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      Darkness is across the land, the midnight hour is close at hand.  Which means that it will soon be the beginning of the end of Halloween. (I prefer to think that it doesn't end till sunrise.)   My "costume" was me coming home from work.  Thanks to Sanshee, I had a Fazbear Security tee and hoodie to go with my duty belt.  
    I did some "bucket list" activities this month, regarding Halloween. Great America's Halloween Haunt was this past Saturday.  We stayed from 7pm opening to 1am closing.  Last night on Sunday, I went to new haunt attraction Screamgate.  The Sautrday of last week, we finally went to the Haunted Hornet.  It took me a year, but I did go to Ghost Golf in Concord at long last.

      Since it's Halloween, I should talk about guns being used to hunt monsters in a series of novels.  I'm talking about the Guns of Monster Hunters International.

to be continued....

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         15 Years.  15 years since my aunt's sister lost her husband in The Pentagon.  It was just Tuesday morning at work for him.  I woke up going to get ready for my part time job.  Then my mother told me to check the morning news.  They kept on talking about the World Trade Center being toppled by two airliners.  
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Originally, the tern "Chowder" was a refernce by the French for the big pots they used to cook wonderful soup/stew.  The old recipes did not have cream or milk.  Still, fit for the captain's table on any ship if you ask me.

See Also: http://scua.library.umass.edu/chowder/

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Original Chowder.

Today I want to discuss chowder, for the very good reason that today is an anniversary of sorts for the famous New England fish soup/stew. On this day in 1751 the first known printed recipe for chowder appeared in the Boston Evening Post, and very poetical the recipe was too.

Directions for Making a Chouder
First lay some Onions to keep the Pork from burning,
Because in Chouder there can be no turning;
Then lay some Pork in Slices very thin,
Thus you in Chouder always must begin.
Next lay some Fish cut crossways very nice
Then season well with Pepper, Salt, and Spice;
Parsley, Sweet-Marjoram, Savory and Thyme;
Then Biscuit next which must be soak'd some Time.
Thus your Foundation laid, you will be able
To raise a Chouder, high as Tower of Babel;
For by repeating o're the Same again,
You may make Chouder for a thousand Men.
Last Bottle of Claret, with Water eno' to smother 'em,
You'll have a Mess which some call Omnium gather 'em.

I have been unable to check the source of this recipe myself, but the Oxford English Dictionary is reliable enough, I think – and it uses the poetical recipe as its first reference for the word chowder. The definition given by the OED for chowder is ‘In Newfoundland, New England, etc.: A dish made of fresh fish (esp. cod) or clams, stewed with slices of pork or bacon, onions, and biscuit. ‘Cider and champagne are sometimes added’ (Bartlett).

The OED proposes that the word ultimately derives from the Latin calderia, which meant ‘a place for warming things’ and later, ‘a cooking pot’ (or cauldron.) There is another etymological possibility for the word however, and one which I much prefer. It may derive from an old English word jowter (of various spellings) which originally meant a fish peddler before it extended to apply to other sorts of hawkers and dealers. The OED does not hazard a guess as to the etymology of the word jowter, but it seems to have referred particularly to the female of the species, and has been used since at least the sixteenth century.

If the poetical recipe above is not to your liking, here is an alternative from a century later. I look forward to the inevitable authenticity debate which will surely follow.

As this is the season for deep-sea fishing, and as the chowder is the favorite mode of preparing the fish thus caught, we give the following genuine recipe for making that celebrated Yankee dish, furnished by a correspondent of the New York Commercial Advertiser, who obtained it at the Massachusetts coast, from the most authentic source.
“Here let me tell you how to make a chowder:-
1st, Fry a large bit of well salted pork in the kettle over the fire. Fry it thoroughly.
2nd, Pour in a quantity of water, then put in the head and shoulders of a codfish and a fine, well-dressed haddock, both recently caught.
3rd, Put in three or four good Irish potatoes, and then boil them well together. An old fisherman generally puts in three or four onions.
4th, When they are about done, throw in a few of the largest Boston crackers, and then aplly the pepper and salt to suit your taste.
Such a dish, smoaking hot, placed before you after a long morning spent in the most exhilarating sport, will make you no longer envy the gods.
Bangor Daily Whig and Courier, [Maine] August 9, 1843

Quotation for the Day

Chowder breathes reassurance, it steams consolation.
Clementine Paddleford.


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      I'l post this now instead of October.  Years ago around 1999/2000 in my UCSC college dorms, I read a story on a paranormal site reporting a frightening encounter around the time "Mortal Kombat" was in movie theaters during the mid-1990's.  I wondered if the encounter was about vampires.  They sure didn't sound like any ghosts I heard of.
      Well, this story has resurfaced again.  The poster, being a known columnist who still gets interview calls for being the first to report an encounter with "Black Eyed Kids".

Brian Bethel recounts his possible paranormal encounter with 'BEKs'

Sometime last year, I was contacted by a television program that wanted to interview me about a strange event that happened a few years ago. With a touch of reluctance, I agreed.

The show itself runs tonight at 9 p.m. CST on the Destination America channel. It’s a ... travel program, at least in certain respects. A cameraman and an interviewer came here last year and shot some footage of me and others in a rented home they used as a backdrop, out and about in Abilene, in a local coffee shop, etc.

There is a travel focus, as I said. Of a sort. They kept insisting I call this area “the Badlands.”

Having visited the actual Badlands in South Dakota, I protested, but they kept at it, and in the interest of just getting through the experience, I demurred — all the while explaining no one but no one calls this place the “Badlands.”

I think few would disagree that certain parts of Texas, especially dirt roads far away from artificial light under a sliver of silvered moonglow, can be places of both wonder and fear.

But our rolling landscape is far from the almost alien-looking landscape of buttes and spires found in South Dakota’s Badlands National Park.

Being the one interviewed was ... different. I kept being asked to stop, to repeat certain things with more emphasis or emotion, and to rephrase something to make it more concise or to better coincide with the vision of the kind but somewhat-intense interviewer. The experience was similar to, but in many ways profoundly different from, what I do.

Despite a few bumps along the way, it ended up being a positive experience. No compensation involved, the only real sacrifice some time to tell (and retell in take after take) a single story.

You notice that I’ve kind of dodged the subject matter, and this is somewhat intentional. But we can’t go much further without going there.

So here goes:

Near as I can figure, this happened in 1996. I’ve managed to pin down the date that far. I feel like it happened in the spring or summer, since I remember wearing a pair of shorts, but one of my great regrets is not recording the actual date of the event.

After you hear the story, you’d think it would be something you’d never forget. But given enough time between, not the case. My memory, while good, isn’t quite eidetic.

I had gone down to the former site of Camalott Communications, one of the area’s original Internet providers, to pay my bill. At the time, Camalott was located on North 1st Street, near the movie theater, in the shadow of what is now Chase, then Bank One.

I was using the light of the theater’s marquee to write out my check, which I planned to put in Camalott’s night drop-slot. Involved in my work, I never heard them approach.

There was a knock on my driver’s side window. Two young boys, somewhere between nine to 12 years old and dressed in hooded pullovers, stood outside.

I cracked the window a bit, anticipating a spiel for money, but I was immediately gripped by an incomprehensible, soul-wracking fear. I had no idea why.

A conversation ensued between one boy, a somewhat suave, olive-skinned, curly-headed young man, and myself. The other, a redheaded, pale-skinned, freckled young man, stayed in the background.

The “spokesman,” as I’ve come to think of him, told me that he and his companion needed a ride. They wanted to see a movie, “Mortal Kombat,” but they had left their money at their mother’s house. Could I give them a ride?

Plausible enough. But all throughout this exchange, the irrational fear continued and grew. I had no reason to be frightened of these two boys, but I was. Terribly.

After a bit more conversation, I looked up at the theater marquee and down at the digital clock display in my car.

Mortal Kombat’s last show of the night had already started. By the time I could have driven the boys anywhere and back, it would practically have been over.

All the while, the spokesman uttered assurances:

It wouldn’t take long.

They were just two little kids.

They didn’t have a gun or anything.

The last part was a bit unnerving.

I noticed that my hand had strayed toward the lock on my door. I pulled it away, perhaps a bit too violently.

In the short time I had broken the gaze of the spokesman, something had changed, and my mind exploded in a vortex of all-consuming terror.

Both boys stared at me with coal-black eyes. The sort of eyes one sees these days on aliens or bargain-basement vampires on late night television. Soulless orbs like two great swathes of starless night.

I did what I feel any rational person would do. I full-on freaked out inside while trying to appear completely sane and calm.

I apologized to the kids. I made whatever excuses came to mind, all of them designed to get me the hell out of there. Fast. The aura of fear was now a palpable, black-hanging thing, almost as if reality itself was warping around me.

I wrapped my hand around the gearshift, threw the car into reverse and began to roll up the window, apologizing all the while.

My fear must have been evident. The boy in the back wore a look of confusion. The spokesman banged sharply on the window as I rolled it up. His words, full of anger, echo in my mind even today:

“We can’t come in unless you tell us it’s OK. Let us in!”

I drove out of the parking lot in blind fear, and I’m surprised I didn’t sideswipe a car or two along the way. I stole a quick look in my rearview mirror before peeling out into the night. The boys were gone. Even if they had run, I don’t believe there was anyplace they could have hidden from view that quickly.

