Wednesday, February 18, 2015

National Almond Day!


This was on Monday, but why not keep celebrating it? Almonds are very versatile. They can be cooked in so many different recipes, and are great by themselves. You can have them plain, roasted, salted, seasoned, etc. There's even such a thing as almond 'milk'. (If it doesn't have actual milk in it, I feel odd about calling it 'milk'.:iconkikuplz:But, it's good.) It's very healthy, too. It was also Presidents' Day. 

I hope people who like Valentine's Day had a great one. I was going to say 'those who celebrate', but it sounded weird.:iconwtfromanoplz:I've always felt odd about the holiday for many reasons. One, I was dumped on Valentine's Day over the phone several years ago...So, that's kind of soured it a bit for me.:iconnataliaplz:Another reason is that it really is a 'religious' holiday. No matter how commercialized its gotten (and I know it's over-the-top with that), it still has those origins. There's a reason why 'Saint' is in the name. Since it's not apart of my religion, I feel even weirder about it.:iconhanatamagoplz:Some Jews will ignore the whole thing because of this. Jews already have a similar 'love' holiday, but it's a very minor one. (It's Tu B'Av or the 15th of the month of Av. Some refer to it as the Jewish Day of Love. It's in the summertime.) The only thing good I see in Valentine's Day is the sales on candy/chocolates. 

I still haven't been feeling too good.
:icongermanyplz:I'm a lot better than when I went to Urgent Care at the end of last month. But, whatever I have, seems to be lingering still. The Imodium has really helped. I followed the first dose's instructions with taking 2 pills at once. Couldn't go for about a week...:iconwtfukplz:Then, the 'problem', pain, and nausea came back after that. So, I took one pill after waiting a little while. Thinking things would equal out on their own. No such luck. With one pill, it was a lot better on my system. It felt more normal. I might have to take another one soon, though. That stuff is powerful!:iconusaplz:Maybe whatever I have really is on its way out, but it's just taking its sweet time.:iconannoyedgin-plz:

Went to the support group last night. Had a really big turnout. A lot of people hadn't been to a meeting for a while. Interesting discussions, too. We went to Shari's, like usual, afterwards. Had their turtle sundae. A 'turtle' is chocolate, nuts, and caramel combined. There was a very large brownie at the bottom with caramel and nuts mixed in. On top of that, there was a HUGE scoop (more like a mountain) of vanilla ice cream. Whipped cream topped that. Chocolate syrup, caramel syrup, and pieces of nuts were drizzled/sprinkled over everything. The brownie was amazing!:iconchibispainplz:Way too much ice cream for me...:iconromanoplz:If it had an amazing flavor to it, I might feel otherwise. 

Before that we went to Taco Time for a quick dinner. We had been out for most of the day. I haven't been there in a long time. I got my fave, which was the bean soft burrito. It's so good!:iconitalyplz:It has pinto beans mashed up, lots of cheese, and quite a bit of enchilada sauce stuffed inside a flour tortilla. It's huge! At least to me it is.:icontinoplz:Since I got the combo, it comes with some mexi-fries. They were pretty good too! It all was so satisfying, I was fighting off sleep afterwards.:iconfeelingfullplz:I looked it up later, and found out the burrito is a lot less calories than I expected. The mexi-fries were almost as many calories. It's good to know for in the future.:iconberwaldplz:Maybe I'll just get the burrito and a drink next time, too. I only had 2 meals plus that brownie for the entire day. Knowing that, I think it was probably a good idea to eat everything I got for dinner. I still have to be smart about how little calories I might have, too. 

