Monday, February 27, 2006

A little shopping fun

The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) has an online store where you can purchase student art - and not just paintings.

If you read books in public and want to entertain those around you, try FlapArt's "creative" book covers.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Guinness is also sacred

I didn't want to post this until I'd tried it, so I did and it rocks so I must share. Credit must go to The Boston Globe for this recipe adapted from the cookbook Sunday Suppers at Lucques:

Guinness Ice Cream - you do need an ice cream maker
makes one (1) quart or about 4 servings

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup Guinness stout
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons molasses
4 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan, scrape in the vanilla bean seeds. Add the pod, milk and cream. Bring to a boil over medium heat (stir continually or you'll get a weird film on top, or worse you'll burn it). Turn off the heat, cover the pan, and let the flavor infuse for 30 minutes.

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, whisk together the Guinness and molasses. Bring to a boil and turn off heat.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the yolks, sugar, and vanilla extract. Whisk in a few tablespoons of the cream mixture, then slowly whisk in another 1/4 cup of the cream. Add the remaining cream in a steady stream, whisking constantly. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan.

Stir the beer and molasses mixture into the cream mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring often with a wooden spoon, for 6-8 minutes or until the "custard" thickens enough to coat the back of the spoon.

Strain the custard into a bowl and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight. Process the custard in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's directions.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

How to waste an afternoon on the Internet

Not that I have an afternoon to waste these days, but if I did and all I had was an Internet connection, it wouldn't be very hard to lose 4 hours very quickly:
  • Fark - just don't use this option if you're also in the office because the laughing out loud will totally get you busted
  • Go Fug Yourself - horribly dressed people who pay people to dress them that way; also perhaps not the best choice in the office, for the same reason as Fark
  • IMDb - seriously, beware of this option because 4 hours will soon turn to 8 hours as you keep clicking on actor, then tv show, then actress, then's like crack, but legal and free
  • MySpace - make a profile, take a quiz, find your high school friends, find your high school enemies, find your co-workers you want to blackmail
  • U.S. Patent and Trademark Office - maybe not for everyone, but for an engineer or a marketing geek it's paradise

Monday, February 20, 2006

Chocolate is sacred

Caramel, truffle, even coconut in your chocolate? Those are nice surprises. A hot pepper in your chocolate? Not so much.

Monday, February 13, 2006

If you love McDreamy...

...then I am pretty sure you'll also love this blog by some of the writers of Grey's Anatomy.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

I am old

Last night, around 1:30 a.m., I woke up. The first thing I noticed? Heartburn. The second thing? Music -- Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" specifically -- playing very, very loudly outside my house.

I didn't get up immediately, thinking maybe it was coming from a car that just pulled up or something. However, when that song was over and "Faithfully" began, I realized I woud have to do something.

I got out of bed and turned on the porch light, on the chance they were kids in the street and would be scared off by someone noticing them. No such luck. So I put on my robe and slippers and opened the front door to see for myself who was playing the music.

What I saw was both annoying and kind of sweet. My neighbor and his girlfriend, who are notorious for the screaming matches they have in the street -- while she sits in her car, threatening to leave -- were in a close embrace, dancing in the middle of the street to music blaring from his car. At 1:30 in the morning. In the middle of the week.

What did I do, you ask? Let the poor kids have their moment? Wait until the song was over? Hell, no. I hollered in my mother-est voice, with both hands on my hips, "You have until the end of this song, that's it." Lucy barked at that moment, as if to punctuate the statement for me. The guy looked up from whispering sweet nothings in his lady's ear and his face showed genuine surprise that anyone else could possibly hear the tunes flowing from his car. So I hollered again, "You have until the end of this song, that's it." Then I turned and went inside. The song ended, and the girlfriend left.

Wow, I am an old lady.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Tattoo advice

Never permanently identify yourself as stupid in a language you don't read.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Thursday, February 02, 2006

It's baaaaack...

In honor of Bonnaroos past (and, potentially, future), I re-post the updated, full-length Lady's Guide:

A Lady’s Guide to Outdoor Festivals:
Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Bonnaroo

Original date: 2/24/04

Many city-born or city-bred ladies have, in recent years, begun dating members of the neo-hippie set, who enjoy unfamiliar activities such as camping with no car in sight, walking with no road in sight, and eating with no restaurant in sight. Further, it is becoming quite common for these hippies to request that we urban-dwellers accompany them to one of their social gatherings, referred to as outdoor festivals or music festivals. These gatherings, while conducive to tanning, socializing and general merriment, are not generally held in locations comfortable to urban-dwellers, such as office buildings, small city parks, or even the beach.

These efforts to remove ladies of the city from their natural habitat have resulted in some unfortunate situations that can be avoided by sharing experiences among the displaced set. To that end, I have applied my knowledge – gleaned from field observation and the sage advice of more experienced explorers – to the creation of a guide for ladies attending their first outdoor festival.

I. Assumptions
1. There are no showers. I repeat: there are no showers. If there are showers, you may still want to go native in order to blend in.
2. Whether “the facilities” are actual toilets or port-o-johns, they will not look like the bathrooms at your office. I refer to them as port-o-johns here to illustrate this point.
3. You will feel a little inhibited upon arrival. You may see people dancing without music, talking without a companion, and sleeping in the middle of a group of onlookers. Familiarize yourself with the proper responses to these types of people by following the lead of others.
4. You may also feel a little light-headed upon arrival. This is normal, as the air in these remote locations tends to be less thick than the city.
5. Tall buildings – in fact buildings in general – will be rare if at all present. You may be able to see an actual sunset. Due to lack of light at night, you will probably even be able to see stars. Do not be alarmed. Sunsets and stars are both natural phenomena.

