Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Signs I'm Getting Old - Part One of...Many

In the inaugural post of a new segment here at AbS, I will now write about one of the many ways I know I'm getting old: the mall.

It used to be that I loved going to the mall. In high school, it was a cool place to hang out and be seen. I could go an try on all these clothes my parents would never be able to afford and dream about being incredibly wealthy one day and buying the entire stock of clothes at Wet Seal (this is true). PW and I would go all the way to Bridgewater Mall, even though the fabulously fancy and ridiculously overpriced Short Hills Mall was mere steps away from our town, because there was a Dippin' Dots cart in the center of the mall, at one of those mini-kiosk things. Being 17, driving to a far off mall, and eating freeze-dried ice cream was one of the best things ever.

In college, I even WORKED at the mall for a bit, at Abercrombie ("pretty good folder" - thanks Andy Bernard!), in fact, which is even more troubling than it sounds. Working there was seriously the most degenerate job ever - the sole job requirements were that you a) looked good in Abercrombie clothes and b) could stand around doing nothing for 8 hours, then power-through cleaning up the store once the mall closed. I'd spend my days either window shopping when I wasn't at work or cleaning up after all the degenerate shoppers when I was. I had no problem spending whole DAYS at the mall, hanging out, cleaning, shopping, window shopping, whatever.

Even after I graduated, me and my roommate liked nothing more on a Saturday, then to get up late, have a delicious diner breakfast, then hit up the mall for some unnecessary shopping. Being that I worked in a lab at the time (well, I still do, but a different lab), I bought mostly t-shirts and jeans, probably from Delia's or American Eagle, but would still spend hours at the mall.

How it took me HOURS to pick out three t-shirts with Hello Kitty on them, I have no idea.

But, ever since, well, I don't really know when, but within the past year or so, going to the mall has become a chore. No, worse. A punishment. It F-ing sucks. No, F that - IT FUCKING SUCKS!!!! No matter what store I go to, the clothes don't fit properly. Everyone's getting fat and the clothes are getting bigger, yet, inexplicably, the sizes are getting smaller. What the hell? I used to be able to go to regular stores and buy clothes, but now, everything sags off of me inappropriately and makes it look like I'm a twelve year-old girl playing dress-up in her mom's closet. It's pathetic. I'm almost 30. Where in the hell am I supposed to buy legitimate work clothes (you know, for when I have a legitimate job, one where I'm not allowed to wear jeans and a "I Heart Nerds" t-shirt everyday).

But, beyond the exhausting and frustrating lack of well-fitting clothing options, I'm disturbed by the people at the mall. Like the little, old women who would curse at us teenagers when we were young, hanging out at the mall, I too, curse at teenagers in the hallways and in stores. Why must they yell so loudly and run around in a Red Bull-fueled, ADD-fit? Why must the guys wear hats with flat brims, cocked jauntily to the left? Why must the girls all wear next-to-nothing, then complain about it being too cold? In the afternoon, why are there only young moms in sweatpants with strollers full of kids? Why do these same young moms buy clothing for themselves ad also for their children at the same ridiculously expensive store? Does an eight year-old really need an LV bag? Why do I even care? Why is this taking up space in my mind? Why do I even know the difference between Coach and Prada? Why do I care what degeneracies other people engage in? Why am I so angry that I'm ending my sentences with prepositions? WHAT IS HAPPENING TO ME?!?

Ahem. Sorry. Moving on - this whole rant was brought on by a trip to the mall today to buy new glasses. I went to LensCrafters, which will make your glasses in an hour, so I figured I could easily kill an hour in the mall. I mean, it's an hour, there are a bunch of stores...how hard could that be? Apparently very hard (TWSS), because seriously, 20 minutes later, I wanted to kill myself. How I spent the next 40 minutes, I have no idea, but it involved mistakenly buying Hi-C from Wendy's and buying some tea from Teavana. I also tried to look at bathing suits, but got annoyed by the puce color that seems to be so popular these days (which, if worn by me, would make me appear to have advanced liver disease) so I abandoned that search and chose to leer angrily at the kiosk people who were trying to get me to a) curl my hair, b) buy some stuff to shrink the giant zit on my forehead, and c) buy a Dell (little do they know I already own one, and will never buy one again). The last 15 or so minutes were definitely spent checking Drudge on my Blackberry and reading an article about how "The Office" sucks now. I need to start carrying a book with me at all times.

