Lunch with a Beautiful Chick

Our very own "Legs" Murphy (aka Murph the Mick) got that short and spiky haircut she was thinking about and watch out smart boys! She is lookin' hotter than ever. The cut is fun and dynamic, just like Janiece. Bravo to Janiece for having the guts to do it and bravo to everyone who encouraged her to do it, 'cause this time your advice was good advice.
We had a lot of fun at lunch, and look forward to any of you visiting for Denvention (more formally known as the 2008 World Science Fiction Convention). We'll do lunch and people watch! Would be fun with a bunch of characters like us. :)


Blogging Irony

(Perhaps in that "ironic" way of Alanis Morissette's)

I generally feel a bit guilty for blogging while at work. Like I would have gotten so much more done if I hadn't taken twenty minutes to talk about what I did yesterday.
Now, things are pressing enough that I don't have twenty minutes to blab and when I get home, I don't feel up to being funny and creative.
So, now I feel guilty that I'm not entertaining my blog readers.

Oh well, I think you folks are probably more forgiving than my employer would be, so it's all good. As I said elsewhere, I've noticed several posts about intellect (John the Scientist, Janiece, and Eric) that I'd like to respond to or chime in about, so stay tuned! Thanks for your patience. :)


India, Here I Come

I just got my tax refund, so I went ahead and bought tickets for India, May 7-29. Eeep!
It was only $1100. I was really expecting more.

It's really going to happen... double eep!

(I'll post more here about the planned trip later, after work. :)

Later (before work the next day):
OK, so here's the story in a nutshell. I have a friend who got a Rotary Club scholarship to go to school in India. She's never been specific about what she's going to school for -- I think it's something like architecture and society/culture. However, I could be way off. The school she's going to is an English speaking school in Ahmedabad. Her husband went with her and took a job at an architecture/interior design firm there, also speaking English. I imagine they're both becoming more fluent in Hindi, which will work in my favor when I go, since I don't speak it.
When she is done school, they plan to do some travelling around the area before coming back to the States. It seemed to me to be a perfect opportunity to travel in a extremely foreign country with experienced and trustworthy companions. Once I figured out that my dad could come and house/cat sit (and visit with family in the area) I knew I could go for 3 weeks (long enough that I get my money's worth out of that plane ticket, not so long that it would become prohibitively expensive).
I'm going for three weeks in May. It's summer there (No, despite being around the globe from here, it's actually in the Northern Hemisphere. Go figure!), and so very hot -- not ideal for travelling, but it's when I had the money to go, so it's when I'm going.
I'm not sure where exactly we're going specifically. Definitely to Agra, home of the Taj Mahal, but other than that, I just expressed a preference for rural locations, so not too much cities, I hope. I'll post more once I've got more info.
I'm excited and a bit nervous too. I've flown to Italy (joined a group once I got there) and Argentina (joined family) by myself, but going to a completely different culture like this is pretty thrilling.
Obviously, as my mum and John pointed out, I've got to see about visas and medical protection, but I expect to be able to sort that out in time.
More info as time permits... :)


B.G. - Before Google

What in the heck did we do before Google?

I was just surfing (before going back to reading, of course!) and ran across this image (source link is here) and noticed the prisoner's number was 24601. That seemed like a familiar set of numbers, but what was it? A zip code? The end of a phone number?

Googling the number combination seemed like a shot in the dark, but I had to know. Google came through! (Hint: it's not the zip code.)

So the question remains, how did we find answers to obscure questions B.G,?


Toiling Like Sisyphus

A wee bit over dramatic, but this last exam has an aggravatingly large study book. Four hundred pages over 20 days is 20 pages per day. Not too bad, except that I'm easily destrac- ooh, shiny thing!
Where was I? Oh, yes... so a missed day or two becomes 20, 40, 60 pages behind. So, I'm making it up this weekend. I've read enough this morning that I've got only 30 pages to catch up on by the end of the day. Then, I hope to get ahead of my schedule so that I can have some distraction days next week.
My friend, Stacey, suggested that I take the practice exam at the end of the book to see which parts I need to study and maybe I wouldn't have to read it all, but I'm a little wary of changing my strategy at this point. I've got seven passes so far, mostly by reading the entire study manual for each exam. I don't know what part of it is the key - mostly, I think I retain information in my subconcious and use it to improve my guessing success - so I'd rather just stick with it for another two weeks.
So, I'm going back to pushing this stone up hill.
Hope your weekends are going better!


