Archive for August, 2008

Folklore and an artsy, fartsy, crafty ending

Posted in food on August 28, 2008 by uglydudefood

Well, it’s Thursday, and I’m surprisingly happy to announce that it’s the end of our Thursdayly adventure, Arts and Farts and Crafts. It’s been a fun ride, and I’ve been happy with all of your contributions over the weeks, but I feel like I’ve accomplished what I’ve set out to do with this thing: I’m writing again. I’m in the middle of a couple of larger screenplay-type pieces, and while they’ll never be produced or any of that shazooski, they are much more time-intensive, artistically worthwhile, and interesting to me than my two-paragraph weekly poop jokes.

I thought “Fairy Tale” would be a suiting end. After all, “Happily ever after,” yes? But no. I didn’t even follow my own prompt. I wrote folklore instead. And it has the saddest last sentence I’ve ever written. So boo hoo to you! I hope that some of you had some fun reading these entries, or participating in the challenge. I’ll smell you later, crocogator.

Hootie and the Blowfish:  a folktale

This tale was passed down from the Arapaho and Apache tribes through generations and generations of oral tradition.  Unfortunately, the Arapaho and the Apache hated each other.  As a result, the history of this tale has been lost for the ages amongst the bloodshed.  All references to the Arapaho/Apache feud, including instances of the tribes proclaiming “RABBIT SEASON!” and “DUCK SEASON!” (respectively) have been removed for clarity.

Once upon a time there was a great, bearded owl named Hootie.  He was a wise owl (beyond his years) and a fearless owl (beyond his fears).  In the forests and hills, Hootie was a right, jolly old owl.  Hootie was friend to the bears and the rabbits; the donkeys and the hoglets; the bouncy, trouncy, flouncy, pouncy tigers and the boring, boring, boring, boring gophers; the Christophers and the robins; the heffalumps and the woozles; the kangaroos and the slightly smaller, younger kangaroos.  The owl would nestle the furry woodland creatures in his gentle talons and nuzzle them with his razor-sharp stabbing-beak.  Hootie was a good owl, and a good friend.

Hootie’s reputation did not precede him outside of his sheltered wood, however.  In the sea, Hootie was a menace.  The crabs, lobsters, coral, and kelp would all shirk in his presence.  Hootie’s fearlessness became fearsomeness, and his friendly talons became evil, scary talons.  Every day, Hootie would dive into the murky depths, only to emerge with screaming, crying fish wriggling in his razor-sharp stabbing-beak, and water droplets sprinkling from his magnificent, glistening brown plumage.

Say what you want about fish.  “They think they’re so smart!  I’ll give them the ol’ what-for!”  “They’re smelly and I hate them!”  “Et cetera!”  All these things are true, of course, but there are some nice things you can say about fish as well.  For instance, they are a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids.  Some of them make for excellent cheese-flavored crackers.  And sometimes they’ll let you in on their poker game, even though you’re not a fish and really they shouldn’t but they’ll let it slide just this one time.  And, of course, fish are really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really very good at revenge.  It’s one of their favorite things, next to soda pop and that cute, shy waitress at Bennigan’s that doesn’t know it yet but she’s totally going to marry fish some day.  You know–the one with the glasses.  No, not that one.  Not those glasses.  The bigger glasses.  Yeah, her.

Anyway, revenge.

The fish were sick and tired of being sick and of being tired, so they convened at a great Fish Convention.

“I hate it!” said one fish.  “The owl never leaves us alone!  And my neighbors always park on the street in front of my house!  I had to cut a hole from my curtain just so that I can watch!”

“Quit carping, you old carp!” said the sea bass.  This was how the majestic carp got its name.

The salmon spoke up.  “I, too, am infuriated by this terrifying owl!  I wish there was something we can do!”

“Burble burble burble!” burbled the crowd.

“Order!  We will have order!” yelled the shark, king of all fish.  “The owl is making you all mad because he is eating you, correct?”

The school nodded.