I write for a lot of reasons. I’d do it even if I didn’t get paid to do so.

So I wrote down the story of what had happened, more or less as a cathartic exercise, and shared it with a small group of friends on an email list.

From there, it got out onto the wider Internet. And grew. And grew. And grew. Type my name in Google, you’ll find it soon enough.

In time, there was a term coined for what I’d seen: BEKs, Black-Eyed Kids. I wouldn’t have chosen it, personally, but it’s the acronym the Internet knows.

I’m pretty easy to track down, and so I still get calls, emails and inquiries from people all over the world who want to know more about what I saw, what I think they were, and what the encounter means in some cosmic sense.

I’ve been contacted by everyone from Korean television stations planning New Year’s Eve shows to regular people who just wanted to talk.

More interesting to me has been sporadic, but more than occasional, contact from people who think they may have seen something similar.

Some narratives follow the template of my original encounter a bit too slavishly, and those are easy to dismiss. But others have a more-than-subtle ring of the same sort of panic and helplessness I felt.

Similar experiences have been now in places from suburban neighborhoods to your standard dark alleys throughout the country, possibly beyond. Kids like the ones I saw have allegedly been seen wandering through certain 24-hour big box retailers in the middle of the night and banging on the front doors of numerous witnesses.

Are all of these accounts true? Unlikely. Are there enough to at least reinforce my belief that I encountered something truly strange?


Since my story leaked out to the wider Internet, I’ve gone through several phases. For a long while, I eagerly answered any and all correspondence about the happening. A few years later, I got tired of answering the same questions over and over and over again, and I read, but largely didn’t reply, to inquiries.

But with age and distance from the event, curiosity has had a rebirth.

So when a television program called Monsters and Mysteries in America gave me a call asking if they could interview me about that long-ago night, I said yes.

I’ve never wanted the Reporter-News to be a venue for this story. It’s easy enough to find online, as I said. And call it a weakness, or maybe common sense, but I prefer to keep my encounters with the paranormal (ask me sometime about the ghost that haunted our newsroom back in college) separate from my award-winning journalism career.

But one of the provisions my bosses at the paper made in exchange for me potentially making a fool of myself on TV was for me to tell the story here. And so, I have.

Do I expect you to believe me blindly?

Of course not. I might not believe it myself if I heard such a story from someone else.

What did I see?

Your guess is literally as good as anyone’s. I’ve had everything from vampires to demons to ghosts to aliens to a somewhat-detailed hallucination posited as possibilities.

I do feel like I can say this with some authority: This was back in the day when freaky coal-black contacts weren’t widely available to a couple of kids in Abilene, Texas, for anything under a small fortune.

And there wasn’t enough time to even put such things on in the short time I broke the spokesman’s gaze, if they could afford them.

Will I ever know for certain what I saw?

Probably not.

Do I ever care to see them again?

Hell, no.

As much as I still don’t know about what happened that night and why, here’s one thing that I do know. It’s a gut feeling, but one that rises to a level of almost certainty.

If I had given the spokesman and his friend a ride on that long-ago evening, I don’t think I would be here to type this now.

End of story.

About Brian Bethel

Brian Bethel is the senior staff writer for the Abilene Reporter-News.

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      Thanks to an alert article from SAVEUR, I am aware of the potential loss of recipes from the BBC cutting budget.

Lardy Cake: This traditional tea bread is made with dried fruit, sugar, and spices. It's eaten during special occasions, and you can even get them if you can snag an invite to a Buckingham Palace summer garden party.

Summer Pudding: The pudding is a complicated category of food, and it includes the Christmas pudding, the Spotted Dick, Bread Pudding, and Summer Pudding. The last one used to be served in health spas, but now it serves as a popular fruity dessert.

Treacle-Cured Beef with Yorkshire Puddings and Roast Potatoes: Treacle is a uniquely British syrup, and while you can use it a number of desserts, treacle here is used with savory beef.

Pork Pie: Did you know Shakespeare killed two of his characters with pie? Most of it, luckily, is not nearly as dangerous. This one is made with pork shoulder, bacon, and plenty of sage.

Picalilli: The ultimate British pickle: cauliflowers, pearl onions, and...beans?







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     Avengers member and synthoid The Vision was experimenting with a "Sokovian" recipe for chicken.  You too can lif yor own sprits with Hungarian Chicken Paprikash, which is available on SAVUER in recipe format :      

  • 14 cup lard or canola oil
    1 (3-4 lb.) chicken, cut into 8 pieces
    1 large yellow onion, minced
    3 tbsp. Hungarian sweet paprika, plus more for garnish
    2 cups chicken stock
    2 plum tomatoes, cored, seeded, and cut into 1" pieces
    1 Italian frying pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1" pieces
    12 cup sour cream, for serving
    Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

    • Melt lard or heat oil in a 6-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Working in batches, cook, flipping once, until browned, 8–10 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate; set aside. Add onion to pan; cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 8 minutes. Add paprika; cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Return chicken and its juices to the pan. Add stock, tomatoes, and Italian frying pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, until chicken is fully cooked, about 30 minutes. Transfer chicken and sauce to a serving platter; spoon sour cream over top and garnish with more paprika.


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       The United States Marine Corps has officially adopted a side arm as of last year.  The Colt CQBP M45A1.  Also known as the M45A1 Close Quarters Battle Pistol.  It'as sort of a modern updated version of the original 1911 model that was the standard sidearm of the U.S. military up until 1986.  It holds 7 rounds of .45 ACP in the magazine; virtually unchanged since 1911.
       Why seven rounds?  Other companies like Sig Sauer, Double Star, and Nighthawk Custom have 8 round magazines of the .45 ACP round.  Why not go for the more powerful 10 mm round?  

      The United States Army just rejected the latest version of thier Beretta M9A3 .  Holding 17 rounds of the 9x19 mm bullet, it's been the Army standard service pistol since 1986.  


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      Halloween could have been better.  No kids came by for candy for some reason.  Maybe we should have gone out to Ghost Golf or the Haunted Hornet.  Or at least chosen to play "Last Night on Earth".

      Thanksgiving was at an Uncle's house for the first time in a few years instead of Hometown Buffet.  We did a lot of cooking.  Grabbed a bunch of groeries and went to the kitchen in our Uncle's house.  My brother and sister had recipes i their head.  Toad in the Hole, the infamous Bacon Jalapeno Macaroni and Cheese that got a drunk student expelled from University of Conneticuit, ,

       Anyway, I just learned about what was really eaten at the very first Thanksgiving Feast from an online article.  Lots of Eel, Venison deer, geese, cod, clams, and lobsters.  Turkey was not on the menu that day.

...work in progesss...


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      "Fall of Equestria" was a certain tumblr account that gained some hate from bronies because of the graphic subject matter and turning all the ponies into anthros in addition to feature graphic sexual abuse.  It's gone now.  good riddance.  But stories are still archived on fimfiction.  The power of poorly written plot device is used to make anthro caribou conquer anthro-Equestria and rape the female characters. I much prefer the Post Fall of Equestria stories because the boring invincible caribou villains raping ponies get their comupance.  Some have crossovers with human heroes or a human military putting the smackdown on the evil caribou.
      Anyway, I was thinking about what kind of rifle and round would be good against evil misogynist anthro caribou.  Maybe if I wanted a gratuitous story Garth Enis style where the mooks bite the dust. (Bounty hunting story perhaps?)

      A recent issue of GUNS talked about the 300 AAC Blackout rifle round for hunting.  The Ambush Arms .300 Blackout rifle is an AR platform.  It comes with a 5 round magazine but accepts all AR magazines.  So you can go to town with a 30-round "banana".  Ambush Arms is actually a subsidiary of Daniel Defense.  One could say Ambush Arms is for the sporting arms market while Daniel Defense is for well, defense firearms.  The 30 round magazines are actually standard.  All rifles and carbines are still semi-automatic.
      That same issue of GUNS also mentions the Caribou Killer in .308 Winchester. Actually, it also comes in .300 AAC, 6.5 Creedmoor, .308 Win, and 7mm-08 Rem.  It's a bolt action rifle with a 4+1 capacity.  This is the Kimber 84M Adirondack hunting rifle.  It's manufactured in Adirondack camo pattern for forrest hunting.  

      So far so good for rifles.  But many who go boar hunting actually bring sidearm pistols in addition to rifles because the boars being hunted tend to be dangerous and aggressive.  The Caribou in "Fall of Equestria" will be strong, aggressive, and armed with medieval melee weaponss.  Boar hunters often go for a hard hitting pistol caliber like .44 magnum, 10 mm, and .45 ACP.

work in progress....

