Sunday, July 22, 2012

jailbreaking the Swiffer

I think that the Swiffer WetJet is one of the greatest inventions ever for lazy people who also like to have clean floors. I love mine, and used it all the time...until it ran out of the cleaning liquid. Then I had a problem; not because I was too cheap to buy the refill bottle (though, in truth, i kinda am), but because I was born a blonde and my brain is still operating on that level. My problem: I could not, for the life of me, figure out how to get the cleaner bottle out of the Swiffer. I pulled on that thing, twisted, turned, kicked, smacked, cursed and accosted, and then finally gave up and just bought another bottle of non-Swiffer, non-mind-numbingly complicated floor cleaner.

Damn you, tricky Swiffer. You know I'm bad at puzzles.

(I found out AFTER I got it home that I had to pour the new stuff into a bucket and add water to it before using it. The only issue with that is that I don't own a bucket. I live in an apartment, I don't tote enough things around to justify wasting valuable storage space with an old five gallon bucket of some car washing liquid that I've stolen from Padre. My smart girl solution for this -using the word "smart" with complete and total sarcasm: Pour a little puddle of cleaner on the floor, pour a little puddle of water on top of the cleaner, stir around with the Swiffer, and voila, need for a bucket eliminated. Until you bust your butt on the kitchen floor because it's slicker than snot from the incorrect proportions of soap to water, creating basically just a horizontal slip and slide. Clearly, this "solution" wasn't working. So I came up with a better one: Just quit mopping the floor.)

That solution was working pretty well for me, but then the wonderful world of Pinterest offered me another option, and Sunday afternoon I found myself super bored and searching for anything to do to avoid working out or working on the thesis, so  thought why not. 

The Pinterest link seemed simple enough: In three steps, I could stick it to the Swiffer man, and refill my WetJet with what every I so chose. (Did I mention that I was really, really bored? I'm really not that passionate about my cleaning products. Other than Orange Clorox wipes. Those things are amazingggg.)

1. The first step was to hold the lid of the bottle in boiling water for a minute and a half. That sounded perfectly safe- give the most accident prone human not only a pot of boiling water to hover over for a few minutes, but have her hold a tightly sealed bottle of chemicals and stuff in said water. But, dedicated to the project, and kind of excited about the prospect of creating a small bomb as long as it didn't burn me or my home, I held the bottle in the water for the allotted time.

Just boiling some tightly sealed bottles, no big deal.
Lid- Removed. Success.

2. Surprisingly enough, I survived the boiling process. And it actually worked! The lid that wouldn't even turn at all before came off after I used my super strong Insanity arms. Ok, it actually came off really easily, but whatev. The second step in the process was to use fingernail clippers to trim off the little ridges that those jerks at Swiffer put there so that you can't fill your bottle of cleaner with whatever the hell you choose.

Ok, I do admit that halfway during this process, I was on the verge of giving up and just going to buy a bottle of Swiffer cleaner and taking the victory of finding the button that removes the bottle and going on my way. But, I persevered and finished, mostly since I had already started this blog and taken pictures already and all that crap.

Devil ridges, pre-removal.
3. All that was left to do then refill was the bottle with whatever I wanted. Which presented me with another challenge. The cheapo cleaner said to mix 1/4 cup in a gallon of water. What the hell, Craig, now I have to do math? I quit doing math during the week after I finished the one class my high quality UK education required me to take, so I sure as heck do not do math on Sundays. Lucky for me, Google does math erryday. So I eventually figured it out. Or close enough. I mean, it's floor cleaner, not a cake.  
Yeah, that looks about right.
Then all I had to do was put the bottle back in and Swiffer sweep to my little hearts content. Which, btw, lasted about a minute before the fun ran out. Which in no way should be surprising, as I am the one who was bored enough to boil a Swiffer bottle to begin with.  

And then I mopped myself out of the kitchen and reach of my computer AND water. A real issue.

