Sunday, December 16, 2007

Mansfield mania continued

So I totally forgot that today was Jane Austen's birthday. Happy Birthday, Jane!

I also learned that Amanda Grange (author of Mr. Knightley's Diary, which is awesome, and Mr. Darcy's Diary, which is on my Amazon wishlist) has recently released yet another novel: Edmund Bertram's Diary. I'm really curious about this one, because Edmund is probably my least-favorite Austen hero. I'm interested in reading the events of Mansfield Park from his point of view, especially his relationship with Fanny. His change of affection from Miss Crawford to her seemed rushed to me, coming as it did at the end of the book. I wonder how Ms. Grange handled it.

Inkheart was a big letdown. It never really picked up, and a lot of the cool stuff from the movie trailer (Meggie reading Toto out of The Wizard of Oz, the tornado, the genie) weren't actually in the book. A visit to the Inkheart imdb page reveals even more surprises: Rapunzel? Prince Charming? Hrm.

At least they got the casting (mostly) spot-on. Paul Bettany will be an amazing Dustfinger, and Helen Mirren and Jim Broadbent are excellent as well. And just to bring this post full circle, the young actress playing Meggie? Her name's Eliza Bennet.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Mansfield mania and other musings

As of today, I am officially finished with my first (full) semester of grad school. Grades were posted this evening, and I am maintaining my 4.0 GPA. I was actually shocked that I managed an A in my Exceptional Individual class, because I'm pretty sure I bombed the final (which asked a bunch of questions that most assuredly did NOT come from the book we were told to read, nor from the four lectures my professor gave on the days that he didn't cancel class). Moving on...

I've been catching up on my pleasure reading this holiday break. First up was the one Jane Austen novel that I haven't read more than once already: Mansfield Park. I actually grabbed it because I couldn't find my copy of The Golden Compass, but I've been meaning to re-read it anyway before the Masterpiece Theater JA-fest starts up early next year. In theory, I will re-read all six novels by then, but in actuality, who knows?

I picked up my copy of MP (for only £1!) when I was in England several years ago, and I haven't read it since then. I have, however, watched the 1999 movie version starring Frances O'Connor and Jonny Lee Miller at least a billion times, and that, sadly, is the version that I'm used to. Reading the book again made me realize just how much was changed for that particular film - no William, Fanny ACCEPTS (and then refuses) Mr. Crawford's proposal, and the majority of the "action" toward the end of the story plays out on-screen, rather than in letters. Fanny is also a lot less annoying in the movie. Reading the book, my feelings for her varied between sympathy and exasperation; either I shook my head at how cruelly she was treated, or I rolled my eyes and wanted to smack some backbone into her.

The one part of the story that always (to use a fangirl term) squicked me was that **SPOILER ALERT** she falls in love with and marries her cousin. It may have been acceptable back in Regency England (or for most members of any royal family), but that kind of thing doesn't happen anymore, right? Imagine my surprise, then, to find this Mental Floss article waiting in my Google Reader. If it's okay for Giuliani and Poe, then I guess it's okay for Price. Still kinda gross, though.

In happier news, it turns out that the new BBC version (which aired earlier this year in the UK) has already made its way online. I've only been able to watch the first part, but so far I like it. Seeing The Doctor's companion playing Fanny is a bit surreal, but they seem to have stayed relatively true to the novel.

Now I'm reading Inkheart, by Cornelia Funke, whose name is a constant source of giggles. I bought it after seeing the preview for the movie:

The book's completely different, of course, but I'm hoping the action and adventure will start soon.

I saw that preview before a showing of The Golden Compass. The other trailers included The Spiderwick Chronicles and the Sex and the City movie. Don't get me wrong, I want to see both of them, but come on! I couldn't believe they showed a preview for S&TC before a kid's movie.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Yet another reason Neil Gaiman rocks

This is the greatest engagement story ever.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Am I a marshmallow, too?

So, the third season of Veronica Mars came out today. I haven't bought it (yet), but I did go to the website and got myself a nifty Neptune detective badge.

This almost makes me feel better about hitting a deer and seriously screwing up my car last night. :(

Friday, October 19, 2007

Farewell to a friend

My mom and dad both had busy full time jobs when I was born (Mom at the Treasury Department, Dad at the Gwinnett Daily News), so when Mom was ready to go back to work she went through the newspaper to find a suitable baby-sitter for me. She found Karen, a wonderful woman who had three teenage children, no driver's license, and a blueberry bush in her back yard. Two years later, when my little sister came along, Karen agreed to watch both of us. That lasted exactly one day, after which it was decided that I would go to daycare and my sister would continue going to Karen's. Two years later, my dad died. We ended up moving to Snellville, my mom started her own CPA office in our house, I started school, and we saw Karen less frequently. We did keep in touch with her and her family - I spent one "Take Your Daughter to Work Day" at the mall with one of her daughters, learning all about managing a candle store. Karen moved to Europe with her husband, who traveled everywhere for work. My sister and I would receive a postcard and a doll from each new country they visited. My mom made half-hearted plans to fly us out to France to visit them, but we never actually went. Karen eventually moved back, but her new house was farther away and we didn't see her as often as we once had.

We found out today that Karen is dying. Her husband called to let us know that she has cancer. It's terminal, and they don't think she'll last that much longer. She's at home for right now. They have hospice workers coming over daily, and they give her lots of medicine to keep her out of pain. I'm really upset right now, and not just because her family waited so long to tell us that she's been so sick. I'm mad at myself for not going to visit her sooner. I feel guilty because there have been so many times that I've thought to myself, "I really should give Karen a call." My sister recently got engaged, and I know she really wanted to go visit Karen to tell her about her fiance. We had talked about going to visit her, but never actually did it. I feel really bad for her, because she was always "Karen's little baby" and I know she's taking this harder than anyone. We're going to visit Karen tomorrow, to say goodbye. It's a visit that's long overdue, but I'm glad that we have the chance.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Constructivism vs. the crazy lady

This weekend, I attended two teacher-themed conferences. The first, a middle grades summit, was held on campus. It was pretty interesting - I met Mark Springer, bought a copy of his book, Soundings: A Democratic Student-Centered Education, and attended a panel for Team QUEST, a multi-age team (6th, 7th, and 8th graders) in a Lee county school. The theme of the conference was "Democracy in the Classroom," so of course it focused on student-centered teaching. Since that's how I plan on running my classroom, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Of course, I generally enjoy conferences (when I don't have to present), so no surprise there.

But then, I went to the SPAGE-sponsored Classroom Survivor conference in Macon. I've had a day and a half to process what I witnessed, and I'm still shocked and appalled. The conference itself wasn't terrible, but there was one break-out session that just completely blew me away - and not in a good way.

After the keynote speaker, we were told to attend a session on classroom management techniques. There were three available (elementary, middle, and secondary), and I went to the middle grades panel. I'm thankful that another MAT student (Lisa) was there with me, because I don't think I could have gotten through it without her.

