Wednesday, April 30, 2008

3 Things About Otter Pops:
1. I bought a box of 200 Otter Pops at Costco last week! Hello, summer! Come to my house for Otter Pop Party!
1. I prefer the old packaging (above) with big pictures of all the Otter Pop personalities. When I was little, I always liked Alexander the Grape the best. Fruit Punch was my favorite flavor, but I never wanted to admit it because I thought Poncho Punch was a creep.
3. The shower gel I am using this week at the gym smells like Sir Isaac Lime.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Hey, Khia, you know what sucks? Having only one breakout hit and having it be so disgusting and full of degenerate sexual acts that I am scared to even paraphrase the lyrics here because I know my mom reads this blog. Oh, wait, you know what is also terrible? Appearing on a bottom of the barrel Vh1 reality show about female rappers. Crap, it gets worse. Despite the fact that you are semi-famous for rapping about your personal proclivities, you are considered less of an authority on rap music than the dorky fat white judge, and you are a contestant on this show. Aw, Khia, what happens next? You get kicked off the show for cheating and not writing original lyrics?! Really? That is so tragic is is almost not funny. Almost. I still laughed pretty hard.

Also? This show, Miss Rap Supreme, is totally bizarre. I consider myself to quite experienced in deciphering the interpersonal relations and issues between reality television stars, but man, I have no idea what these women are always fighting about. I think that maybe they are just yelling because it feels cathartic. That's really the only reason I can imagine that two grown women would go from kissing each other to screaming loudly about which one is more of a "devil." Further, the premise of this show is that it is a rapping talent competition, and I don't want to sound like an old lady here, but I can't even tell if they're rapping well or not because they swear so much that it is all bleeped out. The presumptive front runner in the competition, a woman who goes by the name "Nicky2States," is repeatedly told by the judges what a good rapper she is, but I literally have no idea, because I haven't heard her speak a whole sentence that wasn't stripped of all meaning by the rampant bleeping. And while I am a connoisseur of the well placed expletive, Vh1, you are basic cable, not HBO. . . understand your limitations.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Greek Easter

This weekend, due to discrepancies between the Julian and Gregorian calendars and the date of Passover, the Eastern Orthodox churches celebrated Easter. I also celebrated in this holiday. Saturday afternoon my friends came over to my house and I cooked Greek food. I woke up at 6 am to clean my kitchen and grocery shop. I made moussaka, spanakopita, fassolakia, and a huge horiatiki salata, all served with yummy crusty bread. Serendipitously, this weekend also marked Nitsan's brief return to Seattle, so between him and many of the regulars, we passed the afternoon happily. The day was warm and and sunny, and I sat on my patio with several ladies, sipping ouzo and gossiping.

I had spent the entire previous week trying to conceive of a not-gross cocktail using ouzo, so that I could name it something disgusting like "Greek Passion" or "The Freaky Greeky." Alas, inspiration would not come to me. Kevin succeeded where I failed, however, by combining ouzo with Dr. Pepper to create the "Dr. Papanicolaou," named after the inventor of the Pap Smear who is also from the same village in Greece as my ancestors. The drink was surprisingly delicious.

Sunday afternoon, my yiayia and I went to her friend Clara's house for lamb Easter dinner, which was mostly pleasant. Clara is a fantastic ninety-four year old woman who is sassy and independent and I deeply believe that she is one of the few sensible forces in my yiayia's life. Clara's grandson just had twin daughters last fall, so two 6 month old babies were also a point in the awesome column. Slightly less good was the dinner table conversation which started with someone soliloquizing about how "Religion is a pyramid and there are lots of different ways to get to heaven", and an old Greek lady from Walla Walla said "What?! You mean the Muslims too?!"

Uh, yeah. Happy Greek Easter to me!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

On the topic of Forgetting Sarah Marshall: You see, I was never going to not see this this movie. I basically hyperventilated last summer when I read that Jason Segel was writing and starring in a movie with Kristen Bell, as they are my two favorite actors from deeply beloved fabulous but cancelled television shows, Freaks and Geeks and Veronica Mars.
I counted down the days until this film came to a screen near me, knowing that there would be puppets, Hawaii, and Jason Segel's junk (Sorry, totally TMI, but it's true). Thusly, I'm not really in a position to write an unbiased review of the movie. Of course I loved it! Kristen Bell was there! Obviously it was great! There was a musical about puppet Dracula in the movie! Jason Segel sang and played the piano! I wish I could have two boyfriends so I could date him too! Cody said it was ok! Should you go see this film? DUH! Yes! A million swoons.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

On the topic of things I have made:

Several weeks ago, I completed my very first grown-up sized sweater. The Puff Sleeved Cardgian from the lovely Stefanie Japel's book Fitted Knits, knit up pretty much as easily as the description promised. I chose this sweater as the first of several I intend to knit from this book because I am currently enthralled with short sleeved sweaters, and the pattern called for high economical knitpicks yarn. Further, top down in one piece, the lack of finishing work was a nice treat at the end of the sweater. I am happy with how it fits on my body, except the sleeves aren't nearly as fabulous and voluminous as I'd been expecting and hoping they would be. The only modifications I made were accidental, but don't seem to have negatively affected the overall end product.

Here I am, in my garden one morning before work, awkwardly posing in my sweater.
And the sweater, being blocked in my living room. I stretched the front slightly to make room for my bosom by drying the sweater over a small roll of hand towels.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Greek Stuffed Tomatoes and Peppers
Cribbed and adapted from both my grandmother and mother's recipes

3 large tomatoes
3 bell peppers
1 pound ground beef or turkey
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp dill
Olive oil (honestly, who measures that when they're cooking)
1 cup rice
4 potatoes, peeled and sliced into wedges
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large saucepan, saute the the onion and garlic with as much delicious olive oil as you can pour into the pan without feeling fat (a tablespoon or two). Once the onions become translucent, add your ground meat. While meat is browning, slice the lids off your tomatoes and hollow them out. Dump tomato guts into the browning mixture. Once all the meat is cooked, season with salt, pepper and dill and add 1 cup of rice and a cup or two of water (the tomatoes will have added a good amount of moisture to the mixture, so your rice ratio will be slightly different than usual). Cover and wait for your rice to become almost soft. At this point, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare a 9 by 13 baking dish by sloshing a little bit of olive oil in the dish. Slice the lids of your bell peppers and remove the seeds. Arrange your hollow tomatoes and peppers in the dish and set your potato wedges seasoned with salt and pepper around them. When the rice is almost tender, spoon the mixture into the prepared vegetables until they are full. Replace the vegetables lids, mostly because it is cute. Place the dish in your preheated oven and bake for one hour, or until the potatoes are golden brown.

If you have leftover filling, you can add a little more water and cook until the rice is completely soft. This filling is delicious and can be served on the side or saved for a separate meal.

Last night I made this dish for Cody and I, and I also prepped a soup for the crock pot. I'm making a black bean soup that I found the recipe for in the comments section of one of Heather Havrilesky's articles on Salon. I'm making the soup mostly because it looks delicious but a little bit because I think Heather is brilliant and an excellent writer and I accept most of her opinions in her weekly TV column as gospel. Yes, I understand that she didn't personally vouch for this recipe dumped in her comments section, but somehow I irrationally find it reputable by proximity. I'll let you know how that works out for me.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Today is a totally fake holiday, Siblings Day, which sounds like it is being pioneered and pushed upon the world by a sad woman who has faced much more familial misfortune than I. Nevertheless, I love my sister Diana and my brother George! And here are some pictures that show why!
Christmas 2007! We took this picture before we made brunch and drank mimosas.

1986! Look how fat George is! Also! Diana and I are not wearing shirts!

Christmas 1988! I scanned this picture from my grandma's photo album, and the next picture in the series is after we've opened presents and the living room is covered in wrapping paper. Also, George is naked and has a bow on his head.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Despite my earlier grousing that my bracket was in the toilet, I am able to proclaim that thanks to a 100% final four and the glorious triumph of Memphis over UCLA, I could potentially win some money tonight. I am not very happy with UNC for losing to Kansas, and I'll admit that I said some not very kind things about Tyler Hansbrough and Sasha Kaun that I would definitely not repeat to their mothers, but I don't think either of those nice boys realized that the outcome of the game they played on Saturday directly affected whether I could win $1600 in my office pool. Nevertheless, I'm still a strong contender in a pool with my friends and the pool at The Comet, the latter of which could render me several hundred dollars richer. Which is nothing to shake a stick at.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Click on the picture to read the full text of the press release, but the gist is that Random House is rereleasing a revamped version of Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield, the fictional subjects of a myriad novels in the Sweet Valley High empire. Futher, these notoriously innappropriately mature twins from Southern California are all updated for 2008. I didn't jump on this story right away, because I mostly don't care. Despite my voracious consumption of young adult novels as a pre-teen, I don't remember reading many Sweet Valley High books. They mostly came out in the 80's, so they were slightly before my heyday, and I think my mother was either vaguely or explicitly dissaproving of the subject matter. I know I read one or two, because I can recall a plot line about the twins pretending to be triplets to play a mean trick on a new boy in school, and another plot about one of the twins falling in love with a famous pop star. Mostly, however, at that age I just wasn't that interested in the travails of driving around in a sweet Fiat, chasing boys, and reapplying lipgloss. To an 8 to 11 year old me, The Babysitter's Club was much more glamorous, with their secret junk-food stashes and responsible personalities, and those were the overpriced paperbacks on which I spent my carefully hoarded weekly allowance.

Random House proudly trumpets several modern edits to the essence of being a Wakefield twin; for starters, a Jeep Wrangler is now the covet-worthy car they'll be cruising in and bickering over. Which I guess makes sense, because even the most casual viewer of My Super Sweet Sixteen knows that the kids don't give a shit about the environment and that coups are so passe. I still don't care about Elizabeth's journalistic aspirations, although I think her secret gossip website is probably a little too cheap and obvious of a rip-off of Gossip Girl. Most glaring and disgusting, however, is the brash assertion that the 80's Wakefields were fat, and that in 2008, the "perfect" size is no bigger than a 4. What? What?! I hate people sometimes.