The Final Dinner Solution

Elaine and I have stumbled across a favorite dinner. It’s simple to buy, make, and consume. It’s vegan, cheap, and can vary to suit tastes.

Basically, it’s just rice, beans, and a veggie. I know it sounds simple, but it comes together well. For the two of us, we cook a cup of rice, one can of black beans, and a stalk of broccoli. Changing the kind of bean or using a different green gives some variety.

To prepare, chop up the broccoli and cook the rice. While that’s cooking, put the broccoli in a buttered pan. Pour a little water over the broccoli (for steam) and cover the pan. Heat on medium for a bit (until ’emerald’). Then move the broccoli to one side in the pan, pour the beans in, and move the pan so the beans are in the center of the flame. When the beans start bubbling, take everything down and eat.

Vacation Debriefing

Just a quick note to say I’m back from vacation. You can see all my pics on my flickr account (not many, I know).

Basically, New Orleans was pretty awesome. I had a lot of time to myself while Elaine was at her stroke conference. Mostly in the French Quarter since that was most walkable.

There were a ton of museums (contemporary art, Southern art, Civil War, World War II, a pharmacy one). I went to a bunch of art galleries too, discovering a neat semi-local artist Marcel Flisiuk. Though I was too cheap to buy one of his paintings, I was sorely tempted.

I also went to a casino for the first time. The Harrah’s across from the hotel was just too tempting. Lost all my $20 on expensive slots real quick. Ate crawfish, jumbalaya, gumbo, crab, cala cakes, beignets, Popeye’s. Whoops.

Bourbon street was fun. It’s basically the “after-hours” street that only comes alive after 10, and triply-so on the weekend. Lots of cabarets, bars, beads, hot-dog stands, and drunks. New Orleans has a liberal drinking policy that allows you to carry around alcohol, as long as it isn’t in a glass container. So you ask for a ‘go-cup’ as you leave a place and they’ll dump your drink into a plastic cup.

Since the French Quarter was not the worst hit by Katrina and very touristy, the recovery was pretty far along. Still, there were lots of ‘For Sale/Rent’ signs up.

All in all, very pretty, very temperate, very fun.

Happy Holidays

I’ve been more busy than I like recently, working overtime to finish a project before I go on a business trip this coming week to California. I’ll be gone all week, soaking in the sun and coding in a cubicle.

Christmas was very good. I got just about everything I wanted and then some. Rice cookers are good people, and Axis & Allies looks exciting, although I haven’t played with the new board yet. There is a suspiciously good looking strategy involving Germany taking the British Isle on the first turn, but it’s probably too risky. My boss kindly managed to snag me his family’s copy of Fireball Island, a favorite game of my childhood.

The prize for best unrequested present goes to my mother, who bought me Mister O, a cutely dark comic book.

I also bought myself a digital camera. One of the main reasons I purchased it is for sharing pictures online, so hopefully I’ll have a gallery set up soon, just use Flickr, or both.

So yeah, a very happy holiday for me.

The best gift I gave was to my ex Lydia. She was in the market for a Dreamcast (mostly to emulate NES games). So, I ordered one off of eBay and created a NES CD using NesterDC. But the pièce de résistance was finding a favorite game of hers Twinkle Star Sprites for Dreamcast (a very rare, released-in-Japan-only game) on eBay.

I also surprisingly enjoyed spending some time with my extended family. I particularly enjoyed one moment sitting down before dinner:

Aunt #1 is sitting with her enormous dog Sam when my mother asks what Sam’s bark sounds like.
Aunt #1 responds, Oh, deep and loud, before leaving the dog behind to get some food.
My mother says, I don’t think I’ve ever heard Sam bark. There is a pause for a few moments.
Aunt #2 says, Let’s make him bark.