Skim milk, Cream, Sugar, Egg Yolks, Cocoa Processed With Alkali
Monday, March 30, 2009
Skim milk, Cream, Sugar, Egg Yolks, Cocoa Processed With Alkali
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
1. Bioshock 2 is NOT a prequel. It takes place 10 years after the first Bioshock. You play as a Big Daddy rather than as Jack. What did confuse me, though, is that you are playing as "the first" Big Daddy. I don't particularly understand how it's possible that the first Big Daddy ever created survived both Raptures. Maybe it is the first one since the return to Rapture? Anybody with additional information to clarify, please feel free to comment.
2. Big Sister is actually one of the former little sisters that got away. She came back to Rapture after all was said and done, and will be kicking some serious ass.
3. The skinny looking creature on the cover of the magazine (and just about on every promo ever) is NOT the character you play as. The slender automaton is actually Big Sister, herself.
As for the plot of the game, itself, I have to admit that I am a little skeptical. It could be because I have no idea how it could get any better than the first story, but I think it has more to do with the actual gameplay and difficulty. In my opinion, the gameplay of the original Bioshock is simply incredible. My overall skill has increased so much in playing it, that I can't really believe it. I used to use my pistol all willy-nilly, shooting til I was lucky enough to hit my target, but now I can take down a Splicer in one shot...AND from a long ways away! The other great thing about it is that I am playing as a genetically messed up person fighting other equally disfigured folk and it kind of levels the playing field a bit. In Bioshock 2, I can only imagine that fighting Splicers would feel too simple, while battles with Big Sister would be like trying to perfectly julienne an onion with a paper clip: not impossible, but far from easy. Although I am very excited to see what this potentially life-consuming sequel will bring to the table, I don't plan on getting my hopes up.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Bubble tea is a pretty trendy drink, and most of the customers appear to be regulars. Jake and I have only recently acquired "regulars" status, and have begun requesting that they surprise us with new flavor combinations. I used to stick with my regular strawberry papaya milkshake, but lately have been interested in the Roselle and passion fruit slush. I love that they are willing go out of their ways to do that for us, and a lot of the time they use us as their "guinea pigs" for new menu ideas.
Aside from tea, they have a variety of dumplings and steamed buns for sale. My all time favorite are the teriyaki pork steamed buns, but the pork dumplings are great as well. I highly recommend that everyone give Bubble Maineia a try. If you are not from Maine, I encourage you to use the internets to your advantage and find one in your area. It is definitely a great experience.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
After countless hours of fun with Noby Noby Boy, I thought it was time for me to give Katamari Damacy a try. I have to start by saying that I can't really compare the two games (as one better than the other), because although they have the same creator, they are very different from each other. The two main differences between the games are the music, and the premise.
The music of Noby Noby Boy is not really great by any means. It doesn't change very much, and it gets a little repetitive after awhile. However, the music in Katamari is awesome. I love all the little sounds like when you travel to earth or when the game loads, not to mention the songs that play while you are actually playing the game. As for the premise, the obvious difference is that Katamari has one and Noby Noby Boy does not. In Noby Noby Boy, your Boy just go around doing whatever you want him to with no time limit or real rules whatsoever other than to add to the Girl; whereas Katamari is very plot-ly, no matter how random and messed up it may be. Basically, you play as the tiny prince who has to travel to earth and collect items on your sticky katamari ball in order to help your father restore the galaxy that he accidentally got rid of one drunken evening.
I was so excited yesterday because I played all the way through level six as well as four constellations, but when I turned the game on today I realized that I had not saved a goddamn thing. Go, me. I was so frustrated. That's what happens when I lose track of which system I'm playing on, I am so used to auto saving on the PS3 and Xbox 360 that I'm spoiled. It's okay that it has to be played over though; I had been playing on Jake's saved game, so it gave him a chance to go through and beat the levels I had played. Overall, they are both great games. As I previously stated, I cannot claim that one is better than the other; however, I will say that I do enjoy Katamari Damacy more and cannot wait to see what happens next.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
A few days ago I mentioned that I would eventually post an entry about my chocolate allergy. I am not allergic to chocolate, but to the storage mites of Central America where most chocolate is stored. For awhile, I thought my allergist was out of his mind, but then I began noticing the difference. As soon as I stopped eating chocolate, my allergic reactions decreased significantly. Anytime I would eat chocolate I would get a runny nose, itchy eyes, and the inside of my belly would itch (similar to the itchy throat I'd get from dust mites, but in my belly). I am able to consume cocoa butter and chocolate liquor, though, for it has no presence of actual cocoa. I told a coworker about this bizarre allergy, and found out that he had the exact same one. At that point I began to believe what the allergist had told me.
It has been very difficult to find evidence of this allergy on the interwebs. Most articles just refer to the fact that storage mites are a common allergy, but neglect to specify their presence in cocoa. I know many people that I allergic to chocolate, itself. Their allergies usually result in migraines or vomiting which convinces me that they do not have the same allergen effecting them. It had been years since I had heard of anybody with this cocoa-mite issue until I came across this blog entry that backed up everything I had been told.
As a line cook, I used to get annoyed with people who were "allergic" to onions or garlic because most times they just don't like the ingredients. I cannot count the number of times people have said they have an allergy to something they don't like just to make sure it won't appear on their food. However, possessing an incredibly odd allergy has made me feel like a bit of a hypocrite in the weird-allergy category. It has forced me to accept that not all people are just dramatic fools, and that a lot of them have an actual reason for rejecting the food on their allergy list. After all, no one wants an itchy belly.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Yesterday, Jake suggested that I finally give in and purchase a Bamboo tablet. He has a perfectly functional one that I would be allowed to use, if pen that came with it had not gone missing roughly four months ago.
I decided to purchase it from Best Buy, where we found the tablets in some miscellaneous section near the digital cameras, purses (which I can only assume were actually decorative laptop cases), and some Windows Paint for Dummies book. Sidenote? There was this camera that automatically takes pictures when you smile. How messed up is that? I could be biased because I have an enormous fear of robots, and that is just one more step in the direction of their hostile world domination. If it can sense when I smile, soon it will develop recognition of what a smile represents, then attempt to destroy it along with the rest of my girly face. Not cool. < /random tangent >
So I grabbed the tablet and made my way to the register, clutching it tightly as though it were a sacred relic that I must forever protect and allow never to be defiled. It was then paid for, and we returned home to experience it's magic. I sat triumphantly on my bed, excited to open my new purchase, when I had the craziest de ja vu. I was thinking of where I could keep my tablet pen so it wouldn't be lost like Jake's, and I considered keeping it in the Xbox360 controller tin that I keep all of my colored pencils in. So we bust open the tin to find his pen sitting all cozy-like atop all the reds and blues of my pencils. Moral of the story? Never put boyfriend's high-tech whatsits in with the art supplies you hardly ever use.
In the end, I returned my tablet to Best Buy and began using his. I am getting a little more used to Illustrator between use of tutorials and the tablet. I finally understand the basic concepts of Live Paint, but am still trying to figure out a few other key tools. However, I was still able to use my new and improved skills to create a new banner for the blog! Let me know what you think.
Monday, March 16, 2009
Alright, let's say you have gotten through the first three steps already. You have created your budget, know where you are going, and the time frame in which you are traveling. It is now time to come up with some specific details about your adventure.
How long will you be on this trip? I highly recommend looking at transportation pricing to help with this decision. Not because you are purchasing just yet, but because it will give you a better idea of how much money you will have to travel with. For example, if your budget is $3000 and your plane ticket total is $2900, you may be able to have lunch and buy a couple souvenirs before having to return from your destination.
