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 😁.

Introvert Spotlight: Jim Halpert

–I will say right now that there are several spoilers from The Office in this post.  But come on, the show ended three years ago.–


While I was reading the book Quiet by Susan Cain last year, I was also watching a lot of The Office.  Not only was I starting to evaluate people in the real world to guess/estimate their introvert/extrovert level, but I was doing the same with the characters on that show.

Just like in real life, some were obvious, and some were tough to determine.  However, I think my favourite introvert example on The Office is Jim Halpert.  Quite a master of his introversion, he copes with working in an open-plan office by escaping to chat with the receptionist, and pulling pranks on his desk mate.

I don’t know if his parents were introverts or understanding extroverts, but his big brothers are obvious extroverts who picked on him his whole life.  I’m sure that because of them, Jim learned early on how to sharpen his wit, think on his feet, and deal with difficult extroverts overall.  This becomes apparent when he deals with his co-workers, especially Dwight.  My favourite example is when Dwight finds out that the Michael Scott Paper Company is broke.  Dwight rushes to tell the boss, and Jim doesn’t hesitate to follow him.  The way Jim so quickly comes up with things to say to discredit Dwight, so that Charles doesn’t believe him, just blows my mind.

Credit: wifflegif.com
Credit: wifflegif.com

Parties.  It can be one of the most dreaded and draining things to an introvert.  Jim not only attends and makes the best of it, but he’s figured out the best way to be at a party as little as possible while making sure people don’t realise it.

Though Jim isn’t an INFJ -T like I am (I’m pretty sure he’s an ISTP-A), and he’s a fictional character, I tend to see him as the “perfect” introvert.  He has figured out pretty well how to survive and thrive in an extroverted world.  He did very well as co-manager, for the short time he was one.  He’s not afraid to go for his dreams, whether it be Pam, talking to David Wallace about being manager, or helping to start Athlead/Athleap.  But, he also takes opportunities to leave the crowd.

This particular introvert may be fictional (though he reminds me almost exactly of someone I know in real life), but I think he’s an example of one type of “perfect” introvert — the kind that isn’t swayed or held back by the opinions and ways of the extroverted world.

Here’s to you, Jim. 🍻

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Credit: theodysseyonline.com

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Viggle Sucks Under New Management

rip-viggle

Do you guys remember this lame post I made back in 2013?

I gave a brief overview of a great app that allowed you to earn points and redeem rewards just by watching TV and listening to music.  (The music feature was added after the 2013 post.)  It was amazing!  I spent a lot of time “checking in” to songs and shows, and watching all the extra ads it would let me in order to gain those important extra points.  I’d redeemed several gift cards, a Viggle T-shirt (because I was more than happy to spread the word about this amazing opportunity), and had plans for possibly redeeming the biggest prize of a cruise for two (which cost several million points)!

Credit: get.viggle.com
Credit: get.viggle.com

I’m normally not one who likes to largely announce to the world how horrible something is, but this situation it too awful.  It was slightly over nine months ago that Viggle was sold to Perk.  I’ve used the Perk Browser in the past and it… wasn’t terrible.

The following is the review I finally left for the app in the App Store.  Some is repeat of what I already said in this post, but I give the details of the horrible result of the buy-out.

Rating: ★✰✰✰✰

I used to love Viggle.  Not only did I use it all the time, but I proudly wore the merch I bought with my Viggle points.

Now, the app has to be constantly open the entire time you’re watching the program you checked into.  Take a phone call during ads?  Miss out on points.  Do ANYTHING with your phone during the show?  Miss out on points.

Also, apparently points expire now.  It’s been a couple months since I last opened the app, and I opened it today only to discover I have only 6 points.  I had at LEAST 6,000.
Nope.  Don’t like that.

I’m keeping the app for as long as it takes to exchange my Viggle points for Perk points and redeem them.  Only 60,000 Viggle points are allowed to be exchanged per month, which translates into 3,000 Perk points.  I still have over 200,000 Viggle points, so it’ll take a while, but I’ll be so glad to be done with this Perk takeover nightmare.

Credit: hahasforhoohas.com
Credit: hahasforhoohas.com

I would be more understanding if Viggle was sold because it was losing money, but it wasn’t.  I was just sold.  (News articles linked at bottom.)

I’m fully convinced that all of the 5-star ratings it currently has are either from people who never knew Viggle when it was good, AND/or people desperately trying to get points took advantage of Viggle’s offer of bonus points for giving such a rating.  Nope.  Bribery is not my thing, either.  I’d rather give or read an honest review than a fake 5-star just for points.

I will give Perk a bit of a break in my rant with the best change they have made to Viggle.  They’ve finally added the ability to check in with shows and movies you’re streaming.  Don’t have regular TV or cable?  That’s not a problem anymore.  Watching on Netflix, Hulu, etc., will also get you points.

All in all, I don’t think Perk is an evil, selfish company, but they really should have thought more about what kept Viggle users coming back in the first place.  Instead, they changed everything, making it harder to earn points, and making rewards 5x as expensive to redeem.  Just remember: the most important thing in any business is the consumer.  If the consumer doesn’t like what you’re selling (or how much you’re selling it for), you lose money.


Articles about the sale:

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20151214005688/en/Viggle-Sell-Assets-Perk.com-All-Stock-Transaction

http://www.mobilemarketer.com/cms/news/strategy/21876.html?utm_referrer=direct%2Fnot%20provided&utm_referrer=direct%2Fnot%20provided

The Librarians

Credit: http://subscene.com/
Credit: http://subscene.com/

The Librarian is a movie trilogy I’ve heard my husband rave about since we’ve been together.  His parents had also talked about it with admiration.  My thoughts had always been “OK, some made-for-TV movie that’s a lesser version of Indiana Jones.”  So, I never really bothered to watch it.

A few weeks ago, I was randomly tagged in a tweet regarding a show called “The Librarians,” and when I looked into it I immediately adored the character named Cassandra.  I made a mental note to check out the programme later.

^^ I couldn’t find the tweet in which I was tagged, but replace “@AstronautAbby” with “@KuriTheVegan,” and this is the tweet.

Just a week later, at my brother-in-law’s house for Christmas, we saw an ad on TV for the series two finale of the show and my bro-in-law and his wife got a bit excited to see the new episode.  I figured that if he liked it, then it must be good.  Honestly, I hadn’t realised until the discussion following seeing that advert that the show was related to the aforementioned movies.

Left to right: Ezekiel Jones, Cassandra, Eve Baird, Stone, Jenkins Credit: collider.com
Left to right: Ezekiel, Cassandra, Eve Baird, Stone, Jenkins
Credit: collider.com

The next day, Hubby finally got me to watch The Librarian and its sequel.  (We finished off the trilogy the next day.)  Maybe not excellent, but they were pretty good.  It’s like a mix of Indiana Jones and Warehouse 13; a gigantic library/warehouse full off magical artifacts, and a genius scholar (often mistakenly called a professor) goes out to find more artifacts to keep them out of evil or ignorant hands.  Oh, and the overseer of the library is an immortal (maybe not Indiana Jones-like, but definitely Warehouse 13).

That night, the series two finale aired and the four of us watched it.  Without having seen the rest of the show, I was lost on a few details of the story, but it was still really good.  (Although, there was one thing toward the end of the episode that had me wanting to shout at the TV.  “YOU can step through FIRST!  WHY AREN’T YOU STEPPING THROUGH FIRST?!?”  I’d have to watch it again to see if I missed something on that. –EDIT: I didn’t. There was nothing stopping them from stepping through first.–)

Once we returned home, Hubby and I went back and watched every single episode.  I wish there was more 😩😭!  I’m so obsessed.  I adore each and every character in their own way.  I also find myself wanting to know the life stories of all the immortals; Judson, Jenkins, Morgan –last name omitted to avoid spoilers–, etc.  OMG.  I’m just obsessed.

Credit: quickmeme.com
Credit: quickmeme.com

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When I Met the Doctor

The first time I finally went to the Renaissance Festival, it was magical!  We attended every weekend and most of the extra festivities that happened on Saturday evenings at an extra cost.  (If we’d known we’d go more than the first weekend, we’d have saved so much money by buying season passes.)  I bought a beautiful renaissance dress the second weekend.  (Which I later wish I had done a bit differently.  After last year’s purchase, I’m finally satisfied with that outfit.)

