Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Zombie Burger, Round One

I made myself sick this evening. I don't care. I had been planning this for a very, very long time.

Zombie Burger opened yesterday in downtown Des Moines. There are twenty-one burgers on the menu, and I plan on trying them all. Will this shave a year off my life? Most likely. Will this make some of my days a bit less enjoyable? Most certainly. Is it worth it? Most definitely!



The line was nearly out the door when we arrived. It took about 20-30 minutes to get our order in, but we didn't mind since there's a lot of neat stuff to look at in the restaurant.



The menu is duct taped to chipboard... awesome!



For my meal, I ordered a double-tap Boomstick and fries. Two burger patties, deep-fried chili, American cheese, onions and pickles. Just look at this mother...



Steve's eyes were bigger than his stomach, because he ordered Zombie Poutine, a double-tap Flamethrower and the Mushroom Apocalypse.

Behold, the Zombie Poutine. Fries, topped with cheese curds and gravy.



And the Flamethrower. Two burger patties, buffalo sauce, blue cheese, onion rings and ranch mayo.



The Mushroom Apocalypse. This is not a burger - it's a breaded mushroom and cheese croquette, lettuce, tomato, onion and mayo. Holy moly.



We tried to order a Tallahassee shake, but by the time we'd arrived they had run out of vanilla ice cream. So we got a S'more shake. It was good, but not something we could take a photo of and make it look half as good as it tasted.

The bathroom signs are super cute.



Conclusion? Excellent. Amazing. An experience of epically undead proportions. Next time you're in Des Moines, go stuff your face at Zombie Burger. You will not be disappointed!


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Weekly Challenge Photo Blitz

Since the group coming up with the weekly photo challenges has fallen off the face of the planet, I've been slacking on weekly photos. I've decided to continue on my own, and it's time to do a little catch-up!


Week 29/52: Dog Show
This week was a "dog show weekend" - Rocket and Jayne each got another competition win, and both came home with tons of rosettes. This photo is obviously of another exhibitor, but it was too nice of a photo not to use for Week 29.




Week 30/52: Hoping
I shot a few photos of one of IDR+'s fosters, in hopes that a few cute photos would get him adopted. So far, no luck - but Cape's forever home is out there somewhere. He'll be adopted eventually.




Week 31/52: Dogsitting
We dogsat a co-worker's Rat Terrier mix this week. Her name was Asia, she was very cute but a bit shy. Her ears make me laugh!




Week 32/52: Stability
Doberman feet and pasterns are, by definition, the epitome of stability.




Week 33/52: Not Ours
Photo of a dog that isn't ours. Sorry, I didn't take many photos that week, so I had to stretch the theme a bit!




Week 34/52: The Elements
Wood - dock, Water - lake, Metal - parts of the collar, Earth - shore, Fire - sun.




That catches me up until next Saturday! Enjoy!

Bats... why'd it have to be BATS?

I got home from our usual 6-mile walk about 10:30pm. In the midst of uploading a few photos of said walk, I heard Jayne snapping at something in the room. He loves trying to catch bugs, so I swiveled my chair around to watch him chomp on whatever moth or fly had found itself in our living room.

It wasn't a moth. I let out a shriek and corralled the dogs in the bedroom. I was so freaked out, I actually called the big red one "Ronin" - whoops. You know what they say about old habits. Once the dogs were safe, I crept back into the living room. By some miracle, I instantly spotted the little bugger, clinging to the top of one of my dark brown drapes. As you can see, he was a big'un!



Shit, what now? Like any twenty-something with a husband who won't answer his phone when he's at work, I turned to.... Facebook. Here's the entire conversation. Grandparents and schoolteachers, please forgive my language. I was Freaking. The Eff. Out. Also, my computer was a mere six feet away from said bat, so I was typing while hiding under my desk. I've left the typos in for their comedic value

Me: There's a f*cking BAT in my living room! He's clinging to a curtain, I'm not sure what to do! HELPP!!!

Monika: Get a box.... put lots of clothes on and catch the sucker!!! Common, you know the drill, lol.

Alicia: Catch it and keep it as a pet :) or catch it and send it to me! They're so cute!

Nicole: Sick a cat on it that's what I would do

Me: it's too far up - i can't reach him, he's at the top of a curtain.

Me: i'm going to try to throw a box at him

Nicole: You can do it !!

Molly: I'd put a leather work glove on, grab it around the whole body so it's wings can't flap, then stick it outside :) (if you have a ladder to get up that high).

Me: ok i taped a hugeish box to a swiffer handle

Nicole: Leah that is hilarious !!

Me: the trouble is he's on a curtain - so one i tra him in the box, he may be able to escapt the box by rustling around through the fabric.

Me: he looks agitated

Kim: You have 2 big dogs in the house. Let them loose.

Nicole: Don't do it!! He might bite you! Do you want me to bring Turkish over?

At this point, I decided to put on my big girl panties and take care of the damn bat. I crept over to the drapes and slammed the box over the bat. I was right - he was indeed agitated. I'm sure in bat language, he was hurling every profanity he knew at me. Squeek squeek chirrp chirrrrrrp squeak squeak to you too, jackass!

I carefully slid the box off the curtain, over the windowframe and onto the wall. I slid the whole contraption down far enough that I could prop the Swiffer handle on the floor, so the box would hold fast against the wall. The bat calmed down.




I shared my success with my amigas on Facebook:

Me: HE'S IN THE BOX!

Megan: Be careful! We just had a bat test positive for Rabies this week!

Me: You're not making this any easier megan.

Kim: Now put the box outside and run.

Me: there's no lid on it. It's trapped between the wall and the box.

Kim: Use a cookie sheet to trap it in the box then put it outside.

Me: hmmmm - might have to find something flat. Our cookie sheets have rims.

Suddenly it dawned on me. The box's original lid was in the pantry! I ran and got the lid, and carefully unfolded one side so I'd be able to slide the lid onto the box. Which is exactly what I did. Once the lid was completely on the box, I taped the unfolded portion shut, and viola!



I flipped the box over and took it outside, but halfway to the door I noticed that the box was an old Christmas present box, and it still had a label on it! To make things even better, apparently this box once held a gift for me! Laughing maniacally, I completed the gift tag.




I put the box outside. My husband can release the bat tonight, when he gets home. I think there's a bottle of wine in the fridge that wants to comfort me after this ordeal.

G'nite, folks!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Cat Attack!

I don't think the universe wants me to go to work anymore. First it was an empty fuel tank, then it was the state fair traffic, and this morning... it was a cat attack. Yes, you read that correctly - a cat attack.

This morning I noticed a large, grey tabby cat sitting on the hood of my car. I live in a small town, so loose cats are a common sight. Maybe not on the hoods of cars, but it still wasn't entirely surprising. As I approached the car, I waved dismissively at the cat, expecting it to hop off and run away. That is not what happened.

Instead, the cat let out a battle-meow and launched itself at me. I barely had time to raise up my arms to protect my face before it was on me, hissing and spitting like Grimalkin from Curse of the Demon.



At once, it was over. The grey fiend shot off into my neighbors' bushes, and I was left shellshocked and bleeding. I went back inside, cleaned the blood off my arms and counted - seven. No, eight. Eight red, angry gashes. Two on my left arm, three on my right arm and three on my right palm. Ouch.

I got to work about five minutes late - not too bad, considering I'd battled a demonic feline less than an hour prior. I realized that I'd forgotten to pack extra bandages, so I went downstairs to see the company nurse.

Me: Hi... may I have a few band-aids?

Nurse: Sure, what do you need them for?

Me: I was attacked by a cat this morning, and I forgot to bring extra band-aids with me.

Nurse: *looked up from her paperwork with an odd expression on her face, said nothing*

Me: See? Cat attack! *showed nurse arms covered in band-aids*

Nurse: .... did this happen at work?

Me: What? No! It happened on my way to work!

Nurse: Oh.... kay.... *handed me a stack of band-aids*

I found this exchange extremely funny. It was obvious that the nurse had never been approached by an associate needing bandages for a cat attack before. I work for an insurance company, so cat attacks are not something she probably expected to have to deal with on a day to day basis.

Now I know what you're thinking, and trust me - I've thought about it too. The R-Word. I do not believe this cat was rabid. It was not acting rabid... I think it was just pissed off that it had to remove its butt from my car at 7 o'clock in the morning. There is also the I-Word... infection. Don't worry, I am keeping the kitty-slices clean and well-slathered with Neosporin. I shall be fine.

But if I see it roaming the streets, that cat had better run. Run for however many lives it has left. I shall have my vengeance.

