Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sunday Smoothies with Jason Bosch

Jason Bosch of Floboski Films will be guest blogging for Byte Size each week (hopefully!) to bring you Sunday Smoothies! A tasty way to keep healthy and NOT hungry :) You can follow Jason on Twitter.

On my quest to become a healthier and hopefully skinnier person, I have started to watch my caloric intake, as well as be more conscious about what I am eating in general. During this period, I discovered the healthy and delicious benefits of smoothies. Smoothies can really go two ways, delicious and horrible for you or delicious and good for you. The outcome of the smoothie all depends on how it is prepared. For example, a Banana Smoothie can reach 800 calories, but with a few changes in the ingredients it could be as low as 200-300 calories.

In each smoothie segment I will try to include the calories in each ingredient, so it will be easier for you to manage. I have had a lot trouble finding a site where the recipe and calories are together so lets make this a one stop shop. No, lets make this a one stop delicious shop. Uh...yeah.

The first smoothie recipe I have is one that I have been making after I work out or for lunch. Its a Peanut Butter and Banana smoothie that is amazingly filling. When putting together a smoothie, calories aren't the only thing you have to think about. Sugar can easily get out of hand. A lot of people will sweeten their smoothie with artificial sweetener, which is fine, but I try best to steer clear of aspartame, which as been associated with many side effects. I'm not sure if this is true or not, but it has been said that side effects of aspartame can include suicidal tendencies and even severe PMS, which no one likes. (note from Kelly: great natural sweeteners such as Stevia and Agave are not only healthier for you, but are also good for diabetics and those who are weight conscious. A granulated sugar alternative minus the crazy mood swings :P) Lets get to it.

Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

-Dannon Yogurt [60 Calories//8g Sugar]
-Peanut Butter [200 Calories 2 Tablespoons]
-Banana [~100 Calories//Natural Sugar]
-Frozen/Fresh Strawberries [~50 Calories per ¾ cup]
-Ice [~0 Calories]

The amount of ingredients you put into your smoothie depends on how you like it. I will do only one tablespoon of peanut butter reducing the calories to 100. These amounts will also change depending on the brand you get. Peanut butter seems to range between 180 to 200 calories. You can also use half a banana which will cut the calories even more. I try to use the strawberry banana flavored Dannon yogurt, but I am all out right now. Also, I can only seem to find the 60 calories yogurt in a six pack, which isn't a big deal for me.

So, throw all these in a blender, ice on top, and blend away. When I made my smoothie this is what I ended up with:
-1 Dannon Yogurt – 60 Calories
-Peanut Butter, 1 Tablespoon – 100 Calories
-Half a Banana – 50 Calories
-A few frozen Strawberries – 50 Calories
Total: 260 Calories

That's pretty good for a meal. Sometimes I will throw in a full banana, pushing it just over 300 calories. I really enjoy the peanut butter taste, but its not needed. I use it because it has protein and helps you feel full for a longer amount of time.

Give it a try and leave a comment letting us know what you think. I have some more smoothies in the works...even one involving shredded coconut, so lets hope that one works out.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Ico <3 Yorda

I have intended upon playing Ico on PS2 for about...6 months? I finally got around to it today, but obviously not without a little difficulty.Would a video game be worth it if I could just put it in the console with no problem? Doubtful. It took an hour for me to get the PS2 to actually work on the TV, and thankfully Jake realized that it probably just wasn't working in HD otherwise I'd probably STILL be trying to fix it. I hope that I like this game a lot because it will only reassure me that the next installment of "Project Trico" (Last Guardian) is going to be out of this world.

In the very beginning of the game I thought I was doing very well. The only weirdness was that realizing that the camera makes my head want to explode, and I feel like I must be tripping or something every time I try to look around. Overall, though, I was able to figure out where to go on my own...until I find Yorda. I spent 20 min trying to figure out where to take my damned lady, jumping on every single wall, trying to climb into every window...Nada. Couldn't figure it out for the life of me. So FINALLY, I looked it up online. It killed my soul to do that, but I felt that I had tried every possible option. Except, of course, the most obvious one that was obviously the right idea . After getting through the right spot, I got to my first little save couch and decided to try the next level. Kinda failed hardcore; however, I refuse use a walk-through for this game because it makes me feel like a big ole' fake, so I'm just going to wait for a more day-ish part of the day when I'm actually awake and not simultaneously trying to wrestle eye drops into my puppy's eye sockets.

