Travels of Zow Zow
Monday, November 27, 2006
Holiday Recipe Round-Up
I haven't done one of these posts in a while, and I wanted to share! Plus I'm excited that it's been snowing here. I haven't lived somewhere where it snows at my house since I was 4. The pup was SO cute playing in the snow last night, but then his paws had all sorts of snow dingleberries. Not as cute when they're melting all over the carpet. I was bummed about the 12 hour power outage last night--but that meant I didn't have to cook. Yippie! Oh wait...this post is about cooking and my supposed love of it. Ummm. What a conundrum.

I made this last week, and have been enjoying it for breakfast. You can totally leave out the chocolate chips and nuts, if you want a plain loaf, or add dried cranberries for a different sort of taste. SO GOOD!

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread
-Found as usual, on the Cookikng Light Message Boards

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350º.

2. Stir together first four dry ingredients (flour-baking soda). Mix pumpkin, oil, eggs, milk and spices together, then combine with the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. Add walnuts and chocolate chips.

3. Pour into a well-buttered loaf pan. Bake 50-60 minutes. Turn out of pan and cool on wire rack.

Have too much leftover cranberry sauce? Turn it into a vinaigrette! The measurements are not precise--I just mixed to taste. This is especially good on a salad with greens, apples and blue cheese. It's slightly sweet and very tangy.

Cranberry Sauce Vinaigrette
1/2 cup whole berry cranberry sauce
1-2 tbls. olive oil
2 tbls. Balsamic vinegar
1-2 tbls. orange juice
Salt and pepper

Blend until smooth using an immersion blender or regular blender. Keeps for a while in the fridge.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006
All I Want For Christmas...
I never really wanted a pony. I went through a horse phase, like any other little girl, but even at 8, I knew I was far too lazy to actually care for something that important.

While at Target, I came across one of the hot gifts this year, the Fur Real Friends Pony.

Apparently you can feed it carrots or something. It seemed a little to close to Chucky for my 80's raised mind to feel comfortable around. But whatever, the little girl gets her pony. There's no manure to deal with and it's 300 bucks. Not a bad deal for the parents, although I can not imagine it being played with too often. And at 3 feet tall, it seems like it would take up a lot of room.

But then I came across this.

Giant Prehistoric Animals

It's 11 feet tall. It's 12,000 dollars (not including the $1500 delivery charge) and it's OUT OF STOCK! What the hell? People actually purchase these things? I mean, enough people so it's out of stock. Who are these people? Who could even fit the thing in the front door? And why a Woolly Mammoth? Why not, like a lion, or a camel or something?

I will say, the $500 polar bear is appealing, because it's kind of cool. But still, not that cool.

ETA: Ok, you can get more normal creatures. Still not my cup of tea, but YMMV!
The whole "Lifelike" Collection

Friday, November 17, 2006
Counting My Blessings
My mom and sister are on vacation together as we speak. And they happen to be in my very favorite place. I keep getting text messages and phone calls with questions and updates.

A little background. My mom, sister and I all suffer from some low self-esteem and we all deal with it in totally different ways. I generally act like a cross between a Labrador and a doormat--"I'll do anything you need, just like me!" My mom leans toward emotional melodrama. My sister is a self-centered bitch. And I mean that in the nicest way possible. She isn't one ALL of the time, simply when she's feeling particularly insecure. I think it's a sort of defence mechanism, like "I'm going to be mean and sucky and give you a concrete reason not to like me, as opposed to you not liking me for reasons I can't understand." I didn't spend a lot of time with either of them in my formative years, living with my dad from 8th grade on. Luckily I missed out on a lot of the drama between my mom and my sister.

I had been feeling somewhat jealous of their trip. That was stupid of me.
1. The Hubs and I are going ourselves in 2 weeks. I love my husband and I love being on vacation with him. It will be much more fun
2. I have travelled a lot with my sister and she drives me up the wall. Literally. We went to Disney World last year with our cousins, and I can't even tell you what a PITA she was. (One example, leaving from a water park, with all of our room keys, IDs and credit cards--without telling any of us she was leaving.)

Mixed in with the texts about which ride they are on or what they should wear to dinner are other messages about how much they hate each other. "She's sooooo annoying." "She yelled at the front desk because the internet is too expensive." "She lost my cell phone and was pissed she had to go back to find it." "I wish you were here."

THANK THE LORD I have enough common sense to have said no to this whole debacle months ago. Holy hell, that's not a vacation; it's a horror movie. And it will only get worse. They're there until next Friday. And my grandparents are coming to have dinner with them on Thanksgiving. I'm pretty sure my grandmother hasn't said a nice thing to my mom in 30 years. (She LOVES me though, first grandchild and all.)

So I can be jealous they're drinking fun things at EPCOT, but I will thanking my lucky stars in a week when they come home not speaking that I was not involved. And I live 1000 miles away.

Sunday, November 12, 2006
Here is Where I Channel Seinfeld
What is the deal with standing room only at a comedy show. I mean, come on, I pay nearly 40 bucks for a ticket. Don't you think it would haven been nice to, oh I don't know, mention somewhere that you only have enough seats for 2/3 of the people you sold tickets to? I think a small footnote on your damn web site would have been appropriate so someone like me, who thinks showing up 20 minutes before the show is ok because I don't really NEED to see the stage and I don't mind sitting in the back. Ha Ha, jokes on me and I, with a fractured spine and serious nerve damage in my leg, got to stand up for 2 hours in much pain because I didn't take any pain meds. I didn't take pain meds because they make me loopy and I wanted to enjoy the show and I figured I would be SITTING DOWN anyway so I would be ok. Nope. Sucky fucking club. I was so freaking pissed. And clearly still am.

And news flash, semi-drunk Microsoft workers next to me, we all heard the joke. You DO NOT need to repeat the punch line. For EVERY fucking joke.

The comedians were good (Well, 2 of the 3). David_O'Doherty is very funny. And the headliner Demetri Martin put on a great show. And after we went to a newer "trendy" restaurant which was very good, even though I hate eating that late (around 9:15-9:30), but the food was delicious and I had a mix of little tapas, including one of the top 10 things I've ever had, "Duck and Waffles." Trust me, it worked :)

So now I get to sit in front of the fireplace, nursing my sore back and fuming over the stupid club. Seriously, how hard would it have been to put that somewhere on their web site. If I had known, I would have gotten there 30 minutes before the doors opened. And I wouldn't be complaining. my mom owns a comedy club, so I'm especially sensitive because I know how good shows run. This was poorly run and lame. I hate that place.

Thursday, November 09, 2006
Addicted to Drama
*I hesitated posting because I think it'll push my headache cow off into the archives, but I figured it'd happen eventually. Might as well be about some crazy ass people living on an island*

Literally, I'm addicted to drama. You know, tv shows that can be classified as drama for the Emmy's--that kind of show. Growing up, I never really "had" shows. Well, that's not entirely true. I watched 3 episodes of Sesame Street a day when I was a toddler. And going through my "dark" years as a teenager, I did make it a point to be home to watch the X-Files, but I was never one of those girls who rushed home to be sure I caught Beverly Hills or...crap, I can't even think of another show. Umm, Party of Five? I think that was on when I was in high school.

Especially in college, I was just too busy to watch anything regularly. Sure I enjoyed certain shows when I caught them, but it certainly wasn't something I thought about on daily basis.

So how exactly did I turn into THAT girl, who at 8:54 last night realized that I wouldn't be done with my pre-programmed recumbent bike workout in time for the beginning of Lost? Not just realized, but promptly freaked out that the TIVO wouldn't work (even though I had checked the season pass just that morning) and considered calling my husband to make sure it was on the right channel. But then I realized he'd probably throw something at me for being ridiculous.

I have shows now. A lot of shows. Every night. Heros and Studio 60. Gilmore Girls, Hous and Nip/Tuck (which I'm 3 weeks behind on--thank god for TIVO). Lost and Top Chef. CSI and Ultimate Fighter. Sunday Night Cartoons on Fox and Adult Swim.

But that really isn't the part that bothers me. Sure I like TV. Loads of people do. I'm not a bad person for wanting to see what happens next to the icky love triangle on Lost. Or yelling at Rory Gilmore for being such a whiny douche bag. Oh wait. That is the part that bothers me. That I can get so emotionally invested in these shows that I actually get mad/frustrated/annoyed by fictional characters. Or care wether or not the creepy dad on Heros is a good guy or a bad guy--and get mad because the show isn't answering that question.

I'm not saying I'm going to change. I will watch Lost again when it comes back in February (and Damn you Lost producers if you don't start tying up some loose strings soon). I just don't know how exactly I got to this point. And it will only get worse--I know--once I'm stuck in bed for 4 months. Because I'm getting DVDs of all of the HBO/Showtime shows I've never seen. And then, I will be officially out of control.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Cujo in the Making
Crap on a cracker, it's raining! My mother called at the ass crack of dawn to make sure we weren't flooding and then freaked out because we didn't answer the house phone. We each recieved frantic messages on the cells making sure we hadn't floated downstream.

This is why mass media sucks. She turns on Good Morning America and sees some idiot trapped on his roof because the giant river he lives right next to (which has been under "flood warning" for 3 days) suddenly and unexpectedly floods! Who knew such a thing could happen? And because he lives in our state, obviously my house, at the top of a hill, clearly must be flooding as well. Asshats.

The dog is beyond pissed at us too. He's had no walk in 5 days. I take him to the back door to be let out and I get the "What the hell are you trying to pull? It's pouring out there" look, like I can magically turn off the rain. To be fair, he will go outside if he's feeling desperate, which is better than what we used to have to do (walk him in a monsoon--we may be getting to that point.) And now he paces the halls making these semi-obnoxious sighs under his breath and sniffing at the windows in an attempt to get me off my fat ass and walk him. Thank god he is freaking adorable or I might have to just lock him outside.

I also had pizza for breakfast. F off diet, f off.

Monday, November 06, 2006
Self-Awareness Sucks
I had this long post typed out, but then I realized I sounded like a whiny, stuck-up baby. So I deleted it.

Boo-Hoo I can't make friends. Boo-Hoo I have social anxiety. Boo-Hoo I'm awesome and no one knows it (yes, that seriously was a theme). I sounded like my sister, and that made me want to jump of a bridge.

Instead, I share "Angry German Kid." You'll laugh. You'll cry. You'll get your tubes tied.

Thursday, November 02, 2006
Stephen's Story


That was awesome.

Let me begin with a brief review of Lisey's Story, King's new book and presumably the point of his trip out to the west coast. I read it over the last few days so I could finish before the lecture. When I finished it, I really liked it. However, with more thought and deliberation, I decided I loved it. Definitely in my top 5 Stephen King novels. The first 100 pages or so were a little hard, as there's a code the main characters talk in, and I can be a little dense. However, I picked it up soon enough.

On to the lecture.

I shouldn't be surprised, but I'm not sure I could have believed that I could laugh that hard while someone was trying to scare the crap out of me! He spoke for some time about the background to his writing Lisey's Story, inspired from a stay in the hospital he had for pneumonia. He also spoke a little about The Cell and how it came from a hatred of cell phones. It was so interesting how his mind works. He sees a well-dressed woman in her 50's "yapping on her phone" and he immediately thinks "What if she goes crazy and rips out the doorman's throat?"

He read two short passages from Lisey's Story, one that illustrated the difficulty writers have balancing reality and fantasy (followed by a hilarious side story about using his son to research Gerald's Game). The second featured a very realistic, but awful, "Hallmark" card he wrote for the story.

The lecture was followed by a question and answer session. He only made it through maybe 5 questions or so, as he had a tendency to go off topic and let his mind wander (not that I minded, I found that far more interesting than answering some inane question about the writing process--he wrote a book on that too, maybe you just read it LOL).

We laughed throughout the whole thing, he even made the details of his near death experiences amusing. The best was when he looked up during the reading and said "Who writes this shit?" I feel so lucky to have been able to attend, even if we didn't spring for the special "Meet the Author" session afterwards.

The only low points were
a) The wireless mike didn't work very well, so he was "tied" to the podium for most of the talk. You could see he didn't like that very much.
b) I totally think big fans are cool. I think it's neat you've seen every movie, read every book 30 times etc. But I hate to tell you, every thing he said is not some secret shout-out or hidden reference. So stop squealing.
c) Also, laugh away, but try to control yourself. That screachy/howl laugh is a little overwhelming.

To top off the night, my favorite Seattle restaurant (Wild Ginger) was right across the street from the hall, and we stopped in after for a late dinner, and it was delicious as always. Awesome night!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Surplus of Sugar
 In our old neighborhood, Halloween was the biggest night of the year. Everyone went batshit crazy decorating (including some out of control stuff, like giant movie screens and canons that shot out smoke). That's not to say we didn't like. Hell no, we were up there with the best of them with a soundtrack and cool graveyard and an open house for all of our friends. The nieghborhood was a trick-or-treating destination. Busloads of children were dropped off to make the rounds and we got 100's of kids coming through. Luckily we were always prepared with enough candy and never ran out. It was probably my favorite night of the year.

When we moved up here, with out boxes of Halloween decorations, one of the first questions I asked was about the holiday, and how many kids came through. "Eh, not a lot, but some" was the reply. We didn't put of any decorations until yesterday morning, and we went bare bones. A few graves (including the motion sensor one that screams when you walk by) and a few lanterns. Nothing big.

Buying the candy was difficult. For the past 3 years, I bought a huge amount and it was always just enough. I didn't really know how much to get this time, so I went conservative--6 bags. (Last year, I think I bought 20? maybe 25?). It was just enough to fill our fun trick-or-treat bowl with the false bottom so you can grap the kids hand as they reach in. (I'm think I'm some sort of sadistic freak for enjoying that)

We got maybe 20 kids last night. We have 3/4 of the candy left. The last few kids got handfuls. And we still have tons. And it's making me crazy because all I want is a peanut butter cap--and I can't (shouldn't) have one, and they're right there--mocking me!

So now I have to figure out what to do with the candy. I'm sure I'll just dump it off with the kids I coach (who by the way, are big troopers. It's been about 32 degrees the last couple of nights. And we practice at 7 pm. Outside. At a pool. It's COLD).

I'll hopefully have something more interesting to say tomorrow. We're seeing Stephen King speak tonight. I have to get my ass in gear and finish his new book before we go!