this thing is still about things

Category Archives: life



Of all the bullshit things going on in my mind right now, I need to discuss a serious medical condition:  Puzzle Eye.

In a different time in history, I may have been accused of witchcraft or vampirism because I. cannot.  stop. with this fucking puzzle shit.  If I am chasing you, just throw some puzzle pieces at me and it will drive me mad until I can put it all together.  If I can’t work on actual jigsaw puzzles, then I play virtual jigsaw puzzle games or some sort of matching puzzle game.  It’s getting to be annoyingly problematic.  As an aside, I’ve passed this condition on to my son, but not my daughter.  She tries, but she can’t.  In fact, she bought a puzzle for herself that she worked on for all of 10 seconds before giving up and passing it on to me.  She never should have brought it into this house!  It’s become the bane of my existence.  300 pieces shouldn’t be a difficult puzzle.   It should not.  A 300 piece puzzle is an easy Sunday afternoon for me.  But fuck this puzzle.

It’s cheap and doesn’t fit together well and it’s a complete nightmare to put together.  I don’t know whether I’ll paint it not.  UGH, this puzzle.  I absolutely hate it but I will absolutely finish it.

Aside from that bullshit Color-Me puzzle I’ve been out of practice for a while because once I start I can’t stop and my life is too busy to lose a couple of days at a time to obsession.  Having said that, I have still been collecting puzzles even if I haven’t been putting them together.  Ravensburger is still and always will be king and their Challenge Series is a favorite of mine.  They are generally 1000 pieces and of decent difficulty so it’s hard enough to be interesting but not so difficult as to be stressful.

Ravensburger’s Krypt Series is amazing.  Once I’ve figured out the ‘trick’ of it, there is a great sense of accomplishment and I feel like a goddamn genius.  This feeling occurs when working on regular puzzles, but it’s really tenfold on these krypt puzzles.  I think that’s when puzzle eye kicks in.  I see a piece and just know where it goes.  I’m not a doctor so I don’t know how it works but I’m pretty sure it’s magic.  I have a plethora of amazing yet useless skills. The spiral one I have hanging in the classroom but I found no reason to put a silver square on the wall.

Previously, my largest puzzle was Ravensburger’s Tarot which was so incredibly satisfying.  It took 2 days of intense focus–and very little sleep or interaction with anyone.  This is what I mean about how ridiculous I am with puzzles.  This isn’t good behavior for normal people let alone for a spouse or parent, so while I still completed puzzles, I didn’t do any as larger or as involved.

Until now.  [ominous music!]

A few years ago I acquired my most intense challenge yet:  Ravensburger’s 5000 piece Sistine Chapel

Amazon has it listed for $68 but I picked it up on clearance somewhere for $20.  $68 is actually much less than what it was listed for previously–around $80-$90.  I want to do this so badly but I need to work up to it.  I have a few more untouched Challenge puzzles and a whole box of cheap grocery store puzzles of varying difficulty that I recently rediscovered tucked away in a box in the classroom.  I’ve been retraining my puzzle eye, just doing easy 300 and 500 piece sets, maybe a 750 piece one.  I may even complete another Challenge Series puzzle before I attempt begin the Sistine Chapel.  This training regimen has been fraught with frustration.

I actually threw away this cute doggie puzzle.  It was only 300 pieces and fun of course, but I knew it would be incomplete.  I had to find out how incomplete though, and a few hours later I was left with four missing pieces.  The cheap grocery store puzzles are kept in Ziploc style bags (as opposed to the individual jigsaw puzzle boxes that we’re used to seeing) and have been moved throughout the house countless times.  Some of these puzzles have pieces are missing.  I can’t express just how much this irritates me.  How much an unexpected missing puzzle piece makes my skin crawl.  Now, like the dog puzzle there are some sets that I know will have missing pieces; some sets that have been attempted by small hands and abandoned.  That’s okay.  I’m prepared.  My fried chicken* is ready.  But the ones that should be complete?  The ones that have not been touched and yet still come out with one piece gone? Oh fuck them.  FUCK THEM WITH THE BRILLIANT RAGE OF A THOUSAND SUNS.

I’m not giving up.  I’ll keep looking and maybe a miracle will happen and I fill find it.  In the mean time, I’ll continue to re-focus my puzzle eye and work up to that doozy of a challenge.


My kokoro


So the very talented Xingible/Yushinz has often used the phrase “my kokoro” which is an abstract term generally meaning heart but more like mind/body/spirit.  I say this phrase to myself from time to time, mostly when my kids do something amazing or when I see something just incredibly heartwarming.

