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Elovia last won the day on June 6

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  1. ... and that is the premise of the next story I'm about to write ... I took last Thursday and Friday off from work for an extended weekend treat to myself. It was partially to get a few things done around the house, but I like to tell myself it was also in celebration of the 39th anniversary of moving to my current hometown. The weather cooperated and was mostly sunny, so grilling dinner seemed like a good idea. The missus suggested we could go out for dinner, but I opted for cooking my own. I didn't end up grilling the star of the meal, but I did a few ears of buttered sweet corn. They, along with fresh coleslaw, made the perfect accompaniments to the main dish - meatloaf with a twist. It turned out so well and so tasty I was forbidden from ever making it again. Not bragging, just a fact. The meatloaf mix was nothing special, but I'll describe it anyway for those who haven't ever had a good one - it's a popular request at our house, and made with moose instead of beef if we have it. --------------- Elovia's Meatloaf Ingredients: 1 lb ground beef (low fat) 1 lb ground sausage (I like to use "hot" breakfast sausage, but "sage" is good, too) 2 eggs 3/4 cup Quaker oatmeal (the oats, not the instant kind) 1/2 to 3/4 cup water 1/3 cup Elovia's bbq sauce (see the first recipe in this thread) 1 envelope of Lipton's instant beefy-onion soup mix Directions: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Mix all ingredients in a counter-top mixing station until just mixed. Don't run the mixer for too long or the loaf will turn out tough and stringy. Hand shape the mixture into a loaf shape in a shallow baking pan sprayed with cooking spray, and bake for 50-60 minutes until done. I usually brush a light glaze of Elovia's Triple-S BBQ Sauce on top right before baking, and once again about half-way through. I use the same recipe to make meatballs, except I generally use an Italian sausage instead of the "hot". The difference is that I use 1/4 to 1/3 cup water to make the mixture stiffer, and a scoop to hand-craft ~1 1/2 inch diameter meatball spheres. I then bake them ~20 minutes at 400°F without the BBQ glaze. -------------------- Okay ... that out of the way, here's what I really did for the special meal. Elovia's Meatloaf with a Twist Ingredients: 2 lbs (+/-) of Elovia's Meatloaf meat mixture (see note below) 1 to 1 1/2 lb thick cut bacon slices, full length package 1/4 lb bacon slices, diced to 1/4" bits 1 small onion, diced 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced 1 cup (more or less) of shredded colby-jack cheese a pint of Elovia's Triple-S BBQ Sauce (or your favorite) your favorite BBQ rub appropriate for beef and pork Directions: Note: I made up a batch of Elovia's Meatloaf mixture, except I reduced the amount of water to 1/4 cup. I then placed the meat mixture in a gallon Ziploc bag, flattened it to completely fill the bag and force out all of the air, resulting in a relatively and evenly flat square of meat mixture approximately 1/2 to 3/4-inch thick (I don't recall the exact thickness: I didn't measure it). I set that aside in the refrigerator while I did the next few steps. Fry the diced bacon in a pan until mostly done; you don't want it completely crisp in the final state, but you also don't want it raw. Add the diced onion and minced garlic and continue to cook until the onions begin to turn translucent. When done, drain well of excess fat and set aside to cool. While the bacon, onion, and garlic mixture is frying, take the package of full length bacon slices and split/separate out half of the slices. Lay out the first half package of slices adjacent to each other on parchment or waxed paper on the counter. Then peel off a slice from the second half and weave it between the layer of slices from the first half. Continue in fashion to create a basket weave layer of bacon slices which should be roughly square and roughly the same size as the meatloaf mixture in the gallon Ziploc bag. It helps to pull back every other slice on each successive interwoven slice. The result should be a tight weave. Preheat the oven to 225°F. This meatloaf will be slow cooked to keep from burning the outer layers. Now that all that is done, the assembly process begins. Lightly dust the basket-weave bacon layer with BBQ rub. Next, cut the Ziploc bag along its seams to retrieve the slab of meatloaf mixture, and lay it on top of the basket-weave bacon layer. Again, lightly dust the top of the meatloaf mixture with BBQ rub. Spread the shredded cheese, and then spread a layer of the cooled bacon, onion and garlic mix on top. Add a drizzle of BBQ Sauce to the top. Carefully roll the meatloaf mixture into a log shape around the cheese and bacon layers. The meatloaf mixture will be a little stiff, so try to keep it from breaking while forming the log. If it does break, pinch the seam closed and relax up a bit on how tightly you're rolling the log. Tuck the log ends and pinch them closed as well. Carefully wrap the basket weave bacon layer around the loaf. Brush the outer surface with a light glaze of BBQ Sauce, and place on a rack in a roasting pan so the juices fall away from the meat while baking. Insert a baking thermometer probe into the center of the loaf, and bake/roast (?) the loaf. After an hour or so of baking, remove the loaf from the oven and again brush a light glaze of BBQ Sauce over the entire outer surface. It's ok if you don't brush it on the bottom of the loaf as it sits on the rack; you don't want to risk unwrapping the basket-weave. Put it back in the oven and do this again when the loaf has reached an internal temperature of ~155°F - or when it's about done. The goal is to create a thick and sticky BBQ glaze crust. When the loaf has reached an internal temperature of 160°F, pull the pan from the oven and allow the loaf to rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Slice across the loaf into ~1-inch thick slices. What you should end up with are slices with tightly adhered candied BBQ glazed bacon over a meatloaf stuffed with all the other goodies. When sliced with a sharp knife, the outer bacon crust should stay affixed, and the internal stuffing should appear to spiral through the loaf. The loaf is awesome as the main course of a meal, but also thinly sliced the next day or so after being refrigerated and served on sliced bread or toast as a cold meatloaf sandwich with a touch of creamy horseradish ... mmmmmm. Enjoy.
