Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Geek Eats: Easy Pizza

This weekend, with Matt and Bryan over, we decided to try a new Mediterranean restaurant nearby. I scanned the menu, but being addicted to a specific Mediterranean restaurant below my office, I didn't want to compete with my "usual," which was closed on Sundays. So as I scanned the menu, trying to find something that appealed to me, something in the "appetizer" menu caught my eye. It read: 7" Pita Pizza. My major Mediterranean addiction is pita bread; I like pizza. Jackpot.

We arrive home, I open my pizza, and it's perfect: pepperoni, finely diced onions and thick, gooey mozzarella cheese, if there's any tomato sauce at all it's very, very light handed. Considering this place is right next to a local pizza parlor, I didn't know what to expect, but I'm in love! And it gave me a great idea for future dinners, too. DM and I love pizza, but we usually get it frozen. In fact, I've got a frozen flatbread right next to me for lunch (and I'm wishing it were another from the Mediterranean place). When you find recipes to make your own, they usually involve a several-hour-long process to make the dough, directions for the sauce, basically telling you how to make everything but the meats from scratch. As a working woman, when I get home, the last thing I usually want to do is dig into dough and process some tomatoes. But you know, it made me realize, there are actually a lot of things you can use as a base to replace the dough and make an easy pizza, and because of their sizes, you can often personalize them to your guests and players!

- Bagels and english muffins have the benefit of being small enough you can use a toaster oven to make these versus heating up a full-size oven and you get two servings for each bagel or muffin.
- Pita bread's practically a pre-made flatbread or personal pan pizza dough. Use a very light hand with tomato sauce or even go with a garlic sauce (butter or cream) for a white pizza versus tomato based and just melt the cheese to crisp up the pita for a soft but not soggy pizza.
- Crescent roll dough (see Pizza Roll-ups)
- Tortillas make an amazing Mexican pizza. Fry 2 tortillas in a pan with oil until crisp. Top one tortilla with seasoned beef and refried beans, then cover them with the other tortilla. Spread cheese on top of the second tortilla, pop in the oven for a few minutes until the beans are warmed up and the cheese melted. Top with lettuce, salsa, sour cream, or any other desired cold toppings and serve.

While the Mexican pizza is best for small parties or a regular dinner, the other four options give you quick and easy alternatives to ordering pizza or pulling a frozen one out of the fridge when you've got a group to serve. If you've got an easy alternative single-serving pizza crust that I didn't mention (specifically easy because I've seen a potato crust pizza, but that's not quick or easy in the least), feel free to let me know in the comments. Otherwise, enjoy! 

Happy rolling

Saturday, May 28, 2011

D&D: Breaking the Stereotypes

The other day, my coworker asked me about my weekend plans. Well, for the long holiday weekend, we've got Matt and Bryan coming to visit for an epic weekend of gaming, starting, well, yesterday as of the time this gets published. So when my coworker asked our plans, I answered simply "dork stuff." It's easier than explaining D&D, video games, and in-depth discussions about history, politics, and gaming (not at the same time). Inevitably, though, she asked for clarification, and I had to try to explain what exactly D&D is. I am... not the world's best orator. I stumble over words and have a hard time explaining things to people. I still don't think I quite managed to explain what D&D was, and at the very least, I made it clear that it was a geek activity. After all, everyone knows the people who play D&D are the geeks, dorks and nerds.

When I was talking with DM about my day later, I got to thinking about D&D and its players. Everyone knows the stereotype: overweight, hairy, un- or underemployed, Cheeto-dust-stained and mountain dew breathing, basement-dwelling 30-year-olds rolling dice and pretending to be wizards and warriors in between games of World of Warcraft. The word "hopeless" generally is a qualifier to describe them. And sure, like every stereotype, you'll find someone somewhere who fits that description. But then you look at Ravi and me, two young woman with very different lives who happily dive into worlds of magic and myth. I look at many of the people I've gamed with over the years - some of them have fiances, wives, children; many of them own their own houses and are in successful careers; some of them hate Cheetos and Mountain Dew. Some people you might not expect also play D&D. Robin Williams was (or still is, I'm not sure on the details) one of the most desired DMs in LA. Vin Diesel, yes, Mr. Action Hero, one of the living embodiments of "Cool", also was a HUGE D&D player. There are probably plenty of other Hollywood stars, rock idols, or sports heroes who at some point in their lives adventured in the worlds of a DM's creation. Whoever they are, whoever we are, we've all got one thing in common: we like to have fun. We never entirely grew out of enjoying games and "make believe". My mantra is "The world makes me grow old. Nothing but me makes me grow up." D&D is simply one more way of appeasing my inner child.

That's part of why Ravi and I started this blog. We're breaking the imaginary mold people have about D&D dorks. We wanted to find other women like us and be our own little corner of the internet to say "You've got it wrong. D&D players have many faces, and we're one of them." We wanted to get women who were curious about playing but thought "it's a guy's game" to know it's okay to join in too. We want to be a place to show the world that, just like every other stereotype, the one of the D&D player is not at all standard, starting first and foremost with "Girls can roll 20s too."

Happy Rolling!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

BOOZY TUESDAY!!! (Because I Can)

Ravi here.

Since I'm back, I figured I'd kick off my Tuesday posts with another Boozy Tuesday.  Well, sort of.  See, contrary to the character me, I do drink, but usually in moderation.  Usually.  And never at my parents' house.  And because college is over and my paychecks don't start rolling in for a few more weeks, guess where I'm crashing.

Today, I give you... THE FAUXMOSA!

The mimosa is among my favorite drinks (second only to the strawberry Presidente margarita at Chili's).  I was introduced to this fantabulous concoction at my sister's wedding, and, if you know anything about drinks, you probably know it's fairly simple: equal parts orange juice and champagne.  Earlier this week, I was strongly craving some kind of fruity drink, preferably of an adult nature.  I knew that wasn't going to happen, but I looked in the fridge anyway.  Divine revelation!  Ginger ale sitting right next to the orange juice!

I'm the kind of person who will impulsively carry out an idea, no matter how likely it is to be bad.  I usually fail will saves and wisdom checks.  Surprisingly, this was not a bad idea.  In fact, this was probably the closest-tasting virgin beverage I've ever had.  Then, my mom explained to me that ginger ale is actually pretty close to champagne.  Seeing as I've never had champagne straight, you can see why I'd never come to the conclusion on my own.  This also explained to me why my mother never steals my ginger ale cans... she hates champagne.

1)Acquire a glass.
2)Fill the glass halfway with ginger ale.
3)Fill the rest of the glass with orange juice.

Obviously, the fresher the juice, the better.  We can't all live next to an orange grove, though, so the stuff at the grocery store will work, too.  Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to annoy everyone else in the house by finishing off the orange juice so that there will be nothing for breakfast in the morning.

Well, except for REALLY dark-roast coffee.

Happy rolling!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Are We Dead Yet?

Ravi here.

With all this talk of the end of the world being today, now you can be assured it is: I AM BACK AND I DIDN'T POST THE DAY AFTER.  I was kinda trying to graduate before, sorry.

Seriously, though, all this hooplah about the end of the world and the rapture and whatnot made me play apocalypse games... LOTS of apocalypse games.  My favorite as of right now is one Insectonator: Zombie Mode by Armor Games.  It's more of a rage outlet than an actual game, really, depending on your level mode.  The first 3 modes the game cycles through are "KILL TEH ZOMBIES RAAAARGH!!!" while the last mode is "SAVE YOUR GEMS FROM TEH EVIL ZOMBIES RAAAARGH!!!"  By now, you're probably wondering, "why on earth would I play such a pointless game?"  The answer is, "Because the squishy sound of a zombie being crushed by your toe is oddly satisfying."  Yes.  You can curbstomp a zombie.  You can also play darts with zombies, shoot zombies, blow up zombies, slice zombies, knock zombies over, play basketball with them, and even pick them up and use them to bludgeon other zombies back to hell.  Not bad, eh?

Until next time...

Happy Rolling!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Well, it was bound to happen sometime. I missed a post day. Whoopsie.

I have to admit, it's not really easy to keep up with food posts. I enjoy cooking, I like food blogs, but I usually only have to cook for two. Making food for groups isn't so easy when you don't have groups often. I don't want to just give you guys links to recipes without trying them myself either, though. I like having Tuesdays be specific topics of discussion, though, so I'm thinking it might be time to bring up alternate options for Tuesday Features. What do you think, readers? We've done a bit of a range of posts now - gamer/geek clothes and jewelry, blog links, reviews, and more gaming stories. Is there anything you want to see more of from us? Leave us a comment here or on our Facebook page and Ravi and I will discuss based on what you want more of. Now that Ravi's done with school, you should be seeing her back around here soon.

Happy rolling!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Ruining History for Fun and Profit (minus the profit)

I promised last post that I'd tell you more about the whole "taking over China" thing, and I'm sticking to that. DM and I have always been fans of Koei's "Warriors" series - Dynasty Warriors, Samurai Warriors, and Dynasty Warriors: Gundam. All three are hack-and-slash games against enormous odds, one man against an army. The first two are based in factual history: Samurai in events from 1500s Japan, and Dynasty in events from 200AD China. Particularly, the latter is based on the books Romance of the Three Kingdoms, one of China's four great epics and the history behind it, recorded as the History of the Three Kingdoms. The games always give some of the actual history or novel's details behind the characters and events, making them somewhat educational as well as enjoyable (if you enjoy running around as a supremely overpowered person slaughtering enemy armies and generals singlehandedly. Which I do.)

On the other hand, if that's not up your alley, Koei also made companion games to both historical series: Nobunaga's Ambition and Romance of the Three Kingdoms. As opposed to a single-man bloodbath of the Warriors series, these games are strategic simulation games. In these games, you can either pick a preexisting army to control or you can design your own characters and build your own army. In either case, your ultimate goal is to capture all of the cities and "unite the country" under your banner by building up your cities and your army, recruiting officers from the giant pool of named characters from the eras to lead your men, and one by one conquering your enemies' cities until the last man falls.

I did not expect to like this game, honestly. I'm horrible at strategy and have a hard time thinking more than one move ahead. Watching DM and our friends play it, it looked enjoyable, but overwhelming. And then they convinced me to sit down and play. So one day, home alone, I made an army. I made characters for Ravi, me, DM, and many of our friends, I ran the tutorial, and that weekend, with DM around to help out, I started the game.

8 hours later...

Okay, I don't know if it was actually 8 hours later, but I played a long, long time that first day. I kept saying "just one more turn." One more turn turned into two, into five... It's an immediate addiction. To watch the game, it looks simple, it looks dull and slow, with lots of time devoted to using your few action points to administrate and build up your cities. To play it though, to struggle to hold off 100,000 men from an invading army with 10,000 of your own in your own personal Battle of Thermopylae, to have a newly acquired city suddenly put under siege by the neighboring enemy when you don't have nearly enough men, food or gold to defend it, to march a giant army against the former ally who just betrayed you and squash his entire force into the dirt, to personally behead the leader of the former largest force in the game who decided that your little one was the first on his To Conquer list, to go from the smallest underdog to the largest army with more than double the rest of the remaining forces...it makes you feel like a queen. You feel like you're actually doing something, and that something is kicking history in the dick. You want to stand atop of the mountain of fallen enemies, your mismatched army of officers from all other forces behind you and tell History "Kiss my ass, this is my story!"

Even now, so far into the game, I still end up playing straight through the evening until common sense tells me I need to get my butt to bed for work. The one-more-turn syndrome doesn't go away. It's all about sieging one more city, taking out just one more group of attacking soldiers, sending out one more wave of your own,  trying to recruit one more officer whose loyalty to his lord is failing, seeing if any new free officers have shown up in your territory, seeing what your enemies did last turn... for a game that looks so simple, it's so easy to get drawn in. I will say that it does help to know the characters as they're portrayed in the novels or the Dynasty Warriors games, to know who's good to try and recruit when they show up on another team with low loyalty (for example, if he's a major strategist for an opposing side or the warrior that scared away an enemy army with a war cry, the kind of people you don't want your enemies holding onto for long), but you don't need to. You'll pick up names and strengths on your own from how the game is laid out. It just adds another level of fun to yell to DM "Hey honey, guess who I just got!" I can't count how many times he's seen me either punch the air or do a little happy dance from a specific successful recruitment. Yeah, I'm a dork.

I haven't been able to win yet; it's down to myself and two other forces now and stupidly, they're fighting with each other. Like I said earlier, I've got more than double their men, their cities, and their officers combined. With the fighting in the north, the one closest to me has left his southern side almost completely undefended. I've got alliances with both of them, but one is barely there and the other strong. Guess which one's the not-so-hot relationship? Mr. Empty Southern Bases. Next time I play, he's going to regret some life choices...I'm looking forward to squishing him completely between my army and the other remaining army. He joined with the large army in trying to bring me down at the beginning. He's about to pay for his indiscretion.

Happy Rolling!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Everyone Wish Ravi Luck!

Happy Tuesday, readers! It has been an eventful week thus far, hasn't it? Big things happening on a worldwide scale, and a personal scale for me. Some good, some bad, but all pretty eventful. Also, I've been obsessively trying to take over China (details in my next non-food post. Hint: it's a video game). As a result, my kitchen is relatively clean. I really should change that. I'll scan around the internet for snacks for next time.

As for today, I'm forgoing food to wish Ravi GOOD LUCK! She's got her last final of college today! Knock 'em dead, sis! (but not literally. Just because you can use a person as a golfball in D&D doesn't mean you can or should in real life.)

Happy rolling!