Thursday, July 30, 2009

Ka Boom

So I was going to write a diatribe about the prevalence of garlic in our society and how powerful the "garlic goes in everything" lobby is, to the point that I have to make my own hummus if I want to eat hummus without garlic.

And I do want to eat hummus without garlic. In fact, I want to eat almost everything without garlic. I don't like garlic. I especially don't like raw garlic. I don't like the taste when I eat it, and I don't like the way my skin smells like garlic for the next twelve hours.

Apparently I am the only person in the entire world who feels this way since all prepared foods contain garlic. (I also don't like oregano, so Italian food as made by Americans is right out.)

So like I said, I was going to complain about garlic, but then at work today a funny thing happened. We had a ten second power outage which (through strange and wondrous circumstances) led to one of the buildings being evacuated which led to very long downtime of the servers-which-must-never-be-offline which led to me having the afternoon off. (Which then led to me sitting in rush hour traffic on the way home (and how crazy would you have to be to drive those freeways at rush hour every day?), but that's a price I'm willing to pay today.)

Anyhow, I think the garlic lobby got wind of my proposed rant and tried to shut me up.

Stinking garlic. I hate you.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Everybody's Working for the Weekend

Things I accomplished this weekend:
  • Read three books on my new Kindle. Hmm. This purchase may have been a terrible idea if only because before it wasn't possible to have books magically delivered at two in the morning and I was forced to sleep. Now I have no motivation to ever leave the house.
  • Washed half the dishes in the sink. (Yeah, I'm really stretching for accomplishments here.)
  • Went grocery shopping.
  • Took a shower. (So I could go grocery shopping...)

Things I didn't accomplish this weekend that I had planned to:
  • Rip out the rest of the dead ivy in front of the house.
  • Buy a stand for the new saltwater aquarium.
  • Write a test program using extended gwt.
  • Archive stuff from the hard drive onto DVD. (Okay, this one isn't my fault -- I can't get the drive door to open.)
  • Wash the other half of the dishes in the sink.
Gosh, my life is so exciting sometimes I just can't stand it!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

And the Award for Best Choreography of a Child's Gymnastics Routine Goes To...

If I could just lodge a complaint here, I'd like to say that childhood really doesn't prepare you for being an adult. (And as a totally unrelated complaint, why, oh why, does Firefox flag the word "doesn't" as misspelled?)

Remember when you were a kid? There were awards for everything. There were the sports awards (I think I had a ribbon for every single heat I swam, plus medals, plus trophies, and I really wasn't even all that good) (and dammit, Firefox also claims that "wasn't" is misspelled. Argh!), and academic awards, and club awards. There was even an award for just showing up every day. (Technically, I still get that award -- it's called a paycheck.) (Oh sure, Firefox doesn't mind "it's"...)

Anyhow, at some point you stop getting crappy awards. (Except sometimes at work they give out stupid awards, but those are mostly to give your coworkers something to make fun of you about.)

One of the best moments of my life was when my sister won the top gymnastics prize. Okay, fine, there wasn't really a prize, and it theoretically wasn't even a competition. All the kids in Jojo the Enforcer's gymnastics group were supposed to come up with a routine (less than three minutes, I think) and perform it for the group. I think Jojo was about eight.

(This wasn't exactly Bela Karolyi's gym -- this was the Girls and Boys Club, where the taller kids had to be careful not to scrape the ceiling when doing handsprings on the pommel horse.)

Anyhow, Jojo and I found some music (Alan Parson's Project, if I recall) and worked on a routine. She did showy moves at appropriate times and ended with a flourish. Basically, the routine kicked ass.

It turns out that all the other kids didn't have me helping them (or maybe they just weren't as good as Jojo...), so their routines were random somersaults and cartwheels with no connection to the music. Then Jojo got out there and it was like they'd invited a professional to dance for them. Really. That's how good it was.

So, yeah, I think that was the highlight of my life. And it wasn't even me doing the gymnastics.

You just can't beat that.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Notes to My Future Self Regarding the Garden

So, pretty much every year I plant a vegetable garden. And about three months after I plant everything, I remember all of the mistakes that I made the previous year. I repeat them every year. But next year is going to be different. I swear.

Dear Future Self,
  • Just give up on the sunflowers already. Not once have you managed to grow them even though everyone around you has. It's just not going to happen. Something about you makes sunflowers commit suicide. Accept that and move on.
  • Even if a plant is six inches tall and three inches wide when you put it in the ground, don't plant anything else right next to it. All of the plants will get bigger. If you plant them on top of each other, you won't be able to get in to harvest the vegetables. This is why there are tomatoes and zucchini left rotting on the vine every year even though you can see them from four feet away.
  • Stop buying six-packs of tomatoes. You feel sorry for the ones you don't need and put them in the ground anyway where they grow out of control. Every year you do this. Just stop.
  • The automatic watering system must be installed when the plants are small enough to be able to find the main stem. Waiting until there is an 8'x8'x6' mass of leaves makes it impossible to put in a drip system.
  • Okra? What the hell?
  • Basil is also never going to happen. Just give up on it.
  • You may plant either one (1) zucchini plant OR one (1) crookneck squash. That will give you so many that you will drive away all your friends and neighbors. You don't need a second plant to help with that.
  • Cucumber grows like zucchini.
  • Remember, you like cherry tomatoes. You don't really like beefsteak tomatoes. Plant accordingly.
Well, Future Self, that's about it. Oh, and don't forget to change the filters for the A/C. There's yet another three-pack in the closet (next to all the other ones you've bought every year). Enjoy.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Attack of the Illiterati (*)

Okay, so lately I've been reading the pet ads on craigslist. Not because I'm really ready to get a second dog at this point, or maybe ever, but it's a weird addiction.

As anyone who's read craigslist ads knows, there are apparently two kinds of people who can post:
1) People who complain about their ad being flagged, and
2) People who absolutely cannot spell. Occasionally they lack all rudimentary knowledge of punctuation as well.

I know a lot of well-educated people, and a significant number of them are terrible spellers. But it wasn't until I read craigslist that I understood the depth of the problem. **

So, to all the people on craigslist:

Im sorry yor add was flaged becuz your asking $400 for chiwawa puppys that dont have pappers.

You have no idea how much it hurt me to write that sentence...


* I fully realize that there is no possible way I could have made it through this post without unintentionally misspelling a word or using poor grammar. It's a given.

** Actually, that's not true. This is a conversation I overheard about eight years ago:

Office manager: "... and on top of that, she is the worst speller I've ever seen. We have a chart where she misspelled the presenting complaint of 'ate rat poison'."

Doctor: "Well, poison's not an easy word to spell."

Office manager: "No, she spelled rat with two ts."

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Summertime...and I'm feeling queasy

So I spent most of the weekend outside and it was in the nineties. It seems like I should be able to handle that, but after about the mid-eighties, I just want to sit in the shade and snooze. When I force myself to do things in the heat, like I did a few weeks ago when I played polo at noon in 105 degree heat, I find that eventually I need to move into the shade so I don't vomit or pass out. Then I have to listen to everyone tell me how red I am.

Part of the problem is that I'm built to conserve heat. Short fingers, short extremities, short neck (or, according to my mother, no neck), long torso. These aren't exactly the measurements that are seen with runway models. At 5'5" I'm a pretty average height, but I routinely have to move the stirrups up to the highest notch when I ride. Sometimes the highest notch doesn't make them short enough and I have to roll the leather around the stirrup to take up extra length. If my mother wasn't such a virtuous person (aside from the no-neck crack) I'd almost believe she had an affair with an albino eskimo nine months before I was born.

Anyhow, this is the week I can put all my green waste out on the street for pickup, so I had to get all the pruning done. The ivy was trying to grow in the window, the wisteria was climbing the drain spout, and the oleander was pushing the fence over. Besides, if I don't cut everything back, the dog can find more places to hide in the morning when she doesn't want to come inside.

I spent the day alternately hacking at the plants and sitting inside drinking water. By the end of the day I was filthy and incredibly sore. My hands are still swollen from pulling at ivy, and I have a bruise on my chin where I managed to hit myself in the face with the lopper handles. I'll be lucky if I can get out of bed tomorrow.

But I didn't puke from the heat. Go, me!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

I Love Him Like a Brother...

So here's a story about Jeff, for all those people who weren't at lunch the other day:

When we were growing up, we all had chores (although my parents definitely mellowed as they got older to the point that, let me reiterate, Karen didn't know how to weed when she stayed with me). One of those chores was washing the dishes and there was a pair of us assigned to the task for each week.

(I can't remember if we had an automatic dishwasher at that time, but it doesn't really matter. My mom treated the dishwasher like an autoclave -- used to sterilize perfectly clean dishes.)

On this evening Jeff was washing and I was drying. Jeff was always quick doing everything, but quality often suffered. I kept handing back plates to be rewashed because they were all greasy.

Only when the dishes were almost completely done did I realize that he was using hand lotion instead of dish soap to clean the dishes.

Amazingly enough, Jeff turned out to be pretty normal, even if he is off this weekend shooting guns and drinking beer in the wilderness with his buddies...

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Eh? What Did You Say?

Sorry, no real blog post tonight. The dog is a drooling mess and I'm blasting Pink through the computer speakers at maximum volume in order to drown out the sound of the fireworks being lit in the neighborhood by the asshats who can't figure out that yesterday was the fourth. Basically I can't form coherent sentences with the volume up this loud.

I'm going to go dance around the living room. Hope you enjoyed the weekend.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

"Wow! Look at those balls!"

After a ten month delay, we finally got around to having takoyaki night at Eric's. In case you aren't familiar with them, takoyaki are Japanese pastry balls, traditionally made with octopus. I first learned about them through the "Cooking with Dog" channel on YouTube.

"Cooking with Dog" is a great show. It also reminds me that I will never, ever begin to understand Japanese culture. It's a cooking show hosted by a poodle... and yet it somehow works.

Anyhow, we made both the traditional octopus version (and the smell of boiling octopus is just another reason I'm glad I'm a vegetarian) and a couple vegetarian versions. I think everyone agreed that using crimini mushrooms as the filling produced the best tasting ones.

The first attempt was, well... Okay, so it's a special takoyaki pan, and it's cast iron, and it didn't occur to me to season the pan. We also weren't sure what temperature to use, and the video makes it look much easier to turn the balls than it is when you try it for the first time. So, yeah, the batter stuck to the pan and the presentation left something to be desired.

For the second batch we greased the hell out of the pan and it worked a whole lot better. Good enough, in fact, that all the people that had been sitting around drinking wine started making somewhat off-color remarks about the balls. Just use your imagination.

By the end of the evening they looked pretty much like they were supposed to, even to the people who hadn't been drinking.