... A Sour Apple Tree

Your source for fast and/or frozen food reviews, Huntington and/or West Virginia commentary, rasslin' (not wrestling) nostalgia, bad parody, dumb satire, rejected slogans, pointless lists, unreliable sports predictions, and funny local pictures.

Location: Huntington, WV, United States

I'm a 37 year-old guy from Huntington, WV.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Week 8 NFL Picks

Another crappy week last Sunday, going 7-6 for a season total of 67-36. This week:

Seahawks @ Cowboys
Rams @ Lions
Broncos @ Ravens
Browns @ Bears
Texans @ Bills
49ers @ Colts
Giants @ Eagles
Dolphins @ Jets
Raiders @ Chargers
Jaguars @ Titans
Panthers @ Cardinals
Vikings @ Packers
Falcons @ Saints

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

5 Awesome Things

1. Watching 11 month-olds learn to walk

2. Iced banana white chocolate mochas from Sheetz

3. ABC's Modern Family

4. Mustard greens

5. This artwork

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Broadway is dark tonight

RIP GeoCities. Today Yahoo is shutting down the once glorious, now nearly forgotten free web hosting service fondly remember by 30-something internet geeks everywhere. In honor of my friend's old website, located in the "Broadway" city that was one of the first website that I ever bookmarked on Netscape Navigator, here is a song from that era by the Goo Goo dolls:

This makes me sad. Now where am I going to find cool chatroom portals, neato gifs, killer MIDI files, and Empire Records fansites? I'm gonna get on ICQ and complain to random chat person about this. :(

Update: Last chance!!! If you don't well up a little bit, then it is past your bedtime.

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Prettiest leaves in Huntington

If it is on your way, be sure to drive past the intersection of 9th Ave and Elm St. There is a tree near that intersection with the prettiest yellow-orange leaves that I've seen in ages.

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Friday, October 23, 2009

Our Lady of the Carbonite

We recently got a magazine featuring a marble relief of Mary on the cover. My older son, ever the Star Wars fan, immediately recognized a similarity:

It looks like even the Holy Mother isn't safe when she crosses Jabba. Either that, or Han Solo was honored by some geeky Byzantines for the 1000s.

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Week 7 NFL Picks

Last week was a major turd sandwich with a record of 7-7, bringing my season total to 60-30. Here are this week's picks:

49ers @ Texans
Colts @ Rams
Chargers @ Chiefs
Packers @ Browns
Patriots @ Buccaneers
Vikings @ Steelers
Bills @ Panthers
Jets @ Raiders
Saints @ Dolphins
Bears @ Bengals
Falcons @ Cowboys
Cardinals @ Giants
Eagles @ Redskins

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

It's Moltin' Time!!!

About once every 15 months Atacama, my Chilean rose hair tarantula molts. This time around was particularly serendipitous, as her old exoskeleton makes for a spooky Hallowe'en decoration.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Week 6 NFL Picks

Last week I went a rather blah 9-5, bringing my season pick 'em total to 53-23. Here are my thoughts for Week 6:

Chiefs @ Redskins
Lions @ Packers
Ravens @ Vikings
Rams @ Jaguars
Giants @ Saints
Texans @ Bengals
Browns @ Steelers
Panthers @ Buccaneers
Cardinals @ Seahawks
Eagles @ Raiders
Bills @ Jets
Titans @ Patriots
Bears @ Falcons
Broncos @ Chargers

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Monday, October 12, 2009

Burger King keeps it classy

Memo to BK's marketing folks:

Don't make fun of fat people when 1) the target of the joke (Jessica Simpson) isn't actually fat and 2) fat people make up your largest target demographic.

It'd be like Whole Foods making fun of (the married, heterosexual) Terry Gross for being a lesbian.

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Friday, October 09, 2009

Digital and analog TV reception in Huntington, WV: October 2009

Here are the analog and digital television stations that I can currently receive using an indoor VHF-UHF antenna in Huntington, WV as of October 2009:

  • 3.1-WSAZ (NBC), Digital, High Def when available. Gets perfect reception 99% of the time.
  • 3.2-MyZ (My Network TV), Digital, Standard Def. Great reception.
  • 13.1-WOWK (CBS), Digital, High Def when available. This channel sometimes requires the antenna to be moved around a bit to get the best reception. It has a great picture for HD, but when showing standard definition programs, there is a weird offset with an overhang from the right side of the picture on the left side of the screen. The channel is also prone to skitching out during any sort of cloudy weather event.
  • 13.2-Digital, Standard def live transmission of WOWK's Doppler radar. As with 13.1, sometimes requires some antenna tweaking. since it is just a weather map, however, perfect reception is not exactly necessary.
  • 14-Home Shopping Network, Analog. No sound.
  • 33.1-WPBY (PBS), Digital. Standard Def. Good signal. It is the digital version of the main WV PBS feed. Seems to show the same programming as 33.3, only in SD.
  • 33.2-WV PBS.2, Digital. Standard Def. Shows a selection of less-popular and older PBS shows along cooking and DIY programs from Create, a lifestyle channel produced by PBS.
  • 33.3-WSWP HD. Shows virtually the same programming line-up as 33.1, only in High Def. The nature shows are among the most visually stunning prgrams available.
  • 36-W36CR (TBN). Analog, Standard Def. Evangelical Christian channel.
  • 44.1-WTSF (Daystar) Digital, Standard Def. Evangelical Christian channel.
  • 45-WQCW (The CW), Analog transmitter of the Portsmouth, OH digital channel. Weak signal, requires extensive antenna manipulation.

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Thursday, October 08, 2009

Week 5 NFL Picks

Last week I went 11-3 to bring the season total to 44-18. Here are this week's picks:

Steelers @ Lions
Vikings @ Rams
Raiders @ Giants
Cowboys @ Chiefs
Redskins @ Panthers
Browns @ Bills
Buccaneers @ Eagles
Bengals @ Ravens
Falcons @ 49ers
Texans @ Cardinals
Patriots @ Broncos
Jaguars @ Seahawks
Colts @ Titans
Jets @ Dolphins

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Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Roasting Garlic at Home

We always buy our garlic at Sam's Club. For the price of two bulbs at WalMart or Kroger, you can get a whole sleeve @ da club that contains as many as 10 heads. The only problem with this arrangement is that we end up tossing out a lot of garlic when the expiration date comes up. Well, as the chuck-by date came up on yet another batch, I'm looking up ways to preserve as much garlic as possible. After discovering that homemade garlic oil is a recipe for botulism, I opt to roast and freeze the balance of garlic in the house.

The first step is to cut the tops off of each bulb, making sure that each clove is exposed. Then dip the bulbs in olive oil or, if you are just doing one or two, drizzle them with the oil.

Put them in an oven @ about 400°F for ~35 minutes. I use a convection oven, but gas would work just fine.

Finally I pop the roasted cloves out of the skin and put them in a storage container right away. Again, garlic + oil can = botulism if not properly stored.

So far, I've tried them on corn chips, in salsa, in burritos, and in mashed potatoes and they provide each dish with a sweet and creamy garlic zing without overpowering any of the other flavors. I can strongly recommend trying this at home the next time you are faced with a "too much garlic" dilemma.

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Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Star Wars House Game

My three year-old likes Monopoly (he calls it "House Game"), but he has his own set of rules. Since the houses, hotels, and avatars are all small and easy to lose and the deeds and currency are somewhat flimsy, all he is allowed to play with is the board itself. This proved a bit dull until he saw a Star Wars Monopoly variant in a Toys-R-Us circular and a little light bulb went off above his head. Now it is all about "Star Wars House Game." Here are the rules:

1. Have Dad set up the board somewhere that he can (but his baby brother, ruiner of all things fun, can't) reach.

2. Set up several Galactic Heroes figures on the board.

3. Group them into Jedis, Storm/Clone Troopers, Droids ("robot guys"), and guys with blasters.

4. Put Boba Fett on a horse that came with an Indiana Jones Adventure Heroes mail-in figure.

5. Plo Koon (and, for some reason, only Plo Koon) demands "three dollars" from several of the other figures.

6. Boba Fett on horseback or one of the troopers knocks them all over.

7. Repeat steps 1-6 a couple of times.

8. End Game: Declare "Hammer Time!!" and knock all of the figures down with a toy hammer.

9. The winner: always the three year-old.

Other variations: Using Marvel Super Hero Squad figures to play "Iron Man House Game," Transformers to play "Robot House Game," or Halloween toys to play "Spooky House Game."

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Friday, October 02, 2009

Homemade Pizza Sauce

All this summer a friend has been bringing me bags and bags of her homegrown Roma tomatoes (my favorite variety) and we've used them mainly to make tomato bread or to liven up jars of pasta sauce. Since my wife makes a killer pizza crust, I think it'd be a good idea to use some of the tomatoes to make a pizza sauce from scratch. Pizza sauce freezes quite well, so if I pull this off, we should be stocked up for a couple of months.

When dealing with any produce, you want to give it a good rinse to remove any dirt, fertilizer, or pesticide that might have clung to the skin:

I have to remove the skins. This is a bit tedious, but the tomatoes are rather ripe and skin comes off easily:

I cut them in half:

Scoop out the rib and seeds (nothing goes to waste, I load them in a mesh baby feeder and let my tomato-loving 10 month-old have a healthy lunch):

The tomatoes are now cleaned and ready to process:

I give them a couple rounds of dicing:

Meanwhile I brown about half of a white onion and 13 (yes, that many) cloves of fresh crushed garlic:

I'm now ready to crush the maters with a plastic potato masher (crappy for potatoes, but great for veggies and beans):

All crushed and ready for action:

I then add the garlic and onions with some kosher salt, fresh black peeper, sugar, dried rosemary, dried oregano, fresh basil, and a bay leaf and let it simmer in the crock pot on low for several hours:

It has reduced by somewhere between 1/2 and 2/3 and is dark red and has a complex taste:

I put the finished product in the freezer and wait a few days, as most Italian red sauces taste better after a little bit of storage. I top a pizza crust with the sauce, some mozzarella, more fresh basil, chorizo sausage, and some homemade roasted garlic (more on that in a future post):

Twenty minutes later, we are in pizza heaven:

It is a long and tedious process, but the end results are totally worth the effort. It tastes sooo much better than store-bought pizza sauce and has no funky preservatives or additives.

My guess is that this two month supply will last about three weeks.

4.5 out of 5 Smithers, West Virginias.

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Thursday, October 01, 2009

My Top Ten Star Wars Characters

1. Boba Fett: Biggest bad-ass in the history of fictional characters.

2. Lando Calrissian: A smooth operator who enjoys Colt 45.

3. Bib Fortuna: He keeps Jabba's shit together.

4. Bossk: If that lizard dude was looking for me, I'd crap my pants.

5. Obi-Wan Kenobi: Probably the single most empowering gay character in the history of cinema (he was gay, right?)

6. Darth Vader: Paradise lost, paradise regained.

7. Admiral Ackbar: He should take over in Afghanistan.

8. Jek Porkins (aka "Red Six"): Proof that you can enjoy a bratwurst (or 12) and still be an X-Wing pilot.

9. Chewbacca: He was totally robbed of a commendation at the end of A New Hope, FWIW.

10. Jabba the Hut: Didn't he almost have it all?

Hon metion: Princess Leia (in the metal bikini) and Mace Windu (my wife gets onto me for using my son's MW action figure to call the other Galactic Heroes "MFers")

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