June 22, 2009

Kale-a-riffic

I’m a pretty new convert to kale.  Last year’s CSA run was really my first major exposure, and I found it mainly useful as a green for soups.  It was very sturdy and didn’t turn to mush when it was simmered for a long time.

I tried something a bit different this weekend.  Well, different for me—it’s probably old had for all the routine kale-eaters out there.  I made a salad.  Kale being pretty tough, I started by massaging in a bit of salt and olive oil (after washing and drying the leaves, minus stems, of course), and I let it sit for a while.  I then added my current salad staples: diced shallot, jalapeno, chopped dill, chopped cilantro, and balsamic vinegar.

It was out of this world.  The lettuce we get from the CSA is the good stuff—no flavorless iceburg here—and this blew it all away.  The kale had such a great flavor, plus the texture was the perfect amount of firmness.  It was really fantastic.

The downside: when I start making soups again, I may not have enough kale to really go around.  I can only hope that I’ll be off my salad craving by then.

Posted by Macknzie at 6:23 AM | Comments (0)

June 16, 2009

Locked In

I’m the type of person who never counts on anything until I have a measure of assurance.  So, when it comes to my trip to the Baltics, I would generally respond to inquiries with a, “Well, that’s what I’m planning for, but we’ll see how it works out.  It’s not confirmed until I get plane tickets.”

It’s confirmed.  Last weekend I bought my tickets to London, and from there I’ll fly Ryanair to Riga, Latvia.  It’s the train from then on.

Now I just need to figure out my schedule once I get there.  Even that should be fun.

Posted by Macknzie at 6:46 AM | Comments (0)

June 15, 2009

Farm Time

Today is the first day of the farm share, and boy did we get our leafy greens.  Lots of lettuce, kale, spinach, beets, plus cilantro, dill, french radishes—well, a ton of goodies.  I just finished eating a salad composed of the following: one head of lettuce, chopped; one green pepper, chopped; one shallot, minced, one jalapeno, sliced; finely chopped fresh cilantro and dill; freshly grated parmesan; and drizzle with just a bit of balsamic vinegar.  I ate the whole thing.  It was a bit spicy, but fantastic, and now I am definitely full.  Weird to think of lettuce filling me up, but it definitely worked.  Of course, I also had a glass of milk (spicy salad, remember?), so that may have had something to do with it.

Lately, I’ve had quite the craving for leafy greens.  It’ll take a while to satiate that craving, but it feels good to start the process.

I think tomorrow I’ll have the French breakfast radishes.  For breakfast.

Posted by Macknzie at 7:31 PM | Comments (0)

June 12, 2009

Friday Catblogging!

This has been an extraordinarily wet week for this region, with heavy and long rain pretty much every day.  My garden would love it if not for the hail, which did some damage to my fava and radishes.  But them’s the breaks.  For now, let’s check in with the boys.

Jupiter’s Belly, with Sebastian in the background:

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Lots of plans this weekend, and I have a full day of work to get through first.  So off I go to do my part to keep the wheels of justice turning.

Have a great weekend!

Posted by Macknzie at 6:50 AM | Comments (0)

June 10, 2009

Stormy Weather

It’s been pretty wet and mucky lately.  Normally, I don’t mind that at all.  But yesterday, the storm included quite a lot of hail.  It beat up my garden pretty bad.  I thought the fava beans would be the hardest hit, and they were.  The radishes got it worse than I expected, too.  I’ll know more about how I can expect them to recover in the next couple days, but it really is irritating.

I got my ticket for London on Saturday, so I suppose The Trip is now set in stone.  Less than two months, now, and still so much to do.

Posted by Macknzie at 6:14 AM | Comments (0)

June 8, 2009

Spring Cleaning

This weekend has been unbelievably productive.  It included:

  • Yard work.  Aside from getting the lawn mowed (needed!), I also turned over the compost and added some cut grass from a friend’s place.  I discovered that some squash/pumpkin seeds that had gone into the compost pile had sprouted.  So I picked out a dozen or so and planted them in the garden.  Maybe nothing will come of them, but it costs me nothing to try.
  • Move furniture, mop floor.  In addition, I scrubbed the kitchen floor by hand.  At some point, I think I’ll have to get my wood floors refinished—I don’t think it has been done in the last 20 years or so, at least.
  • Rearranged furniture in my office.  I made a makeshift desk by spanning a door across a couple cabinets—a time-honored method.  This gives me a bit more room, plus I can use my old desk as an actual work area, which is something I’ve been lacking.

It doesn’t look like as much work as it was—I spent a lot of time cleaning everything, like all surfaces, baseboards, radiators, the works.  And although I didn’t slack off very much, I still didn’t get as much done as I wanted.  I still have some work to do in my office, for example, and I haven’t touched the basement yet.

I guess I have something to keep me busy for the rest of the week, and next weekend, too.

In other news, I recently discovered that my internet provider provided a higher-level service plan for another $10 per month.  It features almost three times the download bandwidth and four times the upload bandwidth.  For me, particularly given the fact that I have a home server with remote access, it’s worth it.  I signed up last week and it kicked in this morning.  I’m pleased so far, but we’ll see if there’s a difference in my day-to-day experience.

Posted by Macknzie at 6:56 AM | Comments (0)

June 5, 2009

Friday Catblogging!

In which I attempt to get a shot of Jupiter birdwatching, but the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle (as applied to cats) interferes.

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Lots to do this weekend, mostly around the house.  Have fun!

Posted by Macknzie at 6:02 AM | Comments (0)

June 4, 2009

Switching Gears

My copy of The Witcher arrived yesterday.  I played for about an hour or so.  First impression: seems decent.  Will it replace Fallout 3 as my game of choice?  Probably not.  But I think it will be fun.  The one exception may be the combat, which is just sort of a timed click thing that I’m not so much a fan of.  But we’ll see—the mechanic may change as the game advances.

In other news, my ticket searches have so far revealed that I can get round-trip Denver-London tickets for under $750.  That seems rather insane, but in a good way.  Notably, I’m flying in an expensive time.  If I were travelling in late August or early September, it would be even cheaper.  Score!

My plan is to get separate round-trip tickets to the Baltics.  Including the stretch to and from Riga adds about $500, and in the meantime, I can get London-Riga round-trip tickets from RyanAir for maybe $160 or so.  I can’t think of any reason not to do that.

Take-away: All of my “getting there and back” costs (must account for shuttle to Denver) will end up being around $1000.  That seems like a really good deal for a trip to Europe.  Can anyone confirm?  I nearly bought my London tickets last night, but I decided to wait a week or so and see if the prices hold steady, or if there appears to be a lot of volatility.  It’s always a fool’s game to time the tickets, but I’m still going to see if there’s anything that catches my eye.

Maybe when I’m in London I’ll visit all the places in The Prisoner’s opening sequence?  That would be awesome.

Posted by Macknzie at 6:57 AM | Comments (0)

June 3, 2009

Closing Tabs

Perhaps Dick Cheney and I can meet halfway on something, after all.  Is this proof of cultural change?  (Note that Cheney’s view appears to be different than fellow conservative and former Bush appointee Ted Olsen, who is currently representing clients who are challenging Proposition 8 in federal court.)

I may need to get back into Mass Effect.  There’s been a lot of talk about ME2, especially with E3 getting underway.  And now there’s an iPhone ME game on the way.  Conveniently, I have recently acquired an iPod Touch.

Speaking of E3, I have to consume the new trailers and other goodies slowly, seeing as how I have a day job.  So it was a little late that I finally saw this trailer for Star Wars: The Old Republic.  I don’t know if the game will be any good, but the trailer is a huge load of totally-awesome.  Seriously.  Watch it now.  I’ll wait.

Pretty cool, right?

Back to business.  I was pleased yesterday to see that my favas, if they turn out, are good for more than just the beans.  In fact, if it turns out to be too late, perhaps the leaves are all I’ll be able to salvage.  That would be disappointing, but at least I’ll be able to salvage something.

And, lastly, I’m still unsold on the new Prisoner miniseries.  I have such fond memories of the original series.

Posted by Macknzie at 5:29 AM | Comments (0)

June 2, 2009

Cool Hand

I’m happy to report that it was quite chilly yesterday, with lots of clouds and a bit of rain, and it appears to be ready to stay that way for the better part of this week.  It wouldn’t ordinarily be something I’d celebrate, but the cooler the weather, the better for my late-planted, cool-weather plants.

The big news yesterday—aside from the whole GM thing—is the big news that eMusic will be getting Sony’s entire more-than-2-years-ago catalog.  As a subscriber, this means I can get all the Celine Dion and Kenny G I can stomach.  For the record, I can stomach approximately none.  To be fair, there are a few decent artists on Sony’s label.  Tori Amos (the older stuff) comes to mind, and, um . . . Bob Dylan and Simon and Garfunkel?  OK, the list honestly looks pretty slim for my tastes.  I can really only name three or so that I’m sure I’ll be checking into, and maybe another three or four that I’ve heard of and might learn more about.

eMusic is also raising its prices.  Beginning in July, my subscription will be moving from 100 tracks for $25 to 50 tracks for $20.79.  That’s a big change.  I don’t begrudge a raise in prices—these are tough times—but we’re going from $0.25 per track to $0.42 per track.  That’s over a 60% increase.  I’m no Danica McKellar, but my meager math skills tell me that’s a lot!

The question is whether it’s worth it.  An expanded catalog on one hand, a 60% price hike on the other.  I’m skeptical.  I’ll see how it goes after July, but August may see me cancelling my subscription.

Posted by Macknzie at 5:18 AM | Comments (0)

June 1, 2009

Productivity Fail

As it turns out, this was the Weekend of Fallout 3.  I’ve been playing quite a bit since I got it up an running, and that’s mostly what I did this weekend.  I also saw UP—not bad.

I’m happy to say that my fava beans are coming up like crazy, which is great.  You might wonder if it is a bit too late for fava beans.  It’s true that it is late, but I also live at about 6800 feet, so it stays relatively cool, especially at night, for quite a long time.  I’m hoping I have just enough time to get a decent crop of favas.  If nothing else, perhaps I can bank some seeds and grow a fall crop when the weather turns again.  In addition to the favas, I have radishes, onions, and (lots of) garlic still coming up nicely.

Also this week: the search for plane tickets in earnest begins.  More on that later.

Posted by Macknzie at 6:37 AM | Comments (0)