I say this because I was watching a new (to me) anime called Isekai Izakaya: Japanese Food from Another World.  It’s very cute and because I’m a pig, I love learning about food and seeing people (animated or not) being excited about eating.  At the end of the episodes, real people either create or seek out the food featured in the episode.  In episode 2, Juicy Kara-Age Japanese style fried chicken is explored and damn if it doesn’t look delicious.  In the ending segment, Kenichi Nagira finds a restaurant named Kokoro where they are famous for their fried chicken.  Simple enough, a restaurant named Kokoro that serves among other things, fried chicken.

My exhausted 1 AM brain short circuited and blurred all the lines.

Somehow, for a just a moment, the term kokoro translated in my head as fried chicken.  Oh my kokoro had a new and hilarious meaning.

So now, “oh my fried chicken!” is obviously going to be my new phrase.  There is no other option.

I am really enjoying Isekai Izakaya: Japanese Food from Another World, so check it out if you like food and the juxtaposition of medieval Germany and a modern day Japanese restaurant.  While you’re at it, check out Today’s Menu for the Emiya Family, based on Fate/stay night. Very cute.  All of these food shows remind me how much I love Japanese culture, but also how desperately fat and American I am.  I want to eat all of it, times four.

Veri-Happy Anniversary to me!


Today is the 8th anniversary of my most popular post, Veri-Green is not Veri-Good -or- more evidence that I am the most boring person ever.  As of *right this second* this blog has been viewed solely on the merit of that one single post about green beans over 1,800 times.  1,821 people needed to know more about Kroger’s Veri-Green Beans.  You understand what this means, right?

I am the Green Bean Queen

Now, I know those aren’t big numbers or anything, but I’m #1 when you search “zinc chloride green beans” and #5 when you search “veri green” on Google, so that’s basically the only thing I have going for me so stop peeing on my parade.  I was only reminded of this stupid green bean thing again when I accidentally brought home a wayward can of these artificially preserved green beans and realized they were no longer ‘veri green’:

Not veri, but extra

As mentioned before, ‘veri green’ is trademarked, so now I guess Kroger is doing their own store brand generic version of zinc chloride in their green beans?  There are plenty of other name brand food companies using the ‘veri green’ label so it’s still a thing, just not for Kroger.  Now, 8 years later, here are the same side-by-side comparisons:

No color correction for the actual bean photos.

The beans are pretty much identical as they were 8 years ago, down to the smell.  Again, I didn’t taste them so maybe they taste the same, maybe they taste like unicorn farts, who knows.  Arsenic is also undetectable in taste and smell as well so whatever.

I also upgraded from the counter to the kitchen table for pictures.

One thing that I noticed was different now is that the regular cut green beans are in a can labeled as having a non-BPA liner but the beans treated with zinc chloride has no such label.

remember when we didn’t care at all about BPA?

The can on the left is the non-BPA lined can; the one on the right is the zinc chloride bean can which I assume is teeming with literally all the BPA you can shake a stick at.  Is there a scientific reason for the different type of can?  If it was in fact a non-BPA lined can, I’m sure it would be labeled as such the same way that marketers want to label everything they can as ‘gluten free’.

The cans do look different but that could totally be the lighting.

For the record, I had to make a green bean casserole for someone else and sure as shit I wasn’t going to go out of my way to do anything fancy.  I did go out and get a replacement for those eye searing zinc beans, so I’m not a total monster.  I’ll probably get my scientician* license taken away because I didn’t do some actual testing, but here are the facts:

1.)  I’m super lazy.  There is no disputing this.

2.)  Zinc chloride can sound super scary for dummies like me when in the context of a Wikipedia article but in truth is used in a ton of applications.

3.) Even Tom’s of Maine uses zinc chloride and people love them and offer up their first born children unto them so who am I to argue.

Essentially, is it poison?  Not in the amounts used.  Does it sound gross?  Yes.  Is it necessary?  No.  In the same way vaccines sound scary when you break down the individual components, no one wants to see that on the list of ingredients when in reality, green beans, water, and sometimes salt are all you should reasonably expect on the ingredients list of a can of green beans.  If you’re desperate for brighter green beans without zinc chloride, then go with fresh or frozen as a hugely more expensive alternative.  Regular cut green beans in a can are cheaper than treated, and as we all know, it comes out the same in the end so just eat what you want as long as you know what it is.  This concludes my TED talk.

*Scientician is a perfectly cromulent word: