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And I play the piano, too!

You Are Schroeder

You are creative, talented, and ambitious. You prefer to let your actions speak for themselves.

You may seem quiet and meek, but you're not. You may not always say how you feel, but you do what you want to do.

You are good at what you do, and your success is partially a result of lots of hard work.

You're a big believer in practice makes perfect. And you sure practice a lot!

And now to bed.
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Cinderella Story. Outta Nowhere.

Former greens keeper, about to become Masters’ Champion--no, wait, not that at all.

Katie O’s in a cult. I blame the years and years of subliminal suggestion by the melodious tune of the Russell Elementary Fight Song, i.e., a total rip off of the Notre Dame Fight Song with incredibly corny lyrics for grade school kids. She is part of the cult of the ND alumni. So she recruited a pack of us to help her at the Notre Dame Club of St. Louis’s Trivia Night Fundraiser.

But I have to say, good variety of categories, good spread of questions within the categories.

ROUND 1: History/Politics – Questions from as far back as Caesar all the way to Sister Wives & the “Appalachian Trail” 10/10, awesomesauce, great way to start off. We were far from the only ones.

ROUND 2: Sports – blah blah blah 9/10. Good job, boys. Did you know that the UK has won the 2nd most Olympic medals after the USA? Yeah, us neither. :)

ROUND 3: THE ARTS – Noble category, pissed off our artist in residence by not having any questions about hang-on-the-wall art AT ALL. 8/10, first mulligan.

ROUND 4: Assassinations – Yikes. 9/10. Yeah, we’re dark. Bring it. We missed the question about the only president with two assassination attempts by women. I suggested the right answer (Gerald Ford) based on nothing more than Kate saying she remembered it being a television-era president, but having NO REASON AT ALL to make this choice, there was no reason for it to be our decision. I said Johnson, too. Mulligan.

ROUND 5: Spices – Little bags of spices to taste/smell & identify. 8/10. Missed ginger & old bay, blame the fact that the proximity made every single one of them smell like cayenne.

ROUND 6: St. Louis Trivia – 8/10, with a mulligan. Shame on us.

ROUND 7: Disney! Only 10/10 of the whole room. NO MULLIGANS. Yeah, we’re pretty awesome. I was the anchor for this round, but LOTS of good support from the rest of the team. The didn’t believe me that The Incredibles won the Oscar (identify 3 out of 5), but they did believe Toy Story didn’t, so it balances out. :)

ROUND 8: Earth 9/10. Lots of successful BSing in this round. Southern hemisphere aurora: Aurora Australius. Lake between Bolivia & Peru: Titicaca (thanks, Animaniacs!). Third largest land animal, behind the Asian & African elephants: YOUR MOM! Strangely, nobody in the room laughed ridiculously loudly, as our table did upon Stephanie’s awesome automatic response. Actual submitted answer: your mom hippopotamus. The city of over 1,000,000 people the furthest from another city of over 1,000,000 people is Auckland, NZ. Which makes a lot of sense when you understand the question correctly.

ROUND 9: Famous last words – end lines from books or movies. 8/10. Got totally befuddles by the fact that there is a character in Mallrats called LaFours, and was unable to remember what movie Kevin Smith was referencing.

ROUND 10: Potpourri – 8/10. Kate was worried; potpourri can be a hit-or-miss kind of category, but we pulled out a solid score.

And in the end? Missed out on first place by just a couple of points. But this trivia night pays out to the top three, so we still finished up $5 a person! The winners were a team of “circuit” trivia pros, including a couple of former Jeopardy contestants! They had that level of trivia experience, and we still finished right on their tail.

So we got that going for us, which is nice.

We are from Russell; we are the best.
We are the Cougars; we never rest.
We love our colors: red and white.
We think our school is dynamite.
We like our principal s/he is first rate.
All of our staff members are really great.
We think our teachers are really grand,
Giving a helping hand. RAH RAH RAH!
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In Honor of Conan's Triumphant Return Tonight!


You Are Conan

You are a bit of a contradiction. You're both incredibly smart and extremely goofy.

A lot of people don't get you, but those who do get you truly love you.

You have outlandish ideas, but you always seem to know how to make them work.

You are a bit of a geek... and all the more popular for it! You are clearly comfortable in your own skin.

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The Greatest Thing in the History of Things

OH MAN! I have been begging Boston Katie to send me this picture for a jillion years.

Let's not bury the lead:


Back in the very early 90s, Nickelodeon tried an experiment, their first teen soap. Fifteen. At 1 and 5. Fifteen. At 1 and 5. Those ads were frigging omnipresent. I tried it, but to 11 year old me, it was hella boring. No idea that one of the hottest guys ever was hiding in polite Canadian obscurity.

The way Katie tells it, she was in my camp on Fifteen, but older sister Colleen had it on all the time. It was actually her mom who recognized him, and it may have actually been the first time he was recognized in public. This is taken at Nickelodeon Studios, part of Universal Studios Orlando, back in the days when they actually filmed things there (see the employee security badge on his hip?). And look, even took his hat off for the picture, isn't that nice?

I just love that the sister who probably would have been a total spaz wasn't even with them. Poor Colleen.

Oh, and that disinterested little boy on the left? That's Molly.


UPDATE: Katie says:

We didn’t get autographs. Just a few quick photos and that was it. It was all pretty quick. No one else recognized him and he went back inside the studios. I wonder if we made his day? I bet we did. I remember that he was buying a t-shirt, but not sure if it was a Ren & Stimpy one.

It’s weird that I still remember most of that encounter. I remember him being really touched. I remember him being really nice. And I remember his voice, a little different from his voice now, but still the same. He was adorable.

*Estimate based on Katie thinking it's from 1991.
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Weirdest Spam EVAR

So, I got this in my email the other day. I don't really understand what it's meant to accomplish. There were no links, no malicious attachments, no invocations to provide secure financial information.

Just terrible, non-sensical, meandering writing that has absolutely nothing to do with the subject line...
SUBJECT: Video: Father Describes Home Invasion, Murder

Abuse victims appeal to pope before historic visit Is FOIA Becoming Less Frustrating? Francesco was unprepared for the gentle kindness of her address; his stern heart melted, his proud glance suddenly changed to one of gracious courtesy; he gazed upon her as upon some angelic being sent down from heaven to soothe and gladden his perturbed soul; and henceforward he saw nothing in the glare, and the crowd, and the splendour around him, save the sweet face and the delicate form of the Countess Alberoni; his charmed eyes followed her from place to place, and so entirely was he engrossed by one object, that he did not perceive that the attention of Beatrice was almost wholly occupied by a young and sprightly cavalier, who pursued her like a shadow, pouring tender tales in a not unwilling ear.Group by group the guests retired from the festive scene, and the brother and sister, scarcely able to define the new feelings which sprung up in the heart of each, quitted the magnificent palace to seek their forlorn abode. The Lady Thyone especially desired him to heed her counsel.While the steward was communicating this startling news as calmly as if everything was a matter of course, the events of the preceding night came back to Hermons memory with perfect distinctness, and again the fear assailed him that the rescued Demeter was the work of Myrtilus, and not his own. So the first question he addressed to Gras concerned the Tennis goldsmith, and it was a keen disappointment to Hermon when he learned that the earliest time he could expect to see him would be the following day. The skilful artisan had been engaged for weeks upon the gold ornaments on the new doors of the holy of holies in the Temple of Amon at Tanis. Urgent business had called him home from the neighbouring city just before the night of the attack; but yesterday evening he had returned to Tanis, where his wife said he would have only two days work to do. This answer, however, by no means appeased Hermons impatience. The agriculture of the period was rapidly advancing in the perfection of its details.Concentrated fertilizers were coming into general use and the area of cotton culture was immensely expanding. The farms were about equally divided as to the style of their management. The best farmers still hired their hands and superintended the details of operation in person, but many leased their lands to laborers and furnished the teams and supplies needed by the tenants. 7. Under the sensible and moderate rule then seen in the State, prosperity seemed rapidly returning, but as the United States Congress still refused to allow any representation in that body, there was great and increasing uneasiness as to the terms that would be finally exacted from the South in the proposed reconstruction measures. 8. Early in the year 1868 a convention, so-called, was held to frame a new Constitution under the Reconstruction Act of Congress.
That's some Beautiful Mind shit, right there.
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MEME! (You want in on this?)

Comment with “SHOWTIME!” and I will give you ten actors and ten actresses. Then post in your blog (or comment if you don't have one) with your favorite films of theirs.

ack_attack gave me...

  1. Dustin Hoffman Is it safe? Gotta be Marathon Man. SO GOOD, and don't think the Princess Bride connection is wasted on me.
  2. Ben Stiller Zoolander. What is this? A school for ants? Plus, little cameo from a pre-vamp Eric Northman as late model, Minkus.
  3. Jon Favreau Oh, Favs. Swingers. He's so money and he doesn't even know it. I think he knows now.
  4. Justin Long Dodgeball. I liked him better before he decided he was smooth. Wonder how he feels about Jay Baruchel taking over his abandoned niche?
  5. John Travolta It's between Pulp Fiction & Grease... Pulp Fiction. Just so iconic. (How much did I want to say Boy in the Plastic Bubble? SO MUCH)
  6. Michael Caine I'm gonna go back to Little Voice. Why has MC been relegated to such peripheral roles these days? Sidekicktown, population you, bro.
  7. Matthew Modine This is awful, but I gotta say... What the Deaf Man Heard--which I only saw because I was DEEPLY into my ill-conceived Jerry O'Connell phase. But MM was good!
  8. Walter Matthau IQ. He is a totes adorbz Einstein.
  9. Jim Sturgess Had to look him up. And since I hated 21, let's go with Across the Universe.
  10. Ben Kingsley Hmmmm. Sneakers.
  1. Susan Sarandon Bull Durham, no elaboration necessary.
  2. Amy Adams Before the fame, before the awards, before the red hair. Drop Dead Gorgeous.
  3. Kate Hudson Almost Famous. She's perfect in that part and she makes the film. (And she had the best song in Nine.)
  4. Kathy Bates Fried Green Tomatoes. She's older and she has more insurance. Bitches.
  5. Nora Dunn She is absolutely one of the little gems in Drop Dead Gorgeous: I can look at this glass and see it's half full, which in the beauty pageant biz means WHERE THE HELL'S MY WAITER?
  6. Anjelica Huston The Royal Tennenbaums. Wes Anderson makes such good use of her. No idea why she's not Mrs. Fox, especially since it sounds like Meryl Streep is doing an impression of her.
  7. Elizabeth Banks Wet Hot American Summer. She tastes like a burger. I don't like her anymore.
  8. Sharon Stone Ugh. Why is she still famous? The Quick & the Dead. She's not trading on her vagina and it's got Leonardo DiCaprio and a pre-LA Confidential Russell Crowe.
  9. Amanda Seyfried Mean Girls, because I can also predict the weather with my boobs.
  10. Parker Posey She was the best part of Superman Returns. Wow, that's really something Lex. It's freakin' Gone with the Wind.
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I know I keep saying this isn't a cupcake 'blog, but... CUPCAKES!

(They're so yummy & so cute, how can you really mind?)

This first one was my contribution to the weekly Supper Club at Jen & Bob's.

Pink Lemonade Cupcakes--SUPER EASY, you basically just substitute the water for pink lemonade concentrate in a boxed white cake mix and whip up a frosting (stick of butter, 3c powdered sugar, 2T lemon juice, bit of salt, mix until frosting).

Also, a few months ago I had one of the scariest experiences of my life. I let a pregnant woman see a cupcake and I didn't let her eat it. I have never seen such hate in Kari's eyes before. So I promised her, as soon as she was able to have alcohol again, I'd make her the Car Bomb cupcakes. This just so happened to align with the joint birthday party of two of the sweetest boys in town, for whom I'd promised (their mom) cupcakes for the party.

Thus, the day of three entirely different batches of cupcakes. That took forever, and I don't want to do it again. This is another reason why I will continue to decline all of your suggestions that I start a cupcake shop. I took these pictures last minute at the party with my phone, so the quality is not great.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes
These were yummy and the linked recipe to make the topper cookies was great. I will save it for my regular chocolate chip cookie recipe. However, the topper cookies were WAAAY bigger than I wanted, and I'd only used a teaspoon for the scoop. Will have to fine tune that. People were mind-boggled by the raw dough filling. :)

S'mores Cupcakes
These were... frankly a mess. ALSO yummy, but a gooshy mess. I tried to shortcut the recipe by buying a jar of marshmallow fluff to pipe on top instead of the recipe frosting. Little did I know, marshmallow fluff has an incredible capacity to ooze. I hoped once I toasted the marshmallow with my BRAND-NEW KITCHEN TORCH(!!) the spread would stop, but as you can see, continued oozing.

Kari was excited about getting a chance at the boozy cupcakes, but this time I got yelled at by McKenna, for making such yummy looking cupcakes that she (as a 7-year-old) was not allowed to eat. That recipe is here:
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A New Plan

Okay, so I've been trying for a few years to drop some of my college/post-college weight. Some periods more successful than others. But in all, I've been settling around my current weight (down 25 from the highest), for more or less the last year and half. I've been making little efforts that result in losses of 5 to 10 here and there, that eventually come back.

But now I'm ready to kick my own ass. To make such a significant change that I can't bear to let the progress go. (And I've recruited an enforcer.)

Here's the plan: For the next three months (until my birthday), I want to lose a minimum of 5 pounds a month, with a super-success goal of 10 pounds in a single month. SO, how do I force myself to do the work? Punishment for failure (and rewards for super-success). But how? How to punish myself? The simplest way seems to be monetary--a fine, if you will, for not meeting the monthly goal. But I can't just give it a charity, or drop in in the basket at church--there's a reward there: doing something good for someone who needs it. I have to make it something I would DREAD.

So I'm going to make the donation to an organization I completely disagree with on a fundamental basis. And this is where Val comes in. She's my enforcer. She's going to pick the monthly punishment organization. And since she will hate them as much as I will, she's going to make every effort to make sure I don't end up giving them money. I fully expect harassment on a regular basis to make sure I work out and eat right.

So far, we've mentioned: NRA, RNC, Church of Scientology, Sarah PAC. I'm not going to link these, because I don't want you to support them either. :)

But oh, the good side of the plan. And what do I get if I manage to sweat away 10 pounds or more in a month? I've been drooling over the dresses on Mod Cloth for months, and I'm finally going to give myself permission to spend the cash. If I make my goal, I get one dress from Mod Cloth.

Tomorrow's June 1. Tomorrow we start counting. Where will the money go? Some jerk organization or a beautiful new dress? (Everybody hope for dresses, okay?)

Some candidates:

And as much as I love it, I will never be able to convince myself to spend $500 on this one: