Saturday, February 28, 2009
While I put much research, work and purchasing of special ingredients into the Mac & Cheese for Friday I just bummed it and pulled a couple pieces of Sole out of the deep freeze and decided to make an herbed butter.
Aside from the fish all you need is butter and herbs (pretty self explanatory, eh). I used dill (tons and tons of dill), garlic powder and some salt and pepper all to taste. Just mixed it all together in the butter and poured that into the pan.Then just add the fish for oh about 5-10 minutes til it flakes with a fork. I love how quickly fish cooks. I used way more butter than was probably necessary but that was so I could pour it back over the fish and some of our couscous.And this is my second non- "meat" dish in one week. Aren't I just the awesomest wife ever?
I'm pretty sure if my husband had to come up with a meal every Friday we'd just wind up eating peanut butter and popcorn.
Friday, February 27, 2009
It wasn't too bad, luckily the person helping me was married and did all the name change stuff with a carefree manner and a flick of the wrist. Then it came time to pay and I saw this stupid little tax tacked on: A wheel tax? And not only that but it's a $50 wheel tax.
I'm sorry but the last I checked my car only had 4 wheels, not 5. So what, are they taxing the spare in my trunk too? I wonder if unicyclists only have to pay $10 to ride around on the gold streets in this county (at least you'd think they'd be paved with gold for what they charge a wheel to paddle around on it).
Yes it actually cost more for that one tax than all the other fees to license and register my car including new plates. To hell with it, I'm getting myself a camel. Try and get a wheel tax on him.
I'm also becoming a touch more serious about the Etsy shop idea and I made myself a little banner. Click on it for the actual size picture.What do you think? Too much blue? Probably too much blue.
Heaven help me, but I was a Girl Scout once (and by once I mean for about 5-6 years). It was not a fun experience.
One year the leader clearly had it out for me as she'd single me out to reprimand me for the smallest or most made up things and make me go sit off by myself, another was so lazy we'd basically just play Red Rover the whole time and then go home.
To pour salt into the wound my father was involved with the Boy Scouts at the time so I got to witness all of the cool stuff they got to do, like rappelling, learning how to start a fire, archery, camping. While we sat in a little run down building making recycled paper. Woo-bloody-hoo.
And oh those cookies, if you sold 1,000 boxes you may get something neat like a cap. But you'd better be bringing in some serious dough, we're talking drug runner money, before you'll get anything really fun and useful like a trip or a bike or a t-shirt.
I gave up shilling when I hung up my green sash (yeah I made it all the way to Junior) and have not sold or peddled a thing since. No candles for a band trip, no ad space for Block & Bridle. I just can't take that horrible slimy feeling you get wandering through a neighborhood in the dead of winter knocking on peoples doors knowing that they're inside doing their best to hide from you
But it's still hard to give up that cookie crack and feeling for the poor things I guess I'm willing to shell out $7.00 for a couple boxes if only so they don't lose their toes battling to each door in January.
Was anyone else a Girl Scout? Did you have to sell your soul for a few boxes of Tagalongs or Samoas? Better yet, anyone remember when those things only used to cost $2.50 a box?
Thursday, February 26, 2009
I thought I'd take a crack at that myself, sharing some of my favorite new finds and old favorites. Only you know mine will have to be better because no one is paying me to advertise for them (just leave that big bag of money in the hidden compartment in the closet and get lost!)
First-For the Animal lover, or someone who always wanted to watch a British actor palpate a cow: All Creatures Great and Small
These are a series of memoirs from a young Scottish veterinarian in the 1930s as he learns the trials and tribulations of healing sick animals and getting the farmers to fork over the few quid for his work.
I adored the books and have read all of them at least three times. Recently I got up the nerve and decided to netflix the old BBC series. I was afraid that there was just no way you could easily fake all that James Herriot, Siegfried and Tristan Farnon get up to but it's amazing how close they kept to the books.
Here's one clip, while not featuring any cute cuddly animals (or the more stinky and teethed animals) is hilarious and all Herriot.
