18 December 2010

The mile-high blog....

On a plane listening to "Short Shorts" by Royal Teens (via XM radio) and using the holiday free Wi-Fi. Oh how far technology has come.

My airport (Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson) experience was not horrible. Security took less then ten minutes even with an "incident". Someone shouted what sounded like, "BREACH!" and then the TSA agent at my station shouted for everyone by the conveyor belt to back away from their bags and for everyone to stand still. Moments later a lady said something (we were in a sort of side bit so there was a wall between us and her) about how their was an incident and then some other stuff I couldn't make out. I had a heavy coat and two scarves along with my Awesome (or is this the Fantastic?) Hat along with a net book in my tote and my heavy carry on. In the old days I wouldn't have to be bothered with anything other than my purse and maybe a laptop bag but now it costs to check baggage so carry on it is...not that this would be a problem if I wasn't laden with things for my nephews and niece (including a ginger bread village kit and M&Ms which I could have bought there). But I managed to make it to my gate more than an hour before boarding.

My pilots are "Captain Morgan and First Officer Daniels." I'm not sure if I should take my (hilarious) head Flight Attendant seriously in this manner. She did tell us you can't story your purse (she doesn't care if it's Fendi, Prada, Dolce and Gabana, Louis Vuitton, or something you bought at Wal*Mart) on your husband's head and I'm pretty sure that TSA regulations specifically allow this.

02 December 2010

Are you sure that's safe to eat?

Since I'm always going on about my baking I thought I'd take a moment to talk about my cooking, even though it almost always goes smoothly.


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Farfalle Con Piselli

Rosemary Potatoes

I made these two together from a recipe I found somewhere ages ago (I wish I could rememberwhere). The pasta is farfalle (bow tie) in a cream sauce (cook chopped onion and finely chopped garlic in a bit of olive oil; add peas, salt, pepper, and cream; bring to boil then remove from heat) and the potatoes are just fried in olive oil with rosemary. When I made this particular batch I found that my onions went bad, so I used some dried onions and added them right before the peas and cream.


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Chicken tenderloin curry and coconut milk over spinach and rice.

I started out with another idea all together, but it evolved into awesomeness. I took the chicken tenderloin and cut it in to little nuggets and then soaked them in a little bit of lime juice. After I put the chicken in the fridge I put a bit of flour into a bowl and went searching for some spices. I picked out some ground garlic, onion powder, and ground cayenne pepper when I spotted the curry powder. Everybody loves curry! I added all of these things with salt and a bit of pepper to the flour and got the chicken out of the fridge and proceeded to toss the chicken in the flour mixture. I fried this in a large skillet and when that was done I turned down the heat and added the leftover flour (there wasn't more than 1/2 a cup) to the oil and chicken. It didn't turn out quite like I thought it would so I grabbed a can of coconut cream from the pantry (it comes in handy that we keep a lot of Asian canned goods, even if we rarely use them) and added it to the mix. I then added the cooked rice so that it could soak up the flavors and whatnot. I then began to realize that I needed some sort of vegetable to serve with this (since my original plan to serve green beans wasn't really going to work anymore) and found the spinach in the fridge.


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This dinner I forgot to take pictures of until after we'd eaten. The meat is a beef roast. I cut a slit in the top and put in some garlic cloves, drizzled some olive oil in the slit and over the top, and I put it directly on the oven rack with the pan underneath. The broccoli was steamed and covered with a cheese sauce.

25 November 2010

I love turkey...on Thanksgiving!




Hopefully I'll have turkey pictures later.


Happy Thanksgiving.

23 November 2010

I would like you to dance!

Another year, another birthday.

You can see the tooth pick I used to test the done-ness of the cake and the plate for the pumpkin cookies I baked.

Continuing in the tradition of buying/baking my own cake I have made a Duncan Hines® Butter Recipe Golden Cake to enjoy with my mother this morning (I've decided I'm going to have a birthday breakfast with her since I'm going out with friends tonight).

You might think that this would be a simple task, baking a cake (from a box) and decorating it, but then again...this is me we're typing about, so there's bound to be some small (or huge) disaster for every supposedly "simple" task. The disaster here is truly one of impatience. The baking itself goes perfectly but when I get done I try to take the cake out of the pan immediately so that I can start frosting. I cover the pan with a baking sheet (we don't have a serving tray or anything else large enough) and flip it over and of course it doesn't slide out all easy like (I greased/floured it!). A patient person would wait and come back to the task but I am not a patient person. (At a very young age, in a doctor's office, I proclaimed, "I am not a patient patient.") I take the spatula and go round the edges and try again. Fail. But do I wait? Of course...not. I take the spatula a bit more aggressively and try again. Nope. So I try aga--crap. The cake fell apart. Most of it is on the baking sheet, but some is still in the pan and at this moment I have come to point where one (the "one" in this case being me) either cries, laughs, or humorlessly tries to repair the damage. I chose the latter and smooshed the other bits (because it didn't come off in one chunk, but in four pieces) back onto the cake and move on to frosting.

