05 October 2009

Srs talk about pop music

There are really a lot of things about this Jesse McCartney feat. T-Pain video for Body Language that offend my sensibilities. Let me tell you about them!

First of all, repeated use of same lyric in two different songs by same artist. We already KNOW "that thing you got behind you is amazing," from Leavin'. The worst offender of this, by the way, might be The Police. How do we know it's a big enough umbrella, but it's always Sting who ends up getting weeeeeeet? Because he told us! In like twenty different songs.

Moving on... that hand gesture that young McCartney uses to describe the convexity of a posterior (0:43 in the video) strikes me as kind of tacky and lewd. I guess it's inaccurate for me to call him "young" when he is basically the same age as me, but I still think of him as this child, singing nasally about the beauty of someone's soul.

Seriously though... the fetishization of women for being "ethnic" is pretty gross. In this song, a woman is "so international" that Jesse McCartney sings to her in French and Japanese, while she may or may not be Mexican. Although, maybe he is trying to reach out to his mixed race/ethnicity fanbase by featuring a tri-ethnic woman... in which case, progressive.

Not progressive: repeated shots of a bikini-clad woman, with her face kept HIDDEN. Who cares what her face looks like, all you need to know is she's a foreign girl with fly booty!

03 October 2009


In case you were wondering how accurate the transcriptions courtesy of Google Voice are, here is a "shopping list" I read to C's voicemail:

Broccoli, rye bread, a sailboat, Yukon Gold potatoes, Nilla Wafers, Sammie, Beanie, Spigot, and some steaks.

And what was written in the transcription he received:

Broccoli, right. Bread the sailboat you calling gold potatoes. You know, wafers. Sammy the me take it and some steaks.

Man! I would have received a breaded sailboat when I really wanted plain, the wrong kind of potatoes, just some random wafers, and absolutely no Beanie or Spigot.

03 September 2009

Lego cookies

C. got me this Lego cookie cutter, and we got ourselves all worked up with dreams of edible Legos. I tried it out last night with a batch of gingerbread. I was a little skeptical that the cutter would actually work, based on all the negative reviews...

I'm sorry, but the review that said "My son cried," made me laugh out loud. I do feel for the mom, though - I wouldn't want to have to post a review that simply read, "My boyfriend cried."

Anyway, I rolled out the dough and dusted it with flour, and also rolled the cutter in flour to keep everything from sticking, and here's what I got - cute wee Lego cookies!

There they are, waiting to go in the oven. But would they keep their shapes through baking?!

The answer is YES!

So this baking endeavor would have been a great success - EXCEPT for the fact that the gingerbread recipe I used turned out to be pretty bad. I'd never tried this one before, and I won't try it again. The dough turns out so sticky that neither chilling, freezing, nor extra flour could save it. The cookies pictured here had so much extra flour in them that the texture was really affected, but it was the only way I could get the dough remotely workable. Also, there was hardly any flavor - no sweetness, no gingeryness, no spice.

Still, the cookie cutter worked! I just need to find a better recipe... suggestions?

25 August 2009


After having heard about it 'round the internets, I downloaded The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters. C. and I watched it and were kind of blown away that competitively playing classic arcade video games can be people's whole lives. I guess I wasn't COMPLETELY surprised... but it watching a grown man videorecord himself playing a game as his child wails "Daddyyyyyy, stop playing Donkey Kong!" in the background was unexpectedly sobering.

I learned a lot from this documentary. I learned that classic video gaming is very high stakes, that there are heroes and villains among the well-known players... and that there are well-known players, period. These well-known players convene and compete in locations such as The American Classic Arcade Museum at Funspot, in magical Laconia, NH. Right after watching the documentary, we turned to the internet for more information about this Funspot, and discovered that the 11th annual International Classic Videogame Tournament was coming right up. These days we need only the slightest nudge to get us moving on a roadtrip, but this information practically shoved us off a cliff.

We gently landed in New Hampshire, the first day of the tournament... and were changed forever. Our first glance around the parking lot at Funspot revealed vanity license plates which read "MAPPY," "DKONG," and "CNTIPD."

This vehicle had much Mountain Dew and generic cheese puffs in the back seat, I am not even kidding.

The arcade was not as busy as I'd expected, but still lively with challengers and onlookers. There were a lot of games, and a lot of people's hands all over the games... I yearned for Purell.

This fellow is filming himself playing Ms. Pac-Man, while wearing a special Pac-Man garment.

A game I don't know, being played by a guy wearing a "Power Glove" which is also something that exists I guess. That's me, bemused, in the background.

But enough about these random gamers - we met CELEBRITIES! We got our picture taken with Walter Day, the video game referee who is in charge of Twin Galaxies. We got our picture taken with some other unknown guy who wasn't in The King of Kong but kind of forced us to get our picture taken with him. We got our picture taken with BRIAN KUH, a man who quit his real job to move to New Hampshire to play games at Funspot ALL THE TIME!

One time he broke 16 world records in one day. That's a lot! One of them was Paperboy, which I tried to play, and it's pretty challenging.

Brian Kuh was actually kind of a toadie villain in The King of Kong. Without giving away any spoilers, I'll just say he basically committed a crime in order to make life harder for another gamer. I thought poorly of him for that, and had entertained fantasies of calling him out on poor sportsmanship if I were to meet him in real life. Then I did meet him, and he was so meek and modestly grateful that we had enjoyed the documentary... and for a moment I thought deeply on the fact that he quit his job and moved to New Hampshire to pursue gaming... and I decided it wasn't for me to judge.

We spent the rest of our time at Funspot collecting tickets on the kiddie games, like Skee-Ball and Wack-a-Mole. We were so rich with tickets by the end - our rewards were a Cookie Monster plushie, a little figurine of a dog taking a bath in a bucket, and a red Chinese finger trap. Funspot, I hope to be seeing you again soon.

19 July 2009

I knit a sweater!

It occurred to me recently that almost all of my knitting has been for other people, so I decided to work on a project for myself - I chose this Owl Sweater that I saw on One Pretty Thing. I started working on this wool, cabled project right away because I figured it would take me a while to complete, but no - two weeks of knitting flew by, and then I had a sweater! Just in time for the heat and humidity of summer...

Great pattern for a first-time-sweater knitter. I managed to make my way through it with only minimal fuss, even though I had to do a good deal of math to convert this pattern (intended for chunky weight yarn) into something that could work with worsted Lion Brand Fishermen's Wool. This was also my first time working cables.

Rather than put eyes on all my owls, I decided to just give one lucky hooter the gift of sight, in the form of vintage pearly yellow button eyes.

Really quite pleased! This may be the first time I have ever eagerly awaited the return of sweater weather.

20 June 2009

Virginia is for squatters

The situation right now is this: we are staying for a few days in the great state of Virginia (boo!)* in a tent (yay!) in a condo (what?). It is C's friend's uninhabited and unfurnished condo - as I look around the room right now, the only things in here are the two of us sitting on the floor with our respective Apple computers, my flip flops, and a promotional-sized box of cereal.

A little bit ago, I woke up and climbed out of the tent with no sense of what time it was. I heard some voices outside the door, and in a sleepy haze thought, "I hope that's not a realtor trying to show this place." Then the doorbell rang, because it was a realtor, trying to show this place. C. and I scrambled to put clothes on and put most of our belongings out of sight, and then we let the realtor and an unsuspecting couple in. Pretty sure all three of them thought we were squatters, or maybe just weirdos - tent in the bedroom, no furniture, random assortment of things. They left in under three minutes. The day is ours!

*Just kidding, Virginia. We are having a really good time in the loving arms of Old Dominion.

05 June 2009


C. and I have set out on a quest to watch Star Trek: The Next Generation in its entirety, which is five million episodes... or it FEELS like so many, since we are still on the first season and it hasn't quite picked up any steam yet. Cornwell tipped me off that I should stick with it and get through the first season "even though it is campy and unbearable," because it improves by the third season, "where they started getting a lot of money and all the actors took classes and shit." Hmm... At this point I'm mainly watching because I like the antics of Data, all trying to be a real boy. He's forever getting into crazy situations! And I like following up each episode with the recap by Wil Wheaton, who plays a kid who wore insane sweaters... in the Future!

Well, I've already run out of things to say about ST:TNG. To keep things interesting, we're going to be alternating seasons of that with seasons of Red Dwarf, which C. had never seen or heard of. Hooray for summer and idle pursuits!

28 May 2009

Bee time!

Hey, what better way to revive my blog than with fresh, current material, such as... commentary on the Scripps National Spelling Bee! (This weekend is going to be live, y'all - just wait until you see my posts about Star Trek: The Next Generation, and The International Classic Arcade Game Championship. I'm serious.)

I had the idea to liveblog this event, and maybe play along by trying to spell the words... but they're like, really hard. I couldn't keep up with these kids! While I'm still trying to wrap my mind around whatever jibberish Dr. Jacques Bailly is saying, the kids are all... "H-Y-D-R-A-R-G-Y-R-U-M!" and "G-Y-A-S-C-U-T-U-S!"

Ooh - one of the words is "blancmange." Much like these Bee kids, I have known, and known how to spell, this word since middle school, but not because of studying and cramming. I learned it the same way I learned a lot of things about life - from Monty Python. "They mean to win Wimbledon!" (Part 1, part 2.)

Hmm there are only seven spellers left now, and only one of them is a homeschooled kid! This surprises me... I guess I was hoping to see more Rebecca Sealfons. There aren't too many characters among the spellers this year: a class clown, a really laid-back little dude, a bunch of sharp but otherwise ordinary kids. I don't have a favorite this year...

Now the spellers are dropping like flies! Who's going to win the ridiculously huge silver cup!?

"Menhir," there's another one I know. Thanks Asterix... or rather Asterix's friend and menhir delivery man, Obelix. So far I have been able to best middle school-aged children in the spelling of TWO whole words! And only because I knew the terms as pop culture references... yesssss I feel like a champion.

Hey, someone won! This year's competition was pretty sedate, so I'm finding it hard to muster up a great deal of enthusiasm. To steal a joke from C./Adam Sandler: "Phoresy"? More like boresy.

Tick tick tick...

People don't really get ticks where I'm from, unless maybe you're out camping in the wilderness, way off the grid somewhere. I've never actually heard of someone I know getting a tick on them, so to me it was just some jokey affliction, kind of like scurvy - no doubt real, but not really something to worry about. This is the modern age, after all!

Note that I said it WAS a joke to me. This weekend, C. and I walked along a nice, wide, maintained nature trail with some friends of ours, Matt and Miki. We went down a short side trail to the beach, and I probably brushed against some foliage ONCE... fast forward a few hours when I was washing up in our friends' bathroom. I looked in the mirror and had a train of thought something like this: "AHHH there's a spider on me - wait no it's just some bug, I'll brush it off - why won't it... come off... AHHHHHHH IT'S IN MY NECK!"

A tick was in my neck, feasting on my blood. I tried to telepathically communicate, "I NEED that blood, you jerk! I'm using it." The tick continued quietly sipping away.

First we tried unsuccessfully to drown it with rubbing alcohol. It wasn't working, so I lay on the couch feeling awkward while C. and Matt rushed to - The Internet! - for advice. Matt and Miki were optimistic about pulling it out with tweezers, while C. wanted to heat the bug up with a lighter. An open flame, next to my alcohol-soaked neck. Was I concerned my head would go up in flames? Yes.

But my neck had dried at that point, so I let C. get to work with the lighter. Based on Matt's narration of the events, I think he was having some success, but then the tick burned up and died. Tweezers were employed, and then I was tick free - until I went back to the bathroom to finish washing up, and I found ANOTHER ONE in my hair. I squished it before it could tap into me. NOW I was tick free.

So now I'm just waiting... 3 to 32 days after being bitten, to see if I have Lyme disease. Fingers crossed! Sometimes I feel like the Northeastern United States is out to get me. I've transplanted here, but I'm not taking, and am being rejected...

27 May 2009

Sammie's Outdoor Adventure

My long Memorial Day weekend started out with Sammie running away! Spoiler alert: he came back. I was out on the back porch hanging laundry to dry (I'm trying to give up using the dryer as much as I can this summer - you're welcome, The Earth), and I had propped the screen door open, thinking that Sammie is too skittish about literally everything to want to venture out. I didn't even see him take off... but after a while we determined he was gone, and then C. and I had an anxious night of searching for him with flashlights. We went to bed, and there were no pointy little feet stepping on us, and it was sad.

We hung signs around the neighborhood the next day. I kept calling him from the back door throughout the day - mostly "Sammie," but "Samuel" too, so he would know I meant business. In the evening, after a whole day of roughing it in the out-of-doors, Sammie decided it was time to start meowing back when I called him. He's skittish, but he'll "talk" back to me, and is sometimes pretty chatty, which I'm glad for. And the promise of wet food helped to lure him back inside. I suspect he didn't leave the neighbor's backyard the whole time, hiding in an extensive pile of stuff.

Soon as we got him back, he suffered the indignity of a bath. As I poured water down his back and soaped him up, he tried talking to me again, this time with what sounded exactly like the word "Noooo!" wailed over and over. Sorry buddy, you smelled funky. So glad you are home!


16 March 2009

Recipe for hilarity! Also, cookies.

Searching YouTube for the phrase "me singing [artist's name]" is a pretty rich source of comedy.

My current favorite is this one... it's not hilarious due to extreme amateurishness like you might expect, it's just kind of quietly amusing because of the guy's vaguely elfin qualities.

Say, you know that mumbling, la-la-laaa, don't-quite-know-all-the-words way that you sing a tune when you're just tooling around the house, doing chores or whatever, with no intention of having anyone record, let alone even HEAR you? This guy decided that rather than keep those moments private, he would share them... with the world!

Onto the cookies... my new favorite cookie recipe is these Lime Meltaways from Martha Stewart. They are just all-around great - super tasty, easy to make, easy to modify if you prefer a different citrus flavor, and pleasant to look at in the mixing bowl, even.

I've made a ton of these in original lime, and also a few batches of tangerine, dipped in dark chocolate rather than powdered with sugar, and a few batches of lemon without zest - pretty good, but they'd be improved by the zest. The lime cookies are the ones I crave, however.

04 February 2009

More like... farces

The new version of iPhoto (the photo organizing software on Macs) has a Faces feature that is supposed to automatically recognize people in your photos, which you can then label with names. Once you have tagged a few pictures of a person, iPhoto is supposed to “learn” who that person is, and suggests other photos that they are in. This works… sometimes.

Other times, it has been telling me that there are faces in or on inanimate objects, random unfocused things in the background, all kinds of crazy stuff. Here’s a list of people who I told iPhoto to look for, and the pictures it has recommended for them:
  • Marcus = biscotti
  • Former professor’s 8-year old daughter = Cup Noodles
  • My white-haired aunt = Stu with yarn piled on his head
  • Jake Gyllenhall = Mr. Bean mask
  • Matt = picture of a picture of Kevin Bacon
  • C's coworker George = George Washington from Mt. Rushmore
  • Aubrey = closeup of a kitten’s eye
Well iPhoto… if there’s anyone that is the sparkle in a kitten’s eye, I would also say it’s Aubrey.

26 January 2009

Hey Elena, what happened to your chin?: "Hilarious" "gag" answers!

- I cut myself shaving!

- I was misbehavin' and my man popped me one to put me in my place. (This gag ghostwritten by doting boyfriend)

- I did not look out for ice under the new-fallen snow. My feet lost the ground (mid-fall, a brief moment of clarity: "My reflexes have failed me.") - and my chin found it again.