One of those nights was a masquerade ball.  The four of us who went had fun shopping for masks.  We were all Whovians, especially the two of us girls.  Before we entered the castle, still taking pictures outside, I saw a man walk by who was dressed as the Doctor.  David Tennant’s Doctor, to be specific.  I pointed it out to my friend, and we were both too excited.

The following poem is based on that night.  It’s the true story up to the asterisk (*), then my imagination took over.

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My Night With the Doctor

‘Twas two thousand eleven
at a Renaissance Faire.
The four of us dressed for the occasion
and did up our hair.

That night, there was a Masquerade Ball.
Everyone looked so neat.
We passed a man in a striped brown suit
and white Chucks on his feet.

My friend and I looked at each other in shock.
Could this be true?
Had we just seen the Doctor
with the TARDIS so blue?

As our men stopped to take pictures
of gargoyles and such,
she and I looked for the man
who saves the world with his touch.

“There he is! There he is!”
I excitedly whispered to her.
He was talking to another man
and we didn’t want to be a bother.

We finally headed back inside the castle.
We followed the Doctor closely behind.
When we caught up we said hello
and asked for a picture, if he didn’t mind.

She asked if he was with someone,
but he said he came alone.
It sounded like he’d just lost a friend
when he spoke with that tone.

We were too nervous and excited
to say more than “thank you” and “good-bye.”
But as the night went on,
we wanted to say another “hi.”

As he stood by himself,
on the other side of the room,
we decided we wanted to dance with him
and wanted to soon!

The men who were with us
were fine with it all.
So she finally got up the nerve
and walked across the hall. *

The Doctor accepted her invitation
and they began to waltz.
Not long after they start dancing
the music halts.

Another song began to play,
so they danced again.
I watched in anticipation for my turn;
the excitement hard to contain.

I walked over as the song came to an end.
The band waited for the conductor.
I couldn’t believe it was my turn
to dance with the Doctor.

At first, I was nervous
and stepped out of place,
but he reassured me
and encouraged my grace.

He swept me off my feet.
I utterly adore him.
Now I understand why
his companions fall for him.

I was having a fantastic time.
The music ended far too soon.
I planted a kiss on his cheek,
as it was very opportune.

Before he left, he asked our names.
We answered, “Sasha and Kuri.”
He said they were lovely and waved good-bye,
then a tear made my eyes grow blurry.

At the end of the Ball
there were fireworks outside.
We all chose the back of the crowd
at which to reside.

The show was brilliant,
and just before it ended
we noticed a blue box in the sky,
the man inside contented.

He waved us a farewell;
a new adventure to ensue.
This was my amazing night
with the wonderful Doctor Who.

Sadly, at the same time that Sasha (name changed, as usual) started toward the Doctor to ask him to dance, he left the building. We looked for him all night, but couldn’t find him :( . Him just being there still made our night, especially since that was the first time I’d seen Doctor Who cosplay in person. At the time, the show was barely entering main-stream-geek level in America.

I spoke with some other Whovian friends about it soon after, and they suggested that the Doctor seemed a bit off/sad because it was him right after he’d lost Rose :'( .  It’s so sad, but I’ve forever accepted that explanation.

Fandom Thoughts (a fangirl diary) #1

Because fandom feels are real, too.

Loss of a Beloved Character
(or Little Brother Replaces Granddad)

**SPOILERS**

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My recently found appreciation for Woody Harrelson as an actor (and raw vegan!) got me to finally start watching Cheers. (Although I’d seen advertisements nearly my whole life, knew the theme song, and was familiar with the characters, I’d never actually watched an entire episode.) This was right before Christmas holiday, and I only saw about 5-10 episodes before we left. However, I quickly learned that it would be a while before I saw the characters portrayed by Kelsey Grammer, Woody Harrelson, and Kirstie Alley, and that the guy who played Coach (Nicholas Colasanto) would die in 1985 at the young age of 61.

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After returning from holiday and continuing to watch, I quickly grew fond of Coach and got sadder and sadder as time went on, knowing his time drew near. I started to think that Woody Harrelson’s character would show up after Coach was gone, and for once I would be sad to see him. I was right, at least about the first half. One day Woody Boyd walks into Cheers looking for Coach and Sam tells him that Coach passed away a couple of months prior. Woody is then hired on to take Coach’s place as a bartender. I wasn’t upset by that at all; in real life one would have to hire someone to replace a deceased employee. Despite the fact that the two characters share a similar off-knowledge sort of humour (Woody’s being innocent and Coach’s more absent-minded), I don’t believe Woody is supposed to truly replace Coach.

