Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Top 10 Addictions of 2009

1. True Blood
From it's seedy-sexy-raunchy opening credits running over the strains of Jace Everett's song "Bad Things" to the sleazy vampire sex scenes to Sookie's virginal status and oddly old-school morals contrasted with her world-weary mien.... this show is all-consuming once you start watching. I do not exaggerate when I liken it to crack and say that I was a junkie from my first viewing. This show was the impetus for buying a year's membership to megavideo.com and when those download times were too slow for my taste I would immediately go to iTunes and buy from there. After getting to watch the first 2 seasons in three weeks, I can't imagine the agony of having to watch it unfold over an entire season, but I am building up my callouses in preparation of Season 3 which starts next year.

2. Tap Tap Revenge
It's like Guitar Hero on the go, only with a higher occurrence of carpal tunnel syndrome. It will always hold a dear place in my heart because it is the first iPhone app I obsessed over.

3. Vulture
New York Magazine's new culture section. One of my favorite writers from Entertainment Weekly left that mag to start this new venture. Josh Wolk.... I miss your stories about Phil Koegan's Amazing Race "phil-sticles"-on-display in his khakis and your bearded presence in Dalton Ross' always entertaining Survivor VLOGs. But I love everything I read on Vulture, so I'm getting over it. :) And, BONUS, he has a blog!

4. World of Goo
Computer-based puzzle game that is fun, fast-paced, and clever. It's graphics are reminiscent of the Ghashlycrumb Tinies and The Nightmare Before Christmas, only it's just a bunch of balls of goo that you have to build into precarious, teetering, swaying towers, bridges, and exploding scaffolding. All set to amazing music that you wish you could carry around as a theme-song to help you through every trying part of every day. I've still got two puzzles (of the many in the game) I haven't figured out and it is keeeeeeling me!

5. Wii Hacking
Our Wii starting acting fritzy well before the move... making too much noise from the disc-reader and occasionally scratching discs with it's laser.... and since getting here it was getting worse. And being in the Land of Everything-Costs-Twice-As-Much-As-In-The-USA, I decided to take matters into my own hands and see what I could do to make our Wii experience in Europe a little easier. First, I discovered that I could unlock the Wii via the installation of "The Homebrew Channel" and set it to recognize PAL games.... Then I found out that I could back up all of our existing games onto an external USB hard drive and run all the games from that instead of discs. Whoa. If you knew how freaking loud our Wii is when it is reading the game-discs, you would know why I immediately started to put the hack into motion.
I have lost countless hours to updating, maintaining, crashing, repairing, and then erasing and starting all over. But I still count it as one of the coolest things I have ever done as a mother and geek.
If your Wii is already out of warranty and you are looking for a timesuck that will pay out major dividends in convenience and cool: follow this tutorial (if you are running 4.2) and you will be all set. Good luck!

6. The Twilight BooksUgh. I know. I know! Enough about these damn books... But I can't help but recall that hazy week last April when I went all Edward-ian and lost my head to a bunch of vampires and an annoying sad-sack teenage girl by the name of Bella. Love it or hate it, even though the last book came out in 2008, the release of New Moon this fall made it an addiction that couldn't be ignored in 2009.

7. Macro Flower Photography (via extension tubes)
I spent hours and hours over the summer using the $14 tubes I bought online to get a ton of fantastic shots of flowers.
Gerbera Daisy unfoldingpoppyGerbera Daisy

Best (and least amount of) money I ever spent on photography equipment.

8. Twitter
I used to be kind of a big deal with my friends on facebook because I was always updating my facebook status in funny, clever ways. And then I starting using twitter. At first I linked the accounts, thinking "Ha! They're exactly the same thing.... No problem." and then I completely inundated my facebook friends with way too much information, bored them all to tears, realized that I looked like a completely self-involved douche, unlinked the accounts, effectively abandoned facebook, and went on to gain 1500 twitter followers. Twitter allows you to follow and/or keep tabs on every blogger that you wish you had time to read and comment on everyday but, because you have a life, you can't. It also happens to be the ultimate example of social-media-ADHD on speed, so I was only able to fully appreciate it with the aid of TweetDeck: there was just too much information to sort through until I figured out I could divvy different interests into columns or lists and then monitor the tweet-stream that way.

9. Jaffa Cakes
I bought these little cakes/cookies on a whim and have regretted it ever since. Like Lay's Potato Chips, you cannot eat just one. They are cake-y, dark chocalate-y, orange-y and totally delicious. Why we don't have them in the USA is beyond me.

