30 November 2007
I still really think it's a great thing to do, but this recent Get Fuzzy strip is making me wonder...
By the way, when I first started reading Get Fuzzy, I wasn't crazy about it. It is now the only strip I read daily.
29 November 2007
28 November 2007
I have to say, though, that blogging every single day is hard. What ought I to talk about? Which is why today is kind of a lazy post.
Tomorrow I will have a guest post on One Smart Cookie's blog. She has made her posts for NaBloPoMo themed- each post is about an embarrassing moment. Some time recently she asked for guest posts, and I volunteered. My very embarrassing moment will be posted there tomorrow. I'll try to send you a reminder when that occurs. Also, you should read her blog anyway because she is amusing.
Also, I nearly cried when I read this. Really, Google, how did you know how much I've been longing for this? Oh, how I've missed my multi-person chats with the old roommates. Now we can distract each other at work all in the same chat box. Google, I love you. (Ben, thanks for showing that to me).
And finally, I read about a dumb email going around equating wealth with college GPAs on Greg Cruey's blog. He has a very logical response. Might I just add that I grew up watching my mother and father work multiple jobs. If anybody deserves to be wealthy, it is them. Alas, it was not to be. But whatever you do, don't assume that people are poor because they do not work hard. That is a load of garbage.
27 November 2007
It is a game that causes much contention. Eric always wants to play it. I usually don't want to play it.
The basic idea is a game of warring states. Each player has four leaders, each leader represents one type of service- religion, markets, farms and government. You play tiles to build onto your kingdoms and strengthen your leaders. For each tile you lay in the kingdom where you have the leader of the corresponding color, you get a cube of that color. If you add a red tile in the kingdom where you have a red leader, you get a red cube. Likewise, if you add a green tile in a kingdom where somebody else has a green leader, then that player gets a green cube. In the end, your total point value is the number of your lowest color. So, if you have 14 black, 12 red, 10 blue, and only 3 green, your score is 3.
The fighting comes when you merge kingdoms and kick off your opponents leaders in order to strengthen yourself and gain points in a specific color. Usually kingdoms are intertwined with leaders, so if you merge two kingdoms, it involves all the players, not just you and one other.
The game is 2-4 players. Usually takes 1-2 hours. Can cause many fights. Scores can be very close, but there can also be huge discrepancies. There is a fair amount of luck in the tiles you get, but there is a lot of strategy involved- knowing where to put your leaders, when to pick fights, etc.
There are also monuments and treasures. I'm not going into those, though.
26 November 2007
Rowing the boat was hard. Very, very hard. I think I rowed all of about 20 feet. Michelle probably won't like that I put up the picture of her, but since she doesn't read my blog, I'm not too concerned. And, to justify myself, I've included the picture of me below. Everyone got a lot of laughs out of that photo. I think Matt especially did since he was behind me and couldn't see my face the whole time.
Michelle got this great picture of the seaplane landing. Eric was especially fascinated by them because they combine two of his favorite things- boats and planes. If only there were tanks and guns involved.
As you can tell, our trip included excellent views of the Seattle skyline. We really enjoyed it and would recommend it to anybody seeking a good time in Seattle.
23 November 2007
Then we rode on a ferry across the Puget Sound to Bainbridge Island where we spent time wandering around ridiculous stores where clothes and things cost too much money. The Sound was beautiful, and it was especially cool to ride back toward Seattle with the city lights aglow.
22 November 2007
For the record, I always dislike it when my birthday is the day before Thanksgiving because I always have to spend my birthday preparing for Thanksgiving. Fortunately, it only happens every few years. The last time, just so you know, was 2001.
And now I shall enjoy being in Seattle.
21 November 2007
What then does the apostrophe replace in "ya'll"? NOTHING. Because that is the incorrect spelling of the word. The correct way to spell it is "y'all," where the apostrophe serves the purpose of replacing the "ou."
Please get this correct.
Now, if you want to use what is, in my opinion, the BEST word in the English language because it has TWO apostrophes, you may do so. That word is "y'all's." I will use it in a sentence: Let's go over to y'all's house to eat ice cream.
Spell checker will tell you that "y'all's" is not a word. Do not listen to spell checker. It's a liar. As long as you put the apostrophes in the right places, it is a perfectly acceptable word.
And please don't ever spell "y'all" the wrong way again. Or else. Fierce Rhetoric.
20 November 2007
For the next couple of weeks I frequently tried to convince myself and others that I wasn't uptight. "Am I uptight?" I would ask. "Mrs. Edwards says I'm uptight, but I'm not. I'm just not." They, of course, would get a little squirmish trying to decide how to tell me that, well, um...yes...I was uptight. In fact, I clearly remember most all of them dodging the question a little bit, avoiding having to tell me directly that I was rather uptight. One friend did finally tell me, and after a little while I began to see why people thought I was uptight. But I still tried to convince myself that I just wasn't.
Some time in college I realized Mrs. Edwards was right. She still is. I'm very uptight. But I don't mind anymore. Being uptight gets things done for me. I alternate between two extremes: uptight but getting things done and sheer laziness. I've been under the sheer laziness category lately (since I graduated), and I need to start getting more things accomplished! Maybe now that I'm out of school I can do that without being quite so high-strung.
19 November 2007
This is a FUN FUN game! We were hooked immediately and promptly "borrowed" the game from Eric's dad for about a month. Then we got our friends Janssen and Bart hooked on the game. Then they borrowed it from us and got more people hooked. Eventually we bought our own game, and so did Janssen and Bart.
The game is 2-5 players and takes about an hour. Sometimes Eric and I play where we each are two colors and have two main missions. We could sometimes play those games in about 40 minutes. The more familiar you are with the board, the faster you get at playing the game.
One difficulty is that all the cities are written in their native language- Roma, Vien, Lisboa, Kyiv, etc. I find that I have a general idea of the geography of many European cities, but I sometimes don't know what countries they belong to. I can't believe I'm admitting that to the whole Internet. But there you have it. Where are Sochi and Zagrab anyway?
18 November 2007
Each person starts with five dice in his/her cup. Everyone rolls, but keeps his dice hidden so each person can only see his dice. Then, one person begins the bidding. The object is to guess how many of a certain number are there in the whole table. So, if you are playing a game with 6 players (30 dice) on average, there would be 5 of each number on the table (five ones, five twos, five threes, etc). The bids are passed in a circle until somebody challenges the bids. If player A says there are six fives on the table, then the next player can "call" it. Everyone reveals their dice and says how many fives they rolled. If there were at least six fives, the challenger must give up one die. If there were less than six fives, the person who placed the bid loses a die.
There is a fair amount of skill involved in this game, and a lot of luck. If you get four or five of a kind, you have a pretty good chance of skewing that number high. If you're good at bluffing, you can make other players believe you have numbers you don't have, which causes them to count on you when they make their bids.
This is a fun game that is great for large crowds. It can be played quite quickly, all depending on how many players you have. I've played with up to 13 people before. Bidding can get tricky because there are specific rules about it (you must raise the bid every time). A very, very fun, quick game!
Addendum: Bidding Rules
Each player must raise the bid on his turn or "call" the previous player. You may raise the bid by increasing the quantity of dice or by raising the number on the dice. Here is an example of a bidding round.
- 4 threes
- 4 fours (this person must say AT LEAST 4 of something. If he sticks with the quantity of 4, he must raise the number on the dice. He raised the number from three to four. He could not have said 4 twos).
- 4 sixes
- 5 twos
- 6 twos (this person really wanted to keep the number two. The only way to do that was to increase the quantity).
- 6 threes
- 6 fives
- 7 ones (this person did not feel comfortable with 6 sixes, but felt good about 7 ones)
- I call you. Everyone counts the number of ones to see how many ones there are at the table. If there are at least seven ones, the person who called loses one die. If there are fewer than seven, the person who claimed that there were at least seven loses one.
17 November 2007
This is a great game for anybody.
16 November 2007
The object of the game is to acquire the majority and/or minority holdings in various companies that are built up with the tiles that are placed on the board. The board consists of tiles that each go in a specific place (1A-12I). When two tiles are placed next to each other, a company is formed. Each person holds six tiles, so you can decide which tiles to lay, and which to hold back (in order to prevent companies from merging if you won't benefit from such a merge, etc). When two companies are joined together, the smaller one is merged into the larger. When a company has at least 11 tiles, it can no longer be merged (but it can still have companies merged into it). Companies are constantly getting merged into others, and when that happens, the people with the most and second most shares of stock in that company gets paid. You have to continually have companies that sell out so you can keep buying more stocks in other companies. In the end, the companies that are left get sold. The larger the company, the more your stock is worth.
It's really a very simple game. You have to keep track of who else is invested in the companies you are invested in so that you can maintain your position as Majority or Minority holder. Otherwise, you might spend all your money buying excessive shares in a company that nobody else is trying for, when you should have been buying stocks in other companies.
The game can accommodate five players, and usually lasts about an hour. It is really easy to learn and can be a lot of fun. With seven companies on the board, and a full game of five players, it becomes really challenging keeping track of who owns how many of which company, and even if you know, it doesn't meant that you have enough money to do anything about it.
15 November 2007
And so I've decided to blog about the games we play- what they are, the basic ideas of the game, and why I like and dislike each one.
Today, the topic is Settlers of Catan. I was first introduced to this game during my freshman year at college. I immediately fell in love with it because of the strategy involved, the changing nature of the board, and the clear and definite end to the game.
In Settlers, there are hexagonal pieces that fit together to make a board. The pieces represent goods including ore, bricks, wood, sheep and wheat. Somewhere in the board is a desert hex, and the board is surrounded by an ocean with ports. In order to earn goods, you must be built on a hex when the number on that hex is rolled. As you acquire goods, you can purchase development cards and build more settlements and cities, thus allowing you to acquire even more goods. Also, the robber comes when a 7 is rolled. The first player to 10 points wins. I know that was a lousy explanation, but I'm not trying to teach you to play. I'm just giving you the gist of the game.
When I was first introduced to this game, it took me a long time to win. In fact, I was so obsessed with winning that people could call me at just about any time, and I would agree to play with them. Folks would be in the Morris Center looking for somebody to play, and somebody would say, "Call Sherry. She'll always play." They were right; I would. Once I finally won, I no longer would drop everything to play. It took me a while to get there, though.
I like this game because it is generally pretty easy to track people's points. You rarely have a surprise ending where somebody comes out of the blue and blows everyone out of the water. At the same time, games are often close as people wait for just the right number to be rolled at just the right time.
I also love that the board is different each time. Sometimes everyone has more sheep than they can handle and is begging for ore. Other times everybody wishes they could get rid of their wood to get some brick. Sometimes you build on the desert just so you can have two goods with good numbers. It's always, always, always just a little bit different than every game you've played.
And there's a lot of strategy involved. You want to be built on a wide variety of goods (hopefully all of them), but you also want to have good numbers as well as a wide variety of numbers. There have been games where I was built on every single number. That means I get at least one good every time somebody rolls. Sweet deal for me. If you're only built on 5, 6, 8, and 9, you have a high likelihood of getting those numbers rolled, but it's not necessarily as good as having a wide variety of numbers. There is also strategy in where you build, what ports you use, when you play your development cards and where you upgrade your settlements to cities.
If you enjoy strategy games and have not yet played this one, I highly recommend it.
14 November 2007
And I thought to myself, "HA! I'm going to go home and read whatever I want! I don't have to study!"
Will this ever get old?
I think not.
13 November 2007
We already had cards with points. But, wow! What lousy point systems. Like, spend $1,000,000 and we will give you a dirty sock.
I'd much rather have a round trip flight paid for.
12 November 2007
There were couple of games she really enjoyed. I believe they were bridge and tennis. Then she taught the games to my grandpa, and he consistently beat her. My grandma no longer enjoyed playing those games.
I shan't elaborate, but I will say that I despise losing over and over and over again.
11 November 2007
Carrot Soup ( 10 minutes prep, 50 minutes cook)
½ cup split lentils
5 cups vegetable or chicken broth
2 cups peeled and sliced carrots
2 onions, chopped
1 14-oz can chopped tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 fresh green chili, seeded and chopped
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 cup milk
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
Place lentils in a large saucepan with 3 ½ cups of the vegetable broth, carrots, onions, tomatoes and garlic. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a small pan. Add the cumin, coriander, chili and turmeric and fry gently for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice and salt to taste. When the soup is finished simmering, puree it in small batches in a food processer. Return it to the saucepan. Add the spice mixture and the rest of the vegetable broth. Simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the chopped cilantro and reheat gently. Serve hot, with a swirl of yogurt.
You don't really need to sautee the chili with the seasonings. Just stir them in. I actually use dried, red chilies that Matt and Michelle gave me. Last night I put in three, crushed. And then I stirred. Yet somehow I got a spoonful of hotness when I took a sample. My lips burned. Literally. The skin between my lips and my nose was on fire for about 2 hours. And when I kissed Eric, he recoiled from hotness and said I burned his lips. I wish I were joking. In the end, though, it was the right amount of spicy.
