Honesty Time

Keeping it real since 2013


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Summer Bucket List

This is that strange time  of  year when it could be snowing one day, and warm enough to wear shorts the next. I mean, just yesterday I had to  clean snow off of  my car before work. Today, it’s 60 degrees and sunny. As I sit at my desk at work, attempting to drown out the cacophony of my coworkers’ coughing, I can’t help but think about all of the things I want to do, once the weather really, finally warms up for a few months. Here’s my list of all the things I want to do this summer:

  1. Go hiking. I love hiking, but I don’t do it enough. Last year, my friends and I decided we wanted to have a summer of hiking, but we only went once when we were in Vermont. But we live in New Jersey, and there is hiking everywhere! Rachel and I have big plans for this summer.
  2. Go to California. This might be cheating to put on this list because I already know for sure it’s happening. I’ve never been to California, but Amanda and I just booked a trip to San Diego for June! I’m so damn excited.
  3. Play hooky to go to the beach. I did this  one day last summer – just took a random day off work to go to the beach with Amanda and Justin. I grew up near the Jersey shore, and I used  to go a million times  a summer. Now that I work, I’m forced to only go during weekends or on holidays, when it’s  sooo  crowded and miserable. There’s something about being at the  beach when you are supposed to be at work that makes it that much better.
  4. Go to the  Camden aquarium. I love aquariums so much. But I’ve  lived in New Jersey my entire life, and I’ve never been to the aquarium in Camden. It’s shameful, really.
  5. Go to concerts. I usually go to at least one concert every summer, but I didn’t go to any last year. I already  have tickets  for June to see Train and The Fray. But I want to go to more! I love live  music.
  6. Have a scavenger hunt. I love scavenger hunts. My friends and I  have talked about doing one  in New York City, and I want it to happen so badly. There are a ton of different options. Like this. Or this. Or this. I’ve never really gotten to be a tourist in NYC, even though I’ve been there a million times. What better way  to see our city than making it a game?
  7. Go geocaching. This goes hand-in-hand with going on a scavenger hunt. It’s a similar idea. I love the idea of geocaching and how it can bring you on an adventure in your own neighborhood. I think it’s so fun, and I want to try it.
  8. Have a  barbecue. This probably shouldn’t be on my list because every summer always has BBQs. It’s not like I have to  go out of my  way to find one. But I’m hungry right now and I want a hamburger.
  9. Go strawberry picking. I’ve been apple picking a million times, but never strawberry picking. New Jersey  has the best strawberries, and I want to eat them  all!
  10. Reread Harry Potter. So I’ve read each book at least three times. Doesn’t mean I love them any less. And, seriously, is there  anything better than sitting outside in the summer, reading and drinking lemonade? No. There isn’t.

So, there you have it. All of the things I could think of, off the top of my head, that I definitely want to do this summer. What am I missing? What’s on  your list? Are you as ready for this  winter to be over as I am?

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Pudding Cookies

This is real. This is happening. I made up a recipe and everyone needs to make it.

You guys, I really like cookies. Surprise!

I bought banana pudding for our food blog, Food365. I didn’t use all of it, so I had to decide what to do with the rest of it. I love pudding cookies, so that seemed like a good way to go. And what goes well with bananas? Peanut butter. And what goes well with peanut butter? Chocolate. And that’s how this happened.

A real, actual recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 box instant banana pudding mix

Directions

  1. Beat egg, brown sugar, peanut butter, butter, and vanilla.
  2. Mix in flour, pudding mix, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for approximately 2 hours.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  5. Grease cookie sheet.
  6. Scoop chilled dough onto cookie sheet.
  7. Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes.
  8. Let cool.
  9. Shovel into face.

I didn’t take pictures as I was making it because I didn’t know that I was going to blog about it. But the only picture that really matters is the final result, yes? So here it is:

 


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Mildly Philosophical Ruminations from an Incredibly Exhausted Person

Bear with me, because I am tired, and sometimes when I get really tired, shit gets real. Also, sorry I just said “shit.” Twice.

On Monday, I was talking to my friend about how fast my day was flying by. Nothing different than normal was happening, I was just busy and focused on what I was doing. And I was excited that my day went by quickly, and she was bummed because hers didn’t. And today we were talking about what a long week it was, implying that the fact that it felt like a long week meant that it wasn’t a good one.

And then I had an epiphany of sorts – the fact that the mark of a good day for us is one that goes by fast…is kind of upsetting. It’s not a case of “time flies when you’re having fun.” It’s…“I don’t want to be where I am so I can’t wait to get to the next place.” And that just doesn’t sit right with me.

I feel about most days of work like I did about school when I was younger. I don’t mind what I’m doing, but I’m also happy when it’s over at the end of the day. I just find myself complaining about being in one place, hoping to be in another. And then I get to that other place…and nothing is actually better there.

I liked school. I like working. I like learning. I like writing. I like being busy and being engaged in what I’m doing. And I’m lucky enough that I have a job that lets me do all of those things. But I still get excited for the clock to strike 4 and I get to go home to…do nothing, really.

I’m not articulating this correctly. I don’t not like what I do. That’s not what I’m trying to say. I’m trying to figure out why it is that everyone I know just seems to be waiting for something better to come along, myself included. We are just never satisfied with what we have, even if intellectually we know it’s a good thing.

It’s like that old MTV dating show Next. Oh, yes, this is about to happen. I always got frustrated with those people on the show who had a good date with someone, but then said “next” to them anyway, just because someone better might be still on the bus. I just don’t want to keeping “nexting” every day, hoping for something better that may or may not come. (Now is not the time and place to talk about those jerks who would “next” someone as soon as they got off the bus…I’m still developing this analogy.)

I have to reel this in before this devolves into a post solely on bad MTV dating shows that aren’t even on TV anymore (OMG, do you guys remember that show Date My Mom?)

I know it’s normal to have some bad days where you just don’t want to be at work or doing whatever it is that you have to do. But the mark of every single day should not be: good = fast; bad = slow.

I don’t want my life to speed by me. I don’t want to constantly be waiting for the next good thing to happen while I’m just wishing that what’s happening right now is over. I don’t want the majority of my conversations with my friends to be about how bored we are and how unhappy we are about this or that. I hate that our first reaction to seeing someone we know getting married on Facebook isn’t to be happy for them, but to judge their dress and their choices, etc. I don’t want to be that person. I’m not a particularly optimistic person by nature, but that doesn’t mean I have to be so negative, does it? I always say that I hate complainers…but I find myself turning into one. I mean, look at me right now, complaining about how much I’m complaining.

Clichés be damned; I want to be the type of person that appreciates the present. I don’t want to do things just for the pictures that I’ll get out of it that I can post online so people will like them on Facebook or whatever. I want to be able to enjoy things in the moment, and not fixate on how everything can be better. I want to be happy for people when good things happen, and I don’t want my first reaction to be to tear them down, even if they won’t hear me doing it.

How the hell is the future supposed to be any better than the now if you aren’t actually doing anything to improve it? When all you do is complain instead of appreciating that, in the scheme of things, our lives are pretty damn wonderful.

Was this all nonsense? Probably.

Am I high right now? I don’t think so.

Am I incredibly tired and having a really weird week? Maybe.

Do I still think this is something worth remembering and thinking about? I do.

Now listen to this song because Max Bemis is way more prolific than I could ever hope to be. “Your life is always the post of something else/Where’s the present in the way that you present yourself?”


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I Saw My Favorite Survivor Podcast Live and Now I’m Forcing You to Read About It

I know that the people that normally read this blog are not the target audience for this (I think I start every Survivor blog I write like that), but I had the best time ever last night and the world needs to know.

You guys, do you realize that the last time I wrote a post about Survivor was a whole year ago? Are you proud of me? Good, because I’m about to ruin it. Sort of.

I’m not going to talk about why you should watch the show or nerd out about Sociology like the last times. I’m going to talk about my favorite podcast…which I got to see live last night.

You guys know about my love for podcasts in general, but more specifically Rob Has a Podcast (RHAP) and the host Rob Cesternino (not in a weird way). And last night I got to meet him! During the Survivor season, Rob and Stephen Fishbach host a live video podcast after the episodes every week, recapping the events. It’s called “Survivor Know-It-Alls” and it’s basically the best hour of my week. Sometimes I even like it better than the actual show.

Last night, Rob flew out to NYC and him and Stephen hosted a live show in front of an audience of 300 people at the Gotham Comedy Club in NYC. There were a ton of other Survivor players there, plus the other RHAP hosts.

My friends Diana, Alex, Gary, Charlotte, and I bought tickets back in November. We’ve been freaking out about it for months. We couldn’t get tickets to the last New York show, but we made sure to get them for this one.

At one point last night, I announced something along the lines of “I am more excited to meet these people than I would have been to meet NSYNC in 1998.” Truer words have never come out of my mouth.

Which to non-fans I suppose would sound silly…why are you excited about getting to meet people who were on a reality show? Or people who weren’t even on the show, but are involved in podcasts about it? Because Survivor is more than a reality show. It’s the base of what has become, over 15 years and 30 seasons, a community of some of the most interesting, intelligent, and fun people I have ever had the pleasure of talking and listening to.

Sucking kneecaps? You betcha.

But enough of that. No one cares about what I’m saying. You want to see what it was really like. Don’t worry. I’ll shut up now before I get carried away and let you look at pictures of the night. Sorry, there’s a lot of them.

Waiting in line:

The night started with everyone getting seated before the episode began. Rob greeted Stephen, we all said happy birthday to everyone’s favorite RHAP contributor, Josh Wiggler:

rhap1

During commercial breaks during the episode, Rob brought up various players from the audience. Andrea passed the Miss Survivor title (and the sash and crown) to Natalie:

Nicole (Rob’s wife) came up to say hi:

Spencer got the Mr. Survivor belt:

rhap3

Parvati said hello:

And then the episode was over, and the taping of Survivor Know-It-Alls began:

We got appearances from a ton of players in the audience, including Shirin’s “cousin” and Parvati:

IMG_0514

Spencer and Eliza joined the fun:

Bryce, Sophie, and Andrea came up:

And then the whole gang was up there. Shirin, Naydia, Natalie, Bryce, Spencer, Rob, Stephen, Eliza, Fincher, Sophie, Parvati, and Andrea:

IMG_0535After the show, we all went to a bar around the corner, where my friends and I got to meet a whole bunch of Survivors/podcasters.

I think my favorite part was the 15 minute long conversation we had with Josh, Antonio, and Mike about Lost/Game of Thrones/Breaking Bad/Top Chef and Survivor Historians. “It’s like you’re getting your own private podcast!”-Antonio. They were all super nice and friendly.

Us with Mike:

Us with Mike and Antonio:

We met the Twinnies and some CrossFit talk ensued:

We talked to Spencer for a while, and he was just as awesome as you expect he would be. We were taking a picture with him, when Stephen randomly jumped in. And then Rob jumped in. And what happened has become what I have dubbed “The Greatest Picture to Have Ever Pictured in the History of Pictures.”

We chatted with Bryce and Shirin for a bit:

And, finally, before we left, we had to get a picture with the man himself, Mr. Rob Cesternino:

All in all, it was an amazing night. It was so much fun, and all the Survivors and podcasters were great. So thanks to Rob and Stephen for doing this, and thanks to everyone for coming out and being so cool. And I’ll say it again for the 800th time on this blog: if you don’t watch Survivor, then what the hell are you doing with your life?


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Working from…Work on a Snow Day: A Tutorial

A lot has changed in my life since this time last year. I moved to a new apartment, which means I am no longer dealing with the commute from hell. I live really close to my office now. Which also means that when it snows, unless there’s a legit state of emergency, I don’t really have an excuse to not go into the office. If the office is open, I’m probably going to be there, even though almost no one else is. Last year, I wrote a tutorial about how to work from home on a snow day. Which was especially fun because I was living at home with my parents and they have cats. This year, I’m going to write you a tutorial about to work in the office on a snow day. There are no cats.

On days when the normally bustling downtown look like this:

You can probably expect to be one of the only people in the office.

Don’t be alarmed if it seems like you are the only person left in the world:

IMG_0417

Once you get to the office and realize that you will probably be the only one around, it’s okay to get weirdly excited about how quiet it will be. Making it much easier to get a jumpstart on all the work that’s due in the next couple weeks:

Don’t be afraid to look up information on drug laws in Florida:

It’s for something I was writing for work, I swear!

Also, make this face:

It’s fine to start talking to your rubber ducks like they are your coworkers:

I call them Bryan, Connie, Kevin, James, Felice, Anthony, Lou, Jason, and Rocco.

I call them Bryan, Connie, Kevin, James, Felice, Anthony, Lou, Jason, and Rocco.

And yes, half of the lights in the office are off. Don’t turn them on. You live in the shadows.

Get irrationally annoyed with your “motivational” calendar:

IMG_0430

Braid your hair for funsies, then make this face:

Get really excited because your boss decided to buy pizza for everyone, and then eat lunch twice.

Elvensies and luncheon, duh.

Oh, wait. Here’s a very special email:

Uh…tutorial over. Gotta go. Byeeeee.


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An Exciting Announcement and a Ridiculous Story

The Exciting Announcement

I started the project of creating the EncycBROpedia in June. Today, I finished it. Well, not “finished,” exactly. I suppose it technically is always a work in progress. But I finally filled in all of the entries that have been sitting in there, blank, for 8 months. So everyone should check it out and learn more about who we are and our crazy language.

The Ridiculous Story

Now, to accompany the EncycBROpedia and entice you to read it, I’m going to share a story that I wrote for Rachel’s birthday back in 2011. I linked throughout it to corresponding definitions in the EncycBROpedia, although this story doesn’t even begin to cover most of it. This story is chock full of our references and inside jokes and crazy sense of humor. It’s long. And most people won’t understand it. Keep in mind that I wrote this for my best friend as a silly birthday gift. I am full aware that it is completely bonkers. But I like to think it’s worth a read. Also, there’s a song involved. And pictures!

The Magical Adventures of Rack in The Forest-By Lori Reiter

Prologue-“The Fedora Princess of Drew”

(To be sung to the tune of the theme song from “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”)

Now this is a story all about how
Rack’s life got flipped, turned upside down
And I’d liked to take a minute, just sit right there
And tell you how she became the princess of a place called Drew…air?

In central Jersey born and raised
At the barn is where she spent most of her days
Ridin’ some horses and acting all cool,
Until she went on an adventure and had a kitchen stadium duel
One day a few guys who were up to no good
Started making trouble in the Drew woods
She fought the evil chipotle-using Bobby Flay

She kicked his ass and saved the day
Then she won the heart of Prince of Fedoras, Jason Mraz
And everybody celebrated with a trip to Shanghai Jazz

Bobby Flay was defeated, no more need to fear
Now that Rack, the new Fedora Princess was here
If anything I can say this story is rare
But it’s just the beginning so continue with care

Ruling over Drew was this girl’s fate
And after her and Jason’s wedding date,

She looked at her kingdom and she finally knew
That it was time sit on her throne as the Princess of Drew.

Chapter One-The Visitor

There was once a girl named Rachel “Rack” Denning, a seemingly ordinary citizen of the wooded kingdom known as Drew, or “The Forest.” Like all citizens of Drew, Rack spent her days sword fighting and her nights drinking alcohol. No one, least of all Rack, thought that she could be the one who would be chosen to save all of the people of Drew.

One Thursday night, after Rack and a few of her closest friends were doing peppermint patty shots, Rack was in her room getting ready for bed. Suddenly, a figure appeared in her bathroom mirror.

T.I.?! Is that you?” Rack exclaimed. She was very intoxicated at this point, so naturally she just assumed that she was hallucinating.

“Yes, young Rackel, it is I, recording artist and sometimes felon, T.I.,” he responded. “This is no hallucination.  I have come to you with a message.  There has been a prophecy.”

“A prophecy! How interesting. Please, T.I., tell me more.”

Chapter Two-The Evil Reign of Bobby Flay

“Before I can get into the details, we have to look into the past, at a world that existed before you were born. You see, Drew was not always the medieval paradise that it is today. In fact, 22 years ago it was ruled by an evil dictator by the name of Bobby Flay.”

Rack gasped. “Yes, I have heard of this Bobby Flay. Under his reign, Drew was a land filled with chipotle-flavored devastation.”

“Exactly. And, I am sad to say, he has returned.”

“Returned? How could he have returned? I thought he was being held in the DoYo, Drew’s maximum security prison.”

“You are correct, Rack,” T.I. replied. “Bobby Flay was being held in this prison, where my very dear friend T-Bone was the head guard.  But then, a few months ago, Bobby Flay’s right-hand man, G. Love, broke into the prison.”

“I thought G. Love was Prince Jason Mraz’s best friend?”