After everyone had taken a seat, the woman who was supposed to lead the session informed us that we were "very lucky" to have a "special guest" come and share her experiences with us. She then introduced us to "Miss Jan." "Dolores Umbridge" would've been a little bit more accurate. This woman walked into the classroom and informed us that we would be calling her "Miss Jan" and she would, in turn, call us Miss or Mr because that was how we showed each other respect. She also told us that our class would go "one of two ways: MY way, or NOT YOUR way." At this point, Lisa and I exchanged glances, as if to ask, "Is this for real?" I was sure that she would crack at any moment and tell us that this was her way of showing us what NOT to do, but alas...

She then proceeded to regale us with anecdotes about her "effective" classroom management. The two that stand out in my mind:
* After telling us that the most important thing to do was "praise, rather than correct," she told us a charming story about a disruptive young man in one of her classes. While the rest of the class was working on a project (and, I'm assuming, could hear everything she was saying), she called this young man to her desk and asked him if his favorite color was orange.
"No," he said, "Why?"
"Because when I go driving, I see a lot of men wearing orange jumpsuits working on the side of the road, and I think that's how you'll end up if you're not careful."
* She also taught Amy Carter, daughter of Jimmy Carter, and had another disruptive young man in that class. So she asked one of the ubiquitous Secret Service Agents to have a talk with him. The next day, before class started, the agent walked over to the boy's desk, pulled his vest aside so that his gun was clearly visible, and said, "We're not going to have any problems today, are we?"

Does anyone else see a problem here? Lisa and I were both horrified, but judging by the laughs "Miss Jan" got, we were the only ones. What really annoyed me, though, was that we found out at the end of the panel that this thing woman only taught for 7 years, and retired from teaching after her son was born...25 years ago. Also? Apparently, she taught elementary school, not middle grades. How on earth does that qualify her to teach us about current middle level classroom management? And how in the HELL does she still have her certification? Surely asking a Secret Service Agent to threaten a child is enough to get anyone's teaching license revoked...

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Yet another reason NCLB sucks...

One of the requirements for my MAT program was joining a whole bunch of professional organizations, most of which have acronymic titles featuring the words "Association" or "Education." One of them (I don't remember which one, actually, but I suspect it was one of the organizations for English teachers) sent me a link to this article from the Denver Post. It talks about a group of schools in Colorado whose reading and math scores have increased significantly in the past four years - one school went from having 20% of its students proficient in reading and math, to having 80 - 90% reading and doing math at or above grade level. When I first read that statistic, I thought, "Wow! That's great. I wonder how they managed such an increase..."

I didn't have to read much further to find out:

Hiza [the principal], who gives kids little vouchers for candy in the hallways when she sees good behavior, did away with science, social
studies and most recesses to focus almost entirely on the basics.

Teachers spent roughly three hours a day on reading and two on math.

Science scores, Hiza acknowledged, have suffered in comparison. Only 22 percent of fifth-graders - the only elementary grade that takes science tests - are proficient.

"There's only so much time in the day," Hiza said. "This allows us to concentrate on ... reading well."

Seriously. NO SCIENCE, SOCIAL STUDIES, OR RECESS. This is an elementary school! What happens when they get to middle or high school and they haven't learned the basics in those subject areas? Off the top of my head, things I learned in my elementary science and social studies classes: inertia and structural integrity (we had an egg drop off the school roof in 5th grade, and it was awesome!); the state bird, flower, and flag of Georgia (brown thrasher, Cherokee rose, and the old red-white-and-blue version); and, most important of all, how to make Gloop. It saddens me to think that an entirely new generation is going to grow up without all that.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Unmotivational posters

You know those lame motivational posters that usually feature some poor kitten clutching onto a tree branch for dear life under the extremely helpful caption, "Hang In There!"? Well, mental_floss has found some unmotivational posters that are slightly geeky and pretty funny. My favorite:

Although, "CAPS LOCK: Are you ready to unleash the fury?" is also good, mainly because it reminds me of a guitar-playing Tom Green in Roadtrip.

See the rest here.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

My Celebrity Look-A-Likes?

Wow, look at that illustrious list...Maria Menunos, Paris Hilton, and a DUDE! Well, I feel pretty.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Easiest Banana Bread Ever

Today, I made banana bread:

Crappy digital camera = crappy digital pictures. Sorry.

I actually got the recipe from Instructables, one of my favorite sites for DIY. To make it, preheat your oven at 350 degrees and mix the following ingredients in a bowl:

1 box yellow cake mix
1 package banana pudding mix
4 eggs
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup chopped pecans
2 ripe, mashed bananas

Grease two large loaf pans, pour in the batter, and bake for 40-45 minutes. To check for "doneness," stick a toothpick (or uncooked pasta noodle) in the center of the loaf. It should come out clean. Let them cool, and enjoy!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Lap bands and liposuction

While getting ready for school yesterday morning, I wandered into the living room and happened to catch an ABC news story about Brooke Bates. (I would recommend clicking on the link, as there's a video of the story on the upper right-hand side of the page). Last year, this 12-year-old girl weighed 220 pounds, and her parents gave in and allowed her to get liposuction and a tummy tuck. She lost 60 pounds, then gained half of it back and recently decided to go to Mexico to get a lap band. She had to travel out of the country because American doctors wouldn't perform the procedure on a child, and rightfully so. Now she's lost 15 pounds and is feeling like one of the "pretty, popular" people again.

WTF?! She's barely a teenager, and she's having major cosmetic surgery! What is wrong with this picture? I'm horrified, disgusted, and feeling extremely sad for this poor little girl. I can't believe her parents actually agreed to something so ridiculous. If she was eating too much, why not encourage her to eat less, or eat better food? According to the comments left by Brooke's sister on this post from Back in Skinny Jeans, Brooke couldn't do any strenuous exercising because her doctors were afraid she would have a heart attack. Seriously? Why did they wait until it got that bad to do something about it?

I think the real problem here is that this poor little girl has no self esteem. And that's not something that's going to be fixed with surgery. A weekly appointment with a counselor probably would've been a better (and more healthy) choice for her in the long run.

More links:
The story at Back in Skinny Jeans
My favorite anti-obesity spokeswoman, MeMe Roth, thinks Brooke is suffering from child abuse.

Sunday, July 29, 2007


Or; How to find COMIC GOLD on YouTube:

One of today's Austen Blog posts featured a link to a Barbie-fied Pride and Prejudice video. It was cute, but enjoyable for me mostly because it linked to a Harry Potter/ P&P mash-up, which introduced me to this little gem:

Thursday, July 26, 2007

I seez ded peepulz

That subject line is the way I imagine this article - about a cat who can accurately predict death - will be described over at ICHC.

Edit: Ooh, so close!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Dorkus Maxima

So, who's fanatical enough about the new Harry Potter book to dress up in costume, attend a "Grand Hallows Ball," and finish the book in under 24 hours?

...that would be me.

Poor Tim got dragged in, too.

But seriously, 759 pages in 23 hours, 40 minutes (less, actually, once you take out the time I spent sleeping, eating, and - unfortunately - working) must be some kind of record, right?

Now, it's time for some much-needed sleep. And some more crying, probably. This book was awesome!

Thursday, July 05, 2007


With the release of the Transformers movie earlier this week, the subject of other beloved cartoons-to-big-screen-movies came up. Best Week Ever has a list of the top 10 movies that ruined their childhood memories, and I just discovered a new one to add to that list: Alvin and the Chipmunks.

