Irreverent Re-brews: Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale

For the first of the Re-brews, refer to this post!

Our second sampler in this series was Smuttynose’s Pumpkin Ale. Smuttynose has one of the cutest mascots, a little harbor seal, and they are relatively local (in the way that “New England” kind of ends up being a conglomerate of local). I can’t comment on the color or anything of this one because I just drank it straight from the bottle like the classy lady I am.

I am not a fan of hoppy bears, and this was a very hoppy beer. I was not able to get much pumpkin taste through the hops. I just really don’t have much to say on this one: adorable seal, super hoppy, would not drink again. If you like IPAs, this is probably the pumpkin beer for you.

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Very Pinteresting

(Long weekend means going out of town to visit family. I’m attempting to queue something up but this may be my last post of the week. If it is, then I hope everyone gets a long weekend and gets to enjoy it!)

Pinterest is a strange place, at the same time practical and fantastic, full of great ideas and really stupid ones. It’s also, despite it’s very intention, where inspiration goes to die. I, like most people, pin away in great binges and then never try anything. Not being a crafty person, the forgotten ideas tend to be recipes. I love cooking and baking, but I also might be the laziest person ever. I’m trying hard to make more real meals, and less “it came from a box/the freezer aisle” meals. That means I’m finally using the ideas on my damn “recipes” board, and I’m here to tell you all about it. Here’s the verdict on two recent recipes:
The recipe I pinned for “sliced baked potatoes with herbs and cheese” from diywithmenow.com is not accessible because the link is blocked for being dangerous. “Oh well,” I said to myself “It can’t be that hard.” I did find another Pinterest reference recipe though, as I have no idea how long a potato should actually be baked for. I basically just referred to the comment under the pin for this particular recipe which said “bake at 425 for 40 minutes” As you can see, my potatoes didn’t unfurl quite the way they do in the picture. They were also rather hard in the middle so they probably should have baked longer. I also think I needed to but them through more but didn’t have any handy tricks to gauge my depth. We peeled the spuds and then I sliced them and rubbed them with olive oil, sprinkling them with regular table salt because I’m out of sea salt. We baked them for 30 minutes and then I pulled them out and added the cheese. We then baked them for another ten. They were served with a side of sour cream mixed with herbs de provence. Tasty, I just need to work on getting them well baked the whole way through. I bet they’d also be great with some chives and bacon. Oh, and the biggest tip I think I could possibly give you: bake them on tinfoil! We had some runaway cheeses in the sprinkling process, and there was just no way to get them to all stay on their spudly steeds. The tinfoil was great because it caught all the extra olive oil, salt, and baked on cheese and I could just wad it up and toss it and not waste time scrubbing my pretty baking sheet.

 

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Next was the meatball sub casserole. Nothing I have ever made in my life has made me feel so Midwestern, and I once made a green bean casserole (I had to hand-sautee the onions because the entire fucking world sold out of those French’s Fried Onions that you’re supposed to sprinkle on the top, making that green bean casserole one of the most gourmet things I’ve ever crafted). This also might be the most unhealthy thing I have ever tried to make, and I’m an avid pie baker. The recipe is pretty simple, make your meatballs (it recommends making actual real bread crumbs and herbs meatballs, but we just rolled up some plain old hamburger). Pre-bake the meatballs while you prepare the rest of it. I used some fresh Italian bread to line the bottom of the pan. Then, here’s the part I had trouble with. I read this recipe in advance, I knew what was coming, I prepped all the ingredients and I was not prepared to be as absolutely revolted as I was by the act of mixing cream cheese and mayonnaise and then spreading it on a food I was supposed to consume. I’m not a mayo person to begin with, I make sure it never touches my sandwiches and only like it in a few select recipes. This recipe tasted great, Manbeast loved it, but I merely poked at my few meatballs and felt starved because having made it I could not bring myself to eat it. Perhaps ignorance is bliss, as Manbeast returned to the kitchen as I was pouring the sauce on, maybe not seeing the delicious Italian bread slathered with an unholy mixture of regular mayo and low fat cream cheese made this meal edible to him. The world may never know.

