Sunday, March 14, 2010
1. Prepare a mix of every rice-like grain you have in the house. My version of that is as follows: Bring 2.25 cups water to a boil, add 1/4 C wild rice, bring to a simmer, cover. Set timer for 15 minutes. When it goes off, add 1/4 C brown rice. Set timer for 30 minutes. When it goes off, add 1/4 C each sushi rice and barley. Set timer for 15 minutes. When it goes off, remove from heat. Remove lid, stretch a blue-cloth* across the top, replace lid.
This is not necessarily a Korean dish***, but Healing Tea serve something like it with all their Korean menu items, so I make it whenever I cook recipes from Maangchi's blog. As you will, shortly.
2. While rice cooks, load up these recipes: Panfried Tofu in Soy Sauce and Spinach Side Dish. Double the portions; leftovers are good, 2 bunches spinach is no harder than one, and you might as well cook the whole 1-pound block of tofu. Timing for these dishes may be as follows: Boil spinach first. While spinach cools, chop tofu and set to press-dry.** While tofu dries, heat up pan with oil in. While tofu fries, chop out or measure the seasoning ingredients for both dishes. When tofu is done, mix the seasonings into the spinach.
Eat a meal's worth of these things. Exercise restraint and do not eat everything. Leftovers are good.
*blue-cloth: These used to come in certain surgical kits. My family has a ton. I see house painters using them, too. If you are not conveniently familiar with a pediatrician or a painter, use a tea towel or whatever you use when a clean cloth is called for.
**Press-drying tofu: Lay out a blue-cloth on a cutting board or your kitchen counter. Across one half, lay out a folded paper towel. Put pieces of tofu on the paper towel. Put another folded paper towel on top, then fold the other half of the blue-cloth over the top of that. On top of this cloth-paper-tofu sandwich, lay a short stack of phone books. Five minutes later, you will have tofu dry enough not to spatter you when you put it in hot oil. Many thanks to @birjulie for this tip.
***Ok, well, maybe it is.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
It was the classic stupid: I got up to the register and my stuff was all on the belt and the nice guys are halfway through the checkout-and-bag procedure and then I realized OH CRAP NO WALLET. Panic! Panic! Panic!
But they're all like, "No problem, happens all the time. You go home and get it. We'll bag up your groceries and keep 'em in the cooler for you until you get back. Just come up to customer service when you're ready." And they gave me something to write my name down on and they shooed me out the door encouragingly.
Some 20 minutes later I return. Customer Service says "Yeah, we just now rolled 'em on back. Hang tight and we'll get 'em." About a minute later, out comes the basket with my three canvas sackies full of a month's worth of groceries. I pay the bill, and Customer Service sends me on my way.
As I'm rolling around Customer Service and out the nearest aisle, I notice the chocolate bar. Actually, I notice the big cheerful "Thank you!" first, and then I notice what it's written on. And I'm all like, What? What--really? But, but--
I look up and there's the awesome check-out guy from before. He grins and nods at my discovery. And I'm all, "But, but I'm the one who should be thanking you--"
"Nah. Have an awesome evening!"
I just about cried on my way to the car. They totally made my night. When you make a classic stupid like that, it does tend to try to ruin your evening. You've got another half-hour of hassle and no one to blame for it but yourself. These guys knew exactly how it is, and they wanted to help counteract the evening-ruining hassle-adding effect of my stupid, even though they didn't have to, and they are wonderful and human and awesome.
I am foolishly, wholeheartedly in love with humanity tonight.
I'm a little ashamed that I didn't get their names, though. Good deeds should have names attached. Well. I can say this much: the team at the Whole Foods on Pearl Street in Boulder, they rock.
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
I'll lose some sales
and my boss won't be happy
but I can't stop listening to the sound
Of two soft voices
blended in perfection
on the reels of this record that I've found
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
So I understand who your target audience at the W is. I do see how this is a population calculated to appreciate that you blew your budget on tempting incidentals and on cutsy alliterative branding, and didn't save much for things like free wi-fi or even bathtubs.
I get that your target audience has money to spare and probably throws away the soap bar when it's used to the point that the brand imprint no longer shows clearly.
When you use a bit of widely spaced wire grating for your soap dish, you don't just make soap slivers fall through, you also make it very difficult to bring into the shower those little bottles of Bliss shower products that you provide us with. Because they are too narrow at the base to stand up reliably in that wire grate soap dish of yours.
For the love of little green double-yous, Starwood, learn what Q. A. testing is for! Get some beta users to try the place out and alert you to STUPID INCONSISTENCIES!
Also. No tub? Really? After our long days spent in airports or on trains, much of it on our poor aching feetsies, you would deny us that long, luxurious soak we so badly need? I tried to use your shower cubicle instead, but there's this drain at the bottom I can't plug. Deep sigh.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
("This morning" meaning Monday. "Last night" meaning Sunday. "Strange big city" means Chicago. "Cheap hotel" means the Sheffield House Hotel, conveniently located in Wrigleyville, $55 a night for single occupancy in a queen-size bed with a private bath. Just so we're clear.)
I ask at the front desk, but the pleasantly unhelpful lady is on shift and she doesn't know nothing about nothing. (To be fair, when I checked in and discovered my room's tub had neither a working shower tap nor any way to plug the drain, she facilitated my changing rooms. But you ask her about anything more complicated than "change my dollar for quarters?" or "new toilet paper roll please?" you get nothing. You get it with a smile, though.) "Is there a lost and found in that office?" Nope, don't know nothing about that. She suggests I ask the manager tomorrow morning.
I lost my bike lock the night before I left Boulder and had to replace it; and what Kryptonite makes these days may be invulnerable to Bic ballpoints but it's no longer both long and wide. The replacement lock will not go around both my bike and, say, a parking meter. It pretty much just goes around legitimate bike lock structures. And now I've lost my bike pump and will have to replace that too. I'm getting depressed.
I go on about my day as best I can, putting it from my mind. I bike all around the neighborhood, I eat lunch at a yummy diner, I discover a great cafe way north on Lincoln, I go to the Twilight Tales open mic night, I have fun. I come back to the hotel around midnight. And there's someone other than don't-know-nothing lady, so I take the chance and ask him. Any chance you've come across an orphaned bike pump...?
His eyes light up. He makes oh, was that you? wait here! gestures. He goes back into the mysterious recesses of the office. And he comes out with my bike pump.
Apparently I dropped it on the 5th floor, probably in the act of getting out of the elevator. It's an old fashioned elevator, the sort with an accordian-style grate on the car itself and an extremely heavy swinging door on every floor. I always have trouble getting out without one or the other banging shut on my hip, on my backpack, on my tool bag, on my suitcase, etc. Apparently, that's when it slipped out of my grip, because the wonderful night manager Joe reports it was found by the garbage room next door to the elevator. He'd wondered why it was abandoned. Does it not work? No, it works! Why would someone throw it away? He'd better hold onto it in case someone asks after it.
Wonderful night manager Joe is wonderful.
Also, he's a bike enthusiast and is sad that I haven't time in Chicago to explore the many lovely bike trails. He recommends I follow the lakefront bike path to get back to Union Station, and not the boring old Clark to Halstad to Milwaukee to Canal route Google recommends. I think I will take his recommendation.
So, you know. Cheap hotel, true. But, hell, even pleasantly unhelpful don't-know-nothing lady is friendly. And the night manager is just stellar. And it is cheap. Cheap may get you sheets with holes in (but they are clean); cheap may get you buggy showers (but if you tell 'em, they'll try to find you a room with more functional showers); but cheap still gets you humans in the office, and humans run the gamut from unhelpful to positively wonderful. And I am squeeing right now about the wonderful.
It is a powerful squee. It is not daunted by the man next room over yelling violent profanities at someone or other. It is an insulating squee, a long-lasting squee. It's a hopeful squee: Hey, if my bike pump turned up, maybe my bike lock will turn up too! Maybe? Hey, I can hope.
Monday, April 20, 2009
"Once again, ladies and gentlemen, will all visitors please detrain. We are about to depart."
Exhibits #107-110 are the absence of metal-detector arches, my shoes having remained on my feet until McComb, the pocket-knife in my left jeans pocket, and the total lack of seat-belts in coach.
More on this subject as it occurs.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
What Radio Shack gets less Kudos for is accuracy in writing.
Converts 220/240V foreign electricity to standard 110/120VOh noes! Beware of foreign electricity! You never know what those British electrons get up to! Keep yourself safe; convert them doggone foreign electricities into standard U.S. electricities! (Remember, you can tell they're American electrons by the itty bitty stars-and-stripes pins they wear on their lapels.)
Think about that. "Standard." To the extent that you'd grudgingly concede an objective definition, you might talk about the norm versus the rule, the majority versus the fringe. Radio Shack, however, talks about U.S. versus everyone else.
A majority of the world's countries use 220/240V electricity instead of the standard 110/120V used here in the States....I am still trying to wrap my head around the idea that what the majority of the world's population does with their wiring isn't to be considered standard. I mean, as far as I can tell, us U.S. people are the weirdos with our 110/120V circuits, aren't we?
So, if you plug a North American appliance directly into a foreign outlet, it will be receiving twice the normal voltage....OK, style points here for remembering that "American" doesn't equal "U.S." - but then revoke half those style points for forgetting that "North American" also doesn't equal "U.S.". That said, they're still correct, as far as my trip to Toronto last year went; you can plug a U.S. appliance into a Canadian outlet.
Note this. The Radio Shack Foreign Travel Outlet Adapter Set? Contains an adapter said to work in, remember, "South America, the Caribbean, Canada, Japan, Korea, Mexico".... Canada. Yes. I pulled out the Type A adapter, which Radio Shack thinks a U.S. citizen needs in order to plug their hairdryer into a Canadian outlet.
It's exactly the same as a U.S. 2-prong plug.
Tell me again why I paid $20 for a set including something that will turn my computer's plug into a plug indistinguishable from my computer's plug? Oh, yeah - because that was the only way Radio Shack would sell me adapters to allow me to plug my 6-plug power strip into a U.K. outlet.
This converter, however, cuts the foreign voltage in half, and provides a standard outlet like the ones back home for you to use.Wait wait wait. Again with this misbegotten idea that U.S. equals "standard" even if the U.S. is the only one who does it, and--
--provides a standard outlet like the ones back home?
*takes a closer look at the voltage adapter*
Seriously! It does! There's a North American-style two-prong hole on the back. Why did I buy the plug adapter kit again?
*goes back to Radio Shack for a return and refund*
Belated note: OK, so the Voltage Converter will plug into a 2-prong U.K.-style outlet. The 4-adapter set is meant for use with this Voltage Converter; presumably it takes a U.K.-style 2-pronger and converts it to whatever prongs for wherever you are. Which makes sense if you're going somewhere not in the U.K. and need to convert to the plug shape of that country. But makes no sense for a U.S. citizen traveling to the U.K.; all they need is the voltage converter, I think.
(And now the presence of the Canadian-compatible adapter makes sense; there are other countries that use that shape but the higher voltage. So, what doesn't make sense is why they label it for use in Canada, where no step-down converter is needed at all.)
Yet another afterthought: OK, so, on more closely examining the prongs coming out of the voltage converter, I'm not 100% confident they fit any known country's wall outlets. They are a lot like the U.K. 2-pronger, but maybe slightly smaller...? So anyone buying the voltage converter has to buy the adapter set. Nice racket you got going there, Radio Shack!
I think I'm going to call J. B. Saunders and ask if they have U.S. ground to U.S. non-ground adapters. And honest to goodness U.S. to U.K. adapters for use with our 220/240V-tolerant laptops.
Continuing to think about this: So J. B. Saunders (and this website over here) are telling me that Radio Shack is totally lying when they label their Type B, 2-round-prongs European plug adapter as functional in the U.K. Apparently on the huge grounded monster works there. There is no "U.K.-style 2-pronger" as I've been bleating on about. For cryin' out loud, Radio Shack!
Off to J. B. Saunders to pick up two plain old U.S. to U.K. adapters and a U.S. ground to U.S. non-ground adapter. I hope.
Saturday, March 7, 2009
So not helpful.
Next stop, Google. Which leads me here. Which has about a million things to try, from rubbing alcohol to hairspray to acetone nail polish remover. Eventually I decide to try the things they suggest that I actually have in the house, and achieve a happy ending thusly:
- Wet stain and scrub in liquid detergent with an old toothbrush. Rinse. Repeat until this is doing no more good. (Smears at edge of paint spot are now gone.)
- Squeeze out excess water. Pour acetone nail polish remover over stain and scrub with toothbrush. Rinse. Repeat this until it's doing no more good. (Brightness of paint spot is now gone, leaving dull/faded impressions.)
- Squeeze out excess water and apply acetone as before. Scrub with a green steel-wool scrubby pad. At this point, tiny crumbs of paint can be seen leaving the area. Rinse. Repeat until paint spot is gone.
- Repeate toothbrush-and-detergent step. Rinse thoroughly. All that acetone can't be good for your jeans.
- Toss 'em in the washing machine.
Monday, February 9, 2009
Also, on the subject of how appropriate the movie is for kids, I'm reading comments all over the blogosphere along the lines of "I took my 3-year-old. She was mesmerized! She wants to see it again!"
John and I saw the 10:00 PM showing on opening night in downtown Denver - in 3D, of course. I saw very happy children coming out of the previous showing with that star-struck look in their eyes; I wanted to stop every family I saw and jump up and down saying "Was it awesome? Was it totally awesome? Was it? It was, wasn't it?"
Our theater was, given the lateness of the hour, mostly full of college-age kids. They laughed at the right times, gasped at the right times, murmured "Creeeee-py!" at the right times, and also cried out "Do Not Want!" when Other Mrs. Spink (or Forcible; I get them mixed up) showed up in her mermaid pasties. (Which, meh. The idea that fat women in skimpy clothes are good for a disgusted laugh is just another face of the misogynist idea that women's bodies are for looking at, not living in, and therefore should be on display if "hot"--as defined by the oglers--and covered up if not. But that's another rant for another time.)
But there were young children there, too. Even at a 10:00 PM showing. Each of them looking like today was their birthday and they were about to receive the best present ever.
The smiles! The big beautiful smiles!
Friday, February 6, 2009
While watching this movie I couldn’t help thinking it’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers for kids. I wouldn’t let any of my children under 12 see this version of Coraline.--Diana Saenger's Review Express, via.
There are many scenes and images in “Coraline” that are likely to scare children. This is not a warning but rather a recommendation, since the cultivation of fright can be one of the great pleasures of youthful moviegoing.--NYT Movie Review, via.
I tend to side with the New York Times on this one. Besides, remember the G.K. Chesterton epigram Gaiman chose to open Coraline with? "Fairy Tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten." Children need to be told that dragons can be beaten. They need stories of children like themselves overcoming frightening situations (and emerging the braver for it) and impossible odds (thereby inculcating a sense of hope).
Clearly, not being a mother myself, I have no right to criticize my friend who insists she will not allow her young daughter to see this, because it's too scary, and her daughter is a remarkably sensitive child. But I can't help but think that I, too, was a sensitive child--oversensitive, to hear my teachers tell it--and I would have bristled mightily at the age of 5 had my mother attempted to shield me from scariness. Granted, I shielded myself from a great deal of scariness. But if I'd wanted to see such a thing, nothing would be more sure to elicit an "oh yeah?!" out of me than Mom telling me that my delicate sensibilities must be protected from frights.
Hell, even had I not wanted to go see a movie like this one, all it would take was Mom forbidding it for me to suddenly, desperately want to go--and to resolve never to admit the nightmares I'd suffer for it later. (And I learned to treasure nightmares by the time I was a pre-teen. Nightmares are adventures.) And you will note that Gaiman says of the "too scary" review that "It's the kind of review that would have had me tunnelling out of my bedroom in order to see the film, when I was a kid."
Tell a kid "It's too much for you," and you will shortly hear the unmistakable sounds of youthful defiance. "Oh YEAH?!" You tell 'em, kid.
John and I are not planning on having kids, which disqualifies us, like I said before, from pontificating on parenthood. When people ask us, "When will you have kids?" we say, "As soon as we stop being kids ourselves." I think that's probably a good answer, actually. The fact that I can remember being 3, 8, 11, 16 in great detail and with undiminished emotional impact would probably make me a horrible mother.
Still, I often wonder if parents who attempt to shield their children from fictional experiences that are "too scary" or "too adult" remember in the slightest what it was like to be a child, and how they reacted as a child when told "no" for no good reason they could see, and how those seemingly unreasonable "no"s engendered distrust, and how that distrust made them reluctant to get Mom and Dad's opinion on stuff later...
Dude! If You Don't Talk To Your Kids About Scary Movies, Who Will?!
Addendum: Were I a parent (go ahead, roll your eyes), and if my youngster wanted to see this movie, and I took him/her instead of saying "No, maybe when you're older"... the best possible reward for this would be to hear my kid say to me afterwards, "Mommy, if you're ever kidnapped by a wicked imposter, I'd save you."
OK, I'll stop with the unearned pontification now.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Observed: That on the first day of the Obama administration, CNN is calling on comedians to augment their news segments, cf. Carlos Mencia interview, recap of last night's Colbert Report "Did you think you'd ever live to see this day?" segment.
Summarized: We seem to have gone from comedians reporting on news, to news reporting on comedy.
(Also observed: I'm watching CNN. On purpose. And they're quoting Rush Limbaugh in order to criticize him.)
Clearly, we switched universes yesterday. It remains to be seen whether we switched back to the universe we left when the Supreme Court made Bush President in January 2001, or whether this is a third alternate universe we had not counted upon.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
CAN RIP YOUR THROAT OUT
DOESN'T NEED TO SPARKLE
Friday, December 26, 2008
Sunday, December 7, 2008
...and at the same time the "Game Story" is written and updated in next-to-real time (again, lagging maybe by about 2 minutes; as I speak, it's updated through half time, and now we're about a minute into the 3rd quarter).
Maybe another team's web site is as awesome, I don't know. But every time a friend asks me to try to find out how their team is doing (e.g. Broncos), I find out that the team web site is insufficient to the task.
Geaux Saints! WHO DAT?!
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
The cheddary 'Free to Play' is not just a cheesy marketing slogan, but a shift in assumptions; it costs approaching nothing to give away some bits, or let people play Puzzle Pirates for free. Every player, free or paid, adds value to the community and excitement for other players. Free players are the content, context and society that encourages a small fraction of the audience to willingly pay more than enough to subsidize the rest.Game Designer and Three Rings CEO Daniel James. Emphasis mine. Read the full article at Penny Arcade, News for September 29 2008.
Penny Arcade are running a series of comics illustrating the history of Digital Rights Management and Piracy Prevention, and each comic is accompanied by an editorial on the subject by someone in the industry. Follow the link here and use the site navigation to enjoy the series.
Friday, September 26, 2008
The stupid of it is, my first instinct was to write to the company. "I just plugged it in, like normal, and the black hard-plastic rim melted! It's not supposed to be able to do that! It's supposed to be heat-resistant!"
Then I remembered that the appliance doesn't have a black hard-plastic rim. And that I couldn't find the storage lid. Or a memory of having removed the lid.
Tonight we fry tofu the old fashioned way: In an inch of shortening in the iron skillet. Tomorrow, we attempt to clean what used to be the storage lid off the Fry Daddy Jr. in hopes of returning the appliance to active use. Wish us luck.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
I suppose the Eddie Money song gets a pass, since it directly references The Ronnettes' 1963 hit "Be My Baby" and in fact features Ronnie Spector her very own self. But there is no such mitigating factor for Blondie's 1978 track "Heart of Glass."
The point is, both songs came out in my lifetime. Isn't there a rule somewhere that says that pop/rock releases during your preschool or grade school years aren't officially Oldies until you're at least 50?
I'm too young to feel this old, I really am.
Friday, June 13, 2008
Actually, I did that the other day. "What's that concoction there?" he asks. "My lunch," I tell him. And the interrogator would not stop. "No, really, I want to know. Really! Just tell me! It smells good!" I finally told him the restaurant it was from on the off-chance that he was looking for a dining recommendation.
Why am I the one considered rude when I refuse to yield personal details? (And why is my judgment as to what constitutes "private details" up for debate?) Why isn't he considered rude for prying past the first refusal?
*sigh* Reason #469 to be a writer: Your office has only one person in it at all times.
So, I'm going to get hard-assed about this. "What's that?" "Food." "No, really!" "Really food."
Because Changing Social Norms Regarding Privacy And Politeness Begins With Me!