Archive for November, 2008

Adventures in Boozeysitting

Posted in food on November 25, 2008 by uglydudefood

I am a bit of a teetotaler.

Well, let me rephrase.

I am a militant teetotalitarian.  I’ve never once had alcohol in my life.  I’ve never been in a bar that didn’t begin with “salad” or end with “and grill.”  I look down upon the drinkin’-folk.  Those plebes, frittering away their evenings with relaxation and fun while I sit around refreshing Google Reader and being a miserable old coot!

Last night, I was in a bind.  Should I follow Dorie’s Twofer Pie recipe to the letter of the law and use “dark rum,” or should I use the dreaded ruuuuuuummmmmm extraaaaaaaact (conveniently located on the shelf next to my vodka extract and my beer extract)?  Well, listen.  I’m no dick.  I knew that Dorie would be HEAPING MAD if I took liberties with her time-tested pie.  So I took my first-ever trip…to the liquor store.

In Pennsylvania, you can not buy booze all willy-nilly.  You must go to the state liquor store.  I am an employee of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  I know about the bureaucracy.  Presumably, to buy alcohol at a state liquor repository, you need to fill out seven pages of forms.  Thankfully, this did not happen (although I certainly had time while I was waiting in line behind over a dozen people with questions about which box of fruit-wine really compliments a Hungry Man turkey dinner).

I felt like an outlaw pushing open those stupid, tiny doors at a saloon.  Except the door was automatic.  And instead of chaps and a bitching hat, I was wearing a Spider-man shirt.  Here I was, a 24-year-old CHILD, entering the hub of depravity in my small burg.  The legality of the whole affair didn’t make it feel any less dangerous.

I only needed two teaspoons of rum, so getting the $40 gallon jug was probably overkill.  I would have opted for the “fun-sized” bottles that they kept near the register, next to the baseball cards and the seasonal candy.  However, none of the bottles specifically said “rum.”  I don’t know Goldschlager from Guaro.  Of course, instead of asking I bought the $15 handle.

Now that I’ve used my two teaspoons, I’m at a loss.  What to do with all this booze.  Who likes rum?  Pirates like rum.  Coca Cola drinkers.  Tum-Tuggers.  Not I, and not my family.  Maybe my girlfriend.

I’m toying with the idea of throwing a “rum party,” although it seems like the rum would probably go pretty fast, and then what do I have left?  An empty bottle and a lot of uneaten, nasty Twofer Pie.

Also, because I don’t think I’m going to get the chance to insert it into another post, let me tell you a little bit about Drunkula.

Drunkula is a character I made up.  He is half vampire, half alcoholic.  His crippling alcoholism leads him to do stupid things, like wandering out in daylight, eating garlicky pasta, and biting the necks of department store manequins.  He hangs out with his good friends Frankenwine and The Rummy.

Please do not steal this idea.*  I currently have a script in the works utilizing this character, and I’d hate for its chances of big-budget production (nil) to be ruined.

In conclusion, alcohol.  It is a beverage of great comparisons and contrasts.

I wrote this post while watching an episode of House.  He’s both a doctor and a building!

*I stole portions of this idea from a friend.

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Tuesdays With Dorie – Thanksgiving Poo-fer Pie

Posted in food on November 24, 2008 by uglydudefood

This week I tried to make Dorie Greenspan’s “Thanksgiving Twofer Pie” (a delightful medley of pumpkin and pecan pies), and I failed miserably.  My mind-brain wasn’t doing well in the first place, but since I like to share the gory details, here is a list of things about my pie.

  • Accidentally made “double crust” instead of “single crust”
  • Food processor jammed for some reason
  • Decided to use the entire double-crust in a single pan, because I AM A GENIUS.
  • I did not refrigerate my dough, so rolling did not work.  Instead, I patted it into my pie plate, nasty-ass fingerprints and all.
  • My filling overflowed.
  • I did not poke my pecans under the filling, leading to (presumably) burnt pecans.
  • Filling remained liquid.
  • Pie tasted good, consistency of baby vomit.

