sarea: (YOUR FACE)
Avengers fandom things.

* If you're into Clint/Natasha, or might be into Clint/Natasha but aren't sure, or have already been or have been wanting to get into fandom, there's a promptathon going on at the C/N comm here. Meet some people, leave some prompts (which you can do this whole week). Or if you're a hermit like me, don't meet people and just leave prompts. :)) Seriously, the more prompts, the better. If you aren't sure about the ship and want to read a certain kind of story to see if you can get into it, leave a prompt. If you love the ship and want to see some GP thing, leave a prompt. Prompt filling starts at the end of this week, and it's a very casual thing. All prompts are open to any kind of fanwork, and can be used by more than one artist.

* Avengers Assemble #5. The Natasha/Bucky shippers went apeshit on Tumblr because of this and this. I made a comment that I hoped the comic would continue to go in that direction, and I got a couple of eye-roll inducing PMs from Natasha/Bucky shippers/trolls that made me temporarily turn off anonymous mail. They both said something along the lines of, "It's not going to happen, this was an OOC moment. Natasha is dating Bucky and Clint is with Jessica." Oh yes, because in fiction and in real life, there's no such thing as breaking up. Especially in comics. They're all super faithful and never get it on with other people and are involved in permanent unions. Seriously? We haven't gotten to a place yet where we can just let other people ship what they want to ship, even if we might disagree with or hate it? Is it just because Tumblr's full of teenagers? I guess I'm just too old and have been involved in fandom in general for too long (~13 years). Flame wars are stupid and pointless. Ship what you fucking want to ship and let others do the same, jesus.

* I have written two whole stories! They both need editing like crazy, then beta after that, but it is exciting just to have finished a story (much less two). Regular writing is a skill that's evaded me for so long that I thought I'd never get it back. But thanks to a little "program" Jade's helping me with, I seem to be back in the rhythm of writing. It's a good feeling, even if what I produce is crap. I'm slowly getting over the stress and pressure of feeling like I have to produce something better than anything I've written before. I need to get back in the mindset of writing for me, writing things I want to read, and to hell with everyone else. Well, you know, not really, I love everyone else. But you know what I mean.

* Ohmygod, I just love RDJ. He showed up at Comic Con to judge a kids' Iron Man costume contest. My favorite bits:



:)))))))))))))

* Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier. I am... cautiously extremely excited about this. :D I kind of went on about this longer than I intended. )

In non-Avengers news:

* In the past few days I have baked three loaves of bread using Cooks Illustrated's Almost No-Knead Bread recipe, and it's been a rousing success. I may never make bread any other way again.

* I've started watching Leverage. Shhh don't tell Jade. Unless she happens to see this. :)) I'm planning on telling her once I've finished S1. My problem with the show is that it's too caper-y. I don't like capers -- or at least, not enough to watch hours and hours of it (one movie, like Ocean's 11, is about my limit). All the resolutions are so convenient that the plots don't hold my interest, because none of it really seems to matter much. It'll all get fixed in the end in some easy way. Plus I'm not a Timothy Hutton fan. I do like Christian Kane (though he's so much puffier than his days on Angel, and I'm not into his long hair), and I like Eliot & Hardison, but I don't know if I like them enough to watch the show just for them (they're no Troy & Abed). I like Sophie okay, but she's Nate's love interest, and I'm meh about Parker as a character. Of course, these are all thoughts from the first half of S1 so I could change my tune.

* I'm going to start watching Psych because T. is totally into it and I want to see what the fuss is about.

* I finally finished all of House. Boy were those final three seasons torturous. Possibly spoilery comments. )
sarea: (mcnulty)
I FIXED MY WATER HEATER! Yay. I found the breaker panel (it was in the garage) and it wasn't super well labeled so it took me two attempts, but I found the right ones for the water heater. The switch wasn't actually in the "off" position, so I was a little afraid that that wasn't the answer, but as soon as I flipped it back and forth, I saw the little light on the heater's control panel go on. There was a small moment of panic when, checking it again after 15 minutes to make sure it was still on, it was instead giving one blink, meaning that there was a start-up failure. So I flipped the breaker back and forth again but had to run off to dinner with [personal profile] slitherhither so couldn't wait around to see if it had really taken the second time. When I got home, it was blinking. I finally had to pull out the owner's manual and figure out that I actually needed to reset it (consisting of changing from one mode to another). And after that it was all good! I woke this morning and was able to take a hot shower, yay!

So dinner last night was at Lark and had a blast with B. Good convo, good food, it's nice to be an adult. I'd been to Lark once before and it was good, but last night was better than my first experience. What we ate. )

Lunatix Loop, the Matt Leacock game I bought from that guy in the UK, arrived the other day. Yay! Sadly I didn't do a lot of research on it beforehand, and it turns out that it's a 4-player game. >< BUT the cool thing is that our little group will have one more player come June... because that is when [profile] jade_okelani is visiting! Eeeeeeee! She's purchased her tickets and everything. I'm trying to plan out our itinerary -- because I'm like that -- and there's just NOT ENOUGH TIME to do everything. She's only going to be here 7 days, and there are a number of things we've planned that are immovable (such as seeing American Idiot, which is going to be here during that time! Actually that helped us narrow the dates), and so very many things we'd like to do. So that's exciting.

