Thursday, June 11, 2009

best random stuff of 2009 (so far)

I don't usually do this list until December, but I'm filled with so much blazing fucking hatred for my job right now---as in, I would turn in my notice today if the economy wasn't sucking so bad---that I need to take my mind off it for a while...and what better way than to talk about things that make me happy? If necessary, I'll do a second installment at the end of the year.

Not all of these things made their debut in 2009, but since that's the first time I saw/ate/used them, they belong on this list. Also, as always, your mileage may vary.

Fling is the victim of a cringeworthy advertising campaign talking about how naughty it is. But good chocolate is always blameless, and the hazelnut incarnation of this candy is particularly choice. Bonus points for the fact that this candy fucking GLITTERS. What is it? Fish scales? Hello Kitty lip gloss? Edward Cullen's dandruff? I don't know, but it's pretty, so I don't care.

Aside from the expense, my least favorite part of going to the grocery store used to be coming home because I had to choose from one of two equally unpleasant options: either make several trips up and down the stairs in the dark, or try to carry everything upstairs at once, wincing as the handles of the plastic bags cut into my hands. Now, with this useful device, I just slip the handles through the opening and tote everything upstairs in one fell swoop. No more red, aching hands!

In this insane, balls-to-the-wall installment of one of my favorite video game series, Chris Redfield goes to Africa to investigate rumors of bioterrorism being funded by his old nemesis, the Umbrella Corporation. He's partnered with a local woman named Sheva, and together they set out to take the corporations down. This game has the best graphics I've ever seen, good voice acting, decent AI (though many people disagree), a really fun co-op mode, and so many moments of sheer awesome that I can't even begin to list them all. A must for survival horror buffs.

One of my New Year's resolutions was to stop drinking so much soda. It was hard, but I managed to cut my intake from five or six cans a day to one or two a WEEK. (Well, for the most part; I've fallen off the wagon a few times.) This delicious flavored water helped keep me on track. I thought the tropical citrus was kind of gross, but the pomegranate blueberry acai and orange flavors are really good. My absolute favorite, though, is the lemonade.

To borrow a quote from The Simpsons, it's like getting a backrub from an orgasm. This may very well be my favorite ice cream of all time.

The Dollhouse is an underground operation that provides "dolls" to wealthy clients. "Dolls" are people who are basically blank slates, and they can be imprinted with different personalities to suit any need, ranging from hostage negotiations to sexual favors. An FBI agent finds out about the operation and becomes obsessed with a doll named Echo, who he thinks is being held against her will. And in the meantime, a doll named Alpha, who went on a murderous rampage and escaped, is obsessed with her too. This clever series took some time to get going, but once it did, there were plenty of "holy shit!" moments that had G and me salivating for the next episode. The future of Dollhouse seemed uncertain thanks to ass ratings, but by some miracle, it got renewed for the fall. I can't wait to see where things go from here.

Side note: this show gets MAJOR props for featuring a curvy actress (Miracle Laurie) without making a big deal out of it. Not only that, but the other actresses in the show have realistic (thin but athletic) body types too. Joss Whedon certainly has a knack for making female-friendly shows.

Wonderfalls premiered back in 2004, but Fox only gave it four episodes before unceremoniously yanking it off the air. Fan outcry led to the entire season being released on DVD. I can't for the life of me remember what made me check it out this year, but I'm glad I did. It's about Jaye Tyler, a sullen young woman who works at a Niagara Falls souvenir shop. To her horror, inanimate, animal-shaped objects (such as a wax lion and a brass monkey bookend) start talking to her and telling her to do good deeds. When it becomes obvious that they won't leave her alone until she complies, she reluctantly agrees. It may sound twee, and at times it is---it is the brainchild of Pushing Daisies creator Bryan Fuller, after all---but there's plenty of tart humor and snark to undercut the sweetness. When I finished watching the last episode, I was actually sad that I wouldn't get to spend any more time with Jaye and her family and friends. An overlooked gem.

When I was a kid, our mall visits always began with my mom taking us to buy clothes. After an excruciating hour---I have always hated shopping for clothes---my parents would meet up and my dad would take my brother and me so my mom could enjoy shopping free from her whining children. I loved this part, because in addition to taking us to the bookstore and arcade, my dad would also let us pick out a treat. Elegant beyond my years, I eschewed soft pretzels and deep-fried goodies in favor of marzipan from Swiss Colony. It came in a fruit-shaped pack of three, and I always made it last as long as possible.

So when I saw this new flavor, of course I had to give it a try. Was it as good as I hoped? Well, the combination of sweet cream ice cream with a marzipan swirl and almond cookie crumbles led to me writhing around in ecstasy, banging my fist on the table and moaning. If you love marzipan, this ice cream will make you COME IN YOUR PANTS.