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February 2nd, 2011

Books read this year

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4. Pyramids - Terry Pratchett
3. Wyrd Sisters - Terry Pratchett
2. American Gods - Neil Gaiman
1. Sourcery - Terry Pratchett

This is the first of the Discworld novels I haven't really cared for, though I can't quite put my finger on why. I did enjoy the beginning where we get a look into the Assassin's Guild, but after that it sort of fell flat for me.

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My month off after graduating is officially over. I spent a lot of time reading, watching stupid TV (and some good TV), and playing video games, so now it's time to work on my resume and find open job positions.

Naturally I am freaking out.

I haven't written a resume since...probably high school. And I didn't have anything to put on it then. I don't remember exactly the dates I worked at the few jobs I've had. And it's not like the jobs I've had before are really going to help with anything I might want to get now. I've never been able to tell what the hell I'm supposed to put in the "Objective" section. Then we get to the actual job search part where I freak out over the fact that while there might technically be entry level jobs advertised, they mean "entry level" as in "three years of previous experience". I don't know why I have so much anxiety over this apart from my usual hatred of not knowing what the hell I'm doing.

Fortunately right now we're not in a position where an income from me is absolutely vital, but we'll probably get there in another five months when my student loans start coming due. The school does have assistance with resumé writing and job hunting, so I'll probably have to go down there and take advantage of that some time soon.

January 20th, 2011

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Reading on LJ and FB about so many people's problems with snow and ice (shoveling, cars iced up or buried, school closures, etc.) makes me very glad to live in coastal California. I think we had a little frost on our lawn earlier this week that cleared up by 8am. The early mornings are a bit nippy, especially if there's wind, but in the afternoon I can get away with jeans, a t-shirt, and a light jacket.

January 19th, 2011

Books read this year

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3. Wyrd Sisters - Terry Pratchett
2. American Gods - Neil Gaiman

1. Sourcery - Terry Pratchett

American Gods was recommended to me after I finished reading The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul as a different take on the Norse pantheon. It certainly is that. Since this is Gaiman rather than Pratchett or Adams the humor in it is of a different, more subtle kind. The book takes you all across the American landscape, which is interesting for a book with a British author. Although he says in the acknowledgements that people helped him remove unwitting anglicisms, there are still a few here and there. I did figure out some of what was going to happen before we got there, but there was a certain pleasure to it, like finding out that you did solve the puzzle correctly instead of having the story spoiled. It's a long book, but I like those and I would recommend it to anyone who has the time.

Wyrd Sisters is another Discworld novel which is a bit Hamlet, a bit Macbeth, and a few other Shakespeare references thrown in for good measure along with the regular Discworld stuff. Always a bit of fun.

January 15th, 2011

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26 hours post-root canal and my mouth hurts worse than ever. I'll give it a couple more days since, after all, there was a lot of pushing, pulling, and scraping going on in there yesterday and they did say it would be tender for a while. In the meantime I need to buy more Advil.

January 14th, 2011

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I am back from the much-anticipated, endodonic procedure I'd been waiting for. I.e., I just had a root canal.

I was the biggest wimp in the waiting room too. I heard a drill from down the hall and couldn't stop myself from crying right then. Damn, I hate drills. Everyone in the office was very sympathetic though. I'm sure I'm not the first person to walk through their doors scared to death.

The procedure itself wasn't so bad. Except for a couple of (scary) loud "crack"s at the beginning I think it was actually easier than getting the crown. Whether that's due to a) more novocaine b) my nerve being removed or c) me listening to music the entire time since Josh found my iPod, I'm not sure. No matter what the reason, I'm pretty grateful for it though. Odds are good I'm going to go back to that office when we start taking care of the left side of my mouth, but that will probably wait until next month.

In the meantime I'll try to enjoy some of my time off and get ready to go to Yosemite for a week. On my way home from the dentist I even picked up some snow pants for Kaitlin.

January 11th, 2011

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My tooth was still throbbing and aching this morning when I woke up and I can't even put my teeth together without massive pain, so I bit the bullet and filled the prescriptions the dentist gave me for Vicodin and antibiotics. Looks like I'm going to be getting a root canal on that tooth. I'm pretty sure I have another one of those coming up too, plus all my regular fillings.

The worst part is that the Vicodin isn't helping things much. Okay, things are better than they were before, but not by much. Honestly I think I was doing better with my self-administered 800mg ibuprofen. But I'm seeing the dentist again tomorrow at 1pm so I'm sure we'll talk about it all then. Man, I can't wait for this to be over with.
Murder is not, it must be said, solely the province of a “psycho” or “nutjob” or “crazy”. In fact, those with mental illnesses are more likely to be the victims of crime than the perpetrators of it. No, murder is, I think, most often the ultimate failure of empathy regardless of the mental health or lack thereof in the person committing the murder. That is what I find terrifying – because it means anyone is capable, when presented with enough reasons why I am not a real person, of justifying death for others. To say that a murderer must be a psycho (while simultaneously othering those with mental illness) is to lessen the horror of the act; in searching for reason, for understanding of how these things could happen, people try to distance themselves by saying it could not possibly be the act of a “sane” person.

January 9th, 2011

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In case anyone was interested in seeing what a broken maxillary first molar looks like, I had Josh take a picture of it with the video otoscope at work. Cut for the squeamish.

Broken tooth!Collapse )

January 7th, 2011

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I just got back from my first dentist appointment in over 6 years. The whole thing took about three hours. Good thing I brought a book. I have about 9 cavities that need filling (I didn't count, but there were a lot of marks on that paper), plus another tooth that's going to need a crown besides the one I got today. And there's a possibility that one or both of those may turn into root canals depending on what happens after they drill. The one I got a temporary crown for today has about a 40% chance of turning into a root canal according to the dentist, so I'm hoping that for the next two weeks I am relatively pain-free. My insurance has a yearly benefit maximum of $1000 (which is absurdly low, but I digress) so I'll be shelling out nearly $2000 over that for all the work I need. But on the plus side, at least I'll have a functioning mouth again. And that is a big plus.

January 5th, 2011

Books read this year

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1. Sourcery - Terry Pratchett

Another year, another book list. The last two years I haven't been reading as much, only getting through 38 or 39 books in a year. I'm hoping to get quite a few more than that this year, although that will be very dependent on what happens with me job-wise. Sourcery is another one in the Discworld series, as many of you know already. I've been really enjoying these and even read some of the parts that really make me laugh aloud to Josh. He's not much of a reader, so those bits and my descriptions are probably all he's going to get out of the Discworld series.

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Wow, the holidays were crazy. I think we spent time with every relative we have in Northern California and a few more besides, but it was a good time. I even got to hold one of my new nieces.

Still, I am very glad that Winter Break is over and Kaitlin is back in school. I love her to pieces, but I definitely need some time without a kid climbing on me. Yesterday I finally got time to myself, which mostly meant doing laundry and folding it while watching Rome and Golden Girls on TV, but hey at least I did it by myself. Today I have some more household stuff to take care of, but I'll take some time to goof off too.

The other "exciting" thing that happened yesterday people on Facebook already know about. I was eating popcorn while watching The Daily Show and crunched very hard on a seed I didn't realize was in my mouth. And now half of my molar is gone. (Honestly it's probably more like a sixth if you count all the stuff under the gum, but it's a huge chunk missing and my tooth is all sharp and jagged.) So in addition to all the fillings I've been needing for years, now I'm going to need a crown. And pretty soon because dentin isn't nearly as hard as enamel.

The good news is apparently we do have dental insurance through Josh's work, but the bad news is I can't figure out how the hell to use it. We've got Delta Dental through Kaiser, which means neither the Kaiser nor the Delta Dental website says anything about this kind of group plan, so I can't figure out what is covered or how much, or even who the hell will take the insurance. (Edit: And now I've tried calling a local dentist that is listed with Delta Dental and they tell me they can't even make an appointment with me until I know what kind of plan I have.) I even tried to register for the DD website to get better information and so they could tell me which sort of plan I should look under, but it says I'm not one of their customers, so I guess I'll have to wait until Josh gets home and we can try to have him register. If this doesn't work I'm just going to call local dentists to get a price estimate and pull the money out of Kaitlin's college fund.

