Friday, September 25, 2009

Some books I love

I love Tales of Fourth Grade Nothing. It was the first chapter book I ever read. The only thing I remember from the first grade is reading this book. It also helped me as a person. As a youngest sibling I used Fudge as a guide for how not to act. And *spoilers* he eats the turtle. CLASSIC!



I am all about future books. I guess I like to read about the decay and absurdity of future society, or maybe it's just to hope that things really don't turn out this way. In any case, if you're into books about the future, read The Giver. It is a YA book, but aren't all good books YA books these days? I read this book in high school. I still get chills at the idea of a society where love and individuality are silly, antiquated, and un-needed and death is nothing more than a tool to unburden society.



I read this book in college. I actually pulled it out of a trash can. Someone had thrown it away. My first thought was, "Are they crazy? This has a textbook sticker on it! I'm so trading it in at the bookstore." My second thought was, "It's short. I like to read. And I don't want to study for economics, so I'll read this instead." I'm glad I did. It is a short book, about one day in the life of an innocent man in a Soviet prison camp. Nothing extraordinary happens in the book, just the description of the day to day life and survival of someone living in an unjust situation. Parts of it, extreme punishments and downright cruelty by officials, are shocking. The author of this book spent 9 years in a Soviet Labor Camp for writing a derogatory sentence about Stalin in a letter. Oh yeah, I failed my Economics test.



This is the best.vampire.book.ever. Sorry, Edward, but it's true. And don't watch the movie because it doesn't do this book justice. First of all, this book scared the pants off of me. Seriously. The night I finished it I stayed up late. Hubs was in bed and I was too scared to get off the couch and walk to the bedroom. Second, it's very well written and in the format of letters and journal entries, so it's an escape from the normal narrative of a book. You get to see the stories from the points-of-view of multiple characters. Dracula is a true villain. There's no sympathy for him, no excuses, he's just a villain, and a scary one at that. The book is wonderful. Read it.



Back to the Young Adult/Future Fiction shelf. I'm including both books because they're a seamless continuation of one story. I'm not sure why they're out of order in the picture. Hunger Games is first, so read it first, or you'll be muy confused. I love these books because, first of all, the savior is a GIRL! And she's strong and she's revolutionary, but she's relatable. She has weaknesses (glaring ones) and insecurities just like any other girl. She has reservations about being the spearhead of a revolution against unjust government, but she knows she has to take responsibility at the same time. She can use a bow and arrow (so can I!). And she can use them well (I can't!). And she has two men falling all over themselves for her attentions. Peeta, who I love, and Gale. I hate his face. Anyway, Peeta's name makes me giggle because it reminds me of the first book on this list. Coolness points to anyone who can tell me what it reminds me of. Haymitch reminds me of half of my relatives. I devoured both of these books when I read them. Then Lauren and I e-mailed today about whether or not Katniss would pick Peeta or Gale. I assured her that Katniss would pick Peeta. Then I started doubting myself and ate half a box of Family Size Crunch-n-Munch. This is what you do to me, Suzanne Collins. Finish the third book, please.

What are some of your favorite books?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Lost Character of the Week

First of all, congrats to Michael Emerson (BEN!) for winning an Emmy for best awesome villain of all time, or something like that. Now on to:



Off-center Emo Hobbit

Pre Island:

Charlie, whose middle name is Hieronymus (WHAT!?) was a good little altar boy. His mother gave him a piano for Christmas one year, but his dad was angry because he didn’t want him to go into music, he wanted Charlie to be a butcher. But all Billy wanted to do was dance! Wait, wrong story. But all Charlie wanted to do was write songs and sing them in a big diaper! Even though his dad was mad at him for wanting to make music, he still taught him to swim. That’s a good papa.

When Charlie became a little older, he started playing in the street for money. During one of his playing stints, he met a fine- looking Desmond and they had this conversation:

Desmond: Look at my awesome suit. We are friends on freak island one day.

Charlie: I like it. It is a very nice cut. What is this freak island? You are a handsome man.

Desmond: I am aware of that. Are you aware that I am made of awesome?

Charlie: I am. You are one sexy man. People shouldn’t do drugs.

That might not be verbatim. Charlie also sees a woman getting mugged one day and chases the muggers away. The woman is Nadia and she is muy grateful. Charlie is awesome.

