My rad celebrity encounter

Filed under: — Aprille @ 5:00 pm

I forgot to write about the most interesting thing that happened to me this weekend, which might show you that it wasn’t a very interesting event, really.

Anyway, Denny and I were going to the movies at the Old Capitol Mall theatre. Before we went in, we stopped at the Den (a nearby convenience store sort of thing) to pick up some tasty snacks to sneak in. As we were walking in, this tiny little woman surrounded by frattish boys walked past us. I knew her, I knew I knew her. I squinted my eyes at her in a puzzled fashion. Then it dawned on me. It was Ruthie of The Real World and Real World/Road Rules Challenge fame (and by the way, she got screwed in RW/RR Battle of the Sexes).

The guys she was with didn’t seem famous (or whatever you call the sort of person who makes a living off of letting people watch her live her life, then competes on a show made entirely for people who have gained notoriety by letting people watch them live their lives). I think they were employees of The Summit, which is a bar that occasionally pays such B-listers to mingle with regular bar patrons. They must have been in charge of showing her around or something.

Not wanting to be a huge dork by yelling, “Ruthie, you got screwed on Battle of the Sexes” (which she did, by the way; there’s no way Arissa should have been in the final three), I just kept squinting at her in a puzzled fashion. One of the guys she was with saw me doing it, and he looked like he was going to say something to me, but he didn’t. Then I said, “I bet that happens a lot, the weird looks.” And he said “Yeah.”

I’m pretty damn certain it was her. I was just surprised because she was so short. She was seriously like 4’10”. She looks bigger on TV. It’s no surprise she got blood alcohol poisoning while she was on The Real World; she only has like 2 liters of blood, I think.

Somebody’s got a case of the Mondays

Filed under: — Aprille @ 9:29 am

It was a fun weekend, full of enjoyable activities, including reading books, going to the movies, and sleeping in. I’m currently reading SetThis House in Order: A Romance of Souls by Matt Ruff. The description makes it sound a lot trashier and movie-of-the-weekier than it really is; it’s actually very funny and compelling and well-crafted. So far anyway; I’m only half-way through it. I keep staying up late to read it, which is fine on weekends, but not so good when I have to work the next day. It was a bit hard to get out of bed this morning, but I managed.

The Oscar party was fun last night. I won a prize for the Don Cheetos. I was glad Cate Blanchett got the Best Supporting Actress award, because she was so good in The Aviator. I was just thinking it would be cool if she were well-known for her generous charitable donation, and then she could have the nickname “Cate Blank-Check.”

Please send your best wishes to my good friend Jamal, who is in the hospital this week having lots of tests to try to figure out why he’s had a headache for a year. We’re going to visit him soon.


wedding planning, cha cha cha

Filed under: — Aprille @ 9:07 pm

Chris and Rick came over last night and we did some planning. They are very helpful. They have a lot of good money-saving ideas, especially regarding food/catering issues. They’re also on a first-name basis with someone at a rental company, so I may drop their names when we go over there tomorrow to talk about tents, tables, chairs, chafing dishes, all that.

I’m not sure I like the wedding shoes I bought. They look better off my feet than on them. I saw some other ones I like:

It was a major revelation when I realized that I do not, in fact, have to wear white shoes. I mean, seriously. I can wear whatever shoes I want.


I am so into weird mixes now

Filed under: — Aprille @ 3:33 pm

Thanks to my colleague Angie for this super-awesome mp3:

Drop It Like It’s Huey

More for your enjoyment here.


Fish, updated

Filed under: — Aprille @ 10:20 pm

Oh boy, I was very busy today.

The catfish turned out great! I highly recommend it. The only things I did differently were that I used whole catfish instead of fillets (they were on sale), cooked them for about 8 minutes per side instead of six, since they were bigger and thicker than fillets, and added a little extra salt to the coating. For some reason, Cooking Light is under the impression that I give a crap about my salt intake. Salt has no fat or calories, people, and until the day when my blood pressure is anything other than excellent, I’m going to use as much as I want.

So there.

Denny and I boogied our butts off at dance class tonight. We did double promenade turns. They were fun.

I’m still undecided on what to bring to the Oscar party. I love the “Million Dollar Baby Back Ribs” idea (thanks, Erin), but it’s pretty expensive to buy enough for an entire party. Hm…maybe Martin Scorghetti and Aviator Balls?



Filed under: — Aprille @ 4:46 pm

Here’s what’s for dinner, straight out of Cooking Light.

Bayou Catfish Fillets

2 tablespoons white cornmeal
1 1/2 teaspoons seasoned salt
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
3/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
6 (6-ounce) catfish fillets
Cooking spray
6 lemon wedges (optional)

Preheat broiler.

