joanna irl, the geek life

11 Guilty Pleasures

The other day I was in the craft store, looking at all of the autumny things (as craft stores always have things two months early for MAKING things), and discovered that the GOOD kind of candy corn was in stock. I promptly bought myself two bags. That got me thinking: I know there’s a contingency of Candy Corn Lovers and also of Candy Corn is TERRIBLE and Must Be Burned folks. I’m in the love it category… for the first bag. Then I’m done for the year. But I’ll admit that the first bag of candy corn of the year is the first of the following…. 11 of MY guilty pleasures.

  1. Candy Corn!
  2. Domino’s Pizza. This is another one where I know there are people who don’t like it (loudly) and they even had a whole ad campaign about IMPROVING THE RECIPE, but it’s always been one of my comfort foods. To me, it’s in its own category of pizza: there is GOOD pizza (like a really good New York slice) and then there’s Domino’s. It’s a different food and sometimes I crave it specifically. Give me another kind of pizza and it’s just not… right.
  3. Monster-based reality TV. I’m looking at you, Finding Bigfoot. But really, any kind of show where we’re SCUBA DIVING LOCH NESS to find Nessie, or CAMPING IN THE GRAVEYARD to find ghosts or SCALING THE HIMALAYAS to find a yeti and I’m in.
  4. Eating macaroni straight from the pan. I feel this needs no explanation. I even use the wooden spoon I used to stir in the cheese.
  5. Pressed penny machines. I know there’s no reason to feel guilty about this in particular, but I try to get them from everywhere I go.
  6. Hair extensions. Most people have never seen them. They only come out on rare occasions, usually involving some type of costume wearing. But sometimes I need a little pink or blue in my life and… well, it’s a way to not have them ALL the time and just when I feel like it.  I’m thinking of getting some platinum blonde ones, too.
  7. Geek chic. I got to the point a couple of years ago where I had entirely too many tshirts. This isn’t the first time this has happened, and I gave a LOT of them away… but they accumulated. I mean, how cool is it to find a Doctor Who shirt?! But then suddenly you have four of them… and a couple of Harry Potter shirts and some My Little Pony (okay, only two, but I HAVE them), not to mention my team shirts… and I needed another outlet. So my new thing? Geeky jewelry. I have necklaces that are Doctor Who, Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter, I have My Little Pony earrings and a bracelet… subtle! And most people have no idea what it is. (By the way, this type of thing is ideal birthday gift fodder. Just saying.)
  8. Tea. This isn’t something I feel exactly guilty about. It’s more that I have SO MUCH TEA in the pantry all the time because I’m always wanting to try new kinds. And I really do drink it all. Really. But I’ve got more tea than the average person needs if I’m honest.
  9. Wendy’s french fries. This is another food-genre thing. Other fries just aren’t the same. But I will most definitely go to a Wendy’s and order a SALAD with a side of fries. What? I like their salads!
  10. Spiced Pumpkin candles from Yankee Candle. I always acquire a LOT of them when they go on clearance at the end of the season, and it is my FAVORITE scent, but then I never ever have time to burn them all before we move and EVERY SINGLE TIME I give them all away because I don’t want to pack up 30 candles that are half burned.
  11. Dragonvale. It’s a game on my iPad and I’m a little bit hooked on it. Only a little. If I can’t get wifi, I don’t really worry about it. But when I DO have wifi… I’m checking on my baby dragons. Every. Single. Day. Sometimes twice.

So that’s it. There are probably more if I sit here and think long enough, but eleven is really enough to be getting on with for now.

joanna irl

Beachy Brunch

2013-08-25 brunch photo

Yesterday I went to brunch with some friends up in Cardiff. We sat outside on the patio (which was an upper level) and got to have a fantastic view of the beach while we had eggs benedict and fruit and such. It was nice to sit and chat and have a (very late) breakfast and watch all of the people walking their dogs along the sand.

