Category Archives: Food and Drink

i really love trader joe’s

This week’s LA Daily is all about an awesome cookbook Anne and I discovered entirely by accident, and how it’s made cooking fun again:

When I was in my early twenties and had the dual luxuries of copious time and disposable income, I loved to cook. I cooked different things all the time, experimented with various styles of cooking and ingredients, and wasn’t afraid to take a chance on something exotic. “What’s the worst that could happen?” I thought. “I’ll just make something different if this doesn’t work out.”

Then I got married and had kids. My days got longer, my responsibilities grew exponentially, and the whole concept of free time became a memory so distant, I wondered if it had ever really existed at all.

I still cooked, but I had a new set of priorities. Instead of grabbing a cookbook and picking out a recipe that looked interesting, I had to ask myself: How long would this take to prepare? How much is it going to cost to feed two growing boys in addition to two adults? How likely is it that the kids I’m working so hard to feed are going to complain about the uniqueness of the meal I’ve prepared? Wouldn’t it just be easier to order take out or throw something in the microwave?

I had resigned myself to a lifetime of culinary boredom until last month, when my wife and I came across a cookbook that singlehandedly made cooking fun, easy, and affordable again. It’s called Cooking with All Things Trader Joe’s, and it is exactly what it sounds like: choose a recipe, head into your local Trader Joe’s to pick up the ingredients, and make your friends and family think you’re a hell of a chef.

We’ve been making something different every night since we got this book, and it’s just awesome. I wish I’d discovered it years ago.

fish should be dead 5 hours before deboning

I’m pretty sure that voice over is Mike Rowe, and assuming this is real, there’s no way the people behind this didn’t know exactly what they were doing.
(via cglynne on Twitter)

highlights from my damn geeky weekend

So my geeky weekend was totally awesome, and there were a few moments I thought I’d share. Before I get there, though, I need to clear something up: On Friday, as I was running out of the house, I said "Go see Iron Man this weekend. It is awesome. I saw a preview screening on Monday, and other than
the score (which is absolute crap) the movie is damn near perfect. I
think it’s the best comic book movie since Sin City, and blows
Transformers and the last two X-Men movies into oblivion."

Uh. Yeah. I don’t know how, but I managed to leave Batman Begins and Ghost World out of that, which is further evidence that I am a complete moron. Lots of people disagree with me about Sin City and X-Men. Those people are all wrong, of course, but my leaving out Batman Begins and Ghost World is just inexcusable. I deeply regret the error, and hang my head in shame while I carefully fold up my nerd cape. I’ll be in the corner for a little bit, thinking about what I did.

Okay, now that we’re done with that, allow me to share some highlights from my weekend with you:

Friday night I said to Anne, "When I finish this martini, I’m going to think it’s a great idea to have another martini. It will, in fact, be a very bad idea for me to have another martini, and I’d appreciate it if you’d remind me of that fact when the time comes."

When the time came, she wasn’t at the table. Oops.

Saturday morning, we unsurprisingly slept too late to get breakfast at the hotel, so we went to a supermarket and got yogurt, bananas, juice and stuff. I think we ended up having a more healthy and less expensive breakfast than we would have had at the hotel.

I wasn’t nervous at all about my reading at Mysterious Galaxy, which was really weird. In fact, while we were driving there (Anne was driving, I was reading from my book because I got it into my head that it may be a good idea to try something new about 20 minutes before showtime) I said to Anne, "You know what’s weird? I’m not nervous at all." It was at that very moment that I got nervous.

There were more people at Mysterious Galaxy than I was expecting, and when I walked into the store, the whole place fell silent and everyone was staring at me. You know how you walk into a room and feel like everyone was just talking about you? It was like that. I mean, they probably were, but it was still weird. It didn’t do much for the nervousness.

When I started my reading, I heard words coming out of my mouth, but I didn’t know what they were. I do that when I’m nervous and haven’t prepared any introductory remarks. If you were there and noticed this, thank you for not booing me.

I usually read blue light special and maybe exactly what I wanted, but I thought the MG crowd would be entertained by and relate to beyond the realm of the starlight. It turns out that they liked it, so my last minute decision to change the usual program was rewarded. In the future, though, I think I’ll stick with the cards, lest I get a visit from Nick Fury when I’m done.

Unrelated to this post: Time Machine is making a backup right now, and it’s making my mouse jumpy. That is SO FUCKING IRRITATING.

