sarea: (fall)
I just finished playing The Walking Dead game that won Game of the Year at the VGAs. I'd read about all these gamer guys who cried at the end of it... and now I know why. I was crying in front of my computer screen, too! It's such a riveting story... but I don't think it should have won GotY. :/ It's not really a game. It's a really amazing story, but it's more like a choose-your-own-adventure tale than it is a game. It's more story than mechanics. As long as you go into it with those expectations, I totally recommend it.

I'm trying to watch all the Oscar-nominated movies this year. Well, I try every year, but sometimes I'm more successful than other times. It's gotten harder since they expanded the field to a possible 10. I'm not doing so shabby this year; I've watched 4/9, and I'm likely going to watch 4 more. The one I'm not sure about is Amour.

Last night I watched Zero Dark Thirty. I was really looking forward to it because of the subject matter, and because of Kathryn Bigelow. I knew I wouldn't like it as much as The Hurt Locker due to the lack of Jeremy, but I thought it would be amazing anyway. It was... all right. Other than also dealing with a military topic, and still being well directed, it was actually quite different from THL. It felt less personal. In THL you really cared about the three guys. In ZDT, you care about Jessica Chastain's character, but in a more removed way because you never really get to know her that well (not like the way you get to know Sgt James), and because since she's not a soldier, her life is almost never at risk. JC was good for sure, but the movie was bigger than she was, particularly the last quarter of it. I'd much rather Best Actress go to Jennifer Lawrence.

I also just saw Ted, which is hilarious and also on crack. It's like a live-action episode of The Family Guy.

I've been reading The Twelve by Justin Cronin. It's the sequel to The Passage, and is supposed to be a trilogy. I highly recommend them. They're riveting and well written. Ridley Scott purchased the film rights; as with any book that I love, I can't wait to see it as a movie and yet am also afraid of how they'll fuck it up at the same time. I was reading The Twelve on my Nook when it crapped out on me. :/ It's glitched from time to time, but now it's really messed up. It basically won't wake up from the screensaver anymore. I can't hard restart it or anything; it just doesn't respond. I went to B&N to see if they could do anything about it and they couldn't. Sigh. I ended up doing an out-of-warranty purchase of another one from them -- $40 for a refurbished version of the same Nook, and I have to send them back the one I have (it's so annoying because you know there's probably some easy way to fix it, and now they're making me give them another $40 grrrr). I don't know what kind of voodoo power they have over me, because a big part of me had decided that I didn't need an eReader anymore, because I have a Surface RT. Even while I was giving them my credit card number I was like, WTF am I doing?! Sigh. Oh well. WHAT'S DONE IS DONE.
sarea: (jeremy contemplating)
You guys, this is the best recipe ever posted. You must read the comments. I saw an article on Slate this morning that was all about this recipe, and my coworkers and I have spent the last 30 minutes crying from laughter. No recipe comment stereotype is left unsaid!

I have had a revelation about pour over coffee. Using a gift card that I got last year, I bought all the equipment necessary to make pour over coffee, and stopped by Whole Foods yesterday to buy some single-origin coffee beans. I wasn't sure what to expect, if this would be yet another disappointing hype, or if it'd be amazing. If you like coffee, I think the pour over method is definitely worth it. I can't believe how many flavors I got from the cup of coffee I made last night (though less so with the cup I made this morning, so it's still dependent on the type of coffee). Finally, I know what all those descriptions are talking about, when they say that a particular type of coffee has hints of chocolate/caramel/orange/what have you!

I have beautiful Jeremy Renner images to share with you from Tumblr. You know you want to click. )

So I forgot to mention another teen book that I read recently, maybe because it doesn't belong in the category of "terrible teen lit" that was the theme from yesterday's post. I finally read Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater. I enjoyed it. It was well written, which is like, 90% of the battle. BUT. Potentially spoilery. )

SUCH fun.

Mar. 27th, 2012 09:33 am
sarea: (inbetweeners)
Last night I went to the Whole Foods near me that opened about 2 weeks ago. I'm super excited to have a gourmet/natural grocery store close by (though I'd rather it were Trader Joe's), but I also fear for my grocery bills. I left the store $50 poorer and I'm not sure where it went. I did buy some heavy whipping cream to make butter. Also, I loooooooooooooooove WF's bulk foods aisle. I bought all the stuff I needed to make the best granola ever. It's amazing (to me) how yummy it is, considering it's like, ridiculously healthy. There are many organic nuts involved. Recipe: Olive Oil & Maple Granola. )

I also made the World's Best Garlic Bread. That's actually the name of it, not what I think of it, lol. Though it IS very good; I just don't think it's necessarily the best ever. It involved smoking many garlic cloves. Do you know how long it takes to peel 40 cloves of garlic (I don't have one of those handy roller thingys that takes the skin right off, though after this I might have to get one)? Usually I mince garlic so I just smash them right on the cutting board, but in this case they had to be intact. By the dozenth clove I felt like I'd been doing it for hours and would never get to do anything else. Recipe: World's Best Garlic Bread. )

My only true ship in ASoIaF is Rhaegar/Lyanna, and there's a very quiet LJ comm for that ship. Today someone posted a fanmix based on Lyanna, from the POV of the other characters (which is pretty much the only way we know anything about her anyway). I thought it was a really cool idea and left a comment saying as much... and it turns out that the fanmix artist used to participate in D/G fandom! What a small world. Anyway, the fanmix is neat.

