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Day By Day© by Chris Muir.


Tuesday, June 28, 2005

and one from bill

i received the following in the mail from a fellow bubblehead that i worked with for years at mare island. he is a constant source of humor. but this time, he forwarded some seriously bad and ugly news. his letter:

I will warn you guys...I seriously cried when I saw this...read first, and only open if you have a fairly strong stomach.

A friend sent this photo of a horrible highway accident in Germany. The picture may be kind of hard to take for some of you. If you look closely you can see what appears to be some survivors of the accident still in the wreckage. Although the picture is horrible, it makes you realize how quickly our loved ones can be taken from us.

and then he included a picture. it was horrifying. and in the interest of keeping this blog above the minimum threshold for acceptable viewing, i will only provide a link to those morbid enough to want to see.


a great gun site

i may be late geting to this site, but now that i've found it, i want to make sure everyone that appreciates firearms, ammo, and humor gets to see this site.

i recommend checking out the box o' truth for some informative and often amusing reading. i'd steal some of his bandwidth and post pictures, but he made them too big, dammit.

tip of the tam to jeff for the link

food blog dessert, peaches port and ice cream

i love watching the food channel. if the tv is on in our house, it's probably tuned to the food channel. one of the shows had a killer looking dessert, and i had to try it.

from rachael ray

i modified her's just a little bit. see her link for the original. below is my version...not far off from hers

  • 6 peaches. i used 4 yellow cling, and 2 white peaches. this would work just as well with nectarines

  • 4 jiggers of port. one of my general all around ports for sipping and dessert stuff is
    Graham's 10 year tawny port. i wouldn't recommend a ruby for this, but you might like it. for ice cream and fruit, i think the tawny is the best. and the beauty is you can find this stuff at costco on occasion, much cheaper than in the regular places you would find a nice port. deal!
  • 4 tsp sugar
  • 4 scoops of really good rich thick vanilla ice cream. none of that cheapo cheapo stuff that's crystallized in the box already. hey, you're splurging, so use the good stuff. around here, we use

slice peaches. i usually just cut around the pit in circles to give me 8 wedges, which i then pry off the pit. if you can get freestone peaches, more's the better. easier to slice. dump peaches in bowl and sprinkle sugar over the top, and then pour the port over the whole thing. pop in the fridge for at least 15 minutes. i did these just before sitting down for dinner while the salmon was grilling.
when ready to eat, get 4 fancy wine glasses or ice cream sundae dishes. i used Riedel 750 ml glasses

for this. divide the peaches and port between the 4 glasses, and drop a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.
this is a very elegant and yet simple dish to make. the flavors are complex, and the wow factor is up there with the first spoonful.

i don't usually pimp individual non-food products, but i love these riedel wine glasses. they can be found in a lot of shops and wineries. here's a link to Sur la Table, who sells a big chunk of the riedel glass line.

i didn't take pictures this time, because i was having way too much fun hanging out with my friends and fixing dinner. but you can imagine this one in your mind's eye, i'm sure. the vibrant colors of the peaches mascerated in sugar and tawny port, topped with a scoop of pure white ice cream. oh yeah. it's a winner.

as always, if you try this recipe, or it inspires you to try something different, please let me know how it turned out. i'm always looking for fresh and clever ideas to improve my own cooking skills and recipes.

for a complete list of my online recipes, follow the link here

oh boy, i get to go

to richland washington in july. oh boy. i hope the class rooms are air conditioned.

Friday, June 24, 2005

exactly 1 year ago

i posted my first ever blog post.
thanks momma duck the frenchified pennsylvanian for leading the way.
only 61 visitors short of 20,000 visits since i started my sitemeter up. how cool.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

i like the way this lady thinks

because it mirrors my own, i guess. who? Barbara Lerner in a commentary in the National Review Online

a snippet of her post:
I don't buy the "soft America" argument. I agree that the administration is at fault, but for an entirely different reason: because Cowboy George morphed into Cautious George. Cowboy George was a bold leader, unafraid to take the tough offensive actions we must take to win this war. He led us in the first two years after 9/11, and Americans rallied behind him in numbers so overwhelming they made "soft America" all but invisible. But after our conquest of the Iraqi military in 2003, Cautious George replaced Cowboy George. Cautious George is forcing us to fight with one hand tied behind our back by pretending we are fighting against one country only. In fact, we are fighting a regional war in Iraq, and have been since day one. It's past time for America to acknowledge that fact and act on it. Time to make all the Middle Eastern despots who are pouring money, men, and arms into the battle in Iraq stop.

seems to me we are repeating history. i hate to bring up vietnam, but if we had free rein early to go where the enemy was, kick ass, and leave, that war would have had a different outcome.

Today's bumpersticker offering

Does Not Play Well With Others

I’m not weird. I’m gifted

cat and critter blog friday

my grandson discovered he could reach one of the bird feeders. consequently, the entire contents ended up on the ground. and the squirrels found the sunflower seeds. they are bold as hell, and scare my two ferocious feline gaurdians something crazy. these squirrels are bold, bold bold.
here's the devil squirrel, daring me to do something about his larceny:
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Image hosted by Photobucket.com

this guy didn't leave until he was done with the seeds, even when Di sat down less than 2 feet away and watched. he's decided enough is enough, and it's time to skedaddle
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and of course, you can count on the cats to be the house protectors
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Image hosted by Photobucket.com

and it's easy to tell when the squirrels have left the area, because the fearsome twosome assume the postion:
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Image hosted by Photobucket.com

and when it's time to go in, they always read the door mat's admonishment
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i've had to do this before.

