A positive trend in reality television

Filed under: — Aprille @ 4:01 pm

I like certain aspects of reality television. I don’t particularly like the gross/competitive ones, like Fear Factor or Survivor, but I do sort of enjoy the ones where you just watch people’s personalities interact. I’ve been watching The Real World for years, though I think I’m getting too old for it because I am now ineligible to be a cast member, and I find the cast members to be really insufferable. I watched the post-season hash-out last night, and it was downright painful. What a bunch of idiots.

There are, however, some really good reality shows out there, including The Biggest Loser. I watched the season finale of that last night, and a guy from Eastern Iowa won. They had a shot of him running the stairs at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, which I recognized because that’s where my college graduation was held, as was my brother’s, and I went to a women’s basketball game once. This guy lost over 150 pounds. I was extremely impressed. Losing weight is hard, and it was especially cool that he and many other contestants continued to lose weight after they left the show. It’s one thing to get in shape when you have trainers and dieticians constantly badgering you about it; it’s quite another to go back home and figure out how to get back to a normal life without falling into old habits.

It was very inspiring to watch while I ran on the treadmill. The best part about that show is that even if you aren’t the winner of the $250,000 prize, you still win: you get to not have a heart attack. If you don’t win on Fear Factor, all you get is a stomach full of scorpions. Yuck.


Potluck at work

Filed under: — Aprille @ 2:41 pm

Good old potlucks. I love those guys. We had one at work today.

I had all kinds of interesting things: corn casserole, cranberry salsa, Fritos, marinated mushrooms, barbecued shredded pork sandwiches (courtesy of yours truly and my handy Crockpot), and cake. Potlucks are great as long as you’re not too fussy about your food, you know, going together.

That phrase reminds me of what people called dating in junior high. It wasn’t called “going out” or “dating,” because nobody ever went anywhere. It was just a social contract that told you who to dance with at school dances. And going to school dances doesn’t count as going somewhere, because they were held in the school. If it’s at the place you get taught algebra, it’s not a date.

I’m listening to an audiobook right now on my Shuffle that’s about the love lives of British people. The British have a very logical lexical distinction that I wish we would employ in the U.S.: to like someone just means to enjoy someone’s company. To fancy someone means to be interested in someone romantically. It’s very handy for teenagers, when the word love seems too strong, but you don’t want to get pulled into stupid lingo arguments with people.

“So, do you like Clyde?”
“Sure, I like him.”
“But do you like-like him?”
“What the hell does that mean? I already said I like him.”

This would all be a lot simpler if we just used the word fancy. Really, though, I don’t think most Americans (men especially) are secure enough in their masculinity to use a word like that.


Thanksgiving adventures

Filed under: — Aprille @ 4:37 pm

We criss-crossed the state of Iowa over the long weekend. It was pretty fun, but it wasn’t relaxing. I ate a lot and now I need to recover. And by “recover,” I mean “eat healthy and exercise.” Healthy living plan starts today, in the form of low-fat leftover turkey tacos and a run on the treadmill tonight.

My coworker Jack made turkey pot pie with leftovers. That sounds pretty good too, but I’m going to lean away from the piecrusts for the time being.

Here’s something funny that happened: some family members and I were playing Catch Phrase, which is a game sort of like Taboo in which you describe words and your teammates have to guess them. I was describing the word quack.

I said, “A doctor who doesn’t know anything.”

Two of my cousins yelled out in unison, “A PhD!”

I guess I can just check that off my possible things to do in the future list, now that I know what my cousins think of that path. They did eventually get it when I resorted to the more pedestrian definition of the word, “The noise a duck makes.”


Black pepper linguini

Filed under: — Aprille @ 4:16 pm

I made black pepper linguini the other day. We’re going to have it tonight for dinner. I think I’m going to make it in a lime/garlic/white wine sauce, with shrimp for me and chicken for DC. This is inspired by a dish I had one time at a now-defunct restaurant in Des Moines. I hope the pasta isn’t too peppery. It is, in the words of Aidan Novo when he tried a heavily-seasoned grilled mushroom, “very peppery.”

I gotta tell you, the dough hook attachment on the KitchenAid mixer rules. Ten minutes of kneading stiff pasta dough would be annoying. But with the dough hook, you just turn it on and brush your hair or eat bon-bons or whatever it is fancy ladies do while their mixers knead their pasta dough.

If it turns out pretty, I’ll have Denny post pictures. If it turns out ugly, I will not.


I have two more things to say.

Filed under: — Aprille @ 5:22 pm

1. I needed a new watch battery, and I figured I’d get the crystal replaced at the same time (it has a chip in it). I went to Von Maur to ask about getting that done, and they told me it would take six weeks. I was chagrined, but it’s necessary. Here’s the best part: they gave me a free loaner watch in the meantime. How cool is that? It’s like when your car is in the shop. The loaner watch isn’t exactly my style (it’s kind of an old lady watch, really), but it’s still better than not having a watch.

