Monday, September 27, 2010

A good weekend in bullet points

  • Chompie's in Tempe is my new love. As soon as I saw the episode of Man vs. Food where Adam Richman takes on their slider challenge, I knew I had to try it. Their Jewish sliders (mini challah rolls with beef brisket, cheese, and a potato pancake) are to die for. And I got to have them on Saturday evening with Scotty and Joe. <3
  • We followed up Chompie's with Gameworks with Scotty's cousin Stephen and his friend David. I became totally addicted to the games that give you tickets. We also caught some of the ASU game from the Gameworks bar. They may have lost but from what we saw it was a great game!
  • Scotty, Alicia, Chris and I bought Scotty's parents tickets to see Kevin Nealon at the Tempe Improv, and by their accounts it was a wonderful night!
  • Sunday we watched the nerve-wracking Cardinals game. Talk about stress, but it ended on a high note!
  • Football was followed by Virginia's amazing cooking, and home cooked tortillas!
  • The migraine I had this morning was immediately knocked out with ibuprofen. Normally ibuprofen doesn't work against migraines for me, so that was awesome, too.
  • And finally, Loki is finally shedding after looking gray and dull for weeks. (Speaking of Loki, he gained 45 grams in one week!)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Cheese and chicken casserole

I got this recipe from Kraft's web site, but apparently the page for this particular dish is down. I made quite a few changes, though... so here's my version.

Cheese and Chicken Casserole (serves 4)
4 cups sliced or chopped cooked chicken
2 cups croutons
1.5 cups shredded cheese (I used a pepperjack blend)
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup milk
1 chopped onion
1 sliced bell pepper (I used a frozen mix for the onion and bell pepper)
1 bag frozen mixed vegetables (prepared according to the bag)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix all of the ingredients in a 2 quart casserole dish. Bake for 40 minutes or until fully heated through. Enjoy!

Monday, September 13, 2010


I have been thinking a lot about storage lately.

I have had things in storage for six years now. Since starting college. In 2004 I spent the school year in a dorm. Shortly after that my parents separated and just after that I moved in with Scotty's parents. Some of my things were at my dad's house, some things were in a storage unit my mom rented, and some things were where I was staying. From there, we moved to an apartment for two years. Stuff remained scattered. There was a lot of furniture in the shared storage unit, making it not practical to get to boxes. This time last year, Scotty was laid off from the charter school he had worked for, and we moved back to my in-laws' house. Some stuff remained in my mom's unit, some stuff was unpacked and most stuff went into a new storage shed we put up. Eventually the storage unit got emptied out and now everything is either in this room or in the backyard shed.

That's where we're at right now. Most of this stuff I haven't used or seen on a daily basis in six years. It's just been moved along as I moved along. I feel as though I can't really take stock of what's mine. There are books and clothes I have probably forgotten I owned. Maybe it will make it easier when we move out. Much of it can go to Goodwill by this point. But it's just one of those things that sits there nagging at me. Hey! Don't you wish you had someplace to put this stuff? Aren't you looking forward to having a house and taking a few days off work and sitting down to go through everything? Won't it feel great to walk through rooms and banish empty boxes to the garage or recycling? Won't it feel so good not to trek to a hot storage shed in the middle of summer and dig through dusty boxes full of crud? Won't it feel good to know what you own, and have enough room for everything for once in six years?

Yeah, it will, but it hasn't happened yet. It will be almost spring before we have a down payment saved up, assuming we keep saving at our current rate, and who knows, with the market as it is, if we'll actually get approved. So then if we can't buy, it's renting, and moving, and that old refrain of not wanting to unpack because it's not a permanent place. Meh. Whether we rent or not, I've already decided that the only boxes in the place will have holiday decorations and spare computer parts in them.

No more boxes.

Loki the tech geek

Also posted on Loki's blog... the picture was too cute not to share!

I got myself a new netbook yesterday to replace my ancient laptop. (Early Christmas present!)

I think Loki (who is now officially one foot long) likes it!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Score one for me

I had a great time in Florence doing the social media workshop! It was a lot of fun.

I covered blogging, Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, and Flickr, but they loved blogging. We used Blogger as the platform and everyone made a blog, made a test post and played with the color schemes and templates. We also made Twitter accounts and I uploaded a test video to Youtube.

It was a great experience!