I think the biggest problem is that I'm not very interested in puzzle games. I hope that Ico kinda breaks the mold, and soon I'll be all about Braid and shit like that haha. I can't just sit around waiting for a gem like Bioshock to come around again...I need to act now! Hooray for ambition!

Raw Chocolate Cake & Homemade Tortillas

Raspberry Ganache Fudge Cake
difficulty: 4/5 (3/5 if you have a food processor)
tasty-factor: 4/5

(right: round 2 left: failed first attempt with canelle of frosting)

Today was yet another day in the cooking adventures of Kelly & Jake! There was a raw chocolate raspberry cake that I first saw at Elle's New England Kitchen and knew I HAD to make. What fascinated me most about this recipe (from was that the cacao could easily be substituted by carob my miracle faux-chocolate. Finally, I got my act together and began making this fabulous treat...and then I realized how much I was missing by not having a food processor. I figured, "oh hey, a blender is BASICALLY the same thing, right?" Nope! Not quite. It took me a bit longer than it should have (and I also had to add 1T water), but I finally got the cake together. The frosting, however, proved to be a bit difficult as well. I expected to just slather it on no prob, but had a case of extreme pout once I realized that my cake crumbled below the it's tasty surface. Round 2 went better, because I actually used my little culinary brain and frosted it like..idk..a CAKE rather than expecting it to be like frosting some sort of solid piece of whatsit with no vulnerability. Anyways, the final result was not as gorgeous as Elle's or the one on the original recipe, but I can guarantee that once I get my grubby hands on my very own food processor I am going to make this the right way. As for the taste, it is awesome. It was very rich, and the immense chocolatey-ness (that was actually carob) was well balanced by the fresh raspberries. All in all? YUM!

Homemade Tortillas
difficulty: 4/5
tasty-factor: 4/5

2c flour
1/2t baking powder
1/2t salt
4T vegetable fat or lard
3/4c water

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Cut fat into dry ingredients, and then slowly add water. Mix dough together lightly with your hands until it develops a dough. Separate into small balls, and allow to rest for 1/2 hr. Roll dough out very thin, and if desired, use a bowl to make round. Heat a pan with very light oil (preferably cast-iron) and drop tortilla into pan. Cook for about 20 seconds before flipping and cooking for an additional 15-20 seconds. Dough should have little brown spots and be cooked through. Set onto a plate with paper towels to cool.
notes: We accidentally fried the first few in oil and decided to make "quesadillas." We use the term loosely of course, because it was more like a couple of flat taco shells with stuff in between. We layered pinto beans, sharp cheddar cheese, fresh kale, and salsa in between (letting the heat from the beans melt the cheese and warm the kale) the two tortillas and attempted to eat them without looking like savages :P

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Food And Videogame Adventurists EP. #1

So Jake, Jason, and I have begun doing a podcast. Why FAVA? Because it's a clever acronym, and fava beans are in pods...podcast...get it? I know, it's genius. For the first episode, I had the horrible idea of capturing an entire game of Left 4 Dead via capture card, and narrating with the episode's content. Why, self?! In addition to the capture card glitching and neglecting to record half of the game, Jason's in-game audio failed to line up for most of the episode. ALSO, since the video was over 30 gigs, we were forced to edit it here on Windows Movie Maker as opposed to at Jason's with a significantly better program. We will just say that WMM was no help, because we were not able to edit the audio without it effecting the video itself. All in all, this first episode was a learning experience, but we guarantee that future episodes will not be of this caliber. Also, my zombie cookies animated .gif refused to cooperate so we also lack opening credits :(

FAVA episode 1 from Kelly Arsenault on Vimeo.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

More natural recipes

Our new eating routine is more than just following some random recipes with no real rules. It's more importantly about selecting your ingredients. Chicken broth vs free range chicken stock for example...$0.50 difference in cost, but much better for you overall. That does not by any means that you should march into Whole Foods and stock up anything with the word "organic" plastered on it. Just be smart about what you're putting into your body. Are there preservatives? Are you confused about the majority of ingredients on the label? Are there fake or processed sugars? If so, then try to find an alternative. You can make small changes to your diet rather than going all at once (unless you really have the budget). For example, last week my mom made the change to organic milk, and I made the switch to free range chicken eggs. It may cost us a dollar or two more now, but we hope to save ourselves money on our bodies in the long run.

