Nope, It’s Still Winter or I Should Probably Get Out of the House on Principle.

So the last time I left the house was the day we went to Charlotte.  It hasn’t been on purpose but…well…the only thing vaguely within walking distance is the post office, and I don’t really feel like walking that mile in the snow on the side of a road with no sidewalks.  It hasn’t really been on purpose, but between the snow and the work schedule of the one person in this house with a car, getting out has just not been something that’s managed to happen in a while.

On the upside, I’ve finished watching all five seasons of Leverage and I’m about halfway through my second playthrough on Borderlands 2.  Which has more or less amounted to me spoofing a second player to power-level a friend’s character.  And since someone was sheltered her whole life, I’m going to have to sit her down and force her to watch The Addams Family (the show, I’ve already made her watch the 1991 movie.)  For those of you who haven’t caught up with Leverage yet, you should.  It ends beautifully.

The job hunt has been fairly uneventful, which isn’t really surprising for up here in the winter.  Jobs are kind of scarce up here at the best of times, and while the winter definitely brings the skiers the slopes are still a good half hour away and were probably staffed in October.  I’ve been, admittedly, avoiding one potential employment venue simply because it’s a decent distance away and I would really rather not backtrack to a job I left five years ago, which is a good half an hour in the other direction.  I miss walking distance to work.  I also, surprisingly enough, miss my old job.

Unemployment has been about as uneventful as the job search.  For some reason there is an “active issue” with my claim, and I’m waiting for something to come in the mail, I guess?  I may need to pay a visit to the Department of Employment Services (once known as the Employment Security Commission) with some pay stubs and/or my W-2 to try and get any of that figured out.  If there’s anything to figure out in the first place.  My state is one of those that refused the Federal Unemployment Extension of Benefits money, so I get the feeling that my state is probably not too far from being an even shittier place to be unemployed.

So yeah.  If you feel like you’ve been missing out on the exciting life of the Grice, let me put your fears to rest: I’ve been in hibernation mode, cuddled up on the couch watching a retarded amount of TV and movies and slogging through trying to find a job.

And I’m pretty much ready for Spring.  Cuz fuck this winter bullshit.

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Culture Shock Day 36 or The Joys of Cabin Fever

One of the most difficult things about moving from the city back to the middle of nowhere is the astounding amount of nothing to do outside of the house.  There’s a lot of nature, which is interesting if you don’t mind the temperatures in the teens.

I mind the temperatures in the teens, for the record.

I’ve always been something of an indoor cat.  No really, it’s a surprise I know.  What with all the…video games I play.  And shows I watch.  So cabin fever is kind of a way of life.  Only in the winter there’s a certain element of “whether you like it or not” attached.

The trip to Charlotte and back took longer than expected so it turned into spending a night in a motel room before the drive back, which still left everyone a little drained and needing an extra day to recharge.  So it’s been especially easy to lose a day or two to watching Tangled and lots of Archer and powering through a couple of levels on Borderlands 2.  I’m almost through my first playthrough, which puts me around halfway to original max level.  Which will easily take another full playthrough plus some DLC before I even get into either Ultimate Vault Hunter packs.  And inevitably I will get sucked into one of the four Bethesda games that call to me from the bookshelf.   Plus every major copy of the Assassin’s Creed series is actually in the house so I could go back through all of them.  Plus the hundreds of books, the gigabytes of movies and shows…yeah no I think I’m set.  And we have card games and candles for when the power goes out.

It’s not a bad place if you don’t mind not being able to get to places without more than a 15-minute drive.  One of the first things you learn up here is the importance of stocking reserves of things.  Like a spare carton of cigarettes.  Even if they’re the cheapest cigarettes you can find.  Because two days into a four-day snow-in, any cigarette is a good cigarette.

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Day-Tripping or The Grice Went Down to Charlotte

Today is kind of a big deal.  It’ll be my first real trip down the mountain since returning to the High Country (this isn’t the pun I wish it was, it’s just what we call the area around here.)

We’re going down to Charlotte because a certain someone is flying in and we need to go pick her up.  I am, needless to say, tres excited about this.  It’s been a very interesting couple of months.  In all the shuffle of the move and the everything else, there has been a certain undercurrent of Serendipity.  And as the dust settles, it seems as though the Universe itself has actually given me an assist.  It’s apparently supposed to snow again tonight, so I’m hoping we can make it back up the mountain before that happens.

On an unrelated note, it would appear as though my Unemployment claim has gone through, though admittedly I’m a little curious as to why only three of the four fiscal quarters are shown on my form.  I’m also not super keen on 20% of the $88 dollars I receive going into taxes, but whatever.  It’s still money, which is better than the no money I’m making right now.  The job search is going to be a little rough, but I have 19 weeks of benefits so that’s something, at least.

So I’m probably going to call them when they open in the morning to find out why, exactly, an entire three month chunk of my wages are missing.


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Cook’s Couch Returns: Mel Brooks, A Migraine, and A Group Effort

Hello again, intrepid readers.  It’s been a while since we’ve had an episode of Cook’s Couch.  I was going to do one last night, but tonight is actually the better option.  Last night I broke down and made some home-fried potatoes while watching Sword in the Stone and Robin Hood, two of my three favorite old-school Disney movies (the third being Alice in Wonderland.)

Tonight is a little more interesting overall, though a bitch of a headache put me under for the first third of the night’s festivities.  Tonight’s meal is exceptionally simple.  A chicken casserole, more fried potatoes, and creamed corn.

Unlike the other episodes of Cook’s Couch to date, I did not fly solo this time around.  And not just because my head was killing me.  The headache didn’t reach “need to vomit to survive” until after everything had already been started.  Someone else prepped the potatoes and onions, someone else handled the casserole (I have verified their recipe and process for accuracy) and the creamed corn (because I don’t fucking eat that shit.)

The chicken casserole is super easy.  You just need:

1 pack Chicken breast (cut it if you want, you don’t have to)
1 or 2 onions (I like Peruvian yellows, they have a sweet taste)
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Can Cream of Mushroom soup,
1 Box of stuffing (we used Stove Top turkey stuffing)
Half a stick of butter

Put the chicken in a glass baking dish with the onions and garlic.  Cover with the cream of mushroom soup, cut the butter up and put it on top, and then cover it all with the stuffing.  Cover with foil and cook at 450 degrees for about a half an hour.  Remove the foil and cook for another 30 minutes or so.

The potatoes are equally simple, though they require more or less constant supervision.  There are two ways to prepare this dish: the right way and the Grice way.

The right way requires baking the potatoes first, giving them time to cool, then cutting them up and pan frying them. The Grice ain’t got time for that shit.  Cut the potatoes up, along with about two onions.   I usually use about 6 or 7, and I prefer Yukon Gold potatoes, but Russet potatoes work just fine.

My way takes longer (they’ll cook for about as long as the casserole is baking) and will require you to keep stirring them more or less constantly.  Potato starch will stick to the bottom of your pan, there’s not much help for that, but if you keep them stirring constantly, you can minimize some of this.  I recommend that you not use non-stick cookware.

Heat the pot or pan on medium heat, add the garlic and onions first and cook until the onions start to sweat and turn clear.  Then add your potatoes and seasoning and cook until the potatoes are soft.  Stir frequently.  Some starch will stick to the bottom of your pan, but you want to keep stirring the potatoes to keep them from burning and actually sticking.

The seasoning profile is actually more complex than the process or the rest of the recipe.  Using what I found around the kitchen:

A few splashes of Worcestershire sauce
Italian seasoning
Mediterranean seasoning
Red pepper
Black pepper
A little hot sauce
A few dashes Tony Chachere’s (the cajun seasoning that real cajuns use, brah.)

Season to taste.  I like my food to tingle some.   I like spicy food, but I prefer heat and pepper flavor to be an accent, not a focal point.

Creamed corn…I don’t eat that shit.  The people in the house that DO eat it used frozen creamed corn, a full stick of butter, and some red and black pepper.

Tonight’s entertainment is an impromptu Mel Brooks marathon brought to you (in part) by Netflix.

After watching A Haunted House and finding it funny but not particularly memorable, I laid down (this was about when the headache hit) and turned on Spaceballs.  When I don’t feel well, I tend to go for familiar comedy.  And when Spaceballs was done, Netflix suggested High Anxiety, which is one of the more esoteric Brooks films that I enjoy.  I was hoping the Brooksfest would continue without having to resort to DVDs or the internet, but alas there aren’t many of them up on Instant Watch right now.  Thankfully I have a DVD copy of Robin Hood: Men in Tights around here so I can keep the party going, and I swear there’s a copy of Dracula: Dead and Loving It somewhere around here too.

I love Mel Brooks for the same reason that I love Weird Al.  I don’t like to provide comparisons in the form of “X is the Y equivalent of Z” but in this case I feel their respective bodies of work are comparable simply because they are independently masters of spoof and parody.

High Anxiety was a little cinematic gem which I became aware of because of my father.  This is the same man who rented Monty Python and the Holy Grail for me when I was a kid, and described Clockwork Orange and The Wall in more or less great detail.  I can thank my dad for a lot of my film and music knowledge, to be honest.  For those of you who have never seen it, High Anxiety is a style parody of Alfred Hitchcock films.  A Doctor from Harvard becomes the head of a psychiatric institute and discovers some sinister workings.  Hilarity and madness ensue.  It also features a blonde Madeline Kahn with long hair, which is not something I’m used to seeing.  Madeline Kahn is a favorite of mine from that film generation, and I was sad that she had died before Psych did their hundredth episode (an homage to Clue.)

