Friday, December 18, 2009

Forty Three. It's a Prime.

I am in my basic makeup a huge wuss, a softie, and probably a hippy. I would do amazing things to help those in need, including accidentally spending all my Christmas money on donations, thus forcing me to MAKE Christmas gifts for my entire family since I couldn't afford it. My family doesn't know this, and will probably be surprised to read this. But December 25th, 2006 probably makes a lot more sense now. I got carried away and the Arbor Day Foundation, the Audubon Society, the North Woods Alliance, Heifer International and the Penn State research project to preserve and protect bees from Colony Collapse Disorder thank you all VERY much for being willing to give up gift cards so they could do their work.
I have since guarded very carefully against something similar occuring, but it does give me significant relief to hear someone utter the phrase "Just donate to X charity, I don't need a gift." Because helping out does my heart good and gives me a happy-high the way crack cocaine does for a Jersey addict.
You guys probably remember the call for Keyboard Cat Artwork to benefit a no-kill shelter in LA, for which I spent several hours crafting some mediocre trippy artwork. It was my hope it would be good enough to be auctioned off to help the cats out, but in the end it did its part by helping to bring attention to the whole thing and garner donations and views for the shelter. I consider that a success even if my Keyboard Cat is at the bottom of a landfill in LA as we speak. He done good.
I only this morning learned about The Penny Experiment, and immediately deemed it to be something that absolutely must succeed even if I have to get out and push by myself. (Incidentally, it was linked off the Hello Kitty Hell website, which I go to because I LIKE Hello Kitty and therefore enjoy the irony, so this is doubly awesome in a meta sort of way). The basic premise is that a penny picked up off the street could be warped in to one million meals for the homeless by use of sheer will power and creativity.
To that end, there was a call for artists, 100 of them, to create individual works of art using the number they were assigned and an image of a penny somewhere. The artwork is going to be auctioned off (or sold, I can't really tell which) to raise money for that goal.
Today is my last day at the job I've mostly enjoyed for the last 2 years, give or take. I am looking at a span of time in which I will not really be contributing to my household or society, and not helping the economy recover by being a good consumer, as I will have no money to do it with. It is a somewhat compromising place to be in, and I was thinking happily on the possibility of getting to focus on my homework, but really... not so very happily, that.
There are people who will be happy to have the stuff I make faces at on the bottom shelf of my pantry. I am warm, I am clothed and I am loved. I have my family and friends close by. And even in the midst of being jobless, I have the means to give back through my art. I volunteered to contribute some artwork to the cause and immediately had inspiration for it. There was a short time of nail-biting as I considered the possibility that they might have had a rush of people at the last minute and I'd missed a spot. But it was all wasted energy, for I received a message later telling me that I was to have spot #43, and welcome on board.
I am excited. I can't wait to help out with this, when I know for sure that it will be helping a cause out and bringing in money to help.
I may call on you guys to bid on mine, or bid on others that you like. The important thing is just to get attention for it and bring in funds. But remember that if I start showing you random art cards. Don't look at me funny when it happens. You've been warned.
Perhaps this is something I should do full time. I enjoy creating items for charity and donation. Maybe I should pick a project a month and just go all out for it. It would help curtail some of that creative energy that goes nuts if I don't make use of it. I have Mad Skillz in Weird Things (my skill tree reads like a Rorschach test), and they SHALL be utilized.
And on that note, I've just been told to leave early since it's dead. It has been real, SPX. I appreciate what you've let me do here.

"It's a magical world, Hobbes ol' buddy. Let's go exploring."