“And he is making me mad because there are less of you for me to eat, correct?”  The shark nodded at his own question.  “Well, it’s official.  Kill the bird!”

“Burble burble burble!”

Then, one meek voice overtook the burbling masses.

“Woah woah woah, wait just a minute you guys,” said a fat fish.  “I don’t think killin’ anyone is such a good idea now.  Violence isn’t the answer to more violence.  A fish-eye for a fish-eye will make the whole world fish-blind!  The only answer…is love.”

A silence descended upon the group of fish.  Then, the shark spoke.

“What a fat little fish!” exclaimed the shark jovially.  Laughs bubbled out of fish here and there until eventually the whole school was laughing at the poor, fat fish.

The fat fish looked dejected.  “Woah woah woah, wait just a minute you guys,” he said.  “I may be fat, but I have feelings too!  Fish-feelings!  And I don’t think it’s right–

“I have an idea!” exclaimed the scuttlefish.  “Let’s use fatty here as bait!  Yes, that’ll do!  He’s all fat and tasty.  All we have to do is poison that poisson!”

Applause led to capture and ritual poisoning of the fat fish, who put up a fight (but it was a fat fight, so easy to conquer).  They threw that fat fish back out to sea, and sure as shamrocks that owl ate that fat little fish all up!

This is the cautionary tale of the blowfish.  The blowfish may look succulent and fat, but chances are that it is full of deadly fugu poison.  You should not eat the blowfish.

Hootie died later that afternoon in his own nest.  The adorable woodland creatures wept for days before holding a well-attended funeral.  It was the most terrible day in every one of their lives.

THE END

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Tuesdays With Dorie – Chocolate-Banded Ice Cream Torte

Posted in food on August 25, 2008 by uglydudefood

When I saw the picture in Dorie Greenspan’s cookbook, “Baking:  From My Home To Yours,” I was taken aback.  This was going to be the hardest TWD recipe yet!  I just knew it.

FALSE.

It actually may have been the easiest one, albeit the most time-consuming.  The ganache came together well, as did the ice cream.  I had planned on making my own ice cream, but time constraints and all.  I ended up using Edy’s Slow-Churned Vanilla, which was pretty tasty in its own right.

You know the drill.  Recipe by Dorie Greenspan?  IT GON TASTE GOOD.

So why the short post about the recipe today?  Well, besides the fact that everything turned out dreadfully, boringly right, I wanted to blog about some other stuff.  Between all of my so-called weekly “obligations” (Tuesdays With Dorie and my fledgling “Arts and Farts and Crafts,” a Wednesday game night, etc.), I don’t really get a lot of time to blog about Mike stuff anymore.  Everybody get out your Boredom Goggles, because you’re about to get drenched.

In all of my Tuesdays With Dorie entries, I’ve included nutritional analyses.  We will not go quietly into the night!  We will not vanish without a fight!  We’re going to live on!  We’re going to survive!  Today we celebrate our Independence Day!

I don’t know what eating disorder I developed over the past five years, but I developed it.  Probably a nameless one, fueled by depression.  I came to a point a month or two ago where I hit a rock bottom; not rock-bottom like you see in a VH1 Behind the Music, but the closest I’ll hopefully ever come to a fall.  I was in headphones listening to music literally eighteen hours a day.  I decided to quit on my girlfriend.  Every voice I heard was muffled or garbled (in at least one ear by music, and just generally).  Any social interaction I did have was full of sarcastic, silly jokes or mean-spirited irony.  My attention and my memory weren’t what they had once been.  I was always cold.  I had micromanaged my diet to the last calorie.  I had eaten the same exact thing every day for years (plural), and despite my vows to add variety to my diet, all I had done was make a new daily menu.  It got to the point that I wasn’t enjoying life at all, and I realized that I really hadn’t enjoyed life since before I had started losing weight in my sophomore year of college.

I’m on the road to recovery, and it’s not easy.  I’m happily back with my girlfriend.  I’m eating whatever I want (which, as a positive side-effect of my manorexic days, consists now salads and chicken as opposed to Twinkies and Slim Jims).  I have to train myself to do all of the things I used to enjoy.

Life is too short.  If you worry too much; if you get worked up about the little things—the minor irritants, the small mistakes and accidents, the calories of life—you’re going to miss the big picture.

Happiness.

So what if happiness involves eating a piece of chocolate-banded ice cream torte?

If you want to make your own educated decisions regarding the nutritional values of a TWD dessert, I offer you a link to CalorieCount’s Recipe Analysis Device!  I’m just going to eat a big ol’ piece, swig a diet pop, and call it a wash.  Have a great Tuesday everybody!

Arts, Farts, Crafts, Purr-sonal Failure, and Redemption

Posted in food on August 21, 2008 by uglydudefood

Arts and Farts and Crafts is a weekly artistic challenge. Every Thursday, a new prompt will be posted here on Ugly Food for an Ugly Dude. Then, you will create some sort of media based on the prompt. Is it a rhyming couplet? A ten-page story? A photograph? A drawing? A recipe? Whatever you’d like. As long as your piece of art is a new creation and it’s vaguely inspired by the week’s prompt, it’s in!

To enter, post your entry on your blog. Then, e-mail me at MSTrox@gmail.com with a link to your entry. I will then make a round-up post sharing your art on my website, as well as the requisite linkage.

This week’s theme?

Pick an animal.  Do a study on that animal using whatever media you so desire.

I have to be honest with you.  I was only feeling up to doing one of the three things required by this challenge, and it certainly wasn’t arting or crafting.  I certainly wasn’t going to write a drawn-out examination of the flying squirrel, as tempting as that may be.  Instead, I retreated to my old college haunt:  poetry.

I failed.

So instead of a direct study of animals, here is my story of how I am terrible at writing about animals.

There was a girl in my poetry course (Amanda who wrote quite a few poems about animals.  She didn’t intend to write everything about animals, she said.  That’s just what came out of her.  Amanda, for the most part, lived and breathed animals.  Many of her poems were told through the eyes of an animal.  I tried that.  It was terrible.  Where her poetry struck a subtle, witty balance between childlike naivete and animalistic intent, my poetry sounded like a commercial for pet food.  “Give me kibbles!/Give me bits!/If I go hungry,/it’s the pits!”  Blech.  So I went in the other direction and wrote poetry about the animals, but I couldn’t really get past the physical aspect of the animals, and everything came out sounding like some twisted, erotic slash-fiction.  “Long legs glistening in the sun/you’re my horse and you like to run”

Was I too hasty in picking this week’s prompt?  Sure, I was enamored with a stray cat at the time (who later came back, was tested for disease, and was adopted by my sister-in-law).  But I eventually grew bored with that whole ordeal, and where did it leave me?  I had to write about animals and I didn’t care about them anymore!

So what then?  Did I muddle through and write a story or poem about how I’m indifferent towards pets?  Did I draw some half-assed picture of a gorilla mixed with a donkey (a “gonkey,” btw) or something?  Of course not!  Like any amateur artist and English major, I gave up.

The sad thing is, my quitting essentially eschewed the whole point of the writing prompt:  to challenge myself artistically and to inspire me to write.  This week I walk away from Arts and Farts and Crafts ashamed.  Next week I promise there will be some gonkeys.

___________________________________________________________

Meanwhile, Jessica returns with a vastly superior (and on-task) entry!  Touche, Jessica!  Touche!

The Cicada:

Read about her hilarious inspiration here!

________________________________________

For next week:  a theme:

Fairy tales.

Write a fairy tale.  Adapt an existing fable.  Illustrate a favorite fairy tale.  Take a picture of something that reminds you of a fairy tale.  Design a cake that looks like a fairy princess, and then eat it with a troll!  I don’t give a hoot!  Just pollute!

Entries can be submitted in any medium. The end-date for submissions is Thursday August 28. Be sure to notify me at MSTrox@gmail.com!

