Saturday, December 20, 2008

Meet Me At 5 White



John the Golf Course Guy gets this request over the staff radio quite a lot. The golf course is 27 holes—made up of three 9's (gold, red and white). It may seem a little simplistic and maybe not as romantic as naming it the Hillside or Orchard course but it works very well here. We have a lot of tournaments here with a lot of infrequent golfers.

John refers to them as "casual golfers" which the customers find is a very polite way of phrasing it. They are the first to admit that they are a little better than terrible but they are here to have fun. That is the true spirit of the charity golf tournament.

Five white is, as I'm sure you figured out, the fifth hole on the white course. John usually leads the golfers out to that starting hole when he's working a shotgun tournament.

...they won't let us have shotguns anymore
...but it would be easier to control the customers if we had one (lol)


The Other guy, in the pro shop, says that its yours forever! If it ain't broke don't fix it, is what he really means. All the other guys at the course are capable of handling that but it's just become a tradition.

...John, guess what your leading out today
...2 to 5 white, here's your air horn
...don't lose it (lol)


Five white happens to be a par 3. The previous hole is another par 3. Both of them are valley holes. I can't say we've ever played on another course where this happens (back-go-back par 3's) but the geography makes it so.

There's also a refreshment cart stationed there because it's strategically mid way between the start and finish of the nine"—the clubhouse. So there is often a "party" happening here and John gets a chance to make sure that everybody is having a good time.

He gets to tell a few jokes, meet and greet new and old customers, joke around with the staff and reuse, over and over again, some classic lines that are intended to make the golfers loosen up. (see It's Only A Game). In fact, 5 white is where the line (The good news is your ball won't be lonely) was born. Let John describe the hole for you.

...there are three different tees here
...they are arranged in a straight line like big steps for the Jolly Green Giant

...the right side of the tee is a wall of mature trees
...from the uppermost deck, you look down into a valley filled with small leafy trees that look up to the tall rough just before the green. There's no large mass of water in the valley but the customers often think there is. That's how dense the growth is

...the elongated upward sloping green is lined on both sides with more trees that create a gap that gets narrower and narrower as the summer passes
...there is a hill on the right side of the green that sometimes creates a magical result for an off line shot. If you hit the hill just right, your ball will go right onto the green and you might even get a hole in one which has happened. She's nodding her head right now
(good one, Marion)...there's a path on the left side of the tees that comes around the corner from 4 and winds its way down through the valley
...to the left is the refreshment cart that never moves during the tournament. You don't move the refrigerator from the kitchen in a party, so why would you move the cart?
...over the years, there's been a lot of really friendly and bright gals that have worked the cart—Sue, Sarah, Natalie, Cassandra and Nonna (I can here here swearing at me right now)
...and so many more, but I'm embarrassed to say I'm afraid to misspell their names

...the path is often strewn with
parked golf carts and you will always hear customers saying things like "no I'll buy, or what's Johnny up to, or how's the kids"
...sometimes you hear someone hushing someone else because someone is about to hit their shot

...I seldom do
...no one likes a party pooper

Everyone who works at the golf course knows what you mean if someone says "meet me at five white". It can only be one place and certainly not the green.

No one wants to miss a good party.

This golf hole was part of 27 on the Kleinburg Golf and Country Club which got sold for a development or what I call "over-sized ego boxes". Sadly the affordable golf courses disappear simply because the land value eventually wins the battle between return on investment and potential sale value. It becomes a no-brainer for the ownership and a recreational facility that served many ends up being a residence for very few. 

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Friday, December 19, 2008

Introducing Baxter the Baker


'ello, may I introduce m'self, I'm Baxter the Baker. The lads are bit busy now, what with all the snow that's comin' down so they can't be here to introduce me right and proper.

For sure, I'm a Brit but I've lived in places all round the world what with servin' in the Queen's own an' all. You know all those places on the map that were pink, that the Royals like to think is still there's, thinkin' that a visit now and again is gonna' keep the locals happy.

I do all the baking around here and today we're gonna' make something a little different. One of the lads forgot his banana in his locker and it's a tad overripe. The lads were callin' him a wanker but we can't be usin' names like that here, now can we? So we'll use it up in our recipe. No worries. Yep lived in Australia too, mate.

Baxter's Banana Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

The Stuff
1 overripe banana
1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 cup of olive oil
1 cup of sugar
1 egg
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup raisins
1 cup oatmeal

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit

In a large bowl, mix the flour, salt and cinnamon with a stiff stainless steel fork.

In a 4 cup Pyrex measuring cup, mix the olive oil, sugar and egg with that same fork. We like olive oil instead of butter or margarine because it mixes a lot easier and is healthier to boot.

Break up the banana with your hands and put it into the liquid mixture. Add the baking soda. Stir the whole mess up with the fork.

Now slowly add the liquid stuff to the dry stuff and stir it with the fork. Stir in the raisins and then the oats.

Use the fork to drop a ball of cookie dough onto Pierre's Pizza Pan. Remember it's non-stick. Leave some room so you don't end up with one big cookie.

Bake for 10 - 12 minutes.

Repeat the cookie dough ceremony and oven door slamming until all the dough is used up. Since you're using the same pan, reduce your cooking time a litttle each time because the pan is still warm.

...don't forget the oven mitts!

...try not to eat them all before they cool
...Cheers


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The Quiet Stooge


Bozo recently wrote an article in his blog entitled Pat Quinn, A Wise Man & The 3 Stooges. It's about caring which a lot of guys on the Team do a lot more now.

The reference to the 3 Stooges is not what you think. Although the real 3 Stooges share some of the same characteristics as the "goofballs" that Bozo wrote about, these guys are friends of the Team.

One is Luigi Tartufo. We both agreed on that at the Christmas party.

Another is hard to find right now because he's found, what the Team hopes is, his special lady. So his Lorenzo the Lover is playing both ways, and on Special Teams, but he still makes time for his friends.

I used to refer to Luigi and the other guy as "Chooch & Chong". It's a reference to the strange comedy duo of Cheech and Chong but with an Italian twist. Chooch (spelled phonetically here) is a loose translation for a donkey or jack ass which is synonymous with the real 3 Stooges. It's not about being a dork or a donk or an a#@hole, it's that they like to have fun.

And then there's the 3rd guy in this Special Team. You see his picture above. I don't think I've ever seen him in a picture by himself. Ryan is seen here with his special lady, Kath, at the Christmas party. These two are hard to separate. They are so right for each other. I think they are going to make wonderful parents.

Corky the Customer Service Guy says he reminds him so much of what he was like in his days on the Team.

...it's like looking in a friggin' mirror

He wasn't referring to any physical resemblance. It has way more to do with the personality traits. Corky was a little shy, particularly with strangers. But when it came to friends, Corky was the first one to buy a round of drinks, urged his friends to do things together, played a lot of sports for fun and just enjoyed life. Ryan does all of these and more.

If you look at his Facebook profile you see he's a member of 25 groups. They're quite diverse. Ryan mixes in with most any group and so did Corky. Ryan's trying to find a meaningful job in the finance world possibly or something else that fits in with his academic career. He wants it to be fun. That's why he works at the golf course. It's fun.

Ryan is well on his way to having the time of his life. Corky wants to trade with him. He already knows Ryan's response.

No deal. (We both like poker)

Well get around to introducing Luigi and the other guy in another story.

...yep, they've been seen on the Team Bulletin Board
...the other guy was by himself once
...don't think we're gonna' see that again anytime soon

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

What's An Anna Kournikova?

In the game of Texas Hold 'em, when you are dealt Ace King as the two hole cards, it has become known as the Anna Kournikova hand, aka Big Slick. The reason for this has everything to do with Anna's time on the professional tennis circuit.

Looks great but never wins anything!

We think this is of course a huge exaggeration (poker players are known to do that now and again). In fact, we have come to the conclusion that this hand is ranked number 3 behind Pocket Aces and Pocket Kings for winning frequency. The problem with the hand, in our experience, is that it is ranked number 1 as the hand that you will lose most often with.

It's not unlike the young male's adolescent experience with courting the Anna's of this world. You get great satisfaction from winning but the bad beats are harder to forget.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Chuckie's Computer Art

The graphics you see below are arranged in the reverse sequence in which they were altered. The original is at the bottom.

Using Microsoft Office Picture Manager, we first reduced the image size to 400 x 300 pixels and cropped if necessary to get this size (the actual images here were uploaded using a setting of small-centered which reduced them to 200 x 150 and used a minor adjustment in HTML to shift the images up 30 pixels).

The second image, from the bottom, was achieved by adjusting the colour to the orange range and increasing both hue and saturation.

Number 3 is the result of increasing contrast and reducing mid tones.

Number 4 is repeating the procedure in the second image but shifting the colour to the red range.

Number 5 is repeating the procedure in 4 but shifting the colour to red.

The last image, here at the top is the result of increasing contrast and mid tones. Virtually all of the detail is gone. The levels are all a matter of personal taste but usually extreme shifts are required to get a dramatic change.







So the question is why would Chuckie want to do this?

Simple, we write in the two different blogs—both about stuff but with a different focus. This one is looser, more casual, entertaining and sometimes comical. Stuff123 is more traditional, attempting to be more educational, more informational in content, perhaps more provocative. And sometimes we need something for Bozo's blog on Fox Sports to stand out from the crowd.

Here's some ways in which these graphics can be used. Firstly, a lot of them can be imported into Paint and overlay bold type or webdings to change the title approach from the template.

Stuff123's template is somewhat conservative—navy, grey, orange, black and white. That makes 3, 6 & 7 more suitable for that site (Numbering from bottom to top).

If you were writing a story about global warming, then 3 and five might make a good choice to help set the mood. Remember Raymond's philosophy about writing—writing is nothing more than painting pictures with words. Well selective use of the proper picture helps set the tone just as the right colour helps set the mood in a painting.

Go ahead and try it. It's not very difficult as Chuckie knows. Just remember to save with different names. A simple way is to just add a number on the end for each change.

10 Let X = 1
20 X = X + 1
30 Goto 10

That's how Chuckie first learned computer programming back in the day of the punch card. Even the computer geek can be creative even if he can't paint a straight line with a brush.

Tip: To see all the images on your screen at once, continually depress the combination of Ctrl-(minus key) until you can see them all. Ctrl-(zero) will restore your page to normal view. Conversely, Ctrl-(plus key) will increase the image/type size on your screen.

You just got a lesson in how to adjust any browser story to a level of viewing that you prefer.

It's handy for us older, blinder types.

Class dismissed.

Friday, December 12, 2008

D'Slow Cook-Air Is Amazing!




Last time we promised we would give you an update of the new crock pot we purchased as well as the new flexible silicon bread baking utensil. I think you can see that Pierre really likes the crock pot aka slow cooker.

We have been treated to a number of new and very tasty concoctions.

The freezer is almost full. We will probably have to go out and buy some more Ziploc containers to handle Pierre's creations at the pace he is going. We haven't seen him this excited in a long time.

Here's some of the meals he has tried so far.
  • Farmer's Sausages & Potatoes - never had sausages that melted in your mouth before. No knife required.
  • Chicken, Beans & Rice Medley - needed some more liquid. Just a little dry. Might make an interesting alternative cabbage roll filling. The individual flavours don't seem to be absorbed by the overall dish.
  • Pierre's Tomato Vegtable Soup Base - good on it's own. Just add little bits of almost anything to change it up. (Pierre will feature this in an upcoming show)
  • Pork Picnic Roast - $3.09 ($0.99/lb.) Tenderizing a tougher cut of meat. Good out of the pot. We will try some interesting meals with the leftovers. Should get upwards of a half a dozen meals out of this one.
Future meals that we want to try
  • Chili
  • Perogies
  • Cabbage Rolls
  • Meatballs
Baxter tried the new flexible silicon bread "pan". It's hard to call it a pan because it is just as flexible as a wet noodle which means you have to use two hands to control it.

The other pans are going to be added to our Personal Garbage Dump. No sticking, no burning, easy bread removal, easy cleanup. Next purchase will be a muffin pan. We figure you won't have to buy those little paper cups.

Baxter has been experimenting with whole wheat flour with some poor results. Seems this flour doesn't want to rise as easily as white flour. He's gonna' try some blends. We'll get back to you. At least he's getting good at kneeding the dough. He'll share that, too.

We have to make more trips to the grocery store to satisfy Pierre's, and Baxter's newfound curiosity.

...flour, chili stuff, and more 'unny mustard for Baxter and me
...we had to buy more rechargeable batteries. They are not cheap but they will be a better way to spend money in the long run
..."Much better for our overcrowded landfill sites" - Savoia the Save the Earth Guy

...not another new guy

Easy guys! One at a time. Stop confusing our fans.

...nice going Chuckie, on the graphic presentation in this story

If Acquire Photoshop then Result(Object) > Now

Let's go take a peak at The Coffee Shop
..

The Personal Garbage Dump














What are you doing with that set of encyclopedias that your dad bought you, representing an important gift for its time?

It’s probably sitting in a corner collecting dust along with a lot of other things that were once important to you. It symbolizes how time has passed it by. It’s all because something better came along to replace it. In today’s world that would be the Internet.

What’s in your personal garbage dump? (Share your stuff in the comments box)

Mine includes the following:
  • Slide rule
  • Numerous tape recorders and players
  • Music tapes, vinyl records
  • Blank tapes
  • Big speaker boxes
  • Record turntable
  • Outdated ski equipment
  • Cheap power tools
  • Numerous board games
  • Books about business
  • Clusters of floppy diskettes – 5.25” & 3.5”
  • Graphite shaft golf clubs
  • My first cell phone
  • Squash racquets, baseball equipment
  • Letraset (???)
  • Fountain Pens
  • Numerous CD players
  • Regular baking stuff
  • A whole host of outdated PC games
  • A bunch of clunky telephones with cords
  • Regular colour television
  • Bigger stereo/surround sound speakers
  • Conventional batteries (only use rechargeable now)

Soon to be joined by:
  • Music CD’s
  • Suits, Ties & Dress shirts
  • Ordinary stove (not self-cleaning and not a smooth top either)
  • A horde of computer equipment (constantly changing or just broken)
  • Electric piano (non-computerized, keep it around for practice still)
  • MP3 players without shuffle capability
  • Laptop computer
  • Guitar effects unit
  • Cheaper guitar cables
  • Several battery operated or outdated guitar tuners
  • Smooth guitar picks which constantly slip out of your fingers
  • Midi sound modules replaced by virtual instruments
Garage sales and eBay are good places to find a lot of the items from the world’s garbage dump. Everyone is hoping to get a small portion of their original investment back.

Good news. There are people out there that find value in this junk. I really don’t see why.

Maybe we should look more to the less fortunate who might find value in these items we don’t need anymore. Unfortunately, there are lots of people, organizations and businesses that take advantage of this situation.

I recall several companies that collected old clothing on the premise that it was going to go to people in less fortunate countries. Turns out they were selling the cut up material as rags. They squabbled intensely over the price of the second-hand forklift equipment they used to process your gifts.

...most parasites do

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Coupons, Coupons, and More Coupons

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This link is quite simple to use and will save you money on your next visit to the grocery store. You will need a colour printer to print the coupons. Ours happens to be a Hewlett Packard Deskjet, but any decent quality printer will do.

When you pick your first coupon, send it to print so that the linking page will prompt you to load the printer driver for that site. Load it and run install, and then you can go crazy and print coupons whenever you wish. Our test coupon just happened to be for Orville Redenbacher Popcorn. The team thought that was a good 1st pick.


Just go find the scissors and cut away.

Have fun.

Oh, your welcome.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

That $1.09 Went Far!

Sometimes there are hidden treasures out there if you happen to be lucky enough to trip over them. Its about being in the right place at the right time.

The other day, we were shopping at the local grocery store. It's the medium size full-service type of store, family run with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, a well-stocked meat counter, hot meal and an in-store deli counter.

When the deli counter starts up the meat slicer, they don't give the first few small trimmings to the customer who has waited patiently to place their personal order whether its in grams or pounds. The staff is there to ensure that you are treated properly. Nothing like a happy customer too keep the cash registering ringing (oh yeah, they don't do that anymore).

The set-up trimmings aren't thrown away. They package them in one of those Styrofoam trays and price it a very reasonable rate and then put it in the self-serve deli section. Since it's very large, you have to be very lucky to find these prizes. Sometimes it's mystery meat but mine was a selection of Italian meats and ham—prosciutto or panchetta, or some other interesting and flavourful meat. If my calculations are correct, at $2.99 a pound, I got a little more than a third of a pound of tasty morsels.

Here's how I used it.
  1. Put some of the meat in a fresh bun purchased at the same nice store and made a sang- a-weech as Luigi calls it.
  2. Chopped some of the meat up into small bits, chopped a sliver of onion, added it to 2 eggs and some milk. Microwave on medium for 4 minutes and you have a western omelette.
  3. Chopped some more and put into Pierre's Make Anyting Wit It Vegtable Soup Base (Pierre will tell you about that later. Makes it in the new crock pot we got the other day. Outstanding!)
  4. Microwaved some of Pierre's cold MAWIV Soup Base out of the crock pot and chopped the last of the meat, a fresh sprig of parsley from Guiseppe's window box (oh yeah, we have to introduce Guiseppe the Gardener later. Next spring is probably a good time)
  5. And every time we took a little bite for the guy doing the preparation. Kind of like a kitchen sales tax.
The team says that's kind of like that guy in that big book from way before they were born.

...it's called the Bible, you bozos

..

Introducing Megabyte the Memory Guy

New guy on the team. The title tells you his formal name. We refer to him as Meggy. When he first showed up to the team, we called him Scrappy the Scrapbook Guy. He just collected memories in scrapbooks and photo albums. Keepsakes really. Just stuff to look at and smile.

He ended up on the practice squad. He's starting now—Defensive End, sometimes Offensive Guard. Good players get to play both ways on this team.

Meggy's about learning from our past experiences, the good and the bad, what plays worked and what didn't, wins and losses. He reminds us of how important history is in the development of the team. That's what makes us unique.

Meggy will never become Giggy because he just can't retain all that information, so we have a computer to take care of that. The teams getting older. It's getting harder for Meggy to recall stuff with the increased playing time of Raymond, Infinity, Chuckie, Taylor, Bozo and a lot of the rest of the team. Not to mention all the injuries the team has sustained over the years.

...got to find a way to get the rest of the guys more playing time
...oh well, one at a time


Memory chips are cheap today. Last time we looked they were on sale for about 3 cents a megabyte. When the team first starting using computers, memory chips were $1,000 a megabyte (circa 1983-4, Meggy isn't quite sure).

Wonderful phenomenon that takes place in the computer industry all the time. You get more for less. Seems every time we get a new computer, the stuff costs less and does way more. Can't say I know of any other industry where this happens. Maybe you do. Drop us a note in the comments box. Raymond might write about it and he will give you credit for the idea.

Meggy, welcome to the team. Remember when? Probably already used as a blog title. Taylor's using Back in the Day in his site. Yep, Junior is already using that on SPEED. He won't mind, Ned the NASCAR fan says he's getting to be better than even his dad.

...oh yeah, we haven't introduced Ned yet

Meggy, I'll make you a deal. You and Ned go work on a story about some of the old greats, like Ned's first visit to a racetrack, Ted Hogan and Jim Howard, what got him into loving the sport, stuff like that. Deal? OK, good. And he finally go around to it 4 years later.

Guys, nice practice. Go hit the showers!

..

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Their Memory Lives On In Their Songs





One of the wonderful things about today's technology is how it has saved some of the most wonderful performances in the history of music. The iTunes playing softly in the background set on shuffle mode. The whole team just stopped what they were doing and gathered around the computer and just listened.

The computer is now our best sound system. Gone are the days when you needed 4 foot by 4 foot booming speakers to recreate the true sound of the performers. The clarity is amazing. I've got boxes full of vinyl records and cassette tapes in the basement just sitting. I thought they might have future value like old master's paintings. (In fact I no longer have this collection and just got rid of it when I sold my townhouse)

Oh sorry, this is Matt the Music Lover talking. The guys on the team forget about me because I'm so often just in the background setting the mood. I like almost every kind of music but pretty much revert back to my favourite—old classic R&B, aka Soul music.

The guys were listening to a more recent version of an old Ray Charles classic Here We Go Again, a wonderful duet with Norah Jones, from the CD, Genius Loves Company. A most unusual blend of significant talents.

The guys stopped because they heard the unmistakable lilting tones of the Hammond B3 organ softly caressing the notes in perfect balance with the rest of the song. I knew that could only be one person performing that way. Sure enough it was. Ray, as he always did, properly introduced Billy Preston when it was his time to perform his solo. Billy had a way with the keyboards like Clapton & B.B. King do with the guitar. They all know how to make their individual instruments beg, plead, shout, scream and cry.

Sadly, Ray and Billy are no longer with us. Brings tears to my eyes writing this. But there's good news. The digital music file has saved for all time, the magic they created. No hisses or pops. No crackles. No skips. Just the sound. You can actually "hear" the silence in these recordings.

How's it hangin' Ray. How's it hangin', Billy. Rock and Roll Heaven truly has a wonderful band.

Thank you. That's right. Bobby's there, too.

..

Thinking Outside The Box

Traditionalists say the box should be lying flat on it's baseline. And the image is upside down. The colours are all wrong.

Oh, I'm sorry. Let me introduce myself. I am Prentice the Professor. I won't be appearing here very often. The Team thinks I'm much too stuffy for the fans that come to visit—Winston Churchill in sweatpants. That is what most of the team wears.

They are probably wrong but you will decide that for them. Please take a moment and use the comments box to let them know you came to visit.

Now back to the subject at hand, Thinking Outside the Box. It simply means that you look for the less obvious answer or solution to a question or problem. It's everywhere.

The way in which the web is used today is constantly being challenged by those that think outside the box. It was, after all, intended as a method of military communication. Little did the creators know that it would evolve into something more spectacular than just a glorified walkie talkie.

You have met Otto the Out-Of-Left Field Guy. He is an example of someone who thinks outside the box. A little like Robin Williams, only he is like a child in the first day of nursery school and Robin has a Phd. in Wo Did U C That. No one knows (including Robin), what will come out of his mouth next. That is why the talk show circuit loves him so much. You just start him off in one direction and sit back and watch where he takes you next. Be sure you have a change of underwear close by.

Please share your thoughts of those, that you know personally or have seen in action on television or other media, demonstrating their ability to think outside the box.

Thank you for visiting and have a wonderful day.

..

Is This Page 4?


Where did the phrase "He doesn't know if it's Tuesday or Page 4" come from? I remember it in the context of someone who is so confused that they don't really know where they are in the whole scheme of things, (much like the current world economy).

I posed this question to the team. Their responses were mostly in the form of a lot of head scratching and "I don't knows". All except for Infinity. He said let me "google" that.

Google is a relatively new word to the entire community. Infinity and Chuckie went and looked it up for us.

Main Entry: google1
Part of Speech: v
Definition: to search for information about a specific person through the Google search engine
Example: She googled her high school boyfriends.
Etymology: trademark Google
Usage: googling n

Source: thesaurus.com

Raymond highly recommends this site to all writers. He uses it religiously when he's looking for the right colour in his palette.

