Archive | December 2011

Man Vs Food

Ok.  I hate this show!  I think it’s obscene and wasteful and displays all the horrid qualities that make people hate Americans.

My oldest, Thing 1, watches this show all the time, so I do see bits and pieces here and there.  I am so disgusted watching that gross dude shovel food into his mouth with those bloated sausage fingers.  Ew, ick!  And when he eats to the point that he’s sweating because of the sheer bulk of food he’s crammed into his gullet; ugh, it’s nauseating.

So, it was rather amusing today when I saw that quite clearly, that on man Vs food, the food has won.  That guy gained another person in weight.  At least he’s not doing all the eating anymore.  They have different people taking on the food challenges so their spreading the health endangering activities around.

These challenges are all horrible ideas, as has been clearly shown by the horrific things that have happened to his body. He was surely destined for an onscreen heart attack.  Maybe they could have man Vs food be about him trying to exercise off all that crap he ate.  That might balance out the completely irresponsible original premise of the show.

Good luck, fat dude.  I hope those paychecks have been worth the time it’s taken off your life.

Is It All Just Wasted Time

First, Merry Christmas!  My bread pudding is soaking up chocolate-y creamy goodness, my ham and root vegetables are cooking, my pasta sauce is simmering, my ricotta gnocchi are shaped and waiting to be boiled, my bread is baking, and my scalloped potatoes are all assembled and ready to pop in the oven.  The perfect time to take a break and share a little Christmas frustration.

I dislike wastefulness in general, but specifically wasteful packaging.   Although this is a year round annoyance, it’s especially obvious at Christmastime.  I’m used to the excessive packaging for toys, but my 6 pack of Puma athletic socks really blew my mind for excessive packaging.

Santa bought me a 6 pack of Puma athletic socks.  Each pair of socks was coupled with a metal clip at the toes.  That’s 6 little metal clips.  The socks were affixed to a plastic mini hanger thing.  It took 8 of those stupid plastic price tag fasteners to attach the socks to the hanger and each other.  The hanger was wrapped with a cardboard label.  And all of this was in a plastic bag! Can someone explain why all this packaging was necessary.  Not only is it wasteful, it’s obnoxious.  I don’t want to spend 10 minutes removing 6 pairs of socks from their packaging.  That’s ridiculous, and not in a good way.  Shame on you Puma.  I’m completely annoyed and will certainly hesitate before purchasing anything else stamped with the Puma name.

The other stand out for ridiculous packaging was Kohls.  We ordered a Cuisinart bread knife from Kohls.com.  I received a massive box, at least 15 times the size of the knife.  This box was completely jammed with craft paper.  All this to ship a knife that was wrapped in a blister pack.  They could have shipped the blister pack in an envelope but some warehouse genius shipped it separate from the rest of my order in a box that could have contained my entire order 3 times!  Asinine.  Shame on you Kohls.

I do recycle.  I will even recycle the metal clips from my Puma socks.  But reducing is always better than recycling. I don’t want to have to recycle this nonsense.  It’s not enough.  Now, I’m going to get old and crotchety for a minute.  But only for a minute.

Our, and by our I mean everyone on this planet, resources are finite.  If every culture was as wasteful as ours, we would have already run out of everything we need.  Our disposable lifestyle is rather obscene.  I hate this.  I know that I am part of this problem,  this is part of my culture.  I can still be disgusted by it.

I did one thing this year to reduce.  Instead of buying some crappy toy that is destined to soon be broken and forgotten, or simply forgotten.  I gave my 4 youngest nieces and nephews savings bonds this year and I substantially reduced the amount of gifts my own kids received.  My kids still got/get loads of toys from their grandparents and uncles, but I limited my own participation in this bad idea.

Anyway, that is my only gripe today.  Too much stuff. In the middle of this orgy of packaging (that came from an orgy of gift giving), I spent time with people I love.   I have two more family holiday gatherings left.  I can’t wait.

Happy Christmas!

Run Run Rudolph

Yesterday was the first Running WITH the Santas in Tremont (not to be confused with the Running of the Santas events held in a dozen or so US cities and one in New Zealand).  Different name, same idea. You start out with a two-hour pre-race “party”.  Run a mile.  Have a 6 hour after-race party.  9 different bars in the neighborhood paid to participate.  And Lolly the Trolley was available to shuttle people around the neighborhood if they didn’t want to walk.

