Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Two Thumbs Up

As a vegetarian, I do not often frequent fast food restaurants. I mean, I do like Taco Bell and enjoy a trip to Wendy's after a long day of Target shopping, but after reading Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser a few years ago, I realized how atrocious the whole operation is. I was a vegetarian back then (have been since 2002), just one whole liked to eat a whole lot of fries.

The goal for this post is not to convert you. What I want to tell you is that among all of the burger places you could eat at, Burgerville is actually a legit operation. This is partly because their food is local, hence the delicious seasonal milkshakes. They are more expensive than McDonald's, but when you eat there you are doing yourself and the earth a favor. So I actually support Burgerville.

What I mainly want to show you is my receipt from my last trip. I was in The Dalles, coming back from a weekend wedding trip. What I found on my receipt was so cool that I had to snag my sister's receipt as well. Check this out.
 It tells you the nutritional information right there. And okay, it is probably actually quite shocking to learn how many calories are in things, but I would prefer to be informed. I think every restaurant should give Nutricate receipts. People wouldn't live in ignorance.

I really like this about Burgerville. You know what else I like? When I was there I got a free blackberry milkshake, because Cesar G got confused and my sister (who ordered before me) ended up with two. He tried to give the second one to me because I look like her. He realized his mistake, but decided that since it was already made, he would just leave it with us. So I downed an additional 550 calories along with my Yukon Basil Burger, which is totally vegetarian friendly.

And okay, maybe I'll have to do some extra cardio, but at least I know. Plus, it was delicious. Also, the manager was super dedicated to his customers and cleared our food tray off the table for us, even though we were fully sitting three feet away from a garbage receptacle.

Support Burgerville.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The thing about registries is...

you always want to buy something for yourself. Or at least I do. I mean, here I am, printing off ten pages of gifts someone wants, I'm gonna go shopping, and not get myself...anything?

And lets just say, hypothetically speaking of course, that your three childhood best friends all get married in the same year. And your sister's two best friends get married as well. Not that this actually ever happens in real life. Because why would that happen to someone who is single and already has a house that needs to be filled with beautiful home goods purchased on somebody else's dollar? This is purely hypothetical.

So there I am, like seven registries in (because I have to go to bridal showers too) and that's when I realize what I've been doing this whole time. I bought those drinking glasses for the bride and a silicon spatula for myself. I purchased a ladle and serving ware for another bride and a turquoise Martha Stewart flour container for myself. And all the while, when that silver ladle is in my shopping basket, I think about how when Brittany gets married she is going to take her ladle with her, and then my house will no longer have a ladle, and okay, maybe I don't even eat soup that often, but what if I did? I totally need a ladle. So I might as well buy one for myself. What happens is I go into Target thinking I'm going to spend about thirty bucks and I leave spending 98 with a shopping cart full of stuff. Because I really needed that new soap pump and washcloths. Because this is torture, looking at all these lovely things and choosing gifts for someone else.

What happens is I'm looking at the cashier, handing over my money when I look down and realize something. I've got a stack of registries printed out with various brides' names at the top of them, and I'M NOT REGISTERED. We won't get into the emotional aspects of that, but what I'm trying to say is, I don't need to be registered because I don't need a vegetable steamer or a rolling pin (wine bottle works just fine), or matching silverware or a rice cooker or a crock pot or high balls or low balls or martini glasses or more than two bath towels or a basting brush or a meat thermometer or a pepper mill or picture frames or a tent or camping equipment or a pancake griddle. I don't need any of those things. What I need is to just go to the ATM and put some money in an envelope so I don't even look at the registry or go in the store. Of course I realize this after the last gift has been bought for the season. But you know, there's always next year.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Covert Affairs

From high school through half way of college, Alias was my favorite show ever. Then I didn't have one for a while. Eventually I became a Lost addict. Let me tell you about the new show I'm trying to get in to. It's called Covert Affairs and stars Piper Perabo on USA on Tuesday nights. I watch it on Hulu the next day because I don't get cable.

How Covert Affairs is like Alias:
*both have a young woman who progresses quickly in the CIA
*both have tech guys
*both go on missions
*both have to lead a secret double life

Main Character
Alias starred Jennifer Garner as Sydney Bristow
Name: Sydney is a regular name but not one you hear all the time. I know like, two Sydneys. 
Hair: Brown, shoulder length
Lips: jealous
Love interest that sparked her double agency: her fiance got killed in the bath tub.

Covert Affairs stars Piber Perabo as Annie Walker
Name: Honestly, the name is so blah. So incredibly common. Couldn't they think of something better? Like Jolie Rossen?
Hair: blond, past shoulder length
Lips: jealous  
Love interest that sparked her to work for the CIA: some shirtless dude on a beach that gave her a matching bracelet. She knew him for like two weeks, then he disappeared.

Tech guys
Alias had Marshall, who was super nerdy and socially awkward but made wicked devices.

Covert Affairs has Auggie, who is blind, but manages to save Annie's butt through technology.

Sound Track
Alias had genius musical scores composed by Michael Giacchino. They were seriously awesome. So awesome in fact, that I bought the soundtrack to season one even though there are NO LYRICS-- just spy inspired beats. I listen to it in the car when I'm trying to be bad ass. He did the musical scores for Lost and Alias, and for films like Mission Impossible III, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, and Up. Plus he's gotten an Emmy, some Grammys, and an Academy Award. Because he's that brilliant.

Covert Affairs has....who knows, I didn't even care enough to look it up. It's not awesome. It still sounds spy-like, but nothing gripping, you know? Nothing that makes you want to wet your pants with excitement.

Other Cast Members
Alias had Victor Garber as Syd's father and Michael Vartan as the oh so sizzling Agent Vaughn.

Covert Affairs sometimes has Peter Gallagher, who used to be on the O.C. Didn't he?

In conclusion, Alias was quite obviously better, but Covert Affairs is helping to fill that empty hole in my heart. Though I'm very excited about two upcoming TV shows this fall, which I will tell you about sometime soon.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Twenties Girl

The thing about lying to your parents is, you have to do it to protect them. It's for their own good. I mean, take my own parents. If they knew the unvarnished truth about my finances/love life/plumbing/council tax, they'd have instant heart attacks and the doctor would say, "Did anyone give them a terrible shock?" and it would all be my fault. 

That was the opening of the book I'm reading. 

It's a Sophie Kinsella book called Twenties Girl. I got it for $3.99 at Goodwill, which turned out to be an excellent deal. There are 435 pages, which means it's less than a penny per page.You should probably read it when you get a chance, but it falls under the genre known as Chic Lit, so if you're a guy, you should probably read it under the covers with a flashlight when your girlfriend's not looking.

It's actually a ghost story. Lara's great-aunt dies and her spirit comes back to haunt her, only it's not so much a haunting as they become good friends (or at least so far, I haven't finished it yet, I'm on page 275). But the aunt comes back in her youth, a spunky woman from the roaring 1920s. And Lara basically thinks she's going insane for seeing a ghost that no one else can see. And there's a missing necklace, a rich uncle, an ex-boyfriend, and a handsome American business man who frowns a lot.

In case you didn't know, all of Sophie Kinsella's books are British because she is British, so when a frowning American man enters the picture, we should all probably take offense, because what is Kinsella implying about our men? Maybe that they are a bunch of unhappy assholes, but you didn't hear it from me, that was the UK impression. I know that American men smile all the time and are quite pleasant.

Essentially, you should read this book. I'm curious to see how it ends.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Attack of the Woodland Creatures

I'm staring up into the fir tree, thinking if I should slowly back away or stand my ground. After all, I am on my property. In my back yard for Pete's sake! I should be able to pull weeds and plant grass anytime I want. But instead I've taken the earbuds of my iPod out so that I can listen better--listen to the threat of an undoubtedly rabies infected squirrel with a wiry tail.

I don't know what I was thinking before. I've seen many squirrels performing the high wire across the top of my fence. I've seen them in the trees. I've thought they were cute and friendly and on my side. Boy, was I wrong. I can see that now. This squirrel is pissed at me. He hates me. He is clearly telling me to leave.

I don't really know how it started. I was bent over, trying to get some stubborn dandelion out of the lawn when I heard scratching and scurrying across the fence. I look up and see a squirrel dive from the fence to a tree branch. He goes closer to the base of the tree and then starts having convulsions. His body looks like he's doing hip hop, and his long skinny tail is twitching crazily. At first I think he's just been startled, as I have, but then he starts to click at me.

I never knew that squirrels could talk. But they can. They can scream and they can growl. It sounds mostly like a click you would make with your own vocal chords, only deadlier. Not quite a hiss, but it is quite threatening. And they can be loud. It's really probably one of the more terrifying moments I've encountered with a woodland creature, aside from the time I saw a buck in the forest behind my house and ran for my life because I thought the deer was about to charge me.

So there I am, staring up at this squirrel who is having convulsions and clicking at me in a very threatening tone. He's not running away. He moves around on the branches, and I half wonder if his plan is to scurry to the end of one of the branches, leap off, land on my head, and give me a rabies bite to my face. Seriously. This seems likes something he might do.

As I gaze up into the tree, I start to speak rationally. "Look," I begin. "This is my property. I will stay on my side of the fence. It's my home. I realize that you are in your home as well, but can't you just stay on your side of the fence? I promise not to bother you." I actually say all of this. No kidding.

The wiry squirrel is having none of it. He starts to puff his chest out, like he's on steroids. His incessant clicking and squealing and body convulsions has notified some back up. I see through the branches that another squirrel is hopping along, coming to aid him in his distress. It takes about two minutes, and then I have two squirrels threatening me. The back up squirrel does the same thing. He twitches his tail and clicks and twists. This one is fatter and its tail isn't so long and wiry. Like maybe he doesn't have rabies.

What I start to think is oh, shit I've got to get out. Because this isn't safe. They could seriously jump onto my head via the branch highway. I take off my gardening gloves and start to back towards the house. I don't actually go inside the house. What I do is go start working on the other side of the yard, away from the tree and it's furious inhabitants. After a few minutes, I wander back over to the tree.

The first psychotic squirrel is gone. Number two is still there, but he is silent. I watch him for a bit, until he decides to scurry back. I want to feel safe. I really do. I want to bend over and continue my work, but I am apprehensive. What if they went back to get the whole squirrel brigade together and at this very moment they are climbing to the tops of the trees, planning a surprise attack on me? You've never seen a squirrel so fierce.

I wanted those cute, little squirrels who lived in the tree on the other side of the fence to be my friends, I really did. But now I see it like it really is: we are enemies. 

Thursday, August 5, 2010

It's not like I watch vampiric TV shows

Natalie left today. Brittany's not home. I don't have any books from the library. I already went to the gym. So what do I do? Try to fix my TV. It only took four rolls of tin foil, a ladder, a trip to the roof, and some space wave interaction while wearing a special helmet. Kidding. All I had to do was change the channel on the physical TV, instead of on one of three remotes, which can get really confusing.

But then I had to move the antennae around, because we don't have cable and I have to rely on the tv micro chips in space to land on the rabbit ears and form a picture on the screen. I was really excited for the first clear station to come in, which happened to be the CW, formerly the WB with that singing frog. Do you know what is on the CW at 8:30 pm on a Thursday night? The Vampire Diaries, that's what.

Do you know who is on The Vampire Diaries? Only two characters from my two favorite shows of all time, Alias and Lost. Within ten seconds of watching this show, I spotted Ian Somerhalder, who played Boone on Lost, and David Anders, who played Sydney Bristow's pesky enemy Sark on Alias. And okay, neither of these characters were my absolute favorite (though I did like Sark quite a bit, for an evil-plotting-to-ruin-the-world type), but still. They were two characters on two of the best shows of all time. I had to watch.

