Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Basmati Rice

I am addicted to basmati rice. Addicted, I tell you! Too bad it's not brown basmati, which I have yet to try cooking with the method described on a bag of white basmati I just bought that works like a frickin' dream.

You know how the rice at an Indian restaurant has a consistency impossible to replicate with the usual method of cooking rice in a rice cooker or the like? It's because they do something way, way different from that, apparently. And the bag told me how.

Sorry to turn this into a food blog, Paul.

Anyway. There are many steps involved, but it goes pretty fast. The bag calls it the 'open-pot' method. First you rinse your amount of rice (say, a cup) in cold water (typical), then you soak it in cold water for half an hour and drain it. Then cook it in a big pot of boiling water--more than it would absorb when fully cooked, say, 6 cups--for less than 10 minutes (7.5 seems to be my magic number) and drain. The bag also says to rinse in boiling water again, but this step has proven unnecessary to my palate.

Seriously. It is perfect this way, texture-wise.

We have also learned to cheat and use Patak's seasoning pastes mixed with plain soy yogurt to make certain dishes. Marinating tofu in a tikka masala mixture turns out rather well.

My stupid little "handy" chopper appliance has come in handy for mincing onions, and tomato puree is great for just the right color and texture. I never even knew.

It is dangerous to be able to satisfy your food cravings at home... or cheaper, I'm not sure which.

Saturday, March 27, 2004

Here We Are Again

Me, not update for a week? Unpossible.

(Yeah, yeah, tired Simpsons reference, but whatever.)

I was thinking of an entry on the way to work, but I think I left it on the bus. Or it blew away in the bitter, cold wind as I walked from the bus to work. Update from last week: The 68 doesn't even run on Saturdays until 9 a.m., which is just too late for me. So I took the 73, which drops off a 10+-minute walk from the after-hours entrance. Exercise good; bus running late and having exactly 10 minutes to get here and not quite making it on time bad. But not too bad.

Oh, well, I'm not working on Saturdays during the quarter, so this is a problem of limited scope. My only bussing problem arises with the one night I close and can't catch a bus for almost an hour after I get off work. I'll just have to beg rides off Kevin every week, and I have no problem begging.

My many free afternoons, if unpopulated with coursework, are mostly left open for such exciting things as volunteering for SIFF at the end of the quarter, which, sadly, I haven't done for a few years. Except for Thursdays, I guess; mom is usually up on Thursdays with Paul and his bass for lessons and she likes to spend the time with her daughter, aww. We have been meeting at Uwajimaya or some other shopping destination where free parking is plentiful.

Whoa, it's time to follow that train of thought:
  1. We went to Uwajimaya yesterday and bought rice, basmati from India (Cook's Illustrated blew the lid off why actual Indian basmati is preferable to California-grown stuff) and brown jasmine from Thailand;
  2. then we came home to find the mess of a kitchen that was half my fault and half not, leaving me depressed and completely disinterested in cooking anything at all for a few hours until
  3. the hunger pains became to great, so we made sun-dried tomato hummus and feasted on that with some reheated pitas and tomato slices, but
  4. I still really wanted sugar. Crunchy, chocolatey sugar. Which I can't get at a store without getting pissed off about the shittiness of the ingredients.
  5. So I baked the awesome vegan double chocolate chip cookies right then and there.

Hey! I've got an idea! Anyone want a recipe?

That's what I thought!!

You will need:
-1/4 c. flour (I've been using whole wheat pastry flour, but others work fine.)
-1/4 c. cocoa powder
-1/2 tsp. baking soda

-3/4 c. sugar
-3/4 c. oats, pref. toasted
-1/3 c. semisweet chocolate chips
-1/4 c. chopped pecans or walnuts
-pinch salt

-1/4 c. water
-1 tsp. vanilla extract
-splash tasty liqueur, like amaretto, if you've got it

-3 Tbsp. canola oil

Preheat the oven to 350'F. Sift or otherwise mix together the first group of ingredients. Mix in next group of dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients (except oil). As the mixture is coming together, stir in the oil. Mixture should be thick and not at all runny. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto lightly greased baking sheets. Bake 9 minutes. Let cool on sheet before using a spatula to pry off.

This recipe was culled and slightly modified from Dreena Burton's The Everday Vegan.


