No Fancy Name
Monday, January 31, 2005
i did not know...
that CAPTCHA stood for "Completely Automated Public Turing Test to Tell Computers and Humans Apart". That's awesome. People who can think up acronyms are very cool. I suppose I could have looked it up, but it never occurred to me that it was an acronym in the first place. I think I assumed it was jargon of non-acronymic origin.

i heart magnapop!
Well, I have for YEARS, but my shipment arrived today, including the new CD Mouthfeel. This may be a record for me—I haven't purchased a CD within a week of it's release date in...years, I think.

Same ol' Magnapop. LOVE THEM. Love. Them.

it's about damn time...reading list for the American Novel class
The class starts tomorrow. Finally, today, the books are available in the bookstore...unlike every other course which had books available at least six weeks ago. In other words, there was no head-start on the reading.

But now I know, and I'll buy the books today:
- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Twain)
- The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
- Little Women (Alcott)
- The Marrow of Tradition (Chesnutt)
- My Antonia (Cather)
- The Optimist's Daughter (Welty)
- Slaughterhouse-Five (Vonnegut)
- Wieland (Brown)


three cheers for short novels
Hip hip hooray! Hip hip hooray! Hip hip hooray!

I finished The Good Soldier three whole days before the next class meeting! I actually enjoyed it quite a bit.

Does anyone here think I can read Reading Lolita in Tehran and Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell in the next four days? Me neither, but that's when they're due back to the library. Both have holds on them so I can't renew, but I think I'll just turn them in a few days late and pay the buck or whatever. I don't want them to be too late, because that's just not fair to the others.

Sunday, January 30, 2005
I don't plan to see Hide and Seek but...
I hear Dakota Fanning is excellent.

One of the best CSI episodes (in my opinion) is from the first season, with little Dakota Fanning (age 6) playing "Brenda Collins" in the episode "Blood Drops". That's the one with the father, mother and brothers getting slashed up and the older "sister" turning out not only to be the one who did it, but also was the victim of years of rape by her father, which produced the little girl Brenda, who was also then molested by her father-grandfather. Oy, I know. Jorja Fox's character takes care of the little not-talking girl throughout the episode, and it's all very touching and I cry a lot every time I see it...but the point is that Dakota Fanning did a great job then, and I hear she does a great job now. I also hear she was pretty darn good in I Am Sam, which I also didn't see. One can only hope that some terrible child-star fate does not befall the kid.

Saturday, January 29, 2005
i found something neat on the internets!
A few weeks ago, I was looking in the Recipes to Share pool at Flickr, and came across this cheesecake entry called "'my cheesecake' with apples," made by a woman in St. Petersburg (Russia, not Florida). The photo looked so good, I figured I'd try to make it.

Verbatim, this is the recipe from the Flickr post:
that's a very Russian styled cheesecake as we don't have any Filadelphia cream cheese or Graham crackers :)) but love cheesecakes too... :)

a cup of flour (about 200 grams), sifted
about 100 gr of butter, melted
2 tablespoons of milk
a yolk

Combine everything together to make dough. Mix well. Put in a fridge for an hour. Then press into a form and bake in preheated oven about 20 minutes at 200'.

an egg-white
2 packs (400 gr) of curds
some hard cheese (I used Masdaam), grated (optional)
lemon juice

an apple :)

Beat up white of egg, add curds carefully and mix until smooth. Add lemon juice, raisins and grated cheese. Keep in a fridge for a while. Then spread over a crust. Cover with a layer of sliced apple. Cover with a foil and bake 15 minutes at 150'.

Cool. Sprinkle with cinnamon & enjoy.
The immediate issue was that pesky conversion out of metric. Thank god AGAIN for the internets, otherwise I'd not have the foggiest idea how much 400 grams weighs. Did we learn that in elementary school? I sure didn't. Anyway...

I had no curds. Whole Foods sometimes has them, but didn't. I used ricotta instead, since it was going to get smoothed anyway. I think it was a tad wet, but life's hard. Also, I had no Masdaam cheese, so I used Emmental. Other than that, it was pretty much the same. I probably could have made more dough for the bottom, and I did a sort of crappy job spreading it all out on the bottom of the springform pan, but all it all it was pretty darn good!

funky russian-inspired cheesecake
[click to embiggen]

Hooray for new things and sharing recipes from Russia!


new recipe - two thumbs up!
No photo, because it's all sort of beige-ish...but really, really good!

Chicken with Cider and Bacon Sauce [from Cooking Light, Jan 05]
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 bacon slices, chopped
1/4 cup minced fresh onion
3/4 cup unsweetened apple cider
1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth

Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound to 1/2-inch thickness using a meat mallet or rolling pin. Sprinkle chicken evenly with salt and pepper.

Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan. Add chicken to drippings in pan; cook 6 minutes on each side or until done. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm. Add onion to pan; cook 2 minutes or until tender, stirring constantly. Add cider and broth; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Cook until broth mixture is reduced to 1/2 cup (about 5 minutes). Stir in cooked bacon; serve sauce over chicken.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 chicken breast half and about 2 tablespoons sauce)

NUTRITION PER SERVING: CALORIES 269 (24% from fat); FAT 7.2g (sat 2.3g, mono 2.8g, poly 1g); PROTEIN 41.1g; CHOLESTEROL 106mg; CALCIUM 22mg; SODIUM 412mg; FIBER 0.2g; IRON 1.3mg; CARBOHYDRATE 6.9g


well, that was fun...
GREs? check. Done. Not so terrible. I did have a higher raw score on the quantitative part than the verbal part, but that doesn't correspond to the same percentiles (not even close) so whatever. Using the rough guidelines of current raw score-to-percentiles, I improved by like 15+ percentile. Since I consider my new scores "just fine", you can imagine how shitty current minus 15 was, and why I didn't get in to 6 of the 7 schools I applied to, way back when.

I liked the computer-based test, especially the part where if you finish early, you can choose or not choose to rest or continue. I continued, and got out of there a little before 11am, so I cut 30 minutes off the test, somewhere along the line.

Friday, January 28, 2005
stupid &#*@$&# GREs
I have to take the test tomorrow. I'm actually reading one of those "cracking the GRE" books right now. Ok, more like skimming it. Not that any of it was new, but because I felt like I should...I didn't the first time and got shitty scores. But that was yeeeeaaaaaaarrrrrrrssss ago, when they were on paper and had no essay portion. Also, I hadn't taken any math classes, except Algebra II in the 9th grade, then "College Algebra" in my 2nd year of college. Except...I scored in almost the same percentile in both verbal and math, so that's REALLY not good for someone who was going to continue on in English. Oops. Guess it's a good thing I didn't.

Like I said previously, I could score even worse than I did 13 years ago and still get in to the program, but I don't want to. I want to at least try a little bit, for myself. Should be interesting. In the last three years I've taken more math courses (4) than I did in college the first time, so I should be covered for all the math stuff. The only thing that would be a bummer is if I score higher in math than in verbal. That would be embarrassing.

Did I ever write about the SATs? I took them in the 8th grade and had no math except Algebra I (which I think my friends' boy is currently doing in the 6th grade, so things sure have changed and/or he's much smarter than I am (probably the latter)). Plus, I was friends with these juniors and they were taking the SATs that day, and one girl was at my table (round table, not the smartest move) and actually had the same test booklet. She really wanted to get into West Virginia (I don't know why, either) but had crappy grades and probably wouldn't have scored very well on the SATs so...I raced through each test section in like 10 minutes and spent the rest of the time tapping out the answers to her. I (we) didn't crack 4 digits (ugh, I know!) but she got into West Virginia and I squeaked into the CTY program and the other program that ended up being my original college experience, so all was well.

Tomorrow should be interesting. I like it that I'll know my raw scores right away, if not the percentiles. Then again, I may not like it, but whatever. I'll be headed for SBUX afterwards, that's for sure.

new music! new music!
Well, I just bought more music in the last few days than I had in...months. Damn that iTunes, damn, damn. That, and damn that royalty check I got but wasn't expecting, lulling me into a false sense of actually having money.

I just bought, in actual CD format because I want them for my car, three Radiohead CDs, the new U2 CD, and the just-came-out-three-days-ago / didn't-even-know-they-were-still-around CD "Mouthfeel" by Magnapop. Magnapop! Whoo!

Yesterday I iTunes'd [that would be "bought from iTunes," which sounds more legit (because it is) than just "downloaded"] Moby's "18", and the Sky Captain soundtrack. Today I iTunes'd Violent Femmes' "Add it Up," "Big Lizard in My Backyard" by The Dead Milkmen, and "Flood" and "Lincoln" by They Might Be Giants. These last four albums were in ultra-freqent rotation during college. On CASSETTE.

Whoo, new music...whoo...

friday cat blogging - toby, max and deuce
Sitting on the couch with my cats, that's how the evening usually goes. I'm practicing to be an old lady.
this is how we watch TV
[click to embiggen]

Toby likes to sit ON me, while
Max likes to sit just far enough away
that he can jump on me if need be.
We were watching CSI.
scritch whore
[click to embiggen]

Deuce likes to snuggle up
on the couch during this time, and
contort herself into these
"pet me, I'm cute!" poses.
They work!

friday random 10
You know the rules: do a Party Shuffle or Randomizer or whatever you want to do, in your digital music player of choice. Today's list is very odd and I'm listening to it now to see just how disjointed it is. Anything that starts with The Jody Grind and ends with the Jesus Christ Superstar soundtrack (1994 Atlanta version, the best ever) has got to be a train wreck...and yet not, if you think about it.

- "My Darlin'", by The Jody Grind, from One Man's Trash Is Another Man's Treasure
- "Late Bloom", by Amy Ray, from Stag
- "Not for Nothing", by Dave Navarro, from Trust No One
- "Hey Kind Friend", by Indigo Girls, from Shaming of the Sun
- "Carriage for Two", by Tricky, from Angels With Dirty Faces
- "You Owe It All to Me", by Texas, from Ricks Road
- "Got a Feelin'", by Michelle Malone, from For You Not Them
- "Secret", by Maroon 5, from Songs About Jane
- "Disenchanted Lullaby", by Foo Fighters, from One by One
- "Pilate and Christ", by Pilate, Jesus and Soldier #2 [Gerard McHugh, Amy Ray, Rob Gal], from Jesus Christ Superstar: A Resurrection

Thursday, January 27, 2005
in honor of M
M (not Mel, sorry) is this chick I know, in a band. She's the first person I thought of when I saw these quiz results. Not because she smells like butt, though.

you smell like butt
congratulations. you are the "you smell like butt" bunny.
you're brutally honest and always say what's on your mind.

which happy bunny are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

[via profgrrrl, the "kiss my ass" happy bunny]

actual verbal exchange
So yesterday I was on the phone with my boss and we were talking about politics and what not. I had just mentioned the issues with the new secretary of education, and then we had an exchange that went something like this:

BOSS: Oh, did you hear jerk-off's press conference today? [it was "asshole" or "jerk-off" or something like that]
ME: who, Rice?
BOSS: no..
ME:oh, Gonzales?
BOSS: no, the president
ME: oh, THAT jerk-off
BOSS: yeah, sorry, should have been more clear.

Totally. I mean really, "jerk-off" can apply to so.many.cabinet.members.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005
the first day of school...over!
Today was the first day of the spring semester. I dutifully logged into my online course (and will do so again later), and then at 7pm I had my British/Irish fiction class...AND I WAS LATE. I don't like being late, period. I typically arrive at class at least 10 minutes early. I got to class at 7:02, and ran out of the house so quickly that I didn't even tie my shoes. Since I parked and was walking to the building at 6:58, that left me with no time to get a coffee or a water. Argh! Of course, the prof didn't get there til 7:05, so I wasn't technically late and I could have gotten a drink. Double-argh! But my pal called and I was very happy to take that call and ramble on about things instead of leaving for school.

So, the course. There are seven people in it, and I was afraid they'd cancel it (it has room for 30) but they will not...which is good since I read half the damn books already! Three of us were in Victorian Lit together last semester, so we're buds now and were still arguing discussing Tess of the d’'Urbervilles and talking about how many of the books we've pre-read (I won; they had only read one or two whereas I read seven. Yay me.) and which we liked and which we didn't.

The other people in the course were: some quiet lady, a youngish girl whose contribution to the pre-class discussion was "Gee, I only watched TV over the break" and (to a fellow) "You're British? And you're taking a British fiction class? How funny!" Ok, I'll stop there for a moment. What the fuck? Does she think British people don't read British fiction? Or...hell, I don't know what she was thinking. Back to the classmates...there's the British fellow. More of a boy, really. Quiet. Seems smart. Took a lot of notes in precise handwriting. And then there's the large fellow who snores. I know he snores because HE WAS SNORING during the simple, one-hour filler lecture about the general trends for the early modernists. I mention he is large only because it makes him MORE NOTICEABLE when he is nodding off to sleep. He's going to have problems in the three-hour, once-per-week class, which is 90% prof lecturing even though it's supposed to be discussion. It's just that the prof is so damn funny/witty/knowledgeable that his stream-of-conscious lectures are far more relevant than whatever discussion we minions come up with.

I think I have some class buddies, though, because the three of us from Vict Lit are also taking American Novel on Tuesday nights. Neat!

i deleted reposted that post about me
I won't be writing about myself like that anymore. Because I am misguided in my thoughts and actions, pretty much. A & M I'm sorry that I caused you any bad feelings. I misinterpreted what I was told at the time and I apologize for thinking the worst of you guys and holding a grudge against you rather than the actual crappy unethical morally bankrupt liars and cheats that were around, whose actions I was able to dismiss because of the aforementioned labels. Sorry.

[Still sorry, making up offline, but I'm not rewriting history.]

a really spectacular album
Maybe I've posted about this before, but one of my favorite albums of the last two years is "Loneliness Knows My Name" by Patrick Park. It is REALLY good. A solid album from start to finish, and that's not something easily achieved.

I heard of him only because of NPR—I caught one of those "new music" interviews with him a year or so ago, and not only did he sound like a smart fellow, the songs he played were great. I bought the CD the next day and it was in heavy car rotation for months. I'm listening to it on my iPod right now, which is what reminded me to mention it. Check out a sample at the Amazon link above or at iTunes (or anywhere else, for that matter). Two thumbs up.

up early to do work, and I'm screwed

Yesterday afternoon my boss calls me and says "I need you to do something" and I said "I'll get a pencil" and I did...and THIS CRAP is what I wrote down.

