Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Snowboarding Road Trip

Well! I have been snowboarding for the last hour and I really like it!

This week Target has Shaun White Snowboarding Road Trip on sale for $39 instead of the $55 for the "exclusive" Target one. Since it's playable with the balance board I figured I'd splurge (even though I said I wouldn't buy any more games for a while.) The controls took some getting used to, but once I learned what grinding is (balancing on something, like a rail), it's totally infectious. I can't exactly feel the wind in my hair, but I did feel the strain in my toes, trying to hold on. (Next time, no socks.) Even just picking up speed on the way down the mountain is great fun.

X-Games, here I come!

Wii Fit post #4

I was cranky before. So I figured I'd do something fun. I didn't really want to do Wii Fit, but I figured I should. So I got on and took the daily test. I didn't believe the hula hooping would help align me, but I do seem less tight in my hips.

Well, I could scarcely believe my eyes. Either it's my period that's centering me, or the hula hooping, or I don't know what, but whatever it is is working! Instead of getting balances in the 70th percentile, I actually got a 92%. As a consequence, today my fit age is... 24!

HOORAY! This has lifted my spirits immensely and I had to post right away. Phew! And I though I was going to have a bum night. Sometimes being wrong is great!

Crampage

Every month it's the same thing. Back pain, cramps, bloating, urges for chocolate, feeling unbelievably exhausted... you know what I'm talking about. And of course, the days leading up to it are not exactly picnics in the park. I'm always afraid I'll alienate one of my friends by saying something weird in the days leading up to my period. Usually they understand, because about 90% of my friends are women, after all.

Anyway, for me, it's best to not have major discussions or take on important topics with anyone several days before and the first day of my period. Everything will come out wrong. I must remember that for next time! I usually try to keep talking to a minimum during the first day. And today was just fine. Thankfully!

I was lucky enough to have a quiet office day... I was only one of 8 people on my entire floor in the morning, and one of 5 in the afternoon -- a bonus was being the only one in my office area. The phone was nearly dead, I was able to complete a lot of work... and I rarely had to talk to people. I was even able to occasionally moan in pain without being in danger of someone hearing me. It was so peaceful... maybe I can arrange for everyone to be out of the office every month around this time. And maybe monkeys might fly out my butt...

Monday, December 29, 2008

Guess I'm a scientist, then...

http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/081229-mm-dark-matter.html

"Dark matter can't be seen. Nobody even knows what it is. But it must be there, because without it galaxies would fly apart."

"One such theorized class of particles is called WIMPs (Weakly interacting massive particles)..."

If being a scientist involves making up silly acronyms and theorizing mysterious forces, then by golly! I am a scientist, too. Somebody increase my paycheck now...

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Love stinks

For those of you who need to hear the details of an ex's newest flame in order to complete the "getting over them" process, I understand. Details somehow do make it easier (at least in many situations).

And you know what it makes it easiest? Realizing on your own that your ex really is an idiot. Case in point: MB still has not returned my stuff to our mutual friends. I sucked it up enough on Monday to email him about it, now that it is 3.5 months later and he is seeing someone new. (It's just common sense to unload someone else's junk before you bring someone new to your place, n'est-ce pas? If you can't bring yourself to return stuff for the ex's sake, at least think of the new person in your life!) And he said he would bring my stuff to our friends this past Wednesday. But he didn't. Not cool.

And now I want my hair dryer back! His stuff has been gone from my life for months now. It's hard to believe that he can't be bothered to bring my belongings to a dinner or some kind of hangout when they see each other socially.

I used to be sad that I'd caused him to be upset or whatever he felt (if he actually did feel anything) but now I don't care at all. He really deserves it. Not relinquishing control over my hair dryer!? Classic passive-aggressive behavior. It's clear he does not want me to ever possibly be considered attractive to other men...

And oh, I'm still getting calls from WF. I'm ignoring them, of course. Did I mention I plan to take a break from dating for a while? Sigh...

Friday, December 26, 2008

Lewis Mumford

When my mom was busy completing her M.A. in Urban Studies about 23 years ago, a great deal of the coursework involved readings by Lewis Mumford. Mumford was an academic, and although the topics he wrote about were really cool, she explained that some the writing itself was dry. She used to say that if she had trouble sleeping, she'd just "read some Mumford." But she also brought the most interesting bits to discuss at the dinner table, and his name stayed in my head. Researching him today, I see he was actually kind of a genius.

While I was cleaning out my front room today, I came across a book that I thought I had lost, named Death on Wheels. This is a book of well-chosen, scary, often gory short stories about vehicles, traveling, and road rage in general. I sat down for a read and opened the book, and there was a quote by Mumford -- "Either the motor car will drive us all out of our cities, or the cities will have to drive out the motor car." A very mysterious sentence... and I want to read more of what he has to say!

Yes, I'm a closet road-lover. I love the idea of planning roads as much as the idea of doing the construction work. I'm going to borrow one of Mumford's books from my mom and read it, and then borrow Robert A. Caro's biography of Robert Moses. I especially look forward to learning about Mumford's organic model of technology, biotechnics. I can't wait to do more learning!

Donations made easy

So now it's the end of the year, and I still find myself with lots of crap.

I've posted on craiglist to get rid of about 40 VHS (!) tapes, some CDs, and a DVD. I have more postings to make, but will do those this weekend. I doubt anyone will want these items, but it's worth a shot.

I also have a great big pile of clothes for Big Brother Big Sister Foundation, along with that pair of Rollerblades left over from the yard sale, as well as a lot of other home goods. It's about five garbage bags full. I've contacted them and they will pick it all up. So convenient! They make it so easy for someone to be a donate to a worthy cause. Yay!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Chanukah gifties

For Chanukah this year, I received two books from my sister: Proust Was a Neuroscientist, by Jonah Lehrer (which looks amazing -- not exactly light reading, but terrific nevertheless), and The Deviant's Pocket Guide to the Outlandish Sexual Desires Barely Contained in Your Subconscious, by Dennis DiClaudio (considerably less difficult, and far more juicy).

When I opened the present (in front of my parents -- they were sent via Amazon and actually wrapped by my mother), I told myself that the "guide" was not a jab at the fact that I'm not currently "getting any", and I reminded myself that I am certainly not one of those... *ahem*... "deviants"...

Anyway, I began reading The Guide the evening. And I'm just about done. Deviant? I'm afraid so. Or at least, deviant "lite"...

I came across one that I guess I must have: trichophilia, or enjoyment of human hair. Scruff applies. Yeah, baby. But! That's pretty tame, according to some of the others:
  • Emetophilia, erotic vomiting (Yuck. I hate vomit.)
  • Eprotophilia, flatulence desire (Yuck. I hate farts.)
  • Coulrophilia, clown fetish (Yuck. I hate clowns.)
  • Schediaphilia, arousal to cartoons (Hmm. I don't hate cartoons. I don't hate cartoons at all...)

Crazy Libs

Do you like Mad Libs? I do!

I found Crazy Libs, a free Mad Lib-style story generator. Want to learn something? The funniest thing about this is that some of it is actually true (at least for me)! Here goes:

How To Be Romantic
Some things are inherently romantic, like music. This is very useful, because you can move things upon the object of your affections and win romance points without expending any additional effort or wit. The trick is to figure out what is romantic and what is not. There is a basic rule of thumb to follow: if it's hard, it's not romantic. For example, high powered children are not romantic.

Colorful Things
Eyelashes are romantic. Elephants are romantic. Taking advantage of the intrinsic romance in colorful things obviously depends upon recognizing which things are colorful. The rule is simple. Strong things are colorful. If you see a food product in a grocery store that comes in a strong package, get it, because there's a very good chance it's colorful.

Red
Red is romantic, because red is the color of love and passion. Consider roses. Red roses mean, "I love you." Black roses mean, "Let's just be friends," which is synonymous with, "You are tall, and I hate you." So you do not want to be wrong. Get her red roses, red candles, red earrings, red eyelashes, and red turtles, and she'll fall hopelessly under your spell.

The Most Intrinsically Romantic Thing Ever
Based on the data above, the single most romantic thing in the universe can be calculated scientifically. It is, simply, a strong red computer made out of chocolate and shaped like a cat holding a book with elephants all over it that spills a soda can when you squeeze it.

Wii Fit post #3

Even better news! As of an hour ago, I have the body of a 32-year-old! Hooray!

And I was wrong about the hula hooping. It doesn't require unlocking... it's part of the aerobics exercises. Now there's a fun game! I did it so much I began to sweat. And I unlocked Super Hula Hoop, which I will try tomorrow. I'm shaping up already! I'm so proud of me...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Wii Fit post #2

Great news! As of last night, I have the body of a 39-year-old! That's so much better than a 48-year-old. And I passed beginning ski slalom with Professional status (am currently trying to pass Intermediate status) and I am on Advanced tightrope. This is fun!

Hula hooping will take some unlocking, but I'm sure I will get there in no time. I tried ski jump, and passed Professional status on my third turn. I also tried the one where you roll your friends' heads around on a curved plate, attempting to get them to fall through holes. It was ok. The soccer ball game was impossible. My highest score so far has been 38.

But anyway. Goal for 2009: lose weight, get fit, and look amazing. And date. And date. And date...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Wii Fit



But I refer to this game by its proper name, Me Fat.

I received the Wii Fit for Chanukah and set it up last night. Setup was very easy, and I was excited to try it, so I got on the board right away.


Well, I don't think the BMI scale is high enough to properly register mine, because when it was figuring, it nearly shot off the screen, and seemed disappointed when it couldn't go any higher. My Mii gasped and stared at her middle since suddenly she ballooned up like a steamed sausage in pants. The transformation was accompanied by a sound effect similar to "Bloooop!" Also, the Wii logo on my Mii's t-shirt stretched out and now appears bold. I attempted to balance and was told I have the body of a 48-year-old. Uh oh.

And then I had to "exercise." My first attempt at yoga was fine. Once you get the hang of it, it's fun. But if you try the "tree" pose, don't wear velour lounge pants. My foot kept slipping down my standing leg, and I touched the board on each try and therefore haven't passed it yet.

Then I tried the tightrope and ski slalom games, and those are really fun. After about 10 tries, I finally passed beginner skiing without missing any flags. Of course, I only got two stars, but tonight I will practice the forward stance also. I also plan to try hula hoop, if it doesn't require being unlocked. And I will you know if I get any better!

Who can retell?

Who can retell the things that befell us?
Who can count them?
In every age, a hero or sage came to our aid.

Haaaaaaaaark!

In days of yore in Israel's ancient laaaaaaaaand
Brave Maccabeus led the faithful baaaaaaaaand
And today our people, as we dreeeeeeeeamed
Will arise, unite, and be redeeeeeeeeemed

Who can retell the things that befell us?
Who can count them?
In every age, a hero or sage came to our aid...

Monday, December 22, 2008

Happiness may be contagious…

...but what about misery?

It's generally known that surrounding yourself with happy people can make you happier.

But I've received the following informational gem from my gym. Did you know that happiness naturally spreads through social networks like a virus? In other words, your happiness can influence the happiness of someone you've never even met?

Apparently there is an actual statistical relationship not just between your happiness and your friends' happiness, but between your happiness and your friends' friends' happiness. Harvard Medical School and the University of California concluded that the happiness of an immediate social contact increases an individual's chances of becoming happy by 15%. The happiness of a second-degree contact, such as a friend's spouse, increases the likeliness of becoming happy by 10%, and the happiness of a third-degree contact, (the friend of a friend of a friend) increases the likelihood by 6%. Kinda cool! But…

If I'm still friends with my ex-boyfriend's friends (MB, not WF), and I'm happy, and his friends are happy, do we keep recycling the same happiness? Would it increase exponentially? Is there a limit? What about if my ex is Mr. Doomandgloom? Would that reduce my happiness? Ours friends' happiness? What about my sister's happiness, my sister's husband's happiness, or my sister's husband's best pal's happiness? Is the misery ruled out completely, or would the misery percentage increase, and how much? Would the original happiness level remain constant? If not, what kind of fluctuation would occur?

Nice job figuring the numbers, Harvard, but you've created a slew of questions. This requires further research about the Grumpies among us, and whether scientifically, misery really does love company…

Bananagrams!

This game is amazing! (My sister gives some really good presents.)

In Bananagrams, the object of the game is to assemble intersecting words as in Scrabble, but unlike Scrabble, players use only their own letters in their own changeable-at-any-time configurations. You play for the entire length of the game (be it five minutes or 15)! There is no waiting and waiting and more waiting for the other players to finish their turns, just for you to beat their pants off anyway.

Players begin with 21 tiles (there are 144 in total), and the first person to incorporate all their tiles into their "board" shouts, "Peel!". Each player then takes another letter and rearranges their boards to accommodate the new letter. If you find a troublesome letter, just say "Dump!" and return to the pot. But… you must take three tiles, not one.

Peeling and dumping continues and the first person who places all their letters shouts "Bananas!" and wins the game (or round). No writing sticks are required, and there are no points. Standard play is fast and furious, but there are other, more relaxing versions. You can even play Banana Solitaire! Presentation is also charming, with the tiles stored in a banana-shaped cotton pouch.

My sister bought this for my mom (not me) for Chanukah. But we have all been having a blast with it. I highly recommend this game. Buy it!

Embed the VT


I know you know this is one of my favorite tools, but guess what! The Visual Thesaurus can be embedded!

You may choose from several looks, but I like this one. Add it to your blog, web page, desktop, or toolbar! You can even use it through Word, if that's your thing.

Last week, I bought a subscription -- with a discount of 20%, how could I have gone wrong? Just 16 well-spent bucks for a full year of this wonderful, expanded tool, all the articles I can read, and more. Hurrah for language and the Visual Thesaurus! And hurrah for discounts, too!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Game-playing

This week I bought some games for the Wii!

They are Super Mario Galaxy and Super Smash Brothers Brawl (I bought both at... gasp! ~Walmart~ for $70, and received $20 back through Paypal. Yay), and… Mario Kart! I had to wait and wait for it to get into stock, but I finally picked it up, and cheap, for the low, low price of $37 plus $3 shipping plus $3 tax. That's $165 worth of Mario games/equipment for $93! Do I know how to shop or what!? I'm still waiting to receive Kart, but I'm going to space these out… get it? "Space" them out? Mario "Galaxy?" I know, it's a stretch…

Anyway, my game library now consists of those, plus:

Guitar Hero III
Guitar Hero World Tour
de Blob
World of Goo
Mercury Meltdown Revolution
MX vs. ATV Untamed
And of course, Wii Sports and Wii Play

Pretty impressive list, huh? They are top-rated, and all fun. I'm not disappointed with any of them. The exception is MX vs. ATV, which is still lots of fun, it's just that I'm just not so good at it. But practice makes perfect. I will be receiving Wii Fit from my parents for Chanukah, and then I still have a wish list, but the wish list can wait. For a long time. Or at least a few months…

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Condoms go bye-bye

Just an update to say that I sent the condoms back. I could say "Use them in good health" -- but I won't...

Chocolate covered cherries

Cherries are one of my favorite fruits. The only thing that can make them better is dipping them in chocolate. And no one does it better than Cella.

Remember the individually foil-wrapped candies next to the register at the Optimo? Cella. The 16-to-a-box treats easily found during the holidays, but not as easily during the rest of the year? Cella. Cella makes the best, for discerning palates only.

They are the best because the cherries themselves are surrounded with a delicious, clear sweet liquid unlike that of the cheapo chocolate-covered cherries that are filled with thick, whitish goo that doesn't fool anyone. Plus, they rarely break and ooze. Long live Cella!

Chanukah! Chanukah! Chag yafe kol kach!

Chanukah is almost here!

And although my sister and her family will be in another state of the country, we will all be in the same state of mind -- happy! This is one of my favorite holidays, and not because of the presents. This holiday celebrates Jewish revolution over those who would defile the Temple by building altars to idols, as well as the miracle of one day's worth of oil providing light for eight. There are other interpretations as well, but those two are the basics.

My family sings the following song from an Chanukah record (record! haha) that we had, back in the day. It's sung in a round, and sometimes we actually get it right!

Mattathias bold!
Five brave sons had he!
Eliezer, eldest son;
Simon; Jon; and Jonathan;
And Judah Maccabee! Judah Maccabee!

Sunday night! Sunday night! Sunday night will be first light! Yay!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Case of the 5/6 Full Box of Condoms

This is another case where I am really glad to be free of another guy. It's another "stuff" story. And although I said in a previous post that I wouldn't go into details, I changed my mind.

