My past is perilous, but each scar I bear sings

Monuments to where I have been, and melodies to where I am going

Yummy soup belly!
cake or death
Hello again, fellow lj writers/readers. What have you been up to?

I was adventurous and tried new food! I guess this is a running theme...

Some back story: When I was in high school, I watched A LOT of anime. I'm not an anime expert by any means, but I did dabble in a few series and movies. Mostly Watanabe and Miyazaki; I was OBSESSED with Cowboy Bebop and Princess Mononoke. One thing always stood out to me while watching anime - how good the food looked!

Mmm... rice balls.

I wanted to try sushi, and ramen, and a rice ball SO BADLY, but I could never find someone/a place to go to where I could quench my Japanese food curiosity. To be honest, I can't remember the first time I had sushi. It might have been at GVSU's campus with Molly... I don't know for sure. Once I tried it though, I was hooked. But I rarely strayed outside of my miso soup/tempura/edamame/gyoza/sushi bubble. Mostly because I didn't know how to eat anything else, or order it. I'm very shy when it comes to going to food places and asking questions about the menu. I want to be the cool kid that already knows everything.

Cooking Mama will show me how to make shrimp tempura at home!

I was sick of this approach, though. I am all about branching out this year, and if I want to try ramen, real ramen, that they put in a huge boiling bowl with meat and veggies, by god I'm going to do it. I obsessed over it with Lauren, and she found this place in Canton, Matsuchan, that served honest to god ramen noodle bowls. It's shoved in a mini mall at the north east corner of Sheldon and Ford. The place really is tiny - there are only maybe 7 tables inside, and everybody there was Japanese (and speaking Japanese, I picked out a few things, but nothing ground breaking because my comprehension at this point is very, very bad). We stared out with some gyoza (pork dumplings) and they were nothing special. But the ramen, OMG. Please see below:

Note: my cell phone takes horrible pictures. I think next time I won't be stealth and I'll just take pictures with my normal camera.

Pork Miso Ramen!

Lauren and her huge bowl of noodles. She didn't know I was taking the picture - I think her exact words before I snapped this were "What the hell are you doing?". I think it looks awesome :D

Now, I wasn't sure how to eat this, or how to approach eating it. I ended up eating the majority of it with my chopsticks, and then when there was only broth left I attempted to slurp it up using the spoon. I say the word "spoon" lightly, as the utensil I was using may be classified as a ladle. It was fucking huge, kind of like this picture. The soup was SO HOT (the liquid was still boiling when they set it down in front of me) but it felt SO GOOD in my tummy. Lauren and I both had warm soup belly afterward. It was worth every penny.

Would I return to Matsuchan? FUCK YES. They're set up like a carry-out place, so if you're not up for eating in they will wrap it up for you :) They take credit cards, too, but unfortunately I don't think they took Discover (which, in Leah and I's book, is a check in the "con" column). Mine was $9.50? Lauren had regular pork ramen and it was about $9. It really fills you up, though.

Next time I'm trying their seafood ramen. And their fried rice. Someone ordered it while we were there and it looked epic. I'm hungry.

2011: A New Odyssey. Or a Collyssey, as it were.
cake or death
Back in my sophomore year of college, I wrote in this thing a lot. I would post a picture and talk about random stuff I encountered in the last couple of days. It felt good, and people read it (mostly because it had pictures - people will read if you post pictures). I'm going to get back to this. I look upon that year fondly for several reasons, and it's easy to remember because it was well documented. I'm hoping 2011 will be much different than the years before it so I'm going to try this again and record it as "the year that changed my life". If anything it might improve my attitude. I want to try things I've never done before - even if it makes me super uncomfortable. I don't want to think or dwell too much. I want to work to become a better person and hone my writing skills to become a better copyeditor (or a copyeditor in general). Bigger, better, faster, stronger Colleen. Go me!

I'm not saying this is a resolution, and I'm also not saying I'll keep up with it, but I'd like to try to post once a week. You guys can see what I'm up to, and maybe it will encourage some of you to keep up your blogs too :)

So, what have I been up to this past few weeks? In the theme of trying new things and changing my lifestyle, I signed up for Door to Door Organics for a week in an effort to motivate myself to cook more. Groupon had a deal where you could get a Bitty Box for $11!