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      The Cypberpunk future is mobile.  Like the cowboys of the Old West, most people carry their lives on their backs-miniaturized sleeping, eating and entertainment components crammed into carryalls and the back seats of cars.  The stuff you carry around is known in streetslang as your outfit.  A typical outfit might include:

* Inflatable bed (folds tp a 6"x6" package for easy storage).
*Compressable down sleep-bag (wads to the size of a paperback book).
*Micro-stereo comp (a microsized boom box with stereo speakers or headphones, possibly CD, chip/tape player, TV and certainly radio).
*Handful of tapes or datachips.
*Laptop or pocket computer (for notes, writing, business, links to computer networks).
*Cybermodem, cables (for Netrunners).
*Pocket Cullular phone (the phone is bought, the service is rented by the month).
*Handgun, knife or both.  Possibly an assault rifle or SMG, and a couple backups as well.  Always extra ammo.
*Body armor (usually an armor jacket or bullet-proof T-shirt).
*Personal thngs, like clothes, toothbrushes, etc.

     Most of this is crammed into a shoulderbag or duffelsack.  Most Cyberpunk characters aren't much for settling down. -

      "Your OUTFIT- your worldly possessions stuffed in a 2x4 carry bag"
     - page 57 of Cyberpunk 2020 Second Edition.  Usually a common nylon carrybag.

       The year is 2015.  The projected future of Cyberpunk second edition by R. Talsorian Games is just five years away.  Technology from that future should be showing up now, such as vending machines for civilian clothing. (Buy their stuff here!)   Other things we have today are more advanced like the cellular phones mentioned on page 70 of the second edition core book from 1993.  They never foresaw the advent of the smartphone.  Yet, the smartphone is on it's way to becoming the prjected pocket computer.  We're also getting closer to datachip tech.  Tapes are as good as gone.  Still waiting on mass produced kibble for human consumption.  (Curious if anyone is going to think there's a market for that.)  
THE FUTURE IS DISPOSABLE (Rootless and mobile)  That's how R. Talsorian envisioned a computerized future circa 1990.  Not quite there.

Apartment Cube: 10' x 10' x 8' living module in which all major furnishings and appliances are hidden in flush wall recesses and are extended only for use.  Contains bed, closet, small stove, refridgerator, TV and digital entertainment center, two chairs, fold down desk, removable table.  Rolls into place and can easily transported.  Cubes are usually so small that if you had all your furnishings extended at once, there'd be no room for you to stand!

- Page 71 of the Second Edition core book of Cyberpunk 2020.  We have rooms and flophouse lodgings of comprable size.  The level of tech for compartmented furnishings is a work in progress.  China has a few people working on such accomodations.  

        Now, for a look at some of my favorite weapons from 2020, used by my Solo. (Cybernetic mercenaries that are my choice player character class.)

        The Militech Ronin Assault Rifle is the choice assault rifle for my Solo character because in part of the name of the rifle.  Solo's are essentially the ronin of 2020, but with more guns and cybernetics.  I usually give my Solo's a katana to keep with the theme of wandering Samurai for hire.  The standard edition is a bullpup design that fires 5.56mm rounds from a 35-round magazine.  Standard range is 400 meters and the weapon weights 3 kilograms when loaded.  Overall length is 35 inches. (Just short of a meter.)

    Machineguns of Loving Grace shows how the Militech Ronin can be a very versatile asault rifle to fit the needs of soldiers and mercenaries everywhere.  All Ronins and Ronin variants can have extended capacity magazines purchased at the normal price for 50% additional capacity, and there is an adaptor available to allow Arasaka Minami 10 magazines to be loaded into the Ronin 10mm chassis.
Variants include:

Conpact Edition - shorter stock and forend assenbly.  Range reduced to 300 meters.

"Tommygun 2020" - The 21st Century answer to the famous Thompson SubMachineGun. Chambered in the mighty 11mm caseless load, and firing at a controlled 600RPM, the TommyGun 2020 has the options of loading 35 round magazines from the 11mm Commando edition or 100 round drums specifically designed for it. The TommyGun 2020 has an assault-style foregrip and full stock and retails at 900eb. It is also occasionally available in 12mm (Rare, 1,100eb, 30 rounds or 100 drum, ROF:20)   Range reduced to 200 meters.

Commando Edition - Based on the success of the M16 commando editions (chambered in 9mm), various commando units converted the Compact Edition Ronins to fire the caseless 10mm pistol load. The weapon is very accurate as the heavy weight and long barrel almost completely cancel any recoil felt from the high rate of fire. Ronin Commando 10mm's retail at 625eb, and are also available chambered in 9mm (600 eurobucks), 11mm (700eb, 35 rounds, ROF:20, ST reliability) and 12mm (800eurobucks, WA:+1, 30 rounds, ROF:20, ST reliability).

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       Just because I happen to like Stan Sakai's USAGI YOJIMBO, I've taken a mild interest in stuff about Feudal Japan in the 1600's.

