Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - oh finally!! (a movie review.....kinda)

Do you know me? Probably don't need to know me much to know how much I have been obsessing over The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo movie. Yes, I was one of those hold outs who didn't read the books when all the buzz started. Why would I want to read some book about an inked chick?? But I did and the rest is kinda history.

So that you know where I am coming from, I have read the entire series once.....pretty much didn't leave the couch from the beginning of the first book through the end of the third. I have watched the foreign films once. Then a couple weeks ago I read the first book again and rewatched the foreign version of the first movie. I stopped short of piercings and tearing my clothes (I would be tempted if I could find a shirt that said "fuck you, you fucking fuck" like was worn in the movie.......though I would probably be too chicken to wear it in public.......or in front of my kids........maybe under a sweatshirt?!?!? I don't think H&M will be offering it in their Dragon Tattoo collection!)

Last night was the sneak preview. Couldn't believe I hadn't tracked down passes until Sunday morning......thankyouverymuch SandwichJohnFilms!! After talking with the studio rep, I was a bit worried about the amount of violence in the movie: rape, rape, torture, etc. All the heavies. Despite the continual laughing of the dude across the aisle from me, this was not a comedy!

Anyway, the worst part of the movie was the Trent Reznor "video" at the beginning. My friend MsChick said it was to get us in that "weird dark Swedish vibe". You can see the video on his site......sans movie credits. This movie was a long one.......why saddle us with a ridiculous waste of time on top of that? (Otherwise, he and Atticus Ross did an amazing soundtrack!!)

After that, everything was much better! I don't know how to really say it (which is why I won't be quitting my day job to become a movie critic anytime soon), but this version of the movie took a slightly different view of the storyline than the original version and I liked it better. It did a better job of explaining things than the foreign film and will go over better with those few in the audience who haven't devoured the books. The movie was faithful to the story, the good, the bad, and the ugly. It still took liberties with some of the details of the story and I would love to ask the screenwriter, director, producer, whomever "why???? why bother changing something like that?" But I can't.

End result: this movie lives up to the hype. They did not ruin a good story as I had feared they would. Other than 2 obvious and annoying product placements (McDonalds and Coke, I am looking at you!), it was not what I call "Hollywoodized." (Apple and Epson got their fair share of screentime too, but somehow that wasn't as annoying.) I can't imagine how many shots it took to get some of the subtle emotions and nuances from the actors. I was uncomfortable where I knew I would be (this is not a kids's movie people......and the 2 people I saw there with their young children: bad! bad bad parents!!!). The movie (with the help of the soundtrack) was fast paced and I didn't notice that I was sitting for so long. They did an excellent job of providing some relief so you didn't leave the theater needing a chiropractor from being stressed up and clenched for almost 3 hours. I will go see it again. 

One thing that feels off is that what you remember being the main story ends, but there are still several minutes left to the movie. The viewer (even me) forgets that the story begins with Mikael Blomkvist being convicted of slander. Then we quickly get swept up into the "meat" of the movie. But that part of the story is only there because of the fall-out of the court case and after the mystery is solved, the slander storyline needs to be concluded. Seems a bit anti-climactic. It does in the book too. But it is necessary for the continuation of the Trilogy. Maybe instead of seeing it as the end of this story, see it as a prelude to the next?

Anyone know when The Girl Who Played With Fire will be out?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

And the winner......

of an all expenses paid trip to......oh wait, wrong blog! lol!!

okay, seriously, according to Random.org, the winner of all those nifty neat-o-keen things in my November 27th post is..........


Please make sure I have your address so I can mail you your goodies ASAP!!!!

Thank you everyone for entering!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Meatless Mondays - Comedy or Tragedy?

A couple weeks ago we (ie: me) decided to start doing meatless mondays. Hadn't really thought too much about it or done any research. I know that we eat too much meat. Even enforcing portion control is difficult. I also wanted to expand the family's diet. The boys aren't vegetable fans, so I promised no straight out salads. (That is fine....I don't really like lettuce and we rarely have it in the house. A salad with dinner is usually more a bowl of chopped veggies.....which are then drowned in dressing! Oh well!)

The first Monday was easy. I was donating blood the next day so a simple marinara in a cast iron frying pan was perfect! That went over well and showed that no meat wasn't going to kill them. (And I aced the blood iron test!)

We skipped last week.

Last night we were back on track. Had planned on bean and cheese burritos but it was cold and foggy and was wanting some comfort type food. So I hit the internet for some inspiration. There is a site for Meatless Monday. (Who knew?) Thankfully it has loads of recipes! Found this one for Enchiladas. It looked easy enough and I was pretty sure I had everything at home so I was good to go!

Did you read the recipe? I didn't. I looked at the ingredients and the photo, assumed the veggie chili was filing, and went on my merry way. When I got home to make the dish, I noticed that you are supposed to make 12 enchiladas with 8 oz of cheese (and have leftover cheese to put on top) and the chili is put on top of these itty bitty enchiladas! And after all that, you make enchilada sauce??

Needless to say, I didn't follow the recipe. We ended up with what we jokingly called "Deconstructed Mexican Vegetarian Lasagna." You know, because we are quite the foodies! Layers of chili, cheese, and corn tortillas. Ended up using fewer tortillas and more chili and cheese than in the original recipe. It tasted okay, better than I think the recipe would have ended up.