Second - For the Oscar Wilde fan or the lover of witty one liners: "Oscar Wilde and a Death of No Importance" by Gyles Brandreth
I'm sure you've seen more than a few of some great Wilde quotes I've put up for my Happy Quotes eay and this book brings the wit of Oscar alive and in full color as he tries to track down a murder.
Oscar befriends Conan Doyle whose Sherlock Holmes inspires him to use deductive reasoning to find the killer of a young man. Set as Oscar works on his only novel "The Picture of Dorian Gray." It's a quick page turner that gives a reader the glimpse of a literary giant as a man but still leaves you feeling as though he's so much more.
Third- For any history, mystery, feminism, or just plain good novel fan: "Mistress of the Art of Death" by Ariana Franklin.
Set in the 12th century in Henry II's England a woman who was trained in the art of reading the dead must travel from her home of Salerno to England to prove that it was not Jews that killed four children but a horrific monster that walks among them.
I had been hemming and hawing about picking this book up for fear that a woman in the 12th century who is a doctor would come across as more of a Mary Sue, some perfect example of current femisim. While some of that still comes across this is a wonderful glimpse into what England was like under Henry Plantagenet for not only rich crusaders but also poor working folk and even the persecuted Jews.
The main character is a strange mix of CSI's Grissom with Susan B Anthony. While she may be the best at reading what the dead say and putting together clues she has little to know idea how society works and what her place is viewed in it.
I've also read her sequal book called "The Serpents Tale" which I loved even more. This time Henry's wife the unforgettable Elanor appears after the death of Henry's mistress Rosamund. It's more of a political intrigue into some larger than life characters straight out of history.
And that brings me to my fourth and final reccomendation.
Four - For anyone who loves good cinema, amazing performances, and wonderful lines: The Lion in Winter.
Based upon a play this movie stared Katherine Hepburn and Peter O'Toole as Eleanor and Henry. But along also came their sons including Richard the Lion hearted (played by Anthony Hopkins in his first role) as well as Prince John and Geoffry who was actually born of a mistress. This movie also features Timothy Dalton in his first movie role as well as the King of France.
I don't even know if I could do it justice in trying to write it up. It's an amazinly witty, dark, heartfelt movie. Just watch this little clip about the ultimate dysfunctional family:
If after reading "Mistress of the Art of Death" and seeing The Lion in Winter you can't get enough of Henry II there is also the movie in which a younger Peter O'toole playes a younger Henry and the story of the Archbisop of Canturbury "Becket."
Well that's all I have this time, I hope I've helped someone to find a new favorite.
Speaking of microwaves, there is one very important piece of equipment in every molecular lab that you probably have sitting in your own very office. Can you guess what it is? That's right, the spectrophotometer!No wait, that's actually a microwave. Apparently someone gave me the wrong script. And just to prove I'm not lying, here's what I was in fact microwaving:The microwave is needed to melt our good friend Mr. Agarose so it can be used to make our pure evil friend Mr. Gel. It's kinda like Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde but with more radiation.
And my last picture is of bubbles. I had to work on removing all the bubbles out of a tube yesterday for a few hours and I just thought they looked kinda cool:So, do you like the less verbose me? I'm hoping to get my posts down eventually to a picture, a three word sentence and one punctuation mark. Wish me luck.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
You got your Trolls that aim to anger up the blood of even the most docile of members. I always picture a Troll less as a large rock hiding under a bridge waiting for a goat to wander by and more as a large hornet that won't stop flying around a cow threatening to sting and just when its finally found that soft spot causes a stamped.
There are the flames. It's basically just a grade school playground shouting match to see who can come up with the better insults. Like Youtube commenters but with a richer lexicon as well as the opportunity to use one of billions of internet memes to show just how clever they really aren't.
The spammers are generally smacked with a small tin can and dead parrot and told to go away.
I've had a flame before and responded to that. Spammers generally get either a delete or if entertaining enough a mention.
Today I got visited by that most nefarious of troll. It's a sneaky troll because it passes itself off as being helpful, trying to offer advice when it is neither wanted or necessary.
I speak, of course, of the Grammar Nazi.
What the Grammar Nazi does is quote your post it doesn't agree with (or maybe it does, no one ever really knows) and then merly point out where you used an incorrect "there" or one too many commas all to show off their complete superiority in all of the world and how your entire argument is wrong because you are not MS spell check.