2. Not because I’m present-grubbing, but my mom wanted to know: here is my Amazon wishlist of things I might like for upcoming holidays/birthday. It’s mostly DVDs of TV shows on channels I don’t get.

Edited to add: I understand that Amazon wishlist link isn’t a hard URL and therefore won’t take you to my list. I’m working on it.

Edited again to add: OK, I think it’s working now.

My superawesome weekend

Filed under: — Aprille @ 3:22 pm

Oh, man, the weekend was just great. I did exactly what I wanted to.

We ended up seeing two movies: Walk the Line on Saturday night and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire on Sunday. They were both good (and completely different, of course), but I think I preferred Walk the Line. Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon both had phenomenal performances. I have a few criticisms (mostly about the one-dimensional way the characters of Johnny’s father and first wife were written, and the direction was a little heavy-handed at times), but overall it was a really good film. The music scenes were great, and Joaquin and Reese had excellent chemistry. Va-va-voom!

One question, though. I realize that Jerry Lee Lewis was famous for being a flamoyant performer, but he was played here as completely GIZ-AY. Is that true to history? Ponder…


Permutations of activities

Filed under: — Aprille @ 10:08 am

Remember how I am so excited about not having any commitments or obligations for anything but fun and relaxation this weekend? Well, the possibilities are so great that I need help deciding how to parse them out. Denny, since you are my date, your opinion counts. Feel free to chime in (though everyone’s opinions are welcome).

EDIT TO ADD: It has come to my attention that the CD release party is actually not this weekend. I got confused. That frees things up considerably.

Possibility 1: Matinee of Shopgirl, followed by dinner somewhere downtown (Motley Cow maybe? We have a 50% off coupon for there). Then we could swing by my friends’ CD release party. I realize Shopgirl got mediocre reviews, but I liked the book, I love Steve Martin, and maybe it’s time I forgave Claire Danes for the whole Billy Crudup situation.

Possibility 2: Early evening showing of Walk the Line, then CD release party, then dinner.

Possibility 3: Early dinner, CD release party, then late show of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Is it insane to try to go to Harry Potter on opening weekend? I thought the late show might be less likely to be crawling with children.

Man, I haven’t had a free Saturday night in so long. This is really exciting.



Filed under: — Aprille @ 7:51 pm

I was busy today.

What do you think of gourds? I’m in favor of them. In kindergarten we took a trip to a pumpkin patch, and we could each pick out a pumpkin to take back to school and decorate. I chose a white gourd instead of a pumpkin.

Don’t get me wrong, I like pumpkins. But gourds…oh, man.


Denny: not very chubby

Filed under: — Aprille @ 10:15 pm

Denny has gotten a few comments from people who read this site on the topic of him chubbing up. I would like to set the record straight. Denny is actually very skinny. In fact he is so skinny that sometimes he stabs me with his knees and elbows when he is trying to snuggle me.

Rest assured that even if he ate nine servings of Mongolian beef, he would probably still not be very chubby.

Mongolian beef

Filed under: — Aprille @ 10:31 am

I made Mongolian beef last night. DC was crazy for it. He’s not usually all that big an eater, but he had three servings. It may be because he’s chubbing up for winter, but that’s ok. He’s pretty skinny.

Mongolian Beef

  • 1 lb flank steak
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, cut into thin strips
  • 1 bunch green onions, root ends cut off
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1 generous squeeze chili garlic sauce (or to taste)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce, or more to taste
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine or sherry
  • 2-3 tablespoons sugar, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • canola oil
  1. Put the flank steak in the freezer for about 30 minutes, or until partially frozen.
  2. In the meantime, cut up your vegetables. Mince your garlic and ginger, slice your yellow onion, and cut your green onion. For the green onion, cut each branch in half lengthwise, so you have a whole bunch of long, skinny strips. Then cut them in half width-wise, so they’re not quite so long.
  3. Prepare the sauce: combine water, corn starch, chili garlic sauce, wine, sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, and oyster sauce. Set aside.
  4. When the beef is semi-frozen, cut it against the grain into strips as thin as you can get them.
  5. Heat a couple of teaspoons of canola oil in a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat.
  6. When oil is hot, add yellow and green onions, stirring constantly, until wilted and almost done.
  7. Add the garlic and ginger; continue sauteeing for another minute or two.
  8. Put wok contents in another bowl.
  9. Add beef to pan. Cook, stirring constantly, until the pink is almost gone. Drain fat if necessary.
  10. Add onion mixture to beef. Stir sauce (it may have separated while it was waiting) and add to pan. Stir frequently. The sauce will thicken after it has boiled for a few moments.
  11. Serve with steamed rice.


