Monday, April 29, 2013

I went on a trip but I'm too distracted to properly blog about it

I was going to write about how I went to Moab and had a great vacation, but I'm too engrossed in watching "Going Postal" on Netflix.
So here are some pictures of a horrible souvenir I found in a store called "Colorado Souvenirs" for $5.99. I don't know why it exists. I know only that it is ridiculous.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="323"] It is named Poopy.[/caption]

We camped in Moab. Lovely weather. One coldish day (in the 50s) and no very hot weather.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="323"] Great view. Mostly.[/caption]

Did a lot of hiking around Arches and Canyonlands.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="430"] People are trying to enjoy the scenery and *this* keeps happening. Terrible.[/caption]

There were even some flowers. They were lovely.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="430"] Lovely.[/caption]

There were some really useful signs in Arches.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="323"] I don't think he's dehydrated.[/caption]

I also did a lot of mountain biking, including Klondike Bluffs, which has dinosaur tracks. Actual dinosaur tracks!

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="430"] There were better tracks but the were literally along the path and I didn't want to get run over by bicyclists.[/caption]

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="430"] That's not a dinosaur, Poopy.[/caption]

Trails we rode:

Dino Flow
Baby Steps
Klondike Bluffs

Sovereign Trail and Salt Wash Trail

Moab Brand Trails:
Lazy EZ
Bar M
Circle O
North 40

Circle O was particularly interesting. It was like a much easier baby version of the Slickrock trail, but without as many possibilities of death. It was really fun, though it was still pretty tricky. Slickrock is really fun to bike on. You can make it up amazingly steep bits if you get your balance right and you have enough power. For the first half of the trail, we were totally alone. Later, we ran into a number of small children biking the trail (they were with adults, don't worry). Moab has some badass little kids. I fell, but luckily not in view of children. Wrenched my back a little, but I'm fine now. It helps to visit people who also happen to be physical therapists. They are great.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="323"] He's not breakin' the law.[/caption]

Anyway, I spent a few days in Moab, did some epic stuff. Spent a few days in Fort Collins. Recovered from my fall. Did some mellow biking on their awesome trails. It was great. Came home to yelling cats. They are whiny. But luckily, they are also sleepy, and they snore a lot. When I'm surrounded by snoring cats, I'm home.

When I get home from a trip, I put everything away and do laundry right away. I have to do this stuff. If I put it off, I put more things off, and it snowballs. I am a procrastinator. I might not be procrastinating right now, but it's always around that one thing that I don't do right away. That pot and pan I don't wash immediately after using. I would compare it to the old "There's no such thing as a cured alcoholic," but that seems incredibly disrespectful to alcoholics. I just have tendencies. I try to be aware of them.

Today, I mowed the surprisingly robust (and typically dandelion-filled) lawn and walked to the grocery store.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="430"] This is not my lawn.[/caption]

I didn't check the cupboards before I went, so instead of making lentil stuff, as I had intended, I made curry. It wasn't even going to be curry, it was going to be stir fry. But then I remembered that I had some coconut milk and curry powder. (the recipe would go: make stir fry. add coconut milk and curry powder. Simmer.)

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="323"] Delicious.[/caption]

Glad to be back.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

RPGs: We May Be Doing It Wrong

I play an RPG called "The One Ring" with a couple of friends on Sunday evenings (on the rare occasions when everyone can make it. So...once every month, maybe.), and it's a lot of fun. Other RPGs I've played over the years include but are not limited to, in reverse-chronological order, the Tomb of Horrors D&D module (which, as I look back on it, we *basically* "won," or at least, didn't lose, by running away from things), a rousing game of Mouse Guard (in which I forced a 15 minute discussion about what distances *really* meant - miles? or mouse miles? because human miles would be proportionally ENORMOUS compared to mouse miles! how fast can mice travel? etc etc etc. I am so fun!) and some AD&D stuff. Always very enjoyable.

Currently, I'm playing with a group where no one is any good at fighting. We should be okay at it, but our rolls are just the worst, and we've started handling this by running away. Often. During one fight, Ivar's strategy was to sign us an inspiring song, and then lasso a monster and kick it in the river. Now he's attempting to build an Athelas empire, a la "Breaking Bad." Lif (that's meeee!) is fixated on some severed thumbs we found AGES ago, because clearly they are important! Right? No. Everyone in Laketown thinks I'm creepy. And I've had limited success in trying to stab opponents in battle, even though I *should* be okay at things. I'm not. Terrible rolls. Avina isn't being generally ridiculous (though one battle strategy involved sending her dog to harass attackers), unless fluid dynamics are described in a manner that isn't consistent with real-world fluid dynamics, and this has actually been fantastic. "The lake water is still and mostly clear, but there is turbidity at the bottom." OH NO THERE ISN'T! (because the turbidity wouldn't be right at the know what? Just trust me on this. Apparently, Carol is also someone for whom you should not run a module that includes any sort of sewer system. Because you're going to learn about how things do and do not actually work! I find this hilarious and educational.) The last major "fight" we had ended when we rushed our antagonist and pushed him down some stairs. I'm not kidding. The stairs were into a tomb, and in the tomb there was an angry mummy, so it was appropriately game-y, but we did not comport ourselves in a dignified battle manner.

This last session, we ended up using the power of local government to stymie some evil dude's attempt to get Smaug's teeth out of the lake at Laketown. Dragon teeth are never used for anything pleasant, and while we did float some ideas about getting the teeth first, or trying to destroy them, in the end, we suggested that it would be bad for the town's morale to disturb the bones of the dragon that burned it to the ground in its previous incarnation. We told, basically. We Parks and Rec'd that stuff.

We might be doing it wrong, but we totally lived to have another (fight-averse) adventure. And it's super, super fun.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Things to do on a Thursday in KC

Did you know that the Screenland in the Crossroads has an arcade? Did you know that they call it a bar/arcade, and not a "barcade"? Why wouldn't you embrace barcade? Did you know that it costs $5 to play as MANY arcade games as you want?

They have the Journey game.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="430"] Why does this exist?[/caption]

It is ridiculous, both in that it exists at all, and in its level of difficulty.

They had Tapper, and their website said they had Root Beer Tapper, but Root Beer Tapper wasn't...ahem...on TAP tonight. HAHAHA! Haa...Tapper is really fun, without being fiendishly difficult in the way that so many '80s video games are. Gauntlet has incredibly sarcastic narration! It was hilarious.

Other things: I am incredibly bad at Paperboy, BurgerTime is very difficult, Q-bert is also very difficult, Mortal Kombat II sounds like a Three Stooges movie if you can't remember what the actual moves are, and looks like it, too. Baraka and Shang Tsung in an epic slap fight to the anticlimactic "finish him." <slap> Ridiculous. Old arcade games are very hard! And very fun.

Four hours later, $5 poorer, many popcorns heavier, best Thursday night ever.

EDITED TO ADD: As of AGES ago, there 1. is no Screenland in the Crossroads, and the arcade in its $5 unlimited play incarnation is GONE. AND THIS IS SO SAD. I miss it every day.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Juicing: I Should Probably Keep Doing This

You may remember that I was *very* excited about juicing a couple of months ago, and I was making juice every day, and it was awesome, and I was keeping a ridiculously detailed spreadsheet, etc. Well, I got sick because that is how my body handles the transitions between seasons, and I stopped making juice for a couple of weeks. Then I got better, went to SXSWi, got a sinus infection, and ended up not making juice for a little over a month! (I know this because of the spreadsheet.) I did go to Jamba juice a couple of times while in Austin, but that hardly counts (it did reawaken my love of smoothies. Can't wait for summer!). Why didn't I make juice while sick? Laziness, habit, kept forgetting to buy kale, all these reasons and probably more. Actually, no. I think that's it.

When I was making and drinking juice almost every day, I noticed that my junk food cravings waned, and eventually almost disappeared. I'd have a soda once a week (at the Spectrum Live planning meeting), but I didn't really miss daily sodas, candies, or other traditionally awesome snack-type things. A couple of weeks ago, after not having had juice in several weeks, I started buying Kit Kats (when I say "buying" I mean "buying and immediately eating" and when I say "Kit Kats" I mean "like half a dozen Kit Kats") and drinking soda regularly and baking cakes (initially mistyped as "cats." I would never bake cats). It was very noticeable, and very weird. Today, I got a bag of post-Easter robin's egg candies (the ones that are basically malt balls) and ate half of it. Also I got a 2-liter of Dr. Pepper and drank several cups. These are facts. Another fact: My stomach hurts.

What I am trying to say is that, normally, I have a ridiculous sweet tooth (my ability to eat candy is legendary and terrifying) and absolutely no desire to curb it. What I noticed when I was drinking juice regularly, was that I just wasn't interested in the snacks that I would usually gravitate toward.

I've heard other people talk about not wanting the kinds of junk foods that they liked before they started making juice, and while I believed them, I was surprised that it was the same for me. I was also surprised by how *quickly* this shift occurred. So there's that.

This isn't to say that juice is a magical, life-changing thing. Juice can have a lot of sugar in it! I'm fine with that! I just think that I'm probably, personally, better off drinking juice than I am, say, eating 2 pounds of Twizzlers, which I WOULD have done over Easter weekend, but lately, every time I go to get Twizzlers, the regular strawberry ones are sold out and all they have are the pull-and-peels, which are disgusting, or the weird tropical flavors. Or Red Vines. Red Vines are *fine* but they're not *inspiring.* Not like strawberry Twizzlers. Other things, while I'm bragging about candies I have eaten: I used to pour Skittles into juice glasses and just eat them until my jaw hurt so much I couldn't eat any more. I also used to live on Raisinets, Mountain Dew Code Red, Twizzlers, McDonalds food and V8. The V8 was for health. Obviously. Also I'm not kidding. Shockingly, I do not have diabetes. Yet.

Back to things that aren't focused on my amazing ability to consume sugar, which I am weirdly proud of, and other people are openly horrified by:
Previously, I would make one particular juice recipe (mean green, outlined on this blog and many other places on the web), and if I didn't have those ingredients, I'd go to the store so that I could get them, and while that's an awesome and economical juice (about $3 per batch, which is just under a liter of juice), I decided that today was the day I was going to get back into juicing, and expand my juicing horizons.

Today's juice recipe:
2 large gala apples
7 carrots
1 lemon
a bunch of spinach (I stuff handfuls of lettuce into a container and then I use one or two containers per batch, depending on whether or not I have other dark leafy greens to use)
4 stalks celery

Yield: just under 1 liter of juice.
Taste: delicious.

I just have to remember to keep a couple of key elements in the house (haven't decided which those are yet - maybe apples. Apples are always nice to have around, since they make good snacks, and are a good delivery system for peanut butter. Apples, lemons because they last forever, carrots, dark green leafy vegetables. There! Solved it!) and I have to stay in the habit of making juice. Because it is awesome.