We went on various errands for the rest of the day. Dad had a 4-day weekend. I finally deposited the check my grandpa sent with a Hanukkah card during the holiday. I just have to figure out what I want for a Hanukkah present for myself, now that it's in the bank. I'm thinking of the seasons expansion for the Sims 2. There will actually be seasons for them. As it is right now, it's like a perpetual spring with no rain.:iconnorwayunimpressedplz:With this, there'll be rain, snow, falling leaves, changes in temp, other types of weather, along with the seasons, etc. They also get more clothes, new items, new house furnishings, plants, etc. I was also thinking about the pets expansion, but if it's just enough for one, I'd rather have the seasons one. Seems like so much more to it.:iconhongkong-wantsursoul: 

Managed to write more of the 12th short story to my nightmare anthology. I've seemed to break through my block on it, and have more of a clearer picture as to how I want it to go. Not sure how it'll end up yet, though. 

Last week I also managed to practice my clarinet. It felt so good to get back to it!:iconfrancisplz:Hopefully, I can get back to it on a regular basis. Did some jazz and Irish tunes. Played well enough that Rosie sat up close on the bed next to me. She usually loves it when I play. It feels a bit weird, yet nice, to have a furry fan like that...:iconchibihungaryplz:

Also, got around to studying more kanji. The more I learn, the more interesting it gets.:la:One of them had its handwritten short-forms listed. It has like 16 strokes, so it can get tedious to write out over and over. So, they have some simplified versions for writing it. Looks nicer and cleaner simplified, too. Also, did pretty well with the practice part and quizzes on JapaneseClass' site. I'm going to look into the Japanese version of RocketNews' site. I love their English version. Sometimes the English one has translated articles from the original Japanese one, but most of it's original. So, there will be more stories on the original. It may be more interesting to read than asahi's or mainichi's site. Trying to cover more of the reading part, too. 

Scanned all of the drawings of my original characters' outfits/accessories, and the Hanukkah themed one. (It features Shadow, who's the main character from my novel, Alliance.) I'll go over them a bit in Photoshop, but it probably won't take long until I post them to dA. Still trying to decide if I want to post each characters' stuff individually, or by page. I technically have 20 characters, but 2 of them have 2 different 'forms'. It ended up being 5 pages of characters...:iconseychelles-plz:I guess I'll decide on it at some point. Getting closer to finishing with editing the exaggerated emotions meme with Junko (another character from Alliance) in Photoshop. It's taking longer because I didn't color it in, and the smudges/marks/etc. show up more that way. So, there's some cleaning up to do. But, it seems to be getting easier. After the editing, I'll get to put each drawing into the correct spaces on the meme. There's 24 of them. The number of small drawings might also be another reason for it taking so long...

The movie/special I'm watching now is Oriento Kyuko Satsujin Jiken or Murder on the Orient Express. (Last time I watched Pandemic.) It's a 2-episode special, but each episode is like 2 1/2 hours long. So, I'm breaking them into chunks. Watched the 1st episode. It's an interesting adaptation of the original Agatha Christie novel. I don't particularly like the detective's voice, but the rest of it has been good. I like Agatha Christie stories. They're fascinating. I have a video game called And Then There Were None based on the novel of the same name. It's interesting, too. Haven't played it in a while. 

Finished watching Guu Guu, the Cat. It was a pretty good miniseries. The mangaka (creator of the manga) had a very active imagination. It looked like she was hallucinating every so often. Occasionally, I couldn't tell what was 'real' and what was imaginary.:iconitalyishorrifiedplz:Anyways, Guu Guu lived to be 15 years old, and he died just before the mangaka was going to receive an award for her work that was based on Guu Guu. It was bittersweet that way. She ended up with 13 cats. I don't see how people could take care of that many...:iconshockplz:This is based on a true story, and they gave out the real life info about the mangaka, Guu Guu, and her cats at the end. Guu Guu helped her overcome depression, and got her motivated to draw again. In real life the mangaka was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at some point, and she feels she wouldn't have survived if it wasn't for her cats. They gave her the courage to keep living, and to be adventurous. They slightly hinted about the cancer in the miniseries. She seemed rather bitter about it in the show. Partially because she would never be able to get pregnant. She became depressed again once Guu Guu passed away, but with looking back at all her cats, she couldn't feel that way for long. They cheered her up. So, it was a bittersweet, but good, story. I'm kind of interested in the manga now. Can't find it anywhere, though.:iconswissplz:

Since I noticed some of Smoking Gun's missing episodes were up, I'm back to watching it. The only one that's still not up (from when I last checked) is the finale. But, I'm hoping that by the time I get to it, it'll be up. It's a good show, and I'm glad that I might finally be able to finish it soon.:dummy: 

Ouroboros has only gotten better. It's not nearly as 'cheesy' as it started out as. (Someone commented that it seemed too cheesy after the 1st episode.) It has a lot of depth to the story, and the characters are very interesting. It seems like with each episode they get a very tiny clue (seemingly insignificant until the next episode) about what happened the day their teacher from the orphanage was killed, and who was behind it. Their teacher had some dark secrets, too. They usually have this view that she's very pure, but that changed with Ikuo remembering what happened just before she was shot. He had blocked out the memory until a recent case brought it all back. 

Parasyte has been awesome!:iconheroamericaplz:With the most recent episode, they messed with everyone's emotions. Apparently Reiko, who's a parasite, ended up with a maternal instinct that most parasites haven't expressed before. She was more into studying humans, and finding out why they behave in certain ways. Her host ended up pregnant, and she kept the baby after she gave birth to it. It's a perfectly normal human baby. At first, she was turned off by it, and thought several times about 'getting rid' of it. But, something kept drawing her to it. Over time that feeling grew. Parasites so far aren't known to possess emotions like humans do, so she surprised herself. She even picked up laughing. Her maternal side became so strong, she refused to let a private investigator kill it. She stabbed him immediately through the heart and grabbed the baby. The detectives on the case caught up with her, and started firing their guns at her. She was able to lengthen and harden her hair that wrapped itself around the baby, protecting it. She didn't resist or fight the detectives. Shinichi was there, because she asked him to meet with her, saying it was important. He was watching it all unfold around him, and as she's still being shot at, she tried her best to walk towards him. Eventually, the detectives realized she wasn't fighting back, and stopped firing. She gave Shinichi the baby, saying that he should protect and take it to a safe place. With that, she passed out and died. So sad. I didn't expect her to end up being a 'good' person. She was pretty vicious towards her own kind the night before...But, they were going to kill her. I think she was very misunderstood, too. Shinichi was picked up by the police to give his statement about what happened. They found his father and he's under their protection now. They know that he knows about the parasites. But, they certainly don't know about Migi yet. Migi is a parasite that only made it to Shinichi's right hand, instead of traveling to his head and gaining control. He seems to be very intelligent, and has a wicked sense of humor. Migi's cells have intermingled with Shinichi's in other parts of his body, and it's affecting him physically and mentally. The police wanted Shinichi to identify if a convicted serial killer at their jail is a parasite. They told the serial killer to tell them if Shinichi is one or has some sort of special ability against them. At the very end of the episode, there was a possibility that Shinichi and Migi may have been found out. The convict knew something. But, they left us hanging on that. It's like one of the worst cliffhangers ever!:iconpolandplz:

Dad got an amaryllis plant bulb recently as a present. The plant's been growing in the kitchen ever since. It's gotten so huge! It finally has bloomed, too. The flowers are bigger than I expected as well. They're a pretty red color. It's been interesting watching it grow.:iconchibinitalyplz:I have this weird feeling that it may take over the entire kitchen. It's pretty impressive as it is.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Crepe Day!


