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January 04, 2009

So I was totally going to tweet this

But then I realized 140 characters just won't cut it.

Today has been busy.  I finally (after 10 days of snot bombs!) felt up to leaving the house.  Which I suppose is a good thing since I have to actually go to work again in about 30 hours.

I was shocked that Costco was nearly EMPTY.  I mean, there were PARKING PLACES in the lot.  We didn't have to stand in line at the checkout, either.  I mean, we walked right up and put our vast quantities of meat and some garbage bags and soda right on the belt. I'm still not sure what factors contributed to this.  It was 11:30 AM on a Saturday, normally MADHOUSE time at our Costco.  I'm guessing it was a combination of post-holiday malaise, hangovers, and too much holiday spending.  Whatever the reason, I was loving it.  Especially since Costco has been much more crowded in the last several months as people search for a deal. We even ordered our new eyeglasses at the optical department without more than a 5 minute wait for the dude.  The longest wait (not surprisingly) was at the gas station.

The dearth of shoppers was also in evidence at TJs, which was our next stop.  I was really surprised.  This is sort of a wake up and realign with reality weekend in Pasadena, with the Rose Festivities ending and people about to send their children back to school.  Again, I was glad to take advantage of the easy parking and short lines.

Later, we watched some of Serenity on SciFi and I realized I can never watch it again with the same appreciation I had before.  For two reasons.  1) I still harbor a grudge against Joss for killing Wash.  Seeing Penny's death in Dr. Horrible, and my non-reaction to it makes me even more pissed that he killed off Wash. and 2) Nathan Fillion is seriously Captain Hammer now and forever more.

Pathetically profound, no?

I have an awesome smelling pot roast (what little I can smell) going in the crockpot to use up some leftover Guinness and wine from Wednesday.

I had forgotten how much I love to cook.  It has been so long since I felt up to really cooking.  And yeah, I know the crockpot isn't really cooking, but considering that the best I've been up to for the last year or so, with notable exceptions, involves either the toaster or the microwave, it's a big step forward.  I even have some notion of making a few batches of jam tomorrow.  We'll see.

I have dozens of pictures to download off the camera and upload.  Stay tuned for updates on that, too.

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:10 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Double Shot Movie Review

We saw two movies this weekend.  My reviews in 20 words or less:

Gone Baby Gone: Awesome movie, nice twist ending. But then again, I am a sucker for a good detective movie.

The Simpsons Movie: a 2 hour Simpsons Episode. And not a good one, either.

Posted by caltechgirl at 06:39 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 08, 2009

Winter Recess

After our alloted two weeks of winter, it's supposed to be 75 degrees tomorrow and sunny here in Los Angeles.  Not to mention Santa Ana windy.

I think the SnowFolks of No Evil will be hanging around here a bit longer.  If nothing else, to remind me how the rest of the world feels (ok, ok, the rest of the Northern Hemisphere.  Sheesh, you people!)

Posted by caltechgirl at 08:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Whole LottaNot Much Shaking Going On

According to the USGS we had a 5.0 4.5 earthquake at 7:49 PM just south of San Bernadino.  That's about 50 miles east of here.

Not surprisingly we barely felt it.

Posted by caltechgirl at 09:34 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

January 10, 2009

Think Happy Thoughts....

... And sprinkle a little fairy dust....

Tomorrow, January 11, two amazing people are going to follow through with a resolution they made in August and run a marathon in honor of people who have been touched by cancer.

WB and Bou are running the Walt Disney World marathon on Sunday as part of Team in Training, raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  Together they've raised just shy of $5300 for cancer research.

I'll be thinking of you both and watching your split times from here, and wishing you fleet feet and much success!

Please take a minute to click over and wish each of them well! And maybe enough of us do it, then maybe just maybe, they can fly!

Posted by caltechgirl at 02:20 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 11, 2009

You're probably wondering...

What's all this twitter talk about Ted Kennedy being under my house?

Well, unfortunately, I don't have him locked in the slab a la Jimmy Hoffa, but he is in fact gone.  And really, that's preferable.

Because this is Ted Kennedy:

* Actor Portrayal, not an actual Kennedy

Dear Teddums is a skunk.  A skunk who decided that the underside of the stairs to our den was a perfect place to curl up on those cold winter afternoons.

