It's been a while since I've posted.
Seeing as it's 2012 (yay!!! ) /sarcasm , I guess in 2012 I resolve to blog more.
I not only want to blog more, I want to blog with a focus. I don't really have that much of a focus. I do have a food blog and I have a blog for my dogs, but I don't post on those as much as I should. So I think I'd like to give THIS blog some focus. I can't very well ramble on about everything and anything and expect people to be interested, right?
So -- 2012 -- the year of more blogging and more focus. We'll see!
Happy new year everyone!
It's been a while since I've posted.
Please vote for my cute little Astro! It's his first photo contest and he's all nervous he won't get any votes. Votes will make him feel so happy! Click HERE to vote for Astro!
OK in all seriousness, the Humane Society's SpayDay 2011 is such a worthwhile cause and every dollar raised goes directly to spaying and neutering animals.
You can vote for as little as $5 so please help if you can :)
For more information on the Humane Society, please visit their website.
I'm a Jimmy Buffett fan. This won't come as a surprise for those of you that know me. I've been to over 30 concerts, most at "Great Woods" (aka Tweeter Center, aka Comcast Center in Mansifeld, Ma but my love of Buffett music and concerts has brought me to Jones Beach, NY and even Las Vegas a few times. So bottom line, I love the music, and seeing Buffett live, is just something everyone should experience, oh at least ten or twelve times.
So on Friday, I received an e-mail from Ticketmaster (aka TicketBastard) saying Jimmy Buffett tickets for Mansfield, MA were going on sale on Saturday February 13th. I checked the dates, and it was looking good. I decided to try and get tickets right when they went on sale. Just so you know, tickets are generally hard to come by. They sell out within minutes (one time it was 4 minutes) of going on sale. You have to be really lucky calling in or using the internet.
As luck would have it, come Saturday morning, I woke up way to early (for a Saturday) and got distracted doing this and that and completely forgot about buying the Buffett tickets. I didn't remember until this morning at 8:00am -- 24 hours after they went on sale. On a whim, I went to Ticket Bastard and punched in 2 tickets, best available. I got the spinning icon and waited, and waited, and lo and behold, what was presented to me? Two Tickets. Available right now, for me! The seats were in section 15, all the way to the end. Now, those who know Great Woods/Tweeter Center/Comcast Center will recognize that section 15 is one of the "newer" sections that they built on a section of the lawn. So basically these are uncovered seats on an area that used to be the lawn (so they're not particularly good). Still, a seat was a valuable thing at a Buffett concert and I was happy anyway.
Happy, until I saw the price. I went from happy to confused, to downright pissed off. I think this screenshot captures it perfectly:
Do you see this? Base price for a crappy seat is $128.50? And, that's when I saw... the bear... hmmm no, that's not what I meant; I meant that's when I saw the "convenience charge". Sitting there, glaring at me - bold, cocky, and utterly ridiculous. But it was there, nonetheless, saying to me, "yeah, we know you really want these tickets. You're going to pay me, this fee. If you don't, some other sucker will!"
So I ask, what is a convenience fee? I assume it's something imposed on you because you are using the internet vs. walking up to a Ticketmaster window (do these still even exist?) -- however anyone who knows anything about anything, will realize an automated system (i.e the website) is cheaper to run than hiring a bunch of people to actually sell tickets (whether in a shop or on the phone)! Furthermore, the convenience fee is per ticket - which means that even though I am doing one transaction, the fee is per ticket. So it doesn't make sense that the convenience fee is anything to do with anything, except putting more money in TicketBastards pockets. It's important to note that Ticketmaster charges different convenience fees, based on the popularity and venue of the concert. Check it out - some are $13.50 per ticket. Some have none, even. So this 'convenience fee' is an arbitrary fee that they use to just plain get more money out of their customers.
And now that TicketBastard & Live Nation have merged, it's not going to get any better.
Now, the $7.50 facility fee per ticket? Isn't the $128.50 enough to cover that? I know that Comcast paid millions to get their name on the billing, however, why should I have to pay for it?
And finally, who sets the ticket prices? I have to say that I feel that $128.50 is a bit greedy for that seat (or any seat, really). Surely Mr. Buffett makes plenty of money on record sales, merchandise, beer, tequila, restaurants, prepared foods, and kitchen appliances that he doesn't need to bilk his fans for every last cent they have when they see him live. We love the music, we love the scene. We'll even buy an overpriced $40 tee-shirt, drink lots of Landshark Lager, do shots of Margaritaville tequila, and proudly display all of our Buffett paraphernalia we bought in the gift shop after dining at the Margaritaville restaurants. Clearly, Jimmy, we are giving you our money. Do you need to charge so much for the tickets?
I'm speaking with my wallet. I'm not buying ticket master tickets. I'm not going to any shows at the Comcast center, and sorry Jimmy Buffett, but there'll be a few less "real" parrotheads in the audience this year... I don't want a 12 pound Nestle crunch for $25, I'm mad as hell, and I don't want to take it any more.
From "Trouble on the Horizon" that Jimmy wrote in 1997 -
Ever cook a fabulous meal but had some leftover ingredients that you don't want to waste? Well the folks at the Kitchn have compiled a list of what to do with all sorts of leftover ingredients...
Check out the list here.
I'm going to become unravelled. (Not literally, of course)
I've signed up for this e-course that will help me see the real me. I don't know anyone that's done it but it sounds like a really interesting journey.
From the website
The Unravelling process is a new way to view your world, taking time to appreciate the beauty around you. And we do this in the simplest way – we stop and look.
We’ll be using the camera as a tool to unlock how we see not only ourselves but also the world we live in, including the immediate surrounds of our homes, places of work and our friends and family. We’ll delve into the past and turn our thoughts towards the future.
To read more:
The price for the 8 week e-course is 65 GBP (approximately $100 USD) so if it's not that interesting I won't feel terrible about it. I have to say, I'm pretty excited about this thing! It starts May 4th, stay tuned for more.
It's January 13th already -- new years was almost 2 weeks ago. My how time flies, doesn't it?
Anyway, I did manage to make several resolutions this year -- except I'm not really calling them 'resolutions' -- I've never been super successful with any New Years resolution so I figure I best be calling it something else for a greater chance of success.
So -- what are my 2009 goals? Glad you asked!
- Eat more green vegetables
- No trans fats! This will involve some label reading because not all foods that advertise "0 trans fats" are actually free of trans fats. You have to look at the ingredients and if you see "partially hydrogenated" oils .. bam! Trans fats. The labels can say 0 if they are less than .5 gram -- so this means that foods with hydrogenated oils have up to .4 of trans fats, and if you eat several servings of these "sneaky" foods, you could be getting a lot of unexpected trans fats
- Diet. Well not really a diet per say -- but healthy eating. Whole foods -- and only 20% fat per day.
- Increasing good fats like almonds, salmon, avocados
- Drinking more water -- I used to be so good with the water but lately I have just stopped. I need to go back to ensuring at least 64oz per day
- Drink green tea - it's so good for you so I'd like to drink at least 1C per day
- Ditch the fried foods -- I never really used to eat them that much but for the past year or so they've crept back into my diet. I want to eliminate them as much as possible. I do know that here and there it may be unavoidable but I will try to avoid at all costs. Besides, a baked sweet potato tastes just as good as french fries to me
- Tracking calories - I want to track everyday so I can see my progress.
- Exercise. I need to get back into it. I never really enjoyed it but I do know it's a necessity. Ideally I'd like to aim for 5x per week but I'll be overjoyed with 3x per week at this point
- De cluttering! This is a big one. I have TONS of shoes, handbags, and clothes that I need to sort through and get rid of. I want to have an organized closet! I plan to sell off my spendy bags and shoes and donate the clothing. With the handbag money, I'll probably buy more handbags, but my collection will be more rounded and I'll only keep bags that I will carry.
Long list, huh. Well I 'officially' started on January 7th. I have remained on track for all the health goals and I have lost 5.4 pounds (note the neat ticker I have on the right side of the page (if you're reading this on my blog site)-- it will update as I lose weight). I haven't started exercising or de-cluttering but that is coming soon!
So how delicious does a pumpkin pie martini sound? I'll answer that for you - it sounds damn good! Instead of making a boring old pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving, why not whip up a batch of Pumpkin Pie-tini's ?
Graham cracker crumbs
1-1/2 ounces milk (or splurge and use half and half -- it's the holidays)
2 tablespoons pumpkin puree
1-1/2 ounces vanilla vodka
1-1/2 ounces white crème de cacao
Cinnamon stick for garnish
Rim a chilled martini glass with graham cracker crumbs.
In a cocktail shaker with ice, shake milk and pumpkin puree to combine. Pour in vodka and crème de cacao and shake well. Strain into the graham cracker-rimmed martini glass. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.
The recipe makes 1 martini but you know as well as I do that one martini is never enough -- so multiply the recipe amounts by 8 and make a whole pitcher. Share if you like.