In the meantime, I am working on my list of meatless meals that I know will past muster. Figure I can start with these and sneak in new ones as I find them. Any tried and true family loved meatless dishes you can add to my list?
  • Cheese/veggie pizza
  • Mac & Cheese (except Ryan will only eat the blue boxed stuff)
  • Pasta w/marinara sauce
  • Madras lentils & bulgar (an old WW fav)
  • Soup & grilled cheese

 Also, please remember to enter the Some Stuff You Might Win Giveway!!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Some stuff you might win! (Giveaway)

I didn't know what to call this. It isn't like I have some humongous crazy prize I am giving away.....but I DO have an accumulation of miscellaneous fun things (I think) that I have been given/won/collected/whatever throughout the past year that I thought it would be nice to share with someone else.

Here is what you can win:
 ....and, I have the right to add more stuff to the box! I promise no kids or pets.

How can you win?
post a comment below. that is it! well, post it before December 4th. (and obey caveat #1 below) if you win, be prepared to give me your address when I announce the winner December 5th so I can get the package out to you asap. yes, I will only have 1 winner. some of the prizes seemed silly to pass along individually.

I have 2 small caveats:
  1. you have to give something in this merry mix-up of stuff to someone else. please tell me in your comment which item you would give away, to who, and why you would give them that particular item. (I don't need specific name, addy, etc....."little ol lady next door because she still talks about her honeymoon to Hawaii" is perfectly acceptable)
  2. if you do NOT live in the greater Sacramento area OR will not be visiting prior to December 31, 2011, I will exclude the Chick-Fil-A coupons from the package and figure out another way to pass those on. if you don't live locally but have a suggestion for what I do with the coupons, I'd love to hear it! ditto for the Tillamook cheese. while I think their cheese SHOULD be available everywhere, it just might not be. I can still send you the car if you want! lol!
you can enter once......and so can everyone else. I'd love to give everyone presents, but Santa would get jealous!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Giving Thanks......

So Thanksgiving is Thursday. Perfect time to let you know how thankful I am for you readers. You may not be many, but I love you all just the same! I'll take quality over quantity any day!!

As a thank you, I have a few sumthin sumthins to give away. I am going to do it shortly after the holiday. I haven't decided if I am going to do it in one fellow swoop or piece meal it so many can win. The only drawback to the one fellow swoop is that at least one item is local and I would hate to leave out my non-local pals.

and with that rambling completed......have a GREAT Thanksgiving! send warm thoughts to those of us working or running the Sacramento Foodbank's Run to Feed the Hungry.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Let's talk turkey....turkey DAY that is!

So.....what are your plans for Thanksgiving? Sleeping in and then heading out to enjoy some turkey and stuffing with family members? Maybe some crazy pre-Black Friday shopping? 

Back to dinner, let me guess......you start with grace and end with 1 pie per person? Along the way you cruise through 2 kinds of cranberry sauce and enough mashed potatoes to pull a Richard Dreyfus.

For many families in our area, this isn't the case. For many families, Thanksgiving is a Thursday like any other Thursday: one when they go to bed hungry. But I know you know that. And if you are the way I know you are, you do what you can to help. You donate money to your favorite charities, and extras around the holidays. How the heck can I dare harass you about this? 

I'm not........I want to tell you how to feel GOOD! How to make your Thanksgiving THAT MUCH BETTER! How to START your day of giving thanks REALLY feeling thankful!

The Rat Brothers bright and early Thanksgiving morning              

Consider starting your morning with a cool 10K or 5K. Might I suggest the Sacramento Food Bank's 18th Annual Run to Feed the Hungry? A wonderful CRAZY event starting at 8:30 or 9am (depending on your race length). Let me tell you, no run ANYWHERE gives you a better feeling! You can some fun exercise in the cool morning air and leave knowing your entry fee will go to feed local families through the Sacramento Food Bank

And hey, before you say "oh, but I need to go get ready to feed my family" or "how the heck can you expect me to get up that early?" Let me tell you.....you get to sleep in later than you will for Black Friday......and you'll be done and home by 11. That is plenty of time! I guarantee it! How can I? Well, because this will be me and my family's 4th year at the run! And we don't run....oh, NO!! We show up BEFORE the runners, help set up, and register same day runners! And, yes, there are plenty of runners who are done and gone before us.

But.......it is SO worth it! Never has a turkey tasted so good as one eaten after knowing you helped other families have a good meal the same day. So, consider this your invitation! Come join us for the start of the best Thanksgiving you will ever have!

Friday, October 7, 2011

BSA Eternal Flame Weekend - Public Invited!

I have meant to post this for the past several evenings. The problem is that you can't get ready for something AND post about it online at the same time! (Don't tell me about that whole scheduling thing......that didn't work so well for me last time) And while I have not been as involved and as busy as Jeff, I was tasked with an important job and it took up quite a bit of time.

So....better little notice than no notice, right? I have no clue what else is going on in the Sacramento area. All I know is that the Pioneer District's Eternal Flame is happening at Camp Pollock.  The event begins tonight, October 7th, with opening flags at 8:30pm and runs non-stop through 10am Sunday morning. Over 200 Boy Scouts will properly retire close to 2,000 flags!

The public IS encouraged to visit and assist with the retirement. One of the event's goals is the education of proper flag etiquette. This is not a Boy Scouts recruitment. This is a way the Scouts give back to their country and community.

Two highlights are Opening Flag at 8:30 tonight and the retiring of the cemetery flags on Sunday at 9am. Either event will make you cry. Heck, talking to people and watching the Scouts retire our country's flag is enough to make you choke up.

