Progress.

Step 1a: Audition for the Amazing Race.

Done.

ETA: Yes, we really did. We missed the date to make and mail in your own audition video, but there was an open casting call here, so my mom and I went. I feel like I should clarify: I don’t watch the Amazing Race. I hate reality programming – they bring out the worst in people and that’s not what I want to see for entertainment. But. My mom loves the Amazing Race, so I said I’d go with her to the audition. Then I came up with my five-year plan as a justification for why I was doing it. And I suppose if someone wants to pay for me to travel around the world and maybe, just maybe, throw in a million dollars, who am I sto say no?

Plus she said if we win, we’ll split it 60-40. πŸ˜‰

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My five year plan…

…in nine (or ten) easy steps.

Plan A:

  1. Win the Amazing Race with my mom. Split the $1,000,000 60-40 (her idea as I would be participating slightly against my will…).
  2. Get a boob job (nothing drastic, just a bit of a pick-me-up [pun…intended?]).
  3. Buy a lovely little flat in London.
  4. Find a lovely British man to marry me so I can get a visa and live in said lovely little flat in London.
  5. Hilarity ensues.
  6. Joke’s on us as we end up falling in love for real.
  7. I land a $1,000,000 3-book contract with Arthur Levine.
  8. What the hell, bring about world peace and stop global warming.
  9. The entire world lives happily ever after.

I think that sounds doable, how about you? Of course, it all hinges on not only being picked to go on the Amazing Race, but winning it.

Or does it…

Plan B:

  1. Get on the Amazing Race, but get eliminated after a few weeks.
  2. Get asked on Oprah because of my incredible charm and charisma.
  3. She pays for my boob job (and for the audience, too ‘Everybody’s getting boooooooob jooooooobs!’ And then her helpers come out with trays of implants for everyone and we bring tears to the eyes of the nation.)
  4. She has David Tennant marry me so I can get a visa and we just live at his place. I think that’s a good compromise here.
  5. Hilarity ensues.
  6. Why did David Tennant cross the road? So we could fall in love for reals.
  7. Cue $1,000,000 3-book deal with Arthur Levine.
  8. Blah, blah, blah, bring about world peace and end global warming.
  9. I go back on Oprah for a ‘What’s happened since we saw her last?’ episode. Once again, we bring tears to the eyes of the nation.
  10. The entire world lives happily ever after.

So there’s one more step to that one. I think I can handle it.

There. I feel better already now that I have a plan.

πŸ˜‰

Fiction

The City of Dreaming Books by Walter Moers

Bet you thought I’d forgotten how to read! Well, I haven’t. I’ve just been reading this book for the last month. But last night, I finally finished it!

If you like Jasper Fforde, you might like this one. It has the same sort of wordplay and cleverness about books and things, but I can’t decide if it takes it too far or not. Some of the things in it seem almost too twee. For example, there are little creatures called Booklings which our hero, Optimus Yarnspinner, encounters during his wanderings in the bookfilled catacolms beneath the city of Bookholm. They are named after Zamonia’s famous authors and they spend their lives memorizing their author’s works. They have names like Aleisha Wimperslake, Wamilli Swordthrow, Rasco Elwid, Doylan Cone, and Elo Slooty, who wrote a gargantuan novel that everybody’s said they read, but nobody has actually finished. Get it?

I have to say that I did find all the jumbles a bit distracting, but that’s mostly because I couldn’t figure them all out. Some are jumbled first name and last name, some are jumbled all together, and some I was pretty sure weren’t actually jumbles at all, but it bothered me because I couldn’t be sure. If anyone can tell me who Perla la Gadeon and Inka Almira Rierre are, I’d be ever so grateful!

There are Bookhunters who collect valuable books that are not only things like signed copies or first editions, but books that are actually alive. Things like that.

There is also a fellow called the Shadow King who is every bit as ominous as he sounds, but not at all what you’d expect.

The story is very windy (as in circuitous, not blustery) and Yarnspinner has a multitude of adventures, but at the end, for some bizarre reason, it feels as though not very much has happened. The translator’s note (not from the German to English, but from Zamonian to, well, German, I suppose) says that this is just an excerpt of the first two chapters of Yarnspinner’s 10,000 page masterpiece and somehow Moers has gotten it to feel that way – like it’s a tiny, tiny part of a much bigger story – something that’s not really important when taken in its larger context (a 10,000 page novel), but seems quite overwhelming when it’s singled out as a special detail.

As a sidenote, I’m a little worried that I may have stumbled into the most recent volume in a series because when I went to Amazon to get the picture to post here, the entry said City of Dreaming Books (Zamonia 3). None of the other books seem to say (Zamonia 1 or 2), but the subtitles or series numbers don’t consistently show up on Amazon (oh my, is that another jumble there, do you think? It’s not exact, but it’s so close and its a place full of books…I hadn’t even noticed!), I’ve found.

My rating: B+

A veritable cornucopia of baked goods!

So, as predicted last time I posted, I have been busy, compulsively baking. In addition to the apple cider doughnuts, the rum pumpkin chiffon pie, and the pecan pie, we now also have:

This

which became these

Brandied cranberry white chocolate chip cookies from here. The Internet said I could actually have white chocolate as it’s not chocolate at all, really, and does not contain caffeine. I decided to take a chance since, unlike regular chocolate with carob, there does not seem to be a good substitution for white chocolate. So far, so good! So far.

There are also some really lovely pumpkin bars that went from this

to these

courtesy of Paula Deen. Really good.

There are also some gingerbread cookies from Moosewood’s dessert cookbook. There would have been pictures, I promise. I had intended to use my dinosaur cookie cutters (which I love!) and thought I might create some tableaus a la Ray Harryhausen, but, alas, I forgot them and had to just use the ones my mom had. Then I thought I might use some of the more bizarre ones to create an all gingerbread scene from Lassie (‘What’s that, girl? Timmy’s fallen down the old well?’) but…I ran out of energy.

But I promise the next time I make a batch of gingerbread dinosaurs, there will be a stegosaurus/tyrannosaurus rex death match for you. πŸ˜‰

Gobble, gobble!

It’s the second biggest eating day here in the States…did you really think you’d get away without a giant food post? πŸ˜‰

Mom and I cooked…well, basically all day. First, I got up this morning before everybody else and made another batch of the apple cider doughnuts.

I used the recipe for the icing that came along with the pumpkin cookies this time since that was more the consistency I was hoping for and didn’t get with the doughnut one. I substituted apple cider for the milk in keeping with the theme and it seemed to work fine. I couldn’t really taste the difference, but at least I could say that I was clever!

And then, into the kitchen where we turned out:

(left to right, top to bottom): rolls (from a box), green beans with ginger and garlic from the NYTimes Thanksgiving special insert (halved), cranberry orange relish, deviled eggs, mashed potatoes from Simply Recipes, mashed sweet potatoes with maple syrup and chipotles also from the NYTimes, rum pumpkin chiffon pie, rum whipped cream, and pecan pie.

Whew!

But there was also a tasty little fellow called a Turkey Kiss (rum, triple sec, cranberry juice, and a couple of maraschino cherries bouncing around in the bottom of the glass) which helped to ease the cooking stress.

Oh, yeah, and there was also a turkey breast, but Mom took care of that since it was just for her and Dad. A long day, but a very productive one, if I do say so myself. And I feel I may just be on my way to no longer being able to say that I can’t cook… πŸ˜‰

Tomorrow it’s baking – I’m thinking gingerbread cookies (from Moosewood – yum!) and brandied cranberry and white chocolate chip cookies. So odds are there’ll be another food post soon!

Where are the tissues?

I knew it was coming, but oh, Doctor!

*sob*

Well, on to series 3. Freema Agyeman has big shoes to fill, but perhaps the prospect of John Simm will help to ease the pain…

ETA: Oooh, do not like Martha. Wish Rose would come back… I think the Master doesn’t show up until quite late in the series (oh, and Captain Jack, too – yay!), so I shall just have to be a brave viewer and do my best to tolerate Martha for now.