I love crepes, and there's quite a variety of them out there.:iconawwwplz:I still remember making the French version during my high school French class. Can't remember if it was before a break, or at the end of the semester. But, it was fun. Surprisingly, easier than it looks. The sweet ones are awesome! I've had some with bananas, whipped cream, and Nutella. Some with just cherries as a filling with powdered sugar on top. Good stuff.:iconsleepygreeceplz:Blintzes are similar, and they have interesting flavors as well. Many people like the cream cheese filled ones (I'm not very into those), some have cherries, some have like an apple pie filling, and more. (There are some savory ones as well.) Now I kind of have a hankering for blintzes...:iconhongkong-wantsursoul:It's also Groundhog Day. I've always felt odd about it. What's the point in it? 
This is my wallpaper for February. It features Sebastian from Kuroshitsuji or Black Butler. He loves cats, so it makes sense that there'd be a cat there. It's just a nice fun one. I'm not used to having so much white/blank space in a wallpaper, though.:iconusaplz: 

My Paris calendar features the Sainte-Genevieve Library. It has around 2 million documents. The reading room is mostly of iron and glass. Some of the design was inspired by the Pantheon. There's also a pic of a Chinese New Year celebration. And, another pic of the Paris skyline during winter.

My Jewish calendar's main pic's of a Tanakh cover, made by 7 people (the names are really long...), out of silver (clasps) and gold leaf, from Amsterdam, Netherlands; 1667. A Tanakh is the Torah, the Prophets or Naviim, and the Writings or Ketuvim in one book. (Basically, our Bible. I feel odd about that word, though...:iconwtfukplz:) Some have commentary in it, as well. The name is really an acronym based on those 3 sections. (T-Torah, N-Naviim, and K-Ketuvim.) The Writings include Psalms, Lamentations, Proverbs, story of Esther, story of Ruth, and several others. It's a rather thick book, and usually has thin pages. Anyways, this one has a nice design on the front. There's a stylized lion in the middle, flowers throughout, and more. The clasps are cool looking, too. Very interesting to see one that's so old. The pages from the outside look like they've really aged. But, it also looks like it's in good condition as a whole. The 2nd pic's of a kiddush cup, has an anonymous maker, made out of silver; 1880. I'm guessing since they didn't mention where it was from, it might be the same place as the Tanakh.:icontinoplz:Kiddush cups are used for the wine or grape juice as we say the blessing over them. Usually, during Shabbat and other holidays. An interesting design for this one, too. Lots of leaves encompassing an oval that has some Hebrew letters etched in the middle. The words don't look like what's said during the blessing. Makes me more curious...:iconberwaldplz:The last pic's of a mezuzah, it has an anonymous maker, made out of silver and glass, Venice, Italy; 1750. A mezuzah is a piece of parchment that's been rolled up inside a special case that's put up on the doorposts of someone's home. Many have them on every doorpost, except for the bathrooms, small closets, and laundry room. The parchment has some specific verses of the Torah written in Hebrew on it. There's a specific way that it's put up, too. It's kind of telling visitors that it's a Jewish home. (Some have them in offices, dorm rooms, cars, and other places they might feel at home in.) I also had one leading into my dorm room while I was in college. It was and is a small and simple car one. I'm not using it at the moment. I already have another one up for my room, and doorposts in other areas, too. In general, mezuzah's can have really fancy cases. The one in the pic looks cool. Although, a lot of the design seems to have rubbed off over time. There's a little window that displays the parchment itself. Kind of cute. Interesting to see an Italian one. And, always cool to see the really old stuff.:iconchibihungaryplz:

Oh, Tu B'Shevat starts tomorrow night, and goes until sundown the next day. It's the New Year for the Trees. It's a minor holiday, but a nice one. Tu B'Shevat means the 15th of the month of Shevat. Many celebrate it by planting a tree, attending a special seder, or just enjoying some fruit and nuts. Basically something to appreciate them. Seder literally means 'order', but it usually refers to the specific order of a ritual dinner/meal. Each food has some sort of symbolism. It's a rather new concept to have one centered around Tu B'Shevat. Normally, it's around Passover, which is coming up in a couple of months. For this one you get to eat/drink a variety of fruit, nuts, and wines (or in my case, grape juice). The wines/grape juices range in color from a dark red to a white. The wines signify the seasons. The fruit and nuts have their own categories and meanings, too. It's actually a lot of fun.:iconheroamericaplz:My mom led Tu B'Shevat seders for a while. Can't remember how many years she did it for...We had the first few at home, and invited a bunch of people. The others were at the closest synagogue. Everyone loved it. 