Gloomy day

Filed under: — Aprille @ 5:29 pm

It’s awfully dark and rainy outside. Lucky for me, I don’t have to go anywhere or do anything I don’t want to tonight. Well, I will probably run on the treadmill, which I don’t really want to do, but I always feel better after I do it. So I guess I half want to do it.

It’s a good night to snuggle up with hot chocolate and bad television. Thank you very much, The Real World: Austin. Tonight is the one where Nehemiah gets arrested. Johanna already got arrested earlier this season.

I don’t know about you, but I have never been arrested, and neither have most of my friends. I can only think of one friend who’s been arrested, and that was just for being drunk and stupid in public. Why is it that the casts of The Real World are so get-arrestedy? I can hardly remember a season when somebody didn’t get arrested. Let us recap:

Austin: Nehemiah and Johanna (so far)
Philadelphia: Did that chode Landon get arrested? I remember he was a really mean drunk.
San Diego: Brad got arrested, and he didn’t even have any shoes. I think Robin got arrested too.
Paris: I didn’t watch this season very much. Maybe those riots that are going on are related to post-Real World rage, though.
Las Vegas: That one girl threw a fork at that one guy, but I don’t think anybody called the cops.

Television is terrible. When does RW/RR Gauntlet start, anyway?


Eye twitch

Filed under: — Aprille @ 5:10 pm

I have an eye twitch in my lower left eyelid. I’ve heard those can be stress-related. Fortunately, my stress levels are on the decline, since I will now have more free time for relaxation. Sweet Charity was fun, but it was definitely a time-gobbler.

You know the kind of people who are always happy to be around when there’s lots of applause and roses and glory, but they never show up when it’s time to build the set or haul lighting equipment onto the truck? Yeah, they bug me too. And it’s not an isolated event. There were at least three or four occasions during this production when the director pleaded for our help, and there were quite a few people who never even showed up once.

That said, the experience last night of striking the set, loading the U-Haul, and unloading it at the studio was really rather pleasant. I think it’s because the people in the cast/crew who annoyed me the most didn’t stick around to do the hard work, and I was left surrounded by the people whose company I really enjoyed.

Plus I got free pizza.

I had to go to the fabric store on Saturday to get a new zipper to put into a castmember’s dress, and while I was there, I just happened to notice some really nice fabric on sale, 50% off. I am looking forward to making a jaunty jacket.

Also–get this–I have a tentative date this weekend to go to dinner and movie with my husband. I haven’t done that forever.


Sesame Street

Filed under: — Aprille @ 3:53 pm

Because it is a Friday and my brain’s gone squishy, I’m going to post results to quizzes instead of writing a real post.

I chose this one because I have recently enjoyed using the term, “Cuddleupagus,” which is what I call Denny when he’s being snuggly in the morning. I hope I get Slimy, who was Oscar the Grouch’s pet worm.

Super-score! I didn’t get Slimy, but I did geet Snuffleupagus. That’s good too.

You scored 66% Organization, 51% abstract, and 64% extroverted!
This test measured 3 variables.

First, this test measured how organized you are. Some muppets like Cookie Monster make big messes, while others like Bert are quite anal about things being clean.

Second, this test measured if you prefer a concrete or an abstract viewpoint. For the purposes of this test, concrete people are considered to gravitate more to mathematical and logical approaches, whereas abstract people are more the dreamers and artistic type.

Third, this test measured if you are more of an introvert or an extrovert.
By definition, an introvert concentrates more on herself and an
extrovert focuses more on others. In this test an introvert was
somebody that either tends to spend more time alone or thinks more
about herself.

You are somewhat organized, both concrete and abstract, and both introverted and extroverted.

I bet you didn’t think you were Snuffleupagus. Let’s find out why.

You are both somewhat organized. You have a good
idea where you put things and you probably keep your place reasonably
clean. You aren’t totally obsessed with neatness though. Alloyius
Snuffleupagus (and all Snuffleupagus’) is not sloppy by nature, but he
moves so incredibly slowly that it is impossible for him to be totally

You both are about equally concrete and abstract thinkers. You have a
good balance in your life. You know when to be logical at times, but
you also aren’t afraid to explore your dreams and desires… within
limits of course. Snuffy generally has very basic interests, but he
explores his abstract sensitive side when he plays his snuffleflute.

You both are somewhat introverted. Originally Snuffleupagus was very
shy and was only Big Bird’s invisible friend. However as he has aged he
has started to build new friendships with new characters. Like Snuffy,
you probably like to have some time to yourself. However, you do
appreciate spending time with your friends, and you aren’t scared of
social situations.

