For most of my life, I’ve avoided shopping for Christmas gifts in December. The biggest reason is that people focus on the gifts and not what Christmas is all about. They are pushy, mean, stressed out and more and it just kills my Christmas spirit.
Because of this, every year my goal is to have the gifts purchased by my birthday which is at the end of November. Even way, way back when I was in the U.S. Navy, I would take my birthday off and do all of my shopping for Christmas. After the Navy, I would take my birthday off of work and do the same. This way I could focus on the spirit of Christmas and avoid the shoppers in December that killed my spirit.
On this Christmas eve, I’m reminded of one Christmas eve when my kids were small (they are adults now). In those early years, my wife (now ex-wife) and I didn’t have a lot of money for gifts. Like most Americans, we lived paycheck to paycheck. When it was getting close to Christmas, my wife won $1,000 from a local radio station (complaining about me).
On that Christmas eve, she went to Toys-R-Us to get last-minute gifts for the kids. When she came home I was surprised because she had no bags with her. She told me that the power when out at the store, so she came home.
Since I don’t like shopping during Christmas, I jumped into action, grabbed my flashlight and dashed to Toys-R-Us! There was hardly anyone at the store, so I grabbed a shopping cart and grabbed all the gifs we wanted for the kids! Since the checkout didn’t rely on the internet back then, I was able to pay for the gifts and get home pretty quickly.
I spent all night wrapping the gifts and the kids had a pretty good Christmas! Thanks to 91X and my ex-wife for complaining about me on air!
Merry Christmas everyone!
Since 2017, I have been lucky enough to travel to India to speak at a software engineering conference in Delhi. All three times, I can’t get enough of authentic Indian food. It is so much better than any Indian food I’ve ever had in America!
After my visit last April, I set out to create a killer chicken curry recipe for the slow cooker, since that is the type of cooking I do the most. After over a year of hits and misses, I finally have my recipe. I hope you will enjoy it.
- 1.5 – 2 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken breasts.
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste).
- 1 tablespoon of avocado oil.
- 4 garlic cloves.
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger.
- 3 tablespoons of organic cane sugar.
- 6 tablespoons of curry powder (or to taste).
- 7 oz plain Greek yogurt.
- 42 oz sweet potatoes.
- 1 large yellow onion.
- 3 zucchini’s (medium to large)
- 2 cans of coconut milk (from Wholefoods)
In most of my slow-cooker recipes, I like it where you can just throw all the ingredients in the pot and come home from work and it’s ready. While you can still do that with this recipe, I found it works best using the steps below.
This step needs to be done the night before or, just put all of these ingredients in the slow-cooker. In a medium-sized bowl combine the following ingredients:
- Chicken, cubed.
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
- Avocado oil.
- Garlic, minced.
- Grated fresh ginger.
- 2 tablespoons of sugar.
- 4 tablespoons of curry powder (or to taste).
- Greek yogurt.
Mix so that the chicken is well covered with the other ingredients. Cover, and place in the refrigerator overnight.
Putting the chicken with the Greek yogurt in the refrigerator overnight is the key to making sure the chicken is as tender as possible when done.
I don’t know if it’s my slow cooker (Instant Pot), but I could never get the sweet potatoes to cook all the way through every time I made this recipe. The solution I came up with is to cube the sweet potatoes and place in the slow-cooker with a little bit of water. Then pressure cook them for 5 minutes while completing step 3. Drain any excess water after cooking.
Cut into small cubes the onion and zucchini and place in the slow-cooker along with the ingredients from step 1 and 2. Sprinkle over the ingredients the remainder of the sugar (1 tablespoon) and curry powder (2 tablespoons or to taste). Add the 2 cans of coconut milk. Mix all the ingredients together and slow cook for 8 hours. Stir before surving.
I have tried coconut milk from several grocery stores and found that the brand from Wholefoods, 365 Everyday Value, Organic Light Coconut Milk, works best.
I serve the chicken curry over a bed of California Brown Jasmine Rice. When I cook the rice, I add curry, ginger, salt & pepper (to taste).
I hope you enjoy this recipe. If you do, please make a comment below.
Recently I was driving down highway 5 in San Diego county around 4pm in the afternoon and the traffic was stop and go almost the entire way back to my home. Like most of the time when I’m stuck in traffic like this and in the far left lane, there were motorcyclists were flying down the space in-between my lane and the lane next to me. Unfortunately, California passed a law in 2015 making lane-splitting legal: “Assembly Bill 51, permitting motorcyclist to split lanes so long as they do so at speeds no faster than 50 mph and no faster than 15 mph than traffic in adjacent lanes is moving”. I think they forgot a statement about “…if it’s safe!”
Before I continue, I should point out that I use to be a motorcyclist and never did lane splitting. I have always believed that motorcyclists should obey the same rules of the road as other drivers. Actually, they should be safer drivers than other drivers since riding a motorcycle is much more dangerous. I don’t ride anymore due to California drivers and how poorly they watch out for motorcycles and how some purposely try to hurt motorcyclists. I’ve had a few friends seriously injured due to this.
So before I get hate mail for this blog post, I’m writing it to the 90+ percent or more of motorcyclists that don’t seem to follow any traffic laws. They speed, pop wheelies, weave in and out of traffic for no apparent reason other than they can and have an entitlement attitude.
On my way home that day I had two very dangerous encounters. I decided to write the following to the California Highway Patrol:
“I am writing because last Thursday while driving back from my doctor, the traffic was really slow. I was in the far left lane and when a motorcyclist came in-between my car and the car in the next lane, he hit my car with his hand on the right front side. I am assuming he did this because the car next to me and my car were close together and he had trouble getting pass. I was unaware of this since I was paying attention to the traffic in front of me since it was stop and go.
Four minutes later another motorcyclist had the same issue and decided to go down the emergency lane next to me and he almost hit my car too.
I have both of these incidents on video from my dash cam and I have a picture of the first driver’s hand print on my car. I can provide the videos and photos to you if needed. Is there anything can be done about these two incidents, especially the first driver since he hit my car?”
As I’m writing this post, I did get a reply from the CHP asking for the license plate numbers of the motorcyclists which I have provided. So far there hasn’t been a resolution. I will update this post if I find out more information from the CHP.
So motorcyclists, the next time you complain about drivers, maybe you should look at how you drive that speeding bullet because I’m sure it’s why we hate you! My dash cam will be pointed at you recording your illegal driving!
Here is a gluten free variation of a brownie recipe I found on the internet featuring Ghirardelli chocolate.
- 3/4 cup Ghirardelli premium baking coca
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2/3 cup unsalted butter – melted
- 1/2 cup boiling water
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1-1/3 cups gluten free flower
- 1 teaspoon gluten free vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 8oz shelled walnuts
- 12 ounces Ghirardelli premium baking chips – semisweet
- 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large bowl, combine cocoa and baking soda; blend in butter until smooth.
- Add boiling water; stir until well blended. Stir in sugar, eggs and cinnamon.
- Add flower, vanilla and salt. Stir in 3/4 of the walnuts (broken into pieces, as small or big as you like) and backing chips.
- Pour into greased 13 x 9 inch baking pan. Sprinkle the rest of the walnuts on top (as shown in picture). Bake 36 – 42 minutes or until brownies begin to pull away from sides of the pan. Cool 30 minutes.
Makes about 3 dozen brownies (depending how big you cut them). Enjoy!
Recently I went on my first international business trip to Lviv, Ukraine. This is the first time I have been outside of North America since my early 20’s. If anything could go wrong on this trip, it did, and I learned the hard way how to make my travel next time much better.
I must preface my tips below with I never missed a flight and have never had a bag lost, until this trip.
- Don’t count on Wi-Fi working in planes at all overseas. The foreign airline I took (Austrian airlines) does not seem to provide this on any flight. We’ve gotten use to this in the past few years in the US.
- I thought using Wi-Fi while traveling in the US sucked until I went to Europe!
- Exchange money in the country of origin to the place you are traveling! I got to Vienna and they won’t exchange Ukrainian money to Euros!!!
- Get to the airport 2+ hours early before an international flight even if the first leg is to a city in the US.
- Learn to speak common phrases in the language of the country you are going to before you leave. You cannot rely on software translations apps, especially if your cell does not work in the country. People in that country will greatly appreciate it.
- The US allows two carry-ons, but Europe does not! They only allow one, the rest you might have to pay for up to 75 Euros ($83 US dollars) or more for one bag! Even though I could do two carry-ons all the way to my final destination in the Ukraine, I could not do it on the way back. I actually wish the US did the same thing since many abuse this privilege and it makes boarding the plane MUCH longer.
- If your hotel provides a shuttle, call at least one day ahead before. They might not schedule it when you land.
- Count on your checked luggage getting lost or delayed in customs. Always carry at least one day of clothes, meds or anything else you need. Even more days if you can.
- If you use a debit card, make sure you have more than plenty of money on it before you leave the US. ATM machines in other countries do not provide the ability to transfer money. Only dispense cash or transfer money to your phone (not even sure what the latter is). At some ATM’s your card might not even work at all, so it’s better to have a credit card or lots of cash with you! Also, if you use a debit card, you might get socked with big fees!
- Find another cell provider than AT&T. My entire trip I could not use cellular on my phone. I tweeted them about this and all they did was send useless links.
- Make sure to purchase a power converter for charging batteries, running laptops etc. If you forget, airports should have them.
- If you or your company can afford business class on long flights overseas… do it! It’s well worth it… not like first class in the US which pales in comparison. Actually if any company in a foreign country wants me to come work or speak for them, I’m going to insist on it for the following reasons…
- There is plenty of leg room! The seats even go almost flat so you can sleep. They provide pillows, sheets and even a blanket. Your seat even will massage you!
- You get a personal chef that will make anything you like off of a menu. The first flight I had filet minion. On the way back I had a four course dinner that included so much food I couldn’t even eat it all. They will even wake you up for breakfast which was awesome too!
- The bathrooms are about three times bigger than any airplane bathroom I’ve ever seen. In the bathroom they have deodorant spray, shavers, combs, toothbrush and toothpaste.
- They provide noise canceling headphones.
- You get a very large HD TV screen. All movies etc. are FREE!
- There are USB charging ports available.
- You are allowed two carry on items. Everyone else only gets one.
- If you expect to use a cloud service like OneDrive to backup all of your photos while you are overseas… forget it! I had my Surface Pro 3 (Windows 10) trying to do this for the better part of three days for 4.6GB of picture/ video files and it did a very small fraction. I know part of this issue was the hotel Wi-Fi. Lesson learned… still carry enough memory cards for your camera or video camera that you will need. I will mention that backing up all the pictures on my iPhone to OneDrive worked great.
If you have any travel tips, please let me know by leaving a comment.
I know everyone wants a day off, a reason to party, wants so save a few bucks on a product they most likely don’t need, but please try to remember the true meaning of Memorial Day. It’s about the men and women who have died while serving in the military.
I served in the military for 6 1/2 years and am very proud that I did. I know our country has issues and could be better but we still live in the greatest country in the world. I feel its everyone duty to give back to make it even better.
It angers me when people do things like burn the flag! If you don’t like it here then I will be more than happy to pay for a plane ticket to send you to a different country! I’ve been to many countries that made me appreciate the United States a lot more. People in many countries don’t have anywhere near the freedoms that we do or the ability to get out of poverty by going to school etc. In the Philippines I meet women that were prostitutes just so they could earn money to send family members to school. I’m not talking about sending them to college, they have to pay just to attend high school.
It also angers me when people do everything they can to get out of their civic duty like being on jury duty. I’ve been on seven juries and take it very seriously. I do this because if there is ever a day when I am a defendant in court, I hope that there are twelve people there that take it as seriously as I do.
Every American should make it a priority to give back to their community every month. There are endless opportunities. I just ended twenty years of founding and running a non-profit group that provided education to help people in their careers to improve their and their families lives better.
So get off the couch and start giving back to make the United States better. If you don’t, you have nothing to complain about!
