Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Life Imitates Blog

Well hello there. I told you I was going to blog more this week. Twice in one week > no times in two weeks. Unfortunately I've only left the house once in the past 72 hours. I've gone for a couple of runs, but that doesn't really count. Although I did see a lady on the trail walking her birds. While they were in their cages. That's probably blogworthy. Maybe next time. Anyway, my hermit lifestyle (Kate is traveling this week) makes it very difficult to find material for a 'random stuff that happens in the day' blog. But lucky for you I did leave the house yesterday to buy oatmeal and dishwasher detergent. And even luckier for you, I went during peak hours at the grocery store, so I had plenty of time to read (or scan the cover) of Us Weekly.

It has been well documented that I love celebrity gossip as much as the next girl. I have even developed a trustworthiness hierarchy for my celebrity gossip. For print gossip, it goes something like this:

National Enquirer - Most likely not true, but who doesn't love pictures of 200lb babies?
OK/Star - 20% Chance for Truth
Us Weekly and People - Some truth to whatever they are saying
Time/Newsweek/Other Grown Up Magazines - Probably accurate, but only going to read it at a doctors office or when I'm visiting my parents.

Most of my online sources (Perez, TMZ) probably fall into the same category as OK/Star. 

So while I was buying my oats and Cascade, I had some extra time to read the cover of Us Weekly. The cover story was something about Jon from Jon and Kate Plus Eight allegedly having an affair. Long time readers will remember a post that I did about spinoffs for reality shows. I think the one that I came up for Jon and Kate Plus Eight was going to be Jon Minus Nine - where it was him running away from his wife who clearly hates him, and sitting alone in a dark one bedroom apartment. Based on the fact that this story has gone up the gossip magazine food chain from the OK/Star level to the Us Weekly level, I feel like my spinoff might become a reality show reality (hence the post title). Does that make me a prophet or just someone who watches too much reality television?

Anyway, when Kate called me today, the majority of our phone conversation was about Jon Minus Nine. She also asked me about Gilbert and whether or not I have been bathing since she left. Then we started talking about all of the other reality show couples that didn't end so well. There was a streak there a few years back when everyone who had an MTV reality show ended up divorced..

Nick and Jessica on Newlyweds - Great while it lasted. Everyone loves a train wreck.

Travis and Shanna on Meet the Barkers - I met them, then they got divorced.

Carmen Elektra and Dave Navarro on Til Death Do Us Part - Probably not the best title.

And that doesn't even count the Osbournes. I'm pretty sure Ozzy had an affair with Charles Shaw for during season 3.

So I'm not sure if the story with Jon and Kate is true or not. I'll have to wait and see if it shows up in a grown up magazine.  And for that, I'll have to wait until I go to visit my parents or go to a Barnes and Noble. All I know is that Kate and I decided not to have a reality show about our marriage. This blog will have to do.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Don't Call it a Comeback

Hi Friends,

I have to apologize. I have been neglecting you. 2 weeks without posting is not cool. Not cool at all. My blogging friends sometimes say that their blog is like their baby, and it needs constant attention. Apparently I think this blog is like a cat, and I can just throw some food out and go on vacation. 2 weeks is even long by cat standards. But then again, I don't really like cats, so there you go. I'll try to do better now. Maybe something like three posts a week. We'll see how that goes.

I should have a couple posts lined up in my head. I just got back from a road trip to Tampa. For those of you who aren't so good with geography, Tampa and Charlotte are not very close to each other. I drove about 19 hours this weekend. By myself. In addition to singing along with every Taylor Swift song and watching the televisions in the minivans in front of me, I probably came up with a few things that are YIFY-worthy. The first one should be pretty easy...

Why did I drive 19 hours this weekend?

It was my friend Natalie's 30th birthday. Natalie is one of our really good friends from when we lived in Jacksonville. Her husband Joe threw her a party, so that's what I was doing down there. And if you're wondering why the unnecessary name-dropping - Natalie told me that she likes it when she and Joe are featured on the blog, so there ya go.

But 30 is a big deal. Maybe it's just because I am fast-approaching my own 30th, but it seems like it is worth a long drive. I also drove back to Indianapolis for RJ's birthday, so this isn't a first time thing for me.

I'm not going to lie. One of the reasons why I made the drive is because I got an Evite. I don't know what it is about those things, but I just can't say no. It doesn't matter where it is or what it is. If there is an Evite, I am probably going to show up. So from Columbia to Hilton Head, I came up with my reasons why I respond 'yes' to 98% of Evites that I receive.

1. It shows some level of effort. If someone takes the time to send out an Evite, it means there is almost no chance that the party is going to fall through. I have yet to have an Evite party cancelled. Also, if they put in the required effort to send out the Evite, there is a high probability that the other necessary party plans will receive attention. The food is usually better, the games more enjoyable, and the beer more plentiful when there is an Evite - as opposed to parties that rely on word of mouth or random email invite. This was certainly the case at Natalie's party - there were steak tacos, cornhole, and even leftover beer at the end of the night.

2. You can screen the potential guest list and make an informed decision. So if you don't like a particular friend of the host, then you can wait to see if s/he is invited/accepts before making your decision. In most cases, said person is a non-responder, or responds with maybe. Then it's sort of a judgement call, but it's still nice to know the guest list before committing. 

3. There just isn't really a good way to respond no. I think Evite responses should be 5 words or less. Anything more than that, you're either going into too much detail about why you can't come, you're trying too hard to be funny, or you're responding with some inside joke that most of the other Evitees aren't going to understand. Keeping a yes response to five words or less is pretty easy. I usually stick with "looking forward to it" or "wouldn't miss it." Nothing too original or creative, but it gets the point across. It's more difficult with 'no' responses - so maybe that's why I can't decline an Evite. The most common no response (As I approach 30) is something like "sorry, got the kids" or something like that. Which is basically another way of saying "attending your party is not worth the cost of a babysitter to me." Other people frequently respond with their other plans. Something like "sorry we can't make it, it's date night with me and (insert spouse name)." I don't know if it's because they want to 'prove' that they have other plans, or just think that the only person who can read the response is the Eviter. And if you just respond with something like "sorry...can't make it" you just sound like a dick. This is what goes through my head every time I get an Evite. I can't say no because I don't think there's a good way to say no. 

And don't even get me started on the 'maybe' response option. Maybe can only mean one of two things:

1. I might show up if nothing better comes up between now and then
2. I can't think of a good excuse right now

So there you go. It was a pretty long drive, so I should have more to write about later this week. I won't treat you guys like cats anymore. Unless I find a laser pointer. 

Friday, April 24, 2009

This Week In Blogs, Volume V

Hey - this week's roundup is posted on my new blog: http://www.theblogstalker.com/. So go check it out, and add that blog to your RSS Feeds, or Google reader, or whatever the kids are doing these days.

YIFY Fans Not Interested in Food Blogs: We will return to your regularly scheduled programming tomorrow. Or whenever I get around to thinking of something somewhat funny. YIFY will not go away, just the food blog content that has been dominating this blog for the last month or so.

That is all. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Vote Here

Hi Friends. Exciting news here. My friend Jennifer gave me a late birthday present and nominated me for a Blogger's Choice Award today. You can (and should) vote for me here. Now I could do what most bloggers do, which is to act like it's not a big deal, sort of passively ask people to vote for them, and then put the little logo on their blog. I'm not going to do this. First, I'm not quite sure how to put the little logo on my blog, so that's out. Second, I'm taking this very seriously. Instead of just mentioning it in passing, I'm writing an entire post about my nomination and eventual victory. 

You see, I'm not going to treat this like an awards show. There's no "it's just an honor to be nominated" bullshit like it's an Oscar nomination, or perhaps a Source award or Kid's Choice Award. Nope - not going to do that. Instead, I'm treating this like a political campaign. I will be openly campaigning for your vote. Which is why you should vote for my blog here.

