Friday, April 26, 2013

New finds and new spots

Our regular readers (hello, all 3 of you!) might recall that Fayetteville does something called "First Thursdays" which is an evening (the first Thursday of each month, aptly enough) on the town Square, dedicated to music and art and general community revelry.  They started up again in April. [As a side note, I'm still in awe of living in the south where outside events are scheduled from April through October.....I just learned that the drive-in opened on April 19th....these types of things wouldn't open until around Memorial day in the northlands!]

We went to this First Thursday event, mostly because it gets us out of the house and it's a nice walk up to the Square....well it's a nice walk if you're me, if you're my charming husband you complain and grunt at the steep grade all the way up the hill.  Anyway, right when we got up to the Square we ran into a new friend of ours, a fellow I met on campus last fall who is a first year assistant professor in a more hard science-y field, and we helped him find his wife, another new friend-type who runs the "storytelling" event I've spoken about in posts past.

After quickly meandering around the art, we ended up at the beer tent and then the food trucks.  Food trucks have made their way to Walmart Country, starting with the fancy grilled cheese Grillenium Falcon and the expansion has been pretty rapid.  I think there was an episode of the Great Food Truck Race filmed here sometime last year.

This food truck, Nomads, is often parked outside our cute independent bookstore, and they serve middle eastern food.  They have falafal and gyro pockets, delicious hummus, and these "pita fries" that are to die for.  I don't even know how to explain them....they take pita, slice them into strips and fry them like french fries......damn, they're delicious.  We had not intended to actually eat dinner on the Square but the food truck just called to us.

Our other favorite middle eastern place, Petras, is only open for lunch, so now that we have Nomads (which is also open around dinner time and until they run out of food on fri/sat nights), we've got options in the world of middle eastern food.  Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Monday, April 22, 2013

April flowers and Ground hogs

I have so many things to report on!  Things have been busy here in Walmart Country for us.  First, a simple post.  A few weeks ago, I was walking home from work, as I do just about every day, and I noticed some flowers planted along the brick wall that opens onto the large lawn (as close as we get to a "quad" here--but it's not surrounded by buildings, so it can't in good faith be called a quad).  A week after that, they bloomed, and it was a lovely sight:

It's for reasons like this that I especially like Walmart Country in the spring.  Little touches to make the town stand out.

Of course, two weeks later, the flowers are now dead, perhaps because it's been cold at night, or because they haven't been properly tended idea. The weather here has yo-yoed from low 30s to high 70s and everywhere in between.

It's like the groundhog didn't know if it saw it's shadow or not. 

Speaking of....we saw a groundhog in our backyard recently!  Doug came upstairs to say "Hey there's a big rodent thing in our backyard" and it had scampered under the fence but a few minutes later it popped back into view.  A real groundhog, in our backyard! 

As I am not trained in the ways of groundhog shadows, I could not tell if it had a message for us or not. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

The Games of Pie and Thrones

Hard to believe it's already April!  Four weeks left of the semester, then glorious glorious summer, when hopefully I can get a lot of writing done.

I'm not here to talk about the future, though, I'm here to talk about March.  March was the month of Pie and Thrones.

Why?  Well, for starters, sometime in late January, one of my students loaned me the DVD set of the first season of Game of Thrones, that HBO show people occasionally go crazy about.  I figured I'd like it, because (a) HBO, and (b) fun fantasy with a good smattering of sex and gore, but I hadn't gotten around to it yet.

I should also point out that Doug started reading the books a ways back.  So long ago that I don't even remember, maybe last year?  He picked up the first book (metaphorically, as he actually picked up the Kindle on which the book was downloaded), started reading it, couldn't get into it, and set it down.  A while later he re-started it and eventually made it through.  And after a long break, decided he should actually read the second book.  For those not in the know, there are currently 5 books out, and the series is slated to be 7 books long.  Each one is 1000ish pages, give 300 pages or so, thus reading them is a true commitment to the craft of reading.

My student kept harassing me to watch the DVDs, so we started Season 1 and by episode 3 I was a goner.  Great sets and costumes, fabulous acting, a cast of what seems like thousands, great use of CGI when necessary but avoided when not, and fantastic characters.  Who the author is willing to kill off when it serves the plot.  And, as expected, a good bit of sex and gore.

When we finished Season 1, we got on the waiting list for Season 2 to come out on DVD, and then we not-so-patiently waited for Netflix to send us each disc.  By the time Season 2 ended, I had already decided to start reading the books.

I spent most of one day of Spring Break sitting on the couch, clutching my Kindle to me, devouring Book 3 (which is the best so far, but I'm only on the start of Book 5).

At this point, Doug is on Book 4, I'm on Book 5, and Season 3 just started.  It's been a month of Thrones, with many many Thrones jokes tossed around between the two of us, and sometimes they leak out into my normal life.  One of my grad students gave me a draft of something that included the sentence "It is known ...." and I wrote the comment "What are you, Dothraki?" on the side.  He told me that he laughed for almost a full minute.

What accompanied our month of Thrones?

The month of European Truffle Pie:

It is the pie of champions.  The pie of kings.  The pie worthy enough to sit on the throne, serving lesser pies.

In reality, it's a chocolate cream pie with chocolate whipped cream, chocolate shavings on top, with an oreo cookie crust on the bottom (and some oreo in the middle, too).  Village Inn, elsewhere in the country called Bakers Square, has this pie for one month a year, where it is, aptly, the "Pie of the Month."  It's usually available around easter time.  Last year it was April, and between April 1 and May 5th we ate five pies.  Not slies, pies.

This year, when we went to Village Inn to buy Doug's birthday pie, I saw it in the glass case before we even made it into the restaurant, and I'm not ashamed to say I caused a bit of a scene.  I yelped with joy.  I exclaimed my happiness to the manager.  We hadn't expected to see the pie until April, so we were both really glad that we happened to visit Village Inn early enough in the month to catch it.

The rest of the month, we had a pie a week.  This year we stopped ourselves at four pies in total.  As delicious as the pie is, we can't eat a pie a week forever (well actually we could, but it would destroy my waistline and probably decrease the enjoyment of the Pie food group), and now we will not-so-patiently wait until the glorious pie comes out next spring

I thought about going back the first week of April to see if they had any pies left (last year we got one in early May), but I showed restraint.  Probably  because the last time Doug walked into the restaurant, the manager looked at him and said, "Another pie, sir?"

In sum, here is our House Sigil, demonstrating our mascot and our House words, both together expressing our month of March: