Why I Hate Heroes of Newerth

Colin, over the course of the summer, has developed a full-blown addiction to a game called Heroes of Newerth. Or, as his gamer friends call it, HoN (pronounced like Han of Han Solo and omg i just made a star wars reference what is happening to me).

As I type this, at 11pm, Colin is happily clicking away. Each click is like an ice pick in my brain. For some reason, playing this game requires some sort of finger mutation that forces you to click the damn mouse 18,000 times a second. Also for reasons unknown, Colin and his friends are only capable of playing this game after dark. And the games last FOR HOURS.

And I feel like I finally understand what Britney Spears went through a few years ago. Maybe it was the flashbulbs that did it to her, but all the clicking makes me want to shave my head and beat the crap out of an SUV with an umbrella too!

“So just tell him to stop!”

Oh my friends, I have asked. Begged. Pleaded. “Please, darling, love of my life, likely father of my future children unless Orlando Bloom leaves whasterface, would you please LET ME SLEEP FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY.”

Did you know that you can’t just up and leave a game of Heroes of Newerth? Back in the days of his World of Warcraft addiction, he could just up and leave whenever I got that exasperated look on my face, or starting throwing whatever was on the bedside table at his head. Unless, of course, he was in the middle of a 7 person raid, in which case all hope was lost. Oh, those dreamy days of World of Warcraft. The good old days. With Heroes of Newerth (furthermore to be referred to as HoN because I feel like SUCH a nerd writing ‘Newerth’, and clearly unnecessarily capitalizing letters makes me way cooler) if you leave the game early one too many times, they won’t let you play ever again. It’s some kind of McCarthyism for gamers. Much like straying from the path of capitalism, straying from the incessant clicking will get you blacklisted.

At least this is what he tells me.

Maybe I’ll do a little research.

Not like I’m going to sleep anyways since I just asked when the clicking from hell would be over, and he said “hopefully in about 20 minutes.”

You know that annoying noise Snooki makes when she’s tired or whiny or just generally being annoying? That kind of “NNYYYAHHH” or “MAAHHHH” noise? Yeah, I’m totally making that noise. I’ve crossed over. Send Help.

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Couldn’t Sleep

Last night we got word of a cougar attack in the park on a little boy. You can see the news report on it here. I don’t know anything beyond what has been reported. I’m at home today, feeling very useless as I try to pack up our house. My thoughts are with the little boy and his parents, as well as my friends and fellow staff.

I didn’t get much sleep last night, not much at all. I was worried about the little boy, whose condition we still know nothing about, I was worried about our wardens and resource conservation and search and rescue staff, who were out all night combing the area for the cougar with a terrible task ahead of them. I’m still worried about all of them. I’m worried about my own friends and colleagues who have to work at the offices today, trying to keep people calm and answer questions as best they can.

And so I baked at 2 in the morning.

On a day when I feel at my most useless, at least I can still make people eat.

I keep staring at empty suitcases, but my thoughts are in the park, and they’re with that poor baby boy. Please send some good vibes his way today, I am sure he and his parents will need them.

Love and Cream Puffs,

Me


Seven Days

This time next week I will be starting my last day of work at Parks Canada, and I will probably be frantically thinking of all the things I need to do before we come home. Here’s a look at our schedule for the next seven days:

  • Today: Work, then pack
  • Tomorrow: Pack
  • Wednesday: Pack and move from our house to Colin’s dad’s house
  • Thursday: Work
  • Friday: Work
  • Saturday: Work
  • Sunday: Work
  • Monday: Work, then repack and pick up all the things to bring back for my family
  • Tuesday: Drive to Nanaimo, take to ferry to Vancouver and drive home to Maple Ridge
  • Wednesday: Back to classes at SFU 10:30 in the morning

We are moving out of our house so that our roomies can have their new roomies move in on the first of September. Luckily, Colin’s dad offered to put us up for a week so we could keep raking in the dough by the sweat of our brows at Parks Canada.

Scratch that. So that I could keep raking in the dough by the sweat of my brow. Colin, who squeaked in to a delightful little contract, gets annual leave so his last five days of work he will be lounging around the house, whilst still getting paid. Jerk.

The last three months working for the national park here have been so awesome. I told a lot of people that it was essentially the same job I was doing at Tourism Tofino, but I was so very wrong. While the day to day might be similar (talking to people, selling park passes, giving them directions), and while my job at Tourism Tofino gave me a great head start as far as knowledge about the area goes, I feel like I’m really working for something now.

Last night a few of us got together to watch one of the interpretive programs that the park puts on every night. I had seen a snippet of the Bears, Wolves and Cougars program before and wanted to see the whole thing before we left. The show was funny and super entertaining, but the core message was one about conservation, about living in a way that protects the wildlife from us and preserves it for us. I came away from the show really excited and inspired to be a part of SAVING ZEE BEARS.

Because, according to the things I hear from zee Germans, zee bears are all they want to see. And zee Germans, they don’t always seem to understand that zee bears could rip the flesh off their bones. And that scares me. A lot.

Sure, there have been parts of the job that are less than enjoyable. Dealing with people who vant to see zee bears. Dealing with compliance notices, which are kind of like parking tickets. People don’t seem to like these things. And sometimes they make me feel like a glorified punching bag. But you know what? Those people comprise about 2% of the people I see every day. The rest of the people make the punching bag days worthwhile.

People like Edward James Olmos.

When I met him, I knew him as “THE DAD FROM SELENA!”

But then I watched the entire series of Battlestar Galactica. And now I know him as Admiral Adama.

Right up there with Reba for my favorite celebrity sightings, he is.

And then I get notes like this from our videographer, who has the blessed fortune to also be named Alex.

Edward James Olmos and notes left on Paint.

It’s the little things that get us through.


Funny Things Visitors Asked Today

“Should I take an umbrella to go walk in the rainforest?”

Sweet Jesus lord woman, the sun is glaring down on us, sizzling my pasty white skin, and you’re asking me if you need an umbrella? Don’t say it too loud, the fog will hear you! And then it will rush in like you damn tourists do on a long weekend. And then we’ll be sad, and then you WILL need a freaking umbrella on the trail.

Bah. Grr. Harumph. Tourists.

Umbrellas!


Looking Forward to Fall and some Recipes

Today I’m at home recovering from my annual August sickness, also known as “whatever the tourists gave me when my immune system was taking a break”. Please enjoy this post, which might be riddled with Sudafed-induced ramblings. Kthanksbai!

Just under three weeks until I’m home again. I can’t believe how quickly this summer has gone by. Now is the time when Colin and I start planning schedules and homecoming dinners. But most importantly, we start thinking about soccer season.

Colin has already been thinking about soccer season. He, after all, has a lot more to think about. Like keeping in shape, going running, getting new cleats, etc. I, on the other hand, have a far more intense training to look forward to as the season approaches.

It’s baking season, bitches!

Every weekend (give or take, depending on my work schedule) I bake for Colin’s soccer team. Many people think this makes me some kind of Happy Homemaker/Stepford Wife, but I do it for entirely selfish reasons.

1. I get to test out ridiculous recipes (bacon wrapped cheese stuffed jalapenos) on boys who will eat anything, including the disasters.

2. I get to bake ridiculous amounts of fattening foods, eat a couple bites, and then hand it off to boys who will eat it all, preventing me from becoming 300 pounds.

3. I get to go to all of Colin’s soccer game, releasing a lot of latent aggression built up from dealing with tourists (in the summer) and brides (in the winter).

I have a few staples that I bring out to the soccer game when I don’t feel like being creative. My mom’s famous chocolate chip cookies, Ina Garten’s brownies and jalapeno cheddar cornbread. Easy to make and I have the recipes practically memorized.

But I do like to try out new things, and pawning food off on hungry boys is an excellent way to test new recipes. I highly recommend it. Go on, find yourself a group of 20-30 something boys and start shoving food at them. Works beautifully.

Here are a few of the things I’m hoping to shove on the soccer team at some point this season.

Cake Batter Crispy Treats from How Sweet Eats. Cake batter flavored rice crispy treats. With sprinkles. Get in my mouth right now.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Brownies from Joy the Baker. I like pretzels, I like peanut butter, I like chocolate. GIve those boys these and a beer? Happy, happy boys.

Popcorn Macarons with Salted Caramel by raspberri cupcakes. Macarons are girly, true. But that is the perk of being the one doing the baking. Everybody else has to shut up and eat it!

And finally, something I’ve already decide will be making repeated appearances at the soccer fields this winter:

borrowed from realsimple.com because I forget to take pictures

Caramel Apples! I made them last year for the soccer team and they seemed to go over pretty well. But again, who cares what the boys think? I make them because I love them, and they are super easy. Do not fear the caramel apples!

Ok, you should have a healthy fear if you plan to make your own caramel. Because hot sugar is very scary. But I don’t make my own caramel and don’t plan to until I have fully mastered a soft caramel without burning myself. And that just hasn’t happened yet. My scars tell the tale.

So here’s my recipe for caramel apples, in hopes that you too begin looking forward to fall.

Caramel Apples

Serves 12

  • 2 pounds soft caramels (you can buy these in the bulk section in those little cellophane wrappers)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 12 medium sized apples of any variety (I like Granny Smith)
  • 12 popsicle sticks
  • toppings of your choice! Melted chocolate, chopped peanut butter cups, salted peanuts, cinnamon sugar, granola (although I can’t for the life of my see why you would want that), crushed oreos, rice crispies, etc. Whatever you like!

Unwrap the caramels. It is handy to have a friend to help with this, because otherwise it takes forever and you end up eating half. At the very least you can blame the friend if half your caramels go missing, right?

Prepare a baking sheet by fitting it with a sheet of parchment paper. This will allow the caramel apples to cool without sticking to anything.

Place a medium saucepan over low heat. Add in the caramels and heavy cream. Stir frequently, raising the temperature slightly if you find it very slow going. Watch the caramels very carefully, because they can burn easily.

Wash and thoroughly dry your apples. Remember to remove the stickers, if necessary. That would be gross, hey? Remove any top stems and forcefully insert the popsicle sticks into the tops. Try to keep them straight, cause then they’re extra pretty!

When the caramel is completely melted and the cream incorporated, carefully dip the apples into the caramel, completely coating the apple. As long as you didn’t crank the heat on the caramel, you shouldn’t have to worry about burning yourself, but do be careful. If you choose to use the toppings, dip the caramel coated apples in them and then place the apples on the prepared baking sheet.

Allow the apples to cool and the caramel to firm up. You can refrigerate them if you’re making them ahead of time, but make sure to let them come up to room temperature for at least 30 minutes before eating. Otherwise you might lose a tooth.

These, plus apple cider, plus me bundled up at a soccer game equals heaven. Just sayin.


Pig Update – It’s Getting Serious

I took Colin to meet Winston today. It felt like I was taking my parents to dinner with my new boyfriend. Everybody’s excited and nervous to meet the person (or people) they may end up having to deal with for the rest of their lives.

It was kind of a big dealĀ because I have decided that I must have a Winston in my life. Winston is my new boyfriend, and Colin was the ever so serious, studious and concerned parent. So he came along to meet Winston today to see if he would be okay with someone like Winston being around for the rest of his life.

And Winston, being the attentive and adorable boyfriend that he is, hopped right into my lap as soon as I sat down.

Can I just tell you how much I love these pigs? Because oh my goodness, I can’t even handle it. Look at that little chunk!

I scratched his chubby belly and he went to sleep. Right there on my lap. Again. Best friends forever.

And then Colin took this picture. Instead of deleting it to the recesses of technological oblivion, I thought I’d put it on here, the internet, where nothing ever really goes away. It’s going to haunt me, but I’m currently living in a post-piglet snuggle state of euphoria. So enjoy.


I’m in Love with a Pig

His name is Winston, and that is his bum. When the picture was taken, his head was cozily tucked under my arm and he was fast asleep. And I was simply, completely, totally in love.

I have always liked the idea of having a pig for a pet, but logistically, a 200 pound pot bellied pig simply would not do. And Colin firmly put his foot down: there would be no giant pigs in our future together.

But this, this glorious tiny little chunk of piglet has changed all that. I will have one. I must have one.

Best Part? Pink ones, they do exist!

Did you know that pigs love popcorn? True fact, look it up. We were meant to beĀ  together, pigs and I.

 

Help me. I’m so in love it hurts.

I’m taking Colin to see him tomorrow. I’m sure he’ll love him too, right?