Sunday, March 15, 2009

Elegyrl's Letters

As I mentioned that elegyrl sends me fun letters, I figured I may as well tell some of the other fun things she has done:

-A letter written backwards
-A crossed letter
-Letter on the back of photocopied coloring pages
-Letters with pages mixed up
-Letters on every sort of stationery
-A letter using wrapping paper as stationery
-A letter written on Disneyland napkins
-A letter written on Color Explosion pages
-A letter written entirely in a code she made up:

-Postcards of all shapes and sizes
-A letter with smashed pennies taped on
-A postcard with a picture of us inserted, which also doubled as a frame so I could use the postcard as a framed photograph

I'm probably missing some, but you get the general idea. And she's planning something even crazier, which she says will knock my socks off.

I'm not as good at reciprocating, but I do have a few tricks up my sleeve which she has yet to see...

Friday, March 13, 2009

Invisible Ink

Elegyrl likes to send me fun letters, so I was not surprised to open a letter this week and find two mostly blank pages. The top of the first page had my name, and the bottom of the second had her closing.

My first thought was that she had used invisible ink. But then I started thinking. I know elegryl, and she likes to play jokes. There was a possibility they might actually be nothing more than two blank pages. But more likely I thought it would be invisible ink.

Not recalling much about invisible ink, I refreshed my knowledge online, and determined that of the various liquids used (see list here), elegyrl would have picked lemon juice. I don't know why, but it seems most common.

Many invisible inks are revealed by heat, so I set up the iron and ironed the letter. I ironed and ironed. Nothing happened. I wondered if I had the iron on too low or maybe even too high. Either way, it didn't work.

I read the wikipedia page again, to see if there was another way to reveal invisible ink. I wanted to be absolutely certain I couldn't figure it out before sending a text to elegyrl to ask her what was up with the blank pages. But the other methods of revealing that they mentioned (red cabbage water, sodium sulfide, silver nitrate, etc.) were not easily accessible options, so I gave up and sent a text to elegyrl.

I can't remember how the conversation went, but she played around a little with me before revealing that she had, in fact, sent me two blank sheets of paper (no invisible ink).

Thank you, elegyrl. It was a good trick. :o)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


One day last summer, Olive asked if I'd ever eaten lobster. I said no. Somehow it was decided that this was an experience that should happen. When Olive came to visit, she and elegyrl and I were going to go get lobster together. But then the fates intervened and the beaches tired us out, and we didn't end up going.

To make a long story short ("Too late!"), Monday night Olive and I went to Red Lobster at long last. Now, prior to arriving at the restaurant, we had done our homework. I printed off the instructions (pictures and all) from this lovely site as to how to eat a lobster. Those were the best instructions of the ones I read online. Olive and I also watched multiple online lobster videos, which are easily found if you feel so inclined, and will not be linked to here.

As we waited for the lobster to arrive (they didn't have us choose the beast, which I was a little disappointed about, but oh well, we saw him when we came in), we took turns reading the instructions. Olive insisted upon enacting the future lobster-drawing and convinced the crab biscuit to play the part of lobster. A couple bits of red onion became legs, though mine turned into a carrot instead. Thus we were able to have the joy of removing the lobster's limbs before he arrived.

And yes, it was a he that we ate. I read somewhere how to tell them apart and I'm pretty sure we had a male.

When the lobster actually came, I couldn't resist playing a bit with it. Who wouldn't want their dinner to talk to them? I mean, this is a complete animal, here! Too bad I forgot my camera. I brought it, but left it in the car, and it was snowing, so I didn't want to go out for it. I only remembered it after I'd ripped the first claw off.

Thus the picture, taken with my phone:

We did not name the lobster. I think if I were younger, I would have.

For anyone who doesn't know (or who didn't bother to read the instructions linked to above), you start off by tearing the lobster's claws off. Which we did. Well, I did, technically. Olive did not enjoy me playing with my food (the pinchers--those things are fun!), so I got right down to cracking.

You crack the claw open and eat the meat inside. I cracked it open--it's a bit like a walnut, but bigger--and pulled the meat out with the fork (Olive declined any involvement in the cracking of the lobster). It was rubbery, and shaped just like the claw from which it had been taken. Big surprise, I know.

You're supposed to dip the meat in butter and eat it. What the purpose of the butter is, I have no idea, since I couldn't taste the butter. I tasted lobster. It was ok. I gave the next claw to Olive. Actually, I gave her a bit from the non-claw part of the claw, as she didn't want the part that actually looked like a claw. She didn't find the meat all that scrumptious either.

I know I'm a writer and all, but I really don't know how to describe tastes. Sounds, yes. Tastes, no. Olive could do a better job, I'm sure. It tasted like lobster. It was kind of chewy.

After the claw comes the fun part: you have to twist the tail off the body. Then you remove the flippers. Then Red Lobster had sliced the tail open, so I just broke it in half and pulled the meat out. I gave one half to Olive, and kept the other for myself.

The tail was chewy. If I had to do it again, I would cut the tail into very small pieces before eating them. I don't know if anyone else has this problem, but if I eat something that is very chewy, a piece of meat especially, and I chew and chew and chew and chew and chew... and chew and chew and chew and chew... and chew and chew and it's still in my mouth... I start to gag. I came very near the gagging point on the tail. The meat did taste better than the claw though, if that makes up for it at all.

After the tail come the legs. Fun little things. You rip them off and are supposed to suck the meat out.

Um... suck? I'm sorry, I'm an adventurous woman to a point, but I do not want to suck a lobster leg. Blowing, on the other hand...

I tore apart my lobster legs and then blew the meat out of each section, which was mostly pointless. The biggest piece of leg meat was about the size of a small slice of green bean, and the smallest piece was smaller than a pea. But it was fun to pull apart the pieces and blow out the meat nonetheless.

Olive surprised me by also dismembering some legs, and I even enticed her to try blowing out the meat too. She still didn't like me playing with the little claws though (the front legs had little claws on them).

If I'd thought about it, I would have saved a claw or something else to send to elegyrl in the mail, or maybe to Mother and Father Edit. But I didn't, alas.

The lobster having been consumed, I continued to explore the cavity of his body by pulling out the remaining things and inspecting the insides. It was pretty unexciting. The lobster is not an especially complex creature.

The antennae really were interesting. The lobsters all seemed to have different lengths, and most of them looked like they'd been broken off at some point. Our lobster had two decent antennae, and they still moved all around in their socket just perfectly if you wiggled them with your finger (which Olive didn't really like).

Let's see, what else? Um, there's a lot of white goopy stuff, kind of like soggy egg white, in the lobster around the meat. There's a lot of water involved, too: we had to excavate the fries from the plate before the lobster water infected all of them. Why you would put fries on a plate with a dripping lobster in the first place is beyond me.

I would like to note that at the beginning of the evening I had had my eye on one of the big lobsters, which was a 3-pound lobster, but Olive luckily saved me from that by agreeing with the waiter that a regular lobster would fit our needs better. Thank you, Olive! It was a nice-looking huge lobster, though. It was huge!

In addition to the lobster, we ordered a shrimp pasta dish, which I am now enjoying as leftovers, and some strawberry cheesecake for dessert (no leftovers). They were not California strawberries, and if they were, they were not Oxnard strawberries.

All in all, it was a quite tasty, or at least educational, experience. It was made even tastier by the fact that we used gift cards, and thus got away with paying only $5 for the whole evening. The only way it could've been better is if I'd taken more photos (with a real camera).

I don't quite understand the draw of eating lobster. Maybe men like it because it reminds them of their boyhood days when they sat on the sidewalk pulling ants apart. I don't know. I wouldn't order lobster again unless I had a good reason to, like if I were out with someone who had never eaten it and wanted the experience. And sometime I might like to try a prepared lobster tail, and see if it tastes better with stuff on it to make it taste better.

When Olive and I left, it was still snowing, and we sledded home all the way.

Or whatever.

The end.