II. The Necessities
1. Lever 2000 Anti-Bacterial Wipes and Playtex Personal Cleansing Cloths
Use the Lever 2000 wipes liberally – buy the box. Use the Playtex cloths instead of using toilet paper, which may have been on the floor of the port-o-john only seconds before. To transport, tuck into bra strap. You may want to bring extra to help a sister in need.
2. Small flashlight
The first time you have to use the port-o-john at night, you will be awfully glad you have a flashlight. Don’t set it down – hold it with your teeth or hang it around your neck.
3. Earplugs
While the phenomenon known as the “drum circle” may be wonderfully primal and engaging to the participants, it is torture for anyone trying to sleep at 3am and much louder than the occasional police siren or car alarm.
4. Sunscreen
Avoid the dreaded farmer’s tan (on both arms and legs) and the “lobster” look (on your face). Also, don’t forget the tops of your ears, the tops of your feet, and the backs of your hands.
5. Water bottle
While purchasing water is a common practice among city ladies, the amount of water you need to stay hydrated at festivals would set you back a car payment or two if you bought it in individual bottles.

Also: hat (straw or light fabric), daypack, rain jacket, lots of underwear

III. The Luxuries
1. Money
As a city-dweller, there may not be many items for sale that your style could accommodate. However, it is always wise to have a little cash, so you may want to bring a few $20s.
2. Deodorant
No one will be wearing it, but you may choose to do so. It is less than effective after 3 days without a shower.
3. Hand-held personal fan
If you bring one of these, also pack about a million batteries. Also, as a crowd-pleaser, you may bring a spray bottle of water.
4. Low-back chair
Beach chair that sits on the ground. More common among the older set. To blend in, you may bring a ground cloth or blanket.
5. Clean clothes for each day
As with deodorant, no one will be wearing it.

IV. What You Don’t Need
1. A razor
As mentioned, there are no showers.
2. Uncomfortable or valuable anything
No metal watch, no fab new bag, no heels or wedges.
3. Makeup or hair products
You’ll ruin your complexion or your hair – or both.
4. Anything white
It will not be white when you leave, and will probably never be white again.
5. Cell ‘phone
Even if you get service, who are you going to call? Leave it locked in the car.

V. What You Need to Remember
1. Wear sunscreen every day, sunrise to sunset.
2. Sip water all day, every day.
3. Mud, dirt, grass and leaves are not going to hurt you.
4. No one is looking at your hairy legs/armpits.
5. Talking to strangers is perfectly acceptable. Unlike on the subway, these people do not want your change.

Most of all, enjoy your time away from the city. When you get home, you will have a renewed appreciation for running water (even if the pipes rattle), air conditioning (even if the window unit drips water), and maybe even the neo-hippie you’re dating (even if he doesn’t shave every day).

Update: 4/5/05
Close on the heels of me writing this piece over a year ago, the silly folks over at Unilever stopped manufacturing Lever 2000 Anti-Bacterial Wipes, making my 2004 Bonnaroo experience an ickier one. However, several companies make similar, though not as effective or pleasant-smelling, products.

Last year’s festivals and outdoor activities introduced me to one of the coolest ideas for men who are supremely confident in their masculinity – the
This unique apparel item blends the necessary hooks and pockets of a utility belt and cargo pants with the better air circulation of a skirt. Each style has a “Capacity” count as well, which tallies how many bottles of beer you can safely carry in said style. Convenience coupled with circulation. Seriously, boys, your boys will thank you.

My 2004 Bonnaroo experience also included a wonderful amendment to my list of personal lighting necessities – the headlamp. This handy invention is perfect for the middle-of-the-night port-o-john run and leaves your hands free to make sure your shorts don’t touch the floor. It does smoosh your hair, but as with so many other things at outdoor festivals, no one will notice.

As I prepare this summer for my third Bonnaroo, I am getting much better at packing appropriately without bringing my entire closet. My festival wardrobe includes more skirts (they are infinitely cooler and provide better circulation), a lighter hat (no more cotton for me) and skimpier tank tops (better tan options). I used to feel rather inhibited, worrying about fitting in or looking well put-together, but seriously, there are women with no shirts on and there are men wearing skirts (and not just Utilikilts). No one is looking at boring me.

Update: 2/2/06

My third, and possibly final, Bonnaroo went very smoothly for the most part, and I discovered two awesome new camping accessories that are now necessary to me. Thank you, Coleman, for the tent fan, which makes tent-living just a bit more comfy, especially in the summer months. New and untested, but still already valuable, is the Coleman tent light, because getting dressed by headlamp is not fun at all. Don't forget batteries, though.

Girls, learn to catch a football

Don't be like Star Jones, y'all. He he!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

More t-shirt fun

You really can't have enough, so why not have a funny one made by someone you know?

Press release and a news update

Somehow, somewhere, someone thought this was newsworthy.

Updated info on our favorite Minnesotan - the Impaler is as much a freak-nut as we thought.