Seems he knocked out a flimsy (likely VERY OLD) grill that was covering the entrance to the crawlspace under the main part of our house and found himself a cozy, warm spot to sleep in sometime Wednesday morning.

We left him to his own devices until we could do something about keeping him out, yesterday.  We flooded the crawlspace with light and turned on KROQ at top volume.

Teddy left the bar around closing time last night, as he had departed when DH got out of bed at 3:30 to check.

There's now a MUCH sturdier panel covering the crawlspace, which is actually secured to the wall itself, rather than just fit in place.

So why Ted Kennedy?  Well, yesterday I lamented that I wished the damn skunk would just LEAVE ALREADY, and Mike replied, "yeah, that's how I feel about Ted Kennedy too." And the name stuck.

Fare thee well, Ted.  Just stay the hell away from my house!

Posted by caltechgirl at 11:08 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Mission Accomplished

Bou and WB have each completed the Walt Disney World Marathon.  YAY!

Bou's finish time was 06:05:56, a 13:57 mile average and WB's was 07:00:57, a 16:03 mile average.

I am immensely proud of both of you!

That's a wrap, y'all!  Now get some rest!  You deserve it!

Posted by caltechgirl at 11:20 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 16, 2009

Hey y'all!

I just realized I get Monday off!  Woot!

Posted by caltechgirl at 02:45 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

My new blog crush

Maybe it's because I live in La-La-Land, but I am seriously digging Andrew Breitbart's new Big Hollywood blog.

So far it's a great mix of politics and the personal, the "biz", movie reviews, news, and especially Hollywood's new closet: conservatism.

I can even forgive that they hired la Schlussel.  But seeing as how she sucks, maybe they'll drop her, too.

If you haven't dropped by yet, I suggest you start with Charles Winecoff's piece "The Awakening of a Dumb (Gay) American" or Gary Graham's "One Pissed Off Dude."

Take an hour and read through.  You won't be disappointed.

Posted by caltechgirl at 01:12 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

January 18, 2009

The Ghost of White House Past

If the Presidential fraternity in the sky could advise Barack Obama they'd send... Richard Nixon.

"Honestly," Nixon began, "there are a number of racists among the group. I am not one of them. Slavery was and racism is the great moral failing of America. I don't want to see you fail."

Nixon appeared to take a deep breath and he turned away from Obama and looked out the window towards the Washington Monument. "I don't want to see you fail. I failed because of my own hubris. My failings were avoidable if I hadn't been blind to what I was doing. You and I became president at a unique time in America's history. Deeply unpopular wars were underway abroad. Deep discord infected everything at home. I had a chance for greatness. You have a chance for greatness. You and I share times more similar than you think. I can help you if you want my help. If you don't... Well, I can go back and leave you be."

Hop over to Naked Villainy and read the rest.  Presidential heaven appears to be an awfully interesting place....

Posted by caltechgirl at 09:10 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 19, 2009

God sure has a funny sense of humor...

And I guess He's had enough of islamofascist terrorists killing in His name.  Or at least in one of his names....

So He sent them a plague.  The Black Plague.

ANTI-TERROR bosses last night hailed their latest ally in the war on terror... the BLACK DEATH.

At least 40 al-Qaeda fanatics died horribly after being struck down with the disease that devastated Europe in the Middle Ages...

...The killer bug, also known as the plague, swept through insurgents training at a forest camp in Algeria, North Africa. It came to light when security forces found a body by a roadside.

The victim was a terrorist in AQLIM (al-Qaeda in the Land of the Islamic Maghreb), the largest and most powerful al-Qaeda group outside the Middle East.

It trains Muslim fighters to kill British and US troops.

Now al-Qaeda chiefs fear the plague has been passed to other terror cells, or Taliban fighters in Afghanistan.

One security source said: "This is the deadliest weapon yet in the war against terror. Most of the terrorists do not have the basic medical supplies needed to treat the disease."

Bubonic Plague, also known as Black Plague, is spread by infected fleas.  The plague is really a little rod-shaped bacteria (bacillus) known as yersinia pestis.  The fleas live on rats and other small animals (such as squirrels) and are happy to feast on human blood, passing on the plague at the same time.

The disease is rapidly fatal if untreated, causing the patients lymph nodes to swell into painful boils, known as "buboes", hence the name "bubonic plague".  In modern times, exposure often occurs from animal control personnel handling dead rodents or accidental exposure on a camping or wilderness trip, and is usually treated successfully.  Clearly this is not the case in the remote mountains of Algeria.

Too bad germ warfare is illegal. Sprinkle a few microbes in a few caves, and we wouldn't have to worry about these asshats anymore, dammit.

h/t George Moneo at Babalu

And for some real (gallows) humor check out the comment thread for this topic at Ace of Spades...

Posted by caltechgirl at 01:13 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Keeping the Universe on the Straight and Narrow

Science, kiddoes.  Science. Dig it.

Posted by caltechgirl at 04:05 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 20, 2009

I am not among the head-burying ostriches

Yes, I am going to watch the festivities tomorrow.

I am going to watch the O-bots cheer as their messiah of the new raises his right hand and takes the same oath George Washington did, using the bible of Abraham Lincoln.

Folks, like it or not this is our new President.  Hail the peaceful transition of power so rare elsewhere, and common enough here that we take it for granted, don't ignore it like it will go away.

It's not going away for four more years.   I for one can't hold my breath that long under the sand.

I am going to watch and rant and yell obscenities at the TV, at the idiots who don't remember the past as they bow down and worship The One.  I am also going to cheer the new President and enjoy the presentations of the Inaugural Parade.

Because really folks, this is it.  It's our history, like it or not, and we can be there for it, or we can pretend it didn't happen.  I'm of the opinion that the revolution WILL be televised.  And YouTubed.  And I'd prefer to be able to talk about it firsthand anyway.

I don't blame those of you on media blackout.  I get it.  I feel you.  But I just can't help but think it's another form of denial.  And I can't be in denial for 4 more years.

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:22 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

My own thoughts

Just a few reflections on the Inauguration...

Funniest moment? Heard on C-Span open mike, Joe Biden arriving at the top of the stairs to walk down to the main platform: "Well, I made it."

Least expected moment? Rick Warren's prayer.  I am not a fan of public prayer.  For two reasons. One, prayer is (according to scripture) to be a personal, secret act.  Two, public praying tends to become a sideshow: quoting, telling God all kinds of shit he already knows, showboating by the pray-er.  You know what I mean.  Warren's prayer followed a more humble structure: he praised God's greatness, he humbled himself, he asked for intercesion, and ended with the Lord's Prayer.  Nice, actually.

Best moment? The Williams Quartet with YoYo Ma and Itzak Perlman.  Amazing.  And yes, I am a sucker for both Ma and Perlman.  Especially Perlman, whose playing regularly moves me to tears.

Most surreal moment: Again, captured by the C-Span open mike: At the end of Obama's oath, the crowd began chanting "CHANGE!" a la Randy Marsh.

By the time The One spoke, I was getting sleepy.  I noted that the first half of the speech sounded like a Republican (personal responsibility, huh?).  And then I crashed.

I could have done without Aretha.  Hang it up sister.  Your voice is going away, as it does to all divas at your age.  Let us remember you at your finest.  She did have a killer hat on, though.

Finally, poor Chief Justice.  His nerves got the best of him and he flubbed the Oath.  Here's hoping he gets it right in four years.

What say you?

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:36 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

January 21, 2009

Comfort and Canning

While most of the rest of you either watched or avoided the evening festivities surrounding the adulation of The One, I was busy in the kitchen.

Ooey-Gooey Mac N Cheese with bacon for dinner.  I needed comfort.  That's the very definition of comfort food.  Plus, I had to use up the last of the fancy cheeses from our New Year's Eve party, which were remarkably still mold-free.  I didn't want to press my luck further.  This was real white sauce Mac N Cheese, too.  A first for me.

After dinner it was back to the stove.  I'm like a kid after Christmas with my new toy.  Some of you may recall I got a small-batch canning cookbook for Christmas and I have been waiting for the stars to align to use it ( and by stars I mean time, inclination, and pectin). 

Last night I broke open the book for the first time and made a batch of Blood Orange Red Wine Marmalade.  Sadly, because our blood oranges are tiny, it made only a cup and a half.  Tonight I broke rule #1 and made a double batch.  Which made just over 4 cups.  YAY!

Then I decided to try and use up some of the apricots in the freezer that we got from our tree in the spring.  Batch #2 was a Winter Pear Apricot Jam.  That was tasty cleanup!  That recipe made 5 cups after skimming.  Not bad.

I was ably assisted by my awesome husband who is quickly learning the difference between tongs and jar lifters, and who has always been a dab ahnd at cutting, measuring, and heavy, hot lifting of pots and plates.

Net: 5.5 jars (+ a bowl in the fridge of leftover) Blood Orange Marmalade (two days), 5 jars Pear/ Apricot Jam, and half a casserole dish of leftover MacCheese.


Pictures as soon as I get a chance to download.

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:06 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Like Cheese on Chinese Food

Republican rhetoric coming from The One, that is:

I'm not a big fan of Jon Stewart, and I often think he's just plain unfunny.  But when he nails it, he nails it.  This made me laugh.  A lot.

Thanks to my afternoon Therapy Pool pals (Hi Stan!) for telling me to find the clip!

Posted by caltechgirl at 11:30 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Kiss Me, I'm Irish

Scots-Irish.  But I digress.  Seems O'bama is too.  In fact, according to the Corrigans, there's no one as Irish as Barack O'bama. I thought this was hilarious.

h/t the always awesome Helen who is getting pretty tired of hearing this in the UK

Posted by caltechgirl at 11:47 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

January 27, 2009

The News from LA LA LAnd...

Most of the time, the news just disgusts me and makes me sad....

But every once in a while it also gives me hope....

Posted by caltechgirl at 05:31 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

January 29, 2009

Pictures and stuff

Lots of new pics on the Flickr page.  Including Flea performing with the Caltech Jazz bands (and our own Kjerstin, too!) and lots of glorious jam/marmalade food pRon.

Like this:

Winter Pear Apricot Jam

Posted by caltechgirl at 08:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 30, 2009

Keep your laws off my octuplets!

Unless you've been living under a rock, you've likely already seen the story of the Southern California who woman who gave birth to the world's first known surviving set of octuplets.

What you may not know, is that (no surprise) despite the family's plea for privacy, the vultures have been hard at work and have discovered that she already has (gasp!) six children, these babies were conceived (gasp!) via IVF, and that she's (wait for it........) a single mother living with her bankrupt parents.

"Where are the ethics??" scream the journos and the academics.  "How could you justify fertility treatment for a woman who already has a pack of kids?  Don't you have a MORAL OBLIGATION to keep a poor (reputedly on Medicaid), single woman from populating the planet with her bastards that the rest of us are going to have to support?"

There oughta be a law!  A law I tell ya! (read the comments here)

Well, there is a law.  Just not here.  I'm sure you've heard of China.

The selfsame "voices of the people" who decry this woman's choice to have a large family are the same folks who cry out bitterly about China's One Child policy.

Either fertility is regulated or it is not.  How many children is too many?  Is it a sliding scale based on your ability to pay for them?  If so, I'd wager most of us would have disappeared up the abortionist's vacuum tube.

Somehow they also fail to mention that if it's my choice to have a child or not, that includes BOTH outcomes: having the baby or not having the baby. The faceless critics lamenting this woman's "irresponsible choice" (a phrase uttered by a so-called Bio-Ethics expert during a news report this morning) are also the same crew lobbying so hard to keep abortion legal.

I'm sorry, but I thought "Keep your laws off my body" was an absolute.  Or does that just apply to the popular choices?

I haven't even touched the infertility aspect of this case.  Many of my dear friends struggle with infertility, some have pursued multiple courses of treatment.  Some, ultimately, decided that the pursuit was futile despite the deepest longings of their heart for a biological child.  Having seen the struggle that so many endure, it seems to me that any successful procedure resulting in a healthy baby is a win.  Perhaps those of you who have been down this road would like to chime in.

Certainly, it is a pertinent question, how will this mom support 14 children?  But how does a 14 year old support one baby?  How do two parents with two careers handle two or three small ones?  Raising kids is not easy for anyone at anytime.  14 children, including (reportedly) 2 with special needs and 8 infants presents a huge challenge, but that doesn't mean necessarily that the children will be neglected or hungry.  In fact, it's entirely possible that these 14 kids will be MUCH better off than some kids with only one or two siblings.

You can't have it both ways, either people get to choose the family they want, or they don't.  And if they don't, who makes the rules?  Based on what?

It works so well elsewhere, after all....

Posted by caltechgirl at 11:47 AM | Comments (10) | TrackBack