Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Chocolate: Withdrawal

There have been longing looks in the grocery store check out lines, a mysterious magnetic pull to the candy aisle of Sam's Club, and a general feeling of discontent as I'm cleaning the house. I'll be looking in the kitchen for something to eat, but the bag of chips, granola bars, and carrot sticks are not right. I feel a little empty - like something important is missing from my life. I crave chocolate.

I also know that the minute I cave in and buy chocolate that I'll be sabatoging myself. My two current chocolate cravings are Peanut M&Ms and Oreo Fudgies.

I usually buy the big bag of M&Ms. I'll grab handfuls while I'm reading or whatever and munch. I don't really pay attention to how many I eat. Then, when the crunchy part gets hard on my jaws (because I really do eat that many) I start putting them in my mouth one by one and sucking them down to the peanut before chewing. I love finding the perfectly round ones. Those don't have any peanuts in them.

Fudgies are new. In fact, I can't even find them listed in the products on the Oreo web site. They are dee-licious! I don't even get a glass of milk for these. They are long like Vienna fingers, but are the opposite - chocolate cookies with chocolate creme. The chocolate has a deeper chocolate taste than the regular cookie.

So go out an celebrate your chocolate craving. I'll have to live vicariously through you.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Books: Update

I'm currently reading book #42.

But book #38 was The Last Anniversary by Liane Moriarty. I've been on a little chick lit kick lately that has brought my page count down (11,988 pages,@ book 38). Just in case you don't keep up (and that's probably nearly all of you out there) I'm trying to beat my record of reading 102 books in a summer from a few years ago. FYI, Not. Gonna. Happen. :o( I'm happy that I've been able to consume quite a few books, and it is only just over the middle of summer, but I really wish I had more time. As it stands I will likely get up to about 70.

I liked Moriarty's book. There was a bit of a mystery mixed in that was keeping me turning the pages. But there was an annoying side character, a woman who clearly has post-partum depression and hasn't a clue. Moriarty continues to keep giving clues as if we don't get it. I kept reading assuming that she had something else planned for this character and all the build up was necessary. In the end I'm thinking that it didn't need to be that descriptive. I liked everything else, including the main character.

Another chick lit I read was excrutiating. Help Wanted, Desperately by Ariel Horn. The Amazon reviewers gave it 4 1/2 stars and thought it was great while I was about to die under the mounds of drivel from the main character who was in her early twenties. And that might be the problem - I'm not in my early twenties. Seriously only read this book if you are a great fan of chick lit. When I read, and I'm engrossed, it would take acts of nature to disengage me. With this book I was distracted by my bookmark - the library receipt.

My best book news? Being able to read both Pandora's Daughter and Quicksand by Iris Johansen. Although the books center on different characters, reading Pandora first gives you a little more background on a side character in Quicksand. Holy cow! The ending had me floored and wishing its sequel was out right this very minute. Second to that would be a sequel for Pandora.

I've had a few suggestions for new reading material and most are on target, but there are a few genres I won't read. Historical fiction, (auto) biographies, and non-fiction are a few. I like to immerse myself in fantasy, and I'm still taking suggestions...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

TV: Psych

Psych OuttakeNo, I didn't want to watch it when it first premiered. B was the one that really wanted to. I thought I would hate watching it. Indeed, I do cringe everytime the characters pretend to be someone else to get the job done. But in the end, it was entertaining. I'm talking about USA Network's Psych. The show comes on after Monk and started it's third season on July 18.

I don't know why, but I worry when characters in TV shows put on ridiculous costumes to accomplish a task. I always worry what strange and horrible consequences will befall the characters. I know, I'm taking this way too seriously, but I cease to enjoy TV when I'm agonizing over what's coming next. Anyway, this show is riddled with funny costumes, made up names, and strange accents.

The main character, Shawn Spencer (James Roday), could have been a great detective like his father. His powers of observation (exaggerated for effect) have been finely honed by his dad from when he was young. However, he is quirky personified and would rather open a detective agency in which his observational skills can pass as psychic ability. He is supported by his stalwart friend, Burton Guster (Dule Hill).

The little extra takes at the end of an episode and the newer cartoon shorts aside (and they should be, I cringe more), the show is funny. It is also cool to try to figure out "who done it" just like in Murder She Wrote and similar detective series.

So you've missed the first episode of the season. USA repeats a lot. Tune in just once and see what you think.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Miscellaneous: The Fifth Element

Willis and TuckerI have this collection of a few movies that I call my own personal "cult favorites." One of those is The Fifth Element starring Bruce Willis and Milla Jovovich. It has been on cable channels this summer (and does so often) to my delight. I have two, yes two, DVD copies of the movie which don't cut out the PG-13 rated sex-ish references and foul language like TV is required to smudge out.

Fifth didn't get great reviews back in 1997, but who listens to critics anyway? This movie rocks! I laugh so hard every time I see it - even if they show it twice in a row. Willis always does a great job playing the gun-toting hero. Jovovich did a good job playing vulnerable, She-Ra, and comedianne ("chick-en"). I loved Ian Holm as the intellectual priest, and Chris Tucker as the nutty radio personality. All the actors (Gary Oldman, Lee Evans, Brion James, Julie T. Wallace - and she didn't speak!) did their parts to make the movie come together.

The writer and director is Luc Besson. Besson, besides creating a great script, also does something I've not seen in any other movie. He switches locations during the scenes and makes them connect through the dialogue. It's awesome and hilarious.

All of the "real people" critics who dislike the film just think it's stupid. I can see what they mean, but it's fun. I think Pez dispensers are cheap and non-functional. I can never get the candy into the thing nor can I get it out smoothly. It's still considered fun. If you can tolerate a few sexual references and swear words I think you should see the movie. If not, then watch the watered down version on cable. Just watch.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Men: Anthony Gallo

Anthony Gallo
Name: Anthony Gallo
Best Known For: Model
Year of Birth: 1981
Status: Single?
Height: 5’11”
Fun Fact: Was in Rihanna’s “Take a Bow” video

What you see above and in the pic is what you get. Besides stats for modeling there is nothing out there about him, hence, the question mark after single. He is the youngest guy I’ve featured so far, but I couldn’t resist. If you did a quick search, you might see that he is of Italian and African descent and is known as one of the first African American faces of Abercrombie and Fitch.

It doesn’t matter to me where he came from. I just want him to stay visible. BTW, the picture has been cropped. If you were curious enough to Google him, you would see the full pic. Hubba, hubba.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Chocolate: Fudge

In my teen years nothing was greater after school than making Fantasy Fudge. The first reason was because, well, it's CHOCOLATE! The second reason was because I enjoy eating marshmallow creme directly from the jar.

My only chocolate for the last couple of weeks has been Ghirardelli milk chocolate chips and Mother's double fudge cookies. But in early June someone gave me a plastic sandwich baggie filled with squares of fudgy goodness. It brought back memories.

The last time I made fudge something went wrong and I was so disappointed that I haven't attempted to make them in over a year. With my trying to lose extra pounds I didn't think now was the time to try again so I'm sharing the recipe with you! I know, I'm evil...enjoy!

Kraft's Fantasy Fudge Recipe

Friday, July 11, 2008


I don't quite know how I ended up reading my first book by Tess Gerritsen. Something tells me I've read another one of her books a long time ago and have since forgotten it. I also didn't know that she used to write romance, but after three of her books I might have begun to suspect it.

Tess GerritsenThe series I'm reading involves a very headstrong female detective named Jane Rizzoli and a very efficient medical examiner named Dr. Maura Isles. There are six books to date:

The Surgeon*
The Apprentice*
The Sinner
Body Double*
The Mephisto Club
*I've read

All of them have received 4 or better stars out of 5 from readers at Amazon. I love the way she describes the scenes and emotions of her characters. The grizzly murders scenes, the autopsies, and the character's reactions seem so real you feel like you're there. Because this is a series you learn more about each character and understand them better with each new book. I think sometimes the action completely obliterates her deep descriptions the closer you get to the end. I say think because by that time I'm reading so fast I may be missing it. And it's just as well, I don't want to waste time when the climax of the book arrives.

I recommend reading The Surgeon. Then if you enjoy it, you'll no doubt like the rest. She has a seventh book coming out called The Keepsake that she announced on her Blog. She also has a set of medical thrillers that are not connected (as far as I know) and may be worth checking out.

Official site

Book Update...Starting June 12, 30 books read = 9,886 pages
I don't think I'll meet my goal, folks :o(

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

TV: Avatar: The Last Airbender

ArrowDo you recognize the picture?


I'm so sorry you've been deprived.

I love cartoons. Yes, I'm a 10 year old trapped in the body of a woman well over a quarter of a century old. Sounds better when I say young at heart. While you'll have to wait and see what I post about in my TV section to learn of my preferred cartoons, this post is about Avatar: The Last Airbender. My favorite place for basic knowledge on the Net is Wikipedia, which gives a perfect three line summary of the premise for the show:
The show is set in an Asian-influenced world of martial arts and elemental manipulation; the series follows the adventures of Aang and his friends, who try to save the world from war with the Fire Nation. The show's protagonist Aang is trapped in an iceberg when he is found by two members of the Southern Water Tribe, Katara, and Sokka. After being freed from the iceberg, Katara and Sokka join Aang on a long journey across the globe; their ultimate goal is to help Aang acquire the skills to defeat the Fire Lord, and end the war.

AangThe animation is great, the jokes are funny, and the premise of the story is worthy. It has anime influences (the creators love Miyazaki) and had won awards for its awesome episodes (including an Emmy!) But it's just a CARTOON, you say. A well written cartoon, with developed characters, I say. A soap opera has nothing on this show. I can't tell you how funny the show is! I realize you don't have full context but...
(Katara and Sokka are brother and sister, helping Aang, the Avatar)
Katara: Are you saying I'm a liar?
Sokka: No. I'm saying you're an optimist. Same thing really.

Stranded in the desert...
Sokka: [while hallucinating] Drink cactus juice! It'll quench ya!
[runs around]
Sokka: Nothing's quenchier!
[while doing 'the worm']
Sokka: It's the quenchiest!
Katara: You've been hallucinating on cactus juice all day, and now you lick something you find stuck to the wall of a cave?
Sokka: I have a natural curiosity.

The next new episode will air July 14.

As with anything cool, there is a live action movie coming out. I'm not sure how I feel about it although Avatar creators are apparently excited about it because M. Night Shyamalan is writing, directing, and producing. He's...spooky. They've had to drop the word Avatar from the movie title, though, to avoid conflict with Cameron's Avatar movie. Pooh. Oh, well...cool pic of Aang in the Avatar State.
Avatar State

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Miscellaneous: DWC - Driving While Celling

Three years ago, New York instituted a ban on driving with a cellphone on your ear. WARNING personal opinion here...I completely agree with a ban. I already hate driving. Driving around people who can't see the signs and go the wrong way on one way streets, ramps, and parking lot entrances scare me. Worse, driving around people who feel their next sip of Starbucks, their bite of breakfast, or their lipstick application is more important than two hands on the wheel scare me. Worst, drunk drivers scare me. So when I hear statistics citing that people on their cell phones are as dangerous as drunk drivers, I feel the need to get my dander up.

Maybe seeing some of these cars and reading the stories behind them will get your dander up too. Similar laws against Driving While Celling have been put in place in New Jersey, Connecticut, and Washington, D.C. Several other states are considering the same action. It is a shame now to hear the news from New York about its uselessness. And makes me wonder if the new law effective July 2 in California would do any good especially since the fine is $20.

I'm not the only one wondering. Others have suggested making cell free zones in which the cell signal is blocked when traveling on certain roads, raising the fine, or even making insurance companies refuse to cover damages caused by cell phone use. I have a friend (who may be really mad at me for saying this, but she knows I love her) who loves to talk. She is such a people person that she NEEDS to be looking at your face when she talks. Her driving scares me, and thank goodness I haven't been in a car with her in a LONG time. I cringe when I know she's driving while celling.

I know a lot of people feel that they drive just fine while distracted by phones, food, and personal hygiene. Some feel that having their computer on while driving is okay. Some even feel cell phones are being singled out unfairly.

But I think overall some people have lost that little bit of common sense in their rush to do more and do it faster than everyone else. And children learn by our example.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Men: LL Cool J

LL Cool J
LL Cool J
Name: LL Cool J (James Todd Smith III)
Best Known For: Hip Hop Rapper
Year of Birth: 1968
Status: Married (Simone Johnson)
Height: 6’1”
Fun Fact: To friends and family he’s known as Todd.

Let’s start with the not so obvious. I do enjoy some of his music and have for a while. Catchy tunes! I’ve always thought the “Ladies Love Cool James” and the pant leg up from the ‘80’s was corny. He’s been in various movies. I’m bummed and happy that he has been married a long time and has four children.

LL Cool J
LL Cool J's Grin
The obvious? The guy has a rockin’ bod – especially for forty years old. I don’t particularly like his “I’m sexy” face. His genuine smile from the picture here makes him cuter than heck. I liked looking at him in the movie Deliver Us From Eva. He…

…sorry got caught up looking at the picture. Did I say he had a great body? I did? Then it deserves to be said twice.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


The house is a disaster area. I can't stand it. There was bound to be a showdown sooner or later. One of my goals before the end of June was to clean the house. I mean take everything out, hose it down, and put it back together again..."better than it was before. Better, faster, stronger." Can you hear the bionics effects?

Kidding. Seriously though, I'd like to enjoy the clean house for a short time. Especially before the rush of life in the fall brings the first signs of bionic rejection. Sad thing is I had so many plans and now I'm so overwhelmed I don't know where to begin. And it's July already. Wish me luck.

Weight update...Plus half a pound - ugh!
Book Update...Starting June 12th, 21 books read = 7017 pages