Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Vegetarian Vegetable Stir-fry

Finally, another cooking post!

I decided to try making a stir-fry! I have made stir-fries before, but I wanted to try this out:

That's right! Electric wok! It has amazing temperature control, by the way. I sort of inherited it from my parents who never used it.

When choosing veggies for my stir-fry, I basically wandered around the produce area and picked up things that seemed like they'd be good. I ended up with: carrots, zucchini (my favorite!), snow peas, red bell pepper, and broccoli.

And no stir-fry is complete without rice! I used a long grain brown rice. It's good for you! Also, I don't know why I chose not to use my rice cooker...

Finding stir-fry sauces is difficult for vegetarians because most of them have oyster in them. Oyster juice? Anyway, not vegetarian friendly. I ended up going with this because it was the only vegetarian one I found.

I started the rice because it takes about an hour to cook. I chopped up my veggies, as seen above. To the wok I added olive oil (I almost always use olive oil and that works for me. What do other people use?) and the sauce. I turned the wok on to about 350. It heated much quicker than expected.
Stir-fry is nice and easy, especially without meat (maybe I will try tofu next time). You just add everything in. Try to give the veggies that take longer to cook more time in the wok, ie: broccoli and carrots (depending on how they are cut). Keep stirring the veggies so nothing burns. I probably left it in there for about 10 minutes? And then left the temperature on warm until the rice finished.

I got this wine as a gift from my friend, Lydia, so we popped that open to have with dinner. I must say, I don't usually like dryish red wines, but this one was quite tasty!

And voila! Our meal is complete! We just put the stir-fry over rice and enjoyed! And it was delicious!

 For anyone who is interested, I wanted to share a couple of food-related blogs run by a couple close friends of mine.
Tubby Jubby's Food Blog: http://tubbyjubby.blogspot.com/. She is just starting out, but it looks great so far!
Easy Entertaining Food: http://easyentertainingfood.tumblr.com/. She finds good stuff!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Random David Bowie Post

There are a few David Bowie-related things I wanted to share!

One is this picture and quote:
This is scanned from one of my early scrapbooks. Love the guy in the background.
I found this in some magazine (I don't even know which one) in my Interior Design class in 10th grade. That was about nine years ago. (Wow...) I came across it while working on a project, quickly tore out the page, shoved it in my bag, and felt momentarily guilty. For what, I don't know. Taking time away from class for DB obsessing? Tearing up a magazine needlessly? Who knows? I don't feel guilty anymore because it is amazing and I love the quote.

The page reads: "Never mind the stares. 'If I'm going to do something that could be provocative or artistically relevant, I have to be prepared to put myself in a place where I feel unsafe, not completely in control. I have no fear of failure whatsoever, because often out of that uncertainty something is salvaged, something that is worthwhile comes about. There is no progress without failure. And each failure is a lesson learned. Unnecessary failures are the ones where an artist tries to second guess an audience's taste, and little comes out of that situation except a kind of inward humiliation.'"

Inspiring, I'd say. This scrapbook was for a class my senior year of high school. My teacher left a note that says, "Wow! I love David Bowie's courage! (Can I have a copy of the quote?)"

Another item. This was recently posted by the official David Bowie people who update us via social media: David Bowie and me. It is an article about David Bowie as told by several people who have been close to him or worked with him over the years. If you are familiar with David Bowie and his music, you will recognize many of the names on the list. It is super interesting! I love the first one--its from the guy who damaged DB's eye, giving his famous appearance! Love it!

Third point. I would also like to take this moment to say that I am (was?) one degree of separation away from David Bowie. I used to take ballroom dance and my instructor was about to be married. During this time I met his soon to be brother-in-law, a fellow DB fan who had actually met him.

We danced a few times at a party to discuss this. He told me that DB is so famous and popular that he can be kind of stand-offish (understandable). So you have to approach him with something he's not used to, like "do you like animals?" Made me laugh. Despite the fact that he was joking about the last part, I have always remembered our conversation, in case I get to meet him one day.

And one more issue. Around the time I was a sophomore or junior in high school, the band, orchestra, and choir of my school took a trip to New York, New York during spring break to play some concerts.

My family and I were vacationing in Florida the week before, during, and after spring break. My mom was a chaperone for our New York trip so she and I flew up from Florida and took a taxi to our hotel to await the school groups. At least one bus-load of kids, on their way from the airport, had a mini tour that involved driving by David Bowie's house. To this day, I am devastated that I wasn't there! I don't know who is to blame for that, but someone should pay!