Charlie later forms the band Drive Shaft with his brother Liam. Charlie was all down in the dumps because he thought no one would ever love the band and because he had to change the bus tire in the rain, but then they heard their song on the radio and were all “Huzzah!” It was grand.

When the band started making money, Liam started scoring heroin and got his baby brother hooked as well. Charlie tried to pull his brother out of the addiction, especially after Liam’s daughter was born, but there was no saving Liam. He eventually sold Charlie’s piano to buy a ticket to Australia. Wow. The evil family tomfoolery never lets up on this show. He eventually joined a rehab clinic and kicked his habit and turned into a family man. The band broke up. Charlie’s dealer told Charlie to form a relationship with Lucy, because she’s rich and could pay for his addiction. Charlie’s dealer is a winner. Charlie actually falls for the girl, but still steals from her to support his habit and she gives him his walking papers. Girl power!

Charlie flies to Sydney to convince Liam to reform the band. Liam refused and offered to help Charlie with his addiction. Charlie refused and booked his seat on Oceanic 815 instead. Charlie survived, even though his seat was in the mid-section of the plane. Know how he survived? He was in the front bathroom getting his snort on when the plane went down. Looooooser!

On the Island:

Charlie wanders aimlessly through the wreckage until he happens upon Claire playing pregnant victim. He offers her his blanket and she takes it. They start talking and it’s the beginning of true lurve.

He went with Jack and Kate into the jungle to find the cockpit, but only because he wanted to find his toilet heroin. He finds it and, yes, fishes it out of the toilet. Bleeeeech. He became friends with many of the survivors and none of them noticed his toilet drugs. Good friends, huh? Locke was awesome as usual and helped Charlie kick the habit by trading his guitar for the drugs.

A couple of days later Charlie changes his mind. Locke tells him no givsies backsies, but Charlie insists, so Locke tells him he has to ask three times and on the third time, he will give Charlie his drugs back. Because Locke is all about the games and is, apparently, a fan of the movie Beetlejuice. Charlie gets real mad and collapses a cave with his anger. Oh noes! Jack was inside! Charlie crawls in and saves him and afterwards he asks Locke for his drugs for the third time. Locke gives them to him and Charlie throws them in the fire! Be strong, Charlie!

After this a group of survivors, including Charlie, Claire, and their imaginary peanut butter, move to the rape caves because Charlie promises her she’ll be all kinds of safe there. Instead she’s attacked by Ethan and stabbed with a giant needle right in her baby stomach. D’oh! The next day Ethan accosted and kidnapped Claire and Charlie and hung Charlie from a tree. Jack totally saves him.

After Claire went missing with Ethan, Charlie turned all emo. He eventually talked to Rose and she helped him come to terms with it. I need to do a summary of Rose because she’s amazing.

Amnesia Claire finally returns, but she has no memory of what happened, including her friendship with Charlie. He’s crushed. They use Claire as bait to draw Ethan out, meaning to question him, but Charlie turns him into a slice of swiss cheese. Hell hath no fury like a hobbit scorned, y’all. Not long after, Claire gave birth to Aaron and Charlie was all about being surrogate daddy.

After Aaron is born, Rousseau shows up and kidnaps him. Charlie gives chase. They find Eko’s brother’s plane and Charlie finds the Virgin Mary heroin statues and is psyched. They catch Rousseau and Charlie returns Aaron to Claire. Claire’s all, “You’re the shiz.” And Charlie is all, “I know.” Then we all see the Mary statue in his backpack.

After they found the hatch, Charlie asked Hurley for some peanut butter, but Hurley denied him and Charlie was pissed. Eventually Hurley gave him the peanut butter and all was well in BFF land.

Claire finds out about the heroin statues that Charlie’s been stockpiling in the jungle and kicks him out of the tent because she doesn’t want him around her baby. Charlie starts having dreams about needing to save Aaron and even kidnaps Aaron in order to baptize him and Claire is pissed. Locke punches Charlie in the face a lot, too. Charlie decides to get in leagues with Sawyer and helps him steal the contents of the gun vault (including the heroin). He later tells everyone he only did it to make Locke look stupid. Memo to Charlie: Locke usually makes himself look stupid all on his own.

