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January 01, 2008

Everything old is New again

In honor of New Year's, two stories of old investigations being re-opened:

First, the FBI has decided that they really DO want to know whatever became of DB Cooper, even though they think he's dead:

The FBI is making a new stab at identifying mysterious skyjacker Dan Cooper, who bailed out of an airliner in 1971 and vanished, releasing new details that it hopes will jog someone's memory. The man calling himself Dan Cooper, also known as D.B. Cooper, boarded a Northwest flight in Portland for a flight to Seattle on the night of Nov, 24, 1971, and commandeered the plane, claiming he had dynamite.

In Seattle, he demanded and got $200,000 and four parachutes and demanded to be flown to Mexico. Somewhere over southwestern Washington, he jumped out the plane's tail exit with two of the chutes.

On Monday, the FBI released drawings that it said probably are close to what Cooper looked like, along with a map of areas where Cooper might have landed.

"Who was Cooper? Did he survive the jump? We're providing new information and pictures and asking for your help in solving the case," the FBI said in a statement.

The FBI said that while Cooper was originally thought to have been an experienced jumper, it has since concluded that was wrong and that he almost certainly didn't survive the jump in the dark and rain. He hadn't specified a route for the plane to fly and had no way of knowing where he was when he went out the exit.

"Diving into the wilderness without a plan, without the right equipment, in such terrible conditions, he probably never even got his chute open," Seattle-based agent Larry Carr said.

He also didn't notice that his reserve chute was intended only for training and had been sewn shut.

Several people have claimed to be Cooper over the years but were dismissed on the basis of physical descriptions, parachuting experience and, later, by DNA evidence recovered in 2001 from the cheap tie the skyjacker left on the plane.
I prefer to think he died the way the skyjacker modeled after him did in the classic episode of Qunicy, M.E.: slowly, painfully, and alone. In a tree.

Second, a group of Criminal Justice students in Atlanta is taking up the case of the mysterious death of DC intern Chandra Levy:
Since 2005, students at Bauder College have sifted through old evidence and case files from unsolved crimes as part of the school's Cold Case Investigative Research Institute. This year, Levy's homicide and the disappearance three years ago of Alabama teenager Natalee Holloway in Aruba are on their agenda.

The 50 students will not be graded or get course credit for their work interviewing experts associated with the cases, preparing timelines and looking for clues in Levy's computer, but plan to turn their findings and recommendations over to Washington police and prosecutors at the end of the term.

Levy, 24, had just finished working as an intern for the U.S. Bureau of Prisons in May 2001 when she disappeared from her apartment. Her body was found in a D.C. park a year later and her death ruled a homicide, but no one has been charged. The case attacted widespread attention because of allegations that Levy was romantically involved with Congressman Gary Condit when she went missing.
Personally, whoever did it, I hope they catch him and he fries.

Posted by caltechgirl at 08:10 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 02, 2008

Of Parades and Politics

So you may have seen that there was much hoo-hah about a float honoring the 2008 Beijing Olympics in yesterday's Rose parade.

I was front and center for the spectacle, and my take on it may surprise some of you.

We left the house at 5:15 am, drove to a nearby church, parked the car and had a lovely pancake breakfast, then we walked to Colorado and Orange Grove, where our seats were located in the Grandstands, just to the side of the HGTV booth.  We were asked to be in place by 6:30 AM so that the Parade organizers could stage the "opening number".  We were in our seats at about 6:15.  I people-watched until the parade got going, and hubby took a catnap or two, wrapped in our warmest USC gear and sitting on a thick blanket instead of a cold metal bench....

What happened was that a protest was organized wherein people were supposed to stand and turn their backs on the float as it passed, a sign that you disagree with China and it's human rights abuses.  There was a pro-float group on our left, and an anti-float group on our right.

Here is the very beautiful and fun float in question:

First of all, where we were, VERY few people stood other than the few who were present specifically for that purpose.  Most of us were too busy taking pictures of an adorable float and the acrobats and dancers hired to accompany it down the parade route.  The few who did stand were real assholes about it, getting in front of people taking pictures and trying to be dickheads.

Which really detracts from a message of human rights and peace, in my book.

