Monday, July 28, 2008

Credit Card Madness

My credit card is due to expire in a few months, so I've been keeping an eye out for a new one. Brit gets sweet deals and cash back from REI, my other friend told me about the gas gift cards he gets once a month, and I know other people who get good airfare deals. I figured I'd do away with my dinky Wachovia card that gets me n o t h i n g and get a new card that earns me frivolous rewards. After all, she works hard for the money, so hard for it honey, she works hard for the money so you better treat her right.

So I started to investigate different cards, and there are a shit-ton of them. I had no idea. I thought it was just Visa, Mastercard, and American Express. But I was very, very wrong.

There are legitimate causes to support. Affiliations to dedicate yourself to. Hobbies and stores and organizations and animals. So here I will present to you the wide world of credit cards available, just in case you need help researching your options.

First off, there are the genuine organizations. Just having this credit card in your wallet would give you a perpetual warm fuzzy feeling. When you whip it out to buy, say, your textbooks, $80 in gas, or even a six pack, you can nod solemnly to the cashier and say, "I just hate how XYZ's's the least I can do...donating 1% of every dollar I spend. That means once a year, the XYZ federation gets a check for $6.87, and it's all because of me. I just can't sit back and not do anything about it, you know?" You can support:

Guide Dogs
And honestly, who wouldn't want a picture like that on their credit card?

The Human Rights Campaign (aka, gay people)
Because who doesn't like gay people? (Except for conservatives, religious fundamentalists, and Iran). Having this will show everyone how open-minded and supportive you are. See: Stuff White People Like: Having Gay Friends

Arbor Day Foundation (Trees)
Trees are good.

More cute fuzzy animals that go on your credit card

Latina Style
Help empower deserving Latinas

Anyway, you get the point. The next category is: Useful things. These cards will earn you gas, miles, or rewards in a particular brand or store.

If you send a lot of stuff, this is probably useful for you

Pretty sweet. Free books and movies? Not a bad gig.

If you really like slushies, this may be your credit card

This is for people who like to buy the Hess Trucks at Christmas time

If you buy a lot of tires, or just like the marshmallow-y guy, this one's cool

Eskimo Joe's Restaurant and Bar
Do you frequent this restaurant in Stillwater Oklahoma? This could be your big break.

Not a bad way to go, if you obsessively buy things of one brand, or live in 7-Eleven or Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Now we have: Pledging your alliance to a particular club, team, group, or organization.

Are you retired? Get the magazine? This may be useful. Unfortunately, you must have a career before you retire, so that counts me out of this one.

Harley Davidson
If you ride a hog or are a member of the Hell's Angels, this is one for you.

Cornell University
Apparently several larger universities now have their own credit cards. Hamilton, having 1800 students (compared to Cornell's 20,000) does not.

The Academy of General Dentistry
There are several professional cards like this. Unfortunately, they don't have an APA (American Psychological Association) one. I'm guessing this is a good conversation starter, though. "Why yes, I am a dentist! No thanks, I don't need a receipt for that donut."

If the HRC card isn't gay enough for you, there is the WNBA card.

Rocky Mountain Elk Fountain
RMEF members must wait no longer!

Other animal affinity clubs include The American Paint Horse Association, Whitetails Unlimited, the National Wild Turkey Federation, and Salmon Nation (make the leap!)

If those weren't ridiculous enough for you, the more bizarre ones have their own category: "I don't know why you would ever get this." Aka, Absurd Credit Cards.

The KISS Card
If you never quite got over the 80's

World Of Warcraft
I don't even know what to say about this

Star Wars: Galactic Rewards
Darth Vader OR Yoda Platinum!

Ultimate Fighting Championship
If the WNBA and HRC cards weren't gay enough, you can get the UFC card! Honestly, I think the UFC ranks up there as one of the top homosexual things ever, but that's for another post.

Their slogan: "It says 'Hooters' on the card!" WHY is that a good thing!?

The Wizard of Oz (Complete with the Tin Man)
Because because because because because...because of the wonderful things it does...

...what kind of rewards would you get with this...?

Hello Kitty
Again, I don't know what to say. This is quite possibly the winner.

In conclusion, I am no closer to choosing a credit card than before I started this research. Yay Wachovia!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Getting used to internet reporting

I have two computers, two digital cameras, two cell phones, two pencils, and two notebooks.

I feel like Noah.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

"Food is an important part of a balanced diet"

Since I didn't get a job this summer (which I like to pretend was my choice, but is largely attributed to other college students pushing me out, a short span of time to actually work, and a largely shitty economy, thanks to our wondrous president), I've been beginning work on my senior thesis, studying for the GRE's (which is immensely frustrating when your GRE book has incorrect answers in it), and attempting to be a domestic goddess.

We've cooked almost every night in Portland, and I thought I'd write down some of the meals, in case there are other bored college kids around, trying to eat on as little money and effort as possible.

Toast with Honey Butter

The honey butter has been pretty key. It's sweet, easy to make, and healthier for you than straight butter. Essentially, it's just a cup of butter, 1/3 cup of honey, a teaspoon of cinnamon, and maybe some vanilla extract, if you have it. We don't. Throw all of it in a pot, heat it up until it's liquid, mix it well, then throw it in a tupperware container and put it in the fridge. It really is excellent.

Eggs, specifically with salsa/hot sauce
To go with the toast and honey butter, we've been eating lots of eggs. Omelets, fried eggs, scrambled, and poached. I think the big secret is to add some cheddar cheese and hot sauce to it (after it's cooked). The hot sauce omelets are particularly good with peppers, mushrooms, onions, and cheddar. Kind of like a fiesta for your mouth. As for the poached eggs, they're better for you because you don't need to grease anything when you make them. You need to get at least 3 inches of water in a medium pot boiling, then remove it from heat. Add a little vinegar (it keeps the egg together) and some salt. Crack the eggs right into the now-simmering water, cover the water, and let it sit for 2 and a half or 3 minutes (depending on how firm you want the yolks). The timing is key - too long, you get hard-boiled. Too short, you get raw eggs (aka, salmonella).

Fried/Grilled Tofu
We add this to most meals for protein. It's cheaper than meat, good for you, and easy to make. It has to be the firm (or extra-firm) kind, otherwise it just disintegrates. We often just throw it on the George Foreman Grill plain, or you can dip it in a beaten egg, then cover it with breadcrumbs, and fry it in a little oil.

Peanut butter noodles
Probably one of my favorites. The sauce is about half a cup of peanut butter (chunky or smooth, your choice), 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1 tablespoon grated ginger, 1 tablespoon chopped garlic, 1/4 cup soy milk (or regular milk, or water) and hot sauce to taste. Mix until smooth, and a little runny. Can go over spaghetti noodles. I always play with the ingredient amounts to taste. Tofu and other veggies go great in the sauce.

Ramen Salad
Brit's favorite. Make a regular salad with any veggies you want, then get a package of Ramen (probably chicken, beef, or vegetable flavored...nothing too weird), and break up the dried noodles all over the salad. They're great for salad crunchies. For a salad dressing, mix the ramen powder packet with 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup white vinegar, 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, a tablespoon of sugar.

Pesto Pasta
Easy. Spaghetti with pesto from a jar. Throw some tofu on top.

Basil, Tomato, and Mozzarella
Slice a tomato, put the slices flat on a plate. Put a slice of mozzarella on each tomato, then a leaf of basil on top. Drizzle with olive oil, and add some salt and fresh ground pepper. Goes great with the pesto pasta.

Eggplant Parmesan
Slice up half a medium eggplant, dip each piece in an egg batter and breadcrumbs, and then fry in a small amount of oil. Lay the eggplant flat in a dish, cover with spaghetti sauce, slices of mozzarella, and half a cup of parmesan. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes.

Macaroni and Cheese and Hot Dogs
For some reason, they just go really well together. Make mac and cheese from a box, cook some hot dogs, slice hot dogs over mac and cheese. VoilĂ .

So, that's pretty much it. As for the few times we haven't cooked, Subway, sushi, Thai, and bubble tea have seemed to suffice. That's all from the Amanda cooking show. Stay tuned for more next week from the domestic goddess.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A New Chapter

So we've decided to start a blog that we can each post at to keep you abreast of our latest adventures, rants, recipes, and witty life-observations. We figured that we'll probably post more between the two of us than one at a time, so we've made these clever icons (like the one to the left) to let you know who's posting.

In recent news, we are living in Portland, Oregon, specifically in the St. John's neighborhood. Portland is rated the #1 bike-friendly city in the US (#2 in the world, behind Amsterdam), so we've been taking advantage of it and biking between 45 and 80 miles a week. Brit gave Amanda her road bike and has been accepting payment in the only currency she knows - blood, sweat, and tears. We've also done a lot of hiking in Forest Park, which is less than a mile from our house and has about 70 miles of trails. Other activities have included a USA Rugby game, free concerts in the downtown area, trips into the Columbia River Gorge and to the coast, exploring restaurants and markets, and a beer-tasting festival.

While we've been enjoying the stereotypical Portland scene of coffee houses and microbreweries, we've decided that we've had more than enough beer served in small glasses to last a lifetime. Sometimes you just want a Saranac so you can get on with your life. Portland is definitely a place that has its quirks. It's ultra-laid back, very liberal (seriously, if Tibet were here it would be free already), but as the same time it has an intense side to it, and that can be found at the professional wrestling ring across from our house.

The bad news is, Amanda will be leaving Portland in a week to head back across the country, but the six weeks spent in Oregon with Brit have been invaluable in knowing that we won't kill each other if we're together for more know, 72 hours at a time.

The good news is, between the two of us, we will have one senior thesis, seven rugby games, seven electoral votes, two political conventions, one triathlon, and four hundred hours of being on call. And one blog. Stay tuned for adventures, mis-adventures, brilliant insight, and also whatever Brit has to say.