Friday, May 30, 2008

Chocolate: Dark Spicy Aztec 55%

Dark Spicy Aztec SquareEveryone has their own chocolate tastes. I truly wish I had the skills of a real chocolate connoisseur, but I'm just a GIANT lover of chocolate - milk chocolate. (B likes dark chocolate so we usually divide the variety packs between us.) A real chocolat'er' knows way more than I do and tends to have eclectic tastes.

For example, I cannot stand fruit or walnuts in my chocolate. If I were a real chocolat'er' I would embrace all manner of chocolate just for the experience and range of knowledge. When I heard some time ago of people in specialty chocolate shops mixing their chocolate with hot peppers, my face matched those of people sucking lemons.

However, a friend (Hi, friend!) gave me two of Lake Champlain Organic Dark Spicy Aztec 55% squares of chocolate. They contain cayenne pepper. I foisted one on B first. He's such a guinea pig.

My first thoughts? The chocolate is melty. It dissolves creamily on the tongue. It is true to the dark chocolate taste. Heavy with bitter and slight sweet. But after is dissolves, it bites. The pepper coats the back of the tongue and throat. Then a hint of cinnamon saves hot at the last minute and you just have a little sting.

My second thoughts? I'm as fond of the sugar part of chocolate as I am the chocolate. So was it good? Yes. Will I eat it again? No. It just isn't my style.

BTW, the little squares are perfect for tasting.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Books: 102

Three summers ago, I maxed out my library card by checking out and reading 102 books. These books ranged in page number from 180 to 652. They were children's books (chapter ones, of course), thriller, mystery, romance, and science fiction. The authors were Catherine Coulter, Iris Johanson, Kay Hooper, Diana Wynne Jones, Jeffrey Deaver, J.K. Rowling, James Patterson, Kathy Reichs,...oh, I could go on, but I'm trying to make a point here. I haven't been able to read as many because of work obligations the last two summers and I'd like to do it again this year (because I think I'll have more time - don't laugh).

So you're like "What was the point of that?"

Well, I need some reading material. Unless my library (which I'm sure is rolling in even less dough than my state's bottom-of-the-priority-list school system) somehow received new books, I've read all the ones they have. I need some new reading material to scout for! New books! New authors!

Post (or if you know me IRL, email or call) and let me know who or what you think I should read. TIA

BTW If your local library has a summer reading program and you have kids, jump in!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

TV: House

House Title ScreenB and I are completely used to seeing House, Dr. Gregory House, do nearly anything to a patient, including kill him, in order to save his life. So it was a shock to see him in this set of episodes, "House's Head" and "Wilson's Heart", trying to kill himself! Well, given House, maybe not a complete shock.

House is played by British actor Hugh Laurie, think Stuart Little. He has a killer American accent. As horrible and scruffy as he is, the show is awesome. If you haven't taken the time to watch at least 5 episodes, get your bottom in gear.

I try not to get hung up on the details when watching TV. It's supposed to be entertainment. I bet there's a slew of doctors out there grumbling about the inaccuracies in the show. Of course, there's a whole group of people out there appalled at the way Dr. House treats people and gets away with it. How many people does that leave to actually watch the show? Check out the ratings.

I was more upset for Dr. Wilson, House's routinely battered friend, than I was for Amber, but she was only on for the season. I've been watching poor Wilson get stomped for the last three seasons. The three new interns seemed to have put a new spin on the show. I like how they've kept the other three doctors (Cameron, Chase & Foreman) on the show, even though they don't all have major roles. House's interaction with Cuddy, the hospital administrator, has been a riot. Lastly, I've really enjoyed some of the guest stars...Charles S. Dutton, LL Cool J, Andrew Arlie, Chi McBride (he was evil!), and Sela Ward.

Love this show.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Miscellaneous: Shoes

I am not a shoe person. I didn't know anything about Jimmy Choo's or Manolo Blahnik's (Are they already "out"?) until Sex in the City (Never watched it) took over the television. Even now, I couldn't tell a "famous" shoe from any other shoe out there. I don't have a shoe rack and I don't have several shoes for every color of the rainbow. I own black, brown, white, and navy to go with my black, brown, white, and navy wardrobe. If I'm lucky, I'll have a fancy pair and a casual pair of each color.

Mens Skechers 50553I'm also not that picky about my shoes. I buy them if they fit and because I wear them out on my job, I don't buy expensive ones that can get messed up easily or that require dry cleaning.

So B comes home after a 5 hour trip with three pairs of shoes. Keep in mind that when B shops it's like a thorough FBI investigation. Each piece of equipment, be it pots and pans or a DVR, gets the third degree. He has been looking for shoes for a long time. The picture on the right shows one of the pairs. They're Skechers.

Brown Skechers #21571I wouldn't have really paid attention to Skechers either except for a pretty recent trip to the store for more navy shoes (of which I've had a very difficult time finding, btw). Instead I found a pair of Skechers like the pair on the left. They felt heavenly on my feet. The sneaker-like bottom with the "pretty" shoe look made them perfect for work. I could wear mine with jeans on the weekend or with a skirt. They were on sale for $50. The last time I spend that amount of money on shoes...oh, wait, I've never spent that amount on money on shoes!

Blasted Navy SkechersCompared to all my other shoes, it was the best money I ever spent. However the pair wasn't without drawbacks. Note the small metal oval on the shoe's instep. On my well worn shoes the metal has turned sideways, increasing the length of the band and thus making the velcro off center. I've had to try all kinds of things to keep the metal from sliding.

So I'm not so keen on buying another, even though they have a *&^$% navy pair. For the first time though, I'm sold on a brand name.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Men: Adam Levine

Adam Levine
Name: Adam Levine (Adam Noah Levine)
Best Known For: Frontman for Maroon 5
Year of Birth: 1979
Status: Single
Height: 5’ 11.5”
Fun Fact: He’s ambidextrous

I realized a few months ago that I’ve been singing along with quite a few of Maroon 5’s songs. B bought me a CD, I started watching their videos on OnDemand, and finally looked him up on the Internet. Until then I hadn’t realized he was so cute. Cute is definitely the word. Not handsome or gorgeous or ripped. He’s just really cute. Look at that dimple. :D

It must have been fun teaching him because he has ADHD. I didn’t see much evidence of that when I watched a portion of his interview with Howard Stern (I don’t like the show. It was YouTubed.) He is friends with Natalie Portman, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Adam Brody (as opposed to people like Britney Spears or Amy Winehouse) which is nice. I can’t get over his nickname: Sharky. I wonder where that came from.

Oh, when I first started looking for good pictures of him I found this web site for another guy named Adam Levine who is really upset that his life was turned upside down because people thought he was this Adam. I suppose that would be a major bummer. Did I say he was cute?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Chocolate: Hydrox

Don't get me wrong. I adore Oreos. I can usually go through 10 to 15 in a sitting with a cup of milk. BUT when I was younger, I loved Hydrox, the chocolate cream sandwich cookie made by Sunshine.

I won't get into specifics, but back then I couldn't eat pork. That meant I couldn't eat Oreos. They were made with lard. That changed by the late 80's, but by then I was shunned by my peers {sniff}.

Moving on. If there were a million people out there who ate Hydrox because they were Kosher, then Oreo's switch to vegetable oils and superb marketing (and I suspect, mounds of sugar) made them cross over to the dark side. Although Hydrox cookies were "invented" first, they were pulled from the market due to declining sales in the late 90's.

Bummer. I can't even expound upon the taste, because there aren't any out there! And sadly, the last time I had one was a long time ago. According to the Internet, they won't be coming back. I collected some information from here and here. So this post, obviously quite late, is to honor and pay our respects to the deceased Hydrox.

A moment of silence, please.

Now, the chocolatey goodness that is Oreos...(stay tuned)

Monday, May 12, 2008

Books: Women's Murder Club

Just recently I managed to get a couple of copies of books from the Patterson series Women's Murder Club. The books all have numbers in the titles, 1st to Die, 2nd Chance, 3rd Degree, 4th of July, The 5th Horseman, The 6th Target, and 7th Heaven. The last book just came out in hardback in February.

I like Patterson's material. One year I somehow, through purchase and library, read every book he had with Alex Cross as the main character. Two Cross books, Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider, were made into movies. I love the thriller in thriller books. Patterson was really good at creating a lot of twists and turns into his novels. By the end though I was starting to feel a little ambivalent about Cross' character. I haven't read Patterson's most recent Cross books.

Which brings me back to the Women's Murder Club. I really liked the first couple of books. Starting to read them when they first came out, I got the excitement of seeing the characters grow. I cried when I read 3rd Degree! But after that the books didn't quite feel the same. I noticed a second author was listed on the book. The 4th of July was the last book I purchased. I wondered then if I was wrong to abandon the series.

Now I've read the 5th and 6th book, with the option of reading the 7th as soon as B's mom is done. I've come to the conclusion that I didn't miss anything by not reading them. They were just okay - not awful or disappointing and not spectacular - just okay. I went online to see what others thought and the ratings were all over. Most of those who disliked the books felt the way that I did. They were okay to read, but the characters seemed hollow and undeveloped. I can't blame the other author, as I've seen others do, but it makes me wonder what's going on with Patterson. Did he start a series he really shouldn't have? Did he run out of ideas? Did he give up on the Women's Murder Club?

Reading the series listings in Patterson's wiki I can't help but notice that the book year I stopped reading Cross is the same year I stopped reading Murder Club.

So have you read the books from the beginning? What do you think?

Friday, May 9, 2008


The commercials are numerous. DTV (Digital Television) is coming and you'd better be prepared. I'm thinking, "Big whoop!" I can't remember the last time I watched a television with an antenna. Why am I seeing commercials about the change every two seconds a full year before the change over? There have to be maybe one or two people out there who would actually care that they will no longer be able to watch their TVs without a converter. Okay, I'm being obnoxious.

Apparently, there are people in big cities that use antennas. They are so close to the action, so to speak, that they don't need to have cable. Those people will be running around like CEOs without their Blackberries if they don't get a move on. The same can be said for those folks who value their PBS (only). There are a lot more people out there unprepared than I thought. Who knew?

The FCC is trying to help. I'm just wondering...if they don't watch television then how will they know? ;o)

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Miscellaneous: Spelling and Grammar

I am by no means a perfect person when it comes to what I write. In fact, I have reposted simply because I've noticed an error and couldn't just leave it be. I could fault that to OCD, but I'd like to think it was because I want to look intelligent to those reading my posts. You know virtually nothing about me except for what I write. My writing needs to be decent.

Unfortunately, many in the rest of the world do not feel the same. I like to read what other people write. They wouldn't be posting on the Internet if they didn't feel that their opinions were worthy of being viewed. I really like to "hear" their opinions, but I won't bother if I can't read what they wrote.

Spelling and grammar on the Internet just doesn't seem that important anymore. Many are blaming that on the culture. Text messages and IMs have made people try to get their point across quickly instead of correctly. The idea is that this has crossed over to anything posted on the Internet and to any written work in general. Others have blamed the poor educational systems in place. Apparently, people never learned to write properly in the first place.

When I read material on the Internet I expect dropped letters, transposed letters, or a missing comma here and there. Not this:

people type quickly and rather than spelling error its a typing error. who cares about crammer live and let live we are all different might have a valued question but rubbish grammar how do you know their not dyslexic or something

actually using the computer has helped my grammar and spelling... my spelling and grammar skills are terrible... but through using things like word my spelling has improved alot cos you can right click and it will bring up the right spelling... and personally i always pay attention to how i spelt it wrong, and try and learn from that... and the same for bad grammar cos that underlines in green for me...

i dont agree wit you, i dont think people who mispell are stupid, are schools are the problem, there not teaching kids the was they posed too enymore, my dater gots a A four her since paper and it had allot ov mistakes, the school should of taut you how to spell, that dont mean YOUR stupid

Honestly, if I can't decode your writing then I won't read it. Then what is the point in posting if it won't get read?

What does this say about our future as educated individuals?
"Why the spelling and grammar on the Internet postings is so poor"
"Bad spelling 'puts of employers' "
"Online Posting, Misspelling in Ads Often Spells Cash"

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Men: Paul Walker

Paul Walker
Name: Paul Walker (Paul William Walker IV)
Best Known For: Movies, The Fast and the Furious (plus sequels)
Year of Birth: 1973
Status: Single
Height: 6’3”
Fun Fact: He is into martial arts.

Paul has one of those faces – you know he’s gorgeous, but have no idea where he came from. He isn’t in much of what I watch, but he’s nice to look at! This one has a daughter, but he’s single. He was brought up Mormon, but attended a Christian school. He also started acting young, having guest roles on shows like “Who’s the Boss?”

Just really nice eye candy.

Thursday, May 1, 2008


I don't like driving. I think there are too many people out there that either don't know that they are driving crazy or don't care. My driving peeves could be an entire book, and I've found I'm not the only one who thinks so. But lately I have found three things that have annoyed me to no end. Well, enough that I've thought about it more than once in the month of April.

1. Why do I have to pay for recycling when I buy glass or plastic packaged beverages and then pay again when I pay my recycling/garbage bill? Whose bright idea was that? Maybe I'm missing something. Maybe it's where I live (that there aren't any recycling places nearby that take my #2 plastic or my Sobe glass.) I don't know, but I don't like it, and I'm reminded of it once a week at minimum.

2. Channels that break into the best part of my show to say something bad is happening, but there are no details available. Because it's breaking news, they aren't as prepared and it takes longer to show the little "Breaking News" blip before and after the announcement than the announcement itself. I thought we were up enough on technology to use the little reader boards on the bottom of the screen.

3. This is more of an obsessive peeve than a real one. I can't stand it when people write mixing their capital letters in with lower case. You know it would look ridiculous typed - so it looks ridiculous written. And it drives me nuts.

Got peeves?
Oh, and Happy Mom's Day!