It's A Small World

Pleasant Valley is such a benign name. The Monkees even have a song about it. I'm sure there are a thousand Pleasant Valleys. Pleasant Valley, Maryland -- MY Pleasant Valley -- is, however, one of those weird nexuses (nexi?) that generates coincidences.

I just found out via a tangental comment string on Nathan's blog that John the Scientist grew up near there (not technically in PV, one valley over, between Sharpsburg and Keedysville) and graduated from Boonsboro High.

Here, John, is the location of my family home. As I said elsewhere, the farm was sold to a nice couple that were going to keep it as a farm. My parents were getting a bit claustrophobic when the dairy farm across the street was sold to a developer.

As my parents and siblings (and some childhood friends!) read and comment on this blog, I'll ask: do you guys remember anyone by the name of Roelkey/Roelke, Titus, or Cave (surnames connected to John the Scientist)?

This is not the first time I've found a random connection to PV. One of my coworkers' in-laws live in PV and have for the last 10-15 years. They live across the street from my elementary school. Rachel, my coworker, was actually living with them and working in DC at the same time that I was living at my parents' house and taking the same train in to DC to work. Needless to say, we were astonished when we discovered the coincidence.

It really is a small world after all.

Hope for Coral

It's amazing what science can do. I found this cool article about how Coral May Get Help Adapting to Warmer Waters. Since I started diving last year, I've become much more aware of the decline of oceanic ecology. It's good to see news about people trying to help.


Speaking of Boring...

My blog is rated G, because I said "crap" once.
I knew that I don't use fuck, shit, damn, hell, or bitch much, but damn, I don't even use hurt, shoot, ass, bomb, steal, dead, death, murder, kill, sex, or sexy much either. Well, this post should solve that.

I wonder if they look at every blog post ever or just the ones that show up on the first page. Here's where to check your own blog.


Woohoo! This post pushed me into R rated territory, though they didn't list all the words I just used, only the ones without a comma after them. So if you don't want to be caught by the censors, use a comma after your bad words.


Ze Updates Zey Are Boooring

You know that good feeling I wanted to bottle up and save? I could use some now. I'm feeling tired -- probably battling all those germs people have been spreading around the office -- so I'm going to bed early, but I thought I'd drop you all a line. Tomorrow I'll get up early and go to the gym. That'll help with my mood, though getting some sleep will probably help too.
I was studying tonight. It really wasn't too boring -- I'm on the chapter on "programming" which is taking a clients needs and translating that into space size and relationships. I'd just rather be doing something else. Plus, I'm getting behind in my reading, which puts pressure on me and makes me cranky. And no one wants that.
The list of things I'd rather be doing is about as long as my arm, but at the top of that list is spending time with someone who appreciates me for exactly who I am and because of that would rather be with me than anyone else. Maybe I'll join some kind of singles group or match.com type thing when I'm done with exams. I've found it to be not very productive for me in the past, but who knows. I'm different than I was in the past. Plus, I have a better idea of what doesn't work for me, so that narrows things down quite a bit. I'm surrounded by happy couples and while I'm very happy for them and wouldn't have it any other way, I really think I deserve some appreciation and affection too.
Crap. Now I'm getting maudlin. Time to go to bed, try and read some more programming and then go to sleep.

Have a wonderful Thursday, everyone!

The Annie's New Clothes

My brother and his girlfriend took me clothes shopping (postponed Christmas present) on Sunday and had a great time nodding or shaking their heads as I tried on a few dozen clothes. We eventually got three tops and three pairs of pants (LOVE the pants, so comfy and affordable!), so this week I've been wearing the new clothes.
Monday: pink cowl-neck sweater and grey pants with pink pinstripe
Tuesday: dark brown button-up blouse and cream-colored pants and copper-gold-silver choker
Wednesday: white button-up blouce with black belt and dark grey pants
Thank you so much, guys, for the gift of your time and the clothes too. :)

In other news, you might have been able to tell -- I've been super busy lately, so I haven't been able to be as entertaining as usual. Don't worry, things will be back to normal soon!