I have my own platform. I'm against several things, including domestic violence, international violence, animal cruelty and meth abuse. I'm also in favor of several things, including world peace, clean air, women's rights, and tort reform. So there you go. Vote for me, unless you're a fan of animal cruelty and a hater of tort reform. And did I mention you can vote here

This is a big step for me. I haven't run for public office since my freshman year of high school. I ran for Freshman Class Secretary back in 1994. I'm trying to remember why. I think it's because elections were a couple weeks before Secretary's Day. That was back before they called it Administrative Assistant's Day. So I thought that if I was elected Freshman Class Secretary, then maybe I'd get some free stuff on Secretary's Day. If you haven't noticed, there's a bit of a theme developing here. Getting free stuff seems to be a motivating factor for most of the decisions I make. Oh, and I got my ass kicked in that battle for Freshman Class Secretary. The competition gave away mini snickers bars after his speech. How the hell can I compete with that? No poster board or catchy slogan can overcome free candy. It's still painful. Click here to help ease the pain. 

So in the made up blog awards, I'm coming from behind. At time of post, I'm holding steady with two votes (me and Jennifer). That puts me 235 votes behind the current leader. But I think we can do it. If every YIFY reader votes (multiple times) and then my other blog personas (Marci, Marge, etc) decide to vote, I can win this thing going away. Mostly because the current leader is a blog about cakes. That's right. It is basically just pictures of funny cakes. I can't lose to a blog about funny cakes. So you should vote here to make sure that doesn't happen. 

Editor's note: I actually clicked on the cake blog earlier today and it was pretty funny. Not as funny as this blog, but pretty damn funny. I mean, there was a cake in the shape of a dong. That's pretty much always funny?

So that's all I've got. Yep, I just wrote an entire post about the made up blog awards and why you should vote for me. Perhaps this was disappointing. Perhaps you're thinking, "I've been waiting four days for a YIFY post, and this is what I get?"

Sorry about that, if you're upset about this post, then you can just post your feedback here.

Friday, April 17, 2009

This Week in Blogs, Volume IV

Hi Everyone. Welcome to the fourth and final edition of the food blog roundup. It’s not the last one ever, just the last one on this blog. The new blog should be ready to go next week. I could’ve had it ready to go this week, but I had to watch The Masters all weekend, then I was sick, then it was my birthday, and then I had to catch up and read all of the blogs. So hopefully I’ll get around to it in time for next week. I’ll keep y’all posted. I think it has been an excited week in blogworld. There have been fires, free Garmins, and most importantly, my birthday. Sadly, my mailbox was blondie-free on my 29th. Alright, enough about that. Here. We. Go.

Mara at What’s for Dinner had a busy week. The week started with a nice post for her fiance’s birthday. Yes, I realize that there is an accent mark at some point in that word, but I don’t feel like digging around for special characters in the blogger editor. Anyway, it was a somewhat sappy but nice ode to fiance. My only criticism is that she used the phrase “my stomach flipped with joy.” Now while this might be accurate, when ‘stomach ‘and ‘flip’ are used together, I just start thinking about the end of Marley and Me (both book and movie). And then I think of the 100+ people openly sobbing around me when we were at the theatre. So I don’t really know how Mara’s fiance love post ends because I started thinking about Marley and got distracted.

Mara also had a blogger playdate with Jenn from Eating Bender. It was an action-packed date, filled with everything that a food blogger meet-up should include: overpriced organic grocery store, uncooked Asian foods, specialty cooking stores, and ice cream. I bet there’s a lot of pressure when two food bloggers meet for the first time. If I was the food blogger responsible for coming up with the agenda, I think I’d probably just schedule a bunch of out of character activities. Well, out of character for healthy food bloggers, at least. I’d use a theme, like ‘buckets.’ My Chicago food blog meet up would probably start in one of the neighborhoods around U.S. Cellular Field. We'd make enough wrong turns that we would end up near a Harold's Chicken and enjoy a bucket of legs, wings, thighs, and grease. Then we'd head south for a couple buckets of beers at Bourbon Street on 115th, and then downtown for a big Bucket of Garrett’s Carmel and Cheese Popcorn.  It would probably be our last meeting and the pictures wouldn’t make the interweb.   

Speaking of Eating Bender, I was going to devote an entire paragraph to Jen, but then I noticed that she’s doing the P90X workout. If she is able to make it through one session of that, then she can officially kick my ass, so I’m going to watch what I say. For those of you that don’t know what P90X is, apparently you don’t have cable or sleeping issues. It’s a workout program that only advertises on basic cable between 2:00-6:00 AM. I feel sore after watching one of the infomercials. It looks like Level XIV of Jillian’s 30 Day Shred, and the ‘after’ spokespeople look like Brad Pitt in fight club. Good luck with that.

Caitlin Tipping Point (seems easier than writing out Caitlin, at The Healthy Tipping Point) had some excitement this week when her apartment complex caught on fire. My only critique of this is that there was only one post devoted to The Great Fire of 2009. It was comprehensive coverage within that post, but I would’ve dragged it out over a few days. It was sort of like in the last season of The O.C. when Marissa Cooper started hooking up with the chick that’s now playing 13 on House. There was one episode of The O.C. devoted to their torrid love affair, and then by the next episode Marissa was back to dating Ryan Atwood and hating her mother. Or am I the only one who compares food blogs to Teen Drama plot lines? All I’m saying is that you missed an opportunity to turn this into fire prevention week on HTP, with instructional videos for fire extinguisher usage, and more pictures of the dreamy firefighters. Also, I’m not really a black helicopter guy, but I find it quite a coincidence that there was a fire at the apartment during the same week that Caitlin announced her running hiatus. I’m just saying that maybe someone in the running industry might not be happy about this decision and may have had something to do with the fire. Because ‘fire’ is the #2 cause of spontaneous running, just behind ‘someone chasing you.’

Am I the only one that’s a little jealous of all of the free stuff that Kath gets? She got a freaking Garmin? Kath is my friend so I should be happy for her (and I should realize that maybe I can borrow some of her free stuff sometime) but I want to understand the secret to getting free stuff. I mean, this blog is read by literally DOZENS of people every week, but I guess that isn’t enough. So far I've got

Step 1: Create Blog
Step 2:
Step 3: Free Stuff

Maybe I should drop some subtle hints…

The check engine light is on in my Toyota Highlander. I just love my Highlander and I hear that the new Hybrid model is fantastic. I sure would like to drive one of those.

Or

My Kenmore washing machine is one of my favorite appliances, but the spin cycle seems to be acting up. I’m just not sure where I could find a replacement.

If I haven’t made this clear yet, let me say one more time: I am willing to sell out this blog (and my new blog) for free stuff.  I’ll take almost anything. Except maybe the WWII era cereal that Kath got this week, with the picture of a kid that looks like a cross between Ralphie’s little brother in A Christmas Story and one of the Children of the Corn kids. I don’t think I could eat breakfast with this kid staring at me.

Alright, back to the blog review now

There was some excitement on Hangry Pants this week. There was finally a ‘he said’ post! For those who do not read Hangry, each post starts with either “He Says” or “She Says” depending on who is the author of the post. Sort of a clever idea for a shared male/female shared blog. Only problem is that there isn’t an even balance between he says and she says. Specifically, we’ve gone entire weeks recently without a single he says post. So going to the blog and looking for a “he says” post is sort of like Where’s Waldo or one of those magic eye posters. You know, those things that you stare at for 30 seconds and then you see a panda that says I love you emerge from the trippy design.. Now I know that Daddy is very busy at work, but we stay up late to wait for him to come home, and then he doesn’t talk to us kids out in blogland. We need more "he says" posts – the last one introduced me to new salad toppings, including Pepperidge Farm Goldfish and Honey Wheat Kix.  That is food blog gold, and I want more.

Diana at The Chic Life broke the all time food blog record of excessive use of the word ‘sammy.’ Now there has been some discussion and debate on the correct spelling (is it Sammie or Sammy). My official answer is that it is neither, as the word should not be used. Ever. Problem solved.. Now Diana is a friend and loyal reader. She knows how I feel about the use of the word Sammy. Yet she managed to use Sammy four times in one post. And it’s not like she was describing four different sandwiches – it was just one sandwich. And this isn’t the first time. I did a quick control + F and found no less than 13 instances of Sammy on one page of The Chic Life. And I double checked, and none of them were about Sammy Davis Jr. or Sammy Hagar. Diana, we need to talk about this. We might just turn my birthday party tonight into a Sammy usage intervention for you. All of your blogging friends and family will be here to help you through this.

