Lawn Stuff, Part 3: Speedzone (and some pulling)

Here we are. Day-7. I’ve witnessed a true miracle. You say it’s a predictable result of a scientifically tested product designed to do the thing I hoped it would do. I say MIRACLE!!!  The pictures below, if you have the patience to compare them to Day-1 and Day-3, are jaw-dropping.

The most exciting thing for me is that Speedzone was able to kill the two things I’ve never had luck killing …the unidentified spreading weed that’s always on the curb by the street (and that I think comes with the salt in the winter) and the violets in my backyard.

All of them. Dying.

And some places I just sprayed regular ol’ dandelions and they died, too.

Yes, I know everyone’s lawn is fairly perfect this time of year, but I’m off to good start. A better start than I have on May 3rd than most previous years and two tough-to-kill weeds are dying.

Time for a beer.

Lawn Stuff, Part 2: More Speedzone

Here’s Day-3. Stuff is already starting to die. What you can’t hear in these photos are the dandelions and violets saying, “Ohhh! You cursed brat! Look what you’ve done! I’m melting! Melting! Oh, what a world! What a world! Who would have thought a good little girl like you could destroy my beautiful wickedness! Ohhh! Look out! Look out! I’m going! Ohhhh – Ohhhhhhhhhh!”

In previous years when I used whatever was on sale at Ace/Home Depot/Lowes, I didn’t see this. This is 72-hours later and, I should mention, it poured rain starting about 10-hours after I applied Speedzone. 

This excites me for two reasons.

  1. I’ve saving hours of time where I typically crawl around on my hands and knees picking weeds. And, usually, I get bored and say, “good enough.”
  2. This might be killing them right down to their roots and I won’t have as many next year.

Lawn Stuff, Part 1: Speedzone

Yes. Another category on this Blog … #Lawn Stuff. When it comes to my lawn, I’m obsessed. Yet, I’m no expert. I don’t have tons of extra money to spend. I don’t want to hire a service (again, the money). I don’t water it daily (one more time, money). I try really hard to avoid chemicals. Just not this year. 

My friend, Steve T., works for a company that makes Speedzone. He’s a born-and-raised farm kid from rural Michigan. Growing stuff is in his blood. He actually cares about me and my lawn so one day he said, “hey, stop wasting your time with that watered-down stuff from your local hardware store,” and then gave me all these technical reasons about the why and how it all works and I kinda spaced.

“Just tell me exactly what to do and when,” I said. 

So he did. He actually started to build an App. He told me what to do last fall. He told me what to do this spring.

Step 1: Apply Speedzone to all the weeds with a pump sprayer. 

I did that on Monday, April 27th. The crappy pictures below show a wide variety of weeds in my lawn. Usually, I’ll spend 4-6 hours pulling all the dandelions one by one and spot spraying the other stuff that isn’t so easy to pull. This year, I’m trying something different.

Pictures below are a combination of Day-1 (before treatment) and Day-2 (24 hours after treatment). 

In summary, today’s lessons are (1) have a farm-kid friend named Steve who’s as obsessed with his lawn as you are and is as frugal and (2) get Speedzone and a pump sprayer.

Random Stuff, Part 5: Pete Wentz is Cool

I’ll tell anyone who will listen that the best thing about Coronavirus and our nationwide stay-inside quarantine is that musical artists are bored, not touring, and they need our attention and praise. Those things are their life force. So they’re taking to social media to perform, hold living-room concerts, and more.

I hear tell that many of them are working on new music, working in their home studios, or going into studios and putting albums together. Could be an explosion of new music coming out later this year and into next. That’s good.

Like most 46-year-old dudes, I’m a big Fall Out Boy fan and the boredom of song-writer, founder, and bassist Pete Wentz gave us these two videos. First, a mini-figure Fall Out Boy concert and, second, a collaboration with his buddies Cheap Cuts on their first single. Everyone loves when Pete Wentz lectures us at his concerts, so this is like an entire song of Wentz wisdom.

Yay quarantine.

Food Stuff, Part 2: Cauliflower Plant-Based Hot Wings

If I didn’t mention it in most conversations, didn’t Blog about it, and didn’t post about it on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, you probably wouldn’t even know that I’m living a plant-based lifestyle.

“Plant-based” is the cool way to say you’re “vegetarian.”

