26 February 2009

it's not that it's too early for this, it's just that it is.

This is one of those mornings when I wish one could receive coffee intravenously. It would make it so much easier if you could see stuff like this in the paper:
without feeling like you're still asleep and just having a weird dream.

I wasn't going to link to this story because pet stories (what did you think it was about?!) usually reinforce "cat lady to the max" stereotypes... but there is too much crazy going on to resist. Monkeys that drop from the rafters and punch through peoples' scrotums? YES.*

*Sad for the animals... fortunately the story is very "You should not do this" in tone.

25 February 2009

tribute to my undergrad week, part 2.

counting my blessings.

i need it for my trip.

When I was fourteen, my cousin and I went to Europe. In anticipation of her travels, she and her mom did a lot of shopping with the justification "I need it for my trip." Well, I LOVE justifications so I have been distracting myself with cute but uncostly accoutrements for my upcoming European soujourn.

Etsy has been a great resource for really neat stuff. I gave a bag from bayanhippo as a Christmas gift. It got rave reviews for quality craftsmanship. She uses durable materials to make high capacity bags at a very reasonable cost, and is a pleasure to work with if you want a certain color. This woman is prolific-- she has new bags up everyday.

I look at the bag and think about the adventures we are going to have together. Isn't the orange fun? For some reason I've really learned to love bold colors during my time in Utah.

I also got a cute little passport cover. Toile print meets Little Cabin in the Big Woods? Sign me up.

I'm still on the prowl for a watch, which is the only thing I can think of that I actually need for my trip (being sans cell phone and all)... but am totally sucked in by cute things that can be purchased for trips. Look at me, doing my part for the recession. Praise deity that George W. Bush equated captalism with patriotism... that's almost as good as "I need it for my trip."

24 February 2009

that's what she said, etc.

Joe Biden entertains me. Here's a tumblr that focuses on his awesomeness. Joe Biden is just too much fun.

Also, Barack Obama said, "That's what she said," in his speech. Granted it was followed by "We are not quitters," but much like the whole audio book swearing thing, I'm hoping tan audio clip makes it on the web soon. In the mean time, the best of "that's what she said."
I love that I happened upon the speech right at the point he said it. Providence, people, I tell ya.

For once the Modern Love column is actually worth reading. I liked this story. It reminded me of this good book my mom sent me-- The Blood of Flowers.

Also in The Paper, for my healthcare people, a fascinating story about an NIH program that tries to diagnose people with mystery diseases.

Aren't you glad you have me to sort through the NYT for you? :P

the perfect man.

OMG, this is my 400th post. I'm guessing you're feeling 400 times the fun.

Because My Mom is Cooler Than Your Mom, she sent me Iron Man, one of the greatest movies of our time, in the mail today. In the case that My Mom is Your Mom, well you got to visit last fall and I didn't. Love ya Big Bro.

Anyways, Iron Man is, in my humble opinion (but as this is my self-indulgent blog, the only opinion that truly matters) the best of the superhero movies to date. Granted I haven't seen either of the Hulk movies and really, the new Superman was not even worth of remembering, but surely everyone recognizes Batman and Spiderman, by virtue of their prodigious sequels, as franchises embodying the best of the superhero genre. However, when it comes to the complete vision of masculinity, the twenty-first century man, Iron Man is it. Succinctly, one could say that Batman is kind of a douche, Peter Parker struggles with basic morality and both are fueled by revenge. This is not the kind of man that the modern woman wants.

Yah, wants. It's like you think that doesn't matter, but really, doesn't the superhero answer to his woman? Isn't Peter Parker all about Mary Jane? Wasn't Rachel getting blown up the saddest part of The Dark Knight? The superhero lives for his woman, he is the sum of his parts, blah blah blah, bob loblaw. Call it heteronormative, but how women see the superhero is extremely important. This my friends, is where I can offer you some perspective.

What I'm suggesting is that the Iron Man represents the ideal. In no particular order, here's why:

1. He's rich. Yah, in real life nobody cares, but Pepper gets paid enough to wear Louboutins. I'm all for bohemian poverty but you can't say that those sweet views of the ocean aren't nice.

2. Speaking of which, design savvy. Iron Man has the most beautiful living room ever-- my favorite that I've seen on film since Jackie Treehorn's in The Big Lebowski.

3. He's hot. Again, one of those things that you like to pretend doesn't matter, but let's all enjoy a moment in silence, just thinking about what a fox Robert Downey Jr. is now that he's given up tranny prostitutes in favor of fitness. I mean really. RDJ will be hotter as Sherlock Holmes than anyone ever imagined. Even if he does have crazy eyes.

