this is the semi-grown up blog of liz markus, showcasing her ability to put letters and symbols together in a pleasant and correct manner.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

christmas is coming, my ass is getting fat.

so for the past few hours, i've been babbling on facebook and reading the pioneer woman's website and thinking, "i wish i had a blog where i could yak about how my kitchen smells like warm marshmallows because there's puffy little clouds of chocolate chip meringue roasting away in the oven".

and then i remembered that, oh yeah, i do have a blog where i can do that. albeit, a blog with one-millionth the viewership that the pioneer woman has, but well... quality versus quantity and all that.*

but yes, my kitchen smells like happy and my meringues are sweatin' away, and my lobsters are shiny and pink. the lobster part is made more awesome by the fact that it is my first time ever making cookie icing, and the recipe i used sorta-kinda sucked. well, obviously it didn't suck all that bad since i was able to use it after all, but... i'm glad i'm not totally mentally deficient. or things would've gone down much differently today.



my first clue lay in the ratio of ingredients: 2 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar to barely four tablespoons of liquid? most of which was actually syrup? i wish i'd gotten pictures of the glaze as it was when i followed the directions exactly; it looked like actual lobster meat in both color(s) and texture. several doses of red food coloring and milk later yielded forth a substance that was shiny, smooth, and knife-spreadable, which will explain to all those getting cookies this year why some of your lobsters look better than others. about two-thirds of the way through, the glaze was thickening up some, so i poured a little more milk in, and finally got the kind of glaze cookie decorators more experienced than myself call for when "flooding" cookies.

now, off to crochet until my fingers fall off whilst the cream-and-white-chocolate filling for this evening's homemade oreos cools to yet another kind of stable, spreadable consistency. if only my moods were so amiable.






*this does not at all imply that the people who read the pioneer woman's website are not a quality lot. i just need things to make me feel good sometimes, ya know?

Friday, December 2, 2011

the dreams of an improperly medicated teenager.

the majority of my teen years were spent battling anxiety. at a time when i should've been developing social skills and acquiring the building blocks for future higher education, i was drinking my meals and hyperventilating.

in 1999, i was seventeen years old, right smack in the thick of it, improperly medicated and basically out of control. for my birthday, my sister gave me a journal specifically for writing down my dreams. i have never been--and still am not--good at keeping any sort of diary or journal, and so there are only nine entries in the book. but those nine entries represent how my chemically-confused and adrenaline-spiked brain processed and recycled the world around me, proving that even at rest, it wouldn't leave me alone.

(i have transcribed these, spelling/grammatical/omission/duplication/punctuation errors and all, verbatim)

~~~

August 8, 1999

Made it to bed late last night. I don't think I dreamed, and if I did, I don't remember. I don't feel like I dreamed. I just feel sort of achy and muffled in my head. My first night of seventeen and no dream to commemorate. I feel a little cheated.

~~~

August 9, 1999

I had a bad anxiety attack last night. My dream was twisted. I don't remember details. Robin was in it. I think there was pie and narcotics as well.

~~~

August 10, 1999

Last night's dream involved an angry black woman and a man and his army chasing me and someone else. We hid. He either wanted to kill me or make me his wife, I think he kept switching back and forth. I was a princess. I was in a hospital.

~~~

August 11, 1999

Sleeping has been bad since the anxiety. Dreams have been very confused. I'm very confused.

~~~

August 12, 1999

The medicine must be taking my dreams away. Either that or the medication is.* They're putting me on something new. I hope it end this, I really really do. I don't like it at all.

I feel so bad.

I feel like the anxiety is being swallowed in some thick pink liquid. But the feeling's still in my throat. dammit.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
in emergency room
Kyle was into energy. Transfer, waves, all of it, sort of Wiccan. I wonder if it's him. I thought he loved me...
all right. thank you.**

~~~

August 13, 1999

I dreamt that I was in a dream world. It started with Jessica standing in the street in front of my house wearing a a very revealing dress, and I was, too. A car full of young Asian men drove up, and I got in. We didn't do anything but drive, but for services rendering, I got a car with a big screen TV and a bed and carpet and and an antique store in Back and people came by to see it. I woke up, then went back. In my dream, I fell asleep, and went to a dream world. The entrance to the dream world is a twisted music store, and throughout my travels, a guy I don't know is my friend and companion. We take Frank Zappa and Queen records and hairspray as weapons and go deep into the dream world. There's something like a lightrail***. I wear the craziest clothes, and I have long black hair. I become the Barbie doll of my choosing. We go in. There's something like a theme park but no rides. There's a big fountain where Brendan Frasier sits. He says hi. We climbed over some short fences in evening wear and kicked a lot of black bags out of our way. A bunch of men ran over and held guns to our faces. eep. A kinda handsome man in a wheelchair rolls up and looks pissed as another guy jumps out of one of the bags we kicked. We're taken back to my house. They're are monkies in the tree and the man in the wheelchair ran out of of pixi stix. I remember earlier back in the room with the bed in the middle of the room where we became Barbies was bags of pixi stix. I tell him this, and he rolls and I run, to the Medical/Dentist buildings where my car still waits. Before that, he jumped out and ran along side me. I asked him why he bothered with the wheelchair. He smoothed his exaggerated curly mustache and we kissed. I went into the car, only it turned into the room withe**** bed again. I gave him the pixie stix and went back to the dream world. (I woke up when the phone rang) I went back to the twisted music store. I was having so much fun there, the realized I was having too much. I was afraid of getting lost in the dream world forever. I had to remember how to get home. I closed my eye. Sleep came quickly, and I "woke" up. Mom was mad at something. I didn't like it there. I liked the dream world. I went back to "sleep", to the twisted music store. My companion and I were bored. Didn't want to stay there, go the the theme park. I suggest Rocky Horror, and he said OK. We ran into the next room to get ready. He crosses the void between dreams while I get dressed in something green and padded. I can't seem to get it to work. I go upstairs to a little room for help. The "supervisor" is there with a white board with names and tallies, going through some checks. One is from a girl named JoJo, and the woman is mad. I told her JoJo needed a car and we helped by giving her the Asian men's car. She got mad and called JoJo in. She yelled and JoJo knocked her to the ground. She stood up and said "you little bitch!"

I woke up.

~~~


August 14th, 1999

Dominick was having an affair with a blond. All he wore was a shirt and they ran down the train tracks. I watched them with Jenne. She showed me these beautiful drawings she'd done of herself for an art class. A few days later we were walking in Palo Alto. She was swearing because one drawing had gotten an A on one, but a C+ on the other, because of the horrible model. We went into a donut shop, and the scene changes.

I'm a squire in chainmail, with nothing but a letter opener as a weapon. I make it past the guard. I have to get to the princess because we're in love. The guards were huge, with chainmail. I had to beat them.