Top of My World

Here, for your general amusement is me at the top of my project. The flag is a standard "topping out" ritual, placed at the topmost portion of the project. 0Unfortunately, there's not a lot in the photo to give you scale, so I'll tell ya I'm about 350' up from the street, standing on the top of the elevator machine room (which is, interestingly enough, at the top of the elevator and stair shafts). The wooden balustrade would be taken away (I'm pretty sure), since no one is expected to be on that roof.


Wrap Your Head Around This

brenda013 wanted to post this, but had a bit of computer trouble, so she asked me to:

The poem I talked about is not exactly a poem. It is from Paul Brunton's second volume:

"Whether physically together or physically apart, that is a true relationship between master and disciple, husband and wife, friend and friend, which refusing to be tightly possessive or personally demanding, is satisfied by the silent fact that the other exists at all."

Hmm. I'll have to think on that one for a while.

On a more prosaic note, I had a wonderful time with my brother and his girlfriend today. It was my long postponed Christmas shopping trip. They got me some great stuff. It was really interesting getting their opinions on the clothes I tried on and I'm looking forward to wearing some of them to work tomorrow. :)


Wish I Could Bottle It

Feeling unaccountably good this evening. Why can't I make it last? :D

I also just finished watching Hitch. Before I give you my opinion, let me be absolutely clear. I generally dislike romantic comedies. I find them utterly fake most of the time.
I loved Hitch. I think it was mainly because of the utterly charming Will Smith. Kevin James, however, is a close second. I laughed so hard when he does his dance routine and is so confident about it. I tend to have a cynical opinion about what people are looking for and would love to be knowledgable like Will's character. I'm starting to realize, like Will does by the end, that it's the personality and unique things that really work for people. In short, I think the message is not only true, but something I need to learn myself.

I missed this line in the actual movie (missed the first 1/2 hour or so), but I thought it was a great description. I might resemble that just a bit.

Max: Spoken like a true cynic.
Sara: I'm not a cynic, I'm a realist!
Max: Or a realist masquerading as a cynic who is secretly an optimist.

Movie Review: Jumper

I saw Jumper this afternoon. I had been interested in seeing it since the trailers came out.

The premise: what does a young guy do with his newly discovered talent for teleportation?

I have read some negative reviews for it, but I was actually pleased with the movie. The very same loose ends and "plot holes" that irritated others were refreshingly realistic in my opinion. Often, in the movie, we'll be left not knowing what happened to a secondary character after leaving (or being left by) the main character's storyline. I loved that. I thought this was not structured like your typical Hollywood movie (one early scene has the "hero" ignoring people who need rescuing) and frankly, that was the best thing about it. Well, second best thing. The best thing was the amazing special effects and all the cool locations they end up.

The negatives of the movie were that the main character could have been a little more charismatic. I understood what they were going for -- an everyman kind of guy -- but it didn't come off very strongly. The other thing was the "romantic" relationship. I didn't really buy it (not once they left the teen versions of the characters) and it may have boiled down to a lack of chemistry.

I appreciated that they weren't going for a "superhero" movie. The reactions of the characters are intended to be realistic. That fell a little flat. The premise and "universe" of the story, however, is really interesting and I left the theater imagining myself in the story.

Three stars out of five


Ho Hum, Another Exam

Oh, forgot to say how the exam went -- OK, I think. I'm not sure if that's because I actually had to guess less or because I'm getting used to not knowing the answers for sure. The good news is, I feel more on the "probably passed" side of things. The bad news is, I don't know if that actually translates into passing. I'd almost rather feel the standard "eep!" that has yielded passes in the past.
We'll see in a couple weeks.

Thanks for your support, everyone!

