Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I Do Yoga

My job occasionally offers yoga classes, and this being the Year of Yes, I signed up for the current session. It's once a week for seven weeks, and yesterday was our first class.


I've only done it once, way back in the day when I belonged to the Good Gym (as opposed to when I belonged to the Crappy Gym), and, unknown to me, it was the hot room version. I remember it being a sucky time. I had no idea what to do and had to keep looking at other people, my glasses kept sliding off my face, and I couldn't figure out why heat was on. I only went once.

Yesterday was a different experience, thankfully. There were about four or five beginners in the class (with maybe 15 people total), and I didn't feel too much like a n00b. I still had to look at my neighbors on occasion to figure things out, but since other people were doing the same thing, I didn't really feel like a Goofus.

So... did I like Yoga class? Yes, I think so.

I really hate exercising on my own (it's so damn boring), so it's nice that this is in a class setting. Being in a group prevents me from getting bored and wandering off.

The session itself felt nice. My legs were straining at some points, which surprised me - I'd always thought my legs were my strongest muscles (other than my brains), but I enjoyed it. I actually felt good afterward, so that's a plus. That's what exercise is all about, as far as I'm concerned.

Yoga is a weird type of exercise, though... I guess it's kind of conditioning muscles, right? But it doesn't feel like what I'd consider traditional exercise. Which is fine, because I hate getting sweaty.

It's like when I took Pilates because a friend's friend was getting her certification and needed students to practice on or something. It was interesting, but I didn't feel like I'd been "worked out" afterward and didn't do it enough to see any results. Still, I'm glad I did it.

Another thing I like about Yoga: I get to come up with sentences that use the words "Yoda" and "Yoga," such as "I hope Yoda teaches the Yoga class." This amuses me to no end, because I am ten years old.

I fear one class a week isn't gonna make a difference on my life, but I'm reluctant to join a gym or take a class that I can't walk to from my apartment (something about being sweaty and getting on the subway bothers me).

So I like it so far, and even if it doesn't make me as fit as a fiddle, it'll hopefully be interesting.

Also, after writing this I realized that it's an alarmingly ignorant post, so I did a Wiki search on Yoga as Exercise, and read that it's "a combination of breathing exercises, physical postures, and meditation."

I like that.

It sounds nice and is something that would be up my alley. I have terrible posture and would like to fix it, it doesn't sound too exercise-y. It just seems nice.

Oh, well, six more weeks. We'll see how it turns out.

Friday, April 25, 2008

I Heart LOST

Last night was the first episode of LOST I was able to see as it aired (meaning, not on DVD and not on abc.com).

I've finally caught up! I buckled down, did my best, and even though I didn't make it in time for the Season Four premiere, I'm still did it. And, as predicted back in January, I am addicted.

This is just like Harry Potter all over again.

But no spoilers, don't worry... except I can't resist leaving a comment that lists all my favorite characters from the first three seasons. So don't click on the Comments if you haven't seen this show yet.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Julie (Kind of) Hearts Applebee's

Julie left a comment with her take on the Applebee's adventure. Lest it be buried with the older posts, I'm reprinting it here.


when you say im your oldest friend, i think its funny to imagine i am a senior citizen. and you took me along to get an extra discount.

you failed to mention our server's name was icee. or icie. or icy.
i dont think she was big on our "order from the menu throughout the evening" tactic. i think thats unheard of at applebees. atleast my family never did this growing up. maybe yours did. maybe wanda sykes did.

the mysterious bones resembled gigantic flat toenails. finding the bone in the riblet's meat nest really was like unearthing a fossil - in a children's science museum demonstartion sort of way. we didnt know how to eat the riblets. i was under the impression we would use our hands, like we with the chicken finger. instead we had to use a fork and knife. confusion. really, i want to puke thinking about riblets.

the riblet wetnap was a pretty great souvinir (sp?). stu displays it proudly on his desk at work.

a side note about chicken fingers, i dont know why servers always default to a dipping sauce of honey mustard instead of barbecue sauce, as icy did. i prefer both, but if i had to choose one, it would always be barbecue sauce. if i got to choose three, i would also pick sour cream. try it with the bbq sauce - i swear its delicious.

in the end, the meal was a success. surprisingly i didnt feel disgusting after eating all that crap.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Year of Yes Has Failed Me!

Tuna Salad Wrap... you taste weird and different.

Never again.

Never forget.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

I (Don't Really) Heart Applebee's

I'm still not sure why people are interested in my Applebee's adventure, but they are, so here's a recap.

1. Companion
I wasn't gonna get dinner alone. That's just too sad.

Practically every non-vegetarian/vegan friend who knew about the gift card wanted me to share it with them, but really, there was only person I considered. Julie is one of my oldest friends (dating back to the days of ol' St. Augustine), and she really loves crappy food.

On our very first visit (of about 100) to Walt Disney World, we brought a tape recorder and reviewed the eatery at The Land in EPCOT Center (I'm aware of the dorkiness of this sentence). I can only remember one part from that long-lost tape, when Julie complained, "Not enough variety," even though there were about... I don't remember, a half-dozen, dozen different food stations.

So Julie wins.

2. Location
Non-New Yorkers might be surprised to hear there aren't many Applebee's in the city. I think there's just one in Manhattan, in Times Square (right near my work, in fact), but it's swarming with tourists and is probably overpriced. And I'm sure there are a number of 'em out in Brooklyn or Queens, but, seriously, chain restaurants aren't that easy to find in the city.

Fortunately for me, they recently opened an Applebee's within walking distance of my apartment. Like, maybe five minutes. It's a sign from the heavens that this was supposed to happen. "Eatin' good in your neighborhood," indeed. I'm pretty sure that's the slogan.

3. Appetizer: The Ultimate Trio
I let Julie take the reins on ordering, to be honest. And she was psyched.

We decided on getting an appetizer, and not just any appetizer, but THE ULTIMATE TRIO. This was pretty smart. We'd get to pick three from the following list: Dynamite Shrimp, Mini Chicken Sandwiches, Spinach and Artichoke Dip, Steak Quesadilla Towers, Boneless Buffalo Wings, Mozzarella Sticks, Mini Bacon Cheeseburgers.

This is the official Applebee's pic of the Ultimate Trio:

We went with the Dynamite Shrimp (my pick), the Honey BBQ-flavored Boneless Buffalo Wings (Julie's pick), and the Spinach and Artichoke Dip (mutual pick).

It looked like this (pardon my blurry camera-phone):

I had low expectations for the Boneless Buffalo Wings, but they were pretty good. They reminded me of stuff you'd get at Kentucky Fried Chicken, which is one of my favorite fast food places.

And the Dynamite Shrimp, well, it's also like fast food fried shrimp. It could be described as "spicy-flavored." Not actually spicy, but spicy-flavored. I would've liked more, but this was just an appetizer.

My one complaint was with the dip. In the words of Larry Tree, "What a rip-off!" There were about six chips. Six chips is a travesty. And no one wants to eat dip off a spoon or something. I ended up dipping my Dynamite Shrimp, but spinach/artichoke/cheese does not complement spicy flavoring.

It makes me sad that I am so into shows like Top Chef and Hell's Kitchen, and yet the previous sentence betrays my unsophisticated palate.

4. Entree: Riblets and Chicken Fingers
We wisely didn't order the entree until after eating the Ultimate Trio - that way, we could fill any cravings that hadn't been satisfied by the chicken/shrimp/dip combo. Somehow, this meant we'd order more chicken in the form of fingers (Julie's choice, which I disagree with - chicken fingers, to me, are the last resort of food at any restaurant unless you're a baby) and riblets.

Riblets, sure, because it's Applebee's, and this is one of their signature dishes or something, so we might as well, right?

This is the official version of Riblets (no chicken fingers pictured, and, only in this photograph was there a side of beans):

This is what we got:

We also got this, which Julie loved and brought home for her boyfriend (it's a wetnap that has "Riblets" written on the wrapper):

OK, I'll just say riblets suck. You'd think something named "riblets" would be either a) boneless or b) like little mini-ribs, but they're not. They have this long, flat shoehorn of bone in them, so it's just as annoying as eating ribs, only without the satisfying amount of meat.

I really hated the riblets. It's like, why make food more difficult to eat? What kind of bone was this? Isn't this just processed meat? People like these things? I am legitimately angry about the riblets and should stop writing about them, because I'd just be restating my hatred in different ways.

The chicken fingers were fine.

5. Dessert: Blue Ribbon Brownie
Both of us were pretty full after the entree (and we had seriously considered just getting a second Ultimate Trio, with different choices), but we had to plough ahead with dessert.

This was not my choice, as I had a pan full of vegan brownies about five minutes away, but Julie was not interested in the weird and cheap dessert shooters they had (imagine a shooter full of cheesecake, for example), and she insisted on the brownie.

Official brownie:

Actual brownie:

Now you can't really eff up a brownie. Especially if it comes with ice cream and all sorts of chocolate sauce and crap on it. Even though I was reluctant to like it, I did, and ended up eating more than Julie.

6. Conclusion
Would I eat there again? Sure, if circumstance brought me to the restaurant. Year of Yes and all that.

Would I go there on my own again? Almost definitely not. If I was really hungry in my neighborhood, I'd either go buy a can of soup (a two-minute walk from my house) or go to Subway (about five minutes away).

Do I like Applebee's? I don't dislike it.

Did I have fun? Yeah.

Did I want the wetnap? A little.

And Gordon Ramsay, if you're reading this... please forgive me.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Cakey Returns!

An Applebee's report will come soon (more people have asked me about that than anything else I've blogged about), but in the meantime, check out what we had for dessert...