So those are my little, random DB things to share. Now you know just how much of a DB nerd I am. (There is SOOOO much more where that came from, but I don't think I need to share everything here.) If you need more DB randomness from yours truly, see my posts: David Bowie and Other Oddaments and Cento from David Bowie. Enjoy!

That is all for this segment of Nerdy Ravings! Til next time! (I should create a continuous segment with that title...)

Insanity Update

First of all, this week began with the fit test. I am sad to say that I progressed a little in a few exercises, stayed the same in a couple, and did one fewer in the last two. My measurements have not changed, either.

I'm sure you will all think we are crazy, but we decided to start Insanity over again.

Yes, you heard right.

If you read my last Insanity post, you know that we hated the last month's videos and our motivation was dropping.

We thought that, by starting over, we would continue to make progress. Then we have the chance to get strong enough to actually do the last month. That is our reasoning. I will continue to track our progress and give occasional updates.

So no, we have not quit, we are just... re-doubling our efforts.

And Isaac is joining us! Join the suffering! Yay!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Magic of Labyrinth

Besides David Bowie, of course. David Bowie=Magic. Pretty sure. On with the blog.

I first saw this movie the summer before 8th grade. That would make me, what? 13?

When I first saw it, I had no idea who David Bowie was. (There was a time before I was a DB fan?!?) I was young enough, at the time, to still enjoy it. I have found that people who watch it for the first time as adults tend to like it less.

So I saw it, liked it, and forgot about it. Until my other half (one of my best friends since we were very young) started whipping out songs lyrics from the Labyrinth. That's when I remembered and wanted to see it again.

I was lucky enough to have parents who owned a copy of the movie. For a couple years after, I watched it almost every day.

Then my mom dug out some David Bowie CDs for me and the rest of my obsession is history!

More than 10 years after my first viewing of Labyrinth, it still holds so much magic for me. As soon as those opening credits roll out and "It's only forever, not long at all..." starts, I'm sunk.

Believe you me, I do not need to actually watch the movie--I have it committed to memory (which makes me feel like taking a Cats tangent, but I will save that for a different blog post). So what is the draw? What keeps me so engrossed? Why, after all this time and hundreds (at least) of viewings, do I still love it so completely?

Besides David Bowie?

1. The music. How beautiful and haunting is it? "It's only forever, not long at all," just thrills me. What an interesting idea, right?

2. The owl. I love barn owls (and owls in general). Jareth turns into an owl--you never know when he's around, when he's watching. Gives a little magic. Who's to say the Goblin King doesn't exist? (Also, if you see the movie on a big enough screen, you can see that his make-up is meant to look like an owl. It took me years to figure that out because I'd never seen it on a big screen.)

3. The crystal balls that turn into bubbles. I love bubbles. There is a reason behind that, but that is another topic for another blog post. I have bubbles tattooed on my wrist:
My bubble tattoo!
So yeah, bubbles. Love bubbles. And they are pretty.

"It's a crystal, nothing more. But if you turn it this way, look into it, it will show you your dreams."

4. I love a good coming-of-age story. Plus, as Sarah grows up, she still has her magical friends from the Underground. Growing up doesn't mean all the magic is gone.

5. Interesting concepts and interpretations. Do you know people almost write essays about symbolism and meanings behind this movie?
     a) For instance: Jareth. He says, "Everything that you wanted, I have done. You asked that the child be taken, I took him. You cowered before me, I was frightening. I have re-ordered time. I have turned the world upside-down and I have done it all for you. I am exhausted from living up to your expectations of me. Isn't that generous?" In addition to the song "Within You." What makes Jareth Jareth? It sounds like Sarah's ideas and fantasies make him who he is. It's up for debate.
     b) Another example: Jareth's pendant. It is a silver, sickle shape with a gold circle in the middle. If you get a good enough look at it, the infinity sign is etched in the circle. The points of the sickle usually point down. He also has them on his belt (which I want!) when he finds Sarah and Hoggle in the tunnel. This is right before he calls the Cleaners. In the ballroom he has no pendant. In the Escher room, it is upside down. In the last scene with him, the colors are inverted.
Original pendant

Silver on gold.
     c) Time. The Labyrinth clock has 13 hours on it, not 12. Plus, Jareth messes with time. With careful watching and analysis you can figure out how our time matches up with time in the Underground. Sarah is gone for about four hours, our time. She is given 13, but Jareth takes away about 3. Anyway, I will stop nerding out about it. (I think my next tattoo might be a clock with 13 hours. Maybe with a barn owl? And/or "It's only forever, not long at all" underneath?)
     d) And more! Lots to look for and think about. Like the riddle--"One of us always tells the truth and one of us always lies." And the junk lady. Etc, etc.

