Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Christmas Shopping Dilemma

Gifts for all those little shitheads are expensive. At least
Santa's not selling himself...
Oh Christmas.

'Tis the season for excessive amounts of shopping.

Don't get me wrong, I like a little retail therapy now and then, but I work very hard to ignore most of my materialistic urges. Saving money is important to me. It's why devote my weekends to my second job.

But then Christmas comes along.

I want to give people meaningful gifts. Gifts I think they will actually use and enjoy. Sometimes, that means I can make things for people, other times, it means buying something.

When it comes to making purchases though, I have been trying to shift towards more local shopping. When it comes to Christmas though, that's really difficult. Yes, there are a few boutique stores that are locally owned an operated, but what about when I want to make stuff?

So here's my dilemma. I heard a statistic once (and we all know how TOTALLY RELIABLE those are) about where your dollar goes depending on where you shop. If you shop locally, about 100% of your dollar stays in your community, 13% for big box stores/chains and basically 0% for online shopping. Clearly, there's no way 100% of the money a local store makes stays local (uhhhh,  what about the utilities they have to pay and the materials they make whatever crap they are selling out of??), but you get the idea. Shopping local means more money staying local.
Was this lettuce locally grown or are you just a local vendor?

Ok, so shopping local is great. I did a bit of it, getting presents through my workplace (which is locally owned and operated and involves some very awesome people) and a few local boutiques. Great. So what about the presents I want to hand make?

I am very crafty. I like to make things. Knitting, beading, baking....whatever. But all of those things involve materials. While I am totally down to support local businesses, there has to be a line somewhere. The only way I can make knitting time/cost effective, is to buy my yarn at Michael's or some other giant box store that sells crafty crap. See, you can go to Target and buy a damn scarf for like $10-$20. It costs about $7 in yarn to make one. If I bought my yarn locally, from a local hobby shop or even a local weaver, it would cost a lot more. The whole point of making people gifts is that it's cheaper! And you know, some bullshit about homemade and from the heart blah blah blah, but really it's cheaper.

Ok, so yarn and other craft supplies are out. How about baking? Well, since there are no locally owned grocery stores around here that I know of, I'm kind of out of luck there. Damn you, Nestle chocolate chips, you win again.

You mean, I could be doing all my Christmas shopping,
 without even getting dressed?!?
At least like 13% of my dollar stays local, right? And it's better than shopping online....

These are the kind of justifications I make to myself.

Monday, December 17, 2012

The 5 Albums I Just Can't Stop Listening To

Ignore the fact that I haven't posted a blog since July. I've been in a dark place. Actually, that's a lie. I've been in Hawaii and while it does rain quite a bit, when the sun does shine, it's crazy bright.

However, when you're in a "dark place" and you've already listened to The Fragile more times than is realistically healthy for someone who doesn't own bondage restraint pants and wear streaky eyeliner on the regular, it means you eventually must go out and seek new music. Not even depressing music, either. After an 8-hour Nine Inch Nails marathon, you might actually feel like you're ready to entertain sounds that don't resemble your left arm getting caught in a blender while two midgets simultaneously serenade you and shit on your chest.  (I'll admit it; We went to kind of a dark place there and I apologize.)

You might be wondering what qualifies me to review and itemize songs on the internet like some kind of musical authority. However, instead of listing my qualifications in an attempt to validate my opinion to you, I'll show this tiny picture of me punching a shark in the nose which basically proves that I am unquestionably your musical savior: 

Glad we cleared that up. 

So, here, in no particular order, are the albums that I can't get enough of and why. As an added bonus, I've compiled all the songs here on a Spotify playlist. Enjoy.

Artist and Album: The Beatards - I'm the DJ

Genre: Rap-pop

You'll dig it if you like. . .Gym Class Heroes, N.E.R.D and 3Oh3! (That last one will make sense if you listen to "Don't Step on My Sneakers")

If you only listen to three songs, make sure they're. . ."She Was Like", "Don't Step on My Sneakers", and "Worldwide".

Why I love it:  Look, the album isn't perfect, but it's the poppy, feel-good music that you want to throw in your car and play loudly as you cruise through a city and try to look too cool for school in your mom's mini-van.  I love this album because it's that rock-pop-rap that is totally unapologetic for being like Twizzlers Pull and Peel (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QG_N87j65dA) - super tasty but devoid of nutrition.

Artist and Album: Macklemore and Ryan Lewis - The Heist

Genre:  Rap

You'll dig it if you like. . . Timbaland, Aesop Rock, and MC Chris jammed into a drink shaker and poured over the rocks. 

