Today my beautiful new "DeLonghi Retro" panini press arrived. It was a little more expensive than my budget, but it had an adjustable temperature control, which I really wanted. It would be a major bummer to shell out for a press that didn't cook hot enough to melt things properly... or was overly hot and burned the bread. Ensuring toasting perfection was worth the extra money...
My first sandwich? DEATH BY CHEESE!! It's my take on the "Ultimate Grilled Cheese" sold at Kathy Casey's "Dish D'Lish" restaurant at the SeaTac airport. To make it, you need country white bread (not too fresh... leave it out for a few hours), cheddar cheese, provolone cheese, and spreadable herb cream cheese, assembled as follows...
Once it's all put together, I microwave it for 10 seconds to get the cheese in a more meltable state. After that, you just slap it on a panini press at medium temperature and wait until you hear the cheese running out and sizzling on the grill... wait another 20 seconds or so to make sure everything is thoroughly melted, and you're done! The cheese needs to be the consistency of molten lava. If it's not oozing out of the sandwich and scalding your hands, you've made it all wrong and will have to start over...
Now that I have my own panini press, I can experiment with ways to add more cheese to the sandwich. It's a difficult proposition, because too much cheese will cause the bread to start sliding around, making it impossible to eat without a spoon. I'm thinking the answer might lay in adding a third slice of bread, but worry it might slip out if not handled properly.
Ah well... I can dream, can't I?
Oh my aching head.
Today I met up with my friends from Essen, who came down to visit with me and check out the Kölner Karneval (Cologne Carnival) festivities. Unfortunately, I am leaving tomorrow and won't get to see the big carnival climax with Rosenmontagzügen (Rose-Monday Parade), but there was still plenty going on.
After days of rain and overcast gloom, the party gods decided to smile upon Köln with blue skies, which was nice...
In preparation for the ensuing craziness of the carnival, businesses are boarding up their storefronts, which is not so nice...
When I met my friends at the train station at 11:00am, their first order of business was getting a beer. Fortunately this was not a problem, because there are beer stands every ten feet. Stores that you wouldn't normally associate with selling beer have signs plastered all over their windows advertising it. I didn't check, but would not be surprised to find the LEGO store selling beer. Of course, since this is Köln, the drink of choice is Kölsch, which is a beer unique to the region (and which can only legally be named "Kölsch" if it's brewed here)...
This is where the trouble started, and it was not because I was attacked by a group of transgender Viking warriors...
I made it very clear to my friends that I would not be getting drunk because I absolutely did not want to take an international flight with a hangover in the morning. My good "friend" Denis told me that I would not get drunk if I were to eat something with every beer I drank, then handed me a Kölsch. "This is good German beer! You will be fine!" he says.
And it was a good theory... at first.
I had Kölsch & a Spritzringe donut. Kölsch & a slice of corn pizza (don't ask). Kölsch & an ice cream cone. Kölsche & potatoes with mayo... WHICH, by the way, is about the most awesome food invention since chocolate pudding...
Yes, that's my room number written on my hand in case I forget!
But once you drink five Kölscheses, it doesn't matter how much food you've eaten... you're probably going to get drunk. After you've had six, it's guaranteed. Which is why I had seven. And so here I am, drunk at only 8:00pm, praying that I can sleep this off and not be miserable on the flight tomorrow...
You know I must be drunk, because I'm wearing a clown scarf. Except it's not really a clown scarf but instead the official scarf of the Kölner Karneval which Emma assures me looks totally hot. Though I don't think anybody noticed my new-found hotness, because the crowds were insanely huge...
Anyway, Denis tells me that I wouldn't be having this drunkenness problem if I were to stop with my vegetarian nonsense and would have eaten something from the Giant Flaming Wheel of Meat, because that's what he did and he's totally not drunk...
The very idea of it makes me want to puke, which is probably just what I need right now. And I never thought I'd be saying that about a Giant Flaming Wheel of Meat.
Thus ends my final day in Europe... and what a way to go. It's not every day you see a man in a purple mini skirt and pink bunny ears puking into a trash can while a woman dressed like a cat blows a big plastic horn at his head. Of course, I've never been to Mr. Fab's house, so I could be wrong about that.
Thanks to everybody for tagging along on my trip. Tomorrow we return to our regularly-scheduled blogging...
Rumor has it (from ex Disney-CEO Michael Eisner, no less) that the Hollywood writer's strike is all but over, and this Saturday will pretty much seal the deal once the writers themselves sign on.
I sure hope this is true, because I miss my television.
As I sit here typing this, the first episode of Survivor Season 16 has just ended (the only non-Bravo reality show I watch), and I am caught in the 9:00 void until Eli Stone starts at 10:00. And before everybody starts screaming "OH MY GAWD... YOU DON'T WATCH LOST?!?" The answer is no, I do not watch Lost. After a brilliant first season the show degenerated into total shit, where the writer's idea of being clever is to just keep piling on more "mysterious" crap while resolving nothing. Every time somebody tells me "But it's so much better now!" - I tune in and find out it's just more of the same... introduce even more new mysterious characters, pile on even more mysterious mysteries, and leave me even more mysteriously mystified at just how the fuck this show continues to be popular. Maybe once the whole thing is over and people tell me that the writers did, in fact, manage to wrap everything up in a satisfactory manner... I'll revisit the show on DVD or something. In the meanwhile, I'd rather watch reruns of Hannah Montanna.
In other entertainment news...
Today I got a brilliant email because of an entry where I posted this cartoon:
With a twist of my ring, I flame-broil the Burger King!
The email was not from a concerned parent about the excessive violence depicted at my flame-broiling Burger King (which is what usually happens)... it was from a fan of the restaurant chain who didn't like that I would publicize a bad experience I had there. "Millions of people enjoy eating at Burger King and it would be a shame if your complaining were to keep people from trying it for themselves."
So there you have it. Don't take my word for it... go to your local Burger King for breakfast and see for yourself just how bad it sucks!
