November 30, 2007
Santa Claus is Coming to Town!!!
Thanksgiving has come and gone which means its back to school, back to reality, and time to hit those books really hard (literally) to get ready for finals. But have no fear because winter break is just around the corner and that means that it's almost time for my favorite holiday of all time...CHRISTMAS!!!
So we all know the story of Santa Claus...the Big Man makes toys all year long with the help of his trusty elves up at the North Pole. But of course Santa needs a little bit of help here and there and that's where the department stores come in. And what's the craziest shopping day of the year? BLACK FRIDAY of course...dumdumdum. This day of frenzied, competitive shopping occurs every year the day after Thanksgiving and is the official start of the Christmas season for many. Want to learn a little bit about Black Friday? Check it out here on wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Friday_(shopping)Talk about commercialization of the Christmas spirit...but I guess you can get some pretty good deals on gifts.
To give you insight into how crazy Black Friday really is, the name was first coined in 1975, referring to the heavy traffic on that day, an "implicit comparison to the extremely stressful and chaotic experience of Black Tuesday, the 1929 stock-market crash"...talk about chaos! I watched the news on Black Friday and all they were showing over and over again were the lines of people standing outside department stores waiting to get inside and take advantage of all the great sales. Let's not forget that some of these people were standing in line since 4 am in the morning...now that's intense, or a little sick, you can be the judge of that one.
Anyway I found it interesting that in previous years a new day has been created to signify the start of the holiday online shopping season. It's called "Cyber Monday" and apparently it started because back in the day when most people had really slow broadband internet, they would do all of their online Christmas shopping at work where the internet connection was much faster and more reliable.
Unfortunately Black Friday has come and gone already but you can still prepare for next year by checking out the "Top Ten Tips to Survive Black Friday" at this site : http://blogs.consumerreports.org/shopping/2007/11/our-top-10-blac.html
In my opinion, the best tips on this site are to "do your homework" to unearth the best deals before waking up for battle the day after Thanksgiving and also to not assume that you are getting the best deals just because it's the most publicized shopping day of the year.
Anyway, I hope you all have been good this year because Santa Claus has been watching! Enjoy the holidays and try to stay warm despite the Michigan Weather!
I leave you with this:
Posted by khenkels at 09:06 PM
November 18, 2007
The History of Thanksgiving
As we get ready to go home for the holidays and (over)indulge in the traditional feast of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and cranberry sauce I thought it might be a good idea to learn a little bit about the origins of these traditions. The History Channel has a great documentary on the History of Thanksgiving and some of the facts it presents on this website http://www.history.com/minisites/thanksgiving/ are quite eye-opening. For instance, did you know that the first Thanksgiving feast lasted 3 days long and probably consisted of roasted goose, fish, venison and lobster instead of the typical turkey and mashed pataters?
And what about table manners? Did Pilgrim moms scold their kids for holding their forks the wrong way or putting their elbows on the table during the feast? In fact, Pilgrims didn't even have forks to eat with! They mainly used spoons, knives and their hands to shovel the bountiful feast into their mouths. This Thanksgiving, I dare you to start eating with your hands and see what happens...your mom will probably scream at you but you can casually respond, "What? I just want to replicate the table manners of the first Thanksgiving, is that such a crime?" Ok so maybe this will result in you not getting any pumpkin pie for dessert and having to clean all the dishes by yourself, but at least you will be historically accurate, right?
Another thing that I found interesting on the site was the page called "Mayflower Myths" that describes various myths about Thanksgiving and proves them false, http://www.history.com/minisite.do?content_type=Minisite_Generic&content_type_id=874&display_order=2&mini_id=1083
I found it very interesting that the first Thanksgiving feast celebrated in 1691 was not actually repeated as a tradition in that time period. Instead, Thanksgiving was considered to be a religious holiday associated with the Church and giving thanks for the winning of a battle or something similar. Thus the feast would not have even been considered a "Thanksgiving" by the Pilgrims because it was a completely secular celebration. I find it very intriguing that over the years our culture has changed Thanksgiving so much from its traditional meaning. There are lots more cool myths on the site so I recommend checking them out.
Alright well I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving and eats lots of food. To start the holiday off right I want to leave you with this quite humorous comic, I hope it at least makes you smile :)
Haha poor Big Bird...
Posted by khenkels at 02:37 PM
November 06, 2007
Halloween's over...Time for Thanksgiving!
So the Halloween festivities are now over and done with...time to throw away those rotting pumpkins, finish off that stale candy corn, and get ready for Thanksgiving! So besides the fact that we all get to go home for a long weekend and get a mini-break from studying, the best part of "Turkey Day", is of course the Turkey! Food is what makes the world go 'round...(or is that money...) and so I thought I'd share with you a few recipes to make this year the best Thanksgiving ever!
I'm assuming you'll probably leave the turkey cooking to your parents and I'm sure they don't trust you with an electric carving knife...so let's focus on dessert. A really simple dessert that you can make and impress all of your guests with is easy pumpkin cream pie. It's so delicious and barely takes any time to make, even if you've never baked a thing in your life. The following link is from Cooks.com and contains the ingredients and directions to easily make a scrumptious pumpkin cream pie: http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,1737,149188-245200,00.html
Looks easy enough, right? I highly recommend trying the recipe out, you'll definitely impress you parents. They'll ask, "where did you learn to bake a pie!" and you can respond "in my business information technology class, of course!"...ok so maybe you don't want to say that because they might re-think all of the tuition money they're paying...
If you're a bit more of an expert when it comes to baking you might want to try baking a homemade berry pie. Here's a very helpful video that leads you step by step through the process of making the crust, creating the berry mixture, and how to serve this mouth-watering creation:
If all goes well, your final masterpiece should look something like this:
Well I hope I inspired you to try out some of these fun recipes for Thanksgiving this year. You'll impress your family and friends and better yet, you'll have a delicious pie to eat for dessert! Just imagine, this could be you:
Posted by khenkels at 12:15 PM
October 31, 2007
So what is everyone's costume this year? On second thought maybe I don't want to know... Whatever costume you wore(or lack there of), you can always count on a bunch of people parading around as witches for the night. It's a relatively simple costume, all you really need is a pointy hat and abracadabra! you're ready to go out and party. Sure, it's trendy to go all Harry Potter these days but back in the 1600s life for colonial women accused to be witches wasn't all fun and (quidditch) games...
I decided to do a little research on the Salem Witch Trials in honor of one of my favorite Halloween movies, "Hocus Pocus". It's a crime if you've never seen this Disney movie, it's definitely one of the best Halloween movies of our generation so you should check it out. If you're interested you can read a summary of the plot here
Anyway, back to the Salem Witch Trials... "The Salem witch trials were a series of hearings before local magistrates, and county court trials to prosecute people accused of witchcraft in Essex, Suffolk and Middlesex Counties of colonial Massachusetts, in 1692 and 1693...Between February 1692 and May 1693, over 150 people were arrested and imprisoned, with even more accused who were not formally pursued by the authorities. The two courts convicted 29 people of the capital felony of witchcraft, 19 of whom (fourteen women, five men) were hanged." To read the full article look it up here, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salem_witch_trials#The_witch_cake_and_the_touch_test
Basically the Salem Witch Trials were just the result of human ignorance and fear. People didn't know how to explain certain phenomena so they tried to support their fears by declaring that the "odd" women and sometimes men in society had satanic, magical powers and had to be stopped. Women's rights were basically nonexistant in colonial times so of course the women who were accused of being witches had no chance of being proven innocent. Once the hysteria began it spread like wildfire throughout Salem and very soon after many innocent people were killed for no reason at all...
Enough of the negative stuff, Halloween is meant to be a fun holiday, at least by todays standards. I hope everyone had tons of candy, not a lot of homework, and went out and celebrated one of the best holidays of the year!
October 28, 2007
Only 3 more days until the scariest night of the year!...and no, I'm not referring to our first BE3OO midterm even though I'm sure it will be equally as terrifying, if not more so...
With Halloween just around the corner I thought it would be appropriate to blog a little bit about pumpkin carving. You may be thinking "I haven't carved a pumpkin in years! Why would I want to risk a potentially fatal knife wound to carve an over-sized vegetable that will probably be smashed and/or eaten by a giant squirrel within the first five minutes of putting it on my front porch?" (So maybe you don't want any of those dog-sized Ann Arbor squirrels coming within 20 feet of your front door, but come on where's your Halloween spirit?)
So how and where did this bogus tradition start anyway? Well according to the experts from "Pumpkin Carving 101", which can be found at http://www.pumpkincarving101.com/pumpkin_carving_history.html
"On this magical night, glowing jack-o-lanterns, carved from turnips or gourds, were set on porches and in windows to welcome deceased loved ones, but also to act as protection against malevolent spirits. Burning lumps of coal were used inside as a source of light, later to be replaced by candles.
