Archive | December, 2007

I Rock (Kind Of)

30 Dec

You may remember me pouring out my heart and soul to my faithful readers in an effort to score some cash for Guitar Hero & an XBox (here).  Despite the fact that none of you donated (thanks a lot), Santa brought J & I some cash and Target gift cards for Christmas.  Yay Fat Guy in the Red Suit!

J & I went off to our local Tar-jay on Friday night.  And spent 20 minutes looking at the XBox systems and debating which one we wanted, before deciding that Target just didn’t have the one we wanted, nor did any other Target in Southeastern Massachusetts.  Target did have a spiffy pink controller that I bought myself so we’d be ready when we did find the right system.  Then I spent the rest of the night pouting about not getting the XBox.  When I buy something big, I think about it for awhile, then, when I go to purchase it, I want it right.that.minute.  I know, its a bit Veruca Salt-ish, but whatever.

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The next day, I set out to find the XBox while J was at work.  After four stores in 3 cities, I found it!  At the Walmart 3/4 mile from my apartment.  Where I obviously should have gone first.  I set it up on my own (yellow plug in yellow hole, red plug in red hole, check!), J picked up Guitar Hero 3 on his way home from work, and we were good to go.

After 36 hours of almost non-stop Guitar Hero playing, I can proudly say I am getting better.  I can’t even remember the last time I got booed off stage!  But I have noticed a few things:

One is that I hurt.  My fingers on my left hand from the death grip I have on the neck.  The fingers on my right hand hurt because I think I have to strum with my thumb and hold the bottom of the guitar with my fingers.  And my arm hurts from leaning it against the guitar.  Plus, my contacts are drying out because I’m afraid to blink.  Secondly, I simply can’t do too many things at once.   I can pretty much only handle hitting one button and strumming, and I sometimes even forget to strum.  If I try to lift the neck for star power or use the whammy bar, I miss a note.  Then I made the mistake of trying to sing “When You Were Young” while playing it.  That was not pretty.  I can barely even listen to the music.  Lastly, I can’t even think while playing.  I just have to do it.  If I do well, I get excited and miss the next 20 notes.  I have to stick out my tongue and just go.  And I must stand to be even half way decent.

J is doing much better than I am.  Except when he tries to play drums instead of the guitar.  And he wasn’t to happy with the way he preformed in his battle against Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine).  He has declared war on Slash, though.  He’s a bit of a showoff.  I laugh at him when he does leg kicks and spins, then misses a bunch of notes.  But that’s the game’s fault, of course.

I am a bit worried about him, though.  Even when the game is off, he still sees a moving screen and dots.  It reminds me of when I played a lot of Tetris and would see the squares when I tried to sleep at night.  And speaking of seeing things, our TV is looking kind of tiny.  We’ll need a HD Plasma soon.  I’ll get the Pay-Pal set up right away.

Rock on! 

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Updated: Right after I posted this, I got booed off stage during “One” by Metllica.  And “Cult of Personality.”  I felt like I had to confess my failure to you all.

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A New Feature! wikiHow of the Week

27 Dec

One day I noticed a section on my Google homepage for wikiHow.  Feeling bored and not interested in actually talking to my husband, I started poking around.  Within five minutes I learned how to make a roast on my car engine.  Fabulous!  For those of you who don’t know, wikiHow is basically an on-line how-to manual.  For everything you’ve ever wanted to know.  If its not there, you can add it.

My favorite feature of wikiHow is the Random Article Button.  I just clicked on it, and got “How to Unblock Your Nose”  Something everyone should know how to do.  Another great feature is the related articles that apear at the end of most entries.  For example, the nose related ones include:

  • How to Stop a Nose Bleed
  • How to Pick Your Nose Inconspicuously
  • How to Swim Underwater Without Holding Your Nose (something I’ve never learned how to do, by the way)
  • How to Clear up Your Nasal Passage
  • How to Pick Your Nose Inconspicuously includes pictures, numerous methods, and this helpful warning: Never perform a visual examination on whatever it is you have extracted from your nose! This is most amateurish and is one of the most common ways of getting caught.

    wikiHow runs the gamut from entries as complicated as  How to Effectively Convince Others You Are A Woman Without Getting a Sex Change  (these people may also be interested in How To Apply Makeup as a Man), to entries as simple as How to Make a Ham Sandwich (although I don’t agree with the addition of mayo & tomato, but that’s another story).

    I’ve even found the perfect article for me: How to Eat Pizza While Jogging, which comes complete with the ever so important warning: Eating and running at the same time WILL PROBABLY make you choke.

    Anyway, to proclaim my new found love of wikiHow, Lord, Beer Me Strength is now going to feature a weekly post dedicated to a random wikiHow.  I’m not sure what I’ll do with it, aside from post it and giggle, but I’m sure I’ll be able to find a way to make some witty commentary about the topic.  Or maybe not.  In the meantime, make sure you read up on this to stay informed.

    I’d like some cheese with my wine.

    22 Dec

    When I began my drinking career (at 21, of course) I was all over those punchy drinks, particularly the ones they serve at frat houses.  After college, I moved on to watery beer, which is still my drink of choice at times.  Upon becoming a sophisticated adult (ha!), I decided to try wine.

    The wine I chose to begin with was White Zinfandel, which isn’t really wine.  I’m sure it has grapes and all that jazz, but it doesn’t scream sophistication.  Ordering White Zinfandel at a business dinner when you look like you’re sixteen just screams something like “I stole this out of my parent’s wine cabinet and refilled it with water when I was twelve!”  (White Merlot screams the same thing, by the way.  Don’t fool yourselves).

    I figured I’d try white wine first.  Its usually served chilled, which I like.  And people don’t look at you quite as oddly when you put ice in a glass of white.  Maybe because it blends in better?  My family is notorious for buying cheap white wine.  The most popular choice is the 3/$10 special with a screw top.  Served on ice, of course.  In all fairness, the ice helps water drown the vinegary taste a bit.  Also to my family’s defense, we drink a lot of wine at holidays, so the liquor store special is quite cost effective.  Oh, and there is no “white wine glass”/”red wine goblet.”  It all goes in either whatever glass or clean or the closet plastic cup.  Filled to the brim.

    On my own, I’ve ventured into the $15 bottles of wine.  My fallback bottle is the Blue Luna di Luna (Pinot Grigio/Chardonnay) or the Yellow (Pinot Grigio/Pinot Bianco).  When I have time to wander the aisles of the liquor store, I try to pick out something good based on the label.  If I like it, I usually forget what it was the next time I look for a bottle.   At restaurants, I tend to stick with the house variety, although sometimes I will try something different.  I enjoy dinners with people who know wine, because then I can try something different and not look stupid trying to pronounce what I want to order.

    As for reds, I’ve tried a few and feel “eh” about them.  They all make my face hot.  However, I am currently working my way through a bottle of Two Buck Chuck Cabernet Sauvignon, and, chilled, its not half bad.  The mound of cheese I had to go with it helps as well.

    On a side note, I’ll be spending the next three days or so drinking bad wine and eating cookies, so I hope you all have a safe, happy holiday season, whether you’re celebrating now, celebrated earlier, or aren’t celebrating at all! 

    Cookiepalooza 2007

    19 Dec

    Following in the footsteps of my fellow baking bloggers (DuJane , Becca and Melanie), I bring you my holiday cookie story.

    Its been a bad cookie making season in Julieville.  My mom & I had plans to get together for a marathon cookie baking session (Cookiepalooza 2007), but the STORM OF THE CENTURY screwed everything up.  Even before the STORM, I was told that I could not just show up with a bag of chocolate chips, bake, and not clean up.  No way Jose.  I had to buy cookie making supplies (including nuts — the most expensive cookie ingredient.  I spent $20 on nuts alone!), bake some cookies prior to Cookiepalooza, and show up prepared to clean.  At this point I named my mother the Cookie Monster.

    So, I set out to make cookies.  First, I ruined three batches (!) of Saltine Toffee Cookies (aka Crack).  These are literally the easiest cookies in the world to make.  Ruined Batch #1 I blame on Ghiardelli.  I tried to make the crack with white chocolate chips and candy cane pieces J painfully pounded into bits with a mallet out of true love.  The white chocolate chips did not melt, but instead turned out looking like burnt marshmallows and crumbled dryly.  Yuck.  I burnt Batch #2, but managed to salvage some.  Batch #3 had failed toffee (don’t ask me how).  I made Batch #4 (the winner!) with a bag and a half of candy cane kisses and a lot of melting prayers.

    My other big failure was the Butter Jam Thumbprints.  They tasted good, but looked horrid.  They were flat & crispy instead of puffy & pretty.  I must have left something out.  And I made half of a second batch of Ginger Cookies before I realized I ran out of ginger.  I’m not a good little planner.

    In the end, the Cookie Monster & I made 11 different kinds of cookies, plus some spiced nuts.  I then realized that its a close tie between the worst part of cookie baking: cleaning the kitchen or actually packaging the cookies. 

    Here are the cookies in their individual baggies, ready to get plated & wrapped.  Please note the adorable snowman scissors as well as the holiday plates and plastic wrap.  I’m a budding Martha Stewart (minus the insider trading, of course):

    cookie-1.jpg

    Here they are all pretty & packaged:

    cookie-after.jpg

    My resolution for next year:  Buy lots of cheap cookie tins, instead of those stupid paper plates.  The tins were way easier, and didn’t involve J using his middle finger to hold the ribbon so I could tie it.  Did I mention I was born without a bow tying/ribbon curling gene? Or maybe I’ll just stick with the spiced nuts.   

    STORM OF THE CENTURY!!!

    14 Dec

    It’s snowing.  It’s New England.  It’s December.  Shocker.

    Yes, I know, this coming from the grown adult who is afraid to drive in the snow.   But really.  8-12 inches is not the worst we’ve seen.  The weathermen were surprisingly accurate on the timing and intensity.  But, still, mass chaos ensued.

    The entire New England area left work between 1-2 pm.  And then proceeded to drive approximately 3mph.   On the highway.  Except for the times they slid down hills or off the highway.  Or stopped in the middle of the highway to clear off their windshields.  Kids in Boston and Providence were stuck on buses for six hours.  Can you imagine the poor bus drivers?  I wonder how many times they heard “I have to pee!”  or “Are we there yet?”  Did I mention they were elementary school students?  This is fairly close to my worst nightmare (first being the aforementioned being mauled by a dolphin at Sea World). 

    There were no plows out because they had nowhere to go.  They were stuck in traffic too.  Luckily, there was no open space on the highway for the snow to go — it all went on top of the cars parked there. 

    It’s going to snow again on Sunday.  The day I’m supposed to run a 5K.  Yay.

    Welcome to winter! 

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    Stuff that Rocks in San Diego

    10 Dec

    First, the Animals:

    Merkats.  If you haven’t seen “Meerkat Manor,” I highly reccomend it.  These things are so cool.  I love how they stand on guard, just waiting for something bad to happen.  I bet they get bored in the zoo.  Nothng bad ever happens there.  I’m sure the poachers hanging out in the parking lot mean no harm.

    meerkat1.jpg

    Pandas.  The baby panda wasn’t ready to come out, but this guy was great.   He had a buddy sleeping in a tree too. 

    panda.jpg

    Baby elephants.  So cute.  But the big elephants started to get all mad at each other, and I was afraid we’d have a stampede on our hands.  Stampede is not cute.  (Stampede <> cute, right, Mare?)

    elephant.jpg

     Dolphins (see below for my slightly traumatizing Sea World story)

    dolphins1.jpg

    Shamu

    shamu.jpg

    (On another note: Animals that don’t rock = birds.  I don’t like birds.  They squak too much, they poop on you, and they’re boring.  Blech.  Every time I saw them at the zoo, I muttered “Damn Dirty Birds” and moved on.  Some were pretty, but still stinky & loud). 

    Food that Rocks:

    Jamba Juice.  Mmmmmm.

    jamba.jpg

    Mexican food close to the border.  

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    Other stuff that Rocks:

    Being on the ocean in the middle of the winter.  Even running on the ocean is more gooder.  (Well, not on the ocean, per se, but next to the ocean.  I’m not Jesus).

    ocean.jpg

    Watching the Pats beat the Ravens in a wicked close game at a bar full of Patriots haters.  The Patriots are to football what the Yankees are to baseball. But this is fun for me, so its okay.   (Another math equation for Mare:  TB QB = HOT T)

    tbqb.jpg

    My traumatic Sea World story: 

    I need to preface this by telling you that before we left for San Diego, a co-worker told me a story she saw on TV about dolphins at Sea World trying to mate with a woman in the pool.  Seriously.  So this was in the back of my mind when they were in Sea World. 

    So, we went to the dolphin show at Sea World.  They had a family come up, and they got to do things with the dolphins.  The dad got to shake their flippers, the mom (Missy) got to hold the rope so they could jump over it, and the little boy got to pet one.  Oh, how cute, right? 

    When the little boy was about to pet the dolphin, the trainer said “Missy, make sure you get your camera ready!”  She was sitting on this rock wall thing, leaned back to take a picture…and fell into the water! 

    I was horrified, because I could totally see something like that happening to me.  I probably would have just died from the embarrassment, but the mom swam towards the wall. 

    Then the dolphins approached Missy.  I immediately thought of my co-worker’s story, and was convinced the dolphins would either try to mate with her or maul her.  I knew we were going to be on Animal Planet’s “When Animals Attack.”  They were going to shut the park down and there would be an investigation.  And the kiddies would cry and cry.

    But then Missy grabbed on to the dolphins’ fins and let them drag her around the pool.  And I, in my still horrified and gullible state, thought, “Wow, that’s gutsy.”  Then the trainer on stage said “In case you haven’t already caught on, Missy is one of our trainers!”  I felt pretty darn stupid, but a lot of other people fell for the cruel joke too.  I think.  I hope.

    Here’s a picture of that bitch who tricked me, aka Missy the fake mom before she ruined her pretty outfit in the nasty sea water filled pool.  Serves her right.

    missy.jpg

       

    Back on the Right Coast

    8 Dec

    So, I’m trying to figure out the best way to tell you all about our trip to San Diego without boring you to death or driving myself insane.  So, I thought I’d make you a few lists, and then tell you some good stories later this week.  Sound good?

    Things we learned:

    • How to start a Prius Hybrid.  This was after 20 minutes of trying to start it in the rental car garage.  We finally had to call the guy over.  He didn’t laugh too hard.  j-car.jpgj-car.jpg

    j-car.jpg

    • Don’t drive in a strange city without a GPS.  Seriously.  my new BFF is Maggie the Magellan.  J had trouble trusting her, but she really is the best thing ever.  Unfortunately, she’ll go back to my dad tomorrow.  I hope I can find my way to work.

    maggie.jpg

    (I can’t get this any bigger, but its only a picture of the GPS).

    • Monkies really do suck on their penises, just like in those e-mails.  I found this to be hilarious, especially once I realized what they were sucking on.  J was horrified by me saying (loudly, in front of a toddler) “Look: He’s sucking his penis!  Oh, you would too, if you could!”

    monkey.jpg

    (I couldn’t get a picture of him in action, sorry!)

    • When a ride says “You will get wet” and it is only 60 degrees out, don’t go on the ride, even if it is your most favorite ride ever.  It makes for a very uncomfortable remainder of the day.

      wet.jpg

    •  Seals (or sea lions, I never get them straight) love fish.  But so do the birds, and they will dive bomb your head to get to said fish. 

    seal.jpg

    •  There are literally too many restaurants in the Gaslamp Quarter.  J & I wandered around for an hour, looking at menus and getting beers.  Then I was too drunk to eat anything besides pizza.

    gaslamp.jpg

    • Christmas parades in 70 degree weather by the beach are weird, but fun.

    parade.jpg

    Next time: Things that Rock in San Diego.