 Sark from Alias

 Boone from LOST

This is what I could gather from half an episode: Boone and Sark are enemies. They live in a place called Mystic Falls. Boone is a vampire. He has a younger brother who is very hot and also a vampire. Boone's little brother (Stefan) likes to touch the wounds of injured women and then lick their blood off of his fingers. Stefan is in high school and has a mortal girlfriend. She wants to kiss him but he's afraid of what he might do to her (i.e, suck her blood and kill her). She trusts him though, so they end up making out. Then this other guy finds somebody's diary. I think it was the girlfriend's. There's a magic ring involved somehow. Boone likes to drink human blood but his brother Stefan is trying to restrain himself. Apparently he's done so for years. And now he's throwing it all away for some woman's head wound.

It is at this time that I would just like to pull an Insatiable quote, which I've posted before. Main character Meena Harper says, "Vampires always seem to choose to prey on pretty female victims. And yet for some reason women find this sexy. The idea that they’re nobly restraining themselves from killing is supposed to be attractive? Excuse me, but how is knowing a guy wants to kill you hot?"

Because this is what it's like: hot vampire Stefan (who is supposed to be in high school but looks 25 but is actually 28 in real life(I IMBDd him)) goes around being in love with this high school girl, but he wants to seriously suck some blood. Only he calls it "feeding" which makes it sound even worse, like he's a piranha in the fish tank that needs some hamburger. His face starts to crack when he's craving blood, and the expression on his face when he does drink blood is quite inappropriate. Like maybe he's enjoying it a little too much. To which I'm like "What the hell? Can't you find something else to eat?" I mean, I can understand some cravings. When I crave Chinese fried rice, I can get quite monstrous. I'll think about it all day and believe I just have to have it. But then feed me some pizza instead and I forget about it. So that's why I tell Stefan Salvatore, "go to Pizza Hut and order a deep dish." Surely it can't be that bad. And okay, maybe human blood to him is more like coke to a drug addict, but still. There's rehab for that.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Fraudulent Charges

I really think that sometimes I live in an alternate reality. I'll want something to be true so much that I start to believe it is, and then I get a healthy dose of reality and a big slap in the face when I realize what I've been imagining really is fake. As fake as a set of French-tipped acrylic nails.

Ask me, "Joelle, what do you do when you realize your imagined reality is actually a fraud?" This is what I do: design plans and instigate strategies to make it real. It's like cramming a corner piece of a puzzle into the middle section. It obviously belongs somewhere else, but who says it can't fit with a little sawing off of the edges? I'll make it work.

My mind marinates on something, like chicken sitting in barbecue sauce, and all my thoughts become absorbed in this one thing. But it's not real! What I thought was something is actually nothing, but I don't realize this until much later. And then I just feel hurt. Also, stupid.

I've been looking at things through an ersatz window.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

How did you get this number

I'm just about finished reading How Did You Get This Number by Sloane Crosley, author of the hilarious I Was Told There'd Be Cake. Her new book came out in June and I immediately put a request on it through the library. I still have it right now but will likely return it by Saturday, which means then you can check it out. Provided you have a library card. And you know, live in a nearby zip code.

 This book doesn't actually address bears that much

How Did You Get This Number  features hilariously witty short stories, but they're called "essays" to make them sound more grown-up. I'm not going to try to give a summary to you, but this book is friendly to both male and female readers. None of that undead love crap.

Speaking of vampires, has anyone seen Huge? It stars Nikki Blonksy on ABC Family, but if you don't have cable or even basic TV, you can cheat and watch it on Hulu. Totally thought the part where the campers watched Phantasma was super clever. What an excellent parody. Anybody know what I'm talking about? You have to have seen both Twilight and episode 5 of Huge, "Movie Night." Somebody out there is laughing their pants off about this as much as me. They just don't read this blog.

Off topic but relevant since this happens tomorrow: I finally go to the doctor to see if my off-the-deep end low blood pressure is caused by an infection spread by French scientists and is going to turn me crazy or into a smoke monster hypothyroidism. 

Unless of course I show up and they aren't prepared for me because they thought my name was Joel and I was a man, and they are working behind schedule so they don't have time for me, but could I please reschedule for two weeks from now, even though I made this appointment three weeks ago? Oh wait, that only happens at over-priced salons.
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