Infinity didn't have much luck. He got a lot of stuff from a computer programmers forum that even Chuckie couldn't help us with. More head scratching. He typed "iif" at the start. Like most of us, Chuckie has fat fingers.

You have to be careful what you type when you google. We have a friend that lives in a relatively new golf course community on a street called Bobby Locke lane. He didn't know who Bobby Locke was/is. We googled it a while back and determined that he was a South African profesionnal golfer of note that was the originator of the golf phrase "Drive for show and putt for dough".

Our friend must have fat fingers like Infinity. He typed "boob" in at the beginning instead of bob.

Didn't get what he was looking for.

...I'm gonna' go try that right now

We also googled "stuff about life"—370 million choices. Raymond has a lot of stuff to write about.

And we googled "BitsByBozoplay"—only 3 (and still only 10 after more than 4 years). Maverick's got a big grin on his face about that one. He came up with the name.

One is about the originator, Bozoplay's profile on Blogger, the other two links to stuff about life. Interestingly enough, one of them is dated on John the Golf Course Guy's 60th birthday. Neat.

The team now has two birthdays to celebrate.

The logo at the top was borrowed from the following sourceGoogle Logos Collection

We had only one comment. Wow! Take a look for yourself.

..

..G

Monday, December 8, 2008

Fat Pants


It's 2:30 in the afternoon and Raymond, Chuckie and Infinity are finally taking a break and eating something. They helped themselves to Pierre's latest creation using the newly acquired crock pot. The teams consensus—outstanding! Pierre will tell you later why you should get one.

It's hard to get Raymond out of his chair. He's wearing his new "Fat Pants" that we got him the other day. He's really quite comfortable, thank you. He even thinks they help in his creations. Oh, and there's Taylor at the crock pot station. He's got his fat pants on, too.

...I've always got mine on

The crock pot is right next to the microwave. The team likes the idea. They are all just kids and you never know when kids are going to need something to eat. So if they didn't have anything when the crock pot is still in warm mode, they can just spoon some into a bowl and push sensor heat on the microwave and lunch is ready. The dishes are right in front of them in the cupboard, directly above the crock pot. Looks like they're eating healthier, too.

It's important to remember that you should let food cooked in the microwave sit for a bit before you eat it. It's still cooking when you take it out. If you don't wait long enough (usually less than a couple of minutes), you cook lips, tongue and mouth. Make sure there's lots of cold drinks in the refrigerator. The best way to correct this mistake is to drown it with a cold beverage. If you're old enough, a brown pop will do just fine.

You do know what I'm talking about when I use the term Fat Pants. We all own at least one pair. Those are the pants you go put on when you need to feel pampered. They're just like sitting in front of a warm fire. In fact, the two go together like peaches and cream.

As the name implies, they are very loose fitting. Raymond's are that new type that are designed to get more comfortable the more you wear them and the more you wash them.

You know what. I'm gonna get out of my coaches' gear and go put mine on. Yeah, I deserve it. You got yours on?

Our Head Hurts
















But in a good way.

Everyday is full of new and important discoveries. Infinity has found so many new and wonderful things on the internet.

Sorry. We never properly introduced you to Infinity the Internet Explorer, didn't we? When he first came to the the team, we called him Inchie the Internet Guy. We were like most people—skeptical and reluctant to accept the unknown. You see, we didn't understand where he was coming from. All this talk of worldwide community, open access to new and better methods, exciting new plays, new sources for team uniforms. It was way out of our league.

But Infinity wasn't going to give up that easily. So he's been in the background from the beginning. He doesn't get any credit for what he has added to the team. It doesn't bother him in the least. You see, like all stargazers, he got used to people yelling at him with things like "Stop wasting your time on that stupid computer" and "do something useful with your time". They were, like all naysayers, just handicapped by their closed minds.

Infinity had a game plan. He would plug away and explore the unknown because he knew it had all kinds of rewards out there. So he just played. No path. No specific direction. Just go forward and see what's around the next corner.

Welcome to the team, Infinity. The team would like to sincerely apologize for all the insults. You are much too valuable for us to lose you to another team. They're drawing up the no trade clause right now.

No one will call you Inchie ever again.

Do you have an Infinity on your team, or is he still just Inchie?

Please, go right ahead. Share your marvelous new discoveries in the comments' box.

.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Pierre's Make Anytin' Wit It Sauce


...Bonjour mon ami!

Today, we make da sauce. What you don' use today your gonna' freeze in small containers to make a quick meal a nudder day.


Pierre's Make Anytin' Wit It Sauce


D'Stuff


1 and a 'alf to 2 pounds of lean groun' beef
1 can of prepared tomato sauce
1 finely chopped hunion
groun' pepper
a little sea salt

an' if you like
1 finely chopped green or red pepper
some finely chopped celery

Put da beef and hunion in a 6 cup pyrex bowl
Microwave on 'igh for 5 minoots
Break up da cooked groun' beef with a wooden spoon
Season with lots of pepper and a little salt
Empty da can of tomato sauce and mix dem all togedder
Microwave on low for 1 'our
Put the finished sauce into 1 cup ziploc containers and freeze for lader use

Here are some tings you can make wit dis sauce. Some are faster dan udders. It depends on 'ow much time u have to prepare your meal
  • on top of any pasta
  • on bread, 'ow u say, Sloppy Joes
  • on Pierre's Pizza
  • Pierre's Shepherd's Pie

Dat's eet!
Goonight my friends
See you nex' time
Bonsoir mes amis


Bozo is a Sports Fan

This blogging thing is really catching on with the team. You already know that Taylor's got his own address, Stuff123. Well guess what, Bozo has decided to try his hand at blogging in the world of sports on the Fox Sports site. The title is real simple Bozoplay's Blog

Needless to say, it's focus will be the sporting world. To get him started, he's going to draw on the help of the rest of the team and create some links to this site and to Taylor's. Maverick thought that it could help draw some more fans to Bits and maybe some to Stuff.

