Wednesday, November 22, 2006

I'm Back

Probably no one reads this blog... but that's okay.

A lot has happened. I'm now married.... happily so. We have discovered that my husband does better on a Gluten-free (or light) diet. So I'm resurrecting this rusty old blog to start documenting some of the recipes we've discovered and have concocted.

I'll try to post some articles and resources to gluten-free diet.


If I can just say one thing...

Avoid using rice-flour in large amounts when creating "Western-style" cakes and pastries (with the exception of some shortbreads).

It seems that every recipe for cake we've tried using rice flour as a substitute has come out tasting like a hockey puck or brick made with chalk and grit.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Against the wall in Corporate America

So there's been a push to change our business... but still I see signs of this company slipping back into it's old familiar pattern of static bureaucracy and being paralzyed by top-down command structure.

  • They tried promoting innovation but did so without being really prepared to change the culture here that (grew steadily over time) prevents real innovation/innovative behavior from happening.
  • They did let go of the reigns and allowed some people to be a little creative, but in some areas it's freaking some of the people in the old school out. We can't use that... blogging, building connective networks, web 2.0, widgets... it's all too scary for us...DON'T MAKE US CHANGE!
Lately, I've been feeling that people here have acquiesced to that feeling that they are powerless to affect change. People continue to be afraid to be honest, and those who are are consistently ignored or their questions are diverted with the same old bullshit. I've been trying hard to ignore them.... all of them. On top of that people are freaked out about loosing their jobs. Me... yes, it would suck if I couldn't make an income, but then again... I've been thinking, planning and scheming to leave. It might be a good time to do so.

It's easy to let it get you down. I know... I struggle with it every day almost... and I'm no Miss Mary Sunshine believe me, but still... I want something better eventually.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Why has conservatism made such a resurgence?
Because it can and because this is the best time to do so.

People have more than at any other time in our history access to large amounts of information. We can maintain continual daily personal contact via technological avenues with people from other parts of the world. Access to such a wealth of information will bring upon torrents of change. Conservatism doesn't want change (unless it's to promote it's preservation).

Friday, May 19, 2006

I lost the remote

I was eating my bowl of cereal today and I'd turned the T.V. on. The regular channels now have paid advertisements on them during the breakfast time. Some geezer was trying to sell me the power of God, and in his testimonial he went on about how he put all his objects d'addiction before himself and entreat God to save him from them.... booze, cigarettes, sweets, coffee. Each time he'd put them on the table in front of him and play his own teatre d'Gesemene with the object of his desire. I thought... must have been really hard to get a hooker up on that table.

What was this man going off on?... obviously he had a pathological problem with addiction. Perhaps he should have been going to the altar of Prozac. I wondered what would have become of him if he were a caveman - you know right at the cusp of when we came from hairy monkey men. Would he have fallen out of a tree and cracked his skull because he was trying so hard to get to that bee-hive to get honey. Would he have accidentally eaten the wrong mushroom because he was trying to get high? Or would he have been disemboweled by a hungry sabre toothed tiger because he was just jonesing a little too much for that adrenaline rush from taking too great a risk... well, maybe not that... he didn't look like the daredevil type.

This says something about things being readily available to us though... it's harder to be addicted to something when it's not within arm's reach. Maybe this is where acetism comes from. The Essenes put themselves in self-imposed exile away from the worldly life so they could study and contemplate on the word of God. You cannot control your desire or perceived need of something so you have to set an 'externally' imposed limit upon yourself. Damnit God tells you you DONT NEED that Krispy Kreme donut.


Main Entry: pa·thol·o·gy
Pronunciation: -jE
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural -gies
Etymology: New Latin pathologia & Middle French pathologie, from Greek pathologia study of the emotions, from path- + -logia -logy
1 : the study of the essential nature of diseases and especially of the structural and functional changes produced by them
2 : something abnormal: a : the structural and functional deviations from the normal that constitute disease or characterize a particular disease b : deviation from propriety or from an assumed normal state of something nonliving or nonmaterial

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Quotes on Mediocrity

All good is hard. All evil is easy. Dying, losing, cheating, and mediocrity is easy. Stay away from easy.
- Scott Alexander

The real Antichrist is he who turns the wine of an original idea into the water of mediocrity.
-Eric Hofer

We gain nothing by being with such as ourselves. We encourage one another in mediocrity. I am always longing to be with men more excellent than myself.
-Charles Lamb

Suburbia is where the developer bulldozes out the trees, then names the streets after them. -Bill Vaughn

Your most dangerous competitors are those that are most like you.
-Bruce Henderson

Any corporate policy and plan which is typical of the industry is doomed to mediocrity. Where this is not so, it should be possible to demonstrate that all other competitors are at a distinct disadvantage.
-Bruce Henderson

Friday, May 05, 2006

Need to jump off...

I had a dream last night where I was talking to an internal customer at work and they were encouraging me to apply for a job in their area or group.

My group could be worst, and it could be better. We could have better leadership, but then again we could have better teamwork as well. At least there are a handful of people here who can still speak their mind.