December 29th, 2010

Books read this year

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38. Old Man's War - John Scalzi
37. Mort - Terry Pratchett
36. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J. K. Rowling
35. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - J. K. Rowling
34. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - J. K. Rowling
33. Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch - Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
32. Naked - David Sedaris
31. Equal Rites - Terry Pratchett
30. The Light Fantastic - Terry Pratchett
29. The New Doctor Who Adventures: The Dimension Riders - Daniel Blythe
28. Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency - Douglas Adams
27. The Color of Magic - Terry Pratchett
26. The Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul - Douglas Adams
25. Reaper Man - Terry Pratchett
24. Babylon 5, The Passing of the Techno-Mages Book 3: Invoking Darkness - Jeanne Cavelos
23. Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim - David Sedaris
22. Babylon 5, The Passing of the Techno-Mages Book 2: Summoning Light - Jeanne Cavelos
21. Babylon 5, The Passing of the Techno-Mages Book 1: Casting Shadows - Jeanne Cavelos
20. The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York - Deborah Blum
19. The New Doctor Who Adventures: Nightshade - Mark Gatiss
18. The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts - Maxine Hong Kingston
17. The American Way of Death Revisited - Jessica Mitford
16. The History of White People - Nell Irvin Painter
15. Doctor Who The New Adventures: Love and War - Paul Cornell
14. The Outlaws of Sherwood - Robin McKinley
13. God Grew Tired of Us: A Memoir - John Bul Dau and Michael S. Sweeney
12. Why Do Men Have Nipples: Hundreds of Questions You'd Only Ask a Doctor After Your Third Martini - Mark Leyner, Billy Goldberg
11. Doctor Who The Missing Adventures: Cold Fusion - Lance Parkin
10. The Moral Underground: How Ordinary Americans Subvert an Unfair Economy - Lisa Dodson
9. Doctor Who The Missing Adventures: The Dark Path - David A. McIntee
8. When You Are Engulfed in Flames - David Sedaris
7. The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho
6. Doctor Who: The Roundheads - Mark Gatiss
5. Free: The Future of a Radical Price - Chris Anderson
4. Doctor Who: The Murder Game - Steve Lyons
3. World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War - Max Brooks
2. Men of Tomorrow: Geeks, Gangsters, and the Birth of the Comic Book - Gerard Jones
1. Maus - Art Spiegelman

This book was one of three Scalzi books given to me for Christmas by my stepfather-in-law. The basic premise of the book is that Earth has many colonies out in the galaxy and needs people to defend them, but the only way you join the armed services is if you're 75 years old. The Colonial Defense Forces, CDF, has ways of making you young and fit again, but you don't get to find out what they are unless you sign up.

Unfortunately, after the recruits do get their new bodies the fact that they're all old is never really relevant again. Very disappointing since up to that point it seemed like Scalzi had done a decent job of writing from the perspective of someone elderly. Although my opinion on that may not be worth much since I'm all of 28 years old.

The book was a fun little read, but fairly shallow as science fiction. If you like sci-fi wars I'd go with Starship Troopers instead. (The book though, not the movie. They are very different stories.)

December 24th, 2010

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School is over for me, but I still haven't had much time for reading LJ. Or writing in it for that matter. Kaitlin is off of school as well, for this entire week and all of next. I'm going a little bit nuts, since I only ever spend this much time alone with her, well, during winter break, so it's been a year and I'm not entirely sure what to do. We've baked and decorated gingerbread men, gone to the park and playground, and played a whole bunch of video games on the new system. There's been a bit of cleaning going on as well since we have people coming over tonight.

So between the kid and the holidays I haven't had much time for myself. But then I'm sure that's the case for most of you too.

In excellent end-of-the-year-news, my mother has finally gotten another job! She is now the Human Resources person for the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, which is an amazing opportunity, even if it does mean she now has a 90 minute commute to the middle of nowhere.

