Dresden Files: Turn Coat

I just found out the title of the latest edition to the Dresden Files Book Series by Jim Butcher as well as the release date:

Turn Coat: April 2009.

It makes me think we will finally find out who on the White Council is really working for the bad guys. Intreguing thoughts pop to mind but that is for another post and/or podcast.

Olive Garden, no. Chinese Buffett, yes?

This is my dilema for the day – should I go to eat at an All-U-Can-Eat Chinese Buffett or the Olive Garden with my family tonight. You could easily say – Olive Garden, duh! But in an ugly truth, there is very little I can eat at the Olive Garden to stay within my calorie range for the day. Actually only 2 meals – Venetian Apricot Chicken (380 dinner, 280 lunch) or the Liguini alla Marinara (430 dinner, 310 lunch). While both seem yummy, neither sounds tempting to me right now. Especially since I will be working out right after dinner.

Everything else on their menu is over 700 a meal for dinner. And here is the saddest thing – on their Garden Fare menu there are (once again) no salads on their healthy diet menu. Unless you go with a plain salad without their dressing on it. Then its healthy. You can have the minestrone soup (which yummy!) but its not enough calories for  full mean on its own. So what can I do? In truth their website is NOT helpful at all in trying to find out the nutrional information on their food. You can go to their Garden Fare part of the website and get a small sampling of a few of their dishes but not all of them. And I can’t help with being on a diet, this kind of makes me not want to go there. I would really like to know the information about some of their other soups that I love. But nothing. And not much anywhere else.

In the day and age where you can get McDonald’s nutrional information online you would think a place with the name Garden would want to give you simiular information. Instead its just if you are trying to cut down on fat have one of these 4 meals. If you are cutting down on carbs here eat these – which by the way on the whole carbs portion of their guide, there is NO mention of what the calories are. But I did find out that the nice dish of Capellini Pomodoro which is at lunch 480 calories (and yummy sounding) is actually 840 calories at dinner. It bugs me when they do that… give you larger portions at dinner then at lunch and then push up the cost as well. This isn’t to say that I will never go there again, just not tonight. Maybe for their lunch menu when portions are smaller and I can have a little more variety to choose from.

And I will say that if I had to choose between the Olive Garden and the Marcaroni Grill, I would go with the Macaroni Grill just for their selections of healthier fooods over fatty bad foods.

So, I sent a text message to my mom. We will hit the Chinese Buffett. This is where my self-control will come into play. They have a salad section and fruit section. Those are very good things. I can make my own salad and have a nice fruit plate for dinner. In between stir fry and some baked chicken – which they sometimes have. Stay away from anything sweet ‘n’ sour and fried rice. White rice is your friend here. As well as some of the soups – which can be very high in sodium so stick to a single serving in one of their small bowls. And drink tea with no sweetner (green tea will be very good here) and water.

This is my goal for tonight. Wish me luck!

R2KT Coin

Do you know who R2KT is? I am not really sure how to describe her to those that don’t. I know it may sound weird to some but I always end up choked up and cry a bit when I think of the story behind a pink astrometric droid. But its always a story one should here – even if they aren’t huge Star Wars fans. The droid is a life size replica of R2-D2 but in pink and was built for a very special little girl: Katie Johnson (daughter of 501st founder Albin Johnson). To read the story of how R2-KT came to be built please go here. Okay, I can’t really type much more so I am just going to repost the news story of the  R2-KT Commemorative Coin that is being made to raise funds for Make-A-Wish.

Now fans of R2-KT, the pink Imperial droid with the heart of gold, can get their own collectible “challenge” coin and contribute to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the charitable organization that was so supportive to R2-KT’s inspirational namesake Katie Johnson. The commemorative coin is 1.5 inches in diameter with antique silver and nickel finish, dual plated with gold and soft enamel for the coloring. There is no limit to how many coins you may purchase, and all proceeds will be donated to Make-A-Wish. To pre-order your R2-KT coin, PayPal $10.00 US (includes fees and worldwide shipping) to plfarquhar@cox.net or e-mail for other payment options. Click here for an image of this very special coin which commemorates the girl who moved a Legion.

Thank you for your time. 😀

Ant vs. Elephant

I get a lot of questions from people when I say I try to shop at small local stores instead of large chain stores. And I guess the easiest way to answer is – working in a small store I can understand how hard it is to struggle against the monolithic chains. Its extremely difficult and in dealing with them sometimes is more headache then its worth.

Example – I work next door to a Target. The Target stores seem to think that because they are Target that they can do pretty much whatever they want without thinking about any other stores. Last year it was the reconstruction they did to expand their store. We found out the day it started even though being right next door, they didn’t think to let us know that they would be blocking the entrance to our store for 7 months. Making the old ladies that want to buy a Jesus statue or a few prayer cards or a rosary have to wade thru a construction zone. Not they have to worry about that – their entrance was moved to the far end of the shopping center. Their customers need not worry. This also added on the constant blocking of our back entrance where we receive delieveries of large amount of candles. When we would talk to them, they would just hand us to the next person in line. It was a complete and utter pain in the ass.

And I like Target. I really do, I shop there all the time. But I would rather not but sometimes you just can’t get what you want unless its from a chain store. Because the small stores that tried to compete with them no longer exist. Because you can’t. If you try – you lose.

Another example – we just found out that because a home improvement center wants to be in our shopping center (their closest location is 6 blocks away, oh dear!) we may have to disappear from a location we love. Because the owner of the shopping center doesn’t care. And the home improvement center definatly doesn’t  and when their construction may start – well, it will happen during the Christmas season. One of the two seasons that keeps us alive thru the summer time. Yeah, that will suck ass big time.

But the biggest example of all is Wal-Mart… I do not shop there unless I absolutly have to. They are the worst of the worst. They will go into a small community and carry the exact things being sold in the small stores and undercut the costs to get people to shop at Wal-Mart. Because if you go in for one thing, you will keep shopping for everything else while you are there. They don’t want you to go to another store for anything. The main reason – they want to be the only store that exists. There is a real evil behind that smiley face. And when I mean undercut – they will sell under the actual costs, to get people to distrust other stores who sell at the Suggested Retail Price. An average customer will think – if I can get this movie for 13.97 at Wal-Mart why do I have to pay 24.95 at so-so store? Why? Because the so-so store can’t even buy that movie at 13.97. Add in the fact that they are not good to their employees and pretty dang sexists (I experienced this first hand when I worked there and wasn’t allowed to take a break from cashiering until 7 hours into my 8 hour shift). You can find out more about this monstrosity here: http://walmartwatch.com/

And breathe….

Sorry, Wal-Mart gets me a little worked up from time to time. So, why do I shop locally… because I feel for the people who are suffering because Target, Wal-Mart, GNC, Chili’s, etc need to have just one more location a few blocks from the last one. Because people who put their entire livelyhood, finances, life, peace of mind, health on the line to fulfill a dream of owning a store happen… only to be destroyed by the Elephants of industry who only care about how much money they can make and how much they can destroy small businesses (that is mainly wal-mart). These small business’ don’t get bought out by bigger stores, they pretty much can lose everything because its easier for us to go to a Barnes & Noble then it is a small book store.  Or to a Chili’s because its known then trying out a new small family owned resturant whose food is just as good if not so much better. Its also another reason why I try not to shop online unless its something I can not buy in town. But thats another blog…

So, in today’s retail world its Ant vs. Elephant… and then Ant’s don’t seem to have a chance at all.

Imperial Crewman Update 1

(To keep things going smoothly I am reposting my initial costume updates over here from my original myspace blog posts.)

Also on my list of costumes is an Imperial Crewman. This will give me the ability to troop at events where my Fem Tusken may not be acceptable.

I found a hat online but I think I may of done the wrong thing buying on ebay. I don’t feel as good about it now as I did when I said I would buy it. But I guess I will have to take my chances now. l’sigh.

And in case anyone was wondering – no set goal for finishing this one. I have some of the things already but all my money for costumes is coming out a savings I set aside awhile ago to fund my costuming. Stupid and weird. Yes.

You can read more about my IC costume here: https://varzaland.wordpress.com/costuming/imperial-crewman/

Nomi Sunrider Costume Update 1

Yep, another one. This is another Rebel Legion costume that I am working on. This year at Bubonicon we are going to be having a period of time for a meet n greet for the Rebel Legion and since we only have a handful in the state I will actually need to wear a Rebel Legion costume for the event and in truth, I don’t want to sweat it out under my fem tusken. Plus, it is really really hard to talk to people with that mask on. This way, I can talk, move around etc in the costume. And this is the first costume I am making with an actual deadline that it absolutly needs to be done by.

Deadline – August 21, 2008 (Bubonicon starts on the 22nd).

Step 1 in this process is finding the materials. Yesturday I headed to the local Hancock Fabrics and found the perfect fabric for the pants a nice tan Buttersuede. A a great fabric for the cloak which is another suede fabric. Its simiular in colour but the textures are much different giving the cloak a nice weight for moving around and flow when I do. Unfortunatly, Hancock was having problems with the credit card authorization and I didn’t want to wait in line anymore so I left. Not like the fabric I was buying was on sale like the rest of the store. I had to choose non-sale fabrics. Argh 😀 Anyways, at least I know what I am getting so now I just have to get to the store. The pants will be the easiest part. I can make those in an hour. Easy. Finding the right green – now that is a COMPLETELY different story. Was in Hancock for over an hour without finding the right shade with a good fabric.

Step 2 – Lightsaber, found someone to make it for me. Just have to draw it out. Yeah!!


Salads… bad?

I went to dinner last night with the familia at the Macaroni Grill. It was an interesting experience later that evening when I happily went to the website to get the calories et al for the very nutrious, delicious Seared Scallop Salad that I had for dinner. Now I chose over the healthy chicken cause, duh salad good for you right? WRONG! The salad had 1320 calories in it which about 73% of the calories I am suppose to be eating in a day to loose weight (trying to stay around 1800 at the most) . 1320 calories! What the hell!? That is only 160 calories less then TWO Double Quarter Pounders with Cheese from McDonalds. On a damn salad of all things. On top of that there are 91grams of fat in the salad. Ugh… I am just glad I only ate part of it last night. And I am doubly glad that I went to the gym afterwards. Just wish I had worked out more now instead of heading home after about 45 minutes.

Here is the saddest part – the chicken I skipped over 330 calories. And in case you are curious the name of that chicken is the Pollo Margo “Skinny Chicken” which is a Grilled chicken breast with honey balsamic glaze served with grilled asparagus and broccoli. Those calories include everything in the dish. This was a 990 calories less then the salad.  And sadly there was another salad I was looking at and it was only 840, without dressing 490. Smack my head and call me Sally. While yes it was yummy yummy… but it wasn’t worth 1320 calories.

Now I know some of you reading this will probably say in your mind – yep, its always been like this. And while I have been aware that many salads were high in calories. I just never imagined they were that high in calories. I am not really one to count calories, I just want to hit an average and be aware of exactly what I am eating. At least now I know – I can still go the Macaroni Grill, I just need to be a bit more prepared and if I am completely and utterly not sure what is good for me, I need to just read the stupid little guide they give you and get a healthy meal from the menu.

Wrockstock 2008

While I have yet to be able to make a Wrockstock event, I can tell you – I wish I could. I just don’t have the time or the finances to go to one yet. But from what it sounded like last year – it was a complete and utter blast. The lady who is organizing the event is one heck of a lady. So if you love Harry Potter, Wrock Music (wizard rock), raising funds for charity  and like to meet just a few HP fans out in the woods, I say check it out. Main Website – Wrockstock 2008.

If you want to check out and find out more about the Wrock Movement go here: http://www.wizrocklopedia.com/

You Icky Ugly Wall…

I cam across my first wall today. Its all icky slimy and wet. I do not like it. Go away wall cause I don’t want to touch you. Anyone have any bleach I can clean it with so I can then break thru it? Stupid workout walls – my mind hates you.

The Cradle Project Auction

The Cradle Project is a local event to help raise awareness and funds for the children of Africa. From their website:

In Spring of 2008 one thousand cradles and cribs made by artisans from around the world will fill an abandoned warehouse in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  We call this vision The Cradle Project. 

The Cradle Project is a fundraising art installation designed to represent the plight of the estimated 48 million children who have been orphaned by disease and poverty in sub-Saharan Africa.

Our Mission is to promote awareness and raise financial support to help feed, shelter, and educate these children.

The Cradle Project’s vision is to utilize the symbolism of empty cradles and falling sand to represent the lost potential of these orphaned children.  Our goal is to amass a minimum of 1,000 cradles, all made out of scrap material.  We believe that if we can see enough potential in a piece of scrap to make a structure which cradles a child, why can we not see that much potential in our world’s forgotten children.  Empty cradles speak for themselves.  Juxtaposed to these cradles will be a wall of slowly falling sand, symbolizing how these lives, these cradles, this potential, will all be buried and never realized.

In an effort to raise funds, The Cradle Project is seeking sponsors for each of the cradles represented in this installation. Additionally, we will host an on-line auction where each of the cradles can be purchased.  Each cradle and artisan will be featured in our on-line gallery and auction. 

All proceeds from the sponsorship and purchase of the cradles will be donated to our partner organizations who work directly with orphans throughout sub-Saharan Africa to help alleviate the suffering caused by this dire situation.

People of all ages and from all around the world are invited to participate in this project.  If you are interested in making or sponsoring a cradle please refer to HOW TO HELP.

If you would like to propose or sponsor an exhibit please CONTACT US.

So the auction has started (on June 7th actually) and will run until June 17th. Unfortunatly, from what I can tell there aren’t a huge amount of bids on many of the cradles. Please take a look at the auction and bid if you can. There are some very interesting and beautiful pieces. And please pass the information on. Thank you!