"What is Door to Door Organics?" you may be asking. It's a service where once every week (or every two weeks) a box of organic produce is delivered to your door. The boxes range in size from enough food for one/two people to enough food for a large family. You can choose vegetables, or fruit, or both! What you get every week is different, and they have an option where you can designate certain foods you do not want delivered, and what foods you want them replaced with. Sounds pretty solid, right? I agree! Only snag is it's normally $23 for a little box of produce, and I'm not about to blow $23 a week on organic produce. Not exactly in my budget. But for $11, I figured I couldn't lose. So one Tuesday night, I drove home in a snow storm to be greeted by this:

What did I get in my Bitty Box?Collapse )
Moral of the story: would I recommend Door to Door Organics? Yes. If you have $23 a week to blow on groceries, DO THIS. It's fresh food delivered right to your door! Everything tasted amazing and having the produce really motivated me to eat healthier by cooking my meals instead of eating Jimmy Johns for dinner every night. If I get a raise (ha!) I'm investing in this myself.

Later days!

2010: A Photo Review
cake or death
Alright, so last entry was a bit pessimistic. Not all of 2010 sucked balls. Here is a photo account of the awesome things I did this year:

Went to a Wedding

Met A Boy

This was our first awkward picture together. If only we knew...

Moved Into A Condo

I know it's a crappy photo... but that's all you get.

Celebrated Lauren's Graduation

Which led to...

Set Up my Two Friends Accidentally

Cut My Hair Really Short!

Visited Grand Haven

Fell in Love

Went to Houghton

Traveled Through A Corn Maze

Dressed up like Little Miss Muffet

I made that costume. No foolin'

Knocked Back a Few Supermodels

Went to a Wings game

"My significant other and I support the same sports team!"

Ozzie doing what he does best :)


Rang in the New Year in Grand Rapids

This is the only picture I have of us together all night. We're at a bar called The Winchester. I'm feeling pretty good, obviously.

AND, because I do this every year (and this year I figured I'd share): Yearly Mix: 2010 in a Nutshell. Warning: There is a lot of Korean pop songs on it :P

Later days!

Happy Holidays!
Love Actually
I don't know what's wrong with me this year, but I've been bitten by the holiday bug. I usually hate the holidays. It started when Christmas started invading October. It's disturbing to shop for a Halloween costume in a store where the Christmas display is right next to the witches hats. And I have to work like crazy to get the end of year revenue numbers up at work, there's too many people I need to see, not enough time to buy presents, and baking 6 dozen cookies and a tort for a potluck while sending cards and decorating the tree and OMG WHY WON'T IT JUST BE 2011 YET?!


Yes, so normally I hate Christmas. But something magical happened December 1st. I was bitten by the Christmas bug.

I'm assuming he looks like this.

I don't go to church, I am not Christian (I know, real shocker, right?). I don't get jazzed about the whole "Jesus died for our sins" thing. Angels, and Jesus for that matter, creep me the fuck out. Christmas meant this to me as a child: I got to decorate the tree, I would get 2 weeks off of school, they would play Christmas cartoon specials on TV, I would be forced to see my extended family, and I would get lots of presents to reward me of this. It also meant I would get a whole new set of stuffed animals to sleep with (and one that played music! Hooray!).

I used to have this awesome picture of my dad covered in stuffed animals while he was passed out on the couch. I can't find it to post, so I don't know why I'm mentioning it. Maybe so it can live in the memory of all of us, forever.

R.I.P. Picture Of Dad Covered in Buddies While Passed Out on the Couch
2002, 2003, maybe 2005~ish? - Dec. 2010

In later years (mainly college) I didn't really care about the holiday itself - only about the fact that the semester was ending and after finals I could sit around at home, have my father constantly feed me with yummy food, and do nothing before the next semester started (not having reading to do over break is an AWESOME perk of college). After I graduated I tried to get into the Christmas spirit, but alas, I could have cared less two years ago, and last year I decorated but I was so stressed out about making sure my gifts would get here in time from Amazon and I would be able to finish crafting them in time that I didn't really enjoy it. At all.

This all changed in 2010. I suddenly wanted to do Christmas-y stuff, like buy and decorate a tree, go to Bronner's, drive through Wayne County's Festival of Lights, send out Christmas cards and bake Christmas cookies. My motivation has known no bounds, and I have accomplished all of these things. By all I mean most of them, to which I will document now.

LJ Cut because this is RIDICULOUSLY long. And full of pictures.Collapse )

Have a Happy New Year!

Prompt #10!
cake or death
I am drunk on tequila, so I think today should be the second installment of Steve's Adventures in Alter-Egos.

The Perilous Life of Steven the Sea CaptainCollapse )

Prompt #8!
cake or death
I am so, so tired, but I need to write, so I'm going to address this:

You may be asking, "What the hell am I looking at?" This is Cherpumple. Cher-pump-le.

"The Cherpumple is the desert version of the Turducken! It’s a three-layer cake with a pie stuffed in each layer. YUM! Cherpumple is short for CHERry, PUMpkin and apPLE pie. The apple pie is baked in spice cake, the pumpkin in yellow and the cherry in white."

If you would like to learn more about THE Cherpumple, you can visit the Charles Phoenix site here.

Omega made me aware of this a few days ago. A couple of questions immediately ran through my noggin -

1. Who would be crazy enough to make this?

Well, anyone who posts on the Charles Phoenix site. Their demographic seems to encompass a ton of crazy white people with dorky haircuts and one super happy blonde couple.

2. How much...
a) effort and time would it take TO make this?

This I had to consult Omega on. The first thing I thought was, "Well, hell, that's 3 fucking pies and 3 fucking cakes! 3 bottom crusts, 2 top crusts, 3 pie fillings, 3 cake batters, and a shitload of frosting. Pie takes like 45 minutes to assemble, and like an hour to bake (with exception of the pumpkin pie), this would be a whole weekend project, or one day morning to night if someone were really fucking ambitious! Wouldn't most people get maxed out after a while? Who would have the stamina to assemble this?"

But then Omega pointed out that these people probably bought the pies and used box cake mix, which would shorten the amount of time it takes to assemble this immensely. Which leads me to my next question...

b) would it COST to make this?

A frozen pie can range from $8.99 - $15 (depending on where you get it), and box cake mix is like $3? Let's not forget you have to buy oil for the mix, which is $5? Not to mention a few tubs of frosting at $3 a piece. So you're looking at ~$47 as a low end cost. Most expensive assembled dessert ever. I don't even want to know how much if you made everything from scratch... which is what Omega would totally do ;)

3. Who would be crazy enough to EAT this? And how would you eat this?

One URL:

You put it in a huge bowl, mix it up and eat it with your hands. Or your face if you're gutsy.

Now that I've observed THE Cherpumple, analyzed it, and blogged about it, I can honestly say that this is the most disgusting and intriguing dessert I've ever encountered. As much as I'd like to say that I'm repulsed by it (and I am to a certain degree) there is a crazy part of me that wants to challenge myself to bake it. From scratch. And then actually eat it. This dessert begs to conquered.

...What is wrong with me?

Prompt #6!
cake or death
What unlikely thing from your childhood has changed the way you live today?

When I was a kid, those "Scary Stories" books were THE shit. Everybody wanted to read them, and nobody wanted to admit they were frightened by them. The more volumes you had read, the cooler you were. I, not wanting to miss out, read the three volumes we had at my school's library. Most of the stories were pretty stupid with a touch of adolescent boy grossness, but there was one story, "High Beams", that I still remember, and it sufficiently creeped me out. If you have no idea what I'm talking about go here. The delivery this guy gives is awful, but at least you can hear the story.

Synopsis: A girl is driving home at night and a pick-up truck follows her. She speeds up, he speeds up. She changes lanes, he changes lanes. She turns down a back road and he turns down it behind her. As he approaches her car, he flashes his high beams which flood her backseat with light. She finally gets home, freaks the fuck out and yells to her parents to call the cops. Turns out the guy in the pick-up truck was only following her because he noticed a man was crouched in her backseat with a knife. Every time the guy would raise up from the backseat to attack the girl, the man in the truck would flash his high beams so the attacker would duck down behind the seat again.