In the meantime: ONE MORE TEST TO GO!
That'll be in three weeks. O_o

V-day Feast, Part II

The delicious food for Valentine's Day continued at dinner. I had brought two French wines to drink with dinner: a Burgandy, which was light and refreshing, and a Malbec/Merlot blend (80%/20%), which was much heavier and had a spicy flavor. I arrived in time to watch my brother-in-law cooking the sauce for the chicken. He got lots of credit for the food, but in truth, it was a team effort. My sister is an excellent sous chef. She finds the ingredients, prepares/chops anything that needs it, and essentially lays the foundation for the cooking.
On the menu for the evening were two recipes out of Ina Garten's Barefoot in Paris cookbook (hence the French wine). The entree was Chicken with Morel Sauce, a lovely sauce made with morel mushrooms, creme fraiche and Madeira wine. Interestingly, it was similar (though much better!) to the mushrooms in cream sauce that I made a couple years ago for Valentine's dinner. On the side were Roasted Vegetables: potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, shallots, and red peppers. Very yummy! Everything was delicious, actually, and all we lacked was crusty French bread to sop up the sauce. [sigh] Guess we're just going to have to do it again.
I brought a sparkling Italian wine (since I don't really like champagne much) for dessert. It was called Moscato d'Asti, and was quite sweet, like an alcoholic soda. The dessert was creme brulee, and like most true creme brulees, was delicious. The evidence, you see below.
I'd like to thank my dear sister and brother-in-law for inviting me up for dinner and for the deep and thoughtful conversation (trans-sexuals, psychology, politics, to name a few topics). I feel very lucky that you two moved out here to Colorado. Hugs all 'round!


V-day Feast, Part I

I forgot to mention that my Valentine's Day feasting would begin earlier in the day with lunch. My boss (one of the ones with his name on the firm) took me, my immediate superior, and another architect, who worked on the custom units program for my project out to lunch as a thank you for working so hard on the project.
He took us to Ellyngton's at The Brown Palace, a posh restaurant and historic hotel. We had a really hard time deciding what to get. I finally settled on the Lobster BLT, which was Maine lobster, Bibb lettuce, yellow tomatoes and applewood smoked bacon on a thick slab of toast, open-face. There was also a stack of freshly made french fries on the side. I decided on this because I so rarely get lobster that I didn't even remember what it tasted like, only that it's expensive and people like it a lot. It was very good. The flavors worked well together, particularly the tomato and bacon. The lobster I preferred alone, to appreciate the buttery flavor, and since I was eating this all with a knife and fork, I was able to mix and match as needed. Two other of my party had the Georges Banks Scallops entree and one had the American Kobe Burger with the caramelized onion and foie gras butter. He said he had never gone to an expensive restaurant and ordered a burger, so he wanted to try it.
We all had a "dessert shot" and coffee (hot tea for me) at the end. I had the Key Lime Pie one. It was a layered dessert with graham cracker crumbs, then key lime pie filling, then whipped cream on top, all in a large shot glass. It was very tasty and would be super easy to make in quantity (provided you have a bunch of shot glasses) for a dinner party. The other flavors tend to be things like cheesecake, chocolate or peanut butter mousse, and any creme pie filling. Lends itself well to adaptation, you see.
The conversation was good too. This is the boss who's a little less shmoozy than the other one, so it felt a little more authentic. I really appreciate that he really appreciates the work we do. Hopefully they'll remember that when bonuses come out too. ;)

The meal was just the right amount, didn't leave us stuffed or wanting for more. It lasted 2 hours though, so I was really glad I anticipated this and told the meeting I was going to afterwards that I would be late.

I've already got the wine for my dinner with the Grabills. I got French wines, since the menu is all French. The dessert wine is Italian, but [shrug] I think it'll be fine. I'm really looking forward to tonight! I'm taking my camera with me. I didn't think to bring the camera to the restaurant, but I'm planning ahead for dinner. Yum yum yum!

Oh, and one of my brother-in-laws sent a Valentine's Day story about a man and his wife who has Alzheimer's. The best part of the post was:
True love is an acceptance of all that is, has been, will be, and will not be.

Thank you, Mel!


Happy V-day, Everyone!

I wanted to post something about marriage on Valentine's Day because in the last few days I've run across references to the two opposite ends of the marriage spectrum (pretending for the moment there are only two ends to the spectrum). One is a wedding I heard about from a friend about a woman getting married for two reasons: to have children and to have monetary support. It's not about love or being partners, it's just about getting what she wants. One she could get from a sperm bank, but the other she can't. The sad thing is, I'm sure there are millions of marriages (or ex-marriages) that are like that. However, on the positive end of the scale, I ran into a post by the fellow who writes PvP, an online comic strip. Two characters in his strip are engaged and something in the storyline prompts him to write something very unusual about marriage. Not sure I understand it, but from what I gather, I can't understand it yet. So there are all kinds of marriage out there: depressing ones and inspiring ones.