~~~

August 15, 1999

I dream of witchs in velvet robes walking down my street. I'm at a carnival, and I see them. They take me in, teach me things. I go through a door and there's a comic shop. The girls who play the Sweet Valley twins are there. I buy some comics. The scene changes.

I kill a fat man's brother in a war in my living room. I run out of bullets and a compatriot throws me an extra clip for my water gun. I run to the bathroom with my gun and clip, with the fat man chasing me. I lock the door and drop my gun and clip. The gun falls to pieces and I lose the clip. I pick up pieces of my gun while the fat man beats on the door. He breaks it down and I run past him.

I'm running from him to my middle school black top. He yells, taunting, saying I can't go there, I'm not allowed, I'll get in trouble. I keep running. There's a big clubhouse. I run into it, running up and up. the fat man's there and I push him off the side.

(I wake up with my hands clutching the sheets, because I was still holding the remains of my gun.)

~~~

April 26, 2000

It's been monthes since I've written in you. Many things have happened, many dreams have been had.

Last night, I had a disturbing dream. I went two doors down to ask a question, and someone who looked like Chris was at a computer, so I tapped the window and waved and smiled. As I'm walking away (question unanswered), I think that that wasn't him (oops), and then he's there closing Dad's car doors, and I say sorry, I thought he was someone else, and just says shut up, real casual. It doesn't even hurt.



* obviously the medicine was doing something, since i felt the need to mention it twice in a single sentence using two variations of the word.

** there was a wavy line under august 12th's entry, and i'm assuming i wrote this during one of my various trips to the emergency room, but i have no idea what i was thinking here. apparently i was completely retarded.

*** lightrail = san jose's half-assed answer to electric mass transit.

**** withe = my number one, all time most common misspelling, where, because my head is moving faster than my fingers, i combine "with" and "the".

Thursday, August 25, 2011

+100 things that make me happy+ #17: pinup, erotic, and boudoir photography

name me a person in this world who hasn't questioned their sexuality, and i will retort with "shut up."

it's an odd way to start a blog post, and also semi-inaccurate: i am wired for wiener. which i guess makes my liking of nudie photography more confusing. girls are just... they are pretty to look at. they're soft and curvy and they get all the cool underwear and hair and makeup and they're just fun. period. boys, on the other hand, look... awkward. or cheesy. or disconcerting.

however, if having a tumblr account has taught me anything, it's that kids love their harry potter. er, wait, no. it's taught me that cameron is better than damien. wait, no, who? shit. what has tumblr taught me?

OH YEAH, ok. it's taught me that it's ok to find things aesthetically pleasing and it doesn't make you a perv. so here i am, liz, 29, los gatos, saying: i like to look at girls.

hurray!

(a caveat: the following blogs may or may not contain some "doing". you know, that kind of doing)

i follow a few tumblrs that deal primarily with the aforementioned photography genres:
http://zeeaugusto.tumblr.com/
http://rainy-nightss.tumblr.com/ (i don't know if ghostery is screwing with the layout or if i'm blind or if the person who runs this tumblr just forgot, but i can't find the navigation links on this one. if it truly appeals to you, check out the archive)
http://libraryvixen.tumblr.com/ this one is especially good, it's a favorite of mine and my guy.

and not a tumblr, but definitely a site everyone should check out for a delightful mix of poetry and pinup: poetic pinup, featuring the lovely and talented harlean carpenter.

so, yeah. now to just get the fuck over my little tiny artistic roadblock (how many years now? seven? eight?) and get back into painting. and not feel like a weirdo whilst doing it.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

arrggh: a recap

i have two posts i've been sort of working on. one of them is a 100 things that make me happy post, and the other is my take on why it's ok for children to view violence but not sex. they are, obviously, not mutually exclusive.

i have learned to knit. i can cast on, knit, purl, change colors, and cast off. i'm making a scarf. thank you, sid, for the needles.

i connected two major parts in my book, and now am at a loss. i need to think more.

"book? what book, liz?"

why, the book i'm writing. it's a fantasy/horror. it's fantastic and horrific. i'm terrified to share it with anyone. why? because things in your head hold power. acres and acres of power. that's why depression takes such a deep hold, and illogical fears are illogical, and why therapy is so damn effective. once you talk about the things in your head, they tend to lose most of their power. so what if, upon scribing my characters and story--the people and creatures that have lived in my head for so long, their lives--onto paper, it turns out that they and my work are a waste of time and not nearly as cool as i thought they were when they were all up in my brainmeats?

the healthy attitude would be:
"so what? even if this isn't some major epic that gets published and receives acclaim from lots of people, it's your story, and if you like it, and the people who love you like it and support you, that's what matters. and when it's done, and you're happy with it, you move on to your next project, and do other things with your life."

my attitude:
"FUCK FUCK FUCK."

my ear is infected again. this is the third time in less than a year. it's the same ear as always. see, i can't swim. so when i was younger and in gym class and we had to swim, i would float, with my ears submerged, because everything sounds cool that way.

that led to my first major infection in my right ear, and a loss of some hearing. over the last decade or so, i'd get the occasional infection, in the same ear. then, last year, i got my first sinus infection. in the summer. please imagine that pain and horror, a sinus infection in 90 degree heat, for just a moment.

k, so that introduced disease to a whole new part of my head, a part which is conveniently connected to my ears. and now, every time i get a cold, it goes all up in there, and i have to take antibiotics. but really, three times in a year? so now i'm looking for health insurance that i can afford, so i can see an ENT and get something invasive done, because i'm 99% sure that i have fluid build-up in my eustachian tube that keeps getting reinfected. searching for affordable healthcare is one of the joys of living in my country. it's made all the more entertaining by being a member of the unemployed sector.

why bring up such a touchy topic? i googled "free health line" this morning, and the first page had links to websites in australia, new zealand and canada, boasting about their 24 hour free health help lines. there was a link to an american page with lists of health lines, sure. the general health link had a list of phone numbers. all on the east coast or in the midwest. none of them were 24 hour. i think i need to start a fundraiser.

ok, i think i'm good now. g'night!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

+100 things that make me happy+ #16: cartoons for adults

right now, gangster no. 1 is on tv. before that, it was chitty chitty bang bang. both of these serve to remind me that cartoons are so, so awesome. way more awesome than both of those.

i mean, come on, how can you not love this:

i don't want you to be intimidated... but my high score is 6.