Koku: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koku:
        The koku (石/石高?) is a Japanese unit of volume, equal to ten cubic shaku. In this definition, 3.5937 koku equal one cubic metre, i.e. 1 koku is approximately 278.3 litres. Thekoku was originally defined as a quantity of rice, historically defined as enough rice to feed one person for one year (one masu is enough rice to feed a person for one day). Akoku of rice weighs about 150 kilograms (23.6 stone or 330 pounds).

In 1891, a smaller koku was defined such that one koku equalled exactly 2401001331 litres, which is approximately 180.39 litres, or about 5 bushels (40 imperial or 48 US gallons).

An old issue of Protoculture Addicts stated that Koku was defined as either of the following:
- 180 liters of rice.
- 40 salmon
- 60 Trout
- 3 square meters of wood

Ryo:   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koban_(coin)  Actually the coin is called a Koban.  The Ryo refers to the meassurement of gold used to make the coin.  (Equal to a Chinese Tael.)
The Japanese economy before the mid-19th century was based largely on rice. The standard unit of measure was the koku, the amount of rice needed to feed one person for one year. Farmers made their tax payments of rice which eventually made its way into the coffers of the central government; and similarly, vassals were annually paid a specified koku of rice. The Portuguese who came to Japan in the 1550s, however, preferred gold to rice; and the koban, which was equal to three koku of rice, became the coin of choice in foreign trade.

  A bigger version of the Koban/Ryo was called the Oban, and worth about 10 Ryo/Koban.  The weight of the coin itself was 165 grams.

Food in Japan during the Tokugawa Era of the 1600's wasn't what you'd find in many Japanese restaurants today.  "Samurai Food" did not have ramen or modern sushi.  Noodles would be udon, soba, or somen.  Red meat and tempura were also off the menu.


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      My job has been busy the last couple weeks.  I worked overtime on Halloween Friday 12p-8pm because the SF Giants won the World Series again and the parade went right by the mall where I work.  The Westfireld imported about a hundred security guards from San Diego, Valley Faire, and one other place.  I got stuck inside the Bristol Farms as inside security.
       All week I've been averaging 5-6 hours of sleep a night.  My leg muscles got sore working an extra day for eight hours of overtime.  Did not get to go to Platform 13 in Oakland or the Fear Overload in San Leandro.  Too tired to go to KINK's Hell in the Armory on Mission Street.  (That's an adult's only porn show experience.  Tickets sold out and are $45.)
       I did carve out a pumpkin the night before.  I got home a bit before 9pm, lit the pumpkin and put out a couple hundred pieces of candy in a carboard box out front.  90% of it was gone before 10pm when CONSTANTINE came on NBC TV.  It's a good adaptation of Vertigo Comic's HELLBLAZER.  The only thing I have to say is that the character John Constantine is a notoriously terrible brawler.  The TV version isn't so sucky in the throwdown.  Anyway, the show is always good to watch for Halloween.  I still plan to make pumpkin soup or pumpkin Japanese curry.
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      Mr. Breakfast would like to remind us that it's World Egg Day today. Includes a link to his tips for the perfect scrambled eggs.

       The official page for World Egg Day.

Bonus: Gordon Ramsay's Scrambled Eggs.


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      I hope the The Haunted House of Horrors comes back to San Franciscofor Halloween this year.  San Francisco hasn't had a decent Haunted House attraction for Halloween since Gyro's 3D Fear Factory left several years ago.  Halloween is on a Frday this year. Anime FX may be doing a Halloween party again.  I may bring a few hundred pieces of candy again like last year.
       Still have a ticket won in some raffle for San Francisco Chinatown Ghost Tours.  The group is supposed to meet at Four Seas Restaurant in Chinatown.  But that place is getting new owners and may not be open much longer. (Saved their menu pdfs to hard drive.)
      Shoot.  Another familiar San Francisco Chinese place is gone. U-Lee just got evicted. 30 years in the game and now they're gone.   (How long will the web page stay alive?) They were known big fat potstickers and being an unpretentious hole in the wall dive.  Food was good enough.
I hear they will be moving to Balboa street in 2015.  This is another symptom of San Francisco real estate prices getting out of control until only rich plutocrats remain.  Also annoying trust fund hipsters.  
      Gumbo Paradise! This month, SAVEUR issue #168 is out and features 8 Louisiana Gumbo recipes.  Fried chicken gumbo.  Oxtail gumbo.  Even Goose gumbo for Christmas!

Rice Palace restaurant recipe for Oxtail Gumbo.   (Wow!  I never heard of oxtail gumbo before!  Why didn't I think of it!?)



