Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Lists: more from the Internet

This article in the NY Times, lead me to a picture of Tennessee Fainting Goats, which of course lead me to YouTube, where I found the following clip:

Summary of the comments that I scanned: Mostly just people feeling sorry for the goats (which I agree with) or they think the goats are funny (which I also agree with). There were people discussing how stupid the goats were for evolving such a useless trait and worst of all, using the goats as an argument in favour of creationism and one comment suggesting group selectionism (shudder) as a possible positive result of the mutation. There were also quite a few comments with regards to the fact that the trait has remained in the species because people keep breeding the goats with the mutation and thus is continues to be passed on (and is it really such a stupid trait, if it managed to interest humans enough to continue to breed from the 3 original goats with the mutation?).

I was going to have a long diatribe at how awful our public school education system is and how stupid people are and what a crime it is that parents don't instruct their kids about the value of knowledge and learning about the world around you.

But you all know that stuff already. Poor goats.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Lists: Funny Things I Found Today On The Internet

1. Emailed to my spam account:

Confirming a cash deposit totaling Fifteen million five hundred thousand united state dollars. [15.5m] kept in custody for us in a security company unknown to the company that the content is money hence it was deposited as personal belongings.I want to transfer this money to your account. Contact me direct to my private box so that I can feed you full with details. Phone:+27 83 237 33 22. Jacob Kamala (for the family)

Please feel free to email this man, so he can be sure to "feed you full with details." You know. For the family.

2. Google Sponsored link, in an email from Ryan, regarding a conversation his mother had with the mother of one of his ex-girlfriends (the one that behaved civilly upon hearing the news that he is engaged, as opposed to the one that threw a tantrum).

For those too lazy to visit the link, here is a smattering of the text, it reminds me of the ads for Axe body spray:

"Best-Selling Seduction Author Reveals How He Has Taught Hundreds Of Men To Attract Their Ex Back Into Their Arms... And How You Can Use These Secrets To Get Your Girl Back -- Even If She Told You Never To Call Again!"

"You can win your woman back. You can do it within just 30 days. And this system works no matter how complicated your situation is... no matter how bad you screwed up... and even if she's now dating another guy!"

[Really?? Even if I gave her herpes??No!]

"When you regain your woman's love and affection, it's not going to be by continuing to be a beta male who constantly kisses her ass. Nor is it going to be by calling her and texting her 18 times a day. (That just drives her away.)"


"A word of caution: this Is NOT the kind of guide you'll find in bookstores. It's way too controversial to be picked up by a mainstream publisher."

[Whoa! Mainstream publishers think that this is too controversial? I understand that book publishers as a rule have a moral standard that they feel they need to uphold, even if it means that they lose money, but surely this is such valuable information that it must be their duty to provide this information to people! Standards be hanged!]

"You should only get this guide if you can handle the power of knowing the exact mental hot buttons to press with your ex-girlfriend... and promise to use these remarkable mind-control techniques for moral purposes only!"

[Hear that? Moral Purposes Only.]

"No offense to the guy (because he didn't know any better), but by being so clingy and stalking his ex, he was going about it all wrong."

[Sage advice.]

In Which Alice Is Mistaken For A Mormon

This last weekend we went to the wedding of Ryan's cousin. She is Mormon, as are her parents and most of her siblings.

It was a little strange and at times I felt like I had been time and location warped to some small town in Kansas in 1952. Complete with orange sherbet (non alcoholic) punch and things made with lots of food colouring.
I was asked over and over again the following questions:

"So....What do you do?" (Work for a publicist. No not admin, I write copy and edit and help build campaigns.)
"Where are you from?" (I was born in England. I lived in Syria, my father is Syrian, my mother is English. Then we moved to the Bay Area.)
"Oh...I can kind of hear your accent..." (Yes. You can.)
"How did you and Ryan meet?? (The Onion.)

It was a little tiresome...but they were all so welcoming and nice that I didn't really mind.

It started with family portraits in the morning (Which was fun as I am included when the word family is invoked!) and then we went to Ryan's aunt's house, ate sandwiches from "La Bou" (I hate it when companies try and sharpen their image by shortening their name to something entirely inane) and explained the theory of evolution by natural selection to Ryan's 12 year old cousin. It made me even more upset with the public school system - she asked her teacher the following question:

"If we came from monkeys then does that mean the monkeys will one day become us?"

Her teacher's response:


Which is worrisome. It's a perfectly reasonable question for a 12 year old, particularly if you come from a family that believes "What man is, God once was; What God is man will be" BUT to have a middle school science teacher not understand the theory of evolution by natural selection? And to spread this kind of misinformation? Worrisome.

Anyway. It was a fun afternoon, albeit a little long. It was nice to meet all these people who share genetic information with my (future) husband.

The reception was where things became a little eery, and more than a little of that was due to the fact that Summer leaned over towards the beginning of the evening and whispered:

"Everyone here is wearing secret underwear but us!"

I spent a good portion of the rest of the evening staring at men's necks and women's panty lines, trying to discern the silhouette of the "garment" that they were most assuredly wearing and also wondering how on earth they had managed that day in the blistering central valley heat. The two glimpses I got of actual garment (one when a cousin was adjusting her skirt and the other when another cousin leaned back in his chair while wearing shorts) made it seem to me that they were rather thick and made of some sort of ace bandage like material, although the pictures on this site make it look like they are of a lighter, more breathable material.

I was wearing a new dress from BCBG that I had bought because I thought it would be versatile, the kind of thing I could wear to a barbecue wearing flats or put on heels and wear it to a dinner... it also has short sleeves instead of spaghetti straps (or no sleeves) and as I realized later on, provided enough coverage that I could easily be concealing my own secret underwear.

At one point I was introduced to a man, who I later found out was the groom's father. He was all a twitter when he found out where I lived, as his other son was going to be moving there for an internship. He said, the first time we talked about it, that I would have to talk to his son about living in this area.

I thought this was an empty threat, the kind of thing that people say at cocktail parties, "Oh sure, we should totally go bike riding some time. I'll take you to this awesome place." or "Yeah, you should really talk to my friend's cousin, he's a doctor and he knows about that sort of thing." or "I'll get your email address and send you that link, it's so funny." So I nodded and agreed, "Yeah, I should talk to him. You know it's really expensive there..."

Little did I know that it wasn't an empty threat, that this strange man I'd never seen before (and will most likely never see again) actually did want me to talk to his son. Later on in the evening, he found me and ushered me over to a baby faced boy named Jessemiah or Macob or Dovid or Abrafrom or something (they all seemed to have vaguely biblical names that also sounded made up) and said, "Here's my son, he's a senior and he's going to be moving to your town soon." I assumed, by the guys appearance that he was implying that he was a senior in high school. I asked him if he knew where he was going to be living, thinking that I could direct him to interesting places near by. He said no, and then, gesturing to a very pregnant girl sitting on a chair nearby,
"We've been looking in Menlo Park, Palo Alto...honey, where else have we looked?"
The first thought in my head was, "I knew they got married young but this is ridiculous! She looks 7 months pregnant! Maybe those FLDS Mormons aren't as far removed from the mainstream religion as they all want us to think..."
Then I realized that he must just be getting ready to graduate college, not high school (which is still young, but not quite as scary).
His father stood next to me and I started feeling more and more awkward. Just what was I supposed to tell these people? Where the bars were? My favourite restaurants? At that moment Ryan walked up and the dad, seemingly somewhat relieved, grabbed him and introduced him to Jerub or Marshom or whatever his name was, and I watched Ryan fumble through exactly the same conversation. Thankfully he was interrupted by a skinny photographer, who whisked us away to have our picture taken. I avoided the groom's father for the rest of the evening.

In the car on the way home, I told the story to the rest of Ryan's immediate family.

"Just what did he expect me to say?" I added. "Was I supposed to invite his son over for dinner? Introduce his son to my friends?"