6. Is there anyone out there who doesn't dream of going on a magical adventure? Especially in the Labyrinth? The challenge of a life-time.

"You're no match for me, Sarah."

"You have thirteen hours in which to solve the Labyrinth before your baby brother becomes one of us forever. Such a pity."

Of course, hearing those lines would only make me more determined.

7. The lines. The script and quotes. And we all know how much I love quotes!

"You don't even know what an oubliette is. " "Do you?" "Yes. It's a place you put people to forget about them."

And I think I need a doormat that says, "Oh, it's you."

8. Plus life lessons: "You know your problem; you take too many things for granted."

"It's not fair!" "You say that so often. I wonder what your basis for comparison is."

Sometimes you have to take a leap of faith.

It's OK to ask for a helping hand.

9. It's Jim (and Brian) Henson. And Brian Froud. And Jennifer Connelly. Which is all pretty great.

10. The ballroom scene. Enough said.

11. You can find Jareth's face in the scenery in seven different places. It's like a look-and-find! Do you know where they all are?

12. Reasons 12-100: David Bowie!

There you have it! Several of the reasons why Labyrinth is awesome and one of my favorite movies.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Introducing the New Banner!

What do you guys think of my banner? The picture that I will, henceforth, be associated with.

I was being a little goofy for that particular picture, but I think it's OK.

Many, many thanks to Wyatt Kane for taking the pictures and then taking the time to make, not only this banner, but one before it (which had a picture of me being silly with a dumb, confused look on my face). Thanks for your help and your time! Much appreciated!

Monday, February 18, 2013

NDK 2013 Already? Oh Yes!

NDK, the local anime convention, doesn't happen until September. However, if you are an enthusiastic cosplayer, you have to get an early start!

As some of you may know, my friends and I are doing a Ghibli group cosplay and I am going to be Nausicaa! Here is what she looks like:
A far off picture.

More detail.

And while I was thrift store shopping, I found this!

It is basically perfect for my costume!

Then I was at Target with Katja who found these:
Apparently no one wants yellow tights so they were on sale!

I now have a good portion of my costume finished! I just need to do the details for the shirt, find or make some leg warmers, find or make the belt, and get some brown shoes! I think I have red earrings that will work and I will keep my hair it's current length. I am debating brown contacts. We will see.

I believe Cat, the professional cosplayer of our group, is making me a plushie ohmu. In case you don't know what that is:
Baby ohmu.
They are surprisingly cute, I think.

So that is that! Now to work on my Jareth costume? That sounds like a good next step since I already have the patterns and material.

More Harry Potter

Any Harry Potter fans out there?

My friends and I are. Exhibit A: Our Harry Potter Halloween Party.

My friend, Veronica, recently introduced me to this Harry Potter website that J.K. Rowling herself manages: Pottermore.com.

It is a fun, interactive site that walks you through the books. You find and collect things and you can read all sorts of fun facts that J.K. Rowling puts up about her inspirations and ideas while writing everything. It is super cool, especially for the H.P. nerd.

As you go through, you become part of the story. You sign up and pick from a list of user names (I am RoseLight8809, for instance).

You can also purchase audio and e-books via Pottermore.

The hardest thing I encountered thus far was finding my school list and learning that you can zoom in and out (which doesn't always work the first few times). Now I can't seem to brew potions, but my spell casting is decent!

Anyway, you go through the story, learning and collecting things. Then you go to Diagon Alley and buy your school supplies and you get a wand just for you! (Mine is 10 inch hard ebony with a phoenix feather core. And you get all sorts of information about wands while you're there). Then you go to Hogwarts and get sorted. I am in Ravenclaw (yay) and you get to learn all about your house. You can earn house points through various activities and you are with other real players who gather points. It's pretty neat! There are all kinds of things to do and look at. I love the little exclusives from J.K. Rowling. For instance, she had a list of 40 student names at hand for the books, some of which changed or didn't make it into the book. You can unlock her list and read it. Very cool.

She doesn't have all of the books up yet--she is part of the way through Prisoner of Azkaban. There is so much to do and look at, I don't think that is a problem yet. I still haven't made it all the way through book one! It's addicting though! I can't wait to see what's next!

So go sign up! You can add me and other players as friends, too. It's fun and wonderfully nerdy.

Loss of Loved Ones

I just wanted to put up this little post. In honor of this, you will get excerpts from one of my early scrapbooks.

In the last year, I have lost three family members. The first was my grandpa on my mom's side. He died March 12, 2012. The day I took the GRE (my mom didn't tell me until after the test was over so as not to stress me further). I started this blog around that time, as well. I was lucky enough to get to spend a little time with Grandpa before he died. He came to my mom's wedding a couple years ago and my mom, brother, sister, and I went out to see him not long after he was put in an assisted living place (my step-grandma had a hard time looking after him herself).

He had dementia, but he was so high-functioning that no one knew until about a year before he died. His sister's death seemed to trigger the decline. He remained fairly lucid throughout the year, but his sense of time was completely off.

About six months later, my Aunt Jennifer (also on my mom's side) accidentally killed herself by taking her medications with alcohol, an apparently fatal mix. She left behind a husband and two girls, one of them still quite young and the eldest had already dealt with the loss of her father when she was young. Even though my Aunt Jennifer and I were never super close, it's hard not to miss her because she was so bright and fun-loving.

Yesterday I lost my grandmother (Baba) on my dad's side. She had Alzheimer's.The progression of her disease was much slower than Grandpa's.

When we were young we used to see her almost every Sunday. We walked around Villi Italia Mall (which is gone now) and we always ended the trip with ice cream. Those were good times. Even in those days though, she repeated herself a lot.
One of my early scrapbooked pages. The bottom left picture is the only picture I have of Baba.
 She and my grandfather (Poppa) had been divorced all my life and Poppa re-married. My Poppa died in 2003, which was and still is a hard one for me to deal with. At his funeral we saw my Baba. She thought my sister and I were twins (she didn't remember who we were) and told us about her twin daughters (my aunts who, of course, we knew). That was hard. We didn't see her for a long time after that.
The bottom picture was taken two days before Poppa died.
 "Mortality is the price we pay for love." -Said by the Rabbi at Poppa's funeral.

I got a birthday card from her that year and I kept it very close because I had a feeling it was the last one I'd be getting from her. I was right. My Auntie Francie sent a few for her after that, but they weren't Baba's doing.
The inside reads: "I believe in magic... in fairy princesses and dreams that really do come true. It isn't any wonder that a thousand years from now, somewhere, somehow I'll still be loving you." I tear up every time.

She started to regress in age. We met her once for lunch maybe five years ago or so. She seemed to realize that we were all related, but she didn't seem entirely clear on how.

I didn't see her after that. My dad said that she regressed to the point where she thought she was a young woman again. She would dress up, do her hair and make-up (which she almost never did before). She even flirted with my dad, not realizing that he was her son.

I suppose, in a way, the regression was good for her. It gave her a chance to live a lot of life that she never got to have. She and my Poppa were in the Holocaust and (as far as we know) the only survivors of their families. She spent her teenage years very sick in a ghetto. Her story is kind of a miracle, actually.

She was young when she was in the ghetto. She never did go to a concentration camp, which was lucky for her. She got typhoid fever while she was there and got so sick that they threw her body out with the dead. Her friends sneaked out in the night to bring her back. They managed to nurse her back to health and did her work for her so it looked like she was doing it. They had to sit close on either side of her to keep her propped up.

In the end she survived. And she managed to sneak a bunch of Nazi money and pictures out in her boots. I don't know how she got a hold of them. Now my family is in possession of some bits of Nazi money and some original Holocaust pictures.

My Poppa was sent to Dachau and Auschwitz. He was only 14. His survival was miraculous as well. He was learning to be a brick layer, a good skill to have, which probably saved him.

I have forms of dementia on both sides of my family, yay. Genetic goldmine, yes? Because of Baba, though, I have a hard time watching movies like "The Notebook." I watched it once and never will again. Hits a little too close to home. There was also an episode of House where Dr. Foreman's mother visits. It's clear that her memory isn't what it used to be, but Foreman spends a lot of time talking to her. You realize at the end (as he does), that she doesn't know that Foreman is her son. I sobbed after that and I haven't watched that episode since. It's hard to be forgotten by a loved one.

She wouldn't like that I wrote all of this about her. She always said that she never wanted a funeral service, she didn't want anyone to show up, she just wanted to be buried in a burlap sack and have everyone go on with their lives. Kind of funny, I guess. She threatened to haunt my dad and aunts if they made a big deal about it. Her burial is tomorrow and there are going to be tons of people there. My dad's family lived in a neighborhood in Denver that was almost entirely Jewish immigrants and their children. They all grew up together and still stay in contact. News of her death has, of course, gone through the grapevine to all the children (now grandparents themselves) and all of their parents who are still around. No service, though. It will just be a burial at a Jewish cemetery nearby. The same one Poppa is at. Now I have two to visit when I go there.

