Monday, March 29, 2004

The Universal Dumpling

I am and forever will be a dumpling FREAK. There's something about having your food in nice neat little packages or small sized nuggets that delights the gastronome's soul. It may be that having smaller morsels and a variety to choose from, as in dim sum, allows you to engage in a sort of pseudo-gluttony and enables you to try a little bit of everything that passes by on those steaming carts. Or perhaps it's just the concept of having the comfort of smaller sized portions of carbohydrates as in your average sized serving of chicken and dumplings. Whether it's rice cakes or spaetzel, I've always held a very soft spot for the dumpling.

I did a quick search to find what I could about dumplings:

The World's Largest Rice Dumpling
I wonder if all of these rice dumplings were all eaten.

Scottish Dumplings:
There are Scottish dumplings called Cloutie Dumplings that are traditionally associated with Halloween.

Don Knotts and Dumplings:
The Apple Dumpling Gang was fillmed my my home state of Oregon.

Dumplings Save a City in China:
Dumplings are tied to folklore of the city of Xi'an in China. The dumplings of Xi'an are called jiaozi and some of these come in the shape of a chicken.

Russian Wonton Soup:
Pelmeni are the russian version of the wonton.

French Don't Eat Dumplings:
They eat quenelles.

That's Why those Tiny German Dumplings (Spaetzel) Look So Cute:
You use one of these to make them. Spatzle is often called the "noodle" of Austria and Germany.

An International Affair:
Dumplings are truly universal. As evidenced here in this article catalogueing the number of different varieties around the world. Boy, would I love to see a dumpling index.

Lightin' up with the Trail Blazers

You know I have this theory about our beloved or not so beloved basketball team... they're always getting in trouble with the law because they are B-O-R-E-D up here. Come on, Portland is the land of the Stuck Up Fat Chicks (according to my hairdresser). The women here are often a little more rubinesque in shape than in other parts of the country. Either that or they resemble the female version of Elvis Costello. Not to mention that we're not big on fair weather and fun. And excuse me... what is there to do around here for entertainment if you are not into windsurfing or hiking or mushroom picking? I'd say I can sympathize with the Blazers in their indulgence of a little ganj. Not that I'm into that sort of thing.

Speaking of portland types... if you want to get a better picture of what i'm talking about go here: Hipster Bingo. Though this may be slightly dated... and there is no entry for BIG GOTH GIRL which is actually PDX code for (white trash)... MEOW! Portland is the land of wannabe indie hipsters, PBR (Pabst Blue Ribbon), and disheveled chic.

A place to put my stuff

That's what I'm looking for. It may seem like as simple as George Carlin's description of a home, but I've discovered that looking for an affordable and agreeable place to live in this town is more than a challenge. Property value in Portland has steadily gone up. While I was in not in the financial place to buy two or three years ago, I'm finding myself regretting not spending money I didn't have to invest in real estate.

Each Sunday as we begin our search through each seeming agreeable neighborhood, we start looking at the homes closer to downtown. We inevitably discover that they are far too expensive and start looking further out, and further out... until we end up in the dreaded suburbs. I start looking at homes that have bad paint jobs, broken windows, jungle-like landscaping, and a rusty impala in the yard and I start to think... "Hey, I actually might be able to afford that shithole," or "A little blood, sweat and tears and some new lineoleum and I think this house might actually meet building code standards."

Right now, I'm seriously looking further out in North Portland at least near the MAX tracks. At least this area has some promise. We'll see, we'll see.

Sunday, March 28, 2004

Why do we always throw things away?

J. has this favorite lined nylon jacket. It's a little worn. The stitching on the colored stripes on the front of the jacket were worn and frayed to the point where the nylon strips started to come off of the coat. The seams around the pockets are coming undone and the stitching around one of the cuffs is about to give way. Of course it would make things easier just to buy a new one, but he loves this jacket, so this morning I decided to try to fix it.

We always think of our time in terms of an economy based on what we could be doing. I could be building a website, I could be re-writing a lab, or I could just be writing. And each day I trade and shift my priorities as if they were hard goods to be bartered. At least, this is how I feel like I've been living for the past five years. Though I work for a demanding company, I suspect that my life wouldn't be too different if I worked for myself or even for a laxer group. Time is money. Time is money. So it isn't surprising that when we encounter the problem of something breaking on us or something falling into disrepair, it's much more economical to throw that thing away and buy a new one.

I believe that as we have evolved into this highly consumption oriented culture and eventually we began to loose our sentimental attachment to specific things. Though... Perhaps not (see the comment from Ms. Smarmalade below). This is simply my perception. It could be argued that in our need for consistency and familiarity we will always create vessels for our sentimentality: hence, the scrapbook craze. Though I'm convinced that much of the 'doo-dad' scrapbooks of today are created by bored housewives. I'm really glad that my mother didn't make a scrapbook with little ponies and ribbons... though it might be fodder for comedy later on in my life. If my mother were to put memories in a scrapbook she might include the time that I altered the dress I was supposed to wear at a wedding with a pair of kitchen scissors.

If you think of it, there's also a cultural need to own things with a past such as antiques. I also was thinking about the whole faded jean fad. As we were eating lunch on Sunday we looked across the street and saw a van parked in a lot with a sign that said. "Will pay big bucks for your old levis. " Why is it so important to wear a pair of jeans that were worn and holey? Just because they look cool? It seems to me that objects that visibly have a past hold some pleasing aesthetic to us. It's almost as if their past ads to their value/attraction.

Addendum...
Ooops... I discovered that I am not the seamstress that I thought I was. My mother's father was actually a tailor by trade; however, I did not inherit this natural skill or ability. Obviously, as I think that I can use a pair of scissors to alter clothing. Although my stitching on the jacket was uniform and snug, I- uh - sort of sewed the pocket of the jacket shut. How embarrasing! I will have to undo this part of the sewing and re-do it. Oy.

Saturday, March 27, 2004

I need some comfort

The events of this week have essentially sapped me into a noodle-headed twit. Between the house hunting, the story board presentation, a new roommate moving, yotta-yotta, I don't have much strength or wit. I decided that I needed a dose of chicken soup (and not for my soul, which is probably located somewhere between my spleen and upper intestine). Here's what we're making as I write:

You need:
A cut up fryer (chicken that is)
1 large onion
4 stalks of celery cut in half
3-4 carrots cut into 2 inch pieces
1/2 bunch of parsley
12 pepper corns
a cheese cloth bag containing the following items (12 pepper corns, 2 bay leaves, 1 sprig of thyme)
sea salt (about 1 1/2 tsp)


Put all of the above in a large pot. Make sure that you have at least 3-4 inches of space to the top edge of the pot and fill the pot until the the contents are just covered with water. Bring the water to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cook on low heat for at least 1 hour. Remove the contents and strain the broth. Reserve in a large pot. You can serve the vegetables with the soup or discard them. Leave the chicken pieces out to cool. Then remove the meat from the bone and cut into chunks. This is my basic chicken soup recipe. It's a staple I've returned back to over and over again.

