.  While it’s blending slowly at the cheese.  This will make a mess since the cheese sticks to things.  A delicious gooey cheesy mess.  I admit it is kinda of a pain to clean everything afterwards. Just blend it to your preferred consistency. I like mine to still have chunks of onion and pepper in it.

    Like usual I have no pictures of the finished product.  Why?  Well, it is so good that I just stood in the kitchen and started eating it out of the pot.  
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