Later he helped Eko build a church. Eko abandoned the cause to push the button in the Swan, but Charlie continued building the church on his own. Vincent shows up with a heroin statue in his mouth. Charlie follows him and finds all of the statues in Sawyer’s stash. Charlie takes them and throws them in the ocean. Locke sees him and smiles a creepy smile. They have Ana Lucia and Libby’s funeral and Claire holds Charlie’s hand. Then Desmond shows up in his sailboat because he can’t get away from the island.

Charlie was in the Swan when Locke decided to let the clock run out and when Desmond turned the fail-safe key. He runs back to the beach, temporarily deaf, and Claire makes out with him. Score!

At this point, Desmond starts following Charlie around and annoying him by trying to save his life. Hurley and Charlie get Desmond drunk and he reveals that he can see the future, that Charlie is going to die, and Desmond can’t stop it! Charlie plans a date night with Claire. He writes a list of the five best things in his life, with Claire being number one! Later he swims with Desmond to the Looking Glass to communicate with the boat. He gets in touch with Penny and discovers that the freighter is not Penny’s boat. He relays this message to Desmond before drowning.

He appears to Hurley in the mental institution, looking all hot in the afterlife, to tell Hurley that the people on the island need him

Off Island Connections: Desmond saw Charlie as a street performer in London. Charlie saves Nadia. Hurley and Charlie stayed in the same hotel in Sydney. Charlie visits Hurley as a ghost/vision/something.

Sawyer Nicknames: Sport, Chucky, Tattoo, Babynapper, Oliver Twist, Munchkin, Three Men and Baby, Jiminy Cricket, Amigo, Rock God, Limey Runt, VH1 Has-been, Hobbit

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Recipe time

This is a quick and easy dish that I make when I don't have a lot of time. As i was cooking it the other night, I thought I would share it with you. It's not an all out recipe, but DH loves it. I usually pair it with a salad.

Five Cheese Pasta Bake:

1 lb penne pasta
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup mixed shredded Italian cheeses (I use Romano, Mozzarella, Parmasean, and Asiago)
3 cups tomato based pasta sauce - I usually make my own, but I was in a hurry so I used good old Prego.
1/4 c. shredded parmesean

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Spray a glass 9x13 baking dish with nonstick spray and set aside. Boil penne until al dente (cooked, but still firm to the bite), about 8 minutes. Pour into a colander to drain and run cold water over it to halt the cooking process. After it's drained, pour it into your baking dish and add the ricotta cheese, stir so that the cheese melts and mixes with the pasta (it won't be smooth). Next add your shredded cheeses in a thick layer over the pasta. Pour the sauce on top and carefully stir to mix. Sprinkle remaining parmesean on top and bake for 30-35 minutes, until the sauce is bubbly.

It should look something like this:


Let me know if you try it or like it! This is a go to recipe in my house because it's so easy to make and I usually have most of the ingredients on hand.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Yeah, I disappeared.


I was at the beach. And it was F-U-N. Hubs and I were in great need of a vacation. See, we've been married for 8 1/2 years and have never taken an actual vacation. We always go home to visit family when Hubs has time off work, so this was a big deal for us. First, we took M to Disney World for a couple of days. Talk about a magical time. We loved it!

(my future house)

And me and Mickey are total BFFs now. For serious.

Then we spent the rest of the time on the beach and gorging ourselves on the likes of Crabcake Factory, where we had crabcakes and chicken marsala. Later in the week we ate at Maggiano's, where we had the following towering chocolate cake of death:

And Cheesecake Factory. Yes, I had the Godiva cheesecake and it was heaven on a plate. I made the moronic decision to run to the restroom after I ordered my cheesecake and this is what it looked like when I got back. Darn vultures of a family...at least they knew better than to touch my whipped cream or my chocolate square. I'll forgive M because she's small and was probably coerced, but Hubs has some 'splaining to do.

The rest of the time I laid around reading this:


It was awesome. Read it. Now. Only read Hunger Games first, or you'll be confused.

I'm going to try to do a recipe post this week, if I cook anything good. We're actually eating light to try to recover from all of the garbage we consumed on vacation. Hopefully I'll get a Lost post up, too.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Lost Character of the Week


I got your comic relief right here...


Background:

Hurley was very close to his father when he was young. They spent time fishing and fixing up an old Camaro. Hurley’s dad left when Hurley was about eleven years old (jerk), and this is when Hurley started eating his feelings. One night Hurley went to a party and ended up standing on a deck that collapsed and killed four people. He believed it was all his fault because of his weight, even though there were 23 people on a deck that was made to hold eight. This greatly distresses the Hurls and he ends up in the mental ward. After banishing his imaginary friend, Dave, Hurley was released and moved back in with his mother. He worked at Mr. Clucks, selling, and eating, fried chicken. Shortly after this he won the lottery, using numbers that another hospital patient, Leonard the Connect Four Wizard, repeated over and over. Hurley wasn’t happy when he won the lottery. He was just afraid of how much his life would change. Hurley doesn’t handle change well. He fainted when he saw that he’d won the lottery, but he didn’t tell anyone that he won, for fear that things would change. He loses his job at Mr. Clucks and his friend Johnny quits out of solidarity. They go to a record store to celebrate their freedom and Hurley asks his crush, Starla, out on a date. He and Johnny then vandalize their former boss’s lawn by spelling “Cluck You” in garden gnomes. Afterward they go to the gas station where there is a commotion with the media because they know this is the store that sold the winning ticket. The clerk then points out Hurley, saying that he bought the winning ticket. Johnny is hurt that Hurley felt he couldn’t tell him about the lottery and it’s clear to Hurley that everything’s changing. Later we learn that Johnny and Starla ran off together.

After he won, bad things started happening to those close to Hurley. He bought Mr. Clucks, which wasn’t a bad thing until Tricia Tanaka was killed when a meteor hit the restaurant while she was doing a piece on Hurley. Hurley believes the numbers are cursed after his grandfather, Tito Reyes, dies of a heart attack at the press conference to announce Hurley’s win. After this the priest at the grandfather’s funeral is struck by lightning, his brother’s wife leaves him, and the house he buys for his mother catches on fire. Cut the guy a break. While Hurley’s watching the house burn down he’s erroneously arrested for drug dealing.

Hurley spent some quality time learning to play ping pong in his mother’s basement. Hurley’s father, Cheech, returned. Hurley figured he was just after the lottery money and told him so. Hurley went to Australia to find a man named Sam Toomey, who knew something about the numbers. Sam’s wife told him that Sam committed suicide because of all of his bad luck associated with the numbers. Dum DUM DUUUUUUUHHHHMMMMM

Island: Hurley is the comic relief and boy do we need it. He’s also Mr. Dependable on the island and forms a bond with Jack early on. Later he and Charlie become BFF. Hurley decides to help the group by placing himself in charge of rationing the remaining food and water from the plane. He’s a good guy, and even makes sure pregnant Claire gets two helping of dinner instead of one. Hurley moves to the caves with some of the survivors and finds a set of golf clubs. SCORE! Where were you on that one, Sawyer, huh? Anyway, Hurley thinks what’s a set of golf clubs without a golf course? So he goes off and builds a green and Jack is in heaven and may marry Hurley. When Claire is attacked one night Hurley decides to do a census using the planes manifest and discovers that Ethan wasn’t on the plane. ZOINKS!

One day Hurley is looking at Rousseau’s maps with Sayid and discovered that the cursed numbers have followed him to the island! Guy can’t get a break from those nagging numbers. It’s like that cat that keeps peeing on our front porch. Anyway, he goes traipsing into the woods to find Rousseau thinking she can help him with the numbers. Hurley gets separated from the group and lands himself in an Indiana Jones movie, complete with rope bridge and huge spiky balls swinging on vines. He finally talks to Rousseau and she tells him, “What are you stupid? Of course the numbers are cursed. Moron.” And then she gives him a battery because we all know that the way to a man’s heart is through his electronics.

Hurley tells Charlie that he’s a bazillion-aire and for some reason this pisses Charlie off, probably because Charlie’s life is a huge FAIL. So Hurley decides to be BFFs with Jin instead and they go fishing and stuff. Then Rousseau shows up on the beach and tells everyone that the Others are coming to kill them. She’s such a Debbie Downer. Anyway a group runs off into the jungle to find some dynamite and play with the smoke monster. They find the Black Rock, which isn’t a rock at all, but a giant pirate looking ship! And some bird yells Hurley’s name. Then Arzt has a hormone attack and starts screaming about how life isn’t fair and accidentally explodes himself. Hurley utters the best line ever in the history of LOST: “I think I’ve got some Arzt on me.”