Overall, it was probably worth the trouble to be able to buy one container of cleaner concentrate that cost less than the Swiffer bottle and keep refilling it up. Oh, Pinterest. You are amazing.

Jailbreaking the Swiffer playlist:
In the Meantime- Spacehog
Back from Cali- Slash/Miles Kennedy
Hang on to This- Days of the New
Lean into the Fall- Mona
Communicator- Bush
Call Me Maybe-  Carly Rae Jepsen (Don't judge me, you know you love it too)
Something in the Way- Nirvana

let's add food blogger to the list.

Contrary to the beliefs of some, I do occasionally eat more than a sugar packet a day (which is clear to anyone with eyeballs, but any who). My eating is always extreme, though- either I eat everything my chubby fingers can get a hold of, or I'll go a week living solely on raw fruit and veggies. This week, I was in total fat girl mode, so this weekend I've been trying to get myself back in check.  This was easy while I kept myself locked in my apartment, but after two rounds of Insanity, it was either go to the Wal-Marts and get some source of protein or die alone in a puddle of sweat in front of my tv. 

I went to the grocery with the intentions of making turkey meatloaf for dinner (sounds a little gross but i promise it is delicious!), but as I drove by Taco Bell, I got a major craving for a taco. But, to stay on my healthy track, I decided to try and make my own healthy version instead of going through the drive thru.

 So, for my super healty tacos, I used ground turkey instead of beef. 97% fat free all white meat turkey, to be exact. And instead of just using a packet of taco seasoning mix, I decided to season it myself. The seasoning packets can have lots of extra sodium and other icky unnecessary additives, so I just feel better about making my own taco seasoning mix- and it tastes just as good or better! I'm not one to measure, but I used a good amount of garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, chilli powder, crushed red pepper, cumin and oregano. And you do need to season the turkey a lot more than you would hamburger, so be generous.

But, Rachel Ray taught me a little trick one time. Well she didn't teach me directly, like in person, but I did see it on 30 Minute Meals, so it still counts. So, the trick: Take a little bitty ball of the turkey and cook it first. That way you can taste it and make sure that it's seasoned correctly before you cook all the rest of it! This works really great for making hamburgers, meatloaf, any of that kinda stuff.   

Mini turkey taco! I got a little carried away with the mini-part on this one, but it still did the trick :)
Then cook the turkey just like you would if you were making regular tacos. 

Finished turkey.

 As I had consumed almost no fat today, I decided to make guacamole and get in some healthy fat, too, from my favorite fruit/veggie: avocado. Making guacamole is so simple, and is sooooo good. Just avocado, tomato, onion, jalapeno, garlic and a little salt and pepper.  

Guacamole in the making

I got whole wheat taco shells to stay on the healthy track, and so I decided to use a shell to make my own tortilla chips. Just cut it into triangles, spray with some non-stick spray and sprinkle salt on them. Put under the broiler, and you have healthy chips in just a few minutes. And it seriously only takes a few minutes. It is VERY easy to nearly burn your apartment down if you forget that you're making chips. Not that I know that from experience or anything...  

My finished dinner!
 This turned out so much better than just getting a soft taco from the Bell. And so much healthier! (And yes, that is a shredded piece of string cheese on my taco. Because I have self control issues and may have eaten the entire bag of shredded cheese if I had gotten it, so I just got a three pack of low fat string cheese sticks and then didn't have to worry about being a super fat kid later on tonight. I think I have serious issues...but i can make a damn good turkey taco! It it wasn't for the whole pretty-much crazy thing, I'd be real confused as to why no boy has swooped in and put a ring on this catch! Ha, yeah right.)

UPDATE: I meant to add this last night, but got distracted by my post-taco food coma "Friends with Benefits, which is one of my favorites because it bears no reflection of my personal life at all. 

Since the basis of burning bright is music, i wanted to include the soundtrack to my cooking adventure. Last night, it was all about Fuel, shuffled through the Something Like Human & Sunburn albums. Some favorites from those two that you should check out, whether you be chopping up avocados or just looking for something to listen to: "Slow," "Sunburn," and my most favorite Fuel song ever, and really one of my favorite songs in general, "Shimmer."

Friday, July 20, 2012

this can't be normal.

my music mood is annoying me today. for some reason, the songs i keep listening to are all mellow and mushy, and quite honestly, it's freaking me out. so this is going to be a double post: part 1 will be the music i am actually playing at my desk as i work my last full friday at the only real, semi-permanent job i've ever had (i'm not freaking out, i'm not freaking out). part 2 will be the music that i'm going to have to listen to later to make myself feel like less of a silly girl, cause "ain't nobody got time for that."

part 1: i just threw up in my mouth a little.

Let It Be Me-- Ray LaMontagne


I love this song. I don't wanna love it, especially for the reasons that i do, but I love it. It in no way aids my "Almost Famous" Penny Lane "never get hurt" mindset that I work so hard to achieve. And I know, my life is in no way similar to Penny Lane's. Instead of groupie-ing it up, I'm working on spread sheets the size of China with more confusing numbers to sort than there are Chinese children, while intermittently leading prospective students on swimming tours of campus because it is that humid here. But that's not the point. The point is that "Let it be Me" is an amazingly good song, and that is enough to justify my liking of it. So there. Please don't judge me..ok, go ahead, i'm even judging myself.

To Make You Feel My Love-- Garth Brooks

Preface (and if any song I've ever posted on here deserves a preface, it's this one):
I just added a ton of old cds into my itunes, solely for the purpose of putting them on my Wednesday night/Thursday morning playlist, to be listened to in either the drive-thru of Mcdonalds (if Dayna is in Lex) or Taco Bell (if Dayna is not in Lex-- i hope you read this and laugh, Dayna!!). One of those cds happened to be the Hope Floats soundtrack (which I own because...??) and this song is on it. So, last Sunday as I was driving back up here, the Trisha Yearwood version started playing on the iphone. And in true "If you give a mouse a cookie" style, I then had to listen to the Garth version.

Jump forward to today: I had forgotten about the sappy 30 minute part of my drive that consisted only of alternating the Trisha and Garth versions of the song and trying to decide which one I liked best (Garth won, btw) until the Adele version started playing on my Pandora.

It's a beautiful song, if you have any remnant of a heart, you have to admit that. I decided that if and/or when I give in and also use my tricky ways to talk some boy into it, and i get married, I want this song sang at my wedding. It just so happens that I'm lucky enough to work with the song bird of our generation, and he graciously agreed to sing it at my wedding, even though he, I,  and everyone else in attendance will be wheelchair bound and at least 95 years old. But, as long as Jason is still lucid enough to remember the lyrics and no one decides to die in the middle of the song, it'll be awesome. (If you're reading this, you're invited to. It'll be held at whatever nursing home I end up in, in the fall of, let's say 2050. Groom: unknown, but that part's not important. You can send gifts now, if you'd like. I'd really love a kitchen aid mixer and a dyson vacuum, fyi.)  

part 2: be my little rock and roll queen


Now, to redeem myself (as much as that is possible). This Fuel song is so different from almost all of their others, and it is perfect to turn up really loud and roll the windows of the car down, and just drive around and listen to as you forget about everything else, except driving, hopefully, because that would not be safe.   

 Dope Show-- Marilyn Manson

Yes, I know- It's Marilyn Manson. Yes, he's incredibly strange, as is this entire video. And yes, some of his songs are too weird and crazy for even me to like. But this song is not one of them. This lyrics, yeah, they're kind of a lot. But if you take them with a grain of salt, and just try to enjoy the song for what it is, I promise you'll like it. Ok, maybe not, but just try, seriously! This is my favorite Manson song, and actually one of my favorite songs in general. Play it in your car. Turn it up really, really loud. If it's not coming a monsoon or hurricane, roll down your windows. Now drive, and just listen. It's almost exhilarating. Seriously. Just try it once (I feel like I'm trying to peer-pressure you into trying drugs. Oh, how far I've gone from Garth Brooks in such a short amount of words....)     

i don't know where i'm going from here, but i promise it won't be boring.

It makes me so excited to see that so many of my college friends are blogging now. I love being able to catch up on all my friends' lives through more than a Facebook status. I just can't help but feel incredibly behind in life, though, when they are posting about their babies and husbands, new homes and their otherwise "grown-up" adventures.  It's weird being around the same age but in COMPLETELY different places in life. They're making big steps, like moving across the country with their loves or planning their dream weddings; while for me it was a huge step in my life just changing the way someone's name appeared in my phone contacts the other day (jason, lisa, and carrie ann can attest to this, and also to the fact that i'm ridiculous, though that part should come as a surprise to no one). 

So, if you are a reader of burning bright, then thanks! I know it's much less exciting to read about my favorite songs or my extreme indecision in when/where/what i'm going to do next with my life, but my hope is that by reading my blog you can find some new music you enjoy, or maybe just get a few laughs out of my ludicrous misadventures on my way to avoiding growing up for as long as possible. 


In a sort of Blogger-version of Follow Friday, here are some of my favorite blogs of my grown-up friends who publish amazing posts that make me so envious of their fun, big girl lives.    



Emily W.



Monday, July 16, 2012

Ramble On: July 16

Here's some new music to help get you through your Monday! 

Citizen Cope- One Lovely Day

This song makes me happy today. And since it's a Monday and I've been staring at an Excel sheet for the majority of it, I'm in desperate need of anything that makes the day better. This song does. 

Green Day- Oh, Love

I've not really been a big fan of Green Day for quite a while now- all their attempts to make their music delve into the political realm just annoy me. "Oh, Love" takes me back to the old school Green Day that I actually enjoyed, though it's definitely not the hardcore punk stuff that they started out with. The music is uncomplicated and simple, the lyrics aren't too preachy- overall a fairly decent new song.  (Thanks Jason for the heads up on this song!)

The Celestials-- The Smashing Pumpkins

And finally, a new song from The Smashing Pumpkins. I really like it, especially at about a minute and a half into the song where the bass line becomes the center of attention.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


This is much more tumblr-y than it is blogger-y, but really, I'm not really a fan of doing things the right way anyway. Perfect example: The inning of baseball that I just played in my office with a mini Louisville Slugger bat and salt water taffy. It's really much more fun when you can just eat the ball after you strike out.    

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Ramble On: Emphatic

Music today is in a sad state (a novel thought, I know). Rock music is especially awful. The majority of the new stuff out now is painfully unoriginal, uninspired and just plain boring.  I've had to expand my musical tastes to incorporate more of the trendy, weird, hipster stuff because just I can't find new modern rock songs that satisfy me. I crave something that's heavy without being all super intense, scream-at-everyone-you-hate-because-kids-were-mean-to-you-in-high-school, daddy issue fueled crap death metal. What makes my little rocker chick heart happy is to hear a band play hard, booming music with actual guitars, bass, and drums. And if said band has a singer with enough talent to make it not painful to listen to them perform original, well-written songs with lyrics that don't make me want to hit them in the face with one of my hoochie shoes, then it's basically a Christmas miracle. Well, maybe not a Jesus-level phenomenon, but it's up there.   

That's why I get really excited when I find something new that draws me in and makes me listen to it on repeat, turned up as loud as the Altima's speakers will allow. Emphatic's album, Damages, gave me that feeling. The music feels real, the lyrics genuine, the vibe just right to fill the missing spaces that the today's rock radio is lacking, even if it's just one song at a time.  

Emphatic--Put Down the Drink

One of the best songs from the album is "Put Down the Drink." I especially love this live acoustic version. I'm a huge sucker for songs that lend themselves well to acoustic performances, and this song really works with just the guitars and vocals (and i do love the vocals--that voice, so gritty, dirty & manly-- seriously, whoa).

Emphatic-- Mental Health (Quite Riot Cover)

I just happened upon Emphatic's cover of Quit Riot's "Mental Health" and it's really what won me over as a new fan of them. Another little band I used to know did an awesome cover of this song and made me fall in love with it years ago, but this version might just be my favorite of them all. It's a solid cover, with a perfect blend of the original song and the personality and modern flair of Emphatic. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

want rainbow cake? read this.

Since my last blog I've made so much progress in my job search! It turns out that even though I have two bachelor's and 3/4's of a master's degree, I am completely unqualified for any employment aside from being a greeter at the Wal-Marts, and that qualification comes from what I have been told is my God-given sunny disposition and not my UK-given education. 
(Disclaimer: The more I think about it, the more I am actually quite convinced that I wouldn't even be hired as a greeter, because I not only refuse to use the correct name, insisting instead on saying the Wal-Marts, but also because I'm fairly certain that the one who declared my disposition to be "sunny" was being facetious since I am much more "cloudy with a chance of sarcastic smartass." Plus, I think you have to be 100-years-old to be a greeter, and though I'm getting close, but I'm not quite there yet.)     
So, today instead of just sitting on Pinterest and looking for quotes to inspire my job search, I decided to take a more proactive approach and actually search for jobs. After about an hour of this, I came to the conclusion that I would have been much better off pinning super lame song lyrics, recipes I'll never use because I neither eat food nor do I have anyone who does eat food that I could prepare them for, or pictures of unnaturally skinny girls and their supposed workout plans to add to my thinspiration board to further the destruction of my terrible body image.  
You see, the big problem with choosing jobs to apply for is that it means I have to choose my future, and I'm feeling all Robert Frost /"Road Not Taken" about it. There are two paths that I can choose from. Well, maybe they aren't even paths yet, per se, as they are both so convoluted and littered with trees, bushes and weeds (weeds with an s, not just plain weed. because clearly, if there was a path filled with hallucinogen-bearing plants I would choose that one and become a ridiculously rich drug lord and live my life all Blow-style and Johnny Depp and I would live happily ever after, because I would totally be more in control and sane and less cocaine-addicted than Penelope Cruz was in the movie and I'd save us before shit hit the fan).

Let's just say there are two directions that I can choose from. One direction is the normal, the safe, the expected. This is the choice that most people make, which makes perfect sense. It's the logical decision, and is the next step on the list of "How to be a Grown Up." (But, as the first rule on the list of "How to be a Grown Up" is actually never referring to yourself as a grown up, I'm obviously failing already). In this direction I make the parentals happy, stay in Lex, get a job at UK, and subsuquently die of boredom and self-disappointment. 

The other direction is terrifying. It involves moving to a new city, all alone, and doing something that I have zero confidence in myself about being able to do (and I'm still not exactly sure of exactly what that's going to be yet, but many of you will be relieved to find that I have ruled out stripper, groupie, and merch girl for the moment--you're welcome). I want to write. I love it, it makes me feel alive and sane (i know, after reading this, you're questioning this sane thing. maybe less crazy is a better choice of wording). It terrifies me to think about being so vulnerable and trying to get a job based on my writing though. What if it's not good enough, if I'm not good enough? It would be the ultimate disappointment for me.

I guess that's part of the reason I make myself write this blog, though. It's like exercise for the writing part of my brain, and it makes me a little braver with every post. Plus, if I can make one person laugh, even though it is typically more laugh-at instead of a laugh-with, then that makes me feel so good. And maybe, just maybe, someone will read it one day and think, "Hey, you're a fairly decent and mildly amusing writer. Here you go, have this job."

So, if you've been able to follow this rambling mess to the end, then you deserve a fancy 25-layer rainbow Pinterest cake with homemade icing on a do-it-yoursef platter made from recycled bourbon barrels and mason jars or something like that. Just add your request to the comment section and I'll bake that right up. Or at least repin the recipe for you....