Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Searching for Jobs In Ithaca

Remember this?

Well I've found something even better.

"I don't see what the problem was."

Ryan's grandfather, I gather, was an interesting man. Ryan told me a story this morning about how he was kicked out of a bank because he called a teller a lard ass. His account was closed and he was handed a cashiers check.

"I don't see what the problem was. She was a lard ass."

Ryan has also mentioned words of guidance that his grandfather gave him. Something about broken hearts and people liking him for no good reason.
One of his friends "rejected" our invitation. That is to say, upon request for her address, she told him she wouldn't be comfortable attending. I wonder what would possess anyone to do that. I thought about it and thought about it and realized that the -polite- thing to do is to just respond to the invitation with a "not attending". As it stands, it feels like she's boycotting the wedding. (Yes, this is the second person not attending the wedding because it is "uncomfortable" for them)

Granted I've never met her so I really can't say why she would feel uncomfortable at the wedding. There are theories, but I shouldn't really speculate. It's unfair. She's missing a great party.
I have just been feeling so upset recently. Oversensitive. Scared. Insecure. I attributed it last week to my female brain chemicals going a little haywire as they are wont to do, oh, about once every 28 days or so. (I honestly started crying at the beginning of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - who does that?? what the hell is wrong with me??). But that's all over with now and I'm still a Bundle Of Nerves and feeling very, very unlike myself.

I feel a little guilty now.

The Patients Voice invites to a ResBlog about Gout

Dear Friend

May I take this opportunity to invite you to a new online research blog discussing the impact of gout on lifestyle and environment?

If you suffer from gout then this is a great opportunity to share your views. By doing so you may have a positive impact on the treatment options on offer in the future.

To take part please click the link below:


Please bear in mind that all contributions can be anonymous and your comments will be used to design a new international research project.

Contribution is easy! Just fill in a user name of your choice and type in your comments.

Feel free to share this link with anyone you may feel would be interested. We are very keen to hear their views as well.

Kind regards and many thanks for your help

The Patients Voice – Community Manager

Monday, May 19, 2008

Drivetrains and what not

Inventors have developed a variety of methods to transmit power from the rider’s legs to the bicycle, but none can compete with the high efficiency, reliability, and low cost of chain drives. Derailleurs and internal hub gears are devices that allow riders to match pedaling speed (cadence) to changing terrain.

The rear derailleur moves the chain from one rear sprocket to the next. The front derailleur moves the chain from one front chainwheel to the next. By varying the size of the sprockets and chainwheels, the rear wheel can turn faster or slower than the crank. Modern bicycles have up to 10 sprockets on the rear freewheel and 3 chainwheels on the crank, providing a theoretical maximum of 30 different gear ratios. The rear derailleur includes a spring-loaded pulley to take up chain slack. In the 1990s simple levers for shifting were replaced by trigger and twist-grip mechanisms that precisely positioned the derailleurs in the centred positions and thereby reduced the skill required for shifting gears. Rear internal hub gears are available with 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, and 14 speeds. They are slightly less efficient than derailleurs.

-Encyclopaedia Britannica

I'm trying to figure out the cheapest way to fix up the bike Jessie gave me. I may have to purchase a whole new drivetrain, I have been told. But before I do that, I think I need to know exactly what a drivetrain is. So I'm learning.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I think I have gout.

Or something. Ever since Saturday morning, my calcaneus has been really, really, really painful. I realise that this is probably not gout, as gout affects joints, not calcaneus bones but wouldn't it be sort of humorous if I did have gout?

I could grow a big red nose and wear a tam-o-shanter, drink whiskey constantly, shout at the "help" and molest the parlour maids. Occasionally, when my gout wasn't acting up, I would go for walks on the moors to look at my sheep and mutter to myself.

It's actually the right side of my calcaneus, which is a word I learned in anatomy class. A class I almost failed. But I do remember the calcaneus. I also remember sitting with my professor after the final - I had been consistently doing abysmally on all the exams in the lab, so my poor performance on the final was not a complete shock to either of us. The problem, though, was not with my intentions. I had studied and studied and studied, to no avail. I tried so hard to cram the information into my head, but it just would not stick. My brain would willfully cry out: "There must be another, shorter, easier, faster way! This isn't the way we do things! We can't be expected to remember tiny details that have little or no consequence to the way things work!" But cram I would, despite the fact that it was a little like trying to put up wallpaper without any adhesive except your own saliva.

My professor stared across the lab table from me. He was such a nice man, with a haircut leftover from a time when he must have been a member of a folk band, shaggy and ear covering but purposefully so. We called him Peter, Paul, Mary, and Peter (his first name, was in fact, Peter) and in class, he often talked about love.

"I just don't get it. You clearly study. You ask questions. You got an A in the lecture portion. You pay attention, you've been to every lab section. Why did you do so poorly??"

"I don't know." I responded tearfully.

"Well. As long as you promise never to be a doctor, I'll see what I can do. What's the lowest grade you need for this to count for your major?"

So, I solemnly promised never to be a doctor and I passed human anatomy. So I know how the human body works, I just can't name all the parts.

My calcaneus doesn't hurt any less though, for me being able to remember it's name and the muscle attachments surrounding it also hurt, from compensating for it. I'm pretty sure I don't have gout, but I wonder what I do have - there's no bruise or other visible injury and no swelling. I haven't done anything to warrant such excruciating pain and it has only subsided minimally since Monday which was the worst day. The dog is suffering because I have not been able to walk him to full capacity. Hi-Ho. At least, thanks to the internet, I should be able to self diagnose in a few minutes, although I'm not sure if that may be violating my promise to Peter, Paul, Mary and Peter...

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Old Entry!

There was a point in my life when I was convinced I was going crazy and, in and effort to disprove this fact, I started cataloguing random people I thought might be crazier than me. Here was the first entry.

People Weirder Than Me

Sunday, October 01, 2006

In the spirit of making lists, I thought it only fair that if I am keeping track of people who think _I'm_ crazy, I should keep track of people who _I think_ are crazy.

Here's the first entry:


This is a website about how to make your own hooves. It's not really that funny, just alarming. Especially because the demonstration picture features a hand belonging to a grown man:

The website, which explains exhaustively (in 6 stages to be exact) the process of making hooves for oneself, also points out that although the directions are for single-toed hooves, "With some thought, there is no reason why the same technique cannot be adapted for bifurcated hooves, so all you wouldbe unicorns, deer, goats, sheep, and cattle - don't despair"

It also instructs it's readers to go and look at a real horse, by way of booking a riding lesson at a local riding program. Because just marching up to a riding instructor and telling them you need to look at some hooves, as you are making a pair to wear around the house would just be plain weird.

The best part is the very end though. I can't really summarize it, I just start laughing too hard every time I read it:

"Unless things have gone drastically wrong, You should now be a quadruped! Hope you have as much fun with them as I have! (And if you want to take the challenge, wearing hooves I've managed to dress, type, write with a pen, read a book, and pick up individual nuts from a bowlful!)"

There you have it. Someone wierder than me.

Much weirder.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Cleaning Strategization

The dinner was a success. After 2 whole days of cooking and one evening of eating, I am holed up in the bedroom, really not motivated to go into the kitchen. I feel that I must strategise the cleaning process before I can face it. But that could just be procrastination.

The food was really, really yummy though and everything went really well together. The next job is to eat all the leftovers before we leave for England in a little under 2 weeks.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

A word from our sponsors:

So the meal is coming along the way, I'll have an update soon. In the meantime, here's some music:


The menu will now consist of:

Pickled onions (made again - this time crunchier and thus better) (check)
Olives (check)
Pickled mushrooms (a delicious check)
Something other than the awful Marinated Artichokes I made this evening.
Roasted Green Beans
Just White Beans (Moosewood again)
Fresh bread (a-rising as I type)

Main Course:
Stuffed Courgettes in a Red Pepper Sauce, with Tomato Risotto, plus Multi Bean Salad

Chocolate mousse, with Kate's Vegan Cheesecake with Blood Orange Glaze.

The lemon mousse was a disaster, and clearly the people who instructed me to use "silken tofu" to make mousse have never actually eaten mousse. Because it's nothing like mousse, no matter how you blend it. It is pudding that they are instructing you to make, so rather than make the intended mousse, I made Lemon Pudding. Which wasn't terrible, it just wasn't mousse. Far better choice: Coconut milk, whipped in a chilled bowl, with a teaspoon of agar and some cream of tartar. The added bonus is that you don't have to use tofu, which is not my favourite for a number of reasons. Being linked to Alzheimers, the Plaster of Paris content, and the fact that it is in so many vegetarian dishes that I eat at restaurants, leave me bored, a little terrified of it and not interested in cooking it at home very often. Not that I don't eat it often, but seitan or tempeh are both much more interesting "substitutes".