Some quick pimping: Jesse's recent entry about Christian Evangelist missionaries from Alabama visiting his Romanian town is rather interesting and enlightening for someone like me, who isn't Christian and is curious about how different sorts of Christians interact. My little brother, on the flipside, wrote a dismissive entry containing the phrase "fuck off," resulting in a comment war from his hosts/benefactors about how inappropriate it was. Take a pill, guys. And Wulffmorgenthaler is funny. Go read it.

Saturday, March 20, 2004

Back in the Saddle Again

I'm at work for the first time since December. It's anticlimactic after my paltry job search of February 2004. I'd hoped to find something--not better, but different; something with new lessons for me.

This place is so familiar, like riding a bicycle, except not, because riding a bicycle always makes me nervous.

And no one is here to give a fuck that I was 15 minutes late.

It wasn't my fault. Somehow, I missed the 8:30 bus without ever seeing it, so I drove to work and figured out where to park right at 9 a.m. Then it took me 15 minutes to wander around and through the behemoth that is the Health Sciences/UWMC complex to get to the library. Matters were, of course, complicated by it being Saturday and as such, most doors were locked, or I would've been here sooner, but never mind that. I was late, I noted it in my timesheet, and only one person was here to be bothered by it.

At least when I have to work tomorrow, I'll already know all this and can plan accordingly. I'll have to drive, too, because the 68 doesn't run on Sundays. Parking is free on Sundays, though. None of this $3 so you can sit at work shit. Thank god football season is over.

I really need to get my act together on sending Josie things. I kept a journal-letter-thing awhile ago that I need to send; I should write another letter to enclose with the CDs Kevin burned for me to send her. (Josie, you will have to wait with bated breath to see just which CDs they are! Heh.) So, lots of letters from my lazy ass.

I really should've packed a lunch or something. I am starting to get the munchies. I've forgotten how long four hours here seems.

Friday, March 19, 2004


Kevin is concerned with the privacy issues herein, but this shit is public record, as it should be.

FundRace 2004 allows you to search by zip code, address, or name for who's given what and how much to which campaign. I live near a lot of Deaniacs and a former city council member that I voted against gave money to Kerry. My old zip code features a lot of Bush supporters, but they're in the part that isn't heavilty populated by students. Which is where I lived. And there are very few donations to anyone from that part.


Spring in the Pacific Northwest is a mess of subtle contradictions, like mismatched socks under long slacks. It can be sunny, windy, rainy, freezing, or even snowing, all in one day. But much has already been written of our region's fickle weather.

It's the kind of weather that inspires the outfit I'm wearing today: a paper-thin souvenir t-shirt from a Caribbean island covered with a long-sleeved sweater; thick wool socks and flip-flops. The thermostat in my house says it's staying put at 60'F (being set around 52'F to avoid increased electric bills), though it hardly feels a degree over 55. The sun shines through my iron-clad bedroom window, casting a prison-motif shadow across the red and pale blue pillowcases, yet I am unsatisfied with the climate and won't work in the yard or take a walk to return videos. Yet.

Spring is, to me, a transient time, one that flies, one that's forgotten, one where things only begin to happen. It's winter and summer where the actual doing occurs, where memories are made. The trouble with spring, as opposed to that other transient season, fall, is that it occurs to soon after the new year. We begin the year in winter, incidentally, full of new hopes and dreams and goals and plans, but all too often fail to get started on the real legwork for them until spring starts making itself evident.

"Oh, I'd love to garden," I tell myself, "but it's too cold now to start the beds. I don't have money to buy the necessary equipment. Let's wait 'til spring."

And now spring is here.

I've started, at least. But nothing going to happen until it's summer. Because summer is when things actually happen.

Spring is for announcements--like the Pixies playing Bumbershoot--for watching TV, for reading books, for doing crosswords. For just passing the time until things can actually happen. Like graduation, and ending my academic career in favor of a real career. Whatever that may be.

I can only hope I won't flit through that season like some extension of spring, wearing wool socks with flip-flops and wondering when it's going to rain.

Monday, March 15, 2004

Belated Friday Five

Because why the hell not.

1. What was the last song you heard?

"How Soon Is Now," by the Smiths. It was at the end of an episode of Queer as Folk. I rented Nos. 4 through 6 last night, so I am having myself a little marathon.

