Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A random collection of thoughts....

It is annoying when you go to the grocery store hungry you end up with nacho fixin's and ice cream, that is not really the intent of your trip.

Cat + laser pointer = Hilarity.

I am really a fan of the "comedy folk song" genre.  (see: Jonathan Coulton, DaVinci's Notebook, Garfunkel and Oates)

I keep thinking that today is thursday, getting excited, and then realizing it is not and getting sad.

There is a giant pile of laundry threatening to overtake my apartment if I don't get to it on friday, when I have my day off.

I hope it doesn't snow this weekend

This blog update is very boring.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

the oatmeal

My sister Jackie told me about this fun site: 
with lots of fun quizzes and fun things to do.

I took the following tests:
Is your cat plotting to kill you?

How addicted to Twitter are you?
Created by Oatmeal

Could you pass a driving test?
Created by Auto Insurance

How did you do on them? take them and let me know!

Also found: some good information to have:

Monday, January 25, 2010

What I'm looking forward to in Japan

There are a lot of things that I am super excited about when I go to visit Japan (in thirty three days!).

Seeing Tokyo at night

Eating lots of  Udon

Relaxing in a traditional Japanese Hot Spring  (I am getting over the You Have To Be Naked part)

One word: Sushi

I am looking forward to hiking and traveling around the country!

and most of all I'm stoked about having a blast with this guy!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Val's no good very bad day

Sometimes the only cure to a bad day is listening to folk music, making yourself a cup of tea, and waiting until Modern family comes on.

(when what I really want to do is get frozen yogurt for dinner, I will resist, because that is not in the budget/good for me.  sidenote: being a grownup sucks sometimes)

Hopefully, this pity party will pass me by soon.

bonus points for people who leave comments that are amusing.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

28/28th list update- #12

I put #12 on the list, because I wanted to make it happen, but I wasn't sure I could. #12 is tricky. Because I had my travel planned out for the year, I didn't think I would be going anywhere new. Up to Providence, probably, Down to Virginia, into NYC, down to DC definitely. But none of those places are what #12 is. They're all places I've been before.

12. Visit a city I've never been to before

As I mentioned before, I'm going to Japan.  With my friend Tim, who is wonderful, and generous, and fantastic, and I can't imagine having a better traveling companion in him. Tim won a trip to Japan from Saveur Magazine, and asked me to go with him. (Insert me running around like a crazy person and going eeeeeeee! I'm going to Japan!)

We're going to fly there at the end of Feb/first week of March, a have a night in Tokyo, and then the next day fly to Yamagata Prefecture and spend three days in Ginzen Onsen, then back to Tokyo for a night, then home.  I've been doing lots of reading, and reasearching, and just in general being excited.  I'm excited about the food, I'm excited about the hot springs, and mostly I'm excited to spend a week having fun adventures with Tim, because he's awesome.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Tutti Fruitti in Ellicott City

My sister has been talking about a great frozen yogurt place in Princeton, where she works, that has pay-by-weight frozen yogurts with toppings. They have all sorts of flavors, and an insane amount of toppings- fruit, sauces, and candy,  you load up your little container, and they they weigh it and you pay.

Now Ellicott City has one, Tutti Fruitti on rt 40, near the interchange for 29.  The "regular tart" flavor is my favorite, with a real taste and tang of yogurt. I like that if you can be disciplined,  it is even relatively cheap! (mine today, was three dollars.  Plus, they have free wifi, which I'm using right now.  (also, a lot of high school students, which is... interesting in an anthropoligical way)

Best part? they have a frequent flyer card that you get a free one after you get ten of them.  Which, if I don't pace myself, may be sooner than I'd like to admit.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Meat Week?

Apparently Baltimore has something called meat week? I need to investigate. And also eat a lot of barbecue.

Thanks to The Examiner for the tip.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Ale Mary's

I'm looking for the Best Burger in Baltimore! More info and links to other reviews here.

Julie and I hit Ale Mary's in Fell's Point on Wednesday, for our fifth Best Burger in Baltimore contender.  Ale Mary's is a really cool bar, and If I lived in the area, It would definitely would be a go-to place for me. The service was good, and they didn't mind that Julie and I lingered after we had finished eating, catching up with each other.

Onto the food. Ale Mary's signature burger is a 1/2 lb burger on a garlic bun, you can get it with cheese (for an additional .75 cents, it comes with chips, but you have the option of adding tater tots for an additional 2, or three dollars (depending on the kind of tots you want). I ordered my burger medium rare, with American cheese (not an option on the menu, but they had some in the kitchen that they put on for me). Mine was cooked perfectly, but Julie's (which she ordered medium) was more of a medium well. We both thought that the burger was too big- We don't have a problem with big burgers- Jimmy's was that size too, but the beef was seasoned and the patty was a little thick. Julie had problems keeping her salad on top of the burger. (she puts things like lettuce and onion on hers) The meat -to - bun ratio was okay, but the bun was garlic bread style, which wasn't our favorite. I minded it a lot less than Julie did, who every time she went to take a bite said that she could smell the garlic, and not in a good way.

The star of the meal however, is above.  We had ordered two appetizers (we were both starving) One was their crab dip, which was good, if salty. It came with celery, bread and crackers, and a crumb top. Not the best one I've ever had, but solid.  The winner was the Crabby Tots. They're Tater tots, with cheese (three kinds) melted on top, and  a layer of crab dip ladled on. The cheese melted down, creating a crispy bottom, and the crab dip, while salty on it's own was absolutely perfect here.  Julie and I agreed that we would come back to Ale Mary's just for these.  They're fantastic. And  a day later, I'm still thinking about how great they are, and how to make them on my own, which is definitely a marker for how excellent they are.

So in conclusion, a decent burger, but definitely not among the top of the list, and Crabby Tots that make the mouth water and plans to return.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Jonathan Coulton <3

I was talking to my cousin Potter a few days ago, about how when I listen to new music I like, it tends to bind me to a time and place, and then whenever I listen to that music, I am immediately transported back to the place I first listened to it.

And by listened to it, I really mean "listened to it over and over to the exclusion of all other music, and kept listening until I a) moved onto the next new thing or b) added it to the regular rotation of music I listen to when not obsessed with one musician/band."

It is kind of like a baby duck, who imprints onto a mama duck. the music imprints onto a time in my life.

For example, when I was in City Year and living in Providence, it was Tegan and Sara, Freshman Year of College: Indigo Girls, Catie Curtis, Ani Difranco. Sophmore year of college: Melissa Ferrick and so on, and so forth.

Other than a few artists who seem to transcend any time in my life,(and even then, some certian songs are definitely tied to certian times) it makes a trip through the ipod quite nostalgic.

I bring this up because I am having quite the music crush right now, on Jonathan Coulton. He falls squarely into the singer songwriter genre, and some of the people I already listen to have covered some of his songs. The part I like best is that he's funny, and the songs he writes are catchy.

The following are my three favorites right now:

Code Monkey

Future Soon:

You Ruined Everything

Monday, January 11, 2010

Ten Things

Mondays need ten things that make me happy to make them more bearable

1 TRIP TO JAPAN. (More on this later)

2 Watching more Bones on tv

3 New episodes of regular TV coming back on (especially the 100th episode of How I Met Your Mother)

4 Making an amazon wish list so I know things that I want to save up for, instead of spending willy nilly.

5. Doing reasearch, for happy thing #1

6. Strong hot coffee

7. Roasted beets. they're just delicous.

8.  Music by Jonathan Coulton. I have become... addicted.  Go listen to: Tom Cruise Crazy, The Future Soon, and Code Monkey, and tell me he's not awesome. I dare you.

9. No snow this weekend!

10.  Four day week this week AND next week!  WOOT!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Things that make me sad

I love music.  I especially love the singer-songwriter, girl (or guy) with a guitar music. To the chagrin of my friends and family, I tend to become a little bit... myopic in my relentless love of a certian cd/artist, and listen to them nonstop until I move onto the next one.  I recently have been listening to some new stuff - Jonathan Coulton, specifically, and it makes me wish that I had some musical ability of my own. I always feel this way after house concerts too- a kind of restlessness that some part of me wants to be able to write songs that have meaning and are beautiful.

The part that makes me sad is that I have zero musical ability. I am practically tone deaf,  I can't keep a beat, and I've tried the guitar, and cannot make my hands work in the way that makes guitar playing possible. I can enjoy music, and I sing along off key, and I can dance allong off beat, but in terms of making my own music, I'm at a loss.

I recently was doing some writing and came up with what I thought would be good song lyrics.  I sat down and tried to figure out some sort of melody for them for like an hour, and at the end of the hour, I was just an hour older and more frustrated.  I guess it is just destined to become a poem, unless someone has some awesome musical skillz that likes to write music.


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Time Travel and the Hadron Collider.

So I was in my car at lunch time on Saturday, and I was listening to NPR, and they had a program on that was talking about time travel. One of the things that they were discussing was the Large Hadron Collider. Apparently, there are two physicists who believe that the Hadron Collider (which has had it's share of issues) is being sabatoged by time travellers. Their theory is that the Hadron Collider does some sort of damage/ is not a good thing in the future, so they posit that it is sabatoged by future scientists. 

This has been freaking me out for days.

More Info Here

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Great Rib Cookoff

I'm not going to lie, I'm competitive. I like to win, and I like to compete. On the Wii, board games, card games, you name it.  My favorite kinds of competitions are cooking competitions.  I've competed in cookie bake-offs, chilli contests, and all sorts of dessert bake-offs.

Two years ago when my family was making our annual trek to Chincoteague Island in Virginia, I called up my uncle Dave, and issued a throwdown challenge- a mano-y mano rib cookoff. The first year, I emerged victorious, Last year, my cousin Potter joined in the competition as well, and my uncle Dave was the clear winner.

This year, when July comes around, I will be ready.  In order to get myself psyched up and to throw down the gauntlet, I made a youtube video.


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

28/28th update: Three Months In.

1 Write a Novel.
I abandoned NaNoWriMo, But I have been working on a Writing Project, so... will update when that is more fully formed
2. Try one new craft
3. Go to DC for the day by myself and walk around
4. Cater a Non Family Event
5. Make Homemade christmas gifts
Done! Several family members recieved mittens, and snowflakes. I am going to start working on christmas presents earlier this year though. I did not get nearly as much done as I wanted to.
6. Learn how to can things (like jam)
I got a canning book for christmas, I've got some jars waiting to go! I can't wait, I think apple butter or pear butter will be up first. it seems pretty idiot proof.
7. Take a cooking class-
Thanks to a completely awesome birthday present from my friend julie, I am taking a pasta class here in March.
8. Go camping
9. Go to a non House Concert- Show
10. Get a Manicure, Pedicure and Facial
Done! I got a Mani, Pedi, Facial with my sister and my cousin Kate, before my cousin Lindy's wedding, which was very excellent. I actually have super long nails right now, and have been debating getting a manicure. I will probably just end up cutting them, though.
11. Go on 12 dates
One down, 11 to go!
12. Visit a city I've never been to before
13. Learn how to make a recipe by watching my G make it.
I am going down to Florida in February! I am hoping that I'll get that done then.
14.  Go to at least one Free Fall Baltimore event
Missed this year's- I am hoping that I will get in under the wire next fall.
15. Have a Cookie Baking/Decorating Party
16. Make a tradition of my own
17. Go to a museum
18. Have dinner that is multi-course and paired with wines
19. Go to a winery and have a wine tasting
20. Make something beautiful
21. Create ten new cupcake combinations
On my way!
22. Get my camera fixed. 
23. Twelve Random Acts of Kindness for strangers
24. Go for a week without internet (for non work puroposes)
25. Do some acting
I am in the Iron Crow Theatre Company! And we're doing a night of short plays by Christopher Durang called "In Durang's Shorts"  to which I've been cast in two roles. Woo! Performance days are in the spring!
26. Go to ten new restaurants in Baltimore
The quest for the Best Burger in Baltimore should take care of this nicely! Three down already!
27. Learn a new card game
28. Go see a movie with Subtitiles (or, rent and watch Amelie without falling asleep)

So in conclusion, I've made progress on some of these things, but not as much progress as I'd like. especially the "random act of kindness" one. I need to get going on that. The "go a week without internet except for work purposes " is also giving me hives to think about.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Ten Things

That are making me happy right now.

Sometimes on a freaking cold, blustery, crazy monday morning, you need to remind yourself of ten things that make you happy.

1.  These blackcurrant gummies that Katie and Lisa brought me back from London. I love all things blackcurrant flavored, and these are especally awesome. trying to not eat them all at once.

2. Bones seasons 1-3 that I got on crazy discount at target, and have been making my way through. It definitely is outside the realm of my usual tv-watchings, but is definitely awesome.

3. Hot coffee.

4. Twitter (as always. JOIN.)

5. I have a comp day coming up on Wednesday!

6.  Wednesday is also a BURGER DAY. Destination? Unknown. But hopefully delicious.

7. Planning my trip to Florida to see my grandmother.

8.  Burt's Bees chapstick

9. It not being as crazy at work as I had imagined it was going to be (yet, at least)

10. Podcasts on the way to work make the commute much better!  Right now it's Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, Car Talk, and Savage Love.

What are your ten?