May 31st 2005

Oh. My. God. Best. Cookies. Ever.

Mr. Angst’s job is getting worse (if that’s possible) and we’re trying to find the means of coping. So far, our preferred methods drinking and baking cookies. Tonight, we’re doing both. Since dinner was relatively healthy (sauteed baso [a white fish] with a lemon/garlic vinaigrette, steamed broccoli, and rice), we felt sort of justified having something less healthy to follow up.

Meet the Cookies of Heaven, Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies. (The oatmeal makes them healthier, and I used Egg Beaters instead of regular eggs. That, ladies and gents, is what’s called justification. Also, we have MANY left.)

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups rolled (old-fashioned) oats
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans (we don’t eat cookies with nuts in them)
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg (or 1/4 cup Egg Beaters)
1/4 cup maple syrup (or just regular syrup, that’s what I used)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Set 2 racks in the middle and upper thirds of the oven and preheat to 350°F.

In a medium bowl, stir the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, oats, and pecans together with a whisk or fork.

In a large bowl, beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together for 30 seconds until blended. Beat in the egg until smooth and barely fluffy. With mixer running on medium high, drizzle in the maple syrup, and vanilla until incorporated. Turn the mixer down to its lowest setting and gradually add the flour-oatmeal mixture. Blend just to combine, then mix in the chocolate chips.

Drop walnut-sized balls of dough onto a nonstick or parchment-lined cookie sheet at 3-inch intervals. With moistened fingers, flatten and round out the cookies a little. Bake for 9 minutes, turning the pan once for even baking. The cookies are done when they are lightly browned on top. Set the cookie sheets on a rack to cool.

Recipe courtesy of FoodNetwork.com.

ooooh!

As seen at Volokh and L3, Deep Throat appears to have unmasked himself.

I find this VERY INTERESTING. I’ve always thought Deep Throat must have been a very interesting character, from the first time I saw “All the President’s Men” to the writing class I took where we read a great deal of the Watergate journalism.

More as this unfolds!

Update: And the Washington Post confirms it. (Registration required, unfortunately.) Although Woodward seems still a little uncertain that Felt is competent to change the terms of the secrecy agreement, he’s gone ahead and stated that these reports are true.

By the by, it you want to read the Vanity Fair article that started it all, Wonkette has it. It’s not terribly gripping stuff, but it does the trick.

The thing that really gets me is that Felt did what he did out of tremendous loyalty to the Bureau; the other thing that gets me is that he seems to have been weighed down by tremendous guilt over it for the last three decades. In the end, too, it seems money was the motive for revealing himself—not to make himself rich, but to help his family.

upgrades!

My cellphone has been acting up lately; this is annoying and, worse, is affecting my social life. I’ve missed several calls in the last couple of days, at least one because my phone died without its usual warning beeps. I should add that my phone is also pretty gimpy all-around, not just recently. Even my provider recognizes its crappiness, as they informed me not long ago that they’ll be upgrading voice mail systems and that my current phone won’t be compatible with those upgrages. So I have to get a new phone anyway; the question has been, “When?”.

I wanted to wait until a little closer to our apartment-hunting trip because I want to be able to test signal strength in the neighborhoods and buildings we’ll be exploring. (I get a 30-day grace period with a phone upgrade.) Well, the apartment-hunting trip is two-and-a-half weeks away, which means it’s time. So today at lunch I’ll be traipsing down to the T-Mobile store to pick up my new phone. Whee! It’s about time.

Update: Urgh. I got there and their computers were down. The guy helping me was not very helpful. Then I asked about the return period and found it’s really only 14 days, not 30 days. I was mad. I stormed out. Now Mr. Angst wants to look at other providers.

So, request. Do you have a family plan? Do you like it and have good service? Even if you don’t have a family plan, do you like your provider and its customer service? We currently have T-Mobile which I think is fine; I don’t have major problems with them, though they’re not all that eager to bend over backwards to give me free stuff, despite my five years with them.

May 30th 2005

People are going to be hackin’ into this poor animal that looks like it’s bleedin’ to death!