I've got to go to bed, test tomorrow, so I'll leave you with a couple more things:
Several years ago, after being single most Valentine's Days, I decided to always make a fancy dinner -- for myself if no one was with me. That way, I could affirm that I really do love myself, even if I don't act like it all the time (hmm, kinda like a relationship!). This year, I've been invited to my dearest sister and brother-in-law's house for dinner. I haven't had time to even think about making a fancy dinner because of the exams, and they wanted to show me how much they love me by including me in their own festivities. It really means a lot.
I'll regale you all with pictures of tomorrow's feast, but in the meantime, here's a feast of the past: Valentine's Day 2006. I thought I had more, but last year's was unphotographed (I believe it was Asian themed, with fresh spring rolls) and I don't remember when I started. I don't have one for 2005. Maybe I wasn't blogging as thoroughly.

Anyway, the final thing is that I wanted to tell you that I love you all. Thanks for coming by my blog and being part of my life. :)


I am the Walrus

I saw Next recently. It has some entertaining concepts and it's executed reasonably well. Nicolas Cage is not an attractive man, but he did a decent job, as did Julianne Moore. Some parts were a bit predictable, but considering the man's talent was prediction, this actually contributed to the movie.
What I'm irritated about is that I heard someone say Jessica Biel was "fat" in that movie. (!!!!!!!!) Take a look. Yeah, she's enormous, isn't she? Granted, she looks heavier than she did in I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, but as she looked unnaturally thin in that one, I think that's a good thing. Anyway, she's probably about my height, and in Next, she's probably about 20-30 lbs. lighter than I am. I know the person's comment wasn't directed at me, but it made me really frustrated with society. A normal, healthy weight actress is called "fat" and I'm not supposed to take it personally? I'm only a little overweight (see above reference to 20-30 lbs. lighter and I'd be a "heavy" Jessica Biel) and have been self-concious about my weight for what seems like my entire life. I'm *really* looking forward to when I get to worry about my age too. Yippee! [/sarcasm]

On a more serious note, I know there's no pleasing some people and it's not worth worrying about what they think. I agree. I am just so flaming mad because it was listening to ****heads like that when I was young that made me feel inadequate in the first place.


Uh, Thanks, but No Thanks

What's the weirdest/stupidest/funniest/most irritating reason you've ever been dumped?

This isn't always the real reason you've been "released back into the wild." Those are sometimes more sensible/reasonable, sometimes even stupider.
And this doesn't have to be romantic dumping, it may be dumped as a friend or employee.

Me, I've got two: I was once dumped because I was a virgin (helloooo, a little effort on your part and that wouldn't be the case, dumbass) and once because I am not Asian (you didn't notice before this?). This last would have been funnier if I hadn't been the one that was dumped, but it has a certain amount of bizzareness that I appreciate.


