Linky Thursday – 1/29

Obama edition!

Obameter: Tracks the progress of Obama’s 500+ campaign promises. For only having been in office a little over a week, I’d say he’s doing pretty well!

Who Wears It Best: Aretha’s Hat: On a slow food news day, Food Network Addict pasted Aretha’s inauguration hat on various FN celebrities, with humorous results. While I agree with most commenters that it’s most suitable for Paula Deen, it does look kind of adorable perched on Bob Tuschman.

Beyonce – Single Ladies Spoof (Barak Obama): Pretty good parody of Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It) by Beyonce.

Obama Reads Bush’s Letter: Adorable. “A moment of lucidity. We’ll put this one right here…”

Duggarpalooza!

First of all, I’d like to remind everyone that “I Left My Duggar in San Francisco” and “Duggars on Safari” air tonight on TLC. The San Francisco episode should be particularly interesting as Jim Bob and Michelle visit a head shop where they comment on the “funky glassware.”

Now, on to the wedding! “Once a Bride, Always a Duggar” and “A Very Duggar Wedding” aired on Sunday night on TLC.

The first was a half-hour show featuring Josh and Anna’s wedding preparations, including a trip to Florida for Josh and his sisters.

The good:

  • The older Duggar girls got to travel sans-parents!

The bad:

  • The older Duggar girls, plus Anna, were bossed around by Josh as they prepared for the wedding.
  • Anna obviously only married Josh to get out of the trailer she was living in with her parents and 8 siblings.
  • A “fancy restaurant” to the Duggars is one with silverware and glassware.

The funny:

  • The photo pillow Anna made for Josh with a giant picture of them together. (Did he use it to practice for his first kiss?!)
  • Josh called the restaurant they went to “Eye-talian” and couldn’t pronounce the names of any of the foreign foods like lasagna or fettuccini.
  • The waiter at the restaurant was crazy! (And yes folks, he’s for real.)
  • The Duggar girls set some sort of trap to spray Josh with soda when he opened his car door..?

The next show was an hour-long special about the wedding itself, from about the day before. But the main focus was sex! For such a modest family, they really put it all out there, don’t they?

The good:

  • Anna and the Duggar sisters ended up making some beautiful bridesmaid dresses.
  • Erin Bates played the piano wonderfully.
  • John-David speaks! And is funny! (Is Erin Bates lined up for him?)

The bad:

  • Jim Bob’s “talk” with Josh, which mostly consisted of giving him a Christian book on wedding-night prep, and telling him to listen to whatever his silly wife wants to blather on about.
  • Pa Keller’s pick-and-choose translation of the bible. “Jesus changed the water to wine at the wedding. That word really means grape juice. He changed the water to grape juice.”
  • The hair!
  • The “transfer of authority” from Pa Keller to Josh. Poor Anna will never be under her own authority, I guess.
  • Josh’s “serenade.” I guess he has an okay voice, I just hate when people sing like that.
  • Josh went into their wedding night hotel room first, leaving Anna to drag the suitcases behind her.

The funny:

  • The engagement re-enactment skit. They got every detail down to the half-hug! And I loved the lines, “It’s her birthday, give her some lemon in her water,” and “It’s a half-carrot [crunch].”
  • Jim Bob equates sex to Legos.
  • John-David wiring the car brakes to the horn!
  • There was rampant pickle-eating!
  • The first kiss, which I highly doubt was worthy of the sound effects they played for it (including church bells, choirs, and fireworks).

And no, there was no pregnancy announcement at the end. Darn.

(Also posted at Media Sluts.)

Linky Thursday – 1/22

The Fuggly: If you think the Snuggie looks like a wizard’s robe (I do!), you’ll probably enjoy this parody video.

Preserve: The company that makes those recycled plastic toothbrushes makes a whole bunch of other stuff, and they have drop-off and mail-in programs to recycle #5 plastics and Brita filters! I will be saving mine up from now on to send in, since there are no drop locations in PA :o(

GYWO – Onwards: David Rees’ cartoon Get Your War On has ended with the Bush presidency. Maybe now he’ll get back to ninjas and filing.

3-Day Weekend and Inauguration!

Saturday I went out shopping, did some chores, and made a really good quinoa with black beans and cilantro dish for the “healthy food potluck” GG and I were invited to. It was hosted by the couple whose wedding reception we helped out with after Thanksgiving. They’d invited a bunch of people, but only like five showed up, and we were the only ones who brought food (a couple other people brought wine). There was actually plenty of food, besides our quinoa, there were chips and veggies and dips, the most stuffed chicken quesadillas I’ve ever seen, and lots of mixed drinks. I thought we’d head home around 11, but actually the group of us were having a fun time playing Scattergories, and everyone kept asking for “just one more round,” so it was almost 1:30 by the time we left! (So we missed SNL, but I really only wanted to see it because Fleet Foxes were the musical guest, but I found out they didn’t even perform White Winter Hymnal, so what’s the point?)

