Thursday, April 30, 2009

Aparment Move-In Tips:

1) Trying to carry a box to your new apartment via the subway is a perilous, painful adventure. I would not recommend it. Trying to do this with all of your boxes may or may not end in failure. I quickly gave up the endeavor.

2) Trying to move bags and boxes in a cab is a much simpler, though more expensive, endeavor. Eventually you have to weigh how much you really, really don't want to drive a U-Haul vs. how much you secretly realize you're losing expense-wise.

3) Building IKEA goods is a fun, inexpensive form of exercise. That is, until the wheels on your swivel chair require you bashing them into the base of the chair with a makeshift rubber mallet (i.e. the rubber heel on your nice black boots).

4) When you realize the glasses you bought during your first, overwhelming (and clearly mind-numbing) IKEA trip are comically tall and awkwardly shaped, decide it was intentional, and use it as a conversation starter. They will also come in handy for funny cocktails, milk (or protein) shakes, and, really, they do hold a lot of water. That's a nice feature.

Good luck! But, please, don't break a leg. Yours, your friend's, or the leg of your swivel chair.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Science and Health Tidbit

I just read this article in the NY Times today. As if there wasn't enough proof already, it looks like eating a diet heavy in red meat and light on the fruits and veggies is pretty detrimental to the old bod.

Fortunately, due to my general lack of income during my college years, I realized I couldn't really afford meat, especially red meat (and I haven't been a fan of fast food since I was 7 and would always ask my dad to take me to Burger King when everyone would go to the French bistro La Madeleine, which we later found out was really secret-fast-food, but probably was still more nutritious than my cheeseburger-hold-the-cheese and ketchup only), so I really haven't eaten much in the past four years.

What I have noticed, though, is that the longer you go without eating red meat, the less you enjoy it. I remember freshman year when I had my first steak after about four or five months without any red meat except hamburgers, I really did not enjoy it that much. Now, I generally avoid steak on a menu. Sometimes I will get it, though, so long as it's cooked medium, because I really, really, do not enjoy a bloody steak. I know, it's strange, but it's true. That's what time will do to your taste buds.

That being said, since I've been trying to both up the protein and down the meat/dairy consumption, I will admit it's been rather difficult, especially since I don't eat fish, which everyone loves to rave about. Lately, I've been eating more lean meats and have slid a little backwards on my cheese consumption (I love cheese too much! I can't let it go!), but I like to blame this more on the pressure of finishing up college than any significant upward trend. When I'm all settled in my new apt, I'll start pumping myself full of delicious protein shakes (which I have not been able to have since I was in Dallas due to my current lack of a blender) so I can avoid meats and cheeses more readily.

And fortunately, when I do need a burger, I love me some turkey burgers.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

OMG COLLEGE IS ENDING!

Why did it only hit me today that I will miss college?

I have no idea. Maybe it was because today I had my last lecture and workshop classes in college. EVER. Maybe it was the cool breeze and the perfect temperature outside that just made me want to lie in the grass and think about life. Maybe it was those delicious (vegan!!) brownies we had at my last screenwriting class. Maybe it was realizing that I won't see the familiar faces from my Columbia world anymore: my professors, my class-friends, the random movie posters that line the walls of Dodge. Oh jeez, I'm going to need to start using Facebook as a friend-maintainer!

Gah! Why do I suddenly have the urge to apply to graduate school? I wanted it to be over so badly, but I'm going to miss my weekly screenwriting sessions, my bitching about work that I secretly like doing, my obsessive need for approval by my professors, my making friends in classes and secretly hoping that when they get famous they'll help me out, and, weirdly enough, even the deadlines.

Thank goodness I'm signed up for Improv 101 at the UCB already. Now I just need to play the waiting game until another Sketch 301 shows up.

Can I start making my own deadlines? Or, more realistically, can I meet them? Who will tell me how to fix my writing now? I thrive on feedback! I am a feedback machine!

So, I guess what I'm really asking is: Anyone up for assembling an elite writing squad?

Monday, April 27, 2009

Sign of the Times

Yesterday, I read the following Reader's Digest headline:
"Are your children SEXTING?"
Underneath was a picture of an iPhone.

I imagine that, around the birth of the internet, that headline would have read:
"Are your children cybersexing?"

And the birth of the phone:
"Are your children canoodling via the telephone?"

And the birth of Morse code:
".. ___ ... __ . _ . More like ...__.._._. Is this lecherous world tapping into your children's minds?"

The parents' answer? Always, "Of course not! MY children would never engage in sexting/cyber-phone sex/morsex, but have you seen the Jones' daughter Mindy? Always wearing those tight low-rise jeans/neon pink leggings/ankle-length skirts? I bet that little slut started the whole thing."

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Stew of the Week: Reader Request

Summer Fun with Strawberry Daiquiris! Plus Bonus Extra Recipe!

So our very own Liz from Bear O'Snark suggested I post a homemade strawberry daiquiri recipe. As a non-drinker, I figured I'd find one for the rummies and one for the non-rummies, as well.

After much investigation, I stumbled upon this simple recipe from EatingWell, the same place that gave us our much-beloved Bev's cookies. While I haven't tried it yet, the mix sounds delicious, and I very much approve of the built-in alcohol-free version (just add more strawberries? Yes, please!). They call it a coconut-strawberry daiquiri, but all they really suggest for the coconut part is coconut-flavored rum. What I might try, as I have seen in the other recipes I scoured, is a more orange flavor. Maybe take a bit off of your base rum and add some orange liqueur or fresh orange juice. Why not give it a go?

The benefits? Well, it's a sugary drink, so definitely not something to go for on any ol' day of the week, but some days you just need a fruity, fresh drink, and this one will give you a good 70% of your daily Vitamin C, so why not?

Bonus Healthy Recipe! This fun little strawberry salad looks like a great variation on the classic goat cheese, arugula, honey, and pine nuts combo I mentioned earlier. Let's all give it a go, am I right?

Happy Stewing!

Spoiler Alert!

Back to sugar-induced nightmares... Lame!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Sugar-Induced Dreams Return!

Over the last week, I've had about two or three pretty terrifying nightmares. I don't remember what they were or what happened, but they were mean and uncool. Fortunately, last night I had the following dream*:

First off, I was a member of some elite sorority where everyone had these amazing connections and all got great jobs everywhere. I, being one of these elite, chosen few, was stuck. Here I was getting job offers, but while all of my friends were going for their dreams, my opportunities were primarily janitorial or mass-produced-coffee-making-atorial. I was bummed, but willing. I mean, think about the economy, right? I'm not that great of a writer/artist/person anyway, right?

That's when the painting came to life. No joke. The random androgynous person portrayed in this super abstract, brightly-colored portrait on the wall that I think either two people were carrying or, more likely, was hovering midair burst forth in all their weird abstract color from the painting. It was like what I imagine a 3D movie looks like (I've never been, so this is definitely an incorrect portrayal, but whatevs), where the character, a 2D object, sticks half-in, half-out of the painting like a character in a pop-out book.

Any, he/she goes off on this very uplifting rant about how amazing of a person I am and how I should reach for my dreams and grab those stars up in the sky because they're mine for the taking, etc etc etc. He/She also very much enjoyed my screenplay. It's the first time I've ever had an ultra-confident mentor in my dreams, but I liked it, even if it did come from a 2D abstracted man-woman on a painting in a sorority that doesn't exist and I am not a member of. Interesting...

*Note that, as with all remembered dreams, this is fairly piecemeal and incoherent, whereas the dream itself made a lot of sense.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Is It Easy Being Green?

Some Simple Advice From Some Old Friends:

"Always be yourself. Never take yourself too seriously. And beware of advice from experts, pigs, and members of Parliament."
- Kermit the Frog

"Whenever characters become self-important or sentimental in the Muppets, then there's always a another character there to blow him up immediately. "
- Frank Oz

Thursday, April 23, 2009

New Word!

Attackle: (at-tac-kle)
v. To attack via a tackle.
n. An attack via a tackle.

