Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan

19 04 2010

[This is my first review for my “Once Upon A Time” challenge.  Look at me doing stuff.]

I absolutely love the Harry Potter series.  I’ve read and re-read all of the books over and over and over again.  I went to the midnight madness book release parties.  I even took time off of work so I could stay up all night to read, and after I finished, I’d fall asleep for a couple of hours, wake up and read it again.  Hard freaking core.  So, keep that in mind when I call the Percy Jackson and the Olympians Harry Potter-lite, because it is totally a compliment.

From the website, because it’s a much better synopsis than I can do:

Percy Jackson is a good kid, but he can’t seem to focus on his schoolwork or control his temper.  And lately, being away at boarding school is only getting worse — Percy could have sworn his pre-algebra teacher turned into a monster and tried to kill him.  When Percy’s mom finds out, she knows it’s time that he knew the truth about where he came from, and that he go to the one place he’ll be safe. She sends Percy to Camp Half-Blood, a summer camp for demigods (on Long Island), where he learns that the father he never knew is Poseidon, God of the Sea.  Soon, a mystery unfolds and together with his friends — one a satyr and the other the demigod daughter of Athena — Percy sets out on a quest across the United States to reach the gates of the Underworld (located in a recording studio in Hollywood) and prevent a catastrophic war between the gods.

So, the similarities are pretty obvious between Percy and Harry but the stories are different enough to make these worth reading.  Rick Riordan wrote these in first person from Percy’s point of view, which creates a different feel to the story, and he does a great job of making Percy’s voice believable.  Also, Percy and his friends are not only unsupervised for most of the books, almost all of the adults (well, gods) are actively working against them – even those on their side.  These books are filled with much more action and the stories go by so fast, I couldn’t believe it when it was over.  Again – not a bad thing!  After finishing the first book in 2 days, I immediately requested the other 4 from the library and squealed with delight when they all came in at once so I could immerse myself in them for a week.  Each one is great, with an individual quest that ties into the series as a whole.  I had a wonderful time in Percy’s world and think everyone should stop by for a great escape.


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Beer, Beer, Beer Biddily-Beer, Beer, Beer

16 04 2010

Last weekend, during my Days of Getting Shit Done, I mentioned I had some hang-time with The Greek. During said time, we wandered down to my favorite convenience store EVER. It’s this dinky little store right next to a laundromat that has THE MOST AMAZING BEER AND WINE SELECTION EVER. Seriously. The whole place isn’t bigger than my goddamn living room, but it’s SO RAD. They have a constantly rotating selection, based on season and availability. Every time I go in, I take forever to decide what I want, because I love to try new beers. So long as it isn’t an IPA or a stout/porter. I don’t like them too light or too dark, what can I say? Anyway, I’m glad The Greek was with me because we were quick to make a decision. We made it solely based on how fucking adorable the packaging was:

Seriously, how fucking cute is this?

So, it’s called Hanami and it’s by Smutty Nose. It’s made with cherries! It is super yummy, with a hint of tartness in the aftertaste. It also has a pretty high alcohol content, which is awesome. I think I liked it more than The Greek, but I have a tendency to prefer my beers and champagnes a little on the sweeter side. This would make an excellent dessert beer (is too a thing) or a great one for porch sitting on a hot day. I totally recommend it! Now, if only I could decide what I want for next time…

Yummy AND adorable. Sign me up for two, please and thank you.





Procrastination Wins Again

14 04 2010

WORD UP

So, I’m getting ready to go down to New Orleans to see my uncle get married.  Of course, I’ve left everything until the last possible minute because that’s what sensible responsible people do.  I wanted to do a post about the Percy Jackson books, but I’ve run out of time, so that’ll go up when I get back.   But!  The reason for this is to let everyone know (or remind everyone) that it is NATIONAL LIBRARY WEEK!  As if that wasn’t rad enough, the honorary chair this year is none other than one of the coolest MFers on this planet, Neil Gaiman.  You can go here to listen to his NPR interview about how much he loves libraries if you want to get your nerd on.  And then you can go to his website and watch some of his readings.  And then you can go to the library (see what I did there?) and check out his audiobooks, or his book-books, or his graphic novels, or a movie based on his book, or his children’s books, or his poetry.  Or you can go to the library and look for something else – I’m not the boss of you.