Nearly forgot. I wanted to share my favorite buttermilk biscuits recipe with you guys. I know, I know, everyone has their own favorite recipe for buttermilk biscuits, but I swear this is the best! Mile-high biscuits. )

And finally -- Game of Thrones renewed for season 3! Not that there was really any doubt. As expected they're going to split ASoS into two seasons. [personal profile] grrm has already said which episode he's going to write in S3. And he still thinks he can finish the book series before the the TV show catches up with the current published text? HA. The producers also confirm that, as I theorized, they're planning to deal with AFFC and ADWD as "one" text, since they deal with parallel events.
sarea: (jeremy renner's face)
I have slowly but surely been developing a huge crush on Jeremy Renner. HIS FACE. He wins at everything.

I don't think I realized that he was starring in the fourth Bourne film (I like Matt Damon and those movies). That makes me SUPER EXCITED for it. I would normally not be into any franchise movie without the original star, but... JEREMY RENNER. Plus Edward Norton is in it! And Joan Allen's back! I'm so there.

He's practically the only reason to watch Mission Impossible 4 (which was admittedly a fun action flick). And of course, he's one of the many, many reasons I'm excited about The Avengers.

Pink's video for "Trouble," which is a great song but a fairly ridiculous video, is watchable because Jeremy's in it. True story.

Also, this.



I made this lemon-scented pull-apart coffee cake today. It's pretty time consuming, as most baked goods involving yeast are, but it's delish (and makes your house smell awesome). Pictures and some baking notes. )

The other day while at Whole Foods I impulsively picked up a couple of heirloom tomatoes, even though they're not exactly in season yet and the price was outrageous (hurry up and get here, summer! I want to eat ALL YOUR TOMATOES). Today I made a simple and delicious tomato sandwich, recipe courtesy of Saveur. It's not much of a recipe, really. Just thickly slice a tomato. Butter two thin slices of toast, then spread mayo on both (yes, BOTH butter and mayo). Stack a few tomato slices inside, add a smidgen of salt and a tiny bit of sugar, then devour. It's incredible. I might've eaten two of these sandwiches. >.>

Tonight I'm going to be healthier. Making my favorite black cod dish along with a stir-fry vegetable medley. D made it for us for dinner last night, and I scarfed tons of it. Sometimes nothing is better than a heaping plate of veggies. Afterward he, K and I played a few games of Pandemic, none of which we won, lol. I couldn't really tell if D was all that into it; I know K really likes it though. Pandemic's turning into a pandemic. :))
sarea: (jesse peekaboo)
It's Cookie Mule's bday celebration tomorrow. At first I was going to make cookies -- appropriate since he's my Cookie Mule -- but they turned out horrible. I made sugar cookie sandwiches with raspberry cream in the middle. Sounds pretty good, right? Except I only had wheat flour and used that, and they tasted SO WEIRD. I couldn't make anyone eat them.

I was inspired by [personal profile] rainpuddle13 and the idea of cookies & cream cupcakes, so I went looking for recipes and finally found one I liked. I really wanted to have the cookies IN the batter as well as the frosting. The speckled look of Oreos in milkshakes and what not is partly what makes them so delicious!

Cookies & Cream Cupcakes

I need to go to bed before I go downstairs and eat every single one.
sarea: (morgana)
I have been crazy productive this weekend. Well, for me.

The weather's been cold but not rainy, so I finally took the opportunity to clean out my raised garden bed, which was full of weeds and crap from the previous season. This summer I basically did no gardening, unlike the previous summer, which ended up being a good thing since I was away for most of it anyway, and a garden was the last thing on my mind. Besides, it didn't really even start to get warm this summer until August, so it would have been another exercise in frustration. BUT! I've decided I'd like to garden again next season, so in preparation I cleaned out the bed and planted some cover crop, which will hopefully infuse the soil with some nutrients. That is, if the freaking birds don't eat all the seeds; I saw half a dozen of them in/around the bed today, merrily poking away. Hopefully there were just some seeds on the surface that they were eating; most of them should be buried in the soil. Birds don't usually dig for seeds, do they? Wouldn't most gardening be impossible if they did? Then again they do dig for worms... and if a tasty seed should happen to be there... SIGH. Birds!

The other thing is ... I mowed the lawn! Well, the half of it that's considered my "backyard," anyway. It wasn't that long, but I figured I'd do it, as it'd be good exercise and also prevention from it getting as bad as it got before. It remains to be seen whether I will do the other half, which is also dependent on weather.

I also cleaned out my AeroGarden, in preparation for another round of herbs! This time I'm going to try to make my own pods, rather than purchasing their overpriced seed kits. We'll see if that ends up being a big fail or not.

