Monthly Archives: February 2003

Miscellaneous Linkage For Your Friday

You know, the next time I need to give a gift to someone that has everything, I’m going to get them a Thing in a Jar! (link via Metafilter)

Hey, how about a rousing game of 20 Questions? (Link from BoingBoing)

The ultimate accessory for the laptop geek: a USB toothbrush!

In these uncertain times, dating and romance has become even more difficult. You can find some great tips in “Love in the Time of Smallpox”:
* Go to a symphony concert, musical, or theater production, preferably a local-community performance with audiences of fewer than 30 people. You’ll find the atmosphere more intimate, and smaller crowds are less likely to be targets for attack.
* If you plan on making love, use condoms and water-based lubricants. Petroleum-based lubricants can compromise the strength of latex condoms, as well as certain kinds of protective HAZMAT gear.
(Link courtesy of Daze Reader)

And finally, check out the plot summary Hasbro released a few weeks ago for Disney’s upcoming Brother Bear (to be released Nov 7, 2003):
This holiday season, kids will be introduced to Walt Disney Pictures’ Brother Bear, an epic animated tale about the true meaning of brotherhood. In a tiny village, when the Earth was young and ice still covered the land, a headstrong teenager, Kenai (Joaquin Phoenix), has an issue with bears. And why not–the bears compete for the same food and land, loot his village, and ruin his coming of age ceremony. When his oldest brother is lost in a perilous battle with a ferocious grizzly, Kenai ignores the village teachings of brotherhood, choosing instead to track down the bear and satisfy his thirst for vengeance. Kenai is changed into a bear by the Great Spirits, forcing him to examine the world through the eyes of his enemy. In his quest to regain his human form, Kenai enlists the help of an adorable, talkative and sometimes-pesky bear cub named Koda (Jeremy Suarez). Their journey propels them across the northern territory, through glacial caverns, frosty tundra, a valley of fire and treacherous gorges. Over the course of the journey with Koda, Kenai is forced to question everything he knows and learns many important lessons about the true meaning of brotherhood. Ultimately, he realizes that his physical transformation from a man to a bear is insignificant compared to the change that has occurred within him.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Grump, grump

So, I was getting the latest critical-your-computer-will-explode-if-you-don’t-install-this update for my Windows XP Home Edition last night via Windows Update (in spite of some very good reasons why I should avoid Windows Update), and after installation and rebooting (uptime? what’s uptime?), everything is fine…except Trillian, the client I use for ICQ, AIM, and Yahoo! Messenger crashes. Badly. Like, every time I try to run it. Reboot. Still crashing. Something in the update very obviously broke something with Trillian. Fortunately, I was able to find a patch on Trillian’s site that seems to have fixed the problem – evidently, given the recentness and urgency of the patch announcement, I’m not the only one this has happened to. So, if you use Trillian 0.74 or Trillian Pro 1.0, there’s patches available for download that will keep it from crashing after the latest Windows updates.

Crappy weather around here this morning – pouring down rain, which is freezing in the trees in places. We are quite literally right on the freezing line – if you go five miles north, they have ice on the trees and power outages from branches falling on the power lines. Here at the house, no ice in the trees at all. Man, North Carolina can be weird sometimes.

Tonight takaza and I will go to dinner with friends to celebrate the fourth anniversary of our first date. I’m amazed it’s been that long, but it’s been a very good four years, that’s for sure!

Poker? I hardly know her!

So, it’s Wednesday, which means we’re hosting Poker Night tonight. Yay! To back up to the weekend, though…

On Saturday we did some last-minute shopping before heading over to Rob and Janet’s for the extremely-delayed Secret Santa party. My gift for Sherry was a cell phone charger for her car – utilitarian, yes, but something she had mentioned she needed. Janelle (wildmouse) got me a wonderful book, The Art of the Cake. I still need to dig further into it, but it looks like a terrific resource. The party was quite entertaining – good company, good food, good wine (mmm, that was a tasty Cote de Provence!). The evening ended with a fun poker game, and we decided it was so much fun we needed to do it again, hence the Poker Night here tonight.

