Friday, September 25, 2009

Counter-culture temper tantrum

Seeing those quote-unquote "anarchists" breaking store windows and blocking streets in Pittsburgh has got me mad. Why? Because for one thing, they cover their faces -- real revolutionaries put their lives, fortunes and sacred honor on the line for everyone to see. For another thing, they'll all wake up tomorrow in the same bed they go to sleep in tonight. I wrote about this a few years ago in my college column/other blog, and I still hold to it. You wanna really fight opression, go wear pants in Sudan. Then come talk to me about how brave you are. Otherwise, I just don't wanna hear it.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Go earn your nerd cred for the day.

Via Tam, your daily dose of why history is the way it is and how we got there (hint: It all comes down to money).

Once a year we celebrate/with stupid hats and plastic plates ...

Today is my birthday, which is fun, although I'm now officially closer to 30 than 20. Most women my age get a little freaked out by that, but I'm actually glad about it. You see, Saturday is also my birthday: It's the two-year anniversary of when I kicked cancer in the knee and told it to shut up and go make me a sandwich, I'm too busy for that bullcrap. And you know what? Yeah. I am too busy. It's a beautiful day and I've got a lot more living to do. I've got restaurants to go to and novels to write and friends to hang out with and a cat who depends on me, mostly. I've got a bag full of fudge cookies that I brought to work to share, and a good 40 pounds that I'm no longer lugging around on my hips and stomach. I've got a family who loves me and a God who's got my back. I've got a job -- it sucks, but it's a job. I've got a healthy body and some cool scars that will make for a good conversation starter come bikini season. I've got a damn lot of life to be thankful for. So here's to getting older. Twenty-six seems like a good start. The next 80 years should be interesting.

L'chaim!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

My life is a crap sandwich, followed by a Dilbert sundae

Between the sales people who don't know what the Sam Hill they're doing ...

... and spending all day identifying people's mistakes, but not having the authority to fix them ...

... but still catching flak if they don't get fixed ...

... and "Here's who to e-mail for X problem -- but don't e-mail her, because she'll get overwhelmed!" ...

... and listening to my coworkers constantly clearing their throats instead of just getting a flippin' drink of water already (it's a pet peeve, I'm sorry, but it drives me nuts) ...

... and the neurotic manager who almost had a breakdown in a meeting last week arguing over what "48 hours" meant in business-speak ...

... and the fact that we were supposed to have a detailed list of procedures this morning, and so far it's MIA ...

... I'm about ready to strangle someone.

Plus upper management canceled the pitch-in. The beatings will continue until morale improves ...

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sunday Night Recipe: Sweet Raisin Bread

This week's recipe is the bread eaten to celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year and the start of the High Holy Days. It's a time of reflection, repentance and atonement, both with God and with one's fellow mortals, but it's also a time of sweetness and celebration. This bread is served at the celebration feast, and it's unusual sweetness reminds us that the next 10 days are to be set apart from the rest of the year.

Sweet Raisin Bread

In a large bowl, mix

4 c. white flour
1/2 c. white sugar
1/2 T. kosher salt
1 T. yeast

Add
1 c. water
1/4 c. olive oil

heated to 130 degrees, and

1 egg + 1 egg white

Mix (set aside the yolk from the second egg) and work flour into the dough until it holds together enough to turn out and knead. Work on a floured surface until mostly not sticky, then fold in

1/2 c. raisins, plumped in hot water

and knead until stretchy. Cover and let rest. After 10 minutes, cut off 1/3 of the dough and set aside. Cut the remaining dough into three equal pieces, roll the pieces into 1" ropes and braid, wrapping the braid into a spiral. Cut the remaining dough into thirds and repeat for a smaller braid, shaped in a ring. Let the spiral and ring rise in a warm place for 45 minutes, then make an egg wash with the yolk and use it to glue the ring to the top of the spiral to make a crown. Coat the loaf with the egg wash for a glossy crust, and back in a 9" round pan at 375 degrees for 35-45 minutes (loaf should be dark and will sound hollow when rapped with the knuckles). Turn out and cool on a wire rack. Serve warm with honey. L'ashanah tovah!

Thanks, I think?

Shermlock has some interesting thoughts on the dining habits of certain barbarian dictator types throughout history, including thoughts on how to test the phenomenon at the blogmeet. Apparently, I'm his accomplice -- can't imagine where he got the idea. Too bad I can't make it 'til next week ...

Friday, September 18, 2009

Snerk.

Okay, when I read this, almost spit my coffee over my monitor. "Everything you touch is turning to Biden" is my new favorite euphemism. My life is a Biden sandwich!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Update II

There was no recipe this past Sunday because I'd spent the previous two days tromping all over our nation's capitol, gawking at monuments and spending my food budget on taxis. (We lived on granola, jerky and cookies from Saturday morning until we were back in Indianapolis Sunday afternoon. It was awesome. Thankfully, my parents took the three of us straight to Cracker Barrel. Omg biscuits nom nom nom.) Anyway, next Sunday's recipe will have a holiday theme, on account of Rosh Hashanah is this weekend and it's a seriously big deal. I suppose for Yom Kippur I should skip the whole recipe thing ... :-P

The 9/12 March on Washington

So ... I was there on Saturday. I ended up about 40 yards from the stage, maybe 100 yards from the Capitol building itself. The crowd stretched for more than a mile behind me, back past the Washington Monument and into the space behind it. The side streets, including Pennsylvania Avenue, were packed too, I'd say probably a good half mile in every direction. It was that huge.