Tuesdays With Dorie – Granola Grabbers

Posted in baking, food, tuesdays with dorie with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 19, 2008 by uglydudefood


Well, let’s see here.  Today’s recipe was Granola Grabbers.  I followed the recipe to the letter, even making a last-minute run for coconut.

I plopped my cookies out onto the parchment-ed tray, and I stuck my trays in the oven.  Easy.  So easy.  And if the dough was any indication, these cookies were going to be damn good.

I had quite a bit of extra dough, and I began to toy with ideas.  EXPERIMENTATION!  It’s like I’m back in college again.

Experiment #1:  Microwaving.  I formed a ball of dough onto a microwave-safe plate, and I nuked it for thirty seconds.   Mistake.  The center was burnt to a smoking crisp, and the outside was still malformed, soft dough.  I tried to eat the whole thing, but after my first bite of burnt…well, it was trash time.

Experiment #2:  THE MONSTER COOKIE.  I was going to bake the rest of my dough into one big monster cookie.  This was destined for disaster, as I’d have no idea how to adjust temperature or baking time.

This experiment was not to be.  My first batch of cookies came out with burnt bottoms, and I was going to have to use the rest of the dough to make some edible food.  Bummmmmer!

I adjusted the baking time to eight minutes, and the cookies came out just fine.  So I had thirty burnt-ass cookies and ten decent ones.  I guess my plans to offload tons of cookies to girlfriend and work fell short.

If you divided your batch into the recommended number of cookies (40), here are your nutritional stats. PER COOKIE. Boy, this sure makes the eight burnt cookies I ate (had to save the rest of my family from such a grisly fate) that much more depressing.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 30.0g
Amount Per Serving
Calories

141
Calories from Fat

75
% Daily Value*
Total Fat

8.3g
13%
Saturated Fat

3.4g
17%
Cholesterol

15mg
5%
Sodium

49mg
2%
Total Carbohydrates

14.5g
5%
Dietary Fiber

1.5g
6%
Sugars

7.5g
Protein

2.9g
Vitamin A 3% Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 2% Iron 4%
* Based on a 2000 calorie diet

Nutritional details are an estimate and should only be used as a guide for approximation

You love me approximately that much

Posted in food with tags on August 18, 2008 by uglydudefood

Well I’ll be a sun of a gon.

My good Twitterfacebookdorieblog friend Jessica gave me a grand award for all of my hard work sporadic blogging!

I came across Jessica’s blog through Tuesdays with Dorie, and since then I’ve been enthralled with her stories of bridal-store-incompetence, baked goods, scrumptious onion soups, life on the road, Good Humor bars, arts, farts, and crafts!  And now, of course, with her awards ceremonies.

What award, you ask?

Well, IT’S THE PRESTIGIOUS “I LOVE YOU THIS MUCH” AWARD. I printed out the 50×50 graphic on my ol’ dot matrix and hung it on the wall next to my “I no can has cheezburgr. I is vegeturiunz.” lolcat and my rockin’ picture of a snake with the head of a staple remover.

https://i1.wp.com/farm3.static.flickr.com/2016/2200934600_30a8305b47.jpg

Pretty rockin’, huh?

So what does my grand award entail? Well, benefactor and Love-You-This-Much-foundation-curator Emila of Emila’s Illustrated Blog wants the following:

1. Recipient must name blogs s/he loves. (I’m a /he.)
2. Post the link explaining the nature of the award

So I think I got that down. Who do I tag with this honorable meme?

I guess I’ll start with my good friend Derek, who is available both on Blogger and LiveJournal, because no one site can contain him.  If there was a “cutest baby” award it would go to his son.  Go there for pictures of cute babies, yes?

And then there’s Slush, owner of thousands of websites and venerable leader of the Tuesdays With Dorie cult. As I told her, “You are among Abraham Lincoln, George Washington Carver, Elvis Presley, and Dick Van Dyke on my personal “Best Human Beings of All Time” list for your honorable Tuesday With Dorie venture, and you got extra credit for introducing me to bacon-looking bandages.”

And what of MacDuff, who manages to make her Tuesdays With Dorie posts hilarious without having to completely muff up the recipe like some of us?

