xmlns:og='http://ogp.me/ns#' Yeah. Good Times.: November 2013

Saturday, November 23, 2013

My recipe for the best fucking gravy you've ever had

Reposting like I do every year.

This process must be started no later than the day BEFORE Thanksgiving, in the morning.

Buy your turkey from a butcher or a place with a meat counter, and when you do, ask them for random, discarded turkey parts (backs & necks); they will always have some and you can buy them for very very cheap, like 70 cents/pound. Get about 3-4 pounds of that shit.

Take the turkey bones and put them in the biggest fucking pot you have; also, since you're probably going to be doing something with onions and celery, maybe carrots and some herbs, the next day, take the stems and the tops (clean them) of those things and throw them in, too. Make sure you get some onion skins in there, they will make everything a nice dark color. Fill the big ass pot up with water and put in a bunch of salt. I don't know, maybe a handful. Salt is important at this point because the heat and the salt and the protein from the turkey bones will make a natural MSG (or Umami; the 5th sense!)

Put it on the stove and cook, covered, on low, for no less than 8 hours. I'm serious. Don't cut corners here, even if Alton Brown says you don't have to cook stock for that long, fuck that guy, what does he know? You want the bones and the cartilage to break down enough, and I say cook it for 8 hours, dammit! If you have doubts about this part, read the title of this post again.

During cooking process, lift the lid and check things out every hour or so; pieces of turkey will float to the top and stick out of the water and you want to make sure everything stays wet the whole time (that's what she said).  After 8 hours, strain it twice. Once to get all the big bones out and the next time to get the small pieces of crap that have fallen off in the cooking process; you don't want to eat that shit later. Use a fine strainer for part #2. Put the liquid in the pot that you plan to cook it in the next day and stick it in the fridge overnight.

Go to bed.

Happy Thanksgiving! In the morning, the liquid will be the consistency of Jello. This is what you want, it means that you cooked the shit out of the turkey bones and have created a fucking flavorfest in that pot. Go about your business and make your turkey and all the sides, you don't need to do anything with this for a little while. If you have some herbs you like, put the pot on the stove on very very low and throw the herbs in, if you want, it doesn't matter, but get it onto the stove, on low and boiling, at least an hour before your turkey comes out of the oven.

Cook your turkey on a rack so that the juices will drip down into the pan and you can collect them later. This is an important step because those turkey drippings and little crispy turkey pieces are really fucking delicious and you're going to want them later. When the turkey comes out of the oven, put it aside and collect all of this awesome shit at the bottom of the roasting pan and put them into your boiling stock. Let that do its thing while you bustle around and try to get your fucking family to leave your kitchen so you can cook in peace. I DON'T NEED ANY FUCKING HELP THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

Make a roux, which is equal amounts of butter and flour; it depends on how much liquid you have, but probably 1/4 cup each (half a stick of butter. it's just easier that way). Melt the butter, throw in the flour and then cook it, on low/medium. Alton Brown says that the lighter the roux, the better it will thicken the stock; the darker the roux, the more flavor it will have. Do whatever you want, I haven't ever found much of a difference. One thing I did learn today, though, is that you can make your roux at any time during the day on Thursday, which may be a good thing if you're like me and by the time you get to the serving part of Thanksgiving and you're drunk off your ass, making a roux is quite challenging. One year I had to make it three times because I kept fucking it up and burning it.

Anyway, make a roux, and then throw it in the pot. At this point, if you have anything chunky like herb stems or whatever, take those out. Let it cook for at least another 10 minutes so that the flour and butter can fully incorporate into the liquid. You will notice that it will also thicken considerably so stir often (if you remember; if not, whatever).

That's it. Serve the shit and then listen as everybody at your table says "Holy crap, this is the best fucking gravy I've ever had." Enjoy!!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

@AutismSpeaks does not speak for this family

I haven't had much of an opinion about Autism Speaks (AS) before. I'd heard the rumblings but never paid much attention, and what I did pay attention to I found mostly annoying. I'm a Nonprofit Bookkeeper  so it seemed to me that the bulk of the argument against them, which had to do with their Accounting, was based on a general misunderstanding of how it works in the world of nonprofit finance. But I never really did anything about it, mostly because I didn't care all that much. 

But then today there was this: Autism Speaks to Washington - A Call for Action, and as it turns out, I do have something to say about Autism Speaks. Who knew??

This press release is classic fear mongering designed to get the attention of people who know very little about the issue, so that they will open up their pockets and pour forth with valuable contributions. They're trying to scare you into thinking that the world is coming to an end because kids are autistic, so that they can get attention for themselves just in time for their Year End Campaign.

