Friday, November 21, 2008

The wrath of the mighty raven

As some of my faithful seventeen readers know, last week when I parked to eat some lunch, enjoy the sun and read my book, I apparently parked over a piece of garbage/debris that Raven wanted. Great and Mighty Raven danced outside my car, berating me for my thoughtlessness and temerity. It was a great floor show.

I went back the next day to see if Raven was still there. He was.

Behold the Puissant One, Trickster Raven

On a post, Lord of all he surveys (able to poop on whatever he flies over)

Outside my car, strutting and informing me of my inadequacies.

After appropriate propitiation was offered (a few pieces of cookie) Raven flew away. But I know he's watching. And waiting.
So am I.

*photos taken with my cell phone camera, please forgive the quality

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I'm a lousy liberal

Have I mentioned that before? Because I am. That doesn't stop me from really enjoying and agreeing with Shannyn Moore's latest blog entry.

I think you should go and read it.

I grew up with Shannyn. Her dad was my elementary school principal, her mom was the librarian at the other elementary school. I broke her younger sister Jeannie's front tooth at a Hallowe'en carnival in junior high (it was an accident! I still feel AWFUL about it 25 years later). Thanks to Shannyn's piano recitals I know every note to the Maple Leaf Rag.

Shannyn has been getting attention from the MSM, which is really cool. Even as a kid she was outspoken, driven, and very opinionated. Yes, there were times I hated her guts. We were kids. It looks like she's on the road to success with her chosen field, and I am so damn happy for her.

Go Shannyn!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veteran's Day

For Rob, Janiece, Jim, Steve, Jim, Keith, Grandpa Harold, Terry, Paula, Bruce, and all the others who have given their time and their life for a cause bigger than themselves.

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

— Lt.-Col. John McCrae

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sunday Girl

Oy, it's been a busy week and weekend.

Friday night my friend Carrie decided to start a book club, and as I read too much as it is, I agreed to be a member. Our first book is something by Ann Shreve that I picked up at used from Gulliver's. John was out with questionable company, so four of us girls ended up at Lavelle's drinking champagne and eating dessert. Black bottom creme brulee pairs rather nicely with champagne, for the record.

Saturday I chatted with my grandmother for about thirty minutes, but she had to hang up on me to go deal with her poached apples in cinnamon syrup. My grandma is so cool.
Around noon John and I went to see Zack and Miri Make A Porno. Raunchy, crass, blunt, and rather sweetly poignant. Kevin Smith makes some pretty darn fine films. For the evening we were going to go to a beer tasting at the Blue Loon, but John wanted to take a nap first, and well, he was so cute snoozing that I didn't have the heart to wake him up. So, I had a nutritious dinner of leftover dip and corn chips, and snuggled into bed and caught up on some reading.

Sunday morning I caught up on more phone calls, and then went to run errands and grocery shop. This afternoon and evening has been spent cooking for the next week
chicken curry with almonds, chiles, yogurt, and spinach
mac and cheese (homemade)
the beginnings of chicken soup and enchiladas for later on in the week
I also have chili and cassoulet planned for Thursday and/or Friday.

John eats all the time, ok? I have to have food on hand as a defensive mechanism.

Mostly, life here is mundane, I'm ok with that.

So, even though it's Sunday evening, I'll leave you with some fine music from Blondie - Sunday Girl

PS - any rumors you hear about me taking my shirt off in the bar at Los Amigos Thursday night are completely true. This is why I don't drink to excess. I was completely sober, one of John's inebriated cow-orkers challenged me to swap shirts with him in the bar (it was actually relevant to the discussion they were having). So I did. Yeah, don't dare me to do dumb things like that, because I usually will, if it's only embarrassing and doesn't hurt anyone.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Work? Today?

I'll try to work. But this year more than most I really agree with the make Election Day a holiday. I'll gladly give up Columbus Day as a Federal holiday (I've never had a job where I got it as a holiday) in exchange for Election Day as a holiday.

Those of my readers (all 17 of you) that are eligible to vote in this election probably have, or will have by the end of the day.

Even Catherine in NZ was working on her absentee voting options. Alaska has a vote by fax option!

OMG. I think Ralph Nader is on Talk of Alaska RIGHT NOW. How odd. How shocking. How bizarre.

Sorry. My little brain was distracted there. Nader is still nattering away.

Gotta go. Work should be done, and I want to reload again.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Exercising my franchise

No, I'm not talking about the temporary closure of the Fairbanks Burger King.

I think this picture says it all.

Apparently I wasn't the only person at 1:20 PM on a Friday that wanted to vote. Check out this line.

When I walked into the State Building the security guard looks at me
"Down the hall, around the corner".
I look at him quizzically.
"Voting, right?"
"Why yes. Thank you!"

The line took maybe 5 minutes to go through. I had my ID ready, the elections staff looked up my record, confirmed my physical address, and printed out a sheet for me to sign. Then I got my ballot and voted. This is the first election I have only voted for one political party. I'm not comfortable with that. Voting for judges is always fun, and I do read the elections pamphlets (as anyone who's looked at Jeri's blog should know). I voted for Judge Funk more because I enjoy his show on KUAC than because of anything in the election booklet. I almost had jury duty in his court once, and tried to use that as a reason why I might be unqualified to be a juror. They tossed me for other reasons. Heh.

This looks to be a historic election, especially here in Alaska considering all the problems with Don and Ted, and La Sarah's national candidacy. I can't wait to see how it turns out, but now I've done my part. Let the end game commence.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The End Of An Era

Via Nina @ Bon Bon Bar I was directed to Serious Eats and their post on the the bankruptcy of Mother's Cookies.

Nooooooo. Say it isn't true. Please.

Circus Animal cookies are a touchstone of my childhood, and I still buy them on occasion. Grandma and I would make tea and eat frosted animal cookies while chatting, watching the news, or working on our puzzle books. Every time I eat the oddly shaped blobby sugar and transfat bombs I feel loved. I knew for certain that my BIL was a keeper when he expressed his love for the pink and white (non-masculine) frosted animal cookies. I gave him a bag for his birthday one year, and you could immediately tell he was thrilled. He also refused to share. Heh.

I know that there are knock-offs out there, but THEY ARE NOT THE SAME.

Tomorrow I'm going to see if I can find a bag, and stash it away to share with Grandma when we go visit her this winter.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Cat Blogging Friday

I myself prefer Friday Funnies, but I'm out of anything funny to share that you may not already be aware of so....

This is my fuzzy orange cuddle buddy aka feline overlord (male) after a particularly satisfying grooming session.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Politics Quizzes

Everyone else is doing it...

This was the first quiz - no surprise on this one...

Left-Leaning Freedom Lover on political map

But then Jim over at Stonekettle Station came up with another quiz. Edit from original post - Hey, in preview it looked like I was over in the Totalitarian camp, which totally blew my mind. But apparently I'm not. Woo hoo! I'm not a jackbooted thug after all.

Yup. I'm apparently a big L libertarian. I'm really a little l libertarian, I think some social programs are ok and that some taxes are necessary and worthwhile.

You are a

Social Liberal
(78% permissive)

and an...

Economic Conservative
(63% permissive)

You are best described as a:


Link: The Politics Test on Free Online Dating
Also : The OkCupid Dating Persona Test

Thursday, October 2, 2008

VP Debate Wordle

Since Jeri suggested it....

I thought the word Maverick would be much more prominent.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Happy Eid al-Fitr!

L'shana tova tikatevu!

In recognition of Eid, I humbly suggest that you consider making a donation to your local food bank. With the economy the way it is, they would probably appreciate it. And then call your grandmother.