This icon is for me but it's for you too! You are awesome!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Be calm

I've got a workshop tomorrow. Or rather... I'm giving a workshop tomorrow to 11 librarians. It's about social media. All I've been able to do the past few days is stare at my PowerPoint presentation. I just realized I printed everything out except for the slide notes. And I really need to check and make sure the slide will play properly on my personal laptop, which I'm bringing with. Mental note.

I went to Walgreen's today after work to pick up some soda and those Starbucks coffee things for tomorrow. They had Yellow Submarine folders and notebooks and I may have bought one of each thing they have. I'll bring it with me tomorrow. Just in case I don't look young enough in jeans and my READ shirt...

It's funny, I'm not really worried about knowing what I'm talking about, because I do know Facebook, and Twitter, and Youtube and Flickr and how libraries can use them. What I'm worried about is that I'll talk too quietly or freeze up or forget how to answer a perfectly simple question.

It'll be fine... deep breaths!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Labor Day weekend checklist

Pepper and Cheyenne | 09-06-10
So let's see... here's my to-do list for this weekend and I've crossed off what got done:

  • Get Fiona's brakes fixed at Brakemasters
  • Get Prudence's trunk locking mechanism fixed (it sticks a bit) under warranty at the dealership
  • Pick up my prescription if the pharmacy and doctor finally have things worked out
  • Stop by the mall to pick up a couple things (got them elsewhere)
  • Play the heck out of Metroid: Other M
  • Get to work on constructing Loki's new basking platform out of polystyrene
  • Get Prudence washed
  • Go see Iliza Shlesinger at the Tempe Improv Saturday night
  • Do laundry
  • Pick up crickets for Loki
Wow!  I did pretty good! I should make a list before every weekend.

Yesterday was my favorite day out of the weekend even though every day was pretty fun. It was nice to relax, go swimming and play board games with everyone. I hope your Labor Day weekend was as fun as mine!

Cheyenne | 09-06-10

Monday, September 6, 2010

Pasta salad

I made my pasta salad this morning for the barbecue we're having this afternoon. I think this pasta salad is basically the same as the one my parents made growing up... it's delicious!

1 lb rotini pasta
1 can of olives, whole or sliced
1 package of mozzarella cheese, however you want to buy it (I don't think sliced would work well, though)
A generous few handfuls of shredded parmesan cheese
A package of those cute little grape or cherry tomatoes
A package of slices of salami
1 bottle of Italian salad dressing
Salt, pepper

Cook the pasta as instructed on the package. As soon as the pasta is al dente, drain it, then rinse it in cold water until it is cool.

While the pasta is cooking, slice the olives (if necessary), cut the mozzarella cheese into cubes or oddly-shaped pieces as is your wont, cut the cute little grape tomatoes in half, and slice up the salami into thin slices or whatever shapes you want. Add all of this to the bottom of the bowl you are going to put the pasta in, along with half the parmesan cheese.

Once the pasta is done and is cool, add it to the bowl. Add the other half of the parmesan cheese, along with salt and pepper. Mix everything up using your hands or a spoon, or whatever.

Add the italian dressing to taste - I'd probably use 2/3 of the bottle, but it's up to you. Make sure the dressing is evenly distributed throughout the salad. Refrigerate.

If you set it in the fridge for awhile, make sure to mix it before serving it, because the dressing settles on the bottom.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Night at the (Tempe) Improv

Scotty, Iliza Shlesinger, me, Alicia, and Chris | Tempe Improv | Tempe, AZ | 09-04-10

I spent my Saturday evening at the Tempe Improv, on the periphery of the Arizona State campus, with Scotty, my sister-in-law Alicia, and Alicia's fiance Chris.

We had yummy yogurt before the show from Yogurtini.

Scotty and Alicia | Yogurtini | Tempe, AZ | 09-04-10
You serve yourself your own frozen yogurt, add your toppings, and weigh the container in front of the clerk. We spent $5 for cheesecake and red velvet frozen yogurt, and delicious apple juice.

Me and Scotty | Yogurtini | Tempe, AZ | 09-04-10
We went to the dinner showing, at 8 PM. We had drinks (except for me, the designated driver) and appetizers.

Two opening acts came on before Iliza Shlesinger. They were local comedians and they were great.

Alicia, Chris, and the two opening acts | Tempe Improv | Tempe, AZ | 09-04-10
Then Iliza came on and kept us laughing for the rest of the show. She was great.

Alicia and Chris getting Iliza's autograph | Tempe Improv | Tempe, AZ | 09-04-10
And after saying goodbye to her dog, we headed home.

Alicia and Iliza's dog | Tempe Improv | Tempe, AZ | 09-04-10
 What a great way to start September!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Case Closed, by Gerald Posner

4 out of 5 stars
Total read in 2010 so far: 98
(Also posted on my Goodreads profile here.)

I remember watching a recent History or Discovery Channel show on the John F. Kennedy assassination. They took the media from that day, the press coverage and the news anchors and even just bystanders taking video and photos of the entire day, and edited it together to form a cohesive narrative of November 22, 1963, in Dallas. It was absolutely fascinating. In many ways JFK was the first president elected due to television's burgeoning role in politics - and television is what so many people looked to after his assassination for answers.

It was media that played the primary role in establishing concerns about a conspiracy behind the killing. The Dallas police force was unused to so much media attention, and the chaos and publicity of the event led to confused eyewitness reports. It makes sense that people would consider a conspiracy. John Wilkes Booth was part of a group of conspirators, although Garfield and McKinley were likewise the victims of lone gunmen. With politics being what they were in the 1960s - people worried about Communists, minority races, homosexuals and mob hitmen - and JFK being who he was, it seems almost impossible to believe one man could have acted on his own.

It's as William Manchester is quoted in the book, and in the television special I saw: "If you put six million dead Jews on one side of a scale and on the other side put the Nazi regime [...] you have a rough balance: greatest crime, greatest criminals. But if you put the murdered President of the United States on one side of a scale and that wretched waif Oswald on the other side, it doesn't balance. You want to add something weightier to Oswald. It would invest the President's death with meaning, endowing him with martyrdom. He would have died for something."

Unfortunately, there is no conspiracy. Gerald Posner masterfully demonstrates this in his book. "Case Closed," which is rife with footnotes and citations, follows Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby from birth to death, accounting for what seems like almost every day of their adult lives. It is easy to see after reading in so much detail about Oswald why he seized the opportunity to kill the President, and it's likewise easy to see how much emotional turmoil Jack Ruby went through before spontaneously deciding to kill Oswald. Not only that, but it becomes obvious that these two were bit players, maybe not even that. They both had fantasies that they were more than they really were. Oswald wanted to be a great Marxist or Communist. He wanted to be recognized. Jack wanted to be known, as well.

Beyond detailing their lives up to the assassination/murder, Posner also delves into some of the concerns people have with the consistency of evidence in the assassination. The bullets, the trajectory, the number of shooters, the evidence in the Book Depository, and witness accounts are all addressed. This book came out in 1993, so it is somewhat dated, but he was able to use computer modeling to recreate some of the questionable situations. He also uses medical evidence to account for certain things such as why JFK looks like he is reacting to a shot from the front when he was shot from behind.

This is really an excellent book and a must-read for anyone interested not only in the assassination itself but also the history of our country in the 1950s and 60s and the prevailing mindset of the time.


My plans for this wonderful, fantastic three-day Labor Day weekend are as follows in no particular order (Fiona is our truck, Prudence is our new car):
  • Get Fiona's brakes fixed at Brakemasters
  • Get Prudence's trunk locking mechanism fixed (it sticks a bit) under warranty at the dealership
  • Pick up my prescription if the pharmacy and doctor finally have things worked out
  • Stop by the mall to pick up a couple things
  • Play the heck out of Metroid: Other M
  • Get to work on constructing Loki's new basking platform out of polystyrene
  • Get Prudence washed
  • Go see Iliza Shlesinger at the Tempe Improv Saturday night
  • Do laundry
  • Pick up crickets for Loki
What ever happened to holiday weekends being fun and relaxing? Although, playing Metroid: Other M and seeing Iliza should be plenty of fun. It's funny, I'm so addicted to Metroid at the moment, but I've hardly gotten anywhere because I keep getting stuck. So I kind of suck at the game even though I love it and it's so much fun.

We saw Iliza on Comedy Central Presents a week ago and it was just a fluke that she happens to be in Tempe this weekend. Neither of us have ever been to the Tempe Improv but it sounds like fun. According to Yelp it is a bit small, but hey, when you're there to see somebody perform that can be good, right?

Fingers crossed that the brake repair on the truck (a) doesn't take too long and (b) isn't too expensive!