I promise there will be something creative or worthwhile soon.  Until then, have a happy Thanksgiving!

Posted in food on November 19, 2008 by uglydudefood

Listen up and listen good. At the grocery store, I use the self-checkout line for two reasons.

1) I would like to get out of there quickly.
2) I would like to avoid human contact.

And now you want to write a check. A CHECK. IN THE ANTISOCIAL SELF-SCAN LINE,

Because you had to write a check, I did not get out of there quickly. Because I murdered you, I did not avoid human contact. Thank you for ruining my evening.

Tuesdays With Dorie – Arborio Rice Pudding (Artoo-Detoo Rice Pudding?)

Posted in food on November 17, 2008 by uglydudefood
PUDDING.

THERE WILL BE PUDDING.

This was a nice, simple recipe.  I wasn’t expecting it.  Whole milk (still sitting around from last week’s Kugelhopf), sugar, vanilla, and rice.  A saucepan, a big-ass spoon, and some cups.  That’s it.  Sorry for plagiarizing the recipe, Dorie.

It’s damn good, though.  Creamy.  For the minimal amount of sugar (1/4 cup for the whole batch), I thought this would be kind of bland, but it’s really just perfect.

MEANWHILE!

I hope everyone is enjoying the more tangential posts I’ve been making recently.  Or at least some of you.  Whether I admitted it at the time or not, I started this food blog as an eating disorder recovery blog.  Now that I’m in a really good place, it’s time to stop defining myself by my shortcomings and start defining myself as the asshole I am.  And that means:  hypocritical/jokey posts about bizarre neighbors, weird comics, and guest posts from Ugly Dude’s girlfriend (Pretty Chick).

Uhhhhhh….this is all to preface the introduction of my new favorite topic.  Star Wars.  Well, it’s really an OLD favorite topic, but new to this blog.  This is a post I had in my “drafts” folder, and I knew I’d never finish it unless I tacked it on to something worthwhile.  It’s called “In defense of ‘The Clone Wars.'”

I grew up enjoying the Star Wars movies.  I rediscovered them and fell in love during the Special Edition releases in 1997.  I collected the action figures, bought the bedsheets, and stood in line for tickets to Episode I.

And then I learned to hate those starred wars in 1999, 2002, and 2005 with the awful prequels.  I didn’t really take offense to the prequels for the common reasons (acting, dialogue, etc).  I hated them for the general feel of the movies.  The original films were total B-movies, whittled from the best of the Flash Gordon serials and old Saturday afternoon matinees.  The focus was on adventure and weird aliens; heroes that dressed in white and villains that dressed in black; rogues, rebels, and robots.  Metal bikinis.  The prequels, on the other hand, were a drama about political uprising.  Stupid, humorless bullshit maneuvering by people wearing huge, space-Victorian costumes.  Even the Jedi sat around in a bureaucracy talking for 80% of their screen time.  Love him or hate him, at least the racist frogman Jar Jar Binks tried to have some fun.

That’s why I love “The Clone Wars” (9pm Fridays on Cartoon Network).  They’ve brought Star Wars back to its serial roots by literally serializing it.  Split about evenly with goofy one-offs and cliff-hanger-ridden miniseries, the show pits the good guys against the bad guys and that’s it.  There’s very little on the show that takes place outside of spaceships, and I’m pretty sure I’ve only heard the word “senator” once or twice.  It’s my favorite thing on television right now, and I’m proud to say that my Fridays revolve around it.

Geek Dude out.

Writer’s Block

Posted in food on November 13, 2008 by uglydudefood

I haven’t written anything of consequence for five years now.  I’ve used any number of excuses to explain away my writer’s block.  “Too lazy,” I’d say.  “I write better in short, incoherent bursts.  Plot is just a prison for bad writers.  The world isn’t fair, and as long as John Grisham has a career, I’m abstaining.  I’ve been really depressed lately, and frankly, all the good stuff has been written anyway.  Scrubs is on television five nights a week, so you can see that I’ve been pretty busy.  That’s why I’m not writing, Uncle Randy.  That’s why I’m not using my college education.”

