Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I've been tagged! (and other randomness)

I just had to give a shout out to a couple of fellow bloggers, ladies I met online while we were planning our weddings at the same time. Lynsey at The Foster Following gave me the cute award that's hanging out somewhere over there ---> for being a good blog friend. However, I'm being bad and not tagging anyone at the moment, simply because I'm indecisive and read way too many fun blogs to narrow it down. (Plus, I've been meaning to organize and add some more to the list of blogs I follow, and I don't want to leave anyone out!) So I apologize for breaking the chain, but I just had to pause and say thanks to Lynsey. As other fellow recipients have said, it's still hard to believe there are real people out there who read my "gibberish"!

I've also been tagged by Megan at So, Now What? (and now Katie at Tote's Life!) to open the 6th picture folder on my computer, open the 6th photo, and blog it. Here's the 6th picture in that folder, which is a bunch of pics of our townhouse:

Not the most interesting picture...just the area between our living room and dining room. But it's potentially the cleanest our dining room table has ever been! I'm breaking the rules again and not tagging anybody for this, but if you read this and feel like taking part, go for it! Pictures are fun and I'd love to see yours.

A couple of random thoughts to end:

-Is it just me or does Ryan Seacrest's pause between "This..." and " American Idol!" get longer every show?

-I wrote a one-word note in my planner last night with something to blog about, and today I can't read it. I doubt it was important.

-Maybe I'm overly paranoid, but do you ever get the feeling that a particular person doesn't like you, even though, to your knowledge, you've given them no reason not to like you? And if so, do you wonder why you care since you're obviously not friends with this person? Ah well.

-I chuckled tonight when Shaun went to get some chicken leftovers out of the fridge for dinner and I had to remind him that it was Ash Wednesday...and he's the Catholic one in the relationship. I guess I was conditioned during my 4 years at ND! We instead took these wonderful, meatless, carb-fest leftovers out of the freezer - pierogi lasagna.

Okay, back to watching some Idol. Shaun has called Nick Mitchell/Norman Gentle as the winner already...he's from the town next to us, so if he ends up in the top 3, we're going to his parade. Ha.

Friday, February 20, 2009

End of an Era

Most people know by now that Conan O'Brien is taking over for Jay Leno at the Tonight Show in June. It seemed like a long way off when NBC announced it back in 2004, but the year is now here, and tonight is Conan's last Late Night show. Based on some of the comments I've seen on articles about Conan this week, it seems you either love him or hate him. I fully admit my sense of humor can be silly and childish (Shaun always says how easy it is to make me laugh), but I love pretty much everything Conan does. I started watching Late Night in college because that was the only time in my life where I was guaranteed to be awake for the whole show - and I got hooked. When I moved on to the real world, I knew that I shouldn't be staying up that late if I had to get up at 6 or 7 the next morning for work, but all too often I did (as did Shaun...we're night's a problem) . We've seen so many hilarious moments: Triumph the Insult Comic Dog making fun of Star Wars fanatics, Conan going to Finland and visiting their (female) president that he looks like, the Walker Texas Ranger lever, Barack Obama suggesting Conan as his running mate back in 2006 before he was even officially running... I'll stop for your sake.

We're especially sentimental about the end of Late Night with Conan because we had an awesome experience going to a taping of the show back in June. We were on our honeymoon for Shaun's actual birthday, and I wanted to do something separate and special to celebrate when we got back - so I surprised him with Conan tickets for the following week. We took the train into NYC, made our way to 30 Rock, and got a decent enough spot in line that we had seats in the third row on the aisle! And when Conan came out to chat and warm up the crowd before the taping started, by some luck he ended up picking Shaun to go down and say hi to the drummer (James Wormworth, who was filling in for Max Weinberg at the time), and Shaun got some souvenir drumsticks. On his way back from the stage, Conan stopped him and wanted to compare height - he joked, "You're taller than I am, and I'm 6'9" with the hair." (Not really, lol - Shaun is about 6'8".) Our faces hurt from laughing before the show even started. The rest of it was a blast too - Mike Myers was the first guest, and he ran up and down the aisle before and after the interview, so we both reached to high-five him as he sprinted by. The whole experience was just so much fun!

So, we're a little sad to see Conan leaving Late Night and New York - although it'd be nice to visit California eventually, so maybe we can plan a Tonight Show taping. It's probably a good thing for us that he'll be on an hour earlier starting in June! He might have to change up his quirky style a bit, but he's just so naturally funny that it's hard to imagine someone watching him and not laughing. That's just my biased opinion though! It's going to be weird without Conan for a few months...but on those nights when we're up too late, I suppose we'll give Jimmy Fallon a shot. If you're a night owl too, what are your favorite late night shows? (Or if you're not a night owl, how dumb do you think we are depriving ourselves of sleep?!)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

First, let me start off by apologizing to anyone who may have watched Important Things at my suggestion. It wasn't horrible, but definitely wasn't as good as I had hoped...just kinda weird. I'll probably keep watching for awhile to see if the show finds a groove, because I know how funny he can be.

I was busy in the kitchen this week - I sent a belated birthday gift to my dad consisting of Homemade Samoas Bars, which I found on Baking Bites and knew I had to make since my dad loves coconut...and "Spreads", which I saw on Pioneer Woman and thought would make a nice, easy addition to the package. Obviously the bars were a little more time consuming than the spreads, but they were both incredibly tasty. Then I had a night of baking and a night of frosting sugar cookies. Once a month we have a Friday game night with Shaun's family and it gives me a great excuse to make a full batch of treats. Plus he had a work potluck on the 13th, so I doubled the recipe to make plenty for everyone. They were a success - the tray came back empty both times! Maybe not the most professional-looking cookies in the world, but they tasted good.