I signed up as soon as I heard about it.   How could I possibly resist?

At 2 pm – ish, the start of the pre-party, we headed over to Tremont Tap House to pick up our race packets.  We also picked up a Great Lakes Christmas Ale, which at $3 each was a pretty decent bargain.

ready to .... run?

Since this was the first time for this event, details were scarce prior to event day.  In fact, the proprietor at Prosperity Social Club, who was lovely, was still wondering what she would get for her participation fee.

When we picked up our race packets, we were given a map with the participating pubs.  Tremont Tap House was stop number 1 on the map.  They had a little popup with specials for the day on it.  Aside from the Christmas ale and Coors (really?  Coors is special?  $2.50 for a Coors is still $4 too much.  Ick.  Coors.  By the way, the drink specials were an event decided thing.  Listing Coors as a special is not Tremont Tap House’s fault), they had some special food items.  I was so ready to come back after the race because one of the two food specials was….. wait….. POUTINE!!!!!  What says drunken foot race in costumes better than poutine?

After the first beer of the day, we headed over to Lava Lounge (which was actually stop #3, we meant to go to #2 first, Lincoln Park Pub, but the map was a bit vague and we missed it).  I have wanted to visit most of the participating places for some time.  Tremont has a bad reputation for car theft and such, lack of parking, and residents annoyance with those of us suburbanites who come to spend our money in the trendy eateries that populate the neighborhood.  To be fair, not all residents resent visitors, but it’s enough to dissuade me.

Anyway, the reason I really wanted to visit Lava Lounge is because they have some sort of arrangement with William Rupnik Gallery, a local art gallery.  Although the William Rupnik Gallery is in downtown Cleveland, the parties after openings are at Lava Lounge.  Honestly, it’s been about a year and a half or so since I last went to the William Rupnik Gallery and I had no idea that they moved from midtown (E40th) to downtown.  That makes the after parties on the near west side a bit more understandable.

While Lava Lounge is stunning in the pictures for the William Rupnik Gallery e-mails, it doesn’t quite live up to that in real life.  Which isn’t to say that it’s without it’s charms.  The place is cute inside.  The other patron in the bar was a local.  He assured us that this was a great place to catch a meal, and that he tried to get there once a month for that purpose.  I was a bit disappointed that the bartender really had no interest in being behind the bar.  He spent all his time gossiping with someone in the kitchen.  His indifference guaranteed that we wouldn’t be returning after the race, and probably won’t be stopping by the next time I get to go to a William Rupnik Gallery exhibition.

As it was nearing 3:30, and the race started at 4, we decided to head on back towards the Tremont Tap House.  On the way we caught stop #2, Lincoln Park Pub.  It was packed.  Above the bar was a row of old fashioned CRT tvs.  Even before the prevalence of flat-screen tvs, I would have found this exact setup odd.  I like good odd.  This is good odd.  Compared to the majority of the places in Tremont, this place is huge and airy.  Most of the places are oddly shaped cramped into lots that are the thinnest of thin.  The bartender was friendly and attentive and the shot was shot-y? I will definitely go back here.

The race itself was the longest mile I’d ever run.  First, those may be the most uneven streets I’ve ever come across.  Second, as much as one would think otherwise, a 2 shot 2 beer race hydration plan is not the best for performance.

The costumes were the best.  I talked to a lady that had run the Reindeer Run in Lakewood the week before.  I recognized her awesome red and green tutu.  I didn’t see him either time, darn it, but a guy ran dressed as Ralphie in the bunny suit for both the Running with the Santas and the Reindeer Run.  I NEED to talk to that guy.  I want a picture with him. I did get my picture with a guy who had the best Santa suit ever.  He told us that is had been his grandfather’s suit and it was 50 years old.  It was awesome.  He beat me.

The grinch was there, representing.  Look:

There were several people “running” with beers.  It was great fun.  I have a picture with a lady who made her own Mrs. Claus suit with red felt, a white boa, and a glue gun.  She was adorable.  I talked to her before the race and ran into her at Prosperity Social Club at the end.