Citrus Smoothie
difficulty: 2/5
tasty-factor: 3/5

12 oz orange juice (we used "Citrus C" Odwalla)
1 ea lemon (segmented)
1 ea orange (segmented)
1 ea grapefruit (segmented)
1 ea banana
4 T psyllium husks (ground)
Blend all ingredients in blender until combined.
notes: I'm not a big fan of banana, so I would have liked to find a way to make it a bit more citrus-y.

Rice flour "pizza"
difficulty: 3/5
tasty-factor: 3/5

1/2 c. rice flour
1/4 c. water
1 T vegetable oil
pinch salt & sugar
1 ea onion (sliced and sauteed)
1 link spinach & feta chicken sausage (cooked & sliced)
1 # fresh mozzarella (sliced)
1/2 c. tomato sauce

Preheat oven to 425*F. Combine first four ingredients
in a bowl and mix with your hands until fully combined, and roll
into a ball (if you want mini pizzas, roll into four smaller balls).
Grease a pizza pan. Flatten each ball until it is about the size and
appearance of a tortilla. Spread tomato sauce over the dough and
arrange slices of cheese and sausage on top. Bake for approximately
10 minutes or until the edges begin to brown.
Cut & serve :)

notes: Took a little to get used to. With nothing to yeast or baking powder it does not resemble a traditional pizza crust. Overall, it tasted good I think.

"Dolmade" soup
difficulty: 3.5/5
tasty-factor: 4/5

1/2 c. onion (diced)
1ea garlic clove (minced)
2ea fresh mint leaves (chiffonade)
2ea sun dried tomato & basil chicken sausage links (sliced)
1ea 14.5 oz can chicken stock
1/2 c. brown rice
1 bunch fresh spinach
salt & pepper to taste

Sweat onions until transparent, then add garlic, mint, and sausage. Add chicken stock and rice and simmer. Cook until rice is fully cooked, then add spinach. Continue to cook until spinach is wilted. Season to taste, and serve.

This was originally our attempt to make actual
dolmades, but we somehow managed to mess up horribly. It ended
up being more of a soup, but MAN OH MAN was it delicious!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Dessert Sushi!

Jake and I were talking about making our own sushi for dinner tonight. My brain began a-buzzin' with ideas of how to make it a bit different. I thought about maybe replacing the seaweed with spinach...nahh too simple...maybe changing the filling to something fruity? Hmmm...yes..but what else? Then it hit me. Using a chocolate roule recipe as the seaweed (since it is meant for rolling anyways), coconut as the rice (with some sort of binding agent) and strawberries as the filling! I set to it immediately upon returning home to make sure I didn't somehow lose this marvelous idea, and this is how it turned out!

1/3 c. cake flour
1/3 c. cocoa powder
2 T cornstarch
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1/3 t salt
4ea eggs (separated)
3/4c. granulated sugar
confectioners sugar for dusting
1/2 c. whipped cream
1 1/4c. shredded coconut
1c. strawberries (sliced)
chocolate ganache & whole strawberries to garnish

Preheat oven to 350*F. Line a 15x10 (or similar size) pan with parchment. Grease paper and dust with flour.

Sift together flour, cocoa, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium sized bowl. In separate bowl, whip egg whites until foamy. Add 1/2c. sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.

In a large bowl, whip together egg yolks and 1/4c. sugar until fluffy. Fold 1/3 egg white mixture into yolks. Alternately add dry ingredients and yolks, folding lightly until fully incorporated. Pour batter into pan, and spread until smooth and level.

Bake for 10-15min or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Dust a clean cloth with confectioners sugar. Turn warm cake out onto cloth and gently peel away parchment. Roll up the cake in the cloth, and unroll ONLY AFTER COMPLETELY COOLED.

(don't mind my gross bandaid finger, I cut myself
badly at work
and have to leave it like that >.<)
Combine whipped cream and coconut. Mixture should be relatively pasty (like sticky rice). Spread onto cake, covering all but the edges. Place sliced strawberries in a thick line on one side.

Using the towel, gently roll the cake. Be sure to tuck the edges under to keep the roll tight. Using a serrated knife, remove each end of the roll, and continue to cut 3/4" pieces. Drizzle with chocolate ganache, or set on side for dipping. Enjoy!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Are those Ninja Turtles with knee pads?

Playing Battletoads last night got me to realize how much video games have changed (as if E3 didn't prove enough of that). I'm not just talking in terms of graphics and crap. With the d-pad and analog sticks and bumpers and abxy, it's almost impossible to immediately jump into a game with no "hand-holding." Yet somehow, NES games with a mere two buttons still kick my ass. When I starting playing last night, it was embarrassing how horrible I was at this game. I couldn't manage to get past this super electro-box guy in the second level...yeah...LEVEL TWO. Really? I felt like an pathetic excuse for a gamer. How hard could the second level of an ancient game be? Apparently pretty damn difficult for this kid right here. So, of course, I became consumed with impatience and quit.

What I want to know is how I used to sit on the couch for hours as a kid, playing Donkey Kong Country until I either made it to a save point, beat the world, or had to eat; yet as an adult if I can't beat the level in 15 minutes I have to stop playing to keep myself from strangling the machine with its own cords. I can't really tell if it's because games were vastly more difficult, if I just lack the skills necessary to function as a human and a gamer, or maybe if I have just grown more impatient in life. Maybe it's because as we age we slowly transition into a different dimension where time passes more rapidly than usual, or maybe there is some evil swamp banshee living on the outskirts of every town, draining the time from a person's day once they hit eighteen. Either way, it appears that Battletoads has it in for me.

Luckily, I am onto the universe and it's mind-tricking ways and am determined to continue playing this game. I don't care if it takes me forever, I'm going to figure out what to do (on my own, no cheats for this chick), and give it my absolute all. And when I get frustrated, I'll pop ICO into the PS2 and do a little Yorda saving :)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Since Follow Friday is getting lengthy

I'm starting to get annoyed with lengthy #followfridays so I decided to put my regulars in this here blog. I tried to organize them by category, though you have to realize that these people have multitudes of interests, and may fit into more than one category. For instance, some geeky ladies may also be fantastic foodies, but to save space I have to pick one :X. I hope you guys at least take the time to read their feeds, because they are funny and they make my interwebs experience delightful :)

Ladies that happen to be as nerdy as me:
I don't recall exactly how I came across her feed, but she is a hilarious geek-mom whose gaming opinions are very similar to mine it seems. I love reading her blog, and I hope I can be as technologically informed if I ever become a mom.

Another awesome geek-mom with inspirational stories and creative ideas. Her blog also inhabits my Most Visited bar on Firefox :) She is where I discovered the awesomeness Thursday Tea!

Nerdy, gorgeous, and kind, what else do you really need? Ohh, and her adorable foster kittens really didn't hurt my attention span any ;)

Silly girl with hilarious tweets and tales of her life and her two cute "monkeys."

Female geek activist, helping show that not all nerds that are female are slutty attention whores. Often representing @entearth, she definitely knows her stuff :) Any gal with the guts to have Felicia Day sign her cleavage is rockin' in my book!

Badass Foodies:
Kickin' website with awesome recipes. Still hoping to maybe have my ice cream selected *fingers crossed*

I absolutely love her blog. It makes me want to stay home and cook alllll day long. I wish I was capable of the things she does. I can't look at her tweets without a rumblin' in my belly.

The first food blogger I ever came across. Such a funny blog entries by "foodgoat" and "ladygoat" with word about food, life, and their "goatspawn."

Hilarious foodie guy. I usually can't read his tweets without literally LOL-ing.

I discovered her through an Ice Cream Social contest that she was hosting with some other foodie blogs. I love the things she posts about, and her tweets are always interesting

Pretty rad dudes (my fave nerd bros):
Pretty much the raddest. My boyfriend who happens to have almost every video game console and therefore is also my best friend. Pretty much tweets about music, video games, and tech stuff.

Funny guy who you could say is a little bit into comics ;) Really amusing tweets, but might be changing his name soon :(


I may have made him buy Left 4 Dead, but he sure can kick my ass at Halo3 if I give him the chance. Usually talks about skateboarding and games, with some interesting updates on his once-broken-leg :P

Marvel comics super-guy. His blog hates to load on my G1, but it's usually worth waiting to look at once I get home. Histwitter convos with @geekgirldiva are pretty amusing.