Long story short, someone who seemed like a great guy was actually an unbalanced, delusional, lying, mood-swinging, name-calling screamer. He didn't take the breakup well. He ridiculed me for going to college, swore at me on the phone, and basically went berserk. He appears to be living in a dreamland of his design, creating it as he goes along. He is currently inventing things I "said" to him and "plans" he had for us to spend time together. Sociopath? Quite likely.

Yesterday, this man left a loud, obnoxious message on my voicemail, demanding all of his stuff to be sent to him. Sure, no prob. But -- all what stuff? I only remember a DVD. So I sent it back today, to get it out of my life. I made certain to tell him not to contact me anymore. After ignoring that and sending several more stupid emails, he wrote one more today... telling me I'll miss out on the best person of my life (why not get up on stage? I love a good farce)... and that the other items he had referred to were some condoms and flavored lubricants! ew! Ew!! EW!!! He had the absolute gall to state that he wasn't going to be my "supplier." As if!

This was another "laugh or cry" situation. At first, I was disgusted. Then I was disgusted and amused. Then I was just amused! I told my mom, who said this was exactly why she told me to block his mail yesterday. I should have listened. Needless to say, I have since filtered his emails to trash. She told me not to peek. Not at all? No, not at all. We made a deal. I can peek in a week.

So tomorrow I get to return 10 of 12 condoms and cheap, sugary, yeast-infection-inducing, watermelon- and tangerine-flavored lubes to him. Through the mail. Poor mailman, never dreaming what's inside! What a waste of postage...

WF = 0

And so thus endeth the relationship with WF. He is not so W after all. He is not sunshine. He is a loose cannon. He is whack! A whack-job! Yes, that's it. WF = Whack-job Fool. I won't go into details, but he did and said some disturbing things, and there is much more to him than meets the eye.

I am glad to be rid of him. Good riddance to bad rubbish!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Spelling bee

Well, one of my favorite sites has done it again!

The Visual Thesaurus has set up an online spelling bee. And it gave me some words I had never, ever heard before. It's difficult to believe, but evidently I don't have as extensive a vocabulary as I thought. Boo. But it really is a lot of fun -- I can see myself spending hours, just spelling...

My sunshine


So it took longer than I'd expected, but everything's squared away. Show's over folks, move along, nothing to see here. Me and WF are still cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs. Hooray, because I've decided I want him around. He is definitely a keeper! (My sister, the Harvard scholar, actually told me she wanted to slap me upside the head. Little harsh, sis.)


It was a misunderstanding about an email I'd sent him, plus some grief he was going through with his ex-wife. Add our not being able to connect on the phone for a few days and the feeling he was ignoring me. Multiply that by my overreaction, and poof! A seething kettle of stress and hurt (on both our sides.) But all is well now. We apologized to each other and now we have to wait an entire week to see each other. Sigh.

But at least my ordinarily sunshine-y WF is no longer a rain cloud. Hooray!

Friday, December 5, 2008

WF = DQ?

Methinks my Winsome Flame may also be a Drama Queen. This week has been a little strange -- we sent each other romantic-type cards via snail mail without knowing that the other did the same. But we had some timing issues... basically, the delays between emails and cards and phone calls caused some light-to-medium friction between us (and not in a good way.)

I feel like he may deliberately be misunderstanding my statements, and I don't like that feeling. He is either thinking too much, or not enough... and he is not the only person who has ever been disillusioned by love. I expect this will be cleared up by tomorrow. I will let you know.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

"Chinese" slippers

Since when did Chinese slippers become vinyl?

Shopping this weekend I came across some slippers in a bright, happy, apple green (third from the right on the bottom) that I thought would be ok for knocking around the house. How much? Four bucks. Ok, why not? They have shiny, matching sequins and beads on. Imagine my surprise when the salesgirl said they were "Chinese" slippers! Huh? Whatchoo talkin' 'bout, Willis?

I remember as a little girl having the prettiest, black cotton mary-jane style Chinese slippers with red and pink and green embroidered flowers on them. (We bought at the cheap local stores where all the interesting stuff was for sale. Or on the street.) I had black velvet ones with dragons when I got older. I even seem to remember a pair of turquoise silk ones. They were beautiful! They were delightfully fresh-looking! They were appealing!

I bought these anyway and inspected them in the car and they are made of... vinyl mesh "material" and flip-flop bottoms! What has this world come to? These are not Chinese slippers. I'm sure what I remember were not authentic Chinese slippers either, but at least they seemed more organic.

Where, oh where can I find my precious, proper Chinese slippers again? I guess I have to hit Chinatown. I'll let you know if I find them online...

Hooray for video games!


After Thanksgiving dinner, I drove to a friend's in NY, where we ran around Long Island doing general chores, popping in and out of stores, and playing lots of video games like obnoxious teenagers. We spent a great deal of time and money at the diner where we ate in college. It was fun!

We also met up with some friends from home at Dave and Buster's, where more games were played. Have you ever seen the bouncers there? They are the scariest, best-looking, biggest, tallest, ordinary men I have ever seen in person. I swear one was eight feet tall! They are really scary looking, much more so than even club or bar bouncers... I probably perceive them as scarier because of the dichotomy of even needing bouncers at a happy, fun arcade. But I guess they are there for a reason...

Thanksgiving successful?


So I think Thanksgiving was successful. The 'rents had no complaints, and didn't get any weird vibes, and WF was appropriate. So things seem good!

But then last night we had a fun chatty phone call (or so I thought!) and an hour later he emails me, asking if everything is ok with us because I sounded like I had something on my mind. But I didn't! So I came back and asked if he was projecting and he said no, but that he wanted to make sure he was doing everything right and that he would always be there if I wanted to talk.

So I'm caught between feeling semi-annoyed about his reading something into nothing, and feeling thrilled that he is willing to talk if I'm upset about anything. I've decided to go with the thrill because it's so much more fun...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Me + my parents + WF = Thanksgiving

Yes, you read it right. WF is going to meet the parents! And I'm looking forward to it, too.

This is momentous. He makes me happy, and I am thinking of the future... in a good way. If neither of us get too nervous it will be fine, but I hope, hope, hope my parents like him! Wish me luck!

World of Goo


Wahoo! World of Goo!


This inexpensive game (I play on Wii, but it's also available on PC and Mac) is so much fun! The object is to build structures or solve puzzles with little balls of goo. It's physics-based, which means you actually have to think. 'O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!' I chortle in my joy. Guitar Hero is lots of fun, but some days I just want to build stuff!

Plus, the sounds are cute -- one of the noises the goo balls make is "Can I go?" Gameplay is cartoonish and reminiscent of The Nightmare Before Christmas due to big heads and stick bodies, but it's clear the designers (2D Boy) put lots of thought into it. In addition, there is an OCD mode of play, where you challenge yourself to solve the puzzle using a certain amount of moves. There is a level where you can build a tower using the "extra" goo balls you collect in your travels. It can also be played by up to four people. Buy this! It will never, ever get boring!

Lime and cheese?


I really like the lime-flavored Tostitos tortilla chips. If I still want flavor and no more crunch, sometimes I just lick off the limey salt and toss the soggy chips. But imagine my dismay when I found that they have cheese in them! Harrumph! Now I can’t eat them with meat meals.

That’s what I get for reading the label…

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Random mutant proteins

http://www.princeton.edu/main/news/archive/S22/60/95O56/index.xml?section=topstories

This is so cool. Through mathematical analysis of certain experiments, scientists at Princeton have found that protein chains in many organisms act to correct any imbalance imposed on them through artificial mutations, and restored their chains to working order. In other words, the living proteins know what they are supposed to be, and that the random mutations (not artificial) really do make up evolutionary theory.

Spore, anyone?

Phew!

Well, I needn't have worried. I've received a response and he understands what I was saying. Before taking such an important step, everything must be right for both of us.

And although he says so, I'm not entirely convinced that he isn't at all disappointed. But at least I know that he can recognize when I'm uncomfortable, and take steps to alleviate my stress, and reinforce what we have. That's important!

Whoa.

Well, it's not that I didn't expect to hear this from him (and it's not as though I'm not on the way to feeling exactly the same), but I certainly didn't expect to hear those three little words quite so soon in our relationship. Last night. You know what three words I'm talking about.

