Archive for April, 2008

#947

11:20 am, Friday, April 25th, 2008

Yet more progress on the house: The HVAC stuff has been installed, a bunch of wiring has been run (phone, coax, CAT5), the breaker box is in, the water lines are pressurized, and the roof has been shingled. It’s all in the Flickr set of course, but here’s a sample:

Roof shingled, compressor/condenser installed

Food stuff from the past couple days: We made a big salad for Top Chef night (AKA Wednesday). Made our own croutons and bacon-bits, ran some super-hard parmesan through the new microplane grater. It was very good.

Salad with cottage cheese

I bought a silicone muffin tin at Ace Hardware, so Thursday morning I made lemon poppyseed muffins. The first batch was extra large and had blueberries in ‘em. The second batch were mini-muffins sans berries. They were quite tasty. Some things I learned: You do have to grease the tin, even if it’s silicone, and any batter smears will turn into acrid, carbonized flakes (I’ll use a redneck pastry bag to fill next time instead of a spoon).

Big blueberry muffins    Mini lemon poppyseed muffins

For lunch yesterday Brett and I went to the Mongolian Barbecue Express in Moscow. It was good (and reasonably priced), but some of my zuchinni and onions came out a little undercooked. For dinner we ordered Papa John’s, which we hadn’t done in ages. I’d forgotten how good their buffalo wings are.

Have you seen the early Eee PC 900 reviews? I’m drooling over it.

Here’s a neat blog post about unusual aquatic creatures (with lots of pictures).

And a funny exchange from our ongoing MeFiNo game:

Also, why does gerryblog hate me and exclude me from his list? Absolutely outrageous.
Submitted by 1 on Wed, 04/23/2008 – 16:51.#

1: Well, the official reason is that you were a suspended player for having missed a previous vote. But the secret reason is that I *do* hate you, and always have…
Submitted by gerryblog on Wed, 04/23/2008 – 18:08.#

Have you heard Jonathan Coulton’s Baby Got Back cover? (Here’s the 9.43 MB MP3 if you wanna download it. That’s Creative Commons/Attribution-Noncommercial licensed BTW, so it’s okay for me to host it.) Hanwool and I are huge fans. I happened to hear it on Gabe’s April 18th Penny Arcade TV episode.

You know what else is pretty good? The Flobots’ Handlebars.

Hey, here are some pics of Hanwool at his sailing class.

Okay, I gotta go. I’m driving to the Tri-Cities as soon as I shower and pack.

#946

11:07 am, Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008

I’m back from working at the Lewiston dog show. It was worse than last year on account of the cold and snow. Snow in April! Ridiculous. Anyway, Mr. Damberg is a good boss; we got free lunch every day at noon, hot chocolate or coffee at ten, and he reimbursed me for all my gas expenses. A couple pics:

Snow at the Lewiston dog show    Lewiston, ID city lights panorama

The first one is of the snow we got, the second is a panorama I took from the scenic overlook at 4:50 AM on the 21st with an extended exposure.

News on the house: They got the roof on! The skylight’s even in place. Looks like they’re going to be tarpapering and shingling soon. I think all the plumbing hookups are in place now too. Everything’s in the Flickr set, but here’re a couple highlights:

Back of house with roof    Plumbing in master bath

This Killbots picture by darkpony is pretty awesome (and CC-licensed!):

Killbots Want Peace Too

I figured out the name of those almond/granola bars I liked so much (cf. #938) — Nature Valley Sweet & Salty Nut Granola Bars, Almond. And Amazon has 7.8 lbs. of ‘em for $33 with free shipping (if you use super saver). Keen. Mine’ll be here on the 28th.

Some YouTubery I’ve enjoyed lately:

Your word of the day is: Callipygian. Try to use it at least once in conversation.

I’m going to shower and get some Subway.

#945

11:12 pm, Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

I had Subway for lunch today. I’ve been taking advantage of their “$5 Footlongs” deal a lot lately. Sweet onion chicken teriyaki with lettuce, spinach, cucumber, and black pepper. Yum. The Pullman Subway is especially awesome cuz it has Vault in the soda fountain. Only downside is that there’s always a line, even at 10 pm on a weeknight.

