Friday, November 18, 2005

Friday Morning...

So last night proved to be very lacking in productivity... aside from getting new ringtones for my cell phone and blogging, I didn't do a single productive thing! No new 1-10's for the DC History list (fortunately my pal Hoy Murphy has taken up the slack, posting Evil Twins covers this morning), no new Cover Stories columns written...

And what's on tap for today? Well, work, naturally... I may try to get in extra-early today, as we have several special sections that deadline tonight at 5, as well as the usual Saturday-Sunday-Monday advertisements, and it's possible there may be changes/corrections to work on right away (although, to be honest, most of the changes will probably come in around 2 pm or so... and a lot after 4).

Fridays, as I'm sure I've noted before, tend to end early... I can be done anywhere from 5 pm to 7 pm (my standard workday ends about 8), but today, I'll need to wrap up no later than 6, as we have tickets to the 6:30 showing of the latest Harry Potter movie, which we have to see opening day! (bizarre that we're seeing HP on opening day, but I still haven't seen Batman Begins yet!)

What else is going on? Well, we saw Smallville last night, and it was a pretty decent episode, all things considered. Martha Kent develops a strange Kryptonian illness (which I kept expecting would be named "Virus X," but it was never given a name in the ep), which I knew was going to prove to be caused by Brainiac -- and I was right! Brainiac still isn't being called Brainiac, though -- he's still referred to as Milton Fine, or Professor Fine. He tricked Clark into bringing him to the Fortress in an attempt to destroy the Fortress with a black crystal and simultaneously release General Zod from the Phantom Zone (which wasn't called the Phantom Zone, but it sure looked like the movie one). Fortunately, Chloe has proven to be a much more capable helper than Pete Ross did, and she helped pull Clark's fat out of the fire.

Lois is still slow to be bitten by the reporting bug, but I can see where they're continuing to lay the groundwork for it.

Brainiac's apparently dead at the end of the ep... but I suspect he didn't die, just teleported away, along with his spaceship (which Lex had in Warehouse 15)... and naturally, Lex figured Lionel was responsible for its theft. I'm guessing the guards who were beaten up by Chloe and Lois earlier in the episode didn't bother mentioning they were beaten up by a couple of girls... did they even try to explain the gate Lois drove through?

The biggest plot hole in the episode was Lois's acquisition of a brand new Ford Focus... which she purchased with the money she earns working at the Talon -- I guess Smallville residents must tip very well, given that she's also paying for the apartment in the Talon from that income, too! Of course, the real reason she got a new car is they're promoting it on the show, tying in with a contest.

Finished reading the latest Alter Ego last night, darn it... now, bereft of fresh reading material until payday, I'm re-reading books I haven't read in a while. First up, "Baby Boomer Comics" by Craig "Mr. Silver Age" Shutt! I don't think I've read this book since I first bought it, so it's not that fresh on my mind. It's all very good stuff, of course!

Not much going on this weekend aside from seeing Harry Potter... but I'm sure something will come up!


Thursday, November 17, 2005

Too Many Ringtones?

OK, I've been having way too much fun... and it started last night (I meant to post about it this morning, but spaced on it, with everything else I was talking about).

So Wednesday night, Jessi was trying to get a Harry Potter ringtone for her cell phone... and was getting quite frustrated, having spent several hours in a fruitless pursuit of a way to do that!

Now, our friend Kathy had used one website, and was happy with it, so I suggested she ask Kathy what site she used. It was which I can readily recommend. Now, it's not 100% free... you pay $8 (for a lifetime membership which lets you put up to four cell phone numbers on one account), and they make it easy... you find a midi file you want to use for a ring tone, download it to your computer, then you use their relayer to forward the ringtone to your phone!

So now, I have the Superman movie theme, the Batman tv theme, the Monkees "I'm a Believer", and a number of Beatles songs availble for ringtones... now I just need to assign them! The cool thing is, you can play the midi file on your computer first before downloading it to your phone, so you can decide if you like it or not!

Jessi was especially happy with the Law & Order theme she downloaded... sounds exactly like the original series theme!


Krypto, the Super-Destructive Dog!

So, when I was getting ready to head off to work this morning, both KO and Krypto were sleeping on the bed fairly soundly. Normally, when we're going to leave the dogs at home, KO's in the bedroom, while Krypto's in his crate (which is also in the bedroom). But I thought to myself, "Let's give Krypto a chance to show he can be outside the crate today."

Bad thinking... apparently, he feels frustrated if he's not in his crate... and he was very destructive! He completely destroyed the lamp on Jessi's side of the bed, as well as one of her phone chargers (both of which I'll have to replace next payday), and also tore apart an entire roll of toilet paper.

No more chances for him -- when we're gone, he's in the crate for sure!



Since I got such an overwhelming response to my question about posting my recipes (well, just one person said they'd like to see them), here's a few for you!

You'll note that calories aren't mentioned on these... just "points," which is what Weight Watchers uses to track food values... this is based on a formula involving the calories, fat, and fiber in a food. 1 gram of fiber (up to, I think 4 per serving) can counter 10 calories, and I forget how many extra calories you count for fat. But essentially, you can multiply the point value by 50 to get an approximate calorie count!

Some of these recipies were wholly created by me... others are modifications to recipes I found.

Jon's Breaded Shrimp -- My own creation!

POINTS® value | 3
Servings | 8

main meals | Best shrimp you'll eat... and healthy, too! Used as an appetizer, you'll need fewer shrimp per serving. You'll need to determine how many shrimp equal a serving based on how many pieces per pound.


2 pound shrimp
1 cup Kellogg's Special K
1 cup General Mills Fiber One
2/3 cup Egg Beaters Egg Beaters
2/3 cup Bisquick Reduced-Fat Baking Mix


Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

Put cereal in food processor with desired seasonings and run until cereal is crumbs. Season the Bisquick (garlic is a good choice, along with seasoning salt). Put the crumbs and Egg Beaters in seperate bowls, and the Bisquick in a Zip bag. Peel and devein the shrimp, then toss in the Bisquick, shaking off the excess. Then dip shrimp in egg beaters, coating well, and then into the cereal mixture. Place on a cookie sheet covered with foil or parchment paper, spray lightly with cooking spray, and bake at 400 for 10 minutes, checking at 5 minutes for doneness (you may wish to turn them over after 5 minutes). Leftovers can be re-heated at 400 for 10 minutes, with a small amount of cooking spray sprayed on them.

Tip: If you want to cook these with some French Fries (see additional recipie), put the Fries on the top rack of the oven, with the Shrimp on the rack below them… and broil as described in the French Fry recipe – but leave them in the oven while you turn over the Fries, and then once the Fries are done, move the Shrimp to the top rack and broil for another minute or two!

Pigs in a Blanket - This recipe is a modification of one from the Calorie Commando show on Food Network... my version is even healthier!

POINTS® value | 1
Servings | 8

snacks | A great party appetizer... serve with ketchup and mustard for dipping!


8 fat-free beef and pork hot dog(s)
4 sheet phyllo dough
4 sprays cooking spray (5 one-second sprays per serving)


Pre-Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Open package of hot dogs and cut each dog into thirds, and set aside. Take the sheets of phyllo dough and cut them (you may need only 2 sheets, depending on the size of the sheets in the brand you buy) so that you have pieces about twice as wide as one hot dog piece, and about 12-15 inches long or so. It's easiest to cut them with a pizza cutter. Take each piece of dough, fold in half, and roll around a piece of hot dog. Moisten the last 1/2 inch of dough with water to seal.

Use two sprays of cooking spray on a cookie sheet, and place the wrapped hot dog pieces on the cookie sheet, spacing evenly. Spray the tops of the wrapped dogs with the remaining 2 sprays of cooking spray. Bake at 400 for 10-15 minutes, depending on how crunchy you want them.

French Fries -- Another of my own creations!

POINTS® value | 2
Servings | 2

side dishes |


2 medium potato(es)
5 sprays cooking spray (5 one-second sprays per serving)
2 tsp table salt


Preheat oven on broil.

Prepare a cookie sheet by spraying with two sprays of cooking spray.

Wash potatoes, leaving the skins on! Cut potatoes in half, then set the cut side of each potato flat on a cutting board, and cut slices about 1/4" wide or less.

Layout the slices on the baking sheet, spacing equally. Season with salt, and then add a spray of cooking spray or tow.

Broil for 10 minutes on the top rack, keeping the tray leaving the tray no more than 3-4" from the top of the oven.

Remove from oven and turn fries over, noting done-ness. Season with salt again, and add another spray or two of cooking spray. Return to oven and broil for 5-10 minutes, until desired crispiness.

Serve with ketchup or other favorite dip!

Chocolate Cake & Chocolate Frosting -- Another modification from Calorie Commando!

POINTS® value | 1
Servings | 12
cakes | This version calls for making cupcakes!


1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup whole-grain wheat flour
1/8 tsp table salt
3/4 cup McNeil Nutritionals SPLENDA No Calorie Sweetener
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup Unsweetened Apple Sauce
1/4 cup Egg Beaters Egg Beaters
1 tsp imitation vanilla extract, no alcohol

8 oz fat-free cream cheese
1 Tbsp reduced-calorie margarine
2 cup McNeil Nutritionals SPLENDA No Calorie Sweetener
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/8 tsp table salt
1 tsp imitation vanilla extract, no alcohol
3 Tbsp fat-free skim milk


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Prepare muffin tin with cupcake sleeves, set aside.

In a large bowl, mix baking soda, sugar, flour, and salt. Dissolve cocoa powder in hot water and then add to dry ingredients. Stir in applesauce, egg substitute, and vanilla. Pour batter into prepared cupcake sleeves. Bake for 30 minutes. Cool cakes completely on a cooling rack before frosting with chocolate frosting.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth. Add sugar substitute and beat until incorporated. Add cocoa powder, salt, and vanilla and beat until blended. If the frosting is too thick to spread, add the milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, with the mixer on low, until spreading consistency is achieved.

Jon's Amazing Pizza Dough! -- This is a wholescale reworking of chef Wolfgang Puck's pizza dough recipe!

POINTS® value | 2
Servings | 16

main meals | This point value calls for each person eating 1/4 of an entire pizza!


1 Tbsp yeast
1 tsp honey
1 cup water
1 tsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp olive oil
4 cup whole-grain wheat flour
1/2 cup Bisquick Reduced-Fat Baking Mix


In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast and honey in 1/4-cup warm water.

In a mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour and the salt. Add the Bisquick, oil, yeast mixture, and the remaining 3/4 cup of water and mix on low speed until the dough comes cleanly away from the sides of the bowl and clusters around the dough hook, about 5 minutes. You may need to add additional water, up to 1 cup -- be careful, and only add about 1/8 of a cup of additional water at a time, and let it mix before adding more! (The pizza dough can also be made in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse once or twice, add the remaining ingredients, and process until the dough begins to form a ball).

Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and knead by hand 2 or 3 minutes longer. The dough should be smooth and firm. Cover the dough with a clean, damp towel and let it rise in a warm spot for about 30 minutes. (When ready, the dough will stretch as it is lightly pulled).

Divide the dough into 4 balls. Work each ball by pulling down the sides and tucking under the bottom of the ball. Repeat 4 or 5 times. Then on a smooth, unfloured surface, roll the ball under the palm of your hand until the top of the dough is smooth and firm, about 1 minute. Cover the dough with a damp towel and let rest 15 to 20 minutes.

When ready to cook, add the desired toppings and bake at 400 degrees for about 15-20 minutes. Be sure to use a non-stick cookie sheet prepared with a bit of cooking spray!

More blogging

Yep, two posts in short order! Huzzah!

So, what else do I have to say this morning?

Well... Robby Reed's Dial B for Blog focuses on Krypto the Superdog today... and you can check that out via this link, which won't change from day to day. No coverage of my own Krypto, however (not that I was expecting it... Krypto's appearances on the web are limited to this blog, and an appearance or two on Tony's Online Tips (which is on a temporary medical leave as I write this -- get well soon, Tony!).

Jessi and I have continued to watch the Biggest Loser Tuesdays on NBC, and have dropped even the pretense of watching Commander-in-Chief. They're down to the final four on TBL, and I'm amazed at the weight loss results they're getting! Well, perhaps amazed isn't the right word -- impressed is more like it (anyone would lose weight rapidly if they followed the same regimen).

We also continue to watch the various Law & Order shows on USA and TNT, but rarely on NBC (except for Sunday's Criminal Intent episodes -- which may have to move in fall of 2006, as I've heard that NBC's getting Sunday Night Football, which ESPN is losing due to their getting Monday Night Football away from ABC).

Did I tell you guys that Jessi got me an Extreme Makeover: Home Edition t-shirt? Well, I have now. She got the shirt from her friend who was her contact for us signing up for the show (her friend apparently didn't ever get to the site on Friday -- there is a lot that goes on that we never see on TV, as you might expect, and I'd share some of what we were told, but I don't know that the source is that accurate -- besides, they signed a confidentiality agreement that could get 'em sued if they spill the beans, and I don't want to be responsible for that).

So... reading-wise, the only "fresh" reading I have is the latest issue of Roy Thomas' Alter Ego, which I received on Tuesday, but just cracked open today. Be thankful I'm posting at all -- AE is one of those mags that tends to take me away from anything constructive until I read it from cover to cover! But I'm trying to spread it out a bit this time around, so it lasts longer.

And I guess that's about it for now! I'll likely post again tonight.


Four Days Later...

Sheesh, it's been a while between blog entries! Why was that? Well, there are a couple of reasons...

1. I was working on upcoming columns for Cover Stories on Monday & Tuesday night, and ended up taking longer than I'd planned.

2. Last night I was updating some recipes I'd created on the Weight Watchers website, and adding a few more -- all foods that I'd served at my birthday party on Saturday, which I know Pam, our group leader (who was at the party) will likely be talking up at the meeting, so I wanted to bring hard copies of them to the meeting so others can try them out themselves! (anyone reading this have any interest in having me share those recipes here?)

3. I spent too much time reading the "Uncle John's Bathroom Readers" I bought on Sunday -- but I read both of them now, so they're going to be in the bathroom for Jessi or any visitors to read (that's right, I don't tend to read those in the bathroom exclusively, which is why a new one never lasts long for me).

So hopefully, I'll be back on track tonight, and back to regular posting (although I still haven't posted a "1-10" on the DC History list since my actual birthday, 8 days ago).

So what's been going on since Sunday? Well, work-wise, Monday and Tuesday were on the slow side, finishing up early both nights. Wednesday, I made up for a little lost time, and today should be fairly busy. Our one person who tones photos and does scanning full-time is on vacation this week, so all that has to be done catch-as-catch-can by the three people (during the day) who are trained in doing that -- and those people are the department manager and assistant manager, who were in meetings all day Monday, and are kept pretty busy when they're not in meetings, and co-worker Chelsey, who wasn't completely trained, but gave it a go anyway (for which I'm appreciative). I'm kind of halfway sort of trained in imaging, and on occasion I've been known to do a quickie tone job in order to get something moving, but honestly, I believe that I'm of better use building ads and getting stuff cranked out that way (I'm the most productive of the ad-builders, which is not intended as a criticism of the others in my department -- I'm just fast, that's all).

There's also a lot of concerns going around about the newspaper's parent company, Knight-Ridder -- information's come out that the board of directors of their parent company, or somesuch, want to sell K-R, but nothing will be decided until April, I guess... so I really don't have much to say about that.

Remember the board game I created for our ApartmentFinder weekly publication? On Monday, I created a new cover concept -- one that's sort of a tribute/parody to Scooby-Doo. Didn't spend quite as much time on this one, though -- I just scanned our image library to find people who reminded me of the various Scooby gang, and put them in front of a spooky castle backdrop. Of course, some are closer than others -- Shaggy's represented by a more "traditional" hippie, Velma by a woman with glasses -- and there the resemblance ends. Fred looks way too competent to be the person I picked to stand in for him, and for Daphne, I had to take the head from one figure and the body of another one and put them together (and then do a bit of recoloring to help the resemblance out). I didn't add any spots to the Great Dane standing in for Scooby himself. Everyone who's seen it so far picked up on where I was going right away, so I guess it works!

Although I'd forgotten I wanted to throw a Mystery Machine in there somewhere.

I have no idea when this one will be used, but when I do know, I'll share the image with you.

More blogging in a bit!


Sunday, November 13, 2005

Sunday night Report!

Wow, I've got to start being more original with the titles of these entries again...

Anyway... it's late on Sunday night, and I'm tired, but I figure I should at least post a short entry for my regular readers!

Today began with taking the dogs for a much-needed walk... after which it was time for breakfast! We just took some time to relax for a bit after that. Jessi met up with her friend Amanda for a bike ride in the afternoon, and I was going to work on some more Cover Stories columns (which you can read here), but our wi-fi wasn't working, so I ended up vegging out in front of the TV, watching Monty Python fourth season episodes via On Demand.

So after Jessi was done with her bike ride, we had dinner, and then it was off to Penney's and Barnes & Noble so I could use my gift cards! At Penney's, I got a new zip-up hoodie (the one I'd been wearing was given to me a year ago by Jessi... it was a 3XLT, and I replaced it with an XL), a jogging suit that's water-resistant that I can wear over my regular clothes if need be, so when we take the dogs for a walk and the weather's not so great, I can stay dry, and a new shirt! At Barnes & Noble, I picked up two new Uncle John's Bathroom Readers!

Then it was back home again to watch Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, but Jessi was so tired, she started nodding off before the show was even half-over, so we got her to bed, and then, since the wi-fi was working again, I wrote two new Cover Stories columns, and planned out all the rest of the columns for the first full year.

And I've been putting some thought into some day collecting together all the recipies I've created for low-calorie foods in some form... especially in some way that could make me some extra cash... any one have any ideas out there?