Tuesday, September 20, 2011

What I'm Watching

Ah, autumn! The changing leaves, the crispness in the air, and who can forget the new TV season? I thought I'd take a page from Laura Taylor's blog and write about what shows I'm following this season.

  • "The Sing-Off" (NBC) - BYU's Vocal Point is competing this year, and I'm a fan in general of zero instruments and coordinating outfits.
  • "How I Met Your Mother" (CBS) - If Barney marries Nora I'll cry. I'm finally glad that they're developing Robin's side of the BRo-mance. They seem to be going back to the formula of Ted actually wanting to meet the mother, but what's with resurrecting Victoria?
  • "Castle" (ABC) - Season Premiere was soooo good! And Kate's therapist is Lieutenant Worf; how great is that?
  • "Warehouse 13" (SyFy, and I actually mean Hulu, because I don't get real channels) - This show was kind of lame when it started, but now it's in the 3rd season and it's really awesome. It's a little quirky, but it has the guy who played Sully on "Bones" (only with much better hair) and the guy who played Donnie on "Frasier" (only much older) and the twin brother of the guy who plays Bobby "Iceman" Drake in the "X-Men" movies (his character is gay, because I think that every TV show has to have a token gay character these days, but he's just a regular cool guy who just happens to be gay and I actually really like his character, which is unusual because I usually hate when shows add new characters). Watch this show.


  • "NCIS" (CBS) - I've completely forgotten what happened on Season 8 of NCIS, but I'll still watch season 9 for Tiva and McAbby.
  • "Glee" (Fox) - Ryan Murphy has promised that Season 3 will be better than Season 2 by "focusing on characters not named Kurt." Here's hoping. Also, I think Noah Puckerman is the Andrea Zuckerman* of McKinley High.
  • "The New Girl" (Fox) - It seems cute, and I'll give it a try.
  • "Ringer" (The CW) - I watched this last week because it has Sarah Michelle Gellar in it and I loved "Buffy." It's my mom's new favorite show (I didn't have the heart to tell her it was awful), so I'll probably watch it sometimes. It conflicts with "The New Girl" so I'll probably watch whichever one is better that week.


  • "The Middle" (ABC) - This is a tough one. It's not on Hulu and it conflicts with Institute. I do quite like it though...maybe I'll have to befriend some people with TiVo or whatever it is now.
  • "Modern Family" (ABC) - It's just good. Must watch.
  • I feel like they've been advertising some other shows that looked interesting that are starting later in the season or something.


  • "The Big Bang Theory" (CBS) - Penny and Raj slept together. I'm really just going to watch to see how they're going to try to come back from that.
  • "Community" (CBS) - How this didn't get any Emmy nominations is beyond me. And they're doing a musical number!
  • "Bones" (Fox) - I will watch the first episode. If it is not the most amazing redeeming piece of art that I've ever seen, I will not watch any more of it. That baby crap that they pulled in the season finale was hard to be forgiven of.

Friday is when I'll watch the shows that I missed on real TV on Hulu or the appropriate network website. There's never anything good on Friday nights. I guess I'll just have to start going on dates or something.

*Andrea Zuckerman was a high school student on "Beverly Hills, 90210" back in the day. She was played by Gabrielle Carteris, who was 30 at the time and looked it.

Patterns and the Art of Roughing It: Part II

It's pretty incredible that I've been keeping up this blog for over a year now. It's late September and you know what that means: time for a review of the church camp-out.

I blogged about the first Tri-Ward Camp-out I attended in Boston last year and the theme was Patterns. I'm beginning to feel, and of course I cannot confirm after only two experiences, that my camping adventures are starting to follow some patterns of their own. One such pattern is that camping involves a certain level of grouchiness. I'll grant that this isn't a pattern that I'm trying to create, but there was rage abounding. One roommate and I took it upon ourselves to hate all of the men at some point or another, some of whom actually deserved it. I think I may have gained some type of reputation as the Angry Beast-monster of the Boston LDS Singles' scene (which, in my opinion, is better than most other reputations I could have gained).

Another pattern I'm beginning is that of participating in the camp-out talent show. This year, Colleen directed what she called the Irish/Rock version of Romeo and Juliet, but since nobody died, I feel it was actually more like "Cry Baby" (a Greaser-meets-nice-girl tale filmed in 1990, and in my opinion, some of Johnny Depp's best work). I shared top billing with some good pals (including roommate Doree), got to sing "Danny Boy" in a different context, and (after the fact) realized the wonders of the effects (and mysteries and scandals) created by choreography and lighting. At any rate, the show got rave reviews, and I learned that receiving compliments isn't my forte (though my friends enjoy watching me squirm when cornered by adoring eight-year-old fans).

I'll sum up the rest of the camp-out Dallin H. Oaks style (i.e. with bullet points):
  • Lindsay, Doree, and I rode down together with two men who enjoyed/tolerated our blasting of the "Mamma Mia!" soundtrack more than we thought they would. We took the "scenic route" (aka. the "Lindsay's GPS route") and were convinced that we were going to end up murdered by some New Hampshire maniac.
  • There was a dance party on Friday night. Eighty percent of the music didn't suck, which is pretty impressive. I even pulled out a few of my Kevin Bacon moves (yeah, I have Kevin Bacon moves).
  • I rode in a rowboat all by myself. I'd never done this before and I looked ridiculous doing it the majority of the time. By the end I actually learned how to control which direction I was going. Three different people told me I should have laid back and let some man row while I held a parasol or something (I added the parasol part), but I felt very independent rowing my own boat. (And I was also in the midst of hating all of the men at that point.)
  • I got bit by a spider. I don't know how this happened because the bite is where my socks are always. I just thought it was a mosquito bite, but Laura said that because the area around the bite is hard, it was probably from a spider. I'm quite paranoid now that it laid eggs and my foot is going to give birth to spider babies and they'll have to cut off my foot. That's probably not going to happen, but it still itches.
  • One of my male friends was wearing the most ruggedly metrosexual outfit ever. This is the best kind of juxtaposition; I may have swooned a little.
  • The food was top notch. My home teacher and I were pancake partners for Saturday Breakfast, and by the end, we were a finely-tuned machine. Saturday dinner consisted of Cafe Rio-style salad, and boy howdy, was it the best pulled pork I've ever eaten. And there was pie. Enough said. We were definitely overfed, but overfeeding is a proven method of lulling my grumpiness.
  • Sometimes people are exactly what they seem, but more on that later.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Restaurant Review: Grasshopper Cafe