In recognition of the start of the year 5769, I hope you have a happy and healthy year. Remember that the time between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur is a time to make peace. Me, I call my mother.

In case you're confused, yes, I'm about as areligious as one can get, but that doesn't mean that I don't find value in some of the traditions and customs of the faithful. So... celebrate!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

iTunes Memery

I have a really cranky post I want to write, in response to a commenter on Theresa's blog - My Fairbanks Life, but I'm trying to achieve some inner peace and let it go. Sooooo....

Andrew Wheeler
posted this, he thinks it started with Scott Westerfeld.

1) In iTunes, select View Options under the View menu.
2) Turn off everything but “Artist.”
3) Select all and copy.
4) Search and Replace the word “track” with nothing.
5) Paste the results into the Create page.

What can I say? Mainly, I have a LOT of classical music. Doesn't mean I can immediately tell you the composer or name, but I usually can hum the tune.

I'm not tagging anyone with this, but I really would love to see Cindy and Eric's results. We know Jim's would be full of Dire Straits...

ETA - out of curiosity and provoked by Jeri (in a good way provoked) here is one for my most frequently played. Yay! Astrud Gilberto!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Who's really lost out with all this attention on Alaska

Hannah. She's a girl from Fairbanks that is on Cycle 11 of America's Next Top Model. Usually this would be HUGE news for Alaska. But alas, other events have eclipsed her chance at 15 minutes of fame.

Poor kid.

I haven't watched the show in years. But I developed a fondness for Janice Dickinson, and one my gym t-shirts proudly proclaims "Janice is my superROLEmodel".

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


I try to keep my opinions to myself, which is harder in some situations rather than others.

Disclaimer - I am a registered non-partisan and like it that way. I have issues with all the parties.

Usually Cindy and I watch major events together, and riff with one another. Well, someone was at work this evening, and I was all alone.

So my poor Twitter feed had to endure my abuse.

I don't agree with Sarah Palin on social issues. I loved her comments on projects she line item vetoed for FY08, stating that a number of them were not an appropriate use of state funds. Because she was right. I find her to be too straightforward and unsubtle to be an effective politician in sophisticated arenas (international relations, anyone?). I say this because I know that I'm that way myself. Sarah is a sports nut, so how's this for a metaphor? She's like a HS kid that has been picked to go to the Major Leagues without working her way through the farm system. While talented, she'd really get something out of the farm system without losing who she is.

I think Theresa says some of what I think and feel very very well. Then again, she's an actual professional writer, unlike myself. I'm still cogitating and trying to get to an articulate place rather than just an emotively responsive place.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Entertainment for Michelle and anyone else who's interested

Well, I'm sweeping and sorting magazines and contemplating what to do with my Magnetic Poetry collection. But Michelle has demanded entertainment, and I should oblige my audience...

Of course the question is, what would she find entertaining? Hopefully one of the following...

Virtual Bubble Wrap (for your popping pleasure)

Fail Blog

Play With Spider (ick ick ick ick ick ick)

Geographic size of Africa, in Perpective (food for thought more than entertainment)

A Fan Site of questionable taste dedicated to my governor

The Daylight Map (so you can think of Jim and I this winter)

Online Kaleidoscope and the newer version here(because I should end on something fun!)

It Is Risen!

Right after Denvention my laptop was gakked by an update. Life has kept me busy and I have finally managed to get it mostly fixed and software reloaded. Posts will begin again. Hurrah!

Today I'll be working in the yard, cleaning in my house, and going to the gym. And finishing up the furnace tuneup I started yesterday, now that I've found the allen wrench set.

Thank you for your patience, and enjoy the weekend.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Another Quiz (catching up!)

This one via Jeri. I'm not sure what to think about my "humanity" ranking. I don't really like humanity, or want to spend time around humanity. Hmm.

Your result for The Perception Personality Image Test...

NFPC - The Artist

Nature, Foreground, Big Picture, and Color

You perceive the world with particular attention to nature. You focus on what's in front of you (the foreground) and how that fits into the larger picture. You are also particularly drawn towards the colors around you. Because of the value you place on nature, you tend to find comfort in more subdued settings and find energy in solitude. You like to deal directly with whatever comes your way without dealing with speculating possibilities or outcomes you can't control. You are in tune with all that is around you and understand your life as part of a larger whole. You are a down-to-earth person who enjoys going with the flow.

The Perception Personality Types:


Take The Perception Personality Image Test at HelloQuizzy

Nanny Ogg (I'm not surprised)

Fragano shared this with me awhile ago, and I still had it on my Facebook account. Now it's making the rounds with the UCF. All I can say is - GO HEDGEHOGS!!!

Which Discworld Character are you like (with pics)
created with
You scored as Gytha (Nanny) Ogg

You are Nanny Ogg! A talented witch, able to make yourself at home wherever you are, and insist that Greebo is just a big softie. You enjoy drinking, a lot, and singing about a hedgehog. You have a huge family, and get your daughters-in-law to do most of the housework. You are kind and gentle, and help put people at ease.

Gytha (Nanny) Ogg


Carrot Ironfounderson


Commander Samuel Vimes


The Librarian


Esmerelda (Granny) Weatherwax


Lord Havelock Vetinari








Cohen The Barbarian


Friday, August 15, 2008

AVG or something gakked my laptop networking

So, I'm grabbing time online when I can at work. Which isn't often, even with my firewall work around.

Denvention reports will be posted, Charlotte will be posted. Corset Pictures will be shared. Caterday blogging might commence (might). In the meantime, I'm having fun tracing down what the problem is. Event Viewer, TCP View, WinsockXP, RARepair, and other nifty utilities are my friend. Hey, at least my laptop now recognizes that it has network adapters. Yay!

So, when I'm not working (and I actually have work to do!), I'm getting my geek on.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Denvention Day 2

Yikes - what a fun day (though it would have been more fun if I could've joined Janiece and Terry for a beer. sigh)


10 AM - Started of the morning with a reading by PC Hodgell, from her newest Kencyrath book. Which is actually only about 30% done. BUT OMG IT IS ALMOST 1/3 COMPLETE!! **swoons**

Went and found lunch. Whew. I was a hungry girl.

1 PM - Liberals and Military SF panel (John Hemry, Elizabeth Moon, Scalzi, Joe Haldeman)
To start off with - with a panel like that, how are you going to go wrong? Elizabeth Moon is just plain fabulous as a rule, and her moderation guidelines she laid out at the beginning made me develop a little bit of a girl crush on her. Janiece, Terry, and I got there early and scored seats in the third row. The discussion on polemics, portrayals, and posturing was excellent. Everyone seemed to enjoy it. Yay!

Xopher from ML asked one of the questions during the panel, and he was one of the people I was looking for. I abandoned Janiece and Terry, and ended up meeting up Xopher, Skwid, and Serge. As a group we headed to the dealer's room to get some people (Serge) their ML button. On the way we encountered Teresa aka TNH, and she joined our entourage to procure buttons. As buttons were procured and we stood around talking, my fellow sun bearer, now to be known as my fellow Apollonian, Lance showed up to get HIS button. And then, who else should show up, but Adam Stemple? Much chatting ensued, and I even got to show Adam the cool shadow puppet moose I had shown his mom when she came to Fairbanks MANY YEARS AGO. We also discussed games, bears, dogs, and other fun stuff. Adam was delightful to chat with.

Oh, and I bought a corset. A really pretty corset. A corset was on my shopping list.

Serge and I retrieved some props for the masquerade from his car, and we met up with the group Susan put together for this year's competition. It should be fun. The show starts Friday night at 7:30 PM.

