Friday, December 23, 2005

A Christmas Present!

I know I wasn't able to mail these to everyone, so if you didn't get one of the collections of bad Christmas music today is your lucky day. (you might not want to call it luck, but who knows)

In any case, here's volume nine of our blessed series. The artwork is included if you'd like to roll your own copy of the CD.

Disc 2 will be a surprise. Let's just say it's the LAST CHRISTMAS CD Yule Ever Need. heh.

Disc 1
Disc 2

Merry Christmas everybody if I don't have the chance to blog again this weekend.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

a few random photos

I wanted to take a picture of the little candy mice Ang made this afternoon so I figured I'd post a couple of miscellaneous photos that were on the camera while I was at it... nothing extraordinarily exciting. We're in Minneapolis. It feels more and more foreign every time we go back, but at the same time all of our family live here, so there's a bit of a dichotomy. In either case, I don't know that I could ever really move back. It just wouldn't be the same.

Anyway, on to the photos...

We've been in a group of people called the RMC Elitists for a few years. It's our biggest connection of people. Every year we meet up in Illinois at this Cornerstone music festival. In October, two of the group finally got married. Matt had stood up for me at my wedding, so I think in thoughts of retribution, I had to stand up at his wedding. In any case, here some of us Elitists are in all our glory (or in our monkey suits as the case may be.)

Angela at the Scum of the Earth Christmas party in Denver a couple of weeks ago.

Ang got to meet her nephew for the first time today over lunch. If there's anything bad about being in Colorado, it's not getting to be around for things like little Isaac's first few months. Thankfully, one of the nice things about being in Colorado (and not having plans for kids for a few years) is that we get to be the aunt and uncle that can give the kid loud obnoxious toys... which we're happily doing for the first time this year.

Ang makes these little candy mice for Christmas every year. You start by dipping a maraschino cherry in chocolate bark. Then you attach a hershey's kiss to the dipped cherry. THEN you dip the whole thing in chocolate and add a couple of "Cinnamon candy Ears". A couple little dots for eyes and a nose and you're set. They look cute and they taste good, what could be better than that.

Anyway, off to do some visiting. I feel like a foreign dignitary every time I come to the area... making arrangements for visitations. Thankfully there's no entourage. Maybe in a few years when I'm famous. heh.

more later.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

A Picture Share!

A Picture Share!, originally uploaded by bthemn.

outside Omaha. Can't find it on the radio but apparently it's all cheese today on Hugh Hewitt's show. Cool! Thanks Hugh

One of the last Christmas Offerings

I'll be away from my music library starting tomorrow morning so here are my final five selections. Two aren't really Christmasey at all (only in the tangental sense of being related to holiday travel)

Track 10: Jonathan Rundman - Minneapolis
The shortest and most to the point song about Minneapolis ever written... and will probably always remain that way.

Track 11: That Dog - Minneapolis
I first heard this while riding across the 35W bridge that passes in front of Downtown Minneapolis will crossing the Mississipi river. It was mid summer in the early evening and my friends in the Echoing Green and I were headed out to the Mall of America to hang out. They made it a point of listening to this song every time they went through Minneapolis and I think they still do to this day.

Track 12: Beki Hemingway - This Old Town Tonight
Tonight, Leanor Ortega Till came down from Scum to preach while Eric is back in Michigan for Christmas. She spent a lot of time talking about Mary's willingness and to a certain degree her humanity and how hard it must have been to deal with the situation. This song isn't about that, but it is a song about Bethlehem at the time of Christ's birth through the eyes of one of it's residents.

Track 13: Over the Rhine - Silent Night (duet)
I think this song off of Darkest Night of the Year might be a bigger favorite than the first one I posted.

Track 14: Julie Miller - Last Song
My prayer for the new year.

More posting once I get to Minneapolis tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Brian is a tired boy.

Just posting for a point of reference. :-)

Off to work in a minute or two.

Christmas Offerings Day 3

Another day, another set of songs. I'm hoping to go through Friday.

Anyway, as much as I said that I wouldn't write a lot yesterday night, I really mean it tonight. Looking at my clock, it reads 2:26. Let's see how fast we can get this done.

Track 7: Tom Petty - Christmas All Over Again
Man I love Tom Petty. Learning to Fly might still be in my top ten favorite songs. In any case, this is off one of the A Very Special Christmas albums. I can't remember if it's been on one of the Cheesy albums, but it's definitely one of my favorites.

Track 8: The Smashing Pumpkins - Christmas Time
I don't love this as much as I love Tonight or 1979 but it's up there.

Track 9: Duke Ellington: Peanut Brittle Brigade
A few years ago I stumbled onto the fact that Duke Ellington and his band had recorded a jazz version of the Nutcracker Suite when I heard an abbreviated edit on one of the Ultra Lounge Christmas CDs. I found the entire suite on a disc aptly entitled Three Suites and promptly bought it. I think the recording they did MIGHT be the consumate version of the Nutcracker... and it's something I pull out every year. It was kind of hard choosing a part of the suite, but I think this one sums up what the rest of the suite sounds like the best.

OK. 2:32. Eight minutes. That's not so bad. Now to put some groceries away and hit the sack myself.

See you tomorrow.... umm... err... I mean today. :-)

I thought I was done...

with the late nights, but I have to have a demo disc done for 'the
boss' before taking off on vacation so that we can pitch some
business. Since I'm the only one who can get the work done and I need
to take off for a little pre-Christmas lunch tomorrow it's got to be
done tonight. blah. Oh well, at least it's almost finished.

More in the morning.

Monday, December 19, 2005

A Picture Share!

A Picture Share!, originally uploaded by bthemn.

Tonight's truffles look Vaguely tribblelike. These taste much better than I imagine they do. Off to bed. Yawn.

Christmas Offerings Day 2

More descriptions tomorrow. I just wanted to get something up before bed.
Fountains of Wayne - Valley Winter Song I've been wanting to put this song SOMEWHERE for a couple of years now. It's just not exactly cheesy, so I haven't been able to use it.

Beki Hemingway and Jonathan Rundman - Out Behind the Old Hotel - Ang and I were excited when our friends Beki and Randy moved to Denver a few months ago. I almost had her commited to giving me something for the Christmas CD this year, but she ran out of time so I'm stealing something from her Christmas album for this.

Bruce Cockburn - Shepherds I pulled this one out for the first time of the season this year. The whole album (Bruce Cockburn : Christmas) is good, but I think this might be my favorite quiet song on the disc.

More tomorrow.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

one more reason I will never be thin...

Ang and I have been making Chocolate Truffles tonight in preparation
for the drive back to Minneapolis. I was putzing around the other day
trying to figure out what I'd cook at the staff cookie party last
Thursday. I made the truffles, but divided four ways we didn't have
very many left over.... so tonight I made a second batch. Having done
it a second time, I made some modifications to the original recipe.
With special thanks to Alton Brown of Good Eats fame, here's my
modified version.

20 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 teaspoons peppermint extract
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup pulverized peppermint candy
1 package almond chocolate bark

Place the 10 ounces of chocolate and butter in a medium size glass
mixing bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds. Remove and stir, and repeat
this process 1 more time. Set aside.

Heat the heavy cream and corn syrup in a small saucepan over medium
heat until simmering. Remove from the heat and pour the mixture over
the melted chocolate mixture; let stand for 2 minutes. Using a rubber
spatula, stir gently, starting in the middle of bowl and working in
concentric circles until all chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth
and creamy. Gently stir in the peppermint extract. Pour the mixture
into an 8 by 8-inch glass baking dish and place in the refrigerator
for 1 hour.

Using a melon baller, scoop chocolate onto a sheet pan lined with
parchment paper and return to the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

In a blender, place 20-30 round peppermint candies and blend until
slightly less than powder (still sort of granular)

Place the cocoa powder, and peppermint candy powder in pie pans.

In the meantime, place the package of almond chocolate bark into a
medium mixing bowl which is sitting on top of a water filled saucepan,
with the heat set to medium.

Remove the truffles from the refrigerator and shape into balls by
rolling between the palms of your hands. Use powder-free vinyl or
latex gloves if desired.

Sometimes it helps to dip your hands in a bowl of ice and water. After
your hands have chilled, dry them and roll a few truffles. You'll know
when it's time to repeat.

Once they're rolled, I like to stick them in the freezer to let them
firm up a bit more. The firmer they are the easier they are to work

With a ShishKabob spear, spear your truffle and dip it into the
chocolate. Take it outof the chocolate and shake off the excess
chocolate. I then use my vent above the oven to dry the truffle a
little bit. While it's still tacky I roll it in the peppermint or
cocoa and then dry it a little bit more with the fan until it's hard
enough to pull off the spear.

later I go back and paint in the little shish kabob spear holes with a
little bit of chocolate on the end of a spear. Then I roll in the
appropriate coating.

Anyway, they're quite good... and I think I'll have a hit at the
family gathering this year.

More music in a little while.