This guy is awesome. End of story. View his blog, follow his tweets, and you'll agree.

My Local Tweeps
So, not only does this guy have a big fat superlove for Joss Whedon like I do, but he was also the very first person to ever come to one of my Tweetups. He's a nice, funny person that all should follow.

The dearest of dears and maybe even of deers...

(I have SO many people to add to this, but I will need to do it over time! Sorry if you're not on yet..)

Celebs I find worth following:
They all happen to be actors/actresses from Buffy
@AlyDenisof (Alyson Hannigan)
@ElizaPatricia (Eliza Dushku)
@Clareberry (Clare Kramer)

And of course:
If you don't watch Totally Rad Show on Revision3, you must. It's awesome and hilarious. I get so girly and excited any time Dan Trachtenberg @ replies me XD (which has been twice so far).

My friends IRL:
Portrait master, zombie slayer, and future rock climbing extraordinaire

My roommate and BFF. She is the Faith to my Buffy, and a pretty witty gal. Often mistaken as a scene kid, she is a total badass.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

What to eat?

The new eating situation has been a mixed bag, but we have been making it work. Here are a few of the recipes we have used/created. Keep in mind that the first day was our "detox" day and was meant to be vegan & gluten free. For having never had an entire day of either, I think we did pretty darn well, and definitely were never starving.

Mango Tango Smoothie
difficulty: 1/5
tasty-factor: 5/5

1 small frozen bottle of Mango Tango Odwalla
1/4 c lemon juice

Combine both ingredients in blender and puree until smooth.
notes: We already had a plentiful supply of Odwalla in our freezer, but it can be replaced by fresh mangoes.

"Cleansing Cocktail"
Difficulty: 1/5
tasty-factor: 3/5

12 oz 100% fruit juice of your choice
2 tsp whole psyllium husk (ground)

Stir psyllium into juice, stirring frequently to keep homogeneous.
notes: We took this recipe from Clean Up Your Diet, which called for cranberry juice. We used cranberry acai juice instead, and it didn't taste that bad. The texture was the most difficult to was kinda like applesauce haha.

Green Fruit Salad
Difficulty: 2/5
tasty-factor: 5/5

1 ea kiwi (peeled)
1 cup green grapes
1 ea granny smith apple (halved & sliced)

Small dice kiwi and combine with grapes and apple slices.
notes: pretty much as simple as eating a bowl of fruit.

Almond rice & lentils
difficulty: 3/5
tasty-factor: 3.5/5
2/3c. brown rice (rinsed)
5 T green lentils (rinsed)
4c. water
1 ea. medium onion (sliced)
2 T olive oil
2 T sliced almonds (toasted)
1 T fresh basil (chiffonade)

In a small pot, cover rice and lentils with the water, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook until both are soft, then drain. In a saute pan, caramelize onions. Combine remaining ingredients and season with salt and pepper.
notes: I expected this recipe to taste nasty, but I forgot how much I actually enjoy lentils. The caramelized onions and almonds add a natural sweetness to the dish, which I enjoyed a lot. I had brought it to work, and ended up eating it cold, but I'm sure it would taste better warm.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Detox without Patrick Stump

So it seems that my mom has recently gotten into the whole sustainability, local, organic food trend. I've been a wannabe on that bandwagon ever since I first discovered farmer's markets two years ago. My main problems have been (1) that I never have cash on me to spend at such events (2) that it's a lot more difficult for me to develop an entirely new eating habit by myself and (3) I tend to take the easy way out when it comes to food. It's a lot more exciting for me now, knowing that my mom is a part of it, and that I will have at least one person that will understand when I go on a rant about HFCS or rave about grass-fed beef. Trying to get in shape and have an overall more healthy, natural eating regiment have been major goals of mine for the summer, so when my mom referred me to Clean Up Your Diet by Max Tomlinson I thought a detox might be exactly what I need to get into a good eating regamine.

Jake and I have decided to start with "The Weekend Detox Plan." Step 1 of this plan is the "preparation." We have been preparing by making sure we both drink 2 to 2.5 pitchers of water during our 8 hour shifts. I tend to be incredibly dehydrated, so this has helped me a lot already. Together, we also cleaned out the refrigerator and freezer, and got rid of the sweets and less healthy things we had accumuliated (mainly all the expired foods), and cleaned the kitchen to make it easier for our minds to focus on our new eating goals. The book explains that properly detoxing is more than just eating the right things, it is about maintaining the right state of mind as well.

I'm hoping to have some time throughout the next few days to post about our menues and the journey to eating a bit better, and living healthier (which will more than likely be spread between posts about video games and hopefully a podcast :D!!!). I would greatly appreciate any advice you might have about sustainability, slow food, local products, and/or detoxing in general :) (that means you too, mum!)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Six More Must-See Internet Videos

Grape Lady Fail
One of my favorite videos. Whenever I hurt myself I mimic her pain noise, but no one seems to get the reference. Now you all will :)

I Watch You All the Time
I quote this a lot, but people always think I'm creepy rather than quoting haha.

Bill O'Reilly Flipping Out
Pretty much here to preface the next video.

Bill O'Reilly's Producer
This takes a funny video and makes it absolutely HILARIOUS.

Geek vs Fable II
I didn't find this video until today, but I LOVE it. I thought it was so I'm a big softy for anything regarding Fable II.

Goat Yelling Like a Man
I thought of this the other day when Zoey coughed like a human being. It was so creepy.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I rock the macaroni art

Since I spend a lot of time at work shucking oysters, I came to the conclusion that if someone were artsy enough, they could save all the top shells and make something beautiful. "Why not me?!" I asked, because I have always wanted to have ANY kind of artistic talent. In fact, that's why I decided to begin was the only kind of art that I didn't suck at. But that never stopped me from trying. I took pottery, drawing, and painting classes all throughout my childhood and never made anything that looked like it wasn't made by a four year old. So I decided to give this a try.

I heavily cleaned the shells before using a screwdriver and hammer to make holes in each one. Of course, I'm kind of a big pansy so I roped my roommate into helping me with a few (it took me 1/2 hr to do 3 shells...took him 1/2 hr to do the remaining 15). Then I got to painting. I used some hemp twine and glass beads to make them into necklaces, and have been trying to sell them in my Etsy shop. I have been making little accessory bags to go with them, but I'm thinking big honky jewelry is just not in this season.

I think in the competition between aspiring artsy fashionista and super ice cream mad scientist, I'll stick with my safety goggles and evil laugh. Although I have been working on a clockwork shopping bag for a couple weeks (simply because I have no time), and it is turning out rather well :)

Friday, June 5, 2009

My thoughts on E3 2009

I figure everyone and their mother has already posted about the happenings of E3. They were probably a lot more rational, and maybe they were even at the event itself. However, they do not run my blog, therefore you are stuck with the slightly off, possibly uninformed, less magical opinions of yours truly.

The Microsoft conference pretty much blew my mind. Simple as that. New features for the Xbox 360 included, facebook, twitter, and 1080p HD movie downloads. I don't really care a whole lot about these additions because if I'm using the Xbox360, chances are I have my laptop open beside me. I'm also not very into facebook or (yet), so twitter is really the only thing I would investigate. However, if nothing else came from that segment, at least I witnessed the 100% pure adorableness of Felicia Day. Good. Lord. She looked soooo nervous standing up there talking to..idno..THE WORLD...but it wasn't like "Holy crap learn to TALK," it was "OMG YOUR SO CUTE AND AWKWARD BUT MOSTLY CUTE!"

As for game announcements, I'm not enough of a nerd to possess the level of excitement that Jake did. I predict that Metal Gear Rising is gunna be big, but I haven't played any MGS games so the announcement didn't exactly blow my mind. The Left 4 Dead 2 trailer, however, left me very torn. On one hand I think to myself, "Whyyy!?" because L4D just came out last year, is still widely popular, and doesn't leave much to be desired. Also, it's Left 4 Dead for a reason, adding more characters would make it Left 4x2 Dead and that's not really catchy. On the other hand I think, "Well as long as there are new infected to fight it could be pretty interesting, and a smart way for them to build on this franchise early." I just don't want it to end up like Guitar Hero/Rock Band where there is a new one out every month...reminiscent of the NOW audio CD series (what are we on these days, NOW 42?)

The biggest shocker of the Microsoft conference (to me, anyways) was Project Natal. I am very excited/happy/disappointed/terrified about this much that it gives me a bit of a headache. Basically, Microsoft has developed a motion control camera that kicks the Wii's ass SO hard that anyone witnessing the fight would be compelled to say "Oh no they didn't!" What exactly does this mean? It means that as a player of the video game you have literally no limits. You are the controller, there's no need to wave around some stupid white controller or waggle away looking like a moron. I think that it is incredibly awesome concept, but instead of paying $60 to play a game of dodgeball in your livingroom (just approximating how much a video game like that would probably cost), why not go outside in the sunlight and play a free game of with your friends? Just saying, that with America's obesity problem, should we really be encouraging children to plant themselves (whether on their asses or on their feet) in front of the television rather than using social skills and imagination? It is great technology to have if parents teach their children to balance things, but lately the amount of weak parents in the world appears to be increasing. To some of them it's just "easier" not to "deal" with their children, as if they are burdens.

What terrifies me more about Project Natal is the utilization of the technology. If you know anything about me, you know how in love I am with Fable and Fable II. So of course I was super excited when they introduced Peter Molyneux. I...cannot stress how terrified I am of robots. I understand that everything has a little bit of robot in it, but it is just the degree to which technology utilizes it's own brain-like things that scare me. The Milo demonstration gave me goosebumps because it did exactly what is was supposed to...make you feel like he was a real boy. No, Pinocchio, no! You are wooden and fake, and I don't give a crap if you lie to me because your nose will grow anyways. Milo is cute and awesome now, but what happens when he recognizes the bank card you leave on the table? Or when he starts chatting it up with the car and convinces it to crash and kill you? This isn't cinema...but it sure as hell feels like it. I am appreciative of the technology, I really am. I am highly impressed, and think that it can be used for a lot of good. But you can find grizzly bears adorable without ever wanting to pet one.

Next up was Nintendo. Aside some from previews for the DS & DSi I did not find any great information coming from that conference. I was not even very impressed with the games they discussed for release. Overall, Nintendo was a very boring, disappointing follow-up to Microsoft (in my opinion, of course).

Sony had a lot of interesting things going on too. I thought it was kind of lame that they kept promoting Infamous even though it was already out...shouldn't they be pushing what's to come? They spent a lot of time talking about the new PSP, which seems pretty cool but also rather ugly.
I did like the integrated clips of Bioshock 2, and the new Katamari, but my mind wasn't thoroughly blown until they showed the trailer for The Last Guardian. I haven't played Ico or Shadow of the Colossus yet, but ohhhh goodness do I want to play this game. Mostly, I want my own baby Gryffin, but I'd settle for it being CG and controlled by a cute little boy.

All in all, I thought that it was an impressive event, but to me the most interesting announcements came from Microsoft. I would love to hear your opinions on the conferences, and the details from anyone who may have attended!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Small puppy, giant treats!

Trying to train Zoey means that we go through a lot of treats. Which are expensive. I set out today looking for recipes to make my own dog treats, and figured it would be relatively simple. FALSE! There were ingredients I wouldn't have just lying around the apartment like wheat germ, cornmeal, chicken bouillon. I'm a relatively intelligent young lass, I should be capable of creating my own recipe! I immediately decided to nix the sugar, chemical leaveners, and cornmeal because I didn't think they were essential to the overall quality of the treat. Do dogs really prefer a soft cookie over a crisp one? I'm not so sure they care. After looking over the average ratios of wet/dry ingredients, I began my experiment.

This test kitchen session was more successful than my ice cream, for it only took one try to get it down. This is the recipe I ended up with:
1 1/3 c. King Arthur Whole Wheat 100% Wheat Germ Flour (unbromated flour FTW)
1 c. Quick Oats
1 ea. Eggs
1/3 c. Canola oil
1/2 c. Fruit juice (I chose Blueberry B Odwalla [low sugar & lotsa vitamins])

Preheat oven to 325* and grease a cookie sheet. Combine all ingredients and stir until just moistened. Scoop dough about 1 tablespoon in size, and form flat squares (or roll with more flour and shape with cookie cutter). Place on cookie sheet and bake approx 20 min. Makes 2 1/2 dozen treats.

I tried one myself, since essentially they were just whole wheat cookies, and they weren't all that bad! Would have had better flavor if I had added a teaspoon or so of salt, but they weren't for me anyways. Zoey loves them so I think that means mission accomplished!