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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Everything I Know I Learned on Acid

No, I don't use acid. Nor have I used any illegal substance. However, as I was cleaning my bookshelf, I found an old piece of paper from my school years. I had written down quotes from a book my teacher had with that title.
I will now reproduce them here so that I don't need that grungy yellowed piece of paper any longer!

"Every decision you make is a mistake." - Edward Dahlberg

"We don't need no stinkin' badges." - Treasure of the Sierra Madre

"Oh well, no matter what happens there's always death." - Napoleon

"Good resolutions are useless attempts to interfere with scientific laws." - Oscar Wilde

"Give me chastity and abstinence, O Lord, but not today." - St. Augustine

"I never indulge in rhyme or stanza unless I'm in bed with influenza." - Quintus Ennius

"The best way to fill time is to waste it." - Marguerite Duras

"I don't even know what street Canada is on." - Al Capone

"There are moments when everything goes well; don't be frightened, it won't last." - Jules Renard

"If you keep a thing for seven years, you are sure to find a use for it." - Sir Walter Scott

"The formula 'two and two make five' is not without its attractions." - Fyodor Dostoevsky

"The truth is silly putty." - Paul Krassner

"It's all the same fucking day, man." - Janis Joplin

"Miami Beach is where neon goes to die." - Lenny Bruce

"Everything tries to be round." - Black Elk Speaks

"Money costs too much." - Ross McDonald

"Somebody got lucky, but it was an accident." - Bob Dylan

"Take eloquence and wring its neck!" - Paul Verlaine

"A wop-bop-a-lula-a-wop-bam-boom!" - Little Richard

"It's the truth, even if it didn't happen." - Ken Kesey

"I hate the sun, but it's nice to know it's there." - Johnny Rotten

"If I called the wrong number, why did you answer the phone?" -James Thurber

"On my gravestone, I want it to say 'I told you I was sick'. Achievement is for senators and scholars. At one time I had ambitions but I had them removed by a doctor in Buffalo." - Tom Waits

"Anything awful makes me laugh. I misbehaved once at a funeral." - Charles Lamb

"Sigh! No weed in a month! I guess I might as well accept that athletic scholarship to Notre Dame and study business economics after all!" - Gilbert Shelton

"I smash guitars because I like them." - Pete Townshend

Thursday, June 28, 2012

In dire need of vacuum replacement

I finally broke down and bought a new vacuum cleaner a few days ago. I owned a hoover elite rewind for a while, and when that finally broke almost exactly a year ago, I couldn't really afford a replacement at the time. My parent's friend happened to have an old (very old) Hoover elite and donated it to my cause. It worked like a charm. Old, but efficient. And then, our roommate (at the time), who was also an alcoholic and sometimes would vomit right in his bed, would also sometimes not make it to the bathroom in time. In these couple of instances, he used my pretty little hoover to vacuum up his vomit. Yes, you read right.
Vacuum up his vomit.
And I don't know about dem new canister vacuums, but with this hoover, there was no getting the smell of vomit out of it. Every time we used it to vacuum, it would blow out hot vomit air and it was disgusting. It needed replacing, but we just never really had the money for it. I wanted something a bit better than my Hoover Rewind. I loved that vacuum, but it barely lasted 3 years. I wanted a Dyson, but damn those things are as expensive as... well, as a lot of expensive things.
And then, I came upon an Amazon ad selling refurbished Dysons for $191 dollars.
$191 dollars for a Dyson? I'm in!!
It took me all of 10 minutes to decide. Yes, it was refurbished. But, I also own a refurbished portable air conditioning unit that I bought at Big Lots and it still works. In fact, I would think of a refurbished unit as BETTER than one off the street because they were scrutinized and looked over. What happens when they come off the factory assembly line? Boxed up and shipped out, that's what.
I received it on Wednesday and Justin promptly vacuums up the apartment; everything but my office. I come home and it's sitting pretty in my office waiting for me to use it.
[You know you're old when you get excited about buying a vacuum and using it]

Say goodbye to the Vomittron 3000!

And say hello to my little friend!

