Cooking and Shortcuts

Little known fact is that I worked my way through college cooking at a variety of restaurants and venues. Started as a prep cook at a Marie Callendar’s, I spent time at a sports bar, a Mexican restaurant, a seafood bistro, a sous chef in a country club, and then a chef at a local chain of Italian food, and finally running the kitchen at a corporate caterer. Continue reading →

Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup

On the Instant Pot journey, this weekend I revisited a classic, the simple, hearty, yet instantly recognized “Chicken Noodle Soup.” There are some fairly basic ingredients that are common. Onion, Celery, Carrots, white meat chicken, and seasonings. Fairly simple, hearty, and – dare I say it – wholesome. The recipe I used was from Jo Cooks, and it was pretty simple. I used about 2.5#’as of split chicken breasts, and I added peas, but otherwise I followed the recipe to the letter. (well, I did add two bay leaves and several cranks of coarse ground black pepper from my peppermill) Continue reading →

Real Estate Insanity

Living in ‘Silicon Valley’ is interesting for many reasons, not the least of which is the zaniness of the housing market. Having grown up here in the 60’s and 70’s, I was oblivious to this phenomenon, thinking that it was normal. That is until I moved to Arizona for more than a decade and returned.

When we returned in 2014, we knew that we were in for a shock. When I moved away in 2003, the condo I bought in 1999 for $249K, sold easily for $350K, an amazing return on my investment. Continue reading →

Instant Pot – a month in

Approaching the end of my fourth week with the Instant Pot, and it is time to revisit with some observations.

First, my initial observation that it is stupid easy to use is still accurate. It really is almost impossible to screw up. Yes, I know that if you don’t have enough liquids it will fail to come to pressure, and that you can burn things in it, but I haven’t experienced that yet. Continue reading →

Aryeon: Universe Live

I have mentioned a few times that I am a sucker for ambitious music projects. A few months ago, Amazon Music turned me onto Arjen Lucassen, and then I found his projects, Ayreon. I bought the latest, The Source on vinyl, and holy hell, it was amazing. I bought a few more of the Aryeon project albums (on CD, as the vinyl versions had sold out, and the offered sale versions were for more than $200). Continue reading →

Faulty Memory – Star Wars

A fond memory of my youth was watching Star Wars in the theater. 1977, and I thought that was the best-est movie EVAR!!!!1!!! Action, great special effects, space scenes, aliens, and the voice of James Earl Jones as Darth Vader. What was not to love about it.

I watched it a few times afterwards, but unlike some people I know, I moved on, and into other pursuits. I probably hadn’t seen the film since the early 1980’s. Continue reading →

Instant Pot – The beginning of a long relationship

Around Christmas, I began seeing all my friends on Facebook posting show they got Instant Pots for Christmas, and I was intrigued. Having never heard of the device before, my instinct was to dismiss the hype. But, when I was browsing Amazon, a recommended book was “Indian Instant Pot Cookbook” by Urvashi Pitre, and for 8 bucks, it jumped in my cart. A lark.

Reading the recipes more that piqued my interest. I love me some Indian food, and these recipes looked scrumptious. Continue reading →

Downbelow Station – observations on CJ Cherryh’s work

I have been a life-long, avid consumer of Science Fiction. The bug really took root when I was in high school, and I was bitten hard. Heinlein, Asimov, Herbert, and other titans of the genre were my apetite and I voraciously devoured them all.

There were some authors that I attempted to get into, but at the time, and for many years after, I struggled to appreciate. One was John Brunner, whose Hugo Award winning “Stand on Zanzibar” is an example. It took no fewer than 4 attempts to get past the first 40 or so pages, the type and style of telling of the story just failed to grab my attention. But then I did read past that, fell in love with the style, and it remains one of my favorite novels of all time, one I reread fairly frequently. Continue reading →

Valerian movie review

Last year, one movie that I really wanted to see was Valerian (full title: “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets”), a film by Luc Besson, who made one of my go-to SciFi movies, “The Fifth Element”. Known for making movies that are visually stunning, blending humor and action, and a penchant for strong female characters, I thought this couldn’t go wrong.

Alas, I didn’t make it to the theaters to see it, and I kept checking for it on Netflix and Hulu, without any satisfaction. Then when I got a spot bonus at work with Amazon gift cards, I went to it on their site, and instead of dropping it into my shopping cart, I noticed that it was available as part of my Prime membership. Cool. Continue reading →