Thursday, November 27, 2008

away

I'll be away from the 'puter for most of the weekend.



We'll be shuttling from one relative to the parents-in-law to the sister-in-law and back over the next few days. Wish us luck - both with surviving the trip and the people associated with it, LoL!

Back on Sun or Mon.

See y'all then!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Saturday Snapshot

So this morning, I thought the elevator was filled with bags of garbage.

Seriously.

If this sight were to greet you as you approached an elevator, what would be your first thought?

Exactly.

Turns out that while they were indeed garbage bags, they weren't bags of garbage.

Someone was moving in on a budget, or didn't have access to boxes, I guess.

Whatever works, I suppose....


I just hope he/she/they reuse the bags, that they will be set for a few months' worth of bags for their actual garbage. Because if all these bags end up in a garbage bag and get thrown out... well... that's a big OUCH for Mother Nature!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

winter is coming!

... and I don't mean right now that the seasons are turning yet again... although they certainly are... it was a few days ago that I spied a bunch of snowflakes dancing in the breeze, fluttering in the air as they drifted slowly down to the ground, as I huffed and puffed at the elliptical machine in the gym. The snow didn't stick, and it was just a little flurry thingy anyway... but yeah, that 8would* indicate that winter is indeed coming ...

... but that is NOT that I'm referring to!

Anyone know? Anyone?

Hmmm... okay so how many of you have read George R R Martin's Sword of Ice and Fire series? If you haven't, please do. It's an awesome series, each book (4 so far) is an extremely satisfying read, even though *sniff!* the wrong people diieeeeeeeee *waaaaaaah!!* but that is what sets it in a class all of its own ... this is no cookie cutter fantasy. Cetta over at Ritualistic lists a few reasons for you to pick up the books: go here and read them, and tell me you're not inspired to give this series a try. A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book One) I also talked about it a little here, omg was that three years ago already?

Actually it's thanks to Cetta that I am grinning happily right now. Upon visiting her blog tonight, I found out that on November 11th, NOT ONLY did GRRM announce that HBO will be filming the pilot episode of A Game of Thrones, but he ALSO assures fans that the script is excellent and faithful to the book. I quote: "Winter is coming to HBO. Hot damn."

Whooohooooo!!!!!!!!!! Storm Front (The Dresden Files, Book 1)

... I do hope this turns out well ... of course, HBO is NOT among the channels available to us right now based on our cable subscription package. And the last time I talked Kosh into upping our cable service was for us to get SciFi's The Dresden Files - a short-lived one season series that was relatively okay by itself, so long you didn't start comparing it to the book lah :D


And do y'all remember my not so good review of The Legend of The Seeker? Well, I watched the next episode (Bounty, I think - about a cartographer that manages to produce maps that show Richard's location), and was *SO* put off that I wasn't going to bother watching any more episodes. Lame storylines, poor acting, atrocious fight sequences... you name it, they botched it. ... surprisingly, Kosh wanted to catch last week's episode, just for s's and g's. Okay fine, so we watched it - something about Richard stumbling upon the village in which he had been born, and managing to get the villagers to rise up against their D'Haran oppressors. Slightly better storyline, but still, just not appealing. I do hope that is the last episode that I ever catch of this series. yes, that's how much I am not impressed.

.. and again, I am reminded that I *have* to get my hands on Wizard's First Rule. Firstly because I don't remember details, so when Kosh asks me "Is this episode anything like anything that happens in the book" I can only answer I don't remember, it's been way too long! I have been reminded that the books have some serious S&M going on, which I doubt will every get mentioned in the tv series. Not that I care, really.

Really!

After all, I have the tv adaptation of A Song of Ice and Fire to look forward to.

Please, oh please, let the pilot be accepted by the HBO gods.

Please, oh please, let it be GOOD!

Monday, November 17, 2008

neglect

... I've been neglecting this blog (and my EC duties!) ... sorry!! my other personality is busy participating in NanoWriMo, you see ... maybe this year she'll do better and actually make the 50K mark... we'll see...

Meanwhile, I am taking back the lynne naranek persona for a few minutes over an hour to talk about my attempt at getting Kosh and I to eat fewer dead animals. We've tried Boca burgers or equivalent, but have not really been impressed. More recently, I experimented with blocks of firm tofu, which while edible, was also not outstanding.

Tried morning star farms' fake meat strips - pretty sure they gave us bad gas!

... Fake ground beef, however, seems to be the way to go. I blogged and posted pix of dishes using textured vegetable protein a while back: this post features a "beef" & macaroni bake and "meat"loaf using 1 lb fake beef and 1 lb ground turkey.

Since then, I've experimented with...

1. Tater Tot Casserole, found on The Daily Dish, and amended to exclude, you know, dead pig.

The result? Not too bad, the ratio of taters to "meat" was off... okay so it didn't help that I only had 2/3 of the meat equivalent (i.e. equiv of 1 lb, not 1.5 lbs) ...

... then the tater tots themselves ... came out a little chewy ... (tried the tater tots all by themselves later - same result - maybe I shouldn't have bothered with a name brand?)


So a few weeks ago, we got hold of a pretty good voucher for a free breakfast at Baker's Square with the purchase of one breakfast & two beverages. Perfect! Not that we would associate said establishment with breakfast per se... but we tried it out... and omg I fell totally in love with their breakfast quiches! They all sounded *so good* ... I went for the cheeseburger quiche, and man oh man it was oh so good :D Can't remember what Kosh had (wasn't a quiche) but that was also really good.

So I had quiche on my mind...

Decided to experiment with a crustless quiche, since all I found at the grocery store was the sweet dessert pie type of ready-made crust (later I saw somewhere that I could, once again, tap the valuable resource that is the canned crescent rolls!).

Didn't follow any one exact recipe, so can't point you to anything. I figured it wouldn't be too difficult to do my own thing: first making the fake ground beef with taco seasoning, then adding canned diced tomatoes, onions, (maybe mushrooms, can't remember),
cooking together and then putting at the bottom of the pan... then adding a mixture of egg and milk and cheese over it all, then baking it for a while.

The result? Edible, but missing some oomph.

Firstly, as you can clearly see, it was mucho watery - probably should have strained the diced tomatoes better, and not used as much water as instructed when preparing the taco seasoning. In a way it's good I didn't have a crust, it would have been utterly soggy, eh? But a crust would be nice too. Although, if I had some hash browns at the bottom, that might have absorbed the liquid and provided the equivalent of a crust/cushioning... ... but the thing that makes it a quiche, the egg/milk/cheese mixture - was kinda lost in the "meat" ... I probably got the proportions all wrong.

I'll have to look harder for a simple recipe if I want to try this again!

...and two weeks ago, I decided to whip up a batch of vegetarian no-bean chili, using come chili spices that Kosh has had sitting in the pantry/larder/cabinet for y*e*a*r*s! Didn't take pictures, but wow, 2 equivalent lbs of fake meat is A LOT! I immediately froze about half, and we had chili for breakfast lunch and dinner for a few days immediately following, LoL! It was good, though.

Now, during all this experimenting, I ended up using two different brands of fake ground beef:

Just because this was the brand I recognise (I think Kim had highlighted this in her blog once, too), I tended to go for this all the time. I liked this brand because the "meat" is individually crumbled, all you need to do is empty the bag into a hot skillet and within a few minutes everything is set. Until the local grocery store seemed to run out. Seriously, the label on the shelf would be there, but that particular shelf in the freezer section would be empty! Bummer!

So then I tried this one, of equivalent price, but found in the refrigerated organic vegetables section. It's packed tightly into a brick, and in my mind is more of a bother because of course I'd pop it in the freezer at home, so I'd have to thaw it out first in order to have crumbles and not a big brick sitting in the skillet, y'know?

While I haven't done a face-off, both seem to work just fine for us.

Then I took a look at the ingredients and nutritional information. Funnily enough, the first ingredient in the Yves brand is *water*! I also noticed, however, that Yves is drastically lower in fat wile providing the same amount of carbs & protein as MorningStar Farms (okay, both are pretty low fat items, but still... 25 vs 5 cals from fat is still substantial!).

Looks like I'll stick with Yves for the time being.

Note: images of MorningStar Farms and Yves products taken from their respective websites.

Monday, November 10, 2008

I participated! and other book tales

A first for me: I submitted my review of Alex Beldsoe's The Sword-Edged Blonde in the 4th Edition of the Book Review Carnival :) Do click on over to find short descriptions and links to a whole slew of books you might want to check out. And if you like, go ahead and join :)

And on to other book-related news... so yesterday I had a really great meditation session at the local library, and after that I went to pick up this book that I'd ordered last week on a whim: Existential Joss Whedon: Evil And Human Freedom in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly And Serenity The Existential Joss Whedon: Evil And Human Freedom in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly And Serenity. Yeah, a mouthful, LoL! But I figured what the hey, seeing as enjoyed every show/movie (the Buffy movie doesn't count!) in the title, and seeing as I'd like to produce (a) novel(s) of similar intelligence and wit, I think it would make for good reading.

Of course, I can't really jump into it till NaNo is over...
Hmmmm, I think my timing is just a *wee* bit off... LMAO :D

After all, I'm still in the process of reading Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn... Mistborn: The Final Empire (Mistborn) On one hand a typical fantasy where a rag-tag group of people strive to overthrow a baddie overlord, but on the other... well... firstly there's the Allomancy concept: certain people have the ability to "burn" a metal (... or all 10 possible) thus taking advantage of its properties... the manipulation of iron by flipping coins and "stepping off" of them, and the description of the action involving them, is excellent. Then there's the hints about who the Great Ruler was before he became the supreme immortal overlord: I'm thinking he may not the absolute bad guy they all think he is, or that he is as much the victim of circumstances as us all, or perhaps even more so than most... we'll see... I'll definitely be reviewing this once done.

So, what with NaNo and all, I told myself I'd read Mistborn a little bit at a time, giving priority to my writing. Then came yesterday and my needing to pick up the Joss Whedon book. I knew I shouldn't, but I took a gander at the shelves holding new books... and whaddaya know, I walked out the library with FOUR books, not just one. Grrrrrrr!!

Funny thing is, those three "extra" books? All have a similar theme... can you see it?

The Holocaust Is Over; We Must Rise From its AshesModern day Israel, and the Jewish community, is strongly influenced by the memory and horrors of Hitler and the Holocaust. [The author] argues that the Jewish nation has been traumatized and has lost the ability to trust itself, its neighbors or the world around it. He shows that this is one of the causes for the growing nationalism and violence that are plaguing Israeli society and reverberating through Jewish communities worldwide. Thought-provoking, compelling, and original, this book is bound to spark a heated debate around the world.

The Crusades, Christianity, and Islam (Bampton Lectures in America)Crusading features prominently in today's religio-political hostilities, yet the perceptions of these wars held by Arab nationalists, pan-Islamists, and many in the West have been deeply distorted by the language and imagery of nineteenth-century European imperialism. [this book] returns to the actual story of the Crusades, explaining why and where they were fought and how deeply their narratives and symbolism became embedded in popular Catholic thought and devotional life [and] traces the legacy of the Crusades into modern times, specifically within the attitudes of European imperialists and colonialists and within the beliefs of twentieth-century Muslims.

Unholy Business: A True Tale of Faith, Greed and Forgery in the Holy Land Set in Israel, with its 30,000 archaeological digs crammed with biblical-era artifacts, and full of colorful characters—scholars, evangelicals, detectives, and millionaire collectors—Unholy Business tells the incredibly story of what the Israeli authorities have called "the fraud of the century." It takes readers into the murky world of Holy Land relic dealing, from the back alleys of Jerusalem's Old City to New York's Fifth Avenue, and reveals biblical archaeology as it is pulled apart by religious believers on one side and scientists on the other.

... how's THAT for some light reading... not!! :p

Thursday, November 06, 2008

booking through history, shredded fingers and book presents!

History:
In 2004, I had been in the U.S. for just a few weeks, starting out in my new life with Kosh, when the Bush vs Kerry election was held. I remember sending out sms'es (phone text messages) to a whole bunch of folks in Malaysia saying something like "Hmmm looks like Dubya's going to win" on the assumption that 1. they cared about the elections, and that 2. they knew who Dubya was. Lesson learnt: don't assume! Every time I think back to that day, I find myself shaking my head in incredulous disbelief at how many either emailed or sms'ed back "Ummm, who or what is Dubya?".

But in 2008 ... what can I say? Even though I couldn't participate in making it happen, I saw everything unfold, and saw history being made. I love the pics that PolitiGal posted - made me all a-teary-eyed :) Makes me believe in America again, y'know? Obama's got a tough road ahead of him: the economy needs addressing, yes, but perhaps more importantly, the entire population needs to do some self-reflection: the racism, the hatemongering, the racism, the blatant lies and the swallowing of said lies, the racism, oh did I mention the racism? This was an ugly ugly ugly election. How to heal from that?? Not going to be easy...


Shredded fingers:
So recently I had my appointment at an USCIS facility to "capture fingerprints, photo and signature". They seems to have improved their system greatly. I was in and out within 15 minutes!

But while doing my fingerprints, the person doing me asked "Do you work with glass, or metal?"

"Ummm, no, why?"

"You have all these lines, you see?", she said, pointing out fine lines that ran across my fingers, "We usually see this in people who do a lot of work with their hands. What do you work as?"

"Umm, I don't work. Back when I did, it was just a regular office job..."

"A lot of typing?"

"Meh, sure, but not much, and not very well!", I joked.

"How about crafts?"

Crafts? Having just visited a Michael's store the day before, and my unsuccessful search for cross stitch kits as something to do in my spare time besides eat, tv, blog and drop card still fresh in my mind, I speculated, "Well, I did some cross stitch a long time ago..."

She shrugged and continued with the fingerprinting, while I studied the screen as the fingerprints were taken. Yeah, there were a lot of those fine lines.. how on earth had I shredded my fingers such that the fingertips, which heal and slough off skin just like the rest of the body, still had traces of this occurrance? What a mystery.

Later, I told Kosh about it. Immediately, he said, "From all your pottery, right?"

Duh, what else??!!
Can't believe I didn't think of it.
I suppose it's been too long, I've stopped even missing it? :(


book gifts:
This week's Booking Through Thursday's question is "What, if any, memorable or special book have you ever gotten as a present? Birthday or otherwise. What made it so notable? The person who gave it? The book itself? The “gift aura?"

Harry Potter and the Goblet of FireOne book immediately comes to mind: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

My parents gave it to me for my birthday back in 2000 when it had just come out amid quite a bit of hoo-hah. Since I read all things fantasy, and since they had heard that this series was enjoyed by adults as well as its original target of children, they assumed I was wanting this book.

Well, you know what they say about making assumptions... because while I'd certainly heard of the series, I just wasn't gonna bother reading it - it was, after all, for kids... but now I had Book 4 in my hands!

I certainly wasn't going to read it without going through Books 1-3 first, but it's not like I had access to a library, so if I wanted to read them, I was going to have to buy them... but they're KID's books!!! I wasn't sure if I wanted to throw away $$ like that, y'know? Books are NOT cheap! So Book 4 sat on my shelf, gathering dust for a few months....

... until a chance remark with a work colleague, who was a fan of the series, who immediately offered, insisted!, to lend me his copies of Stone, Chamber & Prisoner so that I could read them *and* Goblet, he was confident I would enjoy them all. And whaddaya know,,, I did!

Now I have all seven books.

Funny how that turned out, eh? :)

Monday, November 03, 2008

a rambling review of The Legend of the Seeker

So Saturday November 1st, 2 - 4pm, WGN premiered the pilot of The Legend of the Seeker. Found out about this by chance, watched the trailer, and wasn't too impressed - it seemed like typical fantasy fare, looking like every other fantasy that makes it to the (big) screen nowadays. And the dude playing Zedd looked nothing like how I envisioned Zedd to be, y'know? See for yourself!



But I went ahead and set the VCR (yes we're old school!) to record it, and watched it yesterday.

Okay, firstly I suppose I should say that I have enjoyed Terry Goodkind's books. Wizard's First Rule (The Sword of Truth Book 1)Okay okay, just the first few in the series.
Okay okay okay so the first book, Wizard's First Rule, was the best, as far as I remember. I found having Richard conveniently learn the Wizards' Rules through his experiences, one book per rule for perhaps the first three or four, to be really really contrived. But I kept on, because there were enough things going on that had me wanting to know how things were going to develop....

But then the books started to contain paragraph after paragraph of the author's philosophical, theological, existential, you name it he did it ramblings. It got just a *bit* irritating after a while.

The Pillars of Creation (Sword of Truth, Book 7)Then came the major disappointment that was The Pillars of Creation, the story was 99% about someone who seemed totally unrelated to anything else in the series, and only in the last chapter oh what a coincidence Richard, Kahlan et all cross paths with the person we'd followed painfully through the book. Sure, it showed the rule of Richard from the perspective of a D'Haran country bumpkin of sorts, so it was interesting, and yet, as a reader I felt like I'd been used somehow. I finished this book in disgust, and debated whether or not to continue the series.

But I continued anyway. I might have bought the next book, but I know for sure the one after that I borrowed from the Urbana library. Chainfire: Chainfire Trilogy, Part 1 (Sword of Truth, Book 9) omg that was a travesty! Why do you have a book that's both book #9 of the series *and* Book #1 of the Chainfire trilogy? wtf?? Setting aside that weird series/trilogy thingy, I read on and on... and so unsympathetic was I to Richard's plight I really didn't care that Kahlan seemed to havebeen erased from all records and memories except for Richard's own mind. It's a great premise, but everything in the book rubbed me the wrong way.

I again reached the end of the book disgusted, this time swearing for real that I wasn't even going to bother with the remaining two books. I just didn't care anymore. Heck, back in 2006 I purged ALLL the Sword of truth books from my collection! And I have picked up neither Phanthom nor Confessor, even as they sat on the library shelf begging me to pick them up. No way, dude. You lost me at Chainfire.

But back to the tv series (links: imdb, wikipedia, official site)

One word review: "meh"

Want more words?
    Cheesy special effects. What's with the slo-mo of Richard launching himself at some opponent or another, both hands hoisting the sword above his head? At least three times! Gah!!

    Zedd comes across creepy weird. I remember him as befuddled weird, kinda like Zifnab/Fizban from DragonLance. Not sure if I like him this way.

    Richard is blah. I rolled my eyes at the gratuitous shirtless-and-chopping-wood shot, geez could you *be* anymore obvious??

    Kahlan is more appealing, there's something arresting about her eyes, voice... but maybe that's because she reminds me of Zooey Deschanel?

    I don't remember Fayne from the book, but his character in the show seems well done.

    Darken Rahl looks too much like Snape.


The last I read Wizard's First Rule was probably in 1997. As such, I don't remember enough to say just how similar or different the "pilot" (which was actually Episodes 1 & 2 back to pack) is from the book. In general it fits, but I have enough little niggling questions that I might just pick up Book One from the library, just to refresh my memory.

But you know what? I'll probably try and catch the next few episodes, to see whether things improve or not. The challenge is to find out when it's on next. The official site gave me weird info when I punched in my zip code. Thanks to imdb I see that WGN is airing more this Saturday: Episode 2 at 8pm and Episode 4 at 9pm.

read that last part again, please.

Now, all together, let's ask "what about Episode 3?"

*rolls eyes @ WGN*

... how about you, what's your take on Terry Goodkind, his books or this series?
Blog Widget by LinkWithin