Ham. Also: I Moved.

Hey, so I live in Philadelphia now! Like, the one in Pennsylvania. Met who is almost undoubtedly the greatest guy in the world, but he lives ten hours away in the frozen tundra. So I quit my job, left my beloved little condo, grabbed my cat and my video games, and moved in with him like the sane and responsible adult that I am.

In freaking Philadelphia. I know! Weird.

So, here’s what’s been going on with me since:

I tried to sign up for a pottery class at the local arts council (which is actually really neat), but there were problems on the website and now the class is full, so . . .fuck those guys. I would have made the best, most lovingly-handcrafted red clay dongs you have ever seen, Arts Council. They would have been magnificent and veiny. You have only yourselves to blame!

Read this, though. I keep coming back to it every few days and laughing my head off. Things just go wacko with the machines in space, you guys. It makes a lot of sense.

I’m still bitter about not getting the tummy tuck in May because of my stupid kidney stone. Like, I lost all this goddamn weight, I should get to look hot naked, you know? So bitter. Bitter and entitled. I guess Syrians probably aren’t worrying about what they look like naked.

I’ve discovered a new love: espresso. I used to hate coffee, because I would legitimately get mad that it did not taste like it smelled. It turns out it never tasted like it smelled because of all the dang water in it! If you just make straight-up bean juice, then it tastes like it smells.

I made country ham and red-eye gravy (and biscuits, obviously) for my boyfriend, because he’d never had it. I was so surprised to find out that’s not a thing up here! Yeah, it’s called “country ham,” but I thought it was just a moniker, not an actual regional indicator. I had to order it because it’s not sold anywhere up here. I was quite pleased with how well it turned out, and it was the most southern I’ve ever felt in my entire life, other than the time I fashioned my own fiddle from a warshboard and three coonskin hats.

Anyway, since most of you are from outside Appalachia, I figure I’ll go ahead and explain country ham and red-eye gravy, too. Country ham is like. . .really, really thick prosciutto, maybe? That’s the best way I came up with to describe it when I was trying to tell boyfriend about it. It’s ham, but it’s cured and salted. You fry it with a little bit of coffee and a very tiny bit of brown sugar to cut the salt. Most people use a lot more brown sugar, or just skip both the brown sugar and coffee and pour a can of coke in there. That shit is way too sweet for me and I think people are insane. Most people think I’m insane for not liking sugar in my damn entrees, but sugar belongs in DESSERT and basically everyone else is wrong and I am right.

So after the ham cooks, you pour MORE coffee in the skillet and some butter to make red-eye gravy with the grease from the ham. It’s better than it sounds. I promise. I PROMISE. Unless you are a vegetarian, which some of my readers are, and you guys are probably retching right now and I am very sorry and I love you, but I also love red-eye gravy. Real red-eye gravy is just the drippings from the bacon and coffee, but butter makes it much smoother. It is evolved red-eye gravy. You can also put cream in there and turn it into a pretty bitchin’ smoky pasta sauce.

Yes, you will die if you eat like this on a regular basis.

I was most pleased with the biscuits. I’ve never had biscuits turn out right because I am many things: a gamer, an artist, a cubicle jockey, a hottie, a crazy person, but I am hardly a baker. I’ve been baking a whole bunch of shit up here though. Shortbread cookies, mostly. And now biscuits. I don’t really like biscuits, but I figured if I was going to make country ham for my yankee boyfriend, that he should have the whole experience. And he did. And I think he was bemused and a bit frightened by the whole thing. I also don’t think country ham was his thing, which is okay because it’s not really my thing either, but I really like red-eye gravy and there’s not much else you can eat with it besides country ham. The country ham is mostly a vehicle for the red-eye gravy.

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So, yeah. Ham. That’s what’s going on with me lately.

DIY Ways to be Beautiful

1.)For more youthful-looking skin, exfoliate with road spikes.

2.) Gather enough kittens to match your body weight. Cover yourself in them.

3.)Tie a red string around the trunk of a willow tree during a full moon and walk around it three times while calling out to Astarte, the ancient goddess of beauty and warfare.

4.)Peel your skin from your bones and evolve beyond this paltry jumble of flesh and bone that anchors you to your mortal state.

5.)Defeat a model in combat. Paint your face with her blood. Absorb her essence.

If we’re going to be honest here. . .

Here are ten reasons you should probably hate me:

1.)I really liked Prometheus. I thought the visuals were stunning and I was not bothered by what other people perceived as plot holes.  I still watch it again every few months.

2.)I’m the one that gets the toast crumbs in your butter.

3.)Literally NO ONE approves of the way I load a dishwasher. That’s because I think the racks are just suggestions instead of actual boundaries and I feel like if we can send a man to space, we can put plates with giant crumbs on them in a dishwasher.