4. He's cocky. The character of Tony is setup at the beginning of the movie as a total player. Say what you will, but that kind of confidence matters. None of that reluctant Peter Parker business.

5. Makes sacrifices for business for the common good. Everyone likes a team player. And he reforms. Women love a changed man who has learned a lesson or two.

6. He's smart. Honestly, the best bit of the whole movie? "I know the math," he says to Jarvis as he defies his own limitations to propel himself into the air during that final battle at the end. This requires no further explanation because it is the hottest line ever spoken in all of the movies. "I know the math." Sweet jesus.

7. Respects Pepper because she is smart, trustworthy and reliable. This is one of those things that's like, "Really? This is an ideal?" because it should be status quo. Until somebody tells you-- you the woman-- that you are too smart.

8. He's handy. He builds an energy source in a cave! Come on, who doesn't want to be with McGyver when the pipes burst.

9. He brings it-- a lover AND a fighter.

10. He owns it. Given the opportunity to use a statement to gloss over his achievements, Tony owns it. With total honesty, he proclaims, "I am Iron Man." None of this lame pretending not to be the hero, Iron Man IS Iron Man. Notice how Pepper is in a much better place than MJ or Rachel? Notice how the relationship between Pepper and Tony is much better? It's because Iron Man owns it.

So there you have it. Iron Man is amazing.

p.s. In other news, I just realized that the director of Iron Man-- whom I recognized while he plays the bodyguard / driver-- was in Swingers AND Elf (which he also directed). Perhaps Jon Favreau is the perfect filmmaker?

23 February 2009

tribute to my undergrad week, part 1.

One of the nice things about getting a new superpowered computer has been that I can now have all of my stuff on it. Before I had deleted a lot of music and moved a lot of pictures over to an external hard drive, so having everything together again has exposed me to a lot of stuff that I'd forgotten about-- like Disc II of the Marie Antoinette soundtrack and a lot of pictures I took when I first got my digital camera during my junior year of college.

I was aware at the time that I went to school on a beautiful campus, and I think the pictures I took reflect that awareness, but now that I look at those pictures I am blown away. I love the U and feel a much stronger emotional tie to it, but for pure pretty points, my undergrad wins hands down. To celebrate my reunion with all these old pictures, and a general run of nostalgia / terror that I'm feeling about leaving Salt Lake (at the very least, for the summer), I thought I'd go back to the past and share my undergrad pictures with you every day this week.

Context: (I'm a historian, deal with it!) I took most of these pictures while living on campus, where I shared a room in a party dorm with the nicest Lutheran girl ever who is now a wine reporter in eastern Washington. During my undergrad I played in the band for a year (tuba power), was LDSSA president for two years, wound up in a Relief Society presidency, and loved German history until it proved the gateway for religious history which got me into Mormon history which got me into American history (just in case you ever wondered how that happened). The junior year sustained one of those breakups that you think is tragic but come to understand as a gift from god, and was an important time of discovery as I began to dip my toe into the waters of adulthood. Being a transfer student and an uptight Mormon, I was reluctant to grow up. This was the period when I went to Europe three times in 1 year and includes the time when facebook came to our campus (back in the students only days... sigh). Overshare!

Anyways, to start you off:
One of the first pictures I took when my camera came. Dedidcated to Big Brother, who called me a slob yesterday. ;) Oh, right, the beautiful campus:

what's wrong with america when getting stapled in the back doesn't earn you best actor.

Let's have a talk about how I haven't even seen "Milk" and I didn't even watch "The Oscars" but I am all kinds of pissed that "The Wrestler" got completely snubbed.

I would like to see Sean Penn do that.

20 February 2009

chicken and dumplings.

The last time I made chicken and dumplings, it was too much of a chaotic disaster to really share the recipe. Well, I was in the mood to eat my feelings so alas I gave 'em another shot. The results were much more in tune with how easy I thought these should be. I bet this would be a great crock pot recipe, great for using up leftover chicken etc. etc.

Adapted from here and here.

2 cups chopped cooked chicken
2 cups frozen veg of your choice (I think peas & carrots were the best)
1 onion, sliced up, sauteed with 1 tsp of garlic and some salt. The flavor is great if you let it get really dark. (after mine was done cooking, I stirred in a couple of tablespoons of butter just for fun)

Set all this stuff to the side.


1 cup all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon margarine (melted is easier)
1/2 cup milk
As much parsley as you want

Stir together flour, parsley, baking powder, sugar, and salt in medium size bowl. Cut in butter until crumbly. Stir in milk to make a soft dough.

Set aside.