Let's check out the metamorphosis of Alvin, Simon, and Theodore, shall we?

The trio actually began as a fictional music group. Created by Ross Bagdasarian (who provided the voices until his death in 1972), they enjoyed success with their hit single, "The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)." The record won three Grammy awards and was even nominated for Record of the Year.

The first cartoon series ran for only one year, 1961 - 1962. It was originally broadcast in black-and-white, but was produced and later re-run in color.

The second cartoon series (the one that my generation is more familiar with) ran from 1983 - 1991, although it did switch names a few times. The series also brought us The Chipettes (female versions of The Chipmunks), an animated feature film, two direct-to-video animated movies, and one live-action direct-to-video movie.

Which brings us to...

This. I actually spent a few minutes looking at this poster, trying to figure out if "Dave" was Jason Lee (it is) or Stephen Colbert. Can you imagine Stephen Colbert as Dave? That would be awesome. Not that Jason Lee won't be, but c'mon. We've all seen the trailer for Underdog, right? So, yeah. Maybe this will be a decent movie. I mean, with CGI'd gansta-wannabe Chipmunks, and the director of Garfield at the helm, what could go wrong?

You can read more about Alvin & co on their Wikipedia page. Here's hoping they don't decide to go after Jem and the Holograms or Rainbow Brite next.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

10 things you should know about your grocery store

MSNBC has posted a list of 10 Things Your Grocery Store Doesn't Want You to Know. Seeing as I work in a grocery store, and would like the chance to defend my store (even though it sucks sometimes), here's my response:

1. The shopping carts have cooties.

Well, duh. So do most doors, railings, and pretty much anything else a large group of people (not to mention their grubby kids) put their hands on on a regular basis. My store provides handi-wipes that customers can use to sanitize the carts before use. If you're really worried about cooties, give yourself a cootie shot (kidding, but just barely) and make sure you wash all your raw produce and fully cook all your food before you eat it. Washing your hands often also helps.

2. Dates are open to interpretation.

This is true. The majority of foodstuffs are actually good for another few days after their printed "sell-by" date. Stuff like deli meat, however, should be eaten within 3-4 days (cheeses last a little longer). In the deli, we keep most meat after it's been opened for 7 days, then toss it.

3. Kid-friendly food is purposely placed within their reach.

Well, yeah. That's just a clever marketing strategy.

4. They cut up food so they can charge more.

Yep, we exploit lazy people for more money. Here's the thing: if you want something that's difficult to cut up (like a pineapple), pick out a non-cut one, then take it to the produce counter and ask them to core it for you. They have a machine that will do it, and they (hopefully) won't charge you for it. I once used a deli slicer to shred lettuce for a customer (I told him I couldn't guarantee there wouldn't be bits of meat still on it, but he didn't mind). Remember: the customer is always right, most places will go out of their way to make you happy, and chances are, whatever you're about to request is not something they haven't heard before. It never hurts to ask.

5. Good-for-you foods require bending and reaching.

Not necessarily. Check to see if your store has an organic or healthy section (we have four - one for organic produce; one for organic dry foods, such as cereals and chips; one for organic dairy; and one for organic meat). These areas are clearly marked, and hard to miss. For some reason, vegetarian foods (such as Tofurky!) are kept near the organic produce - because it's made out of vegetables? - so check these places if you want healthy foods.

6. End-of-aisle displays are there to distract you from your mission.

I don't know why someone would assume that just because something is located at the end of the aisle, that makes it a better deal. That sounds pretty nonsensical. Off the top of my head, things we're selling on our end-caps right now:

Knock-off Vera Bradley purses, Mission chips (on sale), Nabisco products (either crackers or cookies, I can't remember, but they're always there), Thomas' English muffins (on sale, but they're usually sold there), 12-packs of Coke products (same as the muffins), wine, children's fishing gear (we're a lake community, after all), Little Debbie snack cakes, some sort of cereal (on sale), Pantene Pro-V shampoo and condition (special promotion), sunscreen (it's the summer), refrigerated pasta and sauce, ice, and those nifty bags that keep foods cold or hot or frozen for up to three hours!

I don't think we've ever advertised our sale items on the end-caps. We have a special clearance section at the front of the store, but the rest of the sales are advertised throughout the store. The end-caps are usually reserved for seasonal items or special promotions.

7. Bargains aren’t always a bargain.

Didn't some sociologist somewhere discover that people believed buying something for 99 cents was a much better deal than buying it for $1, even though it's essentially the same price? Same sorta thing. My advice: make a list before you go, and don't buy anything not on the list. If you want to check out the sales, read the paper before you go and make sure you're getting a deal.

Fun fact: you know those "Early Bird" specials department stores advertise for sale days? Speaking from experience, they're usually not much of a bargain. I remember one sale when our "Doorbuster" specials were (at most) one or two dollars off the regularly advertised sale price. If you want a really good deal on clothes, the best times to shop are at the end of season sales. The only problem with doing this is that you may not be able to find your size. Unless it's something that you really can't live without, it's better to wait until it's at least half price.

8. You’ll walk the store the way they want you to.

Like I said, make a list before you go, and this won't be a problem. Our bakery department is at the front of the store, but they don't make that much money, so I don't know how sound this logic is.

9. The salad bar can make you sick.

We have strict health code standards that we have to abide by - chicken is tossed after 3 hours of being cooked, food has to be maintained at a certain temperature to prevent contamination, and we FIFO (First In, First Out) all of our perishable foods. I wouldn't be eating the pre-made crap anyway - do you know how much unnecessary fat, calories, salt, and sugar that adds to your diet?

10. They don’t always clean as often as they should.

I don't know where this guy shops, but it's not at my store. We clean our equipment constantly, and do a thorough cleaning of the department every night. If your grocery store has visible bugs or dust, for heaven's sake, shop somewhere else! It's been my experience, however, that cleaner stores + better customer service = higher prices. I guess it just depends on what's more important to you.

Some other stuff to know:

The best time to shop is in the early morning. Stores usually aren't crowded, and that's when the fresh produce comes in. Also, most managers work during the day, so if you have a problem or a question, you can go to them and they'll be guaranteed to fix it and make you happy. If you don't see something that you want, go to the customer service counter and ask them to special order it.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Good-bye, Deli!

Today was my last day working in the deli. Words cannot describe how happy I am. Never again will I have to slice meat, never again will I have to fry chicken (and have my clothes stink like grease for the rest of the day), and never again will I have to cook a Philly cheese steak. I seriously hate those things. Never again will I have to listen to someone tell me they want me to slice their lunch meat "thin, but not shaved" - which makes NO SENSE, because if you wanted it shaved, you would've told me "shaved," now wouldn't you? And, God willing, never again will I have to hear someone ask me, "Y'all ain't got none more a them there's tater salads?" because I almost couldn't keep a straight face the first time.