I'm not really sure what we're going to be doing for Christmas Day. It looks like my dad's family is going to be pretty busy with the new nieces (and recovering new Mom), so we might catch them on New Year's instead. We could go up to visit Josh's mom in Colusa, but it's last-minute, so it's entirely possible she's made other plans. Still, we'll figure something out. And it's not like we're missing Christmas or anything. Last weekend we had an early Christmas at my mom's place and then Josh's dad is coming over tonight, so there is plenty of family around. I do miss the feeling of Christmas when I was a kid and everything just sort of magically happened. Christmas is a lot more of a pain in the butt when you're the one that has to do all the cleaning, cooking, decorating, and driving.

So that's what's going on here. One more week of Winter Break and then Kaitlin goes back to school and my month off before starting the job hunt begins.

December 23rd, 2010

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My very first nieces were born today. Welcome to the world, Kai and Lily. :D

December 16th, 2010

Books read this year

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37. Mort - Terry Pratchett
36. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J. K. Rowling
35. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - J. K. Rowling
34. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - J. K. Rowling
33. Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch - Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
32. Naked - David Sedaris
31. Equal Rites - Terry Pratchett
30. The Light Fantastic - Terry Pratchett
29. The New Doctor Who Adventures: The Dimension Riders - Daniel Blythe
28. Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency - Douglas Adams
27. The Color of Magic - Terry Pratchett
26. The Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul - Douglas Adams
25. Reaper Man - Terry Pratchett
24. Babylon 5, The Passing of the Techno-Mages Book 3: Invoking Darkness - Jeanne Cavelos
23. Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim - David Sedaris
22. Babylon 5, The Passing of the Techno-Mages Book 2: Summoning Light - Jeanne Cavelos
21. Babylon 5, The Passing of the Techno-Mages Book 1: Casting Shadows - Jeanne Cavelos
20. The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York - Deborah Blum
19. The New Doctor Who Adventures: Nightshade - Mark Gatiss
18. The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts - Maxine Hong Kingston
17. The American Way of Death Revisited - Jessica Mitford
16. The History of White People - Nell Irvin Painter
15. Doctor Who The New Adventures: Love and War - Paul Cornell
14. The Outlaws of Sherwood - Robin McKinley
13. God Grew Tired of Us: A Memoir - John Bul Dau and Michael S. Sweeney
12. Why Do Men Have Nipples: Hundreds of Questions You'd Only Ask a Doctor After Your Third Martini - Mark Leyner, Billy Goldberg
11. Doctor Who The Missing Adventures: Cold Fusion - Lance Parkin
10. The Moral Underground: How Ordinary Americans Subvert an Unfair Economy - Lisa Dodson
9. Doctor Who The Missing Adventures: The Dark Path - David A. McIntee
8. When You Are Engulfed in Flames - David Sedaris
7. The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho
6. Doctor Who: The Roundheads - Mark Gatiss
5. Free: The Future of a Radical Price - Chris Anderson
4. Doctor Who: The Murder Game - Steve Lyons
3. World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War - Max Brooks
2. Men of Tomorrow: Geeks, Gangsters, and the Birth of the Comic Book - Gerard Jones
1. Maus - Art Spiegelman

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My final (and I do mean *final*) grades are in.

Macroeconomic Theory: CR
Microeconomic Theory: A
Sampling Procedures for Surveys: A-

So I'm graduating with an overall GPA of 3.2, a GPA for everything after becoming Junior (what grad schools care about, apparently) of 3.4, and a GPA in my major of 3.6, just a hair below an A- average.

Pretty freaking good considering I went into this from community college with a 2.8. Let me tell you, having a reason to be there makes a big difference.

December 12th, 2010

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First day with a new Playstation and I only stayed up playing it until a bit after 11:00. Clearly, I have paranormal self-restraint.

December 11th, 2010

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I got a huge surprise this morning while I was addressing Christmas cards. The doorbell rang and the mail carrier was standing there with a huge-ass box for me.

Y'all, my mother got me a Playstation 3 as a graduation present!!! I have been wanting one of these for years! I thought about buying one as a graduation present for myself, but decided to have a party instead. She even sent a note along with it saying that I've worked hard and now I should take some time to play. (Damn straight.) I called her up right away to squee in her ear and say "Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you" over and over. It turned out I interrupted her Bible Study group, but she was glad to hear from me anyway. :D

Kaitlin and I went to Gamestop this afternoon to pick up some games, so now I am the proud owner of Assassins Creed (the first one), Ghostbusters the Video Game, Dragon Age: Origins, SOCOM: Confrontation (for Josh), Soul Calibur IV, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs (for Kaitlin), and Sports Champions (which came with the PS3 along with a Playstation Move). I've also ordered Lego Harry Potter from Amazon. Recommendations for other games I would like would be highly appreciated. I tend toward RPGs and puzzle type games. The only thing I really stay away from is FPSs, because I can't keep the fifty things I'm supposed to be doing at the same time straight.

I am so excited!!!!!

December 8th, 2010

ITT: snoring remedies

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Or at least I hope there will be. Please help! Neither of us is getting any sleep.

Posted via LiveJournal.app.

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I did my GRE this afternoon. I haven't actually applied to any grad schools yet, I just wanted to know what my options were. They have the test center locked down more than the White House, so while I got to see some of my scores on screen I'm not sure I remember them exactly (you can't take ANYTHING with you), but I'm pretty sure I got 690 on the verbal (that's the one I'm less sure of) and 740 on the quantitative. My analytical writing has to be graded by actual people, so we'll see what that is in a few weeks. I have no idea if this is any good or not, but if it's a similar scoring scale to the SAT I'll probably be taking it again later to boost up the verbal if I actually apply anywhere.

December 7th, 2010

Books read this year

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36. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J. K. Rowling
35. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - J. K. Rowling
34. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - J. K. Rowling
33. Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch - Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
32. Naked - David Sedaris
31. Equal Rites - Terry Pratchett
30. The Light Fantastic - Terry Pratchett
29. The New Doctor Who Adventures: The Dimension Riders - Daniel Blythe
28. Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency - Douglas Adams
27. The Color of Magic - Terry Pratchett
26. The Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul - Douglas Adams
25. Reaper Man - Terry Pratchett
24. Babylon 5, The Passing of the Techno-Mages Book 3: Invoking Darkness - Jeanne Cavelos
23. Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim - David Sedaris
22. Babylon 5, The Passing of the Techno-Mages Book 2: Summoning Light - Jeanne Cavelos
21. Babylon 5, The Passing of the Techno-Mages Book 1: Casting Shadows - Jeanne Cavelos
20. The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York - Deborah Blum
19. The New Doctor Who Adventures: Nightshade - Mark Gatiss
18. The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts - Maxine Hong Kingston
17. The American Way of Death Revisited - Jessica Mitford
16. The History of White People - Nell Irvin Painter
15. Doctor Who The New Adventures: Love and War - Paul Cornell
14. The Outlaws of Sherwood - Robin McKinley
13. God Grew Tired of Us: A Memoir - John Bul Dau and Michael S. Sweeney
12. Why Do Men Have Nipples: Hundreds of Questions You'd Only Ask a Doctor After Your Third Martini - Mark Leyner, Billy Goldberg
11. Doctor Who The Missing Adventures: Cold Fusion - Lance Parkin
10. The Moral Underground: How Ordinary Americans Subvert an Unfair Economy - Lisa Dodson
9. Doctor Who The Missing Adventures: The Dark Path - David A. McIntee
8. When You Are Engulfed in Flames - David Sedaris
7. The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho
6. Doctor Who: The Roundheads - Mark Gatiss
5. Free: The Future of a Radical Price - Chris Anderson
4. Doctor Who: The Murder Game - Steve Lyons
3. World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War - Max Brooks
2. Men of Tomorrow: Geeks, Gangsters, and the Birth of the Comic Book - Gerard Jones
1. Maus - Art Spiegelman

December 6th, 2010

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Did the whole "be quiet in the library" thing go away some time after I left high school?

I am trying to finish my last paper in the computer lab and it is LOUD in here.

Two rules for the library, folks:

1. STFD
2. STFU

It might be worth getting this shirt if I wasn't almost done.

Books read this year

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35. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - J. K. Rowling
34. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - J. K. Rowling
33. Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch - Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
32. Naked - David Sedaris
31. Equal Rites - Terry Pratchett
30. The Light Fantastic - Terry Pratchett
29. The New Doctor Who Adventures: The Dimension Riders - Daniel Blythe
28. Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency - Douglas Adams
27. The Color of Magic - Terry Pratchett
26. The Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul - Douglas Adams
25. Reaper Man - Terry Pratchett
24. Babylon 5, The Passing of the Techno-Mages Book 3: Invoking Darkness - Jeanne Cavelos
23. Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim - David Sedaris
22. Babylon 5, The Passing of the Techno-Mages Book 2: Summoning Light - Jeanne Cavelos
21. Babylon 5, The Passing of the Techno-Mages Book 1: Casting Shadows - Jeanne Cavelos
20. The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York - Deborah Blum
19. The New Doctor Who Adventures: Nightshade - Mark Gatiss
18. The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts - Maxine Hong Kingston
17. The American Way of Death Revisited - Jessica Mitford
16. The History of White People - Nell Irvin Painter
15. Doctor Who The New Adventures: Love and War - Paul Cornell
14. The Outlaws of Sherwood - Robin McKinley
13. God Grew Tired of Us: A Memoir - John Bul Dau and Michael S. Sweeney
12. Why Do Men Have Nipples: Hundreds of Questions You'd Only Ask a Doctor After Your Third Martini - Mark Leyner, Billy Goldberg
11. Doctor Who The Missing Adventures: Cold Fusion - Lance Parkin
10. The Moral Underground: How Ordinary Americans Subvert an Unfair Economy - Lisa Dodson
9. Doctor Who The Missing Adventures: The Dark Path - David A. McIntee
8. When You Are Engulfed in Flames - David Sedaris
7. The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho
6. Doctor Who: The Roundheads - Mark Gatiss
5. Free: The Future of a Radical Price - Chris Anderson
4. Doctor Who: The Murder Game - Steve Lyons
3. World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War - Max Brooks
2. Men of Tomorrow: Geeks, Gangsters, and the Birth of the Comic Book - Gerard Jones
1. Maus - Art Spiegelman

December 1st, 2010

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As part of getting in the Christmas spirit I dug through my recipe box looking for something Christmasy and found something from my French classes in high school. A recipe for a Bûche de Noël, in French of course.

Since the paper is all wrinkled up with notes all over it, I thought I would post it up here to keep me from losing it.

French versionCollapse )


I never got an English version of the recipe; the whole point was for us to translate it. But this is my best shot at a translation. No guarantees on the accuracy, but I've made the recipe before and it turned out pretty well.


English versionCollapse )

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Thanksgiving is now officially over since we finished off the last of the leftovers for dinner last night. The actual date was a lot of fun, though much smaller this year. (~Only~ 17 people showed up. Last year there were 30.) I made gorgonzola mashed potatoes as a side dish and maple pumpkin cheesecake for dessert. Sadly, my spring form pan did not survive and will be buried in landfill in Sacramento. I got to see some relatives that I haven't seen since last Thanksgiving and I got to meet my cousin's son. Kaitlin always likes getting to play with her second cousins. She was so excited on the way up to Grandma's house that she was literally dancing to the car and singing about how great it would be. On the way up she got philosophical. I don't remember what prompted the comment but she said, "Mom, God is dead." (Insert required Nietzsche joke here.) "Why do you think he's dead, honey?" "Well he was alive a REALLY long time ago!"

Now that Thanksgiving is over we're getting into the Christmas spirit down here. For the first time in three years I think, we're actually getting people Christmas presents. Proper presents too, not just a tube of M&Ms shaped like a candy cane or a box of mixed nuts (for my diabetic father-in-law). We're almost finished buying them and have a nice pile of wrapped presents on the floor in the living room. (We're getting the tree this weekend. We got the tree a little too early last year and by Christmas it was a bit crispy.) I'm really anxious for the stuff I've ordered online to arrive so I can make the pile even bigger. It makes me smile. :D