In addition to the flag retirement, there are other activities going on. A Naturalization Ceremony on Saturday, a monkey bridge and Scout made merry-go-round, and a movie Saturday night are just a few of them.

Camp Pollock is located at 467 Del Paso Blvd, near the conflux of Del Paso, Northgate, and 160. Look for the BSA Camp Pollock sign. Please drive carefully as the road is narrow and there are a lot of people running around!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

It's World Cardmaking Day! Check out the Bloghop!

Here is your friendly reminder to come check out my scrapbook blog to see the card I made for Operation Write Home....and to continue on their Christmas card bloghop! I think you'll enjoy it!

btw, if you click on card #124 (the really cute snowmen), it will take you to the OWH blog and there are additional cards linked at the bottom! some amazing works of art to check out.....

Monday, September 26, 2011

If you somehow didn't know......

I am a scrapbooker!! I even have a blog dedicated to my layouts! I have been a more diligent scrapper but without an internet scrap-home, I will admit I have lagged. So that blog is aptly titled: Sometimes Susan Scraps.

I bring this up now because on Saturday I get to participate in a really cool event: Operation Write Home's World Cardmaking Day Bloghop! The organization collects cards for the troops to use to send home messages. I went to a crop this past weekend and made a card after each layout. It was quick and easy and a great way to use my layout scraps!

The Bloghop on Saturday has over 100 blogs signed up! That means 100+ great Christmas cards to check out! If you are a cardmaker or scrapbooker with a blog, I encourage you to join the event. Sign ups are welcome through Wednesday night. If you aren't, I encourage you to check out the hop, see some beautiful works of art!

And, have no fear, I'll be sure to remind you about the hop again later in the week. Right now I need to work on my card!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Things to do......you know, pretending its Fall and all!

And here is where you expect me to tell you "go to Apple Hill....see the leaves turn.....blah, blah, blah." Assuming you live anywhere near here, you already know about Apple Hill (go early, leave early). I want to tell you about the other things happening! Let's call them the "B-side" of the things to do list! lol!!

This Thursday, September 22nd is West Wind Theaters annual Customer Appreciation Night! What is better than the drive-ins? How about FREE drive-ins!! You get your choice of Cars, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Transformers 3. Long rumored to be their "last year" every year, West Wind has done a great job of remaking themselves as more of a family destination. Let's hope the weather is a bit cooler than those meteorologists are saying so we can all hang out watching movies and eating $1 nachos......oops! I forgot to mention that! Yeppers, $1 nachos!

If that puts you in the mood for some more family together time, check out Citrus Heights' Sunday Fun Day on Sunday, September 25th at Rusch Park. This is the 15th year for this free bounce house, pony rides, rock climbing wall, live entertainment, and give-away event. There will be lots of food, music, and fun for everyone in the family! I have some great photos of a cute little Ryan on the amusement rides, and the boys a bit older "steering" the fire truck, and now spinning give-away wheels. The worst part of this event.......parking! Be patient and be willing to walk. It will make life a lot easier.

So if anyone has any pull in the weather department, order up some cooler fall weather!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Winner Winner Cheesy Dinner!! Tillamook Cheese winners!

A couple weeks ago we had the awesome pleasure of inviting another family over for a wonderful fondue dinner with the cheese supplied by Tillamook. Oh, it was SO darn tasty and we had a blast!! I posted about the evening here and then gave readers a chance to win themselves some free Tillamook Cheese! They could win one of two ways: tell me how they would Share the Loaf with family or friends OR tell me a cheesy joke! (come on now......you know me, you know I couldn't resist!)

So here are our winners and their entries:

Tamaralyn Kieso said...
For my next college friend get-together, I would take my Tillamook cheese blocks and slice them. I would have several varieties. Then, I will blindfold my friends so they can guess what kind each cheese is. Because I'm from the cheese state (Wisconsin) we know a lot about cheese. I will also have my friends guess about how old we think the cheese is and what kind of milk it is made from. What a great way to educate ourselves from this game all while enjoying our favorite cheese 
Nancy Niles said...
What type of cheese isn't your cheese? NACHO CHEESE!
What do you call cheeses made in Israel? Cheeses of Nazareth!
Knock Knock
Whos there?
Gorilla who?
Gorrilla me a cheese sandwich, I'm hungry.

Try&TryAgain said... I would use the cheese when I babysit my friend's two young children. I would get out some fun cookie cutters and let the kids "cut the cheese". I would also make grilled cheese sandwiches that can be cut into shapes. Fun kid friendly activities with the best cheese ever!
MommyRandomness said...
My daughter is 6 and a very tender heart and loves grill cheese and we pass the local Salvation Army and when we go to the bank she sees all the people waiting on the sidewalks for lunch and she always says we should make them grill cheese so they won't be hungry while they wait...I would make grill cheeses with her to give to the people so she feels like she shared her desire to be a chef and love for grilled cheese!!! GO Tillamook!!

Oh!! doesn't that last one just pull at your heart? Thank you Tillamook for giving me the opportunity to share the fun with my friends and hear these great ideas!

And if you need a laugh, there were a few more hysterical cheesy jokes in the original post. Congrats to everyone! I'll be contacting you to get addresses to send out your cheesy rewards.

Oh, and while I know that "real" bloggers never mix topics in the same post, I don't have the patience for that! So, to update my list of giving things away:
got those bags of clothes to Goodwill and have filled up another one
2 sketch books!
I am hoping they will help inspire my friend to scrapbook more......and in turn bug me to do more! And if you are interested in what I am scrapping these days (when I DO scrapbook)......check out my scrap blog: SometimesSusanScraps

Saturday, September 10, 2011

A girl and 3 movies....

