Sunday, July 31, 2011


Well, I'm sitting around trying not to go back into the kitchen for more Cinnamon Toast Crunch (that stuff is demonic), and I remembered that I had a blog. It's hard for me to remember much of anything lately, because I'm in about six different places. I mean, literally, six places.

For instance, today:
1. My House, Where All My Stuff Is.
2. Hockey Mom's House, Where There Are Four Dogs Who Need Me.
3. The Librarian's House, Where There Are Four Cats Who Need Me.
4. The Cycling Dad's House, Where My Bike Got Adjusted.
5. The Road, Where I Was Biking.
6. The Thai Restaurant, Where My Family Was Eating.

And those are just the places where I spent more than 10 minutes.

I don't feel very summer vacationy.

If Harry Potter was this movie, it would probably be my favorite movie:

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Interesting Fact About Me

I keep a list of restaurants around the country that I want to visit. There are a lot of places in New York City, which means I'm just waiting for a reason to go there so I can eat, but some of them are really far out there, and if I'm ever in the area, it'll be specifically because I came to eat at that restaurant.

And I have no problem doing that.

Currently, though, I'm thinking about Peanut Butter & Co, in NYC. Which is a whole restaurant devoted to peanut butter sandwiches.

I am fanatical about PB&J and Fluffernutter. I could eat them 3 meals a day, everyday, except there's other delicious things that get in the way of that scheme, like Broccoli with Garlic Sauce and Mellow Mushroom's Tempeh.

I can cook pretty much anything I could possibly want to eat. I can saute, bake, poach, whatever. I love doing all those things, and I have no objection and actually enjoy the time involved. I just really love peanut butter sandwiches, so I tend to eat like a bachelor who may or may not know how to do his own laundry.

I hate jelly, though - for me the 'J' in PB&J is 'Jam.' For me, if it's clear and void of fruit, I don't want it. I think preserves and whole fruit jams work better with the peanut butter and stick to the bread more pleasingly. Also, I prefer to make my sandwiches at least 20 minutes in advance and let them sit, J side down.

And sometimes I cut them into little triangles like my mom used to for my school lunches, before I read Harriet the Spy and decided that I wouldn't eat anything except tomato sandwiches at school.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Shut up and drive.

At about 6:45 this morning, I didn't think it was going to be a good day.

A combination of no coffee, 6:45 in the morning, and a complete lack of understanding of the words 'north' and 'south' meant that I was pretty sure my running group was going to leave without me.

This is not an admission of any kind of criminal misdeed, but I got from Oak Ridge, NC to Randleman, NC in 15 minutes. Google says it takes 45 minutes to do that. I don't know how I made it - I'm fairly certain I somehow acquired the power of teleportation. It was probably the Sun Maid tart cherries I decided to gnarf when I was leaving the house. My internet research indicates that they have magical properties. (I just know they're freaking delicious and I didn't think I could make it until after the run since I had to be awake for so long. Empty-stomach-running really only works for me if it's a roll-out-of-bed-and-run type of thing.)

So I arrived in the parking lot of the ABC store of Randleman, NC in a tiny bit of a post-teleportation tizzy, and although I put on a cheerful face because the guys had clearly decided to wait for me, I was pretty sure that the run was gonna suck.

If you're not in North Carolina, or you haven't been paying attention, it's really, really hot out there. NOAA has a big red banner above the forecast that describes it as "excessive and dangerous heat and humidity." So the obvious thing to do is go for a run.

On the Thursday run, I died. Died hard. I walked back to the store. I never walk back to the store. It's my rule of Thursday night runs - or it was before I got hurt. I go as hard as possible, which means I feel like shit, which means that on any given Thursday, I'd love to quit. I had to make the rule of No We Want Some Mo', We Want Some Mo' (Remember The Titans FTW) or else I would never make it back. But on Thursday I was so hot I really, genuinely thought I was going to pass out, or vomit. It wasn't just me because The One With Manners had to stop walking three times because her vision was blacking. The only time I've ever been hotter is that time at Salem Lake last summer, when I was still learning how to run more than 3 miles, and I made it 5 miles around the loop (which is 7 miles) and was so overheated and dehydrated that I stopped sweating.

Today's forecast being all excessive and dangerous, I was pretty sure the run was going to suck. On top of that, it was my first time back running long. I hadn't run over six since the Wednesday 10-miler when I decided that something was really wrong with my ankle. The plan was 10 miles at around a 9 min/mile pace, but I didn't actually think that was going to happen.

Damn if it didn't, though. And at an 8:42 average pace.

I started to fade in the last mile, but... I don't know. I never felt really bad. I was aware it was hot, but I didn't seem to be feeling it the way the others were. I drank about two sips of Gatorade at both water stops, and shoved a chunk of ice in the back of my sports bra for the last leg, but Thursday hurt so much more. I guess my heat threshold got raised or something.

I came home, went to Target, took a nap in my papasan chair, and now I'm watching a British tv show on Hulu called How To Look Good Naked and thinking that maybe, just maybe, I can do this. Maybe I'll actually be just fine for Richmond.

I'm working on a Richmond Marathon playlist. 26 songs, one for each mile. I'm taking suggestions for it. This one is my current favorite song. Rihanna is so boss, and this video is so hot. I've had a thing for women in coveralls since Michele Lee donned a pair in The Love Bug.

You don't get to tell me what I find insanely attractive.

Like I said, the playlist will be 26 songs long (and I'm trying to figure out what qualifies as .2 of a song) but this might be the overall theme song for the thing. Today someone told me, "If you run your car hard, it breaks down. If you run your body hard, it builds up."

Ergo - Shut Up And Drive.

There's should be a word for when you're unspeakably sad, but not at all shocked.

Amy Winehouse was found dead this morning. Here's a link to a great write-up by NPR.

I know she was a big mess, but she had a great sound and I've always thought that if she could only get it together, she could have been great. She doesn't get a chance to try, now, but what she did manage to give us was awesome.

(Just for the record, she's not actually in that video, but it's the official video for the song, which is "Mark Ronson featuring Amy Winehouse." I just really love it. And the video is pretty cute.)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

'Ameliorate' is one of my favorite words.

This morning I woke up at 7 when my alarm went off. The plan was, "Get up, eat breakfast, go riding, come home, eat lunch, be a productive and fully functional adult."

Except I opened my eyes and my first thought was that someone had been beating my quads with sticks. Possibly several someones, and possibly with Alloy 1090 Carbon Steel sticks, which I've recently learned is the hardest metal known to man. When you talk about things harder than Alloy 1090, you have to use words like 'diamond' and 'ruby,' neither of which make good beating sticks.

I optimistically rolled out of bed, thinking that maybe getting a little blood flow into my legs would ameliorate the problem, but as I hobbled across the basement, I squinted up the stairs and thought, "No freaking way." And if I don't feel like climbing six stairs, I really don't feel like riding 30 miles.

So I went back to sleep. I'm okay with skipping a day of riding, because I've put my legs through hell lately, swapping between two kinds of bikes which put stress in different places, doing all the aggressive hip flexor strength training the Orthodoc prescribed, and trying to ease into running without easing too far out of biking. I'm running around the track tonight, and I'm hoping having the fresh(er) legs will pay off for me.

No, I'm still not gonna push it and try to actually do a track workout, but I might aim for under a nine minute mile while jogging around. I think that's achievable. My ankle really hasn't hurt lately, except in places when I'm 99% positive it's the brace keeping it from flexing the way it wants to. I can't wait to get out of this brace.

I just considered and nixed the idea of posting pictures of the scabbing, irritated sores on my ankle because of the brace. You're welcome. Moving on.

So I slept in.

Well, I slept until 10:30, and that feels really late to me. Then in the spirit of being a lazy unemployed bum like I'm told I am, I woke up, rolled over, put my glasses on, and resumed watching the episode of Food Network Star I had paused the night before.

It felt unspeakably lazy, but I think I really needed it. When I finally got up, I did my morning calisthenics and went to make coffee. When I brought my joe back downstairs, ready to watch the latest episode of Masterchef, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror.

And then I stopped and looked again.

Because for the first time in about two weeks, maybe more, I liked what I saw.

My self-esteem is a strange and fickle thing. It's cripplingly low and annoyingly high, occasionally at the same time. I generally think I'm attractive in my opinion, but that other people probably don't see me the same way I see myself.

Usually the mental battle for me is to convince myself that it doesn't matter what other people see so long as I like myself. I genuinely believe that anyone can be attractive if they have confidence and believe in the themselves. Lately I haven't been able to look at myself in the mirror and see anything worth being attracted to. Is it the lack of running? The social and personal failures? I figure it's the same reason I want to go on a solo road trip so badly I could cry. There's something ungrounded bouncing around inside of me and I don't like it. I don't feel like people should want to be around me right now. I'm a shell person - something hard and superficial, hiding something secret, soft, and waiting to be subjected to heat and seasoning.

But this morning, I liked myself in the mirror again. And that's a step in the right direction. You have to learn to scramble before you can poach, right?

I'm going to break the 4th wall of the egg metaphor to mention that I don't really know how to poach an egg. I know the basic technique but I've never liked soft yolks so I never bothered to try it out. I've poached pears but that's really not the same thing. I like pears, but they're only good for about five minutes of their life span - all the rest of the time they're either too hard (which is when I usually eat them) or rotten.

That right there is as close to a discussion of recent events and my feelings as you'll ever get out of me. I'm really looking forward to track tonight.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Today's post brought to you by Fanta Orange Zero, because you know you wanna wanna Fanta.

Today I learned my first lesson in road biking:
When you feel like there's something wrong with your tire, it's probably not your imagination and it's probably not going to get better.

I also learned my second lesson:
When your tire blows up while you're going down a hill, it's scary as fuck.

But everything was OK, because I was really close to the part of my ride where I meet up with My Fake Boyfriend at the tennis courts, so I pulled my phone out of the back pocket of my hideous-but-blessedly-breathable bike shirt and called him. He always brings his truck, since his bike goes in it, so we threw my bike in the back, drove to my house, swapped it out for the old bike, and went back to finish the ride.

It wasn't OK at the time because I hadn't had any coffee, but now I see that no English Majors were harmed in the making of this production. My new tires come in on Thursday, and there's certainly no harm in continuing to use the other bike till then.

Still trying to decide on a name. I'm flirting with the name 'Kikuno,' off the fact that she's Japanese. Kikuno was my favorite character in the Kei Kumai film The Sea Is Watching. She was played by the effortless Misa Shimizu. I may have fallen a little bit in love with her by the end of the movie. And this may be way too much thought into the name of a bike. I can't tell. I may put way too much thought into my life.


The song of the day is Shut Up And Kiss Me by Orianthi. I find her addicting, sweet, poppy, and just a little bit hard to break into, like rock candy.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

On my ride, I found the mobile home testing facility. Who knew about this?

I've learned a new turn of phrase that I've decided to use more often. It's...

Oh, hold on. Lea Michele and Idina Menzel are dueting on Glee and I'm watching on a giant projector screen in surround sound and it's basically making my brain explode in musical geekery.

Alright, back to the topic at hand.

champagne problem
n. A choice between two positive or ideal things; a problem that actually demonstrates one's good fortune.
Used in a sentence - actually, used in an interview by Naya Rivera:
"I got proposed to by women twice today at a Meet & Greet. And at the last tour stop, I got two bouquets of roses. It’s so sweet. Getting hit on by both genders is such a champagne problem."

I got a new bike!

Well, technically, use of the word 'new' is the biggest lie in the world. It's one of the bikes I pulled out of my parents' shed. I don't really know what it is or where it comes from. It says 'Vista Silver Shadow Made In Japan' on the frame so there's that.

From what I can gather from The JOAT, she's a road bike that's at least 30 years old, probably older. It's actually kind of awesome. The frictionless gears are proving tricky for me - considering that I barely understand the mechanics of clicky gears (and I call them clicky gears) - but The JOAT assures me that I can't really fuck them up so just keep practicing.

I can't fuck them up, but I can certainly fuck myself up when I get so distracted trying to get the right gear that I forget to, you know, ride the bike.

I took her out for our first long ride today, and damn, it's so fast. I can put my head down and just fly. I don't know why it's easier to go harder on this bike than the one I was using. People mention things like bike weight and aerodynamics, but that explains why me-and-bike go faster, not why it's so easy for me to push it.

Now she needs a name. And for some reason my ability to name things is failing me.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Today is hereby declared Cake Day.

I bought this cake for myself with a Daily Deal coupon. It comes from Spring Garden Bakery, on Spring Garden Street in Greensboro, NC. Their phone number is 336-272-8199.

I'm telling you this because I'm not kidding or even really exaggerating when I say it is the most delicious cake I have ever eaten. The UberTransFan agrees so it's not just me.

Key Lime Chiffon Cake

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Well, I'M freaking out, anyways.

When I wake up tomorrow morning, it's 119 days till Richmond.

That's 17 weeks until I run 26.2 miles.

This week, I'll finish out with about 20 miles. Total.

At minimum, I need 14 weeks to train for Richmond. I've got to get it. And yet I've also got to stop panicking about it. I really kinda hate myself right now, even though there was no warning about this ankle thing until it just... happened, and I stopped and went to the Orthodoc when it happened.

So there's no use panicking, or being angry, or any of this. I just... I need this to be fixed. I need to be able to start upping my mileage, and here I'm stalled at 20 miles a week.

My new course of action (for the next 24 hours, at least) is to ignore all of this, and listen to large amounts of Gossip at aggressively high volumes. Beth Ditto makes things better.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Soundtrack to the English Major

I'm having fun today. Someone (whose pseudonym on this blog has yet to be decided) was talking to me about what kind of music I liked. Well, what she said was, "Real quick, what's your favorite band?"

I adhered to the spirit of the question and answered, "Lissie."

And then I second guessed myself, because after all, Lissie is not so much a band as one person. So I had to follow it up with, "Actually, Jump! Little Children." Who almost no one knows about because they disbanded back when I was in high school and now when you want to buy their cds, they're used/out of print on Amazon, and it's all just extremely sad.

She hadn't heard of either of those, so I jumped at the chance to educate her. I sorted through my extensive discography of both and compiled a mixtape of each of them.

And then I started thinking. "There are so many other great artists and songs. These two are really not an accurate representation of my musical tastes."

So obviously I had to make a cd containing all of my favorite songs, because that's the way my brain works. I do this occasionally. I wish I'd kept all the various "Favorite Songs Ever" cds I've burned throughout my life, because they get more and more musically schizophrenic as time goes on. Hopefully they get better, but I doubt it.

My rules for a good mixtape are that you can only pick ONE song per artist, and there has to be one oddball song that doesn't quite fit but you can't bear to leave out. I don't know why there has to be an outlier. There just does.

Anyways. Here's the track listing for the (supposed) final cut.

1. Romans Revenge by Nicki Minaj (Remix ft. Lil Wayne)
This song was put first because I think it's a great introduction song. I love Nicki Minaj in general; I was originally gonna put 'These Girls Fall Like Dominos' on the mix but that song is really only better than this one if you're a lesbian. Which this mix is gonna be given to a straight woman. And honestly I only like 'These Girls...' for its novelty. This is probably my favorite Nicki Minaj song.

2. 1977 by Ana Tijoux
Ana Tijoux mesmerizes me. I don't speak enough Spanish to really understand her, but I can listen to her for hours - and have.

3. Pursuit of Happiness by Lissie (Kid Cudi cover)
This is hands down my favorite cover of all time. Maybe my favorite song of all time, but just as this cover. The original song is good but something about the way Lissie covers it really hammers it in for me. I was so beyond happy when she did this at the show I went to. I didn't think she'd do it because she usually only does one cover song per show, and she has a mighty arsenal of great covers. Except when she covers Lionel Richie's 'Hello,' because that song is just terrible no matter what you do to it.

4. Going Down by Florence + The Machine (Bruce Springsteen cover ft. Kid Harpoon)
What can I say? I like covers. It's hard to find good sound quality on Florence + the Machine collaborations with other artists, even though Florence has done shows and appearances with some greats. I love this song when Springsteen does it, but Florence and Kid Harpoon have something here.

5. The Cave by Mumford and Sons
This was the first Mumford and Sons song I heard. I don't know that I would have pursued them as voraciously as I did if I had heard any of their other songs first. This isn't anyone else's favorite Mumford song, and I don't understand why. I adore everything about it.

6. Dancing Virginia by Jump! Little Children
One of the biggest disappointments of my musical life is that Jump! Little Children disbanded. They were my mom's favorite band first; one of the first real bonding experiences of my teenage years with her - you know, when I first started thinking about my mom as another person instead of just my mom - was when she took me to a JLC show with her. This song is off the Licorice Tea Demos album, which has a more bluegrass feel to it than their later stuff. One of my favorite things about JLC was the fact that they weren't afraid to... not sound like themselves. They went where their musical ability would take them, which was just about everywhere.

7. We Gotta Get Out Of This Place by Katrina and the Waves
Here's my oddball. I totally adore this song. It's off the China Beach soundtrack, which is now out of print, and was never released as a single. I had to hunt it down, and finally found it in the collection of a China Beach lesbian fan fiction writer, who luckily was very friendly.

8. Won't Back Down by Eminem (ft. Pink)
I've always liked Eminem musically - at least, I've always liked the way he sounded. I really like the fact that he seems to have matured as a lyrical artist, and I don't have to ignore what he's saying in order to enjoy the music. 'Recovery' features collaborations with some fantastic artists, Pink being a prime example.

9. The Arrival by Zack Hemsey
If you haven't heard of Zack Hemsey, you should really do something about that. This is the first song off the album 'Empty Room,' which is one of my favorite things of all time: a concept album. That is, an album that tells a story as a whole. 'Desperado' by the Eagles is a concept album. I think this song packs a punch all by itself, though, which is the earmark of a well-done concept album - i.e. 'Tequila Sunrise' is a great song, even when it isn't following 'Out Of Control.'

10. Mykonos by Fleet Foxes (album version)
This is the most recent addition to the 'can't live without it' arsenal. I just discovered Fleet Foxes and I don't know much about them, but I'm looking forward to more from them because their songwriting skills are exceptional.

11. Swimming Pools by Thao and the Get Down Stay Down
I think 'Thao and the Get Down Stay Down' is one of the best names for a band ever. It's the kind of thing where I wish they had never thought of it, so I could think of it. But then I remember I'm probably never going to be in a band, and Thao makes good music, so I'm not bitter. 'Pear Blossom Motel' is totally taken, though. If I ever start a band, that's what it's going to be and you can't have it, super-talented and more-motivated person who happens to be reading my blog.

12. I Am The Boy For You by Astrid Williamson
It was a toss-up between this song and 'Hozanna,' but obviously this is a better song. I've just been avoiding it lately for other reasons, and I can't let those reasons dictate my musical preferences. Good music is good music. This is a great song. Astrid Williamson should make more like it (because - and don't tell her I said so - the rest of the album isn't nearly up to par with this one).

13. Rolling in the Deep by Vicci Martinez (Adele cover)
I realize this choice will garner controversy. Adele wrote this song, Adele is amazing, etc. But you know what? I love the song, and I love this version of it. Vicci's voice makes it rawer and more intimate, more plaintive and less self-assured. So that's why I put this one on the mix - even though I actually have 6 versions of this song. The only songs I have more covers of are 'Hallelujah' by Leonard Cohen and 'Bad Romance' by Lady Gaga.

14. Hurricane Drunk by Florence + The Machine
I broke the rules. I repeated an artist. I tried - really, really tried - to choose between this and the Springsteen cover, and I just couldn't. This song is me. I don't know how to explain it any better. A mixtape of my favorite songs wouldn't be honest without it.

15. World Town by M.I.A.
I think M.I.A. is a genius. She opened the door to Bollywood for me by seamlessly fusing hip-hop and Bollywood influences, and she's so fearlessly experimental musically. She's my angry music, she's my thinking music, she's my workout music... there are very few situations that I can't fit M.I.A. into. I always find myself returning to 'World Town' as my favorite song. I don't really know why. It just is.

16. 20 Years by The Civil Wars
When I saw this on the final track listing, I thought to myself, "There's no way that transition is going to work." But it inexplicably does. The Civil Wars are a recent obsession. I'm a sucker for good harmonies, and man, do they deliver.

17. Hair by Lady Gaga
I love Gaga. It's an important thing to know about me. She's everything I love about pop and dance music, and she's utterly fearless. Yes, she's extreme, and possibly legitimately insane, but I think the world needs a Gaga, so the rest of us seem normal.

18. Dance or Die by Janelle Monae (ft. Saul Williams)
Another concept album - the ArchAndroid. Janelle Monae is more than a little David Bowie and also more than a little talented. I hope she doesn't get refined out of existence.

19. Everybody Lay Down by Pat Benatar
In case you were worried about my classic rock roots. I've got 'em. My high school graduation present was tickets to see Pat Benatar live, and I'm still waiting for another artist to match her live. Lissie came awfully damn close, but Pat is the queen.

20. Shampain by Marina and the Diamonds
I think I've written about Marina on here before. I had a hard time choosing between this song and 'I Am Not A Robot' but finally I decided that this one fit better here. Also in this video she's really sparkly, and if you do like you should and go YouTube this song, you'll be treated to something sparkly. I like that notion.

21. I'mma Shine by YoungBloodZ
This song will get me moving when no other song will. I can't seem to find anything else by this artist - the song is off the Step Up 3 soundtrack. Awful, stunted movie, but amazing soundtrack. Much like The Legend of Billie Jean. Ever heard Pat Benatar's 'Invincible' off that album? Great song. Watching the movie is like when you have a splitting headache but have to balance your checkbook. It's hard to focus and you just want to close your eyes.

So there you go. The English Major's Favorite Songs, Annotated. I'm aware that it's an extremely odd mix of genres, but there you are.

A glaring omission in the lineup: There's no Bollywood here. I listen to a lot of Bollywood, but honestly the reason there's none on here was entirely practical. Bollywood songs are like three times longer than average. I was trying to fit this playlist onto one cd.

This song was cut at the last minute, because I needed to cut one song, and it didn't quite fit anywhere. So I'll let you have it here, because I really do love it.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Let's ask an elephant!

I left the TV on when I went out to run this morning. I had been watching Animal Planet and Griffon the Wonderpup seemed genuinely interested in watching the Blakiston's Fish-owl stalk fitches, and I wasn't going to be gone for very long.

Yeah, that's right. I said "when I went out to run this morning."

I saw the Orthodoc on Wednesday and she gave me a tentative clear. I'm still a little tender in spots, but the options were either a) take 6 weeks off or b) try to run, find out it doesn't work, and take 6 weeks off. Guess which option seemed better to me.

She said run 'boringly slow and boringly short.' So when I got to the house on Wednesday, I put on running clothes and went out. I'm in a cul-de-sac and from here to the main road is almost exactly half a mile. So I was gonna run out and back, once, slowly. Aaaaand I ran an 8 minute mile.

Running slower than the pace I've trained myself to is hard.

So I got back from my two miles, and one of the other dogs, Molly, had laid down on the chair next to the remote control, and somehow changed the channel to Sesame Street. All four of the dogs were staring at the screen with rapt attention as Elmo sang the Tooth Song.

Elmo is taking over my entire world.

Friday, July 8, 2011

A Most Inconvenient New Hobby

I woke up last Wednesday and decided I was going to make something.

I made coffee, but this did not satisfy the impulse, even though I used a cone filter and that usually makes me feel appropriately fussy and involved in the process. I went for my bike ride and tried to shake the urge.

Saturday I was sitting at Tex n Shirley's with my Jabronis, eating my favorite corn pancakes and trying not to sulk about the fact that I had missed out on yet another Saturday morning long run. The desire to make something got louder, and louder, and then said, quite clearly, "Make candy."

I suddenly knew exactly what I wanted to do. I wanted to make the crunchy sugar things that The One With Manners brings back from Esther Price in Ohio. I didn't know how to do this. For all I knew, it was very difficult.

But it was goddamned gonna happen.

I went back to the house I was petsitting at, took the dogs out, and looked it up online. I surmised that it was called 'honeycomb candy' and the recipe was, like, 4 ingredients, which reassured me.

Then I spent 2 hours trying to find a candy thermometer within driving distance. I called many stores, and had this exact conversation:
"Hi, do you sell candy thermometers?"
"Thermometers that go over 300 degrees? Most meat thermometers stop at 220..."
"Uh, lemme check..."
(Five plus minutes of hold music.)

I finally broke down and called the notoriously expensive specialty store that they say you have to pay $20 just to walk into. And I had this conversation:
"Hi, do you sell candy thermometers?"
"Yes, we do."

I was so relieved that I didn't even ask how much it was before I jumped in my car and drove to buy it. And it turned out to be about $12, totally reasonable considering that some of the completely inappropriate meat thermometers were upwards of $30. And this wasn't the first time I'd wished for a candy thermometer, so I consider it a good investment.

A quick stop at the Food Lion for the rest of my extraordinarily cheap supplies, and I was ready to go.

Weapons Assembled. Status: Battle Ready

So according to the internet, I mix 3/4 cup of sugar with 3 Tablespoons of honey or corn syrup and 4 Tablespoons of water. Obviously I wanted to use honey because it tastes better and is better for you. Also, bees are cool.
I make perfectly geometric shapes and communicate by dancing!

So I mixed all of those things together in a pot, and put it on the stove on high heat with my nifty thermometer clipped to the side. The internet said DON'T FOR THE LOVE OF GOD STIR so I didn't stir.

After a couple of minutes, this is what it started looking like.

This is when I should have taken it off the stove.

This is when I actually took it off the stove.

This shit was nasty, y'all...

So I burned the first batch, but that's okay. It was my first time and no one but The Beast was watching me. I waited for it to stop being the temperature of lava, and then broke it up and threw it away. I may have tossed some other pieces of trash over it in case, you know, someone went through the trash and felt like laughing at me for it.

I put all my ingredients back together and started over.
Round 2... FIGHT!

So, the really cool thing that I was entirely unable to photograph because both my hands were busy is what happens when you dump the baking soda into the pot. You wait till the sugar-honey-water starts to turn a certain color and then you quick-quick-quick pull the pot off the heat and throw in the baking soda. Then as immediately as humanely possible, you whisk - but not too much - and magic happens.

Well, Alton Brown would say it was science.

It immediately turns this whitish brown foamy color like the foam you see on the beach after the tide goes out and expands very, very rapidly. So then you have to dump it onto your baking sheet, which you have already coated with enough butter to make Paula Deen think it was edible. You have to dump it quick because it has already started cooling and pretty soon you won't be able to dump it.

Also don't let it touch your skin because it's lava.

Delicious, delicious lava.

Totally looks like the surface of the moon, right?

Then you walk away from it for a little while. I contented myself with watching Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, which serendipitously was on television. After about half an hour, it was cool and hard and I broke it up into pieces, trying not to crush the pores out of it.

Like soldiers, ready for battle.

So then I covered them all in chocolate. I made dark chocolate peppermint, and chocolate peanut using extra crunch Jiff peanut butter.

And now I have a hobby that is most damaging to my waistline. If anyone wants candy, please tell me, because it's so fun to make and sodalishus but I am eating way too much of it.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

You know how I feel about mustaches...

I've been chuckling at LOLCATS since before anyone at Sprint even thought about using them to sell an Android phone. So today I was shocked to learn something new about them. I was watching Anthony Bourdain, on the Travel Channel, and a Liberty Mutual commercial came on.

"Huh," I thought to myself, rereading a recipe for almond milk ice cream. "That's funny. He says 'diabetes' just like Diabeetus Cat."
I squinted over the top of the screen. "Huh," I thought again. "That's funny. He looks just like Diabeetus Cat, too."

Five minutes later... "OH! I get it!"

I believe the LOLCAT sanctioned term for this situation would be 'facepalm.'