Saturday, February 4, 2012

A failure and a pizza maker...

Okay, so here’s what happened… (insert believable story here)
Alright, alright, no excuses.  I missed yesterday’s post.  To be honest, I had half of it written, and expected to write the other half last night after using the quesadilla maker, but the hubs threw me off my game by wanting to go out to dinner instead (some bbq place in town had all you can eat ribs).
Since I missed last week’s Fricassee Friday post (no, there is no trend starting here), I had decided to use and review two of my handy-dandy kitchen gadgets this week instead of just one.  But so far, I’ve only been able to use one.  I’ll try to use the quesadilla maker tonight, so I can submit a second kitchen post later this weekend.  Promise.
I’ll be showing you my Pizazz pizza cooker in this post, and my new quesadilla maker in the next.  You might be saying to yourself, “self, why would I need a pizza cooker and a quesadilla maker?  I can make pizzas in the oven, and quesadillas in a pan on the stove.”  And you’d be right (even if it’s weird that you talk to yourself).  I used to do both of those things.  Have for years.  But folks, there’s a better way (do I sound like one of those tv pitchmen yet?).
The Pizazz was hubs’ idea.  I had the same thought as you…why get a small appliance that only does one thing, instead of just putting my frozen pizzas in the oven?  Well, I have an answer for that question.  Several, actually.
The Pizazz is only designed to make pizzas; that’s what it does, and it does it really well.  You have alternating controls to cook only on top, only on bottom, or both at the same time.  This feature really comes into play when using a rising-crust pizza or when making your own from scratch (no, I haven’t done that, but I did read the instruction manual).  Rising crust pizzas need more cooking time on the bottom than on the top, which is impossible to set in your oven.  But it’s super easy on the Pizazz.  See, look:

Regular frozen pizzas are cooked using top and bottom cooking simultaneously.  You just put the spinning tray in it’s spot, put the pizza on it, plug it in, and set your timer.  Usually takes about 12 to 14 minutes for a fully frozen pizza to cook.  Yes, I know that’s the same amount of time you’d put it in your oven.  But here’s a huge benefit.  Instead of using the electricity to heat up your entire oven for one little frozen pizza, you use just enough to heat up a metal tray and a top heating coil.  Much smaller than the one in your oven, fyi.
(I know, the picture isn't super clear...I was using my phone's camera)

So it’s quick, easy to clean (no more melted pizza cheese on the bottom of your oven), easy to store, and works like a champ.  We’ve had ours for probably 5 years or so, and never had an issue with it.  As much as I protested buying an appliance that only does one specific thing, I’m glad I sucked up my complaints and bought the Pizazz.  It was totally worth it.
Okay, there’s one review, and right on its heels will come number two, the quesadilla maker.  Please don’t give up on me, dear reader, I’ll get in the swing of this yet.  Thanks for hanging in there.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Vampires, werewolves and ghosts, oh my!

Welcome once again, dear reader, to Theatrical Thursday.  I haven’t managed to see any new movies in the last week (hopefully I’ll get to rent one this weekend), so today I’ll be reviewing two of my current “must-watch” series.
I was annoyed and unsure when SciFi changed its name to SyFy (I mean, come on, seriously? that’s just weird), but I’ve given it a chance because it still airs some of my favorite summer shows (Eureka!).  And boy am I glad I did.
Before giving up our cable box (yes, it was awful…I cried a little) and going back to basic, straight from the wall cable, hubs and I watched a show on the BBC called Being Human.  It was okay, the premise was pretty cool, but it was hard to relate to the British characters (they were no Doctor, if you know what I mean).  Then, out of nowhere, SyFy announces that it’s reimagining the British show for American television.  Awesome.
So we tuned in, and have been hooked from the start.  Watching Josh, Aidan and Sally as they go through their lives (or afterlife, in Sally’s case) as supernaturals in a normal world is an hour each week that I truly look forward to.  The supernatural aspect really adds to the story.  Aidan isn’t just any old vampire (and he doesn’t sparkle); he’s a formerly-vicious vamp who’s been off “live blood” for a while to try to regain control of his hunger (think heroin addict on methadone).  Josh dumped his fiancĂ©e and dropped out of medical school after being turned into a werewolf; he’s melancholic and hopeless, but he has his moments, especially with Nora, his new girlfriend.  Sally was murdered by her fiancĂ©, and is trying to cope with a possible eternity of not really being able to interact with the rest of the world.
The show brings interesting new twists to old supernatural characters.  Aidan can walk in the sunlight without bursting into flames.  Josh definitely isn’t the man who comes to mind when you think “werewolf” (‘cause who can compare with Alcide, really).  Sally has learned that ghosts can sleep, and take over people’s bodies, and even become reincarnated.  It’s easy to become wrapped up in the characters and story, because they’re obviously well thought out, and the intertwining storylines between the three housemates will keep you guessing.  On top of that, the interaction isn’t the whole story.  Each character has their own individual plotlines to follow that may or may not have anything to do with their roommates.  There’s never a dull or wasted moment in this show.
And now, SyFy has followed up Being Human each week with a new series, Lost Girl.  Lost Girl is actually in its third season in Canada, where it is filmed, but SyFy bought the rights to show at least the first two seasons in the U.S., and premiered the series just a few weeks ago.
This one definitely appeals to the “urban fantasy” reader and writer in me.  The story centers around Bo, a woman who can’t help but suck the life out of people around her…literally.  She was adopted, and knows nothing about her birth parents, but finds out in the pilot episode that she’s part of a hidden world that exists under the noses of the humans around her.  Bo is a succubus, part of the fae (think fairy tales, leprechauns, werewolves, etc.) community, and now both light and dark fae want her on their side.
The show hasn’t let on yet as to why she’s so in demand, and keeps alluding to power we haven’t seen yet.  There’s obviously a deep plotline being spun, and hopefully the show will get the audience it needs to play that storyline out.  Throw in some cops who happen to be fae, a lead character who’s strong, female, and very sexual (she goes both ways, people), and a young human thief as a sidekick, and you’ve got yourself a show.  I’ll definitely be tuning in to this one each week, and hope you give it a chance, too.
Disclaimer:  I’d make sure to put any kiddos to bed before turning on either of these shows.  They’re rated MA for a reason.  But it’s a really good reason, and the shows wouldn’t be quite as good if they had to tone down for a younger audience.
So happy watching, dear reader.  Let me know if you have a show or a movie you think I should check out.  I’m always on the lookout for good entertainment.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The first two chapters...

Look at me, posting on time for Wingin'-It Wednesday.  Go me, go me (you can't see me, but I'm doing a little happy dance in my chair).

So anyway, I've decided to post the prelude and chapter one to the book I've done the most writing in (over 12,000 words! yay! only 88,000 more to go...bummer), and the easiest way to do that was to actually create a second blog, that way the long chapters don't tie up the space here on my daily blog (give us this day...).  Also, if the story is in its own blog, the chapters are all right (write) there together and you don't have to go looking for them if you want to reread something.

Here's the link to that blog, where I've gone ahead and posted my writing:

Spacegirl Writes Again

FYI - because of the way blogspot lines up the posts, chapter one is actually on top because I posted it second, so make sure you scroll down and read the prelude first.  Then, please, let me know what you think.  The comments section isn't there just to make the page look pretty (although it does a marvelous job at that, don't you think?).  It actually works.

This book is as of yet untitled, since it’s a work in progress, and the characters are still developing as I write.  I have several more chapters finished, but I’ll wait to post those until I get (hopefully) reactions from any readers.

Please, dear reader, I’m in need of honest critiques.  If urban fantasy isn’t your genre of choice, that’s totally fine and understandable (what’s wrong with you?!), but at least give it a chance to let your friendly neighborhood blogger know what you think of her writing (that’s me, in case it wasn’t obvious).

Check in tomorrow for Theatrical Thursday, when I’ll be reviewing two of my (current) favorite television shows.