The only photo I took was of the inside portion of the place, because it had such beautiful stained glass windows. This one was my favorite. Unfortunately, the glare in the photo means you can’t see the water through the window, even though in person the bright blue ocean is perfectly visible. Definitely a place I’d go again.

joanna irl

Saturday Caturday: Leena approves of the porch furniture

Leena cat on the porch

She is enjoying BIRD WATCHING (since I don’t allow any of her preferred passtimes of BIRD CATCHING and BIRD MANGLING) in this picture. She’s always been the more adventurous of the two kitties (Caspian is sitting on the other side of the sliding door where he can “safely” watch the outside without having to, y’know, actually go outside) and likes to participate in whatever I’m doing.

The only thing that bugs me about her going outside is that she’s got so much white fur… and she also enjoys rolling in whatever dirt she can find. So I wind up with a dirty cat that looks DINGY on top of everything else. But I love how she sits with her feet all together and looks so dainty, even if she isn’t really.

joanna irl

Saturday Caturday: unicorn-cats… unicats?

Caspian the traumatized unicorn cat

Recently I picked up a product that I’d only seen online but found in a random little shop I was exploring… Inflatable unicorn horn FOR CATS. Because who doesn’t want a pet unicorn?

Leena the disgruntled unicorn

The horn had to be duct-taped twice, once for each cat to wear, because each one figured out how to hook a claw into it and pull it off of the head. They got a HUGE PILE of cat-cookies for this, dear reader, in case you are concerned for them.

With my pet unicorn-cat

This does lead me to wonder… is a unicorn-cat a unicat? A caticorn? I’m not sure, but either way it’s a really awesome little thing. For me, that is.

joanna irl

Cupcakes for One: revisited!

cupcake with frosting

So if you’ll recall, a couple of weeks ago I made a batch of cupcakes and then froze (almost) all of them to see how well they’d hold up in long-term storage, as such. I remember our frozen wedding cake being extremely edible (though all of the frosting shlumped off like a wet towel… which didn’t make it taste bad, so still a win in my book) and I decided to test out individual cupcakes. My recipe for just six is nice, but I can’t (or shouldn’t) eat all six in one sitting, so it’d be nice if I found an effective way to make a dozen and then have them for weeks without them going bad.

Over the last couple of weeks, I have occasionally had a cupcake. There are four left, and I intend to save them another week or so, but I thought I’d share my preliminary findings, for what they are worth to you, gentle reader, in your own quest for CUPCAKE.

cupcake, unwrapped!

Now, I am aware that these aren’t the very best photos of cupcakes EVER, but that’s because I peeled the wrapper partway off before I remembered to photograph it. That’s why they look a little lopsided. I assure you that they came out of the freezer in perfect, unfrosted condition. WAIT. I still have FOUR in the freezer!

cupcake, plain

There you go. That’s what they look like when they come out of the freezer. I take one out as I sit down to dinner, along with the cup of frosting I’ve got in the fridge, and let it come to room temperature. Then I put “fresh” frosting on the cupcake and voilà!


Cupcake BIG BITE

It’s a very successful way to have a cupcake handy when I really need one. Sometimes you just need a cupcake, y’know?

joanna irl

Monday and I have food in the house again.

So, yesterday I watched the Twelfth Doctor reveal and then went about my day, which mostly consisted of running errands because I was out of EVERYTHING.


When I told a friend that, and got back: “Oh, so you’re living on bread and water?” I said, “Nope, I’m out of bread.”

And that’s just what happens sometimes during deployment. I was down to a box of macaroni and two cans of soup, both of which I’m saving for when I’m sick, assuming I’ll get sick sometime in the next six months. I know it’s going to happen. Probably around some holiday or another. Anyway, I’ve digressed…

So I was not only out of food for me, I was out of food for the kitties. I should qualify this and say I had ONE more can of wet cat food, and a little kibble left, but I woke up yesterday morning to SIMULTANEOUS cat puking: one on each side of the bed. They both lost their suppers, so I can only assume the food is bad and I tossed the very last can I had. I was also out of cat litter (NOT a good state in which to find yourself), razor blades, and filters for my water pitcher. My list was short-ish, but kind of ridiculous:

Razor blades
Water filters
Cat food (both)

So yeah. I was so out of stuff, I literally wrote “Fruit” and “Vegetables” on my list and called it a day. Go me.

joanna irl

So, it’s July

And I haven’t posted in almost a month.

To be fair, there’s been a lot happening in personal-life-world so it’s no surprise, but I realized I have a draft from June…teenth that’s nothing but a title and it’s really time to get back to it. So here we go.

Things happening right now:

  • The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge had their baby today; it’s a boy. I’m predicting he’ll be named Edward, but Twitter seems to think Joffrey is a better choice.
  • San Diego Comic-Con ended yesterday, and I went on Thursday! I had a fantastic time and I’m SURE that will be a blog post (or three) by the time I’m done.
  • J has deployed to far off parts and won’t be back for a bit.
  • TWO planes have landed badly recently (one tragically and one seems to have just been damage to the plane itself) and NEITHER is helping with my dislike of getting on airplanes in the first place.
  • Weirdly, it’s been cloudy (and rainy) in San Diego this week, and today there are flash floods somewhere? I’m staying inside today so it’s doesn’t matter, but it’s VERY STRANGE for us down here.
  • Actually, that’s all I can think of at the moment.

So there’s a summary of what’s happening in the world (of which I’m aware at this moment). Now back to the regular schedule of LOOK ANIMAL PICTURES and also LOOK I TRAVELED type things. Enjoy.

joanna irl

Day 29, and determined not to miss another post

This was supposed to be a nice post about the fantastic weekend J and I had in Monterey and San Francisco (sea otters! seafood! aquarium! Golden Gate Bridge! redwoods!) but we got in late last night and I want to show you pictures (which are still sitting on the camera, untouched), so you’ll have to wait. For the sake of completeness, though, I didn’t want to miss a day of BEDA… Especially since I’ve already missed one this month.

So here you are. Expect fun photos in the next couple of days. 🙂

joanna irl, story spinning

North Dakota Conspiracy, Revisited

In a strange and yet kind of AWESOME turn of events, my blog now appears only SECOND to Wikipedia when you search “North Dakota conspiracy” in Google. Seriously, go try it.

I noticed because my blog host tells me what search terms people use to find the blog, and there have been consistent (if in low frequency) hits on this post I wrote almost two years ago in which I posit my personal conspiracy theory, namely that I don’t believe in North Dakota.

For years now (at least a decade) I have been telling anyone and everyone that North Dakota is just a government conspiracy to house giant secret military bases, probably to protect us from Canada. And people keep insisting that they know people from North Dakota, to which I reply “THEY’RE JUST IN ON IT! DON’T TRUST THEM!”

Personal conspiracy theories are important. Much like Shakespeare, sometimes you need them at parties.

What? Don’t tell me you’ve NEVER been to a party where someone has a Shakespeare-related problem or where someone can’t quite remember the correct quotation? Am I the only person who can’t leave a “To be or not to be” just hanging there, unfinished?

Anyway, you never know when you’re going to need a good conspiracy theory in the course of a conversation, and North Dakota fits the bill.

Incidentally, I have found that I am not the only one. Just keep digging through that Google search, and you’ll find things like this


DISCLAIMER: Believe me, this post and the original North Dakota post (and a good number of other things on this blog) were written in satire…. and yet people keep coming here. I love the internet.

the geek life

Wisdom from The Doctor

Impossible Astronaut Day was the 23rd. I kept finding these weird marks on my arm, but the only thing I heard was silence…

Impossible astronaut day

Here are eleven things I have learned from The Doctor:

The least important things sometimes, my dear boy, lead to the greatest discoveries.
1st Doctor

Logic, my dear Zoe, merely enables one to be wrong with authority.
2nd Doctor

A straight line may be the shortest distance between two points, but it is by no means the most interesting.
3rd Doctor

There’s no point in being grown up if you can’t act a little childish sometimes.
4th Doctor

You may disguise your features but you can never disguise your intent.
5th Doctor

What’s the use of a good quotation if you can’t change it?
6th Doctor

Anybody remotely interesting is mad in some way.
7th Doctor

I love humans. Always seeing patterns in things that aren’t there.
8th Doctor

The past is another country. 1987’s just the Isle of Wight.
9th Doctor

Some people live more in twenty years than others do in eighty. It’s not the time that matters, it’s the person.
10th Doctor

My experience is that there is, you know, surprisingly, always hope.
11th Doctor