Monday, October 26, 2009

Git-Mo Torture Mix 2009

What is your personal hell? It changes for everyone. And apparently at Guantanamo Bay, they found that hell for some of the detainees is music. Since 2002, various songs have been blasted at prisoners for hours, even days, on end, to try to coerce cooperation or as a method of punishment. In a recent article (read here), the artists whose music is being used are issuing complaints to the government, mainly on some sort of moral ground that they don't agree that their life's work should be used in such an inhumane way. (As I'm sure what the prisoners did to get there wasn't inhumane, but whatev). I think they're just ticked that someone would consider their music torture-worthy.

Some of the peeved bands include R.E.M., Nine Inch Nails, and Rage Against the Machine. Specific songs mentioned in the article include Queen's "We Are the Champions" and "March of the Pigs" by Nine Inch Nails. One former prisoner was forced to listen to rapper Eminem's song "The Real Slim Shady" for 20 days. I don't know about you but if I had to listen to "The Real Slim Shady" for 20 days straight, they  wouldn't be able to get me to cooperate with anything as I would have already shot myself in the face. And as for R.E.M., can you imagine listening to "Shiny Happy People" on repeat for 20 minutes let alone 20 DAYS?!

Also included were the theme to "Sesame Street", Don McLean's "American Pie", the Meow Mix jingle, and Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the U.S.A.". So what would be YOUR torture song(s)? My list would include the following (I could name more but these were the first to come to mind):

Time of Your Life - Green Day
Tub Thumping - Chumbawamba
Poker Face - Lady Gaga
Anything by Smash Mouth (Hey now! You're an allstar!)
Landslide - Dixie Chicks
Girls Just Wanna Have Fun - Cyndi Lauper
When You Say Nothing at All - Allison Krauss

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Woolly Worms

I love the fall. Love. Love. Love it. For a number of years growing up, my family made a regular trip to the mountains in the fall in either Virginia or North Carolina. They were some of my favorite family vacations. I think those trips play a part in why the fall is my favorite season. Sadly, I had not been to the mountains in the fall since high school! I made Jericho promise me that we'd go to the mountains this fall. On one of my family's trips, we went to Banner Elk for the Woolly Worm Festival. It's a great little small town festival every October so I decided that that was the weekend we should go. This past weekend, Jericho and I drove up to Banner Elk and Valle Crucis for two really enjoyable festivals. Where else can you watch people racing woolly worms up pieces of strings all day?!

In addition to venturing to the mountains, I plan to make some traditional fall food. I've already made some pumpkin muffins for a work function and I bought a big bag of apples from the festival that I have yet to figure out what to do with. Anyone have any good fall food recipes that wish to share? Yes, that's right, I just asked for recipes. It's not going to becoming one of those blogs. I love the fall. I was just going with it. Okay. I'm done now. Enjoy some pictures.

Oh. And I bought a new lens for my camera. I'm in love. All of the pictures from the weekend were taken with it. It's a 50mm f/1.8 prime lens. It doesn't zoom! It was awesome to shoot without relying on a zoom lens.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

It's come to this...

It's been two weeks since I've posted anything new. Yes. I'm slacking. I have nothing to blog about. I have started a few draft posts and they're all crap. Crap. Crappity. Crap crap.

So, for your viewing pleasure, I give to you a compilation of really cool pictures that are NOT photoshopped. I know this feels like a stupid email forward, but they really are cool pictures. (From While these pictures are clean, there a few articles on the site that are not, so venture at your own risk. I mainly just referenced the link so it doesn't look like I'm hijacking someone else's work.)

Build your own Fortress of Solitude!! These are cave crystals in Mexico. It's a very fascinating phenomenon. The crystals are so fragile that the caves are restricted to humans for only a certain number of times per year and only for short intervals.

What seems like a glitch in the Matrix is actually a wire-frame sculpture. Don't believe me, go here.

What would have happened had Ray thought of a rubber ducky instead of the Stay Puft Marshmallow man and a way to completely freak out your 2 year old in the bath tub or a work of art

Stanley's dream come true. It's a ginormous crossword puzzle on the side of a building in the Ukraine. There are actual clues hidden around the city and the building lights up at night to reveal the answers. 

Hah! Get it?!?! They look like butts!! Ha!! They're actually mammatus clouds, aptly named for their resemblance to udders or other such udder-like objects that we're not going to name since this is a family show. They show up most often during really strong storms or tornadic activity. Talk about your udder disaster!! Zing!