(8/11/11: i haven't touched this because i haven't been inspired. so rather than let it rot and give up completely, i'm just going to list the cartoons i love, and if i have something immediately awesome to say/post about them, i will. if not... then i won't. it's definitely one or the other.)

ugly americans
archer
frisky dingo
metalocalypse
south park
12oz mouse
aqua teen hunger force/unit patrol squad
squidbillies
old school looney tunes
regular show
adventure time
family guy
american dad
superjail
home movies
spongebob squarepants

all of the above are things that i enjoy watching. the end.

Monday, June 20, 2011

+100 things that make me happy+ #15: frozen yogurt by the ounce. and by ounce, i mean at least sixteen of them.

summer is sure taking its sweet time arriving here in the bay area. we had one hot day (of course it was the day i had to help move 2,000 motorcycle and scooter tires, duh), and then a bunch of nice moderate days... and then tuesday we had a rain storm. and i do mean storm, we had to turn on the lights at one in the freaking afternoon. it was oppressive.

for the longest time, i was all about rain, and clouds, and wind and gloom and fog and blah blah blah. it set a mood, and you got to bundle up. and seeing as i have atrocious skin on my legs, i didn't have to stress about overheating when i pulled on jeans and pants and flannels every day.

but let me tell ya, ever since moving to the santa cruz mountains, i have been all about summer. i think there might be a correlation between that shift in mood and how much propane to heat the house costs. that and one thing i have always liked about summer was how i could be sitting around at eight-thirty and still see my hand in front of my face, or drive with my headlights off. and now, thanks to fantastic on-going trends, i have a new thing to love about summer:

froyo.

not just tcby, get-a-cone-and-walk-down-the-street-lazy-styles froyo. no, fuck that. that's amateur hour. when i enter a frozen yogurt establishment, i want AT LEAST six different choices of yogurt. at this point, i will take a large squirt of each, trying to keep complimentary flavors grouped and then realizing that that is folly and it's all sugar so just pump the damn yogurt.

there must be a minimum of ten feet of toppings NOT including the fruit. this is important. if i were a better person, i'd bring a tape measure with me (yes, that would make me a better person, it's providing a vital service). the toppings need to be fresh and varied. they need to include cereal and nuts and chocolate and candy and various gelatin-based bits. there should be a sauce bar of some kind, but this is not crucial.

when you finally get to the fruit, it, too, needs to be vibrant. no pansy-ass kiwi and pineapple niblets, please, it's insulting. this is also the section where you will find the brownie and cookie dough bits. if you don't find them there, throw your yogurt on the floor and leave.

there should be a little cooling machine next to the registers. in it is a canister of whipped cream. apply liberally. if you don't find it there, throw your yogurt on the floor and leave.

now to pay. they will weigh your yogurt and charge you by the ounce. if you have less than 16 ounces, throw your yogurt on the floor and leave.

... ha! that was a test! if you have less than 16 ounces, go back to the beginning of the line and add more shit.

your yogurt cup should now look like willy wonka and captain crunch went to a frat party and got hammered and threw up, and weigh as much as the average house cat. if it doesn't, you did it wrong and are now a failure. at yogurt. and that's the worst kind of failure, in my opinion. if, however, your cup meets all the aforementioned criteria, you are now free to sit and orally bask in your accomplishment.

one of these days i need to remember to take a picture of my epic yogurt creations, because i have yet to find a picture online that truly captures the spirit of yogurt-by-the-pound.


the website describes this yogurt as an "incredible frozen yogurt and topping combination". yeah, that's really incredible, if the definition of "incredible" was recently changed to "staying in one color scheme and being lame and boring". because as everyone knows, gummi candy + frozen yogurt = the hard, unappetizing bits swimming in melted yogurt that no one eats because they hurt your teeth.


oh look, someone likes mochi! you know what i like? chicken curry. maybe i should pour some over my yogurt and forsake all other toppings. BORING.


look at this fresh, healthful offering! a little yogurt, some nice chopped fruit, and oh, look out, a little syrup there! they're getting craaaaazy now! i think the only thing this cup needs is a little advice:

YOU DON'T EAT FROZEN YOGURT BY THE OUNCE FOR YOUR HEALTH. PUT SOME DAMN CHOCOLATE IN THAT BITCH.

i quit you, internet, you disgust me. i'll try and take a picture next time.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

+100 things that make me happy+ #14: the fragile euphoria of drawing and having that drawing come out just fine

there was a time in my life when i was fairly prolific. i drew all the time. mostly in class, which in retrospect makes a lot of sense, as i seem to do things best when i'm doing them in lieu of other things, like geometry and science.

i can't quite pinpoint when my multi-year-and-still-going dry spell of creativity began, or the reasons behind it. perhaps it was the nagging notion that just because my mother thinks my drawings are good and that i look great in this sweater vest, doesn't necessarily mean everyone else will feel the same way. and maybe that was coupled with a pre-built lack of self-esteem and desire FOR the acceptance and/or friendship from the very peer group i hated. and maybe that was mixed up with the already growing habit of swallowing myself inward to make myself as bland and "normal" as possible, so perhaps i could just be left the fuck alone for once.

it's really hard to say, exactly.

regardless of its origins, the spell has continued, and i have no idea how to really make it go away. the solution most likely has its roots in self-acceptance and forgiveness of myself and others, and a lot of crying and talking and quite possibly running away from everyone and everything and learning to be an autonomous unit.

all of the aforementioned messy bullshit makes the times when i do put pencil to paper and have it come out good all the more relieving. it's like, maybe i am good, and maybe things aren't as shitty as i'm making them out to be. which is usually how it works out. i'll learn that completely, one of these days, i'm sure. in the meantime, i'll continue about my merry way, getting over my fear of myself in millimeters of graphite and single drops of india ink. and cat hair. lots of cat hair. so... so much cat hair. dammit, finn.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

+100 things that make me happy+ #13: learning to use my camera effectively

in case you hadn't already guessed, this will be a picture-heavy post. because lo and behold, liz actually sat down for fifteen minutes and read through the manual that came with her camera all those years ago. and surprise, surprise, there's no longer noise or blur! MAGIC!

and since having learned to wield my camera in a more professional and pleasing manner, i have taken a great many pictures of random shit. mostly my cats. because they're insane. and plants, lots of plants. i live in the mountains, i have a lot of plants, all right? they're just there.

like this one:

look, ma! light and composition!

and this one:

omg, perspective and shit!

and then there's the things inside my house that somehow become much more interesting when i'm staring at them on a computer screen! like the wienerdog in my kitchen:


and of course the creatures in my house, like this little guy:


and these not-so-little guys.




