Let's say we're all bees. Each and every one of us is buzzing about-
buzz buzz buzz.
The honey that we make is our lives. Experience has taught me two things...


...and LIFE is only as yummy as you make it!

Are YOU a Killer Bee?

bee my guest?

bee my guest?
Howdy Beezers! I'm excited to share something new with you... Over the upcoming months, most of the content you'll be seeing here will be from special guest contibutors! This is sure to add a new texture to this thing we've been weaving over the years. I know that many of my readers (yes, you!) are writers, artists, musicians and filmmakers. PLEASE feel free to contact me if there's something you'd like to contribute! I'd be most honored to pollinate... send me a note: m.mckinley@rocketmail.com

please be seated

January 28, 2012

Chinese New Year: The Water Dragon!

January 27, 2012

Crashing Boar, or Me to a T?

30-Jan-1911--17-Feb-1912 - Element-Metal(-)
27-Jan-1971--15-Jan-1972 - Element-Metal(-)
The BOAR - Chinese name: ZHU
Ranking Order - Twelfth
Hours ruled by the Boar: 9pm to 11pm
Direction of this sign - North-Northwest
Season and principle month: Autumn - November
Fixed Element: Water

When encountering the Boar, we sense his or her quiet sincerity and purity. He is so honest that he feels guilty for the slightest error, and he is more indulgent and forgiving of others than he is of himself. He is without artifice or pretense, and dislikes forcing himself on others or being the center of attention.

Chivalrous, gallant, obliging, scrupulous to a fault, he is naive, innocent, confident, and defenseless. He allows himself to be duped easily, accepts his own faults calmly, and those of others with tolerant understanding. He is incredibly sincere, almost to the point of doing himself harm, and always disarmed by the bad faith of others. He lies rarely, and then only to defend himself. Powerless against hypocrisy, he will often crucify himself in an attempt to justify his actions. He is an absolutely straight dealer and it's very rarely that he will accept a compromise. Ironically, though the Boar believes without question whatever anyone tells him, he is always finding it necessary to produce proof of what he himself asserts!

People born in the Year of the Boar have a taste for la dolce vita. Possessing a strong sense of luxury, they can be extravagant and take great pleasure in pampering themselves and their loved ones; they delight in the stimulation of the senses. However, when they need to work they will get right to it. At these times a half-hearted attitude just won't do; where they're concerned, it's all or nothing.

Like the Monkey, the Boar is intellectual, a character with a great thirst for knowledge. He reads a lot, but reads anything that happens to be around. Although he appears to be well read, the Boar's knowledge is only superficial. Referring to this, a Japanese proverb says that the Boar is "wide of face but narrow in the back."

The Boar is sensitive, caring, and indulgent. Not only intelligent and cultured, the Boar also has a streak of bawdiness and earthiness. Their various indulgences can verge on gluttony. Unlike the conniving Machiavellian pigs of Animal Farm, Chinese Pigs tend to be helpless and insecure. During fat spells they suddenly lose all and are unable to defend themselves, much less attack others. Boars in general are lucky but lazy.

Boars can be very practical, logical and down to earth. They may at times be considered somewhat cool and reserved because, blessed as they are with composure and self-control, they don't usually allow emotion to cloud the issue. They are cheerful and love company and social life. They find it very easy to make friends and also seem to hang on to them for life. For them the Boar is capable of the greatest sacrifices. He is extremely considerate of the chosen few who do merit his affection. The women of this sign like nothing better than to make presents for people and organize parties; they are marvelous hostesses.

Whatever his ambitions may be, whatever the tasks and goals he has set himself, the Boar will do his duty with all the strength he is capable of, and that same strength can be an inner force to be reckoned with, a force that nothing can oppose. Once a Boar has come to a decision, nothing can stop him from carrying it out. 

But before he arrives at it, he spends ages weighing the pros and cons, which sometimes gives the impression that he is indecisive. Nothing could be further from the truth, but to make sure he is avoiding any possible complications, he will sometimes ponder for so long that he destroys his own case.

Untiring workers, Boars will succeed in their careers, especially if they are their own boss. Because they like to accumulate ancient objects and fine pictures, they might become art dealers, specializing in antiquities. Their aim is to live in relative affluence, both for themselves and their families, and to enjoy the pleasures of life. 

