Saturday, March 27, 2010

A Guide To Arguing With Idiots.

I think that this is one of the funniest book covers I've ever seen.

I don't care who you are, republican, libertarian, democrat, communist, independent, whatever. This man is not only a moron, he is dangerous because people listen to him and the filth that he spreads is poisonous. How can anyone take his ramblings seriously?

I'm just pleased that his helpful guide to arguing with idiots has a picture of one on the front for easy identification.


Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Third Man on Banjo

I'm trying to convince Ryan to learn this. Possibly my favourite soundtrack from possibly my favourite movie.

EDIT: I keep coming back to my own blog to watch this.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Constance McMillan, Prom is Stupid and You Don't Actually Want to Go.

Apparently there is a girl named Constance McMillan whose desire to take her girlfriend to the prom has caused some consternation and outrage at her school, which resulted in more consternation and outrage after she went to the ACLU.

McMillan was told that she was not allowed to bring her girlfriend as her "date" and if they showed up separately, but danced together, they would be kicked out of the prom. She then approached the ACLU for legal assistance and the school responded by canceling the prom for everyone. Of course I have no evidence of this, but it suggested to me that canceling the prom for everyone was a rather insidious way of getting a bunch of high school kids "on their side".

"You ruined the prom for the rest of us, you big ruiner!"

I have to admit that I can't really understand the fuss. I don't understand why she wanted to go to the prom in the first place, I don't really understand why anyone wants to go to proms. I went to one, it was boring and expensive and I didn't like any of the people there except my boyfriend at the time, who, strangely, insisted that we go in the first place.

I had more fun before prom, hanging out with Margo and drinking champagne. If only we knew what a portent that was.

So, although I stalked the facebook page, because I'm intrigued by the issue, I'm declining to "become a fan". Although I wish McMillan the very best in all her endeavors and I think that it's shitty that she goes to a school run by bigoted idiots, I'm an equal opportunity jerk. I'm not going to support anyone, gay or straight, in the pursuit of such a ridiculous, out dated, overrated tradition that promotes the pervasive high school mentality that out of which, some people never grow. (Once, in high school, during our "brunch" a friend of mine once came to me and said, "My dad told me last night that these were the best years of our lives." We both contemplated the meaning of that, very sadly while hoping that it wasn't true. And, thank goodness, it isn't and anyone who tells you otherwise is probably pumping your gas)

Incidentally, someone on the facebook page actually vehemently suggested more than once that being gay was a "race" because you were born that way. By that mentality, people with Down's syndrome are a race. In fact you could even extrapolate that sentiment to suggest that people with specific hair colours belong to a specific race. Which, as a matter of fact, makes about as much sense as calling black or white a "race" - (excuse my anthropologist geekery) there's only one human race currently in existence and that's ours.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

For those interested

I'm ceasing the cooking and making things from this blog and moving it over to a less personal one.

This is all in preparation for potentially starting to think about maybe selling some preserves on Etsy. I'm going to move Thing A Week there too. I'd like to not scare off potential customers/readers with my rabid atheism, extreme left wing views or my hatred of Garrison Keillor so I'm going to leave that here.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Beluga Lentils in Mirepoix

Mirepoix is a delicious combination of onions, carrots and celery, very common in french cuisine. Traditionally, the ration calls for the same amount of onions as carrots and celery combined - so a 2:1:1 ratio. This evening, we used 2 medium onions. We sauteed our mirepoix this evening in olive oil, added some salt. Once it was cooked down, the onions were translucents and soft and the carrots and celery were a rich and vibrant colour, we stirred in a cup and a half of beluga lentils and enough water to cover the beans by about an inch. Got the beans up to boiling, then turned the burner down to a gentle simmer and left  them, checking them periodically for flavour and doneness. Beluga lentils aren't of the mushy lentil variety - they stay nice and firm when cooked. It's such a simple dish yet so flavourful.

We had simple bowls of it while watching QI, but I imagine it would be nice over rice or mixed into a salad.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Victorian Kitchen Garden

I found this awesome show called "The Victorian Kitchen Garden". It's very inspiring, particularly because we want to do something similar in the future. Some of the wintery growing tips might not be that necessary, if we end up in northern California, however it is nice to know that it's possible to grow a large variety of vegetables and fruit throughout the year with out the expense of living in northern California (it's just a lot more work).

Anyway. The series is from 1987 and features a man named Harry Dodson who was taught by several Victorian head gardeners. He himself was a head gardener for an estate for many years.
 The idea behind Victorian kitchen gardens was that all the vegetables and fruit necessary for the entire year were grown on the estate in various green houses, boxes and plots. Key to this was the Victorian snobbery of wanting to have exotic fruits and vegetables throughout the year, so the gardeners were expected to provide fresh vegetables in the middle of January and things like pineapples, melons, peaches. Dodson revives an old Victorian garden, using Victorian methods over a period of 12 episodes. It's highly entertaining - well, if you're into gardening. My favourite was the chicory or Belgian endive grown in complete darkness and the sea kale grown in giant, clay, bottomless, lidded pots and buried in manure.


We planned our plot this morning and I'm sort of in the middle of getting an old wine decanter turned into a mossarium. I have all the bits, I have the gravel down and I'm now trying to explore ways of getting the charcoal, soil and moss down the neck of the decanter without making a huge mess.

