Saturday, November 22, 2008

Who has time to blog anymore?

My god, I have never worked so much in my life. Sure, I got paid for 40 hours a week before, but I didn't always WORK 40 hours a week, y'know? There wasn't always 40 hours of work to do. Now, I have to account for how many hours I work on each project I have, so I'm working my ass off for a solid 40 hours a week and end up being in work mode for a little more than that. Add to that my commute time and I'm away from home about 11 hours a day. When I get home, I want nothing more than to watch Rachel Maddow and space the hell out.

It's great, though. I love working there. I hope it continues. I still don't know.

Now I am focusing my non-work energy on Thanksgiving. We are having only four people this year: his mom, my mom, my mom's "don't call him my boyfriend" friend, and my sister. The theme is Indian food. The menu is as follows:
  • Andhra-style sprouted mung bean salad (if you've never tried sprouted mung beans, you're missing out)
  • herb-laced yellow mung bean dal
  • sliced white radishes with winter squash
  • greens and plantains with toasted almonds
  • char-flavored spiced eggplant and potatoes
  • stuffed cauliflower with tart tomato-coriander sauce
  • brown rice pilaf with broccoli, cashews, and cumin
  • homemade raita, cilantro chutney, and tamarind chutney

  • chapati (whole wheat flat bread)
  • sweet potato-stuffed paratha

  • saffron coconut soy ice cream and masala ginger apple crisp

  • barley tonic, ginger lemonade, and cinnamon rooibos chai
It looks like a lot. It might BE a lot, but the recipes seem not super complicated and someone besides me is making some of it. I am ridiculously organized and my house is almost clean and it's only Saturday. Sunday is prep-planning and shopping day.

I have a headache and I need sleep badly.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Totally true things that are totally insane.

No, not that I saw the Mountain Goats last night. That's not insane, unless you want to call my love of a band that has brought me friendship, new bands to love, lyrical pleasure, and many happy times "insane."

But this, the threatened "outing" of No on 8 supporters by the Yes on 8 campaign is totally nuts. Oh, it's on now. If California fails to defeat the constitutional gay marriage ban, it might depress me even more than a McCain victory.

And you know the McCain campaign has gotten desperate, too. One of his young volunteers claimed that she'd been beaten up by an Obama supporter, but ended up in jail herself for filing a false police report. Because she made the whole thing up. Way to effing go. Whether this was a solitary act of insanity or a coordinated effort at race-baiting, the Republicans are the only ones looking worse for wear.

Is it just me, or is it funny that it's proud Red Staters who want to bring back "communist" as an insult?

If you care, here's more--gossipy but true--about the place I call work. Valleywag failed, however, to take the bait CFO Blake Jorgensen set out: photoshopped pics of himself in drag. I'm sure he's feeling very hurt right now.

This has totally made the rounds already, but if you hate broccoli and don't read 80,375 blogs already, click to reaffirm your disavowal of delicious little trees.

The last thing is totally true, and totally awesome. The only totally insane thing will come if this guy doesn't become our next president.

And here, just because it's been stuck in my head for weeks:

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Yay for seeing the same band over and over again!

Yeah, Steve said we had to go see the Mountain Goats. They are playing the Fillmore, so we're hoping the show sold out so we get free posters. Anyway, tomorrow I better have more energy than I've had the rest of the week, because I have some serious rocking out to do! WOO!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The things I can't control.

If you pay attention to the horrible economic news, you might've heard that the place I work is having trouble. If you pay attention to me, you know I like working there, and even though (1) it's only been a month and (2) my contract ends at the end of December, I know I'd like to continue working there. But times are scary, and I'm trying to prepare myself for disappointment and another grueling job hunt come January.

The election is coming up, and beyond my little ballot, I have no bearing on its outcome. I've become more of a (admittedly partisan) news junkie than I've ever been, listening to NPR on my from the moment I get up through the commute--two hours total--and watching The Rachel Maddow Show or Countdown when I get home, then The Daily Show and Colbert Report before finally going to sleep. All the news is about the election and the economy.

Speaking of The Daily Show, this had me rolling, then furious:

I may live in a gay state (here's hoping it stays that way) and be voting for someone a Congressdipshit from Minnesota thinks might harbor anti-American sentiments, but I'm an American too. I'm afraid for my career and well-being; everyone I know is in murky financial territory. Am I a Fake American because I'm a feminist? Because I supprot gay marriage? Because I think it's better to improve the lot of the middle class in our consumer-driven economy? Because I'm not buying the bullshit McCain/Palin are trying to sell me as chocolate? Because I live in a diverse, left-leaning city? Because you can't sum up my job, or the jobs of my friends, with meaningless, pandering phrases like "Joe the plumber"?

What makes you a Fake American?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

It's still not important.

But I did it. Please be my friend! If you're into this sort of thing. And it appears that 75% of everyone is! Hi, 75% of everyone!

Friday, October 17, 2008

This is not at all important.

Is there any reason whatsoever I should get a Facebook account?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Soup is good food: autumnal tomato-pepper soup.

The weather's starting to cool--brrr, it could get down to the 50s!--and my sinuses are starting to revolt, so today was the day to have tomato soup and grilled cheese for lunch. I made up the following recipe using stuff from our farm share and the garden.

-1 small white onion, diced
-4 cloves garlic, minced
-1 sweet red pepper, diced
-1 green serrano chili with seeds, minced
-a few sprigs of fresh thyme and oregano, minced
-1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes, with liquid
-1 tsp. tamarind paste (provides a nice sourness)
-2 c. water, with or without a little vegetable bouillon
-pinch salt, or to taste

Saute the onion, garlic, pepper, and chili in a little olive oil until soft. Add herbs and stir, then add tomatoes, liquid, tamarind paste, and water. Bring to a boil and let it simmer awhile--at least 15 min. Taste it and decide if you need any salt. Let it simmer a few minutes more, then ladle it into a blender and puree it. Be careful to hold the lid in place because hot liquids in the blender can be...explode-y. Alternately, use an immersion blender if you have one of those (I don't). Taste again and adjust seasoning if necessary, then eat.

My grilled cheese today used a hard aged Irish cheese and a couple slices of heirloom tomato on my standard Bay Bread sprouted multigrain sliced bread (sourdough would probably be better).

It was altogether yummy.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Because I'm tired and uninspired, a post in bullet format.

  • It's great to be working. It would be even greater if it would last. I can only do my best and hope things go my way.
  • Speaking of, holy fuck, is the economy scary, or what?
  • I take light rail to work. Yahoo! gives employees a free VTA pass if they want it, and baby, I want it. An hour of walking, riding, and waiting versus 45 minutes of frustration and coprolalia in the car? No contest.
  • Of course that means I am gone for, like, 11 hours a day. Well, almost: An hour there, eight hours of work, half-hour for lunch, and another hour to get home. Going from spending the day with my BFFs Google Reader and Comcast Digital Cable to applying my brain to learning, working, and interacting with people for 10 straight hours is exhausting. I'm adjusting.
  • NPR is depressing, but I can't stay away. I like my little iAudio.
  • If you use the Internet on your phone and you want to see something I am learning to work on, check out oneSearch. You can use it on your regular computer, it will just look silly in a giant browser when it's meant for something smaller than an iPhone screen. It has some cool features and can only improve from here, so it's a pretty interesting thing to work on.
  • I totally want an iPhone now. Well, some nice smartphone, anyway. I can't afford it yet, but if I get to continue on, I'll work it out. I'm so behind on the blarghs I read, anyhow; it would rule to sit back and squint at the feeds during the commute.
  • I hate thinking about that. I hate not knowing what's going to happen and I hate that it's largely out of my hands. The only thing I can do is try to be as awesome as I know I can be and hope for the best. Hope makes me practically bipolar.
  • Go Obama!
  • No on Prop 8!
  • Leanne for Project Runway!
  • I haven't been to a movie in MONTHS. I must remedy that soon. My discount cards are feeling unloved.
  • The Mountain Goats are playing San Francisco later this month. I don't think I can go, though. Three amazing nights last March should set me for the year, plus I'm still broke. Also, it seems sad to only see one band repeatedly, even if they ARE totally awesome.
  • I am ready for my close-up today. Too long I've let my self respect stand in my way.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Hey, look, I'm not talking about politics!

But I am talking about food.

Yeah, I'm a big ol' published food writer now. Stroke of luck! Thank you, Steve, for the opportunity (and also that freaking awesome photo caption)!

Plus I just got handed a contract search editor job with Yahoo! that should last through the end of the year.

I'm off to Portland tomorrow to visit friends and family I don't get to see often enough, but I'll have to be back to start my JOB. Now I must pack, make coffee, and write up more movie news!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

If all the Palin news has got you down, watch some of these.

Well, they had me sorta pumped, anyway. I know it seems weird to watch politicians give speeches, but the impetus for getting Obama on the ticket in the first place is the stunning speech he gave four years ago at the DNC. Almost everyone I know remembers that moment and had the same thought: "When do I get to vote for that guy?" It's happening sooner than we thought, and while the luster has diminished some--as political luster is wont to do--I'm still excited to vote for a candidate who is inspiring and history-making. Besides, this time around, seems like everyone else felt the need to step it up, too.

