Thursday, December 24, 2009
Goal #69: Play Date with Olivia - we walked to Kaze and had shabu-shabu, which is a favorite of hers. She definitely like salmon!
Goal #92: Rekey the locks. Ted took care of this, but it's done which is important.
I watched the documentary Unknown White Male about a guy who basically wakes up with complete amnesia and no identification on him. I saw it after reading the fanfic Unidentified which uses the same premise. I liked the story better than the movie. The movie was okay, but slow, which I find to be true of most documentaries.
I read Lolita as one of my banned books. While reading it, I kept wondering about the origin of the classic or stereotypical characteristics of a pedophile. Did Lolita draw from what was known at the time regarding the psychology/motivations/characteristics of a pedophile? Or did Lolita formulate that image in the public consciousness? I'd guess the former, it's just that I kept noticing how the book kept matching what "they say" regarding pedophilia, which made me wonder.
While I'm not likely to reread the book, it's definitely a decent literary work that doesn't feel like "literature" in the negative (clockwork orange) sense.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Don't have much to say about it. Lolita is next.
The Kebab House was good. If I was in the area for lunch, I'd eat there, but it's not something I'd make a trip out of my way for. I would like to try their Meze bar sometime - we got there late enough that it was pretty sparse.
The Aquarium was nice. We stayed just over an hour. Since we got free tickets from my work, I was happy with the value, but I wouldn't want to pay $20+ to see it. I really like the mini jelly fish, the penguins were cute, and I felt sorry for the octopus.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Two or three people made comments when I mentioned I was going to read A Clockwork Orange. Universally, their response was about how much they hated the book or movie.
I wouldn't say I hated the book, but I didn't enjoy it either. Of course it's not the kind of book that's supposed to be enjoyed, I think.
Honestly, I see why it's considered 'literature'. It has blatant themes and symbols, heavy moralizing and political commentary, and difficult to read writing style. It's Catch 22/Brave New World as written by Jack Kerouac.
It reads like 'On the Road' but with way too much made up slang. It was the fictious slang that got to me. I've read a lot of fantasy and sci-fi, and so I understand the need to 'world build' through language choice. But this was just absurd. When half of the words in the sentence a completely made up, it's not creative. Given how rich a language English is, I feel it's a poor reflection on the writer if he needs to make up that much crap. There's a point where it stops adding character and starts detracting from the story and Burgess passed it.
I'd like to say that the book reminded me of what I think of as 'classical anime': a good story that's killed at the end when the author heavy-handedly shovels in an overbearing moralistic commentary. Unfortunately, A Clockwork Orange didn't have a good story (or really much of a story) to start with. And Burgess didn't really wait that long to start shoveling.
I'd say file and forget, but at least it's a book that might be worth making cultural or literary allusions to if I'm ever forced into a conversation with a pretentious litterary nut.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
No more buying:
- Black, white, or black and white skirts
- Neutral toned tops (beige, brown, tan, cream, black, etc.)
- Shapeless or baggy clothing.
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Goal #31 - Get an IUD: Done. I really like it. Aside from the excruciating pain on insertion and a days worth of cramping afterwords, I've had no problems. 5 years of not having to think about birth control. Woot!
Goal #77: A weekend with no computer: One weekend down. I'm not sure if being sick made this easier or harder, though it did help having stuff planned for one of the days. While not using a computer does prevent wasting time on-line, it doesn't prevent wasting time.
Goal #82: Buy a condo: Done. Everything's signed and official. We're now in debt again.
Goal #85: Paint a room: Well, more like get a room painted. We got the entire place painted so it now has personality and color.
I expect more of the house related goals to get ticked off soon.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
The documentary was okay, but I don't feel I really learned anything from it. Yes, there were some new random facts regarding the actors and who they were chosen. But on the whole, I feel like it didn't give me any really insights or interesting perspectives. They did talk about the characteristics different actors brought to the role andwhile I found intriguing, it was a small piece of the over all story.
Not really a documentary I would recommend. Non-Bond fans likely won't find it interesting and Bond fans likely aren't likely to learn anything.
