Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Vampires I Like More Than Twilight

Seeing as how the third installment in the Twilight series opens today, I thought it would be apropo to do a post on this very subject for which I couldn't really care less.

I don't get Twilight.

I understand that there are a bagillion fans who like the jailbait eye candy, and even a bagillion more who are age-appropriate for said eye candy.

But I don't understand what made this series so successful. Humdrum storyline. Overly dramatic, yet wooden characters. Bad writing. Wayne's World-esque Megahappy ending. Author who claims to know little about other successful supernatural series even though she's in the supernatural series business and competitive intelligence is key.

Yeah, I don't get it (though I do get that I'll likely get some hate mail from this post for being so anti-Twilight, oh the inhumanity).

But I do get the "Team" thing.

And so, with the help of my friends, I spent a few moments of my day coming up with a list of vampires I like more than Twilight. A few "teams" you can count me on, so to speak. In no particular order...

1. Team Eric Northman
Yeah, Ladies, I don't think I have to give you a reason why, right?

2. Team Dracula
I love myself some Bela Lugosi, but don't get me wrong. I'd take the inspiration, Vlad Tepes, over Bram Stoker's character any day.

3. Team Count Chocula
Pretty sure this one needs little explaining too. A vampire that makes a delicious chocolate cereal for me? I'm just hoping for a better marshmallow-to-oat ratio.

4. Team Count von Count
One! ah, ah, ah Two! ah, ah, ah, Three!...

Thus ends the short list of Vampires I Like More Than Twilight. Thank you for playing.

Please Note:
There are, of course, many more I could add to this list - namely Angel for his brooding ways, Spike for this maniacal ways, Harmony for her clueless ways, Pam because she's sassy, Jessica because she's hilarious, and Bill because of the way he says, "Sookie!" But I didn't want to list to get into a "which supernatural series is better" debate, and so I only put my favorite, Eric, in a top spot.

And if you're wondering where I came up with all of these, well, it wasn't just me. Thanks to my very funny friends Rob and Maggie for the inspiration!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Summerfest Shenanigans

This blog would be remiss without a post on Summerfest, the World's Largest Music Festival and it just so happens that this author has a lot to say after her visit.

The night included Dan Rodriguez, Gavin DeGraw, and Skillet. Well, I didn't really "see" Gavin DeGraw as there were hundreds of teens obstructing the view. But my friend and I did sit at a picnic table far from the stage, eating Chipotle and listening to him play. You know, a little secret of live concerts...the music sounds way better from far away. Up close we could only hear drums and bass, but when we sat down far from the speakers, we could hear a better mix.

Another secret of live music is that smaller shows are always better than large shows unless fire is involved. Enter Dan Rodriguez and Skillet.

Rodriguez was a very entertaining singer/songwriter from Minneapolis who entertained the crowd with his acoustic covers of Single Ladies and Hey Ya. Part comedian, part guitar playing lothario, he really lives up to his mission statement, "make love and music," inviting audience members to become applicants for a make-out session on the SkyGlide whilst singing a song with no second verse.


While Rodriguez won over the intimate setting, Skillet lived it up on the CoolTV stage. By the by, can anyone tell me who used to sponsor that stage? It slipped my mind and is making me crazy...

Skillet's show was everything the 10 o'clock rock spot should be and then some. The "then some" being pyrotechnics. A long-time fan of the band, I was excited to see them live but did not expect to be blown out of my seat, er, standing position as it were. Not only were the folks on electric violin and cello raised and lowered on hydraulic lifts during the performance, a variety of shooting fireballs and giant spinning sparklers turned the concert into a pyromaniacs wet dream. Luckily, no permanent blazes ensued.

The eventful evening commenced with a potential t-shirt making business utilizing the following slogans all overheard and experienced at Milwaukee's greatest festival:

I Survived the Summerfest Bathrooms

I Want to Sex You Up Like a Chocolate-Covered Strawberry

A'hoy Matey (this would include a graphic of a swashbuckling concert crowd in eye patches, all high-fiving each other)

Oh, Milwaukee, your strange ways and even stranger people never fail to make my day.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Book Review: Columbine by Dave Cullen

Occasionally I like to post a book, movie, or music review for pieces I particularly enjoy...or hate with unrelenting passion. I kid. But truly, sometimes I come across something I so enjoy that I'd like to recommend it to you in the hopes that you enjoy it also.

It is with this spirit that I introduce you to a book I've recently finished: Columbine by Dave Cullen.

I'd have to describe the book as a sometimes fast-paced account of the years leading up to, and years following, the Columbine school tragedy.

I say "sometimes fast-paced" because other times it's a bit jumpy, moving between the scene of April 20th, and the past events of the planning stages or the investigation time line.

Meticulously researched, the account includes hundreds of hours of interviews weaved together in a disturbing, yet stirring narrative. Disturbing because, by this account, officials had many red flags leading up to April 20th that they failed to act upon, which may have derailed Harris and Klebold's plan, and stirring because the stories of the survivors move between heartbreaking and inspiring.

As I've mentioned, the book is a bit jumpy, dropping threads of pre-April 20th and then picking up with the narrative of the tragedy or snippets of post-April 20th, but I almost think it works better that way. After all, the book took me a month to read mainly because I could only handle it in small doses. The zig zag between story lines is effective in managing your sanity.

I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to know what really happened, why they did it, and what happened to Littleton afterward. Warning: Not for the faint of heart.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Cream City Cuisine Has Arrived!

That's right folks, (@CCCuisine) is ready for your cooking pleasure.

Jess (@JPrim), Evan (@EvanOnline) and I (@MsQuarter) have been cooking together for over 8 years and it only now occurred to us that we should start a blog and share our recipes. After all, our retirement plan includes opening a restaurant together in Door County, WI, and why shouldn't we get started now on working out the kinks of the menu?

So I urge you to visit the website. We're specializing in dishes that make Wisconsin products the star. More often than not these star products are of the adult beverage variety, but every so often we will segue into cheese, meats, produce, and the like. We might even take a foray into cooking with regional or international adult beverages. You'll just have to follow us and find out.

Our blog not only includes recipes, but also product descriptions of the ingredients and utensils we cook with. Because what you cook is a result of the products you use - both edible and culinary.

So be sure to visit us at If you've ever wished you ate like us, now you can!

Where has the etiquette gone? A Philosophical Soliloquy

Oh, we job seekers are a pathetic lot.

We try to keep up our spirits after 6 months of sending resumes out into the abyss.

We develop elaborate schemes to capture the attention of would-be employers.

We wait, wait, and wait some more for any scrap of indication whether we have been shucked to the side or chosen for that rarest of all modern day events: the job interview.

And we do all of this with rarely any contact from the thousands of potential employers we've reached out to, after having spent precious time crafting a cover letter and resume - no small feat.

Oh, sometimes we spy the unicorn - a generic mail-merged letter or email telling us we've failed. But even these mythical beings are fast becoming extinct.

Instead, we poor, defenseless job seekers are left in our very own purgatory of permanent suspense, never knowing what it is we did that landed us in this state.

We realize it is a buyer's market out there, that there are so many more of us than there are jobs for us to fill. And yet each resume we send out, each cover letter we carefully craft, we imagine ourselves in the position for which we are applying. We think maybe this time will the one that will end it all, this fruitless searching, forever waiting.

The silence fades our hope.

The lack of contact - even if that contact is a rejection - kills our optimism.

Because though the waiting may damage our armor, it is the lack of any response that lands the harshest blow.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

BP Gulf Disaster: Dislike.

There's something that's been bothering me about the disaster in the gulf...more than the obvious, that is.

Before now I couldn't put my finger on it, and though I still don't think I'm doing justice to my thoughts in this articulation, I'm still going to give it a shot.

What really bothers me is two things.

1. I'm annoyed that so many people are blaming the U.S. government for the disaster and deriding them for their lack of response.

First of all, I'm not sure what the U.S. government had to do with the oil rig exploding (beyond the tenuous connection of our dependence on oil and foot dragging on legislation that would lead to clean energy and might've kept a company like BP from drilling an oil well at such a risky depth). This could just be my ignorance. I'll be the first to admit I don't know a lot about this situation beyond what I've seen in the news and on Discovery Channel and NatGeo programs.

I also don't know if we should be as angry at the government's lack of response as we should about other issues, as I'll explain in my next thought...

2. The second main reason I'm annoyed is based on BP's response to the situation.

BP may sound contrite in the wording of their press releases and they may give off a sense of being concerned in their press conferences, but I can't help but sense that it's a bit fake. I can't help but get the feeling that, behind all the pretty words and empty promises, they're really just annoyed to be having to deal with this issue at all.

Does anyone else get that feeling?

Maybe it's just skepticism on my part, but I get the feeling that BP is less concerned with how this disaster is going to affect the gulf region, and more concerned with how this situation is keeping them from going back to business as usual. As if that will ever happen. As if the gulf region will ever get back to business as usual.

And this is where I think we should direct our anger - not that a perceived lack of response by governing bodies shouldn't warrant some question...just a little perspective.

It bothers me that we don't see a lot of concern by BP or the U.S. government for what this disaster will do in the long term.

Perhaps that's because the more immediate need is to stop the oil leak and keep what's already spilled from spreading. And I get that. One step, one concern at a time.

But it would be nice to hear more remorse for what this ecological disaster is going to do to an entire region's economy and culture in the next 100 years. Because we're all kidding ourselves if we think there won't be long-term consequences from this.

And that's the end of my ignorant rant. To lighten the mood, I give you @BPGlobalPR - a fake Twitter account that sarcastically says what we're all thinking...on behalf of BP.

A sample of the tweets:
We are not killing animals in the gulf, we are creating fossils in the gulf. Have a little perspective. #bpcares

Investing a lot of time & money into cleaning up our image, but the beaches are next on the to-do list for sure. #bpcares

If you want to help clean up. Drive your cars fast and often. Let's melt those glaciers and dilute this mess! #bpcares

Now, if you want to do something about this mess, you can click here and send a message to your Senator, telling him or her to support clean energy legislation that will hopefully help prevent such disasters in the future.