Wednesday, December 20, 2006
So I turned 25 a week ago Monday. Kevin was sick with a nasty cold all weekend, so nothing exceptionally fun happened. I had to cancel Friday dinner, but I did bring the curry over to their house on Saturday instead, and we had a nice little dinner. I also baked a ton of cookies AND a gingerbread apple pie.
Sunday, after much ado about Kevin's well-being, we went to Santa Cruz for some low-key family birthday co-celebrating. First up was his mom, where we had the pie, hung out, and exchanged a few gifts. Kevin conspired with his mom and gave me a really sweet Canon PowerShot, dudes! So my poor Panasonic Lumix with the burnt-out LCD backlight has been eclipsed. (I do still want to get that puppy fixed, if the price is right, and possibly pass it along to my mom.) He also gave me a Gorillapod, which is an articulated tripod, and his mom gave me a nice, simple case for the camera. Actually, I think today is her birthday, so happy birthday to Kevin's mom. Next, we went to his dad's for dinner and some more presents. His dad's girlfriend is another December birthday. Dinner was dahl, mixed vegetables, and rice, yum. I can't say no to anything with lentils (provided it's vegetarian). Then the three birthday people blew out candles on a pecan tart and opened more presents. I received a silicon baster (since they knew I didn't have anything to brush, say, butter on bread for cooking) and a 2GB camera memory card. Sweet!
Monday was my actual birthday and of course I had to work. In order to avoid having cake and candles and singing, I brought in a big tray of my delicious, vegan, homemade cookies (and some of the really awesome Thai sweet and spicy nuts) for everyone and told HR not to make a thing of it. My boss took me out to lunch, my choice, so I chose Rico's for being one of two restaurants we both actually like. (Even for my birthday, it wouldn't be nice to drag my boss to a Middle Eastern or Thai restaurant when I know she'd order the blandest thing and have to pick half of the accoutrements off, anyway. That's just sad.) After work, with Kevin still sick, the Editor and his fiancee took me out for dinner -- I'm a cheap date, I just wanted falafel and a lemonade at Yiassoo -- and a movie, so we all finally saw For Your Consideration. It sucked about as much as all the reviewers said, but as Christopher Guest fans, we felt content having seen it at all.
Tuesday I lucked out with another birthday lunch, this time courtesy of one of my coworkers, from Just Laziz, a really cool Lebanese bakery that specializes in phenomenal manakeesh (like pizza, Middle Eastern-style) and where my coworkers are obsessed with the baba ganoush. In the evening, Kevin's dad was in town, so we took him to our favorite Thai restaurant. He was suitably impressed. We also found Kevin a suit at Burlington Coat Factory so he could attend my company's Christmas party in something other than holey slacks. But that's another goddamn story and I'm going in chronological order. Anyway.
Wednesday I wanted to kill my boyfriend because he had buyer's remorse and wanted to beg off the fancy dinner, and I let him do it. So after work I went and finally saw Borat and was generally in a bad mood despite that. Also I had to cook for my company's potluck lunch the next day -- the Ethiopian spiced lentil dish I think I've linked to in a previous post.
Thursday was the company potluck. It was really a fantastic spread this year. A lot of home cooking, excellent home cooking. My lentils were awesome, of course, but another coworker friend (the one who likes coming to the Campbell farmers' market) made butternut squash penne and cheese, which was amazing. The gift exchange had a number of hilarious moments. My secret santa recipient really enjoyed her favorite bottle of wine and selection of four dark chocolate bars, and I was given a pair of Century movie ticket gift certificates and $10 for La Pizzeria, yum! In the evening I watched the 1-hour The Office and pondered the similarities between Michael Scott and our own CEO. You know, your typical "water cooler"-type viewing.
Friday I was totally coming down with Kevin's nasty cold. I had a half day of work and spent most of the afternoon napping, then preparing for the party. The party was good, but afterwards, I went to bed and practically did not get up for the rest of the weekend. The cold was just that bad. I did have to cat-sit, but Kevin had to cover for me on Sunday.
This week has been just plain work and avoiding doing the dishes due to stubborness and laziness. I'm leaving for Portland/Seaside/Seattle on Saturday afternoon. Christmas shopping is pretty much done. Just have to pack now.
Thursday, December 07, 2006
I have been cooking-obsessed this week. It's awesome. On Sunday, I made the quinoa and black-eyed pea croquettes from Vegan with a Vengeance again, this time with the accompanying mushroom sauce. These turned out really well (as opposed to last time, when they were dry and not all that flavorful), probably in part because I actually had more of the correct ingredients this time and in part because half the quinoa allotment was actually bulghur. I also make Sicilian-style broccoli from The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen, which is pan-steamed with red pepper flakes, garlic, and crushed capers, and a nice side of barley and wild rice pilaf. Monday night featured some lightly creative reworking of the previous night's meal, mostly in the form of the mushroom sauce over whote wheat rotini, which was a nice combination.
Tuesday I felt ambitious and made the Lebanese stuffed swiss chard that was abandoned from my Thanksgiving menu due to its complexity. It was the right decision, but damn, the dish was tasty. Like a more tender dolma with fresher, brighter flavors, surrounded by a nice broth. For protein, I accompanied it with a simple lentil soup (green lentils, browned onion, cumin).
Last night I tested this Ethiopian lentil stew recipe with a few minor adjustments -- I used red lentils and cooked them with the sauce, and instead of 10 plum tomatoes and tomato paste, I used a big can of whole fire-roasted tomatoes, both liquid and fruit, chopping the tomatoes before adding them. It turned out pretty well indeed, so I think it will be my office potluck contribution next week. But I am not so ambitious as to make injera; no, I stuck with a simple polenta (made according to Cook's Illustrated). The potluckers will get basmati rice, though. Polenta is a pain in the ass and doesn't really travel well.
Friday night the Editor and his fiancee are coming over for dinner, hooray! So you know I'm going to be a menu-planning freak about it. Real Vegetarian Thai had a "winter menu" suggestion that sounded ideal, considering I already bought some of the main ingredients at the farmers' market. It's a Burmese-style red curry (no coconut milk) with ginger, yams, and button mushrooms with a side of vegetables (in this case, I think red cabbage and orange cauliflower) sauteed in vegetarian "oyster" (a.k.a. shiitake mushroom) sauce and garlic, brown jasmine rice, and sweet and spicy nuts for dessert. I think I'll also make a very simple tofu and greens soup. The curry has to be made the night before (with curry paste I made last night) to let the flavors fully develop.
It's 8 a.m. and I am writing about food. Good lord.
Speaking of, time to go make breakfast. What says "happy birthday, now seriously, get up and go to work before noon" more than a hot bowl of dubiously prepared amaranth porridge, sliced apple, and spearmint tea?
Sunday, December 03, 2006
This week, it was:
-Butter lettuce, $1/head
-Dinosaur kale, $1.25/bunch
-Cilantro and Italian parsley, each $1/bunch
-Sweet potatoes, $2/lb (I'm not actually sure if that's the real price)
-Broccoli and orange cauliflower, $1.50/pound
-Beefsteak tomatoes, $2/pound
-Yellow and red onions, $2/pound
-Button mushrooms, $3/pound
-Granny smith apples, $1/pound*
-Meyer lemons, $2/pound* (and yes, I could just get these from Kevin's mom, but we haven't been down there in awhile)
Now I just have to figure out what I want to do with all of it.
Well, I plan on making a gingerbread apple pie with half of the four pounds of apples I bought. I could even make another batch of those apple crumb cake muffins that turned out so well. Tomatoes and onions are infinitely useful in myriad recipes, so that's easy. There are quite a few potentially new and interesting ways to use sweet potatoes, as well as a few old hat recipes that stood up to scrutiny. I like to make salads to bring to work, so there goes the butter lettuce; mushrooms come in handy often enough. I can pretty much always find some use for good greens (the dinosaur kale) and broccoli, and cauliflower is perfect in Indian-type foods. Plus I still have a little red cabbage left from last week. I was hoping to find organic russet potatoes, but had no such luck, so another trip to Whole Foods may be in my future should I want to do something potatoey.
Addtionally, I've been working on holiday cookies. There are three packets of dough in my freezer now, and one batch of test cookies on my stovetop. The test cookies were a Lebanese recipe involving fine semolina (instead of flour), rose water and orange blossom water, and pistachios. They are basically a butter cookie with a very different texture. I think they're interesting. The doughs are for ginger cookies (I like to put a spicy candied pecan on top), chocolate raspberry thumbprints, and lemon-orange butter cookies.
I'm also the sicko who finished ordering Christmas presents by the end of November this year, though. Don't mind me.
Monday, November 27, 2006
Tonight I felt a little creative. Like I have probably mentioned before, it's my experience that Kevin likes the stuff I cook more often when I don't use a recipe, so I'm trying to do more of that. It requires more creativity, regardless, so it's a little more fun sometimes.
I was cooking some chickpeas, anyway, so I went ahead and made a simple (if underseasoned) basmati rice pilaf with vegetable broth, shallots, and garlic, with chickpeas, ground coriander, and ground ginger added towards the end of cooking. I served it with a sprinkling of lightly chopped cilantro and sour heirloom tomato wedges all around, salted. I'd definitely add more of a kick to this if I made it again--cayenne, more coriander, perhaps more ginger, perhaps some cumin. Cumin is my spice crutch, though, so I'm trying to experiment.
As a side dish, I made a dish with red cabbage and shredded carrot. First I fried about a half teaspoon of fennel seeds in a splash of olive oil, then I added the carrot and cabbage and turned the heat up high and tossed it all around until the cabbage seemed just barely cooked, then turned off the heat and added about a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, which sizzled in the hot pan. To this I added more cilantro and about two tablespoons of toasted and chopped pistachios. This dish turned out really well; both Kevin and I enjoyed it.
Someday in the future I might have a working digital camera. If I had one now, I would've posted pictures, because these dishes looked very pretty. Especially the cabbage.
I'm thinking tomorrow I'll do a (purple!) cauliflower and potato dry fry with cumin seeds and cilantro, backed up with simple channa masala (hey, I cooked a lot of chickpeas) and plain basmati rice.
The farmers' market is still selling me fresh and beautiful organic tomatoes for $2 a pound. The next time someone gives me shit about living in California, at least I'll have a good answer.
Sunday, November 26, 2006
Lebanese Cuisine by Anissa Helou was the source of my fish recipe (p. 109-110). The recipe calls for one 3 lb. fish, scaled and gutted, but we used about 3.5 lb. of tilapia filets, halved and rolled up, stuffed, and tied with twine. I haven't made a ton of things out of this book, but it does serve as a pretty good reference for what flavors belong in this type of cooking without reading too obscure.
Vegan with a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz is the source for my sweet potato pie with maple nut topping (p. 234-235). If you like vegan comfort food, I can't recommend this book enough, although oddly my actually vegan boyfriend hasn't been too impressed with the things I've made with this book. Too bad; I am! He did cop to liking the pie, at least. He is human, after all.
High-Flavor, Low-Fat Vegetarian Cooking by Steven Raichlen has the recipe for the Armenian pomegranate pate (p. 6). I've only made one or two other things from this book, but it has lovely, glossy pictures and somewhat inspiring recipes that, apparently, I never have all the ingredients to make. It's a little odd that way. Also, the dude who wrote this has a barbecue cooking show on PBS.
Invitation to Mediterranean Cooking by Claudia Roden has a couple minor recipes used in my Thanksgiving dinner (eggplant puree, traditional variation, p. 30; bulghur pilaf with raisins and pine nuts, p. 84) as well as a broad overview of recipes from several Mediterranean countries (not just European).
The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen by Donna Klein is a vegan cookbook with a commendable goal: to avoid using substitutions to make something vegan, but still having a recipe based in reality/tradition. Want to make pesto without the cheese? Some people couldn't afford cheese, so they did without. I really like this cookbook, the type of cuisine it focuses on, and its attitude, so even when I don't really like a recipe, I still keep it in mind. It's definitely not gathering dust. This was the source for mashed potatoes (though I added about six cloves of raw garlic to the cooked product), butternut squash gratin, and pesto-stuffed mushroom caps.
Today I cooked without the aid of cookbooks, using up some of my Thanksgiving herb leftovers to make a basil-mint hummus (omit garlic and olive oil; add tons of fresh basil and about 6-8 sprigs of mint) and items freshly acquired at the farmers' market to make potato-leek soup with ground coriander for a most excellent kick. I also had tea with homemade mixed nut scones (Vengeance, above) and raspberry preserves for breakfast.
Also? I suggest adding fresh orange zest, dried cranberries, and a dash of cinnamon to your pancakes.
The obsessive cooking phase is back in effect, guys. At least for now.
Friday, November 24, 2006
pomegranate and walnut pate - this was pretty interesting. My mom and sister were pretty fond of it; Kevin thought it was weird.
hummus - I can make awesome hummus in my sleep, so whatever.
baked fish with coriander and nut stuffing, Lebanese-style - this was SUPER CRAZY DELICIOUS. We ended up using tilapia filets and wrapping them around a wad of stuffing, tying it with string, then baking it upright with a little white wine in the bottom of the pan. An unqualified success.
vegan option, at Kevin's discretion - he didn't opt for anything in particular, so he got tomatoes with some of the stuffing for the fish (the stuffing itself was vegan).
fennel, orange, and arugula salad - looked amazing; tasted okay. No one really said anything about it, but if it at least made a nice visual impression, I'm happy.
broiled mushrooms with pesto* - quite lovely, if simple.
Italian-style brown rice salad - no one from my house/family liked this, but Kevin's dad did, so I sent all the leftovers with him, even though they were going up to Yosemite today. I suggested they mix in some chicken or tuna and maybe yogurt or mayo and it would probably be good in a pita or sandwich, but overall, the flavors just didn't do it for me, anyway.
garlic mashed potatoes (just garlic, olive oil, and potatoes) - I probably should have made these the day-of instead of making them on Tuesday and reheating them, but I think they present good reworking opportunities. The reheating really dried them out, though.
provencal butternut squash gratin - completely delicious. Not overseasoned and a very melt-in-your-mouth texture.
bulghur pilaf with pine nuts and raisins* - bland, but tasty. People like bulghur; it's a nice little grain. Kevin picked out the raisins, but otherwise called this dish his favorite. (The other ingredients were toasted pine nuts and vegetable broth. Thanks.)
challah a la Margot - one vegan and one non-vegan loaf. She shaped the non-vegan loaf into an absolutely adorable fish that rose and almost stopped looking like a fish, so she brushed it with some blue, red, and brown egg wash, which made it look hilariously Easter-y. The vegan loaf was formed into a fabulous turkey (the only turkey at dinner) for irony's sake and it was delicious.
sweet potato pie with lots of nuts - PHENOMENAL. I halved the sugar called for in the filling recipe, but otherwise followed directions and it came out BEAUTIFUL. So much good sweet potato, maple, and nut flavors with a lovely, nutty, graham cracker crust.
pear and cranberry tort (or other basically fruity dessert)* - Kevin requested simple cut fruit, so that's what we had -- pineapple, mango, oranges, apples, and kiwi. I think only the oranges, pineapple, and mango got served, though.
Also, Kevin's dad brought a "rainbow yam" dish with a sauce that -- as I recall -- was made with mango, vanilla, and rum, among possibly other things and was quite tasty as well.
Overall, it was a success. Hooray! Today we are thinking of going to a movie or two or three and looking at mattresses while avoiding Black Friday sales of HORROR.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Speaking of dorking out, I am really obsessed with my Thanksgiving menu this week. I cannot shut up. Also, my house is still not clean and that is freaking me out. My mom is coming in tomorrow at noon and will be home without me all afternoon. Ack ack ack ack. Hopefully Kevin will forego sleep in pursuit of my sanity, heh. (It's all his stuff, pretty much. There will be some picking up in the living room that I can do, and general neatening up of the place, but the piles... those are his. I can't touch them.) Anyway, a lot of stuff is made or just needs some finishing touches and reheating, so the cooking portion, at least, shouldn't be a huge stressor. Plus it all looks pretty tasty!
Happy unturkey day!
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Monday, November 13, 2006
Stop being so goddamn happy with each other and doing all those things people do. Stop wanting to spend your lives together. I mean, it's sweet and all, really, but there is just too much of it.
Just stop with the happy-making, people. Please.
Love, your freaked-out friend,
Sunday, November 12, 2006
Of course, that hasn't stopped me from jumping the obsessive planning gun, and I already know how the table will be set (I bought eight plates in a nice slate blue, $2 apiece, as well as simple cloth napkins, also cheap) and what the menu is. Hell, I already made a shopping list, divided by part of the store (as my mother once taught me). Next Sunday I'll get up, get everything I can from the farmers' market (including possibly some flowers for the table--maybe a small white orchid, or a nice bouquet of cut flowers that might last a few days), then hit up Whole Foods and Trader Joe's for the rest. I still need to plan which days I'll do prep work for which food items. My mom is flying in around lunchtime the day before Thanksgiving and I will also have to set aside a project or two for her in the afternoon. My sister will take Caltrain down that night and possibly whip up a batch or two of her wonderful challah.
You must know by now that I relish a challenge for menu-planning (if not necessarily cooking technique itself), so I think my Thanksgiving menus have gotten weirder every year. This year, I'm going Mediterranean/Middle Eastern, and it's almost 100% vegan and should be pretty crazy healthy. Here's what I have planned for this year:
pomegranate and walnut pate
caponata or eggplant salad
baked fish with coriander and nut stuffing, Lebanese-style
vegan option, at Kevin's discretion
fennel, orange, and arugula salad
stuffed swiss chard leaves*
broiled mushrooms with pesto*
Italian-style brown rice salad
garlic mashed potatoes (just garlic, olive oil, and potatoes)
provencal butternut squash gratin
spinach sauteed with pine nuts and raisins*
bulghur pilaf with pine nuts and raisins*
challah a la Margot
sweet potato pie with lots of nuts
pear and cranberry tort (or other basically fruity dessert)*
something very, very chocolatey*
* = the maybes. I'd prefer to narrow it down to five sides and two desserts, but we'll see.
Friday, November 10, 2006
In between actual project work today (which was light), I was researching tires. It was down to two options. A would cost me $308 (including installation, taxes, and fees), is a model recommended by Consumer Reports, and could be installed at a shop less than a mile from my house as soon as tomorrow. B would cost me $285 *on sale* (including installation, taxes, and fees), is a model that seems pretty good judging by general comments on the internet (it wasn't reviewed by CR), and had a much better treadwear rating than A. I went with B, which is through Costco.com, and I have to await their call--within 5 to 10 business days--to see when these suckers can get put on my car.
I also checked out some Honda parts sites and found out that my side view mirror is listed at $179, but at least one site had it for $134. But that's just the part, and I have no idea where I could get it installed and how much labor would cost. I also don't know if I ripped up other things besides the mirror part that I can buy. If I were a little more car-savvy, I'd have half a mind to attempt to install the thing myself, but it involves wires and bodywork and thus is scary.
Anyway, I think $500+ of car work is quite enough for one month.
I should call my mom and make sure she didn't drown now. I'm feeling guilty enough about the car things; I shouldn't have to feel like I have ignored her and the fact that she hasn't been on the internet for a few days and it's OMG raining like fucking biblical floods up there.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
Now what is left, in order of priority to fix it:
1. New tires (dude said "before it gets rainy") on a budget of less than $300.
2. Replace right side view mirror that I awesomely smashed off in my old apartment parking spot, which supposedly costs something like $200 to fix at a dealer, and bleh.
3. Fix dents and scraping in left rear doors from another parking incident, circa 2002. This one had an estimated repair cost of around $1,200 at the time; might be worse now, who the hell knows. All I know is this has absolutely zero effect on my driving and thus is an extremely low priority. As in, it may never get fixed.
Other things in the coming months I will be spending money on:
Thanksgiving -- food and possibly some decoration/table setting business. We have plates, but the ones that match with a total of 8 (at least, I hope) are plain white Corelle, which bores me to tears. Blue plates? Something pretty? Who me, spend money on useless crap?
Christmas/birthdays -- you know, presents. I don't actually buy for a large number of people, but I want to get nice things. I don't even know what to give people this year.
Shoes -- assuming my fucking ankle heals properly, I need better walking shoes so I can continue with the walking thing. Good shoes aren't really cheap, and I might end up going through multiple pairs in the search for perfection. Phooey.
Anyway, listmania is now over, because my wallet is crying and I have to go comfort it. Also because I am hungry.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Though I'm registered as a permanent absentee voter and never actually got confirmation that my address was changed (I should be within all the same precints, however), I voted at my local polling place, which happens to be two doors down from me in a neighbor's living room. I never received my absentee ballot or a paper voter's guide, anyway. They started out the day with four machines, but were down to three when we arrived at 7 p.m. and were running out of paper (some kind of stopgap solution to the paperless ballot/Diebold problem, I suppose) in one or two more. The line was crawling. One of the election officials (who might also be one of said neighbors) said we could vote on the sample ballots. All the voter guides with sample ballots they had available were of the bilingual persuasion, and they ran out of "official" envelopes.
So my vote was cast on a Vietnamese ballot and shoved into a blank envelope marked "provisional" in ballpoint pen by another election official.
Anyway, fuck this useless shit, I'm going to flop on the couch and watch the CW all night.
Monday, November 06, 2006
So your loved one is doing the jailhouse rock. Will be for the next 15 to 25 years. Visiting them is a difficult time for all concerned... but not anymore! Now you can schedule your trip to prison online! No more tearful phone conversations with the prison administration; your hardened criminal or wrongfully convicted spouse, parent, significant other, child, or best friend is just a few mouse clicks away.
Friday, November 03, 2006
As a result of my awesomely purple injury (no, really, the bruise is spectacular!), I've been begging rides off a barely-awake Kevin in the mornings and a speed demon boss in the evenings. Well, I got rides from the boss until we were halfway to my house last night, which is exactly when her 15-year-old Civic hatchback lost power steering and failed to restart after she maneuvered it into a nearby parking lot. The aroma of burning plastic was everywhere, but there was no evidence of leaking or other obvious trouble. As soon as it was determined that we weren't going anywhere without rescue (in the form of her boyfriend), it started raining. Hard. And I was only wearing a sock on one foot. Well, a sock and a bandage.
In lesser crimes against my well-being, the backlight on my camera's LCD apparently burned out, so that thing is useless. It's no longer under warranty, of course.
And I finally got myself to call the mechanic I've been meaning to take my scrapey brake-addled car to for weeks, only to learn that they're closed until Monday.
So I'm a gimp with no ride. Also, no food.
Monday, October 30, 2006
Kevin is taking care of me, but I'm completely useless and occasionally in an assload of pain. This is so great. Every time I try to do something good for myself...
Sunday, October 29, 2006
One: I have been walking to work. I walked on a Friday and continued walking every day last week. It takes about a half hour and I get very sweaty and upon returning home all I want to do is collapse, but I think it's good for me. The reasons for this can include my need to exercise and my hatred of driving, and that's all well and good, but they also include my reluctance to take my car to a mechanic to get the brakes or whatever it is that's making a scraping sound while the car is in motion fixed. (Mom, if you ask me about this, I swear I will stick my fingers in my ears and hum loudly and off-key like a five-year old. It WILL get taken care of, okay? I feel shitty enough about it without having to discuss it.)
Really, the best part of walking is that I am way less angry at stuff. Driving makes me an angerball, as even in my 10-minute commute I see no fewer than two traffic infractions that make me want to kill/flip off/honk/scream, so I get to work, teeth gnashing, snarling about some idiot who ran a yellow light or took too long to make a U-turn.
Two: I have been being a little better about actually cooking for myself. We went through a spat of eating out almost exclusively, and we both decided that was Bad, and I think my credit card statements are thus far a little less intimidating as a result. (Second note to mom: My finances are in perfectly fine shape.) The farmers' market is basically the highlight of my weekend, including today, when a friend from work also came to the Campbell market and we goaded each other into buying lots of things we probably didn't need. I usually don't take samples if I'm there on my own, because although I realize sampling does not imply intent to purchase, I feel like it should in my stupid little head, and so I try to avoid trying things that look delicious but are things I am highly unlikely to actually spend money on. Like toffee and cheese and cookies. I did give in today and try some cheese that is organic and locally produced, and ended up buying some spiced white cheddar that made me want to sing.
There's a dude who sells juice, mediocre guacamole, and organic avocados at one end of the market, and he's a little overly flirtatious. I asked him if his smaller 'cados were 4 for $5, and he took the sign away and said, "No, for you, they're 6 for $5." I bought the half dozen, and later brought my coworker by, warning her that he was a little on the creepy side. What followed was more flirtation in which he implied that he changed the price based on my negotiation skills that involved a hug. Which...they did not. But this gave my coworker an in to wrangle 4 for $2 out of him--via the hug negotiation tactic.
The bad thing that happened (or didn't, really) was that I have been wanting to get a pet, specifically a bunny, and I took Kevin to a house rabbit adoption fair last weekend to see how he'd react to the fluffbutts. There was one there who took a shine to him, sitting calmly on his lap for an hour and eating hay out of his hand (it sniffed me and stretched up to my shoulder, then got bored and hopped back to him), but after we left, he told me he was having an allergic reaction to it--itchy eyes, the whole bit. I'm allergic, too, truth be told, but I'm happily medicated and it isn't bad enough to bother me. Anyway, the no-bunny scenario has me pretty bummed out overall.