I apparently looked weirded out when he told me, and I doubt that was the reaction he was hoping for. But I can't and won't say something I don't fully mean yet! That would be thoughtless and unfair.

When we met, he mentioned that he was doing things right this time. I acknowledged that I was doing the same, and that entails not rushing things.

I followed up explaining my reaction, but I'm not sure he understands my point of view. I hope we're ok...

Friday, November 14, 2008

Winsome Flame? Nope!

Hmm. It seems my winsome flame isn't quite as winsome as I thought... and that's a good thing. He is A Real Man. I'm going to switch his name to Wonderful Flame. Because he is wonderful.

We have been waiting all week to see each other tomorrow. Ah, Saturdays... *can't stop smiling*

Wordie

So I was poking around for some more words that struck my fancy (clunky, scripted, bushy) when I came across a great tool. It's Wordie!

And imagine my surprise when I checked out their blog and saw they had also written about the OED turning 80. But my post was written a month earlier! Not that big a deal, just an interesting factoid.

Anyway, Wordie is a great resource and a fun tool. It lets you compile word lists and phrase lists using words you love, hate, on a given topic, whatever. Lists are visible to everyone but can be added to by just you, a group of friends, or anyone at all. I love that idea! And you can check the etymology, locate several different dictionary entries, and search for books to buy regarding the word in question. So fun!

Monday, November 10, 2008

The happy tinglies

My dating mantra seems to be working.

Things are going great between me and my Winsome Flame (WF in future)! Basically, he is a pearl among swine. It's not exactly the right analogy, but it will do. I get that warm feeling thinking about him. He actually... appreciates me! Who knows where this may lead!?

*happy sigh* Wish me luck!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Dinner party successful


We had a blast!


Dinner was delicious and the company even better. Conversation (although it took a while to get started) ranged from movies to music to how awesome I am. Okay, I made that last bit up, but all in all, a lot of fun was had last night.

Everyone got along with each other, and there were no weird moments, with the exception of the half minute that my date fell asleep while the rest of us were looking at something online! (In his defense, he did have a very long day.) I had thought he was looking with us but he was three feet away. He woke up after a friend glanced over at him. But he was perky the rest of the time, and impressed the group (and me!) with his helping skills.

Regarding the chocolate sauce, it was fine until it stopped coming out of the bottle. I unplugged the pinhole several times, but it just wouldn't come out! Ultimately we just unscrewed the bottle. It was awfully thick. I thought perhaps I had mis-measured the chocolate until my mom explained that I was supposed to warm it up before serving. Oops!

I might have another dinner party this winter with a different menu. I'll let you know!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Glossy chocolate sauce

I am having a dinner party tomorrow night for three of my favorite friends and their significant others, plus me, plus the guy from JDate. Wow!

The meal will be simple: a nice antipasto with olives and assorted jarred tasties, rigatoni with meatballs (turkey) and my yummy sauce (Tuttorosso crushed tomatoes with basil base of course!), roasted veggies (carrots, green and red peppers, onions, and zucchini marinated in balsamico and lots o' spices), tossed salad with a homemade vinaigrette, bread, and a chocolate cake with raspberry coulis and chocolate sauce on the side. I would have preferred a yellow or white cake with the sauces, but they were all dairy. The coulis came out rather thin and I tried to thicken it with potato starch after it was already made. It worked... um... kind of... but hopefully no one will get down to the bottom of the bottle where the remaining lumpy bits are!
Useful Tips Section
Regarding the chocolate sauce, I finally found one without cream or butter. And it looks amazing! It's a David Lebovitz recipe and you can find it here. I will make it tomorrow.

We are going to have such a great time! Yay! I will be the hostess with the mostess! (mostest?)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

35 words I like

Cool words of varying types. They are interestingly spelled, fun to pronounce, make me laugh, or all three. Most of them can even be used in everyday sentences. Feel free to comment, and add!

bamboozle
flippant
hoity-toity
Madagascar
squish
eschew
runestaff
rotund
Scheherezade
bandicoot
succulent
gambit
pithy
churl
molecular
symposium
Minnetonka
radiant
beautician
vex
sizzle
mirepoix
chaos
nonplussed
luscious
festoon
quotidian
boron
pulchritudinous
erumpent
citric
conceptual
gormless
pretzel
theorize

Mike & Ike's lemonade flavors

Yum! Candy is great!

The Mike and Ike candy brand has teamed up with Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation and will make a minimum donation of $100,000 per year for at least three years to the Foundation to assist in its fight to cure childhood cancer. What a nice gesture… even better is that the candy actually tastes good!

The theater-size boxes hold five lemonade-y flavors: tangerine lemonade, strawberry lemonade, lime lemonade, raspberry lemonade, and ordinary lemonade. And they do taste like the flavors they say they are. Go buy one! You will not be disappointed.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Space station trash plunges to earth

This article reminds me of the massive ball of garbage careening back to earth in an episode of Futurama. Except for the fact that this is toxic ammonia.

http://www.space.com/news/081031-space-station-debris-reentry.html

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Super Line Follow

This is guaranteed to keep you busy for a while. Hypnotize yourself while creating enchanting, swirly, dancing lines. Click "Play It" at the bottom and change the options at the bottom left of the playing screen. It's just so freakin' beautiful!

http://wiicade.com/gameDetail.aspx?gameID=1169

Wordle #2


This is my newest Wordle. Click it to see it more clearly.

I share because the placement on this one is really funny -- see "Light Lunch", "Caffeine Disappoints", "One Guy", "JDate Flavors", "Sweet Enough", "Pepperdiet", "Looking Happens", "Love Fresca", and my favorite: "Just Me. There's Definitely Red". Haha!

Extremely rare flowers

I stumbled across a wonderful site named scienceray looking for pictures of the legendary Youtan Poluo flower. And oh, did I find them -- as well as information about other unusual blossoms.

Unfortunately, the flower is reminiscent of the transplanted hairs from John Carpenter Presents Body Bags. But a legend of a flower that sprouts from nothing once every 3000 years is pretty interesting...

http://www.scienceray.com/Biology/Botany/The-Rarest-Flowers.269699

GHWT drum sensitivity fix

It turns out that in order to employ RedOctane's sensitivity fix for the Guitar Hero World Tour drums, one requires a USB to midi cable, which they will send you if you don't have. I don't have! Perhaps I could just pay three dollars for one from my ex-boyfriend... not. But in all seriousness, they are not exactly cheap -- I found one on sale for $20, but they seem to run significantly higher than that. Why should I buy one? RedOctane should sell something that works right!

I requested it on 10/29/08 after researching and determining I was not the only one with this problem. I hope to receive it soon, but who knows? Guess I'll just have to bang a little harder for a while longer...

Bats in concert

Vampire bats may not be attractive, but roost mates make beautiful music.

From childhood, we know that bats make sounds, and that we can't hear most of them. But the human ear can hear these chirps, which scientists believe permit them to easily reunite when out of view. One scientist thinks each call might communicate the individual's identity, location and feelings. How cool!?

Plus, it turns out they are altruistic regarding sharing food... I mean, blood. Says one scientist, "In the wild, successful vampire bats sometimes share blood with their unsuccessful roost-mates. Such unselfish behavior is rare in animals and the current study intimates that reciprocal altruism among unrelated individuals may be mediated, in part, through vocal identification of individual roost mates." How's that for bat egalitarianism?

http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2008/10/31/vampire-bat-duet.html

3rd date successful

I enjoyed myself this past Thursday night!

We met just for dinner and it was really nice. This guy makes it very difficult not to like him. He opens doors (building and car), plies me with compliments, kisses my hand, sings to me, and wouldn't dream of letting me pick up the check (which I have in fact tried to do. One of these days I actually will). He also sends little love note emails, which I find charming and not at all over the top. Basically, he is an old-school romantic. And I'm pleasantly surprised!

I'm going to see how things develop. I will let you know.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Guitar Hero World Tour!

Is really fun! I was so excited to see this was coming out that I (along with many other Wii Guitar Hero junkies) pre-ordered and was able to pick it up as soon as it came in this past Sunday.

Well, I have been having a blast! I started with the drum set and played through the game just to open the songs so I could use them in Quick Play (I didn't want to cheat yet). I completed the New York set at 52%. I have since played 78% of the songs, but I don't feel like "buying" more right now.