For the frosting I whipped up some cream with some Hershey's Coco Powder and the whipping went off without a hitch (unless you count the nose/mouthful of rather not so tasty unsweetened coco powder). Perhaps you are already ahead of me here because you, unlike me, realize that whipped cream and a warm, maybe even hot, cake don't really work well together. It's like a session of Congress: maybe it starts off okay but in the end it sort of starts to heat up and then sort of slides down ... cake. (My mother is always telling me I rush too much and need to slow down...I'm beginning to concede the point.) Luckily I realized the stupidity of my rush and stuck the mostly frosted cake and the remainder of the whipped cream in the fridge. A little bit ago I went to finish the job and then I used Wilton's lilac tube frosting to poorly execute cake decoration. There really isn't much of a story there; I've never tried to decorate a cake. I did think that the little decorating tips that just screw on the tube of icing were really neat and in time I'm sure I'll suck a little bit less.

I made a white cake (from scratch) to enjoy with my friends this evening (after wings at Buffalo Wild Wings®) but, sadly, "in time" wasn't tonight.


The mix.


The cake in the oven.


My failure to write on cakes strikes again, but it's a reference to The Beatles.

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Today is also my cousin's birthday so in that spirit (and because I'll use any excuse I can to bring up The Beatles):


20 November 2010

Bardic Immunity!

"Well, I was too brave to spare the elderly."

So, I love Dead Gentlemen Productions. Does this make me a geek? Probably, but they're funny. My friend and I stumbled upon JourneyQuest on Hulu; it was listed as a recently added show and we were looking for something to watch. Who can resist with a description like this:

Following a group of dysfunctional adventurers on a quest to discover and destroy the mythical Sword of Fighting, JourneyQuest is a comedic adventure through the fantasy world of Fartherall, where intellectual orcs, incompetent wizards, and holy zombies form the living (and not-so-living) backdrop to an epic story of unrequited love, burning passions, and severely reluctant heroism. And running away. Lots of running away.

"Yeah...about that...I'm not sure you had to kill all those orcs."

WATCH IT!

On You Tube:


Or Hulu:





Bonus link: a punctuation personality quiz. I'm mostly semi-colon, a bit of a comma, slightly period, and a slight (semi?) colon. Semi-colons are the most romantic punctuation when you think about it (which is why I want nerdgoddess' semi-colon earrings).

09 November 2010

Is she...in the kitchen?

I like to cook. I don't really like recipes or measuring things, but I like to cook.

I've been trying to cook once a week and you might think I have some horrible disaster story to tell here. Well, I don't. So there. Baking may be another story.
Pumpkin Cookies
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 cup Shortening
  • 1 cup Pumpkin (from a can)
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 cups Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 Cup Raisins
Cream the sugar and shortening. Add pumpkin and mix. Add egg and mix. Add flour and mix. Add dry ingredients and raisins and mix.

Bake 12-14 at 375 degrees.


Icing
  • 1/2 cup Brown Sugar
  • 4 tsp Milk
  • 3 tbsp Butter
  • 1 cup Powdered Sugar
  • 3/4 tsp Vanilla Extract
Heat brown sugar, milk, and butter over low heat until dissolved. Let cool and add powdered sugar and vanilla. Add milk if needed.


First of all I had the bright idea of making two batches at once. Did this have an effect on how well/badly the baking was going to turn out? Maybe not, but it did have an effect on how long the process took.

Cream the shortening and sugar? What does that mean? Do I know such terms? No. Well, I use my common sense and I figure it must mean to mix it until it cream like in texture. It never gets that way because it just sort of gathers in the mixer blades so I move on and add the pumpkin (which I later, as in after I was done baking, realize was too much) and begin mixing. The goal of mixing is to make all the ingredients go together and be all harmonious, but does that happen for me? No, the pumpkin begins flying everywhere. I try to control this by smashing then mixing, smashing then mixing, etc. When this sort of works I then move on and add the eggs (I love the way eggs mix into baking stuffs), then the dry stuffs and raisins and more dough flies around the kitchen. It's important that you also know that my mother didn't have actual measuring equipment (just one measuring cup) so I have to trust that the small spoons actually hold a teaspoon.

When I'm done mixing I end up with a very fluffy, cake/scone-y dough, but I trust that I've followed the recipe (apparently I didn't know who I was dealing with) so I begin trying to scoop the dough onto the cookie sheets. I cannot describe the mess because I think I've blocked it from my memory. Wait...having flashbacks ... there was goo all over my hands ... it wouldn't come off ... the mess ... IT'S EVERYWHERE. (I never said I wasn't melodramatic.)


So I put the soon-to-be-cookies into the oven and work on the next sheet. When the timer goes off I pull the cookies out and then put in the next sheet...repeat six more times. SO MANY COOKIES! Sometime in the midst of all this I start to make the icing...but we don't have real butter, just margarine. Working with what I have I begin to make it and then work on putting it on the cookies. It's sticky and smells too sweet and too much like dreaded... syrup! I'm working with syrup (practically). I hate all types of syrup, caramel, and similar sticky pseudo-liquid substances. They are horrible because not only do they look and feel sticky but they SMELL sticky which means that even if I'm not looking or touching the stuff I'm still assaulted by STICKY! Can't...escape...the sticky.... Ick.


I also have the added problem of the cookies being more scone-like than cookie-like (after letting them cool) so I'm somewhat panicked. At this point maybe I should let you in on a key factor in my panic. The reason I'm baking these cookies is so that my mother can take them with her to work. Apparently everyone else is bringing in baked goods and so my mother wants me to make something for her to bring. I felt a bit like a mom baking for her child's class, but instead of a bunch of kids I'm baking for adults who know...well...how to bake. I can't really turn back so I try baking them a bit longer to no avail.

I'm stuck sending my mother to work with soggy cookies.

To make me feel even worse my mother's husband comes and tries a cookie and seems to be thinking (in Vietnamese, I'm sure), "These cookies are too moist," but I pack all of the cookies into a large container (there where a lot of cookies) for my mother to take to work and then I collapse in my bed. When I wake up the next morning I go into the kitchen to see that she hasn't taken the bin of cookies so I call her. She didn't know she was supposed to take them all, even though I was only baking them to take to work. We talk for a bit and I mention the softness.


They're supposed to be soft.




Luckily my second attempt turned out better.

02 November 2010

The attack of the mid-terms.

I could sit here and try to think of a clever, long-winded way to say this, but for once I am going to be short.

Politicians make me physically ill.

31 October 2010

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown



Tonight I gave out candy to the kids in our neighborhood. I had my laptop and iPhone on the porch with me so one of the dads commented that I was a high tech witch. I took that to heart and when I went to get a jacket (I was originally going to throw on my black sweater) I grabbed my pinstriped blazer. For Halloween I was a business witch. Or Sandra Bullock's character from The Proposal.

I scared two girls today without even trying. The first while I was typing an email. She came around the corner and stopped short. Apparently she didn't expect to see anyone on the porch. Her friends got a kick out of that as did mine. "Have you seen you write an email?" "Really? were they afraid of technology?" While that would have been awesome, as she was Cleopatra, it wasn't the case. The second one ran right up to the porch without paying attention and didn't even notice me until she was close to bumping into me. When she did see me she jumped and let out a yelp. Far more satisfying.







Watch It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown before it's gone (hulu does that sort of thing).

30 October 2010

A leash for... your phone?!

You can buy a leash for your pet, for your child, and now, finally, you can buy one for your phone! Heaven forbid you ever be parted from your phone. You may die!

When I first saw a commercial for this I was struck by how it made the gadget seem like a life safer (like, literally- something that saves you from death) and how we've become a society chained to our technology.

Billy couldn't find his smart phone! "Oh, no! I don't have my phone. I can't function!" he exclaimed and then he sat down and wept not knowing what to do without his phone to tell him.
Then I started telling a friend about this and, to illustrate, I tried to find the commercial I had seen. What I found was even better....



29 October 2010

Bond, James B---oh great, I've died again.


When this game came out two years ago I really wanted to buy it, but I did not. Why? Because I figured I'd be horrible at it, so I stuck to my puzzle (Professor Layton!) and Brain Age games. I couldn't even get to the end of Super Princess Peach! A few months ago, however the Quantum of Solace for DS was ten dollars at Game Stop. I took it as a sign that it was finally time (plus I was getting better with games) and I bought it.

Well....

When I first bought it I started it up and promptly died. During the training/tutorial level. Against the first guy. So I started the level again. I promptly died. How many times I died that first night I can't tell you, but I can tell you this. I gave up. I'd try to play it again, periodically, but I'd promptly die. Well, not so promptly anymore, but I still couldn't get out of MI-6 headquarters.