These excuses are not particularly genuine, although they all have a certain ring of truthiness to them.  To be honest, though, I can attribute all of my problems (literary and otherwise) to one man:  Larry Baker.

Larry Baker is a terrible, terrible asshole.

I should preface by saying two things.  Number one:  all names in this story have been changed to protect the guilty.  Number two:  that’s all a lie, and the horsedick’s name is actually Larry Baker.

It gets really frustrating sometimes, thinking about Larry. In some ways, I am no better than him. I let the fact that he gets irritated by petty things (which is, itself, a petty thing) irritate me. Recognize, however, that Larry is an ogre. Every time I need to put a jerk or villain in a story, he is named Larry.  The story inevitably trails off until I can’t write anything at all except the word “Larry” over and over again, in increasingly disturbing fonts. Then I am just too infuriated to see straight.

I could turn this into a longwinded narrative, and the temptation is there. My own ninety-eight theses, all dedicated to the defamation and defacation of Mssr. L. Baker’s good name and hammered on the basketball-court door of some sprawling Baptist church. Nobody would read that. Instead, here is a list of things about Larry.

TEN THINGS ABOUT LARRY
in no particular order

1. Larry is a crap factory (quite literally). He quite literally produces crap. With his bowels. He chews his food (rotten meat, apple cores, tin cans). The mush travels down his esophagus into his stomach. It is churned with acid and turned to chyme. From there, the goo passes through his small intestine, his large intestine, and his rectum. We all do, of course, but the most effective way to introduce this disgusting man is through his GI tract.

2. Larry ruined my sister’s senior prom. My sister and her friends were getting into the limosine outside of our house, and Larry stood outside. With his arms crossed. Looking all surly. Later on, he called the police and reported all of my sister’s teenaged friends for parking on the unmetered, suburban street. There was, of course, nothing illegal, and the cops blow off most of the calls from Larry (see future items). Larry came over and screamed in the faces of the girls, and the ensuing drama ruined prom night, the sleepover, and my brother’s college graduation the following day.

3. Larry is ugly. The top of his head is bald, and he has made up for it with mounds and mounds of facial and neckal hair. When he does actually work up to motivation to shave his neck, the ensuing bramble blows down the street like an errant tumbleweed. The facial hair does not help the inherent uglitude, by the way. The spiky brown bundle of steel wool hugs his face, clinging to his disproportioned troll-features and actually enhancing the terror exponentially.

DID YOU KNOW that the sign outside Larry’s house says, “The Baker’s.” This is strictly a grammar error. That house does not belong to the baker. It is not the baker’s house. I would bet my bottom dollar that Larry has never baked anything in his life. How do I know that? Because baking is done by kind-hearted people. Larry has a jar labeled “sugar” in his kitchen, but it is surely filled with finely-ground glass particles.

4. Larry is a peeper. Larry cares so much about what his neighbors do that he cut eye-sized holes in every curtain in his house. He did not want to pull the curtains aside, because this would give away his position. Presumably unbeknownst to Larry, one could always tell when Larry was watching. His glassy gaze was clearly visible through the holes, and at night his eyes glowed like cat’s eyes. I began waving to Larry every time I came home. Less than a week later, Larry replaced his butchered curtains.

5. Larry’s wife is a beefalo.


Beefalo are a fertile hybrid offspring of domestic cattle, Bos taurus, and the American Bison, Bison bison (generally called buffalo). The breed was created to combine the best characteristics of both animals with a view towards beef production.

6. Larry strong-arms other people to do his dirty work. Always the parking Nazi (but aware that his prior tactics did not work), Larry strongarms the neighbors to do his dirty work for him. Two weeks ago, my carpool buddy parked on the street across from Larry’s house. We came home to see Larry scampering from that house across the street, turning around, crossing his arms, and staring. Shortly thereafter, the house’s owner apologetically spoke to my friend. “I don’t mind it, but he doesn’t like it when you park there.” My friend (a new convert to the cause) agreed and parked directly in front of Larry’s house every day from that point on.

