personal category

shoutout to mpls | 12:08 am | 2 August 2007

amazing slideshow of 35W

math jokes | 5:51 am | 20 July 2007

A guide to all of the jokes on Futurama that I have to ask Mr. Dynagirl to explain to me.

my hoopty fantasy | 6:44 am | 12 July 2007

We’ve been able to manage being a 1.5-vehicle family for a few years now, with a driving car and a haul-shit truck (a giant gas-guzzling, back-firing, tweaky, exhausty 1986 Ford F150 that is horrible and yet awesome). Mr Dynagirl works out of town, so he drives; for about a year-and-a-half I worked along his route, so we could ride together, and for the last year I’ve been working on the opposite side of town but commuting with a friend. That luxury will probably be ending when Madison’s August Moving Party starts. Not only am I going to miss the drive-time company, we’re gonna need some wheels.

While I want to put this off as long as possible — I always find it nicer to spend new mone — this is kind of exciting. The last time I bought a car was 1994 (Holy shit, that thirteen years ago? No WAY). I’ve got some added needs/wants since my Saturn SL1. I learned how to drive stick in the parking lot of the dealer, and now… I can’t figure out how to drive an automatic. That’s probably a mental block, since, duh, it’s easy, and stick is just way more fun to drive. I’ve also gotten spoiled by the fahrfegnügen of our 2000 Passat (six cylinder). Seriously, that thing is like a dog when it hears the keys. “We’re going for a drive? Wanna go? Let’s go!!! Wrrroof!” Love love love it.

You can easily guess that I like cars that get awesome gas mileage (the SL1 got ~35mpg, back in ’94! I was a dork and kept a little notebook) and run forever. No matter what I get, I’m going to have to do something to be able to get my iPod hooked up to it, so that’s not really an issue; air-conditioning goes without saying.

I’d like a used car for a number of reasons besides up-front cost. It’s ridiculous that such a large machine as a car, with so much manufacturing technology and industry behind it, is so disposable. Why is something considered high-mileage already at only nearing 100,000 miles? Metal is good. Try getting a dent out of bondo. Oh, wait, it doesn’t dent, it shatters. I like the idea of a car that can be fixed without the aid of a computer. Cars shouldn’t come with operating systems; oh, hell no. My husband is great at fixing either, and, as cute as he is when he’s geeky, I do like seeing him sweated up working and on a car. (Oh! Banana*!! Sorry.) Plus, when the end times come, it’ll be good to have something more independently workable.**

So, here’s what I need:

  • manual
  • fahrfegnügen / low-end of “luxury”
  • awesome fuel efficiency
  • durable
  • $5-8k
  • dark blue, black, or dark grey preferred

Which brings me to a short-list of a (bio)diesel Volkswagen, Audi, or Mercedes. I love Volkswagens, I put Audi in the list only because they’re basically Volkswagens gone bland; Mercedes is unknown to me and quite alluring. Did you know that they have free roadside assistance for the life of the vehicle? No matter where you got it or when, you get a flat tire? Call ’em up. That’s pretty rad. Also, I want to earn one of these:mercedes million mile plaque

*our safeword at work for TMI.
** kidding! really!!

15 yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct | 11:35 am | 20 June 2007

We went to the Brewers-Giants game last night, and had a great time. Hats, bratwursts, expensive beer, and omg, the Brewers won. However… the amount, volume, and vitriol of the boos and taunts delivered to Barry Bonds (we were in the third-base bleachers) was so nasty that now I’m rooting for the guy! Don’t be mean.

The banners that just had * on them were pretty clever, though…

bbiab | 1:29 pm | 6 June 2007

… so very overloaded …!

Rightstarters Midwest: the farm team | 4:47 pm | 11 May 2007

big bob gibson's white chickenPeace Love and Barbecue
Big Bob Gibson’s Hickory-Smoked Chicken with White Sauce, pp. 55-6
We’ve spent two long weekends working on the house, and by Saturday evening all I wanted was to fuck up a chicken baaad. Between the gorgeous weather and not feeling up to going out, I figured, hey! grill! Sure, I’m tired, it’s 4:30 in the afternoon, I’ll need to go to the store, and this recipe wants you to barbecue the damned bird for three to four hours. What could be more perfect?

Talking to my coach (my brother, an aspiring competitive pitmaster), he said that while the 3-4 hours is ideal, it’d still be great if we just pulled it off the fire when we couldn’t stand the hunger any longer. We also didn’t have any hickory; just generic hardwood charcoal. You can see why we’re the farm team, and not in the majors yet.