1 1/2 cups whole milk (if you have cream or half and half on hand, dump it in! creamy is better!)
1 can chicken stock (I got the low sodium stuff and it was plenty savory)
1 can cream of chicken (or whatever) soup (I bet celery would be awesome)
Salt & Pepper to taste

Stir it all together. Bring it to a boil. Dump in the chicken and vegetables. Drop the dumplings in by the spoonful. Cover and simmer 15 minutes without lifting lid. Serve.

Those wanting your chicken a little less cooked could wait to stir it in till the end. Flour could be added to make the soup/gravy thicker, but I think with the residual bits from the dumplings, it's just fine.
It really depends on what you want.

they made soup out of my research turtles.

This song has been stuck in my head all week:

Wed Anderson analogies have been a dominant theme for the week, beginning with the Pagoda with his shiv analogy for kidney pain and culminating in the realization at some point that I am somehow living the helicopter crash scene in Zissou. I could give a damn about unrequited love, but that song really captures how emotionally closed off I feel. I suppose we all want to say the things we can't bring ourselves to say, because really, who wants to unleash that torrent?

Weeks like this are tricky. The high points are very high-- a first martini, the taste of a TNT roll, getting through the minor edits of my thesis, seeing the fruits of my labors on a big project-- and the low points! The low points have been so low! I actually said today, "Getting rejected by [prestigious university] was not nearly as bad as finding a roach in the bathroom yesterday morning." Low!!!

Anyways, in looking for that dark dreary sad saddie mcsaddie sad song, I found this video. It made me laugh, because I think sometime after a poorly recieved draft and an unpleasant diagnosis, one of my friends was like, "This isn't your year, is it?" Well, reframing that-- maybe it is, I just haven't gotten to that part of it yet. This video is extra cute.

18 February 2009

milking mormon masculinity for all its worth.

I saw this on facebook today. Maybe it's because my blood pressure is a little high right now because people are DUMB but I saw it and was just like, "great, as if they need to be even bigger douchebags when they get home."

It's like you think you've gotten over things and then you realize that you haven't. I mean really, I have gotten over things... but REALLY? Yesterday my friend was just talking about how weddings are such big business in Utah, and this was like icing on the cake-- exploiting things that should be valuable and emotional and special for business! ARGH! I am going to go live in a cabin in the woods ALONE. Good thing nobody clicks on facebook ads anyways.

p.s. isn't screen grab useful?

16 February 2009

happy presidents day to you too.

First things first-- I had no idea that a web version of Weekly World News existed. I tell ya, I have my regrets about throwing out my issue chronicling Saddam and Osama Bin Laden's gay love affair, but this really wipes them all away. I mean, come on, "Sarah Palien"? It's nice to know that even "the paper" is part of the liberal media elite.

Second-- like myself, Heather at Dooce checked out the Draper Temple this weekend. You should too, it was quite lovely. Open house goes on for a couple more weeks, but I have to say-- the Frank Lloyd Wright-ish baptistry, the rugs in the bride's room and the chandelier and the pillows in the Celestial Room were divine-- great design all around really. Don't get all excited, I have no inclination of going back once it's dedicated... but hey, I appreciate nice things.

Third-- I thought this story about a reunion between a firefighter and the girl he rescued was a touching look at the ties that bind people together.

14 February 2009

sometimes posts just write themselves.

Today's theme has been loneliness, despite the fact that I don't feel that way . Talk about your run of the mill Saturday. But I kept knocking into things that fit together, so here we go:

The above graphic made me smile, The Wrestler is one of the saddest yet most hopeful movies ever, and Gawker rounded things out with its "What's Your Favorite Sad Bastard Song" post. I mean really, sometimes life is just so thematically unified that you can't ignore it even if you don't really feel it.

13 February 2009

we are eating pepper and chips.

This one is sweeping the facebook these days and I could not resist. I love clever children.

11 February 2009

pray to god you don't drop that shit.

Random Bike Movie: The Ice Storm. Beautifully crafted film of my favorite genre, the disenchanted suburbs. In the seventies, no less! The bike scenes are really, really lovely and should make anyone want to go out and get an upright.

Fascinating bit about academic freedom, or, how the tenure system doesn't exactly control for crazies and how that's not so good for business. Hahaha, tell me something I don't know!

I was in the mood for this tonight. I will never tire of Black Bush.
(warning: mildly offensive to some)

Chapelle. So classic.

10 February 2009

100% funk.