And Clara, who posts diverse recipes and never fails to make me smile with her posts?

I like the rest of you and all, but these are the blogs that popped into my head while I was sitting here eating burnt cookies (see:  tomorrow’s TWD).

Arts! Farts! Crafts! Candid Photography! Kittens!

Posted in arts and farts and crafts with tags on August 15, 2008 by uglydudefood

Arts and Farts and Crafts is a weekly artistic challenge. Every Thursday, a new prompt will be posted here on Ugly Food for an Ugly Dude. Then, you will create some sort of media based on the prompt. Is it a rhyming couplet? A ten-page story? A photograph? A drawing? A recipe? Whatever you’d like. As long as your piece of art is a new creation and it’s vaguely inspired by the week’s prompt, it’s in!

To enter, post your entry on your blog. Then, e-mail me at MSTrox@gmail.com with a link to your entry. I will then make a round-up post sharing your art on my website, as well as the requisite linkage.

This week’s theme?

Take a photograph (or find a preexisting photograph).  Use that as your own prompt.  Submit the original photo plus the entry it inspired.

Not a bad prompt, if I may say so myself!  And I may!  I may say so myself!

Here’s my picture.

Today’s story is a true one.  It actually happened today.

This morning was like any other morning.  I was on my laptop.  My parents were sleeping.  My brother was on his way to work.  I received a phone call from my brother a few minutes after he took off.

“Look out the window,” he said.

I did.  A cat was staring at me.

My brother told me about how the kitty had jumped into his car as he was leaving for work, and about the ordeals he faced in trying to escape from the overly friendly cat without mowing it down.

I watched the cat attack a neighbor of ours in the same fashion, and then I decided to go out and play.  Timely arrival at work be damned!  I was going to play with a friendly kitty!

The cat and I became fast friends.  “You’re a cute little kitty,” I said, although it sounded more like “Yaw a cute widdle kiwwy” than anything else.  I don’t know why I liked the cat so much.  I hate animals (or at least the domestication of said animals).  But if any animal was asking to be domesticated, it was this cat.  It wanted a home, and more specifically, it wanted my home.

I had to sprint around the block so the cat wouldn’t get into my house.  I lost him!  But when I came outside twenty minutes later to go to work, the cat was right there on the porch.

“I love you cat,” I said, “and I want to make you my pet.”  I knew it would never happen.  We don’t do pets; there are allergies.  A whole mess of excuses flowed into my brain, but I didn’t care.  I needed to keep my new cat around.

“And if you’re one of those cats that’s actually a human except you’ve been transformed?” I said. “I’ll be back at five o’clock. I’ll save you!”

I sprinted around the block to lose the cat, and then I drove to work.

The cat stayed on my front porch and played with/annoyed my family all day.  Even when the house was vacant for hours, that cat was there until eight o’clock at night.

Not really a fiction entry (or an interesting entry), but I wanted that cat and I hope it finds a good home.  More cute pictures and videos are available at my Flickr.

We have a special treat this week–a new contributer!  Meet Jessica of “Have We Met?”  Here is her entry.

This photo was taken last autumn in Salem, Mass. I found it carved into someones driveway while I was trespassing in their backyard. There were complicated circumstances surrounding my trip to the area and was haunted by “I AM INNOCENT” for a great deal of time. Who was I to complain after what had taken place there?

That’s pretty cool, and actually pretty chilling! Thanks for the entry, Jessica, and I hope to see more in the future!

For next week:  a prompt.

Pick an animal.  Do a study on that animal using whatever media you so desire.

Entries can be submitted in any medium. The end-date for submissions is Thursday August 7. Be sure to notify me at MSTrox@gmail.com!

Where in the world is Ugly Dude?

Posted in personal on August 13, 2008 by uglydudefood

Well, here are some places!

Twitter: http://twitter.com/Leroy_Pitts
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=48500459
Flickr: http://flickr.com/photos/robothand

Perhaps you would like to be my friend, yes?