I'm sure there's more going on, but whatever.
Friday, October 13, 2006
The support folks are all, yeah, we don't...do server side filtering. Mucks up the system, and the like. How's about you go ahead and use some other mail client that will do nice filtering jibjab for ya, like ehhh... Thunderbird. That's what we recommend. This server side crap is unreliable!
Obviously I'm not directly quoting their email, just mocking it like the petulant snot I am.
So here's the thing, guys. I am annoyed that you don't support any server side filtering whatsoever, and let me tell you why. Part of the reason I chose your damn hosting in the first place, oh so many years ago, was the multiple email access methods, including my bizarrely beloved pine. I use the webmail at work and while traveling, and I use pine on my home machine, and I really, deeply appreciate the ability to have them both at the ready. For example, if I'm back in the PacNW, using my mom's laptop, I don't want to have to use the goddamn touchpad to mark 75 messages for deletion before I can read the messages from my friends regarding the logistics of our meeting up. I know, really, suck it up, but fuck. I shouldn't have to be dealing with a barrage of spam, and neither should anyone else, and why the fuck can't they do ANY, even unrecommended, server side filtering?
Anyone have actually useful suggestions for me? These can include changing hosting companies, by the way. If they won't work with me on this, I might not be able to work with them, but it's only the first volley so far. My turn to hit it back.
Sunday, October 08, 2006
Yesterday I went back up to the city to go to the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival, which is unique in that it's free and has zero corporate sponsorship. Also, if you're into anything resembling "bluegrass," it's got some big named attached to it. Or from what I can tell, they're big names--I like bluegrass/americana/whathaveyou, but again, I'm not super into it. But I enjoyed Bragg's performance, certainly, as well as his impassioned speechifying. I'm definitely not one of those people who believes music and politics should be separate, and as such, his words were rousing. At least as much as Steve Earle's flipping off the Blue Angels was hilarious.
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
Anyway, so, the wedding happened and now I'm back in San Jose. Well, Campbell, but to most of y'all, same diff. I have seen half of everyone I know in the past few days, including a most unexpected but extremely useful visit with the Editor, who picked me up from the airport when some dumbass parked in front of our driveway so Kevin couldn't come get me himself. I think I had a pretty good visit with all the people I don't usually get to see and meet some I've never seen but heard plenty about. I stayed with my aunt up in Mukilteo, which was comfortable and nice because she really seems to enjoy having company, and I enjoy not having to pay for hotel rooms or sleep on couches. My mom drove me around to a lot of places, but I also got rides from friends (including the very generous Lauren, who drove me all the way from Wallingford to Mukilteo one night). I saw just about every Haremite who still lives in the Seattle area (including a really lovely visit with Jen), I got a bunch of reading material from Bulldog News, and I brought vegan Thai takeout up to my mom and aunt (the latter of whom is allergic to shrimp and typically can't eat Thai food at all).
Ohhh, yeah, and I was in Christine and Jack's wedding. (It's...not Danger anymore, it's Jack. Long story, sorta, but not worth telling if you don't already know the guy, I'd wager. Besides, making the guy change his name to get married if she is changing hers seems fair enough to me.) It was my first bridesmaid gig, so that was interesting. Christine was a slightly frazzled but absolutely radiant bride. Jack very sweetly needed the handkerchief to wipe his teary eyes as much as she did when they said their vows. Instead of a wedding cake, they had a huge, cascading pile of chocolate chip cookies. I got to give a toast, which I made far too big a deal of, but I think those concerned found it amusing enough.
After lamenting that we seem able to have Harem reunions only for the purposes of watching other people get hitched, we started trying to figure out who is "next." Jana was absolutely certain would be me, since Kevin and I have been together almost 4 years now (forget the whole 3 months of being broken up! Hell, I think we have), but I told her to bite her damn tongue. Then Christine went ahead and did a bouquet toss (a tradition I kind of despise, and she agreed, but went ahead with it at the other bridesmaids' request anyway), and guess who caught the damn thing? That's right, Jana. So I won't say anything else if you won't, lady.
Sunday, September 24, 2006
My neck really hates me, though. I wake up hurting pretty much every day. It's super awesome.
This weekend was the Massive Attack show up in Berkeley. I got off work early on Friday so we could make it up with a minimum of bad traffic, and it worked out just fine. The worst traffic was actually leaving the parking garage at the end of the evening. I went with Kevin, my boss, and her boyfriend, and it seemed like everyone had a pretty good time.
I don't have a lot of blog-related shit to say lately. Next weekend I'll be in Seattle for Christine and Danger's lovely wedding. I don't have a lot of time, so I don't plan on a lot of side-visiting, but if you're in Seattle and see this and aren't attending the wedding and want to see me (look at all those conditions!), shoot me a comment or email and let me know.
Time to re-dye the hair and possibly give it a trim so I don't look rooty and scruffy next weekend.
Saturday, September 09, 2006
That's only slightly less pathetic, I know.
I feel pretty lethargic and tired and unexcited about life this weekend. I can't really even think about doing "fun" things because even watching TV is sort of too much--not that it stops me from leaving it on nigh constantly, because what else can I do to distract myself from how crappy I'm feeling?
I have a hunch that if I started exercising and being good, I might feel stronger and some of this neck shit would take care of itself more, and I'd have a better outlet for stress, and I'd feel more energetic in general after awhile, but fuck, getting to that point feels to me like climbing Everest. I have to sit down and catch my breath just thinking about it.
Sometimes I feel like a hobo who can't catch a train. I'm waiting at the tracks, but they keep passing me by. I see all the other hobos getting on, but I can't seem to do it myself.
Wow, this post is a fucking downer. Sorries.
Friday, September 01, 2006
Work has been hellish, and the possible light at the end of the tunnel in the form of another job opportunity vanished suddenly, which was a huge bummer. Then this morning I hit a parked truck while pulling out of the driveway. I mean, I have insurance and it should cover that, but fuck. Not a good way to start the day.
I did go see Factotum, which was pretty good, if also a downer. It was all, "Yeah, wow, alcoholism isn't fun, after all." However, my cute-ass new shoes gave me a blister while walking to the theater, so it was just another level of not-awesome.
Uhmm... what's good? New house still rocks, had a good visit with my mom last weekend, there are a ton of tomatoes around, and except for one day where I thought I was getting a sinus infection, my nose has been pretty okay. We tried a different dish we didn't know we hadn't tried at our favorite Ethiopian restaurant that was fantastic. I need to do laundry this weekend and I'm doing a little catsitting. Catsitting has a side benefit of being able to catch up on Deadwood on the On Demand, unless I am blinded by the cats' cuteness. It's a long weekend, and even though I'm not at Bumbershoot, I'm glad to have the extra day off.
I don't even know what's going on, really. I'm tired. It's been a really long week. Bleh.
Thursday, August 17, 2006
I am really tired and someday I will post pictures of it and the 2-foot-long horseshoe-shaped cucumber we received in our CSA share this week! Hilarity will ensue!
Also I got a massage! I really needed it! There is a place two blocks from here and they rock!
I am baking pizzas for dinner now! Delicious!
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
That quickly kicked up enough dust to inflame my allergic asthma indefinitely.
Thanks, closet. Thanks, dust mites. I hate you.
I want to take a day off and pack and move and be happy because the new house totally makes me happy.
Friday, August 04, 2006
Work has been mildly hellish, but there are new people who are cool and I still love my coworkers and all that. Plus on Wednesday night the Editor and I went up to the city and saw Anton Barbeau and The Loud Family at the Hotel Utah and damn if that wasn't a fucking excellent show. It was a much-needed outing for us both, and we got lots of good talking done as well as rocking. The evening also involved dinner at Amber Cafe, namely the eggplant and mushroom wraps, which are delicious.
But the big news is this: Kevin and I rented a new house. We're moving over the next few weeks. I hope some of you can come see it. It's going to be really fucking excellent. The rent is a bit steep by most peoples' standards, but we can afford it, and the pluses are about a mile long: hardwood floors except the big bedroom that Kevin will use for music stuff, almost all double-paned windows, gardener and water and garbage are included, pretty yard with fruit trees (persimmon, orange, and grapefruit), absolutely phenomenal location (if you know Campbell, it's two blocks off Campbell Ave. near the Los Gatos Creek Trail -- right between downtown Campbell and the Pruneyard), all the charm of a 1940s-vintage home with all the updates a caring owner would make, recently reomodeled kitchen with gas range, and landlords who are friendly and ridiculously reasonable. Sorry for the lengthy sentence; hope it was parsable. Anyway, the point is, the place is super great and we are both really excited to live there.