They will not add a damn thing to the discussion at all, and instead of anyone learning anything by once again finding out that oops they used "it's" instead of "its" they come across with a feeling that you just had your IQ zapped by about 5 points.
I don't know if I should dare to feed my own little Alphabets troll by informing him/her/it it's a wonder I got my other post out at all as in hitting blogger spell check it suddenly spell checked and deleted HTML on me so I had to go through and fix all my pictures and anything it tagged (Why does Cheddar always have to be capitalized anyway? Is someone named Cheddar?). Oh who am I kidding, they'll never be back anyway.
For the Grammar Nazi feeds like a flock of locusts, moving from one post onto the next feeding its insatiable hunger for a superiority complex. They're the type to sit on a pier watching someone try to dock a boat in horrible weather and after spying failed attempt after failed attempt when the mariner finally succeeds, instead of offering to help tell them how they would have gotten it in one go.
They get some strange high out of knowing that in their minds they are infallible. Everyone must be beneath them because they know how and when to use a colon! Oh when it comes to verbiage and useage they are like a god among men. Just what can be done with these interneters running around with a red pen trying to mark the whole world? Aside from giving them thousands of high school essays to grade not a damn thing sadly. Slip them some fodder every now and again (misuse of "there" and "its" is sure to cause them to all but orgasm) to keep the masses happy and just ignore it.
Oh and I look forward to someone finding all the mistakes I left in this. And . . . . . . Go!
I am a Methodist. For those who don't know what makes our denomination so much better than others (especially those Presbyterians who I swear we are not just like)we drink grape juice instead of wine, if there is going to be an AA meeting it will be held in a Methodist church in your area (one of the tenants used to be no drinking but that doesn't seem to be enforced as such anymore), we all love a good sing song and will try to outsing each other in church (bring ear plugs), and the backbone of every Methodist church is cookies, punch and pot luck.
But my husband is a Catholic. In our early dating days my first experience with the Catholic church was an Easter when I didn't look as out of place having no idea when to kneel, sit, stand or juggle. Each week I began to learn all the secret signals but I choose to not partake. As I am considered "unworthy" of communion then I figure I must be "unworthy" of the sign of the cross or that other one before the reading of the gospel.
Lets just say I shall not be converting to Catholicism any time soon. There are just too many of their tenants I do not agree with. And it really isn't any source of contention in our house as my husband doesn't really agree with them either and we like to debate it but he is a stickler for rules and likes the challenge of having to follow them.
So begins one of the biggest Rule Times for Catholics: Lent. And now this Methodist who was only vaguely aware of it in that every Friday in winter it seemed the Knights of Columbus were having a fish fry has to think of meatless dishes.
While today is actually a fast day (I can't believe they still do those, really) I am making a very simple Mac & Cheese. I've been looking for a good recipe for the past few years and I hope this one will be it.
I can hear you asking yourself but if you're going to make it tonight then how can you have pictures now? Because this recipe is one of those wonderful timesavers but pain in the butt for the unorganized that you make the night before.
The first step is to start some water boiling (isn't it always?)
While that's going on pull out the cheese grater and get to work. I got some Emmentaler (kinda like swiss) and Cheddar for this dish, though another popular one is the fondue cheese Gruyere.
Then grate as though your life depended on it.
You should wind up with about 3 cups of cheese though I went a bit higher cause I like cheese Now here's the interesting part. Take 8 ounces of elbow macaroni and place it in the boiling water, but only for 4 minutes. This is so it'll get very al dente. Then just rinse off and cool:Next, you mix in with the cheese 1 and 1/4th cup of milk and 2 cups of cream:
Then you fold in the al dente macaroni and this sits in the fridge overnight sucking up all the delectable creamy and cheesy goodness Tonight when we get home I just have to place it in a baking dish, cover the top with some cheese and bread crumbs then bake for 20 minutes at 400. Easy peasy really.
If it tastes really good then I'll share it tomorrow, if not then we shall never speak of this again (the mac & cheese I made last year was awful. Its the centerpiece in my hall of shame). I have high hopes as the cream and milk mix with the cheese was already tasting pretty cheesy (I swear I had to taste it for the pepper and salt I added, I wasn't just curious).
Is anyone else out there celebrating Lent? If so, could you please share you meat or fish dishes? I got nothing in my repertoire and it really shows by about the third or fourth week. I do have some sole and perch in my freezer just waiting for a little attention if that helps.
P.S. If there are any Futurma fans out there Run! don't walk to buy the last movie. I loved it. It was a very touching finale (though I pray it isn't).
Also Linda is psychic, if you need any lotto numbers ask her.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
I've gotten all professional like and actually gotten myself an easel.
It was rather fun to put together as the instructions were printed on the stapled cardboard and were harder to read than the Dead Sea scrolls and less intact. But after a few false starts we got it all together and I promptly felt I had to whip out a painting to christen this bad boy. I guess this means that this painting thing is quickly becoming a serious hobby. So serious in fact that I am seriously considering opening up an Etsy store (serioulsy) if only to get rid of some of the back clutter.
The only problem is that now I need to think of a name for said store. "Introverted Wife's Paint and Gloss emporium" just doesn't have quite the right ring to it I fear. I could call it "Acrylic Central: Here for all your acrylic needs" but that sounds too much like a hardware store.
If anyone out there has their own etsy store, I'd love all the advice you have. And really if anyone has a good idea for a name of the store I'll be forever in your debt.
In fact, maybe I'll trade your own special painting for a name. If anyone can come up with a great name for my store then I'll paint you whatever your little heart desires. And in whatever color too.
I'm open to just about any name really, as long as its cool, funny, and awesome.
I hope I didn't make it too much of a challenge.
"What do you mean 'we?' Last I checked I was just a series of firing neurons tucked under your cap, there's no way I can push a button."
Then I remind myself of the other point of all these pictures I'm taking. They aren't just to entrance and awe the masses with their sparkling glory (I think my Ego is trying to break out now, get him Id!) I also want to one day, when I am much older, look back at all these pictures and remember what my life was like.
So today I shall introduce you to the only two accessories I wear daily. One you've seen in far too many pictures (what can I say, my wedding ring is an attention whore). The other is much shyer and is not a fan of the spotlight.It's a rune stone and it stands for "Humanity." I've been wearing it since I was about oh 13 or so. Well aside from a few years when my husband and I were long distance so I gave it to him for safekeeping. Then as soon as I moved to be with him it went right back on my neck.
I wish I could claim that it holds some deep spiritual meaning for me, but no it is just a hunk of metal with something carved in it. I started wearing it everyday because I liked it and it could hold up well to what I put my "jewelry" through.
But while it may not have had any significance when it was first purchased it does now. It's seen me through high school and college. Hanging out and getting up to some wild stuff with my best friend (we cannot be trusted with things of a sticky nature), meeting my husband, getting that first real job (well and all the not so real ones too.)
And hopefully it'll still last through all those next stages: first house, a dog, maybe get a few kids to play with the dog. Possibly build a robot that can register for a boat loan. Heirlooms are wonderful and all but there's also something about being the beginning of a chain instead of just a link.
What's your daily accessories? Do you have a handful of things that you just wear everyday because it means something to you or has come to mean something?
Monday, February 23, 2009
I always figured on the off years, your 17ths or 26ths you would be left on your own forced to think up your own gifts. Turns out I was horribly mistaken. I present a partial list (IE those I found hilarious) from About.com
Modern Gifts: Furniture
Modern Gifts: Porcelain
Modern Gifts: Bronze
Modern Gifts: Musical Instruments
Modern Gifts: Original Pictures
Modern Gifts: Sculpture
Modern Gifts: Orchids
Modern Gifts: Furniture
Modern Gifts: Conveyances
Modern Gifts: Alabaster
(Ooh you can have a statue or vase that you can scratch with your fingernail. Perfect for all those grandkids running around).
Modern Gifts: Beryl or Tourmaline
Modern Gifts: Land
Modern Gifts: Improved Real Estate
Modern Gifts: Groceries
Modern Gifts: Original Poetry
Modern Gifts: Books
Modern Gifts: Optical Goods
Is anyone planning on following this lovely list? I think our second anniversary we should totally give each other groceries and a huge hunk of quartz for the abandoned mine we just bought.
We got a large Vineyard that while originally $49 was marked down to about $7 by the time we came around. I had some little ideas in my brain on how to make it fit into our Halloween village but it was put away for a few months to simmer.
In the meantime I've been learning a few different painting techniques and mostly been getting in a Halloween mood (can I have Halloween in April?) so I decided to attempt it this weekend.
Here is what the cute little vineyard looked like to start with:
And this is what I did to deface the poor thing. My thoughts were to make it look like Vampires have invaded the Vineyard and run it now.
For the front window I had to think outside the box a touch as I couldn't get in and paint the wine and cheese. Instead I added some "cracks" to the windows and if you can see a pair of bloody hand prints. The leg bone was from another kit that we just had sitting around. The hardest part here was adding the word "blood" to the sign. I was so focused in the middle of painting it I had to ask my husband just how to spell "blood." I only wanted to give it one "o" for some reason. That is one grinning skull there, though the cat seems none to happy to have Vampires around.One of the windows, with some bloody visitors. But what I really love is what I did to the grape edifices to make it look more like a monster out of Lovecraft.
In the windows on the back I tried to paint to different silhouettes. It sort of worked.
It's amazing how the addition of a little paint can make something go from a cute little Christmas themed village to the Vineyard of the Damned. Just have to add a few vampires outside and it's all ready to go.
Ah this creativity stuff is tons of fun some days. Anyone else like to buy something for decoration and then alter it to your own purposes?
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Allow me to invite you to pay witness to that most unexplained and muddled of behavior. We all in some form or another require consumption of energy to keep ourselves upright and mobile. Some of us may even enjoy it a time or two. But what happens to a small Barbecue joint on the outskirts of town when a man who will eat everything not nailed down is a patron?
We are about to enter the Twilight Zone. The corn cob on the left is my attempt at it, and believe it or not the corn cob on the right was not in fact gnawed away at by a family of squirrels but methodically masticated by my own husband.
He is a man who truly loves food. To the point where as long as food is in front of him he will ignore all outside stimuli til all is gone. He can, in fact, clean a plate better than any dog I've ever known. (Believe me, we've had contests before) But nothing entertains me more than watching him devour a cob of corn better than any rodent type animal ever could.
Val day is over and all those fabric swatch covered boxes of chocolates are on the clearance rack. You can't not have some sort of holiday section, so just what is a store to do?
Why put out the Easter candy of course.
As we were perusing the sights we came across two bunnies that well didn't quite fit in.
This first one is called Parsnip Pete.
Let's just say I have a funny feeling Pete's been getting into something a bit more substantial than just parsnip. Best to be on the safe side though and not eat any of Pete's "parsnips" or you could wind up with an eyeball that's so lazy it could drip out of its socket.
This last rabbit is called Sunshine and looking at him a whole lot of other words come to mind "Psychopath" "Deranged" or "Homicidal" for starters.
I don't want to know what this bunny has buried in his garden.
Special thanks to Palmers who always makes some of the nastiest tasting chocolate, but some of the funniest looking "chocolate" bunnies you've ever seen.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Our topic for today involves a few simple solutions, a bacteria plate, and one piece of equipment. It's Growth Curve time!
Okay so last night you should have isolated your bacteria on a plate, and autoclaved your media of choice so nothing else would grow into it. I'll just wait while you get caught up doing just that. No rush really, this experiment only takes 7 hours.
All ready? Good. Now just take out your pipette and divvy out the media into large glass tubes (that were also autoclaved).
Now for colony picking. This is by far the hardest part of the growth curve and you may have to help your monkey out. You want to add just one single colony of bacteria to each tube to control the amount added. So you need a steady hand to pick one small white dot that sits right next to another white dot.
After swirling your loop inside of the tubes to release all the bacteria time to lightly cap them off (you don't want to completely close the lid or no gas can get in and the bacteria die) and put them in the incubator for a few hours.
While those are growing up enjoying that wonderful feast you prepared for them you may want to take this time to catch up your lab notebook, or feed some cells, or if you really feel so inclined to actually get to that evil PCR.
Now that the 2 hours is over, time to pull the tubes out of the incubator and use that one magical piece of equipment.
What it does is measure the optical density of the bacteria cells. As they grow the bacteria become more and more clouded so less light can shine through. It's that absorbance or percent transmited of light that we measure to determine which grows best out of the different media.
After checking every 1 to 2 hours the growth should eventually peter out and you'll have a nice cloudy mixture inside of the tube. Hello, my little bacteria friends. Say hello back!
And that ladies and gentlemen is how to prepare a growth curve. Now I expect you all to start your own little bact labs growing up and ODing bacteria to your hearts content.
Friday, February 20, 2009
2. (traditional)the quality of being relative and having significance only in relation to something else
Here have a cup of cocoa, I even put a few ice cubes in there for you.
I realize that you have enjoyed this year so far. We've had more than our fair share of ice laden mornings, oh and that snow storm you dumped around Christmas when everyone was trying to travel sure was funny. Ha ha ha.
I think it's time you stepped back a bit. Now you don't have to retire completely. We can still fit you in for some early morning frosts, a random small snow shower, oh and I hear the Johnsons are looking for entertainment at their kids birthday party.
So long Mr. Winter. Much luck in your next endeavours.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Contained within said e-mail was a little message about Lemax and one of their villages.
And just what was that little message?
HOUSE OF TAM HAS THE NEW LEMAX SPOOKYTOWN STUFF FOR 2009!
Sorry, sorry. Got a bit excited there, didn't mean to spray spittle at the screen.
My husband and I are crazy about the Lemax Halloween town stuff because it's just about our right level for Halloween: nothing is super cutesy, but it isn't all just covered in blood and gore and considered spooky. Ours is more Gothic (though Lemax does have some fun joke pieces as well) with mood setting pieces.
For all you non-Halloween freaks (probably just about all of you actually) feel free to just skip over my madness. But here in no order are some of the neatest new additions for 2009. If you want to see them closer up click on the images to get a bigger picture.Usually we don't care too much for the Egyptian ones but I just love all the detail, even with the one priest wearing an Anubis head.
Thanks to a really great after Christmas sale we got our hands on a Vineyard house that while set up for Christmas I was thinking I could alter to look more like say a vineyard for vampires. This little figurine called "Bloodbath" would fit in so perfectly.
Just look at the menu on this one. I really love Dessert.
This one is called "Rat Attack" and okay so the rats to me kinda look like rabid squirrels but it would fit in pretty nicely with our graveyard.
This one is called "Demon Cave." I love the fact that all these evil things get together to have a little boozing and then poker, he he he.This is called "Witch Tree" and it has such a cool eerie feel like some old knarled trees I've known in my time.I've been wanting a good witches piece for a while. Only I'd have to paint their faces flesh colored because I just don't hold with Witches being green (blame my name and too much Pratchett) and I do like how the witches are sitting back and relaxing after a hard life of witching. Now to find a way to get Greebo in there.. Anyone else getting a Cave of Carbanorg feel from this one? I can already picture the cute fluffy bunny in there. Only Lemax could think of all the classic monsters getting together for Bowling night. My favorite is the mummy.
Hurray now onto the fancy houses, which I can't wait to get to watch move and make noise. This first one is the Lumber Yard complete with it's own Cerberus. And chainsaw weilding pyscho farmer on the roof. Every barn has to have one of those right?
Any Phantom of the Opera fans? Or just Opera fans in general? No takers? Philistines. I don't know about you but I'd love to attend this opera house. Everyone probably gets their own ghost.
This is the one that was showcased in the e-mail and the one I want to see in action the most. Why? Cause it's a fricken castle. It looks like an evil sorceror pops up from the side, a black knight lowers the drawbridge and a dragon pops out of the top. A real dragon!
There are tons more, I just highlighted my few favorites. If you are as into it as I am, check out House of Tam here.
Now I just have to wait til Michales gets them in on August. I may have chewed my fingers down to the nubs in anticipation.