31 January 2010

The Closest I'll Ever Get to Time Travel

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Every once in a while we get to reminiscing on Friday nights. Every once in while that reminiscing leads to scouring YouTube for the theme songs to shows from our childhood. This past Friday was one of those nights. Having done this a few times in the past we really had to look in the recesses of our minds to think of shows that we had not already looked up.

It's fun to find the shows that I haven't seen or thought about since I was a child. Just seeing those intros I almost feel like I am being transported back to the days when those shows were part of my daily life. It's a little eerie. Then I wonder why I was allowed to watch so much TV when I was a kid.

The best example of this odd sensation came when I watched the opening of "Welcome to Pooh Corner" for the first time in probably over twenty years. Seeing this took me back to when I was in kindergarten. I felt as if I had just woke up, and was getting ready for school. I could even smell the cinnamon toast my mom was preparing for me. For almost two minutes, I felt like I had traveled back to the time when I was six years old. It was pretty strange. So, if any of you want to know what my mornings where like when I was in kindergarten, I posted the clip below.

29 January 2010

Life in the Mushroom Kingdom

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Ari had another Mario themed birthday party this year, and we stepped it up in the decoration department. We ordered some Super Mario Bros. wall clings to put on the wall for the party, with plans to then move them into his bedroom because he wants a Mario room. The clings are transferable, but we thought it would be better to only move them once, so Valerie granted me permission to leave them up in the living room until we get Ari's room painted; which we are planning to do this weekend. So, for the past couple of weeks, I like to think I have had a glimpse of what life would be like if I lived in the mushroom kingdom.

With koopa troopas walking across the end table.

Coins above my head.

An item block ready to be hit, and a one-up gliding across some blocks.

All the while being looked down on by the residents, with special guest, Donkey Kong.
If I look hard enough, there are some goombas also peeking out here and there, but they are notorious for not wanting their picture taken.
It's been a fun couple of weeks with our temporary decor, but I'm so excited about how Ari's room will look when we get everything set up in there. Stay tuned...

24 January 2010

End of Reckoning

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I have all the R.E.M. albums on vinyl even though I don't have a record player. I also have a nice collection of 12" and 7" singles hanging on the wall in my den, though that's another post. I procured most of the albums through eBay. I remember when bidding on the Reckoning album, the item description mentioned additional music at the end of the album that was left off the CD. This piece of information was intriguing; yet, after I got the album, I never found a record player to listen to it.

R.E.M. released a 2 disc 25th anniversary edition of the album last year, and being such an avid R.E.M. fan, I dutifully added it to my collection. Even though my primary music distribution method for my music id through my iPod, I still like to buy the physical CD when it comes to R.E.M.; don't ask me why. I put the album on my iPod, but I also put the CD in the Civic to see just how much better it sounded now that it has been digitally remastered.

To my delight, it did sound better than the old CD I had. I was driving along one day and a piece of music came on that I had never heard before. I started the track from the beginning and it was "Little America". I was a bit confused, but I listened to the song the whole way through and after the song was over, there was a pause and then this:

It was the hidden music that I had read about several year ago. I completely forgot about it, but was tickled to finally be able to listen to it. I'm glad R.E.M. decided to put it on the remastered CD. It was fun hearing an some old R.E.M. music I had never heard before. It got me thinking, though, is this all they intended this song to be? Just 40 seconds at the end of the record? An unfinished track perhaps? I may never know, but it's good to hear it, nonetheless.

13 January 2010

The Cream Puff

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I posted about pastry cream a few months ago and my excitement upon discovering that Alton Brown included his own pastry cream recipe in Good Eats: The Early Years. Well, I finally got around to trying this new application and found it to be an intriguing culinary adventure; one that I look forward to taking again and again.

The first hurdle to overcome was making the pâte à choux; something I had never attempted. I felt confident, though, since I was armed with detailed instructions from AB's book, as well as a recent viewing of Choux Shine fresh in my mind. With high spirits, I began working on the new challenge I laid out for myself.

To my delight, the pâte à choux was quite easy to make. I made both eclair (long) and cream puff (round) shapes from the dough. The cream puff shapes turned out better with a bigger cavity inside. I wasn't able to get much lift out the eclair shape, and I still don't know what I did wrong. The cream puffs were perfectly shaped, and even though AB suggested filling them with ice cream or turkey salad, I decided to use pastry cream.

The pastry cream was a cinch to make, too. The cream came out thick, rick and velvety smooth without a single lump to be found, unlike to many of my attempts with other recipes. I filled the puffs with the cream, melted some chocolate, drizzled it on top, and my cream puffs were complete. They were a hit both in taste and presentation. I couldn't be happier with the way they turned out. Thanks again for the pastry cream recipe, Alton!


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