Tonight I am flying to Washington to be around for only about 30 hours so I can attend my old college friend/roommate's wedding in Olympia. I get in around midnight, sleep in a motel by the airport, get picked up by Josie, Christine, et al., eat a meal in a park, then go see most of my Seattle friends and celebrate some peoples' love or whatever goes on at these "wedding" things, then go back to the motel, sleep a bit, and catch a fucking 6 a.m. flight. It's going to be an AWESOME weekend.
Next weekend is the Death Cab for Cutie/Spoon show in Berkeley, and the weekend after that we're seeing Zack Galifianakis at the Fillmore. In between we will be moving all our crap into the new place. Yay!
Sunday, July 23, 2006
It's fucking inescapable.
The other day at work, I walked outside and it was just as hot outside as it usually is when I first get in my car in the evening. That's disgusting.
I hear pretty much the entire West coast is like this right now, except apparently Southern California, which is getting more reasonable temps in the 70s and 80s. I swear to christ it's in the 100s all night here. Okay, not really, but it stays unbelievably hot. We thought about going to Santa Cruz to cool off, but it was in the 90s there, too. Monterey sounded reasonably pleasant, but it's about a two-hour drive, and by the time we could've left, we would've been in the car for the better chunk of the afternoon, which... ugh.
Heat makes me totally lethargic. I had plans to make curry paste and cook all kinds of crap this weekend and it hasn't happened. I walk in the kitchen and think about wiping off the cutting board or rinsing out the blender jar and just go sit back down. The heat also makes me feel like a fat slug. These things combined made me a raging bitch for half of yesterday.
Wow, it was so ho(t) I forgot I was writing a blog entry. We are going to Santa Cruz, where is is in the 80s and 90s and not 103 like it is here right fucking now.
Friday, July 14, 2006
There have always been a handful -- but only a handful -- of things we both liked, and a laundry list of things we disliked immensely in each others' stereos. There was always the Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, and Cat Stevens. She has somewhat recently gotten into U2, of all things, and while I'm not especially into U2 (no hate, no love), it's made me think she might be more open to new stuff now than she might've been when I was a whiny teenager who loved the Smashing Pumpkins. (Though she readily cops to enjoying some Radiohead, even then.)
Then there was the time she was asking me how to go about finding one particular mp3 online, and it didn't occur to me to ask which one, but it turned out that she wanted Jeff Buckley. I mean, really?
So while I'm sure I'd never try to get my mom into Deerhoof or spend an evening listening to Slint's Spiderland with her, I wonder how much music we might manage to have in common now.
What do you and your parents both like? What would you try to get your parents into? Or are you and your parents completely at odds when it comes to music? (Becky, I already know the answer in your case; your mom is special and I love her anyway. I also owe her email. Now what did I do with that business card....)
Massive Attack. DJ Shadow opening. Yes.
I loved this shit since high school and still actually love it. Not even Radiohead really passed that muster.
I have an ex-boyfriend who allegedly quit listening to both of them after we broke up, despite loving them, on account of my fondness for them. I almost feel like I owe it to the asshole.
Not to mention I owe it to myself. Massive fucking Attack and DJ goddamn Shadow!
What else is going on? Not really anything. I have some more photos I should suck off the camera like sweet, sweet nectar and post. A lot of them involve trees. I've been watching videos, but I can't remember them now. Nothing memorable, apparently!
Sunday, July 09, 2006
Saturday, July 01, 2006
I just noticed a receipt for my prescriptions on the desk in front of me. (The apartment... it's very messy.) Apparently if the HMO didn't have my back, I would've dropped $134 for 100 allegra tablets and $80.60 for the nasal spray, instead of their respective $10 and $25. So, I may see doctors in the system that fucked up their entire kidney transplant program, but at least I'm not paying an obscene amount of money to do so.
This week has been not super-fantastic, personally, partly because I've had this low-level stomachache all damn week. I did a little more catsitting, but Kevin wasn't feeling up to inflaming his allergies, so there are no funny stories about the kitten. (Besides that it says "mew!" in that tiny little voice of hers a lot and likes to attack things, especially the other two cats, and you can imagine how happy they are about it. Potential carnage involving one tiny and cute cat and one beautiful and graceful cat isn't really funny, though.)
Not sure what all is going on this weekend. Charlie Murphy is playing the Improv in downtown San Jose and I was going to try to go with my coworkers, but I guess they forgot (and so did I, kinda). I am not really much of a 4th of July kind of girl, since none of the following things could be in any way construed as my bag: excessive displays of patriotism, things exploding, barbecues (it's the whole meat cooking smell thing), drinking alcohol, hot weather.
Today I plan on cleaning my kitchen, maybe the rest of my apartment, and handing over a rent check. I know, dream big, right?
Monday, June 26, 2006
Speaking of music and roads, Saturday involved a nice toasty trip to Santa Cruz. First up was visiting Kevin's mom, grandfather, and uncle, who was in town for the week. He picked up an obscene amount of Ethiopian food from our favorite place and we hardly made a dent, but it was tasty. Then we all hung out in his mom's garden, picking and eating ollaliberries (a type of blackberry) and strawberries, making fresh meyer lemonade, etc. Always delightful. We followed this up, in short order, with dinner at Mobo Sushi with the Editor and Jenn in downtown Santa Cruz, which has extensive and exciting vegetarian sushi offerings in addition to its many popular fish-based rolls. After that, we went up to the Editor's friends' amazing house near the Mystery Spot and carpooled to the Rio from there. Neko Case and her band were absolutely beautiful (and apparently Neko is a big fan of casseroles, provided they aren't made with cream of mushroom soup), though I can't say the same for her opening act.
We crashed at the friends' friends' house (which was being housesat) and got breakfast at Dharma's before heading back over the hill to chill without having to be in public or outdoors. Not that there was anything chilly about it; heat is vastly overrated, especially now, with daily highs in the 90s or higher all over the Bay Area. But we watched a little Firefly, ran an errand for some pet project of Kevin's, and so on. In the evening Kevin didn't feel much like rocking, and I didn't feel much like making him drive me over the hill just so I could do some rocking, so we settled on staying here. Well, kind of. Kevin planned to call a few of his favorite restaurants in Mountain View and order one or two good, cold dishes from each. This was a time-consuming but fun project, and the only drawbacks were that by the time we settled in with our feast, it wasn't so hot as to require the cool dishes, and that the tea he picked for me at the boba tea shop was icky. (For the record, I hate boba tea. I hate pearls, I hate milky shit, and I hate stuff that's way too sweet. I just want iced fucking tea and I'd like to have options besides black, but I am not the world. Iced green tea from Tea Era on Castro is neither milky nor contaminated with pearls, but it is sickeningly sweet.)
Today I feel like all kinds of dumb little things are going wrong for me, and for some of those I spend a lot of time with, it was actually crappy. While I just had one of those days where you get every yellow light and it's excruciating to type accurately and why the fuck does my toe hurt and some kid at Target almost spilled a half gallon of cranberry juice all over me, my boss was home sick and Kevin got carted off to the ER by his coworkers for nearly fucking passing out at lunch. Dude has a fever and the most useless, vague diagnosis a clown college physician's assistant is legally allowed to hand out. He seems much better when under the influence of simple OTC medicines and plenty of fluids, though. So that's where I've been all evening.
And now I'm going to go bask in the breezy embrace of the cheap fan I just bought at Target.
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
One of the few evening farmer's markets in this area isn't far from my house, so the Editor and I checked it out for dinner. One of the three bread stalls was selling organic baguettes for $1, so you know I hit that. Plus I got some potatoes, because you can't have cauliflower without potatoes and I have a giant head of cauliflower from my CSA share. I also had an orange honey stick, because they were a quarter and I like sugar. Mmmm, sugar! Dinner consisted of garlic naan, samosas, and baingan bharta from an Indian food stall and curried lentils and spinach-stuffed flatbread from an Afghan/Italian (wtf, right?) "East Meets West" food stall. Everything was rather delicious.
Last weekend was full of laziness and mostly filled with catsitting and TV-on-DVD watching. Namely, Kevin and I watched the first half of Firefly, and yes, you were all fucking right, okay? It is good. I'm not about to go write fanfic or anything, but it was good. (And Jen, now I know what all your damn LJ user icons are!) We are borrowing the rest of the series and Serenity shortly, but I forgot to get them tonight. Alas. We are busy, anyway.
