Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Clash of Kings

Let the nerdery continue!! So, as much as I loved the first of George RR Martin's books, I loved the second more. Who would have thought Martin could draw me in after killing off many of my favorite characters? After my mourning period from A Game of Thrones, I jumped into this book (all 950+ pages of it) and found myself fully engrossed. I certainly hope HBO has picked this up for another season: it just keeps getting better. I told my husband the other day that this is the first adult fantasy series I've ever truly been enthralled with (I have no shame in my love for Harry Potter and other juvenile literature). Thank you, George R.R. Martin, for making taking this genre to a whole new level. :)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian

I'm a day late for my Talk Nerdy to Me Tuesday this week, but I have an excellent excuse. The book was read previously, but our family went out of town for the weekend so my husband could be in a wedding. And, like most times when I visit home, there's always kind of an emotional fall-out when I get back to Tallahassee. I miss mah peeps! So, this book fits perfectly with my homesickness, kind of. Quick run down-- Alexie tells the story of a Native American boy who decides to go to school off the reservation. Simple, right? Well, not so much. A new twist on the classic coming of age tale, Alexie's story adds humor to some very dark situations and revelation to what the reader thinks they already have all figured out. Complete with lighthearted cartoons. :)

The juxtaposition of  vulnerability and maturity Alexie gives the main character's voice is riveting. It is quite easy to pick it up and not walk away until it's finished.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

How Did You Get This Number?

Welcome back to the weekly Talk Nerdy to Me Tuesday. Sloane Crosley is my kind of girl-- deadpan humor laced with self-deprecating jibes-- but without being a downer. This compilation of essays was given to me by the same friend who gave me Crosley's first book, I Was Told There'd Be Cake (I know...Elise obviously knows me). Over a year after receiving it, I finished it. Suddenly, as I was chatting with Elise via IM, I had the epiphany as to why it was taking me over 365 days to read a 271 page book (That's less than a page a day. Math whiz? Oh yeah.). Since I'm subject to take my reality from media, I wanted to savor this book: it reminded me of the person who gave it. 

The convo that sparked it all:

ME: What are you making for your sister's birthday dinner?
E: Baked spaghetti, as usual. Then a dessert (not too chocolately, she says). Then garlic bread. Then, of course, wine.
ME: Woah. Jealous.
E: Yeah, I'm carb-loading. Hope I don't blow up like a bitch.
ME: Last time I did that was on my birthday and I felt miserable.
E: Well, I should be okay...since it's not my birthday and all.
ME: I miss you.

Elise's confounding logic always cheers me up-- and makes me nostalgic. These are the conversations one needs to get through the day. While we're away from family and friends for another 7 months, I'm so grateful for IM, text, facebook, etc.-- and for Sloane Crosley, who seems to share a similar wit. (Pack your bags: we're coming for you, Sloane.) If Crosley doesn't get another compilation of essays out by September 2012, and since food is usually the point of my conversations, now I know what I want for my next birthday:

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Falling Off the Bandwagon What I Ate Wednesday

Tuck and roll, baby! Pretty much after I posted my Going Strong [vegetarian] WIAW for Peas and Crayons last week, the carnage cravings started-- for real. When the cravings went on to mess with how I felt physically-- achy, tired, depressed, it was time to eat some meat. Even as I wrote my review for Eating Animals, I was browning beef for my spaghetti sauce. I have learned through this experience, though, that my heart is in the right place, but full-on vegetarian is not who I am. It's nice to get in touch with my paleolithic side. :) So, after making it 23 days without meat, here's what I came up with:
Cup of coffee on the way out the door. (Like our flashcards taped to the door? Classy, I know.)
Steak and egg/whites with Texas Pete, of course...oh, and another cup of coffee.

Aren't these cute?!? Way to go, Krispie Kreme! (Mine are the ugly ones on the bottom left: pumpkin spice.)

After grocery shopping, I treated myself to 2 servings of Combos and a Diet Dr. Pepper (my favs!) and I bagged up the rest of the Combos for the kids. :)
Tuna in a pita with LOTS of pickles...and some obligatory vegetables.

Oh yes! And, I finally received my diploma from FSU! Woot! Now I have proof!
Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Eating Animals

I read this one per the suggestion of my friend, Martha, over at Make or Die. Since October is the Go Veg for a Month challenge, I thought I'd read one of the many pro-veg manifestos: Eating Animals. Safron-Foer's editorial surprisingly ends up being less of a case for vegetarianism and more of a case against factory farming. Chock full of reasons to eat less (or no) meat, including health and the environment, Foer exposes the atrocities of removing farming from farmers and giving the industry over to cooperate America. This in particular appealed to my rebellious nature.

So, even if you're not interested in the green stuff ....
...and death is inevitably a part of life-- and survival.

I'd say this paragraph sums up his entire directive:
"It shouldn't be the consumer's responsibility to figure out what's cruel and what's kind, what's environmentally destructive and illegal. Cruel and destructive food products should be illegal. We don't need the option of buying children's toys made with lead paint, or aerosols with chlorofuorocarbons, or medicines with unlabeled side effects. And we don't need the option of buying factory-farmed animals."

Foer's right about one thing...

Unlike many pro-veg-anti-cooperation writers, Foer does not seem to advocate what one voice in text calls the "Marie Antoinette Complex"-- if you can't afford bread, eat cake, or, in our case, if you can't afford chicken, then eat free-range heritage chicken. He also debunks the myth of free range, cage free, grass fed (turns out it's all marketing) and the like. The book is eye-opening, though tough to read in places (if you didn't have one, you may grow a bleeding heart). It's chock full of documentation, but not weighed down with statistics (all his PAGES of references are in a section at the end). It's worth a read, definitely.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Crispy S'mores Wontons

Given that my experiment with wontons didn't bode so well last night, the remainder of the wrappers had to be used for something awesome. Why not dessert? When I saw dessert wontons on Pinterest, and remembered my leftover marshmallows and chocolate chips, I gave it a whirl. Like I said-- why not? This was easy Peesy-- take your filling of choice (pb&j? caramel? nutella? cream cheese?), place it on a wonton, brush water on the edges and place another wonton on top. Fry in vegetable oil 'til they're crispy and roll 'em around in some cinnamon sugar. Enjoy!

Friday Night Fail

Epic fail for our Friday night appetizer and movie event-- unless you're interested in empty wonton wrappers, of course. Oh, and no movie. (Apparently my children are not as in to movies as I am.) Meanwhile, this amazing cheesiness was supposed to substitute for the immense cravings for meat I've developed. I must admit, I've never been into carnage. I have never ever, in my life, craved a big juicy cheeseburger (though I've eaten them, to be sure) or gotten giddy over bacon frying, or voluntarily bellied up to a rack o' ribs. Now, 22 days after starting this whole venture, I can say I'm not a vegetarian. It's nice to rule that out . . . to discover this part of myself . . . the carnivorous part. When I walk in the grocery store, all I can smell is the ready-made fried chicken. I seriously want to face-plant into a bowl of sausage and peppers or cut into a bloody steak or even stuff myself with a pulled pork sandwich. I feel weak and kind of out of it and not a little depressed (AND yes, I'm eating healthy, whole foods and taking supplements and vitamins). I'm holding out simply for the prize money-- which inevitably I will only win if I DON'T keep my promise (See?! Not eating meat makes me think like Eeyore.). But, since this is a year of self-discovery and of happiness, I can say this experience is providing me with both-- I am discovering that my self is not completely happy with zero meat. In the future, less meat is alright. No meat? No way.