Monthly Archives: November 2009

Twilight: Chapters 1-5

My impressions of Twilight so far.

Chapter one: Bella, honey, quit whining and get over yourself.

Chapter two: Edward disappears. Bella mopes, so nothing new there. Also, Forks sucks.

Chapter three: Bella is clumsy. Yes, we get that already! Can I join Team Tyler’s Van? Also, Forks sucks.

Chapter four: Bella’s been in town 2 (3?) weeks, and that Cullen kid is already telling her what to do. Does not bode well. Also, Forks sucks.

Chapter five: Bella is clumsy AND faints at the sight of blood. Oh, this relationship will last. Also, Forks sucks, but not as bad.

 

Now I think I shall go gorge myself on some “Angel” episodes in order to get the taste of faux vampire out of my mouth.

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Thanksgiving ’09

Anya from Buffy said it best about Thanksgiving: “To commemorate a past event, you kill and eat an animal. It’s a ritual sacrifice. With pie.” Hope your ritual sacrifice was tasty!

My Thanksgiving ’09 was… anti-climactic. Mom had spent the beginning of the week down with my brother and family, since my nephew’s baby sitter was unavailable. They drove back up together Thursday morning, arriving around noonish.

I spent the morning feeling very sick to my stomach… which is, sadly, nothing new. Though I am a lot better than I was before I had my gallbladder removed, I still get these awful periods of sickness.

We went to dinner at Cracker Barrel about 2 p.m., pulling up to the restaurant right behind an ambulance. That’s never a good sign. Neither is having to step around the EMTs and the poor gentleman lying in the floor of the gift shop after suffering a seizure. That sounds horrible, I know, but they were trying to get us all out of the doorway so they could take him out.

The dinner was just ‘meh’ this year. I usually enjoy Cracker Barrel’s Thanksgiving dinner, but this year, not so much. Probably because I was tired, stressed and feeling sick.

Brother and sis-in-law left shortly after we returned home, leaving nephew behind to spend the weekend. I foresee locking myself in my room or the computer room a lot this weekend. I dearly love my nephew, but I can only take toddlers in small doses.

After Ben went to bed, I bullied my parents into watching Star Trek, because I really loved that movie. Unfortunately, we only got a half hour into it before my friends from Knoxville called and I spent an hour with them on the phone. Not that I minded, but I don’t know if I can get my parents to finish watching it now. I think I ought to give up trying to get them to watch stuff that I really like and is important to me.

Because it’s all about me, world! You hear that? All about me!

…or not.

I also started reading Twilight. I’m very proud of myself. Five chapters in and I’ve already resisted throwing the book across the room at least twice. I’m still trying to understand the appeal.

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A NaNo lament

I’ve always envied the drive and dedication of those brave enough to tackle National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). And I’ve always wanted to participate, but the same two problems kept popping up: One, November is a really bad month for trying to do anything “extra” what with the holiday section of the paper coming out, Christmas shopping and Thanksgiving. And two, I’ve never really had an idea for a novel.

Until now.

It figures that I’d come up with something when there’s less than a week left in November. But I’ve decided to write down notes, outlines, maybe a snippet or two of dialogue and be really prepared for next year.

I’m actually kind of excited about it. I got the idea watching an old “Angel” episode, followed by a “Ghost Hunters” episode. I’m thinking it’ll be geared more towards young adults, which means I’ll have to make it clean (I used to be really good at writing smutty scenes… this will be hard).

I have most of the basic plot already in my head… just need to work a little on the middle part. And I have another really big problem. My characters are refusing to name themselves. I hate picking out character names. Which is probably why I loved writing fanfic so much… already had character names and physical appearances (and backstory when writing canon universe).

I don’t want to name my main female character anything pretentious (like Bella Swan… don’t tell me that’s not a Mary Sue name). I think her name will be Sara Walker, but I’m still up in the air about that first name.

My main male character just does not want to be named. So right now, in my notes, he’s just “dude.”

Hopefully, Sara and dude will get their acts together over the next year so I can participate in NaNo. Fifty thousand words is a lot to write in a month, especially when it’s such a busy time of the year.

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A Thanksgiving conundrum

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. It’s one of the four days of the year I can cash in my calorie coupons and feast until I feel as stuffed as the turkey on the table. (The other three being Christmas, my birthday and the day after Lent ends, because after 40 days of no chocolate, it’s hard to control myself.)

But on Thanksgiving, it’s all about the turkey. And the dressing. And the sweet potato casserole. And all the other delicious sides Cracker Barrel has to offer. Going out for Thanksgiving dinner has become a tradition for my family. All the delicious food — none of the cleanup.

However, Thanksgiving does pose one small problem for me — how to get all that yummy food on one plate without any of it touching. Yes, I am an adult. But I don’t like my food to touch on the plate. Even though I know it all ends up in the same place, I just can’t stand the flavors mixing before it gets there.
There are a few exceptions, of course. Gravy can go on the turkey and dressing, but I have to construct a dam of stuffing to keep it from getting into the green beans. Sweet potato casserole is delicious — but not when smeared on the ham. And the cranberry sauce is the worst contaminant on the plate. I loathe the stuff, and anything that comes into contact with it must be immediately quarantined from the rest of the plate. Sure, I could ask for it to be left off, but then my dad wouldn’t be able to protect my dinner by nobly offering to eat it for me.

I could, I suppose, ask that everything be brought out to me on separate plates, but five adults and one toddler make for an already crowded table. Not to mention all the extra dishes that would have to be washed. So I just have to make the most of what I’ve got to keep my food separated for maximum enjoyment.

My dilemma is not just limited to Thanksgiving — it’s a problem I face every single day. Corn cannot mix with mashed potatoes. General Tso’s chicken should not come into contact with fried wontons. Spaghetti and salad? Forget it. I’ll need a separate bowl for the salad. Just the idea that I might get spaghetti sauce in my salad — even though I may have tomatoes in my salad — gives me the willies.

While in the process of writing this column, I started wondering if I’m the only adult permanently stuck in childhood mentality when it comes to food on a plate. Surely not! So I decided to use a highly scientific process in order to poll my peers. I posed the question on Facebook. And according to my friends on Facebook, I’m the only picky eater not only in this state but in half a dozen others and two countries as well. Even my friend’s 16-year-old daughter chimed in to say that everything tasted better with gravy on it.

Even the children are showing me up!

Fortunately, my coworkers bailed me out from feeling alone in my pickiness. Heather Mullinix and Missy Wattenbarger both agree with me that food should never, ever touch on a plate. We all agree that if we could develop a line of nice-looking divided plates made of china or some kind of stoneware, we could probably make a fortune catering to other picky adult eaters. Because I’m sure we’re not the only grown-ups in America who believe baked beans should not come into contact with your hamburger — despite the results of my Facebook poll.

So this Thanksgiving, as I’m separating the food on my plate, I’ll give my thanks for the meal on the table, the health of my family, and for parents who understand my culinary peculiarities and know to put my peas in a bowl when we have hamburger lasagna.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Teetering on the edge of the dark side

I’ve thought about this long and hard. It’s been a difficult decision to make. But if it’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s hypocrisy. I jeered at those who condemned the Harry Potter books without reading them. And since I don’t want to be a hypocrite… I’m going to read Twilight.

I did, however, refuse to pay for it, so I got a used copy free off PaperBackSwap. It was shipped two days ago. I will now be checking my mail with trepidation until it arrives.

Thankfully, Cleolinda has prepared me for the horror to come. And from the fun folks on Twitter, I have found Dazzle Me This, Mr. Vampire, a blog chronicling the bravery of two anti-Twilight women as they delve into the books. I plan on using it as a guide as I take my journey through the mess that is Twilight. (And also as an antidote for when it just becomes too much to bear.)

I do not know if I will be brave enough to tackle the other three books, especially that last one. Only time will tell. But I will be able to rest my conscience by those who insist “Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it.”

Wish me luck.

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“The Lost Symbol” by Dan Brown

The Lost Symbol (Robert Langdon, #3) The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I was really looking forward to this book. I mean, REALLY looking forward to it since I had really enjoyed ‘The Da Vinci Code’ and LOVED ‘Angels and Demons.’ But it took me over a month to read this one. I just couldn’t get into it like I had the first two.

About three-quarters into the book, I realized I wasn’t enjoying it because it didn’t involve some big Catholic conspiracy like the other two had. I love me some Catholic Church conspiracy. In the first two books, I loved how Brown had taken history and shaped it into something exciting. But in this one, all we get are Masonic legends. Maybe I just don’t know enough about the Masons. Maybe I just dislike American history. I was bored and I just wanted it to be over.

When I reread ‘Angels and Demons’ before the movie came out, I couldn’t help but realize that, despite the fact I enjoyed the story tremendously, the writing was really bad. I’ll give ‘The Lost Symbol’ credit in that I think Brown’s writing has improved since ‘Angels and Demons,’ but that couldn’t make up for the story line that was wholly predictable. The best thing about the book was decoding the hidden codes on the book jacket.

Again, it could have just been the subject matter of the book… the Masonic angle. It felt a little too much like “National Treasure,” but not nearly as fun.

View all my reviews >>

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Kroger is out to get me

Kroger has started to give me a complex. Every time I find some kind of food that I not only like, but my stomach can also handle, they get rid of it a couple of weeks later.

For example, I’m supposed to be eating yogurt. I hate yogurt. But I discovered that the Fiber One vanilla yogurt tastes quite good. Not only can I no longer find it at Kroger, but it seems to have disappeared from every store in town.

I found a new Lean Cuisine meal: Asian-style potstickers. Tried it. Loved it. Can no longer buy it at Kroger.

My favorite beef teriyaki stir-fry in a bag meal disappeared months ago. It was the first one of its kind where I could eat everything in it and not pick out nasty things like peppers and broccoli.

My in-case-of-no-food-in-the-house three-cheese Totino’s pizza has been sold out for weeks.

The one Oscar Mayer Deli Creations sandwich that I liked has also been cut from Kroger’s shelves.

I know, I could shop elsewhere. But when you live in a tiny town, where Kroger is the cheapest grocery store in town and Walmart is quite a drive from the house (and besides, it’s Walmart), there aren’t a whole lot of other options.

Hmmm… maybe if I start buying up broccoli, Kroger will stop selling it and my mother will quit nagging at me to eat it…

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