10. Ann's Rants Goat Cheese, Orange, Sugared-Pecan Salad
with Balsamic Vinaigrette.
Ann had me over with the kids ages ago (I believe it was the playdate that involved my children corrupting her innocent little darlings with demonstrating how play-doh really looks like poop when you roll it into lumpy tubes...) and made this salad for lunch. I have eaten it about 50 times since then and still crave it endlessly, but can't get my hands on the right kind of goat cheese here in the UK, so am sadly jonesing. FYI: all the ingredients in her salad came from Trader Joe's and I may have made some modifications.

Ann's Awesome Salad

Herb Salad (or Spring Salad) Mix
Goat Cheese Crumbles
handful of Black Lentils (I think TJ's calls them Beluga Lentils), heated in micro until warm
1 orange, cut off the peel and into sections
a handful of sugared pecans
a handful of blueberries or orange-flavored dried cranberries
Balsamic Vinaigrette

Eat, enjoy and repeat.

So now you know what I was doing to while away many hours of my life this year.... What did you lose yourself in over the past twelve months? What did I miss? I need some ideas for what to watch when I run out of Dexter episodes! (Dexter was a very close contender, btw.)


  1. Ah, nice. I've got to try out the True Blood phenom. It's probably on Netflix Instant Watch so I can watch it on the treadmill. Get through a lot of episodes that way.

    I've going to resist adding my 10 addictions for 2009. They aren't nearly as funny as yours. :)



  2. Tee hee. Thanks! I enjoy a variation with arugula, plain toasted almond slivers, and tart dried cherries. Also delish with strawberries. Seriously.

    Hopelessly behind on your blog.Damned vacation. ;)

  3. I have yet to get into True Blood or Twilight, but Twitter. O how I love it so.

  4. So not a vampire fan in any shape or form. But so close to France and no great goat cheese? How wrong is that?

  5. Great list! Never thought about taking a good long look at my addictions -- sounds like a New Year's resolution to me.

  6. True Blood rocks my socks. I mean, I too succumbed to the Twilight phenom, but True Blood is sexay. Want something else awesome? Read Kresley Cole's vamp books. She uses big girl words! Smut extraordinaire!

  7. Love it. Twilight. Sadly, me too, read the whole series in like five days. Twitter, sadly me too. Those pictures are amazing.

  8. Spent most of my year reading, writing letters, blogging, exercises, eating better, drinking a lot less alcohol,getting enough sleep, keeping up on world news.


  9. Ahhhh, you discovered Jaffa Cakes. Well done, my friend....well done :))))

    I have no clue about Twitter.

  10. We subscribe to HBO each September in time for the premiere of True Blood, and then when the season ends, we drop our subscription. There are probably less costly ways to go about getting our fix, but my husband likes to keep it legal!

    Now, if I could have only convinced him to subscribe to Showtime for the fourth season of Dexter that recently ended! Now I have to wait and wait and wait forever for it to be on iTunes or on DVD so I can watch it. I got my husband hooked on it after watching earlier seasons, so I'm appalled he didn't go for my idea!

  11. hannah turned me onto jaffa cakes a while back and my life has not been complete without them since then.

    also re: twitter, this made me think of you: http://tiny.cc/exXZT

    look for a hell of late christmas card since i tried to send it to you without actually writing an address on it. yay ADD in grown ups!

  12. Oh, jaffa cakes! They are so good. We get them here, probably because our break up with England was civil, unlike yours.

  13. True Blood and Jaffa Cakes? Are there too more wonderful things in the world? I think NOT!!!

    On Gordon Ramsay's The F Word, one of his guests made a HUMONGOUS Jaffa cake. They say it tasted horrible. I think I'd stick with the original.

    Happy New Year!

  14. That salad sounds INCREDIBLE. I'm not gonna make it, though. I'm gonna make Ann make it for me. YUM.

    And did you know you can add #fb to the end of certain tweets and it will update your Facebook status accordingly? That way you can pick and choose? Even with that little trick I still forget I have FB. Whatev.

    I love you.

    Happy new year, my friend.

  15. I heard the Vampire Diaries are good (CW). You need to watch Damages. New season starting in January. Glenn Close is great in it (as she is in everything).

  16. The way you feel about waiting for new episodes of True Blood is how I felt about Lost when John and I got hooked after watching the first 4 seasons back to back over the course of 3 weeks, then had to WAIT months for season 5 to begin! Now we still have a month before season 6 (say it isn't so!!) begins on Groundhog Day. All I can say is they BETTER tie up all loose ends and answers all questions!

  17. Love, love, love your blog! I just found you through American in Norway. You're great and I look forward to following your adventures in England!

  18. Jaffa cakes - did you say Jaffa cakes! So good I need to migrate home again!

  19. (fingers in ears, eyes covered) La la la la Bossy can't HEAR YOU. Geesh, that's all she needs, MORE obsessions.


Thoughts appreciated. Advice welcome. Douche-baggery scoffed at then deleted.