America, I'm sorry. Really, really, really sorry. i know i've apologized before, but it looks like it's time to do so again. America, i'm sorry that the tunnel visioned loons of my state of kahleefornia elected nancy pelosi to any sort of public office, much less a representative to the august body that makes laws for our entire nation. i'm sorry. i'd also like to apologize, just for general purposes, for babs boxer, and di fienstein. babs because she's a moonbat of limitless proportion, and difi because she's so rabidly anti-2nd amendment. actually, of the three, difi is the closest to a thinking rational being. kind of makes you understand why i'm apologizing, eh?
again, sorry.
and i wonder what my buddy SSGT. mikey thinks about the war being over in the land of hadji? i'm sure he'd be glad to hear it, as long as they tell him when he's on an airplane back to his wife in aviano.
sorry. sorry.
no really, sorry.

i just wet myself

you have to go over to noonzwire and watch the clip in his scientolosith entry.
excuse me while i go change.

"Civilizations die from suicide, not by murder"

yesterday's Wall Street Opinion Journal had an eye opening interview with a fiery and opinionated italian journalist and author, Oriana Fallaci.

the interview covered a lot of territory, but several things came out that really struck home.
Ms. Fallaci speaks in a passionate growl: "Europe is no longer Europe, it is 'Eurabia,' a colony of Islam, where the Islamic invasion does not proceed only in a physical sense, but also in a mental and cultural sense. Servility to the invaders has poisoned democracy, with obvious consequences for the freedom of thought, and for the concept itself of liberty."

and one of the most jarring and telling statements
The impending Fall of the West, as she sees it, now torments Ms. Fallaci. And as much as that Fall, what torments her is the blithe way in which the West is marching toward its precipice of choice. "Look at the school system of the West today. Students do not know history! They don't, for Christ's sake. They don't know who Churchill was!
i know that most kids in the u.s. don't either. the only link they have with history is watching an indiana jones movie, where indy talks about the knights templar or something.
Ms. Fallaci, who made her name by interviewing numerous statesmen (and not a few tyrants), believes that ours is "an age without leaders. We stopped having leaders at the end of the 20th century." Of George Bush, she will concede only that he has "vigor," and that he is "obstinate" (in her book a compliment) and "gutsy. . . . Nobody obliged him to do anything about Terri Schiavo, or to take a stand on stem cells. But he did."

But it is "Ratzinger" (as she insists on calling the pope) who is her soulmate. John Paul II--"Wojtyla"--was a "warrior, who did more to end the Soviet Union than even America," but she will not forgive him for his "weakness toward the Islamic world. Why, why was he so weak?"

i have to admit that i don't know much about the current pontiff, but i'm making it a point to. i think i'm beginning to see why the left was up in arms about his selection. anyone that doesn't think like they do, that doesn't toe the liberal line must be some sort of nazi. and we all know that nazis are bad. so by comparing anyone to a nazi or simply calling them a nazi is just about the worst form of name calling we have available in the west. look at the power of the phrase "like a nazi". durbin, the rep who got his head handed to him for making the broad and sweeping generalities that our treatment of the gitmo prisoners could be compared to the death camps was outrageous and misguided. but in this politically correct modern world, he can make those statements and have many back his play.
i have no argument with those that come to our country to better their lives and the lives of their children. i do have an issue with those same folks that come here expecting society to change to accommodate them, rather than they assimilate into the society. if things were so good where they came from, they should stay there. the reason things are so good here, and why folks from around the world struggle and not a few face life threatening events to reach american soil, is that we have a society based on the individuals worth. it works. and trying to change it to accomodate some 7th century ideal is crazy beyond the pale.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

this is cool

it looks like a race between my blogoversary on 6/24, and crossing the 20000 visitor mark. they may happen the same day. wouldn't that be something.

i find it almost impossible to believe there have been over 19700 visitors to the blog since i started. to be honest, i didn't think i'd get more than a couple hundred a year. i know some blogs get 20000 hits in a matter of days, or hours even. but they have something to say, and an audience to say it to.
thanks for visiting!

Monday, June 20, 2005

when do you know you are qualified a watchstation?

every nuke out there knows this answer. and some coners like VA Beach Herb.
it's not when the engineer signs off your qual card, and you get put on the watchbill for that station. it's not after your first drill set as a qualified watchstander. it's not after spending 3 weeks standing port and starboard, 6 on and 6 off.
it's when you hear "FIRE FIRE FIRE IN THE REACTOR COMPARTMENT UPPER LEVEL" from our lady friend the bitch in the box. full scram, because they isolated all control power, since the "smoke was coming from under a key transformer. full scram on the battery, at cruising depth. up goes the boat to periscope depth, you've got the generator feed reg valves in manual, and you hear "PREPARE TO SNORKEL". guess what's on your watchstation? the damned diesels. so you feed the generators up, run over and open the port cylinder petcocks, hit the voice tube and tell the upper level watch, who is now a diesel operator, check generator levels, run back to the forward end of the diesel, check the fuel lineup, and start cranking the lube oil pump until it develops enough pressure for the D.O. to roll the engine, then rush back and shut all the petcocks, yell up to upper level, and start cranking the lube oil pump again until the D.O. rolls it with air for an air start. then check generator levels, adjust as necessary, and run over to the other diesel and repeat the performance. then get generator levels under control again, and prepare to maintain the generator levels while running back and forth between the diesels to check lube oil levels and open the exhaust line drain valves "just to be sure" there's no water, and then back to the generator levels until the reactor is up, and you are high enough in power to shift back to automatic.
and you didn't screw anything up. no level alarms, diesels running fine.

then you know you are qualified that watchstation.

and if you really have your act together, start shaking like a dog trying to pass razor blades once it's all over and done with, because YOU know just how close you came to screwing it all up, and the ramifications to the plant and the boat if you had.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

more submarine memories

i was on the seawolf during her last refueling overhaul. throughout the entire evolution, i shook my head in wonder. HOW the hell are they going to get this thing back together enough to take it to sea? we had hull cuts big enough to load a captain's gig in through. that means all the electrical, hydraulic, air, steam, seawater lines and anything else that traveled along the hull where they made the cut, all were cut off, blanked or capped. we are talking a serious number of vital systems, cut and blanked, or just left to hang there in the breeze. sure, i understood the shipyard knew what each and every line cut did, where it went, and was already marked for reassembly. knowing didn't make me feel any better.
one of the unusual things about the seawolf was that each of her turbines had its own condenser, rather than only one condenser per side in the engineroom. we lined up the 8 thousand gallon per day evaporator steam condensate drains to the port generator typically.

so here we are, on sea trials. for the uninitiated, sea trials is where the shipyard and the navy try everything they can to make sure all systems work as advertised at all advertised depths. taking the boat down to test depth the first time is a long, slow, and carefully orchestrated evolution. once there, you cycle all kinds of stuff to make sure it doesn't bind up and that it will work when called upon in a real world situation. huge test program. at the end of the evolution, we did an airless surface, which means we drove the boat to the surface without blowing down the ballast tanks. slowly.

so we've been to sea for a couple of days, and sea trials seemed to be going alright. there were some minor dings, but overall, things were working well. this was a testament to the thoroughness of the shipyard test program throughout the entire overhaul sequence. we were getting close to the end of the evolution, and only had an emergency blow to the surface from depth to complete that phase of seatrials. things were going so well that the engineer allowed E-div to work on one of the motor generators, because the brushes were sparking something fierce. the boat was leveled to a zero bubble, no way on the ship in preps for the major depth excursion test when...BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM. five extremely loud explosions rocked the boat. i was in my rack, just waking up to get ready for watch relief. SLAM the after watertight door in the engineroom hit the stops, and SLAM the ventilation bulkhead flappers were shut and latched. the bitch in the box gave her typical two clicks on the 1 MC that preceded all announcements and then "FIRE FIRE FIRE IN THE ENG..." and the whole boat went black. i mean fucking black. it was so smokey in the stern room berthing area that you couldn't see the emergency battle lantern mounted on the forward bulkhead 20 feet away.

i scrambled out of my rack, opened the storage locker and began handing out EAB's (emergency air breathing masks that plugged into the ships 100 pound air system). when everyone had one, i took the last one out and put it on, then ran forward to the watertight door, grabbing a set of headphones. as the senior 1st class in the comparment at the time, i assigned guys to check the status of the berthing and stern room, and put a guy on the phones at the after hydraulics for the steering and diving. we were so busy getting all the info so we could report to control that i don't think any of us was rattled...yet. a couple of minutes after we were able to make our report, and request permission to enter the engineroom as the casualty assistance team (which was denied) i realized i was standing there buck naked. not even a pair of socks on. and i wasn't the only one. we took turns on the phones as we got dressed. for the next 20 minutes or so, we could only listen to what was going on over the phone circuits as the onwatch section tried to recover the plant. we took an air sample at the hatch and found the carbon monoxide levels 500 times the lethal level, and that wasn't in the affected compartment.

we were stuck in the ass end of the boat, behind the engineroom. all of those old WWII movies ran through my head, where some of the crewmen were trapped on the other side of the casualty, and couldn't be saved. soon, we felt the boat tilt up as the ballast tanks were blown. we ascended without any way on the boat, so when we finally broke the surface, it was like a cork released from the bottom of a swimming pool. we had a 5 to 7 degree starboard list, and the boat was wallowing in the waves. they finally let a couple of us into the engineroom to help line up the diesel for power and to emergency ventilate the engineroom. the whole starboard side of the forward engineroom was black. 5 of the 6 main power cables coming off of the bus bars on the turbine had simply evaporated, leaving 18 inches of airspace between ends. the locker above the cables was slagged, and the 2 1/2 inch combination wrench on the top shelf was now a pair of ends with no middle. the deckplate was slagged, as well as the heads and valve covers of the starboard diesel. the starboard motor generator was toast.

during the recovery, where an electrician stood with his finger holding the overload button in on one of the motor generators to keep it from tripping, we got every chemistry alarm in existence. but since we were in pretty dire straits, they decided to ignore them until the steam generators were back on line, and the main engines were operating. we were able to cross connect the starboard main to the condensate header and isolate the starboard turbine generator (the culprit in this little exercise). i won't say what we found in the generator, or what the levels were, but the navy's limit was exceeded by 19 times in one generator, and 15 times in the other. we finally figured out that the engineroom lower level watch didn't cut out brine dilution from the 8k evaporator when the shit hit the fan, and it backed up the shell and overflowed into the air ejector condenser, and into the port turbine generator. crapped up the whole plant. since the whole plant was in a pretty bad shape, the skipper denied me permission to do my immediate actions for the casualty. even the reserve feed tanks were contaminated, but to a much lower level than was in either steam generator. that's why he was the captain. he was paid to make those kinds of decisions.

when we pulled into mare island, the local paper got a picture of the boat, with a couple crewmen laying topside. the caption was "sailor's bask in the february sun following a successful seatrial". actually, the doc had them up there because of smoke inhalation.

we spent another 3 months getting the boat put back together, with new main power lines to the switchboards. apparently the insulation on the wiring was at least 20 years old, and lifting the leads to silverplate the connectors cracked the years of paint that had accumulated, giving a false impression that the insulation was ok. all of the angles and dangles of sea trials, plus just the vibration from operations cause oil vapor from a seal to drop the dielectric constant of air low enough that the cables completed a circuit to the deck above, blowing the hell out the place. the navy estimated that the first explosion was about the equivalent of 5 sticks of dynamite, based on how far through the snorkel exhaust piping copper atoms were blown. and there were 5 of them.

a no shit complete loss of all power at depth during sea trials, with an accompanying electrical fire is something i can say i've done, but don't even want to experience again, not for a million dollars.

i wasn't a hero on that one. i was stuck on the other side of the bulkhead, listening to my fate being decided by the actions of the watchstanders in the engineroom. i didn't get into the action until after we were surfaced and lining up to snorkel. but i was close enough to know i don't ever want to do that again.

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Thursday, June 16, 2005

add another bubblehead to the list!

slowly but surely, submariners are becoming a presence on the blogosphere. doing my usual search for all things submarine, i found another one! welcome to submarine sailor.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

food blog 3 of 3, grilled asparagus and salmon

wife told me that we were having salmon for dinner tonight. cool. then i read a recipe in the local rag that looked damned interesting. so we tried it.
my rant on the "fresh caught/farmed" salmon issue. i don't eat farmed raised salmon. i just don't. i don't like the color, the flavor, or the texture. if all i have is farmed raised, i'll eat a peanut butter sandwich. fresh caught salmon has a flavor and texture all of it's own, and farmed salmon just doesn't cut it for me. sorry, that's just the way it is. fortunately, there is a great selection of fresh caught alaskan salmon in the markets, so i was in luck.

now before we get started, let me talk about after work dinners. you know how sometimes it's just too damned much work to fix a killer dinner, so you just throw something together? this dish, including the 20 minutes it took for the coals to be ready, took less than 40 minutes from the very start until we were sitting down to eat. so don't think that because you are working, that you can't have an elegant and tasty meal in about the same time it takes to toss some junk together to fuel the body.
and as for formal dining, i think this is the dish we are going to serve at our next dinner party. it's really really good.

i'll type in the recipe as it's written in the paper, with my comments in bold

Warm salad of asparagus and salmon with lemon vinaigrette and toasted pine nuts

not sure where the whole "salad" thing comes from, but don't let that put you off. this dish rocks as the main course.

  • 1 1/2 Tbs lemon juice (i used the juice of 1/2 a big fat lemon)

  • 1/2 Tsp grated lemon rind (grated the rind off of the 1/2 lemon i used)

  • 1/2 clove garlic come on. who in the world uses 1/2 clove of garlic? 2. 2 cloves minced were perfect. 1/2 clove garlic. give me a break

  • 2 Tbs Extra virgin olive oil

  • 1/4 Tsp dijon mustard (more like 1/2 tsp, if you ask me)

  • 1/4 Tsp sugar

  • Few shakes salt

  • Freshly gound black pepper

  • 14 thick spears asparagus (14? who the hell counts asparagus spears? i just used one bunch from the produce aisle. 1 to 2 pounds of asparagus maybe? counting asparagus spears. now i've found someone even more anal than me)

  • 2 (4 or 5 ounce) salmon fillets, with skin on if i'm eating salmon, a dinky 4 ounce fillet isn't going to cut it. Di bought 2 fillets and they weighed in at around 1 1/4 pound total

  • 1 1/2 Tbs olive oil plus olive oil for brushing

  • 1/4 cup pine nuts d'oh. pine nuts. i'll tell you about them later

  • 2 heaping Tbs chives, cut in 1/2 inch lengths blew this off. i've got enough garlic going that the chives would be too much. like them, just not in this dish, not tonight

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. if using outdoor grill, prepare it. (WTF is she thinking? this begs to be prepared on a grill, with charcoal. As a matter of fact, i went out and bought a grill just for this purpose today. hey, you can never have too many cooking gizmos. it's the law. bought a neat little Weber Smokey Joe portable grill. my other one (bought in 1977, and still kicking) is pretty big for just 2 salmon fillets.
If using stove-top grill, prepare.
Whisk together lemon juice, lemon rind, garic, olive oil, mustard, sugar, salt and pepper, and set aside.
this is what that looks like, using MY version
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Wash and break asparagus spears at point where the tough stem meets the tender part. Cover a baking sheet with foil and pour on a little oil. (or cheat a little for some extra flavor and use an italian salad dressing like garlic and herb, or whatever. Plain olive oil is good, salad dressing with the oil and vinegar, and seasonings...better) Roll the asparagus in the oil and roast in the oven (NOT! Grill those babies) for 7 to 10 minutes, until tender and slightly brown. watch carefully; the time it takes depends on thickness of spears. no kidding. here's what that looks like ON THE GRILL
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Wash and dry salmon and sprinkle with salt and pepper, and brush all sides with oil. salmon, mmmmmmmm
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Following the Canadian Rule, (measure the thickness of the salmon and cook it 8 minutes to the inch for medium rare), place the salmon on the grill, skin side up; cover it and grill until grill marks appear, about 4 minutes. never heard of the "canadian rule" before, but it works pretty well. only we cooked ours an extra 2 minutes on the skin side to be done a little more than medium rare. it was PERFECT
Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts in toaster oven. ok, this is going to hurt. first of all, i used the broiler.
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bothenook cooking tip of the day: don't forget the pine nuts, or else you will end up remembering them when you smell them burning:
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i'm sure they would have been fantastic on the dish. guess i'll have to wait until the next time to find out. not knowing what it's supposed to taste like, the dish was great without the pine nuts.
Turn the salmon and cook a little longer, as directed. this is where i got into trouble with the damned pine nuts. usually don't have troubles multi-tasking during cooking. except for nights like tonight. d'oh
Arrange the asparagus on each of two plates in fan shape. Place the salmon on top; sprinkle with pine nuts (d'oh). Whisk the dressing again and spoon over the salmon an asparagus, then sprinkle with chives maybe next time
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click for larger image

so what do you drink with a great meal like this? we corked a crisp and light Hess Select 2003 Chardonnay that went perfectly with this meal. at $10.00 a bottle, and it's local, how can you go wrong? i've not yet met a Hess wine i didn't like. they are damned good. some of their reds are superlative, especially the ones made from dry farmed grapes on mount veeder. world class reds, especially their cabs.
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as always, if you try this recipe, or it inspires you to try something different, please let me know how it turned out. i'm always looking for fresh and clever ideas to improve my own cooking skills and recipes.

for a complete list of my online recipes, follow the link here

food blog 2 of 3, fast pasta primavera

ever had pasta primavera? what the hell is it? well, it just a bunch of veggies and pasta. fancy name, simple dish. how simple? following my directions, you can be eating this dish in the time it takes to boil the pasta.

  • 1 red pepper, cut into strips

  • 3 zucchinis, sliced into thick rounds

  • 1 pound greenbeans, cut in half

  • optional, i head of cauliflower, cut into bite size chunks, and a couple heads of broccoli, ditto.

  • 1 pound of pasta. i used angel hair, simply because it was the only pasta in the pantry, but rigatoni, bow-tie, fettucini, or really, any pasta will do

  • italian salad dressing. i use good seasons garlic and herb mix for a lot of cooking chores. it works really well in this dish, but any italian or similar dressing works well. i use red wine vinegar when making this, along with olive oil.
  • grated cheese. i like asiago cheese, so that's what i used on this dish. Parmesan works too.

bottom line: use the veggies that are in season. this dish changes throughout the year, depending on what we find at the farmer's market, or the local supermarket.

prep the salad dressing per label instructions:

how does this only take the time to cook the pasta? easy. first, get the water on to boil, adding a palmful of kosher salt (my favorite for cooking...no weird iodine taste to contend with) when the water starts to boil.
HINTuse a steamer pot. you know, the kind where you boil the water in a pot, with a steamer double pot on top.
prep the veggies while the water is coming to a boil.
since i used angel hair, and it cooks in like 5 minutes, i put the veggies in the steamer as soon as i got them cut up. i left them there for about 3 minutes after the water started to boil. if you use a pasta that takes 8 to 10 minutes to cook, everything goes on the stove at the same time.

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once the water is boiling, lift the steamer basket, dump in the pasta, give it a stir or two, and place the steamer back on top on the pot.

when the pasta is cooked per package directions, remove the steamer, and drain the pasta.
place the pasta in a bowl, dump in the veggies, and top with a good healthy dose of salad dressing, and toss.
plate, and grate the cheese right on top.
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time from starting the water to table, about 20 minutes. yummy. as you can see from the photo, one of my favorite condiments is
vietnamese chili garlic sauce. the one available around these parts comes from Huy Fong Foods. i use this to give the dish a big kick in the pants. it's in keeping with the calibiri style of cooking, only it's a vietnamese rather than italian seasoning. um um good. go easy on it though, unless you are a true pepper head.

as always, if you try this recipe, or it inspires you to try something different, please let me know how it turned out. i'm always looking for fresh and clever ideas to improve my own cooking skills and recipes.

for a complete list of my online recipes, follow the link here

food blog 1 of 3 quick and easy romaine salad with chicken

I was at the book store the other day, and as i usually do, i was wandering around the cookbook aisle. i saw a book that was nothing but salads. hmmm. now who in the world needs a cookbook to make salads? and then i thought "well, hell. i make killer salads. i can do this and post it on the blog." and that's what i did.

this salad is quick and easy. it works as a dinner all by itself.

want to know how quick and easy? buy a rotisserie chicken at your local grocery or deli. how's that for quick? it's cooked, seasoned well, and ready to use. what you don't use in the salad can make a great cold lunch the next day. works for me.

this serves 2 normal people, or 1 bothenook, for dinner.


  • 1 romaine heart, washed and torn to bite size pieces

  • 2 stalks celery, cut on the bias

  • 1 red pepper, slices and chopped to bite sized pieces

  • 1 avocado, cut into slices. tricks of the trade: cut avocado in half, remove pit, score the meat down to the shell in slices, remove with big spoon. voila...perfect avocado slices.

  • as much roasted chicken as suits you

  • salad dressing. i like Girards Oriental Chicken Salad Dressing for this salad. yummy, and locally made to boot.

layer the lettuce, celery, peppers and avocados however you like. the levels of flavor and textures here are a real bonus to this salad.
top with chicken, and pour on a good oriental chicken salad dressing. no fried chow mien noodles for the carb phobics. and vegans could just leave the chicken out. it's all good.

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as always, if you try this recipe, or it inspires you to try something different, please let me know how it turned out. i'm always looking for fresh and clever ideas to improve my own cooking skills and recipes.

for a complete list of my online recipes, follow the link here

today's bumpersticker

seen on the back of a ratty red pickup truck:


Tuesday, June 14, 2005

sarcasm at it's best

my bud bubblehead spud turned me on to one of the great sarcasm sites out there some time ago. i follow but don't participate. today's entry struck me as particularly pithy. we've been talking about grades and the grief the profs get if students don't receive the grade they "deserve" rather than the one they "earned". this whole levelling the playing field only works if the you're the one elevated by filling in the hole. how do you take the measure of someone fresh out of school if not by their performance IN school? except with a very few classes, putting in the minimum effort, attending class, and doing the assignments will get you at least a "c". if i'm interviewing someone, and i see they had lousy attendance or crappy grades, it's not too big a stretch to believe their performance at work will mirror their school performance.

quip of the day

my supervisor came in and asked "what do you say to a man who has two black eyes?"


"Nothing. he's already been told twice"

Friday, June 10, 2005

carnival of cordite #17 is up

yup, you read right. cordite. things that go bang, boom, blooey. my first cordite carnival and it's over at Eric Grumbles before the Grave. i posted my 38 special things that go bang entry. i am going to be spending a lot of time wandering that corner of the blogosphere. a lot of time. damn. hey, really, who needs sleep?

Thursday, June 09, 2005

they're surfacing!

found another bubblehead. well, kind of, anyway. our group blog over at Ultraquiet No More is drawing them out into the light of day. this is so cool.
anyway, welcome to rob of Slightly Rough. he was a former spook, and in his own words was "an effin' rider" that rode the boats. welcome friend. jump in, the water's fine!

i snorted. really, i snorted

i hardly ever snort. chortle, chuckle, guffaw, sure. but snort? a few quotes and you'll see why:
When you switch to the Dark Side, do you have to go to Sith HR to fill a bunch of forms? If the Jedi Council finds out you’re looking to switch sides, they send guards to make you empty out your desk and escort you out – or at least they used to. Apparently the fired guy always did a backflip once they were outside and decapitated the guards.

If you’re going to be using a lot of Force Lightning, you’re going to want a good moisturizer. It’s hell on the gums too, apparently. Forget about brushing and flossing, pal – they don’t call it the Dark side for nothing.

Only in a George Lucas movie can a 55-year old Senator kick Samuel L. Jackson’s ass.

Didn’t see all the political overtones, perhaps because I wasn’t in a mood to look for them. Expecting pithy pointy political insight from Lucas is like reading transcripts of Spongebob episodes to learn about perils and stresses on the marine ecosystem.

who, you ask? why lileks, of course

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

the online book challenge from rob

so here i am, innocently reading my email when i get this challenge. and i can't refuse, because it's about books, dammit.
i'll have to figure out some means of getting back at rob.

You answer (in a blog post) the following questions, and "tag" (i.e., pass on) this challenge to five other bloggers.
(Bonus points for Amazon/Borders links to the books in the questions.)
(1) Number of books you own: honestly, i don't know. just a wild assed guess, between my wife and me, probably several thousand. i know that i have at least 500 military history books, and that's only one genre.

(2) Last book bought: The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini

(3) Last book I read: The Devil's Secret Name, by Jim Morris

(4) Five books that mean a lot to me: ok, this is going to be the tricky part. most of the books that mean a lot to me were some of the first books i read. why? because they were either milestones, or shaped me and my future.

  1. Johnny Tremain by Ester Forbes and Lynd Wood. this was the first BIG book i ever read by myself. it was almost 300 pages long, and to a 4th grader, that was an accomplishment. the fact that the book was about the revolutionary war and it's time helped. i think i read this in about 4 nights. didn't get much sleep, and i think i used all of my dad's batteries. i think this book probably set me down the path of public service. no joke.

  2. "You Were There on the Nautilus", author unknown. This book, read when i was in the 5th or 6th grade started my life long love and fascination with everything submarine. it was one of quite a few juvenile adventure books like "you were there with jimmy doolittle". you get the picture. they were actually pretty informative, and i can't really say i have a lot to disagree with what i read in them, compared to what i've learned since.

  3. sorry, but the next one is not a book, but an author. in the summer between 7th and 8th grade, i read the entire collection of Zane Grey. my dad had a book club set with all of his novels. i read them all. something like 30 or more. the two that i remember to this day were Riders of the Purple Sage and Under the Tonto Rim. in this modern day and age, moms across the country would throw their hands in the air and wail that some poor malleable mind was warped by a western writer. all i can say is i'm glad i read them when i did. i learned some pretty important lessons in those books. honesty, courage, self-reliance. anyone with a kid in middle school might consider a couple of zane grey books. you could do a lot worse.

  4. The Making of the Atomic Bomb, by Richard Rhodes and it's companion Dark Sun; The Making of the Hydrogen Bomb by the same author. since i'm a science geek, and chemistry and physics were my easily pushed buttons, these books are a natural. the science, politics, intrigue, and human egos are fascinating. since the making of both the atom and hydrogen bombs were a basic underpinning of late 20th century american society and it's interactions with the world since 1945, understanding more about them seemed like a good idea. both are excellent reads. and edward teller was an ass. brilliant, but an ass.