Woohoo, Hump Madness has begun! The matchups aren't anonymous, but the actual drabbles are, so I can at least say when I have a matchup going on. To be honest I don't expect to get very far. I haven't written a word since the last DG fic exchange and even that was a struggle. But this'll be a good opportunity to experiment with different pairings, since they're only drabbles. [profile] jade_okelani is also participating, but with the way the bracket is set up, she and I wouldn't compete head to head unless we both made it to the final matchup. Whew.

OK, so David Benioff, writer of the great City of Thieves book I was talking about yesterday, is married to Amanda Peet! I'm now reading The 25th Hour, his first novel. Anyway, his photos on the dust jackets for the two books crack me up because they're so different:

I'm so GQ suave!I'm so dorky and lovable!
sarea: (sherlock & watson)
I've been doing some reading. I highly, highly rec City of Thieves by David Benioff (one of the exec producers of HBO's Game of Thrones). It was the kind of book that I wanted to avoid reading because I didn't want it to end, it was so good.

The short summary: The story of two young men on an impossible adventure.

The longer summary: )

It's now in my top 10 list of favorite books of all time. Or it would be, if I had such a list.

I've also read Matched, by Ally Condie. It's a teen novel set in a dystopian universe, which is one of my favorite genres. It's also got a very guilty pleasure premise. The summary. )

I was meh about this book. It's not written very well; the writing is immature and unsophisticated (like Stephenie Meyer, but not quite that boring). I thought it was written by a teenager, someone like Veronica Roth or Kody Keplinger, who are like 19. But Ally Condie is an adult. In fact, I think she used to be an English teacher (which is kind of scary). In any case, I like the characters and the story OK, except the universe and everything in it could be so much better, richer, more interesting. I'm reading the sequel right now, Crossed, and I'm at a point where I'm almost bored enough to stop. The Hunger Games is still the best teen dystopia novel I've read. Veronica Roth's Divergent was fairly good too -- not as good as HG, but better than Matched. I'm also in the middle of Scott Westerfeld's Uglies, which is better written than both Divergent and Matched, but whose heroine I don't like much so I've been "in the middle" of the book like forever.

Any other teen dystopia novels you've read and liked? Or just plain dystopian novels you've liked, period? I always worry that I'm missing out on a good one. ;)

Round two of the homemade bacon experiment was a rousing success. I can't stop thinking about it and it's making me really, really hungry. More details and pictures later.

Talis's eye is looking better and better. His procedure is scheduled for Thursday, but now I'm wondering if it's really necessary. I would hate to spend that kind of money and have him go through that kind of pain/stress (he'd have to be sedated and anesthetized) if he's actually getting better on his own. The eye doc said that if he hasn't fully healed on his own by now, he probably won't -- except that, like I said, the eye's actually been looking really good these last couple of days. I may just push the procedure out so I have a few more days to look at the eye and make a decision. I also don't want to jeopardize his eye healing the best it can just so that I can save that money. It's really the fact that spending the money AND doing a procedure on an almost healed eye makes no sense.

Played Pandemic with K on Sat. and she really enjoyed it. We were waiting for D but he didn't come home until like midnight, at which time I had to leave. K and I played 4 or 5 games, and we won 1 (which is better than my and [personal profile] adelagia's playing sometimes, though to be fair T and I play on a higher difficulty level). The weirdest thing is that we did not repeat ONE ROLE! We had different roles for all the games! Not just between ourselves, but even including the other! Sometimes I shuffled, sometimes she did. I mean, what are the chances for that to happen, when there's only like 13 roles total? That's never happened when I've played with others -- at least one role shows up again (usually T being the epidemiologist lolz). It was cool because it helped introduce nearly all the different roles to K.

I've started watching Ringer. It's kind of nonsensical, but I'm enjoying it so far. I was already pleased with Ioan Gruffudd on the show, but now Jason Dohring's shown up and I'm even more pleased. :D

I ♥ LA

Feb. 23rd, 2012 04:08 pm
sarea: (Default)
I'm in SoCal. It was 79 freakin degrees when I landed, WOOT. And it's supposed to get into the 80s. OMG so different from Seattle, which was at least sunny the day I left, but cold, so cold (and rainy and windy in the week before).

Before we left, my mom and I went to see The Woman in Black, because she looooooves horror films and I had just read the book. I'd heard before going in that they'd changed quite a bit from the book, so I was expecting that. It wasn't surprising, because even while reading the book I had no idea how they were going to turn it into a movie, when it was so short and much of it was establishing mood. All the stuff they added to make it scarier or whatever, I didn't actually have much of a problem with. They kind of had to, and some of it was an improvement over the book. However, I hated the ending. And by ending I mean like the whole last 20 minutes or so; the whole 'resolution' part of the movie. Why I hated the ending -- very spoilery spoilers for the book and movie. )

When we were in line for tickets, there was some lame guy behind us explaining the general premise of every available movie to his companion. That wasn't why he was lame. The reason he was lame was because I overheard the following: "Oh, The Women in Black. Yeah. That's based on memoirs. From World War II. It's about the soldiers' widows." Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh wut? I mean, I guess I applaud his imagination and bullshitting skills (though it was based on a title that he got wrong)? But seriously dude, IF YOU DON'T KNOW, DON'T MAKE SHIT UP. :))
sarea: (Default)
This will be my only concession to the holiday I loathe most (in fact, the only holiday I loathe), and only because it has to do with Game of Thrones:


My mom and I had a row this morning. This turned into a big rant. )

<deep breath> Onto calmer topics. The homemade bacon. I promised I'd write about how this turned out. The answer is: Not as great as I'd hoped. I think it is just as easy to make at home as I've read, but there are several things I'd change the next time I do it, and I think there are two things you need to have at home to achieve bacon that's like the kind you buy in the store: a meat slicer and a smoker. The former is more important than the latter. You just cannot hand slice bacon to be as thin as the kind you get in the store. It's impossible, at least for the normal home cook. In theory you can make tons of bacon and freeze it, so it's probably worth the investment if your household consumes a lot of it ([personal profile] elle_blessing, I'm looking at you). Other notes: )

I haven't done a meme in awhile, but this will help pass the day more quickly. Stolen from any number of people.