I actually watched last night's Merlin! Though this was because [personal profile] akscully emailed me just saying "oh my." I had to find out whether that "oh my" was "oh my, we got to see Gaius naked" or if it was actually something good. Spoilers! )

And finally, I made banana bread with the three overripe bananas I've had sitting around for a week.

/collapses

My reward for all this hard work is that tonight is the first night of Restaurant Week! Poppy is up first. Meeting K in about an hour!

This is what we ate. )
sarea: (peggy don)
Spring must be around the corner. My flist is full of people posting cute shoes, dresses, and handbags that they've obtained or will obtain in the near future. <3 ALL SO CUTE. Personally I really want this pair of Badgley Mischka heels but Nordstrom only has them in a size 10. /weeps

I envy y'all because it's SO not spring here yet. It freakin poured snow 2 nights ago. (You know the expression "pouring rain"? It was coming down like that but it was snow instead of rain. Not cute little flakes. Crazy.) /wistful sigh

Restaurant Week starts this Sunday and I am excited but also frazzled because I feel like time is FLYING by and I can't keep up with it. It all begins with Mistral Kitchen w/ K. for lunch, which I am looking forward to, but I'd completely forgotten about it until today. >.> I can't believe how packed April is, and then I'll be in Chicago! Eeek. [personal profile] ropo and I are very excited. Our Nikon D40s will be working overtime.

Nearly done with Carnivale. I have really mixed feelings about this show. It is really well done in many respects, and I like that, from the beginning, there were no MotW type stories and it was pure mytharc. Yet there's still something missing, and I think it's the fact that I don't feel strongly about any of the characters. It's not that they're badly drawn or anything; in fact I like a good number of them. But I don't feel strongly about them.

My coworker C. went to Singapore (where she grew up) last week and brought me back these handmade Peranakan cookies that are amazingly delicious. They're tiny so I keep eating them! The cookie part is like a short crust pastry (they're all freakin' hand pinched omg), and the middle is a little mound of hand-shaved pineapple. I'm so ungrateful but I'm like, you couldn't have brought me more? I could eat like 10 tins of this stuff. Of course it's probably best that I don't.

I am thinking of making some salted caramel cupcakes. Y/N?

Edit: Just saw some awesome cards [personal profile] rainbow_connec mentioned on her LJ. Love them!



Other favorites... )
sarea: (Default)
Well I was caught up with Fringe, but then I guess they aired another episode the other day (honestly, the idea), so now I need to watch that in order to be properly caught up. /sigh

What I've been watching most recently since catching up with Fringe is Boardwalk Empire, which I loved initially, but waned on midway through. Did you know Mark Wahlberg is an executive producer and Martin Scorsese directed the pilot episode? Sheesh, what a pedigree for a TV series. Anyway, the first couple of episodes were really well done. After that, I thought some of the elements were really rushed and the characterization has been rather uneven. It's sort of trying to be Mad Men, only during the Prohibition era, but it's frankly not as well done.

I also finally started Devil in the White City by Erik Larson. I love nonfiction that reads like fiction (like Jon Krakauer's books). I'm very impressionable, though, and I don't know if it's actually a great choice to read this book right before I visit Chicago for the first time, lol. I'm like, OMG, sewage and corpses of dogs and cats in the streets! Buildings that sink into the ground! Murderers running amok!

I made Flour's Famous Banana Bread last week and I think it might be my new favorite banana bread recipe. It's still incredibly moist nearly 5 days later, the crumb is very tender, and it's full of banana goodness without being too banana-y.

Saw the DG gals this weekend, which is always fab, except that now I have ONE BILLION (approximately) LEFTOVERS. I don't know how I'm going to do it.

This is one of the best flash mobs I've ever seen, probably because it was sponsored by a corporation, but still. Really good. Welcome home. )
sarea: (Default)
Living Social's deal today: $9 for 2 tickets to Fandango. Pretty good deal if you go to watch movies at all (or is an excuse to go!). Limit 1 per person. The promo amount expires in June, but the amount you pay is still good for some time after that, which is unusual and pretty cool of them to do.

I am the laziest person in the mornings (and okay, in general). I will do almost anything to be able to sleep 10 minutes longer. I set my alarm for 20-30 minutes earlier, so that I have time to put on my makeup and maybe grab a little breakfast, or if I'm REALLY ambitious, I set the alarm even earlier and figure I might curl my hair. More often than not -- in fact, almost always -- I stagger out of bed when the alarm goes off (my 'alarm' is just a CD player, but it's not next to the bed), re-set the alarm for 10-20 minutes later, and dive back under the covers. This happens 1-2 times, each time justifying in my head why I am allowed to sleep a little longer. When I finally can't avoid it anymore, I get out of bed and rush through what I have to do, because at this point I have to rush or I'll be late. There's minimal makeup (if any; sometimes I end up putting it on in the car), no breakfast, and definitely no hair curling. On the better days, now that I have a Keurig, sometimes there is a cup of coffee.