 If you only listen to three songs, make sure they're. . ."Can't Hold Us", "Same Love", and "Starting Over". (If you click on the playlist, "Thrift Shop" is on there too because, fuck it. I love that song and why am I limiting myself with some arbitrary number?)

Why I love it:  I had this dream once that a rapper would come on the scene that I didn't feel a little guilty about really loving. He'd have the poppy, catchy beats that are infectious (Timbaland), doesn't capitalize on being a nerd (MC Chris), and then have rhymes that are smart (Aesop) while being serious (Aesop again), and funny all at the same time (No one). Then I woke up and The Heist was all over the internet for "Same Love" and it was like Christmas came early. I love that they use real instruments interspersed with synthesized beats. They feature a lot of guests, like Ben Bridwell and Ray Dalton, and those are the kinds of collaborations that make this album stand out. Every single song is different and you'll never get that zoned-out feeling that comes with an artist that churns out an album of songs lasting 3 minutes and twenty seconds that all sound pretty much the same. (Everclear, anyone? No one? Good. They were terrible.)

Artist and Album: The Prodigy - Invaders Must Die

Genre: Electronica

You'll dig it if you like. . . Pendulum, Music to fight crime to

 If you only listen to three songs, make sure they're. . . "Invaders Must Die", Warrior's Dance", and "Stand Up". 

Why I love it:  If you aren't already a fan, you'll probably recognize them from fame garnered from "Smack My Bitch Up" which got a lot of static regarding censorship since it takes place in a strip club and that means naked women getting objectified. (NSFW) That, and apparently bitches were a little offended by the message or something. 
Anyway, I was a pretty big fan of Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned when it came out, but I thought that my love of The Prodigy both began and ended with that album. No so. It's rare when I can listen to an entire album repeatedly without wanting to skip a single song, but Invaders Must Die certainly fits the bill. The album is masterfully laid out and every song is worth listening to at least . . .40 times. Or so my last.fm profile tells me.

Artist and Album: Of Monsters and Men - My Head is an Animal

Genre:  Folk-Pop

You'll dig it if you like. . . Mumford and Sons, Agnes Obel, Florence & The Machine

 If you only listen to three songs, make sure they're. . ."Little Talks", "King and Lionheart", and "Mountain Sound".

Why I love it:  Occasionally I'll listen to a song and it will instantly become a part of me. The music evokes an overly powerful emotion, the lyrics directly correlate to my life in an unexpected way, or perhaps the song is just so catchy that it takes me by storm. In these instances, I listen to the song repeatedly. I'm not crazy. The music compels me. I see this as my musical stress test. If I can listen to a song over and over (Reportedly at 38 plays on Last.fm but I think that number is suspiciously low) http://www.last.fm/user/yaariana without getting tired of it, the song passes.  It's like finding a four leaf clover and I treasure it. "Little Talks" is that song for me, but the whole album is beautiful and I've found it the perfect companion to paper writing, drinking tea, or emerging from my "dark place".

Artist and Album: Passion Pit - Gossamer

Genre: Indie pop-dance

You'll dig it if you like. . . Metric, The Naked and Famous, and Bloc Party with an occasional infusion of The Faint

 If you only listen to three songs, make sure they're. . ."Carried Away", "Hideaway", and "It's Not My Fault, I'm Happy". 

Why I love it:  Passion Pit delivers. People have gripes about the singer's voice and his auto-tune but you know what? I'll give props all day to a dude that can't sing but then manages to scratch out not one but two quality albums that don't have a ton of filler tracks. I love how satisfying it is when I listen to the songs on this album. The songs build and make you feel like you could break out of some handcuffs in the back of a cop car and then start a flash mob at the county jail drunk tank. Seriously though - the album grabs you right away with "Take a Walk" which hooks you and it doesn't let you go until the final track. Your foot will tap, your head will bob, and you'll be singing at least one of the songs in the shower.

I could conclude this blog by saying that I'll totally write another one soon, but let's not delude ourselves - my motivation could wane again at any moment. Instead, I'll just ask that if you have musical suggestions, leave a comment! I'm always looking for sweet tunes.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Fish: it's what's for dinner.

I like fish. Hell, I am choosing to dedicate my life to the study or marine organisms, so I better like fish.

I also like to eat fish. Lots of people do and it happens to be the major protein source for much of the world.

Then there are those people who are all like "Oh, I'm allergic to fish." Way to be a downer. No, it's cool, go ahead and get your protein solely from sources like chickens and cows. Let's devote billions of acres of land to raising cows and chickens for you to eat. It's not like cows are just methane producing, grass eating, anthrax pooping machines....oh wait.

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, ruminant livestock (ie. cows and sheep) produce 28% of global methane emissions each year.
And you thought Mom's chili was a major source of methane production..
And don't get me started on chickens....

Anyway, my point is that if you're not interested in being a vegetarian, fish is a good option for protein. And if I hear you say you're allergic to fish, I'm going to punch you in the face.

I might not NEED to punch you in the face, but I really want to.
You might think that's rude because you can't control what you're allergic to. Chances are though, you base your statement on the fact that you had an allergic reaction when you ate fish once, after years of being able to eat fish without a problem.

Guess what? You're probably not allergic.

Say hello to Scombrotoxin. This toxin is made by bacteria that grow on the fish once it's caught and isn't chilled or processed right away. The toxin is actually just an elevated level of histamine, which can cause food poisoning that looks like an allergic reaction. This is especially a concern for fish belonging to the family Scombridae, hence the name of the toxin. These fish include tuna and mackerel. It can also affect the meat of a few other species including bluefish, mahi-mahi and dolphins. For more info on this, you can check out the FDA's webpage.

Go ahead....eat me. We'll see who's sorry when you go into anaphylactic shock.
Now, some people might legitimately be allergic to fish or shellfish or some other marine organism that sends their bodies into attack mode, but you can find out via an allergy test, right? Just stop saying you're allergic unless you can actually prove it.

It's like saying you're the fastest person alive. You can say it all you want, but you're just an asshole until you have a gold medal in the 100 meter dash.

Spelling Fail of the Week

While traipsing about in Massachusetts a few weeks back, I took a day trip over to Martha's Vineyard and found this road sign.

At first I thought they were making fun of the Boston accent that is so prevalent in the area...

Monday, August 20, 2012

Beer and cupcakes!

Evolution Craft Brewing's delicious
Rise Up Stout, outside their tasting room.

So I work at this awesome coffee shop....and they are friends with some people at a brewery....

Hence, we have a coffee stout, made with our coffee! I had to get a growler of it and bake with it, of course! How could I resist?

Note to self....chocolate mousse frosting is not the frosting
of choice when it's a million degrees outside. That shit melts and then
looks like poo. Tasty.
So I made Rise Up Stout Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Mousse Frosting.


And then I shared them with my coworkers, 'cuz I'm awesome like that.

Coffee, beer and cupcakes. What more could you want out of life?

Monday, July 30, 2012

Game Review: Magic the Gathering Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013

So you might have been wondering, if you’ve followed this blog at all, why there hasn’t been much in the way of game reviews when it says “Where food, gaming, fashion, and basically everything else come to meet” right on the front page!

The reasons mainly revolve around me not having any time, me really not having any time, and oh, right. . .me not having any free time. The no time thing is because I am in the middle of moving to Hawaii.
You know what I did have time for, though? The Steam Summer Sale. It’s over now, thank god, because I could have gone broke. Skyrim was half off, for fuck’s sake. I don’t have a job anymore. THEY CAN’T DO THAT TO ME EVER AGAIN. Well, until the Holiday Sale, I guess. Anyway, since I’m moving to Hawaii, and I still want to socialize with my friends in Maryland, I grabbed Magic the Gathering: Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013.

I like playing Magic the Gathering with actual cards but there are a few issues that prevent me from going all balls-deep into a physical card game:

Cards are expensive. No, seriously. A box of actual cards is like $90 and that comes with 36 booster packs. (So, 540 cards in all). You might be thinking, “WOW! I could totally build awesome decks with all those cards and defeat all my opponents and be the ULTIMATE SPELL CASTING WIZARD.” You’d be wrong, though. You can’t buy just one box of cards, much like you can’t get just one tattoo or administer one shot of heroin into your eyeball. If you want a deck where you can battle other wizards and, you know, actually win, you’re going to have to buy at least one box of every legal set for standard play. There are currently 8 sets you can draw from to make a deck, so that’s at least $720 and that’s if, and only if, you have incredible pack-opening luck.  You probably don’t, though, so after you open all 4320 cards from those 8 boxes and realize you got absolutely nothing of value, you have to go buy single cards online from chumps who had much better luck opening packs than you did. (Which really, is the most cost-effective way to buy a deck anyway, but I just really wanted you to struggle through opening 288 booster packs.)

Cards rotate out of legal play. Yeah, you read that right. Remember the $84988 you just spent to perfect your deck? Oh, well half of those cards are out of date now, you stupid chump. Wizards of the Coast are marketing masters and they know that if they can get you buying their cards, then you’ll have to continue buying their cards if you hope to keep your initial investment worth anything. It’s basically the ultimate ponzi scheme. Time to go buy another box of cards and build your deck again from the ground up! Hooray!

Magic is a game of mostly skill, with some luck. I, unfortunately, have neither. This makes buying all those cards kind of a waste of money because, at the end of the day, some greasy haired 8th grader in a Pokemon shirt is going to beat the fucking pants off me.

