sarea: (spaghetti)
I am really hitting it out of the park in the food department recently. ;) I made some killer lasagna. This was the recipe I used. It took like 4 hours, what with grating my own cheese, making the bechamel and all that, but sooooo worth it. It made a ton, which is good for leftovers, but also problematic for my not-that-big freezer. I think the next time I make it, I may actually try making my own pasta, so that the pasta itself retains more "bite."

Recently I've been watching a lot of Food Network programs. My favorites include Chopped, anything with Guy Fieri in it (especially DDD), Kids Baking Championship, and I've only seen a couple of eps, but I also enjoy Worst Cooks in America. I feel so accomplished watching those people. LOL. Depending on the day, they just show like 6 hours straight of a certain show. So when DDD is on, I just watch Guy stuff his face over and over and over. One of the eps from last night featured him going to Kuma's in Chicago! Eee! And I swear, the food truck he went to in Key West was the one I went to, that had the really amazing food. But darn it, it looks like I didn't write about it in LJ (which is odd, because I could have sworn I wrote about it SOMEwhere...). :/ See, this is exactly why I need to be better about keeping this thing up to date! I'm sure I would have talked about it and given the name of the truck. >< I might still be able to go through my pics and hope I caught the name, I suppose. I'm pretty sure it had to be the same one -- Garbo's Grill is where Guy went. The food was AMAZING. Also in Key West was Better Than Sex, a dessert/alcohol place that was also a fantastic experience. Jeez, I'm going to have to dig up all my pics and make up for the fact that I didn't do a post! Wow, and in going through my email, I realize that I didn't do anything for Santa Fe, either. Mea culpa!

I guess it being an "El Niño year" is driving up produce prices. The biggest one is the price of green onions. They're usually maybe $0.50 for a bunch? In CA you can even get them for like $0.20/bunch. But recently it's been insane... $1.70/bunch??! I had to look up why, and found this article. Global warming is fucking everything up! (Duh.)
sarea: (Default)
For one reason or another, I've always found it challenging to use up my vacation during the early part of the year, creating a scramble at the end to use up all the time that would otherwise be forfeited. I always told myself that the next year, I would do a better job of taking vacation earlier, spreading it out, etc. As you've probably guessed, it never happened.

This year might be the first exception ever.

Now I seem to have vacation plans coming out of my ears, with my having to carefully balance it all out, and it's not even February yet! WTF. Why does it always have to be one extreme after another? :/

How it's looking for the first half of 2015:

- January
   Dec. 18-Jan 8, LA

- February
   18-21, in Vancouver to celebrate Chinese New Year -- my dad's idea
   23, just because. Or, to recover from Vancouver w/ the family

- March
   24-April 1, Miami

- April
   1, just because. Or, to recover from Miami
   TBD, short trip with J. I definitely do want to do this, but kept trying to get her to put this off until May or June, but she really wants to go asap, and I kept having other stuff crop up earlier than this, so I didn't feel like I could say no

- May (nothing so far)

- June (nothing so far)

- July
   8-14ish, San Diego (If can get tix to Comic Con... if not, then maybe somewhere else. Or will mope around SD.)
   15, Seattle, 1D concert (I thought about going to work, but... nah)

Seriously, this is insane for me. Usually I work straight through Jan-Nov, practically. Maybe for the first time ever, I won't be able to carry over any leftover vacation time to the next calendar year!

Meanwhile, I have another Instant Pot recipe that has gone over very well with everyone who's eaten it. Seriously this thing is a miracle machine! :P

Recipe: Chinese Turnip Cakes )
sarea: (Default)
After a month+ absence, I'm back! :D I'm terrible about updating if I don't update every day. :/ I wonder what kind of psychological block I have about that.

I took about 3 weeks off from work, which was great, but still too short. I just hate working. I'd love to retire, but that's not going to happen any time soon. Had a really mellow time in LA. Was able to get together with [profile] jade_okelani and [personal profile] ropo a few times, but not as much as we had initially planned, because we were all struck by the plague. Ugh. So much terrible sickness this year. Also, the day before I left, I gave myself food poisoning. So that was the worst flight experience ever, considering I also had my two pets with me. /relives horror

It was really nice not to have to worry about feeding myself like, at all, when I was down there. Now I'm having to fend for myself again and I'm struggling. I've had a McRib two days in a row. >.> Last night I finally made myself some kale and sausage soup.

I'm sure more random tidbits about my trip will pop out eventually, but right now I want to talk about movies! MOVIES. )

Vancouver!