Name a character and I'll tell you my top 3 ships for them.

My fandoms:
- Harry Potter
- Merlin (BBC)
- Downton Abbey
- Misfits
- Roswell
- Alias
- The Vampire Diaries
- Mortal Instruments
- Lost
- Game of Thrones (specify TV or book series, so I don't spoil you accidentally)
- Friends
- Community
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer
- Angel
- Firefly

I obviously watch many more shows/read more books than that, so you can also go off this list and if I'm familiar with the fandom I'll do my best to answer!

Speaking of books, I finished The Woman in Black. It was creepy, but not as much as I wanted, and I liked the style, but it was entirely predictable. Once one hint was given, I figured out the entire plot and all the details.
sarea: (sheldon & penny)
This morning there was a car on fire on the 405. It was not like the engine was emitting a few flames. Literally the front 1/3 of the car was on fire, with big plumes of blackish smoke billowing out, obstructing vision. It was one of the craziest things I've ever seen. How does that happen? I hope the fire fighters get there in time to put it out, because if it gets to the fuel tank, I don't know how big the radius of the resulting explosion would be, but from my TV/movie watching, pretty darn big.

Also, I was getting gas this morning when the stupid nozzle popped out, dripping gas. Later as I was driving away, I wondered why I could smell gas so strongly, and realized that it was all over my hands, from when I picked up the nozzle off the ground. Ugh, disgusting.

I've been having really crazy dreams, involving romantic and/or sexual dalliances with inappropriate people. You'd think I'd enjoy that, except I wake up feeling depressed, because seriously, very inappropriate so it'll never happen. Last night featured this guy I work with who's based in Oregon, and I only see him once in a blue moon. I work with him primarily through email. He's very good looking, but also very married. ><

I'm reading this book called The Woman in Black by Susan Hill. A coworker lent it to me. It's very short and a quick read. It's very moody and cool, though I don't think it's half as frightening as I think I'm supposed to find it. Anyway, I guess they turned it into a movie and Daniel Radcliffe is going to star in it. I've just gotten to the point where I don't want to put it down, and of course now I'm at work. Sigh.

I've been playing really mindless and addictive video games (like Ranch Rush 2). It's a good thing I have plans this weekend with [personal profile] adelagia and [profile] corianderstem or I'd really have to feel sorry for myself. I also need to get Talis to the vet because we are leaving for LA next week (how is that POSSIBLE?).

Last night my mom and I went to Joule for dinner. It's one of my new favorite restaurants. It's supposed to be Korean/French fusion, but it's actually a lot more than that. K and I go at least once a month, to partake in their monthly "family style supper" menu (which changes monthly, hence our frequency), which is $35/pp and totally worth it for the amount and quality of food you get. During most of the week you can order that or off their regular menu. However, in the winter they also have Sunday "one pot" dinners, in which they serve only that menu, and each Sunday the theme and menu changes (the main course revolving around a 'pot'). It's $25/pp. Two weeks ago I went with K, and the theme was Vietnamese (my favorite cuisine). Last night it was Korean braised short ribs. Dudes, it was like, the best braised short ribs I've ever had. Unbelievably good. The chef/owner, Rachel Yang, is of Korean descent, so obviously she knows her way around a short rib. Man. She was there last night. K is convinced that the food's better when she's in the kitchen. Anyway, next Sunday the theme is jambalaya, which my mom and I aren't too interested in, so we're thinking of going for the regular family-style supper, except they haven't posted their February menu yet. They're unfortunately not very good about keeping their website/Facebook/Twitter updated -- updates come in fits and starts.

Rachel and her husband Seif also have another restaurant, Revel, that I've been wanting to try, but they don't take reservations there and I hate that because I can't stand the possibility that it's going to be super crowded and I might have to wait awhile, etc. It's particularly a problem when my mom's with me, as waiting around isn't easy for her in her condition. I try to at least call ahead, but it takes time to get to places from where I live, and sometimes in between the restaurant fills up (as happened recently at Din Tai Fung).

Re: Whitney Houston, I find it very sad that no one again will get to hear such a great talent sing.
sarea: (Default)
1) Death Note Vol. 1, by Tsugumi Ōba
2) Death Note Vol. 2, by Tsugumi Ōba
3) Death Note Vol. 3, by Tsugumi Ōba
4) Death Note Vol. 4, by Tsugumi Ōba
5) Death Note Vol. 5, by Tsugumi Ōba
6) Death Note Vol. 6, by Tsugumi Ōba
7) Death Note Vol. 7, by Tsugumi Ōba
8) The Woman in Black, by Susan Hill
9) City of Thieves, by David Benioff
10) Matched, by Ally Condie
11) The 25th Hour, by David Benioff
12) City of Lost Souls, by Cassandra Clare
13) The Winter Sea, by Susanna Kearsley
14) Crossed, by Ally Condie
15) Shiver, by Maggie Stiefvater
16) The Selection, by Kiera Cass
17) A Match Made in High School, by Kristin Walker
18) The Séance, by John Harwood


Currently reading:
- Death Note Vol. 8, by Tsugumi Ōba
- The Fatal Gift of Beauty, by Nina Burleigh
- The Gunslinger, by Stephen King
- Hunting Lila, by Sarah Alderson
- The Girl Who Played with Fire, by Stieg Larsson

On the docket:
- A Visit from the Goon Squad, by Jennifer Egan
- Death Note Vol. 9, by Tsugumi Ōba
- Death Note Vol. 10, by Tsugumi Ōba
- Death Note Vol. 11, by Tsugumi Ōba
- Death Note Vol. 12, by Tsugumi Ōba
sarea: (Default)
Yesterday I had stinky tofu hotpot with T and B. :D Hotpot is soooooo delicious and good to have on cold days, which is all we've gotten recently. I'm mostly over my cold except for a slightly runny nose, and the chilly weather doesn't help. Then B had to work, so T and I headed over to Plato's Closet where I bought way too much stuff, including a North Face jacket that cost as much as like, 5 other items put together. But I really wanted it. Like I said, it's very cold lately! Then we went to a European deli, because I love buying salami and cheese from such places. Except the cheese I sampled (I asked for something sharp) ended up being even stinkier than the stinky tofu, lol. Then we went to Starbucks, where I made the mistake of getting a venti frappuccino with my free drink birthday card. I was really craving the taste of a frappuccino, but after awhile I was like, it really is too cold to be drinking this. T nicely did not say "I told you so."

I had to send my mom to the airport yesterday morning. Her flight was at 7am. You do the math. To add to the fun, the time change happened overnight, so we had to keep that in mind when planning the timing. (When are we going to STOP with this asinine time changing thing already! The reason for it is less critical than it used to be, and plenty of places are rightly opting to not observe the practice.) I couldn't even enjoy 'gaining' an extra hour due to how early I had to get up. All I could think about was getting back home/in bed!

It was really nice to have my mom around, but it's also best for our relationship that we don't live together. Her favorite meal while she was here was the salmon she had at Etta's, but her second favorite was the meal I cooked at home a few days ago! What I made. )

Saturday afternoon, we went to the Pacific Northwest Ballet with K and her little girls. The company performed "Love Stories," a selection of scenes from 5 love story ballets, including Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty and Romeo & Juliet. The girls love the ballet, and were totally enraptured the whole time; I'm kind of embarrassed to admit that I fell asleep during the first act and the third. I guess I just do not appreciate ballet. There's no talking, or singing, or anything that keeps me engaged. They spend 20 minutes expressing themselves through dance, which frankly doesn't really 'speak' to me (they could get the same thing across in 2 minutes if they just freaking said what they were feeling); I don't find ballet dancing all that beautiful, in fact I find it kind of freaky and unnatural how they're always on their toes (which I know ruins dancers' feet), and the guys are not appealing at all. I mean, the girls get to wear skirts and such; why can't the guys wear something similar? Put on a pair of pants or shorts, for god's sake, you just look ridiculous. Anyway. So yeah, I'm severely lacking in appreciation for ballet. Even though I love Billy Elliot. Sorry, Billy.

An update on my media consumption!!

TV Shows: Still watching and enjoying Goong. Except for when they focus on matters relating to the adults/succession of the throne. That storyline bores me to tears.

I'm now three episodes behind on Merlin. >< I also haven't watched any more Vampire Diaries.

I've totally gotten into a reality TV show for the first time: Top Chef. :D I like it because it deals with "amateurs" rather than experts who everyone already agrees is at the top of their game. (It's the same reason I prefer college sports to professional sports.) Each season starts off with a selection of about 15 up-and-coming chefs, and they participate in challenges throughout the season until one is crowned Top Chef. It's really fun, I love the head judge Tom Colicchio, I love the guest judges, and I'm continually impressed by the creative/delicious-looking dishes that the contestants come up with. I could never do that with food; I'm much more a recipe follower than creator. I started with season 4, because that's the season Stephanie Izard won, but now I'm going to go back and watch the others.

Books: I read Room by Emma Donoghue. I didn't much like it, and only finished it because it was a very quick read. I found the narrator, a 5-year-old boy, REALLY annoying. Adults should stop trying to write from the POV of a little kid, because it never sounds right. The kid always sounds way too adult, and way too kiddie, at the same time. I also found his mother really annoying. They're both supposed to be victims, and the whole time I found myself disliking them, so either I'm heartless or the author simply wasn't good at making me sympathize (beyond the very basic human level of feeling bad about their awful situation). Also, it was disturbing subject matter, but it actually wasn't as disturbing as the real-life stories we've heard of the same, so in that sense it almost felt like a protective fantasy rather than some harrowing tale that really draws you in and makes you feel every second of the horror and desperation of the situation.

I've never read a single Stephen King book. At first it was because I didn't have any interest in his usual genre, and horror still isn't my favorite. But then it was because he was so hyped, and so prolific, that I couldn't imagine I'd really be able to enjoy any of his books. But it looks like I'll be reading him for the first time -- a coworker who really likes SK gave me the first three books of The Dark Tower series, and since he's reading ASoIaF on my recommendation, I feel that it would be nice to reciprocate.
sarea: (damon)
[personal profile] grrm has been selling lesser-known books of his off his overstuffed bookshelves, and since I CANNOT RESIST such things I've been buying them to put into my own overflowing bookshelves. However, he signs each book and I enjoy reading his little inscriptions. :D Plus it doesn't appear that I will ever get to meet him in person to get my silver first of A Game of Thrones signed. Sigh.

I'm still not much in a reading mood, but I finally finished Lisa See's Peony in Love. That one took me months and months. Right now I've started the first Dresden Files book, Fevre Dream by GRRM (one of the books from see above), and The Grand Tour, sequel to Sorcery & Cecelia.

My mom is staying with me right now, which is wonderful because she's made such an amazing recovery. But on the other hand, she is DRIVING ME UP THE WALL. I thought that given everything that's happened, I'd somehow turn into a saint and have endless amounts of patience for her. I don't. Somehow, my mom is able to push my buttons like no one else, and she still does it. This has always been our dynamic and I guess it always will be.

Restaurant Week is over at last. This is the most I have ever participated in a single RW -- I believe I went to 12 places -- and it was too much, especially because half the dinners weren't all that great. Next time I'm going to restrict it to only 2-3 dinners, with no restriction on lunch, because RW lunch is always worthwhile. The final RW outings. )

Then today we went to Bellevue to eat at Boiling Point, which is a Taiwanese hot pot place that specializes in stinky (fermented) tofu. If you're not Chinese or totally immersed in Chinese culture, you won't like it. In fact, it'll be completely heinous. But my mom and I love it, LOL. Then I actually made dinner tonight! I made Jamie Oliver's vegetable lasagne. I so could not do it in 30 minutes, but then I made a different version than he did so it's not really a good test. It was really, really good but my version was too soupy; we had to use bread to mop up the sauce. To go with it I made a simple salad of butter lettuce and radicchio, with olive oil and lemon juice dressing. For some bizarre reason I had it in my head to make another dressing -- a sesame vinaigrette -- that I ended up having to save in the fridge.

[profile] jade_okelani and I have started Vampire Diaries S3! Spoilers for 3x01 'The Birthday.' )
sarea: (Default)
So I woke up with a raging sore throat. Sigh. I was really hoping to miss cold and flu season this year. I got my shot and everything! This blows. At least I got to enjoy most of Restaurant Week before it hit. Since my last post, I've gone to... lots of places. )

I have read and enjoyed very much Sorcery & Cecelia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot, by Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer. Thanks for the rec, [personal profile] laria_gwyn! It's a really quick and easy read, though it did end a bit abruptly, I thought. So imagine my joy to discover that it actually has not one, but two sequels! Set in regency England, the entire novel is told in letters between two cousins, Kate and Cecelia. There's a fully connected plot that includes magic, intrigue, pretty dresses, evil stepmothers, and even a bit of romance.

Because I've been spending so much time eating out (and cleaning/tidying the house for when my mom comes to stay with me), I haven't been watching anything. I haven't seen the latest Merlin ep, and I have yet to start You're Beautiful (recced by [personal profile] adelagia) or Goong (recced by [personal profile] akscully). For the latter, I had A. rank the hotness of the male lead (because the YB male lead is kind of hideous) in comparison to other male leads from dramas we've enjoyed in the past. FWIW, this was her order of hotness (the most important detail, obviously, when starting any drama):

Zhi Shu (It Started with a Kiss)
Yi Jeong (Boys Over Flowers)
Goong male lead (Goong)
Jun Pyo (Boys Over Flowers)
.
.
.
(somewhere way far down)
Tsukasa Domyouji (Hana Yori Dango)
YB male lead (You're Beautiful)

Hotter than Jun Pyo (who is pretty dang hot)?! I'm there! But I do have to wait for the torrent to finish downloading, which according to uTorrent is going to take just under a week. >< I suppose that's better than the 3 weeks it started out as.
sarea: (boys in books)
Has anyone done acupuncture before? My coworker raves on and on about how awesome it is and how she feels like a million bucks after each session and how "doing needles" has changed her life. I'm very tempted to give it a try myself, particularly since today's Tippr deal happens to be for an acupuncture/massage session...

I baked a rack of spareribs last night. If you've never done this, DO IT. It is so easy and rewarding (due to utter deliciousness) and doesn't cost that much, esp for how many people it'll feed. The only thing it takes is time. I was able to get a rack of spareribs at Fred Meyer yesterday for just over $6 (though I think they weighed it wrong; I think it was heavier than they said it was). Went home, cut it in two so that it'd fit in my roasting pan, which I lined with foil and sprayed with canola oil. Seasoned both sides with salt, pepper, and garlic powder (but really you can use anything you want). Layered a quickly sliced onion over the ribs, then tightly covered everything with another sheet of foil. Baked at 275°F for ~2 hours. After two hours, I removed the top foil, drained the juices (which can then be made into gravy, should you wish), and basted both sides with barbecue sauce (a mix of Stubbs, which is too sour, and Trader Joe's Kansas City Style, which is too sweet), then put it back in for another hour (sans foil), flipping once. For the final touch, I basted the meat side with barbecue sauce again, then put it under the broiler for 4-5 minutes. This produces extremely tender ribs easily eaten off the bone. If you want them to literally be falling off the bone, add an extra hour to the baking time (pre-basting).

I really, really want Head Country barbecue sauce, which is the best bottled barbecue sauce I've had, but it is sold NOWHERE near me. They seem to serve only the middle of the country, not discriminating between north and south. If you live in that part of the country and can get your hands on this sauce, can we work something out? /bats eyelashes PLEASE? I really don't want to have to buy a case of 12, or pay more in shipping than for the product itself. But maybe because it's heavy, there's no help for it. In which case, sigh.

I have found a YA book that sounds AWESOME. Some of you may have read it already. In which case, shame on you for not telling me about it! ;) It's called The DUFF by Kody Keplinger, and kind of sounds like fanfic (in that teenagers are actually having sex, and the whole enemies-with-benefits thing might appeal to other D/G fans). Supporters of the book say that the sex is dealt with in a realistic way; detractors are anti-sex or anti-realism, I can't really tell. Basically it's more for older teens/adults, I guess.

Here's the premise:

Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn't think she's the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She's also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her "the Duff (designated ugly fat friend)," she throws her Coke in his face.

But things aren't so great at home right now, and Bianca is desperate for a distraction. She ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him.

Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out Wesley isn't such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she's falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone. And eventually, through this realization, Bianca begins to see how harmful her unhealthy way of dealing with her problems has been, and finds a way to confront them head on.


One detractor's like, "Bianca's lame! Every time she has an issue she just has sex with Wesley!" Which, contrary to the point of her review, actually makes me want to read the book more, not less. :)) That's how I roll.
sarea: (Default)
There's a Woot off going on right now, and I've purchased stainless steel water bottles and a vacuum sealer (and missed out on 2 other things that sold out too quickly). WHY are there so many irresistible ways to spend money?! Anyway, I've been wanting a vacuum sealer for awhile. It seems like such a handy item to have. Especially for someone like me, who tends to buy a lot of stuff that I freeze for later use, then totally forget about it. >.>

I'm reading this book called Peony in Love by Lisa See. I actually started it back in December while at Jade's, and recently picked it up again. See wrote Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, which I loved and can't recommend enough. I don't feel the same way about this book, but I keep reading it because it's beautifully written and I love the cultural stuff. But the protagonist is so stupid and annoying.

I've been watching Carnivale. It took me awhile to get into it, and I still am not at the point of reccing it, but it's caught my interest enough to keep going, at least. It was canceled after two seasons and each season only has 12 episodes, so it's not a huge commitment.

Have I ever mentioned that you guys needs to watch Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles? It's so, so good. Unfortunately it was too expensive to produce so they canceled it after two seasons (I'm sensing a theme...), and it ended in a place where you're dying to know what happens next, but for all that, still worth it. One of the few friends I knew exclusively from WoW that I keep in touch with started it at my recommendation, and he loved it. It's for girls and guys alike!

Music wise, I have a few recs for y'all. Lately I've been wanting to listen to nothing but dance pop, something lacking in substance and has a constant, catchy beat. <g> I've had to turn to K-pop to find the best of what I'm looking for. :D

- Abracadabra by Brown Eyed Girls is seriously BADASS. If you're in a place where you can play some music, click on that link and crank it up loud. It doesn't matter that half of it is spoken in a language I can't understand, because with dance music the beat's what's important, it's not like any of it's conveying anything of significance anyway, lol.

- Can't Nobody by 2NE1 is also quite awesome.

I also read a positive review of Britney Spears's latest album Femme Fatale on Slate, so it made me want to check it out.

- Hold It Against Me is the first single from the album, and I like it OK, but it's not my favorite

- Inside Out is probably the one I dig most

- Though Till the World Ends is also pretty awesome

- (Drop Dead) Beautiful has that dance beat I've been enamored of

- I also like Criminal, which is about as ballady as this album gets

I've been bad about keeping up with my AeroGarden progress on LJ.

Week 3 )

Week 4 )

Day by day it doesn't seem like much growth happens, but when you look at the pics it's amazing, the difference.
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: (flapper girl)
Brief thoughts on Fringe, through the first seven-ish eps. )

========

Dinner with J. Friday night was lovely. We never seem to run out of things to talk about, and at the end it's like, argh, I had 5 other things to tell her! Pair was cute, but the food left something to be desired. The gougeres were terrible and the mussels were way overcooked. They have nothing on The Stone House.

The dinner party last night was really fun. I generally like every member of my team on a personal level; it's just that our work styles sometimes clash.

My attempt at appetizers didn't quite go the way I wanted. My woe and other party details. )

========

I've just put in a big Amazon order for the Buffy S8 and Angel S6 volumes that I haven't been keeping up with. I'll need to reread everything from the beginning because I suspect it's not going to make any sense if I don't! One thing I regret from Comic Con is that one of the Buffy artists was there signing comics and I didn't even think about bringing mine. D'oh!

I've been rereading the Hot Gimmick manga, and I'm kind of blown away by how adult themed it is. It was the very first manga I ever read, so I just kind of figured they were all like that.

Next on the manga front I'm going to be reading Skip Beat!, which I may or may not actually get into. Apparently it was going to be made into a TW serial called "Extravagant Challenge" starring Ariel Lin, but for some reason it got shelved. I have all 22 volumes except for 2-4 from the library.

It is so ridiculous that you can't put holds on holds. What that means is that you often get things out of order, depending on when your turn comes up, or else you have to keep a separate list of what you want, rather than being able to conveniently use the library system to keep track of it. Which even then might be doable, except if you want things that are high in demand, because then it behooves you to get on the waiting list asap. If you did it one at a time, it could be months in between! I suspect this also delays people getting books, because as there's no late charges, people probably just keep the later books until they get the earlier ones, then read all at once. The good news is that I wrote to Sno-Isle about it, and the response was that they are going to institute the feature I want in the April timeframe. Yay!

========

I saw this on [personal profile] rainpuddle13's LJ and had to share because it is so creepy and COOL! Zombie ants! For real! The fungus that kills the ants takes control of their tiny ant brains and guides them to the ideal location for the fungus's growth. Seriously awesome. I mean, human zombie stories are all so lame and pointless -- all they do is kill with no real purpose.

========

I've had the AeroGarden for 1 week now, and 5/7 herbs have sprouted. It's even possible the other two herbs have sprouted as well, but they're in the back, the light's in the way, and I can't really tell. The thyme is ahead of schedule; I could see little sprouts at 4 days and it was supposed to take a minimum of 7 days. I think I'm going to try and take pictures every week to keep a visual record of the growth!

First 2 pictures! )

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)
I hate Valentine's Day. I'm sorry if you're someone who enjoys it. If you are, I'm sure my hating it won't make it any less enjoyable for you. I've never liked it. When I'm single, it's like it exists just to make me feel bad about myself. When I'm with someone, it's filled with pressure and weirdness and, well, fakeness. It's just so fake, and makes people stress out for a completely made-up reason. So yeah, if I had my druthers Valentine's Day would be replaced by something that has more meaning and merit. Like... Flag Day.

=====

Books! I've been doing a lot of reading, which isn't super impressive considering 1 of them is a book I've been reading for months, and the others are teen lit. Still, it's more reading than I've done in a long, long time.

First of all, I finished The Magicians. I was really underwhelmed. It was basically Harry Potter meets the Chronicles of Narnia, but with a protagonist who basically wasn't likable. I mean, I didn't exactly dislike him, but he was so sullen and unhappy all the time that I basically never rooted for him. I think there's supposed to be a sequel of some kind; I really cannot imagine wanting to get back in his head again. He almost never enjoys himself, so how can I? I also just found the book really random and pointless.

I've been reading a bunch of books by Elizabeth Scott. The most notable of these, and the reason I heard of her in the first place, is a book called Living Dead Girl. It is seriously intense. It's about a girl who was abducted at the age of 10 by a pedophile. She's now 15 and he wants her to help him find and train her replacement. It is an amazing, amazing book, but very hard to read at times.

That book is an almost total departure from the rest of Elizabeth Scott's work. Her other books are very well written, but *mostly* lighthearted teen lit. They're not intentionally comedic books like The Princess Diaries or the Georgia Nicolson series -- they're not that kind of lighthearted. They deal primarily with teenage relationships -- especially female friendships, parents, and romance. The problems are pretty typical (but very authentically portrayed), but I've been very impressed by how she manages to keep things fairly fresh from book to book, with themes/characters/situations being unique to each book.

The books I've read, in order of preference:

- Perfect You
- The Unwritten Rule
- Bloom
- Something, Maybe
- Love You, Miss You, Hate You

There are a few other books of hers that I've gotten from the library that I haven't read yet. Her books are easy reads -- I can read two in an evening. :D

=====

Those of you who wear makeup and who have problems with eye makeup fading as the day goes on... I have a miracle product to share with you: Too Faced Shadow Insurance. If you use a bit of it on your lids, your eye makeup will last ALL DAY LONG. My eye makeup (even when just using eyeliner) usually starts to fade by midday. If I'm lucky, it fades at an equal rate from eye to eye, layer to layer. Otherwise it starts to look really weird and bad. With TFSI on, at the end of the day it looks pretty much the way it did at the beginning of the day (and if I didn't tend to touch my eye area so much, it probably would look exactly the same). Seriously, it's awesome stuff.

=====

I really wish I were great with video tools. I have this idea for a fanvid that I would loooooove to see.

=====

It's official, Being Human is not for me. I finished the first season and nothing about it made me interested enough to go on. I so don't understand how it is as popular as it is. All I have to say is that if it had beaten Misfits for the 2010 BAFTA Award for Best Drama Series, it would have been a CRIME. But that didn't happen, so the world continues to revolve.
sarea: (simon hood)
Terrible news. Five Guys Burgers & Fries has finally opened their Lynnwood location, and it's less than a mile from my park and ride! The Northgate location was just inconvenient enough that I only went once in awhile, if it was on my way and it happened to be a meal time. But now it'll always be right there, after work, when I'm hungry. This is a DISASTER.

Slowly getting better. I feel OK, I just have annoying cold symptoms. Even more annoying than those is the fact that my new contacts still haven't come in.

Finished watching all 3 seasons of The Inbetweeners. It's so hilarious (there's always ONE point in the episode that makes me fall on the floor laughing), but also a bit sad to watch because these guys are SUCH tools and hardly anything good ever happens to them. The show is based on how pathetic (and funny) their lives are, but in another sense it's also kind of like watching A Series of Unfortunate Events, because you know that, whatever happens, it's not going to end well.

I did practically no cooking over my vacation and I thought I'd lost the urge, but now that I'm back home the interest is coming back as well. I got a few new dessert cokbooks (including Flour by Joanne Chang, which looks amazing -- it's sold out on Amazon and has been for over a month), but I'm on a more savory bent right now.

Speaking of food... Oh pickle and peanut butter sandwich, how I have missed you! I am continually amazed at how good this combo is every time I eat it (usually for breakfast, cuz it's quick and easy). Unless you don't like pickles or peanut butter, try it, you might actually like it.

I've borrowed the first season of Castle from the library. I've never seen even one ep of this show, so I'm ... cautiously optimistic? I just gave Hawaii Five-0 a try (3 episodes), and despite my love of Grace Park I had to chuck it. The lead character is an annoying asshole and the episodes are boring. If I want to see Grace Park I'll just pull out my BSG Blu-rays. <g> Anyway, my goal this weekend is to finish two books I'm partially through: The Magicians and Peony in Love. I started reading the latter while at [profile] jade_okelani's, and while it's nowhere near as strong as Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, which has made it onto my list of fave books of all time, I just want to finish it.

