Saturday, March 31, 2007

Tonight, we dine in Hell!

Tomorrow night, I'm thinking Arby's.

Code Monkey and I went to see 300 last night. It was a beautiful movie, and I could tell that it was based on a Frank Miller graphic novel - one I haven't even read (yet). There was a lot of fighting and blood, but also a lot more humor than I expected. Some of it unintentional, because before we went, CM send me this:

So when that scene actually came up in the film, I ended up giggling instead of being really moved. Oh, well. Still good.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

New Comic Book Day

When I went through my financial problems last year, one of the first indulgences I had to cut was my weekly comic book binge. It was tough, but I finally managed to wean myself off my weekly dose of geek-crack. And now that I once again have disposable income, I'm back on the pony. There's only one comic book store near my parent's house (I'm not counting the three in Athens, because that's an hour away, at least, and I'm not willing to make that drive every week - even for Michael Turner) and luckily, the guy who owns it is awesome. His store's "organization" system is pretty non-existent, but I gave him a list of back issues I needed to catch up and he's been going through the store HIMSELF and ordering what he can't find. Now, that's good customer service.

I used to have a TON of comics on pull list (Batman/Superman, Action Comics, Superman, Adventures of Superman, Green Arrow, Runaways, Ex Machina, Daredevil, Ultimate Spider-Man, Ultimate X-Men, Ultimate Fantastic Four, Fathom, Gen13, Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane, Nightcrawler, Amazing Spider-Man, and Teen Titans), so I had to prune and figure out what to cut down on. The first casualties, sadly, were the Superman titles. I love the character of Superman - Smallville is one of my favorite shows, even after all the Lana-crap they've forced on me for the past few years - but I was never that into the comic. I actually got into it because Michael Turner did the covers for the "Godfall" story arc, and I kept getting them because...well, I'm not entirely sure. I kind of got attached and wanted to find out what happened next, but not enough to care now. Teen Titans, Green Arrow, and Amazing Spider-Man suffered similar fates, because they had similar origins in my collection - Teen Titans had Michael Turner covers, Green Arrow (vol 2) was originally written by Kevin Smith, and Amazing Spider-Man was written by J Michael Strazynski and had covers by J Scott Campbell. After these guys left, so did my interest. Interestingly, the other Smith-penned comic in my list, Daredevil, is still there. I really got into that character, for some reason. The movie didn't help, but David Mack's new "Echo" character did. 90 issues later, I'm still reading.

So, my current pull list is:
Ultimate Fantastic Four, Ultimate Spider-Man, Ultimate X-Men, Runaways, Ex Machina, Daredevil, Gen 13 (vol 4), Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane, Batman/Superman, and whatever Aspen comics throws my way. I actually had to tell CSG to start ordering ALL the Aspen titles for me, because he wasn't getting any. I also added the new JLA, because (big surprise here) Michael Turner is doing the covers! At least this time I know to stop my subscription once he stops. I also picked up the Buffy S8 comic for my BFF (best friend Fran) and my Folklore prof - yes, I am a brown-noser.

Whew. All that backstory, just to say: hey, these are the books I picked up today!

Ultimate Spider-Man 107: I haven't read this one yet, because it's the second part of the new arc and I forgot to get a copy of 106. So, something else to buy next week.

Ultimate Fantastic Four 40: I am caught up with the Storm family, though, and this is one of my favorite books. It's funny and light - the romantic comedy/family film of my pull box. I'm not familiar with the Diablo character the FF encounter in this issue, but I don't know if that's because I'm somewhat ignorant of the more obscure mainstream villains, or because he's a new character.

Ultimate X-Men 80: I haven't gotten around to reading this issue yet. It's another second-parter, but I do have the first part, I just haven't read it, either. I'm actually starting to lose interest in this book, and might just start collecting it in trade, if at all.

Daredevil 95: yet another book I'm saving until I can catch up on my back issues. I know DD's been in jail, or something. And apparently Maya's back (YAY!) but I want to be able to sit down and read the whole story at once, rather than trying to piece it together little-by-little.