Ryan's mother said, "Ohhh. He thought you were Mormon. You were supposed to tell his son which ward to join and where the churches were."

That was when I realized that my dress could very well have been concealing secret underwear. Then I started to think about how strange that was because for me, it was like a complete stranger had walked up to me and asked me to discuss something intensely personal with another complete stranger and I thought it was rude. But it did not appear that way to him: it was matter of course. So I guess we were both offended.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Getting Paid to Drink

I clicked on this link because I was intrigued by the headline, "Getting paid to drink."

If you'll read the article, you'll find it is about a man who's son has hired 2 people to take his 88 year old dad out to the pubs every evening - "to give him some of his old life back."

Quite sweet, don't you think? I really love old people.


Tonight I am making Summer's birthday present. Several weeks ago, Ryan & I decided that we'd try making our own bread regularly instead of buying it from the store. This has worked so far. I even made focaccia - although we had no rosemary handy, so I used thyme instead - highly recommended (by me).

We have also started making our own yoghurt. So this evening, I am making frozen yoghurt from yoghurt that Ryan made...without an ice cream maker.

This is time consuming. I am following these instructions. And folding laundry in between the 20 minute increments.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Mother's Day Fun!

Just in time for Mother's Day, a new book out, written by a plastic surgeon, is designed to help kids cope with their mother's plastic surgery, resulting from the "mommy makeover" trend. It's called "My Beautiful Mommy" by Michael Salzhauer, M.D. and my sentiments are correctly represented in this review from the Times.

Sick, sick, sick.

"but it's okay, because I'd seen everything..."

Borrowed from Kenny L.:

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Bad ideas made worse by cheesy mascots

While doing research today, I came across pickle flavoured ice lollies (or "popsicles" as I think they are referred to in this country) -the idea is as thoroughly revolting as the previously mentioned Cel-Ray drink.

According to the "culinary experts of Texas" though, I'm wrong and they're delicious.

I'm not sure really what the point is. Pickle juice is rather disgusting. The product itself isn't made out of the leftover liquid after you finish a jar; it's made from pickles themselves.

So why not just eat frozen pickles? Or regular pickles?

The answer:

Because then you don't get to have a cheesy mascot + sidekicks. And isn't that the sweetest taste of all?

2 Unrelated Topics.

"There is nothing wrong with it — it’s not illegal. But it’s ugly."
WILLIAM H. GROSS, chief investment officer of Pacific Investment Management, on hedge fund managers’ earnings.

Here, here.


Here's an article about whether eating dogs is okay. I say, if you eat other animals, then yes, eating dogs is okay.

It made me think of something that I have discussed with various people in the past though. Extremist animal rights activists are often in favour of not having pets and not having domesticated animals. But I think that's a very human-centrist point of view. If it's in the best interest of the individual species to continue to pass on it's genetic material, then what better way than to latch on to another species that will raise them, feed them and keep them safe from predators? Is domestication really as one sided as we have been led to believe?

Monday, April 14, 2008


I'd like to instruct everyone to listen to this man's music. It's been in my head for days. I really think it's awesome.

broked window


Why don't you give me a call tonight when you guys are wrapping up this evening and we'll go from there - I'll see if Margo & David want to join us. As far as Sunday goes, I think that John's thing starts at 6 but I have to double check...

Here's a funny story: I'm sitting at on my couch, having just got home from work and in a fit of appreciation for the amazing weather, decided to open every single window in my house. I started with the back door and the kitchen, moved into the dining room and then the set on the side of the living room, finally getting to the windows in the front, above the couch.

Ryan is always warning me about opening the front windows - one side is painted shut and the other is hanging on by one hinge. I threw caution to the wind and opened the first side, (the side that opens) rationalizing that if the window fell off it's one hinge, the rental company would be forced to send someone out to fix the window. I was incited then, perhaps by the fresh air, to push once again against the painted shut side - surely just a little push might dislodge the paint at least a little. With my palm pressed against the frame and my fingers against the metal at the bottom, I gave it a gently shove only to have the entire window fall out of the frame and shatter on the deck.

The good news is that the rental company did send someone out immediately - to replace the entire window no less. I still feel like an idiot though.


Saturday, April 12, 2008

2 Pies

The first pie was a vegetable pie and it was kind of a miserable failure. Despite it's delicious looking ingredients:

It took FOREVER to cook (3 hours!) and came out dry and rather uninteresting - unlike our previous 4 attempts. Vegetable pies are a great alternative to soup when you have a lot of vegetables that you purchased with the best intentions but now need to be eaten-up-or-else. I unfortunately neglected to put the recipes in this blog, but I assure you they are hearty, yummy and last for several days (nice for breakfast, lunch or dinner). I'll post a recipe up here soon.

The second pie pictured was a Delicious Strawberry Pie. I had over zealously purchased 3 punnets of strawberries and only managed to eat one in a timely manner. I started by chopping up all the strawberries into 3rds or halves, whatever their shape warranted. I took some of them, along with some frozen raspberries that we had hanging around the freezer and pureed the lot in a blender and then heated the resulting puree, adding sugar and butter (not a large amount of sugar because I think pies are supposed to showcase the deliciousness of the fruit, not the sweetness of sugar). The un pureed strawberries went in a bowl to marinade with some more sugar for a bit. Ryan made his signature crust and the puree + chopped strawberries went in the crust, he finished by making the delicate lattice work you see above. Then it went in the oven and, following that, we ate it.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Old news

So I finished the knitting and felting portion of my bag about a week or so ago. I have just been excruciatingly lazy about getting the pictures onto the computer and then uploaded, MAINLY because we do not, at the moment, have Photoshop, so resizing them is a pain. Regardless, in the interest of documentation, here are the photos of the bag (well, really it's more of a clutch) that I created.

Look at the fine stitching on the word dope!

Here are the felty pictures. Felting was a rather smelly but thoroughly rewarding step. (please excuse the bottles of grög, it is being used as a vase, as is the pink lemonade bottle)

With vegetables inside (a tomato, potato and sweet potato), so that you may approximate the size of the bag:

I am currently working on a latch to keep it closed using i-chord, as well as scheming to purchase a felting needle so I can decorate the back (it's a little boring at the moment...)

But, it is, at the moment, USABLE AS A BAG, so it is, for the most part, finished.

NEXT PROJECT: The Inevitable Scarf. I am still working up the courage to try a sweater, and figure that despite my plethora of scarves that I already own/have made, I should make another one for Ithaca, mainly because I am So Afraid Of Being Cold. It would be comical, if it weren't so pathetic, how much my laziness is influenced by the possibility that I might get cold. "I could get ready for bed, but that would mean changing into my pajamas which might result in briefly getting a little chilly. I'll just sit here and watch another episode of A Bit Of Fry & Laurie on YouTube". The scarf is halfway done and is creamy white with brown flowers.

Monday, April 7, 2008

'hedgehog as weapon'

The article in the BBC news this morning, about a man who used a hedgehog as a weapon (he through it at a 15 year old boy) evokes the same feelings in me that the signs for a lost turtle decorating the trees in my neighbourhood.

1) It's so sad. So sad.
2) It's one of those things that makes me so sad, all I can do is laugh because I am so uncomfortable.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The Only Way To Crown Your Throne

I'm so excited that Ryan and I may get to buy a house, I'm already thinking of ways to decorate it. I totally admire my friend Margo's taste in furniture and I helped her move this last weekend and remembered how much I like it. Since we are discussing most likely not bringing our furniture with us to Ithaca, (although the anxious, borderline OCD, nervous wreck inside me finds that prospect alarming), it does get to mean that I get to pick out new furniture. I'm hoping to steal Margo's combination of pretty antique furniture with more modern, clean lined pieces and splashes of colour.

More than anything, I'm excited about potentially having multiple bathrooms to decorate, ever since I found this website. I sort of want to get one right away, but then if I match it to our current bathroom, who knows if it will match the one in Ithaca?