I probably could write 3 different posts talking about each of the movies separately, however I don't know that I have that much to say. But, I did want to put my $0.02 in on them!

Contagion came out Thursday. This movie demonstrates how quickly a virus can spread throughout the world. I still had a bit of a cough and I could feel the entire theater cringe every time I coughed. I even cringed when I had to cough! The movie was done in such an understated almost factual manner that it could easily double as a documentary for a high school health class. While I am sure you can guess the eventual outcome of the storyline, I was not the only one who left the theater feeling despair and helplessness at the possibility of the movie becoming reality. Overall, it was a good quality piece of film work with quality acting, but falls on my "wait and see it at home" scale of movie rating. Bonus: at home you don't sit there wondering who last touched your arm rest!

Lion King 3D is roaring back into theaters for a limited 2 week engagement starting September 16th. (Can you hear the commercial: "Disney is opening the vault for a limited time"?) Same story, same taglines. Heck, depending on your kids' ages, you might be able to mouth the entire movie along with the characters! So, why should you consider going to see it? And why am I going to suggest that you go so far as to plunk out the big bucks for the biggest screen you can find? Well, because if any animated movie was meant to be pulled out and redone in 3D, it was Lion King. You know that the minute the bird flies over your shoulder and into the screen. I am not a fan of 3D, but this movie did it right! In fact, I am disappointed to see that it won't be showing at our local IMAX theater.

50/50 is going to be called one of the best movies of the year. I put it up there with The Help. And you know how much I loved that movie! The storyline is about a young man finding out he has cancer and how he and his circle of family/friends all deal with it. I am not going to go more into it than to tell you that not everyone reacts the way you think they will......and that is kinda the point of the movie. I was fortunate enough to see a really early sneak preview 50/50. Took the boys with me even though I thought the subject matter might be a bit too grown-up for them. They laughed, they cried, and they want to see it again! The movie did an excellent job of balancing the seriousness of the situation (hey! the guy has a 50/50 chance of survival! can't get more serious than that!) and providing enough humor to make it feel "real".

So, if I had to pick just one of these movies to see, it would be 50/50. Sad, because Contagion had such possibilities along with my favorite quote: "Blogging is just graffiti with punctuation." Let me know what you think about these movies.....and how do you feel about the whole idea of remaking movies in 3D? Is it an easy way to make a quick buck or are they really that much better?

PS: Today is your last chance to try and win some Tillamook Cheese!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Give it away, give it away, give it away now!

A friend of mine posted last month about challenging herself to give away 100 things in 100 days! You can click through her blog post to see the original inspiration which is to par down your belongings to 100 things (oh, frightening, isn't it?) Her last update was August 14th and she had gotten rid of 18 things!

I love her version and definitely have more than 100 things that I would never notice gone. So for my own challenge, I am not giving myself a time limit.....but I am also not limiting myself to only 100 things! To date I have happily found new homes for:

Sanrio chopstick, rice bowl, cup set
3 Copic markers
2 sketch books
yards of ribbon
Blackberry cell phone, case, charger

Not bad! I still have several books that need to get to the library and 5+ bags of clothes to head to Goodwill. (Per Arlyn's directive, they don't count until they are OUT of the house....and I do not count the trunk! lol!!) I am glad to know that these items will be appreciated and used by their new owners. Sadly, their absence has yet to make a dent in the clutter that is my house. (Wonder where she is at now......oh, Arlyn!!)

The same friend has a GREAT idea about clothing: only buying a new piece when getting rid of an old piece! For me, I think it should be "buy one new to replace two old"......but that is for another challenge!

And as a reminder, you have until September 10th to win some Tillamook Cheese! Yes, I am giving it away, but no, it doesn't count for my challenge since Tillamook gave it to me for the purpose of giving it away......just a nifty little tie in! lol!!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Chicken and Donuts!!! (now with MORE chicken! lol!)

Let's talk chicken........if you follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, or ever talk to me, you probably know a little bit about my Chick Fil A peach milkshake addiction. Oh it is bad! Really good for me it is a seasonal shake or I would need to sell the car to buy bigger pants (and walk everywhere to work back into my original size). But enough about that.......back to the chicken.

Chick Fil A is opening a new location down in Fairfield on September 8th. (see link for address.....) Like they do for every opening, the first 100 people in line get a free Chick Fil A meal for a year! Dang that would be fun! But if you don't want to spend 24 hours hanging out, I have heard a rumor that they are practicing starting tomorrow and plan to pass out 10,000 free sandwiches! I wonder how long it takes to pass out 10,000 sandwiches? I wonder if you have to buy the rest of the meal or can't buy anything else at all? I don't know the answer to these questions. If you do, let me know and I'll update the post. Take a tour of the Jelly Belly Factory and make it a road trip!

Wow there is a whole lotta chicken going on! All Chick Fil As are giving away breakfast sandwiches starting next Tuesday! You pick the date, you pick the store, you pick the time! CLICK HERE for more information and to RSVP! If you go in any morning other than Thursday, you can even enjoy a peach milkshake with that free breakfast entree! (Hey, now! It is perfect for breakfast.........fruit and dairy! mmmmm! Tasty!!)

(and before we move on from chicken, let me remind you that Chick Fil A near Arden Fair has family night every Tuesday night where kids eat free. with the boys older now, we don't get to take advantage of these fun things.....but you might be able to!)

If Fairfield is a little too far away (because you are busy doing all those awesome things I mentioned happening this weekend) how about some donuts? vegan donuts? seriously awesome donuts?? Doughbots Donuts opens Saturday morning at 5am!! (I'll be sleeping in, but you are welcome to bring me a few by......otherwise, I'll be enjoying them a bit later and might even do a donut review!) Are you going to check them out? IF you do, let me know what you think! I am not a big donut fan, but am really intrigued by the idea of designed donuts.

hope that all makes you hungry!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Labor Day Weekend: enough time for FUN & a little relaxation!

School has started and I can't believe how much I am already looking forward to the first holiday, Labor Day! A three day weekend somewhat guarantees me I'll get to sleep in at least ONE morning....and even offers that whispered promise of a possible date with hubby!

But just when I start thinking wonderful thoughts of kicking back, that old adage comes crashing through: "the universe hates an empty calendar." This must be why there are SO many things to do this weekend! And believe me when I tell you, there is something for everyone: young at heart, old fashioned at heart, and gay at heart! (sorry! just couldn't pass that one up!)

Here are my top picks for this coming Labor Day weekend:

  • Sacramento Gold Rush Days: Did you know I was a history major in college? They called it "social science" but it really was history! Anyway, I used to participate in events like this on the side. The folks from the Historic Old Sacramento Foundation (and others) are going to truck in a bunch of dirt to Old Sacramento, have loads of people in period costumes (like I used to do), and pretend Proposition 13 and Governor Terminator didn't exist! The sites says the year is 1850, but if you want to attend the preview night on Friday, it will only be 1849......as in $18.49! If you can hold on until the clock strikes 1850, the event is free and runs from 10am to 5pm. No planning ahead necessary! If you are good at planning ahead (to go back in time) check out the Old Sacramento Underground Tours while you are there! The site also has a great schedule of performances and events.....you know, in case you are good at that planning ahead thing.
  • If you want a more colorful weekend, how about checking out Sacramento's own Rainbow Festival! This event runs Friday through Sunday (you will need Monday to rest). The Rainbow Festival is held to raise awareness and raise money for charities that provide support and services to the Lesbian and Gay Community......and to have a blast!!! The main event is the festival street fair Sunday from 10am to 6pm. There will be entertainment, vendors, etc. J and L Streets between 19th & 21st will be blocked until about 8pm Sunday night for the Festival.
  • Should the Rainbow Festival prove a bit TOO colorful for you, how about Sacramento's 20th Annual Chalk it Up! Held at Fremont Park Saturday through Monday, this will feature artists creating works of chalk art, kids activities, and even your own opportunity to create your own personal square!! If nothing else, you might want to check out the festival just to get a chance to track down your favorite elusive food truck! AND, Blackbird Kitchen & Bar is going to be there! These are the awesome people who fed us some AMAZING oysters at the last Sacramento TweetUp! I am SO looking forward to these guys opening for business! Anyway, come get your hands dirty (or chalky), listen to some music, and be a kid again!!
  • However, should your weekend plans include a belated spring cleaning.....or early fall cleaning, maybe you are looking for something a bit more practical? How about an e-waste event? You are in luck! One is being held this Saturday from 9am to 1pm in the parking lot by the softball field at Mira Loma High School!
  • They can accept: monitors, tvs, PCs, VCRs, stereo equipment, speakers, keyboards, mouse(s), PDAs, digital cameras, zip drives, telephones, cell phones, printers, copiers, toasters (huh, didn't know about that one), blenders, microwaves, laser and multifunction scanners and fax machines. They'll even destroy your hardrive!!
  • They cannot take: household appliances like fridges or washers/dryers, furniture (seriously people? when is furniture considered e-waste??), hazardous household waste like: flourescent light bulbs, paint, pesticides, used oil, cleaning supplies, and tires......again, not e-waste!
  • While you are there, consider making a donation. That IS what it is all about, right?
So, a big beautiful weekend ahead of you! Lots of fun things to do......and still get that lazy morning to sleep in! If you decide to check out any of the events listed above, please let me know! Also, remember to take a moment and tell me how you would have some fun sharing Tillamook Cheese! I have some great ideas (and terrific jokes) already!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sharing Loaf Love! And you can too!

Thanks to all the fun I had with them at the Sacramento Zoo last month, I was fortunate to receive a very special care package from Tillamook Cheese. They call it a "Baby Loaf Box". The wonderful people at Tillamook asked that I use the contents to Share the "Loaf" Love to bring friends and family together for some cheesy fun. (and promote Tillamook's awesome cheese of course!) Honestly, the possibilities for sharing the cheese were endless and a bit overwhelming. A favorite idea that didn't make the cut was a "build your own nacho bar." I don't think it will be too long before you hear me blog about that happening....maybe a football game party?

Anyway, as you may remember, our family tries to have a game night each Sunday where we end the weekend and start the week playing games and reconnecting. Recently, these have gone the wayside to last minute errands, Scout meetings, etc. Tillamook Loaf Love was just the incentive we needed to get back to this favorite habit.