If I make it again, I would skip that step. Just bread, cheese, sauce and meatballs. No mayo, no cream cheese, maybe some garlic butter. I’d also like to try it “upside down” with the meat and sauce and some cheese on the bottom and then put the bread on top (with some cheese of course) so it gets toasted. Next time. Just no more mayo.

 

I can’t complain too much though. I got two recipes that, while not amazing stand alone successes, are worth tweaking to my own desires and trying again. No Pinstrosities here!

 

I DID THE THING

Manbeast walks in one me in the bathroom, wearing jeans and a pink bathrobe, bent over the sink practically pressing my face against the mirror.

“Are you… are you putting copper leaf on your eyelids?”

“Oh it’s eyeshadow.”

“Oh… wow, that’s a lot more glitter than I’d ever want near my eyes.”

“I don’t think it’s really glitter. Something something FDA… I think.”

“Okay… so when you scratch your cornea… um, so, you’re using the wrong brush for that…”

A few weeks ago a couple of friends and I shared some wine and food at the Cheesecake Factory and then went shopping in the mall, where I dropped some cash on an item I’ve coveted since seeing it featured on Brightest Bulb in the Box: Stila’s Magnificent Metals Foil Finish Eye Shadow in Kitten, which I’d describe as maybe a light rose gold. The line carries some very bright, bold colors, but I wanted to try out something more subdued to see how it works and how I like it. Every color in the line basically makes me think “Christmas Party.” Seriously, I imagine these colors as the perfect look to pair with a velvet dress and some mulled wine.

But anyway, I tried it out the night we had a bowling/dinner double date with one of the friends I’ve had since preschool. But I tried it out midday to see how it lasted and looked and all that.

So, included in the $32 price tag is a little mixing tin, a liquid “stay all day” primer, and the moussey eyeshadow. Seriously, go to a Sephora, find the display, and poke at it. So bouncy!

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One thing many reviews said, and I am displeased about, is the amount of primer that came in my kit. It was less than half full (about where the first line of text below “Stila” in the photo), and it looked like it had leaked. Not cool. I did get a drop in the pan and with a pair of tweezers I broke by dropping them on a tile floor. It mixed up well and then I tried to pick it up with a stiff-bristled, angled brush (because I do not own the specially recommended application brush). I eventually managed to scoop some up and pat it on, that’s about when Manbeast waked in and the above exchange happened (give a man an art degree and he thinks he can leaf your eyelids).

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I did the left eye with my finger and that was easier and quicker. Afterwards there was glitter and eyeshadow smudged everywhere but I went over the problem areas with some makeup remover and it cleaned up very nicely.

20140823_134623Glitter. Glitter everywhere. This is definitely a “foundation second” makeup

Overall Impression: While I’m displeased with the measly amount of primer given, I don’t dislike the shadow overall. It is a lot of effort to apply but I do like the foiled look and I’m willing to perfect my technique. Still, it’s a hefty price tag, and if I’d known at the beginning of the month how bad things would be by the end… there’s almost no way to justify the expense.

 

This expense on the other hand:

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I ALSO went ahead and used my sale day with BareMinerals to get The Vision duo with that exquisite Mirage color (and get a sample of their liquid foundation). It’s incredibly iridescent and beautiful, but I cannot get my phone to focus well enough to get a picture that even begins to cover how cool this color is. The seafoam green with it is a nice color, both apply and blend beautifully. It’s just not anywhere near as special a color as Mirage.

20140821_19545820140821_19560320140821_195739Super excited to play around with this though! I have high hopes for such a unique color (even if it looks like a bruise when swatched)

Drug Detecting Nail Polish

I don’t hate this idea! In fact, I quite appreciate it for what it is- perhaps the most discrete drug detection someone has developed to date! Even just looking at it from a scientific perspective, I love when people develop these things even if they never hit the market because it’s just so nifty. So big kudos to these developers, it’s not your fault this is making me give my exasperated sigh but it does and here’s why:

  • I know we need to come at rape prevention from all angles, but it’s so frustrating that all the products being developed seem to place the onus on the woman to not get raped. Will this blossom into new types of victim blaming? “They have this nail polish now so there was no reason for her not to know…” that’s a yucky slope to slide down.
  • I suck so hard at maintaining my nails, as you may have glimpsed in some of the pictures. Depending on how full of a manicure you need to detect this stuff, my nights may involve me getting to the bar, looking at my hands and saying “crap, I forgot to fix my nails.” Since I can barely remember my wallet…
  • The focuses always seem to be on stranger/drug rape, which absolutely does happen and is absolutely worth preventing! It’s just not the most prevalent kind of attack and continues to ignore the statistic that most rape victims are attacked by people they know and know fairly well. While I’m diligent about watching my beverage when I’m out at a bar (although a mere moment of inattention is all it takes…), I’m not so much when I’m in a group of friends at say, a house party where I know everyone. I bet most people wouldn’t think to check their drinks if their friend’s boyfriend handed it to them (or something) but he could still be a threat.
  • To work you have to stick your finger in your drink. If it’s negative, I just stuck my gross, touched-things-in-a-bar finger in my otherwise fine beverage. Ew.

This is great for the science behind it and for the experience the student developers will get from working on a project like this. High fives for everyone there. If this hits the market, I might pick some up (though honestly the days my drinking in public/large groups seem to be tapering off), and I would encourage colleges to make it available. Still, it’s barely a band-aid solution for a real problem.

Irreverent Re-brews: Saranac Pumpkin Ale

Welcome to our new Fall feature! Fall is my favorite season: The weather is perfect, the leaves change colors, seasonal peanut butter items return, and pumpkin everything.

Living in Oregon basically forced me into the craft beer scene. I had just started warming up to beer when I lived in Korea: Max and Hite were basically just mildly hoppy water, but I enjoyed a good Seoul Black Beer Stout. In Oregon I lived down the road from an amazing little shop called The Kiva, which had the revolutionary option to make your own six pack. On top of that, every place carried 22s. It was amazing.

And to me, nothing is more amazing than pumpkin beer. That is why I’ve decided to showcase my seasonal samplings. I’ll try them as I come across them, and if you can think of a beer you want to see me taste, leave a comment and I’ll see if I can find it!

Saranac Pumpkin Ale

Saranac Pumpkin Ale

Our first contender is Saranac’s Pumpkin Ale. We found this at our local liquor store for a sweet $5 a mini-growler. This is a very light beer- not hoppy, like a light IPA, just light in color and flavor.

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It doesn’t leave me with a heavy, bloated beer feeling nor does it have a strong after taste. It does  have an amazing blend of spices and smooth, buttery pumpkin flavor. I would recommend this beer to anyone interested in trying a pumpkin beer but who doesn’t have much experience with the blends, as it is so nicely balanced. Of course, I think that this is something seasoned pumpkin beer drinkers would enjoy as well (I certainly do!). Saranac’s Pumpkin Ale is the perfect way to prep our palate for pumpkin season!

The Unbearable Iceness of Being

(Sorry I’m not sorry for the pun)

This article, after nearly what? a month? of the Ice Bucket Challenge being “a thing” finally popped up on my dash, and well, it inspired me to do something I usually have no interest in doing: Offer a (light) rebuttal to something I know jack shit about. But, and here’s the kicker, it’s because I know shit about ALS and what it’s like to suffer with it that I feel compelled to comment.

Bo Stern’s post is beyond rebuke, it is beautiful, it is well written and it is succinct. Best of all, it does what the “Ice Bucket Challenge” fails to do. It raises awareness.

My basic knowledge of ALS is this: It is also called “Lou Gehrig’s Disease” after a dude who did sports, it is featured in Tuesdays with Morrie. There, two things.