The bird is halved, seasoned, and set in the middle of a two-sided fire. (In lieu of salt and pepper, I seasoned this one with Mr Mill’s Magic Dust.) As soon as the chicken comes off the grill, it’s dunked in a white sauce that’s made with mayonnaise, vinegar, and some other simple things. Hooootchiemama, this was terrific! The top photo shows a serving the “nice” way, but in reality, we pulled the meat off and ate it with our fingers. I can’t wait to try it with the hickory and the longer grill time. Wow.
bone the chicken

7-letter word for “sexy smart guy”* | 10:32 am | 7 May 2007

Bill Clinton wrote this Sunday’s New York Times crossword.

* h-u-s-b-a-n-d would also answer the clue, but not in context of this puzzle ;)

a mighty wind | 1:27 pm | 30 April 2007

Parisians, around the turn of the twentieth century, enjoyed the talents of Le Pétomane, a professional farter. His stage name translates as “the fart maniac.” It’s more evidence that the French are the funniest people in Europe.

via… I suppose there’s better places to beef about this, but I don’t feel like raising that big of a stink. (Ha!!) It’s really stupid that my responses to the AskMe question, “are farts universally funny?” were deleted. The one moderator I’ve met in person seemed pretty humorless, so there you go. Maybe my second comment was misinterpreted as something other than a reference to the horrible beer farts that Molson lager generate. Who knows.

the reluctant misanthrope | 11:57 am | 10 April 2007

What the hell happened to me in my childhood that I think that people are good, and if I treat them nicely and with respect, they’ll return the favor?

shazzam-a-zappos! | 12:35 pm | 15 March 2007

I ordered these shoes yesterday at 11:30 in the morning, and they were here by this morning at 11am. That’s like, no way!! fast!

(The shoes look better in reality than in my phonecam, see here and here.)

spanikopita – I wish you could smell this!! | 9:24 am |

spankopita, Greek spinach phyllo pie

There’s a few leftover boxes of phyllo in the freezer that I need to address; this took care of only one roll. Since there’s so many variations in the spanikopita recipes that I found, I just cribbed together the best bits of all the ones I saw, and added a few things that I thought would be good. Measurements are approximate, but this has:

  • just under 3# spinach (3 10oz boxes)
  • 2 small onions + 1 large shallot
  • ~½ c. parmesan
  • ~½ # feta*
  • 2 T. Rosenburg I found in the freezer
  • juice of one lemon
  • a splash of vermouth
  • 1/2 c. toasted pine nuts
  • 4 eggs
  • salt & pepper

If I’d had some parsely or dill on hand, that would have gone in, too. There’s about ten sheets layered on the bottom, then the filling, then five more sheets, more filling, and about ten sheets on top. In the background, you can see there’s a round pie plate where I laid out the extra phyllo from the roll, plopped in the leftover filling, and just folded it in on itself. That’s the one I’ve been snacking on, and it’s awesome.

*there would have been more but The Cheese Nibbler (um, me…) got to it

What time is it? | 5:56 pm | 5 March 2007

If you answered 1988, you are correct!
awesome Swatches that I had and now have once again

knitting: I didn’t forget how | 8:02 pm | 2 March 2007

It’s been a while since I started a big project, because I finally had it drummed into my head that Swatching. Is. Vital. To. Success. While everything I’ve made turned out well technically, things never fit right. I had figured that since hats and small things seemed to come out ok, well, maybe I just somehow have gauge magic… Oh, hell no. So while there’s a number of things I’d like to make soon — Eris, Mariah, Cromarty, and maybe another Stornoway — I want to make sure to be using the right yarn, the right needles, and the right gauge. Last weekend I finally counted out all of the twenty-ish (there’s more not in the photo) swatches, washed them, blocked them, and am recounting. I’m glad I did the washing and re-counting: of the ten I’ve recounted, only two yarns kept their gauge! Eeks.
knitted swatches

Meanwhile, I finally finished a simple pair of socks for Mr Dynagirl:
sock in Elann Esprit

… and started another one for me. Both are Esprit from Elann.com. Phone Elf approves.
new sock started, Elann Esprit

snow days | 7:02 pm | 1 March 2007

Wow, I think I sound bitter and cutty today. It’s probably just living on ice planet Hoth starting to get to me. I’m looking forward to spring.

We got 15-24 inches of snow last weekend, and then we got some more:
from the front door

Here’s the view from my window at work (hey, at least I’ve got a window, right?!):
dreary as fuck out today

Our snowman has a much better attitude. Yay, snowman.
happy drunk snowman

so much Nyquil… | 2:02 pm | 18 January 2007

…that, as my brother quipped, it smells like Iceland in here. Meh.

jet lag suc zzzzzz…… | 11:47 am | 8 January 2007

OK, so I scheduled the flights following my usual jet lag minimization plan: fly to Europe leaving in the evening — you have a day and then you eat and take a melatonin with the “free” red wine, zonk out for the rest of the flight, wake up, and it’s morning in Paris. Returning to the States, fly out in the morning, staying up the whole time, and when you get home, you’re really tired (it’s 4-ish am to your body) but it’s time to go to bed anyway and within a day you’re pretty caught up.