“That’s what we all thought, as well. He even wears a Royal Fedora. Alas, he fooled us all. He has been working for Bobby Flay all along.  G. Love, along with his followers, known as The Special Sauce, caused a prison riot.  In the process, they killed T-Bone and Bobby Flay escaped.”

“T-Bone is dead? I heard he had a fabulous head of gray hair.”

“He really did,” T.I. said, sadly.

“Rumor has it,” he continued, “that Bobby Flay is planning on overthrowing the true prince of The Forest, Jason Mraz.”

“Bobby Flay thinks he can defeat the Prince of Fedoras? Never!”

“But he can defeat him, Rack, which is where you and the prophecy come in.”

Chapter 3-The Prophecy

“Have you ever heard of the Brothers Hanson?”

Rack shook her head no.

“The Brothers Hanson are the most powerful prophets in Drew,” T.I. explained. “While they spend most of their time playing Magic the Gathering with their followers in the village of Riker, they sometimes have these powerful visions. No one knows why the visions come to them, but I think it is their beautiful golden locks and melodious singing voices. One day, not too long ago, Taylor Hanson, better known as “the cute one,” had a vision of a young girl, on her 22nd birthday, meeting the evil Bobby Flay and defeating him. Rack, I have spent months popping up in girls’ bathroom mirrors looking for the one, and I have finally found you.”

“Me?! Why me?”

“You’ve been to space camp!” T.I. responded. “You are the chosen one. You only have one week until your birthday, you must leave first thing in the morning.”

“Leave? But where must I go?”

“To find the Brothers Hanson, of course. They can tell you more.”

“Well, can I bring some people along to help?” Rack asked.

“You can have whatever you like,” T.I. responded, fading away in the mirror.

“Wait, when will I see you again?”

“My work here is done,” he said, faintly. “I have found you, which fulfilled my destiny. It is now time for you to fulfill yours.”

And with that, Rack was alone in her bathroom, drunk, confused, and scared.

Chapter 4-The Order of the Fedora

Rack woke up the next morning, hung over and with the vague idea that she was supposed to do something today.  Suddenly, she remembered. Did I really see T.I. in my bathroom mirror last night? Rack thought.

Just in case she hadn’t hallucinated the whole thing, Rack called up the most apt people she could think of to accompany her on this epic adventure and asked them to meet her at what she decided would be their secret location, Wawa.

One hour later, Rack, Shane West, Mandy Moore, Dean Portman, Fulton Reed, and Joey Parker were chatting over subs in the parking lot of the nearest Wawa.

“So, what you’re saying is, you want us to help you defeat the most evil dictator who has ever lived?” asked Shane West.

“Basically, yes.”

“We’re in,” said Portman and Fulton, bumping fists. They called themselves “The Bash Brothers.”

“What about you guys?” Rack asked.

“Come on, Rack. Of course I’m in. What’s my name?” asked Joey Parker.

“Um, Joey Parker?”

“Exaaactly.”

They all stared at him blankly. Rack turned to Shane and Mandy. “What about you guys?”

“Rack, there’s a song that’s inside of my soul. It’s the one that I try to write over and over again. I’m awake in the infinite cold, but you sing to me over and over again—”

“I….sing to you?” Rack interrupted.

Mandy ignored her. “So, I lay my head back down, and I lift my hands and pray. And I know now, you’re our only hope.”

“Um, so you’re in, then?”

“Yes.”

“Shane?”

“Sure,” he replied, “Why not?”

“Okay, well, I decided to call us the Order of the Fedora, in honor of Prince Jason,” Rack said. “Let’s do this thing, bros.”

Chapter 5-The Brothers Lawrence

The Order returned to the Forest, then began their trek to Riker to visit the Brothers Hanson.  When they got there, they were in for a big surprise.

Rack was greeted by a very good looking gentleman who introduced himself as Matt.

“Matt?” Rack said. “I thought the Hansons were named Isaac, Taylor, and Zac? And I thought they had luscious blonde locks?”

“Sadly, the Brothers Hanson have perished at the hand of G. Love. We are the Brothers Lawrence, and we are their replacement.  Apparently, only three talented brothers can ever take the position of Drew prophets. After us, they’ll probably hire the Brothers Jonas.”

“Anywho,” continued Matt Lawrence, “I promise, however, that we are just as capable with helping you as the brothers Hanson were.”

“Okay, well, I’m Rack, and these are my friends.”

“Hello. These are my brothers Joey and Andy,” Matt replied.

“My name is Joey Parker!” said Joey Parker. Everyone ignored him.

“How can we help you?” asked Matt Lawrence.

“Well, T.I. came to me and told me about a prophecy that says I am to fight Bobby Flay and his men. He said I should come to the Hansons to learn more,” she explained.

“Yes, well. Okay. Would anyone like a bagel bite?” Matt asked.  The Bash Brothers threw Joey Parker to the floor to get to the bagel bites.

“Lawrence Brothers, can you help us?” Shane West asked.

“Um, sort of. All we can say is this, follow the path to the Commons. There will be obstacles along the way. But once you are there, you will find what you are looking for.”

“That’s it?” Rack said.

“Yes. Now get out.”

The Order was rushed, rather forcefully, out of Riker, Portman and Fulton grabbing as many bagel bites as they could.

“Well, they seemed like they had no idea what they were talking about,” Rack said.

“So what now?’

“I guess we go to the Commons.”

Chapter 6-The Battle of Welch-Holloway

En route to the Commons, the Order ran into an obstacle, as the Lawrences predicted. It was just one obstacle, but quite a large one.

While resting between Riker and the Commons in the land known as Welch-Holloway, Rack and friends encountered none other than G. Love himself, along with many members of The Special Sauce.

“Your adventure ends here, Rack!” G. Love said. “You will go no further!”

“My God, G. Love, would you just get out of Jersey already?” Rack countered.

“No! We will now have a dance-off….to the death!”

Next thing Rack knew, G. Love and the Special Sauce and The Order of the Fedora were dancing for their lives.   While Rack was Soulja Boy-ing at a member of The Special Sauce, someone to her left fell to the ground. She turned and saw Joey Parker, clearly about to die. She ran to him.

“Joey Parker?” Rack said, holding him in her arms. “I thought you were a professional dancer?!”

“It…was…all…a…lie,” he whispered.

“No!” Rack yelled, shaking him. “Stay with me! What’s your name? I said, what’s your name?!”

“Joey Park….” And he was gone.

“NOOOOOOOOOO!” Rack yelled as G. Love laughed from the Welch-Holloway roof. Rack glared at him, yelled “RACK ATTACK!!” and charged back into the battle, doing the electric slide like she never had before.

The death of Joey Parker caused the Order to dance even harder. Members of the Special Sauce fell all over the place. Rack watched as Dean Portman did the Macarena at the last member of the Special Sauce until the other man fell defeated, then Portman yelled “You just got served, sucka!” and chest bumped Fulton.

Suddenly, Shane West yelled, “MAAANDYYY MOOOOORREEE!” The others ran over just in time to hear Mandy Moore say “Just remember that I’m craving for you. I’m already missing you like candy” as she slipped into death.

Rack looked up as G. Love hopped on his flying horse Pegasus and flew off toward the Commons.

The four remaining members of the Order looked at the devastation around them. Even though they had lost two important members of their team, they had won this round. It was time to move on.

Chapter 7-Kitchen Stadium

Rack, Shane West, Dean Portman, and Fulton Reed stumbled into The Commons, with only the final battle against Bobby Flay standing in between them and victory.

They walked inside as lights began flashing and a man with glasses jumped out from behind a table.

“Welcome to Kitchen Stadium. I’m Alton Brown. Today, you will be challenging Bobby Flay. Let’s go to the Chairman.”

Rack looked up as a Japanese (maybe) man flew into the room on a jetpack. He landed in front of her, his eyes bulging out of his head.

“Are you ready for the final battle?” he asked.

“Uh, okay,” Rack responded.

“Then let the battle begin!” the Chairman said.

Rack followed the Chairman as Bobby Flay appeared. The 3 of them stood in front of a table.

The Chairman said, “But there is one more ingredient to this battle…the secret ingredient.”

“The secret ingredient is….BRUUUUNCHHHHH!”

“Did he just say brunch?” Rack heard Fulton whisper to Portman. He mostly certainly had.

“So now, Drew, with an open heart and an empty stomach, I say unto you in the words of my uncle: ‘Allez cuisine!’”

With that, Bobby Flay began grabbing tater tots, watery eggs, ass bagels, and chicken nuggets and started cooking. Rack got a slower start, but was soon going for it. She was happy to see that Shane West was allowed to be her sous chef, while G. Love was Bobby Flay’s.

As they were cooking, Alton Brown explained the rules, but no one pays attention to that part. Then some useless Canadian guy introduced the judges, who were Miley Cyrus, Bradley from S Club 7, and Joseph Gordon Levitt. You know, all of the experts on gourmet cuisine.

The battle was long (well, an hour long) and rough. There were times when Rack did not think she would make it, but she did. Rack and Shane West made 5 of the best dishes ever to be created from rubbery sausage, muffins of unidentified flavors, and old peas. And then they went to the judges.

After a long period of judgment, a verdict was made. Bobby Flay and Rack stood across from one another. For the first time, he looked directly into her eyes. In the eyes of Bobby Flay, Rack saw a soulless demon. The Chairman took his place.

“After an exciting battle, the judges have chosen a winner. Congratulations……Chef Rack.”

Shane and the Bash Brothers stormed the stadium, cheering. Bobby Flay and G. Love were tied down and brought to the back of the Commons, where they were given the worst punishment anyone could possibly imagine: being force-fed overcooked pasta and leftover taco meat by Guy Fieri.

Chapter 8-A Happy Ending

So Rack and the Order defeated the evil Bobby Flay.  They lost many good men along the way, but everything turned out well in the end, especially when Prince Jason Mraz thanked Rack himself.

“Rack, I cannot thank you enough for saving The Forest from the evil Bobby Flay. You are a true hero,” the Prince said. “And quite beautiful, I might add.”

To Rack’s shock, the prince got down on one knee, presented the most beautiful Silly Band Rack had ever seen, and said, “My dear Rack, would you do me the honor of becoming my Princess?”

“But…didn’t you just get married to someone else?” Rack inquired, not really caring.

“Oh yes, hold on.” Jason stood up, pulled out a cell phone, called his wife and said to her, “Listen, baby, I’m sorry. Just wanna tell you don’t worry. I will be late, don’t stay up and wait for me. You’re dropping out; my battery is low. Just so you know, we’re going to a place nearby, gotta go.” He hung up and looked at Rack.  She didn’t even care that he hadn’t even quoted his own song, she was in love.

“Of course I will marry you, Jason!”

So that is the story of how a normal girl became both the savior and the princess of Drew, and got a wicked sweet fedora crown out of the deal.

If you actually read all of this, than I can only assume that you are just as insane as the person who wrote this.


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All My Favorite Musicians are Named Ben.

imageThe title of this post is definitely a hyperbolic statement. But I was scrolling through my iTunes recently when I realized that a remarkable number of musicians I listen to fairly regularly are named Ben. Who are these gents? Here are a list of the musical Bens I like and some of my favorite tunes of theirs (I tried to limit myself to only listing a max of 5 songs per musician):

Ben Folds

  • Annie Waits
  • The Luckiest
  • Rockin’ the Suburbs
  • Still Fighting It
  • Zak and Sara

Ben Folds Five

  • Army
  • Best Imitation of Myself
  • Do It Anyway
  • Philosophy
  • Smoke

Ben Harper

  • Another Lonely Day
  • Faded
  • Steal My Kisses
  • Walk Away

Ben Jelen

  • Counting Down
  • Not My Plan
  • The Other Side
  • Where Do We Go

Ben Kweller

  • Cally
  • Different But The Same
  • I Need You Back
  • Sundress

Ben Lee

  • Apple Candy
  • Catch My Disease
  • Close I’ve Come
  • Into the Dark
  • Whatever It Is

Ben Rector

  • Beautiful
  • When a Heart Breaks
  • When I’m With You

The Bens (Ben Folds, Ben Kweller, Ben Lee)

  • Bruised
  • Just Pretend
  • Stop!
  • X-Fire

So these are the Bens I enjoy listening to. Sorry I didn’t include links to the songs, but I have faith that you’ll be able to find them. You are smart people.

I just made a “Bens” playlist on iTunes. It has 204 songs on it. And I’m sure there are a ton of songs and other musicians I’m missing. Can you think of any others? Who is your favorite musical Ben?

I think that the moral of this story is that, if you want to up the chances of your child being a talented and successful musician, name him (or her…why not?) Ben.