Phew!

It’s been a loooong time, hasn’t it? Well, real life has kind of bogged me down, more or less.

But there’s a lot of new things coming up! I’m in the process of getting a new layout up, I’m switching entirely to the blog, among some other~ things, so check me out soon!

Christmastime is here~!

This is probably one of my favourite times of the year, hands down. It beats summer by a landslide; I hate the heat and the sweating and the general uncomfortableness of the season. The only thing I liked about it was the summer break from school, and now that I’m not in school, I don’t get that luxury anymore. And I like winter more than autumn only because I hate cleaning the yard (or, more like, feeling guilty about not helping to clean the yard). Spring is tied for first, because my favourite month is March, and my birthday’s in spring, and though I get allergies like nobody’s business, I still love that season.

But, ah winter. There’s holiday cheer that I simply love and so much yummy food; putting up the tree; staying in and watching movies while cuddling under blankets; drinking hot chocolate and snacking on kettle corn; and finally a chance for me to wear my winter coat I love so much and the best part: snow. Oh, snow. And ice skating outside and sledding and snowmen and snow angels, and sigh, I love this time of year.

I think my favourite time about the holidays, though, is the songs. I’m not religious in anyway, but I just adore winter-y songs. When I was younger, I was in piano class, and even though I quit way before high school, I still used to get on the bench and play out a couple tunes. Now, though, our piano was given to my cousins, who play much more than I do, so I make do with songs. Lots and lots of songs.

My very favourite one is Winter Wonderland. Here’s a cover done by Jason Mraz:

I also love Let It Snow:

And who can forget the classics? Like Santa Claus is Comin’ To Town, Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, and Frosty the Snowman? They’re the best. I even love the Christian classics, like Good King Wenceslas, Silent Night, and The First Noel. Also, the amazing Carol of the Bells which, to me, musically symbolizes Christmas, and Deck The Halls is always sung, at least in my head.

TV Shows, Beads, and GetGlue, oh my!

And now, a slightly more personal entry.

TV Shows
For those who don’t know me very well, or simply forgot, I watch a ton of TV. This is not a test, or a joke, or a strange ploy to be relevant. I think there might be something on every channel that I love, and definitely something on every night. Common TV shows are now what I look for in a significant other; I make TV shows references to people who don’t watch them, and TV stars invade my dreams. Most recently, it was Alton Brown as a middle school teacher, I was his TA, and we were teaching math; I don’t even know why.

I’m at the point where it’s gotten pretty bad, and everyone knows it, but no one’s saying anything because they’re just glad it’s not drugs or alcohol. But deep down, my goal is to be the first person on Intervention, whose family and friends are concerned over her TV addiction. (Unless it’s already happened. I wouldn’t know, I don’t actually watch the show, XD)

Anyway, I want to talk about my recent obsessions on each day of the week.

Sunday
The Walking Dead on AMC. I’ve said it, and I’ll say it again: Bear McCreary is one of my favourite composers. When I first heard of the show “The Walking Dead,” I didn’t pay that much attention. I mean, sure I loved Zombieland and Shaun of the Dead, but only those two, and mostly because they were hilarious. But then I learned that Bear was the composer for the music of The Walking Dead. I told my friend, “Damn, I’d watch it just for his music!” and I did. And I love both the music and the series. Amazing. The season finale is this Sunday! Excited!

Monday
Lie to Me on FOX. Such a brilliant show. I love Tim Roth so much now. When summer ended, and Lie to Me’s season finale finished, I put it to the back of my mind reluctantly because it was time for the fall season. But then whatever FOX had there failed miserably, Lie to Me came back and I rejoiced. It’s amazing.

Tuesday
NCIS on CBS. This is one of the few shows where I don’t hate any of the characters. I love Gibbs, I love Tony, I love McGee, I love Ziva, I love Abby and I love Ducky. I love that the character drama isn’t distracting from the case, and is often intertwined into the case itself. Just. Amazing. I even like watching reruns; it’s just amazing.

Wednesday
Psych on USA. Just. I want to somehow become Shawn and Gus. Yes. Both of them. The pop culture references, the hilarity, the crazy way they speak to people and each other. I love it all.

Thursday
Community on NBC. Funniest show on TV, hands down. Community is all about the jokes that you don’t even realize are happening, or the ones that fly by and when you actually hear them, you laugh your face off. My only problem with it, is that I hate watching this live; I can’t pause my TV (unfortunately) and I actually do need to pause because I’m laughing so long, and I’m not just giggling, I’m cackling.

Friday
The Good Guys on FOX. I didn’t see the original series, seeing as my mom was thinking about going to sixth grade right around that time, but I’m loving this new series. It’s hilarious and amazing, and I love the partner dynamic between the two and the crazy cases they seem to catch. The more mundane the case starts, the more insane the case ends. I think it’s just brilliant.

Late Night
Craig Ferguson on CBS. I like Jay, I like Conan, I like Fallon. I can’t stand Dave or Kimmel, but I love Craig (a little too much). Craig is my kind of man. Craig is a nerd, a geek, a dork, and damn it if he isn’t pretty proud of that fact. He had a Doctor Who special for Gods sake. And the Mythbusters! I remember, when I first got really into the Mythbusters, thinking that I was probably never going to see them on a talk show. But he had them. I rarely dislike the people he’s had on, and all my favourite celebrities seem to come on his show. He doesn’t talk “Hollywood” with them; he talks genuinely. Like he actually gives a damn in what he’s asking and what the actors are going to say in response. My only problem is that I’m getting old in my 22 years of life, and I can’t stay up that late anymore without sleeping at work the next day.

Nothing on Saturday, because I don’t really watch Saturday Night Live anymore (unless I’m in love with the host); I just catch the highlights on Hulu later.

Beads
This past weekend, I visited one of my closest friends and we made beaded charms/jewelry (I don’t know of a better word?) for ideas for her church’s fundraiser. I hope my mom doesn’t read this, because I ended up making two really adorable dragonflies that I intend on giving to her for the holidays. I’m a little obsessed with it now; I went to my local bead supplier and bought enough to make charms for other relatives I know are going to be coming over. I hope they’ll like them; I’m really horrible at presents (at both giving and receiving, actually). I also want to make little roses for my grandmothers, who passed away this year.

I’ve been on a couple websites, but so far 3D Beading and Bead Jewelry Making are my favourites. I don’t like working with metal, so I’m not making earrings or complicated necklaces, but little beaded charms and animals. I just think they’re something that’s really adorable and simple to give away.

GetGlue
This post seems to be about obsessions, and this is no different. This amazing social networking site called GetGlue is like my second virtual home. I like to explain it like this: When FourSquare and Facebook Places came out, they were designed to use GPS and update your friends on where you happened to be. I frankly find this to be annoying – I don’t care where you are! I don’t care what your coordinates are, or where you’re snacking, or where the party is. I’m doing my own thing, and learning that you’re at the So-And-So Bar will not make me drop my things and come find you.

However, being the media-and-pop-culture junkie that I am, I would definitely be interested in knowing what you were watching, reading, or listening to. And thankfully, GetGlue came along and granted my wishes. At GetGlue, you “Like” things and based on those “Likes”, you are given suggestions on what else you may already like or what you may want to try liking. If you happen to be doing something at this time, you can Check In, just as you would with FourSquare and Places, with what you’re doing. Reading Harry Potter? Check in! Watching CSI? Check in! Watching Inception? Check in! And that’s not even the best thing about the service.

The best thing about the service is that it’s called GetGlue for a reason. Every time you earn a new achievement on the site, you get Stickers. And every time you earn 20 stickers, you fill out a form and GetGlue sends you your stickers for free. This is my favourite part about GetGlue, because I love stickers. I have ever since I was a wee little girl. If I could, I’d take all my stickers and roll around in them, the way you’d picture some rich guy rolling around in his money. Yes, I love them that much.

