Friday, April 28, 2006

New Content Any Time Now, Really...

Ugh. Tomorrow I have to go to work at 6am, work for four hours, drive to San Diego, take my final, give a presentation, and then return home. It's going to be a long day.

I can hardly believe how fast this month has gone. It's insane! And the wedding is 3 weeks from tomorrow, which is even more insane! Very soon I will have time to pause, breathe, catch up on everyone's blogs and post on my own again, but for now I've got to get back to Powerpointing and studying and portfolio-preparing.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Blog? What blog?

My apologies to anyone who would actually like to see new content up here more frequently than once a week. Between my mad dashings hither and thither, I find myself wanting to spend my downtime doing things other than blogging. Like, for example, sleeping. ;) But I only have one week left of this commuting business, and I've got plenty to write about, so I shall endeavor to do a bit of that in the relatively near future.

In the meanwhile, today is T-minus one month to the hitchin'. Aside from a few errant stragglers, most of our proverbial ducks are in a row. So that's good. :)

Back to work. Hi ho, hi ho, etc.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Who knew homework could be so much fun?

When one must photo,
what better place than the beach?
This homework I like.

Daily Quotable - 4/10/06

Any chimp can play human for a day,
use his opposable thumbs to iron his uniform,
and run for office on election day,
fancy himself a real decision maker and
deploy more troops than salt in a shaker.
But it's a jungle when war is made,
and you'll panic and throw your own shit at the enemy.
The camera pulls back to reveal your true identity -
look, it's a sheep in wolves' clothing,
a smoking gun-holding ape.

--Rilo Kiley, "It's a Hit"

I have had this song stuck in my head all evening long. Good thing it's a good song, but yeesh, quite the earworm it's been.

Another Catblogging Guest Star

This is Spork. I know it's probably somewhat silly to take a black & white picture of a black cat but, well, sue me. ;)

Saturday Dinner - Lamb, Pheasant and Other Tasty Stuff

After a month-long haitus, our weekly group dinners started up again this past Saturday evening. As per usual, our eyes were much larger than our stomachs.

On the Menu:
  • Pan-grilled lamb
  • Israeli couscous with onions, topped with sun-dried tomatoes and feta cheese
  • Bacon-wrapped and veggie-stuffed pheasant
  • Garlicy mashed red potatoes
  • Asparagus
  • Rice pudding

We started out by prepping the pheasant, since we knew they would take the longest to cook. The birds were thawed, washed (rinsed, really), patted dry with paper towels, rubbed with olive oil, salted & peppered, rubbed with a mixture of fresh sage, rosemary and thyme, and stuffed with carrots, celery, pearl onions, and garlic. Then, in order to keep the birds moist, they were wrapped with bacon - a procedure known as barding.

Don't your arteries feel a bit tighter just looking at them?

Per Julia Child's instructions, we pre-heated the oven to 400F, put the birds in, and then reduced the heat to 350. By our estimates, their appropriate cooking time should have been 80 minutes, but it ended up being over 2 hours. If we were to do this again, I'd say we should cook them at 375 or else be more prepared for a much longer wait than the cookbook says it should be.

While the pheasants were a'roasting, two heads of garlic were smothered in olive oil, sprinkled with salt & pepper, and placed in the toaster oven at, er, some temperature I neglected to note. Tom may know. Anyway, the roasted/toasted garlic cloves were then removed and mashed in order to be stirred into mashed red potatoes. The potatoes were baked in the microwave (washed and then wrapped with wet paper towels), for purposes of expediency. They were then cut into quarters and smashed up with some sour cream, (I think) butter, and of course the garlic. Tasty, tasty stuff.

At the same time, the lamb was seasoned (salt, pepper, the same herb mixture used on the pheasants) and pan-grilled. The picture I took of it in the pan doesn't look all that appetizing, so you'll get the final plated version only. ;) Max also made some Israeli couscous, which is a heck of a lot bigger than "normal" couscous. He stirred some onions in with it, and then (once plated) topped it with sun-dried tomatoes and crumbled feta. Everything took very little time to prepare, so it was an excellent stopping and eating point. If I may say, folding a slice of lamb over a piece of tomato and a piece of feta resulted in an exceedingly good flavor combination. Fan-freaking-tastic.

Why is it that the cutest things are the tastiest?

Max's cat, Spork, decided at one point that we weren't paying enough attention to him, so he settled himself resignedly upon the cookbook ("At least I know they'll look here...sigh...").

Once the pheasants were finally done (which, by the way, occurs when the temperature at the thick part of the thigh is at least 140F and, of course, when the juices run clear), they were carved and served up with the potatoes and some quickly-roasted asparagus (basic prep - oiled, salted, peppered, roasted). Random fact - did you know that turkeys are a variety of pheasant?