Coasting in to the Next Exam

I didn't do very well studying yesterday. I went shopping and cooked and socialized... and procrastinated.
I went back to Entrée Vous with a friend and got Coq au Vin and Chicken Piccatta. The dishes I got last time had mixed results. The Beef Adobo was fine, but the beef unevenly cut and the sauce more tomatoey than I prefer. The first attempt at cooking it, I accidentally boiled off more of the liquid than I was supposed to. The second time, I may have had the temperature too low, because I had to cook it for much longer than the instructions said, trying to mellow the sharp taste (could have been the tomato, or the garlic, which I generally love). The Moroccan Chicken was good, and not difficult to cook. The Four Cheese Penne Casserole I did not really like, something about the flavor or maybe because I'm not familiar with casseroles with breadcrumbs. The Chicken Marsala was overly sweet, perhaps because of the sweetness of the Marsala.
I went to a birthday party last night, and was planning to bring a side dish. I had just seen Giada make a delicious looking Fennel and Potato Puree. I had to go out and not only buy the ingredients, but a food processor and an iron. (Heh, no, the iron was not for the puree.) I had been planning to get a food processor for a while, but lacked an excuse. Now I had one! The iron I needed because my previous one, about 10 years old, just crapped out last week and I need one for my work clothes. I can only do without my button-down shirts for so long.
After the shopping, there was cooking the puree. It was pretty easy. I saved the liquid the fennel and potatoes cooked in. I think I can use it later as a base for a potato leek soup. Anyway, the puree turned out great. The mint did not give it a minty flavor, merely fresh, or herby. The marscapone gave it a great creaminess. Speaking of the marscapone, this was the first time I knowingly ate the Italian cream cheese and it won't be the last! I loved it. It's like a cross between regular cream cheese and clotted cream. Yum. (Oooh, just got an idea. I think I'll make scones and have marscapone and jam on them.)
The party itself was very nice. I got to talk to a bunch of family I haven't gotten to see in a while. I got mistaken for a high school student (admittedly, I was dressed casually and had my hair up in a youthful or juvenile fashion and she was an elderly lady). I got to talk to my dear brother and his girlfriend, both of whom had spent all day house hunting. And dessert was a delicious bread pudding with bourbon sauce.

Today I'm doing much better at studying. I already finished the book I was reading and took a practice exam (80%, passing). I'm taking a lunch/blogging break right now, then it's back to another practice exam before switching to another book. I am feeling pretty comfortable with (as shown by my practice exam results) about 80% of the material and I think it'll only take a little brushing up on the rest. Interestingly, increasing my study time from the typical 3 weeks to 4 really gave me the time to do that brushing up. However, using a 4 week typical would have added another 6 weeks to the schedule. Something I not only did not want to do, but didn't need to do (all passes so far).
Well, the break's coming to an end. Back to the grindstone...

Later: Didn't make scones, 'cause my Bisquick is waaaaaay expired (two years!). I did, however, clean the bathtub and studied. And in making the latest Entree Vous dish, Chicken Piccata, I once again screwed up the cooking instructions. Saved the day with orzo, but in the long run, it was too lemony for my taste. Scones, on the other hand, I'm sure would have been perfect. Darn Bisquick.


Gender Scouts

A conversation occurred recently on my family's website about the difference between Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, particularly the later stage (high school) involvement. The perception is that Boy Scouts encourages a deeper and more lengthy involvement than Girl Scouts. The primary reason for this is probably the well known ultimate Boy Scout achievement, Eagle Scout. It becomes part of a listing of a man's achievements -- Astronaut, Congressman, Eagle Scout. Can anyone name the ultimate achievement in Girl Scouts? (Yeah, I didn't think so. You can Google it or wait till the end of this post.) I earned the penultimate award and tried for the last one, but didn't manage it.
So, the discussion turned to why is it that way? My brother-in-law very astutely pointed out: "Think of it this way. The BSA started training boys to be men and great leaders. Where as the GSA started out to train girls to be good housewives. That is not the goal of young woman today. They have had to redesign their program. The mind set of GSA has not evolved as fast as the young women they serve. It's coming though. I have often thought if girls could join the BSA and become a eagle scout right along with the boys. They would start out in the job market on a more even playing field. Even that is changing nicely now."
So began the conversation.

Obviously, the role of women is changing. I think there is a correlating loosening of the restrictions on men's roles as well. It's much more acceptable for a man to be a stay-at-home dad than it ever has been. At least, I think it is. What do you think? Are things changing? TV and movies present the professional woman and the kick-ass heroine, but conservative churches present the mother and homemaker as one of the highest achievements a woman can attain. What I wish was that all choices were equally accepted and equally honored.

Which brings me to my conclusion: The thing my brother-in-law said that gave me the most hope for a was that he had spent time as a Girl Scout troop leader. He also pointed out how many women are involved as Boy Scout troop leader. I think it's these "cross-over" situations that will inform kids about stereotypes. Namely, don't trust them. They have some value, of course. They can give one a starting point for observations, but they are not a substitute for actual observation. They oversimplify, like a cartoon. Yes, June Cleaver was a great housewife and mother, but what were her hobbies? Why did she and Ward stay together so long? I could go on.

