So we finally sat down and watched Crash tonight. And what I have to say is this:
I know there are a lot of problems with race relations in this world. Certainly, yes, there are a freaking lot of them in this town. This film, by depicting them at every turn, was in no way revelatory. Rather, I found it to be a caricature. A damned mockery of the situation. Everything was completely and totally contrived. The worst of the racist characters were redeemed in the end. The "good-hearted" ones eventually fell victim to their own inner racist assholes (or the inner racist assholes of others). People changed their entire outlook on life over the course of two or three days. And this was supposed to be some great message about how we treat each other and how we ought to treat each other? Give me a freaking break.
And with that, I give you today's quotable: "Who really deserves an award for that movie were all the producers for swindling all the big-name talent into performing in another hackney-assed, tired goddamn movie." -Tom
Pray tell, did any of you (my oh so intelligent readers) actually think this thing was worthwhile? Maybe I'm just really dense and failed to recognize its genius (which I almost spelled with a 'j' just now...). If that's the case, please enlighten me. Truly.
I have had absolutely, positively, truly, wholly and completely, nothing good to say of late. Nothing worth writing down and posting here, anyway. It's frustrating, because I do so adore the times I'm able to be witty and clever and whatnot, but...yeah, I've got nothing. Blargh.
I'll resort to my usual "what I've been up to" drivel, I suppose. Anything to put type to screen, right? I finished up the second in my "Dead People And How They Died" class series this weekend. Now I know how to kill you and make it look like an accident. You think I'm joking? ;) I felt pretty confident about the final, which of course probably means I bombed it. ;) Heh. Well, no matter. I've got a week off, and then on Monday I start my wacky commute-to-San-Diego-three-days-a-week-for-forensic-photography-class schedule. Oh, I'll still be working a full 40 hours a week on top of it, crammed into 3.5 days of extreme joy. Sundays will be spent curled up in a corner, rocking back and forth, no doubt. Poor Tom. I apologize in advance for any stressed-out, cracked-out, wigged-out behavior I may exhibit.
We watched The Aristocrats this weekend. I know you weren't too impressed, Mom, but Tom & I laughed a lot. We were mostly amused by the mime and other instances in which the joke was taken beyond the expected format. All in all, perfectly good, for filthy and mindless entertainment, which was pretty much all we were expecting. Now we're trying to work up the energy to sit through Crash, which I'm sure will be good (didn't it win some sort of big award recently?), but emotionally draining.
I'm a mere fifty pages from the end of Children of Dune. I expect to finish it tomorrow. I'm glad I gave it a chance and kept reading. The beginning did not draw me in at all, but Tom was so adamant in his approval of the book that I kept reading in spite of my disinterest. It finally hooked me about a third of the way in, and while I'll be happy to take another break soon to read something else, I can at least say I'm genuinely interested to see how it ends.
And with that, I'm going to brush my teeth and read said book before getting some sleep. My apologies for the drivel; I'm hoping inspiration will strike again any day now...
This week's catblogging will feature the fine beasties belonging to my parents.
Here's the fellow who started it all. Prior to his entry into our lives, we were very much a "dog people" family. However, one rainy night we heard the most pitiful mewling coming from under our porch. There he was, flea-infested and weighing all of an ounce. He was dubbed Lucky (so unoriginal, I know, but whatever). We nursed him to health, quite literally. Mom had to bottle-feed him several times a day for the first few months. Eight years later, we can't imagine life without him.
Eight years and about 18 pounds later, that is. Sunny, this is what happens when you actually feed a Leo or a Linus every time they claim they're hungry. ;)
Seriously though, he is a good cat. How can you not love such a boy as this?
When Lucky was a year or so old, one of the Mommy cats in the "neighborhood" (I use the term lightly because we lived up a dirt road many miles from anything resembling a town) dropped off a pair of her kittens on our porch. Buffy earned her name by being extremely strong, always climbing out of the box we'd put her and her brother in. Nick never lost his wild streak and eventually ran away, but Buffy's always been fairly pleased to be a member of the family. She absolutely adores my dad. She used to be afraid of me, but these days she's pretty nice to everyone.
Recently, the cats have discovered that the cable box is a lovely and warm place to nap. After efforts to chase them away proved futile, my folks decided that putting a towel up there was the best bet. Now everybody's happy, and the cable box is (mostly) free of cat hairs. ;)
I had a great (and very successful!) weekend. Got me a beeee-yu-tiful dress, visited friends and family, and ate Greek food until I thought I would burst. Now I am sleepy and off to shower. Can't post too much detail, since a certain someone has a habit of reading here, but I'll do some catblogging and offer a bit of info about my trip a little later.
Sorry it's been so quiet 'round these parts, lately. Work has been almost unceasingly crazy for the past few weeks, and it seems as if every time I have five minutes to toss up a post, Blogger's having server hiccups and I can't access my account. Grr...