So sit back, relax, and try not to choke on your food.  Because you’re in for a hell of a lot of funny with this one.

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The Grice Gets Busy or Somethin’ For Nothin’

It finally occurred to me, though I probably should have done it sooner, to apply for unemployment benefits.  North Carolina is kind of a shitty state, so I sort of get the feeling that I’m waiting for a denial of benefits, because I had to quit my job because I had to move, and that doesn’t seem to be something NC views as a valid reason for unemployment benefits sometimes, based on what little digging I’ve done on the internet about it.

But I’m trying to stay positive, because sometimes the world can be a surprising place.

Today also marks the first day of the Bedroom Reclamation Initiative.  There is another bedroom here, but it has been annexed as a secondary storage space (the primary storage space is an outbuilding that’s almost as big as the house.)

I don’t mind sleeping on the couch, but I do kind of feel bad for monopolizing the ENTIRE living room all the time.  Plus its nice to have a door for privacy, and once it gets warmer, I’m going to be severely disinterested in continuing to wear pajama pants to bed.

It’s time to turn that storage space back into a bedroom.



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Skippy’s List: The 213 things Skippy is no longer allowed to do in the U.S. Army » Skippy’s List

Skippy’s List: The 213 things Skippy is no longer allowed to do in the U.S. Army » Skippy’s List.

If you have never read this, I sincerely suggest you stop what you are doing and click this link.  This is some of the funniest shit EVER.

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Magic Numbers or The Passion Just Went To Hell

666 total views, bitches.

Maybe the Devil will read my blog now.

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The Grice Gets Meta or Holy Shit My Blog Gets Views On Days I Don’t Post Stuff

So I’ve totally been a lazy shit the last couple of days and haven’t posted anything.  I have chosen not to feel guilty for taking a weekend.  Besides, it allowed me to do something that I secretly enjoy:

Stalking my stats.

Saturday was an exceptionally good day for the Passion.  Highest views since Halloween, in fact, with 43 views.  Granted, Saturday was the day the YouTube playlist got posted, and it did fairly well.  But as someone who is used to seeing between 8 and 15 views on days I post, that 43 was an incredible thing to see.

Sunday, Monday, and yesterday, the days I didn’t post anything, saw 4, 10, and 9 views respectively.

Now, in my limited experience as a blogger, I have come to recognize almost factually that Saturday and Sunday are the slowest days for readership in any given week.  The fact that I pulled quadruple my average page views on a Saturday makes that 43 even more amazing, and 4 views on a Sunday where I posted nothing at all would have made me swoon two months ago.  It still makes me swoon a little.

You sexy internet, you.

It’s also been an amazing couple of days for international readership.  Korea, Serbia, Ireland, Sri Lanka, Australia, and Israel.  I had 8 views from Israel on the same day.

I’ll have something else for you guys later today, but I just had to squee about this.



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This Playlist is Liquid Sex (Miss Noir Made A YouTube List Redux)

Liquid Sex is now available as a playlist on YouTube.  Find it here.

It may come as a surprise to you that I’m kind of lazy, especially when I need to try to do things on the internet that require stable and solid free bandwidth for extended periods of time.

So while I had totally gone through all the trouble of finding these songs on YouTube, I lacked much desire to deal with YouTube again to make a list.

And this is where having amazeballs friends comes in handy.

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Be Careful What You Wish For or Where the Fuck Are We, Wisconsin?

All temperatures are measured in Fahrenheit because I live in ‘Murica, goddammit.  

So you remember how yesterday I was all “it’s been raining for days I wish it would snow, but I’ll probably regret it as soon as it does?”

Well…funny thing happened.  It totally started snowing eventually.  It only snowed about an inch or two where I live, but I know for a fact that other parts of the county got more.

At around 6 this morning it was 2 fucking degrees.  The forecast for Monday night is a horrifying thing, with an expected high of around 10 degrees.  With a windchill of NEGATIVE 30.  They’re calling for 50 mile-an-hour winds.

I live in the goddamn mountains of North Carolina.  Hurricane-force winds are not really something we see a lot.  Sure, it’s windy up here, but not 50 mph windy.  Did my state forget its identity and suddenly think it was fucking Wisconsin?  I’m not really trying to get goddamn frostbite just to go smoke a cigarette.  And from everything I’ve seen, we’re not even catching the storm, we’re just getting blasted with the edges.

Hopefully I’ll find something more interesting to blog about later tonight.



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