July 31, 2006

Yummy Chicken Salad Goodness

Here it is, kids. This is a recipe I made up myself this weekend, and for once, it's one I feel like I can share with other people who will then also enjoy eating it (unlike, say, my salsa rice that I mix up in the microwave when I am craving Mexican food).

Here's what you will need:

1 can of chuck chicken (found next to the tuna in the canned meat aisle)(I like to get the bigger size, but I also enjoy chicken salad a lot.)
Two or three stems of celery
Some Miracle Whip
Tarragon (I used fresh, but I'm sure it would work just as well and be three times as easy to use dried)
Dill Weed (This totally came from the bottle.)
Some bread
A roma tomato (if you like them) (I have not tried this yet, but I am going to try it with the leftovers this evening. I've had it with plain chicken salad, and I can't imagine that it would be anything less than amazing with this version.)

Here's what you should do:

1. Drain the chicken and put it into a bowl.

2. Mix the chicken with some Miracle Whip. Just use however much you like. If you like your chicken salad a little dry or if you feel like chicken with Miracle Whip isn't low-fat enough and you need to save some calories, use less.

3. Chop the celery into small pieces and throw that in.

4. Cut the leaves off a few stems of tarragon, dice them, and toss them in. I would recommend a few things here. First, don't use the stems. They're kind of chewy. Maybe you aren't even supposed to eat them. I don't know. Leave them out, anyway, because they're just annoying. Also, do a little at a time. Tarragon has an interesting savory, minty, lemony flavor (which I feel is delightful), and it can get overpowering in a hurry. It takes a bit to flavor the chicken, but you don't want to get too much either. Dice the leaves from a stem or two, and then taste it. Probably you should taste it before you throw it in at all, too, and make sure you like it. If you decide to get the dried stuff, just shake it in to taste. You could probably substitute rosemarry if you wanted to.

5. Sprinkle in dill weed to taste. You might want to sample some of this on a bite of the chicken salad before you dump it in, too. I think it adds a nice little summpin-summpin to compliment the tarragon, but I like a lot of weird things.

6. Spread on cottage bread. (I imagine that it would be quite lovely on rye bread, too.)

7. Add a couple slices of roma tomato if you so desire.

8. Enjoy. (Feel free to make "Mmmm" noises.)

I'm sure it would also go well with a nice Pinot Grigio. I could not try this because I was proofreading, but you should consider it.

How did I come up with this? Well, I was pissed off that my entire weekend involved a manuscript and a brief trip to the grocery store (I missed a pool party and because my phone was off, I also missed an invite to DDR it up with D and Linds) (sorry guys). So I thought up a nice (and quick because I was working) meal reward for myself for all my hard work. It shouldn't be too bad calorie-wise. Salad dressing is not the best for you, but if you use the light version, you should be all right.

That's all I know. If you think this is a terrible recipe (or if you think it's good but yours is better) feel free to share a different one in the comments.

Posted by LoWriter at 11:55 AM | Comments (7)

July 27, 2006

Procrastination: It Makes You Feel Good

I am procrastinating right now. I have 9.5 hours of proofreading/grantwriting to do for sure (and probably more because, let's be honest, it usually takes me 15 hours minimum per project) (for longer things, it takes upwards of 70 hours). Every dish I use regularly is dirty and on my counter. I desperately need to clean up my room, to vaccuum, to go to the library and pick up books/drop off books that I'm sure I owe a ton of late fees on, to return things I bought last weekend, to get groceries, to pack for the coming weekend. I need to do invites and pay bills and send out a loan application. At work, I need to proof documents and create new worksheets for people and make up directions for doing stuff on the computer.

I have an assload of stuff that needs to be done before the 15th of August. So what did I do yesterday instead?

I had some tequilla rose and watched a Nova program about String Theory. Mostly, I did this because I thought it would help me with my ideas about time travel for a story I'm working on. It didn't, really, do that. I guess it is not about time travel so much as it is about other dimensions and parallel universes, which is sort of about time travel, but not in the forwards and backwards through time sort of way so much as in the moving forwards more quickly sort of way. They tricked me with their commercials about how you could go back to the 20s. Bastards. But aside from the fact that they wasted several minutes of my life explaining how the universe is like sliced bread, it was pretty good. Just not as relevant as I was hoping it might be.