Yah, yah, yah, the Mac is here, with its freakishly large screen and ridonkulously fast processing. See? I can do this now:

It's been a little overwhelming because I am pretty demanding of my machine and have little patience for learning the ins and outs of a new operating systems. One of the hitches has been the file transfer since I happen to have a Windows formatted external hard drive (that was a fun 40 minutes on the phone, Apple support!). I'm taking care of it tomorrow since moving my computer over GIG by GIG on a flash drive turned me into a homicidal little monkey. Anyways, the unexpected outcome of all this was that I wound up with only the early part of the alphabet on my iTunes, putting the album "100% Funk" right at the top of my playlist.

I don't know how I overlooked The Gap Band, but I'm pretty sure this is one of the most badass songs I've ever heard. It might just be that I'm fried from churning out twenty pages and a hefty edit as of late, that my mind goes crazy when I come in contact with anything not related to parents rights, the gay agenda, or, god forbid, having to wait until you are SIXTEEN to get married (really Gayle? REALLY?!)-- but really, methinks that this song is just awesometown no matter what one's immersed in. The Mac is bumpin' and really, who doesn't want to start looking for a new lover AS SOON AS THEY GET UP?!

09 February 2009

the moral of the story.

So today the thing most on my mind is how our lives get tied up with those of others. It's hard to articulate how you might not even remember meeting someone and how, over time and experience, fun and games and joy and pain and all of it, it's like you walk in step, you breathe at the same time, you think the same way or at least know what to expect from how they think, and suddenly or not so suddenly, what they do is inextricably a part of you and who you are and who you will be. I don't exactly get how we become so interwoven with people, how they become so braided into our lives that we don't know where they stop and we begin. It happens with people that we remember meeting, and people who aren't as tightly apart of our fabric, and people we tried to get rid of at certain points, but for whatever reason they stick and you find yourself with ties all over the place, with people who meet the needs of a particular moment, who tell you the right thing and the right time, who having been gone along time suddenly reappear. It is amazing to me to think of the people in my life who I couldn't imagine living without yet never imagined knowing. People we don't like and people we can't stop liking become indispensable.

We are the sum of our parts. Completely randomly I found myself in the Bible today-- via my cousin-- how the tables have turned-- and I loved this--
"Only let us live up to that which we have already attained."*

It's not about what we have, or who we have or who we don't have-- it's about what we've got and treasuring it, being the best at what we are and being treasured.

Thank you for reading my blog and being who you are.

*Philippians 4:16

07 February 2009

06 February 2009

out of control brownies.

I'm making my third batch of brownies in as many weeks, which is probably a sign that I should share the recipe. I thought about keeping it a secret because it is really that out-of-control kind of good that you want to be able to manipulate people with. But since that's really not my style, here it is.

I adapted the recipe from here. My way, as always, is better.

Out of Control Brownies

  • 1 & 1/2 cups cocoa
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 5 eggs
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1-1/2 cups flour (maybe 2 tablespoons more if you don't want 'em super gooey)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 bag of chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350ish degrees F (I live at altitude in the Olympic Village with a shitty oven that cooks hot-- you might have to adjust). Line a 9 x 13 pan with wax paper for easy cleanup.

Melt butter in the microwave for a minute; set aside. Add the oil to it. In a mixer, beat eggs, sugar and vanilla at high speed for 10 minutes. Blend in butter/oil, cocoa, flour and salt until just mixed. Stir in the whole bag of chocolate chips. Pour into prepared pan and prepare for your life to be changed forever.

Bake for 30-35 minutes. (Don't overbake!!!)

These brownies will earn you the love of your friends and the adoration of your peers.

it's not easy being a grad student.

Welcome to February, or as I like to call it, a month of finals week. Times are hard and rather than turn to diety (he said he's been swamped by calls this week and he could not shake his cold) or liquor (who wants to associate booze with misery?) for comfort, I have found solice in online shopping. It's amazing what you realize you need when confronted with a paper that won't write itself, a computer that works most but not all of the time, and an entire armada of rapidly multiplying file folders that have somehow managed to take over the entire room.

But really, online shopping is great for times like this. When your whole life is spent in front of a Word document that will not quit and your phone never rings, it's nice to have something to look forward to. Getting an Ugly Doll in the mail made my day.

He smiles at me as I track the rest of my packages.

05 February 2009

buy your own damn fries.

Quite possibly one of the best things I've ever linked to. Selections of "Dreams of My Father" read aloud by author Barack Obama. As a potty mouthed person, such choice words from the now President of the United States are music to my ears.

I've listened to this one like ten times already.

so you can put it in your pocket if you need to.

This is still funny to me. Sadly, what happens around 4:03 is what I've been doing to my thesis for the past three days... five days... I don't know...