We're tracking our gardening expenses this year, so if you include the $26 shiitake mushroom kit that my mother sent to Ryan for his birthday, we're down $78 something dollars.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

More Strange Elevators: Vomiting Out of Glass Elevators

I had another strange dream last night. I dreamed I had a long conversation with an old friend in my old bedroom at my parents house. I don't remember much of it, I tried really hard because I was woken up in the middle of it by a dog banging on the heater with his tail, but I do remember him confessing to me that he gets "slightly turned on by people vomiting out of glass elevators."

Friday, March 5, 2010

I had a dream last night, what-what?

From: Alice
To: Ryan
Date: Fri, Mar 5, 2010 at 10:00 AM
Subject: dream

I  just remembered a dream I had: a new Cornell lab was opening up in Texas and we were going to have to go there. I kept asking, "For how long?" thinking - 6 months, I could stand, a year, maybe, but not forever! and you were being really evasive, saying things like, "When the projects finished." or "Well they need people there pretty soon."

You were also wearing a silk paisley lounge jacket and an ascot at the time. 

I don't want to move to Texas.

From: Ryan
To: Alice
Date: Fri, Mar 5, 2010 at 12:26 PM
Subject: dream

"Darling!  Darling.  I think I ought to tell you, we'll be moving to Texas.  New lab and all that, you know?"
"For how long shall we live in Texas?"
"Oh, you know, old sport.  Not long, I should think.  Only until the project is finished, what? ... I don't suppose I could trouble you to mix a stiff W and S?"
"But how long will we be in Texas?"
"Thanks, that hits the old spot.  Nothing like a good W and S, what?"
"How long will we stay in Texas?"
"Well, I say.  They need people there quite soon.  The, uh, intellectual pool is particularly shallow in that part of the continent."

Thursday, March 4, 2010


A considerable amount of entries have mentioned my fairly constant companion for the last 4.5 years. Jeeves, Jeeps, Jeevles, Shorty, Short Lumpy, Fatty Lumpkin, House Otter, Nasty Little Grape Eater, Barley Grape, Spotty Furface, Fur Pants, Doggo, Doggo Futzf, Bonk, Bonkles...

I adopted Jeeves from the San Mateo Humane Society (search the page for Jeeves) a little after I dissolved a long term, quite serious relationship. I had come to some sort of conclusion that a dog was a sure thing. I had seen his little picture on the internet and I knew he was the right dog. Jeeves came home with me and for a long time it was just me and him, even for a time after I met Ryan.

Even since we have moved to Ithaca, he and I spend the majority of our time together because I work from home and when I'm not working from home, I'm often at the barn with...Jeeves. 

Well, my fairly constant companion received a constant companion of his own last weekend. Casey buys hay from a man who had little Barnaby chained to a cattle barn. He wasn't miserable - he was perfectly well fed and perfectly healthy. It just seemed like such a sad little existence for such a friendly, exuberant, cheerful little dog. I say little now...but we think he may end up hitting the 50lb mark.

Barnaby. Barnacle, Barnstable, Barnington, Barn-dog, Barnaclese, Barnles...etc

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Chieftains Featuring Ry Cooder

This album is, I fear, going to be like that Prairie Home Companion movie. I can't stand the Chieftains, but I love Ry Cooder, just like I can't stand Garrison Keillor, but I love Robert Altman. Although I never watched Prairie Home Companion, because I didn't think I could manage to sit through 90+ minutes of Garrison Keillor, I am listening to this album. So far, it's not terrible, but I could do without the flute and possibly the fiddle.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Black Beans with Leek over Cauliflower Puree

Cauliflower puree

1 head of cauliflower, "floretted" and the florets chopped
2 potatoes - russet or yukon gold or something similar (ie not a waxy potato), diced
1/4 cup olive oil (approx)
1/2 cup milk or soy milk (approx)
1 cloves garlic minced very finely
salt (to taste)
fresh ground pepper (to taste - I used a little over 1 tsp)

Steam the cauliflower and the potato until quite soft - the cauliflower was softer than I would eat it, were I not planning on purreeing - but I like firm vegetables. Once steamed, drain the water out of the pot and put the cauliflower and potato back in the pot. Start to break it up with a hand mixer. Add olive oil, milk, salt, garlic and pepper and then mix some more until it is smooth. At this point I turned the burner back on and let it cook some more.

Black Beans with leek

Half of the white bit of a large leek (take one large leek, chop off the green end - save that bit for stock - and the root end and use half of that. Or the whole thing, depends on how much you like leeks)
1 can of black beans - or equivalent of soaked, dried beans*
3 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
fresh ground pepper

Heat up some oil in a pan. Once it is hot, add the leeks and saute them until they soften. Add the can of beans. Add chopped garlic, salt and pepper and leave to cook in its liquid, while you puree your cauliflower - you may need to add water as the liquid reduces.

Spoon the puree onto a plate and serve the beans on top.

*I've been really doing a good job about presoaking dried beans recently and I find the flavour difference that much more worth it. It's also a better idea as far as environmental impact goes, despite what Nina Shen Rastogi would have you believe - she wrote an article for slate about canned vs dried and forgot to take into consideration the energy required for making the cans and then recycling them or that it is much easier to buy bulk dried beans than bulk canned beans - meaning much less packaging. However, we do have cans of beans on hand, because sometimes you need something quick and filling and nothing does that like a can of beans, heated up, with salt and pepper, lots butter or olive oil, with maybe a teaspoon of vegetable stock if it's handy or whatever else you want to flavour it with (curry, cayenne, oregano, basil, beer...etc).