23 December 2011

The Hell With It! I'm Making A List! My Favorite Things

Everyone else gets to make lists.  So I decided that I would.  It'll be mostly music stuff, but I'll splash other stuff in.

28 November 2011

Cranberry Haupia

I make cranberry sauce every Thanksgiving.  It is a really easy dish to make. Throw sugar and water in a pot with cranberries, and boil it until the cranberries pop.  Squish the heck out of the mixture while it's heating, and the skins will mix in and add nicely to the flavour.  Chill overnight.

Traditionally, I make three sauces.  The first is a spiced sauce.  To the cranberries, I add cinnamon and nutmeg.  It's a big hit.  The second is a drunken sauce.  In this, I use some sort of liquor - this year, I used Southern Comfort, but in years past it's been brandy or sherry - in place of some of the water.  Both turned out fantastic this year.

In a normal year, my third sauce is a traditional, with just the three core ingredients, with a little orange juice mixed in.  However, this year, I decided to try something different.  For I had cans of coconut milk, which I was going to use to make haupia.  Haupia, for those not familiar, is a traditional Hawaiian luau dessert, made from coconut milk, sugar, and arrowroot or cornstarch.  I made a test batch of this, and it turned out really good - a mild dessert, with a good coconut flavour.  When it is chilled, the consistency is stiff enough that it can be cut and eaten like a bar, if it is chilled thin enough.

And so, I stared at the ingredient lists for haupia and cranberry sauce.  And I looked at the extra coconut milk sitting on my kitchen counter.  And thought - hey, they are prepared similarly; why not do them both AT THE SAME TIME?  So, I did.

Biggest hit of Thanksgiving. Apparently, cranberry and coconut match extremely well together.

So, without further ado, my recipe. Disclaimer: I'm still tinkering with it a little bit. Also, the recipe is mine. No one else out there has done this. Please don't publish it without asking me first.  You can share this blog post, of course.

Cranberry Haupia

1 can coconut milk 
1 bag (12oz) fresh cranberries
5 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups sugar
1 cup water

Add water and 1 cup of sugar to a large saucepan.  Add cranberries and bring to a boil. When the cranberries start to pop, add the rest of the sugar, the coconut milk, and the cornstarch. Reduce to medium heat, so the cranberries keep popping.  Continue stirring and mashing the entire mixture.

Eventually, the entire mixture will take on a smooth consistency, but you still want it to be a little watery, just short of pudding.  When it has done so - and it will have reduced significantly by this point, remove heat, transfer the mixture to a refrigerator-friendly container, and chill overnight.

It is just that simple.  Give it a whirl. And try other fruits in it as well. I'm curious as to how yours turns out.

04 November 2011

Several of the Things I Love About Canada

When I was 15, I wrote an essay for my English class.  I had just returned from a trip to Canada - Oshawa, Ontario, as I recall - and was really wowwed all around by the country and how wonderful it was.  This was not my first trip to Canada - my grandfather lived in Niagara Falls, NY, so a trip over the border was second nature to me - but it was the first one I wrote about.

12 October 2011

Lessons from Steve Yegge's Google Rant

Late last night, a Google engineer named Steve Yegge made a mistake.  He wrote a very angry rant about Google+, and where Google was failing with it.  He intended the rant for his fellow engineers.  But it was late, and he was tired, and he didn't know Google+ very well.  So, he posted it publicly, accidentally.

31 August 2011

My Experience on a Game Show, Part 8 - The Party and The Unparty

So, here it was.  August 17, 2000.  My wife was uncomfortably pregnant, and yet felt compelling to clean the house.  Because we were going to have two TVs full of Millionaire, and a room full of people who had no idea what was going to happen.  I mean, some of them pieced together parts.  There were those who had put 2 and 2 together, and realized that I was on two episodes - that only happens if you are the carryover contestant.  But those who didn't know about that little piece i.e. who were not lifelines were in for a huge shock.

30 August 2011

My Experience on a Game Show, Part 7 - The "Media Frenzy"

When I arrived at home, finally, I had so many things to do before the 17th of August - the date of the first airing.

29 August 2011

My Experience on a Game Show, Part 6 - Our Last Day in New York

So, here we were.  I was a big fat loser in New York City.  I had blown my big chance.  And it all seemed so unfair!  My answer wasn't wrong.