We invited the Powers family over for a Sunday night fondue. The Monterey Jack and Medium Cheddar Baby Loafs were perfect for this! (yes, shredded cheese would be easier, but I have 2 kids that want to help and shredding cheese is a great way to let them help!) I wanted a nice balance between the more classic fondue dipping items and more "kid" fun kind of bits. By the time the Powers arrived, we had lots of goodies ready to dip: sausage, meatballs, tortellini, lots of veggies, apples, soft pretzels, and tator tots. Ready for dipping were a white wine Monterey Jack cheese with some garlic and nutmeg (surprising but tasty!) and a beer bacon Cheddar cheese fondue with bacon pieces, mustard, horseradish, and Worcheshire sauce.

Eight people around the table, dipping and talking made for a fun, loud meal! Lots of laughter, reaching arms and tasty cheese fondue! It was fun seeing how the same items tasted different in the two different cheese pots.

The kids decided their favorite dipping items were meatballs that had been baked and halved and the chunked sourdough bread. (don't tell the kids, but I think they ate more veggies tonight than they normally do!)

After dinner, the kids played Wii and the grown-ups sat around and chatted. The evening was definitely a success!

So, wanna know how "you can too" share in the Tillamook Loaf Love? Well, in the Baby Loaf Box were some coupons (and what I call "party favors".........see the photos with the two Baby Loafs) for me to share with my blog readers! The coupons are good for 2lbs of Tillamook Cheese!! (did you know the cheddar is aged and someone actually tastes it to make sure it is aging nicely? I want THAT job!!)

Here is the deal:
Tillamook asked that I have my blog readers post their ideas for how to Share the Loaf with their family and/or friends. The most creative ideas will win free cheese!
And since you know how I love puns, I am going to give the best cheesy joke or pun free cheese too!!
You have until September 10th to post your ideas and jokes!!

And when you win, be sure to check out Tillamook's blog or website for some great recipes using that tasty cheese!

Disclosure: In case you hadn't figured it out, in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR Part 255, Tillamook Cheese has generously supplied me with complimentary tasty cheese for promotional purposes.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Yeah, what Andrew said!

MrAndrewBradley: Food Trucks!

those cream puffs were amazing! but even more so were the great fish tacos from Mama Kims! can't wait until I can catch Wicked Wich near work.....their sandwiches looked awesome!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

oh the things you could do!

well.....if you have the time or could be in 2 (or 3) places at one time! all very cool things! I am so thankfully that Sacramento has so many great options to spend your free time doing.
  • in case you have fallen prey to the propaganda put forth by that dastardly Wizard, you can spend Saturday afternoon at the Crest Theater enjoying the Wizard of Oz sing-along! Karaoke starts at 1pm.
  • tonight is an outdoor viewing of the Wizard of Oz at the Crocker Art Museum. (sorry for the last minute notice...I WAS going to give you 3 hours notice but Blogger decided maintenance was more important than informing you about this!) not billed as a sing-along, though I have been promised that no singers will be punished. the event starts at 8pm. I would suggest a quick check at the weather since there is a huge fire burning at 7th and Richards and all of downtown has that "fresh smoked" feeling.
I wanna know when they are going to make a Wicked movie and then have sing alongs for the faithful! Elphaba Lives!
  • tomorrow night, Thursday, plenty of notice, don't complain if you didn't know about it already...... is Wonderbread 5 at Outdoors at UC Davis.....as you might assume AT the UCD Med Center. that nifty link will give you a link to directions in case you are Med Center area challenged like I am! be a good sport, take some soda tabs or laundry detergent or microwave popcorn by the Ronald McDonald House while you are in the area! it will start your night off with GROOVY karma!!
  • finally, if that ol' "sing the praises of Oz" thing isn't for you.....but yellow squishy fruits are more your style (somehow that didn't look as good written out as it sounded in my head)....the head over to the Second Annual Banana Fest! really, you could do both since this event is August 13th & 14th! the event is at William Land Park (handy dandy close to the Sacramento Zoo) and features all those wonderful foods that make the smell of ripening bananas worth it along with some pretty nifty entertainment for the entire family! where do I sign up for the banana split eating contest? AND, if the $7 price tag makes you skittish, have I got a deal for you!!* follow @BananaFestival on Twitter, mention them in a tweet today, and you will get a code for $5 tickets! that gives you $2/person towards the purchase of your favorite banana delicacy! I have heard that you can only use the code once per order but can use it on multiple orders.....just think how much money you and your bunch (of bananas) can save!
finally, if you are in the mood for a darn good movie (and some popcorn whether it is good, bad, or indifferent) remember that my favorite movie of the year, The Help, comes out tonight! remember me talking about it?

I think I am missing something (even though I DID make a list!). so how about if I just state that these amazing events are in addition to all the already great things you can enjoy before the summer disappears and I start singing the praises of Halloween, pumpkin patches, and how bad I look in the color orange!

*not really a I-have-personally-scored-for-you kinda deal......just something I saw and of course had to share.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

#TheHelpMovie - a review and comparison

Under the theory of sharing the things I see, I wanted to try and do a more formal review of the movie The Help. I have read the book and seen the movie twice now. I tried to think and be objective the second time around instead of just basking in the beauty of the story. (there is a hint about how I feel about the movie.)

The Help is the story of an independent young white woman, fresh from college and itching to write the story of her career, and the supposedly "free" colored women who are paid below minimum wage, treated like slaves, and considered disposable as they run households, raise white children, and put up with the indignities of living in the South in the 1960s. (wow that was a mouthful!) The story Skeeter decides on is how these maids/housekeepers feel and their relationships with the ladies they work for. This isn't easy for her to accomplish and that underscores the worries of the time. Two very strong willed maids, Abileen and Minny, help her. These three women are the focus of the book and film.

For me, the most important part of any movie adaptation of a book is that the movie retains the spirit of the story. I realize that characters need to be combined sometimes and parts left out. but the resulting movie still needs to make me feel the way the book did. (think about the avid fans raging against Harry Potter for the parts of the movie that don't live up to the books.)

The Help did an excellent job of keeping the overall feel of the story. Yes, parts were left out and events skimmed in some cases, but the viewer still left the movie feeling the same way a reader feels when done reading the book: totally peeved about how maids/housekeepers were treated by the white women they worked for and vindicated by their victories, small and large. I loved that at certain parts of the movie (which I shall not spoil for those who have not read the book) you could tell who in the audience had read the book. But knowing what twists and turns were coming didn't take away from the joy of watching the film. In fact, I think it made it just that much better. And while many movies might fade after the second watching, I was only more captivated the second time.

The actresses picked to play each of the main roles, Emma Stone, Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer shine! in this role, Emma Stone has proven herself an actress to be reckoned. Equally impressive are newcomers (to me) Bryce Dallas Howard (Ron Howard's daughter), and Jessica Chastain. I know it is cliche, but these women truly brought their characters to life.

Is it a good indication of an excellent adaptation when you leave the movie wanting to read the book again? if that is the case, then The Help is truly an excellent movie. even if you have not read the book, you will enjoy this story of friendship and courage.

Friday, July 29, 2011

but why??

so, one of the reasons I haven't posted very often is because I was debating my blog's focus. at first I think it started as an online diary of sorts, but I did as good a job with that as I did with my pencil & paper diaries as a teen!

a while ago I changed the tag line of the blog to represent the focus I intended for myself. pretty much a cool way of saying "who, what, where" thinking I would talk about the things I do (like read books), the places I go (like movie reviews), and people......a catch-all for everything else.

I started by doing my famous amateur restaurant review and then thought I would do a full scale "The Help" review. that last part hasn't happened (yet!). the most recent post was about an event happening this weekend that is just quirky and fun! hopefully if you live locally you have already visited the Sacramento Zoo, and who can complain about a cute van and cheese? overall, I would love to let people know about things they might like but might miss if I someone doesn't tell them about it!

anyway, these are some of the things I would like to include in this blog......along with my overall general randomness that is always a favorite of mine! lol!!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Some cheesy love!!!

my love of cheese must be rather public as I received an email promoting this weekend's Tillamook Loaf Love Tour event!


In Celebration of Tillamook Cheese’s Loaf Love Tour Returning to Sacramento, YOU can Gain Free Entry to the Sacramento Zoo on Saturday, July 30th

Tillamook Cheese’s “Loaf Love Tour,” the second annual cross-country event dedicated to “bringing tasty cheese to the people,” is returning to Sacramento from July 25th to August 14th.

As a fun way to share the “Loaf Love” with Sacramento-area residents, The Loaf Love Tour will be offering free admission to the Sacramento Zoo on Saturday, July 30th for the first 100 fans who sport their brightest & wildest Tillamook Cheese orange.* (Orange-clad fans arriving after the first 100 tickets will receive $1 off admission.)

Seriously! How cool is that?? And, btw, the weather for Saturday looks to be perfect for zoo

New to the Loaf Love Tour in 2011 is the “Loafster,” the new convertible VW bus refurbished to represent a Baby Loaf of Tillamook Cheese.

The Loafster will join a pair of 1966 Standard VW Microbuses, also modified to represent Baby Loafs, and loved by millions......including this blogger! Did you know their all-natural cheddars are made in the Pacific Northwest using only the highest-quality milk from cows not treated with artificial growth hormones? (and they also make ICE CREAM!!)

Free entry for the first 100 eligible participants only. Free entry starting at 9:00 a.m. until limit reached. Participating fans may check-in at the Tillamook Baby Loaf bus adjacent to the Sacramento ticketing booth. To win, attendees must be wearing orange. Limit one free entry per person, no monetary value.

To see the tour’s detailed schedule of stops in Sacramento, please visit:http://www.loaflovetour.com/ .
You can learn more about Tillamook by visiting their website: http://www.tillamook.com/ but don't go if you are hungry!

Disclosure: They sent me an email. They asked me to post about the event. They will be giving me free samples of cheese and I'll get into the Zoo for free. But hey, that's cool because I was going anyway!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Help

short blog post, short and to the point:

you need to see this movie when it comes out.

if you haven't read the book then you need to read the book before the movie comes out.

trust me on this.

period. end of statement.

ps: I could say the same thing about the Millenium Trilogy (you know....Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, etc) but you have a few more months for that.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

if you are named Arlyn and are reading this....

you should probably go check out my scrapbook blog.

if you aren't named Arlyn, you are very welcome to look but I can guarantee that Arlyn hasn't seen it recently. I would have heard about it! of course, I think she said she has over 200 posts in her reader to get caught up on. she might not read this until sometime this summer!

Monday, January 24, 2011

why think of a blog post on your own......

when you can just borrow (steal) one from a friend!!

Courtesy of Kenz over at All the Weigh, via Cheree at The Verbosery, here's this week's Friend Making Monday post: One Word

Answer each question using only one word...