4.) The back of my entertainment center is dark and full of terrors: it is a snake-mating-ball tangle of wires for various cable boxes and consoles. I don’t even know what some of those cables lead to, but I’m afraid if I unplug any of them, then it’ll start some sort of chain reaction. I have taken pictures of the wire tangle and sent them to techie friends just so I could feed upon their sweet, sweet groans of agony.

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5.) One time when this awful guy would not stop calling me, I picked up the phone and used an unintentionally-crappy fake voice and said “Casey moved to Ohio.”

6.) I tell people I don’t listen to DMB anymore but I totally do. They were my first concert. I lost my virginity to DMB. (Well, not the actual band. They were playing in the background. I’d tell you if it had been the actual band, though. I probably wouldn’t shut up about it.) I still relentlessly judge other people for having shitty music taste though, which includes listening to DMB.

7.) I drink Fireball. I didn’t know that made me a horrible person until Sammi and George pointed it out and, after doing research, I discovered they were right. It’s not like drinking jaeger, but it’s pretty close.

8.)I will also leave just a little sliver of milk in the container. I’ll do it. I will and I won’t even apologize.

9.)I just punched my elderly cat in the nose. It was an accident, but nobody is ever like “oh, okay” when you accidentally punch an old person so it’s basically the same thing.

10.) I’m a keyboard turner.

Recipe: Spicy Basil Pork Stir Fry

Guys I just made the best stir fry I have ever made.  I wanted to make something a little bit like a Thai-er version of lettuce wraps, except without the lettuce because lettuce is basically just shitty watermelon, and without having to go to some godawful chain restaurant and paying $10 for it. So I made this up.

Because I am low-carbing it, I made this as sort of a dry stir-fry, with just enough sauce to coat the meat (heh, meat.) But if you want to eat it over rice, and of course you do because you are a human being presumably, just increase the broth to a cup and stir-in like 3 tsp of cornstarch in the sauce.

So, on with the show.

pork

SHIT THAT GOES IN THE PAN

1 lb ground pork (or chicken, or beef, or tofu or rocks or whatever – it needs to be ground up though)

2 TB ginger

I didn’t measure the garlic, but you probably know how much garlic you like in stuff. I threw in about four cloves.

5 oz can of water chestnuts (WHAT ARE THESE THINGS)

A splash of oil

SAUCE INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup chicken broth

1 tsp chili-garlic paste (Like this. Everybody’s got a boner for sriracha but I honestly like this stuff better. It’s a little spicier and not as sweet.)

1 tsp brown sugar

1 TB fish sauce (you heard me. If you leave this out I’ll know. I will KNOW. And I’ll come to your house in the middle of the night and put a bottle of fish sauce under your pillow.)

2 1/2 TB soy sauce

4 TB lime juice (fresh, preferably, but I’m not going to go all Martha Stewart on you)

Mix ingredients, set aside

STUFF THAT GOES IN AT THE END

A handful of basil – again, I didn’t really measure but it was a good handful of leaves

3 or 4 chopped green onions

—–

WHAT TO DO

So you mixed up all your sauce ingredients like a good kid. Now chop up the garlic, ginger, and water chestnuts. Or be super lazy like me and throw them in the food processor because knives are for hooligans!

Heat the pan on medium high, drizzle some oile in there, and toss in the garlic, ginger and chestnuts. Cook until the garlic and ginger are fragrant – about a minute.

Throw the meat in the pan and if it’s chicken or pork you make sure it is cooked right the hell up because I don’t want your lingering, worms-eating-your-intestines-horror-movie-style death from trichinosis or whatever on my conscience. Does that even happen? I don’t know. Either way, cook your pork. If I’m having to tell you that though, you probably aren’t really cooking stuff in the first place so forget I just said all of that. Just shut up and throw the damn meat in the pan.

After it’s cooked, stir in the sauce, making sure everything is coated thoroughly. Do that for a minute or so, turn off the heat, toss in the green onions and basil and enjoy!

RANDOM NOTES

To me, this didn’t turn out very spicy. I had to add some more chili sauce after I cooked it. But I would recommend you still stick with a tsp (or even half a teaspoon if you’re not real big on spice) and adjust from there. It’s easier to add it in than it is to take it out!

Next time I make this I think I’ll add cabbage and carrots. It would make it healthier and add more crunch.

2014 in review

2014 was a pretty big year for me. I got back down to my college weight – I’d gained a LOT over the past few years due to various medications and the fact that I live five minutes away from the best Thai restaurant in the history of ever. And cheese fries. A lot of the weight was due to cheese fries. But yeah. Lost it all. It’s changed a lot more than my appearance. I have started being a part of the world again, going out and socializing and enjoying life. This was the most revolutionary year I’ve had since I graduated college *coughcough* years ago.

