Friday, October 30, 2009

No thanks, I'll just die.

Sometimes I think "homespun remedy" is code for "just kills you quicker to get you out of the way".

So I said, "Hey, Mom, what's with all the sauerkraut?"*

Okay so remember the post I did a few days ago about the upcoming Copenhagen Climate Treaty? Had a link to a video of a Very British Gentleman explaining the treaty's true intent: To create, basically, a global government that makes everything fair, dammit. And by "fair", of course, they mean that everyone will be poor and miserable equally. (Everyone except them, of course -- someone's got to be rewarded for running things.) It's one of those things that when you try to explain it, you think to yourself "I sound like a crackpot" -- and yet, when you look at the actual words coming out of the organizers' actual mouths, it's much, much worse than that:

Alarmist of the Year Tim Flannery, on yet another gassy overseas junket, suggests this is indeed the intention - and his most fervent hope for these talks: "We think of them as being concerned with some sort of environmental treaty. That is far from the case. The negotiations now ongoing toward the Copenhagen agreement are in effect diplomacy at the most profound global level. They deal with every aspect of our life and they will infuence every aspect of our life, our economy, our society."
[Slightly reformatted from the original article, but the content is the same.] Yes, that says exactly what you think it says. It says exactly what anyone with third-grade reading comprehension can tell you it says. It says that someone -- three guesses who -- will decide what is good and what is bad for everything from light bulbs to groceries to the thread count of your sheets. And of course, eventually, all these decisions will have to be enforced, not with jackboots and batons but with microsanctions and controlled supply. At least, that's how it'll be at first. From Mark Steyn:
"The environment" is the most ingenious cover story for Big Government ever devised. You float a rumour that George W. Bush is checking up on what library books you’re reading, and everyone goes bananas. But announce that a government monitoring device has been placed in every citizen’s trash can in the cause of "saving the planet," and the world loves you.
[...]
Consider a recent British plan for each citizen to be given an official travel allowance. If you take one flight a year, you’ll pay just the standard amount of tax on the journey. But, if you travel more frequently, if you take a second or third flight, you’ll be subject to additional levies—all in the interest of saving the planet for Al Gore’s polar bear documentaries and that carbon-offset palace he lives in in Tennessee. The Soviets restricted freedom of movement through the bureaucratic apparatus of "exit visas." The British favoured the bureaucratic apparatus of exit taxes: the movement’s still free; it’s just that there’ll be a government processing fee of £412.95. And, in a revealing glimpse of the universal belief in enviro-statism, this proposal came not from Gordon Brown’s Labour Party but from the allegedly Conservative Party.

At their Monday night poker game in hell, I’ll bet Stalin, Hitler and Mao are kicking themselves: "‘It’s about leaving a better planet to our children?’ Why didn’t I think of that?" This is Two-Ply Totalitarianism—no jackboots, no goose steps, just soft and gentle all the way. Nevertheless, occasionally the mask drops and the totalitarian underpinnings become explicit. Take Elizabeth May’s latest promotional poster: "Your parents f*cked up the planet. It’s time to do something about it. Live Green. Vote Green." As Saskatchewan blogger Kate McMillan pointed out, the tactic of "convincing youth to reject their parents in favour of The Party" is a time-honoured tradition.
You thought the Cap-and-Trade bill is bad? Brother, you have no idea. It's all from the same place -- "the vision of the annointed," as Thomas Sowell puts it -- and it relies not on force but on coercion, on destruction of choice and on removal of other options. You won't get a choice about which light bulbs to buy or how to heat your house. You'll take what you get and you'll be grateful for it. After all, if some kid in Siberia doesn't have access to a space heater, why should you?

I once read a movie review where the reviewer's questions re: plot holes and improbable action sequences were answered with a hypothetical "Shut up and eat your awesome." In context, it was really funny. (There were ninjas.) But more and more, I get the feeling that questions about this Copenhagen business (which, if you think about it, is just Cap-and-Trade writ global) will be met with a not-at-all hypothetical "Shut up and eat your carbon credits." Awesome will have been banned as too great a carbon producer.


*It's a Weird Al reference. Look it up.

Oh, sweet cake ... your world has opened up to me.

So thanks to a commenter at Ace of Spades, I've just learned that real Red Velvet Cake contains precisely no food coloring, instead relying on chemical reactions with the cocoa and occasionally some beet juice.

This is huge.

