Sunday, June 6, 2010

A (Not So) Awesome Place For Us To Go

The Elephant Bar has quite a few locations in Southern California.  The one that we went to was in Montclair, and it was eh……

Let me start off by saying that the food was not that great.  There is an extensive selection of choices, and the inspiration is on a world scale.  I had the Fried Shrimp with Three Cheese Macaroni.  Although the shrimp was OUTSTANDING (and all shrimp is going to be a luxury soon), the macaroni was kinda bland, like something you would make for a heart patient.  Plus there were croutons on it, bonus weird!  The Cole slaw that came with it was as crappy as any other Cole slaw you’ve gotten at a restaurant.  I’m on the wagon, so I had a Coke, can’t really say if the drinks are worth anything.  My hubby had an open-face steak sandwich that was clobbered with shoestring onions, yuck.  He didn’t like his order at all.  He also hated the macaroni.
The service was stellar.  Our waitress was a total sweetheart; we went with nine people and we were treated as if we were individual patrons.  Heads up: If you are going with this many people they want you to split the check up ahead of your order.

The decor was a nightmare!  It looked as if it was decorated by a menopausal Target store.  Africa threw up in there.  I did like the animal statues, but I’ll admit they were a bit kitsch.  The coolest thing was the domed ceiling over the bar, but I spent most of the time in the restaurant shouting at the Angels game from my table across the way.  All in all, it was a great group of people meeting at a halfway-decent locale for substandard food that we wolfed down anyway…not a total loss.  Stay tuned for some other place to go instead!

And until then, take care…Your faithful Dags

Saturday, May 29, 2010

R.I.P. Rocking This Week

So I am now one of the busiest girls I know.  As such, Rocking This Week is going to expire.  I can’t post all the time, but I will continue to give motivational advice (highly non-professional, to be sure).  My first advice before you listen to anything else I say is to go to the store and buy some salt.  Now put a grain of it on my words, and swallow quickly so you don’t gag.  Your Knockout is here for you to lean on still, and I will always try to keep you grounded in the midst of hellacious Orange County.

This being said, I would like to speak to you about some profound ideas that were shared with me by the most level-headed dreamer I’ve met recently.  Think about those times when you say, “I’m a klutz”, or “I don’t think I can do this…”, or “I look so ugly today”, etc.  Now think about when you go to a get-together and someone says “You look ill, are you feeling dizzy?”.  Usually it takes multiple people telling you that you look sick for you to start thinking, “Am I sick?”  That is the power of suggestion though, and eventually you will reach for your forehead for a temp check or start looking for a chair to sit down in.  But you have that power too, and with it you can create your reality as you see fit.
Don’t believe me?  Try this…next time you are somewhere and you are feeling tired or worn out, find a place where you can talk out loud to yourself without people cutting their eyes at you.  Say to yourself ten times over, “I feel great; I don’t feel tired at all.”  Try to use forceful statements that empower you!  Amazingly, this works better than coffee to pep your step.  The reasoning behind this is that your thoughts are up in your brain brewing like an electrical storm…with no real guidance, they ebb and flow and can be intangible.  When you vocalize, you have to form the words with the muscles of your mouth…you have to focus those thoughts and produce them out loud.  Your ears then hear the words and re-translate to your brain, giving you instant reaffirmation.  It’s quite simple in theory, but the results are nothing short of sensational.  

The man who broke this down to me cited examples, his affliction was that he was notoriously afraid of bees.  There was actually a time where he jumped in a pool in a RENTED TUX to escape a swarm that attacked a wedding he was attending.  Another example:  he jumped out of his car while it was in motion to get away from a bee.
Using this out-loud self-convincing technique, he began to tell himself, “I love bees; bees are cute.  If they sting me, they’ll die, why would they want to do that?  Bees are more afraid of me than I could ever be of them.” and so on and so forth.  Later in life, someone snapped a picture of him with a bee on his face.  Amazing, right?
I’ve been trying it with my self-confidence, and I’m quite happy to report that Inside Knockout definitely is listening to Outside Knockout…and the results of my Stuart Smalley-esque affirmation rampages are starting to show.  Let’s stay positive, and remember, I think you are beautiful, every blessed last one of you women improve the world in ways you can’t fathom.  If I didn’t think you were worth the time, I surely wouldn’t write you all of this!