I created a heavy, rocking CD for someone I knew who was an Army Ranger (Tyler Holtz). Before I could burn it for him he was shot and killed in Afghanistan in September 2012. Sorry Tyler, I hope you have iTunes up there. Here is the list:
Confrontation – Otep
Die Hard The Hunter – Def Leppard
Gods Of War – Def Leppard
If I Were King – Queensrÿche
Indestructible – Disturbed
Sliver – Queensrÿche
Soldiers of Misfortune – Filter
Taliman – Uncle Junkie
These Colours Don’t Run – Iron Maiden
War (The Process) – The Cult
War Machine -AC/DC
War Pigs – Black Sabbath
Warheads – Extreme
Warrior – Kid Rock
Thanks for the great music Otep, Def Leppard, Queensrÿche & Queensryche, Disturbed, Filter, Uncle Junkie, Iron Maiden, The Cult, Black Sabbath, Extreme – The Band and Kid Rock!
Women, before you get upset with me, this applies to males too! So if you are wondering if you are a cat lady, answer the questions below on how you post profile text and/or pictures on online dating sites:
- Do you post pictures of you and animal?
- Do you post pictures of your animal (you are not in the picture)?
- Is your animal your best friend?
- Does your headline/ tag line say “Must Love Dogs”, “Must Love My Dog” or something similar?
- Can you not sleep at night without your animal or your animal can’t sleep without you?
- Do you have to rush home every x number of hours to feed, see or take your animal out for a piss?
If you answered even YES to ONE of these questions… YOU ARE A CAT LADY. Give it up and take your profile down from all online dating sites. You are too far gone and there is no recovery.
Here are my easy steps on how to watch the Super Bowl more efficiently:
- Setup your DVR to record the game.
- Don’t start watching the game until it’s been on for one to two hours. Go enjoy a walk on the beach, get your drink on, go watch a movie or what I prefer to do is to do my weekly grocery shopping when it comes on.
- Start watching the recorded game from your DVR.
- Use the fast forward button and only stop when: you see the score change (back up about one minute), when the commercials are on (to see how good or bad they are) and during the half-time show (of course if that sucks, you can just keep fast forwarding).
- By the time you catch up with the live game, there will only be five to ten minutes left.
- Watch the rest of the game since the only exciting part is the last few plays. Of course if it’s a blow out, delete the recording and go do something else more productive with your life than sitting on the couch!
Of course, always remember to not drink and drive! I’m sure the cops are out in force.
I posted this today on Facebook, thought it needed to be on the web too:
Attention young people… PLEASE listen to your parents when it comes to limiting your sun exposure AND using UV protection! Like you, I didn’t when I was your age and now (like many others) I’m paying the price. When you are my age you don’t want to be dealing with skin cancer (or the possibility of it) which is not fun can lead to death. I know you think you will never make it past 30, but you will. Learn from us!
Here are some questions I ask myself almost every day working in a big open cubicle/ office area.
Why do I find the coffee pots empty almost every time I get coffee? Are you incapable of making coffee? Do you think you are too important to make coffee? Do you need to go to a “How To Make Coffee” class? I’m talking to you VP’s and managers who think they are too busy or important to spend 30 seconds making a new batch of coffee!
Why do some people have time to socialize, play cards, walk around the building aimlessly while I am so busy I don’t have time for any of these things?
Why do smokers get a break every hour or so and I don’t have time to take even one break?
Why can’t men lift up the damn seat when peeing?
Why do men just hang out in a bathroom stall? Sleeping? Not getting enough at home?
Why do people insist on talking to me when I have my headphones on? Don’t you know I’m working and don’t want to be bothered?
Why can’t people put paper in the copy machine? I’m not your paper boy!
Why do all the fluorescent lights have to be on? Don’t you know they cause headaches and agitation?
Why is the office freezing when it’s cold outside and hot when it’s warm outside?
Why can’t I feel any airflow in the office?
Why do people insist on talking for 20+ minutes about their weekend, sports or some other non-work related subject. Can’t you shut up so I can work?
Why do people take care of personal hygiene at their desk like clipping their nails? Can’t you do that before work?
Why do you insist on IM’ing me while you are in the cube next to me? Have people forgot the art of conversation? (please ignore this one if I have my headphones on)
Why you you use the speaker phone when you are in a cube? Pick up the damn receiver… I don’t want to hear your conversation!
Why do you leave your office door open when you are on the speaker phone? Shut the damn door… I don’t want to hear your conversation!
Why is cube land sucking the life out of me?
Why can’t I win the lottery so I never have to come back here?