Thursday, December 18, 2008

I am pretty much in love with this:


From a New York Times slideshow, "Making Home Into Art."

The wallpaper is a series of paper targets. For marksmanship. You know, good aim.

In a bathroom.

Why, why can I never have the good ideas myself?

Sometimes I Think J. Crew Is Just Messing with Me



Maybe J. Crew hasn't heard about the recession?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

It's becoming unthawed, is it?

"Slowly but surely, the system is becoming unthawed, and it's going to take time for the system to become unthawed," he said. "What the American people have got to know is we've taken the steps to unthaw it, which is the first step to recovery."

--George W. Bush, in ABC interview of 1 December 2008

Thursday, December 04, 2008

The new black

“Sixty percent off is the new black.”
-- Patricia Marx in The New Yorker

Friday, November 21, 2008

She's a man, baby

sillhouette of a man
The Gender Analyzer purports to be able to tell the gender of bloggers by examining the contents of the blog.

"Results: We think http://crosshatched.blogspot.com/ is written by a man (87%)."

Greaaaat. I feel pretty.

Back to the drywall project. (Wait a minute....)

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Effort is no myth

"If you somehow pulled this off, then six months from now, you would be the fittest, best rested, most intelligent, best funded and motivated person in your office or your field. You would know how to do things other people don't, you'd have a wider network and you'd be more focused."
--Seth Godin, Is effort a myth?

Maverick Descendant Challenges John McCain

From Who You Callin’ a Maverick? in today's New York Times:
In the 1800s, Samuel Augustus Maverick went to Texas and became known for not branding his cattle. He was more interested in keeping track of the land he owned than the livestock on it, Ms. Maverick said; unbranded cattle, then, were called “Maverick’s.” The name came to mean anyone who didn’t bear another’s brand. ...Considering the family’s long history of association with liberalism and progressive ideals, it should come as no surprise that Ms. Maverick insists that John McCain, who has voted so often with his party, “is in no way a maverick, in uppercase or lowercase.”

“It’s just incredible — the nerve! — to suggest that he’s not part of that Republican herd. Every time we hear it, all my children and I and all my family shrink a little and say, ‘Oh, my God, he said it again.’ ”

“He’s a Republican,” she said. “He’s branded.”

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Library of Congress on flickr

My newest flickr contact is the LIBRARY OF CONGRESS! Yeah, for real -- the Library of Congress is on flickr. Check it out.

Friday, October 03, 2008

What I learned from the NYT today

Among the strongest critics of inflated executive pay have been Warren Buffett and the late management guru, Peter Drucker, who argued that C.E.O. salaries should peak at no more than 20 or 25 times those of the average worker. (Last year, C.E.O.’s got an average of 344 times the wages of the typical worker.)
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/02/opinion/02kristof.html?em

“People love that toasted-rice taste,” he said. “It’s even a flavor of ice cream in Seoul.” (Japanese cooks, however, consider toasted rice overcooked and highly undesirable. The unwanted crust left stuck to the bottom of the rice cooker is called okoge — the same word used as slang for a single woman who spends a lot of time with gay men.)
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/01/dining/01rice.html?em

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Alex Payne's Rules for Computing

Good rules for computing:
al3x's Rules for Computing Happiness
Although I am no techie, I am pleased to note that several of these are the same as my rules. One big difference between our sets of rules is probably that he can support his rules with rational arguments, which I cannot.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I love this!

I think it's awesome that some guys were just fooling around one day and came up with this.

Daniel thinks it's creepy.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

This freaks me out.

I am just learning of Monica Bonvicini's 2003 art installation, "Don't Miss a Sec," which is permanently (and operationally) installed outside the Tate Modern in London:

http://www.snopes.com/photos/arts/toilet.asp

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Free

My mom sent me one of those email messages that periodically makes the rounds. It included an inspirational poem. Normally I just delete that stuff, but for a change it really meant something to me. It introduced me to Portia Nelson, a lounge singer and actress in the 50s (she played one of the nuns who sabotage the Nazis' car in The Sound of Music) who also happened to write poetry. I immediately ran to the library to check out her book of poetry, There's a Hole in My Sidewalk.

