So, I Met This Guy… | Meeting Alton Brown

I still plan on writing about this some on my travel/adventure blog at a later date, but I’m such a fangirl I can’t wait that long.

This past Friday, 7 October, was amazing!  Actually, there was a lot of bad stuff that happened, too, but it’ll forever be remembered as a great day.  I’m sorry, whatever else happens in my life, but I met Alton Brown!

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I may have mentioned before, but I couldn’t cook before I got married.  My mum wasn’t a bad cook or anything, but I stayed clear of the kitchen; cooking just didn’t interest me at all.  (Now baking — that’s another thing.)  Hubby’s family loved to cook, and Food Network often played on their TV.

A little funny side story: when Hubby and I first got together, I asked what his favourite TV show was.  I’ve always been obsessed with science fiction (especially Star Trek) or other script-based fiction shows, and was hoping to hear him answer with something I loved so this fangirl could let go and express herself.  His answer?  “Good Eats.”  Keeping in mind that I hadn’t had cable since I was six, my thought was, OMG, his favourite show is a cooking show?  How boring is this guy?  I didn’t even know how to respond.  After watching my first episode, though, I completely understood.

Long story short, it’s pretty much all due to Hubby and Alton Brown that I can cook now (despite most of the time still disliking to do so).

It was really great to get to meet him at the signing of his new cookbook in Kansas City, even though the moment seemed to come and go so fast after hours of waiting, and I hardly remember a word he said directly to us.  I know when we first walked up, he thanked us for coming and waiting out the line (there were at least 800 people in front of us, no exaggeration).  Hubby responded with something like, “hey, I’m doing this for her.”  Mr. Brown looked up at him and said, “good answer!”  (The only thing I remember distinctly.)  I watched him write our names in the book, hoping he’d ask about the pronunciation of my name (I had this whole humorous answer planned out), and he talked some more.  He even put his hand on my shoulder and spoke directly to me for a moment, but I don’t remember a word he said.  Then, we posed for a picture on Hubby’s phone (the guy holding his phone took pics the whole time, though), and then it was over.

Have you ever met a celebrity (at any level of fame), and it turns out they’re a bit of a jerk?  Or you’re at least disappointed by meeting them in some way?  I have, but not this time.  Even after signing books for and interacting with over 800 people, he was still lively, funny, and friendly — just as you’d expect Alton Brown to be.

A big thanks to Alton Brown, his team, and everyone at Rainy Day Books for making this happen.  I’m so thankful.  And cooking like crazy 😁.

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Perfume Tour 2016, Chicago, IL | Making Memories is Important

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Sister’s fortune cookie message before we started the journey.

It still doesn’t quite seem real.

After nine years of loving their music, admiring how cute they are, and adoring their outfits, I finally saw A-Chan, Kashiyuka, and Nocchi in person!

There were SO many people there!  I knew they’d grown in popularity in America, but I really had no idea!  There were so many people in line; so many dressed in their outfits, some even performing their choreography for others in line, and I honestly didn’t expect to see so many men in attendance, haha.

Credit: kawaiikakkoiisugoi.com

The girls were so energising, and interacted with the crowd a lot.  They were sweet and funny, even when they didn’t speak in English.  (For instance, when A-Chan wasn’t sure how to express in English just how full they were from eating so much Chicago deep dish pizza beforehand; and at one point, they recruited an interpreter from the audience.)  The best part, of course, was that the stage was only about thirty feet from us!

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“WAAAAAY back in line to see Perfume, but we’re here!”

I wish I could have taken any video or pictures during the concert, but of course, it was forbidden. I figured there would be plenty of official content released later, or that someone else would break the rules and publish it to YouTube (which they have).

Credit: aramatheydidnt.livejournal.com
Credit: aramatheydidnt.livejournal.com

There’s even a moral to be learned from the trip.  In the recent past, I’ve passed up opportunities to try new things and go new places because travelling is hard on my body.  I lived in New Mexico for almost four years, a state that has observatories almost everywhere, and I never visited one.  All the ones I found were still at least a four-hour drive away, but I knew that even being in the car that much would leave me in some sort of pain or illness; so I didn’t go.

When Perfume’s trailer was released for their American tour, I decided that memories and adventure are more important than avoiding physical inconvenience.  About a day after returning home from the trip, I got a terrible head cold.  You know what?  It was worth it.  I went on a road trip with my sister.  We shared a vegan cupcake at my favourite coffeehouse in Uptown Normal.  We stayed at an Airbnb spot in Chicago.  We were in Chicago for the first time.  We hung out with Hubby’s grandparents, and saw places in Bloomington-Normal we otherwise wouldn’t have.  And darn it, we saw Perfume live.

Credit: allkpop.com

 

The red velvet cupcake we shared the day before the concert.

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30 Day Movie Challenge 2 – Day 27

30-DMC_2

 

Day 27: A Movie From Your University Years

 

Twilight

 

Twilight-2008

 

Yeah, yeah, so I picked Twilight.  It’s not like I said I was a real fan of this saga.

Mostly, I picked it because I have fond memories with friends related to this series, whether it be the movies or the books.  I admit, my first date with Hubby was to the release party at Barnes & Noble for the book Breaking Dawn.  (I’d only heard of the series at the time, but he’d read all the books.  Even at the release party, he complained that fangirls were ruining it.  Also, he was Team Jacob.)

Our hanging out with some couple friends from university always involve Twilight the first few times.  The first time we hung out, we all watched Twilight at our house after dinner.  I think the next time it was the same with New Moon.  Finally, when Breaking Dawn Part 1 was being released, we figured we might as well go see it at the cinema together.

 

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What’s a movie from your university years?

 


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30 Day Movie Challenge 2 – Day 25

30-DMC_2

 

Day 25: A Movie From Your Childhood

 

Lost in Space

 

Credit: rogerebert.com
Credit: rogerebert.com

 

As a very boyish tween who was obsessed with the “modern” science fiction look of the late ’90s (mostly dim lighting and a lot of bare metal), thought music couldn’t get any cooler than rock and techno, and secretly watched Friends when my parents weren’t looking, it didn’t take me long at all to adore this movie.

The story was well executed, the CGI was great for the time, and I definitely loved the characters.  I wanted to be as confident as Judy, as cool as Penny, and as smart as Will.  And of course, I wanted my own personal robot.

 

What’s a movie from your childhood?

 


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30 Day Movie Challenge 2 – Day 23

30-DMC_2

 

Day 23: A Movie You Tell People You’ve Seen, But Haven’t (or Haven’t Finished)

 

Star Wars

 

 

Technically, I’ve never actually said that I’ve seen them, but I know people assume I have.  (Mostly, it’s people thinking of me when they see Star Wars stuff, when I’m a trekkie.)

But first, let me explain.

I have seen all of them, or at least most of all of them.  I just never seem to have watched any of them in their entirety or from beginning to end.  I’ll catch it in the middle and watch to the end, or I’ll start and not finish for some reason.  A couple years ago, some friends and I even decided to get together in our pyjamas and watch episodes 4-6 so we could finally say we’ve seen them, but we ended up talking the whole time.

One big thing that proves I’m not to be considered an actual Star Wars fan, is that until last month I thought AT-AT was pronounced as two words instead of four letters.  (I thought it was “at at,” when it’s “ay-tee ay-tee.”)  I wasn’t even corrected by Star Wars, but by Cake Wars.

So, I may have technically seen them, and understand a lot of the references (I’m on team “Han shot first”), but I know for certain that I’ve never seen any of them from beginning to end in one sitting.  (Except episodes 3 and 7.)

Don’t worry — I’m fixing this now.

 

Is there a movie you tell people you’ve seen, but haven’t (or haven’t finished)?

 


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30 Day Movie Challenge 2 – Day 4

30-DMC_2

 

Day 4: Favourite Disney Movie

 

Big Hero 6

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I have several favourites, but the only reason this was easy was because I was able to pair my other favourite Disney movies with other topics on this 30 Day Movie Challenge.

As usual, I like each and every character for different reasons, but honestly, I want a Baymax.  My very own Baymax.  When I’m sick, he’ll know exactly what’s wrong and how to fix it.  He’d be my cuddle buddy — like a walking, talking teddy bear.  Et cetera.

I’ve admitted it before, but I’m glad that Disney bought Marvel.  We’ll cover that in another post.

Baymax-manga-preview-ch-0

 

What’s your favourite Disney movie?

 


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#TBT – Non-Mummy’s Mother’s Day

This entry was originally posted on a blog I was writing back in early 2012.  I recently had reason to go back and look for something in that blog, and I thought I’d share this again here.  And yes, I wrote this post before I became vegan.


This was quite a busy and fun weekend.  Friday, all of us girls in the family here got our nails done together.  Saturday, I helped retrieve the Edible Arrangement for a baby shower my sister-in-law hosted.  –I’m not a huge pineapple fan, but it’s amazing covered in chocolate 😉–  I then went with my mother-in-law to help in the nursery at a church.

Sunday.  Mother’s Day.  I took my “son” to the Renaissance Festival at the Castle of Muskogee.  He’s only nine years my junior, but he’s always looked at least 5 years older than his actual age.  (He’s not biologically mine.)