Sunday we had to clean the house up for a showing in the afternoon, which is fine because it kind of needed that extra polish to be in showable condition. We vacated the house in plenty of time and took care of our weekly grocery shopping, then had a nice quiet evening snuggling on the sofa and watching Tivo.

Monday was gaming, and another attempt at a chocolate layer cake. This took a lot more time than I expected, mainly because the first cakes were a mess (too much baking powder in the recipe leads to uncooked centers in cakes. Bleah!) and I had to remake them, then the buttercream frosting didn’t work nearly as well as it should have – it came out quite greasy and…salty. I really should have double-checked I was using unsalted butter. Ah well, it was a learning experience, and the cake (with chocolate ganache between the layers) was quite tasty. I’ll just have to keep inflicting cakes on the Gang until I get it right.

Not much going on yesterday, except a little cleaning and job-hunting. Today? Well, I already took care of re-seasoning our cast iron pan, since it was showing a bit of rust (my life is so exciting), and in a bit I need to take a shower and meet takaza for lunch. Laundry this afternoon, and maybe make some kind of dessert to go with the pizzas we’re ordering for dinner.

On the job front: no word yet from the company I interviewed with last week. I hope to hear something by the end of this week, but nothing is definite. One bit of amusement – a recruiter called Monday afternoon pitching me a job that sounded very familiar. After he described it a bit, I finished it for him, told him who the company was, and what they were willing to pay. He was trying to sell me on the same job I interviewed for last week (and he said he was surprised they wouldn’t meet my salary expectations, but hey, that’s the way the game is played). Anyway, I e-mailed him my resume anyway, since he has a partner that specializes in the urethanes field, an area in which I’m well-versed.

And so we wait, and apply all over, and hope something comes along…

That Was The Week That Was

Mostly a quiet week down here, which is why I haven’t posted anything (well that and LJ getting hammered by DDOS attacks). A couple of items of note, though…

Had a pretty good phone interview on Wednesday with a potential employer. This is going to be an interesting one. Professionally speaking, the position is an excellent challenge – document, optimize, and learn everything a manufacturing line, then disassemble it and move it to another location. There is simply no better way to learnt he ins and outs of manufacturing than this, short of designing and building it from scratch. The downside? The line is currently located in St. Johnsville, NY – that’s about halfway between Albany and Syracuse, in case you’re wondering. I would be there until about the end of the year or so, then the position and the line would shift to Carol Stream, IL – that’s just northwest of Glen Ellyn, outside of Chicago. Now, they’ll pay relocation and (I would assume) temporary living in New York. There’s a lot of questions about what Takaza would do in the meantime, logistics of relocation and when, that sort of thing. Anyway, the next step in the interview process would be to fly up to New York, tour the plant, and interview with folks there. Next, there would be interviews either at the company HQ in Connecticut or at the Carol Stream facility. I should know either today (unlikely, this late in the day) or early next week if I’m into the next round of interviews.

Other stuff this week – made an interesting sugar-spice bread yesterday – orange zest, sugar lumps (that melted on baking to make amazing pockets of syrup in the bread), cinnamon, and allspice. Very tasty, but a bit strong for my tastes. Fortunately, Dan likes it, so that’s cool.

Went benchmark hunting today, and did just terribly. 0 for 6. Two of those were destroyed (the price of progress), the other four I just couldn’t find, even though I’m sure I was within a ten-foot radius of them. From now on I’m staying away from the markers described as being “two inches above the surface of the ground” – keep in mind all these descriptions are at best 23 years old, and a lot can change in that time. I’m sticking with markers that are on buildings, road structures, and the like. Either that or I need to start carrying a shovel and a metal detector…

Tonight? Probably going to do dinner with Thomas & Sherry and Donald & Janelle somewhere. Tomorrow we have the Gang Secret Santa party – this should tell you how difficult it is to match everyone’s schedules around the holidays 🙂

Sausage in Brioche

This is a lot of effort, but it’s really worth it, in my opinion – the resulting product is fabulous! Brioche, for those unfamiliar with it, is a fabulously buttery, slightly sweet bread that can be enjoyed on its own (with a nice coarse-sugar coating on top). This is a great pairing with savory Italian sausage that really works well.

Sausage in Brioche

If it’s not snow, and it’s not ice, what is it?

It’s sleet, that’s what it is! We have about 1.5 inches of sleet on the ground here, topped with a nice glaze of ice. Takaza actually made the effort to drive to work this morning – he drove about a mile (and got tailgated by a dickhead in an SUV) before he decided it just wasn’t safe and turned around and came home. About ten minutes ago his boss called and told him to not even bother trying to come in today. Yay! I know it’s not much compared to what folks up the Eastern Seaboard are seeing, though. Two feet of snow is never fun, and I know from experience that northern Virginia and Maryland just aren’t prepared to deal with that much snow at once. Y’all stay safe and warm up there, eh?

So, weekend recap. Right. On Friday, Dan treated me to a nice surprise for dinner – dinner at Ruth’s Chris Steak House. Very yummy, though we agreed we now need to go to The Angus Barn (a local favorite) to compare the two restaurants. It was a delicious meal, and the company (Thomas, Sherry, Donald, Janelle) and conversation was quite enjoyable.

On Saturday we had the same folks over and I made a nice simple dinner – Sausage baked in brioche bread (I’ll post the recipe and comments in a bit). With the accompanying cheese and crackers and wine (a nice Chateauneuf du Pape) and other munchables, we had a very tasty meal. Dinner was followed by gladiatorial combat and general socializing.

And on Sunday, we did…nothing. And it was good. (OK, Dan resurrected his iBook, that was about it)

So today…I’ll be making some nice bread – not sure what kind just yet. And doing a spot of cleaning. Oh, and job-applying, of course.

iBook go down da hoooole…

So last night shortly before we headed off to bed, Takaza set his iBook to download the 10.2.4 update for Mac OS X. That’s when things started to go horribly wrong. First Mail crapped out and ICQ wouldn’t fire up, then he rebooted. Now it’s not recognizing the mouse or the Airport card at all. This is probably going to require a call to AppleCare, but if anyone has any suggestions we can try, they’d be appreciated!

Yo yo yo!

(Yeah, I submitted this to Flayrah, but what the heck…)

UK hip-hop performer DJ Format has a video out for his song “We Know Something” featuring five different fursuiters and some wild breakdancing. Lots of fun! (Requires Quicktime)

Another day older…

First off thanks to all of my friends for yesterday’s birthday wishes. Yep, I’m now 35 – not a particularly momentous age except that, as Steviemaxwell mentioned, I am now eligible to run for president. I’m thinking of announcing my candidacy on the “Peace, Love, and Taffeta” ticket…

We commemorated the day yesterday by going to dinner with Donald (me_not_you), Janelle, Thomas, and Sherry at Spartacus Grille, a fabulous Greek restaurant. The flaming (of course) saganaki with shrimp was delicious, and my flame-grilled rack of lamb was quite tasty. The ouzo provided a fitting end to the meal.

My latest obsession is a fabulous book that I’ve mentioned before: Cookwise, by Shirley Corriher, who has appeared several times on Good Eats as their food scientist in residence. I’m only through the first 60 pages (the science of making bread) and I already have at least four or five different recipes I want to try, including Sausage in Brioche and Great Whole Grain Bread. Yeah, the bread machine is easy, but there is a visceral pleasure in making bread by hand. And really, the quality of the handmade bread is much better, in the end.

One more Good Eats tip: the other day I made Alton Brown’s Gold Cake (his version of the classic yellow cake), and the cake itself was fabulous. Since FoodTV’s recipe archives aren’t the most reliable, here’s the recipe:
Alton Brown’s Gold Cake

What do you do with a GPS?

Well, you get all geeky, that’s what you do with a GPS.

Since we agreed that geocaching was something that’s more fun when done together, I found something else to do with the GPS while Takaza is at work – benchmark hunting. This is even more pointless than geocaching, but it’s just as fun. I tracked down two benchmarks on Friday (which was a good excuse to get out of the house, since there was a realtor showing it). The first one was hard to find (in the floor of a bridge, under some mud) but I got to meet a very friendly local dog who really liked having his ears skritched. The second one involved running through traffic to find the marker on the center pillar of a bridge. This was lots of fun and is definitely something I’ll be doing more. We met up with some of the gang for dinner on Friday, then went to see Bowling for Columbine. It was an interesting movie, deeply flawed in a lot of ways (though I generally agree with Moore’s politics).

Saturday morning I was up far too early to go to a local SCA event to see the knighting of an old friend. It was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed the short time I was there but it also reminded me why the SCA is fun, but not really a place for me. I met up with Dan and friends over pizza in the afternoon and then we adjourned back to the house. Dan and Sherry made dinner while I bummed around and took a much-needed nap. Dinner was pleasant, and was a nice reminder that Dan should cook more often 🙂

We were late getting started on Sunday, but once we got rolling we hit four different local caches. When we pulled up to find the first cache a group of people were getting in their car and driving off. I turned to Dan and said, “Do you think they’re geocachers?” He said, “Nah, couldn’t be.” Then they pulled their car around and asked us if we were geocachers! It turned out they had only found the first of two caches in the park, so we gave them the coordinates for the other cache and we each went off hunting. We had a good day – four caches attempted, four found. Lots of walking through the woods (and off-trail navigation) and some good reminders that our GPS is only accurate to within 10 meters (30 feet). We learned a lot about triangulation and how to think like someone hiding a cache. All in all, we had a blast.

Not much to report about yesterday, except that I had to go to the unemployment office for my bi-monthly employment search review (or as I referred to it, my bi-monthly self-esteem removal). After some shopping, cooking (and a house showing wedged in there), the gang came over for our bi-weekly Mage/Werewolf game, which was fun too.

And now I’m trying to wake up and figure out what to do today. I think I’ll follow steviemaxwell‘s advice and start planning my campaign…

Overcaffeinated and loving it!

First off, I got a wonderful early birthday present from my darling husband Takaza last night: a Magellan Meridian GPS. With this little toy, we’re going to do some fun geocaching – I can’t believe that there are 27 caches just within a 10-mile radius of our house! I guess that’s what happens when you live in an area full of technogeeks. This seems like a really fun thing for the two of us to work together on, plus it gets us out of the house, which is always good. I also want to try hunting down benchmarks, something that Barbarian suggested when we were last in Chicago. Looks like there’s dozens of them in our area, as well.

Need to run some errands today – drop off a copy of our commitment ceremony invitation to Dan so he can show it to his cow-orker, who was just proposed to and is trying to figure out all the details so they can get married in May (!). Also, I need to stop by Wal-Mart to see if they have a new cutter for my electric razor, too (yeah, I can order it online but I want instant gratification, dammit!). And just for fun maybe I’ll stop by the NC State Farmers Market and see if they have some good fresh produce. Naturally, I’ll have the GPS on during all this so I can figure out the other fun stuff it does…

Once Upon a Time…

There was a husky who updated his LiveJournal frequently. Then he didn’t. Oops.

So anyway, to pick up our narrative where we left off…

First off, the radio gig last Thursday went pretty well. I don’t think I ever had more than six or seven listeners at one time, but that’s cool. I inadvertently made my playlist to freakin’ huge – I started it playing at 7 PM, and when I woke up at 6 AM the next morning it was still going. If called upon to substitute again, I reckon I can just pick up later in the playlist and still play music that almost all the listeners haven’t heard yet.

Then came the weekend