Moments later, the car burst into skittles. I have no other explanation for this other than it's real. But only to a few people. Due to light refraction and a bunch of other science mumbo jumbo, the people in the SUV wouldn't see this phenomenon, only the people from a certain vantage point.

I've seen some gnarly stuff at the beach but I count my blessings we have nothing this satanic in North Carolina. That's a real trash can. That's a real crab. It's called a coconut crab. Designed by the hands of the devil himself.

That is a helicopter pad turned into a tennis court. On top of this (totally where we're going on our one year anniversary). And who else to play but the Swiss Maestro and the great Andre. Really? Does Dubai have nothing better to do with their gobs of money than build gigantically useless structures? I hear they also use small bills for toilet paper...

Not a fun-house mirror reflection of a regular building. Not part of a set for a Tim Burton movie. It's a tarp! Genius! What better way to cover ugly construction than to design an awesome tarp to distract people and make them feel like they're stuck in Salvador Dali's brain.

 This is much cooler if you don't know how they're doing it. But if you still want to know, go here.

I knew this guy that had the foot and a half long Mag-lite like the one cops have. His buddies called it the testosterone flashlight. I'll end the joke there. Clearly the Swiss Army lost the concept of the "pocket" part of the pocket knife since this thing so hugely useless, nothing can actually be accomplished with it.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Death by Peanut Butter

I don't have anything to blog about right now.

So until something substantial comes along, here is a picture of the birthday cake I made for Jericho. Feel free to just look at it, or continue reading for the recipe.

Jericho's food sin is any peanut butter/chocolate combination. I will typically buy him a big bag of Reese's Peanut Butter cups for a present, but this time, I made a cake- I shall call it a Chocolate Peanut Butter Peanut Butter Chocolate cake. Even if you don't use the cake and frosting for an ice cream cake, they were both very yummy. The frosting was some of the best frosting I think I've ever had. And I'm picky about frosting.

Chocolate Cake
2 cups cake flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 cup dutch-process unsweetened cocoa powder (the higher quality the better)
1 cup granulated or turbinado sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
3 large eggs, room temp
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
1 cup strong brew coffee (I didn't use the coffee and it turned out fine)
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
4 oz finely chopped dark chocolate (60-70%) (I also omitted this step b/c I was already adding a 1lb bag of Reese's cups to the rest of the cake)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease 2 9-inch cake pans.

In a large bowl (use electric beaters) or Kitchen Aid stand mixer, place the butter and sugars. Beat on high until creamed. Add the eggs, beating until smooth. Mix in the sour cream, vanilla and coffee, beating on medium until well blended. Add the dry ingredients slowly, continuing to mix until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Fold in the chopped chocolate.

Evenly divide the batter in the prepared pans. Bake for 22-25 minutes, until spring to the touch. Remove from oven and allow cakes to rest in pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to completely cool.

Peanut Butter Mousse Frosting
1 cup creamy peanut butter
5 tbsp unsalted butter, room temp
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 to 1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar

Place the butter and peanut butter in a bowl. Whip with electric beaters on low until mixed. Add the remaining ingredients, beating on high speed for 2-3 minutes until light and very fluffy.

The other layers
Ice cream- Sweet Cream from Coldstone with chopped up Reese's cups. Chop up and add them yourself and it's much cheaper than asking them to do it.
Fudge- 1 jar of Smucker's chocolate fudge with chopped up Reese's cups. (This cake is much easier when you have an electric chopper.)

For those of you that have never made an ice cream cake before, it's pretty simple. The order that I choose to do things is as follows:
1) Make the cake (preferably two  8" or 9" pans)
2) Let the cakes cool, wrap like crazy in plastic wrap and freeze overnight
3) Take desired amount of ice cream (1 layer= about 1 - 1.5 qt). Line one of the round cake pans with plastic wrap and spread out the ice cream in the pan.* It's much more solid to do it this way than to spread it out on the cake. Freeze overnight.
4) After everything is good and frozen, assemble. In this case, I prepared the fudge layer and frosting the same day as assembly. They spread easier when they are room temperature.
5) Once assembled, put back in the freezer for at least another hour for everything to get all frozen and set.

*The problem with this method is that the ice cream layer ends up being wider than the cake layer. You can either trim it down to size (and eat the scrapings) or use 9" pans for the cake and 8" pan for the ice cream.

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