Sunday, August 28, 2011

5th Blog!!! In which I have not blogged in a long time due to an obsession with canning

Hello there my bloggity friends!!

So yes, right off the bat let me apologize for my minor hiatus... I have found a new obsession to occupy my time with. I have been home canning all the fruits and veggies that I can get my little paws on!!! (Since I have had to explain this several times to people, I will explain it here as well... "canning" refers to the process of preserving fruits and vegetables in the home environment. "Canning" is a little misleading because you are actually technically "jarring" fruit or veggies and/or pickling them, then using either a water bath "canner" which is a large pot with a rack inside or a pressure canner which is kind of like a pressure cooker to remove the air from the jars making them shelf stable for usually 1-2 years. Think of your grandma's pantry. Lots of jars of peaches and probably homemade applesauce or pickles.)  So yeah! I'm the mutha flippin' domestic goddess up in this hizzie! Let me tell you how this happened...

At the beginning of the month I thought to myself "I wanna can some peaches this year." So I went to the store, bought some sugar and a case of mason jars and borrowed a large stock pot from my friend Kristian (who, by this favor single handedly facilitated this new additiction, and who I thank PROFUSELY for that!). Unfortunately (well, fortunately in the long run) the peaches at the grocery store were a little expensive and hard as rocks since they weren't in season yet. It only took that split second for me to decide that I would buy as much produce for canning as I could from the local farmer's market. (I like the SLC Downtown Farmer's market... some people don't dig the crowd and hubub, I tend to like it. There is a tuesday afternoon market that's not nearly as busy as its Saturday morning counterpart if you want to support the Downtown market but don't like the crowds.) HOWEVER... as it was Wednesday, I am extremely impatient, and they WERE on sale, I bought three bags of black cherries (6 pounds total) and took them home to can.

Of course, I'm not sure why I chose cherries, other than I like them and they were on sale. First, what do you do with them after they are preserved? Second, I have never eaten home canned cherries (and still have not actually) so I had no clue what they would taste like. But mostly, what the hell am I gonna do about all those pits?! I was stressing about having to go out and buy a cherry pitter when I found this awesome youtube video about how to bend a fork into a DIY cherry pitter!! Of course, I did have to do 6 POUNDS OF CHERRIES BY HAND!!! Rar!!! It was sticky and took a couple of hours but eventually I did it. I sanitized my jars (that was before I knew that with high acid food like fruit and acidic veggies you don't actually have to sanitize if you process longer than 15 minutes, as long as the jars are clean) made my sugar syrup (I did then, and continue to use an extra light syrup. I don't like a lot of sugar anyway, plus the fruit I have been getting is all local, in season, and beautifully sweet on its own) and then I did what I deem as my first canning mistake. Well I wouldn't really call it a mistake... I hot packed the cherries, meaning I put the fresh fruit in the boiling syrup for 5 minutes before adding it to the jars and processing them in the hot water. Its a method that some people use but it does degrade the color and fresh fruit flavor of the food. I'm sure they will still be good. But everything else I have raw packed, meaning just put the raw fruit in the jars, added the syrup, and then processed.


Apricots, dill pickles, refrigerator pickles, apple butter, peaches, pears, pickled beets, pear sauce (like applesauce but with pears. SO GOOD!), and not only canning fruit, but I've been jamming my little heart out too! I haven't crossed the threshold into real jellies and shelf stable jams yet but I have been making oodles of freezer jam; apricot, raspberry, peach, and even a peach raspberry sugar free jam!

I still have a few projects I want to do this year before the summer is over... mainly pickled green beans and maybe zucchini pickles (did you know you can make pickles out of more than just cucumbers?!), I'd love to do something with blueberries, and I keep watching the Ranier cherries at the store to see if they go on sale... they are SO tasty! I can imagine them in little jars on my counter like little jewels in light golden syrup! But I am anxious for fall for all the apples! I intend to make countless jars of apple butter, applesauce, apple pies, and for pumpkins... I hope I can find a recipe for homemade pumpkin pie filling and can it up for next year!