Until next we meet again……………Hugs, Dags

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Pacific, A SW The Clone Wars Update, and What I’ve Been Up To

The Pacific.  Being of a type that falls asleep as soon as I see monochrome, anything with propellers, maps, and bombs in black and white usually causes me to turn the channel.  Although I listened enraptured to amazing stories from my family about their service time, the particulars of Army politics (much like algebra) confuse me a little.  Anyone who has ever served could tell you about being alone in the middle of a hundred people.  As far as my opinion, nobody has so far been able to put you in the laps of the individuals as candidly (er…graphically) as the Pacific.  The Norman Rockwell-esque checkups on the families of the soldiers and their trials at home throw my dirt-and-blood-vision off a little though.  It’s like when we first watched the cast of Survivor get dirty immediately: they fall victim to insects and diseases of the jungle…although friendly fire and love pangs seem to do more to the characters than the malaria.  I did have to do some fast-forwarding of humpy parts, and the gore factor is pretty amped (it doesn’t help that the three main colors are green, dirt, and blood).  Definitely for adults only, war buffs, and anyone who wished A Thin Red Line didn’t suck so hard.
Brain: 8
Heart: 10 
Stomach: 10

Star Wars: The Clone Wars is my favorite action show as of this season.  Any SW fan is going to get a kick out of this show in the first season, but as you progress to Season 2, the trials of Anakin and Obi Wan are story-specific, and there are a couple of nods, one to film noir and one in memoriam Akira Kurosawa.  The most notable differences to me between the first and second season were a) the over-the-shoulder swooping cam style that puts you right where you need to be to catch every breathtaking detail, and b) the intense escalation of gore.  I am of the old school of movie watchers that expects PG to save me or something.  Truth is – the second season benefits from the additional violence.  It’s kinda how you always wanted Star Wars…driving, dramatic…and 22 minutes per episode.
Brain: 10
Heart: 10
Stomach: 5

p.s. Combining two of my reasons for existing...

What I’ve Been Up To:

Typing my face off…getting ready for the semester to start…connecting with old friends…exploring my dimensions…and waiting breathlessly for a VIP Hug :)

Stay strong.  I see that a lot of us are going through hard times. If it makes you feel a little better, I’ve noticed something about myself that has attributed to the greatest gain in emotional growth yet…I have found that it’s the moments I spend empathizing with others (instead of only myself) that polish the mold.  Although blogging is self-directed, it has opened me up to a world where free speech and personal revelation is rewarded with posterity if not empathy.

Listen more.  You will hear things that would blow your mind.  I didn’t even know that my neighbor was a soprano!

Until next time take care - Dags

Monday, April 19, 2010

How to Clean a Cast Iron Skillet: 3 steps (with video) - wikiHow

How to Clean a Cast Iron Skillet: 3 steps (with video) - wikiHow
If you don't have this information filed away in your kitchen-brain yet, go ahead and read up -- I use an iron skillet every time I use a skillet, and without this final clean-up step, your pan will die in the most horrible of fashions.  With these methods I cook masala evenly and with no fear, and look really hot doing it.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Beef Liver Doggie Treat

This is my favorite thing to use for a training treat for a dog.  Some cats like it too, although beef is obviously not a feline’s natural diet.  All you’ll need is:

1 – 2 pounds Beef Liver
Salt to taste
Cookie Sheet / Baking Sheet

Bring slightly salted water to a boil, then add beef liver.  Usually the meat section will have liver in 1 or 2-pound tubs, or you can order it through the butcher.  Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.  Boil the liver until all the pink is gone, then wash the liver under cold water until it’s clean of the gross stuff that comes out of it (the slimy froth, try not to think too hard about it).  Dry liver on paper towels.  Put liver on a baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until tough.  Let it cool (somewhere your animals can’t get to it) and then cut it up into half-inch squares.  When you feed this to your dog for the first time, they may just wolf it down so watch them for safe chomping.  If your dog shows signs of not being able to swallow it, take it away.  This is a great “distraction treat” for walks or the dog park.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Happy Go Fun Time Movie Now!

I am a film fanatic.  If a movie is seen in the day, the rest of the day is spent silently holding every other flick I’ve seen up against this one to see where it hits me most.  In keeping with this, I include a kind of rude point system after the review that awards points to three categories, on a scale of 1 to 10.  These categories are:
Brain: if you need it to watch this movie, it’s probably scored above a 2.
Heart: how much the movie touches your emotional side, kids’ movies usually rule this category.
Stomach: the gore factor and violence
You’ll get it.  Each of these points is awarded with care to validly represent their categories, but should be taken as just that.  Read the written review to see if I thought it added up to a good movie. 

So are ya’ll as confused after the end of Legion as I am?   Wow.  I expected more out of a movie featuring Paul Bettany in a main role.  Has anyone else seen Gangster No. 1?  It’s like American Psycho, but with English mobsters.  Legion was more of a Stigmata/Armageddon combo, except with very generic characters and more propaganda than you could shake a stick at.  Go on, shake that stick.  You won’t hit any answers.  I can’t even begin to list the teasers they throw in, where you hear something REALLY NEAT once and it’s then immediately drowned by their continuity artist.  Spectacular but improbable gore.  Oh! I forgot to mention: the kid from American Gothic?  Caleb?  Easily recognizable in the main male human role as a good ol’ boy, trying to take care of someone else’s baby AND save what’s left of the world at the same time.  Can he do it?  Kinda.
Brain: 2 
Heart: 4 
Stomach: 8

Then I watched Where The Wild Things Are.  I spent the whole time marveling at the faithful adaptation, and at how dirty everything was.  Most of the budget was apparently spent on dirt and the people to cover everything in dirt.  Oh yeah, and yak fur too.  This movie wins an early Emo Movie of the Year Award for the fact that it doesn’t stop pulling on your heartstrings while it pushes you away with stark contrasts and unexpected dialogue moments as hallucinogenic as any Kerouac.  Although it doesn’t sound like it from my review, I really liked this movie!  Very intricate.
Brain: 5 
Heart: 10 
Stomach: 1

Finally, I watched Boondock Saints 2: All Saints Day.  Although a little testosterone-laced, it stands out from the Spike genre (as did the original) by focusing occasionally on the conversation between characters and letting that interaction drive the movie until the next big culmination of gun-laden events.  Lightning choreography keeps you on the edge of your seat at many moments, and you can’t help but laugh at the candid cutscenes that show you how the brothers personally imagine themselves during gunfights.  All around MUST SEE, as was the original.  Aequitas VERITAS!    p.s. also marvel at Dexter’s Girlfriend playing a crazy FBI Special Agent who weaves herself into the nest Willem Dafoe vacated and hatches a beautiful egg.  And Clifton Collins, Jr. (aka Clifton Gonzales Gonzales) plants himself in a pretty main role as well, supporting the brothers as they chink away at the armor of their true enemies.
Brain: 8  
Heart: 5  
Stomach: 5

So that’s it, the first movie review segment.  I hope it helped you wade through the muck of modern media without getting too dirty. 

See you on the by!  Luv, Dags

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A Website That Helps In The Kitchen

A Website That Actually Helps In The Kitchen:

I’m a freak about leaving food in the fridge.  I don’t smell-test, I throw immediately.  Any leftovers have a two-day reprieve before they are deemed NON EDIBLE.  Why?  Well, I don’t just have a list lying around of how long everything stays good for.  Wait a minute, here’s one!  Enter a food name in the Keep It or Toss It? box and press Enter.  Voila!  It even unravels the mystery of egg sell-by dates.

Rocking this Week Update:

This Week I Rocked no road rage.  It’s amazing once you sit back and listen how much you hear people actually yelling at each other from lane to lane.  It’s also amazing how hard it is for me to ignore stupid people being stupid, so this one might end up being a Work In Progress.  The tip that worked the best for me?  No mad-doggin’ other drivers.  This actually completely cut out the need to respond and broke the Chain of Ugly.
This Week I Am Rocking:  Every day, I will actively support someone who is doing something that normally would turn me off.  It’s hard to be a useful person when I’m locked behind prejudice against personality types and personal morals.  So this week I will put aside that immediate want to GET AWAY FROM THE ANNOYING PERSON and just see their actions as what they are: their choices.  I’ll let you know how that goes.

Have a great day!!!   Luv, Dags