Tuesday, March 3, 2009

How about a fix...

I just wanted to apologize for not posting for quite some time... although traffic is still seemingly pouring in from all over the internet.  I don't have a recipe, nor a review of the strange sexual obsessions of right-wing republican'ts.  What I have is a rant, not the pre-conceived PR, fake-grassroots, Rick Santelli style, corporate plug... but an honest-to-goodness, exasperated consumer, techno-geekwad rant about Windows Vista and HDMI.

Why, you might ask, does anyone care about my problems with HDMI and Windows... well, frankly they don't.  Not yet at least.  But a quick google of 'HDMI Vista' will bring up about 10,000,000 listings (literally) - half of which are reviews and sales pitches touting the ease and wonderment that flows from plugging your high-powered computer directly into your stunning HD display, the other half are from people like myself, blindly grasping in the dark for a fix to the shoddy implementation of HDMI and the non-existent support from Microsoft and the very computer manufacturers who sold us this bill-of-goods.

That is why I've devised a petition.  Go here to sign it - and let's just end this frustration for good.  Because when the people are heard, when companies respond, people like me don't have to buy a Mac Mini.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Working Out is for Queers - The Personal Trainer Diary

So the other week I was involved in a conversation and somehow or another agreed to ride on the back of a motorcycle in a hastily conceived plan to 'break the ice' with a new acquaintance. It's the sort of thing that happens when two bottoms get together and realize they're going to have to make their own good time. Having never ridden a road bike before, I was unprepared for the dynamics of the situation, and also for the intense rush that comes from flying onto the shoreway at 60 mph, cruising high above the Cuyahoga River and then weaving between traffic under the looming towers of downtown. As my new friend and I pulled to a stop at the statues I slackened my white-knuckle grip on his leather jacket enough to allow my hands the room to shake uncontrollably. He asked me if I was enjoying my first ride on a road hog with a smile, my queasy "yea, sure" being drowned out by our acceleration back across the Cuyahoga towards home. We arrived back at my Clifton Rd. driveway and took a seat on the front porch. Myself a bit flustered, no, freaked-out, from the ride - him casually comfortable with his shiny power-toy parked out front. We talked a bit, covering the standard first-meeting fare like residence, hobbies and work. He ticked off a list of current occupations - listed in order of prominence. They were: flight attendant (typical), handy-man (well he does own a motorcycle), spin-class instructor (aerobic exercise is the bane of my existence) and personal trainer (hmmmm, I've been thinking about having someone whip me into shape). I checked off mine as well; ex-houseboy (hahaha, even without good abs), warehouse man (trashy), computer slacker (graphical goodness) and all-around good guy.

As per my typical modus operandi, I immediately struck up conversation around my desire to capitalise on the skills of my newfound friend. He took the bait and was led into a discussion of dreams and desires for bulging muscles, employment as a pool-boy (motorcycle man also has a pool ((above-ground of course, we're still in Cleveland)) and various other wild-eyed fantasies for the future. He had to make his way home, but our conversation continued through the following weeks, until a meeting was set up...

The Opening Consultation

I got off work a few minutes early so I could beat the traffic heading through downtown, which is never much of an actual worry - seeing as there are about 15 people with jobs left in Cleveland... but I like to leave early all the same, it makes me feel cosmopolitan to say I need to "beat the rush". Attempting to maximize my engagements, I planned to go tanning - meet with the greenery guy - reconnect with my ex-bestfriend/roommate who I had a falling out with AND have my first meeting with the trainer dude, to "talk about working out" instead of say, actually working out. He suggested perhaps working out a bit, and I shot that idea down like a syphilis-infected American fighter pilot in WWII. Every initiative in my life takes consideration, consultation and consensus from my peers. This whole 'work-out' business wasn't going to be any different.

Our meeting was pushed back to 8pm by the various engagements I rushed all over for. I arrived at his small Ohio City bungalow and was greeted by two leaping German Shepard puppies, beautiful little dogs who perfectly accented his masculine pad. We went out back to the pool deck and sat down. He produced a folder, the tab read 'Steve', along with the month and year.

"From the looks of it this is going to be a long process," I nervously chimed.

"It could be, I'm going to put you on 6 days a week for a little while, and then we'll know from there."

"..." Shit, I thought, "so, does that include cardio?"

"Oh yea it does, you say you have a spinbike at home? That will be perfect. I can put together a routine that will have you crawling away from that thing afterwards, I'd say you'll only need 45 minutes a day total."

The rest of the conversation continued in much the same fashion. He would suggest an activity or ask a question about my desires or motivations... I would answer as best I could, sometimes expressing shock at what was being suggested - other times holding firm in my belief that this was all possible.

We decided on a program that would bring rapid results, which would help me become more lean, while building a foundation of strength - which is really my goal. He mentioned "getting big" a few times, and I maintained that while visible musculature may be really sexy and fun to play with I'm more interested in counter-acting the less healthful behaviors I engage in before they catch up with me - torturing my 30's and possibly leading to a nightmarish decade of 40-somethingism. I live in the moment and dream of the future, and all this positioning now- while it may be disjointed and slapdash - is meant to culminate in future dividends.

The Program

He pulled a single sheet from my folder and began with the questions:

Q. How much time do you have to devote to this?

-About... I dunno. How much time do I need to? I work between 50 and 60 hours a week usually, so whatever's left over I guess.

Q. What's your height and weight?

-I'm 6'2'', between 175 and 180 pounds.

"We'll say 175 on here."

"Oh thanks, you're too kind, really."

Q. What's your diet like?

-Well, that's what I worry about. At this point in my life I'm eating the lowest density of vegetables I ever have. Add to that a healthy taste for beer and wine... and liquor... uhm, and a bit of fast food on those days when I'm really pooped.

"So we'll say it's bad."

"Yea my diet's pretty bad."

Q. What do you want to achieve? What areas of your body do you want to focus on?

-I want to be strong, I've never been that strong and I'd really like to be. I'm thinking my main areas are my arms and my core. That's what I'd really like to get a focus on.

"Well, you should work on your legs a bit too probably. I know you want to be able to lift things for work, and that takes leg strength. Plus, when you're working out you may over-develop your chest and arms, and then have little chicken legs on the bottom... not good. I think we'll focus on your arms and your upper body, but also your abs and core strength, that's going to be important. I think we'll also spend time on your shoulders, and then down to your calves and legs in general."

"So we'll basically be focusing on every part of my body except for my face, huh."

"Yea you'll have to work on that one yourself."


The Plan

"The first thing I want you to do is spend a week putting together a diary. I want you to record the following things for me. When you wake up in the morning, what you eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner and any snacks. I also want to know how much water you drink, but not any other beverages as I don't really count them as anything but junk. Then tell me when you get to bed at night. I don't want you to change anything from your normal behavior, so I'm not going to get into the diet portion of your program until we meet again next week... But there will be changes to your diet, I eat 6 meals a day, and they're structured around my workouts. Can you workout at your job?"

"Uhm... Yea actually, I have some downtime... Now... you say 6 meals a day? I like the sound of that."

"Yes, and they're geared towards your workouts. It's really important that you fuel your body, so pre-workout meals may be carbohydrates and fats, while post workout meals may be protein-heavy foods. It's really important that you refuel your body with what it needs - you'll be burning alot of protein fuel and it's imperative that you get yourself recharged within 30 minutes of working out. That'll keep you within your target weight range, because I have a feeling you'll be rather lean, rather fast. Once we start the workout we'll see how soon we can move you to 3 days a week of cardio."

"Oh 3 days a week would be lovely, I love the sound of that."

"Well, that's not for awhile, so get yourself prepared for some real work. But take the next week to do your diary, start thinking about your schedule, whether you can work out early or later. We'll sit down a week from now, see what you've recorded, and then do some strength tests to see how far I can push you to start."

"Uhm. Great... I think."

Next Week: Before Pictures (or rather, Right-now Pictures)... A visual documentation of the state of my body.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

$35 Vegetarian Pesto Pasta Salad

I have to admit, I usually don't cook my own lunches these days. It's not because I'm lazy (haha) or anything, but because I work with my Mom, and she brings me all the treats I can handle everyday. Called me spoiled if you will, but I'm the one eating a hot, organic, vegetarian meal - for free - every day at the office :-p

As you can imagine, problems arise when she's out of the office for travel or conferences or church stuff... and I become a helpless, whiny and hungry little boy. I've called the secretary at her home (she was still in bed) to beg her to stop at the grocery store to pick up food for me on her way in... I've ransacked the meager offerings of the office mini-fridge... I even started keeping all my rejected protein bars in my desk drawer, just in case I'm so starving that I drop my objections to chalky supplement bars.

This week, though, my mother is jetting off to Sedona, AZ for some hiking and spiritual renewal. She gave me enough warning to prepare a menu for myself, and to hit the local super market in time to prepare a delicious and well-balanced lunch course for the next week. As is my specialty, I decided to make a one-pot meal that I could package and eat for the entire duration of her travels. The following is what I came up with...

Inflation-Adjusted Ingredients

1 Package Buitoni Mixed Tortellini - $8.99
1 Package Barrilla Rotini dry pasta - $1.99
1 Package Buitoni Pesto Sauce - $6.99
1 Block, Gouda Cheese - $8.99
1 Medium Vidalia Onion - $.70
1 Bag, Baby Carrots - $1.99
1 Box Boca Breakfast Links - $4.99

Being the laziest of houseboys, I chose to assemble all of these pre-packaged items into my make-ahead lunch for the week. Other good additions to this mix would be crisp Broccoli, sweet String Beans from your garden, and fresh Basil, or other home-grown herbage.

