The Web 2010

Like a record, baby, right round round round...

For many years, Katie and I have been using a tiny little food processor for our kitchen chopping needs. It's a great food processor, don't get me wrong... just really small. If we were ever prepping a large amount of food, we'd need to use the thing in phases and that just got to be a pain in the butt because you'd rarely have consistency.

A couple weeks ago, we finally took the plunge and bought ourselves a much larger food processor in the form of the Cuisinart Pro Classic 7-Cup Food Processor (model DLC-10S).

Food Processor 14

Geez, these things are not cheap. But once you've taken the plunge, there's no going back.

We used it for the first time last week to make large batches of guacamole and salsa. We like to make a lot of each and have it around for a while and even share with some friends. So if the Cuisinart can withstand all the chopping that would be necessary for Kapgar-scale batches, its place in our kitchen would be cemented.

Here are some photos of the affair. Bear in mind that I forgot to photograph the guacamole and only have shots of the salsa...

Cuisinart 05
Starting with the onions.

Cuisinart 04
Next come the tomatoes. Note the nicely chopped onion bed below
and Katie's blurred hand on the right.

Cuisinart 01
A blur of red through the feed tube.

Cuisinart 03
Adding more tomatoes through the feed tube while the rest is still blending.

Cuisinart 02
After everything is done chopping and mixing.

Cuisinart 09
Good stuff and perfectly made (the way that we like it).

This thing worked wonders with our Tex-Mex night. How do you say "hallelujah" in Spanish?

Here are some photos of the Cuisinart and all the stuff that came with it.

Cuisinart 07   Cuisinart 08
The blade is something you don't wanna mess around with and you don't want near kids. Click through on the photo to see how wicked the teeth are on that blade.

Cuisinart 11   Cuisinart 10
Other stuff includes (clockwise from top left in the first photo): dough kneading blade, detachable disc stem, stainless steel chopping/mixing blade, spatula, stainless steel shredding disc (cheese grater), and stainless steel slicing disc (4mm). In the right photo, we have what's called a flat chopping/baking cover.

Cuisinart 12   Cuisinart 13
The disc stem kinda confused me at first until the LEGO builder in me
put two and two together and got this.

Cuisinart 06
Or I could've just watched the nifty DVD that was also included. Stupid me.

This is a beautiful food processor and I'm so glad we got it. Especially considering we have Thanksgiving coming up and we're hosting this year.

It was also nice that we got it on sale. It was $50 off the list price at CSNstores.com.

My only complaint with the product is that it's not easy to store all the stuff that comes with it. Having some sort of case or pouch to store the extra blades and wheels and lids would be nice. At the very least blade edge covers to protect people as they feel around through their kitchen drawers trying to find them would protect from bloody finger tips.

As for CSNstores.com, I gotta admit I was a bit hesitant to purchase anything there. Why? Well, we've been burned by enough online stores in the past to wind up being very choosy about where we order online. 99% of our online orders are through Amazon or iTunes. Once you've found a place you like and trust, you rarely go elsewhere.

But we tried it anyway.

CSNstores.com is pretty much an online shopping mall. It's got a little bit of everything all broken up into individual stores to make browsing easier. If I could think up a product, I came pretty close to always finding it there.

The only problem was that even if I could find it listed on the site, it didn't always mean it was in stock. I was initially searching for a chef's knife that I had seen in a bricks-and-mortar store and they had it for a good price. However, it was on a 12- to 15-week backorder. So were most other knives I thought could work as a serviceable replacement. Heck, many other brands of food processor were also on backorder. I almost think that CSN would benefit from an advanced search option that would eliminate backorder and out-of-stock items in addition to the options for model, price, ship time, and user ratings. Just to make it easier to find what you want that is available for immediate shipping.

Speaking of shipping, this is where my mind was blown. I ordered the Cuisinart on a Sunday and had it in my grubby little hands that Wednesday. An hour after I got it, I received the shipping confirmation e-mail. No, not the delivery confirmation, the shipping confirmation. This can be perceived as both good and bad. It's good because the shipping was faster than anticipated. It's bad because their e-mail confirmation system needs to be tweaked a bit. For me to have received it on Wednesday, the shipping had to occur on Monday. Yet I didn't receive the confirmation until after I received the product. I'm willing to forgive this right now simply because I got the Cuisinart so quickly.

All in all, my reviews...

  • The Cuisinart Pro Classic 7-Cup Food Processor - 4.5/5.0 stars. I maintain that some sort of case or pouch for all the extra bits and pieces would be nice.
  • CSNstores.com - 3.5/5.0 stars. They have a great and varied selection of products, but a large number of search results came back as out of stock or backordered. And they need to improve their e-mail confirmation system. But I would certainly use the site again, especially if they come back with a better price than Amazon or my local bricks-and-mortar store.

