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Sunday, September 16th, 2007
6:55 pm - Everyone else is doing it, so why not: career meme
1. Anthropologist
2. Archivist
3. Historian
4. Archaeologist
5. Career Counselor
6. Professor
7. Adoption Counselor
8. Foreign Service Officer
9. Activist
10. Political Aide
11. Communications Specialist
12. Print Journalist
13. Writer
14. Veterinarian
15. Market Research Analyst
(adjusted for university education)

Curiouser and curioser. It seems that I am cut out for the sorts of work I do-- when you're doing Medieval lit., being a professor means utilizing a combination of skills that includes getting a feel for human behavior, dealing with archives and archived information, dealing with historical materials, and so on. And it's interesting that "veterinarian" made it up there . . . that's one of those careers that I sometimes regret not going for.

To take this quiz:
1. Go to http://www.careercruising.com/
2. Put in Username: nycareers, Password: landmark.
3. Take their "Career Matchmaker" questions.
4. Post the top fifteen results.

(weave into the harmony)

Friday, September 14th, 2007
4:05 pm - Halp.
Stupid Halloween. I have two parties to go to this Halloween, or at least two different groups of friends to party with. One will be an easy costume-- it's a Harry Potter themed party, and if I can afford to get my hair dyed again, I'm going as Tonks (granted, I can't remember what other distinguishing marks Tonks has besides the hair, so if anyone has any ideas there, please let me know). The other group of friends is a bit less, well, how do I put this kindly . . . less nerdy. They do not do things like read Harry Potter books as soon as they come out, and most of them will not get medieval or video-gaming jokes (so dressing up as the Wife of Bath or a Tauren is out).

I have never been good at choosing costumes for "normal" Halloween parties . . . I was even bad at it when I was a kid (yeah, was quite a nerd back then too). So I'm hoping that you all (some of whom have less geeky senses of humor than me) could help me out . . . can anyone think of a suitable costume for me?

(5 singers |weave into the harmony)

Thursday, September 6th, 2007
11:30 am - Relaxation? Qu'est-ce que c'est?
Neh. It's amazing. My job basically consists of me sitting around waiting for problems to pop up, yet for the past couple of weeks I've been going basically nonstop from about 8 am to 5 pm, sometimes 6 or 7. That is ending, thankfully. So the following activities have ended or are winding down . . .

Writing placement: last week, Ryan and I, along with some other grad students associated with the Writing Program, spent a grand total of about 30 hours over the space of two days attempting to sort through 200+ freshmen whose test scores had signaled that they might be in need of heavier support in our university freshman composition class. It was absolutely batty. On Wednesday, August 29th, we arrived on campus at 7:30 am, didn't leave until 7:45 pm, and took approximately two half-hour breaks during the entire time. The rest of the time we were proctoring, reading essays, answering questions, and advising students. Ugh. Thursday was similar, only we got to start a little later (8:30 am), and halfway through the day I got to go sit upstairs at an Orientation Fair table and answer questions there. I swear . . . we want to put the heads of the freshman advisers on pikes around the Writing Center doors . . . in a spasm of collective stupidity and inexcusable ignorance, it seems that almost all of them told their advisees that they should be taking freshman comp in the fall, and that they should come see us to get signed up. NO MATTER that they have been told/given memos/etc. that we have a process, and only students fitting certain criteria are given priority for fall placement. For some reason they all decided to ignore? forget? all of that, and send their students to us anyways. *grump* At least we got paid hourly and well for the time that we spent answering the same questions over and over and over. I became very adept at asking, "Did we contact you to go through our placement process? No? Then you're fine to take CAS 105 in the fall or the spring, no matter what your adviser said" without snarling and shaking the student who asked the question.

The first week of classes: for this, I have been reading through and commenting on new instructor portfolia. This, thankfully, is less frustrating than answering the same undergrad questions for hours, but it does have its own annoyances, such as wondering why I'm telling someone for the third time that they absolutely must give their students more than five days to revise their final research papers.

The harvest season: this is probably the most fun out of the bunch, if the messiest. Over the past two weeks, we've made peach jam, canned peach halves in syrup, canned tomatoes, made two giant batches of marinara and canned that, frozen corn, beans, squash, and blueberries, and dried herbs. The pantry is nearly full, with 50+ 8-oz jars of jam, 14+ pints of peaches, 14 pints of marinara, and assorted pints and quarts of whole or halved tomatoes. The freezer is loaded with gallon and quart bags of frozen produce. We've also continued to make mozzarella and ricotta (weekly), and made our first wheel of cheddar cheese, which is huge-- three pounds!-- so big that we had to drain the curds in two batches because there was too much for our colander. The mozzarella and ricotta are lovely, but we unfortunately can't taste the cheddar for a month, as it has to age a little. Right now it's sitting on our sleeping porch, leaking out the last bits of whey and developing a dry outer layer . . . once it's completely dry we'll wax it and leave it on a shelf in the basement, trying to forget about it until October. Stupid aging. I want to taste it now . . . its curds were quite yummy once they'd been drained and salted, so I imagine that the cheese itself is going to be lovely.

At any rate, those have been our activities of the last couple of weeks. I'm now looking forward to a nice, long, boring semester, where I have nothing to do but tutor a few hours a week, write a conference paper (on Warcraft, hehee), and begin the Gower chapter of my dissertation. Oh, how I am happy to begin this.

current mood: satisfied

(weave into the harmony)

Sunday, August 12th, 2007
12:10 am - Completely not about food
. . . but has anyone else watched the new Dr. Who episodes, specifically the ones with Christopher Eccleston (of whom I must say, "Mmm, pretty")? Ryan and I just had the misfortune to catch the first half of the episode called "The Empty Child," and we're completely creeped out. How the heck is this a children's show? I'm going to be having nightmares involving gas masks for weeks . . .

current mood: scared

(9 singers |weave into the harmony)

Wednesday, August 1st, 2007
12:02 pm - Of mint and pink soup, among other things
I've been meaning to write this entry for a while, but had been rather caught up in teaching my last week of ECO (Early Connection Opportunity, a three-week intro-to-college course that UR runs for students from particular backgrounds) among other things. So finally, here is an entry with pictures!

The main thing that I really had to visually document this time was a rather violently colored gustatory experiment:

What is it, you ask? Borscht. At a loss for something to do with the beets that arrived with our farm share (we already discovered that we don't like roasted beets), I decided to experiment and try a recipe for cold borscht that I'd found in Green on Greens and Grains. It's really quite delicious-- how could it not be with ingredients such as cucumber, garlic, and sour cream, but the color is rather bizarre, so much so that Ryan was completely unable to make himself eat it. Ohwell. I liked it, and managed to eat most of it by myself. If it hasn't gone off yet, I may finish the rest today.

The other item I decided of which I had to provide pictures was the mint that we cut and hung to dry last week. Maybe it was the sake I'd had that evening, but the greens and purples just seemed particularly beautiful, so I took pictures.

This one is the peppermint . . . I can't remember where I got it, but it's been attempting to take over my herb bed since I put it in. The only way to hold it in check is to cut it back severely at least two or three times during the summer, which is how we ended up with more than a gallon jar of dried mint last summer. At one point, when the cutting back wasn't enough, I put some of the mint in the weedy bed along the side of the house. The four plants I put in have since taken over a 2' x 3' block of the bed, and have completely crowded out the weeds.

This is a picture of the peppermint (on the left) and the spearmint that I got from my sister last year. When I put the spearmint in, it was a teeny tiny plant that seemed to be getting chewed to death by slugs . . . I thought it was just going to die off and disappear. Then, this spring, it started coming up. The plant is now about three feet high and attempting to crowd out my rosemary bush. Amazing. It, too, is getting to undergo the cycle of cutting in hopes that I can prevent it from going where it isn't welcome.

The extra, but pretty items that you can see in both pictures are pieces of our new sake set. It seems that sake is a stomach soother for both Ryan and myself. Who knew . . .

Not in pictures, but fun nonetheless . . . last week we made our first batch of cheese. First we made about a pound of mozzarella, then used the whey from that to make a batch of ricotta. It's surprisingly easy. I have now learned that I can make mozzarella as hard or as soft as I want; this first time, I followed the directions in the recipe and pulled the cheese (in order to develop a bit of body and bounce in mozzarella, you pull it like taffy) until it actually became cool, at which point it was as hard as most store-bought cheddars, and extremely easy to shred with a cheese grater. Next time I think I'll pull it less, and try for a soft batch. Taste-wise, the mozzarella could have been better-- I prefer my cheese a little saltier than the recipe makes it, so some recipe-tweaking is in order. The ricotta was much better-- it had a firmer texture than store-bought ricotta, and the curds were larger (they clumped a little during the hanging process), but it tasted great, especially when combined with some of the peaches and pears remaining from last year's canning.

(1 singer |weave into the harmony)

Friday, July 20th, 2007
10:14 am - Empty house
Funny how cats alone don't fill it up anymore. Ryan's gone back to Oregon for a long weekend-- a family reunion of sorts-- and since I'm teaching right now, I couldn't go along with him, and have the house entirely to myself until Monday evening. It's very strange and quiet. Usually I have Ryan chattering away, playing his banjo, trying to pick out a tune on one of the tin whistles, or otherwise making his presence known, but now it's just me, the radio, and the cats, who are whiny, but not constantly whiny. Once you feed them/pet them/put away the human food they think they should have, they settle down except for the occasional session of hiccupurring.* End result is a strange, ear-filling silence that can't be drowned out by any other sound, no matter how loud it is. It's rather funny that I complain about the silence, since I seem to spend quite a lot of time when he's home asking him to please hush for a few minutes, or to not play the banjo when I'm trying to watch TV. But when he's gone, and therefore quiet (to me, at least), I complain that it's too quiet. Can't win, I suppose.

Fortunately, I do have a fair amount to do this weekend that will distract me. Today I work all day in the library (which is rather boring in and of itself, as there are very few people on campus right now); tomorrow, I have to get up super-early to go to the Public Market, then get the rest of my shopping done by 10 am so that I can go and get my hair cut, and stop by the main Pittsford Farms Dairy store to see if they have gallon bottles of milk-- our cheese kit came, and I have a feeling that Ryan's going to want to try it out when he gets home. I also have a husk-cherry plant that really needs to be transplanted into the garden (it's growing ferociously in a pot right now, even attempting to fruit, but it's running out of room), mint to cut and dry, bread to bake, perhaps a beef roast to thaw/cook, and possibly also a trip to make down to Seneca Lake to buy some pastured chicken (I finally found a place that prices it affordably, yay!). So I may manage to get through Sunday evening without feeling too lonely and silence-pressed. It'll still be very quiet at night, however. I don't miss the snoring too much, but the bed feels very empty.

*This is a Buttercup thing, where she purrs so hard/loudly that she seems to be choking on it, resulting in a strange hiccup-purr sound.

current mood: discontent

(weave into the harmony)

Sunday, July 15th, 2007
6:57 pm - Jam day!
So today was blueberry jam day. Yesterday we picked approximately 11 lbs. of blueberries (as well as 3 lbs of sour cherries, 2 lbs of sweet cherries, and ~1 lbs of raspberries) at one of the local pick-your-own places. This afternoon, following a slow-start day-- i.e., not out of bed until 10:15 am, made a large batch of buckwheat pancakes to eat with raspberry syrup, ran to the store to get jars, sugar, pectin, and a cherry-pitter-- I made two normal batches of blueberry jam (~9 cups of jam), and one half-size experimental super-low-sugar batch with the Pomona pectin-calcium mix. For perspective on what I mean when I say "super-low-sugar," the usual ratio of chopped fruit to sugar, even with low-sugar Sure-Jell, is 3:2. With the Pomona pectin-calcium mix, you can go as low as 4:0.75, with the upper limit being 2:1! Not feeling extraordinarily brave today, I made my ratio about 4:1, so we'll see how it goes. At any rate, I have about 18 8-oz. jars of jam and 3 12-oz ones sitting in the kitchen now. That (along with the ~15 jars of strawberry already made, and a similar amount of peach to be made next month) should keep up through til next summer, even with the usual schedule of Christmas gifting. Amusingly, the gifting tends to be the main way that the jam is consumed . . . Ryan and I just don't eat that much of it ourselves.

So the jam's done for now. However, we still have a couple things on the table for this evening, including freezing the peas we shelled two days ago, pitting and freezing the sour cherries, and washing and freezing the few blueberries that weren't chopped and jammed. And I still need to cut some oregano for drying . . . if I don't do it soon, it'll go into full bloom, and won't be nearly as good.

current mood: tired

(weave into the harmony)

Friday, July 13th, 2007
2:49 pm - And separate from the garden . . .
Yes, I know, dead silence for a year, and then three in one day . . . so I'll be brief, here, and leave it up to you all to figure out what I mean.

As Ryan puts it, "We pulled the goalie." Hopefully a major life event will begin its nearly year-long process soon.

current mood: excited

(2 singers |weave into the harmony)

1:56 pm - To Begin: Cataloging the Garden
Our garden is turning into one of the focal points of my summers. Last year, we got enough string beans from one 2.5 x 3 foot plot to last us through the winter-- in the end it was about 3 gallon freezer-bags worth; they were supplemented by about 1.5 gallons of shelled peas and about 2 gallons of corn, both picked up fresh from the Public Market (http://www.cityofrochester.gov/PRHS/PublicMarket/index.cfm). In addition to all the beans, we also had tomatoes, mostly eaten fresh, bell peppers, salad greens, snap peas, dry beans, and lots of herbs. This year, amazingly, we've actually expanded the range of plants. As of now, this is what's growing:
  • tomatoes, 4 varieties:
    • Whippersnapper (pink cherry tomato)
    • Sweet Olive (grape tomato)
    • Bellstar (paste/canning tomato)
    • Muscovich (Russian heirloom eating tomato)

  • Peppers, 2 varieties, one bell (Red Knight, I think) and one hot
  • Painted Mountain corn which is a multicolor parching/grinding corn. I'm not sure if we'll actually get any corn before the first frost, as I've been fighting with the bushy-ass tree-rats (aka squirrels) to keep the corn alive . . . I've replanted twice now, and whenever it gets to a decent height, the little bastards descend on it, chew the stalks off at the bottom, and dig up the roots. Currently the soil around the corn and the bases of the stalks are covered in super-hot cayenne pepper, which seems to be doing the trick.
  • Royal Burgundy Bush Beans, a type of stringless string bean; it's purple, which is lovely, but it doesn't seem to produce as well as the Purple Teepee bush beans I had the past couple of years. It could just be in a bad spot, however, as it's in the shadier back bed this time.
  • Snap peas, which are winding down now.
  • Strawberries, done for the season.
  • Husk cherries, a strange plant that looks like a non-thorny version of the ground cherries back in Virginia, but is apparently related to tomatoes and tomatillos. Its fruit grows in a husk, like a tomatillo, and apparently is going to taste sweet and fruity. I'm looking forward to this one.
  • Corn salad or maché, a type of salad green
  • Saltwort, an interesting, crunch Japanese salad green
  • Mizuna, an Asian salad green (a brassica, so related to broccoli, cabbage, rapini, etc.)
  • Tatsoi, another Asian salad green
  • Russian Red leaf kale
  • Spinach, now bolted and gone, but more will go in in August
  • And the herbs: rosemary, two varieties of mint, tarragon, basil, dill, oregano, thyme, parsley (on year two and gone to seed), sage, two varieties of lavender, hops, chamomile, floxglove, and feverfew.

I think that's it for the garden. . . looking at the list, I'm rather agog that we've managed to fit all that on our little plot. Most of it is within the 80-some square feet of raised beds in the back yard or in planters on the small back deck, though the hops and some of the herbs are in the front, more decorative flower bed. And it's not counting the random wild stuff that I've occasionally pulled up out of the garden as weeds as well as eat them, such as lamb's quarters, sorrel, and native black raspberries. All that on less than a quarter acre, and on a city plot that's been a city plot for nearly 100 years.

Now if only we were allowed to have chickens in the city . . .

(2 singers |weave into the harmony)

10:57 am - Where to go from here . . .
So. Yes. I'm back again for my first update in a year. As always, I've been busy, and chosen to do things other than blog in my downtime. Not much has changed . . . I've got a year off from worrying about funding, since I've obtained a 2-year more-or-less administrative position, so that's nice. I haven't gotten any more work done on my dissertation, since last year was spent struggling under a 2-2 teaching load (that's two classes per semester, for those of you not up on academic lingo). I have, however, been establishing a pretty extensive local food network-- we now get almost all of our meat from local pasture-raised sources, and we're not going broke doing it. I've even tweaked the cats' eating habits onto a more natural track; they're now both transitioned to a prey-model diet (see http://www.rawfedcats.org/), and Buttercup, picky brat that she is, is even getting locally-raised rabbit, because she won't eat anything other than rabbit, and I refuse to buy the Chinese-raised rabbits that the local butcher carries. It's amazing the changes in the cats' fur and teeth (chewing raw bones takes away tartar), and while I can't say their shit don't stink, it sure stinks a lot less.

Anyways, this food thing is becoming more and more important, it seems. Anyone out there had time to read The Omnivore's Dilemma (Michael Pollan) or Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle? Do so if you're able. They're fascinating reads, if occasionally hyperbolic. Perhaps I like the two authors' takes because they agree with me and my food values, but I find it difficult to imagine that the creation of a healthy local food economy could ultimately be bad for anyone. It's certainly working well here in Rochester, where our family farms are managing to stay alive, and even the poorest folks can get fresh veggies so long as they can find a bus route that'll get them to the public market.

Oddly, at any rate, despite the PhD in medieval lit, the food stuff is really what I do, it seems. I talk about it, I read about it, I grow it, I preserve it, I help to butcher it. (Major accomplishment last Thanksgiving: aiding in the "harvesting" of our turkey. Rather profound event; both more and less disturbing than I'd imagined.) This summer, having gotten down freezing, jamming, canning, and fermenting, our goal is to learn to make cheese at home. It should be fun, and I think I'm going to post about it. So keep an eye out, if you're interested in food politics . . . it looks like this is going to turn into the Journal of the Urban Homesteader.

current mood: calm

(10 singers |weave into the harmony)

Monday, July 24th, 2006
10:52 am - Re-surfacing, and thinking about eating
Sometimes I forget that I have a livejournal, and then one day I’ll think, “Hmm . . . wonder what everyone’s doing? They probably think I’ve fallen into a deep, computerless hole somewhere, if they think about me at all.” Well, I haven’t, though my skills at sustained communication are as insufficient as they’ve ever been. So, for those of you who may have been wondering about me, here’s the update.

Things aren’t too much different than they were back in February, with the exception being that the weather is warmer and I’m able to eat more fresh food. Foodie that I am, the fresh food has been a particular joy; there are very few things more satisfying to me than hopping off the back deck to pick herbs and beans or lettuce or snap peas or green onions for a meal. Only slightly less gratifying is buying large quantities of fruit or vegetables at the public market or Hurd Orchard (a local “u-pick” operation), and then preserving them in some way so that we can eat them when it’s cold and leafless in the back yard. So far we’ve made three batches of strawberry jam and frozen both blueberries and peas. We plan to go back out to Hurd this weekend for more blueberries so that I can make a couple more batches of jam, and it’s green bean season, so we’ll soon be blanching and freezing beans as well. We’ve also been drying herbs. My mint patch began to get out of hand, the oregano was thick, and the catnip was going nuts, so we did a thinning-trim, hanging all the cut stalks in paper bags on the second-floor sleeping porch. Last night, after about a week and a half, they were dried out, so we stripped and discarded the stalks (the cats loved the catnip stalks!), putting the dried, uncrumbled leaves into pint jars. Then we started another batch drying, adding in some sweet basil and thyme for good measure. Hopefully, once we get back from vacation, then sage will be ready to cut and dry as well. Now if only we could kick the curry addiction . . .

Food on the whole has begun to take up a good deal of my attention recently. I have, for a few years, been on an “eat local” kick, and this has become even more important as gas prices go up. At some point, the cost of transport is going to show up in food prices, and those year-round available California strawberries are going to be much more expensive to buy here in New York state. Of course, there are not only concerns about price (which, I must admit, is primary on a graduate student budget), but also the more holistic problems of buying commercially produced vegetable matter. Factory farms are ugly things; they use huge amounts of fertilizers and chemical soil amendments, even if they are technically “organic.” They create monocultures that can be wiped out with a single nasty infestation or plant disease. And, honestly, the food from big national producers just isn’t as good. Those foods are produced for prettiness and durability, not taste. A strawberry that can survive a two thousand mile trip just cannot to be as meltingly sweet and “strawberry”-ish as the one that gets bruised on its trip from my backyard to my lunch hour on campus. For whatever reason, the genes that do those two things just don’t appear in the same plants.

Oops. Just ranted. I apologize. Anyways, my point is that this year we’ve managed to find good local sources for a whole bunch of edibles. Yes, I occasionally, with a shameful countenance, purchase California or Florida avocados, because darnit! I love fresh guacamole! And we still haven’t figured out what to do for oil (olives just don’t grow in western New York!). But we do get inexpensive local vegetables and fruit, and we found, oh joy of joys, a local dairy (with old-fashioned glass bottles, even!). Free-range eggs are always easy to find, and for low prices as long as we remember to pick them up at the public market and not the grocery store. We’ve also tracked down a place that sells pasture-raised beef for barely more than supermarket prices, and we’ve got a locally raised pig being butchered for us in the fall. The same source will be providing our Thanksgiving turkey, which we’ve gotten to see once a week as it grows from a little peeping fluffball to a bird that actually looks like one of the big evil gobblers. About the only thing that we’re having trouble finding is affordable local, pasture-raised chicken. On our budget we just can’t afford to pay $3.50 per pound for chicken, especially when we have a cheaper option of $2.50 per pound ground beef. Compared with all the rest, however, the failure to find chicken is a rather minor thing. We don’t really eat that much meat, at any rate; the bulk of our diet comes in the form of beans, lentils, and cornmeal (which we’re trying to phase in in lieu of the far-traveling rice).

As I said, contemplation of food has become a very large part of my mental activity. It’s such a basic part of existence that it can be a bit surprising to realize how complicated it is, particularly if you’re not given to thinking about the basic elements that make your life and lifestyle possible. Once I started thinking about food, it was very hard to stop until I began to get my food habits at least somewhat in line with my larger philosophy of life, the universe and everything. Which is exactly what Ryan and I have managed to do, finally; it’s taking a bit more thought and time to do our weekly shopping than it once did, but we’re actually eating better, more deliberately, and more inexpensively than we did before.

Well. That’s enough on food, and long enough for an entry. Please forgive my rambling, and I’ll do a different update later, covering other aspects of my grand trudge through 2006.

(2 singers |weave into the harmony)

Tuesday, February 14th, 2006
9:45 am - Update at long last
Yes, yes, I am still in the land of the living. Locked in a bit of an ivory tower (one that has video-game outlets, but is nonetheless rather limiting), but still kicking. The last couple months have been relatively calm, though I have lost one of my part-time jobs, and so suddenly have ten more free hours a week that I'm trying to use for dissertation work. Bleah. It's a bit challenging to force myself to structure my time when I'd rather be fiddling around on World of Warcraft. Nasty addiction, that. Doesn't help that I started a guild that's gotten to be fairly tightly knit.

But, despite that, the dissertation is progressing. I now actually have a fairly firm topic, and am neck-deep in research on Medieval children and Medieval romance. The end-goal is to put together a coherent argument for children as an audience for romance, and for Medieval romance, like its modern incarnation, as an efficient vehicle for the transmission of societal values and general societal enculturation. This all goes towards my greater, over-arching theory that, basically, Medieval people are just like us, only with less sophisticated and invasive technology. Down with the myth of the Medieval Other!

Anyways, hi everyone! Sorry I'm so anchoritic!

(7 singers |weave into the harmony)

Tuesday, November 1st, 2005
8:39 am - the joys of grad school
well, after parsing out workhours with Ryan this morning on the way to campus, I think I've figured out why I haven't gotten shit done on my dissertation since passing my exams last spring. it turns out that I spend about 32 hours a week (conservatively) on work completely unrelated to what I'm planning to do for my dissertation. huh. guess that explains a lot. kind of puts me in the pits of despair about ever really finishing my degree, to be honest. I'm not the sort of person who can work themselves ragged, spending 50+ hours a week on non-leisure activities-- my mental state begins to degrade even when I'm nearing 40 hours, and there is nothing less conducive to writing a decent and useful piece of literary criticism than a degraded mental state. add to this that, well, I don't have a wife to do the housework and cooking for me (I have a husband for whom I am emotional support since he is rapidly approaching the most stressful part of the grad school experience: exams), and it feels as though I am just completely fucked when it comes to ever trying to finish my PhD. I hate grad school.

(7 singers |weave into the harmony)

Sunday, October 23rd, 2005
11:27 pm - WoW speculation-- everyone else ignore
two bets from me for the new races in the WoW expansion coming out in December (mmm, gaaame):




there. them's my guesses. oh, and goblins, but a lot of people have been speculating about that for a while. i'm guessing that they'll all be neutral races. THAT would be cool.

(11 singers |weave into the harmony)

Tuesday, October 4th, 2005
11:26 am
for anyone who has an interest in MMPORGs or a highly developed sense of the ridiculous, i present:

The First Running of the Gnomes (aka the Level 1 Gnome Alt Raid of Orgrimmar).

i was Gnoshirt. We also had, as you may be able to see, Gnopants, Gnoshame, Gnogo, Leghumper, and suchlike. it was a ridiculous amount of fun-- we just ran and died and ran and died and ran and died, sometimes not making it more than ten feet before dying. in the end, we piled up between the Orgrimmar bank and auction house, res'd, danced, and died one last time before logging out and leaving our little mostly nude corpses sprawled on the ground. unfortunately, the undead players then came over and ate our bodies, so the intended effect was spoiled.

(1 singer |weave into the harmony)

Monday, September 19th, 2005
4:10 pm
remiss again, yes. quick things:

My niece is cute.

I can throw damn good department parties, and people really like my guacamole dip.

Once again, Independence Air has proved to be both cheap and painless (DC is their hub; you can get roundtrip tickets from Rochester to DC for about $120, which INCLUDES the taxes and weird fees).

College football games are scary, but people in Louisville, KY are nice.

Being drunk on mimosas at 10 am, carrying the buzz til 4:30 pm with Budweiser, then adding a single glass of late-harvest wine and half a slice of meat-covered pizza = bad sick. Likewise, trying to throw up quietly so that your in-laws don't know you're ill is not fun.

The Galt House hotel in Louisville, KY has SUCKY service-- do NOT stay there. It's very pretty, but their bar is overpriced ($10 for a bottled beer and a relatively small amaretto sour? yeah RIGHT), and it took multiple calls to housekeeping each night to get bedding for the sofabed in our suite. About the only cool thing was that they served free popcorn in their bourbon bar.

Bourbon balls are OMGWTF?!BBQ!1111!! good.

The Maker's Mark distillery is a fun thing to tour, and they let you stick your dirty little tourist fingers in the souring mash.

(4 singers |weave into the harmony)

Wednesday, August 10th, 2005
3:33 pm - homicidal ginger ale
watch out for homemade gingerale. it'll try to kill you.

this was our second experiment in homemade non-alcoholic drink recipes from the Yankee Cookbook (read: recipes printed in 1963 but invented much, much earlier); the first, switchell (molasses, cider vinegar, and ginger) turned out pretty well, thought it needs to be cut with 2 parts water to 1 part switchell. the gingerale, well. heh.

supposedly, you bottle it immediately after mixing it, leave it for 3 days, and then start drinking it. so we put it in 22-oz beer bottles, capped it, and put it in the basement (in a box on the off-chance that it built up too much pressure and exploded--hahah, like that'll happen, right?). yesterday afternoon, the day we were set to open and drink the stuff, Ryan heard a loud noise from the basement "like the cats had knocked the TV off its shelf." he went down to check, and found that a bottle of gingerale had indeed exploded, and the rest were sitting there, caps actually ROUNDED, waiting to build up just the tiny bit more pressure needed to explode. fortunately this did not occur while Ryan was gingerly removing the caps over the laundry sink. the gingerale was, however, so pressurized that it sprayed all over in about a 10-12 ft radius, soaking Ryan and getting all over the walls. but it didn't actually explode in-hand and imbed him with glass shards, which makes me happy.

the lesson: when trying random home soda recipes from old cookbooks, ALWAYS bottle things in plastic.

(10 singers |weave into the harmony)

Friday, August 5th, 2005
2:20 pm - learning to kayak when you ain't got fins
today i tried to kayak for the first time, and i have a blister to prove it. gods, am i clumsy. i was dripping huge amounts of Genesee River-water onto myself and just wallowing for the first few minutes -- kinda moving forward, but moving really slowly. but the time we stopped, i was at least getting better, thankfully, but i was still soaking myself. i think it's going to take a bit of work to get used to it. it does make Ryan happy, though. he loves being out on the water, and this is one way that we can go do that stuff together. next time we're going to try to get one of the double kayaks so i don't get sulky at being left behind. might be easier, too, when my mistakes can be corrected by someone else.

(2 singers |weave into the harmony)

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2005
3:30 pm - 16 days, 23 1/2 hours
Interesting how I only seem to post from school anymore. I guess I spend too much time on WoW when at home -- if I'm going to be in front of the computer there, I'm usually gaming.

Of course, not much has happened recently that I need to write about. After this spring's flurry of activity, things have calmed down quite a bit, and right now both Ryan and I feel like we're in a holding pattern while we wait for everything to start happening again, which it will soon. The families are coming into town in about a fortnight, two days after that we'll be getting married, while they're here we're doing all sorts of things like going on a canal cruise, a wine-tasting tour, and probably a trip out to Niagara Falls. And, to make things more fun, my poor sister's set to pop out Squidling at just about any moment, so the weekend after the wedding, I'm heading down to visit them for a few days. And then classes are going to start again, which means I have to have a new syllabus planned and a whole bunch of electronic reserves up online. Bleah. But for the next two weeks, it's just work. And heat. And bike rides. And cheap vegetables (we just found a CSA farm that we're going to join next year, and we're getting seriously cheap extra veggies from him right now). So basically, until everthing goes insane, it's going to be boring. *sigh* Why can't things happen a little bit at a time?

(2 singers |weave into the harmony)

Tuesday, July 12th, 2005
2:59 pm - summer's half over? ARGH!
it really is. it's almost midway through July. bleah. even less time to prepare for teaching in the fall, and writing a dissertation (which is still scaring the shit out of me, 'cause i haven't yet really hit on an idea that no one else has covered).

wedding stuff is continuing on smoothly, at least. we now have the stupid license, so we can actually do it whether or not we get the party organized. i've got a dress, ryan's got a suit, our relatives have ways to get out here. (i think. entropydevice, do you have your plane ticket yet?)

in other news, we're excercising again. by "we" i mean Ryan and me, not the royal We. he's got a student membership to the Genessee Waterways Association, so he can start rowing again, and i my new bike is proving lovely now that i've taken off the front fender. oh, and Ryan finally gave in and bought a decent bike. we traded in both of our old bikes (managed to get a total of $70 for both, amazingly), and now he's got basically the same bike as me, only without the front shock absorber. AND he's decided he actually likes riding. yay! group exercise is fun! it means i can actually ride west along the Erie Canal trail safely. we're going to try and keep this up . . . that, along with Ryan's cessation of his smoking habit, may allow us to live past 40!

(2 singers |weave into the harmony)

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