Wednesday, December 29, 2004
Yesterday I got a belated birthday present from some friends of mine, and as part of the gift, I got some cool British chocolate bars. A lot of British chocolate bars are just American chocolate bars with different names and different wrappers. Somehow, this makes them cooler to me. In this assortment of candy, I got a Cadbury Flake bar, which I love; it's just regular Cadbury milk chocolate (which is better chocolate than Hershey's any day), but it has this cool flaky texture. I also got an Aero bar, which is also just regular chocolate (made by Nestle, so not as good as Cadbury, but still better than Hershey's) but with tiny air bubbles evenly distributed throughout. While I don't like it as much as Flake, it's really good, and it makes me think that when it comes to candy bars, the British are either:
(P.S. As long as there's no chocolate involved, I'm actually okay with organ meat.)
Buy British candy and other English Isle fare at Life's Little Luxuries. They have Spotted Dick!
Tuesday, December 28, 2004
Perhaps my favorite part of the movie was the soundtrack: most of it consisted of one of the characters singing acoustic versions of David Bowie songs in Portuguese! Maybe it's because I have a thing for American pop songs sung in different languages (World Market frequently has CD compilations of such works, and yes, there might be one or two in my CD collection), but it was just so great. And the soundtrack also featured "Staralfur" by the oddly brilliant and charmingly Icelandic Sigur Ros in one of the more poignant scenes; it's not on the movie soundtrack CD, but Agaetis Bryjun is worth getting anyway. I should go find that CD and listen to it right now.
Oh, and the bat? Never caught it. Yeah, I didn't sleep so good last night. Fucker.
Monday, December 27, 2004
Wednesday, December 22, 2004
But still, I wanted to try the recipe, because the cookies looked so good when she made them on tv, so this morning I made sure my butter was at room temperature, and I made sure that I creamed the butter and sugar until the mixture was light and fluffy, and I added the flour a little at a time so I could stop when the dough came together. But as soon as I started adding the flour, my little hand mixer made a weird noise, seemed to glow from the inside, and then died altogether. The recipe killed my mixer!
Determined to make these stupid cookies no matter what, I reached for a wooden spoon to start adding in the flour, and then finally resorted to my built-in mixing tools (those would be my hands) to finish the job. Let me tell you something, those pre-electricity British people must have really loved their shortbread, because combining all of this stuff by hand is a royal pain in the ass. But, I got it done, chilled my dough, formed it into little balls, egg-washed them, rolled them in coconut, put some jam on them, and baked them. And after all that trouble? They rock. It was totally worth it, and I'd do it again, and I'd do it by hand. I would wholeheartedly recommend making these, especially if you have a mighty Kitchen Aid stand mixer to do the labor for you. I used store-brand red raspberry preserves, but now I want to try them with everything: blueberry, apricot, lemon curd, apple butter -- everything. Screw sugar cookies that don't taste good. (Why do most Christmas cookies taste like cardboard?) These are way better. Good luck.
Monday, December 20, 2004
I just got back from a theatre rehearsal of sorts, and it was one of the most annoying things I've ever sat through. The woman who asked me to attend is nice enough, but the guy running the session was kind of full of himself, and my eyes hurt from rolling so much. Yeah, he probably saw me, but I'm not concerned. And he looked like the screenwriting workshop guy in Adaptation. You know -- the one who's kind of full of himself and says things like, "And God help you if you use voice-over in your work, my friends. God help you." My rehearsal was a sound-related one, so I kept waiting for him to say something like, "God help you if you use pre-recorded effects in the play." And, there was one guy there who kept asking questions, and they were all bad questions. Yeah, I know there's no such thing as a bad question, but these were about as close as you can get. Everyone there was rolling their eyes at him, which is why the god-help-you guy probably wasn't suspicious of me rolling my eyes at him. Overall, a bad night for eye-rolling.
Tuesday, December 14, 2004
On an unrelated topic, after Friday, I have two whole weeks off! Unlike last year at this time, when I was editing two substantial documentaries, this year's winter break is all about relaxing and just doing stuff around the house. Yeah, I have a video project I want to get done, but there are books to read and rugs to vacuum and clothes to sort through and donate to Goodwill.
Sunday, December 12, 2004
Since I've turned this entry into a restaurant review, I'll continue by saying that the drinks are good too. When I order booze in a regular restaurant, I'm usually careful to specify what brand of vodka or gin (or whatever) I want, just to avoid having the bartender pour turpentine from a plastic jug into the shaker holding my drink. Last night, I ordered a Cosmopolitan without being specific, and whatever they gave me was great, and there was lots of it. So, between drinking my superstrong drink and half of my mom's superstrong drink, eating lots of food made with lots of butter (possibly too much butter, but my god, butter tastes good), and doing all of this 95 floors above civilization, I got really lightheaded, but was still able to blow out the birthday candle in the gelato on our dessert.
And of course, the views are spectacular. It's not an observation deck, per se -- that's a few flights up -- so you can't get right up to the windows to watch the world below, but the whole dining room is glassed in, so you can pretty much see whatever you want from your table. And, oddly enough, the best view is out the windows in the ladies' bathroom upstairs on the 96th floor; you can see Navy Pier and the lake perfectly (sorry gents).
If you go to the Signature Room, have a reservation, especially if it's on a weekend or during busy tourist season. Bring lots of cash or make sure you've paid all your credit card bills. Show up hungry. My dad's son the doctor recommends the filet. ("It's so good, it doesn't even taste like meat!") Expect maybe a little lightheadedness, but the good kind of lightheadedness. The I-drank-some-good-alcohol-and-ingested-lots-of-butter kind of lightheadedness. You should go. You'll like it.
Friday, December 10, 2004
Tomorrow I'm heading to Chicago for the night to see my little brother officially graduate from chiropractic school. This means he gets to be called "doctor." He's leaving his apartment and moving back to New York. Unfortunately for my parents, he's moving back home for a little while. It's not so cool to be a doctor and live with your mom and dad. See, I'm making fun of him now, but at this point next year, his annual income will be ten times what mine is, and he'll get to make fun of me. Anyway, back in a few days.
Wednesday, December 8, 2004
Monday, December 6, 2004
Thursday, December 2, 2004
Amid some good news and annoying news this week, those being a snow day yesterday (I know! I know!) and drama surrounding the repair of my G5, I went out and got myself a pet. No, it's not anything exotic or cool or even really dependent. I got a little red Betta. Going on a suggestion that I give him a regular human name, I have named him Ted. Other names I considered:
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