26 August 2011

My Experience on a Game Show, Part 5 - Episode 130

Linda and I were whisked away to our own private dressing room.  OK, it was more like a very large closet, but it did the trick.  We needed to quickly change to uphold the illusion that this was all occurring 3 days later, not 30 minutes.

25 August 2011

22 August 2011

My Experience on a Game Show, Part 3 - The Pre-Game Show

The 6am wakeup call came waaaaay too early for me.  I am not a morning person.  Nevertheless, Linda got up and showered, and I did the same after her.  Linda and I gathered our things, including our two clothing changes - we were to carry them both other - they had been approved the night before - and a book and shirt I wanted Regis to sign.  We then went downstairs to discover we were among the first to arrive at the van to take us to WABC studios.

My Experience on a Game Show, Part 2 - The Day Before The Show

When we arrived at Laguardia, we went to get our bags.... only to find out that our driver already had them.  That's right.  Disney sent a driver.

My Experience on a Game Show, Part 1 - How I Got To New York

As many of you are aware, I was on a game show in August 2000.  It was a small production, called "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire," starring a little-known daytime talk show host named Regis Philbin.

25 April 2011

Going Viral AND Staying Viral

Friday, March 11, 2011 is a day that will live forever in Internet history.  On that day, the Comedy Central blog dedicated to the show Tosh.0 posted a video for the song “Friday”, by 13-year-old Rebecca Black, as part of a post called “Songwriting Isn’t For Everyone”.  I won’t be taking shots at young Ms. Black’s performance –many on the Internet have – but the song, as written, is awful.  At one point, the lyrics slowly explain the order of the days of the week.  A big conflict in the song is whether the singer will be sitting in the front or the back seat of the car.

10 January 2011

Verizon Wireless Is NOT Getting The iPhone... Yet

I am the Rochester Smartphone Reporter for Examiner.com. Below is my first article. In case it doesn't get published in time - it being my first article, I don't get to do it willy-nilly - I wanted to put it here as well.


Last week, Verizon Wireless sent invitations to an event in New York City. This announcement has been interpreted my many sources, including the Wall Street Journal, as the long-awaited announcement of the Verizon iPhone. Why else, the speculation continues, would Verizon Wireless be so flashy, and not announce this at the Consumer Electronics Show last week? It cannot possibly be anything less important than the iPhone.

However, this doesn't look to be a typical Apple announcement. There are several reasons to draw this conclusion.
  • Apple has announced all their new technology over the last decade either on their own campus, in Cupertino, CA, or at their annual Developer's Conference. Lincoln Center in New York City is neither location.
  • Apple makes their own product announcements. They didn't allow AT&T to announce the iPhone. They didn't allow Zynga to announce FarmVille for the iPhone. Sure, AT&T and Zynga were on stage and in attendance at their respective events, but it was Apple's show. This isn't.
  • At CES, Verizon Wireless had a huge presence. Throughout the show, they introduced phone after phone after phone. Almost every phone they introduced was based on Google's Android Operating System. For Verizon to so quickly announce a product seen in the marketplace as a huge rival to the product line they spent the last week trumpeting seems counterintuitive.
  • Verizon Wireless already has an Apple product in their stable - the iPad. However, their version of the iPad is the WiFi-only version. Currently, Verizon's network runs on a technology that does not require or utilize a SIM card. Apple's 3G products in the US all require SIM cards, which is great for the AT&T network. The next version of the Verizon Network, their 4G/LTE offering, does utilize SIM cards. It stands to reason that the first iPhone on Verizon will be an LTE phone. Those were all announced last week.
  • More on the LTE front: Verizon Wireless is building their LTE network, but the coverage is still spotty, focused in some of the largest markets. If the iPhone is an LTE version of the device, its audience would be severly limited by this factor. On the other hand, if it were only a 3G device, the limitation would be the use of old technology that will be left behind by year's end. Either way, Apple loses here.
It's important to note that there is significant evidence and wide reporting that tomorrow's announcement is about Verizon's introduction of Windows Phone 7 to their offerings, and is not an Apple announcement. This reporting, right or wrong, has no bearing on the opinions expressed above. However, that phone, the HTC Trophy, is a 3G phone, and not reliant on LTE, which is why it was not announced at CES.

And it is possible that the speculation by the Wall Street Journal is right, and this speculation is incorrect. However, while the iPhone is imminent on the Verizon Wireless network, all signs point to that particular announcement coming well after tomorrow.

I look forward to your thoughts and comments on this subject!