Thursday, September 26, 2013

TV Talk

I love TV. Let me clarify: I love a good story. And just about any excuse for an awards show (sparkly dresses!!). So this has been a pretty great week. Sunday night was the Emmys, and I love me some NPH, especially when he sings. And especially when he sings with Nathan Fillion. I also love Nathan Fillion. I am filled to the brim with nerd love here people. 

As you know, I can get giddy-excited about little things, and this broadcast, while being a bit depressing (James Gandolfini and Cory Monteith tributes = sobbing) and occasionally boring (sorry Elton, and Carrie) had some gems. Merritt Wever wins my best speech of the night. Hell, best speech ever.  

That was the speech? It was obvious! It was pointless! It was... short! I loved it!

My runner up is Jeff Daniels, because I love The Newsroom, and because he was too stunned to spit out his gum. Seriously Jeff, you could have swallowed it. Or mashed it to the roof of your mouth.  I’m pretty sure I did that every day of High School, even in choir, and that could have choked me to death.  I know everyone is saying that his win was a HUGE upset, and that the show is horribly flawed, but I don’t care, I freaking love Will McAvoy and every single character on that show.
Ooh, and a special mention goes to Veep, and the way Julia Louis-Dreyfus accepted her award in character, with Tony Hale in full Gary mode right behind her, clutching her purse and feeding her lines. HBO is just the best. Gaaah, I love all the things.

Fun fact about me: I have been a subscriber to Entertainment Weekly since the seventh grade. Uninterrupted. I read about tons of movies I wasn’t even allowed to see yet (my parents were big believers in censorship). Mostly I just wanted it because it had lots of articles about Titanic that weren’t just “Ooh, Leo has such pretty hair.” (Obsession alert: I saw it seven times in the theatre. I have a model replica of the ship… still not put together… I suck at projects).

One of my favorite things: The EW Fall TV Preview! This is truly essential reading. Last year a friend was over and reading my copy, and we decided that there were too many good things on at the same time, and that in order to keep all our shows straight we needed to make a chart. Yup, I'm that dork that makes a graph before watching TV. This year I kept waiting and waiting and it never seemed to come. I was getting really worried. Bones was due to start in a week, and I still didn't have it. Then they said it was due out that Friday (yay!) but Saturday rolled around and I still didn't have it (panic attack!). So I requested a new one, and they wouldn't approve it because apparently there was some sort of reported delivery issue in my area (crying on the floor). It came Monday. Then I got out a ruler and made me a grid (lie. I used my cell phone, and that grid is squiggly as hell).  There are 13 shows written down. Sort of--I just wrote HBO down in the Sunday 9PM slot, because let's face it, I'll watch just about anything on that channel. I’m already something like two hours (three shows) behind in my viewing. Did I mention that TV stresses me out? 

Expect some full-on love rants in the very near future.  

Note: I have no idea why half of my text is in little white boxes. I'm just gonna go with "the computer hates me" and move on with my life.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Take Me Out To The Ballgame (Kinda)

Last Saturday I went to my very first baseball game in Pittsburgh. I've lived here for over ten years now, so don't think it's been a lack of time. I simply dislike sports. (I know, I'm in a bad city for that) I went because the choir I sing with got to perform the National Anthem. The last time I was at a baseball game was when my children's choir sang before a Reds game, so I guess I'm on a twenty-year cycle or something. The grass was very cushy, and I really wanted to take my shoes off and just shove my toes in and have a good wiggle, but I'm an adult, and for some awful reason we feel the need to behave in public when there are cameras on. When they announced us they got our name wrong, but we rocked it anyway. As soon as I got in to the park proper I grabbed a giant pretzel and began my evening of being totally confused and at the same time paranoid that a ball was going to hit me in the head. If you know me, or if you ever were in gym class with me, you'll know this is not an irrational fear. I swear to god, my head is like a magnet. 

Run from the purse snatchers!
Luckily, nothing hit me, except an overwhelming wave of cute... Pierogi Race!! This was hysterical. I'd heard people talk about it, but seeing it in person brought on a super size giggle fit. Seriously, grinning from ear to ear.  Guys hit balls, blah blah, we won, blah blah, ....and then there were FIREWORKS!!!  I'm putting it down in writing here: When I die, please cremate me and find a way to get my ashes made into fireworks. Then set them off over the river. I'd prefer to be either a purple or blue one (or the ones that come down all curly), but I have no idea if human remains alter the color of fireworks, so I'll leave the final decision to the professionals. This was, without a doubt, the best fireworks show I have ever seen. The city looked beautiful (when you squint it almost looked like you were at Disney with the castle in the background, except you still had your soul). I'm just going to let the pictures talk now. 

Soooo pretty! I'd go back just for the fireworks. Or set up camp on the top of the parking garage in the cultural district and see what the view looks like from another perspective. So I saw beautiful things, didn't get hit in the head, and spent a beautiful night out in a beautiful city. I'll call that a good night.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Sweet Talk. With Peach Cupcakes.

If you know me, you'll already be familiar with my obsessive nature. If not, you'll get acquainted with it pretty quickly. I can go from "meh" to "oh-holy-crap-this-is-the-best-thing-ever!" faster than it took you to read that. It's a gift. So when I saw that Trader Joe's had these peaches in stock, I couldn't buy just one. That would have been rational. Nope, I needed two, on top of the CSA pickup I was already getting, and knowing we were going to be away for the weekend. Needless to say, when we got back I had almost overripe fruit and a fly problem. After two days of eating roughly half a dozen peaches for lunch, I knew it was time to bust out the big guns. Peach Cupcake Perfection. 

Mmmmmmm. Happiness. 

The recipe is actually one I modified, with the original calling for strawberries. I know several people who are allergic, and being the nice accommodating vegetarian I am, I know how much it sucks when someone makes a special treat you can't enjoy. (I'm also allergic to cashews. And people keep putting them in veggie burgers. Why?!) The original recipe is from Screen Doors and Sweet Tea (posted online here), and was included in the Food & Wine Best of the Best cookbook for that year. I got it as a gift, and it's pretty fantastic... I'm very tempted to get every year, but I'm fully aware I have a book problem, and I don't even make all the pinterest recipes I like... so yeah. That's on hold for a bit. 

On my favorite estate sale plate. With a bird, of course. 

This makes two dozen cupcakes, so they were divided and taken to work, where I have other people to help eat them. Not because I couldn't eat two dozen cupcakes, but because I really would eat two dozen of these cupcakes. And then I would explode, but it would be a very soft explosion, because of all the fluffy icing. And then my cats would eat me, and the circle of life would be complete. Wait, what? Never mind. 

The perfect bowl for cupcake icing. 

I don't like a lot of icing, even if it is as delicious as this is, so I always have a ton left over. I'm a big believer in proper proportions... the icing should not double the height of the cupcake. That's just creating a lot of unnecessary texture issues. So apologies if you like really pretty piped icing. I swirl it on with a cute little knife and then I eat it. Because that's what you're really supposed to do. Eat. The. Cupcake. The best part about leftover icing is finding random things to put it on. Personally, I use it as an excuse to buy a giant tub of animal crackers. And it's a good use for all the graham crackers that never found meaningful life fulfillment as s'mores.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Ren Fest 2013

As promised, pics from the PA Ren Fest!! Yaaay! I know you're excited, so let's dive right in. 

In silks

I love aerialists, so right off the bat the hanging silks from this stage called to me. I didn't even have a drink yet (that was quickly remedied) or anything to snack on (that took a while... I kept getting distracted) but I didn't care. I was going to sit there and watch the whole thing. Confession: I'm a bit of a Groupon addict, and I once bought a fitness class pass that included aerial yoga and and aerial silks class. It was magical, and the silks tried to cut my legs off from the rest of my body, but I loved it and kind of want to be a bad-ass aerialist diva when I grow up. 

Gaaa, I want to do that!

In between all the amazing things, this show was a bit silly. And I like silly, and corny, and terrible TERRIBLE puns. Love them. I'm a huge dork. But potentially not as big a dork as the girl who brought her violin with her to Ren Fest. I don't know if she did some impromptu busking while she was there, but I saw here everywhere, and she rocks. 

Dueling violins?
Every year there's something new to see, and there isn't enough time in the day to see everything. So this year was my very first time watching the glass blowing demonstration. It was quite toasty. I'm really impressed with everyone who can do this king of thing, since I can barely turn around in my kitchen without breaking something. And because everything there was beautiful. I bought an ornament to hang in my kitchen window, if I can rig up a hook that isn't going to send my new sparkly to an untimely death. 

