A Leap to Leopard That Didn’t Happen, and An Eye-Opener

Crazy Cats

I guess the pasta was hot enough — can you see the steam coming off of it to the left?

I was excited at the prospect of upgrading from Tiger to Leopard on my not-so-pretty-anymore MacBook. I headed for the Apple store ready to make the leap. I had considered giving up the Mac way of life and purchasing a Windows machine, but if I’ve learned one thing during the past year-plus hanging around JTV and meeting people that are far more experienced and knowledgeable about computers and purchasing them than I am, it’s not to make an impulse buy on something like a computer. I hope that I don’t just drop into a store and purchase a new machine on a whim again. I also know that I should not be making that kind of a purchase right now . It would be an emotional purchase and I’ve done enough of that over the past dozen or so years to know it was time to stop. Oh yeah, and circumstances have played a big role in stopping that behavior too. 😉

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.TV Marketing Comes to Life on Justin.tv

The Experiment Worked

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Click on the image to enlarge it

Well, it worked on me, that’s for sure. I noticed The Human Lab Rat channel when it launched on JTV recently and saw a few people chatting about it in various rooms, but I get freaked out when it comes to seeing medical stuff and the thought of seeing a vine growing under a person’s skin well, that not only held no appeal, it held negative appeal.

Yes, I went into the room and I tried not to look at the photos in the banner, and thankfully they were kind of blurry, so I watched for about 15 more seconds and when he was at the point of showing the vine under his skin, I promptly walked out of the room and didn’t go back … until this morning.

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Using What’s in the Fridge and Pantry, The Naked Cowboy in the News and Which Broadcasters Have Fled to Live.Yahoo!?

Made Over Left Overs

I’ve been spending far too much money on food in the past 5 months — since I began broadcasting and from time to time I just open the fridge and the freezer and the pantry and see what I can put together from the ingredients I have at my fingertips. I didn’t know what I felt like having and as I thought about it during the day at work an idea began to formulate.

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Happy Hallmark Holiday

Woe is Me

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Beef Soup with White Beans and Fire Roasted Tomatoes

I’d say that the general consensus that the Christmas holiday season is the toughest time for singles is not entirely accurate. I don’t feel any worse during Christmas because I live alone or have no family around or often do nothing different on December 25th then I do on December 26th. It’s not a holiday I celebrate, and while most of America does, there are large numbers that don’t, and contrary to popular belief, it’s just not a big deal to some of us.

On the other hand, when Valentine’s Day rolls around and once again I am destined to spend the day alone with no prospect of a romantic candlelit dinner or a card or sublime sentiment, I do feel like I’ve missed out on something. It’s much tougher to spend the night alone on February 14th than on December 24th or 25th. I am happy that this year I will have, no matter how virtual, a group of people to spend the evening with. The numbers fluctuate. Some nights there are few and others we see a bit more respectable numbers of viewers, but those that are there night after night help make the alone-ness in life on Valentine’s Day more bearable.

I go on about how I am happy to be single and I mean it. Really, I do. But today, for whatever reason I am not happy to be alone. It’s most likely the fact that I went to the movies to see Definitely, Maybe this afternoon. Not a great movie, definitely a chick flick, not maybe. No two ways about it. I knew what I was getting myself into, but I went anyway.

I made a DEElicious pot of beef-vegetable soup and when it came time to broadcast the show was a technical disaster. I am not sure if it was the changes made to JTV today or if it was my Mac, but it wasn’t much fun and the viewers had to endure the attack of the repeating episode during the broadcast. I think if they heard, “Ok, the Twitter has been sent” too many more times they were going to revolt.

But that’s how technology rolls sometimes. It’s not always perfect. It’s not always smooth. This is relatively new technology and Justopia.com usually rocks. Justin.tv has been quite stable in recent weeks as well, but tonight was a challenge. So we try again tomorrow and I am hoping for a good night. A night free of cupid and his or her arrows and free of technical glitches.

What if they Held an Election and No One Showed Up to Vote, Closed Captioning at Justopia.com and What Are People Thinking … Or Are They?

Primary

I showed up at my new polling place this afternoon and when I was finished casting my ballot I was the only one in the room and no one else seemed to be showing up. I was expecting a crowd. I charged up the iPod, packed the headphones in my purse and prepared for a wait in line for my turn at the booth, but I walked in, saw smiling volunteers behind the desk, ready to check people off and move them along and there was no one but me to help. One woman was just finishing up and she departed as I stepped up to the empty booths. I don’t get it. No, I mean seriously, I don’t understand. I know that usually a primary doesn’t draw the numbers that the general election does, but I expected from the large voter turn outs in other states that I would see lots of people. I know that some of my friends blow it off. That they think it’s not worth their time — bah! That’s nonsense. Some of those same people think that the US is the only place to live, they don’t have an interest in vacationing outside the US. They don’t like the idea of going to a developing country because it’s just “not as good as the US.” So why pass up the right to vote when you have the means and the opportunity? I don’t get it.

