Monthly Archives: March 2010

Our St. Patrick’s Day miracle of the crockpot…

After sampling an amazing corned beef brisket cooked in a crockpot last night at Trader Joe’s, I got all inspired and decided to slow cook my corned beef this year too. Hooray, I thought, chuck that baby in the crockpot and spend the rest of the day chilling with a frothy pint o’ Guinness!

Well, that’s not exactly how things went down. Things started off great, I got up and fed Greta, Googled some corned beef in a crockpot advice and then washed and preheated our crockpot. Yes, much to Christine’s chagrin, I preheat my crockpot. I’ve been doing it for years and have never had a problem…until today.

The minute that slab of cold corned beef and all that pink juicy goodness plopped into the overheated ceramic crockpot, I heard a horrible CRACK and knew right away what had happened. That’s right, I broke my crockpot crock in half…a nice clean crack right down the left side.

So, with pink corned beef juice slowly leaking into the metal pan of the crockpot, I hurriedly transferred everything to a regular pot on the stove. Crazy! And while that came to a boil I decided to call Rival’s Customer Service number to see how much a replacement ceramic crock would set me back and was promptly put on hold…for 43 minutes!

Now, a sane, reasonable person would have probably hung up and called back later…but not me! I held that sweaty phone to my ear like a crazy person as I rocked Greta to sleep for her nap and when an operator finally came on I told her my plight. And what happened next can only be described as a St. Patrick’s Day miracle…the lovely young woman at Rival offered to replace my ceramic crock for FREE! No shipping charge, no handling fee, no “wow-you-preheat-your-crockpot” charge, nothing.

It seems they’ve been having trouble with their phones today — which might explain my 43 minute wait on hold! — so to compensate for that, Rival was offering their customers all sorts of cool stuff. She even said, and I quote: “Well, sir, the luck of the Irish must be with you today!” Hilarious!!

So, as I blast U2, Sinead and the Cranberry’s and the aroma of boiled corned beef wafts through my house, all I can say is, thank you, Rival Customer Service…you guys seriously rock. And though I won’t be able to slow cook my corned beef brisket till next year, you can bet your shillelagh that I’ll be thanking St. Patrick for the miracle of the replaced crockpot as I do it.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, amigos!

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Ben & Jerry’s Limited Batch: Hannah Teter’s Maple Blondie

OK, I know you’re probably sick of hearing about more Winter Olympic stuff at this point, but this new limited batch ice cream flavor from our old friends Ben & Jerry is just to good not to blog about! Named for Olympic Snowboarding Gold Medalist Hannah Teter, Ben & Jerry’s Limited Batch: Hannah Teter’s Maple Blondie is kinda magical.

A crazy-good blend of maple ice cream, blonde brownie chunks and a maple caramel swirl, this ice cream is so amazing, you might just try snowboarding for yourself. Seriously, I was on such a sugar high after eating this deliciousness that it’s a good thing there aren’t any halfpipes in Burbank…cuz I woulda snowboarded them. Yep, it’s that good!

And even better than those chewy blonde brownie chunks is the packaging. Aside from the bad-ass image of the Ben & Jerry’s cow riding a snowboard, Vermont-native, Hannah Teter’s sweet, smiling mug is everywhere you look on the packaging and she is a cutie. Whew…talk about Vermont’s Finest!

Anyway, with the Olympics over, this tasty, limited batch ice cream won’t be on store shelves for long, so, get thee to a grocery store and stock up. I know we did!

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Emerging from a curling haze…

Aside from their crazy-lame handling of the Closing Ceremonies last night, Christine and I loved everything NBC aired from Vancouver during the 2010 Winter Games, but most of all, we loved the curling. It might not get the prime time coverage it totally deserves, but, trust me, amigos, this was the year that curling finally came into it’s own.

I know that on the surface it looks like kind of a goofy Olympic event — I mean, seriously, aside from Quidditch, what other sport involves prominent broom-usage? — but sit down and watch a match or two, learn the basic rules and the marquee players and I guarantee you, you’ll be hooked.

We’ve been fans since Nagano, but this is the first year we were able to Tivo and watch every match — probably because this was the first year the networks of NBC actually aired EVERY match — played at the Vancouver Olympic Centre. And if you think I’m kidding about the “every” comment, take a look at our poor, battered Tivo next time you come over. I swear, man, that thing was smoking at one point last week…insanity!

Anyway, having watched every match, I can tell you with some authority that this was a hell of a Curling Bonspiel, my friends. I kid you not, those games were dramatic as all get out.

When the American Men’s Team starting losing too many games in a row, their slacker team skip, John Shuster was benched. Benched! Crazy. And guess what happened then? The American Men actually won a game. Even crazier! But instead of sticking to the new lineup for a few games, the men brought Shuster back for the following game and the men ended up losing every other match-up at the Olympics except for one fluke win over Sweden.

In fact, they were such awful curlers (and such bad sports about it!) that Shuster was actually heard uttering the phrase: “Man, I hate this stupid game.” during their last match with Team China. Are you serious, dude? If you hate the game that much, then QUIT! But while you’re wearing a freaking microphone on the world stage…shut the hell up already! Yikes…stuff like that makes us all look bad.