They blow the hatch open with their dynamite. Hurley is in charge of the food again and he doesn’t want the job, but Jack gets in his face, thinking he’s all the boss, and Hurley complies. He gets Rose to help him. Hurley decides to just give everybody the food instead of rationing it. Sawyer discovers where Hurley is hoarding food and tries to blackmail him but Hurley and Libby just destroy all the food instead of giving Sawyer the satisfaction. Then Hurley’s imaginary bad influence, Dave, shows up. Dave tries to get Hurley to commit suicide, but Libby stops him. Then he gets his mack on and finally kisses her. He plans a romantic picnic on the beach but forgets the blankets. Libby scoots off to get them an Michael shoots her. What.a.jerk.

Michael takes Hurley and the pretties to the pier where Ben lets Hurley go, saying they don’t want none of that in the Other’s camp. Hurley trudges back to camp and encounters a naked, psychic Desmond running through the woods. Hurley gives Desmond his shirt and the women of the world sigh in frustration. Hurley and Vincent go for a walk in the woods and Hurley finds a broken down VW van and gets it running again. So the island now has a Mystery Machine. Then Sawyer starts talking trash about his lacking ping-pong skills and Hurley calls his trash and trounces him at ping pong. The penalty is that Sawyer has to go a week without giving anyone a nickname, which, luckily for us, equals half an episode.

Hurley buries Nikki and Paulo because he thinks they’re dead, but they were just sleeping. This is why every society needs a coroner.

Hurley, Sayid, Jin, and Charlie see Naomi fall from the sky and rush to find her. Hurley, being the bumbling comic relief, accidentally sets off one of her emergency flares and Blackbeard, I mean Mikhail, comes running. They take Naomi and split and try to tend to her wounds but she dies. Charlie insults Hurley by implying that he’s fat, which is so funny because he doesn’t mind being friends with Sawyer when Sawyer verbally abuses him, but when Charlie says it, his whole world comes crashing down. The Others invade the beach and Hurley takes them out with his VW van and saves everybody.

Hurley gets lost in the woods yet again, after learning that the boat is not salvation, but a danger. He runs in a panic and finds himself at Jacob’s cabin. He looks in the window, screams, and runs away, right into Locke!

Hurley decides to switch loyalties to Locke. He’s sick of Jack’s big-headedness and non-listeningness. Sawyer and Hurley bunk together in Otherland, like a throwback from Parent Trap. Explosions happen and Hurley rescues Aaron. They all go to find Jacob. Ben, Locke, and Hurley go to move the island and Ben tells Hurley that he needs to leave on the freighter, so Hurley gets on the helicopter, becoming one of the Oceanic Six.

After Hurley leaves the island they have the discussion in the cargo plane about what to tell the press. Hurley’s not to happy about it but goes along with it anyway. He’s reunited with his family and finds out that he gets all of his money back, even though he doesn’t want it. His mom throws him a surprise party with an island theme (because she doesn’t have many smarts), and the Six are all there to see him. Hurley’s dad gives him the old Camaro they were fixing up and Hurley is stoked until he sees the mileage is set to the numbers and he runs like he has bees chasing him.

Sun has her baby and Hurley visits her. He asks if the other four are coming and Sun says no. Hurley says, “Good.” Sheesh. A little harsh there, Hurls. Hurley then gets arrested after he speeds away from ghost Charlie (who is hotter than real life Charlie, for the record) at a gas station. He freaks out on the police and they put him back in the booby hatch, where he’s happy. Abbadon shows up claiming to work for Oceanic Airlines. He wants to transfer Hurley to a place with an ocean view. Hmm…a polar bear cage, maybe? Hurley tells him he doesn’t want any of that and Abbadon gets all menacing and then leaves.

Ghost Charlie, looking all fine in the afterlife, approaches Hurley during his outdoor times. Charlie tells Hurley that he is, in fact, dead. Charlie tells Hurley, “They need you.” Then he floats away to play his harp on a cloud or something. Jack comes to visit and Hurley suggests going back to the island and Jack tells him to shut it.