However, I have exciting news to relate. After work today, I'm flying up north for the weekend. It's dress-buying time! My bridesmaids are driving in from their various places of residence, and we'll be having most awesome girl time at my parents' house. After the purchasing of said dress (tomorrow!) we'll be having dinner with additional friends at the Greek Cusina in Portland. I'm really excited to see everybody. It'll be a whirlwind trip, as I'll be heading back down here Sunday afternoon - gotta save up all my vacation days for May, doncha know? - but it'll be great.
Tom's headed to Portland with me, but he'll be continuing south to stay with his parents for about a week. I know he's looking forward to the break, but it won't be entirely fun and games; he's got a whole list of wedding chores (just the minor things like, oh, finding a judge to marry us and picking up the marriage license application...), so that ought to keep him busy. Also, his sister is now a day overdue with her first child, which means Tom will very likely become an uncle while he's visiting. So that's exciting too. :)
And with that, I'm off to try to get some work done, though I'm not sure how well I will be able to concentrate today. ;) Happy St. Patty's Day to all. Here's hoping we have the luck of the Irish as we battle Friday afternoon traffic on our way to the airport...
It was bound to happen sometime. --Donna Moss, "The West Wing" (regarding the super-hot, good polling data makeouts between herself and Josh)
Since I have neglected to mention it thus far, this past Sunday's West Wing featured the moment that many fans have waited years for. For those who care, video clips are available at this site (under episode 7x13, "The Cold"). All I can say is....FINALLY! I haven't been this jazzed about fictional characters getting together since Mulder & Scully made a baby. ;)
I had to take my first business trip today. It required me to be at the Burbank (no, excuse me, Bob Hope International) Airport at 6:30 this morning for a flight to Sacramento. Upon landing there, my co-worker and I had to drive to Modesto, visit with one of our suppliers, eat tasty Persian food at a restaurant called Skewer's, drive back to Sacramento, and return to Burbank, landing just a bit after 6pm. I am whooped. It was a long day.
Slept in late (nearly 10:30!) -- boy, was that nice :)
Purchased the Rilo Kiley album More Adventurous -- I've had "Portions for Foxes" stuck in my head for most of the day
Drove out toward Santa Monica to the Westside Pavilion, where we purchased tungsten carbide wedding rings at Servis & Taylor -- Michael Taylor gave us a great deal and deserves the business of any SoCal resident in the market for jewelry
Joined Max & Demetri for Saturday Night Dinner -- tonight we had turkey meatball wraps with asparagus and salad
It was a good day. :) My cold seems to be abating, for which I'm grateful. Photos and full dinner review to follow soon.
And pour it does! Much as I do love the rain, I have to say I'm glad the clouds waited until this evening to loose their bounty upon the city. Traffic this afternoon would have been a bear, and I was so not in the mood for any such thing.
For our appetizer, Max sliced up some colby-jack, which we ate with crackers. He was especially tickled by the way he arranged the piles of cheese slices.
Have I not mentioned we're enormous dorks? ;)
Speaking of dorks...I didn't realize until we went to purchase them in the store just what butternut squashes look like. Imagine, if you will, the level of giggling that erupted from the kitchen as we all stood around while Tom washed the squash, cut it in twain, de-seeded it, salted/peppered it and then...oh yes...rubbed it down with olive oil.
After it was prepped, the squash was roasted. Then most of it was mashed, and the rest was cut up into chunks, which were then stirred into the mash. The result was a brilliant orange pile of squashy goodness.
Tasty squash guts.
At nearly every holiday meal in my family, the triangular mini-spanikopitas are served. (The Greeks deserve endless praise for coming up with these most excellent treats.) Anyway, we decided it would be fun to make spanis, but fill them with butternut squash instead of spinach and cheese. They were dubbed squashikopitas (which I am well aware is not even close to correct Greek, but it's so amusing to say), and they were awesome.
After the first batch was hastily gobbled up, it was determined the squash mash needed a little extra seasoning. With a bit of salt, a dash of curry powder, and the barest sprinkling of cinnamon, it was perfected.
Our other pie was a combination of sauteed chicken sausage, oyster mushrooms and carrots, all held together with mashed potatoes. Actually, now that I look at the picture, I think there were some onions in there as well. At any rate, it was a very fine mixture.
Sausage pie guts.
Phyllo dough sheets were buttered and layered in the bottom of a baking dish. I believe the bottom layer was 10 or 12 sheets thick.
This was baked for about 10 minutes until it became crispy. Then we filled it with the pie guts, layered some more phyllo on the top, and baked it.
Mmm...crispy and delicious!
Our resident salad man, Demetri, whipped up a spectacular salad that he topped with his own sauteed squash rind concoction. Note my awesome balsamic vinegar action shot. ;)
There was still one of our hens from the previous week's meal left over in the fridge, so that was re-roasted and became a late addition to our menu. It was served on a bed of butternut squash and surrounded by a ring of squashikopitas. Can you hear the choir of angels singing of its glory? I can. It was just the right touch to round out our final spread.
