Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Fellow Blogger

An angry fellow I know has started a blog, "you know what guy i hate". The name says it all. Please enjoy!

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

I Finished Things

Wow it's been a real long time, huh? Well, despite my lack of attention to this blog, there is one thing that I will not leave you hanging on: the awesome brutality of the 1,079 page book.

Yes that is right. I have returned to update you on this most important matter. (That Guy: "You're blogging?!!")

I have finished the book, and after a few re-reads of certain parts, and a first reading of a website that should help me understnad what the heck I just read, I might be able to form intelligent opinions on it. If you can't already tell, I felt the end was a bit of a letdown. It didn't end, so much as...stopped having pages. I feel like a chunk of the book is missing. And again, as if Wallace simply forgot to proofread, and thus the whole "no ending" thing got through publishing.

I should point out here that I am no English major. I barely scraped through the minimal requirements. I relied on Cliffs Notes to explain symbolism and hidden concepts to me. And my mom, the English teacher, explained a lot of things. The deepest thing I read before this was "The Cat in the Hat." And I still could not tell you what the stupid hat represents (I'm going with "phallus").

My point is, I liked Infinite Jest. I really did. It's just probable that I am not the target audience here; I never played pro tennis, never had an addiction, and was never physically malformed. The deep, heart -wrenching fictional concepts and situations contained just left me moved, sad, and confused, yet entertained. Perhaps that WAS what Wallace meant it to be.

For me, it was also about the experience of reading it, and the challenge. I am so glad I did. The reading was difficult at times, but not terrible; the characters were great, the story ridiculous and believable at the same time. It is a book I will never forget.

Now who wants to borrow it first?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Today I tried something new: repotting plants. Repotting is when you take a seedling and move it to a bigger pot, while getting fresh soil everywhere except in the new pot. Turns out I'm pretty good at this method! Hopefully these little guys will keep growing. For good measure, I stuck a Miracle-Gro stick in each one. I want me some cilantro NOW!

My plants do not look happy about the move, however. That's cilantro on the right and chives on the left. I would love to add some mint, or perhaps dill.

At what point do I move them to bigger pots? I don't want them to get all tenement on me and have the roots mushed up against the sides. We will just have to wait and see them get bigger then figure it out!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Moving on...

Recently I was introduced to the joys of commuting. I don't count five years ago when I had a 25 minute commute, because it was weird hours so it wasn't rush hour.

Nowadays, I have to drive during rush hour 50 minutes or so, across the only bridge that goes to where I need to go. I find myself running out of work at 5 on the dot to get to the bridge before the worst of it. Then today, I left 10 minutes late, and had no problems and got home the same time I usually do. The world is a funny place, isn't it?

Still beats unemployment, though.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Monday, May 03, 2010

Krispy Kopycat

Psh. I SO investigated this already.

Jumbo Rice Krispies Aren't Krispy
via the Consumerist

Read my investigation here: my investigation.

In other news: I got a job! Yay me!! The long scourge of unemployment has ended! So what this means to you, dear reader (and I do mean "reader"), is that I will either have A) a plethora of new material; or B) no time to come up with new material.

It's going to be so exciting finding out which one happens!

Birds Birds Birds

Our bag of Lay's Sour Cream 'n Onion potato chips had this perfect specimen:

A perfect chip with a hole in the shape of a duck with a mullet. A mullet! The king of all hairstyles!

And yet another bird visitation. What is with all the birds lately?

However, it's definitly better than last year's termite infestation.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Mario Crossover

From the "Unnecessary But So Great" file:

Super Mario Crossover, where you can play the original Super Mario Brothers as any of a selection of classic Nintendo characters. Plus you can switch characters after each level. Schweet.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Apple Update

So TG and I found ourselves at the Apple Store again. This time, a blue-shirted guy (per usual, one of a myriad of blue shirts hanging around talking) offered to help almost as soon as we entered. He retrieved our item from the back, and pulled out his super-primo-extra-large-edition iPhone to check us out. "Oh, we are paying cash," said TG. "No problem," said the geek*. He led us to a display table in the middle of the store with some iMacs. He hit some buttons on the phone. And then: a cash register drawer popped out of the display table. Right under the iMacs! We started laughing; we couldn't help it. The idea that of all the times we were in the store we never noticed a drawer in the table was just too ridiculous. Better yet, the drawer is full of money. Just hanging out where people play with computers all day. Lesson here is: don't try to steal the computers from the Apple Store, steal the tables.