  • ⅓ cup canola oil

  • 4 lb. beef oxtails, trimmed

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • 1 lb. pork sausage

  • ¾ cup flour

  • 2 tbsp. Creole seasoning

  • 1 tsp. crushed red chile flakes

  • 6 scallions, minced

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 stalks celery, minced

  • 1 large yellow onion, minced

  • 1 smoked turkey neck, cut into 2" pieces

  • 8 cups chicken stock

  • Cooked white rice, for serving


Heat 1½ tbsp. oil in an 8-qt. Dutch oven over medium-high. Season oxtails with salt and pepper; cook until browned, and fat is rendered, about 20 minutes, and transfer to a plate. Cook sausage until browned, 5–7 minutes; transfer to a plate. Add remaining oil and sprinkle in flour; make a dark roux. Add Creole seasoning, chile flakes, scallions, garlic, celery, and onion; cook until soft, 10–12 minutes. Add reserved meats, the turkey neck, stock, and salt; boil. Reduce heat to medium; cook, covered, and skimming fat as needed, until oxtails are tender, about 3 hours. Uncover; cook until thickened, 35–40 minutes. Serve with rice.


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Click on the links for recipes.  The gumbo one leads to other recipes for other gumbo pots.

Hungry for fall fare? Well, you're in luck! Celeb chef Emeril Lagasse, starring on TNT's cooking competition On the Menu (premiering Oct. 3, 8ET/PT), shares his top fall dishes with USA WEEKEND.

1. Honey-butter baked chicken with mashed sweet potatoes

"My family loves this dish! Even though it's very simple, the honey butter melts into the sweet potatoes and it feels like a special occasion every time I make it."

2. Butternut squash lasagna with Italian sausage and sage

"We love this during the fall and winter when butternut squash is easy to find. The surprising addition of apples and walnuts adds both flavor and texture. It's not only great as an entrée, but can be a killer appetizer as well."

3. Mr. John's chorizo and seafood gumbo

"My dad is a big fan of gumbo and it's the perfect dish for fall. For this one, I combined (my dad's) love of seafood with Portuguese chorizo."

4. Andouille and chicken jambalaya

"This is great because it can be made ahead of time – perfect for having friends over for the Saints games!"

5. Apple fritters

"This is one of my kids' favorite desserts – I make it in the fall when apples are at their peak."

6. Roasted beet, fennel, mâche and Gorgonzola salad

"The unique combination of flavors and textures here really makes this one of my favorite salads. The beets combined with the fennel and Gorgonzola really pack a punch. It would be a wonderful start to a holiday meal."

7. Creole duck breast with Abita beer glaze and sour apples

"The flavors in this dish make it killer for the holidays. Serve it with cornbread dressing or spoonbread for a robust combination."

8. Andouille cornbread dressing

"Oyster dressing is always a favorite at my house, and I just can't help adding a little andouille sausage to kick things up."

9. Jalapeño corn muffins

"These muffins are always on the table at Emeril's Restaurant in New Orleans. We bake them 12-plus times a night. A great bread option is always a crowd-pleaser."

10. Pork loin with dried fruit and orange cider sauce

"Pork loin is a great entree option for holiday meals when you need to serve a crowd, and this dish is a cinch to put together. The dried fruit and cider makes a terrific sauce that would be awesome served over sweet potatoes or wild rice."


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       Some guy i Germany made a starship size comparison chart on Deviantart.  Ships from "Star Wars" and "Star Trek" are included.  Just to compare between those two media franchises, Star Wars has the biggest ships.  (Not including the Death Star)

       There is also Jeff Russell's STARSHIP DIMENSIONS online with more detailed comparrisons and space megastructures such as a Dyson Sphere and Ring Worlds.  (HALO and the Niven Ring.)

      The size comparison chart is an exercise in the Mile Long Starship Trope.  A visual aid for those wanting to comare ships from different settings side by side.  Size is legnth meassured by meters.  There is something of a size cap so certain megastructures like the Death Star from "Star Wars" are excluded.  Same with the moon-sized battleship the Cathederal Terra from the "Tengan Toppa Gurren Lagan" anime.  Those fall under the Planet Spaceship Trope.  

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      Let's start off with a special edition of Kel-Tec's P3AT; the "FREEDOM" edition.  6+1 roundsin .380 ACP like the regular version.  The regular edition is $318 for retail price.  For the "FREEDOM" engraving with the date "December 15, 1791" commemorating the ratification of the U.S. Bill of Rights, the price jumps up to $600.  This limited edition was sponsored by controversial convervative pundit Michael Savage.  (Who interesting enough, breaks with his contemporaries in conservative media on the George Zimmerman trial.  BTW: Zimmerman used a Kel-Tec PF9.  7+1 9mm rounds.  That gun doesn't have safety because it's a cheap handgun at $333.00)

      A new company is moving in on the market held by American Deringer and Bond Arms.  The Double Tap Tactical Pocket Pistol is the first modern iteration of the Deringer.  Two shots (one for each barrel) and two more bullets in the handle for memergency reloading.  Comes in 9mm for .45 ACP.  American Handgunner has an exclusive online review of the Double Tap HERE>

      SCCY is a new handgun company.  They just came out with their CPX-2 series in 2013.  It's one of the smallest pocket guns I've seen that hold ten rounds of 9mm in a magazine.  It's also about $331.