Red Dye #40 is one of the many banes of my existence, food-wise. Serving as a trigger to my ADHD symptoms, it affects my behavior and concentration even in small quantities. If I eat, say, a whole package of Twizzlers, the effect is similar to alcohol intoxication. There have been times I refused to drive because of something I ate. This happens with any food coloring (and with some fruits and vegetables), but RD40 is by far the worst. Hence, my avoidance of red velvet cake: Buy one in a store or at a restaurant and you can tell that ain't no natural red. I saw Paula Deen make one once on the TeeVee box, and she put an entire bottle of the stuff in it. The batter looked like house paint, I kid you not. This always made me sad, because everyone always says it's a really tasty cake, and I was interested to try it. And now I can! All I have to do it track down an old recipe (I have a paperback boxed set of Joy of Cooking; shouldn't be too hard) and try it out. Yay!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Final NaNo Jitters ... ooh, jittery.

Okay so I made a few more minor tweaks to my NaNo outline when I got home tonight. It's those last few polishing touches before game time that really make the difference, I think.

Yeah I'm totally freaking out.

It's gonna be awesome.

(Starts Nov. 2 at noon!)

I'm bored, Jerry. B-O-R-D bored.

I'm out of things to do at work today. On the upside, I got a kudos for a report I worked myself that came out 100 percent, and on schedule (which was a nice change from Tuesday's kerfuffle). On the downside, I don't get a new batch of work until Monday. NaNoWriMo doesn't start until Saturday night/Sunday morning (yes I will be staying up so I can start at midnight), but I've got my prep work done and I want to let it settle before I start writing. I haven't touched it since yesterday when I left work, and I'm not going to touch it until I print off the hard copies Saturday afternoon. Hence, I'm stuck here for another 2+ hours with naught-all to do and not much to keep me occupied, news-happenings-wise. I think I may have to start an office supply war. Quick, where are the rubber bands?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

So ... ouch.

Yesterday I took a walk at lunch and had to run part of the way back to clock in on time. In most respects it was awesome, namely that I didn't get winded after just a few seconds the way I did when I was fat. Cardio-wise, I think I could probably get into running.

The bad part was that I think I did something to my ankle, namely where I snapped of the tip of the tibia a fistful of times in the past few years. I didn't roll my ankle, I was just in shoes with no cushioning. It's been twenty-four hours and it still hurts to put weight on it. I'm beginning to get concerned.

In other news, when did this blog turn into such a whinefest? I need to get out more.

UPDATE: Ankle seems fine today. I think it just needed a day to recover. Yay!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Just a thought, here ...

If I spend a week getting ping-ponged back and forth between two people because neither of them wants to take the time to give me a straight answer, and if I even involve their manager and I still can't get a straight answer, and it gets to the point where I'm getting yelled at because I can't give my boss an answer, and I finally send an e-mail that says, in essence, "I don't care who answers me, I just need an answer" and then even that response is unclear, so I send another e-mail saying "I just need a yes or no" and then I finally get an answer, and lo and behold it's just in the absolute nick of time, DO NOT come to my desk with a printout and tell me I could have worded things better!

I have never in my life run to the restroom crying because of something at work, but whaddya know? There's a first freakin' time for everything.

Monday, October 26, 2009

NaNoWriMo!

Hurrah, it's almost National Novel Writing Month! Which means that, starting next Sunday, I will deliberatly give myself carpal tunnel in an attempt to meet someone else's arbitrary deadline. How this differs from work, I have yet to determine. But nevertheless, I soldier on! And lo! This year, I foist my work on the rest of you. It's more to keep myself on schedule than anything, but it's also an experiment in reader feedback and dealing with the crippling anxiety that comes with presenting any unvarnished work to the general public. I don't aspire to literary greatness; I just want to make my living doing this. This seems like as good a first step as any. I mean, 50,000 words in 30 days? I can totally swing that. I just have to cut unnecessary things out of my schedule. Like eating.

The prologue posts at noon, Nov. 2; Chapter One at 4 p.m. the same day. The little NaNo badge in the sidebar will take you right to it. I hope you enjoy it.

(Hey, if Bobbi can do it ... )

A flea and a fly flew up the flue

Apparently the child of a coworker has H1N1.

Apparently, I don't care.

I have several reasons for not caring: 1) I have the immune system of a horse, prone only to ear infections (and that has more to do with the shape of my ear canal than anything). 2) While H1N1 is very contagious, it is not very virulent. If you're not already sick with pneumonia or cholera or something, chances are you'll just have a very unpleasant week to 10 days. You will not die within three hours, buboes protruding from your armpits. (You'll probably want to die, but that's a different thing.) 3) I've never bothered with a flu shot before, and I don't plan on getting one this year, H1N1 or otherwise. If someone tries to make me get one, I will go all krav maga on their ass. (This is not a statement on the vaccines themselves. It is a statement on personal sovereignity and bodily integrity.) 4) If the powers that be say the water's safe, watch to see if they drink it themselves before you bathe in it.

My coworkers, on the other hand, are freaking out about it. It's an excellent illustration on the use of media as a manipulative tool.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sunday Night Recipe: Baked Spaghetti

Threw this one together on a whim for dinner last Friday. Honestly, the coolest part was baking it in the 50-plus-year-old pink and white Pyrex dish that my grandmother got when she was just married. Oh, and it turned out pretty tasty, too.

Baked Spaghetti

1/2 pound spaghetti
1 can tomato paste
1 can mushrooms
1 c. chopped green pepper
1 clove garlic
1/2 T. oregano
1 t. thyme
1 1/2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
1 package turkey pepperoni
1/4 c. parm/rom/asiago blend
crushed red pepper

Put the spaghetti on to cook. While the water boils, mix the tomato paste with water until you reach the desired consistency. Add mushrooms, green peppers and herbs and cook until the spaghetti is done (cook a little past al dente; it'll dry out some in the oven). Fill a buttered, 10-inch glass baking dish with the spaghetti, then top with the sauce and mozzarella cheese (make sure they reach to the edge of the dish). Top with pepperoni, cheese blend and red pepper. Bake in a preheated 400-degree oven for 20 minutes, let cool for 10 minutes and cut into four wedges. Serve hot. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Drip, drip, drip ... BLOOSH.

I don't want to sound like one of those "environmentalism will lead to a global government" wackos ...

... or maybe I do. And maybe it's not so wacky. The money quote (lifted directly from Ace's post -- I would have pulled the same one, but it was already typed out there -- thanks Ace):

"So at last, the communists who piled out of the Berlin Wall and into the environmental movement and took over Greenpeace so that my friends who founded it left within a year, because they'd captured it, now the apotheosis is at hand. They are about to impose a communist world government on the world. You have a president who has very strong sympathies with that point of view, he's going to sign. He'll sign anything - he has a Nobel Peace prize of course he'll sign."
Never has doom and gloom sounded so soothing. It's amazing what an upper-class British accent can do.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go buy a couple hundred incandescent bulbs before they outlaw those, too.*


*What? They're already illegal in a good chunk of Europe. Just like timely medical care!

Quote of the Day

I just realized I can sum up Obama in one quote: "He's not the messiah! He's a very naughty boy!"

Monday, October 19, 2009

54% of people polled oppose government healthcare. The other 46% ... I don't even know.

My sister had a medical test performed this morning. She sat in the waiting room while the doctor checked the slides, and she got the probable results before she left the hospital. So, in her words: "This is why I like privatized healthcare ... [snip] ... Do you think that would happen with a government system?"

If you need more evidence, just go here and keep scrolling. If you're not sick by the end of the second page, you weren't paying attention.

Can haz home Intarnets?

Can haz!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sunday Night Recipe: French Bread

This is my go-to recipe when I want to make bread for everyday eating; it's chewy, with a thick crust and good texture, and the loaves aren't too big to just slice up the whole thing and chuck it all in the freezer to eat piece by piece. Also, it's an excellent size and shape for bruschetta. Just sayin'.

French Bread

In a large bowl, mix:

4 c. white flour
1 t. kosher salt
1 T. white sugar
1 T. yeast

Add to that:

4 T. melted butter
1 1/2 c. water, heated to 120 degrees (should take about a minute, minute-fifteen in the average modern microwave -- your mileage may vary, so check before just dumping it in)

Mix into a wet, sticky dough, then add flour until you can handle it on a floured board. Knead for at least 10 minutes, adding flour as you go until the dough is a little stiff and just barely sticks to your hand after a couple seconds of contact. Cover and put in a warm, dark place for two hours, then divide in two.

At this juncture, preheat the oven to 400 degrees and put a pot of water on to boil (2 to 3 cups of water should be plenty). Roll each half of the dough into a 7 x 12" rectangle, then roll into loaves and place on a greased cookie sheet. If you want slashes, use a sharp knife and make quick, drawing motions across the tops of the loaves (four per loaf seems to work for me).

Before placing the loaves in the oven, fill a small, flat pan with the boiling water and place it on the lower oven rack. For safety's sake, I put the flat pan on the rack first (usually on a cookie sheet to prevent spills), then pour the water into the flat pan, then push the whole thing into the oven. The steam given off during the baking process will help form a thick, chewy crust while keeping the interior soft and fluffy. Put the loaves on the middle rack and bake for forty-five minutes. If the bread is nicely browned and sounds hollow when tapped with the handle of a table knife, it's done. Cool on wire racks before slicing. Enjoy!