Bottom line, malls are made for teenagers, moms, people who fit into normal-sized clothing, and the elderly, who get up early and power-walk around the mall before it opens. Apparently the next time I can go to the mall will be after I retire. Until then, I'm only shopping online.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Ed Helms Post of the Day: Ed, I'll Be Your Valentine

OK, I need for you all to head over to http://www.edhelms.org, and look at all the awesome stuff JP has posted. Including, this video:

which I shamelessly jacked. It's also kind of NSFW, lots of Ed dropping the F-bomb, which I find oddly attractive...

Seriously, the trailer for "The Hangover?" Pictures of Ed from various appearances? It's a veritable cornucopia of delicious Ed. And we need it now more than ever...TWO, count them, TWO episodes in a row with NO Andrew Bernard? Only a throw away line about him being on his honeymoon alone? And a bunch of random pictures of Ed's head photoshopped onto various bodies, doing honeymoon-like things? Totally unacceptable. Andy better feature prominently this week, or Iko's gonna have to choke a bitch.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Things I've Bought That I Love: Wii Fit

Remember how my brother got me a Wii for my birthday last year? Well, I finally got a Wii Fit Board to go with it. Yes, I realize it's like a year later, but whatever, I've been busy and had lots of other important things to but first, give me a break, guys! Anyway, it's mostly M-D's fault, she had one at her apartment, I went over there to hang out and drink martinis, then got distracted playing Wii Fit while drinking my martini...a fantastic combination, I know. But, seriously, it's super fun. Really.

When I was at M-D's, I did the Wii Fit Body Test, to which the Wii responded that I was underweight and had the body of a 42-year old. Awesome. So, that image of my weakening, sickly, decrepit body in my head, I vowed to get my own Wii Fit, so I could mold my body into the shape it should be at my rapidly advancing age. Unfortunately, Best Buy was all out of Wii Fits when I went the next day, so I had to order it online from Amazon and wait a few days for it to be delivered. I also ordered the Wii 5-in-1 Fitness Bundle, because I'm very wealthy and buy whatever I want, no matter how useless. The real reason was that I wanted a bright green yoga mat.

Since I had a few days off before being forced to exercise daily, I made the most of it by mainlining cheese and crackers and eating as much dark chocolate as I could get my hands on. Once the Wii Fit arrived, I immediately hooked it up and set up my account. Upon doing my first body test, the Wii again told me I was underweight (and shrunk my Mii down to a minuscule size) and gave me a Wii fit age that may have been 46, I can't remember. Whatever it was, it's clearly well beyond my years. So, with my even more aged body in my minds-eye, I set to work on unlocking various fitness items on my Wii Fit.

Now, I do yoga on a fairly regular basis - I take two classes a week after work and do at least two, maybe even three days of yoga at home, so I figured I'd start with the yoga poses the Wii teaches you how to do (there are four sections to the Wii Fit: yoga, strength training, aerobics, and balance games). I chose my trainer (the male one, I'm not looking at some jacked up female trainer for an hour, especially in my allegedly sickly state, besides, I could refer to the male trainer as Ed without getting as many weird looks) and opened up the yoga menu. Here he is doign some sort of single leg extension:

Most of the initial poses are based solely on balance, not really flexibility, like tree pose and half-moon. However, it's really tough to keep your balance while standing on the board and while leering at the tiny red dot, flitting across the screen, showing you how ridiculous your center of balance is.

The first days were tough, but I think I got a little more used to it aver time, my average ratings have definitely increased since the start. Once you unlock more yoga poses, you still focus on balance, but also on strength and flexibility, which is the point of yoga, after all, and what makes it a good set of exercises to do. I just wish there were more yoga poses available, as of now, I do the Wii Fit poses, then do a few more on my own.

The strength training exercises are actually pretty good. They mostly focus on your core muscles and are mostly rated by how well you keep your center of balance and how much pressure you put on the Wii Board. I'm particularly fond of the "challenge" exercises, where I get to try to beat Ed by holding plank pose longer than him, or doing more jackknifes. He gets all out-of-breath and when I beat him, which is kind of funny. Plus, I get to yell, "In your face, Ed Helms," when I beat his ass, which is something I'd never yell at the real Ed. It'd be awesome if I could work out with Ed one day.