When European settlers, particularly the Irish, arrived in American they found the native pumpkin to be larger, easier to carve and seemed the perfect choice for jack-o-lanterns. Halloween didn't really catch on big in this country until the late 1800's and has been celebrated in so many ways ever since! "
Ok so what I want to know is how these people actually carved turnips. Do you even know what a turnip looks like?
Carving turnips must have been pretty difficult...and no offense but what evil spirit is going to be scared away by a vegetable the size of a golf ball? Then again who eats turnips anyway, you might as well carve them...
So as I was surfin the web for some fun Halloween ideas I came across one of the coolest websites solely devoted to reviving the ancient tradition of jack-o-lanterns, with a little twissst. Get ready, get set for: EXTREME PUMPKIN CARVING!
That's right folks, this isn't your grandma's pre-painted pumpkin she bought at meijier's...
BEWARE: The following website is not for the faint of heart. The jack-o-lanterns you are about to witness are Ex-treme to the nth degree and may cause you bodily or psychological harm. For those of you brave enough to venture forth here's the portal into the 4th dimension of pumpkin-carving: http://www.extremepumpkins.com/index.html
So this website is all about crazy and alternative ways to carve pumpkins, and let me tell you some of the ideas they have on here are pretty sweet. To give you a little taste of the magic here's one that kinda freaks me out a little:
How cool is that though? There are some pretty freaky pumpkins on this site and if strategically placed on your front porch they would definitely send the message, "You better not even think about dumping that whole bowl of unattended candy into your pillow case, or you'll pay the price..."
Alright well that does it for now. I highly recommend you browse through the pumpkin photo gallery on that site, there are some pretty amazing creations on there, seriously who thinks up this stuff?
And before I go, I leave you with the scariest "Jack" o Lantern of all, GUARANTEED to send the neighborhood kids running away screaming...:
October 20, 2007
Trick or Treat!
Hello World...again! So I decided to blog about the upcoming holidays for a couple of reasons. Everyone loves holidays; they give you something to look forward to, you sometimes get days off from work or school, and it's always great to spend time with family and friends. I don't know about you, but looking forward to holidays definitely helps me get through the weeks where I have tons of homework and lots of rowing practices with no salvation in sight. In my blog I plan to write about Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas...get excited.
The first holiday I'm blogging about is Halloween! So strap on your witch's hat, grab an extra large pillow case, and lets go trick-or-treating! I decided I didn't want to bore you guys with the lame historical background of this glorious holiday so let's get down to the good stuff: CANDY!!!
Of course if you realllly want the lo' down on the origins of Halloween, check it out here, thanks to my favorite research buddy wikipedia in an article justly titled "Halloween", http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halloween
You want to know why I like Halloween so much? It's the one day that you can go door to door asking for free candy from strangers...let me repeat that, FREE candy. What's not to love? Ok so I don't go trick-or-treating anymore, I stopped that a long time ago...right. But I still have many fond memories of running door to door at top speed for 4 hours straight making sure that I got the most candy out of any of my family. Considering that I have 4 younger siblings this was always a big competition in my house and because I'm the oldest it was essential that I remained the victorious trick-or-treater each year.
So what's your favorite Halloween candy? I'd have to say that I absolutely love in-season candy corn...it's just not the same if you eat it during any other month besides October. But usually going door to door I would go for the butterfingers. It was even luckier that my sister used to hate butterfingers so at the end of the night when we'd all dump our candy on the kitchen floor and count it up she'd pass them all my way.
I wanted to see where butterfingers stood on the list of most popular Halloween candy so of course I googled it and I came across this website http://www.keepkidshealthy.com/halloween/halloween_candy.html
Here's what I found out about the most sought after candy of 2006:
Most Popular Halloween Candy of 2006
1. Tootsie Roll
2. Hershey's Milk Chocolate
3. Nestle Crunch
5. Hot Tamales
6. Candy Corn
7. Snickers Bar
8. Baby Ruth
9. Reese's Pieces
10. Almond Joy
11. Milky Way
13. Life Savers
14. M & M's
15. Sour Patch
Butterfingers aren't even on the list! Candy corn did make #6, but still, come on, Tootsie rolls are #1? How lame is that? Tootsie rolls are like chewing chocolaty tar...yummy. And Razzles made #12? Wtf mate!?! I don't even know what those are! Whatever, I guess that just means more butterfingers for me, uhh, if I still went trick-or-treating that is...
Posted by khenkels at 11:10 PM
October 04, 2007
TestHello, World! http://www.umich.edu
Posted by khenkels at 01:39 PM