Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Walk On Through The Dark

Walk on
Walk on
Walk on though the dark
But you'll never walk alone...

Well, alone I am, but walking...not so much.

I developed a pain in my right ankle a couple days ago and it's failed to get better. Oh, it's fine if I don't put any pressure on it, but when I try to walk...

Oddly, after I get moving and endure the pain for a while it seems to get better and as long as I remain on my feet and walking the pain starts to fade away. But once at rest, it's back, and with a vengeance.

I'm sure it's just a sore tendon or muscle and not really joint related. It's not gout or arthritis, I know what they feel like too. I won't pay it much mind. But if it weren't for its timing, I would likely call out until it feels better even at rest since I think that walking around on it may provide temporary pain relief but it can't be good for overall healing, right? I'm not sure. I have noticed my legs and feet do their own thing in relation to the rest of my body when it comes to healing injuries and wounds. Basically, it takes forever for even a small scratch to heal, nevermind something internally like this. Diabetes is real, I guess.

The timing is bad because I've just started my twelve day marathon at work and when it's all said and done, I should see some 26 hours or so of overtime/holiday pay. That's about $640 EXTRA added to my December 11th paycheck. That week should see the distribution of the Holiday bonus check as well so....yeah.

So I will overcome the pain. I shall march on. For God and Country? Fuck no...for the money! #PoorLivesMatter

Recipe Ressurrection

The last time I had my mother's famous (in our family anyway) dessert, which she called "Jewish Coffee Cake," was well over twenty years ago since I don't remember having it after they moved down to Florida in 1995. But somehow, though her own recipe likely died with her more than a decade ago, I was able to resurrect the Holiday-time favorite by making it this weekend. I expected the first try to be "close but no cigar" since I was working from a base of present-day recipes found on the internet. But, as it turns out, I think I can exclaim triumphantly, on behalf of my happy taste buds and distinct memory: By Jove, I think I've got it!

Here's the recipe. Items in red are edits I made before completion. The original is found here.


1 cup sugar
4 teaspoons cinnamon
6 cups peeled thinly sliced apples (about 3 large apples or 6 small apples)
3 cups flour, sifted
1 tablespoon baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1 1⁄2 cups sugar
1⁄2 cup light brown sugar
1 cup oil
1⁄2 cup orange juice
2 1⁄2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional) or 1 cup chopped pecans (optional)

The top two ingredients were intended, as the instructions below state, to be part of a glaze or "syrup" as the OP puts it to soak in the apple slices before insertion in layers into the cake. I instead blended these dry ingredients into the cake batter (streusel-style) just before adding ANOTHER cup of sugar (and some more brown sugar too), along with an unmeasured additional amount of cinnamon (about 6 teaspoons), as the topping sprinkled evenly on top of the cake batter. 

I didn't bother with sifting. I have no idea what benefit that would do as my version came out quite fine without sifting, thank you very much.

I opted to adhere to my memory of my mother's original recipe which did not have nuts. I personally think nuts would taste fine in this cake but then it wouldn't be authentic.


Mix apple slices with cinnamon and 1 cup sugar; set aside.
Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl; set aside.
Beat eggs with 1 1/2 cups sugar and light brown sugar.
Alternately add the dry ingredients and the oil to the wet ingredients, then add the orange juice and lastly the vanilla and beat for 1 minute.
Pour 1/3rd of the batter into a greased and floured tube pan.
Layer 1/3rd of the apple slices and nuts over the batter.
Repeat with layer of batter, then apples and nuts, then batter, then final layer of apples and nuts.
Drizzle the cake with a bit of the remaining cinnamon-sugar "syrup" from the apple bowl.
Bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/4 hours or until tester comes out clean.
Allow cake to cool in pan on wire rack for 20-25 minutes, then turn cake out onto wire rack to cool completely.

As mentioned above, I didn't mix the sugar/cinnamon with the apples. 

The original author assumes one would use either a bowl mixer or hand mixer. I have neither. Just a rinky-dinky little wire whisk and elbow grease. So I dispensed with this alternating style of blending ingredients in favor of the infinitely much easier "dump-everything-in-together" style.

I didn't do this layering. My mom did what I did, just added the apple slices to the mixed batter and mixed them in before pouring the whole thing into the greased and floured pan.

Again, no drizzling, I blended the dry sugar/cinnamon mix with a wooden spoon swirling it into the batter and apples. Then I coated it all with the additional sugars and cinnamon as a dry topping.