Because he looks like an adult, I’ve recently been carded to be sure I was over 16, and it was just the two of us, he got a lot of “girlfriend” comments.  I threw a couple of them for a loop by correcting them with “mother.”  It was hilarious!  One guy suddenly stopped walking, and with an über confused look on his face, was like, “What?”

Another guy selling flowers motioned the basket toward him and said, “Hint! Hint!”  I pointed at Son and said, “Son!”  The man’s first reaction was, “Well, hey, it’s Mother’s Day!  You gave him life; the least he can do is give you a flower.”  Then, our appearances clicked in his head and he said something to the extent of, “Wait, how are you his mom?”  I just laughed and told the truth: that he’s way younger than he looks and I’m way older than I look.  Then, he said, “Now I definitely believe that!”

Sadly, of course, my brain didn’t come up with a comeback to the other comments until it was too late.  One was “That girl in the blue is much better looking than the one you had with you last week!”  Wish I would have thought at the time to say, “I’m flattered that you think his mother is more beautiful than his girlfriend!”

Even in the Elder Scrolls and Fable games, I always stop to listen to the bards.
Anyway, the Ren Faire is always so much fun, even though most of the time we’re just walking around and looking at overpriced items in the shops.  However, there was a small shop we finally wandered into that had items for far less coin than others.  I walked away with a mid-length cloak for $38 (instead of about $180 for a full-length), and we both got awesome-looking hoods for $12 each.  The one thing I wanted to buy for my costume (a ruffled skirt to go over my dress) was $250.  I’d only brought $160 🙁.  At least now I’m more motivated to make it myself, haha.

After walking around in the rising temperatures and bright sunlight for 5 1/2 hours, we decided it was time to head home.  Since it was the last day of frappuccino happy hour at Starbucks, and still 30 minutes left in it, we headed there so I could get my fix.  I was expecting it to be packed, and we would have to be brave among the stares in our cosplay, but there were only about four people inside.  The only one who said anything about the costumes was the lady in front of us in line and we talked about the Ren Faire for a bit.

They can’t even spell my fake name right, haha.
When ordering my drink, I gave them my character name (Amaryllis) to put on the cup.  Just one last Renaissance Festival moment to enjoy before I called it a day.  I was spent… and I so want to go back!

#TBT – Frappuccinos and Fairy Tales

This entry was originally posted on a blog I was writing back in early 2012.  I recently had reason to go back and look for something in that blog, and I thought I’d share this again here.  And yes, I wrote this post before I became vegan.


 

Last weekend, the house got emptied and cleaned.  For the first time in my life, I didn’t feel agonized to see an empty house; I felt accomplished!  I’m so glad that part’s over.

Today was the start of a new season for frappuccino happy hour at Starbucks!  I held myself back until then to try the new Mocha Cookie Crumble frappuccino.  I even (yet again) skipped tiramisu as my weekly dessert to try this seemingly amazing treat.  As usual, though, I ordered it skinny with soy, but I kept the whip since it is new as well.  Oh.  My goodness.  I’m so glad I tried it.  Not as good as tiramisu, but very good.  I could almost eat the whip by itself, haha.

As I consumed my chocolatey treat, I read A Child’s Book of Stories, which I call “my fairy tale book.”  (Even though it’s not all fairy tales.)  My mum bought it for $4 from a homeschool bookshop when I was… maybe six or seven.  She never used it, and years later was going to get rid of it; however, it somehow intrigued me so I held onto it.

I never actually started reading it until late high school.  I decided that that’s the book I wanted to read to my growing child if I ever got pregnant, so I started reading it to check it out.  “Beauty and the Beast” became my absolute favourite.  Even though it is much different from the Disney version, my love for the story was again rekindled when I saw the play at Disney World for my senior trip.

I’m not sure why I stopped reading the book; it certainly wasn’t for boredom.

The new ABC show Once Upon A Time caught my interest from the beginning.  When the episode “Skin Deep” aired (about Beauty and the Beast), I knew I was definitely hooked.  I watched that episode more than twenty times in the next week.  I then wondered where my fairy tale book had gone.  Thankfully, I found it when I was packing up the house.  I set it aside to keep with me and not go into the storage unit.

Now that I have a few weeks to relax, I’m enjoying being able to read my precious fairy tale book <3.

Holiday Traditions

I grew up never really considering my family as having any holiday traditions. I just thought everything we did was pretty normal across the board for other families, at least Christian or Italian families.  (I never really embraced my British side until I got married and lost my Italian surname.)

Later, in my teens, we did start some traditions. On Labor Day and Memorial Day, we would play some sort of calm outdoor sport. Badminton, bocce ball, croquet; that sort of stuff.

