Everybody Limbo!

Our heroes finally discovered the correct path to the end of the maze.  (It happened to be they simply needed to run back into each portal they stepped out of!).  In the final room they found 1/4 of the compass symbol on the floor of the central block.  When they touched the silvery symbol, there was a great flash and they found themselves on the central platform and the maze was gone.  They next climbed the giant chain to the island that looked like a large stone field.  There they had to push a giant stone ball across a field while trying to dodge 3 iron gorgons.  Although Varis was turned to stone, Kane was able to push the rock across the field causing that island to disappear.  Varis was cured by throwing him over the edge to his death.  He appeared at the island again but again, he came back a little more broken.  They then went to the island that looked like a cylinder.  It was very dark and the heroes were attacked by dark oozes.  After removing the slime, they tried to reach the symbol at the top of the tower.  As they reached for it, the tower flipped over and Didy was thrown into the void.  After some searching and thinking, the party managed to stop the tower from flipping by holding a valve in the middle of it as another hero jumped for the symbol.

They have recovered 3 out of 4 symbols.  What it will free, they are not sure.  What does the last island hold for them?  Time will tell…

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Maze of our mind

So after running around the woods for a while, the party made it through the correct, purple, gate. The gate, however, did not lead them to the Feywild. It led them to the keeper of the true gate, a sphinx. The sphinx created a magical dessert around the party and asked them several riddles. The party displayed amazing intelligence and successfully answered all of the sphinx’s questions. The guardian allowed them to pass into the feywild. They ventured onto the university where they learned of a student who had gone missing when studying an evil book. After considerable deliberation the dean of religious studies allowed the party to study the book. After a few pages were turned, the book sprung a magical trap, throwing the party into a pocket dimension. They found the missing student and he had gone completely mad. He tried to kill himself but he only reappeared! It seems that death does not kill you here, it just drives you slowly mad. The party found themselves on a floating block with 4 other blocks of various sized chained to it with giant chains. They made their way along one of the chains to a small block with 4 other larger blocks floating around it. Entering into the block they found themselves jumping through portals into different mazes. They have been fighting minotaurs and getting very tired. They hope the end of this hellish portal maze is in sight.

Hawaiian style stuffed pork chops

These are tasty chops that are great on the grill.

6 boneless pork chops
1 small tin pinaple (pieces)
6 slices of mozzarella cheese
teriyaki sauce
soy sauce

Start by making a pocket in the pork chops.  Using a small, sharp knife, stab into the side of the pork chop.  Slide the knife back and forth without cutting through the other side of the chop.  You don’t want to butterfly the chop.

Once you have made a pocket, stuff the cheese and a few pieces of pineapple into each chop.  Put the chops in a marinating dish.  drizzle some soy sauce on the chops.  Pour a generous amount of teriyaki sauce on the chops.  Pour the pineapple juice from the tin on the chops.  Let them sit for at least 1 hour, turning after 30.  You can have them marinate for up to 8 hours.  The longer the better.

Grill the chops on medium high heat for about 4-5 minutes a turn (that means 8-10 mins per side).  For more information on how to turn your meat on the BBQ, see my post on how to cook a steak here.  When you first put the chops on the grill brush with some of the marinate.  Brush again after each turn.

Pull the chops off the grill, cover with tin foil and let the meat rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.  You can use the leftover pineapple for fruit salad.  You can ask the Lady of the Lake for her fruit salad recipe.

Post your comments below.

Simple strawberry spinach salad

This is a recipe we learned from a friend of ours. I added the almonds and onions for a little extra something something.

1 bag fresh spinach
2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
½ cup sliced almonds
½ red onion
raspberry vinaigrette

Wash and dry the spinach and place in a salad bow. Slice the strawberries into nice flat pieces and toss into the bowl. Slice the onion so you have nice long thin pieces of onion. The thinner the better. If the onion is very large only use ¼ of the onion. Throw the onion into the bowl. Toss in the almonds. Dress with about ¼ cup of dressing to start with. Toss the salad and taste. Adjust dressing to taste. Serve!

As always please leave comments and suggestions.

Chillin' and grillin'

I have recently become obsessed with deal website, especially ones that offer freebies. I have all manor of samples and tee-shirt showing up in the mail. Recently I found a great freebie download. It is a grilling guide from Martha ‘Hardtime’ Stewart. It is from her satellite radio show and has recopies from her and other gust chefs. You can grab it at:

http://www.sirius.com/marthastewartlivingradio

I tried the Whole Chicken Spatchcock and I will never roast a chicken on the grill any other way. The other recipes sound really good as well and I can’t wait to try them.

