Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Dan got a new job super close to home, as in, 2 miles from home. I'm 3.7 miles from home. I do ride a scooter now, but once the weather clears up I'm making it my goal to ride my bike at least once a week. Dan is planning on riding his bike. So our gas expendatures will be going down exponentially starting next week. WOO HOO!
This alone makes me extremely happy. But wait -- there's more. We recycle everything we can. We compost everything we can. We've gone from two to three bags of trash a week to maybe one. I now shop for groceries on the basis of how much packaging each item has. Bulk bins are my favorite things ever. And you should see our pile of reusable grocery bags now. Plastic bags and plastic water bottles are banned in our house.
- Make mesh produce bags
- Get more stuff on power strips to cut down on vampire energy useage
- Replace the dryer vent
- Replace plastic storage with glass storage
- Set up one of those fold-down clotheslines
- Expand the garden
- Replace the behemoth furnace
- Replace the front window
- Install solar panels and go completely off the grid
- Take over the world
Here's the frustrating part: I feel like we're doing everything we can to be as green as possible but we've hit an economic wall. We can't afford to replace the furnace and window and who can afford solar panels, anyway?
I got this quote in an email this morning from SparkPeople and it came up out of the monitor, flew around my head a few times, and smacked me right in the forehead.
OK, not really, but you know what I mean.
I have always had a real problem with being positive when it comes to myself. I can be the biggest cheerleader in the world for my friends, family, and teammates, but as soon as the focus comes back to me it's I can't, I can't, I can't. I'm sure I'm not exactly alone on this.
I'm working on it.
Friday, April 25, 2008
1. Use Add or Remove Programs. Pray the uninstaller actually removes everything.
2. Find out that the uninstaller didn't actually remove everything
3. Pick through the Windows Registry
4. Hope that you've made a system restore point, roll everything back and start over
Removing a program from Linux:
1. Delete the program's folder.
Sometimes I make things too hard on myself. I tried updating Java RTE manually but it made a mess of Firefox. Tried uninstalling Firefox, reinstalling Firefox, reinstalling all my extensions, and installing Firefox manually into a different folder. Nothing worked. Finally resorted to Google. Duh, delete the Java folder. All is right again.
I've got a long ways to go on the Linux thing.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
The year is 1992. I am 12 years old. My Dad, a pilot, took me and my brother to Guam for two weeks. He was there for work. I have no idea why. For those who don't know, Guam is an island in the Pacific more or less halfway between Japan and Australia. It's part of the chain of islands called the Northern Mariana islands in the region called Micronesia. It's quite close to the deepest ocean point on Earth, the Mariana Trench. You can drive the perimeter of Guam in about an hour.
So there we were, in Guam for two weeks. It was my second time out of the US, the first being our trip to visit my Mom's family in South Korea in 1987. To get there we flew out to Wake Island, then stopped for a few hours in the Narita Airport in Japan, then finally to Guam. Narita was awesome to twelve-year-old me, because it was 2:00 AM and there were cartoons on TV and weird food in vending machines.
The first thing I noticed about Guam (besides the coconut trees, 80 degree temperature, and humidity) were the geckos. Geckos on the ground, geckos on the walls (indoors and out), geckos on the ceilings. I never could catch one of the fast little buggers. They're completely harmless, though you had to make sure not to leave food out unattended because you could end up with a bag of baby carrots and geckos, or a can of mandarin oranges and geckos, or a bottle of soda and geckos.
There are a lot of Japanese tourists running around Guam, which meant Japanese trinkets and food in the convenience stores, which was pure awesome for me. We toured the whole island. Tarzan Falls was beautiful. We saw dolphins at Two Lovers' Leap (every island has their own Romeo and Juliet story!). We posed by the cave where the Japanese soldier hid for 28 years after WWII ended (ha!). But the best part was hiking into the jungle to a lagoon where the locals had hung a giant rope on which to swing into the water. Everyone was swinging, letting go at the highest point over the water, and dropping. I didn't so much do that as smash into the water to keep my head above. There's something wrong with my nose and I can't go underwater without holding it and I've never been a fan of jumping or diving into water…or being in water without scuba or snorkle gear for that matter. I was however disappointed that we didn't make it out to Jellyfish Lake because swimming amongst the stingless blobs would be badass.
Anyway, I'm getting to the good part of the story. My dad could scuba dive but since I was only 12 I couldn't yet get my scuba license. I spent hours snorkling around while my dad, and I think my brother too, dove with his co-workers.