Barack Obama's nomination acceptance speech
Joe Biden's VP nomination acceptance speech
Michelle Obama's day 1 keynote (warning: may cause a girl-crush)
Hillary Clinton's "Vote Obama" speech
Bill Clinton "Vote Obama" speech
Dennis Kucinich gets riled up!
Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer rocks it

Obviously, convention speeches are about celebrating the party and stumping for the candidate, so it is a little higher on style and a little lower on substance, but damn, it's good to feel good about something, you know? Even if it isn't anything certain, even if we're about to face a vicious fight, even if we eventually face defeat. Just once, I'd like to vote in an election that doesn't totally depress me while I'm voting in it.

Keep going!

Another fun link about the McCain/Palin ticket: Corpus Callosum's linkfest take, including a charming table of Cheney (status quo) vs. Palin.

I am going to go finally watch Idiocracy now.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Political nonsense.

Are you kidding me?

Sarah Palin?

It's not her age or her gender, though I do feel like McCain picked a woman just for the sake of doing so, and that's insulting. It's not that she's an outsider, allowing McCain to claim another victory for "mavericks." It's not that she is a former Miss Alaska or an aggressively nicknamed college basketballer, though I don't know why we're supposed to care. It definitely is her lack of experience, which flies in the face of reason, and her platforms. It's the way they're using basically the same words, the idea of change in D.C., when McCain has been an ardent supporter of Bush most of the time.

I had a PMS-ing week of tearing up to the DNC speeches, especially the feminist stuff, so I felt punched in the crotch when I woke up to the news of McCain's pick.

And stealing Hillary's momentum, or trying to. Fuck you. And especially if you are going to vote GOP because you're upset with the way Hillary was treated BY THE PRESS. There isn't some vast conspiracy to elect Obama, just a groundswell of legitimate supporters. Look at that effing football stadium last night. And yes, Hillary was clearly popular, too, and that doesn't mean she would have been a good pick or even accepted an invitation to be his running mate. You don't have to be a woman to be a feminist, and just because you're a woman doesn't mean you're pro-women. That's the choice we're facing.

EDIT: Because I don't write about politics intelligently, here's a couple links for people who do.

Feministing's take
Slog's take

Monday, August 25, 2008

Why I'm ahead of the curve today, and how that isn't all that impressive.

It's Monday, and I'm feeling productive. I submitted three of the four tiny little sources of anguishing panic, I sent over a couple Movie news bites, I made the crucial first phone call to the last potential profile subject (who isn't in today, dammit). It's sad that I didn't have this level of productivity, say, last week, and instead went to bed and woke up every morning with a pit of anxiety nestled in my belly, but I have it today, and that's better than never.

I found the Nature's Miracle (to non-pet owners, that's an animal mess spray cleaner), work gloves, and garden clippers I stashed in a bag somewhere and lost to our wasteland of a garage over the weekend. The rosebush is finally trimmed down after its heavy blooming season. The hibiscus has three blooms open today and it's still going strong. The tomato bush that looked admittedly a little sad when first purchased has gone totally nuts, and if all goes well, we'll end up with a few dozen homegrown sungold cherry tomatoes yet. If this year's gardening experiment goes well, maybe next year I'll line up a handful of tomato plants in big terra cotta pots--I want to drown in the damn things. The thyme is a happy camper, so much so that one of these weeks I'm going to get a little oregano plant from the same place. The serrano pepper plant is growing up well and has lots of flowers. The beautiful bronze fennel isn't a huge as it will one day be, but it looks really nice. It's the first time I've failed to kill all my plants.

Only the manzanita didn't make it--I have no idea why. It has a lot of sun, a raised bed, the crappy soil it supposedly likes, and I gave it only a little water to help it adjust to its new surroundings, but beyond that, left it to show its native plant true colors. It's only showing dry, dead, orange leaves instead. I think we can dig it up and take it back to the nursery for a replacement, but I might wait until September, if they'll permit me. I might've just planted it at a bad time, or it might've been a sad little plant to begin with.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Fear of calling.

I feel like some calm, but strong, invisible hand is gently squeezing my trachea and bronchi where they meet, making it hard to feel like I'm breathing as deeply as I should. I think this is what they call asthma. I'm sure it's allergy-related, further agitated by air pollution and anxiety.

Yeah, anxiety: I'm going to interview people for some little writing pieces. I am, of course, terrified of doing so, and my head is adept at making up reasons to put it off. None of them are good reasons, but I'm not good at convincing myself of the superiority of sucking it up. It shouldn't be hard--I just have a few questions to elicit enough for a <150-word, positive profile; it's basically free publicity for these business owners. For a lot of reasons, I can't squirrel out of it, much as my defense mechanism-addled brain wants to. I know this is beyond stupid. I know that once I actually DO it, I'll be glad I did. I just have a very active, phobia-fueled imagination.

Besides which, I absolutely need the money. That ought to be enough to compel me. Stupid phobia.

By the way, the job market? Sucks.

There goes the invisible hand again...

Monday, August 18, 2008

A little thing I'm actually doing...

My good friend Steve threw me a freelancing bone last week, so now I am contributing to this movie news page. My name isn't attached to stuff (at the moment; I don't know if that will change), but it's something. And it's kinda fun! Who knew that IMDb internship would ever be useful for anything?

Go check out the site; ad revenue FTW! Well, someone's win, anyway.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Before you forward that funny link...

Please, take a moment to see if you're waaaaay behind on your Internet memes.

A fascinating read, really, and easy access to all your old favorite viral videos. I, for one, was happy to see "Gonads and Strife" again.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

I may not enjoy the sun, but pretty flowers sure do.

hibiscus 'cherie' in bloom
Originally uploaded by emily ca..

Frak, these things are gorgeous. But the blooms are a one-night-only deal, so I'm trying to document each one. What, it's better than steamed up shots of the pasta I'm cooking for lunch, right?

"We're napping. Go away...unless you have treats."

sleepy bunnies
Originally uploaded by emily ca..

If only the picture I took of them practically spooning turned out... all you could see was fluffy tail and 'tocks (a la Cute Overload). Funny how they choose places under the furniture where the lighting is poor--clearly they're not camwhore bunnies.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

I think I've found the perfect job.

Too bad the Craigslist community violated the hiring manager's FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS by flagging it for removal!
Writer-Interviewer Wanted for New Marin NewsPaper (san rafael)

We are introducing to Marin-ites an alternate to the BIAS-LADEN
Independent Journal. We will seek to print the truth about the MYTH of GLOBAL Warming- The PLIGHT of Illegal ALIENS on our Local Culture-Interview
County Officials about the Sanctuary Law that could lead to the tragedy played out recently in GANGSTER-FRIENDLY San Francisco! AND MORE!

We need an enthusiastic female with interview skills that can and will be developed. We also need a devoted male writer with expressive verbal talent.

The only qualification is that you are between 18 and 80 and that you have not been brainwashed with vicious Left-wing propaganda. One of our first stories will be about the rights of those to protest against the left and why it's not considered HATE-FULL to be spit upon and called vulgar names by liberals.

For the LEFTIST STALINIST Hitlarian Type that finds this HATEFULL---
AND would Flag is YOU who is the HATEFULL One ---
starting with your HATRED for the TRUTH

contact EIC LC
@ [phone redacted] OR E-mail your contact info with a brief description about why you are interested----again! DO NOT VIOLATE MY 1st AMENDMENT AND FLAG!

Two thoughts, after I stop laughing: putting aside the thought that people will flag this because it's purposely inflammatory, stating gender preferences for hiring is kind of illegal. Plus, Craigslist is private, so the first amendment doesn't apply.

The logic (and the spelling) are astonishing.

Save the beef, skip a shower.

The vegan boyfriend and I were checking out a new vegetarian restaurant in the lovely Milpitas Square yesterday, one affiliated with the downtown San Jose institution Vegetarian House and the cult-y Supreme Master Ching Hai. You can always tell a Supreme Master restaurant by the ubiquitous flatscreen TV playing only Supreme Master TV, and we are both amused and distracted by its 20-language subtitling and save-the-world rhetoric every time.

I mean, you guys know me: vegetarian for environmental reasons, pretty staunch about it but not to the point of being an asshole. Kevin: basically the same, but with more of an issue with harming animals. (Except insects. Insects can suck it because honey tastes good!) And on that level, we are pretty pro-Supreme Master peeps, with their new "Be Green, Go Veg" campaign. And if not go veg, well, eat veg more often. Y'all know; I don't have to preach.

But really. There's no need to fiddle with funny statistics to make your point.

One of the SMTV stories the other day regarded water consumption and raising cattle. According to a very amusing animated infographic, four Quarter Pounders use the same amount of water to produce as you would use in half a year's showers. Well, we don't eat Quarter Pounders, but we do shower. Every day.

We have to save the ground beef, Kevin said to me. Let's stop taking showers.

People already think we're dirty hippies anyway.


P.S. Already can't wait to see what kind of Supreme Master comment spambot I'll attract with this post.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

They better not screw this up.

Because I've always thought Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs would make an awesome movie.

I dig the disaster movie spoof spin, too.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Who, me, disappear off the face of the Internet?

No, never. I never go more than a week without blogging! Horrors.

Moving is a pain in the ass. (Also, I say the word "ass" in apparently inappropriate contexts! And then get called by HR people to be told so! And may miss out on jobs because of it! My potty mouth is getting me in trouble!) Kevin rented a truck last Saturday and together we moved half our stuff. We will be moving the rest of the big stuff this Saturday, only now we'll have a few extra hands. We've also been making car trips daily with our smaller stuff.

I'm basically living at the new house now, but for sleeping and feeding the rabbits. All my clothes, food, and shower items are at the new house, but the bed isn't moving until Saturday. I plan to move the rabbits midday Friday--before packing up my bedroom entirely--and sleeping at the new house on a couch or something. The rabbits have to get set up in an xpen in their space so they don't freak out too much over all the moving furniture. My sister is supposed to come down and help, too. Hopefully I'm not so tired that I get bitchy and she snaps at me.

The shower here (well, my shower--there are three full bathrooms in this crazy house!) is a million times better than what I had at the Campbell house. There, the tub was almost always stopped up and I found no chemical or tool that gave more than a temporary reprieve from giving my feet a filthy bath every morning. The showerhead itself was messed up, with only half the holes releasing water and the pressure being adequate at best. Here, I have a low-flow head (that Kevin wanted to put in my old shower but that head was not removable!) that has amazing pressure. The shower is a stall, not a tub, and its drain works fine. It's the best shower I've had in ages.

But moving is totally killing me. Our Campbell house is a mess and I'm constantly kicking up dust (mixed with hay and rabbit fut, no less) so it's allergy mayhem. Being this stuffed up makes sleep harder, and I get a little sore throat and chapped lip action, so that's awesome. Plus it's been hot and I'm carrying heavy things, which I don't typically do, so I'm sore and feeling icky.

I haven't been able to deal with serious job-hunting tasks all week. I am up for a job at GiggleSugar that sounds rad, and usually I don't name the places I'm going, but it's a blog. Blogs link to blogs, it's a rule. I had a few interviews last week that went somewhat well but I probably won't get those jobs. I randomly get emails from recruiters who find my resume posted somewhere, and while most of those are not jobs I qualify for or want, hell, they can have my resume in their system. I am in pretty dire need of a job.

Speaking of dire needs, we need to get rid of our crappy couch. I am getting no love from the Craigslist free section. C'mon, people, please come take my couch! We bought a pair of new (to us) ones that are comfortable and nice-looking. And huge. I think the seat cushions are almost as large as a twin bed.

I am looking forward to being DONE with moving and maybe having some people over to hang out in the new space. Katamari party, anyone?

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Today's menu.

In the midst of planning a move (we signed a lease yesterday for a place in East San Jose; it's huge and y'all can come visit!), preparing for TWO interviews early next week, doing a writing sample for another potential job, and dealing with my expired ATM card, today I am making good on a promise to prepare my friend Steve a birthday dinner (a couple weeks late). I came up with a few menu ideas and he chose the Middle Eastern theme, so I'm cooking up a storm, including a number of recipes I've never made before.

We've got:
  • Hummus -- my own recipe, though it came out a bit thick so I may reprocess it later.
  • Baba ganoush -- eggplant is roasting now.
  • Gibneh beyda a supposedly Egyptian dip with feta cheese, yogurt, minced herbs, and lemon juice. If Kevin weren't vegan this would totally go in the regular rotation. I used nonfat Greek-style yogurt and regular-fat feta, but I bet you could use reduced-fat feta and it would still be good.
  • Fattosh (Lebanese-style mixed green salad with toasted/stale pita)
  • Vegetarian kibbeh -- typically a Lebanese-style stuffed meatball, my cookbook suggests this bulghur-based nut-stuffed dumpling was devised by hungry Christians for Lent. It was surprisingly easy to make, though like many recipes involving stuffed something, I had at least twice as much filling as necessary. Snackable!
  • Mudarara, a simple rice and lentils dish with browned onions.
  • Egyptian-style spinach omelet -- the picture just looks so yummy.
  • Pitas -- I was going to attempt to make some, since flatbread is usually the only bread I make successfully, but I didn't have time to get yeast and decided to just buy some.
  • Apricot granita -- Steve isn't doing desserts now (one less person for me to force delicious cookies on!), but maybe a fruit slushie? Whatever, we had a ton of the damn things in our share this week and I think I prefer them frozen.

I may post pictures of things later. When I am too lazy to do all the other shit I need to do right now. Ack.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Sometimes ups outnumber the downs...

Does anyone else remember that song from Disney's Robin Hood? I always loved that song. No idea why.

It's been kind of an emotional roller coaster week for me. At its worst, I thought I was never going to find a job, I was going to be homeless, and I was going to lose my boyfriend. At its best, well, I could laugh and enjoy the things I do have and generally look with hope towards the future.

After looking at over a dozen houses, Kevin told me Tuesday afternoon that he wanted to buy a house in Boulder Creek, a place I never, ever want to live. He wanted to buy a house there to live in half the week and rent an apartment near work for the other half, and I could live there but eventually he'd want to be in Boulder Creek full time. I was really upset and failed to convince him through yelling and tears that his logic was an epic fail. He reconsidered on his own, and via an email I sent him saying the same things but, you know, typed, so there wouldn't be screaming and swearing and crying. He agreed that it didn't make sense to buy a house somewhere he couldn't possibly live any time in the foreseeable future, and I think he didn't want to lose me, either.

Of course, this means no Santa Cruz house (boo, that would be fun), but it does mean we can narrow our search to the Silicon Valley area and try to find the best place we can. He doesn't want to buy up here because he doesn't WANT to live here and apparently buying a house is forever to him (I think a place near the light rail would be a halfway decent investment, but I'm the broke girl).

Just as he was making more calls to houses for rent in San Jose, my cell phone started blowing up. Yesterday morning I received THREE CALLS about actual jobs*, only one of which I had specifically applied for (and actually, I think that was with a different magazine than I'd actually sent my resume for). One of them was from a recruiter I met at the seemingly pointless job fair the day before, and the other was a new opening with a company I interviewed with a couple months ago and liked. Guess they liked me, too, or at least my resume was well-placed in the HR person's stack.

Between the sudden reminders that jobs do exist and eventually I will get one, the decision to stay on this side of the hill with Kevin, and the possibility of culinary school, my worldview is turning up.

Now it is shower time (in my incredibly slow-draining shower, one of the two things I will not miss about this lovely house, the other being that the neighborhood is kind of a pain to drive out of), then meeting a friend for lunch, then looking at another probably-mediocre house for rent.

* If you post your phone number on websites like Monster, you might get calls from people who are hiring for a position you are (1) not qualified for, (2) not interested in, and/or (3) not quite able to discern the nature of over the phone due to the thick accent of the caller. (I communicate pretty well with people whose native language isn't English in person, but over the phone it gets muddled. I have a hard time understanding perfectly clear English speakers over the phone, so a heavy accent just makes the situation worse.)

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Fast food tries for health food again...and fails.

This time it's Burger King's "healthy" kid's meal with a cup of Kraft mac and cheese and apple slices with caramel sauce. It doesn't take a nutritionist to see what's wrong with this picture.

Sure, I downed gallons of "The Cheesiest" as a kid, forsaking all others (they tasted funny). I recall once throwing a massive fit at a babysitter over some missing ingredient that ruined our entire dinner. I was an awesome kid. And I enjoy fruits and vegetables cut into a julienne for no apparent reason with some kind of dip.

But let's deconstruct. Kraft mac and cheese has about ten billion milligrams of sodium per serving. It's made with butter (or margarine, and I'm sure they're not buying Earth Balance) and milk, it's made with white pasta, and its cheese is the definition of processed food. Any protein is negligible, and there's nary a vegetable in sight. Even I preferred my Kraft adulterated with peas and maybe a cut up hot dog.

Instead, I'd use a whole wheat pasta, or even one made with an alternative flour--quinoa shells aren't bad--and definitely add a vegetable of some kind. Spinach is great, or any greens, as are peas. Diced tomatoes, broccoli--many options exist, depending on how picky the kid is. If you're lazy, you can buy Annie's (the bunny-themed brand) instead and mix their processed cheese product (still high in sodium, to be sure) with plain yogurt instead of milk and butter. The yogurt trick is one of my favorites.

You can, however, make a sauce from scratch--I actually like to make one sometimes with a simple roux (fat and flour wisked together over heat until creamy and browned a little), then garlic, and adding my cheese (whatever's around, really) and some of the pasta's starch-infused cooking liquid to sauce it up. No cream, just cheese.

Another option involves making a vegan "cheesy" sauce with nutritional yeast. There are a few recipes out there (oddly, I prefer the version from Vegan with a Vengeance recipe for fettuccine alfreda) so you can experiment, but the resulting sauces are, to me, a tasty and healthy answer to Kraft's processed, just-add-milk-and-butter powdered cheese product.

The apple slices are fine, though I'd question their quality--most places seem to rely on the Red Delicious, which is the worst apple ever grown. The caramel sauce--eh, surely you can eat a FRUIT without adding more sugar, but hey, even then, couldn't you just dust it with cinnamon or something instead? Maybe the cheese could be served with apples--a few slices of a good, real cheddar goes phenomenally well with a tart apple slice.

Even better would be oven fries. Either regular potatoes, new potatoes, or sweet potatoes, tossed gently with a touch of oil and a pinch of salt and roasted to perfection. Just like french fries, but better. And you can still have a little ketchup, provided it isn't your only other vegetable.

I mean, eat fast food if that's your thing, and you let your kid enjoy fries, but don't pretend like it's going to be a healthy option. You people know this--when are the fast food chains going to own it?