Other than all the canning I've been up to, I've also joined a DnD game (Dungeons and Dragons for the... wait... like anybody who reads this won't know what that is...) with some of my favorite peoples in the world (Yes, Indy, I'm talking about you, your man, muffin, and Sarah! P.S. Indy has a blog called "Adventures in Roller Skating", which you all should read.) I am having such a blast!! Last night we fought a white dragon and I literally almost died! I was down to -9 HP! I only had ONE POINT left!!! Thank goodness our airship has goblins on it who brew healing potions. I would have been sad if my brand new character died! Between gaming, canning, roller derby, and.... WAIT!!!! ROLLER DERBY!!!

Okay, the Red Rockettes are having our FIRST EVER real bout on September 8th at the Warehouse (1410 S 700 W in Salt Lake City) at 8pm!! Like us on Facebook! I am SOOOO excited but at the same time, so freakin scared! I have managed to avoid skating with the "big girls" for a long time. We have had picnic scrimmages that are open invite to any derby girl, but I don't do them because I don't feel like I'm a good enough to skater to skate with them. But on the 8th we are facing Happy Valley Derby Dames, the Utah County team, in a REAL LIVE bout! I hope I do good and don't get killeded!! I am going to be practicing a lot more lately as I have recently been inspired to put more effort into staying fit and improving my skill level, and I'm sure that after this bout I'm going to continue to be inspired if ya know what I mean... ;)

Last of all, here is some stuff I've been into that you might wanna be into. I am OBSESSED with Dr. Who... and the newest episode was last night and it was SO GOOD!! You can watch the latest incarnation of Dr. Who on Netflix streaming. New episodes are Saturdays on BBC America. I also recommend Torchwood, which is a spinoff and also very good. The new season of that is on Starz. Also if you happen to be into the whole canning thing or want to get started, I recommend the following blogs, Food In Jars, The Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking, and Punk Domestics. Last of all, I am trying to start a podcast with geeky girls talking about geeky stuff. Games, tv, movies, comic books, stuff like that. If anyone is interested comment here or on my facebook and I'll get in touch with you. (Speakin a podcasts, check out my hubby's won't you? The Punk N Pie Fraudcast. Its hilarious and stuff.)

So I figure... life is a little like canning... you take stuff when its at its best, and then you save it up and on a cold day, you pop open a jar and enjoy. I can't wait to still have summer peaches in the freezing January cold. :)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Fourth blog, In which my hair is pink and I hurt my leg in a stupid way.

Yes that's right, I dyed my hair pink. Let's get this out of the way right now... here ya go.

That's a picture of me with no makeup on at 8:30 am before my coffee.  Its a rare thing for the feral Charity-beast to be seen in its natural habitat. You should count yourselves lucky. All four of you.

So yes. Pink hair. If you're asking yourself why, the truth is (in a very Ramona-esque fashion) I change my hair a lot. Its really not a big thing, at least not for me. Hair is my ultimate accessory. I can't do much with it because it doesn't really grow well and there's not much to it, but I like to change my hair color with my mood. This year it has been red, black, blonde, black with blue highlights, and now pink. Its also gone through a few style changes, most recently with me trying for the first time to cut it myself. I found out that I am not good at cutting my own hair. It needs cut again but I'm thinking about giving it another try, just because  its easy for me to know how I want it to look (not so easy to get it there.) Also I'm a little embarrassed that I might go in and the straightforward Korean woman who cuts my hair might ask me what the hell I did to my head.

This week has been particularly trying in a lot of ways. Work has been hell. We currently have two coupons floating around online, one on City Deals and one on KSL Daily Deals. Every once in a while one of the sites will "feature" our coupon and then we will get a few dozen calls about them, which always makes my day tougher. However on Thursday, both sites featured us on the same day. I was getting so overwhelmed I just stopped answering the phone. Friday morning, which Fridays are always busier because I have to schedule technician routes for both Saturday and Monday, I walked in to the office and had 20 voicemails. I got so behind and in such a rush that I left the office without even scheduling Monday's route. I completely forgot. My boss had to come in on Saturday and do it for me. When I figured that out Monday morning I felt like a douche. But they were really cool about it so that's awesome. If anyone needs pest control, the company I work for really is pretty awesome.

