Categories
Artsy Fartsy Photography Season's Greetings!

Merry Christmas!

Station Mall Center Court Christmas Tree, 2010.  Sault Ste. Marie, ON  Taken November 8th, 2010 with Nokia N97 Smartphone
Station Mall Center Court Christmas Tree, 2010.
Sault Ste. Marie, ON
Taken November 8th, 2010 with Nokia N97 Smartphone

This image is available from Les Becker Designs as a greeting card! Click the pic to check it out!

Categories
Artsy Fartsy Les Becker Designs Season's Greetings!

Snow. And a Sales Pitch.

Yup, That's Snow. Photo © Les Becker, November 27, 2010Taken with Nokia N97 Smartphon
Yup, That’s Snow.
Photo © Les Becker, November 27, 2010
Taken with Nokia N97 Smartphone

I got up this past Saturday morning to no hot water. Not “run out of hot water” no hot water – I mean, “no water coming out of the tap” no hot water, so… No shower for me.

Luckily, as it turns out, because I was surprised (oddly, considering I’ve lived in the Great White North all my life) to find my vehicle buried under 8 inches of snow.

It took me 20 minutes to shovel the Prissy Van off. I can’t reach the middle of the roof, either, so for all of Saturday she looked like she was wearing a frozen mohawk (now THERE’S a good name for a drink – somebody should invent that).

Thankfully, the plowman had been in during the night, so the driveway was clear. As I was wading my way around the van, brushing and scraping, I had a thought that ‘wouldn’t it be a bugger if I got stuck in that slush border surrounding me?’

And didn’t I get stuck…? Yes. Yes, I did. Note to self: don’t say this shit out loud.

Finally, after wailing to the Universe that I was only kidding, dammit, the van rolled straight out. I went squishiing in to work only 3 minutes late, with both shoes full of melting snow.

Anyway… that’s what’s new with me. Oh yeah, other than Christmas. Christmas is all over the freaking place here. Check out my 2010 Christmas card at Les Becker Designs… in fact, click on that and go buy a dozen cards from me. Your mom will love it, and right now, it’s 50% off! * – use promo code CARDFREESHIP .

And until Jan 1, 2011, you can save 25% on ALL cards at Zazzle – use Promotional Code: CARDSALE25ZZ

Better yet, come to the mall and buy a flat screen tv – I got lots left.

Random Song-for-the-Day: “Raise Your Glass” – Pink

Categories
The Landlady

The $5 School Cake…

Chocolate
“Chocolate”
© Les Becker, 2010
Taken November 21, 2010 with Nokia N97 Smartphone

When Ruby was a young girl, her school in Northland had a fair once a year, in the spring. It offered the usual school fair “stuff” of the era; games of chance, 4H projects, etc., and students could show off (and sell) their needlework and baked goods.

One year, Ruby won a needlepoint contest – got a trophy and everything. Another year, she and her sister Joycie entered a singing contest. They won 10 cents each for climbing up on the back of a hay wagon and singing “The Little Shirt My Mother Made for Me.”

The real killer year for Ruby, though, was The Year of the $5 School Cake.

She and her sisters each baked up something to sell at the school bake table every year. This year, Ruby had baked a chocolate layer cake. It was a beautiful cake and she was really proud of it.

On the walk to the fair, Ruby fell behind a little, walking veeeerrrryyy carefully to make sure her cake survived the journey intact. She was just coming to the edge of the fairground, far behind her sisters, when a stumbling drunk guy comes reeling towards her, and stops her.

“Hey,” says the drunk. “Whad’ya got there?”

Ruby tells him she’s got a chocolate cake to put on the school bake table.

The drunk says, “Yeah? I’ll give you $5 for it.”

Ruby, not being stupid, promptly handed him the cake. $5 richer, she went wandering around the fair grounds until she found her father at the ice cream stand.

Her father loved ice cream. He looked forward to the school fair every year, just so he could get an ice cream cone. He also loved children, and every year, he bought every kid that came along an ice cream cone too.

When Ruby found him, he asked, “Did you sell your cake?