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Actual Conversation #83 - strategic use of cheese

gru: So, what do you think half a baby bel cheese will work in a martini? Just asking.
me: ....
did you put cheese in a martini?
gru: Don't be silly. I'm at work. I only wish I could put cheese in a martini here.
But..I theory. The blue cheese in the olives holds up. But is that only because they're constrained by the greater olive shell?
me: WEll, that and the fact that alcohol isn't a really good solvent against organic oils
babybel cheese would work just fine in a martini. IT would just be fucking bizarre.
gru: Okay. Well.... forget I asked it. If you see it later, forget you saw it.
me: sigh
Why did you ask me if you already tried it?
gru: Huh? I haven't tried it.
(conversation redacted to remove section about nifty feature on Google's page. Go press the "feeling lucky" button between now and New Year's. You'll see.)
me: I thought I would come home to a martini glass with a babybel cheese in the bottom of it that you were using as a tes to see what the vodka did to it.
gru: No. After spending 2 weekends, 16 hours on Monday, postponing christmas tree shopping 3 times, and several conversations in which yelling was involved at work, as well as the stress of 6 different indivudials were compounded only to have it tossed aside in a 10 second conversation with a project manager, I wanted a martini. Also, I like cheese. I figured I could multitask that one.
If it benefits science too...rock on.
me: \m/

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Bento Escapades volume #4 - husband edition

A quick viewing of Bob's bento in the happy new Totoro container I got for him!

He was kind enough to take a picture of this on his new droooooooid!!! phone and send it to me.

2 pink onigiri triangles (was going to make Xmas trees but couldn't find the nori) sprinkled with black sesame seeds, 3 falafel balls, some grapes, several baby carrots, some chili cheese dip, a baby bel cheese, and a small container of soy sauce for his onigiri so it wasn't horribly bland.
The theme I was going for was Xmas.... well, got the color scheme down and the cheese is reminiscent of an ornament, but I think I can do better than this. Either way, it was fun to put together!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Bento Escapades volume #4

I am seriously proud of this one, folks. This one ROCKS. It rocks so hard, when my coworker glimpsed it they were immediately made to have hunger and dashed to grab something to gnaw on, even knowing it would be horrible and unfulfilling in comparison to my super awesome bento lunch.

First off, let me show you my newest darling, The Miffy Box!
As you can see, it is a two-tiered bento box with clamps and handles and adorned with Miffy the dutch bunny rabbit. Miffy is awesome. I fully intend to enjoy the bajeebers out of this thing, because there's LOTs of room to do totally creative stuff. In this case I decided that I really wanted to make a theme of fruit; then upon seeing how much rice I accidentally made last night, I changed it and decided I would make it cherry blossoms instead.
The cool thing about this is that I have gone to great lengths to make sure I can do clever things like disguise items as fruits using leaf-shaped picks, and rice presses that'll smash perfectly good rice in to whatever shape you can find. So I broke those out and reduced 6 tomatoes to 2 sets of twin "cherries" w/two loners, 4 rice balls shaped like sakura blossoms, a cherry-shaped sauce bottle full of shoyu sauce (aka Japanese soy), and then stuck the remaining falafel balls we had on the leaf picks as well. That transformed them in to berries of a sort. I lined the whole top part with lettuce, and it looked just awesome. I can't believe how well it turned out, in fact.
The bottom layer was a cup of hummus, a stack of carrot sticks and a few clusters of grapes. A lot of fruit and veg, not a lot of fat. It's an awesome lunch. It's also a bit too big, unfortunately. I find myself unable to finish it.
This is the kind of thing I've been hoping for, to be able to make something that looks wonderful and gets you excited about eating it. I've been thinking all morning about it, in fact, and eagerly awaiting prying it open. I couldn't resist popping it open to tame a few quick shots, honestly, then reluctantly closed it back up.
Pictures of Bob's bento will be forthcoming. I didn't have a chance to download them from the camera when I took the pictures of them last night. I couldn't sleep, it was very late, and I decided I would just make some awesome lunches instead. His was a Christmas theme, so it looks very different from mine (and not what I intended at ALL, but oh well.)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Life Goes On

It would appear that I am laid off for the second time come the 18th.

In another odd twist of fate, I find that I am also without college classes until the 5th of January.

I'm really hoping I don't waste all that glorious empty time when I could be doing a million things that have backed up in my life. Also, I'd be lying if I didn't say I wasn't looking forward to it. This place makes me tired deep in to my bones and I need to heal. I look forward to the chance to stop being exhausted and cranky upon reaching home, commuting 86 miles every day, and listening to people bitch constantly about small things because they're afraid of the bigger ones.
Also, I will really enjoy getting to sleep a little past 6 am.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Shiny new Totoro bento box and matching chopsticks! In manly subdued colors for Bob this time. :D

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My Lunch - because you need to see these things...

...when I'm testing out mobile uploads with TEXT.

~Garlic green beans, rice and orange "beef". The smell made me drool like bonkers.~

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The Continuing Saga of Me Doing Something Else With My Life

A few quick updates -
My "Miffy Box" showed up last night. There will be pictures forthcoming and you'll know what I'm talking about. I'm a little bummed it ended up being gray and not light blue like in the picture, but I'll live I guess. *SIGH* It's adorable, and exactly what I need for lunch. Maybe too much, in fact.
Zen is still awesome, but farts a lot. We think it's the generic milkbones he's eating, so we're going to cut those back and pray for fresh air.
I'm missing all of my friends spread out all over the world right now (why IS it that they're all 50+ miles away, anyway??) and hoping I get Xmas gifts to them in time. Most worrisome contender? Japan. Yeah. It's not going to happen. *sigh*
I redid the 2 Hopeless Gaijin's color-scheme so it is now 100% less likely to ensure seizure while reading. It's now a very calming shade of green, and I'm going to leave the .xml and javascript to the pros out there.

I'm finding the film spool a bit more difficult to wind in the Diana than the Holga, and I'm not sure if it's because I'm not used to it or because the film is off the spool, but we shall see shortly enough. Having to reach that far forward for the shutter button takes getting used to, but overall I think I like the format. Mostly I love the red light that begins to glow like something out of Battlestar Galactica on the back of my flash when it's ready. Or perhaps more appropriately, like one of the turrets in Portal. Because with the white and chrome, that is exactly what it looks like.

How cool would it be if my camera came to life and starting scanning around with lasers, calling out "Hellooo? Is there anybody theeee-eerrree?" Except for where I wouldn't have a Portal gun and I would have to bitch slap it off of wherever it was sitting, only to dodge bullets as it shoots wildly, then dies....
Okay, so maybe not so awesome in that end part. But it would be awesome on YouTube.

That aside, I've been doing some research in to what can be done with Holgas, Dianas and a beautiful roll of IR film with an affixed IR filter. I think I might try to work with that next. IR film can be rather expensive, and thus far not easy to obtain. I found a few auctions on eBay with it in 120 format, but I'll have to hang tight on it for now. We've got a lot going on and I can't be shelling out $8 for a single roll of film. That's before the IR filter and the jump ring I'll need to afix it to my Holga. I'll also need to find out a time and place to do IR photography because it requires being totally still to work while you expose the frame for several seconds, and that means carting around a tripod. I still ~really~ want to try it, though.

I've begun winding down on my acquisition of bento items for the making of lunch. My one remaining problem is that there are so few "masculine" items for bento. I'm going to guess that's because men don't tend to want cute or creative things, they just want a box with their food in it, and then eat it. It's the women, and the children mostly, that drive the industry. So I think at some point Bob will have to deal with opening his lunch bag to find Cinnamoroll staring up at him with a plastic molded belly full of chicken nuggets or something for him. I really don't want him to take a hit on the macho scale, but if nothing else is clean, he may just get sent there with it. Of course,I'd have to have one first. So now it must be purchased (I was looking for an excuse anyway)
I've noted that I'm actually tending to organize lunches so they even present themselves better when being pulled out of bags, or when you open up something like our tupperware, and this amuses me. There's no reason for a lunch to look like slopped-together ugly if you have 2 extra minutes. I'm proud that it's snuck in unconsciously and started to affect how I set up even leftovers.
There's actually a few items coming aside from the "carp" Bento I'd originally snagged for him. It's very, very cute, but also very, very small. I can slip other items in there with it in separate containers but in the end... really... I'm OCD and I need to have a SET for him to eat from. It pulls the whole thing together. Thankfully, a set is coming. It has Totoro on it. And I will get a matching "girlier" set so we can have his and hers Totoro bentos. It is amazing that I can do stuff like this in the middle of a recession and speaks to my good fortune as of late, really.

