Thursday, October 21, 2010

Year Round Fresh Apple Cider

I am fortunate enough to live in an area where fresh (and not pasteurized) apple cider is readily available for a good quarter of the year.  When my wife was living in Maui while we were dating, I found out something awesome about fresh apple cider.  I was talking about my long-distance girlfriend's love of apple cider with someone at my local orchard, Honey Pot Hill, and they shared an amazing piece of information with me.  It can be frozen for up to a year and still be good.  I already had a trip to Maui planned for February, so I bought 2 Half Gallon Bottles and froze them.  I put them in my checked bag when I flew out, thinking that they would be fully defrosted by the time I landed.  I did not factor in the unpressurized luggage compartment on the plane, so the cider did not defrost at all.  This included not just the 12 hours flying but the extra 4 hours I got stuck in LA as well.  It did not matter, the look on my woman's face was worth it.  She was not aware cider could be frozen, and was extremely happy to be having real cider.

So to freeze apple cider the most important to remember is to use the old school half gallon container, as seen below.





The Gallon ones do not have the seam strength to handle the expansion of the cider.  Also place it vertically while freezing to keep the lid from popping off.

After a quick Google some people repackage the cider before freezing, but I am far too lazy for that.   And for those who are not aware there is a huge difference between fresh cider and pasteurized cider.  Pasteurizing cider is a crime.

So if you do not live in apple country, and know someone who does, have them do this for you.  It will be a life changing experience.

Enjoy,
and you are welcome,
Your ever cider-loving blue-eyed blogger,
-Pip

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Game of Thrones

Most of you know by now, that I am developing a severe dislike of movies.  It is such a played out and horribly done medium of entertainment that I am nearly done with it.  It does not help that Americans are programmed to be obsessed with movies, when 99% of them suck, and suck horribly.  There is no originality left in Hollywood.  I do understand that there is nothing new under the sun, but come on at least try to be a little creative.  When there is more creativity being put into Doritos flavors than into movies, we have a serious problem as a society.

The thing that has really killed it for me, are the horrible Novel and Comic Book adaptations.  I'm looking at you Harry Potter.  Weasly is our King.  'Nuff said.  Movies are a very compact medium.  They are short stories, they are knock knock jokes, they are midgets, 30 second commercials.  That is what they are.  But people, fans and movie makers themselves, seem to forget this.  So everyone reaches for the grand epic tale.  Grand Epic tales do not fit into a 2-3hr time frame.  It is just physically impossible.  This is why time and again the best movies come from short stories.

However, I too like visuals, and do want to see printed words translated into something more tangible.  And there is a way to do this: The TV Mini-series.  Roots.  N'uff Said.  And someone at HBO, the people that seemingly can do nothing wrong, and who have already saved the Mini-Series, Band of Brothers, have realized that they can do more than just save it.  They can bring it back to a place of prominence.  And I bring to to you the trailer for A Game of Thrones:



I am so thankful for this, and I have never read one of these books.  But this is how most Novels and Comic Books should be done.  And hopefully HBO will set the world straight and the broadcast networks will copy this.

coda

Thanks for Reading,
your fellow geek,
-Pip

PS - Death to Movies!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Kay Bee Tuesday: Christmas Bunnies

During one Easter season we got tons of large stuffed animals of the springtime/easter variety: Bunnies, Ducks, etc.  KB tried every easter to turn Easter into a mini christmas, and it nearly always failed.  This year fell right into that pattern.  We got stuck with a ton of these stuffed animals.  We loaded them into clear 100 gallon trash bags and shoved them in the empty space above our office.  (I will explain the crazy ways the backrooms were set-up in a future post.)

Christmas rolled around and it was a good one.  We were halfway through December and running out of everything.  It was then that these Large Stuffed Bunnies were visable again above the office.  We decided what the hell, let's put them on the floor and see!  They flew.  We could not believe how fast they sold.  5 of these 100 gallon trash bags full of them and we could not keep them on the sales floor.

The moral of the story: People are bat-shit crazy and will buy ANYTHING during the holiday season.

Thanks for reading,
Your favorite former retail manager,
Pip

PS - If KB were still open and I were still working there I would probably be stuffing the hell out of my overstock shelves with board games right now.

PPS- This is one of my favorite xmas stories from KB, and one of the few my wife is not sick of hearing.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Dr Martens's Free Downloads

Since I am rocking the hell out of Music Monday, here's a link to Dr Marten's for 10 free downloads of some really good covers.

Oedipus is the man.  Glad he's still doing his thing in a new format.

Thanks again,
And hopefully next Monday will be as loaded,
-Pip

15 albums meme Part 1

This meme was floating around facebook and I had to play along.  It was 15 in 15, so it was a timed list.  I made some incorrect choices.  And made other choices for incorrect reasons.  But things needed to be sorted out in a much longer time independent format.

Warning many of these videos are in the newer HTML5 format.  If they don't play go download a decent web browser.

1. Fugazi - 13 Songs

"What's Fugazi?  Is it Japanese for noise?" My sophmore homeroom teacher.  I was not cool enough to be into Fugazi then.  I had not even found good music at that point.

I should have picked Red Medicine.  I was going to and went back and forth several times.  I have already posted Waiting Room, easily the best song on the album.  And I am torn as to what to pick from this album to post here.  Red Medicine had more songs that stood out on their own, while 13 Songs was a better overall album.  I choose Suggestion, even though I am as guilty of the crimes in this song as any man.  



2. Dinosaur Jr - Bug

You know how I said that I made some choices for the wrong reasons?  This is that one.  I should have gone with the album that changed my life upon it's first listen, Green Mind.  But I choose the one I liked better, 15+ years later.  Mistake.  

But since I choose this album I feel a deep moral obligation to share with you one of the best band break-up  songs of all time, a song I have included on every Dinosaur Jr mixtape I have ever made.  Don't   Can you believe they got back together again after this song?!?!?!?!  This song is by no means indicative of the band.





3. Operation Ivy - Complete Discography

Words aren't needed here.  Either you get it or you don't. 

Here We Go again.




4. They Might Be Giants - Apollo 18

In the eternal debate over which album is better Apollo 18 or Flood, the correct answer is John Henry.  

If I wasn't Shy (live)



5. Juliana Hatfield - Bed

Picked wrong again.  But I love this woman so much I cannot go wrong.  This album is dirty and sexy, just not her best, but still damn good.  And I always spell her name wrong, like a jerk.  I actually loved her "Sellout" album.  Ms Hatfield, I liked that album. (That song is obviously not from that album, but from her kickass EP Do Not Disturb.)

Bad Day




I nearly spilled a beer on her at a show in Providence once.  The friend I was with yelled me for NOT spilling my beer on her so I would stop being a coward and talk to her because she was hanging in the crowd during the opening acts.  I should have listened to this friend.

6. Go-Kart vs The Corporate Giant (comp disc)

When deciding between Comp Discs, this was a no-brainer.  I could listen to this whole album over and over.

Weston - Retarded



"You are so retarded / I must be retarded too!"

I have to pick two off this one, I can't stand just picking one song!

The Meatmen - Morrisey must Die!



Offended by these two songs?  Then do not track down this CD.  Note: I do love the Smiths, but this song is still awesome.


7. This is Boston Not LA (comp disc)

Need to pick 3 from this disc, because the songs are so short.  And yes the names of the bands is half the reason I originally bought this disc. (With the Unsafe at Any Speed EP at the end!)  This CD is still the hardest, fastest, most intense piece of my music collection.

Jerry's Kids - Straight Jacket



That song has the most amazing bass line.  If I had to pick a bass line to be my heartbeat, that's it.

The Freeze - This is Boston Not LA

If you dance the same and dress the same
It won't be long 'til you are the same
You look the same
you act the same
There's nothing new when you're to blame.

(Discrimination summed in a song about the difference between LA and Boston punk in the early 80's.)




The Proletariat - Options



Again a song that rings true today nearly 30 years later.  Suck on that whiny hippie protest music.


8. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones - More Noise and Other Dissturbances

Bust out the air trombones, I nailed this one.

Where'd You Go?





9. Green Day - 1039 Smoothed Out Slappy Hours

When making a "Love" Mixtape for my wife while we were dating and she was living in Maui, I nearly made a disc consisting of half this disc and half of Bjork's Debut.  If you hate Blink 182-esque pop-punk, then give this album a listen and you'll hear what it could have sounded like, and it sounded good.  I used 2,000 light Years Away to play on the distance angle, but I have to go with At the Library, sorry Going to Pasalaqua!



I love this whole album.  Kerplunk was my first green day album, this was 2nd, and then 2 weeks after I got this I saw Longview on MTV and was very confused.  It seemed like it could be the same band.  Green Day has a permanent place in my heart for this album, and the fact that they still some of these songs live!

10. Rancid - Let's Go!

Radio

"When I got the Music, I got a place to go!"





11. Lunachicks - Pretty Ugly

I should have gone with Luxury Problem, but it's a tough call all around.  All the albums have songs will make people wonder about me, and all have their great songs and their weak ones.   This was as good a choice as any.  Although Jerk of All Trades is my favorite song of theirs.  They were such a great live band.

Yeah

I need to share their cover of Heart of Glass.





12. The Pixies - Surfa Rosa

Gotta pick my favorite Pixies song, although this is my favorite album of theirs.