Though, I have to add a disclaimer here: My problem with BK is only with their shitty breakfasts. I am compelled to give them credit for having the sack to put a veggie burger on their menu, which I actually quite enjoy. Until McDonalds sees fit to roll out their awesome McVeggie Deluxe burger nation-wide, the BK Veggie is about the only burger I can find most anywhere in the US that I can actually eat.
Sigh. I should have wrote more. There's still forty-five minutes until Eli Stone is on...
DirecTV sent me a notice that my television channel package price was going to increase. Again.
It seems like they raise their prices every year. Or more. Tired of paying such a huge amount of money every month for something I find less and less entertaining, I was trying to figure out how I could switch to a smaller package and yet still get those few channels I really want.
But it's all terribly confusing, because the package I have now doesn't exist anymore, and I don't know how it compares to what they currently offer. And then there's my local channels which were not included in my old package, but seems to be included with the new packages? And my TiVo charge, which is for a device that's no longer really supported now that DirecTV has their own much shittier DVR service.
I have no frickin' clue how to make sense of DirecTV, and am pretty sure they do that intentionally.
Not knowing what else to do, I decided to cancel HBO so I could save money.
I made the cancellation online while, ironically, I was watching HBO. Much to my surprise, the television went to a black screen almost immediately after I had made the change. DirecTV doesn't mess around.
Here in Washington State, it's time for our presidential caucuses. I voted by mail a week ago, but it's only today that the results are starting to come in. Right now, it looks like Obama is going to take the Democratic slot easily, winning over twice the votes Hillary got.
But it's the Cupcake Caucus at Cupcake Royale that interests me most...
Though MY vote would go to my beloved Kate, the best cupcake ever...
Oh great. Now I want a Kate but I can't have one because Cupcake Royale is closed.
And it's not like I can go get one even if they were open, because the mountain passes are also closed.
And I don't have the money for a plane ticket to Seattle because DirecTV is taking it all.
Today I knocked off work early so I could run into Wenatchee and buy stuff to put in my care package for AnySoldier.com (I've written about this wonderful organization here). While shopping at Target for magazines and snacks, I was reminded that when you do good things, good things come back to you.
Because, OMG... HELLO KITTY GUMMIES!!
They taste totally awesome, even though I didn't get a pink My Melody Bunny in my bag (I would have preferred Kuromi anyway), and all my blue Kitty Bows were a nasty vomit-green color. The good news though? They go great with Little Debbie Chocolate Chip Snack Cakes, and would no doubt perfectly compliment Hello Kitty Pop-Tarts...
Awww, isn't that sweet?!?
UPDATE: Boy was I wrong... Hello Kitty Gummies, as manufactured by Kelloggs, contains DISGUSTING GELATIN as an ingredient. Why the hell they feel the need to put such unnecessary shit in their product is a mystery to me when alternatives like citrus pectin are available. Shame! SHAME ON KELLOGGS! And shame on me for trusting them and not reading the ingredients.
A meme bopping through the internets anew is the SIX QUIRKY THINGS ABOUT YOU meme. You're supposed to post rules and tag everybody and stuff, but I never really play by the rules and loathe tagging people. So I'm just going to post my quirks and be done with it...
Eh, that's not so quirky. We'll have to save that for later.
Living in a rural area isn't always a bad thing, but there are days I would give anything to get the hell out of this podunk town.
Like today, for example.
And it's all Tracy's fault. Yesterday she blogged about top-loader hotdog rolls, which I remember fondly from my trips to Spike's Junkyard Dogs in Boston. My friend there likes to take me to Spike's because they have vegetarian hot dogs I can eat. The "buns" they use are not "buns" at all... they're French rolls, sliced at the top instead of the side. Delicious. But the rolls Tracy was talking about are top-loaders which are meant to be grilled on the sides...
EVIL TRACY!! How can I resist trying something as totally awesome as this? I cannot.
So I clicked through to Maple and More to get me some grillable top-loaders. The minimum order is 24 rolls for $20 (Priority Mail postage paid!) which sounded like a pretty good deal (assuming I eat hot dogs morning, noon, and night before they go stale). All I needed was the veggie dogs. My favorites are tofu dogs made by Yves, and I've been buying them at the local health food store for years. So today after work I headed into Wenatchee to get some.
Only to find out that the health food store doesn't carry them anymore! In a panic I run to Safeway, but they don't have anything either. Horrified that I have buns coming with nothing to go in them, I head to Albertsons where they don't have Yves tofu dogs, but they do have Smart Dogs and Morningstar Farms Dogs. I grab both. After all, I have two-dozen buns to fill.
And then on my way to the self-checkout it happens.
Some bitch in her scooter runs into me.
It's not the first time I've been hit by somebody in a scooter, but it is the first time I've been hit BECAUSE SHE WAS TALKING ON HER MOBILE PHONE!! This was no accident, it was negligence, and I would have sued her stupid ass if I thought I could have got any money out of it. Unlike the last time I was hit, however, she did apologize... but it sure didn't sound sincere. Not wanting to let the opportunity pass me by, I said "maybe you shouldn't be talking on your phone if you're going to drive that thing into people."
"I DRIVE INTO PEOPLE WHETHER I'M ON THE PHONE OR NOT!!"
I guess she told me.
It's Bullet Sunday from lovely Salt Lake City, Utah!
Where I may very well be spending the entire day in bed.
• Skittles! OMG! WHY DID NOBODY TELL ME THAT THEY NOW MAKE CHOCOLATE-MIX SKITTLES?? Each bag-full has five yummy flavors: S'mores, Chocolate Caramel, Vanilla, Brownie Batter, and... wait for it... CHOCOLATE PUDDING, BITCHES!! Just look at my most excellent breakfast this morning...
• Stones! But my happiness at discovering Chocolate Mix Skittles is seriously dampened by the constant mind-blowing pain of a kidney stone that has long since worn out its welcome. Unless doped up on drugs all day long, my entire groin aches as if I'm being kicked in the balls every two seconds...
I am so ready for this to be over.
• Galactica! I was too drugged to watch the season premiere of Battlestar Galactica on Friday, so I've got it at home sitting on my TiVo. But I really wanted to watch it last night. First I tried every legal option available to me. iTunes Music Store? Not sold there. Streaming from the official site? Yes, but Sci-Fi Channel's streaming sucks ass by stalling every 10 seconds. BitTorrent it is then! This is really f#@%ing stupid on Sci-Fi Channel's part. Had they been selling their shows on iTunes, they would have got a double purchase from me... once so I could watch it now, and again when the DVD is released (just as I've bought all the other Battlestar Galactica DVDs). Why is it these dumb-f#@% networks STILL don't understand how to distribute their shit? They'd rather bitch and moan about how internet piracy is killing their profits WHEN THEY'RE THE DUMBASSES WHO CAUSE THE PIRACY IN THE FIRST PLACE!! Cry me a river, bitches. It's really a shame too, because this show is amazing. The space battles are about the best I've ever seen.
• Chilly! Long-time Blogography commenter and fellow blogger from Banal Leakage, Marty (better known here as ChillyWilly) was kind enough to bring along his fiance and join me for dinner at the Salt Lake City landmark: The Rio Grande Cafe. Since I was whacked out on pain-killers, who knows if I was coherent for the evening... but that's probably true whether I am drugged-up or not...
• Skank! On my way walking to dinner last night, a car full of girls at a stop light started screaming obscenities my way, saying things like "SOMEBODY NEEDS TO TEACH YOU TO FUCK LIKE A MAN!" I should have ignored them but, because this is me we're talking about, I screamed back "AND SOMEBODY NEEDS TO TEACH YOU TO DOUCHE YOU FILTHY WHORE!!" I didn't think anything of it until the three of us were walking back from The Gateway after dinner when another car of girls pulled up and started screaming crap like "YOU'RE THE KIND OF MAN I'M LOOKING FOR!" What the hell? But then it was explained to me that they were not yelling at me... they were yelling at the Mormons walking next to us. Remembering back, I realized that I probably wasn't the intended "victim" the first time either, because there was a group of Mormons walking behind me then (there's a huge convention for the Latter Day Saints Church here in town, so they're everywhere). Seriously, WTF?!? Dumbass ugly bitches in this city drive around screaming crap at Mormons to feel better about themselves? It wouldn't have been any less stupid had they been hot, but these were so not hot-looking babes. They were skanky trolls hanging out with other skanky trolls so they could make fun of clean-cut Mormon guys who are too decent and kind to fight back. I suppose for these ugly-ass skanks, it's the closest thing to being in a relationship with a man that they're going to get without a crack-pipe being involved. Is there anything more ironic and sad?
• Founded! Okay, I can't let this go... Salt Lake City was BUILT by Mormons. They MADE this place. This is THEIR city. The came here to make a home of their own after being persecuted everywhere else for their religious beliefs (go America!). You'd think that the butt-ugly bitches that drive around harassing Mormon guys would show a little fucking respect. You may not care for their religion, but is that any reason to treat them like crap in a city their people founded to get away from exactly this type of bullshit? Instead of tormenting guys who are just trying to live their lives in peace, why not go build your own city... a city where toxic ugly bitches can go be miserable without bugging the shit out of the rest of us. I wish society would fucking grow up and learn tolerance, because this stupid shit really sets me on edge.
• Beauty! And now, because I refuse to close out this entry with such ugliness, some photos I took on my trip yesterday...
While I was eating my Qdoba Breakfast Burrito, I looked out the giant glass windows of the Sea-Tac Airport food court and was stunned to see that a shaft of light was cutting through the horizon, illuminating the mountains in a way that made them look as if they were floating. I threw down my food and hauled ass towards the windows so I could capture the moment, but none of the pictures came close to reproducing the staggering sight. Perhaps if you use your imagination, you can kind of see what I'm talking about here...
But not really. Oh well. It was truly jaw-dropping, and by the time I gave up trying to photography it, a bunch of people had crowded around the windows to take a look.
I've published so many from-the-air shots here, but I really liked the way this one turned out as I was flying over southern Idaho...
And, lastly, here's The Great Salt Lake as I descended into SLC...
Breakfast has me feeling much better, so I think it might be time to get out of bed and go get some soup! I swear, some of the best soups on earth are to be found in Salt Lake City...
Professor Ahmet MacBarnaby has the unfortunate distinction of being the first person to perish in an anti-gravity toilet accident.
The fact that his many accomplishments in life would be so embarrassingly eclipsed by the manner of his death is an irony anybody can appreciate. Except for Professor MacBarnaby, of course.
Not that it really matters to him... he's dead.
"Tut tut, my dear!" he mumbled as he had dismissed the attendant. "I managed to figure out how to deflect rogue tachyons during a wormhole compression, I think I can figure out how to operate a toilet!"
He couldn't have been more wrong. This was made abundantly clear as his internal organs were liquified because he failed to secure the rectal safety coupling before the Physemann Vent engaged. There are far worse deaths one can experience, but few have the distinction of disintegrating your ass in the process.
— Taken from "Varukkah Blind" (unfinished), by David Simmer II
You can thank Bac-Os Artificial Bacon Bits for my digging out an old sci-fi novel I started writing two decades ago.
I bought them because I used to like bacon when I ate meat, and the label promised me that Bac-Os "Makes Every Bite Better" (yet contained no actual meat in the ingredients). How can you resist marketing hype like that?
As usual, when things sound too good to be true, they usually are.
In this case, it's because Bac-Os taste like super-bacon infused toxic waste. They are SO disgusting. And now I've got a giant bottle of them taking up space in my cupboard.
But my real concern is the handful I popped into my mouth just now to give them a try.
They burned my mouth so bad that I became terrified as to what happens when they are excreted. Worrying over Bac-Os disintegrating my ass on the way out reminded me of the fictional Professor MacBarnaby in my story, and I was compelled to go read it again.