I mentally regarded my condition, and determined I was fit enough to keep walking. The cold numbed and hid the aches I would later feel.

I physically regarded my chin, and a hand that came away bloody convinced me to turn home again.

Ha ha! Oh, me.

22 January 2009

Welcome Sammie!

Just before winter break, we adopted a cat. He is Sammie, 5 years old, handsome of face and sassy of character. His interests include chasing balls of tinfoil around, hitting the 'nip, putting his butt in C's face, and wet food days.


When we first brought him home, he was very shy and spent most of his time under the bed. C. and I left for winter break barely knowing him, and we arranged for friends to check on him and the rats every few days. I felt guilty for making him think we had abandoned him. His previous owner had left him too - but, she had left everything and everyone, by passing away.

When we came home, Sammie was a new cat: friendly, chatty, cuddling in C's lap and following me around the house, apparently so glad that we had returned to him. He is a classically-trained actor, it turns out - recognize the role? That was a nuanced performance of Kevin from Home Alone. Kudos also to our friends for their cameos as the Wet Bandits.

If you have doubts about our Sammie being an actor, please look no further than this exclusive promotional still from his new feature film, The Curious Case of Benjisammie Button.

07 January 2009

Cookie factory

I decided that it wasn't enough for me to just like food, and to also like DIY - I must combine them! So I'm cooking and baking a lot these days. I have made three types of cookies recently, and here they are...

Ginger Pennies

These are fun bite-sized ginger cookies that you make by piping out a trillion little dots of dough. Really, I got 545 cookies out of this recipe. The texture kind of varied from sheet to sheet, but I liked the ones that were completely dry through the middle. I put some of the um... moister ones back in the oven for a few minutes, and that helped their deliciousness level riiiise!

Here is a picture of the ridiculous cookie operation.

Chewy Molasses-Spice Cookies
I used brown sugar instead of regular sugar, and I melted the butter down before mixing in the sugar because I didn't have a food processor to cream it all together... so the dough turned out wet and liquidy, and the idea of rolling it into balls was basically nonsense. So I just threw some sugar down on the cookie sheet and threw some more sugar on top of the blobs of dough I spooned out. Hey presto, though, the turned out pretty alright. I mean, I ate five of them in one sitting. A couple of times. They're gone now.

[Picture of my distended cookie gut goes here]

I need to take a break from talking about cookies to tell you that between that batch and the next one, C. bought a food processor! We were spurred to action by this BoingBoing post about potato latkes. I like making hashbrowns for breakfast (or basically any time - I love the potato), but whenever I did before, I always felt like I was in the beginning of kitchen utensil infomercials - "Are you tired of shredding potatoes - the OLD FASHIONED WAY?" and everything would be in black and white with some blurry, crooked camera angles, and I'd be struggling with a potato and a grater and there would be shreds of potato all over the counter and in my hair and I'd be crying and my fingers would be bloody nubs.

Anyway, we're movin' on up - we got a potato ricer, and a food processor plus some neato blades. Instead of squeezing shredded potato through some cloth, I can just use the ricer! And the food processor is AMAZING. Yesterday when it arrived, we were really excited and decided to try something in there right away, so I cut an apple in half and we stuck it in there and turned it on... and it DISAPPEARED. And in its place was a neat little stack of sliced apples. It reminded me of THESE KNIVES! "It FELL through that onion, man."

NY Times Chocolate Chip Cookies

I read about this recipe on some blogs, like NotMartha (who is not only in Seattle, but also in the SOUTH END aka my part of town), and decided to try when C. requested my next cookies have chocolate chips. I mixed the whole recipe up in the new food processor, and made one half with dark and one half with milk chocolate. Have not actually baked these yet, the dough is currently chillin' (LITERALLY, HEY-O!) in the refrigerator. I don't like this business of chilling the dough for 24+ hours... when I make cookies, I want some now, not tomorrow! Hey, right now it is tomorrow though, so maybe I will go do some baking.

Patience, dough... your time will come.