With my current level of sneeziness and hacking, I've requested that this week's dinner be again postponed to Saturday night, so hopefully I'll be feeling better by tomorrow. If I am, you can expect another fantastic dinner report in the near future. :)
I have been a busy bee, indeed. Here are the highlights of the past week:
Thursday (last) Tom & I went to the "Television Preview" thing. It had such potential (come down, watch a couple of TV pilots and give your opinions), but it turned out to be pretty disappointing in the end. Tom hypothesized the whole affair was a scam to get us to watch commercials during and between the programs. The two shows we watched were both filmed about 10 years ago. The first was so very bad. Just gut-achingly cheesy with a lame story and seriously sub-par acting. The second was somewhat amusing, but again, it was filmed (and actually aired, for 5 or so episodes) 10 or 12 years ago, so it was rather dated. Supposedly the producers want to bring it back - this is the claim made by our illustrious emcee, anyway - but the actors are now a decade older and not really believable in their roles. So, yeah. Not the exciting experience I was hoping it would be. Oh well.
Friday After I picked Tom up from work, we ran by Trader Joe's to get some little pizzas and a bottle of wine for dinner. While there, we saw Demetri and McQ, who invited us back over to Max's with them. So we went, ate our food, (I) worked on homework (or tried to), and just generally had a nice visit. Tom and the boys played Spades, which McQ referred to as "Bridge for Dummies." It seemed amusing, and they certainly had a good time.
Saturday We got up, took my car over to Pep Boys for an oil change and new tires, and then we rode the light rail downtown. We went primarily for the purpose of locating a specific building, but one we did that, we spent most of the rest of the day wandering. We went through Olvera Street, to which we returned later for lunch, walked all the way up to the seriously strange-looking Walt Disney Concert Hall, and meandered through the eerily-empty financial district. It really was surreal to be in downtown Los Angeles on a Saturday. Almost no one actually lives downtown (well, not in houses or apartments, anyway), so everything shuts down on the weekends. Even most of the eateries were closed. Very eerie.
After we returned to our bustling suburb and picked up my car, we fetched some ingredients from the grocery store and headed over to Max's for the weekly dinner (full post and photos to follow). It was a pie-themed night. Pies of the shepards' variety. Deeeeelicious.
Sunday Chores and homework. Nothing exciting there.
Monday This was the excitement to which I alluded a few posts back, and the reason for our Saturday trip downtown. We went in order to ascertain the location of the Los Angeles Crime Lab...where I had an interview Monday morning! This was a job for which I applied before I even graduated college. In October of 2004, I was called up to take the city's Criminalist exam to see if I'd qualify for an interview. I received a satisfactory score and have been on a waiting list ever since. So when I finally recieved notice that I was up for an interview, you can imagine my excitement. I bought a nice blazer, called in "sick" (paying the karmic price for that today, with a nasty sore throat and cough...bleh) and went to interview for the job of my dreams. I can't divulge details, of course, but it went fairly well I think. Unfortunately, they're inteviewing a bunch of people for just a few jobs, so the competition is fierce. I'm trying not to get my hopes up too much, but holy crap, that would be a most exceedingly awesome turn of events if I should land one of those jobs.
Tuesday & Wednesday Work. Which sucked. Nothing more to report.
And there you have it. Check back for the pie dinner post, and have a good one. :)
Tom and I are pretty equally nerdy. We're also not all that attached to "traditional" wedding elements. As a result, we are going to have a spectacularly geeky, but very unique and (I think) cool, donut cake at the reception. And not just a pile o' donuts, although that would be just as tasty. No, our "cake" will be in the shape of a carbon nanotube.
What, you may ask, is a carbon nanotube? In short, it's a giant molecule of carbon atoms arranged in a cylinder, like the picture to the left. The "lead" in pencils is called graphite, which is a flat lattice of carbon. Nanotubes are graphite molecules that are rolled over on themselves to create single-walled cylinders. They have all sorts of really interesting physical properties, including high conductivity and high tensile strength combined with an impressive degree of flexibility, and scientists have been working on coming up with ways to use them in electronics and other cool stuff.
Our homage to the nanotube will consist of a cylindrical plastic lattice. Donuts will be affixed to the outside, like this:
Just imagine the whole thing is covered with donuts ;)
Calculations were made as to the necessary dimensions of the raw material, and I brought home an appropriately-sized piece of thin acrylic from work a few months back. The whole thing will stand about 3 feet tall and should hold approximately 100 donuts. All that remains now is to cut and heat the plastic, bending it into the appropriate shape. The donuts will be affixed to the outside either by pegs or with little brackets (we're not sure, yet). No worries about "I don't like white cake" or "I don't want any frosting" - several varieties of donuts will be available, so there will be something for everybody! How awesome are we?