Now, had I written this blog on that day, it would have ended here. Or maybe with a "omg the suction is awesome!". But no. I turn it on, and it doesn't suck for shit. Not little pieces of cardboard (the cat loves his clawing thing), nothing! I'm like WTF? Justin had just used it and it worked wonderfully!
I start freaking out. I contact my friend who also owns a Dyson and start asking him all kinds of questions. I notice the Dyson doesn't have a floor adjustment, and he tells me it "auto-adjusts" which doesn't seem right to me. But anyway, so that's not it. I'm checking all the connections I can see, looking for clogs, but I find nothing. Finally Justin gets a chance to look at it the next day. (At this point, I'm freaking the fuck out because the box was already gone, and it would cost money to ship it back to Amazon for a refund. Calling Dyson was still an option as it has a 6 month warranty, however, I didn't want to pay to ship it to them. Plus, this was a good deal. This deal no longer exists. The next cheapest model is a refurbished Animal for $309.)
Justin discovers with a very thorough investigation that a hose on the bottom on the unit was unhooked, and could very easily become unhooked. We're thinking this might have been the reason it was sent back in the first place. With a little duct tape we put it back into place, and it vacuums like nobody's business.
I feel so bad that I have to dump the old hoover though. I wish I could give it to the Goodwill, or donate it to someone that needs it, because considering it's from the late 80's, early 90's, it still runs perfectly fine and is a great little workhorse. But, thanks to a dumbass roommate, I'm going to have to toss it. My poor little Hoover. RIP.


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Black Velvet

There is this awesome game I discovered on Facebook some time ago. The object of the game is this:

1. Shuffle Your Music
2. Whatever song comes up, answers that question
3. Shuffle again and keep going!
4. Have fun!

My husband and friend have played this with me several times, and I've decided to list the best of the best responses from our random music!


BEST OF THE BEST

IF SOMEONE SAYS ‘ARE YOU OKAY’ YOU SAY?
It hurts

WHAT WOULD BEST DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONALITY?
Holding out for a hero

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELF?
Captain Hollywood Project

WHAT DO YOU LIKE IN A GUY/GIRL?
Brain Power

HOW DO YOU FEEL TODAY?
Peaceful Easy Feeling

WHAT IS YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE?
Hypnotize the Moon

WHAT’S YOUR MOTTO?
If you love somebody, set them free

WHAT DO YOUR FRIENDS THINK OF YOU?
I Want You

WHAT DO YOUR PARENTS THINK OF YOU?
I'm a Bitch, I'm a Lover

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT VERY OFTEN?
Waking Up in Vegas

WHAT IS 2 + 2?
Enough
  
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR EX BOY/GIRL/BEST FRIEND?
If You Only Knew

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE PERSON YOU LIKE?
One of Those Nights

WHAT IS YOUR LIFE STORY?
My Band

WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP?
All Mixed Up

WHAT DO YOU THINK/HOW DO YOU FEEL WHEN YOU SEE THE PERSON YOU LIKE?
Paradise

WHAT IS GOOD ADVICE?
Right on Time

WHAT IS BAD ADVICE?
Dont let our love start slippin away


WHAT DID YOU DO AT YOUR WEDDING?
Faint

WHAT WILL THEY PLAY AT YOUR FUNERAL?
Still Alive

WHAT IS YOUR HOBBY/INTEREST?
Livin' on Love

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST FEAR?
Smoke Rings in the Dark

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST SECRET?
That Old Black Magic

WHAT DO YOU WANT RIGHT NOW?
Cheeseburger in Paradise

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR FRIENDS?
It's Too Late

WHAT’S THE WORST THING THAT COULD HAPPEN?
I Get Weak

WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU REGRET?
Carrying your love with me

WHAT MAKES YOU LAUGH?
Psycho Killer

WHAT MAKES YOU CRY?
Tears Infection

WHAT SCARES YOU THE MOST?
Bad Company

DOES ANYONE LIKE YOU?
How Do you Like me Now?

IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME, WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
Kill Each other/ Live Forever

WHAT HURTS RIGHT NOW?
When I Call Your Name

WHAT WOULD YOU WANT TO SAY TO THE PERSON WHO TAGGED YOU?
Listen to the Music

WHAT BROUGHT YOUR LAST RELATIONSHIP TOGETHER?
Foolish Games

WHAT ARE YOU GONNA TITLE THIS AS?
Black Velvet

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

hCG

In the spirit of beginning a new round of hCG today, I am going to repost a post I made on Facebook. So, if you've read it, cool. If not, give it a shot.


I'm still upset about what that damn Urgent Care doctor told me

by Amy Gurley on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 9:23pm


        Okay look, I'm not a doctor, I'm not a nurse. Hell, I'm not even an MA. But what I do do, is a lot of research, and a lot of reading, and I DID take health classes back in 2006. And I read Dr. Simeon's Pounds and Inches all the way through.
        What that doctor told me about the fact that "they've done studies" (okay, where? Why can't I find them on the internet?) and that hCG does absolutely NOTHING in the body and only the 500 calories a day is what's making people lose weight...

        Okay, I'm trying to organize my thoughts. He told me two important things. 1. the hCG does nothing to help promote the weight loss. 2. I could be taking a placebo even though I bought it freeze-dried from a pharmacy. My hCG quantitative was at 1.3, which suggests that #2 might be true. But then again, it can range (in non-pregnant females) from 0-10. The fact that it's not 0 means something, I think. I may be grasping at straws, but hear me out. I can't really do the math because I don't know what IU's are, but for a 15 day supply, it's 5000 IUs. That's 333 IU's daily, and only 166.5 IU's in a .5 ml dose of B12. Having no idea how long that would stay in the body for (although Dr. Simeons suggests that you skip a day each week so that you do not become immune to it, so it must build up over time) it's a small enough amount to never register on a pregnancy test. For all I know, 1.3 is a perfectly reasonable number for the fact that I took 166.5 IU's of it a couple hours before my blood draw that morning. 
       But anyway, I'm off on a tangent here. What I really wanted to hash out (in my head, mainly... I like to write this stuff down for my own sake), is #1. The hCG does nothing to promote the weight loss. As I stated in my status update a couple days ago, when the doctor told me about the studies, and I asked if the patients were hungry, he nodded his head vigorously yes. I would argue that, that's a damn strong placebo affect I must have if this is all a crock. Granted, I'd heard some pretty amazing stories about the mind and how powerful it can be. A man was trapped in a room, and he thought he was in a freezer. He was convinced he was going to freeze to death. And he did. But he was never in a freezer to begin with. But I don't know about this. The body is built for survival. It will not allow you to starve to death. (Okay, yes, I know people have anorexia. But that is a disease. A sickness. I think it can be classified under something else.) You can not convince your mind that you are not hungry on 500 calories a day. I don't see it happening. Hunger is not induced by the stomach, but by your brain demanding nutrients. If your brain is fulfilled, hunger doesn't occur. Obviously, your brain's first line of defense is demanding that you eat. If then, that need isn't met, your brain will being devouring muscle. Why? Because it's protein. Packed with vital nutrients - much more dense than fat. It seems to me, that within a span of 42 days, I would be unable to walk, let alone work and exercise if this was happening to me. And, there's ketone sticks. Ketones are a byproduct of the destruction of fat cells in the body, and are deposited in the urine. You can pee on ketone sticks to see if you're in ketosis. It's an actual thing - not something made up by some hCG enthusiasts. 




         This is one reason I was so skeptical of homeopathic hCG... as ketosis does not register on the stick. But, when you take the real deal, it does. If your body is truly in "starvation mode", you would be consuming muscle, not fat. This is why starving yourself does not work, and you would not be in ketosis. This is also why the atkins diet was so popular and worked - because eating all that protein and avoiding the carbs throws your body into ketosis. And yes, this diet requires 200g of protein a day and absolutely no carbs whatsoever, except what little there is in fruits and veggies (and no, carrots and potatoes are not approved on the list). Also, I've read that your brain would basically be unable to function if you were ingesting only 500 calories a day. I seem to be functioning just fine. I'm doing my job, carrying conversations, paying bills, arguing with my husband etc. This functionality has not changed. Not to mention that my random blood glucose level was at 93, which is damn high for someone not eating. As Diabetics are aware, glucose is a finicky pony, which can fluctuate depending on the food ingested. (Had I not eaten those 2 slices of apple before my appointment, that would have been a fasting test, but oh well). And the less you eat, the more your glucose can drop, until you faint - like I did - except my glucose level was fine. 
         Also, there's that damn wacky list of Dr. Simeons that throws dieters for a loop. There are only about 12 veggies approved on the list, and only about 6 proteins, and about 5 fruits. Here's the argument. If I was only ingesting 500 calories a day, does it matter what makes up those 500 calories? That's drastic. Normal weight loss, with a moderate level of activity, can occur at eating 1800 or so calories a day. I'm only eating 500. I would say that, no matter what it was, I should lose weight regardless. But, as I've been smacked in the face over and over again for varying the diet, so is not the case when on hCG. I have even exercised - EXERCISED! - and gained weight the next day. Somebody explain THAT one to me. Hell, if the hCG was doing nothing, and it was the 500 calories alone, I should be able to up the ante to 600, 700, even 1000, and still conceivably lose weight without any problems. Yet why is it, however, that when I try, it affects me negatively? Can the doctor explain that to me? Is my body "freaking out" because I'm eating more calories than usual? I mean, come on. And explain the makeup and lotion thing. My hands are so dry right now I would give almost anything (except weight gain) to rub some lotion into them. If I was eating only 500 calories a day, and that's the only reason I was dropping weight... then tell me why wearing makeup and using lotion stops this process. It has stalled me before, believe it or not. I was using cortisone cream at one point, and I stalled for about a week as I used it... and I was frustrated to hell, and then I realized - duh Amy! It's your cream! The day after I stopped using it, the weight started coming off again. It's freaky I know. Dr. Simeons explains it as that the blood is saturated with carrying fat to be burned, and it can not handle an overload. As creams and makeup have a lot of fat in them, and soaks into the skin, it can disrupt this balance, and your body ends up making more red blood cells to compensate, which in turn shows as a negative weight loss, or even a slight weight gain. Is this true? I haven't a clue, but I know I can't use lotion. If it was only 500 calories... yeah.
         So, in the end, I don't really know what to believe. But, as I've learned from Mystery Diagnosis, not every doctor knows what they're talking about. After all, he also told me to use q-tips to clean out my ears.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Concept > Execution + Delivery

