Archive for January, 2010

Day before yesterday, rain.

January 29, 2010

It’s funny, how the brain works.  I’m thinking about the things the brain seems to get stuck on.  The stuff that if you actually told somebody every time you thought it, they’d smack you after the first hundred times.

A friend of mine from college says she always wakes up a little grumpy, wondering, “What am I going to wear?”  Then she thinks, “Clothes!” and laughs and gets up in a better mood.  She does this everyday.

Me, whenever it’s stormy, I look outside and think, “It’s raining.”  Then I add, “in Boston.”  Those are the first lines of a graphic novel of the Swamp Thing written by Alan Moore.  I can’t remember which one.  I’d only read it a couple of times – it belonged to my brother and I’m not a huge Swamp Thing fan – but the line just sticks for some reason.  The image helps, of course.  It’s of a guy all shadowy looking out a large plate glass window at the rain.

I can’t tell people this because it’s weird and really random.

Day before yesterday, it was raining here.  And I thought of Boston.  And the Swamp Thing.   (Is that funny random sort of gathering of things?  I kind of think so.  But I also know my brain isn’t working very well today.)

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Swimming upstream

January 28, 2010

Am very sick.  Baby J is sick.  Henry is better than we are.  W just had his wisdom teeth removed – and can’t drive.  I am (theoretically) back at work part-time – but haven’t been very productive as I’m taking a bunch of days off to do things like take care of children and spouse and drive everybody everywhere.

Not a very happy post, but to explain absence.

About the teeth.  W hasn’t been to the dentist in a number of years.  But he decided to go recently.  His logic being that he should go because he can’t take Henry without having gone himself.  Fair enough.  Too bad the dentist decided W needed to have his wisdom teeth removed.

So why couldn’t W have scheduled it sometime in the last 3 months?  I asked him that, why would he schedule something like that smack in the middle of a work week?  He said the appointment with the oral surgeon was very hard to get.  My sister said, after hearing me complain, “what? like it takes 10 years to get an appointment with this doctor?”  She is a bit snarky, but I did find some comfort in that response.

Anyway, only to say I haven’t been feeling my best and nobody around me (except maybe Henry, which is good and bad in its own way as he’s got an unbelievable amount of energy) is feeling super good either.  So not very productive, on any front.  Sorry.  (Things could be worse, so I’m trying to be upbeat while coughing my brains out.)

fandom secret? I’m a nerd.

January 22, 2010

I was inspired by the fandom secrets community on livejournal to say this:

I am the biggest dork in the world.

I was talking to a new co-worker about a lab I’m thinking about putting together – because even though we like local projects, that doesn’t mean the students don’t get tired of always doing local stuff.  So I had this idea of doing something that the students had all experienced – a lab based on the idea of Lord of the Rings.  Because they’d all seen the movie, and experienced a connection, which is always a good start.

I started babbling about how great it could be when his eyes started to glaze over.  And I realized.  I’d Gone Too Far.  I had exposed my nerdy self.  Kind of embarrassing.

However, I still think it’s a great idea, and I’m thinking about using New Zealand data (if I can get it), to make it more like the movie, even though it’s less like the stories.  I could juxtapose population data, migration trends, hydrology and geology.  Maybe I could use some historic data – like Captain Cook’s maps based on the circumnavigation of the islands, then compare it to modern maps, maybe excerpt his diaries for what it was like then (flora, fauna, natives, etc.).  It seems doable, right?

The real secret?  I was actually thinking about using the Naruto landscape.  The only thing stopping me was a serious realization.  Kishimoto is an artist – a mangaka (and a very good one, and I’ve definitely contributed to his children’s college funds) – not a cartographer, much less a geographer/geologist/anthropologist/sociologist.

Admittedly, neither was Tolkien.   (Sorry, J.R.R – but Mordor is ringed by a set of mountains/volcanoes set in a square?  No frickin’ geologic way.).  But – there’s just more definite locations to tie things down, which makes it more useful for my purposes.

(So nerdy – it’s worse than the conversations people have about hyperspace vs. warp drives – I’m really sorry.)

reading, obvious fan is obvious

January 20, 2010

Guess what I just got in the mail?

Peter S. Beagle’s collections of two short stories – “We never talk about my brother” and “The Line between.”

Excitement.  These were the first books I think I’ve purchased for myself in the past twelve months – because I knew I had to have them – and I would read them.  I just about busted into a book at work.  Yay!

Also received: the Naruto Shippuden 2010 calendar, but we shan’t speak of that, even though that too is happy-making (half-off, after Christmas sales, because I can’t justify paying full price for a calendar when I get so many for free).   I’ve just got to figure out where to hang the thing.  Because if I hang it at work – I’m afraid it’ll point out how big a fangirl I am, and I just can’t hang it at home, because it’ll point out how big a fangirl I am.  So, the question is do I let people at work know or the people at home know.  It might have to be at work – where I put every questionable piece of decor.  It keeps ’em guessing.

Le smoking

January 19, 2010

The title refers to a very long ago French lesson – wherein the robe was referred to as “le smoking.”  It amused the class of 13-year-olds tremendously.  (Forgive me if my translation is bad, it has been a very very long time since then.)  The item itself just seems funny – a robe for smoking.  It seems like a fire hazard.

This is because I have bought myself a pair of lounge pants.  Which pretty much tells you what you’re going to be doing in them. It’s sort of an awful-looking pattern – the best of cruise ship wear, if you know what I mean.  (If you don’t, just think loud coral colors.)

I used to wear sweatpants for lounging in, but found that they felt a little heavy some days.  Which they should, given that they or the activity you’re supposed to be engaged in is supposed to make you sweat.  Also, if somebody drops in while you’re wearing sweatpants, you could pretend you’re off to do something more active than watching “The West Wing” reruns and stuffing your face with donuts.

Perhaps I should have bought sleep pants, but it seems to go against my established level of activity, which is sitting around.  I want to be below the stated activity level of the garment – because who knows?  I could power up at any time.  Sure I could.  Sure.

(And by the way, when did it start to be okay that you could wear sleep pants outside?  I don’t know why I think that’s wrong, except that it seems even too casual for me.)

West Indian Shrimp

January 14, 2010
This is based on a recipe from cooking light, but I’ve tarted it up some –
2 lbs large raw shrimp (shelled, tail on)
2 bottles of beer (12 oz each – doesn’t have to be good beer)
3 cups water (I like rinsing the bottles with water and using that – so that’s another 24 oz of beer flavored liquid)
2 tsp Old Bay seasoning (up to 2 tbls)
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
2/3 cup cider vinegar
1 teaspoon of salt (1/4 teaspoon will do)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper (1/2 teaspoon will do you better)
sprinkles of thyme, powdered garlic, cayenne pepper, granulated onion, chili powder (whatever you’ve got handy – as that’s what I did)
Heat the beer and water and Old Bay seasoning until boiling.  Throw in the shrimp for 3-5 minutes or until pink.  Drain shrimp.
In a plastic bag, throw in everything else.  Once shrimp is cool, throw those in the bag.  Marinate for at least 20-30 minutes in fridge.  Dump everything out of the bag into serving vessel.
(If using unshelled shrimp, do everything the same except shell shrimp following marination, making sure to reserve marinade for serving.)

Favorite easy marinade

January 13, 2010

2lbs steak (firm tofu would probably also be good, might require longer marination)
3 Tbls soy sauce + a hit of maple syrup (originally 3 Tbls ketjap manis)
2 Tbls brown sugar
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 Tbls canola oil

Marinate protein for up to 2 hours. Throw on grill or under broiler.  (Can substitute some of the soy sauce for fish sauce or oyster sauce.  Can probably throw in any kind of onion or garlic.)

Original recipe from “Nancy Lam Stirs it Up” – which is pretty awesome. Almost everything I’ve tried to make is good.

Is Manny Handy?

January 12, 2010

It’s all W’s fault.  That’s what I want to say straight off.

(Oh, and yeah.  Happy New Year and all that jazz.)

I am happily, tiredly, very blearily in new baby/young child land.  Or I was.  Until W ruined it.

Every morning we watch this Disney Channel show called “Handy Manny.”  Henry loves it – the dancing tools, the capable Hispanic dude, the minimum of drama.  It’s all good.  I mean, the kid’s 3 – give him some slack.  Then he gets packed up for daycare and I get ready for the day.  Manny’s got a really nice smooth deep voice – good for children – the big surprise is that the voice is Wilmer Valderamma (the dude from That 70’s show.  I know!).  It’s nice and soothing for being so early in the morning.  Los Lobos does the theme song – that does stick in the head a bit.

In one episode Mayor Rosa (she’s a bit mature with grey streaks at the temples), calls Manny because the tree won’t light up for Christmas (Feliz Navidad).

Anyway, the point of this is that W just said out of the blue – “I bet Mayor Rosa calls Manny for booty calls between council meetings.”

WHUT?!

What you have done to my brain?!  Do Not Want!

Our son watches this show!  (cries inside.)  W has ruined this for me.  Because now, of course, I can’t but help wonder about Manny’s relationship with everybody on this show.  I mean, he is everybody’s friend and goes all over the place “helping” them.  Ugh.  I’m a terrible person.  And here I am watching this show with my son every morning and my husband ruined it for me.

Ugh.  I am desperately trying not to make it SHEETROCK HILLS – the soap opera.

The problem is that I know a little too much about the series – it takes place in Sheetrock Hills (I imagine it’s a place in California, just north of San Diego because of the views of the water).  Other characters include Kelly (the perky girl next door who conveniently owns a hardware store who is secretly in love with Manny but they can never be together), Carmela (the purple-haired alternative artist, you can tell because she’s in paint-smudged overalls who’s bi), Mr. Lopart (balding, bad comb-over, candy store owner who’s part Don Knotts and a huge Mama’s boy), Mrs. Lopart (Mr. Lopart’s Mom), Sherman (who owns the shoe store and is trying to maintain his Jewish identity in this suburban hell),  Abuelito (Manny’s not very old grandfather who’s got a little something going on with some of the old ladies in town), etc. etc.  The tools all have their own personalities and probably could easily be adjusted into the plot with their own pairings and drama.

I am sick of myself.

I have to get Henry hooked on something else now.  Something so I can stop watching/thinking about this show.  Maybe a show without any people -just amorphous blobs or mail boxes or something.

Help me.