Oh, and to fill out our list of places that spinach should not be:

3. Pancakes
4. Brownies

Thanks to Heather (from Heat the Salmon Butt) and Jennifer (from Blogger Profile Not Available Error Page) for submitting these winning entries.

Stock Up

Salad Challenge – I was going to participate until I found out that chicken salad, taco salad, and potato salad would not count as my daily salad.

Getting Free Stuff from Companies – Unless you are me.

Soups that look like baby food - bleh

Obscure Nut Butters – I don’t think there are any nuts left that have not been made into a peanut butter substitute. Also, 'Obscure Nut Butters' would be an awesome band name

Peep Art and Peep Consumption – Peep Utilization in food blogs was up almost 24% from last year

Stock Down

Cooked Food (or whatever the opposite of ‘raw’ is) – This means that natural gas and electricity are both stock down this week

Cadbury Cream Eggs – I looked at least 50 food blogs on Sunday and didn’t see a single one. I saw lots of Cadbury mini eggs, but not their goo filled big brother.

Pirate Attacks – Although I don’t want to call them Pirates

Alright. That’s all for this week. I’ll put next week’s post here and on the new blog. Let me know if there are any blogs that y’all want me to talk about. I gotta get going. Only a few hours until My SpongeBob Birthday Party/Diana’s Sammy Intervention. Talk to you later.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me!

Hello, and greetings from a man in his late, late, late 20s. Today is my 29th birthday. It's not really a landmark birthday, but leaves me 365 days in my 20s. I'm going to talk about birthdays a bit today. I don't really have any major theme or thesis, so this is probably going to come off like an Andy Rooney segment on 60 Minutes. Just picture me with really bushy eyebrows.

 I just thought about it, and in about two months, my 'days alive' will pass my 'days left on mortgage'. I should celebrate that day.

I always had fun birthday parties growing up. Since my dad was a P.E. Teacher, he could just unlock the gym and the party would be pizza on the gym floor, then dunking basketballs off of mini trampolines. That's a pretty awesome birthday party for a 10 year old.

Having an April birthday was always pretty good. It happened during the school year, which is a plus. I was so happy I wasn't one of the summer birthday kids that had to do the group birthday celebration during the last week of school. I also always felt sorry for the kids who had birthdays over Christmas break. Not only did they get shafted in terms of parties, but also I'm sure that Uncles and Aunts probably went with the one gift for two events method. Poor kids. The only downside of an April birthday is that every so often your birthday falls on Easter which makes it difficult to get pizza and beer.

I've had to travel for work on my birthday the last few years. I decided that I wasn't going to do that this year. I also took it one step further and made my work schedule today more 'birthday-friendly.' I just strategically scheduled calls and meetings that I knew would be enjoyable for today, and pushed others to tomorrow. Because Dammit, it's my birthday. 

It's been a good birthday so far. I talked to my parents this morning. Kate and I had an extended breakfast with good oatmeal and good discussion of blogs and the Today Show. Then Gilbert and I had a good walk.Work was good.. I mowed my lawn during my lunch break. Thanks to Facebook, lots of people that I haven't talked to in many years wished me a happy birthday, so I feel more popular. I went for a run after work. Then we went to a beer tasting with our friends.Now I'm watching The Office and drinking a beer. This has been a pretty fantastic day by my standards.

And it doesn't end today. Kate had a pretty brilliant idea. Since I act like a 10 year old boy sometimes, we're having a little kid birthday party tomorrow. It is SpongeBob themed. There are SpongeBob invitations. We have the paper cone hats and party favors, and cupcakes. It's just like a little kid birthday party. Except there will also be drinking games. I have a dream that the 'little kid birthday party' will catch on in the same way that the 'ugly holiday sweater' party has caught on in recent years. We might take pictures, but this is a picture-free blog, but maybe other bloggers will post pictures of the event.

So there's my birthday post. Sorry for the unconnected thoughts. I probably could've spent more time on this one, but it's my birthday.  

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Pirates?

Hi Everyone. Sorry for the delay. I actually have a good excuse this time. I've been pretty sick for the last few days. I've been trying to self diagnose on WebMD since Friday. I've narrowed it down to SARS, Bird Flu, or Mad Cow. I was going to pick one of those three, but then I started feeling better. At least I think I'm feeling better, because Kate is no longer:

A: Calling me Typhoid Mary 
B:Banishing me to the bonus room above the garage 
C: Wearing one of our construction masks when she comes up to talk to me. 

Since none of those things are happening anymore, I must be healthy enough to blog. 

Since I've been confined to my bonus room bubble for the past three days, I've had plenty of time to watch television. Huge surprise, right? Anyway, my television viewing - from CNN to the Today Show - has been saturated with coverage of this Somali Pirate standoff. Now don't get me wrong, it was a great story. It was almost like an episode of 24. Except that it went on for like three days, so I guess it was more like three seasons of 24. Anyway, the one thing that bothers me is the use of the title 'pirate.' I've read the definition of pirate, and it is technically accurate in this situation. The problem is that I've got a list of things that I think of in my head when I hear the word pirate, and none of the hundred or so things that I think of is remotely close to a 2009 Somali man with guns and a a cell phone and  a boat with an engine. Here are some of the things that enter my head when I hear the word pirate:

In no particular order...

1. Traits/Attributes: Wooden leg, birds on shoulders, hooks for hands, curly mustaches, incoherent accents, gold, treasure chests, there are others that fit here. I think Kate mentioned vitamin deficient diets and women in puffy dresses when we discussed this topic this evening. 

2. Pop Culture References: Disney World, Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom (so dreamy), Spiced Rum, Paula Dean's husband, some musical from junior year of high school, and Rufio from Hook.

Question for the Group - Were Rufio and the rest of the lost boys in Hook/Peter Pan technically pirates or mini pirates in training? If not, why do I always think about Rufio when people talk about pirates?

Clarification - Trust me - Paula Dean's husband sort of looks like a pirate. If you catch one of the 'Paula Cooks with the Family' episodes, you'll totally know what I'm talking about.

3. Goonies References - I know that these could probably roll up into the 'pop culture' category, but there are literally dozens of them, so I think they get their own category. So when someone talks about pirates, I think about: Chunk, One-Eyed Willy, Ma Fratelli, Fifty Dollar Bills, Mouth's Soliloquy in the Wishing Well, Mikey's Marble Bag, Rocky Road, the Truffle Shuffle, Hey You Guys, Rosalita, and Chester Copperpot (to name a few).

So clearly I have enough mental images of pirates. I don't need these modern day Somali guys jumping into my brain and pushing Rufio and Paula Dean's husband back. So we need to come up with something else other than pirates to call these jackasses. I don't have all of the answers here, but I've given it some thought. Here's what I thought about on my run today. And yes, I'm now healthy enough to run again, which rules out SARS:

Boat Stealers - A little too easy and doesn't really account for all of the people on board or the size of the ship.

Boatjackers - I like using jackers - it modernizes it like carjackers and hijackers, but boat isn't quite right.

Shipjackers - Close, but not quite. And what if it is technically a boat and not a ship.

Vesseljackers - It's perfect! It uses 'jackers' when sounds more serious than robber, thief or stealer. Also, when you combine vessel and jacker, it sounds pretty inappropriate. So it'll make me smile and laugh when Brian Williams and Matt Lauer talk about it, even though it's a very serious situation.

So there you go. They will now be known as Somali VesselJackers. Please adjust your water cooler discussions accordingly. Come to think of it, that's another term we need to change. Nobody really stands around a water cooler anymore, right? Another day.




Friday, April 10, 2009

This Week In Blogs, Volume III

Hi Everyone. Welcome to week 3 of the food blog review. Hopefully just one more post on this blog and then I’ll have a new one ready to go.
 