Funny, but this has transmogrified into a response to MWT's post about gender roles. I highly recommend a wander over there.

For whatever reason, I'm a highly individualistic person. (Makes me bad mortar in MWT's analogy.) The harder a community presses me to join in, the more likely I am to slip away. (It was no accident I jumped overboard from Nathan's ship.) This makes me pretty sensitive to social pressure in general, but specific to this post, definitely to gender-driven pressure. I see it in advertisements and TV and movies. I hear about it from friends abroad. I like the parts of my gender that I have accepted, but there are parts that I just don't have. Instead of being perceived as a good or bad example of the stereotype of my gender, I'd rather be a person who has some good traits and some bad. And I'd rather not feel awkward or wrong because I'm "not feminine enough".

I'm glad that there are those who are leading today's youth who are like my brother-in-law, who appreciate the diversity of life. Hopefully they will be taught to appreciate individuality, their own and that of others.

(The Girl Scout's ultimate achievement, by the way, is The Gold Award.)


I skimmed through a few of the other blogs I visit this morning and it looks like my busy days are robbing me of some prime blog reading (Nathan getting a new avatar, Janiece posting some fantastic photos, Jim going on about Brazil) in addition to prime blog writing. I'd like to say "Ppppppbbbbbtttt, work!" but I really can't, so here's a bit of fluff to fill the gap in the meantime.

I was listening to the radio this morning and heard an interview with James McAvoy (Children of Dune, C. of Narnia, Atonement). He has a delicious Scottish accent and I've just now decided that it's my favorite accent. Irish and Australian were up there for a long while, but under the onslaught of the recent dreamy Scottish actors, I'll have to say Scotland is tops for the moment. It started with the adorable John Hannah (Sliding Doors, Four Weddings and a Funeral) and besides James, has finished up with Gerard Butler (300, Cradle of Life), both, incidentally, from Glasgow. (I'll leave off that best known Scots actor, Sean Connery because I've seen more movies of him doing an English accent than movies/interviews of his native Scots accent.)

So, do you have a favorite accent? What is it?


Busy Day

I have a nice, deep post brewing about gender role differences, but am swamped at work today. Will post when I can.
[boss comes in, casually tapping a bullwhip against thigh]
Caio for now!


Quick Update

I've been doing pretty well keeping abreast of things at work. I do need to bring home my notes and photos to write the latest field report. Bleah, but it'll probably result in a new site photo for you guys.

There was a anti-trolling post that devolved into general disarray over at Nathan's. I committed Jigai (was going to say Seppuku, but learned better over there at wikipedia) over there to shake things up. Aileen, if you go over there and say "The Grabill Family is confused." that would be awesome.

And right now, on TV, they're showing Mr. & Mrs. Smith, which is one of the more depressing movies out there. Those of you who have been around me for a while know that I have some major pet peeves with the portrayal of marriage in popular media. I think I'll sign off here and turn off the TV before I go into a rant about it.


Action! (For MWT and Jeri)

In the comments section of the previous post, MWT asks, "Was that crunchy peanut butter ball really as enormous as it looks in the picture?" Here's a scale figure to prove just how enormous it really is. It'll take Jazz about a week and a half to finish it, but that's because he's on some kind of diet right now. Beginning of the year, you know how it is.
And this picture is also to prove Jeri's point (supplemented by Janiece and Michelle's comments) that our table is the one with action figures. :)


Work at Work

I had an oddly successful day today. I didn't get distracted as much as I usually do and therefore I got more done than usual (on a non-deadline, anyway). It was very nice and I'm hoping it continues for a while. Granted, it'll affect my blogging, but my boss would probably say it's worth it.

Getting home, however, was a bear. It's been snowing since 11 this morning, though lightly, so there was about four inches of snow on the ground. Then, I was four cars back from an intersection that was crossed by a lightrail line when a lightrail train stopped across my half of it and didn't move again. So, a four lane thoroughfare had to all turn right (the crossing street was one way) and go through central Denver to keep going. There were a couple other places where police were sitting next to a car with flashers and a bus with flashers, but in the long run, it only took me twice as long to get home as it usually does. Not bad, considering. (Not to mention, I do love having All Wheel Drive!)