Ruby said, “Yup,” and told him about the drunk, and showed him the $5.

Now, Ruby’s dad had probably just blown (at 5 cents a cone over 20 or 30 kids) around a buck and a quarter. Ruby, on the other hand, had just gained $5 by scalping her own school cake. All her father could think of to do was laugh.

Ruby has no memory of what she might have spent that $5 on, and it drives her crazy that she can’t remember.

“That was an awful lot of money back then,” she says.

All I can picture when she tells this story, is the drunk – stumbling through the woods and across fields carrying a chocolate layer cake…

Not-So-Random Song-for-the-Day: “The Little Shirt My Mother Made for Me” – Marty Robbins

Categories
Zenishness...

Bento Boxes…

"The Zen is in the building of the box - not the eating of it."
“The Zen is in the building of the box – not the eating of it.”

You would think I could have it both ways.

Tha “art” of building a bento box is, apparently, a lesson in meditation. One learns patience and serenity blah, blah, blah while getting the food ready to pack, and then designing a pleasing arrangement in the container.

It gets really complicated if you try to take it seriously and impart “wishes” into the arrangement for the person you’re feeding.

These two boxes took over 45 minutes to create, between the washing, slicing, dicing and arranging and rearranging.

By the time I got finished I was just wishing I’d decided to pack a sandwich. I didn’t get a lot of mediation value for my time, I don’t think.

I have to admit, though, that it kind of did feel like time well spent; I fridged my lunch ’til morning, and went to bed looking forward to an inspirational meal break next day.

By then, though, the serenity spell had worn off. It was a good lunch, but I don’t think the prep. time was worth the few minutes it took to scarf it down.

Random Song-for-the-Day: “California Girls” – Katy Perry (feat. Snoop Dogg)

Categories
The Landlady

I Sits…

Ruby's Wall Taken November 14th, 2010 with Nokia N97 Smartphone
Ruby’s Wall
Taken November 14th, 2010 with Nokia N97 Smartphone

Random Song-for-the-Day: “Love the Way You Lie” – Eminem – featuring Rihanna

Categories
Recipes

“Ugly Casserole”

Sometimes Good Things Look Disgusting
Sometimes Good Things Look Disgusting
3 Ingredients
3 Ingredients

Ugly Casserole is as simple as it gets. You can’t get much more simple than 3 ingredients: ground meat of any kind, a couple of potatoes, and a can of beans.

The ground meat can be anything – what you see here is a combination of ground chicken and ground Ummm. Something – I just can’t remember. Might be turkey.

Preheat your oven to around 350 degrees F.

Meanwhile… mix your ground meat up with whatever spices and/or fillers you generally add. I add onion and garlic powders, pepper and a little hot sauce.

Mix all this around until you think it’s as evenly mixed as it’ll get. Or until you get sick of mixing it. Stick it in the fridge to ponder its last few minutes of rawdom.

It's called a Mandoline Slicer
It’s called a Mandoline Slicer

Scrub a few potatoes really well and slice them up evenly, unpeeled. I like this handy-dandy little whatchamacallit for its speed and the evenly sliced results.

It can be a dangerous beast though if you don’t use a guard. I seem to have misplaced the guard to my slicer, so I have to watch for knuckle shavings in the potatoes.

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Layer the potato slices in the bottom of a glass casserole dish. I use glass to thwart “stickage” later.

Make 2 or 3 layers, dabbing bits of butter or margarine between layers, along with a little salt and pepper. If you have an onion, chop it up and layer that in there, too.

Ewww! and Yuck! and all that...
Ewww! and Yuck! and all that…

Now, take your ball of shmushed-up meat mixture and plonk it right on top of the potato layers.

Yes, raw.

I KNOW!! It’s gross! Plonk it on there, anyway. Now smush it down good and flat and even.

Then, take a fork and poke a bunch of holes into the surface.

If It's Not Ugly, It's Not Done Yet
If It’s Not Ugly, It’s Not Done Yet
Now when you dump your can of beans over the ground meat, the juice will seep down into the forkholes. I don’t know if “forkholes” is a real word, or not, but I like it, anyway.

