Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Correlation or Causation?

So after spending a weekend in Pittsburgh (vacationing from work and posting) gorging on delicious desserts, I went into the doctor's on Monday expecting my cholesterol to have skyrocketed.* To my surprise, it fell by nearly 30 points.

Now, I'm not saying definitively that eating delectable delights in the form of mini banana cream pies, cake-like cookies that are filled with scrumptious vanilla icing, or just plain thumbprint cookies will lower your cholesterol or even had an effect on mine, but it's a pretty convenient coincidence.

Ok, and maybe it also had something to do with the influx of vegetables I ate or the fact that I was fairly active all week, but I still find it hilarious that I discovered this high-dessert-low-cholesterol correlation immediately after posting a "Stew of the Week" that entirely focuses on eating healthier desserts. Just goes to show you that sometimes you can cheat and pay the opposite of the price.

*I'm on a few different medications that cause an increase in cholesterol, so I have to be on the lookout for any dramatic increases.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Stew of the Week

Vegan Cupcakes: They're not just for vegans anymore!

It's tough living in a world of delicious temptation when you have to keep your triglycerides and cholesterol low while your other twenty-something friends eat in abundance. However, the cavalry has arrived in the form of vegan cupcakes!

*Note: I am not a vegan, but seriously, these cupcakes are insanely good.

1) They stay moist and delicious longer than regular cupcakes. No joke! I make a batch on Monday and they taste just as delicious on Sunday.
2) Easy as pie substitutions: canola oil for butter, soy milk for regular milk. Those two little changes cut out the vast majority of "baddies" from regular cupcakes.
3) A third fun substitution: agave nectar for sugar. It's the same calorie-wise, but it has a tremendously lower glycemic index, which is better for your digestion and reduces your risk of getting diabetes. Awesome!
4) Try them with whole wheat flour. It's just as delicious as regular flour and, again, has a lower glycemic index and retains a good amount of the nutrients naturally found in the grain. Why not?
5) You can make them in all shapes, sizes, and flavors. The book I've been using? Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World - they've got great basic recipes and fancy ones for the more adventurous. If you only make cupcakes on occasion, though, here's the book's recipe for a basic vegan cupcake.
6) Spoiler Alert: these cupcakes still have a decent amount of fat in them, including saturated fat, so they're not an everyday dessert, but if you're going to have a cupcake, this is the cupcake to have.
7) Give your friends/co-workers/significant others (or prospective significant others) one of these cupcakes, and they will love you forever. Who doesn't love love? Or at least getting on the boss' good side via delicious desserts.

Enjoy and happy stewing!

PS. If you have any vegan (or just plain not-quite-so-bad-for-you) cupcake recipes that you love, send them over and I'll post them for everyone to enjoy.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

My New Apartment

Signed my first lease today!

Very exciting.

I guess this means the "apartment hunting" section of The Stew probably won't occur for another year, but mayhaps I will recount the adventure that was deciding to lease this apartment.

Plus there's always move-in day! Hilarity can, and I'm sure will, ensue...

Monday, March 23, 2009

Things I've Noticed

Occasionally, I'll say words in accents that I don't have.

Some examples:

Tomorrow/Sorry: Both words I used to say quite frequently in a Canadian accent. I believe this may have had something to do with how much I watched "Franklin," a Canadian animated TV show about a turtle (named "Franklin"), which used to air on Nick, Jr. The weird thing? Sometimes I still say "tomorrow" and "sorry" in a Canadian accent, and I haven't watched "Franklin" since I was 8.

Museum/Bull(shit): My boyfriend is from Pittsburgh and while he doesn't have an "accent" exactly, he says these two words "muse-ay-um" and "bool" (rhymes with "pool"). At first I mimicked him just to be a jerk, but now that's how I always say those words - boyfriend or no boyfriend present.

Folk: I was on the phone the other day with a friend, and for some reason I - mid-conversation - began over-pronouncing the "L" in "folk." So instead of saying, essentially, "foke" I began saying, "foLLk" (i.e. "roll" but with a "k" at the end). I tried to stop myself once I noticed it, but it just got worse. Now all of a sudden I have to consciously tell myself to say it "foke" when I don't even know what accent would pronounce it "follk."