After Thursday's grinding workday I was ready to let loose at roller derby. Especially knowing that after derby would be drinks at Piper Down and I personally had never gone to the post practice beverage party before. I was stoked. I could not stop watching the clock. We practiced one foot glides, weaving, hitting, skating in pack formation, and working together as pairs. Then, after changing my shirt and rinsing the sweat out of my hair (benefit #2 of having short hair) and off my face, we headed over to the bar. What was especially awesome was that my husband was there with me. I really treasure the rare occasions when we get to go out together and it meant to much to me that he tagged along. I'm sure that he was overwhelmed by the sheer release of all the adrenaline we had in our systems... there truly ain't no party like a derby girl party. We danced, drank, talked and cavorted all with the fervor that you might imagine 20 sweaty amped up girls would have. Enter my leg injury... someone decided that they would try to put their leg up on one of the support beams on the dance floor. In my mind, I thought "Well I was a dancer in high school and I used to be able to do that..." and then the shot of Jameson I just had added "so you can totally STILL do it!! Wooo!" So I hiked my leg up in a very cheerleader-esque pose (if your school had cheerleaders that were 40 pounds overweight,  slightly buzzed and not quite as flexible as they once were. I know mine did.) and my knee went "crack!" and I felt the familiar twinge of hyper-extension. Didn't stop me from doing it two more times. I did, after all, get my leg the straightest out of everyone. Silly girls.

So Friday came along with me limping and my work day overstuffed with too much to do. Saturday night was IndyGo Wylde's Corset and Glamour birthday party and again I was excited to hang out with my ladies. Now what happens at Gyro's house stays at Gyro's house for the most part, but I will say that I have never been so openly welcomed into a group of people as I was with these guys. I pulled out my sonic screwdriver LED flashlight and it was geek love all around. We talked about Dr. Who, Dungeons and Dragons, comic books, Star Wars, and we had shots... Indy and I had lots of shots of Jack Daniels. And I had some kind of lime rum and mojito mix stuff that tasted like lemonade. And there was food. Oh god the food. Cheescake brownies and creamy potatoes and a cake shaped like a woman in a corset... we had fun. We got drunk and hot tubbed and ate and watched YouTube... it was a ball. And I met a lot of new people that are geeks after my own heart. Sunday was spent tired and hung over, Monday was spent catching up from the weekend, and here I am now... um... blogging instead of taking advantage of this lull in my day to get caught up on paperwork. So with that, I had better plug away. But my sort of deep thoughtful closing remark of this blog is short, sweet, and pertinent... "Know where your loyalties lie." This is so important. Don't give credence (or Creedence. Nobody borrows my Creedence.) to people who are only your friends so they can get something from you. Give when it makes you happy to give, whether or not you get something in return. Give and return favors without holding back. Good, true friends and loved ones are rare jewels to be treasured. Know your worth and the worth of those around you and be true to who you are.

"I cannot abide useless people."

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Third Blog: In which Captain America is awesome, I make stuff, and I hate all my friends

Good morning.

So the first big story of the day is that I went to the advance screening of Captain America last night. Its always a good thing when a Big Movie Mouth-off prescreening happens on a night when Adam and I are both off, and then its even better when its a movie that I know "my people" will be at. ("My people" referring to the geek crowd; Geek Show and Dr. Volts friends mostly.) Walking into the theater I saw Jeff Vice (MSN, Big Movie Mouth-off, Mediocre Show) in his usual spot, center of the press section, and Radio From Hell's Kerry Jackson one row behind him. I said hi and then walked up two rows to our seats in the section on the left and well whaddya know? There's Dave from Dr. Volts along with my friends Jay and Casey (and someone I didn't know) sitting right behind us. Adam hadn't ever met Casey or Jay so it was nice to make the introduction. Across the theater one row back and on the far right of the center was my friend Rob and his wife. I knew they would be there because Rob had won VIP passes from Big Movie Mouth-off. And as I was walking over to say hi, Richie T (also of Radio from Hell) stopped me and said hello as well. (I mention where some of my friends are from so you can have a reference point, but I clarify that I consider all of the aforementioned people my friends or at least my familiar acquaintances.) All in all it was a veritable smorgasbord of geekiness and there was a real feeling of camaraderie in the theater. We all knew what we were there for... we were an ocean of outsiders united for a common purpose.