Finally, and probably most important, something huge happened today. About 5 years ago I slid across a double yellow line in an ice storm. My first car I'd ever owned was totaled and I bought a new, minimalistic economy car to get me around in the world. I looked at the price tag on the loan and thought oh god, I'll never pay this off...
This morning I dumped the finally few hundred in an account and closed out the loan. The car is mine, the title is mine, and the last of my old debts are paid off officially and forever. It also means that somewhere I managed to earn and not spend 15k to pay for the car, and that's huge. Everything from here on out is me standing on my two feet moving forward. It feels indescribably awesome.

My next quest is to find an mp3 of "Unthought Known" by Pearl Jam. It seems to not be available if it isn't on iTunes. I hate iTunes for no rational reason, but have the helpful argument of not owning an iPod to use with it. It's good to have little things on the agenda for the time of being.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Just testing the mobile posting ability of my phone. This was Tsukimi Soba from the other night, except I goofed and put 2 eggs in. There was supposed to be only 1 so it looked like the night sky, but we had 4 eggs left. Both our bowls looked like Tattoine. My bad.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Actual Conversation # 82 - Proper use and harvesting of wildlife in regards to alcohol consumption.

(been a while since we had one of these!)

me:... Want burritos tonight?
Or I can make somethin' else...
gru: Sure!
me: kk
Omma nom noms...
You know I just realized something. I occasionally suffer from over-confidence.
...I do not know how to make burritos.
gru: Heh, we can look that up though
me: This is true.
And also funny.
I can make French cuisine, but burritos.... we will have to look up.
gru: To the burrito wiki!
me: That is my new favorite magical phrase.
Best phrase EVER.
gru: Thankee, I was fond of it
me: "burrito wiki"
It makes me think of unicorns and margaritas.
gru: Oooooo
What's in margaritas? Rum?
I'll just get margarita mix or something on the way home :-)
me: Yes. Clear rum.
and we need limes or lime juice.
And a blender. And ice. Get ice.
and a small downy yak
.....I might get cold from the ice.
gru: Okay, clear rum...and ice....and a yak
me: A small downy yak.
Not the big ones.
We won't use a whole yak.
gru: We could freeze wait that defeats the point
me: You can't freeze a yak, they LIVE in Tibet.
They're made of butter. That stuff just gets stiff, it doesn't freeze.
gru: Okay, so that's right out
me: Right. So...a SMALL downy yak.
gru: I'll see what they have.
And lime juice of some sort
That size
Yes, and lime juice.
Honestly, I didn't intend to have to google an image, but I'm glad we went there.
gru: It helps to illustrate the point, I find.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Bento Escapades, vol. 3

Bob now has a shiny new bento box shaped like red fish, but alas the camera is missing so there is no photo of it yet. there will be, though!
as far as the continued attempts at putting together bento, here's my 3rd try... unfortunately sans any pictures of Bob's because, well, I hate taking them with my camera phone. So I only took a picture of mine. Behold:

This one was a lot of fun to pack up, and ended up using leftover soba noodles from the night before, the last of our sesame daifuku, and the last of the fresh kiwi fruit, so it was an excellent setup. Unfortunately that box is a lot smaller than it looks, and there wasn't enough for me to munch.
BUT... it was really cool to get a chance to put a bento together that was for the most part Japanese, and that even let me do the color coordination attempt on it.