Right. Back to business:

After I was finished reading, I took some questions. The thing about this is that nobody ever has questions when I say, "I’d be happy to entertain your questions," but when I’m signing their book, they have tons of questions, so instead of getting to tell my hilarious and charming jokes to everyone, I get to tell them to one person at a time. I must come up with some way of helping people not feel self conscious when it’s Q&A time. I should also clarify that I don’t mind answering questions or getting my geek on when I sign your book. In fact, I’ve noticed over the years that when I sign books for people, we almost always end up having some huge geek moment about movies or software or other geeky topics. I absolutely love that and hope it won’t ever go away.

While I was signing books, a girl about my age walked up to the table. She extended her hand and said, "Hi, I’m Gina."

"Hi Gina," I said. "It’s nice to meet you."

"I’m a blogger," she said.

"Oh? Cool!" I said. "What’s your blog?"

"It’s called ‘Lifehacker,’ and –"

It was at this point that I completely lost my shit and spent the next eleventy hundred minutes telling her how much I love Lifehacker. I think I slimed her pretty hard, but she wrote the nicest thing in the universe about me on Lifehacker today. Uh, wow. Thanks, Gina!

I also met a reader who nearly made me cry when she told me about her relationship with her stepdad, and how my books were a part of it. Stepkids: it means more than you’ll ever know when you tell your stepparents how much you love them, and when that moment finally comes where you accept how much we love you back, it’s the most cherished moment in our lives.

Saturday night was much more sedate and responsible than Friday night (and how lame and old am I that 3 martinis now qualifies as crazygonuts?)

Sunday morning, we got up early enough to eat breakfast in the hotel, and I wished that we hadn’t. I had a waffle with berries and maple syrup, but forgot to ensure that the "maple syrup" wasn’t that corn syrup bullshit that makes me sick to my stomach before I infected the entire waffle with it. I still ate about half of the waffle, though, because I was so hungry.

"I am really looking forward to eating lunch at Stone," I said to Anne, "because I’m seriously thinking about going all Karen Carpenter on this breakfast."

We eventually made our way up to Escondido, wandered around the beer garden (which is awesome and beautiful) and settled in for a nice long lunch.

It ended up being longer than I’d initially planned, because the restaurant was ridiculously busy yesterday, and we didn’t get our food until about 15 minutes before I was supposed to go read. As I watched tons of people stream in with my book in their hand, I got the nervous stomach and couldn’t eat. Awesome. Greg Koch, who is the co-founder of Stone and invited me, reminded me that, once people are in the beer garden, they relax and live on "beer time," which is much more laid back than real time. This actually put me at ease, which is very hard to do before I am about to perform.

Oh! Please enjoy this moment from lunch, which I sent to Twitter:
  Anne: It’s Jedi day! Me: What? Anne: May the Fourth be with you. Me: OMG I am so sending that to Twitter.

My reading was great. There were about 50 people there, and I felt like my introductory remarks were much better than they were at MG, probably because I spent some time really thinking about what I would say. Amazing how preparation helps me feel prepared, isn’t it?

There were lots of questions when I was done, and I had a good time answering them (some marginally inappropriate answers were brought to you by Oaked Arrogant Bastard Ale.) I think everyone had a good time, and Greg said that I could come back with future books, which I intend to do as long as I can keep coming up with stuff that’s worth reading.

After the reading, we had dessert, and I was finally able to enjoy a Ruination IPA. Anne drove us home in time to watch one of the funniest episodes of Family Guy I’ve ever seen, and I ended the night watching one of the most exciting NHL playoff games I’ve ever seen.

It was a fantastic weekend, and I want to thank everyone from Mysterious Galaxy (which has autographed copies of all my books, now, if you want to order them) as well as everyone from Stone who put on these events. Most importantly, though, I want to thank everyone who made the effort to come out and spend some time with me this weekend. I did my best not to suck, and I think I mostly succeeded.

I’m going to live forever

Well, it’s official: Guinness is good for you!

The old advertising slogan “Guinness is Good for You” may be true after all, according to researchers. A pint of the black stuff a day may work as well as an aspirin to prevent heart clots that raise the risk of heart attacks. Drinking lager does not yield the same benefits, experts from University of Wisconsin told a conference in the US.


The Wisconsin team tested the health-giving properties of stout against lager by giving it to dogs who had narrowed arteries similar to those in heart disease. They found that those given the Guinness had reduced clotting activity in their blood, but not those given lager.

There are, of course, some caveats:

A spokesman for Brewing Research International, which conducts research for the industry, said she would be “wary” of placing the health benefits of any alcohol brand above another.

She said: “We already know that most of the clotting effects are due to the alcohol itself, rather than any other ingredients. It is possible that there is an extra effect due to the antioxidants in Guinness – but I would like to see this research repeated.”

Clearly, this requires more research, for which I am happy to volunteer.

(via Propeller)