After all the cooking (and cooking, and cooking) and the eating (and eating, and eating), we were fairly lazy and sleepy. As a result, when I left my camera sitting across the room, I didn't bother to retrieve it and photograph the rice pudding. Bad photojournalist... I also have pretty much no idea how said pudding was made, except that I know there were 4 different varieties of raisins in it. It was sweet and quite good, though.

And that's all she wrote. Tune in next week...

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Cooking and Coining

Tonight was the first group dinner we've had in a while. First Max was out of town, then Tom & I were, and then Max was again. But now everyone's in attendance, and the foods are plentiful.

Course one was grilled lamb with Israeli couscous, sun-dried tomatoes, onions and feta. Course two is going to be bacon-wrapped pheasant, if it ever finishes cooking. It's been in the oven for well-nigh two hours and does not seem to be done yet. Hmm. With the pheasant will be garlic smashed potatoes and asparagus. Rice pudding is to be the dessert.

As we wait for the pheasant to phinish, we've been sitting around looking up the crazy names that exist for groups of animals (a murder of crows, a prickle of porcupines, a dray of squirrels, etc.). Tom decided that we ought to coin our own, for a group of bloggers. My suggestion - a click of bloggers. Mmm...punny. Go forth now and spread it like wildfire. ;)

Off to check the birds again. Photos and whatnot tomorrow, or maybe Tuesday. Sometime in the relatively near future.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Rings, rain, and really long days.

Friday night I got a call from the jeweler, who said our rings were in. Yay! We picked them up on Saturday. They are shiny and super excellent. We wore them home, but Tom was somewhat surprised with my desire to put them in a box thereafter and not wear them again until the wedding. I figure it's like this - he's right in that the reason for not wearing them is completely arbitrary. The wedding itself isn't going to change how we feel about each other, and the whole ceremony of it is more for our families and friends than for us anyway. However, you oughtn't open your Christmas presents before Christmas, and you oughtn't wear your wedding rings before the wedding. It's just the way it goes. He tried to convince me otherwise, but I was unbending. ;)

Yesterday was a ridiculously long day for me, as all Mondays this month will be. Woke up at 5 in order to leave the house by 5:30 in order to be at work by 6:00. Worked until noon. Drove ~140 miles to San Diego, checked into my hotel room, hung around until 4:45ish. Went to my crime scene photography class, which is scheduled to run from 5:30-10:00 but (thankfully) let out around 9:00, since it was the first class and there isn't too much to cover until everybody has cameras. I was very tired. This class is going to be exceedingly cool though! I'm looking forward to gaining some mad photography skills.

A big Alaskan storm has made its way down to SoCal where it dumped prodigious amounts of rain on L.A. yesterday and today. It only drizzled a bit on San Diego yesterday, and this morning it was quite warm and sunny. However, the rain arrived this afternoon and has been steadily falling since. The weather folks claim we may get some flooding. Swell. As long as I'm able to make it home tomorrow night though, I don't mind.

That's about it for now. Going to re-watch Big Trouble in Little China, since I fell asleep when we watched it this weekend. ;)

Daily Quotable - 4/4/06

We apologize for the delay. A Bank of America associate will be with you as soon as pahssible.
--Recorded voice who let slip her midwestern accent just at the end of her little speech, which was repeated over and over and over again as I sat on hold for freaking ever waiting for the bitches to pick up and fix the royal mess they've made of my credit score

Monday, April 03, 2006

Catblogging: Document Destruction 101

What is it about cats and their desire to be on things that are on top of other things? They can't just lie down on the floor - they have to be on the pair of pants that are on the floor. They can't just sit on the table - they have to be on the pile of papers on the table. As an experiment, Tom put a piece of printer paper on the soft afghan on top of the couch, just to see what the cats would do. He left to get groceries while I stayed home to study (and observe). He wasn't gone 45 seconds before Loki settled himself down on the paper. Hypothesis confirmed. Cats are wacky little critters.

DST and Mondays Always Get Me Down

Ugh. I don't know who came up with the bright idea to screw with the clocks twice a year, but this crap is unacceptable. Don't give me your "oh, but we get an extra hour of daylight!" argument, either. We only "get an extra hour of daylight" if we get to wake up at a reasonable hour in the morning. Those of us who have to leave the house by 5:30 or 6:00 were just starting to enjoy having a fair amount of light in the sky on the way to work. Now we've been plunged back into darkness in the mornings again. Woo-freaking-hoo. No net gain there, my friends. No sirree.

Tales of the weekend coming up a little later.