Once you have the length of your trip under control, it is time to figure out where you are staying. Yes, we know the geographic location, but you won't be provided a complimentary habitat once you arrive at your desired location. Hostels and hotels are great, however if you happen to know anybody in the area it could prove to be a great money saver. Even if they don't have a couch for you to crash on, they could help you find accommodations that are more promising than a back-alley slum. No matter where you stay, though, do your research. Find out information about the area, reviews of things nearby, what news occurs in the vicinity. They might have great prices, but if there is a history of muggings at the front door it may not be the best bet. Hostelworld is a great website that provides a search engine of hostels all over the world, as well as reviews on cleanliness and locations of each. The website also has a record of reviews from other travelers and their personal experiences. If you are extra cautious like me, you could always make reservations at an international chain hotel such as the Holiday Inn, Hilton, Westin, etc, but even then you should still check the reviews.
After you have arrived, how do you plan to get around the area? Most places have some sort of public transportation system, such as buses and/or subway systems. If you are going to Europe, be sure to check out the rates on the European Railway, as well as the individual country's independent rail systems. For instance, I was not able to receive a Eurail pass because France is one of the only countries that does not sell an individual country pass. Instead, I will need to travel through the SNCF. If your location does not have public transportation, it would be wise to acquire a map and also find out how much is within walking distance (or, if you're old enough, rent a car).
That should provide you with a pretty solid plan of what is happening on your journey. All you really need to do past these steps is make the reservations to seal the deal. Next in the CYOA series, I will cover some important things to bring with you on your journey.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Thursday, March 12, 2009
In April, I am going to France. This is a trip that I planned by myself, for myself. I have had a lot of people tell me that they wish they were capable of something like that, but I don't think they understand how simple it really is. So, with that, I am making an addition to this blog; travel & such. I will go over a few important things to keep in mind when planning a trip on your own, as well as blog about my time when I'm actually in France.
The first thing you need to think about is your BUDGET. How much do you make at your job, and of that, how much are you able to save for your trip? How much money do you feel comfortable spending on a vacation?
Next, WHERE do you want to go? In my opinion, this is one of the most difficult parts. I originally wanted to spend the summer backpacking across Europe, but it was much more expensive than I could afford if I wanted to go within my desired time-frame. So, I narrowed it down to simply France and Italy; again, it was more than I could afford. I finally decided to adjust my trip to the two places in France I wanted to go most...Paris and Provence. This does not mean that if you are planning a great escapade, that you cannot make it happen. It is just a matter of what is most important to you.
Once you find out where, the next step is WHEN you are traveling. Keep in mind airline prices, advanced purchases, discounted rates, peak tourist seasons, and the things you want to do in specific. For example traveling to Vermont in December might be less expensive, but if you are planning to experience the farmer's markets it is not a wise decision.
The first three points usually take awhile to set in stone. It takes a few attempts of brainstorming the budget, the where, and the when before coming up with a successful, realistic plan. Good luck!
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
I have been considering the purchase of a Nintendo DS (Lite, of course) for about a year or so now. However, with the upcoming North American release of the DSi, I'm wondering if I should just continue to put it off. The DSi sounds like it's going to be great; dual touch screens, cameras, and the opportunity for me to become just that much nerdier. But then the shallow girly-girl in me kicks in...because it's just not pretty enough for me.
The thing that draws me to the DS is the shiny sleekness of it (and that it comes in red), but I feel like the DSi looks more like an child's play toy than I reliable gaming system. The colors are not the prettiest, and the application of them looks like somebody was only given one crayon to complete their science fair project. In addition, I am a klutz, so I would need something that would sustain a bit of a beating. While the DS can hold up to one or two drops, the DSi looks like it would shatter if it fell on a pile of pillows.
I suppose I will wait for the DSi release. Then, I'm sure Game Stop will have a few on display that I can fondle and put to the test before dismissing it completely. Also? Even if I don't like it, I'm sure the price will decrease on the DS because there will be a lot of trade-ins.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
As my belated birthday present, Jake took me to Yummies in Kittery, ME. It's not a big store by any means, but almost every square foot of wall space is covered in candy. They had things we hadn't seen in years: Warheads, Big League Chew, Flying Saucers, and so forth. Lining the walls were packages of hard candies I had never even heard of, chocolate of every shape and size, as well as at least ten different flavors of licorice. Best of all, we walked away with two grocery bags of candy for a total of $20. This place is definitely a must-see.
Monday, March 9, 2009
I was on Kotaku this morning and saw an article on Bioshock 2, reminding me that I have always wanted to play the first Bioshock game. With that, I decided to rummage through Jake's games to find his copy (Oh, the joys of living with two nerdy guys) and get as much game time in as I could before having to head to dinner.
Now, this is not my first shooter experience; however, I will say it is the most enjoyable for me so far. My first time was with Star Wars: Battlefront roughly two years ago, and it frustrated the ever-loving feces out of me. I could not figure out the controller, and it is the game to blame for the fact that I must always use inverted settings when I play anything. The only other shooter I have played is Left 4 Dead, and I have yet to meet anybody who hasn't at least been excited over it. I mean, I'm not saying I get off on destroying Hunters before they even think about pinning Francis to the muddy post-apocoplyptic ground, but zombies are frickin' rad and I cannot deny that.
With Bioshock, though, it's more than just having fun playing video games with friends. I was immediately immersed in this story that had me problem solving almost instantly. I wasn't given a map in the corner of the screen or breadcrumbs to guide me...I was forced to use my brain and deductive reasoning to find my way (until I accomplished points and was given an arrow, of course). Despite the arrow, this is still the first game where I have been able to figure out what to do by myself. I only got about an hour and a half of game-time in (have not even had to fight the first Big Daddy yet), but I cannot wait to play more. I am hoping that in playing Bioshock, I'll have more experience and opportunity to play other great shooters.
Sunday, March 8, 2009
Saturday was my 20th birthday! Technically the fun began when I got home from work Friday night when I picked on a beggar and saved a bunch of people while playing Fable: The Lost Chapters. It was unfortunate to me, because I was hardly able to be mischeivious! They wouldn't let me go where I wanted, and the only evil opportunity I had was to fart at a beggar. C'mon now. However, I did complete my first quest and walk away with quite a bit of gold (which I like, that only happened in Fable 2 when I used my augmented weapons). Anyways, I killed some massive wasps, and then went to bed.
The next day was full of family fiasco and schpealing about my upcoming adventure to France. Followed by a late-night dinner at one of Maine Restaurant Week's featured restaurants Vignola. I had heard a lot of great things about the Executive Chef, Lee Skawinski, and was very excited about a new culinary adventure. Our 8:30pm reservation turned into our group of four not being seated until 9:30pm which was only odd because they were well staffed and walk-in guests were seated before us. They made up for it, though, with a complimentary cheese platter. It featured a small variety of local cheeses with some mixed greens and fruit compote. In addition, I ordered a brushcetta for the table, but it ceased to arrive (it did not appear on the bill either, luckily).
The rest of my meal was as follows:
Overal, Vignola was a great experience. Getting all dressed u and spending time with close friends and family over a nice meal is almost always a worthwhile experience. Especially when it's a part of one's birthday present :)
Friday, March 6, 2009
I recently acquired Adobe Illustrator to use for a bunch of projects that I want desperately to start/complete/love/cherish/show the world/become famous for...etc. It's all been a part of this whole "new page" that I have begun, where I quit my job to spend more time doing what I love rather than being miserable of every day in my young life (which means gaming, blogging, reading, drawing, sewing, cooking, working out, traveling). I essentially want to purchase one o' dem fancy Tablet things and spend hours on end designing T-Shirts for Threadless. However, before I can do so, I need to learn the basics of the program.
You see, I am a Paint Shop Pro gal. I know, I know, but it was a very simple program in my eyes, and I was very easily able to make banners and blends and do a bit of dolling. And by "a bit" I mean it is all I did most days. Of course, I was a freshman in highschool and didn't really have big-girl responsibilities yet. I could pixel entire outfits with shading and so forth, and it didn't matter if it was a vector because it wasn't a professional gig and I certainly wouldn't be resizing anything. However, with the projects I have to make now, I need to be able to rely on the fact that I will only have 8-individual colors, and not have any little shadey-stragglers hanging around when I resize or save.