  2. Does anyone here play machine-logic puzzle-type games? I picked up Opus Magnum at GoG's summer sale, and have been having fun with it. This genre has been around for a long time. I recall playing The Incredible Machine and others back in the DOS days. I also have Spacechem by the same makers of Opus Magnum. Thus far, the puzzles in Opus Magnum haven't been terribly difficult to solve. The most intriguing part isn't necessarily solving them, but optimizing the solution to use fewer parts, or fewer instruction cycles. The maddening thing is, once you've solved the puzzle, you're shown heuristics from other people's solutions (an online connection is required), but you're not shown their solutions so you have to guess or retry your solution to see if you can do as well or better than the others; you could if you search their solutions out on the internet, but where's the fun in that? Usually there are components you must use; a limited tool set containing different ways of handling, moving, connecting, rotating, etc., the components to create a final form. You use a crude programming language to time and sequence the actions; the controls are fairly easy to pick up and learn, but the challenge is in how you apply them. Both Opus Magnum and Spacechem present the puzzles along with story interludes. The stories are interesting, but their premise is more for context rather than provide meaning or hints to the puzzle solution. Below are a couple examples. The first one requires you to take one resource, use a converter to make a second resource, then combine the first resource with the converted resource.. The second one requires you to start with two resources and one reagent, transmute one of the resources into a third resource using the reagent, then combine two units of the third resource with only one unit of the non-transmuted resource into the final form. I know some of you are IT folks, and possibly programmers, so it would be kind of cool to share and compare solutions.
  3. I'm not a multiplayer and really cannot answer that. I just don't know and have no need beyond your inquiry to find out. The upcoming Beyond expansion is supposed to improve MP aspects (I hear MP is still a bit buggy), and that expansion is due sometime this summer along with the VR upgrade. And that is pretty much all I know about the Beyond update. NMS is currently on sale at GoG (summer sale) for 30 bucks or so, and Beyond is expected to be a free update.
  4. Aye.
  5. Here's an overhead shot of one of my bases with almost all of my toys parked outside (my sub is in a nearby ocean). The image was resized down and converted to jpg to keep file size low enough to post here. In clockwise direction starting at the lower left are my ... large explorer, exotic (shown in a previous image), heavy fighter, second exotic, large hauler 1 and large hauler 2; also the roamer, nomad and colossus exocrafts. My base has extra landing pads so I can attract NPC pilots from whom I can trade; there are also four biodomes for growing crops not indigenous to this planet's biome, as well as a small garden plot of star bulb plants. All of the crops I grow are used to make up to 8 circuit boards at a time roughly 16 hours from harvest to harvest, and each circuit board can be sold for ~1.2M units. My base is also situated between two trading posts, which attracts a lot of NPC pilots. btw ... that's me standing in the top middle of the base's central tower (for a sense of size and proportion). ... and an up close image of my favorite heavy fighter. You can't tell but it's fully kitted with the best stuff. This little guy brutally destroys flocks of pirates (not bragging, just a fact). ... and finally, a gratuitous image of my Capital Ship (i.e., freighter) along with my fleet of frigates. The system is a bit hazy and the sun wasn't cooperating very well. Each frigate hosts several landing pads and can be explored on foot. The sense of scale is hard to describe, but the freighter is simply massive. If you look closely, you can see the green engine contrails from visiting NPC spaceships, so you can see how diminutive their ships are compared to the freigher's bulk.
  6. Diablo + Hellfire now available at GoG's summer sale, less than $10. Just fyi.
  7. Neither. It comes pre-assembled. There isn't currently a mechanism in game to customize a starship's appearance (hopfully there will be someday), so what you find is what is available to you. This one was one of the most complete of its variety that I've found thus far. I have another similar one that is canary yellow and doesn't include the side thrusters. I also traded a very similar model as the one shown above for the pictured one, and the one I traded away had all of the above-shown features except the lower rear clam shell... same colors, too. If I think about it later, I'll post an image of my current personal fleet as well as my massive freighter (and cloud of support frigates).
  8. The side thrusters point down for vertical take offs and landings (VTOL), but then swivel in flight to point backward and provide forward thrust. The "fishing rod" lance on the lower nose rotates about its centerline axis. And the rear clam-shells open in flight exposing yet another engine for forward thrust. Complicated to describe, but pretty cool to watch.
  9. Just a recent vanity purchase. I don't have it kitted out, and use it primarily for jumping through black holes ... because it isn't kitted out. Things get damaged when you jump through a black hole. Primary colors are white, gold, and black. The lighting in the space station isn't all that great.
  10. Why the spike in traffic immediately beforehand? Or am I just misunderstanding the unlabelled graphs?
  11. As per the Nike commercial ... Just Do It. The rest of us expect trip photos.
  12. By the time the bill makes it through, it will have plenty of loopholes. Gamers and game companies will ... ahem ... game the system, and the legislation will end up being ineffective except as a feel-good maneuver.
  13. They join the million plus users who claim to have quit Facebook. Yet the social media giant continues to live on. All of what they complain about the service has occurred for years. Perhaps they should have better researched their marketing platform before launching there. Facebook can DIAF for all I care. I don't use it ... never have, never will.
  14. Princess Bride quote ftw.
  15. This Ginger Sesame Teriyaki sauce is a second go-to at our house, especially during grilling season. It's easy to make if you have the ingredients. We use it to marinate chicken, pork, or even Korean style beef short ribs.