Kaitlin is apparently learning about other holidays this season as well, because last night she started talking to us about Chanukah and asking why we don't celebrate it. The short answer is that we're not Jewish, but that's not really satisfactory since we're not Christian and we still celebrate Christmas. So we did a short version of What Chanukah is All About (which is similar to most Jewish holidays). She was bothered by the thought that people would try to kill Jews just because they were Jewish (as she should be!) and protested that no one would try to kill her friend Leo. *sigh* It is really sad to have to explain to your kid that, yes, right here and right now no one would try to kill her friend Leo because he's Jewish, but in other times or other places right now people might. I think the Thanksgiving talk where I let her know that Native Americans are still alive today and didn't all die 500 years ago (not for lack of trying) was less painful. It's hard to know how much detail to go into since she's only five years old, so we switched topics a little and let her know that even though we're not Jewish if she wants to participate in Chanukah then she can buy Leo a present and we can give it to him tonight.

Sunday we went to see Tangled with our old neighbor Lourdes and her son Jimmy, Kaitlin's best friend. I wasn't expecting it to be good, but it was actually a pretty good movie! (Though I'm still annoyed at Disney for making the story of Rapunzel all about the dude she meets. <SPOILERS>And why did they need to have him be the hero at the end anyway? She could have healed him up with her magic hair and then cut it off her own damn self. UGH.</SPOILERS>) Lourdes and Sean still haven't seen HP7 and we've been trying to get a sleepover happening for the kids for weeks which kept getting thwarted by Kaitlin getting sick, so this Friday night Jimmy is coming over so they can catch a movie together and the kids can hang out. I'm not sure what we'll do Saturday morning, but I'm told that in the gourmet ghetto in Berkeley they're going to have snow in a grocery store parking lot for people to play in. That could be fun.

November 24th, 2010

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Recipes are written, ingredients are packed, clothes are packed, toll is on hand, and we're ready to go to Mom's house. I hope all my American friends have a happy Thanksgiving tomorrow, my Canadian friends had a happy Thanksgiving last month, and all my friends elsewhere just have a good Thursday.

See you in the Christmas season!

November 22nd, 2010

Books read this year

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34. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - J. K. Rowling
33. Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch - Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

32. Naked - David Sedaris
31. Equal Rites - Terry Pratchett
30. The Light Fantastic - Terry Pratchett
29. The New Doctor Who Adventures: The Dimension Riders - Daniel Blythe
28. Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency - Douglas Adams
27. The Color of Magic - Terry Pratchett
26. The Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul - Douglas Adams
25. Reaper Man - Terry Pratchett
24. Babylon 5, The Passing of the Techno-Mages Book 3: Invoking Darkness - Jeanne Cavelos
23. Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim - David Sedaris
22. Babylon 5, The Passing of the Techno-Mages Book 2: Summoning Light - Jeanne Cavelos
21. Babylon 5, The Passing of the Techno-Mages Book 1: Casting Shadows - Jeanne Cavelos
20. The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York - Deborah Blum
19. The New Doctor Who Adventures: Nightshade - Mark Gatiss
18. The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts - Maxine Hong Kingston
17. The American Way of Death Revisited - Jessica Mitford
16. The History of White People - Nell Irvin Painter
15. Doctor Who The New Adventures: Love and War - Paul Cornell
14. The Outlaws of Sherwood - Robin McKinley
13. God Grew Tired of Us: A Memoir - John Bul Dau and Michael S. Sweeney
12. Why Do Men Have Nipples: Hundreds of Questions You'd Only Ask a Doctor After Your Third Martini - Mark Leyner, Billy Goldberg
11. Doctor Who The Missing Adventures: Cold Fusion - Lance Parkin
10. The Moral Underground: How Ordinary Americans Subvert an Unfair Economy - Lisa Dodson
9. Doctor Who The Missing Adventures: The Dark Path - David A. McIntee
8. When You Are Engulfed in Flames - David Sedaris
7. The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho
6. Doctor Who: The Roundheads - Mark Gatiss
5. Free: The Future of a Radical Price - Chris Anderson
4. Doctor Who: The Murder Game - Steve Lyons
3. World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War - Max Brooks
2. Men of Tomorrow: Geeks, Gangsters, and the Birth of the Comic Book - Gerard Jones
1. Maus - Art Spiegelman

I picked up Good Omens at a thrift store purely based on the authors, which was definitely a good move. I've never seen a humorous take on the apocalypse before, but I definitely liked this one. Not sure I agree with the moral of the story, but reading it I was completely absorbed and while I couldn't wait to sit down and read more I was quite disappointed when I finally reached the end. Not due to what had been written, I just didn't want to stop. I've not actually read anything by Neil Gaiman before, though I have seen some movies based on his books (Coraline, Stardust) and, of course, I've seen his episode of Babylon 5. I've had American Gods recommended to me as another Gaiman novel I should pick up, and it's definitely on my list along with Sandman, but I'm afraid it will probably be a while before I get to it since I have quite a long list already.

As far as Harry Potter goes, I skipped class on Friday morning so I could see a 9:15 showing of the new movie (9:15 am and it was completely packed!) and I was in the mood to spend more time in that world, besides it was dark and rainy outside and therefore the perfect weather for curling up on the couch in a blanket with a book and a cup of tea. You'll notice it's the UK edition listed there. I bought the UK ones because I'd heard they were different from the US editions. I'm not sure how different they really are. At this point all I've noticed is slight changes in vocabulary--"revising" instead of "studying", etc.--and calling it the Philosopher's Stone instead of the Sorcerer's Stone. That particular change confuses me. It's not like we have a different word for philosophers in the US or like we had a different alchemy tradition. Maybe the publishers though American kids wouldn't read something that looked like philosophy. It's a silly change anyway.

November 18th, 2010

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In principle I like the idea of densification--more people living in a smaller footprint means a lot more green/wild space, plus you can walk to everything!

In practice I would like apartment living a lot more if apartments were actually sound & temperature insulated and people didn't spray weird smelling shit in the stairwell.

Books read this year

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Read
32. Naked - David Sedaris
31. Equal Rites - Terry Pratchett
30. The Light Fantastic - Terry Pratchett
29. The New Doctor Who Adventures: The Dimension Riders - Daniel Blythe
28. Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency - Douglas Adams
27. The Color of Magic - Terry Pratchett
26. The Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul - Douglas Adams
25. Reaper Man - Terry Pratchett
24. Babylon 5, The Passing of the Techno-Mages Book 3: Invoking Darkness - Jeanne Cavelos
23. Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim - David Sedaris
22. Babylon 5, The Passing of the Techno-Mages Book 2: Summoning Light - Jeanne Cavelos
21. Babylon 5, The Passing of the Techno-Mages Book 1: Casting Shadows - Jeanne Cavelos
20. The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York - Deborah Blum
19. The New Doctor Who Adventures: Nightshade - Mark Gatiss
18. The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts - Maxine Hong Kingston
17. The American Way of Death Revisited - Jessica Mitford
16. The History of White People - Nell Irvin Painter
15. Doctor Who The New Adventures: Love and War - Paul Cornell
14. The Outlaws of Sherwood - Robin McKinley
13. God Grew Tired of Us: A Memoir - John Bul Dau and Michael S. Sweeney
12. Why Do Men Have Nipples: Hundreds of Questions You'd Only Ask a Doctor After Your Third Martini - Mark Leyner, Billy Goldberg
11. Doctor Who The Missing Adventures: Cold Fusion - Lance Parkin
10. The Moral Underground: How Ordinary Americans Subvert an Unfair Economy - Lisa Dodson
9. Doctor Who The Missing Adventures: The Dark Path - David A. McIntee
8. When You Are Engulfed in Flames - David Sedaris
7. The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho
6. Doctor Who: The Roundheads - Mark Gatiss
5. Free: The Future of a Radical Price - Chris Anderson
4. Doctor Who: The Murder Game - Steve Lyons
3. World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War - Max Brooks
2. Men of Tomorrow: Geeks, Gangsters, and the Birth of the Comic Book - Gerard Jones
1. Maus - Art Spiegelman

I'm a fan of David Sedaris as he is right now. That isn't the person being talked about in this book most of the time though. With the exception of the final, eponymous story this book mainly serves to show you how much of a shiftless asshole he was in his youth. To his credit he is aware of that fact, which makes the book bearable (and still funny). I don't think I could have handled it if he thought he was being a good person all that time.
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