Gigantic




13. Pennywise - Unknown Road

This was thew album that got me into Pennywise.  Not their best, but damn fucking good.  This tape went with me everywhere.  So inspirational.  I always said if I ever get cancer, stack my Pennywise discs next to me, and all will be fine.

Tester





14. L7 - Bricks are Heavy

Another one where I went with the album that got me into the band.  I love L7 and this album.  Perfect roadtrip music.  I first heard Shitlist while watching Natural Born Killers, and once I saw it was one the same album as Pretend that You're Dead, I bought it and they won me over.  If you don't feel One More Thing, then you don't feel anything.

One More Thing




15. The Gits - Enter the Conquering Chicken

Viva Zapata

The song I want to use isn't anywhere for embedding, so I'm going to use the Evil Stig version and tell 2 tales.  I first heard this song from the Evil Stig version.  It wasn't until a few years later that I heard about The Gits from my good friend, Jess.  It was then that I realized who Evil Stig was and my mind was blown.  Evil Stig was the surviving members of The Gits, with Joan Jett doing Mia's vocals.   Wow.  Also, after hearing this song, I put Evil Stig on my Xmas list, and my mom, as always at the time, took my list of CD's and my Sister's to Newbury Comics, handed the list over to the first employee there she saw and said pick 3 from each list.  Newbury Comics, for those who do not know, is a legendary independent record store in New England, and at the location my mom went to, they had never heard of Evil Stig.

Bob (Cousin O.)



It hurts me to be angry / kills me to be kind



In Part 2 I'll go through albums I should have put on this list, is I wasn't going to stick with one album per band, the 15 album limit, and other sillyness.

Thanks for reading,
-Pip

Universal Heartbeat

I am going to be nice this week and at the same time take a risk.  This week's song to get stuck in your coworker's / classmates' heads is a song you may not have heard before.  But it is one of my favorites, it's true as hell, and it will be stuck in my head as a result of this.

Juliana Hatfield - Universal Heartbeat


Juliana Hatfield - Universal Heartbeat
Uploaded by jesus_lizard. - See the latest featured music videos.

Sing it with me kids: "A heaaaaaart, a heart the hurts is a heaaaaaart, a heart that works."  And repeat.

Enjoy!
Your favorite pushing his own musical tastes down your throat blogger,
Pip

PS- Butthead you are correct, she is hot.  I never knew you were part of the IBTC fanclub.  (I will not post it, you can find yourself.)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Kay Bee Tuesday

We changed up responsibilities at work and I took over the deposit.  I am glad I did because in my previous professional life as a retail manager I was counting deposits on a near daily basis.  After a quick reminder that you actually have to count the money, I blew threw my task and was reminded of the story time segment I wanted to start here.

My last Green Friday that I worked at KB Toys, back in 2002, I counted the deposit.  We split it in two, but combined, all counted by me, totaled more than my year's salary at the time.  That was just the cash.    

Yes at KB the day after Thanksgiving was called Green Friday, a term I can't shake.  We'd do three weeks worth of sales on that day.  For us it was the Super Bowl.  Two months of prep, and the real beginning of sacrificing time with friends and family for a stupid job for a company that was horribly run.  Good times.

Next week I will tell you the tale of the Christmas Bunnies.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Safety Dance

Earlier this week, one of my favorite blogs, Universal Hub, threw this song into a post.  I thought he was going in a different direction but the joke worked and he inadvertently paid tribute to this very concept.  So he gets the kudos.




I am torn, this song is one I like, but in no way can I say I am playing nice this week.


Thanks for reading,
Yer Ol' Pal,
Pip

PS- Cause your friends don't dance, and if they don't dance, then they're no friends of mine!

PPS- I really thought he was going to choose this song, instead.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Imperial March

This week's song to get stuck in your co-workers' heads is the Imperial March from Star Wars, also sometimes mistakenly refereed to as Darth Vader's theme song.



Yes, this one is particularly mean.  It is easily hummed, allows you to mock your boss, and everyone is familiar with it.  If you require further brain lodging assistance, I offer you 17 amazingly geeky covers of the Imperial March, including the Steel Drums, 8-bit, and this girl (who is my new hero):




Go visit her YouTube page for more nasal awesomeness.  This girl blows....her nose.

Thanks for being my willing minion,
-Pip

PS - coda for the covers

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Silly Game Saturday: HAWX 2 mini-game





This game passes the test, the boy could play it over and over until I had to make him stop.  And I knew exactly which plane he choose even though I wisely did not watch.    The game was just a fun little 8-bit throwback they used as a marketing gimmick.  This will be an effective marketing gimmick for almost any game until the Gen-X crowd starts getting to AARP.


The evening you lost to this game is not my fault,
Sincerely,
-Pip