So yesterday was a pretty typical morning for me. I threw on what was convenient that wasn't my pajamas and ran out of the house. It wasn't until I got to work that I realized I was wearing my shirt that has the Hogwarts coat of arms on the front. "Maybe no one will notice," I thought. Except EVERYONE noticed and felt they had to make a comment about it. I brazened my way through most of the comments -- "I am wearing this because I am just a really cool person" -- but omg it was pretty embarrassing. It wasn't just people I knew, perfect strangers commented (though they were usually nicer, like, "I like your shirt"). It was really hard not to be overly defensive, like, "I KNOW WHAT YOU'RE THINKING, THAT I MUST WRITE HARRY POTTER FANFIC. WELL I DON'T. I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT FANFIC IS."

And the day before THAT, on the bus on the way home, I suddenly had a HUGE craving for steak. Like, I had to have it. It was the first day of Aunt Flo's visit and I guess I felt like I needed to replenish my body with iron or something, because I was determined to have a bloody steak for dinner. I even thought about going to Outback or something, but I'm trying to be more responsible when it comes to my budget, and eating steak in restaurants is kind of a waste when it's so easy to do at home. I also desperately needed to pee. So of COURSE this is the week that Safeway has no steaks on special. Thank goodness for my Windows Phone 7 because I was able to check the weekly specials at Fred Meyer next door and see that they had NY steaks on 'sale' (in quotes because I don't think $4.99/lb is really that great a price, especially for supermarket steak, but certainly better than the $8-10/lb Safeway was asking for theirs), so I booked it over. Actually this was in the midst of rush hour, so even though it was right next door, it still took like 10 minutes. There was ONE package of NY steaks with the special pricing left, and I swear, had anyone else approached them at that point, I would have been like, "I will KILL you." I guess I was inspired by Jamie Oliver (I've been watching his "30-Minute Meals" episodes and they're seriously awesome, I'm kind of in love with him now), because I had dinner done in half an hour. Steak, broccoli, cheesy English muffins, and mashed potatoes and gravy. Everything but the last I made/cooked; the potatoes were nuked leftovers. And last night I made potatoes for real -- Jamie's "cheat" on roasted potatoes, and they were quick and sooooo good.

I've been continuing to noodle about what to make for the Dinner with 12 Strangers this Saturday, and last night took out Rose's Heavenly Cakes by Rose Levy Beranbaum. I love her books but I know from other stuff I've made by her that she is NOT beginner friendly. Man is this especially true of this book!! This one cake recipe was like, no joke, TEN PAGES LONG. They are all gorgeous though. I'll have to scan some of them and show you guys. I think there are two possibilities that I have in mind right now. One is a Gâteau Breton, which is basically like a tart-cake-shortbread combo type thing, and the other is something I'll have to cobble together from an idea I got looking through the book: an orange-flavored cake with orange curd, covered with a chocolate ganache. Chocolate and orange together is a flavor combination that, after years of trying it out, I've finally started to enjoy very much.

Edit: Does anyone have £3,000 they want to lend me? Or give me, I'm not picky. Ted Nasmith is apparently selling some of his original artwork, including the art he did for the A Song of Ice and Fire 2011 calendar (which [personal profile] ropo got me for Christmas :D). Probably my favorite is the one of Winterfell, though I also like Castle Black and The Wall, and Storm's End (couldn't find a direct link).
sarea: (nathan hug)
This weekend I'm going to participate in "Dinner with 12 Strangers," which is a UCLA alumni program where a Bruin alumni in a local city hosts a dinner and other local Bruins sign up to attend. It's my first one, and the first time this host has done it as well. I don't know how it's normally done, but she's allowing everyone to bring a guest (probably because she's married and her husband will be there), which I kind of feel is contrary to the intent of this thing. I mean, it's supposed to be dinner with 12 strangers, not 24 of them, one of whom is your spouse. Plus, it's supposed to be for UCLA alumni, which half the people probably won't be. I mean, I love the idea of 12 (I guess it would be 13) people sitting around, having one thing in common (where they went to school), and getting to know each other. Or if you're hosting, you alone have the privilege of also having your significant other there. Now I have to hope that I am not the only person not bringing someone, and have an awkward singleton situation a la Bridget Jones/Carrie Bradshaw.

The good news is that originally I was put in the group to bring beverages, while the other group was supposed to bring desserts or side dishes. Me and another woman asked if anyone wanted to switch, and luckily two people spoke up who were like, "Ohmygod I can't cook, switch with me!" So now I get to bring a dessert or side dish. Right now I'm leaning toward dessert, but I haven't decided what to make. I should probably go with something I've made before that will at least be edible and look nice (like the cheesecake or designer apple pie), but I'm also selfish and like to try new things to entertain myself, so I'm kind of leaning toward doing something new (if it's a disaster, I can always run to Bakery Nouveau and get their chocolate cake to bring... and maybe take credit for it... just kidding!). I'd like it to be something more fancy than cookies or a sheet cake. Anyone have any ideas? :D

Had a lovely time with [personal profile] adelagia, [personal profile] slitherhither, and [profile] lyndsiefenele on Saturday. Despite the freezing cold and snow, we walked around Greenlake! 3 times! And we helped B. unpack and put away all her boxes from moving! Then we caught a goose and killed it (humanely) to roast for our homemade 7-course dinner!