I've been thinking that I don't want to work for training anymore because people consider training to be useless or namby-pamby or at the very least glorified document control people. You know educators just get the crapper, no matter where they are placed in this society. In the world of pedagogy or the fast-paced competitive world of the corporate whore. I'm just moaning right now. It will pass.

I think I'm going through this lull right now... I had a great burst of energy at the beginnning of the year where I felt all gung ho about spearheading these initiatives to promote better collaboration of efforts at work to enhance possibilities for innovation. I finally felt like my brain, my ability to problem solve was being valued over my ability to follow directions correctly.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Changes

Well, they're talking about 'laying off' people again. Is it me or am I just tired, plain tired. This time there are no shiny severance packages, or paid time off deals. Just da boot (essentially). I've been through two or three of these cuts, I've weathered having to take another person or two's workload in addition to my own. I'm leathered and worn, but that seems to be the behavioral pattern of American corporations: use you, trash you, lose you.

I kept thinking of my nest egg, yes, it's my retirement, but maybe it would be put to better use if I started something on my own. I can't really start with details when I come up with ideas, but I had an inpirational sharing with someone else who was near fed up with work. She was interested in springing out on her own as well. It was nice to see someone else who had hopes and dreams outside the grey corporate world. But what would I do? What would I build?

Something lucrative, something that would help others.

Personally, until recently I was experiencing a renaissance of attitude in my job. I felt supported by my manager and encouraged to try new and innovative things. I felt that suddenly my ability to think and plan things out was valued. Which wasn't always the case. I was always thought of in this place as the weird kid... the one who refused to keep their desk neat and trim. I felt this positive attitude and faith in me spill out into other ideas and possibilities. I'll just have to keep things going.

Saturday, March 18, 2006













http://www.impeachthemotherfuckeralready.com/2006/03/welcome.html

Sunday, February 05, 2006

I did it to keep my job

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/business/steffy/3635913.html

So said one of the former Enron executives. In my mind I embellish the moment by imagining the crappy pencilled court drawing of him cradling his sobbing head in his trembling hands. Like that would ever happen. I feel that it's these sort of know-nothings who perpetuate corporate ills. Not only that, they don't encourage assessment and addressing of company problems. Within my own company I've seen evidence of people on the higher and lower ends not raise flags to problems large and small because they don't want to be the 'downer.' They don't want to rock the boat. They don't want it to reflect on their performance review.

Enron seems to be the poster child of corporuptations or corporate corruption gone awry, but I feel that it's the "60 minute" story that highlights what's really wrong with with the corporate environment today: False optimism and denial.

Maybe it's me, and maybe one day my head will roll, but I can't live my life without standing by the idea that the world can be better when we do two things: 1.) acknowledge the truth 2.) stand by the idea that quality is king/queen. I've been trying to work on honing down my cantankyrus demeanor. It's been hard, but a friend of mine at work shared a tool that he uses to influence others positively. If I could make a prayer cards with these sayings I would. Every Catholic kid who sat outside the vestibule/church thumbing through the church bulletins and pamphlets while their parents were busy socializing at church knows what these are. Kids like to collect things especially shiny glossy bits of paper.

To build relationships to get better results some opening phrases to use. Much of it is touchy feely biz-u speak, but still a lot of it makes common sense and when in Rome... Of course when applying words sincerity should be a must.

In my time of need... when I want to say what's on my mind...

I suggest/propose/recommend...
What if...
Here's an idea...
It's important to me
I need...

When I need to convince others of the value of my idea...
Here's why...
There are a few reasons why I think this would benefit blank...
I've looked into the possibility for blank and here are my results...
We are (both/all) concerned about the following...
This could help us achieve (common goal)...

When I need to gain alignment/foster enthusiasm...
Here's what I believe is possible...
Picture this...
I can see us...
We are capable of...
I believe that as a team..

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

It's time to choose our words carefully

No... Republicans are not Nazis or Fascists... this article brings up a really good point:

http://www.brainshrub.com/republicans-not-nazis

The word Nazi has become synonomous with unseemly terms like bastard, tosser, wanker... etc. It's probably better to come up with concrete reasons why you are comparing anyone to a Nazi. Contrary to what the article above notes, and maybe it's all the bad press that the look has garnered over they years, but I don't think the Nazis were 'snazzy' dressers. Think about it, as a comedian once said years ago... Hitler really put a damper the popularity of rectangular mustaches.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Patch of blue sky

The clouds have cleared so that there are patches of blue in the sky. That's odd in the land where mold is the state flower and people don't carry umbrellas because they think... what's the point? But my moods are somewhat dark today anyway, because of the state of fear are living in lately. I start to think... Historians must be fairly patient people (the ones who uphold the truth at least). Because as long as they live long enough to see the gamut of human political experiments in their lifetimes, and to see the pendulum of progress swing back and forth the only constant that they can be sure of is that people don't really pay heed to history or to the historians for that matter.