The title poem, "There's a Hole in My Sidewalk: Autobiography in Five Short Chapters," is the one that was reproduced in my mom's email. It goes like this:


I.
I walk down the street.
     There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
     I fall in.
     I am lost...I am helpless.
          It isn't my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.


II.
I walk down the same street.
     There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
     I pretend I don't see it.
     I fall in again.
I can't believe I am in this same place.
          But, it isn't my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.


III.
I walk down the same street.
     There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
     I see it is there.
     I still fall in...it's a habit...but,
          my eyes are open.
          I know where I am.
     It is my fault.
     I get out immediately.


IV.
I walk down the same street.
     There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
     I walk around it.


V.
I walk down another street.


The book also had this untitled gem:

I am so free with you
I never wish to be
          free of you.

True dat. :-)

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Rotary

On the Library of Congress site, I found this poem reflecting on the disappearance of the rotary phone. It reads in part,

Why did no one think
to conserve the peal?

Just try once
to sing it to yourself:
it's gone,

like the sound of breath
if your body left.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Good Guesser

I got 32 points at Guess the Accent: http://www.languagetrainersgroup.com/accent_game.html

I surprised myself by not being able to correctly distinguish accents from Britain/Wales/Scotland/Ireland.

Test your own language prowess!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Clafoutis ("Gesundheit!")


clafoutis!, originally uploaded by nonesuch.

I found this delicious recipe from Ceres & Bacchus via smittenkitchen. Naturally, I had to improve it a bit with a little rewrite, because that's my way.

From wikipedia, I learned that clafoutis is "originally from Limousin" (in the heart of France) and that "the dish's name comes from Occitan clafotís, from the verb clafir, meaning 'to fill up' (implied: 'the batter with cherries')." The article also stated that clafoutis is basically pancake batter fancied up by French cooks, and that clafoutis madness spread throughout France during the 19th century.

(Okay, it didn't say clafoutis madness; that is my own invention.)

I am a big fan not only of pancakes but also trendy recipes, so this recipe was a natural.

The first time I made the dish, I used cherries as recommended by smittenkitchen. The second time, I used plums because they were so much cheaper than cherries.

Both times it has been delicious.

Plum Clafoutis (kla-foo-tee)

* 3 eggs
* 1/2 cup sugar
* 1/2 cup butter, melted
* 1 cup flour
* 1 cup milk
* 1/2 tsp vanilla
* 2 tsp rum
* 2 cups of plums, pitted and halved

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

Beat the sugar and the eggs with a wire whisk until they turn lighter in color. Add butter gradually, whisking to incorporate. Add flour all at once, whisking until batter is a homogeneous mixture. Add milk gradually, mixing well. Add vanilla (and rum if you are using it). Mix well. The batter should be very smooth and shiny.

Butter a glass or earthenware baking dish, 9- or 10-inch cake pan, or oven-proof skillet. Place the fruit in the dish. Pour the batter over the fruit.

Bake approximately 30-40 minutes, until slightly browned and almost completely set in the middle. (I prefer it to be a little custardy in the middle, so I rarely bake for more than 30 minutes.)

Let sit at least 15 minutes. Turn out onto a plate; sift powdered sugar on top if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store in refrigerator. Leftovers are excellent for breakfast.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Killing Me Softly with His Blog

"The observant among you will probably be aware that the white person wet dream 'Be Kind, Rewind' is about to be released. This might be the biggest event in white person film since The Royal Tenenbaums."

--From #68 (Michel Gondry) in the list of Stuff White People Like from the blog, "Stuff White People Like"

Oh Heavenly God, I am so white! It's like the writer knows my innermost thoughts, feelings, and desires.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

If this can't keep you late at work...

...taking advantage of that sweet sweet T3 line, I don't know what can: it's Audiotuts' 240 Free Albums, Tracks and Links for Music Mashup Lovers.

I'm sorry, and you're welcome.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Western Spaghetti

Behold one of the many brilliant and twisted films of PES:

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Not Going to Lie

“I’m not going to lie: I used to smoke crack in there,” said one homeless woman, Veronyka Cordner, nodding toward the toilet behind Pike Place Market. “But I won’t even go inside that thing now. It’s disgusting.”

-- "Seattle’s Automated Toilets Go Way of the Box and Chain, New York Times, 17 July 2008

Friday, July 11, 2008

Wearing the Bacon Colors


Eyes on the prize, originally uploaded by nonesuch.

"I see bacon as a celebration of an American birthright. Four slices of Hormel Black Label, hissing in a cast iron skillet on a Sunday morning. To wear the bacon colors, to sport a bacon tattoo, is to announce your belief in the possibilities of bacon, in the American goodness rendered by a low-on-the-hog meat, transmogrified by smoke and salt."

- John T. Edge, director of the Southern Foodways Alliance

There are so many good, gleefully tasty nuggets in that quote, I can hardly stand it.

"Hormel Black Label."
Bacon: the meat that's "low on the hog."
"Wear the bacon colors."
"Belief in the possibilities of bacon."

Here's a link to the article, Bacon Mania, in Salon. John T. Edge is quoted in #7. I recommend the article for entertaining reading, even if you are not inspired to get a bacon tattoo. Full of good writing and information. There I learned that "Anthony Bourdain has called bacon the 'gateway protein' for its astounding ability to lure vegetarians back to the carnivorous fold." Good stuff.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

The Downside

Downside of living alone #1:
When you cut your finger real bad, you're the one who has to clean up the blood with your bandaged hand.

So Corny, It's Got to Be Good

Click & Clack's As the Wrench Turns: "Campaign; Outsourcing"
Wednesday, July 9, 8:00 p.m. on WQED.

Setting the DVR now.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Robert Rodriguez Teaches You to Cook in Ten Minute Segments

How sexy is this?!?

10 minute cooking school Sin City breakfast tacos

Crazy sexy. Especially when he says, "Get some low-fat cooking spray... naaah, just kidding -- use butter." Ooh. Talk about sinful... you're killing me softly with your song, honey.

Amazon Subscribe & Save

Here is my shill/tip of the day:

Use Amazon's Subscribe & Save program.

By subscribing, you can get Olay Regenerist Night for $14.58 (which certainly meets or beats the lowest sale prices I've seen locally). In some subscription categories there's a plethora of products to choose from; in others there are just a few products or the products are only available in bulk -- I noticed this particularly for toothpastes. I don't want to commit to a specific toothpaste for the length of time it would take me to go through a 4-pack of big tubes. As a result, this Subscribe & Save progam doesn't work for all my toiletry needs.

When I find a product I want that's eligible for the Subscribe & Save program, I sign up for the longest possible interval between deliveries. (Delivery schedule: 1 unit once every 6 months.)

Then, when I need more, there's a page I can use ("Manage Your Subscribe & Save Items") where I see the following information for each product for which I have a subscription:

• Last ship date: June 18, 2008
• Estimated order placement date: December 18, 2008
• To skip the currently scheduled shipment but still receive the following shipment, click Skip this shipment.
• Running low already? click Send your next shipment now.

So if I'm running low on moisturizer, I click "Send your next shipment now" and the moisturizer arrives at my office door in about a week or so. On the same page I can cancel the subscription altogether by making it inactive.

Amazon says that the Subscribe & Save program is in "beta" mode, which is probably why it is not super visible on their site:

"In addition to being the second letter in the Greek alphabet, the word beta is also often used to describe a project or process that is being tested. With that in mind, we'd like to introduce you to a new program we call Subscribe & Save. During this beta phase we'll be making more products available for subscription ordering and gathering input from customers like you to ensure Amazon.com provides the best possible experience for online shopping.

"Even though Subscribe & Save is in beta, our program is completely functional, so feel free to browse our selection of eligible products and place new subscription orders through Subscribe & Save. But be sure to come back often, as we'll only be making our new program better.

Once it's out of beta mode, I hope it will have more options. I love the idea. The 15% discount and free shipping are awesome.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

A "bit" difficult

For some reason it was harder than I thought it should be to find a chart that would tell me which size of drill bit to use for a particular screw (in my case, a #6 wood screw). Therefore, when I finally found a chart here, I decided to reproduce it on my blog for my convenience and the enjoyment of anyone reading. (Hi, Mom?)

Screw Gage Shank Shank Pilot Pilot
Number Hole Size Soft Wd Hard Wd
0 1/16 .060 1/64 1/32
1 5/64 .073 1/32 1/32
2 3/32 .086 1/32 3/64
3 7/64 .099 3/64 1/16
4 7/64 .112 3/64 1/16
5 1/8 .125 1/16 5/64
6 9/64 .138 1/16 5/64
7 5/32 .151 1/16 3/32
8 11/64 .164 5/64 3/32
9 3/16 .177 5/64 7/64
10 3/16 .190 3/32 7/64
11 13/64 3/32 1/8
12 7/32 .216 7/64 1/8
14 1/4 .242 7/64 9/64
16 17/64 .268 9/64 5/32
18 19/64 .294 9/64 3/16
20 21/64 .320 11/64 13/64

Saturday, June 28, 2008

I knew nothing then

That was a long time ago and now I know that
I knew nothing then, and if I had I wouldn’t
have gone on.

--Irene McKinney, “At 24″

Monday, June 16, 2008

Actual Terrible Movie

Mental Floss challenges worthy readers to identify movie titles as "Troy McClure films" or "actual terrible movies." You may remember Troy McClure as the character on the Simpsons who was always reminding people of his tenuous claim to B-movie celebrity while hawking products. Here's the quiz:

http://www.mentalfloss.com/quiz/quiz.php

I scored 73% (11 out of 15). Hey -- better than random chance (and better than the 66% averaged by test takers so far). Yay, me.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Make your own ringtone

More cool technology to pimp your life courtesy of Patrick:

Make Your Own Ringtone.

It's fun and it's free and I now have, as my ringtone, Darth Vader's Theme played on ukulele. Yessssss!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Hack your Comcast remote to skip commercials

Thanks to Patrick, I now know that you can hack your Comcast remote to skip ahead 30 seconds -- handy for something like, oh, I don't know -- skipping commercials, maybe? :-) It never occurred to me that I wanted -- needed! -- to do this and as soon as I found out about it I couldn't wait to Google for the instructions. I found 'em! Here they are! I totally copied 'em from this guy (but of course I couldn't resist making a few edits -- occupational hazard, you know):

1. Choose an unused or unneeded button on the “silver” remote to be the 30-second skip command. (Patrick recommends the red "Help" button, as there is no Comcast "Help" feature).

2. Press the “Cable” button at the top of the remote to put it into Cable Box Control mode.

3. Hold the “Setup” button until the “Cable” button blinks twice.

4. Type in the code 994. The “Cable” button will blink twice.

5. Press (do not hold) the “Setup” button.

6. Type in the code 00173.

7. Press whatever button you want to use for the 30-second skip command.

Congratulations! You have just stuck it to The Man.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Does whatever a spider can

Yesterday was World Environment Day. Alain Robert, France's "Spiderman," draws attention to climate change by scaling the New York Times building (as documented in the linked slideshow by the New York Times):

http://thesolutionissimple.org/

When he reached the top, the New York City po po promptly arrested him, which doesn't dilute the truth of his message but probably gratified everybody who was stuck in rush hour because of this stunt.

Right on, Alain!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

I Am Cayenne Pepper




You Are Cayenne Pepper



You are very over the top and a bit overwhelming.

You have a fiery personality, and you can give anyone a good jolt.

You can easily take things up a couple notches, no matter what crowd you're running with.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Men explain things to Rebecca Solnit

In honor of this awesome article on TomDispatch.com (Men explain things to Rebecca Solnit), I will describe a recent health care experience that made me think about differences in medical care that I may be experiencing based on the gender of the health care professional.

Today I went to the dermatologist's office for a followup visit about a plantar wart -- a wart that grows inward rather than outward because it's positioned on the bottom of your foot where you're constantly treading on it.

I saw a physician's assistant this time, instead of a doctor. Recently I've formed a healthy bias against seeing a PA instead of a physician, but that was for my annual checkups with the gynecologist. For that, you better believe I want to see the doctor. This was for a mere wart, which is treated with blasts of superchilly nitrogen -- a therapy I feel confident that I could even apply myself, if necessary. So I saw the PA today and noticed a few subtle differences between this visit and my last one.

1. For the last visit, I had a male doctor. The PA was female.

2. For both visits, I was sitting on the examining table with my foot in my lap (sole upward) when the health care professional came into the room. The doctor asked me to lie down on my stomach with the foot upraised. Gesturing to my foot and leg, I said, "So this won't work?" He said, "No -- just, mechanically, on your stomach is the better way." It's also a posture that doesn't let me see the action.

I expected the same thing from the PA, but she said, "No, that's fine," and treated the foot just as it was while I looked on.

3. The doctor stopped freezing the wart when I made a slight sound ("Ooh"). I told him, "No, that's okay -- go ahead," and he said, "No, that's fine, that's enough."

The PA said, "I know, ouch!" and kept on freezing it, and then after a pause she blasted it again for good measure.

4. I asked the doctor if I could have a band aid, and he said I didn't need it but asked one of the nurses to get me one.

The PA, unprompted, asked me if I wanted a band aid, and when I asked, "Do I need it?" said, "No, but often people want one anyway!"

These differences made my experience with the PA more satisfying, and I think that I received better medical care, honestly. I think the first appointment was a waste of time, because the doctor didn't really blast the nitro long enough. I liked being able to see what the healthcare professional was doing. I felt like the PA was more interested and in tune with me as a patient.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Remember, kids, don't do drugs

These guys are awesome -- another web site I hate to love.
http://jezebel.com/tag/pot-psychology/

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Gin, Television, and Social Surplus

I just read Gin, Television, and Social Surplus, the transcript of a talk given by Clay Shirky at the Web 2.0 conference in April. I'm abashed to identify with the villain of the piece (well, maybe she's less villainous and more clueless and slightly hostile) -- the television producer who listened to his thoughts about how social media are changing society forever and marveled, "Where do people find the time?"

For example, Twitter leaves me cold. I can't imagine why anyone would feel the need to post 140 characters' worth of stream-of-consciousness non sequiturs. Even worse, from the standpoint of me trying not to be left completely behind by societal evolution, I can't understand why anyone *else* would want to *read* someone's Twitter feed. It seems absurd.

There's no getting around it. I am officially crotchety.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

THINK


THINK, originally uploaded by nonesuch.

Next year, I'll
- charge business expenses separately
- keep all the receipts
- note deductible health care expenses (including saline solution)
- pay myself first
- discuss business at lunch
- record my mileage
- depreciate
- plan
- earn
- invest
- save
- think

Next year.

Tonight,

I think I need a drink.

Peace out, taxpayers!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter Shmeaster

I am supposed to be at my sister's house at eleven, quiche in hand. The oven is still preheating. Damn damn damn.

Monday, March 10, 2008

survived his checkup at the animal hospital

I took Zero to the vet on Saturday for his annual checkup. I was so proud of him; his behavior was excellent. Unfortunately, I was not impressed with the vet. I started going to this animal hospital because one of the vets there is a renowned regional expert on shepherds. The dodo vet we got yesterday doesn't even seem to like dogs. We have to go back next weekend because she was unable to draw a blood sample. No problem, I'd love to come back next weekend to spend another hour in your waiting room. Perfect.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

kitchen table: extra leaf seldom needed

This is the funtime configuration of the kitchen table, when it's set up for more than just me and my junk mail. I like to see it this way.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Bread dough will kill you, fool


Bread dough will kill you, fool, originally uploaded by nonesuch.

Dogs can't eat bread dough -- unless you turn your back. So don't turn your back.

Look how serious he is. How focused. His look seems to speak of a purity of motive, a nobility of purpose, as if his only wish is to protect and defend the bread dough, to guard it with zealous loyalty.

And inside his head, his thoughts are actually more like "Nom nom nom!"

Back off, dog! Bread dough will kill you.

He did get to enjoy some bread scraps, so don't feel too bad for him.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Sun comes up and we start again


toaster, originally uploaded by nonesuch.

After the memorial service, there were so many flowers. Stacy's family shared some of them with me, and they were beautiful. Beautiful in my yellow kitchen. Stacy never came over to see my kitchen, never sat at my table or drank my tea, because by the time I'd renovated it to a state where it was usable, she was too sick to leave her condo. And certainly too weak to handle the capers of my annoying dog.

It makes me sad to think of this, but also -- the flowers are beautiful. Looking at them and thinking of Stacy is not a bad thing.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Stacy, traveling at last


-->Stacy in Rome
Originally uploaded by nonesuch
Stacy died this weekend after a five-year struggle with three bouts of cancer and the complications associated with cancer treatments. A few days ago in her blog, she talked about her struggle to breathe and her desire to visit Machu Picchu if her lungs ever recover.

"And when I'm dead, please don't philosophize
Or feel regret
Just remember me when I said
I had one hell of a life
One hell of a life
I had one hell of a life..."

(Katell Keineg, "One Hell of a Life")

Friday, February 15, 2008

6 degrees of cupcake


6 degrees of cupcake
So, not to freak you out or anything, but these cupcakes were baked by the mother-in-law of a person who is famous.

(I know! Exciting, right?!)

Well, not famous-famous, like your mom would recognize his name, but famous like he made a black-and-white indie film that inspired many young adults to quit meaningless McJobs and strike out on a quest for creative fulfillment. Or like, to wish they could, you know? If it weren't for all the bills.

The reason the cupcakes have great personal meaning for me is that I once asked this famous person to marry me and he said YES (I have a witness), but then he reneged and ran off shortly thereafter to marry a hot journalist whom he had been dating. Men are so fickle. Bastards.

Anyway, having obtained one of the cupcakes via mysterious means (actually, it's fairly straightforward, but I'm keeping it a mystery for the romance of it all), I have done the obvious thing and enshrined it in my office as a tribute to lost love. It rests in state on my windowsill in a clear plastic bakery sarcophagus. All alone. FOR ETERNITY. Or until something starts to grow on it (ick).

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

the illusion of control


the illusion of control
My big achievement for January was to make a tupperware drawer. (I know it sounds like I'm bragging, but if I can do it, you can do it!)

I had to displace a shoebox full of door hardware; 12 kinds of adhesive (seriously); some flashlights with dead batteries; a bag stapled shut which contained a remote control, warranty card, and owners manual for an air conditioner; many kinds of outlet covers; a broken scissors; picture hanging wire... the list just goes on and on. I mean, do those things belong in a kitchen? No! So I ruthlessly dumped them all into a Target bag, wiped the drawer clean, carefully lined it with adhesive cork liner (which has always suggested the height of kitchen drawer luxury to me, as if the housewares therein were of such fine quality that they had to be tenderly cushioned against the stress of *sitting in a drawer*), and arranged my tupperware in the drawer so that it could still close. And took a picture.

Now, ignore for the moment that the bulging Target bag is hanging on the doorknob of the closet in the hallway, where its numerous sharp corners graze my leg daily, and the broken scissors are slowly emerging from an enlarging hole. Disregard the fact that as a single person living alone, I rarely cook, and when I do cook I have no leftovers because I have a dog who has perfected the canine facial expression that means, "I am adorable... and STARVING!"

The important thing about this drawer is that it exists. Clean. Tidy. There is a container for every purpose and a lid for every container. Superfluous, stained, lidless, or hard to clean containers have been banished. And if it should ever happen that I have too much of a good thing (Pennies from heaven? It's raining men?), then I will be prepared to store some of it for later.

So although life itself remains a series of random and scary events over which I have minimal control, I have struck a small blow against the chaos. Or at least distracted myself momentarily from the chaos, which is equally good, I'm sure.