...don't hold your breath, Taylor
...we're talkin' about sports fans here, not rocket scientists
...just kidding, you bozo

It will be in keeping with the tone here on Bits, "keep it simple stupid" but won't make attempts at humour as often as is tried here. Raymond the Writer is going to help Bozo to show the world that Bo is a lot brighter than what most people think. It's another new challenge for Raymond as well. He's got another hat to wear.

Good luck, Bo. You never know. They might start calling you that at Fox once you make the front page.

Bozo wants Fox to read Mice Print. Take it easy big boy. Wait till they start asking for advice.

.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Kitchen Stuff




...bonjour mon ami!


Today we gonna' talk about what you should 'ave in your kitchen to make nice meals. Dis might help for dose dat are moving into dare first apartment or 'ouse, or maybe renting some place to go to school or summer job. Your not gonna' buy this all in one day. Your gonna' do it when you have some money, like payday or when your aunt send you money and says buy someting you like. If it doesn't go in da dishwasher, you don't buy it. 'elen isn't gonna' wash it.
  • D'microwave
  • Peasants Chef Knife (see Lee Valley)
  • Knife sharpener (ceramic or diamond type)
  • Stainless Steel Pot. You buy da big one to cook pasta (like in da picture). You buy more sizes and types lader on
  • Stainless Steel Silverware
  • Stainless Steel Cooking Utensils
  • Stainless Steel Measureen Spoons and Cups
  • Several Pyrex measureen cups—1, 2 & 6 cups
  • two plasteek cudding boards (dishwasher safe)
  • some plain white corning ware dishes of different sizes
  • Dishwasher, Stove and Refrigerator/Freezer
  • Toaster
  • Electric Kettle
  • Non'steek Pizza Pan
  • a really good digital electric timer—Kitchenaid makes a good one
  • Wooden spoons
  • Oven mitts
  • Ziploc containers and freezer bags. Sometimes we gonna' make a big meal and freeze for lader
  • Tongs (no not d'ting you talk wit, dare like big tweezers)
...sometimes my English is not so good

Dat's eet!
Goonight my friends
See you nex' time
Bonsoir mes amis

He's Different

New guy just arrived at practice today. We think different is a little bit of an understatement. His name is Otto the Out-of-Left-Field-Guy. What he brings to the team is a unique approach to thinking outside the box.

...more like outside the boxcar

He's not much on tradition, conventional game plans, the tried-and-true approach. He loves trick plays, the blitz and on-side kicks. All good choices if they aren't overused. He makes Killer look like a choir boy.

Most of the guys love him. Infinity found him hanging around on the internet. Maverick thinks he's gonna really help in attracting more fans. Chuckie was instrumental in developing his press photo. Fabrizio was introducing him around on Facebook. Pierre won't let him in his kitchen.

Otto tried out for the team a long time ago. I told him the team wasn't ready for him yet. OK. Otto, we're ready.

Welcome to the team.

We found Bozo and Otto playing full-contact scrabble. Interesting what they came up with.

...uneek is spelled with a q, you bozo


Friday, December 5, 2008

Don't Shop on Friday


Today we got out of the house and got some fresh air. Batteries are getting low and we needed some different fuel for a change—fresh fruit and vegetables, maybe chicken and beef. Pierre used up all of his "holive oil."

Pierre was much happier after we introduced him to you the other day. He decided to show his appreciation by making something different and also giving himself a treat or two. Pierre went out and bought a slow cooker and one of those silicone bread pans. He likes sharing with you and promised to let you know how this worked out. We got Raymond a new pair of track pants and some long sleeve t-shirts. He works better when he's comfortable.

John the Golf Course guy bought a toy truck for the toy drive at the upcoming Christmas party. He thought it was a good cause. Kids should get toys for Christmas. Don't buy them stuff they really need. Buy them something that will tweak their imagination. Encourage them to dream.

But everybody else seemed to have the same idea. Stores were pretty busy. It is December. Lorenzo fancied a really attractive sales rep at the local grocery store. We reminded him that she was half his age, much too pretty and looked like she could be high maintenance, based on her wardrobe. He never learns.

Pierre was well behaved when he was in the kitchen stuff section of the local crappy tire store. The section is his toy store. He got the pan for Baxter and was looking for something new for Luigi...

Oh sorry, we are so rude. Baxter and Luigi are Pierre's assistants. Baxter the Baker does bread, muffins and cookies, so far. He's gonna' work on expanding the selection soon.
Luigi
Tartufo, the Sing in the Kitchen Guy, helps Pierre prepare the stuff.

...bet you can't tell where he's from

It's time to get back to work. Maverick wants to send out some invitations to friends to come and visit Pierre. Chuckie's working on his computer art. Taylor's fixed the problem in his blog. He swears all computers are female—they do pretty much what whey want when they want. You don't try and understand them, you just learn to live with their ever changing emotions.

Oh shoot. We forgot to get Maverick his business card stuff and more rechargeable batteries. Yep, they don't last forever. Well, we got another excuse to get some fresh air. Maybe Monday. If you think Friday's bad, never shop on a weekend in December if you can help it. All the crazies are out then.

Gotta' go. See yah.

New Guy In the Front Office




















I heard today that were getting a new guy in the front office to help with our finances. Freddie the Frugal Finance Guy. He was suggested by our friend in the states Loislane26. (pretty good name for a gal in the newspaper business, eh. I thought so, too)

Seems we all have to tighten up on expenses with the way the economy is going. I don't think anybody isn't affected by it.

So Freddie said he'd share his ideas with all of us on ways in which we can tighten the belt and not give up the things we like.

Here's a real simple one form Freddie. Most of us buy prepared tomato/spaghetti sauce because we just never seem to have enough time to make it from scratch. Buy it in jars next time.

When you've used all the sauce up, put the jars in a big pot of boiling water long enough to clean the inside but more importantly to get the label and glue off. Put the lid in the water too. These jars are a great way to store just about anything in the dry food category and let you keep it fresh longer.

It makes a trip to the bulk food store useful for a change and you can cut down on the amount of wasted packaging that we all end up trying to recycle. Here's some of the items you might store in them. We're gonna' clear the entire second shelf in the pantry to make room for them. Most of the stuff you won't need to label because you can see what's inside. It also makes it easier when the jar is empty. You can just throw it in the dishwasher and reuse it all over again.
  • sugar
  • coffee, coffee beans
  • tea bags
  • powdered milk (used in baking mostly)
  • powdered drink mixes
  • pasta shells, macaroni, rotini, etc.
  • rice
  • oatmeal
  • cornstarch
  • flour
  • cornmeal
  • dried fruits like raisins, dates, prunes, cranberries
  • sesame and flax seeds (used in breads or baking)
  • salt
  • chocolate chips
  • dried coconut
You'll be doing your part for the environment and saving some money while your at it. You might even be eating healthier if you switch to whole wheat in rice, pasta and flour, for example.

...what about my gummy bears

Yah. that'll work too. All the kids in the house need a treat once in a while. Especially, the older ones like me.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Green Side Up


This is an old joke but John the Golf Course Guy gets to tell it while we wait for the group ahead to clear. It fits the location, if nothing else.

There is a contractor (the Mike Holmes type) and his client talking in the upstairs bedroom of the new house that he's building. MIke leans out the window and yells "Green side up!"

Mike and the client continue their conversation about the upgrades and a few minutes later, Mike excuses himself and leans out the window and shouts "Green side up!"

This goes on a few more times before the client says to Mike "Why are you doing that?"

Mike responds with "Oh, my subcontractors are kind of slow. You have to retrain them every few minutes. They're laying sod.



Murphy Lives In The Internet

I'm sure by now you are more than familiar with Murphy's law. If you aren't, the link here with Wiki will give you way more information than you asked for but it does explain the concept.

Taylor was trying to write something on his site about our new internet friend, gordo and another story about the golf course police. So he went banging away on the editor that they provide (it's a lot more complicated than this one). He took the same approach he did in the other stories he wrote and they were fine. 

But when he pushed the save button, Murphy jumped out in front and blocked the move and vwoop all his formatting and line breaks all magically disappeared. So he didn't give up. He tried it all over again— and the same thing happened. Even got Chuckie to put in HTML code for line breaks and vwoop they magically disappeared when we saved the edit. Murphy got us again.

So Taylor calls a huddle with Chuckie and Maverick. They kick it around and come up with a pretty neat plan. Instead of trying to find support (which you usually can never find), they decide to write another story explaining the problem in detail. We used our friend up here to get some attention.  It's all sitting on the homepage.

Why Does It Do That?

We'll see who drops by and comes to our rescue. We did put out feelers in the forum and I think we sent an email to somebody in support. We'll see who comes to our aid first.

...pretty nifty guys
...loook out Murphy, we don't get mad, we get even


"I used to play a lot of golf"

A quote that we got while playing Tribal Wars online from a member of the tribe, gordo king. It came up in the chat conversation somehow. Triggered the idea for this story.

Ever since John the Golf Course Guy started working, we kinda' lost interest in the game. In fact, Graham the Golfer didn't even take the clubs out of the basement this season.

...not even once

I guess when you work at a course, you spend so much time greeting customers and driving around and fixing stuff, that by the time you are finished your shift you just want to go home and take a shower. 

But I think more of it has to do with the fact that golf is really a social game. It's a lot more fun when you play it with a group of friends. A lot of them have got other things to do or have joined private courses and are financially obligated to make use of that membership. And some are now just hangin' (See How's It Hangin'...)

But I've made new friends. They've asked me to come play, but I always say No thanks. They don't ask anymore.

...OK Graham, we'll talk to Robbie, Ryan, Alex
...see if they'll let us play
...The Three Stooges are a lot of fun
...you think they'll let the old guy play

...last year for the course next year
...building those monster homes
...pretty hard for the owners to turn down that kinda' money



Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Introducing Pierre the Chef


















Pierre is having another fit again. Says he doesn't get enough respect around here. He's threatening to go back to France.

... again.

Well, he does have a knack with the simple stuff. He's not really a chef, more of a short order cook. Pierre made an awesome pizza tonight for the crew. Raymond didn't eat anything all day until like 3:30 in the afternoon. He doesn't even remember what it was.

Pierre's recipes will be simple, tasty and even simpler to prepare. All the stuff gets left for Helen the Housekeeper to take care of. We're thinking of firing Helen. She doesn't do much of anything around here—mostly eats bonbons and watches soaps.

...yah, you're right
...she does sound more like Peg Bundy than Goldie Hawn

And so without further ado, Here's Pierre's first recipe.

...merci mon ami

Pierre's Pizza

Very tasty. Most of da ingredients are in your pan-tree

D'Stuff for da Dough

2 cups of 'ole w'eat flour
1 cup of water
1/2 tbsp. of yeasda
1 tbsp shoogar
1 tbsp. holive oil, margareen or budder
1 tsp. salt

First put de water in a pyrex mixing cup and add da yeasda. Put it in da microwave for 60 secon

...what, use a pot
...are you crazy!
...dat witch 'ellen, will be screamin' all afternoon
...go watch your soaps, woman

Mix da stuff togedder in a bowl—aluminum is easier to work wid. Da dough gets steeky.

...yeh, I do sound like dat French-Canadian guy on dat cooking show
...but I'm much bedder looking

Cover it wit a big lid or someting. Let it stand for an hour. Go play poker or some games on your computer or watch da soaps wit 'ellen.

D'Rest of da Stuff

1 coarsely chopped hunion
1 cup of Pierre's Make Anyting Wit It Sauce

...oh, I'm so sorry dese bozos didn't introduce me until now
...I forgot I 'aven't shown you 'ow to make my sauce
...OK we'll do dat nex time
...you use a cup of dat prepared stuff in da jar dis time, but juss dis time. OK?

1/2 a ball of mozzarella cheese cut into chunks
a little bit of holive oil
some cornmeal
Unny mustard and Etalian spices

...you keep da jars close, we use dem more dan once

'ours up. Sprinkle some cornmeal on da pan so it doesn't steek. Take da dough and tro' it into da pizza pan. Get da really good non-steek one. We use dat again and again. We talk about what you should 'ave in your kitchen to do Pierre's style of fine French cook-king sometime soon.

If you don't 'ave a microwave, get one. Da one wit da genius settings is good. No guesswork. Just poosh buttons and wait.

Take a flat measureen cup—da 1 cup is good. Put a little flour on da dough and spread it aroun on da pan. Push it into the hedges wit da cup. Sprinkle di Etalian spice all over, a little holive oil, spread da sauce all aroun, tro' d'onions on top and den da cheese. Squirt some unny mustard on top. Some more Etalian spice. Take a fork an' poosh da dough so eets tight to de hedges of da pan. Put it in d'oven.

...Oops, we forgot to pre-eat di oven to 425 degrees farenHite
...OK. So we wait a little longer
...Pierre can have some wine

Put it in d'oven for 20 minoots. When it's done. Take it out. Let it sit for a few minoots and cut into nice size pieces an enjoy.

Dat's eet!
Goonight my friends
See you nex' time
Bonsoir mes amis

...editing Pierre's speech is really tough
...spellchecker might as well take a holiday
...and we don't speak much French either

The image was taken form Flickr. I don't know how to find the creator. Read the story. It's cute. I did find the name of Pixel Packing Mama but no contact info. She obviously loves cats and has a unique approach to storytelling. I'm not sure if Cream is still with us, but they do say that cats have 9 lives. Looks like it's going to be interesting watching Cream's new life.

The Poker Gang


If you read The B17 System, this article will give you some idea of the playing styles that you can use to support it. The way I play, it involves the use of four unique characters who get to play the game at various times. May I introduce Killer, Bozo (he's everywhere), Titus and Ernie.

It's not a coincidence that there are four members to this squad. They go hand in hand with the four engine system of the B17. Here's who gets to play when we have the following number of engines. 
  1. Ernie
  2. Titus
  3. Bozo
  4. Killer
We'll start with 4 engines and work our way down to 1—small stack, soon to be out of the game, unless we get lucky.

Killer
We like to play Killer. He's a daredevil. He likes to call all-in a lot. He can get you into trouble with his reckless abandon, but he can also get you to the final table.

Bozo
Bozo is, of course, a clown. He doesn't fear calling all-in in the right places. I think he gets to play the most because he's good buddies with Kenny Rogers—You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em......

...if you play poker enough that song will go through your brains several thousand times in your poker life
...I think Daniel Negreanu is a Bozo
...no, I'm serious
...I think that's his playing style, most of the time

Titus
I think he's English. He's kinda' conservative. He only plays strong hands. If he wins hands, he tags Bozo who goes back in the game, sometimes even Killer.

Ernie
Ernie's an accountant. We really don't like playing Ernie, but you know, he can surprise you. His job is to get the other guys back in the game. He's gonna' have to call all-in soon. With any luck, he gets the team back in the game. If he doesn't, the other guys pat him on the back and say, "Nice try, Ern. We'll get 'em next time."

...you know, Poker is a fun game, especially if you play like Bozo
...as opposed to playing like a bozo
...remember what your Mom taught you—table manners
...enjoy the game

Daniel Negreanu biography link courtesy of PokerStars.com


Consider It a Cup Of Coffee With a Friend


When you sit down at your favourite local coffee spot with a friend you haven't seen in a while, you both find you fight over who's going to pay. You see, the warm conversation, and the joy you feel, is far more valuable than the relatively small hit that your wallet takes. 

And so it should be. Spending time with a friend can very seldom be considered a waste of time.

So here's a thought for you. When you visit someone on their blog, share a cup of coffee with them. That's the spirit of the Donate box. Let them know that you enjoyed your time together.

And for bloggers that don't have this set up, set yourself up with PayPal as a Premier customer (which allows for donations). They do a great job of making it quite simple to paste the HTML code into your blog homepage. They even provide a simple way to produce the button and all the necessary code. You can shop on eBay as well with this service.

...it's nice to say thank you
...shows your warm side

(A note to those who have their own blogs. Feel free to post a link to this page, especially if you think the concept has merit and would like to share it with your readers.  You have to pay for all the batteries in the cordless mouse somehow. By the way, get rechargeable ones, it's easier on our landfills.) 

And here's another thought. You might choose a different name that you would be more comfortable with for "The Coffee Shop." Here's some of my suggestions. Feel free to use the comments to suggest your own.
  • The Collection Plate
  • The Watering Hole
  • The Community Centre
  • Town Hall
  • My Children Thank You
  • My Cat Needs Food
  • The Bus Stop
  • The Candy Store
  • Mad Money
  • School Supplies
  • Thanks for the Coin
  • Mouse Batteries


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

There's Some Guys You Hold The Bus For




Quote from John Madden - Sunday Night Football - November 30, 2008

Coach Madden was commenting on how some players are worth making exceptions for because they have proven through their hard work in practice and on the field that they will get special treatment. Every championship calibre team in all sports has players who match this description.

On our team, that would include Chuckie, Bozo, Raymond, Infinity and, most recently Maverick.

...Maverick got us accepted in the Pokerstars Business Program today
...gave the team a real lift
...a high quality operation thinks we're worthy
...we're pumped

We'll hold the bus for these guys, if necessary. They have shown that they are in this together. The future looks real bright. It just could be a championship season.