I have to confess that I didn’t spend too much time reading food blogs this week. Well, that’s sort of a lie…I didn’t spend as much time as I usually do reading food blogs this week (still would probably qualify as ‘too much’ depending on who you ask). So this week I relied on my lovely assistant, Kate, to take some blog notes for me.  Here’s how it worked-Kate would scribble something down that said “Heather Spinach Oats” and then I would have to decipher what that means and come up with something funny to write about it. Her notes sort of remind me of Russell Crowe’s crazy thoughts and paper scraps during ‘A Beautiful Mind.’ Here. We. Go. 

It was a very exciting week for Tina at Carrots ‘n’ Cake. Tina caught Mr. Mal eating Wendy’s in their apartment. Judging by the picture and my knowledge of the Wendy’s value menu, it looks like Mal went with the 5 piece chicken nugget, a junior bacon cheeseburger, and medium fries. Some excellent choices for sure. Unfortunately Mal made some poor decisions with the consumption strategy. First of all, you just can’t bring the food home. At home you have to worry about disposing of the evidence, as well the fast food smell that will linger for at least 24 hours. I’d recommend eating in the car. Now if you must eat at home, then I suggest adding a large chili to your order, which would make clean-up a little easier. You could stick the Nugget holder in the fries holder. The paper wrapper from the Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger will fit in the nugget holder, and then the holders will fit nicely in the empty Chili container. You put the lid back on and then you’re good to go. Then even if you get busted and someone spots the evidence in the trash can, all she’ll see is the Chili cup, which isn’t so bad. Not that I’ve ever done that before, but I have a feeling that might work.

Heather at Heather Eats Almond Butter is getting a little carried away with the oatmeal toppings. Avocado? Raw Spinach? I just don’t think I can support these toppings in oats. This recent proliferation of spinach usage in the food blog world is reaching epidemic proportions. I’ve come up with the follow chart to assist food bloggers who aren’t sure when or where they should use spinach.

Places Where Spinach Should Be:
1. In a salad
2. In a dip with artichokes and cheese. Ideally at a casual dining establishment, complimented with pita chips and a large beer
3. At the grocery store
4. In a tin can in Popeye’s hand. So he can squeeze it into his mouth and get big and strong.

Places Where Spinach Should NOT Be:
1. In Smoothies
2. In Oatmeal
3.
4.

Spots 3 and 4 are reserved for next week. I’m sure someone will try to put spinach into something new. 

I don’t think I can talk about spinach in oatmeal anymore without losing my appetite, so I’m going to change the topic now... 

One thing that I like to do for fun is to see how many words I can spell with Heather's URL (www.heathereatsalmondbutter.com) without rearranging the letters. Here’s what I’ve got so far:

First there are the easy ones: Heather, eats, almond, butter. 

But if you look closely, you’ll also see: wheat, heat, heath, at, the, there, salmon, alm, but,  and butt.

So if we just removed a few letters, it could actually be “Heat The Salmon Butt” which would be a pretty awesome blog name. 

Graduate Meghann held her online blogging bake sale this week. Now I know it was for a good cause or whatever, but I gotta say, those better be some damn good baked goods. When there were bake sales at my elementary school, I could get a couple cookies for a quarter or fifty cents. Whoa, that just made me sound really old, didn’t it? Like some kind of “back in my day” story from Grandpa Simpson or anyone over the age of 80 talking about walking in the snow (uphill both ways). Also, the legacy of the YIFY blog roundup is now complete, now that Derek’s 'Easter Bunny' label seems to have stuck. Better yet, he has gone from being THE Easter Bunny, to MY Easter Bunny. My work here is done. Oh, and VeggieGirl’s blondies went for $85/batch. Just think how much I could’ve driven up the bidding if only I would’ve received some samples. 

Get ready for it…here’s the first ever discussion of a non food blog. My friend Pinque is having her first every blog giveaway. She thinks her blog name is pronounced “Pink” but I’ve decided that it is ‘Pinky’  so that’s what I call her now. I’d like this nickname to stick, so if you comment on her blog, please start each comment by saying “Dear Pinky”. Thank you for your support. Anyway, Pinky is giving away a Vera Bradley purse. If you want to win, you better go register. If you’re reading this on Saturday or later, then you already missed it. But you should still go visit Pinky’s blog.  

Here’s my commentary on Vera Bradley. Kate had a stretch from 2005-2007 when she was convinced that she liked Vera Bradley stuff, but not enough to actually buy something. So for two years, every time we saw a store that sold Vera Bradley stuff, we had to stop so she could look at the exact same purses that she looked at last time. So I made at least 150 visits to a Vera Bradley retailer without a single purchase. Now I knew that she didn’t really like Vera Bradley stuff enough that she’d actually carry one of their purses, but I really, really didn’t want to ever go into another store. So I bought her the one for Christmas, knowing that she wouldn’t like it and would probably return it. That is exactly what happened. I haven’t had to go into another Vera Bradley store since. I consider this one of my finest moments. 

Kath reported yesterday that she contacted the tempeh people and that they confirmed that tempeh is safe to eat raw. Well that’s great, but she offered me raw tempeh two weeks ago. And there was no warning like “I’m not sure if this is safe to eat or not.” 

So I guess there were two steps in finding out if tempeh is safe to eat raw:

1. Feed it to Nate and see if he dies
2. Email the company and ask them

Am I wrong for thinking that we should switch those two steps around?


Stock Up
Wishing VeggieGirl a happy birthday. Were there any food blogs that did NOT give VeggieGirl a happy 21st? My birthday is next Thursday and I’m expecting the same level of bloglove

Raising Money for Charity. Between Meghann’s bake sale, Zesty’s shirts, and Jenna’s cookbook, the blogworld is really coming together – sort of “We are the world” style. So I think I should do my part. For every dozen baked goods that you send to my house, at least six will be donated to a local charity. I think we all know where the other six are going to go. Now if only Zesty’s shirt had a picture of his glorious bald head on it…

Foodbuzz Ads with Pictures of Chocolate. This one is a complete mixed signal. I mean the food blog is all about Kombucha and Spinach and FlaxWheySoyTempeh whatever, but then there’s an advertisement for chocolate. I’m confused. 

Stock Down 
Actually couldn’t think of any stock down this week, so I replaced it with the following segment…

Blog Names that Sort of Sound Like Porn

That’s all for this week. I wanted to write about The Chic LifeHangry Pants and Eating Bender, but I went on too many tangents so those will be in next week’s roundup for sure. We’ll do better next time

P.S.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY VEGGIE GIRL!!!! :)


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Play Ball!

Hi Friends. Welcome to the first YIFY post that I have ever written out by hand prior to typing. I'm writing this from 30,000 feet on my way from Charlotte to Boston. By the time I post this (and you read this) I'll be in Beantown. I'm going there for work, but today just happens to be the first day of the baseball season for the Boston Red Sox. So as soon as I get off of this plane, I'm heading to Fenway Park and should make it just in time for the first pitch. Forgive me if you aren't a sports fan, but I figured since I'm going to a baseball game in a couple of hours I'd write the first sports-related YIFY post about our national pastime. 

It's hard to believe that this is my first YIFY sports post because sports have always been a big part of my life. My dad was a P.E. and Health teacher, so I always played sports. Growing up I played pretty much every sport. I landed on golf as the one sport that I would play competitively in high school and college. I don't really know if that's because of natural talent or because I outgrew (width-wise) every other sport by the time I was a junior in high school.

Even though I stopped playing baseball competitively long ago I've always loved watching the game. So the official opening night of the baseball season was on Sunday. I made a date with my television to watch the game. Kate looked up from her monitor's warm glow to ask "Why do you like this stupid game?" So I decided to give it a little thought. 

I like the numbers. Baseball is all about numbers and math. My Rain Man-esque habit of counting pretty much everything works well with baseball. Sure there are stats in every other sport, but baseball is by far the most stats-obsessed sport. They continue to make them up.

It puts on a great live show. Just like there are bands that suck live, there are also sports that are fun to watch on TV but are lame in person. Baseball is great in person because it is played outdoors, played in the summer when it's nice to be outdoors, allows for public drinking, and has super passionate fans. I'm about to go to Fenway and I'll be surrounded by 20,000 people who could've easily been cast as "drunk Boston guy #4" in Good Will Hunting and I can't wait. Whenever I travel to a city for work in the Spring/Summer, I always check the schedule and try to catch a game.

There's a paternal/nostalgic quality to the game. Maybe it's a guy thing, but when you're sitting in the stands for three hours, it's impossible not to think of playing catch with your dad or going to a game. How else can you explain that I still cheer for the Cincinnati Reds? I've never lived in Cincy and there were always teams that were closer to our house, but my dad was a Reds fan, so I am too. 

Baseball absolutely has its flaws. I might have to take out a second mortgage for a ticket tonight, the game lasts a really long time (at least one Oklahoma! in most cases), and the players seem to have a penchant for sticking needles in their ass so they can hit the ball farther. I tend to overlook these flaws and focus on the positives which is so not me.

So I guess this is my public service announcement post. Try to get to a baseball game this summer. Whether it is major league, minor league, or your nephew's Tee Ball game. Give it a shot. If nothing else, you can drink a beer and work on your tan. Although drinking at a tee ball game probably isn't a good idea.

Editor's Note: Sox won 5-3. Just a typical game. There will be 161 more this year, but I'm going to remember this one for a long time. 

Oh, and I really need to work on my handwriting. 

Monday, April 6, 2009

And Cut!

Today's post title is a relatively obscure reference to one of my favorite stand-up comedians, Jim Gaffigan. He has a bit where he talks about how he likes to walk around and act like he's a movie director during his everyday life. Basically when something happens that he doesn't like, he just likes to say "And Cut" and then everyone has to stop doing what they are doing, like it's the end of a take. 

I bring this up because I've had a few "and cut" moments in the past couple of weeks. Basically just stuff that has dragged on way longer than it should. I thought I'd share some of these experiences/my thoughts with you guys. 

Scenario 1 - Oklahoma!
A couple of weeks ago, somebody thought it would be a good idea to spend a perfectly good Saturday night going to a high school musical. Not an awesome movie starring the dreamy Zac Effron, but an actual, high school musical at a real high school. Come to think of it, it wasn't just a perfectly good Saturday night...it was a better than average Saturday night. There were NCAA basketball games on and I was still alive in my brackets at this point. But I was peer pressured to go to the local high school and watch Oklahoma! instead. During the next THREE HOURS, here's what I learned:

1. High school kids don't shower everyday and sort of smell like b.o.  (Kate's observation)
2. This high school really needs a wealthy alum to park his/her ass in one of those wooden chairs for three hours. Then s/he would donate some seat cushions or money for padded seats. 
3. The exclamation point at the end of Oklahoma is a complete tease. This isn't exciting at all. They just added that so people would think it's an exciting play. 
4. The entire first act of Oklahoma! can be removed. Seriously, they spend the entire first hour and a half talking/singing about who is going to take whom to the box social. Don't they realize that the Box Social is actually being held in Aunt Eller's backyard. It's like 10 feet away from where they are doing the dancing and singing...does it really matter who goes with whom?
5. I can download a whole lot of iPhone apps in three hours.

Editor's Note: I'm not really a fan of the arts. The arts really haven't done anything for me. Actually, the arts were the only blemishes on an otherwise stellar report card for years. Unless Movies and Television and Blogs can be considered 'the arts.' If that's the case, then I love the arts. 

Scenario 2 - Beerfest

So this one was actually pretty fun. We went to a brewery on Saturday and took the brewery tour. Exactly the kind of thing that I would like, right? Here's the deal...

1. With the tour comes 5 complimentary tastes - each about 6 ounces
2. I crunched some numbers in the back, and the only way that 5, six ounce tastes would have the desired effect is if I do the drinking of all five in quick succession
3. There is a tour in the middle, so I pretty much need the tour to happen fast so I can finish up my tastes and have beer do what it is supposed to do
4. The tour took a long time because somebody kept asking a bunch of questions. I understand that it's sort of research for his blog, but some of us really don't care what temperature the water is when they add the yeast, as long as the beer tastes good, right? Nerd.

Oh, and the brewery was like an hour drive from our house. I know that doesn't sound like it's very far away, but since I started working from home, I really don't drive at all. Like I'll go a week where the only driving I do is to and from the airport. Now my ass starts to hurt on an hour drive because of the whole sitting on the wallet thing. That didn't used to happen until after a few hours. Hmm, both scenarios 1 and 2 have included something about my butt hurting...I'll try to work on that for scenario 3.

Scenario 3 - Dessert Bar

This one is a good idea gone bad. Charlotte added a dessert bar downtown a couple of weeks ago. What's that saying about arranging the deckchairs on the titanic? Don't these people know that we're in a recession? Anyway, whatever. Dessert is good, so I'm cool with it. Somebody thought we should go, and it didn't take much arm twisting. Now I'm usually a pretty patient person at restaurants. I'm used to big fancy client dinners where I have to sit in the same place for three hours. Also, my dad is the least patient person in the world (like he has to walk around if it takes more than five minutes for his food to be brought out, or he'll take his empty glass up back to the kitchen to find the server for a refill) and I try not to do that. But this is a dessert only place. So it's just one course. Or you could say two courses, if you want to count a cocktail as it's own course. 

Somehow this process takes 2.5 hours. This is .83 Oklahomas. The Oklahoma is my new unit of measurement of time. 1 Oklahoma = 3 hours. The Oklahoma has replaced Braveheart as my unit of measurement for time.  During that 2.5 hours, we had one drink. We ordered three desserts, and received zero desserts. Orders 1 and 2 were out of stock. Order #3 was prepared incorrectly. So we went to a dessert bar for 2.5 hours and didn't get any dessert. During this 2.5 hours, I thought about how many Steak'n'Shake Milkshakes I could drink in that amount of time, or if I could walk to a McDonalds, order an apple pie, then run a 10k, write a blog post, walk the dog, and still be done in less than 2.5 hours. At least the booth was comfortable. 

Now I didn't start out to write a bitter rant of a blog post, but that seems to be what this has become. All of the scenarios above were fun (especially beerfest) because we were with friends. I think I started 1,000 words ago with a Jim Gaffigan reference. Maybe I should take my own advice.....And Cut!

Friday, April 3, 2009

This Week in Blogs, Volume II

Greetings, and welcome to the second weekly food blog roundup. Thanks for coming back. It’s been an exciting week in Food Blog World, and I’ll do my best to take you around in the next 1000 words or so. I’ve decided to change it up a bit and go for more short reviews, instead of a handful of really long ones. We’ll see how that goes. I usually just start rambling, so that might not work. Here. We. Go.

Kelsey at Bites + Bowls had a very busy week. In addition to wearing some Flashdance-style leggings, she also tried on 17 different colors of nail polish and took about 15 inappropriate pictures of fruit and veggies. Since Kelsey doesn’t eat mammal, there is usually fruit and/or veggies with every meal. This means three opportunities per day for phallic fruit and veggie placement. Oh, and she also became the first food blogger to take a picture of her dirty laundry. Congrats, Kelsey. Bites and Bowls was also under attack this week by a Negative Nancy commentor. There were like five consecutive posts when the same person kept writing nastygrams about pretty much everything. So I had to put on my disguise as my blog commentor alter ego/sassy middle-aged woman (this time I was named Marge) and come to the rescue. Marge saved the day and once again stopped the advances of Negative Nancy.

VeggieGirl – I hope your VeggieCameraman/VeggieDad is feeling better. He didn’t sound too good on your last video. I could send you some Robitussin or maybe some Sucrets or something. I’m hoping it’s just a springtime cold, and not a ventilation problem in the VeggieGirl kitchen/VGTV Studios. Oh, and VeggieGirl, my blondies have not arrived yet. What does a girl have to do to get some VeggieGirl blondies? Everyone else in Blogland seems to have received their VeggieGirl Blondies, and mine are nowhere to be found. Did you lose my address already? And why doesn’t my cable package come with VeggieGirl TV? I get Starz 8 in HD and four shopping channels, but no VeggieGirl TV. That ain’t right. Time Warner - If you're listening, can you please add VeggieGirl TV to my channel lineup?
 
Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point is considering a move to Charlotte. I am 100% in favor of this move. If it helps make your decision, I'll let you refer to me as “Replacement Meghann” after you move. I’m cool with it, really. Caitlin had the first food blog night that I could actually relate to on Saturday. It involved onion rings, watching basketball,  and drinking beers. Not just A beer, but beers plural. Then you had to ruin it by running 10 miles while listing to the Twilight Soundtrack. Why must you torment me like this? You can move here if you want, but you better leave those damn vampire friends in Florida. Caitlin also finished her 30 day shred. Finally! I was exhausted just from reading about it.

On a Lobster Placemat. Okay, so I haven’t started reading this one yet, but I really dig the name and Kate likes your blog. Most of these food blogs seem to follow a pretty consistent naming convention of [Name/Nickname] + [What I like to Do] OR [ Name + What I like to Eat] OR [Some Noun and Verb Combo]. And then out of nowhere comes this fantastic abstract blog name that I really don’t understand. This is the food blog equivalent of Pearl Jam’s “Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town” in a sea of one word song titles like Daughter, Jeremy, Alive, and Black. I will start reading your blog, just because of the name. And because you play with your food.

Super Caloric Chalk Dust is also a pretty fantastic blog name. I also feel like SCCD must live in one of those cities where companies  test out all of their new products before launching them across the country. That's the only theory I can come up with, because I spend a lot of time at the grocery store, and I’ve never seen half of the products that you’ve tried this week. Doritos Collisions? Jelly Belly Pudding? Aloe Juice? Where do you find these treasures, and have they been approved by the FDA? I get scared when you go a couple of days without posting. I start to think that maybe one of these experimental/only available wherever the heck you live foods caused some significant health issue that is keeping you from your blogging responsibilities. Or maybe you just have other stuff to do.
 
ZestyCook – So I finally started reading this one so I have more to talk about than his beautiful bald head, but then I got sidetracked. I saw that you made a chocolate cake and used a Skor Bar as a topping. They still make Skor bars? I thought those went the way of the Rollerblade. Maybe they just started selling them in Canada and stopped U.S. distribution. Which reminds me – do they still sell Clearly Canadian in Canada? Because that stuff kicked ass. So if you can get your hands on some Clearly Canadian, you can send it my way. It would go really well with VeggieGirl’s blondies (which should totally be here by now).

The Fitnessista got a shout-out in one of her favorite (and my favorite) magazines this week – Glamour. My favorite part of Glamour (and Cosmo) is taking their little quizzes. It always comes back with results like "you really need to work on pleasing your man" or "you are a strong independent woman." I'm starting to think that maybe those quizzes aren't designed for men who are just killing time at the grocery store checkout. Anyway, Fitnessista's Glamour quote had something to do with healthy living and loving your body. I didn’t really read it. But I did see that she said something about doing Zumba. Kate and I tried doing Zumba once in South Beach with my Uncle Joe and Aunt Rolando. It was not pretty. My uncles were Zumba professionals and we were not.  I think Kate and I were both two entire songs behind the rest of the class. I also like Fitnessista because Kate can’t even come close to pronouncing her blog’s name correctly. So I like to ask Kate what she’s looking at (while I know she’s looking at Fitnessista) just to hear the pronunciation.  Kate’s version includes about 12 S’s and 6 I’s.

Matt at Brew and Bake just posted his 7th step in his how to home brew series. 7 steps and we can’t even drink the beer yet! I’ve decided that if anything takes more than three steps to explain, I’m probably just going to buy it instead. Or, I’ll just hang out in Matt’s garage when he gets to the ‘bottling’ step. And when he goes in to type out his blog post, I’ll just take the beer. Probably shouldn’t have written that plan down – there goes the element of surprise.

Stock Up/Stock Down – With Commentary. Sometimes.

Stock Up
Green Smoothies – Yeah, somebody thought it was a good idea to put spinach or kale in a smoothie. I’m sure it’s pretty healthy. It’s been a great weight loss tool for me. No, I haven’t tried one of these, but Kate has jumped on the bandwagon, and every time I see the post-Green Smoothie Blender in my kitchen I start to throw up in my mouth and skip my next meal. Thanks ladies!

Kombucha – So it costs like $3.50 and tastes like garbage water…what’s not to love? Oh, and it’s the only drink I’ve found that still doesn't taste good, even after you mix it with alcohol.

April Fools Jokes – Seriously... saying you ate something fried or had fast food is not enough. Ladies, this is your one day out of the year when you can lie and nobody can get mad at you. Go out on more of a limb. Next year I’m expecting a food blogger to say they were coked out with Lindsay Lohan or huffed gasoline for breakfast with an Olson twin. 

Breakfast Cookies - I stopped getting excited when I found it they weren't talking about Oreos


Stock Down

Pistachio Nuts - This latest recall hit the food blogging community very hard. We're going to pull through this. I promise.

Exercise-related injuries - Everyone seems to be magically healed now.

30 Day Shred – Level II - That was so last week.

Using the terms 'sammie' and 'brekkie' - Specifically for sandwich and breakfast. Actually stock is way up on these two. I just really want it to stop. So I thought maybe putting them in the stock down category would lead to their demise - at least on this side of the Atlantic.


That’s all for this week. I should be back next Friday. Give me a couple weeks and this food blog roundup will have its own blog. It'll probably have a weekly long post and then some shorter stuff on a daily basis. The new design will be fun, flirty, and feminine with a spunky edge. Not really. I actually just stole that from a food blog.  A free VeggieGirl blondie to the first person who can tell me where I stole that last line. I'm lying about the blondie too, but curious if anyone can name that blog. 

Alright, time to go.  See y'all next week.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Summer Plans

It's that time of year again (check local listings). There are leaves on the trees, the birds are chirping, and there are lots of door to door people trying to get me to buy everything from gutter cleaning to tree trimming to lawn care.

The lawn care guy came to our door today. He was from the TruGreen -ChemLawn company, I think. And why the hell would they include "ChemLawn" in their name? I think I'd try to downplay the use of chemicals, but what do I know. Anyway, TruGreen guy is warmly greeted by Kate (never really interested in dealing with a door to door salesman) and Gilbert (who was already in a bad mood because it was raining outside and he couldn't go to the bark park). So the doorbell rings and Gilbert starts barking like crazy. Kate gets the door because I'm lazy and don't feel like leaving my couch and Martha Stewart for five minutes. I know I didn't enter Publisher's Clearing House this month so there's no chance it's the prize patrol. Kate answers, realizes it's the lawn chemical guy, and responds with a firm (but polite) "no thank you, my husband takes care of the lawn." I loved it. It was delivered with the right amount of voice inflection, and had the undertone of traditional gender roles that are so not us. It could've only been better if she would've finished it off with "now if you'll excuse me, I have a roast in the oven to attend to. I said good day sir." 

Anyway, chemical man didn't stop there. The rejection before his pitch and the barking dog did not stop this guy from delivering his killer close-the-deal line of "what are your plans for your lawn this summer?" Kate responded with a quick "to mow it" and that was that. It was short and just enough smartass to get him to go away. 

After Chemlawn man left, the four of us (Kate, Me, Gilbert, and Martha) sat around and discussed how we could've answered that question better. Well, it was basically just Kate and I discussing it, but Martha and Gil were both there too. Anyway, how the hell are you supposed to respond to a question like "What are your plans for your lawn this summer?" We came up with several options. Feel free to borrow any of these if the TruGreen guy comes to your door:

TruGreen Man: What are your plans for your lawn this summer?