This coming weekend should be significantly less restful, as we have tickets to two shows down in Santa Cruz on Saturday (Neko Case) and Sunday (Built to Spill) nights and plan on enjoying Santa Cruz the rest of the weekend. We are owed a "thank you for catsitting" dinner as well, and free food aside, hanging out with the Editor and Jenn is always a treat. Tomorrow night we're headed to Santa Cruz as well, just to visit his mom's side of the family because her brother is in town. We are bringing them Ethiopian food, apparently. Maybe for once an entire order of hot timatim fitfit will disappear without any left over for lunch. There is always so damn much of that stuff, but it's so delicious, I don't care.
Yeah, and speaking of treats, I treated myself to a new camera this evening. Well, I bought it on eBay. A nice Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX9. It's a point-and-shoot, but really, I don't think I have it in me to do much more than that on a regular basis, and this thing looks hot and I plan on keeping it in my purse for random and hopefully excessive photography. The auction was a good deal, too, because it comes in an unopened box with a manufacturer warranty and a 1 GB memory card for about $100 less than most online shops are selling it for with just a 16 MB card. Do I need a camera? Absolutely not. But some of you are picture hounds and it could be fun.
It's being hot in San Jose. I really hate the weather.
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
I am tired because (1) I got 6 hours of sleep and I'm a 7 hours or more kind of girl and (2) the first day of my period is never any fun. I can't relish it like some, uh, artists, I guess. If I had a red tent to visit, I'd probably spend my time there in a fetal position, begging for cups of tea and dark chocolate. Not exactly female empowerment time.
Anyway, last night and Friday night I saw the Mountain Goats for the second and third times. The Friday night show was in Seattle and I took my friends Chris and Lauren and they enjoyed it very much. They played a bunch of really old stuff (like on the tapes/compilations, lots of stuff I don't have because I just not that hardcore, really) and some of the songs that will be on the new album. JD told amusing stories. Then the encore included "No Children" AND "The Best Ever Death Metal Band in Denton," both of which are so great and such a treat to hear. Last night's show in SF was a bit more sedate, as JD had gotten sick and was at risk of damaging his vocal chords should he belt out a few too many fan favorites. The "No Children" debate was quashed with a performance where the audience was on tuneless, shouted vocals and John and Peter played the music and giving cues for the verses. Otherwise, they delved further into the obscure, which includes a lot of great songs you might not otherwise hear because, admittedly, listening to the old recordings is kind of a chore, no matter how great the lyrics are. John Vanderslice, another fantastic performer, gave a nice rendition of "Your Belgian Things," though I heard his performance of the same the night before was a little more enthusiastic.
So, the rest of the weekend. I visited lots of friends -- besides Chris and Lauren, I saw Becky (and her cat Pippen), Josie (and Boo), Christine, Danger, Jana, Tom, and Graylan. There was a visit to the University District farmer's market where we found delicious tomatoes, cheese, and other locally-produced goodies, Pagliacci's pizza delivered, heart disease-inducing real mac and cheese made, and lots of catching up among old friends. I made it to Olympia Saturday night and spent two good days with my family. Sunday was my brother's senior recital, and it was great. His performance was beautiful (I especially liked the pieces he composed himself), there was an awesome turnout, and I got to spend time with family and family friends I don't see often. (Speaking of which, I owe lots of emails...) Plus, mom made bucolne dulce, which is a divine layered dessert consisting of meringue, chocolate, whipped cream, and strawberries.
On the other hand, I was suffering from a bit of a cold/cat allergies/sinus infection/who the fuck knows all weekend. And, again, I'm super tired at the moment, so forgive my awkward phrasing in this entry. I'm trying to be descriptive and no doubt failing.
But please let me get your catchy hit song out of my head.
I will update later with the goings-on of the weekend and more tMG gushing.
Saturday, June 03, 2006
The doctor explained that the grass allergies are seasonal and should be over their annual peak in July. She told me to get dust mite-blocking mattress and pillow covers for my bedding and make sure to wash my sheets in hot water at least every two weeks (hey, I use a coin-op washer, this doesn't happen already, okay?). Then she said I could start getting the allergy shots in July.
Allergy shots can actually kill you, by the way. Not likely, but it's possible. I think I'll take my chances, though. I will get one shot with cats and dust and one with grasses and in three to five years, if all goes well, I should be able to go both medicine- and shot-free into the allergen-riddled world.
Anyway, the success of the allergy treatments leaves me with little excuse when it comes to exercise. Until now, I've been lazy because I felt like crap all the time (and yes, not exercising certainly contributed, but being unable to breathe didn't help much), but now I can only claim to be lazy. So I've got to figure out the best way for me to integrate good exercise into my daily routine, and maybe it's the stupid workout video game and maybe it's something else. I don't really like being with people or having to go somewhere because, again, lazy. This is not a call for suggestions, by the way.
Wednesday evening I saw the Eels and Smoosh at the Fillmore with Kevin, the Editor, and an old friend of the Editor's. It was an absolute blast. They have a guy (we think they called him Crazy Al, but there was some debate as to the last word) onstage with them, dressed as a security guard, who annouces things, does weird shit like "dance" by doing kung fu/boxing moves/push-ups, and squirts whipped cream into willing audience members' mouths. Fucking fantastic.
Tonight is Jim Gaffigan at the Mountain Winery. What a pretty place for a silly show. Next weekend I am headed to the PacNW to see some of my favorite people and one of my favorite bands.
All my Netflixes lately are Deadwood Season 2. It is delicious. We did rent some things from Bradley Video last week--Fear and Trembling, which I liked okay; Face, the Japanese movie about a woman who kills her sister and flees, which I didn't like much; and re-watching The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Ghost World. Kevin didn't like the latter much, which saddened me.
Also, I bought some unnecessary crap in the form of shiny oxblood-colored mock croc Dansko clogs on eBay, a pretty black and silver-striped skirt, and a bunch more tea from a new website. Isn't consumerism grand?
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
The predinisone, I think, is to blame for my weird mood/slightly dizzy feeling over the past week. I'd go for a little walk and just feel bizarre. I felt very empty-headed and sometimes depressed. I felt enormously tired. I...decided to stop taking the stuff after a week.
Which is perfectly okay. Great, even. The allergist told me it would take at least five days but up to two weeks to work, and to stop using it once it started to work. Since I've been largely sneeze-free (well, significantly less sneezy), I think that counts, so as of today, I switched to my old nasal spray, rhinocort aqua. It's a thing of beauty. I feel much better today than I did over the weekend.
Speaking of the weekend, it was odd. I slept in a lot, partly because I had sporadic bouts of insomnia and partly because I just felt weird. On Saturday we tried to have a picnic at the beach, but we got a late start, plus it was windy as hell. Pajaro Dunes on a windy day is not fun. I got sand in my eyes. Then I was freezing. This was partly my own fault for trying to be cute that day by wearing a skirt. Bad idea. Mostly I ended up having a minor hissyfit and being generally moody and unpleasant for an entire evening, until we made it to the Malabar Cafe right before it closed and ate delicious food, including some freebies.
Sunday I let go to waste. I don't even remember what I actually did on Sunday. Monday I woke up around 9 and cleaned the shit out of my apartment and my sister came over and baked challah for me. One of the loaves is in the shape of Cthulu. It is awesome.
Monday, May 22, 2006
Door #2? Dust mites.
Door #3? Cats.
Nos. 2 and 3 are no surprise. Three is especially unfortunate, since I do love cats. No matter, I have new Magical Prescription Eyedrops (I think that is their brand name) which should help me in case I get a little overzealous with the petting of cute furry things and forget to wash my hands before I rub my red, irritated eyes.
The tragic part of it is that I am not allergic to dogs. I am only emotionally allergic to dogs. How confusing.
The pathetic state of my nose was confirmed by the allergist, who took one look up my nose and made a sad face. She also said that those coughing fits I've been having while off the claritin are due to some kind of allergic asthma, which sucks balls, though it is seemingly taken care of with simple medications. No nerdy inhaler for me! (Strange that that strikes me as nerdier than the glasses I've worn since I was 5. Cognitive dissonance is a beautiful thing.)
To remedy all these situations, or at least try, I have been given high-dosage allegra; a two-week course of predisone, which is a steroid that should clear up my nose problems enough that I can use the rhinocort aqua (and possibly a second nasal spray, in case just one isn't sufficient!); and the aforementioned magical eyedrops, to be used as needed. After getting sorted with the predisone, it's back to the allergist with me for further consultation and possibly starting allergy shots to rid me of this crap permanently.
Allergy testing was not as unpleasant as I expected, though it certainly wasn't fun. It is amusing to commisserate with your fellow test subjects in the waiting room, however.
To change the tone to something much less mundane and upbeat, if you're a praying soul, or even a "you'll be in my thoughts" type, please send your prayers and good thoughts to my family's close friends, who suddenly and tragically lost their 18-year-old daughter last week.
Saturday, May 13, 2006
Laura Veirs toured with him, but we missed the first half of her set and the second half was beset with distraction in the form of people talking. I think her Noisepop set was the best I've seen her; this was not, but I still find her awesomely endearing.
Being off the allergy meds is interesting. I am clearly allergic to everything now, so the claritin WAS doing SOMETHING... just not enough. It will be good to see what all it is that ails me, because I must say I'm flummoxed. Outdoors, usually, I am okay; at the show last night, I wasn't too bad; everywhere else: ACHOO ACHOO attractive nose running! Especially from (1) waking up and (2) the air conditioner fan at work. So what do you think mold and dust are going to do in that skin test, hmm?
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
Either Saturday or Sunday I will head down to Olympia for my brother's to-do, then spend the evening with my family there and fly back to San Jose around 6 p.m. on the 12th. I've got 1.5 days paid vacation approved, an airline confirmation number, and an envelope from TicketsWest, so I'm set. Can't wait to see you guys!
And so is blogger, because it's down half the times I think to post something! Yay!
But getting back to the body = awesome thing. So my current slew of allergy meds is clearly not sufficient (claritin + nasorel [crap!] + the occasional benadryl at night to help me not wake up with dry mouth), so I returned to chez Kaiser to beg for help. He did me right, that ol' doctor, and gave me (1) a prescription for rhinocort aqua, which is the only nasal spray that's done anything for me in the past, and (2) a referral to the allergy clinic.
I'm going in for allergy testing in two weeks. That means, for ten whole days between Thursday and my appointment on the 22nd, I have to be even semi-functional med-free. No claritin, no benadryl, no starting on the rhinocort. That will be fun. I'm going to sneeze my way through May, but maybe I'll finally know which piece of crap in the air makes me sick all the time.
Then spend the next SEVEN YEARS getting regular shots to make it go away.
The worst-case scenario is if I am allergic to gluten or something. That would be the fucking worst, though I'm not even sure they test me for that.
So that will be fun.
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
I am still solidifying Seattle/Olympia travel plans, but a couple people have said they'd be interested in the show and/or putting me up for a night, so thanks to you. It doesn't seem like I'm going to find a good schedule for fares less than $210, which sucks, but I will be in the area that weekend no matter what. I even plan to take Monday off to make things easier.
There has been far too much show skipping lately, and I'm sad to say it's been mostly me to blame. The amount of snot in my sinuses is at least unpleasant at all times (on a scale of "eh" to "fuck I want to die"), and that makes it hard to want to do things that are fun. Sometimes Benadryl helps me sleep. I have been walking, though, a little bit, and enjoying fresh local produce thanks to the horrible horrible sun. There were strawberries AND valencia oranges in my CSA share this week, in addition to a bunch of lovely vegetables. Fruit is so good!
Edited to add: I have booked plane fare and bought three tickets to the show Friday night. If I can only get one person to go, well, I am sure someone will want to buy an extra ticket at the door. I will send out an email shortly with details for those concerned.
Thursday, April 27, 2006
One of my most favoritest bands is playing June 12 and 13 at Bottom of the Hill in SF (I will almost definitely be at the show on the 13th), but in addition, those awesome motherfuckers will be at Neumo's in Seattle on June 9, and I haven't made plane reservations for that weekend yet, but I could potentially and easily be in town for that show as well, in the great circumstance that some or any of my Seattle friends are interested! I will buy your ticket! It will be fun! Plus I can crash on your couch! Hah!
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
I am getting fat, y'all. I say that "y'all" like a pathetic little bleat but without a trace of irony or Southern drawl. My neck hates me and I can't tell if it's the stupid NASA foam pillow that it's rejecting or it is just tired of holding my head up for all hours of the day. My nose hates the world and won't let me forget it. It went from rainy-ass winter to hot-ass summer here so fast I have whiplash. All those things don't do much to encourage me to, oh, exercise like I've been "meaning to" for months now. I bought a PS2 for the express purpose of using the stupid workout game and instead I have become enamored with We Love Katamari and Super Bust-A-Move. It has to stop.
Anyway, it's very fucking pathetic. All of it. Except the having a life bit, that's pretty all right. I am with Kevin and things are lovely. We have started getting small shares from this CSA farm in Watsonville, and it's really awesome. (If you have the desire and ability to get a share in a CSA farm, I highly recommend it. Check out Local Harvest to find farms near you.) I also got a pair of comfortable ugly plastic chairs from the Ikea as-is section for half their regular price so I can enjoy my spacious, shady porch. I've seen some movies and watched some TV.
I have to go back to being part of the real world now.
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
Can't think if anything else is going on. Still having fun. Still have a couple weeks' reprieve from incessant concert-going. Still sniffly because antibiotics may cure sinus infections, but they can't cure allergies.
P.S. I added additional text to the previous entry to describe the shows we went to. If you find this stuff amusing, seek it out. Otherwise, you can rest easy in the knowledge that I have been alive and even updating my blog on accasion, just not enough for you to notice without scrolling down.
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
My sinus infection has finally improved. Today is my last day of the second-chance meds and there's no sign of infection left, so as you can imagine, I'm feeling quite relieved.
I've watched a few movies in the past month (HAH), but I have no time to blather about them now. Instead, here's a rundown of things that are upcoming!
Last Sunday: Jose Gonzalez -- beautiful!
Tonight: Belle & Sebastian w/ The New Pornographers -- I believe I've made my feelings quite clear on this matter.
The Concourse sucks. It's like seeing a show in a barn--a huge, echoey, too-loud barn. B&S I disliked the exact same amount as their records, so at least they weren't painful. New Pornographers were great, but I want to see them in a smaller (or at least non-shitty) venue sometime so I can enjoy it and not show up too late to see "Use It."
Thursday: Bob Saget @ The Improv in San Jose -- go watch The Aristocrats right now. Unless you are my mom. Then don't watch it, ever.
Like a piece of my childhood coming full circle.
Saturday: Beth Orton @ The Fillmore
She's absolutely lovely live--her records are so-so for me, but live, she is adorable and beautiful. She sang through two encores despite having bronchitis. That's fucking dedication. This show also had the distinction of having the best lights ever for a regular show without crazy LED screens or projections or lasers or anything.
Mar. 28: Noisepop @ Bimbo's w/ Feist, John Vanderslice, and The Botticellis -- Love the JV, hope the others are interesting.
We got there in time to see Youth Group, whom we didn't much care for and whose lead singer, despite changing guitars for pretty much every song, had at least one string out of tune on each one. Or are we the tone-deaf ones? JV rocked, then we went home because parking is expensive and sleep is great.
Mar. 29: A bunch of people doing solo shows @ The Swedish American Hall (guy from Spoon, guy from The Minders, etc.)
This was lovely, all around. Britt Daniels solo was a bit like hearing only one side of an interesting conversation, though--I'd love to see all of Spoon live. Laura Veirs continues to amuse me live in a way that isn't reflected in her recordings.
Apr. 17: The Books @ Great American Music Hall
This was sort of rad, and sort of an odd show to attend standing up. However, their sounds and words and films were really intesting, funny, and entertaining.
Sometimes you just want to sleep...
I'm fucking sick! Fuck!
May 4: Cat Power @ Palace of Fine Arts
I don't know if she's just come a long way since the first time I saw her, with her hair covering her face and pleading us to stop applauding, or if playing with that rockin' band gives her some extra courage, but this performance was the polar opposite of other times I've seen her. She danced all over the stage and seemed to be actually enjoying herself, even in her more nervous moments when she played solo. Plus, the venue was awesome and hassle-free.
May 12: John Vanderslice w/ Laura Veirs @ The Independent
May 31: The Eels w/ Smoosh @ The Fillmore
Jun. 3: Jim Gaffigan @ Mountain Winery
Jun. 9: The Mountain Goats @ Neumo's in Seattle -- yea!
Jun. 11: My brother's senior recital in Olympia
Jun. 13: The Mountain Goats @ Bottom of the Hill
Jun. 24: Neko Case @ The Rio
Jun. 25: Built to Spill @ The Catalyst
(edited 3/29, 4/17, 4/27, 5/5 to add things to the calendar)
Friday, February 24, 2006
When I went back, I told the doctor that he told me I'd eventually get better, and, well, I felt like eventually should have already arrived. This doctor not only came up with a better explanation for why I'd been sick for TWO FUCKING MONTHS, but she explained how to treat it better and with fewer drugs. Basically, I have allergies, which lead to my developing a sinus infection, which made me more susceptible to all these colds I've been getting. I'm not doing anything about the cold, as it's going away on its own, but I have amoxicillin for the sinus infection and am continuing the claritin for the allergies, with a side of saline nasal spray followed by the Nasoral twice daily.
In addition, she did something completely novel and actually examined me. With that little light-in-the-ear thing AND a stethoscope. She saw a funny mole and made me an appointment with a dermatologist. She was concerned about my blood pressure and told me to stop drinking coffee (fuck fuck fuck).
And before it gets really late, a quick rundown of everything else: Kevin and I have been renting movies from Bradley Video (but not porn, though I hear the porn selection is excellent! heh), including The Yes Men and Broken Flowers because I wanted him to see them (and he enjoyed them very much) and Harvey and The Apartment, which made for an awesome classic movie night at Casa de Sick Girl here in Campbell. We visited Zeni, supposedly the best Ethiopian restaurant in the area, and were not all that excited about it. I also have cool books and magazines to read, so I need to set aside some happy shiny re-smartening time. We keep meaning to go see The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, plus today Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story and Boys of Baraka are opening. Damn you, movies!
Monday, February 20, 2006
My calendar has had but one hold thus far. I didn't make it to the Rjd2 show on Saturday, despite being approximately one mile from the venue at the time. No, earlier that afternoon I had coughed, which apparently caused my back such great distress that I had to lie down and take some naproxen sodium. That was the second time in a week such a seemingly innocent event caused such great pain. My "upper respiratory infection" still lingers, but it has relegated itself to leaving me just stuffed up enough to avoid straying too far from the tissue box for now.
I have found one thing that helps, though: Xylish Hyper Cool gum. It's sugar-free, caffienated, ridiculously minty gum from Japan. If Altoids are curiously strong, this is surprisingly fierce.
Noon's Dan was in town interviewing with a Silicon Valley giant and deigned to have dinner with Kevin and I at our favorite Thai restaurant, Amarin in Mountain View. It was cool to see him, since he runs the IRC server I hang out on all the time and I hadn't seen him since I visited Arizona four years ago. Plus, sharing corn cake salad with people brings me great joy.
Speaking of sharing joy, I have been slowly converting my coworkers into rabid Just Laziz fans.
There has also been a significant amount of Indian food action, including getting lost on El Camino trying to take the Editor to the fantastic Chaat Paradise and making some headway on the road to paratha-making satisfaction at home with Kevin. With whom I am sort of back together.
I don't think I have seen any good movies since I last wrote, though I have been to a few good shows. As previously noted, the Jeff Tweedy solo show was fucking awesome. Seriously, he played a few songs with his opener and Wilco bandmate Glenn Kottche in the encore, then did a final song solo, completely unplugged, before leaving us all to file out of the deathtrap that is the Fillmore. The Ike Reilly Assassination was one of the strangest concert experiences I've had--the venue was a restaurant/dive bar on Highway 9 in Felton, a mountain town north of Santa Cruz, such an obscure location that the band got lost on their way in and didn't go on until 11. Which, fine, it's a Friday night, but the opening act was a "jam band" in the tradition of California aging hippies who play Greatful Dead covers and songs that sound like Greatful Dead covers. For two hours. At least Ike Reilly rocked. The Sex Workers' Art Show had its moments, but nothing quite like the (I think first annual) show I saw in Olympia back when I was a freshman in college and saw the truly educational display of how to have sex in 20 positions without pulling out and reinserting, as demonstrated by two Vancouver-based sex workers and a big purple strap-on.
I would try to think of more to say, but I think I'll leave you with that image.
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
Feb. 9: Jeff Tweedy w/ Glenn Kottche @ The Fillmore
eta: This was completely excellent!
Feb. 10: The Ike Reilly Assassination @ Don Quixote's
Feb. 13: Sex Workers Art Show @ Cafe du Nord
Feb. 18: Rjd2 @ The Independent
Feb. 27: Robyn Hitchcock w/ The Minus 5 @ Slim's
Mar. 10: Voxtrot w/ We Are Wolves @ Hemlock (Jess, still need to get tickets?)
Mar. 21: Belle & Sebastian w/ New Pornographers @ SF Design Center
Apr. 17: The Books @ Great American Music Hall
Apr. 20: Dinosaur jr. @ Great American Music Hall
I'd say that's a pretty fucking decent calendar.
Monday, January 30, 2006
The doctor had me describe my symptoms, then told me that what was wrong with me was wrong with everyone right now, including himself--an upper respiratory infection--and that there was jack shit you could do about it. He prescribed time and a buttload of OTC meds. Robitussin tastes like ass, but I got Sudafed that apparently isn't pseudoephedrine-based, so it hasn't made me all speedy so far. Maybe that's why it isn't actually helping.
A.S.S.S.S.C.A.T. was funny shit, as was Pretty, Pretty Pony. Will Arnett (GOB on Arrested Development) talked at length about drugs, as per audience suggestion, and Amy Poehler, Rachel Dratch, Matt Besser, and Horatio Sanz improvised sketches from his stories. Ian Roberts missed his Southwest flight, preventing it from being a full complement.
We ended up going to see The Real Dirt on Farmer John Saturday night and Match Point on Sunday. Both were enjoyable. Crash I rented far too late to have a fresh opinion on; I've lately read too many mocking, negative reviews, and I'm kind of a sucker for mockery. But I learned some valuable lessons about the racist in all of us, I'm sure. I watched Tarnation Friday night, which was fucked up and kind of like a horror movie, for what it was. Then we got back into Arrested Development with disc 1 of season 2, including the awesome "Afternoon Delight" episode. Come on!
There has been no cat visiting yet. I'm taking the second shift, though I don't know when it starts yet.
Shit. It's time for clothes and work.
Thursday, January 26, 2006
2. UCB ASSSCAT, SF Sketchfest, the Eureka Theater. I don't even remember what this is supposed to be, but if it isn't funny, I will be confused.
3. Things to watch, including more Arrested Development, Crash, the most debated film of the year, and maybe The Real Dirt on Farmer John.
4. Cat visiting. I have been asked to look after my friends' cats for a few days while they're out of town. I have never been responsible for cats, but I think I can manage for a brief time, especially when they are such awesome cats as these.
My oldest friend asked me to be a bridesmaid in her upcoming wedding. That's a first for me, and I'd be happy to stand up with her.
This doctor tomorrow better figure out what the hell is wrong with me. I am fucking sick of not having the use of my sinuses.
Monday, January 23, 2006
But before all that, there was a fun weekend, really. Friday night Kevin and I went to see Colin Meloy and Laura Veirs, which was lovely besides some annoying drunks. Prior to that, we ate dinner at Chaat Paradise, where, among other things, I ordered a muli paratha, which is bread stuffed with white radish (like daikon) and served with raita, which also has radish in it. I'm not sure it overtakes spinach paratha, but it was damn good, and went much better with the raita.
Do you like how I can talk more about the meal than the show we went to see?
On Saturday, we went to SFMOMA, then met up with my sister in Union Square. She took us to the creatively named Indonesia Restaurant (at Post and Jones), where we ate some delicious coconut rice, crunchy tempeh, and spicy vegetable soup. After lots of walking around, we took our leave of her, and I felt tired and bitchy and my feet hurt and wow am I ever a lot of fun to hang out with, but we went to Cobb's Comedy Club to see Wanda Sykes, and it was all better.
Oh, and since I didn't write about it, the Mr. Show Q&A last week was excellent. The only weird thing about comedy clubs, to me, is how they actually enforce the two drink minimum. I've seen a lot of rock clubs with that printed on the ticket, but I've never seen anyone enforce it. The cheapest thing on the menu is a $3.50 bottle of water. Soda and coffee are $4. Seriously. I understand it, though.
And DVDs this week: The Lost Boys of Sudan was not as depressing as I expected, and the refugees in it reminded me a lot of my brother (my older Cambodian brother) and his friends' experiences coming from the Thai camps as unaccompanied minors. End of Suburbia was not very well-argued; it was just lefty propaganda, and as a lefty, it felt preachy and annoying. I don't doubt they were telling some truths, but my god. Tell it better. Interview people who aren't just pushing their own books. Mean Girls was decently entertaining. Bob Roberts was depressing and funny in a not-ha ha way.
What else? Nothing. Just sick. Fuck.