I Want Stuff, Part 1: Father’s Day 2020

This whole pandemic shelter-in-place don’t-go-to-work too-much-family-time is very tough for all of us? Ya know what would lift people’s spirits? Getting gifts, that’s what?

This Blog feature is a life lesson for my 15-year-old son. Back at Christmastime, his mother and I asked for a wish-list. That wish-list had NOTHING on it. Christmas came and went and it was unspectacular for my son. Flash-forward to Easter and we like to put a little gift in his Easter basket. Still. Nothing of note. Then, not two weeks later, my son’s old headphones he uses with his Xbox One crapped out and stopped working and he told us he would like some gaming headphones.

I asked, “how long have you wanted these? See? This is the type of stuff you put on Christmas lists.”

He defiantly said in reply, “but the headphones I had were still working. I didn’t really NEED new ones.”

Where does he get that modesty and simpleness? I had to explain that a person should always have a list of “wants”. No. Nobody “needs” everything they “want”, but that’s not the point. Yes. I have shoes. I have a dozen pairs of shoes for various outfits, weather conditions, and activities. Do I “need” new shoes? No. But I “want” some retro Bo Jackson Nikes. Dang kid just doesn’t get it.

Side note: You should’ve seen the headphones. The cord was frayed and the ear pads were worn right to the foam. Gaming headsets should’ve been #1 on the Christmas list four months ago.

People. We’re coming out of a pandemic and nationwide lockdown. We’re going to need all Americans to unite and buy stuff they don’t need and can’t afford to get this economy moving again. My Father’s-Day-Wishlist below will be my part of the recovery. Get shopping.

People are scared and depressed. You can do some serious improvements to my mood if you buy me some of this stuff.

Dr. Squatch Bar Soaps – Been thinking more and more about the chemicals in products I buy, what they do to my skin and the environment. I’m one man, but I’ll do my part by using better soap. At least I think it’s “better”. I saw their ad on YouTube and it had a bearded Hipster-looking guy. Must be good. I compared the chemicals in it to my Trader Joe’s Almond Ginger Scent Oatmeal Exfoliant Bar, and while I’ve always trusted Trader Joe’s to sell me the most hippy-approved products, I’ll be damned if their soap didn’t have more crazy chemicals than Dr. Squatch. (Note to my son: Yes, they sell soap at Trader Joe’s for $3. Yes, this Dr. Squatch soap is $7 per bar. Dumb purchase? You bet it is!!!)

Here’s a few more Top-Things from the Stuff I Want Page on my Blog.

Happy shopping. DM me if you need my shipping address.

 

 

Weezer Stuff, Part 1: A Weezer Podcast, a Playlist by Weezer, and a cool video

This might be the first and last “Weezer Stuff” post on my Blog, but worthy of the keystrokes. In the course of 24 hours, I happened upon a cool, new video by Weezer, I found a Playlist on the iHeartRADIO App with songs actually picked by Weezer, and then found the We Are Weezer Podcast by Weezer superfans where they talk about Weezer songs, talk to people and bands inspired by Weezer, and talk about other random Weezer stuff (the Podcast even has it’s own webpage). Weezer ain’t The Beatles, but for me, this is a super great Podcast and I would like to hang out with Rachel (host of the Podcast).

Click here to find, listen-to, and Follow the We Are Weezer Podcast.

We Are Weezer Is A Podcast About, You Guessed It, Weezer… Rachel & special guests share interesting details on the band, explore the
music, review and rate songs, bond, & share their personal stories.

Here’s the Playlist that Weezer made. It’s like I’m sitting in Rivers’ basement in the late 80s.

And I know I posted this new video only a couple of days ago, but just in case you missed it, here it is again.

 

Food Stuff, Part 3: Cauliflower Queso Dip (Plant-Based)

Before we begin, my 15-year-old jerk of a son said I can’t call this “queso” because “queso” translates to “cheese” and this is a vegetarian plant-based recipe, and cheese would make that not so.

I have a job. I pay the bills. I’ll call it “queso” even tho it doesn’t have actual cheese. He can call it whatever he wants when he grows up and has his own house, kitchen, family, and Instant Pot. And I hope his teenage son treats him better than mine treats me.

  • Step 1: Make sure you have an Instant Pot.
  • Step 2: Put the following in the Instant Pot
    • 2 cups cauliflower
    • 3/4 cup sliced carrots (I used baby carrots)
    • 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • 1 cup water
  • Step 3: Cook on high-pressure for 5 minutes.
  • Step 4: Do a quick release (that’s an Instant Pot thang)
  • Step 5: Drain and dump into a blender (I use my Vitamix …you could use a food processor)
  • Step 6: Add an itty bitty squirt of mustard
  • Step 7: Add 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • Step 7: Add 1/3rd or 1/2 of a jalapeno (depending on how spicy you like it)
  • Step 8: 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • Step 9: 1/2 tsp salt
  • Step 10: 1/2 tsp paprika (recipe I found calls for smoked paprika, but I wasn’t buying a new spice)
  • Step 11: drain a 10oz can of diced tomatoes; add 3 Tablespoons
  • Step 12: Blend it
  • Step 13: Add some diced red onion and diced cilantro for looks and a little flavor.

Your gonna love it. My kids said, “ew, it smells weird and looks like baby food,” and then they ate a bunch of it.

You know the drill. This is the basic recipe. Add more jalapenos if you like, or some pepper, or less jalapenos. Experiment with the diced canned tomatoes. The last time I made it, I just opened a can of “crushed tomatoes” because, if I’m being honest, I bought them by accident.

If you’re thinking, “hey, I like this Don guy’s Blog, where else can I keep up with him?” Well, I’m glad you asked.

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Random Stuff, Part 6: Rivers Cuomo is Cool

Maybe if I link this new Weezer video I’ll have some people who accidentally come here, to my Blog, to see it. It’s a cool video with Rivers  passing a note and passing it and passing it on and on and on. “Rivers” is the lead singer of Weezer …gotta explain that because my Dad and my Aunt sometimes read my Blog.

Stay until the end and read Rivers’s letter to the front-line health-care workers (or skip to the end if you hate great music).

“This one is for the stay at home dreamers, the zoom graduators, the sourdough bakers, and the essential workers.” -Rivers Cuomo

I should be finishing Blog entries about my 13-year-old’s Cruise-At-Home day, another cool plant-based recipe, my thoughts on the iPhone 11, and my lawn. But this was easier. And since my mid-Year resolution is to “Blog every day”, this was easy.

If you’re thinking, “hey, I like this Don guy’s Blog, where else can I keep up with him?” Well, I’m glad you asked.

Twitter: http://twitter.com/donkowalewski
Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/don_kowalewski/
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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.