Archive for May, 2009

May 12, 2009

Sad Mac

The Technology Gods have really got it out for me.

Flash back two weeks: I’m sifting through stacks of burned CDs and DVDs, inserting and ripping one at a time onto my laptop for eventual transfer to my external harddrive. Cleaning, for me, is two parts Tidying, one part Getting My Ducks In A Row. Will I need this thing in my new apartment? Then I should get rid of it. Will I have room for a tote bag full of miscellaneous discs? Then I should electronify them.

So I’m ripping along, when my hard drive fills up. Rats. So much for that idea. I guess I better take care of my external hard drive problem NOW so I can regain use of my disk space.

My external harddrive problem is this: I formatted the machine on a Windows computer. I can take seasons of The Office and Grey’s Anatomy and put them onto my harddrive, and then put them on my laptop with the greatest of ease. But I cannot take ANYTHING from my Macbook and put it on my harddrive, because the files just don’t play nice.

Side-effect of this problem: All of my diligent backing up? I thought I was backing up to my external drive, but really I was backing up an undisclosed location on my laptop itself! Even more reason to fix This Problem.

So I start to fix it. Using my old desktop as a temporary storage drive, I transfer the contents of my harddrive (TV shows and music, mostly) for safe keeping. After I clear off the external drive, I can reformat with my Macbook, back up all my new music, two years worth of writing, and all my pictures. Then I can either burn CDs or use my free online backup thingy that came with my external drive to get them back onto my lappy or my hard drive!

Easy! Well, as easy as a two-hour cut/paste job can be.

I come back two hours later to check my progress.

My computer has gone non-responsive.

And when I restart, my desktop computer is stuck in a continual, hard drive error induced restart-cycle.

DAMMIT!

So I come to terms with losing all my television shows and music. Torrents come and torrents go. All will be rebuilt. I transfer the remaining contents (Arrested Development, 30 Rock, Brothers and Sisters) to my parent’s computer. However, they won’t all fit! So I do one at a time, then burn a data DVD of that show and delete it. I get two seasons done before getting distracted/forgetting about Getting That Particular Duck In A Row.

This was all fine and dandy until yesterday morning.

My Macbook froze up.

There were noises. Whirring. Cranking. Clunking. Buzzing.

And nothing.

My hard drive? Fried.

The disk utility doesn’t recognize it. Whenever I restart, hoping for the best, I get the same ugly noises.

I have lost a lot of music (replaceable), a lot of writing (the important stuff is saved at work/email/various flashdrives), a gifted copy of Microsoft Office, and a lot of pictures, including my two most recent vacations.

Which isn’t a lot.

I have a date with a Genius at the Apple Store in Ann Arbor tomorrow morning. I will need a new harddrive, I’m guessing. But how much am I willing to pay for the data to be recovered? Not as much as I think it will cost.

It’s all very distressing.

And yet another, expensive Duck that needs my attention :-(

May 10, 2009

get out of the kitchen

When I like you a lot, I will cook for you.

Not only do I think highly enough to spend my time/energy/stress-hormones on these special people, I also feel safe enough to risk making a fool of myself when my food doesn’t turn quite to plan…

I like my Mom a lot. So I made her an omelet with these farm-fresh, rainbow tinted eggs that a library board member left for the staff.

She didn’t mind that it was a little too runny AND a little too browned.

I like my mom SO much, that I would make her a dessert. A special dessert of cupcakes! Fancy cupcakes. Fancy, delicious cupcakes made specially by me. And when does ONE batch of cupcakes ever seem like enough? I’ll bake a double batch. So much cupcake batter, it touches the brim of the mixer bowl.

So many cupcakes, you have to double stack on the cooling racks, and put the cooked cakes back INTO the empty cupcake pans….

Yikes.

Oh, did I mention that I got messy?

Lance was here. When I had to leave the room for a few minutes, he stepped in and made himself useful.

And about 6 hours later, they were done.

ALL 54 OF THEM.

The nice thing about making 54 cupcakes? I had plenty to drop on the floor (2) break in half (3) and glaze with this rum-lime-sugar glaze that I might have cooked a LITTLE too long, creating some kind of sour caramel that welds your jaws shut with one bite (6)

So the vegan in the house had to eat her cupcakes naked. I used a recipe from Martha Stewart to whip up some cream cheese frosting for the rest of us lactose-eaters, sprinkled on a little sweetened coconut, and HAPPY MOTHERS DAY!

Vegan Coconut & Lime Cupcakes

from Mac & Cheese

1 ⅔ cups granulated sugar
⅔ cup vegetable oil
1 14-ounce can coconut milk (we found it by the Asian foods!)
¼ cup rice or soy milk
¼ cup lime juice, (key lime or regular)
3 tablespoons grated lime zest
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 ½ cup shredded coconut, (sweetened or unsweetened)

  • For the cake, combine sugar, oil, coconut milk, rice milk, lime juice and zest, and vanilla in a large bowl.
  • Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into the wet ingredients in batches, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the coconut.
  • Pour the batter into a greased mini-cupcake pan, and bake for 18 minutes in a pre-heated 350° oven, or until the cake is done. Let cool.

So when I finished, I was a little tired, covered in every ingredient listed above, had loaded and unloaded 4 washers full of dishes, and I still had committed to roasting some asparagus for dinner
(di-VINE, by the way), and oh, Lance was hanging around the house and occasionally setting up my computer in the kitchen so I could watch freshly-downloaded episodes of Season 5 of LOST while I sifted and zested my little heart out.

I just love my Mommy so much.

May 8, 2009

my two cents is free

Things are getting a little fluffy around these parts.

Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy fluff. Love it, actually. But there’s a time and a place for everything, and this time and place is officially reserved for hard hitting issues. What I really feel about some timely and serious topics. So brace yourself. This is uncensored, tell-it-like-it-is World Commentary, coming directly at you.

Go!

Swine Flu

Everyone’s making a big fat deal about it. And just like when Facebook 2.0 rolled on through, there are definitely cries being heard from the dissenters. “Facebook 2.0 sucks!” say the masses. “Stop whining. Facebook is supposed to change!” holler the dissenters. “Swine flu is out to get me! Hand me a surgical mask and for the love of God stop coughing on me!” say the masses. “Swine flu is no more dangerous than regular flu, you freaks,” say the dissenters. “Slow your roll and stop engulfing the world in a false panic!”

I agree with the dissenters – our country, our world, is overly driven by fear and panic and all those other post 9-11 sociological issues. That sucks. Thinking Swine Flu/Bird Flu/SARS/Ebola/Mad Cow/Salmonella/Killer Bees are going to kill you sucks.

However.

I tend to think that panic serves a purpose when it comes to potential pandemics. It might seem ridiculous to us wealthy, well-bathed Americans, to get up in arms about a flu that’s no dangerous than the average strain, but in order to protect the majority of our world that have  lesser immune systems (i.e. The Elderly, The Malnourished, Those Who Do Not Have Readily Available Health Care), maybe a panic is what it takes to stop the spread of disease.

We have yet to master the diseases we’ve got. I don’t blame ANYONE for creating a panic when the purpose is to prevent Swine Flu from turning into next century’s AIDS, Malaria, TB, Polio.

America’s Next Top Model

It’s like candy – you only want a taste, but you end up eating the whole bag.

But out of every television show on air right now? This is the one you should keep your preteen/teenage girls away from.

There are few things more dangerous to an average-sized, less-than-confident young woman than a television show where the average weight of the cast is under 130 pounds, where bones are an accessory to a skimpy outfit, where a common plotline is “who is anorexic? who needs to quit stuffing their faces so they can REALLY make it as a model? who is TOO skinny? who’s the Plus-Sized model, I can’t tell!”

Parents, beware.

Boredom

Is best treated with this game.

Supreme Court Nominations

Justice Souter surely had a good run on the bench. And I’m so glad that Obama is getting a chance to name some new Justices. Naming Supreme Court Justices, in my humblest of opinions, is one of the most influential moves a President can make, and is the most delightful part of the checks&balances that keep our country on a steady track.

I think we need another lady judge. Heck I think we need 3 or 4 more lady judges.

I think that we should forget about pretending these justices are 100% neutral about every issue. It’s silly (who doesn’t have an opinion on abortion, par exampluh?) especially when you’ve read a few of these justice’s opinions. They do take sides on issues, regardless of whether they back up their choices with theory, law, or personal preference, those sides are there and will remain there.

That being said, let’s protect Roe v. Wade!

Where I’m Going To Library School

All roads seem to be leading me to Boston.

My remaining two choices – Rutgers and Simmons – offer top notch educational experiences, youth focused programs, and E.X.P.E.N.S.I.V.E. tuition and living expenses. So I’ll be simultaneously fucked & having a ball at either place.

So if I’m gonna shell out the big bucks, why not pay 1000/month for an apartment in a major metropolitan area instead of 1000/month for a condo in SuburbanJers?

But it’s not final yet. Don’t quote me on that or anything.

May 7, 2009

five books

1. Labor of Love by Cara Muhlhahn

This author was featured prominently in the documentary film, The Business of Being Born. I highly reccommend this film to anyone who plans on giving birth at some point in the future. We watched it twice. However, I do not highly reccommend this memoir. Cara is a competent, energetic midwife. She has a lot to say about her chosen field. She does not have an entire book’s worth of things to say. Granted, it is a personal memoir, but this is not a book about her practice – it is about Cara’s life journey, which has very little to do with midwifery and, in my opinion, isn’t terribly interesting. Maybe I’m picky, but I didn’t really want The Cara Muhlhan Story. I wanted A Midwife’s Story.

So watch the movie. Read this article. And if you want to read a book about being a midwife, pick up something else.

From me, this book will get a C -

2. The Last Summer (of You and Me) by Ann Brashares

Ann Brashares’s first step into the waters of adult fic… but she’s just dipping her toes, don’t worry. The characters – two sisters and their mutual best summer friend, Paul – are in their early twenties, not too far from the Sisters of Those Traveling Pants which are solidly Young Adult. The book takes place on Fire Island, the summer home of their youth, which puts the focus on their younger selves, relating more Stories Past than Stories Present. This is a book teens would like. This is a book that reminds me SO MUCH of one of my all time favorite reads, Summer Sisters – another “adult” book written by a YA author natch. It is similar in setting – Fire Island vs. The Vineyard – and spirit – themes of innocence, first love, loss, and indelible friendship.

This was a good book. But not great.

You get a B.

3. The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters

This was everything I could want from a cookbook. I like looking at glossy pictures of fancy meals with expensive ingredients as much as the next girl, but whenever I hunker down and cook one, even one of RachRay’s “30 minute” meals, I end up flustered. It just takes too many trips to the store, too many unexpected difficulties, and Too Much Stress! How am I supposed to cook EVERY DAY? Which is where Alice Waters steps in. The first half of this big-honkin’ book is narrative about different meals and ingredients and preparation methods. The second half is recipes. Easy, delicious-sounding recipes, that are S-I-M-P-L-E.

I don’t need to know how to make Spanish-Style Chicken with Crispy Chorizo and Chimichurri. I do need to know how to make a white sauce. How to bake bread that actually rises. How to make kale taste delicious. This seems like an awesome wedding gift. I mean, if I don’t get a copy when I get married, I’ll be pissed. Okay, I probably can’t even wait until that hypothetical day of matrimony.

A+!

4. The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp

You’re going to pick up this book, read the first few pages and go “National Book Award Finalist???!! Um. What??!”

This is the smarter, funnier, more subtle older brother of Spanking Shakespeare (my two cents can be found here). Our narrator, Sutter Keely, is a senior slacker, teen alcoholic with a taste for the ladies. He pals around with his pothead best friend, when he’s not busy sipping on a 7&7 or irritating/sexing his voluptuous girlfriend. There are parties. There is romantic drama. There are teenage hijinks. This is not the stuff of a NBA-Winning Novel. But read on, friends, read on. Underneath Keely’s narrative hides The Truth About The World – that life isn’t as hilarious or forgiving as you want it to be, that nothing can cover up your deep pain, and change is not always possible.

The ending broke me in two.

This book deserves its award, and a solid A.

5. Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut

This is a book for English majors. For literary analysts, for symbol-lovers, for philosophers.

I am at least one of those, and I am still  having trouble finding what to say about this book. I’ll tell you about the part I liked most. You see, the narrator was researching a book. This is his story about his research on the man who invented the atomic bomb. A story about the writing of another, entirely different story. Weird, right? But the even weirder part is that somewhere during his research, our narrator has found a new religion. He peppers his narrative with the words and practices of Bokonon – a religion which the readers have no concept of other than what is presented on the page. Therefore, the book becomes not just a story about a story, but a story about Religion As A Whole. People As A Whole. Life As A Whole.

I didn’t get it. I wanted to get it. I wanted to look up the symbols and the meaning when I was on page 3, because I could tell there would be a lot.

I didn’t get it. But I loved it anyway.

Shouldn’t expect anything less than that from Mr. Vonnegut, right?

A

May 1, 2009

all things go, all things go

this-is-lovely

This is the nicest, most stylish hotel in which I have ever set foot.

This is me, and my boyfriend, in it.

(He is wearing clothes, in case your mind was in the gutter)

(We are watching Bill Maher on The Nicest HD TV I have ever watched when I wasn’t in a Best Buy)

(I am happy)

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