i'm trying very hard not to fall into the pit of "i can take a decent, clear photo, ergo i am now a photographer and can call myself that and people will think i'm awesome, especially if it's black and white", but it's difficult when i'm having so much fun. i just have to keep bringing myself back down to earth with thoughts like, "you've never taken a photo class in your life" and "try being awesome with a real camera and not just your sony point-and-shoot before you fly off the handle". it works, i promise. but even with those thoughts, i feel more confident in my ability to accurately record my surroundings, and that really helps when i see something that perhaps i might want to paint later.

like this:

i'll probably give her wings or a tail. she'd like that.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

there is something to be said about liking yourself enough to not need everyone else to like you. but it seems so hard. does anyone really feel that way, completely?

Saturday, June 4, 2011

+100 things that make me happy+ #12: getting a full, good night of sleep

i don't know if irony is the correct word to use when writing about how good it feels to get a full night of sleep after not having really gotten one the past few nights, but let's just plow right ahead, shall we?

i've found that everyone's definition of "a full night's sleep" is different. my affianced describes it as, like, six hours. i describe it as no less than eight. science has currently settled on seven hours as being the magic (adult) number (at least last i read).

i say screw my guy and science.

i don't know if it's just me and my hardcore urban lifestyle (computers, baked beans, nachos), or the fact that i'm female, or having fibromyalgia, but i notice a distinct, horrible difference when i don't get a certain amount of fancy, non-interrupted sleep. like, for instance, i become retarded. literally, my ability to think severely retards. and with retardation comes frustration and irritability over my inability to function as a normal person instead of some drooling, rabid forest yak.

in my semi-self-imposed idiocy, i tend to forget (or just straight ignore) the fact that maybe not staying up until one in the morning on my laptop will help me achieve the rest i need and desire. this will go on for a few days, and then the hunger sets in.

my body will demand energy from some source, and unfortunately, my fat ass seems to always be its last resort. so when the sleep rations are low, i start to eat like a maniac, thus adding to the never-ending-but-always-on-my-end resource that my body chooses to ignore. which i suppose is for the best, otherwise i would probably never sleep, and then i would die. but i would look fabulous at my cremation*.

wow, that all sounds terrible. which probably makes those nights when i DO sleep well all the more fucking fantastic. i am a motherfucking ninja when i'm fully awake and alert: i deal better with people, i remember more things, i hit fewer pedestrians with my car... it's a better situation for everyone involved. i pretty much glow in the dark, i'm that awesome.

unfortunately, the seductive, serotonin-restricting glow of tv and laptop always lures me with its siren's song, and i find myself stuck in an endless cycle of sleep-well, sleep-bad, sleep-well, sleep-bad. one of these days, i will win a nobel prize for discovering the gene that programs people to forget that sleeping and eating well and exercising will always make us feel better than sitting on the couch eating sour cream from a tub at two in the morning whilst watching skinemax.

google that in ten years, that'll be the exact first line of the abstract.









*i see no reason to have my descendents pay thousands of dollars to stick my dead body in a box designed for putrescence, have a fancy carved rock put in place lest they forget that i'm rotting in said box, and then be forced to eat terrible casseroles and jell-o with carrots and pineapple. i will burn and be returned to the cycle of life, thank you very much.

Friday, June 3, 2011

+100 things that make me happy+ #11: sterling silver, especially rings

this one is pretty simple: i never really liked gold. despite claims and evidence of its worthiness and rareness, it always struck me as kind of cheap. kind of like the kardashians.

my everyday jewelry ensemble consists of the following:


a ball chain, knotted, with a the pin of a grenade and a squirrel pendant my affianced found in the yard at his shop


one octopus...


... and one rose


my pseudo-engagement ring on my middle finger (too big for the other one) and a simple, scrolled band


and a piece of turquoise that looks like a power line against a dusky sky, and a SEAHORSE!

notice a theme?

it doesn't hurt that silver is cheaper (kind of), more accessible, and more interesting than gold. though i think the last might because of the two aforementioned reasons. i'd be more experimental with a cheaper metal, too.

there isn't much i can do to dress up the subject of silver... someone killed themselves on the property i live on, so i'm not feeling especially creative at the moment. i promise the next one will be better.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

WELL THAT'S COOL.

so i guess youtube has decided i don't get the privilege of embedding their videos in my blog. both mc chris and daffy are on a white-box hiatus until youtube decides that sticking broken glass up its butt isn't a healthy hobby.

remember:
+ = :(

Saturday, May 28, 2011

dear panda express,


over-indulgence hinders body & mind.

you are aware of the fact that you are a chinese fast food chain, right? is this really the advice you want to be giving your customers?

love,
liz

Friday, May 27, 2011

randomness.

there isn't a point to this post, at all, except for this:



i love you, mc chris.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

+100 things that make me happy+ #10: seahorses, sea dragons

oh snap, we have achieved double-digits!


oh daffy. will you ever win?

so it could be said that i've been in college for about ten years. unfortunately, saying it that way makes me sound like i'm a retard; also, it's not entirely true. i've been taking community college classes for about ten years. i've taken math, english, pottery, life drawing, greek mythology, computer graphics, botany... i've taken a lot of random shit.

i've also taken marine biology. it was an ok class, i learned some interesting factoids that i could sprinkle into conversations at cocktail parties. ALL the cocktail parties that i go to, where conversation-sprinkling is a required art. yes.

the advantage of taking a marine biology course in california is that we're pretty much one big coastline, and therefore have access to amazing resources for study, such as the monterey bay aquarium. i think it might be actually be illegal to have a marine biology class within 100 square miles of the aquarium and not go there for a field trip, and my teacher had no interest in breaking laws. except for flirting with students. but anyway. i've always loved the aquarium*, so it was no hardship for me and my boyfriend to head down and out to monterey for a day. after all, there are so many things to love about the aquarium: the otters, the penguins, the jellyfish and sunfish and sea turtles and... what's that over there?

no, not there, there. next to the penguins. is that... is that a tank of seaweed?

no. no, it wasn't a tank of seaweed. it was a tank full of the most awesome animal ever to grace this planet:


the leafy sea dragon.