Note: Another method is to skip the melted butter and instead spread soft butter on the dough before it's rolled into loaves. This results in a sort of crescent-roll pull-apart structure, and is quite delicious.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Crap crap crap

NaNoWriMo starts in two weeks. I haven't done squat to prepare because I just remembered it five minutes ago. I haven't finished since 2006 (for various reasons), but I still want to give it a go. Must ... write ... novel! Gah! *jumps out the window*

Monday, October 12, 2009

Lack of recipes explained, plus cats and moving and other things you give only half a hoot about.

Sorry no recipe this and last week, but I don't have Internet at home yet and I've been a little too busy moving in to go out in search of it. Luckily the Whole Foods near me has free Wi-Fi, so if I get down there in the evenings I might be able to get some work done. It's driving me crazy; 90 percent of what I do is on the Internet, plus I've got some writing updates that are stuck in my Gmail account until I can get them downloaded. I'll take a trip down there after work today if I can swing it; my cat's afraid of the furnace, so it'll depend on her mood. (Turned up the thermostat this morning; the furnace went "whoosh" and the cat 'bout peed herself. I have never seen her like that before. I think if I can get her to associate the noise with "convenient floor-installed hot-air butt warmers" we'll be in clover.)

The new apartment is an interesting experience for me; the bedroom is being used for storage, so functionally speaking it's a studio. It reminds me very much of being back in the dorm. On the other hand, the dorm didn't have a full kitchen, private bathroom and massive walk-in closet (I get half of that bedroom storage space, plus the use of the closet). Also my bike is stored in the owner's garage, so if I want to go out I have to dodge around her car. It's no big deal; I've just never lived that close to someone else's space (the dorm and my college apartment don't count because that was alllll someone else's space). But I'm about half a mile from the Monon, and the Whole Foods I mentioned is about a mile away from where I join the trail. It's literally 10 minutes from work, too, and that's if I hit red lights taking the long way around. Forgot my lunch? No problem, I'll just go home and make one. It's really pretty awesome. There are lot worse places to be down-and-out.

The word that came to me while I was moving in was "sanctuary". This is going to be a place where I can live, lay low and recover my credit score. I can pay off my debts (or at least some of them) while I'm here, and I can dig myself out of the hole I got into this past year. It wasn't an easy time for me earlier, and I don't pretend there's a light at the end of the tunnel -- I'd be happy if I knew which tunnel it was at this point -- but at least my life is getting back under control again. Note that I didn't say I was in control, just that I have a better grip on the lapbar. I don't even want control. That's more work that I can handle. Luckily, Someone Else has a much better handle on things than I ever could. This year (or however long it takes) will let me sit back and let things work out.

Of course, I also have a kickin' TV package. So, there's that. :-P

Friday, October 09, 2009

Obama Heisman Write-In Campaign

OMG do it. Do it. Do it now.

This is gonna be awesome if it works.

Quote of the Day

"The world is turning upside down. Which means everything not anchored to the rock will fall off!" -- My mom

LOLwhut?

I turned on the TV for a few minutes this morning to catch the weather and traffic (like it matters, my commute is 10 minutes now, ha!), and when the local anchorette segued to the national morning show, she mentioned "President Obama winning the Nobel Prize."

I said, "OH ... MY ... GOD," in that tone that means you can't believe what you just heard, but you're so far beyond "not surprised" it doesn't even matter that you don't believe it. I have never in my life convinced myself that I hadn't heard what I just thought I heard, but I came darn near close in the ensuing few minutes.

I think this comment at Ace sums it up best. It's not even a question of the award being meaningless - it's been meaningless for a long time -- *cough*Al Gore*cough* -- but Obama? The man hasn't even been in office for nine full months! Not to mention, the selection committee did their thang in February. February. That was like two weeks after the inauguration. Basically, Obama got the award for being Obama. I don't even pretend to have a handle on what's going on in the world right now, except to say that God's fully aware of everything that's going on and he's watching out for His own. That's really all I need to know in the long run, anyway -- but it's still getting very confusing down here on Planet Earth. I just wanna get through work and go to bed.

All links via Ace and Drudge because it's early and I'm just that lazy. It's Friday. Go do Friday things. See you on Sunday.

File under "It ain't broke, Sherlock."

Now here's healthcare legislation I can get behind (PDF warning). It's one page. Pull quote of the day:

(Increase in government spending: none.)
It's one. Page. And best of all, the existing framework of "I and/or my insurer will give you money in exchange for access to your medical skills, supplies and expertise" goes unchanged. People get insured; no one gets punted into take-a-number limbo. Everybody wins. Also, it's only one page long. Note to Baucus, et al.: You're doing it wrong.

UPDATE: I am told by reliable sources that THERE IS NO BAUCUS BILL (caps quoted, not mine). Takeaway line: "The actual legislation will be drafted in secret by Harry Reid and a few other people, including staffers whose names and political connections you never will know, and the resulting legislation will be rammed through the Senate and House before anyone gets to read and analyze it." Commence screaming now, or on your own time. Of course, you could always make your voice heard:

OPERATION: Can you hear us NOW?
Join the INTeaParty.com
Saturday, October 17, 2009
TIME: 2 – 5 p.m. EDT

TENTATIVE Schedule
More details to follow in the next several days!

2:00 – 2:45 – Protest at WISH TV – 8 CBS –
1950 N Meridian St, Indianapolis 46202
We will then march to our next location!

3:00 – 3:45 – Protest at WRTV – 6 ABC –
1330 N Meridian St, Indianapolis 46204
We will then march to our next location!

4:00 – 4:45 – Protest at WTHR TV – 13 NBC
1000 N Meridian St, Indianapolis
We will then march to the State Capitol and end there with a short rally speech!

***We are not protesting the media; however, we are showing up at their media outlets because we want our voices heard. For those who cannot make it all 3 hours, this is a tentative schedule where you can meet us at a specific time/location.
***Please keep your signs topic specific to "NO to Government Run Health Care" and "NO to Cap & Tax". We hope to see you there!
Copied and pasted straight from my e-mail inbox this morning. I'll be there.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Quote of the Day

My birthday a few weeks ago was the same weekend as the big move to the new office, so I got a cupcake and a card. This, apparently, was inadequate, as I just received a plaque reading "I live in my own little world, but it's OK. They know me here." Made my entire day.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

She's almost lifelike, but the Turing Test gets her every time.

Hey, I'm back.

Ace of Spades has a post where Pelosi speculates about a VAT (that's "Value Added Tax") and I just couldn't pass up this gem from the original article:

The VAT is a tax on manufacturers at each stage of production on the amount of value an additional producer adds to a product.

Pelosi argued that the VAT would level the playing field between U.S. and foreign manufacturers, the latter of which do not have pension and healthcare costs included in the price of their goods because their governments provide those services, financed by similar taxes.
Mr. Smoot or Mr. Hawley, please pick up the white courtesy phone. Smoot or Hawley to the courtesy phone. Seriously, she's suggesting that raising taxes is going to help businesses? Not only that, but a tax that affects literally every stage of production? And that's supposed to help because it takes money away from the producers so they don't have to spend it on healthcare plans for their employees? Is she on crack? Has the Botox gone to her brain? Has she never heard of the broken window fallacy? Is she really that stupid? Ace has more about what this means for nationalized healthcare, but I'll let him explain it. I just wanted to make the more immediate observation: That we are, in fact, being led by people who failed Economics 101.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Yeah, I still got nothin' ...

... so here's some good quotes to keep you busy.

Update this space for watches

Bloggage was light non-existent this week, mostly because my life is literally upside-down and I'm just worn out. I don't think I could feel more frazzled if you picked me up by my ankles and shook me 'til my lunch money fell out of my pockets. Also I'd be blogging about sneaky healthcare shenanigans and what-not, but that's got me all worn out, too. I can't even get angry any more when I see someone spouting outright lies on TV or wherever; I'm all outraged out. The tank is dry. This is the new status quo. The only thing to do is adjust to it and move on.

On the other hand, it can be freeing when you realize you're banging your head on a brick wall. Acceptance is an important part of any recovery process. There's a difference between that and rolling over, though, and it's a big fat difference to boot. Faced with an intractable, unreasonable enemy, sometimes the best thing to do is quit trying to fight them on their turf.

I've thought for a while now that there's something bigger at work here -- that Barack Obama is just a meat puppet in the grand scheme of things, incredibly deluded as to his own role and importance in the grand plan. He's just the foot in the door, the

You know what, screw it. Go read "The Abolition of Man" by C.S. Lewis, then watch the news. If you don't end up crying under the kitchen table, you're a stronger person than I right now. I'm going to go enjoy the more immediate things in my life right now. I've got a kickin' lunch packed for today. And isn't that more worth my focus in the not-so-grand scheme of things?