The Preparation

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. While you're waiting, dice the Onion, Carrots and Cheese into chunky bits and pieces of about equal size. Dump those delicious diced ingredients into a large mixing bowl.

Boil your pasta according the package directions (you may need to add the dry pasta first, then the fresh stuff after a couple minutes). Once cooked, drain the noodley goodness and rinse under very cold water for about 80 seconds.

Prepare the Boca sausage links according to the package, dice these also and add them to your mixing bowl.

Add the Pesto Sauce to the ingredients in the mixing bowl. Dump your strained, cooled and drip-dried pasta onto the mixture and stir everything with a stiff spoon.

And that's it! Everything's easier when you do it the Lazy Houseboy way! Either serve this lukewarm delicacy immediately, or package in individual servings like I did and bring it with you for lunch, either as a main course or a tasty side dish. It's great cold or warm and will keep refrigerated for a week or more.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

ROUGH DRAFT: Ganja Gourmet

This is an old rough draft video of some cooking chicanery I performed in an undisclosed location a few years ago. It never really got edited or cleaned up or anything, but for your pleasure and mine, I thought I'd share it when I found it. Too bad I don't smoke pot anymore, those cookies were awesome.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

RECIPE: Turmeric Tempura Tofu with Wasabi Citrus dipping sauce

I made this last night for dinner and it was ridiculously good... I'm talking amazingly, richly, deeply flavored and more filling than a steak I'm sure. This is no kind of diet food, and is best savored on special occasions (like Tuesday nights!)... the whole dish should fill you up for hours though.


2/3 c. Flour
1 tsp. Salt
1 T Turmeric
1 Large Egg
1/2 c. Milk
Pepper to taste

1 14oz. Package Extra Firm Tofu (Cut into 1 1/2in. cubes)

Olive Oil for frying and dipping sauce

Dipping Sauce

3 T Worcester Sauce
1 T Minced Garlic
1 T Wasabi Paste
1 T Sugar
1 T Corn Syrup
1 T Lemon Juice
1/2 T Lime Juice

Makes about Three 6-piece servings.

In a large non-stick pan pour Olive Oil to cover and place over Medium Heat.

Divide the ingriedients for the dipping sauce between three small bowls or ramekins. Mix to dissolve all ingredients (adding a dash of Olive Oil to thin if necessary) and allow to rest until serving.

3. Mix the dry breading ingredients together in a shallow bowl. Add the egg and milk and stir until thoroughly mixed. You should have an airy, adobe-colored mixture.

4. Press the tofu to drain, cut into one-and-a-half inch cubes, drop the cubes into the breading mixture and turn with a fork to cover. Immediately drop into hot olive oil and fry. Repeat until all the cubes are frying. Allow to cook on one-side for 3-4 minutes. Batter will run - so remove the cubes with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel. Repeat the breading steps on the sides of the tofu that didn't form a tempura crust when the breading runs. Fry the opposite side of the tofu cubes. Remove when golden brown crust has formed on tofu cubes.

5. Serve tofu cubes immediately with dipping sauce, goes great with my Amazing Asian Pasta Salad (pictured)... which I'll have to give you the recipe for sometime.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

BOOK REVIEW: Sharing the Value of Sexual Purity

I've decided to include another passion of mine is this blog... reading. I would hope that all my visitors, when they aren't cooking, helping their friends or generally making the world a better place (the lazy way) would have their noses in a book. Reading is alot like wine - when you tell someone you like it they think you're more intelligent/wealthy/interesting/etc...

I thought I'd bring you up to date on a local author (Ohio born and bred), and educator, who has been entrusted to develop sexual health education curriculum for Ohio and several states (and Puerto Rico). I'd seen her name before, interviewed in the paper and such.

Anyhow, I found her book in a trash heap and since I don't like to waste, thought I would pick it up and give it a read. I've been wondering myself what the value of sexual purity was, ever since reading that there's no evidence whatsoever that teaching children christian morality effects the rates of STDs and pregnancy, or sexual activity among youths being taught abstinence. So, without further ado... the book review.

Sharing the Value of Sexual Purity
A Guide for Parents, Concerned Adults and Young People
by Catherine E. Wood

With a title like that you know this book will be full of enlightening information from a dedicated professional - well-versed in the facts and grounded in the reality of sex education.