Yesterday, I went to my sister's Superbowl Party (great game, by the way) and I brought artichoke dip (as usual) and a newly discovered treat, Crunchy Peanut Butter Balls. They are like Peanut Butter Cups, if they were made with marshmallows and dark chocolate. They're delicious, more like bonbons than cookies, and are very easy to make.

And finally, I rarely get to do or say anything that counts as "Geek Cred" but here's something I haven't seen anywhere else:
Today's date is special, 02/04/08 = 2^1/2^2/2^3 (^="to the power of")
Cool, huh?


"I am no one to be trifled with."

Here, for your general amusement:

Westley / The Dread Pirate Roberts

Which Princess Bride Character are You?
this quiz was made by mysti

I got Wesley, which I thought might be the "middle of the road" character (the quiz default when the answers are inconclusive), so I tried the quiz twice more and got Wesley every time. So I guess I'm Wesley.
Since I've seen other people's results on other blogs, I'll sum up the results. So far we've seen:
2 Fezziks (Janiece and MWT)
1 Yellin (Tom)
1 Valerie (Michelle)
2 Miracle Maxes (Jeri and Cindi in CO)
1 Vizzini (Nathan)
2 Wesleys (myself and Jim Wright)
1 Buttercup (Kate)

So are the results accurate? [shrug] You tell me.

Updated results:
2 Fezziks (Janiece & MWT)
1 Yellin (Tom)
1 Valerie (Michelle)
2 Miracle Maxes (Jeri and Cindi in CO)
2 Vizzinis (Nathan & Tania)
4 Wesleys (myself, Jim Wright, Stacey, & Max)
3 Buttercups (Kate, Rebekah, & Jenn)
2 Inigo Montoyas (Aileen & Steve B.)


Colors by Stacey

My buddy, Stay-C (tm Tom) gave me my next icing adventure, Wilton Gel Icing Colors. They're supposed to be much better than the standard food coloring drops. There are 12 colors: Lemon Yellow, Golden Yellow, Pink, Red, Burgandy, Violet, Royal Blue, Teal, Kelly Green, Copper (good for Caucasian skin tone), Brown, and Black. These last two are recommended to be used in chocolate icing, because you're starting out with most of the color before you add coloring. I'll let you know how they turn out. :)

I'm going to my sister's for the Super-Dooper Bowl tomorrow. It's less about the sport and the advertisements and more about seeing friends and family (at least, for me, it is). I prepped the artichoke dip and delicious Crunchy Peanut Butter Bonbons for tomorrow. I'm saving the description for tomorrow - you'll have to imagine what it tastes like until then. Cheers! :)


Taxman and Catwoman

I realized today that I have been lax in my required posting of cute cat pictures. At left, you'll see my only piece of "cat furniture," a scratching post with a platform on top and a "cave" below. In this picture, Martin is on the top and Matti is tucked into the bottom.

Tonight I did my taxes. Frustratingly, I'm getting back less than I usually do, 'cause I'm making a bit more than last year. On the plus side, I'm making a bit more than last year. ;)

Doctor, doctor, gimme the news

Went for my annual exam this morning and besides the poking in the lady parts, I was highly irritated that I had to fill out two forms by hand. One was short and semi-justified - my insurance provider has changed and though they photocopy the information on the card, they require that you re-print out by hand all the relevant numbers and info. The second was the general health and history form that I have to re-write every single fricken time. Why can't they have it on the computer and then you check to see if the information is up-to-date via a print out or something? I do not recall family history that well and can never remember if anyone in my family has ever had cancer when they were under 70 yrs old. I try and spell my drugs properly, but *they* are the same people who prescribed them! Shouldn't it be in my folder?
Arrrgh! Join the new millenium, people. We're almost a decade into it.

In more pleasant news, I got results back from the 7th exam. I passed. Whew! I was nervous about this one, since I studied the least for it of all the exams I'm taking and relied a lot more on personal experience. This can be good (experience is much more memorable than reading about something) or bad, depending on if my experiences match the answers they want me to give. No more worrying needed, this one is done. The next one is Valentine's Day.

And a bit of trivia I picked up on Good Eats: Raszh = mushroom crazy in Russian. Alton tried to make a bad pun, of couse, so I'll abstain.