Tuesday, August 19, 2008


So I really like playing Settlers of Catan, especially with the Cities and Knights addition, but it can be tough to get people to come and play with me (especially when I beat them), so I've been looking for alternatives. I recently found a website where you can play "Xplorers" (Settlers) or "Tolouse" (Carcassonne) as well as a few other games. You can play with other humans in either three or four player games, or you can play with "bots" that always sport the names of various charcacters from "Friends". And you can play just for fun, or you can play to be ranked. And there are tons of variations of the board that you can play on. It's pretty great. In a time-wasting kind of a way. :)

When I first happened upon this website, I started at the top of the page, with the ranked tournaments, and when I got totally rocked 5 or 6 times in a row, I decided that I needed to bone up on my playing strategy, so I went to the non-ranking pages and have been working my way through all of the different maps one by one, playing against bots. Don't be lulled into complacency by thinking you're at an advantage with your real brain and all. Those computers can be pretty crafty. I'm winning against them about half of the time (and I may be being generous here) these days, but they still give me a run for my money.

So if any of you are fellow fans of Settlers, I strongly discourage you from checking out this website if you ever want to be productive in the presence of a computer again.

Thursday, August 7, 2008


This is not a post about me complaining. This comes to you all more in the way of a confession. Remember a few posts back when I was making fun of the people that got all dressed up to go see Prince Caspian? Yeah, well I went dressed up to a movie this summer. Turns out, if you catch me in the right mood, and have a group of people that will do likewise, I'll dress in something most people would find really embarrasing and go out in public. (People in my ward can attest to that. March of the Penguins ring a bell for anyone?)

As part of the Facebook Group, Summer Blockbuster Midnight Movie Madness (or something to that effect) I went to see Dark Knight on opening night up in South Jordan with a group of people. And we dressed as superheroes. We had Catwoman, Robin, Batgirl, and Super Karen. Yeah, I just made up my own superhero. Heaven forbid I conform, even in the superhero realm. In case you are wondering, yes I did make the costume myself. Anyone that wants to make their own spandex catsuit can find pretty good instructions here. Good times.
In case any of you have wondered, this is why my Blog is called Super Karen. I guess it's one of my alter egos. I've made a few other versions of this costume (and won two different halloween costumes with them) so this costume is version 3.0. And the best one, I think. I didn't have time to work up a logo or whatnot to sew on my chest, but I'm really not sure that I'll be wearing this in public any time soon, so I may not even worry about it.
Well there it is. My hypocrisy. For all the world to see.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Archuleta-inflicted Hearing Loss

My TV watching happens in spurts. I'll have seasons of shows where I'll watch religiously, but then I'll skip the next season or so. I've only seen seasons 1, 4, and 5 of '24', for example. When it comes to reality shows, if I don't start from the very beginning of the season, I'm just not emotionally invested into the outcome of the show, so I don't watch it. The only seasons I've watched of American Idol were #3 (where Fantasia won, but I enjoyed Jennifer Hudson and Jon Peter Lewis most) and #4 (where Carrie Underwood won) and the current season with the battle of the Davids. I watched every episode this season, many of them with my good friends Robin and Sarah.

So when the American Idol Live tour was coming through Salt Lake, we just had to go. It was a blast! Even the performers I had very low expectations for (Chikezie, Ramiele, and Jason Castro) sung well, and were pretty entertaining. Quite a few of the performers commented on how loud the crowd was. Which means we were louder than they were used to? We were the 10th show they did, so you wouldn't think they would be super surprised at people yelling and screaming.

They had the top ten perform in reverse order, and each performer did three songs. Well, they had some big screens up, and would show some promo footage of the contestants, and some commercials that they had made. Since David Archuleta is from the area, the noise level pretty much doubled whenever he had a bit in one of them. He came in second overall, and so after Sayesha (who ended 3rd) got done with her last song, the crowd went wild. She kept talking and talking. Couldn't she tell that all we wanted was a little David!?!?! But NO! "Is she still talking!?" Finally she got the hint (with the crowd chanting a name that was not hers) and left the stage, and then cute little David Archuleta came up out of the stage behind a grand piano. The crowd went W-I-L-D. It was seriously one of the loudest environments I've been in. Including drum line practice in the band room. YIKES! You could barely hear the poor kid sing at times. But they let him sing four songs. And he got all choked up and bashful just like on TV! It was fun!

There had been some speculation by the media as to the reception David Cook would receive, having beat out the Utah boy, but he got a really loud reaction from the crowd, too. Just a smidge quieter than Archuleta's.

So by the end of the night I was hoarse from screaming, had ringing in my ears from the noise, and felt oddly relaxed as a result of the vibrations from the bass that shook my whole body. I'd say the night was a success!

There is a Green Hill

Being in a BYU single's ward as I am, and seeing as most of us don't have a whole lot of family close by, we don't have Family Home Evening (FHE) with actual family, but rather are split up into groups with a "mom" and "dad" called to preside over the group, and make sure there is some form of organization and structure to the weekly gatherings. In my ward we meet all together once a month, split up and go to the Bishopric's homes once a month, and the other Mondays we just meet as individual groups (we have 4 in our ward).

This month the FHE gurus decided to have a bake-off, with a homemade Thai dinner for the winning group. Sister Sorenson is Thai and cooks some amazing food! I have been privileged enough to have recently partaken of her cooking, so I wasn't necessarily dead-set on winning. To give other people a chance to experience the goodness and all. And I just really like feeding people, so I went a little overboard as usual. I made a chocolate cake that I put green shag frosting on, as well as some frosting daisies that I had left over from a different cake project. I titled it "There is a Green Hill". I made some tarts with some excess jam from last week, and an almond crust. There was the old standby of cinnamon rolls that I've made often enough that I don't even need the recipe anymore, and I threw in some cream puffs I had made for a dinner I went to on Sunday. Amy Norton and I were the only ones for our group that made anything, and there was lots of stuff there, some of which was really prettily presented, but we're both good cooks so we felt pretty confident in our offerings. Amy brought a chocolate-raspberry mousse cheesecake thingy and home-made thin mints. Awesome!

So we had Bishop Sorenson, President Baker, and Bro. and Sister Andersen judging the competition. They had official judging hats to make sure that everyone knew they were serious about the whole thing. And they were. Very serious while judging. After they judged presentation, difficulty, and originality they got to taste everything. And so did we. I especially enjoyed the lemon meringue pie, and the assortment of chocolate goodies brought. Oh, and this raspberry cheesecake thing with a fresh raspberry sauce to drizzle over it. Yum!!!

We were all biting our nails, but they finally tallied up the results and the overall single winner was Anamae Anderson who made one of the fantastic lemon meringue pies. But there were two entries that won the contest for their entire group. And they were.... (drumroll please)... The Green Hill cake (also referred to as the Grassy Knoll) and the jam tarts! That's right. I totally won for my group! It was awesome. Anamae gets to come with our group when we get dinner since she won for herself. I consider my self-awarded "Domestic Goddess" title officially defended!

A Frenzy for Stephanie Meyer

Those of you who aren't into the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer (affectionately referred by me as "the sparkly teenage vampire love books") probably missed the biggest event of the summer. No, not the American Idols Live tour (which I did go to but haven't blogged about yet), and not "The Dark Knight" (which I went to dressed as a superhero.
Coming soon to a blog near you). The biggest event of the summer (for many, many screaming women between the ages of 12 and 74) was the release of the 4th and final book in the Twilight Series... Breaking Dawn! There were all kinds of release parties, the biggest at the local Borders. Seeing as this was a vampire book, some brilliant person at the blood bank even organized a blood drive in the Borders parking lot that evening. So great!

While I have been known to read me a good book from time to time, its usually something I do alone, not really sharing these experiences with many people. In fact, talking about my favorite books with people sometimes really bugs me. People pronounce names different than I do in my mind (i.e. wrong) and even though I can be fairly excited (in my brain) about some of the books I read, it somehow seems a lot weirder when people form this excitement into words. Part of this may stem from the type of people that seem to be really into the kind of books I normally read. I don't make my own chain-mail in lecture classes, I'm not much for LARP-ing, and I only wear capes and/or cloaks as part of a costume that I'm wearing for a special occasion (like Halloween. Or superhero movie premieres) Long story short, I don't usually purposefully congregate with my fellow Sci Fi/Fantasy readers. Well, unless there is a book signing by someone like Orson Scott Card or Brandon Sanderson. Such occasions are totally worth putting up with the cape-wearing LARPers. But seeing as I had no other plans last Friday night, I thought I'd swing by the local Borders to see what was up. I (being a much less devoted fan than many out there) didn't even get there until 11:30 PM. And consequently had to park roughly 3 blocks away behind the movie theater. By this time the blood-bank people were already packing up, and there were a local folksy kind of band playing for the horde of mostly women, the most enthusiastic of which were wearing red and black. The spokesperson for the band sounded a little dazed whenever she addressed the crowd. She didn't really know anything about the book that was being released, and obviously couldn't comprehend why hundreds of people would stand around for a stupid book.

I wander into the bookstore and get my wristband that tells me where to get in line at midnight when they can start selling books to people. I was number 1061! And there were plenty of people that got their little wristband after me. Since I was not the posessor of a wristband numbered under 100, I was supposed to go and wait outside with the other 968 people waiting for a book. Instead, I walked right past the bookstore employees like I knew what I was doing, and once inside, I pulled a book off of the bestseller shelf, found myself a corner, and started reading. This book was quite snarky, and seeing as it was fairly late in the evening, there were parts of it that were really funny to me. But much of the book didn't do much for me. Moral of that particular book: Vegans are skinny. That's what I get for reading non-fiction when I have an entire bookstore at my disposal. That's one hour of my life I think I'd like to have back. Well, about the time I had skimmed the last few chapters, I got up and checked out what number had actually purchased their Breaking Dawns. We weren't even to #300. And it was already 12:45. I came, I saw, I partook of the ambiance, and then I left. Yeah, just like that.

And it's now Tuesday and I still don't have the book. Go figure...