"Hey lady! Why don't you tap two mana and
get the fuck out of my way?"
Face to face interaction can be terrifying. Imagine yourself as a girl with some titties and some serious social anxiety.  Then, picture yourself walking in to a tiny, smelly room by yourself and realizing . . .
You are the only girl.

Everyone is staring at you like you like your fly is open. You check. It isn’t, but since you just looked down at your own crotch, now everyone else is looking there, too.

There is absolutely no way to cross the room without slithering under the tables like a snake or immediately losing 80 of your 145 pounds in order to squeeze through the chairs to get to your first opponent.

I would like everyone who plays Magic to dress as their favorite Tetris piece. 
I will be the "T" so I can be as inconvenient to you as humanly possible.

The fun only continues when you do eventually make it to the chair across your opponent and they’re so intent on winning that they don’t even look you in the eye or make any indication that you are engaging in some kind of game with another actual living, breathing human being. Oh, and did you know it’s totally fine to use cards in another language even though  you have no idea what the fuck they say? You have the option of looking like a twat and calling over a judge every 5 minutes or you can just believe the person in front of you and trust that they're absolutely here to have fun and play a game, rather than dick you over so they can get 6 booster packs and toss most of the cards in the trash can on the way out if they don't get what they want. 

"Oh, so that card says all my creatures die, you deal me 7 damage, and I give you a blowjob?
No problem, man. Sounds legit."
Look, if I wanted to remove the fun, social aspect of a face to face card game, I’d just play online.

Oh, wait, what a great idea.

Magic the Gathering: Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013 (The actual game review)

Improvements: The game has apparently gotten some upgrades since the 2012 version. New cards, yes, but now you have the option to manually select the mana you want to tap (press the left control key while mousing over the card you want to play- the game will highlight the different ways you can tap your mana). This comes in handy when you’re doing the Challenges part of the single-player campaign.

Encounters: Something I enjoyed about the single player part of the game was the encounters. Most of them are pretty easy, honestly. The exception to this is the Primordial Hydra encounter. I had to break away from my streak of unlocking cards for my green Garruk deck to use the blue Jace mill strategy in order to beat it. I am sure there are better ways, but that was the best way for me.

What will throw real MTG players off is the fact that the encounters aren’t your standard games. They have 934875 versions of the same card instead of just 4. This means that you’ll never be able to breathe that sigh of relief that normally comes in a Magic match when you’ve dealt with the last of 4 obnoxious cards.

Gripes:  Maybe I just don’t know what the fuck I’m doing,  but after I unlock a card in my deck (cards are unlocked as you play through the singleplayer campaign), I want to be able to use multiple versions of that card as I tweak my deck.  

Example: Blanchwood Armor. I think it’s a swell card that works well with my green creature deck. Maybe, instead of just one in my deck, I’d like two. Apparently this isn’t an option? If it is, and I’m missing the magical “duplicate card” feature, do a girl a favor and let her know.

The multiplayer part is a little annoying to work with. I’ve tried to play random matches 5 or 6 times (free for all) and each time it tells me that the match I want to join isn’t available. That’s odd, considering I wasn’t looking for a specific match. I was looking for any match. GRAWRG.

System Requirements: I can play this on my shitty $500 laptop from 2 years ago, so you can probably play it too.  It doesn’t look as pretty, but if you turn down the settings and turn off those obnoxious damage graphics in the options, you can still play. Oh, and it isn't for Macs. Yet.
OS: Windows 7/Vista/XP
·         Processor: 2GHz CPU (Pentium 4 or equivalent)
·         Memory: 1GB RAM (2GB for Vista and Windows 7)
·         Hard Disk Space: 1.5Gb HDD
·         Video Card: 512MB DirectX 9.0c compatible video card with Pixelshader 3.0 support

Cost: The game is $10. If you’re really a big spender, you can buy all the DLC and that will run you $30 all together. That means you get foil cards in the game. I don’t know why the fuck you would want foil cards in a video game since it does absolutely nothing for you, but I guess Wizards of the Coast knows that you’re a highly paid digital wizard and you like options. Either way, you’re still spending at least $710 less dollars than you would if you bought all those cards in boxes and that’s $710 you can spend on more games in the 2012 Holiday/Winter Steam sale. Hooorrrraayyyyy. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Spelling Fail: Week of 7/23

My fortune:

"Are you a Virtuous or a Wrong-doers?"

While this might be cheating, fortune cookies are always full of win. Someday, I would like to visit a fortune cookie factory and see where the magic happens.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Spelling Fail: Week of 7/14

This is more of a grammar fail, than a spelling fail, but whatever.

At least they spelled Methodist right...

Once upon a time, religion was for the educated. It meant power, as well as literacy and education. In fact, back in the day, the clergy were some of the only people who could read and write....and now look what we've come to. Or should I say 'too'?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Some thoughts on local food.

Hello, stock imagine of vegetables that has already
been used in a blog post this year..
It was one of my New Years resolutions, to start eating more organic/local food. Now, I am aware that organic and local mean two very different things....but frankly, local > organic > non-organic.

Local food means less energy put into getting my food to me in terms of gas/diesel, energy associated with running a grocery store for me to shop at, etc. It also means I get food that has been picked/harvested/collected a lot more recently than the stuff that's getting picked green and shipped here from other countries. The fresher the food, the more nutrients it retains.

I remember during my freshman year of college, there were little table toppers with info about the new program where the school was growing fresh produce to use in the dining hall. It had the staggering statistic that about 50% of the nutrients in fresh produce was lost within 7 days of being picked.

Think about that. 7 days. It can take days for food to get from a farm to a grocery store, especially if it's being brought across the country or from overseas. Thus, it's likely that a lot of the produce we get in the grocery store is not as nutrient rich as if we grew it in our back yard, picked it and ate it that same day.

Now, you might question that statistic, but after a thorough internet search, I found a scientific paper that supports this statistic. I might be overly zealous in the use of scientific paper search engines, but when google or bing yield nothing, it's time for drastic measures. Anyway, the paper I found studied the loss of nutrients in spinach. It found that, even when refrigerated, spinach lost 53% of its folate over the course of 8 days. At higher temperatures it hits that rate of loss a lot faster. Carotenoids were found to be lost a a similar rate, also dependent on temperature, with only 54% of initial levels remaining after 8 days.

So I may have just used to much science-y talk there, but the basic idea was that, even while refrigerated, spinach loses about 50% of some of its nutrients after 8 days. Just because this is true for some nutrients, doesn't mean it's true for all of them. In theory though, it makes sense. Heat and light destroy nutrients...when a plant is growing it is making more. As soon as you pick the plant though...all it has is what was there when it was picked....which steadily decreases as time marches on.

Ok, so fresher is better. Can we all agree on that point? In that sense, shopping local is better. At Farmer's Markets, food tends to be picked the day of, maybe the day before so it really is fresher than what you'd find at a grocery store.

"My life long goal is to be checker at Wal-mart and take constant abuse
 from customers who are pissed that the shitty plastic crap they are buying
 isn't ringing up as cheap as the sticker on the shelf said."
Local also means supporting the farmers around me. I'm not supporting Wal-mart and the truck driver who drove the food here and the laborers who picked the food. I am just supporting the farm that grew the food. Often, that means that stuff that is in season is cheaper than at the grocery store AND the farmer gets more money for what they are producing. That's pretty awesome, if you ask me. I might be supporting fewer jobs on a superficial level, you know, a farmer and the laborers he hires vs. all the employees at Wal-mart and everyone who worked to get the food there and the farmers who grew it, but the local farmer is getting paid a better wage. Besides, with a return to a smaller farming system and more local food consumption, we'd need more farmers and laborers. Those Walmart checkers can pick produce instead of bagging groceries! I mean, who really wants to work at Wal-mart anyway?

The problem I have begun to notice though, is that a lot of produce stands simply advertise that they are selling fresh fruit. Upon closer inspection, said fruit has a produce sticker on it. What. The. Fuck? If I wanted imported cantaloupe, I would drive my ass to Walmart. I don't want to stop by a roadside produce stand and PAY MORE for the same shit they sell at a big box store. Yes, I am supporting locals who are selling food from far away, but it feels like they are lying to me. If you are a produce stand, I expect you to sell food that you grow yourself. This is apparently not how it's done and that upsets me. Apparently, you have to look for the 'local' tag, to find local produce, even at a roadside stand. What is wrong with people?

I only want to eat food that comes from 10,000 miles away.
Moving on.

There are some though, that think the local food movement is actually a bad thing. When I talk about eating local food, I mean food that is in season and is available locally. I don't mean going to extreme measures to grow food in my area that normally can't be grown here. When I talk about eating local food, I don't mean eating ONLY local food, to the point where I spend all my time trying to figure out how to make a meal out of locally farmed dirt, the only thing in season during the winter months. I also don't mean eating ONLY local food to the point where I spend all my time and energy hunting for food that I can eat. I mean being conscious about what I am buying and where it is coming from and making a few changes.

When you stop being a soulless Walmart employee and
start farming, you can join THIS site!
My point here is that local farms are more transparent with their growing practices. When you know your farmer, you can ask them how they grow things. Just because a local farm isn't organic, doesn't mean their produce isn't better than Safeway's line of organic foods, because it probably is. Getting certified to be organic is expensive so many smaller, local farms might not pay the extra cash to get that certification. Keep in mind though, that also goes the other way. Just because a farmer is local, doesn't mean they don't use nasty pesticides. Ultimately, you need to be smart about what you buy and who you buy from.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Fashion: I Think Your Dress Has Some . . .

One of our readers (otherwise known as Kristen’s mother) sent me a picture that I just couldn’t believe I missed. If you read Is it a Bird? A Plane? A Urine-Soaked Dress? No! It's Fashion!, it’s likely that you honed in on my favorite part which was the Maggy London dress that looks like the girl had a fun night out on the town and then conveniently pissed herself all the way to 2012 Fashion Week.

In case you blocked it out, allow me to remind you:
You can now proudly display your membership
in the “I’ve pissed my pants as an adult!” club.

I’m wondering what the designers were thinking with this one. I mean, really? REALLY?

But OK. Fine. Let’s pretend we’re there at the meeting, watching. Maybe we can try and figure out the logic behind the choice.

I imagine the designers all sitting around a glass table, drinking Starbucks coffee, looking cool and sophisticated as they’re dressed in Micheal Kors and Dolce and Gabbana. They all have light-reflecting white teeth and every single one of them has done modeling at one point in their lives.

"Hello, ladies. Or hey, fuck it. 
Hello lads."
“So, I know what the new trend for the summer is going to be”, says Ryan casually. Ryan is the executive that got his job, not based on talent or fashion know-how, but because he is very pretty and is excellent at sleeping with gorgeous models and coercing them into participating in photo-shoots. 

You know Ryan is a cool dude because he is wearing sunglasses indoors. His hair is perfect, as if he just stepped out of a manga that was drawn lovingly by a 15 year-old girl with braces and acne.  (Miraculously, he is also straight and as such, has absolutely no concept of what looks flattering on women. This does not concern him, however. In his mind, the only good woman in the world is the one that cleans his house and that's only because she is mute. Oh, and she works for table scraps. Also, he can whistle for her like a dog.)

Everyone around the table perks up. If they can get ahead of the other designers, they all might have a chance at keeping their jobs in the fall.

Ryan stands and declares, “We need something. . .edgy. We need to push the limits.”

Ideas start flooding in.

Wanda: “80’s punk rock meets the jungle!”
“Too last season.
Hannah: “Victorian England mixed with neon!”
Dan: “Hobo-couture!”
*He is escorted out of the building and is executed gang –style in front of the nearest TJMaxx. *
Candice: “Rocky meets Rocky Horror Picture Show!”
“One more outburst like that, and I’m sending you all to design for Hot Topic.

The staff is out of ideas. They sit, breathlessly waiting for Ryan’s big reveal.

“Accidents”, he says simply.
“Like. . .caution tape? Or loud, like sirens?”,  asks Hannah.
“No,” Ryan corrects her. “Like. . .embarrassing accidents.”
“Oh! So you mean like. . .when you rip your best pair of pants and you have to make them into cut-off jeans and then sew a designer label on the back so no one knows it was a DIY project?”

Ryan pounds his fist on the table with frustration. “I mean REAL ACCIDENTS. God, do I have to do everything myself?”

With a dramatic flair, he pulls a scarf off an easel and shows the team the Maggy London Spring/Summer 2012 line.

“I call it Accidental Accidents. Ok, we might need to work on the name but this design is a GUARANTEED success!”

Next up, you’ll see this dress available in the
classic “Brown Downtown” color combination. I can’t wait.
I rushed out to buy the original in Urine Yellow but how will I ever sleep at night knowing I missed Crimson Catastrophe?

I didn't want to directly say, "lol, looks like this dress has some period on it ha ha ha right right?"

But, uh. . .Hey! Maggy London, if you're reading this. . . 

I think your dress has some period on it.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Southern Oregon Craft Beer Festival

Well, it just so happened that I was home in time for Medford Beer Week here in Southern Oregon. Great planning on my part.

So Saturday was spent perusing the offerings at what is possibly the second year of an ever growing event. Most of the breweries were from Southern Oregon, with a few reaching into Eastern Oregon and beyond. I felt a little bad that one of my favorite beers from the whole festival was definitely not a local one. Damn you, New Belgium Brewing for creating a line of interesting, delicious new flavors.

Here are some of the beers I sampled:

Quick Wit Witbeer
Light and refreshing, overall a great example of a wheat beer.

Sweet As Pacific Ale
Passion Fruit notes, light and refreshing but not overly fruity. I really liked this one because a) I love fruity beers and b) I extra love passion fruit.

New Belgium Brewing Fort Collins, CO
Lips of Faith Cocoa Mole
Spicy finish, notes of honey and cocoa...I want to try this as a beer float. It left the burning sensation of spicy food in my mouth, with notes of chocolate and honey at the forefront. Definitely not something I can drink quickly and I might have broken into a sweat from the heat of the chipotle...

Their Lips of Faith series also includes a lychee beer, which I tried earlier in the week. I'm pretty excited about New Belgium's venture into the realm of experimental flavor crafting!

Connor Fields Applegate, OR
Second Nature Saison
Light, with notes of a white but without the tangy flavor in Shock Top or similar whites.
This brewery doesn't seem to have their own page yet, but you can follow them on facebook

Anthem Cider
Similar to Strongbow, not sweet, slightly dry with lots of fruit notes. Very easy to drink and refreshing.
They also had a hopped cider called the Anthem Hop, which I didn't like very much, but I'm not into hoppy beers so why would I like a hoppy cider?

Sierra Nevada Chico, CA
Kellerweis Hefeweizen
A light and refreshing hefe, great for a hot summer's day.

Raspberries Gone Wild
This is a special release raspberry sour and it definitely lived up to that name. Fruity without a hint of sweetness. I actually liked this, but it was not something I could drink a whole 6 pack of. 

Phat Matt's Redmond, OR
I liked the brewery's logo more than I like the beer. My partner in tasting had their Red Ale and was also unimpressed. They guy pouring seemed super nice though and I hope that they do well, but the beer just isn't there yet. They are a relatively new brewery, so I hope that they get a few brews under their belt and improve in the years to come.

Radiant Seasonal Ale
A red ale from a recent Oregon powerhouse brewery. Ninkasi has really hit the forefront in the world of Oregon microbreweries and this was my first beer of theirs. Reds aren't my favorite, but they are ok. This one was good, not too hoppy. I don't remember the exact flavors because it was the last beer I tasted, which meant it was the last in a long list.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Spam Musubi

Pan fried in gluten free terriyaki sauce of deliciousness.
 So, I might have a problem. I think SPAM is awesome. Granted, I've only ever had it one way, but it's basically the greatest thing ever. Spam musubi. Oh yeah. Terriyaki SPAM with white rice, all wrapped up in a nice nori package. Daaaaaaamn.

 When I went to Hawai'i in January with Ariana, I wouldn't shut up about how excited I was to eat some SPAM musubi. I was able to get my craving satisfied by a vendor at the Hilo Farmer's Market. It was delicious.

Everything is ready...bring on the questionable meat!
Fast forward to this past weekend. My little sister graduated from high school and we had luau to celebrate. Aside from mangoes and pineapples galore, I made sure to make some SPAM musubi. It was my first attempt at making it myself, but as it quickly disappeared, I figured I did something right. This was re-enforced by my little sister's request for more the next night.

Rollin', rollin', rollin', YEAH.

I won't bore you with the recipe. Google it. There are like 8000 pages all with the same recipe. Basically, you pan fry the SPAM with terriyaki sauce, then roll it up in some nori with white rice. BAM.


It's basically the greatest thing ever. I'm sure it's more sodium than I should eat in a week, but I don't really care. BRING ON THE HEART FAILURE!

Monday, June 11, 2012


*Insert obligatory crap about how long it's been since our last post and subsequent excuses*

Moving on...

I'm at the airport, joy of joys. While travel is always very rewarding; getting to see new places or visit old friends or be present for major events in the lives of the people I care about(the purpose of this particular visit), it's also very stressful.

Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit, oh shit, oh shit.
See, somewhere along the way in my life, I picked up the idea that planes are dangerous. They fall out of the sky ALL THE TIME. This is not actually the case, but I can't shake the feeling that my doom is imminent every time I get on a plane. I mean, they do crash on occasion, but the odds of being on a plane that crashes is slim. Physics supports planes being able to fly, but I still find the whole thing terrifying. Every change in engine pitch, every turbulent bump makes me clutch at my arm rest, like that will help.

I try not to be a bad passenger though. I sit quietly in my seat, waiting for the explosion that means an engine has gone out and we will begin our abrupt plummet earthwards.

Being over the age of 21, has made flying a lot easier. During my airport wait, I find the nearest Mexican restaurant and get a margarita. Why? Alcohol makes me care a lot less about the heightened potential for death I associate with flying.