With this chicken I cooked it with the recommended wood chips for smoke. I did have a little trouble with the indirect heating on my grill. I figured out that the trick is to leave the off side on full heat and then keep your food side on low heat until the BBQ reaches temp. Make sure you turn your food side back on low after each time you open the lid to glaze. This is also the first time I used a meat thermometer for cooking and it is a great investment. I am always worried about underdone chicken and this removed all the guesswork without cutting into the bird.

Anyway I am super stoked about grilling season and this was a great way to really kick it off. Please leave comments and if you have a great recipe you want to share let me know and I can throw it up as a guest post.

No need to get owl(bear)ly

Our heroes continue to search the forested valley for the correct flames to lead them to the Feywild. After defeating the Korrads they got their barings and headed north. They came across a blue flame cauldron guarded by a group of Satyrs. The group made quick work of the piping pests with the help of an elven ranger named Cale. Cale has also come to the valley looking to gain access to his ancestral lands in the hopes of removing the growing undead threat.

The party made their way back to the orange gate they came through to find that a group of Owlbears thought it would be a great place to move into. While Cale skirted around the party, the rest of the group fought off the feathered fiends back to back.

The party had three different flames; red, yellow and blue. They now have to find the correct combination to let them forward.

Just a note. The current players are as follows:
Josh plays the Human Wizard Kane Shadowsedge
Ray plays the Teifling Cleric Hesikiah
Rob plays the Half-Elf Paladin/Sorcerer Varis
Gary (who joins us via Skype) plays the Human Warlord Didymous. Gary did not join us for this last session.
And new to the group is Brodie who plays the Elf Ranger Cale.
There are also a few others who sometimes play. At this time I don’t think they are continuing in this campaign but I do have room for one more player so we will see.

Also this is my first post via email. I hope it works right.

Love’s labour’s (and data) lost

This one goes out to all the kids who nearly failed that exam due to technical difficulties.

My sister and an exchange student staying with my folks both ran into this issue.  It was just before report hand in time and both suffered a major data loss.  My sister lost half of her 12 page report and the exchange student lost all of her French presentation. (Though since she was from France I think should should have just stood there and said ‘Volia!’)

Anyway here are two methods for the safekeeping of very important data.

Method #1: Email.
The email method is great but only works on files smaller then 10MB.  This is great for files that have lots of text and don’t contain video or a lot of pictures.

Start your document and save it on the computer under my documents.  Name it myreportname-date-time.  As you work on it, save it by clicking on the disk icon or pressing ctrl-s on your keyboard.  Now, every 30 minutes to 1 hour (set yourself a timer), make sure you go to Save As (under the File menu or under the odd windows bubble for Office 07).  Save it in my documents using the same formate (myreport-date-time).  The name will be different because it has a different date and/or time.  Now, email yourself the most recent copy.  You now have a back-up and you will loose at most the 30 minutes to 1 hour since your last backup.  Your computer could just blow up and you sill have a recent copy of the report.  The report is also named very nicely so you can always tell which is the most recent.  When you are done with the report, make sure you save your last copy and email it to yourself.  You may want to name it myreport-final so you know it is the last one.  Once you have handed in the report to your teacher you may then (and ONLY then) delete all the other copies of your report.  Hang onto that final one just in case you need to go back to it.

Method 2: USB drive
This method is very similar to method 1 but uses a USB drive which can handle the larger files.  Create your presentation as normal and save it in my documents using the naming format my presentation-date-time.  Copy that file onto the USB drive.  As an extra safety precaution you may want to remove the drive from the computer after each save so in case the computer decides to bust into flames you already have the drive in your pocket.  Two things to note, do NOT remove the drive until you are sure it is done saving.  There should be some kind of light on the dive that lets you know when it is in use.  The second thing to note is I have never seen a computer burst into flames so this is not something you should be worrying about.  If your USB drive starts to run out of space, you can delete some of your older saves but I recommend keeping at least the last 3 saves on the drive.  If you find yourself running out of space before 3 saves I recommend picking up a larger USB drive.  Again you can name your last save as final and after you have complete your presentation you can go back and delete the older copies of the file.

I hope that helps students and others handling important documents.  I felt really bad that I wasn’t able to help out my sister and although it is too late to save her report, maybe the next one will be safe.