  5. About Face: The Odyssey of an American Warrior, by David Hackworth. one of the saddest things i've experienced as an adult was the slide into asshattidness (dare you to find that in the spell checker) that hackworth exhibited in the last couple of years of his life. when i first read this book (it had been in the bookstores exactly 5 minutes before i bought it. the clerk was still pulling copies out of the box to shelve) i was bowled over. this man was an american hero with almost no peers. to say he was a warrior's warrior doesn't even come close. he was intelligent, bold, brave, brash, and brilliant on the battle field. having grown up as an army brat, i'd heard a lot of the same stories from my father and his buds about korea. since i'm a military history junkie, (mainly strategy and the motivations behind the battles) hack filled me in on some harrowing and dangerous actions i'd either heard about or read somewhere else. his no bullshit straight to the heart of the matter of leadership showed in his writing. he may be gone, but his books will forever be a part of any true martial library.

dayam. i haven't even scratched the surface. there are more books on my "they changed my life, or they changed my way of thinking, or they simply entertained the hell out of me" than i can list. since i've averaged between 2 and 5 books a week since i was 10, and i'm 50 now, you can imagine how many books i've read. right now, for instance, i'm reading the kite runner, Gringos:A Novel, by Charles Portis, rereading Street Without Joy, by Bernard Fall again for like the 15th time, and for brain nachos, a sci fi book Fallen Dragon, by Peter F. Hamilton. i'll probably finish them all by sunday, and then it's on to the next pile waiting for me to explore.

and so to the passing of the challenge:

here ya go guys: pigboat sailor
my amigo Dwardo
and last, but certainly not least skippy-san the far east cynic, who doesn't have an email link, so i'll just have to go beat him up on his own turf....

i think i've picked a couple of great characters to do this one. i'm really interested to see what comes up.

mil-bloggers and the MSM

one of the most gripping first hand accounts of the iraq war was from a mil-blog by cbftw. in his blog MY WAR, he gave some of the most intense descriptions of what it was like over there that i've read. at first, it was quite detailed, but then he was counseled to tone it down, so it was "we went somewhere, and did something" and then came back. even that was intense. the maturity he exhibited was amazing. well, i've finally found out who he is. he's a 28 year old from new york. no wonder his writing carried a sense of maturity. i was thinking 18, 19, maybe 20 on a stretch. he was 26 when in iraq.
and now, there's really good news. he is publishing a book this fall with his entries as the basis of the book. i really can't wait. i WILL be buying this one in hardcover, simply because i don't want to wait any longer than i have to, and the paperback won't be out until next year.
anyway there is an article from the usa today rag here that discusses his blog, his book, and military bloggers in general.
one of the things that stood out when i read the article was the following statement:
Also driving the growth: The feeling among some troops that the "mainstream media" aren't telling the whole story about what's happening in Iraq.

"Look at the run-up to the Iraqi elections," says Jason Van Steenwyk, a captain in the Florida National Guard who writes the blog Countercolumn. He served in Iraq from May 2003 to February 2004.
Before the Iraqi elections, Van Steenwyk believes, TV networks and newspapers focused on the potential for violence and low turnout. "But the soldier blogs," Van Steenwyk says, "were pretty optimistic. The people who weren't surprised when the elections went off as well as they did were the soldiers and the Iraqi people."

many of us that have contacts on that side of the world have been saying this all along. folks that only get their news from the big 3 or a major metropolitan newspaper like the NYT are not getting the straight story. i really don't understand why not, but i know why not. it seems as though the "press" is in default mode where everything the current government does is bad, and has to be reported in such a way as to bring maximum embarrassment or completely ignored if they are unable to spin it enough to show the military or the govt. the way they'd like.

i'm not saying that free speech should in anyway be affected. what i am saying is that by exercising their free speech and the freedom of the press in the manner most notably seen on cbs or cnn, we may eventually lose that freedom.

Monday, June 06, 2005

one of the best d-day posts i've read this year

if you've been reading my blog for long, you have probably come to the conclusion, rightly, that i am impressed by and admire the writings and critical thinking skills varifrank displays with almost every one of his posts. i once again direct your attention to his post on d-day. this is eloquent and elegantly written. his previous posts are killer as well.
now for another stroke post: i can talk rings around hyper teenager on meth, but my writing skills, while not poor, need grooming to come even close to the standards some of the bloggers out there exhibit. if you want to see a couple of examples of well reasoned, and well delivered ideas and thought, check out any of the posts by varifrank, or willyshakes, gus,the two blogs by the state department republican underground new sisyphus and the daily demarche or the king himself lileks, either in his daily bleat or in some of the other projects he has embedded into his site.
as a matter of fact, there is another d-day post you should read from dr. demarche. getting the thoughts and conclusions from folks like him is why the blogosphere is educating a large chunk of the population in ways our universities would be well served to study and emulate.
you all make me wish i'd spent more time studying english, and less time studying the english student sitting in front of me. but in my defense, comparing the structure of a paragraph and the structure of a well filled sweater ... not much competition there for a hormonally infused post adolescent male.
it's a bitch playing catch up.

crossposting a sea story

we've got a lively thing going over at the new submariner's blog. a small torrent of sea stories is flowing on the site, and i posted one there myself today. need a break from politics, social ills, bad news, and whatnot? need a submarine fix? check it out!

Saturday, June 04, 2005

why i went into the submarine service.

compare and contrast these two images of young military men taken during the performance of their duties.


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hmmmm, smoke a pipe and drink coffee, wear loose comfortable denim clothing in an environment where you've really got to be good to find me, or......

is there any wonder why i went submarines? i could have joined the green machine and ended up in some armpit southeast asian country. instead, i ended up in wonderful mare island, and idaho falls, and then back to mare island and points west

the consequence of no consequences

the bay area has some of the most affluent, and some of the poorest neighborhoods in the country. richmond california is one of the latter. at least a big portion of it is. tucked away behind the "other side of the freeway" is a whole different story, but it's all richmond. in today's sf chronicle is an article about one of the high schools in the area, DeAnza High School.
a couple quotes from article to get an idea what i'm ranting about. i suggest reading the entire article. you will probably be pissed too.

What was, not long ago, a proud neighborhood school with many parental boosters has become an outpost of commuter students, some of whom ride the bus from some of the toughest neighborhoods in the West Contra Costa Unified School District.

And the trend is rippling across the sprawling school district, which serves 35,000 students in five East Bay cities. Communities like Pinole and Hercules look on with alarm when they see that the De Anza parents have given up and pulled out, their children have transferred to other schools and teachers are leaving in droves.

ahh, the wonders of forced bussing. one of the quickest ways to disrupt a community and it's identity is to force it's children to attend schools away from their own neighborhoods. and why is the exodus from this school so pervasive?
"Behavior problems were not being dealt with. You were taking your life in your hands to walk down the hall,'' says Patty Halonen, who taught math at De Anza for six years. She lives in the neighborhood and saw a son and daughter graduate from De Anza in the late '90s. She got fed up and left in 2001 to teach in Marin.

and why isn't there something being done to make the school safer?
Over and over, you hear the same complaint -- there are no consequences for bad behavior. bolding by editor

why? i know this will strike at the heart of one of vigilis's favorite topics. we have become so litigious that the schools are afraid to enforce ANY kind of discipline whatsoever, because they could be sued to their knees. what have we done to our society where it is common practice to turn away from disruptive and destructive behavior because of a lack of an "over preponderance of evidence". i know there were better ways out there, but when i was in high school, the "board of education" was still a viable control tool, and was NOT spared. to hell with the child's "self esteem", if your behavior fell into the category of "take a trip to the councilor", you were almost guaranteed a swat or two on the ass. serious swats that made you see stars, and sit gingerly for hours later. and of course, when you got home it was a hundred times worse, because the school would call and let your parents know. in most of our homes, dad was a hell of a lot scarier than some overweight overworked school bureaucrat. and there were no calls to the cops because your dad beat your ass. chances are, if he needed help holding you down to get a really good swing, he'd be able to call a cop for help.
So, for example, when De Anza students burst into Larry Hatfield's computer graphics classroom earlier this year, threw a trash can at a bank of computers and a 20-ounce bottle at Hatfield, no one was punished. Hatfield even had photos of the assailants, but they had covered their faces.

"We have to have an over-preponderance of evidence,'' Greenwood says. "There's due process.''

and why don't these schools just toss the losers out to fend for themselves? in districts millions of dollars in debt, they need every student and the approximately $7000 per that the state funds for their education. but who in the hell is getting educated in anything but street survival in these schools?

and now in california, some handwringing losers in our state legislature are trying to cap the cop's ability to pursue bad guys. yes, there are accidents, and yes, people still die, innocent and guilty alike, during high speed pursuits. but what the hell is going to happen when the bad guys can do some illegal action, and get away cleanly to do it again and again when all they have to do is speed away from the scene? cops won't be allowed to chase them, so where are the consequences of their action? you want to wait for them to die and rely on some religious belief that they'll finally get theirs? what about poor victim number seven of many that was beaten or robbed or both by repeat offenders that know all they need to do is "run away, run away"?
sometimes i start to think i understand those whackjobs that finally lose it and decide to take out their frustrations on society or on those they feel have done some wrong. and that, my friends, scares me most of all.

the latest from the "stan"

from my young amigo doing the hard duty over in afghanistan

Hey there,
Well things in the stan are as strange as ever. Unfourtunatly we lost a guy last week and another lost his legs. Gaddamn IED's. Cant do anything about them except hope you dont run one over in your truck. Put me in a fire fight any day of the week no problem, but a bomb buried in the road you cant do much about. On the good side we killed about 60 of them in the largest firefight the stan has seen since Anaconda. But I wouldnt doubt it if all that missed the news. We are heavly over shadowed by Iraq here. Its so bad that you can see that in our equipment and living quarters. But we make due with what little we get.

the action he's talking about could be this one.

do you want to tangle with these guys?.

if you are a praying person, keep our young kids in your prayer.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Carnival of Recipes #42 is up

over at Conservative Friends. there are a couple recipes i'm going to have to give a whirl. Grilled Tequila Lime Shrimp Tacos look dynomite, and Allan has another good looking shrimp dish that should be damned tasty. of course, i'll have to find the jar of goodies he used, but the Indian population in this area should make that easy to do.

oh, did i mention that allan recommended the following cookbook to me? it's hilarious, and yet somehow fitting for this fat bastard's style of cooking. that would be me, not allan.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

everyone needs a goal in life

and i think this guy has a great idea.

new group blog up

over at ultraquiet no more. it will be mainly submarine stuff. joel over at the supid shall be punished is the originator of the idea, and blog daddy to the Ultraquiet no more site.