We had dinner last night with a friend for her birthday. This particular friend is a bit of a baker and usually makes birthday cakes for everyone else (or used to; she’s been busy lately).

So her husband ordered her birthday cake, wanting it to be special. He even managed to keep their kids from telling her how the cake was decorated.

How was it decorated? Check it out:
Read the rest of this entry »

Books 10-14

The Harry Potter books, by J.K. Rowling

Yes, these were all re-reads for me, but I’m gearing up for the upcoming release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, which I have already ordered and which will be shipped to me, from England, in about three weeks. Yee!

So I think almost everyone knows the basic plot of the Harry Potter books—it’s the basic orphan-makes-good story, with some twistiness. (If you’ve been living in a cave, maybe you don’t know the story, so stop reading now if you don’t want to know anything about the plot.) Harry lives with his dreadful aunt and uncle because his parents have died. He discovers on his 11th birthday that he is a wizard and that his parents were killed by an evil wizard. And that he gets to go to school at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Each book recounts a year at school, and each year at school brings a fresh adventure that features Harry facing down the evil Lord Voldemort, as he returns to power.

I like the Harry Potter books. The stories are good—engaging, lively, humorous at times, and easily relatable. (Did I say that right? Anyone can relate to these books, really.) The writing is pretty good. Rowling isn’t a master of language, but the writing is clean and age-appropriate (these are YA books, after all).

All in all, I recommend these books. I’ll keep re-reading them every time a new release comes out (after Half-Blood Prince, there will only be one more, though) and I’ll keep enjoying them.

May 29th 2005

Day 2, Memorial Day Weekend

Our tubing trip was not delayed yesterday. By 10:30, the sky was clearing and when we got to the tube-rental place at noon, the sun was shining through the trees. It was really a perfect day to be on the river.

Of course, I ended up with tube rash on the backs of my calves, so my legs were on fire once we got out of the water, four hours after putting in. We stopped at a local barbeque joint on the way home, stuffed ourselves “family style” (all you can eat platters of brisket, pork ribs, and sausage; heaping bowls of slaw and potato salad and beans), finishing off the evening with huge bowls of blackberry cobbler.

I was actually in pain from the amount of food I ate. That, and the burning on my legs, of course. Luckily, we’ve got Solarcaine here at home, so I slathered myself before bed time and passed out shortly after 10 pm.

And the weekend isn’t over for two more days! I’m going to rest off the sun-overexposure today—we may actually also get to unload some of our storage-bound stuff, since we’re calling in a truck favor. Maybe by tomorrow we’ll have some space to clean up around here.

Off to make breakfast, and coffee.

May 28th 2005

murphy, go home

You know, this is so typical. They’ve been warning us of heavy thunderstorms for days now, but we hadn’t seen a drop of rain.

Until this morning. The morning of the day that we are going tubing on a nearby river. Gr.

We’re still going; we’ll see if they let us go in or not.

Happy (Wet) Memorial Day Weekend!

May 27th 2005

Friday Spies©

From Fitz-Hume & Co. (now featuring the triumphant return of Milbarge!)

1. What is the best thing about the city in which you live? What is the worst?

Best? The overwhelming amount of cool stuff to do—music, food, museums, outdoor recreation. There’s just a lot of stuff here that’s really cool.

Worst? The summers are DAMN HOT. And there’s not a graduate program here for Mr. Angst, hence our upcoming move.

2. Describe an idea or invention of yours that you would like to see turned into reality.

Um. Can I get back to you on this one? I have these sorts of thoughts all the time, but they, of course, completely escape my mind when you ASK about them. That’s probably why none of them ever become reality.

But if I could remember any of them, I guarantee they would all have something to do with making my life easier. Like, ways to remind myself of things I need to do, that I invariably remember while I’m in the car and can’t write them down. Even better, I’d love a tool to transcribe whatever I’m babbling aloud into a nice text file. Because I talk to myself in the car. It’s a way for me to hash out ideas. Or some tool that would let me work in bed without having to juggle books and a laptop and a bottle of Diet Coke.

Basically, anything that allows me to be more productive without becoming less lazy.

3. Name an overrated author, musician, and movie. Name an underrated author, musician, and movie.

Overrated Author: James Joyce. I barely made it through A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. To my mind, any novel that is renowned for being difficult not only to understand but just to GET THROUGH (I’m looking at you, Ulysses) is just not worth the hype.

Overrated Musician: Norah Jones. Yes, I love her music, but my eyes are open to the fact that very little of her music is, in fact, HER MUSIC. She is like almost every other pop starlet—her breakout first album was carefully crafted by a team of producers to showcase her vocal talent. She’s a singer, just like all the other beautiful young singers. When she puts out a successful album of music she’s written, then I’ll reconsider her musician-ness.

Overrated Movie: 2001: A Space Odyssey. I just don’t get it.

Underrated Author: Jane Austen. I think there’s still a great feeling that Austen’s novel are just sort of Victorian fluff, nice to read and fun to analyze, but without much social or political merit. I think that’s incorrect. To be fair, this view seems to be waning—more and more serious scholarship is being written on Jane Austen’s works—but there is still a pretty significant stigma associated with, for instance, MEN reading Austen and enjoying it.

Underrated Musician: Neil Diamond. Yeah, he’s cheesy. Yeah, he’s easily mock-able. But the man is a PERFORMER. And his tunes are catchy and fun to sing along with—and he’s attracted a multi-generational following. I won’t apologize for loving the Neil.

Underrated Movie: Out of Sight. Just because it has J. Lo and Clooney in it doesn’t mean it’s not a good movie. I liked this movie a lot, but most people saw the posters and the trailers and thought it would be awful. I thought it would be awful. But it’s not.

4. If your life were a sitcom slated to air in the fall, what would the show be called? Who would you cast in the starring role? And for extra credit, give us a brief treatment of the show.

My life isn’t really sitcom worthy. Seriously. Can I have a cooking show instead? How about “Electric! Cooking Without Gas!” I’ll have guests every now and then—college students and apartment dwellers who try to eat well though equipped with crappy cooktops. We’ll have hijinks involving grease splatter and overcooked chicken, and at the end of every episode, we’ll order Chinese.

5. When is the fun supposed to start?

Would you believe that I didn’t see this movie until about three years ago? Pretty sad. Of course, one of my favorite bars used to show movie clips and the pool scene was one they showed A LOT. Ah well.

May 26th 2005

i need to get OUT OF HERE

I just felt something on my toe under my desk, so I shook my foot, thinking it was a piece of detritus falling from the underside of my keyboard tray.

And it moved up my toe, under my sandal strap.

I flung my foot out, nearly tossing my sandal off in the process, and pushed back from my desk. Feet hiked up on the central column of my chair, I peered into the dark corner underneath.

And I saw a beetle scuttle away.

I think I might throw up.

You know what I love?

Listening to someone’s conversation in a bar, except it’s not really a real conversation, it’s one person talking about her job and the crappy cast of characters she works with.

And I love when, after her friend makes some consoling noises and starts to tell her his own similar experience, she says, “Well that’s easy for you to say, you don’t have a family to support. But, no, no, i’m not one of those women, really. Tell me your story.”

Wow.

coffee through the nose…ow

LQ tipped me off to this site full of lovely romance novel covers.

My personal favorite? This one:

merman.jpg

May 25th 2005

just a few more days, right?

The long stretch is almost over.

I am referring, of course, to the spring wasteland—the big run of months with no national holidays. (I know that Milbarge has already proposed a solution to this, but the federal government hasn’t seen fit to go ahead with this plan, unfortunately.)

So I’m going to do the weekend up right. Our Memorial Day plans include tubing on Saturday, a pool party Sunday, a birthday dinner Sunday night, and a barbecue on Monday. In other words, this holiday weekend will be much fuller than a “normal” weekend.

Of course, I was really looking forward to the long weekend until it occurred to me that, for all my dreaming of extra sleep, I won’t be getting any of that this weekend. Well, pooh.

You’ve learned much, young one.

Hat tip to tauntinghappyfunball for pointing out twenty questions with Lord Vader.