And here's a picture of the completed product.*

*Please note: I'm posting this before actually taking a picture of a piece of the cake. So, if there isn't actually a picture here where I indicate, that means I couldn't even hold back until I took the picture and ate all of it. Yes, it's that good. And yes, I'm that potentially gluttonous I'm afraid.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Drunk In Space

Before I was the de facto "quicker picker-upper" of The Commonwealth, I was, if you remember, a stalwart bounty hunter cruising at hyper light speeds around our neck of the galaxy in Elite: Dangerous. Of course, I'll be back once this current obsession with the new Fallout wanes a bit but I neglected to post these embedded vids I made of my IPA-fueled escapades.

Here you go...Saluté.

Oh, and these two wherein I may or may not have been sober. Hard to tell sometimes...

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Strolling Through The Commonwealth

Well, as you'll see in this video below, more like running through The Commonwealth.

I'm totally losing sleep playing this game. It's so immersive. It's everything I expected and more. Like one guy said in a a recent Fallout 4 forum post "I bought the game expecting to roam the Wasteland killing raiders but instead I'm trying to decide what color living room furniture I should outfit my settlement base with, like it was The Sims: Post-Nuclear Apocalypse version." So true.

Here though, I'm not bothering with base building, I'm out bravely exploring the dangerous environs. And soon after I enter this building, I wonder why I just didn't stay in Sanctuary that morning.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

La Guerre Ne Change Jamais

So since I sleep during the afternoon, I was unaware of what happened in Paris when I went to work last night. But when I flipped open my laptop and went to reddit, my current de facto start page of sorts. I saw a post about some hockey arena done up in red, white and blue lighting. At first I thought it might be some American commemoration of the recent Veteran's Day holiday, but then I read it was the French tri-colors and comments alluding to some terrorist activity that had gone down.

Oh shit, my stomach was in a knot and I was feeling a bit dizzy. "What now?!" I thought.

These are the times we live in, my friend.

I clicked over to CNN and read about the attacks. That same feeling of utter despair and woe came over me, just as it had back during 9/11.

It made me think about two of the recent activities I've been wrapped up in this week. On the one hand I'm currently playing a computer game all about brutal survival in a dismal post-apocalyptic Boston of the future. Yes, an altered-timeline future, for sure, but still eerily possible in many ways. On the other hand I'm also playing a lot of another video game where I pilot a spacecraft and visit star-system after star-system filled with billions and billions of people. A galaxy wherein humanity's technological achievements make zooming from planet to planet as easy as driving to your neighborhood grocery store.

I think it's pretty obvious we're never gonna make it to the stars. It's better odds we'll be plucking radiation-infused, scrawny tomato-like fruits off withering plants and living in wreckage and debris.

Until the last, sickly, starving survivor dies, praying in futility to his god who, of course, isn't, and never was, there to hear him. Allahu Akbar. Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu. Glory be to God. It's all the same. Just means "I'm a stupid, stubborn fuck who'll kill everything in "Your" name until there's not one motherfucker left"

Too soon? No, too late. *Drops mic.

Monday, November 09, 2015

War Never Changes

That may be, but let's see if technology changes. For some games, that is.

Tonight at midnight, the much ballyhooed release of Fallout 4 will take place and I like so many other geeks will be there in virtual line to download my copy for a mere $60. I can only hope it's everything I dreamed of.

The added plus of the setting being, this time, in New England is just another level of excitement I can barely stand. From the concept artwork maps, it looks like I'll even be able to visit my hometown!

The big concern I have, along with many other gamers it appears, is the graphics of the game. Why is this a problem in 2015? In the past, game producers kept the graphical aspects of games a bit backwards in order to accommodate players with obsolete machines. Bur it's been a tradition now in the past few years to make games that can only be played on higher end systems, This is what I expected for Fallout 4.

We'll know in just a few hours now, but I'm betting that the lower res graphic programs were what was given to the press and other reviewers. The actual gameplay graphics are destined to blow our minds.

EDIT: Oh it's fantastic! Graphics look great...yes the facial modeling and animation is a bit wonky but it's the vistas and the structures that we explore that really matter and they look great. The sound design is superb, but the background music can get a bit over powering at times. After downloading and installing, I immediately became immersed in this new wasteland called "The Commonwealth," rife with such memorable locations in the Boston area, of which, since I hail from that area, I'm personally familiar with.

Had to call out of work last night in order to vigilantly keep up the hunt for my son Shaun and help out my fellow Comonwealthers. Came in tonight and admitted to my co-worker that I'd come down with a touch of radiation sickness but after a bit of Rad-Away I feel good as new. She knew what I meant.