Subway sweet onion chicken teriyaki sandwich with Cheetos

Also, filed my taxes today (yes, I’m even lazier than Peter). I had to track down my 1098-T form at French Ad and register with Franklin Templeton to get their 1099-DIV. The other 1099-DIV and 1099-INT actually made it through the mail successfully. Much math and quadruple-checking ensued. A spreadsheet was created. I figured out my bottom line (well, my seventh-to-last line) with both the “tuition and fees deduction” (8917) and “lifetime learning credit” (8863) — the 8917 was worth a whopping $600 more.

2007 Tax Return

Check out the 6×9″ clasp envelope. Pretty snazzy, right? It required an additional 17¢ in postage, but the forms look so much cleaner when they’re folded in half instead of thirds. Totally worth it. BTW, did you know the tuition and fees deduction will cease to exist in tax year 2008?

Brett got a bunch of these pastilles from Amazon. I’m wild about the rose-flavored ones. The others aren’t so great — the violet tastes like strong old lady perfume and the orange blossom tastes like musty tea bags.

I had to buy a ream of paper at ShopKo so I could run off those PDFs. While I was there, I got a file box and 100 folders (with three tab positions!). Spent a couple hours sorting out the (poorly managed) contents of my falling-apart accordion file and piles of envelopes whilst listening to string quartet renditions of Panic at the Disco songs. Good times. All my (post-November 2005) paperwork is in perfect order now.

Time for bed. I’m working parking at the Lewiston dog show this weekend (like last year), so I need to adjust to waking up at 4:30 am.

#944

2:13 am, Monday, April 14th, 2008

I expelled some tonsilloliths today. Very gross. Lots of gagging and phlegm. I hate my tonsils; they have too many crypts (more than normal, I think) and I blame them for the three strep throat infections I’ve had (dunno if that’s accurate, but I do). I took a picture ’cause objects that come out of your head tend to be interesting in spite of their nastiness.

Tonsilloliths from my tonsils

Okay, now I have some food pics… What? Still skeeved out by my tonsil stones? Pff, baby. Alright, I’ll talk about some other stuff for a minute.

The construction of my house on Oliver Drive seems to be going well. There’s, like, a sliding glass door in the back now. And the tub and shower units have been delivered to the site. Just check out that bay window. Pretty sweet, right?

Tub and shower units in garage    Back of house, bay window

Lots more high-res house porn in the Flickr set.

Have you ever wanted to know what the number one song was the day you were born? Now you can with Josh Hosler’s #1 Song on This Date in History! (Thanks, MeFi.) For me and Brett (our birthdays are really close), it’s Eye of the Tiger by Survivor. For my sister, it’s Madonna’s Like a Virgin. (Haha, mine’s better.)

This is kind of embarrassing, but I bought a pair of Crocs a couple weeks ago. See, there was this Slickdeals deal for a $10 discount and free shipping and 10% off for new customers and 10% cashback via FatWallet (phew!) and my Birkenstock sandals had finally fallen apart completely. I love my FiveFingers, but I need something I can slip on fast in the mornings when I take Looker out. (She’s 14 and her bowel control isn’t what it used to be. She has to be up the stairs and on the grass within 45 seconds of waking up.)

Anyway, the model I got (the Cayman in sage) is great. Very comfortable, so long as your feet are dry when you put them on. The weather was so amazing today (above 60° for the first time in forever!) that I took a walk around the neighborhood — 1.3 miles according to Google Earth’s Ruler(Path) — and the shoes (sandals? clogs?) held up really well. No chafing or pinching like you might expect with rubber footwear. The bumpy texture of the insole is weirdly pleasant.

Okay, food. We made chicken salad sandwiches last night. The Safeway had been mauled (probably because it’s WSU’s “Mom’s Weekend”) and there weren’t any rotisserie chickens left so we made do with the cold, fried stuff (we didn’t want to cook anything). The red seedless grapes had been wiped out too so we went with black seedless. They were okay; didn’t quite have the same crispness. The sandwiches were good, but a bit richer than usual. Later on I made brownies with this recipe. I was pleased with ‘em; perfect levels of chocolatiness and moisture, but not quite as chewy as I wanted. Pics:

Chicken salad sandwich    Brownie closeup

FFT:WotL update: Level 49 ninja now; the summoner class is awesome. The Limberry assassins slaughtered me the first time I went up against them, so I’m trying to level up my support characters before I go back there. I’ve found a strategy that works pretty well for building JP after you’ve exhausted your Errands options: Equip two characters with the Fundaments skillset, go to Mandalia Plain, kill all but one monster, then just sit there and use Focus over and over again while the chocobo with 30 HP left ineffectively pecks at your tough fighter types. (It helps to disable your Counter abilities.) If you have an Orator, use Mimic Darlavon to put the last monster to sleep.