I was also supposed to pick up Kiani 1, but since my LCS wasn't ordering Aspen titles before I came along, it probably won't be in until next week. Drat.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Recipe Tuesday: Monterey Shrimp

Finally, a recipe I can actually sample myself:

1 avocado (rinsed)
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
large zip-top bag
1 pound peeled/deveined shrimp (thawed, if needed)
2 tablespoons garlic butter
3-4 fresh garlic cloves
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon crumbled blue cheese
1 tablespoon basil pesto
1 (9-ounce) package refrigerated linguine

1. Cut avocado in half lengthwise; twist one half away from seed and reserve for garnish. Cut remaining half into strips and then cut into bite-size pieces (discarding skin); set aside.
2. Fill large saucepan half full of water. Cover and bring to boil on high for pasta.
3. Preheat large sauté pan on medium-high 2–3 minutes. Place flour and seasoned salt in zip-top bag; shake to mix. Add shrimp (wash hands); seal tightly and shake to coat.
4. Place butter in pan; swirl to coat. Crush garlic cloves, using garlic press, into sauté pan. Use knife to scrape garlic from bottom of garlic press. Add shrimp (wash hands); cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until shrimp just begin to turn pink.
5. Reduce heat on shrimp to low. Stir in avocado and remaining ingredients (except pasta). Simmer 5–7 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until sauce thickens.
6. Stir pasta into boiling water. Boil 2–3 minutes, stirring often, or until desired tenderness.
7. Drain pasta and stir into shrimp until blended. Serve.

I cannot stress enough how delicious this is. And it's easy, too.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

A new season, a new-ish blog

Since it's now Spring, I decided to update the look of the ol' blog. Not that it matters too terribly much, since I don't freely advertise its existence. I don't think anyone actually reads these ramblings (aside from myself, of course), but I wanted to lighten the look a bit. I also added some new widgets (hello, Lala wishlist!) and made my profile public.

And now, because it makes me happy, one of the greatest poems ever written:

in Just-
spring when the world is mud-
luscious the little lame baloonman

whistles far and wee

and eddyandbill come
running from marbles and
piracies and it's

when the world is puddle-wonderful

the queer
old baloonman whistles
far and wee
and bettyandisbel come dancing

from hop-scotch and jump-rope and


baloonMan whistles

~ "in Just", e.e. cummings

Texas is messed up, y'all

Via BWE: a Texas legislator is trying to pass a bill that would give women $500 for carrying a fetus to term and giving the child up for adoption, rather than having an abortion. Which is wrong on so many levels. As some of the commentors pointed out, does the $500 pay for prenatal care? Because it seems like that would cost a lot more. And what happens to all these children when the state can't find adequate foster care for them?

GA has its own solution to "the abortion problem": a bill that would require doctors to provide women seeking abortions with a list of places that will provide free sonograms. The theory being, apparently, that having heard their unborn child's heartbeat, they'll change their minds.

WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS COUNTRY?! Why can't the government subsidize programs that help PREVENT pregnancies?

I have a "friend" (acquaintance, really) who is currently pregnant, has no job, doesn't plan on getting a job, and is expecting to live off of government assistance (and her poor mother) for the foreseeable future. Why should my tax dollars support her lazy ass? As far as I'm concerned, she's a completely worthless human being, and I don't have much hope for her child. It's sad that I feel this way, but I would rather pay for her to get an abortion myself than have her mooch off my tax dollars for the rest of my life.

Friday, March 23, 2007

A Taste of Madison

Today was actually a pretty good day at work, considering I had to actually be at work. When I showed up, Cindy was freaking out and trying to finish up a bunch of platters in preparation for the 8th annual Taste of Madison. I asked her about it, because 1) I'm nosy, and 2) I wasn't here for last year's ToM and had no idea what it was about. It's actually a pretty cool way to attract new customers: area restaurants and catering services bring samples to the Cultural Center, and then locals pay $20 to go in and try whatever they want.

Long story short, I was asked to go along. And it was awesome!

I ended up staying there for about 4 hours, then driving back to the store to help close. But I didn't even mind that, because I got out the store and I really enjoyed my job for a change.

I also found some really great new places to eat. One of the perks of working Taste of Madison was getting to sample everything, too - but for free! The two best discoveries were Adrian's collard greens (I asked the owner the secret, and she told me that she adds crushed red pepper, onion powder, vinegar, and garlic - it makes them slightly spicy, and delicious!) and O'Hara's apple wood bacon-wrapped scallops with lemon risotto (I peeled the bacon off and gave it to Tiffany, who showed up to take pictures). There were also tons of bakeries and dessert-only booths, with lots of yummy cakes and whatnot. Oh, and a coffee shop (possible replacement for Barista's, which closed down late last year) with lobster bisque and chai tea (which doesn't actually go together that well, but separately they were fab).

I could go on, but the point is that I found a TON of new places to eat, I got out of standing behind the deli counter for a few hours, and I had a nice day at work. Oh, and they paid me for mileage (since I had to drive back and forth in my own car), and I'll probably use that money to buy the second season of Veronica Mars. Yay!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

I may actually buy something off iTunes


My love for Jason Schwartzman is no secret, but apparently my fangirl status is slipping, because I just learned that his debut album is available on iTunes. Phantom Planet is one of my favorite bands, but they just haven't been the same since he left. They did invite me to go bar-hopping with them that one time I saw them perform in Athens, though, so I can't completely turn my back on them.

Recipe Tuesday: Reuben Sandwiches and Pesto Potato Salad

Today's recipe, Reuben Sandwiches and Pesto Potato Salad, was kind of a joke. Who doesn't know how to make a Reuben? Take some rye bread, add some corned beef and swiss with a dash of sauerkraut (+ thousand island, apparently), grill for a few minutes, and presto! Instant use for the St. Patty's Day leftovers.

That's why I was so jazzed about the potato salad. It's really easy - mix one 32oz container of Deli potato salad with 2 tablespoons of diced pimentos and 1/4 cup pesto - and it's so freakin' yummy. I think more people complimented me on the potato salad than on the sandwich.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Recipe Tuesday: Garlic Steak with Mushrooms

Today's recipe is heavy on the garlic:

8 cloves fresh garlic
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Montreal steak seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 pounds top sirloin steak
1/3 cup butter
1 (8-ounce) container whole baby portabella mushrooms (rinsed)

1. Crush garlic, using garlic press, into medium bowl. Use knife to remove garlic from bottom of press. Stir in olive oil, steak seasoning, and salt. Cut steak into four portions; add to garlic mixture. Press mixture into steaks and turn to coat completely (wash hands). Let stand 10 minutes.
2. Preheat large sauté pan on medium-high 2–3 minutes. Place steaks and garlic mixture in pan (wash hands); cook 5 minutes (do not turn). Reduce heat to medium; turn steaks and cook 6–8 more minutes or until internal temperature is 145°F (medium-rare). Use a meat thermometer to accurately ensure doneness. Adjust time as needed.
3. Add butter and turn steaks to coat. Remove steaks and cover to keep warm. Add mushrooms to pan; cover and cook 5–7 minutes until tender. Serve with steaks.

I'm not going to post the recipe for the accompanying "Wedge Salad" because it was just dumb. And it was almost impossible to serve, sample-wise, so I ended up just cutting everything up into bite-size pieces and tossing it. So it could've just been called "Tossed Salad" and made a lot more sense.

Friday, March 09, 2007

RIP, Brad Delp

I looked out this morning and the sun was gone
Turned on some music to start my day
I lost myself in a familiar song
I closed my eyes and I slipped away

Its more than a feeling, when I hear that old song they used to play (more than a feeling)
I begin dreaming (more than a feeling)
till I see Marianne walk away
I see my Marianne walkin' away

So many people have come and gone
Their faces fade as the years go by
Yet I still recall as I wander on
As clear as the sun in the summer sky

Its more than a feeling, when I hear that old song they used to play (more than a feeling)
I begin dreaming (more than a feeling)
till I see Marianne walk away
I see my Marianne walkin' away

When I'm tired and thinking cold
I hide in my music, forget the day
And dream of a girl I used to know
I closed my eyes and she slipped away
She slipped awa y. she slipped away.

Its more than a feeling, when I hear that old song they used to play (more than a feeling)
I begin dreaming (more than a feeling)
till I see marianne walk away
I see my marianne walkin away

A sad day for AI wannabes

This is one of the saddest funniest most annoying things I've ever read. The local government in Lilburn is outlawing karaoke.

Because it brings in crime.

Apparently, the criminals in Lilburn are mainly of the Jets!/Sharks! ilk. Although, how awesome would it be to see bunch of yuppie white guys running around, challenging each other to dance-offs?

Return of The Rage Diary!

I hatehatehatehatehatehatehatehatehatehatehate my job. And I'm really not a hateful person. Normally, I dislike the word and prefer not to use it, but in this case it's actually a bit of an understatement.

I realized a while ago that I was much too smart to be wasting my time slicing meat and making sandwiches for spoiled rich assholes. However, the job market isn't exactly booming for English majors with poor-to-moderate computer skills, so I'm pretty much stuck here until I can find something better. Or until I finish up my MAT (if I'm not royally screwed over again, admission-wise) and get a job in the school system.