how much do i love leafy sea dragons? does INDELIBLY ETCHING ONE INTO MY VERY FLESH answer your question? my first and currently only tattoo is dedicated to this fine fragile creature, right on my left shoulder (lol, pun). I sketched a picture, using a photo as a reference, and then took both the sketch and my sister to a small, elderly chinese tattoo artist named pinky (RIP). and there i sat, sweating and clinging to both my sister's hand and the back of a chair, and gave my body as a living monument. leafy sea dragons are unfortunately threatened, so i figured if they somehow went (god forbid) extinct in my lifetime, i would have dedicated myself to their memory. and if they (hurray!) didn't, i would always have one as a reminder of how totally freaking awesome they are.

another thing to love about the aquarium is the rotating exhibits. last time i went, they had a magnificent seahorse exhibit that left me in a tiny, quivering puddle of delight on the floor. luckily, my guy was there to scoop me up before i was mistaken for evidence of a crack in the million-gallon outer sea tank, thus causing panic and terror for everyone. i really try to avoid that at all times.

so if you're ever in california--or more specifically, within 100 square miles of monterey--do the honest, legal thing, and visit the aquarium. don't let the man get you down.










*i spent my 21st birthday at the aquarium with my mom. true story. haters gonna hate.

Monday, May 23, 2011

+100 things that make me happy+ #9: bearded dragons, especially babies with big dumb heads

once upon a time, i had the manliest man*, ever, named mr. hifi banjo strings (banjo for short). he lived in a spacious bachelor tank in my bedroom. he had big, meaty thighs and a huge black beard, and he subjugated all objects and creatures within his line of sight. he was missing a bit of his tail, but i always told people that if they thought that was bad, they should really see the other guy. or not, because it would be incredibly disturbing, such was the extent of their fucked-up-ness via my dragon.

one day, he was joined by a beautiful lady dragon named gelfling. their love had the power to cross the two layers of glass between them, and they pined for the day that they could finally be together as dragons are meant to be. and when that day finally came...

they got it on.

which left me with many fantastic learning experiences! such as, female bearded dragons can hoard sperm inside them for multiple clutches of eggs! AWESOME!

and that they can lay anywhere from five to thirty of the damned things! SWEET.

and, of course, that baby bearded dragons can climb ANYTHING, including the slick sides of the plastic cup of water in their incubator, scaring the shit out of me and leaving me performing a slightly modified version of the heimlich on a creature the size of my pinky finger!

RADICAL.

and when it was all said and done, my baby girl gifted me with 74 eggs total, 69 of which were viable, spread out over three clutches. broken down, that's 24 in the first, 26 in the second, and then another 24 just to make it a nice, even palindrome. of numbers. yes.

now, in reading this, you might sense that i was less than pleased with the situation; and if that's the case, why is it included in a list of 100 things that make me happy? after all, this isn't the list of 100 things that are incredibly inconvenient and vexing.

so i offer you the following image. i believe it fully conveys the joy and wonder and whimsy that being a lizard mommy brings:
babies!

that's right. that's a pile of baby bearded dragons. that's how they sleep! like puppies, only smaller and goofier! also, more self-sufficient, as the timing on each and every hatchling was thirty seconds flat from egg to full mobility.

unfortunately, both banjo and gelfling have since passed on, and the babies have long since found new homes. i now have a new man in my life...
malarkey
word.








*the night gelfling laid her first clutch of eggs, my mom and i raced to dolphin pet village in a panic for coconut shavings, an incubator and advice as to what the fuck we were supposed to do. it was near closing, and i was waiting outside whilst my mom paid, with banjo sitting on my knee on his little leash. one of the employees came out to start moving the cat furniture and parrot cages they had on display back in to the store, and he looked at banjo and said, "that's the ugliest dog i've ever seen." i guess i can't really fault him for that.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

+100 things that make me happy+ #8: coconut, in all its forms

every year for his birthday, my father asks for german chocolate cake. german chocolate cake is, of course, a cocoa-based caked with a coconut frosting. because nothing says "LIEBEN SIE" like a nice tropical coconut.

and every year, i wouldn't eat it.

why? because when i was a kid, i hated having to chew coconut. it was tough and fibrous and i was as easily bored as i was amused. i didn't have time to sit and chew my way through an entire piece of that stuff; there were bugs outside that i had not yet built homes for.

of course, as everyone knows, one distinguishing characteristic of most children is that they're totally retarded, and i was no different, seeing as how i passed up innumerable opportunities to consume coconut. i love coconut. i love how it smells, alone and mixed with other things. i love how it tastes, alone and mixed with other things. i love how it feels, alo- wait, no, it's actually kind of rough. scratch that. the other stuff though, yeah. totally.

i was crushed to discover that bath and body works had discontinued their coconut cream lotion, and further dismayed to not find any suitable substitute. i was overjoyed to find that alba's coconut creme lip gloss was a dollar less at whole foods than walgreens. it was interesting and informative to learn that fresh coconut milk was not an acceptable substitute for butter in a cookie recipe (though they still managed to taste pretty good, one point for me, awesome).

my shampoo is coconut. my luna bars are coconut. i am a coconut. and you know what? coconuts are hard on the outside, and solid, and rough. you don't fuck with a coconut. and that's how i will be. i will be like a coconut. and when i'm done, i will smell damn good. and that's all that matters.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

+100 things that make me happy+ #7: cover songs

i started writing this a week or so ago, and finally got around to finishing it. important point: i finished it. hurray!

oh. snap. nitty-gritty time.

see, when i made this list, i just wrote stuff down (see: typed) and numbered everything. and then when i started writing about each item on the list, i went in numerical order because i have just enough of an OCD tendency to be really annoying and not allow myself the luxury of skipping about the list all willy-nilly. much like the manner in which you can't fight the gorgetron.

so while everything on the list makes me happy, there are some things on it that make me really happy, and cover songs are one of those things. (it feels weird to speak plurally about a singularity, but OH WELL GRAMMAR MCWRITEGOOD, take two interrobangs and call me in the morning. i'll be drunk)

i've always enjoyed cover songs, though for the most part with the same kind of passion i felt for other songs; it wasn't until fairly recently that i developed a real keen interest in them. so much so that i started a (neglected at the moment, i need to get on that once i'm off your mother {LOL}) blog about them, focusing more on the ironic variety, i.e, a death metal group covering ace of bass' "all that she wants". another baby, by the way. that's all she wants. she's not very deep, that one.

oddly enough, a lot of my favorite covers end up being songs that i didn't know were covers. the killers doing shadowplay, nine inch nails and dead souls, nirvana and where did you sleep last night?... totally in the dark here.

that's why i really should get back into my covers blog, because it was in researching other songs that i discovered the origins of those, and a bunch more. i have a whole big nirvana cover/covered retrospective that i need to finish up and post for the delight of all, and for my own personal self-edification. that and i need to continue with things and not let them slip away. but that's for another discussion.