Seriously, at least with profgrrrl's scribbling you can read it, if not understand it. My note? I can make out "Track" and "pg" (page). Oh, good job, idiot.

I actually know exactly what it says, but only because I remember what I wrote/have to do, not that I can actually read the note.

and now for something completely different...
Amanda at Mouse Words fisks the FAQ page of a product called "AbsorbShun". <shudder>

Tuesday, January 25, 2005
here's an entry about me (and it's a ramble)
I've had this blog for almost a year now, and I haven't actually written much about me. There's a reason— in real life, I am an absolute jerk. An asshole, if you will. Very much a bitch. My past is littered with shitty decisions, terrible behavior and even worse endings to friendships, relationships, whateverships. Only once—but probably the most important ended-one of all—has an ending to something not been my fault. Sure, I could chalk it all up to "growing up" or "gaining life experience" or "finding out who I am" or "poor impulse control" but that would be a cop-out, really it would, because I'm not all that different of a person than when I was off being an asshole to others...I just learned to stay away from situations that I knew would cause asshole-ish behavior in me. Of course, that means I don't get out much at all, which is unfortunate because I really like going out. It's just typically not good for others.

The other week I was talking to a buddy who has weathered the storm of knowing me (and for some reason still calls, emails and links her blog posts to mine on a fairly frequent basis), and thus knows all the people from my lifetime that aren't in the picture anymore. I mentioned how there are a few people that I'd like to know where they are and what they're up to, but first I'd have to say "Uh, sorry for being an ass, so how's your life?" to most of them. I decided it probably wasn't a good idea to start looking up people, but JS and AC in Charlottesville, JF in Boston or NYC, AE in Portland or god knows where...I say to you, "sorry for being an ass, how's your life?"

Some of these people are kids I knew from college, and I say "kids" because we were. I was one of the oldest, at 15. Take a bunch of misfits and throw them in a dorm with their misfit brethren, and provide no capable supervision or support whatsoever (except for two people who were there for a short time but definitely kept me sane, and in the program) and see what happens. A lot of people quit on their own, a bunch went on to be perfectly normal and upstanding overachievers either at that school or others, some got thrown out for various reasons (some legit, some bogus) then a chunk of others made it through but all jaded and anti-social. I was in the latter group, and everyone I liked was in the latter two groups. Figures.

One of these people emailed me today, and I'm going to quote from two of her e-mails—because the statements adequately sum up the being that is "me". She said:
"Your blog[...]reminded me of all the things I like about you (creative, funny, edgy, in-the-know, idealistic), even if you are one of the hardest people in the world for me to be friends with in real life."


"I've never met another person with your mix of belligerence and sensitivity and I never, never know what the fuck you are thinking."
So true. I don't say "so true" like it's a good thing, or something to be all proud of, just that it's true.

I imagine everyone on that "uh, sorry for being an ass, how's your life?" list, and the few people who are my friends now, would completely agree with those statements. And those statements are exactly why Voldemort and I couldn't get our shit together: we are exactly alike.

Voldemort and myself spent the better part of a year completely exasperated with each other. Whereas I would yell at her, she would just lie to me (the best one? After signing and filing incorporation papers say "oh, I'm moving to [new place] and I already started a business called [the same name] there" after an entire year of working with no income on a business, strategy and accompanying web-based application that was ready to launch.) Besides the yelling (which, except for the tone, was always truthful and in the spirit of working on problems and moving forward with issues, so...that's not too terrible), I spent the whole time trying desperately not to be the asshole, to do everything "right" on both the personal and business side of things. I have documented proof that I achieved that goal, which is why it still—several years later—pisses me off to no end that the whole deal fell through. Because after all, I didn't screw things up.

Let's all say it together: KARMA.

Oh yeah, I paid for all my years of being a jerk by the implosion of the company and the friendship that had the best chance to be a good thing. When it imploded for real (as in "filed dissolution of the corporation" papers), we made an agreement, with witness and everything, not to talk about the situation with mutual acquaintances (or others, for that matter). The reason for this was mostly to cover her own ass, because she was a nationally-recognized figure in her field. Despite the time and money that I lost, it didn't even occur to me to be the jerk and start telling people all the things she did. But a week later, at a sort of "everyone come help me pack up my house because I'm moving" extravaganza, two acquaintances of mine were there and told me that she spent a considerable amount of time badmouthing me. As an aside, I was also informed that these two people did not stick up for me and didn't even attempt to mention that Voldemort was just a liar—again, karma bites me in the ass—which led to me not really being friends with those people anymore. Except I never told them that. See? Jackass. [See later post where I am apologetic, because it caused a bit of a ruckus today which was unnecessarily brought about by this comment above. But I've reposted this entry because these are my feelings, it is my story, and it is my blog. I'll work out the fallout offline.]

So where are we now? I dunno. Belligerent and sensitive. I think my brain is broken.

two important things I learned today
1. Caprese salad has a shelf life, and it's surprisingly short.

2. Two of my three business courses have group projects. Longtime readers of this blog already know I hate group projects with every fiber of my being.

In fact, I would rather eat a mouthful of rancid tomatoes and mozzarella than participate in group work*. Since I've done the former already today, can I get a pass on the latter?

*yes, sometimes groups are fine and work out for all involved, as in my phil of science course last semester. but in general, and in business courses here in particular, group work SUCKS.

i need a topic for a new book
I'm soliciting ideas. I know, I know, that should be my responsibility, but I'm terrible at coming up with things to write about. My publisher passed on the blogging book (my acquisitions editor said she tried her best and "they'll be sorry!", and I believe her and agree!) so I'm sitting here twiddling my thumbs wondering what to pitch next. Usually I say to my acq editor "do you have anything on the wish list with no authors attached?" and that starts the conversation, but there's nothing on the wish list right now that I'm remotely interested in/qualified to write about.

I write books for beginners/foundation knowledge types of books. My strength is dissecting quasi-complicated topics and explaining them in jargon-lite language, so the topics can be completely understood by a novice. Unfortunately, I have no interesting quasi-complicated topic in front of me right now. Bah.

Last night, I started looking into helping out with the documentation for Mozilla, but the whole process looks terrifyingly complicated...and I was an actual technical writer for a number of years and I do use CVS and Bugzilla. I think I may write to a real person first and see where I can help.

But I still would like to think of a book idea.

Monday, January 24, 2005
classes finally start this week...
...and it's about damned time! Oddly enough, classes start on Wednesday. This means I only have one class this week—Wednesday night's British/Irish Fiction class. Sure, I'll login to the online course (Strategic Management...yawn) but I don't actually have to go anywhere. I have a good schedule this semester, my last as a 2nd BA student: Monday 3-5:45pm, then 6-8:45pm; Tuesday 7-10pm, Wednesday 7-10pm (and one online course). This means I won't be away from the job except on Monday late afternoons, and even then I'll have my laptop with me so no big deal.

I almost have things all together for the MA application, except for the transcripts, writing sample and GRE scores. Ok, so I have nothing together. But the transcripts are ordered and I'm taking the GRE on Saturday, so that's progress. I certainly hope I do better on the GRE than I did 13 years ago. But even if I don't, it's not like my crappy little school isn't going to let me into the program. That certainly alleviates a lot of stress for me, which is good because I am a horrible test-taker.

I should write some about the course I teach, because I do have plenty to say, but that'll come later.