I'm considering getting earthquake insurance for my parents' house, as it's in California. Problem is that it basically doubles the homeowners insurance, and the deductible is 15%. So basically, at least to my mind, it's only worth it if the house falls down completely. But if disaster struck and it actually DID get totally ruined, insurance would sure come in handy. Anyone have experience and/or opinions about this? I'd really welcome other thoughts because my own are constantly changing.

Have you guys heard of SwagBucks? It's a program where you earn search points to get stuff like Amazon gift cards and what not. It's been going around LJ, I think. Anyhoo, if you're interested and so inclined, sign up using my referral code -- it'll earn me extra passive points. :D Thanks if you do!
sarea: (Default)
1) In the Woods, Tana French
2) The Magicians, Lev Grossman
3) Bloom, Elizabeth Scott
4) Perfect You, Elizabeth Scott
5) Living Dead Girl, Elizabeth Scott
6) Something, Maybe, Elizabeth Scott
7) The Unwritten Rule, Elizabeth Scott
8) Love You, Hate You, Miss You, Elizabeth Scott
9) Itazura Na Kiss, Vol. 3, Kaoru Tada
10) Itazura Na Kiss, Vol. 4, Kaoru Tada
11) Itazura Na Kiss, Vol. 1, Kaoru Tada
12) Itazura Na Kiss, Vol. 2, Kaoru Tada
13) City of Fallen Angels, Cassandra Clare
14) Clockwork Angel, Cassandra Clare
15) Devil in the White City, Erik Larson
16) Itazura Na Kiss, Vol. 5, Kaoru Tada
17) The Passage, Justin Cronin
18) A Dance with Dragons, George R. R. Martin
19) A Game of Thrones, George R. R. Martin
20) The Pregnancy Shock, Lynne Graham
21) A Stormy Greek Marriage, Lynne Graham
22) The Ultimate Betrayal, Michelle Reid
23) Divergent, Veronica Roth
24) The Piper's Son, Melina Marchetta
25) The Duff, Kody Keplinger
26) American Gods, Neil Gaiman
27) Peony in Love, Lisa See
28) Sorcery & Cecelia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot, Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer
29) Room, Emma Donoghue

Currently reading:
- Fevre Dream, George R. R. Martin
- Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke
- Vampire Academy, Richelle Mead
- A Clash of Kings, George R. R. Martin
- Uglies, Scott Westerfeld

On the docket:
- Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen
- Bridget Jones's Diary, Helen Fielding
- A Cavern of Black Ice, J.V. Jones
- Kushiel's Dart, Jacqueline Carey
- Anne of Green Gables, L.M. Montgomery
- Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte
- The Girl Who Played with Fire, Stieg Larsson
- Double Crossing (Nancy Drew Supermystery #1), Carolyn Keene

Gave up:
- The Iron King, Julie Kagawa
sarea: (mulder & scully)
OK all you people who live in Seattle and enjoy food: Restaurant Week is back again! Oct. 17-28 (minus Fri. & Sat.). WHO'S WITH ME?? $25, 3-course meal, awesome restaurants! You know you want to go! I am keeping that entire week+ open so I can go to as many as possible. <g> So let me know if you're interested and we shall plan to go. There are a few restaurants I want to hit for sure -- Dahlia Lounge, Mistral Kitchen, Spring Hill -- but am also open to anything.

===

Speaking of food, I've actually been cooking quite a bit, and have just posted a big roundup about it here.

===

Dealing with some work insanity the past couple of days. Sigh. And I so tried to avoid having this happen. I wish my work didn't so often consist of making sure other people do their jobs. You're not in control of your own destiny when that's the case, and there's a lot of sitting around worrying about how other things are going so that your bigger picture can fall into place. The good news is that everything went well, despite Murphy's Law coming into play.

===

Did someone recommend Patricia Gaffney's To Have and To Hold to me? Was it maybe when I was talking about Laura Kinsale's Seize the Fire and that novel's bastard of an anti-hero? I ask because it was apparently in my library queue so I picked it up yesterday. But what I found odd was that it was an "inter-library loan" (meaning not one of the 16ish libraries in the Sno-Isle library system that basically share a catalogue) -- it's from Harvard-Westlake School in California. O.o How random is that? For that reason it cannot be renewed, so I pretty much have to read it right away (there is a serious back up in my reading queue).

The problem is that there's another one I also have to read right away -- I just got Tongues of Serpents! I think there's a big waiting list for it right now, so I probably won't be able to renew and if I wanted it again would have to wait in the queue all over. It always takes me a page or two to get back into reading a Temeraire novel, because of the language. But it's cool because once I'm back in it, it reads like any other book.

===

I finally caved and bought the BSG series on Blu-Ray. There's conflicting reports on exactly what's included (The Plan y/n?), so I'll have to see when it gets here if it's missing anything.

Finally on S6 of XF. I know a lot of people didn't like that season... but I don't know why. It's hands down my favorite season. Almost every episode is totally rewatchable (unlike the second half of S5, after Bad Blood). I guess I like the lighter fare, though I will admit that the lighter fare wouldn't be as good if all the dark stuff hadn't happened to them before that. Still, just last night I saw Triangle, the two Dreamlands, and How the Ghosts Stole Christmas, and I'm only on disc 2! I LOVE YOU SEASON 6, I DON'T CARE WHAT ANYONE ELSE SAYS.

===

And the VERY LAST TV Show Meme!! I started this way back in June. Wow. O.o I took my sweet time with it, didn't I?

Day 30 - Saddest character death

Since this is potentially spoilery, my answer behind a cut. )

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