Addendum...
Feather Dumplings (from the Fanny Farmer Cookbook). These are by far some of the best I've had. They hold their shape in the broth and don't sink to the bottom of your stomach like stones.
1 c. flour
1/2 c. fresh bread crumbs
2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1 egg, well beaten
2 tbsp. butter melted
1/4 c. finely chopped onion
1/3 c. milk
1 tsp. finely minced parsley
Freshly ground pepper to taste.

Combine the flour, bread crumbs, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl, and stir to mix in. In another bowl lightly beat the egg, melted butter, onion, and milk together. Stir into the dry ingredients to make a stiff batter. Stir in the parsley and pepper. When the chicken has simmered for 20 minutes. (Actually, we dropped the dumplings, pre-shaped into walnut-sized balls, into the strained broth as it was simmering on low heat) drop spponfuls of the dough on top of the bubbling broth. Cover and steam for 20 minutes.

Friday, March 26, 2004

Some Brazilian Kisses

I need a break from some of the scheduling work I've been doing for our next quarter. I'm not the best at handling logistical details so I find this work to be a real drain. Imagining myself at a party with tall cocktails concocted with mango nectar and rum sounds quite appealing right now.

I promised in some posting somewhere to look up this recipe I had once, Brazilian candies called Brigadeiro. I had these candies when I was in Brazil many years ago as a teen-ager. Speaking of reckless youth, sort of skipped out and took off on my own, running from my parents for a day when I was down there, and as you know Rio de Janeiro is not the safest place in the earth especially for a sixteen year-old foreign girl.


Brigadeiro

INGREDIENTS:
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon margarine or butter
3 tablespoon cocoa powder

Melt the butter in a double boiler over medium-low heat, and add the condensed milk, margarine and cocoa powder. Stir until combined and cook until it thickens and sticks together. You should be able to drop a bit of it in a glass of cold water and it holds it's shape when taken out. This is called the firm-ball stage.

Pour the mixture in a greased dish and let it cool to room temperature. Take small amounts of the mixture with a teaspoon and roll these into balls. Make sure that you grease your hands with oil or melted butter. I like to insert a nut or a small chocolate in the center of each ball. Roll the balls over chocolate jimmies to decorate.

Other versions:
*roll each ball in finely chopped brazil nuts, walnuts or cashews
*I made a version once where I added 1/4 c of peanut butter and omitted the butter and cocoa completely. These tasted great rolled in chopped nuts or dried flaked coconut.

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Year of the Sheep (Ram) 2003

All this talk lately about sexual experimentation and ethical questions and issues around sexuality has brought back memories of last year. Julia's mention of seeing an ex-boyfriend in the gym with another Asian girl reminded me of one encounter in particular that I had with a guy who had a pronouced taste for Asian women, but I will get into the details about this later in another posting.

Last year I spent some time, per Auntie Mame's suggestion, just living... and having sex. I dated a good number of people many of whom I met on-line. Now, I won't go into this now, but in retrospect, if I were ever to be single again, I would probably try very hard to use another avenue for meeting people as there a two types of people who seem to populate the internet dating scene in large numbers: sharks and wolves. I hate to use such cliche metaphors, but I really can't think of a better way to describe them (and there's an even larger category of people whom I didn't find interesting enough to even bother with). Still, if you are interested in meeting a good many different people (whom you are attracted to) to have sex with... the internet is your place to be. (No, duh). Just remember to keep plenty of condoms on hand.

People often dread the idea of having to dive back into the dating scene, but I truly enjoyed myself most of the time. I met a good many men, many of whom were true characters (both in the inter-personal and cartoon sense). A few were amazing lovers and others... well, I won't dwell on those instances too much. I came to understand that you don't necessarily have to expect love and a relationship from each and every encounter; however, for my own piece of mind, I decided that when I was tired of the dating scene I would remove myself from it.

For those who are reluctant and afraid I wanted to debunk a few myths and about the dating freely concept. However, I still firmly stand by my credo: "You should do ONLY what you feel is right and comfortable."

1) It's too embarrassing to be rejected.
Once you get over the fear of rejection, your confidence gets a boost. You don't have to fake being non-plussed when someone doesn't return your calls or tells you that thinks aren't going to work out. Just walk away gracefully. The sooner you're able to get over the rejection, the sooner you will be able to get out there and meet someone new, possibly even better than the person who dissed you.

2) It's too hard to say no to others.
No it's not.

Don't feel bad if you didn't enjoy the date or experience. You can be upfront with people or you can just avoid having to call them. I didn't feel that it was right to just outwardly basically tell someone, "You know I don't think that this is going to work out, " unless, of course, I was prompted. Usually, people get the picture. Though it seemed to me that I had dated an awful lot of men who were leary about women calling them over and over again (in a Glenn Close sort of way). But then I thought, they either pick the same sort of freaks (present company excluded- as I am more of an independent sort of freak), or they pushed these women over some edge. I have this theory about that... that I will go into later.

3) I will look like a ho/slut/jerk/dick.
Well, that's actually an interesting combination. Here's my answer to that one: WHO CARES?

Note: You should be particularly cautious about STD's.

When I am old

I was driving to work this morning across the Freemont Bridge, and I found myself following this courier van that had the following painted on the rear window in big white letters: Seniors Ala Cart.

Now, of course the first thing I thought was:
"Soylent Green is People"

Then immediately afterwards:
"Have we stooped so low that we're now eating old people?"

Then I think:
"If I were a cannibal, I'd only eat vegans."

If I was a senior, I'd have to be pretty far gone to get in that vehicle. I mean that is just demeaning. Heh, I'm an old person so I guess you have to "cart" me around now. I understand that the correct meaning of the business should be inferred by the spelling: ala cart. After all it did not say ala carte. Still, it just doesn't sound right.

I myself cannot wait to be an older citizen. They may not respect elderly folks as much in this society, but you can still pretty much say what ever you have on your mind! After all, if you've lived that long, you've earned it.

Besides I can just envision myself at kareoke nights at the folks home. Grandma sings Nine Inch Nails. Not that I really like them or anything, just want to stir things up a bit.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

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If they're going to reject you, you might as well take them for all their worth (or protect yourself by preventing them from taking you to the cleaners)

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Response to Julia

In response to your Posting on Car Alarms are Really Sensitive Friday, March 19, 2004

Wow, I read this and I was overwhelmed... in a good way. I think I've experienced some of the same apprehensions you've expressed here. You are very right to want to avoid being involved with that person because you don't want to be dragged into his fantasy -ala denial. At the very least because you simply find it uncomfortable for you. I asked similar questions to those you do of prospective dates... about being married, gay, etc. Or I got good at weeding out information fairly accurately via conversation. I did early on have a run-in with a few guys who had the O-fetish (Oriental fetish) thing, and this set me back a bit in my ability to trust some men. I hate to be blunt and course but these episodes made me feel soiled and as if I was not being seen as a person. Then again, there's a bit of sexual play sometimes that becomes attractive when you divorce yourself from the person or sexual partner and enjoy the sex purely for the sex. However, that is another issue that I will not touch here. Despite those "O" encounters, I, like you, began to become more selective or raised the criteria a bit.


You've opened up a great many topics and tangents that I'd like to write about as well... if I only had the time and could type faster.

My questions:
1. Do you have goals that extend past economic survival/success?
2. Do you own a gameboy? (or Xbox, or gamecube, whatever...) Do you spend more than 15% of your free time playing it? (I don't have any issues with people who own or play them, it's just those people who take a week off just so that they can play for more than 8 hours straight)

Fugu that!

No, I'm serious. All this talk about uni, ikura and sashimi and has made me recall that episode of the Simpsons where Homer eats the fatal posion of the blowfish. You know, I would never take such a risk. Well, maybe I would have ten years ago when I was too stupid, sheltered, and inexperienced that I was actually hungry for the stimulation that might come from taking such a gamble.

There is a part of me that is very attracted to the consistent and staying in my comfort zone. But even as I write this I wonder, have a truly become so complacent and reluctant to take risks. For a brief moment I feel this nostalgic yearning to do something impulsive like throwing pingpong balls from a third story fire escape on to the sidewalk, eating goats eye-balls, or climbing a rock cliff with my bare-hands. Then I remember that I've done my share of experimenting. It's not as if I will never take another risk again in my life. After all, isn't that how we move forward? It's just that I don't want to try as hard to be excited. Is this what it means to age gracefully?

Fugu


(Oops... I had to edit the text... below. Bad English. This is what happens when you blog in a hurry)
(definition from Japanese Dictionary of History and Traditions)
alternative words: Globefish, Swellfish
related topics: Sashimi , Tofu
related web sites: http://www.enjoy.ne.jp/~tokutpk/siomura/ , http://www.fukurakusya.co.jp
explanation: Globefishes have been highly appreciated in Asian countries, especially in Japan. But beware, the liver and the ovary are highly poisonous. You should eat only the dishes prepared by licensed persons. The most common dishes are Chirinabe (fillets are boiled in a pot with vegetable and tofu) and Sashimi (fish is cut off into very thin fillets). Shimonoseki city, in the extreme west of Hoshu, is best known for their fugu dishes.

I was so hungry...

that my body started to consume the fat from my brain. I was running a little ragged today. Had to come into work early. I think I had an English muffin with a little cheese for breakfast and a small tumbler of juice. I did go to work super early I had to drive to the other side of town to see the mortgage broker. Then I had to go to my weekly appointment with the therapist. I came back to work and my head was pounding. I just sat in the cubicle for at least 15 minutes. I couldn't work.

The cafeteria was closing so all I could get was odds and ends from the refrigerator section. (1 dinner roll, 2 pieces of Tillamook cheddar, 1 hardboiled egg, a pat of butter). So I ended up with my version of an egg mcmuffin. Now, I'm not claiming that it's delicious but it worked, my head-ache went away and so I could return to my cell and drone on.

Imogene's Quick McFuffin
1 dinner roll
1 pat of butter
1 hard boiled egg, shelled and sliced
1 slice of cheddar cheese
1 packet of sweet relish
salt and pepper to taste
mayo if you'd like

Slice the dinner roll in half and place the pat of butter between the two halves. Heat the dinner roll in the microwave for no more than 20 sec. If you want melted cheese, but the cheese on one half of the roll before you heat it up. Add your relish and egg. Season with your salt and pepper, and enjoy (if this is your sort of thing). It's not exactly gourmet, but it beats Fun-ions and Bugles from the vending machine.

Sunday, March 21, 2004

Party in the West Hills

Why do rich folks build their homes on hills? Does this stem back to the days of the feudal castle? I guess most of them don't have to worry about actually getting to work when there's snow or ice. Last night we went to a going away party for a very nice friend of J's. She's headed off to Japan for two years and some very nice friends gave a pretty nice send off with cocktails and sushi appetizers. The masago (smelt roe) nigiri sushi was actually pretty good. I prefer tobiko (flying fish roe) over masago. I've always liked most fish eggs and caviar. Most likely because of the texture and the saltiness. I will not eat ikura (salmon roe) because it's too salty and the texture is a bit too sticky and gooey for me. Yes, Ick-ura!

There were a lot of hoity toity Nike people at the party. As with most Portland parties (with the close to upper-crust) the only good looking men who show up are usually gay and there are far too many people wearing black trousers with blue chambray shirts. What are we? Fucking Amish? Okay, I'll stop now. I think some very drunk woman tried to set me up with her swinging husband. She was a pillow case short of being three sheets to the wind. She asked me the very question I had avoided all evening. "What do you do? Do you work at Nike?" Usually, if I'm feeling like a smart-ass and the person is drunk enough, I usually reply to this question with, "I clean toilets, and I enjoy it very much thank you," or "Actually, I'm a hooker." Strangely enough this woman was drunk and I wasn't in my usual wise ass mode. I think that some creaking gears in my head were trying to assess whether or not this woman might actually be a connection to someone who might hook me up with a better job. So I relented and told her the truth about my place of employment. "Oh, my dear, you do not look like someone who works with crusty engineers. You've just got too much going on. I mean look at the way you're dressed." I guess a compliment from a snockered middle-aged woman is better than none at all.

When I told her where I went to grad school and she started spinning like a fire cracker. "You must meet my husband. He was a graduate from Columbia as well." I felt a bit awkward. I think that I failed schmoozing and small talk even as intermural events. Then he was asking far too many questions along the lines of : are you here with someone? How do you know so and so? So are you and J, married? "Oy, I don't even know you so bugger off," I thought. I knew then that any attempt to network in this situation would be a waste of my time. I'm not any good at climbing socio-economic ladders especially when they have swings attached.

Friday, March 19, 2004

Emotional Intelligence

According to an article I read on line (Corporate Leadership Council), a person who is endowed with emotionally intelligent prowess has a keen ability to perceive emotions, access and generate emotions (in others as well), understand emotions, comprehend emotional knowledge, reflectively regulate emotions. According to Victor Dulewicz and Malcolm Higgs emotional intelligence has the following “six core elements:”


  • Self awareness

  • Emotional management

  • Empathy

  • Ability to handle relationships

  • Interpersonal communication

  • Personal Style



For the past few months I’ve been associating some of the regimented attitudes and behaviors necessary for being successful here at work as being embodied in the kind of persona who you wouldn’t exactly invite to a cocktail party. If the Fitzgerald’s were at one end of the spectrum then most of the people that work here are at the other end. You need to be highly disciplined to work in this environment and to get things accomplished; however, I think that the culture that has been built around this company has attracted and developed a large population of people who find it difficult to live creatively, or people who find the usual hum-drum solutions to problems. Maybe this is simply just the way things need to be in a corporate environment. Maybe I’m just seeing the dysfunction of the group I work in. Who knows?

There are a few amazing people (in other groups) here who are very bright and incredibly motivated. They develop new and wonderful tools and solutions. They press their innovations forward and are rewarded accordingly; however, I think that our overall business group has become plagued by the usual symptoms of dysfunctional bureaucracy: project creep, lack of alignment with the mission and goals, overworked and disgruntled employees, poor management of employees as resources, and lack of strong and charismatic leadership.

I have encountered a few people here who I’d truly consider to be emotionally intelligent (at least by the definition above). I often found myself wishing that I could work for them or in their groups. Me personally, I don’t consider myself to be highly intelligent, emotionally… at least by the corporate definition above. Why if I were gifted in such a way, would I be releasing my angst here in this blog?

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Need a husband?

I looked up at the header/ad banner and I saw:
Help Your Husband
Protect the whole family from porn Our filter has no password override
Find a Christian Husband
Meet Christian men that are looking to get married. Free trial.

I think i'd find the last one less than useful. Can you imagine? Maybe I've got some preconceptions about the men who populate this office.
Lame in the head
Lame in bed
Lame


Bad, bad girl. You are stereotyping. And by the way... why should you protect yourself from porn? Porn allows me to think with a clear head. As if porn is some disease that will make you loose your sight or appendages.

Ohhhh, ohhhh.... I just refreshed the blog and here's another useful ad.

Understand Your Man -
Take the first step toward a lasting relationship !

I want to vomit now...

I follow the link and I find an ad for a book:
Men Made Easy

Now I want to re-write the title so it reads:
Men are Easy - (Understanding how to satisfy yourself... now that's HARD)

Puh-lease! Does this woman, the author, think that's she's actually cornered the market on understanding men? I don't think that this any more helpful than most of those bullshit articles you'll find in your average woman's mag. Understand yourself first.

If this woman is actually a 'best-selling' author, that only attests to the fact that most of us are lost when it comes to understanding what makes us happy. After reading the titles to the rest of her books, I come to the conclusion that the audience for these books still bases most of their happiness from their relationships with men. Don't get me wrong, I do feel that anyone can benefit from a healthy (love/sex/emotional) relationship (with either sex) when the partnership is right. Still, the literature marketed in this ad leads me to believe that many of us are still looking for these connections just to have them... aye, the call of desparation rings loud.


Here's the link to the ad, if you're curious or just want a laugh.

Pardon me, but did you say you had a yeast infection?

I've come to the conclusion that if I worked in a skeevy bar, I'd be the straight as an arrow. You see I have this tendency to revolt and take a 180 degree detour from what seems to be happening in my current environment. Though, you know even the most average flock has a nasty wolf lurking about. I think Helen Gurley Brown (author of Sex and the Single Girl) once said:

No office anywhere on earth is so puritanical, impeccable, elegant, sterile or incorruptible as not to contain the yeast for at least one affair, probably more. You can say it couldn't happen here, but just let a yeast raiser into the place and first thing you know-bread!

Still, if that's the case in this place we must be making a lotsa matzoh. I have no desire to bake bread in my workplace as I don't feel that the necessary ingredients for my recipe are at hand.

Uh, a little something about the peppers...

I forgot to mention... when you're making those tacos you may want to discard the chipotle peppers after you've finished cooking the filling. Uhhh, I mean you can eat them and they are edible, but let's just say (and I'm trying to be as delicate as I can here) that you may experience some discomfort the next morning. Hey, I'm just being honest.

Bagel ate my Laptop

Hmmmm... I like the sound of that. Okay, so I was pressed and I opened the zip file. I felt like a complete retard until I went to the IT office and saw the line of completely flustered and disheveled looking engineers standing in front of me. Well, I may not have been able to work on my storyboard but I got some work done on the Linux installation procedure I'm setting up for our classrooms.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Do you hate your job?

A friend of mine sent me these posts. It was nice to read them and think about the questions in the 2nd link (even though they are inspired by the 7 Habits of Highly F'ed Up People). Look, I guess I don't have anything against the book per se, it's just how the people and managers here at work use some of the philosophy passed on by the book.

I don't even have time today to ask the all of the questions regarding my values. Of course all these questions ask is "What is it you really want to do with your life? What will you tolerate?" I have a deadline on a storyboard for a paper usability test. So I will probably be somewhat terse for the next week or so.


http://www.treeoflifecoaching.co.uk/Articles/Ihatemyjob.html
http://www.treeoflifecoaching.co.uk/Articles/values.html

Monday, March 15, 2004

Maduros

Forgot to add these from Saturday's dinner menu. I first tried a plate of maduros at my favorite Cuban restaurant in New York, Cafe Con Leche. I enjoy these sweet ripened plantains much more than the tostones (unripened fried plantains) because I have a bit of a sweet tooth. Even though they are sweet they still tasted amazing with the light garlic sauce served at Cafe Con Leche. Ayyye- now, I'm fantasizing about their Chicharron de Pollo! They are still located in the West Side on Amsterdam Ave. Believe me. I made a stop on my last visit to the City in December.

Slice your ripened plantains thickly and fry in a pan with unsalted butter. Season with cinnamon and salt if desired.

Why am I torturing myself? I didn't have time to fix my lunch, so I will have to scrounge for something in our cafeteria.

Sunday, March 14, 2004

Saturday's Menu: Tacos, Poblanos Rellenos, Maduros & Pan Dolce

I had to go into work on a Saturday. Since I was on that side of town I decided to benefit from one of the few redeeming aspects of downtown Hillsboro. The ethnic grocery stores, namely those run by the Mexican-American community. Strangely enough it seemed on this Saturday the army recruiters were out in the parking lot adjacent to Yesenia's Bakery and Grocery. They had a temporary set up with a tent and a rock climbing wall

I returned home with the following ingredients:
2 lbs of Poblano peppers
3 lbs of Plantanos or plantains(ripened)
1/2 cotija cheese already grated
1 wheel (small) queso fresco
Onions
Limes
Tomatoes
Chipotle peppers, both dried and in adobo sauce
Cilantro
Plenty of corn and flour tortillas

With help from one or two friends we were able to prepare a taco dinner for at least 6 very hungry folks.

Tacos (this is an ad hoc version. I don't think it's close to authentic, but it tastes pretty good. J did a pretty good job of feeling out the seasonings on his own)
2 lbs. extremely lean ground beef ground from chuck opting out the Mad Cow
1 very large yellow onion so strong that your eyes singe from the other side of the kitchen
1 tbsp canola oil
3 tbsp oregano
1/2 square unsweetened chocolate, grated
1 tbsp chili powder
2 tbsp cumin
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
(I would add 1 tsp of cinnamon)
1 large fresh jalepeno pepper chopped fine
1/2 can (small can) chipotle pepper or 2 dried soaked in 1/2 c. warm chicken broth
1 large tomato chopped
Salt to taste

Saute onions until they are just cooked. Add the meat and cook until done- no pink! Add the remaining spices & ingredients and cook for an additional 30 minutes. Leave on low heat and stir occasionally.

For the finished tacos:
Chopped cilantro
fresh tomatoes mixed with chopped onions and minced fresh jalepeno pepper
Wedges of lime
Hand-made flour tortillas
corn tortillas.

The rest is self-explanatory. You know how to make a taco. By the way, do they still make those crappy hard shells that always tasted like paste board?

Friday, March 12, 2004

I'm starting to see things

I sat in a class/ meeting this morning, and the instructor/leader put up a diagram up on the board that looked very much like a panty-liner with wings.

The people around me who were taking the class were nervously checking their email on their wireless accounts as the class was running. The woman sitting next to me asked someone if they thought that the class would get out early. I could sense her reluctance as she closed the lid of her laptop. Why? I know you need to make good use of your time, but I think that it's very difficult to learn while you're typing email. Ahhhhhhh.... doesn't anyone else get this? It seems like common sense to me. And I look at these people who've become so neurotically adept at multitasking and I think, I don't want to be like them: nervous slaves.

Our business group gave a 'celebration' today. A reward for all the hard work on the last major project. I didn't go to the ice cream social because the balloons, the banners, and the ice cream made me feel like I was a six year old going to someone's birthday party and because I'm lactose intolerant. I had my own celebration at a nearby Japanese restaurant: futomaki (large sushi roll), tekka-maki (tuna roll), and a Sapporo beer. Technically, I could get fired for drinking then going back to work, but you know it's one little beer. Well, a Sapporo usually comes in a can that's almost twice as large as your normal beer, but, hey, I did eat some carbs to balance every thing. Besides I'm not operating machinery and I ended up being extremely productive for the rest of the day.

Thursday, March 11, 2004

If you want to be well informed about the outsourcing debate...

Here's a start.

I found this page"noslaves.com." I haven't read through most of the articles here, but there is some good reading if you want to educate yourself on the economic principles involved with the off-shoring/outsourcing phenomenon. Americans should continue to empower themselves through education and not get too wrapped up into heated banter with outsourcing proponents. As always, I, myself want to continue to carefully analyze the information I come by. With my limited understanding of market economy my intuition tells me that the solution is not as simple as preventing jobs from going overseas. These jobs will go regardless. This deterministic movement is rooted in how our economy works, so my head tells me. There's more to this thought, but I'm tired and hungry and I need to go home.


Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Rap for my aisle neighbors

It's past 6:30. Yes, I'm still here. and probably will be for the next two hours. Though I might have been able to leave an hour early if I didn't write in this blog today. You know, I'm going to just going to openly rationalize my actions here. This blog is the closest thing that I have right now to my therapy. More, I can go back and look at my bitching and say every now and then. Hey, it's time to start dealing with your problems instead of just writing them down.

My neighbors are still here too and they're still just as noisy. I think I might want to work the final version of the googlism poem below into a song/rap. I was riding home in the car and I made up my own little rhyme to a beat. Of course someone probably has already done this and, as always, I'm just too pop-culturally retarded to have figured this out.

Shut-the-fuck-up
Shut-the-fuck-up
I said...
Shut-the-fuck-up

I'm trying to work here!
But there ain't any walls to block your sound.



Aye, this is juvenille... so it's still in progress... I need to work on this some more.
hahaha.

It's time to start looking for another job

Again?! You must be thinking, doesn't she go through this phase about every month. I'm not sure that this is the best time to do this, but on the otherhand, I've just read the last few posts and it seems to me that this job is weighing me down. I'm not thrilled about continuing to work here; however, maybe just a change of group and setting might be a good fix for at least a year until I get some additional financial ducks in a row.

I'll start with a new resume. I find that in order to wind down and get in the right frame of mind to fix my current resume. I need to play with my fake one.

Re-tooling mania

No, I'm not talking about gay porn. If there's one thing I've noticed about the corporate world (and my views maybe stilted because I've only experienced corporate life here in the the land where only the paranoid survive) you are consistently rewarding for building new tools not maintaining the ones that are in place that actually work. A few people here are savvy and have picked up that if you take an old tool, re-vamp it, re-name it or give it a new spin, you can actually get credit for creating something new.

However, this is a place where people love to build things. I can understand and can relate to this; however, and I hate to type one more corpu-speak phrase, some people persist in ignoring some good ideas and processes already in place because the uphold the attitude that they don't want to use tools that were not invented here (or by them). So there's a bit of an ego issue that comes into play in this insistance that it's better to build all tools from scratch. I have wanted to sit in staff meetings every time someone wants to do this and hold up a bicycle wheel (a big fat one made out of stone, though more appropriate, would be too heavy for me to lift).

Now, a good part of my job consists of using older processes many of which I developed earlier in my career here. There is no reason to re-tool many of these processes because they have already been honed to the point that the only thing I could do better was to delegate these processes/tools (god, I'm already tired of using this term) to someone else, but there's no one else to give this to because we got rid of (excuse me let go of the one person beneath me). I've already tried pushing my work back out, but eventually it finds it's way back to me. After all, the job needs to get done.

I'm sorry if I'm boring you.

Office Bingo

I just got this from a friend of mine at work... I'm not sure what the source is, otherwise I would credit someone for this. Personally, when I'm bored at meetings I like coloring in my Law and Order coloring book. Try it, you might like it:

HOW TO STAY AWAKE IN MEETINGS

(offered as a public service)

Do you keep falling asleep in meetings and seminars? What about those long and boring conference calls? Here's a way to change all of that.

1. Before (or during) your next meeting, seminar, or conference call, prepare yourself by drawing a square. I find that 5" x 5" is a good size. Divide the card into columns-five across and five down. That will give you 25 one-inch blocks.

2. Write one of the following words/phrases in each block:

* synergy
* strategic fit
* core competencies
* best practice
* bottom line
* revisit
* expeditious
* to tell you the truth (or "the truth is")
* 24/7
* out of the loop
* benchmark
* value-added
* proactive
* win-win
* think outside the box
* fast track
* result-driven
* empower (or empowerment)
* knowledge base
* at the end of the day
* touch base
* mindset
* client focus(ed)
* paradigm
*game plan
*leverage

3. Check off the appropriate block when you hear one of those words/phrases.

4. When you get five blocks horizontally, vertically, or diagonally, stand up and shout "BULLSHIT!"



Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Inspired by those in the next aisle who cannot speak softly...

Creating not so random poetry on googlism:http://www.googlism.com/about.htm.
And by the way, they have been warned.
shut the fuck up is the tough guy version; it is often
shut the fuck up is ranked 202 and has played for 23m in 14 days real name
shut the fuck up is ranked 664 and has played for 54m in 14 days real name
shut the fuck up is to firmly plant the back of your hand on the side of
shut the fuck up is one of the main reasons i came here
shut the fuck up is generally an applicable response in most situations
shut the fuck up is grindcore
shut the fuck up is now going to be my main focus
shut the fuck up is u2
shut the fuck up is not
shut the fuck up is an "open letter to men in the movement" written by activist dan spalding about the sexist behavior of men in left
shut the fuck up is for the love of it
shut the fuck up is? shh
shut the fuck up is getting in the way of my grades
shut the fuck up is about to expire
shut the fuck up is not going to find its way into fashion this season
shut the fuck up is
shut the fuck up is going to go nowhere
shut the fuck up is going
shut the fuck up is it some german name or something
shut the fuck up is a great song


After a little editing:
shut the f--- up is the tough guy version; it is often
shut the f--- up is to firmly plant the back of your hand on the side of your mouth
shut the f--- up is one of the main reasons i came here to your cube
shut the f--- up is generally an applicable response in most situations
shut the f--- up is now going to be my main focus
shut the f--- up is up to u2
shut the f--- up is not to much to ask
shut the f--- up is for you because I do not care to listen to your 'firefighting' and arguments
shut the f--- up is? shhhhhhh
shut the f--- up is getting in the way of my goals
shut the f--- up is for you because you can't document your work on the expensive fucking website that we built so people can read your changes quietly instead of you having to explain them all OUT LOUD.
shut the f--- up is about to expire you
shut the f--- up is not going to find its way into fashion this season
shut the f--- up is &!$%#@#!!!
shut the f--- up is going to go nowhere
shut the f--- up is going
shut the f--- up is it some german name or something
shut the f--- up is a great song… it think I’ll sing it loud and clear right now.