     FMK has their new 9C1 handgun: The 9C1 G2 Bulldog edition.  It's 849.95 as a limited edition.  Made to commemorate the U.S. Marine Corps., the magazine holds 14 rounds of 9mm.  They still have their cheaper Bill of Rights engraved version with ten-round magazines.  


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        So, I think I'll just pick up where I left off from last year or the year before and talk about some unusual kind of shotguns.  First off, I mentioned about a variant of the classic double barrel shotgun.  Iconic classics like the "Coach Gun" of the old west. Stoeger Industries is known for their line of "Coach Guns".  They have their Supreme Model as well.
        Some say that a double barrel shotgun for home defense should be the over-under model.  Legacy's Escort series makes such a model.  The reason being is that some shooters feel that an over-under double barrel can be aimed around corners within the home more easily than the old fashioned side-by-side double barrel.  
       Eh?  What about that triple barrel shotgun?  Look to Chiappa Firearms for their series of triple barrel guns.

      Back to the Mare's Leg type of guns; I only covered rifle rounds and carbines before.  I never mentioned the shotguns.  Chiappa makes those too.  Their 1887 Mare's Leg is much like the illegal sawed-off model.  It holds 5+1 rounds of shot shells and is lever action.  Some might remember such a gun in "Terminator 2: Judgement Day" used by the series 800 Terminator.  Chiappa knows this and references the movie as such with their 1887 T-Series variant Mare's Leg shotgun.  Also hold 5+1 rounds.  I don't know how easily one can cok and fire the gun one-handed on a motorcycle though.  


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     Busy on Facebook that is.  I hardly stopped to write in this LiveJournal I am ashamed to say.  Missed reporting on Anime Expo, Fanime, Sac Anime, Japan Expo in Santa Clara, and my Halloween report.  I made pumpkin gumbo this year!  Okra and mushrooms were thrown in like in "The Princess and the Frog".
      In October, I got into a phone game from Zynga called Ayakashi: Ghost Guild.  Not in Facebook, jush smart phones.  There have a facebook promo page though.
      This year, Christmas was at my Uncle Ron's.  It's like done every other year.  Nice house.  There is a carp pond in the foyer.   
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      I haven't seen a decent sale in the Big 5 ads for guns in a while because of the controversy surrounding guns due to shootings in the news like the Sandy Hook Massacre.  This week, the Rossi R92 lever action carbine is on sale for $499.99 instead of the usual $549.99.  It holds ten rounds of the .44 magnum bullet in a tubular magazine.  Sounds like a carbine I'd like to own.  I also would like a .44 magnum Ruger Redhawk to compliment the carbine.
      Rossi actually makes some other interesting lever action guns, such as their Ranch Hand series.  Technically, they're all short carbines with large D-ring action levers.  Their barrels are 12 inches in length and they come in pistol calibers since it made sense in the days of the wild west to have a "long gun" of sorts in the same caliber as a pistol, but shortened so as to shoot from horseback more easily.  The bullet calibers available are .44 magum, .45 Long Colt, .45 Colt, .38 Special, and .357 magnum.  Either way, the payload for the Rossi Ranch Hand was 6 rounds.
       Certain shooting enthusiasts may recognize Rossi's Ranch Hand series as based off of the iconic "Mare's Leg" made famous by television and movies.  Originally, it was a customized Winchester 1882 .
      Henry Repeating arms offers their version of the Mare's Leg.  It comes in .357 magnum, .44 magnum, or .22 caliber.  5 rounds in a tube magazine.
      Chiappa offers a Mare's Leg series.  A variant of thier Mare's Leg series is thier T Series shotguns.

UPDATE:  A bit of a history lesson is in order.  The "Mare's Laig" was initially created for Steve McQueen's bounty hunter character in the 1958 television Western series "WANTED: DEAD OR ALIVE".  It stated off as a sawed-off Winchester Model 1892 lever-action.  In real life it was chambered with .44-40 rounds in a 6-round tube magazine.  The show had .45-.70 rounds on the bounty hunter's belt for show though.  

      Legacy Sports offers their Puma line "Bounty Hunter" as another replica Mare's Leg based on the "WANTED: DEAD OR ALIVE" TV show.

      The double barrel shotgun has been a classic for over a century.  But what about one with a third barrel!?

to be continued...


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