Also I made a shirt. See?
That's not the best picture of my face area... but you get the idea. I cut out fabric and just glued it to a black tank top with Tacky Glue. I have to tell you, the hardest part was definitely allowing for the stretch factor. Those ribbed tank tops kinda shrink together when you're not wearing them, and I have to *ahem* allow for a lot of stretch. So I basically had to glue it on while I was wearing it, then take it off, stretch the shirt around some books and then let the glue dry. I will probably add some stitching at some point just to make it a little sturdier, but last night I didn't have time. So yes, anyway, the movie...

I have to start by saying I really knew nothing about Captain America going into this. I have the Avengers animated movies on Blu-Ray that Adam got me two years ago for Christmas, but other than he was a super soldier from the '40's, I knew zip. The awesome thing is, that really didn't hinder my ability to enjoy the film. There was a great origin story; they didn't belabor the point but they didn't assume anything either. I was drawn in right from the start (although I couldn't help thinking about Lucas Lee from Scott Pilgrim who was also portrayed by Chris Evans. I just wanted Cap to say "That's actually hilarious..." But that could just be me.) The character origin I felt fit smoothly in with the rest of the story. I never got the feeling of "okay here is the part where they need to tell us where he came from." It was a great story, well written and full of action and humor. The only distraction was the 3D. Although this was probably the best 3D I have personally seen in a movie (the only other movies I've seen in 3D are Pirates of the Caribbean 4, Harry Potter 7.2, and Green Lantern) I just don't really care for the whole 3D thing much, especially in the beginning of the movie where Chris Evans' face is CG imposed on a skinny body, it was much more noticeable with the glasses on than off.

But yeah, there were lots of laugh out loud moments, lots of great action scenes, and a well written script with great acting. It reminded me a lot of the first Iron Man movie in that I found myself surprised and impressed and enamored with a story and a character that was pretty much previously unknown to me. Also it has the same great balance of humor and action and it kept all of us on the edge of our seats with big smiles on our faces for the whole movie. I have no complaints about the movie, other than there was no Avengers teaser at the end of the movie which I'm pretty sure was supposed to be there. Here's a link to it... its a leak online so watch it while you can. Also, Warning: contains shakycam and woots. I have to say though... at first I didn't really care that much about the Avengers movie coming out, but I loved Iron Man and loved Cap and now I'm getting excited. (Still haven't seen Thor. I know I know.)

Me getting to see Cap last night is the only thing I have on my friends who are at ComiCon right now. I have to say, I try to be a good friend and just be happy for them that they get to go, but I have to admit that I am feeling stabby hate envy toward them. Especially those who tweet, post, and facebook update all the fun they're having (Jimmy, Bryan,!) Mostly my jealousy stems from things like hearing stories from last year of drunk dancing with Joss Whedon to Summer Nights and hanging out with Nathan Fillion. Hanging out?! With Captain Mal?!?! I swear if I ever meet him all I'll be able to manage is a sincere Browncoat's salute and the word "Captain...". I mean, what do you say when you meet your heroes? I can't even imagine... And here they are probably about to meet him AGAIN! So yeah... I haz a jealous. But hey, I got to see Cap and they haven't yet. And at this point I need to start focusing on my own Con experience: Anime Banzai coming up in October. I need to see if I can save up enough money for my cosplay outfits and wigs and accessories etc. But my friend Travis is coming up from Cheyenne and I have a feeling we are gonna have a blast! More on that later.

On a side note, no roller derby for me tonight, which sucks because I know we will be learning from a pro tonight. I haz a foot boo boo and plans tonight to see Crazy, Stupid, Love with the hubby. Like I said, our date nights are rare and I take full advantage of every one I can get. But I do know that we are doing drills again next week so I'm looking forward to that. P.S. If you want to do roller derby with me, you can contact the Red Rockettes via facebook or

Well I don't suppose I have anything really thought provoking to close with today. Go see Captain America when it comes out and if you haven't seen Firefly yet its on Netflix streaming and everyone should give it a watch. And if you're at ComiCon this week I hate you. Not really. But kinda.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Second Blog, in which nothing much has happened, I got my nails done, and someone convinces me to break out of my comfort zone

Hello again!

Well, in the last few days other than more than my share of personal drama, nothing much has happened. I did go to roller derby on Thursday night and I have to say, I think I was put in my place a little bit. I have been thinking that I've been doing quite well these last few scrimmages, but this week I felt like I hit a wall. Sort of literally. I have gotten to be a sort of fast jammer, which has been getting me through the jams ok, but my skills as a blocker have been weighed, measured, and found Wanton... as in she found me and knocked me the hell down. I just can't get past her, or any of the other even decently good blockers. I get up against someone willing to hit me and I just go down. It seems like I need to work on staying solid on my skates but also on my confidence to hit back. The answer, practice practice practice. And derby stance. Cuz that seems to be the answer to most things. Tits over knees over toes. Its amazing how quickly we forget the basics when we move ahead.
I have so much fun when I'm jammer, skating fast and scoring points and maneuvering around the other skaters... but I know that I need to improve my blocking skills to become a good jammer. A jammer who falls down with the slightest hit is no good. And a jammer who spends half of the jams in the penalty box (read: back blocking) is not only no good, but a liability. So I need to learn to bend my knees, stay low and compact, and really focus on improving my dexterity on the track. No small task, but at least I know what I need to improve. P.S. My exploded knee didn't actually seem to get in the way much, but I was hella sore the next day.

Also, in preparation for the advance screening of Captain America on Wednesday, I got my nails done blue and white. I did green with green glitter for Green Lantern, so I figure, this is a thing now. I have other themes for other super heros in mind, and if they have movies coming out I can coincide with the  release dates. Yes, I know. I'm a geek. And proud.

So I have this friend, right? And he's been telling me that I need to start doing fun stuff for myself that makes me happy. I mean, I do roller derby and that makes me happy... but apparently I need to do other stuff. Or so he says. So when he asked me what makes me happy and I replied, "I dunno, singing..." he said that I am now forced to do open mic night at a local coffee shop. In 6 days. So... yeah... I'm a little nervous but at the same time excited. This is something I've wanted to do for a long time, but I get so scared when I sing in front of small groups in an intimate setting. Its really going to test my chops. I think I'm going to sing Landslide by Fleetwood Mac if I can find someone to play it for me. Yeah, I know... Stevie Nicks isn't exactly kid stuff. The unlikely godmother of the goth scene is one of the musical heroines of her generation. So I better get it right. If I actually decide to go through with this I will post the where and when... hrm... where to find a guitarist...

And finally, I have been using most of my free time blazing through the first season of Torchwood. I am almost at the end of Season 1 and according to people who like that show too, I am in for something big at the end. I will make it there tonight (hopefully) so we shall see. At any rate, I am missing my Dr. Who and can't wait til Wednesday when Adam and I will get to delve in again. I am crossing my fingers that we finish season 3 by the end of the week. *Squee!* (P.S. If you know any Timelords, I could really use a few weeks leapfrogging through time. Just park the Tardis in the driveway and come up and ring the bell. Thanks!)

So I guess that's it... nothing much has really happened this week so far. Its been a little bit of a stressful week and I find myself analyzing things and really digging deep to try and reevaluate my feelings on life, love, religion, and happiness. A very wise old Jedi once said "Do or do not... there is no try." The words may seem harsh, especially to a whiny and impatient young Luke Skywalker. And while it seems difficult and maybe even unfair to boil all of life's experiences into two choices, its kind of true. Did you do it or didn't you? Column A or column B? You pick one or the other... but you can't have both. Or neither for that matter. So you either stay back entirely or you dive in with all you've got. I think the true meaning of Hell may be those few instances in our lives where we just sit... simmering in our lives like a damning pot of soup. Just sitting... just being ok... just being fine. And according to a particularly inspiring Switchfoot song that has gotten me through some of the hardest moments of my life, "When I wake in the morning, I want to blow into pieces, I want more than just ok. More than fine, more than bent on getting by, more than fine, more than just ok." So I guess that's why I let myself get dragged into doing this open mic thing. And I guess that's why every couple of years or so I give myself a wake up call that I've settled into a routine and I need to get out. And hopefully we can all resolve to be more than just "ok". For ourselves and for our loved ones and for the force that created this world and our lives. And for the Force its self actually. Cuz you never know when a Dalek invasion will hit or a Klingon warship will blow up the earth or an Imperial superweapon will use us as a pawn in an attempt to glean strategic information from Rebel forces. I'm just saying... do you really wanna be stuck at your dead end job with your finger up your nose when the Cybermen attack? I didn't think so. Go make your life spectacular. That's an order, soldier. Its amazing how quickly we forget the basics when we move ahead.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

First Blog... Introductions Are in Order

WARNING: Contains gratuitous use of parenthetical expressions. NSFEM (Not Safe For English Majors.)

Well hello there.

I have decided, in what may well be the greatest ego trip of my life, to join the ranks of many of my geek friends and fellow derby girls and start a blog.

Ego trip? Me? I know, it seems unlikely. But I think it takes a certain amount of ego to assume that anyone wants to hear what you have to say... whether you're posting on your Facebook wall that you made spaghetti for dinner or you're sky writing your proposal to your girlfriend above Spring Mobile Ballpark... you have to assume that people put stuff out into the world thinking, or perhaps rather hoping, that someone will go "Oh, that's interesting." And so I too will be competing for that same span of attention that you give to YouTube cat videos and scathing movie reviews in between phone calls at work. And hopefully I can give you something fulfilling, entertaining, or at the very least less boring than your work day, to insert into that little moment in time.

Ladies and gentlemen, please keep the expectation bar low and on your lap until the blog comes to a complete stop.

So having established that indeed I have now become an amateur blogger, now we must establish plot. So what the hell is this thing about? Well here again is the ego trip, since its mostly going to be about me. I am a girl geek, which gives me some interesting perspective I feel. I like comic books, anime, sci-fi, fantasy, Dr. Who, Firefly, Star Wars, movies, podcasts, and some gaming (HeroClix, role playing, board, not so much video). I consider myself a Jack of all trades and a master of none... I know a little about a lot but I don't know everything about really anything. The only comic books I have read from start to current are Sweet Tooth, Walking Dead, and Fables. I only saw two episodes of the Walking Dead tv show so I can't debate continuity with you, though I do know some of the details of the show and I'm happy to compare what I know. That's a perfect example of my level of knowledge on most things that I'm a geek about. I love Star Wars and have tattoos of the Empire and Rebel symbols (don't tell me to pick a side! I don't have to!) but sometimes I mix up the names of Jawas and Sand People. And one time I forgot the name of the thing in Jabba's palace that tries to kill Luke... you know... the big ugly thing... the Octomom. Yeah, that's it. (Clearly I mean the Rancor... that's my sad attempt at topical humor. See that's a joke within a joke cuz the Octomom is so last year... hmmm. Anyway, I digress. Probably ought to close out these parenthesis too... ok here we go...) And I've seen all of the Harry Potter movies a million times (even went to the advance screening of Deathly Hallows 2... nerdgasm btw... it was awesome.) but I have only read the first two books. I'm not a purist on many things, I'm not an expert on anything. But I am a little obsessed with Firefly and Serenity and I know about as much as a person can know about it. Hence the title of this blog.

I am also a recreational roller derby girl (The Red Rockettes woot woot!), musician (i.e. singer, for the most part. see also: Radio Courtesy on iTunes), and an active podcast listener.  I get most of my geek news from and For the record I also listen to with Marc Maron and Stuff You Should Know podcast. And of course, since my slightly geeky, very musical hubby has a podcast, I am a listener and advocate of his show The Punk N Pie Fraudcast Podcast which can be found on facebook here and can be listened to either by linking from Facebook or at

So... introductions aside, the basic content of this blog... thingy... will be me, my life, my experiences, and commentaries on all of the above. I am not a movie reviewer but I do go to a lot of advance movie screenings (courtesy of my friends at Big Movie Mouth-Off) and may put up my opinions on said movies every now and again. Same goes with comics, tv, or anything else I may or may not consume. (I do have passes for the advance screening of Captain America for Wednesday, so plan to hear from me on what I thought about that.)

I do have roller derby tonight, which will be interesting since I fell (up the stairs... cuz I'm hard core that way.) and exploded my knee last week. Its still a little tender so hopefully some ibuprofin and adrenaline will stave off the pain at least until after the scrimmage. More on that later.

Well boys and girls, this should prove to be an interesting journey. Lets take it together and see where the hell we go. I'm Charity Vasquez, geek, derby girl, wife, musician, and I aim to misbehave.