Monday, October 25, 2010

The Philosophy of Ritz

So, here is a common misconception born of false advertising:  "Everything Tastes Better on a Ritz".  Think about that.  There is no way that can be true.  Now, there are some things which you should never put in your mouth (much less on a Ritz) but that is not mentioned as a stipulation.  Take poo for example.  Despite the delicious butter flavor of the Ritz, poo would still taste horrible on a Ritz cracker.  But, would it taste better, you may ask.  Well, no.  The Ritz could do nothing to ever improve the taste of poo.  I think that Nabisco is really setting themselves up for litigation here because what if some idiot (and there are a lot of those about) decides to take that advertisement literally and says to himself, "Excellent! This broken glass will taste excellent on this Ritz!" and then he sues Nabisco because he has some slight internal bleeding? Would he lose his case given the high probability of scientifically proving that broken glass might not taste good (or even be edible) but it does taste better on a Ritz.  After further thought, I confess that if I had to eat poo, I would rather eat it on a Ritz than not. 

And there is also the condition of the Ritz to consider.  What if it is a moldy Ritz (assuming that Ritz can grow mold)? Wouldn't cheese on a moldy Ritz actually taste worse? Is Nabisco assuming you are going to always have a good Ritz on hand? Cheese is a mold anyways, so does that factor in at all?

Speaking of which (not the cheese being a mold but the part just before that), what about those things that would actually taste worse with a Ritz? What about ice cream? Does ice cream taste better on a Ritz? Beer? Gummi Bears? What if the ice cream, beer, and gummi bears were all Ritz flavored? Would the most delicious meal ever taste even better on a Ritz? And if it is the "most delicious meal ever" is it not possible that it is already on a Ritz? It would have to be.  Considering that, wouldn't the "most delicious meal ever" be a Ritz on a Ritz?

What if you put a Ritz on a Ritz? Would that Ritz taste better because it was on another Ritz? Is that even possible? If you had a huge pile of Ritz and just ate the top one would you be able to discern the difference in the quality of taste of the Ritz on the top and the Ritz on the bottom? If everything tastes better on a Ritz then it stands to reason that if you put a Ritz on a Ritz the Ritz on the Ritz must taste better than it did before it was put on the Ritz.  What if you put a Ritz on a Ritz but then, right before you eat them, you flip them over?! Then what? If you eat two Ritz (Ritzes?) together do they appreciate in flavor equally or does one taste better than the other? What if you take the Ritz off the other Ritz? Does it immediately devolve to the level of taste it was at before it was put on the Ritz or is the status affect permanent?

Like so many deep philosophical questions out there, we may never learn the answer to the mystery of the Ritz.  And so, to make sure that this post is the absolute best it can be, I am putting it on a Ritz.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Quest for the Perfect Steak

When I was a kid my dad would cook steak for dinner almost every weekend.  My mom would always get her steak well done and then I would eat part of hers.  I will never forget the day  that my dad gave me part of his rare steak.  My steak eating days were changed forever! It was like...going from Hershey to Godiva, from Wal-mart to Bloomingdales, from...from...from Star Trek to STAR WARS! It was fabulous.  I picked it up with my little fingers and juice ran down my hand and wrist and it all but melted in my mouth and it was absolutely the best thing I had ever eaten in my life.  I never shared a steak with my mother again. 

It was an important rite of passage in my life, this transition of well done to rare and I have to confess since then I have become something of a steak "snob".  When the waitress asks if I need steak sauce my response is always "I hope not" because a good steak shouldn't need sauce.  A steak cooked beyond medium is a ruined steak.  Although there are less than a dozen good things I can say about my dad, the one thing I can say is that he could make the perfect steak.  Unfortunately, my dad has since become something of should I put it...ass? Yes, that seems appropriate and so I am always on the journey to find the perfect steak seeing as how I can't really ask him how he does it.

I have recently given up on marinades because all the ones I have used make the steak taste like, well...marinade and not like actual steak.  I've tried Dale's (ugh, I know.  Who farted, right?), worstershire(?), and once I even tried Jack Daniels, which was horrible since I like my steak rare and it tasted like a glass of Jack Daniels with some meat thrown in it.  Today I went with just plain old salt and some fresh ground pepper.  This was not actually bad, especially the pepper so on my next attempt I'm going to stick with that but it was still missing something.  I'm starting to think that the thing I'm missing can't actually be replicated and that thing is one of the very few fond memories I have of my childhood.  It's the same reason why my biscuits never taste like my mother's (that and haha, you should see me trying to make homemade biscuits.  My kitchen always ends up looking like the set of The Day After Tomorrow.  I try to ask my aunt for the particulars of making biscuits and she always says, "You just add buttermilk until it looks right."  How is that even close to instructions?).  I also have very unhelpful friends (who shall remain NAMErobinLESS) have the following conversations with me:

Me:  I think I'm going to cook steak for dinner tomorrow.  I'm still trying to figure out a way to make them   really good.
 Friend:  My dad just gave me the recipe to his super secret steak marinade recipe.  It's fantastic.
 Me:  Ooo! What is it?
 Friend:  I can't tell you.  It's a secret.
 Me:  Ok, really? You can't just jump in the conversation and say something like that and then not tell.  What is it? 
Friend:  No.  It's super secret.

So, I'm going to start preparing for next month's steak adventure.  The adventures only happen once a month because I'm poor.  I might switch from ribeyes to NY strips, though I haven't decided on this part yet.  I'm going to take suggestions, too assuming that anyone out there thinks they can make the perfect steak.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Alice, The Ninja Dog

So, I have two dogs.  Zoe, who is my main dog and then Alice who is my emergency back-up dog.  Alice is still in training because she likes to do things like eat my underwear and take entire loaves of bread off the kitchen counter and eat that, too.  True story.  An entire loaf of bread.  Needless to say, at bedtime Alice gets locked away in a crate.  Lately, though Alice has been getting better so I decided I would try out new sleeping arrangements for her.  Instead of sleeping in her crate, I decided to see how Alice would do with a little freedom.  She's actually doing quite well, though she hasn't learned the rules of sleeping in the bed.  Zoe has her sleeping "spot".  It's at the foot of the bed on the opposite side of where I sleep.  I designated the other half of that side of the bed for Alice.  She is having trouble comprehending that this is her place.

Unfortunately, Alice takes every advantage to lay on me.  Whether I'm in the bed or on the couch or even in a chair, she has this need to be on me.  And she's not really a small dog so this can get a little aggravating.  When she's not doing that she's bounding after you like a possessed bulldozer intent on death and destruction.  Unlike other dogs, Alice doesn't come up to you and jump on you.  Oh, no.  That's no fun at all.  Alice likes to leap at you from at least two feet away, plowing into your stomach.  She need structure and discipline but she is completely uninterested in either of these things.

After making sure that she understands that I am serious about these new sleeping arrangements, it is time to turn the lights out and go to sleep.  All is quiet for about five minutes, and then I feel her move and then it gets still.  I figure she's just getting comfortable.  Then I feel her move again.  Then it is still again.  Then again.  I can't help but become a little suspicious.

After another pause I feel a slow, gradual shift and then WHAM! She's on top of me again.  At this point, I'm very tired and I really want to get some sleep so I decide I need to be very firm.

There it is.  She is going to understand now and since I am the master of this household (or mistress, if you will) she is going to obey me because she is my dog and I am her master.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Ten Levels of Nerdness

I remember being labeled as a nerd at a very young age because I liked to read.  It was difficult back then, you know, before being a nerd was what all the cool kids were doing.  Now I feel like I've been part of some important movement to have all Nerdness recognized and given its rightful place near the middle of the grand ladder of society.  I mean, look at all the nerds who are super cool now (and also super rich.  I'm hoping to break into that circle at some point).  Bill Gates, George Lucas, Steve Jobs, that guy who created Facebook.  These are the Super Nerds.  They rank maybe a 7 or 8 on the nerd rating scale because let's face it, Nerdness is like an aggregate model in that once you reach the Nerdness equilibrium and continue further up the scale, you cease to be awesome and become sort of creepy.

I made this scale by polling people (1 person at work, actually) and asking them (her) which things she considered more nerdy than the others.  The scale goes in ascending order so 1 is the least nerdy and 10 is David Schwimmer.  Haha, who? It does not include foregone conclusions such as, you drink obscene amounts of Mountain Dew.  So, a lot of work and thought went into this soon-to-be definitive measuring tool of Nerdness.

1.  At this level of Nerdness you are hardly even recognizable as a nerd.  You may do a few "nerdy" things like read books and make good grades but aside from that, you are pretty much a failure at being a nerd.  You are very extroverted and you have an active social life and girls speak to you without laughing at you.  You also bathe on a regular basis. 

 2.  The second tier on the Nerdness scale is not a whole lot different from the first one except we throw in a few video games and maybe some saturday morning cartoons.  You like to watch The Transformers because it "takes you back to the good old days".  Now, when I say video games I do not mean that you are a "gamer".  If the only games on your shelf are NCAA Football, any Madden game, Halo, and/or any Call of Duty game you do not qualify as a gamer.  Sorry.

3.  You are really into video games at this point.  You like to play Halo and Call of Duty, yes but you also love games like Little Big Planet, Rock Band, and God of War and you're pretty damn good at them if you do say so yourself.  However, you prefer Rock Band over God of War because you like to play with other people and that is what keeps you at level 3.  Aside from video games, you have heard of some show called Star Trek and you've seen Star Wars once when you were little.

4.  The level 4 nerd enjoys a variety of video games and can spend hours playing them.  Especially games like Final Fantasy, Elder Scrolls, and Mass Effect.  The longer it takes to beat a game the better! You enjoy cartoons on Adult Swim like Bleach and Naruto, even though your nerdier friends call this "anime", whatever that means.  You might pick up a comic book every now and then if it's something with lots of violence and blood in it, like the Watchmen.

5.  The middle-tier nerd is an interesting creature because even though you are at the halfway mark, this is not the mark of descent, or the equilibrium.  Oh no.  This is merely the threshold of awesomeness.  You have risen above the masses of wannabe nerds and you may make it with a little work.  You can name the major characters in Star Trek and Star Wars and you are emotionally involved in at least one comic book.  You know who Leroy Jenkins is and appreciate the humor in this meme.  You also know what "meme" means.

6.  World of Warcraft defines the 6th tier of Nerdness.  It may seem confusing at first as to why WoW is so low on the list.  Simply, it is because Blizzard has lowered the bar on the game so that even a monkey can play it and we all know that primates have no concept of Nerdness.  There is no role-playing involved in WoW and so people can feel a little more at ease while playing it.  You can install most software on your computer without the desire to put your fist through your monitor.

7.  At the seventh tier, you have made a conscientious decision that Star Wars is far better than Star Trek and you can site 100 reasons why off the top of your head.  You are capable of having lengthy debates over the fact that Han did shoot first and you are deeply disappointed in George Lucas over the prequel trilogy.  You watch anime in Japanese because you know that dubbed anime is horrible.  You've attended some sort of convention once but you didn't dress up like those other weirdos.

8.  Level 8 is the pinnacle of Nerdness.  WARNING:  ADVANCING PAST LEVEL 8 MAY BE HAZARDOUS TO YOUR SOCIAL LIFE.  Level 8 nerds are not only good at math, they actually enjoy it.  As a level 8 nerd, you understand concepts such as RAM and static IPs and you can use Linux without setting your computer on fire.  You debate frequently with your other nerd friends over PC vs. Mac.  You can name most of the characters in the X-Men comic and you can "transform" a Transformer without inadvertently breaking off one or more of its limbs.

9.  Level 9 begins the decline from Super Nerd to weirdo but you're not quite weird yet.  You play D&D with your friends occasionally and you spend a vast amount of money on Magic:  The Gathering cards.  You know what manga is and you scoff at people who don't know that you're supposed to read it backwards, duh.  Conventions are your thing and you wouldn't dream of going to one without cosplaying as something.  "Mainstream anime" is like drinking cheap wine and is completely beneath you.  You take pride in the fact that you are not one of those wannabe losers who is totally engrossed in Bleach and Naruto.  Your tastes are far too sophisticated for trash like that! You have read several Star Wars novels and you can name minor characters that no one else in the world has ever heard of and you were totally stoked that Jacen Solo :SPOILER:  became the next LORD OF THE SITH.

10.  Level 10.  You are creepy.  Your tastes have devolved and you believe firmly that Star Trek is superior to Star Wars in every way and William Shatner is a GOD.  You rarely shower because that would take precious time away from text gaming.  Who needs graphics? The only time you leave your house is to do some LARPing with the few friends you have who are also more than a little creepy.  No one understands your obsession with animated girls (and really, should they?) but you can't seem to find a real woman as delicious as Faye Valentine so why try? You don't just play D&D, you are a freakin' GAMEMASTER, bitches! You love boobs, but not as much as you love your computer games, cartoons, and anime.