I hadn't really known how I was going to react.  I am no fan of China's human rights practices, but at the same time, I had no animus against the float itself or the actors and dancers paid to make it fun.  As the float passed us, and the spectacle unfolded, I came to a realization:  The Rose Parade is not a venue for politics.  The parade is about fun and spectacle and celebration.  It's a moment for the thousands of kids who raised millions of dollars  JUST TO BE THERE IN THE PARADE to enjoy their (cold) morning in the sun.  It's a celebration.  It's for the kids.  Kids and politics shouldn't mix.

There were two beautiful little girls sitting in front of us.  They were enchanted by the lion dancers and plate spinners and acrobats.  As the float in question passed, and the little girls couldn't see it, they were debating their favorite floats.  One preferred the circus float and the other preferred the Princesses and Rose Queen with their bouquets and big pearl crown.  They could give a crap about China.  They just wanted to see the floats and dance to the bands.  Which is what the Parade is all about.

So keep the politics out of the Parade.  Protest before the parade, stage a vigil at the float viewing sheds tomorrow and the next day, but keep it away from the magic of New Year's Morning.

Our kids have so little innocence anymore, and are severely short on magic.  The Rose Parade gives them at least a couple hours of kid fun.

And for the record, this protest was, IMO, a truly cheap political stunt.  Why, you ask?  Well, first of all the float wasn't funded by the Chinese government, it was funded by a coalition of American companies and individuals, most notably the Avery-Dennison Corporation, a worldwide manufacturer of paper and office products based here in Pasadena.  Furthermore, the float didn't promote the Chinese government, either.  It promoted the 2008 Summer Olympics, which will be held in Beijing.  And don't the Olympics themselves promote equality and human rights?  So if they were protesting the idiocy of the International Olympic Committee being bullshitted about human rights improvements by the Chinese government, I'd almost understand the sentiment, but protesting China just makes it a cheap, opportunistic stunt staged for the TV cameras.

More pictures of the Beijing 2008 float can be seen along with the rest of my 2008 Rose Parade pictures here on Flickr.

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:46 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 03, 2008

Big Fat DUUUUUUUHHHHHH: Globe responsible for Global Warming

Nature, folks, never underestimate it.

Here's a vocabulary word for you: Albedo

There's a natural cause that may account for much of the Arctic warming, which has melted sea ice, ice sheets and glaciers, according to a study published Thursday in the journal Nature. New research points a finger at a natural and cyclical increase in the amount of energy in the atmosphere that moves from south to north around the Arctic Circle.

But that energy transfer, which comes with storms that head north because of ocean currents, is not acting alone either, scientists say. Another upcoming study concludes that the combination of both that natural energy transfer increase and man-made global warming serve as a one-two punch that is pushing the Arctic over the edge.

Scientists are trying to figure out why the Arctic is warming and melting faster than computer models predict.

The summer of 2007, like the summer of 2005, smashed all records for loss of summer sea ice in the Arctic Ocean and ice sheet in Greenland. In September, the Arctic Ocean had 23 percent less sea ice than the previous record low. Greenland's ice sheet melted 19 billion tons more than its previous record.

The Nature study suggests there's more behind it than global warming because the air a couple miles above the ground is warming more than calculated by the climate models.

Climate change theory concentrates on warming of surface temperatures and explains an Arctic that is warming faster than the rest of the world as mostly because reduced sea ice and ice sheets means less reflecting solar rays.
I'm no meteorologist, in fact I teach BIOLOGY, but I know this much: the Earth has been around 5 Billion + years. We've been taking samples for 200 years. You do the math. Need more proof? How about this? The Earth turned itself into a complete ice ball and then melted, all before life even emerged on land. So how can anyone say that Global Warming is entirely anthropogenic?

Of course the Apostles of the Church of Global Warming are trying to rip this research apart, but it was published in Nature, probably the MOST respected journal of peer-reviewed publications in the entire scientific community, so there's clearly something to it.  I'll be watching this very closely.

Posted by caltechgirl at 02:07 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

January 05, 2008

Just who are you giving those donations to?

Fifteen Ineffective Charity Fundraising Ideas

by Jason Toon & Matthew Shultz Friday, January 4 10:00 AM

  • Dogfight for a Cure
  • Jersey City Bachelor Auction To Raise Chlamydia Awareness
  • Tats for Tots
  • The March of Counterfeit Subway Tokens
  • We Don't Have A Problem And We Sure As Hell Don't Need Your Damn Money Gala Ball & Silent Auction
  • PeTA and Hamas Pita-and-Hummus Dinner
  • Tree of Syringes
  • Everybody Get K-Fed: A Tribute Album To Fight World Hunger
  • PTSD Father-Son Fun Shoot
  • The Genital Warts Memorial Quilt
  • Rock Against Xenu
  • Enemas for a Cause
  • Pledge Drive For Ron McDonald's House, No, Not The Ronald McDonald House, Just This Guy Named Ron McDonald, Whose House Needs Some Work
  • First Annual $500,000 By 4:00 PM Or We Start Killing Hostages Telethon
  • Take-a-Penny, Leave-a-Penny
h/t Greta (who is recovering from surgery, so drop by and give her some love!)

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:53 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

January 06, 2008

This is what has been keeping me away from the computer

Don't let her sleeping, jailed appearance fool you.  This is a high-speed, mightily independent monster with a bladder the size of a thimble and big, nasty teeth! (well, ok, little nasty teeth...)

It's a miracle she even sleeps.  She didn't shut up until 6 AM Saturday, and last night was pretty bad, although she quit crying a LOT earlier.  I'm hopeful that sleeping in the crate/ pen/ whatever means she's ok with it now......

Posted by caltechgirl at 06:17 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

January 08, 2008

well, it started out as a good day...

I went to work, the traffic wasn't bad, I came home, took the dogs to the vet, and everything was fine.  That was clearly BEFORE noon.

Then I whacked my forehead on a tree chasing the puppy, scared her (no big deal, I just put a little pressure on her shot site when I picked her up and it hurt) and then spent the afternoon trying to get her to calm down.

i quit.

Posted by caltechgirl at 09:16 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

January 10, 2008

Meme to an end?

Ok, it was the only cool title I could think of. 

This one seems to be going around, and I thought it was interesting enough to do.  Evidently the idea is to explore "privilege" (whatever that is) and see what bloggers have in common....  For more background, see it comes in pints?, McGehee, or Dustbury.

Obligatory Legal Mumbojumbo:

Premise: bold each of the statements that applies.

Original source: The list is based on an exercise developed by Will Barratt, Meagan Cahill, Angie Carlen, Minnette Huck, Drew Lurker, Stacy Ploskonka at Illinois State University. The exercise developers ask that if you participate in this blog game, you acknowledge their copyright.

Okey Dokey. Onward to the list:

Father went to college

Father finished college

Mother went to college

Mother finished college

Have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor (I assume cousins of my own or subsequent generations don't count as they were not already practicing, and thus could not serve as role models)

Were the same or higher class than your high school teachers (my teachers had way more $$ than we did)

Had more than 50 books in your childhood home Hello, Mom's a Children's Librarian....

Had more than 500 books in your childhood home See Above.

Were read children's books by a parent This is getting redonkulous

Had lessons of any kind before you turned 18 Violin lessons

Had more than two kinds of lessons before you turned 18 and Dance lessons, too, I realize.

The people in the media who dress and talk like me are portrayed positively (Have you seen a scientist on TV lately? Yeah.)

Had a credit card with your name on it before you turned 18 (Credit Card? I was 21 before I had a credit card!)

Your parents (or a trust) paid for the majority of your college costs (Does the Caltech Scholarship Fund count? I didn't think so.)

Your parents (or a trust) paid for all of your college costs (HA!)

Went to a private high school (the private high schools in Fresno SUCK. I got a MUCH better education at the math/science magnet)

Went to summer camp (Church Camp)

Had a private tutor before you turned 18 (I WAS the F-ing tutor)

Family vacations involved staying at hotels (Hell no, we stayed with relatives or at friends' houses, except one large trip)

Your clothing was all bought new before you turned 18 (Mom sews. You should see some of my pretty dresses)

Your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them (My Neon. Loved it. Dad's car was too unreliable to pass on, and Mom's was new then, too)

There was original art in your house when you were a child (I'm guessing my kindergarten scrawls don't count?)

Had a phone in your room before you turned 18 Hello, former teenage girl here.

You and your family lived in a single family house

Your parent(s) owned their own house or apartment before you left home Still do, in fact. But for my generation, this really isn't as much of a sign of privilege as it might be now given housing prices then vs now.

