Tag Archives: couch potato

the definition of frustration

I had strep during Thanksgiving. Like couldn’t swallow anything beyond mushy soup noodles starting Wednesday, couldn’t even swallow tea Thursday and Friday. Ended up in Urgent Care Friday afternoon. Got some antibiotics and steroids, started feeling a bit better. I managed to eat solid food (a bagel!) on Sunday. I finished up my antibiotics this past Friday, and I suspected it wasn’t completely gone because the back of my throat was still a bit swollen. But I finally felt well enough to eat real food again, so yesterday I made 2 pans of lasagna and a pumpkin pie. Not having a proper Thanksgiving dinner didn’t really bother me, but I really wanted pie. Well wouldn’t you know, yesterday evening as I was putting the finishing touches on dinner, the strep decided to rear its ugly head again. I could barely finish eating. And now swallowing tea is difficult, yet again.

I’m back to trying to eat mushy soup noodles. I’m on more/better antibiotics and more steroids. I have a reference for an ENT and the word “tonsillectomy” was mentioned. And honestly, I’m not sure whether I’m more pissed that it came back and I have to deal with this crap, or that I CAN’T EAT MY PIE. I WAS LOOKING FORWARD TO THAT FOR TWO WEEKS. And now it’s sitting in my fridge, taunting me.

(And to any opportunists, no, you can’t have any.)

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balance

I just moved to Cincinnati from Tallahassee, because in a little over a month I will be embarking on my DMA at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM). I’m stoked, overwhelmed, a little frightened and a little unbelieving. But that’s a story for another time.

As I was planning this move, I wanted to look into two investments: a piano and an Xbox. The piano seems self-explanatory; I’m a pianist. But thinking about it, why would I want to buy one when a whole bunch of new Steinways – that I can use whenever I want – come with being a student at CCM? (It’s okay, be jealous.) Welp, because sometimes I don’t want to fight for parking. Sometimes I don’t want to commit to the 2 or 3 consecutive hours of practice that would make it worthwhile to fight for parking. Sometimes I know I only want to do 45 minutes off and on. Or maybe I want to do one more hour before I go to bed at 11. Or those times (many, many times) that I’ve lost an afternoon or evening because I was cooking something that took longer than an hour. So, I decided it was a good idea; I wanted something small in relatively decent shape. Just something that could get work done.

The Xbox, well. My roommate had his hooked up to his TV as a composite DVD player/game console/Netflix streamer, and I really liked the setup. And since I was upgrading my TV to a reasonable size (from my old 14″), I needed something like that. And, in my continuous effort to be the coolest person I know, I wanted a gaming console. I always have, but growing up I knew not even to ask. So now that I’m an adult (or something) and I’m effectively the only person who can tell me no, I decided it was a reasonable investment. And besides, I already own Mass Effect (all of them, yes) from when I played it on Brooks’s console and I wouldn’t mind playing it again.

So over the course of three days I bought a TV, a couch, a piano, renters insurance, read the Ohio drivers manual and opened a checking account. At the end of the third day, feeling waaay too adult-like, I made the executive decision. On the morning of the fourth day I bought an Xbox and a pile of games.

And you know what, they were both great ideas. I have the piano and Xbox in separate rooms, about 20 feet apart, and they both call to me. I’ll be woodshedding at something and I’ll hear the Xbox call me, “But don’t you want to blast some mercs and geth and Collectors and flirt with the turian?” (I have a serious thing for Garrus, shut up.) And I’ll think, Why yes! Of course I do! and I’ll go do that for a while. And soon enough the piano will call, “But Beethoven! and Rachmaninoff!” And I’ll think, Of course! Naturally! How could I? and go back to practicing. It’s a pretty nice safeguard against burnout on either of them.

The only problem is that neither ever stops its siren call. Back and forth, back and forth, all day. It’s great – until I have to go to bed. It’s difficult dragging myself away. But, I guess that’s what coffee is for.

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i’m really bad at this “real life symbolism” game

“Sh*t, I double booked myself to be in two ends of the country simultaneously the last weekend in January.”

That was literally the first coherent thought I had as I woke up this morning. (Fortunately not the first coherent thought of the year, as I was up til 2 watching the Marx Brothers.)

If I took today as a symbol for the rest of the year, as the representation of new beginnings, as many do, I’d just pack up now. I have a migraine and a sinus infection. I’m not magically more motivated to be a better person today than I was last night, last week, or last year. If I felt good enough to get to the school to practice, I don’t know if I could find a way in.

However, in the spirit of New Year’s Day, I’m keeping up the family traditions: making lasagna, watching TV, putting together a puzzle, and not making resolutions. If the Winter Classic is on and I’m home, I’ll watch that later.

Though, I guess if I had a resolution, it would be this: get more hits from ridiculous searches. These are my favorites: “liz from animal crossing,” (a character from a children’s video game, landed them here); “‘johnny rzeznik’,” (don’t know how they found this, but they did); and “trambalos” (probably not what they were looking for. At all.)

Anyway, Happy 2011. You’ve only got 24 months until the end of the world, so make it count!

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nonpolitical thoughts while watching election coverage

Updated in almost real time and posted at bedtime. Many will be blogging about the election. I will be blogging about everything but the election. Because you don’t want to hear my partisanship any more than I want to hear yours.

A Christmas Commercial with Andy Williams singing “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”? Really?? It’s November 2. Please, please at least wait until Black Friday. I love Christmas, but I keep my ridiculous enthusiasm at bay until then.

Which would be a better drinking game: a sip for every seat gained by Republicans, or a beer for the first 40 and then another for every 10 beyond that?

The Chairman from Iron Chef America should announce these results. It would make them so much cooler. In fact, he should announce pretty much everything. Except hockey games.

This would be a good time to cook something. Something escarole-centric.

Do… do I see this correctly? A ten-year Florida Recount Reunion Dinner? Is this the political equivalent of an Ugly Christmas Sweater Party? Why the hell would you do that?

I should write down the story of the Austrian violinist dressed in a Mozart costume at St. Stephen’s. Best pick-up lines ever.

Here’s the thing, Deep Blue Something. You may have written one of my all-time favorite songs of the 90s, but a movie is not something on which to base (or save) a relationship. I’m just saying. I’m sorry.

“You all everybody…”

So now Sarah Palin’s gonna have a reality series on TLC? Well if that’s how it’s gonna be, here’s the deal: TLC, I want you to put me on What Not To Wear right now. Without delay. If anyone can get a reality series that nobody’s gonna watch, and if you keep producing reality shows nobody wants to watch, I demand you put me on the one that is actually any good. You don’t have to make up a new show for me, and you won’t have to care nobody knows who I am. All I want is new clothes. That’s it. Okay?

A candidate named Krystal Ball? Really?

They’re not telling me any new information. My sleep is now more important than this election coverage.

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women in advertisements

This is one of the extremely rare occasions I find some materials, bang together a makeshift feminist soapbox, climb on it, and make noise.

It all started with a Centrum vitamin advertisement. It was a comparison set of ads: one for men, one for women. In the one for men, the announcer asked, “Should men take the same vitamins as women?” and the men, so rudely interrupted from their round of golf, indignantly answered, “Of course not!” In the other commercial, the announcer asked the women, “Should women take the same vitamins as men?” and the women (who I think were engaging in yoga or shopping or some other stereotypically woman-ish activity) replied, “You mean there’s a difference?” as if they’re complete uneducated and ill-informed idiots. Which, I assure you, we are not.

Tonight I see a commercial for 5-Hour Energy. Not the one I’ve seen before, with the annoying dude rolling around in an office chair being condescending. This one was just generally condescending to women. This woman comes in her front door carrying armloads of groceries (paper bagged, of course) complaining about how she never has any energy for her “first” job (presumably her “work” job) and then she has to come home and start her “second” job (being a mother). Meanwhile, several smallish children run by and either fall over or knock something over. She storms into the kitchen and plops down the groceries on the table, presumably leaving them for later – hopefully they won’t go bad by then? – or for the children to destroy. She talks about how her husband yammers on and on about 5-Hour Energy and how it’s sooo great. She opens a cupboard, which is surprisingly sparse for having at least 2 children in that size house. On the bottom shelf are probably 12 individual bottles of 5-Hour Energy. She pulls out a six-pack of them. She begins walking to the next room indignantly explaining how her husband was right. She ends up in the next room – where her husband is sitting on his duff reading the newspaper – and plops down next to him, whereupon he says, “I told you so.”

Please, please, dear advertisers. Women are not ill-educated. We are not pack-mules. We are not the domestic slave. We are no longer secondary to men. We have worked a long time to overcome this image. Please don’t portray women in the light of the 1950s. They were 60 years ago. For instance, if that were my husband who had thrown an “I told you so,” (which I assure you would never have happened in the first place), I would have told him to put down the paper, get off his lazy ass, discipline the children, and meanwhile make some damn dinner if he’s got so much spare time.

Please don’t condescend to me and insult my intelligence like this. And if any of you who produced this ad were women: SHAME ON YOU.

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HEY Y’ALL!

Dear Paula Deen,

I really want to like you. In fact, I really do you like you. I think you’re one of the sweetest women in the world and I want you to be my surrogate grandmother. You love the simple things in life, and you love your family more than anything. I think that’s wonderful.

But ma’am, your food is probably the worst idea ever. Honestly I wouldn’t ever consider eating most of what you make just because it’s so bad for you, as I’m sure you’ve heard once or twice. I just can’t reconcile you and your food! Please help me, and not by making me eat your food.

Sincerely,
Liz

PS I am terribly sorry they airbrush the bejesus out of you on all your magazine covers. You are a handsome woman and don’t need to be plasticized.

—————–

I make an effort to eat balanced and healthy, but I’m not Kashi. And I’m not terrified of the latest fad-fear-foods (trans fats, high-fructose corn syrup) because I so rarely have processed or packaged food that it really doesn’t matter. I’m also not terrified of pastries for the same reason. I think it’s an okay system. Packaged foods, pastries, fried food, cookies, all come under the same category.  They are okay sometimes, and they will not kill you if you eat them sometimes. They will probably kill you if you eat them all the times.

Enter: Paula Deen. Now, I’m a recent transplant and am just beginning to get acclimated to Southern culture. I don’t know if Ms. Deen’s cooking is traditional Southern like she says it is, or if it’s just her. I don’t care. Not every recipe needs to start with a stick, or more, of butter (“stick-a-butter”). Not every recipe needs to be bound with mayonnaise or cream cheese. And fudge made with processed cheese?* Unnecessary.

Why am I writing this? I’ve had this opinion for a while. Unfortunately today’s episode put me over the edge. I was listening to her banana episode while working on my laptop and… well…

She started out the episode with Curry-Crusted Bananas. Basically you take bananas split lengthwise, dip them in a (stick-a-butter) melted-butter/curry mixture, then dredge them in cornflakes and bake them. They look like cornflake-encrusted bananas. She said they go great with pork (I will trust her on that) and “they make a great after-school snack for the kids.” At least she didn’t deep-fry them, but I am not convinced that’s the best after-school snack ever. I am pretty sure that if you took that banana and instead dipped it in some peanut butter, or melted semi-sweet chocolate, it would be a lot healthier for your kiddies.

Then she made a “Cheesy Ham and Banana Casserole.” Yep. I stopped listening after she lined a baking dish with crustless pieces of both-sides-buttered white bread. She raved about it for the rest of the episode. (I am pleasantly surprised to see that 103 online reviews have garnered this recipe an overall rating of 2/5 stars.)

I tuned back in for her take on the Peanut Butter Banana Sandwich.  Not a bad concept in and of itself. She spread both inside surfaces of the sandwich with crunchy peanut butter, then “you can add as much or as little banana slices as you want” or something like that. Sandwich it up, then butter both sides of the sandwich. Then grill the sandwich in more melted butter. (I apparently didn’t catch when she said “FRIED Peanut Butter Banana Sandwich.” The recipe calls for a stick-a-butter.) Then – THEN – here’s the kicker – then she rolled them in cinnamon sugar.

I was just on the verge of thinking, “I bet that’s tasty but I could never bring myself to make it, and there’s only a 50% chance I’d eat it if someone else made it,” when she said, once again, “This makes a great after-school snack.” No, Paula, it doesn’t. It makes a good mid-day meal if they’re coming home at 3pm, have to leave at 3:30pm, won’t be home again until 9:30pm, and you’ve got absolutely nothing else in the pantry.

Also, I don’t know about you, but on the rare occasion I make a grilled sandwich I use less than a tablespoon of butter. Or olive oil. Or whatever.

I only listened to the Banana Split Brownie Pizza long enough to know that it sounded really gross and tooth-rottingly sweet. And equally heart-attack inducing. (This one doesn’t have a stick-a-butter. But fear not! it makes up for it in cream cheese.)

Now the thing is, none of these recipes would be so bad on their own – like if one day you just got a craving for a Fried Peanut Butter Banana Sandwich, so you made one, ate it, enjoyed it thoroughly, and then you went back to your old ways of not-eating-fried-peanut-butter-banana-sandwiches. But every single one of her recipes is like this. I just… I just wish she had an idea I could like. I wish I could look at a recipe and go, “Oh, that’s reasonable and not at all ridiculous! Maybe I’ll try to make it one day.” But it never happens.

*By the way, if you want to see the processed-cheese fudge, here it is. Watch at your own risk. Also, she and Cat Cora won an Iron Chef battle including this recipe.

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