Archive for July, 2011

Winnie The Pooh, Horrible Bosses and Captain America

Time for another movie post!

Winnie The Pooh was a fairly cute movie. It was also pretty short being slightly longer than an hour. I think this movie would be awesome for little kids. Parts of it amused me but I found that other parts kind of dragged on. Basically the movie consists of Eeyore losing his tail, everyone thinking a monster has kidnapped Christopher Robin and Winnie the Pooh wanting honey.

In short, Horrible Bosses was hilarious and I liked it better than The Hangover. The premises was really funny, I mean the bosses in this movie were really really bad. I loved all of the acting, Jamie Foxx and Kevin Spacey in particular were awesome. My only complaint was that they didn’t need to swear as much as they did in that movie. I mean it may have even gotten away with being PG-13 if they cut out some of the swearing. I’ve noticed this is something they like to do more and more in R rated comedies, they’re funny, but to me its always a sign of a lack of creativity when they throw in tons of swear words.

Moving on to Captain America. I enjoyed this movie, but as always I have my complaints.

Complaint #1: Bucky was supposed to be a kid not a grown man (I admit that I did not read the comics, but this is one thing that I know and my inner comic book geek is slightly pissed)

Complaint #2: I wanted to leave the movie with a strong feeling of patriotism. I did not leave the theater with the feeling I wanted.

Complaint #3: Not enough shots of Captain America’s behind, though no women were exploited in this film so I do suppose they were being fair.

Complaints aside, the costumes were great. I could easily see the costumes in that movie looking really tacky, but they fit the 1940’s feel perfectly. The other thing I loved in this movie was Hugo Weaving’s portrayal of Red Skull.  Though I wish they had just kept him as a Nazi and didn’t do all of that crap to tie the Captain America story into the Thor and Iron Man stories. I get that they wanted to do that to make the upcoming Avengers film make more sense, but I wanted to see Nazis getting their butts kicked. What I’d really have loved is to see Captain America kill Hitler. Oh well, at least I have Inglorious Basterds for that. I’d still recommend this movie though. Just don’t go in wanting to feel all pro-America afterwards and stay for the Avengers trailer at the end of the credits.

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The Problem With Gastroentrologists and 17 year olds.

It’s been a while since I’ve written a Crohn’s post, but after having my doctor tell me I’ve been doing very well for a Crohn’s patient I began to remember what was going on in my life when I was 17.

When I was 17 I had gone from weighing 117lbs to 104lbs, I had lots of stomach aches and my household had a constant supply of immodium and pepto-bismol for me. I was miserable and we thought I had irritable bowl syndrome based on things we read online. When we told my pediatrician about the problems I was having he wanted to send me to a gastroenterologist but there was one problem, I was 17.  He said pediatric gastroenterologist usually stop seeing patients at 16, and the normal ones don’t start seeing patients until they’re 18. He managed to send me to one, who when I got there, didn’t want to take me because I was 17. After we pressured him a bit,  he gave me a check up and merely told me to try and see if I was lactose intolerant by cutting dairy out of my diet.

Nothing much happened after that except me discovering that carrageenan was a major trigger of my episodes. I gained back some weight by cutting it out of my diet, and we thought my problem was solved. But then I kept having problems and not attributing it to anything more than my self diagnosed irritable bowel syndrome. It wasn’t until after my father met  a great gastroenterologist who removed some of his gallstones that I finally got some help. I was 19 when I was finally at the point where I was so fed up with being sick that I wanted my intestines replaced with new ones that worked properly.

This doctor, my current GI, is super awesome. On my first visit he said he thought I was probably just another college kid with irritable bowel, that he’d send me to a nutritionist and give me some medication. But because he is super awesome he ran every possible blood test he could run for digestive problems, he took *two* viles of blood from me there were so many tests. And I tested positive for high rates of this inflammation thing/indicator or whatever which was a sign that I had Crohn’s. Then I had the colon-scope, got medication, and have been doing much better. At first I was upset and thought I had some problem that only old people are supposed to have.Then I learned that many people who get Crohn’s are diagnosed when they’re between 15 and 30, or when they’re older than 60.I also read somewhere that 1 in 3 people have some sort of digestive problem in the developed world (probably due to our screwed up diets), whereas they are practically nonexistent in places like Africa.

