Tuesday, January 31, 2012


I found this image here. Too beautiful not to post.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

HOW TO: make homemade biscuits and gravy

First a little backstory.

At my old job, after working there for over three years, I discovered something special. The little cafeteria on the 14th floor sold biscuits and gravy on Thursday mornings. One biscuit with gravy cost 85 cents. With tax, 94 cents. Which lead to an abundance of six cents laying around our house. And it was self-service. So you could load up that biscuit with as much gravy as you wanted. So I did.

Now in Denver, that biscuit and gravy fix came calling. But I figured, if you want to do something right, you better do it yourself.

- - -

My first attempt was last week. Before I started, my concern was getting it thick enough. My only complaint from the cafeteria b&g was that sometimes they were too thin.

So last week I loaded it up with flour...and it was too thick. Something I wasn't prepared for. Still good. But room for improvement.

- - -

The first step is putting the biscuits in the oven. I'm not ready to make my own biscuits, and really, don't think I'll ever want to.

Today I browned half a pound of hot Jimmy Dean sausage, breaking it up into little bite-size chunks. Then I seasoned the sausage with Lawry's seasoned salt and spicy montreal steak seasoning. And then I covered the meat with a generous sprinkling of flour. Stir it up until you can't see the flour any more.

Then it's time for the milk. I poured enough to almost fill my small skillet. Considering I had eight ounces of meat, I needed a bunch of milk to find the right ratio. I added a bunch of Worcestershire sauce for flavor.

After cooking it on medium for just a minute or two, it starts to thicken up pretty good.

Right around now the biscuits were ready to come out. So I took the gravy off the heat. Sliced open two biscuits and got them on my plate. That extra minute off the heat helped it thicken up even more. I probably used 1/3 of the flour today as I used last week, and it still got to the perfect thickness, without being too heavy.

I think these were the best biscuits and gravy I've ever had.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Adventures in Curling: sub edition

I signed up for a six-week league but that doesn't start until Feb 25. But because I'm a member, I can sub in the ongoing leagues.

First up, there are rookie leagues (0-3 years of experience) and open leagues (3+ years). I have 2 days of experience. But there was a team in the open league who needed a sub and I jumped at the chance. I responded to the mass mail 2 minutes after it was sent.

I didn't even bother to look that the team I was subbing on was 0-2. And we would be playing a team that was 2-0.

I met the three people I would be playing with. One couple had been playing for five years. I didn't catch the experience on the other person, but I suspect it was more. So yeah...

I told them they could put me first, where I could inflict the least damage. So they did.

A game is 8 ends.

After one end, we were down 4-0. Yikes.
After three ends, we were down 4-3. Comeback city.
We lost, 12-4. Yikes.

I didn't play great. I wouldn't even say that I held my own. But for my experience level, I'd say I was average. I got a few in the house usually to the left. And I left a few short but in front of the house that could be played with. But usually I would leave it short, out of play. And then occasionally I would throw it long, trying to compensate.

But I was glad I got to play.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

down to the wire

Team A
Ridley (possibly inactive?)

Team B

Team A has a 17-point lead.

Here are the point totals that those teams scored today.

Team A 13
Team B 35

So if those players have the same performances...Team B will win by 5.

Monday, January 16, 2012

one more thing

If the Chiefs had lost the way the Saints lost on Saturday, I'd still be crying.


Packers vs Patriots or Saints vs Patriots would have be an awesome Super Bowl.

Now the best we can hope for is a rematch of 42, where surely the Pats will get revenge.

I predict no more drama in the postseason. Pats over Giants.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

playoff hockey (on the ps3)

Because I have to play the video game version of whatever sport I'm into at that moment, I've been playing NHL 11 since I got it for Christmas.

And just like NHL 94 on Genesis, it plays pretty realistic. You can see in the top row that my Western Semis with Vancouver went six games and the last four games were 1-3, 1-3, 3-0, 3-1. And some of those were empty netters. The point is, is that goals are hard to come by.