I attackled my turkey meatloaf and mashed potatoes at dinner.

or

I attackled my friend in a celebratory hug.

or

I attackled a grizzly in the wilderness. It was either him or me. Needless to say, after my attackle, he did not last long.

Nerds Unite!

This is totes amazing:

Losing Its Cool at the Mall

1) I "shopped" (read: walked around and looked at porn-for-lady-teens, aka blown-up images of half-naked dudes) probs about 10-15 times between the ages of 12 - 14. I bought items at AF probs about 3 times. Though one was this really comfy pair of workout pants that, spoiler alert, I still own and use on a regular winter-workout basis.
2) "the already unraveling mall culture," awesome as no one ever invited me to the mall, the jerks.
3) "Labels are becoming less and less a priority for people throughout my school," a quote from a legit teenager. It only took a global recession for teens to stop judging each other by their socio-economic status. Well, at least a little bit. Note that I was judged less by my socio-economic status than by my nasty habit of tying my sweatshirt around my waist because I thought it was "hip" but still. That's legitly neat.

Sigh... early teenage youth. Awkward, uncomfortable, embarrassing early teenage youth.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Science Tidbits

An awesome use of CT scans....

Inside Art


Also, a logical reason for never scheduling your classes before 2 PM

Larks, Owls, and Hummingbirds

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I Am The Supreme Master of the Universe

Because today, I, Artful Stew, completed a feature-length screenplay.

That's 114 pages of kickin' comedy sizzlezips flying at your FACE!

Life Goal: Achieved.

A. Boo. Yah.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Craigslist Ads

Best One Yet:

"REAL Hot Dog Vendors Needed!"

1) Why hot dog vendors?
2) (And more importantly) Why Real?

Mmm... hot dogs...

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Why I'll Miss College:

1) Outdoor concerts with bands like Vampire Weekend and Talib Kweli.
2) That I can hear those concerts from my room, so I don't actually have to go to them.
3) Scheduling all of my classes for one day so I can have a six-day weekend.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Why I'll Miss College:

Punk Rock band practice in the suite next door... Just when I'm trying to write my screenplay.

Stew of the Week: Special Battle Edition Winner

And the winner is...

Bev's!!!!

It was really no contest.

No, really, it was no contest because when I asked everyone which they wanted to make first, everyone chose Bev's and no one wanted to make the other kind. So Bev's wins on recipe alone (the rolled oats really put them over the edge). A truly complete victory.

However, let us not disregard the other cookies. We did use egg whites instead of eggs, less salt, whole rolled oats instead of chopped, and I believe possibly even less sugar, so huzzah!

The cookies this time were even better than when I made them at home. Fluffier, crispy on the outside and soft in the middle, absolutely delightful.

And the vegan chocolate, chocolate chip cupcakes were scrumptious, as always. And a good helping of WALL-E added just the adorably romantic note to end the night. A happy birthday had by all!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Cookie War!

The first Battle Cookie takes place tonight.

To the victor, go the tummy.

To the loser, go the tummy. But, you know, with less honor.

Place your bets! It's gonna get messy.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Crazy or Brilliant?

Personally, this is just weard.

Haha, get it - w-ear-d? Like weird but with "ear" because it's about an ear in a dude's arm?

Pretty hilarious.

But seriously, ear in an arm? I'm calling this one for crazy. Like, super crazy.

PS. My favorite part? That even though the microphone got severely infected and had to be removed, he's going to put it back in his arm. Gah.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Why I'll Miss College:

I'm listening to an extremely poorly karaoke'd version of, "The General," by Dispatch sung by my mysterious lives-above-my-suite mate.

I didn't know anyone still listened to Dispatch. I was very into them roundabouts when I was 13. I would take long walks in the park to "connect with myself/nature" (I was a tad on the angsty side) and listen to Dispatch. Sigh. Those were the days.

Thanks, lives-above-my-suite-mate, for all the fond memories.

Huh, can't tell what he's playing now, but, ah, he's still karaoke'ing... Ok, dude, that's enough. We had our moment... Did more people just join in? Come on, it's a Wednesday. I've got a screenplay to work on here... Lame...

Bo'bama Rama!

Why can't there be news like this, this, and this everyday!?

I want more videos and more pictures and... and...

Oh, what am I saying, I just want to squeeze him and let him lick my face!

It Just Was My Birthday!

Ok, so I was too excited about it being my birthday to post on my birthday. So this is my "It just was my birthday and it was awesome!" post.

Huzzah!

Monday, April 13, 2009

I'm Almost My Birthday!

The obligatory pre-birthday, "Yay my birthday is tomorrow!!" post.

To be followed shortly by the, "Yay it IS my birthday!!" post.

Exciting!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Stew of the Week: Special Battle Edition

Cookie vs. Cookie!

To celebrate my upcoming birthday, I'm having a cookie-off on "Stew of the Week" today.

Both are internet recipes. One, I've tried and loved. The other, I have not yet tried but, with some adjustments, could be great.

Cookie #1: The Reigning Champion...Bev's Chocolate-Chip Cookies!
Bev's cookies have a lot going for them. Here's what I approved of:
1. Whole wheat flour. Always a great start.
2. Rolled oats. Delicious and nutritious.
3. Canola oil. So much better than butter.
4. Brown sugar. Delicious. (not agave, but so far I haven't found any purely agave cookie recipes. They usually use half agave, half sugar, which I will probably try in the future)

Caveats:
1. In addition to canola oil, also uses butter. Weirded out! When we made them at home, we used light Smart Balance, but it still seemed weird to us that it called for both.
2. Too much salt. The recipe calls for 1/2 tsp, but definitely next time I'll use 1/4.
3. Overall, the fat content left a little to be desired, but the pro's definitely outweighed the cons in the taste test, so they'll be hard to beat.

Cookie #2: The Challenger: Low Calorie Low Fat Chocolate-Chip Cookies (No points on the name)
What I approve of:
1. Only 1/4 c. margarine (again, I'll use Smart Balance) in the whole batch. Not bad.
2. Egg whites instead of a whole egg. Could be great, could be gross.
3. Only 1/4 tsp of salt. That's more like it!
4. Overall, simpler recipe. Calls for less ingredients, all things which I already have, which is always nice.

Caveats:
1. Doesn't call for whole wheat flour or rolled oats. Obviously I will be substituting whole wheat in, but we'll see if that throws off their game.
2. Overall sugar content is slightly higher than Bev's (compare 2/3 cup to 3/4 cup). Not too much of a difference, but we'll see if the bump is worth it or if I should stick to the fattier but less sugarier Bev version.
3. No canola oil. We'll see how much these guys lose without that good stuff.

At my birthday party, we'll bake my own adjusted versions of both and see which cookie reigns supreme. I assure you there will only be the most discerning cookie tasters present, so be prepared, cookies, for some harsh scrutiny, or, well, chewtiny.

Let the battle begin!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Transplanted Dinos

A friend showed me this comic yesterday.

A) Dinosaurs are awesome
B) Dinosaurs talking about transplants are even awesomer
C) Dinosaurs with transplants would be the awesomest

Bravo, Dinosaur Comics, bravo.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Weird Things I Do

Today, on my way home from the grocery store, I saw a homeless guy. Quite common. Usually I just pass them because I'm a capitalist pig, but I've always said that if I have some quick food that they could have, I'd give it away.

Well, I just bought all this stuff for making cupcakes, so I really didn't have anything except...

Cauliflower.

I gave a homeless man cauliflower.

He said 'thank you,' but I'm not quite sure if he meant it.

Conversation Etiquette

Acceptable:

Friend 1: Wow, you are so much shorter than me!
Friend 2: Wow, you are so much more of a douche-face than me!
Pleasant laughs and playful punches among all.

Not Acceptable:

Friend 3*: Wow, you are so much shorter than me!
Friend 4: Wow, you are so much more of a douche-face than me!
Pleasant laugh by 4, blank stare by 3.

*Friend 3 has a social disorder where s/he cannot understand social cues, like playful sarcasm.