Combine first 9 ingredients in a zip-top plastic bag. Add 1 catfish fillet. Seal bag, and shake well. Remove fillet from bag, and place on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Repeat procedure with the remaining fillets and cornmeal mixture. Broil 6 inches from heat for 6 minutes. Carefully turn fillets over, and broil 6 minutes or until the fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Serve with lemon wedges, if desired.

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1 fillet and 1 lemon wedge)

CALORIES 247(48% from fat); FAT 13.2g(sat 3.1g,mono 6.1g,poly 2.8g); PROTEIN 27g; CHOLESTEROL 80mg; CALCIUM 27mg; SODIUM 474mg; FIBER 0.8g; IRON 1.3mg; CARBOHYDRATE 3.8g



Filed under: — Aprille @ 4:30 pm

I was in a training session for Desire 2 Learn all day today, and I will be again for the next two days. I hope nobody else needs anything from me on the job front. Now I understand how the participants in our sessions feel. It’s hard to sit through an all-day training session.

The weekend was mostly uneventful. I visited my grandmother and assorted other relatives on Saturday. Denny was unable to come because he was sick. He’s still sort of sick, but he’s improving.

I tried to go running yesterday but I got thwarted HARDCORE! First I went to the Fieldhouse (waited in line forever to get into the parking ramp, too) but the Cultural Diversity Festival was going on and the track was closed. Now, I’ve got no quarrel with cultural diversity. The food smelled great. However, I was not there to eat delicious eggrolls, I was there to run. After that I went to the rec building (after calling Denny to have him tell me how to get there), and that was closed for a tennis meet!

After that I gave up. It was all too daunting. But I am very much going running in half an hour. I haven’t run in over a week. I’ll probably fall over due to tiredness. PLOP.


Self-Pity Chicken Soup

Filed under: — Aprille @ 6:34 pm

In honor of all the sickies out there, especially Denny, here is my Self-Pity Chicken Soup recipe. It is very delicious.


1 package chicken parts (thighs, legs, breast halves; whatever you like, just make sure it’s bone-in)
2 large yellow onions
2 bay leaves
4 or 5 whole peppercorns
2 regular carrots, or a handful of baby carrots
several cloves of garlic
1 package frozen egg noodles
hot sauce (such as Louisiana Hot Sauce or Tabasco)


1. Fill a large pot about 2/3 of the way with water
2. Cut the ends off the onions to get rid of any dirt. Cut the onions in half. Leave the skin on.
3. Cut off the tough ends of the garlic, but keep the skin on.
4. Put the chicken, garlic, onions, bay leaves, carrots, and peppercorns into the water. Bring to a boil.
5. Reduce heat to a strong simmer, but try not to let it boil. If it boils for very long, the fat will emulsify, and that is gross. Simmer for about 40 minutes.
6. Remove the chicken parts and let them cool. Take the meat off the bones, cut it into small pieces, and set it aside. Put the bones back in the soup.
7. Simmer for another 2 hours or so, for a total simmering time of about 3 hours.
8. Strain the stock. Skim as much of the fat off as you can. If you have time, refrigerate overnight.
9. Remove any remaining fat. Bring the de-fatted stock to a boil.
10. Add the noodles and boil for about 20 minutes, or until they are tender. Put in the chicken. Add salt and hot sauce to taste.

Rock me like a hurricane

Filed under: — Aprille @ 4:29 pm

I would like to announce that my readership is the AWESOMEST READERSHIP that leaves the AWESOMEST COMMENTS ever. Your suggestions for themed foods are so great. I love you people.

As a treat, I offer you a funny video about bikini waxes (no nudity, sorry). Quicktime required.


What I am excited about right now

Filed under: — Aprille @ 10:47 am

It’s time for an optimistic post, don’t you think? I am excited about…

  • Chris and Rick’s Oscar party. They have the best Oscar parties. One of the most fun parts is the themed-food contest. Denny is disappointed that Sean Penn isn’t nominated for anything this year, because he came up with a really good idea: “Sean Penne.” We’ll think of something, though. Maybe “Don Cheetos”? We may have to go to several movies this weekend to get ready.
  • I feel medium. That’s the best I’ve felt in a week, so I’m riding that high.
  • Portugal! I think we’ve got the itinerary pretty well worked out:

March 16: Leave from Cedar Rapids
March 17: Arrive in Lisbon. Stay at the Hotel Principe. It looks a little blah, but reasonably priced city hotels always are. On the exciting side, it’s a favorite of visiting Spanish matadors. I love those little pants they wear. Things I’m excited to do in Lisbon:

  • Go to the Museu da Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, which has been called the finest private art collection in the world. It’s also an easy walk from our hotel.
  • Climb the Torre de Belem. “Erected between 1515 and 1520, the Manueline-style tower is Portugal’s classic landmark and often serves as a symbol of the country.”
  • Explore the Alfama, the old quarter of the city. Apparently the houses are very close together there. According to the poet Federico de Brito,

    Your house is so close time mine!
    In the starry night’s bliss,
    to exchange a tender kiss,
    our lips easily meet,
    high across the narrow street. (translator unknown)

March 19: Go to Sintra, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Stay at the Tivoli Sintra. Things I’m excited to do in Sintra:

  • Visit the Palácio Nacional da Sintra (apparently it has quite the tile collection. I am interested in tile.)
  • Wander around and pretend I’m Lord Byron

March 21: Go to Tomar. This is where the conference is taking place. Oh, right, the conference. I knew we were in Portugal for a reason. We’re staying at a little place that doesn’t have a website (quel horreur!), but it comes recommended by the conference people and the professor Denny’s working with. I hope I don’t have to share a bathroom. I’m kind of shy about that. Things I’m excited to do in Tomar:

  • Visit the Convento da Ordem de Cristo (aka the Knights of Templar)

March 24: Back to Lisbon to catch our early flight the next day.
*yawn* I must be jet-lagged already.


crabby ligaments

Filed under: — Aprille @ 3:27 pm

I just overheard my coworker use the phrase “crabby ligaments” and I don’t know why he said it.

I took the morning off and slept laaate. That was nice. Now I’m at work again. I guess I’m feeling a little better, though I’m still pretty lethargic and coughing disgusting chunky coughs. I did end up going to the Lincoln Café last night, and though I didn’t have as much fun as I would have otherwise, it was still good. I enjoy quail.

Check out Holly’s page for a cute/sad picture of Daphne. That’s about how I feel too.


Dining room pictures

Filed under: — Aprille @ 9:55 am

Hey, guys.

I’m home sick from work today. Pleh. You know how usually with a cold or flu, you have one really bad day and then after that, you’re kind of medium-crappy for a day or so, then you get consistently better after that? Well, that’s not how it’s working here. I’ve been stagnating at day 1 since Friday. My colleague Steve, whom I blame for giving me this (we had a meeting on Thursday where we had to share a computer), said his has hung on for a week and three days, and it hasn’t given up yet. Hooray!

But anyway. Being around the house today has given me the opportunity to take some pictures of the newly painted dining room. Click the small image for a larger version.

A view of the east wall (I think; I get all turned around on these curvy streets). Regardless it’s the wall behind which lie the basement stairs.

Here’s the north/west wall intersection. In case the color doesn’t translate well to your screen, it’s a light greenish yellow called “Sour Lime.” Pretty flowers, too, huh? Nice Denny gave them to me for Valentine’s Day.

Here’s the border between the two colors. Sorry the chandelier got a little glare-y. We’re looking into new chandeliers. Also, we’re going to get cooler lightswitch plates. Denny, if you’re reading this, don’t worry; I didn’t actually screw the lightswitch plates into the wall. They’re just hanging on there to make it look tidier.



Filed under: — Aprille @ 1:28 pm

The good newses:

  • The dining room is painted. It looks pretty darn good. Pics to come soon.
  • Denny got me beautiful Valentine’s Day flowers that were delivered at work.
  • I’m going to the Lincoln Café for dinner tomorrow.

The bad newses:

  • I feel like hell. This cold just will not let up. I wouldn’t even be here at work if I didn’t have two important meetings this afternoon that would be a real pain to reschedule.
  • Related: I have these gorgeous flowers on my desk, but I can’t smell them.
  • I might not feel well enough to enjoy the Lincoln Café, but I can’t exactly reschedule that because it’s based on an out-of-town friend being in town.
  • Alpine Bavarian night was a big disappointment. The food was very blah, nothing better than you’d get in the Amanas, for three times the price. I wonder if that’s just the nature of German food. I don’t know. I don’t really want to go back and shell out another 80 bucks for another one of their theme nights if it’s going to be that unimpressive again.

Wow, I should have put the bad news first. This makes me sound very pessimistic. Oh, I thought of something nice. I got some new shower gel and it smells really, really good, and it’s nice that I experience it in the shower where the steam can temporarily unclog my nose. So at least I have that.


Filed under: — Aprille @ 4:50 pm

Wow, what a week. We had a whole day-long meeting with Desire 2 Learn today, and it was pretty fruitful. Let’s just say I feel more confident in my organizational architecture now! Please act like this is interesting. Please?

I’m not feeling so hot, to tell you the truth. My bronchial tubes feel tight. It’s weird, because I had a really good run last night. I feel like I used all my air then and I haven’t been able to fully reinflate my lungs. *yawn* It’s probably just a chest cold. Annoying, though. I’ve got stuff to do this weekend. There’s Alpine Bavarian night tonight, then painting the kitchen/dining room tomorrow, then pre-marriage counseling on Sunday.

But, to end this on a gross note, have I got a link for you (sorry, you might have to fill in a few fields about your location, age, and gender).

The Faces of Meth


Batman Returns

Filed under: — Aprille @ 4:17 pm

Would you like to send me a heart-shaped cheese? I think that would be very nice of you.

Dance class was pretty fun last night. We worked on the four-count freestyle, some more swing, and (get this), the hustle. I’m completely serious.

Do the hustle! Doot doot doot doot doo doot-ta-doot doo doo!


I’m late on the train

Filed under: — Aprille @ 4:03 pm

…as usual. But I just now got into the Grey Album (DJ Dangermouse’s mix of Jay-Z’s Black Album and the Beatles’ White Album). The song “Change Clothes” is rocking me especially hard right now.

Other exciting things: Yesterday we stopped by Venuto’s World Bistro to talk about rehearsal dinner possibilities. The owner was really nice, and the space is pretty (for those of you familiar with IC, it’s in the space formerly occupied by Gringo’s). They have a regular menu, but they also do these ethnic themed dinners. For the themed dinners, they do two seatings, and it’s reservation-only. I asked the owner if we could just fully reserve the second seating, so it would in effect be renting the entire restaurant (it’s a small place), and thus skip the space-rental fee that most places charge. She said yes! She also said we might be able to save some money just by having the set menu from the regular Friday night ethnic dinner, which is “Alpine Bavarian Night” (see menu). It looks great. Denny and I reserved a spot for this Friday night so we can test out the menu.

The food’s semi-expensive, but all in all it would end up being about the same price as anywhere else, with several advantages:

1. Handicapped accessible for my grandparents
2. Probably better food for the money (will verify this weekend)
3. Privacy (having the whole space to ourselves)
4. Right downtown
5. Possibly entertainment (musicians, etc.) included.


My weird dream

Filed under: — Aprille @ 9:02 am

Last night I dreamed I was going to a play in small-town Iowa that Denny’s little cousins were in. As I sat down (I think it was a barn with chairs set up in it), and old Russian man turned to me and said (imagine this in an old-man Russian accent), “Do you believe that 2001: A Space Odyssey is an anti-technology film?”

I replied, “Well, yes, that is a popular interpretation.”

Then he started in on how amazing it is that bats have little human-like hands, and he thought that humans were evolving into bats. I told him no way; humans would have to be mating with bats for that to happen (I accidentally said that too loudly and sent titters throughout the audience), and besides, all kinds of apes have human-like hands, and nobody ever suggests that humans are evolving (devolving?) into apes.

When the alarm went off, I was disappointed, because I was really interested to see where that conversation was going.

One more thing: I’m currently advertising a position here at work that I need to fill. I got a résumé today that contained the following (see zoomed-in area). It cracked me up.

I don’t think we’ll probably hire the guy.


DOUBLE rocking and how to DOUBLE do it

Filed under: — Aprille @ 4:45 pm

RAAAAAAA! I bet you thought it would be impossible to export those pharmacy quizzes from WebCT into Desire 2 Learn, didn’t you?

Well, guess who did it? THIS GUY! *gestures at self*

I posted a lot this weekend so I don’t need to post any more. So there.


Rocking, and how to do it

Filed under: — Aprille @ 5:13 pm

Today I have:

  • Finished tearing down wallpaper
  • Run 3.5 miles
  • Tidied the kitchen
  • Roasted vegetables for soup later this week
  • Cooked a lasagne for dinner (and leftovers for later in the week)

That’s a lot for a lazy Sunday. I was really planning on going into the office to get some work done, but it doesn’t look like I have too many meetings this week, so I may be able to catch up during the regular 8-5 schedule.

Boy, I seriously can’t wait to start painting. We have pre-marriage counseling next Sunday (aside: our assignment is to come up with three things we wish our partner would do more often. I can only think of stupid things like “buy me expensive gifts.” I’m afraid I’m going to flunk pre-marriage counseling), but we hope to get started on Saturday. Pictures will follow, I’m sure.


Beauty day

Filed under: — Aprille @ 5:07 pm

Denny and I are enjoying the gorgeous weather today by…staying inside and working on the house. Actually, Denny did some yard work, but I mostly plugged away on wallpaper. I was making great progress in the dining room, and then I moved into the kitchen, where the wallpaper is slightly different. And by “slightly different” I mean “much more difficult to remove.” But I’m plugging away at it. We are going to celebrate a little tonight by grilling, which is a shockingly wonderful thing to do in early February.

I’m excited to get started painting, but that will probably be a whole-weekend project, so it might have to wait a bit. We think we’re going to use Danish Blue and Sour Lime from the Lowe’s American Tradition Waverly Home Classics collection. They have samples online, but at least on my monitor, they don’t look like they do on the paint chips. Danish Blue is a deep blue that’s more toward the green end of blue than the purple end. Sour Lime is a light yet exciting yellowish green.

Paint fume-induced hallucinations may follow.

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