'nuff said.

For the record, and to keep the FCC happy, this is a solicited and paid review.


Nothing stays the same...

Windy HavocI'm so relieved I survived the pseudo Storm of the Century.

I know it knocked down a lot of trees and temporarily knocked out power on a pretty small scale, but, otherwise, it was pretty weak.

A lot of huff and puff, but little true blow.

I actually think there is a greater potential for disaster on my drive to the gym in the morning.

On my way there, I have to traverse a subdivision where a lot of the residents like to run along the street in the early morning. And I swear that every freakin' one of them wears black with no reflective tape or patches or lights at all and it's pitch black when I'm driving. Add to that the fact that there are so many curves in the road in this neighborhood that my headlights are usually pointing away from them by the time I come upon them that there is no possible way in all that's holy that I'll ever see them.

I hate to wish ill on people, but one of them needs to be hit by someone so they and their neighbors will learn to either wear light, reflective clothing or USE THE DAMN SIDEWALK!! Nothing against runners, but this particular batch are morons and deserve what's coming to them if they're not going to be intelligent about how they exercise.

Yesterday was an interesting day in terms of Twitter. Their servers were overloaded, as per usual, and I was craving an avatar change.

So I pitched my standard avatar, which had already turned Pepto Pink (tm) in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Twitter replaced it with their default egg avatar. Of course, the overload meant that nothing I was trying to upload was processing so the egg became a nice big joke amongst all my Tweeps.

Until, that is, the first of my uploads finally processed an hour or so later leaving me with a zombie I had created on the Sears Zombie Catalog site.

Then it became a new avatar another hour later when I created a variant of the default Twitter egg with my face hatching out of it.

Avatars Gotta be honest, I really dig the hatching egg -- as corny as it is -- and I'm gonna stick with it!


All in all, we're just brilliant thieves...

WANTED:
One person willing to write some book reviews for me on my Goodreads.com account. I have fallen a bit behind and really need to get off my lazy ass, but, well...

Titles that need reviews include:

  • Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (book 2) by Bryan Lee O'Malley
  • Scott Pilgrim and the Infinite Sadness (book 3) by Bryan Lee O'Malley
  • LEGO: A Love Story by Jonathan Bender
  • Practical Demonkeeping by Christopher Moore

PREREQUISITES:

  • The ability to write a fantastically compelling book review.
  • It must have emotion and charm and wit.
  • It must sound like it was written by me, which is what I'm going to say it was anyway.
  • It must speak to my true inner feelings about the time I spent reading these books. Since I have no time to detail how I felt about them, you must figure this out on your own.
  • It must conform to AP Style Guide standards. Not really.
  • It must be good, duh.
COMPENSATION:
The internal knowledge that you have written a fantastic review that will make others either rush out to buy and read it immediately or avoid it like the plague. I emphasize "internal" because once these reviews are written, they become the property of Kapgar, Inc. and you will receive no public credit for the writing you have done. I will disavow any knowledge that you participated in this endeavor.

Oh, and no money will exchange hands. Warm fuzzies only.

TIMELINE:
Now. I need them as soon as possible. The books have already been read and my Goodreads page is making me look like a slacker since I haven't updated it with a review in a couple months. Hell, I never even notified people on my page that I was reading any of those four books. How crappy am I? So the sooner, the better. Get crackin'.

SUBMISSIONS:
Please offer up writing samples and/or completed reviews in the comments. If I like them, I'll make sure to copy them into my Goodreads account and delete the comment from this blog to erase any evidence that you wrote it before Google has a chance to index it into its eternal memory.

Good luck!

(For the record, I am not really soliciting reviews. I'm just hoping this will give me the proper motivation to get off my butt and write them myself.)

Cougars A friend of mine just gave me two tickets to see the Kane County Cougars this Sunday. Cool!

Katie and I live a mere five miles from the stadium, and yet we hardly go. I think it's been six or seven years since we've been to a Cougars game.

For the record, the Cougars are a Class A affiliate of the Oakland Athletics. And they're playing the Peoria Chiefs, the Class A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs.

Looking forward to some photos!


We call it Star Wars...

I'm not usually a fan of posting just a video and nothing else, but this Adidas video starring Daft Punk, Snoop Dogg, David Beckham, and Noel Gallagher, among others, edited into the Star Wars Creature Cantina sequence has left me awestruck and speechless...

All I can say is that I'm sad it wasn't me.

Higher res copies are available on YouTube and thank you to Pitchfork for bringing this to my attention.


Is he alive or dead...

This conversation actually happened in the locker room of my gym this morning...

Gary: Hey Kev. Have you seen Iron Man 2 yet?

Me: Yep!

Gary: Chaz [his son] and I have decided it is the perfect movie for four reasons.

Me: Oh? And they are?

Gary: 1) It has lots of Air Force stuff. 2) It has an Audi.

Me: You like Audis?

Gary: I love them. I own a TT convertible, but you've probably never seen it since I always walk or ride my bike to the gym.

Me: You must show me.

Gary: Will do. 3) It has cool engineering stuff and, 4) cool physics stuff.

Scarlett-johansson-iron-man-2_254x340Me: You forgot #5.

Gary: What's that?

Me: It has Scarlett Johansson in a leather catsuit.

Random Other Guy in the Locker Room: YEAH! Now you're talkin'!

Gary: Who? I don't know who that is. But she can't be as cool as my reasons.

Me: We all have our entertainment needs.

ROGitLR: Yes, we do.

One of my reviews was given "Review of the Day for the Chicago Burbs Area" status today on Yelp.

And I never would have known if it weren't for the sudden onslaught of comments and kudos from people I've never met.

Hmmm... maybe I should write some more reviews. This particular one was nearly a year and a half old. Whoops.


Your sex is on fire...

Yesterday, I read a great review of the film Sex and the City 2 from Cinematical's Jenni Miller that confirmed all the fears I have regarding this movie.

Please note that both Katie and I were huge fans of the original series on HBO, but hated the first movie and have no desire to see the second. Another review I read (but cannot find now) said that the show and characters are perfect for a half-hour serial, but too much for anyone to handle in a movie format.

Read below for one of my favorite paragraphs from Jenni's review to see why I fear this film or click through to the entire review.

Sex and the City 2 not only panders to the worst stereotypes of Americans abroad but also to the Middle East. Watch as Charlotte stumbles in high heeled sandals in the desert and tries to get iPhone reception while riding a camel. Stare in horror as Samantha fellates a hookah pipe in public. Check out Carrie as she wanders the beach forlornly followed by her handsome manservant holding an umbrella to shield her from the sun. Look on aghast while the four of them perform "I Am Woman" in the middle of a giant karaoke club, complete with belly dancers. At least Miranda has enough sense to try and get Samantha to observe local custom and wear a little more clothing than usual, despite Samantha's menopausal hot flashes.

Considering my confirmed fears, I would like to offer up four alternative versions of the movie, one focused on each main character, that should've been made instead.

Sex and the City: Carrie's Cackling
In a scene reminiscent of A Christmas Carol, three ghosts visit Carrie to reveal the truth to her about her relationship failures past, present, and future. Although finally confronted with all the details as to why she's been dumped, cheated on, abandoned via Post-It Note, and otherwise loathed, she still doesn't see that it's her own annoying character traits that have caused it all. This movie bombs because Carrie was everyone's least favorite character on the show anyway.

Sex and the City: Miranda's Mullings
Miranda decides to quit her job as a lawyer after one final case... defending a big NYC mafioso against charges of battery, first degree murder, coercion, and anything else you can think of. When her defense fails, his family plants her in cement shoes in the Hudson River. Considering how much she has always preferred her career over family, her husband Steve never realizes she's gone.

Sex and the City: Samantha's Sluttery
Samantha spends the entire movie in quarantine as the CDC examines her and attempts to name the many mutated strains of sexually transmitted diseases and various bodily rashes she has collected during her sexual escapades.

Sex and the City: Charlotte's Shenanigans
My favorite of the bunch... Charlotte cracks under the strain of her "perfect life" facade and tracks down her first husband (Kyle McLaughlin) and goes Rambo on his family. The FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit is called out to help explain her mental snap.

I can guarantee a couple of these I'd be interested in watching.

I like that Norman is already showing his allegiance for the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals.

I shall show mine tomorrow.


Clean, the cleanest I've been...

The concept of "Spring Cleaning" applies to computers and online accounts as well, doesn't it?

Right now, I'm spending some time clearing out my iTunes account as well as my Netflix queue. I'm not sure why now, but I am.

I told myself, back when I got my 1TB Time Capsule that I'd never have to delete music again. I loved that idea.

This morning, however, I found myself with 13,010 songs in iTunes and I realized that I had a bunch of stuff that I just didn't give a crap about. Even though I never wanted to delete stuff again, I did. I tore it up in there and, when all was said and done, I deleted 1,500 tracks. Mostly stuff I had gotten as freebies from Amazon or Pitchfork or the library or whatnot. But they're gone and it feels very liberating. I almost want to go through and find more to eliminate.

As for Netflix, I've had a bunch of movies in there that I just kept bumping further and further down in the queue. A lot of Oscar-nominated or Oscar-winning flicks from the last couple years that just no longer held any appeal to me to ever get around to watching. I think I figured that if I didn't watch them immediately after their release, I never would. Right now, my queue looks a bit like this... 

Queue

...and it feels great!

