Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Email Sucker's Tale

I recently, along with my blogging friend Dawn, published a post in which we supported marketing professionals by buying, using or downloading whatever they were promoting through TV commercials. We took the first 10 commercials we saw and bought in for a blog post called Customer of the Year. If you haven't yet, be sure to give it a read. It's pretty funny, if I do say so myself.

Today, I'm going there again. This time I'm supporting senders of unsolicited emails. After all, these people gotta eat too. At my expense of course, but still. And then there's always the possibility that whatever they're offering could benefit me, right? Never know unless you try. And that's exactly what I did. The first 10 unsolicited emails that came in, whatever they were promoting, count me in.

Email Sucker's Tale | Graphic created by and property of www.BakingInATornado.com

So here's how it went, an email sucker's tale:

Although I've been putting it off, I'm going to give in and finally inherit millions from a heretofore unknown Nigerian family member. Note to self: once I've sent the attorney my bank information and paid the fee, check out Ancestry(dot)com to find out just how many rich Nigerian family members I have out there.

I will be enlarging my dick. Well, this could get interesting.

Word must have already gotten out about that dick thing (that was fast) because I am now about to allow Tiffany to send me naked pictures of herself. Maybe I should warn her that the dick enlarging thing hasn't actually been worked out yet?

Currently filling out my registration to meet Silver Singles in my area. Bet they'll be impressed with the new size of my nonexistent dick.

I've been chosen to participate in a study where I will lose 8 lbs in 8 days. OK, I'm happy to try but personally, I think they got the wrong study. Or the wrong person. 'Cause I'm actually already aware of the fact that I'm really good at gaining 8 lbs in 8 days. Better break out those fruits and vegetables.

Only 4 ingredients go into these Simple Grilled Squash Packets. Chop, mix and grill for a simple flavorful side dish. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #vegetables

Simple Grilled Squash Packets

I am immediately clicking on this handy dandy link provided so I can straighten out the issues with my Navy Federal Credit Union back account. I don't even remember opening the account. Hope it has lots of money in it. Oh, I should give that account info to the Nigerian attorney for my fortune deposit. 

Now this is a beneficial email, apparently less stress and debt are only 30 minutes away. I can resolve my debt in 24 to 48 months. Wait, what happened to 30 minutes?

I'm going to be driving for Lyft. I'm guessing that will provide more debt relief than the last offer, but probably not in 30 minutes. Unless I'm a really, really fast driver.

This next one is a really difficult one for me. I'll be listing my home for sale via an online real estate company. Thing is, I wasn't done living in it yet. 

And finally, I'm making a donation to the National Diabedes Association. Honestly, as unsolicited emails go, I'm happy to make a donation to a good cause. Just two questions: first, how did they end up spelling the name of the disease that way in their official association name, and second, when did they move their world headquarters to Kazakhstan?

Oh, and by the way, that whole thing I said about "There's always the possibility that whatever they're offering could benefit me, right?". Turns out, not so much. But you already knew that, didn't you?

Dawn (of Spatulas on Parade and Cognitive Script) has joined me today as well. Check out what emails she's responding to in her post.

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Simple Grilled Squash Packets        

Printable Recipe

1 large summer squash
10 cherry tomatoes
1/4 red pepper
3 TBSP balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing

*Rinse and dry the squash. Trim the ends, then chop into bite sized pieces. Place in a bowl.
*Rinse, dry and slice the cherry tomatoes in half. Add to the bowl with the squash.
*Rinse, dry, seed and chop the red pepper. Add to the bowl with the other vegetables.
*Add the balsamic vinaigrette to the bowl and toss well. Heat your grill to medium heat.
*Lay out a large piece of heavy foil. Pour the vegetables and dressing into the center of the foil. Fold the ends of the foil in, then pull the other 2 ends together over the vegetables. Roll them together, down to the vegetables to form a sealed packet. 
*Place the packet on the grill and allow to cook for 30 minutes. Open the packet very carefully as the vegetables will be hot.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Cancel Everything: Fly on the Wall

Welcome to a monthly Fly on the Wall group post. Today 6 bloggers are inviting you to catch a glimpse of what you’d see if you were a fly on the wall in our homes. Come on in and buzz around my house. At the end of my post you’ll find links to this month’s other participants’ posts.

Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

My boys are older and mostly on their own. We don't argue as much as when they were younger, mostly because they don't tell me anything, but then that's another story. 

College Boy and I were, however, having a minor argument the other day. I decided to just let it go and went to make a sandwich.

College Boy (walking into the kitchen): Isn't that cannibalism?
Me: What?
College Boy: A witch. Eating a sand-wich.

And yes, he was kidding. I think.

Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

I had canceled my newspaper. As papers go, it's not a good one. I was only getting the Sunday edition but they had raised the price quite a bit. I called them, they lowered the price, then 6 months later raised it even higher. When I called again, they told me that they were raising all subscribers' rates to the same amount. So basically my Sunday subscription was going up to the price of a daily subscription? Cancel!

A few weeks later a rep came to my house. We talked for quite a while about what I think of the reporting in the paper and why I canceled. He asked me to come back and offered a price lower than I would have even asked for. He said it would be good for a year, I would not be charged an activation fee, and it included a free subscription to their daily online paper. The day I got my first Sunday paper I could go in online and sign up. I gave him a check and was signed up for 3 months.

On day one I went to their website to sign up for my free online subscription. After I went through all sign up crap, I got in and was immediately met with a message that I owe $1.23 on my account that I need to pay immediately. 

It's not the $1.23, of course, but that already on DAY ONE they're pulling this crap again. Cancel!

Well, that was good while it lasted. NOT!

Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

Speaking of canceling, and of sandwiches:

Me: It's here. Tonight is the first night of Passover.
Hubs: This holiday is the worst.
Me: I know, this and Yom Kippur when we fast for the day.
Hubs: There's really never anything I can get for lunch during the week.
Me: And my hands end up raw from all the dishes as I have to special prepare breakfast, lunch on the weekends when you're around, dinner, snacks and desserts. I like to cook and bake but this is exhausting. 
College Boy: I actually prefer Yom Kippur. I'd rather fast than eat matzo. Why don't we just fast for Passover?
Me: Sold!

Cancel again!

Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

I'm a good friend. Even to people I've never met, like my blogging friends. I'm always one of the offer my assistance when they're in need. For instance, this exchange that happened a few weeks ago via FB private message with a friend whose websites were hacked and had just gotten them back AND just had her car die.

Me: How's it going now that you have the sites back. I bet you're busy.

Rena: I'm at the car lot finishing up. Just gotta sign my name in blood and give them my first born.
Me: If you don't want to give them your first born, you can give them mine.

See? Always willing to help.

Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

Me (to Hubs): Tomorrow's our anniversary and it sucks. With Passover we can't go out to eat, you can't buy a cake, what a crappy anniversary.
Hubs: We'll have to go out when Passover is over. 
Me: Still sucks.
College Boy: You think you've got it bad, tomorrow is also 4/20 day imagine that.
Me: Imagine what?
College Boy: Getting the munchies and not being able to buy gas station nachos in an emergency. 
Me: They'll just have to put off their munchies until Passover is over. . .

Dark Cherry Cheesecake in a Pecan Crust starts with a pecan crust as a great compliment to this classic cheesecake swirled with syrup, then topped with dark sweet cherries. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #dessert

Dark Cherry Cheesecake in a Pecan Crust

It was a Saturday morning and Hubs had gone out to run a few errands. It was still really cold out but I wanted to open a window on the main floor just to let some air in the house.

I opened the window and the latch (that fits into the mechanism to close the window) broke. The top screw came out. I wouldn't be able to close the window. Crap.

I could see the screw outside so I grabbed my coat (it was cold), a screwdriver, threw on my flip flops (they were in the laundry room) and went outside. Got the screw but couldn't reach to put it in. Damn.

Came inside and grabbed a kitchen chair, dragged it out the front door, around the side and to the back, and got the thing fixed and was just coming in the house.

Of course, there's Hubs. I'm walking in the door with sopping wet hair, wearing a winter coat and flip flops, carrying a chair and a screwdriver.

Hubs: Oh, I can't wait to hear this one.

And I thought I had finally taught him not to ask.

Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

Our car insurance renewal came due and I left the bill and coverage info for Hubs to look at. He brought the bill to me later.

Hubs: How long have you been paying this amount?
Me: About 6 months.
Hubs: The amount didn't change two months ago? I made some changes to our coverage.
Me: No.
Hubs: It looks like they never made my changes.
Me: Cancel!
Hubs: No, I don't think canceling our car insurance is going to turn out to be a good idea.
Me: Damn! I was on a roll!

Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

Hubs was downstairs (or so I thought) and I was in the master bathroom with the door closed so I was comfortable saying what I was thinking out loud.

Me: You better stop lying or I'll have you canceled too.
Hubs (who, I guess had come upstairs and was in the master bathroom: Who are you talking to in there?
Me: Ummmm. The scale?

 Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

My cell phone rings on a Sunday afternoon, I look and see that it's PurDude and I start to shake.

Me (answering quickly): What's wrong?
PurDude: That's how you answer the phone? You don't say "hello" and "how are you"?
Me: Is something wrong?
PurDude: Well, yeah . . . 

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I rest my case. 

Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

It's fun (not!) having a very literal son. 

I often name my cars, maybe it's a girl thing. 

Anyway, what PurDude was calling for was to tell me that his car died. It's not the battery or starter, it was running really rough yesterday and today it starts up, then shuts itself off. I've told you before that he absolutely loves that car, that he took it from me the day he got his license and it's been his for the past 8 years. But it's 15 years old and has 96,000 miles. The header leaks oil, it's prone to flat tires, the driver's window doesn't go down (well, it'll go down but not back up again) and the remote keys are shot. I figured OK, this is it, RIP, we loved you well.

Hubs got the car going. I asked him to check the oil and replace the air filter and coolant. We have used a guy in the past to work on that car who is a BMW expert and his shop is only a few blocks from where PurDude lives. He called the guy, took the car down and texted me on Tuesday that one of the cylinders wasn't firing, it was worth fixing, the mechanic is going to fix the cylinder and replace the spark plugs. 

Me: You lucked out. That little red beauty will live to see another day. BTW, I always used to name my cars, is that car male or female?
PurDude: Neither, it's a car.

OK then, Mr. Literal.

Now click on the links below for a peek into some other homes:

Never Ever Give Up Hope  

Spatulas on Parade
Follow Me Home 
The Crazy Mama Llama
Bookworm in the Kitchen 

Baking In A Tornado signature | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

Dark Cherry Cheesecake in a Pecan Crust

1 can (15 oz) dark sweet pitted cherries in heavy syrup
1 TBSP grenadine

8 oz package of shelled pecans
1/4 cup sugar
2 TBSP butter, melted

2 1/2 packages (8 oz) cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup heavy cream
3 eggs, room temperature

*Grease a 9 inch springform pan. On the outside of the pan, wrap a sheet of tin foil around the bottom and partially up the sides of the pan. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
*Place the pecans in a food processor. While processing slowly add the sugar through the chute and then the melted butter, continuing to process until the mixture starts to stick together. Press into the bottom and partially up the sides of the springform pan. Refrigerate.
*Drain 1/4 cup of the syrup out of the can of cherries. Add the grenadine and set aside.
*Beat the cream cheese, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla just until smooth. Beat in the sour cream and heavy cream, then the eggs, one at a time.
*Pour about a third of the cheesecake batter into prepared crust. Drizzle about a third of the syrup/grenadine mixture into the center and swirl lightly into the batter. Repeat two more times until you've using up all of the batter and the syrup/grenadine mixture remaining batter and syrup.
*Bake for 60 - 75 minutes until the center is just set.
*Remove from oven and allow to cool on the counter, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
*Gently run a knife around the cheesecake before removing the side of the springform pan. Spoon the cherries and remaining syrup over the cheesecake to serve.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Alexa, Big Brother's Little Sister

Orwellianism (is that a word?) is alive and well. Like a terrifying sequel, 70 years after George Orwell unleashed Big Brother on the literary world (and my nightmares) via his novel Nineteen Eighty Four, Big Brother has a new little sister. And she's real. No, not alive, but apparently every bit as real. Just this past week it came out that Amazon has had Alexa record some people's conversations. Deja vu, anyone?

George Orwell (in case you've been living under a rock) was a democratic socialist (sound familiar?) who wrote a dystopian novel about a futuristic authoritarian society were citizens were kept under constant surveillance. Big Brother is watching you! But this aint your mama's (or Orwell's) 1984. These days Big Brother actually is watching you in public (CCTV sound familiar?) and, in the sequel, little sister Alexa is not only listening to you but recording you. For their review. Right inside your own home. Welcome back, nightmares.

I may not be an emperor, but I sure am starting to feel like I have no clothes.

Alexa, Big Brother's auditory little sister | Graphic property of www.BakingInATornado.com | #politics #humor

Creepy, yes, but also mortifying. What have I been saying? What has Alexa been hearing and {{gasp}} recording? Well, in my house . . .

~ After hearing "what have we got to eat?" for the hundredth time: "Alexa, where is the bewst place int he house to hide from Hubs?"

~ After a marathon day of shopping: "Alexa, what day does the master card bill come?"
Followed by: "Alexa, can you book Hubs a tee time on master card bill day?"

~ In the winter: "Alexa, can you tell Mother Nature to stop the snow?"

~ In the spring: "Alexa, why do the Red Sox suck this year?"

~ In the heat of the summer: "Alexa, how do you build an ocean?"

~ "Alexa, can you tell I'm not wearing a bra?"

~ "Alexa, why does that moron next door have to mow his lawn at 8 am?"

~ "Alexa, why is there a soggy bowl of cereal on top of my book shelf?"

~ After hearing the size of the honey-do list: "Alexa, where is the best place in the house to hide from the wife?"

~ After "the wife" finds him and hands him the list: "Alexa, what's a good excuse for having been found sitting in the crawl space?"

~ "Alexa, can you tell my wife that you finished off the Blackberry Pie Cake she made this morning?"
Then, under his breath: "And if you don't want to spend the night on the couch, tell her it was delicious."

Blackberry Pie Cake, full of blackberry flavor this cake comes together in minutes. Mix, bake, cool, frost and serve. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #cake

Blackberry Pie Cake
Blackberry Pie Cake, full of blackberry flavor this cake comes together in minutes. Mix, bake, cool, frost and serve. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #cake

~ "Alexa, where did I leave that bowl of cereal I was eating?"

The Boys:
~ After hearing me say that the lawn needs mowing: "Alexa, where is the best place in the house to hide from mom? And don't say the crawl space, I hear that didn't go well for dad."

~ (whispering): "Alexa, where did mom hide her stash of pistachios."

~ College Boy when job hunting: "Alexa, what states have legalized marijuana?"

~ "Alexa, who ate all the cereal?"

~ "Alexa, how much wood would a wood chuck chuck if a wood chuck could chuck wood?"

~ "Alexa, who's smarter, you or Siri?"

Jeff Bezos, owner of Amazon, had his private selfies (coincidentally, private selfies of his privates) that he had sent to his girlfriend released publicly. And I just have to say that when the owner of a company that has deliberately compromised people's privacy gets divorced because HIS privacy has been compromised, well that has to be some kind of epic karma.

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Blackerry Pie Cake

1 box white cake mix
1 large can (21 oz) blackberry pie filling
1/3 cup oil
3 eggs

1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup seedless blackberry jam
1/4 cup blackberry brandy
3 cups powdered sugar
6 oz fresh blackberries, rinse and pat dry

*Grease and flour a 9 X 13 pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
*Beat the cake mix, pie filling, oil and eggs for 2 minutes. Spread evenly into the prepared pan.
*Bake for 25 to 35 minutes or until the center springs back to the touch. Cool completely.
*Beat the butter, jam and brandy. Slowly, 1/2 cup at a time, beat in the powdered sugar until the frosting reaches spreading consistency. 
*Set aside 1/2 cup of frosting for garnish, if desired. Spread the remaining frosting over the cooled cake. Cut into 24 pieces, decorate with the remaining frosting and the fresh blackberries.