The month-long holidays are: Canned Food Month, Celebration of Chocolate Month, National Cherry Month, National Hot Breakfast Month, Potato Lover's Month, Barley Month, National African American History Month, National Women Inventors Month. Some are for important causes, some are to make you appreciate things you may take for granted, and some are just for fun. It's interesting what types of food can be canned now. Yay, for chocolate! That does indeed call for a celebration!:iconenglandispervyplz:One of my fave fruit/desserts are cherries. They're so versatile. A hot breakfast can be nice when it's in the middle of winter. I love potatoes! African American history is very important. I'm surprised there's a Women Inventor month, but that's pretty cool. They rarely get any recognition.:iconhongkongplz:

The weather's still warmer than it should be. Even for this area. It's like a cool spring weather, not what you'd see at the beginning of February. At least we're not like other parts of the country where they're being hammered with snow.:iconchibichinaplz:

I still don't feel well yet.:iconhanatamagoplz:Saturday was really horrible. And, even though I was drinking a lot, I ended up being dehydrated again. At least it wasn't nearly as bad as it was before I went to Urgent Care a week ago. I decided to try Imodium Multi-Symptom Relief and Gatorade. The Imodium has weird directions, but I followed what to do for the first dose. Didn't need to use the bathroom for an entire day. Made me kind of worried.:iconawkwardplz:I think I feel a bit better today than I have been for a while, though. The Gatorade is to help replace the electrolytes I lost, and/or losing. I'm not used to Gatorade. It's an interesting taste.:iconseychelles-plz:I got their orange flavor. I'm glad they have the option of getting a bunch of single serving bottles. Hopefully with both the Imodium and Gatorade I'll get back to feeling normal faster. I still feel really weak and occasionally I'll get very dizzy. Nausea is still there, although it's much better than it was. Ran out of the anti-nausea meds pretty quickly.:iconnorwayunimpressedplz:I followed the doc's instructions, but I was out of it in just a few days. He only ordered 9 small pills for me. 

On Saturday, we ended up shopping most of the day. We were out of so many things. For brunch, we went to Red Robin, and I got their Bleu Ribbon Burger with fries. It basically represented 3 of my meals (considering it was so late). It was my breakfast, lunch, and afternoon snack. So, I let myself eat the whole thing. I was extremely hungry, and it was very satisfying.:iconfeelingfullplz:Seemed like there was a good amount/mix of everything in the burger, but for some reason they gave me a sizable mound of blue cheese off to the side of it. I don't like when there's too much of it, or it's by itself. So, I tried to steer clear of it. It had just the right amount of sauce, too. 

For dinner, we went to Olive Garden. I wanted to take advantage of their new 4-course meal deal. I think it was a better one than Red Lobster's. I got the regular house salad, hummus as an appetizer, spaghetti with 5-cheese marinara as an entree, and a little limoncello mousse for dessert. The salad always comes in a big bowl and is so big it probably could be enough for 4 or 5 people easily. For one person, it feels a little excessive.:iconkikuplz:I forgot to tell our waitress that I don't want onions nor the pepperoncini, and to put the dressing off to the side. She took it from me, but left it and a bunch of wine glasses (some of them filled a bit) on a ledge a few feet away from us. A waiter bumped into it, and everything went flying. It didn't hit Dad or I, though. It was quite the spectacle.:iconchibiaustriaplz: 

When things were being cleaned up, and I was still waiting for my salad, I got my hummus. It was loaded with garlic cloves. Tasted a bit different than what I'm used to. I liked it, but later through having its leftovers found out it really was mostly garlic cloves and hardly any actual hummus.:icongermanyplz:(They said they were roasted garlic cloves, but I think half were barely cooked.) Also, the hummus seemed to be lacking lemon juice and/or olive oil. It was interesting to try though. I was either going to try this or the fried risotto bites. Maybe if they still have this thing in the future sometime, I'll try those instead. The salad came a few minutes after the hummus. And, I promptly dropped a tomato slice...:iconohboyamericaplz:Something was up with the salads or something. It tasted fresh and was crisp, though.

The spaghetti with 5-cheese marinara was amazing!:iconinloveplz:Ended up making it 6-cheese with them adding romano cheese to it. It wasn't overpowering, though. The tomato chunks and sauce made it taste fresh and bold. Dessert was really good too.:iconthailandplz:It was really chilled, and seemed like the mousse part had almost turned into gelato or ice cream. It had a graham cracker-like flaky crust on the bottom. They had it in a small glass. I like their 'dolcinis' or mini desserts. They're small enough to satisfy, and not feel like you had too much.:iconchibinitalyplz:The limoncello mousse had a lemon fruit jelly on top, too. It was kind of a cute one. 

When I told our waitress that I wanted the salad to go, she gave me a large container that had a small tub of their dressing, a few packs of their romano cheese, and a pack of their croutons. That was pretty cool!:iconchibiamericaplz:I don't remember them doing that before. Took a while for me to finish the salad itself. I've had it with almost every meal since. I had to toss the leftover hummus at some point, because it started to taste weird.:icondisgusted-hongkong:The leftover spaghetti with 6-cheese marinara lasted a while, and still tasted amazing when I finished it. Still have a couple of breadsticks left. Yay! More awesome to go around!:dummy:

Tried to finish watching the rest of Pandemic, but for some reason the last 20 minutes weren't online. It was a really long movie, so I'm not too upset. They may have found a way to make a vaccine for the virus just before those last 20 minutes, so I could probably assume it really did work. It was a pretty good movie. At times it seemed to drag, though. Occasionally, the music seemed to try and make it more dramatic than it actually was. That was slightly annoying. Funny watching a movie about a virus while you might have some sort of virus, too. One where the doc you saw couldn't clarify. Kind of spooks me a bit. At least things are getting better, and I'm not bleeding from every orifice. In the movie the 'blame' virus was pretty brutal. Up to the 20 minutes left mark, I think they said that about 8 million people in Japan had died from it. The streets were deserted, and it looked like a wasteland. I read a little bit of someone's summary for the ending and supposedly it killed 11 million in the end. That's a lot of people. Most of the time the movie felt more 'real' than most other virus outbreak/pandemic movies. So, that was good, and made it even more creepy.

Everything Becomes F has been interesting. I thought the whole series would be based on that first case. But, apparently they go off to solve more. Just finished watching their 2nd case about a family's secret behind a gourd and a special box. 50 years ago the head of the household was found dead in a storage room that was also used as his art studio. There was blood on a gourd, and an ornate looking box was next to it. The head had told people repeatedly to never open the box. They found out that there was a key inside the gourd, but it was too large to slip out of it. They thought the key from the gourd was the only way to open the box. Eventually, the next head was found stabbed horribly and about to die in that same room. He jumped off a bridge as his daughter was trying to take him to the hospital. Turns out both of them may have tried to commit suicide the same way. Only the younger one couldn't quite do it on his own. If you pour hot water into the gourd, it melts the key. There's an area on the box that you can unscrew, and to open it, you pour the contents of the gourd into the box. The melted metal takes the shape of the cutout in the box. It ends up looking like a very sharp dagger. In order to get rid of it, you just toss it back into the gourd and eventually as this certain type of metal goes back to room temp, it somehow goes back to the shape of the key. Pretty interesting idea. They were a little unsure about how it turns back into a key, since they didn't open it up. The next one seems to be centered around that inmate Nishinosono talks to at the beginning of the 1st episode. And, after looking briefly online at the manga version, seems to be that version's first case. So why didn't they start with that one? It's going to be on an island this time. We might actually find out what she meant by Everything Becomes F.