(This plan also works with my general rule of not arriving / departing any time around the beginning of the US morning news cycle. Call me paranoid if you must but surely even some mean people have seen The West Wing or whatever enough to figure that out.)

This time, either it didn’t work, or I’m coming down with something (which would be weird because fatigue and fog are the only symptoms), or I left half of my brain in Paris.

Why I’ll make mincemeat outta ya! | 12:46 pm | 7 December 2006

mincemeat: the raisins
Only rarely do people believe that mincemeat actually has meat in it, and I’m here to testify. It’s actually a very old technique for preserving meats through the winter.The day after Thanksgiving, my mother and I made it. She says that since a batch will make eleven pies, you pretty much only ever make it three or four times in your life.

The photo above is some raisins going through the grinder (which was crappy and got thrown out in favor of my great-grandmother’s); the meat itself wasn’t so Play-Doh Hair Factory dramatic-looking.

Quite Possibly a new record | 3:12 pm | 12 October 2006

Furnace: ON.
It may be the twelfth of October, we may not have gotten new furnace filters and a check-up yet, but DAMN! it’s 56°F in here, 34°F outside, and it’s too hard to breathe while coding under a quilt.

new flatware | 11:33 am | 3 October 2006

Ecko Ja Joya and Pfalzgraff Gourmet GreenI finally bothered finding some silverware that goes better with our dishes than more trad-looking set that I had gotten as a random Christmas present one year. This is Ecko’s “La Joya” along with the Pfalzgraff “Gourmet Green.” I’m also really digging their old “Canoe Muffin” (despite the name) and “Montalo.” Hooray again, eBay!

Beerfest: The Dude Abides | 3:29 pm | 14 August 2006

The Dude
At the Great Taste of Madison, our Dude found his Walter.

Flickr photos of airport lines | 7:10 am | 11 August 2006

Yesterday’s airport security lines and hassles from the travellers’ perspectives on Flickr. Oh, and a Russian dude slamming a bottle of champagne on Yahoo.

I have to fly to New York in a few weeks* and I hope this settles down a bit by then. I was going to be travelling light anyway; I’m just helping my brother drive a uHaul back here. It would be nice, though, if I can just pack a backpack with clean undies (no shampoo**!) and a book (no knitting! sad.) and my cell phone and not have to check anything.

* [OMG why is a one-way flight TWICE as much as a round trip?!]
**Some BoingBoing readers ask the obvious question, if these liquids are so potentially deadly, why are they being dumped out in large receptacles in crowded public areas?!

scream on down the road | 12:15 am | 29 July 2006

I’m sitting here at four minutes past midnight (on a FRiDAY; god, I am SUCH A FUCKING ROCKSTAR AND YOU KNOW IT), weaving in ends and doing miscellaneous finishing business on a baby sweater for a friend, and meanwhile, catching up with the TiVo — and I see now, why, as a child, despite being very much into musicals, I was fucking terrified of The Wiz.


omgwtfbbq?! This is one fucked. up. movie.
And I’m SO buying the soundtrack tomorrow.

*probably, then also on late night televison, under a misguided babysitter. This so explains both my fascination with Nipsy Russell and my fear of Big City Subway Turnstiles. AND WIERD SUBWAY MONSTERS AND THEIR CRACKHEAD MASTERS. (And crack. And tile.) No. You don’t ever want to be in the playground of my mind.

**although the fact that Toto is a miniature schnauzer makes me really happy… and also fits right into the 70s trippy milieu ( we had a schnauzer, too; albeit better groomed than this one ), as well as the linoleum yellow brick road that looks like the vinyl uplholstery on the kitchen chairs in my grandmother’s house.

I wake up screaming | 12:02 pm | 10 July 2006

For the last three nights, there’s been something going on that’s like Al Pacino is rioting with knives in my hip joint. SCIATICA! SCIATICA! Shit! I wake up at 2am to roll over, and can’t move for the pain. Six aspirin (stragetically placed on the nightstand) and a half hour later, I can sort of tease myself over onto my side, then burst into tears. Six aspirin taken forty-five minutes before I have to get up, and I can gimp into the shower, and then it’s 95% fine for the rest of the day. What the hell? After three nights of this, I don’t want to go to bed.