OK fine, I sort of made all that up. What we did was play board games and eat at two restaurants and one hot chocolate bar. SO SUE US. For lunch we went to Jhanjay, a vegetarian Thai restaurant. I usually need meat of some kind, but curry is the one type of food in which vegetables alone hit the spot for me, because there are already so many other flavors going on. Also, Ta. tried to summit a mountain (of mushrooms) and got 3/4ths of the way there before she had to call in the EVAC team (aka, me and Ti.). Afterward we went to Chocolati for hot chocolate. We all got varying sizes of the Europa, which is twice the amount of chocolate as in their regular house version, and ohmyGOD it was basically like drinking melted chocolate. In fact, it was lukewarm because they can only heat it up so much otherwise the chocolate burns and it's no good. But since I like my drinks as hot as possible, I think next time (and yes, there will be a next time), I'm just going to get the house version. For dinner we tried Satay, a new restaurant that serves "Malaysian street food." I thought it was a little disappointing, to be honest. The food was definitely okay, but when I think of street food, I think cheap and messy. Instead it was served in real plates/bowls, the portions were kind of small, my laksa was not hot or spicy enough, and the prices were a bit high. It was like... fancy street food. I'd rather eat off a paper plate and have more food. It wasn't like the place was super posh!

So... the Oscars poll was a bust. Sorry guys, I messed it up. Basically only 4 of us completed the whole thing. >< This is primarily because I had missed a bunch of categories the first time around, so the people who took it early either didn't see that they needed to go back to fill out the others, or didn't feel like it, so most of the entries were incomplete. Oh wells, maybe next year I won't be so lame. I can always hope, right? I must give myself a personal kudos though, because in my neverending competition with [profile] jade_okelani, I fared OK this year! I got only 1 fewer correct answer than her, and if I hadn't been lazy and lame and gone to change one of my answers like I'd been planning to, we would have tied!

As for what I thought of the results... )
sarea: (arthur profile)
With that subject line, is it possible I don't have your attention? :P

I hope the DG gals don't mind, but we didn't finish all of the cheesecake at work so I'm bringing it with me to our get together tomorrow! It was the first time I'd made this particular cheesecake (and second time overall), a recipe from Dorie Greenspan. I was worried because the photo of the cheesecake in the cookbook is pale on top, whereas my cheesecake was very brown (as it says it should be in the recipe). There was a post about her cheesecake on Dorie's blog, so I replied and asked about it. I was wondering if I'd missed a step or something. You don't know how excited I was when I checked my email this morning and saw an email from Dorie! It is so cool that she took the time to respond to me and so quickly. (Answer: She doesn't know why the photo shows the cheesecake being pale on top, when she makes it, it turns brown just as mine did.)

Cheesecake pictures. )

In other, totally frivolous news... Bradley James is one of the 10 'finalists' in the poll for Mortal Instruments casting (as Jace)! Eeeeeeee!!!!! Go vote for him! He's a tad old for the role, but they always cast older anyway. And even if he won there's of course no guarantee that he would actually be offered the role or would even want to take it, but I would hope that at that point it would at least be a possibility. :D So I must once again say: BRADLEY JAMES FOR JACE!
sarea: (joan)
I am feeling pretty accomplished! But tired... so tired. This week has felt about 3 weeks long.

Cheesecake - in oven!

Strawberry sauce - done!

Tax return - filed!

Reviews of the last 5 movies I watched - rewritten! Thoughts! Lots and lots of thoughts. )

Handbag I've been coveting - obtained! Yes!!! )

Pets - cute! )

Oh, I need to pimp the Academy Awards poll once again since we are getting so close, just a couple of days to go now. Remember, if you've already taken it, if you haven't already done so, you should probably go back and fill out the second poll I had to post because my first one left out a number of categories. Here is the first part; here is the second part. Fill out both parts for a complete entry. There's also an optional 'sentimental' version of both polls if you feel like doing those. :-)

hihi!

Feb. 15th, 2011 09:45 am
sarea: (mulder & scully)
I'm in a good mood this morning, who knows why. Maybe it's the lemon ricotta cookies I made last night (they were soooooooooo good). They're almost more like little cakes. Or maybe it's the breakfast I had (mashed avocado on an English muffin). Or maybe it's looking forward to my lunch (leftover chicken fried turkey club sandwich from Spring Hill). Who knows. WHY ASK WHY.

I'm now reading a book recommended by [profile] corianderstem called In the Woods, by Tana French. Summary: When a 12-year-old girl is found murdered with chilling similarities to the disappearance 20 years ago of two children who had been his best friends, Rob Ryan and his partner must probe deep into the victim's troubled family history. I'm enjoying it so far -- Ryan and his partner have a Mulder-and-Scully thing going on (though to be honest I wish they didn't).

This weekend, A. and I are going to do a "meet and greet" with our cats. :D If they get along, A. has very kindly agreed to watch Jaime while I'm in Chicago. (Speaking of Chicago, waiting has paid off! My airfare has dropped by $72!) Then we're going to The Market Arms, where I'm going to likely get a classic "full English" breakfast. :D :D :D

So I guess there was a big uproar at the Grammys because there was a bunch of upsets (sorry, Justin Bieber fans). I looked at the winners list, and Lady Antebellum, who I'd never even heard of before, won all these categories with their song Need You Now, including Record of the Year (it's the title track). I really, really like the song, but I'm not sure I get why it's sooooo fantastic. It doesn't seem particularly unique or a breakthrough or anything. It's lovely though. And Arcade Fire won Album of the Year. WTF is the difference between Record and Album? Is there really a big enough difference to warrant two separate categories?

If you're looking for a distraction today, fill out my 2011 Academy Awards poll!
sarea: (Default)
Chicago question: What is the parking like? It it hard to find/super expensive? Are there ever any free parking spots anywhere? [personal profile] ropo and I may rent a car, in which case we'd need to find parking for it during the day. The evening isn't a problem, because if we rented a car it would be because we're staying with someone just outside of town. Or would it be better to drive to a convenient public transport location (like the train?), park there, then take public transport into the city? I have no idea what Chicago's like.

Funnily enough, I've been rewatching one of my favorite shows of all time, Prison Break, and it takes place in/around Chicago. :)) I'm like, let's go visit the fake Fox River Penitentiary!

I have the Oscars poll all ready to go, and will post it on Monday. :D

Tonight I will be making Pioneer Woman's chocolate cake that [personal profile] mynuet posted about in her LJ recently. Tomorrow is a coworker's birthday, and I'm using the opportunity to make a big sheet cake without having to eat it all myself.

This is one of the most horrible things I've ever read about. I admit, if the same thing had happened to human beings I probably would not be nearly as affected. But there is something about the mistreatment of animals -- especially dogs -- that really affects me.
sarea: (jayne)
Soooo no "Water for Elephants" tonight after all. [profile] jade_okelani emailed me yesterday warning me not to go, because it was all over Twilight fandom and it was going to be a madhouse of obsessive Twilight fangirls, as it was the first screening of the movie. Someone "in the know" also posted to a messageboard that it could get postponed. Anyway, Jade knows I'm deathly allergic to big crowds, especially when a crazy crush of fangirls are involved. So I emailed [personal profile] adelagia and [profile] lyndsiefenele, bailing on our plans, because yeah, no thank you. About 30 seconds after I sent the email, the company called and said that "due to technical difficulties" the screening of the movie had been postponed, lol.

Even though those plans are now scrapped, we decided to get together tonight anyway. :D I still had some pate brisee in the fridge from when I made homemade Pop Tarts, and had been noodling with the idea of making Rose Levy Berenbaum's Designer Apple Pie. I decided to go for it since I could share it with the other gals tonight. I didn't have enough pie dough to make the fancy leaves for the border (and also, I don't have a leaf cutout), but I think it otherwise turned out well. Viola! Pie. )
sarea: (nathan kelly)
1) Howard Overman, who created and writes Misfits, is one of my favorite writers for Merlin. I was worried that with the success of Misfits, he would stop writing for Merlin, but he's said he will write for S4. Woohoo!

2) So many good things coming in April. HBO's Game of Thrones premiere. City of Fallen Angels. Hmm that might be all. But both those things are so exciting it's like having 10 things!

3) This weekend I am going to make homemade Pop Tarts, from Flour, with strawberry filling. Only thing is making the pate brisee, which is easy enough, but then you have to wait for it to chill and I'm an instant gratification sort of person. Also, my kitchen is not ideal for making pastry, because of the limited counter space. Oh my kingdom for counter space!

4) The Snickers Kudos bar I just ate was really good, and it was only 100 calories. That means I can eat 10 of them, right?

5) I am one episode away from finishing Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. I've enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would, and am bummed that they never got a third season. I mean... even Roswell got a (terrible) third season and that went off the rails in S2. I guess the ratings for T:TSCC must've been really bad ... or bad enough for what I am assuming was a fairly expensive show to make. It's too bad.

6) I've made my own balsamic vinaigrette to take to work when I get salads. I just don't like their salad dressings. I feel kind of lame taking my bottle to the cafe, but oh well.

7) With Swag Bucks, Bing Rewards, and the Living Social deal, I now have $40 in Amazon g.c.s! I think what I'm going to do is build up my Amazon credit this way, and eventually I'll have enough to buy an eReader. I don't need one immediately, and I can just slowly build up to one.

8) So... I used to hate Swiss cheese. It was flavorless and pointless to me. But I guess as I've gotten older my palate has changed, because now I find myself wanting to put Swiss cheese in my sandwiches and burgers. Gruyere is still my fave cheese, though! Jade recently found a gruyere-cheddar melange at Trader Joe's that is AWESOME.

9) I'm still loving my Keurig. Favorite flavor: Tully's Kona blend. I don't even know why I bother trying any others, because that one is heads above the next best.