And now it's late and I want to go to bed. I'm sorry I don't have pictures. I think Janiece does.... ETA - SHE DOES!

Fun moment of the day - recognizing Jay Lake and Charlie Stross as they went into the bar together. And I didn't squee. Out loud.

Almost embarrassing moment of the day - seeing Melinda Snodgrass and wanting to say "OMG, it's Melinda Snodgrass!" (btw, check out her newest book, I think the premise looks interesting. I haven't picked it up yet myself, but I plan to.)

Snorty moment of the day - seeing a gentleman wearing a t-shirt that says "be careful, or you'll be in my next novel" and then realizing it's Harry Turtledove.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

WorldCon Day One

Pretty interesting and fun.

I tried to walk into Connie Willis.
I was introduced to Walter Williams.
I kept trying to figure out where I knew a person from, she looked really familiar (it was across the room). Realized later it was Jo Walton, whom I've never met, only seen in pictures.
Avoided gushing at Phil Foglio in the dealer's room.
Lurked in the back of Scalzi's panel on schmoozing. The panelists did a good and thorough job.

Saw Janiece and Terry, Elise M, Lee, Terry and Darcy (from Fairbanks), Kathryn, and chatted with people who looked like they wanted to talk but weren't sure how to open a conversation.

With all of the obligations on my time, I am pretty wiped out. I'm off to bed. Alaska is two time zones behind. I'm so glad programming doesn't start until 10 AM.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Away today, and why I've been absent

It's time for the Tanana Valley State Fair! If you're there today, stop by the UAF Alumni Booth. The woman I married and the man I'm married to will both be there, we'd love to see you!

PS - click on the link if only to see the totally cheesy 2008 theme

Friday, July 25, 2008

Baking and Chocolate Goodness

In addition to everything else she did, Michelle sent me yummy vanilla and a brownie recipe for my birthday. Well, I had to try it, right?

I've misplaced my camera, so these pictures are being taken with my phone.

In the pan, with foil so I can wrap them up and send them with John to work tomorrow.

Carnage on the plate.

Yum. Thanks Michelle!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Quizzes, because they amuse me

Your result for The What Middle Earth race do you belong to Test...


You scored 0% Size & Strength, 35% Morality, 65% Aggression, and 94% Intelligence.

You're a Balrog! You scored high on size & strength, low on morality, high on aggression and high on intelligence. Balrogs were once divine Maiar spirits along the lines of Gandalf, but they were corrupted by Morgoth into creatures of flame, shadow and pure malice. Immensely powerful and terrifying, they can also create melee weapons from the fire of their own bodies, favoring swords and bullwhips. Their capacity for destruction is surpassed only by Dragons. Once the high lieutenants of Morgoths army, many of the Balrogs were slain in the War of Wrath. The few that survived were scattered and hid deep in the Earth, away from their enemies.

FYI, your polar opposite is the Hobbit.

Take The What Middle Earth race do you belong to Test at HelloQuizzy

This is the part that made me laugh - look at my low morality and high aggression!

# You scored 53% on Size & Strength, higher than 35% of your peers.
# 3/100 You scored 35% on Morality, higher than 3% of your peers.
# 74/100 You scored 65% on Aggression, higher than 74% of your peers.
# 96/100 You scored 94% on Intelligence, higher than 96% of your peers.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Where am I?

Sorry, trying to use my very limited spare time to work on Charlotte Misner*. She's not being ignored, and neither are any of you. So, to keep you occupied, here's The Cure with Charlotte Sometimes

*The name always make me think of the Ben Folds Five album The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner, which has the will eventually be a classic song Army. Sadly, all I could quickly find is the clean version. Second verse is really "son, you're fucking high".

Saturday, July 19, 2008

My bank account may never be the same...

Nordstrom's advanced search let's you create an RSS feed for your search terms. Now I can be automatically notified whenever shoes in a 9.5 W show up.

This is quite possibly the most wonderful and awful thing I have encountered this week.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

This evening's refreshing beverage is . . .

North Coast Brewing Company's Red Seal Ale. A nice ale. I usually like things a little hoppier or darker, but this is a nice little ale with good flavor.

Of course, the fact that the brewmaster is my boss' brother is kinda cool too. She goes down and helps out with the Monterey Jazz Festival each fall, an event that they sponsor.

If you see some of their brews, give them a try. I really enjoyed the Brother Thelonius Belgian Style Abbey Ale.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Vive La France!

Happy Bastille Day! I've been celebrating by drinking French wine (hic!), eating French Fries, avoiding French Dressing, and maybe I can entice John to embrassez-moi once he gets home.

So, from one of the best films ever, I give you La Marsellaise

Friday, July 11, 2008

Return of the Friday Funny

What, you thought I'd abandonded it? No, Friday Funny was on vacation, getting some spa treatments and some grooming.

This week - McSweeney's.

Something for everyone at McSweeney's.

Janiece in her quest to fight the homeowner's association might appreciate An Overheard Conversation at the Suburban Neighborhood Pool, If the Suburban Neighborhood Pool Were in Deadwood.

Michelle might enjoy Summer Safety Tips: How to Avoid a Lion Attack.

Jim might roll eyes at the premise of The Middle East Peace Process, as Moderated by My Spin Instructor.

MWT and John The Scientist would probably come up with a few additions to None of My Science Piñatas Are Appropriate for Children.

OK, you get the idea. I think most of us will get a rueful chuckle out of The 700 Club Does Weather.

Have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

TMI Time (be warned)

I schedule my annual physical also known as my LOF/Inspect around my birthday, as that makes it easier to remember. Being of the female version of human, I get to have my parts checked out thoroughly. Honestly, the exam doesn't bother me. I figure after a provider's first dozen or so, as long as a patient has standard equipment and nothing too pierced or prolapsed, the clinician doesn't really care or think too much about your down there. Physical time always reminds me that either a) I should be going to yoga again or b) I sure am glad I've been going to yoga lately. I also get the complete checkup of everything else, updated family history, vaccinations, any foreign travel, am I getting eyes, teeth, etc. all checked out, any new allergies or sensitivities I've noticed, all the usual. Last year I got a baseline mammogram. This year, I have orders to get scoped up top and MAYBE down below. Versed here I come!

So. Looks like Tania is ok for another year. Weight is something we're both ok with, labs are good, BP is in my usual range (106/62). I got the low blood pressure safety lecture. I get it every visit. And yes, if I don't sit for a bit when getting up from bed, I pass out and/or slam into the wall or the door. I've been know to try and catch myself and take out a bookcase. Fun!

But, what I'm TMI sharing with you is my interactions with my doc. I like my doc. He's been my doc for almost 20 years, since he went into private practice. He calls me on my bullshit, understands my irrationalities on some topics, and has a great sense of humor. Oh, and he reads SF/F. We trade books. Even better, the nurses at work think he's one of the better docs in town.

During the History & Physical update:
How many sexual partners do you regularly have?
One, unless I'm suffering blackouts and having sex with multiple partners. I don't think I'm suffering blackouts.
Ok. So as far as you know, your only "john" is John? (sounds of nurse sputtering in the background)
So, this means you are having sex.
Any pain when having sex?
Only when I ask for it. (sounds of nurse sputtering in the background)
That's good to know. Sounds like you have a healthy relationship, let me know if things change.

Anything particularly troubling you today?
Hmmm. Ummm. Well, I called my Aunt to wish her a Happy Birthday, and got to talk to my Grandmother which was great, but she made me talk to my mom. I don't like talking to my mom.
You're kidding me. You're 36 years old and you still have mother-daughter issues?
Yes. And believe me, I'm the grown-up in this situation.