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

I'm trying!

Today I went to a job fair sponsored by Monster. The advertising for it suggested bringing at least 20 resumes.

I showed up at 11. There were a lot of people standing in line to sign in, so I ended up waiting for about 45 minutes to get into the fair itself.

Which had about 12 tables with employers and a bunch of people standing in lines. As I reached the front of the sign-in line, an organizer started telling the still-long line that the employers were getting "overwhelmed" with people, so they were letting people trickle in and she appreciated their patience. She also said to talk to everyone and not assume you knew what they were hiring for, that talking to a bunch of different companies is the point of these things. I agreed. Until I got inside.

Insurance companies, staffing firms, middling tech businesses, and an elementary school district in Arizona--I don't care what they're hiring for, I probably don't want to work in life insurance and I definitely don't want to move to Arizona to teach 7-year-olds. I waited in line for the two staffing/temping agencies and talked to a representative from each for about 30 seconds. I got rid of two resumes and received two business cards with instructions to visit their websites.

All told, I got an hour's practice standing around in uncomfortable dress shoes and something to talk about besides house-hunting when I met up with Jenn for coffee afterwards.

But at least I tried.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Delicious Iron-E.

I haven't seen Wall-E yet because I've been busy looking at places I don't want to move into. Everything I've heard about it convinces me I'm going to dig it, though, and I want to drag Kevin to see it with me. (Dude has never seen a Pixar movie. I am a bad girlfriend!) Even so, Dan Savage's post today had me doubled over.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Quick! Make my situation more difficult!

Fortunately not DISASTROUS, but more difficult all the same.

We've been given notice that our landlord is terminating our tenancy. We have just under two months to find a new place to live (no reason given), and we're looking everywhere from Palo Alto to Santa Cruz. The differences between Silicon Valley and Santa Cruz are striking, but they seem to be equally possible.

Silicon Valley would mean access to the same job market I've been searching in all this time. It's a much bigger pool than Santa Cruz. There is also, of course, the benefit of being a freeway trip away from almost anything we need. Plus, all my California friends who aren't Kevin's relatives live on this side of the hill.

Santa Cruz would be nice because we both love Santa Cruz. There's a natural chef program down there I'm interested in and it's a great place for the kind of veg-friendly green living we want. Kevin hopes to buy a house there eventually, and maybe now is the time.

The downside of Silicon Valley is that it isn't pretty and it's hard to be far from the freeway, which is what Kevin wants. For Santa Cruz, while it isn't really that far from San Jose, the Highway 17 commute is a killer, so my job opportunities would be pretty limited.

Either way, moving bites, and I'm not looking forward to it. I love this house (though Kevin doesn't love the location) and we're probably not going to find something ideal for both of us.

All these unknowns leaves me with a near-constant state of anxiety and a mild case of Craigslist fatigue.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Quick snack: sweet potato oven fries with spicy balsamic garlic sauce.

This is quick and simple, especially if you have a toaster oven (no pre-heating).

Sweet potato oven fries:
-1 or more sweet potatoes, scrubbed but not peeled
-1 tbsp. olive oil (or more if needed)
-Salt and pepper, to taste

Cut the ends off the sweet potatoes, then slice it lengthwise into slabs about 1/4" thick. Cut each slab into thin strips, roughly the shape of fast-food french fries. Toss the fries with olive oil, salt, and pepper, then spread out on a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake under a broiler for about 15 minutes or until the fries are browned and just a little bit crisp.

Spicy balsamic garlic sauce:
-1 tsp. your favorite hot sauce
-1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
-1/2 tsp. soy sauce
-1 small clove garlic, minced

Mix ingredients until well combined and serve with sweet potato oven fries.

Sweet potato fries are also good with ketchup spiked with spicy paprika or cayenne. Mmm.

Monday, June 23, 2008

DVD Review: Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story

I was excited to see this because John C. Reilly is awesome and the musician biopic was ripe for mockery. It also marks the first movie I've seen on Blu-ray, which didn't make much of a difference to my eye.

After finishing it, I realized that I want my comedies to surprise me. Not in a big plot twist, not in some brilliant joke, just something odd and funny enough that I didn't see it coming. Besides the songs, which were enjoyable and often funny, most of the jokes were obvious and, like a bad SNL sketch, repeated throughout the movie. I know they were meant to be bad in order to parody Ray and Walk the Line, but without the element of surprise, they were flat. How many times can the hero rip a sink out of the wall in a fit of rage and self-loathing?

The intro sequence in which 6-year-old Dewey experiences his Traumatic Life-Changing Event (he slices his unbelievably brilliant brother in half with a machete) was almost painfully bad. I did enjoy the striking age difference in his high school scenes, but instead of letting it be, he has an argument with his 13-year-old bride (who looks 30) about how young they are. I got it already.

If the cast and crew involved hadn't been as famous or as talented as they are, they might as well have named it Music Legend Movie and sold it as the next movie brought to you by "the guys who made Scary Movie." It had at least as many obvious double entendres and it never let you forget that you are watching a parody movie. Flawed as it is, Christopher Guest's A Mighty Wind covered similar ground in a way I found a little less off-putting.

I did laugh while watching this movie, and the songs were definitely listenable. The ending wasn't horrible (and Dan Bern's song over the credits is cute). You might enjoy it. But you might roll your eyes a few times, too.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Bananas suck.

I hate bananas. I wish I could say this were the reason I felt that way, but really, I just think they taste awful.

Filth and fires.

Despite being a promotional piece for a Clorox line (Green Works), this guy's work is like a truly clever version of writing "Wash Me!" on your filthy station wagon.

I'm down in Santa Cruz for the weekend. We came for the Live Earth Farm summer solstice celebration, but a fire started about three miles from the farm yesterday afternoon as we were driving over. The plume of smoke was huge at first and traffic into Aptos was a nightmare. Yesterday also boasted record heat, apparently in the 100s, so I felt especially bad that we opted to bring the rabbits with us and they were stuck in a travel cage in the back seat of the car for over an hour. (They're fine, hanging out in an x-pen in the garage where it's nice and cool.) The fire is supposedly contained and from what we can tell, the celebration is still on, but the air is still smoky.

Fire season started early and it's already off to a spectacular start. There have been at least three destructive fires in the Santa Cruz and Monterey areas, where there are lots of farms and livestock. I heard stories from one of my usual farmers' market guys after the Corralitos fire that it was raining ash into some delicate lettuce and plenty have endured evacuations. Between the fires in California agricultural areas and the floods in the midwestern cornfields, it's not a great year for farming.

As a petty end note, I'm using Kevin's dad's computer, equipped with Vista and IE. At home I run Ubuntu and Firefox on an old laptop and for all the bells and whistles this machine should have, I have to say I hate using it. IE is having a hard time dealing with tabs and every time it crashes (often, if I watch a Flash video or the security software pops up with a minor update) I lose all my open tabs. This is basic web browsing, to me. A brand-new Cadillac may be powerful, but I'll stick with my beaten up old Civic.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Infectious smiles and a daily dose of political discussion.

Jonathan Richman is a man who doesn't look accustomed to smiling. The lines on his face tell you he's been in the music business longer than you've been alive, so much so that you begin to wonder if he's disappointed to be playing a gig in such a small space, strumming out old favorites accompanied only by a drummer who seldom speaks.

And then he smiles. He smiles and he plays his songs and he dances and he relishes in the crowd as much as they're enjoying him. You listen to his words and watch his demeanor and you think, maybe something is right in this world after all.

Go see him play when he comes to your town.


When your aunt forwards you one of those "Obama is a secret Muslim who won't do the Pledge of Allegiance" emails, don't let that racist shit slide. I don't care who you're voting for or what your political views are, fight the smears. Debate on the candidates merits, personalities, stance on the issues, hell, argue about whose wife is prettiest*, but don't make it about black versus white. There's a problem with race in an America where people believe it makes any sense to say they're not "racist" but find those bizarre rumors plausible.

I also just want to say I don't get those Hillary Clinton supporters who say they're going to vote for McCain. The two Democratic frontrunners had such similar views that I didn't want to choose--being a registered non-partisan voter allows me that luxury. If you were so gung ho about a woman in the White House, why the hell would you go with the guy who wants to abolish major women's rights in this country (and supposedly called his wife a "cunt," which, classy)? I guess I just hope you all change your minds by November.

* Don't, actually, but at least that's subjective and debatable, not an outright lie.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Things my rabbits love (besides Kevin).

My rabbits, Lilly and Ollie, don't love me. I'm just the crazy person who feeds them twice daily and grooms them (when they allow me) and tells them they are cute. They love Kevin, who brings them hay and sometimes treats and never attempts to groom. He is like a freakin' St. Francis of Assisi, all the animals love him.

Most of the time, though, they don't get to shower their love on my boyfriend. They have staked out their territory across most of my floor, and here's a list of things--besides actual food--they would be sad to live without.
  1. My ingenious hay loft. I swapped the shelf and basket positions when I assembled it, put a chew-friendly mat on the bottom shelf, and filled the basket with hay. It sits next to one of the litter boxes. They can reach hay from any angle: the sides, underneath (also good for "hiding"), and--their favorite favorite--sitting IN the basket. Both fit in there at the same time.

  2. The tunnel. This was an offhand suggestion from one of the Rabbit Haven volunteers when we adopted these guys, and it was a good one. This is available at pretty much any decent hardware store because it's what you use to pour concrete to install a fence post. The bunnies crawl through the 8" tube like it's some kind of secret passageway to the safety zone of our next item.

  3. Under my bed. Coupled with the tunnel, I'm sure this feels very much like a natural, earthy nest, without all the digging and being covered with dirt. It stays cool under there during the day and they can take a nap stretched out on the hardwood floor, but still quickly access water, hay, and litter boxes.

  4. An old newspaper. It lives under the bed and they tear it to shreds, eat it, and nest in it. I'm sure that's very satisfying if you're a house rabbit.

  5. Boxes. If you've ever seen that picture of cats sitting in boxes, you should know that rabbits have a similar inclination. The best ones are have low sides because they can sit in them and chew without straining anything.

My favorite things about the rabbits are watching them eat and when they use the steps to hop up on my bed. Especially when I am still IN bed. They like to explore, but they are cautious and know it's not their space. They leave a few inches of personal space around my face.

If you want to find out your favorite things about rabbits, go to Petfinder to find a local rescue group, or if you're in the San Jose/Santa Cruz area, go straight to the source: The Rabbit Haven.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Random notes too brief blog about proper.

  • This week, I owe it to the rest of you to shower myself with blessings.

  • Despite the difficulties of the job hunt, I'm still glad I quit my old job.

  • The new Cool Whip commercial (could not find a link) featuring Cool Whip in a can starts out with someone singing, "I want to play." This reminds me of the creepy Twilight Zone episode with the evil doll who wants to KILL. (I would link to the episode, too, but only has the series through season 3 and that episode is season 5. Please believe I know that thanks only to Google and IMDb, and not because I am a huge TZ geek.)

  • I have two entrepreneurial ideas. One involves reviving and roping some Web 2.0 coder friend into creating something cool with me. The other involves becoming a healthy, veg*n personal cook-for-hire. Neither is likely to go anywhere.

  • Kevin and I were out on Saturday night and I needed more coffee beans. He stayed in the car while I ran into Barefoot Coffee to get my fix. I felt like one of the junkies on Intervention whose parents or best friends enable them with a ride to skid row and $100 to buy smack. Except he didn't pay for the coffee, the shop is in a middle class strip mall, and I'm not a pariah. I hope.

  • Yesterday for Father's Day I baked Kevin's dad a peach galette (a word that I have been both spelling and pronouncing wrong). We also had the Sunday night set menu/name your price dinner at Malabar Cafe. It was fantastic.

  • Battlestar Galactica's mid-season finale (a pox on Sci-Fi Channel!) left us in a decent waiting space, I think. Now what?

  • I have now seen every single TV episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and now I'm pissed that I didn't get into it when it was originally on because there's no one to discuss it with, fresh, only old discussions to read. But I loved it.

  • Jonathan Richman is playing the Make Out Room in SF this week and I am going one night with my friend Steve because it's what he wants to do for his birthday. I can't think of a single thing wrong with this situation.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Kitchen going crazy.

In the last 24 hours I have made:

White bean garlic dip (texture like hummus)
Radicchio-balsamic vinegar-olive oil crostini topping
Tomato-zucchini fritters and greek yogurt dip to go with
Honey shortening biscuits
Balsamic-macerated strawberries

It's hot as shit and I don't know why I have been using my oven so goddamned much.

Also, there's a grass fire a few miles from here and the sky is a foreboding shade of yellow.

But the food, the food is awesome. And I am bringing most of it to my friends' house for tonight's season(-ish) finale of BSG. I like to share. I overshare. I can't stop sharing.

Now won't someone share with me?

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Let's dork out!

I recently spent money on something other than food and gas. I'm not really supposed to do that, but I am getting fatter and I don't feel like leaving the house. I do, however, like sitting on my bed and playing with my Nintendo DS.

Enter Let's Pilates! Sure, workout video games are ridiculous. I'm certainly not rushing out to buy Wii Fit--costs a lot and I hear the game itself isn't up to snuff--and I used Yourself! Fitness for about a week before giving up.

The thing I like about Let's Pilates is that it is well-focused and full of good, detailed instructions on how to do all levels of the positions and motions. I took a pilates class two years ago and it was one of the best exercises I've ever done. It takes a lot for me to actually LIKE an exercise. I stopped taking the class only because I'm a moron. I tried the free class at my local 24 Hour Fitness and the instructor was awful. The DS version of pilates instruction is almost as good as taking a decent class, and I can do it in my room.

Sure, it's awkward to hit "Next" in the Challenge mode, which is where you get detailed instruction on various poses/moves. It breaks it way, way down, gives you something to imagine (which I've taken the liberty of making real, where possible--for example, holding a ball under my knee to keep it bent and the muscles taut), and helps keep your breathing on track. Once I get the hang of the movement, it isn't necessary to see the screen, and the oral instructions are clear. Plus you can turn off the silly music without muting the speaking.

The other silly thing about it also relates to Challenge mode: the Pilatree (oh so clever) and the smurfy little dancing characters that give you rewards for completing items. Like new clothes for the model! Or pilates trivia! Or pilates for everyday (wait, that actually might be useful). It's just rather silly for a game that's otherwise straightforward and instructive.

If you have a DS and you like pilates, for $30, it's not a bad deal.

An introvert in an extrovert's world.

Wherever introversion meets social anxiety, that's where I am in a job interview. I do a good job of keeping the social anxiety under control in most other situations, with with as much at stake as there is in the job hunt, it just comes out.

I know I come off as unsure of myself. Apparently when it matters, I am. When I get comfortable, when I feel like I have some control over my situation, I can tear down that veneer, but how can you act sure about something you don't already know? It strikes me as dishonest, so I tend to softpedal, to demur, to self-deprecate. I can see myself doing it and I'm still not sure how to unlearn that. No matter how many times I practice individual pieces of an interview, it isn't part of a cogent whole and it especially fails to account for the very real anxiety. An introvert like me needs to plan the hell out of things that make her nervous, and you can't plan an interview, only prepare.

Preparation is pretty much the only “positive” coping mechanism I have—no one, least of all a potential employer, is going to think having notes and print-outs is something to be avoided. I prepare, I preen, I think, I listen to something energizing in the car, I feel pretty, and I am friendly. Then I sit down at their desk and start talking about myself, “ums” and all.

I haven't so far been able to practice without feeling silly or reverting to coping mechanisms. I don't talk myself up; I'm not comfortable with it on the whole. I don't see how it's relevant to the actual doing of a job that I can puff myself up (though I realize it can help a potential employer see me). I use humor to break the tension, sometimes at my own expense (I am working to curb this). I focus on connecting and being honest but thorough.

I'd love to be the kind of person who can enjoy the journey as much as the destination. Sometimes I am—when traveling and cooking; in relationships; with storylines in movies, books, and TV—but with this process, the more time I have to enjoy the journey, the more freaked out I get. Every day presents me with another challenge to my increasingly weak self-esteem. There's glimmers of hope, and they're tests: Can I improve on past experience, or will I regress? Above all, I need to keep in mind that there are others doing the same thing as me, and I need to prove to these people that I'm a better fit than they are. I don't like putting myself above people.

But this being MY blog, I can afford to make a written declaration of my own awesomeness. I am tired of getting in my own way.

I love working and feeling productive. I love being part of a team and making a contribution. I'm not out for glory, but I want the product I work on to be great. I dig a good to-do list and I take time to make sure even typed note sheets look good. I can spot a typo from across the cubicle. The Internet is the air I breathe and I've blogged since before they called them blogs. I am funny, I think before I speak, and I bake a mean vegan cookie. I am an asset—you know you want me.

How are you awesome?

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Now that the chips have fallen...

I'm gonna go ahead and get me some political banners.

First up:
barack obama for president

It's a gimme but whatever. Go Obama!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Cable TV: A Pro-Con List.

  • What else am I supposed to do all day? (This is only a little tongue-in-cheek.)
  • Inane lady-programming like TLC and HGTV.
  • Incredibly stupid crap on VH1 (and if you assumed this will appear again on the Con list, you are right).
  • Project Runway, Top Chef, and (okay, this is sad) Shear Genius.
  • Gilmore Girls reruns.
  • Free stuff On Demand!
  • Battlestar Galactica.
  • My god, how could I forget Comedy Central? The Daily Show and The Colbert Report are obvious, but there's other good stuff.
  • The Soup.
  • Mythbusters.
  • Having cable eliminates the need for a DTV converter box next year.

  • I am already mooching housing. Mooching cable is extra bad.
  • I might be more productive and/or read a damn book if I didn't have cable.
  • Cable TV allows/encourages me to watch soul-sucking and brain-rotting tripe. Like VH1.
  • The myriad legal alternatives to getting the content I actually want: Netflix, YouTube, various networks' free Flash video pages, friends' houses.
  • Stupid ABC Family doesn't have stupid season 7 of Gilmore Girls, but they do have that heinous Christian power ballads commercial on every goddamn day. Those songs get stuck in my head. That's that power of Satan coming through.
  • I seldom use the On Demand feature.
  • Comedy Central has crap I don't want to watch on about 75% of the time.
  • Once I get a job (probably one with a lengthy commute), I will have less time for stupid TV.
  • Kevin can stop bitching about the volume or making fun of me for whatever dumb thing I'm watching. TV on DVD is somehow more respectable, and with subtitles, I can maintain better volume levels.
  • Paying Comcast is just lame.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Stuff White People Detect.