Unlike breast cancer, which I think needs no more general “awareness” (money to fund research and treatment, a thousand times yes. Awareness that it is not just a disease women can get, yes. What color underwear I’m wearing and don’t tell the guys? No.), the general public could truly stand some awareness about ALS. But does it need the spectacle?

I can respect that, by nature, I am quiet person who likes to keep my business to myself. Unless I have something to gain by putting something out there, I don’t do it. I would have told no one about my grandparents’ deaths if it hadn’t been for the fact that I need to use the bereavement days. Perhaps because of this the idea of anyone filming themselves dumping ice on their head is inherently distasteful to my delicate sensitivities. Even if I do think they world would be a better place if everyone were just a little bit quieter, not everyone is me and I’ve learned to live with that. I know that what is annoying to me might be the best thing ever to someone else.

I don’t know what’s been showing up on everyone else’s Facebook feeds, but well, here is what I have observed from the Ice Bucket Challenge: A lot of videos, where people do not mention ALS anywhere, talk about how they are nervous about doing this, they name five carefully-chosen friends they want to go next, they dump ice on themselves and run screaming off camera. Nowhere do they provide any information about what ALS is, where I should donate, that dumping ice on yourself means you are supposed to donate $10 instead of $100 (learned that Monday of this week. Til then I thought dumping ice on yourself was a “get out of jail free” card). Maybe I just have horrible friends and they do not make up the norm for these videos, but I turned away knowing nothing more about ALS than I did before reading Stern’s post last night.

Awareness? What awareness?

I’m reminded of this strip from The Non-Adventures of Wonderella entitled “The BREAST Intentions” (someone out there is just as punny as me!)

Non-Adventures of Wonderella: The BREAST Intentions

Dumping ice on your head has gotten more people talking about dumping ice on your head than it has about ALS because again, before reading Stern’s post I still knew SHIT despite sitting back and sucking y’alls charity.

Complaining that the Ice Bucket Challenge won’t cure ALS is stupid and ignores the fact that the money collected is going to good use, but don’t claim that this is raising awareness. Are we so shallow as a society that we can’t donate to something because  it’s actually a good cause without prompting? If a donation happens without a giant spectacle does that money still go to research? If a tree…

What if, instead of prattling about who challenged you and who you’re going to challenge next, people made videos where they listed five facts they learned about ALS after being tagged? Yeah, that sounds kinda school projecty, but it would actually raise awareness. You can still dump ice on your head afterwards if that floats your little boat. Or what about the list included in Stern’s post? What if people filmed themselves performing tasks that simulate what it’s actually like to live with ALS and then commenting/donating (just… I’m pretty sure #7 is actually a game called Chubby Bunny and is inadvisable). (Of course, now that I’ve made a Chubby Bunny reference I should note that that ‘challenge’ was just about choking on marshmallows and had no philanthropic component.)

We can’t all be Charlie Sheen (never thought you’d hear that mentioned as bad thing, huh?)

Which is unfortunate because I would love to have 10k to just donate to charity. I am unfortunately having one of those months where $10 could make or break my ability to pay rent (September should be better). Had it not been through the friend who shared Stern’s blogpost, I ALS would have faded from my memory as quickly as the Cold Water Challenge (which, in it’s magnificent awareness-raising, I didn’t know it was to raise money for the  National Fallen Firefighters Foundation or any charity at all until I searched for a link to use in this post).

I am glad that this is getting donations for the ALSA. Truly. But what happens next? What is the big picture? When the fuss dies down, as it inevitably will, will people know anything more about ALS? Will it become “that ice bucket” disease instead of “Lou Gehrig’s?” My initial instinct when faced with these things is to wait for someone like Stern to come along and say “yeah, this is how it is for us.”  But I cannot stop questioning these methods. People nominating very young children for the challenge: are the parents donating? Will this, as Stern hopes “nudge ALS an inch or two closer to the collective public consciousness[?]” If I thought that it would, I would not be writing this post. I am glad that, unlike past “slacktivist” efforts, this has actually (reportedly) raised “millions” for ALS research! I suppose it would be perfectly fair to argue that is better than awareness! Hopefully it is enough to pad their coffers when they are no longer the issue du jour. Hopefully enough people have done their research that they will remember ALSA when it comes time for future donations.