Which is why game one of the Western Finals vs Edmonton was so surprising.

Landeskog got a hat trick. They benched their goalie after I scored 6. And despite losing the faceoff battle, I dominated the shots. 

And this was me playing on the most conservative strategies possible--as I've found playing aggressive doesn't help my offense but hurts my defense. The next game was 3-0 with an empty netter. And game 3 was tied 3-3 until Duchene scored with 7 seconds left. Game 4 went into overtime 0-0--I hit the series winner with a top shelf wrist shot.

And then another shocker. In Game 1 of the Finals, I scored...8 against the Caps. 8-2.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Uck You

Boston Mayor on wagering beer with the Denver Mayor:
"We have the best. I mean, you know, Colorado beer? It hasn't even made it east yet. Sam Adams has made it to the west and Harpoon has made it out there, but Colorado Rocky beer? Uck."




Colorado has more breweries per capita than any other state. Colorado also has one of the largest concentrations of craft breweries in the nation, with more than 120 located throughout the state.

And as for not making it out East..I'm pretty sure he's heard of Coors.

New Belgium, Odell, Avery, Breckenridge, Great Divide, Flying Dog, Wynkoop...

You can knock Colorado's seafood or our presidential voting history, but you can't knock our beer.

Monday, January 09, 2012

just realized i can't watch national championship

22 minutes to kickoff on cable

Future Adventures in Curling

I just signed up for a rookie league. 6 weekly games starting Feb 25.

What are you doing on your Saturday nights?

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Adventures in Curling: day two

Last night we got to play five ends (not quite a full 8 end recreational game) but good enough for our novice level.

Our team decided to rotate positions so I got to play one of everything, and vice-skip twice.

So five ends, that means I got to take 10 shots in an hour and a half. Spoilers: only my first and last shot were good.

I came out of the gate with a good shot that landed in the house and eventually scored.

My last shot was a perfect draw to the red circle, though it was tapped out by the next shot. In that 5th end, no one had gotten any in the house. I get one in the four foot and then the next guy does the same thing landing where I was and tapping me back.

In between, I had trouble making it pass the hog line or keeping it straight. I've got instructors in my ear telling me to do new things after every shot and I ended up overthinking a bunch of shots.

Here's the summary of ends, I was on the red team again.

1st:: Red 2 (vice-skip)
2nd: Red 1 (skip)
3rd: Yellow 1 (lead)
4th: Red 1 (second)
5th: Yellow 2 (vice-skip)

So the final ended up being Red 4-3. But we had better shots all night. They had a couple clutch shots that kept it close. In the second end, we had two on the button, but they had the hammer, and they managed to knock one out. And in the fifth end, I thought I would score one for mine in the red circle, and in their last three shots they get two scorers.

- - -

The game really is like golf. You can hit one great shot and think you have it figured out. And then duff four in a row. But it is really satisfying to land one on the green. I'm using to playing individual sports. It feels much worse to hit a poor shot and feel like you left your team down.

Also in golf if you land 6 feet from the pin, no one can knock your ball into the lake.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Adventures in Curling: day one

Last night I had my first learn to curl class. It was a two-hour session.

The first 30 minutes consisted of "classroom" instruction. Really we had 40 people of all ages and both genders (only one race) in a junior hockey locker room. Everything that was covered I basically already knew.

Then we got about 50 minutes of practice. Getting comfortable in the hack, shooting, sweeping.

And then we got 40 minutes of scrimmage, which is enough to play two ends (innings). [4 people to a team, each shoots two rocks. So 16 rocks get thrown in an end. 8 ends in a recreational game, 10 in olympics.]

There are four positions. Lead, second, vice-skip and skip. Skip calls the shots for the other three, so he never sweeps. The vice skip sweeps for the first two, and calls the shot for the skip. The lead and second have to sweep every time they are not shooting, with the lead getting the honor three times in a row. Sweeping is kind of fun, but once is enough for half an hour. So it kind of sucks to have to sweep three times in an end.

It is surprisingly hard to get the stone to the other side. A good number of people never made it past the hog line (so it was cleared off.) Sort of the opposite of shuffleboard where you have to really try to keep it on the table. Here you have to really give it some oomph to put it in the house. In practice, I did put two through the house, so I at least figured out how to give it enough power.

For the scrimmage, we were assigned positions randomly. Here's a recap:

End #1
Position: Second

My two shots were poor. One knockout attempt that seemed on target slid left through the house. I put the wrong spin on my second shot (there's a lot to concentrate on while you're shooting) and it sort of sputtered short and right of the house. It was across the hog line, but too far to the right to be considered a guard. If this was golf it was in the bunker.

As a second, you get to sweep for all the other shooters. Our vice-skip threw a nice rock that I helped sweep into the house. (On this particular ice, sweeping only helps so much, but it still matters.) It ended up being the only rock in the house. Not because of knockouts, just it was the only shot that made it there.

At this extreme rookie level, the hammer is largely inconsequential.

Score for 1st end: Red 1, Yellow 0.

End #2
Position: Vice-skip

As vice-skip (also known as third) I was sweeping for the first two shooters. When it was my turn, there were two red rocks in the house, no yellow, and no real guards. My first shot was short and left. It didn't even make it to the hog line so it had to be cleared off. The coach down at that end gave me this advice.

Coach: You need to reel back more in the delivery.
Me: Like I need to stand up more.
Coach: Yeah. It's almost going to look like you're sticking your butt out.
Me: Stick your butt out. Got it.

At this point, I was 50/50 on curling. It was fun, but it seemed like the learning curve might be too steep.

I took my fourth shot. I stuck my butt out. And wouldn't you know that it had good speed, started just right of center, went pretty straight, and curled into the house and landed on the red ring. In my head I was screaming, "On the Goddamn BUTTON!" Of course, the button is the white circle in the middle. But still, it was the closest any of our group of 8 had come to the button. So now there were three red in the house, no yellow. The next yellow shot knocks one of red guards into the house.

As the vice-skip, it's my turn to come down and call the shot for the skip. And it's not an obvious choice. We've got four in the house. You'd like to add one, but you don't want to knock any of yours out. So I call for a soft draw to the front edge of the house. He lets it go and it's seems strong so I don't call for any sweeping, and then once it's halfway I shout "SWEEP" and then once it's almost to the hogline I shout "OFF." They only had to sweep for 10 feet or so. And sure enough, that rock came in ever so gently, tapped one of red rocks in the blue ring, and they both stayed in the scoring zone. That felt nice.

Up five-oh, with two shots to go, I called for our last shot to be a guard up front. I didn't call for enough sweeping and it stopped a foot short of the hog line. But it didn't matter. The yellow team couldn't do anything about it.

Score for 2nd end: Red 5, Yellow 0. 
Final: Red 6, Yellow 0.

- - -

Every position gets to throw two rocks per end, so it would seem that if all you care about is shooting, it doesn't matter which position you are. But the lead (in theory) would place draws/guards. The second knockouts. And the third and skip are responsible for scoring plays. And the first and second have to do the most sweeping.

I haven't been a skip yet, but I think I would like it. But vice-skip is good too, since they get a little of everything.

After I made that shot and called another one into score, I felt like I was all in on curling. And I get to go back tonight for another two hours, which will have less practice and more gameplay. 

Until next time, good curling!

Friday, January 06, 2012

2011 Amazon Kindle Sales

I put Autopilot on Kindle on March 1, 2011. Here are my sales numbers for 10 months of 2011:

Sales: 251
Royalties: $143.19

(Advertising Cost: -$20.00)

Almost all of the sales were to strangers. I stopped promoting it in April. Without any promotion, sales never dipped below 16 copies per month. And then in November and December, there was a significant uptick. Holiday season? More kindles in the market? We'll see.