Now I started to wonder, if it is known that 15-30 year olds are getting Crohn’s, and 17 year olds are in that bracket, why the F*CK won’t pediatric or normal gastroenterologists take them? I’ve heard of special adolescent doctors on the news, but I don’t know of any. Even if I did, what if they didn’t take my insurance or were several hours away from where I lived and it’d take months to get an appointment with them??

It just really pisses me off that if I could have seen a decent gastroenterologist when I was 17, I could’ve started getting treatment then. It also pisses me off that the first guy I saw didn’t run all of the blood tests that my super awesome doctor did. But what pisses me off the most is that there have to be other 17 year olds out there that had the same exact problem that I did. And unless they’re so sick that they end up being hospitalized they’ll go untreated for at least a year.

If you have or are an adolescent that has a ton of stomach problems, diarrhea, vomiting paired with fevers and chills any signs of irritable bowel, crohn’s or colitis do not stop until a doctor takes you and get the treatment you deserve. Make them run every blood test to see what could be wrong with you, not just the standard ones.

And that’s all for this rant.

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Harry Potter Isn’t What It Used to Be

I remember when I first started reading the Harry Potter books. I was in 3rd or 4th grade, only the first three books were out and I was reading them with my dad. The first book was great from start to finish. I even remember rereading a few chapters in that book because I liked them so much. The second book had a slow start but then got better, same with the third book. One thing all of those books had in common was a sense of fun and adventure. They were kids in a magic school doing fun stuff with magic. There were bad guys, but I wouldn’t say it was excessively dark or anything like that.

Then the 4th book came out, I went to the midnight release. That book was huge. I read the first chapter or two and as usual, the first couple of chapters tend to suck so I put it down and didn’t pick it up until some of my friends in my5th grade class told me it was great and to keep reading. I read the rest of it, and I thought it was pretty good but not as good as the first three. It was also here where the story line started to become less fun and more dark.

Then I read The Hobbit before my father took me to see The Fellowship of the Ring. After seeing that movie Harry Potter went straight out the window, there was *no* comparison at all. I went on to read the Lord of the Rings. It was much harder to read, but it felt more real. I felt like that somewhere out there, long ago, that that story actually happened. Later when I began to read Norse myths, I saw that they read in a similar way.

Then the 5th Harry Potter came out. I didn’t attend the midnight release but did pick up the book the next morning. First few chapters were crap, I put the book down. It stayed down until 2007. That was when the last Harry Potter book was being released. I was going to go to the midnight launch with friends for the hell of it. Then I had a random urge to read the 5th and 6th books in the 4 days I had before the launch. I tried reading the 5th book again, and again it sucked. I opened up to a random page in the middle, it sucked. I tried another random page, it still sucked. I read the spark notes of the 5th book. I was glad I didn’t read it because those spark notes sucked. Then I read the spark notes for book 6. Book 6 seemed like it would have been interesting, but by then the storyline had gotten too dark for me. I read the last book and enjoyed it, but by then Harry Potter just wasn’t what it was for me as a kid. I mean they were never even *in* Hogwarts in the last one. I was also pissed that Harry lived. I wanted him and Voldemort to kill each other simultaneously and stay dead. Oh well.

But all of this aside, I have to say that I feel really bad for all of the kids I saw last night running around in capes and gryffindor scarves. I mean they had to be 8 or 9.. the age I was when I first started reading the books. I can only assume that these kids have just seen the movies. And I feel that towards the end of the story, it just gets too dark for a child (or me) to fully appreciate. In a way it worked well for my generation, it was as if we all grew up with Harry Potter. Though for me, it was like I went to elementary school with Harry Potter, then we drifted during middle school and wound up completely different in high school, as that tends to happen. Harry Potter just isn’t what it used to be.

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A year ago today my family’s parrot, Kirby, suddenly passed away after being with my family for 25 years. Since Kirby was there from the day I was born, I’ve been left with a huge void in my life. One of my earliest memories is Kirby landing on my head when I was 2 or 3. I wanted to rescue another bird from a rescue organization I found online but my parents said no and continue to say no. All I have right now is the wild quaker parrots that like to hang out in my neighborhood.I cant look at other conures in real life without getting sad.

Anyway, Kirby was a white-eyed conure. My mom says she thinks Kirby was taken from the wild, and a few years older than 25 when he died. The average life expectancy for a white-eyed conure is 25-27 years. They can be taught to talk but Kirby never did. Kirby just had various bird noises, all of which I remember. If you call my house and get the answering machine you can still hear Kirby in the background.

It really was sudden when Kirby passed away. Literally the day before, Kirby was chilling with us during breakfast and dinner, mooching as usual. It’s ok to feed parrots certain people foods, and they love being shared with. It’s important to spend time every day with any parrot because they’re very social animals.

That’s pretty much all I have to say. I’ve already gotten myself sad by writing this. I just hope I get to meet Kirby again in the next life if not on the other side.

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Bourbon Street

As a member of MyPoints, I earn points for buying things online, taking online surveys,  and being a good bzzagent. I can then redeem the points I’ve earned on a huge selection of gift cards! Most recently I got myself a $25 gift card for restaurant.com, which I then used to get a $25 gift certificate for a restaurant that I’ve always seen in Bayside but have never ventured into until now, Bourbon Street.

Bourbon Street has a mardi gras theme and appropriately serves cajun and southern dishes. There were beads on all of the tables and for the most part they were playing good 80’s and 90’s music. The prices on their entrees are a bit expensive, but we had the gift certificate and I was assuming the stuff had to be good since that place has been around for along time in addition to being on the Zagat list.

I ordered the Pesto Crusted Salmon in Puff Pastry and Scott ordered the Blackened Catfish. Our entrees came with salads and our choice of fries or mashed potatoes. We both went with fries.

I liked that they put the dressing on the side, it helps if you’re being mindful of how many calories your taking in. It gives you the option of pouring it all over you salad or dipping each forkful into the little cup.

Scott's Blackened Catfish

My Grilled Salmon

Scott really loved his catfish dish. I tried some and it was too spicy for me, but Scott loves spicy things so he made the right choice. His dish also came with a corn muffin that was delicious. It had to have been freshly baked because of how good it was.

Now, they actually sent me the Grilled Salmon by mistake instead of what I ordered, but I didn’t realize until I ate about half of it that I ordered the other salmon dish. Had I noticed right away I would’ve said something, but the grilled salmon was awesome. I really loved the fried spinach it came with, I never had fried spinach before. It had the same texture as seaweed, but the taste of baby spinach. It was awesome. The zucchini was also cooked really well. I’ll also add now that when we got our bill they charged us for the grilled salmon rather than what I had originally ordered, which is a good thing as the grilled salmon was a few dollars cheaper.

Since I didn’t finish my salmon, I took it home. The next day I used it to make the BLT I had for dinner extremely awesome.

lettuce, bacon, salmon and spinach on toasted bread

Overall I’d have to say that I really like this place and would love to go back. However, if I didn’t have the gift certificate, I probably would have  just ordered a salad or pasta dish since those are way more affordable than their entrees.

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Soda Stream

As a BzzAgent I get to try out exciting new products for free in exchange for sharing my honest opinion of these products with others.The most recent thing I’ve got to try out was the Soda Stream. Basically, it’s a device you use at home to carbonate water and make fresh soda without the use of any batteries or electricity. The soda maker model that I received was the Fountain Jet – Seltzer Starter Kit. It came with a soda maker, one bottle of CO2 and a single liter bottle to put the soda in. When I was first asked to partake in their soda stream campaign, I was more than excited because I thought that the soda stream would be the most awesome thing ever! I thought that I’d be able to carbonate anything I wanted and I planned on carbonating just about every beverage in my household until I read that you’re only supposed to carbonate plain water, then add flavors to it. This was mildly disappointing, luckily for them I have a creative imagination. I had a lot of fun making fresh homemade  egg creams and black and whites.

Here's a black and white before being mixed. It's chocolate and vanilla syrup, vanillia ice cream, and seltzer.

Here it is after being mixed!