Materially, the Boar will always have all the necessities of life, regardless of his chosen career. Work and money in sufficient quantities seems to gravitate his way without his having to make any particular effort. People will help him all his life, and thanks to this help he will be able, if he wishes, to reach the highest heights in the financial world.

Popular superstition in the East says that people help him thus just to fatten him up so he will make a better meal over the New Year. Because of this, the Boar may be overly wary and trust nobody. If the Boar's birth date is a long time before the traditional feasts, he will escape a lot of the disappointments in store for him. However, the closer it is to the Asiatic New Year, the more he will be betrayed, ridiculed, duped, and perhaps in the long run, eaten!

Though generally tolerant and fairly placid people, when absolutely backed into a corner, Boars can turn vicious. When they find that their friendship and good nature have been seriously abused, they will give no quarter and that friendship will somewhat unceremoniously be cut short. Perhaps they can be accused of exhibitionism, of being flirtatious and even licentious at times, but there is no doubt that Boars in general are very good sorts -- honest, decent, generous, supportive, loyal to their friends, and thoroughly trustworthy.

The first phase of the Boar's life will be relatively calm. During the second, every conceivable conjugal problem will be visited upon him. But whatever his troubles, the Boar, discreet and shy, will never ask anybody else for help; he'll try to get out of the mess by himself. His reticence in this respect may do him harm, for nobody will even suspect the torment he's going through.

Under the influence of the Metal element, he is proud and passionate, with overpowering sentiments, valuing his reputation. He is intense and demanding and may have excessive appetites, lacking in refinement or tact. 

He exerts little control over his personal life, is very social and demonstrative with his affections. Pure-minded, he tends to underestimate his enemies and overestimate his friends.

Ambitious and forceful, but not necessarily objective, He can be a dangerous opponent, violent in expressing his anger or resentment. He does not take defeat graciously.

I'm a Metal Pig...
What's your Chinese Zodiac sign and Element?

Double Happiness Meatloaf

Potluck with Michael Patrick McKinley
Re-Published From the October 2010 edition of Stacey's Hot Dish

I've never been a ketchup on meatloaf kinda guy...

When Stacey told me he was planning to "skew Asian" for the October edition of The Dish, I scratched my head for just about a minute. I've been having a life-long affair with Asian cuisine, but a signature dish of my own to share with you? I didn't think I had one.Then I remembered my meatloaf. This is a recipe that's been evolving over time, but started as a simple turkey meatloaf about 15 years ago. You know, the kind with Lipton's Onion Soup Mix . 

Only one night on it's way into the oven, I realized I had no BBQ sauce to glaze the top of it with, and I don't do ketchup with meatloaf. Meat pies however, are another story! I digress...

I foraged through the fridge to see what I could substitute for that sweet-salty, caramelizing factor I'd be missing without the BBQ sauce. Then suddenly, there it was. Like a cartoon style light bulb moment, the jar of Hoisin sauce imprisoned in the door compartment beckoned to me to set it free, and slather it across my ordinary turkey loaf. The result was sensational, and I haven't seen Sweet Baby Ray since!

Of course you can bake this in a loaf pan, but why? When you plate these little lovelies, streak each plate with additional hoisin sauce, then place 2 on each plate [one sitting on its butt, the other playfully tilted on it's side], and sprinkle with some chopped cilantro leaves. To me, meatloaf is a very Autumnal meal, so I love to serve it with baked hard squash that's on the naturally sweet side, like Buttercup or Hubbard, and finish the meal with roasted Brussel sprouts.

Make these for your next dinner party, and your guests will not only be impressed by this Asian inspired twist on an American comfort food classic, but your clever presentation too!

1 1/2 lbs Ground Turkey
1 1/2 lbs Ground Pork
2 eggs
1 tablespoon fat
1 small sweet potato, very finely chopped
1 tablespoon seeded and minced jalapeno
2 tablespoon minced dried onion
2 teaspoons Chinese five spice
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon chili garlic paste
6 scallions sliced very thin
1/2 cup minced water chestnuts
1 1/2 cups panko flakes
hoisin sauce

Preheat oven to 375

Saute minced jalapeno and sweet potato in melted fat [I like to use butter or bacon fat] just until the potato starts to soften. Meanwhile, place all other ingredients in a large mixing bowl (except hoisin). Add sauteed potatoes and jalapenos, and mix with hands until all elements are fully incorporated. Pack mixture into the compartments of a 12-count muffin tin, mounding up over the top of the fill line. [The "meatloaves" will shrink as they cook, and release fats and juices.] Liberally smear the crowns with hoisin sauce, and bake for approximately 30 minutes. They should shrink away from the sides of the pan and the tops should caramelize.