Not cool, Friend 4, not cool.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Dude Ain't Thinkin'

This article from the NY Times really upset me. Sure, eating no salt is bad for you. You need salt in your body just like everything else, but Americans eat two to three times as much salt as anyone else in the world. Just look at Europeans. They've been eating about half as much salt as we do for hundreds of years and I think they've fared pretty well. How low is our life-expectancy now again?

Having been on a low-sodium diet for over six months now, I can tell you that you lose your taste for high-sodium products pretty quickly. Don't get me wrong. Like I said, no-sodium bread is disgusting, but low-sodium bread rocks. Simply put, too much salt is unnecessary. If we all cut back to a reasonable amount over time, we wouldn't notice the difference until we ate something with a high amount of salt and found it gross. And, to be honest, that's really what we need to be doing for a lot more than just salt.

Americans are too reliant on studies and proof that everything we love in any amount will make us happy. If we all focused less on proving this or that is good/bad for you and instead focused on just eating smaller portions and in those portions eating simple, unprocessed foods, we'd all be a lot healthier and a lot happier. Just like those darn Europeans.

If salt is a place to start, so be it... Well, as long as they don't replace the salt with a salt-like additive like they did with sugar, that is.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Wake-Up Songs: Part Two

Yesterday I woke up with such a happy, romantic, fun song that I ended up dancing in the kitchen while making breakfast. Super fun and silly, right? A great way to start the day.

The strange thing was that, despite acknowledging how pleasantly random it was to have this song stuck in my head, by lunchtime I completely forgot which song it was.

Instead, "Genie in a Bottle" ran in high-speed all during my meal. When was the last time I listened to "Genie in a Bottle?" In eighth grade on the pop radio station back in Dallas while I was attempting to connect with awkward St. Mark's boys over AOL Instant Messenger. Good times?

Once I a) realized that "Genie in a Bottle" was not my preferential stuck-in-head song and b) could not remember the actual, quality song that was stuck in my head previously, I c) came up with "Jitterbug" as my closest replacement. Almost perfect, but not quite.

I did still dance down the halls on the my way to pick up groceries, though. Why not?

Monday, April 6, 2009

Why I'll Miss College:

Upon entering a stall in the girl's bathroom in our student center, Lerner, I noticed a beige thong poking out of the "feminine hygiene product" disposal.

Oh, the memories.

Can Do: Part Two

Who else thinks we have a future Beckett in these kids? I know I do.

A soliloquy:
Jelly: I can't believe PB left me! (Pause) OH! I really want a hot dog! Man, that'd be great. I love hot dogs so much. (Pause) How am I going to get PB back?

Dialogue:
House: I am happy the way I am. There aren't any other talking houses left. They all got torn down.
Construction Worker: But don't you want to be a hotel?
House: Yes! I do want to be a hotel!
Construction Worker: Then I will tear you down and turn you into a hotel.
House: (Pause) Ok.

In Song:
Brother (sung to Sister): I am so cool! I am so cool because I am cool and you are not cool because you are a nerd! Me Me Me! Cool!

Relationships:
Girl (to Boy): Yes, I would like to go on a date with you. Let's go to Elmo Land because Elmo is red and cute... just like you.

Can Do! Plays on the Bright Side

On Saturday I went to see my cousin Cynthia perform in one of a series of short plays written by children and directed/performed by professional actors and directors. It was for a group called "The 52nd Street Project" and it brings kids from the Hell's Kitchen area into the world of the arts. Great project, presumably great kids. All good stuff.

And the show was fun. The plays were hit or miss,* but the acting was generally silly and adorable (Cynthia was great, of course) and there were a couple of famous people in it (Billy Crudup!).

The only beef I had was that my secondary reason for going (primary being Cynthia) was that it was supposed to be all positive, happy plays. It's called "Can Do!" and if there's anything at all that I need right now, it's positive reinforcement. I'm like a lost, wandering puppy on a street corner and all I want is for some friendly person to give me a behind-the-ears scratch and a new home. And yet the two arguably best, well-written plays were about
1) child abuse, and
2) divorce
That doesn't sound very bright-sidey to me! Don't get me wrong, they were very good and mature, especially for twelve-year-olds. But I had gone to see Billy Crudup dress in plastic armor and defeat a stilts-wearing Cyclops and giant snake (even more hilarious than you can imagine). I had not gone to watch a poor girl get abused by her father and only barely make it out alive (with the shadowy specter of the father chasing her in closing moments). I got both.