I haven't done many of the aerobic workouts on the Wii, but the ones I have done do get your heart pumping. There's a step one, a boxing one, and a hula hoop one that almost made me collapse on the ground in a panting heap. I clearly need to incorporate more cardio into my daily life. The balance games are pretty fun, too, although I'm not very good at them. I like the table tilt, where you lean while standing on the Balance Board and the "table" on the screen tilts around, as you try to get a series of colored ball (TWSS) into various holes on the table (TWSS). There's a ski jump, which I'm the reigning champion of, and ski slalom and snow boarding game, which I SUCK at and some other balance games which I haven't played so much, but I'm sure they're fun - you get to dress up your Mii as a penguin for one of them!

Full disclosure: that's not my Mii, I got that picture from Flickr, via Google Images, so apologies if it's yours...I'm at work, or else I'd take a picture of my own Mii in that ridiculous get-up.

Bottom line, I think the Wii Fit is a good complement to other exercise, or, if it's your only exercise, it's definitely better than nothing. It seems to be better at strength building and helping train you to have better posture, rather than weight loss, but I guess that's kind of the nature of the program. I think it's very useful for tracking your exercise progress, as you can just sign in once a day to do a quick body test, which checks you BMI and calculates your Wii Fit age. As long as your BMI goes in the direction you want it to go and your age decreases, you must be doing something right, with or without the Wii Fit Board. You can also add in other exercise you do, outside of Wii Fit, in your exercise log, so it's a good way to keep track of how many hours you spend exercising. It does yell at you if you don't do a body test everyday, so don't skip them. Or, skip them if you want, I feel bad for the little cartoon Wii Fit Board, so I try to do a body test everyday. If I kepp it up, maybe I'll gain the 1/8 lbs I need in order to be within the healthy weight range!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Things That Are Real, Unfortunately

So, BMG has an unhealthy obsession with dessert. He'll eat just about anything sweet, pretty much anytime during the day or night, especially the cake-y/cookie kind of sweet: brownies, cupcakes, cookies, cookies, cookies. The problem (aside from a future of diabetes) is that I have the anti-sweet tooth. And I hate to bake. I hate getting flour everywhere and I especially HATE the way flour feels when you get it on your hands. It gives me chills, really.

My weird phobias aside, BMG has been asking, nay, HARASSING me to make a dessert treat for him for the past, let's say 3 years. What is this mystery dessert you ask? I'll tell you, but only read on if you think you can handle it. Ready? Cannoli Nachos. No, not like a savory nacho, made with ricotta cheese, but a dessert nacho: cannoli shells in the shape of tortilla chips, dipped into a giant vat of sweetened ricotta. Yes, this is real. And, yes, I made it:

First I made the cannoli shell dough (I used this recipe) and let it rest for an hour, then rolled it out, cut it into triangles, and deep-fried those bitches in canola oil, using my fabulous blue, Le Creuset 4.5 qt. French Oven, until they were golden and crispy. Here's an action shot of some of the dough headed into the pool:

Then, I let them drain on some paper towels while I fashioned the cannoli filling:

I followed this recipe for the cannoli filling, although I had a few additions of my own and took out the pistachios and raisins (BMG didn't want anything remotely healthy in the cannoli). First I lightly beat the ricotta cheese to make folding in the whipped cream a little easier.

Next I folded in the whipped cream (I used my KitchenAid mixer to whip the cream) and the mini chocolate chips. I also added some lemon zest and some Amaretto, because all dessert benefits from added alcohol and not just TablesKapes are helped by the addition of llllllllemons.

Then, it was time to eat:

BMG liked it, I didn't. Which is not to say that it was bad, I just really dislike cannoli. I think if you like cannoli, this is probably a good dessert for you, if you can easily dispose of a giant pot of oil once you're done deep-frying and you don't mind mainlining Lipitor (TM) at the age of 32.

In other news, who's excited about the "Top Chef" reunion tonight? Andy sucks, and will make the entire show horrible, but at least we'll get to see Jeff again and watch Carla win fan favorite. I plan to block out any and all references to HO-sea winning and any hook-up info. he and Ho-Leah wish to share on TV. Yuck.