And when I say I’m “plant-based”, I mean …wait. Ya know what I hate about most Blogs with a recipe? Those Blog posts usually have a thousand words before they get to the recipe. Not me. I’m getting right to the point.

Found a recipe for cauliflower hot wings. I modified some things so they’d be easier to make (and taste better). Here’s how to make ’em. You’ll love them. My non-plant-based family (including my teenage son) like these.

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp garlic sea salt
  • 3 TBS almond milk
  • 1/2 cup hot wing or buffalo sauce
  • more vegetable oil

Follow these steps…

  1. Cut the cauliflower into pieces about the size of chicken wings
  2. Drizzle enough vegetable oil into a mixing bowl and shake around (so cauliflower is is covered)
  3. Sprinkle some flour onto the cauliflower pieces (in a bowl) and shake ’em around (cover with cling wrap to avoid flour going all over your damn kitchen)
  4. Sprinkle some more flour and shake ’em around
  5. Sprinkle some more flour (the rest of it) and shake ’em around.

  1. Drizzle almond milk into the bowl of flour-covered cauliflower and shake it around
  2. Pour onto a baking sheet (line with parchment paper or foil)
  3. Cook at 425 degrees for 20 minutes
  4. After 20 minutes, take it out of the oven and move the cauliflower to a bowl
  5. Drizzle with some hot wing sauce and shake around
  6. Drizzle with some more hot wing sauce and shake around
  7. Drizzle with the rest of the hot wing sauce and shake around
  8. Dump everything back onto the baking sheet and put back into the oven
  9. Bake for 20 minutes
  10. Broil for 5 minutes at the end.

Eat ’em. Dip them in ranch dressing (or bleu cheese if  you’re a freak).

Amaze your friends.

Feel good you’re plant-based like me.

Trust me. These are good.

Random Stuff, Part 4: Brad Pitt Sucks

Recently I decided I don’t like Brad Pitt. It sucks to say that. Cuz he’s in two of my favorite movies (Fight Club and Ocean’s Eleven). He’s dated some of the most beautiful women ever. He seems funny. But he also has had his problems …with drinking, I think (I’m not going to look it up). He’s had some really bad, public break-ups. It makes him human.

All was good and then, in the past year, he was doing some roof repairs (without a shirt) in the movie Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, looked ridiculously amazing, and then the last straw was his recent appearance on Celebrity IOU.

First. The rooftop scene. The dude is in his 50s. He’s old. And look …

brad pitt sucks
Flaunting his healthy eating and exercise …rubbing it in my face.

But what really made me hate Brad Pitt was the Celebrity IOU. The premise of the show is something like, “rich, famous celebrity does something really cool and nice for someone special in his life.” In this case, Brad “The Pits” Pitt has a woman that has done his make-up for decades. I don’t even have a make-up lady to make me look good. It seems Hollywood folk need that.  Hmmm. Maybe if I had a make-up person who made me look handsome(r) every day, I could look that good. Chicken and egg, thing.

A guy that looks as good as Brad Pitt, I guess, needs consistency and someone he can trust. His make-up lady seems like a super, super lady. A simple woman. A humble woman. She just seems to love what she does. She’s not a millionaire. She has a nice house out in Hollywood and on her property, she has a storage garage. I picture Brad “Jerk-Face” Pitt sitting in her make-up chair, year after year, and his make-up lady probably prattles on and on about how, “someday I’ll convert that shed into a make-up studio and a guest house and you can crash out there when you come over.”

Brad Pitt is supposed to be distant. Aloof. Patronizing in this situation. Upon leaving her chair, not even realize she was talking because she’s so beneath him.

Oh, but not Brad “Look How Cool I Am” Pitt. He “loves” her (his word). He’s “always wished” he could “repay her for everything she’s meant to him.”

So what does he do? Drops a couple hundred thousand dollars in the lap of the Property Brothers and they remodel the garage into the most kick-ass make-up studio-slash-guest house you’ll ever see. Brad “I Probably Have E.D.” Pitt sheds a few tears when he sees it. He helped with some of the work (with his shirt on …actually two shirts …one long-sleeve white shirt under a short sleeve Henley type thing …and it looked cool as F …I’m totally gonna try out that look …) …but I digress.

See what I mean? Total jerk. It’s only fun when celebrities suck and have problems so despite them being better-looking, rich, and envied by all, at least we can always find some way I am better than them. I mean “we” are better than them. I assume everyone feels like I do.

There! It’s officially out in the open. I hate Brad Pitt for being cool, handsome, super-fit, nice, humble, funny, giving and charitable and still with amazing hair in his mid-50s.

Join me next time when I’ll tell you why I hate teachers and puppies – as if it’s not totally obvious. Oh, and feel free to leave a Comment if I’ve missed something else to hate about Brad “Destroyed By This Blog” Pitt.

Still not convinced …watch the clip below. You’ll want to punch him. I warn you.

Random Stuff, Part 3: Do People Really Think Like This?

Today, as of writing this, we’re on Day-26 of the Michigan Shelter-in-Place (aka “Stay At Home”).  Michigan kids, in fact, had their last day of school 30-days ago. I know. I’ve been journaling every day. We’re Stay-At-Home until April 30th, at least.

I heard today (again, Day-26) there is a movement in Michigan, and elsewhere, to end the quarantining and the social distancing and for everyone to go back to work and back to their hobbies, boats, and cabins, and just be done with this. Despite more than 20,000 dead Americans over the course of about 10-weeks, this anti-stay-at-home group seems to think money woes, the economic impact, and the personal sacrifice is too much for them to take. The data showing what this Coronavirus does to a population is not more than 4-months old, so it’s not like we are looking way into history and debating something that we cannot prove. The facts and evidence are right in front of us. It seems clear to me, this virus kills. It has killed exactly as predicted it would in a free and open society that did not act fast enough or disciplined enough.

Please don’t quote the number of flu deaths and automobile deaths to prove it’s just like anything else that kills – those are false equivalencies. Do you forget what a “false equivalency” is? I’ve been trying to explain it to my children. This video is a very good explanation in less than 5-minutes (and it has colors and happy music) …and yes, I know about Above the Noise and how it appears to lean. My takeaway is, if you want to talk about the flu or automobile fatalities, we can. But those are two unique conversations and I would not compare either one of those to Cancer, gun related deaths …or Coronavirus. Get it?

America is the best. Period. At everything. Inventing stuff. Fighting wars. Being wealthy. And we’re the best at dying from this virus …and at basktball. What? We are the best at basketball. Tell me we’re not. We’re also a completely free society. Full of individuals. We celebrate the mavericks, visionaries, and scoundrels that built this great nation. We love both Bill Gates (nice, kind-hearted) and Steve Jobs (brash, asshole). But this complete freedom, at this moment in history, might be the a thing that dooms us.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I would love if asshole-type quit his job at whatever laboratory where he’s working and invested his own money into a lab and discovered crystal meth cures Coronavirus, even thought he was cheating on his wife and evading taxes. I’d buy the book about his life story and try and figure out how to apply his life of meth, adultery, and crime to my work life. I would. You would, too. That book would be a best-seller.

Back to the matter at hand.

More Americans have died from Coronavirus than have died in any other country, and we’re not done dying. The daily body count shows us that. Medical experts, many who’ve spent their entire lives investigating infectious diseases, told us what was going to happen before it happened, they have been trying to help us through it while it is happening, and now they’re trying to tell us what will happen in the next few weeks and months if we choose behavior-A (less people die) or behavior-B (more people die).

So this is why I’m so bothered. It feels like there’s a segment of the population going with the “welp, ya gotta die sometime” philosophy and are throwing up their hands after only 26-days (in Michigan) and saying, “this inconvenience to me is too hard to deal with and it’s OK if people die, and keep dying. People are dying, anyway, despite the four whole weeks I’ve been sacrificing. Ugh. Four weeks!?!?!?! How can we possibly be expected to sacrifice this much?”  

My hope is these vocal critics of the need to quarantine are less than 20% of the population – but I fear it’s a growing movement.

Do people make their decisions and form their opinions because they hate Governor Whitmer or President Trump? Meaning, no matter what Whitmer does, even if it’s save a puppy from a burning building, they’ll find a way to hate it. I admit, I’m no fan of Trump and feel his cavalier response to this in January, February, and even into March contributed to the United States having nearly 25% of all the deaths in the world.

Then again, if he had declared martial law in mid-Feburary, and sent the National Guard into every corner of the United States, forcing everyone to shelter-in-place completely, I know his detractors would’ve hated him for that. And if Whitmer had said at that time he was overreaching and yelled, “State’s rights,” and kept our schools and factories open, the same people who hate her for locking us down would’ve hated her for “keeping us open” in this alternate universe I’ve dreamed up.

I guess my point is this …let Politicians fight like teenagers on social media and in the news. Let us …we the people …the majority of whom do NOT give money to a political party or candidate, keep open ears and open minds. The rest of us? Let’s talk it through and figure out a solution, like America has always done.

If we all go back to normal, with herd-immunity happen? Or not? How many people do the experts say will die? Is there a way to go somewhat-back-to-normal? If we look at the current situation as “hitting the pause button”, how can we make sure when we hit “Play” that we can start the music right from where we left off? Would it help if all States, all at once, hit the “pause” button? How long would we need to “pause?”

Experts? Scientists?  I ask you.

And can the rest of us stop pretending politicans are anything but self-serving narcissists who only think about decisions in the context of how it keeps them employed and in power?

Friends? Family? I love you.

Random Stuff, Part 2: Humor Test

I saw two things yesterday that amused me. One of them much more amusing than the other. This is a test. Which of these do you find funnier? Both are funny. Don’t feel pressured. But I have a theory and want to know which you find funnier.

Vote as a comment.

Food Stuff, Part 1: Legendary Good Times Pizza Dough Recipe

The current quarantine around the Coronavirus has me feeling generous. So if you went to Michigan State in the ’90s, you definitely had a pizza from Good Times Pizza. My friend Rick and I believe one of the greatest foods ever invented were the Good Times breadsticks. I worked there for years. I memorized the dough recipe. Of the three pizza places where I worked from 1988 thru 1996, Good Times had the best dough. No. I don’t want to hear about your gourmet homemade doughs for thin crusts. This is a dough recipe for making and delivering hundreds of pizzas in a night.

Ya know what I hate about most Blogs with recipes? Too much preamble. So I’ll shut up and here you go…

You can mix it with a fork, but I hope you have a mixer and this dough hook thingy.

Dough hook for a mixer.

Put the dry ingredients into the mixer. Then mix the 6 Tablespoons of oil in with the hot water and slowly pour it into the mixer.

99% of the time, after 6-10 minutes in the mixer, it’s a perfect ball of dough. Form it into a ball about the size of a mini-basketball and cover it. If you can put it in the oven at 145 degrees or less, it will rise. Punch it down every 45 minutes for an hour and a half. Note: You don’t really need all that punching and kneeding, but it does make it rise better when baking.

Dough rising in the oven

This much dough will make two medium sized pizzas and an order batch of breadsticks.

I use two 15-inch stainless steel pizza pans from Sur La Table (because I’m fancy) and a ceramic pizza stone thingy (I don’t know where I got it). Put a nickel size worth of veggie oil on each pan and smear it around. Then, with oily hands, split the dough into three nearly equal balls of dough (about 1 lb and 1 ounce each). The biggest ball should be the breadsticks.

Watch a YouTube video and teach yourself how to throw dough. But throwing the dough really isn’t necessary. You can just mash it and spread the dough out with your fingers. Then add toppings. My family, as you can see, is boring.

Oh, and this is important. Spread the breadsticks out and then cut them BEFORE cooking them, like you see in the images below.

Apply the sauce with a spoon and spread it around leaving some crust showing.

Oven at 420. Timer set to 22 minutes.

Put the pizza with the most toppings in first on the top rack. All by itself. At the 20 minute mark, put the more boring pizza in. Middle rack. At the 18 minute mark, put the breadsticks in on the bottom rack.  Now you start watching. Move them about every 6 minutes. Rotate them. Each pizza will want to spend some time on the bottom rack to crisp up the bottom crust.

At 22 minutes (or when they look done and about to burn), take the breadsticks out. Melt 3 TBSPs butter and 1 TSP garlic in a pan and then paint them onto the breadsticks. Then shake a generous amount of parmesan cheese over them.

Then take the other pizzas out and cut ’em up. These pictures make it look like I used yellow cheese. I didn’t and I don’t appreciate you accusing me.

At the time I posted this, we’re in the midst of a nationwide shelter-in-place because of the Coronovirus so try it. Call me if you have questions. If you fail, try again. You’ve got time. If you’ve got wee little kids …first, I’m sorry. Second, let ’em put the toppings on. Experiment. But trust me, when you get it right, you’re gonna thank me. Pizza hasn’t tasted this good since you ordered it at 3:00 a.m. to your dorm in Akers back in 1995.

DAD STUFF, PART 3: WORD PLAY AND REMEDIES FOR QUARANTINE BOREDOM

This is an irresponsible Blog post with only about 45% accurate information. Nonetheless, I’ll touch on three things…

  1. New words and phrases born of the global pandemic
  2. All remedies and prevention methods I’ve seen (and am employing)
  3. Creative things to do during quarantine
New Words and Wordplay

As I write this (March 20th, 2020), we’re about 8-days into the quarantine work-from-home era. Actually, it’s day-6 (in Michigan). I say this because last Friday I spent the entire day in the office, and so did all my co-workers. On Sunday night (March 15th), I decided I should stay home “for a day or two” and my amazing bosses agreed, and by Monday evening, my company ordered everyone to stay home if they had any “non-essential” roles that could only be done in the building.

Point being …not even a week ago, I didn’t have some of these words and phrases in my vocabulary and I’d never thought of how to survive a pandemic. Now? I’m an expert and the following, exhaustive lists come from posting a few things on Facebook and collecting all the comments as pure fact. Print this out and put it on your fridge.

  • Self-Quarantine – a person’s decision to isolate themselves because they’ve been sick, around someone who traveled, traveled themselves, or have compromised health
  • Social Distancing – keeping away from people
  • Shelter-In-Place – I guess it means “stay inside”, which is kinda what Michiganders do throughout February every year

The next phenomenon, and I’m amused by it, is wordplay around “quarantine” and I wonder how many of these will be in Webster’s Dictionary by the end of 2020?

  • QuaranTUNES – songs with a theme of illness or isolation (think “Toxic” by Britney Spears, “One” by Metallica, or the anthem “All By Myself”
  • QuaranTEENS – teenagers dealing with social isolation, no school, no sports, and for seniors dealing with no prom or commencement
  • QuaranTIME – the phenomenon of time going sooooooo slow while staying at home as much as possible
  • QuaranTINI – a vodka martini you drink alone in your house
  • QuaranTEARS – the tears you cry when you find yourself very, very sad about the situation
  • QuarantTV – the shifting of viewing habits and shows that are finding huge audiences while everyone has lots and lots of extra time to watch new shows
  • Quarantinians – the generation that will be born 9 months from now
  • Quarantantrum – my wife and I, and my kids with each other, and me and my teen daughter, and my wife and our teen daughter, and me and my dog, and me and my wife …did I already list that one …multiple times each day because there IS NO ESCAPE and the house is suddenly very, very small
  • Quarantine (long i) – the person you choose to be with when we go on mandatory lockdown. eg: “Won’t you be my Quarantine?”
  • Quarantinos – all moodily violent films that have outbreak plot lines made over the next 8 weeks

Prevention Tips from Old Wives

My favorite remedies and health-tips are always those that come via “old wives”. If you’re young and aren’t familiar with an “old-wives tale”, it’s…

Old wives’ tale – Description   
An old wives’ tale is a supposed truth which is actually spurious or a superstition. It can be said sometimes to be a type of urban legend, said to be passed down by older women to a younger generation. Such tales are considered superstition, folklore or unverified claims with exaggerated and/or inaccurate details.
In normal life, these are things like chicken noodle soup cures the common cold. Or how you “feed a fever, starve a cold.”
For Coronavirus, I’m employing all of the following
  • Wash hands for 20-seconds, and do it every 30-minutes
  • Drink water every 20-minutes (it washed the virus out of the throat)
  • Don’t touch mouth, nose, eyes, or ears – the only way for the virus to get in your body is through an orrifice
  • Drink alcohol (vodka works best) – similar idea as drinking water …this thing all incubates in your throat.
  • Gargle (saltwater or Listerine)
  • Isolate and Shelter-in-Place
Fun Things to do During Quarantine (this list is going to be evolving)
  • Game night with other families using Houseparty App (but there are other apps)
  • Prank calls (kids-these-days don’t know what a prank call is)
  • Card games (almost nobody plays cards anymore)
  • Charades (another game nearly lost to time)
  • Movies, movies, movies (I know, everyone is already doing this …but try some classics)
  • Bake cookies
  • Try new recipes
What am I missing? Leave comments with more stuff.