Again, it was great, but I think a more appropriate title would have been: "Can Do? Plays Straddling the Fence of Bright and Terrifying." Although, I guess that wouldn't have made for great marketing.

*Some hilarious miss's in the following post.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Jaguars! NOOO!


Jaguars were always my favorite of the big cats because they're super pretty and just seem cool. Also they're name is awesome. Jaguar. Just saying it makes you feel cool.

Unfortunately, I read this in the NY Times today.

A) Who knew jaguars used to prowl the Southwest?
B) How cool is that?
C) How lame is that there are none of them left? That's a major bummer.
D) How lamer is that that it's our fault?

I mean, I'm not saying I'd like to run into a jaguar on the street or anything. I have a sneaking suspicion he would win a wrestling match with me, what with his ginormous claws/teeth, but still. I would have liked to know they were out there in the woods somewhere prowling around and making the U.S. cooler just by existing. Sigh.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Stew of the Week

Cauliflower and Hummus in your Tummus!

Alright, we all know that hummus is delicious and a good snacking food, but why cauliflower? It's white and aren't only the veggies rich in color good for you? And isn't it the blandest of the bland veggies?

Aha! That is where you are wrong loyal reader, let me lead you towards the (white) light.

1) Cauliflower is just as good for you as broccoli. It's high in: Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Folate, Pantothenic Acid, Potassium and Manganese. It's also got: Protein, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Magnesium and Phosphorus.
2) All of that packed in a cup of food that, alone and raw, only packs 25 calories? Uh, pass the cauliflower please!
3) The fact that cauliflower has a very subtle flavor is great! It makes it the perfect base for healthy dips or sauces. You can toss it in a stir fry or, as I've been munching it lately, lightly dip it in hummus (tomato and basil is my flavor of the month, but there are just so many to choose from!).
4) Be sure not to go too crazy on your sauce or dip, though. Just because the cauliflower is packed with nutrients and low in calories does not mean that your dip is. Try to limit your snacking to under 2 tbs. per serving. I find this is really easy to do with something like cauliflower, though, because it still picks up all of the flavor of the dip with very little of the actual dip on top.
5) Today was more about cauliflower than hummus, but that's just because I'll come back to hummus when I myself have explored its many varieties and perhaps have attempted to make it myself at some point...

Hope this helps widen your yummy vegetable range! I know they're going back on my grocery list this week!

Happy Stewing!

Friday, April 3, 2009

A Facebook Ad:


Man, if I had done this a year ago, I would be SO rich and they would be SO pissed at me right now.

Elite Egg Donors


But seriously, check out their website. It's shmancy and who doesn't want $50K? Plus it's got super suave music and a trendy attitude with videos and graphic design galore. If that doesn't want to make you sell your eggs for cash, I don't know what will.

Oh, but some applicants "need not apply." My hunch from the blue-eyed, white babies on the home page was confirmed with a visit to their criteria for donors section.

Sigh... good ol' racism shrouded in selective breeding.

Why I'll Miss College:

Overheard in the mysterious room that is "next" to mine but not in the same suite...

(Sung by a male voice a capella to "I Touch Myself" by the Divinyls)

"Oooh, I want you.
I don't want anybody else.
When I think about you,
I masturbate.
Ooooh!"

(Repeat with pause for giggles. His, not mine.)

These lyrics certainly seem to coincide with my image of the boy who lives across the wall, as I generally do hear a rhythmic "thump-thumping" of a bed in the mid-morning and occasionally evening hours, and yet I never hear another voice in the room.

Sigh, good ol' college!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Self-Promotion Alert!

Chowdah Show tomorrow at 9PM!

Videos to follow sometime in the next week or two.

Come one come all! Or at least watch the videos on YouTube.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Spoiler Alert!

Sodium-Free Bread?

Not delicious.

Low-Sodium Bread?

Delicious.