You: I'm not sure. We were thinking of taking the lawn to see my folks up in Wisconsin. But probably only the front lawn, because the back lawn gets car sick.

or

You: Well, we're going to enroll the lawn in a summer reading program at the public library. We want it to stay sharp and to keep on learning even during the summer months. Oh, and lawn is on the waiting list for swimming lessons at the YMCA, so keep your fingers crossed!

or

You: We've got a lot of things lined up for the lawn this summer. Including, but not limited to: letting the dog pee on it. Pounding some metal stakes into it and throwing some horses shoes back and forth, and probably digging some holes in it at some point.

or

You: We're probably going to take it easy this summer. Lawn had a big year last year (with the trip to Europe and all) so we'll probably just stay around here. I mean, lawn will grow and get cut and then grow and get cut, but that's about it. We'll probably do that every week or so.

or

You: We're planning on digging up the entire lawn, donating the grass to science, and then paving the entire yard.

That's all we could come up with. Then Martha butted in with something about making your own honey or something like that so we stopped thinking about the TruGreen guy and his silly question.  Again, feel free to borrow these, or share your own suggestions as comments.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Blog Housekeeping and House Hunters

Hi Everyone. Sorry for the delay. I've been doing some YIFY soul-searching this week. Lots of trust falls and ropes courses with me and my blog.

So I'll start with a little blog housekeeping. This food blog week in review thing seemed to work pretty well, so I should probably do some more of that. That being said, the food blog critic thing really doesn't fit into the strict charter of this blog - nor is it entirely interesting to people who don't spend their free time blogstalking (except reading mine). So the master plan now is to create a new blog where I just talk about other blogs. I'll start working on that one of these days with a new domain, new design, and all of the other things that go along with starting a new blog. Once that happens, YIFY will go back to just being a random collection of my thoughts about nothing in particular. Oh, and the new food blogstalker blog (yet to be named or created) will have pictures and graphics and all of the things that a blog should have. YIFY will remain in its current (ugly) format. So for the next couple of weeks, I'll continue doing the food blog posting thing here until I get motivated and make the pretty blog. 

Okay, that's enough housekeeping for one day. Now I'll make the smooth transition from blog details to cable television...

As many of you know, I spend a significant amount of my life watching television. I can't spend all of my free time stalking food blogs, and television is more than happy to fill this need. There are really three categories of television shows that Kate and I watch:

1. Shows that only Kate likes (about 15 shows - mostly those on HGTV or TLC)
2. Shows that only I like (about 100 shows - pretty much everything)
3. Shows that we both like (4 shows that I can think of)

I can think of about four shows that we both like off the top of my head: The Office, The Biggest Loser, Barefoot Contessa, and The Today Show. Of course, The Today Show should count as more than one show, since it's literally on for 24 hours per week (two hours on Saturdays and Sundays, and 4 hours each weekday). That's ridiculous, but that's for another post. This one is about House Hunters. It used to be one of the shows that we both like, but I recently made the decision to move it into the 'Shows that only Kate likes' bucket.

I'm not entirely sure why I broke up with House Hunters, but I can think of a couple possible reasons - I could be burned out from doing actual house hunting not very long ago and the thought of house hunting again just is not appealing at all. Or (more likely) I've finally realized that every single episode of House Hunters is exactly the same. Since it's still in the "shows that Kate likes" category, I still have to sit through my share of episodes. So I've decided to come up with a list of things that will likely happen in an episode, and then rate the episode based on how many of these things actually happens. Every episode has at least 2 of these things happen, if you're lucky, you'll see an episode with four or more of the following:

1. [Wife/Girlfriend] - Steps into walk in closet and makes some stupid joke about "Well, this is big enough for my wardrobe, but I don't know where he'll put his clothes" ha ha ha

2. [Husband/Boyfriend] - Sees dishwasher and makes dumb joke about "not having dishpan hands anymore" ha ha ha

3. [Wife/Girlfriend] - shows some apprehension about the backyard. Usually something about "I don't know if a pool is really safe with the kids" or "what if a bear comes in from that wooded area and eats the kids." Okay, that second one never happens, but the first one is pretty common.

4. [Husband/Boyfriend] - expresses some interest in turning the basement, shed, or bonus room into a 'men's den'. Bonus point if he uses the term 'man cave' and acts like he's the first person to ever use the term.

5. [Wife/Girlfriend] - dismisses one of the houses because of something stupid like "I just don't know about the paint color in the baby's room." This is usually when Kate starts talking to them through the TV and says something about how easy it would be to change the color of the baby's room. 

6. [Realtor] Ends up showing houses that are not in the couple's price range. Bonus point if they end up buying a home that was not in their original price range.

So next time you watch House Hunters, see how many of these you can check off your list. Or, next time you lose control of the remote try to come up with a your own episode cliche scavenger hunt. It helps pass the time. 

Friday, March 27, 2009

This Week in Food (Blogs)

Hello, and welcome to the first (and potentially last) edition of the YIFY Food Blog Roundup. This could probably go in a couple of directions from here. Either it could become wildly popular and create it's own spin-off blog, or I could offend a bunch of people that I don't even know, feel guilty about it, and then go back to blogging about my dog or hard alcohol. Only time will tell. A few of the ground rules:

1. Blogs were selected at random. And by random I mean I'm commenting on the handful that I read regularly, or those that seem to be popular because they get frequent shout-outs in the blogs that I read.

2. If you have your own food blog that you want to be included, or, if there's one that you read and you want me to comment on it, just leave it as a comment. No promises here - remember that this might be the last edition.

3. I'm not trying to be an ass. Really. This is about as edited/filtered as I get. Sorry if it is still in some way offensive. This is the first post where Kate actually has editorial control. Mostly because she's the nicest person that I know.

4. If I write something about you and you don't like it, you can email me and I'll edit the post, print a retraction, or apologize profusely - your pick. But if you don't think it's too painful, I'd say just laugh it off. There may be some symbiosis here eventually. If we hit the big time, then maybe we can help drive traffic your way.

Alright, now that we've got that our of the way, here's your roundup

Blogger: Kath

Kath returned from Africa last week and got back to her normal blogging schedule. I'm not going to lie...life was a little more difficult when Kath was in Africa. Posts were inconsistent. Matt did his best to fill the Kath shaped hole that was left in blogworld, but it was hard on all of us. And when Kath did post, there were comment battles popping up everywhere. It was very difficult.

But now Kath is back and all is right in blogworld. She had a bunch of contests in the past week. I think it might be related to her trip to Africa. I have a feeling that next week she's going to announce that she's actually a Nigerian princess, and if you make a small deposit (of barney butter) into her account, then she can access all of the riches of her motherland and shower you with gold and ivory and probably some oatmeal. Be on the lookout for that, as I think it might be a scam.

Speaking of oatmeal, Kath and Oatmeal were fighting earlier this week. And by fighting, I mean that she chose other breakfast treats for a few days. It was difficult to watch. I felt like I was sitting in the back of the minivan and plugging my ears and saying la la la to myself to drown out the noise of Mom (Kath) and Dad (Oatmeal) fighting. I was worried that I would have to pick sides if they split up for good. I mean, we really like hanging out with Kath and Matt, but Oatmeal and I have such history together. Fortunately, it didn't come to that. Kath and her oats are reunited once again. 

Did I really just write an entire paragraph about someone else's relationship with oatmeal?

[Leaving the United States. Driving North. Going through Customs. Welcome to Canada] 

Blogger: Angela

OSG just launched a "Bikini Body Bootcamp" contest. Basically she's having her readers send in some 'before' pictures in bikinis (along with their measurements) and then they'll have a winner at the end of the thing. I'm trying to figure out how I can show my support. Which of these would be the least creepy?

1. I could take my picture wearing a women's bikini
2. I could go with imitation being the most sincere form of flattery, and also ask my blog readers to send in bikini pictures
3. I could send in my picture wearing a speedo and an "I Glo" baby tee

I think all of the above are pretty creepy, so maybe I'll just send in a celebrity bathing suit picture and say its me. I'd probably go with the famous Tyra Banks or Jennifer Love Hewitt pictures or something like that. 

But best of luck to OSG and the rest of the contestants. I know that bikini season is only about three days long in Canada, so hopefully they've got the scheduling figured out.

Blog: Zestycook
Blogger: Hmm, Zesty, I guess. Mind if I call you that? Perhaps Zest for short...

I have to admit that I don't really read this blog. I'm going to start, I just haven't gotten around to it. But it seems popular and fancy enough so I thought I'd write about it. Also, Zesty is successful in a female-dominated space, and I applaud that. I compare it to my success on the Taylor Swift Karaoke circuit, where it's usually just me and a bunch of women. But since I don't read his blog (yet) this is probably going to be a fairly superficial roundup.

I love Zesty's beautiful bald head - and I don't care who knows it. Have y'all seen his head? It can be seen in all its glory on the "About Zesty" page. It looks so damn smooth. It's probably good that we haven't met yet. I'm 97% sure that I'd start the conversation with "is it cool if I feel your head?" I used to think to myself that I'd much rather have gray hair than go bald, but a couple of things have changed my mind on that topic:

1. I started getting gray hair. And it seems to be coming in on the sides faster than the top. That was not part of the plan. I was hoping for George Clooney, but I'm worried it's going to be more like Grandpa Munster.

2. I saw Zesty's glorious bald head, and thought, yeah, that's definitely better than the Grandpa Munster look that I'm working on right now. 

I promise I'll stop talking about Zesty's head soon, but one more thing on that topic. When I was 14 and had to go to the dermatologist, there was a picture hanging on the wall. It was a side by side comparison of a 50-something plains Indian woman, and a 90-something Tibetan monk. The plains Indian woman spent all of her time in the sun so her face looked like an old catcher's mitt. The Tibetan monk spent all of his time protected from the sun and his bald head looked flawless. For the last 14 years I have been looking for a bald head as flawless as the monk head, and now we have found it...This concludes the somewhat-creepy section of this post where I describe another man's head.

I promise I'll actually read the blog next week so I can actually talk about it instead of Zesty's head. 

[Leaving Canada. Stopping briefly at Duty Free to buy some booze. Next stop = Florida]

Blogger: Meghann

It's been a very exciting week for Graduate Meghann readers. At long last, Meghann addressed her relationship status. For those of you who haven't been following along (shame on you), Meghann has been spotted out with this guy named Derek, since the Valentine's day time frame, but he has not yet received a title on the blog. So every time Derek and Meghann do something, there are usually a handful of comments saying something like "are you and Derek dating" or "is Derek your boyfriend." 

Well, Meghann finally cleared this up for us. Sort of. In a recent post, Meghann stated:

"Truth is Derek and I discussed it this weekend and we both honestly do not know what to label each other. We both know that we enjoy each other’s company and that we are just seeing how things move from here. There is no rush to produce labels, so one day at a time people! LOL"

Well, that might be good enough for you two, but those of us in blogworld need a label. It doesn't even have to be an accurate label, as long as it is used consistently. So if you don't want to go with 'Boyfriend' or 'Dating', that's fine, but give us something. You can call him the Easter Bunny or the Pope or whatever you want - just give the guy/relationship a title. It can be like a game of blog Mad Libs.

In other Graduate Meghann news, Meghann and her Easter Bunny, Derek went rollerblading this week. Wait, what? How did they do that? Did they get into a DeLorian with Michael J. Fox, get it up to 88 miles an hour and set the flux capacitor for 1996? I can't remember the last time I saw rollerblades, but I'm pretty sure Clinton was in office. I'm not really sure why Rollerblades disappeared. It wasn't like a better technology came along like with the Zach Morris cell phone or the Betamax or laser disc player. People just stopped using them. But maybe Meghann and her Easter Bunny are bringing them back, and I support that. BTW, spellcheck doesn't even recognize 'rollerblades' as a word anymore.

Blogger: Jenna

Alright, this will be a short one...mostly because this post is already too long. I don't know what happened here. I went out of town last week and Jenna was like the queen of yoga and every post had something to do with yoga. Then I came back and now every post talks about swimming. What the hell did I miss? It's like someone did a big 'search and replace' on the entire blog and took out Yoga and replaced it with Swimming. I'll get over it, but I feel like it was all really abrupt. It's a good thing that this isn't a 'Single White Female' scenario, otherwise I would've already invested in my own yoga mat and personal Yogi, only to have to switch it up and buy goggles now.

In other ELR news, Jenna and her BF were at the beach, and apparently Jenna's BF is friends with Albert Haynesworth and other professional football players. Now I don't doubt that it's true, but it would be an amazingly funny inside joke if it wasn't. Like he could just give her another random celebrity every week and she would have to weave that person into the blog. Almost like a Barbara Walters-style namedropping (I was horseback riding with the King of Jordan just last week...I was in a hot tub with Matt Damon and Ben Affleck). Also, I'd really like to see a photo of Jenna with Albert Haynesworth. And yes, he's the one stomping on the other dude's head. If I was decent with photoshop, I'd make that happen...instead you'll all just have to imagine it in your mind.

Blogging Trends or Stock up/Stock Down (not sure what to call it yet)

Stock Up
Barney Butter
Tempeh
Commenting with ALL CAPS and plenty of !!!!
Fake signatures at the end of posts
30 Day Shred Level II

Stock Down
Yoga
Protein Powder
Labels for boyfriends
Black tar heroin
30 Day Shred Level I


Stay tuned for next week (or next time that I get around to this) when I'll review Brew and Bake, Healthy Tipping Point, Bites and Bowls, and whatever other blogs y'all tell me to write about.

That's all. Thanks for reading. Let me know what you think.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Real Housewives of Facebook

This should probably be titled "My Digital Friends, Volume IV," but the real housewives total came to me when I was running yesterday, and I just couldn't help myself. 

So of my 387 facebook friends, there are probably 20 or so that are stay at home moms (SAHMs). A couple of these are family members. I promise this post isn't about you. Hopefully that'll stop my sister from being mad at me. Most of my SAHM friends are from high school or college who have recently followed the traditional progression of: graduated from school, got married, had kid, stay at home and raise kid. The new last step in this progression is apparently "spend all of my time on facebook." Stay at home moms are great people, and they have the hardest job in the world (other than coal miners, probably) but I know this much is true:

Stay at home moms are the worst facebook friends. Ever.

Most of this revolves around the status update. Specifically:

They Update Their Status All the time: I expect status updates at specific times of the day: Early risers update their status in the morning. 8-5ers update their status after lunch (something like "back in the office and ready for a nap") and then there are the ready to leave work, and just got home from work status updates. Finally, there are the 'I have nothing better to do tonight so I'll update my facebook status' updates. With SAHMs, they just update their status all day. Now I only know this because I'm on Facebook all day, but it's damn annoying.

They Update Their Status with Stuff that Doesn't Interest Me: I go onto Facebook to be entertained. This does not happen with your SAHM friends. You get Facebook status updates like:

"Life is good when [insert rugrat name] sleeps through the night"
"Shopping for Minivans, and recommendations?"
"Taking [rugrat] to Target. He's still trying to get over his cold. Darn that daycare"
"What does it mean when [rugrat] has green spitup?"

Again, I'm looking for an enjoyable distraction with my facebook status updates. I'm looking for an obscure movie quote or song lyric, or some interesting detail of your life. Maybe even something unintentionally funny after being overserved on a Friday or Saturday night.  Not this mom stuff about minivans or gerber products.

Their Mom Friends have Full Conversations on Facebook: So I usually judge Facebook status updates based on two criteria: 1. Does it make me laugh, 2. Did lots of other people comment on it. Usually these two are pretty consistent. If I find something funny or entertaining, I'm probably not alone. With my SAHM friends, they post the lamest status updates (see examples above) yet still get a handful of responses that are just as lame. It's like there is this vast network of moms on facebook that go from watching noggin to hitting refresh on their computer to commenting on their status and then repeat. Oh, and I know I could call them a Momtourage, but I really don't want that term to takeoff, so I'm not going to use it. Damn, I guess I just did. So if some SAHM asks for input about a minivan, there will be five recommendations up there an hour later. Maybe I'm just jealous, who knows. 

I think it all comes back to my fear that one day all of the cool kids are going to wake up and realize that everyone is using facebook, and then they'll close out their accounts and start doing something else instead. Then it'll just be me and the SAHMs left on Facebook and my only entertainment will be status updates about the Honda Odessey and Go Diego Go.