No, not really, I would never eat Cakey.

We'll be uploading six more episodes in the upcoming season (two of which are re-edits of classic Cakey stories, four are brand-new!), but we'd really appreciate you checking them out, leaving comments, passing them on, etc. Year of Yes!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Eating... Still Hard.

A few examples... with hyperlinks!

1) I tend to buy snacks almost daily, because now that I'm eating earlier lunches, I get hungry and bored later in the afternoon. The most popular snacks in my life are King-sized packs of Twizzlers (which, even though I share them with Sarah, somehow last for a few days) or a four-pack of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups (which I immediately eat... alone).

At a recent trip to The Outpost (1515's snack shop), Sarah convinced me to buy trail mix instead of candy. It was initially more expensive, but this stuff has lasted about a week so far, so it's pretty cost-efficient. And I know nuts and dried fruit are better than faux licorice.

I sometimes feel like the Cookie Monster being told it's good to eat things like carrot sticks and raisins instead of just cookies all the time. And I'm just a moronic Muppet that's like, "Whoa! Healthy food is good! Om nom nom nom, me love carrot sticks!"

This example is my only "victory" over the whole eating thing.

2) When I opened my desk drawer to look at the brand of trail mix a moment ago, I saw my container with one last little brownie bite in them.

I can't stop baking brownies. I really can't. And not only can I not stop baking them, I can't stop eating them. Case in point: that last brownie bite is now gone.

3) Last Sunday I had a novel idea - what if I tried to eat healthy throughout April and abstain from drinking?

The food thing because it's obviously weighing heavily on my mind, alcohol because there are a number of high-profile parties this month (notably the 2008 Derbytaunt and the notorious Wig Party), and I thought it'd be a good exercise in self-control and will power to abstain for the month of April.

Later that day, after the Series IV premiere of Doctor Who, the Who Crew celebrated in style at ChipShop, where I not only had fish and chips (how can one even look at the Fisherman's Platter after tasting the real deal?), but a Crown-stamped pint of Boddingtons.

(Why did I pick Boddingtons, out of all the British beers? Because it's the "pride of Manchester," and Manchester is the location of Life on Mars, an excellent show. Seriously, that's how impressionable I am.)

So that whole idea of a healthy April lasted... maybe six hours.

4) The soy milk? There's still some left.

5) As soon as I post this, I'm going to meet my friend Julie over at Crapplebee's to eat horrible things.

This isn't fully my fault. My well-meaning grandparents gave me a gift card to the restaurant for Xmas. Normally, I would probably never eat at this restaurant ever, and I mean that seriously, I could spend the rest of my life without setting foot in one. Or a Chili's. But not, I hope to God, an Arby's. Or an In-N-Out Burger.

Anyway, it would be a breach of etiquette to not use the gift card and so, after four months of making plans and canceling, I'm gonna do it.

Also, it's creepy/interesting how many of my friends wanted to be my eating partner in this adventure. Nearly everyone I told was like, "Oh, I'll go with you!" like Crapplebee's is the splendor of the Earth. I'm still a little confused and amused about that.

So, yes, eating... still hard.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to clear out this gift card on ridiculous foodstuffs.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Eating is Hard.

It really is.

If it wasn't for my office's cafeteria, my diet would consist almost entirely of split pea soup and Subway sandwiches. At least The Lodge feeds me a breakfast of a crappy cup of fruit and a cup of (probably not) fresh-squeezed orange juice every morning.

I rarely go food shopping, but this weekend I picked up some more supplies for vegan brownies (this new batch, by the way, turned out much better than the first - very moist and not at all crumbly). And I got a few cans of soup and some other crap, too.

They had cereal on sale, so I got that. Year of Yes! Also, I'm an idiot and I always forget that "2 for $6" does not mean that I have to buy two boxes for such great savings. I can and should just buy one.

So I got two boxes of cereal, one that's dessert-y (Cocoa Pebbles) and one that's healthy (Fruity Pebbles), and since you shouldn't eat cereal with water or orange juice, I had to get some milk.

I rarely buy milk because 1) I rarely go shopping and 2) I forget to drink it and then it goes bad and I have to throw it away. But when I do buy some, I've lately been getting that Lactaid stuff. I don't know what it is, exactly, but I assume it's good for you. It is, right?

This time, I eschewed (vocabulary!) the Lactaid and got soy milk. Year of Yes! I KNOW soy milk is healthy. I don't know why, exactly, but it is. They also had low-fat soy milk, but that makes no sense to me, so I just went with the regular.

For me, this is a big stride toward being healthy. Yet I know in reality, there's nothing healthy about what I'm doing whatsoever, including the delicious pan of vegan brownies.

Eating is hard.

PS: I've eaten two bowls of cereal since going shopping, mostly to be polite. At this rate, I wonder if the soy milk will go bad before I finish it.