2. What were the last two movies you saw?

Pieces of April last night -- good, and April reminded me of my sister. Like, exactly, but I think our family hates her less. Or doesn't hate her at all, rather. And I hope I don't come off like her sister Beth, sheesh. And I watched part of The Birdcage on TV Saturday.

3. What were the last three things you purchased?

Groceries (vegetables, a loaf of pain au levain, and some chocolate), books at Value Village (The House of Sand and Fog and Good in Bed), and a TV antenna at a yard sale benefiting some kids from the Audobon Society trying to go to Texas.

4. What four things do you need to do this weekend?

I never need to do anything anymore, but I think this upcoming weekend I need to work. I think I get my job back that soon, anyway. I should also work on the fledgling garden--Steph is in; she's started sweet peas--and buy textbooks. And a fourth, hmm... play with Kevin. Yeah. Gotta do that.

5. Who are the last five people you talked to?

Kevin, my mom, my housemate Chris, Gabe in Yuma, and Rachel, who had a shitty thing (first story on March 9) happen to her this week. Yikes.

Sunday, March 14, 2004

Rapture Is Coming

There other day, Kevin and I were driving down Broadway to avoid nasty freeway traffic. At a major intersection, a Cadillac was stopped just after the light, its hazard lights blinking, and not a responsible soul in sight.

The only explanation: God is taking his chosen back to heaven.

I always saw those bumper stickers and laughed. Maybe now I'll have the fear of God put in me, huh?!

Friday, March 12, 2004

Cycle Transition

For the first three years of college, I lived in the neighborhood where I worked and learned. Near my many different abodes, there were movie theaters, cheap restaurants, grocery stores, book stores, and a zillion buslines--everything a girl could want. It was for the taking if you just stepped outside and took it. You didn't worry about parking, gas money, or missing the hourly bus home. You just went and came back when you were ready, and if you still needed to go out later, it was easy as pie.

Your comsumer decisions were driven not by what store was easiest to park at. Parking didn't even enter into the equation.

But eventually, you move away from this hub of activity. You can still do a few things by walking--a hardware store, decent video rentals, Chinese restaurant, and 7-11 aren't too far. There's a busline to campus and downtown that works all right, albeit nowhere near as frequent service as that you were accustomed to in your old neighborhood. You have to start planning differently.

No more stopping by Bulldog News after class to browse the new magazines. You have to plan a trip to the University District that allows for that stop, either by bus or by car. And if by car, you have to figure out when you can go, park, and still visit the shops you want. Usually, though, it's just for Thai food.

You don't want to go to your favorite grocery store as much because the thought of parking there terrifies you.

You start shopping places that have a better parking situation. You start choosing businesses not for the quality of the shop or its services themselves, but for their ability to accomodate your newfound "convenience" in the form of a fossil-fuel-munching Honda Civic. Suddenly, what was a bastion of convenience--stores and restaurants you loved lining the block--is now a mess of frustration. Pay for parking? Fight for a spot? Shriek at traffic? It all detracts from the once-peaceful experience of simply shopping your way down the block, because instead of making your way home at a leisurely pace, you have to rush it, either to beat the meter or catch a bus.

I used to joke about embracing my inevitable yuppiedom in the form of eating silly hippie foods and whatnot, but I am beginning to know what it really means: choosing Barnes and Noble over the Ave based on parking availability.

As if that weren't soul-crushing enough for this self-proclaimed champion of independent business, it's pathetically environmentally unfriendly. It makes me feel like a dirty whore.

Maybe this will change, at least a little, once I start work and school again. I have my bus pass again and I'll have good reason to bus to the old 'hood almost daily. I can run my errands between classes and catch the regular bus home. It'll work out okay.

I just have to figure out a better way. I can't believe I bought shit at Barnes and Noble. It goes against everything I believe in. Or something.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

I'm Updating, OK?

Certain out-of-towners (here I count Olympia and Aman, Jordan, equally out of town relative to me) have requested I update this blog. So, here I am.

The problem with updating is: I have nothing to talk about.

I am less angry today. That's a start.

On Sunday, I rented Season 1, Disc 1 of Showtime's Queer as Folk. On Monday, I rented Discs 2 and 3. And watched them all on Monday. Steph is playing catch-up before I return them tomorrow night. It's trashy as hell, but entertaining, and a damn sight better than, say, Judge Judy.

Today I planted some seeds in expanded peat pellets wrapped in mesh. I am trying to grow spinach, cilantro, flat-leaf parsley, and a variety of lettuce, some of which will go in the dirt and some in pots. I am also planning to grow tomatoes, carrots, strawberries, and some sort of viney thing--Steph likes sweet peas despite their impracticality; I am thinking of sugar snap peas.

Kevin and I explored the shed/former garage in my yard. It has an awful lot of random shit in it, including the crap we've put in there. Some of it may even come in handy.

I wish we were allowed to have pets, because I suddenly really want bunnies again. Although I am far too selfish to actually own animals, I do miss the bunnies. And those sweet little guys look so much like the Holland Lops I used to have, except they live indoors and won't fuck anything that moves.

I am feeling very lazy in the kitchen and nearly skilled with the crosswords.

The second wireless card from was incompatible with the version of PCI my motherboard support, meaning my computer wouldn't boot with the card inside. Kevin decided the easiest way to find a card that WOULD work was to buy five different cards at Fry's and try them all until something worked. I will pay him for the card that works and he returns the rest. Good lord.

I'm going back to my old job over spring break, so at least I'll have some income for a few months before I no longer have the excuse of school. Hooray.

Oh, and last Saturday--after getting absolutely no sleep at my mom's house, *through no fault of her own*--I met Christine, Graylan, and Adam (Ad-man!) at Voula's for brunch. Awesome! Hadn't seen Graylan since the new year and Adam in... I don't know how long. Adam reserved the seat at the edge of the table for Josie.

And that, as they say, is it.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Feel Like Beating Something Up?

Cos I sure do. I'm not especially angry at one thing--I'm just mildly angry at everything, which makes me want to, I don't know, throw plates.

I am doing nothing these days. N-O-T-H-I-N-G. And it is really B-O-R-I-N-G, if you catch my drift. I mean, for Christ's sake. I'm watching fucking Oprah right now. Oprah! And it's not even interesting! It's just better than Ryan Seacrest or whatever!

I have a bunch of almost-somethings-to-do that don't actually happen for whatever reason. I had a job interview last week for an internship that, evidently, I didn't get, since it would've started that week and Wednesday has almost passed without a word. It's late enough in my two months of no plans that I might as well wait until spring break or the quarter to begin and return to my old job, at least for a few months before I graduate and have to find a real-real job. Not really a happy prospect in any sense. I feel very unproductive. Because I'm not doing anything and there isn't anything I can do.

At least that doesn't involve money, which I am trying to avoid spending. Since I don't have a job, spending money isn't exactly in abundance. I just need to eat and occasionally do something to save my sanity, like rent a video. Buy gas. Send a letter. Something.

Today, actually, I found out about a screening of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, a movie written by Charlie Kaufman and starring Jim Carrey. There were free passes on campus (available to people with current student IDs, anyway) and the kicker? Kaufman and director Michel Gondry were doing a Q&A post-screening. I found out about this, told Chris, who was equally excited (Charlie Kaufman, if you didn't know, wrote some of the more interesting films of the past few years, including Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, and Confessions of a Dangerous Mind), and immediately asked Lauren to be his date. Steph was going to get a pass for me, so all should've been well.

But, of course, the passes ran out before Steph got there, so I'm not going. And that fucking sucks. But I can't do anything about it besides sit here and stew.

So my alternative was to go to Olympia and hang out and help my mom, but my car? Is in Ballard. Because I passed out last night long before Kevin finished playing fucking Vice City at 4 a.m. and he had to drive himself home somehow.

On the plus side of life, Portland's marrying gays. Hooray for my hometown.

On the news, I'm seeing some guy with a sign that says "God hates shrimp [something illegible]." Shrimp? Is that some homophobic epithet I've not heard?

If you couldn't figure it out? I am all for gay marriage. I yell at the TV when they let church leaders babble about how it's "wrong" according to the Bible, WHICH IS NOT THE SAME AS THE EYES OF THE LAW. Thank you, fuck you very much.

Wow, even the happy things make me angry. It's PMS, in part, but also disappointment in everything including myself. Blah.

Does anyone else feel like this Atkins thing is a huge cult? It is really creeping me out.

Life may mostly suck, but at least I'm getting laid.