With White's Metal Detector! It's my latest favorite really stupid commercial! So much to love: the hilarious brand name in a commercial populated exclusively with White People!, and their marketing is full of bizarre, unintentional double entendres. My admittedly immature favorite is from the homepage: "Go DEEP!"

I'm apparently incapable of writing lengthier posts about anything this week. Maybe you'll get something long about Buffy when I finish the series. Maybe you'll hear some happy news from my world (I effing hope). Maybe you'll get me writing about how I overdosed on cookie dough and have no desire to cook dinner now. You never know.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Coffee and pie.

WHAT. Thank you, Defamer, for the link: freaking Twin Peaks is streaming in its near-entirety (no miniseries) over at CBS.COM. If you like weird shit and good TV and you haven't watched this show, go watch it. If you liked this show already, well, go enjoy it without having to buy or rent anything.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Yesterday my sister graduated from college. She got her BFA in animation and visual effects in a lengthy ceremony at the Cow Palace. As with most commencements, two-thirds of the event is taken up with graduates filing in, getting up to wait for their names to be called, walking across the stage, posing for a photo, and filing out at the end. "Pomp and Circumstance" is played for a grand total of at least 45 minutes (pity the musicians). There's some speechifyin', some cliches, some slide shows, and several hundred young adults wearing funny hats. You might expect an art school to be a little more creative, really.

Being the only family able to attend, I brought her some money from our mom and took her out to lunch at a Mexican/Salvadoran place across the street. I found it on Yelp the night before and apparently none of the other graduates knew about it, because we were the only non-Spanish speakers there. I had a couple pupusas stuffed with cheese and something called loroco leaf, pureed black beans, and rice. Margot had carne asada. We both had the horchata. The pupusas and the tortillas that came with Margot's dish were insanely fresh and lovely.

I was so tired yesterday that I ended up driving my sister to a random Caltrain station in South San Francisco after driving around for half an hour when I should've been able to get her to one of the BART stations along Mission in no time. Ridiculous, I am. I hit the early southbound traffic on my way south, and I had to keep going past my usual exit because I had to pick up veggies and strawberries in Los Gatos then go... well, take care of some gatos at my friends' house. I think I'm getting a sinus infection, too.

This was definitely not what I meant to post about, by the way. I was going to write about how I've been--FINALLY--watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer and that I love it and being unemployed is great for marathon TV-on-DVD suggestions. I just started the sixth season and after I finish the seventh, I am moving on to Angel.

What? It's good to have something to focus on.

Monday, May 19, 2008

You can't just throw 'em away!

As a cheap way of helping me put away some of the piles of crap that prevent our house from looking presentable to the prying eyes of our landlord, I purchased a pack of 10 bag hutches.

When life gives you cherries...

the pits
Originally uploaded by emily ca..

Yesterday we celebrated Kevin's grandfather's birthday with fresh cherries and strawberries, coconut "bliss" ice cream, and delicious Thai food. It was a lovely day.

Today I need to clean my house a bit in case my landlord comes inside tomorrow (there's a mouse in the garage--a detached building--and they're coming over to find it) plus work on that whole employment thing. I have one session left with the coach and I am pushing it back because I just don't feel ready to be done. I'm not done. Plus, I know it's rough out there, and I know my clock is ticking down pretty fast and I still don't know what exactly to do if I don't get a real job soon. (That wasn't a call for suggestions, for the record.)

Wednesday my sister is finally graduating from college, so I'm reppin' for the family and taking pictures. For the remainder of the week I'm also on cat duty at Steve and Jenn's. Hopefully it won't be hot as hell again this week so I'll feel able to do things other than nap and leave to find places with air conditioning that won't tempt me to spend money.

Maybe I'll also find more cool things to blog about besides my life! Let's face it, my life is most bloggable when I don't have time to do it.

Friday, May 16, 2008

To yelp or not to yelp.

I just read a story about online “reputation management” services for restaurants (link via CHOW). As an avid Yelper who is often bored enough to participate in the Talk boards, I can tell you there's lots of discussion among these Internet users/reviewers regarding the response of businesses to non-professional reviews. As you might imagine, most of them think business owners who fail to live and let live with the online crowd are... well, stupid.

The value of individual reviews can be debated for the next decade, but I don't understand why some restaurant owners seem to think that (1) you can control information on the Internet and (2) everyone believes everything some other asshole says online. So why bother getting het up because not everyone who posts an opinion that's not exactly your own marketing copy?

Most people can tell when the reviewer is being unreasonable. Most people are likely to analyze reviews in total in their own, individual ways. And most people are unlikely to respond well to obvious owner meddling. Most people want businesses to earn those rave reviews.

It's one thing if you want your restaurant's own website to show up first in a Google search, but to prevent Yelp, Chowhound, etc. from showing up at all is just kind of... dumb and limiting. People like me, for instance, might think no one cares about your restaurant enough to even review it, so why would I want to go there?

Hey, you three people who read this: how do you use sites like Yelp to determine whether or not to try a place? Do you write reviews?

I don't need to be made beautiful.

Body image, beauty, and what it means to be a woman in America today have been on my mind lately. Sad to say that part of the reason is because I keep watching What Not To Wear and while it makes me covet, it also makes me think. No, really, pretty much any old show brings up class/body image/etc. issues if you're reading it hard enough, and you don't have to look too deeply into WNTW. The entire show is about body image.

In some ways, I appreciate it. They don't tell their makeover subjects that they are fat and ugly—quite the opposite, they tell them their clothes are ugly and if they just changed the clothes they wore, they might stop thinking of themselves that way. It's simplistic, but at least in the show's editing, it seems to be true. I like the notion that looking good, and by extension feeling good, is accessible to everyone, not just those in the fashion industry or with size 2 bodies. What nags at me is that despite their ability to veer away from model beauty, they do have a fairly rigid idea of conventional beauty that must be imposed. They describe their suggested looks as sophisticated feminine. Bad clothes might look like a 12-year-old boy would wear them, or they're homeless, or androgynous. These things are putting up a wall. It's assumed that once a woman feels pretty, that's it, they only want to feel pretty.

In today's culture, there's a shape most women would do well to emulate, just as there's a shape for men, and the two are distinct. Feminine features on a man are faults to be counteracted; masculine aspects of women are de-emphasized. Men are good to go with a short haircut (maybe a little product) and a good moisturizer while women are goaded into cutting off their hair (much as I agree with the suggestion on an aesthetic level) and taught how to do a “five-minute face.”

Maybe I just get too into it, because while I'm down for the shopping (styling advice, $5,000 to buy fabulous clothes, and a free trip to New York sounds awesome) and the hair (I do my own only because I'm cheap), I'm stuck on the makeup. Why do we have to wear makeup?

Ever since my mom took away a green eyeshadow-containing toy when I was a kid, I don't recall being fascinated with the rigors of a daily makeup routine. Sure, I had a large collection of cheap, colorful nail polishes from ages 13 to 15, and there's been at least one tube of some dark red lipstick floating around my room for probably 10 years now, but I never understood the people who were afraid to be seen without a full face of makeup on and never really put it on myself. I have never owned foundation, powder, eyeliner, mascara, any of that. And I think my face looks great without it. My skin isn't perfect and it might look better with makeup on it, but to me, smearing gunk on my face just to feel presentable enough to get out of the door seems antithetical to self-esteem. I don't know why I can justify flattering clothes but not makeup, but there it is.

On a related note, here's a couple links:
- The Cho Show, an interview with Margaret Cho, champion of body issues (among other things)
- The Rise of Bodysnarking, which, wow, really? (via Feministing)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

More gay marriage links (I am too hot to attempt wit).

I always like reading the discussions on anything court-related over at The Usual Suspects, and today's anti-DOMA ruling is no exception.

As for the state constitutional amendment worming its way onto the ballot this fall, here's what we're up against and here's some people working to defeat it.

Petty things that drive me crazy #4.


That's all.

Wait... wait... there's more:

Why the hell did I move to California, again?

Fight for rights -- the embarrassment approach.

A dude I know online--a fellow Californian voter, married man, and soon-to-be father--is my new hero, and here's why:
[bret] ugghhhh.... constitutional amendments to declare what love is
[bret] jebus fucking shit
[bret] i railed into a guy trying to get me to sign that amendment, cause i did sign the 'increase in alternative energy money' ballot
[bret] he's like, 'while you're here, would you like to petition for a constitutional ban on gay marriage'
[bret] i said 'holy cow! no way! that's probably the worst idea for a law EVER.'
[bret] but i said it really loudly and he got embarassed
[bret] that'll teach him to promote that shit in front of MY grocery store
[bret] Safeway, all gay, all the way

See, guys, it doesn't take much. Just behave as if gay marriage is normal. Put anti-gay rights activists on the defense where they belong.

Let's hear it for good news!

Today the California state supreme court overturned the same-sex marriage ban. Apparently, it's a basic right to form a family relationship, to marry, whomever we choose (provided they're human, of age, and there's only one of them).

That is, until the voters approve a constitutional amendment banning it more permanently. If I have anything to say about it--and, as a registered California voter, I do!--that won't happen. Let's work together to make sure the homophobes don't continue to reign.

The ruling (PDF) was handed down only hours ago, but already a few of the blogs I follow have commented:

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

TV Obsession Roundup #1.