Alright, that’s all for now. Gonna check the MeFiNo Drupal and hit the hay.

#943

11:41 pm, Friday, April 11th, 2008

There’s been tons of progress on the house. In less than two days it went from bare foundation to floors, walls, some siding, and windows. New photos are at the end of the Flickr set.

Yesterday Brett and I went to Tokyo Seoul for sushi. Actually, I’m not totally sure they’re called Tokyo Seoul anymore… the menu covers say Blue Sun Cafe, but I think that was the name of the previous restaurant to occupy that building. Anyway, it was extremely good. They’d added a lot of new things to their menu since we last ate there, like “white maguro” (a euphemism for escolar, my favorite variety of fish for nigiri). Some pics:

Sushi Boat at Blue Sun Cafe    Sushi closeup - escolar, salmon

You can’t quite tell from the photos, but the thing they served the nigiri on was a big wooden boat. The red snapper was kinda meh, but the escolar, yellowtail, and sweet shrimp were fantastic. We also had caterpillar and “super tempura” rolls. Oh, and James the chef sent over complimentary edamame and deep-fried shrimp heads.

BTW I forgot I’d been saving up these food pics from February when I wasn’t blogging much:

Pistachio-crust salmon with white asparagus    Lasagna with shallots    Pork cabbage casserole

Big club sandwich

Left to right: Salmon with pistachio-dill crust and white asparagus; lasagna with shallots; pork sausage and cabbage casserole with mozzarella, white asparagus, and onions; big club sandwich (ham, roast beef, sundried tomato spread, lettuce, bacon, provolone, havarti).

I’m glad the NBC Thursday night lineup is back. Earl‘s gotten kinda blah and Scrubs has been less than great for a while now, but I’m loving Office and 30 Rock. Best line last night: “Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate! Aaaack!” Is there any clichéd dialogue Tina Fey can’t sell?

Still playing Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions. My main character’s a level 38 ninja and I’m in chapter IV. I’m thinking about changing my black mage into a time mage after I pick up the death spell (Blizzaja has been pretty sweet). Only bad thing with that is that he’s a really good chemist and I’m afraid I’ll need two guys throwing X-potions and phoenix downs in later battles.

Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions party roster

How awesome is it that Zoi got kicked off Top Chef? Good riddance.

#942

12:03 am, Wednesday, April 9th, 2008

Let’s start with some TotD:

Break down your favorite song.

Okay, I’m not sure what this means but I think I’m supposed to explain the lyrics. I’ll use the Barenaked Ladies’ Everything Had Changed — I doubt that it’s my all-time favorite, but I’m pretty fond of it this week and it’s a little clearer than the others that came to mind (Movin’ Out and Transylvania).

There are a bunch of ways you could interpret the song’s lyrics, but here’s my take: The protagonist is thinking about all the failed relationships in his life and (early on) dreading the imminent collapse of his current one. Externally, he’s shrugged off these break-ups (“kept my head down and moved on,” “hopeful things I’ve said”) but he actually spends a lot of time silently mourning the losses (“I’ve lived my life inside my head”). He doesn’t hate the people with whom he’s had falling-outs and he accepts what’s happened (“I wish you well / divergent journeys”), but he’s distressed by the situations in which he keeps finding himself (“I hate it now; hated it then / I’ve seen it all before”).

Eventually, his relationship miscarries and he blames himself, as he has for all his past failures; he thinks the problem is that he doesn’t open up to people (“promise never to give too much of myself”). While contemplating what went wrong (“as I survey the ashes of the damage that I’ve done”), he reflects on how his experience really isn’t unique: Everyone messes up relationships by not expressing important feelings (“everyone … is just as closed off and alone”).

The moral of the story, though it goes unsaid in the song, is that we should have the courage to say what needs to be said — embarrassment, shyness, and pride be damned. If you don’t, you’ll drive away loved ones and only hurt yourself.

Yikes, really close to the deadline here — better post this.

Edit: This was not the funnest way to discover my computer’s clock is six minutes slow. I’m out.