Will the Fear of Googling grow prevalent? I think it was not more than a year ago and on this blog even that I noted how wonderful it was to have the internet... because it allowed us easier access to tools of knowledge, and on a very simplistic level it's was like a genie of questions and answers. Why should I even be careful not to say the wrong things here? Am vulnerable? But what are the wrong things? Who determines what is wrong? And just exactly how important am I? I'm but one person. What about the billions of others who are capable of clear and lucid thought?

I must not be the only individual who is concerned about such things because if you look at the most searched/link to news stories on Google they are the stories which relate to the items the Google and NSA stories rise to the top of the pile. Isn't it a coincidence to that in the last few years more people have resorted to finding their news on the internet rather than relying on television and newspapers? At least on the internet you have a choice. Access to information (at least in most countries) is not restricted. If you don't trust your local news agency or the television you can search for news online. You may have to sift through information to find the stuff that does not have it's integrity compromised but at least you have the ability to sift and choose.

So what happens when people fear? What happens when information is restricted? What happens when people must fear situations which put them in contact with foreign contacts? What happens when property rights have become challenged or denegrated so that it's easy for any system in power to confiscate it if given 'ample' cause? What happens when people can be classified as sub-citizens?

What happens? Progress stops...and the position and rights of the people as a whole become compromised.

At these times it is the people (the very group which these so called freedom restricting measures are designed to 'protect') who become the weak and the helpless victims of the state. While there may be threats to our national security, then perhaps we as people should be more vigilant about what truly effective measures should be taken to put an end to these threats. These threats should be pursued and allayed.

I believe in the greatness of this country. And we achieved this greatness because we as a nation embraced and protected freedoms on all levels. I think it rather ironic that the same people who tout the phrase 'freedom isn't free,' are readily willing to relinquish their own freedom because they are convinced that they themselves could never be seen as a threat. Somehow I fear that when people start resorting to such thoughts a frenzy of blame and persecution lies just beyond the horizon of the present.


“Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.”—Benjamin Franklin

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Oh My God... I need to stab myself with a fork

I hate night time meetings.
More, I hate night time meetings where people are yelling at each other.
I'm sitting in a product design meeting...they're arguing about customizations to SAP.
These meetings are painful.

Besides this... I've decided to take some time to developing training material for something I find interesting, and a product that I respect and believe in. Could it be Blender?

http://blender.org/cms/Home.2.0.html

J. has been using a new opensource product for 3D modeling called Blender. Blender as a product intrigues me because it is one of those fabled 'open source' products. Coming from an industry where tool development is not so focused on quality of design as producing results for time to market... it's really nice to see a tool that has been developed by people who are passionate about the tool and care about the quality. So I'm intrigued.

There are plenty of tutorials being created for Blender, but I want to take some time to explore the tool and also understand it's benefits/uses from the viewpoint of the users. So I've got to set some time limits for me otherwise I'll just let this project sit out there without acting on it. So I've decided that I'll finish the exploration of the product and some initial analysis for training/tutorial opportunities by the end of the month.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Saturday procrastination... Oh Yeah, I'm a Bride!

Or I will be...

It's Saturday and I have to shoot a bunch of simulation movies in Captivate and edit a few audio presentations because I have to... I know it's Saturday and I shouldn't be working. So I've been surfing the net here for about two hours.

On sort of a side note... we're getting married. I mean my Boyfriend and I. Everytime I use that word I always think of the Frau Blucher character from Young Frankenstein. "Yes, Yes... Say IT!!!... he's my......BOYFRIEND!!!"

No, I'm not pregnant.

We considered running away to Vegas. I especially considered it after looking through the Bridal Planners at Barnes and Noble... Holy FUcking SHIT! WHAT IS ALL THIS CRAP!!!!!

My mother convinced me to go with herand my friend to the Bridal Show, and I went reluctantly.

"You really need to go to eliminate the possibilities," she counseled.

Well, after seeing it all. I've eliminated about 99.6% of what I saw at the show. The best thing about these shows really are the cake samples. I went with a girlfriend of mine from work and whispered to her... "Holy Smokes... look at all the chicks that looked like they're not even 20!" I felt like such an old tart compared to them. Then I considered the tens of thousands of dollars some of them (or their parents more likely) would shell out for their weddings. I personally knew of someone whose family spent about forty-five thousand dollars, and then she got divorced two years later. "Save it for round two," I thought. "You're just going to waste it on an asshole the first time around. " Not that it always has to end up that way... Hell, I really didn't know what I wanted when I was 19.

I started keeping a blog about our ideas for the wedding. It's sort of a record for myself as well as a place to write down observations about the process.

http://marrysheesh.blogspot.com/




Friday, January 20, 2006

Long live the geek in all of us... Go Densha Otaku!




More on Densha Otaku

I never considered myself the kind of person who develops obsessions... other than knitting and maybe reading on history/philosopy... but Densha Otaku has now officially become the first obsession of the year. Maybe I relate to the drama because there's a big part of me who's pretty much an Otaku nerd myself.