This is sad for me, but I no longer have any biological grandparents left alive. My mom's mom, Nana, died when I was very young, but she and I were very close. Mostly I miss the fact that, if she hadn't smoked and drank so much, she could still be around and be part of my life. It's like there is an unfilled hole there, you know? I do have two step-grandmothers left and they have both been around my whole life, so I am glad that they are still here. And my dad and aunts group of friends, (they call themselves the West-side Gang) are like family, too. That helps.
The top picture is pretty clear. I cut off parts of this page. On the right is my Grandpa and step-grandma (Gaye) with me. The bottom picture is my Nana holding me.

It's hard not to miss those people who have been lost. But I guess it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all, right?

That's my sad story of the day. I hope I don't have any sad posts for a long time.

"Fearful to love that which can be touched by death... holy to love that which has been touched by death." -Said by the Rabbi at Poppa's funeral.

Insanity: Week Seven

I am sad to inform anyone who reads this that my work out buddies and I slacked a bit this week. I slacked more than the others I think.

I had two tutoring sessions this last week (my first sessions!) and we studying until it was too late for me to join the workouts. And yesterday we were supposed to do two videos but we only did one. And the shorter one at that. I did, however, make up for one today, so that's good news!

We've all been struggling with these latest videos. They are longer and harder. My biggest complaint is how hard they are on my already bad knees and neck. I find that I have to be extra careful, alter, or skip entire exercises because it aggravates my neck or knees too much. My knees have been feeling better though which is great. My neck has issues that are not related to Insanity, but there are a lot of movements with arms and shoulders that always irritate it and there happen to be lots more arms in these workouts. Hence the added neck pain.

Despite our slacking, we are still noticing progress. Awesome. Clothes are getting loose, we are slimming down and getting toned. We definitely see it in each other. Also, I can actually do push-ups now. When I started I think I could do one, maybe two good ones at a time.

The only solid measurements I have to report are another half inch off my waist and a half inch off my butt. I lost some in my bust, which is sad because I have very, very little there to lose. And BTW, it is difficult to find even smaller bras then I was buying before. I'm less than a real size. Less than half a real size. Sad day. However, I am generally feeling better about myself and my appearance. I hope I get some kick-ass abs soon. We think we will do Shaun T.'s Hip Hop Abs next. It will be entertaining at least.

So that is that! Only two weeks left! I, personally, want to repeat month one, just for fun. Yes, fun. I liked month one.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Party Like its 1959!

I mentioned in my Valentine's Day post that some of my girlfriends and I were going to have a 50s style fondue party!

We went thrift store shopping for dresses and fake pearls. There was a stop to Party City for elegant gloves and a lovely boa for Jhenn. We bought lots of fondue cheese and chocolate and cream. We got bread, apples, veggies, angel food cake, strawberries and more for dipping.

I was so excited for the night of the party. My dress wasn't a party dress, more of a day dress. The fake pearl jewelry is a set my mom made for me many years ago when I was dancing. It's still some of my favorite jewelry. I did my hair in a little pin backed twist. I found the style on Pinterest (of course, where else?) here: The Beauty Thesis: Perfect simple updo that anyone can do.
My "pearls."

My dress!

 I picked Katja up and we had to run a few last minute errands. I was very pleased because when I showed up she gave me the best compliment: "You look like Audrey Hepburn."

This lovely chalk sign greeted us when we arrived at Jhenn and Krissy's.

In the cheese fondue we added just a little white wine and a little cherry liqueur. Chocolate and cream went into the other fondue pot and we thought a little cherry liqueur wouldn't hurt that either.
Our fondue spread.
We started with a delicious champagne cocktail with champagne and St. Germaine (an elderflower liqueur). It was delicious! Then we stuck to wine (and some water of course, thanks to Miss Krissy for making sure we remembered to drink some).

We found these amazing wines. Jhenn's boyfriend David had gotten one and she loved the bottle so much she brought itt home with her and we all loved it because we love fairy tales. As a bonus, the wines were tasty! My favorite was the Chardonnay which was not as dry as I expected.
Once Upon a Vine wines. From left to right: The Fairest Chardonnay, A Charming Pinot (its a Pinot Noir), and The Big Bad Red Blend.

We watched Breakfast at Tiffany's and went on to other silly nonsense. If you are friends with me on Facebook, you may have seen links to some of the silliness that was watched. Then we turned on Kate and Leopold (guilty pleasure movie), but hardly watched it because we were all too goofy by then and we went back for more food. Then the banished boys came home (Jhenn's David brought more wine and one of those bottles was quickly finished). Cat's boyfriend, Drew, was kind enough to give Katja and me rides home. And that was that!

It was tons of fun and we had a lot of laughs. It was great to dress up and hang out. If you're familiar with my blog, you probably know that we like theme parties..