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For a few episodes, I was super sad any time I thought about Coach, even sometimes just seeing Woody and knowing Coach would have been standing there. It didn’t take long, however, to realise how adorable Woody is and it really helps soften the blow of the loss.

I don’t really know how to give this a good conclusion, but writing about it was nicely therapeutic.

30 Day Movie Challenge

I don’t know how the current weather is for you, but the area where I live has had a sudden temperature drop below freezing with a threatening snow storm this weekend. That sounds like perfect weather to make some hot chocolate and cuddle up on the couch with a great movie!

I recently came across this 30 Day Movie Challenge from TheaterThoughts.com, posted last year. Basically, every day for thirty days you watch a different type of movie based on your tastes. Get ready for movie night x 30!

While it would be perfectly fine to fill out the list as you go through the month, I’m doing it all at once for the sake of the blog.

30 Day Movie Challenge

Day 01 – The best movie you saw during the last year: (I’m assuming this means new movie) Now You See Me
Day 02 – The most underrated movie: The Impostors
Day 03 – A movie that makes you really happy: Last Holiday
Day 04 – A movie that makes you sad: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
Day 05 – Favourite love story in a movie: Made of Honor
Day 06 – Favourite made-for-TV movie: Stargate: Continuum
Day 07 – The most surprising plot twist or ending: Angel’s Dance
Day 08 – A movie that you’ve seen countless times: All of my favourites ;o), but for the sake of the challenge, Spider-Man 2
Day 09 – A movie with the best soundtrack: Home Alone
Day 10 – Favourite classic movie: Mary Poppins
Day 11 – A movie that changed your opinion about something: Vegucated (documentary)
Day 12 – A movie that you hate: Up
Day 13 – A movie that is a guilty pleasure: The Impostors (this duplicate couldn’t be avoided)
Day 14 – A movie that no one would expect you to love: Red Dawn
Day 15 – A character to whom you can relate the most: Andy Sachs in The Devil Wears Prada (fashion-wise)
Day 16 – A movie that you used to love, but now hate: First Knight (my dislike for this particular Lancelot grew too much to continue enjoying the movie)
Day 17 – A movie that disappointed you the most: Eragon
Day 18 – A movie that you wish more people would’ve seen: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Day 19 – Favourite movie based on a book/comic/etc.: The Three Musketeers (1993)
Day 20 – Favourite movie from a favorite actor/actress: Jeremy Renner in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol
Day 21 – Favourite movie from a newcomer: Lindsey Lohan in The Parent Trap (back when she was a newcomer… and clean)
Day 22 – Favourite documentary: Forks Over Knives
Day 23 – Favourite animation: Toy Story
Day 24 – Favourite foreign film: (I’ll assume foreign to America) The Decoy Bride
Day 25 – The most hilarious movie you’ve ever seen: Rocketman (the first time I saw it as a kid)
Day 26 – A movie that you love, but everyone else hates: The Terminal
Day 27 – A movie that you wish you had seen in theatres: Inception
Day 28 – A movie you still don’t understand: 2001: A Space Odessey
Day 29 – A movie from your childhood: Beethoven
Day 30 – Your favourite movie of all time: 2012 (JUST “2012“… Not 2012: Ice Age or 2012: Doomsday.)

Xbox One Revealed!

This entry will replace my usual Friday post for this week.  I’ll push that one ahead for next Friday.


I watched earlier today as Microsoft unveiled their third-generation Xbox — Xbox One.  While the name for the new console sounds cleaner, I think it seems too much like a reset.  I’m sure the name will grow on me, especially with how amazing this piece of technology is.

Xbox_Consle_main

The shape — again, not quite fond of it.  While the upgraded Xbox 360 was further curved and made sleek and shiny, the Xbox One is very boxy — the overall shape reminds me of the NES.  However, I am a fan of how clean it looks.  There are no buttons on the front; all you see is the nicely decorated slit for the disc drive and a black-and-white Xbox logo.  It also has sort of a checkerboard look with half-matte and half-gloss.

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The new Kinect is brilliant.  There are so many upgrades to this puppy!  It can now sense every movement: facial expressions, wrist twists, even your heartbeat!  Trouble with having enough lighting, or is there a lamp right in your face?  That’s no longer a problem.  The room can be bright or in total darkness and it’ll still see you perfectly!

Gaming with or without the Kinect will become a completely new experience with Xbox One.  The graphics are intense, the Kinect will bring new meaning to sports gaming, and with a constant internet connection you never have to wait for game updates to download before you play.  It’s always annoyed me that when I go to play a game I first have to download an update that takes forever.  Not anymore.  Live updates!

This isn’t just a gaming console upgrade; it’s a complete replacement of all of the boxes taking up space in your living room, minus the stereo system.  You can have your television service connected directly through Xbox One — it even has its own guide!

The voice commands and even movement options are fantastic.  There’s no longer a need for remotes, not even to turn it on.  “Xbox, on.”  Oh, hello, my Xbox is on and I’m already signed in.  No loading time!  “Xbox, movie.”  Star Trek resumes.  “Xbox, music.”  Maybe two seconds later, Deadmau5 comes through the speakers.  “Xbox, TV.”  Suddenly, you’re watching TV.

No.  Loading.  Time.

Snapping makes multitasking simple with Xbox One.  “Snap Internet Explorer.”  Watching sports?  Now you can see a live update of your fantasy team on your TV as you watch the game!  You can also Skype at the same time as watching television.  Movie night with your long-distance friends?  No problem!  Watching sports with fellow fantasy sports friends?  Again, not a problem!

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It seems so far that this console will not be backwards compatible (able to play Xbox and Xbox 360 games), but no official news from Microsoft yet.

The price has yet to be announced, and the release date is labeled “later this year.”  I fully expect to see Xbox One available for sale in the USA by, if not before, Black Friday.

More details about Xbox One will be released when E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) happens in three weeks.


A few sources for more information:

http://reviews.cnet.com/microsoft-xbox-one/

http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2013/05/xbox-one/

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2013/may/21/xbox-720-microsoft-reveal-console-live-blog

http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2013/05/21/microsoft-reveals-xbox-one-entertainment-console/

“Is Star Trek Still Relevant?”

voyagerCrew

This question came up in a Star Trek: Voyager forum of which I’ve been a part nearly since it opened in 2007.  The most recent poster had mentioned that because she didn’t watch or read as much Star Trek as she once had, she felt like she was losing her fandom and letting the franchise down.  I decided my response was worth sharing here.


I also sometimes feel as if I’m letting the franchise down.  It’s not that I don’t like Star Trek anymore… I’m just an adult with more –dare I say it– important things to do.  And there’s so much more of which to be a fan, too.  Stuff that’s happening now instead of re-watching shows that ended eight or more years ago (and which we’ve seen eight or more times, haha).  Once I got into the new Doctor Who it slowly started to outshine Star Trek as a main definition of my geekiness.  It took a few years, but I finally realised it sometime recently.

Yes, I do still admire Star Trek as a part of who I am (even right now I’m drinking out of a Star Trek tumbler I was given for Christmas).  I would even consider Star Trek as the foundation of my geekiness.

–Star Trek got me interested in astronomy, which in turn got me interested in other sciences such as quantum mechanics/physics.

–Star Trek is where my story writing ability really improved.  Even though, for personal reasons, I’m not allowed to write fictional stories anymore, I wouldn’t be as well off to be able to write for blogs and newsletters without it.

–I’ve learned a lot of my favourite “fancy” words from science fiction.  Most of them were from Star Trek, but one was from Stargate Atlantis.  If it hadn’t been for seeing Robert Picardo in an episode of Stargate SG-1 I would never have started watching Stargate Atlantis!

–Star Trek got me interested in science fiction, which is a huge part of my life whether I watch it, read it, write about it, talk about it, make music videos about it, or… I just exist :o).

So, no, I may not watch it very often or even think a lot about it anymore, but it still flows through my blood, empowering the geek I am to do whatever it is that I do best.  Whether it’s what I enjoy, what I do, who I befriend, or just being a geek and watching every season of some show in a week, I know that it’s all thanks to Star Trek.

But even the foundation needs a bit of maintenance every now and then :o).