Date Archives June 2010

“Well, I hope you’re hungry, because heeeeeeere’s dinner!” “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!”

Last night I made strawberry jam and a strawberry-rhubarb pie. The jam-making went just fine, though with strawberry mixture AND water boiling for a good long while, my apartment felt like a Roman bathhouse. I hadn’t quite realized how hot it had gotten in my place–when I opened my freezer, cold air billowed out visibly, which is normal-ish for a freezer. Not so much so for a refrigerator, which also puffed out clouds of cold air.

Mmmm, great big widemouth jars of Washington strawberry jam.

By the time I finally got the dough and the filling ready for the pie, it was approaching 11pm. I don’t know if it was a failing of the recipe or a failing of my own at that point, but I remember thinking that it seemed like too much filling had been made, and not quite enough crust. The liquid in the filling crept out over the edges, which made me a little concerned, so I used a baster to remove some of the juice. I covered the edges in foil and popped it into the oven. Thirty minutes later, tendrils of smoke started curling out of the oven.

Uh oh.

Maybe a little filling dripped down and it was burning off.

The smoke started becoming heavier and more insistent.

Shit shit shit.

Why oh why doesn’t my oven have a peep window so I can see what’s going on inside? Oh right, because it was manufactured in the seventies when that icky almond color and faux wood paneling were sooooo chic and window ovens were a dream of the distant future, like sex robots and video games where you could actually tell what the sprites were supposed to be.

Still hovering on the edge of panic, I walked over to the oven and cracked the door to see if perhaps I’d managed to conjure up Satan, and found something MUCH more horrible. The filling had ERUPTED out of this pie. Filling everywhere, rapidly growing in volume like The Blob, wrapping itself around the heating elements and smoking like a prisoner in front of a firing squad. I had two choices…potentially underbake the pie or burn down my apartment.

Hmmm.

Underbake the pie.

Burn down the apartment.

They both had their unique appeal.

Eventually I decided that burning down the apartment could have some consequences I wasn’t fully cognizent of at the moment, given the amount of smoke I’d already inhaled, and pulled out the pie.

The foil around the edges did a marvelous job…of pulling off the outer crust.

Shit shit shit.

It might be edible (I haven’t tried it yet), but it sure isn’t going to win any pie beauty contests; the swimsuit round will kill it.

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Either way, I know what I’m doing tonight.

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First day I’ve ever been early to work. Except daylight savings–lousy farmers!

On Sunday, Tobie and I went strawberry-picking at Remlinger Farms in Carnation. Madamecacoon had posted about going picking earlier in the week and how amazingly delicious and worthwhile her excusion was, and I’ll be damned if I wasn’t going to get in on some wonderful strawberries at a dollar a pound.

At first we were a little disappointed; the area seemed picked-over and not worth the trip, but we found a row that had been virtually untouched, and we went to town.

I picked seven-odd pounds of strawberries and ended up with a lot of schmutz on my hands; Tobie remarked that if space aliens were watching us, they would think we were an unbearably cruel species, given that we were plucking the genitals off of another species. Which I suppose means my hands were full of junk-juice.

These strawberries are amazing. They’re tiny and odd-shaped, but unlike the enormous, gorgeous berries sold in the supermarket, these are wonderfully juicy and flavorful. Tonight, I’ll be making strawberry jam and at least one pie.

Pfft. I thought this was a steakhouse, not some girly, frilly, underpantsy, tea-party kind of place.

On Saturday, Tristan, Tobie and I went for lunch at Ipanema, specifically, rodizio. I’m feeling lazy, so let me blatantly copy-paste what I wrote about it last time:

What is rodizio, you ask? Only the greatest invention in the history of time, where handsome men bring a variety of twenty-two different meats skewered on swords tableside, cutting you slice after slice until you absolutely cannot eat another bite and then you eat one anyway because it’s all so delicious. THAT is rodizio. A veritable orgy of meats, excess to the point of feeling foolish for having also gotten veggies, because while the balanced diet can include the occasional eating contest, you don’t win friends with salad.

 

They brought us sword after sword of meat–pepper steak, parmesan pork, spicy sausages, The Most Tender Chicken On Earth, garlic steak, tri tip, sirloin, bacon-wrapped steak…I can’t even remember it all. Tristan asked if we’d ever eaten so much we’d gone temporarily blind, and it seemed like if it was ever going to happen, that would be the day. Our organs were all crammed full of meat, even ones outside of the digestive tract. Our lungs were full of meat. Our sinuses were packed with meat. My uterus was storing a pound of pepper steak. And still the handsome waiters kept circling. All I could think was, “What’s happening to me? There’s still food, but I don’t want to eat it. I’ve become everything I’ve ever hated!” Even attempting to summon up the competitive spirit of Eater X could not convince me to eat even one more bite, aside from the fried banana. And the remainder of the veggies on my plate. But that was it, I swear.

We had intended to have rodizio the week prior, but who would have thought that the Brazilian restaurant in which one can watch the world cup would be completely full on a day in which Brazil played in the world cup? Not me. Whooooops.

You know how in movies including submarines, there is almost always a scene in which the pressure gauge moves up into the red zone while klaxons sound, indicating DANGER DANGER DANGER while a man in a uniform runs about frantically because there’s very little he can do about the situation? On Saturday, there was a tiny uniformed man running about in my digestive tract ineffectually while my stomach blared ah-WOOGA! ah-WOOGA! ah-WOOGA! and yet the gauchos kept circling with more meat. One inquired as to whether we’d like pork, and Tobie countered by asking if the server liked pork. The server replied, “No. I am a Jew.” which probably should not have made us laugh, but we did, if only because he’s doing the devil’s work–serving unclean animals on the Sabbath, even!

4736542064_9a33e94343 DANGER DANGER DANGER DANGER DANGER…ok, just one more piece.

After lunch, I was too full to even think about doing anything strenuous, so we watched a bad movie and took the dog for a walk in the beautiful afternoon sunshine. Evening snuck up on me faster than I would have believed possible. One of my coworkers was having a housewarming party that day, and he let me know that I was on a very limited coworker guest list–he invited all of the people whose company I enjoy and left off all the people who drive me insane with rage. It was a nice gesture to let me know he thinks well of me as a coworker, and I wanted to at least drop in for a short while to reciprocate. As soon as I walked in the door, they tried to hand me a plate with a burger and a hotdog on it, and just looking at the food made the tiny uniformed man send out all the warning signals again, at which time I poked myself in the stomach and gave him a severe talking-to about real danger versus imaginary danger. I didn’t intend to stay very long, but then people started swapping stories–being locked in a Federale prison, getting into/getting out of/breaking up fights, shirts being ripped off at ruckus Hell’s Angels parties–my coworkers are vastly more interesting than I’d ever given them credit for being!

Best Worst Movies

On Friday, a group of us went to see Best Worst Movie at the Central Cinema, which may well become my new favorite theater because their upcoming events list looks amazing AND they serve beer. Coming soon: the Michael Jackson sing-along, Choose Your Own Adventure VHS, and a showing of The Room (the Citizen Kane of bad movies) WITH Tommy Wiseau in attendance.

I may well decide it’s worth my $60 if I can get Tommy Wiseau to record my new voicemail message: “YOU’RE TEARING ME APART, MELISSA!” The desire to have this little bit of amazing for my very own, forever, must be weighed against the realities of giving Tommy Wiseau sixty dollars, well-knowing that he could use that money to make another movie. It’s a toss-up at this point.

Just a little bit of my desire has been sated with this, a talking Tommy Wiseau bobblehead. He speaks several phrases, including “I did naaaaaat!”, “Oh hi, Denny!”, “You know what they say: Love is blind.”, “I’m fed up with this world!”, and, again, my personal favorite, “YOU’RE TEARING ME APART, LISA!”.

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Best Worst Movie was a very enjoyable documentary, not only focusing on the surprising second life of Troll 2 as a cult classic, but revisiting each of the actors (many of whom have not acted in anything else since), and the director, who cannot believe that anyone dares to call his artful masterpiece a bad movie. One of the actors, extremely likeable George Hardy, has given up acting to become a dentist, though he talked wistfully about how he wishes he could have done more, acting-wise. One of the actors has receded into madness. One of the actors was mad prior to and during filming, which explains a lot about his scenes in the movie. Another hit a genuinely sad note when he talked about how he’d frittered away his life, “but that’s what a life is for, right? Frittering away.” Even the majority of our group, who hadn’t seen Troll 2, found it entertaining and worth watching. They weren’t able to stay virgins for much longer, however, as immediately after the documentary, we were given a bonus showing of Troll 2, so no one was able to sleep peacefully that night.

During the movie, Brendan leaned over and asked a passing waitress if he could have another beer. I asked if I could have another as well, and she replied “Are you from Wisconsin?” I was confused. What had I said that was a regionalism? “Kenosha, Wisconsin?” she continued. “I’m Sonja S____.” “HOLY SHIT.” It was a girl with whom I went to high school! Halfway across the country! And she recognized my face/voice at a whisper in a dark theater! What are the odds?

Mikey, he likes it!

On the only truly sunny, gorgeous day we’ve had this year, a group of attractive people met at Family Fun Center in Tukwila for Mike’s Pretty Pretty Princess Birthday Party.

Family Fun Center translates directly into “Could be a lot more fun with less screaming children and slow-moving families but they are cash cows so it’s never gonna happen unless you are loaded enough to rent out the entire building, suckas!”

…We were not loaded enough to rent the entire building. The building itself is very high-ceilinged, the better to reverberate the sorts of shouts and squeals and screams that children are prone to making, particularly little girls and the eardrum-damaging shriek they make when they are overstimulated. I swear that when we approached Family Fun Center, I could watch the building thrum from the noise inside. Hence, we did not spend all that much time inside.

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We started off with minigolf. Minigolf, if you are unaware, is a game about putting mastery, taking the ball to the hole, not rimming the hole, but putting it in. It’s also about innuendo, smacking friends with golf clubs, whacking other people’s ball out of the way if at all possible, and riding said golf clubs like ponies through the brush. It also features some “obsticles”.

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Some of those “obsticles” included ramps into old-timey prospector cabins, an employee who kept wandering through the middle of our game, and a hole filled with mysterious slimy water.

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After we finished our game, we bravely ventured inside to play some laser tag. The majority of our group ended up on one team. The other team was comprised of eight year old girls, who were seriously not cut out for the business of war. One of them dropped her gun and ran shrieking; guns are attached to the vest, so it skittered behind her, which only served to make her shriek and run faster as it knocked into the backs of her legs while her vest informed her she was being killed over and over again.

Laser tag was fun, though I wish that we would have had a little more time to play–it didn’t seem that we got a whole lot of time for what we paid. I also think it could be even more fun ramped up a notch for adults. Perhaps not as painfully extreme as taser tag, but what if every time you died, you took what felt like a punch to the gut? What if you had to take a shot every time you hit the recharge station? These are ideas that I feel need to be revisited with a business license and some money behind them.

After laser tag, I discovered that the skeeball machine would not accept my prepaid family fun center card and would require me to pump more money into the place which I was not about to do, so I made my way out to the batting cages.

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We (read: not me because I am uncoordinated and would certainly hit myself in the face with a bat) knocked the hell out of some balls, and then it was time for go-karts. Also known as Exxtreeeeeme Danger Karts.

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To my great shame, I skidded around corners so poorly that Chris was able to pass me; I am clearly not cut out for the world of Exxtreeeeeme Danger Driving.

After go-karts, we’d all had enough and gorged ourselves at Famous Dave’s BBQ. I badgered the waitress to bring Pretty Pretty Princess Mike some dessert, but much to my chagrin, they don’t sing or dance or make a public fuss over him like I’d hoped.