Sunday was more chores, and then my mom and I were going to spend the afternoon together. I thought maybe that meant we’d go to the mall or something, but we ended up going to Bed Bath & Beyond to get a drain cover and doing a couple other errands. Then I thought maybe we’d hang out a little when we got back to my house, so I got out some chips and guacamole, but she wanted to get home to watch the Eagles game (why bother? sigh). So I spent the remainder of the afternoon napping and doing laundry.

Monday Julie and I had planned to get lunch and see Slumdog Millionaire. I went to pick her up, and she said Brad was also going to meet us just for lunch. So we all went to lunch, then Julie and I went over to Target to get some sneaky snacks, and then we went to see the movie. So good! I don’t know if it’s the most awesome film ever like it seemed from all the “best of 2008” lists it seemed to top, but it was definitely excellent. I am a big fan of fate, and the movie is all about fate or destiny. Also an interesting view of life in India from a perspective you don’t usually see. And there’s even a Bollywood-style dance number during the end credits!

When we left the movie, it had snowed several inches! We were not expecting that, and PennDOT was obviously not prepared, as none of the roads had been treated or plowed. It took an hour to drive the five miles from the theater back to Julie’s apartment. (And of course I was the one who drove, and I hate driving and I hate weather, and we basically just rolled and swerved the whole way there in the slushy ruts.) After dropping her off, the next four or so miles back to my place were a little less nerve-wracking, as the roads seemed to have been plowed, and there was less traffic. As soon as I got home, I shoveled the driveway, because I knew GG would park there, shoveled or not, when he got home from work, and I didn’t want to start forming icy tire ruts on the driveway. And I shoveled the stairs and sidewalk. There’s some sort of town rule that you have to shovel the sidewalk in front of your house within a certain number of hours after it stops snowing, but it’s now been over 24 hours and our next-door neighbors have not yet shoveled, so there’s just a line where the sidewalk ends where I stopped shoveling. I don’t care, because I never walk that direction, but it makes them look like lazy jerks.

Today was inauguration day! GG went to work early so he could come home early to watch. I assumed I’d be able to see it on the TVs around my office building. So a little before 11:30 Heather and I went down to the cafeteria for lunch and sat in front of the TV that hangs in there. By “in front,” I mean we were 20 feet away. We couldn’t hear at all and could barely see. But one of the cafeteria guys told her that they were going to be showing it on the giant projector screen in the auditorium. So when we finished eating, we went in there to watch. So when people ask where I was on this historic day, I was perched on a table in the back of an auditorium with my butt falling asleep. We got to see the prayer, Aretha and her hat, Yo-Yo Ma and friends, Biden’s swearing in, Obama’s swearing in, and his speech. Even in our office, which feel so Republican-heavy, it was so nice to be in that packed auditorium with my friends (Jess showed up a little later with some other people, and she came and sat with us), with everyone applauding for Obama. (We were watching on CNN, though, so I missed this.) As historic as it is that he’s the first African American president, I’m still looking forward to a time when that’s not even a big deal. Now Obama, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: you got here, don’t screw up.

Minis, Target, Thursday TV

Last night I somehow talked GG into going out for dinner and then going to Target to check out the Home Design Event without also visiting Guitar Center, which is in the same shopping center.

We had dinner at Ruby Tuesday’s, which besides the Cracker Barrel is the only restaurant in reasonable proximity to Target. I got their bacon and cheddar minis, which were so good. Specifically, I ordered them because I knew that there were four, and I could easily eat two and take two home. The full order is almost all your calories for the day, so it’s not like I was doing that great, but at least I was smart about it. And they were so cute! I never order mini burgers or sliders or whatever, so they’re probably all like this, but I just thought it was adorable that they each had a 1″ piece of bacon, tiny square of cheese, single pickle slice, and dollop of sauce.

At Target, I headed straight to the Home Design Event stuff. I knew from the web site that most of the pieces really weren’t my style (lots of “natural” things, woven, sticks, bamboo, leaf designs, etc.), but I figured that at 30% off online and now in the store, too, I could at least check it out. It was actually pretty disappointing. First of all, a lot of the stuff had been picked over (and I thought this had just started!). What was left seemed very overpriced, even at 30% off, for the quality. The towels were thin, the furniture seemed flimsy, and the other decorative pieces just weren’t worth it. I saw maybe a couple things I did like, but just due to the quality and price I didn’t even consider them. And I love Target! So that’s a shame. (We did end up getting a nice insulated lunch bag for GG, though, so now he doesn’t need to take a paper bag to work anymore.)

We got home for the much-anticipated return of The Office. We were all excited to see what happened when Andy found out about Dwight and Angela. Well… it was funny… but what happened to The Office? It used to be all silly and funny, now it’s like a sad, serious soap opera. I did, however, like the way Andy cleverly attacked Dwight, and the fact that Angela got what she deserved (though we’re all sure she and Dwight will end up back together – they’re both just too weird).

Also back on TV, which I can’t believe I almost forgot about, was America’s Best Dance Crew! Even though it’s totally not something I would watch, I got sucked into both Season 1 and 2, and now Season 3 has started. I liked a bunch of the groups, but I think my favorite was Dynamic Edition, the clogging group. How unique! You know they won’t make it through to the end, just because none of the truly unique groups ever do (JabbaWockeeZ don’t count, the only unique thing about them is their stupid masks). The group I hated was Ringmasters, who did that “flex dancing” thing. Ewww – they better get voted out quick, I can’t watch many more weeks of that!

Bad Blogger, Updates, Books

I keep thinking of things I want to blog about but then when I’m actually at the computer I forget them. Isn’t that the way it always is? I guess I should start writing myself more notes.

So general updates:

  • I am considerably less sick than I was for the last two weeks (e.g. what I’m blowing out of my nose is mostly clear, instead of the amazing rainbows of mucus I was producing last week), but I am still sick. I just can’t shake this cold. Currently, I’m clearing my throat a lot, blowing my nose occasionally, and my throat is red and hurts when I swallow. I switched from sinus medicine to cough medicine.
  • I got a promotion at work! Yay! I’m no longer an Associate I, now I’m an Associate II. (I know you’re all jealous.)
  • GG and I stopped following that diet word for word. We’re still trying to eat healthy (and I’m still packing lunches and snacks for both of us, and cooking dinner), but following that exact thing was making us cranky. It wasn’t meant to be a forever thing, just to teach us about portions and stuff, so I think it’s fine.

Does anyone want to recommend any books for me to read? When they didn’t have the last book I wanted at the library, I just wandered around and pulled random things off the shelves and it was very overwhelming because I didn’t have a back-up. I’ve been trying all these search engine things that use books you’ve already enjoyed to recommend other books for you, but they don’t really work. Like, they say, “Oh, you enjoyed Prep, well here is a list of other books about boarding schools.” And I don’t really want to read about boarding schools, I just want something similar, you know what I mean? And I don’t think they’re very good at combining my love of Amy Tan and David Sedaris, either. So since you all know me pretty well, what do you think I might enjoy?

Pennsylvnia Farm Show

GG has been mentioning for the last couple years that he wanted to go to the PA Farm Show sometime. I thought it would be neat, too, considering we usually end up watching some of the events on TV the week that it’s held, and there would be lots of good food and potentially cute animals. So this year we decided to go, and I asked Lina if she and Steve would be interested in joining us and she was really excited because she loves the Farm Show (having grown up in the Harrisburg area) and thought having a couple of us Philly people there would encoruage Steve to go, too.

A bunch of stuff went wrong before we really even left: GG’s car was covered with ice, which took 10-15 minutes of both of us scraping to get off. He messed up a wiper blade by scraping it across the ice on his windshield, and for much of the ride there could only see clearly out of one side. He missed the Turnpike entrance, and had to basically turn around and go back. The toll booth didn’t read his EZPass transponder getting on the Turnpike (he even tried waving it out the window, but the light never turned green, so we just went). And to top it all off, his CD started skipping.

We went to Lina and Steve’s house first. They just bought this place and moved in a couple weeks ago, but it’s a really nice townhouse. Their cat Felix was out to see everyone, but he was mean, even (especially?!) to Lina and Steve, because there were strangers there. It’s a good thing we ended up going with Lina, because she knew just how to get there, where to park, how to get the shuttle bus, and where to go once we got inside!

Our first stop was the food hall, where we all got milkshakes. Then everyone went off and got other foods, like soup and sandwiches. It was pretty early still, probably 11 or a little before, and the area was not that crowded. (It would be, later.)



GG and I with our milkshakes

Next we went into one of the exhibition areas where there seemed to be a lot of vendors of tractors and other farm equipment, and other farm-related stuff. Most of it was pretty boring, but GG might’ve gotten a lead on some mural work (painting on barns!).

Next we visited the poultry room, which was mostly filled with a ton of chickens. Also some turkeys and ducks. There was a display where you could watch chicks hatching, which was kind of neat, except I didn’t realize how long they took. Once they hatch, their feathers are all wet and they kind of lay on the floor like they’re dead for a while. But eventually they start moving, fluff up, and look cute. Also in the poultry room they had a “duck slide.” It was funny to watch – these ducks swim around a little pool, then climb up a ramp and slide down the other side – until you realize what’s really happening is that they’re trying to get at a cup of food at the top of the slide that’s just out of their reach. So really it’s kind of cruel.



Chicks hatching


Duck slide


Next came a room that I was really looking forward to, the rabbit room! So many bunnies, and you can just file past the cages and look at all the different types: big bunnies, small bunnies, fluffy bunnies, sleek bunnies… Some of our favorites were the Angora rabbits with their long fur (later I was able to pet one they had sitting out for people to touch), and the Chinchilla rabbits that are so fat! But really I’d like any rabbit that is fat enough to rest its head on its own bulging fatness.


Angora rabbits

Another feature I was looking forward to was the butter sculpture, just because I think they’re so insane! This year’s Farm Show butter sculpture was a National Guard member saluting some dairy farmers. It was made of 900 lbs. of butter, which will be made into biodiesel after the show, which is actually pretty cool.


Butter sculpture

Another neat room we visited started out with a lot of prize-winning crafts and foods on display (e.g. knitting prizes, cake contests, flower arranging contests). Then it became kind of a marketplace/food and craft fair, with booths set up by different vendors. I saw some nice yarns, but they were very expensive. One of the booths was run by the Pennsylvania Lottery, and they had a couple machines set up to buy scratch-off lottery tickets. Lina bought $5 worth of tickets, and I thought “What the heck,” and bought a $1 ticket. I won a free ticket! I gave it to the guy at the booth, and he said they just gave me the value of the ticket back, so I got a dollar back. Which I kept! I was out no money, and I got to scratch off a ticket. A lot of the food vendors were there giving out samples, so most of our time was spent picking up as many as possible. We also lost GG a lot because he was either a) looking for jerky, or b) talking to hot sauce vendors to get their information for his parents’ shop. He did come home with a big bag full of jerky and hot mustard, so at least he did the job well! Also, I tried corn flavored ice cream! It really tasted like sweet corn, and even had roast kernels in it.

I’d seen a sign about “edible nuts and plants” or something, which ended up being displays and prizes for the various fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Most of the prizes were for the “biggest” whatever, which is pretty self-explanatory, but a lot of the prizes were also for things like the “best 5 apples on a plate” or “best 20 pears in a box,” I have no idea how they would judge these categories. The best part was probably that we got to see the largest nuts. That had us chuckling for a while. You can’t really tell from the photo because there’s nothing to compare them to for scale, but they were pretty big!



Largest nuts – Persian Walnuts


Lina with the largest gourd – 885 lbs.


Next we went to a big room filled with pens that held sheep, goats, and pigs. The sheep had all been sheared (some were just getting the finishing touches on their shearing, actually), and a lot of them were wearing little Underarmor suits or other types of coats or capes to stay warm afterward. The room smelled like a barn (duh! filled with animals and straw), and it was full of activity, as animal owners were constantly bringing their animals in and out, to and from different events, or preparing them for events.


Sheep in Underarmor

Another animal we’d been looking forward to seeing was car-sized cows, and we were not disappointed! Upon first walking into the cow room, there was a row of about five big black cows, arranged from smallest to largest, the largest being the size of a small car. I would love to hear what its moo sounds like! The other cows in the room were less impressive in size, but still looked good. Their owners carefully groomed them with trimmers and combs.


Huge cows!

Finally, we returned to the food hall, where Lina and I (and later Steve) shared a blooming onion. It was so good! Fresh and crispy (sometimes at restaurants they get a little soggy). Later I had an apple dumpling with ice cream. The others had ice cream, soup, hot dogs… GG had kind of gone off to get his own food while we were waiting in the onion line (the lines were extremely long and the room was literally packed at this point), when a man with a microphone and another guy with a camera came up to me asking if I had any jokes I wanted to tell on their web site. I just said, “You have to find my husband!” Later, GG found him, and told a bunch of jokes on camera. The guys were laughing, so I think they liked them. Later, we lost GG for a while, and it turned out he’d been at their little booth, telling more jokes!


GG telling jokes

I was getting really tired, and Steve was starting to get cranky (he never really wanted to go, even though secretly I think he had a good time :o]), so we headed out after our second round of food. We’d parked off-site and took a shuttle over, so we had to wait for the bus back to the car, and then went back to Lina and Steve’s for a little bit (Felix was still being mean), then left for home. I fell asleep for most of the ride, and woke up just as we were getting off the Turnpike.

You can see all my photos from the Farm Show on Flickr.