Wednesday, November 17, 2004

mmm... fish

Spicy tuna and barbequed eel are the yummiest foods ever. That, and beer. I consumed copious quantities of both tonight, on honor of our softball team's victory. This doesn't happen very often (it's our second win this season) and we were fortunate enough to beat a really good team tonight. I've also discovered that my true calling (baseball-wise) is first base. I'd been in the outfield for most of the season, where I did OK - I figured out how to track fly balls and would occasionally catch them. But I'm not a fast runner and can't throw all the way in from the fence without a cutoff, which limits my effectiveness as an outfielder. But at first base you don't need to be fast or to throw very far; you just have to be able to catch anything people throw at you and maybe field some grounders. I can handle that. (My stretchiness makes up for my lack of height.) So that was a warm fuzzy reassuring experience - hence the post-game beer.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Las Vegas

We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the baby ferrets began to get squirmy. I remember taking one out of the travel carrier and trying to feed him some treats, and suddenly he jumped out of my hands, swooping and chirping and diving around the car, which was going about a hundred miles an hour away from Las Vegas. And a voice was screaming: "Holy Jesus! Where are the animals?" ....

I was in Vegas on Thursday and Friday for work-related reasons, so Andrew joined me for a long weekend. We saw two Cirque shows (Mystere and Zumanity). For Mystere, we got seats in the front row. The front row experience is way cooler than from further back. For example, in the front row, you can hear the little squeaky noises their shoes make when the performers climb up the poles, and you can see whether they're wearing harnesses or not. This is worth seeing just for the two guys doing strength moves.

Usually when we go to Vegas we stay at the motel 6, eat cheaply, try to find lots of free stuff, etc. But this time we stayed at the Mandalay Bay Resort (overpriced), ate at Postrio (well worth it), and actually did some gambling. My initial losses at blackjack were offset when Andrew won a hold 'em tournament. I played in the tournament too, but am now convinced I should never undertake mathematical endeavors at 10 a.m. on a Saturday. (I did better at a second tournament later that day.) The poker room at the Luxor was our favorite: the room is nonsmoking and it's easy to join a low-limit game (they play 2-4 anytime and I think there are some 1-2 games in the afternoons). Playing low limit hold'em in Vegas is pretty easy - other people are there to drink and have fun, so as long as you're patient and stick to the playbook, you come out ahead.

Flush with poker winnings and having exhausted the entertainment possibilities of the strip, we decided to buy more ferrets and go home. This seems to happen to us when we're in Vegas - more ferrets always sound like a good idea. So this is how we ended up speeding past Barstow, trying to get the ferrets back into their travel cage...

The new ferrets are seriously cute. They're still tiny (just a few months old) and hyper. We've started introducing them to the older ferrets, but the little ones have so much energy that the introduction is mostly "sniff sniff run run run run run sniff sniff" while the older ones sit still and wonder what's going on. They love toys that make noise and will chase the toys (and each other) around the room. They don't mind being held, which seems unusual - the other ones will try to jump down as soon as they're picked up.

More photos to come as soon as we figure out how to get them to slow down so that the digital camera can focus.

Monday, November 08, 2004

G'kar! Stop biting Lando!

This is just a quick post as it is late and we have been playing with our new little ones all night. Here are their pictures.

Gkar


Lando



.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

KSJO

Let's have a moment of silence for the passing of my favorite radio station. KSJO is no more - the sounds of "classic rock" have been replaced with Spanish language programming. (When did they start calling my music classic rock? I can't possibly be that old.) Andrew's theory is that people who like to listen to rock have iPods, and get their music off the internet, instead of listening to the radio. But I like the radio, because (in theory) their playlist has stuff I would never think of. Not new music. But, you know how sometimes there's a Def Leppard song on the radio you totally forgot about, and it brings back memories from twenty years ago? That's the fun part. That's something I never get with an iPod playlist, because no matter how big the playlist is, I made it myself and thus on some level know exactly what songs are on it, and then it's just boring.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Basteel

Why "basteel.blogspot.com"? See, we're both lazy. When we got married, I sort of thought about taking his last name (Casteel) and he sort of thought about taking my last name (Baugher), but neither of us actually cared enough to stand in line at city hall and fill out the paperwork. Plus, we had both gotten started with our professional careers and had large networks of people who vaguely remembered our names just the way they were. So we each kept our own last names. Friends would ask, so, what names will the kids have? To which the answer was (and still is) eek, no kids. But the question persisted: hypothetically, in the same alternate universe where our evil counterparts wear goatees, the kids would need names. Cynthia suggested squishing the names together to get "Basteel". This is by far the most pronounceable of the combinations ("Caugher" is just as bad, prounciation-wise, as "Baugher" (hint: say "blogger" without the L) ) and it sounds pretty cool. So while we're still lazy and not likely to officially get our names changed, we're all set for the hypothetical future.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Fudge

Wanna distract yourself from the democratic process with some chocolate? Here's my new favorite fudge recipe:

Ingredients:
4 oz baking chocolate
2 3/4 cups regular sugar
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup peanut butter

1 cup milk
3 tbsp butter
1 tbsp corp syrup
1 tbsp vanilla

Other stuff:
8x8 pan
candy thermometer
tall stockpot


Steps:
* Grease the pan.
* Put the sugar, chocolate, liquids, and half the butter into the pot.
* Heat over medium, stirring with a wood spoon.
* Once all the solid bits have melted, bring it to a good boil.
* Reduce heat a little bit so it's simmering and put a lid on the pot.
* After a few minutes, take the lid off the pot and attach the candy thermometer. (Make sure the thermometer doesn't touch the bottom of the pot or you're just measuring the burner heat. If your pot is not that tall, be creative with chopsticks and suspend the thermometer over the pot.)
* Cook until the thermometer says 234 degrees.
* Turn off the heat and add the rest of the butter.
* Let the pot sit until the thermometer says 110 degrees.
* Stir in the walnuts and peanut butter. Mix it up enough so it's not shiny anymore. If you want there to be ribbons of peanut butter visible in the fudge then stir to the right texture first then add in the peanut butter and just stir a little bit.
* Pour into the greased pan and let it cool, then cut it. You can put it in the fridge once it has cooled down as long as you wrap it in plastic.


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