Oh my gosh, let me tell you about the coral reef. I'm sure it isn't nearly as spectacular as the Great Barrier Reef, but it can hold its own. The majority of the coral around and on the island is brain coral. It's kind of creepy and isn't any fun to stub your toe on. The waters are filled with black and yellow butterflyfish. The corals are like underwater rainbows. It's mindblowing.
So we're at this one beach that's notoriously good for diving. Not so much for snorkling, and let me tell you why. The water is shallow, maybe one to two feet deep as you walk out about 50 yards to where it drops off like a cliff a good 12 to 15 feet down. The waves were of course breaking against this coral shelf. I was almost at the drop off point when this HUGE freak wave comes at me, knocks me down, and sucks me out over the dropoff. Thankfully I had my mask and snorkle on but in the process of being sucked out I was tumbled around like ice in a cocktail shaker and took in a bunch of water through the snorkle. It was the most terrifying ten seconds of my life as I scrambled to get my bearings and clawed my way back up onto the reef. Those few seconds were a nightmarish swirl of color and pain. I remember screaming through my snorkle tube. I stood up and walked back to the beach sobbing with blood running down my leg. In my scramble to get to the shallows I managed to scrape my leg against the reef. I had a huge coral burn above my knee and more going all the way down my leg and onto my foot. Thankfully one of our group who had stayed back on the beach had a first aid kit with her or I could have ended up with a nasty infection. The rest of the trip was painful every time I went back into the water but I didn't care. I still have a huge scar above and beside my knee and a few more small blips going down my leg.
But I have to tell you, those few seconds of terror were also the few seconds where I saw some of the most intensely beautiful coral reef I've ever seen.
So that's my Guam story. I've been yearning (yes, yearning) to go back ever since. No place in the world has ever felt more like home to me.
Monday, April 21, 2008
Thursday, April 17, 2008
I'm a bit embarrassed about the lack of veg in last night's dinner but it was 8:00 by the time we got home from the dog park and I was tired.
Anyway, Plantation Shrimp. Try it.
(I'm still tired.)
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT SUBSTITUTE RICE FLOUR FOR THE ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR. If you do, you'll end up with a big steaming pot of the saddest soup in the world. The Wheat-Free, Meat-Free lady says that's what she used, but it's lies, ALL LIES!
I was able to salvage this by adding about a cup of normal flour and letting it sit for a few minutes to work up the gluten. My gnudi therefore turned out a bit tougher than intended. I actually liked the chewy al dente-ness.
Anyway, here it is for your convenience:
1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
1 pound frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 cup grated Parmesan
2 egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus 1 cup for coating
1 jar store bought marinara sauce, heated
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
In a large bowl, mix ricotta, spinach, Parmesan cheese, eggs, and yolks. Stir in nutmeg, salt, pepper, and flour. Form mixture in to small, flattened balls.
Dredge the formed gnudi in flour to coat, tapping off the excess. Slide formed gnudi into the boiling water. Be careful not to overcrowd the pan; work in batches if necessary. Remove the gnudi using a slotted spoon after they float to the top and have cooked for about 4 minutes.
Arrange gnudi on a platter and lightly drizzle with marinara sauce.
- I have lots of books rattling around in my head waiting to be written. Maybe someday I'll be able to pry out the puzzle pieces and put them together.
- I think the reason I've been in such a good mood lately is because I haven't been watching the news.
- I could go scrimmage at practice tonight but it's going to be almost 70 degrees outside. I'm torn.
- We're having shrimp on the bahhhbie tonight. ROCK.
- Hey look at that, it's 11:00 already. Lunchtime!
Monday, April 14, 2008
- It was 26 degrees this morning but my scooter started right up so I said what the hell. It's going to be 55 by the time I leave work -- awesome!
- The Dagger Dolls took 2nd place in the season championship on Saturday.
- I slept almost all day yesterday. I was dead tired during the short amount of time I was awake, including while we were at the dog park. I think I turned in for the night around 8:30. And that was my exciting Sunday. The end.
- I just learned that the two slices of pizza I'm eating for lunch today are 566 calories and that makes me want to cry. Oh, but they will be tears of deliciousness indeed.
- I'm going to be spending my weekend in exciting Des Moines, IA moving shit for my work's office down there. My enthusiasm for this particular project is underwhelming, but at least I get 1.5 extra vacation days.
- Speaking of work, everyone's breaking their damn laptop around here.
- Eh, I need to take a walk.