And just so people are warned: when and if I ever get married, I want a 50s style wedding. I haven't run that by Isaac yet, but there's time! I hope you enjoyed!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Video Bloggers

Have you met a video blogger? They're crazy. Just nuts. And a couple of them happen to be friends of mine.

You know what happens when you have video blogging friends right? Right. They rope you into being in videos. Oh yes.

So Wyatt Kane (again, here is his YouTube channel: Wyatt Kane) roped me into a video once. I will not be posting a link to that one, sorry. Our other friends appear in a few of his videos, too.

Generally, I hate being in front of a camera so it is not so pleasant for me. I especially hate the sound of my voice so you can imagine how little I want to be involved in such things.

Then Wyatt's friend, Sean Caspian (here is his video blog link: Sean Caspian) started video blogging with the aid and influence of Wyatt (oh good, another convert/project for Wyatt!). He requested, not only Wyatt's help for a video, but the help of me and some of our other friends. This is what happened: Harlem Shake (Russian Meteor Katamari Version). Go to the link and watch it, it's short.

I think it's funny and silly actually. Best part? We didn't have to show our faces! However, if you've followed my blog, surely you recognize my Katamari costume. Also, I was excited to wear said costume again-they were a lot of work!

So there you have it: video bloggers are crazy. But always entertaining to have around. Thanks Wyatt and Sean!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Another Valentine's Day...

AKA: Singles' Awareness Day. That's what we always called it.
I sort of hate Valentines Day but I am torn because I always love excuses to show Isaac that I love him. Don't get me wrong, I show him on other days, too, not just on holidays.

Usually Isaac and I get each other funny/stupid Valentine's Day stuff. I usually get him some awful V-day boxers, but I failed on that this year. I got him a silly card (its a little racy too), so that's fun. And he usually gets me chocolate. Stereotypical, yes, but I LOVE chocolate.

Last night Isaac did ask me if I wanted to do something for V-day, which was sweet. I know he's not a huge fan of V-day but he was willing to do something anyway. I told him the truth-I like knowing that he loves me but that V-day is stupid. I prefer knowing that he loves me all the time, not just one day. And he told me he loves me everyday. Sweet right? I got a good guy.

Otherwise I hate all the commercialization and expectations. I don't see why it matters. I would much rather be with someone who shows me that he loves me on random days, not one who "shows" me on one specific day of the year. That makes it not at all special. iamevilcupcake (see her blog here: iamevilcupcake: Screw You Valentines Day) tweeted: "Ah Valentines's Day. The day when men get high praise for doing something they should really be doing the other 364 days a year." I agree with that completely.

So all you couples out enjoying your high-priced celebrations of "love," enjoy. I hope you get that more than once per year. I will actually be spending my evening tutoring a student and working out with my girl friends. And this weekend? My girl friends and I are going to have a 50s-style dress up fondue night! That's what we like to do for Valentine's day! Girls night! Yes! So excited. I will share more of that later.

Happy Valentine's Day (I guess?). And Isaac: I always love you. Everyday know that I love you.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Duncan and Rodene Jones

I said that I wanted to do more posts about Duncan Jones, so here is one!

Duncan Jones was dating photographer Rodene Ronquillo when he discovered a lump in her breast. She was diagnosed with breast cancer at stage two. So what did they do? Went and got married and started treatment. The surgery followed pretty quickly and then the chemotherapy.

My mom went through chemotherapy many years ago, so I know how awful it makes you feel. You loose all your hair. No appetite. No energy.

Luckily, Duncan and Rodene Jones are fighting this battle together.

Duncan and Rodene shaved their heads together in preparation for her chemotherapy treatments.
The picture above is one that Duncan Jones tweeted (I believe). I found it in this article: David Bowie's son Duncan Jones weds Rodene Ronqillo after she was diagnosed with breast cancer. It is quite informative.

In addition to supporting one another and Duncan Jones supporting his wife, they banned together to raise money for breast cancer research. Here is a link to their page where they are raising $11,612 (they found the lump and got married 11/6/12, get it?): Duncan and Rodene Jones Fundraising Page. You can read the little, touching things that they posted. I highly recommend checking it out. If you can manage, please donate! It's for a good cause!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Insanity: Week Six

Ah, finally! The end of week six! This week was brutal!

Of course, it didn't help that I was sick for the first three or four days. The workouts were longer and harder. And hard on your knees! Be careful!

This last week started with the fit test. I was sick during this so I started strong but feeling like crap really started to tell on me towards the end. Here are my results from three weeks ago and this last week.

                      Start of Week Three      Start of Week Six
Switch Kicks:               53                            63
Power Jacks:                30                            34
Power Knees:               57                            64
Power Jumps:              20                            22
Globe Jumps:                6                              7
Suicide Jumps:              8                              8
Push-up Jacks:             10                            12
Plank Obliques:           22                            30

Not bad considering I was sick. Next time will be better. If you want to see what the workouts for the fit test are, see Insanity: Week Three.

There is one video in this set where Shaun T. must have been in a bad mood. He yelled a lot. But not motivating yelling, angry yelling. At which point quiet little Krissy called Shaun T. an asshole. Another funny instance came up on recovery day when Shaun T. was wearing tight, legging-type pants and Krissy commented, "That's a whole lot more of Shaun T. than we've seen before..." Lots of laughs.

On to other results. No changes in measurements and weight from last week. However, there is a lot more arm stuff for the last month so as of now I am adding shoulder and arm measurements to my list. I will keep you posted!

Life of a Drunk Model

That title was Wyatt's suggestion. I should let you know a few things: 1. It's about me 2. I was not drunk, but I did drink a glass of wine very quickly and 3. I am no model!

Wyatt did my little photo shoot last night to make a banner for this here blog. He has his own little studio at his place and it was unnerving to be under all those lights in front of a camera! I don't like so much attention. Luckily this was after our Insanity workout so my friends (two of which are his roommates) were around to help me laugh and pick outfits and jewelry.

Wyatt says, "Bring a few different shirts and we will take some pictures!" Except I'm a girl. And we were going to work out first. So I had to clean up. And bring make-up and hair stuff. And several shirts. And a couple sets of jewelry. And other hair accessories in case I wanted to change my 'do for a set of pictures. This is the picture I will be known by from now on, you know? And I don't like pictures of myself generally so it was kind of a big deal. Talk about intimidating.

I got ready and downed my glass of wine to help me loosen up. I hope it worked. I haven't seen any of the pictures yet.

I guess I am Wyatt's new project. He's trying to help this little blog go big. I hope I am up to the challenge. Half the time I'm not even sure what to blog about! Oh well.

On a side note, here are some pictures of me with my ratties! They are so cute! I don't much mind taking pictures with them (the attention is on their cute little faces after all).

Romulus and me!

Little Remus and me.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Blog Make-over!

Welcome to my new, official blog layout. A lot of things are changing around here. Want to know why? It's all Wyatt Kane's fault. Yep. He is a video blogger and friend of mine and he wants me to be super involved in social media. Here is his video blog account: Wyatt Kane.

I now have a domain name: http://www.positivelymiscellaneous.com (that will re-direct you here). Wyatt did a lot of things to set this up for me, almost none of which I understood. Then we got my blogger account linked to a bunch of other Google resources to track my audiences. Google is great and they provide so many tools. I am hooked up to Google Analyst and Google Webmaster Tools. He basically designed my background for me (I did find the original picture at least...) and he is going to make me a banner. I have to pose for pictures for this... Basically, we did a ton of things that made my head explode.

But here is the new look! If I am lucky, I will start to get more people visiting and following me. And maybe, just maybe, I will make a little money at this. I am not sure that I am a good enough blogger for that, but we will find out! Mostly I am excited to eventually be able to get a press pass at Nan Desu Kan (the local anime convention) to post about the events. I know that is a lame, nerdy thing to be excited about, but I hope that will happen by NDK 2014!

The banner will be up sometime within the next week or two. If you like all the new stuff, it's all thanks to Wyatt. But sometimes all the stuff I have to do and keep track of makes me hate him... in a loving way, of course.

Thanks Wyatt! Enjoy all!

Duncan Jones to Direct WoW Movie

My boyfriend, the gamer nerd (love ya Honeybear) informed me about a week ago that rumors of a World of Warcraft movie have been circulating for a while. No conclusive information had been found. Until now.

Director Duncan Jones (aka Zowie Bowie) is going to direct a World of Warcraft movie.

For those of you who aren't as crazy-obsessed as I am: Duncan Jones is David Bowie's son. That's right. The only child of David Bowie (David Robert Jones is his legal name for anyone confused about the last names) and Mary Angela Barnett (aka Angie Bowie). And he was called Zowie for the early part of his life. He started to change names in his teens, eventually landing on his legal name, Duncan. I always thought it was funny (and maybe a little cruel?) to call their son Zowie Bowie. Back to the topic at hand...

Duncan Jones and proud father. Love those smiles.
A friend of mine (Wyatt Kane, who has been mentioned in my blog before) sent me this link a while back: Duncan Jones tapped to direct 'World of Warcraft' movie. It seemed plans for this movie were in motion.