It sounds like a math equation but actually it's all about the food. The fact that I have even mixed the two is an achievement for me.
Anyway,  I thought I'd recount my experience trying to make my own pop tarts yesterday. Why make your own pop tarts? Honestly, I can't say! Do they taste better than store bought? Meh... Do they look better? Oh hell no. Are they at least organic? Well yes, you could say that. Not a lot of words you can't pronounce when you make your own food that normally comes in a box with the shelf-life of plutonium. However, chances are good the marshmallows I used probably have more than sugar in them. So maybe they're not organic either. I suppose they would be had I just used fruit filling.
This is my first attempt at making a dough that wasn't meant to be cookies. And probably my last.
This is the recipe I used. Brand new straight out of Alton Brown's head:
http://altonbrown.com/2012/06/500/
A remake from "I'm Just Here For the Food" apparently, and not from the episode "A Pie in Every Pocket". So, there's apparently like, 4 recipes I could have used, depending on if the book version of "a pie in every pocket" was different than the episode. (This is what happens when your show has been on the air for 12 years!)
Okay, let me try and digress. And I'll see how short I can keep this.
Making the dough was easy enough, especially with a stand mixer. But, as everyone knows, it's shaping and using the dough that's the hard part. And takes some skill. My friend Mary was with me, and we were determined to make s'mores pop tarts. Now for me, following Alton's directions were difficult. Even though I'd seen him do that sheet pan technique on dough before, it was much more difficult in practice. I'd given up trying to figure it out, and Mary suggested that we just roll out the dough, cut them into rectangles and make the pop tarts that way. Like how AB did it in "A Pie in Every Pocket". Which, btw, was a completely different dough. We were working with a sugar cookie dough now. But, I tried anyway. And I couldn't roll it out without it sticking to the pin. And falling apart, and everything else that can go wrong. So, I gave up. For a few minutes anyway.
I came back, determined to follow AB's recipe and not listen to Mary. The dough had to chill for a hour to help make it easier to work with, whether Mary wanted it to or not! I finally figured out how to roll it out using the sheet pan, but I only got 14 rounds instead of 16. That was okay. I cut them into pieces and let them chill. Mary had to go home then so she never got to try them.
After they chilled, I rolled each one out into rectangles. But, it was taking so long that by the end they were getting warm and squishy again. [I should mention here that yes, putting a cold sheet pan on top of the dough at this point to re-solidify the shortening would have been nice, but since I only have one sheet pan, and it was currently being used to hold pop tart dough, I couldn't really do that.] I had made my own ganache previously, and had a bag of marshmallows at the ready. Here's where the concept does not equal execution. I spread the ganache on one side and put like 6-7 mini marshmallows in each rectangle. Then, I attempted to put the tops on the tarts, which of course, were falling apart in my hands. And then promptly began to tear the dough when I put them on top of the marshmallows. It was okay, they would be fine, I thought. And so I put them in the oven to bake, thinking that the marshmallows would melt into the chocolate and make a yummy s'mores tart.

These aren't mine. I didn't take a picture because they totally
looked stupid and then I ate them all. Credit goes to
the blog onceamonthmom.com

Ha.
The dough set before the marshmallows melted, so I ended up with really tall and bumpy tarts.
Now, they still taste good, sure. But the marshmallow resets and you don't get guey marshmallow with every bite. And instead of making an icing to go on top, I just use leftover ganache and spread it on after toasting. Or before eating cold. Either way lol
In the end, AB's recipe worked flawlessly, so it's not his fault, it was mine. I should have had the forethought to freeze one of my crappy cookie sheets (since I would never bake on those.). And now I know that dough will harden before marshmallows melt. Next time I will buy the marshmallow fluff. (Wait, next time??)
So, yeah, they're tasty. But was it worth the effort? Not for me, really. Maybe if I had more practice at dough-handling. But at the moment, I never want to make dough ever again!!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Prowler

It's late, but I'm pissed and I have to write this.
A prowler came to our complex Saturday night. I won't even mention how, because we live in a gated community. (Okay, the gate was WIDE open. Why? Because our dumbass management can't seem to keep it fixed or bother to replace it.) Fine, whatever. Point is, he stole the faceplate out of our Celebrity (not to mention everything in the glove box, which included a registration and our maintenance records). Now I had warned Justin when we first moved here to take out that damn faceplate but he refused. He knows he was stupid and I've told him I'm not going to replace it. But, that's not the point of this story. The point is surely the question you are asking right now.
Why weren't the doors locked?
The answer to this question lies in my experience. Let me give you a little back story.
I used to own a Reliant K, long before I met Justin. This was back when I was living with Josh. Back then, they didn't really have "removable faceplates" for car stereos. Or at least, they weren't that prevalent yet. Now, even though my car didn't have auto locks, I made sure to lock the doors each night. Although I've never lived in slum town, I wasn't really in a "good" neighborhood either. The cops woke us up one night as our Reliant's window had been smashed and the CD player had attempted to have been stolen. The idiot that tried to take it probably didn't realize it wasn't just a faceplate. I had to laugh in a way, because if he would have managed to jack it, it probably would have saved me some money, as I was going to replace it soon anyway because that one was broken. What wasn't funny however, was that my window cost me $150 to replace.

Adorable, isn't it? This one isn't mine. Mine
was totally cooler, cuz it was blue.

So, in the meantime, I get myself a new stereo with a removable faceplate. And I diligently take it out each night. But, I no longer lock my doors. Why? Well, the car isn't worth stealing, that's for sure. There's nothing IN the car worth stealing, and I don't want them breaking my window again.
At this place I lived, my car was "broken into" 3 times in two years. How do I know? They leave the door open just a crack. Plus, my papers are strung around everywhere because they're - guess what - looking for my faceplate. That's all they care about. And they're not going to find it, because I'm not stupid enough to leave it in my glove box. So, let them rummage around my car. It's better than breaking my window in an attempt to steal something that's not even there.
Later on, I get a different car: a Mystique. Piece of shit. Anyway, of course the first thing I do is get a new stereo. And, I'm living in a new place, not very far away from my old stomping grounds. This time though, I'm parked right off a main drag and I think to myself: "No way someone would break into my car when so many people are around. I'm safe." Plus, I lock my doors because I have auto locks so it's easy.
Yeah, okay.
This time, I come home with my parents after seeing a movie, and the window is busted and the faceplate is stolen. Oh joy. SO, after buying a new stereo and replacing the window for another $150, I stop fucking locking my car again. Sick of this shit. No one is going to steal a damn Mystique anyway.

What a vision of loveliness. That thing'll never sell, dude.

And again, during the course of my time living at this new place, thieves were again riffling through my car looking for the damn faceplate. One time, someone was kind enough to take the lotion from my glove box and spray it all over the seats, thanking me for not having the faceplate available to steal. But again, it beats having my window busted for no reason.
So by this time, I have learned my lesson. Had *I* been driving the Celebrity, I would be taking out the faceplate each night, regardless of whether or not I am in a safe neighborhood. And back when it was my main car, I sure as hell did. But, I never locked the doors.
Now, I'm not saying that people shouldn't lock their doors. It's not like I own a damn Viper or something. If I owned something worth stealing, you bet I'd be locking them. Also, I would have full coverage insurance that would PAY for the damn broken window. I lock my Malibu. But then again, you can't steal my stereo. But even if it did have a removable faceplate, I'd lock them anyways because I'm forced to have full coverage on it as I don't outright own it yet, so a broken window is paid for. These other cars weren't worth full coverage insurance; most definitely not my Reliant. Someone rear-ended me once. It would have cost $500 to straighten the bumper, so that totaled my vehicle. I bought it back from the impound for $100 and got $400 in my pocket. Sweet day. Anyway, I digress.
For me, it works. Just because someone hasn't had the experience I've had, doesn't make me wrong, or stupid. I do what fucking WORKS. I'm tired of paying for broken windows. Had Justin been in the habit of locking the doors and leaving the faceplate, we'd probably be out $150 right now. At least we're only out the stereo. Not that I condone what he did at all. He was an idiot for leaving in the car, thinking it's safe. Like I thought I was safe living on a main drag with a locked car. You're not safe anywhere, period.
But, I'd like people's thoughts and opinions on this. Please leave me a comment about it. What has been your experience?