REALLY?!

Am I that bad at games? If couldn't figure out how to get past the first level I would never be able to play the game (obviously). Well, last Saturday in between doing yard work I sat down with the game again and FINALLY got through MI-6 training. Luckily, you can replay levels so I replayed the MI-6 level a few times to practice shooting and beating guys up (you can replay with no restrictions or you can try it timed). I text a friend (who had previously taken much joy in my inability to leave the training level) that I finally made it out of training and could play my game because I was SO excited.

Then I had to take it back.

"Well...maybe I can't play the rest of the game. I keep dying on the first mission." Seriously, I couldn't get past Mitchell's goons for at least two hours. Then I finally get to Mitchell and land what I think is the killing blow...and he calls MORE goons. So I have to keep trying to kill Mitchell, but the goons keep killing me. On the tenth try I finally kill Mitchell and four of his goons, so I start going around opening the briefcases (which contain the phat lewts) when MORE goons come out...and kill me as I'm running for the door.

GARRRRRRRGGGG!

So at this point I feel it's hopeless, but if I quit now I have to fight all those goons again, so I can't quit now. You might think that because I'd just beaten Mitchell and his goons I'd succeed on this next attempt. Of course if you do than obviously you overestimate my video game skill. Five or so tries later I FINALLY get Mitchell and the first two goons down. Do I go digging around in those cases they dropped? No, sir, I do not. I ran straight for the glowing orange circle that would get me the heck out of there. So I triumphantly text my friend: "30 tries=1 dead guy."

"The dead guy being you, I assume?"

I opted not to replay that level and moved on to the next, wherein Mr. Bond goes to the Opera. I try to enter but the man with the glowing green circle informs me I won't be going in without a ticket. Then it pans over to a man in a suit talking to a man in an orange polo and jeans/blue slacks (at the Opera?) and I accidentally hit the touch screen too many times and I miss what Dame Judi Dench AKA "M" is telling me I need to do. I do remember that Suit said he was going to the wine bar so I set off in search of some booze, to the left-the direction he went. All I find is more men in orange polos and jeans, some very unhelpful ladies, a bathroom (with toilets you can flush!), another green circle guy who won't let me in, and a locked door. So I go the other way and find the same, except I didn't go into the bathroom on this side.

Could I have restarted the level?

Well, maybe if I thought of that, but I didn't, so I couldn't. On a gamble (or I decided I want to flush more toilets...you'll never know) I went into the bathroom on this side only to find myself shot at...in the bathroom. I guessed that he was guarding the bathroom because they'd just cleaned it and they wanted it to stay that way and shot back. Ignoring the guy with the glowing green circle for the moment I went to the case to take the guys stuff (his body had already dissipated, so I assumed he didn't need it anymore (because unlike good guys, the villains don't get to restart the level and I apparently hadn't learned that maybe you should wait to loot). I got a key and walked up to the guy and he thanked me for saving him and gave me a key for the wine bar. But, he couldn't just hand it to me...no, he apparently threw a case, which glowed green (seems safe, right), and inside there was a key. Now, people less focused on how much they suck at this game might have figured out that the shooter was holding the guy captive, but I didn't get that until one of the times I replayed this level and walked up to the guy before looting the briefcase. His response was something along the line of, "GET THE KEY TO SET ME FREE YOU MORON!"

When I open the locked door I discovered a very beautiful glowing orange circle.

I really didn't need to put that last sentence in a paragraph by itself, but I wanted to start a new paragraph and it's become kind of a pattern, so who am I to argue? I walk into the light and then I'm running around back stage killing dudes to get to the wine bar. A wine bar that's backstage at an Opera House and guarded by a few dozen goons. What is the point in that? Anyways, I kill the guy and then run upstairs to get the guy, but "M" is all like, "No, come back to MI-6."

So, it was all for nothing then?

Around this time I notice the scroll down arrows on the Upgrades list and see that you can get more "quick slots" which I choose. Apparently the little blue folder icon at the bottom is where you can drag bullet clips or your first aid so that you can reload or use without having to open your briefcase. If I had known that, or payed attention/understood when they probably mentioned that in the tutorial level (you know, when I kept dying), I probably would have had an easier time with the game, but you know...that would actually mean that I wouldn't suck at the game and that just wasn't going to happen.

Maybe, finally, I was truly getting the hang of this game.

I then decided I'd try replaying the horrible, annoying level and select the Aksu and Melee only restriction. I don't have an Aksu yet, but I figure I mostly melee anyways (I suck at shooting), so why not? I get through everything alright this time (take that goons that kept killing me!) and now I'm faced with...MITCHELL... you punk. So we're at the whole "I've landed the killing blow and now he's going to call more goons and start shooting at me with a machine gun" thing and I quickly dispense with the first two goons and go for Mitchell. ...Who's standing behind a half wall. ...Who's standing behind a half wall with no green arrows that let me jump over so I can punch him to death.

WWWWWWWWWWWHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY?????!!!!!!!!!

Apparently the "Aksu" part was just as important as the "and Melee" because I have no gun I can shoot him with. So I move on to the next level (by the way, this didn't all take place on the day when I finally beat the tutorial round) confident that I've spent a good amount of time honing my bashing and shooting skills to the point where I may end up finishing the game. This level involves sneaking around and being undetected so they don't shoot you and alert the big bad guy.


Well, there's always replaying the other levels...who says getting to the end of the game is important, 25% is perfectly respectable.

18 October 2010

Are you serious?!

I have a problem and that problem is other people.

Most people don't understand my sarcasm, sense of humor, and my randomness. Back when I still participated in the joy of facebook people would often ask me what my status updates even meant. Well, to be honest, nothing. If I had a thought and I found it random enough I would post it. I also enjoyed posting quotes out of context. "Three, or four if you count tan, which I do not." What does that even mean? Sure, I know, but you don't. (Months later, I only knew with help from a friend.)

I will also say the random things on my mind which confuses people who aren't in my brain thinking what I'm thinking. It would really all makes sense if you were there. Lets say you bring up blue which makes me think of the ocean which makes me think of stars which...well, at the end of it I might say something like, "I really like Peanut Butter TWIX®." (Seriously, they are really great.) You don't know how I got there (and it's generally so quick that you probably don't realize I went anywhere to begin with) but I promise you that I do.

Also, my sarcasm can be a problem. I'm generally sarcastic, very often when it really isn't all that appropriate. Or I say something that is totally ridiculous and people may take me seriously. Like the hierarchy of right (which is totally true when we're having a difference of opinion).

My life would be so much easier if you could just think like I do, you see...or I guess you may not.

16 October 2010

The hierarchy of right, or why men are always wrong.

Men have a hard time understanding and accepting that they are always wrong. Luckily I am here to help those of us with a Y chromosome navigate the road of rightness.

Women are always right. The longer one has been a women the more right she is, making a 30 year old woman more right than a 29 year old woman. Men are always wrong. The longer one has been a man the more wrong one is, making a 30 year old man more wrong than a 29 year old woman. A woman, or girl, is always right when having a differing opinion. This means a ten year old girl is right even if her 40 year old father thinks differently. This is pretty cut and dry, but as we all know the world isn't cut and dry.

Where, you may ask, do transgenders fall into the hierarchy of right or does it, like many rule sets, ignore a very real portion of the world's population? No, the hierarchy of right is an all inclusive and accepting institution. The formula is still the same. The longer you've been a woman the more right you are, however, on principle, a male to female transgendered person is more right than a female to male transgender because, obviously, she saw the error of being male whereas he wants to become male after the glory of being a woman.

So, in conclusion, the only time a man can ever be right is to agree with a woman. Perhaps you think I'm wrong. If you do, obviously you are a man and perhaps you need to work on reading comprehension.

08 September 2010

The evils of American white rice.

Dry, flavorless "rice."

Uncle Ben's should be outlawed. Minute® Rice makes me want to seek out the nearest human being so I can be held.

If I had, at my disposal, the solution to the mystery of time travel and was able to go back to any single point in history I would go back to stop the travesty that is parboiled rice from being unleashed upon the world. Or, perhaps, I'd halt the production of instant rice. Sadly that isn't the end of the white rice that this country markets to it's unsuspecting citizens, apparently ignorant of the advancements in importation.

I understand that to most Americans there isn't anything wrong with the flavorless puff because they haven't experienced the joy of white rice that is actually good on its own. If you need to put gravy on rice in order to eat it...something is seriously wrong. Why, when importing goods is so common place, do we need to eat white rice grown in the United States? Would you go to China for apple pie? No.

There is one acceptable use for instant rice: casseroles. The first time I remember my mother using instant rice was for some chicken casserole using a canned cream of chicken or cream of mushroom soup. That was tasty. I myself have thrown it into a casserole dish with some salsa, chicken, and cheese. Was I embarrassed to buy the stuff? Well, wouldn't you be?

Maybe I'm being a little harsh, but I encourage everyone to seek out good white rice (hint: it should be imported from a country in Asia) and then tell me if I'm right or wrong. But I know I'm right. Because I'm a woman...but we'll get into that later.