You had your own room as a child Only child, duh.

Participated in an SAT/ACT prep course (No, but I TOOK the SAT when I was 12)

Had your own TV in your room in High School After my grandmother moved in with us, I got her TV AND cable!

Owned a mutual fund or IRA in High School or College (you're shittin' me, right? I barely knew what a mutual fund WAS)

Flew anywhere on a commercial airline before you turned 16 (Nope, I was 17 the first time. I flew to NY and back by myself)

Went on a cruise with your family (I'm guessing the Catalina Ferry doesn't count. I've never been on a cruise)

Went on more than one cruise with your family (see above. What's a cruise?)

Your parents took you to museums and art galleries as you grew up Museums, but not galleries.

You were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family (Nope, I always knew. Mom used it as an illustration of why we conserve energy.)

Wow, I guess I was a poor little rascal. At least, according to this metric. Funny how we thought we were doing well....

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:19 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

January 12, 2008

Puppy Update

The little Princess is doing much better.  She's learned to walk to the back door when she wants out, she goes into the bathroom without complaint most of the time in the morning (the bathroom is her "safe room" while Mom and Dad are at work), and she whines for less than a minute when she goes in her crate at night.

So she's out of jail.  But the camera needs to be recharged before I can take anymore super cute pictures, so you'll have to wait a few days on those.

Posted by caltechgirl at 02:11 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

January 14, 2008

Drowning in work, but I needed to pop in and ramble and be political and stuff

- First of all, I want to start out by saying tonight's Golden Globes were the BEST AWARDS SHOW EVAH.  I'm certain that I am not the first to say so, but it was delightfully refreshing to not have to listen to blather about designer dresses and celebrity dates and political bullshit speeches from idiots who, for the most part, are merely talking out their asses.  Not to mention 3 hours of bad comedy and rotten stage numbers.  Thirty minutes.  No bullshit.  I loved it.

Thanks Writer's Guild.  I wish we could have you picket ALL the awards shows.

On the other hand, I think you writers are a bunch of selfish bastards.  See, LA really is a company town.  And all the NON-writers are really suffering.  One of the news stations reported that if the parties accompanying the awards shows are cancelled, just the parties, that's $80 MILLION out of the area economy.  $80,000,000.00.  That's a hell of a lot of crews and waiters and caterers and delivery guys and lots of others who are barely hanging on in the best of times, and who are facing a serious crisis because a bunch of writers want 2 more cents per DVD.  The actors say they're in solidarity with you, but they can afford to.  Strangely enough, it's the richest among them who are calling for your selfishness to end.  George Clooney and others have begged the parties to come back to the bargaining table, someplace they haven't met in WELL over a month.

In the meantime, crew members, caterers, security guards, and all the other "little people" are struggling.  Not to mention the store owners, construction firms, barbers, restaurants, and other businesses that aren't getting business because Hollywood is essentially shut down.

Get your shit together and grow up.  That is all.  But do skip the awards shows.

-Top Gun is an ass-kicking movie.  I think more people should watch the first half-hour and the last half-hour, and think about the implications of what's going on for TODAY.  We came to the conclusion that if more people actually THINK about what's going on in the world, you'd hear a HELL of a lot less whining about the war.

-Psych is the best show on TV.  If you don't watch it you should.  Especially as NBC will be running episodes starting in February. 

-We watched a lot of TV tonight.  I needed the mental break.  On a whim we flipped it to "Scott Baio is 46 and Pregnant" on VH1.  It was actually funny.  And it had a damn good soundtrack (incl. Depeche Mode and The Cure).  We also watched Home Makeover.  Damn if that show doesn't make me cry every time I see it.

-The Puppies are beginning to get along.  I even have photographic evidence.  They were in the same chair.  I was so shocked I jumped up to get the camera before they could figure out I was going to take pictures.  I'll post them tomorrow when the camera and I are in the same room.

-Who turned on Fred's Espresso machine?  Seriously.  WooHoooooo!

-My mind must be on another planet.  I usually have a mind like a steel trap, but I have forgotten a ton of things this weekend.  Stress, and a working subconscious.  First, Attila Girl asked me to guestblog for her for a few days.  And I forgot.  I was supposed to begin calling for jury duty this weekend, and guess when I remembered to do that?  11:05 PM, when the news dude started talking about Brit-Brit going to court tomorrow.... yeah.  Go me.  And I forgot a bunch of work stuff I need to get done before tomorrow.

And what am I doing?  Blogging and procrastinating.  Because I can.

Posted by caltechgirl at 01:35 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Kudos to Fred!

Fred was the VERY FIRST candidate to submit a position statement on Cuba to "Candidates on Cuba" a forum on Cuba sponsored by Babalu Blog.

But you expected as much from the man who made this video.....

Posted by caltechgirl at 01:48 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 15, 2008

Fred: Kill, Protect, Punch II

Yeah, Hawkins did it again..... I give you Kill, Protect, Punch II:

Original Version in the extended...

Run, Fred, Run!

Read More "Fred: Kill, Protect, Punch II" »
Posted by caltechgirl at 12:44 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Puppy Cuteness

On Flickr:

And lots more, including photographic evidence that big sister is learning to tolerate Puppy.

Posted by caltechgirl at 01:22 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

A religion quiz for the heck of it

Seen at the LlamaButchers'.

Your Results:

The top score on the list below represents the faith that Belief-O-Matic, in its less than infinite wisdom, thinks most closely matches your beliefs. However, even a score of 100% does not mean that your views are all shared by this faith, or vice versa.Belief-O-Matic then lists another 26 faiths in order of how much they have in common with your professed beliefs. The higher a faith appears on this list, the more closely it aligns with your thinking.

Interesting, as my religious upbringing is #3 and #5, being both Orthodox and Methodist.

1. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (100%)
2. Orthodox Quaker (93%)
3. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (88%)
4. Seventh Day Adventist (79%)
5. Eastern Orthodox (75%)
6. Roman Catholic (75%)
7. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (64%)
8. Liberal Quakers (56%)
9. Unitarian Universalism (54%)
10. Orthodox Judaism (53%)
11. Reform Judaism (51%)
12. Sikhism (50%)
13. Islam (48%)
14. Jehovah's Witness (47%)
15. Bahá'í Faith (47%)
16. Hinduism (46%)
17. Mahayana Buddhism (42%)
18. Neo-Pagan (42%)
19. Theravada Buddhism (42%)
20. New Age (40%)
21. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (33%)
22. Jainism (31%)
23. Nontheist (30%)
24. New Thought (28%)
25. Taoism (28%)
26. Scientology (26%)
27. Secular Humanism (25%)

Posted by caltechgirl at 02:56 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 16, 2008

Chat me up

In the left sidebar, below Fred and the Sudoku game is a new AIM widget.

Since AIM is now included in Gmail Chat, I'm available whenever I'm logged in to mail. And you don't have to be an AIM clone either, you can sign in as a guest. But either way, be sure to tell me who you are, as I don't see your screenname on my screen.

Chats are private, as well, no one else visiting the site can see the conversation.

So say "Hi" sometime if you see me online.

Posted by caltechgirl at 01:00 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Santa Ana Nights

Usually Pasadena is pretty calm on Santa Ana wind days. But tonight it's been blowing up a storm. I'm not sure what the top gusts have been, but 30-40 MPH is a good estimate. It's blown all kinds of things around our yard, and I am currently waiting to hear the big citrus trees in the sideyard come down on the roof.... So we moved into another room, on the lee side of the house. The dogs are actually pretty freaked out, which is a first for a non-thunderstorm.

We've been through a bunch of hurricanes, and at times it's sounded eerily like those did. I wouldn't be surprised to see hurricane or at least tropical storm force sustained winds through the passes with higher gusts.

Holy cow.

Posted by caltechgirl at 08:41 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

I question the timing

I get to go in for Jury Duty tomorrow.


Posted by caltechgirl at 11:39 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 17, 2008

This gives a WHOLE NEW MEANING to "Hell Freezes Over"


I needed LOLkitteh today. Badly.

h/t Mrs. Who

Posted by caltechgirl at 07:34 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

JD Hell Part Deux

So I am not on a jury, yet. I am, however, in a jury pool for a particular case which I may not discuss except to say it's a criminal matter. I must return to the Courthouse of Doom tomorrow for further waiting around with my thumb up my butt sitting in a courtroom with nothing to do but listen to idiots spew their biases in an effort to get out of service, as reading in the courtroom is prohibited and I suspect that if I piss this judge off it won't be that good for me....

And, joy of joys, it might go through to Tuesday before they actually get around to picking a jury. So much for work this week and next.....

The only bright spot is that I am 7 from the back of the queue....

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:48 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

January 18, 2008

Jury Duty Day 2: The Jury Duty Strikes Back

So first off, the reason we can't read is that the judge wants everyone to pay attention. The way she runs voir dire in her courtroom is that she questions the panel aloud en banc, and should any of us not yet in the privileged seats move up, she wants us to be aware of what we are going to be asked. It saves time in questioning the people who get seated later.

So I have been learning a lot about my fellow jurors. Seems there are a lot of people who have really negative opinions about cops and judges and attorneys. And a lot of people who have been harassed by cops or know someone who has.

This is one hundred percent outside my worldview.

It's an interesting exercise in psychology listening to people talk about their experiences and feelings, and then to see the judge and attorneys' reactions. And it certainly makes things less boring, especially for a people-watcher like me.

And, I get to go back in Tuesday morning. As expected, they have already chewed through 36 of the original 55 of us, and the last 7 of those are still actively in voir dire. I expect the jury will be picked and sworn Tuesday, whether or not I get chosen. At this point, I'd almost RATHER be chosen, as it will be 3 days out of my life already, and I'm interested to find out what happens.....

But, joy of joys, I GOT A METRO PASS!!!! No more $5/day to go back and forth. No more bums staring at me while I feed bills into the ticket machine.

Posted by caltechgirl at 06:16 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

January 22, 2008

Why, Oh Why did you NOT run a real campaign?

Goodbye, Fred.

You should have punched more hippies. God knows somebody needs to.

Posted by caltechgirl at 07:47 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

January 23, 2008

Awesome: Geeks with too much time on their hands

The Battle of Pelennor Fields... in Candy:

There's lot's more pictures at the original site.
And they did Helm's Deep, too.

h/t (surprisingly NOT the Llamas) Michael Williams

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:17 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

One line

There's a thin line between order and chaos...

h/t Denny

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:33 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Jury Duty 33 1/3: The end.

So after 3 days of sitting on my ass on hard wooden benches or stone benches in the hallway, I was excused.  I was #47.  They got to #45 before they finally empaneled a jury.

The case was this one, since I can now talk about it.  Clearly it took longer than anticipated, as the trial actually began this morning.

The most interesting aspect of this case, I learn now, is one that would not be presented to the jury.  That is the REASON it took 2.5 + years to come to trial: the whistleblower cop was fired for reporting the alleged brutality.

Below the jump is a cached version of an article about the case from last May including info on the corruption aspects of the case....

Read More "Jury Duty 33 1/3: The end." »
Posted by caltechgirl at 12:52 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Super Smart?

You be the judge...

Your Superpower Should Be Mind Reading

You are brilliant, insightful, and intuitive.
You understand people better than they would like to be understood.
Highly sensitive, you are good at putting together seemingly irrelevant details.
You figure out what's going on before anyone knows that anything is going on!

Why you would be a good superhero: You don't care what people think, and you'd do whatever needed to be done

Your biggest problem as a superhero: Feeling even more isolated than you do now
What Should Your Superpower Be?

seen just about everywhere by now.

Posted by caltechgirl at 02:08 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 28, 2008

Green Eggs and Ham Tomato Soup

So on Saturday we did a bit of yard work.  The Bougainvillea fell over on our gorgeous (and still producing!) yellow tomato plant, effectively killing it.  Once we removed the bougie back to upright status, we found dozens of small green tomatoes still growing on the dying vine.  So we harvested at least 4 quarts of beautiful green tomatoes.

Ironically enough, fried green tomatoes is one of the FEW fried, Southern dishes that I DON'T like.  So I went to Chef Google to find some different recipes for using up the garden's bounty.  One of the first that I turned up was this recipe for Green Tomato Soup.  I made this last night, and by all accounts it was a BIG winner.

Believe it or not.  Originally found here. The recipe below contains my modifications.


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 oz Cubed Pancetta (1/2 cup)
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced scallions (from 1 bunch)
1 tablespoon crushed garlic
1 pinch dried bay leaf pieces, scattered in the oil
2 lb green unripe tomatoes, chopped into bite-sized chunks
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Garnish: fat-free plain yogurt 


Heat oil in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, add bay leaf bits, then cook pancetta, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Add scallions and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until scallions are tender and lightly browned, 6 to 8 minutes.

Add tomatoes, broth, water, salt, and pepper and simmer on medium heat, partially covered, until tomatoes are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste if necessary.

To serve, put a dollop of yogurt in the bottom of the soup bowl and ladle soup over the top.  Yum.

Makes about 6 bowls of soup.

Multiple possible variations on this one, including a lower-fat meat (like turkey bacon, ham, or low-fat sausage), and sour cream or creme freche for the garnish.  Also, some people dislike the broth to stuff ratio, so add more broth if you feel the soup is too chunky.  Finally, if the soup seems too tart, add one tsp. sugar (or one packet sweet n low or splenda) to the pot to cut the acidity from the tomatoes.  DO NOT use Equal.

Posted by caltechgirl at 01:51 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

January 29, 2008

Swallowing my bile....

Fred was the man.

Let's face it.  Dropping all the hype and the hyperbole, Fred was the only candidate LIKELY to punch the hippies.  And turn the terrorists into nuclear waste.

Because the truth is, I am a one-issue voter:  National security.  As far as I am concerned, the rest of this bullshit can take care of itself.

Abortion? I could care less what you do with your body

Gay Marriage? See above.

The Economy?  Market forces will foster self-correction.  Together with greed, that's how the market stays afloat, not some shitty presidential policy.

So for me, it's all about Security.  Iraq, terror, the border, all of that.

With Fred out of the race there's no candidate that I trust to have the balls to pull the big trigger.  Period.

Forget the Democrats. They're tripping over their ownselves trying to beat each other out of the middle east, and forget regulating the borders, after all, they want Mexican votes. And they'll say whatever they need to say to get them.

And what about the Republicans?  Huckabee is a whiny-ass pussy, Giuliani is not really sure what he wants, Romney is a slick used car salesman (AND he was Governor of Massachusetts, so his conservative credentials seem rather fake to me), and that leaves John McCain.

Eight years ago, I was on the McCain train when he ran against GWB for the nomination.  Then, he seemed like Fred, the only one who was willing to kick ass and take names.

Which frankly, IS the best job description for the President of the United States, IMO.

Today, I am not so sure.  McCain-Feingold and the Gang of 14 antics, among other things, have made me re-think my McCain-iac status, but all in all, today, I think he's the best candidate with regard to what I consider to be the PARAMOUNT issue facing our nation. He's the only one that I think would NOT be a pussy.

So I'll be supporting McCain.  With a little "s". 

Fred, why oh why were you such a lazy asshole?  You could have won the whole thing.  Late start or no.

Posted by caltechgirl at 01:12 PM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

January 30, 2008

sucky blogger #1

That would be me.  I have a lot of things I'd like to post on.  The election, ABC's use of the new show Eli Stone to promote their (completely wrong) agenda about autism, football, idiots, work, and the puppy (who is doing just fine, thank you very much.  At least she was when I shut her into the bathroom this morning (the bathroom is her safe room, with her bed and food and toys and puppy pads on the floor and nothing she can tear up or piddle on).

Honestly, I'm not sure where my brain is right now.  I haven't really been on track since before the holidays, and I am trying to get back into the usual routine.  Just as I was getting back in to the swing of things, jury duty fried my brain.

It's amazing how sitting on your ass all day in a terribly uncomfortable seat, surrounded by strangers, and being forced to pay attention can totally zap your energy.  For days.

I have been trying to pick it up, though.  Going to bed earlier, doing things around the house, cooking and baking, yard work.  Pretty much anything to keep me from just falling into the sleepy trap I have been in the last couple of weeks.

Things are slowly improving, though, and at least the insomnia beast hasn't reared its ugly head in weeks.  Sleeping is about what I do best these days.  Damn, I just want to go to sleep RIGHT NOW.  As I type this.

I think the best thing for me to do now is just pack it up, go home, and try to get some work done there.  If I go now, it takes me about half as long to get there as it would if I leave an hour from now.  And I get puppy time.  Which is much more fun than sitting in my office all day.  And maybe I can get some laundry done, too.

Posted by caltechgirl at 02:14 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack