Saturday, November 29, 2008

Men: Nick Youngquest

Nick YoungquestName: Nick Youngquest (Nicholas Frederick Youngquest)
Best Known For: Sports, Rugby Player
Year of Birth: 1983
Status: Single (Fiancee?)
Height: 6'
Fun Fact: Controversy!

The "Young" part of his name works considering his age. He is an Australian professional rugby player. He is well-known among the non-sporthead population because of a few calendars and a few magazine photo shoots in which he posed quite exposed. The pictures are...hotter than the sun's surface. He said the pictures were all for a good cause, breast cancer research, although the NRL was not pleased. A quick Google Photo search will reveal all. All I'm giving you is the pic above.

He is supposedly dating or perhaps has proposed to Kassy Lee, a contestant on the Australian So You Think You Can Dance.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Chocolate: Ferrero Rondnoir

Someone gave me two packages of Ferrero chocolates as a gift recently. The first package was the traditional hazelnut Rocher. Like I said in a previous post, sometimes the hazelnut is okay, but I prefer just chocolate. So after eating a couple, I handed the package to B.

Ferrero RondnoirThe second package was Rondnoir*, dark chocolates, no hazelnut. Ferrero is known for the gold wrapper, the bumpy coating, and wafer in the center. The Rondnoir does not have a gold wrapper, but a dark brown. It has a bumpy coating of small chocolate bits and the wafer surrounds more dark chocolate. While I wasn't completely impressed by the chocolate - no big "Wow" - I devoured the package. The wafer was so light it was almost as if I hadn't eaten any chocolate and needed more.

Over at Candy Addict there was a review of some prestige collection that included Rocher, Garden Coco, and Rondnoir. The reviewer, Jamie, said this:

The Bronze Medal is awarded to the Ferrero Rondnoir, which, while tasty, is the weakest Ferrero of the Prestige collection. The Rondnoir is constructed like any other Ferrero, with a gooey center, a wafer shell, and a nice crunchy coating. In the Rondnoir’s case, the center is a “black pearl” of dark chocolate - and a lovely pearl at that. The chocolate is rich and bitter and has the snap of a good dark chocolate.

Rondnoir’s outer coating is also made of dark chocolate, with crunchy bits to give the candy texture. It is a dark chocolate lover’s dream. However, the Rondnoir loses a few points for textural reasons. Like the Garden Coco, the Rondnoir doesn’t seem to have enough of a crunch at the center.

Because the crunch wasn't what I was looking for, it gets a higher rating from me, but not quite the top because of the "empty" factor. I'd have to eat a hundred to feel satisfied...hmmm, eating a hundred doesn't sound so bad.

*Click on Rondnoir.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Books: "Kathryn Dance"

I mentioned Jeffery Deaver's books involving Lincoln Rhyme before. I love Deaver's cleverness. His books often have big twists at the end that I'm not expecting at all. I decided to read one of his other novels with his newer character Kathryn Dance.

Dance is a kinesics specialist (studies body language) and in this book, The Sleeping Doll she's trying to track down a killer dubbed as the "Son of Manson." Again Deaver keeps you guessing and keeps your attention all the way to the end of the story - really. I really can't say much more, but I highly recommend you read it. I'm definitely looking forward to his next Dance book.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

TV: Chuck

With the start of the New Year I will be adding another part to my "Men" section all because of the star of this show. Cute Geeks.

Chuck CastChuck Bartowski, played by Zachary Levi, is a computer geek who gets tangled up in CIA and NSA spy games because an ex-friend sends him an email that loads his brain up with government secrets called the Intersect. At any time he could see something that triggers the Intersect so he is closely watched by Major John Casey and Agent Sarah Walker. Sarah is playing his love interest to the delight of Chuck's sister, Ellie (who thinks her brother is unsuccessful in life), while John plays a coworker.

What makes the show...Chuck and Sarah's fake/real relationship, Ellie's fiance Captain Awesome, the Nerd Herd, getting an Intersect flash, the "horrible but not so horrible that I can't watch" friends at Buy More, Major John's affinity for guns and ammo, the video demo room, the swordfish, and so much more.

Chuck, Chuck and Chuck.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Miscellaneous: Logic Puzzles Two

I love my subscription to Dell Logic Puzzles. I used to get the Pencil Puzzles and Word Games at one time. So my miscellaneous post today is to get you familiar with a few puzzles from those magazines that I enjoy and two of the more challenging traditional logic puzzles.

The first puzzle is called "Dicey Words" by Sandra J. Frey or Georgena S. Sil. (and possibly others) The picture shows four blocks that supposedly have six letters (none repeated) on each of the six sides. Listed next to the blocks are four letter words that can be spelled with the blocks. Your logical task? Figure out which letters belong on which blocks. I love this one, often doing it first when I get my newest magazine. It took me a long time to figure out how to do it well, but after I did I understood why the rating was 3-star and not 5. A simplistic, non-visually appealing version is here.

The second puzzle is "Dominoes" by Stitch. It looks like a grid filled with numbers. However, they are actually dominoes arranged in a rectangular shape...missing the domino lines. Your logical task? Figure out how the dominoes are placed and put in the lines. These are also labeled as 3-star. Sometimes it goes smoothly and other times it is more challenging. The magazine places a starting hint at the bottom if you get stuck.

The third puzzle is new to my puzzle book, Logic Art. Penny Press calls them Pic-a-Pix. There is a link here because it is really hard to describe how it looks. Your logical task? Make the picture using the number clues on the sides of the grid. I've only done a few of these...ah, with a little cheat help. But they are fun and I hope to get better at finding the patterns.

There are two types of logic puzzles that usually challenge me, the 5-star puzzles and the truthtellers versus liar puzzles. The 5-star puzzles usually involve no grid (like I talked about before) and ten or more complicated clues. It will take me days or weeks to solve them. I actually need the puzzle out of my mind to get a new perspective.

The truth/lie puzzles are hard because they are mental twisters. The puzzles are composed of statements made by three or more people. Some tell the truth, some lie, and there are often some that alternately tell the truth and lie. Your logical task? Figure out who is lying, who is telling the truth, and who does it sometimes. Like I said these always trip me up. Although here is an easy one.

My next miscellaneous puzzle post will be about a popular favorite that I was doing in my puzzle books back in the 1980s.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Men: Grant Bowler

Grant BowlerName: Grant Bowler
Best Known For: TV Shows, The Mole, Outrageous Fortune & Ugly Betty
Year of Birth: 1968
Status: Married (Roxane Wilson)
Height: 6'1"
Fun Fact: ???

I've got nothing fun or interesting on Grant from his more personal life. He and his wife have two children and he was born in New Zealand. I first noticed him on Ugly Betty, but he has apparently been around much longer. I looked at pictures of him on Google and noticed that he looks better now, with short cropped hair and the beard/mustache thing he has going on.

My heart did little flutters when Vanessa Williams had her little daydream about him on November 6th episode. There is a whole plot line involving him on the show - I can't wait!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Chocolate: Lindt Filled

I've needed chocolate. I've felt pretty good because I've eaten all the things I'm supposed to and lost some pounds (yea!). Now I deserve rewards...well, one reward - chocolate. So I bought Lindt Lindor 60% Cocoa Extra Dark Chocolate (shell with filling).

I've been under the mistaken idea that Lindt had that hazelnut flavor, and while I like it at times, I can certainly do without. I was wrong. Eating Lindt was divine. Smooth, chocolatey, melt in your mouth goodness. I especially loved the filling because it spread through my mouth as the chocolate melted on my tongue. It did not taste like a dark chocolate.

I have to admit I'm afraid to try the bar without the filling, but if the one with was so good... Candy Addicts Blog has a review of Lindt if you're interested. If you're really interested, do yourself a favor and buy a bar.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Books: Kindle 2

Guess what? I've got my Kindle!

Already B is wishing he hadn't gotten it for me. I've been off the computer for three solid days because I've been reading on my Kindle. Four books down, three to go, before I have to order more. My dad and step-mother gave me a gift certificate for $50, and it covered nearly all 7 books. That's pretty good! And I don't have to find a place on my overwhelmed bookshelf to keep them. I'm also finding it is a great way to look at new authors. Most of the time I like my new ones, but now if I don't, there is no lingering book to worry about.

I haven't actually ordered right off the Kindle. I used the site to cash in my gift certificate and then just sent the books to the Kindle from the site. I will try direct ordering the next time I really want a book (this Christmas.) There were two drawbacks listed about it. One was that the scroll didn't work so well with large font. I'm not finding that to be true. I read so fast, though, that I have to have the font on the smallest size possible or I'm turning the page every second.

The other drawback was about how "slippery" the Kindle was. It was hard to hold onto and the case didn't keep the book steady. I've found that to be true. The tabs to hold the Kindle are on the inside rather than the outside edge so it can slip out of its case. When I've tried to keep it in the case, I've inadvertently hit the page button. I've solved that problem using the band that keeps the Kindle case closed. I slide it over the edge of the Kindle and then it doesn't matter which angle I hold it, it doesn't move.

Overall, I'm very pleased with this gift! And as I scarfed down my diet cheat (a sundae and Oreo cookie shake) in honor of my birthday, I received the news that my other birthday wish came true. I'm proud to be an American.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

TV: Pushing Daisies

 Pushing Daisies
Let me be honest. I don't really know why I like this show. Pushing Daisies is a quirky story of a man who has the ability to bring the dead to life. Not just people, but any living thing. However, once he touches something, another living thing must die in its place. Unless he touches the "once dead and now living thing" for a second time (dead again) within a minute. Touching them a third time won't bring them back. Was that confusing enough?

Ned is a pie maker who found this ability as a child when he brought his dog back to life. Later, when his mother died and he brought her to life. A minute after that, when he hadn't touched his mother for a second time, the father of Charlotte (his next door neighbor and secret crush) dropped dead. As an adult, Charlotte (known as Chuck) died and Ned brought her back to life. He still has a crush, but now he can't touch her or she's gone forever.

Ned and Charlotte now help Emerson, a private detective, solve crimes by bringing the dead back to life. So the whole idea of the show seems original and interesting, but it is really quirky (I just realized that Pushing Daisies at Wiki has a section for this show on quirky.) The voice over sounds like someone speaking in riddles. The colors are so bright that it looks like a technicolor fifties show. The story line, although there, isn't keeping the ratings up.

So why do I watch it? I can ignore the voice over (which doesn't actually play all the time), I can wear sunglasses, and I'm truly following the story of Ned and his unusual relationship with Chuck. Bees, nuns, pop-up books, pies,...just quirky. If you liked Dead Like Me or Wonderfalls, then you might like Pushing Daisies.

**UPDATE** ABC is cancelling Pushing Daisies! Doggone it. Here's more info.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Miscellaneous: Eerie Elegance

I attended a Halloween party this past weekend at the home of a college friend who is organized like me, but also extremely talented.

Picture this: You arrive at her house for Halloween (mind you this is not some big mansion) to see the front yard cemetary of "real"size tombstones and waves of fog rolling over your feet. When you enter there are eyeball and spider pillows on her sofas, and the windows are adorned with giant cat's eyes and spider web sheers. On the table in her kitchen there are vials and beakers of all sizes labeled with various poisons. There is also a brain and a heart that bleeds when it's cut. In the next room is a witch holding a cauldron of something that looks suspiciously like dishwater - and you're expected to drink it from glasses with skeleton hands for flutes.

I think you get the picture, but if you don't you can buy her book. My friend, Britta Peterson, has written Eerie Elegance so that everyone can create a Halloween with style. If you had trouble with the earlier visualization, visit the site to see pictures of her creations. She has a link to her personal site where you'll find that Halloween is not her only area of expertise. It's a shame that you can't get her friends with the book too. They were quite creative with their costumes. (One was dressed as Under the Weather.) If I didn't know who Britta hangs out with I might suspect that she's rubbed off on them over the years.

One last thing, Britta (whose name is pronounced Bree ta) received a call from Oprah's team about a possible appearance, likely by Skype, on Friday. The appearance has not been confirmed, but I will post an update if it happens. See update below... In the meantime, buy the book if you dare and try out a couple of the recipes at a party you are invited to. Start small and you'll be haunting happily in no time!

UPDATE: Britta tells me Oprah's show is too full for Friday, but that they have her on their radar and may contact her again next year. I hope so! BTW I was so excited I posted out of order (I'll fix that next week...)

Saturday, November 1, 2008


I really am celebrating! I've stayed on my diet and lost 12 pounds! Okay, do a little dance and celebrate with me. My jeans are loose, and I need new belts. I haven't seen my MIL in three weeks and she noticed the weight loss. I had a little CAKEplateau the last three days, but this morning the scale reflected another pound and a half. I'm not ready to count that yet.

I will also be starting the last year of the rest of my life. Don't laugh. I've decided that I will be my current age forever. I may be old, wrinkled, and deaf, but I'll still be the same age I turn this month. No, I don't have any special plans, but I will consider casting my vote and getting the result I want to be the best present ever. Birthday Freebies here.

Get out there and vote!

BTW, don't get confused when I move the posts where they belong - I'm too anal to leave them on the wrong days ;o)