Shitty things also happened. My grandmother died in November, a few weeks after my birthday. I’ve written about that at length elsewhere and I’m honestly all talked out about it, but the world lost a great woman. Then a few weeks after that I ended up with a stress fracture in my tibia and I couldn’t exercise for a while so I gained back some of the weight I lost, which sent me into a downward spiral of EAT ALL THE COOKIES. So I’m up about five pounds now – but I’ll lose it again.

Game of the year – Dragon Age: Inquisition. Hands down. I’m a huge fan of Bioware games anyway, and I loved Dragon Age: Origins and didn’t think any other entry in the series could come close, but. . .I actually think I might like Inquisition a little better than Origins, even.  The open world is so incredibly immersive. It’s better at being Skyrim than Skyrim was. My first playthrough was 170 hours, and I immediately started a new file after I finished because I wasn’t even close to being bored with it yet.

Also after years of waiting I was finally able to romance my handsome blonde knight in shining armor, Cullen:

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Bonus picture of my inquisitor, Titania. I wonder if the people in my Thedas ever talk about how weird it is that the Hero of Ferelden, the Champion of Kirkwall, AND the Inquisitor are all dark haired, pale-skinned, green eyed women.

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Runner up – Super Smash Brothers Wii U. I don’t have to explain this. It’s Smash Bros. It’s awesome. I think the Wii U gets shit on a lot, and unfairly. If it had better third party support, it would be a fine system. Nintendo makes quality hardware, and quality games. . .but they aim for the family audience rather than the gaming audience. I wish it would work out for them, but I’m not feeling hopeful.

Album of the Year – Rave Tapes by Mogwai. Mogwai creates some of the most atmospheric music ever. It’s great for writing or painting or just flopping on your bed and listening to it.

Comic of the Year – RED SONJA by Gail Simone. Sonja has for a long time been pretty problematic because she’s overly sexualized, running around in a chainmail bikini, but the fabulous Gail Simone took ownership of her and made her into a badass who wears the chainmail bikini just because she is showing off that she’s so badass she doesn’t even need to wear actual armor. There are so many strong female characters in the book.

Also gotta love that Sonja stays drunk and stinky half the time. She’s pretty much my spirit animal.

Oh, Canada!

So earlier this month I went to Canada with my great, graceful, gorgeous friend Sarah. We stayed for a week at a lovely cabin with a private stretch of beach on the shores of “Lake” (that motherfucker is a SEA, thank you) Huron, and it was a magnificent escape from the everyday world. Not that I need to escape from my everyday world, as mine consists of mostly cats and beer, but still – Wide open lavender skies and shimmering waters are a change from cats and beer.

I mean LOOK AT THIS. Have you ever seen a sunset that was so pretty it made you ANGRY? Because I have. This sunset is ridiculous, all "ohh look at me I'm a sunset on a lake I'm going to look like I jumped out of a thrift store painting oooh" Fuck you, sunset.

I mean LOOK AT THIS. Have you ever seen a sunset that was so pretty it made you ANGRY? Because I have. This sunset is ridiculous, all “ohh look at me I’m a sunset on a lake I’m going to look like I jumped out of a thrift store painting oooh” Fuck you, sunset.

We’ve been to this same cabin before a few years previously, but only for a short weekend (still fell in love with the place the first time I stepped foot on the property and realized I could hear waves inside the house, though.)

Even when the sky isn't some ridiculous shade of fuschia, it's still beautiful. I felt like I was one hobbit away from running into elves preparing to sail into the West or something.

Even when the sky isn’t some ridiculous shade of fuschia, it’s still beautiful. I felt like I was one hobbit away from running into elves preparing to sail into the West or something.

Sarah and I have extremely varied interests, but one thing we can agree on is that food is the bee’s knees, so we cooked a lot. I did all the stove cooking, and Sarah did all the grilling. I don’t grill. Every time I even think about grilling, something or someone outside catches on fire. Sarah, however, is some sort of crazy . . . meat sorceress. I marinated lamb chops in garlic, lemon, olive oil, wine and oregano, and she grilled them to perfection.

Sarah doesn't actually drink, but if you're going to be at a grill, you're going to be holding a beer. It just magically appears in your hand.

Sarah doesn’t actually drink, but if you’re going to be at a grill, you’re going to be holding a beer. It just magically appears in your hand.

It was a good time. We did nothing but cook, lay out on the beach all day, read and write and listen to the waves crash against the shore. Why can’t life be like that all the time?