a couple of favorites from my blog:

send me an angel:

mixpod.com
first is cover. skip forward for original.

livin' la vida loca

mixpod.com
first song is cover. skip forward for original.



*(totally unrelated: my cat just got drool all over my arm. she has this adorable habit she picked up as a kitten, of suckling on fluffy objects and kneading her paws. she did that to the sleeve of my robe that i happened to be wearing, and i ended up with a puddle under my typing wrist. so cute)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

fruity pebbles cheesecake, part two

last time, on "as the pebbles bake"...

so you have your tye-dyed extravaganza. joseph has nothing on you and your pie dish. and you could just sorta grab a fork and chow down on a giant fruity pebbles cookie. but that would be half-assed. and here at chocolate~murdercakes, we like to do things at least two-thirds-assed. which is why we will now fill the crust with... um... filling.

because i was worried about the integrity of my crust, i was afraid to use a regular baked-cheesecake filling, thus subjecting my base to another hour or so in the oven. so i opted for the good ol' philly cream cheese no-bake cheesecake. but i had no cool h-whip. i did, however, have a big tub of nonfat plain yogurt (don't ask me why i have what is basically a non-food in my fridge. just sit back and think happy thoughts about how i thoroughly defile it into pie). so i placed a single block of cream cheese into my bowl with eight ounces of non-food, and about a quarter-cup of white sugar (i didn't want to go crazy with sweetness, seeing as how the crust was constructed from a "don't eat" on eat this not that's list of cereals).

after five minutes of pain and suffering in the form of trying to combine a chilled block of cream cheese with watery yogurt using a wooden spoon, i sucked it up like a big girl, dumped the whole mess into a mixing bowl, turned on my mixer, and blasted that sucker on "creaming" for a couple minutes. my result was a light, airy bowl of fluffy, creamy goodness, made better with a splash of vanilla extract and another spoonful of sugar.

i tried really hard to keep crumbs out of the filling, but i, well... failed. so there's cute little specks (yes, that's right, they're cute) in the filling, and the next morning...


thanks, jerry!

it grew flowers! LOL! no, no, that was me with a plate of pebbles, picking through for the colors i needed. and let me tell you, post cereal, you are sorely lacking in the green department. just sayin'.

fruity pebbles cheesecake

crust:
1 1/2 cups fruity pebbles cereal, crushed
1/3 cup butter, melted

filling:
1 block cream cheese, softened
8 ounces non-fat plain yogurt
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

fruity pebbles for decorating

for the crust: preheat oven to 375 degrees. combine crushed fruity pebbles and melted butter in 9 inch pie dish. press down and up around sides of plate. bake for ten minutes. allow to cool completely before filling.

for the filling: place cream cheese, yogurt, sugar and vanilla extract in mixing bowl. mix on high for a couple minutes, or until completely combined. pour into cooled crust and refrigerate overnight.

use extra fruity pebbles for the decoration of choice. you could do...

this:


or maybe, this:


or even this:


it's really up to you. use your imagination! enjoy!

Monday, April 25, 2011

fruity pebbles cheesecake, part one

so yesterday was easter. for the past few years, my mom has been in entrenched in the living hell that is shopping mall retail work, compounded with the extra water-boarding of the children's book section of borders. however, as many have read recently, borders books has taken a bit of a nose-dive, and by "nose-dive", i mean "bankruptcy". the majority of the stores in our area have closed, including my mom's location at oakridge mall. as a result, she was free and clear to do easter up right, instead of yelling at children opening packages and escorting twitching men with hands buried in their coats to the door.

such a celebration, obviously, called for special things. mom made a big-ass ham with fruit sauce; baked beans; brown bread; and stuffed potatoes. that left my sister and i in charge of dessert. remember the aforementioned requirement of specialness?

my sister made a chocolate roll cake with orange buttercream frosting. and i made a fruity pebbles cheesecake.

the idea had been stewing in my brainmeats for a couple of months now. it started with the idea of froot loops cheesecake, but upon viewing the cereal aisle at safeway, it occurred to me that:

a. fruity pebbles were practically already crushed
b. fruity pebbles and froot loops are the exact same cereal

the beauty of it also lay in its simplicity: with a sugar-laden cereal as your base, there was no need to add sugar. just melt some butter, press it down, and your technicolor dream-pie would be ready for take off.


first, a glamor shot.


this one shows my genius technique for not getting crumbs everywhere: take a large sheet of parchment and fold all the edges in an inch. pour your fruity pebbles in the middle (as shown). place another sheet of parchment over it all, and go to town with your rolling pin. then you will end up with...


modern art!


in my world, modern art = a cup and a half of pebbles crumbs.


... which you will then pour into your pie dish...


... and combine with 1/3 cup melted, unsalted butter.


(gratuitous rubber ducky tea kettle shot)

after you've patted your crumbs into the dish, you will bake them for 10 minutes at 375, at which point you will be rewarded with a fragrant, tye-dyed extravaganza. which will be continued in part two, as soon as i get the rest of the pictures.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

+100 things that make me happy+ #6: indescribable moments of excellent qualities of sunlight and clouds

wow, i'm pretty sure there is no way i could've come up with a more pretentious, hipster description and title, buttttttt there you go, that's the best i could do. because there are times when you step out your front door in the morning and the mist has burned off the christmas trees in the farm next door but it's still lingering in the sky above, and the sun is yellow and the trees are pink and you're just like, "... yeah."

since i fail at words, this will be mostly a picture post, via stock.xchng and google.*


no, i do not live in a castle.


nor by a lake.


i do not live in a rickety, falling down fisherman's hut.


and i unfortunately don't live anywhere near this.


this and the following photo exist in better sizes, but the photographer is apparently a paranoid android and has emblazoned his full-size photos with ugly watermarking (and i use that term lightly, since in my mind, "watermarking" is a subtle yet distinguishable mark upon an image, whereas the marks on this guy's stuff look like they were done in MS paint)


see above.


and then i randomly found a painting that totally got what i was going for!

i hope that was helpful in shedding some light (LOL) on #6**... one of these days, i'll get a real camera, and then i can take some pictures of the light around my house. perhaps someday the weather will stop sucking my balls and make it even easier to achieve the aforementioned. because it's kinda hard to take good pictures of good light when you're lacking both.










* my photography-fu is unfortunately weak, due to lack of skill and a camera capable of catching all the nuances of color that occur around my own home. :(

** upon further reflection and searching results, i've found that there is a way to describe the light that i sometimes get up here: HDR. sometimes, my mornings exist in real-time HDR. the future is now!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

+100 things that make me happy+ #5: listening to my music turned up loud whilst driving somewhere i want to go

i learned to drive kind of late in life, and by "late in life", i mean twenty-one. yeah, i could've gotten my permit at sixteen and rocked garbage cans and mailboxes the whole city over, but it just... never came up, i guess.

most of my learning was done on manual transmissions, in my '84 rabbit and my boyfriend's seemingly never-ending supply of cars that he picked up at auctions in the area. the night i got my permit, i drove around an elementary school parking lot, and then a spooky backroads way between santa cruz and san jose. luckily it was late at night, because i spent the whole time freaking out, thinking a class of seersucker-clad preschoolers on their way home from a field trip to "take a fuzzy baby animal home!" farm would stray away from their julie-andrews-clone-chaperones and wander in front of my 15mph-creeping vehicle. at midnight.

obviously, things worked in my favor, which brings us to today, with the eight years of driving experience i have tucked under my argyle belt, and dramatically morphed attitude toward driving that includes speeding up when i see a pedestrian even consider strolling across the street in front of my car if there isn't a damn pair of solid lines bisecting my path. this experience is made all the more exciting when coupled with my mp3 player blasting industrial, rock, techno, richard cheese, and WAT IT DO?. even better, take the speed and the blaring audio, place them on a winding and seldom-traveled mountain road, and you have yourself a very happy girl.

i indulged in this little pleasure the other day. just me and imperative reaction rolling down mount charlie road, taking it all the way to scotts valley, and then on to felton for some nachos and gasoline, then north on highway 9 to boulder creek and the (apparently) newly paved bear creek road, past david bruce winery, and all the way home again. the trip only came out to about three-and-a-half hours of my time, and i didn't get a chance to stop at san lorenzo valley high school (school was still in session) to poke around and take in the layout (book research and whatnot); but it was a beautiful day, i was full of vallarta, and a construction guy smiled at me both times as he waved me past. good times.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

+100 things that make me happy+ #4: falling asleep to a scalp massage

from mid-april to early march, i had dreadlocks. no, i am not rastafarian. jah does not provide for me, nor do i find all things irie.

back when i was a wee teen, i attended CCOC (central county occupational center; or, as we liked to sound out, "see-cock"). and every day, during break-lunch-siesta, i would sit on a bench with my fries and hot chocolate and watch the mechanic students line up at the cafeteria. one of them was a girl.

not only was she a girl mechanic, she was a girl mechanic with black and pink dreads. and she was skinny. and wore all black. and was therefore absolutely awesome to me, a lightly-chubby network admin student* with crappy red curly crap-hair.

she, along with a certain vampire: the eternal struggle playing card (i bought tons of those stupid things when i was younger. it was only for the pictures and because "vampire" was in the title, i never actually played with them) that cemented dreadlocks in my mind for the next decade. yes, it took me at least ten years to make good on my fantasy of wild, crazy noodle-hair.

it cost $245. it took over four hours. it happened on the day peter steele died. and six months or so later, i was tired of it.

what's the point to this big long spiel? during that whole time, my scalp was off limits to me or anyone else, outside of hair washing. a whole year devoid of the feeling that comes from lying under clean, warm blankets in a dark room while someone else's hand (that part is important, because the muscles in your shoulders get sore quickly if you do it yourself, thus ruining the effect) strokes your hair and rubs your scalp. it's almost like being in the womb again. because i totally remember that time, duh.






* HAHAHAHAHAHAHA i remember NOTHING from that class except deltree and always check the physical layer! and getting humped against a wall. that was completely different, though.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

+100 things that make me happy+ #3: portland, oregon

oh man, where to start.

do i start with my deep, inbred fear that i am a hipster asshole, seeing as how i love so many things hipster assholes love? (fake glasses, ironic t-shirts, cafes, birds on things)

do i continue with the fact that even that deep, inbred fear does not taint my happy feelings when i daydream about a little bungalow with a fireplace on a skinny, tree-lined lane?

do i then extrapolate upon the two cafes per block, the wee-tiny streets, and the telephone poles plastered with current flyers advertising current events and shows, currently?

or perhaps how, if i miss the mountain roads or beaches, i can always take a day trip to astoria on the coast?

there is, of course, an unfortunate side to portland, and that is: the reality of it. portland is like any other place. it has its good sides and its bad sides. all the stuff up there is the good side. the bad side includes: the impossibility of employment; separation from almost all my family and friends; and the fact that a new place doesn't change you, it just change what's around you. and all that new stuff around you doesn't stay new for long. after a bit, it becomes exactly what you left behind.

but this isn't "100 things that make me happy until i think about them all the way through and realize that they just suck".

Sunday, March 20, 2011

SUPER BONUS ROUND: peanut butter noodles

so last night i rocked my kitchen hard. i pulled out an old favorite recipe from allrecipes.com, and transformed it into a magical taste sensation the likes of which has not yet been witnessed on this plane. (vrooooom!)

behold: liz's peanut butter noodles

1/2 cup chicken stock/broth
2 tbsp soy sauce
4 tbsp peanut butter
1 1/2 tbsp honey
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp chili powder
two small carrots, julienned
two green onions, sliced, whites separated from greens (racist!)
2 tbsp chopped peanuts
8oz spaghetti

cook spaghetti as per instructions. drain and set aside.

combine broth, soy sauce, peanut butter, honey, garlic, ground ginger, and chili powder in a saucepan. cook over medium heat for about five minutes, or until peanut butter fully incorporates, stirring frequently (it'll look weird for a while, just let it do its thing). add carrots and white parts of the chopped green onion. lower heat and cook another five minutes.

put spaghetti in a large bowl. pour sauce over it, and add greens of green onions and chopped peanuts. toss until spaghetti is coated. eat forever and always.

Friday, March 18, 2011

+100 things that make me happy+ #2: tea

i'm not really one for broad generalizations. they usually just piss me off. that being said, there are two kinds of people in this world: coffee people and tea people.

oh sure, plenty of people like both; i'm fond of a mocha every once in a while, and sometimes my betrothed likes a cup of chamomile to help him fall asleep. but there's always a preference, a choice you'd immediately make when asked what you'd want if you were stranded on an island that just happened to have electricity, clean water and a pot. and for me, that choice is tea.

my enjoyment of tea is so basic and ingrained into my psyche that it feels uncomfortable, almost wrong to talk about it like it's anything special. because it's not, it just is. sky's blue, water's wet, liz drinks tea. done.

my day begins with a cup of tea, always black, with cream and sugar (fancy english styles!) if given the option (i.e, if i can afford a can of it) i drink republic of tea's vanilla almond or cinnamon plum. unfortunately, delicious teas such as those are around $10 a can for 50 bags; which isn't terrible, unless you're jobless and watching all the dollars. for those who are (me), there is big lots! (also perfect for finding the accompanying tea snackeries)

the birth of my tea devotion is an almost perfect parallel to my sister's childhood induction into the hall of coffee drinkers: it all starts with mom. whereas my sister, as a wee sprout, would sit with mom and drink coffee, i would always join her in a cup of breakfast tea (red rose, and a whole tin full of tiny ceramic animals) with cream, sugar, and a freshly baked cookie. (usually chocolate chip; see previous post)

mine was not the most overwhelmingly awesome childhood ever, so, in retrospect, i guess these tea times were even more comforting and important. as a result, whenever i'm feeling like absolute crap, one of my first thoughts is "let's make a cup of tea."

Monday, March 7, 2011

+100 things that make me happy+ #1: chocolate chip cookies.

what's this? 100 things that make someone happy? that someone being me?

a while ago i started a list at work. that list was 100 things that make you happy. i got the idea from some article online, i think it was in the yahoo dating section or some crap. anywho, i think i got to maybe number 20 before it was time to leave, and then my coworkers found it and lorded over me that they had the power to turn me into putty in their hands because they knew what made me happy, BWA HA HA HA.

long story short, i never finished the list. so i have started it over, and will post all one hundred things i come up with. some will be tangible, some will be intangible. some will be adult, some will be childish. sometimes i will falter, and feel like a loser because i can't even think of 100 happy things and what's wrong with me. and then sometimes i will kick myself in the ass and get over it and continue with my list.

#1: chocolate chip cookies

there are a LOT of cookies out there. macarons, macaroons, peanut butter, brown butter, chocolate, vanilla, sandwich, wafer... it would take charlie sheen's mind to fully elucidate upon the entire spectrum of cookies that exist in this world (or "terrestrial realm", as mr. sheen would put it).

that said, the one cookie that will always remain beautiful in my heart and mind is the chocolate chip cookie. it has everything delicious in this world: butter, sugar (two kinds!), salt, chocolate... and then you mess with deeply browned butter; all light brown sugar versus white and dark; milk chocolate chips vs. semi-sweet vs. 88%; coarse sea salt... my god.

and considering that the chocolate chip cookie is a cookie that is infinitely open to experimentation, they are almost impossible to screw up, and therefore stand as the litmus test of all bakeries, cafes and coffee shops. if you can't even get a chocolate chip cookie right, then why the hell am i going to trust your scrambled eggs or pork chops? i'd probably come out with worms AND head lice. (yes, your crappy pork chops would give me lice. because you failed at chocolate chip cookies)

i am still on the search, like so many in this world, for the chocolate chip cookie. luckily, or perhaps unluckily, as there are billions of palates in this world, there's millions of recipes. i have a folder in my bookmarks dedicated to nothing but chocolate chip cookie recipes. there are 17 recipes in it. most of them proclaim to be the "best" cookie ever, and extol its magnificence up and down, elaborating upon its crumb, and moistness, and chip-to-dough ratio.

what is my idea of the perfect chocolate chip cookie? well:

1. it has to be big. if you're going to eat a chocolate chip cookie, eat a chocolate chip cookie.
2. a high chocolate-to-dough ratio. notice i didn't say chip-to-dough; if you use those awesome chocolate discs instead of chips, then obviously you will have a higher ratio of chocolate but a lower ratio of chips. you will also have a high ratio of delicious.
3. soft. crisp is meringues and shortbread. hard is for biscotti. the perfect chocolate chip cookie must have a firm, chewy exterior, and a moist, almost gooey interior. and it must also have...
4. a good shelf life, meaning that it retains those texture variances for a few days, or as long as they last in the jar.
5. a good backbone. the dough has to have something to balance that chocolate. i recently tried my hand at browning butter for a cookie recipe, to develop those malty, caramel-y notes that people wax romantic over in food blogs. i unfortunately did it too well, and ended up with ghee. i used it anyway. they were ok. i also didn't use vanilla, having read earlier that day about a certain famous new york cookie shop that didn't use vanilla in their chocolate cookie recipes, and they have a cult-like following for their chocolate chip cookies.

again, they were ok.

so i have some baking to do, some practice to tuck under my belt--or gut, depending on how long it takes me to the get the recipe right and how many "failures" i'll have to taste test along the way. until then, here's a recipe that hasn't let me down yet, and is oh-so close to my perfection.

best big, fat, chewy chocolate chip cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda (i added a full teaspoon last time i made them, and they had, in my opinion, a better fluffiness to them without being cake-y)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted (if you know how to properly brown butter, by all means, rock on)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (sorry fancy new york bakery with slews of fans, but there was a little something missing when i didn't use extract. and it was extract.)
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (i used 72% chocolate disks)

now, when i make chocolate chip cookies, a secret i've learned is to make your dough, then refrigerate it for at least eight hours, longer if possible. i think my minimum in the past has been twelve, i usually strive for twenty-four; and i've read tell of those who say anything less than 36 hours is just a waste of time. if you need your cookies NOW, however, preheat to 325F. and you should have parchment paper. parchment paper is the BEST.

sift together your flour, soda and salt. my method of sifting is to whisk it with a fork. set aside.

cream together your melted/browned butter and sugars until well blended. beat in vanilla, egg and egg yolk until light and creamy. mix in dry ingredients until just blended. stir in chips/disks.

drop dough by the QUARTER CUP (1/4 CUP) onto your prepped sheets. no, really, do it. don't look at your silverware drawer for a tablespoon, grab your quarter cup measuring cup and fill it with dough, and then put that dough on a sheet. you will like yourself more for it, i promise. the original recipe says to leave three inches between, but i found that between the refrigeration, the extremely melted butter, and the extra baking soda, they keep their form fairly well, so you can probably get away with less room.

bake about 15-17 minutes, but definitely check at the 15 minute mark. you want toasty edges and sorta-soggy centers. let them cool for a few minutes on the sheets, then move them to a rack to complete their cycle of coolness.

there was something i was going to add and now i can't remember, dammit. OH! yes. if you end up refrigerating your dough, leave it in the fridge until your oven is heated and you're ready to start shoveling dough onto your totally prepped sheets. the cooler the dough, the more likely it is to maintain its form. it has something to do with the fats in the butter and whatnot.

annnnnnnd enjoy.