- - -

Considering it cost me zero dollars and I'm now on the virtual shelf along side every other author and I got to have my cover the way I wanted, and I'm not responsible for a warehouse full of unwanted printed copies, I'm quite pleased that none of the hundred literary agents I contacted wanted me as a client.

At this rate, I'll be able to quit my day job in 2478. Not that I want to anyways.

One of my resolutions is to publish a volume of essays on Kindle in 2012. Obviously it's not for the money. It's just nice to live in a time where I can publish as officially as Palahniuk on my own terms.

Thursday, January 05, 2012


The Sac Kings fired their coach after going 2-5.

Fired after 7 games. Even in a 66-game season, that's the equivalent of firing a NFL coach before the 4th quarter of the 2nd game.

In other words, if he was the right coach at the beginning of the season, don't you at least have to give him 15-20 games? Or, if he was bad enough to be fired now, why wasn't he fired in the off-season?

Playoff Time

Ranking the 4 games in order of my interest:

4. Bengals at Texans

Two bad teams. Houston was good, but not the Houston taking the field on Saturday. Two rookie quarterbacks. Two franchises with no history. Pass.

3. Falcons at Giants

Blah. Two teams that have some talent, but are boring.

2. Steelers at Broncos (Sun, 2:30 mountain)

If this game was in Pittsburgh, it wouldn't be as exciting. I would think the Steelers blow them out. But now with Clark sitting, Mendenhall out, and Roethlisburger banged up, we've got a recent Super Bowl champion who should win but may be missing too many pieces. Versus a team that's not that good but has a great home field advantage and a quarterback that's not good but somehow wins weird comebacks.

1. Lions at Saints (Sat, 6pm mountain)

Two historically troubled franchises now with lots of talent. Two offenses that love to score with defenses that either say meh or stomp on people (literally). Two dome teams. The Lions haven't been in the playoffs since god knows when and they've got a tough matchup here, but they have a knack for comeback victories and the Saints lost in the first game last year when they were favored. I hope this game is 55-49.

- - -

Here are my stupid picks:

Bengals +3
Lions +11
Falcons +3
Broncos +8


Tuesday, January 03, 2012

thoughts on AFC West and playoffs

From the very beginning, it was clear the Chiefs were not going to make a playoffs run this year. In fact, I thought they were the worst team in the league after two games.

And since someone had to win the AFC West, I suppose beating the division champion at home to give them their 8th loss is as good as it gets.

Having Tebow back his way into the playoffs might actually be a good thing. As I think it cements his position for another two years at least, and I think that's good for the Chiefs. I do think he's a good football player, but he's not a good quarterback/passer.

I've probably said this before, but look at the recent Super Bowl Champions and look at the top teams this year. You need a Rodgers, Brees, Brady, Manning. At least a Roethlisberger, who's played pretty well when healthy.

So I'm fine with Tebow being the quarterback of the future for Denver.

And I think it's hilarious that the Raiders panicked and spent a #1 pick on Carson Palmer. Even if he wasn't as terrible as I expected, he's not going to help them moving forward, especially when they seemed like they had a good thing going with Campbell.

And it's nice to see the Chargers waste another year of Rivers in his prime with Gates. So funny to think that five years ago they had LT, Turner, and Sproles in the backfield. They still have a good back, but they've really underachieved.

- - -

Also, it's pretty retarded that the Ravens and Steelers are both 12-4 in the same division, yet one is a 2 seed with a bye before a home game next week, and the other is a 5 seed playing on the road this week.

I'm fine with division winners getting an automatic berth, but it's silly to make them automatically the 4th seed. Pitt should be #3, Denver #6, so that game would be in Pittsburgh.

On the other side, Giants should be the 6th seed, Lions 5th, Falcons 4th, Saints 3rd.

So the Giants should be on the road in New Orleans, while the Lions visit Atlanta. The current setup hurts Detroit and Atlanta, while helping New York.