Friday, April 11, 2008
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Dan took in a lost dog that was wandering around late last night. Please take a look and see if you recognize her: http://minneapolis.craigslist.org/pet/637051026.html. She's the sweetest little thing and we want to make sure she makes it home safe!
UPDATE: Oreo is back home safe one street over from ours. Yay!
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
I work in our Edina office on Wednesdays so I was excited to go on my first "long distance" trip. My scooter, who I have named Gretchen, started up like a champion this morning (I've had choke issues the past couple of days because it's so friggin' cold out). I wore longjohns under my pants, my full face motorcycle helmet, a scarf, my thermal hoodie under my winter coat, and a pair of stretchy gloves under my riding gloves. My legs were a bit chilly but it was nothing I couldn't deal with. My hands were another problem altogether though. I need a pair of cold weather riding gloves. They make heated leather gloves but I just can't bring myself to spend $130 for them. It will be 50 degrees later today so I'm going to take a trip to the credit union in Bloomington.
People on the road are a lot more scooter-friendly than I thought they would be. Gretchen only gets up to a top speed of 30 MPH, and that's usually only when I'm going downhill. If I'm on a relatively quiet four lane road I say fuck it and ride in the right lane. If I'm on a busier road or a 2-lane road I'll ride off to the side like a bicycle. People have been pretty good about letting me get over to the left lane when I have to turn, with the exception of one impatient guy last night on Portland and 40th.
I've learned that scooter riders honk and wave at each other, especially when your scooter is the same color. This makes me smile. I feel like I'm part of an exclusive club of very friendly and happy people. I've also learned that pedestrians like to talk to you at red lights. A pink and white scooter is a fabulous conversation piece.
I'm already really happy about selling my motorcycle for this scooter. I'll still have access to the motorcycle because it's at my parents'. Dan will probably learn to ride on it. But with the scooter I feel like I have more freedom to buzz around town doing errands or just riding for the hell of it. Now Dan wants a scooter too.
Every time I pull into the garage after a ride I have an enormous grin on my face. That alone is worth the cold hands in the morning.
I swear I'll have pictures soon.
Monday, April 07, 2008
Fuckin' whippersnappers, always falling out of trees and drowning in rivers.
Why is flinging oil around your bathtub worth it? For one, it's excellent for your skin. It's highly relaxing (especially right after a particularly intense roller derby practice!). As with all massage, it tones the muscles, increases circulation, and helps get those toxins moving out of your tissues.
Now the good stuff: the how-to. Or HOWTO if you're Cory Doctorow. Abhyanga is normally done first thing in the morning. Step one is to find some oil. Sesame oil is best but harder to find, and I'm not talking about the sesame oil you use in your stir-fry. You'd come out stinking like a cheap Chinatown hooker and nobody wants that. The sesame oil you're looking for has not been roasted, toasted, or cooked to shit. You could use any massage oil you'd like. You can even use olive, coconut, jojoba, hell, even canola would work.
Step two: If you've got a handy-dandy squeeze bottle available, put about 1/4 cup of your oil in that, then put the bottle in some hot water for about 5 minutes. Or you can go ghetto like me and put your oil in a glass measuring cup and nuking it for 15-20 seconds in the microwave. Ah, technology.
Step three: Get naked and take off all your jewelry. It would be a good idea to put down an old hand towel or rubber mat in your bathtub. Or get a cheap plastic step stool at the dollar store and sit on that. Remember kids, oil is slippery and don't blame me if you fall and crack your head on your tub.
Step four: Grease yourself up like a pig at a county fair in Missouri (Scotti's gonna kill me). This includes your head. Yes, your hair and everything. Don't worry, you have shampoo, right? No? Dirty hippy.
Step five: Let the relaxation commence. Using the palms of your hand, work the oil into your scalp using circular motions. This is really nice, so try not to drool too much. Move to your forehead and use long horizontal strokes with your palm. Then switch to your fingers and massage your temples, ears, and your head behind your ears. Use your palm and fingers to massage the front and back of your neck. Go horizontally across your upper chest. Use a lighter touch on your torso. Go vertically up and down your sternum. If you're female you should avoid the breasts because your girls will be sagging enough by themselves in a few years without you tugging on them. Go up and down on your abdomen. Move back up and get your shoulders using circular strokes with your fingers. Get your back any way you can, as much as you can. There's no need to dislocate your shoulders here, just do your best. Now, using firmer strokes, massage your arms and legs. Use long strokes on the upper and lower arms and legs and switch to circular strokes on your elbows, wrists, fingers, hips, knees, ankles, and toes. Spend a lot of time on the tops and bottoms of your feet and don't forget to get between your toes.