In other news...hey! look what I made:


It's a Simpsons-ized me. Kinda. I'm not sure if the shirt was supposed to be pro-veggie, or just a twist on Bart's catchphrase, but I love it!
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


If you read this blog in Google Reader, you're probably seeing some really old posts that don't make much sense or refer to some really old events. Sorry about that. I deleted my old Livejournal blog this morning, and I moved a few posts over to Blogger before I shut it down. My 101 things to do in 1001 days post was the important one (to me, at least), although after looking over it for the first time in a few months, I've realized I might need to edit a few of those goals.

It's sad, looking over the list, to see how frivolous and - not naive, exactly, but irresponsible? I can't think of the word I'm looking for right now; maybe immature - I used to be. When I first came up with that list, I was 25, living in Atlanta, working a dead-end job with no thoughts or cares for the future. As you can read in the list, I mostly wanted to travel and spend money that I now realize I didn't even have at the time. In the past two years, my priorities have shifted. I'm not getting drunk and high with my friends on the weekends, living off credit cards and holding out hope that someday I'll win the lottery and never have to really work for what I want in life. Partly because I no longer have credit cards, but also partly because I want to do something with my life that doesn't involve working retail and spending all day in bed. (I should probably note that I'm still in my pajamas, but I actually woke up at 9 a.m., bleary-eyed and bushy-haired, and have spent the morning cleaning and doing laundry. So there.)

I start work on Master's degree at GC&SU next week, so I figure that's a good time for turning over a new leaf. I'll be going through my 101 things list, weeding out the expensive pipe dreams and replacing them with goals that 1) I can actually accomplish, given my limit budget and time constraints, 2) will help me improve in some way, or 3) I have been putting off for a while, but that I need to see through to the end (I'm thinking unfinished scrapbooks, a half-made baby blanket, and FINALLY beating FFVII). Which goes to show that I'm not eschewing frivolity completely - I'll still be checking BWE, I'll still be playing my video games, I'll still be reading my comics, and I'll still be debating whether or not to order this awesome Veronica Mars-inspired T-shirt from Glarkware. Although I only have until Saturday to decide on that last one.

In the meantime, here are some blogs that I've been reading in my quest to Become A Better Person:

Back in skinny jeans - not that I ever fit into skinny jeans in the first place, mind you, but this site has info and encouragement about dieting, exercise, and other stuff dealing with beauty and self-perception.

unclutterer - a blog about minimalizing your life. Anyone who's seen the interior of my car knows I could use a few tips.

Lifehacker - deals with productivity. Their slogan: "Don't live to geek; geek to live." Love!

Think Progress - my progressive political fix.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Presidential-ish links I find amusing

First off, Elizabeth Edwards confronts Ann Coulter about lowering the bar for political discourse and Ann reacts by being, well, her bitchy self. Almost as good as watching this high school kid giving Bill O'Reilly what-for.

And secondly, some guy nicknamed "The Impaler" is running for president. Strangely, I'm reminded of the kid from Real Ultimate Power:

"My name is Jonathon The Impaler Sharkey, Ph.D., L.D.D.D. I am running for Governor of Minnesota in 2006 and for President in 2008. I am a Satanic Dark Priest, Sanguinarian Vampyre and a Hecate Witch. My Magikal Path name is: Lord Ares. I despise and hate the Christian God the Father. He is my enemy. However, it doesn't mean that I hate all his followers. This Country was founded on religious rights and freedoms. This is guaranteed under the 1st Amendment of our great constitution. This right allows me to worship Lucifer and the Goddess Hecate, just as it allows you to worship the Goddess/God of your choice. I have a 13 point platform that includes better benefits for farmers and veterans. I will also give more funding to our school system and fix the pot holes on our city streets. Not to mention the FACT that I will personally impale any and all wrong doers in the steps of the Governor's mansion. If you are a child molester, rapist, drug dealer or terrorist you will be IMPALED!"

...but with Vampires instead of Ninjas.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Georgia vs. Gordon Lee

Via iFanboy:

Gordon Lee Trial Date Set - CBLDF Needs Your Help!

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund urgently needs your help. This August, the long-running case of Georgia v. Gordon Lee will finally go to trial, with court costs expected to hit $20,000.

For nearly three years the Fund has defended Georgia retailer Gordon Lee, seeing him through multiple arraignments and procedures, and racking up $80,000 in legal bills. The charges stem from a Halloween 2004 incident in which Lee handed out, among other free comics, an anthology featuring an excerpt from the critically acclaimed graphic novel The Salon. The segment depicted a historically accurate meeting between 20th Century art icons Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso, the latter depicted in the nude. It was a harmless sequence, no more explicit than the nudity displayed in the award winning Watchmen. Yet because the title found its way into the hands of a minor, Floyd County prosecutors hit Lee with two felony counts and five misdemeanors. The Fund eventually knocked out most of the charges, but must now defeat the two remaining misdemeanor counts of Distribution of Harmful to Minors Material, each carrying a penalty of up to one year in prison and up to $1,000 in fines.

The case is slated to go to trial the week of August 13. We urgently need your support in order to wage the best defense possible against these remaining charges, and that means raising the $20,000 that the trial is expected to cost. Here's how you can help:

Make A Monetary Donation: Every dollar counts, so please visit the and make a tax-deductible contribution today. As a thank-you for making a donation of $30 or more, the Fund will give you a brand new t-shirt displaying the text of the First Amendment in the shape of an American flag. Show your commitment to free speech, and your support for this very important case.

Join The CBLDF: Now is the time to join or renew your membership in the Fund. Your member dollars provide the baseline of support that we need to perform our casework, and defend your right to buy whatever comics you wish. If you join now with a basic membership of $25 you will receive a CBLDF Member Card, featuring new Groo art by the one-and-only Sergio Aragones, as well as a subscription to our news publication Busted!, and special admission to CBLDF events across the country. If you join at a level of $100 or more, you will also receive one of the new First Amendment t-shirts.

Donate Original Art & Collectibles: With summer conventions upon us, the Fund needs original art, high-grade comics, and other collectible items to make the most of our summer auctions. Please e-mail for more information about how to donate to our auctions, or with a description of your intended donation. If your donation is accepted for our summer auctions, you will receive a letter of acknowledgment and a 2007 membership. To ensure that your donation is received safely, please do not send physical items until accepted by the CBLDF.

With Gordon Lee's freedom in the balance, the CBLDF needs everyone who values Free Expression in comic books to do his or her part to support this very important case. Please visit and make your contribution today.



Other Donations:

I find this case especially interesting because Lee owns a store here in Georgia - Legends, to be exact. They're currently having a sale, if there are any comic geeks out there who want to help support the man and his cause.

Jeez. First that crazy Laura Mallory, now this. WTF, GA?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Nancy Grace podcast

I, for one, am no fan of Nancy Grace. So imagine my delight at finding this awesome podcast video:

Seriously, I'm still crying from laughing so hard. NOTHING is funnier than a cow humping a tractor over Nancy's shoulder. Except maybe that min-pin humping the stuffed bunny.

Powered by ScribeFire.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Recipe Tuesday: Shrimp Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing and Summer Bruschetta

Shrimp Salad With Warm Bacon Dressing:

4 slices bacon
1 bag fresh spinach leaves (6-10 ounces)
2 cups fresh pre-sliced mushrooms (rinsed)
1/2 cup fresh pre-diced tomatoes
1 lb frozen cooked shrimp (thawed)
1 medium peach (rinsed)
1/2 cup fat-free sun-dried tomato vinaigrette
1/2 teaspoon green pepper sauce

1. Cut bacon into bite-size pieces. Place in microwave-safe bowl (wash hands); cover and microwave on HIGH 3–4 minutes or until bacon is lightly crisp. Wash knife and cutting board with hot, soapy water.
2. Place spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, and shrimp in salad bowl. Peel peach; discard peel and seed. Cut peach into bite-size pieces; add to salad bowl.
3. Stir vinaigrette and pepper sauce into bacon and drippings (Ed. note: GROSS!). Cover and microwave on HIGH 1 minute or until hot. Pour mixture over salad; toss well and serve.

Summer Bruschetta:

1 Bakery baguette
4 large fresh basil leaves (rinsed)
2 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup fresh pre-diced tomatoes
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons basil pesto
1 tablespoon diced pimientos

1. Cut bread in half lengthwise, using an electric or serrated knife. Stack basil leaves and slice into thin strips; cut mozzarella into bite-size pieces. Set both aside.
2. Combine remaining ingredients in small bowl; spread onto bread halves. Top with mozzarella and basil. Slice bruschetta and serve.

The major problem I had with this recipe (aside from using bacon drippings as a salad dressing base) was the directive to prepare the bruschetta first, put it aside, and then make the salad. Random people walking by my booth would stop and try to pick up a piece of bruschetta, which I found rude (and unhygienic - that's why I wear gloves when I dish out the samples). And when I told them that it wasn't ready yet (as opposed to, "Get your grubby hands off that!" which is what I very strongly thought in their general direction), they got pissy with me. So I ended up making the bruschetta and putting it in the oven (which was off) until I was ready to serve it.

Of course, this drama is probably moot, as anyone else making this will be doing so in the comfort of their own home and is free to eat whenever they choose (or, conversely, smack the hands of anyone trying to steal a piece), but it was frustrating for me and I felt like venting, so there.

Becoming Jane

I had completely forgotten about the new Jane Austen "biopic" (quotations because one of the plot keywords on the Becoming Jane IMDb page is "Fictional Biography") being released this year until I read this post on Old Grey Pony. I first heard about this movie last year, when I read an interview with Anne Hathaway in which she talked about reading and studying up for the role. Here's the trailer:

It looks interesting. I'm thinking they took a Shakespeare in Love-type approach to the story - just as Viola provided the inspiration for Juliet, Tom Lefroy is the inspiration for Mr. Darcy. Apparently.

I've read all of Austen's novels, and I'm about halfway done with Lady Susan, The Watsons, and Sandition, but I'm sadly ignorant of her life. I do know that she never married, although she was once engaged for a day or so before calling it off. So I'll be taking the biographical info from the movie with a grain of salt. I will definitely see it, though, for James McAvoy if nothing else.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The final chapter?

How Harry Potter really ends.

At least, according to Dan Kois. Whom I trust wholeheartedly because he use to write the LOST recaps on TWoP.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Fast Times at Hero High

It's Wednesday, which is normally new comic book day for me, but I won't have a chance to go by the store. Stupid work. Luckily, I found this very funny video to help me deal with the pain of waiting a day for my comics:

Fast Times at Hero High
Posted Dec 24, 2003

Superheroes weren't always super. See what they were like in high school!

Recipe Tuesday: Salmon Barbecue, Smokey Dipping Sauce, and Gourmet Vegetables

Salmon Barbecue:

2 ounces baby Swiss cheese (1/5 bar)
1 1/2 pounds fresh salmon (ask for skin to be removed)
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon roasted garlic

1. Preheat 2-sided tabletop grill George Foreman grill. Cut cheese into 8 thin slices.
2. Cut salmon into 4 portions; then butterfly salmon. (To butterfly, lay salmon flat. Slice through center of salmon, leaving 1/2-inch uncut to hold top and bottom slices together.) Place cheese inside salmon; fold closed (wash hands). Combine barbecue sauce, olive oil, and garlic in shallow bowl.
3. Dip bottom of salmon into barbecue mixture; place on grill (wash hands). Spoon remaining barbecue mixture over top of salmon. Close lid and grill 3–4 minutes or until cheese melts and fish is opaque and separates easily with a fork. Serve.

Smoky Dipping Sauce:

3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons barbecue sauce
2 teaspoons Dijon-style mustard
1 teaspoon roasted garlic
1 green onion

1. Combine all ingredients (except onion) in small bowl.
2. Chop green onion finely; stir into mixture. Chill until ready to serve.

Gourmet Vegetables:

1 (12-ounce) bag fresh snipped green beans
1 (12-ounce) bag fresh microwaveable baby carrots
3/4 cup water
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons seasoned salt

1. Place beans, carrots, and water in microwave-safe bowl. Cover and microwave on HIGH 8 minutes, stirring once, or until vegetables begin to soften.
2. Preheat large sauté pan on medium-high 2–3 minutes. Place oil in pan; swirl to coat. Add sesame seeds; cook 2–3 minutes, stirring often, or until golden.
3. Drain vegetables thoroughly and add to pan; sprinkle with seasoned salt. Reduce heat to medium; cover and cook 5–6 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until vegetables are tender. Serve. (Makes 6 servings.)

This is probably the greatest meal I've ever made. Mom liked it so much, she made it for dinner tonight. I'm taking the leftovers for lunch tomorrow. I might even make it again on Friday (my next night off). It is SO GOOD. Even Ralph liked it, and he usually hates his salmon to have anything other than lemon juice and Mrs. Dash on it. The customers loved it so much, I ran out of food the first time I made it. THAT NEVER HAPPENS - after 30 minutes, I'm supposed to toss whatever is left. Usually, that's half the pan. Today, I ran out of food while people were still waiting in line to try it. My mind = blown. Mind Explosion!

And now, some sad TV news...

One of my childhood heroes, Mr. Wizard, died today. That is too sad. I remember going to a science museum when I was younger (Fernbank, or possibly Sci-Trek, which was awesome and should never have closed) and actually getting the chance to meet him. I still have a copy of the book he autographed and gave out that day - a collection of science experiments you could perform in your kitchen using household chemicals. Good stuff.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Two great tastes that taste great together!

Veronica Mars being canceled? Craptacular.

Reading that DC might be publishing S4 in comic book form? Awesomeness!

I'm guessing we can thank the success of the Buffy S8 comic for this second chance. I'm wondering if more beloved-and-canceled TV shows will be resurrected as comics. There was a Firefly 3-parter to fill in gaps between the show and the movie, but I'd love to see that as a monthly.

I haven't been this excited about anything VM-related since I was flipping channels a few nights ago and realized that Jason Dohring played that obnoxious kid who told Elijah Wood he was going to be getting lots of sex after discovering the comet that was going to destroy the world in Deep Impact. This almost makes up for the fact that the CW is basically forcing me to watch Gossip Girl by casting Kristen Bell to do the voice-overs.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Spins a web, any size...