That's right. A man hiding in the backseat of a defenseless girl's car waiting to stab her. They let 8-year-old kids read this. Is this NOT fucking creepy? Anyone? I mean, women are conditioned to believe that unless we watch our backs at all times, we will become victims of some kind of assault. We cannot walk through a parking lot at night without carrying our keys in our hands waiting to stab some guy in the eyeball or spray mace in his face. But I think I'd like to protect my daughter from this tiny nugget of fear as long as I could, and I certainly wouldn't expose her to it as an elementary school student.

As a result of reading this story as a child, I check my backseat EVERY TIME I get in my car. No joke. And if it's at night, I check twice, like, literally turn around and look behind the seats. It's ridiculous.

This fear has only been exasperated by a recently aired episode of CSI. I don't normally watch this show, but I spent a week at my parent's house sewing a Halloween costume for Theatre Bizarre and they happen to DVR it. They were watching an episode where a guy in a custom made full body latex suit stalked and killed people. He slept under their beds while they were sleeping, lived in their attic, and monitored their every moment with hidden cameras, until one day he crawled out to attack them with a pair of Sweeney Todd-looking razor blades. He also had this weird crab-ish crawl where he would walk on all 4 limbs, but one foot and one hand at a time. He had two victims - one he attacked in her bed while she slept, and the other while she was going through a car wash with her kid. He hid in the spare tire well in the trunk and crawled out as soon as they were moving down the automated convener belt. Seriously? Seriously. What. the. fuck.

Needless to say, my drive home at 2:30am wasn't the most pleasant I have had in my life. I called my friend Bob in Arizona to talk me through it, but he didn't answer. I sang along with my music for a while, but I kept imagining this guy climbing from my trunk through that fold down arm rest in the backseat, crouching down and waiting to attack me with a razor blade. Awesome.

Sometimes you look back at the things that scared you as a child and laugh. I used to be scared of my uncles because they had facial hair. I used to be scared of walking to the bathroom in the middle of the night. I used to be scared of ladybugs, and butterflies, any kind of flying insect, really. The "High Beams" story, though... never going to get over that one.

Well, that didn't take long...
cake or death
I've been super lame this weekend. I totally owe myself 3 entries. I think my titles are going to go from "Day #" to "Prompt #" because I can totally see this happening again. Ballllls.

Now I must think of 3 writing prompts. Good gravy.

Day 2!
cake or death
qtshorty1625 gave me a prompt! Thank you!

“What makes a person lucky?”

Good fucking question. Let me preface this by saying I believe I have horrible “luck”. When I was younger I lived by the misguided notion that because I am Irish, I would be lucky in life. It was in my blood. Somehow, because my ancestors lived on a magical diet of Guinness and starchy food, I had an edge over the universe. I even got a shamrock tattooed on my wrist the day after my 18th birthday. Did it bring me luck? No, not really. In fact, ever since then I’ve had a lot happen to me that has been particularly inconvenient. I could list all kinds of examples from my shitty cars, to my awful college roommates, to my medical ailments, but really I’d just be splitting hairs and all it would prove is that I bitch about stuff a lot. No one can prove they have an cosmically inherited unlucky disposition. But herein lies my question – can I make my own luck? Am I “unlucky” because I believe it is my fate to be so? Or is it just coincidence? Is there anything I can do to make myself lucky?

I find the notion of luck charms ridiculous. Hanging a cross from your rear-view mirror or a having a quote from the Bible on your sun visor isn’t going to prevent your car from getting into an accident more than a horseshoe, a wishbone, a rabbits foot, or a 4 leaf clover will help me win in a game of roulette. I imagine this works on gullible people, like the placebo effect, except with artifacts.

Actually, this reminds me of a winter guard season from days of yore. It was my sophomore year of high school, and our winter guard show um… was utter shit that made absolutely no fucking sense. The premise was that footprints poem.

Yes, that one. The one where God picks us up and carries us in our times of need. And the one set of footprints in the sand is evidence of that… Yeah.

The concept was bad enough, but then our instructors tried to make it all... artsy. It started serene, and I think part of the poem was recited or something… I can’t remember. What I do remember was the break in the middle where God had forsaken us and we were running around to a song from the Romeo + Juliet soundtrack. That’s right – the sounds of screams and gunshots to the tune of blaring techno music. That’s definitely what I think of when I'm reading about the omniscient wise healing power of God.

Our first show was awful – a lot of the people were wandering around and didn’t quite know the sets or the choreography because we hadn't had a lot of practice. Our show ended after the 2nd song, the techno one, because we hadn't learned the rest of it yet, and we literally could hear a pin drop once that last note played over the speaker. We got last place. It wasn't even close.

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, a lot of internal politics between the members of the guard and the instructors came to the surface. Accusations were made and two of our instructors were forced to resign, which left us with nobody to run our guard, or fix our steaming turd of a show.

After a week or two of nightmarish practices run by our spaced-out band instructor, they finally hired a replacement (who turned out to be just as morally sound as our other guard instructors. He’s dating one of the members of my old guard. I mean, she's not 14-years-old anymore, so now it's legal, I guess). He helped us rework the show and make it into something that was halfway presentable. No more Drive of Death, no more wandering around the stage, our show suddenly had purpose.

From what I remember, we backed out of one of our competitions because our show wasn’t ready, and then later, at South Lyon, we decided to make a comeback with our brand spanking new show. We were all nervous. Our show had completely changed and very little (with the exception of the concept) of the original show remained. I remember wandering around the school for a long time anticipating performing. I wasn’t particularly optimistic on how we would do, but I put on a happy face and tried to convince everyone around me that we were going to kick some ass. I had this pineapple necklace, and I can’t remember where I had bought it, but I had decided it was lucky. I had no evidence of this. There wasn’t one time I had worn that necklace and something good happened to me. I just decided that if SpongeBob could live in one, it was good enough for a luck charm. Anyway, I had everyone (or a good chunk of us) rub the “lucky” pineapple so we would place well.

Guess what happened: we came in first place after being in last place the entire season. Had our luck turned around? Did the SpongeBob spirit give us luck because we believed it would? Or was it because we worked fucking hard to fix our show that we finally won?

What makes a group like ours lucky? If we break it down to the individual, when someone is successful do we consider them lucky? If someone is in a healthy relationship do we consider them lucky because they find the right person? Yes, in general we do. But I think that's bullshit. People work for what they have. Nothing ever falls in your lap without you doing something for it to end up there. People work hard for their success and you have to pick the right person to be with in order to be in a healthy relationship. You wouldn't believe how many people choose to stay with the wrong people and then don't understand why they're miserable all of the time...

I tend to believe luck is all about your attitude. If you are confident good things will happen to you. My guard thought we were going to do well, so we did. We worked hard for that outcome - more than we ever thought we could work. And why I would like to say that I/my pineapple had something to do with it, I would know that I'm just kidding myself.

So, really, I guess what I'm saying is that we make our own luck. What makes a person lucky? They make themselves lucky. End of story.

Sidebar: Luck is a funny word. Luuuuuuuuuuuuuu-ck. Hard K. Luc-kay luc-kay luck-kay luck-kay. Lucccccccc-kayyyyy. Say it. You’ll giggle.

(no subject)
cake or death
Watching 16 and Pregnant makes me hate hate hate boys. Not that the girls are much better on that show, but these boys, they knock up these girls, and then get all pissed when people ask them to take responsibility for it. They say they don't want to be with the girl cause they're always bitching at them. You know why they're bitching at you? Because you're an irresponsible, immature asshole! You tell them they're ugly, you tell them you don't have time to take care of the baby because you're "working all the time" or "you're tired" (as if she isn't), you go out to clubs and dance with other girls while your girlfriend is at home taking care of your kid, you yell at their mothers, you call them whores and sluts when obviously it takes more than one person to make a fucking baby. They don't want to grow up. Well you know what? Your girlfriend fucking had to whether she liked it or not, so fucking man up and be a part of your kid's life.

I am just so fucking sick of dealing with/seeing indecisive, irresponsible, unmotivated boys that don't understand that their actions affect the people around them.

Side question: How fucking hard is it to use a condom? If I ever have kids, I am loading them up with birth control and condoms. They're going to have sex whether or not I tell them not to, so they might as well be responsible and be prepared.


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