This was the path to the beach. Again, what is with everything here being so ridiculously beautiful? (Not me - the path. I'm sunburned, dumpy thirtysomething wearing a Legend of Zelda t-shirt. I have no illusions about myself.)

This was the path to the beach. Again, what is with everything here being so ridiculously beautiful? (Not me – the path. I’m sunburned, dumpy thirtysomething wearing a Legend of Zelda t-shirt. I have no illusions about myself.)

And this was the trip I learned that you could get a hideous, cancer-causing sunburn on a cloudy day in Canada!

And this was the trip I learned that you could get a hideous, cancer-causing sunburn on a cloudy day in Canada!

The most Canadian picture ever at the duty-free store. We are surrounded by maple products.

The most Canadian picture ever at the duty-free store. We are surrounded by maple products.

Me in my natural state.

Me in my natural state.

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Oh Captain, My Captain.

You know what this is going to be about. Countless others have written about it moments before I have, are writing about it now, will write about it. I think a lot of us felt like we knew Robin Williams because we grew up with his movies. 

He was a funny guy – an artist. Coked up, sober, whatever, the dude knew comedy. And drama. Some of his best works were drama. But man, he had his demons. Depression is a real bitch. Depression can go suck a dick. 

He was one of my inspirations to start writing comedy in high school. I’ll never be as good at it as he was, but I can try, at least. I don’t know what else to say. It’s heartbreaking.

Living In the World

A group of friends and I get together sometimes to play games – board games, Dungeons and Dragons (hey don’t you judge me, I am a level 7 6-foot-tall barbarian warrior woman thank-you-very-much), just whatever.

This weekend we played Cards Against Humanity and while we are all hilarious and terrible people, this was by far the best play of the night:

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I’ve been doing quite a bit of socializing lately, which is rare for me because I’m kind of a misanthrope. I mean, I guess I’m not really, I just say that – but I enjoy my alone time, okay? My idea of an exciting Friday night is playing Assassin’s Creed multiplayer for three hours straight or putting silly hats on my cat.

427307_3285498624975_389232384_nAnd yet, here I am, living in the world, as a mentor once put it. Putting myself out there. Making myself go to social functions instead of staying home, because ultimately I know I’ll have fun. I think part of my preference for solitude has to do with the fact that for a long time, I felt like I had to make everybody like me, and I was so self-conscious about being weird. I would be so nervous every time I had to hang out with people besides the small group I already knew that I’d just freeze up. Now I’m not too concerned with either of those things. If someone doesn’t like me, someone doesn’t like me – sometimes, people just aren’t going to be into you (no matter how fabulous you are.) It doesn’t mean you’re a bad person, it doesn’t mean they’re a bad person. There are endless kinds of personalities out there and endless ways they’re going to come into conflict.

And, well. If someone thinks I’m weird, then they’re probably boring anyway.

Tangentially related, I started up a profile on OKCupid, just because every guy I know is gay or married. Spent a lot of time perfecting the profile and put up a picture where I looked ravishing and sophisticated instead of frizzy-haired and drunk. Logged back in a week later, had thirty messages, and promptly panicked and deleted my profile without even reading any of them. So obviously, I’ve still got some practicing to do on the socializing front, but I’m getting there, right?

A Postpourri

I’ve got a few random pictures to dump on you tonight – a little recap of what I’ve been up to since last we spoke.


posterSo see that rad poster with the bullfighter on it? It’s roughly 40 years old and came directly from Spain. It was my uncle’s, back when they lived in Italy in the 70s. We are cleaning out grandma’s house (which means I also got a buttload of vintage tupperware!), and I saw that poster, fell in love with it, and my uncle very generously let me have it. It’s not the best photo because my hands were shaky, but you get the idea how the beautiful yellow of the poster looks against the blue wall. I don’t know if that’s going to be its permanent home yet, but I like it there for now.


tiramisuI made tiramisu! It’s no bake and INCREDIBLY easy, as long as you know how to separate eggs and have a little electric hand mixer at least. I didn’t know how to separate eggs (I don’t do a lot of baking), and learning was. . .harder than I anticipated, but after I got that sorted out, it was smooth sailing. I got the recipe from here, but I substituted the coffee in the recipe for Godiva chocolate liqueur. It turned out beautifully. Do know that it involves raw eggs though, if you’re not into that.


wreathHow to be crafty, Casey edition: buy some shit at Michael’s, tie it together, hang it on your door. Boom, done. Now give me my show.

In honor of Father’s Day. . .

imageHere’s my dad with his furry little children. He hates cats. Except for that one. And that one. That one, too. Oh, that cat’s pretty cool. Can’t hate THAT cat. . .