I’ve seen this technology before; it’s actually pretty cool. But Burger King has really put it to work. I just wish they hadn’t brought in the creepy Burger King king guy. ::shudder::: He’s freaky.

Serious time waster here. Oh, and definitely have the sound on.

May 24th 2005

oops

I think I have officially killed the plants that were still alive. Our new apartment gets much more sun than I was expecting on the balcony and, due to the ungodly heat here lately, going out on the balcony hasn’t been high on my list of priorities lately.

I’m going to try and rescue them, but they may not make it.

shockingly, two beautiful people who, together, elicit a total EW response from me

Is anyone else just REALLY weirded out by this?

I still say it smacks of a publicity stunt. How convenient that they both have big movies coming out this summer.

May 23rd 2005

brain dump

I’m going to take a page from THL and just start writing. You get this brain vomit in the form of a post.

TV lately, by the way, is just crappy. I was really looking forward to the season finale of Las Vegas and what I got was majorly cringeworthy. First, celebrity guests coming out the ying-yang. And Mike is Gladys Knight’s nephew? Wha? And they’re setting up next season to be all new—new casino, new jobs for folks, new new new. More intrigue, and probably more boobies.

The other thing I want to know is why, when we have the TV switched over to HD via antenna, does the signal go out ONLY during the show itself and NEVER during commercials? Typical.

A cousin of mine is coming into My Fair City this week—his partner has never been here and since they’re in My Fair State (visiting his parents) they figured they’d come up here. I think she’s going to like My Fair City, especially since they’re staying at one of the most character-ridden motels in town—famous for being a cheap motel, as it were. To counterbalance their motel, we’ll probably have drinks at a neighboring hotel which has a most remarkable bar. It’s a lovely place, very serene. And I’m looking forward to seeing them. They don’t live near and, growing up, this cousin was always one of my favorites. And I really like his partner, too. It’s always good when your favorite relatives end up with people you actually like.

For some reason, my watch is terribly uncomfortable. I had maybe one too many links removed when I got it, but I think that with the extra link, it might be too loose. I hate it when my watch slides up and down my wrist, but I also hate it when it’s so tight that I can’t adjust it. I know my wrist probably swells during the day (and after a margarita and a glass of wine and some salty food), but it’s still sort of maddening.

I made my famous pork tenderloin tonight with some yummy polenta. We had a hunk of leftover cheese bought on a whim last weekend at the gourmet grocery. They have samples on Sunday, and the cheese samples were really good, so we bought some. It was very reminiscent of a Grueyere and really added the perfect note to the polenta and to the meal. Of course, our stupid electric cooktop makes it very difficult for me to adjust the temperature on the burners so I ended up with a nice splatter burn on my wrist. (Not the watch wrist, thankfully, or I wouldn’t be able to wear my watch at all.) This is, by the way, the second burn I’ve gotten as a direct result of the stupid cookstove this week. I hate my cookstove. I’m not fond of the oven, either.

Yeah, that’s about good enough for a brain dump. Party on, Wayne. Party on, Garth.

Monday morning funny

I was going to try and make this multiple-choice question funnier, but I failed.

Any takers?

Q. Skeeter lives in Texas, and Cletus lives in Arkansas. One night, Cletus sneaks into Texas and steals one of Skeeter’s chickens. Skeeter wants to sue Cletus in federal court and seek $25 in damages for the stolen chicken under Texas tort law. Can he do so?

  1. yes, because a federal question is involved
  2. yes, because there is diversity of citizenship
  3. no

there is a light at the end of the tunnel

I’ve been lurk-watching the boards for the last few months—no longer really participating at all, but still keeping track of what’s being posted. But I think I’m going to have to stop even that, at least for now. The cycle is coming back around, you see.

The newest posts now are inevitably about studying for the LSAT, dealing with LSAC (or figuring out their not-that-arcane grade-normalizing procedure), and other details of interest to the folks about to enter the admissions process.