And who am I to argue with an effective fundraising campaign? As a Bookkeeper I say you should do whatever you need to get your issue out there and get some money in the bank before the tax year is over. The problem is that people who don't know any better (politicians and the mainstream media) think that Autism Speaks actually speaks for the autistic community, they're huge and they're famous. They do their job well, therefore they get noticed and they get press.  They’re the first results you get in a google search about autism and they’re the people interviewed in news stories. Families seeking out information to help with a new diagnosis will find them before they find anything else, and that's the reason why I have to write this post now.
Each day across this country, those three million moms, dads and other care-takers I mentioned wake to the sounds of their son or daughter bounding through the house. That is - if they aren’t already awake. Truth be told, many of them barely sleep—or when they do – they somehow sleep with one ear towards their child’s room—always waiting. Wondering what they will get into next. Will they try to escape? Hurt themselves? Strip off their clothes? Climb the furniture? Raid the refrigerator? Sometimes – the silence is worse.
These families are not living.
They are existing. Breathing – yes. Eating – yes. Sleeping- maybe. Working- most definitely - 24/7.
This statement accurately describes the lives of some families living with autism, and it would be wrong of me, or any of us writing about this issue, to deny that this is reality for a lot of families. But the problem is that it’s not the whole of the reality of autism, and yet other experiences are rarely mentioned in AS’ dialogue. Autism is often described by AS as a monster that tears into families and rips apart homes, therefore it must be stopped before it can be started, all while claiming that they speak for all of us. In this press release, they talk about the three million moms who have autistic kids. That's me they're talking about. I'm one of those three million moms. But our family’s experience, and so many others like us, hasn’t been the awful nightmare they make it out to be. Sure we have our struggles, but overall we’re a happy crew and we’re not victims of some kind of Autism Creature. We are living. We are thriving. We are flourishing. Don’t pity us because my kid is autistic; that may be what Autism Speaks wants you to do, but I’m telling you now that we are not victims of a monster. He is autistic, yes, and he’s also awesome, and I refuse to have him growing up believing this AS rhetoric that he’s a monster who needs to be stopped.

Again, I want to stress that I know my experience doesn’t belong to everybody, the problem comes when you are unable to recognize that your experiences are different from other people’s and that other people’s opinions are therefore invalid just because they're different from yours. It just doesn’t work that way. If it’s your goal to create a national dialogue about something, but you only draw information from yourself, by definition you are actually an exclusionary group that is not representative of the whole.
This is a national emergency. We need a national autism plan – NOW.
Well, no. This isn't an emergency. Nobody is on fire, nobody has gone missing, nobody is gravely ill, nobody is dying. Those are faulty analogies. And I think that we don’t so much need a national plan but a national dialogue. One that talks about early intervention services, about school district services, about other therapies that have proven to be beneficial, about transition to adulthood and about living independently as well as the stresses that families face and the lack of supports that can push people past their breaking points. It should be educational, respectful, and most of all inclusive. You can’t have a national anything if you're only actually including one percentage of the population you’re claiming to represent. An effective dialogue of any kind will include all voices, not just from extremists. And Autism Speaks, despite their popularity, their size, and their apparent reputability, is nothing more than a well funded extremist group.  In my opinion and experience they don’t represent the majority of people who are living autism right now.

I’m certainly not claiming that I have any answers, this is a hugely complex issue and frankly just writing this post this has taken up all of my energy on the subject; I'm tapped out. And while it’s impossible for one voice to be representative of all of us, AS just seems to be particularly bad at it. Yes, we should craft a national message, but it should be written by reasonable minds and reasonable people, not by extremists. Not by Autism Speaks.

Monday, November 4, 2013

On the subject of red asses

Disclaimer: This post is not actually about red asses.

Today I'm walking from my car to my client's office, and I pass a man on the corner who asks me if I have a quarter for the bus. I respond with "sorry," because I only had my keys and my phone on me; I didn't even have any pockets! and he says "I don't accept 'sorry,' you red-assed bitch."

I respond with "ooooohhhhhhhkkkkkaaaaayyyyyyy......" and I run away as fast as I possibly can, because I figure if he's unstable enough to yell that kind of poetry at me he probably would also hit me or attack me if I say anything else he doesn't like.

I escape into my client's office and while I'm telling her about it (because of course) I'm thinking of all the other fun stuff I could have said in response, which I never would actually say, because I'm only a partial and not a total dumbass and I'm able to recognize that my smart mouth might actually get me killed one day. 