Plus, there are apps for the iOS (iPhone/iTouch/iPad) and the Android OS, where you can do nearly everything you can do on the website. Check in, rate, look at your profile, look at your stickers. How is this not the best website ever?

…oh my.
Yes, I scare myself sometimes too. In conclusion, I watch a lot of TV while making charms out of beads and rolling around in stickers. And you can too!

Carmen Explains! Issue #1

Gonna try this new “segment” in which I explain things. I hope that was obvious from the title.

For the geographically and culturally ignorant, or the trying-to-be-funny-but-failing-miserably: I explain the answer to “In China, is Chinese food just called ‘food’?”

The Simple Answer
No.

The Longer Answer
I guess no one’s explained this, because I hear this often enough to get annoyed, but Chinese food in China is not just called “food”. This might come as a surprise to you, but there are many, many different kinds of Chinese food.

A Free Geography Lesson
There are regions to in China just as there are regions in every country. (The Southern United States is different from the Mid-West, which is much more different from the West Coast, etc, etc.) Unfortunately, I can’t explain the flavors to you, but I can tell you the different types.

There’s rural food, which I’m pretty sure only is only tasty to people in rural areas (I’m sorry, but it’s true). This can range from fried grasshoppers to dog and guinea pig meat. (I wish I was kidding, but…times are tough there.) And then there are the more urban areas. Szechuan food is so spicy, that when people from Szechuan travel, they bring along their own spicy sauce, or else the food is bland. (No, I’m not making this up; when I went to China, there were people in my tour group that did this.)

There’s delicious Fujian and Cantonese food (my favourites; my family is from Guang Dong, and this is the way my grandmothers and grandfathers cooked). Fujian is mostly seafood and mountain delicacies, and it’s very popular in New York City; a lot of the people and restaurants there are Fujian. Cantonese food is probably the most popular in the Western Countries, and most likely what you mean when you say “Let’s go for Chinese.” Dim Sum is also generally Cantonese food, so chances are, you’ve probably mostly had Cantonese food.

There’s also Hunan, which I’m told is also spicy, Hong Kong style, which I’m told is very good, Beijing style, which is very good, and literally dozens more I’ve never even heard of. There’s also Taiwanese food, and despite the political implications, they are technically Chinese (at least, in the sense that their ancestors were from the main land), and that is of course different than any of the rest of the foods.

Basically, in terms of food, in China when people ask each other “What kind of food are you into?”, they don’t just say “I want food” because, that’s like you and I asking and answering the same question here.

…And What Are You Trying To Say?
If someone else tells me that joke/remark, I’m literally going to launch into this explanation.

Disclaimer: Look, I can take a joke. But this wasn’t funny the first 100 times I’ve heard it and it won’t be funny in the future.

New work up!

I just finished and added my menu for a fake restaurant called Dex’s Cafe.

 

Short background: Jason Momoa, the actor shown on the second page under the “Did You Know?” section played a character named Ronon Dex on Stargate Atlantis, which, hopefully you know by now, is (still) my favourite TV show. A month ago, while I was itching to design a menu, I thought “What if Ronon lived on earth, opened up a restaurant, and cooked in it?” So, yeah, that’s what I was thinking. I know you can’t read the Chef Specials, but there’s Satedan BBQ, Teyla’s Pasta, Sheppard’s Pie and McKay’s Beefcake, which are all references to other characters on the show.

It was super fun to think of menu items, write descriptions, and look for food pictures. And now, of course, I want to print it and actually GO to it, but, haha, actually since I’m a vegetarian, I can’t actually eat that much at this restaurant. Irony? Well, I’m in the works of making a menu for a vegetarian restaurant, so maybe I can pretend to go to that instead. Ha!