Apparently, slide shows are where the big bucks are found. As NickS put it, "As somebody who generally avoids slideshows I now understand why they're everywhere."
I've heard and read a number of reports comparing the 2012 GOP presidential field as of November 2010 to the 2008 field as of November 2006, with the gist being (1) everyone's cagey and uncertain, (2) the field is way wide open, including a not completely unserious potential candidate from South Dakota, which is a state, apparently, (3) no one wants to get into the campaign-expert bidding war that ran up salaries last time (4) Mitt Romney seems to have the closest thing to a front-runner spot but that's a very tenuous thing at this point, and (5) nobody seems to know what the heck Sarah Palin is going to do and, as a result, see #1.
I admittedly have a hard time getting all gung-ho about the current administration, but I'll almost certainly be voting for them again in two years. So, in the meantime, hey, look! Horse race!
RelishRelish is a website we signed up for about two months ago, to try to get us to start cooking on a regular basis. It's $7/month. You pick out weekly recipes, they build a grocery list for you - neatly organized by section of the grocery store - and you're off. Prior to this we were coasting on an embarrassing number of sandwiches and cereal for dinner.
It helped a lot with generally being overwhelmed by meal-planning, which was what we wanted. Generally we've been making 0-3 recipes per week. By and large the meals have been delicious.
It has not helped whatsoever with having family meals, because Hawaiian Punch is down for the night by 7, and we usually don't get home much before 5:30-6. Presumably we're getting our cooking muscles in shape for the future.
We've learned to scan the recipes so that when it calls for a pound of unpeeled, veined shrimp, you should check to make sure the very first step isn't "Peel and de-vein the shrimp." Goddamnit, you.
The biggest shocker was probably how goddamn long it takes in the grocery store to get items for three meals with three side dishes. I guess everyone else knew this but me. But especially the produce section just takes forever. (This is partly because HEB stores have you weigh and price your produce and bulk items as you go, which I should probably stop doing. But the checkers aren't practiced and fast at weighing and pricing produce and bulk items, because of this convention.) But even besides the pricing, there are so many individual items needed to prepare three meals with three side dishes from scratch. This drives me nuts.
Next complaint: Every ingredient on the shopping list has a code next to it corresponding to the meal, which is really nice - if you decide to skip a meal A, you can easily cross out all your A items. However, you can't ditch the side dishes without digging through the actual recipe and figuring out exactly what you want to ditch. I am not so ambitious that I need to prepare a side dish from scratch with each entre. I can steam broccoli.
General complaints about recipes: It's not fair to put "chopped" or "diced" or whatever in the ingredient list if that's not how you actually buy the item, because that contributes to Total Time Spent In Kitchen, but it's not counted in their time estimate. Also, their time estimates are always huge underestimates. Granted, learning curve, but we're not totally incompetent. Apparently cookbook writers are terrible at estimating cooking times.
Final complaint: you can sort recipes by a half-dozen categories like "Quick" or "Low Cal" or "Kid-Friendly", etc. The intersection of "Quick" and "Vegetarian" is trivial. I don't see why every quick recipe has to be a meat recipe - can't they throw some tofu in place?
On the whole, I think we'll keep doing it. It takes all the thinking out of cooking, which is the part I've never taken a shine to. But dang is cooking is time-intensive.
But I have read this essay about it, which makes the following paragraph from Wikipedia a mite disappointing:
The U.S. Marine Corps Professional Reading List makes the novel recommended reading at several lower ranks, and again at Officer Candidate/Midshipman. The book was placed on the reading list by Captain John F. Schmitt, author of FMFM-1 (Fleet Marine Fighting Manual, on maneuver doctrine) for "provid[ing] useful allegories to explain why militaries do what they do in a particularly effective shorthand way." In introducing the novel for use in leadership training, Marine Corps University's Lejeune program opines that it offers "lessons in training methodology, leadership, and ethics as well [....] Ender's Game has been a stalwart item on the Marine Corps Reading List since its inception."
This thing came into my head while I was writing the above, so it would be unnatural for me to omit it: I shoulda dressed as Nosferatu for Halloween, in the hopes of being the party who rips off Mel Brooks in the following imagined conversation:
Interlocutor: Who are you dressed as?
Me: Yes, I am Nosferatu. I am Nosferatu today.
Pittsburgh is the first city to ban drilling for natural gas.
I had a conversation with someone last night whose spouse is participating in the faculty-in-residence program at one of the big state schools. So she and her husband and their three small children live in a dorm. With oodles of college first year students. Who know and play with her kids, and get humored OMG expressions when the kids get in trouble. Theirs is an apartment, so they have a kitchen and bathroom and living space, but it is right inside one of the freshmen dorms.
I'm totally fascinated by this. What a weird living-among-the-apes experience. They're doing it next year, too, because they basically enjoy it and the finances are fantastic.
"In the Ghetto" really was my favorite Elvis song as a wee lad.
So, I went running in the rain this evening. More of a drizzle, but it was full on raining by the end. It was sort of a proof-of-concept exercise.
See, since starting up with the running in July I've mulled over ditching my $50+/month gym membership. Running outside has been a far more enjoyable activity than going to the gym, and I've kept up with it so much better (and now for a considerable stretch of time) that it seems silly to be paying for a gym membership I've effectively replaced.
Two things are stopping me. One: people keep advising that I'll drop off on the running-outside thing when it gets colder. Hence tonight's run: if I can force myself to go in this weather (50°, rainy), a bit colder isn't anything worse. And I did enjoy it tonight, rain notwithstanding. Is this really a fair test of how I'll treat the routine when the weather gets colder?
Number two (and this one might be the real reason for delaying the gym break-up): I hate-hate-hate that they do an exit interview. I went through it once before when I opted out on a previous occasion (for different reasons). I'm admittedly intimidated by the process and feeling like I have to justify my decision to them, even though, whatever, that's ridiculous. But I acknowledge it's a reaction I'm having.
I just noticed my personal blog's wine-making cob-logger had posted something, and since no one clicks links, I'll just share it:
The other day my boss told me, "We need to teach you how to be a better businessman," when I said I thought we were charging too much for almost all of our wines. I have been on a rampage of lowering our prices, not because we aren't selling wine - we sell wine about twice as fast as I can make it - but because on a global or even national market our wine is drastically overpriced. And yet we sell it all. And stupid high prices.
I like money. Don't get me wrong. I like a paycheck. But it seems to me that I'd rather spend my time trying to make my product better and more accessible, not better and more expensive. As long as we're in the black, and everyone's getting paid, and everything's fixed and oiled proper, I don't care how much we're in the black. How many boats does one man need?
How many, I ask you.
Well? How many?
When I first started working with youth group kids, particularly ninth and tenth-graders, I was struck by how often I would hear the same thing from so many of the girls with whom I worked. In group discussions or in writing, many would say something more or less like this:
I have so much love to give. I've never been in love, not really, but I just feel like I have this huge amount of passion inside of me. If I could just find someone whom I could really trust, then I could give him (usually, it's a him) everything I have inside of me. I know it sounds corny, but I really believe love can heal all our problems. I feel like I have enough love inside of me to change the world, if I could just find a way to let it out.
Some girl would say something like this in a group, and most of the rest would nod vigorously.
This rings true to me as a widespread phenomenon, although I wouldn't have said it about myself at that age. The whole post is good.
One of the best [benefits of longterm relationships] is that they tend to destroy any illusion one has about one's own unique power to heal or change another person. People can and do change, and sometimes they change with the help of a partner. But ultimately, all growth and change is an act of individual will.
(My version of the narcissism of "my love heals!" came later, when I was ending relationships and truly believed that the removal of my amazing love would deeply damage the other person. The boyfriends in question also played out this narrative - we both agreed that I was the best girlfriend and it would be shattering to lose me. It turns out that they recovered quite easily.)
Yesterday, while eavesdropping, I learned that this two-week-old news is the talk of the town—er, talk of the of people whom I happen to be waiting in line with.
We're in the thick of break-up season, folks. Be kind to one another.
I went to the Castro Theatre today to enjoy the sweet strains of the Club Foot Orchestra as they accompanied two films with different lengths but similarly structured plots: first, "Felix the Cat Woos Whoopee"; second, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. I found very depressing the sight, before the movie began, of an extremely attractive woman in the row ahead of me; fortunately, when I left the theater I was able to behold at the intersection of 17th, Castro, and Market something much different, namely, two guys casually hanging out, clad only in cock rings.
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I'm not sure if this is more or less entreprenurial than the heathens who will watch over your pets post-rapture.
Simultaneously suggested by Chris Y. and Cecily! I think that means they're in touch with the universe or something.
In short, our minds wander a lot. Also: "Remarkably, some participants were prepared to answer the survey even when making love."