What happened to your biceps? You used to have biceps. I see you at the gym. Develop some upper body strength.
Watch it buddy, or I will stomp you with my overdeveloped legs.

I try to have a good joke each year, just because. I've had the last line of the following floating around in my head for years, but it wasn't until this week I finally worked up a story in which to insert it. So, here's my 2008 annual physical joke.

After a long day on the job, a stomach and a gall bladder walk into a bar to unwind. While there, they meet Fred, a womb. As they chat through the evening, the three become friends. As the evening winds down, Joe (the stomach) says "Fred, it's been really great to meet you, and I'm sure we must have some contacts in common. Bob (the gall bladder) here is married to my sister Debbie (a liver), who has a really mean brother Brian (a spleen). Now that I've told you about some of our connections, I'd like to know - what are uterus?"

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Birthday Gifties!

#0 was about a week before my birthday. My cow-orker Russ and his wife gave me a $30 B&N gift card, since I'm 30-something.

#1 was from the kitties - the rear end of a vole, and the entrails laid out delicately with it. They show they care in their own twisted little feline manner.

#2 was from that crazy UCFer Michelle!! I got a copy of Night Watch, the very book that I (while said book was in transit) demanded to know (on her blog) why I'd not read it. Creepy. Cool.

#3 was $$ from my Dad. I'm 36, I don't really expect gifts from my parents, but it makes him happy, so I take his money, and then pay bills. It seems like the sort of thing a parent would approve of.

I know that some friends will have treasures for me on Friday, when about 10 of us are gathering for dinner, with my natality as the excuse. Oh, the anticipation!!

Anyhoo.... Yay! Thank you everyone. I am a very fortunate person in my friends.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Ronald McDonald of Clan McDonald

May not be the harbinger of doom that we've all thought.

Kitchenmage has a post about McDonalds and their support of equal treatment for gay folks. Go read it. Please.

Wow. Who'd a thunk it? This sure as hell makes me feel better about the money they score off of me because of my ice tea addiction.

Happy Birthday to Me!

Yup, today is my birthday. I turn the big 36. I have no idea what, if any, birthday festivities are planned.

This a busy birthday month for my family. My cousin Wendy was on the 1st, I'm on the 8th, Wendy's mom is on the 9th, cousin Ginger is on the 11th, and it keeps going like that all month long...

My Aunt T (Wendy's mom) was there with my mom when I was born. She was encouraging my mom to hold out for a few more hours so we could share a birthday (Aunt T was 11 at the time). Aunt T says my mom was NOT INTERESTED in prolonging labor any more than necessary, and now that Aunt T has had three kids, she understands completely.

I'm taking today off of work (don't tell anyone!) and going to run some errands and try to have a nice day. We'll see how that works out.

Happy Birthday Tania!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Embarassing truth #436

I want to see the film of Mamma Mia! just because it has Christine Baranski in it. I like her.

Friday, July 4, 2008

When in the course of human events it becomes

necessary to laugh so you don't cry about the hypocrite your country has become, one can always count on the Muppets!

Happy Independence Day! Go out and stick it to the man, because that is a patriotic thing to do!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

How Geeky Are You?

Gacked from Andrew Wheeler's Blog

83% Geek

OnePlusYou Quizzes and Widgets

I'm surprised the number isn't higher, quite honestly.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

What's in a name?

Nathan sent me an email earlier today asking about the story behind Orphelia's name. He sent it privately because since he is such a nice guy, he was concerned that I might have misspelled my own cat's name. Not only is that proof of Nathan's stand up ways, but his keen insight.

I sent him back a really long email (I was/am catching up from being in Denver the last 3 days), and he suggested it was worthy of a blog post. Apparently I am not capable of getting my days aligned with Cat Blogging Friday. I'll do better in the future.

How Orphy Got Her Name

This is Orphelia aka Orphy. Brain the size of a walnut, but the most dog-like cat I've ever lived with. Comes when you call, plays fetch, goes for walks with you. Weird stuff.

With a name like mine, I try REALLY HARD to get things right. Every time I swap the i and e in Janiece I wither a little inside.

Why yes, there is a story...
A friend (the woman I married) was a foster house for the local cat rescue group (these days she's also a licensed Vet Tech, but not back then). She took in a pregnant teenage mom, and raised the kittens, and placed them in homes. So, I've known our cats since they were in utero.

My friend lived in a little cabin, up on pilings with a crawl space underneath. The short haired black kitten crawled under the cabin and wouldn't come out. Momma Cat would go down there and nurse it, but it took almost a week to finally catch the kitten and get it back up to the living area. this point we still thought the short haired black kitten was a boy and we named it Orpheus, because it had a journey to the underworld, and returned. About a month later, it was determined that Orphy was a girl cat, NOT a boy cat. I didn't want to call her Eurydice, so I morphed it into Ophelia/Orphelia. She's the cat that is fascinated by running water and John has to avoid peeing on. She tries to join you in the shower too.

She's good cat, though a little stupid. She's the X-sports cat. If an odd spot can be climbed to, jumped to, wiggled into, she's there. Hence the picture of John geared up climbing the tree on my sidebar. There is a series where he's getting her out of the tree because she chased a squirrel up it and then wasn't sure about coming down. Stupid cat. But a sweet cat. She's next to me right now as I update and edit the original email I sent to Nathan. She's 14 this year, and still a mighty slayer of voles and bunnies. Go Orphy!

And yes, that picture is of her in a camp chair in the driveway, lounging on her catnip mat.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

July 1

What is today?

It's Canada Day! Fireworks, barbequeueueueues, and singing of that lovely national anthem O Canada. As an Alaskan, I'm frequently mistaken as being from Canada's most western province/territory - Alaska. That's ok, we like Canadians. Even though I do find this song to be hilarious. Serge and Kimby are Canadian. Yay Canada!

What else is it? Oh, it's my cousin Wendy's birthday. Wendy is 3 years younger than me. Her mom is 11 years older than I am. Yes, I come from a family of easy women and early breeders. But you know what? All three of my aunt's daughters have finished their BA degrees, and the youngest in school to become a Physician's Assistant. So, even if we have trouble containing our adolescent hormones, we do put an emphasis on education. And contraception, for this generation. I've always been proud of my aunt for not perpetuating a stereotype.

Oh, and I do believe that it is MICHELLE'S birthday today. Hmm. I wonder what INTERESTING birthday gifties will be arriving this week? The mind boggles....

Monday, June 30, 2008

Rocky Mountain Hi!

Yup, as my regular readers (all 17 of you) know, I am in the lovely city of Denver for another 24 hours. I'm here for a work conference. In the interests of professionalism I am refraining from naming the conference, as they will be receiving a 3 page (as of today) missive on how they can/should/better improve their conferences. The yesterday I thought it was because I was tired and cranky. Two years ago I thought it was because I was new in the job. Today I know that the program committee can't plan their way out of a saturated paper bag. An old super-saturated paper bag, one that's been litter on the side of the road all through the winter, and has endured traffic, sun, freeze thaw cycles, etc.

But, enough of my diatribe.

Getting to meet Janiece and Anne was FABULOUS!!!

Anne graciously and kindly retrieved me from the airport, we had a tasty lunch, and Janiece dumped me off at the hotel, with luggage and John's transmission!

My earrings from Jeri arrived on Saturday before I left Fairbanks. I will take and share pictures later (I think I packed the camera cable...??), but the best news is that they perfectly match the jacket I packed to wear during my presentation tomorrow. Wo0t!!1!

Had dinner with boss and coworker at India House, off of Blake, in downtown. Yum. Chicken Saag. Yum. Tonight I gave into my need for franchise food and had the Thai Lettuce Wraps at Cheesecake Factory. And brought back to my room a piece of Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake. Breakfast will be good.

Haven't had much time to do anything fun. Meetings all day (until 6 PM). Had dinner. Picked up a tank to wear under my jacket. No Serge, not an M5 or A39, but an article of clothing. If I did have an M5, I suspect I'd be accessorizing it more than it accessorizing me. An M5 would look really cool in the back yard. Um, anyway, I'm rambling. Probably time to review my talk again and hit the showers.

PS - if you guys can let me know when the cat mats get there, that'd be great. I'm always intrigued by how long things take to get via US Mail. Nathan and my dad got their packages in three days. Other folks, apparently five+.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The best laid plans of mice and men

aft gang agley.

Arrgh. I'm writing from Anchorage International Airport.

What's that you say? I'm supposed to be in Denver RIGHT NOW? Getting ready to meet up with Anne and Janiece before I go to my work conference?

You have some keen powers of observation. My flight last night was canceled/delayed by 6 hours. The plane is full up, and full of fed up people. I'm annoyed, but it's not worth my time to get too cranky over it.

What I'm most annoyed over is that this is cutting into my crucial visiting time with Anne and Janiece. Grrrrrrr.

June has been a really busy month for me. Let's hope that July is nicer. Please.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Since Jim's Doing it...

I think Jim does so well because of his military experience. Elephant guns. They're focusing on elephant guns.

I like how I could likely take out a fellow human (not included on the badge, it is on the results page), but I am obviously a well marbled, good sized tiger snack. That seems accurate to me.

Seekrit Projekt Part 2 complete

I have completed my part of Seekrit Project Part 2. However, the feline overlords have informed me that I did only manage to get half of the job done. They still need addresses for the following oppressors of humanity:

Lord Stanley
Oreo and Buttercup
Kate's Fierce Guard Kitty

I can only plead that I am their puppet in this venture. Take pity on me.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

RIP George Carlin

My NY Times and WaPo news alerts have just announced the death of George Carlin.

I remember the first time I saw George Carlin. It would have been an HBO Special when I was in the 4th Grade. Yes, I probably should not have been watching it. However, I loved IT. Loved it, loved it, loved it. Yes, I was an 8 year old that knew that George Carlin was her favorite comedian.

So, here's one of his bits that I've always liked, from MAD TV

Touched By An Atheist

Mr. Carlin, thanks for making us think, offending us, and keeping us entertained.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Seekrit Project Part 1 complete

The cats tasked me with a project today. I have completed Part 1.

Sooooo...All I can say is - WATCH THE SKIES!!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Our snowbird neighbor has been dropping in to say "Hi"

Sorry I'm such a lousy photographer. We have a sandhill crane that comes by every evening to snack on things in the yard. It trills/chirrups while out there, and John and I go out to be sociable. We chirrup at the crane, the crane chirrups back, and then we go back in the house so we don't harass it.

The cats, if they're out in the yard, are FASCINATED. Silly kitties. They also seem to be rather intimidated, and are leaving it alone.

We think it must have a nest in the swamp across the road, and is enjoying getting voles and green and insects over here on our property. Anyhoo, this is a neighbor we're happy to have in the neighborhood.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Soft, Supple, Glossy, and Pink!

I've been meaning to post this, and my procrastination caused a certain amount of stress for some people (Michelle), for which I am sincerely sorry. The goddesses Procrastinata and Overbookite have me firmly in the ranks of their followers.

So, on May 16th, look what arrived in my PO Box!

I'm a lousy photographer, sorry about the quality.

Aren't they lovely? The Burt's Bees Lip Gloss is a great color, and smells like oranges. I want to eat it every time I use it.

The Alba Lip Balm is a Coconut Flavor. It makes me think of Piña Coladas, which makes me think of that darned song. You know the one.

Friday, June 13, 2008

BLITEOTW - Cat Scratch Fever, Part 2

Hell. I'm writing this from the top of the bus, watching my house burn. Yes, the full length school bus in my front yard. I'm a wreck, and this day is nuts. From what I've seen online Spokane, Denver, Seattle, and Brooklyn have been affected by this rise of the undead. I don't even have a cricket bat.

To pick up where I left off... Disturbed beyond all sensible thought by the death of my spouse, I finally went to the living room to see about cleaning up whatever the kitties had killed. Soon I would be saying whatever else the kitties had killed.

The stench was foul and hung in the air. Both cats were crouched over a marmot, ripping and tearing. The russet and gold fur was matted with blood, and most of the head was gone.

I scolded the cats with a "Hey, guys, take that outside,” and went to pick up the corpse by its tail, so I could toss it out on to the porch. And the cats hissed at me. I even got a growl out of the orange one as I moved toward carnage. What the fuck? I'd had these two for 14+ years, and I'd never had this happen. That's when I noticed - both cats look rather beat up, and that nasty smell, it's not coming from the marmot, it's the cats. This just isn't making sense. It's like something out of one of those cheezy movies Cindy always makes me watch. Cheezy movies that may have saved my life.

As I start into a feline directed diatribe, I hear a noise from behind me. Turning around, I see John leaning against the bedroom door. John. John who is dead. JohnWhoIsDeadIsLEANINGAGAINSTHEBEDROOMDOORWHATTHEFUCKAMIHAVINGANIGHTMAREPLEASEWAKEUPI'MREADYTOWETTHEBEDIFTHATWILLMAKEITSTOP!!!

With the clarity of thought that comes when adrenaline floods your system, I realized that however improbable, I had zombies in my house. Zombie John and Zombie Cats. And I didn't want to join them.

The good thing about living in a small house is that things are close. Like the front door. I ran to the front door and went into the entryway. I started shoving and piling things against the door and putting stuff in place to block the cat door. I grabbed my weed burner (the redneck's flamethrower) and the bladed weed-whacker. They were the only things that I had on hand (in the entryway) that might work as weapons.

Moving out the actual front door, I took my chest freezer that's on the porch, and shoved it against the doorframe. It won't keep the door from opening, but it should slow things down.

I could hear noises from inside the house, and part of me hoped that John was eating the brains of the cats, getting the little bastards back for turning him, and keeping him distracted while I figured out what the hell I was going to do.

Hell. John's bigger, stronger, and faster than me. Letting him get close is not a good idea, I'll lose in a physical contest, even if it's handicapped by the fact that he's undead and I have weapons. This means I need to be sneaky. Fire always seems to be a popular way to deal with zombies, though I've always been bothered at the prospect of flaming undead hordes shambling along. Damn. I've joked for years that living in a cabin means you're really living in a pile of firewood, I guess we're about to see if it's true.

The good thing about living on a redneck compound is that I have plenty of petroleum distillates to use as accelerant. I walked around the house with a five gallon jug of two-stroke mix, soaking the bottom log layer and the top of the skirting. I then soaked the skirting with giesel (gas & diesel blended). Trying to be prepared, I took the weed-whacker and the 2.5 gallon jug of two-stroke to the platform on top of the bus. Then, I hooked up my propane bottle from the camping gear inside the bus, lit off my weed burner, and set the house on fire.

3 hours later it's still smoldering. All my ID, keys, and such were inside the house. It's a good thing the spare laptop was left in my car overnight. Unlocked for once. I'm scared to go to the neighbors, and I'm still not sure how this was spread, though I'm blaming the cats. This has to be widespread, as no one has driven by the house all day, and we had no response the fire.

I'm more scared and alone than I have ever been before. I couldn't have been the only local to survive. If anyone reads this, please, let me know you're out there. Please.

BLITEOW - Cat Scratch Fever, Part 1

Waking up to the sound of brains being consumed is something I'm familiar with. Usually it's a vole or snowshoe hare. I always figured the kitties liked things that are crunchy on the outside and gooey on the inside.

What was new this morning was the smell. A faint putrescence wafted across the room. My first thought, that the cats had brought home some carrion, would prove to be wrong. Annoyed that my sleep had been disturbed, I kicked John and said "Your stupid cat is eating something stinky. Could you please go take care of it?"

Mind you, I can handle blood and gore and stink just fine. What I don't handle well is having to get out of bed any earlier than absolutely neceessary.

Then I noticed - John's leg wasn't warm. That just doesn't happen. He's always warm, even at forty below. Forgetting about the cats for a moment, I flipped on my reading light, worried about John.

Holy Mary Mother of Frogs. His hands and chest were covered with scratches, but he didn't seem to be very bloody. I checked his ABCs - airway was good, but no breathing, and no circulation. Oh Shit. Now I'm feeling freaked out that he's dead, and that I've been in bed with a dead body.

Hell. Well, I've dressed myself, and updated from the bedroom (thank you wi-fi!). I think I should check and see what's going on in the living room...

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Geek of the Week - Alton Brown

I find geeks attractive. Ask anyone who's known me for a long time, they'll confirm it.

So, my first geek to fawn all over is . . .

Alton Brown.

Food Network personality, cookbook author, motorcycle enthusiast, humorist, Iron Chef judge, and most importantly - GEEK. Food Geek. Science Geek. Sexy Geek.

Oh, did I type that out loud? Well, apparently I'm not the only one to think of Alton that way.

Because I don't like to embed things (I'm ok with you doing it, don't worry), here's a lovely montage of Alton Brown pics set to I'm Too Sexy

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Rise of the undead!

Sorry, I've been busy working at work and at home. So, since Cindy sent me the following meme and some people (rightly) think I need to update my blog, here's a meme leading us up to next Friday, Blog Like It's The End of the World 2008.

When Zombies Attack

You are in a mall when the zombies attack. You have:
1. one weapon.
Unlimited Ammo? I want a grenade launcher. Take those MoFos out, little gobbets of zombie flesh all over Wilson's Leather and Franklin Covey.

2. one song blasting on the speakers.
Because of Cindy and our conversation this evening and in the past - "Pet Semetary" by The Ramones

3. one famous person to fight alongside you.
Hal Jordan aka Green Lantern. Because he's sexy, powerful, and historically hasn't had a problem with assertive women.

Weapon can be real or fictional, you may assume endless ammo if applicable. Person can be real or fictional.

Cindy snagged from ... following back through its origins is a hoot.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Adventures in cluelessness, part 473

My initials are THC. Yeah. They are. I don't really think about it unless someone makes a big deal out of it. But I get really annoyed when I go to use them somewhere and a stoner has beat me to it. And I think about it, roll my eyes, mutter "dorkwads", and get over it. In the big scheme of things, this is pretty damned trivial.

On the other hand, if you're ever in other places online wondering who that thc1972 person is, it's me. I've not partaken of any herbal THC in over 20 years, so I don't think I qualify as a pothead, even if I do live in North Pole. So, I'm not part of the "green" revolution looking to find you.

Yes, this was provoked by my attempting to use my initials earlier this evening. I went to high school with a girl who was LSD. She, she understands my vexation.

Geek and Proud!

It all started with Michelle...

Your Score: The Geek

You scored 43 anxiety, 51 awkwardness, and 59 neuroticism!

You stick out like a sore thumb, with your social awkwardness and mildly neurotic behaviors--but you don't let it get you down! You are The Geek, and are here to prove that people who know the first 1000 digits of pi and try to woo dates by talking about calculators can be happy too! You have friends...and they are probably just as odd as you.

Your low anxiety score implies that you are able to relax, can enjoy the here and now, and have a healthy amount of self-confidence.

Your high awkwardness score implies that you are socially inept, probably stick out from the crowd, and perhaps feel uncomfortable in large groups of people, such as at parties.

Your high neuroticism score implies that you exhibit neurotic behaviors--probably fanatic obsessions, counting compulsions, or other geekish tendencies. You may know every word to LOTR, or draw anime of all your friends.

See the other results!


The Neat Freak

The Dork

The Geek



The Subtle Neurotic

The True Neurotic

Link: The Neurotic Test written by littlelostsnail on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test
View My Profile(littlelostsnail)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Things overheard in the last few days

"Grandma always said to not talk to people who don't listen. Your words are precious and shouldn't be wasted on those who don't value them."

"The look on his face when he realized he'd had an orchidectomy instead of a vasectomy just about made me snort my coffee out my nose from laughing so hard."*

"If you know you're going to die without that candy maybe I should buy you some for now, take out a life insurance policy on you, and then refuse to buy you anymore from here on out"

Heard respectively in the sauna at the gym, the elevator at work, and the candy aisle of the grocery store. It's been an interesting week.

*Nobody lost their testicles by accident. It was part of a dramatization of what can go wrong in patient communications. I wasn't present, but apparently it was a hoot.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The neighbors came to visit this evening

She seemed like a nice single mom with really well behaved twins. They were polite while out back checking out John's camper trailer.

See how they stick together? I think she's got some good parenting skills.

Look at this - Mom making sure both kids get safely across the road, and she's ready to take on the truck coming towards them (and me). Safety first!

Now, on the side of the road, checking out the browse. Mom still keeping on eye on things, like me and the cats. The cats kept growling at the moose. Yeah, sure you can take 'em out kitty. I'll miss you when you're gone.

They're still hanging around the yard, they keep circling the house. I don't want Mom to feel harassed, so I am leaving her alone. She's probably harried enough as it is having twins to take care of. Oh, and the mosquitoes are out. Poor critters.

I can't give you flower pr0n like other people, but I can give you mediocre moose in my yard pictures.

Monday, May 19, 2008


Yes, it warrants all caps. I know that a couple of you are American Idol watchers, and I understand the appeal. But, I have to ask, have you ever checked out the Eurovision competition? It's like American Idol on steroids, with original music. And Europeans, a culture so close and yet so different from vanilla USA.

Please, check it out. You'll be intrigued...

Ok, I mostly watch for the clothes. Musically, I'm rather unsophisticated.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Ia Ia Ia - Friday Fun!

Yay! I can start back up my regular features!

Today I call on all fans of HP Lovecraft and Call of Cthulhu to check out the really cute comic Unspeakable Vault (Of Doom).

One of my favorite people in Fairbanks is an author of the Utatti Asfet: The Eye of Wicked Sight module/guide. Two of the authors host an annual pig roast that is a blast. I usually bring about 10 pounds of mashed potatoes.

To make this almost pop-culturally topical, I suggest that if nothing else you look at today's Indy riff, it is pretty cute.

Ia Ia Ia! Cthulhu f'htagn! (But Tania is wide awake)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Posting from work

Made myself a pretty darn good work-around, I can frolic online outside the firewall.

I'm so happy. And, this will prove useful for work. So I don't even feel bad about it.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Why my laptop is full of cathair

This is my vicious hunter cat. He is 14. He kills snowshoe hares, voles, and shrews. He likes to cuddle. He really likes to cuddle. He gets insistent when he has determined that we need to go to bed. And this is why my laptop is full of cat hair.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Blogs I like (Part ? of a series)

Most of you are familiar with Kate Baker, hostess of, a thoroughly charming place.

And those of you who know of Kate know that she does voice-over work and sings.

Go and listen to her singing. It's great/wonderful/beautiful/worth listening to.

You can download her stuff here.

Monday, May 12, 2008

YESSS! I got a "B"

And you know what they say in grad school - Bs mean degrees.

My grade was posted this afternoon. Hurrah!! I called it "my" graduation not because my name was in the program. Grades for grads are supposed to be submitted in time, but sometimes mistakes happen.

You may now address me as Mistress Tania. I may have to procure myself something like this as a graduation present. I'm not convinced that is the boot I want, but I have plenty of time to get myself a graduation present.

Thank you to everyone with checking in on me. I know I keep saying it, but you guys are great.

Now, we need to go show Saqib some support, he's in grad school too.

Signing off, for the first time as

Tania, BS, MS

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Weekend Re-Cap

Went to the Tanana Valley Farmer's Market. While there bought cakes and chatted with vendors. Saw Dierdre and visited with her, ran into friends, spotted one of them lunch money so she could have falafel. I got a piece of the almond baklava. Yummmmm.

Finished procuring goodies for the spouse for our wedding anniversary.

Dinner at Lavelle's

10 PM showing of Iron Man

Called my grandmother, mom, and MIL
Procured 10 full sheet cakes
Arranged 10 full sheet cakes
Wrangled hordes of faculty and PhD candidates (not my job, but I was there and knew what to do, so I helped out)
Watched my graduation from the sidelines, making one loud interruption for an awesome PhD graduate
Served hundreds of pieces of cake
Drank two Alaskan IPAs
Helped get one 1942 Case DI Tractor unstuck from the mud in my backyard

and now... to bed!!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

I may not always love you, but as long as there are stars above you

14 years. Who'd a thunk it? I've managed to stay married for 14 years. It's not always been easy, and there have been times that walking away would have been the simplest thing to do, but we haven't yet.

So, today Mr. Lowe and I mark 14 years of being married. Our cats are also 14 years old, as of a month or so ago. We've been living in the cabin for 15 years.

John's taking me out to dinner this evening, and I'm taking him to a movie. Because we're wild and crazy people now that we're in our mid-30s.

Happy Anniversary Mr. Lowe. You've been much more understanding and supportive than I would have ever expected, and it's one of the many reasons I love you.

Friday, May 9, 2008

One more pointless thing

Not that any of you need to be reminded of this but I have to say it to someone...

The internet is small place, easily searchable. Be careful what you say about your co-workers in a pseudo-private forum such as, oh, I don't know, Facebook, for example...

I have Scalzi as a "friend" on Facebook. I see who he "friends". A not uncommon name pops up on my feed as a recent Scalzi friend, but I wonder if it's the same guy I know from work. Oh, look it is. Hmm, look at that, he's not working there anymore as of earlier this week. Oh my, look at that, he's been publicly ranting on his Facebook page about his employer, supervisors, and various coworkers. And now he doesn't have a job. Just how stupid does he think people higher up the food chain are? Not as stupid as he is, obviously. Circumspect and discreet? Apparently not. Kinda useful in healthcare.


Tragically, the two times I've interacted with him would not have led me to expect any better behavior.

Oh well. At least you guys now have an example to share of someone managing to cement a bad meatspace impression with the contents of their social networking site.


Yeah, I'm using Rod Stewart song titles now. Yikes. Still waiting on my grades, but I will share as soon as I know.

Yes, my professor's given name is Ming. He's from Taiwan. He plays rugby. He learned to speak colloquial American English by watching Beavis and Butthead. The guy is one of the better instructors I've had, as in he actually works to make sure we're getting the concepts, and has a wicked sense of humor.

He's also looking for a date to the Elton John concert at the end of the month, if anyone is available.

The Farmer's Market opens tomorrow. Yay! Other things are tomorrow too, but I'll save that for a post on the day...

Thursday, May 8, 2008

I'm so tired, tired of waiting, tired of waiting

for my grades to be posted. If I got a 'B' then I am done. Yay!

The presentation was mediocre, the paper not so hot, but I kicked ass on the final exam.

I must be ready for something new. I was seriously looking at jobs in Abu Dhabi and at Pump Station 4. Really.

Once I have my grades I can be reimbursed by my employer for my tuition and textbook costs, which will be nice.

Please Ming, be merciful and post my grade, a grade of 'B'. I want to be done with my program. If I had been a more dutiful and motivated student, I would have applied myself more. We both know that. I assured you that I would never pass myself off as a stats whiz, and you assured me that I should let my employer know you do consulting. That seems fair.

Thank you to everyone for your support. And if any of you will be at graduation on Sunday, I'm not walking, but I'll be there handing out cake at the graduation reception afterwards. One of the joys of being VP of the local alumni association chapter.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Pretty much offline until 8 May 2008

At which time I will know if I am graduating or not. Of course, the graduate I need to get a 'B' in my class, and I've been a slacker, so I need to get my ass in gear.

You guys are the best, and I look forward to much interaction, but not for the next seven days.

Grad school = blech. But blech with a purpose.

Adventures in Cooking - Matzo Ball Soup

Passover/Pesach was recently observed. Being a person without a religion, I like to enjoy the variety of celebrations that religions supply us with. So, this year for Passover I decided to make - Matzo Ball Soup!

I used this recipe from the NY Times

Recipe: Matzo Ball Soup

Time: For broth, 2 hours plus chilling; for matzo balls, 2 hours

1 3-to-4-pound chicken
Kosher salt
4 stalks celery with leaves, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 leeks, chopped and thoroughly rinsed
3 cloves garlic, peeled
4 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
3 sprigs dill
½ teaspoon black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 cup matzo meal
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons schmaltz (rendered seasoned chicken fat, sold at butcher shops) at room temperature
1 tablespoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ cup seltzer

1 carrot, peeled, thinly sliced and blanched until soft
2 tablespoons chopped dill.

1. For broth: Rub chicken inside and out with about 2 tablespoons kosher salt. Allow to stand for 15 minutes, then rinse well under cold water. Place in a large stock pot and add cold water to cover by 3 inches. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Skim off impurities that rise during the first 15 minutes of boiling, then add celery, carrots, onion, leeks, garlic, parsley, dill, peppercorns and bay leaves. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until chicken is cooked, about 45 more minutes.

2. Carefully remove chicken from pot and take meat from bones, reserving meat for another use. Return bones to pot of broth, and simmer for 1 hour more. Strain through a sieve lined with cheesecloth. Cool broth, then refrigerate until fat rises to top and solidifies, at least several hours. Skim off and discard fat.

3. For matzo balls: In a large mixing bowl, combine matzo meal, eggs, schmaltz, kosher salt and baking powder. Mix well. Add seltzer and mix again. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

4. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a simmer. With wet hands, roll out 1-ounce balls (about the size of a walnut). Add balls to water and simmer until tender, light and fluffy in the center, 45 to 60 minutes. (To test centers, insert a toothpick, which should slide easily all the way through.) Drain, allow to cool, and transfer to a flat covered container. Refrigerate until needed.

5. To serve, place broth over medium-low heat. Add matzo balls, blanched carrot slices and chopped dill. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer until matzo balls are thoroughly heated, and serve.

Yield: 10 to 12 servings.

Well, to start off with - have you ever looked for schmaltz in a store in Fairbanks? No luck. I bet the frozen chosen make there own - which is what I did using these instructions.

Here's my bowl of chicken fat, or as I call it "proto-schmaltz".

And here's the chicken in my pan, as I cook it down.

Which, when strained left me with this, my schmaltz.

Whew. Now that we're done with that, let's take a look at what it we did for the soup.

Soup in pot

Well, after we strained the broth and deboned the chicken, that meant it was time for - Chicken Enchiladas!