... When I think about it, maybe I steal words from others' accents since everyone tells me I don't have a Texas (born and raised!) accent. Honestly, I'm not even very good at copying a Texas accent. Clearly, my mind is overcompensating for my native-tongue betrayal.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Why I'll Miss College:

A conversation I overheard today in a neighboring suite:

"But, dude, what if I j'd off on your bed? Wouldn't you be pissed?"
"Well, yeah, I guess, but this is different..."

I did not wait to listen to the rest of the conversation. I prefer it pure, simple, and out of context.

Another Subway Ad that I Enjoy:

While I'm offended at its blatant gender discrimination, I'm glad that at least someone is still recruiting, especially for a job that includes spiffy, fashionable business attire and great benefits: food, shelter, and health care - what could be better?

For those so inclined, I have included a rather entertaining article critiquing the new subway ads:

Monks Praisin' Monks

My only suggestion: why not give themselves a "life shift" and let a lady in?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Reasons Why I Need to Listen to More Music

I have consistently woken up to the following two songs stuck in my head this past week.

1) "The Price is Right" theme music
2) "Glory, Glory, Hallelujah" - that's right, what Wikipedia calls the "black spiritual song," to which I don't even know the words.

I'm not saying "The Price is Right" isn't a fun song to buzz in your head while you're picking up groceries, but I have a feeling it's borderline sacrilegious/racist to come up with your own lyrics to "Glory, Glory, Hallelujah," especially when they're related to your breakfast.

i.e. "Glory, glory, hallelujah! There's milk left in the fridge!"

I think I'm going to have to start listening to music instead of podcasts on my iPod again. My subconscious is not to be trusted.

The Who's a What?

Sometimes I can't even remember my own jokes...

In One Ear and Out the Other

...I always wondered why that happened. Good to know I'm not crazy.

Stew of the Week

Arugula Shmagugula!

One of my favorite sandwiches is also one of my favorite salads. That is the beauty of the arugula, pear, goat cheese, and pine nuts combination.

1. Available everywhere salads (though not always sandwiches) are sold.
2. Cheap and easy to make at home since we all know salads are way overpriced in the outside world.
3. If you really need a dressing, my favorite is honey if it's in sandwich form and a touch of vinaigrette if it's in salad form. But, of course, I love mine bare. Sexy!
4. Super nutritious! You've got your protein in the form of goat cheese and pine nuts, your veggies in the form of super-healthy arugula, and your fruit in the form of always-a-knock-out pear.
5. Goes well with any type of bread! Whole-wheat is generally the healthiest, but a really tasty baguette is pretty hard to beat.
6. Switch it up! Maybe you feel like Parmesan instead of goat cheese or walnuts instead of pine nuts. Spoiler Alert: It'll still be delicious.

Happy Stewing!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Synonym Game: Round Four

Cinnamon Synonyms: Delicious and Educational

Cinnamon: amber, bay, bister, buff, drab, ecru, fawn, henna, khaki, mahogany, sorrel, snuff-colored, tawny, toast, and a bonus synonym at the end!


1. Bister sounds like blister. That is gross and not tasty.
2. Fawn is a deer and I don't like venison, especially not baby venison. Why do deer always end up in my synonyms!?
3. Henna is that cool non-tattoo tattoo thing that all my Indian friends get when they go to family stuff. This upsets me because it reminds me of how I am not Indian and how cool it would be to be Indian.
4. Khaki - really? I don't think Tim O'Brien mentioned "a shaker of cinnamon" in The Things They Carried.
5. Sorrel sounds like squirrel, and you know how I feel about squirrels.... (Shaking fist)
6. Snuff-Colored - If I'm writing a kids' book, am I really going to choose "snuff-colored" instead of cinnamon? Are these guys advocating me drugging children with a 19th century opiate? Because I'll do it, but I won't feel comfortable about it.
7. Toast. See, this is perfect, because cinnamon + toast (+ sugar) = cinnamon-sugar toast, and that shiz is delicious.

Bonus: Like most words, according to thesaurus.com, cinnamon is a synonym for cinnamon. Lovely.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

This One's for the Pancake Lady

Seen it yet? Apparently, high fructose corn syrup only comes in red foods and people won't love you if you don't eat or drink it.

Google: An Investor in Owl Pellets?

I received the following sidebar advertisements for an email I was writing entitled "Lab Results" today.

Funky Junk Italy
Professional Audio
Used and New Gear
Sterilized Owl Pellets
We only sell owl pellets. We offer fast & affordable excellence.
Splunk> IT Search Engine
Search and Navigate IT Data Download Splunk for Free!

Medical information just became a lot more interesting.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Subway Ads that I Enjoy:

Part One of a new series:

Why do I enjoy this ad? Take a second look, and think back to a delightful film about a robot in love.

Now do they look familiar? Yep, they're the BNL ads in full force! Especially on the subway, when all you see is a series of these "Hope" "Joy" "XOXO" ads individually lining the subway walls. You could very well be in the Axiom.

Now all we need are some hover chairs and a "Cupcake in a Cup" and we're set.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Hamsters are Funny. Deal with It.

This is one reason why the New York Times should get over itself and have a legit comics page.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

World Kidney Day

Apparently, the 12th was World Kidney Day.

Does this mean I have to give one my kidneys to the world? Can I give it one of the bum ones? I don't want to send the world the wrong message or anything, but I also want to live.

Stew of the Week

I'm trying out a new segment I like to call "Stew of the Week." Each week I'll post at least one tasty treat/healthy food substitution/recipe/etc to take your tummy from grumbling to yumbling!

Here's the treat of the day: Nut Butter Sandwiches - Who Knew How Awesome They Are?

(Well, besides kids, parents, camp counselors, and that store in SoHo that only sells PB sandwiches...)

1) PB is pretty much the easiest, cheapest, filling and one of the most delicious sandwiches out there.

2) PB sandwiches are surprisingly good for you so long as you don't slob the entire jar on there. A serving of pb is 2 tbs and usually contains 16 g of fat - 14 good fats and 2 bad fats, as well as 8 g of protein. Plus, it's low in sodium and sugar. Badass!

3) They're the best sandwich to take to work or on a plane ever. You just shove them in a plastic bag and the PB gooifys into the bread, keeping the bread soft and the PB delicious.

4) Almond butter is a super yummy swap for PB and is actually lower in bad fats (usually 1 g). If you get it made with raw almonds, it gets this nice sweet taste (no, there's no sugar, it just magically tastes sweet using almond power) so you don't need to add jam. Roasted almond butter tastes like roasted almonds, a great snack but a bit weird in butter form. Then again, I ain't judging nobody's tastes here, so try both if you can and see which you prefer.

5) So many variations! PB alone, PB and bananas, PB and apples, PB and carrots, PB and Fluff, Nutella (for dessert or breakfast if you're in France!) not to mention all the other nut butters out there (hazelnut, walnut, etc) - I noted almond because I find it super tasty and nutritious, but I'm sure the others are delicious, as well.

6) A PB sandwich goes well with any side dish: a small salad, mixed berries, a cup of yogurt, a nubbin of cheese, etc.

7) You can eat one every day without getting sick of them. How do I know? I can almost guarantee you that, pending availability of materials (i.e. not in Latin America), I have had at LEAST one nut butter sandwich a week for the past 21 years. And I'm awesome.

Doesn't get much better than that, does it?

Next Week: the mysterious propagation of arugula/goat cheese/pine nut/honey salads. They're everywhere! Spoiler Alert: it's because they're delicious.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Moneys Forever?

How awesome would this be?

Medicare Coverage for Kidney Transplants

If this gets passed, when I start selling my totally awesome screenplays, I won't have worry about private health insurance agents laughing in my face when I ask them to cover me because - A-BOO-YEAH - the government pays for my drugs.

You may call it socialized medicine. I call it genetic equality*.

*Note that I had an end-stage renal disease due to a fluke genetic mutation. Thus the sassy comeback and need for massive amounts of expensive prescription medications.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Time Machines - Why Not?

Whatever happened to Time Machines?

I was thinking about this when yet another "Spring Forward" ruined the awesome feeling left from the "Fall Back" so many months ago. I forget that it's hardly worth re-playing one hour of your life ala Pete and Pete when you jump into the future willy nilly six months later. Boolcrap.

Is this really the best time-jumping we can do? Back in the H.G. Wellsian days, time machines were the hippest quick fix to any past or future problem. Why not now? Did we become so disillusioned by the Back to the Future trilogy that we just gave up on our dreams? I think the public has soured on the hope of time machines at a time when a time machine would really come in handy right about now. The unnecessary-kitschy-sex-romp-ridden Watchmen depicts an alternate reality in which the US wins the Vietnam War using a giant, glowing, blue ultra-superman and Nixon's elected President three times and somehow this all leads to the prolongation of the Cold War. I'm not talking about anything quite so radical (although perhaps some minor adjustments of the ballot shapes and some convenient pamphets regarding sub-prime mortages and bank regulation in 2000 might be a bit of a help). I understand that we have to "live with our mistakes" and "it's all a part of the larger plan" and all that jazz, but just think of what a few, carefully selected, happy eraser-marks on our past might achieve:

1) Stop the invention of skinny jeans. While this might make hipsters slightly harder to identify, muscley-legged people around the world will rejoice.
2) Put a working, affordable electric car in a 25-year-old Steve Jobs' or Bill Gates' basement and just see what happens.
3) Enroll my 18 year old self in one of the following: film/writing school at NYU, art/animation school anywhere, or environmental engineering at Columbia. Then four years later when I am scrambling for a job, I would feel I was actually legitimately good enough at one thing to deserve to be hired in that sector.
4) Stop those giant sloths from going extinct way back in the day, but mainly because I think they would make for an awesome form of transportation. And who doens't want to see giant sloths!?

Ponder these things, and if I come up with any other ways a time machine could save us, I'll let you know. And if you find out there's one available, you let me know. In the meantime, I guess I''ll have to make do with Apple's restoring software and Hot Tub Time Machine, a film in which all of its actors will inevitably wish they had a time machine so they could stop themselves from signing on to this film.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

When Science and Comedy Combine...

They sing!

DNA Musical Comedy

My favorite line: "PCR: When you need to find out who the daddy is."
Because it's important... and true.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Facebook is the New Twitter?

I think when people said they "hate" the Facebook feed, Zuckerberg* heard "love so much we want more More MORE."

Surprisingly, not quite the same thing...

Facebook Plans Changes to Friend Updates

*Also, Zuckerberg's name sounds like Smuckers and Zuckerman. So every time I hear his name I want to eat strawberry jam while watching Charlotte's Web.

Synonym Game: Round Three

Should Lack Synonyms but Instead has Improper/Weird Ones:

Deer: (female) doe, (male red deer) stag, antelope hummel, brocket, buck(fawn, cervid, cervidæ, cervine, does, dow, elk, fallow deer, halfer, hart, havier(castrated), hind, mammal, mule deer, pricket, red deer, reindeer, roe (female red deer), roebuck, ruminant, sore, sorel, spitter), staggard

Halfter? Cervine? Havier? Does that mean my friend Javier's name means "Castrated Deer"? Because if so I am not going to be the person to tell him that. Oh... sorry, Javs.

I think deers that spit are called camels.

Just because a deer is sore does not mean a deer is A sore! Come on, he was just having a bad day. Remember, his mom probs just got shot in some clearing.

Mule deer, reindeer, fallow, and red deer are types of deer. Not synonyms for deer. Clearly this thesaurus needs itself a dictionary.

A hart is a misspelled organ. A hind is "located in the rear." Neither is a mammal. A clear misuse of synecdoche.

A mammal includes many non-deer entities. I believe this is an improper use of the transitive property, which this thesaurus (as we have seen) does not have any synonyms for.

The question is, then, is no synonym better than illogical ones?

The answer: Yes, but they're far less entertaining.