And I thought "man, if only I had some kind of outlet for these theoretically creative thoughts that I might like to be able to speak out loud if I wasn't about to experience imminent death and/or dismemberment. Oh, well, I guess I can always put it on the blog."

And so here I am. Hey, by the way, did you know that apparently there's some little-known Blogger algorithm that kicks in after you've satisfied a number of conditions, one of them being serious neglect, and when you hit that "New Post" button Google plays a pre-recorded voice that says "reposting old stuff doesn't count." ???? I, too, was not aware of this until today!!!!!1

Anyway, here are some things I would have liked to say to Crazy Quarter Guy:

CQG: I don't accept 'sorry,' you red-assed bitch.
Me: Well, actually it appears that you do. Enjoy your walk, Skippy!

CQG: I don't accept 'sorry,' you red-assed bitch.
Me: EXCUSE ME??? This ass is clearly white.

CQG: I don't accept 'sorry,' you red-assed bitch.
Me: OMG thank you so much for not calling me fat.

CQG: I don't accept 'sorry,' you red-assed bitch.
Me: How about an interpretive dance? Do you accept those?

Okay, I guess there are only four; I'm not actually that creative. I'm sure I'll find the algorithm for that after I hit "Publish."

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Help me get a new kitchen!

I originally wrote this in May 2011 and am reposting now, because, uhhh.... because I hate my fridge. That's why.

A while back I was reading this article about Dooce and how she's this awesome powerful Mommy blogger and this one time she was having some issues with her washing machine or something so she put the call out on her blog asking for help? And her readers did something and got her what she wanted? Okay, I'm vague on the specifics, but I do know that she harnessed the power of the internet and major appliances were involved.

So... it got me thinking. I have 425 followers and I need a kitchen remodel! I'll ask YOU guys to help me! Surely Home Depot or Ikea or somebody would succumb to the constant pressure of 425 daily requests for a free kitchen makeover, amiright???????? And we could promise them free advertising in the form of a product review (seriously!) that we could guarantee AT LEAST 425 people would see. I simply do not see a downside to this plan.

And so... I will make my case. And the power of the internet will be harnessed and I will somehow get a new kitchen out of it!

Okay, so first.... there's a bit of history to this house. It was built in the 1920's but at some point in the 1970's the house next door literally fell on top of the kitchen and the front room. So, those two rooms were re-built in the 70's and still contain the original 70's decor. Observe....

That right there is VINTAGE 1970's linoleum, people

That's kind of coming apart at the edges. I think a cat did this. I mean, it makes sense.

Here we see a crack in the linoleum that has been covered up by masking tape. Or, if anybody asks, that's the line you stand on when you throw darts; which, oddly, nobody has.

Our cabinets: U.G.L.Y.  you ain't got no alibi... you UGLY.

Actually the 1970's garbage disposal still works fine, I just wanted to make a picture of a zombie garbage disposal

So, that's the ugly 1970's decor. And now for the very odd and inconvenient use of space....

Are YOU a contortionist? No? Me either! Thus neither of us will be able to get things in and out of these cabinets. There's a matching set on the other side of the room.

But the part of my kitchen that I hate the most, am constantly complaining about (sorry hubs) and want to change more than anything? I'll show you...

This is our fridge. Isn't it a pretty fridge? I like our pretty fridge. It's what they call a "Wide by Side." I don't know why. Except... I also hate our pretty fridge.

See how there's very little space there? Well, that freezer door opens right into that very little space, and then SLAMS right into the cabinet. Like this...


So, the door barely opens, which means it's almost impossible to get stuff in and out of there. Which means things just get crammed in there all willy nilly and then I just pray the door will close. And then things get totally lost underneath and behind because I can't ever open the door wide enough to look in there.

JUST enough space to squeeze through only the most important frozen food items.

I'm constantly slamming the freezer door repeatedly into the side of the cabinet in order to make the point that there's not enough room there. (I only do that when hubs is in the room and I feel like fucking with him). There's nothing we can do, though, short of getting a new fridge (which I've considered and ultimately rejected due to extreme laziness) because that's where the water line and the big fancy plug is so there's no other spot in the kitchen where it can go. Also that's where the fridge space has clearly been carved out; there's just no other spot in the room where a giant fridge would fit. And NO I didn't take this into account when we bought the fucking thing so shut up!

I know we could just have these things replaced piece by piece, and we'll likely do that shit eventually, but for now?... I WANT A NEW KITCHEN, PEOPLE.

Come on, Internet! Let's make this shit happen.