Why the sudden vehemence? Well, it's not entirely sudden. More like a seething rage that's been bubbling and building for several long months. It started out small, with the crappy mid- or closing shifts that no one particularly cared for but that I seemed to get stuck with with alarming regularity. It wasn't so bad when I could spend my nights playing video games and my mornings sleeping in, but when I started back to school it got a lot harder to schedule in study time. Especially when the library was only open while I was an hour away, catering to morons. The fact that my complaints and pleadings seemed to fall on deaf managerial ears only compounded my frustration.

The proverbial straw, however, was tonight's little incident. See, our deli has three sections: fried chicken, subs, and traditional/sliced meat. I was working in traditional, and I asked the next person in line what I could get for him. He mumbled something about a sub, so I pointed out the sub line and moved down to help. There were already two people waiting, but they were being taken care of so I asked the man to repeat his order. He mumbled some more, and I had to ask a few times before I finally ascertained that he wanted a Philly (the bane of any "sandwich artist"'s existence). I turned to get his bread, and when I came back, he had disappeared. The other customers in line were as confused as I, so I just moved on to the next patron. After about 5 minutes, the man (I'll call him "Phil") still hadn't returned. It turned out that he had gone up to the front to complain about me to the manager. About what, I still haven't a clue. But it was bad enough to almost earn me a write-up. I say "almost" because one of the other customers who had been waiting in the sub line was checking out at the same time, saw Phil complaining about me, waited until he left, then went to the manager and told him that he had been there the whole time and saw that I had done nothing wrong. He then came over and told me the same thing. The store manager never came to ask my side of the story, just called the assistant deli manager and told her to write me up. After she heard about the second man backing me up, she went to the manager herself and told him that she didn't want to write me up because she had received two conflicting accounts and didn't know what had actually happened. She was actually told to make Phil's sandwich and give it to him for free because of the incident, and when she took it up to him he apologized profusely, saying that he "hadn't wanted to go to the manager." First of all, then why did you? And second of all, if I'm the one at fault, why are you apologizing? Guilty conscience, maybe?

Whatever. I'm just glad that second guy was nice enough to come to my defense, because he saved me from a blemish on my otherwise spotless customer-service record. Not that I care all that much. I begged the deli manager to suspend me for a week (which is, believe it or not, typical punishment for such an infraction) - it would give me more time to study, see my boyfriend, and look for another job. She just laughed and told me not to worry about it.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Recipe Tuesday: Baked Spaghetti

1 pound lean ground beef, 7% fat
1 cup frozen diced onions
1/4 cup frozen diced bell peppers
3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
8 ounces spaghetti
2 cups shredded Italian cheese blend, divided
1 (26-ounce) jar tomato and basil pasta sauce

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Fill large saucepan 1/2 full of water. Cover and bring to a boil on high for pasta.
2. Meanwhile, mix beef, onions, peppers, 1 egg, garlic powder, oregano, and seasoned salt in large bowl. Mix by hand (or in food processor) until thoroughly blended. Spread mixture evenly in 9- x 13-inch baking dish. Wash hands.
3. Stir pasta into boiling water. Boil 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender.
4. Drain pasta thoroughly (do not rinse). Whisk remaining 2 eggs, in medium bowl, until well blended; stir in 1/2 cup of the cheese. Add pasta and toss to coat until eggs and cheese are well blended into pasta. Spread pasta evenly over meat mixture.
5. Spoon pasta sauce over top. Sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 cups cheese. Bake 30–35 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165°F and meat is fully cooked. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. (Makes 8 servings.)

I was a little worried about how today's recipe would turn out. Mainly because I managed to mess it up before I even started cooking. See, one of the directives for this particular one was to go ahead and mix up enough batches of the meat layer for all the presentations I had to do (three), place them in individual Zip-loc baggies, and store them in the fridge until needed. Sounds easy enough, right? Well, apparently I read the directions wrong because I put THREE eggs in each mixture, rather than ONE. And I didn't even realize my mistake until I had finished with the final batch and prepared to actually start cooking.

Lucky for me, no one seemed to noticed. I was worried that the base would be too "eggy" or something, but I guess not. And that's one of the important things to remember when you're cooking: it's ok if you screw up, because people probably won't even notice. And if they do, chances are they'll be willing to overlook little mistakes. Of course, it's also important to read directions carefully. Just so you know.