Also, lentils? They are amazing. One quarter of a cup gets you 60% of your daily fiber and THIRTEEN grams of protein. THIRTEEN, people! And, boy are they cheap. Two cups cost me $.59. That means for 7 cents you can have thirteen grams of fiber. They're not super tasty by themselves, but they are perfect in this soup because they are all blended in.
Let me know if you try it and like it.
10 November 2007
Earlier this week we had tortilla soup. It's my mom's recipe, and it's a family favorite. I don't know if I make it quite like my mom. It never seems quite the same, but I like it nonetheless. And I've never served it to anybody that didn't love it and think I was amazing. Here's the recipe. Sorry for the lack of accurate measurements. It's not really written down anywhere.
- Chicken (I usually use boneless, skinless because it is easier to work with, but if you find bone-in chicken on sale, you can use that too.)
- Chicken bullion cubes or powdered bullion
- 2 white onions, chopped finely
- Garlic- 1 clove, minced
- Jalapenos, chopped (2 or 3, depending on your preference of spicyness)
- Cilantro- one bunch, chopped
- Green onions- one bunch, chopped
- 4-5 tomatoes, chopped
- Corn tortillas
Easy. Cheap. And sooooo tasty. Let me know if you try it and love it. Don't let me know if you don't love it. I will disown you.
Also, there is usually powdered bullion (not cubed) in the Mexican section of the store. It's called "sabor de pollo," I think. It's generally cheaper than the American stuff, and it's just the same.
Mom, if I got any of this wrong, this is the perfect time to comment on my blog since I know you read it. :)
09 November 2007
I grew up wanting to donate blood. Needles don't bother me, and frankly I find it preposterous when people say they are terrified of getting shots. Of course nobody likes them, but really. It's a needle. Spend a few weeks with IVs in your veins, and I am sure you will get over it.
The first time I donated blood, I had absolutely no problems. I probably had a little bruise after; I always do. But, I worked a full shift at the grocery store with no problems. From there on out, I donated very frequently at our local blood donation clinic. I tried to donate as often as possible (every 56 days), but usually my busy schedule wouldn't allow that. Sometimes the clinic would call me and ask me to come in since my blood type is O-negative, which makes me a universal donor.
Every now and then I might have a negative reaction. Sometimes I would be just plumb exhausted after donating. Once I passed out. Smacked down on the hard floor without even a bend in the knees. Very embarrassing. Ask my brother, Steve, if you want more info. He certainly hasn't forgotten.
Yesterday I donated blood, and I did just fine, although I was feeling more tired than usual today. Frankly, though, it was worth it. Knowing that I can help sick people is very gratifying to me. I know that a lot of people just can't donate. Many bodies can't handle the loss of a pint of blood. I watched a girl yesterday who had a really hard time. Poor thing. I don't have a hard time, though, and I like knowing that I can save up to three lives with every whole-blood donation.
I hadn't donated in about three years. I had signed up a few times, but I always had some sort of complication when it came time to donate, and thus the lapse of time. It felt great to donate yesterday (in my heart, not my arm). I have to say I get that warm fuzzy feeling more from donating blood than any other type of service. When you donate blood, the blood can go to a variety of different patients- from emergency cases that require blood transfusions to cancer patients who need some healthy platelets to premie babies. You can read about some here.
If you can donate blood, you ought to. It's just a little bit of pain, and the knowledge that you are helping sick people is totally worth it.
07 November 2007
Sometimes to entertain him I play the shoot 'em up game with him. Eric plays too. I used to get really frustrated because I didn't know how to use the controller, I'd get lost in the arena, and the boys kept killing me. I've gotten a lot better, though, and now I think it's fun.
Of course, the boys use pistols and I use an automatic machine gun. Only a slight advantage.
06 November 2007
Andrew had never seen any version, and he was reluctant to watch it with us, but we made him. He thought it was excellent. I was pleased with him. What a cute little brother he is!
I, however, have seen another movie version. Also I have read a super, extra, really condensed version of the book. I have the same complaint I always have.
Marius is lame. What's the deal with this I've-seen-Cosette-and-now-I-will-die-if-I-can't-have-her? PUH-LEASE. It just doesn't work that way. I've always been bothered by how infatuated those two are with each other when neither really knows the other one. It's very bothersome to me. And that's why I think Marius is lame.
But everything else is great. Maybe one day I will read the book and I will understand Marius. Trust me, one day I will read the book.
05 November 2007
Lately I've been getting a lot of real mail. I ordered four books from Amazon.com: Team of Rivals, Truman, Rebecca, and Wikinomics. It was exciting when each one of them arrived.
Today I got THREE envelopes. I opened the first, and it contained my birth certificate. My immediate thought was, "Who got this? How did they get it? How did they know to send it here?" Then I remembered, and I opened the next package which contained my PASSPORT!!!!! It wasn't supposed to arrive until the first week of December. The last package was kind of boring- just an introductory package from the Association of Professional Genealogists, of which I am a new member. (And work paid for it! Wee!)
If you don't get good mail very often, might I recommend three options to help you get mail more often: become related to my dad; order books (or other things) from on-line providers; apply for your passport.
04 November 2007
Hopefully the extra hour of sleep I got last night will help me get back on normal sleeping schedule because I woke up at 8:45 this morning! Usually on Sundays I wake up at 11 or so. Hooray! I should be tired enough tonight to be able to fall asleep at a reasonable hour!
Also, Eric's mom made it into the Mormon Tabernacle Choir! We are so excited for her.
For those of you who do not know, the process is extraordinarily trying. First you send in a tape. Hundreds of people send in tapes. Then you wait and wait and wait. If they liked your tape, they invite you to take a written/listening test.
The test lasts about three hours long. They play a series of notes and then play the notes again and ask you to identify the difference. The tough thing is that the notes don't really form a melody, just a series of random notes. Not something you would walk away whistling. They also play intervals and ask you to identify them (major 3rd, minor 7th, perfect 4th, etc.). There are also non-listening theory questions as well. Pretty much everybody leaves the test feeling like utter failures.
But, if you pass the test, they send you another letter inviting you to come in for an interview and audition in front of the two conductors, Craig Jessop and Mac Wilberg. And then you wait some more.
Just to give you a time-frame, Kathleen sent in her tape some time in the summer. (I wish I could remember when). I do remember that in the first week of September she was fearing the worst when she still hadn't heard back from them. Around the middle of September, she received her letter inviting her to take the test. She took the test two weeks later on a Tuesday night. That Saturday she received her next advancement letter. She sang for Craig and Mac about two weeks ago, and received her letter today.
This really is a dream come true for her, and we are excited to look for her while we watch Conference and the choir broadcasts!
03 November 2007
For these reasons, I insist that Christmas music not be played until after Thanksgiving. I would hate ever getting tired of Christmas music, and let's face it, I would do just that if I started listening to it now.
Those of you who love if for two or three months of the year can keep doing so. But I'll make you change the radio station if I'm in the car with you.
02 November 2007
Eric thought it was something he would enjoy, and so he got the first season from Netflix. (Oh, how we love and adore Netflix). Honestly, we weren't impressed. Hooked, but not impressed.
Last Friday we were watching the third disc (each disc holds 4 episodes which are 40 minutes long without commercials), and when we finished we didn't have anything to do, so we decided to watch the fourth disc, the only problem being that we didn't yet have the fourth disc. After all, we only get one at a time from Netflix. We went to the video store and got the fourth and fifth discs.
Throughout the week we watched disc four and disc five. We borrowed the sixth from Eric's friend. When we asked him for it, he offered the second season, but we didn't want to see it. After all, we really didn't LOVE the show.
We watched the last five episodes, and now we are hooked. We have to see the second season. We just have to. Bah. Here goes another 16 hours.
A major complaint about the show- NONE of the female characters are likeable. Most are downright unlikeable. Those that are not unlikeable are also, unfortunately, not likeable. I hope this is remedied in season two.
Also, those of you who insisted we watch the series- I demand some sort of payment for stealing my life.
And because I love pictures- here's one of Jack, whom I only sort of like. I much prefer George Mason, to be honest.
01 November 2007
Sounds ordinary, but in fact, it was not. The caramel apples were amazing. James and Jenny decided to mimic them after apples available at The Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory.
We dipped all the apples in caramel. Some of the apples were dipped in white chocolate, others in milk chocolate. From there, some were dipped in crushed Oreos, others in a cinnamon/sugar mix.
My favorite was caramel, milk chocolate and Oreos.
I can never eat a plain caramel apple ever again.