*Level of geekdom assumed, not officially determined.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


A word on fortunes; as in, from fortune cookies: I love them. Ok that was three words, but I planned to say more anyway. Somehow when I was younger, without even noticing, I had amassed a good pile of them, saved from as long as I can remember. I put them all in a Coke bottle around 1995, and have kept every single one I've gotten since. And they can only be mine (a fact which I myself didn't realize until someone offered to give me his...and I rejected it... bluntly). It's like some strange obsession. They are crunched into the bottle, but there's plenty of room left for all the ones I will get in the future. There are even a couple that went through the wash in my jeans pocket (the little pocket is the designated fortune-holder...I always check it before washing jeans).

Never having given this much thought to my fortune collection, it seems I have some very specific behaviors regarding them that I never put together before--worth noting should I ever need therapy.

But of all these fortunes, I have never seen this*:

A website. What? Since when do ancient Chinese fortune tellers have websites?? So I went there: if I entered my email, zip, gender, and birthday I would get a personalized fortune. I looks legit, like it's the website of the cookie company, but still...I don't usually give out my email that easily.

And, there's a coinciding book, found at a used book sale:

The Fortune Cookie Chronicles, Jennifer 8. Lee (the 8 being a Chinese-symbolic-thing)

The writer was promoting the book on the Colbert Report, so it HAS to be good, right??? (so far, it is) And, she seems to be as obsessive about Chinese food as I am about fortunes, so it's really a match made in heaven! In it, she chronicles the history of Chinese food in general and specifically the cookie fortunes that led 110 people to win the Powerball lottery in one day, picking numbers from a fortune...every single one having come from a Chinese restaurant. It's really nice to lend some legitimacy to my bizarre behaviors!

A bird visited us again. I wonder what that means for our fortune?

*After photographing, this fortune went straight into the bottle.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Busy Things

I've spent this past week of my birthday with friends and fiances. Thank you everyone who hung out on Wednesday and Saturday, I had a lovely birthday. And thanks to That Guy that took me to dinner! It's been busy, but things are back to normal now, and postings should continue per usual. A few things from last week:

I received a gorgeous bouquet of flowers from TG:

But can anyone tell me, what the heck is this green stem? (Don't say "awesome", because I already know that)

Fun with macro:

And here is a bird hanging around our building, not a raven thank goodness:

This guy was sitting on that windowsill for a while, even when contractors where throwing appliances and drywall very loudly out the window above him. Then he was on our sill for a few minutes, then the wall. I have not seen him since. They are re-doing the building next to us, so it's been quite the entertainment over there. I just need a wheelchair and binoculars and I'll be set.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Wow, I have not posted in a while. Sucks for you! Back soon! Promise!

Friday, April 09, 2010

Yet Another

With my own birthday coming up, here is a birthday cake: Happy Birthday Jenn! I am really enjoying making cakes for's my little contribution to their birthday, and hey, who doesn't love cake? Plus it's a great way to experiment with techniques. Here I used melted orange chocolate wafers to pipe the words onto wax paper, and transferred it to the cake. It's good to do that in case of mistakes (we don't want any wrecks, do we?).

This particular one is a chocolate chip cake, and sooo delicious. It uses sour cream in the batter, and is very moist. And the hint of cinnamon adds a nice touch. You can grab the recipe here:

The only difference of course being that I coated the whole thing in a layer of chocolate instead of frosting. See how it gets all nice and smooth? It's firm but you can still cut through it with a fork. Also I mixed the chips into the batter, not layered like the original recipe.