It's really easy to route for hero 'little Densha/aka. Yamada-san,' as well as laugh vengefully when Densha's more attractive, well-off and socially acceptable rival get's dissed by the girl.
But what I've really fallen in love with when it comes to this story is simply the idea that you can thrive with self-confidence by simply accepting yourself as you are, and that you're more likely to find better friends and partners once you've embraced this concept. As one character asks... "What about otaku pride!?"

One thing I will caution viewers about with this story... watching just one show can be mentally/emotionally taxing mainly because you're held at the edge of your seat... that and Densha/Yamada's over-the-top reactions can add to the stress of the viewing experience.

What does seem clear is that this internet pygmallion story does seem to have captured the whole heart and attention of japan. Apparently based on a real life thread on a chat section, the posting room became so popular that the text of the site was compiled and published and a few hundered thousand copies were sold in the next few weeks. The story has inspired numerous manga, the T.V. Series, a movie and even a play.

What does this say about modern relationships and how people reach out to each other?Apparently technology does fill a void. At least in Japan. Without the help of his Aladdin chat comrades, Densha would never have been able to muster up the courage to change himself, while looking inside of himself to see what was undeniably him and perhaps the qualities that really did make him attractive. Strangely, anominity available in the chat atmosphere might inspire people like the characters in the show to be more honest and forthcoming. Don't get me wrong, I'm not dissing the whole idea of having friends online. I can see the appeal, but believe that it's still good to keep lines out in the real world.

Funny how I as I watch this show, I keep thinking in horror that Disney will buy the story and convert it to some crappy 4th rate plot with moralistic overtones featuring the Olsen twins. God no! I hate how American corporate entertainment culture takes a good story and absolutely ruins it. They must be stopped!

P.S. you may recognize the ELO soundtrack/anime theme opening from the revolutionary Daikon reels from early Anime history.

More about the show:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Densha_Otoko


Article on a play based on the story...
http://www.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/getarticle.pl5?ft20050907a1.htm
Recently, there has been a sense of stagnation in the Japanese contemporary drama world following a period of lively international collaboration -- the wholesale acceptance of foreign texts has led to adaptations that don't take into consideration the real difficulties in translating them for a Japanese audience. But this "Densha Otoko" is proof indeed that there are still people here with plenty to say -- in marvelously creative ways -- about the society in which we live.

Known for his varied multimedia works, Tsutsumi builds a huge screen as a backdrop, with multilevel towers to either side of the stage, where otaku sit in front of PC screens in their four-tatami rooms. As each of these geeks communicates with the others, what they type comes up on the big screen, where their lives are also described as they themselves act out their roles.


From Japan Times:
http://www.japantimes.com/cgi-bin/getarticle.pl5?ek20041118br.htm

A new best seller has appeared, bringing an old-fashioned love story into the digital age. "Densha Otoko (Trainman)," whose author writes under the pseudonym Nakano Hitori, is the saga of the romance of a 22-year-old otaku, the "Trainman," with "Miss Hermes," an attractive young woman he saves from the unwelcome attentions of a drunk on a train on his way home from Akihabara (Tokyo's otaku Mecca).
This story first came to public attention as postings from March through May this year on a message board on the Web site 2 Channel (Nichanneru) in which Trainman asked for and received advice from fellow geeks on how to approach Miss Hermes. These postings from Trainman reporting on the progress of his new relationship, and of encouragement from hundreds of anonymous well-wishers, were published in book-form by Shinchosha last month, selling over 260,000 copies in three weeks.
The tale of Trainman's transformation from a hapless geek to a self-confident young man in a relationship with an actual real-life young woman is indeed heartwarming. In his first posting he tells of his chance encounter in the train; two days later he receives a set of Hermes teacups from her as a thank-you gift and obsesses online on whether or not to telephone her and ask for a date. Finally he plucks up the courage to call her and they agree to meet for dinner -- his first ever date with a woman.


Blog about otaku-ness:
http://www.cjas.org/~leng/lainspotting/2005/07/otaku-mania.html

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

His mother is representing him in his next performance review

I thought it was a joke when I read a reference to this item in a professional journal, but a friend of mine brought this up from another article he had read.... WTF! Grow some balls. I can only hope that this is an urban myth. What kind of pride to you have if you allow you mother to defend you at your rating session.

I couldn't believe this, so I had to google it.

http://blog.fastcompany.com/archives/2005/10/12/this_is_your_new_workforce_gen_y.html

So it is true, but what gets me is that business are encouraged to "deal" with it. One company even had to arrange a 'sit down' between johnny, mom, the boss, and an H.R. representative. Now who needs to grow a set of chungas?

That's the bad side. On the otherside, this generation can appear to be highly optimistic and idealistic. They have high expectations of their places of employement and their role in things. I see this as a good thing. Though as always, I would temper optimism with some caution. Have a positive outlook and always strive for quality, but always have a plan just in case something doesn't go your way.

http://www.generationsatwork.com/articles/millenials.htm

Friday, January 13, 2006

My favorite TV shows for now


Casanova
... Heath Ledger and that chick that's sleeping with Jude Law... no I'm not talking about the movie version, but the one that was on BBC3. Besides the movie was probably part of Ledger's post-Brokeback Mountain campaign to reassert his hetero-ness.

More on

Friday, January 06, 2006

Okay I feel stupid

Looks like it was still there. I just typed the address in wrong. I was ranting and raving for nothing. This seems like a technique used by other companies. I remember my brother saying once there was a domain name called amazom.com with the misspelling because the company assumed that there would be enough people who would get to the site because of mistyping... must be the same thing placed here.

Still... that's a pretty devious trick.

Oh Crafster, where art thou?!!!

I just went onto Crafster.org to discover that it was replaced by a bunch of crappy ads. Does anyone know where the original Craftster site went or is it just gone... Poof!

Why, God, why? Why do you give us a place like the internet where ideas can be shared and we can learn so much, then you send the nasty capitalists and copyrighters who take the ability to share knowledge freely away.

Will we be sent back to the dark ages again?... though in a way I sort of miss going to the library to leaf through books and search through articles. For my parents (and obviously this will give away my age range because I grew up right on the edge of an era where parents were not afraid to leave their children in public places)... the library was a cheaper alternative to a baby sitter. I used to spend hours in the library rifling through books, reading... Looking up answers to questions I had on things I was fascinated with from Baba Yaga to cooking walnut pastries to the Loch Ness Monster and mummified remains ( I was a big fan of In Search Of- with Leonard Nimoy...okay, so that dates me again). I remember often getting stuck in a section and reading through books on the Dogon Star and the Dogon people.

But where is our beloved Craftster? Does anyone know... or is there another alternative? If I wasn't so doggone busy I'd start one myself.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Who put the Swiss into Steak?

I recently developed this obsession with Swiss steak. Maybe it's because I was rifling through someone elses cookbook on Christmas morning and the recipe caught my eye. Maybe it's because I remember it was one of the dishes prepared by one of the sisters in that movie A Thousand Acres. Sort of a disturbing post-modern version of King Lear set in the American Heartland... except in this story King Lear screws his daughters. Yes... disturbing to say the least.

Maybe that's why I don't like Swiss Steak, but more likely, every time I was exposed to it at school potlucks or block parties it was always the version made with Campbell's Cream of Mushroom soup. Now, I'm not necessarily dissing canned soup. I'd eat it if I was stuck at home during a natural disaster for months under a quarantine, and it was the last can of food in my cupboard. I'd rather eat fresh durian or braving the stench of the freshly peeled fruit just to get a bit of the sweet tender fruit. It's no wonder that some hotels in Asia forbid you from taking the fruit up to your room. Though honestly, I should really give Swiss steak a better break. I found a recipe below which uses mushrooms and tomatoes instead of mushroom and cream gravy. It sounds very much like a recipe for flank steak I remember enjoying as a child.



SWISS STEAK


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.


Swiss steak is a method of preparing meat, usually beef, by means of rolling or pounding, and then braising in a cooking pot, either on a stove (cooker) or in an oven. The name does not refer to Switzerland, but instead to the process of "swissing", which refers to fabric or other materials being pounded or run through rollers in order to soften it. Swiss steak is typically made from relatively tough cuts of meat, such as the round, which have been pounded with a tenderizing hammer, or run through a set of bladed rollers to produce so-called "cube steak". The meat is typically coated with flour and other seasonings and served with a thick gravy.

These Swiss steak recipes call for them to be baked in the oven, but you can
also prepare them in the above mentioned ways.



For the first recipe you will need the following ingredients:


* a covered baking dish,

* 2 pounds of steak,

* salt, pepper,

* garlic powder,

* 1 onion sliced,

* 4 ounce can of drained mushrooms, and

* 1 15 ounce can of tomato sauce.


The first step is to cut your steak into serving sizes, season the steaks
with the salt, pepper, and garlic powder.



Place the steak into a baking dish top with the onion slice.



Now, pour the mushrooms and tomato sauce on top. Kind of level the
ingredients and bake covered for 1 ½ hours at 350 degrees. This recipe can also
be prepared on top of the stove just as easy. Just remember to check on it and
be sure that the liquid is not evaporating.



You can always add just a bit more tomato sauce or even a small amount of water
if needed.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Xmas Nuts

Some people can't stand cardamom. Leave it out if it pleases you. These nuts taste good on salads or alone as a treat.

1/2 c. brown sugar packed
1/2 c. white sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cardamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
Pinch of salt
2 tbsps Yogurt (the kind with the cream on top)
2 tbsps milk
1/2 c. sliverd almonds
1 c. walnut pieces

Prepare a cookie sheet by greasing it lightly. In a heavy bottomed frying pan combine the sugar, spices and salt. Mix in the milk and yogurt and cook over high heat until the mixture forms a soft ball when dropped into a bowl of cold water. Lower the heat to medium low. While still over the burner, pour the nuts into the caramel mixture and stir until well coated. Pour the candy over the cookie sheet and allow to cool. Break apart and serve.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Fabulous Birthday Prizes

Yesterday was my Birthday... and I had a very nice one thank you! Dinner at Jakes Famous Crawfish... as I am a big fan of Oysters (the small flavorful ones). But more importantly it's nice to just be with your family and loved ones on your Birthday.