Interesting article found on Slashdot: New nanoglue shrinks chips and sticks like Spiderman:

A new inexpensive nanoglue that becomes stronger as it heats up could redefine the way computer chips are made and even pave the way for Spiderman-esque web-shooting devices in the near future, according to its creator.

I can just imagine all the trouble kids would get into with something like that. Cool idea, though.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Silver quarters

To promote the new Fantasic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer movie, 20th Century Fox and The Franklin Mint "color enhanced" 40,000 California statehood quarters with an image of the Surfer, and are releasing them throughout the country during Memorial Day weekend. And now, the government is getting involved, saying that neither the studio nor the Mint got the government's permission to alter the quarters (and also, that it's illegal to use currency for advertisement purposes), meaning they could both face fines.

Well, I think it's pretty crass to slap an advertising gimmick on our money, but I'm also a hypocrite and a comic book geek, so I'll be on the lookout for one. I also find it ridiculous that the government has waited until now to get involved with The Mint and their nefarious altering of our precious quarters. Aren't these the same people who offered "color enhanced" versions of the statehood quarters? Was anything done about those?

After searching their site, I couldn't find the color enhance quarters, but I did find this "special edition" "Season's Greetings" Silver Eagle dollar, which costs $39.95. For a $1 coin with a crappy paint job, protective cover, and display box. I can't believe people actually buy this stuff.

So, the studio and the Mint may face fines, or some other slap on the wrist penalty, for altering US currency and using it to advertise a movie. But look at all the free advertising they're getting!

I'm pissed about it, but more because my chances of actually getting my hands on one have significantly decreased. But I have placed the cashiers at the store on full alert, so there's hope someone may come across one...

Friday, May 25, 2007

Potato Wave

When I was in high school, Pearl Jam was my favorite band. I was in love with Eddie Veder and I had that "9 out of 10 kids prefer crayons to guns" t-shirt which I used to wear at least once a week (with my flannel, of course). So that's probably one reason why I find this video so amusing:

Another reason it that it reminds me of this other video:

'Cause Fall Out Boy is unintelligible, get it? Hee.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Girl en mode groovy

This video is oddly hypnotic:

Red Rover

So now NASA's discovered evidence of water on Mars. Between that and the "Goldilocks" planet, I hope we're not headed for a real-life reenactment of Mission to Mars. Mainly because that movie sucked. Except for that part at the end, when a fellow audience member yelled out, "Spoon!" - that was actually pretty funny...

Cowabunga, dude!

There's an article on about 15 (Painfully) Unforgettable Cartoon Theme Songs, complete with accompanying YouTube videos. Watching them took me back to a simpler time, back when cartoons were actually GOOD, and I was ecstatic to wake up at the crack of dawn on a Saturday. A few of my favorites were left off (no Darkwing Dark? That show was awesome!), but for the most part I found myself singing along with their picks. And now I'm left with a feeling of nostalgia that makes me want to go search Demonoid for old-school Disney cartoons.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Whale sharks taste yummy?

The AJC reports that Taiwan wants to whale shark consumption and trade by 2008. The bad news: we may not be able to get those two new whale sharks to replace fill the void left by Ralph's death earlier this year. The good news: people in Taiwan (and other countries where eating whale sharks is commonplace) are starting to recognize that the whale shark population is dwindling, and are concerned. Sales of whale shark meat (eww!) are decreasing, and at least three countries have forbidden whale shark fishing.

And because I think baby sharks are just as cute as baby pandas (in your face, Mei Lan!), here's a link to the zebra shark pups web cam. Aww!

Monday, May 21, 2007

The Golden Compass

There's FINALLY an official trailer for The Golden Compass movie:

I am beyond excited about this movie. I even went to the official movie website and "discovered" my daemon.

That was actually one aspect of the book that really appealed to me, the idea of your soul existing outside of your body. And mine is so cute!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Recipe Tuesday: Italian Chicken with Rotini Pasta and Easy Fruit Salad

Italian Chicken With Rotini Pasta:

1 lb boneless chicken cutlets
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon roasted garlic
1/4 cup white wine
12 ounces tri-color rotini pasta
1 (26-ounce) jar tomato/basil pasta sauce

1. Fill large saucepan half full of water. Cover and bring to a boil on high for pasta.
2. Preheat large sauté pan on medium-high 2–3 minutes. Season both sides of chicken with seasoned salt and Italian seasoning (wash hands). Place oil in pan; swirl to coat. Add chicken (wash hands); cook 2–3 minutes on each side or until lightly browned.
3. Stir pasta into boiling water. Boil 8–10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until tender.
4. Add roasted garlic and wine to chicken; cook 3–5 minutes or until internal temperature of chicken reaches 165°F. Use a meat thermometer to accurately ensure doneness.
5. Meanwhile, drain pasta and return to same pan. Stir in pasta sauce; cook on medium-high 3–4 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until thoroughly heated. Serve chicken over pasta.

Easy Fruit Salad:

1 pear (rinsed)
1 (8-ounce) can pineapple chunks in juice (drained)
1/2 cup pre-diced celery
1/2 cup light mayonnaise (or salad dressing)
1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
4 Bibb lettuce leaves (rinsed)

1. Quarter pear; remove and discard core. Chop pear into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 cup); place in medium bowl.
2. Add pineapple and celery; stir in mayonnaise and 1/3 cup of the walnuts. Chill until ready to serve.
3. Arrange lettuce leaves on serving plates; mound fruit mixture on lettuce and sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons walnuts. Serve.

Not much to say about this one...the chicken/pasta dish is really easy. But mayonnaise on fruit? That's nasty. Plus, everyone knows fruit salad must have cherries. WTF, recipe writers?

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Teh floor iz lava!!!1!

When your best friend and your boyfriend both love the same website, and you hear about it from them on the same day, you realize you should probably check it out. It's called I can has cheezburger, and it's in the same vein as Stuff On My Cat. Here's my favorite:

Mainly because my sister and I used to play this game all the time when we were little. Which reminds me of a sketch by one of my favorite comedians, Daniel Tosh:

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Cheer up, Emo!Spidey

Monday night, Tiffany, Eric, Pete, and I went to see Spider-Man 3. I wasn't really excited, because I had read all over about how crappy the movie was - one chick on even called it the worst movie ever - and I didn't want to go in with high expectations, because I knew it would just end up disappointing me.

Imagine my delight, then, when it actually turned out to be smack full of comedy gold. Black-suited Peter Parker turned into the cockiest emo-dork ever, complete with guyliner and lame-ass jazzy-finger-snapping.

Guyliner! Floppy emo-bangs! Total dork!

I even perfected a hair-flinging impersonation that cracked one girl at work up so much, I had to do it at least eleventy-billion times today and I think I now have whiplash. I still can't believe the movie made so much money. It's not horrible, just not very good. And it's frakkin' long. I don't think I could sit through it again. BDH did rock as Gwen Stacy, though, and I'll admit, I did get a little teary-eyed at the end. Of course, it could've been from yawning.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Recipe Tuesday: Blackberry Pork Chops, Horseradish Mashed Potatoes, and Green Beans

Blackberry Pork Chops:

1 1/2 pounds boneless pork loin chops (3/4-inch thick)
2 teaspoons Montreal steak seasoning
olive oil cooking spray
1/4 cup blackberry preserves
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon lemon juice
dash cinnamon
dash curry powder
1 cup fresh blackberries (optional, rinsed)

1. Preheat grill. Sprinkle both sides of pork with steak seasoning. Coat both sides of pork with cooking spray; place on grill (wash hands). Close lid (or cover loosely with foil).
2. Grill 4–5 minutes on each side or until internal temperature reaches 160°F (for medium). Use a meat thermometer to accurately ensure doneness.
3. Combine remaining ingredients (except blackberries) in small saucepan. Bring just to boiling on medium, stirring occasionally, to liquefy preserves. Cover and remove from heat.
4. Ladle sauce over pork chops and garnish with blackberries. Serve.

Horseradish Mashed Potatoes:

1 (24-ounce) package refrigerated mashed potatoes
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon horseradish

1. Place potatoes in microwave-safe bowl; cover and microwave on HIGH 3 minutes.
2. Stir in remaining ingredients. Microwave 3 more minutes on HIGH or until thoroughly heated. Stir and serve.

Green Beans:

1 (12-ounce) bag fresh snipped green beans (rinsed)
1 (14-ounce) can chicken broth
1 tablespoon cooked bacon pieces
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

1. Combine all ingredients in medium saucepan on high; cover and bring to boil.
2. Reduce heat to medium; cook 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until beans are desired tenderness. Serve.

Of course, the only thing I actually tried from this batch was the potatoes, and they were awesome. I love horseradish - I even use it in my egg salad sandwiches. Also, one (semi-annoying) customer gave me a great idea: he came up and asked, "Is this tofu?" EVEN THOUGH there was a big sign on the front of my booth that clearly read "PORK" AND I had the recipe cards (with the names of the dishes) prominently displayed in front of the food. So I was like, (exasperatedly) "No, sir [meaning: moron], it's pork chops." And then I thought, "but I bet tofu would be awesome!" So now I'll have to try that sometime.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

How do you explain racism to a 2nd grader?

My Wednesday mornings are spent as a "Book Buddy" at a local elementary school. I go, listen to the kids read their books, and occasionally help them when they have trouble with a word. Today really threw me for a loop, though. One little girl read me a story called The Bus Ride, which was about a little African-American girl who gets "arrested" for sitting at the front of a bus in the 1950's. I didn't care for the book - it wasn't particularly well-written or -illustrated (all of the "White" people looked Hispanic, I thought, and it seemed to trivialize the historical importance) - but it raised some interesting questions:

Girl: "But...wasn't Rosa Parker the first Black person to sit at the front of a bus?"
Me: "I'm not sure. We're taught that Rosa Parks was the first, but maybe there were others before her."
Girl: "Why did people care so much? It's not like it matters what color your skin is..."
Me: "Well, people didn't always feel that way, though. But it's good that you know that."

Wow. I really had no idea what to tell this poor kid. She even asked me who "the first Black person on earth was." If I really felt like getting in trouble with her parents, I would've told her that some people think Jesus was Black, or that humans originated in Africa.

You know, the fact that she couldn't comprehend the idea of racism makes me think that her parents are pretty cool people, and probably wouldn't have minded.

Vegans or baby killers?

That's the question asked by this article in today's AJC.

How about morons?

Seriously, how could these people not know that babies need more than just soy milk and APPLE JUICE to survive? Why wasn't the mother breast feeding? Are vegans anti-breast milk?

[tangent: This reminds me of an anecdote someone told in class a few weeks ago:
Classmate: You know, humans are the only animals that continue to drink milk after infancy.
Classmate's friend: That's because we're the only animals who also have cookies.
Hee. So true!]

Look, I'm not saying veganism is bad. I was a vegetarian for years, and only recently started eating seafood again. But I've always said that if (God forbid) I were to get pregnant, I would definitely start eating meat again. It's not right to inflict your lifestyle choices on other people, especially people who can't choose for themselves.

Stupid hippies.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Recipe Tuesday: Pork Steak Mojito with Island Potato Salad

Pork Steak Mojito:

6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 1/2 lbs Spanish-style pork cube steaks
8 ounces pre-sliced yellow onions
1 teaspoon adobo seasoning
3 fresh garlic cloves
1 lemon (for juice, rinsed)

1. Preheat large sauté pan on medium-high 2–3 minutes. Place 2 tablespoons of the oil in pan; swirl to coat. Add pork steaks (wash hands); cook 3–4 minutes on each side or until browned and internal temperature reaches 160°F. (Use a meat thermometer to accurately ensure doneness.) Remove from pan and cover to keep warm.
2. Reduce heat to medium; add remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil, onions, and adobo. Crush garlic, using garlic press, into pan. Use knife to remove garlic from bottom of press.
3. Squeeze juice of one-half lemon into pan (about 2 tablespoons). Cook 5–6 minutes or until onions are tender. Serve sauce over pork steaks.

Island Potato Salad:

1 cup tart apple slices
1 (16-ounce) container Deli NY-style potato salad
1/4 cup sliced green olives

1. Cut apples into bite-size pieces and place in salad bowl.
2. Stir in remaining ingredients, mixing gently, until blended. Chill until ready to serve.

Believe it or not, the potato salad is pretty tasty, once you get past the idea of mixing apples, olives, and potatoes together. Not sure about the pork - some people said it was "ok," one customer said it was too tough, and one lady told me it was "the best recipe we've ever had!" She may or may not have been drunk.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

On water bottles

Treehugger has an interesting article up: 70% of Americans Don't Know Plastic Is Made With Oil:

According to a recent nationwide online survey, 72 percent of the American public does not know that conventional plastic is made from petroleum products, primarily oil. Moreover, 40 percent of the respondents believe that plastic will biodegrade at some point. The survey was conducted by InsightExpress on behalf of Metabolix, a company that manufactures a biodegradable plastic made with corn. In their press release, Metabolix says "...Very few people realize that plastics are made from oil, further contributing to the problems of energy dependence, greenhouse gas emissions and depleting resources. In fact, nearly 10 percent of U.S. oil consumption - approximately 2 million barrels a day - is used to make plastic.

The first (and only) comment on the reddit page for this article states that the fact that the survey was done on behalf of Metabolix makes the results questionable, but I don't believe that. Truthfully, I'm not surprised - I don't think the majority of the people in this country care where plastic comes from, and even before reading this, I was pretty sure they didn't know where it came from.

We had a discussion about plastic bottles and bottled vs tap water in my Folklore and Literature class. Yes, it had to do with what we studying at the time - The Handmaid's Tale; it tied into the whole pollution-leading-to-dramatically-reduced-birthrate-and-male-impotence-theme of that book - and besides, our prof is a vegan feminist hippie. (Love!) Anyway, she asked us how many of us drink tap water rather than bottled, and everyone raised their hand. The issue for us (as poor college students) is cost: who wants to PAY for something that comes out of the facet for free? One girl said that she drank bottled when she was on campus, but that she reused the bottles. Our prof said that even reusing plastic bottles was unsafe, because of the harmful chemicals leached into the water. She suggested using Nalgene bottles, but I found an article that disagrees. And here's another article, from the same source, in which she clarifies her opposition to Nalgene bottles.

After our discussion in class, the girl that reused water bottles went out and bought a Nalgene bottle. I think all of us did, actually - I found a Rubbermaid bottle on clearance at work, and picked it up. After reading that second article (which claims that "2, #4, and #5 plastics are the best to use), I tried to figure out which one it was. There's no number on the bottom, so I guess I'll just have to take my chances. We do sell the bottled-in-bottles-made-from-corn water at the store, but I'm still unwilling to pay for something I can get for free at home.

Moby Dick goes on a diet

I set up digg, reddit, and accounts today, and I'm already glad I did because they introduced me to gems like this article, which discusses a publishing house chopping roughly 40% off classics in an effort to make them easier to read:

Research confirmed that “many regular readers think of the classics as long, slow and, to be frank, boring. You’re not supposed to say this but I think that one of the reasons Jane Austen always does so well in reader polls is that her books aren’t that long”.

First of all, Jane Austen does so well in reader polls because she's a great writer. Her books are witty and engaging, and filled with characters and situations that we can still relate to after 200 years.

Second of all, that is just sad. Go read the Cliffs Notes if you don't want to read the whole book, but don't read a watered-down version and think it's the same thing. Any English major could tell you that the 40% "filler" they're trimming is probably pretty important, even if it doesn't seem like it.

All things considered, though, it might be interesting to see what they do with someone like Faulkner. I couldn't finish Absalom, Absalom, but I don't think that makes me any less of a person. It certainly doesn't give me a desire to try reading it again, even with a condensed version.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Planet Unicorn, heyyy

This video is one of the greatest things I've ever seen:

The theme song is actually my favorite part - I've been singing it off and on for the past few days, driving everyone around me crazy.

The Goldilocks Planet

Scientists have discovered a new planet that could possibly support life, It's outside of our solar system, might actually be a giant ball of ice, and has a red dwarf sun, but hey! It's still a pretty discovery. As long as we don't try to colonize it or (God forbid) send missionaries. Oops. That was inappropriate.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Recipe Tuesday: Chipotle Shrimp and Fruit Sorbet

Chipotle Shrimp With Pasta:

8 ounces bowtie pasta
2 1/2 cups water
1 pound peeled/deveined shrimp (thawed, if frozen)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
large zip-top bag
1/4 cup chipotle marinade
4 ounces fresh gourmet mushroom blend
1/2 cup pre-diced fresh tomatoes
1/3 cup pre-sliced green onions
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt

1. Preheat 2-sided tabletop grill. Place pasta and water in large saucepan. Cover and bring to boil on medium-high. Remove lid and cook 6–8 minutes, stirring often, or until most of water is absorbed.
2. Place shrimp and cornstarch in large zip-top bag. Seal bag and shake to coat shrimp. Add marinade to bag, seal tightly, and knead to coat; set aside.
3. Stir remaining ingredients gently into pasta. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until thoroughly heated.
4. Place shrimp on grill and close lid (wash hands). Grill 3–4 minutes or just until shrimp turn pink. Serve over pasta.

Easy, right? Not so fast! Wait until you check out the dessert...

Fruit Sorbet:

1 (20-ounce) package frozen mixed fruit (contains peaches, melon, strawberries and grapes)
1 cup lemon lime soda
1/4 cup sugar

1. Process fruit in food processor, pulsing 15–20 times, or until fruit is chunky.
2. Add remaining ingredients and process 1–2 minutes or until smooth. Chill in freezer until ready to serve.

Believe it or not, this thing was a pain in the ass the first time I tried to make it. The store has two food processors, neither of which were designed to hold more than maybe two cups. So I had both of them going, trying to chop up the fruit. When one would finish, I had to dump the chopped-up fruit into a separate bowl, then go through the whole process again. It took about 20 minutes to chop up the fruit this way, and it made a huge mess - chunks of strawberries and melons everywhere. And THEN, when I finally got everything all mixed up together (which was actually a lot easier to do after the fruit was initially broken down), I had to put it in the freezer to...well....freeze. And the freezer I have at my disposal at work is pitiful. Did I mention I had already started the pasta before attempting the sorbet, and that by the time I finished up with this mess, it was stuck to the pot and completely useless? Yeah, I had to throw it out and start over. By the time I finished the shrimp, the fruit was nowhere near sorbet, more just a goopy mess. The lesson: make sure you use a big enough food processor, and that although a watched pot never boils, you should keep an eye on it anyway, or you'll ruin your pasta.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

This one time, in Philly...

To celebrate new comic book day (and to show off that one time that I met Chris Giarrusso and he did a Nightcrawler sketch for me), here are some pictures from WWPhilly 2005:

Good times.

Comics I picked up today: Ultimate Spider-Man #108, Ultimate X-Men #81, Gen 13 #7, and (two Mike Turner covers) JLA #8 and Fallen Son: The Death of Captain America. I haven't had a chance to read them yet, but I will have some more free time next month because I've almost finished this semester - hurrah!

And the good news keeps coming: I got excepted into the MAT (Master of Arts in Teaching) program that I applied for, and Mom and Ralph have decided to get (real) internet. High speed arrives in one week, and I cannot wait!

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Landlord

This is arguably Will Farrell's best work:

The Landlord

Monday, April 09, 2007

Nintendo, call me.

A slightly reconstructed conversation between myself and my Code Monkey, in which I try to help him redeem himself for forgetting about Valentine's Day:

One month to go:
Me: Don't forget, Easter is a chocolate-and-possibly-flowers-holiday.
CM: I know.

Two weeks to go:
Me: Now remember, Easter is a chocolate-flowers-and-possibly-stuffed-animal-holiday.
CM: That's...not what you said before, but ok.

Three days to go:
Me: You know, sweetie, that Easter is a chocolate-flowers-stuffed-animal-and-possibly-video-game-system-holiday, right?
CM: What the...?! Says who?
Me: Haven't you heard of the "Wii-ster" Bunny?
CM: That's cute, but you're not getting a Wii for Easter.
Me: How about a DS? The "D-ster Bunny"?
CM: No.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

New Comic Wednesday

I thought today was going to be a light day for comic purchases - I didn't pick up the new JLA because Michael Turner didn't do the cover, and my BFF was going to get her own copy of Buffy #2, which meant that I only had two books on my pull list: Runaways #25 (written by Joss!) and Danger Girl: Body Shots #1. Fortunately (or "Un-", if you're my bank account), my LCS guy got in a whole slew of back issues for me. So now my Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane set is almost complete and I finally got that copy of Fathom: Kiani #1. "Finally" is probably not the best choice of words, since it's only been a week, but it feels like much longer.

Anyway, yay! comics. If I didn't have a 20-page research paper due in a week, I'd be knee-deep in reading right now.

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Monday, April 02, 2007

Neil Gaiman One Step Closer to Sainthood?

This is actually one of the funnier April Fool's jokes I've seen this year. It's also awesome, because I kinda wish it were true. Not the "Neil Gaiman being dead" part, but the "Gaiman is patron saint of hand cramps" part. I'd like to have someone specific to pray to when I feel an onset of carpal tunnel in the middle of class.

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.