Unfortunately it's written by a woman whose only credentials are 'Assistant Director of the Pregnancy Distress Center' billed as a Columbus, Ohio non-profit, it's actually a fly-by-night anti-abortion group based in Zanesville with an atrocious website. Mrs. Wood's other accomplishments include developing brochures and seminars for RSVP (Responsible Sexual Values Program - renamed since this book's publication as the Responsible Social Values Program) a similarly fly-by-night operation with absolutely no documentation, save for their creation of this 'educational program' generally disseminated by catholic charities and now distributed across the country with funds provided by President Bush. Interestingly Wood's only other accomplishment listed on the book jacket is "Founder and President of Treasured Values, Joy Inc." a questionable corporation that's most likely a beneficiary of Bush's largess, and a marriage that's produced children. With such a worldly and experienced writer I'm sure you're just as excited to dig into the contents of this book as I am.

Page no. 1 - Introduction (technically there's a page of acknowledgments first, but it really isn't necessary)

In the intro we really get a feel for Catherine Wood and her philosophy on sex, which is also god's philosophy apparently. It seems that as her son approached his 12th birthday Catherine was searching for a tangible symbol of marriage and sexual purity (might I suggest a ball and chain?) but lacking one, did some wishing praying and was granted the following:

"Sweetheart Treasures... three pendants which provide a visual representation of God's plan for marriage. A heart, a cross... and a heart" (Made in China)

The intro also stresses that the information contained in the various chapters (12 of 'em, crammed into 86 pages or less!) should only be shared with it's intended audience (remember the subtitle? children shan't have access to the 'concerned adults' section). It's funny, but the religious seem to be obsessed with control of information.

Chapter 1 - A Special Gift to Encourage Sexual Purity

First our esteemed author introduces us to her ingenious plan to dampen young people's sex drives... 14k gold-plated pendants! Then she shares her brilliant delivery methods (take them to a nice restaurant), who gets what (stressing the cross is for the man to bear) and how to end abstinence once married (have a jeweler join the heart and cross) ...

Chapter 2 - Who is Responsible?

I often ask myself this question... Who is responsible? According to Catherine Woods it was the 1960's! More specifically, it was the churches that used to control America, who then created flower children, who hid their pot-smoking and sex behind the abhorrent desire for "peace and contentment" HA! Catherine Woods laughs in the face of peace, frowns on contentment, and reminds us to fear hippies with this earth-shattering quote:
When a god-fearing nation becomes lax, even though it professes belief in god, satan steps in with ease to deceive.
Catherine Woods then proceeds to prepare her christian soldiers for war, for which "we must strategically train our children and prepare them to win." Kinda' gives you chills doesn't it?

After mis-quoting HIV infection rates (pg. 9 states 1,000,000 new HIV infections reported in 1990... actual data - estimated 1,000,000 HIV infected total in US in 1990) she then proceeds to MISQUOTE THE BIBLE! It isn't truly a misquote, merely a reinterpretation that's been worded to uphold Mrs. Woods specific views.... here's the quote from her book:
Acts 15:20 says: ...abstain from sexual immorality...

And here's the quote from the real Bible... well... as real as one can get with such things...
Acts 15:20 says: But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.
Hmm... things are starting to get interesting. Not because Mrs. Woods thinks she can rewrite the Bible (anyone is entitled to rewrite the damn thing)... but because she's attempting to deceive both her readers and herself. God specifically says no idols, no sex, and no blood. Since Catherine Wood has blood, 3 children (more details from the book jacket) and a television, she's already failed. But she has one more important lesson for us before this chapter's through!

What Parents Should Teach Their Children Concerning Sexuality... a checklist! Be sure to pay close attention to the "problems in our culture" listed as bullet points under no. 9... they are - sex outside marriage, sex and the media, date rape, pornography, abortion, contraception, homosexuality and masturbation....

Catherine Woods has, in one simple list, simplified life for all Americans. Now we can solve all the problems in our country... just get rid of things like the media and porno, date rape and those pesky homosexuals... Hmm, Catherine Woods is starting to sounds less like a 'concerned adult' and more like a certain historical leader with similar "problems".

Chapters 3 - 7 are written by pastors, saving Catherine Woods quite a large amount of time or fact-checking (which is easy when you're only relying on one book for the answers)...

These chapters all deal with a bunch of nonsense - except for the short section under the heading "For Fathers" which specifically addresses single moms. Pastor Forsythe is kind enough to remind us that god is "the father of the fatherless" and with a few simple prayers any single mother can succeed!

Tune in tomorrow, when I post the rest of the review!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The Crappy Vegetarian Sandwich

Crappy Vegetarian Sandwich
- a -
by: The Lazy Houseboy

I literally just ate the food on the plate in this picture. You could call it food, I guess, in some sense it was. I'd call it more of a "condiment sandwich". The recipe is quite simple and delicious, especially if you're a hard workin' man like myself.

  • Take 2 pieces of bread,
  • and 2 microwaved vegetarian hotdogs
  • 2 tablespoons of ketchup, wasabi mustard & BBQ sauce
Slather the cooked veggie hotdogs with the condiments, fold into your bread and bask in the fact you're less hungry for awhile.

Oi. Sometimes, it's just quantity... quality is out the window.