The other possible characters are

Oscar the Grouch
Big Bird
Cookie Monster
Kermit the Frog
The Count
Guy Smiley

If you enjoyed this test, I would love the feedback! Also if you want
to tell me your favorite Sesame Street character, I can total them up
and post them here. Perhaps your choice will win!

My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

free online dating free online dating
You scored higher than 71% on Organization
free online dating free online dating
You scored higher than 51% on concrete-abstra
free online dating free online dating
You scored higher than 61% on intro-extrovert

Link: The Your SESAME STREET Persona Test written by greencowsgomoo on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test


Two little things

Filed under: — Aprille @ 5:00 pm

I got some Greta Garbo stamps. I like them.

My friend Kyle is being harassed by a crazy Saudi Arabian poet. She keeps sending him unsolicited, creepy, terrible poetry. When he told her he has a girlfriend, she said he deserves a dozen.

That is all.


King of the Hill

Filed under: — Aprille @ 7:21 pm

Oh my. I was very busy today at work and I forgot to post.

I’m watching a really tip-top rerun of King of the Hill. It’s the one where Peggy finds out that Nancy and John Redcorn are having an affair.

Some highlights:

* Peggy rushes outside to confront Nancy, and she walks into the sliding glass door. Then, on her way back, she carefully probes the space to make sure it’s open.

* Peggy is so upset by the news that when she tries to write pleasantries for the Musings column in the newspaper, all she comes up with is stuff like, “Mix pineapple juice and club soda, and what you have is a big bucket of crap.”

* Peggy dashes away from the bleachers at a baseball game because she can’t stand being with Nancy and Dale. Hank, in an effort to explain her absence, says, “Ballpark nachos. You don’t buy ’em, you only rent ’em.”

Best. Episode. Ever.


Bird flu cure?

Filed under: — Aprille @ 1:46 pm

You know how I’ve been all stressed out about avian flu, because it affects my travel plans and, you know, it kills a lot of people?

The answer may lie in sauerkraut. My goodness.

I used to love sauerkraut when I was a little kid, though I don’t think I’ve had it in a couple of decades. Maybe it’s time to re-acquire the taste.

More Sweet Charity pictures

Filed under: — Aprille @ 10:15 am

Denny took more Sweet Charity pictures, and it turns out that one or more of them is probably going to be in the Daily Iowan (university newspaper). That’s kind of exciting.

For those of you who missed the first batch, here they are.

In case you didn’t recognize me, I’m wearing a green dress and a black wig in many of the shots.


Things I am excited about:

Filed under: — Aprille @ 10:46 am

Right now I am excited about…

* Voting in the local elections on Tuesday. This is geeky, I realize, but now that I’m a homeowner I feel a sudden rush of civic pride and interest in participating in local democracy.

* The Fabian Shrimp Truck. It’s having its last pass through town on Tuesday, and I’m going to stock up on plump shrimp for the eating. It’s best fresh, of course, but it’s still pretty darn good if I freeze it right away.

* My big date Tuesday night. Due to busy schedules, DC and I didn’t manage our monthly anniversary date to the Lincoln Café in October, so we’re getting in an early November one.

* Walk the Line. I’m going to have to wait a couple more weeks for this, but it’s getting great buzz and I can’t wait to see it.

* The end of Sweet Charity. It was fun and all, but I’m looking forward to having some free time again. I will use it to go see movies and exercise and cook and read about Norway and go on dates with my husband. I also want to make a table runner. We saw this one we really liked over the weekend, but it was almost a hundred bucks, and I know I could make it.


Opening night!

Filed under: — Aprille @ 2:02 pm

I had a wonderful morning, just fabulous. I slept in, got up, ate good cereal (Raisin Nut Bran, not those stupid fiber twigs I eat most days), ran on the treadmill, showered, and then Denny came home to get me. Now I have only a half-day of work between me and the weekend.

Sweet Charity opens tonight. We’ll see. The dress rehearsal was medium-abysmal, mostly because we’ve had very little time rehearsing with the orchestra. I hope they shape up between now and 8 p.m.

Denny took some lovely photos at Wednesday night’s dress rehearsal. If you don’t recognize me in some of them, I’m the one wearing the Chita Rivera wig. It’s because my character is purportedly Latina (though perhaps a self-loathing Latina, since my accent only appears when I think a john might find it appealing).


So sleepy

Filed under: — Aprille @ 4:02 pm

I gotta say, I’ll be glad when this play is over so I can start getting a good night’s sleep now and then. I’m exhausted from rehearsing late into every night. I’m going to sleep in tomorrow and come into work late. It would be nice to take the whole day off, but I have a meeting in the afternoon. What kind of fool person schedules meetings for Friday afternoons anyway?

Denny took pictures at the dress rehearsal last night. I haven’t seen them yet, but I’m sure they’re lovely. He got a new lens for the occasion.

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