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February 25, 2012

All the things plus that time I almost burned down the building with a pop tart

The first thing you should know is that I paid almost $300 to have someone professionally install the new version of this software on my server, because upgrading from 2004 MT software to 2012 MT software is just so far outside my bowling lane that I literally deleted the entire database, whoops. But I HATE this new software. HATE. Loathe. Bad feelings. I finally discovered what the problem was with the comments, by the way. The "spam filter" (in ironic quotes) filtered out only the real comments and left the spam comments to free-for-all and make spam sex in my comments section. I do not know how I plan to address this. Just a few weeks ago I deleted over 12,000 spam comments. And that was just the tip of the crazyberg, there are something like 50,000 more. So ennui descended -- cue French music! -- and I just avoided this website which seemed like a good option at the time.

Thank you in advance for the solutions you are going to email me but I also have not read blog email since October. There should be a better excuse here, but I went on vacation with my family in mid-October with no email access, and when I got back my account was so overrun it was impossible so I just got irritated and opened a personal email account somewhere else. How do spammers even make money? How is it possible that the presidential candidates talk so much about so little yet they never mention spam? Spam affects ALL OF US. It also especially affects me so I will only vote for the person who officially offers to make spamming a federal crime.

Today I have a new strategy. I am just going to turn off all comments and go back to the tedious work of spam deletion and then figure out a solution at a later date with wine.

In some ways I imagine the way I feel about this website is the way a young wayward 30-something feels when she turns up one day unexpectedly pregnant, gets freaked out then excited and then happy, changes everything about her life, only to wake up eight years later to discover the child she is raising is a sociopath who does bad things to caterpillars. She still feels love for the child, but she kind of wants to institutionalize it and pretend it isn't hers.

So that brings us up to date! Hello, readers!

ALSO. There is good new news but I can't quite share it yet since I'm superstitious. So that comes later. In the meantime, a few things:

1) Funniest Dialogue Ever, from 30 Rock

Jenna, talking about Liz Lemon's surprisingly rich acquaintance uber-nerd:

"I don't know a lot about business, but he did an internet, now the computers like him, and Wall Street is Google."

Sadly, I may never be Google that way. [For reference, see: entire complaining monologue above about my own website.]

2) Chicken Chili, not even chili, but I like it, I like it, I really like it.
I realize I have written about this chili recipe 437 times and yet it is not even real chili. Real chili, as all Southerners know, is made from ground beef. You can make your "chili" from tofu or turkey or chicken or scrambled iguana eggs but the mean-spirited quotation marks stand. It is not real chili. Real chili is all cow. (WOW, coincidentally, did I pick a great day to turn off comments or what! Sorry, vegans, no comments for you today.)

Southerners are so crazy about chili that entire families have been torn apart by the controversial issue of beans. Do beans belong in chili? My family from Texas says no, by the way, though I myself am partial to the more bayou side and I like some red beans in my chili. My father's chili is all beef, no beans and it is often spooned over enchiladas. Whole 'nother ball of wax.

So this chicken recipe is just crazypants, but that is why I love it. You can add any old thing and it's still great, though not traditional, and maybe that is what makes it so great. It's all improv! I start with a whole chopped big brown onion, more than the recipe calls for. I add it to the pot along with a whole chopped red bell pepper and a green bell pepper. Tons of fresh garlic. Then I add finely chopped chicken breast (tip: freeze the chicken a bit before chopping, it goes so much faster when it's a bit frozen.) Add all the spices and stuff like the recipe calls for. But you can switch up the beans, I usually add one can of white beans and one can of mixed-up beans, the Ralph's store brand has an organic version of black beans, red beans and pinto beans mixed together and they are great. I also add in about a cup of very finely chopped green stuff -- maybe kale or chard, whatever is on sale. You can't taste it and it adds some nutrition.

At the very end of the cook time I add a tiny dash of cinnamon. Sounds crazy but it adds some warmth and coziness to this totally not-chili chili. The recipe makes a HUGE pot of food so you have plenty to freeze for later. It freezes great, too. If you get your chicken on sale this dish adds up to about $7.00 for ten servings. Not bad, Chad!

3) The Chocolate Pop Tarts are the dangerous ones
I have this cheap toaster that I bought God Only Knows Where and since I rarely toast anything it's not a big life issue for me, like spam or chili or television. I have very strong feelings about those other topics, but toasting is not really on my worry list.

Yesterday I was at the store getting the ingredients for my chicken chili and I found myself alone in the pop tart aisle and I had the chocolate goodness in my basket so quick and downlow you'd think I was scoring heroin on an episode of Intervention. I got home and dug the toaster out of the cupboard and plugged it in and set my pop tarts to toast and they toasted all right. The plunger thingy just stayed plunged. They never popped up like in the commercial.

I'm pretty sure I haven't consumed a pop tart in about ten years so I wasn't paying that much attention to the pop tart protocol and I was distracted, you see, and dusting the weird little vent at the bottom of the fridge and I could smell the intensity of chocolate pop tart but I didn't know it was ON FIRE until the smoke alarm sounded and there were flames -- yes, flames! - inside my toaster.

Lest you think this is a story with a sad ending, may I remind you that pop tarts comes in boxes of pairs, and there was a reserve waiting for me. So I used the microwave to heat my backup tarts. I know when a machine cannot be trusted.

I have at least learned that much.

Posted by laurie at February 25, 2012 7:08 AM