Have a piece of the pie... or is your plate already full?

Not I finally got a piece of the pie (from the Jefferson's theme song). Periodically at work I am asked to make a pie chart that summarizes how I use my time during the day. Though it's minimal... I wonder how much time I spend on this blog.

We've decided that I will be responsible for the calendaring of more procedures and events. I have a feeling that I will be asked to present another piechart in my 1 on 1 with my supervisor. I am working on a sort of parody of this pie chart activity. I'm a little scarred by my last experience. I often think that this sort of tracking of one's time can take up more time that could be used for other constructive activities.


Create your own pie-chart.

Imogene's Not So Humble Pie (My 'Fudge This' Pecan Pie Recipe.. Sticky Sweet)

9" pie shell, unbaked (ill provide the piecrust recipe later)
1 1/2 c. pecan halves, roasted in a pan
1/2 c. honey
1/2 c. Dark Karo syrup
2/3 c. Sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. Nestles table cream
1/2 c. butter, softened
1 tbsp vanilla or bourbon, or reserve a shot of bourbon for yourself
3 large eggs
8 oz of semi-sweet chocolate chilps



Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Beat sugar, butter, honey corn syrup, cream, salt, vanilla (bourbon) and eggs in medium bowl with wire whisk or hand beater until well blended. Stir in chocolate chips & pecans and pour filling into pastry-lined pie plate.

Bake at 375 degrees F for 40 to 50 minutes or until center is set and pie crust is golden brown. Cool on wire rack before slicing. Serve with whipped cream or French vanilla ice cream.

Monday, March 08, 2004

You know I have just a little pet peeve...

It's when the colloquial abbreviations for things suddenly appear in print or become the normally used term or name for the original object, thing, institution. I can't begin to explain how this gets to me. You could run a fingernail across a chalkboard (if they exist anymore) and it wouldn't bother me as much. Here are some examples:

Les Miserables - Les Mis
Washington State University - WAZZU ( this is the pronunciation of the acronym for the university, WSU. I think what really gets to me about the word is I associate it with the common phrase: up the wazzu, which always struck me as a phrase used edumacated folks who use terms like whole nother).


Also, I've had it with ACRONYMS. Though I do get a laughed every now and then when someone unwittingly comes up with an inappropriate combination of letters. I swore the other day I saw A.R.S.E. up on the white board in a meeting.

By the way, it is so nice outside that I decided that I wasn't going to let that little irritation I was talking about this morning bother me. Fuck that, it's a beautiful day outside.

I just had to write a little note to myself today. Your life isn't all that bad. You just need to hang in there. Stay calm, dont' take things too personally. .

I didn't like the way my supervisor was talking to me to day. I've mentioned that she's... how should I say this nicely, because I honestly do like her as a person... she's a bit high maintenance. My roommate once told me that she was cleaning the messages from the phone and she noted :"There was a really high-strung lady calling you the other day. She left 6 messages on the phone in one day." This was the day of the big snowstorm I think. I do honestly think that she was concerned about me; however, A reminds me of one of those people (in corporate life) who has to have a handle on every single detail when there's a project running. I don't know if she's aware of this, but she makes me feel like a tool and a half when she asks me about this detail and that. I actually picture her as one of students in school who opted to do all of the work for the cooperative/group learning projects because she didn't trust the others to get it done the way she wanted it done.

I don't know if I've mentioned this, but she has this habit of popping into my cubicle unannounced and frequently. I do talk to her about this on occassion, but I think that it's really hard to change human behavior as a whole especially when the behavior is rooted to this aspect of her personality, the need for control. I think there are other aspects that are influencing the dynamic between us. Namely, my boredom with some of the administrative duties I've been slated with. When I took this job it was under the assumption that I would evolve out of the administrative role into something higher on the evolutionary scale on the corporate monkey tree. When the economy went sour, I suddenly found myself in an arrested state of development, seemingly stuck in a service-administrative/development role. Since they would not backfill the admin role and my 1/2 a coordinators role, I have spent the past 2 years having the role with two faces.

I think that it was a bad sign this morning in the staff meeting when I could only hear her when she was saying things to me like, "You did remember that didn't you?"

I woke up earlier than usual

probably in anticipation of a glorious day at work. I'm trying to pass the time by doing research for the book I'm working on. Yesterday, my mother brought over a dessert from my childhood called Pa-li-tau (actually I'm not too sure how to spell it). The version that she brought over was made by a local Vietnamese bakery, but it was still pretty similar to what I remember eating. Shamelessly I had the last two pieces with tea for breakfast. Though on the health scale they probably ranked higher than your average Pop Tart.

I'm not sure if the proportions, I'll look these up later. But this is a simple dessert eaten in the Philippines and Southeast Asia. They actually are not very sweet.

Rice flour
salt
water
1 c. sesame seeds
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. light brown sugar
2. c fresh coconut, shredded

Toast the sesame seeds until they are golden brown. Mash with a clean mortar and pestle (don't use the one you used to mash the garlic for last night's pad thai). You can also grind the sesame seeds in the blender, but take care not to blend them so much that you end up with tahini paste. In a small bowl mix together the ground sesame and sugars. Place both the sugar/sesame mixture and the coconut on separate plates. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Mix the salt, riceflour and water together until you have a malleable dough. You want the dough to be able to hold well on its own without being super sticky. Grease your fingers well and separate out tablespoon sized portions of dough. Shape each one like an flat oval. Pinch the ends so that you have a sort of rounded looking diamond shape. Make an indentation in the midde of each piece of dough with your thumb. Roll your thumb from side to side to increase size of the indentation. It helps if you have one person making the little cakes while another person watches them boiling and takes them out when they're done and roll. Bring a large pot of water to boil with a little salt. Through a few of the rice cakes in at a time. They're done when they float to the top. Remove with a slotted spoon that will drain the liquid away well. After removing each cake roll it immediately in coconut until it's covered. Place on the serving dish and let sit until cool. When cool sprinkle an amount of the sesame and sugar into the indentation. Serve with hot tea as a snack or dessert.