Closed Captioning

ChannelZ built in closed captioning for Justopia.com and we all had fun with it tonight. Unfortunately, I didn’t think to take a screen shot, so there’s nothing to show you here, but it worked really well. It’s labor intensive for the person inputting the text — as ChannelZ did tonight — but his use of creative license made it rather funny.

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Chicken Fricasseé, Chopped Broccolini with Croutons and Mushroom Pasta

He developed it for people who are hearing impaired, but it turned out to be great fun for everyone who was watching. It took me a few minutes to figure out what was going on, but eventually I catch on and when it dawned on me that I was missing out on 1/2 of the conversation I realized I needed to open the closed captioning feature. Emoticons were the big draw for Justopia.com for a long time, but I have a feeling this will be hot for a while.

Give Me a Break

After dinner I thought I’d wander down Main Street at JTV. I had not spent any measurable time in the channels in a while and wanted to see what was going on. What I ran into was a mom with two small children flashing the camera in her tequila state and episodes of Dateline NBC’s To Catch a Preditor all on the channel bar at the same time. The 28 year old mother with a 2 year old and a 4 year old running around late at night was drinking tequila and trying to settle the kids in for the night while having some broadcasting fun all at the same time. The room was going wild. I guess she flashed once or twice before I stepped into the room and the pervs wanted more.

She was quickly taken off the channel bar and I watched as most viewers attempted to goad her into more flashing, while a few were clearly unhappy with her parenting style. One of the children made his (or her) way into the laundry room a few times, only to be scooped up and carted away, leaving most of the audience hungry for more. Some of the less than supportive chatters managed to upset the broadcaster by telling her that “they” were going to take her kids away. I’m not sure who “they” is, but she was clearly worried and made note of that fact the last time she came back to the camera. Shortly after, she was banned. I felt kind of badly. She said her husband is a Marine stationed at Parris Island — probably more information than she should have given out. But it made me think. It was after midnight and he wasn’t home, so she found something to keep her occupied and it wasn’t good. As a matter of fact, it got her banned. You know, I haven’t been keeping track, but it seems to me that most of the rooms that get banned are females and in the same age range — mid to late 20’s. It makes me scratch my head and wonder, what’s going on with this generation?

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Chopped Broccolini with Fresh Toasted Croutons

I decided I needed something to write about and thought I’d pop into another room. The room was showing To Catch a Predator. It seemed somehow ironic. Each time the toddler came into the room and on camera in the other channel, it made me think — could one of these predator creeps be lurking, and just how long might it be before we see Chris Hansen profiling a case in which the predator was lured into the Dateline net via JTV?

It’s not out of the realm of possibility, is it?

I’m Overwhelmed!

More Than I Can Chew

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What am I thinking!? Full course dinners six to seven nights a week. Work. Knitting, felting and finishing handbags for a few, but eager customers. And this blog. Did I mention surfing JTV and maybe watching a little TV from time to time? Throw a movie and dinner or lunch once in a while and, Wham! You have a recipe for exhaustion and burn out.

Oh yeah, and did I mention I have MS? Yeah, well I do. It’s not a problem really, but if I keep up this schedule of working and playing nearly around the clock daily it might become one. That said, I am going to finish up some work I need to do and head to bed. Tonight on Justopia.com we made a DEElicious, yet ingredient-heavy Italian meal. For a while I was worrried that the clean up was going to take as long at the prep, but luckily I was out of there in 20 minutes.

We had spaghetti bolognese, toasted eggplant, caesar salad and olive bread with cannelini bean spread. Wow! That’s a mouthful, but it sure was tasty.

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Changes

The JTV team has been very hard at work making changes and improvements. Tonight as I was up to my elbows in garlic and tomatoes, there was a hiccup in chat and when it came back, there were additions to chat on JTV and to the Broadcaster Tool. The tool that we use to launch our lifecasts. Good changes. Helpful changes. Some of it, I think, has been asked for by viewers and broadcasters. There is now a “Clear Room” function which I’d imagine will help during those times when a room is being raided. Rather than a moderator having to clear out the mess, the channel operator can clear the room and start over. I’m not 100% sure this is what is supposed to happen though. I checked out the JTV blog and it mentions most of the other features, but not this one.

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A feature that’s sure to be a hit with many is the “Send Highlight to YouTube” function. It’s simple. I just tried it and am awaiting email confirmation from YouTube that the highlight was successfully uploaded. It’s a cool idea, one that will be a big hit, I’m sure.

JTV has been around less than a year and there have been some great improvements recently. It’s good to see that the creativity and innovation is not stagnant. I think that the weekly broadcast Phil does with viewers and broadcasters has been a good thing also. It seems that they are taking suggestions from those that participate seriously and from what Phil has said, some of these changes were viewer/broadcaster initiated requests.