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Happy Birthday, Sir Dorks A Lot!

Tea for two, for me and you

The Sunday after beach week, I went to Elizabeth and Alexander’s English Tea Room in Bothell to celebrate Julie’s birthday. Our room was decked out with a fox hunt motif, complete with a framed photograph of famed hunter Winston Churchill cradling a tommygun, because foxes don’t deserve a fair chance.

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It may well be that the English gorge themselves at tea time, or it could be that Americans have taken the idea of tea and a snack and expanded it to fit our all-encompassing appetites. The lack of fried butter makes it difficult to know for certain. All I know is that each table was presented with a veritable Everest of food stacked upon three plates, and it was our solemn duty to eat our way to the top and proclaim ourselves tearoom champions.

I’m not kidding. We had scones and crumpets and strawberry jam and whipped cream and lemon curd and lemon tea cakes and lemon tartlets and shortbreads and chocolate raspberry rum torte and fresh fruit and tea sandwiches: cream cheese and cucumber, chicken salad, smoked salmon. And because that wasn’t enough, Val also had cupcakes delivered by Cupcake Royale.

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I had planned on doing something after tea, but ended up sugar crashing so hard that I napped the afternoon away.

Beach House Day Five: I do not roister with an oyster. I like my bed dry. An oyster, moister.

In the limited time I had on Wednesday before I had to drive home, we decided to take a trip to Oysterville to see what there was to see.

And when you’re in Intercourse, you take home…? Hobo Station? Slaughterville? Hooker Hole? New Erection? Gaylordsville?

Don’t leave me hanging, sign!

Oysterville clearly fancies itself the Honolulu of Washington, and the resemblance is striking once you analyze the data. Honolulu, the capital of Hawaii, has attracted nearly 380,000 residents. Oysterville is an unincorporated community in Washington, and though there is no population information online, I can tell you that the one street that comprises Oysterville contains precisely twelve houses. Amazing similarities, no?

A tourist trap is not a tourist trap without a general store, and while there, I learned some fascinating things about oysters, from a fascinating book called Oysters A-Z. There was a book next to it called Oysterville A-Z, so clearly someone has cornered that market.

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Surprisingly enough, nothing caught my fancy enough to want to make it mine, and I wandered outside to watch something much more interesting: someone had gotten his truck caught out in the beds, and even pushing it from behind and attempting to tow it out with another truck couldn’t do the job.

Eventually, the Gorton’s fisherman (most famous for his role in ‘I know what you did last summer’) wandered out with a piece of rope so ratty he likely got it from his last trip to Atlantis, they hooked his truck in, chariot style, and with two trucks pulling plus half the town pushing from behind, they were able to free the truck.

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Now that the problem had reached a conclusion and the most excitement the town had seen since the great oyster molester of ’23 had passed, we decided it was time to move along ourselves.

Thus endeth Beach Week 2010.

Beach House Day Four: BLUURGH

I wasted the majority of this day feeling awful; the average of three hours’ sleep a night had caught up to me. So instead of boring you with all of that, here is a photo of an alligator attack.

Beach House Day Three: Wrap Up

To finish off a day of educational sight-seeing, we promptly wiped out any and all brain cells that learned anything with a healthy amount of booze, which then led to another all-out marshmallow war. This time, we got much more vicious, splitting into teams, fighting over the bags of ammo (squeezing them so tightly they were rendered useless). In one such attempt to gain control over the bag, I made a valiant effort to give Evan a wedgie while he crammed handfuls of marshmallows between my toes, and thus I am now familiar with one of, if not the most, unpleasant sensations involving marshmallows and the human body. As I flung my too-short legs up onto the counter to wash my feet off in the kitchen sink, Emily exclaimed “Melissa! You have marshmallow on your pants! Take them off.” “But…can I at least get other pants first?”

Where did this sudden sense of shame come from?