I guess I doubt the universe is like sliced bread. We Westerners have a tendancy to look at everything as though it should be divided into straight lines. We thought the world was flat (most of the known world probably did, too, but Westerners especially believed this). We think the best model for city street building is a grid. For centuries, we thought that desks should be square and set up in straight lines. And yet the shape of nature's choice appears to be round, people. So, and this is just a supposition because I'm not a scientist by any stretch, it would seem to me that it's likely that the universe isn't an expanding sqare or even a plane. It is probably a sphere, making parallel universes spherical as well. I would also guess that if there are parallel universes, there are probably infitinte numbers of them. My guess is that the things we can see (atoms, planets, galaxies) are models for the things we cannot see (dimensions, universes, time, the smallest particles that make up quarks). But it's just a guess. I don't actually know anything.

And now I'm procrastinating writing this entry by talking about my theories of the universe. To be fair, I did fold my laundry, something I've been putting off since Sunday. Now I just have to cram a full week's work into three days. No sweat, right?

What I really wish is that procrastination would actually make the thing I'm avoiding go away. It does not do that, though, alas, alack.

Posted by LoWriter at 08:58 AM | Comments (6)

July 25, 2006

A Week in My Life

Well, you can tell that fall is getting closer because my entries are getting less frequent. Pretty soon the leaves will fly, and classes will start up again. I am still planning to be among the masses attending higher education this fall, and I now have the backpack to prove it. I'm also up five more hours of overtime at my day job. Don't ask me how those two committments will co-exist.

I actually wrote something that was not in a blog and took it to writing group with me on Monday night. That was a huge accomplishment, seeing as how I'd been unable to acheive that goal in, oh, three years. Apparently it didn't suck, either, because the best part was that the other people laughed. So at least it isn't just me who thinks I'm funny now, which is huge. It's nice to know that I'm not laughing alone at all of my own jokes. I pretty much had to fight with myself for two weeks just to even get something down on paper.

I finally sat down on Sunday afternoon/night and banged something out on the keyboard. It went pretty much like this:
1) Sit down on the couch with the laptop and a glass of water.
2) Turn on the TV to make sure FarScape isn't on. Watch a half hour of the Magic Bullet infomercial just to be sure that FarScape isn't on next.
3) Go check the laundry.
4) Stand in the kitchen for five minutes eating crackers while waiting for the spin sycle to finish.
5) Sort the next load of laundry and deal with the finished ones.
6) Sit on the couch with the laptop and a beer.
7) Drink the beer while watching another half hour of the Magic Bullet Infomercial.
8) Write three sentences.
9) Repeat steps 3 through 5.
10) Sit on the couch with the laptop and erase the three sentences written before checking the laundry. Write a paragraph.
11) Hit enter 17 times and start over.
12) See if FarScape is on yet. Watch 20 minutes of Muppets from Space while waiting.
13) Realize that FarScape is on on Saturdays, not Sundays. Eat some cheese as consolation.
14) Turn off TV and write two more lines before realizing that the laundry is done.
15) Repeat steps 4 and 5.
16) Spill salsa all over the kitchen. Clean it up but mope because it was the last of the favorite salsa.
16.5) Say a few words over the garbage can about how you wish you could have eaten the salsa rather than spill it all down the front of the stove and cupboards.
17) Sit on the couch with the laptop and a glass of water.
18) Find salsa on pants.
19) Stain treat pants while moping some more.
20) Sit on the couch with the laptop. Write three more sentences.
21) Call everyone in cell phone while repeating steps 4 and 5.
22) Sit on the couch with the laptop. Write a paragraph.
23) Contemplate insecurities.
24) Worry about bachellorette party.
25) Write three more lines.
26) Check to see if maybe StarGate has spontaneously turned into FarScape.
27) Sooth dissappointment by typing "I hate StarGate" 37 times.

That was pretty much my whole evening. I did manage to actually write two pages. Pretty amazing considering the fact that I probably only did an hour of actual work for the six or seven I spent in my house trying to work on the piece. Now you know why I haven't written anything on here in a week.

Posted by LoWriter at 08:40 AM | Comments (5)

July 17, 2006

Too Bad, Tony-kins

Isn't this just a shame?


I don't think I can quite put into words how much I hate Tony Stewart. While I did not get to watch the race this weekend, I have seen him run Newman off the track on purpose after whining about how people should be more careful.

So, in my mind, the moral of the story seems to be that everybody should do whatever Tony Stewart wants, even if whatever that might be isn't the same from one minute to the next. If Tony Stewart is getting banged up, then by golly, people ought to be more careful. But if Tony Stewart is running people off the track, then gosh darn it, they deserved it--they oughta take what they dish out. If Tony Stewart is trying to get around a car, then that car should move over. But if Tony Stewart is blocking the way, then everybody else had better just sit back and wait until he feels like letting them pass.

Douche bag. I hope he doesn't make the Chase. It would serve him right.

Posted by LoWriter at 04:21 PM | Comments (10)

July 14, 2006

Cartoon Gravity

Yesterday, it dawned on me that, when it comes to dancing, some people have got rhythm, some have got music. I, on the other hand, have got cartoon gravity. I am fine until I think about it.

This is usually why dancing, for me in the past, has included copious amounts of tequilla. I will be out there, doing my thing, and suddenly, somebody will say something like, "Lo, you're doing good, and I will lose the beat, trip over my heels, fall on my ass, and get pointed at.

Luckily last night I was merely playing Dance, Dance Revolution and not, in fact, dancing in a club. Now, I had never played DDR before, but on my first try, I did actually manage to pass the level with a D. Granted, I was on beginner, and I was on the slowest setting, but that was fine. Linds and D told me that this was good. Then I proceeded to fail a lot.

It seemed like all night, as long as I wasn't noticing if I was doing good or not, then I would do fine. As soon as I'd think about what I was doing, I'd lose the beat, miss steps, and fall off the mat. (Well, OK, so not that last one.)

All in all, the game is highly addictive, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I hope to play many more times. Maybe I'll even move up to "Light" setting next time. It was a great way to get in some excercise after a trip to the Walker. And the best part is that it didn't seem like excercise because you were playing a game.

My life over the last week has featured me as a tourist for much of it. We went to the Walker yesterday and saw the Diane Arbus exhibit, which I really liked a lot. I am a fan of most art, though, so don't take my word for it. Some of the photos are a little over the top, but they were all so full of everyday emotion that I really liked all of them. (Be warned, some of them are of nudist colonists.)

Over last weekend, I went to the Amana Colonies while visiting my sister. My one plan, when this began as a trip where I was going by myself to see my sister, was to have a meal there and to get a bottle of wine to take home. This did not happen because the entire family decided to come along. I didn't have to pay for gas (so bonus), but I didn't really get to do what I wanted, either. I did end up coveting a knife that I saw pretty much solely because of the handle colors. I can't find the one I really wanted on their site, so I can't link to it.

So, the moral of the story today is this: Be a tourist, but buy what you want when you see it or you may not get to later, and never look down when playing DDR. You may just lose your gravity.

Posted by LoWriter at 08:49 AM | Comments (3)

July 07, 2006

I Miss the Moola

Oh, where, oh, where has my extra paycheck gone?

Oh, that's right. I rejected it for more freetime.

Some days, I seriously wonder what is wrong with me. This is one of those days because today, kids, is the first day of Lo as a single income earner rather than a dual income earner. (Additionally, I'm feeling the pinch because one part of my single income check didn't come through due to a mix up somewhere between the fax machine and payroll.) Granted, I needed some free time, but for real. I need some $, too. This is mostly because I want an IPod.

Why did I suddenly decide that I want--no, NEED (I'll say it)--an IPod in the midst of the great exodus of money from my accounts to Very Worthy Causes? I have no idea. But now that I really and truly won't be able to afford one for a very long time, now I suddenly want one. Badly. More than I have ever wanted to go to grad school. EVER.

I think the truth is that I was never really addicted to work. I was addicted to money. And it's not like I've ever actually had a lot of money to burn before this last semester. But I saved a ton of money since January, and I also picked up some bad spending habits... like buying lots of CDs and going out to dinner whenever I felt like it. When you can get unlimited amounts of two of the material things you truly enjoy (music and food. I said it, I meant it, and now I'm here to represent it) and still be able to save a large amount each month, that's a very nice feeling.

It is not a feeling I feel today.

I bought myself the soundtrack to A Prairie Home Companion because I really wanted it, and I still feel incredibly guilty. I wanted to buy a Tetris game for the road trip to Iowa this weekend. Instead, I left it in the store. I love Tetris. With a passion! "It's a rough ol' life up here on the wagon."

You see, whatever it is I have, I only want more. For example, why can't I have freetime AND money? Why does it have to be OR money?

I promised myself I would give it a month sans night job and see how it went, so I'm not doing anything rash yet. But, in all honesty, Capitalism has completely corrupted me, and I miss being able to buy frivolous things. And I'd really like to be able to feed my addiction rather than recover from it. Recovery is for quitters, and I don't think I've ever been called that.

Posted by LoWriter at 10:12 AM | Comments (11)

July 06, 2006

June Books

Well, kids, here's the book list. It's short. I spent too much time outside enjoying the nice weather (or inside playing around with my new computer), I guess. Here it is anyway.

The Valley of Fear by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: This book is typical Sherlock Holmes fare. I like the short stories better, but this book picked up by the end. It felt like it read a little differently than some of the others. Typically a Sherlock Holmes story seems to go like this: Someone shows up with a problem, Sherlock disappears to solve it, he sets a trap for the bad guys, they fall into it, he makes them explain the situation. All of that still happened, but I felt like the explanation was longer than it normally was. It was almost as though the explanation was the heart of the story rather than the crime that led to it. I found this interesting, especially given Doyle's love-hate relationship with the character. It made me wonder if he didn't just throw Sherlock in because he knew that it would sell if he did, but he really wanted to tell a completely different story. I was intrigued. It was still a good book.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury: This was a sci fi book set in the future where televisions take up the entire four walls of a room and nobody is allowed to read books anymore. Houses are all fire proof, but if you get caught with books, they come and burn your house down. The main character is a "Fireman" (someone who sets fire to people's houses when they've been caught with books) who has a bit of an awakening. On the whole, I liked this book. I felt it had a much more hopeful tone than others along similar lines.

Well, that's it for the reads this month. Feel free to share your own in the comments.

Posted by LoWriter at 08:02 AM | Comments (3)

July 03, 2006

Burning Question of the Day

Why is Johnny Depp so hot?

The answer to this, for me at least, is that he knows when to shut up. The man is an amazing actor. I caught a movie this weekend while sitting around waiting for my laundry to get done that I'd never seen before, and there's Johnny Depp. And it was a fantastic little movie called Benny and Joon. After seeing that, I had to look at imdb's list of all Depp's movies. Now, I personally have had a love affair with the movie What's Eating Gilbert Grape since my best friend from back home introduced me to it many years ago. Depp stars in it. And I loved the movie Edward Scissor Hands. Depp's the star there, too. I went to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory soley because Depp was in it, and I was not dissappointed. He saved what, for me, has always been a rather tedious plot line. Finding Neverland and Pirates of the Caribbean have become two of my all time favorite movies.

I bring this up because Pirates of the Caribbean 2 comes out this weekend, and I am extremely thrilled. And do you know what I have not seen from Depp yet? A Tom Cruise style publicity stunt complete with insults to other actors and individuals on medication. Do you know why? Because Depp appears to have something so few actors have: An ounce of discretion.

I caught one interview with Depp on one late night TV show last year. I was so impressed by how reserved and witty he could be at the same time. And for me, that makes it way easier for me to let him to do his job, which is to be a different character in every movie he acts in. When I see him on the screen, I don't think about his misdeeds, largely because, at least lately (I didn't even know who he was until I saw Pirates), he doesn't appear to have any. (Other than saying he prefers living in France, which, let's face it, so would I if I could speak the language.) I think this is something that too few in Hollywood have figured out.

Granted, I'm a strange breed. I don't really like to watch the DVD commentary for movies and TV shows because it ruins the illusion of reality for me. I really don't gush about stars. People will ask me who is in a particular movie, and I have no idea. I only know a handful of movie stars' names. I prefer not to know too much about the actors because then I can believe them when I see them as these characters. (I like Hugh Jackman because he's hot, so I made a special effort to learn his name, but I don't know anything about him.) When I see Tom Cruise in a movie anymore, all I see is the crazy ass stuff he's done over the last two years.

But I genuinely like Johnny Depp. In this article he says some things that I really take to heart about not caring about box office sales (not because I have box office sales but because I need to not care so much about money). He's fantastic in every movie I've seen him in, and he always plays a different character. From what I've seen, I think that the quintessential Depp character is a unique invididual. Also, when Depp talks, streams of idiocy don't gush from his mouth. He talks about real things, not just how much "bling" he can buy. He rarely talks about his family, which I can respect. He appears to take his work and his carreer very seriously, which I admire.

So, I think the answer to the burning question of why is Johnny Depp so hot, for me at least, is that he is hot because, in addition to be really really ridiculously good looking, he has that certain something else. Wait, what's it called? It's on the tip of my tongue.... um.... uh....oh.... CHARACTER. (Sorry, I'd seen so little of it lately that I couldn't quite remember what it was called.)

Posted by LoWriter at 08:23 AM | Comments (3)