Why did I choose this? Well I didn't. The Brother-in-Law (BIL) was talking to Ted about how he couldn't watch it. They got up and left the theater after 10 minutes or so. Ted and BIL ended up betting $20 that Ted couldn't watch the whole thing. And thus the movie got put at the top of our Netfilx queue.
Well, we watched the whole thing without any problems. Ted found a lot of it to be funny. I didn't find it funny, but neither did I find it offensive or gross. It was an interesting movie from a psychological perspective -- what does the content of the joke say about the person telling. How closely do they identify with it? (i.e. is it told about themselves, a friend, or as an abstract joke.)
The one part of the movie that did make me laugh was the Smoother's Brothers part. One of them didn't find the joke funny and said so. The other pointed out that it was because he's the straight man. Since I tend to be the straight man in the humor part of our relationship, I totally related to this.
So, one documentary down.
Monday, October 5, 2009
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Bold = Have not read
italics = Started, did not finish
1. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
2. The Catcher in the
3. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
4. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
5. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
6. Ulysses by James Joyce
7. Beloved by Toni Morrison
8. The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
9. 1984 by George Orwell - I think
10. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
11. Lolita by Vladmir Nabokov
12. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
14. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
15. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller - I think
16. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
17. Animal Farm by George Orwell
18. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
19. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
20. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
21. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
22. Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne
23. Their Eyes are Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
24. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
25. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
26. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
27. Native Son by Richard Wright
28. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey - not sure, may have read
29. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
30. For Whom the
31. On the Road by Jack Kerouac
32. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
33. The Call of the Wild by Jack London - It hnk
34. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
35. Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
36. Go Tell it on the Mountain by James Baldwin
37. The World According to Garp by John Irving
38. All the King's Men by Robert Penn
39. A Room with a View by E. M. Forster
40. The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
41. Schindler's List by Thomas Keneally -saw the movie
42. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
43. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
44. Finnegans Wake by James Joyce
45. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
46. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
47. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
48. Lady Chatterley's Lover by D. H. Lawrence
49. A Clockwork
50. The Awakening by Kate Chopin
51. My Antonia by Willa Cather - not sure, might have read
52. Howards End by E. M. Forster
53. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
54. Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger
55. The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
56. Jazz by Toni Morrison
57. Sophie's Choice by William Styron
58. Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner
59. A Passage to
60. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
61. A Good Man Is Hard to Find by Flannery O'Connor
62. Tender Is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
64. Sons and Lovers by D. H. Lawrence
65. Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe
66. Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
67. A Separate Peace by John Knowles
68. Light in August by William Faulkner
69. The Wings of the Dove by Henry James
70. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
71. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
72. A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
73. Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs
74. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
75. Women in Love by D. H. Lawrence
76. Look Homeward, Angel by Thomas Wolfe
77. In Our Time by Ernest Hemingway
78. The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein
79. The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
80. The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer
82. White Noise by Don DeLillo
83. O Pioneers! by Willa Cather
84. Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller
85. The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells
86. Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad
87. The Bostonians by Henry James
88. An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
89. Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
90. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame - I think
91. This Side of
92. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
93. The French Lieutenant's Woman by John Fowles
94. Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis
95. Kim by Rudyard Kipling
96. The Beautiful and the Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald
97. Rabbit, Run by John Updike
98. Where Angels Fear to Tread by E. M. Forster
100. Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie
Wow! I haven't read very many of these. Of course, a lot of them are fairly familiar, so I'm not sure if I've read them or just read about them. There's at least 10 there that I've been meaning to read, so this goal shouldn't be too difficult.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Complete 101 preset tasks in a period of 1001 days.
Tasks must be specific (ie. no ambiguity in the wording) with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined. Tasks must also be realistic and stretching (ie. represent some amount of work on my part).
Why 1001 Days?
Many people have created lists in the past - frequently simple goals such as New Year's resolutions. The key to beating procrastination is to set a deadline that is realistic. 1001 Days (about 2.75 years) is a better period of time than a year, because it allows you several seasons to complete the tasks, which is better for organising and timing some tasks such as overseas trips or outdoor activities.
101 Goals in 1001 Days website
Start Date: September 13, 2009
End Date: June 12, 2012
1. Make at least 2 different kinds of cheese (0/2)
2. Preserve at least two foods by canning or pickling (0/2)
3. Make no-knead bread
4. Make butter
5. Make yogurt
6. Make jam (that keeps)
7. Make jerky
8. Make a soufflé
9. Pack lunch every day for a week (0/5)
10. Try 10 new foods (0/10)
11. Enter a cooking/recipe contest
12. Knit or crochet a pair of socks
13. Design and sew a quilt
14. Make dipped and molded candles (0/2)
15. Make paper
16. Make soap
17. Make lip balm
18. Make a gourd bowl
19. Make and fly a box kite
20. Finish stain glass box
21. Finish crocheted sweater
22. Carve something (out of wood or soap)
Health & Safety
23. Take a gun safety course; shoot a shotgun and a pistol
24. Get CPR/AED Certified (Red Cross)
25. Get First Aid certified (Red Cross)
26. Assemble a complete disaster kit (Red Cross)
27. Assemble a complete first aid kit (Red cross)
28. Create an emergency preparedness & fire escape plan (Red Cross)
29. Make a living will
30. Make a will
31. Get an IUD/implant/(semi) permanent birth control
32. Get a general health checkup (not Ob-Gyn)
33. Memorize Cannon in D for the piano
34. Learn to tie 10 different knots (0/10)
35. Learn how to splice rope
36. Go to the Aquarium
37. Go to a concert
38. See a play
39. Go ice skating
40. Go out dancing
41. Attend the Ignoble Award ceremony
42. Attend at least 5 non-math lectures
43. Volunteer at least 10 hours (0/10)
Art & Writing
44. Write a song (instrumental) for piano or psaltery
45. Write and submit a non-academic math article
46. Paint a picture
47. Draw (charcoal/pencil) picture
48. Calligraphy a poem or saying
49. Submit crossword puzzle for publication
50. Revise and submit math article
51. Write a short story (fan fic okay)
52. Design a new board game
53. Be fitted for a bra and replace ones that don't fit
54. Spend $250 on something completely self-indulgent
55. Get at least one piece of jewelry for specific outfit and wear it
56. Sort through clothes closet
57. Set up an IRA
58. Digitalize CD collection
59. Trade 2 games not played for new games
60. Get my laptop working properly
61. Take a martial arts class
62. Do 100 consecutive sit-ups
63. Do 50 consecutive push-ups
64. Go to a yoga class
65. Run 10k race
66. Dress up and go to a costume/Halloween party
67. Send at least 6 handwritten letters/cards to grandparents (0/6)
68. Host a dinner party for two other couples
69. Do a (1 hour min) personal play date with: Olivia, Esme, John (0/3)
70. Email or call my sister 2x a week for a month (0/8)
71. Give 5 "just-because" gifts (0/5)
Ted & Self
72. Watch 3 sunsets with Ted (0/3)
73. See 3 sunrises (0/3)
74. Meditate for 15 min /2x week for 8 consecutive weeks (0/16)
77. No computer from 5pm Friday to Monday morning for 2 weekends (0/2)
78. Journal every day for a week (0/7)
79. Make a list of 101 things that make me happy (0/101)
80. Plan and initiate 5 new dates with Ted (0/5)
81. Have daily sex for a month (30 days)
House Related (all dependant on #82)
82. Buy a house/condo
83. Decorate a room
84. Hang curtains (etc.) in at least 3 rooms
85. Paint a room
86. Buy a sofa
87. Winterize the home: furnace/fireplace/calking
88. Spring home maintenance: AC, screens, gutter
89. Get fire extinguishers, smoke alarms, CO alarms as needed
90. Hang pictures
91. Get maid service or clean the bathrooms and kitchen 1 per month
92. Change the locks
Books & Movies
93. Finish reading the American Literature textbook
94. Read 5 books recommended by friends, no matter what they are (0/5)
95. Watch Hamlet
96. See Jane
97. Get and read the Kama-Sutra
98. See Ben-Hur
99. See or read a Clockwork Orange
100. Read 10 new books off the banned classics list (0/10)
101. Watch 5 documentaries (0/5)
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Extracts: Vanilla Extract, Almond Extract, Lemon Extract, or other extracts you can find. Use 1 tsp in general, but you could increase the total extracts to 1TB for very decadent recipes.