10) I'm going to be better this year about taking more vacation time during the year so I can spread it out, rather than lumping it all up at the end. With carry-over vacation, I have 8 weeks this year. I don't plan to use it all, but I need to use at least 4 weeks. Anyway, I'd like to go somewhere in the U.S. where I've never spent significant time (nixed: most of California, NYC, Boston, Washington D.C., D.C.-area Virginia and Maryland, Las Vegas, Hawaii). Any suggestions? Where do you think I should go and why? I'm looking for ideas!
sarea: (arthur in bed)
It is so, so hard to get out of bed when it's dark outside. Ughghgh. I'm draaaaaggginggggg...

I wish [personal profile] adelagia hadn't introduced me to Merlin until like, 10 seasons down the line, so I would have that much more to watch. Now I have to impatiently wait for new episodes to air! Argh! This does not work well for my instant gratification personality. I'm also trying to get Jade to watch the show. She may start this weekend. I'm totally obsessing about this show now, I've even loaded my fave episodes onto my iPod. Edit: The Internet is useless and failing me. Isn't ANYone doing amusing recaps of this show a la Television Without Pity??! I've half a mind to start doing my own!

Remember the other day when I mentioned I had baked really awesome bread using instant yeast? I finally made a post about it on my food blog. Here's a preview photo. )

Restaurant Week in Seattle is Oct. 17-28, and I made a bunch of placeholder reservations at the places I wanted to go to, thinking it was only wishful thinking. But actually I have made plans to go to almost every single one! Yay!! There are still two reservations that I haven't confirmed plans for, so if anyone is interested in going to either Dahlia Lounge or Mistral Kitchen, let me know!
sarea: (lady gaga)
I made some really awesome espresso-chocolate shortbread cookies over the weekend. I didn't actually expect them to be that good. I ate them with an Americano for breakfast this morning, and I really needed all that caffeine because I am DRAGGING this morning.

===

I found all the reviews that I wrote for various XF episodes way back in the day (11 years ago), because when I first got into fandom I created a fan site rather than writing fanfic. Boy, are some of those reviews embarrassing. I didn't try to pretend like I was a completely objective observer; I definitely was into MSR, however sometimes I tried for at least a semblance of talking about the merits of each episode outside the MSR, with varying degrees of success. Sometimes though, I didn't even bother to try.

There's also "Time Out of Joint," the WIP that I was working on with Brandon Ray. It's one of the stories I was proudest of, except that midway through writing it, I lost interest in XF and Brandon didn't feel much like working on it either. He was a good friend of mine, but once our interests diverged we didn't keep in close contact (that seems to always happen with me). A few years after I'd dropped out of fandom I heard that Brandon had passed away unexpectedly. It still flips me out every time I think of it. In any case, part of me feels like I should finish TOoJ, because we put in a lot of effort on it, it was a good story, and it seems like a complete waste that it'll never be finished. But another part of me feels that writing/finishing the story without Brandon would be wrong, and in any case, I don't have any notes or anything from that time period anymore, so I'm not clear where we were going with it, what should happen, etc. I'd have to make it all up on my own, which seems like a lot of effort for someone who hasn't written XF fanfic in a decade. I try to think of what Brandon would want me to do, and I'm pretty sure he'd just say, "Do whatever you want. :-)" He drove me inSANE in many ways, but at the end of the day he was the first person I ever met online, he was a good friend of mine, and I miss him.

===

Tonight I think I'm going to attempt a dish that I've been wanting to try ever since I saw it. It's a lot of freaking effort for what amounts to roasted tomatoes and spaghetti, but it looks and sounds wonderful. I just need to eat lunch extra late or something so that I can wait the 2 hours it will take to make the damn thing.
sarea: (sue sylvester - DUH)
I am so. tired. And it's no one's fault but my own. At around 10:30 last night I noticed that I had some ripe bananas, and knew I was going over to K.'s today, so obviously it was the perfect time to make some cocoa-nana (aka, chocolate banana) bread! I was up until 1am making that sucker. I had a slice this morning but there wasn't enough caffeine in it to bring me to full wakefulness.

Current temp: 59°F. This time last year it was 103°F. If I HAD to choose, I guess I'd rather have this. But really, should I have to choose between a 40° difference? Would somewhere in the middle be too much to ask? Yes, yes, I guess it is.

Through Groupon/Tippr I have purchased two massages. I have booked one of them for my mom while she's here. Gosh I'm such a good daughter. (Not.)

TV Show Meme Day 16 - Your guilty pleasure show: It Started with a Kiss (a Taiwanese drama)

This show is so awesome. I'm not even kidding. It's funny and touching, featuring a dumb-as-rocks (but endearing) heroine and an acerbic, brilliant hero. It doesn't start promisingly -- the first episode is like something out of a teenager's really bad short story for English class -- but it gets better. MUCH better. It does take some time to like the heroine (she is seriously so stupid sometimes, it's unreal), but the hotness of the hero will carry you through until you can genuinely like her. There's a series of wonderful GP scenes/moments, until it finally carries you to the climax/payoff scene -- and it's SO GOOD. The whole show is super GP, but in the best way; if you're going to watch something GP, the more P the better, and this one has it in spades. Oh, and I love the hero's mom.
sarea: (baby tomato)
It's currently 60°F and rainy, and I'm wearing a tank top, skirt, and flip flops, but I'm not even going to bitch. After hitting the 90s in the last few days, I've decided that this is better. I mean, if it has to be one extreme or another, I prefer this. But what I would love even better is a normal Seattle summer, where it's just gorgeous and perfect for 3 months. The good news is, it looks like after today, that's exactly what we'll be getting for the next 10 days -- 70-75°F the whole time. Squeee!