1. Where is your cell phone? here

2. Your most significant other? Jeffe

3. Your hair? pathetic

4. Your mother? dead (sorry.....that sounds crass)

5. Your father? tan

6. Your favorite? yes!

7. Your dream last night? drugged

8. Your favorite drink? COKE!!!!

9. Your dream/goal? peace

10. What room you are in? living

11. Your hobby? scrapbooking?

12. Your fear? lots

13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? happy

14. Where were you last night? family

15. Something that you aren't? patient

16. Muffins? please!

17. Wish list item? vacation

18. Where you grew up? Sacramento-ish

19. Last thing you did? chatted

20. What are you wearing? glasses

21. Your TV? Alton

22. Your pets? missed

23. Friends? love'em (that makes it one word, right?)

24. Your life? exhausting

25. Your mood? tired

26. Missing someone? yes

27. One place that I go to over and over? library

28. Something you want: maid

29. Your favorite store? Barnes & Noble

30. Your favorite color? green

go for it! feel free to steal what I have stolen......we'll call is "sharing." and yes, I know that I still have some seriously questions to answer. I am working on it.....I am!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Being a restaurant reviewer isn't as easy as it looks!

I know being a restaurant reviewer sounds like a dream job. And honestly, it still does. But it is a lot harder than you would think! I am not talking Mike Rowe Dirty Jobs hard....but it isn't a cake walk!

Tonight I had the unique pleasure of being a restaurant reviewer......at least well kinda. A friend of mine, Kristy (aka cakegrrl) was doing a preview review for the upcoming Dine Downtown Restaurant week (ending on MY birthday, btw!) and asked me to join her (thank you, Kristy, SO very much.....what a welcome respite in an overly crazy day/week). Okay, so how fun does that sound?? We went to Capitol Garage and got to order off the special $30 prix fixe menu that will be available starting on January 7th. Our meals included a salad, entree, dessert, and a glass of wine. I don't drink but if I did, I would tell you that they had some very nice wines to compliment their offerings. Kristy gets to do the "real" review so you can check out pictures of my lovely dinner along with her professional review over on her blog! I had to "pay my way" by giving her feedback about everything. So here goes!

I started with the Chipotle Caesar salad. You probably know I usually go for the spinach salad, but tonight was a night for trying something new! I am so glad I did! The dressing was spicy, maybe too spicy for me but Jeff would have loved it and probably asked for a soup bowl of it! lol! But the dressing was easily balanced by the avocado and I wouldn't hesitate to order it again....and again....and again. The crispy tortilla strips were a terrific topping and I will take them any day over croutons (or popcorn, potato chips, or just about any savory snack).

For my entree, I had the Crab Cake Linguini. This was tasty, tasty, tasty and they gave me so much food! I had expected one measly crab cake along with pasta and bread but there were two HUGE crab cakes covering a major portion of my plate. In fact, the crab cakes were so big I could have skipped the pasta completely and been a happy camper! Regarding the pasta, it was just good. Even though the menu forewarns you that there is prosciutto, it still comes as a shock. I found the pasta a little salty but expect that most others would be fine with it. As for the main feature, I was surprised by two things: how moist the crab cakes were and that they had potato chunks in them. We decided they were moist because they had so much crab meat in them and the potatoes provided a great texture balance for the flaky crab meat. Another positive, the flavor of the potato gave my taste buds a break so that the next taste of crab was as wonderful as the first taste. I had intended to eat one of the crab cakes but was enjoying them so much that I had almost finished the second before I caught myself. (I hope Kristy posted a picture of my plate. It was so pretty looking!)

Dessert was cheesecake. In this case it was Black Bottom Cheesecake and Butterfinger Cheesecake. They were personal cupcake sized desserts and almost too pretty to eat! The Butterfinger came home as a loving surprise for the boys. According to them, it had a strong butterscotch flavor. I couldn't understand what Ryan said because his mouth was full.....of a second bite! The Black Bottom started with a chocolate cookie crust (yum!), followed by a berry puree cake with a delicate taste. The top layer, the cheesecake, was so light that it felt almost like a whipped cream. This was topped with a sprinkling of cocoa and some juicy blackberries! As a dense cheesecake lover, I was surprised how much I liked this dessert! Looking at the cheesecake you would have expected a heavy chocolate and fruit and a heavy cheesecake to stand up against the rest. Instead, it was a delightful end to the meal. Perfect to linger over along with a cup of coffee and good conversation!

End result: I would go again. I would go again and eat the same thing again.

So about it being so darn difficult and oh poor poor Susan having to eat this awesome food.....seriously, this isn't for most people!
First off, you have to STOP AND TASTE YOUR FOOD! No more shoveling it down so you can get it all plus dessert down before your stomach tries to tell you its full! You have to take small bites and let them sit on your tongue and pay attention to the texture and how the flavors mingle.
Second, you have to realize that YOU ARE NOT THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE!! What does this mean? When you taste something you have to think whether you like something but also how other people might like it. Some of the food I ate tonight wasn't seasoned exactly how I would have if I were the chef. Having said that, I know that the other 9 out of 10 people that will be eating the same thing would have loved it the way it was.
And third....I can't remember the third thing but it was really important. Oh yes, I had to TALK ABOUT WHAT I ATE! Who does that? I am not some critic on the FoodNetwork so what gives me the right to tell anyone if food is good or bad and whether they should or should not try it? And if we talk about the food during dinner, when oh when can we get caught up on all the fun things? (Rhetorical question.....you sit around enjoying the restaurant and the company after you eat. No rushing off to the next thing! What a welcome joy!)

So, while I will not be quitting my day job, please know I will suffer through tasting excellent meals, considering others, and talking about my food again, just for you! Aren't I a peach?