Thursday, November 29, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookie from Cherry Hill Diner

Last weekend, my mom and stepdad were kind enough to come to Maryland all the way from Ohio, to bring me a chocolate chip cookie from the Cherry Hill Diner in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Well, they also came to celebrate Thanksgiving, but mainly it was to bring me a cookie.

This cookie was a gorgeous lump of golden goodness studded with mini chocolate chips. I had to hide it in my room to keep my boyfriend from eating it, which is what he does to most food items in his line of sight.

Upon giving it a good solid thump with my forefinger, I expected it to be a dense, crunchy consistency. But it fooled me, because. while it was a bit crunchy, it was a bit flakey too, rather like shortbread with a little more sugar than usual.

It tasted like a chocolate chip cookie, but not like any old chocolate chip cookie, because the shortbread-like consistency carried over to the flavor as well. Interesting! But not interesting enough for me to drive all the way to New Jersey to try it again!

The Bottom Line:
Taste: 3.5 stars
Texture: 3 stars

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Cross your T's and X your C's.

I learned something today. (I'm sorry to anyone who has noticed I'm overusing that sentence; I imagine I'll grow tired of it soon.)

While whiling away the hours of my evening (I got an extra 4 and a half of them after our dean was kind enough to call for an early dismissal today—those words exactly—I love working for a school; it's almost like being in school!), I browsed over to one of my favorite time-waster sites, "Throw Grammar from the Train"—and what it says about me that reading an English usage blog is my preferred form of evening entertainment, I hate to guess—obviously it has done nothing to curb my affection for the long and winding run-on sentence—but digressions aside, that was where I learned the thing that I learned today: (No, no, wait, allow me to put this revelation in a new paragraph, so you can easily distinguish it from the dross above...)

The proper way to pronounce the word flaccid is FLAX-id!

No fooling? Many years ago, I read this word in a book and assumed, as any red-blooded English speaker would, that it was pronounced FLAX-id. And then I heard someone say it. A couple times. And no matter who was speaking, they always pronounced it FLAS-id. And I, never bothering to actually look it up, because more than 2 people can't be wrong, hung my head and resigned myself to an unintuitive pronunciation.

Except, apparently, I didn't have to. According to this blog post, I gather that FLAS-id is a secondary pronunciation that evolved from FLAX-id—and upon looking it up, I learned that FLAX-id is still an accepted pronunciation for this word.

It makes me sad when pronunciation deteriorates into something less logical than the original, but at least I can console myself with the knowledge that I was never really wrong.

Funny enough, in one of the comments on the post, a user asked, "I wonder if "coccyx" will ever be pronounced "cossicks". Apparently the commenter hasn't noticed that it already is! In conversations regarding the tailbone (which I get into a lot—don't we all), I have frequently wondered if I've got something wrong for thinking it should be pronounced COX-ix, when other partners in the conversation don't say it that way..

What about you? Have you ever heard "flaccid" pronounced with a K sound? What's your preferred way to say "coccyx?" Do you think, if we try hard enough, we can turn the tides of popular stupidity, and get words to stay pronounced the way they're spelled?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Well, shoot.

Before I cause any unnecessary panic, let me begin by stating that no animals were harmed in the making of this blog post. And that animals is a group that includes myself and other humans.

I fired a gun for the first time on Saturday. My boyfriend, ex-military man and expert marksman (in Battlefield: Bad Company 2) decided he wanted to have some real-world practice and invited me to come along. A bit curious, and wanting to be able to defend myself in the event of an apocalypse (as long as it's not a zombie one—I am boycotting the whole zombie mania!), I did just that.

We were totally clueless when we arrived at Gilbert's Indoor Range, and we stood around at the counter feeling awkward for what felt like ever! Rico kept asking me which gun I wanted to try, which was an overwhelming question considering the racks and racks of firearms that I had to choose from. But once we sat down with our safety quizzes in hand and began watching the orientation video, I relaxed. If there's one thing I'm good at, it's taking quizzes.

Back at the counter, Rico asked for a bolt-action rifle (which he'd never tried) and told the clerk, "I think she'd like to try a revolver." I hadn't known I wanted to try a revolver (actually, I'd always thought I'd prefer a rifle myself, but I wasn't about to start an argument in a gun shop!). However, out of all the weapons in the case, I'd been most drawn to (or perhaps I should say least intimidated by) a wood-handled revolver, which looked exactly like what was given to me. So I guess Rico knew what he was talking about.

When it was time to be the firing squad, I was terrified the gun was going to blow up in my hand. So I bravely let my boyfriend try it first. Once I was confident that it was loaded correctly, I gave it a shot. Literally.

It's not at all like the movies. In the movies, they're always handing out guns to complete newbies, and the newbies are like, what? A gun? But then they shoot it and they do fine—and they never grip the gun too high and get whacked in the hand when it reloads itself or get hit in the face with spent cartridges—both of which were things I fortunately didn't experience with my old-school revolver, but which I was told about in orientation or witnessed happening to other people with semi-automatic weapons.

And in the movies, even the newbies' aim is spot on, but in reality, your hand shakes so much, you can't even keep the gun steady on the target when you're not trying to fire, and just pulling the trigger (you really have to put some muscle into it) is enough to throw off whatever aim you've managed to achieve—and all this is with a two-handed grip! I can't imagine ever holding a gun in just one hand and being able to hit anything smaller than the broad side of a barn. When I was trying to shoot, in order to hit the target, I had to spend several seconds trying to get my wildly wobbling weapon under control. I definitely would be totally useless (dead) in an apocalypse.

And it turns out, I didn't prefer the rifle, either. When I fired the handgun, it went "pop." When I fired the rifle, it went "boom." Everyone in the place jumped—or at least looked around. The movies don't tell you these things either—when you shoot a large-caliber rifle, you feel like you've just shot yourself. The recoil was so intense that Rico kept knocking himself in the glasses with the scope (does this sound like a certain Christmas Story or what?).

When we were done, the entire outing had cost us around 100$ to rent the firearms and purchase the ammunition and 15$ each for a guest membership, and was followed up with a warning to wash our hands and faces so we didn't bring lead poisoning home with us.

So I think I can safely say I'll never become a card carrying member of the NRA, but I'm glad for that learning experience. I was able to finally confirm that I'm not a natural-born marksman, and I'll probably be one of the first to die in the looting following a global disaster. Knowledge is power, right?

P.S. There's another thing they don't tell you, and that's how loud a bunch of guns sound when they're going off all around you! At one point, I took off my ear protection because I needed to adjust it, and within 2 seconds, I thought I would go deaf.