Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Home Revisions…

Scooter and I are in the process of rearranging our entire house. Yes, that's what I said. It's a much less costly way of redecorating. Of course—being the nut that I am—I had to draw the entire area out in SketchUp, furniture and all. It's essentially a digital way of doing the graph paper and cut out shapes method, but for me, much more fun.

This is the view from my office. My whole house is a dusty green color called "Campaign Green," which I equate to Coleman Tent green. It is a very nice compliment to the desert atmosphere. I have long wanted to do red accents, but my time at my previous office always told me otherwise. So many times, I would present a red/green, pink/lemony-green, deep orange/olive design and the first comment I always received was, "It's too Christmas-y." Well, too bad. I like those colors together.

Overview of the plan. I'm going to choose a brownish-red for the one wall in the living room, which will be the only thing I want to paint (except for my office).

From the bedroom door looking towards my office and front door.

I think this plan will open up our house quite a bit more. If anything, it's an excuse for me to thoroughly clean the whole place, which it is in desperate need of.

A couple things that I noticed while creating this model.
  • The SketchUp database is full of user posted artifacts like furniture, appliances and more.
  • The generic girl model included looks an awful lot like myself. What does that say? I'm that generic. D'oh!
  • As a graphic designer/illustrator I just can't be happy with a simple "move it and see."
PS: I did not draw the bathrooms or bedrooms … yet.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Mulled Strawberries…

This is a recipe from Alton Brown of Good Eats on the Food Network. I got 4 Lbs. of strawberries yesterday at a ridiculously low price and wanted to somehow preserve them. I made a Strawberry Shortcake from this recipe, but they are just as good in a bowl.

NOTE: to those with little children — there is no cooking in this so the wine is still full strength.

  • 2 pints (4 C) medium size strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 1 (750ml) bottle red wine — I used Chiraz (thanks Mom!)
  • 1/4 C honey
  • 1 tsp finely chopped lemon zest
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • In a bowl combine all ingredients; let stand in refrigerator for 2 hours.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day…

Our annual St. Patrick's Day tradition around the homestead is to do Cheddar Beer Soup. This year, I am pairing it with Bruschetta and of course a nice big Guinness.

The images are showing the following stages: 1: Ingredients, 2: Base, 3: Cream and Broth, 4: Cheese, 5: Blended Ingredients, 6: Final.

Here is the original recipe for the Cheddar Beer Soup from Gourmet:
NOTE: I make a slight modification by using Guinness (thus it's Irish) for the beer. I also blend the mixture after adding the cheese and add the beer at the very end.

  • 2 medium leeks (white and pale green parts only), cut into 1/4-inch dice (2 cups)
  • 2 medium carrots, cut into 1/4-inch dice (1 cup)
  • 2 celery ribs, cut into 1/4-inch dice (1 cup)
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
  • 1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 3/4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth (14 fl oz)
  • 1 (12-oz) bottle ale such as Bass
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 lb extra-sharp Cheddar (preferably English; rind removed if necessary), grated (4 cups)
  • 4 bacon slices (3 1/2 oz total), cooked and crumbled
  • Wash leeks in a bowl of cold water, agitating water, then lift out leeks and drain in a colander.
  • Cook leeks, carrots, celery, garlic, and bay leaf in butter in a 4-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to moderately low and sprinkle flour over vegetables, then cook, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes. Add milk, broth, and beer in a stream, whisking, then simmer, whisking occasionally, 5 minutes. Stir in Worcestershire sauce, mustard, salt, and pepper.
  • Add cheese by handfuls, stirring constantly, and cook until cheese is melted, 3 to 4 minutes (do not boil). Discard bay leaf.
  • Serve sprinkled with bacon.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Taxes! Woes…

What is the difference between a taxidermist and a tax collector? The taxidermist takes only your skin. ~Mark Twain, Notebook, 1902

Taxes are due today—well for those running a company anyway—and Federal taxes only. The rest are due with all the personal income taxes on the 15th of April. Oh la vache, what a pain in the rear my taxes were. I had all my tax paperwork to my CPA by the middle of last month. They're done today, I stop by the office and he presents me with a deposit coupon that has to be completed today. Basically, at your bank where you have your business account they will make an automatic deposit to the IRS.

Well … my bank—a credit union—won't do this transaction. Why do they even offer a business account if they aren't able to complete simple business transactions? So, they send me to a large bank. Apparently, that means something like Bank of America or Chase. Well, they won't do the transaction either because I don't have my business account with them. So, long story short, I have to go and send the money today as quickly as possible and eat the late fee that I'll get from the IRS. Jeesh! I spent 4 hours running around town today from bank to bank to pretty much get nowhere.

Taxes, after all, are dues that we pay for the privileges of membership in an organized society. ~Franklin D. Roosevelt

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Isn't that what this blog is about? I realized that I haven't even been on my bike for the better part of three weeks. I used to ride every single day. Heck, there was a 6-month section of my life when I didn't even own a car. Let me tell you how well I can pack a week of groceries on a bike some day.

I have started to realize that the reason for my riding less and less is due to my sinus problems. I don't know if I have allergies or something else entirely, but it's not fun and I don't want to ride.

I think I'll have to change that soon. I've been toying with the idea of selling my Ducati and fixing up my old bike. I seem to have more fond memories of that bike—even though I put my money down on my Duc a year before it came out. It sure is a pretty blue!