My initial play-time with it was frustrating, but I made it work. I used it to make my header on this here blog. It turned out okay, but I know for a fact that I could have made it better with a bit more practice. That just means spending a lot of time with tutorials and youtube demos until I can at least figure out the fill bucket. So here I go, breaking my comfort zone.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Beets are a super tasty vegetable, and are great for seasonal menus. I used to eat them all the time as a kid, and got a kick out of it's daily reference on the Nickelodeon TV series Doug. However, I simply cannot get over how incredibly annoying they are to cook and prep. First you have to roast them for hours (which is fine when you aren't a busy little line cook with a prep list the size of China's Great Wall), and then you have to peel them, constantly switching gloves because you know that if you use bare hands you'll stain the plates with a Barney-colored fingerprints. If there were a a will-power I could learn that would call upon nature to roast and peel beets on command I would so save up all of my experience to acquire it. Other evil things include: lobsters, oysters, and faulty seafood coolers.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
For quite some time I have wanted to become more informed about video games. I fondly remember getting my SNES in elementary school…playing Donkey Kong Country with my older brother for hours on end (Of course, I was Diddy Kong). Even after he’d leave, I would play by myself, memorizing the levels and finding the cheats to get through the levels that I disliked. I beat the game many times alone and never grew tired of it. I would watch my brother play Legend of Zelda, and was in awe when he would bring over his Playstation and play Tomb Raider. When my brother stopped coming over, though, I stopped playing.
It wasn’t until the first Guitar Hero came out that I immediately bought a PS2 and got my game-on. I dedicated hours to that game, and tried to get as many people to play as I could. I became interested in more games, like Baulder’s Gate and Star Wars Battlefront, but I didn’t stick with them long enough to beat them. The first PS2 game I ever invested enough time in to beat was Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Chaos Bleeds. Not the best video game, I’ll say, but it had Buffy and that’s all that mattered to me. Again, some time passed, and I did not play many video games at all. However, now that my living conditions provide me with access to an Xbox 360, PS2, PS3, PSP, and NES/SNES, I have a lot more access to games than I could have imagined.
…Which brings us to Fable 2. Man, how I love that freaking game. It’s so simple to follow, and between the breadcrumbs and adorable puppy-companion it’s like they made it for me. I loved the story-line, and the simplicity of the game never made it any less fun (although there is one “boss-battle” that blew my mind with ease, and to this day still disappoints me). I have beaten the game once, fully, and am working on playing it through another time. I am also playing Fable: The Lost Chapters, which I feel will educate me more on the premise of my dearest Fable 2 (like Oakvale is Wraithmarsh now…who knew?!). It will take me awhile to get through them, what with me putting all my eggs in many different baskets, but in the meantime I will continue to claim I have seen Banshees in the fog, and brag about my level 4 shock abilities.
Monday, March 2, 2009
I have managed to collect an overabundance of magazines and cookbooks over the past year. They sit on my bookshelf, where I glance at them periodically and sigh because I don’t think I’ll ever have time to go through them all. My books are alphabetized, however, there is no real order to my copies of Bon Appetite, Food & Wine, and whatever other “pretty food” magazines I managed to acquire. So, why not just pick one?
Today I chose to read the January 2009 issue of Bon Appetite. On page 20, Diane Chang features the cast-iron skillet. I was pretty excited since a lot of people mistreat these seasoned saviors, but was disappointed to find that this “article” was only a few sentences long and provided no actual information on the maintenance of cast-iron pans. Why feature such an essential tool and not even bother to educate about it? After you come home from a relaxing weekend to find your two cooking-inept roommates soaking your precious practically-heirloomed pan in every degreaser known to man, you tend to believe that cast-iron maintenance should be instilled at birth.
Enter my Google search bar:
“How to mantain a cast-iron pan,” I politely ask. The second result was a web article on TexasCooking.com entitled, “How to Love Your Cast-Iron Skillet.” Although the article is not an epic tale by any means, it highlights the basic knowledge needed for some good-ole cast-iron lovin’. It’s really that easy. So if there is a piece of equipment you wish to use, read about it before jacking your friend’s ancient Samurai sword to dice up your mirepoix.