Red Bull had reps handing out, what else, Red Bull about halfway through the race.  I wish it had been diet 😦  Oh well, regardless, that can is going to have to settle for a few days before I even attempt to open it.

The race ended in front of The South Side, location #9.  Since so many people were there, we decided to go to one of the other participating places.  #8 was Fat Cats, owned by the same chef that owns Lava Lounge.  This place was really pricey and not at all the type of place I wanted to be in dressed as I was.  We left before ordering anything.

We skipped location #7 altogether, which was 806 Martini and Wine Bar.  That seems like a place to check out for a fancy date, but not in fur trimmed tights under running shorts.

We stopped in at the Treehouse, location #6, which I have been dying to try. Unfortunately it was understaffed.  We sat for at least 5 minutes without any hint that someone might make their way over to take our orders (or give us a menu).  The table next to us had been there when we arrived.  Said they had been there about ten minutes.  The only drinks on their table were the water bottles available at the end of the race.  So we walked out of here too. It is so nice inside, I want to go back even though I got NO service.

Location #5 was The Flying Monkey Pub.  We stopped in and had a beer here.  Oddly, they served no food of any sort.  Even odder, go to the website, they list Wednesday night as taco night.  How do you have taco night with no food?  Do they have food only on Wednesday.  Dammit!  I wish I had seen that before I was told they didn’t have food, I would’ve had so many questions for the bartender.  It’s a nice place to catch a drink anyway.

By this time I was getting hungry and I needed to leave, had a parental commitment.  So we decided to go back to the Tremont Tap House for that poutine.

A funny thing happened at the tap house.  While I was in the bathroom, my husband sat down at the bar to order food and drinks.  When I emerged from the bathroom, my husband was standing outside the bathroom door and quickly escorted me outside.  Apparently someone at the Tap House was unhappy with the outcome of their involvement with the Running with the Santas because, as my husband sat down at the bar, the specials list was ripped from his hand by an angry bartender exclaiming that they were done “with this shit”.  Even though it was only 5 pm, and the specials were supposed to be 4-10 pm.  My husband inquired whether we may pay full price for the specials items and was told no! Seriously, one hour into the specials, the Tap House was pulling participation in the rudest way possible.  Way to promote goodwill.  – That bartender wins my douchebag of the day award for being the sole rude person, at an event that had the potential to create many, many rude people.  He didn’t even have the excuse of excessive alcohol consumption.  He was a sober douchebag! That’s the worst kind.

So we went back to Prosperity Social Club where we had an Oyster Po Boy and an order of Prosperity Planks.  And another round of beers.  And water.  Lots of lovely, clear, non-alcoholic water.  My liver and kidneys thanked me for that.  The service was good, except at the end when I needed to cash out.  The food was excellent.  I will go back.  In fact, after spending the better part of my afternoon here, I am ready to go back to most of these places, except, obviously, the Tremont Tap House.  Because I have finite amounts of discretionary spending but tons of way better places to spend it on than at a place with a worker that flipping out of line.

I hope that this does become a yearly event.  Now that some of the glitches have been worked out, it can only get better. Good job Hermes and good job Tremont!

 

 

I Do My Thing

My favorite presents to buy are strange and unnecessary and fun.  So imagine how thrilled I was when I bought My First Bacon for someone (geez, I can’t wait to give that present.  so excited).  In fact, I was thinking I might need to befriend a pregnant woman so that I could give her My First Bacon for her child.  Really it’s brilliant.  The youtube video for this talking toy rules.

It used to be more difficult to find unusual odd gifts.  There was an awesome store in Collinwood that sold all sorts of odd stuff.  Best place to shop, ever! Unfortunately, it went out of business rather quickly.  It was a store full of useless, pretty things that were rather pricey.  It just couldn’t survive the economy.

Well, rather by accident I found a new place to buy useless stuff.  ThinkGeek.

For my brother, a Star Wars fanatic (the dude used to have a Christmas tree decorated entirely in Star Wars figures), I bought a Han Solo in Carbonite ice cube tray (it’s to go with a legitimate useful gift, I’m not that cheap).

For a coworker, also a big Star Wars fan, I got this:


For my son, The Monkey King, I got this:

We’re having a Zombie-themed birthday party for him.  With a zombie brain jello mold, felt  zombie plushes as party favors/decorations, and zombie brain cupcakes.  He’ll be 7.  He’s very excited.

I bought Dismember-Me Zombie Plush for a different coworker.  I should’ve bought one for The Monkey King also, but he’ll get some handmade (by mommy) zombies (and a cell phone).  I love this store.  I got a really cool personal guitar pick maker for my husband, hopefully he’s not reading this.  That is almost practical.  I know, I ruined everything by allowing a little practicality into things.

Anyway, when I received my first order from ThinkGeek, a catalog was in the box with my merchandise.  Even though I had initially found the website, being able to hold a catalog in my hand is so much better.  I must have read through that catalog 5 times. Every time I flipped through it, I would notice something that I hadn’t noticed the first time I had perused it.  I even took that catalog to work to show a few people some items that I thought would amuse them. Instead of just showing them the one item, I ended up going through the whole catalog with each person.  It ended up being at least a twenty minute conversation filled with laughter.  That silly catalog spread more joy.  It also caused me to place another order.  That catalog was a stinking awesome marketing tactic!

Even the darned shipping packaging is adorable.  Look:

Curse you, ThinkGeek!  I wish you weren’t located in Virginia.  I want to work for you.

 

 

 

 

 

Jolly Old Saint Nicholas Lend Your Ear This Way

So December 6th is St. Nicholas Day.  Last Year I found an adorable craft project for this holiday.  It’s little paper shoes.  Go find the project instructions here.

I went a little crazy last year and made a ton of them.  I filled them all with candy and gave them to tons of people.  So cute! This year I went for quality over quantity and only made 5.

I have a thing about reusing packaging.  So combining my love of pink and reusing things, I made this:

Isn’t it way cuter than a paper shoe made from boring old construction paper?

I used a Victoria’s Secret bag for the outside.  The ribbon handle from the bag serves as a shoelace. And the inside is the cardboard insert from my Hello Kitty alarm clock.

I even did the bottom in Victoria’s Secret bag.  The tulle inside the shoe is from a bouquet of flowers I received.  I can’t help it, pretty things should be reused.

I might go back and put some trim around the seam where the top of the shoe meets the “sole”.  Just to make it look “finished”.  I have some pretty silver cord from a package I received.

I didn’t take a picture, but for the boys, I used this thin orange fabric from a different bouquet of flowers I received.  They’re cute.  I can’t wait for St. Nick to come.  I wonder what he’ll leave?

I Remember As If It Were a Meal Ago

I was cutting coupons today and saw a page of pet food and treat coupons.  I only use Solid Gold dry food for my pets, but I will buy treats from other manufacturers.

Well, as I was cutting out these coupons, I started reading them.  And one of the coupons was for Fancy Feast Appetizers.

WTF!?!? Since when does a cat need an appetizer?  Unless it’s a party or a date, when does a normal person eat an appetizer?  Are you kidding me?  It’s cat food.  It’s not an appetizer.  I will not be feeding my pets “courses”.  They will be fed whatever I slop into their bowls and should be grateful for whatever that happens to be (although, as I said above, I feed my pets Solid Gold dry food, so they should really, really be grateful).

It doesn’t need to look like people food.  I don’t give a sh%t if it’s fake grilled.  If you, food manufacturers, insist on saying that gelatinous slop in canned foods is gravy (or, the case of Fancy Feast, delicate broth), have at it.  My pets don’t need human food, they need pet food.  My pets don’t need to be served on a silver platter, they are very happy with their stainless steel bowls.

I do care that it has meat as it’s first ingredient.  And preferably the second and third ingredients too.   I care if it uses BHT (this is bad).

Anyway, back to Fancy Feast.  If you’re going to call something a pet appetizer, go all in and call them appurrtizers or catpertizers or something clever (which neither or those names are).  Lame marketing.  Who buys this sh&t?

 

 

I showed the coupon to my husband and told him my viewpoint on the whole “appetizer” thing.  He thinks I spoil the pets.  He asked how many appetizers I’m going to buy.

 

Jerk.