Monthly Archives: December 2003

Quote of the day

A slight paraphrase from the commentary on “The Train Job” episode of Firefly:

Tim Minear (executive producer): You know would have been great? Airing the pilot first!
Joss Whedon (writer, exec. producer): Madness! Madness!
Tim: They laughed at him at the Academy!
Joss: Well, they showed the pilot last. Last is like first, but not.

The day after

Though after what? Christmas was an entirely low-key affair around here, and that was just fine by me. We exchanged presents on Christmas Eve, and while they weren’t big, both Takaza and I appreciated the presents we got for one another. Here’s hoping an end to lean Christmases after this year, though! I got the one thing for Christmas that no money could buy, though: my wolf home here with me. That’s worth more than anything.

Dan shocked me by being awake before I was yesterday. We sat and watched a bit of TiVo, then got some breakfast downstairs. The stairs aren’t presenting the problem that I had worried about, so that’s a great relief. After a walk in the neighborhood, we watched the first episode of Firefly, “Serenity.” An excellent episode, methinks. Then we watched it with the commentary, which was hilarious but also bad because Dan was laughing so hard it made his stomach hurt. This was followed by a batch of yummy chicken and dumplings for dinner, and then an early bedtime for Dan. He had a fever of 100.2, which worried me, but it’s the nature of things I guess. I stayed up a bit too late surfing the net, though my evening was brightened by a phone call from datahawk – it’s always wonderful to talk with you, babe!

So, today. It’s a quarter after 10 and there’s no signs of life. I checked Dan’s temperature a few hours ago and it was down to 99.1, which is good. He went back to sleep and I’ve been having a nice, lazy morning, chatting with folks online and enjoying my coffee and paper. Once Dan is awake and I finish doing laundry we’ll see about maybe going out someplace for a walk – something different, a little change of scenery.

We have the best damn friends in the world

wildmouse and me_not_you came over tonight, with Thomas and Sherry and Rich. Janelle, amazing person that she is, cooked up a wonderful dinner of roast turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, corn, green beans, and fresh homemade bread, and a yummy bundt cake to boot. They brought it all in, served it up for me and Dan, and packed it all out again, cleaning the kitchen before they left, but not before tucking away some leftovers in the fridge for us for later.

I can’t begin to thank you all enough. This was exactly what we needed. We couldn’t ask for more wonderful friends.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Great linkage

For those of you with any taste in design or architecture (or just want a good laugh), I would like to direct you to James Howard Kunstler’s Eyesore of the Month, a showcase of design disasters with suitably pithy and amusing (and occasionally profane) commentary.

For those of you who went to Virginia Tech, I especially point you to the April, 2001 edition – I agree wholeheartedly with his comments!

Link provided by the always-fabulous BoingBoing

On a more serious note

We also got some important news yesterday. takaza‘s surgery has been scheduled for Friday, December 19. There are two possible outcomes: the good one has him in the hospital overnight then recovering for a week or two before going back to work. The not-so-good one has him in the hospital for four to five days and recovery will take more like four to six weeks. It’s impossible to know which outcome we’ll be seeing until after the surgery starts, so I’m preparing for the worst and hoping for the best. We appreciate all of the good thoughts and prayers from all of our friends, and we’ll be sure to keep everyone updated as things progress.

As an aside, I’d note that unfortunately we may not be able to host our annual Orphan’s Christmas dinner – we’ll have to figure out on the fly if Dan will be up for it. Likewise the New Year’s Eve Party, though I’m a bit more optimistic about that. Again, we’ll keep folks updated once we know what’s going on after the surgery.

And now, off to make myself useful!

It was a good night.

People liked the music (and I just want to say that I would never use Kazaa Lite to track down requests on the spot for people. That Would Be Wrong). Hell, they were actually out on the dance floor, for the first time in three years. We walked away with $150 from the “Money Machine” (bunch of bills blown around in a chamber) and a couple of nice gift certificates.

A pretty good night overall.

Happiness is…

Having to DJ your husband’s company’s Holiday Party and discovering that the building has unencrypted wireless access with broadband Internet.

Damn, this evening just got a whole lot more entertaining…

Well, that’s that

So, wildmouse was kind enough to proctor my final exam for my Introduction to HACCP class last night, a favor for which I thanked her with a Granny’s Apple Pie apple from Rocky Mountain Spotted Chocolate Factory. Nummy! The test was easy, all of twenty questions, multiple choice and true/false. It took maybe 20 minutes, then I spent the better part of an hour and a half chatting, helping her and me_not_you plan for their Christmas party next weekend, and enjoying a glass of their excellent Remy Martin XO cognac.

The good news is that with that exam, in addition to the three papers and other final exam I completed earlier this week, I am now completely finished with classwork for this semester. The feedback I’ve gotten from my professors has been rather minimal, but as near as I can tell I’ve gotten well above the 80%-or-better grades required to get my HACCP certificate. If all goes well, I might even get a shiny star on it if my grades are over 90%.

Does this certificate actually get me anything? Probably not. But it improved my knowledge of food processing a bit, it put my student loans on hold for four months (which more than covered my tuition!), and gave me the ability to say that I was taking classes for the last few months instead of sitting on my ass. I doubt I’ll be taking the second tier of classes because it just doesn’t seem to really get me anything. A cursory review of “Food Safety Manager” jobs listed on Monster and Careerbuilder shows one or two jobs at most, and those require a minimum of 3-5 years’ experience in the food field. So no more school for me, at least in the near future.

This leaves me with my life again. Now that I’ve wrapped up classes and MFF is past and hiring is pretty much completely dead until after the holidays, I’ll have a lot more time available to me. This is nice, because I’ve got a number of things I’d like to do. I need to wrap up some stuff from MFF this year and planning for next year. I also want to cook a bit more – we’ve been getting by on a lot of really boring and uninspiring dinners, and now I have the time to do something about it. And finally, I want to get outdoors a bit more – some more hiking, and also get back into geocaching. I’ve been too much of a couch potato for the last three months, and I want to do something to improve on that. On the entertaining horizon, we’re going to host an Orphan’s Christmas Dinner the night before/night after Christmas to which the Gang and all of our friends are invited. We’re also hosting a New Years Eve party, though we’ve not even begun planning that one.

So that’s the current state of the husky. For today: meet takaza at Carolina Wine Company to pick out some wines for his company’s Holiday Party (which I am also the DJ for). Also, I need to get some lists of cheesy dance music and check our MP3 directory to see if we have it, otherwise it’s off for a little P2P surfing. Tonight, dinner with friends at a truly yummy restaurant! And tomorrow evening, the Holiday Party. And on Sunday, we rest. Yay!

MFF report still to come. Really! I mean it!

Husky’s Return English Special Bitter

(Just to commit this to Memories, and to share with all you brewers out there)

Husky’s Return English Special Bitter
Brewed by Duncan da Husky, 26 October, 2003

7 lbs Pale/Light Malt Extract
2 lbs Amber malt extract
2 oz. Galena hop pellets (60 minutes)
2 oz. Goldings hop pellets (15 minutes)
1 tsp. Irish moss
1 oz. Goldings hop pellets (10 minutes)
1 pkg. Wyeast London ESB liquid yeast #1968

(Directions assume you’re using a turkey fryer burner and a 5-gallon brewpot)
1. Place malt extract in hot water to thin it out
2. Place 2 gallons of water into brewpot and put on burner on high
3. When water comes to a boil, turn off burner
4. Add malt extract to the pot – pour off unused amount first
5. Stir until completely dissolved
6. Restart the burner and partially cover the pot.
7. When pot comes to a boil, add the first hop addition
8. Skim the foam from the pot from time to time
9. Add second hops addition and Irish moss
10. Add third hops addition
11. Turn off the heat and cover the pot with foil then the lid
12. Cool the wort as quickly as possible by placing the pot in a sink and submerging the bottom with cold water and ice while stirring constantly
13. Pour three gallons of water into the fermenter
14. When wort if cooled to 120 F, add to fermenter (Aerate!)
15. Wait until the wort is below 80 F before pitching yeast
16. Check and record specific gravity
17. Place blow-off tube on fermenter, place other end of tube in pot of water, making sure the end is submerged.
18. After blow-off period (2 days maximum), replace blow-off tube with airlock.
19. Ferment at 65 F for a total of ten days before bottling (air lock will stop “blooping”)
20. Let condition in the bottle at least one week before drinking, and preferably at least two weeks.

Original Gravity (5 gallons): 1.060
Final gravity (at bottling): 1.014
Alcohol content: 4.83%

Notes: Extremely vigorous blow-off – lost a good two quarts of wort (sob!). Finished product is excellent – malty, not too hoppy. I’d make this one again.

Actual content coming soon

Yes, I’ve got a con report in the works, but I have a paper and two finals still to go this week, so that will wait. In the meantime, may I present you with this lovely, Not-Safe-For-Work link for the latest in personal hygiene:

It’s refreshing! It tingles!
Available now at!

Explanation: We heard about this on Sirius Satellite Radio‘s OutQ Network, on the fabulous Derek and Romaine Show as part of their “Naughty But Nice Holiday Gift Guide.” Very, very cool!