7. Larry wants to trade favors like a mafioso. Larry will ineptly perform menial work for his neighbors in exchange for favors down the line. Larry will “kindly” shovel his neighbors’ snow into the street, blocking exit from their driveway. He will rake their lawns, tearing up large portions of grass, sod, and flowerbed. All of Larry’s so-called helpful actions are unrequested by the neighbors, and always result in more work for the involved home-owners.

Larry expects the favor to be returned in full. While I’d love to rip up the man’s lawn, Larry is very specific about what he wants. When neighbors refuse to deign to Larry’s wishes, his recourse is to build a fence between his house and his neighbor’s house (unknowingly rewarding his neighbors).

If a fence already exists, Larry will tear down the fence and build an even bigger fence. This has happened at least three times.

8. I hate Larry.

9. Larry does not understand laws and regulations. Judging by police phone calls, these are things he thinks are against the law:

Cars parking on the street.
Cats entering his yard.
Children playing and laughing in their own yard.
Old women ignoring his banal conversation and going back into their house to watch Jeopardy.
Any signage posted on any telephone poles in the entire development (including, but not limited to, “Lost Dog,” “Yard Sale,” and “Looking for Work?”)

10. Some day Larry will die. Breathe a sigh of relief.

Writer's Block

Posted in Uncategorized on November 13, 2008 by uglydudefood

I haven’t written anything of consequence for five years now.  I’ve used any number of excuses to explain away my writer’s block.  “Too lazy,” I’d say.  “I write better in short, incoherent bursts.  Plot is just a prison for bad writers.  The world isn’t fair, and as long as John Grisham has a career, I’m abstaining.  I’ve been really depressed lately, and frankly, all the good stuff has been written anyway.  Scrubs is on television five nights a week, so you can see that I’ve been pretty busy.  That’s why I’m not writing, Uncle Randy.  That’s why I’m not using my college education.”

These excuses are not particularly genuine, although they all have a certain ring of truthiness to them.  To be honest, though, I can attribute all of my problems (literary and otherwise) to one man:  Larry Baker.

Larry Baker is a terrible, terrible asshole.

I should preface by saying two things.  Number one:  all names in this story have been changed to protect the guilty.  Number two:  that’s all a lie, and the horsedick’s name is actually Larry Baker.

It gets really frustrating sometimes, thinking about Larry. In some ways, I am no better than him. I let the fact that he gets irritated by petty things (which is, itself, a petty thing) irritate me. Recognize, however, that Larry is an ogre. Every time I need to put a jerk or villain in a story, he is named Larry.  The story inevitably trails off until I can’t write anything at all except the word “Larry” over and over again, in increasingly disturbing fonts. Then I am just too infuriated to see straight.

I could turn this into a longwinded narrative, and the temptation is there. My own ninety-eight theses, all dedicated to the defamation and defacation of Mssr. L. Baker’s good name and hammered on the basketball-court door of some sprawling Baptist church. Nobody would read that. Instead, here is a list of things about Larry.

TEN THINGS ABOUT LARRY
in no particular order

1. Larry is a crap factory (quite literally). He quite literally produces crap. With his bowels. He chews his food (rotten meat, apple cores, tin cans). The mush travels down his esophagus into his stomach. It is churned with acid and turned to chyme. From there, the goo passes through his small intestine, his large intestine, and his rectum. We all do, of course, but the most effective way to introduce this disgusting man is through his GI tract.

2. Larry ruined my sister’s senior prom. My sister and her friends were getting into the limosine outside of our house, and Larry stood outside. With his arms crossed. Looking all surly. Later on, he called the police and reported all of my sister’s teenaged friends for parking on the unmetered, suburban street. There was, of course, nothing illegal, and the cops blow off most of the calls from Larry (see future items). Larry came over and screamed in the faces of the girls, and the ensuing drama ruined prom night, the sleepover, and my brother’s college graduation the following day.

3. Larry is ugly. The top of his head is bald, and he has made up for it with mounds and mounds of facial and neckal hair. When he does actually work up to motivation to shave his neck, the ensuing bramble blows down the street like an errant tumbleweed. The facial hair does not help the inherent uglitude, by the way. The spiky brown bundle of steel wool hugs his face, clinging to his disproportioned troll-features and actually enhancing the terror exponentially.

DID YOU KNOW that the sign outside Larry’s house says, “The Baker’s.” This is strictly a grammar error. That house does not belong to the baker. It is not the baker’s house. I would bet my bottom dollar that Larry has never baked anything in his life. How do I know that? Because baking is done by kind-hearted people. Larry has a jar labeled “sugar” in his kitchen, but it is surely filled with finely-ground glass particles.

4. Larry is a peeper. Larry cares so much about what his neighbors do that he cut eye-sized holes in every curtain in his house. He did not want to pull the curtains aside, because this would give away his position. Presumably unbeknownst to Larry, one could always tell when Larry was watching. His glassy gaze was clearly visible through the holes, and at night his eyes glowed like cat’s eyes. I began waving to Larry every time I came home. Less than a week later, Larry replaced his butchered curtains.

5. Larry’s wife is a beefalo.


Beefalo are a fertile hybrid offspring of domestic cattle, Bos taurus, and the American Bison, Bison bison (generally called buffalo). The breed was created to combine the best characteristics of both animals with a view towards beef production.

6. Larry strong-arms other people to do his dirty work. Always the parking Nazi (but aware that his prior tactics did not work), Larry strongarms the neighbors to do his dirty work for him. Two weeks ago, my carpool buddy parked on the street across from Larry’s house. We came home to see Larry scampering from that house across the street, turning around, crossing his arms, and staring. Shortly thereafter, the house’s owner apologetically spoke to my friend. “I don’t mind it, but he doesn’t like it when you park there.” My friend (a new convert to the cause) agreed and parked directly in front of Larry’s house every day from that point on.

7. Larry wants to trade favors like a mafioso. Larry will ineptly perform menial work for his neighbors in exchange for favors down the line. Larry will “kindly” shovel his neighbors’ snow into the street, blocking exit from their driveway. He will rake their lawns, tearing up large portions of grass, sod, and flowerbed. All of Larry’s so-called helpful actions are unrequested by the neighbors, and always result in more work for the involved home-owners.

Larry expects the favor to be returned in full. While I’d love to rip up the man’s lawn, Larry is very specific about what he wants. When neighbors refuse to deign to Larry’s wishes, his recourse is to build a fence between his house and his neighbor’s house (unknowingly rewarding his neighbors).

If a fence already exists, Larry will tear down the fence and build an even bigger fence. This has happened at least three times.

8. I hate Larry.

9. Larry does not understand laws and regulations. Judging by police phone calls, these are things he thinks are against the law:

Cars parking on the street.
Cats entering his yard.
Children playing and laughing in their own yard.
Old women ignoring his banal conversation and going back into their house to watch Jeopardy.
Any signage posted on any telephone poles in the entire development (including, but not limited to, “Lost Dog,” “Yard Sale,” and “Looking for Work?”)

10. Some day Larry will die. Breathe a sigh of relief.

Tuesdays With Dorie – Kugelhopf

Posted in food on November 11, 2008 by uglydudefood

See previous TWD post about unpronouncable names.

My house is sub-zero, so my dough did not rise very well.  Also, my Kugelhopf Pan must have been in the shop (heh), so I just used a plain ol’ bundt pan.  The end product looked like an enormous raisin bagel.

In conclusion, Rachel and I spent our anniversary waiting for dough to rise.

The good news?  After a disappointing couple of weeks (Pumpkin Muffins, Chocolate Cupcakes, and Rugelach), I’ve produced something that I am proud of.  It tastes pretty good.

Gotta run.  Lots of stuff to catch up on.