Bocce ball. Credit: thedayofgames.com
Bocce ball. Credit: thedayofgames.com

However, now that I’ve been out of my parents’ house, and married for several years, I’ve discovered that everything we did was our holiday traditions.

Christmas Eve, Dad would dress up as Santa (we always knew it was him, and he knew it) and give us one present to open, and later he would read about the birth of Jesus from the book of Luke. When I was a kid, we’d all wake up the next morning and tear into all our presents. Mum took most of the pictures. After everything was opened Dad assembled the toys that needed it, and would likely realise he forgot to buy batteries.

Starting around the time my sister was born, we’d trek to Oklahoma to share Christmas with my maternal granddad. We joined him for every Christmas, Independence Day (his favourite American holiday), and starting with his 70th, his birthday, until he passed away in 2004.

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The first Christmas not going to visit Gampa felt weird. It was our only real Christmas tradition, in my eyes, and we’d have to figure out what to do now. It didn’t take long. As Bro and I got older, the presents we wanted got more expensive, so we didn’t have as many as our still young sister. We soon started going one at a time opening our presents.

Oh yeah, and before opening presents, we’d sing a few carols (all Christ-based, of course) and pray, thanking God for our provisions and the ability to celebrate Christmas with gifts.

Long story short (I know — too late), our current traditions (with Hubby’s family) are definitely blatant, as far as I’m concerned. Everyone takes turns playing Black Ops zombies on Christmas Eve as we await midnight.  That’s when we open presents, one at a time.  After presents, we stay up late (anywhere from 2-4 am) playing Apples to Apples, and maybe more zombies.

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Everyone’s favourite zombie map in Black Ops 2

What made me think of this topic is that this year will be different again. It’s the first Christmas without my father-in-law, as he passed away in May. It was already decided long before he died, but we’re all going to Dallas to spend Christmas at my brother-in-law’s house instead of Tulsa. While most things will remain the same, especially zombies, we’ve all also agreed that no one needs presents. Everyone’s getting them, of course, from at least one person, but we’re not making it a big deal.

This year, I’ve decided to celebrate my birthday on Christmas Day.  The only reason for this is that I want to celebrate it with the family, and that’s the only day we’re all guaranteed to be there.  I have ordered an epic cake :).  I think it’s epic, anyway, but not as epic as the one I almost ordered — a spherical cake that looks like Mars.  I was never fully set on that, so I changed it to something simpler that I know I will love, and so will others.  At least the gamers will.

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Potatoes and Matt Damon

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Credit: @TheMarsGen on Twitter.

Today, I’m participating in a fundraiser event for The Mars Generation.  The participants in the event are basically “stranded on Mars,” and have to ration ten medium-sized potatoes and sixteen ounces of water for the twenty-four-hour period.  (The whole thing can totally be done during one’s daily routine, and you don’t have to follow it.)  The participation takes place on Twitter, where we Martians not only help spread the word to raise money, but can also earn more perks like ketchup, coffee, and more water.

Check out info on the event with the hashtag #PotatoChallenge on Twitter, and at the following webpages:

https://www.givemn.org/organization/themarsgeneration
http://themarsgeneration.org/give-to-mars-day-november-12-how-you-can-help/


Now that that important passion is mentioned, onto the fandom stuff.

The-Martian-movie-poster

If you haven’t seen The Martian yet, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!  IT’S AWESOME!

I’ve seen the movie twice, and am currently reading the book.  Still “currently” because toward the end of the book I’m reading as little as possible — I don’t want it to end!

Though I don’t know any differently, I think Matt Damon was perfect for the part of movie Mark Watney.  To keep this post from getting too long, I’ll just let you figure it out for yourself.  Although, I’m sure that it also mostly has to do with my new fandom obsession with Matt Damon as an actor.  I watched The Monuments Men yesterday with Hubby.  It was a great movie with an all-star cast, including Matt Damon.

Credit: roadside-attraction.com
Credit: roadside-attraction.com

Right now, I’m sitting at Starbucks doing homework.  I’ve made some good progress on it, but now I want to take a break to watch a movie.  The Bourne Identity, to be specific.  The internet connection here isn’t having it.  Boo.  I’ve only seen the trilogy once, after seeing The Bourne Legacy several times, because of the fandom obsession both Hubby and I had over Jeremy Renner in 2012.  Actually, it was the exact same situation with the Mission Impossible series of movies, haha.  I only saw the trilogy once after a lot of Ghost Protocol views.

Jeremy Renner in The Bourne Legacy. Credit: collider.com

Anyway, I guess Jason Bourne will have to wait until I get back home.  Until then, I’ll make some more headway in astronomy class, eat potatoes, post to Twitter, and listen to the Christmas music playing in Starbucks.

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2015 red cups. Credit: news.starbucks.com

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