Monday, August 22, 2011

A Breakthrough in Treating Depression

Do you ever find yourself feeling hopeless and ill-tempered? Do you engage in reckless behavior? Do you have trouble sleeping? Have your eating habits changed? Do you have difficulty seeing the bright side of life?

If so, don't worry - there has been a monumental breakthrough in the fight against depression, and it can be found right here in central Iowa. This amazing cure can be yours for only $50.

This treatment has spent nearly thirteen years in clinical trials, and is easily recognized by its attractive orange and white coating. Accept no substitutes!

Side effects may include giddy laughter*, irrepressible smiling** and a warm feeling in your heart***. May also be somewhat bittersweet, since this wonder drug may only be available for another year or two.



(* - caused by the sight of her running around like a drunken sailor)
(** - caused by her nonstop wagging tail and huge pitty-grin)

(*** - caused by knowing you're giving a wonderful senior dog a real home to live out the rest of her days)

Supplies are limited, so act now!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Walking at Gray's Lake

I've been walking at Gray's Lake recently. For those of you who don't live in central Iowa, Gray's Lake is a man-made lake in downtown Des Moines with a great walking path - exactly two miles, so it's easy to know how far you've walked. It's actually quite entertaining, especially since you get to people-watch while you walk. And let me tell you... there are some weird people in the city of Des Moines! It can get a bit creepy later in the evening, but with a Doberman at my side I never feel unsafe.

I'm averaging three laps - so six miles total - per day. I'd like to get up to four or five laps, but that will be easier when the temperatures mellow out. I like to alternate dogs so each one gets equal walk-time. Since it's a busy park, walking all three would probably be difficult and a bit inconsiderate to the other people.

Yesterday I did six miles with Jayne. Today I did four miles with Kaylee and Revy. Tomorrow I'd like another six to eight miles, but I need better socks - my feet hurt after all this walking!

We also dunk the dogs in the lake. Sometimes they jump in on their own... and sometimes they just like to chill out in the cool water. Aryn was able to capture this adorable photo of Kaylee in the lake last week:



Because I have no life, I may start doing "Grays Reports" which will include distance walked, dogs in attendance and crazy people we encountered. Or I may not. I suppose it depends on if I have anything more interesting to say.




Monday, August 15, 2011

The Eighth Character

My husband and I love zombies. Zombie movies, zombie TV shows, zombie video games... heck, I've even been coveting this zombie hooded sweatshirt for months! My favorite TV show is The Walking Dead, my favorite mainstream video game is Dead Rising, and I'm fully intending on intentionally glutening myself when ZombieBurger opens in Des Moines.

So when Steve heard about a zombie anime series, he couldn't resist buying it. We usually make a night of it when we get a new piece of zombie media, so tonight we geared up (with homemade pizza, cake and shirley temples) to watch High School of the Dead.

I'm not entirely sure what to say about it, especially since I know my family (and probably some of my elementary school teachers) read this blog.

Hm. *scratches head, looks around*

Well, let's put it this way. You know how most zombie movies follow the same basic character model? Like, four to six main (human) characters, and the zombies are basically the fifth character? Yeah.... in High School of the Dead, there are six human characters, the zombies are the seventh character... but there is an eighth character. Boobs. Each female character is defined by their own unique set. Size correlates with intelligence - the bigger they are, the dumber and more helpless the character seems to be. The largest set belongs to a doctor, which begs the question, 'how did she make it through medical school?'

Some of them have sound effects. I am not joking. The doctor has her own soundtrack that follows her wherever she goes. I bet the zombies can hear it from a mile away, and I began to wonder why they hadn't eaten her within the first twenty minutes.

After about an hour of this mess, Steve and I looked at each other sheepishly - this was getting out of hand. Still chuckling, we turned off High School of the Dead and switched to something with less cleavage... Zombieland. Oh Woody Harrelson, you make everything better.

PS - I tried to find a still image of High School of the Dead - without boobies - that I'd feel safe putting on this blog. Couldn't find one. So here's Woody Harrelson preparing to smash a zombie in the head with a banjo. Zombieland to the rescue, yet again.



Thursday, August 11, 2011

Profanely Tasty

A few days ago, my best friend from high school sent me a recipe. She insisted that I try it... especially since it was guaranteed to be "super cheap," "super delicious" and "SUPER HILARIOUS."

But first, I must add a disclaimer. There is profanity in this recipe. Lots of profanity. These are not my words - they are merely the words of a crazy Puerto Rican living in New York City, sharing his beloved pernil recipe with the world. So please, if you're offended by profanity, or if you will think less of me for including profanity in a blog post, stop reading. If you continue reading... you do so at your own risk, and are not allowed to judge me for it! Now... let's cook! My comments are in italics... the original author's words are in red.

You need MEAT.



OK, first of all, fuck eating lips and assholes. There is a much, much tastier option that has kept millions of starving boriquas alive for generations: PORK SHOULDER.

In my neighborhood in Brooklyn, pork shoulder is 79 cents a pound. That's right. 79 cents. A package of hot dogs at $2.50 is more than double the price and has offal and all sorts of vile shit inside.

Buy yourself a nice meaty pork shoulder. Five pounds should do nicely.
(Ours was 7 lbs.)

Bring that fucker home and get out a long, thin knife.

In a pilon (that's a mortar and pestle gringo) smash up a few cloves of garlic, some sazon, some salt, some pepper and some oil. Grind it up GOOD. Now you have another ghetto sofrito.
(We used a handy-dandy electric grinder my parents bought us for Christmas.)



Take your knife and stab some holes in the pig. Twist the knife around so the holes get nice and wide. (In hindsight, we should have stabbed the pig a few more times. Next time it'll look like swiss cheese!)



Now, take some of your sofrito and stuff it into the holes. Don't be shy blanco, ram it in there. Use the remainder to roughly coat the outside of the pig. RUB IT. CARESS IT. This pig died so that you may eat. Salt that shit all over the outside and crack some fucking pepper on there.



Set your oven for 300 degrees.

Throw the pork in skin side up and WAIT.

It's going to take 45 minutes a pound...

A warning: The smell is going to drive you fucking INSANE. You have to wait this part out. Farm work is the best cure.

After an hour and a half, jab it with a meat thermometer, but remember not to rest it on the bone, or you will get a bad reading.

You should be at around 150-160 degrees. Now comes the fun part. CRANK the stove up to 400 degrees. This will give you an orgasmic, crispy skin that will make your pork rinds taste like year-old cardboard by comparison.

At 170ish, pull that fucker out, but DON'T carve it up. You need to wait at least ten minutes otherwise all those sweet, sweet pig juices will dribble the fuck out. WAIT.



Congratulations. You just make Pernil. A five pound Pernil should give you meat for at least a week. SAVOR IT BROTHER. SAVOR IT.

Seriously... doesn't that just make your mouth water? I wish the internet had smell-o-vision, because the smell of a freshly roasted Pernil is enough to make the authorities label it as a controlled substance. The meat was so juicy and tender, it was literally falling apart like a pot roast. The flavor was so rich and so strong that we couldn't eat too much of it at first... the awesomeness was overpowering!

This evening, I chopped some of it up and made Pernil tacos - soft corn tortillas, Pernil, sour cream, onions and cilantro. Delicious, and profanely so.




Tuesday, August 9, 2011

An Interesting Morning.

I woke up this morning at 3:00am to the sound of our basement's water alarms.

After our basement flooded for a third time, we bought little cordless alarms that shriek loudly if they come into contact with water. We thought they'd only be useful during torrential downpours when storm-drain backup was possible.

This morning, they alerted us to another peril... our water heater had exploded. Well, partially exploded. Somehow, the bottom of the water heater had separated from the rest of itself, and it was gushing water at an alarming rate. The emergency shut-off valve was fused open, so we had to shut off the water for the entire house. Great. No toilet, no shower, no freshly-brewed morning tea. All necessities, in my opinion.

Once we got the basement mopped up, I dragged myself upstairs to hopefully get a few more hours of sleep before work. I'd been in bed for less than fifteen minutes when I heard Steve yell from the basement that we had a 'situation,' and that I needed to come down to help. Inwardly groaning at my lack of sleep, I got out of bed and went back to the basement... and saw a sight that was just as hilarious as it was terrifying.

There was a bat.

It was flying around.

... and our two fluffy cats were attempting to catch it, jumping more than five feet into the air like tangerine-colored ballet dancers wearing moon-boots. I didn't know what to do - scream and hide, or laugh? Maybe both?

To make the situation even more hilarious and scary, Seve brought me back to reality by excitedly whispering, "Hurry, go get the gun!"

The... gun? I suddenly had visions of Steve blasting holes in the basement with our .357 magnum, which was currently loaded with hollow-points. Not ideal. I think he realized what I conclusion I'd jumped to though, and he quickly amended his request to, "...the pellet gun!" Thank god. I ran upstairs to get the gun, and Steve ran in the opposite direction to don an outfit that might save him from 'The Rabies' - which consisted of Mario Bros pajama pants, a hooded sweatshirt, camouflage neoprene hunting gloves, a ski mask and a purple feather boa. Stop for a moment.... stop, and imagine.

Okay, got that image burned into your head? Now, imagine him with this:



By the time Steve was ready for battle, the bat had stopped flying. The cats, bless their little hearts, showed us where the little flying rodent had perched by staring intently at its hiding spot. Their pointing skills could put a prize-winning gundog to shame.

I grabbed both cats and held them partially in front of my face - not only to protect them from stray pellets, but also to act as some sort of shield in case the bat decided to fly at me. It was 3:45am, give me break - I wasn't exactly in my right mind.

Steve took aim from about 20 feet away and fired. The pellet found its target with frightening accuracy, and the bat fell from the rafters and onto the basement floor. We were both stunned - apparently Steve's accuracy with a firearm was impressive, especially considering it was a quarter to four and he was dressed like a ninja clown. (Okay, a pellet gun isn't a firearm but you get the idea.)

Steve let out a whoop and yelled, "I shot it! I shot the bat! I shot the goddamn bat!" and then did a little victory dance. Time to stop and imagine this again - a 6'4" man, wrapped in ridiculous anti-Rabies clothing, holding a huge pellet gun and dancing around a tiny dead bat.

Laughing, I retrieved my camera to take a photo of the triumphant warrior and his kill. Before I could get a photo, Steve realized that his outfit was embarrassing (i.e. hilarious) and that the photo would end up on this blog. He instructed me to take a picture of the bat by itself.

Behold, a dead bat.



And that was how I started this Tuesday, August 9th, 2011. Booyah.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

52 Weeks of Dogs: 28/52, You and Me

"Re-purposing"

I really hate self portraits. Unfortunately for week 28, I needed to do one. Oh well, I needed a photo of myself with Kaylee anyway.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Mouthwatering Gluten-Free Pizza

I'm a fairly easygoing and positive celiac, for the most part. Until, that is, it comes to pizza. I love pizza. And for a long time, I was very bitter about never being able to eat decent pizza ever again. I tried the gluten-free cheese-crust pizza invented by that radio deejay... it was disgusting.

Well no, it wasn't disgusting. The first bite was heaven, probably because I hadn't tasted anything even remotely like pizza for three months. The second bite seemed a bit off... there was something rotten in the state of, erm, Iowa. The third bite... oh god. Someone pass me a bucket.

It was then that my brother-in-law mentioned Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Pizza Crust Mix. I was initially skeptical, since most gluten-free mixes are terrible. But my intense desire for palatable pizza won out.

And let me tell you - pizza is now our favorite gluten-free meal. It's an indulgence. It's better than normal pizza.

Here are the ingredients we need when we're ready to make pizza:

1 bag of Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Pizza Crust Mix
2 Tablespoons of olive oil
2 eggs

1 package of italian sausage (Johnsonville seems to work for us)
1 package canadian bacon (Amana and the fancy Hormel are two good brands)

2 bags of "pizza cheese"

1 can of Pam olive oil spray

1 jar of Gino's pizza sauce (local company)

Plus whatever other toppings you enjoy



The most labor-intensive part of making the pizza is, you guessed it, the dough. But even then, it's not too difficult.

1. preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
2. in a large bowl, mix the yeast packet with warm water. Let it sit for a few minutes.
3. add the eggs and oil. Mix until not clumpy.
4. add the crust mix and mix thoroughly until it's not clumpy.
5. leave the dough in the bowl, split in half, cover with tinfoil or saran wrap and let it sit.



Meanwhile, prepare your toppings. My husband puts mushrooms on his pizza, but I am a dyed-in-the-wool meat eater so my pizza only has italian sausage, canadian bacon and/or pepperoni.



Next, spray your pan with the Pam olive oil spray. Then get your hands really wet (really, really wet) and start spreading the dough into the pan. The thinner it is, the better it'll cook. If you start to feel the dough sticking, get your hands wet again! It's okay if the dough looks pretty wet on top.



Put the pan and crust in the oven for about 7-9 minutes. Then take it out of the oven and add your sauce...



... add your cheese...



... add your toppings...



... and stick the whole thing in the oven for another 15-18 minutes.



Enjoy!