Sunday, September 30, 2007

Sleeping Beauty (insert eye roll here)

This morning was so weird, I just did not want to get out of bed. I set my alarm so that I would get 8 and a half hours of sleep, which I thought was sufficient after the 9 and a half that I got Friday night. But when the alarm went off I just couldn't get up. I ended up sleeping for another hour and a half for a nice, round 10 hour total. And I still had to force myself to get out of bed. I probably could have tacked on another couple of hours. I know I'm sleep deprived during the week, but this is ridiculous (although also kind of nice)! What can I say, I'm the opposite of a morning person.

My backyard is still the wabbit west stop woyale. Those things are eating machines. So I guess it's good that I haven't cut the grass in a couple of weeks. I like this photo because it looks like the wabbit is posing. There's also something weird about the light that kind of gives it an artificial quality that I like.

Ebony and ivory...

These last 2 are my homage to Stieglitz.

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It's been dreadfully hot around here. It was 89 today. I'm getting sick of the heat and the high electric bills, I'm really ready for some cooler weather.

Someone found my page by searching "I ate a tooth today". To which I would like to reply "And you'll poop a tooth tomorrow!"

One of the movie theaters that I pass every day on the way to work has a huge sign that flashes various messages. The other day they were advertising their "popcorn". And it was in quotes, just like I wrote it. Our "popcorn" is delicious. Why would they have to put it in quotes? What is this "popcorn" actually made of? Oh my Gah, maybe "popcorn" is people!

I saw the most hideous advertising slogan on a truck yesterday. The truck was advertising Lance brand snacks, and the slogan on the back of the truck was "I've Got Lance in my Pants!" Ick. But I guess maybe it did what it was supposed to do because I just told you all about it.

I saw a movie last week on DVD that I really enjoyed. It's called Brick. It's a film-noir that takes place in a modern day high school, but it's much better than that description would lead you to believe. In parts it kind of has a Twin Peaks vibe, and there is some camera work reminiscent of the Coen brothers. All of the characters speak in a weird slang. If you're looking for something good to watch, check it out!

Now off to bed.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

SPC - Bathroom 4

Take a voyeuristic peek at what others are doing in their bathrooms by visiting the SPC website.


Moon and Sun

OK, more sunset shots. They have been so pretty lately it's just hard to pass them up. This was last night.

I like how the clouds are two different colors here.

More moon shots. Last night it was almost full. These are with the tripod so they're a little bit sharper than the other day. I really like the color on this one. This is as-shot.

I like the detail on this one, but the color is more muted. Also as-shot.


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Barry's Ball Ballot

I meant to blog about this last week, but I forgot!

Did you see that Marc Ecko bought Barry Bond's 756th home run ball for 750,000 something dollars? The cool part about this? He's letting people vote on whether to send the ball to the Baseball Hall of Fame, send it to the Hall of Fame with a big asterisk marked on it, or blast it into space. Damn, I wish I had enough money to do stupidcool stuff like this. The bad news is that voting ends tonight at midnight Eastern time in the US, so you only have about 4 hours to vote if you're so inclined. You can vote here.


Sunday, September 23, 2007

Lazy Again

Since the fall semester of school started it seems like weekdays have become a real rat race again. Or as I like to call it, a wat wace. So the weekends have become even more about resting. Or being lazy if you prefer. I spent about 2 hours outside the house this weekend. I never get as much accomplished at home as I want to, but there's always next weekend!

There was a really pretty sunset last night, it was enhanced by all the haze around here.

I'm currently obsessed with getting a good picture of the moon.


Saturday, September 22, 2007

5 Foods That I'm Ashamed to Eat

The lovely (I’m extrapolating from eyes and ears) and talented Anna tagged me for this meme. Officially it is "Five Foods That I’m Ashamed to Love". But I've been thinking about this and with the possible exception of sweets, I'm not really ashamed of any foods that I love. So I'm just going to focus on the "shame" aspect. These are kind of more of a "I eat them because I have to eat something but I'm not proud of it" deal. Or somesuch.

1. Boxed macaroni & cheese
Yep, the stuff that comes with that little packet of Day Glo powdered “cheese”. A few years ago I switched to the kind that at least comes with the liquid cheese mixture, and it was much better. Once I had some of the powdered stuff in the middle of that stretch and I could hardly stand to eat it. Then I got really sick of mac & cheese and just stopped eating it for a while. By the time I was ready to eat it again I was unemployed, and the idea of a 33 cent meal sounded pretty damn good. It’s also a matter of convenience since I can be chowing down within about 10 minutes.