Maybe after school starts I’ll be able to look at some of those posts, but right now these issues interest me not one little bit. First, I never want to think about the LSAT again, much less proffer advice on how to study for it, or how to diagram a given game. Urk. No thanks. And the LSAC? My experience with them was pretty pain-free but I still feel an anxious twinge remembering some of the horror stories I heard last fall.

I guess I’m passing through that pre-law stage. Well, that’s not a guess, that’s a fact; what I mean is that I don’t really feel “pre-law” anymore. I keep looking at the countdown and realizing that school isn’t that far away. I’m feeling more and more like a student. I’m almost out of limbo and I don’t really want to revisit the uncertainty and angst that permeated last fall for me. So no more boards for me, at least not for the rest of the summer.

May 22nd 2005

Sunday Sammich-blogging

Raffi Melkonian mentions (from a forwarded request by Jeremy) that one way to eat cheap (presumably while a student) is to eat sandwiches. (Well, really, to make one’s one lunch, but that generally involves sandwiches.)

This is where I mention my love-hate relationship with sandwiches.

When I was in elementary/middle/high school, I took my lunch every single day. Not only was the cafeteria lunch at my school absolutely disgusting, it was also pretty darn expensive. (To wit: $3.50 for poorly made Frito Pie in 1991? No wonder my mom insisted I make my lunch.)

So every night, I’d fix up a bag of food. Every night, I included the same stuff: an apple, a bag of chips, and a sandwich. Usually the sandwich would be wheat bread, a thin layer of mayo, and a few slices of whatever lunchmeat Mom had bought—sometimes turkey, sometimes ham, sometimes roast beef. I could have added lettuce if I wanted but since I was making my own lunch, I was often too lazy for the extra effort. So, boring sandwiches were my standard fare. (I got so lazy towards the end of my senior year that I started leaving off the mayo and just throwing a few slices of meat between dry bread.)

And that’s how I began to hate sandwiches.

Once I was in college, I avoided sandwiches in the dining hall. I ate at the salad bar instead, or grabbed chicken fingers from the pub or, more commonly, ate cereal for lunch. (I love cereal and will gladly eat it three times a day. I did that for about three weeks one year in college. Happy times.)

After college, I refused to make a sandwich if I was taking my lunch to work. Oh, I’d still buy a sandwich from Subway or Quiznos, but I wouldn’t make my own. Of course, I OD’d on Subway about two and a half years ago (too many $3 veggie subs) and now I can’t even really bring myself to order a sandwich from a sandwich shop.

It sounds, basically, like I just plain hate sandwiches, right?

Well, no. I actually like sandwiches most of the time. I just can never remember that when it comes time to make one.

This afternoon, though, I had a craving for a BLT. We have some nice turkey bacon in the fridge, some fresh tomatoes and lettuce, and I just bought a beautiful avocado. So I made us both BLTs.

And they were good. I’m reminded that I love toasty bread with mayo, where the mayo gets just slightly warm. I love a sandwich with just enough filling and not too much bread (this is the problem with the veggie Subway, too much bread and not enough filling). I enjoy the mix of flavors when you add just the right extra ingredient to your sandwich: salad greens instead of lettuce, olive oil and fresh cracked pepper if the bread will stand up to it, roasted red peppers, and so forth.

Sammiches are goodness. I’m still years away from wanting to eat a sandwich for every lunch again (or, rather, being willing to do so), but I think I’m starting to come back around.

May 21st 2005

Star Wars, redux

Saw Episode III for the second time tonight. (A double-date! Isn’t that cute?)

A few additional thoughts: the makeup on Palpatine/Sidious/the Emperor is not great. Looks pretty fake. I think I dislike Hayden Christenson’s acting so much because of the way his lip curls—he just has one of those faces that bothers me. As good as Ewan MacGregor’s acting is, he can’t overcome Lucas’s poor writing when he has to “discover” how Anakin has turned. Hayden Christenson in the Vader costume is just not as impressive as whoever was the original guy in the Vader costume.

OK. That’s all for second impressions tonight. Plus, I’ve had one rum-with-lime (erroneously calling itself a mojito, hah!) and one REALLY strong sangria margarita, so I’m in no condition to be deconstructing a movie for the SECOND time.