Archive for the 'Fun' Category


The 12 Ways of Christmas: the lights

[Part 8]

This is disgusting to me now, but it would have delighted me as a kid.

It wasn’t December if my family and I were not driving around looking at other people’s Christmas lights.

We started in our own neighborhood, admiring the wild and colorful houses, and the simple monochromatic houses in white, gold, red, blue. In my little kid’s logic, I always assumed the blue houses must be Jewish. Or something. Just a feeling. I wanted to say so, but it seemed rude. I never knew any Jews growing up—at least none that I knew of.

My mom and I especially loved the ones that looked like gingerbread houses with sidewalks lined, every angle of the roof highlighted, doorways and windows lit. Our house should be like that. I studied them carefully as we slowly passed, making mental notes between audible gasps every time a new extreme came into view.

I really appreciated the people who did their trees. Those were the ones who really cared. Random placements among the branches were popular one year. Then our neighbors began to include the trunks, too. A few years later, a tightly wrapped cluster of lights on the trunk with a contrasting color densely filling up the branches was en vogue. Continue reading ‘The 12 Ways of Christmas: the lights’


The 12 Ways of Christmas: the cookies

[Part 7]

Santa's givin' you some sugar this year!

There was nothing in particular that linked my mom’s cookies with Christmas, except that we never made them at any other time of the year. You can have eggnog in the summer, but why? Grandma could make her baked beans for Easter, but why? No, these things were for Christmas only.

I always looked forward to those rare and special nights when my mom dragged out her big electric mixer and the glass and metal bowls and wooden spoons. Soon the kitchen countertop would be covered with bags of flour and sugars, syrups, shortening, butter (it was always margarine, but we called it “butter”), eggs, nuts, sprinkles, chocolate, vials of food colorings and flavorings, shredded coconut, candied cherries. Continue reading ‘The 12 Ways of Christmas: the cookies’


Can’t Win for Losing

Some people are naturally competitive about everything they do. I am not.

That’s not to say I want to lose, or that I don’t like to be my best. I get jealous when someone is good at something I want to be good at. I want to be a success, and I want people to think I’m successful, but my goal is merely to be accomplished. I don’t necessarily want to be better than anyone. I just want to be as good as they are.

I don’t need to win. Sometimes I don’t even like to win, because I feel bad that someone else had to lose. I just want to be evenly matched. And then if I should happen to win, its not my fault that someone else lost. It’s just down to a good hand. Luck. Fate.

And I don’t like to celebrate and carry on. I don’t like to stand under a spotlight as draw attention to myself as “the winner.” I definitely don’t like to put it in anyone’s face.

But then sometimes, when I drink a lot, I behave much differently.

Continue reading ‘Can’t Win for Losing’


The Sole of Wit

As we settle into the on-ramp to middle age, my husband and I find ourselves utterly captivated by the lamest of intellectual parries and thrusts. One of our favorites is the synonym game. “Eat,” one of us will say. “Devour,” the other will say. “Chew,” comes the reply, followed by “masticate,” “digest,” and so on and so forth.

Last night, inspired by a piscine pun a friend of ours wrote as a Facebook status update, Jeff asked me to name species of fish.

“Uh… trout?” I said. “Pike. Flounder. Why?”

He showed me the picture on our friend Marc’s Facebook wall, a folk-art plate with a fish skeleton painted on it, accompanied by the words “Tuna Half Men. Sole Train.”

Ah. I was beginning to understand.

“I’ve already got ‘Carp 54, Where Are You?'” Jeff said. I need another one.

I gave it a long, hard think. Before long I had one. Perfect.

“Who’s the Bass?” I said.

And we were off.

Continue reading ‘The Sole of Wit’


Happy 25th birthday, Super Mario!

Super Mario 25th Anniversary

Wish Super Mario a happy birthday. He's 25 years old today!

When it comes to describing the superior awesomeness that Super Mario Bros. has brought into our lives in the last 25 years, this video from the Daily Telegraph is self-explanatory. And that’s not even counting Mario’s introduction in Donkey Kong.

Here’s to 25 more!


Eat Your Heart Out, Trekkies!


Not Quite Gay Enough

My office conducted its second annual bake-off last week. As if a bake-off isn’t gay enough, ours is now annual. And it inspires some fierce competition.

Last year we had two teams. It was the programming department versus the online production department. This year, we had so many people take interest that there were three teams.

2009 Bake-Off
That’s me in the back of the second team, striking the Charlie’s Angels pose with an electric mixer. This is what gay cable networks get up to when no one is looking — in case you were wondering. I wonder what Bravo does.

The rules are simple: We are each to make a sweet dessert, each one containing at least three ingredients and yielding at least 15 servings. And we must bring out own serving implements.

The entire staff may vote once for the desserts they think are the best in three categories: Gayest, Most Original and Outrageous, and Best Overall. The team with the most accumulated points among its members wins.

My boss and I teamed up last year to win the Best Overall with deep-fried apple pies. He made the dough, and I made the filling and schlepped the deep-fryer. And our team won. So this year it was a grudge match for Programming.

I briefly considered some heinous concoction or other from a ’50s-era, Good Housekeeping, Lutheran church basement pot-luck social cookbook. Something with lime Jell-O, marshmallows, cottage cheese and mustard. Or something. But the online department had a theme: All our desserts were to contain some sort of booze. We called ourselves Alco-Locas, our not-subtle tribute to Nina Flowers.

Grasshopper brownies with creme de menthe seemed a bit more palatable, but it didn’t seem gay enough. I wanted something a bit more fancy-pants and challenging. So I settled on a friend’s suggestion, Lillet-flavored marshmallows.

Lillet marshmallows
We called them ‘Get Lillet’d Marshmallows’

For shits and giggles I made them pink and cut them into triangles. How gay can you get?

Apparently it wasn’t gay enough.

A chocolate-and-nut confection rolled in coconut won Gayest. Yummy Balls they were called. How coarse! Can you believe it? Over pink marshmallow triangles — flavored with a French wine aperitif!

Well, I have to hand it to my proud and worthy competitor for a well-named dessert. People just couldn’t get enough of his balls. So many people had his balls in their mouth that day. Coworkers would ask each other if they’d had his balls yet.

And so on…

Here are a few of the notable competitors.

2009 Bake-Off competitors
From top left, clockwise: Yummy Balls, Macadamia Nut Pie, 80-Proof Irish Car Bomb Gay-teaux, Eat My Cookie Cocktail, Tarte au Citron, Poached Pears in Red Wine with Lime Mousse.

Team 3, “Sons of Batches,” won in a delicious upset with the most accumulated points. But the Programming department had the most individual winning desserts. And Online… well, let’s just say we got served.

Best Overall Dessert was a tie this year between the Poached Pears and the Irish Car Bomb Gay-teaux. (Those cupcakes sure packed a wallop!)

Most Original and Outrageous went to a dessert involving a ginger-sugar rimmed champagne-ginger cocktail and a gingersnap. The Eat My Cookie Cocktail. Yes, it was very ginger. Very precious. Like me, its maker was disappointed he didn’t get Gayest. But I do absolutely think he deserves the title he got.

Some other notable entries included:

  • Benedictine Ice Cream Sandwiches with Peanut Butter Cookie Tops and Bottoms (Quite a mouthful!)
  • Cumquat Galettes and Cherry Dark Chocolate Galettes With Homemade Ice Cream (Note the intentional, naughty misspelling. Can you get away with this where you work?)
  • Guinness “Bottoms Up” Brownies
  • Tira-mi-so-horny

I’m already studying up for next year. I can see I’m gonna have to pull out the big guns. It’s gonna involve fire. Baked Alaska? Cherries Jubilee, anyone?

the untallied hours