Even though I wasn’t sent any of their flavors, I decided to buy a few to try them out. Most of their regular soda flavors cost either $5 or $7. With the $5 ones, I did the math, it’s cheaper in most cases to use their machine than to buy the soda. This isn’t so with the $7 bottles, especially since we usually only buy soda when its on sale. I had originally planned to purchase from their website, but since shipping would have cost me $7 that I could have spent on another flavor, I went to Macy’s instead. There I purchased their orange soda, ginger ale and diet pink grape fruit flavors. I would have gone for their sampler pack, but I disliked that half of the flavors were diet.When I got home and tired this flavors, I was very disappointed. Their non-diet flavors tasted like diet, I didn’t know why until I read the ingredients. Their non-diet sodas are actually just low calorie sodas that have fake sugar mixed in with real sugar.  My mother on the other hand, was quite happy with the diet pink grapefruit flavor. I didn’t get why they’re trying to be “healthy” with a line of low-calorie sodas that they weren’t advertising as such. If I wanted to be healthy I wouldn’t even be drinking soda in the first place! Then I read the ingredients of their $10 Sparkling Naturals line on their website (these were not at Macy’s mind you) and found that those syrups only had normal sugar in them. I do plan on buying some in the future, but I don’t feel like getting them now since I’m unhappy about having to purchase them online and pay for shipping.

The one thing that would really improve this product for me was if I found anyone I could buy a small (non-commercial size) container of true Dr. Pepper syrup from. Soda Stream’s website does have a knockoff Dr. Pepper but I feel that Dr. Pepper is the nectar of the gods and should never be imitated. I did manage to find such syrup on one website, but it’s currently out of stock.

On the Downside

-Their website isn’t clear about the normal soda flavors being low calorie and tasting like diet because of the fake sugar, and with the cost of shipping you could buy another flavor if you went to the store

-If you don’t drink all of the soda you’ve made within a day or two, it gets flatter faster than normal soda. To counter this you can add extra bubbles, or you can purchase their half liter bottles.

-You’re only supposed to carbonate plain water, it’s not for use on premade drinks like ice tea or lemonade, although they do have syrups for these for sale on their website.

On the Upside

-Using this can be cheaper than buying soda if you’re not a person who only buys soda when its on sale

-It’s excellent for making fresh ice cream sodas

-You can add as much or as little CO2 as you like to your soda. If you’re a person who likes you’re soda a little flat you can make it fresh that way, or if you love a ton of bubbles, you can add more.

-You don’t have to deal with recycling empty soda bottles if you use this, all you need to do is refill the bottle you have and use it again.

In the end, I have to say that if I was asked to pay for this or return it, I would probably return it. I’m still really disappointed that I can’t buy their Sparkling Naturals line in stores, and it also wouldn’t save me much money in the long run. Making fresh ice cream sodas is awesome, but those are seasonal. This product would be best for a family that goes through at least a few liters of soda a week. If I knew about this a few years ago, I may have gotten one for my cousin as a wedding present because she and her husband really *love* soda but don’t drink it that often because they want to be healthy.

To anyone I know personally, if you’re interested in seeing my Soda Stream for yourself, let me know and I’d be more than happy to show it to you!

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Edible Trends That I Hate: Cupcakes and Seedless Watermelons

Recently there have been so many damn reality TV shows about cupcakes and I’ve seen more and more cupcakes polluting bakeries recently. There are even bakeries that specialize in cupcakes. You may think I’m a psycho for hating cupcakes but I have a logical reason for hating them.

Cupcakes have too little cake with too much frosting. I’ve never been a fan of frosting, ever. Plain cupcakes or ones with a minimal amount of frosting or a sugar glaze are ok, they’re essentially a small piece of cake. But the ones with gobs of frosting on them in some cutesy design are the ones I hate. They’re awkward to eat because of it. Plus the frosting takes away from the cake, it doesn’t add to it. They’re never as filling as a piece of cake either. Cupcakes are stupid and I don’t understand why so many people are obsessed with them. Specialty cupcake bakeries are inefficient as well, way more effort goes into making cupcakes than making actual cakes.

Moving on to seedless watermelons. The point of seedless watermelons was to be able to eat your watermelon without having to spit out seeds. I can’t say that’s a bad idea, except for the fact that it doesn’t work. Seedless watermelons are not *seedless* rather they are full of underdeveloped seeds that are more difficult to pick out than normal seeds. Yes, you can just eat the small seeds, but that’s not my thing. What pisses me off the most is that its so hard to come across normal watermelons in stores these days.

Go ahead and disagree with me on these issues and call me a psycho, I just needed to vent 😀

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