Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Best "Wastes of Time" 2007

I had about 15 minutes of spare time last Thursday night, so I started surfing. I quickly found a brainless arcade game site and looked up the most popular download..."Cake Mania". Mmmmm... I like cake. I thought I'd check it out.

I downloaded the free trial and ONE HOUR LATER my time ran out. Gah! This game is addictive, fun and easy.

Jill, our diligent baking hero, must keep her customers happy by supplying them with the cake that they ordered. If she takes too long, the customer storms out of the shop. If she makes them happy, they give her tips. Kinda like real life, eh?

She can upgrade her kitchen by buying faster ovens, faster icing machines and faster shoes. Also, she can make more profitable cakes by buying candle, wedding and retirement decorations.

I might actually cough up 20 bucks to buy the real game. Yes, it's that good.

Check it:

Don't like cake? Check out Bookworm, my now second-favorite addictive game:

I'm a loser, baby, so why don't you kill me?

Over the past three months, I've:

Lost my renter for my rehab house
Lost the buyer for my current house
Lost my boss (and this is a decidedly BAD thing)
Lost my temper...too many times to count
Lost my ability to connect to work from home (again, this is BAD, since I know have to BE there to old-school is that?)
Lost touch with several good friends (again with the BAD)
Alllllmost lost a treasured co-worker
Lost contact with my much beloved husband (who is launching a new brand at his company and works like 50 hours per week...something I've never seen him do)
Lost my motivation for my current training goal
(almost) Lost my sanity

But...since I'm the Eternal Optimist (look it up in the dictionary and you will see my picture!), I also:
Gained a new goal (become a runner. still have to chuckle at this until it actually happens)
Gained a good friend at work
Gained an alliance w/ my boss at work (definitely a GREAT thing!)
Gained several potential buyers for our house (and we are not giving as many concessions this time...the gloves are on now, folks)
Will not have to travel to Russia in the middle of winter (yee-ha...this is big!)
Gained control over my donut addiction. New goal: No donuts until June. You might laugh, but this is a HARD goal for me. Krispy Kreme's a-callin', but I ain't answerin'.
Didn't lose my love for a good movie. Two "must-sees": "The Illusionist" and "Invincible". Illusionist is brilliant; Invincible is inspiring.
Gained the knowledge that Stephen King's son (Joe Hill) is a superb writer...almost on-par with dad. Check out "Heart-Shaped Box" if you are a doubter.

And gained perspective.

My last fortune cookie said: Things are hardest just before the summit.

My, how true this is. So where's the fucking summit already?!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Thoughts on a Snowy Tuesday

Work Realization #1: I spent today working from home (affectionately called WFH in our office, as opposed to WTF or WWJD). I realized that work can be as frustrating, if not more so, at home than in the office. It didn't help hearing the laughter of the kids sledding outside as I was on conference call after conference call, working backwards instead of forwards. Discuss amongst yourselves.

Lessons from the Young #1: The struggle for power and control starts young. Every day when I drop Goofy Junior off at school, some kid comes up to me and proudly declares that they "HAVE THE PIG", and show me this stupid little plastic pig. The pig comes from some sort of farm playset. Why they chose the pig to represent power, I will never know. But the pig holds the key. The pig is the shit. The pig is the POWER. At any point in time, all the kids know which kid HAS THE PIG. The pig is much-coveted. So, next time I get a raise or promotion (or a really high score on Frogger), I'm going to scream, "I HAVE THE PIG". Ahem. Okay, maybe I'll just whisper it to myself. Or not. What's "THE PIG" in your world?

Food Find #1: In keeping with my personal training goal, I've been searching for a sweet treat that's half-way healthy and not full of calories. I discovered one! Keebler Right Bites - Sandies. Sandies are a shortbread-type cookie. The normal version is fully of nutritional crappiness and loads of calories. But this version has only 100 calories and they are actually good. Also, BONUS! No transfat and, per the label, "contains two percent or less of salt, high fructose corn syrup, natural flavor, oat fiber, butter (cream, salt), soy lecithin, baking soda".

Food Find #2: Barilla Pasta Plus. What's the "Plus", you ask? Only that these little pastas are chock-full of protein, fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. By looking at the ingredients, you can figure out how...they include lentils, chickpeas, flaxseed, egg whites and barley. So how to they taste? They are a little chewier than normal pasta (or maybe I just didn't cook them long enough), but good! Not, in any way, like whole wheat pasta. BLECK. That stuff is nasty.

Food Find #3: Classico Vodka Sauce (Now I'm a bit worried, as this flavor is not listed on Classico's website!). This stuff rocks. You can even put it on pasta made from lentils and it tastes good. Ha!

Unfortunate Food Find #1: Tubs of pre-made frosting have trans-fat....always. Try to find one that doesn't. I searched the entire 4-shelf area in my local Price Chopper and came away empty handed. Sometimes products can get around actually listing the transfat, if they can manipulate the portion size to a small enough amount. Obviously frosting couldn't do this because trans-fat is LISTED RIGHT ON THE LABEL. So, ever the dilligent researcher, I went in search of a homemade frosting recipe and I found this: Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe - No, it won't sit in your pantry for 6 months waiting for you, but it's easy, delish, and trans-fat-FREE.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

You know you are a geek....

...when a video about the Web gives you the shivers. But this one did. And it should give you the shivers too. Awesome stuff!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Restaurant Rant

Cagey, Arun (Cagey's 16 month old son) and I went to dinner last week at a family-friendly Italian restaurant...or so we thought. Since Goofy Junior is now 3-1/2, he's pretty adept at the restaurant gig. He doesn't need a booster, nor a sippy cup, nor a bib. So I've gotten out of the habit of worrying about him too much while eating out.

Cut to Italian restaurant: Helpful waiter (or so we thought) comes to table, inquiring about drink orders. We have kids, so we are ready to order everything at once and proceed to do so. Whoa! This threw him off-guard and he looked slightly peeved. But we managed to get our order in.

Bread? The bread has gotta come quick or the kids get restless. Bread? Hello, BREAD?! BREAD!?!?!?! Bread did not come. Wine came (yee-ha!), but no bread. Moms happy, kids not. Waiter asked if we would like him to bring crackers for kids. SURE! PLEASE! Something to put in their mouths so the napkins, plates, and salt shakers would stay out.

Here's the punchline....wait for it. Wait for it!

He comes out with two bowls of ice cream! And says he can't find crackers, will ice cream do. I think both Cagey's and my mouths hit the table right about the same time. Er, NO! HELL, NO!

Luckily the ice cream disappeared before the kids could figure out that it was meant for them. Then the bread mysteriously appeared and all was well.

Until it was time for the check. It was in the twilight zone with the bread. Kids were starting to meltdown from quickly approaching bedtime. Check? Kids up and running amok, burning off that extra energy from fighting sleep... CHECK?! Kids stumbling around in front of waitresses carrying large trays of hot food. CHECK!?!?!?!?

I could go on, but I think you get the picture. When parents and kids go out to eat, they are not interested in a four-course, leisurely meal. It's more like an air-strike. Get in, get out, and no one gets hurt. Efficiency is key. Waiters and waitresses that are keen to this get large tips. Dorky waiters with no clue bearing bowls of ice cream prior to dinner do not.

Take heed, service industry!