{ Oh I've been lost... }

Okay, so it's absolutely true that I haven't listened to a lot of new music this year. It's a sad fact, but there you have it. I did however purchase a CD (how old school of me!) on a whim and I am so so glad that I did. What I bought was The Head and the Heart's self-titled debut album. I loved it from the first tapping of drumsticks. It became my soundtrack while I painted my bedroom. Oh how I enjoyed singing along at the top of my lungs. Good times.

I was really disappointed to learn that they'd played a show with my favorite band (The Decemberists) within driving distance of my house. I was broke at the time so I couldn't have gone to see them, even if I hadn't found out about it two days before the show (plus I'd already been to a Decemberists concert earlier that summer). There aren't many bands I'd go through the trouble of seeing perform live, but these guys are one of them. Goal for the coming year: see The Decemberists, Mumford and Sons and The Head and the Heart live. Make sure you guys are touring and stop by Maryland, okay? Even DC is close enough. 

{ Your otaku is showing }

Okay, I'll admit it. There was a pretty big chunk of my life when I was a huge fan of Japanese pop culture. It started way back when with a magical girl show called Sailor Moon. Now, most people my age started watching it on Cartoon Network during their Toonami show block. But I remember seeing it during the wee hours of the morn some years before. I had been up early because of a cold and I remember being mesmerized. Cut to some years later, and I was hooked. 

To say I was a Sailor Moon fan would be putting it lightly. I was obsessed. I ran home and watched the TV (laughing and crying all the way) and devoured the manga when I could. I dragged my mom into Hot Topic and made her buy me the cheesy merchandise. I still own the comic-style issues they printed. I spent hours on the internet, looking up the Japanese version of the manga. I printed out images and collected them in a binder. I'm pretty sure I got grounded once for using up too much ink.

I hunted down clips and listened to the music. I knew the Japanese theme by heart and even had a chance to listen to the German and French themes. And remember folks, this was before Youtube. Before Google even. *shudder* 

I bought the badly dubbed movies and watched horrendous fansubs of the lost seasons. They made a live-action TV show and I was there, front and center. Hell, Sailor Moon was the reason why I bothered to learn Japanese. 

Fanart? Check. Fanfics? Check. Fancomics? Double check. I cut my storytelling teeth on writing about my own Sailor Senshi. Am I embarrassed by it now? Yeah, a little. Did my passion wane? You bet. But this past August, Kodansha started reprinting the Sailor Moon manga Stateside and I've been in nostalgia heaven. 

Moon Prism Power, bitches!

{ Undomesticated }

 As much as I find the image above to be adorably cute (the yellow is so horrific, that it's awesome), the truth is that I am just not that person. I don't have a cute apron, nor the desire to cook or bake. My knowledge of the culinary arts is limited to microwaving, toasting and boiling. No preparing, measuing, mixing, frying, sauteing, grilling, steaming, poaching or any of that other nonsense.  

And yet, each year around this time, I feel this longing for the kitchen. There's something about the holiday season that drives me to actually look at recipes--and in grave situations--actually cook. Well, bake anyway. Baking's easy. I can do baking. When I want to. Or when I'm bored. 

Last year, I made a couple of batches of shortbread cookies. Now, any of you who have actually done a little baking, know that shortbread is about as easy as it comes. It's really hard to screw up making shortbread cookies. Gather ingredients, mix ingredients, shape cookies, bake, done. I had this crazy notion of making icing to go on them, but laziness soon put an end to that idea. I did color them and cut them out with leaf-shaped cookie cutters, though. That made them fancy enough for me. 

I used cookie cutters to make the little leaves.
This year, since we're doing Thanksgiving on our own, I'd love to find some lovely recipes to try out. Ready your stones for throwing, but I actually don't like anything about a traditional Thanksgiving meal. Well, except for the cranberry sauce. And pumpkin pie. I love me some spicy pumpkin pie. Instead of turkey and the heaps of sweet potatoes, I'm thinking of doing something yummy with chicken and roasted potatoes. Instead of stuffing and corn, how about baked mac'n'cheese and a nice green salad? I wouldn't say no to some asparagus in a tasty sauce either...

Anyway, back to baking. 

I bought a cute pie dish on impulse recently (had some store credit to use up) and since we had a bag of apples with no purpose, I decided to bake a pie(!) complete with a fancy crust and everything. The result was okay, I guess. It looked good, at least, and it was edible. Wasn't quite as tangy or apple-y as I would have liked. It was spicy as hell, though. I think I went a little overboard with the cinnamon. Oh well, better luck next time.

Next up, a strawberry pie!