With classic storytelling like that, how am I not a massive literary success?
I didn't realize that my entry yesterday would result in a half-dozen emails and some comments asking what was wrong and if I was going to be okay.
I'm fine. I was just banging my head against the wall trying to think of something to blog about, and ultimately decided to blog about banging my head against the wall. But instead of writing about it, I drew up a DaveToon. I don't know why, but sometimes it's easier to express myself that way than trying to come up with the words.
Anyway, today I'm working on stuff for my Kick-Ass Blogiversary 5 Celebration next week. Since I can't really talk about that yet, there's nothing I could blog about except how I ate Hello Kitty strawberry cream dipping biscuits for breakfast...
They're Hello Kitty delicious! That bitch really knows how to make breakfast!
Before I get back to work, I'd like to wish everybody who celebrates Passover a happy Seder tonight.
Mostly because it gives me an opportunity to reprint a nifty cartoon I drew for the occasion last year...
I think every Passover needs a drunk monkey sommelier at the table... even if they do eat the Karpas off of everybody's Seder plate. Bad Monkey!
Ever have one of those days where everything sucks?.
Yeah, that was pretty much my day today... and tomorrow isn't looking like it's going to be much better.
But the big news? I've developed a serious allergy. It first appeared without warning when I woke up in New York with a swollen tongue. Ever since then, I've had random knots of allergic swelling from time to time on my feet, hands, lips, and tongue. It's been driving me a little nuts, but today the pieces finally fell into place after I started keeping a journal of everything I consume.
I think I'm allergic to eating food dyes.
After starting my journal, I've found that any time I've eaten colored foods, I end up with a welt somewhere. The first time it happened in New York City, I remember having drank a bottle of Orange Gatorade earlier in the day. Today I had red Fruit Punch with my Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes at Taco Bell, and now I've got a nice welt on my lip.
So it looks like my diet will be a lot less colorful from now on.
Like I said, suckage.
Thank heavens there's no artificial colors in chocolate pudding.
But there is one good bit of news from the day... I finally finished the box design for my playing cards!
Awwwww, cute! This is probably my favorite DaveToon I've ever drawn, so when it came time to decide what to put on the card box, it was the only thing I really considered. I hope that the card company does a good job of printing it!
For more information on Blogography Playing Cards, you can check them out at the Artificial Duck Co., store.
Next week I'll be wrapping up the pre-orders at the store... so, if you want something there, now is the time to order it! I will try to get a few extras of everything, but can't guarantee how long they'll be available. If you don't have the cash to pre-order right now, just email me and I'll try to reserve your stuff (my email is in the top of my sidebar).
One. More. Day.
It's what's for dinner.
Why is it that technology is making life simpler in every area of creation except when it comes to setting an alarm clock??!?
It used to be that to set the alarm, you press and hold the ALARM button and adjust the hours and minutes until you have the time you want to wake up. Then you slide the OFF/RADIO/BUZZER switch to BUZZER and you're done. That's three out of four buttons and a slider switch until F#@%ING DONE!!!
But not any more.
The alarm clock at my hotel has TWENTY-ONE F#@%ING BUTTONS PLUS A SLIDER SWITCH (for Mega Bass)...
To set your alarm you have to go through FIVE STEPS, two of which you have to repeat, which means there's SEVEN F#@%ING STEPS to set an alarm! It's so absurdly complicated that they have to give you an instruction card to figure the shit out...
All the love I used to have for Sony products is gone. Because of this piece of shit alarm clock, I somehow didn't push enough buttons to set the alarm (even though the alarm indicator was lit?). So even though I got up at 4:30am and didn't need to be up until 6:00am, I was counting on the alarm to tell me what time I needed to stop working and get ready. But it didn't. Suddenly the extra time I had given myself to get ready and make it into the city for my meeting had evaporated because it was 6:45 by the time I looked over and noticed something was wrong.
Granted the stupid alarm clock has a CD player in it, but big f#@%ing deal... my iPhone has a MP3 player, clock, map, camera, calendar, calculator, notepad, web browser, and all kinds of other stuff in it... but has TWO BUTTONS!!
Half my kingdom for an Apple-designed alarm clock.
Work was at the delicious All-Candy Expo here in Chicago. I've bored everybody with accounts of all the cool stuff at the show in previous years, so I'll skip all that... but I did see two things that made me squeal like a little girl when I visited the PEZ booth. As long-time readers already know, I love PEZ. LOVE THE PEZ!!!
So imagine my delight when I saw that they are coming out with STAR TREK PEZ!!!
As if that wasn't enough, I turned the corner and saw one of the most amazing things ever... CHOCOLATE PEZ!!!
It's as if PEZ is starting to combine all the things I love best in life into a single product family. Next year I'm fully expecting that there will be an Elizabeth Hurley PEZ dispenser waiting for me.
After working the show for a bit, I was free for the day. Just two goals remained...
ONE... Go to America's Dog and get me a veggie-dog done up Chicago style (I was going to just put ketchup on it, but I didn't want to risk the wrath of RW's Hotdog Commandments!)...
TWO... Make up for the shitty experience of watching the horrific movie tragedy known as Speed Racer by going and seeing Iron Man yet again. Which I did, at the magnificent Muvico 18 Theater in Rosemont...
I paid for "VIP Premiere Seating" which puts you in the balcony in a huge comfy seat that's reserved for adults only, so you can take a beer into the theater with you! According to Wikipedia, the Muvico 18 Rosemont is the first theater in the country to have Sony SRX 4K digital cinema projectors in all auditoriums, which means the picture quality and sound were frakin' amazing.
This is my third time watching Iron Man, and I can honestly say that I love it more with each new viewing. I'll probably see it two or three more times before it leaves theaters. I just can't help myself. Robert Downey Jr.'s performance is so sublimely awesome in every way... from his impeccable comedic timing to his note-perfect delivery... that I am positively mesmerized by the character of Tony Stark. The fact that the movie RESPECTS THE F#@%ING SOURCE MATERIAL AT EVERY TURN is just icing on the cake. A big thank you to director Jon Favreau for having the intelligence to understand that there's a f#@%ing REASON that iconic comic book characters have endured for so long, and it is insanely arrogant and stupid to reinvent the wheel when you've already got something that works and people want to see.
And what I really need to see right now is a pillow, because I have to be to the airport in 5 hours.
Well, I can't say this has been a good turn of events.
Last night I had a sudden allergic reaction which caused hives to break out all over my body. The welts didn't itch, but they were painful to touch. And they looked kind of funny. In a bit of a panic, I swallowed a half-box of Benadryl and got my Epi-Pen ready... my lips were all tingly and I was afraid it was a precursor to some serious swelling of my tongue or throat. After a couple of hours the swelling stopped. This morning I woke up with nothing but pink splotches to remind me that it had even happened. Benadryl seems to work wonders, but the side-effect is that it puts me in a coma.
I'm trying to get an appointment with an allergist this coming week, but that scares me almost more than choking to death on a swollen tongue.
Worse-case scenario? I'm allergic to soy.
As a vegetarian, soy is a substitute for a lot of meat products I used to eat... hamburger, bacon, hotdogs... they're all soy-based products for me now. And, as far as I know, there is no substitute for this substitute.
Next worse-case scenario? I'm allergic to wheat.
Bread and pasta are such a hugely enjoyable part of my diet that the idea of losing them fills me with dread. Sure there are gluten-free breads... but they just don't taste as good.
Worst-case scenario after that? I'm allergic to dairy.
I've tried giving up dairy before when I wanted to switch to an all-vegan diet. I couldn't do it. Chocolate pudding and cheese are two of my favorite foods. I don't even want to contemplate my life without them. And what about ice cream and gelato? None of the substitutes are remotely close in taste and texture.
I could, of course, adapt to whatever diet was necessary... if necessary.
But not being able to sit down to a veggie burger with cheese and a chocolate pudding for dessert?
I don't know how I'll be able to deal with that.
And now it's time for another dose of Benadryl and another coma.
At least I'm getting some sleep out of the deal.
I usually wait until the end of the day to blog because then I have a day's worth of events to pick from. But this morning after I turned on the news, I knew exactly what I was going to blog about today... there's no need to wait.
And it's this... I am so fucking sick of stupid.
Honestly, I am beyond tired of the daily bombardment of stupid that assaults me on a daily basis. Turn on the television? Stupidity. Pick up a newspaper? Stupidity. Read a magazine? Stupidity. Cruise through the internet? Heinous stupidity.
And don't think for a minute I am excluding my own blog here. I fully admit that bitching about menial crap and drawing cartoons of drunken monkeys is far from brilliant. I may joke to the contrary, but I honestly have no pretense that Blogography is anything but "stupid crap daily." In fact, as anybody who was at TequilaCon can confirm, I proudly hand out buttons proclaiming just that...
But the difference here is that I REALIZE this is all stupid crap, and can say with some confidence that MY stupid crap is pretty much harmless.
It's the people out there who actually BELIEVE their stupid crap... the people who are causing real damage with THEIR stupid crap... those are the ones who are making me fall to new depths of despair.
The relentless stream of hatred and intolerance. The ceaseless persecution in the name of religion and morality. The persistent propagation of lies and fraud. The never-ending pessimism and greed. There's no escaping it. For the longest time I've been able to find it all amusing by laughing it off. But it's getting harder and harder to do that. Things have gone from "so stupid it's funny" to "so stupid it's tragic."
In weighing my options for dealing with this unwelcome reality, I had seriously considered becoming an alcoholic, a drug addict, or anything that would make it easier not to care. But why punish myself for the failing of others? Why sell everything I own and run away into the mountains? Why go insane and have myself committed? Why stick my head in the microwave and turn it to maximum-defrost?
Turns out I like myself too much.
So I came up with a new solution to the problem when it was time to make my breakfast.
You start with a big dollop of chocolate pudding, float a Little Debbie "Devil Square" snack cake on it... put a dollop of pudding on top of that... stack another Devil Square cake on top... then garnish with another dollop of chocolate pudding and stick a Golden Oreo cookie on the top. Presto! Breakfast is served!
Delicious! It's hard to be angry at the stupidity of the world when you're eating a pudi-cake-a-cookie.
If only I could find a way to get some ice cream in there.
That may very well be the answer to my staying sane until the presidential election is over.
Being a vegetarian is usually not a big deal. Even if you end up at a steak house, they usually have a veggie salad of some kind... or perhaps a soup... maybe some kind of veggie sandwich... or even a baked potato. There's always something I can eat, so going out for a meal is no big deal.
Unless you are dealing with the bastards at Applebees. They have NOTHING for vegetarians on their menu.
Every salad has meat on it.
Every sandwich is meat-filled.
Every pasta bowl is topped with some kind of dead animal.
Applebee's now has the single most vegetarian-hostile menu I've ever seen. The only two things I could find on it were some kind of gross-looking mushroom pizza appetizer, and greasy deep-fat-fried mozzarella sticks. Which is great, except I'm allergic to mushrooms and don't want to have a fat-induced heart attack. Asking my nice waitress for help, here are my options...
I went with the veggie burger (no bacon), because it was easier than trying to figure out how to order a bunch of sides (like a baked potato and garlic bread) which aren't on the actual menu anywhere.
This is ridiculous. Seriously. Applebees is run by dumbasses who need sensible advice badly...
Vegetarians are not asking for the world. Just a line on the menu that says "Substitute a veggie patty on any burger at no extra charge!"... or... "Without the chicken, subtract $2." Just SOMETHING that shows you aren't so stupid as to be hostile towards 10% of the population you're asking to patronize your business.
Otherwise, we just get hostile back, and declare to the entire internet that we're sick and tired of your crap, and won't be eating at your over-priced-piece-of-shit-vegetarian-abusive restaurants anymore.
As you are probably aware from my ceaseless whining, I live a busy and complex life.
This would explain my obsession when it comes to finding ways of making common tasks easier and more efficient. Because the more time I'm able to save throughout the day, the more time I'm able to set aside for luxury activities like sleeping and going to the bathroom.
A couple weeks ago, I happened upon something new to me in the freezer case at my local grocery store: UNCRUSTABLES!!
These are tiny frozen sandwiches from Smuckers that you thaw out and eat without all that mucking about with a loaf of bread and making a mess. I tried the peanut butter and jellies first... both strawberry and grape were yummy. I then found grilled cheese... totally delicious. Sure they are horrible for your health, but they are just so darn convenient that I can't get enough of them...
Then the other day I ran across a NEW Uncrustables variety... peanut butter and honey. I like honey, so I bought a box to try.
Holy crap! I believe that this is what "suck" would taste like if you could distill the essence of suckage to a food product. On top of tasting horrible, I was shocked to discover that the "honey spread" contained any honey, because it tasted more like toxic waste. Sandwich FAIL!
Oh well. I guess you can't win them all... but did anybody at Smuckers bother to TASTE these things before selling them? When your motto is "With a name like Smuckers, it's got to be good," you'd think that they'd have to be a little more careful with the crap they actually put their name on.
And in other, more expected news...
I keep hoping my pet Webkinz monkey will calm down after having been ripped off by the Webkinz eStore, but it just hasn't happened. If anything, the little psychopath has escalated his game... getting more creative with his senseless killings. I think he's always resented the cat who works at the employment office, and saw him heading that way...
The remainder of this entry NOT appropriate for children or those who are traumatized by cartoon violence!→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
I say tomato and you say tomato...
WTF?? It's happened to me AGAIN?!? Seriously, do these fuckers not know how to take inventory?
Somebody needs to die.
Running out of new ways to say FAIL!
After my three previous failed attempts of getting a Streamliner Burger from Johnny Rockets, I played the odds and figured that my luck was bound to change. They can't ALL be out of soy burgers ALL the time? And this is a TUESDAY when they must surely have gotten their supplies in for the week.
So I take a very expensive taxi ride from my hotel to the Southcenter Mall's Johnny Rockets for dinner. I sit at the counter and wait to have my order taken. I order my usual vegetarian-safe Streamliner Burger with no grilled onions and no mustard. Then grit my teeth as I hear my waiter say...
"Hey, are we still out of Boca Burgers?
It was all I could do to stop myself from seriously jumping over the counter and choking the shit out of everybody with a Johnny Rocket's apron on.
But, much to my shock and delight, the answer was "yeah, we got Boca!"
A short while later my burger arrives and I start chowing down on it. But something's not right... it tastes... off. At first I tell myself that the lettuce must be funny and keep eating. But then, as I am half-way through, something falls out of my burger. And it looks like a piece of mushroom. WTF? That's when I pull the bun off and see that it's not brown like a Boca Burger usually is, but kind of a yellowish color. Oh shit.
IT'S NOT A 100% SOY BOCA BURGER AS THEIR MENU STATES, BUT SOME KIND OF RICE & GRAIN MUSHROOM BURGER!
And have I mentioned that I AM FUCKING ALLERGIC TO MUSHROOMS??!
Even if I could eat mushrooms, the burger was pretty gross. My best guess is that it's a GardenBurger "Savory Mushroom" patty... or something like it.
Fortunately, the amount was not enough to kill me, but it was definitely enough to make my throat swell up and cause me to have some serious gastrointestinal distress for the rest of the evening. So much for going to a movie tonight. FUCKERS!
I just don't get it. I have gone to Johnny Rockets and been denied a Streamliner Burger in San Francisco (twice), Santa Monica, Seattle University Village (twice), Seattle Pike Place Market, Seattle Pacific Place, Miami Aventura Mall, and Kent Station. And now Johnny Rockets Seattle Southcenter tries to kill me with an unannounced mushroom burger substitution. Why the fuck do they even offer a soy burger if the person in charge of inventory can't be bothered to keep it in stock or confirm they received the correct item? Who the fuck puts an item on their menu that you can only successfully order 50% of the time?
Johnny Rockets. The very definition of EPIC FAIL...
What's funny is that the waiter seemed completely unconcerned when I told him about the problem. He credited me the amount of the burger (still making me pay for the fries and a Coke), but that was it. As far as I know, he didn't even bother to follow-up with the kitchen staff to tell them they had the wrong burgers. And, as always, no offer whatsoever of any restitution... no free burger coupon for my next visit... nothing. I didn't even get a "hope you don't die."
The real shame here is that my favorite food on earth is a Johnny Rockets Streamliner Burger with no grilled onions and no mustard. And I'm not joking when I say that I would eat them morning, noon, and night if I could. It would be easy to say "I'm never eating at Johnny Rockets ever again," but I just can't do it. I will continue to eat at their restaurants knowing full-well that I'm setting myself up for disappointment and possible death by doing so.
In the meanwhile, I am waiting for somebody... anybody... to explain to me why it's so impossible to keep a FROZEN item in stock. It's not going to spoil... IT'S FUCKING FROZEN! It's not going to go to waste if you over-order... IT'S FUCKING FROZEN! It's easy to make sure you never run out of something... BECAUSE IT'S FUCKING FROZEN!! DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND THAT IT'S FUCKING FROZEN?!? I am flabbergasted beyond all reason as to why this is such a huge problem. It make no sense at all... and yet it's consistently fucked up no matter which Johnny Rockets location I try.
What's beyond EPIC FAIL?!?
Bullet Sunday will be postponed until tomorrow when we have another edition of "Bullet Sunday on Monday."
As I type this, I am eating Pinkberry which, I've been told on more than one occasion, you either love or hate.
