Wednesday, February 28, 2007


I made dinner tonight. Yes, I know this is hardly earth shattering news: "wife cooks dinner". But it isn't the norm at our house. My husband is an excellent cook. He has quite a reputation among our family and friends for his culinary masterpieces. He reads a lot about "cooking science", which makes him very good at cooking without any recipe to guide him, and it almost always turns out fantastic. Lucky me! So I usually let him do the lion's share of meal prep around here. I figure it all works out in the end -- for example, I am the only one who has ever cleaned the cat boxes. PDM is always after me to cook more, but cannot seem to resist what I will call "back seat cooking" when I do. Tonight was no exception. He claims that it is a learning experience and he is just trying to help. I say he sucks the fun out of cooking, except that I don't find cooking all that fun. I guess it comes across as too much criticism and makes me not want to cook because apparently I am not all that great at it.

A funny thing happened with tonight's meal. We had some chicken thighs and the plan was that we'd use those somehow. PDM got home around 7pm and didn't feel like cooking, so I volunteered. I figured we could make "southwestern chicken stew" which is good with thigh meat, except we didn't exactly have all the necessary ingredients. We did a quick inventory. Since PDM is such a good improvisational chef, I decided to run my potential substitutions by him. The big one was fine by him - needed a 28 oz can of whole tomatoes; had a 14 oz can of diced tomatoes and a jar of chipotle salsa. Sure, that'll work. But the recipe also called for some corn, and we didn't have any. PDM throws out a suggestion - "hey, we have lima beans in the freezer". I take this to mean "we should use those lima beans in place of the corn." But what he really meant was the equivalent of "hey, we have some dog turds we could use." PDM does not like lima beans. Not even a tiny little bit. But since I like them and didn't get the joke, into the stew they went. And it all worked out very well. The stew was delicious, and PDM finally found a way he can eat lima beans without gagging. According to him "they really work in this", and it was a sincere statement. At least I think so. He might have just been trying to increase the odds that I will cook more in the future. You never can tell.

An expensive paperweight

I lost my grip on my beloved new digital camera last night and broke it. Understandably, I am not happy about this. I got the camera for Christmas, after a long period of frustration with a much more primitive digital model. I was having a lot of fun with it. I own a lot of cameras (two 35mm, the crappy old digital, the new -and newly broken- digital, and three antique cameras). I can't remember ever dropping one before.

You are probably thinking that this wouldn't have happened if I'd been using the wrist strap. You would be wrong, then. I was photographing some stuff on a counter top, so my wrist was too close to the surface for the strap to save the camera. It only fell a few inches and didn't seem to hit that hard, but the fully extended lens took all of the impact. Now it no longer functions, and the warranty doesn't cover owner stupidity. I'm sure it would cost more to fix it than to buy a new one. So now I own a very expensive paperweight.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Meet the people I dumped Jack Bauer for...

Heroes is, without a doubt, the best show on television. The choice was easy. Besides, with the incredibly detailed minute-by-minute plot summary on the 24 website you can get caught up in just a few minutes without ever watching the show. Problem solved.

I enjoy 24. It is entertaining, but I cannot get through a single episode without yelling "Oh, come ON!" at the television multiple times, each time I have to suspend disbelief in order to accept the latest plot device. That show relies on the most absurd coincidences, mistakes that would never be made, bizarre and convoluted plot twists, smart characters displaying very bad judgement, cliffhangers every hour on the hour, humans who can make it through 24 hours without sleeping, eating, or peeing, and incredibly bad luck to move the story forward.

You might be thinking, "Hey! Don't you have to suspend disbelief to watch a show about people with superpowers?" Well, sure! Obviously people can't really fly, heal themselves, become invisible, read minds, create radioactivity, erase memories, melt metals, paint the future, or control time, to name just a few. But you need only accept the single premise about the emergence of these super powers and the rest of the story becomes completely believable. That is one big difference between the shows.

Another difference is that Heroes is better at fleshing out its characters. 24 has some interesting characters, but there are so many players and so much action that the audience doesn't get to really know many of them. The characters on Heroes are much more three-dimensional. No one is 100% good or evil (except maybe Mr. Linderman). Introduced slowly and featured in small subsets, Heroes lets you spend a lot of time with each character. As the mysteries get deeper, you are learning what makes these people tick and starting to care about them. Even some of the ones you think might be bad guys. The plots on 24 remind me of a Rube Goldberg contraption. The plots on Heroes are more like peeling the layers of an onion. With everything you learn, there is some deeper mystery at the core, but it all works together and it all makes sense (once you are in on it). Instead of "Huh? WTF!?", you have "Ah ha!". Much more satisfying.

Heroes has done the impossible: it makes me look forward to Mondays!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

My one and only somewhat Oscar-related post.

I see a strong resemblance here. Maybe it's the hair. Or the jowls. Tell me I'm wrong.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Hell-ephone call... please hold.

The person in the office next to mine has spent the entire morning making and taking personal phone calls, mostly about her kids soccer program and their upcoming trip. And maybe it is because she's on a cell phone, but she's talking VERY LOUD. It is driving me up the wall. This is almost as bad as working with the infamous Jackie, but minus the technical incompetance. This one's good at her work, but there hasn't been much work going on today except the extracurricular kind. *sigh* I don't have a problem with goofing off, but I think it should be done quietly.

What do your co-workers do that gets on your nerves? I know there are some readers with nutty co-workers out there (Trina? John?), so please share one or two in the comments section. It'll cheer me up to know I'm not alone (and distract me from the chatter that continues as I write this).

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Prime Time Ain't So Prime Any More

...At least not for the next couple of weeks.

No House tonight. No Bones tomorrow night. No House or Bones next week either. And why are these two fine shows not on the air? Because that cesspool of the airwaves, American Idol, has entered a bloated new phase in its seemingly never-ending crap fest. Television that doesn't suck will have to wait until they insult and remove enough 'contestants' to knock AI back down to a one-hour timeslot again.

I hate that show with the fire of a thousand suns.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Like I Need Another Reason To Eat Chocolate...

Now it's good for your brain. This is great news!

(I'm blatantly choosing to ignore the fact that the study was paid for by Mars Inc., and is no doubt completely biased and unrealiable. La la la lalalala -- I cannot hear your voice of logic and reason telling me this is too good to be true -- lala la. My brain has latched firmly onto this new factoid and is filing it right next to the "red wine is good for you" area.)

Friday, February 16, 2007

We Miss You, Dickie.

You were special. One of a kind. A true gentleman. Unique. Wonderful. Classy. Funny. A good friend. And you were loved.

A lot of people will miss you. May you rest in peace.

Take Your Cat To Work Day?

Zima's ready to go, as long as the dreaded 'cat carrier' is not involved.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Obligatory Valentine's Day Post

Nothing says "I love you" like a Pythagoras Math Team T-shirt:

Except maybe a Physics Babe T-shirt:

It was a geeky kind of Valentine's Day for PDM and me. Great minds think alike!

Monday, February 12, 2007

'Joe Froggers' and ribs

We tried some new recipes this weekend and had mixed success. The 'chinese sticky ribs' were a huge hit. We braised two racks of baby back ribs for three hours in liquid that included sherry, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, ginger, orange peel, cilantro, scallion, cayenne and garlic. Made a thick glaze by reducing the drippings with some jalapeno jelly. Then we basted the ribs with the glaze in the broiler to get it the rest of the way to delicious. Meat was falling off the bone and chock full of flavor. MMmmmmmmmmmm. And definitely sticky. It was a messy meal, and some of the best ribs I've ever had. I also made stir-fried broccoli in sauce with sesame seeds that was mighty tasty.

What didn't work was a batch of spice cookies called 'Joe Froggers'. I was initially intrigued by the chemistry of the cooking process (where you add baking soda to some molasses and it slowly doubles in volume - neat!), and the history of the recipe (it is an old New England tavern recipe originally made with seawater and rum, and sailors took these with them to consume at sea). Not only were they a giant pain in the ass to make (the stickiest batter I've ever worked with, the need to refrigerate the batter overnight, having to roll out the sticky dough and attempt to cut out cookies, and oh - I burned half of the first batch), neither one of us is crazy about the way they taste. The flavor is 'interesting', but that is like saying your blind date has a good personality. It is still disappointing. I'd say 'Joe Froggers' definitely seems like the kind of thing an old salt would like to eat. Me... I'm not an old salt.

UPDATE: Those 'Joe Froggers' are growing on us. They seemed to taste better the second day. We both ate a few last night, and as I packed some to take to work today I noticed that PDM had done the same. The molasses overtones are still stronger than I'd like, but the spice mix is unusual for a cookie and actually kind of good.

Friday, February 09, 2007


Zima means "winter" in Polish, Czech, Serbian, and Slovene.

Zima is a Russian town located in Siberia, where winter lasts a long time and there is lots of snow.

Zima is a faddish malt beverage that reached its peak of popularity in 1994, the year that a certain snow-colored cat with "odd-eyes" was born.

That cat is my Zima.

Zima has never been to Zima, but Zima once drank some Zima. Have you ever seen a drunken kitten? It worried me at first, but once I figured out that she wasn't sick and dying of some horrible disease, it was freakin' hilarious.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

I'm With Stupid

I’m stupid. All my friends here at work are stupid too.

We learned this last Friday at the staff meeting, when our administrator told us so; not once, but several times. What she actually said is that anyone who didn’t get a flu shot this year was stupid. After the third or fourth time she repeated it, I began to wonder if she had some sort of financial stake in getting all of us vaccinated. It was strange. One thing is for sure -- she doesn’t read the Weekly Thoughtful Reminder either.

And for the record, we’re not stupid. We’re lazy. There is a difference. I don’t have anything against the flu shot. I just couldn’t be bothered to walk over to Employee Health and get one.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Naked Sunday?

A Dutch gym has unveiled plans for "Naked Sunday", allowing members to work out in the nude. This sounds like an incredibly bad idea. In addition to not wanting to see all that jiggling flesh, I can't see anyone wanting to be the second person to sit on any of the exercise machines. (Yes, I read the article and they say they'll use towels and seat liners, but still...).

This was not the only odd story about working out from the last week. It appears that pole dancing for fitness is catching on in China. Claims one adherent: "It's not hard like ballet." Another says her "love of the pole" has nothing to do with sex. "It's dancing". Sure it is.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Moxy's Version of a One-Eighty

I wish I were half as flexible as my cats.