Thursday, January 31, 2008

Chocolate: NOT!

I don’t like white chocolate. I take issue with the casualness of the use of the word chocolate in the name, white chocolate. If the taste alone didn’t have me running away then the fact that white chocolate is NOT chocolate would. It does not contain the cocoa solids or chocolate liquor necessary to make it real chocolate. It is cocoa butter, sugar, and milk solids. It is the chocolate antithesis.

I realize there are people out there who like white chocolate and my comments about its taste are likely not welcome. I think it’s the perfect solution for those unfortunate souls who cannot or will not partake in the ambrosia that is chocolate. The same wonderful ingredients that make chocolate equal to happiness are not present in white chocolate. So there is no theobromine, no tryptophan, no phenethylamine, and no caffeine.

Granted, there are many recipes out there that have white chocolate and many say they taste divine, though I’ve never been daring enough to try them. I think my body would hold a revolt. I’m completely devoted to chocolate. The creamy texture, the taste, how it melts… Mmmm, where's my stash?

While I munch, I will make this is my unofficial petition to rename white chocolate to something more appropriate like…Vanillanin? Nonchocolate? Chocoless? White confection? Ivory? Pearline? Milk white? Ooo, I’m liking the milk white.

Chocoholics unite!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Books: Graeme Base

I own a lot of books. I’d say half of the books are adult and half are children’s. My little library has threatened to take over B’s little collection of science fiction. One book that I fell in love with while I was in college was Graeme Base’s The Eleventh Hour.

The illustrations alone were mesmerizing, but add to that a mystery and ciphers and the book had me completely captivated. Base included drawings of wonderful architecture, furniture, and bits from places I’ve never been. I LOVE codes! It was such fun trying to figure out the mystery although I lost a few hours of my life. I can’t wait to share my glee with A and then M when they are old enough to complete the ciphers with me.

A and M are old enough for Animalia, another of Base’s books. It is the penultimate alphabet book. Every time we open its pages we find new pictures and new words.

Base also has a penchant for the environment which can be seen in at least two other books, The Sign of the Seahorse and Uno’s Garden. Both books are wonderfully illustrated and filled with tiny hidden things to think about. A has enjoyed both books and frequently pulls them off the shelf without my knowledge.

As an adult I shouldn’t be interested in children’s books, but how could you not when there are authors like Base. Next time you are in a bookstore check it out.

Friday, January 25, 2008

TV: Monk

Tony Shalhoub as Adrian Monk“Here’s what happened…”

That’s how it ends with Monk, the USA Network television show starring Tony Shalhoub. The obsessive detective nearly always solves the case (He has not yet solved the case of his beloved wife’s murder and doubts himself in “Mr. Monk and the Wrong Man.”)

While all the characters are driven crazy by the quirky, yet brilliant detective, I am thoroughly entertained. I’m not the only one as Monk has received Emmy and Golden Globe nominations and awards since its debut in 2002. If you haven’t seen the show you should tune in at least once and you have two opportunities to do so, in the winter and in the summer. Each season is divided into halves, saving me from summer television boredom.

I wanted to list a few of my favorite episodes, but my list continued to grow with each episode summary I read. I can say that my favorites seem to be from this season, six, and that I have to put out there how much glee I had when hearing Randy Newman’s “It’s a Jungle Out There” rapped by Snoop.

I won’t get into the discussions about the music change after season one or the assistant change near the end of season three. Instead I will suggest you read about Monk at Wiki or read the episode guides at When you’ve watched an episode sit back and laugh, like I do, reading the funny quotes from the show.

“It’s a gift…and a curse.”

Picture from USA Network

*Update* June 16, 2008
Back in April, I heard of Stanley Kamel's passing. He played the part of Monk's therapist so convincingly. The episode in which he came back from vacation to see Monk at his residence, and he told the driver to keep going, had me laughing up a storm. He will be missed. USA plans to have Monk see a new therapist played by Hector Elizondo. Thus summer episodes premiere on July 18, 2008.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Miscellaneous: What's in a name?

If the stars do it why can’t I? Because I don’t have enough money to provide police protection for the bullies my kids would meet in school if I named them Fifi or Audio. People nowadays can’t spell the common names, ones that have been around for years, much less the unusual ones. If I said, for example, that my name was Amy, I would most likely get, “How do you spell that?” Amy, Ami, Aimy, Aimee, Aymee,... In general, people are looking for more unusual names for their children. Magnify that by 100 and you’ve got Hollywood.

Okay, I have absolutely no right to make fun of these famous people and the names they give their children (read “I’m jealous of their money”), and the topic has made the rounds on the net enough times. So, in fun, see if you can name the parents and the gender of the following monikers.

Audio Science
Bluebell Madonna
Daisy Boo (Daisy is alright, but Daisy Boo?)
Diva Thin Muffin Pigeen
Fifi Trixibelle
Heavenly Hirrani Tiger Lily (Heavenly alone is more common, but Tiger Lily?)
Moxie CrimeFighter
Peaches (not a nickname!)
Poppy Honey (I’ve heard Poppy – maybe it’s the combination)
Pilot Inspektor
Rumer Glenn
Scout Larue
Tallulah Belle (Not so bad, but is the best of the three hint)

While some have been publicized, others have slipped under the radar. How many did you guess? Well, good for you! Either you spend a lot of time at Celebrity Baby Blog or you are wildly searching the internet because you don’t believe anyone named their child one of the above. There were more names, but my blog entry would have been too long. Add one in the comments if you think it’s worthy.

Answers in the next Miscellaneous post.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Men: Eddie Cibrian

Eddie Cibrian
Name: Eddie Cibrian (Edward Bryant Cibrian)
Best Known For: TV Show Young and the Restless
Year of Birth: 1973
Status: Married (Brandi Glanville)
Height: 6’2”
Fun Fact: He is involved in the Make-A-Wish foundation.

Eddie has dimples. Doesn’t that sum it up quite well? I thought he was cute when he was in the movie “The Cave,” but really it was perusing a site about hunky men that got me hooked. He is also did a couple of episodes of a TV show called Samantha Who?

I know, another married guy. But aren’t they always the ones who are taken? No? So my next guy will be single.

*UPDATE* SQUEAL! Eddie's been guesting on "Ugly Betty" - um, yea!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Chocolate: Dagoba Bar

DagobaHeaven. Someone gave me a Dagoba Bar and I died and went to heaven. Of course, I got kicked out as soon as the bar was gone, but it was great while it lasted. Shortly thereafter I went on a great search for another Dagoba. I have not found them – yet. I started with a web search.

They were easy to find and full of information. They have this whole history part of their website touting the fact that they are organic (read Full Circle Sustainability). I think that’s great! However, it is the taste of this bar that makes me melt. They also have interesting flavors like chai and lime. Although, if I have milk chocolate I’m good. Finally they are gluten free, which was how my friend came to be in the possession of the bars in the first place. I can handle gluten.

What I found most interesting was how they selected their beans. They use a process meant to keep the true taste of chocolate in the forefront. This is where they have earned my hard earned adoration. The website gives a large list of places to buy them and allows you to buy them online. There are a few stores I want to go to so I can find a bar, but I’ve been busy. I have been carrying around the wrapper for nearly 8 months. No kidding. If you are lucky enough to be anywhere near one then give it a try and get me a pass back into heaven.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Books: Kay Hooper

Book time! I wanted to pick a book for children because I have an affinity for them. Expect me to talk about children’s books soon. Instead I picked one of my favorites for enjoyment. Depending on how you look at it, cool or horrible, I’m a fan of romances. I know, you're thinking horrible.

There is nothing like the fantasy of a very nice looking man finding you attractive enough to pursue. A man who is romantic and thrilling. One who has a sense of humor and is a little mischievous. Chivalrous, but not chauvinistic. Supportive and caring, but not controlling. Great in…ahem.

While I like a good romance, I also like thrillers. Funnily enough, serial killer thrillers float my boat. Now you’re beginning to wonder, eh? Put a romance with a killer thriller and you’ve got a hit with me. There is a wonderful set of authors who were romance novelists who now write thrillers and delightfully combined the two. One such author is Kay Hooper.

I’m writing about Hooper in particular because she adds another of my favorite elements to her stories: the paranormal. In one of her series, she has created a special unit of the FBI that is comprised of people involved in the paranormal. Telekinesis, clairvoyance, telepathy, precognition, psychometry and mediumship are normal for this group of investigators who track down those people that the regular FBI can’t seem to manage. They get inside the killers’ heads, capture them, and then…fall in love!(No, not with the killers.)