This picture makes me happy:

Then I took a couple of the sugar on top to see how close I could get:

Answer: very very close.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Cuppy Cakes

I finally had an excuse to make Pioneer Woman's Chocolate Sheet Cake, and boy, I was not disppointed. These cupcakes were moist and rich, and I even left out a little sugar and butter, as I often do (I try). Then I coated them with chocolate ganache and of course, sprinkles. I recommend this recipe highly. Noone should be surprised, really, because everything from that site is good. But I wasn't sure how they would translate to cupcakes; the batter held up very well, except it was the messiest batter I have ever made. It was so runny, and kept dripping all over the pan as I poured the cups. I hate that. I like a nice clean pan so the batter doesn't burn and stick to it forever.

I'm ready for my close-up.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Happy Easter!

We celebrate this Easter weekend with Peeps acting out all sorts of situations, from real life to movies. It's Peep-tacular! (What, no Resurrection Peep? For shame.)

Click here to see them all!

Monday, March 29, 2010

The other night* we watched Mystery Science Theater 3000, a show I've been basically obsessed with since I was 13. Over half my life. It's mind-boggling when I think of how young I was when I started watching. It was an episode from 1992, season two. It brought back memories of VCRs and Friday-night viewings; the awesomeness of new episodes, the marathons, the tape trading. It goes on and on. And the reason for this nostalgia is the latest in DVD viewing: using the Playstation to stream movies through Netflix directly over the interwebs. They have EVerything on there. It's the most amazing thing in a long time. And here we were, an ungodly number of VHS recordings of MST3K (three per tape because they are 2-hour episodes) right in the next room, with old commercials for Comedy Central and AbFab and whatever products they thought us Msties would buy; and now, with the push of a button, we get perfectly clear streaming episodes with no commercials or anything.**

I miss the old shows like Dr. Katz, Short Attention Span Theater, The Vacant Lot, Small Doses (Patton Oswalt's first show), Ab Fab; and Penn Jillette was the voice of CC. Then there were the old days of VH1 (pre-reality show), when they had Stand-Up Spotlight with Rosie O'Donnell (pre-lesbian), and the first few seasons of Saturday Night Live (pre-suck) every night. This is what I was raised on. A bit too old for me at the time? Probably. But I grew into them, and I look back on those days of comedy as some of the best TV I've watched. All comedy, all the time. It definitely had an impact on me and my sense of humor.

A Hot Pocket and MST3K...that was my teen years, and they were great.

*Like, two weeks ago.
**I blame Infinite Jest for this run-on. I'm picking up his style.

Dear Blogger,

FIX YOUR S@#$!!!!!

(the above anger was because you can't see any pictures. I trust they are working on this.)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Moving Right Along

I know you are all just DYING to hear how I am doing with Infinite Jest, by David Foster Wallace, so here it is. I finally made it past the halfway point (currently on p. 557), and I have a good grasp on the storylines and how to follow them, as well as where we might be going in the story. It's very good, just the type of book where you have to really sit down and read for at least an hour at a time to get a section done and comprehend it (I will use "section" instead of "chapter" because there are no chapters). This, plus the fact that I've always got several books going at once, accounts for the slow rate it is moving. I'm also going to predict: I will be reading it again someday. There is just too much going on to get the first time. On the whole, it is captivating like a train wreck, but less morally questionable to look at.

There are storylines regarding: a filmmaker/founder of a tennis academy and his family who live and go to school at said academy; the students of the school; the Boston AA/NA underground (itself involving numerous people); US and Canada relations; two guys who must have a purpose that remains to be seen; and several random stories about people which will hopefully be explained later.

Here are some highlights, just enough to interest my readers without giving away any of the story (there are a lot of gratifying moments when you say "Oh wow, I wish I knew that sooner, but I'm so glad I didn't!"). I'm hoping this will interest someone else enough to read it, so that we may converse.
  • P. 223: heard it was an important, bookmark-able page. It is.
  • P. 384: "First US President ever to use 'boss' as an adjective."
  • Footnote 178: "Don't worry about getting in touch with your feelings, they'll get in touch with you."
  • I've learned many awesome, pretty much un-usable vocabulary words: eschatology, anfractuous, felo de se, fantods, lachrymose, cartioid...and many more!
  • P. 442: Best fictional name for an AA group ever: Tough Shit But You Still Can't Drink Group
  • The non-word "irregardless" has been used twice. That makes me uncomfortable. Well done, Wallace.
  • Sometime in February: I decide to forgo IJ on a car trip for the slighty easier Cosmo magazine
  • Footnote 134: we are casually updated on the outcome of an important character's actions from a previous, seemingly unrelated section. That's how the whole book is; plot points are more or less hinted at, rather than given to you directly.
Well, I hope you find this new information useful in case you are going to read Infinite Jest, and if so, please let me know! It is a lonely world over here.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Pineapple Donuts

I got a fresh pineapple from Costco (they are surprisingly cheap), and wondered what the heck to do with it. One option was sauteing slices with brown sugar. Many people don't like fruit warm; I am not one of them. I love pretty much any fruit cooked somehow, be it in things or on things. So I cooked up some pineapple slices for dessert, and topped them with vanilla yogurt, grape nuts, and cinnamon, and served them with an Oreo (don't judge me). The dish looked just like a donut, and let me tell smelled like one too! Didn't Dunkin' Donuts used to have a pineapple filled one with a crumb topping?

So then today, I made Pineapple donuts again, but photographed the process for the first time ever. I was curious how the photos would turn out with the fancy camera. I was not thrilled with them. Here are the steps for making Pineapple Donuts, with some pictures. Please let me know what you think!

First off, swirl a little butter in the a pan over medium or so heat. You could probably skip the butter if you want. Then drop in a slice of pineapple (mine are pretty thick so I just made one) and sprinkle with brown sugar. Let it cook for a couple minutes, then flip it and sprinkle with brown sugar again. Let it cook a couple more minutes.

Now flip it one more time, to caramelize the sugar on top, and cook until your desired doneness. Remove to a plate. You might have juices in the pan you can pour over the plate, or not. Mine cooked away this time.

Now cover with yogurt (the vanilla flavor contributed to the donut smell); you could use any kind here really, because pineapple goes with a lot of flavors. Then sprinkle with Grape Nuts and Cinnamon. Mmmm, can you smell that? Donutty.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Oh, the Carnage!

We had a wicked storm last weekend here in New Jersey. Crazy winds and nonstop rain for over 36 hours, Friday into Sunday. We listened to the police scanner for a lot of Saturday night, and I'm please to say there was minimal crime, but a lot of downed trees and wires. The next day, driving around was an obstacle course of branches, blocked roadways, and flooding. It was pretty crazy, and the cleanup is still going on. Today's pictures aren't anything special, they are just "HOLY COW LOOK AT THOSE TREES" type of pictures. That Guy's mom had three huge trees fall overnight. When she said "I had a tree fall," we thought it would be like one tree or big branches, not the forest that follows. Keep in mind, her yard is pretty big, and is just lawn, with four big trees along the fence. Well, one big tree now. Well, really like half a tree now.

Here we have the cement wall that lined the back, as well as a dislocated section of normal-sized fence. Thank goodness the yard is so big; the middle tree is probably about 50 feet; if it had fallen the other way it would have hit the house behind hers.

It's not the worst damage I've seen this weekend, but it was pretty crazy, so I wanted to share it with the world. Thank you.

Friday, March 12, 2010


I've seen a lot of biscotti recipes lately, and since I love biscotti, I wanted to give it a go. Biscotti is unique because you actually bake them twice, but I think they are still considered cookies. There's so many variations too, you can add pretty much anything to jazz them up, though almonds are traditional. Then if you want to get REALLY crazy, dip them in chocolate. With a hot cup of coffee, any biscotti is amazing.

So here is what I made with stuff I had around the house, but you can substitute whatever you want:

Peanut Butter/Banana/Walnut/Chocolate Biscotti

2 cups Flour
1/2 cup Sugar
2 tsp Baking powder
1/4 tsp Salt
2 Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla
1/2 Mashed Banana
1/2 cup Peanut butter
3/4 cup Chopped Walnuts
3/4 cup Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 350°
In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, walnuts, and chips.

In a medium bowl, mix the eggs, vanilla, banana, and peanut butter.

Work the wet ingredients into the dry until a soft dough forms, adding more flour if needed. Turn out dough onto floured surface and knead 1-2 minutes more. Shape into to logs, about 4 inches wide and 1 inch thick. Place on a parchment-covered baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, until golden.

Remove to a cooling rack, and cool completely, at least 30 minutes. Slice logs diagonally into 1/2" slices. Place back on covered baking sheet, cut side down, and bake again at 350° for 10-15 minutes, until browned around the edges.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Some Photos

I've been playing with That Guy's old-ish digital SLR camera. It's basically a digital camera on steroids, and has different lenses you can attach. I'd like to start taking food pictures with it, so I tested it out by taking some shots around the apartment. What do you think?

Valentine Candy...
He got me an assortment of truffles, and man were they good. I saved one little guy for last: cinnamon-sugar coated coffee truffle. There were two in the box, and I see why: it was the best one.

Cool candlesticks. They don't match anything, but I love them. Any suggestions for alternate uses? And here are some Christmas presents for my niece and nephew in Maryland...I suppose they will be birthday presents now. Lame.

I call these "Self-Portraits in Downdog." I think that explains it sufficiently.

I have a food post coming up, I will try that with this camera, so look for some cool photos to come!

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

It's Happening Again!

And this time, Cablevision is PISSED. We turn on the TV, and it automatically goes to channel 1999, with a disheartening message revealing a fight with ABC. It's exactly the same as the Food Network struggle: as in ABC is asking for an exhorbitant amount of money, and we don't understand what the hell is going on. So up goes this alert message, the difference this time being that Cablevision is totally trash-talking ABC. They are saying ABC just wants more money because their "theme parks are struggling." And something about ESPN being expensive and executives at ABC needing bonuses. "Don't be fooled by slick ABC advertising." And ABC threatened to pull itself from the air if Cablevision doesn't pay up.
They must have seen Food Network fighting and decided they should do the same.

I'm posting this debacle under the label "failure." As in a failure on all parts. I better not miss any Jeopardy. Jerks.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Thanks, Canada!

I enjoyed the Olympics this year. Especially curling. Man those dudes can CURL. I'm not kidding. If you missed it, that's a shame. Every night for ten days we watched curling on CNBC (motto: "All Olympics, all the time. F* real news."). It's confusing at first, but once you figure out what they are trying to do (get the rock down the curling sheet toward the house and land on the button while sweepers change the curl accordingly) then it makes sense and becomes really really good.
Here's a link to a nice video from about the USA curling team: USA Curling

And one last tribute to our friends in the Great White North!

Friday, February 26, 2010

* Snow * Snow * Snow * Snow *

I don't want to be one of those people that does nothing but complain about the snow, acting all surprised when it happens, even though we LIVE IN NEW JERSEY, WHICH TENDS TO HAVE WINTER ALMOST EVERY YEAR. And do not get me started on people that stock up at the grocery store. You mean you didn't have 24 hours worth of food and toilet paper to subsist on in the house? And no shovel? By now?
But seriously. WTF, Winter? Give it a rest already.

On a cheerful note, we had another birthday around here! Happy Birthday Kelly! I made her a Peppermint Poke Cake, a recipe I got from Betty Crocker or somewhere and had forever. It's a chocolate cake mix, which you bake and poke holes in, then pour on chocolate pudding (with peppermint), and top with peppermint/chocolate frosting. It was so moist and delicious, with just the right amount of mintiness!

The words are done by holding a stencil over the cake and sifting confectioner's sugar over it.