Spices: For sweet muffins, common spices include: cinnamon, cardamom, ground ginger, allspice, nutmeg, cloves, pumpkin pie spice. The amount varies -- up to 2 tsp, but for strong spices (nutmeg, cloves, allspice) perhaps only 1/2 tsp.
For savory muffins, consider cayenne and other peppers, minced jalapeno, oregano, basil, dill, rosemary.
Zests: Lemon, lime, orange, tangerine, etc would all work. Up to 1 TB.
Moist Mixins: Any kind of berries, cherries, cranberries, apples, mango, grated carrots, grated zuchini, corn. Make sure the pieces are small.
Dry Mixins: Dried fruit (apples, pears, cranberries, etc.), raisins, dates, nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds) -- toasted nuts add a nice depth, shredded coconut, chocolate chips, grated cheese (add to dry ingredients).
Flour Substitutes: Replace a 1/2 c flour with a 1/2 c of cornmeal, ground oatmeal, almond flour, wholewheat flour, proteen powder, or besan flour, etc.
Oil Substitutes: Instead of oil use melted butter, melted lard (savory only), almond oil, walnut oil, coconut oil, etc.
Sugar Substitues: Instead of white sugar, use brown sugar or (add to wet) molasses, honey, rice syrup, concetrated fruit juice (apple or orange). For the molasses, start with only substituting 2TB as it is a very strong flavor.
Yogurt: Use flavored yogurt instead of plan. This will make the muffin sweeter unless you decrease the sugar. Or use coconut milk or buttermilk.
Sunday, March 1, 2009
Apple Cardamom: Three (granny smith) apples grated, chopped dried apple, 2 tsp cardamom, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, vanilla extract.
Cheddar Corn: Omit the sugar. Replace 1/2 c flour with cornmeal. increase salt to 3/4 tsp. 2 cups corn kernels, 1 cup grated cheddar (add to flour), 1 tsp basil, 1/4 tsp oregano, 1/4 tsp rosemary (crush it), 1/2 tsp minced jalapeno (add to wet).
Cranberry Pineapple: Replace sugar with 1/4 c molasses, 1/4 c concentrated orange juice (add to wet). 1 1/2 c chopped/crushed pineapple. 1 c. dried cranberries (chopped), 1 tsp ground ginger, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp vanilla, 1/2 tsp lemon extract.
Berry Almond: 2 cup mixed frozen berries, 1 cup almond slivers. 1 1/2 tsp almond extract, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, dash of cloves.
These recipes are my own creations, adapted from recipes I've seen on the web. Let's hope they work well.
Update: I have deemed the Cranberry Pineapple muffins a failure. Three main problems. First, while pineapple upsidedown cake might be tasty, pineapple does not quite work in muffins. Second, molasses is quite a strong flavor, so even a quarter cup is a bit much. Finally, very moist fruit plus juice and molasses make the muffins a bit too wet so they fall.
Here's the basic muffin recipe I settled on:
- 2 c. flours
- 1/2 c. sugar
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 c. plain low fat yogurt
- 1/4 c. oil
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp extract
- 1 to 2 tsp zest (optional)
- up to 2 c moist mix ins (frozen fruit, grated carrots, zuchinni, etc)
- up to 1 c dry mix in (chooped nuts, raisins, etc.
Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Use a large measuring cup to measure and mix the wet ingredients. Add wet to dry, stir a bit. Add mix ins. Stir until just combined. Baked in a greased muffin tin at 375 for 25-35 minutes (depending on how moist the mixins are). Cool, then freeze. Makes 12.
I adapt this recipe in a variety of ways based on the mixins, spices, extracts, and zest.
Lemon Blueberry: Use blueberries, lemon zest, lemon extract, dash of cloves
Apple: grated apples, chopped walnuts, vanilla extract, 2 tsp cinnamon
Carrot Cakish: 1 c grated apple, 1 c grated carrot, raisins, vanilla extract, 1 2/2 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 tsp cloves, orange zest.
The blueberry were my favorite. The apple were fairly bland. I'll play with the seasonings next time and toast the walnuts.
On New Year's Day I used the rest. The beef bones got made into stock. The suet was rendered into lard. The last of (my half of) the liver was made into dog treats. It's all in the freezer slowly getting used.