Friday, May 9, 2008

Mother's Day

The whole family will be here. My parents, my brother, his girlfriend, Ryan's parents & his sister. I intend to cook an entirely vegan meal. I have been cogitating and conferring and have come up with an idea of a meal.

Pickled onions (already done)
Olives (already...purchased - I'll get around to this one day! It just takes so damn long unless you want to use lye!)
Pickled mushrooms (Ryan made these - was sampled them last night and they were flavoured well but oh so salty, but we removed some brine and replaced it with hot water, hopefully to mitigate the saltiness)
Marinated Artichokes (It's artichoke season! Yay! Why am I moving to New York again??)
Roasted Green Beans (from the Moosewood Cookbook)
Fresh bread (We'll start the dough rising this evening or tomorrow, so it will have at least a whole day to rise before it gets baked)

Main Course:
Stuffed Courgettes (from Moosewood again) with Seasonal Risotto (I've been making Spring Pea Risotto, but as in season as they are, the peas are too expensive. Since I've got to buy a lot of other stuff, I think I won't splurge this time on the peas- usually when cooking for dinner guests, I allow one "splurge" - last time I bought 3 heirloom tomatoes for the salad that went with an amazing vegetarian Shepherd's Pie)

Lemon Mousse with Berry Sauce

The mousse I intend to make today. Unfortunately I have been unsuccessful finding a vegan lemon mousse recipe, so I am going to experiment. If it works, then it can keep in the fridge until Sunday and be just as good with berry sauce then. If it doesn't work (and is Awful), well, we can resort to the usual delicious pie of some variety Ryan has been perfecting for years.

Pickled Onions

I have been somewhat neglectful about my recipes on here. Recently, we made a terrible batch of yoghurt that got all grainy and weird as soon as the starter was added, so I made it into yoghurt cheese and have been eating it alternately with sugar and vanilla or with bread, olives and pickled onions that I pickled, yummily, with cider vinegar and salt.

They are an awesome pink colour and the recipe could not be simpler:

2 chopped up red onions
1 cup cider vinegar

I blanched the red onions in water, drained them and then put them back in the pot they were blanched in, with 1 cup of vinegar and about a teaspoon of salt. I added a little cold water to cover the onions and brought it back to a boil, after which I simmered for 1 minute. Transferred the contents of the pot to a jar and stuck it in the fridge and then had them for breakfast the next day.


Thursday, May 8, 2008

Please Make The Gardenburgers Stop

This article in Slate Magazine has a great point:

"As long as we're discussing restaurants, allow me a quick word with the hardworking chefs at America's dining establishments. We really appreciate that you included a vegetarian option on your menu (and if you didn't, is our money not green?), but it may interest you to know that most of us are not salad freaks on a grim slog for nourishment. We actually enjoy food, especially the kind that tastes good. So enough with the bland vegetable dishes, and, for God's sake, please make the Gardenburgers stop; it's stunning how many restaurants lavish unending care on their meat dishes yet are content to throw a flavorless hockey puck from Costco into the microwave and call it cuisine. Every vegetarian is used to slim pickings when dining out, so we're not asking for much—just for something you'd like to eat. I'll even offer a handy trick. Pretend you're trapped in a kitchen stocked with every ingredient imaginable, from asiago to zucchini, but with zero meat. With no flesh available, picture what you'd make for yourself; this is what we want, too."

Knowing how easy it is to make a delicious, satisfying vegetarian (even vegan) meal, there is no excuse for restaurants that offer a vegetarian option, to offer something as revolting as a Gardenburger. Case in point 7 in San Jose , on my friend Larke's birthday(a warning on the link to the restaurant I provided, turn your speakers off before you follow it, unless you are super into cheesy 90's synth xylophone lounge music). They had nothing vegetarian on the menu, except on thing that would require some minor adjustments. I explained my adjustments to the waitress, only to be greeted by an interruption and a frowny face: they were out of that particular dish. I explained my predicament, she said, no problem, I'll have the chef whip something up.

My dish was an amazing stuffed bell pepper full of seasonal vegetables, flavoured with cumin & coriander and lovingly placed on a mat woven out of zucchini and carrot strips. In short, it was delicious. I sent my complements to the chef.

Granted this was a nice restaurant with real chefs, etc. But, so many times I've gone to similar establishments and had the waitress furrow her eyebrows and finally bring me out steamed vegetables with a side of mashed potatoes (incidentally, this has become my staple at un-vegetarian friendly restaurants. Chances are, if they have "Gardenburger" on the menu, they'll be able to make the dish for you and it will be at least edible - after all who can mess up steamed vegetables or mashed potatoes??).

It's an interesting article (albeit poorly written - his main problem appearing to be not having a thesaurus handy) and reflects a lot of my own sentiments about being vegetarian. Some particularly pertinent points:

"For those kind-hearted omnivores who willingly invite feral vegetarians into their homes for dinner parties and barbecues (really! we do that, too!), the same rule applies—but also know that unless you're dealing with an herbivore who is a prick for unrelated reasons, we don't expect you to bend over backward for us. In fact, if we get the sense that you cooked for three extra hours to accommodate our dietary preferences, we will marvel at your considerate nature, but we will also feel insanely guilty."

"The U.S. boasts more than 10 million herbivores today, yet most Americans assume that every last one is a loopy, self-satisfied health fanatic, hellbent on draining all the joy out of life."

"Now, when I say that vegetarians are normal people with normal food cravings, many omnivores will hoist a lamb shank in triumph and point out that you can hardly call yourself normal if the aroma of, say, sizzling bacon doesn't fill you with deepest yearning. To which I reply: We're not insane. We know meat tastes good; it's why there's a freezer case at your supermarket full of woefully inadequate meat substitutes."

(interestingly enough a lot of cultures have separate words for "hunger" and "hunger for meat", we also have an enzyme, that we create, in our bodies, for digesting cooked meat.)

"Finally, grant me one more cordial request: Please don't try to convince us that being vegetarian is somehow wrong. If you're concerned for my health, that's very nice, though you can rest assured that I'm in shipshape. If you want to have an amiable tête-à-tête about vegetarianism, that's great. But if you insist on being the aggressive blowhard who takes meatlessness as a personal insult and rails about what fools we all are, you're only going to persuade me that you're a dickhead."

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

More strange things I found on the internet.

Hold onto your hats, fellow brides! You're not going to want to be out of the loop on this latest bridal fashion trend! "Savvy Sneakers"!! See below:

Also available on the site, for the ease of those who like everything to be labeled as the thing that it is, this lovely t-shirt:


Addendum, July 2008: Oh you wily, sneaky sneaker makers who changed the addresses for the above photos: no amount of web hackery will make your wares any less disgusting. Particularly that awful tank top that reads: "Finally!" in rhinestones across the boobs, followed with the description "Have you been waiting for to be engaged, and you finally are? This tank is perfect for you! Sparkling crystals spell out "finally!" in your choice of colors. and you can choose between a tiara, solitaire ring or BRIDE brooch." I don't need to go into the bad grammar nor should I have to go into why that particular sentiment is so disgusting.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Worst weekend ever

Okay. So maybe not ever. But still for awhile.

Highlight (lowlights?)

-Being flaked on by my own mother. To work on planning the wedding. She actually went and did something with my brother instead. The something was something that I wanted to do, but had turned down because I had plans with my mother.

-Falling off my Brand New Bike. Okay so it's not brand new, but it's new for me. It's a 1970 Centurion road bike, so retro! and so much lighter than the free mountain bike I got from the nonogenarian across the street from my parents. I fell off avoiding a small dog, scraped up my hands and then Ryan ran over my back wheel, thus bending it, perhaps irreparably. Stupid dog.

-We were out of peas for the scramble I wanted to make on Sunday morning.

-My car is ill. So very ill. $3200 ill. I also had one of those days when I start to feel really upset about moving. The expense, the decisions, the hassle. I like my furniture, I like our home. I like all my friends and I'm going to miss them so terribly.

Anyway. Here's a link to picture of my family, enjoying themselves, without me.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Breakfast this morning:

Home made wheat bread, home made pickled red onions, home made lebne (made from home made yoghurt), olives and fried potatoes.


Friday, May 2, 2008


I went to see Chris Cotton play last night. Here's a news article about him. It was at Biscuits & Blues, downtown, and perhaps I've been reading too much Dashiell Hammett and PG Wodehouse recently, but I felt like I'd been sent back in time to some 1920's speakeasy, except we weren't all as well dressed as we would have been. You walk into a blue grey room with a girl sitting behind a counter and merchandise lying around. It could easily be some little SF boutique that sells who knows what, except that there's a stairwell at the back, which you go down into a dimly lit room with red table cloths and candles. And of course the music is old time, finger picking blues. He even played "Won't you come home Bill Bailey" at one point. It also helped that I knew a lot of people there and people who I'd seen around and recognized kept appearing.

Lots of fun.