What really pisses me off is that flying cross country, to the small hamlet in Southern Oregon where I grew up, always requires three planes. There are rare occasions where I can get away with only two, which means one flight is an epic 6 hour battle to keep myself entertained and prevent body parts from falling asleep. I never win that battle. The terror though, intensifies at take off and during landing, so I prefer the longer flights with fewer breaks because it means less chance for human error on the landing/take-off. The landing on my most recent flight from Baltimore to Newark was pretty harrowing. Our landing gear was out a full 10 minutes before we landed, slowing us down, creating more drag, etc etc while we were still thousands of feet above the ground. I especially liked the part where we wobbled around while coming in for the landing. It's so comforting to know your pilot can't keep the plane balanced or going in a straight line.

I also feel like pointing out that I just overheard an argument in the kitchen, which happens to be very near my table. Two people were yelling at each other, banging things around and when my waiter came out, he asked another worker if she had seen the woman hit him. He has not made another appearance since. Such things make me truly consider the dine and dash.... I mean, I have a flight to catch and I've got about two shots worth of tequila making me care a lot less about social norms. I'll give this place about 10 more minutes and if no one shows, I might just walk out.

Damn, he re-appeared. I was kind of looking forward to a free margarita.

Now it's time to pay my check and proceed to my gate so I can sit around for awhile. Eventually, I can stand in line so that I can then sit around for 5 hours while a the giant chunk of metal I am enveloped in flies through the air around 5 or 6 miles above the surface of the Earth.

At least I'll get some reading in.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Salad for those who don't eat salad.

How do you pass for 18? That's absolutely ridic...
What were we talking about?
Hello friends and internet friends! I apologize for the lack of posting, but the end of the semester hit us pretty hard....but that's all over with and school is out for summer! Thank you, Glee for putting that song in my head. It's been there for a week now. It helps that Puck is singing it...rawr.

What was the point of this? It certainly wasn't  me fantasizing about a 30 year old pretending to be a college student....

Oh right. Salad.

So I hate salad. Like...really hate it. The problem is that I don't like salad dressing. I hate vinegar. I hate ranch. I hate 1000 islands and any other possible dressing you could come up with. The only dressing that I can possibly eat around is the ginger dressing at Asian restaurants, and after a couple pieces of lettuce, I'm done.

For me, salad is just a bowl of lettuce and that's lame as hell. If I am feeling particularly unhealthy, I might make a salad, but it will have fruit and nuts in it for some flavor and crunch. Truthfully though, I rarely eat salad. I'd just rather eat something with a lot of vegetables, like vegetable lasagna or vegetable curry.

Tonight though, I am eating salad for dinner. 


What? I just said that I rarely eat salad. Either this is one of those rare occasions, or something big is happening. Just so you know, it's the later.

Kale Salad

Kale and bread crumbs...who knew?
a lemon
some kale (washed, of course!)
a clove or two of garlic
parmesan cheese
bread crumbs

Slice out the big stem that runs down the middle of the kale. That shit is good in stir fry, but not when you're eating it raw. Slice up about 4 leaves of kale per serving of salad that you want to make. Chop it up into small, bite size pieces and throw them in a bowl.

Slice open the lemon. I used about 1/3 of the lemon for my single serving of salad. Squeeze the lemon over the kale leaves. You can use a juicer if you are a wimp, otherwise, just do it by hand. Let this sit while you crush the shit out of a clove of garlic.

 I used about half a medium sized clove for my single serving and it's pretty strong on the garlic, which I like. When I say crush the garlic, I mean peel it and mince it, then crush it with the flat side of the knife you are using to mince it, then mince it again. You want those pieces nice and small.

Toss the garlic in with the kale, sprinkle on some bread crumbs and parmesan and VOILA! I used maybe 1.5 tablespoons of bread crumbs and 2 tablespoons of parmesan. It's all to taste.
Like...in my mouth.
If you want a little something extra with the salad, try dicing up some roasted chicken breast and throwing that on top. You could even do some breaded chicken if you were so inclined.

I might start eating salad a lot more often. Especially because kale is EVERYWHERE right now.

Spelling Fail: Week of 5/21 - Starbucks, Annapolis

My coworker has a knack for finding amazing spelling errors. She finds the almost every time she leaves the house, which is infrequent because she has an irrational fear of being viciously attacked by ducklings. 

She sends them to me because she knows they fill my heart with joy. Butter also fills my heart with joy, but apparently that’s just the feeling that indicates the onset of a heart attack. It's cool, though. I'm cutting back to two sticks a day. Just don't expect me to be happy about it. 

Anyway! This week’s Spelling Fail Award goes to the maintenance crew for the Starbucks/apartment complex parking lot on West Street in Annapolis, Maryland.

They get an A+ at tracing!

This was just an example of cheeky shenanigans performed by a
disgruntled employee. You might say he was
against the man. 
Too much?

You win at everything. Forever!