Absent-Minded Ramblings

Defending the Title

Tonight, my wife and I are descending upon a yearly, Halloween-themed, local charity dinner. We are going because it is for a good cause and because we want to help out, but mostly because we won Best Costumed Couple last year and we have to defend our title.

Last year we had a make-up artist turn us into zombies. We didn’t even know there was a competition, to be honest. We just wanted to be zombies. We were good-looking zombies (or, rather, really nasty-looking ones), and I’m pretty sure we freaked out a couple of people who stopped at a street light next to us on our way there.

This year, of course, we know there’s a competition. So now we feel the pressure. We have to not only be better than everyone else, we have to be better than we were last year. While I have confidence in our get-up, you never know what someone else is going to bring to the table. This is Sleepy Hollow, after all. People do Halloween serious here.

I’m going to trust that we know what we’re doing. But if I happen to see anyone better tonight, I might spill something on them or fall against them and rip their costume apart. Accidentally, of course.

Hey. It’s a dog-eat-dog world.

Let the Blogging Begin!

It has come to my attention that I do not have a blog on my website. That seems like a terrible mistake. Because anyone who is anyone blogs, right? And I’m pretty sure I’m anyone, so that means I’m supposed to blog.

What will I be blogging about? In the coming weeks, months, years, and decades, I will be talking mostly about Walleyed Pike, or simply The Walleye, as it is sometimes known. What makes them such amazing creatures? Why did the blue walleye go extinct? Or is it really extinct? Are there massive hordes of blue walleye hiding out in Quebec, biding their time… waiting…? Why do they hate us so much? How can you survive the coming walleye apocalypse? And of course, how to best please your walleye overlord.

I also might mention new works I have coming down the pike (but not down the walleyed pike), as well as other fun stuff from my life as both an author and a storyteller.

You have been warned.

The Complete and Utter Idiot’s Guide to Cooking a TV Dinner

Hello. Welcome to The Complete and Utter Idiot’s Guide to Cooking a TV Dinner. Hungry? Good! Let’s eat!
Today we’re going to make a Salisbury Steak TV Dinner, complete with mashed potatoes, corn, and brownie. So to start, open your fridge and take out your frozen TV Dinner.
What do you mean it’s not in there? It’s in there, keep looking.
Oh come on, it’s got to be…wait. I’m sorry. Try looking in your FREEZER. See it? Good. Bring it to the counter.
No, those are Vanilla Dove Bars. Go get the Salisbury Steak TV Dinner. It’s probably in a green and brown box. Yes! That’s it. Now bring it to the counter. Very good.
Now then, the first thing you should do is read the instructions. But if you could do that, you wouldn’t need The Complete and Utter Idiot’s Guide, would you?
OK. Open the package. Let me be specific. Open the cardboard box in which your package lies. There should be a pull-tab somewhere on the cardboard box. It’s there. Keep looking. No, don’t try to make your own. Just.. flip it over. See it? Yes! Pull that! Excellent! Good job! Now remove the plastic dish. Very good! You’re a real pro at this!
OK. There’s a couple more steps you need to do. This may get tricky. First just look at your dinner. Notice how the food is separated into four compartments? What do you mean, no? Four compartments! The meat, the potatoes, the corn and the brownie! What do you mean, they all look the same? They’re supposed to be four distinct… Hold on. Turn it over.
There ya go! Now do you see the four compartments? Good! OK. There should be a plastic covering over your dinner. Good. Your meat needs to breathe. Take a fork and…a fork. The spoon-like utensil that has four pointy ends. Right. Take the fork and poke some holes into the plastic covering directly over the meat. The plastic, poke holes in the plastic! No! Get that away from your eye! Jesus!!! Remember the dinner? The plastic beneath you? OK. Poke some holes in THE PLASTIC directly over the meat. You’ll have to hit the plastic a little harder than that to break the seal. OK, good! Good! A couple more! No!!! That’s the potatoes! Don’t poke over the potatoes, only poke over the meat. OK. Very good.
One last thing. You need to remove the plastic covering from over the brownie. But ONLY from the brownie. I said it would be difficult. Your best bet would be to use the fork you already have in your hands and carefully poke some holes at the edge of the brownie and even more carefully rip it off.
This would probably be easier to do with a knife, but there’s no way in Hell that I’m gonna arm you with a knife.
How are those holes coming around the brownie? Good! OK, you can use your fingers for this so just…well first pick the fork up off the floor! Cripes! If you’re not using it, place it in the sink, don’t drop it on the floor, you’ll attract ants! Ants! Little insects that…oh nevermind. Just put the fork in the sink. OK, now use your fingers to pry the plastic off of the brownie, a process made much easier thanks to the holes you’ve carefully poked in the plastic covering.
Great! OK, you can place that little slip of plastic in the trash. Good, very good. Now you’re ready to cook it!
Open your microwave, it’s the big button at the bottom that says “Open.”
No, that’s the fridge. Next to it. Right, there ya go. That’s the microwave. Open it.
Place the meal inside the microwave. Close the door.
You’re not going to be able to close the door until you remove your hand. There ya go. Close the door. OK, I’m gonna go out on a hopeful limb here, does your microwave have a button labeled “TV DINNER?” No? Damn.
OK, we do this the hard way. Press that button that says “Time Cook.” Good. Now, how long did the TV Dinner say to cook? No, of course your dinner shouldn’t be talking to you! I meant on the package! In the instructions!!! Oh for Pete’s…nevermind. We’ll cook it for five minutes, turn it and then cook another five. Screw that. We’ll cook it for ten, period. If you die from eating under-cooked Salisbury steak, so much the better. Program it to cook for 10 minutes. What? Where are you? Start over, start over. Hit the “Clear” button. No, that’s the window! There’s a button with the word “Clear” on it! Push it!!! OK, now push the “Time Cook” button again. Now push the “1” button, followed by the “0” button. And now push the “0” button again. And once more. Now push the button labeled “Start.”
Is it on? It’s on! Yes!!! OK, go sit down. When the microwave beeps, that mean’s your dinner is ready. Take it out of the microwave and eat it!
Take it out of the microwave, REMOVE THE PLASTIC and then eat it.
There ya go! You’ve cooked a TV Dinner! Moron.