We’ll see what the future brings. On Justopia.com, ChannelZ, who so tirelessly and graciously works on the site is continuously looking for ways to improve and enhance what we bring to you each night. Suggestions and comments are welcome.

OMG! It was Piefection. A Comfort Food Night at Justopia.com

Comfort Food

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I know, I know. It’s not good for me — you — anyone. But I was in the need for some comfort food. Ok, so a light bulb moment, right? A clear indicator that I use food to make myself feel better. Yes, it’s temporary. Yes, it’s bad for your health in all different ways, but when I need instant gratification, cooking does the trick, at least for a little while.

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I was sleep deprived and just feeling a little low today. Ok, so maybe it’s been the past few days, as you probably picked up from my last post, but today I decided I needed a pick-me-up. I was out surfing the food blog world and saw a post or two with photos of fried chicken. I had defrosted chicken thighs and legs and was stumped for what to do with them. I pulled out my Tagine and quickly decided that Moroccan food was not what I was in the mood for. I thought about chicken with lemons and garlic, but how many times am I going to make that on Justopia.com? I mean seriously, enough already with the lemons and garlic! So as soon as I spotted the fried chicken on Smittenkitchen.com my mind was made up. I knew I just had to have fried chicken for dinner.

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I had noted on the schedule that I was going to make π — Apple π to be exact, but since it would take over an hour to bake once I had the dough together, I decided to broadcast dinner. And I’m happy I did. One of the greatest pleasures I get in life is feeding people and since I don’t have much opportunity to have people over these days, it’s fun for me to have company virtually for dinner each night. It’s a shame there is no smell-o-vision or taste-o-vision yet, but trust me when I tell you, the house smells like paradise each night.

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Fried Chicken, Red Beans and Rice and Broccoli Salad with a Honey/Lime dipping sauce

I’d wanted to have a restaurant for years, but never took the plunge, so this is my way of doing it … digitally. For a lot less money, no staffing issues, no board of health problems, no facility overhead and no food sent back to the kitchen! Justopia.com and Justin.tv have given me the opportunity to live part of my culinary dream and to connect with some great people — all the people that view the broadcast or that are involved with putting it together and keeping it running smoothly.

Where Are They?

What was kind of sad tonight was that I had been asked time and again to make pie, and sometimes to make apple pie, specifically, but those that had made the numerous requests were not here to watch tonight. 😦 The good news, many Justopia.com regulars were there to join in on the fun. Thank you!

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Fried Chicken

  • 4 chicken legs, 4 chicken thighs (or whatever cut of chicken you prefer)
  • Flour to coat
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • Oil for frying — I like to use peanut oil for it’s flavor and high smoke point

I have found that it’s helpful to set a baking pan on the counter with a silicone mat or parchment paper and a bakers rack on top. After coating the chicken, simply place the pieces on the rack and let sit to settle for at least 30 minutes or in the fridge longer.

After rinsing the chicken under cold water, pat dry so that no water remains. Add buttermilk to a large bowl and flour to another bowl. Dip the chicken in the buttermilk and then into the flour and place on the baker’s rack.

Heat a large deep sided pan on the stove top until it reaches between 350º – 360º and begin frying the chicken, taking care not to crowd the pan or reducing the heat with too much chicken. Use a button thermometer to test for doneness.

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Apple Pie

Basic Pie Dough Recipe

  • 1 1/4 all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
  • 3 tablespoons ice water
  • 1/4 teaspsoon salt

This recipe makes enough for 1 portion of pie dough. Double the recipe for a top crust.
In a mixer with the paddle blade, stir the flower, sugar and salt. Add the butter and stir to coat the cubes before mixing on medium low until the mixture resembles peas. Add the water, one tablespoon at a time and mix just until dough comes together. Do not mix too long or the dough will become too warm and will not be flaky.

Dust a work surface with flour and transfer the dough. Form the dough into a disk and roll out to fit a 9 inch pie plate. Do not warm up the dough by rolling too hard ot roo much. Once the size of your pie pan place in the bottom of the pan. Put in the refrigerator to chill for at least and hour. If you are making a top crust, be sure to remove the dough before filling the pie so that you can cover the filling without breaking the crust.

Filling

  • 4 large apples — I use Granny Smith for their snap and tart taste
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice — orange juice works well also
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg or allspice
  • 1 tablespoon orange or lemon zest
  • 4 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 tablespoons turbinado, raw or demarra sugar

Heat oven to 350º
In a bowl, mix sugars, cornstarch, cinnamon and allspice. Core, peel and cut the apples into thick slices or 1 inch dice. Sprinkle with lemon juice to prevent browning. Place apples in a large bowl and coat with mixture of dry ingredients. Top with butter pieces.

Fill the pie with apple mixture and cover with top crust. Brush crust with egg whites and finish with a sprinkling of turbinado sugar. Place on middle rack and bake for 50 – 60 minutes, or until filling is bubbling.