I worry that when we combine “awareness” with “spectacle” everyone looses in the wrong one. Therefore, in addition to Bo Stern’s blog and the ALSA site, I’m going to give you five facts about ALS that have nothing to do with Lou Gehrig or buckets of ice:

1. ALS stands for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. It is a neurological disorder that causes rapid and severe muscle atrophy

2. While your chances increase if you have a relative with ALS, it is not strictly a hereditary disease and there is no official cause

3. There is no cure for ALS, though doctors can treat or slow the specific symptoms they cannot stop the progression

4. Even though a person with ALS’ body will deteriorate, having difficultly with walking, talking, eating, etc. There mind stays intact

5. There is no specific test for ALS, the diagnosis is reached through observation of the symptoms.

If you would like to read more, here is where I got this information.

I have to mention that, since I started crafting this post, this feature has popped up. I can’t not mention it. If this had been the first video I had seen perhaps I would feel differently. It Stern’s blog post and Carbajal’s video make way for a new norm in this fad, where all the videos start actually talking about ALS, where those are the types of media being shared (instead of say… the one with a fat woman jumping up and screaming every two seconds because she thinks they’re going to dump the water on her too soon?), I will concede that actual awareness is being raised. Until then, this is not the fundraiser people with ALS, or any other disease, actually deserve.

Speedy Roundup

I have another post almost prepped to post, so that may come later today (or I may stretch my “one post per weekday” rule and stretch it out til tomorrow like the sneaky person I am). I have some BIG NEWS that I want to announce though, and figured I’d throw in some other stuff I’ve found:

  • I was accepted into an online MLIS program! I am excite! If I chose to accept my acceptance (which I probably will) then I will return to graduate school in September, hopefully with more success than last time around. Because it is an online program I will be able to keep my current job (which is helping me pay for it!) and also avoid moving for the fourth time in  8 months. Both things are super pros. I do wonder how I will balance full-time work with being a part-time student with having an outside life, but we’ll see!

supernatural gif from goodreads

  • Someone has to wear a pretty skirt. That’s why God made girls. And drag queens. Someone also has to throw up at screechy, saccharine country songs about gender essentialism, and that’s why I was biologically designed with a gag reflex.
  • Was recruited by BFF to help her hash out an idea for her to work on during NaNo, which is super flattering. It was also another pile-on to the heaps of flattery I’ve received this week. My face might be permanently bright red now. I’m a cave troll, folks, not an inspiration! (I’m glad people like me though, really!)
  • Whoever the hell Mike Ditka is, we agree that the debate over the Red Skins’ team name is “so stupid it’s appalling.” Of course, he thinks that because he’s a racist dingleberry, and I think it should have been changed years ago because I strive to meet the base level of ‘decent human being.’
  • One of the Duggar Girls is pregnant. I go a little bug-eyed whenever I think about the Duggars in general, but my comment now is not about them, but the comments I’ve seen by other people. Folks, let’s clear this up: There are a lot of reasons why a woman may not want to announce her pregnancy soon after it happens, it’s true that statistically you are at your biggest risk of marriage in your first trimester. It’s also true that you can’t say “I’m going to have an alive baby!” until after you’ve effectively squeezed that sucker out at the end of your pregnancy, because unfortunately there is no magic safety number, just better odds. Jill is not “wrong” to have announced her pregnancy so early because there’s no such thing as a “right” time. Just a “whenever you’re ready” time (which could be as soon as your pee stick dries or absolutely never). There was a great discussion thread on this but I can’t remember if it was APW or Captain Awkward and I can’t find it. Maybe if we didn’t tell women that keeping their pregnancies quiet was “right”, miscarriage would be a less lonely, taboo subject?
  • And to round everything off: Did I mention I got into grad school? =)