Really hot things.

I don't really want to put this one up, but it's a whole 'circle of life' kind of thing, and honestly it's pretty amazing. Just sitting there in the bushes between a very busy path, I saw a butterfly. So I decided to take a picture, since it seemed to be pretty attached to that flower. But no! It was attached to the mouth of a giant preying mantis. Who was eating its brains. Nature is messed up. 

Zombie mantis.

So of course I needed therapy after that. In the absence of actual licensed professionals (the tarot readers don't count) I had to turn to retail therapy, and it worked pretty well. Last year I got a ring from the same booth, and I must say, I love them. It took me a good long while to decide, and at one point I'm pretty sure I had a ring on every finger, but I managed to find a favorite. 

My (new) precious. 
I also got lost for a bit in a series of shops that go back into a little hill. They make me positively giddy, I feel like I'm in a Hobbit hole, or the home of a very clean fairy. Everywhere you look there are piles and drawers full of the cutest miniatures and soaps and candles and things that sparkle (sigh, I want to live there). 


 There were too many performances, and we tried to see the big ones, but you know if people are playing with fire that I need to be there. If there are three people playing with fire, and one of them is standing on top of the other... well, that's friggin' awesome.

Look what I can do!

You can't just stand on your friend and juggle flaming sticks though, everyone does that. If you really want to make an impression, you need to do learn how to make yourself into a dragon. Or at least breathe fire like one. 

Don't hiccup... 

 So yeah, Ren Fest 2013 was definitely a success. I drank too much, ate too much, and took over 300 pictures (and some of them aren't terrible!). Now I have a year to recover before we do it again...

Don't forget to stop in the gift shop!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

My Week (Don't Drink & Blog)

I’m going to try and post at least once a week here… my last post was over a week ago, so I already fail. Yay! Here’s what I’ve been up to.

I was going to write a review of the Mumford & Sons concert I went to last Thursday, but if you already love them then you know how amazing they are, and if you don’t I’m pretty sure me rambling on and on about how their shows are pretty much the closest thing a non-religious person can get to an authentic transcendent spiritual experience still won’t be enough to convince you of their power. Also, I saw them last year, in better seats, and your first time will always be the most memorable. The lyrics were still able to connect though, and constantly put me in awe of what the right words together can express.

Mumford & Sons Full English Tour

I tried to go to two different estate sales on two different days, and was thwarted each time. The first was five minutes from my house, but since I didn’t leave till 2 PM (Mumford hangover. Worth it.) I really only had a bit of time, and the selection would have been picked over. However, there were no signs, I saw no cars, and I didn’t even properly see the house. So I drove in a ten minute circle around my house. At least I saw the sun. Sunday afternoon I decided to combine what looked like a pretty good sale (two pianos! You know they have taste) with my Target run. This time my GPS screwed me. Seriously, never buy a GPS without lifetime map updates. Or just don’t be a cheap-ass like me and update yours every once in a while. I couldn’t find the house, so I input a cross-street. That apparently didn’t exist either. So there I was driving around Monroeville in the rain… really pissed me off. I had to hit Goodwill in an attempt to salvage the trip. Luckily, there was an awesome twelve bottle wine rack for $10, so not a total loss!

Wine time!

After a coat or two of copper spray paint it should fit with the bar downstairs rather well. I’m still working out the whole British pub theme that I wanted for that space, but I’m always eclectic, even when I have a design theme, so I’m sure it’ll all work out.

Today was hell, and on the way home my car tried to make me believe that it was finally going to kill me. A giant metal plate fell off in my driveway. It pretty much sent me into an emotionally comatose place, and I skipped my first choir practice of the season. Instead, I took a little nap (mentally checked the hell out) and then got drunk and watched the last competition episode of So You Think You Can Dance. I love that show, and it makes me wish that I had had a freaky stage mother that constantly pushed me, because maybe then I would be able to move that way.  All I got were the insecurities and none of the skill. Bah. 

So now I’m a bit drunk, typing this. I’ll probably read this in the morning and erase the whole thing. Or post is as a reminder that you shouldn’t drink and blog. Either way, I hope this coming week gets better. This weekend is a road trip to the PA Ren Fest, so sometime next week you can expect some amazing photos! I seriously love that place, and since it’s on a winery they have the best festival drinks around. Drunken photos! I need some Advil….