Thursday, November 29, 2012

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

My Second Turkey

So last year was my first turkey. This makes two.

I did things a bit differently this year. 

I got a 20 lb bird and put in the fridge to thaw Friday night.

Brining is all the rage but I read this year that you shouldn't brine a turkey that comes injected with a saline solution, as that is already pre-brined. Of course, all the frozen turkeys I've ever seen are like that. So I'm not sure how everyone and their mom is talking about brining--is everyone really paying big bucks for a fresh turkey?

I think this turkey was around $14 and it was a Honeysuckle premium brand and huge. 

Brining is a pain in the ass, spilling liquid everywhere. Plus, I heard that trash bags aren't good to use as they can leach chemicals, so I didn't really have a plan for doing it in the fridge anyways. 

So no brine. Also, no roasting bag. Going old school. But with an Alton Brown twist. 

The night before I opened the turkey, pulled out the crap, and let it sit in the fridge overnight exposed. The idea was to let the skin get nice and dry so it would crisp better. 

In the morning, I pulled it out, rubbed canola oil all over, salt, pepper, a little herbed chicken rub. Put it in the oven with the legs to the back. And put in at 500 degrees. For half an hour. That's the Alton Brown method.

After 30 minutes, drop the temp to 350 and add foil to cover the white meat. At this point the turkey's already got a nice color. I roasted it for another 3 hours. I did flip it over with twenty minutes to go to brown the bottom a bit. 

I pulled it out before the thermometer popped up as Mr. Brown says you can't trust it. That by the time it's popped it's already drying out. 

Let it rest for a long time, then carve. Then top it with hot cider/butter/honey glaze right before serving. 

Turned out excellent, without the need to brine. Easy peasy. 

Though I do need a roasting pan, as the shallow pan I used was overflowing with grease and burning on the bottom of the oven, making a bit of smoke. So yeah. Turkey was great though.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

state of sports

Chiefs 1-10 (virtually a shoe-in for the #1 pick now, but there's no good qbs this year)
Illinois Football 1-10 (can't count non div 1-a teams)
Fantasy Team 2-9
Brit's Fantasy Team 3-8 (despite being 2nd out of 8 in scoring)
Avalanche [season canceled]

- - -

Fucking yikes.

- - -

And then there's Illinois basketball. Good wins against USC and Butler, close wins against Hawaii and Garnder-Webb. By default, I'm all in on Illinois basketball now. The Big Ten is super tough this year, but I would love a strong conference season, maybe a sweet sixteen run. And I want to beat Missouri on 12/22.

- - -

Back to Illinois Football. Here is the list of seasons where a Big Ten team didn't win a conference game in the last 15 years:

Illinois 1997 
Northwestern 1998
Iowa 1999
Illinois 2003
Illinois 2005
Indiana 2011
Illinois 2012

No other team has two, and we have four. Jesus, two of them we were in school for. Since I became an Illini, we've done it three times and only one other school has done it once.

And I hate our coach. He got a flag for running into the ref, although he was the one that fell down. He got an infraction for using chewing tobacco on the sideline. Our team wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't for penalties and turnovers, signs of a poorly coached team. He's awful. He and Romeo Crennel can go take a cruise together and get out of my life.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Illinois is the greatest team in the history of basketball

This video is so good it can't be contained by my usual width.

bands I like that sing about Colorado

311 - "Six"
Like a drive through Estes Park, you savor the sun
But when the clouds come, make animals

Ozma - "Rocks"
I've been trying to find a way to finally up and find you
Climbing every boulder in my way
To throw me off your trail you moved to Boulder, Colorado
A hop, a skip, and one long jump away
I finally found a way to find a way to finally find you
Down where Colorado Street meets Hill
Pick a rock and throw it way across the Rocky Mountains
And pray to God it hits your window sill

Bowling For Soup - "Surf Colorado"
Remember the first time, Goddamn we got so high
She held me so close that I thought that I might break
And now she's a mile high and I'm on Texas time
She traded rattlesnakes for bunny runs in Colorado Springs
Yeah, there's no surf in Colorado anyway
And it's a shame to hear you're happy
And you still look at me that way

The Hold Steady - "Multitude of Casualties"
She drove it like she stole it
She stole it fast and with a multitude of casualties
She said I shipped it out from Boulder
Packed in coffee grounds and wrapped around in dryer sheets
We spent a few months just wandering the Sonoma
High as hell and shivering and smashed
We were trying for a vision quest 
We opened up three buttons
And all we saw was desert trash

The Hold Steady - "Don't Let Me Explode"
He said what about Los Angeles?
She said we never really made it that far west
We scored big in Denver and thought it might be best
To go hang around in the upper Midwest

The Hold Steady - "Cattle and the Creeping Things"
Don't it all end up in some revelation with four guys on horses and violent red visions
Famine and death and pestilence and war?
I'm pretty sure I heard this one before
You in the corner with a good looking drifter, two cups of coffee and ten packs of sugar
I heard Gideon saw you in Denver
He said you're contagious

Still waiting on video highlights.

New Book: An Announcement

I am proud to announce a new book that will be available in the next year.

After writing fiction exclusively for over a decade, this will be my first collection of essays about my own life. The yet-untitled book will cover everything from odd jobs to failed romances, from sleep loss to a camping trip.

The plan is to publish a collection of 30 personal essays on (or by) my 30th birthday. To date, I've completed the first draft of 23 already. I am committed to having this published for the public by November 22, 2013. Though there's a chance that I'll finish it sooner.

It will be available on Amazon Kindle and paperback via

Thank you. End transmission.

Monday, November 19, 2012

big 14

Thoughts on the new Big Ten? I hate it.

Maryland and Rutgers?

The logic behind it goes against the very notion of conferences. The logic is that with a wide geographic reach, the Big Ten can charge more money for their cable package, since they're in more homes.

If that's such a great thing, why not have a conference with teams in every state? Who cares about rivalries and tradition when you can make more money with the Big Ten Network? I'm sure the product won't get watered down and people will still tune in for a fucking Maryland-Minnesota football game.

As for how it affects the Illini:

So obviously, Illinois is now in the much tougher division. A Lion Eye was all over it, calling it a "death blow to Illinois football." (He had it first on twitter.)

My reaction was that it doesn't change things. In order to win the conference, Illinois will have to be good again, and it shouldn't matter who you're playing.

But then I realized that college football is not like every other sport. College football has bowls. And a 7-5 season with a bowl game is much better than a 5-7 season without one. So even if neither of those two seasons had you in serious contention for a conference championship, a favorable schedule is a good thing.

- - -

As I was thinking about the last point, I struggled a bit. Because every sport I thought of has its own benefits for having a favorable schedule. Let's run through them real quick.

Division winners make the playoffs. So if you're in a crappy division like the NFC West over the previous 8 years, you could get in with a 8-8 or 7-9 record. And then win a playoff game. Meanwhile, a 11-5 Patriots team can miss the playoffs.

With over half the league making the playoffs, it doesn't matter for the top teams. But if you're a team like the Islanders and your division is full of 4 other playoff teams, while the Capitals and Senators get to play divisional games against weaker teams, it matters.

I think this effect is minimal. If you play an easy schedule, your resume on the surface might seem shinier. But the committee looks at schedules when slotting tournament teams, so I don't think you'll reap big rewards.

The lesson here and point I was trying to make is that favorable divisons/schedules don't matter to Ohio State or Michigan. So while Illini fans hope to one day be in a place where they don't matter, right now they certainly do.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

sorting out the national championship

Notre Dame is the new #1. They have one game remaining, on the road against USC. If they win, they're in.

The SEC Championship Game is set: Alabama vs Georgia.

They still have to play Auburn and Georgia Tech respectively.

Assuming Notre Dame, Alabama and Georgia all win next week, it will be clean and easy. Notre Dame vs SEC Champ in the title game.

But if Notre Dame loses, it opens a can of worms. And if the SEC Champ loses next week, then it's anybody's guess.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Thursday, November 15, 2012

My Favorite Holiday

Mrs. Hoagie Central loves holidays. And her favorites are Christmas and Halloween. I'm generally not big into holidays. But I do have a favorite.


It puts all other holidays to shame. Let's count the ways.

1. It's the best meal of the year. Turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, various family favorites. And multiple pies. Somehow this meal is huge and yet strikes that balance between delicious and not junk food.

2. Getting stuffed and watching football. Is there anything better than eating too much and sitting on the couch to watch football. The one time a year it's okay to fall asleep watching football. And it's glorious.

3. I appreciate that this holiday is not about gift giving or going out to party. This is about family coming together, saying what they're thankful for, and cooking together. It's the most genuine of the holidays. And it's a uniquely American holiday.

For a long time, I've never really enjoyed opening presents. It's always sort of awkward and it feels cheap. I do enjoy giving presents and now that I have a kid, that's what Christmas is going to be all about, so Christmas will probably get better and better.

But New Years? Halloween? I don't really care for any of them.

Thanksgiving will always be a winner.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Curling: subbing week one

So I didn't sign up for the current 5-week session. It's $120 and I figured with the holidays coming and a major purchase on the horizon, it wasn't worth it. I can still play in the session after New Year's.

However, it seems that I might get to play a majority of the session anyways, as team members have some conflicts. Tonight I was asked to sub.

We lost 8-6. We were down one, in the final end with the hammer, but couldn't get it done.

I played like crap all night. There was another sub on our team, and since he had a lot of experience he was the skip. He's a good player but I didn't like the shots that he called for me. And as vice-skip, I should have been calling the shots for him, but he called his own. So that was annoying. But not as annoying as...

Our opponent was McSerious.

He is the fucking worst. Here's all the annoying shit he does:

  • he is always the loudest person on the ice, unnecessarily so
  • he makes a big deal about pointing with his arm extended to line up his shot, as if he's Babe Ruth calling his shot
  • he coaches the other people on his team as if he's a curling legend, but he's not that great at shot-making
  • i found out his name is Barry--what a dick name
  • during a lull, I asked McSerious and our skip how long they've been playing. our skip said seven years. McSerious said nothing. So I asked him again, "And how long have you been playing?" He pretended not to hear me. And then finally said, "Thirty five." Now he looks like he's in his early forties. At first I wondered if he as maybe 50, and had been playing since he was 15. But then I realized he meant he started when he was thirty five. But since I don't know his age, that doesn't tell me how long he's been playing. My skip mentioned he thought Barry had been playing for about seven years too. Which checks out that he looks like he could be 42. So he could have said seven, but said 35. The reason it matters, is this is a rookie league for people playing under three years. I understand if someone is looking for a sub...but he was on this team last session. So it doesn't seem like he's subbing. And even if he is, he should realize this is the rookie league and tone it down
  • He's the only one who uses a stopwatch to measure the speed of the stones. This isn't the fucking Olympic qualifiers dude. 
  • Oh yeah, and of course he takes forever, so we only got to play 7 ends instead of the full 8

Anyways, we couldn't beat him tonight, but we beat him two weeks ago. He's a dick.

Friday, November 09, 2012


Brit's Fantasy Football and Advanced Probability

Brit is in an 8-team fantasy football league. If every team played every team every week, these would be their records:

Possum 44-19
Brit 38-25
lily 36-27
Bellabloo 30-33
Colts 29-34
Lauren 29-34
Texan 28-35
Chad 18-45

Not bad. A solid second place.

So what are the standings through 9 weeks?

Possum is where you'd expect, but Brit and Lily drop 4 and 5 spots. Lauren, a team with a losing record in totality, is 6-3, just one game off the leader.

So what are the odds of a 38-25 team having a 3-6 record after nine games?

I tried to figure it out. I really did. And got stumped. So I asked

And their answers were way over my head:

I have no idea what to do with that. Other than to say it's probably around 8 or 9%.

For the record, here is her roster this week:

Steven Jackson, Harvin, Sproles, Eli all on the bench. I think Big Ben and Heath go bananas on the Chiefs D. Todd Haley running up the score.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

The amount of stupid comments here is rage inducing.

I'm shocked and dumbfounded that there are people who would get mad at a father for missing a game for his child's birth.

Daylight Saving visually

The red lines mark my approximate waking hours.
The orange lines mark my approximate commute.

Year-round, my morning commute is never in the dark. Yet because we just went off DST, my evening commute in the winter is in the dark.

As for waking hours, in the morning I'm never outside so it doesn't affect me. But during the evenings, I enjoy the long summer days. I would like if the days went longer in the winter too.

To sum up, I like daylight saving time. So much so, that I wish it went year-round, which is the same effect as just shifting all time zones by one hour.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

The Math of a Victory, part two

Two months ago I posted this. 

I said that we could start with 237 Obama, 206 Romney, which leaves 95 tossup votes. With Romney needing 64 out of those 95.

He got zero.

Two months ago, I said he needed a semi-miracle. He didn't get it.

And yet for the last two months, all the media could report was that this was a tossup. And despite Nate Silver's name being all over everything, it seemed that no one with a microphone could go to and see that this wasn't a tossup.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

What To Watch Tonight

via Deadspin

Monday's Sunset

Unretouched, straight out of my crappy point and shoot.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Curling: Championship Game

We were 4-0. They were 3-1. Their only loss was to us.

We won the toss. Got the hammer first. We were red.

Nobody scored in the first end. It was the only blanked end that I've ever seen--I've played over 100 ends.At this point, I felt good.

Then they scored 3, and 2.

It's Yellow 5, Red 0 with five ends to play. Yikes.

We scored in the fourth, to cut it to a four-point lead with four to play.

Then in the fifth, they were sitting pretty and I hit the shot of the year. A double takeout. Removed both yellow and left my red right in the middle of the house. Our skip added a red. Yellow 5, Red 3. Three to play.

In the sixth, they had a huge cluster up front. We had a couple shots at the end, but no place to put them. We were lucky they only got one out of it. Yellow 6, Red 3. Two to play. I told the team let's get two and two.

We dominated the 7th. With each skip having one shot left, we had three in the house. And we had the hammer. And this time we had the stones up front, so they didn't really have a shot. They had to go wide around the corner, and managed to knock one of our red stones out. Our skip couldn't add anything. So it's Yellow 6, Red 5. One last end. For all the marbles.

My shots sucked. With each skip having one shot left, we were sitting one point. I figured a tie was basically a win, because we owned the better record. But sure enough our skip put one more right in the house. So now we're down one point, but sitting two in the house. Except they have one last shot. I'm standing by, ready to sweep it through the house if it crosses the line that runs through the button.

She lets it go...and I can't tell. At one point I thought it might be heavy, then I thought it might be light. And it finished right in front of our red stone. The yellow was the only one touching the four-foot circle.

Yellow 7, Red 5. Final.

So we finished 4-1. And so did they. Except they got their picture taken, a trophy, and their names on a plaque.