The recipe, funnily enough, came from a Minnie Mouse Valentine book we had when we were kids. I think in the story she was baking cookies for Mickey, and at the end they had this recipe. We tried it and it became the household favorite (and I apparently have the original plastic cookie cutter that came with it, as shown by my few undecorated "Be My Valentine" cookies).

Sugar Cookies

1 cup butter
2/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt

Cream the butter and sugar. Then beat in the egg and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine the flour and salt, then mix with the butter/egg/sugar mixture. Chill the dough for 3 hours. Preheat oven to 350.
On a flour-covered surface, roll out the dough to 1/8 inch thickness and cut into shapes with cookie cutters. Bake cookies on a greased cookie sheet for about 8 minutes.

The number of cookies obviously depends on the size of the cookie cutters you use, but if they're all average size, I would estimate 3-4 dozen. In my opinion, they taste the best with a thin layer of buttercream.

For the frosting, I started with 1/4 cup butter and gradually dumped in powdered sugar - I would estimate around 2 cups - enough that when that's all mixed it's still crumbly and powdery. Then I just added milk about a tablespoon at a time until it was at a consistency I liked, and mixed in 1 tsp vanilla (and of course food coloring as desired).

So, back to Valentine's Day - Shaun and I aren't big on the holiday, but we got each other cards and ended up going out to breakfast since we had to get up early to drop his car off for maintenance. We're not usually morning people on weekends, but it was kind of a nice break from routine. We're just having a low-key day, watching a couple movies - even having leftovers for dinner. For dessert we're at least going to attempt our first fondue, a recipe I saw on Shauna's blog. And of course, we'll be watching SNL hosted by Alec Baldwin...that's sure to have some amusing moments! Enjoy the evening, however you do (or don't) celebrate!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Important Things with Demetri Martin

This is not good. I have another TV show to add to my schedule, starting tonight - Important Things (10:30 EST on Comedy Central...I swear I'm not getting paid to push TV shows...I just have no life apparently). I first saw Demetri Martin doing a stand-up appearance on one of the late night talk shows a few years ago, and after seeing his Comedy Central special I bought his CD/DVD set called These Are Jokes. It's definitely become one of my favorites. He's got some of the observational and surreal humor of Mitch Hedberg (whom we lost way, way too soon), the bizarreness of Jack Handey, and occasionally music and even drawing added in for a unique touch. There are a lot of Demetri's jokes to which I cannot do justice without his delivery, but here are a few favorites to give you a taste of what his comedy is like:

"I think it would be cool if you were writing a ransom note in Microsoft Word, and the paper clip popped up and said, 'It looks like you’re writing a ransom note… need some help? You should use stronger language, you can get more money.'"

"I think graffiti is the most passionate literature there is. It's always like, "Bush sucks." "U2 Rules." I wanna make indifferent graffiti: "Toy Story 2 was OK." "I like Gina as a friend, but I'm not sure about taking things further." "'This is a bridge.""

"I saw a sign that said “Watch for children” and I thought, "That sounds like a fair trade, especially if they’re crappy kids.""

So who knows - maybe it's not your thing, and maybe the show won't be as good as the stand-up, but I figure it's at least worth a try. I just like to look for things that will hopefully make me laugh...ya need something to help you forget about the real world for awhile, right?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

My least favorite month is over!

Perhaps the worst of winter is through? Oh, I should know better than to say that. But we're making progress. Anyway, here are just a few random thoughts and updates from the last few days...

-I did a fair amount of cooking and baking over the weekend with the Super Bowl and another small gathering of friends, but my favorite thing by far was these cookie dough brownies, topped with the chocolate ganache recommended by Bakerella. If you're a chocolate fan...oh boy. They're good.

-I was kind of underwhelmed with Super Bowl commercials this year, and I also didn't enjoy the 3D stuff as much as I anticipated. Shaun and I only wore our glasses for a few minutes during Chuck, though we still really enjoyed the episode. I got a bit too into it though, because last night I had a dream that someone was mad that I had taken his job (completely not true in real life), and he was trying to set off a bomb in the office. I was investigating boxes and when I identified one with a bomb, I tossed it into my boss's fridge (exactly what they did on Monday's Chuck). When the angry ex-employee showed up at the office, my father-in-law pushed him down the stairs. It was pretty freaky - I spent my waking moments this morning trying to confirm in my fuzzy brain that my address is not posted anywhere online and convince myself that someone was not about to break down our door to come shoot me.

-I'm watching American Idol this season, as I have been regularly since season 4, and I just have to say THANK GOODNESS bikini girl is gone. I didn't think I needed to post a spoiler warning for that because we all knew it was coming. I was telling Shaun tonight that it's not because I'm jealous of her being a beautiful girl on TV - it's just that she's obviously a total b&%$#, and I love Kara even more for coming out and saying that as the girl walked out. I found it quite amusing that she was calling all the other girls in her group fake. But she's happy; she got all her camera time and will likely now get some more undeserved attention. Oh well...I have intentionally not used her real name and will not mention her again.

I guess that's enough for tonight. At least tomorrow's Thursday - the weekend is almost here, and The Office and 30 Rock are on! I swear I do more than watch TV...