Some of you may have been reading on some other blogs about their participation in a project involving Stormin' Norman, my little Lego Stormtrooper.

I feel it's about time that I introduce the project here. Right now, it includes a Flickr Pool, a Twitter account, and a blog called Stormin' Norman's Adventures (subscribe to the RSS feed).

It's been a lot of fun to take part in and been a lot more "freeing" to write as someone else a bit. Is it sad that, for the last couple weeks anyway, I've enjoyed my side project more than my brain child?

BTW, a full list of all the bloggers taking part in this project are listed in the right side bar of the blog under "Hairless Wampas." Hey, I like the name.


Come and sail away with me...

Today we did it. We booked our first vacation in nearly two years. Of course, we won't be going on it for more than a year, but it's booked!

Come March 2011, Katie and I will be going on a cruise of the eastern Caribbean as part of a crew of folks celebrating the wedding of Katie's brother, Scott, and our FSiL, Becca. Big woot!

This cruise is going to rock for many reasons:

  • It's seven days of changing scenery without having to repack bags in between
  • We will be hitting four locations we've never been to before including the Bahamas, St. Thomas, Puerto Rico, and Grand Turk...
Cruisemap
  • There are a ton of cool shore excursions to choose from (although the list can change between now and then)
  • We're there with friends and family
  • We get a stateroom with a balcony as opposed to the no-window room from our cruise in 2003...

Stateroom

  • It's already half paid off
  • There will be some killer photo opps
  • Even though we're with family, Katie and I will get a lot of great quality time together

Oh yeah, we're stoked.

I blogged every week day through the entire month of January!

Been a long time since I've been that consistent.

Blog fiber, FTW!

Woo hoo!


Colder than the coldest winter was cold...

We started this new year with bitter cold.

In the last couple weeks, we've been teetering between mid-20s and a balmy high-30s. High enough that, over the weekend, pretty much all the snow melted away and the river outside my office crested its banks.

Today and for the next couple days, though, we're back down to bitter cold and we've been getting a little bit of snowflaking around us. Nothing more than a dusting, really. A teaser of sorts.

I just wish freakin' Mother Nature would shit or get off the damn pot! If you're gonna snow, make it good! If you're not, stop teasing, you bitch!

Jeebus, I'm sick of this crap.

I guess if there's one good thing happening, it's that I left work today shortly after 5 p.m. and there was still some semblance of light around. No, not the sun, which I feel like I haven't seen in weeks, but a hazy, cloudy, brackish white sky. Hey, it's something.

I'm kinda bummed.

[imagine that]

I was trying to take advantage of the Goodreads book swap feature to take a box set of The Chronicles of Narnia books off the hands of someone who was supposedly willing to part with it. Basically this new feature permits you to browse books that other users want to get rid of and then purchase them for nothing more than the cost of shipping.

So I placed the order, submitted my credit card information, received confirmation of the order, and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

And waited.

Nearly two months now since I placed the order and I've received nothing. Thankfully Goodreads doesn't charge your credit card until the seller prints the shipping label so I was able to cancel out of it easily enough, but it still sucks. I was looking forward to this because it was a killer price for this set.

I'm trying to purchase it from another person. Here's hoping this one goes better.


Kickstart my heart, why don't you give it a start...

I went through CPR/AED recertification today. It has been a few years since I've renewed my knowledge and, damn, how things have changed.

Cpr_dummy As I recall, we were supposed to give 15 chest compressions for every two breaths back in the day (yanno, waaaaaaaaay back in 2007, a bygone era) for adults and 10:2 for kids. Or something like that. Just pray I don't have to save your life.

Now, however, according to American Heart Association standards, the ratio is now 30 chest compressions to 2 breaths regardless if you're an adult or a child. The only real change is how hard you press and the immediacy of your CPR actions as opposed to taking time to call 9-1-1 first, whatever.

And, according to my instructor, the European Union standards dictate 100 compressions with no breaths.

Why does something like this change so often and remain so truly unstandardized? Have human beings changed that much in such a short time that we need to adapt this lifesaving technique with this high a level of regularlity? Or is this going to be a butter vs. margarine argument where they keep going back and forth until the end of time as to which is better for you?

But 30:2 is pretty easy to remember... so long as my back and shoulders can hold out through that much chest pumping. I might have to take a break while my patient lies there dying. How inconsiderate of them to make me work so hard to save their life!

Bastards.

Apparently today is De-Lurking Day. Of course, the likelihood that you'll read about this fact before today becomes Friday is pretty minimal. But I'll give it a shot anyway. And, oh what the hell, I'll unofficially extend it through tomorrow. Because this is my blog and I can do that.

So, if you're someone who has been reading my site for a while and hasn't left a comment, why not start now? I don't bite... hard.

Delurkerday