Let them rest for 5 minutes, run a knife around the edges to ensure easy release, and remove from tins.

January 14, 2012

"Quote, Unquote" #3: BE

"Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary." 
~ Sir Cecil Beaton

January 13, 2012

ARE YOU READY....For Season 5?!

Season 4 of Killer Bee Cassandra McShepard's vlog THIS IS WHAT I KNOW SO FAR came to close a couple of weeks go, when I uploaded the final installment "He Meant You". After filming 4 Seasons in just 2 years, Cassandra took a little break to concentrate on her hit television show Real Milwaukee, and work on other exciting projects (Details are forthcoming!). But if you're jonesing for ALL NEW episodes, I'm thrilled to let you know that we are currently in preparations to film SEASON 5 this February!

This teaser clip I made for Season 4 now feels like a wonderful look back, and makes me very excited to be getting behind the camera once again...

January 12, 2012

Blog Discovery: GET MUMMY'S PURSE

Hello Gentle Bleaders, and Happy New Year! 

Its been forever since I shared a blog discovery with you and have decided the best way to start off our new (4th!) year together, is to share someone NEW with you! Born and raised in England and currently residing in London, William Godwin's work is sometimes fictional, frequently confessional, and always engaging. William imbues each piece {even the shortest ones} with his signature style and delicious sense of humor. My schedule permits very little reading for pleasure these days, but Get Mummy's Purse has become a regular must-read.

"In The Beginning" is one of my favorite pieces from last year. I do believe his writing will charm you, just as it has me. 'You are too speaking Charles Spud.' Bless. And bless you William for this absolutely delightful journey through a time machine...to a world full of rectangular ice cream cones and cigar boxes full of of magical loot. I absolutely loved it. I know my readers will too. Enjoy kids!

In The Beginning

In the beginning there was an eye patch - or as they are called these day an eye pad. There were cowlicks, a seventies style void filled with manmade hand me downs, there were tortoise shell NHS specs, and there were fish fingers, mash and peas.  (Well actually in the very beginning there was a stripy sausage, num num and  nim nim but more on that in the 2nd pressing perhaps.)

Later came Snantneys (otherwise known as St Anthony’s), swimming, buck teeth, Cornettos, bicycles, Rise and Shine and Adrian, not necessarily in that order and still with the cowlicks and the NHS specs.

So I had cowlicks, I had specs, I had nasty knitwear and I was fed, but how did I get about? Even fashion orphans need wheels. Well, though I was only 3 I did in fact have a very flash car indeed, which went by the moniker of ‘Tommy Rally’.

Tommy Rally was a very special racing car, with a very special chauffeur. Although I liked to think that I was the driver, I was really only the passenger, although most definitely the back seat driver (Royal blood don’t you know). The real driver, pit manger, fuel attendant and mechanic, nose blower and ice cream buyer was Clare, (Great) Aunty Clare.

Tommy had quite a thirsty engine and I would regularly direct Clare to top him up with petrol. This would usually take place at the filling station by the hedge of no. 26.

The sketchy stories I have been able to piece together about Clare, mostly from my Mother, spotlight a life of highs and lows with a key final position as my chief assistant and team Tommy manager. She had been a housekeeper in fashionable swanky hotels in central London through and after the war. She had been married, her surname was Hastings, and had a son Kenneth, who she had to give up. He came looking for her later in life but was shooed away by her family - probably my Gran - Clare’s sister, so they never reunited. It was all a very sad tale, and so no wonder she liked a drink.

When she came to Leamington in later life, pretty much without anything I think, looking after me filled a void, gave her something to do, and distracted her from the Gordons.

Mrs. Franklin’s

In the mornings I went to Nursery. Mum was working in Birmingham forging signatures for a charity trying to help young ladies up the duff not go the termination route, but instead provide them with jobs and homes, leaflets on marriage and priority access to nuns. We had many such young ladies come and live with us throughout my youth and they were all lovely. One, Carol, her mum used to do the hairdressing on the Carry On films!  Patsy was a model, Laura had a lovely son Daniel and a guitar or was it an accordion, Margie was Irish, very tall, and had the straightest long hair, Suzie had bleach blond hair with black roots, platforms and smoked. She came to Widemouth with us I happily recalled when I was there last year.

My only real memory of Mrs Franklin’s was of being ‘evacuated’ to a hall in Trinity Street and having milk and biscuits in a line, in beautiful sandals. Although as with most things this might all be down to false memory syndrome, ‘you in a wood in a hood’, and be based on a photograph I may have seen of one of the others when they were at nursery. But suffice to say I have never required the services of a therapist in order to deal with my time there, and although I have no real memories apart from the afternoons, I believe it all to have been warm and appropriate, with lots of colouring outside of the lines and tissue paper glued onto sugar paper. I don’t remember any of the other kids, although I do remember two friends from that time who could have been from there or they could have been the kids of people Dad worked with or played golf with. One was Victoria Selby, who lived in Landsdowne Crescent and had a red plastic tomato with ketchup in which I remember thinking was the height of advancement and excitement. We probably didn’t have ketchup at the Gables as it was a bit ITV. I don’t remember anything else about her. The other person is Charles Budd. Again I can only remember one thing about him, and that was being in the back of mum’s car - Triumph Toledo I think, and he wouldn’t stop talking. My early onset impatience had obviously taken to tire of this and I uttered the immortal line, repeated by my Mother ad infinitum for years, hence the clear memory, ‘You are too speaking Charles Spud.’ Bless.

FYI - this gorgeous child I write of was referred to later in life by my sister Mary as ‘rat on a string’ but I imagine I was wearing a bright jumper and looked half presentable following bath night. ‘You were lovely when you were asleep’ I was oft told.

The Afternoons

Now the afternoons were the jewel in the crown. Aunty Clare would pick me up from Nursery and we would go the 300 yds back to her flat in Bertie Terrace. There she would finish preparing lunch,  and we would wait for Gran to come back from mass. Then we world sit at the big table me in the middle, Gran to my left and Aunty Clare to my right and we would have, thank the lordy lord, always and everyday and without fail we would have fish fingers, mash and peas. And I think for pudding it might have been tinned fruit and cream (carnation). All served on blue Beryl.

After lunch we would go to the Dell, which was a sunken garden, more like a hidden valley in the middle of town, where there were swings. Why were swings such nectar of the Gods, the holy grail of activity? We would then traverse, all in Tommy Rally I think, but again, that might have been earlier and some of these journeys might have been on foot, to the post office for sweets - cherry drops are pleasantly burnt in my memory. We would then get a bus, yes a bus, to the Parish Church - Anglican but we asked for the other menu. From there we would meander to the Jeffs and gardens (also known as the Jephson Gardens). Here was a magical world of adventure and intrigue. As a toddler it was as big as a theme park and the rides were just as various and mind blowing. Oh my, what fun. There was the stone fountain, which allowed for paddling in the hot weather, there was the drinking fountain where you could get a drink (strange that), there was a mausoleum stylee building with a statute of some old bloke (Mr Jeffs And I believe) there were box hedges in squares with park benches in between which acted as my house/office, there were animals - parrots and bunnies, all in great Victorian animal houses, there was a lake with huge dancing fountains and ducks to feed,  there was a clock tower, and a clock flower bed,  there was a huge glass cafĂ© which sold ices and minerals, there was a mammoth tree with branches snaking down to and across the ground which made them easy to climb even for mini adventurers, and importantly there were ice creams - rectangles of ice cream in rectangular cones. Oh the joy and the excitement, the exhilaration and the fun. My heart is racing just remembering it all which means the joy must be deep etched in my subconscious.

It was a world of adventure and exploration and Clare and I made the most of it, as often as possible. The gardens were split both by level and by a lovely iron bridge, brightly painted blue with a mesmerizing weir you could lean through the bridge and watch as the water passed from the lakes down to the pump rooms and the river Leam. On the other side of the bridge were the mystical and far away swings of Mill Gardens. We didn’t venture there too often, it was another world and ‘miles away’.

Once back in the flat the afternoon had other delicious routines. First of all there was treasure. Aunty Clare had a great big treasure chest filled with lots and lots of treasure (old cigar box with a few trinkets in) which we would go through like pirates examining the day’s spoils. Then there was the musical box, which I still have! A glorious red lacquered box from Singapore I believe which played ‘Comin’ through the Rye’. I would happily wind this up and listen to it over and over again. All these bacchanalian treats, adventuring and discovery would finally tire out this intrepid explorer, who would settle down for a nap on the bed in the sitting room which was topped by a firm green cover so it looked like a sofa without a back rather than a bed, with ‘hundreds’ of bright yellow satin cushions. A lambs wool cardigan would be placed over me which smelt sweetly of Clare and I would rest, while she had a B&H and maybe a sneaky G&T. My Gran would also take a nap in her room so it was probably golden time for Clare.

Then it was back home and to the madness of the family - my other life. But the secrets and the treasures of my afternoon with Clare would come round again, tomorrow whilst the others were back at school, and mum and dad were back at work. The magic would be played out once more and further adventures would be had and more fish fingers and ice creams would be eaten. Oh the sweet joy!
For more GET MUMMY'S PURSE, follow the link!

Musical Treat of The Week- GIRL PANIC !

Your first musical treat of the year: Sex, drugs, and Duran Duran.
There were some episodes, but I'd rather not talk about them...

January 8, 2012

Bright and Shiny

When the big shiny ball drops in Times Square every New Year's Eve, millions upon millions of people  make resolutions for the year ahead. I'm definitely a resolution maker. And yes, I'm one of those people who finds it easier to start a diet on Monday, or quit smoking the first of the year, and so on. This sort of  system for success appeals to the procrastinator in me.

The last couple of years I've actually been successful with my New Years resolutions. This past Monday marked 2 years without a cigarette, and in 2011 I lost a total of 39 lbs. More than half of which I gained after I quit smoking. So what about this year? No need to break my stride!

I'm an Interior Designer. An artist. A gay man for crying out loud.
I love bright and shiny things. Be it a crystal chandelier, a glittery Christmas ornament, a happy soul, or the occasional handsome fella. We've already determined that I'm a procrastinator. Now add chaser of bright and shiny objects to the mix. Why its amazing that I can get anything done! Easily Distracted may just be my middle name. Although I prefer Patrick.

I truly believe that in 2012 my endeavors with Cassandra will not only continue to flourish, but that they're going to explode. Not just because we've worked so hard, but because the timing feels so right. Almost divinely so. 

So the other day we were in her car on our way to our weekly breakfast meeting at the IHOP (What, this surprises you?), and the subject of New Years resolutions came up. I told her that this year I wanted to exercise some discipline. Perhaps acquire some wisdom even, on the subject of bright and shiny objects. You see I'd been pondering, and it occurred to me that some of them are worth the distraction and the chase...and some are just illusions. Or delusions. And it would seem to me that given my age ( I am 40 now, after all ) and with all that I've been trusted to do for and with her- I'd better figure out the difference.

She turned and looked at me with knowing in her eyes, and said "Might I suggest that you've become the bright and shiny object? And that everything your heart desires, everything that's bright and shiny is coming your way? You don't need to be chasing a thing." Being the sentimental sap that I am, my eyes instantly welled up. And then I acknowledged her assertation as TRUTH. Why wouldn't I? Besides, she just made my New Year's resolution a whole lot less work!

I love my girl, I do.
And a diet is always best started on a Monday...
This may just be the brightest, shiniest year ever.

January 7, 2012

"Quote, Unquote" #2: Peace of Mind

January 4, 2012

And The Winner Is (Drum Roll Please) !

Michelle Paduganan Lopez of Santa Maria, California is this year's winner of the $40 gift certificate from Penzeys Spices! I personally would like to let you all know that at our holiday gatherings, Michelle's prediction that we would "watch them disappear" came true. Aunt J's Maaaagical Cookies are indeed just that. Oatmeal, chocolate chunks, and copious amounts of peanut butter...you might be able to convince yourself that a pair of them makes for a square breakfast- like I did twice this past week! With coffee, mmmmmm. By the way they kept nicely in zip storage bags all week, and I would imagine they freeze well too.

Thanks again to everyone who submitted a recipe (Pamela Anderson- gurl those Peppermint Snowballs!), they were ALL delicious!

The recipe can be found in our recipe box:

Buzz Out!

Buzz Out!