Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Gardening 101: Planters

Lately, a few of my friends have been posting lovely pics of their gardens and the fruits of their labor. BT's tomatoes look mouth-watering (like, seriously!), Arvay's squash has me thinking about delicious soups and raviolis, and Miss E's garden looked to be coming along nicely (although I couldn't find pics!). Well, all you fancy-schmancy gardeners, have I got a treat for you!

Behind our house, there is a "garden", although it is not maintained by either DJC or myself. Our wacky neighbors have haphazardly planted all sorts of things that we can't identify in all kinds of unusual "planters". So, in honor of my friends' hard work and carefully planned out gardens, I present some photos that are the EXACT OPPOSITE of that:

What the hell is this thing? Honestly. And if you look closely, I'll bet you can see the KFC BUCKET that something else unidentifiable is planted it. The best part is that the KFC bucket is semi-planted in the ground. Nothing says garden fresh produce like KFC. Word.

More unidentifiable stuff. And look! There's that awesome KFC bucket again! I can't get over that thing!! Seriously, how much do proper planting buckets cost? I'll bet its a lot less than a greazy bucket of chicken.

This might be my favorite backyard sight. No, your eyes do not deceive you. This is a bunch of random crap...planted in AN OLD BATHTUB! I don't get it. Where does one even get an old bathtub? And moreover, what possesses one to turn it into a planter?! Notice that there is plenty of good, old fashioned dirt all around the bathtub. So strange.

These are growing on one of the plants in the bathtub. They look like little chili peppers. Little black, poisonous, stinky chili peppers. What are they in reality? I have no freaking idea.

Another creative "planter", or, as the rest of us in the normal world call it, a recycling bin.

I believe the shrubbery on the ground is a cherry tomato plant that has all but killed the Meyer lemon tree that was originally there. This tree used to produce lovely, delicious, sweet lemons. It still kinda does, but the fruit is now MUCH higher up on the tree. The neighbors have over-fertilized the tomato plant to the point where it has taken over pretty much everything else in the area. The irony of the whole mess is that the plant hardly produces any tomatoes. Most of them spoil before they are ready to be picked.

Here's a better shot of the once prolific Meyer lemon tree. Notice that it's being choked by whatever is growing near it. Also, notice all the random junk in the background.

This whole area is a sore spot for DJC and I, as we would like to be able to use it, or at least make it nicer, but since we do not own the building and the other tenants are relatives of the person who does, we get bubkus. Its a bummer that we can't make the space a decent place to actually grow fruits and veggies, but every now and then I do get a strange laugh out of the plants in the bathtub....

Friday, July 17, 2009

Harry Potter: A brief review

After my weekly waste of 3 hours (read: my "psychology" class), I needed something to cheer me up. So, I went to see the latest Harry Potter movie by myself at 3pm yesterday. I bought my matinee ticket, snagged a package of frozen (!!) Junior Mints, and took a seat near the back. I was ready to rock. Movies!! YAY! Fun!!

Ok, lemme just say that if I was looking for something to cheer me up, I picked the wrong damn movie. Man, this is a one hell of a dark tale. Around the time of The Prisoner of Azkaban, the tone of the Harry Potter saga took a darker turn and since then, all of the movies have been decidedly...well...dark with more adult topics. Half Blood Prince is no exception. Some of the scenes are downright scary (OMG, the chick with the necklace and the locket in the bowl scenes!!) and I'm 33 years old, damn it. I think any kid would be scared bonkers by this movie, but then again, some of the very adult ideas and themes might just sail right over their heads, leaving them a bit confused. For a series that has traditionally been marketed towards children, this movie is definitely geared more towards the adults in the audience.

I gave up reading the books after The Goblet of Fire because the books and movies didn't really match. Apparently, that's very much the case with this last movie. I'm kinda glad I didn't read the book, though, because there were some seriously shocking moments that I would have known about and expected and its much more fun to be surprised. But I hear from people that have read the book that the movie isn't even close. Apparently, they would have had to make it like 3 1/2 hours to fit in all the plot intricacies. At 2 hours and 45 minutes, I wasn't bored, but I wasn't loving every second either. I totally couldn't get enough of The Sorcerer's Stone and would have been happy to watch another 2-3 hours with no complaints. Not so with this one.

Anyways, I still loved this movie as a whole. I thought it was beautifully done and its great to see that some of the cast, who we all met as children, have actually become very good actors. Its just that I feel its not for kids. Parents, when your children have to ask what's going on every second of every scene, you know its probably a good idea to leave them at home, that's all...

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Weekend roundup...the photography edition

This truly was a gorgeous, but strange Bay Area weekend. The weather was all over the place...sunny one minute and raining the next. Yes, rain. In July. IN CALIFORNIA! Weird, I know. But the erratic weather really did make for some excellent photos. Here, have a look:

I took these at the Naval boat dock right down the street from our house after dinner on Friday night. A few minutes after we left, I noticed in my rear view mirror that the sky had become even more orange and amazing. I was bummed that I didn't get some better shots, even though these are pretty good. DJC always says I'm impatient. Guess he's right.

This was taken from our back steps minutes after it stopped raining early Saturday evening. BL happened to be on his way over to our house around the same time and described his weather experience for us: "One minute, the sun was so bright I literally had to put my sun glasses on and lower the sun shade in my car so that I could still see the road. The next minute it was raining, but it was still sunny. SO WEIRD!!" On the way up our back stairs, he pulled his cell phone out to show me a pic he had just taken of the resulting rainbow, but then I saw this one behind him. By the time I grabbed my camera, this was all that was left. Still pretty damn cool, though.

Recently, I've been experimenting with Trader Joe's fresh pizza crust. The top pic is my very first effort. I made a BBQ chicken pizza with thinly sliced heirloom tomatoes, lipstick peppers and aged gouda. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but it was effing *delicious*. The bottom pic represents my attempt at recreating the "You Say Potato" pizza from Escape from New York. This pizza has a pesto sauce, thinly sliced red potatoes, roasted garlic, mozzarella, smoked fontina and parmigiano reggiano cheeses. Although it wasn't quite the same, it was still very tasty. I can't say I'll ever go back to buying frozen pizza or ordering takeout again. TJ's fresh crust tastes great and is way more cost effective, not to mention more fun.

Another great weekend in the books. What did you all do? Anything cool? Happy new week, ya'll. =)

OH! BTW, Dr. Cromartie accepted all five of my written summaries last Thursday (two from the first week, two from the current week, and one extra credit assignment). FINALLY! It only took me three weeks to figure out what he wanted. Damn.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Second verse, same as the first

After last week's "psychology" class from hell (refresher here), I didn't think things could get any worse or more ridiculous. By this point in my life, I should know that things can ALWAYS get worse or more ridiculous. Sweet.

For a detailed recap of how Thursday went, please see the refresher post. This week's time line was almost exactly like the last class, minute for minute. Because I had a hunch that this was going to happen again, I saved all of my reading for the two and a half hours of class where I'd have nothing better to do. I brought my laptop to the first class, but because the building where this waste of time is held is on the outskirts of campus, the wireless signal doesn't reach. Killing time on the internet was a no-go.

"But Enforcer," you might say, "you still have your cell phone." Wrong. During the first class, Dr. Cromartie made it very clear that if he sees anyone with a cell phone in their hand during class time, he will subtract 30 points from your final class point total. So far, he's done it to three people. He followed the third person into the hallway after he saw her pull her phone out of her bag. I've been known to take my entire purse into the ladies' room because he can't question me taking my purse and he certainly can't follow me into the loo to bust me. While safe in the confines of the stalls, I send DJC text messages laced with profanity and threats of violence. So yeah, studying is the only thing I can do during the first two and half hours of class.

Anyways, my turn finally came to deliver my video summaries. I learned during last week's slaughter-fest that shorter summaries are definitely the way to go. Dr. Cromartie glanced over the second week's summaries and accepted them. WOOT, I thought. I then handed him my corrected summaries from the first week. Immediately, he picked out the one freaking quote I included, circled it and informed me that the comma belongs inside the quotes, handed BOTH summaries back to me and told me to hand them in next week. Holy shit, REALLY?!?!? At that point, I was certain that he'd never bother to actually read the summaries themselves. He even had a ruler out at one point and was measuring margins. No shit.

Well, here's the real test. During class, I realized that one of the videos I watched and recapped was the wrong one. Let's see if he notices. My bet is that he won't. I probably could have written the entire thing in Farsi and he wouldn't have caught it. But put a fucking comma outside the quotation marks and look out!

And, I don't know why I didn't catch this before last Thursday, but the class, officially titled "Life Span Psychology," has NOTHING to do with life span or psychology. Our book is a sociology book. The videos focus on various aspects of society, such as the study of the social stratification throughout history. God help me if any of the nursing schools I apply to ever ask me about what I've learned in life span psychology. I honestly don't know what I'd say.

The worst part is that Dr. Cromartie happens to be the department chair for the Social Sciences program. If I were to complain (which I'm strongly considering) I'd have to go over his head, and I don't know who that is. He obviously has to report to someone, but finding that person is proving to be more than difficult.

In short, I'm pissed. I'm basically paying for overpriced basic grammar and discipline lessons, while not learning anything about a core requirement for most nursing schools. I've said it before and I'll say it again... I HATE when my time is so blatantly wasted. Fuck this class.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

You're supposed to feed a cold, right?

And starve the flu? Have I got that right? If not, I don't know what the hell is going on with me, then. Long story short, I am as sick as a dog right now. Have been since I woke up on Saturday morning. Not that it's slowed me, or my appetite, down too much, though...

Saturday night, DJC, BL and I hit San Francisco to blow off a little steam and to check out on of my fave DJs ever, the darn cool Sam Pool (also known as SPL). Last time we caught up with this guy was in November and he was spinning dubstep, which he is not that well known for. Hard and rough drum n' bass is his specialty and Saturday night, he was scheduled to drop "gunshots to the chest" at Underground SF. We feared that the place would be packed seeing as that it was Pride weekend, but there were the perfect amount of people there; not so many that dancing was difficult, but not too few that the night could be considered a bust. Anyways, we drank. And drank. Shenanigans ensued. BL slept in his car. It was an awesome night full of good friends and great music.

The next morning I awoke to an empty tummy. Feeling pretty shitty, I decided that the only thing worth eating could be found at McDonald's. Now, it's probably been a good 5 years, maybe more, since I've been to a McDonald's. Seriously. But for whatever reason, I NEEDED a bacon, egg and cheese biscuit, hash browns, a McCafe, and orange juice. To add insult to injury, I didn't even get out of the car when I went. Hey, the drive-thru was empty and I was tired, damn it. GO ME!!

Let me just say that I enjoyed every single greasy-ass bite of breakfast. And, my iced vanilla McCafe latte was better than the ones I get at Chargebucks. Yeah, seriously! I got it with nonfat milk (which is pretty hilarious considering my calorie fest with the actual food I got) and it was cheaper than anything Chargebucks offers. I might never go back there again and just stick with the McCafe!! Weird, I know.

Yesterday, I woke up with a miserable sore throat and a craving for donuts. Sure, I could have just gone to Jamba Juice and gotten something healthy, but when I'm sick, the body gets what the body wants. I savored every bite of a delicious glazed donut.

Today, my car just mysteriously steered itself to Taco Bell for a Volcano taco (OMG, YUM!)

Needless to say, if I don't get well enough to make it back to the gym soon, I'm gonna be in some serious trouble! LOL!