Friday, August 28, 2009

I was on the fence about Batman: Arkham Asylum, until GameStop starting airing this ad:

Now, I'm totally pumped. Once I have a few bucks to spare, I'm all over it!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sing me to sleep

I'm not sure if this song is exactly intended to be a "happy" thought, but for whatever reason it is for me. Every time I listen to it, I feel empowered. I've recently learned that life is more unpredictable than any of us could imagine in our wildest dreams (or nightmares), and there is some odd comfort to be found in that realization. You can't anticipate what comes next. So stop worrying about it. You'll know where you are when you arrive.

I couldn't find a music video, so here is the

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

My books!

Stuck on you

My parents went to the beach last week, and as is our Ocean City tradition they returned with a giant tub of Fisher's popcorn for me. I can't quite explain why this particular caramel corn is so much more delicious than any other, but it's seriously addictive. The ingredients are straightforward: popcorn, brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, salt. Somehow these ordinary foods combine to make a snack that I can't stop eating, even when consumption gives me a stomach ache. In a perhaps not-so-bright move, I sat the tub next to my bed while I was working last night and it is now half-gone. Yum.

Monday, August 24, 2009


A tiny little part of me wants to get into shape if only to be able to compete in silly television competitions. Like this one:

American Ninja Warrior Challenge

Sunday, August 23, 2009

My brief Swedish vacation

Went back to Ikea today to return a duvet cover that had some togetherness issues. I was refunded the $20, and then promptly spent $80 more walking through my favorite place on earth. Some people find Ikea overwhelming, but I absolutely love it. I went a little too late for lunch, so I skipped the meatballs in favor of a $1 soft pretzel. I even had enough willpower to share it with my dad. My mom joined in the fun with her own $1 cone of frozen yogurt.

I was reminded of my many trips to Ikea while living in Beijing, where the food was by far the most popular attraction. In the few years I lived there, I witnessed the construction of one of the largest Ikea stores in the world. Despite the fact that the store contained copious amounts of ridiculously cheap merchandise (due to the lack of import fees), most people lined up to grab handfuls of 1 kuai (12 cent) hotdogs. I went to raid the Swedish foodmart for pickled herring, gravlax, and vodka. But I digress.

For me, there is something calming and reassuring about walking through the Ikea warehouse. I know the order of things, how the departments flow seamlessly from one to the next. I know what products are standard, and which items are new. I even enjoy the element of controlled chaos, with the narrow aisles, children running, and the strangely wide turning radius of those utility carts. No matter what country I'm in, Ikea makes me feel at home.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

I'm pretty sure this counts as a vegetable

There were lots of carrots just sitting in the fridge not doing anything useful. So, I turned them into a cake! It's full of carrots, which means it must be good for you.

Here's a recipe of sorts. I approximated most of the spices, so feel free to go wild!

Mix together:
2 cups sugar (or 1 cup Splenda baking blend)
2 cups flour
1tsp baking soda
1tsp baking powder
1tsp salt
cinnamon (I like 2 parts cinnamon for every 1 part other spice)

1 cup oil
4 eggs
dash vanilla
lots of shredded carrot

Some people like to add nuts. I am usually one of these people, but there were no nuts to be found. I suggest walnuts.

Grease and flour a 9x13 pan. I get the baking spray with flour built in. It's handy, and there's no mess. Bake at 325 for around 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Now, leave the cake somewhere safe to cool and walk away. I find this to be the most difficult part, but it's important not to touch the cake until it's completely cool. You can busy yourself making icing while you wait!

Cream together:
8oz cream cheese (I used the reduced fat kind, and it was still delicious)
1/2 cup(ish) margarine
lots of vanilla

Add in powdered sugar until you reach the level of sweetness you prefer. For me, it usually takes around 2 cups of powdered sugar to do the trick. Don't ice the cake until you're sure it's cool, or else the icing will go all runny! If you're serving the whole thing, then feel free to ice away. Since I'm just eating this a slice (or two) at a time, I keep the icing in the fridge and apply liberally as needed.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting-
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

(Mary Oliver)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I love the smell of old books

As I was placing books on my new wall of Ikea shelving, a bookmark fell out of my old copy of October Country, and I was reminded of where I bought it. It is this fantastic website that sells used books, and they have a particularly large quantity of sci-fi and pulp fiction. I have always loved science fiction, both for the stories and the cover art. There is something magical about the swirling planets, the wild clothing, even the windswept futuristic babes. I went crazy in their clearance section this afternoon, snatching up a bunch of 1970's sci-fi for around $1.50 a book. Something tells me I'll have my face smashed up against the window waiting for the mailman to arrive. The anticipation is delightful.

Looking on the bright side

I've decided to collect and share happy thoughts. There's so much negativity floating around in the world that sometimes we fail to see the little things that make the big picture come into focus. Cheesy? Probably. But, then again, what's wrong with cheesy? A smile is a smile.
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