Lo Has a Productive Weekend! (Co-starring Banana Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies)

11 04 2010

Banana bread! IN A COOKIE!!!

YOU GUYS. SERIOUSLY. I WIN AT THIS WEEKEND. Check it out: Friday night I got a good night’s sleep so I could wake up on Saturday, do some Jillian Michaels (level 3, ya’ll), tend to my squirrel-ravaged seedlings, go to the DMV (where my child was not a methamphetamine-riled hellion!), go grocery shopping, find SOMETHING to do with my old, black bananas (they were seriously black. And kind of shriveled. And the sugars may possibly have fermented.), and hang out with the Greek. Check on ALL COUNTS. Then today? TODAY??? I cleaned. For FIVE HOURS. I cleaned my fucking baseboards. BASE. BOARDS. And I finally cleaned off the desk in our guest room so I could have a spot for my laptop and printer! And I feel very accomplished, and those 4 tacos I ate for dinner don’t count for anything because I was SO PRODUCTIVE!!

Anyway, the point of this post was not to make you feel bad about yourself (I swear), but rather talk about these delightful little nuggets of yum I stumbled upon using ye olde Google. I’m SO TIRED of making banana bread (I’ve mentioned this before on this site). I love banana bread. If you offered me some right now, I’d eat the hell out of it. And talk about how fucking good it was. Because I LOVE banana bread. But I also get sick of it. Look, I love my kid too, but I don’t want his batshit crazy ass around me all the goddamn time. Life is about variety people. Deal with it. So, back to these cookies. I went cruisin’ the old internet for some recipes involving bananas. Then I got the wild hair to include oats in my search. Then I decided to just go balls-out and say, “HEY INTERNET! Fetch me your finest recipe using banana and oats and make them COOKIES!” And the internet obliged, giving me this. I’m going to post it down below, though, because I made a few changes to it. These cookies are like little banana bread pieces, but not quite. I kind of love them, and they’re so easy to make and to consume, I think these will be my new banana bread until I get sick of them and find a new way to use decomposing bananas.

Banana Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies (adapted from Allrecipes.com)

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup butter, room temp.
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups AP flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. cloves (or less – the more you add, the more it’ll take away from the banana flavor, which as you know, makes me MAD)
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (I used mini. It was a good decision.)
  1. Preheat oven to 375. Line some baking sheets with parchment paper (I used 4 sheets).
  2. Cream together butter and sugar in an electric mixer til smooth. Add in eggs and vanilla, mixing thoroughly.
  3. Sift together the flour, baking soda, cloves, cinnamons, and salt. Slowly mix into the wet ingredients.
  4. Stir in the oats, then then the chocolate chips.
  5. Plop by the spoonful (I used a regular ol’ teaspoon) on to baking sheets, keeping in mind that these guys spread pretty good. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Let them sit on the baking sheet for a minute or so, then transfer to wire rack.
  6. Shove into mouth and be glad that I exposed you to this recipe.




The Many Deaths of the Firefly Brothers by Thomas Mullen

9 04 2010

And I'm a big fan of the cover, too.

Sometimes I read a really great book, one that I really enjoy and have already started recommending to friends and family, but when I go to write a review I get completely blocked.  Usually I just end up letting that book slide into oblivion, hoping that at some later date I’ll be able to express how freaking awesome it was.  Then I start to feel sort of guilty about that – I mean, I should just get over myself and give you a good book recommendation.  So, go read The Many Deaths of the Firefly Brothers.  Or listen to it, I’m sure it’d be a good audiobook.  Quick synopsis – bank robbing brothers in the early 1930s wake up in a morgue riddled with bullet holes and at a loss to how they ended up dead or why they came back.  Most of the story is told in flashbacks as each of the brothers contemplate their lives and try to figure out their deaths.  The book is essentially a family drama filled with love and jealousy and pride and guilt and miscommunication.  It is against this backdrop that Mullen relates the history of the era – the politics of Prohibition and the Great Depression, the strange glamour of bank robbers, the creation and rise of the FBI – weaving everything into a book that goes beyond any one genre.  It is a mystery, a drama, a comedy, a romance, a period piece, a serious book that doesn’t feel serious – and it is simply fantastic.