  • A fancy whipped cream dispenser
  • Season One of the Muppet Show on DVD
  • The 25th Anniversary Muppet Show CD
  • DVD Set of I Claudius The PBS Series
  • An antique copy of Dante's Major Opus in Italian with English translation
  • Various Green Tea Soaps and Bath products

One of the best Brithdays ever I must say.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

My one Christmas wish

It pains me and deeply frightens me... the developing state of paranoia and fear we live under. I feel that sooner or later unless people confront what is happening with conviction and belief, we will no longer live in a truly Free society. What frightens me the most is the side which normally takes the moral high ground on things is now pulling whatever dirty stunts they can to make their point or drive it home into the skulls of the opposition. I've spoken to a number of seemingly educated individuals who really do believe that it's necessary to sacrifice our civil liberties in order to be safe. Perhaps I would be inclined to agree with them if I were assured that once there was no longer a "State of Emergency" our rights would be reinstated. However I'm not entirely convinced that the powers that be are likely to relenquish power over our rights once the need has died down. More, I'm note convinced that they will take the morally correct path when it comes to being truthful about the existance of a "State of Emergency." If History has taught us anything it is that parties or individuals who want to achieve power will pull out whatever stops necessary in order to do so. More they will also take advantage of a "State of Emergency" perceived or "real" in order to do so, because it is a strategically good time to take greater powers during such times.

Though on the bright side, no government or person has ever been able to maintain a complete hold over a free society in the Modern World over a long period of time. Any reign based entirely upon the suppression of rights of the people for the purposes of a very few or group of people will be challenged, as long as there is a large and well-informed enough body of people who will rise up or speak out. I can only be hopeful.

If I had a wish right now, it would be for all Americans to be vigilant and protective over as well as thankful for the amount of 'freedom' we currently do possess.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Tis the Season...



Sort of makes me wish I asked for that beebee gun for Christmas

Monday, December 12, 2005

Emma!
You are Emma Woodhouse from Emma. A classic
only child personality, you are constantly
trying to rearrange the world (and society) to
suit your personal world-view. Mostly, you
succeed at that! You are persuasive and
charming, and almost always manage to get your
way-- which is good, because, as we all know,
your way is the right way.

Which Jane Austen Character Are You?



Sunday, December 11, 2005

Biscuit Nazi shares her recipe for scalloped potatoes

Was over at a friend's house for a party last night... some people rifle through people's medicine cabinets (for curiousity's sake only of course). I look through their pantry and refrigerator. And I had an episode that night that might rival the "Wire Hanger" incident depicted in the Joan Crawford bio-pic Mommie Dearest.

"Whoa... what's this?!" I exclaim. "Canned refrigerator biscuits!!! No, no, no, no, no, no, no!"
He explained that the biscuits belonged to his soon to be ex-girlfriend.
"I should hope so!" I noted on both accounts. One, that the biscuits did not belong to him. Two, that he was ridding himself of that ridiculously uneducated (food-wise) harlot. Canned biscuits indeed!!

Biscuits are sacred, I say. It's not too hard to make biscuits. . Why they're just a bit of flour, shortening, salt, soda and perhaps some buttermilk... all lovingly folded together. I personally use the Fannie Farmer cookbook recipe and depending on my mood add a handful of shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese. Maybe it's just me but the canned variety taste tinny or seem loaded with preservatives.

But when it comes to potatoes, I know nothing. I've never really liked potatoes, having been brought up mainly on rice. Though I did find a recipe that I could actually deal with. I actually added a few things still trying to maintain a healthy balance while still achieving the simplicity of home-cooked goodness.

2 lbs russet potatoes peeled and sliced 1/8" thick then parboiled in salted water
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 c. unbleached flour
2-3 dashes of white pepper
1/4 tsp. celery salt
1 c. chicken broth
1 c. milk
2 tbsp poppy seeds
1/2 c. chopped scallions
1 1/2 c. extra sharp cheddar shredded
Chopped parsley

Drain the potatoes and rinse with very cold water. Toss in a collander to dry. Butter a glass baking dish. Melt the butter on moderate heat and add the flour, pepper and salt and continue stirring to cook up a roux. Stir continuously over moderate heat for 3 minutes and start adding the broth in a stream as you stir. After all of the broth is incorporated add the milk in the same fashion, taking care to whist continually to make sure that the sauce doesn't form lumps.

Keep sauce on burner over low heat.

Lay the potato slices on the bottom of the dish. Drizzle with sauce and add a layer of the cheese and some of the scallions and sprinkle some of the poppy seeds. Continue to layer the ingredients in this fashion until they are used up. Bake in a 350F oven for 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Turn the heat up to broil and broil for 3-5 minutes or just enough to get top of the casserole lighly browned.

Sprinkle tops with freshly chopped curly leafed parsley. Serve immediately with a dish of quality lowfat yogurt (Pavel's Russian Yogurt is excellent)substituted for sour cream.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Fuck Decadence and Drugs - Fuck Meritocracy as it stands today

We finally borrowed the Party Monster last night.... uhhhhhg. I vaguely remember those kind of people... rich bohemians and their wannabe friends... and it just reaffirmed what I'd always thought of the rich and indolent... they really have no talent for anything but being extremely excessive and annoying.

On other notes I have been very hopeful lately... as well as being very productive. As of the last two months I was lucky enough to get chosen to work on a project here at work that was rather high-profile.

Look I says... to the PM (Project Manager) and our Training Manager. I'm going to work really hard on this project for you and I'm going to spend a lot of time assessing what sort of strategy we should take with two goals in mind (Make the customer happy and deliver a quality product). I may not deliver your gantty gant gant paper work on time... but I promise you I will deliver a quality product, based on the LEARNERS real needs and objectives that truly match your business goals.

Because I told myself... I'm no longer going to be a slave to the politics in this fucking group. I'm going to run the politics. I suppose it's because I felt like I was becoming too much of a victim.

Another thing... I realized that if I'm going to have a real impact... I'm not going to be able to do it on my own. That Prima Dona stuff... that's for hacks and the mentally and spiritually impaired and people with a fucking Dorian Grey personality defect. I realize that all of this attitude (High and mighty - hoity toity) stems from the backwards process of rewarding people here through ranting and raving (ranking and rating) in which you are either rewarded for mainly individual efforts for:
1.) Coming up with tools or business process (necessary or unnecessary)
2.) Being a tool (backstabbing each other by taking credit for making tools or processes)
3.) Being extremely clever with numbers (we call them indicators here) that make you look like you're extremely productive.

No, I've given that all up. Because after working with this team I realized that really good things can come out of working with others by doing the following:

  • Make sure people's strengths are used
  • Protecting each other on the team
  • Giving people credit where credit is due
  • Sharing leadership
  • Guiding
  • Having an atmosphere where you feel open enough to take risks
  • Fostering other's creative input
  • Listening to what others have to say


So the end result: A product where we were able to deliver a training package for a tool which was really, really unpalatable and cumbersome. We've received recognition upon recognition , accolades, from the customer, management and our students.

We're doing just fine. More than FINE, in fact.

And here's where I grin with my cigar planted between my teeth... "See, sweetheart, you had nothing to worry about all along!"

Friday, October 28, 2005

Conclusions

Within the past year of my life I've come to the following conclusions/assumptions about the world we live in (here at this company):

1.) It's better not to question anything and just do it - Most companies in this era would rather hire people who do not question values or challenge them.
2.) The top are not accountable for their mistakes - Many companies protect their upper management with reorganizations and layoffs. Sounds like the accountability item may apply to certain political leaders as well.

Here 's the problem with each conclusion:

1.) If you have too many people working in an organization who simply follow the leader. The company will consistently suffer from the poor decisions made by that leader.
2.) The only people who TRULY benefit from the system are the people at the top. Why should a leader have any incentives to make truly good and sound decisions if they are covered either way (success or failure).

Is this the world we live in? I have a few friends who call themselves realists who insist that this is the world we have always lived in and that most of us really don't have any Free Will. On a side note, I've been toying with the idea that everyone no matter who they are has a space or potential space (figurative or metaphysical) in which they exist... this space can be called for any intensive purposes freedom.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Freedom, spun sugar and objets d'artes

Someone help me with my French grammar and plurals... One of my all time favorite films, though most people think it's a snoozer... is Vatel.

Maybe it's because the whole story centers around the idea of bringing beauty into the world despite the foibles and ugliness of the people who drive it. That and I'm drawn to any movie, cooking show or documentary that features making works of fine art from spun sugar

If you don't know the story of the fated master of ceremonies who was basically the 17th century version of a PR whiz, movie producer and master caterer all rolled into one... watch the movie.

Or you can read about him here:
http://www.kitchenproject.com/history/aboutVatel.htm

Or read the historical text written by Madame de Sevigne:
http://history.hanover.edu/texts/louisxiv.html


I was able to find a food history web page that features some of the recipes from the historical feast served to Louis XIV.

http://www.kitchenproject.com/history/vatel/Vatel_Recipes.htm


NOTE: dont read below this line if you want to watch the film...

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


There's a lot of controversy around the actual reason why Vatel killed himself. The film featuring Gerard Depardieu in the starring role, portays Vatel as a man driven to desparation because he is forced to choose between his freedom and being pawned as a slave to pay a gambling debt. Personally, I think the poor guy was just exhausted to the point of despair after working for nearly 2 weeks without sleep... I should learn something from this shouldn't I? Though I hardly think that I could be responsible for a master banquet given to the ultimate 17th century monarch... though I can dream can't I? And no I don't want to be on some freakin cooking show with a bitch-ass chef screaming at me.

Scones for all

I've been working nearly round the clock to get this project completed... at least my half of it. The sub team I'm working with was tasked with developing training for this major application that will hit the company finance orgs globally... Here's the thing... the tool is a MAJOR piece of shit... a fucking Access Database held together with poorly written code and band aids.