The American Women weren’t much better, but they did seem to have some genuine team spirit and their skip, Debbie McCormick was kind of a cutie, even if she curled for shit. So, after the American teams went down in flames, Christine and I began rooting for some of our other favorites from past Olympics.

The Veterans on the Men’s Team from Great Britain rocked, but the real story from the UK was the 19-year-old Women’s skip, Eve Muirhead, who was not only cute as hell, but she was also a damn fine curler. She was really fun to watch — not to mention listen to, her Scottish accent ruled! — and I’m sure Muirhead and her team will only get better as they gear up for Russia in 2014.

Also very fun to watch was the Japanese Women’s Team, who had more spunk and spirit in their little black brooms than our American Men and Women’s Teams combined. Seriously, these girls rocked it on the ice!

But the biggest story of the Bonspiel were the two Canadian teams. Led by their bad-ass skip, Kevin Martin, the Canadian men took home the Gold for Canada after one of the most exciting Gold Medal matches in history. Wow, their final game with Norway was a real nail-biter…so exciting! And the Norwegian Team’s already-legendary pants made the whole thing even more so. Gotta love those guys too…crazy pants or not, they are some damn fine curlers!

The Canadian Women rocked it too, but ended up taking home a Silver Medal after their shocking last-minute loss to Team Sweden. And though we felt bad for Cheryl Bernard and her girls losing the Gold on home turf, I gotta say, it was really exciting to see our favorite team of all time take home their second straight Olympic Gold Medal.

That’s right, amigos, Team Sweden, led by their epically-talented skip, Anette Norberg, made curling history by winning their second straight Curling Gold. Crazy, huh? I don’t even think any of the men’s teams have done that yet! Awesome. And they thought they were rock stars before…I can only imagine the reception that Norberg and her girls got back home. Wow…go, Sweden!

Oooo…and speaking of Sweden, I gotta give props to the Swedish Men’s team too. All of the dudes on that team are under 25-years-old, which is really young in curling, but those guys kicked butt. Sure, they lost the Bronze to Switzerland, but they played like curling God’s out there. So cool to watch…I can’t wait to see them come back even stronger in Russia when they’ll all still be well under 30-years-old. Wow…wish I could say the same!

Anyway, anyone who has actually bothered to read to the end of this post must be a curling superfan like ourselves, so, feel free to comment away. We’d love to hear what you thought of the games and which teams you were rooting for in Vancouver…even if you don’t agree with us!

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NBC blows it again!

Allow me first to set the scene…Greta was asleep, Christine and I were sitting on the couch a good two-and-a-half hours into NBC’s coverage of the Closing Ceremonies of the Vancouver Olympic Games. We were tired, bleary-eyed from laughing, crying, and realizing that tomorrow morning we would have to emerge from our Olympic cocoon and face real life.

And then, just as Michael Buble (wow, is everyone Canadian?) and hundreds of hot, dancing Mountie chicks were wrapping up a rousing version of “O, Canada”, Bob Costas informed us that the network was now cutting away from their coverage — yes, you heard me, cutting away from their fake-live coverage! — to air a sneak preview episode of Jerry Seinfeld’s cheesy-ass new reality show, “The Marriage Ref”. What the hell? Say it ain’t so, Bob!

But, sadly, it was so…and like millions of American television viewers, we did not set our Tivo for NBC’s impromtu hour-long intermission, so, we missed the entire last hour of the Closing Ceremonies. Thanks, NBC!

What really pisses me off is that I checked the Tivo on Saturday night and there was no mention of a one-hour break in the Closing Ceremonies coverage at all. Which means that NBC, in their never-ending quest for total ineptitude decided to make the old switcheroo at the last minute and force feed their loyal Olympic viewers a meal of straight-up dog shit. Sorry, but that’s how it felt. After sixteen days of watching nothing but the networks of NBC, having them pull a stunt like that was like a freaking slap in the face…

And the worst thing was that our Tivo cut-off midway through “The Marriage Ref”…actually, that’s probably a good thing because that show looks super lame. But I’m sorry, NBC, you just don’t cut off something like the Closing Ceremonies at the Olympics to air a reality show. It’s disrespectful to your viewers, to Canada and hell, to the freaking Olympics in general. Seriously, I wanna write a letter to the IOC and get the games switched to another network next time…yikes…

On their website last night, the AP called NBC’s decision to cut off the Closing Ceremonies “spectacularly wrong-headed” and continued on to say that: “those enjoying the festivities were told to come back in an hour — at 11:30 p.m. on a night before work or school — for the conclusion. Incredible that NBC would wrap a show it has high hopes for, and one of its biggest stars, in ill will.”

We could not agree more. Suck it, NBC…

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Vancouver 2010 Olympic Mascots

As we say goodbye to yet another amazing, emotionally-charged Olympic Games this weekend, I think it’s only proper to pay tribute to what were probably the coolest Olympic Mascots of all time. That’s right, amigos, I’m talking about Quatchi, Sumi, Miga, and their adorable little sidekick, Mukmuk!

As luck would have it, my brother Ryan was in Whistler this time last year and managed to score Greta a boxed set with all four of those plush beauties in it. And while those groovy Nagano Snowlet Owls were cool, and the Beijing Mascots kicked butt, I gotta hand it to Vancouver for including a freaking cute-ass Sasqautch in their bunch. Grrr…Yeti like!

Now, let’s see London try and top these guys in 2012!

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