Aug. 21st, 2012 10:40 pm
sarea: (Default)
Back from Vancouver, where [personal profile] adelagia, [personal profile] slitherhither and I had a blast. We didn't kill each other and remain friends, which is always a 50/50 prospect when traveling with people for the first time. So yay for that! :D More details about the trip. Warning: Many pictures of food contained herein. )

Edit: I was so concerned with detailing all the food we ate that I didn't make note of the non-food stuff. >.> So I am copying and pasting some other stuff from [personal profile] adelagia's post on this exact same trip, for posterity. Non-food stuff! )
sarea: (Default)
It feels like AGES since I last posted but it's only been like 2 weeks. >.> That could be because Jade and I fit about a month's worth of Doing Stuff into a mere 6 days. In a nutshell: We ate at ALL THE PLACES, including Ma'ono's fried chicken dinner TWICE, Tilth, Il Corvo, Molly Moon's, Dahlia Lounge, Boiling Point, Benihana, Lunchbox Laboratory, Staple & Fancy, and also made it up to Lynden for pie (which was a big disappointment). We did NOT get to do the SAM scavenger hunt, because the director sprained her ankle the day we were supposed to do it. We did get in THREE viewings of The Avengers (bringing my total to having seen it 5.75 times) and some TV that we wanted to get each other hooked on. She now loves Community as much as I do (YAY!!!!!) and I really liked Raising Hope. I wanted to like Leverage more than I did, but it was only one episode so hopefully it'll grow on me. I liked White Collar more (but then... Matt Bomer. Come on). Also we went to the Tulalip Casino... twice. Jade likes to gamble. The first time, I just watched, and she won $110. The next time, I played, and she won $25 while I won $200. We are good luck for each other at blackjack. However, my car totally got dinged on the streets of Seattle by (what I am convinced was) a falling brick. The driver's side window/just under it is totally scratched/dented, which sucks. :/ We even went KARAOKE-ING at Rock Box in Capital Hill. If you know anything about me, you know that I cannot carry a tune to save my life, so this was a big deal. Only people who could not sing were invited, lol.

Another reason it's been so long since I posted is that I haven't been feeling LJ. Partly it's because whenever I don't post for awhile, things accumulate and then I feel overwhelmed and I don't want to catch up, etc.

Annnnd partly it's because I've been cheating on LJ with Tumblr. >.> I can't help it! Tumblr gives me what I neeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeed. I'm here btw. All my peeps seem to be there. All the crazy and awesome people who afhdaghgfldsdsh over Clintasha and Rennerson and post awesome pictures and gifs and talk about Clint/Natasha/Jeremy/Scarlett 24/7. I have to check it several times a day because if I don't then it becomes overwhelming like Twitter, except I don't care about Twitter, but I will be upset if I miss anything awesome of the Avengers variety, especially if it has to do with Jeremy/Scarlett (and just to be clear, sadly there is no Jeremy/Scarlett, except in the collective fandom's mind. I don't see how she can go to Hawaii with losers like that new bf of hers who won't even defend her from overeager fanboys, when you KNOW Jeremy would Take Care of Things, but whatever).

Anyway. LJ is still a better place to find quality fanfic, so I'm going to try and juggle both (full disclosure: I'm terrible at multitasking). For my new Clint/Natasha friends, HIHI, and here are some 'Welcome to my LJ' gifs and images! May not be safe for work. )

I have so, so, SO many plot bunnies you don't even know. They're all vying for attention, which sadly as the effect of paralyzing me, writing wise. Many of them are totally GP ... but I don't even care. It's fanfic for pete's sake. The most important part is the P!

TMI... The last few days I have been super tired and I thought it was because I didn't get much sleep when Jade was here. Then yesterday I found out the real reason why... it's because I'm a GIRL. :P

Subject line: Troy from Community, the episode where they're in an 8-bit game.
sarea: (robin/barney dancing)
I'm back in Seattle, and it's pouring down snow where I am. What a difference from the last week and a half in SoCal. Sigh.

Being sick while on the plane was awful. My ears kept popping as we climbed, which was uncomfortable but OK. The absolute worst was going down -- then my ears kept getting plugged and my usual tricks to pop them didn't work. It was so painful and uncomfortable. :-(

Anyhow, I survived, but promptly did the most idiotic thing once we'd landed and I'd retrieved Talis and Jaime. If you were sick and traveling solo with two pets, what would you do to get back to where you'd parked your car?

a) take a taxi
b) take a shuttle
c) call someone to see if they'll pick you up, even though you'd be a huge inconvenience
d) take the bus, even though there's two transfers and a fair bit of walking involved and you don't really know the routes

GUESS WHICH ONE I PICKED. )

This isn't the first time, either. I did it to [profile] jade_okelani once, when we were in Washington, D.C. Because of my insistence not to take a cab, we walked for sooooooo long in the wee hours of the morning to get back to our hotel (the Metro was closed). In my very minor defense, I didn't realize how far it actually was; I had thought it was closer than it was when we walked it. But still. I think that was the most done she's ever been with me. Or if not the most done, then probably at least rates in the top 3.

[personal profile] ropo will also say that I did it to her in Chicago, but believe it or not, that was very minor compared to these incidents. Those were (mostly) walkable distances. I guess I just have this anti-cab thing and I don't even know why, other than that I find them ridiculously costly. Maybe that's the only reason.

I just have better things to spend my money on, I guess is what my brain thinks. And sometimes it's true and sometimes it's not. Like if Jade and I had actually gotten mugged because I wanted to spare us a $100 cab ride, that obviously would not have been worth it. But I'd rather spend it on a new camera (which I have in my hands, eeeeeee!), or Talis's eye. Yeah, so it turns out that Talis has an ulcer in his left eye. Took him to the vet before we left and they gave me some medicating cream to put in it for a week, but apparently it didn't help. Today's follow up showed that the ulcer was still the same size, so now I actually have to take him to an animal eye specialist. Yeah, THAT'S going to cost a pretty penny. But fine, as long as it helps him, worth it. Now, of course, I'm so worried about him and my heart breaks whenever he looks at me with his one good eye and one squinty eye. :-(

I'm caught up on S7 of How I Met Your Mother. God I love that show, it's so good. And funny. Even though they drive me CRAZY with how they won't let the stupid Ted/Robin drop and how they keep doing the "will they/won't they" with Robin/Barney.

Also, I'm midway through S2 of The Walking Dead, which I'm enjoying a lot. Spoilery thoughts so far. )

Meanwhile, another tax form came in. Apparently I sold some stock last February, which I don't recall doing at all, which will require me to upgrade to a paid tax preparation suite if I want to do it myself online. Bah. Also, I think all financial institutions should be required to mail out their stuff to you by January. I mean, I could've already filed! I almost did! And then I would've had to file an amendment and everything.
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: (nathan cigarette)
First things first -- [personal profile] ropo and I are going to Chicago! In May! Right now I'm thinking May 4-11, though I haven't purchased my plane ticket yet. Probably going to wait on that for awhile, because unlike the old days, it seems that you can get better fares the longer you wait, rather than planning ahead. I'm also planning to Priceline a hotel (if possible, in the North Michigan Ave/River North area, or the Millennium Park, Loop, and Grant Park area) -- and again, waiting will behoove us.

I've never been to Chicago before, so those in the know... What should I see/do?? Which are the restaurants I must check out? I'm open to all cuisines! We probably won't be renting a car, as the public transportation is supposed to be great (right?), but we probably wouldn't want to trek too far. I'm so excited!

I'll also have to think about what I'm going to do with Talis and Jaime. Talis will almost certainly be kenneled, but I should probably see if I can have a friend take care of Jaime or maybe have a neighbor come over (but the only neighbor I actually know well enough to have come into my house is older, and I don't think I could ask her to take care of the kitty litter, in which case I might as well kennel him too).

Over the weekend [profile] corianderstem and I went to check out Avalon, a new restaurant in West Seattle that her friend opened about a month ago. It was really cute, serving more upscale food at imho very reasonable prices -- for instance, I got the duck ham eggs benedict with dandelion pesto for $11. Here's my food porn post about it.

I've gone a little nuts in the last few days, buying tons of makeup. I've been fascinated by these videos on YouTube where girls demonstrate different techniques to apply makeup (especially for the eyes). For me, specifically, it's particularly helpful to watch the tutorials for/by Asian girls, because they have the same eye shape, skin tone, etc. I used to think Asian women simply weren't meant to wear eyeshadow -- several makeovers at Nordstrom and other cosmetic counters in which the makeup "artist" put makeup on me like I was a white girl convinced me of this, the results were TERRIBLE -- but I was wrong! When applied properly, with the right technique, Asian girls can wear eyeshadow! You don't know what a revelation this is to me.

I was never one of those girls who sat in a room with my friends and made each other over, and maybe as a result, I never really learned the "magic secrets" of makeup. It wasn't like we wore NO makeup. We all wore a minimal amount, some lipstick and eyeliner -- but that was about it. There was a time I experimented with wearing foundation... but let's not go there. Those were dark times. Not to mention that I was 16 -- my skin was never going to look better; why was I trying to cover it up?! Anyway -- I've carried makeup minimalism into adulthood. But now I'm going to experiment more. I feel like I should have done my experimentation when I was younger so I'd know more now, but oh well.

Don't get me wrong -- I don't think women should have to wear cosmetics. I'm all for people who don't use it and are totally happy with how they look. But I also feel that if using makeup makes someone feel good or more confident about themselves, then they should go for it. Plus it's fun!
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: (Default)
To Kindle or not to Kindle? Anyone have one and care to offer an opinion? I think it's really neat and all, but I don't know if I can let go of my traditionalist ways that say a book should be held in one's hands. I'm slowly getting used to the idea of letting that go (so much harder than letting go of CDs), but even if I get past that, I don't know if I can get past the idea of having to buy all my books, rather than borrowing from the library or something. I mean, the books I REALLY love, I'll still want a physical copy, which is also true of cookbooks, so is the Kindle (and its ilk) just not for me yet?

I'm back from my loooooooooong vacation. I've had better. I was sick for the first two weeks (and I think I've gotten sick AGAIN since coming back!). The weather in SoCal was horrible for much of it. Torrential rain pour that caused flooding. WTF? If I wanted that sort of thing I would have stayed in Seattle. And then there was SNOW where my parents live. Again, WTF. The best part of the trip was when [profile] jade_okelani, [personal profile] ropo and I got mani/pedis and later Jade and I went to this $20 massage parlor that was AWESOME. (Robbie couldn't go because she has stitches near her boob.) I've been to an inexpensive massage parlor before and it was OK. But this one was fantastic. Jade, who's been to many more of them than me, said that it was way beyond the next best she'd been to. Foot soak, foot rub, and full-body massage (clothes on) for 60 minutes, $20 plus tip. If I had that place near me I would go every week. It was better than some $60+ massages I've had! Jade has found me a place to try in Kirkland (it's $25), but I don't know how good it will be. This other place set the bar too high.

The big, huge, enormous news is that I have bought my parents a house. I've been talking about it for a long, long time and it finally came to fruition. We closed escrow before the end of the year after a nightmare of a process (the seller's representative had the absolute WORST communication skills -- I don't know how SHE has a job when so many intelligent and literate people do not; my lender afterward was like, "that woman was driving me crazy"). It was just one problem/issue after another. I was stressed out about it every day. So that was not pleasant. Hopefully that's over now and no further problems will arise. GIANT SIGH. However with this new mortgage I'm going to be living off instant noodles. Seriously, I went to H-Mart last night and bought like a month's worth of ramen. It'll be like being a college student all over again!

Went to Vegas to check out my aunt's 'condo' (it's more like a small suite) at the MGM for the first time. She bought it for some astronomical amount during the housing market boom and it's plummeted in value -- but anyway, I made the mistake of accompanying my mom to the slots, where I lost the money I brought to gamble with (not a lot). I don't know why I always do this, maybe because the slots are so brainless and require minimal effort, but I NEVER win at them. Others in my family seem to be able to win at them all the time; not me. I should always stick to table games. Last time I was in Vegas I won money playing blackjack (with Jade's help), and this time I won back most of my slot losses playing roulette (with my cousin B.'s help). If we'd stayed longer I might have done better than essentially break even, as long as I stayed away from the slots. :P

For Christmas I got pajamas (which I always love and believe we should wear at all times during the day and night), a bunch of clothes I returned (both because I didn't want to take it back to Seattle when all I brought was a backpack, and because most were so Not Me), video games (from my brother), various gift cards, and the always-welcome gift of cash. I also got this calendar from Robbie, which I wanted because I'm a giant nerd. She also got me a Snuggie, teehee. What's funny is that my aunt got Talis a doggie Snuggie, and there's a photo of the two of us in our Snuggies. Hilarious. Well, to me, anyway.

Misfits is the best show ever. If you haven't seen it yet, do. There are two seasons, S1 has 6 eps, S2 has 7 eps.

Oh and to feed my It Started with a Kiss obsession, I've borrowed Itazura Na Kiss, the original manga finally translated into English, from the library. :D
sarea: (jayne)
I am so freaking tired. I need a massage. It hasn't been that long since my last one, all things considered, but if a massage table suddenly appeared in the middle of our office space I'd get right on it. If it came with a strong Ukranian woman who'd make me hurt so good, even better. Oh how I miss this one masseuse I used to have! She's like the only female masseuse I've ever had who gave massages as good as the male ones I've had. Guys are just stronger and have bigger hands, plus their hands aren't smooth and girly, which for some reason doesn't feel as good.

Yesterday I basically mainlined S3 of The Sopranos, to the point where I also had murky dreams that I don't remember about the characters. The episode Steve Buscemi directed was hilarious. And I LOVE Joe Pantoliano. He always plays such a wonderful little weasel. I think my favorite character right now is Adriana, but of course we don't see much of her.

I really can't believe I'm getting on a plane this afternoon. All I want to do is crawl into bed and SLEEP. K. and I are going to have a late dinner at Chez Panisse, which I can't even work up excitement for, even though I've been wanting to go there for ages.

If you're a fan of It Started with a Kiss, you may or may not have seen this adorable video they did, who knows when. There aren't any subtitles so unless you read Chinese you probably can't understand the written characters, but that doesn't make it any less enjoyable. It's like a music vid, they don't talk that much. I can tell you though that in the beginning what Xiang Qin is yelling at Zhi Shu is, "I LIKE YOU! I LIKE YOU!!!!" As if that weren't perfectly obvious.

ADORABLE! )

I've ordered a French press to be delivered to my parents' house. I cannot face the thought of another two weeks with instant coffee.
sarea: (Default)
We had a freakish storm this morning. Noah was out there with his ark. It rained so much and so hard, and there was lightning. I do not believe I have received any superpowers because of it, more's the pity. It would be kind of awesome to have that kind of weather raging outside if you were snug and warm at home, but when you're trying to get to work via bus? Not so much.

ID this TV show quote: "I'll build the ark; you gather the animals."

I've been a total and complete slug since I got back. I always get this way in the wintertime, when it's so cold that I don't want to do anything but huddle under my blankets. I don't have central heating in my house; instead, each room has its own baseboard heater. This helps save on the electric bill, but it also means that once I'm in a warm room, I don't want to leave it for anything.

I finished Misfits S1, and once again I must rec it. I haven't started S2 yet, because I'm hoping that [profile] jade_okelani is going to start the show soon, and if she likes it, then we can watch S2 together while I'm in LA. If she doesn't like a show this awesome and funny, then I'll have to reevaluate our friendship. Ditto ISWAK, which she is FINALLY going to start watching when I'm visiting, though I'll give her a little more leeway on it, since it is sort of on crack (but in a good way!). Back to Misfits... by the end of S1 I was finding Nathan strangely compelling. He's so not my usual type. He's more up [personal profile] slitherhither's alley with his skinny frame and all. He's Merlin-esque.

I can't believe I'm going to be getting on a plane on Friday. And then again on Sunday. And then again on Wednesday. Hopefully it will not rain like this on Wednesday, because K. has to watch the kids while D. has some appointments, so she can't take me to the airport. Last time I took the bus to the airport it was pouring, and that is SO NOT FUN when you've got luggage. And this time I'll have a whole chocolate cake with me! It's insane, but I'm bringing Bakery Nouveau's chocolate cake to LA so [profile] jade_okelani and [personal profile] ropo can try it.

I've been trying to search for official, confirmed info on It Started with a Kiss 3, but apparently it only exists in fans' dreams. All there is are rumors, nothing for sure. That makes me sad.

XM Radio keeps calling me because they want me to re-up my subscription (which was a trial, anyway). I never pick up. They've been trying every day for weeks now. I wonder when/if they'll ever give up? Will I cave before they do? It doesn't seem possible, and yet... I don't know that I've seen anyone be this persistent.
sarea: (queen guinevere)
All my bags are packed
I'm ready to go


Except none of that is true. I haven't packed a single thing. And J. wanted to have dinner tonight, so instead of saying, "I have to pack," I said, "Sure!" Luckily my flight out isn't until the evening manana. But... still.

I got my Samsung Focus yesterday and OMG it is freaking awesome. I can't wait to show everyone. My favorite new app is Shazam, which most people already know, but those of you who don't... basically if you're in a bar or the car and a song comes on that you want to know the name of, you just have it listen to the song for a few seconds and then it'll tell you the name, album, and artist. It's really amazing (I'm easily amazed, okay?!). Basically I've just about wasted a fully charged battery trying to stump it. I've only been able to stump it once (with Tara MacLean), but it's gotten everything else, even the Merlin Series 2 soundtrack. /slow clap

I feel obligated to share this fanvid, mainly for [profile] frances_lopez, a shameless Gwen/Lancelot shipper, but also for EVERYONE because it's fabulous and on crack. They call me Arthur, ruler of Camelot... )

BAHAHAHAHAHAAHA.

BTW I am on S2 of The Sopranos and am loving it now.
sarea: (katherine)
Slowly but surely, I am getting all the things done that I need to do in order to be able to leave on Sat.

- returned all library books to the library (I got 1/3 of the way through The Magicians)
- put my mail on hold
- put various lists on vacation hold
- mailed off Merlin to three cool ladies
- took pets to vet and got health cert
- watched Vampire Diaries 2x09 (and now I know why there was not a peep from my flist about it, what a forgettable episode, though the C/S interaction was cute. I don't even want to TALK about the D/R)
- finished Sherlock (once again, [personal profile] adelagia was spot on and warned me that the second episode was far weaker than the other two, which are great, especially the first ep)

I don't know why, but the Seattle area has a lot of self-named European Delis that specialize in imported European goods, especially cheese and salami. It's very general, there's never any specificity (sorry, Inception!Arthur) as to which countries in Europe are represented, exactly, though they seem mostly Russian. Or something. Anyway, I love those places. My favorite thing is Estonskaya salami or something like that. I think it must be made with crack. It is SO GOOD. I bought half a pound today and my plan is to make myself a sandwich to take on the plane with me.

Die of adorableness. Two paws up! )

I'm getting a facial at Julep after work today. I don't really like facials and I've only gotten like two of them in my entire life, but this was part of a package, so. It's not even that I don't like people touching my face (which I know is an issue for some people); I like it when I'm getting a massage. It's that I don't notice ANY difference before/after.

I loved Merlin 3x10 so much I am thinking of doing a pictorial summary of it, even though I know my time should be spent elsewhere.
sarea: (merlin gwen)
Holy crap, I'm leaving for CA in 5 days. How can that BE????????

I did take the pets to the vet this weekend to get their health certs so they can fly -- I suddenly remembered that there was very little time left. Talis has an ear infection AGAIN. The vet advised me to do the cleaning/medication for a full 14 days this time to hopefully clear it up once and for all. He, of course, hates the whole procedure. He shakes frantically, trying to dispel the wetness, or he scratches, or rubs his ears against the bed/floor. I'm like, don't make me put the doggie cone on you!!! And he just stares at me like, I dare you.

Last night I watched the first ep of BBC's Sherlock, and it was, as many have said, brilliant. I stayed up far later than I meant to, watching it. Now I'm tired and grumpy. But I don't regret it.

Had a fantabulous time yesterday with the D/G gals. We finally did the podcast, in the presence of one of [personal profile] elle_blessing's non-fandom male friends, which wasn't embarrassing AT ALL. I'm sorry to say that I took pictures, but most came out kind of blurry. Sigh. Next time!

Now I love Katie McGrath even more. )

I suspect I may miss the next two weeks' Merlin episodes and will have to catch up when I get back. Unless something super shippy happens, in which case [profile] jade_okelani will force me to watch it. She's even crazier than I am now, I think.

Tonight: preliminary packing and probably finishing Sherlock. D'oh and I haven't even caught up on the most recent ep of Vampire Diaries yet.
sarea: (mulder & scully)
Jaime is making me insane.

Lately he has taken to wanting to remove all the books from the bottom shelves of the bookshelves. I don't know why he wants to do this. He just scratches at them until they tumble out. I've had to block them off in an ad hoc way to deter him. He particularly likes to do this when I'm trying to sleep, because when I'm up and about, and when I come home from being gone all day, I can tell he doesn't touch them (as they're all still on the shelf). I think it's because he likes being in the same room with me and Talis, but there's nothing else to DO when Talis and I are sleeping.

The other thing he's doing is that he wakes up around 5:30am and starts trying to "play" with things on my bed, like the remote control, or my mouse, or a book, or whatever. It wakes me up and it's brutal because my alarm is going to go off in an hour and my sleep's been interrupted. Usually he'll just start messing around in the room (like with the books) rather than go back to sleep, so then I always have to kick him out of the room and close the door (the door is otherwise open and he COULD leave, but he doesn't want to, he wants to be with us, only he wants us awake) so I can get that precious hour of sleep.

It's come to my attention that I have 113 hours of vacation subject to forfeiture if I don't use them by the end of the year (it's really annoying that we aren't allowed to just cash that out). And that's just going to go up as the days pass by and I work more. What this means is that I'm going to be cramming in a lot of time off. I've decided to go to LA for the week of Thanksgiving (which I never do), come back, and then two weeks later, leave for my winter vacation. Plus I will take about 3 extra-long weekends before Thanksgiving. This crunch happens almost every year. I wish I were better about spacing out my vacation, but I tend to want to hoard it just in case I need it... and then this happens. Sigh. In any case, I'm going to bring Talis and Jaime with me when I leave in November, then they will stay with my parents until I return in December, and take them back with me when I come back to Seattle in January. Since that's over 30 days, I'm going to have to find an inexpensive vet down there to do a general check up for them so they can get their health certificates that they'll need for traveling. I'm also thinking I might be able to carry Jaime onto the plane with me (Talis has to go in the cargo hold), in which case I'll need a soft carrying case for him. Except, scratch that, if I carry Jaime on board with me I'll have to check in any luggage, and that costs extra, so he might as well go in the hold as well.

I've completely rediscovered my love for XF, but I enjoy it on a slightly different level than I did when I was deep into fandom, over a decade ago. I'm going to start posting my old thoughts from various episodes here, probably undiluted for the most part, just in case that website ever goes away I'll have some record. If you read them, yay, you're welcome to take a trip with me down memory lane -- just keep in mind that these are thoughts from a much-younger me. :D

My Intro/Caveats from 1999 )

XF 'Squeeze' )

My favorite quotes from this ep. )
sarea: (Default)
So Esalen was a blast. I learned a lot from my workshop, which was all about body balance and natural posture. Its tenets are based on studies of people around the world who carry heavy loads regularly, but don't have any back/knee problems that seem to afflict so many Americans. Even Americans were in balance until about the 1950s, when our posture went all out of whack, and now our young people look like old people with their curved backs and slouching figures. I'm a terrible offender myself. So now I'm using their guidelines to try and improve my posture and hopefully get my body back in balance, but it's the sort of thing that's going to take a lifetime of working at it.

The day we got there, it was pouring rain. Which is not fun on the best of days, but since we were also traversing mountain curves it was even more iffy. We got there safely, however, and starting the next day it was completely clear and gorgeous the rest of our time there.

My mom and aunt were afraid that we wouldn't have enough to eat during our stay, because K. had told us that the food at Esalen is from their own gardens, etc., so they'd brought all these snacks. It turned out that we were stuffed to the brim every single day. The food was awesome, served cafeteria style, with as much as you could eat, and a fresh/changing salad bar (indeed filled with fresh veggies from the Esalen garden) every day. The night we got there, there was oven-roasted turkey (so tender and juicy), mashed potatoes, etc. Breakfast consisted of 5 different kinds of hot cereal, including a savory quinoa, soft and hard boiled eggs, fresh fruit, and the bread bar. Lunch was usually consisted of a 'lighter' main course, such as a BLT (or the vegetarian option -- Esalen is very vegan/vegetarian friendly), along with a selection of soups. Dinner is heavier, with fare such as BBQ tri-tip steak, hand-caught local halibut, etc. And the beverage bar as well as the bread bar are open all day -- this consists of all kinds of bread that they bake themselves, butter, four kinds of jam, organic peanut butter they make themselves (that was sooooo good), fresh juice, lemonade, milk, coffee, tea, etc.

Far from starving, we rarely even felt HUNGRY during our stay, because we were basically eating all day. Start out with breakfast, followed by class, followed by lunch, followed by a break then class, then dinner, then class, then sleep. I felt full almost all the time.

After lunch I would usually go to the baths, which are situated right near the water, fill up a private tub in the "silent" section (as opposed to the "quiet" room next door or the upper tub, which has no noise restriction), and read the first Temeraire book, His Majesty's Dragon. I LOVED the book, even though I find the stilted formal language a bit off putting (even as I admire Naomi Novik for being able to write it), it went very quickly. It's not nearly as dense as A Song of Ice and Fire. I'm glad I have the other books in the series on hand. Anyway, from the baths you have a view of the ocean, and a lot of people get massages there. It was the only place at Esalen that was clothing optional (and co-ed).

I took a TON of pictures, and these are probably the best of them. You can see larger versions if you click on them, then select "all sizes" and choose "large."

VERY picture intensive. )

Whew! So, great trip, but the middle-of-nowhere location is really tough. So much driving!!
sarea: (betty draper)
Well, my plan to finish my D/G Exchange fic this weekend didn't quite work out. It's still not finished. However, it's almost there, so at least I got quite a bit of it done. The panic has subsided somewhat, and if things stay quiet at work today, I may just finish it here this afternoon.

Now what I'm getting nervous about is my trip. I'm leaving on Friday. FRIDAY! How can that be?? I feel like there are a million things I've forgotten to do, but I think that's just a result of the fact that my trip this time is coming together quite differently from how my trips normally go (the airline I'm taking, what I'm doing with Talis, how I'm getting to the airport). I hope. I still need to do laundry so I have clothes to wear ... though of course, if everyone's going around naked at Esalen that may not be a huge priority. I'm sure Jade and Robbie would prefer that I have clothes on when I see them, though.

Of course right before I leave I've gotten on a book-buying kick, which means half of them are going to arrive during the time I'm gone. (That reminds me, I need to go to usps.com and have them hold my mail.) Many of them are cookbooks. If you're interested in the list. )

I'm also trying some new fantasy novels. Or at least, I plan to, once I have them in hand. This includes the Kushiel's Legacy series, The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, the first Dragon Lance book, the Sword of Shadows series by J.V. Jones, and of course, the Temeraire series ... I've had the first four books forever now. Also, did you know Orson Scott Card wrote a direct sequel to Ender's Game (one of my favorite books ever), called Ender in Exile? Has anyone read it? What did you think? I haven't really been able to get into the other follow ups to the first book, so am not sure if it's something I really want to read or not.

As for the garden ... none of the seeds I've planted in the beds have sprouted, which is probably just as well given the worm thing and the fact that I am going to be away for 1+ weeks. I'll probably just try again once I get back, and maybe the weather will also be warmer. As for the indoor starters, the only ones that have sprouted are the cauliflower. I think it's the cauliflower; I didn't label them. However, I realized that the other seeds were probably planted too deep once I consulted the package directions again, and plus it hasn't been very sunny or warm the last week. So ... I started over with them, following the directions more carefully this time. I'll water them before I leave, and hope that they don't die from neglect before I get back.

I just have great timing, don't I?
sarea: (Default)
Food things first... snail butter and my adventures with roasting bone marrow. Quickie verdict: better than the first time, after I used a salt-water soak, but not sure I'd go as far as Anthony Bourdain and have it as my Last Meal. My next culinary adventure is... TONGUE! I'm going to prepare it using a recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. 2. Which, I'm not sure if I've ever told this story before (edit: I have), but I got it at HPB for $8 and it was a signed copy by Julia Child, Paul Child, and Simone Beck (before the Julie & Julia movie came out). Seriously whenever I want to wallow in self pity about my general bad luck, I think of that book.

On Saturday [profile] corianderstem and I finally got to try Serious Pie, after a couple of fits and starts. Initial verdict: I thought it was good, but not THAT good. Not worth waiting an hour and a half good (we waited probably 20 minutes or so). I got the clam pizza and she got the rosemary potato, both of which were good. It's probably not fair to give a final verdict until I've tried their tomato sauce as well, so I'll probably be back at least one more time. After lunch we walked around the corner to the Dahlia Bakery, where we indulged in cookies (their cookies are so good!) and the $2 bite version of their famous triple coconut cream pie. It's really tiny, about 3 bites worth, but considering the calories and richness, that's probably for the best. I've been reading up and apparently, their breakfast sandwiches are a MUST try, as well as their brioche caramel monkey bread. Too bad it's in a location that has terrible/expensive parking. Wish I could just hop off a bus at that location then hop back on, like A.!

After that we went to watch Avatar on IMAX. I felt about the same about the movie as I did the first time I saw it... found it visually stunning (even though I think there is something wrong with my eyes where I just can't 'see' the 3D stuff as well as other people), but with a mediocre storyline and really bad dialogue.

Currently trying to work out my possible Esalen trip in early April. Right now I'm in limbo due to factors totally outside of my control (mostly it's on my cousin, Esalen, and my aunt), which drives me crazy, but I think I've worked it out to something approaching acceptable for me. Esalen is in Big Sur, which is about 4 hours from LA and 4 hours from the Bay Area. So I'm going to be driving 4 hours either way. Most likely, my mom will be coming, so it makes sense for me to fly to LA, rent a car, and drive us to Big Sur together. It also makes sense to take Talis with me and have my dad watch him while we're gone, because it'll cost about the same to kennel him. There is the possibility that we may not go at all, or other variations (it would make your head spin). I've decided that I'll just cut the complexity out of it by going to LA for sure during that time, and if we end up going to Esalen, great, and if not, I'll just be there on vacation. Sure, it's a lot sooner than I would have planned for a vacation back to LA, but at least this way I don't have to worry about alternate dates/airlines/locations/etc. Yeah, more than you wanted to know about that.

I'm about halfway-ish through Eclipse. I can't wait for it to be over.

I've also watched more BSG. I wish I were going slower on that, because there's only 1 season left!! No!! Spoilers. )

Hello!

Jan. 11th, 2010 05:23 pm
sarea: (veronica camera)
Sadly, my vacation has come to an end.

I'm happy to be back amongst all my things, of course, but I will miss the mild weather (it was 75°F when I left) and general sunniness (it's cloudy here and my house is extra dark). Vitamin D, my new best pal. As always after a long absence I'm kind of at a loss where to start... so I'll just blab away with no real plan.

I'm eating delicious fudge from Fynt (really, his mom) to fortify myself.

1) Some time after my last post, I was rear ended. Again. I know, I can't even use exclamations or act surprised at all by this point. It was still 2009. I knew it wasn't going to let me go easily. Basically, I needed to make a turn out of a parking lot but had to cross several lanes, so I was having to wait for a lot of traffic. The asshole behind me decided that in revenge for making him wait 30 seconds, he was going to deliberately hit my car (he was in some crappy old car that had seen better days) and zoom away. Because my mom gets hysterical about these sorts of things, I did not chase after him, and because it took me a few seconds to even realize what had happened, I didn't get his plate. Now my parents' new car has a badly scuffed bumper. (And remember, it's only new because my mom was in that serious car accident that totaled their old car a few months ago, for which she is still getting physical therapy.)

2) Right before I left, one of my aunts was hospitalized due to needing gall bladder surgery. She's back home and is recovering OK. I know, 2010 isn't shaping up to being any better than 2009 so far.

3) My flight home was good. The flight was at 3:30, they were going to board at 3, and I got there at 2:40. I noticed that my battery was critically low, which was a problem because after I landed I needed to a) get in touch with K., who was picking me up, and b) get in touch with S., who I was picking up after K. and I had dinner. I found one of those charging stations (BLESS those things), and decided to charge my phone until 3:15. I figured that that would give them 15 minutes to start boarding, and besides I'd just read in the paper about how airlines were failing at on-time flights since the recent flight scares. At 3:14 I unplugged my phone and went to use the restroom. When I came out, I heard my name being called over the loudspeaker and that it was my FINAL CALL. I was like WTF and went over to the gate. Their digital clock read 3:16. They had somehow boarded everyone else in 16 minutes!! I was the last person on the plane. We left early, we got some good wind, and then some expected turbulence didn't happen, all of which got me back home half an hour early. Which is always nice.

4) In case you enjoy them as much as S. does: Williams-Sonoma peppermint bark is on sale right now. $10 for a tin that usually costs (a ridiculous, imho) $26.50. It's really good peppermint bark. I'm going to bake some into brownies. :D I think it's out of most stores, so you probably can't get that price w/o ordering them online and paying for shipping. Surprisingly, W-S didn't charge tax, even though they do have brick-and-mortar stores here. I just don't get how the tax thing works.

5) My physical therapist thinks I should continue treatment for another 4 weeks or so. That's fine w/ me as long as the other insurance company pays for it, which they should, hopefully without incident. Sigh. I'd also like to start massage therapy, because while I was in CA I got like 3 of them and it seemed to help a lot.

6) While on vacation I saw Sherlock Holmes and Avatar. While neither make my best or favorite movies lists, they were fun. I'm considering seeing Avatar again at the Pacific Science Center's IMAX theater because I can get tickets for $3.50. Any Seattlites interested in joining me? First to express interest gets it, because I can only get 2 tix per show.

7) If you've never had caramel-flavored Bugles, they are sooooo good. Basically they're like caramel popcorn, salty and sweet and delicious.

8) Watched Dexter seasons 2, 3, AND 4. Wow @ 4's ending. Just wow. So well done. I thought the show was good after season 1, but now it's definitely up there with the exceptional ones.

9) Given all the things I bought and received over break, it didn't all fit into the suitcase I brought. I had to use my mom's larger suitcase to take home (and paid the extra fee, grr).

10) Discovered after years of avoiding wearing earrings (because my ears would get all itchy and aggravated) that I can only wear gold earrings. I always thought that my ears got all inflamed and angry because I wasn't used to wearing earrings, period... but then discovered that they don't get that way with gold. So there's something in regular earrings and even sterling silver that affects me negatively. Sigh @ that, but yay that I can comfortably wear earrings again.

11) Read Audrey Niffenegger's Her Fearful Symmetry. It was beautifully written, and was interesting (definitely kept me turning the page), but was ultimately disappointing. Not because it wasn't The Time-Traveler's Wife (as Jade says, "She already wrote that book, see."), but because the plot and other elements of HFS was just kind of ... not well thought out. It's a much, much simpler book in terms of ambition. Maybe after TTTW she just needed something very different in both plot and execution. Just wish it was a cleaner book than it is ... and not, you know, in terms of sex/language.

12) I may be going to Esalen in April.

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