But damn it, why do I do this? I just cannot put my name next to a piece of crap so I work day and night to make sure that the training looks good, and all the pieces needed for a good implementation are all set in a row. I can make a pretty elearning and nicely written student handbooks, but if I don't have my communication pieces, my website, my course access, and course credit mechanism, my online survey, my rooms, and my instructors all chipper, than what good will my training be? Then I still need to go back and make sure that all the verbs in any text is in active voice.

All in all I'm still putting Martha Stewart wrapping paper and custom cut out tags around a box of shit.

I've decided not to go to the project update meetings anymore because they have resorted to yelling at each other and either accusing on another of not meeting their deliverables or demanding that the project be held back (which it actually should, but the bobbing heads at the top of the project are still going to ram the thing through before the end of the year.)


I needed a break around 9 PM last night. Here's how lame I've become: I don't head for a bar... I head for the all night gourmet grocery store... I drug J along with me. We found a jar of clotted cream and of course bought it even though it was six dollars.

So naturally:


Scones
2 1/2 c. flour + extra
1/4 c. sugar
3 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
6 tbsp. European grade unsalted butter (has less moisture than Yank butter)
1/2 c. sour milk (milk +1/4 tsp cider vinegar)
2 tsp. vanilla

Mix all dry ingredients in the food processor. Gradually add the butter cut into chunks into the food processor and mill until you have a course meal. Mix the vanilla with the sour milk and pour into the four mixture... pulsing all the while until you have a soft dough. Note, if you don't have a food processor, you can mix all your ingredients by hand with a pastry cutting tool.

Turn the dough out into a well floured surface and roll or pat down to 1 inch thickness. Cut into squares with a square biscuit cutter. Then cut the squares into triangles.

Place on cookie sheets at least 1 1/2 inches apart and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. or until lightly browned on the tops. Serve with jams and clotted cream.

We were able to enjoy this morning with what remains of the strawberry preserves we made earlier this year.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Update

The interview I had with Company A did not pan through... Though I'm not to down hearted by the whole thing. Have you ever interviewed with a company and they just didn't have their shit together? Makes you think: Do I really want to work here?

Here's the thing... I interviewed with the company a few months ago and did not get the first position that was offered. It was offered to Mr. S. However they called me back two months later and asked me if I was interested in coming in again. I e-mailed and replied by phone that I was definitely interested. Then I waited a few days, then a week and then another week, then another week. No response. Finally the vice president of the company e-mails me asking if Mr. S. head of training has contacted me. I replied "No." He noted that he would get Mr. S. to send me an e-mail.

The morning of the scheduled Interview which I did not even know about because I never received an e-mail or phone call from Mr. S.

S must stand for Schlmiel.

I have to switch my development meetings around just so I can get to this interview, and on top of that I have to give them a short window to interview me in because I need to be back home to receive calls for a meeting that I cannot reschedule. I rush down there. I have to wait for 20 minutes because part of the interview team is late from a meeting with their lawyer.

Now Mr. S swaggers in the room. He's slick this one... like the sort of dick who played golf with your grandfather. He's the marketing salesman with the tight gripped hand shake, brill cream head and the dangerously contagious optimism shrouding the unkempt testosterone fits that lurk within his persona. He had way too much hair for someone his age... which is a bad sign (Newt Gingrich, Tom Delay... Phil Donohoe).

Through out the meeting he kept of asking me about my rationale for offering courses. His queries though were questioning the tools I was developing the training for... not the training itself. He kept insinuating that I was making the wrong decisions for what I was doing... all with a smile. I wanted to look at the other interviewers and say point blank, "Do I have to work with this guy?"

And to top this off... at the end... he looked at me and titled his fully coifed head... "You sure you did not get my e-mail?"

That's the end of that. Move on I say.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Anti Gay Phone Companies

Read and listen... can you believe it?!!! I guess there's a market for bigots and homophobes alike...

Web page write up/background explanation:
http://www.eugenemirman.com/showandtell.html


Call 1: http://www.eugenemirman.com/audio/Anti_Gay_Phone_Company_I.mp3
Call 2: http://www.eugenemirman.com/audio/Anti_Gay_Phone_Company_II.mp3
Call 3: http://www.eugenemirman.com/audio/Anti_Gay_Phone_Call_III.mp3

"They train their employees to accept a Gay and Lesbian lifestyle...."

Friday, September 16, 2005

If Hitler were an unsuccessful artist today...

He'd probably be a clipart artist. Though I'm wondering it's usually these sort of artists who make more money at least enough to survive comfortably. But yet they've had to pimp themselves out to create aesthetically devoid crap for MicroSoft.

I've decided that I'm going to post the most unappealing or ridiculous clipart I can find... there's something that's almost kitschy about clipart. Here's one... the Joker in his younger years before he turned to a life of crime. Little do we know, but this hardcore Gotham villian was once a promising junior marketing executive. A freak accident incurred by a chemical reaction from a mass whiteboard pen accident, rendered this corporate protoge into the insane meglo-maniac he is today. A corporate boss of one of the top ranking Fortune 500 companies in the world.





Men don't have lips that look like that.