UPDATE: HOLY HELL! I called the rheumatology clinic, and even though I am in their clinic group AND have previous experience with psoriatic arthritis AND am BLEEDING OUT MY EYES FROM THE PAIN, they want me to get a referral from my doc — who, as an obgyn, has a SIX MONTH waiting list. OMGWTFBBQ.

coolest weather radio ever | 7:08 pm | 19 June 2006

Between growing up in Iowa (and still living in a tornado-tastic area) and having spent EVERY FUCKING CAMPING TRIP EVER cowering in a tent with nobody having adequate weather information (let alone CHECKING the fucking forecast before departure), it’s been really bothering me that we don’t have anything on hand should there be an emergency. We’ve got satellite TV, too, so if there’s something nasty in the area, we don’t get reception at all. Fed up, I ordered (and just got) the coolest emergency radio (almost) ever. DUDE! We’re talking well designed. Check it out:
Power supply:
– A/C adapter, OR
– three AA batteries, OR
– the rechargable battery OR
– the hand-crank (which will also charge the rechargeable battery)
– NOAA Weather Channels
– AM / FM
– Television audio (hugely cool, because they’re the ones that update shit in an emergency)
Other goodies:
– CHARGE YOUR CELL PHONE!!! Even if there’s no power you can use the hand crank to charge it – NOICE.
– Flashlight
– Siren
– Alert Mode – leave it on and it only squawks if there’s something coming your way
– Water-resistant

HOLY SHIT IS THAT THE COLLEST EVER?! We’re ordering more — for the car, and for our parents. The only thing I find annoying is that the siren is on the same knob as the power and alert — so you try to turn off the alert mode and you easily end up going EEE AAAAW EEEEE AAAAW at ear-splitting levels. Other than that, and the fact that we have to order a different adapter because our cellphones are Treos, it’s SO worth the money and I will never be a loser cowering in a tent with “experienced campers” again. Rock.

Garage sale find of the day | 5:37 am | 12 June 2006

Dorothee Becker Utensilo for Maurer
I got this Dorothee Becker Uten.Silo for TWO BUCKS. A little elbow-grease and the stickers, sand and paint drops are gone, and it’s perfect. I’m guessing original, too; if it were a re-issue, it would have had a very different price tag.

Actually, I didn’t know what it was either, other than something I’d seen crop up a lot in the backgrounds of gorgeous spaces in the Terence Conran house design books from the 70s.

the dirt under my nails | 11:06 am | 31 May 2006

the garden at the end of May
Garden: 31 May 2006, wide

Whenever someone’s asked what I’ve been up to lately, it seems the only thing I can say is, “gardening.” Well, here’s why. From the window, and stitched up in Photoshop.

New things this year:

  • sod
  • bamboo fencing cover
  • bricks finished
  • compost contained
  • clematis
  • rehabilitated front bed #4
  • added bed along the side of the house
  • added and rearranged some stuff in the other front beds

It doesn’t sound like that much when it’s listed out like that, but believe me, there’s probably seven solid days of work in there. And the tricky thing is that it’s never “done,” even though you may think so at the time. I’ve been to the greenhouse THREE TIMES thinking, “OK! That should do it for this year, save the weeding.” And, yes, there will be another trip in a week. Fooey.

Rosa Floribunda Julia Child | 12:42 pm | 17 April 2006

rose julia childI love roses*, and how could I not plant this lovely bush with petals that –hunh! imagine that– are the color of butter? She should be arriving May the fifth, which is a good incentive for me to get the bed on the south side of the house finished (started, too).

*hardy, no-maintenance, wild and lush and smelly and bordering on invasive roses; not the huge fucking pain in the ass, must be painstakingly cultivated and pruned and covered and sprayed and coddled roses that barely bloom, and when they do they have no fragrance roses, so preferred by other people I know, who though they may be blood relations are not spoken to or about.

going back to old school | 9:21 am | 13 April 2006

kevin sealI’ve got errands to run today, and having found these clips of R.E.M. on Letterman c. 1983,* I’m feeling a little nostalgic and thought I’d whip together a 120 Minutes (Kevin Seal-era) highlight playlist. Whoops. For all the technological advances that allow me to do this with files on a computer instead of painstakingly sitting in front of a turntable with artful use of pause/play/record, you can still only fit seventy paltry minutes of music on a regular CD. Which, really, totally sucks. Our CD changer is in the trunk (tape up front! easy!), and it’s really pathetic to make multiple CDs that aren’t really all that rewriteable and are much more fragile. SO: I am going to pick up some beautiful magnetic tape that fits a good TWO HOURS of music on it (120 minutes, get it?!), and make some real mixes. And I’m going to stop at the mall and pick up some Obsession to make the fun complete. Today’s (short!) playlist in the comments.
*Thanks, Quiddity!!

and there was much rejoicing | 10:05 am | 12 April 2006

your taxes are complete

I hearts teh internets, and the geniuses at TurboTax who made that a lot less painful.

three days of rain | 7:36 am | 7 April 2006

gulf stream rain drop
It’s a perfectly lovely dark and rainy morning, so the fact that we’re out of coffee and instead drinking proper tea* makes it all the better: with each sip, I’m in Ireland. Aaah.

“*PG Tips! A Wueeerkin’ Man’s Cuppa Slosh!”

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