Now, see, this doesn’t look ugly, yet. Wait for it.

Put a lid on the casserole dish and stick your victim in the preheated oven.

Don't Set Your Hair on Fire Getting it in There...
Don’t Set Your Hair on Fire Getting it in There…
Keep your fingers crossed for about 45 minutes that someone in the house will yell, “What the hell is that smell?” before the whole thing boils over and sizzles itself all over your oven floor.

Nice.

Smart money would have you set a timer and check the thing before it explodes sideways. Me now, I’ve never been too smart with money, so I generally have a mess when I make this.

About half-way through your cooking time – I don’t know… 25 minutes maybe? – you need to check for “done-ness” by poking a longer fork down to the bottom of the dish, and through the potatoes. If the potatoes fight back, you still have a ways to go…

Done and Ugly
Done and Ugly
At this point, though, you should swivel your casserole lid so some air escapes. This would be to help prevent that oven blow-out that I get. Every time.

You’ll know it’s done when you can scoop it out of its cooking dish and it doesn’t resemble bloody brains. Brains are fine, but bloody brains require further cooking time.

It’s done! Enjoy – assuming, that is, that you get the nerve up to put any in your mouth…

Yes, it’s ugly. But it really is good.

Honest.

Categories
Little Bits of Stupid Real Life

Karma, Zen, & a $60 Waste of Cellophane…

Holy $60 Cellophane Halloweén Costume, Batman
Holy $60 Cellophane Halloweén Costume, Batman

Seriously. SIXTY. DOLLARS. I mean, really: Holy shit!

I had to remind myself (repeatedly) through Halloweén week of my recently adopted “Zen” Attitude. Throughout the scrubbing of ketchup and peeling of chewed-up chewing gum from doorknobs (actually, I thought that was hilarious, but that’s just because Ky, AKA Robin, was the one to turn the knob and gross out), to the near-heart attack over the SIXTY. DOLLAR. CELLOPHANE. SUPER-HERO COSTUME (!!!), to the broken tooth (yes, Karma for the ill-gotten gains swiped sneakily from Robin’s treat-bag), I’ve “Ohm”ed and “Zen”ed my way into a whole ‘nother plane of existence.

I’m Zen, baby.

I think I just like saying the word “Zen”. It just sounds , well… “Zen”, doesn’t it? If ever a word embodies its definition phonetically (now there’s a turn of phrase for you – I just made that up!), it’s “Zen”.

And I think I’ve just proven that just saying “Zen” often enough will make you stoned. Now, that’s “Zen”, right there.

Anyway, that’s been my only recent excitement of late. Behind the scenes now, I’ve been busyish with this new space. I’ve been methodically stealing posts from the old blog, “Where the Walls are Soft”, over to here – particularly The Landlady stories, and The Father Chronicles. Once I’ve got them all moved, I’ll actually begin to post untold stories.

And speaking of untold stories, I’ve been posting chapters of my novella, “Magic” here. They’re not “live” yet, cuz I’ve lost my nerve again. Workin’ on that…

Not-So-Random Song-for-the-Day: “Batman” Theme Song – 70’s

Categories
Little Bits of Stupid

She Finally Chewed Through the Glow Stick…

"Feline Flashlight" Taken October 20, 2010 with Nokia N97 Smartphone
“Feline Flashlight”
Taken October 20, 2010 with Nokia N97 Smartphone

Apparently, if you stuff a cat into a paper bag and plug its tail into a power bar…

Random Song-for-the-Day: “Year of the Cat” – Al Stewart

[signoff]

Categories
Photography

The “Off the Cuff” Slideshow

Random Song-for-the-Day: “Angel” – Fleetwood Mac

Categories
Photography R.I.P.

Missing An Old Friend…

"Sheikh" ?-July 23, 2009 R.I.P. Taken April 17, 2009 with Canon PowerShot A550
“Sheikh”
?-July 23, 2009
R.I.P.
Taken April 17, 2009 with Canon PowerShot A550

Random Song-for-the-Day: “Go Your Own Way” – Fleetwood Mac