Ok, back to our real meal! (the enchiladas were yummy)

So, I had the broth chilled, skimmed, strained, and ready to go. Time to make the matzos.

Here's the ingredients, unmixed:

Matzo dough, mixed.

Alrighty. I rolled the dough into balls about 1 inch in diameter, and opted to cook them in the broth, knowing that John would likely devour the soup as soon as I was done.

Matzos right after being placed in the soup

Matzos cooked (look how much they've grown! Notice that John has eaten some of the soup before I could get the picture taken!)

All in all, a success. The matzos were not as dense as I would have liked, and a little salty, but still good. Of course, John thinks they were perfect, probably because they were so full of salt!

The real test - would I make it again? You bet. Even with the chicken enchilada interlude, though next time I might make it chicken mole.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Today on Jeopardy!

Ric, a really nice guy with from Miami
Hilary, a charming lassie from NYC
and Tania, a slightly giddy gal from North Pole.

All I can plead is that my brain got all excited and I messed up. But it was fun.

And now I can sing along with the Weird Al song in a completely sincere manner.

ETA - I'm taller than both the other players. You stand on boxes of various heights to even things out for the cameras and so shrimpy people don't get lost behind the podium. I'm the only person not on a box in the show, because, yes, I am a giant among men and women.... Bwahahahahaha!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Baa Baa Meme Sheep, have you any takers?

Nathan tagged me with a meme, and being a good patient friend (and I loves me a good meme), I've decided to participate, with one exception. I don't tag people on memes. But I really don't mind being tagged, so don't worry about making me cranky if you decide to tag me.

Meme rules:

1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules.
3. Write six things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post by linking to their blog. (not gonna do it)
5. Let them know they’ve been tagged by leaving a comment on their sites. (see comment on end of rule 4)
6. Let your tagger know when your entry is up.

Six unimportant things about me

1. I love makeup. I sometimes think about getting a cosmetology license so I can buy MAC at the Pro stores with the professional discount.
2. I've never seen my MIL naked.
3. I like irises.
4. I match my underwear colors and/or patterns.
5. I can raise one eyebrow like Spock.
6. I can't use a razor with any skills, so I wax. Less blood and scarring.

I seem to have focused on grooming, but that's because I just got out of the shower.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Absence from teh intarweebs

For those of you kind wonderful generous concerned people that have wondered, this is what happened:

1) Final project for stats class, after which I will have my MS. Then you may address me as "Mistress Tania". Note to self - acquire knee high black leather boots to accessorize new degree state. Dig out a riding crop too. Practice being demanding and commanding.

2) Work is nuts

3) Evil network nannyware has blocked my blogger access. I can look but I can't touch. (Please, no comments on OSB here. I made my observation over at Scalzi's place.)

4) I upgraded to AVG 8.0 and the firewall has been giving me grief ever since (I'm still having problems). I spent a few days with a gakked home computer, and lobotomized network access at work. Grr.

I have a work-around planned for #3, but I won't be implementing it for a few weeks. I miss you all

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Sophie From Shinola - Part 32 (?)

"Sophie, dear, are you still blended?"

"Yes, we are. Who are you?"

“I’m the designer”

“Not the Narrator?”

“No, the Narrator is Tim, Mr. Pratt to you. You may call me Dave.”

“As long as we don’t call you late to dinner?”

“Ha ha. You think you’re awfully clever, don’t you? Don’t call me Al.”

Actually, Sophie/Not-Sophie/Raven/Blink was one of the cleverest entities currently existing in the multiverse, able to intersect across the planes and interact through space time. Sophie/Not-Sophie/Raven/Blink was bored with chit-chat from yet another disembodied voice, and part of her wondered if maybe the real Sophie was the one receiving treatment for severe paranoid schizophrenia.

“Well, what do you want from us? Everyone seems to think we can do something, but when we just about are ready to make a move, the ground shifts from under us. If you’re so powerful, why don’t you just take care of the problem?”

“I wish it were that easy. I can’t tap into the energy of the multiverse the way your linked selves can. I knew of the possibility, but I was not able to do it myself. I am a coach, and you, my dears, are my star athlete.”

As the designer continued, he explained to Sophie/Not-Sophie/Raven/Blink that the disorientation and confusion they were feeling was a sign of the imminent disintegration of all space and time. As the designer described his plan, Sophie/Not-Sophie/Raven/Blink shuddered as it felt another fluctuation through the meta-temporal continuum. Now it knew that the ripples would escalate, becoming waves that would eventually tear a rift in the fabrics of the universes, creating a cascade of destruction culminating in the dissolution of all matter.

This struggle against entropy and chaos was the purpose for which they had been created, each with their individual strengths and abilities, creating a whole greater than the sum of its parts. The designer had carefully manipulated events to bring these beings together. Their ability to manipulate matter and draw on the ambient energies of the multiverse while interacting across the possibilities meant that Sophie/Not-Sophie/Raven/Blink truly was the only one who could save mankind from the absolute destruction that the Tregethans would unleash. The short-sighted Tregethans didn’t realize that their actions would destroy themselves as well as the pesky beryllium miners.

“Sophie/Not-Sophie/Raven/Blink – will you reach across the possibilities and retrieve Vogon poetry? It may be the only effective weapon we can use to stop the Tregethans.”

“We’re afraid we can’t do that, Dave. Vogon poetry is vile. There must be a better way”

“Dammit, I created you for this purpose; you will do as I direct.”

“Not while we’re alive.”

“No, you’re not. You’ll be stone dead in a moment.”

“We’re not dead yet.”

“Sophie/Not-Sophie/Raven/Blink, it’s time to die. But you have to choose, just them, or us and them?”

The mélange of Sophie/Not-Sophie/Raven/Blink knew the time of decision was here, and knew that they must not fear.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Friday Fun - Topical, Perhaps Inappropriate

Who doesn't love inappropriate humor?

Well, a girl from Fairbanks is Miss Alaska this year, and the Miss USA pageant is playing on the telly. I picked this earlier today, but had to wait until I got home so I could look it up. In honor of the Miss USA competition I give you:

Julie Brown's Classics

The Homecoming Queen's Got A Gun.

'Cause I'm a Blonde

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Sitka - Probably a nice town to be from

and move back to. However, I'm a believer in the "get out and see the world" movement.

Sitka is beautiful, the people are charming, and I am reminded again of why I hate traveling. If I could afford it, I think living here would be neat.

The other side of traveling...

TSA, Security Theatre, and All That Jazz. As we all know, a fucking joke. However, as I'm typing this from the lobby of the Sitka Airport, so I should probably keep my vitriol to a minimum. I'm probably most annoyed because the guy confiscated my favorite lip gloss from my pocket debris. This is the first time I've had only one makeup item with me, and I didn't have a bag. The Fairbanks TSA guys passed it on through. HAH!! What they don't know is that I just remembered - I have a lip stain in my bag. That's right. I'm going to do something scary with my lip stain, like layer it on so many times I look like something out of What ever happened to Baby Jane. Yup, I can't have my lipgloss, but I've got a lighter in my purse. No spreading cheer through soft glossy lips, but I can set shit on fire if I want. Good thing I don't want to do anything other than use my lip gloss.

Wah wah wah. At least it looks like the weather will cooperate and I can get home tonight. Hurrah! Of course, I get into the airport at 1 AM, home by about 1:30 AM, and I need to be at work at 7 AM. Urgh.

And hey, did you know that searching on the phrase "lipstick abuse in the cinema" doesn't help you out very much when you're trying to remember movies with scary lipstick? You didn't? Well, now you do! Always glad to help.