Sunday, March 07, 2004

I'm not bad...I'm just drawn that way.

I took this entertaining quiz online to determine which book in literature I most resemble. At least it was the Idiot. I did have this little fascination with Russian literature in my early twenties, but I was in college and didn't have to pay my bills yet. Don't worry... I still think that Ayn Rand was an overrated, sanctimonious windbag who was probably drawn up so tightly in her nether regions that she needed a hell of a pipe cleansing to set her straight. What kind of woman (or man) tries to refashion their name so it is spelled with an unnecessary "y?" That's too close to a krysti or worst krysty... if you substituted the y with u you would have "krusty." Sorry for that tangent. Just have to end with... I never met an Ayn Rand fan that I could actually trust, But look who's talking; I apparently have yet to reach the heights of my depravity.




You're Lolita!



by Vladimir Nabokov

Considered by most to be depraved and immoral, you are obsessed with
sex. What really tantalizes you is that which deviates from societal standards in every
way, though you admit that this probably isn't the best and you're not sure what causes
this desire. Nonetheless, you've done some pretty nefarious things in your life, and
probably gotten caught for them. The names have been changed, but the problems are real.
Please stay away from children.



Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

Saturday, March 06, 2004

Your eyes glow like naked livers burning in the sun.

This was from a surrealist compliment generator

http://www.madsci.org/cgi-bin/cgiwrap/~lynn/jardin/SCG

from makataaq's home page.

The best damned enchiladas in the whole world!

I've had my share of fast Mexican food. I don't trust enchiladas made with tortillas from a companies that have suspiciously Anglo-saxon names. These sheets of flour and water are usually wrapped around a handful of oily cheese and thrown in the microwave with some half-ass tomato sauce. My experience with enchiladas at both poor and decent Mexican restaurants was so lack luster that I really became turned off by the whole concept of eating one. Add to this that I'm slightly lactose intolerant and the enchilada becomes an anathema to my culinary gospel.

M however converted me back and created the following delight last night. Honestly, I don't think I've had anything better. Do not use the chipotle peppers that come in a can with adobo sauce. From my experience these just aren't as flavorful as using the dried ones. As an appetizer he served chiles rellenos (see further below).

3 large cooked chicken breasts, cubed or shredded
10 handmade fresh flour tortillas (small size)
1 can of red enchilada sauce
1/2 lb mushrooms sliced
4-5 stalks of green onions (scallions), chopped
1 lb. tub of sour cream
2 dried chipotle peppers , soaked in warm water until soft and chopped fine
1 lb of the sharpest cheddar cheese you can find
tabasco or any other red chili sauce
canola oil
Salt and pepper

Saute the mushrooms in about a tbsp of canola oil (adding pepper and salt to taste) until they are tender. Set them aside. Pour some of the enchilada sauce in a plate with a rim. Coat each side of a tortilla with the enchilada sauce. Place this coated tortilla on another plate and fill with a little of the other ingredients (use 1-2 tbsp of sour cream for each enchilada). Roll up and place with the bottom side down in a slightly greased glass baking dish. Repeat the described steps with the remaining tortillas and ingredients. Coat the enchiladas in the dish with a light amount of sauce and sprinkle with some cheese.
Bake in a 350F oven for 15-20 minutes.

Ay, and these things are great for breakfast the next morning. Believe me, I just happily consumed one.


Chiles Rellenos
1 Can Anaheim peppers
1/2-3/4 c cheese (preferably a mixture of mexican cheeses like cotija and queso fresco)
small amount of cheddar cheese
Salt and Pepper
3 eggs
2 tbsp milk
Chili powder

Preheat oven to 350F prepare peppers so you can stuff them. Beat the eggs and add milk, salt and pepper. Pour into a small (1 quart) baking dish. Arrange the peppers in the egg mixture so that they touch only slightly. Sprinkle cheddar cheese and a slight amount of chili powder on top. Bake in the oven until egg is cooked all the way through. I wasn't paying attention so I'll have to ask how long and edit this recipe later.

Friday, March 05, 2004

My Dad

I was thinking about my Dad the other night. He's an odd fellow, and he's a bit self-absorbed. He's a know it all, but if you actually look up all the trivia he blurts out, much of it ends up being true. Believe me, I know this from experience. I actually won't claim that his assertion below can be backed up with fact. I've always thought of my dad as a sort of an Asian Cliff Clavin (the postman from Cheers). Except for the most part, he's actually got his facts straight. He liked to put out ridiculous questions or theories sometimes, especially when we were eating out in public:

"Do you know why people have an ass?"
My brother and I would usually respond by laughing or choking on whatever beverage or food item we were consuming.
"No, really. I was thinking about it the other day, and I've decided that after human beings evolved into upright homonids they needed to develop a fleshy area on which to sit on. You see because animals, having four legs, don't actually need to have an ass to sit on or with. Of course, this required them (humans) eventually to develop the need for some sort of wiping apparatus."
My mother would usually cut him off when he started talking about something scatalogical, or she would just roll her eyes.
"Are you sure you just didn't see that on a National Geographic, Dad?"
"No, I think that's the case."

In retrospect I am proud to have him as my Dad, after all he's the only Aetheist Republican I know who actually believes in evolution.

But if I were to take all of the t.v. and film icons of my youth and build a composite of my Dad I'd have to say that he's a cross between Toshiro Mifune and Columbo (with a whole lot of Archie Bunker).

I say this affectionately of course.

Thursday, March 04, 2004

Help?!!!Can anyone help me find some good toast recipes?

And I'm not just talking french toast here.... I want all toast-related recipes (bruschetta, fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches, etc.)

Portuguese Toast
from The Internet Chef

1 tb Sugar
1/2 cup Warm milk
1/4 cup Rum
8 slices White bread from square loaf
2 Eggs, beaten
1/2 Stick butter
Confectioner's sugar
Ground cinnamon

Mix first 3 ingredients. Soak bread in this mixture. "Now lift each slice carefully with a wide spatula and dip in beaten egg to cover both sides. Carefully transfer each slice to a frying-pan in which plenty of butter is quietly sizzling. Fry golden-brown on both sides. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon."

Whore's Pasta or Virgin's Sauce?

Last night I whipped up some Puttanesca as it is an easy thing to do.

-1 28 oz. can organic roma tomatoes
-1 16 oz. can organic tomato sauce
-1 c. pitted kalamata olives
- 1/4 c. capers
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 1 tsp. ground oregano
- freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1 16 oz. can of artichoke hearts
- 3-4 sliced roma tomatoes
- 1 small tin of anchovies in oil, drained

Basically you place everything except the artichoke hearts, fresh roma tomatoes, and anchovies. In a pot and simmer on medium low heat for about 15-20 minutes. Then before serving you add the remaining ingredients and serve over linguine or spaghetti. Also, I like to take the leftover sauce and toss it with some penne rigate. I bake it in an oven safe dish with a generous covering of mozarella, shaved parmesan and romano at 350 F for about 1/2 hour. This gets the edge noodles nice and crispy.

According to a friend of mine puttanesca has a rather seedy origin. After all, with a name like puttanesca you can't be made from wholesome goodness. My friend has given me a a website that speculates on the origin's of this pasta dish's name:

http://www.washblade.com/2003/8-29/arts/homefront/homefront.cfm

Growth (economic growth)

outsourcing proponents argue that the shifting of jobs will actually encourage growth in new technologies and new areas of economic growth... should we start thinking about these new frontiers? Look, even though I graduated from an institution of higher learning that boasts at least a dozen Nobel laureates in economics, I'm practically illiterate when it comes to the subject. I still can put two and two together and deduct that a good amount of the funding for tech research will follow the offshore technology groups. Or can someone assure me that this is not the case?

Then I ask myself, why am I so concerned about this? I'm only working in this industry because I found a job here.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Working from home

I really felt run down yesterday, and these feelings erupted into a full blown cold today. Maybe I wasn't actually going crazy yesterday. Perhaps it was my body telling me to call it quits and lay low for a while. So I'm working from home. I just realized that I may have to go down the street to print out a letter for someone.

Later...
Actually, it wasn't too bad today. As usual, for a work day at home, I accomplished my work in half the time. I ran some errands for the rest of the day, some of which were work related, and I got to re-write the first third of this children's story I've been working on.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

I nearly lost it today

I feel accountable and responsible for all the things that go wrong. Friday it was a bunch of printouts for a class/meeting that were blank on one side. Today it was a low attendance of a class (though the responsibility should actually be that of those fuckers who decided not to make their commitment and show up to class). These are piddly little things, yet I still feel very, very bad if they don't go correctly. Maybe because it seems that lately these are the tasks which I have become identified with.

There are times when I feel guilty that I can't be that perfect or model employee here who has everything automated, who executes flawlessly all the time and performs all tasks and actions with crisp resolve. Perhaps I'm just exhausted because I haven't figured out a way to balance my time between doing things that I love and need to do for my spirit’s sake and remaining in indentured servitude here at blank-blank. I had to drive off campus to run some errands at lunch. It was a beautiful day. The sun was shining for once and the air didn’t feel as moldy and damp as it usually does. I was glad to be able to drive away from the institution, but I felt all bunched up and pent up inside. Beethoven's Violin Concerto was playing on the radio. I put the volume on maximum, and as I sat at the stoplight I screamed at the top of my lungs:

"I FUCKING HATE IT OUT HERE."


I think I jostled the person in the Red Jeep Cherokee who was in the lane next to me. Instead of moving when the light turned green they stayed safely behind to make sure that I was well on my way. Then I realized that I had the window rolled down.

I thought do I really want to work for a company whose has the motto "Only the paranoid survive?" This is an organization where the employees frequently use terms like post-mortem, slower, and SOL in everyday conversations. Did I want this to be my life for the next five years?

I need to make a better plan of how to get out of here. I've tried looking for jobs via the net, via connections, via the paper... I'm always looking, but honestly... there's not much out there and honestly again, most of the jobs out there are ones I don't want. I could go back to school, but I'm almost done paying of my loans from graduate school. Do I want any more of this kind of debt?

I'm still thinking... I'll get there... I've got to keep reminding myself that there are still possibilities.

Just a little clarification regarding my feelings on sexual personae and identity

I repsonded to a very asute posting on Car Alarms are Really Sensitive on2/29, and I just wanted to clarify my position a little bit. I may have sounded harsh when I replied to someone who was stating that they wanted the best of both worlds in a virgin/whore combo:

Everyone has a fetish for something, but you know I think that when we stop seeing the person we're involved in as a person, we begin to objectify them. If you wanted a hooker you would have paid for one.

I've got to say, that if you want to be free sexually and enjoy random partners or even enjoy a bit of virgin or whore, or even a bad boy in bondage or whatever sparks your fancy. That's your business. I don't think that there's anything wrong with that. On the otherhand, I caution anyone who does engage in this to do a reality-check with their (hate to use this corny phrase) heart to make sure that's what they really want. If that's the case, then... keep plenty of condoms and lube on hand and party safe!

Goth Chicks

There's one thing I want to say to all those Goth Chicks (and Chiquitos) everywhere. All that black makeup and hair dye isn't hiding two things: White and Trash.

Chocolate Cake for Breakfast (and other simple pleasures)

A co-worker just left these mini-chocolate cakes with chocolate chunks at the bottoms out. I couldn't resist. As Bill Cosby rationalized: It has eggs in it.

Last night I at the most amazing meal at Buckman's Bistro. My meal:

-Gnocchi with lamb sausage in a sauce made with leeks and fresh cream
-Tossed mescalun greens with apple cider vinaigrette
-and a brioche tart with Zabaglione dotted with dried fruits.

What my dinner companions ate (and we all shared):
- Lamb medallions with hazelnuts in a wine reduction
- Caramelized onion tart
- Spaetzel (little German dumpling noodles) with caramelized onions and chevre (this dish is one of my absolute favorites. I usually order it when I come here).
- Spiced lentil soup
- Coconut custard tart
- Triple chocolate and peanut butter pie

It sounds like a glutinous affair, but It actually was not. Buckman's is known for its reasonably priced European faire, and the dishes are served in reasonable portions. This is no Applebees or frozen seafood steakhouse with spongy cheese sticks or margarine slathered crusts of bread. The dishes are all served ala carte so you can choose what you'd like. Plus the desserts are pretty fabulous. For the price it's a good meal all around, and to top that they have a liquor license. My drink for the evening: a French Martini (Ketel One vodka, Pineapple Juice, Chambord).

This restaurant is really quite a gem because it's one of the few places where you do feel quite satisfied even though you did not completely stuff yourself. You can savor the harmonious blend of the chevre and onions with the delicate texture of the lightly buttered egg and flour dumplings (spaetzel). This side dish could actually serve as a meal in it self if served in a larger portion, but then you wouldn't get a chance to eat it with a quarter chicken roasted with an orange-rosemary, apricot and honey glaze. Somehow the cook really does a terrific job of harmonizing all the tastes and coordinating the dishes on his menus.

Buckman's Bistro

Monday, March 01, 2004

Post-mortem Rigor Mortis

Post-mortem... what it means to me (it's time to discuss what you did WRONG), maybe it's just been my experience with my managers.

Romans

I think a few years ago I admitted that If I could be anyone from the historical past, I would be a Roman. Of course, the decadent languor and extravagant banquets draw me to this time. To be truthful and realistic it would only be good to be a roman if you were butt-rich by ancient Roman standards and owned a good number of slaves. Obviously I would have to be a man. It would suck to be a woman during the Classical period, unless of course I was one of those Greek concubines, a hetaera. In severely patriarchal societies the courtesans are usually the only women who have any real freedom. Didn't you see Dangerous Beauty?

Though, I don't think I would be very good at attending orgies.

"Can I pick who I want to be with at this thing?"
"I really don't think I could do this with you here. Uh, but if you want to go a hotel room... a four star at least, I'd be happy to oblige you."
"Good God! Do you think I would actually let you on me after you were squirming on that piece of trash over there."