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.