Some of you know I have a problem with America's Next Top Model. I've largely broken my addiction to this truly horrible show, but still catch it sometimes if I'm not doing anything else. (Let's face it, how often am I doing something else?) Anyway, I only caught about half of the current cycle, but it was enough to turn up my nose at its "full-figured" winner. Apparently, she was teased by the mean girls in high school for not being a twig. The bitch can still shop at any normal store and doesn't come close to falling into a plus-size category, but Tyra (crazy fucking Tyra) thinks she has a new niche winner with whom to pat herself on the back. She's changing the industry! Good job, Tyra! Sheesh.

On the other hand, I enjoy Top Chef an increasing amount. I love Richard and Stephanie. I used to hate apparent speed freak Andrew, but now I find his spazzy humor endearing. He's more than a little cocky, but isn't any good chef? Dale doesn't look good on reality TV but I bet he's good. I'm watching the episode right now, and Antonia, what the hell is wrong with cooking Asian food all the time? How is that not well-rounded? That covers half the world's most respected cuisines, and he seems well-trained and well-versed in it. This week's focus on healthy eating is rad, by the way. Let's hear it for whole grains and veggies.

The third thing is VH1's Sex: The Revolution documentary series from the same people who made 1996's The Drug Years. I randomly caught the latter in one of its many marathons and found it really interesting, informative, and entertaining. The first two installments of Sex are up there, too, and I'm looking forward to catching the other half. Defamer notes in particular that Danny Glover's insight into the 1960s San Francisco Free Love scene are...enlightening.

Monday, May 12, 2008

On today's menu: deliciousness.

Some days I have just the right touch in the kitchen. Not everything I ever make is heavenly, but sometimes I do the ingredients justice, and then not only do I feel satisfied, I feel full. Mmm.

Late this afternoon I realized I needed some type of lunch, so I whipped up a red lentil and brown rice dahl with a little canned diced tomato, spiced simply with green garlic, red onion, brown mustard seeds, cumin seeds, coriander, turmeric, ginger, and hot cayenne. I was quite pleased with it and its recipe-less goodness. I had it with a salad that used up my lettuce, red beet, a carrot, and a scallion with some dijon-apple cider vinaigrette.

After 8, Kevin noted that he was hungry again. I was uninspired, but I pulled out my heads of cauliflower and broccoli, a couple carrots, a tomato, and some small round summer squash, chopped them into big hunks, tossed with a little olive oil and seasoned, then roasted them until just slightly browned. Meanwhile, I cooked up a little batch of long-grain brown rice and mixed up some peanut sauce dressing (peanut butter, red curry paste, lemon juice, and a dash each of agave sweetener and soy sauce, thinned with a little water).

Dude. So good. SO good. I mean, go make it right now good. Takes some time because roasting and rice-cooking take about 45 minutes or so, but pretty low effort. You don't need to drench things with the peanut sauce, either; a little goes a long way. Roasted is the way to go with a lot of veggies; adding a tangy sauce and eating it with rice makes it a complete meal.

Of course, Kevin made his own food anyway, despite my near-heroic efforts of kitchenry. More lentils. Weirdo.

Lesson learned: applying for jobs late at night is a bad idea.

I did that on Thursday night. I don't know what came over me--I just sat there and searched all the job sites and found new ones and applied, applied, applied until about 2 a.m. My body woke me up before 8, so I didn't get my usual seven hours of sleep. I was fine on Friday--two cups of coffee helped--but by Saturday, I was unable to stop myself from napping. I just wanted to sleep all day. Yesterday, I slept until almost 9, which is very late for me, and felt like a zombie all day. Today I slept until 9:30 or so, much to the hungry bunnies' dismay. I feel more awake, though, so maybe I finally caught up.

Maybe someday I can have a real schedule again.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Forgive me, father, for I have sinned.

I covet. Ever since I made myself unemployed, my yearning for new wearables has grown well beyond my means, which are, naturally, shrinking. I was finally getting used to the ability to buy things just because I wanted them and being able to afford it. I was never a big shopper, but I have to admit I enjoy it. It's a sickness.

I did slip a few weeks ago after seeing one too many episodes of What Not To Wear touting the virtues of the wide-leg trouser and the fitted jacket. I love a jacket and can never get enough, but for job interviews, of course I need more than my existing assortment of crappy black slacks and jeans. So after a lot of Internet window-shopping and receipt of my stimulus check, I went to Kohl's because it's nearby, it seemed to have the type of thing I was looking for, and it was having a massive sale. And I had good luck! I found a few tops that I liked on me, and one pair of pale gray trousers. But my shopping bug was insatiable, so I went to crappy Westgate Mall, home of Target, Old Navy, Nordstrom Rack, and the shittiest Ross you ever did see. I saw nothing worthy at Ross or Old Navy. I didn't have the energy to tackle the piles at Nordstrom Rack and there weren't any cool shoes out. In Target, I found a lightweight cotton jacket in mocha and trousers in a dark chocolate that worked.

Of course, my transgressions were punished almost immediately. As I was making my getaway through the maternity section (FEAR!), I tripped and twisted my goddamn ankle.

And the other thing, my god, one simply cannot wear black oiled clogs to interviews and look polished. I have one pair of pointy-toed black kitten heels that are sufficiently professional, but I need options. I covet shoes. I covet shoes in pretty colors. My feet need more red in their life, and not just on those black-lace-with-red-patent-buckle casual flats I have. And I need to be able to walk in them without looking like a drunk, so no 3-inch slingbacks for me. I bought two pairs online, one of which is about to get sent back because as cute as they are, they run about a half size too small for my giant feet. The other is pointy, red, and basically flat. Fantastic, and cheap!


Preferably a job. Or free money.

Catching more flies with brown rice syrup.

I'm pro-choice. I'm also a vegetarian. In some ways, it feels like pro-lifers and vegetarians have philosophical overlap, and when either side takes that to its dystopic extreme, it seems to do more harm than good to their movement.

At first it might seem unfair to compare the two—though unfair to whom depends on which side you favor. But consider the tactics and imagery used.

Pro-life (anti-abortion activists, really) in its extreme uses blown-up photos of aborted fetuses and the shout the word of their wrathful god to picket abortion clinics and Planned Parenthood offices. Vegetarians—under the auspices of PETA or the Animal Liberation Front—protest with pictures of beakless chickens smothered in overcrowded coops and toss red paint on people wearing fur. Both are doing so in the name of saving lives or ending cruelty to living things. Neither are likely to convince many people to change their beliefs or actions except perhaps in the short term.

I'm the immature person who drives by a Planned Parenthood protest with my middle finger raised, but I haven't got much more respect for the off-putting tactics of PETA/ALF/et al. While I feel the need to respect all their beliefs, I disagree so deeply that it begins to offend me. I don't think it's right to guilt people into major life decisions, be it what god to follow, when to have a child, or what to eat for dinner.

My point here was less to compare and contrast vegetarians and pro-lifers and more to point out what I see as wrong with the vegetarian movement as the public sees it. Maybe it's because my entree into vegetarianism was the environmental aspects (e.g., raising a cow is an inefficient use of resources) and not because I hurt for the poor widdow animals, but I do think people are swayed by the latter too. Just not when people are confronting them about it.

I know a lot of foodies have been changing their meat-eating habits to avoid factory farming and opt for animals raised and slaughtered in more humane, sanitary conditions, and that those meats are more expensive leads some of them to expand their vegetarian repertoire. And, hey, while they're doing that, maybe they discover that there's a hell of a lot you can do without pork, chicken, fish, or beef. Radically changing one's diet is a difficult process and not one that's right for everyone, no matter how many Flash animations you develop featuring sad cows.

For me, vegetarianism is a challenge and an adventure. Sure, it's not adventurous in the sense that you get to eat offal and balut—though I do think people who do eat meat should own that fact and eat all the edible parts of an animal, which is what allows me to enjoy Anthony Bourdain—but in a puzzle sense. How can I make something delicious without using eggs, dairy, or meat?* How can I make it fresh and exciting? What can I learn to do better? What can I learn to make at home that I used to buy at the store (like fakin bacon—homemade tempeh bacon is rad)? Will my non-vegetarian friends think this is as good as I do and ask for the recipe?

That's how it ought to be done: careful personal consideration and a little helpful nudging from those of us on the other side. I'm not trying to convert, I just think that the more reasonable it seems, the more easily people can be won over by the facts. And even then, it's still a big personal decision.

* Note: I am lacto-ovo vegetarian still, but the vast majority of my home cooking is vegan for two reasons: (1) Kevin, (2) even if Kevin doesn't eat the stuff I bake, at least I know it won't be INSANELY unhealthy. Just SORT OF unhealthy, which is good enough for me when I end up eating the whole batch. Of dough. For dinner.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Cognitive dissonance and the 5 pm rerun of Gilmore Girls.

I miss this goddamn show so much, I make it a point to be home at 5 pm so I can rewatch every episode. They are coming up on the show's final season, which I have only seen once. I miss this stupid show like I miss my friends back home. Okay, not really, but I still love it.

There's nothing truly wrong with loving/missing a TV show. I mean, it's stupid, but it's not wrong and I don't let it interfere with my life. The cognitive dissonance comes with its home on the ABC Family channel, which, aside from the hilarious "a new kind of family" tagline, has a pretty heavy "family values" bent. "Family values" being code for "overzealous Christian."

Every goddamn night during my precious Gilmore Girls rerun, these assholes have a commercial for the "inspirational" Christian power ballads collection, I Can Only Imagine. Take a moment to look at the Amazon page. It's not a fucking joke.

The commercial involves snippets of several songs -- two by Amy Grant, beloved of 12-year-old girls everywhere circa 1993; one of the song that made me leave the Catholic church, "Awesome God;" "God Is In Control" with a chick who looks kind of like a toned-down Cyndi Lauper (sorry Cyndi); the horrific "Butterfly Kisses;" and "In Christ Alone" by Michael English, who sings with his eyes closed and looks like a child molester. It sicks me out every single time I see this thing and fail to get to the mute button on my remote in time.

This commercial is slowly driving me insane.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Maker Faire 2008

fashion show
Originally uploaded by emily ca..

I was looking through my photos of this illustrious event and thinking, "If someone saw this, would it confuse them, yet make them want to attend?" This best fits the bill, I'd wager.

Yes, as part of a fashion show, there were people wearing bike tires and rolling around the runway on unicycles. And it wasn't even the weirdest costume (that would be the teddy bear suits).

In its third year, the Maker Faire has attaracted all kinds of media attention and been featured on many a local newscast/front page/radio report. The traffic was backed up onto the offramp from 101 and well down the ramp off Highway 92 onto Delaware St. I mean, stopped dead. The cars that could were pulling out into traffic and swerving around to take another exit. I did the same, knowing there was more than one way into this damn thing, and got off at El Camino Real, parked for a few minutes to orient myself, and eventually made it over to the fairgrounds, where my car and I sat in a long parking line for, oh, probably half an hour. That was the time to get from the turn onto Saratoga St. until I gave someone my $8 highway robbery fee and then had my car waved over to the Choose Your Own Adventure lot, where people were just parking haphazardly and I'm amazed no cars were apparently harmed in the debacle. Oh, and this was at 10:30 (to sometime after 11) in the morning, half hour after it opened. It was a freaking cluster.

Once inside, I met up with my sister and a friend of hers I hadn't met before, Tara, who is a fellow veggie and works for the only manufacturer of non-shitty frozen food, and we began our wanderings. First we took a walk around the food court, where we were plied with delicious, free chocolates. I told them we should buy our lunches now to avoid crowds later, but they were distracted by the allure of soft serve, so I went to investigate a place advertising Vietnamese sandwiches. They did not have the sandwiches yet. I do not know if they ever got the sandwiches, because the second time I tried they still weren't there so I got a veggie burger.

We wandered around all the buildings and areas, sometimes in a group and sometimes not, sometimes stopping to talk to people in booths. I talked to the woman manning The Onion's booth and she told me a bit about how they work. I picked up a copy of Edible San Francisco from their booth and tried to chat with the publisher but he didn't seem interested. The Bay Area Vegetarians caught me eyeballing their booth and called out, "Are you ready to make a change?" and then tried to make me feel like a jerk because I'm not a vegan. And that whole scene is a rant unto itself, but I'm babbling enough already.

I enjoyed a demonstration by this guy on how to make carrot caviar using the science of molecular gastronomy, then another from this lady on how to make your own shampoo from garden clippings. The latter also discussed her series of eco-friendly travel guides for cities less traveled and afterwards let me flip through her brand-new one on Olympia (!). Both the demonstrations were something I now actually want to try at home.

To cap it off, I watched belly dancing, tightrope walking, and fire eating with my sister, then we caught up with her friend's fashion show and watched that. And that is where I took most of my pictures, because it was fun to play photographer, even with a POS.

Kevin is going today with his fellow coder friend from Australia. I am sure they will find completely different adventures. That's the beautiful thing about the Maker Faire -- there's something for every geek.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Petty things that drive me crazy #3.

Again, I'd like to write about a commercial. Or, rather, a series of TV commercials. I realize that the way advertising is sold on cable means that most ads are run nationally, so sometimes you'll see commercials for things that don't apply to your location, for example, Sonic. Sometimes it amazes me we get Dreyers commercials instead of Edys.

But sometimes you end up with a commercial advertising the place you ARE. Such is the case with the series from the California tourism board, selling vacations to the state by saying, "Find yourself here." They all feature famous Californians--not least of whom is the Governator--speaking about how great the state is. One of them "cleverly" declares that California is full of hard workers, and it ends with Ahhhnold (I've lived here HOW long and I still can't take him seriously?) asking, "When can you start?"

Why it annoys me, I can't quite say. Part of it is that I have to see advertising for the place I already live. Part of it is that they talk about "work" and work is hard to find. Part of it is that I just want to smack everyone in it because they look for fucking fake.

At any rate, it's all petty.


It's my No. 1 vice. Sometimes I think I'd rather give up chocolate than good coffee, and you know I am a chocolate fiend.

Even bad coffee can be enjoyable, but I go out of my way to avoid bad coffee. Starbucks may be ubiquitous but it isn't good; this is fact. I haven't had coffee *at* Peet's, but I have had their beans, and they're good, but I've had better.

Right now my "better" is Barefoot Coffee Roasters. Oh, sure, the cafe itself is a hell of a place to hang out, and the baristas are skilled and knowledgeable and always busting out with wine tasting-esque descriptions of the beans (an ability I totally covet), but the place has "Roasters" in its name for a reason. They don't sell shiny black pellets of evil, they specialize in beans purchased from farms they know and love, roasted to aromatic perfection and intended to be sold that day and brewed within the month.

For awhile I was mail ordering Blue Bottle, but it got too cumbersome (and kind of expensive). Barefoot is still super local, super good, and super convenient. (They even sell it at Whole Foods, but I prefer buying it at the cafe.)

I love that coffee has such complex flavors, that depending on the method of preparation, the grind, the temperature of the water, and the temperature changes as it sits, it can taste completely different, leaving room for error even with a perfectly roasted bean. I like this level of difficulty; it adds a sense of skill to my ritual.

My equipment: a burr grinder, #2 cone, #2 brown paper filters, electric kettle, Brita filter, large mug.
Ingredients: Good goddamn fresh coffee beans.

First I fill my mug to the brim with filtered water and pour it in the kettle. Then I measure out two and a half heaping soup spoons of whole beans and put them in the grinder. The machine is set to grind at level 3, which is fine but still gritty. I turn it on and tap it periodically to ensure all the beans go down through the whirring discs. While it's grinding, I fold the edges of a paper filter and put it in the cone and put that on top of my mug, then plug in the kettle (it won't take long to simmer). After the grinder is done, I have to tap it several more times to get all the powdery beans into their container, then take it out and dump the grounds into my filter cone. I eagerly anticipate the hissing sound of liquid water turning to steam, and when it's bubbling a little but not boiling, I unplug the kettle and inundate the grounds with hot liquid. It takes two to three pours to get all the water through, and it needs to sit for a few minutes before it's at a drinkable temperature.

But when it is, oh man. Intense. The world stops for a minute when I'm drinking a good cup of coffee. Only a minute, though, because the caffeine kicks in and it's back to work for me.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Petty things that drive me crazy #2.

There's a commercial for a local lite rock radio station featuring really hideous animations of people dancing around their office to the horrible music that populates that station's playlist. Their tagline is something to the effect of "Make your workday more enjoyable!"

And every time I see it, I think, "Sure, if by 'enjoyable' you mean 'likely to drive me to suicide.'"

Because I'm classy.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Reframing thoughts.

As some of you know, I am seeing a career coach. It's something my mom suggested after reading my last legitimately whiny blog entry and even gave me money to pay for the sessions, since that shit isn't cheap and I'm kind of broke.

You know what, though? It's totally worth it. Not only am I making my resume a kabillion times better, I'm actually figuring out what the hell I did at my last job, what I think I was good at, and how I can put that in words to effectively market myself when I do get interviews. Maybe even actually get the job, which is the whole point, really. I am also learning how to network, which is not a skill innate to me. These things all go together.

Moreover, I am changing myself from a person who just really hated her old job to someone who actually knows how to do stuff. I have more confidence, and with a little prodding, I will be able to competently express it to the ends of hearing those charming little words, "We'd like to offer you a position."

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Just a little something I made for lunch.

pasta salad
Originally uploaded by emily ca..

It's warm, I'm hungry, I have a ludicrous amount of vegetables at my disposal. What do I do?

I make this pasta salad. I live on the edge.

Dressing (measures approximate):
-1 tsp. olive oil
-1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
-1 tsp. dijon mustard
-1/4 tsp. maple syrup

-3/4 c. dry whole wheat rotini
-3 stalks swiss chard, stalks separated out, chopped into bite size pieces
-1 small head broccoli, separated into small florets
-1/3 c. frozen peas
-1 tsp. dried tarragon
-Greens from 1 large baby onion, sliced thin
-1 red radish, cut into matchsticks
-1 carrot, grated
-Pepper and almond meal, to taste

Cook the pasta in salted water (Trader Joe's brand needs only 5 minutes). Add prepared chard, broccoli, peas, and tarragon about two minutes before the pasta is done cooking. After it's done cooking, drain and run it under cold tap water for a few seconds and drain again.

Add green onion, radish, and carrot to the dressing and mix, then add pasta and vegetables. Mix to coat everything with the dressing, then add pepper and almond meal to taste.