My vegetable garden is soldiering on, even though they're all like WTF from this insane weather that has a 30° difference from day to day (much as we all are). A few more little tomatoes are peeking out, and I saw a little bee near the tomato flowers yesterday. Pollinate your heart out, little bee! I've started to pinch my basil plants, but my lesson learned from this year is that I need way more basil. Pinching a few at a time doesn't really give me enough to work with, it's not enough for pesto, and once pinched, it doesn't keep well. With more plants, every time I pinch I should have enough to make pesto, at least. The carrots are getting super crazy leafy, except when I dug down to check on the carrots themselves, they're PUNY. I guess my soil isn't loose enough for them. Seriously, the leaves give the impression that they must be huge; they're just making a whole lot of noise over nothing. The birds keep getting to my strawberries before I do. They think the netting is a joke and are laughing at me behind my back. The garlic leaves seem to be dying down, but not as much as K.'s; it'll be awhile before they're ready to harvest. The little zucchini plant is doing well, it's now surpassed its predecessor, but it's not big enough to develop flowers yet. I bought a little jalapeno pepper starter, and it's insanely greedy for water. If I don't water it daily, it droops. O.o Finally, after a second bout with the neighborhood cat, I've moved the catnip indoors to my office, which door I am keeping closed so Jaime doesn't wreck what's left of the poor thing. I don't know if it will fare well inside, and if it doesn't I guess I'll move it back out and just hope that the darn neighborhood cat doesn't succeed in killing it entirely.

I have like four or five story outlines going right now. This is exciting because it's been awhile since I've had that many story ideas clamoring to be written. The difficulty is in concentrating on one of them; I'm not good at multi-tasking when it comes to writing. If I try to write two stories at once, they both suffer. I just need to let one of them take over. Unfortunately, the one that's calling out the strongest right now is also the one I don't have all the answers for, plot/story wise, so I can't start writing until I have all the answers, that's just how I work.

C.'s 5th birthday party on Friday was fun, though dealing with little kids -- even peripherally -- exhausts me. The Molly Moon's truck gave out ENORMOUS scoops of ice cream, HOL-EE. In pictures the scoops are like half the size of the kids' heads. Maybe it was partly due to the fact that a photographer from Seattle Weekly was there (K. had to ask all the parents if it was okay with them that he take pictures of the kids with their ice cream), and little kids with giant ice cream cones make for better photos. I also made these mini sugar donut muffins (idea from [profile] romanticalgirl), and they were an huge hit. I wasn't there when they broke them out, but D. says that kids were double fisting them and cramming them into their mouths. He also said that he tried to hoard some of them from the kids because he liked them and wanted to eat them later (shameful).
sarea: (cheesecake!)
I finished Catching Fire. Spoilers... )

Last night's fried chicken dinner at Spring Hill was very good. Fried chicken is one of my favorite foods. There was SO MUCH chicken. The sides were rather skimpy, but there was a pile of chicken, even more than it appeared initially. Since the kids only had 1 piece each and there's only so much my mom, K., and I can eat, we had lots of leftover chicken. Since reheating fried chicken never works out well, I'll probably use my share of the leftovers to make some other chicken dish. The batter on the chicken was tasty and super crispy, my favorite. Sides were: mashed potatoes with gravy, macaroni & cheese (made with Beecher's, one of my favorite cheddars), jalapeno cornbread with honey butter, crispy oven-baked broccoli, and lightly seasoned spears of cucumber. We thought WE were hardcore because we got the dinner with basically just 3 adults eating (D. ordered a Caesar salad and basically ate that plus some sides), and behind us was a table of 6 adults who got the same thing (the dinner is supposed to serve 4). But then the table next to us put us to shame... 3 adults and a little girl, and not only did they get the fried chicken dinner they also ordered a side of Spring Hill's Monday spaghetti entree (which is not small) as well as two huge meatballs. I have photos, but they're on my SD card at home. D'oh.

Not sure if anyone remembers this, but back in November I was rear ended. Over the next 3 months I went to physical and massage therapy, then I had to wait and wait and wait for them to gather all the expenses and what not to make me an offer of settlement. At long last, after some back and forth, I think the whole thing is going to be settled, which is one less thing for me to worry about, so yay.

K.'s birthday is coming up and it's a big one, so I am thinking of being a good cousin and making her a vegan chocolate cake since she's off dairy right now. I can't imagine a vegan cake actually being any good, but if you know of a recipe for a good one, let me know please.

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