Step six: Take a nice warm shower and soap up, you dirty thing. If you used a towel in your tub you probably shouldn't wash it with anything else unless you like grease spots all over your wardrobe. Make sure you drink plenty of water (preferably not ice cold -- warm is even better) immediately afterwards to help flush out all the toxins you stirred up.
Like all massage, you might feel kind of poopy and run down later that day. Toxins, remember? Drink a bunch more water and give yourself another massage.
Saturday, April 05, 2008
28 GAMES LATER
Saturday, April 12
6:30pm doors, 7:30pm bout
Atomic Bombshells vs. Garda Belts
Dagger Dolls vs. Rockits
Half-time entertainment by E.L.nO. Pre-show will be a special surprise! First 200 people in the doors get a limited edition t-shirt!
Tickets | Directions | Parking
CHARITY: Family and Children's Service
WIN A COMPLETE SET OF MNRG TEES
Keep your eyes peeled during the bout, not only because you'll need to to see all the track action, but also because we'll be throwing out frisbees at some point. But this isn't just your average frisbee toss ... we have AWARD WINNING frisbees! The catcher of the frisbees will win on of three COMPLETE sets of limited edition bout poster t-shirts from the entire 2007-2008 season! So pay attention and watch for flying objects! And if you happen to catch the winning frisbee, bring it to the merchandise counter to redeem for your amazing new summer wardrobe!
Best liquor store ever.
We each grabbed a case and spent way too much time picking our beers. Mine turned into just an assortment of different IPAs from around the country. Scotti's was a variety of wheat beers, and Dan took a more varied approach.
Here are some of the beers in roughly the order we liked them best, best in the middle and worst on the outsides.
The best IPA of the night definitely went to Red Hook's Long Hammer. It was strong, not too bitter, with a smooth ride and an aftertaste that didn't want to quit.
The second best IPA was Boulder Beer Company's Hazed and Infused. It was slightly sharper than Long Hammer.
My first beer of the night was North Coast Brewing's Acme IPA. Like its name suggests, it's your standard IPA.
Another IPA of note was Victory's HopDevil. It had a great flowery dry hopped flavor, a lingering but not bitter aftertaste, and an interesting caramel note. It's a great dessert beer that would be paired well with fruit.
And here's a picture proving that I shouldn't be allowed to operate a camera when I'm drunk. It's also a picture of our three picks of the night. Scotti's was Breckenridge's Agave Wheat, mine was New Holland's The Poet, and Dan's was Victory's Prima Pils.
The Agave Wheat took your standard wheat ale and added an inexplicable agave sweetness. It had an interesting light flavor unlike any other I've ever tried. It finished clean.
The Poet is an oatmeal stout to end all oatmeal stouts. I would drink it as a dessert beer with dark chocolate. It's very sweet and thick with a strong chocolate and coffee flavor. It lingered just long enough at the end to make you crave more.
The Prima Pils was dry and light. Not my personal cup of tea (ha!) but as far as lagers go it's right up there. It's what I might call a salad sippin' beer.
Friday, April 04, 2008
Thursday, April 03, 2008
I ran down to Burnsville to pick up the money for my motorcycle. As my stepmom says, now my dad has a new toy. He threw out his back and was drugged up on all kinds of medication last night so I told her to tell him to buy a helmet. I'm going to be the helmet nazi until he does.
By the way, the end times are nigh.
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
- I'm feeling much, much, much better. I came home from work last Tuesday morning, spent the rest of the week being extremely sick, then finally on Saturday I started feeling better. It was the weirdest thing -- one minute I had a temperature of 102, the next it was down to 96. I'm eating like a horse now and recovering well.
- I did some power yoga last night to loosen myself up for practice tonight. I've got a lot of work to do to catch up for the championship bout on the 12th.
- I fucking hate April Fool's Day.
- I'm trying a one-week gluten-free diet to see if it helps my poor stomach. Last night I made Plantation Shrimp with salsa quinoa and steamed asparagus. The shrimp was absolutely delicious and totally worth the marinating time that I normally don't have the patience for.
- Tonight I'm making homemade baked beans to go over the homemade gluten-free bread I made last night. Yum.
- Xanthan gum. Holy shit that shit's expensive.
- Nutritional yeast flakes are nowhere to be found in the Twin Cities metro area.
- I HATE SNOW.