Coffeemaker Abuse

1 Comment

My day is beginning with an experiment. My coffeemaker is happily gurgling away in the kitchen – sure, it’s an innocuous enough statement – but the thing is filled with organic fair-trade dark coffee mixed with Starbucks fine-ground espresso roast. Beyond the obvious ethical and moral value-clash playing out deep in the dark recesses of my coffeemaker, I’m flat-out curious about the waking-up properties of the darkly evil brew.

The olfactory properties of said brew are certainly pleasing, but I won’t know until I pour it into my blue enamel camp mug and carry said mug with my recently acquired copy of "Backpacker" magazine out to my porch – at which point I shall kick back and enjoy the morning sunshine with my questionable coffee and bitchin’ magazine.

Good day, all.


WITCC 19% Graduation Rate?

Leave a comment

Apparently Western Iowa Tech in Sioux City has a 19% graduation rate, according to the FAFSA website. Hopefully that’s an error.

Steak sans grill

Leave a comment

I recently picked up a pair of choice angus top sirloin steaks from Hy-Vee – nothing special, but looked decent. As Sioux City is still in the grip of winter, outdoor grilling really isn’t a possibility. I’ve been experimenting these last few weeks with…wait for it . . .

cooking steaks inside.

I know, blasphemy, right?

Tonight I tried a new method. I wanted that seared, almost charred quality that comes from grilling a steak over charcoal. I can’t get a skillet hot enough with this little dorm stovetop, so I came up with the following.

1. Take your steaks out of the fridge at least an hour before you want to start cooking.

2. Cover them in kosher or sea salt. Literally cover them. You don’t want to see any red. This may seem counterintuitive, but trust me on this. You may want to add a little seasoning at this point.

3. Let ‘em sit for at least half an hour or so, covered. Leave them on the counter. Don’t put them in the fridge.

4. Rinse, pat very dry. Completely dry. You don’t want any moisture left on those steaks.

5. Take your skillet out of the oven. By now it should be stupid hot. This is a good thing.

6. Toss the steaks on the skillet, turning after the first side is seared to your liking. If you’re cooking more than one steak, be sure they aren’t crowding each other.

7. Lower your oven temp to around 425 degrees, put the skillet in the stove.

8. Let ‘em sit in there for awhile, check ‘em every now and then. Usually will only take 2-5 mins depending on how thick your steaks are and how well done you prefer.

9. Brush them with a little butter, a bit of Worcestershire sauce and serve.

Not as good as grilled, but it’ll get you through the cold winter months.


Leave a comment

Got a crap ton done today. Made all the phone calls necessary for family life this morning, went to my vision appointment where I had photos taken of the back of my eye (that looked like something from the Hubble Telescope). Picked up the glasses an hour later, boom. The world is sharp and in focus again. Happy face.

We tried to walk around Bacon Creek, but the sun was headed down and the wind had picked up, making it too cold for ourselves, not to mention our little one. We settled for a gi-normous Hy-Vee run, filling our trunk with about 200 pounds of food.

Xander sat in his stroller for the first time today; before now he’d always ridden in the infant seat attached to the stroller.

SO yeah, that was today. What did you guys  do today?


Been awhile.

1 Comment

The alarm clock blinked its amber eyes before emitting the high pitched whine that woke John Stohlman from sleep before being choked off by a calloused hand. Shuddering, he sat up, flipped the TV on and clicked on the window air conditioner. CNN filled the screen as he stumbled to the bathroom, rubbing the sleep from his eyes and the sweat from his brow. Summer had so far not been kind to the Minnesota north woods, plunging the region into a soaking humidity.

Outside, the morning sun filtered through the pines in the forest behind his cabin. Heavy trucks rumbled down the dirt road a half mile down his driveway, making their way to the work site that had heavy security, or at least enough to keep the citizens of Kent, MN guessing. A coffeepot clicked on in the kitchen, filling the house with the scent of hot coffee.

John emerged from the master bedroom having showered and dressed. His heavy flannel shirt and worn jeans had seen better days, making an odd juxtaposition with the granite counter, stainless steel kitchen appliances and giant flat screen in the living room. He lumbered towards the refrigerator, pulled out a beer and sat heavily on a chair. Cracking the top, he tilted his head back to take a deep draught, stopping only when a sound outside caught his attention. It sounded like the crushing of a soda can, only amplified and it seemed to last for an interminable length of time.

He set the beer on the counter as he walked past, making a beeline for his boots which rested on a rack near the back door. Opening the door, he looked out and saw the source of the noise. An unladen flatbed semi had collided with what looked vaguely like a small passenger car.

John walked to his truck, got in and reversed, turning it around to head towards the road. As he bumped down the rutted driveway towards the accident, his eyes flicked briefly towards the dirt road to the north, seeing a plume of dust that registered in his mind but was disregarded as he arrived at the accident. Pulling up alongside to park beyond the wreck, he peered through the splintered glass of what he now could tell was a late model compact. He saw the Asian driver cast nervous glances at him while speaking into a cell phone. A noise from around the curve up the road made him automatically turn his head, which probably saved his life. John threw his vehicle into reverse, his tires spitting gravel as they propelled his truck into the ditch just as a black Suburban, all four wheels locked up, slid past his front bumper. Two more black Suburbans slid to similar stops on the other side of the accident as a man in a suit stepped confidently from the passenger door and stood in front of his truck.

“Sir, we’re all set here. Go ahead and take off; is this your home?” He motioned towards the cabin.

“Yeah, it’s mine. You guys need to call 911, that woman looks bad.”

The suited man took a menacing step towards John’s side of the truck. Pulling aside his suit coat, he displayed a blacked out handgun holstered at his waist. “Best move on.”

“Hey, you got it.” John reached down and grabbed the shift lever to put the truck in four wheel drive. He pulled out of the ditch and lit a cigarette as he drove back up to his house. As he entered, he locked the door behind him. Pulling his .45 from his concealed holster, he set it on the table next to him as he sat down to finish his beer, debating whether to call 911 to report the accident. Reason won out. John pulled his phone from his pocket and dialed.

“911, what is your emergency?”

“Yeah, I need to report an accident, happened out front of my place about five minutes ago. I’m on the old Ridge Road north of Elk River.” John cast a glance towards the clock.

“Sir, I need you to stay on the line until emergency vehicles arrive – what is your name, sir?” The dispatcher was trembling with excitement – being new at his job gave him the jitters which, combined with the caffeine in half a pot of coffee had his nerves at a fever pitch.

“No name.” John flipped his phone shut, got up and started making a light breakfast. As he sat down to eat, there was a heavy pounding on his door. Grimacing, he holstered his pistol, muted his TV and walked towards the door, opening it to find two cruisers idling outside and two officers standing on his deck.

The younger officer spoke first.

The Daily Writer by Fred White

Leave a comment

Z1983_DailyWriterI like to review books. I recently saw this book in Barnes and Nobel and thought it looked interesting, but not quite $17.99 interesting. I bought a used, like-new copy on for 99 cents + shipping and checked it out.

Most of the time when I review a book, I write a few lines about it, what I thought about it etc and then it goes on my shelf – to be picked up in a year or so when I desire to read it again.

That approach wouldn’t work so well with this one, as it is “366 meditations to cultivate a productive and meaningful writing life.”

So I present to you a 366-part book review. This time next year, I’ll be done. It’ll be like one of those book reviews that is probably too long, except this one will take you a year to read.

Best Ad Ever.

Leave a comment

Older Entries