All in all, they are a fun read, but like any other set of books you have to like the type. If you aren’t into romance or paranormal these won’t be your cup of tea. If you like what you’ve heard, Hooper has a whole series for you to enjoy – the Bishop/Special Crimes Unit series. There are three completed themes (Shadows, Evil, and Fear) all having to do with the same group of people. Hooper started the fourth theme this past year (Blood). I’ve left the link so you can read them in order (‘Cuz I’m OCD like that!)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

TV: Dead Zone and The 4400

I LOVE to watch TV! I should feel guilty that I let the tube rot my brain. I don’t. I even write in the times for the season or series premieres each fall on my calendar so I don’t forget to program the DVR. Luckily, B feels the same way I do. B is the one that introduced me to Ain’t It Cool News and now it’s listed in my favorites. (You should check out Ausiello’s Report under News+Views and TV Editor’s Blogs if you are a TV addict too.)

So B comes to me and says, “Did you hear the news?”
“Um, no. What news?”
“Oh,” Long, long pause. “You better check AICN.”
This dreadful feeling comes over me, very similar to bopping on the freeway, coming around the bend, and seeing cars parked from carpool lane to right hand barrier.

Anthony Michael Hall and Bill CampbellListed in the Coaxial is “Dead Zone Dead; The 4400 86’d!” I felt sucker punched. Man, why do all the fun shows get dumped! For those who don’t consider the TV one of their “bestest” friends, The Dead Zone was a show based on the book by Stephen King and starred Anthony Michael Hall (Don’t you remember Sixteen Candles?) I’ve always wished I could see the future and the past. I have no problem admitting to superpower envy. I guess they were trying to boost ratings when they gave his kid the same abilities even though Hall’s character supposedly got them from an accident and subsequent coma. I’m bummed it didn’t work.

Speaking of superpowers, The 4400 was about abductees, 4400 of them, that returned with superpowers. It made being taken by aliens a pretty good idea. Well, it turns out they weren’t taken by aliens, but us in the future, and the show was getting more complicated and fun. Boom! Gone! I’m doubly bummed.

To placate the masses of cult fans they are playing reruns. That’s like trying to straighten out Britney Spears by threatening to take her kids. They need to close them up with a movie. (No, that won’t help Britney.)

They are always taking away my shows! Don’t even get me started on Veronica Mars! Maybe if I had the power to mind meld with TV producers and networks…

Monday, January 7, 2008

Miscellaneous: Fizzlebot

My first of the Miscellaneous posts! Sometimes I will find something fun, unique, interesting...oh, forget that! Sometimes I will just have to say something that doesn't fit into the other categories I post about. This is where it will go.

Example Fizzlebot OneWhen I decided to do a blog I went on the great search to find the perfect avatar to put instead of a picture on my profile. I've seen some really cool ones (GIR in his dog suit) and really cute ones (animated cartoon kittens). But if I've seen it out there, then it's taken. Who wants someone else's avatar? So I tried to find character creator to make a cartoon character who looks like me! Okay, so PurpleNepenthe doesn't look human. Who said I was human?

Anyway, I found Fizzlebot which has some really fun looks despite looking simple. I didn't have to register or sign up. A and M, valued family members, also liked making a Fizzlebot to look like them, and the three of us created one for B. He wasn't thrilled, but it was highly entertaining for us :o).

Example Fizzlebot TwoGive it a try, especially if you've never done it. If you know of any other fun character creators that are quick, easy, and fun let me know!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Chocolate: M & Ms

Anybody looking back at these posts is going to get a real good laugh. I was so ready to do this, all planned out, and then I got ahead of myself. Searching the sites looking for cute guys made me mess up my plan! Chocolate comes before men! So this is a two for one.

The post that was supposed to come first is one of my great loves: chocolate. I'm going to start with an easy one, M&Ms. I particularly like peanut, but as most of you know they also come in milk chocolate (formerly known as plain), peanut butter, and almond.

Character ExampleIf you go to the M&Ms site there are a lot of fun things to look at. There is a character maker which is fun to mess with when you have some time, there is the section with the customized M&Ms, there are M&M products (non-chocolate), and there is information about the M&Ms Worlds in Las Vegas, Orlando, and NYC. I plan on making a visit to a World next year. Has anyone out there gone to one?

There is a bit about the history, which is interesting too. I remember in 1996 when they had the public vote on the new color. I wanted purple. I was a liiittle bit unhappy when blue won. Just a little. Really.

So M&Ms aren't the best chocolate, I will post more in other Chocolate posts, but M&Ms are fun and easy to get. I can sit with a book and a two pounder and eat the whole bag. I can also feel completely guilt-less when my significant other, B, finds the bag empty. Truly one sign of a chocoholic.

Sorry to screw up so early in my posting career. Next entry is Misc.

Men: Sendhil Ramamurthy

This is my first post in the Men Category. I don’t know about the rest of you, but if I do an internet search to see the faces of beautiful women (not that I do), the sites are all run by men. If I do an internet search to see the faces of gorgeous men (frequently :o)), the sites are all run by…men! And while I love to see the pictures they have of great looking celebrities with their chests bared, I can’t get over the constant pop ups, advertisements, and comments about how cute these male celebs are to other men! I’m a woman, and it ruins the imagery.

Anyway, in an attempt to even things out I am posting about hunky male celebrities here where the advertisements aren’t trying to convince me that I’m a gay male.

My first hunk:

Sendhil Ramamurthy
Name: Sendhil Ramamurthy (Sendhil Amithab Ramamurthy)
Best Known For: TV Show Heroes
Year of Birth: 1974
Status: Married (Olga Sosnovska)
Height: 5’10”
Fun Fact: Both his parents and sister are physicians. He’s the black sheep! LOL

Sendhil is one heck of a cutie! I particularly like him with his hair a little long and with his five o’clock shadow in full effect. I like his accent, though I’ve only heard him on the show and don’t know if he speaks differently normally. I mean, he was born in Chicago! Whatever, he seems like such a decent guy. The kind you’d want to take home to Mom. He avoids taking stereotypical Indian roles in movies as a rule which says a lot about his character.

Recent interview of Sendhil
I also get pictures of my favorite guys from Hunky Male Celebs.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Books: Cookbook - Short & Sweet

Yes, the holidays are over and many of us have made a New Year's resolution to lose weight. While I'm one of those who should have made that resolution, I have not. So I feel completely without guilt when I suggest the following book: Short & Sweet by Melanie Barnard.

You know that one of my categories is Chocolate, so it should come as no surprise that a book about desserts would be high on my list of recommendations. This is no ordinary cookbook. Barnard created quite a few desserts that can be made (after prep time) in less than 30 minutes and using seven or fewer ingredients. My favorite so far is the Warm Mocha Truffle Cake. Believe me it tastes as good as it sounds.

Barnard packs some info in the front of the book about ingredients, such as where you can find some of them or how to substitute. That was a plus for me because she uses some liquors and I'm not into alcohol. There is a section about what to keep in your pantry so you can make one of her quick desserts when you're under pressure.

A few of her other recipes I've tried:
Raspberry Lemon Layer Cake
Country Apple Tart
Black-Bottom Berry Tart

I heard that! I do love the chocolate recipes, but apparently the family thinks chocolate is too rich. Yeah, I don't know what to do with them either.


Happy New Year!

This, my blog and first post, is my New Year’s gift to me. Like I need a new hobby. Really I don’t. But I’ve been finding lately that there are fewer and fewer people to talk to about the things I enjoy. Either that or they’re avoiding me. I prefer the former.

I have what my friends and family fondly refer to as OCD, obsessive compulsive disorder. I have a very, very, very mild case…there’s a whole spectrum and some would argue that I don’t really have OCD at all. But it becomes apparent when I do particular things. For example, I love M&Ms. After specifically lining them up by color, I make sure there is the same number of each color. Next, I eat the leftovers (starting with green, I hate green). Then…well, I think you get the picture.

Thus, my blog is going to fit into particular categories and I plan to post in those categories regularly. In that order. On every third day. (Heh, obsessive…)


I just hope you’ll let me know if you got anything out of what I posted or if you enjoy the same things and want to share. I’ve never blogged before, well, obviously. So if you happen upon my blog, go easy on me. I’m still learning how to do things on Blogger my way.

My only rule so far is to keep it clean. I know you’ll hate me, but at least for the first few months I need to moderate comments. I’ve heard the spam can kill you. No, not the meat variety, although I’ve heard…

I digress. Hope your New Year is off to a great start!