Wednesday, August 29, 2012

With a name like this...........

I was able to schedule some time in the FTI commissary over the weekend to attempt to produce some jam as a result of the fine gift I received a few days ago. All in all , it was a fairly easy process and I look forward to sampling the results. It was a fairly simply operation with only a minor hiccup.

Key to making jam is having some type of thickening agent to add to the fruit. I scoured the voluminous FTI resource library and found the "Cooking and food Preparation; Frozen/Preserved; Jams, jellies, compotes" section to determine the best method to follow in producing my project. The recipe included the need for commercially produced pectin. Not wanting to run to the store as I know we didn't have any on hand, I noted that the book mentioned that apples are a high source of natural pectin. You peel two tart apples, finely grate them, boil them with a little bit of water and gradually the pectin will be produced into a liquid form that can be used for my purpose. I thought "perfect", here is my answer. I dutifully followed the directions and began to boil my apple. For minutes. And minutes. And more minutes. At some point, I realized this maybe wasn't working the way I thought it should. The rolling, boiling stuff I had on the stove had changed from a clear brothy liquid to a brown foamy mass that didn't seem to be doing much. Thinking that, perhaps I should test this concoction, I took a small spoonful of it and dropped it into a cup of water. It immediately turned into a strand of caramel. This ladies and gentlemen, is the "hard-ball" stage when making candy. Though it is desirable when making homemade toffee for Christmas gifts, it is not beneficial when preparing a thickening agent for homemade jam as I had long since surpassed the point of viability in this process. I thought it might be a bit odd, but I will try it this way anyway. I dumped the mess into a strainer to remove the bits of apple and that is where a slight glitch occurred. Upon immediately hitting the dry cool area outside of it's boiling environment, it immediately turned to hardened caramel. The edge of the strainer, the sides, the sink, everywhere. What a mess. To top it off, the stuff is as hard as cement and would certainly chip a tooth if you tried to eat it. I did taste some and, though it definitely tasted like caramel, it was so hard and solid that there is no way you could chew it. Fortunately, Mrs. Kfred was yakkin' away on the phone to someone which provided me the nearly 15 minute cover to clean the mess up without her even knowing of my issues. I realized I had suffered a crop failure, threw the first batch out, and decided to go to the store the next day, get the pectin, and follow the recipe to the letter. I did so and now have regular jam. Whew. What a relief.

I'm not sure all of my efforts were worth it. I probably should just fork out the $4 for the jar and buy some Smuckers off of the shelf. I wonder if they have ever considered a toffee jam. I have a great recipe.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

OH!, It get's better

Our two faithful readers will note an update and change to the Example of Greed countdown clock located at the side of this page. How does that saying go: It's darkest right before dawn? I think we are approaching that point. The ongoing Dopes trial has been one of great frustration and disappointment. As admonished here many times previously, if you ever, EVER, consider entering into a lawsuit for any reason, either as a plaintiff or defendant, immediately phone your local mental health crisis line and schedule a visit for a complete check-up. There is obviously something wrong with your thinking. Do everything possible to avoid any such action. 

In a nutshell, due to the dragging of feet by the judicial system, our victory in Superior court, and now on appeal, has languished in the halls of Appeal court scheduling and was referred back to Superior Court for a particular motion to be addressed. Like most venues around the country, the courts are clogged with criminal matters which take precedence over civil matters. Amazingly, Shifty's assistant was able to cut through the fog and actually camped outside the office door of the original Superior Court judge's office and was able to speak with him for a few minutes yesterday, explain the situation, and talked him into adjusting his calendar to an earlier date to address our case. As a result, our September 21 hearing to determine the amount of mo' money to be placed in the court registry has been moved up to September 6. Additionally, he will also sign an order that day compelling the other side to pay for the full transcription of the record to support their assertions in their appeal. Cost: Around 10K. Additional monies needed to be going into the court registry: Around 50K. Total: Nearly 60K. Ouch!

To top it off, Shifty, our lawyer, announced he would like to host a barbeque in late September with us, his staff, co-counsel, etc. As he states: "A family affair would be nice. My treat." Of course, the fact that we have already paid him approaching 200K for this whole affair shouldn't preclude him from offering unlimited Ballpark Franks for our enjoyment. After all, everyone knows, they plump, when you cook 'em. All kidding aside, it is a nice offer.

We are all anxious to get this affair over, collect our judgments, and move on with our lives. We all have other matters to attend to and Shifty has other cases to work on. I can't speak for the idiot judgment debtor developer. I am not sure he will ever learn a lesson from this whole matter. It doesn't matter. He's not coming to the barbeque, anyway.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Wait until your Father gets home

I note that the Rich Dad, Poor Dad series is coming to my area in the near future.  It is a wealth accumulation seminar series based on the best selling book of a few years ago that costs absolutely nothing to attend, but, of course, they will  strong arm you into buying their additional books, CD's and other materials once you get there.   Their radio ads include come-on statements including this one which I really had to listen to twice:   "Why you will never get rich saving money".    I thought this is kind of silly, but, oh well. To each their own;  there is always someone out their hustling other people to make a buck.  I, on the other hand, sleep soundly knowing I have access to our own financial guru here at FTI.  

We here at FTI draw on the knowledge, wisdom, and experience of our own Dickie the Peap who used to run his own series, Cheap Peap, Cheap Peap until repeated complaints forced the entire operation to shut down. Apparently, the complaints did not come from the few attendees bussed in off of skid row to give the appearance of popularity on the promise of free food (only to each get a package of saltines accumulated from repeated orders of Wendy's chili), but rather, from past attendees. The strategy of advocating little to no tipping, "grinding" down the amounts of presented invoices regardless of the amount, and failure to disclose the potential medical liabilities of the repeated classic "short-arm reach for the tab" move added up to be just to much. The gig was up.

Ill bet Dad wasn't too happy about that.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Best Wishes are in Order

Recent page maintenance and analysis of this blog's readership has uncovered the fact that our loyal readership has now doubled, and yes, we are back to two faithful readers! This is a milestone event! Congrats to all of us! Let's have some cake and ice cream!

Though we have an ample supply of ice cream in the FTI commissary, due to staff layoffs, I recently had to let our FTI baker go. As a result, I directed Gummo, The Balloon Boy, to go out and get a store-bought celebratory cake marking this event. I felt a little positive reinforcement for our hardworking staff would be in order. As our budget is a bit tight here at FTI, I instructed him to be wise with the limited funds allotted for this purchase and to pick up "something nice".  Upon his return, Gummo excitedly told me that not only had he found a nice cake for use at our celebration, but, that it was a lavish creation that was cancelled at the last minute by the mother of the intended recipient and that he had bought it at a steep discount to it's original asking price.  This immediately caused me some concern as  I knew that Gummo had been listening to some of the crazy financial philosophies of Dickie the Peap earlier but felt that, under these circumstances, no further harm or embarrassment would be showered upon the FTI Brand.

I was obviously wrong.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


To our lone faithful reader:

I apologize for the pending Old-person post in advance, but this truly is something that gets your correspondent fired up.

I got a phone call last night from Andy Capp announcing he had something for me and would like to bring it down.  I had no idea what he was talking about, but figure, that if someone is willing to give me something, I will take it.  If I like it, great.  If not, I will give it away without their knowledge and no harm is done.

An here is what he brought to me:

To the uninitiated,  these are fresh blackberries picked off of the thorny, prickly, bush about 30  minutes earlier.  They are rampant around my area, but not specifically on the grounds of the compound. When I moved in 6 years ago, I specifically cleared these way back as they have the ability to overtake all vegetation in the area and can get quite dense and troublesome.  They grown vines that can reach 20 feet and are as sharp as a needle when you run into them.  The trade-off, however, is they offer some of the sweetest, most wonderful fruit in all of nature and are truly a treat to eat by the handful when in season let alone to use as in ingredient for cobblers, pies,  jams, or syrup.  In fact, I plan on being in the FTI commissary later this weekend to attempt to make some jam while Mrs. Kfred has promised me a fresh cobbler for dinner tonight.  

Currently in the store, pints of these are $3.99 each. At that rate, I have approximately $75 worth of fruit! Ah, Summertime and the living is good.

Monday, August 13, 2012

How I Spent my Summer Vacation

While originally thinking it entertaining to write through the eyes of an incoming 4th grader in describing my recent 4 day sojourn, I realized what an insult that would incoming 4th graders. Their writing and descriptive abilities are far superior to the comprehension of our staff and most of our readers (save our single faithful reader). As a result, I will attempt to recap my small adventure in the most succinct terms with as much effort as our faithful reader can appreciate. Painstaking planning, careful calculations, and a large dose of "where haven't I been lately that would be cheap and cool at the same time" landed Mrs. Kfred and myself in Oregon's Crater Lake National Park this past weekend. And what a wonderful spot it is!

The lake is over 1900 ft deep and is the deepest freshwater lake in the US. The blueness of the water is breathtaking and (in your humble Executive Director's opinion)every bit as blue as Lake Tahoe. Since it is inside an old volcano, there is no development, homes, cabins, boat launches or any type of commercial activity save for a pair of boats operated by the Park Service that tour the lake. We were remiss in not having reservations, so couldn't enjoy the lake from the water, but did drive the nearly 33 mile loop around the lake by car that includes about 25 turnouts where you can stop and take pictures and just admire the grandeur of it all. This loop is every bit as challenging and potentially scary as the Going To The Sun Highway in Montana's Glacier National Park. I can confirm this small tidbit of information as evidenced by Mrs. Kfred's constant reminders of "Look Out!, Slow Down!, and Watch It!' on the very same type of continuous rotating audio loop that played when we were on that trip years ago. My gentle reminder to her that she was no longer acting in official capacity as the FTI Safety Director during this time, was no longer "on the clock", and would probably best enjoy the tour without the repeated  safety warnings, earned me an approximate 30 mile loop of solitary thought as the cone of silence immediately descended over her area of the front seat. For what it is worth, I used the time during this remaining 30 mile jaunt wisely by examining my actions. I soon discovered the faulty logic in my thinking, realized the errors in my ways, and to avoid any further need for further re-education, decided to  admit my obvious mistakes and beg for forgiveness as, certainly, I did not understand the true ramifications of my actions. Only upon the completion of that soul cleansing process, could I fully appreciate my experience in the park.

Anyways, should you ever find yourself in the Pacific Northwest and wondering about the true meaning of life, take a moment, kick back in one of the rocking chairs at the lodge, order an  India Pale Ale on a warm summer's day, and take it all in.  You won't be disappointed.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Just so there is no misunderstanding.....

If you think there truly is nothing here of any importance and still came to check, I commend you: You really do need to get a life and obviously aren't afraid to admit it. Otherwise, you wouldn't be here. Writing this in advance 12 hours ago, the power of the internet allows me to schedule this to publish at a predetermined time. I am currently off on extended weekend for 4 days and am feverishly collecting and observing life to share with you later in new, stupid ways. In my absence of original thought, let me share these pilfered "Man Rules" as forwarded to me by Marv the Neighbor.

The Man Rules

We usually hear 'the rules' from the female side Now, here are the rules from the male side. These are our rules! Please note.. these are all numbered '1 ' ON PURPOSE!

  • 1. Men are NOT mind readers.
  • 1. Learn to work the toilet seat. You're a big girl. If it's up, put it down. We need it up, you need it down. You don't hear us complaining about you leaving it down.
  • 1. Ask for what you want. Let us be clear on this one: Subtle hints do not work! Strong hints do not work! Obvious hints do not work! Just say it!
  • 1. Come to us with a problem only if you want help solving it. That's what we do. Sympathy is what your girlfriends are for.
  • 1. Anything we said 6 months ago is inadmissible in an argument. In fact, all comments become null and void after 7 Days.
  • 1. If you think you're fat, you probably are. Don't ask us.
  • 1. You can either ask us to do something or tell us how you want it done. Not both. If you already know best how to do it, just do it yourself.
  • 1. ALL men see in only 16 colors, like Windows default settings. Peach, for example, is a fruit, not a color. Pumpkin is also a fruit. We have no idea what mauve is.
  • 1. If it itches, it will be scratched.. We do that.
  • 1. If we ask what is wrong and you say 'nothing,' We will act like nothing's wrong.We know you are lying, but it is just not worth the hassle. 1. If you ask a question you don't want an answer to, expect an answer you don't want to hear.
  • 1. You have enough clothes.
  • 1. You have too many shoes.

    There. I think that covers it.

  • Wednesday, August 8, 2012

    Ya got nothin' else to say?

    A slow period of renowned summer thinking and policy analysis, so, lets get down to some simple observations:
  • No longer suspected, instead, now confirmed: Justin Bieber is an idiot. Some guy that wears a Little Richard, comb-up, girly hairdo, spouting off about Prince William's receding hairline and then passing it off as a "joke" is, well, not very bright. Get back to us in 15 years Pretty boy. You might be surprised what you look like as well.
  • The increasing personal attacks in the Presidential race affirm my dislike of either of these guys. And the media doesn't understand why Americans are so disillusioned with politics. Would it be too much to ask either guy to tell us what they truly intend to do to help us than snipe about the other guy's shortcomings? (Editor's note to our lone reader: The preceding was the only grumpy, old guy, rant in today's contribution. We now return to the inane and meaningless).
  • Though multi-functional, some kitchen appliances have limitations. British firefighters say they saved an apartment from destruction after its domestically challenged resident tried to dry his wet socks and underwear in a microwave oven. The fire destroyed the appliance along with the two pairs of underwear and socks inside it, and caused smoke damage to the apartment in Weymouth, a town on England's southwest coast. The fire safety message here is to never put clothing of any kind in the microwave or an oven to attempt to dry them. Leftover lasagna, though, tastes great when fresh out of a dryer run in fluff cycle mode.
  • I am scheduled for a personal leave of my duties here shortly and will return with new stupidity, fresh idiocy, and updated pointless observations at that time.

    Wednesday, August 1, 2012

    Disappointment, do you know no shame?

    Word that, once again, the patience of the good guys is constantly tested was confirmed with the recent acceptance of the idiot developer's appeal brief and argument by my state's Court of Appeals. The fact that is was 5 days late and 45 pages over in length conflicts with their own administrative rules, yet somehow, "Justice" is being served. Now, it's Shifty's turn to succinctly and punctually refute the gibberish offered by little Pinocchio and set me and my fellow plaintiffs up to collect the moolah as it steadily mounts.

     It truly is not about money any more. I just want his to end , but, I will never give up.  Ever.