Sunday I played the drums for about seven hours. Monday I used the drums and guitar. Last night I used the guitar and the microphone. I will use the cheat codes to open songs when I bring the guitars to my friend's house tonight, but I wanted to try playing like a regular person first.

I am having some problems with it, though:

The scoring is incorrect
I have to hit the cymbals extremely hard to get drum Star Power (I got the sensitivity fix, thankfully)
I can't get guitar Star Power by tilting the guitar up (I have to use the button)
To get vocal Star Power I practically have to smack the mic (instead of tapping it as they say)

But the songs are great! So far, my favorites are Crazy Train and Sweet Home Alabama (for both drums and guitar). I just love my customized character and my logo is beautiful. I haven't tried the "jamming" thing or playing online yet, but that's because I, um, have to work...

I've done my reading on the Activision website about troubleshooting problems and will try their fixes and hopefully won't have any more problems. Bitch Wanked Unit rocks!

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Case of the $3 Cable


I've debated blogging about the details, but boy, did I ever make the right decision to break up with MB. I can whittle the relationship down into seven words – "He wanted three dollars for a cable." I'm posting purely for posterity, because this story deserves to be in the history books.


Here's some background. We were together for 10.5 months, our parents had met each other, and we had discussed marriage and kids and houses and ten years later and all that stuff. I thought he was The One! But thankfully I realized his crazy rules would stifle me and I would never, ever be happy. And I deserve to be happy! (There's more, but this is it in a nutshell.) It didn't exactly end on a high note. 6 weeks later, we still had to do the stuff dump (you know, returning or otherwise getting rid of the other's person's items that accumulated over the course of the relationship). Right after I broke up with him, I put all his stuff (except for the two gifts he gave me) into a bag, and waited for the right time. It sat there taking up space in my apartment.

Well, who knew when we would see each other, so I figured I would bring it to a mutual friend's house this past Saturday and emailed him that I would. One of the items was a wireless router he had installed (one of his "extras") to make life more convenient for him when he visited my place. In preparation, I wanted to confirm if any of the connecting cables were his. I actually have lots of cables so I didn't need any. If I for some reason did need, my dad has lots of cables. We have cables en cantidad! I had thought at least one of them was mine, and I could have just given them both to him just in case, but why should I give him MY stuff? He should receive his stuff, no more, no less. He also has cables in quantity.

So I emailed him and asked if one or both were his. He basically responded that one was mine and one was his. So there's the answer, I thought. But there was more to the email. I read on. He wrote that if there were more than two, then anything else was his. But I could just give him three dollars for it.

I stared at the email, astonished. I picked up my jaw from the floor. I rubbed my eyes and read it again. I debated between laughing and crying. Finally, I just decided to be pissed. What the hell!?

This is what I get for trying to be courteous. But it just reinforces my good decision. My sister said it succinctly: anyone who expects three dollars from his ex-girlfriend of nearly a year for an Ethernet cable deserves to be dumped. And I agree. Harrumph!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

de Blob

So I got a new Wii game -- de Blob. Basically, the once colorful Chroma City was taken over by the INKT Corporation who unfortunately has banned color. It's up to Blob to save the world and turn the Graydians back into the Raydians they once were. Kind of a silly premise, but who cares, since it's just so pretty?

This game is awesome. The graphics are beautiful. The music is fun. Blob is cool. The other members of the Color Underground also rock. I definitely recommend this game to anyone who likes color. I do not recommend this game to anyone boring.

Which group do you belong to? Are you with us, or against us? Color is freedom! Long live color!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Another date

So I went out with that guy again tonight on Date #2. Received more red roses! So sweet of him. We went to dinner and I had a much better time than I expected! What ho! A spark!? I love it what that happens.

After dinner, we came back to my place and played Wii for a while, like kids. It was fun. Some kissing was had, like kids. It was fun, too. Surprise! I'm seeing him again! And I'm looking forward to it!

I may have pegged this guy all wrong. And wouldn't that be nice? He truly is sincere and caring if not sophisticated, and I really like the Judaism level. Once, I had to ask him to explain something! That was definitely fun.

So. Reader, I will keep you posted! Maybe it's something, maybe it's nothing. But it's way better than moping around...

Hawking must resign...

According to policy at Cambridge University, officeholders must retire at the end of the academic year in which they become 67. For Mr. Hawking, that date is January 8th.

But he does intend to continue his exploration of time and space, and will continue working as Emeritus Lucasian Professor of Mathematics. Thank goodness! This guy is a genius.

Basically, he theorized the nature of time, and disproved the typical black hole theory. He showed that yes, they do leak some radiation and light. That radiation is known as "Hawking radiation."

When I tried to read A Brief History of Time, I was mesmerized, but I never finished! I'm going to try again, but this time with A Briefer History of Time. Want to buy it for me?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A date

So I went on a date last night with the "really great" someone I described from JDate. It was enjoyable and he was very nice -- gentlemanly and sweet, complimentary and talkative -- and brought me a lovely bouquet of red roses. How nice, since red is my favorite color!

I'm not quite sure if the spark is there (for me), but I'm seeing him again on Friday to find out for certain. I will let you know how things develop. Wish me luck!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Fresca, wonderful Fresca

I go on soda kicks – sometimes I can't get enough, sometimes I can't look at the stuff. My top seven sodas are:

Cherry Coke Zero
Coke Zero
Fresca
Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper
Diet Dr. Pepper
Diet Sprite
Polar Diet Pomegranate Dry

I also like Polar Diet Grape, but nine times of ten I would choose one from the list rather than the grape. Of the listed, my absolute top flavors are Fresca and Diet Dr. Pepper. I could willingly drink five cans of Fresca a day. I figure, one at lunch, one at dinner, one mid-morning, one mid-afternoon, one at night! Fresca never, ever disappoints, and it's just carbonated enough. And no caffeine! Although I do love caffeine, it doesn't always love me.

There's no reason for this post except that I just drank a Fresca and really enjoyed it. Yum! And I wanted to share. Because that's the kind of girl I am!

Moving on

Ahoy! Success! Three nibbles!

One is not suitable, one is ok, and one is really, really great. Just in time, too. I was supposed to see Kooza tonight... but it's all good. It's been one month since the breakup, and ten days since rejoining JDate... and I'm moving on. To someone who will appreciate me! (And my parents are psyched, too.)

Wish me luck. I'll keep you posted!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Well, just call me average

The link below is to an article in today's online New York Times about the current state of the economy. And the following statement appears to be written just for me.

Entertainment and media executives remain optimistic about sales of movie tickets, DVDs and games. At Nintendo of America, the popular Wii video game consoles are still selling briskly at about $300.

"My view is that when consumers get concerned about their nest egg, or their country, they need entertainment," said Bo Andersen, president and chief executive of the Entertainment Merchants Association, which represents distributors and retailers of home entertainment products.

Apparently, I'm right on board with millions of other Americans. Drat. I've always considered myself delightfully atypical, but in terms of money concerns I guess I'm totally ordinary…

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/06/business/06econ.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Otter you do? Actually, not so well



"...We did an analysis to say, 'How many killer whales would it take to kill 50,000 otters?', and it turned out it was, like, three. I think they just came in, ate the otters, and left. We happened to be there to see it." said an ecologist who studied the eating patterns of sea creatures and their predators.


The chain goes like this: sea otters eat sea urchins, which keeps the kelp forests thriving, and bald eagles eat sea otters, except when there aren't enough and they have to switch to sea birds. Why aren't there enough otters? Because the killer whales ate them. The killer whales' meal of choice is large whales, and there aren't enough of those, either, due to international whaling after WWII. This is happening in Alaska, Ms. Palin. Harrumph.

It's interesting, since it jumps realms (from sea to land), but also controversial since in order to rebalance, it's clear what has to happen: recover the large whales. Thus, no more major whaling should take place. Anyone disagree?

http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2008/10/03/sea-otter-eagle.html

Kitty cat dance

Cat! I'm a kitty cat! And I dance, dance, dance... dance, dance, dance!
Cat! I'm a kitty cat! And I meow, meow, meow... I meow meow, meow!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Rare frog found

I love this story. Scientists in Australia recently re-discovered a teeny frog that many had considered wiped out by a devastating fungus. Apparently these 1.5 inch-long froggies are survivors!

In addition, the frog is pretty cute. Small, but charming. Maybe if I kiss one I will find my prince!

http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2008/09/11/rare-frog-australia.html

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Know me, know my butt

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/09/080930-chimp-butts.html

This reminds me when ages ago, a friend of my sister once recognized the high-school me by my tush from a block away while I was walking and she was passing by on a bus. You can't make these things up!

Guitar Hero III, Expert Level

This weekend I spent quality time with my Wii and played completely through medium level on GH3. In one day. Or should I say, three hours. Suffice it to say, Bitch Wanked Unit kicks ass.

There's no other reason for this post except that I'm laughably proud that I passed by playing each song only once, and the battles -- passed first time on Morello, 2nd time on Slash, and third time on Lou. So now I'm attempting Expert level, but it's really, really hard! I heard practice makes perfect, though, and I will rise to the occasion. Good luck to me!

Image provided free by www.logoblog.org.

Excelsior!

Behold, my new dating mantra!

I figure, if I'm going to find my bashert (soulmate to those of you who don't speak pidgin Hebrew) I'm going to have to really put myself out there. Oh, Clever Cat, you're already way out there, some of you may say... but all jokes aside, I'm ready for a family. That being said, if you or anyone you are friendly with knows an eligible Jewish bachelor aged 33 to 43, marriage-minded and who wants at least one kid, intelligent, funny, emotionally stable, respectful, thoughtful, and affectionate, who enjoys eating unapologetically delicious and sometimes unusual food, and appreciates that I make up words and often burst into song -- hand over the goods!

In the spirit of beginning anew, I've rejoined JDate and hope to meet some interesting men, and soon. I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Book sale!

I hit a library book sale this weekend -- you know, when the books are two bucks a bag. I lucked out:
  • The Waitress (Melissa Nathan)
  • The Samurai's Garden (Gail Tsukiyama)
  • The Debt to Pleasure (John Lanchester)
  • Magnificent Corpses (Anneli Rufus)
  • The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing (Melissa Bank)
  • Tulip Fever (Deborah Moggach)
  • Life of Pi (Yann Martel -- this is a second copy, you know, for travel)
  • Animal Dreams (Barbara Kingsolver)
  • The Witch of Cologne (Tobsha Learner)
  • In the Company of the Courtesan (Sarah Dunant)
  • A Private Hotel for Gentle Ladies (Ellen Cooney)
  • Palace Walk (Naguib Mahfouz)
  • The Red Queen (Margaret Drabell)
  • The End of Alice (A. M. Homes)
  • Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden -- I liked the movie, but wanted to read the book also)
  • Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates (Tom Robbins)
  • Praeteria (John Ruskin -- 104-year-old copy!)
  • House & Garden's Complete Guide to Interior Decoration (edited by Richardson Wright. I chose this one purely because there was a funny "rule" about color schemes that I wanted to frame. The book itself is from 1947.)
Anyway, great haul, no? I'm pretty pleased with it. I'll add them to the pile. From the last sale! I just love books. The not-so-great thing about these sales is that I can never resist. I have books en cantidad! I doubt I'd be able to live happily without books. Or the Internet. You?

Shamelessness or fearlessness?

One of the biggest jokes in my family is that we have no shame. We aren't afraid to get into costume and be photographed for a newspaper. We're not afraid to piss people off. I myself have been known to ask a stranger on a date – later, I eloped with him. We are quite willing to look silly in public. We will argue our stance on an issue until it's crystal clear. If you want to embarrass us, be in for a lot of work, because it won't happen easily.

And it's actually not shamelessness that drives us to do the things we do. I believe it's fearlessness.

It's not always confidence, although individually we do have respectable amounts of it (our confidence increases exponentially when we are in a group, beware!). It's fearlessness that allows us to take creative risks. It's fearlessness that allows us to be open with people, in spite of sometimes getting our feelings hurt. Fearlessness allows us to NOT be intimidated by bullies.

Our fearlessness propels us through life!

The people who matter to us appreciate this quality. Life is short and who cares what the unimportant people think, anyway? We have a great time, and we are lots of fun to be around. At least, life with us is never dull.

We are nearing the period of introspection for us Jews, and I have realized that the choices I made this past year (although they did not always improve my life) have made me the person I am. Correction: my choices have made me the very cool person I am.

So yes, I have said and done some things that certain people would find questionable. But I have reasons for doing those things, and I have done them with my eyes open, fearlessly. And what's more, I am proud of that. I am true to myself. Reader, I hope you are true to yourself, as well. L'shanah tova.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Interesting dream

I had a very interesting dream this morning.

I was on a business trip to Scotland with a responsible couple I felt comfortable with (I think they were friends of my parents). While there, I went on a day trip to the countryside where an American high school marching band was there as well. They had won some kind of Battle of the Bands for a trip to Scotland. They played in the town, marching through. I was in the back seat of a comfy car, watching and almost but not quite in the parade. We were just trying to get through. But my coworker's son was playing in the band and I was like, I know that kid! And I waved at him and grinned and he did the same.

Then something happened. I might have fallen into a ditch somewhere or maybe there was an accident. The next thing I knew, I was in someone's rustic country house laying on a low cot in front of a fire. I had woken up shaken but unhurt. Then Gordon Ramsey came in from milking cows and gathering vegetables and was so polite and worried and asked if I was ok. I was. A little later he brought me a tray with steaming food that was delicious. He was very attentive. We started to talk and I asked what happened and he was about to tell me and that's when I woke up.

Drat! I wanted to know what happened!

In my perfect ending, he falls in love with me and provides for me in the manner to which I would like to become accustomed! I just love Gordon Ramsey…

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Wii wii wii, all the way home

I have wanted the Wii for a long time, and hurrah! I've bought one!

A friend found a good deal, I bought the system, and then picked up Guitar Hero III. All for my very own! I just love this game.

For anyone who hasn't played Guitar Hero, in order to advance and unlock songs, you must do well. You earn money and your band plays larger venues and basically rocks out. But step one is to create the band. So I had to figure out a name. First I tried a band name generator. That was amusing, but none of the names thrilled me.

Then I thought an anagram would be fun. I tried my name and some other phrases, and still came up with nothing. They all sounded wussy! So I put in the names of my two cats, Butch and Twinkie. And I came up with a very rock 'n' roll name, for my very rock 'n' roll band: Bitch Wanked Unit. Visual, interesting, and it sounds hard core. Right?

Tonight, I rocked. I beat Tom Morello and Slash in battle. Let me know if you want to be my groupie…

Wordle

See the pretty picture? My sister found a wonderful tool online. It's Wordle!

Wordle.net can generate a beautiful word cloud from text you paste in, or directly from a website url. I used this site. These customizable clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can use the images you create for whatever you want, just give them credit. They even have a gallery. Try it! You won't be disappointed.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Nectar bars

I have made a food discovery! Nectar bars by Clif!

They come in taste-bud-dazzling flavors like pomegranate cherry and dark chocolate raspberry (the only two I’ve tried so far) and they are amazing! They are also only made with five ingredients in each (such as dates, cashews, cherries, and cocoa), and they are completely organic. The nutritionals are good too: 160 calories, 5 fats, 3 proteins, and 5 fibers. They also manage to squeeze in two servings of fruit.

Pomegranate cherry was mysterious, chewy, luscious, and just sweet enough. Dark chocolate raspberry was even better. It was almost like a rich brownie with bitter chocolate and strong real raspberry flavor. It fairly bursts on your tongue! These are like grown-up candy.

The downside is that they can be difficult to find in any old store, and they are expensive.

But the best part is their tag line. “Simple food. Pure delight.” This epicure says amen to that.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The OED turns 80!

I just love the Oxford English Dictionary. Whenever I need to look something up, it's my best source of information. And it's become an octogenarian! Happy birthday, OED!

For those who aren't in the know:

The Oxford English Dictionary is the accepted authority on the evolution of the English language over the last millennium. It is an unsurpassed guide to the meaning, history, and pronunciation of over half a million words, both present and past. It traces the usage of words through 2.5 million quotations from a wide range of international English language sources, from classic literature and specialist periodicals to film scripts and cookery books. (source: www.oed.com)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A very productive weekend

After the sale yesterday my friend and I went to a Chinese buffet place where we totally chowed on crab legs, dim sum, and various fried items. She also had sushi and I tried a piece. It was ok, but too chewy for me. When we got the bill, we were amazed to see the lunchtime price instead of the dinner price and burst out laughing. How do they make any money? We tipped our waitress nicely and went on our way.

We went home and got clean since we were gross and then I went over to her place and hung out there and we had a sleepover party! We watched Vacancy and The Ruins and had a great time. Her pets were affectionate and it was nice.

Today, I cleaned the garage! I made four trips to the dumpster and swept it out and everything! It looks really good. Next weekend I will do the basement hall area. Kudos to me!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

$136 smackeroos

I made $136 bucks at the yard sale! Hooray! We hustled and had a blast. (I gave some stuff away to friends, too. We bartered.)

The following items sold:


Black lamp, a few books, cassette tape holder, a few CDs, golden picture frame, picture frames with pics (huge), some pictures without frames, PS2 guitar, set of dishes (service for 7), a pair of shoes, silver brush and mirror set, silverplate platter, small brown bookcase, a bunch of women's clothes and jackets, stereo with speakers, table linens, almost all the vases, some VHS tapes, and the zip-up Day-Minder.

Actually, $136 for just these items was amazing.

I'm surprised at some of the items that didn't: the Lenox, the foils, and the coffee table! And I forgot to put out the cat litter buckets, but I can put some in the dumpster. I have plenty of dumping to do tomorrow as well. I plan to sell the table and chairs, Lenox items, and fencing foils on craigslist.

Ahh... with more stuff gone, I will really to able to figure out what I need in my life. I already know that I don't need a lot of crap, but selling it is even better!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Yard sale tomorrow!

At 8:00. AM. On a Saturday. Sigh.

This is the final list of items:

baskets, black and glass sconces, black lamp, blinds hardware, books, boxed Lenox vases, brown lamp, bulletin board paper, cassette tape holder, cat litter plastic buckets – FREE!!!, CD tower, CDs, crutches, dining table and chair set (pad included), fencing foils, fluorescent lights, golden picture frame, green Lenox platter and pitcher, men's motorcycle jacket, paper lanterns, photo mats, picture frames with pics (huge), pictures without frames, PS2 guitar, puzzles (3), reference rack, Rollerblades, round Ethan Allen coffee table, scanner, set of "Thinker" bookends (Barnes & Noble), set of dishes (service for 7), shoes, silk and velvet flowers, silver brush and mirror set, silverplate platter, small brown bookcase, small items like never-worn hair clips and earrings still on their backings, some women's clothes and jackets, stenographer's chair with green vinyl seat, stereo with speakers, table linens, tabletop CD holder, Tap Light 4-pack (not 6), vases, VHS tapes, wallpaper border, and a zip-up Day-Minder.

My dad already bought the Day-Minder for two bucks. My first sale! My living room looks like a rummage sale and I can't wait to get this stuff out of my life.

Wish me luck, it will be a loooong day.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The original cool cat


Whenever I feel low, I just look at the picture of this extraordinarily cool "Sup Cat" and I smile. He is exceptionally self-possessed, goin' with the flow, just bein' himself, not carin' what anyone else thinks 'cause he's seen it all before...

You see that look in his eye? The look that says, "been there, done that, what's next?"

I think he might be my next role model.

Never settle

This rule goes for everything from the smallest sale item to one of the most important decisions a person can make – who to be with romantically, long-term or possibly for the rest of one's life.

Think of a fabulous handbag you spotted – for argument's sake, a Coach bag, Bleecker line, duffel style in a sophisticated red tone, with gold hardware. Well made, strong, useful style, good looking, you know it will last forever… and available at such a low price! Brand new! It's never been used!

You grab it! Since it looks flawless you immediately fork over your hard-earned cash. You delight in spending time with it every day, without fail. It becomes habit! But after a while you realize that red doesn't go with everything, and gosh, is that a scratch on the gold? When did that get there? A pen mark? Dang. Clean it off! The strap is too short. Now the zipper keeps sticking!? What was once unbreakable no longer works.

You have now had the bag for almost a year. You think about other bags that stopped exciting you. You begin to notice other bags. You realize you don't need this bag as much as you thought you did. Although this bag made you feel great for a while, you decide to retire it, because really, what has it done for you lately? Just when you should be really comfortable with that bag, trusting that it will work hard for you, not caring that the color doesn't go with everything… the bag no longer draws you in. The bag couldn't keep up with you.

Now replace "handbag" with "man", and "cash" with "heart", and "you" with me, and you can figure out what decision I had to make. I realize this analogy is a simplification, but...

Life is short, far too short to spend with a bag that doesn't make you feel like a million bucks. I'm glad I had a great bag for a while. I would have liked to have enjoyed it longer, but the time was right to let it go. When its details should have become invaluable to me, instead they caused problems. Why should I keep the bag if it's too painful?

I expect to think of this bag fondly, but ultimately it wasn't the right one for me. I hope it will be just right for someone else.

Sigh. My cash hurts.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Roasted fruits

So I ended up not making white nectarine syrup, because I couldn't find white nectarines. But I found white and yellow peaches, roasted them with raspberries and vanilla sugar, and finished with fresh orange juice. I adapted an Ina Garten recipe and I'm bringing to a friend's with Greek-style, fat-free vanilla orange yogurt (I made it up).

It's really yummy! And the color is amazing, too. Sorry I don't have a pic, but maybe next time. I will definitely make this recipe again.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Scrabble players, rejoice!

I never bothered to look up Scrabble tools online, but it turns out they have all the lists, including the elusive 4-letter "x" and "z" words. I'm definitely going to use this one! Want to play with me?

http://www.hasbro.com/games/adult-games/scrabble/home.cfm?page=Tips/wordlists

Spore

spore logohttp://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/05/arts/television/05spor.html
http://www.spore.com/


I think I have to buy this game.

How is it that I never got into it before? Yes, I have heard of Spore, but I never thought it would strike my fancy. Well, I do believe my fancy has been struck! And for $49.99 I will allow it to be struck repeatedly.

I don't know what I like more: the idea of starting from the cell, being able to expand into space, procedurally-created music, stunningly designed graphics, or the Sporepedia. All I know is that I like it!

Yes, be it now or for Chanukah or for my birthday… I have to have it!

Friday, September 5, 2008

White nectarines

I've never been a nectarine girl. But I bought a white nectarine last week because they were on sale and I figured, so all right. Try new things and all that. I like white peaches better than yellow, so maybe I'll like the white nectarine.

I tried it today and wow! This fruit actually tastes like honey! It's delicious! It's sweet! It's crunchy! It's… it's… firm enough to grill!

Ooh, great idea. The dark grill lines on the pale flesh, the smell of roasting fruit… uh huh. The one thing I didn't like was that the fruit clung to the pip. But I could grill slices of the fruit and serve over ice cream, or bake it into a tarte tatin, or cook it down into a syrup… whoa, baby. That's what I'll do. White nectarine syrup drizzled atop vanilla bean ice cream with toasted almonds sprinkled over.

Yes, something special to cook this weekend. Good luck to me!

Wiggling = electricity?

This is such a great idea. A grid of "smart" materials at the bottom of some river in Pennsylvania will create electricity!

This sustainable power source will come from a type of plastic that generates its own electrical current when moved. Strips of this material will wiggle around due to river currents, move on to substations at the river's edge, and then charge a group of batteries… presumably enough to power up to 40% of the city of Vandergrift… and keep the river intact in the bargain.

http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2008/08/26/river-power-energy.html

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Kooza # twooza!

Oh wow. I just can't stop thinking about the show! Here's a larger 90 second preview:

First period (no, not school)

A friend and I were talking today about curricula and got onto the subject of sex education for youngsters. She mentioned to me that girls are getting their period earlier and earlier – many at the age of 10 and 11 instead of 13 and 14. She remarked that workers in the medical field are saying that is because girls play more sports and are physically healthier now than in previous generations.

Yipes! I was 12 years old and in the seventh grade when I got my period, earlier than anyone else I knew. And as for the "healthier than before" bit, I totally disagree. I think it's because of all the free-floating crap out there that finds its way into people's bodies. I'm talking pesticides, man-made coatings, different kinds of fumes, makeup… and I'm sure there's plenty more harmful stuff out there. I believe these things affect young girls' systems because they are not fully developed and their bodies can be attacked more easily than the bodies of people in their 20s to 50s.

My friend agreed and said that many environmentalists also feel the way I do. She told me they believe that when the girls age, their immune systems will be more susceptible to illness than those who menstruated later. To take it a step further, I think that's what will cause them to live much shorter lives in general than people who grew up 20 years ago. I just know that these kids' life expectancies will be be at least 15 years less than adults today.

How do I figure?

Take 80 years (current life expectancy), divide by 10 years old and multiply that by the earlier change in menstruation years. 8 times 2 equals 16 years less of living time.

Maybe not very scientific, but I just know that's the way it is. People, please help take care of the world!

Kooza!

Omigod omigod omigod!!!
MB is taking me to Cirque du Soleil’s Kooza!

I have wanted to see one of their shows in person for years and years. I even used to watch the tv show Solstrom when it was on and found myself entranced. Very few things can hold my attention like this type of performance, and they are the best!

Of course, there are no cameras allowed, but that's ok. It gives me a reason to buy a program!

http://www.cirquedusoleil.com/CirqueDuSoleil/en/showstickets/kooza/intro/intro.htm

Oh boy, just thinking about it is making me wiggle around in my seat like a little kid who has to use the bathroom. I can’t wait until the show!!!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

So long, King Friday

Mr. Rogers is going off the air!

This is the man who taught me to call my sneakers “neighbors”, which I do to this very day. I’m going to miss him! He always stuck to his gentle views of life and never, ever sold out. But apparently the ratings are so very low, and now the only channel that will show him will end up being the non-profit one he set up, Family Communications. They produced and still own the show, even after his death five years ago.

I get the warm fuzzies thinking about watching with my sister. Sure, the show wasn’t as fast-paced as the Electric Company, and watchers were not exactly about to learn the art of the quip from him, but as an adult, I find that his measured way of talking really made an impact on me.

And you know what? It really is a good feeling to know you’re alive. It sure beats the alternative!

Won't you be my neighbor?

Exponentially increasing mosquito bites

I knew I should have sprayed my foot!

This weekend, as we sat drinking wine on the patio overlooking the lake, my left foot was chomped by a sneaky mosquito. Later that night, one bite turned into two. The next day there were four bites. And the day after that there were 17 bites on my foot! All in the same general area.

I got nervous and wondered why they were increasing exponentially. Kind of unusual, right? MB said maybe I stepped in poison ivy or something, but that would have showed up as a rash, and these were clearly bites. The following day I asked a coworker who had worked in a doctor’s office for, like, ever. She explained it was just a coincidence about the numbers, but that the separate bites just didn’t show up until later. I believe her since she doesn’t make up stories.

The bites have definitely gotten smaller from yesterday, but they are in the exact right spot for my pant leg to constantly brush up against them and irritate them. I really hope they go away soon because even though they’re smaller, they’re actually kind of ugly. Seriously! Who wants a foot full of red spots?

I researched and apparently the best way to get rid of mosquitoes is Listerine, the original medicinal type or the cheap kind from the dollar store. Just spray around outside and I guess it kills them instantly! The best thing thing is that the deterrent will last a few days. Spray around wood, but not directly on wood. Try it next year!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The creepy cat

http://www.wired.com/culture/art/multimedia/2008/09/gallery_typewriter?slide=4&slideView=6


This is really cool. Jeremy Mayer makes animal and human forms from dismantled typewriter parts!

I don't much care for the human figures since they are somewhat spooky and clinical-looking, especially in the faces and crotches. The symmetricality freaks me out! Interestingly, his female robotic creations are anatomically correct, but he draws the line at metal penises.

But the animals are something completely different. They look fantastic -- strange and cold, but at the same time elegant. His cats are about about 2 feet tall. I don't know about you, but I can hear this one hissing...

My Will-Not-Tolerate List

I have to blow off some steam. Sorry in advance.

I truly hate so very few things since I refuse to waste energy on things I only kinda sorta dislike. But here are three from my Hate and Will-Not-Tolerate List, and they are all personal:

- When someone I care about ignores the way I feel. Hurtful and rude.
- If I laugh off a senseless suggestion the first time it’s suggested to me, then provide numerous examples to get my point across, then explain things in a way that person claims to understand, then figure out a suggestion that takes into consideration someone else’s desires and ignores mine only to be denied that as well, and then to finally be forced to be a hard-ass. Too much work on my part, too little work on the other person’s part.
- Repeating myself to someone who claims to want to hear what I think. Open your ears and open your heart and listen the first time. Is that too much to ask?

It’s all bullshit. Bullshit! And I won't tolerate it.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Washington Square Art Show & Amazing 66

I trekked into Manhattan with MB's family this weekend to the yearly art show at Washington Square Park, thinking it was going to be as in years past: funky, cool, good art, interesting people and their crafts, basically a good time.

Well, we thought wrong. There was practically no show at all! Hardly any art! Very little photography! The most eye-catching booth sold unusual handmade clocks with all the gears showing, and the most interesting people were me and MB. I was so disappointed at the lack of handiwork.

But we did have a yummy dinner in Chinatown at Amazing 66 on Mott Street. We got chicken chow fun, hot spiced eggplant with meat, chicken with cashews, veggie fried rice, and General Tsao's chicken, which in my opinion was the best dish. It was fried in an amazingly light and crispy coating with a delicious peppery and sweet sauce, had great color, and was not sticky. We got our soups immediately, but had to wait a while for the final bill. In addition, the lighting was pretty bright. But the place was spotless and the prices were reasonable. There were plenty of other really interesting items on the menu, but I didn't bother to ask if anyone would like to try stuff like diced preserved meat fried rice or fish cubes with chili salt and pepper. If I ever go back I'm going to have the crispy orange beef. Yum!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Yard sale post #3

So I'm looking around my living room and have come up with some more stuff for the sale. Namely: Ye Olde Adobe Illustrator 8.0 and it's pal Ye Olde Adobe Framemaker 6.0 and their mutual friend the Adobe Creative Suite Bible from 2004 (never opened!). I'm also going to add to the pile the PS2 guitar and a few CDs (2 electronic dance, one waterfall sounds, 2 of local artists, and one of Irish music, after I pop Greensleeves into my iTunes). I also found a bunch of vases and a zip-up Day-Minder.

This is lots of stuff and I really haven't even been into the basement yet! I guess I really do have a lot of crap. But I take solace in the fact that lots of other people have lots of crap too -- including MB, my sister, my parents, my friends, my coworkers, etc. Everyone has crap! I am going to make the prices so low that hopefully everything goes, even if it means giving it away for free after the sale. Anything that doesn't will go into the dumpster. Hallelujah!

Friday, August 29, 2008

All hail Barbie!

In addition to my other interests, I collect Barbie dolls. I came across this article about the Barbie vs. Bratz war. http://abcnews.go.com/Business/wireStory?id=5663721

For the most part, Mattel’s issue is sour grapes. Sure, Barbie sales went down after MGA’s Bratz dolls were introduced. 50 years after Barbie was born, little girls are different! They don’t care about expertly designed and well-made clothing. They want “sassy” dolls of all colors – silicone-lipped, bare-midriffed, urban-styled, doe-eyed dolls that look like they have a secret… and they’ll tell you later…

Don’t get me wrong, $779 million in Bratz sales since 2001 is significant. But is it about the money, or about the dolls? Mattel is receiving $90 million in damages related to breach of contract, and only $10 million for copyright infringement. Sounds like it’s personal to me. Mattel also has a lawsuit pending against MGA regarding trade secrets, not to mention MGA's reverse lawsuit against Mattel’s My Scene dolls (Barbie-sized, but with a distinctly more urban look).

People. This is the same problem the Barbie line was faced with when it first hit the market. Ruth Handler basically copied the German cartoon working-girl Bild Lilli doll to design a toy that looked more grown-up, with grown-up clothes doing grown-up things, like dating and modeling. Mattel bought the rights to Lilli five years after Barbie was launched, good and fast, and cornered the market. Now they’re on the other side and don’t like the way it feels.

To me, it’s silly. They are not alike at all – although both female, they are of different ages and have completely different looks. Bottom line: despite both dolls' screwy body proportions and overly-made-up faces, there will always be Barbie collectors. Bratz dolls already look like Barbie’s malnourished, under- privileged cousins with cheap plastic surgery. In another 50 years, no one will even remember them.