A Picture Update!

4 04 2010

Remember when I made cinnamon rolls awhile ago? And my computer died and I couldn’t figure out how to upload photos on to ye olde laptop? Well, those days are loooooooooong gone! So here are a couple of photos of the cinnamon rolls I made. I need to make them again soon…[drools]

Nomnomnom...

Ooey, gooey goodness!!





Springtime for El and Lo! Or, Lo Makes Lemon Lime Bars for El’s B-Day.

4 04 2010

I really suck at food photography. Oh well.

I had grand plans this past weekend. For some reason, our company has Good Friday off, so I thought I’d be slick and take off (good?) Thursday to make a delightful 4-day weekend. I’d clean and organize on Thursday and part of Friday morning, then my friend would come over and we’d day-drink mimosas and grill some burgers. Did I also mention that my parents were taking Big Easy for a few days? HALE YAY-ASSS! Then on Thursday morning I woke up and felt like death. Full disclosure: I fucking hate the doctor. FUCKING. HATE. I never go except for my annual lady-business check up. If I’m sick, I just wait it out til I’m either half-dead or fully recovered. Or, at least, I did this for years until last year when I waited 3 days to go and it turned out I had strep. 2 days of antibiotics and I felt SO MUCH BETTER. So this time, I wasn’t fucking around. Woke up, felt horrible (a little strep-y, as a matter of fact), dragged my ass into the urgent care clinic (no, I don’t have a GP – GET OFF MY BACK), they told me I was negatory on both strep and mono (MONO!) and sent me home with antibiotics. Next day? I woke up feeling decidedly less deathy. I was still pissed because I wasn’t caught up to my mental cleaning list, but I still got to drink mimosas with my friend, albeit at night. But it was still nice out!

Aaaaaaaaaaaanyway, El’s birthday is verra soon and I wanted to make something for her since I’d be up in her area on Saturday to retrieve my son. I had my heart set on that Lemon Sugared Snack cake I made that one time but as it turns out, the only trip I managed to make to Kroger (because of my debilitating illness) was to purchase orange juice and champagne (side rant: apparently, Andre champagne’s prices have been HIJACKED lately. I’m talking $6.58 for a bottle! On SALE! That’s ridiculous!! It used to be less than $5 on sale! Times they are a-changin’…) and I was totally out of sugar (I KNOW!). So when it came down to making a delightful springtime birthday treat for El, my options were limited. I turned to Google for help and found this Martha Stewart recipe for lemon bars. LEMON BARS! And it uses sweetened condensed milk, of which I have many cans in my cabinet for no apparent reason! Huzzah!

Martha says that approximately 3 lemons will equal 3/4 cup of lemon juice. Maybe I just have incredibly weak hands, but I needed more than 3 lemons to make that much juice. This led to a minor freak out because I only had 3 lemons. But! I also had 3 limes! So I decided to make some slight changes to Martha’s well-reviewed recipe and added lime juice til I got 3/4 cup of LIMON juice (remember those old Sprite commercials?). I also added zest to the crust and to the filling. It was noted by both my father and by El herself that some coconut would be delightful too. Well, I had considered putting it in, but didn’t want to fuck around with a recipe I had never tried before. SO BACK OFF. But, you know, next time, I think I may top it off with some coconut. So have fun with this recipe, it’s suuuuuuuuuper easy and perfect for spring and perfect for people who love citrus AND for sickly people who can’t go to Kroger except to buy alcohol. The End!