Then I found this on davidbowie.com: Duncan Jones to direct Warcraft movie. Apparently it was made official a few weeks after David Bowie announced the release of his new album.

Here is a good, informative article about the coming film: 'Warcraft' Movie Lands 'Source Code' Director.

The plan is for the movie to be released in the fall of 2015. I have no notion what the movie will be about (having never played the game myself) and they are keeping the script under wraps. From what I have heard from Isaac, there are lots of aspects to the game. I can't imagine they can capture everything in a movie.

I have been obsessed with David Bowie for many years now and I have plenty of useless DB facts rolling around in my head. I never did much research on the rest of his family. From what I have read, I didn't much care for his first wife (nor of their open marriage, but had I met DB back then, I would have hated him, I think) and I love his second (and current) wife, Iman. I know that he and Iman had a daughter in 2000 and I knew about Duncan Jones (and Iman's child from her first? second? marriage--is she on number three? I think so). Now that I have been researching Duncan Jones, I have found that he is amazing in his own right and I think I will do some more research and have some blog posts about him. Not just about this and his other movies (none of which I've seen), but about his life and the things he does that are great for others. So, to be continued, eh?

Making Cake Pops!

For my birthday my friend, Lydia, got me this little cake pop/donut hole maker! I was so excited because I've found so many things I want to try involving cake pops!

For experimenting I wasn't up to making my own batter so I used a mix. I made my first batch of cake pops which turned out like so:

All because I didn't read directions well enough, but according to the maker instructions, the first batch should be discarded anyway. I also filled these half way (all the way up on the bottom half). For the second batch I did a little less than half full. They turned out like this:

Third batch! A little better and some were more round. I wonder if they do need to be closer to half full?

For this event, I bought a little cake pop decorating kit. It contained sticks (which I promptly broke in half because they were stupidly long), sprinkles and different candy melts. I melted some of the melts and dipped the sticks in before inserting them in the cake pops. This is supposed to help them stay attached.

Then I chilled them for a while.

Instead of frosting I used candy melts to coat them.

Then I decorated them! And I found these cute eyeball sprinkles that I just had to use!

And then I chilled them for a little longer so that the candy melts set. Here are the results! (Also, I didn't know what else to do with them other than lay them down on the cookie sheet... I will look into that...)

And to top everything off: they were delicious! :) I am so excited to experiment more with cake pops!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Insanity: Week Five

Week five was different and interesting. It was "recovery week." A whole week of Core Cardio and Balance. Shaun T. tells us that we shouldn't feel exhausted after the video. Yeah right.

Because of our schedule, our recovery work out usually falls on Friday. Instead of doing the Core Cardio and Balance video we did the Cardio Abs video. We thought we deserved a little break I guess. Cardio Abs is shorter and not all that much cardio. We did do the cardio and balance one the rest of the week.

Aside from my getting sick at the end, it was a good workout week. At the beginning Katja brought her Wii Fit so we can all track out progress that way. It was highly entertaining. Also, I had never touched a Wii before. According to the Wii Fit, my "physical age" (based on BMI, weight, and balance?) is about 30. Funny funny.

Now the results! We have all noticed improved endurance, muscle tone, and flexibility. My calf muscles have had a hard time adjusting to the workouts, but they are getting nice muscle! My abs aren't coming along quite as nice, but I am getting some decent oblique toning. I am still fluctuating around my normal weights. As of this week, I did lose half an inch in my waist, which was unexpected because I have a pretty slim waist. I expect more changes in my hips and butt though. They were about the same but loose, if that makes sense. No change in my thighs sadly.

In case anyone is wondering about the measurements I decided to take, I should debrief you. I call myself "the great pear-shaped woman." I have almost no chest and I gained no weight in my chest or my rib cage. My waist is slim, too. Proportionally, I have larger hips and gain all my weight in my hips, butt, and thighs. Therefore, that is where my focus is. I actually was only taking my waist measurements to check my consistency.

The next month is going to be tough. The workouts are longer and all hive titles like "Max Interval so-and-so." We are a little nervous already. We also do the fit test tomorrow. I will post results.

Last week I talked a little about knee pain while working out. This week, for whatever reason, was hard on my knees. It took most of the week to learn to be careful enough to avoid hurting them. To that end, I found some good links (on Pinterest because, let's be honest, where else would I spend time online?) to help with my knees.
1. Build A Stronger Knee. Be careful with these because some of them may strain your knees if you are not.
2. Hip strengthening exercises. With these make sure you are working from the hips, not the knees. Turn your legs at the hips. Especially for us women--our wide hips can hurt our knees.