An avid "Gilmore Girls" fan, one of my quests upon moving to New England was to find the real-life equivalent of a Luke's Diner. I have yet to find such a thing, but maybe a diner run by a hunky man in flannel who can cook and build me a chuppah is just too much to ask.

I was delighted, however, when Charlestown (or "The Town," as it's called by us Townies) opened the Grasshopper Cafe. A small-ish breakfast and lunch place, the Cafe balances the rustic charm of the small town with the classiness deemed appropriate for a place a stone's throw from Downtown Boston. It's definitely too well-decorated to be a Luke's diner (the walls are orange, but a nice orange), but there's nothing too bizarrely-posh listed in chalk on the menu boards.

I've been to the Grasshopper Cafe three times since it's opened (which is probably not enough, considering I could walk to its 229 Bunker Hill Street location in one breath if I tried), and I've been quite happy with it all times.

On my first visit with one of my roommates, I ordered a veggie omelet which was served with the best-tasting toast I've ever had (I don't know how toast can be that good, but it was delightful!).

My second trip was a lunch outing, where I had a Reuben sandwich (I have a rule that I always have to try the Reuben wherever I go). The meat on the Reuben was a little fatty for my taste, but the fries were very yummy. I also enjoyed that they offer a variety of different side options for the sandwiches; most other places don't boast that many.

My third trip was with two roommates for a late breakfast ("brunch" is something done by people in relationships... and we don't like those). I got the breakfast special which was Strawberry-Peach Crepes. They used fresh fruit and really great whipped cream. The crepes were topped with granola, which I thought was a little unusual, but I didn't hate (I might have asked for it on the side). The only thing I didn't love was that it seemed like the crepes were overlapping with someone else's savory breakfast order on the grill, so there was a little extra flavor that didn't quite belong. My roommates (who, to clarify, were ravenously hungry) quite enjoyed their omelettes, hash browns, and toast dipped in maple syrup.

Prices are pretty decent. Most things are in the 6-9 dollar range, so including tip it's hard to pay more than $15/person there. The service is what you'd expect for a small diner in the Town: friendly Townies with lots of local pride.

I very much recommend the Grasshopper Cafe if you'd like to be a Townie for a day and enjoy some yummy food.

Die Maus, or "Die, Mouse!"

How cute is this?

Faith is believing in something when you haven't seen it. Trust is believing in something when someone else has seen it*. I have faith and I trust that there is a mouse in our kitchen. Having dealt with rodents (and often being the cause of their demise) in my scientific career, I don't mind so much, but roommate Doree has taken every measure in the book to make sure this mouse never sees the light of another day. Doree hates the mouse.

We've set traps. The humane traps were baited with my generic peanut butter that is apparently below the refined palate of the average house mouse. The mouse has outsmarted the sticky traps. The traps move, the traps have little mouse footprints in them, but they have no mice attached. Doree read something somewhere that said that mice hate the scent of peppermint, and now our kitchen smells like the seven levels of the candy cane forest**, but we can still hear the little bugger skittering behind the pantry.

The current score is Mouse-3, Doree-0. The poor dear is too afraid to leave her room in the middle of the night for fear that she'll step on it on the way to the bathroom and contract and die of some horrible mouse disease. Of course, the mouse is just going to be sitting there, even aiming for itself to be right underfoot. The same somewhere that provided the peppermint information (i.e. the Internet) informed her that mice have poor eyesight and horrible reflexes.

Roommate Lindsay has a theory that this mouse is magic, even Santa Claus. We cannot kill this mouse, she says, or millions of Christian children will be heartbroken.

I frankly don't mind the mouse. I've always wanted a pet, and I feel like it contributes to the charm of our old house... as long as it doesn't start eating my food or chewing on any electrical wires or climbing into my laundry bin... on second thought, we need to get this thing out of there.

*And super trust is when you know something exists because roommate Doree starts screaming bloody murder at 11:00 at night because it's climbing on her crackers.

**Also, I don't recommend soaking cotton balls in 37% alcohol and throwing them behind the stove.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Musings at the Office

A few observations/vignettes from the reception desk:

  1. I think people are ashamed to take candy from the dish at the reception desk when I'm sitting there because whenever I come back from my break, it's significantly less full.

  2. In the candy dish we keep wintergreen Life Savers mints, mini chocolate bars, and assorted hard candies (including those ones that look like strawberries and have some sort of weird goo in the middle). I'm starting to memorize which staff members like which candies, as well as which ones will dump out the entire bowl/bag-under-the-desk to find the ones they like.

  3. We currently have Mars chocolates in the candy dish (Snickers, Milky Way, 3 Musketeers, Twix), but the new bag of chocolates are from Nestle (Crunch, Baby Ruth, Butterfinger). I'm afraid people are going to freak out when there's suddenly a whole new brand of chocolate, so I'm mixing the new stuff in gradually, kind of the way you do when you're switching dog foods.

I kind of like that a significant amount of time at my job is spent managing a dish full of candy.