The thing that I hate the most about this stuff is that it’s so emblematic of the pre-prepared crap churned out by giant industrial agribusinesses. I think these companies are ruining agriculture and I would really like to get to a place where I am eating more non-processed stuff that is as local as possible. I have made some improvements in my fruit and vegetable consumption this year, so I’m hoping to build from there.

2. Spaghetti sauce from a jar
I have never made spaghetti sauce from scratch. Never! Can you believe it? I recall my parents doing it a couple of times when I was a kid, but a lot of the time it was bottled. Obviously we’re not Italian. I do want to try it someday. Again it comes down to the convenience issue. When I get home from work I’m usually ready to eat fairly quickly. The only way to do that? Buy pre-prepared crap. Although maybe I can make some up one weekend and freeze it for use later in the week.

3. Candy
I definitely have a sweet tooth. If there’s candy around, I’ll eat it. That’s why I don’t have candy around my house. However, at work people like to leave big bags of candy lying around. Sometimes I find them impossible to ignore during those long stretches between lunch and quitting time. I think I have a sugar addiction, which is probably not surprising for someone who grew up with a typical American diet. I’m trying to cut back on sugar because it just doesn’t have anything of nutritional value to offer. I also believe that refined sugar is something that our bodies haven’t evolved to process very well. All this processed crap, evolutionarily speaking, has come along in the blink of an eye and our bodies just don’t do well with handling it.

I’ve tried to eat bananas, dried fruit, grapes, or raisins instead, but I haven’t been entirely successful. The only thing that seems to work (and temporarily at that) is that I’ll notice that my pants seem to be fitting a bit snugly some mornings and I’ll swear off the candy so my clothes will fit better. Then once that’s been accomplished I think “Well, I seem to have lost a couple of pounds, I can have a treat”. Vicious, meet cycle.

Yesterday I saw this article, which basically affirms that if food is around people are going to eat it. Maybe I’ll leave a copy under the bag of candy at work.

OK, here's one candy that I can legitimately say that I love that grosses some people out - those candy circus peanuts! Although seeing as how I just found out that the gelatin they use is made from pork skin, I'm not sure I can eat them anymore!

4. Frozen burritos
These used to be much more of a staple for me, but I will still eat one every now and then. I used to eat those Patio beef & bean burritos all the time. More recently I have tried some of the healthier ones, like the Amy’s or some of the ones they carry at Whole Foods (I’m not a fan of the Whole Foods brand ones though). But really, can it get any lazier than this? How hard is it to make a fresh burrito with decent ingredients? Not very.

5. Taco Bell
I’ve pretty much sworn off most forms of fast food. I’ve been fairly burger and fry free since watching Super Size Me and reading Fast Food Nation, with one rare exception (I'm definitely not ashamed of liking In N Out Burger). There’s still one place that I may end up going if I need something quick and cheap to fill my gut, and that’s Taco Bell. I think it’s because I feel like as crappy as it is, it’s still healthier than a burger and fries. And it is a pretty rare occurrence, I think it may have been 6 months or more since I’ve eaten there. I always feel so dirty afterward.

OK, I know I’m supposed to tag people for this. I usually don’t because I feel bad about taking so long when people tag me. Deb, you like to do memes, so put this one in your rainy day file. If anyone else wants to do this one, knock yourself out!


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

SPC - Bathroom 3

I had this idea that I wanted to wrap my head in toilet paper for this week's photo. My whole head. I did that, but the pictures came out looking like some hostage video. It didn't really have the vibe I was hoping for. So I tried a few shots with partial coverage for comparison. I liked them better, they were much less scary. So, without further ado, here's toilet paper head!

Thank God it's quilted
To see what other people have going on visit the SPC site.


Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Art of Preservation

Yesterday I had to go to school all day for my Preservation class. This class deals with how to repair damage to books and other documents, as well as how to protect them from further degradation. We have three lab sessions over the course of the semester, yesterday being the first one. Hands on experience is really a necessity for this class since it deals so much with procedures that sometimes don't make sense until you actually perform them yourself.

Although I was dreading the loss of most of a Saturday, I have to say that it actually turned out to be kind of fun. In the first part of the class we each received a piece of paper with an image on it. In addition to the image the papers had marks made in pencil, ballpoint pen, and crayon. There was also a strip of scotch tape and a strip of masking tape. The papers also had two tears in them and one of the corners ripped off. In the morning part of the class we learned about some of the methods for removing unwanted markings and adhesives. Then we got to try our hands at removing the pencil, pen, and crayon marks and the tape. We had a variety of tools at our disposal. None of them worked worth a damn on the ballpoint pen, but the other things did show some improvement.

After lunch we learned about mending tears and torn corners. We got to mend the two tears in our papers using two different methods, and then we mended the torn corners. The final part of the day we made book wraps and jackets out of Mylar. We all got our own bone folders to take home with us. So far I'm liking this class as much as I thought I would. I love doing hands-on work, and that's what this stuff is all about.

In an interesting change from the norm, the professor for this class is actually kind of hot. She's married though, so if she asks me out I'll have to say "maybe".

Thursday, September 13, 2007

TV Time

I haven’t talked about TV for awhile. Of course, summer is the time when I try to forget that I have a TV, except for DVDs. The one exception this summer has been Top Chef. Could they possibly drag this season out any more? It seems like this show has been on forever since they keep showing so many reruns. I’m definitely ready to be done with it. The only thing that keeps me going at this point is the fact that Anthony Bourdain has his own Top Chef blog this season. It’s great, I was afraid that he would be censored somehow since it’s on the Bravo website, but it sure doesn’t seem to be. He’s ripped quite a few of the contestants as well as guest judge Rocco DiSpirito. It’s definitely good for some giggles.

Speaking of shows on Bravo, I watched the new Tim Gunn show last week. Yuck, I thought it was terrible. I love TG on Project Runway. He comes across as such a nice guy, who provides support to the contestants as well as the occasionally needed kick-in the-pants (but without being a butt about it). I just found his new show very dull. Maybe TG is better as a side dish instead of a main course? I don’t know, but at least I can save an hour a week of my life for something more worthwhile.

On a totally unrelated note, anyone who’s interested in some choice live Zeppelin tracks, clicketh here to download. These tracks are amazing. And if you’re into Beatles mashups, check this out.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Tale of the Teef

I finally received my night guard in the mail yesterday. This is the gizmo that is supposed to keep me from grinding my teeth into oblivion at night. Remember how I wrote about having to do my own molds of my teeth? Well, I had to redo them. Apparently I didn’t press my teeth far enough into the putty to get a full impression the first time. They actually only sent me the bottom one on the redo even though they said I messed up both of them. This made sense though because they only make a guard for one side of your mouth and I asked for one on the bottom since my teeth are in worse shape down there.

So I redid the mold and sent it off a couple of weeks ago. I was getting a little antsy about when I would receive the guard. I wore it last night for the first time and it’s way better than the store-bought one. It’s pretty much non-intrusive and you don’t really notice wearing it. The store-bought one didn’t hurt my jaw as much as it did the last time I wore it for any length of time (I think because the first time I was clenching it like someone was digging a bullet out of my leg), but it did cause me problems in opening my jaw all the way like if I wanted to take a really big bite of food. I’m looking forward to that little issue going away. So was it worth it to order this thing over the internet instead of at the dentist? Despite the fact that it took about a month and a half to get it, I would say yes. The whole shebang cost me $226 (including $13 postage for the redo), which sounds like a lot but the dentist would have charged $600! Plus, I get to keep the cast of my teeth so I can order another one when this one wears out eventually.

New, space-age, comfortable mouth guard on left. Old, neolithic, uncomfortable big honkin' MFer mouth guard on right.

Isn't this cool? This is the cast of my lower teeth!

I was hoping to get a top and bottom cast so I could move them and pretend that the teeth were talking to me, but they only sent me the bottom cast.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

SPC - Bathroom 2

The theme for this month's Self Portrait Challenge is "Bathroom". I'm not really sure what this photo means or what it is supposed to be. I stumbled upon this as I was working on another idea. I think it's an odd combination of the organic and the inert. Maybe you can tell me what it means.

To see what other people are doing in their bathrooms, click here.


Sunday, September 09, 2007

The Bread Made of Corn

The latest green chile creation has emerged from the JC kitchen. Tonight I made some green chile cornbread. This stuff is awesome! It is some of the best cornbread I have ever had. The chile flavor is very mild, the whole thing is not overly sweet, and it has a nice crust. I would like to try this with some hot chiles next time.

3 Hatch chiles (about 7 ounces total)
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (packed) grated smoked or extra-sharp cheddar cheese (about 4 ounces)
1 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted, cooled

Char chiles over gas flame or in broiler until blackened on all sides. Enclose in paper bag; let stand 10 minutes. Peel, seed and chop chiles. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 400 F. Butter 9x5x2-inch metal loaf pan. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt to blend. Stir in cheese. Whisk buttermilk, eggs and butter in another medium bowl to blend. Add egg mixture to dry ingredients, and stir just until blended. Mix in chiles. Transfer batter to prepared pan.

Bake until deep golden brown on top and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. (Check at about 20 minutes.) Turn bread out onto rack, and cool completely. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

PER SERVING: Calories 307 (37% fat) Fat 12 g (8 g sat) Cholesterol 79 mg Sodium 704 mg Fiber 2 g Carbohydrates 38 g Protein 10 g

SOURCE: Central Market recipe adapted from Bon Appétit, December 1998


Saturday, September 08, 2007

Sunset 9/6/07

Between getting into a shouting match at work and getting my car towed, yesterday was a complete shit sandwich. It was one of those days where you're glad just to get home in one piece. Luckily when crap like that happens we all get another chance to make things better the next day. Now can you see why my perfect weekend involves leaving the house as little as possible?

There was a really nice sunset last Thursday. Unfortunately I didn't catch the best of it, but I did the best I could considering that I had to run inside to get the camera, change lenses, and get back outside. With sunsets seconds are crucial. But I still got a couple of halfway decent shots.


Thursday, September 06, 2007

Stew Take 2

Every day the cafeteria in my workplace posts a sign that lists their specials for the day. I have to walk past the cafeteria every morning, so I always see the sign when I get to work. The other day the special was, and I quote, a "Patti Melt". No offense to any Pattis out there, but that sounds rather unsavory to me.

Tonight I took my second stab at green chile stew using a different recipe than last time. I also added the proper amount of water this time. This stew turned out great. The addition of potatoes and cumin made a huge difference. I also used mild chiles this time rather than hot, which allowed me to savor the taste rather than perform a feat of endurance/willpower. The texture was stew-like, as expected. Potatoes and pork are so perfect for green chile stew because their blandness allows the green chile to be the dominant flavor, which is what you want when they taste so damn good. This recipe is also very simple (see recipe below)!

Holy frickin' moly this stuff is good!

While mincing the garlic for the stew I almost experienced that dreaded affliction of knife-wielders everywhere - the finger cut. I blame it on reading the blog of master chef/gastronomist Anna, who seems to have a penchant for slicing her digits (I kid, I kid). Anyway, I was lucky that the knife missed the flesh of my thumb and instead sliced my thumbnail. For good luck I hacked off the thumbnail and threw it in the stew. OK, the last sentence is a total fabrication, that's just gross.

Am I lucky or what?

1 ½ pounds lean stew meat, cut in ¾ -inch cubes
½ medium onion, chopped
3 cups water
3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
8 to 10 roasted, peeled and diced green chiles
2 to 3 potatoes, diced
Salt to taste
¼ teaspoon cumin (optional)
Sear stew meat in a large skillet, adding onions the last 5 minutes. Add water and garlic, and simmer until meat is tender. Additional water may be added, if necessary.
Add green chiles, potatoes, salt and cumin, if desired, and simmer until potatoes are tender. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

PER SERVING: Calories 200 (28% fat) Fat 6 g (2 g sat) Cholesterol 53 mg Sodium 475 mg Fiber 3 g Carbohydrates 17 g Protein 18 g

SOURCE: New Mexico Department of Agriculture


Tuesday, September 04, 2007

SPC - Bathroom 1

The theme for this month's Self Portrait Challenge is "bathroom". Should be interesting, no? I will resist the urge for the moment to go straight for the lurid or gag-inducing. You see, the bathroom is not just the place where you make mookie-stinks or squeeze blackheads. You also do nice, wholesome things like brush your teeth. Nothing freaks me out like tooth trouble, so I am a religious brusher. It hasn't always helped though, but I still think it's better to be safe than sorry!

To see what other people are doing in their bathrooms, click here (clicker assumes all risk).

This is a sink's-eye view:


Monday, September 03, 2007


This was one lazy-ass long holiday weekend. I left the house a total of 2 times, for a total of about an hour and a half. Mainly because I needed groceries. For me, that is just about perfect. I did some reading, watched some TV, caught up on sleep, made some cookies, mopped, and scanned a bunch of my old film into my computer. You know, real exciting stuff. So what does all that have to do with bunnies and birdies? I dunno.

Even rabbits need some down time.

Time to yawn...

And stretch. (I wish this wasn't blurry!)

Dragonflies too.

There have been some baby mockingbirds hanging around my backyard.

It looks like he's pulling up his pants!

This was about a week ago, and they were still being fed by mama.

Mom and kids.

Can you tell they're related?


It's a big world out there.

Gimme some food!


Saturday, September 01, 2007

Sunset 8/25/07

Last Saturday there was a really nice sunset while I was mowing my lawn. I stopped working for a couple of minutes and ran inside to get my camera. I couldn't pass this sunset up!