Sunday, January 23, 2005
Pennsylvania is rarely the center of national attention...
...but today it is. Two NFL championship games in the same state! My home state (the one I'm from, not the one I live in)! A can't-believe-it-went-blue-but-it-did-and-I'm-proud-of-it state!

I am from the county that's pretty damn near the geographic center of the state, Mifflin County. (The center of the state is actually the appropriately-named Centre County.) As such, I can freely root for both Pittsburgh AND Philadelphia, which I will be doing with all the gusto I can muster.

But I am a Pittsburgh fan. When the first of my Italian immigrant ancestors came to Pennsylvania (my Candeloro and Russo families), they settled in Coraopolis, on the western side of Pittsburgh. Others on the Italian side (my Meloni family) settled first in Huntingdon County, to work on the railroad and in the coal mines, before moving to Mifflin County to work in the brickyard. The point is, those are all very Western PA places and so I was raised a Pittsburgh fan.

It's sort of sacrilegious as a Pittsburgh fan to root for the Other Side of the State, but until Pittsburgh and Philadelphia play each other (which would be in the Super Bowl if all goes well) it's cool. At least, I hope it's cool. I'm afraid of some of those Philly people.

UPDATE: well, poop. go eagles.

Saturday, January 22, 2005
reading, on a road trip
Today I was a passenger on a road trip. That never happens—I usually drive. But today I didn't, and I packed a few books for the six or so hours I'd be in the car. I took my iPod, too, but I really didn't mind the CD of Scottish ballads, and ended up not using the iPod. Anyway, I didn't read a lot but I did read the first six chapters of Paul Graham's Hackers and Painters. [link to his site, link to]

I know, I know, I took a break from the stacks of books remaining for the upcoming semester, and the few other "fun" books I have to read. But I was just in the mood for essays, and his are really, really good. Most, if not all, of the essays in the book can be found on his web site, including the essay of the same name, "Hackers and Painters". I wanted to quote something from that essay that was particularly good, but the whole damn thing is good. I settled on this:
Part of what software has to do is explain itself. So to write good software you have to understand how little users understand. They're going to walk up to the software with no preparation, and it had better do what they guess it will, because they're not going to read the manual. The best system I've ever seen in this respect was the original Macintosh, in 1985. It did what software almost never does: it just worked.

Source code, too, should explain itself. If I could get people to remember just one quote about programming, it would be the one at the beginning of Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs. "Programs should be written for people to read, and only incidentally for machines to execute."

You need to have empathy not just for your users, but for your readers. It's in your interest, because you'll be one of them. Many a hacker has written a program only to find on returning to it six months later that he has no idea how it works. I know several people who've sworn off Perl after such experiences.
This was part of a passage about how "Empathy is probably the single most important difference between a good hacker and a great one." That's really true.

Friday, January 21, 2005
adventures at the bookstore
So I went to the off-campus bookstore today, to plunk down $332.76 on this semester's books. Funny thing is, I didn't mind spending the $100 on the eleven books for an English class, but I did very much mind spending $90 on a book for a Business class. The English books, I'll keep. The Business books, not so much, which means that in 16 weeks that $90 book will get me maybe $45 at buyback time...even though it will still look brand new. Grr. Oh, and there's one class that hasn't even figured out what books we'll need. Not "these books aren't available yet because of some administrative snafu," rather "the professor hasn't told us what to buy yet"...and classes start in six days. Ok, whatever..

But I digress.

As the young girl [read: "probably a sophomore"] was ringing up my purchases, she stopped at my copy of V.S. Naipaul's The Mimic Men and says "Oooh! A new one?" Confused, I say "uh, was published in the late 60s." She says, "Oh, I just love her work." Me, still confused, "He's a dude."

I have this terrible, terrible suspicion that she mixed up V.C. Andrews and V.S. Naipaul. Those damn initials, you know.

not the friday random ten, but a playlist all the same
I suck, S-U-C-K, at making playlists. Then my buddy asked for my help in doing so, as this weekend is the State Cup tournament for soccer-plyaing kiddos and their boy is not only playing, but is the proud owner of an iPod Mini and thus she said she'd make him a "get stoked for state cup" mix. Between us, we have thousands of songs so we figured no problem...right? Boy, was this hard to do. First, there are explicit tracks -- filter those. Then there are the suggestive tracks, if you know what they're suggesting and can hear the words -- filter those. Those two filters severely hindered what we could do.

My contribution was this:
- "Lost in Space (Theme)" by Apollo 440 from Gettin' High on Your Own Supply
- "The Incredits" by Michael Giacchino from The Incredibles Soundtrack
- "Galaxy Bounce" by The Chemical Brothers from Come with Us
- "Renegade Master [Fatboy Slim Old Skool Mix]" by Fatboy Slim from Fatboy Slim/Norman Cook Collection
- "Phun-Ky" by Fatboy Slim from On the Floor at the Boutique
- "Stop the Rock" by Apollo 440 from Gettin' High on Your Own Supply
- "Out of Control" by Hoobastank from The Reason
- "Elevation" by U2 from All That You Can't Leave Behind
- "Wake Up" by Rage Against the Machine from Matrix Soundtrack

Although, I added the note that I thought "Out of Control" was probably too much, and I wasn't sure if she was ready to explain Rage Against the Machine yet. But the first six would work, and I kept the others on a playlist for me.

friday cat blogging - my cousin's cat, max

max and sam
[click to embiggen]

The (25lb) cat is Max.
Not to be confused with my cat named Max.
The (10lb) baby is my cousin Sam.
They have a toy in common.

Thursday, January 20, 2005
sometimes, I remember that I am a geek...
...mostly when things like this make me laugh out loud. It's a photo of some code on a whiteboard. It says this:
if (youWantTo()) {

if (!isset($you[friends][dance])) {
     $me[friends][yourFriends] = 0;
Think "Safety Dance," and trust me, it's really funny.

new issue of Cooking Light means a trip to the grocery store
For Christmas, I got two cookbooks that I wanted and when they arrived I promptly turned the corners down on all the recipes I wanted to make. Each book is now like one big turned-down-corner. The same thing happens when I get a new issue of Cooking it did yesterday when the Jan '05 issue came in the mail. What to make, what to make? I ended up getting the fixings for several recipes, and made two last night: Beef & Barley Soup and Apple Brown Betty.

My cousin called me the other day, she being the mother of new Baby Sam, and said that she had made the Whole Foods' Orange and Poppy Seed Quick Bread recipe that I posted the other week. It was gone in a day, she said, and her husband only got one piece. Well, fella, you didn't carry a kid many months, so suck it up. [I kid, I kid! I kid because I love!] She also said that I should food-blog more. So, here we have crappy photos of good food, and the good-for-you recipes that go with them!

Beef and Barley Soup, from Cooking Light (Jan 05)
Cooking spray
2 pounds beef stew meat, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 teaspoons canola oil
2 cups chopped leek (about 4 medium)
2 cups chopped carrot
4 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 bay leaves
2 (14-ounce) cans less-sodium beef broth
1 cup uncooked pearl barley

Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add half of beef; cook 5 minutes, browning on all sides. Remove from pan. Repeat procedure with remaining beef. Then, heat oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add leek, carrot, and garlic; sauté 4 minutes or until lightly browned. Return beef to pan. Add water and next 5 ingredients (through broth); bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour. Add barley; cook 30 minutes or until beef and barley are tender. Discard bay leaves.

Apple Brown Betty, from Cooking Light (Jan 05)
2 cups sliced peeled Granny Smith apple (about 3/4 pound)
2 cups sliced peeled Rome apple (about 3/4 pound)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 cup 1% low-fat milk
1 tablespoon molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ounces day-old Italian or French bread, torn into 1/2-inch pieces
Cooking spray
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup chilled butter, cut into small pieces

Preheat oven to 350°. Combine first 3 ingredients in a large bowl. Sprinkle apple mixture with granulated sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg; toss well. Combine milk, molasses, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Add bread to milk mixture; toss to combine. Add bread mixture to apple mixture; toss to combine. Spoon bread mixture into an 8-inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray. Then, lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour and brown sugar; cut in chilled butter using a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles small pebbles. Sprinkle brown sugar mixture over apple mixture. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Serve warm.


Tuesday, January 18, 2005
come on, get happy
Frozen broccoli just doesn't get happy. Really, the only way to get happy broccoli is to steam it. I must remember this, the next time I see frozen broccoli on sale and think "what a great deal, I must stock up." It's just not worth it.

six degrees of (separation || kevin bacon)
I am 2 degrees from Kevin Bacon, but that's not what this is about.

Parker has a screenwriter buddy who is responsible for the Merchant Ivory/Sony Pictures Classic film Heights. It will premiere at Sundance on Jan 25th and will open nationwide on June 10th.

Notable cast: Glenn Close, Elizabeth Banks, Jesse Bradford (Eliza Dushku's character's brother in Bring it On), James Marsden (Cyclops from the X-Men movies), Isabella Rossellini, Rufus Wainwright and plenty more.

It seems to be "a fast-paced, intelligent urban drama" and sounds good to me. Pssst. Pass it on.

grade now, get coffee
Blog-reader Lenny made a comment recently about how to stay disciplined, attached to my post where I whined about slogging through a Graham Greene novel. Here's the key: rewards! I am very, very rewards-oriented.

- if I get through the novels before the semster starts, I'll be that much ahead and will do better in my courses because I'll have read the books twice

- if I get through the novels for my courses, I can read the novels I have here for "fun"

- if I read some pages, I can watch the basketball game

- if I get my work done in the evening and don't have to play catch up in the morning, then I can go to the gym

- if I go to the gym at least three times during the week, I can go to the diner once on the weekend

- when working on a really big project at my job, of the type that requires us to be up for like a week on end and thus screws up our internal clocks and doesn't allow us to do things like go to the grocery store, I sometimes get cake. Seriously. Last year or the year before, we were working on something and I was so tired and running on adrenaline and running out of sugar and I said to my friends (who also happen to be my bosses), "I just want...cake!" and Mary baked me some cakes. Good ol' white cake with frosting from a tub. Mmmm! It made me very happy.

- when I was working with Voldemort, every day started with "what's the reward?" and the reward would be either going out to eat at night or taking a multiple-hour break and wandering off to coffee (or liquor, depending on the time of day), or something like that...the point being that every day started with "what's the reward?"

- and right this very minute, while I am grading exercises, I really have to finish this one but I really, really want to go get coffee (although I have coffee here, going to get a latte provides more coffee as well as a chance to see other humans, which is also good for one's well-being, even if they are just the baristas). So, since I know I have to finish grading the exercise, and I'm almost done with that (it's not unheard of for me to write 500-750 words or more as a response to an exercise), sbux becomes a reward. Finish grading the exercise and I can get sbux! Then come back and grade the other four that are sitting there, but I'll have had coffee and thus can't complain.

Discipline for me comes from a system of rewards. [You'd think "do your work and get paid" would work, but it really doesn't. I have to have separate rewards.]

Monday, January 17, 2005
the new battlestar galactica
I was a big Battlestar Galactica fan as a kid...although I'm not sure how that worked since I was only 6 years old when it was on in the 70s. It must have been re-run a lot in the 80s, enough that I remembered a lot of the episodes even before they started re-running it on SciFi several years ago. Yes, I dug Lorne Greene and Richard Hatch (no, not the fat naked gay one) and Dirk Benedict.

When SciFi did the miniseries remake version in 2003, I was skeptical. I mean really, they made Starbuck and Boomer both girls. Girls! Which is actually fine by me but really, really requires you to forget the characters in the original series. Sorry, Dirk Benedict and Herb Jefferson, but I really prefer the girl versions of your characters.

The miniseries was good, really well done, and the score (or lack of one) was very cool. Drums and silence most of the time, because after all it is silent in space. The whole "cylons look like us thing" is good, except I really really wish Boomer wasn't a cylon. I hope they work that out somehow. You know, like if there's a bad human (Baltar) can't there be a good cylon? No? Didn't think so. Anyway, I'm stoked to watch this season (SciFi, Fridays at 10pm) unfold.

Sunday, January 16, 2005
following resolutions
So, we're two weeks into the new year (plus a few days) and I've actually stuck to my new year's goals/resolutions/whatevers so far. The most important ones to me were: going to the gym several times a week (which I do, with my trusty and beloved iPod) and not eating after 6pm. So far, so good.

But surprisingly, my favorite change (so far) has been the whole turn-off-the-computer/stop-caring-so-much-about-work deal. This is not to say that I don't care about my job. I just stopped practicing ultra-caring because really, after years of trying to practice "the way things should be done" in order to achieve maximum efficiency, plan for all things, etc etc, we simply don't have the types of clients that allow us to do all that. There are a lot of people who do their jobs in ways that I can't possibly imagine being acceptable, and not only are their ways-of-working acceptable, they get paid a lot more money than those of us in my company do. This has bothered me for a very, very long time. It still bothers me (a lot) but I'm trying to stop caring so much, because it's never going to chage. One of the ways I'm doing that is by only working my eight hours, and by reading more books, and by going to school—anything that gets me out of that world, so I'm not staring at all the things about it that I hate, all the time. Yeah, vague, but whatever. I chose to do this, way back when, and have so much debt that I can't stop doing it, so it's just a big cycle of crap. I'm just trying not to let it be so.

So, books. I made it through that crappy Graham Greene novel, as well as To the Lighthouse. I'm not a big Virginia Woolf fan, never have been. Like the Book-a-Minute site says (thanks, Amy) about Woolf's work: "Life is beautiful and tragic. Let's put flowers in a vase." That's how I felt.

I also read Edna O'Brien's House of Splendid Isolation and am now working on V.S. Naipaul's The Mimic Men. I am so pleased these books are short; I'm almost through my pre-reading for the semester. Reading the books during the semester will be a hell of a lot less stressful now. I'm also glad the stack is getting shorter because I've got "fun" books to read: Reading Lolita in Tehran and Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. They have to be back to the library by Feb 3rd, and there's no renewing since there are tons of holds on them, so I have hard deadlines for these "fun" books. I hear they're both really, really good and they're on lots of reading lists that I've seen, so obviously I can't wait to get to them!

So anyway, resolutions. Drink more water. Always a good one.

Saturday, January 15, 2005
silicon valley tour stop #1: netflix

Yes, this shrimpy little building on the side of the road in Los Gatos CA is where all the magic happens: Netflix corporate headquarters.

It's also a mile from Los Gatos Dog and Cat Hospital, where I go every few weeks to get special food for my cats. Thrilling, I know.

What would you like to see next? Yahoo, eBay, Google, other?

Friday, January 14, 2005
bonus friday cat blogging...toby the programmer kitty

toby the programmer kitty
[click to embiggen]

I couldn't resist.
Toby was just sitting there on my database table schemas,
looking up at me with a face that either says "food?"
or "did you check the foreign key constraints?"
One or the other. I can't decide.

friday cat blogging...deuce's turn

I believe this look means something along the lines of "You've flipped me onto my back and are pointing a phone at me. I love you, but what the hell??"

This is Deuce, and she's the youngest of the lot. She's two (and a half-ish) years old. It's because of my cat Toby that I have her ... Toby had lymphoma and we went to the veterinary oncologist every month for two years. One day the vet techs said to me "there's this kitten you have to see," and I did...she was a teeny little thing, her hair was all splotchy and she looked terrible. Turns out that a vet tech had rescued her from inside a sewer, where someone had thrown her after covering her with some sort of caustic goop. The vet tech brought her in and they nursed her back to health for about six weeks. Then, surprise surprise, I brought her home.

She's a big ol' healthy cat now, although she does have these funky white trash teeth—little skewed nubbins where they should be straight across. Other than that, you'd never know she was moments from death. She pretty much rules the roost. She sleeps under my blanket, is very very talky (she answers you) and loves her big brothers.

hey east coast folks...wonder where your weather went? here it is.

no visibility

I live in Northern California, where it shouldn't look like this
in the morning and it shouldn't be 39 degrees and I shouldn't
have to wear my heavy, heavy jacket...especially when
it's 60-something degrees at my parents' house in Pennsylvania,
where it hasn't even snowed yet! At all!
Just sayin'.

friday random ten (not a terrible playlist, actually!)
- "Evil Twin", by Tremolo, from their EP
- "Hold You Down", by Magnapop, from Rubbing Doesn't Help
- "Undenied", by Portishead, from Portishead
- "Last Broadcast", by Doves, from The Last Broadcast
- "Fool in the Photograph", by Sunny Day Real Estate, from The Rising Tide
- "Stand Back Up", by Sugarland, from Twice the Speed of Life
- "Nightblindness", by David Gray, from White Ladder
- "Throw It All Away", by Toad the Wet Sprocket, from Coil
- "The Sky Is Broken", by Moby, from Play
- "The Saga", by The Libertines, from The Libertines

my flashlight needs new batteries
Living in California, we're told to be prepared with earthquake kits and what not—but I couldn't tell you what's in an earthquake kit and thus don't have one. Bad, bad California-dweller. But one thing I do have is a big ol' takes-a-D-battery flashlight, because the power tends to fail around here, frequently. Well, maybe not "frequently," but "a hell of a lot more than anywhere else I've ever lived." How about six times in the last two months?

I live in a condo complex (not a new one, it's 20 years old), and I don't use a lot of power (my bill is only about $40/mo) and I pay my bill on time, so anytime the power fails I know it's not my fault...and if I look out the back door and see all the other condo groupings are power-lite, and the duck pond isn't gurgling, then I call the power company and report the outage. But sometimes it's just my little condo grouping that's out, which really pisses me off.

But anyway, I have a flashlight. I don't like the pitch black. I sleep with the TV on (in the living room, on the couch, but that's another story) all night. I don't like silence, either (the TV covers this, and if it doesn't, the aquarium or the outside pond does, too). Several weeks ago, the power went out. I grabbed my flashlight, turned it on, and it went dim in minutes. Crap. Went to the store that was open, they had no batteries that size, so I bought a candle. Candles are lovely, but I don't like open flames + cats. Not that my cats would ever light themselves on fire, but it's one of those irrational fears of mine.

I told all this to my buddy, who for Christmas then got me an Incredibles flashlight that runs on double-A batteries. I keep it on the coffeetable. Last night, the power went out and I got to use my shiny new Incredibles flashlight. But the power didn't come back right away...well, it did for about 15 minutes, then failed again. This was about 9:30pm, so you're thinking "if the power is going to fail, best it fails at night, right?" Right. Unless you're me.

I spent the next few hours sleeping with my Incredibles flashlight on, to the point where it wore out the batteries. My fish were all sucking air at the top of their aquarium, my older cats were like "why the fuck it is so quiet and dark?" and running around confused (the baby, who doesn't know any better, kept sleeping). One of them threw up just to make sure I knew he was still there. The other jumped on my chest, presumably for the same purpose, and stayed there for awhile (he's not light). Finally I got up and got the big flashlight and it lasted for several more hours and then finally around 4am the power came back.

Since I had planned to get up at 3am and work, I'm all messed up...and I need more batteries.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005
very VERY cool technology

me, if modigliani did it
me, if amedeo
modigliani painted it

This crazy image of me is courtesy of the St. Andrew's Perception Laboratory Face Transformer, which is the result of some kind of freaky cool mathemathics: "You can use the Perception Laboratory's Face Transformer to change the age, race or sex of a facial image, to transform it to the style of a famous artist, to make an exagerated caricature or even make an ape of yourself!"

Try it with your own photo—it's very cool. The "manga heroine" version of my photo just scared the shit out of me, so I am not sharing.

[via g zombie, who linked to the Emily Dickinson transformations. Her "manga heroine" self wasn't too bad!]

UPDATE: Profgrrrrl does manga, PZ Myers is an apeman, scribblingwoman got in the game, Rana posted hers and Curtis figured it out.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005
dang tasty white trash hot chocolate
I got this recipe from my mother. It makes a TON of hot chocolate powder, so no more buying the little overpriced packets from the grocery store.

- 1 lb of 10x sugar [that's "confectioners sugar", since two people have asked already]
- 2 lb of powdered chocolate milk mix (like Hershey's or Nestle's, whichever you prefer)
- 11 oz of powdered coffee creamer
- a "makes 8 quarts" package of powdered milk

Mix together, store in airtight container. My mom says it lasts for years (she made some and then forgot about it in the back of the cupboard).

The ratio is 1/4 cup of the mix to a mug of hot water. You may adjust the ratio accordingly. You're on your own for tiny marshmallows and/or whipped cream.


hey, it's the SUN!

the sun came out!
It's been raining here in NoCal for...weeks.
We've had almost 2x the average rainfall for this time period.
That's plenty of rain, but folks in SoCal have seen more...
They've had 4x the average rainfall.
But today, the sun came out.

the iPod Shuffle
The iPod Shuffle was one of two major hardware announcements to come out of Jobs' keynote address today at MacWorld Expo (the other is the Mac Mini). The iPod Shuffle is a really REALLY cool little gadget; it's essentially a fancy thumb drive with volume control. From the Apple site:
"Random is the New Order
Welcome to a life less orderly. As official soundtrack to the random revolution, the iPod Shuffle Songs setting takes you on a unique journey through your music collection — you never know what's around the next tune. Meet your new ride. More roadster than Rolls, iPod shuffle rejects routine by serving up your favorite songs in a different order every time. Just plug iPod shuffle into your computer’s USB port, let iTunes Autofill it with up to 240 songs [or 2x that if you get the 1GB version instead of the 512MB] and get a new experience with every connection. The trail you run every day looks different with an iPod shuffle. Daily gridlock feels less mundane when you don’t know what song will play next. iPod shuffle adds musical spontaneity to your life. Lose control. Love it."
I love it from a techno-geeky standpoint; I recognize its coolness. But I could never use it.

Putting aside the fact that I already have an iPod with my entire music library on it, and then room for a whole other one, "random" isn't how I listen to music. I used to make mix tapes back in the day when tapes were used, and I think once I made a mix CD, but those were usually carefully-constructed playlists. Today, I can't make a decent playlist, because no matter how carefully-constructed, I know song A just "doesn't go" with song B. The closest I come to making a playlist is skipping particular songs on a CD, either because I don't like it or I like the next song better.

So in general, I listen to a CD from track 1 through track [end], sequentially. I would never randomize within a CD, and I don't dig "shuffle my whole music library." But if I weren't a total weirdo like that, I would very much groove on the iPod Shuffle.

Dean to Seek Democratic Chairmanship
So Dean is going to run for chairmanship of the party. I hope he gets it...the position, I mean. I already know he "gets it", see below.
"The Democratic Party needs a vibrant, forward-thinking, long-term presence in every single state," Dean wrote in a letter to members of the Democratic National Committee. "We must be willing to contest every race at every level. We can only win when we show up."
"That word - 'values' - has lately become a codeword for appeasement of the right-wing fringe," Dean wrote. "But when the political calculations make us soften our opposition to bigotry, or sign on to policies that add to the burden of ordinary Americans, we have abandoned our true values."

Monday, January 10, 2005
2014 EPIC - The Future of Online [Media]
2014 EPIC - The Future of Online [Media] - an 8 minute Flash movie that chronicles the media wars, dateline 2014. I'll just quote Nate Koechley's intro: "What happens with Google, Amazon, Blogger, Microsoft, Friendster and TiVo play together? What happens when search, news, shopping, social networks, blogging, camera phones, recommendations, filtering, archiving, the long tail, and everything else that's ALREADY in motion congeals?" It's...well, like he said (jeez, could I be LESS ORIGINAL?), "Remember that feeling you got when you 'got it' in the first Matrix movie?"

It's like that. That was a good and scary feeling, probably why I saw the movie several times (too bad the sequels were crappy). I don't know how we're supposed to react to this more-probable-than-not production. I thought it was cool. Then I thought, "crap, am I supposed to think it's scary? Scary bad?" Now I'm back to "cool" but with a quizzical look on my face. I guess that's cool-with-an-asterisk.

Saturday, January 08, 2005
trying to be a good student...
by reading required novels before the semester starts, but I gotta tell you, I'm not liking Graham Greene. I'm trying to get through The Quiet American and...bleh. I want to skip it and move on to something else. I have eight other books in my stack for that particular class, having already read The Butcher Boy by Patrick McCabe and Cal by Bernard MacLaverty, and I'm afraid if I get stuck with this crappy book I'll just lose my momentum and not end up pre-reading anything.

I fully plan to read them all again during the semester, but I wanted to get pass number one over with before the semester actually started, when I'm just sitting on my butt twiddling my thumbs (and working and teaching). I also have several other books "for fun" that I'd like to get to... But I'll probably just end up skimming the last 150 pages and moving on to something else. I just have to psych myself up to do it.

this is really loser-ish
I REALLY, REALLY want it to be tomorrow morning so I can go to the gym again, with my iPod. How sad is that?!?!

i'm one of the cool kids
My iPod arrived yesterday, I set it up and transferred all my music (1784 songs, 6.8GB) last night, and I used it at the gym today. Whoo! Then I promptly went to Target and got different ear things. I need the kind that really stick in your ear, and I think these new Philips ones will work.

But besides that, I love it! I got some new music too: Scissor Sisters (eponymous), The Libertines (eponymous), The Doors (LA Woman) and two Depeche Mode releases from my youth (Speak & Spell and Violator).

Scissor Sisters is great workout music. My buddy told me that it is good to listen to on the bike, because it's very even-tempo (and the tempo is mid-high). She was right...and it's also good for listening to when not on the bike!

Friday, January 07, 2005
friday 10 - music
I did this a few fridays ago and was sort of embarrassed by my relatively antiquated and eclectic randomizer results, but I got over it. This week turned out kinda cool, although I believe the average age of the tracks is still 7+ years old.

- "Car Crash", by Tricky, from Vulnerable
- "Murder", by The Crystal Method, from Tweekend
- "Squinting at the Sun", by Ellen James Society, from The Survivors Parade ... trivia note: name the two people who paid for the recording and releasing of the post-EJS CD by Chris McGuire's short-lived band Mary Fortune Express? Me and my bestest bud. Whoop-de-damn-do. We weren't bestest buds for awhile after that.
- "Soothe Yourself", by Luscious Jackson, from Fever In Fever Out
- "Fall Down", by Throwing Muses, from Hunkpapa
- "So Real", by Jeff Buckley, from Grace
- "Perfect Day", by Lou Reed, from the Trainspotting soundtrack
- "Tree Song", by Lay Quiet Awhile, from Delicate Wire
- "Ladytron", by Venus In Furs, from the Velvet Goldmine soundtrack
- "Grace", by Michelle Malone, from Beneath the Devil Moon

all starbucks, all the time
No moblogging my daily haunts—someone already did! Not my haunts, per se, more like all the Starbucks in the world [via little.yellow.different], a few of which I do frequent.

Here are most of the SBUX in the SF Bay Area, and these are the ones I go to most often:
- Capitol & McLaughlin - San Jose: my "home" store
- Hamilton Plaza, Campbell: my second-most frequented store, because as you can see in the photo it's next to my Whole Foods store!
- Pavilion Downtown, San Jose: downtown, near the garage I park in to go to school
- Westgate Shopping Center, San Jose: when I'm on the other side of town or at Old Navy or the multi-level Target store.
- W.Santa Clara @ San Pedro Sq, San Jose: sometimes go to, when I'm downtown
- Willow Glen, San Jose: sometimes go to when I forget the hours for Willow Glen Coffee Roasting Co. and find myself in Willow Glen without an open coffeeshop (they're across the street from each other)
- Tully & Quimby - San Jose: the other store near my house, where I sometimes go to just for a change.
- Almaden & Curtner - San Jose: yet another store near my house that I sometimes visit.
- San Felipe & Yerba Buena - San Jose: I go here after a trip to the LDS Family History Center nearby.
- Calaveras & Park Victoria - Milpitas: across the parking lot from my eye doctor
- Warm Springs Plaza - Fremont: across the street from our co-lo facility
- Los Altos: for when I go to the office or am house-sitting

Here are the SBUX in Richmond, VA, and I've been to:
- Carytown: near where I used to live
- Parkside, Glen Allen: near where I used to work, at Capital One in Glen Allen

Here are the SBUX in NoVA and the SBUX in DC, the ones I went to most often were:
- Kingstowne, Alexandria VA: near where I used to live
- Georgetown: near where I used to work

No pictures of SBUX from when I lived in KY, NC or other parts of VA, because there weren't any then or I didn't go because I only got coffee at the place I actually worked (which wasn't a SBUX!).

Fascinating, I know.

UPDATE If I ever did go visit my parents, I'd have to take a trip and spend some time at the closest-to-them SBUX, here.

friday cat blogging...max's turn

This is Max. He was the first cat I got, and is the oldest of the clan by about two weeks. He was born on 24 April 1993, in Durham NC. I met him when he was a few weeks old, living in a cage with his brothers and sisters, at a vet's office. They were found on the side of the road near the vet's office, rescued, and adopted out over time. Max was the only one who would play with me, and when I happened to go back a few weeks later, he was the only one who hadn't been I took him home.

Max is mouthy (he always wants a certain amount of food in his bowl at all times, even if he's not eating it...just wants to know it's there) and a shit-disturber (he likes to jump on Toby a lot), but also a big baby—he still sucks on the collar of my shirt like he did when he was a kitten.

Thursday, January 06, 2005
not-mobile blogging
I realize that my lovely mojito photo has been in the MOBLOG slot for like a week now, but my mobility this last week has consisted of:

- a trip to SBUX each morning around 6am
- one trip to the office to drop something off
- two trips to Whole Foods
- one trip to the library
- one trip to the post office
- a 50ft walk to the mailbox each day

IOW, I don't get out much and where I did go was considerably non-photogenic. I must do something relatively mobile soon, so I can change the photo. Or perhaps I'll just go to the cuban place and get a different drink. Mmmm, drink.....mmmm....

Wednesday, January 05, 2005
i'm verklempt
A student finished my course!

Students get 3 months (and then 3 more if they ask the school) to finish a course, and this student was one of the best students I've had so far and she finished it in 2.5 months. I have two others who will be finishing in the next few weeks, I can tell by the way they're progressing. I feel so proud. Don't know why, it's not like I did anything except answer questions and grade their exercises...they did all the work!

But still. I got a little misty.

Monday, January 03, 2005
making resolutions, lists, etc
It's the start of the new year, and people are making resolutions and to-do lists left and right. Like Mel, I don't wait til the new year to make resolutions...I just make them. Of course, making a resolution—regardless of the time of year—is not the same as following the resolution.

For instance, I hereby resolve that my crappy mood and overall distaste for most people shall not be taken out on my bestest bud, who bears the brunt of everything because she's the only person I tend to speak to all day. But I've been working on that for ten years and haven't been able to do it yet.

I've come up with some things that look good on a list, but if this were June or July I'd have made the same resolutions...

- I hearby resolve not to eat food after 6 or 7pm. This actually has a chance of happening on a consistent basis.

- I hereby resolve to go to the gym several times per week. This also has a chance of happening once my iPod arrives (I got a 15GB one...less cost than the 20GB that I'd never fill).

- I hereby resolve to turn my computer off and read a book in the evening. This requires me to feel less responsible for all things work-related, and gosh darn it I'm going to do that because it's not my company, after all.

- I hereby resolve to actually try in my courses this semester, not just wing it. This will prepare me for the fall, when I'll probably be taking grad courses and winging it would be bad.

That's all I can remember right now. Oh, and I resolve to drink more water. It's good for me.

Sunday, January 02, 2005
my new New Year's tradition: grilling
My new New Year's tradition will be grilling. Well, at least it was this year. I'm from the part of the country where the New Year's Day traditional food is pork and sauerkraut. I like that just fine, but I didn't feel like busting out the crock pot. If I were from the South, I would have done the whole black-eyed-peas thing, which I also like just fine, but I'm not from the South and I wanted to do a little more than open a can and stink up the house with greens.

So I made my own tradition: grilling. It's been raining here for a week or so, so I knew that my irrational fear of catching the landscaping on fire wasn't going to happen. I grabbed my trusty 30-Minute Meals 2 book, by Rachael Ray and looked for something good to grill. Found it!

New Year's Day Grilling    Results of New Year's Day Grilling
[click each to embiggen]

Here we have Tuscan-style grilled tuna steaks, with grilled stuffed portobellos with tomatoes, rosemary and mozzarella (and a big ol' hunk of herb slab from Acme Bakery, Mountain View). It was supposed to be smoked mozz on the portobello, but I just had regular ol' mozz and it was lovely just the same. The rub on the tuna steaks is lemon, rosemary, parsley, garlic, steak seasoning and olive oil. The portobellos were marinated in balsamic vinegar, lemon, Worcestershire sauce and olive oil, before being grilled on one side, flipped over and filled with a tomato/rosemary/olive oil mixture and topped with a slice of mozzarella.

Mmm, mmm good...and healthy!

mmmm, baking
I was at the grocery store yesterday, picking up some things for grilling. I grabbed this recipe card from the checkout line, and since I actually had all the ingredients at home, I made yesterday afternoon.

Whole Foods' Orange and Poppy Seed Quick Bread
1 1/2 c flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 c milk
1/3 c fresh squeezed orange juice
zest of one orange, finely grated
6 tbsp butter, softened
2/3 c sugar
2 eggs
3 tsp poppy seeds

Preheat over to 350, butter a loaf pan. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In another small bowl, combine milk, juice and zest. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time. Add the flour mixture in three additions, and the milk/juice mixture in two additions, alternating. Fold in poppy seeds and pour batter into pan. Bake for 45mins or until done (knife tester method; mine only took 35 mins).

Really good, really moist, quite lovely.


NFL Predictions, Week 17
This is is, the last installment of the Julie v Curtis NFL picks extravaganza. I biffed last week, so we currently stand at Julie = 65.83% correct, Curtis = 65.41% correct. Needless to say, this week is for all the marbles, and we disagree on SIX games. This is a week like no other. In a normal week, I wouldn't pick PIT to lose or SF to win (obviously), among others. But in many games, starters aren't going to play at all or are going to play for one quarter, and some teams are playing for shreds of pride, etc. That's why you see some wacky picks from me. Last week, I didn't pick wacky, it was a wacky week, and I paid for it. So yeah, I'm pinning a whole season on this stupid week. Oh well, thankfully there's no money involved!

UPDATE: Wow! What a spectacular job of losing I have done!

UPDATE 2: Curtis wins, 167/256 (65.23%) to 164/254 (64.56%)


WEEKS 1-16 RESULTS158/238157/240

Saturday, January 01, 2005
some perspective
Originally, the US president pledged $15M in tsunami aid. In a mere six days, the donations collected by alone top $11M.

The US president then pledges $35M in tsunami aid. His inauguration "celebration" is slated to cost $40M.

Now the US is going to send $350M, which is a good start...but it represents slightly less than 3 days' worth of expenditures in Iraq, and considerably less than the $13 BILLION earmarked for Florida this year, after Hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne hit the state.

Thankfully, private individuals and corporations are stepping up.

get your archive on...
04/04 · 05/04 · 06/04 · 07/04 · 08/04 · 09/04 · 10/04 · 11/04 · 12/04 · 01/05 · 02/05 · 03/05 · 04/05 · 05/05 · 06/05 · 07/05 · 08/05 · 09/05 · 10/05 · 11/05 · 12/05 · 01/06 · 02/06 · 03/06 · 04/06 · 05/06 · 06/06 · 07/06 · 08/06 · 09/06 · 10/06 · 11/06 · 12/06 · ???


job / books / new blog

04/04 · 05/04 · 06/04 · 07/04 · 08/04 · 09/04 · 10/04 · 11/04 · 12/04 · 01/05 · 02/05 · 03/05 · 04/05 · 05/05 · 06/05 · 07/05 · 08/05 · 09/05 · 10/05 · 11/05 · 12/05 · 01/06 · 02/06 · 03/06 · 04/06 · 05/06 · 06/06 · 07/06 · 08/06 · 09/06 · 10/06 · 11/06 · 12/06 · ???


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