The mood was incredible. Nobody was naked, nobody was high, nobody was really all that angry -- sure, we were all steamed, but it was a positive anger, not the kind that smashes windows. We were there to roll up our sleeves and get something constructive done. I was there with my sister and her friend, and people kept stopping us to thank us for coming. They'd grab our arms and tell us to bring more young people to the next march, pleading with us to save our generation from Obama's "Look at the shiny jingling keys" tactics. We promised to do our best.

We gathered at Freedom Plaza, towards the west end of Pennsylvania Avenue, at about 9:30 a.m. It was already packed. We'd seen people on the sidewalks since the moment we woke up. We all had appropriate t-shirts: My sister's friend's (MSF) shirt said "Protected by Second Amendment Security." Mine said "In Canada, I'd be dead." My sister's said simply "I am in NO MOOD!" Sis also had a small Gadsden flag, which was awesome. People started moving not too long after we got there, and we covered Pennsylvania in less than an hour. We also got separated after two of us made a brief trip to the port-a-johns, but (amazingly) we got through the crowd and found each other again. Thank God for cell phones.

The crowd was massive; there's just no other word for it. Anyone who says it was less than 800,000 or 900,000 is sadly mistaken, and I have no problem with 1.5 million as the upper bound. I would put up pics, but the USB cable for my camera is in a box in storage. My sister said she would e-mail me some that she took, but she also got hit by a car yesterday and is in less than peak condition. (Nothing's broken or anything, but she is stiff and sore and generally down about it. Prayers are appreciated.) Anyway, like I said: A massive, well-behaved crowd, great speakers -- Mike Pence was there - w00t! - and a bunch of other big and small names, including a Polish freedom fighter who was captured and tortured by the Gestapo when he was 14 and later came here to be an architect. The final speaker, his was the most heartfelt applause, including at least once when he had to stop and wait for close to a minute for the cheering and clapping to die down. His final lines: "Many people have asked why we fought, when we were so young and life is so precious. The answer is simple: Freedom!"

I really can't add more to it than that. More descriptions to come as I filter through things, and pics will be posted as soon as I get them.

I was there!

Monday, September 07, 2009

Sunday Night Recipe: Not Soup

I threw this together the night I decided I was going to move (all the while thinking "I'm cooking a large dish that will need to be stored days before I move out. This is my life."). I didn't have much of a choice because I'd already soaked the beans. The recipe's name comes from when I showed it to my sister; I thought it was soup, but she looked at it, looked at me and said "That's not soup. That's beans." So, Not Soup.

Not Soup

Prep: Sort 1 lb. great northern beans, placing them in a large bowl and covering them with water. Let it sit for at least eight hours; overnight is best, 24 hours is better. Drain and rinse and set aside.

Cooking: In a large pot, brown 1 lb. ground beef, 1 c. chopped white onion and 1-2 cloves garlic. Add the beans, two cans low-sodium chicken broth and whatever else you've got on hand that sounds good (it's a stone soup). I used some tomatoes that had been home-canned with jalepenos, which made for a spicy chili-type flavor. I also added thyme, oregano and salt (the salt came at the end). Add water (enough to cover the other ingredients) and bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for at least 2 hours. Depending on how much water you use, you'll either have hearty soup or brothy beans. I came out with the later. It's very tasty, freezes well and makes for a good hot lunch at work. Enjoy!

Friday, September 04, 2009

Heads up, here it comes ...

Just a quick note to let you all know that blogging may be light the next few days and/or next week, mostly because I'll be moving all my stuff out of my apartment and into storage this weekend to prepare for a move. I finally decided that my current rent was unsustainable, and I had an offer of a much, much cheaper place (friend of the family has a mother-in-law apartment), so I'm going to be taking it. The downside is that I can't move in there until October, so I'll be transient in the meantime. I'm really quite settled about the whole thing; I've got plenty of options and I've certainly lived out of a suitcase before. I'm really certain that this is what God wants for me, so when the pieces line up the way they have this week I'd be a fool not to take it. Watch this space for updates! Off I go!

UPDATE: It looks like I'll be bunking with my parents for the duration (see comments). Most of my stuff is going to go into storage, which is the real trick; I'm going to be doing all the moving over the three-day weekend. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Sometimes being stuck with family isn't such a bad thing ...

Just a quick note to point out that I've added my aunt's blog to my follow list, and also that this post about my uncle (my dad's older brother) is a pretty special one. Yeah, I'm bragging. That's what family is there for. I just wish they didn't live so far away.