Later Hurley goes even more crazy and Sayid breaks him out of the mental institution. They go to an apartment where some men are waiting to kill Sayid. Sayid goes all Bruce Lee on them and kills them. Hurley picks up their gun like a doof, someone takes his picture, and BAM, he’s public enemy number one. Ghost Ana Lucia later pulls Hurley over and tells him how to escape. He hides out at his parents’ house and is approached by Ben. He launches a Hot Pocket Rocket at Ben but totally misses and wastes a good hot pocket. Ben asks Hurley to come back to the island with him, but Hurley runs and gets arrested to get away from Ben. Ben had his lawyer pull some strings and get Hurley’s charges dropped, but they still have to practically use a shoehorn to get him out of the jail because he’s so afraid of Ben. He jumps in a cab and talks to none other than Jacob, who tells Hurley that he needs to return to the island. He then gives him flight information and tells him that it’s his choice, but if he does return Jacob wants him to bring a guitar case with him.

Hurley ends up on the plane. He bought up a ton of seats to prevent other people from being in the crash. Hurley is transported to 1977 island and joins the Dharma initiative as a Chef. He’s loving his new job and life with the Dharmites. Hurley spends his island time writing the screenplay to The Empire Strikes Back, hoping to sell it to George Lucas. He is on the bomb when the H bomb is detonated.

Nicknames:

Grimace, Hulk, JumboTron, Snuffy, Three Men and A Baby (this nickname was for Hurley, Charlie, and Aaron. When Charlie points out that there are only two men, Sawyer says he counted Hurley twice), Lardo, Stay Puft, Pillsbury, Jabba, Jethro, Hoss, Rerun, Babar, Muttonchops, Mongo, Deep Dish, Grape Ape, International House of Pancakes, Ese, Avalanche, Montezuma, Chicken Little, Kong

Off Island Connections:

Hurley was in the Santa Rosa Mental Health Institute at the same time as Libby. He never realized that he knew Libby from the institute in their time on the island. Hurley listened to Driveshaft (Charlie’s band) in a record store. Jin and Sun see Hurley win the lottery on TV. Abaddon visited Hurley in the mental institution. Hurley owned the box company that Locke worked for. He was a fan of “Exposed,” which Nikki was an actress in. Hurley was “haunted” after he left the island by Charlie and Ana Lucia. He was part of the Oceanic Six and had contact with them, especially Sun. Jacob visited Hurley off the island to convince him to go back. It was the most “recent” visit that we’re aware of. All of the other visits happened sometime in the survivors’ pasts, before they crashed on the island.

Sources: Lostpedia, lost.about.com, muckety.com, my memory.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Letters

Ahem:

Dear Guy who almost ran over me and my daughter in the bank parking lot today:

Hello, first of all you are not Carlisle Cullen. Stop acting like you are. Yes, I saw the gelled bottle blond hair and you driving your black tinted Mercedes like you're immortal or something. PUH-LEASE. Second, if you had just almost run over me I probably would have let it go, but the reason I came at you like a banshee on crack is because you endangered the life of my child. Don't act like I'm a crazy woman. Have you ever poked a sleeping bear with a stick? That's basically what you were doing today. You're lucky I didn't gouge your eyeballs out.

Dear dumb teenagers who flashed me and M at the McDonald's:

Yeah, that was me who called the police on you. Once again, don't be doing that stuff in front of my child. I can't laugh off people acting like that around her. And believe me, I would have laughed if she hadn't been there. Oh, and by the way, that's not really the best way to meet girls. Oh, and I didn't press charges against you. You might not be so lucky with the next person.

Dear Bacon:

Why do you taste so good, yet in your live form you give us flus? That is not very nice, bacon, so from now on I will be taking my bacon from turkeys, so as not to encourage your flu spreading.

Dear Sewing Machine:

I love you. I really, really do. And I thought we had a good relationship. So I don't understand why you not only broke a needle today, but flung it at my eye. That was not cool. You could have blinded me. I buy you the best titanium needles on the market. This is why we can't have nice things.

Dear M:

I love you.

Dear Hubs:

Happy Birthday and I love you. :)

Dear Friends:

Thanks for reading my dumb blog. I hope you have a wonderful night.

Sara