I don't really agree with that, because I don't have such strong feelings about frozen yogurt. Even Pinkberry. To me it's just "different" and I can take it or leave it. It's not like we're talking about chocolate pudding here. Besides, the stuff is just a knock-off of Red Mango, which I first had in Seoul, South Korea, years before the "sweet-tart fro-yo" fad hit the USA (though I understand that Red Mango shops are starting to pop up here now too).
Anyway, Pinkberry is kind of difficult for me, because it tastes better with fruit instead of chocolate toppings. This goes against everything I believe in when it comes to desserts, but oh well. I'm kind of enamored with strawberry and mango right now...
After changing hotels and having lunch with Vahid, it was time to bid him adieu so I could go back to Comic-Con for a while. The crowds, while still a little crazy, were much more manageable today. My main goal was to look through the magazine and silver-age comic tables to search for some issues I'm missing in my collection. I got away very cheap because, while I found just about everything I was looking for, I decided not to buy anything over $20, which left me only one thing to buy.
I came dangerously close to spending $2750.00 on a piece of original artwork that I really, really, wanted... but, alas, with the $20 Rule in effect, I had to take a pass. This was tough considering the original asking price was $3500.00 (and it was totally worth it).
I will now spend the rest of my life regretting my decision not to buy.
All while being secretly thankful I didn't.
Dinner tonight was with a friend over in Coronado, and totally excellent.
Except the bill, which was substantial.
I'm generally not the type of person who likes spending outrageous amounts of money at a restaurant, but sometimes it's nice to treat yourself to something extravagant. On rare occasions it's okay to live above your means. Every once in a while it's good to spend money you don't have on something that makes your life a little sweeter.
Shit. I totally should have bought that original art page, shouldn't I?
Live from Chicago, it's another edition of Bullet Sunday!
• iPhone. When I got back from Davecago 3 last night and went to charge my iPhone, I found out that my power adaptor was dead. This was frustrating, but not a big problem, because I was going into the city and could just stop by the Apple Store and get a new one. But when I got there, something strange was happening. The line to get a new iPhone 3G had only one person in it. Not knowing quite what to do with myself, I made the snap decision to just get a new iPhone so I could finally have the GPS I need so badly in my travels (and go completely broke from having to shell out $299). I'll undoubtedly blather on about it later, but my initial reaction? Feels better in the hand, but design is not as nice as my first iPhone. Face feels more like plastic than glass (oh shit!). GPS is slow to acquire. 3G network is faster only sometimes and not widely available. None of my old complaints were addressed (clipboard, subscribed calendars, etc.). Conclusion? If Apple had put a fucking GPS in the original iPhone like they should have in the first place, I would never have "upgraded." Still a nice product, however.
• Doggity. Since earliest childhood, the only way I ever ate hotdogs was plain with ketchup. Now that I've started eating Chicago Style Hotdogs, I can't imagine eating them any other way (well, maybe one other way). Damn they're addicting. Fortunately, there's a vegetarian version here in Chicago at America's Dog, which is where I had lunch (again) today...
• Chef. Isaac Hayes, who I will forever associate with the phrase "Hello there, children!" from his character "Chef" on South Park has just died. I know that Hayes had a major falling out with Trey Parker and Matt Stone (creators of the show) a while back, which resulted in the death of "Chef"... but I sure hope that they do something on South Park to remember him and the years he worked on the show. It hasn't been the same since he left...
• Davecago 3. I hate to admit it, but RW over at 1 Step Beyond gave up a much better recap of the festivities than I could ever hope to write. Suffice to say that I had a great time, and was so very happy to meet some terrific new people...
UPDATE: Tori has relented and published the recipe for her amazing, highly addictive brownies! Click and rejoice!
And also to reunite with some old friends from Davecagos past...
I swear that every time I meet up with other bloggers I feel so amazingly lucky to have people like this in my life. It's not easy spending so much time traveling far away from home, but knowing I have a blogging family no matter where I go is a blessing in life that I just can't put into words. I have received criticism from those who think that I'm an egotistical bastard for "renaming cities in my image" and "inviting people to come worship me"... but the truth is exactly the opposite. I don't do this so people can meet me... I do it so that I can meet them...
The fact that I am lucky enough that people even care enough about me to show up and say "hello" is just a bonus. If I am very lucky, I'll get to keep meeting up with fellow bloggers and blog readers for years to come.
Past and upcoming meet-ups can always be found on Blogography's Dave Events Page.
Oog... I really need to update my "Bloggers I've Met" list in my sidebar, but it's time for bed. I have a very long day ahead of me tomorrow...
Today I started yet another special diet with the hope that it will help doctors figure out what's wrong with me.
To say that I don't do well on diets is a massive understatement because I have become quite fond of eating whatever I want, whenever I want. Anything less than that is just depressing. And, of course, it's not like any of these diets ever consist of cheese pizza and chocolate pudding. That would be too easy. Instead I get the shitty diet with stuff that I eat only when forced (like now). Blargh.
This time I am forbidden from eating any refined sugars in addition to the deadly high fructose corn syrup that plagues our food supply. That right there cuts out 40% of my diet. Gluten and all wheat-type products? That's another 25%! Dairy products and eggs? Say goodbye to the remaining 35%! One of my favorite foods, Snack-Pack Pudding Spoonibbles (which comes with cookies you can use to eat the pudding with!), consists entirely of sugar, gluten, and dairy. The new trifecta of evil...
So what can I eat?
For a minute I was a little excited because I thought I could still have French fries and potato chips, but I'm not supposed to eat cooked vegetables either (apparently steamed is okay). With that in mind, I've made up a list of crap that I'm allowed (given that I don't eat meat)...
If I get creative, I can create things like "rice with soy cheese on steamed corn mash" or "natural peanut butter on rice cakes with apple slices" or even go crazy and have "lettuce salad with pear, raisins and Vinaigrette." But that's a lot of work, so I pretty much subsist on baby carrots, almonds, apples, pineapple slices, and juice.
And that's just wrong.
Humans were never meant to live this way.
Without cheese pizza and chocolate pudding, we are not men, but animals!
Animals who try to make French fries out of steamed potatoes and fail miserably!
I would so totally kill for a piece of toast with butter and strawberry jam right now...
Turns out that when all you can eat is crappy stuff like carrots and rice cakes, you don't really have much of an appetite.
I spent much of the day forcing myself to eat tiny meals at 2 hour intervals so I stay full, but most of the time I just wasn't interested. Pineapple slices, almonds and apple juice for breakfast. Rice cake and raisins for after-breakfast snack. An apple and Pineapple-Orange juice for before-lunch snack. A salad with grape tomatoes, tofu, and Vinaigrette plus a rice cake and water for lunch. Carrots and almonds as an after-lunch snack. A banana as a before-dinner snack. Rice cakes with Spanish rice and tomatoes on top plus mango-pineapple juice for dinner.
And I never wanted to eat any of it, because none of it sounded remotely tempting (though it all tasted okay).
But that's alright. Because tomorrow I have to drive to Spokane and I will cheat on my restrictive diet. I will cheat because Spokane is home to the best pizza on earth, and I would rather die than visit there and not eat some of it. But I will only have one slice, and I won't drink a soda with it, so hopefully it won't mess things up too much.
Nobody tell my doctor.
A lot of people made note of what I'm eating and were concerned about two things... protein and my bowels.
The protein isn't too big of a deal. This diet is only a two-week trial, and I'm eating almonds and tofu to make sure I don't collapse.
And my bowels are fine, thank you for asking.
Apparently many people commented that eating all those fruit and vegetables would cause "intestinal distress," yet I've experienced no such problems. But the week is young. This is not to say I won't be giving a presentation or something when all of a sudden my bowels act up...
Then I guess my ass is just supposed to explode all over the place...
As fun as that all sounds, I think my bowels will be happy to keep it all contained.
At least I hope so.
Wouldn't it be horrible to be driving in the middle of nowhere (i.e. Eastern Washington State) and have your ass explode?
As I was browsing through CNN's website to read coverage of the Democratic National Convention, I ran across an article saying that "100 Things To Do Before You Die" co-author Dave Freeman has died. Sadly, he only made it through half of his list.
As someone who has endeavored to see as much of this earth as I can before I die, this news hit me pretty hard. I have, of course, read his book and was inspired by it. Even if I didn't always agree with Freeman's choices, "100 Things To Do Before You Die" opened up a whole world of fascinating possibilities and sparked my imagination. After finishing the book, I decided to make my OWN list and see how many I could check off.
But I just couldn't do it.
I was always afraid that I'd perish before I could finish my list. Not wanting to die unfulfilled, I needed to do things a little different. So I decided to make a list of "Things To Do Before I Die"... but only add things to it after I had done them. This way, no matter when I die, I'll have finished my list. Brilliant! I'm up to 72 so far.
✔ Click here to read The List.
And here I am in Spokane so I can work in the morning. Thanks to road construction it took an extra half-hour, dragging out the already boring three-hour drive. Given this heinous new restrictive diet I'm on, Spokane is a dangerous place to be. This city is home to the best pizza on earth and I knew that I would cheat and have a slice once I got here...
Turns out I needed that pizza.
As soon as I got into the city I found out that I have to be in Portland at 7:00am Friday morning for another job.
Unfortunately this means don't have time to go home, and will be flying directly out of Spokane tomorrow night. Then I fly back to Spokane on Saturday morning so I can then drive three hours to get back home (at last).
Good thing I always pack an extra set of clothes for emergencies!
I need more forbidden pizza.
After massive quantities of Benadryl last night and massive quantities of Cetirizine this morning, my welts finally subsided. Cramping went on for a while longer, but I'm all better now. I've decided to stop eating all peanut products and see if that fixes things. I'm not convinced a peanut allergy is the real problem, because I remember plenty of times I've eaten peanuts and nothing happened. But I've got to try something because I'm quickly growing afraid to eat anything.
Except chocolate pudding.
Chocolate pudding would never hurt me.
It's my favorite thing to eat. I think it always has been, as photo evidence will support...
Perhaps it's time for a puddiet... eating nothing except chocolate pudding.
Because pudding has milk in it and milk does a body good!
Living in the rural area I do is torture when it comes to dining out. There's nothing but burgers, pizzas, and burritos as far as the eye can see. We have very few ethnic restaurants (and they're rarely authentic). This is probably because most of the locals here haven't been exposed to great ethnic cuisine, and couldn't care less about it. I, on the other hand, have traveled quite a lot and know exactly what I'm missing. There are times I go insane because I'm craving some kind of food that's not available to me unless I drive three-and-a-half hours to Seattle.
Take Indian food, for example.
I love good Indian cuisine, mostly because it's an excitingly exotic option with plenty of choices for we vegetarians. Eggplant bharta with peas served over rice with a side of naan (Indian flatbread) is one of my most favorite dishes ever, and yet it simply doesn't exist here.
We finally got a decent Thai restaurant last year (Mai Lee Thai in East Wenatchee), a passable Sushi Bar with veggie options (Wasabi Sushi Bar also in East Wenatchee), and have a surprisingly good Vietnamese place that's been around a while (Cuc Tran Cafe in Wenatchee). We also have a fantastic South American restaurant, which is one of my absolute favorites (South in Leavenworth).
And that's about it.
French? No. Tapas? No. Moroccan? No. Tex-Mex? No. Greek/Mediterranean? No. Tibetan? No. Cajun? No. Creole? No. Mongolian? Kind of. Italian? Yes, but I have yet to find any Italian food here that I actually enjoy (I once ordered Fettucini Alfredo and got a plate of watery noodles with bacon on top). As for a vegetarian restaurant? BWAH HA HA HAAA HA!!
So when I say that I ended up having a bowl of Cocoa Puffs and a tub of chocolate pudding for dinner at 9:00pm because nothing else sounded good... now you know why.
There's only so much pizza and burritos you can eat.
Cocoa Puffs and chocolate pudding, however, are forever.